1. Tom Zenk vs. Mike Rotunda - (J:5 B:3)
J: The more i watch of "Captain" Mike, some revelations of his brilliance come more and more to light. Right off the bat, he schools Zenk with some great amateur action and his facials are telling the story of the entire match:
"I know i'm a better wrestler than this wet behind the ears fluff boy, but he's quick and keeps catching me with moves! I should have taken a shit in his wrestling boots last night like i wanted to! Why the hell did Rick Steiner stop me?"
Anyways, he paints the frustration with his eyes, but doesn't overtly act it out, so the average viewer would have no idea. Rotunda leads the match even when he's on the defensive in a rest hold, like a headlock, which Rotunda, on the defense, works like a son of a bitch. He hits a fantastic clothesline at one point while Z-Man kind of lays on his moves and doesn't use them to further the match, just as as rest period. He has a decent dropkick that he uses way too much and there is an armdrag section in the middle. They kick up a great pace near the end, but i'm saddened to see Zenk go over and Rotunda slink back to the back, disgruntled.
B: Zenk was wrestling looser than Missy Hyatt's vagina. When Rotunda cinched in a submission, he wrenched that bad boy, and trust me we believed the pain. Nobody pulls off a singlet better than Rotunda. After the match there's a close-up of Zenk outside of the ring and he spits a giant loogie but it's too thick to go much of anywhere, so he sucks it back into his mouth. I thought it doubly ironic, seeing how they were pushing him as some sort of ladies man.
2. Samoan Swat Team and Samoan Savage vs. Midnight Express and Steve Williams - (J:7 B:7)
B: If there were anything from this show worth checking out, I'd recommend this gem right here. The pace of this match is frantic, the crowd hotter than an Eddie Gilbert fireball, and the action fast and physical. Surprisingly, it starts with the faces beating the holy hell out of the Samoans; not too many people back then ever roughed those guys up. Samoan Savage takes a hell of a bump to the floor off of a Stan Lane clothesline early. In the middle portion, Bobby Eaton gets possessed and decides to start bumping like a total lunatic, his blonde mullet bouncing freely. The Samoans do a double atomic drop on Eaton onto the steel guardrail, crotching him nuts-first on the unforgiving steel. Eaton slinks off onto the concrete floor then gives one of the best facials I've ever seen, looking up at them as they take off in disbelief, as if saying, "did you really just fucking do that to me?" Soon after, Eaton takes a hellacious hiptoss bump on a bare concrete floor. The finish gets a little messy, but still, this is about as much fun as wrestling gets.
J: Yes, this match was total and complete mayhem and i really enjoyed every second of it. Even the shit that was sloppy was overtly stiff and fun to watch. Eaton's right uppercuts make Rocky look like a pussy and i loved Doc's shouldertackles that made the Samoans look like characters from Mutant League Football for the Genesis. I would say the crowd wasn't any hotter than they were for this match the whole night.
3. Tommy Rich vs. Cuban Assassian - (J:2 B:1)
J: Rich's physique was as visually appealing as the roadkill i saw on my way to work this morning. He had no aerial ability whatsoever yet he was insistent on trying high risk moves. Sierra looked as stone-like as usual but his green boots were pretty distracting. Neither man's offense was anything to speak of. Rich took a good unprotected bump out to the apron...accidentally. Whenever a man botches a sunset flip, he really needs to evaluate where his life is headed at that time. The finish was pretty uneventful and the whole match left a bitter, sour-like taste in my mouth, sort of like that lemon herb Captain Gordon's fish dinner i had last week. This match also pretty effectively killed a super hot crowd for most of the rest of the show.
B: Rich looked awful; sporting some hideous red velvet trunks and a physique only a coroner would love. Cuban Assassian brought the pedestrian shit, not wrestling any differently than he would in-front of a 100 people in a middle school gymnasium. Rich botching a slingshot sunset flip was worth a good chuckle. Rich uses holds more than once merely to catch his breath, not applying any pressure or producing believability whatsoever. The final nail in this one was Rich winning with easily the ugliest "Thesz Press" I've ever seen.
4. Freebirds vs. Dynamic Dudes - (J:4 B:5)
B: I looked up Bad Street on MapQuest and found no results. Crowd was hot for the Fabulous Freebirds, but I was in awe of the Dudes' radical neon wristbands. The structure of this match was kind of weird, as it seemed the heel/face dynamic was completely reversed. Douglas and Ace were still a bit green in certain aspects of their game, and while consummate entertainers, nobody ever claimed Hayes and Garvin as technically proficient. Still, this was a rollicking good time, and I'm sure that fateful night of October 28th, 1989 in Philadelphia many babies were made in fits of passion over Michael Hayes' chest hair and Garvin's bouncing curls.
J: I couldn't really figure out the face-heel dynamic in this one either. Dudes were manage by Jim Cornette and were being booed, even though Cornette managed the Midnights, who were faces earlier in the evening. As with all the tag matches of the night, there were some miscues here but the Freebirds kept it fairly basic and didn't do too much to bring the athletic factor up, but they were great showmen. I can't help but think about a dolphin holding a shot glass when i hear Jimmy Jam's name mentioned. (Inside joke)
5. Steiner Brothers vs. Doom - (J:5 B:5)
J: I love seeing a battle of two hard hitting teams and this certainly was that...to which i mean a battle of two hard hitting teams. The Steiners were dumping the masked men on their heads with suplexes left and right, and i do mean on their heads. Simmons and Reed didn't do anything spectacular but utilized a lot of corner work during the bout. Nothing scientific about this match, just a straight fight. It's hard to get a lot of facials or aftersell from the Steiners (one of my only complaints about their fantastic work in the early 90's), but they do sell well. It was nice seeing a young Simmons who was pretty reckless, the only reason I didn't grade this one higher is there were several errors in communication along the way, but it was a great starting point for a feud. The finish also didn't come off very well at all and involved the late Nancy Benoit in a pretty menial role.
B: Nancy Benoit (Woman) looked like she had just spent a gift certificate at Tom's Rhinoplasty. I think Jessie covered this one fairly, as it really was just a bunch of hungry guys tossing each other around in an effort to display dominance. Rick and Scott were used to being the top dogs, and then out of nowhere come these two monstrous, ebony soldiers donning frightening, black masks. I loved this feud, as well as WCW's tag team division at that time so much that nostalgia may play into my joy of this. Also of note, this match birthed the brilliant line "his forehead is protruding" by Jim Ross.
6. Lex Luger vs. Brian Pillman - see Jessie's "Brian Pillman: Loose Cannon" DVD review
7. Road Warriors vs. Skyscrapers - (J:4 B:4)
J: These were four big men. This match suffered from some of the flaws of the last tag match, those being several obvious blown spots and the Road Warriors' famous refusal to sell anything that would make them look weak. I was impressed with thier athletic ability and power and i can see why they were such a huge act in their time. Animal was throwing dropkicks at the giant's heads and Hawk was executing some great powerslams. Sid had a presence about him as well and a standoff late in the match with Animal popped the crowd big time. Spivey looked like he had some knowledge and was probably more or less a ring leader during this one, although i can't really see the Warriors taking orders from anyone. The finish was a DQ where Teddy Long brought in a big golden key for his boys to use, which they did. Sound like a bad NES game to you too?
B: Little known fact, that ridiculously oversized golden key was actually used to open a buried treasure chest containing artifacts of, well, never mind that, I've just had a window pop up on my screen saying if I reveal that information my life will be in serious jeopardy. I thought this match pretty much sucked. The Warriors didn't cooperate, no surprise, and even their usually deadly offense looked tepid. Teddy Long adds a jejune presence with his terrible hair.
8. Ric Flair and Sting vs. Great Muta and Terry Funk - Thunderdome Match - (J:6 B:7)
B: This had all the makings of an elementary school Halloween-themed party, complete with requisite papier-mâché masks, hanging bats, spider webs, and other commercial nonsense. But, in this case, said items were hung around a gruesome structure, a giant steel cage where four sworn enemies would do battle. Even before the match got underway, an accidental fire broke out due to the cage being charged with allegedly thousands of volts of electricity, and the heroic Great Muta put it out orally using his mysterious green mist. This match has it all, Funk bumbling around like a drunken imbecile, Ric Flair's blistering chops, Muta's adorable aloofness being so far from Japan and surrounded by redneck laborers and bratty adolescents, and Sting, swinging around on a rope like Indiana Jones. Some could call it a complete disaster, but I call it transcendental visual stimulation.
J: This match gets points for it's pure absurdity and bizarreness. There were so many Halloween gimmicks glued and duct taped to the cage, i could only picture Mike Rotunda and Ole Anderson running from a dollar store in the middle of the night holding plastic jack-o-lanterns and cardboard gargoyles screaming "Thunderdome rules my life!" Brian covered all of the holiday hijinx in his previous paragraph but he forgot about the ghostly images of the 4 main event participants before the show began that haunted my dreams last night.