THE GREAT NWA INVASION OF 1998
Jeff Jarrett v. Barry Windham (January 5, 1998)
This is from that weird time where the WWF had Jim Cornette on TV doing some NWA crusade, which turned into absolutely nothing because nobody gave a shit about it and the NWA had been effectively useless for half a decade. This is for the vacant NWA North American belt. Plus you're throwing out Barry Windham, who meant nothing to these people and was a languishing New Blackjack, and Jarrett, who has bad music and a worse outfit. And Kevin Kelly is trying to make it a big intrusion, but Jim Ross just can't muster up any real emotion. Here he's got a Jeff Jarrett-Barry Windham match in front of him for a belt nobody cares about in front of a totally indifferent crowd. Jim Cornette talks some insane rap about Abraham Lincoln being connected to the NWA. Then they manage to point out that this is being refereed by WWF official Tim White, which seems a bit of an oversight. They have a decent match of 1998 wrestling while Cornette rants on and on about REAL WRASSLIN, and then Jim interferes on Jarrett's behalf to help him win. This could have had legs, maybe, but Jeff Jarrett was never going to be a (legitimate) top guy.
The Rock n' Roll Express v. The Disciples of Apocalypse (January 12, 1998)
It was a tad confusing why NWA tag champions Rock n' Roll Express would have the old Rockers WWF music. And here we have the Harris twins. This is sure to get over THIS week! Right? And Cornette managing them is just too much. Ross tries to put it over as being bizarre. It's fun to see the Rock n' Rolls flex their abilities and go heel, though. One of the twins gets a big side slam on Ricky, who crawls over and hugs Robert in great distress. And then the Rock n' Rolls cheat. They could still go, too. Cornette interferes and gets the Rock n' Rolls disqualified. Then he's faced with a huffing and puffing Harris boy, who pops him with a right hand. Then Chainz run in and chases everyone off. Nobody could much care less.
Jeff Jarrett v. Bradshaw (January 19, 1998)
This was the night Mike Tyson came to Raw. Cornette really gave this angle his best on the mic, but...no. Bradshaw is dominating, sets for the lariat, and the Rock n' Rolls trip him. But Bradshaw continues to dominate until Barry Windham "accidentally" lariats down Bradshaw, which gives Jarrett the win ... and then Bradshaw pops right back up after the three count. Was he pinned from the lariat or out of confusion? Everyone beats up Bradshaw, and Windham joins in. Boy this is a formula for success in 1998. Broken-down Barry Windham, Jeff Jarrett and the Rock n' Roll Express. "This story's going to get interesting before it's all said and done!" Lies.
The Rock n' Roll Express v. The Headbangers (February 23, 1998)
As with all these matches, the NWA guys are being more or less humiliated by the WWF guys. Morton and Gibson respond by hugging each other. At least Tommy Young is the referee for an NWA title match. The Rock n' Rolls actually get some offense in on Mosh for a while, so that's something new. Ricky takes the stage dive, and Young is counting the fall, but Thrasher throws Gibson over the top rope and the Headbangers are disqualified.
Stevie Ray v. Steve McMichael (June 22, 1998)
Whose idea was this? Was it a joke on someone? The audience? They "brawl." Then they go to a break with Mongo on the advantage, but we come back and Steve Ray attempts a kick. This is painful in every way. Mike Tenay calls Booker T "the classic technical wrestler," which is just bizarre. The Brain says that "all great tag teams were different," like how Booker T and Stevie Ray are totally different. They continue to slowly and gruesomely go at one another as Tony Schiavone describes Chris Benoit as "an honorable man." This is like the worst video I've ever watched on the internet, and I have seen some shit on the internet. "Two of the finest athletes in our sport." My God. Mongo's chucked into the steps. This is the longest ten count ever. What the fuck -- Charles Robinson STOPS COUNTING when Mongo is thrown back in, even though Stevie Ray stays outside to GET A CHAIR. Here comes Chris Benoit to stop that mess. And he gets in the ring, takes the chair from Stevie Ray, and Charles Robinson DOES NOTHING. And here comes Booker T, who's like, "naw dog, don't do that," and we've got two guys interfering, and the referee is just standing there like he has no idea what to do. And Harlem Heat start to leave, so Robinson calls for the bell and apparently Mongo wins by countout. The crowd boos. Holy shit.
THE PERFECT-ROOSTER WARS
Mr. Perfect v. The Red Rooster (February 25, 1989)
Hennig still has his trunks. The match is interrupted by the Brooklyn Brawler in the picture-in-picture, and he's REALLY pissed off about all this attention being paid to the Red Rooster, who doesn't have that red mohawk deal. Bobby Heenan and the Brawler come to ringside. Could this be stupider? What kind of dumbass needs to scout the Red Rooster or whatever? Just leave him in there to lose. I saw on one of those Legends of Wrestling things, Mick Foley said that Taylor and Hennig were both in the running to be Mr. Perfect, and Foley was like, "He would've been a great Mr. Perfect," which is dumb enough, and then P.S. Hayes said, "You wanna hit a single or a home run?" Anyway, Rooster leaves the match to fight with the Brawler and is counted out.
Mr. Perfect v. The Red Rooster (August 28, 1989)
Taylor has the stupid hairdo now. This is the SummerSlam match It's going nicely but Taylor fucks up his knee, takes a standing dropkick, rolls out, comes back, and tries to keep going. Taylor has to brawl, because he can't do a whole lot else, and Ventura brings up how odd that seems. Perfect has to just finish him off with the Perfectplex in about three minutes.
Mr. Perfect v. The Red Rooster (November 25, 1989)
By this point, Hennig's superiority is entirely obvious. Where he may have struggled before with Taylor at moments, he now rather thoroughly dominates. He knows what Taylor has, which frankly ain't much in '89, and he almost seems to be doing the Rooster a favor by going over on a sunset flip, almost to give Taylor a few more seconds of screen-time, to let him have some more visibility. But Hennig does get a bit too confident, and the Rooster lands a bulldog and a ... face...slam. Then comes a backdrop. Could Perfect's perfect record be coming to an end?? Of course not, stupid -- the Red Rooster sucks. A big forearm flattens the Rooster, and the Perfectplex seals it -- 1, 2, 3.
Mr. Perfect v. Terrific Terry Taylor (January 18, 1993)
Terry Taylor left, came back, and was terrific. Perfect is a babyface now, and Taylor is still using his Red Rooster music. That retard "comedian" is on commentary. "You sure that's Mr. Perfect and not TOM ARNOLD?" Oh ho ho ho! Macho Man got run over by Repo Man or something. Then Bobby Heenan is on the phone. Meanwhile, behind the idiots talking about the Repo Man, pizza, Rob Bartlett's incredible "jokes," and Vince being overly concerned about Heenan's collect call, there's a pretty good match between a couple of real good wrestlers, who both, while past their primes, have enough old chemistry to rock it pretty decent. This is easily the best match of the four here -- not even close. Taylor even gets to break out some actual offense, like a spinebuster and a gutwrench power bomb (a.k.a. LOOKITTHISMANEUVER!). Hennig turns the tide of the match, then Ric Flair comes ringside and distracts, then attacks him. Taylor sets for a suplex, but instead gets Perfectplexed. Jesus. You can't even cheat and help Taylor beat Hennig.
Jumpin' Jeff Farmer v. Motley Cruz (?)
I've watched that goddamn promo so many time that I suppose I really should see the IPW battle between Jumpin' Jeff Farmer and Motley Cruz at some point. So here we go.
Cruz hits the mat on a devastating Jumpin' Jeff forearm. Then there's an armdrag, described as "quick," which alright, fine. I don't know how to react to this really. It is low-level pro wrestling. I'd rather watch this than Smackdown. I'd definitely rather watch this than TNA. I mean, as ... mediocre as the match is, and that's a nice word for it, at least it's actually about the match and the personal issue between these two. At least I know why they're fighting. Because Jumpin' Jeff doesn't like when things aren't going his way. And Motley Cruz has HIM. mad now.
Motley Cruz goes at an amazingly slow pace in the ring. There's "methodical," and then there's Motley Cruz. His body type is best described as "uncle who's pretty tough, I bet." But Cruz does focus on a body part (kidneys) and his knee smashes into the area are fine. I'm trying to not hate on this because it hasn't earned my scorn and bad feelings with weeks, months, years of bad TV and shitty matches like so many things have, but seriously, I've never seen a non-freakshow move at Motley Cruz's laborious pace except for, you know, real old-timey motherfuckers. Eventually he's beaten clean with a small package. What can you say? It's pretty terrible, but that's as expected. Still better than Mongo.
Terry Gordy v. Kerry Von Erich (July 15, 1983)
Lumberjack match! Yeah! I really got rolling on a train of crap for this travels so I figure I need to go to Dallas and get something good. Jimmy Garvin is fucking fantastic at ringside, urging the crowd to, "Just keep it down!" His talking has really made a huge fan out of me. Just the way he talked, the attitude of his interviews and the way he's working the crowd here. He's that disingenuous prick you know who's always super nice, but exceptionally condescending, and if you call him on it, he tries to reason with you about why, actually, he's right, and really it's kind of what YOU'RE doing. He's laid back, fake, a liar, and rarely aggressive. He wants to be the center of attention, but only to a certain degree. Like if his big mouth gets him in trouble, not so much anymore. He's just tremendous.
Gordy and Kerry are their usual 1983 selves here, meaning this is good and the crowd is really into it. Bruiser Brody interferes by tripping up Terry Gordy, allowing Von Erich to roll up Gordy. Then it breaks down into a WILD MELEE as Garvin hits the ring to protest and attack. Overall the star of this match was Jimmy Garvin, who decides to get the fuck out of there. And YES! There's a Jimmy Garvin promo after the match! Next week he faces Kevin Von Erich, who's a chicken like David. They're all chickens! And he flexes.
Bill Goldberg v. The Barbarian (September 29, 1997)
The week before this, Goldberg scored the first win of his streak against Hugh Morrus, and here he's faced with The Barbarian. What a colossal collision this is. Greenhorn Goldberg gets his hand held by Barbarian, and that's not exactly the guy to make for a smooth squash. He also had yet to incorporate the spear, and the jackhammer looks like crap in this match. Actually from watching some of these matches again lately, I don't know if it's just years and years of mythmaking about the rise of Goldberg, or I just remembered everything all rosy or whatever, but neither the spear nor the jackhammer were as impressive as I remembered 99% of the time. A guy like Chavo Jr. would let Goldberg flatten him, but most of the time it didn't look any better than Batista's spear.
Sid Justice v. Big Bully Busick (1991)
Big Bully Busick was one of the strangest things ever. There's a bizarre little angle before the match where Harvey Whippleman keeps screaming and blowing smoke at Mike McGuirk and telling her to announce that Busick wants a challenge. Whippleman is already making that announcement, but McGuirk's acting is sub-Keibler. Ah! Uh! Puh! So here comes Sid to answer the challenge, and he throws an awesome chokeslam right off, followed by a power bomb, and that's that. Then Sid tells the camera to "learn to like it," re: the power bomb. I don't get it. And then Harvey Whippleman is all in Sid's face before Sid raises his hand as if to throw one of his terribly shitty punches, and Harvey scurries.
Buzz Sawyer v. Kevin Sullivan (May 29, 1982)
Kevin Sullivan is probably underrated overall at this point. His true prime isn't remembered as much as his declining years with the Dungeon of Doom, which was arguably the worst faction in the history of wrestling, and featured Sullivan engaging in some of the dorkiest, stupidest, fakest, and most mind-bendingly idiotic things in TV wrestling history, plus he couldn't really work anymore once his voodoo rituals and cleansings of the One Man Gang eventually led to him having to work a match. But here against Buzz he's just a goddamn pro wrestler -- full of angry babyface fire, beating up on Buzz Sawyer, trying to take him apart at the arm, delighting the women. This is good stuff. But interference ends it for a Sullivan DQ win when the Super Destroyer runs in, and then all hell breaks loose as nobody can succeed in saving poor Kevbo until Tommy Rich chases them out of there.