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paul sosnowski, August 23, 2018 in October 1989
The Rockers vs Rougeaus - 10/89 London, England
This is pro wrestling. I know pro wrestling can be a lot of things, but this really captures the fun, light-hearted aspect of wrestling that develops into a dramatic story: can Shawn Michaels make the tag? It is such a simple hook. I often feel compelled to dig deeper to prove that this is a more impressive match. In this match, it is beauty is how shallow it is. It is two pricks trying to show up the good guys. The good guys goofing on the bad guys and having fun at their expense. The crowd is laughing along right with them. This level of entertainment and fun is what is missing from most WWF face control segments. Until the pricks can grab a handful of hair, then it becomes a dramatic effort from Michaels to get the hot tag to escape an incredible onslaught from the dastardly, underhanded bad guys. The amount of offense Michaels takes and his selling is the drama that most their WWF heat segments are missing. The go home stretch calls back to the opening with the good guys using the bad guys own dirty tactics against them to pick up the victory.
Who are these guys and what did they do with the Rougeaus? The Rougeaus have been the most underwhelming tag team that I have seen in my viewing. Their heat segments tend to be borefests and Raymond seems devoid of any charisma. In this match, the Rougeaus look like the best WWF heel tag team ever in this one match. They stooge and bitch out like the Busters and they have the offense of the Midnight Express in this match. I understand the beginning can be tedious for some, but I like bullshit. You will see that Marty does want to lock up twice, but each time Jacques calls him a chicken and goads him into doing the relatively easy feat of athleticism. I am a sucker for heels that congratulate themselves over simple feats. However, now the Rockers get the idea how they can really show up the Rougeaus with Shawn's moonsault and shaking the ropes for Jacques. How much Jacques throws his head being rammed into the top turnbuckle is awesome. I laughed again (only thing I laugh at each time).
I love how Jacques scurries away into the protective embrace of Raymond. The MX used Cornette to bitch out for them, but here the Rougeaus do it themselves. The leg work is incredible and the best Rockers control segment with all the switches without tags. Jacques, the ref and crowd just make this segment so great and another stretch where I can not stop smiling. Then while Jacques is arguing, Marty will let Raymond to get to the corner, but Jacques wont be there. Then when Jacques makes a mad dash for the corner, Marty yanks him away. I just love that stuff. Hell, even Raymond is great for all his work within this hold and constantly keeping it moving. Eventually, Jacques grabs Shawn's hair and Raymond rams a pretty nice knee into Shawn's back transforming this match from light-hearted to a dramatic affair. Already, you can tell Rougeaus are game for what I consider the best heat segment in WWF 80s tag wrestling. Shawn takes his Flair Flip bump into the turnbuckle and bumps huge off a double chop. The stars are just aligned in this match as Shawn is having his best FIP and the Rougeaus are just fucking on. Raymond's savate kick sends Shawn tumbling over the top rope and they start working on Shawn's back. They do the Boston Crab/knee combo and then Raymond throws Shawn onto Jacques' knee. Seriously, where the hell have these Rougeaus been. "We are really seeing the Rougeaus at their absolute best." - Tony. Tony always knows what's up. Jacques does a fake clap for a tag and the crowd boos the shit out of him. I love this crowd! Raymond busts out the rolling short arm scissors into a pin combination and Shawn reverses. I love this match!
Jacques knees Raymond by accident and lets out a nice, hearty "Fuck!". Here comes Marty doing his best Rick Martel. Hands above his head, so energized just hitting anything in blue and yellow including the Mouth of the South. Raymond trips him from the outside allowing Jacques to get a piledriver. Now the Rougeaus go for the coup d'grace the Megaphone, but Shawn is able to get it and hit Jacques for Marty to get the pin. Once again, the Rockers give the Rougeaus a taste of their own medicine.
I love the MX/RNR Wrestlewar '90 match and I really don't think this is far off of it. This is my pick for the best WWF tag team match of all time (Austin/HHH vs Benoit/Jericho is close). It has the best control and heat segments with an actual, logical finish with a really good transition that bridges light-hearted with dramatic. The criticism I know is that there is a lot of bs in the beginning, but I enjoyed it and it played into the control segment well with the Rockers still fucking around with the Rougeaus and it sort of fuels the Rougeaus fire to really kick their ass even though they were the ones that instigated it. Shawn is really off the charts selling and bumping for the Rougeaus. I liked this finish stretch even more than the Paris match because it is not trading piledrivers. It is actually using the Megaphone against the Rougeaus. It is really fighting fire with fire. From showing up Rogeaus at the outset to using their Megaphone against them and everything in between, the Rockers proved they could beat the Rougeaus at their own game. ****1/2
Man, I watched this today after I saw your tweet. I absolutely loved it! I've been watching the Prime Time's from 1989 lately, and the Rockers and Mr. Perfect have been clear standouts for me. I knew I had to check this out. I love the production of this match. When the Rockers come out it looks like an 80's music video. Michaels is awesome here. Just a great match. The beginning reminded me of some of their AWA matches against Rose and Somers with the back and forth taunting. I still think DIY vs. The Revival (11/19/2016) is the best WWE TAG match of all-time, but I noticed you said WWF (so, maybe you are referring to simply the federation years). Either way, I see why this is in the conversation! It's fantastic! Great crowd too.
Really glad you like it! I have loved that match forever. lol don't read too much into it I just sometimes forget that WWE continued into the 2010s lol. I'll get around to that eventually.
Great match. Excellent character work by the Rougeaus at the beginning. Everything Marty Jannetty did was so great. Everything looked so graceful and his hot tag at the end was awesome. Michaels was a really good FIP and Rougeaus did a great job of cutting him off, getting heat on themselves and getting the crowd behind Michaels. Wrestling clinic, this. ****1/2
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