Saturday, July 24, 2010

Scott's Professional Wrestling YouTube Travels #5

Wahoo McDaniel & Charlie Brown v. The Assassins (November 1983)

I might be wrong but I swear to God I had this match on some budget tape I got from Harding's grocery store in Coloma, MI, back when I was a kid. I had a few wrestling tapes from over there that I know now was Crockett stuff and it was really my introduction to Mid-Atlantic Wrestling, though I didn't really know that at the time. I had seen Wahoo on TV as an old man. There was also a Flair/Wahoo squash tag on one of them that I remember because Flair as a good guy seemed so foreign to me and really threw me for a loop.

That's a wild Indian in the ring right now! Hamilton cracks Wahoo open with a foreign object he pulled from his mask and then hid in his trunks. Charlie Brown from Outta Town gets the hot tag and goes buck wild. Wahoo pulling Hamilton's mask open while Charlie Brown works on Hercules, and Wahoo starts chasing Paul Jones and the referee has completely lost control of this contest. Who's enforcing the rules around here anyway? The Assassins bail. I think this got thrown out during the mayhem. Yeah this was on the tape -- the star graphic, music and that replay are all 100% familiar. I feel like I'm nine years old using the VCR in my grandma's room. Except instead I'm 28 and using a Mac computer and my cat is fucking around with some cords and pissing me off.

Rick Rude v. Brian Pillman (1992)

I always liked Brian Pillman but I just keep liking him more and more. His WWE DVD set was one I bought immediately but even that doesn't quite capture just how good he was. I said in one of these before (the first one, actually) that Pillman was a guy who could work with anyone and it was good, and I firmly believe that. For flexibility, he's up there with the best of his generation. Eric Bischoff is on commentary so this must be from the Power Hour, and he's rambling about how tough you become growing up in Minnesota. People who grow up in noted cold weather regions tend to whine about it the rest of their lives and wear it like some badge of honor. It's really weird.

As for Rude, he gets tons of praise because he was apparently a hell of a guy and, y'know, now is dead. I don't know why but I never took him seriously as a kid. He's a dude you "get" when you're an adult, maybe. That's how it is in my case anyway. He was a rare total package guy: great look, could talk, could work. He did have that one GOD FUCK AWFUL match with Jake Roberts at WrestleMania IV, but other than that he had a terrific and too-short WCW run, was pretty good before he got to the WWF, and forced some good matches with the Ultimate Warrior, which puts him on a short list with Randy Savage. Rude wins the match with the Rude Awakening after Paul E. distracts the referee when Pillman hits his crossbody.

Shawn Michaels v. Kerry Von Erich (June 17, 1992)

Lord Alfred and Gorilla discuss derogatory terms for women after having a brief conversation about a tattoo on Sherri's breast. "Breast" sounds like an awful word when spoken by Gorilla Monsoon. Breast. Huh! Will you stop. Kerry's WWF run was probably exactly what anyone should have expected it to be. He eventually ate his own tail, which was always going to happen, but when his head was on straight (enough), he had some success. But then I don't want to have a big Von Erich discussion.

This match is alright but very "going through the motions." Kerry's very, very close to the end of his WWF run, as he left in the summer of '92 and this is July '92 on Prime Time. Kerry gets the claw on Shawn, they go to the floor, and Sherri lays Kerry out. Shawn beats the count and wins by countout.

Kevin Von Erich & Chris Adams v. Gino Hernandez & Jake Roberts (September 28, 1984)

This was about seven months after the death of David Von Erich, so World Class was still reeling a bit from that loss, and here we have a match with Gino Hernandez, who would die a couple of years later, but most importantly, he's alive here, in all his shitheel, son of a bitch, cocksucker glory, teaming up with conniving bastard Jake "The Snake" Roberts, who has remarkably stayed alive to this day. Chris Adams is dead, too, if you're keeping count.

I've never been able to figure out exactly what I think of Kevin Von Erich. I don't mean this to sound bad, but just in wrestling promos and stuff, he always seemed like ... well, the smart Von Erich. I know that sounds shitty and all, but how else can I put it? He seemed like the smart one. It has nothing to do with him being the surviving Von Erich boy, because smarts had nothing to do with that shit, but he always seemed like the brains of the boys. Kerry was a great physical specimen but always seemed like kind of a dumbass, and David was the breakout star and the hot-tempered kid. I'm half just talking about their wrestling characters here, but I don't think the wrestling characters were terribly different than the Von Erichs themselves, because they were never what you'd call great actors. They were who they were. Plus Kevin wrestled barefoot and wasn't an islander so I don't goddamn get that either. I never really think of Texans as "country boys" in the same way I think of Kentuckians or Alabamans in that way, but the Von Erichs were just good ol' boys, really.

Jake and Gino are a fine tag team and hoo-whee but this crowd is hot the whole way through. They don't make wrestling crowds like this one anymore. I miss the sound of screaming children and women who weren't directly told when they were five years old that wrestling is a work and it ain't for real. No one ever told me. I think I was 13 or so when my grandpa, who hated wrestling but would watch it with me when I was a kid, asked me, "You know that's fake right?" And I said something like, "Do you think I'm retarded?" I mean the shit doesn't look real. Everyone by 8 or so has gotta be questioning it. And then you realize it's bullshit, and then you either stick around because you like watching it, or you don't. Any kid can like wrestling -- it's a real easy thing to like. It's fun to watch and a bunch of crazy shit happens. No one needs to be told that it isn't real, and if they do, they're probably pretty damn stupid anyway so you're likely not raising the next President.

Anyway the heels win this match and do a number on Kevin Von Erich while Chris Adams just leaves. This was a solid little set-up for something later tag match.

Raven v. "Dr. Death" Steve Williams (February 8, 1997)

This is for Raven's ECW title, a couple months before he'd lose it to Terry Funk at Barely Legal. Wouldn't be long until Raven was in WCW cocking around with Sick Boy and fighting DDP on MTV while Carson Daly laughed. Raven does his "lay down the belt in front of the challenger" thing and Williams tackles him, and then the ever-charismatic Tod Gordon decides to make this an official match. Raven throws a couple of pretty sissified charishots by 1997 ECW standards because Williams is a respected veteran who doesn't do this shit.

This is a pretty fun match until the bWo interrupts and then Dr. Death throws a terrible clothesline at Raven, who's barely looking, then hardly manages to press slam Raven over the top onto the bWo. Richards offers Willimas his bWo half-shirt, and Williams bites it in half, then drops him with a Stevie Kick, but Dr. Death doesn't sell for the best-looking move of the match. After the third one he stays down enough that Raven can run back in, and he DDTs Williams and that retard Joey Styles squeals like it's exciting that Raven wins this clusterfuck finish match. But it was alright even though Williams was going about 65% speed.

Barry Windham v. Brad Armstrong (February 6, 1993)

Schiavone references the Windham-Armstrong Clash of the Champions match from 1988 early in this match. Nobody references five-year-old matches anymore. Windham is preparing to face the Great Muta for the now-devalued NWA title at SuperBrawl on February 21. Brad's coming out a bit hot-tempered, like he wants to knock off the top contender to the NWA belt and put himself in line. Windham and his goatee jaw with the crowd after Brad starts the match pretty well. After some nice scientific wrestling to start, Windham feigns a clean break in the corner and socks Armstrong in the jaw. Armstrong keeps the advantage for a bit, but then loses because he's too small to pick up Barry for a suplex, and Windham reverses it into a big DDT for the win.

Barry Windham v. Brad Armstrong (February 27, 1993)

Aired six days after SuperBrawl III, Windham defends his newly-won NWA title against old rival Armstrong. This is a little longer than the February 6 match but more or less the same idea. These two really did have some terrific chemistry. The jumping DDT finishes things after Windham blocks Armstrong's russian legsweep. Brad Armstrong really needed bigger tights. You can goddamn near see his ass hole on the pin here.

Randy Savage v. One Man Gang (April 22, 1988)

This is Savage's first TV defense of the WWF title he won at WrestleMania IV. Hopefully this is better than their match in the WM IV tournament, which sucked like every other match in that tournament. Eh, they keep it really simple. Gang is strong, Savage is fast. When Savage can push the pace he does well, when Gang slows it down it's all big fella. Savage turns the tide with his lethal elbow smashes to the top of the mohawk and clotheslines the Gang to the floor, where he follows with his flying double axhandle, and a photographer gets crushed but while down is TAKING PHOTOS. Awesome. Slick tries to cane Savage, hits Gang, and then Savage wins with the elbow. Not any better than their Mania match really.

Randy Savage v. Akeem (January 21, 1989)

This is better than the SNME match or the WM IV match, in part because there's just more going on around the match. Obviously nobody thinks fucking Akeem is going to actually win this thing, but with Big Boss Man and Slick at ringside it's at least got more happening. Akeem's big second rope splash is just awful, but it misses and Savage makes the elbow smash comeback with the flying double axhandle, this time inside the ring. And then he spits at Slick because fuck Slick. Savage hits the elbow, Boss Man comes in and we have our DQ. But here's Hulk Hogan in with a couple of devastating scoop slams, stealing Savage's thunder yet again, the big orange fuck. They even play Hogan's music instead of WWF champion and match winner Randy Savage's. I loved this storyline -- how could anyone with a functioning brain have rooted for dickweed Hulk Hogan? What an ass. They did something similar with the Sid thing at the Rumble in '92. Who could really think Hogan was in the right? He was a jerkoff!

Team 3D v. Rick Steiner & Road Warrior Animal (June 17, 2007)

Right. So this was supposed to be Dudleys-Steiners, but Scott got hurt, and they brought in fuckin' Animal, who claims to have boosted TNA ratings by "2 or 3 points" with this appearance, which is more Road Warrior mythological bullshit. If I were them I'd believe the fairy tales, too, but they really didn't do much of anything major past about 1992. They always got their pops, but then it was just sort of like, "Yup, it's the Road Warriors alright."

Rick Steiner has old wrestler shoulders, all sunken and shrunken, and that's not a shot at him, it's just what happens when you miss out on all those good supplements in the big time. Don West's rambles never got less amazing. You'd really think he'd have gotten better over time, but nope. Animal, at 47, no-sells a piledriver. But he has a pretty surprisingly high-energy bit with Bubba, who again leads "L.O.D." chants from the ring. I'm kind of annoyed that the fucking Dudley Boyz are all happy to be working with legends and honored to share the ring and all that shit. These are the guys who tried to start riots in ECW every night, which I realize was damn near a decade before this match, but it's still sad to see the streamlining of such dickheads.

But besides all that, I actually like this match OK as the novelty that it is. The Dudleys actually still wrestle like a tag team and really do deserve respect for what they've achieved, even in a diluted tag team era, and for keeping tag team tradition alive even though nobody else was really along for the ride. And Animal looks pretty lively in this match. Steiner's not so bad either. All in all you could hardly ask much more of this match than what it is. Dudleys win clean.

Eddy Guerrero & The Steiner Bros. v. Dean Malenko, Cactus Jack & 2 Cold Scorpio (August 5, 1995)

There is in some circles this weird opinion that Scott Steiner was this calm, franksteinerin' technical wrestler with explosive offensive who loved his mother and was kind to babies before he got all ridiculous and became White Thunder. But he was always a prick with a temper, and he and Rick both show that they were a couple of assholes because in ECW they had that chance to be a couple of tough guy dicks, like when Rick would go to Japan and not even give a shit and just toss the Great Muta around.

This is clipped up but it's fun to watch the highlights. Eddy in particular is just crazy good, and the crowd is red hot for him. Scorpio is pretty great selling dead for Rick Steiner, and then Cactus gets the tag and Rick and Cactus start GOIN' AT IT and I'm loving that, but then we clip back over to Eddy and Scorpio and fuck, man, I just wanna see Rick and Cactus wail on each other. The Steiners and Eddy take everyone apart with huge top rope triple-team moves but the finish doesn't come there, as by the time they're done getting in the big moves, Scorpio has recovered and breaks up the pin, and then Malenko catches Guerrero for the pin.

THE SPOTLIGHT UPON: VADER IN THE WWF

Vader v. Yokozuna (April 8, 1996)

This same edition of Monday Night Raw had Shawn Michaels-Jerry Lawler and an arm wrestling match between Davey Boy Smith and Ahmed Johnson. Vader was billed at 450 here and Yokozuna at 630. Vader slaps the shit out of him, Yoko fires one back. Yoko was already amazingly too fat at this point and he'd just get bigger and bigger. But even at whatever he actually weighed at this point, he's still fairly mobile, and breaks out a rock bottom and a humongous legdrop. Yoko hammers away on him in the corner, but then misses a charge, and Cornette holds Yoko's leg while Vader drops the Vader Bomb over the leg and breaks it. They do it again. I love a leg-breaking angle and Yokozuna really sells the shit out of it. But no babyface mid-carders run out to stop the assault, which kinda sucks.

Vader v. Steve Austin (February 3, 1997)

This was after the Rumble that Austin won and set up the Final Four PPV and we get the recap beforehand. Raw's in the SkyDome. In fact this has the full goddamn intro to the show since this is what's kicking it off. And Bret Hart runs in and fights with Austin, which Vader takes offense to so he punches Bret in the gut a lot, but Bret just fights back because he's in a rage! He wants Brody and he wants him in a cage!! So eventually Bret leaves and the match actually starts.

Austin puts a whoopin' on Vader, then spits on him and turns his back, so Vader charges out of the corner to kick some ass. Vader gets up for the Vader Bomb, and for some reason the referee is all in his shit about it and Vader is taking forever, so he considers going up to the top for his moonsault, which gives Austin plenty of time to hop up, and then the referee gets smushed by Austin in the corner, but by the time we get back from commercial the referee is back. Who the fuck is that referee? I don't remember that guy.

Austin scoop slams Vader while JR is rambling about the coming PPV, so they don't even call the fact that Austin just rather easily scoop slammed the 450-pound mastodon behemoth. They keep saying tough tough tough man toughest man. The referee gets in Austin's grill and takes a stunner, and then Vader and Austin keep fighting at ringside and this winds up being a DQ in Vader's favor. Too bad these two never got a major one-on-one match. Too bad a lot of things never happened with Vader's WWF run.

Bret Hart v. Vader (August 23, 1997)

This Friday Night's Main Event show was like the greatest blessing for me at 15 since I had nothing to do on a Friday night and even if I did I would have skipped it to watch wrestling. We're knee-deep in the Hart Foundation angle by now and these two decided to fight after they couldn't decided who got to whip The Patriot's ass. JR and Cornette are on commentary and boy do I wish that had been a more regular thing and that Jerry Lawler had stayed in Memphis, not because I have anything against Jerry Lawler really, but because he's cooler in Memphis (even now) and Cornette's a better color commentator.

Before the match Bret calls Vader fat and Vader seriously looks like his feelings are hurt, then he calls him fat again and Vader starts a-fightin'. For the second time, Vader snaps the Canadian flag (pole) over his leg. This heel run was awesome for Bret. He seemed completely reinvigorated in the ring and had so much more to do than his usual shit, which had gotten a bit stale since his face singles run really kicked into gear in '91. I really like how Vader swings a chair around with one hand aaaaand then the Hart Foundation runs in for the DQ, and then The Patriot's geek ass runs in to save Vader. The Patriot. Jesus Christ.

Vader v. Mark Henry (July 26, 1998)

Vader is really over as a babyface here. And they run into each other and Henry just picks him up and tosses him like a baby, and Vader is all, "Damn it! Fuck!" And that's weird. So he rolls back in and Mark Henry continues to beat the shit out of Vader. And here we are in 1998, just a few years removed from this guy butt fuck owning WCW, and Vader is getting his ass whipped in a lower midcard match against a big green power lifter. And that's sad.

But Vader makes the comeback, and shit yeah, it's Vader Time. By July '98 here he's little more than a big-name enhancement talent, which is ridiculous. He's still over. He could still be a big star. And Henry just pins him with a splash, and the crowd boos, and you get the impression that they aren't booing Mark Henry the heel, they're booing the fact that Vader loses to this asshole who sucks but he's fuckin' Vader.

Vader v. Ken Shamrock (September 13, 1998)

This is on Heat. Vader doesn't even have his entrance televised. Oh God this has Shane McMahon on color. Holy shit is he awful. YEAH KENNY LAY THOSE HANDS IN THERE BAM BAM BAM. Ooh! Vader gets plenty of offense in but Shamrock ankle locks him and that's that. On Heat. With Shane McMahon. After the match Shamrock calls out Stone Cold. Vader fucks off to the back because he's a loser.

Vader v. Edge (October 11, 1998)

This is Heat again. And it's Vader's final WWF TV match. Vader dominates early but Edge flings him into the steps and takes over. NICE SHOT. Shane McMahon might be the worst wrestling commentator of all time. Vader horribly telegraphs power slamming Edge when Edge leaps from the top rope. And there's the downward spiral and Vader's WWF career basically ends right here, on Sunday Night Heat, with Shane McMahon going OOH! and NICE SHOT! and BANG!

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