Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Shawn Michaels: Heartbreak & Triumph- Part III

9)Shawn Michaels v. Jeff Jarrett (IYH #2, IC Title Match, July '95)- 5
Time of Match: 19:58
I like Jarrett so much better as a goofy country western heel than a supposed badass in TNA. They start out using a very old formula of two athletic guys trading the same spots, like that old kids' song "Anything you can do, I can do better." The crowd falls for it w/o even knowing it. Both men punched so much better in their hey day than they do now. I like the underlying Memphis connection with Jarrett in-ring and Lawler on commentary; Jeff screaming out to him, "I've got him King!" Michaels utilizes the Piper eye poke, not with the comic genuis the Rowdy Scot does, but still a cool thing to do. Shawn is just really pushing his body to the brink, big dive outside onto Jarrett & Roadie, then taking a big fully rotated backdrop out to floor followed by vicious turnbuckle upside whirlydoodle after that. Jarrett should never use a DDT- love to hear what Jake "Extremely Opinionated" Roberts has to say about his version. Michaels is wrestling with a cockiness to him that really puts me off, like if the match gets too slow, he completely stops being the guy on defense and takes over on offense with a big move. Doesn't work in the context of the match though. Jarrett nearly bothces a crucifix but more than makes up for it with one of the highest, quickest dropkicks my baby browns have viewed in a long time. Does anyone else absolutely hate Jarrett's one arm kick out on near falls? It looks so ridiculous. Shawn's also telegraphing his offense and Jarrett's by already being in place for moves before they're executed. Roadie interferes by mistake and costs Jarrett the title after a superkick and Michaels picks up his 3rd IC Title. Not enough for me to recommend and I almost think I preferred Jarrett in this match to Shawn.

10) Shawn Michaels v. Davey Boy Smith (WWF Title Match, King of the Ring '96)- 7
Time of Match: 26:23
We have Owen Hart joining in on commentary and he has a great heel personality, making snide remarks, kind of like a bratty kid brother. We also have Mr. Perfect as outside referee teasing a heel turn. Match starts technical then goes outside where Shawn hits a not-so pretty hurricanrana off apron. Bulldog keeps the match really slow on offense working a side headlock and chin lock later on for a good 6-7 minutes of the match; JR praises the merit of Davey using such holds but the fans aren't. Strange moment where they criss cross then both men stop and stare at each other, not knowing what to do next. Bulldog bumps really well, kind of reminscient of Dynamite Kid, just hurling his whole body into hiptosses and stuff. Michaels also works the arm, but he doens't work the hold, kind of just laying there catching his breath, probably just like after he sneaks into Diana's hotel room that very night and shags her while wearing Bulldog's tights. Shawn takes these sickening whips into the buckles, seemingly almost to break them and really shows off Davey's power. There's no doubt these two have chemistry in the ring.

Shawn hits an Anderson style DDT on the arm but follows up with an ax handle in an illogical spot. Davey procures a great Japanese surfboard, and I like Owen turning serious to talk about the difficulty of applying the move and what it does to the human body. Shawn's style of playing hurt babyface is a double edged sword that not everyone may like: he doesn't do a lot facially, but he takes crazy and deadly bumps and does them well. Bulldog tries a diving headbutt that Dynamite Kid would be ashamed of- i'm sure he'd prank Davey by shitting in his wrestling boots that night, if he could. These guys push it into high gear in the late stages of the match with a giant superplex that shatters Shawn's spine, Davey with a sweet ass Liger Bomb and Bulldog doing his patented upside down bump into the turnbuckle that just breaks his neck in 3 places. Finish is screwy with Perfect trying to count at same time as ref for no reason whatsoever. Post match brawl with Owen in tuxedo, Vader and some other muscleheaded miscreants. All in all, a pretty good match.

11) Shawn Michaels v. HHH (World Heavyweight Title Match, Raw, 12/29/03)- 6
Time of Match (shown): 26: 04
I have a much diff. feeling of this match now, than I did when it aired- originally on my birthday in '03 and I remember sitting at home and genuinely marking out, thinking Michaels would win the title. This was in Texas, so the crowd was pretty much living for that moment. now, the action: this was the bloated HHH, looked like a microwaved frog. First big spot was back elbow from the Game and Shawn takes whiplash bump, even gets a replay. Punching is playing a big role here, using it to go from spot to spot a lot of times, but it's not near as heated as you would like. The pace is very slow, Michaels using a lot of counters. Flair's in Helmsley's corner and is just irate at every little thing, really playing it up. Some strange body part selling: Helmsley works Shawn's back with power moves, but Shawn kills himself going into the stairs so he's really selling the arm, then Helmsley hurts his knee on a big move and is playing injured dominant heel, so I'm not sure what the fuck is supposed to be worked over here. 80's spot where Flair gives assistance in Abdomindal stretch, don't see that every day.

Shawn locks in the figure four and now the match becomes a true World Title match- Helmsely & Flair both are selling it like they had acid dropped on them, writhing in pain. JR is putting this over huge, along with the crowd, he's completely marking out for Shawn to win. Ref goes out for a while and Shawn's offense is lagging; elbow is off and then once ref is up, gets a near fall off a punch? I'm not buying it but they pop the crowd even with that lame attempt; they're starving for a title change- I think this would have been a great time to do one, Shawn improved a lot after they gave it to him in '02, when he was at his worst. Superkick out of nowhere with Bischoff refing, and it's a giant Dusty fin. Crowd went apeshit for Title switch, but Shawn fell back and both men's shoulders were down. Flair was going bonkers and came in to get his ass whipped quickly by Shawn. Not as magical as the night I watched it but the crowd and Jim Ross really elevated this.

12) The Rockers v. La Resistance (Raw, 03/14/05)- 3
Time: 6:28
Good nostalgia match- Jannetty looked really silly in 90's indy gear. Double teams still work, but nowhere near the level of quickness or timing they had then. Messed up double kip up, announcers cover over it. Resistance did a bait & switch to take the advantage and didn't look half bad, even "Plastic Face" Rob Conway, as me & a friend named him in back in '03. Jannetty come in for big finale, but mis-stepped a couple things. Finish made to look like a squash. Not bad.

13) Shawn Micheals v. Kurt Angle (Vengeance 2005)- 7
Time of Match: 26:10
This is only their 2nd match against each other. Shawn's really great at fighting against Angle's submission attempts and takedowns. Nast kneedrop from Kurt on Shawn's arm which is hammerlocked overtop on the mat. Cringe-inducing. Nasty garbage bump outside as German suplex on announce table but Michaels falls backwards and cracks head on Hugo's executive chair. These are some of Shawn's best punches to date- straight forward, connecting to the chin every time, with no silly back bump after each one. Angle goes to work on Shawn's neck, in a variety of ways: demonic powerbomb in corner that gets several replays, chinlocks, release German that was beautiful, then an almost choke on the mat. Both men have little cuts, Angle's lips & Shawn under his right eye. The crowd is hot & cold, but jump up to their feet as Michaels goes for Sweet Chin Music, but Angle just bum-rushes him to stop it- haven't seen anyone else try that. Huge backdrop outside and Shawn's knee hurts, Angle works the anklelock, switching positions each time Shawn moves to stay in the dominant position. Great stuff. Some good reversals then BANG! DEAD superkick that had to have KO'd Kurt. Tremendous near fall but finish is a little silly, Kurt scales the top rope for some unknown reason and comes down only to get hit again with Sweet chin. All in all, an intense match with some quality work invovled. Definitley recommended.

14) Shawn Michaels v. John Cena (Raw, 04/23/07)- 9
Time of Match (shown): 39:17
This is that hour long match from London right after WM23. Ref checks both men to give this a big match feel. Cena looking very confident, attempts to lock in the STFU about 6 times in the first minutes of the bout; good psych with Cena having learned how to beat Shawn after Mania and Shawn taking strolls outside getting frustrated. Shawn takes the one puch bump well, Cena's arms are freakishly big. Cena breaks out the headlock quite often during first 10-15 minutes, more so reserving energy, not working it a lot. Shawn takes control and shows a lot of anger on some really hard kicks to Cena's head, and blistering chops, Cena is so emotional in his selling, it's one of the closest things to acting you'll likely see these days. It takes the right kind of cover attempt and timing to really make a near fall sizzle and both these guys have it down, utilizing it early on after about 15-17 minutes in, and fans are popping for them. Don't think anyone expected these guys to go this long when this happened.

Cena then goes to work on the arm....which is okay, he obviously doesn't know a lot of arm stuff to use, so it doesn't last long. Those one punch knockdowns Michaels uses are really hard to swallow especially on a guy like Cena. Cena got posted but takes advantage back and is talking shit to his own arm, which is really awesome, especially that they covered it on camera. FU out of nowhere and really close call, another near fall down right and Ross picks up his enthusiasm after that, this could be signaling the final act in gear. Cena takes over and slows the pace back down again with some more stuff on the ground. I like the back elbows Shawn is throwing, really violent and pointed, going right into John's face. They're probably somewhere in the 35 min. range and Shawn takes an upside down car crash bump outside. Back in, now Cena goes out with that silly "run into guy on apron so he falls outside." Never liked that spot. Shawn tries to piledrive him on stairs but gets high backdrop to the ground, then a heated brawl on announce table- we could use their renewable energy to heat quite a few thousand homes because they're sweating like their locked in saunas but the intensity is still high here at the end. Both men back in and Cena finally locks in the STFU near the end here; really reminiscent of that classic Sting-Flair 45 min. draw where Sting fights the whole match for the Scorpion then gets it on in the last minute. Shawn fights and fights it, both men up, weary and dazed then superkick from left field and that's the ballgame. Hell of a match, a classic to be sure.

I'm telling everyone to check this out; shows Shawn can still go with the best of them and Cena will be a force to be reckoned with for many years, he's not just a power guy anymore, he's got deep pysch and heart and he proved it here. Personally, i'm a fan of these big sprawling epics because nothing will tell you more about a guy in the ring than to see them push themselves like this and see what they're made of. The fact they were still pushing the action near the hour mark is a testament to both men. I praise WWE (yea, i know, a lot of people are hating on me for saying that) to have put this match on and let it become something that just isn't done any more.

No comments: