The Irregular Selection. (Issue #1)
(Originally created: 4/16/2010)
This is going to be hopefully a regular column where I pick a random mix bag of wrestling matches that I’ve downloaded and never actually watched, but heard they were worth watching. We shall see if the word on the street is correct.
- WCW Light Heavyweight Champion Jushin Liger vs. Brian Pillman – (East Rutherford NJ, 12/27/91)
This is a great handheld version. Not sure how this should be considered a MOTYC by Dave Meltzer since it didn’t air on TV, but it is anyway. Liger had just won the Light Heavyweight title on Christmas night in the Omni. Apparently the guy and his friend are sitting up way in the rafters talking to each other about the match. It’s amazing that they knew about the New Japan Tokyo Dome show on January 4 and that Liger wouldn’t be defending the belt, but would be involved in a six-man tag, which is true. I understand that it was widely known that wrestling was fake by 1991, but HOW ARE THEY SO SMARKY? What are the chances? They even call Pillman a ‘flamer’ and to never mention Hulk Hogan ever again. Sheesh. Anyways, Liger and Pillman go through their feeling out process while they do the cool flips out of wristlocks. Pillman delivers a headscissors out of the corner and gets a victory roll for two. Liger comes back with an enziguri and a slingshot splash gets two. Pillman escapes a leg lock and snaps off a tilt-a-whirl headscissors. Liger spin kicks Pillman to the floor and teases a dive which pisses these smarks on the camera off. Back in, we see more mat stuff from both men. They head to the floor where Liger takes Pillman into the guardrail and then bashes his head on a ringside table. Back inside, Liger delivers an Edouard Carpentier (thank you Jesse Ventura!) flipping senton on Pillman and follows up with the Moonsault for 1-2-NO! Flying senton bomb gets two. Pillman monkey flips Liger out of a knucklelock, but runs right into a powerslam for 1-2-NO! Pillman dropkicks Liger off the top and then dropkicks him as he comes through the ropes! Pillman goes as far as bashing a chair over Liger’s back! WHAT. Liger backdrops out of a piledriver attempt and then busts out an ASAI MOONSAULT! Back on the apron, they tease a suplex spot until Liger has enough and spin kicks Pillman off the apron to the floor. As Pillman makes it back to the apron, Liger charges and gets nailed with AIR PILLMAN! He takes Liger over to the apron and gives him a suplex to the floor as Liger hits his back on the corner of the apron. Ouch. Back in, Liger blocks a missile dropkick with a standing dropkick of his own! Crucifix by Liger gets two. Pillman ducks a spin kick and comes back with a spin kick for 1-2-NO! Pillman telegraphs a backdrop and takes a LIGERBOMB for 1-2-NO! Pillman reverses a tombstone for 1-2-NO! They both leapfrog into a double-KO. What’s next? Liger sends Pillman face-first into the top turnbuckle to break up a sleeper hold. Now Pillman shoves off a superplex and tries a flying bodypress, but Liger ROLLS THROUGH for 1-2-3! (15:45) Well that made the two smark boys happy – even though they didn’t see their precious Shooting Star Press. Pillman and Liger consistently had their ‘can you top this’ matches and this was no different. While WCW would blow a lot of great opportunities for free throughout the ’90s, they did the right thing here by saving their big match for the PPV in February at Superbrawl II. ****¼
- Terry Funk vs. Eddie Gilbert – Texas Death Match (Wayne NJ, 11/14/92)
Another handheld camera match from New Jersey. Gilbert has some manager that looks like an overweight Grand Wizard named the Cosmic Commander. You’ve probably never heard of this match and you’ll probably never see it so I will just talk about the high points of this match because its rather repetitive. The match takes place in some high school gym as you’ll plainly see once they brawl to the outside and through the fans who are made up of two extremes – children and foul-mouthed angry 30somethings. Anyways, they trade pinfalls quite a lot in order to work the Texas Death Match rules of pinning your opponent and then giving them ten seconds to get to their feet. Gilbert scores the first pinfall with a piledriver as they head back into the ring. We see more brawling in and out of the ring which is reminiscent of ECW. Funk comes back with headbutts and bashes a chair over Gilbert’s head to bust him open. Funk slams Gilbert on one of the bleacher steps and pins him there. Gilbert is up at eight or nine. Funk is cursing like a mad man all through this fight with elementary school age kids cheering him on. Funk scores several falls with the SPINNING TOE HOLD, but Gilbert keeps getting up to his feet. Gilbert throws powder in Funk’s face to come back and rolls him up for a three-count. Funk is back up almost immediately. A chairshot to the head gets a three-count for Gilbert. The late Brian Hildebrand (WCW ref Mark Curtis) is disguised as what appears to be a doctor who comes in and checks on Terry. Gilbert hates doctors and tosses him aside. That causes the doc to get involved and beat the crap out of Gilbert until he takes a low blow. Gilbert smashes Hildebrand’s head on the wooden steps and then does the same to Funk. Gilbert pins Funk on a table, but he’s up at six. Gilbert finds what appears to be a lead pipe while Funk finds something wooden. Gilbert uses the wooden piece against him, but Funk comes back and beats him down with it. Back to the floor, Funk eats the post and Gilbert collapses as well for some reason. First man to their feet wins and it’s Terry Funk. (26:45) From the fans to the fight, everything about this was vulgar. Trade out Eddie Gilbert for Shane Douglas and this was what would become ECW in the next few years. Of course the fight continues after the bell as Gilbert uses Funk’s branding iron against him. Even Hildebrand gets branded in the forehead with it. Finally, Funk beats Gilbert out of the building. Terry heads up into the bleachers and scares away the children. HAHA. Funk leaves with Hildebrand and says that Gilbert hasn’t seen the last of him. **½
- WWF World Champion Hulk Hogan vs. Ric Flair (w/Bobby Heenan) – (Oakland CA, 10/25/91)
This match comes to you via camcorder. It is widely thought of as the first meeting between these two, but they actually met for the first time a few days earlier in Dayton, Ohio when Hogan subbed for Roddy Piper. Flair is wearing the REAL world championship belt to stick it to Hogan. This was what people have been wanting to see for over five years and finally we got it at a house show no less. Flair shoves Hogan off to start and the mind games have begun! These two could stand in the ring for ten minutes and do nothing and probably get the same reaction. Hogan shoves off a headlock and drops Flair with the shoulderblock. Hogan struts like we saw at their Bash at the Beach match and even does the ‘woo’. Hogan blocks a hiptoss and takes Flair down with a clothesline to send him to the outside. Back in, Flair goes low and corners Hogan with chops. Hogan NO-SELLS a chop as he comes off the ropes and runs Flair down with a clothesline. Flair begs off and takes a ride into the corner for the Flair Flip which of course Hogan stops him with another clothesline. Flair checks with Heenan while Hogan poses in the ring. Hogan tosses Flair back inside, but gets stomped as he slides in the ring. Flair heads up top and takes a slam to the mat. Hogan avoids a corner charge and drops a series of elbows on Flair before the eventual boot rake across the face. He looks like he’s about to put Flair away when Bobby Heenan gets up on the apron. Flair knees Hogan from behind and chokes him down on the mat. He goes after the knee and takes Hogan to school. WOO! With some distraction from Heenan, he bashes a chair on Hogan’s knee. Rolling Knee Drop connects, but Hogan kicks him away when he tries the Figure-Four. Not once, not twice, but THREE times. Come on. Hogan ducks low off a whip and takes a back suplex for his efforts. Cover gets two. It’s HULK UP TIME! Three punches followed by the Big Boot. He hits the LEGDROP, but Heenan sticks Flair’s foot on the bottom rope to break the three-count. Hogan steps away to celebrate thinking that he’s won. Meanwhile, Heenan slips Flair some taped knux. Hogan turns back around like a fool and gets WALLOPED! Cover, 1-2-3! (11:36) Now it’s Flair’s turn to celebrate with the WWF title! Another ref and a suit come out to explain to the original Hebner what Flair did to reverse the decision and give Hogan the victory via DQ. To retaliate, Flair slaps the FIGURE-FOUR on Hogan! WOO! Of all people, Greg Valentine and Davey Boy Smith make the save. This was exactly what it needed to be – Hogan being Hogan and Flair being Flair. This really wasn’t a case where it was meant to be a MOTYC in terms of amazing work rate. It was more of a situation where the Flair fans wanted to see that no-talent Hogan finally get what is coming to him to prove their guy was the greatest of all-time just like they always knew and the Hogan fans who wanted to see their ultimate hero prevail over the biggest so-called cheater in wrestling and that THEIR guy was the greatest of all-time just like they always knew. Either way, I think it was a great way to start their series of matches – at least for what it was. ***
- Cactus Jack vs. Eddie Gilbert – 2/3 Falls (Tri-State Wrestling Alliance, Philadelphia PA, 8/3/91)
From the promotion that would morph into ECW, this is an early version of the three stages of hell match the WWE would begin producing in 2001, except each fall was split up throughout the card instead of three straight falls. It’s a pretty cool idea and it keeps Cactus Jack from having to work a possible 40 minute match. But seriously, it actually works out better because looking forward to the next fall and in your mind, the wrestlers have some time to regroup before each fall so it gives the final decision a more interesting twist on who could pull off the win. First fall is ‘falls count anywhere’, second fall is a ‘stretcher match’, and the third fall if necessary will be a ‘cage match’. This was like taking all their prior matches that they have had over the past year and putting them all together in one night. Jack hits a DOUBLE-ARM DDT in the ring and then they head out through the crowd for what would later become known as an ECW brawl where it’s more fun for the crowd because they are right there in the middle of the action than it is for the viewer at home. Gilbert hits a HOTSHOT on a guardrail and then sends Cactus through a table with a PILEDRIVER. If I’m not mistaken, we JIP ahead to Cactus giving the table a suplex onto Gilbert which is an infamous spot he used at the Spring Stampede street fight with the Nasty Boys. Back to ringside, Cactus delivers the sunset flip off the ring apron for two. Gilbert fights back by nailing Cactus with the ring steps and bashes him with the timekeeper’s hammer. Ouch? Back in the ring, Gilbert delivers the HOTSHOT again and tries the PILEDRIVER, but Cactus backdrops him out and gives Eddie a flying clothesline off the apron for the 1-2-3. Cactus wins the first fall in 9:39 shown. Afterwards, Gilbert says he will QUIT wrestling if Cactus beats him again tonight.
And now the stretcher match. They meet in the aisleway and continue right where they left off. Gilbert is still pretty bloody from the first fall. Cactus beats the crap out of Gilbert in the ring and the refs roll him onto the stretcher, but Eddie gets back up to fight some more. Cactus hits Gilbert with a trashcan and then comes off the middle turnbuckle with the CACTUS ELBOW onto the floor. Looks like more editing as both men are back up fighting like nothing happened. Gilbert brings the giant Rubbermaid trashcan into the ring, dumps the garbage on the mat, and puts it on top of Cactus while he digs through the trash. He finds an empty bottle and breaks it over Jack’s head. SNAP! Now Gilbert takes the broken glass and cuts Jack open. Well that’s pretty hardcore. Gilbert gets on the mic and declares he’s going to kill Cactus Jack. He drops Cactus with a DDT on the floor and beats him repeatedly with some cheap looking ring steps. He begs the refs to take Cactus to the back on the stretcher before he hurts him anymore. Finally, Cactus goes away at 9:30 shown. Good thing Jack was Mankind at King of the Ring 98! He might not have came back off that stretcher to finish the match!
Alright, now the cage match. Gilbert says the doctors won’t let Cactus compete in the third fall because he’s too hurt to continue. Well that’s never stopped Cactus before. He comes out anyway and Todd Gordon sanctions the match against the doctors orders. By the way, I believe the only two ways to win are pinfall or submission. During this fall, the commentator constantly talks about how tired he is of this show. It’s pretty funny to hear him complain. “I just wish it would end.” After some back and forth standard cage match stuff, Cactus climbs out and once Jack makes it over the cage, Gilbert dropkicks him down to the floor. Gilbert gets through the door and they brawl some more around ringside. Back in the cage, Cactus misses a flying elbow off the top and then goes for the spot where he gets his head stuck in the ropes, but that doesn’t work too well in a cage. Cactus does a flip up to the top turnbuckle and gets his foot caught in the corner of the cage, which is open season for Gilbert to beat on him. The ref takes a clothesline and that welcomes Eddie’s brother Doug Gilbert into the cage to hopefully end Cactus Jack forever. The final decision on the third fall is a double-DQ so nobody wins at 11:51 shown. (31:00 shown) Various wrestlers who were on the card try to break in and save Cactus. No one is successful except for Bam Bam Bigelow because he is after all a BEAST. Total garbage wrestling? Definitely. Nevertheless, an influential match and the precursor of things to come for the northeast wrestling scene, but in no way a classic by any stretch of the imagination. **
That’s enough Eddie Gilbert for today.
- Barry Windham vs. Brian Pillman – (World Championship Wrestling, 4/27/91)
Week after week since Wargames, Windham won’t stop messing with Pillman’s injured shoulder and it’s PISSING HIM OFF. Pillman isn’t wearing the shoulder brace anymore though. Revenge is on the mind of the Cincinnati Kid, says JR. Windham doesn’t mind giving this kid what’s coming to him again. Pillman chops Windham around and backdrops him over. He grabs an armbar, but Windham slides out of the ring to regroup. Back in, Windham goes low and tries a piledriver, but Pillman backdrops out and chops him around. To the floor, Pillman smashes Windham’s head on the guardrail. Back inside again, Windham begs off and thumbs Pillman in the eye. Windham is up top, but Pillman dropkicks him to the floor and delivers a Macho Man flying double ax handle! Back in the ring, Pillman goes after Windham’s arm, but whiffs on a dropkick. Windham launches Pillman in the air as he comes off the ropes and then delivers a NASTY brainbuster (!!). Windham continues to abuse Pillman and rips at his face. As Windham has Pillman cornered, he reaches back to punch Pillman and elbows the ref away. Oh well. Windham laughs about it. That’s AWESOME. Running elbow drop gets two. Windham cuts Pillman off with a sleeper and sticks his foot on the TOP ROPE for maximum leverage. Ref Bill Alfonso never saw a thing. Pillman fights out with a jawbreaker. Windham refuses to let Pillman come back and cuts him off with the LARIAT! Cover, 1-2-NO! Pillman ducks a second Lariat and blasts Windham with a spin kick! Jumping clothesline connects and PILLMAN IS BACK! He hits a Missile Dropkick for 1-2-NO! Windham goes to the eyes and tries a slam, but Pillman counters with an inside cradle for 1-2-NO! Arn Anderson is in for the DQ. (9:17) Immediately, Arn pulls Pillman off the pin for a DDT! Gosh, I love Arn Anderson. I could watch him drop people with DDTs and spinebusters every day. As the bloody Horsemen beatdown continues, Bobby Eaton runs in for the save and cleans house. Just as intense as their taped fist match at Superbrawl with both men playing their roles to perfection. ***½
- Big Van Vader vs. Dustin Rhodes – King of Cable Tournament Semifinals (WCW Saturday Night, 11/21/92)
You don’t know nothing about being the King of Cable. Right before the match, Sting breaks a 2×4 over Vader’s back. Perfectly reasonable. Harley Race cries to JR and Bill Watts that there is no way this is a fair fight after what Sting just did. Watts is under the assumption that Vader should have had a 2×4 broken over his back a long time ago. Not only does Watts FORCE Vader to compete, but he’s banning Harley Race from ringside. WTF, M8? Once Vader comes out, he yells NO PAIN to the camera. They go nose-to-nose and then start up an exchange, which is bad news bears for Dustin Rhodes. Dustin sets up Vader with a sunset flip and moves away when he tries to sit down on him. Dustin continues to pound on Vader and finally drops him with a lariat. How about one more. With Vader staggered, Rhodes hits the BULLDOG. They both tumble over the top rope out in front of Ole Anderson who is apparently some sort of judge. Larry Zbyszko and Hiro Matsuda are also judges. Aren’t all of these people still heels in the eyes of the fans? Back in, Vader catches Dustin charging at him in the corner and slows down the pace as he starts to dismantle Dustin. He drills Rhodes with an avalanche. Vader delivers a clothesline and a suplex for two. Another body attack by Vader, but Rhodes still has some fight left in him. He trips up Vader, but misses an elbow drop. Short-arm clothesline and a splash gets 1-2-NO! More pummeling from Vader and a clothesline sends Rhodes to the floor. Back inside, Vader runs into a boot in the corner and gets rolled up for 1-2-NO! FLYING LARIAT gets 1-2-NO! Rhodes delivers some sort of spinebuster and gets two. Rhodes boots Vader through the ropes as they go to the floor, but Rhodes walks right into a nasty clothesline right in the face to cause Rhodes to do that funny twirling bump. Back in the ring, Vader hits the second rope flying splash for 1-2-3. (10:44) Well that was certainly stiff for WCW. I always enjoyed the Rhodes-Vader matches because Dustin’s comebacks were so compelling and easy to get behind because the beating he would take was incredible. Vader would meet Sting at Starrcade in the King of Cable finals, but would be unsuccessful in the greatest match of their three year long rivalry. ***¾
- Cactus Jack vs. Dustin Rhodes – Falls Count Anywhere (WCW Main Event, 9/6/92)
This is back in the day when Cactus Jack was seemingly only having FCA matches because of the success of his match with Sting at Beach Blast. They meet at ringside where Dustin beats on Jack and gets him in a quick inside cradle on the concrete for two. Cactus slams Rhodes and then comes off the apron for a sunset flip into the aisleway. This is where the production values of getting the close up shots supersedes whatever ECW is able to do when they would have their brawls go throughout the arena. They brawl to the interview area over by the curtain as Rhodes bounces Jack’s head off the flooring. Suplex gets two. Dustin beats him back to the ring where he grabs a sleeper. They head back to the floor where Cactus shoves Rhodes off into the ringpost. Now Cactus finds a table and slams it down on Rhodes. Tony calls it a chair. Larry Z calls him an idiot for it. HA! Now Cactus actually has a chair and hits Rhodes in the face. Rhodes gets a back suplex on the concrete, but Cactus clotheslines him down for two. Now Rhodes has the plastic chair and beats Cactus down. Rhodes goes for a charge up against the ropes and misses to fly out to the floor. Remember this is the period of Watts. There ARE no protective ringside mats – only concrete floors. Cactus lands the FLYING ELBOW off the apron and gets the 1-2-3. (6:48) This had all the vintage Cactus Jack stuff we’ve come to expect. ***
- Ric Flair, Arn Anderson, & Barry Windham vs. Sting, El Gigante, & Brian Pillman – (WCW Main Event, 4/28/91)
Sting starts off with Flair. He NO-SELLS and press slams Flair all over the place. VINTAGE STINGER~! Flair wonders into the wrong corner and finds El Gigante. Flair thumbs him in the eye and heads up top. Big mistake. Windham and AA try to double-team Gigante and they both fail. Pillman takes on AA, but Windham comes in and takes dropkicks once Pillman gets going. Pillman delivers a flying bodypress and wipes out both men. A double dropkick sends the Horsemen out to regroup. Back in, the Champ takes over. Pillman stands chop for chop with Flair. He even blocks the FIGURE-FOUR and cradles Flair for two. They exchange more chops and Sting gets a tag. Flair makes the mistake of climbing the top rope again. People will always eat that up. It breaks down as Gigante throws Pillman into Arn for the 1-2-3. (7:17) The Horsemen did what they do – take bumps and always appear like they are in control. **½
- WCW World Television Champion Steve Austin (w/Paul E. Dangerously) vs. Brian Pillman – (WCW Worldwide, 7/4/92)
This is just a few months before Pillman becomes a big douche and joins Austin to form the underrated Hollywood Blondes tag team. Pillman avoids an elbow drop, but can’t duck the clothesline. Austin misses a second big clothesline and Pillman hits him with a tilt-a-whirl headscissors. Victory roll gets two. Austin fights out of a headlock, but Pillman rolls him up for two. Back to the headlock. Austin FINALLY escapes and counters another victory roll with an electric chair drop. SWEET. Austin hits a swinging neckbreaker and starts cranking on the neck. Paul E teases Pillman with the TV belt. Meanwhile, Pillman’s arm drops once, twice, but NOT THREE TIMES! He fights up, but Austin levels him with a powerslam for 1-2-NO! Austin uses the ropes to cheat during the chinlock. As Pillman starts to come back, Austin whips Pillman into the corner, but Pillman bounces back with a springboard back elbow. He tries a Missile Dropkick off the middle rope because top rope move are illegal, but Austin swats him away. Cover, 1-2-NO! Austin delivers a suplex and tries a flying clothesline from the middle rope, but this time Pillman slam dunks him to the mat. AWESOME. Pillman hits a pair of spin kicks, but can’t get the three-count. Austin dumps out Pillman and when he tries to shoot back in with AIR PILLMAN, Austin catches him in mid-air and drops him with the STUNGUN! Cover, 1-2-3. (9:38) That was a HECK of a match. Great psychology and a smart finish to boot. Why couldn’t they have done this well when the Hollywood Blondes split up? I think I may have just answered my own question. ***¾
This was fun! I like not having to really stick to any ground rules and just throw out random matches sometimes. I’m sure I’ll do this again because I’ve got so many matches just laying around in my external terabyte hard drive that I haven’t even watched yet. Anyways until next time, remember that it’s ONLY wrestling.
Posted on June 16, 2011, in WCW, WWE and tagged Arn Anderson, Barry Windham, Big Van Vader, Bobby Heenan, Brian Pillman, Cactus Jack, Dangerous Alliance, Dustin Rhodes, Eddie Gilbert, El Gigante, Four Horsemen, Hulk Hogan, Jushin Liger, Paul E. Dangerously, Ric Flair, Steve Austin, Sting, Terry Funk. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.