Friday, February 29, 2008

WWF MSG House Show- 12/28/90

1) Koko B. Ware v. Black Bart- 3

Bart I remember from Global back in the days of heel stables, bungee rope matches, ink in the eyes angles and other assorted oddities. He's a strange choice of fodder for Koko. Man, Koko's dropkick is a damn thing of beauty; he got right up at eye level then thrust his legs as if they were a rocket behind them. Great stuff. Bart on the offensive was as creative as Bob Saget, and for all you Saget fans, that's an insult. Koko tried to pick up the pace at the end with some near falls but Bart was lagging behind like a dying horse. Koko's "Ghostbuster" brainbuster finish was pretty pulverizing though.

2) Warlord v. Jimmy "Superfly" Snuka- 2

Oh, man, after joining in NHO nearly 2 years ago, we've seen a lot of tapes and I've now become familiar with people I'd forgotten about and the Warlord is one of them....and he sucks. Superfly in this match was really on, but he was selling the whole match, so working at Warlord's snail's pace was a pretty plodding affair. Snuka looked very strange in this time; actual wrestling boots and the making's of a Jack Sparrow moustache. He looked really old at points and I kind of felt bad for him, as if he was only wrestling to pay for the groceries, but he still took his licks including a stiff boot to the face that knocked him outside. The match ended in some kind of DQ, but I kind of missed it because my daughter was going crazy about trying to get some food; at least that's what my wife said- I think she was brought to tears by Warlord's really shitty workrate.

3) Power & Glory v. The Rockers- 4

Power & Glory, as a tag team concept, is pretty good; in execution, it didn't work out that well. Herc is the muscle, but unfortunately by this time, his best days were behind him. And Roma was supposed to be the young up and comer, yet he never came up. The Rockers were always a fun team to watch but nearly every double team they tried to hit came up short and a lot of it that actually connected looked really weak, as if Stephen Hawking were executing the moves. The ring was a mess at times, with all 4 guys invovled in the action but it didn't really catch my attention until Hercules blew out the 2nd ring rope and fell to the ground. After that, watching the guys scramble to figure out how to end the match was quite funny. The ending sequence lacked creativity and enthusiasm and the last few minutes brought the score down.

4) Greg Valentine v. Saba Simba- 3

This was a mercy 3. Valentine is one of the great veteran workers in the business, but even he was hard pressed to really get anything out of perennial nice guy Tony Atlas, playing the role of a gyrating aborigine as Saba Simba. Atlas' jerky motions during sells made me think someone was controlling him with a voodoo doll. Valentine was dropping just the stiffest elbows on top of Simba's skull at one time and I knew if he didn't control those, he could have easily killed a man. He threw Simba down a few times and just threw him into some shitty leg locks to stop him from bouncing all over the place. A bad DQ finish ended this but at least Valentine took a guitar shot and juiced, which they replayed several times throughout the show.

5) Earthquake/ Dino Bravo v. Tugboat/ Hulk Hogan- 4

This was a pretty non-offensive tag affair. I still find it hard to believe that a guy called "Tugboat" was in main event programs. EQ was pretty stiff with some of his offense and made it look nice and hurty. He took a huge slam from Hogan near the end that made me wish he was still bumping. The finish was blah; a boot and a rollup. I forgot how much hotdogging Bravo did. Lord Alfred Hayes' completely overreacting during the whole match was entertaining as he got giddy over hypothesizing about the partners in this match locking up in the upcoming (at the time) Royal Rumble match.

6) Texas Tornado v. Virgil- 3

Von Erich really looked hopped on some needle candy and I'm guessing this was a test for Virgil to show his skills. He bumped like a dead body, just not really giving to his opponent. Their communication was pretty off, having several mis-timed spots. Von Erich pretty much just pounded him until he put on the claw and hit the discus punch. Virgil sold the finish pretty convincingly and even shook Von Erich's hand afterwards. My wife commented that he was dressed like a stripper before the match began- scary thought.

7) Sgt. Slaughter/ Gen. Adnan v. Hacksaw Duggan/ Dusty Rhodes- 1

God, this was more plodding than a cow marathon or a HHH promo. There was a lot of time to be killed and these four were the perfect candidates. I thought the prospect of seeing two old legends like Dusty and Sarge hooking up was pretty juicy, but I was pretty much dead wrong, much like the American public after the 2004 Presidential Elections. Adnan was damn near immobile and added nothing but dead air to this lame duck. The one bright spot was a right hand from Duggan right on top of Sarge's bald noggin.

8) Mr. Perfect v. Roddy Piper- 4

This was another strange encounter and I give it points mainly because Piper was really on with his comedic face set of moves and Henning was bumping like a damn madman. Piper literally threw Henning around for the first 6 minutes, I'd say and Henning looked like he had just rode a roller coaster all day long because he was flopping around everywhere. I knew these two wouldn't have a classic scientific match, and it felt good to be right again. Both guys can swing a fist and they did so in spades here. This continued the tradition of non-finishes of the night and by this time, i had already called my mortician and bought a burial plot for this long deceased show.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

WWF Monday Night Raw - 1/11/93

1) Koko B. Ware vs. Yokozuna - 3
2) The Steiner Brothers vs. The Executioners - 3
3) Shawn Michaels vs. Max Moon - 4
4) The Undertaker vs. Damian Demento - 3

Koko and Yoko had a fun match. Yoko dominated in every sense of the word. I believe that it was one of Koko's last appearances for the company. The Executioners couldn't even execute a centipede, let alone execute moves on the Steiners. There was one memorable spot where Rick threw one of them for a whip and the dude tripped over his own feet. Michaels and Moon had the best match on the show, aside from Rob Bartlett's stupid Mike Tyson bit. Moon did a nice Thesz press from the apron in what was his big spot of the night. Undertaker squashed Demento in a matter of minutes to cap off the show. Overall, a fun debut for Raw.

Monday, February 25, 2008

roh chaos at the cow palace

there was nothing chaotic about roh's first tour of the west coast.. - there was maybe 300 people in the cow palace, a classic venue, one that featured many icons like pat patterson and buff bagwell.. - the audio in the venue sucked, with entrance music coming out distorted like a garage band high on paint thinner, and the lighting was too bright..

1. chris hero vs. human tornado - 1
2. roderick strong vs. claudio castagnoli - 4
3. adam pearce vs. karl anderson - 3
4. delirious vs. brent albright - 3
5. davey richards and rocky romero vs. t.j. perkins and tony kozina - 4
6. davey richards and rocky romero vs. necro butcher and jimmy jacobs - 2
7. austin aries vs. bryan danielson - 6
8. nigel mcguiness vs. jay briscoe - 4
9. bonus: alicia vs. portia perez vs. sara del ray vs. daizee haze - 1

hero and tornado had one of the shittest matches i've ever seen.. roh or otherwise.. - hero's bad gymnastics were very vomit-inducing.. especially when he fell on his chubby ass attempting a sommersault.. - tornado did a fantastic faceplant falling from the ring to the floor.. we laughed heartily.. - strong and claudio had a decent bout, but nothing stellar.. - pearce did bad indie sthick 101.. - karl anderson is apparently chad 2 bad allegra, according to mr. knowledge, and if so.. in a weird, seven levels of seperation kevin bacon way we're connected.. as we've both worked pompano joe in singles bouts before.. - albright looked like a giant schlep selling delirious's unbelievable offenese..

i liked the romeo and richards' first tag bout against the west coast boys.. - perkins looked like the american verision of noah's ogawa.. with flowing black locks and tight shorts.. - kozina looked like a clone of a mike modest/donovan morgan lovechild.. - some decent tag action, though.. - then, afterward necro and jacobs come to ringside and commence in a terrible brawl.. with a lot of plodding fighting in the crowd.. - this was jcw-level garbage.. - aries and danielson had the match i was hoping to see when i saw them perform in philadelphia a few weeks after this was filmed.. - they told a story by being physical, sans scripted promos and outragious gimmicks.. - nigel and jay didn't rock the house.. especially for a main.. so i guess next time i want to watch a good cow palace show i'll bust out my vhs bootleg of a wcw house show there and watch the finer aspects of a six-man lucha midcard match.. - dvd bonus sees a women's match that was awful.. alicia plays a mall bimbo and her large tits were an eyesore.. i'll stick to alicia mastes, thanks true believers.. - daizee haze smoking a bowl with julius smokes would have been a better extra..

Saturday, February 23, 2008

wwf monday night raw prime cuts

(i'm finally settled into my new apartment.. that's why i've been sans updates for awhile.. - using girlfriend's pc.. no word processing program so i skipped proper english and just wrote this one in my own shorthand style i perfected on my old deadjournal circa 2000.. - any time i've had in-front of my couch i've been watching the simpsons, old ovw tv tapings, and docs on the oklahoma city bombing.. - but now i'm ready to start reviewing the pile of discs good sir adam handed over.. - let's get this party started in here..)

this two-hour compilation of raw moments and matches was hosted by the terrific team of vince mcmahon, bobby hennan, and occasionally joined on commentary by "macho man" randy savage.. - while some of the replaying of angles segments were tedious, especially watching crush's heel turn on the stick, some of the non-wrestling content was decent.. like a vignette on how they produce raw weekly.. - let's take a look at the wrestling, though.. the most important aspect of course..

1) shawn michaels vs. marty jannetty - 4
this was a pretty hot fued.. although they never really took it as far as they could have.. doing the whole "ex-partners collide" bit.. - however, the iconic image of jannetty hoping the rail wearing a thrift store hoodie that one time still sticks with me.. - this match had some big bumps, good nearfalls, and high energy.. - they never really let up.. - jannetty did a baseball slide under the bottom rope, kicking michaels, then did the steamboat "reverse pulling yourself up using the ropes" (like ricky did during many battle royals) to get back into the ring, then immeditaley dived out to the floor with a plancha in a cool combo.. - mr. perfect came out, who was fueding with shawn, tossed a towel in shawn's face leading him to be rolled up in an upset.. as jannetty had already ate sweet chin music... - pretty decent stuff..

2) 1-2-3 kid vs. razor ramon - 5
this is pretty short, but gets the points as it still works.. - in our generation, this is sort of the formula that's been copied copious amounts of times of the underdog beating the odds.. - it's still the measuring stick for that type of story.. - razor is toying with the kid, beating his scrawny ass, then kid nails a moonsault and the crowd pops huge.. - i remember when this orignally aired watching it with a childhood bud, we ran out in the night to the alley behind my house afterward and danced a little jig in excitement.. - yeah.. it was that cool..

3) mr. perfect vs. doink the clown - 5
wow.. this was the real surprise on the show.. - wasn't sure how it'd work out, but was pleasently surprised.. - being a longtime close, analytical viewer.. i picked up that these two had some legit heat.. - doink worked real stiff, not selling a lot for henning, and also taking liberties a couple times.. especially with some nasty stomps that just screamed "fuck you".. - perfect could make anyone look good at this time.. he even wasn't afraid to bust out some amaetur stuff.. - still, this is worth seeing soley for the subtle ugliness on display.. - they did the angle (for the first time, i believe) where a second doink came out, slide under the ring, and they did the 'ol switheroo.. - perfect still one with a perfectplex on doink 2.0...

4) i.r.s. vs. pj walker - 2
real short.. - walker took a quasi-ballsy bump to the floor.. - razor came down and distracted irwin to lead to a quick roll-up victory for the green, future ECW champ walker..

5) yokozuna vs. crush - 4
better than expected.. - largely (pun way not intended) due to yoko being the bomb.. - he was a damn godsend for this company at this time.. - slipped right into the role of being their biggest heel.. - crowd even got behind crush.. - one small thing you might miss is crush coming off the ropes and sort of runs right into yoko's arm, nearly breaking his own nose in a unintentionally funny moment.. - yoko took a spill to the floor that was insane for a guy his size.. - yokozuna wins with the deadly bonzai drop.. - i'd love to eat some raw fish and rice off his ample buttocks..

6) the stieners vs. the quebecers - quebec province rules match - 4
match was decent but had a handful of real unslightly botches.. - rick jumped off the second buckle onto a prone pierre, but for some reason, jumped directly onto pierre's legs and then sold it like pierre blocked it with his knees.. although pierre never moved a muscle? - jacques oversells are distracting.. - the quebecers did their doubleteam where jacques slams pierre onto an opponent, but in this spot, scott stiener was on his side selling something, and rolled over right in time to have pierre land right on his fucking face.. - the quebecers did a double hotshot on scott that was ugly, giving stiener whiplash and somehow getting his arm tied up in the ropes.. - scott got disqualifed for getting caught "using" a hockey stick, and i use the term lightly as he swung that thing as gingerly as a fatty fans himself with a coupon while waiting in line for a hotdog at a kansas city royals game.. - titles could change on a dq, due to the special rules, so the 'becers are crowned new champs and the stieners are portrayed as mildly retarded..

7) 20 man battle royal - 3
this looked like a circus sideshow.. with freaks like bastion booger, m.v.p. (the face-painted baseball gimmick, not my boy antonio banks), giant gonzales, mabel in bright purple rags that look cut from the same cloth as a hot air ballon, adam bomb, and more.. - as far as battle royals go, this one was pretty shitty.. - not a lot of elimanations early.. - sad seeing bam bam bigelow and owen hart working each other in a corner, both taken too early from us.. - lots of uninspired work here.. - best elimanations were marty jannetty and bigelow for both taking ballsy spills to the arena floor, worst elim goes to m.v.p. (in his debut match) for falling out of the ring like a scared child's first time jumping into a public pool.. - last two go on to wrestle the following week for the intercontinental title.. ends up being rick "the model" martel and razor.. after ramon dumps both quebecers out..

8) razor ramon vs. rick martel - 4
first go 'round on this one was at 3am and i was extremely tired.. - just re-watched this "sum bitch" and not too impressed.. - announcers put it over huge, though.. - martel largely controls it, which was for the best.. - ramon almost botched his finisher, as they had a timing miscue and martel jumped up to help razor hoist him before razor lifted up, so then razor had to lift again but this time actually muscle martel up legit.. but this mishap was quickly forgotten as he absolutey killed martel with a sick razor's edge, dropping the vet right on his skullpiece..

pretty entertaining show.. nice to relive some old memories and fun to look at the wrestling not just as a fan, but actually study the work and discover new levels of what's going on.. - my overall impression is raw seemed a lot more fun back then..

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Wrestlemania III

March 29, 1987
Pontiac Silverdome
Detroit, Michigan
Estimated Attendance: 93,173

This is my first review of a Wrestlemania show, and i thought it very appropriate since we are in the middle of Wrestlemania season to review the biggest Mania of all time, actually the biggest WWE show of all time. A few notes about this show:

- The scenery of it is just absolutely amazing; the Dome is so massive and it registers day and night changes so about 1/3 through the show you see the background grow dark and just seeing two or four people competing in front of such a mass of people is a great visual.

- This is the biggest show ever held by WWE, although the attendance they announced at the show was said to be greatly exaggerated; it was more in the ballpark of 78,000 people.

So, let's take a look at the work:

1) Can- Am Connection (Tom Zenk and Rick Martel) v. Don Muraco/ Bob Orton jr.- 4

I like the heel team in this one: Muraco was a big brawny brawler type, but he was bumping big for the faces and they sold his stuff like he was a big, brawny brawler which worked. Orton was a really skilled technical wrestler in his day but you couldn't tell that from here or from his 2005 stint with his son where his nose looked like a 1,000 year old boulder. There was some miscommunication with the ending but for the most part, this was exactly what you would want out of an opener: a fast paced match with a clean finish.

2) Billy Jack Haynes v. Hercules- 3

Haynes is someone I'd like to see more of. I can't see him going very long in a match. He was really beefed up and was selling some big time power offense from Herc, who's "Jew-fro" looked vaguely reminiscent of a sniffly 14 year old kid who collects Ronald McDonald paraphenelia. This was built around using the full nelson, which neither guy did very well but I enjoyed them clotheslining the heroin out of each other. Haynes got busted open hardway after the match but you could barely tell because of his Hall & Oates haircut.

3) Hillbilly Jim/ Little Beaver/ Haiti Kid v. King Kong Bundy/ Little Tokyo/ Lord Littlebrook- 1

This was a shortened version (get it?) of a trainwreck. The appealing thing about the midgets is that they are obviously not as tall as the normal wrestlers, but still athletic so it's fun to watch. These midgets all looked 45 and sour because they had a wife who couldn't cook at home waiting on them. And they were really out of shape; combined with Bundy, this match would have been a plastic surgeon's dream to get some of these guys on the lyposuction table. Jim showed his incredibly limited skills in a comedy throwaway that I found more insulting than funny.

4) Junkyard Dog v. "King" Harley Race- 5

This was a really fun match, hidden in the midcard of this grandiose show. Race was a former 7 time World Champion and JYD was like American Idol to the masses: they loved to watch him. Both men threw some really strange, but stiff punches and they both bumped like crazy; highlights being Race missing a flying headbutt to the outside and Dog taking a really nasty fall on the apron. Race picks up the win with a solid belly to belly and although it's short, this is still worth seeing. Gorilla Monsoon made the comment "JYD down on all 4's- his favorite position" - usually I like the female in front of me to be on all 4's but who am I to question a dead superstar's sexual predilection.

5) Rougeau Brothers v. Dream Team- 3

The Rougeau's were a sound team and here they were matched up with a great veteran in Greg Valentine and a shclep famous for giving unwanted haircuts, "Bruti" as Gorilla referred to him, Brutus Beefcake. Bruti was greener than the Hulk's taint, not even working an armbar at all, just basically holding onto Raymond's forearm like he needed him to stand up. Valentine's elbows were absolutely money and I wished he would have dropped more of them. Bobby Heenan stepped into the announce booth to rile up Gorilla, which made for some entertaining banter. Dream Team wins after Dino Bravo comes in off the 2nd rope with a forearm to Raymond's gut. ? That hurts, just like the chylmidia you got last night at that party when you slept with that girl you know you should have double bagged on. You know what i'm talking about. You know.

6) Roddy Piper v. Adrian Adonis- see "Rowdy" Roddy Piper: Born to Controversy Review

7) British Bulldogs/ Tito Santana v. Hart Foundation/ Danny Davis- 5

There was a lot of talent in this ring, although none of it resided with Danny Davis or in Davey Boy Smith's sexual techniques. They kept moving at a brisk pace, constant tags so everyone got to work with everyone really. Kid and Bret's segments were really hard hitting and Bret's corner bump never looked better. When Davis finally came in, Santana really layed it into him. His flying forearm was quite astounding and you could picture him throwing those deadly punches in a barrio somewhere over a pinata full of smack. The ending was a cheap finish with Davis getting the pin, but the Bulldogs were not light on him. Right after the match started, they cut to Jesse Ventura stealing Matilda, the Bulldog's mascot. Gorilla commented, "We knew what kind of person he was, " followed by Mary Hart saying " I had heard the rumors, but I didn't think it was true." Wow, to air that kind of dirty laundry is pretty foul and in bad taste on a live pay per view, but I guess someone had to intervene into Ventura's dog fetish.

8) Koko B. Ware v. Butch Reed- 2

This was short and no so sweet, as it was basically a squash for Reed who was mostly on defense. One question though, before we move on: WHY THE HELL DOES EVERYONE ON THIS SHOW DO SOME KIND OF DROPPING OR FLYING FOREARM? If anyone knows the answer, please email me because it really got annoying. Reed's only offensive move really was a forearm to the back and I really expected more out of a vet like him. I actually would have rathered Koko go over because he was working harder here and even threw a good dropkick. Frankie, Koko's parrot at ringside, got a closeup in the camera at one point and Gorilla said "Frankie obviously knowing what's happening to his friend." Well, Obviously, Obviously, the talking bird knows that Koko is selling those forearms really well and is booked to lose but he still gets a nice pay day, Obviously, he knows exactly what is going on. Why wouldn't he? He's a parrot, for God's sake. Obviously.

9) Randy Savage v. Ricky Steamboat- 8

So, there's not much more that can be said about this match than has already been said: Wrestling wise, it does hold up, that's for sure. They have a great pace and you can even count out a rhythm to their sequences. It's quite enthralling. One black eye on this match is the inclusion of George the Animal Steele. They sandwhiched his storyline of being obsessed with Elizabeth into Steamboat's revenge against Savage for trying to end his career and they really didnt' need to. They go out of their way to put Savage on a pedestal, as he knocks the ref out then cleanly hits his flying elbow and has the Dragon pinned, but it's Steele's interference that hurts Savage enough for Steamboat to get the pin. This was the show stealer of Mania 3 and many regard it as the best Mania match of all time. Elizabeth was also looking quite chesty at ringside.

10) Jake Roberts v. Honky Tonk Man- 3

Honky takes a licking right off the bat and instead of selling the knee lift he receives, he struggles to take off his Elvis-suit. Nice professionalism. This match is not too involved, as Honky mostly works over Jake with more of those fucking forearm smashes we've seen scattered throughout this show. Alice Cooper is at ringside, looking completely un-hetero and wimpier than Napoleon Dynamite. We have a bad rollup finish; These two are capable of much better.

11) Iron Sheik/ Nikolai Volkoff v. Killer Bees- 3

Hacksaw comes down dressed like a reject from a Hell's Angel bar and interrupts Nikolai's beautiful serenade. Then, we get to it: Good tag action, the Bees have some tandem offense and the evil Foreigners really know how to cut the ring in the half and work over one guy. Brunzell displays a pretty decent dropkick, but it doens't hold a candle to Pillman's. Duggan gets involved in most of the match and it plays out like any bad RAW finish you can think of: with interference. I think given some more time, this could have developed into a swell encounter.

12) Hulk Hogan v. Andre the Giant- 7

I give some bonus nostalgia points for this match: there are some absolutely iconic images in this match:Hulk and Andre's staredown- Hogan slamming Andre I love the nearfall right at the beginning where Hogan tries to slam Andre, but Andre keeps asking the ref if it was 2 or 3 and it really shows his veteranism (not really a word, but what the hey) because when he questions the count, you question it. As far as pace goes, this one moves slower than Clint Eastwood in a Gay Pride Parade. One really shitty spot is when Hogan rips the outside mats up and takes the most protected backdrop in the history of the business on it by letting his legs brace against the ring apron first. I want to wrap him up in Latex after watching it. But, this is a bonafide classic and Andre takes a sick bump after a clothesline near the end of this one. Really fun match to watch, unless you've seen it 300 times like I have.

Bonus: B1) Randy Savage v. George Steele- 2

Here was some out and out buffoonery! We all know George Steele for eating turnbuckles and acting like a human gorilla and while that may be entertaining, his ring style, his slow punches, his sloppy sells, all make for a low grade. And this circus went on forever it seemed. This did set up Savage-Steamboat pretty well with the Dragon making his return mid-match then leaving just as quickly for the combatants to finish up. Made no sense.

B2) 20 Man Battle Royal- 4

This was moderately fun to watch mainly because of Andre's performance. The basic premise of this was Hogan and Andre were to be on either side of the ring and dump people out. Well, Andre was punishing the people he was eliminating with really hard strikes and chops and it was a joy to watch. He even dumped Hogan out like a child. Then, he was thrown out, so your final 3 guys were Billy Jack Haynes, Hercules and Smash from Demolition. Scratch your head all you want, but it happened. So, the finale was pretty fruitless but it was cool to see some old school guys battling, like Orndorff, Killer Bees, Blackjack Mulligan and so forth; other than that, this was as exciting as another season of Survivor (heavy on the sarcasm)