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WWE's "Unseen Matches" DVD

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On a similar line to this, WWE.com has a quick video up right now of (brief) clips of guys debuting in dark matches before the made it to TV. There's AJ doing a shooting star press on the night of the WCW/ECW Alliance merger, Miz doing a tag match against the Highlanders, Scott Hall in plain black tights and white boots in June '92 squashing Jim Powers, and Kurt Angle doing a leaping Olympic Slam in 1999. Teasingly short, but very cool to see.

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On a similar line to this, WWE.com has a quick video up right now of (brief) clips of guys debuting in dark matches before the made it to TV. There's AJ doing a shooting star press on the night of the WCW/ECW Alliance merger, Miz doing a tag match against the Highlanders, Scott Hall in plain black tights and white boots in June '92 squashing Jim Powers, and Kurt Angle doing a leaping Olympic Slam in 1999. Teasingly short, but very cool to see.

 

Well the AJ Styles match is out there as saw it on youtube but the others arent.

 

 

I just wish they would show the Owen/Angle match given it was filmed before Raw in 1999.

 

With the DVD set that came out was all the music original? The theme used for the Gunns seemed like a dub as you can't hear the ring announcer during their entrance.

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I caught these last night so my memory may not be great.

 

Rockers vs Powers of Pain: To me, this was the Jannetty show. He was exceptional here up and down. I loved his little attempt to cheapshot Warlord (he got caught but it made sense that he'd take any edge) and the powerbomb he ate was massive for 1990. Then he played just a great FIP, bouncing around for the PoP, especially with the biggest back body drops you'd see, selling big, fighting back valiantly and believably (including the biting). In general, this didn't have quite as much to it as the MSG match, but it was still very good. I could have done without the double clotheslines clearly knocking down the PoP in the shine. I liked the superkick and the trip spot and the assisted sunset flip, but save the clear knockdowns for the comeback with the size differential. If they had done that, it would have meant more later. The post match was fun just to see Hogan and the Rockers exist on the same plane.

 

Colossal Connection vs Demolition: I was really looking forward to this and was hesitant to watch yesterday because of it. I figured I would because Heenan was out there though, with his shit eating grin and Andre's belt before the match. It was nice to have yet another Heenan-at-ringside match I hadn't seen before. I love the MSG match between these two teams and this had plenty of great stuff if you look at it as pieces and not the whole (because there seems to be a real limit on these Superstars taping dark matches). Even babyface Demos rarely did the blind switches to stooge the heels but here it made a lot of sense due to the size differential and Andre being on the outside (with the Twin Towers they had to do a lot more tags to keep control; here they could stooge Haku and let Andre react). Ax seemed to be really enjoying it. You can tell instantly the difference between him and Smash in the intensity of the clubbering, but I thought Smash did a great job of reacting to Andre. I love how 89-90 Andre could just get a hand in there and his opponent would go flying. He was the most vulnerable, most dangerous monster. Smash was excellent at getting that over. Ax's attempts at choking him to contain him worked well, especially with Andre taking over at the first opportunity; he was so big with such a reach that you had to do everything just to survive. The finish was fine. I'm not even sure if this was a title match or non-title and there was always a streak of wildness to Demolition. It let them make the crowd happy and pose with the belts after the fact and ensured that there'd be another match later.

 

Savage vs Warrior: My initial temptation is to gush about Sherri again. She is one of the best ever of being constantly active, just a blur of motion, reacting to each and every thing, yet still being able to make it all about Savage. It's never about her. It's always about what Randy did or was about to do or what happened to him. The more she did, the more it was about him. That's hugely impressive. Obviously, a year after this, she'd be taking almost all the bumps for him too, given his injury. Here, though, this was a fully developed Warrior, the crowd electric for him, just a big, energetic, lug down to the no selling at the end. It was a hell of an act. I hadn't realize he was popping up from the elbow drop so early. Weirdly, the complete invincibility against the knee to the back was more jarring because that's much more of a cheapshot and an equalizer. They probably should have went home immediately after the elbow drop because what else was going to work at that point? Still, this was fun and was a very different dynamic than a year earlier or a year later.

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I bet some of the matches originally had commentary, but not they type you're thinking of. Back when Landy had his youtube channel, he posted a godwinns/headbangers dark match from Shotgun, but the commentary was just Vince talking to the other commentators about technical issues and the like. The commentary on these dark matches was probably similar. Obviously they couldnt put that on a dvd, so they likely deleted that "commentary".

 

Didn't Landy post a pic of Yokozuna in a WWF interview before the Yokozuna gimmick? No idea where that came from.

 

The DVD was good but I really don't get the logic in Demo/Colossal match I mean they were kicking ass took Andre down and just when they are about to win the belts by pinning Haku one of them just goes for the belts? Surely they know it would be a DQ. I don't remember the house show matches going that way.

 

 

IIRC I've seen a pre-Yoko gimmick "Kokina" dark match years ago. Don't quote me on that though

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When the Headshrinkers were doing their first few TV squashes, announcers mentioned rumors of a third, bigger Headshrinker. So plans were pretty far ahead for that to go through if they were talking about it on TV.

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When the Headshrinkers were doing their first few TV squashes, announcers mentioned rumors of a third, bigger Headshrinker. So plans were pretty far ahead for that to go through if they were talking about it on TV.

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I kinda doubt that they planned 3 years ahead to have The Barbarian become Seone and join the Headshrinkers....Unless Rosey was planned to be a Headshrinker prior to his first run?

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I kinda doubt that they planned 3 years ahead to have The Barbarian become Seone and join the Headshrinkers....Unless Rosey was planned to be a Headshrinker prior to his first run?

 

The third Headshrinker was going to be Yoko.

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On to Disc 2:

 

Hogan vs Earthquake: Did you hear that crowd when Quake came out and they realized it was the main event. That's probably my single biggest takeaway on this taping, just how into everything this crowd was. It's so refreshing and earnest. Ah well. I liked this a lot. Great layout. It's funny that Hogan's not afraid to belabor his inability to get Quake down with one shot but Roma or the Rockers weren't. Perfect layout, really. It's interesting how active Jimmy Hart was here. This is his biggest angle in his entire WWF run and he well knew it.

 

Dibiase vs Bossman: I know they had some other matches after the turn that probably made tape but I don't remember any. This started just like the Hogan match with a heel beat down ambush. I wonder just how many of these dark show matches started like that. Dibiase had a lot of interesting stuff when he was in control, little headbutts and elbows to the top of the skull and the fist drops, of course, and a killer clothesline, just a lot of varied and mean looking offense. He looked really good here all around. That post-match sure doesn't come off well in 2017 does it?

 

Warrior/Tornado vs Rude/Hennig: Easily the most purely entertaining thing on the set so far. Warrior was such a nut. I love him in a tag setting because he's so unpredictable. Even his own partner doesn't know what he'd do for the most part. Pre-match, he seems to be giving Kerry the claw, for instance. He's the best guy on the apron because he just climbs the ropes and waves his arms around like a lunatic and he's the most believable guy in the world to come in and screw his own partner by distracting the ref. Total joy to see Rude and Hennig as a team. They worked together so well with Rude stooging and Hennig bumping to insane degrees. I don't love his WWF run for a lot of reasons but bumping for Kerry and Warrior is pretty much the ideal. Because this was more of a house show style match, he was going even more extreme. Against other opponents it wouldn't have worked but here, given the cartoony element, it was like a Saturday Morning Slam match or something.

 

Best part of the match? I might have read too much of this, but I don't think I did. So at one point, Hennig's got a standing toehold on Kerry (he spun with it once to pull him back to his corner, but after that he just hung on to it). They'd just swarmed the leg during a Warrior ref distraction/cut off. So Heenan gives them a signal from the outside, Hennig reaches over and grabs Rude's hand, the ref starts to notice, Heenan yell's "BREAK!" and they heels let go before the ref sees it. That in itself would have all been great, but then Hennig shouts "I'M GOING TO BREAK HIS LEG!" to cover, to the ref, why Heenan shouted that. Is that the best thing or what?

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I'm probably misremembering things since I forget the source on this, but I'm sure I've heard a story that Vince saw Kokina and loved his size but was going to pass on him because he thought two Samoans was enough, and that it was Bobby Heenan who suggested he looked Japanese and should be cast as a sumo instead.

Like I say, I can't recall the source on this, if it was Heenan's book or a shoot interview somewhere but I couldn't find anything on Google, unless anyone knows any better?

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I've always just presumed they created Yokozuna to capitalize on the publicity that Akebono had received earlier that year in becoming the first non-Japanese yokozuna. It just happened to be a perfect fit with the right guy at the right time.

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On to Disc 2:

 

Hogan vs Earthquake: Did you hear that crowd when Quake came out and they realized it was the main event. That's probably my single biggest takeaway on this taping, just how into everything this crowd was. It's so refreshing and earnest. Ah well. I liked this a lot. Great layout. It's funny that Hogan's not afraid to belabor his inability to get Quake down with one shot but Roma or the Rockers weren't. Perfect layout, really. It's interesting how active Jimmy Hart was here. This is his biggest angle in his entire WWF run and he well knew it.

 

I was suprised on this that Hogan got the win seeing as every house show it always ended in a DQ.

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I'm probably misremembering things since I forget the source on this, but I'm sure I've heard a story that Vince saw Kokina and loved his size but was going to pass on him because he thought two Samoans was enough, and that it was Bobby Heenan who suggested he looked Japanese and should be cast as a sumo instead.

 

Like I say, I can't recall the source on this, if it was Heenan's book or a shoot interview somewhere but I couldn't find anything on Google, unless anyone knows any better?

 

The story I remember is that Vince thought he was getting Yoko as one of the Headshrinkers but Afa pulled a bait and switch on him.

 

 

 

I've always just presumed they created Yokozuna to capitalize on the publicity that Akebono had received earlier that year in becoming the first non-Japanese yokozuna. It just happened to be a perfect fit with the right guy at the right time.

 

How many people would really be aware of that though? The USA was in a general hysteria about the Japanese affecting the US economy at the time, so having a big "Japanese" heel was typically jingoistic.

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Talking about unseen matches I was really suprised the Brock Lesnar DVD set has the Mr. Perfect dark match in full.

 

All id ever seen was a ending of the match from a sat feed that was incomplete.

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I'm probably misremembering things since I forget the source on this, but I'm sure I've heard a story that Vince saw Kokina and loved his size but was going to pass on him because he thought two Samoans was enough, and that it was Bobby Heenan who suggested he looked Japanese and should be cast as a sumo instead.

 

Like I say, I can't recall the source on this, if it was Heenan's book or a shoot interview somewhere but I couldn't find anything on Google, unless anyone knows any better?

 

The story I remember is that Vince thought he was getting Yoko as one of the Headshrinkers but Afa pulled a bait and switch on him.

 

 

 

I've always just presumed they created Yokozuna to capitalize on the publicity that Akebono had received earlier that year in becoming the first non-Japanese yokozuna. It just happened to be a perfect fit with the right guy at the right time.

 

How many people would really be aware of that though? The USA was in a general hysteria about the Japanese affecting the US economy at the time, so having a big "Japanese" heel was typically jingoistic.

 

 

I get the Japanese heel part of it for the wrestling character, but I'm thinking more just about his name.. Akebono was a big enough deal that I knew about it, and I was an eighth grader that didn't follow sumo or even have any way of following sumo. I knew what the term yokozuna meant because of that, and wouldn't have ever known otherwise at that age.

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I'm about a third of the way through disc three. This really is a fun set. The good stuff is new matches with childhood favorites. The lowlights aren't long enough to completely kill your interest. Thoughts on various matches

 

Dingo Warrior vs Jose Estrada

Owen Hart vs Barry Horowitz

 

I agree with a poster above. Owen didn't look that good. He had some impressive moves, but he looked wooden. Lacked charisma, lacked crispness. It's a shame that it took Owen five more years to make it, but I don't think WWE missed the bar on him early. He needed polish before he could rise further.

 

Savage vs Warrior ('89)

 

I know it's '89 because Savage had Sherri. But it almost felt like the 1988 version of the Warrior. He really improved between WrestleMania and Summerslam.

 

Earthquake Evans vs Paul Roma

 

How many wrestlers have succeeded in WWE with as much as an atypical look as John Tenta? He really stands out here from everything else WWE was presenting at the time.

 

Hulk Hogan vs Earthquake

 

I started watching wrestling in 1990. It's no wonder I grew to dislike Hogan quickly. He would take finishers and his kickout was the transition move. I usually don't have a problem with the superman comeback, but it felt like someone entering a cheat code and it wasn't possible to beat him no matter what you did. Hogan in '85 was better at his comebacks, I feel. This felt lazy.

 

Ted Dibiase vs The Big Boss Man

 

Speaking of atypical. Ray Traylor was a top heel after about four months in wrestling. Except as a prelim guy, did he ever work face? Yet this 400 lb. behemoth becomes a babyface and was quite good at it.

 

The Ultimate Warrior & Kerry Von Erich vs Rick Rude & Mr. Perfect

 

One of the best matches of the set. Hennig is the perfect foil for two guys who wear tassels to make them look faster.

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Ted Dibiase vs The Big Boss Man

 

Speaking of atypical. Ray Traylor was a top heel after about four months in wrestling. Except as a prelim guy, did he ever work face? Yet this 400 lb. behemoth becomes a babyface and was quite good at it.

 

 

 

I *think* he was a babyface in WCW during that period where they were trying to find a gimmick that wouldn't get them sued (The Guardian Angel, The Boss, etc).

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