Jeff Jarrett & Owen Hart vs The Hardy Boyz (WWF, March 20, 1999)
The upcoming match on Raw (this is Jakked or Metal or Heat or some shit) between Stone Cold and The Big Show Paul Wight is The Biggest Raw Match Ever. God. Damn. Goddamn. I first broke the ice on Jeff Jarrett in this tag team. Owen was my n-star in Paris.
The Hardys were itsy-bitsy little girls, months and months away from being serious contenders. Months! Talk about Public Enemy not being welcome in the WWF. I always wondered about that. Like, why? What's the beef? Where's the beef? That's the ticket. Where's the beef. So they just keep talking Public Enemy. "What about Owen Hart?" Yeah, what about that motherfucker? he's gonna be dead in two months. That's what's goin on. Ain't that the damnedest thing?
Hardys get some moments to show their stuff, get some pops, look good. Owen and Jeff are the right guys to help them do that. Good rasslers, up to the task of making young'uns look good with their high flying and their risk taking. Debra gives Jeff H. a boner and he cannot contain himself, eating a baseball slide, hard-on intact. Big throbbing pulsing bone. And that leads to his destruction, as it usually will.
HEY! I almost went to Memphis tonight. I was drunk, is all I'm gonna say, and maybe I still am. That's the day's affair and the liquor's. But I almost went to Memphis. Sun Records and Graceland. Instead I got Arby's and now I'm watching decade-plus-old WWF b-show material. How do you like that? A motherfucker tries to be free, thinks on it, considers it, but you have to replace your balls with a big, sopping pussy and keep yourself together. And for what? So you can do some stupid job and eventually die and never fucking go to Memphis? Matt Hardy has HONOR written on his leg. He would learn soon enough that there was really no such thing. Not in wrestling and not in life. Fittingly, he is Stroked and pinned.
Stan Hansen & Ted DiBiase vs The British Bulldogs (AJPW, 1985)
World's Strongest Tag League tournament. DiBiase rollin' a headband like a pimp. Like a man who would drive to Memphis for the fuck of it. A MAN. Black trunks, black boots on your American badasses. Bulldogs in their traditional garb. Dynamite starts with DiBiase and at this point, was there really a better matchu? Yes. It involved Ric Flair. Dynamite Kid was cute, innovative, neat, but whatever. Dynamite Kid is a weepy blister on Ric Flair's cock at best. Davey Boy jumps in, gets a dropkick on Ted, and Hansen tags in. He is far too much man for Lil' Davey. I'll take Texas over England in a war today. That's a fact.
Dynamite, though, is too physical, too mean for DiBiase. A feat to be sure. Hansen is carrying his team here. Good as DiBiase is, the Bulldogs somewhat perplex him. Their style is a trouble for him. Styles make fights. Dynamite with a quick roll-up two count on Ted, tag to Davey Boy, and Ted takes over. Perhaps it's really just Dyanmite who troubles Ted. He quickly recognizes his own failings in this match, keeps the rugged Hansen in as much as he can, while also carrying his weight.
Lots of quick tags in this match. Bulldogs again do a number on DiBiase. Breaks down for a moment, and Hansen drills Davey with the lariat, with DiBiase finishing him off with the power slam just after, Hansen holding Dynamite back. Fun. Short, but fun.
Curt Hennig vs Yuji Nagata (WCW, April 13, 1998)
Larry Hennig is ringside, and so is Rick Rude's dad, so Curt might actually try in 1998. Rude will actually show signs of life, too, that aren't cashing his paycheck. Here we have heel Curt Hennig working Minnesota babyface in front of dad with evil foreigner Nagata and that dick Sonny Onoo playing default heel. nWo or not, Hennig gets one night of cuteness, hoping Minnesota will cheer him. And they don't, really, because it doesn't matter where he's from. Curt Hennig has been a heel for a decade plus, outside of that time Ultimate Warrior bailed and he had to come out of retirement in '92 to hang out with the Macho Man. Larry gets a cahnce to take his shirt off and display another shirt that says HENNIG RULES. This is corn dog as fuck. Inside, Curt hits the Hennigplex and wins a nothing match.
Cactus Jack vs Don Muraco (UWF, February 15, 1991)
The Herb UWF, obviously, not the Watts UWF. ECW before ECW was ECW, really. Jack takes it to the floor and Muraco, at 41, is more or less up for that. brawl brawl brawl and John Tolos, the WWF's Coach, joins the action to lay in some forearms on Muraco. Bruno has a handle on Cactus Jack, who can withstand a lot of punishment. The bell suddenly rings, and the show basically ends and they say '10 minute time limit' but hey, let's not announce it. Bruno's sure though.
Shawn Michaels vs Leif Cassidy (WWF, March 25, 1996)
Vince calls Leif "dorky." Poor Leif. He's so happy to be here, excitedly shaking hands with the Rocker he replaced. Bret Hart joins commentary and Lawler runs away. This is six days before WrestleMania XII. Vince says, "Hey you're getting a bird's eye view! What's up!" "well i wanna get a bird's eye view." Good shit, Bret. Bret analyzes Shawn: He'll be faster, he's younger, but Bret is "more punishing" than Shawn Michaels. "That's why they call me the Hitman. I hit guys." I highly doubt that. Marty Jannetty comes to ringside now, but he's not trying to fight Jose Lothario. Leif faring too well considering Shawn is about to become world champion. Leif almost puts Shawn out of the match by nearly killing him on some kind of guillotine attempt. Michaels takes a beating for a while but comes back with a flying clothesline, but Leif is up first -- before the kip-up. Marty just watches. Atomic drop, reverse atomic drop, jab jab jab jab, off the ropes, Marty with a trip. "That bothers me," says Bret, and he takes care of Marty, allowing Shawn to drop Leif with the superkick for the win. Michaels goes to argue with Jannetty, but Bret gets in his face. Why? Because he can that's why.
Vader vs Shawn Dakota (WWF, 1996)
Superstars. Hype for a Vader-Yokozuna match. I've talked about this before but Vader's WWF run was such a travesty. Never gonna work though. And I hate it because Vader vs Shawn should have been some of the best shit of the 90s. But what seemed to make them right for one another was an illusion -- Shawn didn't work tight, didn't want to, and Vader liked killing everyone. Dakota eats a power bomb to end this.
Sycho Sid vs Marty Jannetty (WWF, 1996)
Boy I'm wild for 96 WWF right now. SID SID SID SID SID. Sid is too much man for Marty, and too much for Leif, and too much for both. Leif chokeslammed on the floor, so Marty chop-blocks Sid. Cornette and the Bulldog come down since Bulldog is prepping for a surefire classic at SummerSlam against Sid. If there's ever something I wanted to see it's Marty Jannetty working over Sid. Just working him over. Leif remains out at ringside. Sid is getting dominated but he's so strong. Except his knee. That thing sucks. Sid recovers and does his handful of excellent maneuvers.
Triple H vs Taka Michinoku (WWF, April 10, 2000)
Kaientai and the Acolytes! Who's the opponent? It's Taka. This is, like, classic and shit. I wonder how many of today's dedicated wrestling fans know about this match? And really know about 2000 HHH? Lilian classically says "Taka Micheenewkoo." She sucked then and sucked now. That didn't change.
I love this match but it was probably overrated at the time and given more credit than it deserved. But that is the beauty of live. HHH was great weekly in 2000 into 2001. The dude was just on as much of a roll as I've ever seen anyone on, live and in person. Helmsley takes advantage after a hot start by Taka, but winds up in a shoving match with Earl Hebner, and Taka fires back with EVERYTHING HE'S GOT. EVERYTHING HE'S GOT. But it's really not enough. He doesn't have the firepower. Taka sent into the ring steps. Funaki smartens up and pushes HHH into the APA, who were watching the entrance, and they put a jolt into HHH and send him back inside.
Funaki flies with a dropkick onto HHH, and Taka hits the moonsault, and it's such a close two-count that the crowd almost buys that Taka Michinoku is about to become the WWF champion. Vince and Shane come down, and Vince has to beg off of Faarooq, turning them and it's Big Boss Man and Bull Buchanan. Michinoku Driver, he can't get it, and then he's drilled with a power bomb. Pedigree, it's over. You get around all the bullshit, and this is a fun semi-squash.
Stone Cold Steve Austin vs Tajiri (WWF, September 20, 2001)
Similar to previous match only on paper. Tajiri is ready to kick some fucking ass because he disagrees with Stone Cold's general existence at this point. Unfortunately Austin is bigger and more powerful and Austin. This is pure squash. Austin just fucking runs him over and stuns him and that's that. This mostly existed to further an angle with Angle.
John Cena vs Rob Van Dam (ECW Two Night Stand, June 11, 2006)
I am not the world's biggest ECW guy but I can say this: the Hammerstein Ballroom is my favorite rasslin venue of all-time. Over MSG, over the Sportatorium, over Center Stage in Atlanta, over the Mid-South Coliseum, way over ECW Arena. It was the best and most awesome of the ECW crowds. And I love this match. This is by far my favorite John Cena match. Milking the crowd throwing the shirt out over and over is great. The "Fuck You Cena, Fuck You Cena" chant is intense. Toilet paper thrown at Cena. So great.
Cena is brilliant here. Crowd all over him, and he tries to prove he can wrestle with a cradle suplex, then he stares out at them. Flattens RVD with a shoulderblock and begs them to boo, which they oblige, and then gets himself kicked in the face. It's remarkable that there's a crowd out there that will chant "you can't wrestle" at a Rob Van Dam match, in full favor of RVD. No one out there thinking, "You know, this guy ain't that good." RVD's best stretch was actually in WWE in 2001, but that is neither here nor there on this night. That discussion doesn't matter. This crowd makes ME love RVD.
For a crowd to have this much love for a wrestling product, whether it's bloodthirsty or not, who cares, is so awesome. It's too bad that they killed them off with their bullshit resurrection and all the craptastic non-WWE reunion shows, including TNA's disgraceful joke.
The match itself is actually pretty good, though carried by the crowd. RVD is absolutely giving his 2006 best, and it's still solid. When Van Dam really cared, he delivered. And Cena is working his ass off in this thing to make it as special as RVD and the fans who hate John Cena wanted it to be. Cena slingshots RVD into a chair wedged into the turnbuckles, and RVD just fuckin DIIIIIIIIES so big. So nasty. So so nasty.
What's most impressive about the heat is it never truly lets up. It cools from the unbelievable opening minutes, but they're all over Cena, and rooting on RVD the whole way, like this is real, life and death stuff.
It's basically the Last Stand of Real Wrestling Fans, or at least the Real Wrestling Fans of their era. They're hot even for referee Jim Molineaux breaking Cena off of RVD on a rope break when he won't release, and Cena clotheslines the referee.
The match's only real issue is Taz on commentary, as he keeps overdoing it to make sure that we know that John Cena may be getting relentlessly shit on, but hey, like it or not, he's shown up for this match. And he has -- but it probably didn't need to be said 10 times.
Nick Patrick comes in to replace Molineaux, and Cena can't believe he's only getting two after the beating he's laid down. "Fuck Nick Patrick" chant. And then Edge comes out of nowhere to spear Cena through a table, deck Patrick and the crowd isn't immediately sure how to react, but then a "Thank You Edge" chant builds some momentum. RVD makes sure that the crowd approves of him winning this way -- they do. Five Star Frog Splash, but no referee. Patrick is down. Molineaux is down. And Paul Heyman runs in -- 1, 2, 3. Eruption. Resurrection. False promises. Wrestling.