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Match Review Thread II (History Edition)

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  • #31
    Re: Match Review Thread II (History Edition)

    I was surprised how decent WCW was in late 2000. Once you get past the New Blood angle and into the Booker T/Scott Steiner feud, it's like WCW remembered what that it's a Pro Wrestling show and it felt fresh. But that New Blood angle...that was the worst period as a Pro Wrestling fan and I'm so glad I had repeats of WCW circa 96, 97 and 98 being telecast at that time. If I didn't have that outlet, I wouldn't be on PW right now. The New Blood angle was just awful, there was way too much attention on guys like Russo and Bischoff and it seemed like every week was a desperate bid for more ratings. I hated the Russo/Flair feud, did Ric ever have a worse feud? I'd rather watch King of the Ring 2000 and that show sucked massive smelly balls.

    I suppose Palumbo ended up having the best career.
    In the US, definitely but Jindrak became a star in Mexico as Marco Corleone. He was a big star in both CMLL and AAA, to the extent he became a recurring character on a telenova.

    The WWE saw more in Jindrak as well. He was slated to be apart of Evolution, until HHH decided to round the number down. Then there was a weird phase in creative where every top heel had their own stable and Jindrak found himself teaming with Angle and Luther Reigns. Meanwhile, Palumbo was just a younger version of Bart Gunn. Once they got to the pay-off, they didn't have anymore plans for him. Paul E put him in the FBI, which I actually enjoyed. They were never going to headline shows or anything, but you could bring them in as henchmen for a top heel and have them cost a major star like The Undertaker a match and give them something to do. However, they gave him what many considered a death sentence to any young promising career, they drafted him to Raw. He fell off the radar until his brother became a hero in Iraq (or something along that, that's Chinese Whispers on my part). So in typical Vince fashion, they brought him back as The American Badass. Strangely, it was getting over and he was starting to make waves until they decided to turn him heel and have him feud with Noble. The feud didn't do anything for anyone and once again he faded out of view in the wrestling world.

    Last I heard, he was on some A&E type reality TV show where he was doing repairs? That's a better fallback option than most.

    Comment


    • #32
      Re: Match Review Thread II (History Edition)

      I was surprised how decent WCW was in late 2000. Once you get past the New Blood angle and into the Booker T/Scott Steiner feud, it's like WCW remembered what that it's a Pro Wrestling show and it felt fresh. But that New Blood angle...that was the worst period as a Pro Wrestling fan and I'm so glad I had repeats of WCW circa 96, 97 and 98 being telecast at that time. If I didn't have that outlet, I wouldn't be on PW right now. The New Blood angle was just awful, there was way too much attention on guys like Russo and Bischoff and it seemed like every week was a desperate bid for more ratings. I hated the Russo/Flair feud, did Ric ever have a worse feud? I'd rather watch King of the Ring 2000 and that show sucked massive smelly balls.

      I suppose Palumbo ended up having the best career.
      In the US, definitely but Jindrak became a star in Mexico as Marco Corleone. He was a big star in both CMLL and AAA, to the extent he became a recurring character on a telenova.

      The WWE saw more in Jindrak as well. He was slated to be apart of Evolution, until HHH decided to round the number down. Then there was a weird phase in creative where every top heel had their own stable and Jindrak found himself teaming with Angle and Luther Reigns. Meanwhile, Palumbo was just a younger version of Bart Gunn. Once they got to the pay-off, they didn't have anymore plans for him. Paul E put him in the FBI, which I actually enjoyed. They were never going to headline shows or anything, but you could bring them in as henchmen for a top heel and have them cost a major star like The Undertaker a match and give them something to do. However, they gave him what many considered a death sentence to any young promising career, they drafted him to Raw. He fell off the radar until his brother became a hero in Iraq (or something along that, that's Chinese Whispers on my part). So in typical Vince fashion, they brought him back as The American Badass. Strangely, it was getting over and he was starting to make waves until they decided to turn him heel and have him feud with Noble. The feud didn't do anything for anyone and once again he faded out of view in the wrestling world.

      Last I heard, he was on some A&E type reality TV show where he was doing repairs? That's a better fallback option than most.

      Comment


      • #33
        Re: Match Review Thread II (History Edition)

        They tried again with Stasiak in 2002 as "Planet Stasiak", actually gave him more promo time than Van Dam(felt like he spent months without getting anywhere near a mic), he cut some of the most god awful promos that led to some type of angle where he teamed with Lesnar at one of the UK shows(against the Hardy Boys?), a weird little angle that actually went on for 2 or 3 weeks early in Brock's mega push. One of the June Raw episodes i seen he was teaming with Dreamer and Spike against some heel trio I can't remember.

        Edit: As I finished typing that Stasiak made a grand entrance on this Nitro I'm still watching. "That's Meat from the WWF!" He gets involved in a Jerrett vs Hennig match.

        Double Edit: This Shane Douglas vs Flair thing is like a show long angle on this episode. This is so cool to me but this crowd is dead and has no clue what is going on. I don't remember this at all actually. I stopped watching Nitro around this time, the piece of junk 10 inch TV in my room only went up to channel 13 and it wasn't worth trying to watch in the living room on the main tv with everybody around trying to watch other shit(ECW on TNN was my jam though Friday nights the tv was mine!). I did get TBS in my room so I watched Thunder for a few weeks around this time, also Ripleys Believe it or Not and Movies for Guys Who Like Movies!

        Triple Edit: This Kevin Nash shoot promo. Tony Shiavonne on commentary, "We're shooting here". AND HERE IS MIKE AWESOME! "HE'S THE HEAVYWEIGHT CHAMPION OF ECW!"

        Bloody Hogan runs around backstage throughout this show, then while he's in his limo Eric Bischoff rams his limo with a white hummer. Oh my god.

        This is a fucking wild episode of Nitro right here.
        Last edited by ShinobiMusashi; 07-03-2016, 01:25 PM.

        Comment


        • #34
          Re: Match Review Thread II (History Edition)

          They tried again with Stasiak in 2002 as "Planet Stasiak", actually gave him more promo time than Van Dam(felt like he spent months without getting anywhere near a mic), he cut some of the most god awful promos that led to some type of angle where he teamed with Lesnar at one of the UK shows(against the Hardy Boys?), a weird little angle that actually went on for 2 or 3 weeks early in Brock's mega push. One of the June Raw episodes i seen he was teaming with Dreamer and Spike against some heel trio I can't remember.

          Edit: As I finished typing that Stasiak made a grand entrance on this Nitro I'm still watching. "That's Meat from the WWF!" He gets involved in a Jerrett vs Hennig match.

          Double Edit: This Shane Douglas vs Flair thing is like a show long angle on this episode. This is so cool to me but this crowd is dead and has no clue what is going on. I don't remember this at all actually. I stopped watching Nitro around this time, the piece of junk 10 inch TV in my room only went up to channel 13 and it wasn't worth trying to watch in the living room on the main tv with everybody around trying to watch other shit(ECW on TNN was my jam though Friday nights the tv was mine!). I did get TBS in my room so I watched Thunder for a few weeks around this time, also Ripleys Believe it or Not and Movies for Guys Who Like Movies!

          Triple Edit: This Kevin Nash shoot promo. Tony Shiavonne on commentary, "We're shooting here". AND HERE IS MIKE AWESOME! "HE'S THE HEAVYWEIGHT CHAMPION OF ECW!"

          Bloody Hogan runs around backstage throughout this show, then while he's in his limo Eric Bischoff rams his limo with a white hummer. Oh my god.

          This is a fucking wild episode of Nitro right here.

          Comment


          • #35
            Re: Match Review Thread II (History Edition)

            WWF 1999-2002 was a weird time.

            I blame it on Mr Socko. That was intended to be an intentionally bad one-time only gag, and it go so over that it gave Foley a brand new finisher/line of merchandise.

            It seemed like the WWF were more open to pushing these 'meme' characters. So we got acts like Mae Young, The Stooges (in 2000...), Naked Mideon, Moppy, The Hurricane and shit shoved down our throats.

            I think the entire Planet Stasiak gimmick had to be a giant rib on Stasiak. The guy had molten heat for being weird, and the WWF are petty enough to showcase that and make fans suffer through it on TV.

            Strangely, I remember he had a pretty decent sprint against Mosh on Heat when it became a C show. His matches against Test weren't bad either, simply because he was willing to take a few crazy bumps to get noticed and Test had some awesome big man offense at that time (Harper admitted on a shoot that he stole a bunch of moves from Test).

            Comment


            • #36
              Re: Match Review Thread II (History Edition)

              WWF 1999-2002 was a weird time.

              I blame it on Mr Socko. That was intended to be an intentionally bad one-time only gag, and it go so over that it gave Foley a brand new finisher/line of merchandise.

              It seemed like the WWF were more open to pushing these 'meme' characters. So we got acts like Mae Young, The Stooges (in 2000...), Naked Mideon, Moppy, The Hurricane and shit shoved down our throats.

              I think the entire Planet Stasiak gimmick had to be a giant rib on Stasiak. The guy had molten heat for being weird, and the WWF are petty enough to showcase that and make fans suffer through it on TV.

              Strangely, I remember he had a pretty decent sprint against Mosh on Heat when it became a C show. His matches against Test weren't bad either, simply because he was willing to take a few crazy bumps to get noticed and Test had some awesome big man offense at that time (Harper admitted on a shoot that he stole a bunch of moves from Test).

              Comment


              • #37
                Re: Match Review Thread II (History Edition)

                Natural Born Thrillerz Stuff

                *Never saw their WCW stuff but I have opinions on their post-WCW careers.

                I liked Chuck Palumbo a lot during his Billy & Chuck phase and it wasn't entirely because of the gimmick. He threw some of the best punches in the company and I loved his Steineresque 'Chuck Deluxe' suplex. He also had a good look. I thought Billy & Chuck were going to blow up as babyfaces in the wake of the wedding and worst case scenario, he would carve out a nice niche for himself as a Val Venis/Hardcore Holly long-tenured midcard type. It didn't happen.

                I wasn't into his comeback a few years later at all. Iirc, that was a pretty dire time for Smackdown in general.

                Shawn Stasiak as a wacky goofball from his own planet >>>>>>>>>>> everything else Shawn Stasiak has ever done. I don't want to see Meat wrestle, ever. On the other hand, Shawn Stasiak as a bumbling buffoon was fun in an ECW undercard act kind of way.

                I had no idea he lasted well into 2002. Thought he was done like a few weeks after the Invasion imploded ended.

                WWE Jindrak was a bore with the dreaded negative charisma.

                Sean O'Haire had a good look and a pretty fun gimmick with the Devil's Advocate stuff. He also had like back to back bad matches with Benoit & Eddie. I also seem to recall a Rikishi's ass-sized stinker with....Rikishi. So, he was basically Papa Shango in the ring with slightly less fun gimmick. In other words, hardly the BIGGEST WWE BALL DROP OF ALL THE TIMES!11!1!

                I saw a bit of Sanders in TNA & WWA. He was awful. Like everything about him was super generic. And this was even before he ripped off Just Joe's WWA shtick. When the most entertaining thing you do is ripped straight from Just Joe you are not a good professional wrestler.

                The Search Continues

                Yokozuna (c) w/ Mr. Fuji vs. Mr. Perfect- 10/19/93- Coliseum Home Video Exclusive?


                We're getting closer but still not quite there. This was basically the Tatanka match with better offense and a slightly less hot crowd. We had the hottest start of this Yoko trilogy with Perfect rocking Yoko with good looking punches and Yoko running the ropes with aplomb in route to a missed elbow drop. Then a Perfect dropkick or two sends the big man through the ropes to the floor. Nice pop. Psychology~! ensues when Yoko dodges a Perfect dropkick. Unfortunately, things grinds to a halt with the dreaded nerve hold. Perfect eventually fights back with more nice punches and finally floors the big man with a flying clothesline. 1-2-NO! Crowd is hot with "USA" chants. Finish comes when The Fuj grabs Perfect's foot in the corner, setting him up for a 568 pound avalanche. Banzai Drop finishes. Though slightly tainted, this is still big win over a two time IC Champ for Yoko.

                I didn't think Perfect stuck around this long. Turns out this was his second to last match of this run

                Verdict- Best Yoko match yet, but still falls short of 'great' or 'recommended' status.

                Tommaso Ciampa w/ Prince Nana vs. Alex Ridge- ROH TV 10/15/11

                Caught that weird ROH Rewind show last weekend. They never seem to leave 2011. This was a quality squash. I didn't fully realize the goodness of Ciampa until he was gone. He brought more intensity than anybody in the company save Jay Briscoe. He also had the best knee strikes in the company, which is a pretty big feather in his cap when you consider something like 80% of the regulars and special guests spam knee strikes like they're going out of style. Ridge is a sort of scrawnier Low Ki. Anyway, this is a pretty good massacre. Ciampa stiffs Ridge with chops and knee strikes. It's not a stretch to buy poor "Right Leg's" blood vessels bursting and his brain turning to mush right before our very eyes. Then we get a lawn dart German Suplex while Ridge tries tying himself up in the ropes or something as a defensive move. Ridge takes a good beating. His 'selling' is good, and I call it 'selling' because he's pretty much getting beat up for real. It gets a little crappy when Ridge makes his mandatory comeback. His offense is feeble under normal conditions, but looks especially wimpy in comparison to Ciampa's. Ciampa sells anyway. For a guy called "Right Leg" due to his kicking prowess, he sure doesn't kick very hard. Ciampa tires of Ridge's soft-as-a-pillow offense and soon ends things with his normally goofy Powerbomb into a Back Cracker but, Ridge, to his credit, makes this one look like a million bucks with an RVD-style 'spring.'

                Verdict- Cut out Ridge's weak comeback and this would be a top tier squash.

                I know Ciampa works NXT now. Is KENTA still there? Hopefully, because KENTA/Ciampa is a match I would seek out were it to happen.

                Comment


                • #38
                  Re: Match Review Thread II (History Edition)

                  Natural Born Thrillerz Stuff

                  *Never saw their WCW stuff but I have opinions on their post-WCW careers.

                  I liked Chuck Palumbo a lot during his Billy & Chuck phase and it wasn't entirely because of the gimmick. He threw some of the best punches in the company and I loved his Steineresque 'Chuck Deluxe' suplex. He also had a good look. I thought Billy & Chuck were going to blow up as babyfaces in the wake of the wedding and worst case scenario, he would carve out a nice niche for himself as a Val Venis/Hardcore Holly long-tenured midcard type. It didn't happen.

                  I wasn't into his comeback a few years later at all. Iirc, that was a pretty dire time for Smackdown in general.

                  Shawn Stasiak as a wacky goofball from his own planet >>>>>>>>>>> everything else Shawn Stasiak has ever done. I don't want to see Meat wrestle, ever. On the other hand, Shawn Stasiak as a bumbling buffoon was fun in an ECW undercard act kind of way.

                  I had no idea he lasted well into 2002. Thought he was done like a few weeks after the Invasion imploded ended.

                  WWE Jindrak was a bore with the dreaded negative charisma.

                  Sean O'Haire had a good look and a pretty fun gimmick with the Devil's Advocate stuff. He also had like back to back bad matches with Benoit & Eddie. I also seem to recall a Rikishi's ass-sized stinker with....Rikishi. So, he was basically Papa Shango in the ring with slightly less fun gimmick. In other words, hardly the BIGGEST WWE BALL DROP OF ALL THE TIMES!11!1!

                  I saw a bit of Sanders in TNA & WWA. He was awful. Like everything about him was super generic. And this was even before he ripped off Just Joe's WWA shtick. When the most entertaining thing you do is ripped straight from Just Joe you are not a good professional wrestler.

                  The Search Continues

                  Yokozuna (c) w/ Mr. Fuji vs. Mr. Perfect- 10/19/93- Coliseum Home Video Exclusive?


                  We're getting closer but still not quite there. This was basically the Tatanka match with better offense and a slightly less hot crowd. We had the hottest start of this Yoko trilogy with Perfect rocking Yoko with good looking punches and Yoko running the ropes with aplomb in route to a missed elbow drop. Then a Perfect dropkick or two sends the big man through the ropes to the floor. Nice pop. Psychology~! ensues when Yoko dodges a Perfect dropkick. Unfortunately, things grinds to a halt with the dreaded nerve hold. Perfect eventually fights back with more nice punches and finally floors the big man with a flying clothesline. 1-2-NO! Crowd is hot with "USA" chants. Finish comes when The Fuj grabs Perfect's foot in the corner, setting him up for a 568 pound avalanche. Banzai Drop finishes. Though slightly tainted, this is still big win over a two time IC Champ for Yoko.

                  I didn't think Perfect stuck around this long. Turns out this was his second to last match of this run

                  Verdict- Best Yoko match yet, but still falls short of 'great' or 'recommended' status.

                  Tommaso Ciampa w/ Prince Nana vs. Alex Ridge- ROH TV 10/15/11

                  Caught that weird ROH Rewind show last weekend. They never seem to leave 2011. This was a quality squash. I didn't fully realize the goodness of Ciampa until he was gone. He brought more intensity than anybody in the company save Jay Briscoe. He also had the best knee strikes in the company, which is a pretty big feather in his cap when you consider something like 80% of the regulars and special guests spam knee strikes like they're going out of style. Ridge is a sort of scrawnier Low Ki. Anyway, this is a pretty good massacre. Ciampa stiffs Ridge with chops and knee strikes. It's not a stretch to buy poor "Right Leg's" blood vessels bursting and his brain turning to mush right before our very eyes. Then we get a lawn dart German Suplex while Ridge tries tying himself up in the ropes or something as a defensive move. Ridge takes a good beating. His 'selling' is good, and I call it 'selling' because he's pretty much getting beat up for real. It gets a little crappy when Ridge makes his mandatory comeback. His offense is feeble under normal conditions, but looks especially wimpy in comparison to Ciampa's. Ciampa sells anyway. For a guy called "Right Leg" due to his kicking prowess, he sure doesn't kick very hard. Ciampa tires of Ridge's soft-as-a-pillow offense and soon ends things with his normally goofy Powerbomb into a Back Cracker but, Ridge, to his credit, makes this one look like a million bucks with an RVD-style 'spring.'

                  Verdict- Cut out Ridge's weak comeback and this would be a top tier squash.

                  I know Ciampa works NXT now. Is KENTA still there? Hopefully, because KENTA/Ciampa is a match I would seek out were it to happen.

                  Comment


                  • #39
                    Re: Match Review Thread II (History Edition)

                    I forgot that you were something of a Chuck Palumbo fan/apologist, Bake. Very interesting stuff coming from the other side of the coin. To be completely honest, by the time Chuck got to the WWF I had given up on him. In WCW, he was marketed as the younger version of Lex Luger, which was a red flag right then and there and it just got worse from there. Case in point, teaming him up with Billy Gunn, the blandest guy in WWF history. I just remember tuning in and the WWF had this cool Intercontinental division with Benoit, Jericho, Eddie with guys like Raven, Taz thereabouts and for whatever reason, they went with the One Billy Gunn. I just didn't get it, especially after SummerSlam 1999 where The Rock seemingly killed whatever chances Gunn had as a serious wrestler. So by association, I never gave them a chance, which in turn led me to losing interest in the tag team division as a whole.

                    And yeah, I think I remember that Ciampa match Bake. Around that time, it seemed as if Cornette was booking Bennett and Ciampa as his bright prospects. As a result, they were often cited as reasons why the ROH product sucked in 2011. Being new to the product, I didn't mind them myself and thought Ciampa had a ton of potential. I don't know whether it was this match, or another but there was one match where Ciampa gives the guy way too much offence and it sort of killed the match. I'm pretty sure it was another match with Shiloh Jonze or something, but I just remember thinking that it felt counter-productive. When it comes to characters like Ciampa, I don't want to see them bump too much. Maybe one hope spot for something different, but I just want to see this guy HURT people. That way, it feeds into my human desire for retribution and that's what Pro Wrestling is all about, playing into basic instincts.

                    I notice Emp putting Ciampa over in the NXT thread all the time. I haven't watched NXT since the last special, and it's been ages since the last Ciampa match I've seen. However, I do recall this surprisingly good match with Samoa Joe.



                    This is clipped, but this was one of my favourite Joe matches of the year. Just an organic slugfest where both guys gave as good as they got.

                    Comment


                    • #40
                      Re: Match Review Thread II (History Edition)

                      I forgot that you were something of a Chuck Palumbo fan/apologist, Bake. Very interesting stuff coming from the other side of the coin. To be completely honest, by the time Chuck got to the WWF I had given up on him. In WCW, he was marketed as the younger version of Lex Luger, which was a red flag right then and there and it just got worse from there. Case in point, teaming him up with Billy Gunn, the blandest guy in WWF history. I just remember tuning in and the WWF had this cool Intercontinental division with Benoit, Jericho, Eddie with guys like Raven, Taz thereabouts and for whatever reason, they went with the One Billy Gunn. I just didn't get it, especially after SummerSlam 1999 where The Rock seemingly killed whatever chances Gunn had as a serious wrestler. So by association, I never gave them a chance, which in turn led me to losing interest in the tag team division as a whole.

                      And yeah, I think I remember that Ciampa match Bake. Around that time, it seemed as if Cornette was booking Bennett and Ciampa as his bright prospects. As a result, they were often cited as reasons why the ROH product sucked in 2011. Being new to the product, I didn't mind them myself and thought Ciampa had a ton of potential. I don't know whether it was this match, or another but there was one match where Ciampa gives the guy way too much offence and it sort of killed the match. I'm pretty sure it was another match with Shiloh Jonze or something, but I just remember thinking that it felt counter-productive. When it comes to characters like Ciampa, I don't want to see them bump too much. Maybe one hope spot for something different, but I just want to see this guy HURT people. That way, it feeds into my human desire for retribution and that's what Pro Wrestling is all about, playing into basic instincts.

                      I notice Emp putting Ciampa over in the NXT thread all the time. I haven't watched NXT since the last special, and it's been ages since the last Ciampa match I've seen. However, I do recall this surprisingly good match with Samoa Joe.



                      This is clipped, but this was one of my favourite Joe matches of the year. Just an organic slugfest where both guys gave as good as they got.

                      Comment


                      • #41
                        Re: Match Review Thread II (History Edition)

                        Originally posted by Baker View Post
                        I know Ciampa works NXT now. Is KENTA still there? Hopefully, because KENTA/Ciampa is a match I would seek out were it to happen.
                        KENTA is still there but he's injured. Or very recently recovered. I recall seeing something about him returning at a house show. Seeing him against Ciampa, Gargano, Joe and Nakamura would be very cool.

                        Originally posted by Big Pete View Post
                        I notice Emp putting Ciampa over in the NXT thread all the time. I haven't watched NXT since the last special, and it's been ages since the last Ciampa match I've seen. However, I do recall this surprisingly good match with Samoa Joe.
                        Do I really put him over that much? I certainly shared my love for the Ciampa/Joe match and his pre-match interview. Gargano did the same thing a bit later: quality promo and Joe match. I have probably praised a bunch of Ciampa/Gargano tag matches. When they get going they are super fast and smooth in the ring.

                        Comment


                        • #42
                          Re: Match Review Thread II (History Edition)

                          Originally posted by Baker View Post
                          I know Ciampa works NXT now. Is KENTA still there? Hopefully, because KENTA/Ciampa is a match I would seek out were it to happen.
                          KENTA is still there but he's injured. Or very recently recovered. I recall seeing something about him returning at a house show. Seeing him against Ciampa, Gargano, Joe and Nakamura would be very cool.

                          Originally posted by Big Pete View Post
                          I notice Emp putting Ciampa over in the NXT thread all the time. I haven't watched NXT since the last special, and it's been ages since the last Ciampa match I've seen. However, I do recall this surprisingly good match with Samoa Joe.
                          Do I really put him over that much? I certainly shared my love for the Ciampa/Joe match and his pre-match interview. Gargano did the same thing a bit later: quality promo and Joe match. I have probably praised a bunch of Ciampa/Gargano tag matches. When they get going they are super fast and smooth in the ring.

                          Comment


                          • #43
                            Re: Match Review Thread II (History Edition)

                            Do I really put him over that much?
                            Nah, I just wanted to bring you into the conversation.

                            I get the feeling that Joe took really good care of Ciampa and Gargano in their outings together. Take it up a level, or so to speak, in order to get them a spot in the company. It definitely worked and led to one of the more memorable television matches in recent memory.

                            Comment


                            • #44
                              Re: Match Review Thread II (History Edition)

                              Do I really put him over that much?
                              Nah, I just wanted to bring you into the conversation.

                              I get the feeling that Joe took really good care of Ciampa and Gargano in their outings together. Take it up a level, or so to speak, in order to get them a spot in the company. It definitely worked and led to one of the more memorable television matches in recent memory.

                              Comment


                              • #45
                                Re: Match Review Thread II (History Edition)

                                Trying to help Baker in his hunt for the great Yoko match. Unfortunately, he may need to dip into territory that neither of us like venturing into - fancams. The fact this is at MSG makes it even more annoying, as they did film those big MSG cards and televise them on the MSG Network up until March 1992.



                                MSG (8/13/93)
                                'Steel Cage' Match for the World Wrestling Federation Championship
                                YOKOZUNA [Champion] with MR. FUJI vs. BRET 'HIT MAN' HART


                                My thoughts on escape rules in cage matches are typically never positive, but this is one of the best examples of doing it well. Because Yoko is such a monster and his offence is so devastating, it never feels too contrived when Bret is slow when trying to escape, since he'd be hurt, even in the early going. And because Yoko is so big, it never feels too contrived when he is slow when trying to escape, because he'd be gassed.

                                They both know how to time their spots and bumps so well, while milking the drama of the escape attempts perfectly. Like usual, Yoko is the master of teasing his bumps and popping the crowd big when they do happen. We get a really nice spot when Yoko is going for the Banzai Drop in the corner with the door and Bret tries to escape, with Fuji stopping him and Bret ends up knocking Fuji over and putting him out of commission, with him taken to the back.

                                Lawler, who would be facing Bret at SummerSlam later in the month, comes out to attempt to provide distraction and interference. Yoko misses a big splash and makes it such a big deal with the big run-up he did. Bret blocks a ram into the cage and nails Yoko into it, before sending him down with a clothesline to another big pop from a tremendous MSG crowd. Lawler throws in Fuji's salt bucket but Bret blocks the attempting shot and hits Yoko with it himself. Bret covers and a ref, after being held back by Lawler, enters for a nearfall that the crowd completely bought (even on this fancam I can tell it is Earl Hebner as he always gives away his nearfall counts after he has counted two by kicking his legs out to try to make it all dramatic). Bret hits Yoko with the bucket again and Yoko falls between him and the door.

                                The pin didn't work last time (and it would take time for the ref to come back into the ring again; weird that the ref wasn't just always in there if pins were allowed, but it did work very well to make that nearfall spot so good) and Yoko had fallen between Bret and the door, so he decides to climb out over the top. But Lawler is waiting and throws "salt" in Bret's eyes, allowing Yoko to crawl out the door to retain at around 21:30. Post-match, Yoko comes in and delivers a Banzai Drop like the big bad heel that he is.

                                This is probably the best Yoko match because while it is long (and typically any match of his over 5 minutes unfortunately requires him to do the dreaded nerve pinch of doom for a good while to catch a breather), the gimmick here allows the milking of spots and escape attempts and such that he has enough time to catch his breath without needing the nerve hold. I can find it hard to judge fancams compared to pro shot matches because the quality, presentation and feel is so different, but this is probably around the **** mark. Just a shame they never had a pro-shot match at this level.

                                -------------------------------------------------------------------------------

                                They have a pro-shot match (http://www.dailymotion.com/video/x38jkl7) from three months later and while it shares a lot of the same spots and ideas as the MSG match, pretty much everything about it is inferior. Yoko feels like a bit less of a monster, the spots aren't quite as well built to, the drama is less, it doesn't flow as well and the crowd isn't as into it. It perfectly shows that wrestling is not just about coming up with some cool spots and that the timing, building to them, hitting them at the right moment, working the crowd just right (or even just having a more game crowd), etc. are all very important. Still a fine match however.

                                You also get to experience the bizarreness of the Gorilla Monsoon/Johnny Polo commentary team. Of course Gorilla, like usual, tries his best to make people look like idiots, continually calling Bret out on trying to climb out over the top (when that's the fault of the escape rules gimmick really; if you go to the door every time, it is hard to keep it semi-believable) and then acting like the ref doesn't know the rules when he tries to count the fall. Now, the pinfall thing is a bit weird (even if it definitely works well as a spot) since there is no ref in the ring throughout both matches, but it could easily be covered by semi-competent announcing (if you wanted to have them bring it up at all, rather than just ignore it). I can just imagine something like this off the top of my head:

                                Vince: "1-2-he got him! We have a new champion! Wait, no we don't."
                                Heenan: *indignant* "Yokozuna kicked out! Since when have there been pinfalls allowed in this match, McMahon?!"
                                Vince: "Pinfall or escape, that's the way to win."
                                Heenan: "So why hasn't there been a ref in there this whole time?"
                                Vince: "Would you want to be inside a cage with a man the size of Yokozuna? Who knows what could happen."
                                Heenan: "Good point."
                                Vince: "A smart move to stay out of harm's way until a pin is made from the officials. The Hitman just one second away from regaining the Dubyoo-Dubyoo-F Championship."

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