Monday, April 20, 2009

WrestleMania IV

Gladys Knight (w/o the Pips) kicks us off with a catalog of Patriotic tunes and she's wearing a jacket that has more endorsements on it than a UFC fighter.

1) 20 man Battle Royal, incl. Bret Hart, Jim Neidhart, Sika, Bad News Brown, B. Brian Blair, Jim Brunzell, Jacques Rougeau, Raymond Rougeau, King Harley Race, Ron Bass, Hillbilly Jim, Sam Houston, Paul Roma, Jim Powers, Danny Davis, Nikolai Volkoff, Boris Zhukov, Ken Patera, George Steele and Junkyard Dog- 4

This felt more like a social gathering than a battle royal, pretty easy going. Guys just kind of bailing out left and right no cause or reason. Race took a nice face plant against the apron during his exit which had to have hurt. JYD was the only guy who seemed to be in a position to win as he got a couple of nice close ups. Crowd loved when Davis was thrown out- I'm sure the boys in the back didn't because he'd be back in the locker room bothering them. JYD, Bret & Bad News were final 3; crowd popped when they were left then quickly died again once they did nothing with their time. JYD fought and fought going out but was deposited unceremoniously. Bret took a nasty enzugiri and his famous face first turnbuckle shot before being thrown out. He got retritubution by destroying Bad News' trophy. Wonder if they figured it should be a tradition now after Andre smashed his in '86.

2) Hacksaw Duggan v. Ted Dibiase- 4

Dibiase arrives with Virgil and Andre in tow. He takes first big spot of match and goes bouncing over the top rope in a crazy bump; think it's one of his patented. These guys pick up where they left off in Mid-South with bruising chops and punches, Duggan takes a big flurry of them and sells them pretty well. No wasted movement from Dibiase and I think sticking with a brawl here was a smart move. Andre distracts Duggan and Dibiase picks up the win with a knee to the back and a fistdrop? okay, decent.

3) Dino Bravo v. Don Muraco- 3

Muraco is really explosive, I'm digging his work more and more. Totally botched a half ass attempt at what I can only guess was a Vaderbomb. Bravo threw a couple good suplexes, but his punches and kicks are borerline pansy. Some Leg work from Muraco that went nowhere right before he does a Cactus Jack and gets his neck hung in the ropes. Billy Graham is sweating profusely standing at ringside; I love how Ventura is playing up he might return saying "he heard rumblings of Graham quoted in the locker room saying "I'll be back. What does he mean by that? what is he the Terminator?" These guys are throwing the heavy artillery because every shot has all their brawny muscles behind them. Finish was weak sauce though; a lame DQ ending.

4) Greg Valentine v. Ricky Steamboat- 5

Ricky brought Ricky jr. down in a matching outfit that said "Little Dragon" on it; Monsoon tries to guess what he's thinking and comes up with "I don't know what's going on but this is a happening!" He must have used that phrase 100 times so far. Dragon looks in phenomenal shape; he goes on a flurry for the first couple minutes, transitioning from chops to deep arm drags to moves off the ropes all while keeping Valentine off balance. They missed what would have been a cool rollup spot early on. Dragon takes a hell of a bump while being pulled like a rubber band from the bottom rope. Dragon keeps going back to the arm though, old school there. I hate to say it, but Valentine resembles a disgruntled old housewife living in a trailer. Hammer's lariat would make JBL retire 5 times over. Some good near falls; Steamboat is the king of them; don't know if anyone has utilized them better over a career. They go all Puro at the end with chops from Dragon and forearms from Hammer, and it makes me want to pop in some All Japan 95 real badly. Roll through on the end with the tights and Hammer moves on. Seems like could be the best match of the night.

5) Randy Savage v. Butch Reed- 3

2 really charismatic guys here. Savage is in full blown underdog mode here; both guys play up the power v. speed aspect well for such a short encounter. Seems like they are geling well together but entirely too short to be anything of note. Savage misses the elbow bigger than shit for the end. Blue seems like Elizabeth's color.

6) One Man Gang v. Bam Bam Bigelow- 1

Gang has a nice punch, kind of surprising like when you buy a new book of stamps just as the price increases. I love when Gorilla calls guys out on spots, ex. being Bam Bam's really lame splash where it basically looks like he fell down. Both guys are just standing around trading strikes, match doens't have any direction at all. Bigelow takes a crazy backwards fall over the top rope and is seemingly counted out even though he's only on the floor for about 5 seconds and the ref lets the match continue for a good 30 seconds before calling it. Terrible finish to a nothing match.

7) Rick Rude v. Jake Roberts- 4

1st 2 lockups show more psych than almost half the show so far; Rude pushes Snake off the first one then tries it again but Roberts lets go as he does it and Rude falls face first. Beautiful. Both guys have a great bodyslam; you just don't see that much care being put into it these days. They work a silly armbar spot where Roberts won't let go and pulls Rude down to the ground from his back; I"m not buying it with Rude's physique. Liked the kneelift off the 2nd rope though; hard to make look believable. Love the missed kneelift spot where Jake takes a huge bump then arches his back like a Mexican prostitute getting it hard in the sack while 3 other chulos' watch on, all with Speedy Gonzalez tattoos on their needle filled arms. Rude slows match down to a crawl with 4, count them 4 seperate chinlocks during a big portion of the match. Roberts doesn't do much on the ground to really sell them either; shame. Crowd gets a small "Boring" chant up and they immediately lift out of the move. No wonder Rude broke his back, he takes backdrop bumps right on his spine! Sick back suplex from Rude that no doubt Chono would give him a receipt for in their under-pimped series in '92. Time expires with no warning as Rude goes for pinfall. Think they could have done a lot more with 15 minutes; maybe they were told to stall for time by the person running the show; personally i hate that bullshit. It usually comes from the mouth of an insecure shitheel.

8) Hercules v. Ultimate Warrior- 2

Warrior is in the midst of his no selling days- come to think of it Herc isn't doing much selling either. Lots of chops and clotheslines; feels like you're at a flea market and you keep seeing the same 2 crappy items at every booth or playing the latest Raw v. Smackdown! iteration and you can only do 2 moves and neither of them have ever been performed by the guy you're using. Go outside for a moment of forgettable brawling, then back in with the back suplex where one guy gets his shoulder off the ground. I like the idea of it but it came from a full nelson attempt and Warrior exectued the kick off so sloppily Herc grabbed him in a waistlock while on the ground. Terrible performances from both guys.

9) Andre the Giant v. Hulk Hogan- 2

Andre goes to work immediately with big swipes and chops. Then he poops out. He looks very weary less than 2 minutes in, avoiding some of Hogan's big shots. Andre falls slowly down to the ground after 3 lousy punches, really sad watching this. He looks hurt after obviously bracing himself for impact before a stiff clothesline from Hulk. Double DQ nonsense with the chair, easiest way to get both men out and not get pinnned. A big dud and really disheartening because you can tell Andre should not be in a ring at this point.

10) Don Muraco v. Ted Dibiase- 4

There wasn't much heat in this match but some good solid wrestling. Muraco's one arm whip-ins are a real eyesore and seem really backyard, but his powerslam rocks the house. Tide turns with giant oversell into steel post which was actually pretty crazy. Both guys looked tired and we're only really moving at 75%. Finish was excellent as Dibiase broke out the classic Austin Stun gun for the win.

11) Randy Savage v. Greg Valentine- 4

These two had some chemistry, Savage still playing the underdog as Valentine just pounds him mercilessly as if trying to put up a tent with Savage's body. His elbows are just cringe inducing and I like how Savage sells this one little shot to the throat, scrunches his whole body up like squeezing a sponge. Macho explodes late in the match with an offensive flurry that had announcers and Valentine stumbling over to adjust. Hammer is a master of pacing as he completely breaks down Savage's momentum then turns this back into a Presidential Address (by that I mean slow and long) Small package quick fin made sense for this one.

12) Honky Tonk Man v. Brutus Beefcake (Intercontinental Title Match)- 3

This is going to be the comedy match of the show, unfortunately I'm not in a laughing mood. Right off the bat, Beefer gives him a Noogie and this feels like a bad WB drama about high school life where guys moonlight as professional wrestlers. Well, he did put together a nice rope spot that ended with a high knee that was good. That was the highlight of the match; Honky hooked in his Shake, Rattle & Roll then let it go only realizing he was out of place and pulled Beefcake over to the ropes and tried it again. Lame. DQ after ref gets blasted with megaphone than Jimmy Hart gets a haircut, actually saw him transform his haircut from something out of the 80's to the 90's. Of course seems like his hair grew back like a Chia Pet because he's sported the same stupid mullet for 25 years.

13) Islanders/ Bobby Heenan v. British Bulldogs/ Koko B. Ware- 4

This is Heenan in the dog catcher's outfit. Actually way better than I thought. Tama was taking crazy bumps right off the bat, incl. one where he spilled over the top rope and splattered on the floor like a stream of blood falling on a pancake griddle. Haku & Davey have some miscues though, but make up for it by Haku just kicking him in the throat. Koko has a beautiful dropkick; I had to pause it and give it it's due appreciation, like a piece of art. Heenan works him over something good though and beyond all fucking comprehension, their spot made me want to see them in a one on one singles bout with no lame characters, just pure wrestling. Heenan takes his own goofy bumps into the corner right before he picks up the win on Koko due to his Island buddies help. Then Davey Boy has Matilda chase Heenan down the aisle and the announcers are screaming "Stop that vicious dog" when he's not even attacking Heenan,; Davey Boy keeps throwing him on Heenan's overselling body.

14) One Man Gang v. Randy Savage- 2

Savage more offensive minded here than all night, doing the hit and run strategy, like that guy who tried to mow down Jeff Hardy. Never revelaed who that was damn it!!!! I"m still dying to know. Anyways, Savage pulls off his clothesline over the top rope using Gang's gnarly beard. Gang effective on offense but he's slower than a one legged man with a dead body attached to it. Some pretensious cane spots end this dud.

15) Strike Force v. Demolition ( Tag Team Titles)- 5
The faces define tag teams in the glory days, all their big spots are double teams, done in synchronicity. They worked the arm of their much bigger opponents in the first few minutes, but it was Tito who ate a clothesline for lunch from Ax. I know he wasn't hungry after that one. Demolition now with the momentum; nothing they do is pretty, but it's loads of fun watching them pound people into the ground with repeated blows to the back. They look like if you take those angry gorillas from "Congo" and put face paint on them. They keep the ring cut in half (there's a phrase never used anymore) well. Martel gets the hot tag and and it's as smooth as a marble counter top. Wait a minute, even Fuji has a cane???? that's like 3 managers that hav eall used cane spots in their matches. Took forever for them to pull off the finish, someone missed their cue. All I know is Tito just keep beating Fuji until you could literally see some of Fuji's soul depart from his body. This was classic tag wrestling though, done right. Could have stood to added a couple minutes though.

16) Ted Dibiase v. Randy Savage (WWF Title Tournament Finals)- 4
This match features the only switch & reversal from a lockup I've seen all night. They go to Andre tripping Savage quickly, to build up the high spot of Hogan coming out. Both guys are going for a lot of covers, which makes sense even if they are from low impact moves that probably wouldn't even faze Abe Vigoda (we miss you Abe; no, he didn't die, Conan just released him back into the wild.) Savage gets great velocity bouncing into the ropes, looks like the Tazmanian devil hopped up on Mama Juana energy pills. Actually reminds me of a certain murderer I love and revere (not OJ; do I look like Hulk Hogan?) Dibiase sells Macho's over the ropes clothesline like a Cirque de Solel performer. The Hulk entrance makes the crowd pop big time. Love Dibiase's fistdops; they look so nasty. After the stage is set with Andre & Hogan at ringside, not a lot is going on in the ring, as if they're stalling for time. Great spot where Savage got the advantage momentarily and went up for a quick elbow, but missed. The end came quickly, way too quick for a main event, but time could have been running long or both men could have been winded. Hate to see Hogan hogging most of the spotlight to Savage's big moment.

II= 43%
III= 39%
IV= 34%
I= 32%

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