Stan Hansen vs. Leon White - (AWA 4/8/86) - 5
This is my project tackling random matches, haven't done one in ages, and am ready to bring back the love. Seeing Hansen and White, or Vader to most, way back before their classic wars in WCW and AJPW rings was a real treat to discover. Leon "Baby Bull" White works a side headlock throughout the match, but he really puts his weight into it, where it actually feels like an effective tool in getting him a victory, not just a rest hold as its been relegated to en massse these days. While that makes up the bulk of this one, whenever Hansen does do something, he does it really freaking hard, like back elbows, etc. I liked this as an AWA TV main event, as it made you think the champion was in trouble, etc. and again was a cool discovery.
Triple H vs. Ric Flair - Last Man Standing - (Survivor Series '05) - 6
The next match I'd previously graded and griped about when I reviewed the Survivor Series '05 show itself (it sucked, for the record). Now, Adam loved it, but I really hated it. I can see where a lot of my original disgust came from, but after seeing it again I've warmed up to it significantly. Here's my original opinion: "Triple H and Flair was nothing more than a glorified bloodletting. Flair bladed early, and proceeded to crawl and stumble around everywhere as Hunter methodically punished him, and us, with bad weapon shots." They're smarter than that, and the story here is that Hunter had essentially called out Flair, saying essentially, "old man, you ain't got it no more." So, it was Flair's pride on the line as he reignited that old fire and went toe-to-toe with today's toughest and the end result was a bloody, barbaric fight that was ultimately satisfying and about as much as one could have hoped for from Ric at that time in his career.
Abyss vs. Christian Cage - (TNA Impact 9/11/08) - 3
This match sucked like Jake Roberts does at staying sober. The real problem is that both are faces so structurally this wasn't much of anything. It was also a show opener, so again, not anything to write home about. I couldn't really get behind it as such, with the back and forth stuff seemingly meaningless, and the overbooked ending further cemented this one as a stinky turd salad.
Norman Smiley vs. Kazuo Yamazaki (UWFi 6/11/88) - 3
There's no "Big Wiggle" here, bitches--this is Smiley working in UWFi which is an amalgam of MMA-inspired ground work and cripplingly stiff strikes. I love listening to the Japanese crowd politely clapping and "oohing and ahhing" whenever the fighters are stood up, there's a rope break, etc. Kazuo is a kicker but every time he tests the waters Smiley hooks the leg and takes him down, so most of this is all Norman working Kazuo's legs on the ground with varied results. Yamazaki finally gets off a combo of kicks and Smiley starts backpedaling, shortly after Kazuo has "Black Magic" grounded and as Norman tries to roll to escape Yamazaki locks him in a sick armbar for the tap out victory. I love UWFi-style, but this didn't have enough build or back-and-forth to be recommended.
Triple vs. John Cena vs. Edge - (Backlash '06) - 7
The three-way was really cool in that all three of these guys' characters were in full-swing and at their greatest at this point and the resulting combination was enough to wet even the most staunch WWE hater's briefs. Cena, hardworking, nose to the grindstone everyman, Edge, ultimate opportunist, slimeball, and slut stuffer (sorry, Lita), and Hunter, obsessed madman with only one goal in mind. The one thing that's really weird about this is Hunter's gigantic bladejob, which seems sort of like overkill, as here we have this really evenly executed, well-done match and then... bloodbath! Hunter's literally swimming in his own plasma but what's new? The finish was creative. Cena had Edge in the FU but Trips kicked him, thus dislodging Edge from Cena's shoulders and sending him flying out to the floor below, then HHH kicked Cena and was hooking him in for a Pedigree but our boy doublelegged him, flipped forward and bridged for a surprising roll-up win.