It is my honor to review this wonderful 3 disc set of the MVC, which fellow reviewer Didge so graciously purchased on my behalf. These guys were my inductees into 2nd class Hall of Fame and arguably the greatest gaijin tag team to ever compete in Japan, as well as probably my favorite tag team of all time. Both guys are brute force, awesome physicality and love to fight- 3 wonderful qualities I love to see in any competitor. So, let's get to it:
1) MVC vs. Tiger Mask II (Misawa) & Shinichi Nakano (03/31/90)- 5
This match is your basic power vs. speed battle. Tiger Mask and Nakano zip around the ring trying to use high flying to dazzle their larger opponents which worked for a majority of the match until Nakano was singled out. He clearly is lacking the skills his partner, future Misawa, possessed. Gordy was cracking me up; he has a really stiff body slam where he scoops you up, then basically drops you. Well, he would do this to Nakano then as soon as he hit the mat, he would stare over at Mask daring him to do something. Nakano was their Tina Turner in this match, just being annihilated and offering no offensive answer. Mask's flurry near the end of the match was the only damage done to Williams or Gordy.
2) MVC v. Stan Hansen/ Dan Spivey (04/19/90- PWF/ International Tag Title Match)- 6
This one opened with a really intense lockup between Doc and Spivey that spilled out to both sides of the arena floor. Early on, you could tell no one was trying to win; this was just a fight, a smattering of shoulder tackles, clotheslines and body slams. Spivey was on the low end of the spectrum as far as skill, Hansen out shining him at every tag. Hansen was also immensely popular, easily the most loved in the match. Doc came in and tried to provide some actual wrestling at one point, but Gordy was way more concerned with just a an all out war. He and Hansen had some leathery exchanges that made me go take an Excedrin just watching. Hansen teased his lariat very well and by the time he went for it, the crowd was starving to see it. Fun finish as Doc busts out an Oklahoma roll unexpectedly. This was pretty stiff stuff.
3) MVC v. Giant Baba/ Jumbo Tsuruta (05/14/90)- 6
This match had a much more slow and deliberate pace. I like Doc's psych on the apron; he always warms up before he gets in the ring by stretching his arms on the ring ropes, or doing knee bends, or cracking his neck, like he's about to fight. Gordy has one of the most unstoppable clotheslines in the history of the business; extrememly underrated. Baba doesn't sell anything.....at all, not emotionally or facially but he will take a random bump. Doc sells big for him, like a Vaudeville actor, but Gordy don't take the old Jap's guff and lays in shots to him, but you can still tell how much respect the wrestlers and especially the fans have for Baba. Jumbo is definitley the workhorse for their team, but Doc and Gordy know that and keep him grounded and beat down, even at the expense of having a more competitive and really great match; now that's psych! Jumbo's sells are extrememly expressive; you know exactly what the pain in his neck feels like because you've made that same face that he makes when Doc lets off of a chinlock on him; damn, he's so good, if you were a doctor, you could probably guess which vertebrae was bothering him by his sell.
The finish just kicks this up a notch; Baba gets whipped into the corner and hits hard and wrong. He slumps down in a heap because he is seriously hurt. The wrestlers and the ref buy a lot of time for him but he never gets up....until Gordy slowly pulls him from his pain and powerbombs him right on his neck! And the old fart kicks out! Then, Gordy hits his mack truck clothesline and gets the duke. Really fun match.
4) MVC v. Bam Bam Bigelow/ Davey Boy Smith (06/10/90)- 4
I was disappointed in this match, one because it was clipped at some point (not sure where or how much is missing), and two, it's not very good. The two things that you'll get out of this one is how good Bam Bam sells and how much Davey Boy and MVC didn't work well together. Bulldog press slams both guys and then immediately after that, Doc comes in and press slams Davey Boy, and presses him up and down a few times as if he was a 80lb. pound stripper at the local sleaze club for men. Bam Bam is hitting great offense, dropkicks, headbutts and taking some shots including a devastating back drop from Doc and a ball shot that he sells better than DeNiro could. 6 minutes later, on the apron, you still see him selling it.....oh, guess he really got kicked in the twig and berries. There are a couple of blown spots with Davey Boy and both guys, and some no selling from him and Doc at one point where they screw up a back body drop then both guys try and recover and they look like they're dancing together while drunk. Normal powerbomb finish doesn't do this match any favors either.
5) MVC v. Mitsuharu Misawa/ Toshiaki Kawada (date unknown)- 6
The future rivals were looking all Bambi-like, doe-eyed and young. But, even at a young age, we see evidence of what both guys are known for: laying in some heavy artillery (Misawa with elbows, and Kawada with kicks.) After getting this far into the MVC set, a surprise occurred to me: Gordy works stiffer than Doc! He never backs off any of his shots in matches, especially this one, taking great delight in turning Kawada's face into mud with forearms and his ultra-hurty clotheslines. Doc does a good bit of psych at one point where he comes in the ring and as the ref comes over to tell him to leave, he goes right back out affording Gordy a moment's notice to deliver an illegal shot.
Kawada gains a second wind and levels Doc with several impactful knees to the face and then gives him a sharp guardrail bump. He is kept in the ring most of the match, with not a lot of showy offense, just some ground and pound, so when Misawa comes in, he goes on a tear with an offensive flurry that would leave Muhammed Ali in a daze. Doc and Gordy are over huge in Japan as heels at this time and Misawa knows to give some of his famous stoic facials to really get the crowd behind him. Interesting finish to the match as well. There are still at least 4 other matches between these two teams left on the set, so I'm sure they will only get better.
6) MVC v. Stan Hansen/ Dan Spivey (12/07/90- Finals of PWF/International Tag Title Tournament)- 7
THIS IS ONE BIG STIFF MESS! Hansen decides he needs to be a little more active in this one since Spivey blew it last time. He calls out Doc right from the beginning and you hate to use the phrase "two bulls that locked horns in a china Shop" but my god does that cliched line come to mind! These two rough and tumble like two big tractor-trailers that collided and rolled off a highway interstate down into a ravine below. Hansen proves just because you're a big fat Texan doesn't mean you can't bump after Doc gives him a chop that sends him over the guardrail on the outside, landing on concrete; luckily his thick skull was there to break the fall.
Spivey really hasn't improved but every chance he gets to throw a sloppy big boot at someone's face, he takes it. MVC's team work is great; ex: Gordy drags Spivey into their corner, Doc spins him around and gives him a right hand to the face but as Spivey throws his hand back to retaliate, Gordy schoolboys him from behind. The end was turning into a giant free for all- there was a section where a submission move would get put on, and every single time the other guy's partner would come in to break it up with a stiff shot. The match was bordering on 35 minutes strong when Hansen finally signaled for the lariat. The finish was spectacular because Hansen and Spivey had finally gained the advantage and as Hansen ran for his finishing move, Doc scooped him up into an Oklahmoa Stampede and it's history. Huge celebration after match with oversized checks (yeah!), trophies, streamers and Tag Team Gold! Onto Disc 2~