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Superstar Sleeze

[1987-08-22-WWF-MSG, NY] Rick Martel vs Haku

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Rick Martel vs Haku - 8/87 MSG

I couldnt find this match either. :( My review from five years ago. 

Both Islanders play King of the Mountain and won't let Rick Martel into the ring. Ricky is like two can play at that game and goes to back to bring out Tito Santana! STRIKE FORCE, BABY~! This angle has been excellent and the addition of Tito as Martel's partner due to Zenk's departure only makes it better. Gorilla explains that during of the Islander's 2 on 1 muggings of Martel, Tito made the save from the Spanish Announce Team. After a great 3 year run anchoring the upper midcard, it only made sense to use Tito in a new capacity as he stil something to give as a major babyface player. The British Bulldogs were withering in the face of injuries, so by pairing the recently AWA World Heavyweight Champion and recent WWF Intercontinental Cheampion made Strike Force an instant babyface superteam. The Islanders started off as their establishment feud with the Hart Foundation & Bulldogs wrapped up their feud. Strike Force went over the Hart Foundation to establish themselves as the number one babyface tag team only to drop the titles at Wrestlemania IV to establish Demolition as the lead heel team. Man, I miss this Vince, just really simple, but highly effective booking.

In the summer of 1987, Rick Martel is my pick for the best wrestler in the WWF. As I mentioned in the last match, he is working as if he is still the AWA World Champion, who is hot at the heel's underhanded tactics. Martel & Haku begin the match off hot with a BIG Martel cross body block. Martel just starts throwing hands because he aint gonna take it, anymore! My favorite aspect of this match is the sense of struggle as both men are constantly attacking each other, but not in a way that is hapahazard or chaotic. One examples is early when Martel sets early for a back body drop and Haku pounces leading you to think Haku will capitalize, but Martel cartwheels out of a Haku back body drop and hits a hurricanrana, which he punctuates with some punches to Haku's skull.

When Haku takes over, he does have to work very hard to keep Martel because Martel just wont stop moving forward. He uses a chinlock effectively and follows up with a back suplex. However when Haku gets a bit careless and gives Martel that separation by Irish WHipping him into the corner, Martel responds with reverse cross-body off the second rope. That is the story of this match, Haku has to stay on top of Martel. One lapse in Haku's offnese and Martel will explode. In a desperation maneuver, Haku grabs Martel's trunks and throws him out of the ring. Martel seems more pissed that hurt on the outside. Haku brings Martel in the hard way with a vertical suplex. Haku misses his second rop headbutt and here comes the signature Martel left and Martel is on fire. Martel gets cocky trying the rana again, cardinal wrestling sin, Haku dumps him headfirst onto the top turnbuckle for his infraction. Haku with a diving headbutt only gets two and he drapes him over the second rope to choke him. Tama hits the prone Martel with a chair. In a rare WWF mistake, we actually miss the pinfall as we focus on the proud Tama. Tito rushes to the ring to make the Islanders pay for their transgressions and ensure Martel's safety as he actually does a stretcher job off the chair shot. They have put some serious heat on this feud and have really built their first tag encounter well. I am sitting here twenty five years in the future and I can not wait for the first Strike Force vs Islanders match. ***1/2

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