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Superstar Sleeze

[1985-01-21-WWF-MSG, NY] Greg Valentine vs Tito Santana

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WWF Intercontinental Champion Greg Valentine vs. Tito Santana - WWF, MSG 1/21/85

 

Could not find the November draw again on line, which means that is the only Valentine/Santana singles match that I have not seen from this run. We skip ahead to January of the following year and while this is still a very heated feud, the storyline has taken a turn to being more about the Intercontinental Championship. Santana was able to attack Valentine savagely in October, but after a draw in November the chances of rematches would be less and less probable. Thus why this match is a much slower pace. Tito does not want to risk disqualification like he did in October because his emotions got the best of him. In addition, when you get emotional that's when you make mistakes. As a challenger, he cannot afford mistakes. The inherent problem with this strategy is that plays right into the hands of the methodical Greg "The Hammer" Valentine. Don't get me wrong when Tito gets the chance he is going to pop Valentine in the face, but the match definitely shows the cautious side of both men. Valentine for his part as the champion is content to bide his time and pick his spots. Early on, Tito is able to wrangle a leg after the Hammer missed a drop toehold playing up the angle that Santana had learned the figure-4 from Jack Brisco. We get some victim blaming from that buffoon Gorilla on why Tito lost the title. How about the promoter or I don't know they man who perpetrated such a heinous act like Greg Valentine. It is a bit of a weak transition into a very good heat segment which sees Valentine just scoop Santana with a body slam. Valentine tries to hold him down in a wristlock, but Tito bridges our exposing the ribs which The Hammer knees with delight. This begins a really well-worked ribs heat segment. Valentine has it all the gutbuster, bearhug, ab stretch (Tito with a nice bit of pscyhology by grabbing the ankle to turn it over) and he throws in a couple slaps for good measure. Santana starts to get a head of steam, but Valentine really digs his fingers into the eyes and goes back to work on the back. He sets him up to come crashing down with all his weight, but misses.

ARRIBA~! Tito capitalizes big time and just pours it on with punches atomic drop, chop...TIMBAAAAAHHHH! Valentine ends up on the apron and Santana brings him in the hard way, but is so fatigued that he does not pin right away and only gets two. Santana looks to kill two birds with one stone (injuring Valentine and winning the title) by working the knees with repeated knees to the knee. Valentine yanks the trunks on the figure-4 attempt and rolls to the outside. Tito gives chase and unloads with two rights. He throws him back in, grabs the foot and Valentine yanks the tights again to avoid the figure 4. He rolls back out and Santana again throws him back in. Now, Tito comes flying across with the Flying Burrito but Valentine had collapsed so Tito crashed and burned and ended up on the outside. I LOVED THAT SEQUENCE! The while thing just dripped with urgency and that complete and total commitment to winning the match. Valentine does what he does best once Tito finally crawls back into the ring drops the Hammer. I think they may have slowed the match back down too much and then when Tito is using Valentine's trunks to pull himself up, Greg slaps Tito before unloading on him with MONSTER FOREARM SMASHES! HOLY SHIT! He chucks Tito to the outside. He swings the Hammer Down on his chest and then fishooks him back in. Nasty shit. Valentine goes for the figure-4, but he gets shoved off into the turnbuckles. Double clothesline! Valentine crawls over for cover kick out. Tito with a head of steam FLYING BURRITO~! Sends Valentine crashing to the floor for the countout victory.

I love Valentine selling the loss huge because he knows this means Tito will get another rematch when he himself was so close to winning the match. It really plays into how wins and losses matter even the DQ and countout ones. Tito was just so spent from this war he was going to have settle for the countout victory. This match had a different feel from the other ones and was wrestled at more deliberate pace, which only heightened the importance and magnitude of the match. Valentine had some great midsection work and Tito was his great fiery self. The sequence with Tito trying to get Figure-4 on only to wipe out on the Flying Burrito is one of the all time best sequences. I wish all the limb worked played more into the finish as both guys kinda stopped selling and Valentine even did a shoulder breaker after he was just selling the knee. Right up there with all their kick ass matches and different from their other bouts thus far. ****1/4

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I watched this tonight and absolutely loved it! I watched the entire 1/21/85 card, and by doing so, you get such a high appreciation for what these guys were doing. This is a great match. I loved the fire and the comeback punches from Tito. The finishing sequence is glorious - love this. ****1/4

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