Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Queue Slayer #1

Welcome to the first edition of Queue Slayer! This was basically an idea I had to help Jessie and I make a dent in the overwhelming amount of footage we've accumulated over the last few years. We each pick three DVDs, watch them, swap them, watch the others' selections, then rank what we've seen and share some insight. We hope you'll enjoy this new ongoing project here on NHO!

Brian's List - Queue Slayer #1

1. Kensuke Sasaki and Minoru Suzuki vs. Hiroshi Tanahashi and Shinsuke Nakamura - 7 - NJPW 12/11/04
2. Sid Vicious and Harlem Heat vs. Ron Simmons, 2 Cold Scorpio, and Marcus Alexander Bagwell - 5 - WCW Saturday Night 8/21/93
3. Tito Santana vs. Jake Roberts - 6 - WWF Houston 11/26/86
4. Barry Windham vs. Ron Bass - 6 - Belt vs. Saddle Match - CWF TV 11/16/83
5. Ric Flair vs. Sting - 6 - WCW Saturday Night 8/21/93
6. Jumbo vs. Billy Robinson - 6 - 2 out of 3 Falls Match - AJPW 3/5/77
7. British Bulldogs vs. Nikolai Volkoff and Iron Sheik - 5 - WWF Houston 11/26/86
8. Vic Grimes vs. Psicosis - 5 - XPW Retribution
9. Demolition vs. Twin Towers - 5 - WWF Ontario 5/1/89
10. Richard Charland vs. Red Rooster - 4 - WWF Ontario 5/1/89
11. Kaos vs. Pogo the Clown - 4 - XPW Retribution
12. Dick Slater vs. Dino Bravo - 5 - WWF Houston 11/26/86
13. Blue Blazer vs. Brooklyn Brawler - 4 - WWF Ontario 5/1/89
14. Mr. Perfect vs. Tito Santana - 5 - WWF Ontario 5/1/89
15. Bret Hart vs. Rick Martel - 4 - WWF Ontario 5/1/89
16. Charlie Norris vs. Fury - 4 - WCW Saturday Night 8/21/93
17. Ultimate Warrior vs. Rick Rude - 4 - WWF Ontario 5/1/89
18. Chris Hero vs. Trik Davis - 4 - 30-Min. Ironman Match - IWA Mid-South 2/18/06
19. Danny Spivey vs. Moondog Spot - 4 - WWF Houston 11/26/86
20. Butch Reed vs. Steve Gatorwolf - 3 - WWF Houston 11/26/86
21. Young Bucks vs. Cutler Bros. - 4 - PWG DDT4 5/22/09
22. Supreme vs. Steve Rizzono - 3 - XPW Retribution
23. Mike Rotunda vs. Moondog Rex - 3 - WWF Houston 11/26/86
24. Manabu Nakanishi and Takao Omori vs Giant Bernard and Karl Anderson - 3 - NJPW 7/5/09
25. Greg Valentine vs. Hillbilly Jim - 3 - WWF Ontario 5/1/89
26. Webb vs. The Sandman - 3 - XPW Retribution
27. 16-Man Battle Royal: Bret Hart, Mr. Perfect, Tito Santana, Rick Martel, Demolition, Big Bossman, Akeem, Honkytonk Man, Greg Valentine, Blue Blazer, Brooklyn Brawler, Hillbilly Jim, Red Rooster, Jim Powers, and Richard Charland - 3 - WWF Ontario 5/1/89
28. Super Dragon vs. Disco Machine - 3 - XPW Retribution
29. One Man Gang vs. Hector Guerrero, Mike Fever, and Denny Brown - CWF TV 11/16/83 - 2
30. Big Van Vader vs. JD Stryker - 2 - WCW Saturday Night 8/21/93
31. Johnny B. Badd vs. Mike Thor - 2 - WCW Saturday Night 8/21/93
32. Honky Tonk Man vs. Jim Powers - 3 - WWF Ontario 5/1/89
33. Junkyard Dog vs. Randy Savage - 2 - WWF Houston 11/26/86
34. Angel vs. G.Q. Money vs. Preston Ascott III - 2 - XPW Retribution
35. The Equalizer vs. Ron Preston - 2 - WCW Saturday Night 8/21/93

36. Konnan vs. Damien Steele - 2 - XPW Retribution
37. Ice Train vs. Rage - 1 - WCW Saturday Night 8/21/93

Alright, let's make some sense of this, shall we? My #1 match comes from a BMD (or, Brian's Mix Disc) disc which is another project of mine where I've compiled random matches and shows together to circulate amongst the NHO team. In general I love the Japanese style, but this match didn't rest on its laurels, of course, it had the stiff action you've come to expect from a high profile NJPW match, but it also featured a tremendous build and a great closing section that saw the crowd incredibly excited for the possibility of win by the Tanahasi and Nakamura team.

Other matches from the BMD didn't fair so well, Tsuruta vs. Robinson from the late-'70's was good, but some of the other random matches fell considerably lower. The disc with the least amount of actual matches on it was an episode of CWF TV from '83. The bulk of that episode was a WIndham vs. Bass grudge match I found satisfying and even though it was the first thing I saw at least a month back it still ended up high on my ballot.

The two WWF arena shows featured highs and lows. I think, overall, I preferred the '86 Houston event although it's slower pace may be off-putting to some. I thought it gave a nice glimpse of guys and match-ups that are more uncommon, and while the '89 Ontario was filled with familiar faces, etc. nothing on it stuck out like the Roberts vs. Santana time-limit draw from Houston. The big surprise for me was the Red Rooster vs. Charland bout from Ontario, it featured hands down the best limb work of any match on this first project's menu.

Jessie had handpicked an episode of WCW Saturday Night from August of '93 that I enjoyed quite a lot. Besides the epic Sting vs. Flair main event that went 40+ min. some of the non-marquee matches featured strong performances including a Charlie Norris vs. Fury match I inexplicably dug, mostly for tag team journeyman Fury's strong heel work. The six-man was the most fun I had watching as Scorpio's selling was superb and everyone worked their roles well.

The last show was an XPW event titled Retribution. XPW has a big black cloud over it and most people won't even give it a chance. I tried to be objective and reserve judgement. Yes, some of my worst fears were realized, it's a company full of excesses, be it poorly done hardcore stuff, objectifying women, etc. But within the manure I found some diamonds, including one of my all-time favorite table bumps in the Kaos vs. Pogo the Clown bout, and a really great big man vs. little man opener involving Psicosis and Vic Grimes.

Jessie's List - Queue Slayer #1

1) Kensuke Sasaki & Minoru Suzuki v. Hiroshi Tanahashi & Shinsuke Nakamura (New Japan 12/11/04)- 8 

2) Jumbo Tsuruta v. Billy Robinson (AJW, 03/05/77)- 7 

3) Barry Windham v. Ron Bass (Florida, 11/16/83)- 6 

4) Ric Flair v. Sting (WCW Sat Night 08/21/93)- 6 

5) Psicosis v. Vic Grimes (XPW Retribution)- 6 

6) Harlem Heat/ Sid v. Ron Simmons/ 2 Cold Scorpio/ Marcus Bagwell (WCW Sat Night 08/21/93)- 6 

7) Bret Hart v. Rick Martel (Copps Coliseum 05/01/89)- 6 

8) Tito Santana v. Jake Roberts (Sam Houston Coliseum 11/26/86)- 5 

9) Rick Rude v. Ultimate Warrior (Copps Coliseum 05/01/89)- 5 

10) Supreme v. Steve Rizzano (XPW Retribution)- 5 

11) Demolition v. Twin Towers (Copps Coliseum)- 5 

12) Dan Spivey v. Moondog Spot (Sam Houston Coliseum)- 4 

13) 16 Man Battle Royal (Copps Coliseum)- 4 
14) Chris Hero v. Trik Davis (30 Min. Iron Man)- 4 
15) British Bulldogs v. Iron Sheik/ Nikolai Volkoff (Sam Houston Coliseum)- 4 

16) Kaos v. Pogo the Clown (XPW Retribution)- 4 

17) Tito Santana v. Mr. Perfect (Copps Coliseum)- 4 

18) Dino Bravo v. Dick Slater (Sam Houston Coliseum)- 4
19) Terry Taylor v. Richard Charland (Copps Coliseum)- 4 

20) Blue Blazer v. Brooklyn Brawler (Copps Coliseum)- 3 

21) Manabu Nakanishi/ Takao Omori v. Giant Bernard/ Karl Anderson (NJ)- 3 

22) XPW 3 Way - 3 

23) Super Dragon v. Disco Machine (XPW Retribution)- 3 

24) Charlie Norris v. Rage (WCW Sat Night)- 3

25) Honky Tonk v. Jim Powers (Copps)- 3 

26) Mike Rotundo v. Moondog Rex (Sam Houston)- 3

27) Young Bucks v. Cutler Brothers - 3 

28) Sandman v. Johnny Webb (XPW Retribution)- 3 

29) Vader v. jobber (WCW Sat Night)- 2 

30) Butch Reed v. Steve Gatorwolf (Sam Houston)- 2 

31) One Man Gang v. Mike Fever/ Denny Brown/ Hector Guerrero (Florida)- 2 

32) Greg Valentine v. Hillbilly Jim (Copps)- 2 

33) Konan v. Damien Steele (XPW)- 2 

34) Equalizer v. Ron Steele (Sat Night)- 2 

35) Randy Savage v. Junkyard Dog (Sam Houston)- 2
36) Johnny B Badd v. Mike Thor (Sat Night)- 1 

37) Ice Train v. Rage (Sat Night)- 1

The Good:
Wow, the New Japan tag, for me at least, soared above everything else. These guys worked hard, even in their rest hold segments. Just perfect roles for each team, the veteran bullies, the standout newcomers, and the last few minutes with all the nearfalls felt very AJW mid 90's and an awesome finish. Billy v. Jumbo was a 2/3 falls bout that went back and forth, both guys testing the other one's mettle as far as scientific skills. Even though finishes didn't seem as important back then, the ones they used were believable and I liked the back and forth pace they kept. I'd watched Barry v. Bass before and it's just as fun and bloody here as it was then. Some awesome punches were thrown, liked the gritty outside brawl they did and both men bled buckets. Still creeps me out when Bass goes bareback on Windham's scrawny ass after the match but i guess it's healthier than mounting an unsuspecting sheep back on Bass' farm. Flair v. Sting was a marathon, nearly 40 minutes, and it was filled with stupendous work from two guys that know each so well. That being said, at times it didn't feel like the match really was telling a story, it was just two old rivals wrestling their butts off. The finish stank something awful, and there were a lot of repeat spots but overall both these guys brought it and did more than most could with the slot they had here.

XPW gets on the board with their opener to this horrid show, with a major mismatch of styles but somehow it works. Grimes is a very good worker, he works hard, makes everything look real and hurty, and Psicosis blew way less spots than he usually does. Liked how they kept upping the ante of finishers near the end. This moved higher up due to sheer surprise of how well it worked. The following 6 man clicked on many levels, the Heat were in the prime of their career and they were going all out against their opponents. Sid looked very competent as a monster and Simmons was fun butting horns with him. This got some time too and allowed the two tag teams to really showcase the kind of 2 on2 match they could have inside the confines of this.  Martel v. Hart was a great technical battle of two Canadians that also got some time but wasn't your usual ride the mat match; they actually broke out some great spots. Santana v. Roberts was a battle of two of WWF's greatest hands throughout the 80's and while not flashy or flamboyant, it did provide a solid 20 minutes of in ring action where both men showed their strengths; Jake playing mind games and Titos' headlock/dropkick showcase. Rude v. Warrior was a standard match they were having at the time, which means it was some of Warrior's career best. Rude just breaks himself like a Twix bar for all of Warrior's stuff and that classic back selling was there in spades.  Surprisingly I find this bout on my final top 10 spot, Supreme who is the living embodiment of Humpty Dumpty takes too many gnarly and flesh shredding bumps to recount as Corino-wannabe (how pathetic is that) Rizzano and his male boyfriend continuously drop Supreme into those piles of garbage.

The Bad:

I'll comment on some of the stinkers here, Konnan v. Steele was abysmal, Konnan was trying to get spots off like Teddy Hart with no rhyme or reason while Steele did bump big for them, Konnan's work ethic was nil at this point. Equalizer is Dave Sullivan who really had no business being on TV in an athletic role. Savage v. Dog was actually the main event of this show in Houston and boy did it disappoint. Lots of stalling, lots of posturing and less physical contact than Stallone's sex scene in "Demolition Man." Badd's squash wasn't bad per se, but it was extremely short and he didn't particularly look like good in it, which if the job guy is shit, at least try to make yourself look good, which he didn't. Ice Train did 2 moves here, which says it all.

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