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DVD #4: Bob Backlund vs Ivan Koloff


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  • 3 weeks later...

These guys work holds brilliantly -- I love the headscissors battle and Backlund's failed bridge attempts, but it seems like every time they locked in a hold, they held it too long. Cut the match time and hold time in half and the end result would be a great Muga match. They do pick things up at times, and the action is really good every time they do. Ivan's top rope pseudo-knee drop was awesome, but having the doctor enter the ring without the match being stopped is silly.

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While I haven't bought the DVD from goodhelmet yet and haven't seen this specific match, there is a match between these two from Philly in 1983 available that is also along these lines. I generally love the matches these two had together.

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This was nice. I've only seen Uncle Ivan post-prime really, so he was a revelation for me here. As Loss said, they really work the holds well, and build to something for the crowd. I didn't take part in the WWF 80's poll, so I haven't seen a lot of Backlund either. He was goofy as all hell, but still sucked me into the match. Good stuff, and it's almost sad to hear Vince get all excited about the wrestling they were doing. What happened to that guy?

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  • 2 weeks later...

My first foray into seriously watching a WWWF MSG match from the seventies. Lou Albano keeps yelling into the mic. I don’t quite get it, but the crowd gets riled up. This really is a time warp, because these tough NYC fans really seem to love the spiffy All-American Backland. He looks like he stole Doug Furnas’ legs and put them on his much shorter body. Koloff, who I’ve read about for years, but never seen, has a great heel look with a cape (shorter than I’d have thought). I get all these Russians mixed up no matter how hard I try, and Nikita Koloff is the only one that’s really jumped out to me. Probably the influence of watching too much 1985 Flair – and I’m realizing this was “Uncle Ivan”. I enjoyed the late 70s Vince McMahon commentary much more than the 90s version.

 

I surprised at how much fun the early sequences are. Easy to follow and logical, and not nearly as boring as I might have ignorantly stereotyped them to be (WWWF, 70s, slow, blah). It’s got almost an MMA/jiu-jitsu progression to the holds. Even the bridge sequence had some grit and charm. Sure, there are slow parts, but the crowd is hot, and as long as there’s some wrestling logic I like the formula. Backland has a wrestling answer to everything Koloff does. The only crappy part was Backland powering out of a test of strength – too hammed up for me.

 

Some random thoughts – Whenever the action would pick up in quick spurts after long holds it was surprisingly exciting. The holds were a bit long, but definitely worked well. Backland is so goofy as a face that the only modern day equivalent I can think of is Kenny Omega. The crowd back then had a lot more patience. Love the crowd chanting in rhythm as Backland pulls on the leg of Koloff. Koloff wasn’t horrible, but you get the sense that Backland is definitely leading this dance. I liked Backland’s attempts at leg work and the fact he was kicking out at one while gaining two count near falls on Koloff. Koloff’s control segments are pretty cool, as he keeps the heat on Backland, and the diving knee rules. I love how intense it gets after Backland comes up cut on until the stoppage finish. This was totally a finish you’d see in modern day MMA that would draw a larger house for the rematch (I know some people hate the MMA references, but it’s true).

 

This match is definitely too long (30 minutes), but I assume this was the typical style of MSG main event in length and structure (anyone more knowledgeable chime in). It’s not exactly what I want out of my wrestling, but it may have been close in 1978.

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Ivan impressed me here with his selling while in the head scissors and his bumping. The match wasn't horrible but it was really boring at times and the finish sucked. Best part was Lou Albano getting escorted out like he was being arrested and randomly yelling in the mic.

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  • 2 months later...

Albano's yelling "no, no, no!" into the mic is hilarious! Never has a man drawn more heat by saying so little. And I love Koloff's "satanic" cape. I also enjoyed the headscissors spots that opened things up that others mentioned. It looked like the ref could have counted three during one of the Gotch lift/short arm scissors spots but held up since that wasn't supposed to happen. Backlund's work of the leg got better as the match progressed.

 

Watching everyone leap to their feet as Koloff scales the buckle for the top rope knee drop is great. They all know it's what beat Bruno, and the crowd thinks it could happen again. It's weird to have the doctor check the cuts and not stop the match, I thought they'd end it then.

 

Overall, I thought this was a pretty good match. It started to drag a little in the middle with some of Backlund's leg work, but picked up at the end. Good showing by both guys. One question, why was Albano sent back to the dressing room while Skoaland allowed to stay in Backlund's corner?

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