Monday, July 7, 2008

The Most Powerful Families in Wrestling - Disc 2

1. Bob Orton Sr. and "Cowboy" Bob Orton vs. Rocky Smith and Jeff Ports - 3
2. Kevin, Kerry, and David Von Erich vs. Ten Gu, Bill Irwin, and Frank Dusek - 4
3. Blackjack Mulligan and Blackjack Mulligan Jr. vs. Jim Nelson and Ricky Harris - 3
4. Jack and Gerald Brisco vs. Ricky Steamboat and Jay Youngblood - 5
5. Chavo, Mando, and Hector Guerrero vs. Mike Enos, Tom Burton, and Krusher Krugnoff - 4
6. Bret, Bruce, Owen, and Keith Hart vs. Shawn Michaels and His Knights - 5
7. Dusty and Dustin Rhodes vs. Bunkhouse Buck and Terry Funk - 3
8. Public Enemy vs. Terry and Dory Funk Jr. - 4
9. Rocky Maivia vs. The Sultan - 4
10. Ivan and Scott Puski vs. Jerry Lawler and Brian Christopher - 3
11. Eddie and Chavo Guerrero vs. Charlie Haas and Shelton Benjamin - 6
12. Randy Orton vs. The Undertaker - 7

I’m writing this on July 4th and I’m at my job in a shopping mall, things are hectic, so I’m just going to try to dive in and give some observations on this disc. So, the first disc isn’t worth the effort of seeking out, but I’d give the second disc a mild recommendation to at least borrow from a fellow fan, as there’s a couple choice bouts and some interesting ones, too. I’m going to bypass referencing Adam’s past analysis of this set, which I did in my disc one review, to save on time and prevent further dissection of my buddy. Let’s talk about wrestling, shall we?

The Orton’s in action is from CWF which is slowly becoming a favorite territory of mine, granted, my knowledge and access to stuff from the Pacific Northwest and central European countries is limited, so perhaps later I’ll reevaluate my territorial rankings. It’s great to see Bob Jr. work, as Piper is prone to say, Orton was a genius in the ring, and it’s obvious he’s Randy’s father as both of their dramatic sells are immaculate. Bob Sr. is an old school hooker and I’d like to see a homemade comp. of him stretching punks. The WCCW match from Star Wars ’81 is wild, they use two rings and the space in-between is a neutral area where you can tag in and out of to enter the ring of your choice—it’s a bizarre concept that doesn’t really work wonders but is fun watching fall apart before your eyes. There’s not enough emphasis on David in this for my tastes, nor Ten Gu’s general dastardliness, but it’s not terrible.

Watching Blackjack and Jr. (Barry Windham) teaming together was a real hoot. Blackjack Sr. had some really good right hand shots that had me cringing on the couch. The following tag from Starrcade ’83 is really athletic and a nice change of pace, unfortunately at this point formerly surly Jack Brisco had lost his edge, so this is a little south of the recommendable category, but moderately good none the less. The highlight for me was a remarkably clean and simple ending. The Guerrero boys look great in their AWA TV match, so this is a real blast to watch, but I can’t score at any higher as its clearly just an exhibition of their high flying arsenal and not much more.

The match from Survivor Series ’93, including pre-match hoopla, runs nearly 45 minutes so it’s an endurance test. Still, it holds up better than I recollected, as it’s neat to see all of the Hart brothers’ together in-ring for a special reunion match. Also, Greg Valentine is one of the masked knights of Michaels’ and it’s fun seeing him work snug and stiff with the Canadian bros. while sporting a ridiculous costume. The following tag match was from a Clash of the Champions from ’94 and is fun while it lasts. A lot of matches are structured where the heels will work over the faces to build up heat and anxiety, but here the good guys, Dusty and son Dustin, just whip the asses of Buck and Funk all around the ring. Interference ruins this one, as Arn Anderson gets involved, and later, Meng, who gets a wooden prop chair broken over his afro.

The ECW match is from Hostile City Showdown ’94 and isn’t very good. I tossed it a bonus point for the sheer weirdness of the two teams involved competing against each other, but truthfully, they mailed this shit in. The brawling, especially the stuff with chairs, is really awful. However, I do like the structure and dynamic, where first off the Funk’s are the old school bad asses and rough up the local punks, but later, the roles are reversed and it’s Philly’s finest beating up the veterans. Also of note, Terry does hogtie Rocco and toss him off a balcony.

Rocky and Sultan is from WrestleMania 13 and for a mid-card throwaway bout it’s fairly effective and inoffensive. Sultan does the bulk of the work, Honky Tonk Man is on commentary and is terrible, and Rocky Johnson gets involved in the finish and has an in-ring grope with his burly son afterwards. The following tag is from an episode of Monday Night Raw and is pretty forgettable. Christopher’s highly characterized sells were surprisingly enjoyable, but the rest of this is just stale as the heels beat down Scott until he tags his decrepit father who does his patented “Polish Hammer” for the win. I heard Scott gave Missy Hyatt is “Polish Hammer” once in a locker room shower.

The next tag is from a ’03 episode of Smackdown! and is purely delicious. Both teams look good, with the edge going to Los Guerrero’s, who are fluent and totally remind you of why you loved them as spicy pricks you couldn’t help but root for. The Guerrero’s get the win and championship belts in a thrilling finish, as they crush poor Charlie with a combination of a brainbuster and huge frog splash. Orton and Taker from Summerslam ’05 was stellar. I’m going to Summerslam ’08 in Indianapolis next month and I’d love nothing more than an Undertaker return to in-ring action that night. I’m dying for a Taker versus DH Smith feud. Anyway, as I stated, this match is really good, and you’ve got to tip your hat off to both guys. Undertaker starts steadily in control and Randy looks scared, but as the contest wears on Orton starts destroying Taker, working on the big man’s legs, etc. and as his confidence starts building Orton becomes a different animal altogether. Shit, some lady just came into the store and tried to get me to find a wood finish that’d match her daughter’s old wood furniture from who knows when, as if I’m some type of bed knowledge machine and can just make particular colors, stains, and finishes appear out of thin air. And fuck, Randy Orton in-ring psychology is much more important, right? Undertaker is as good as it gets in big match situations and Orton, even three years ago, was already showing signs of greatness. The ebbs and flows of this match are like parasailing the Nile, or, drinking an Angelina Love bath water spritzer—you owe it to yourself to see it.

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