vs. AKIRA MAEDA - NEW JAPAN 6/12/86:
(by POGO PETE STEIN)
I was going to go into this match in a lot more detail before Gabriel Sanchez of the CBVR - you know, one of the guys Foghat wouldn't even take - and John D. Bockwinkel started cutting promos on each other on RSPW-M over the circumstances surrounding it. ("Expletive deleted. Nine minutes have been deleted from this match.") The whole match is like a Rocky movie as the magnificent bastard Maeda kicks the shiznit out of strong-style defender Fujinami and works over all of his body parts, but Fujinami takes all of it like a man and refuses to go down to the upstart. Maeda is just a MACHINE, even busting out an Exploder on Fujinami at one point, and the crowd is insanely rabid for all of this from bell to bell. They have to improvise a finish after Fujinami gushes blood from a Maeda kick gone awry, and a double-KO just doesn't cut it considering that both were fine and dandy less than a minute earlier. That said, this is just an incredible match that still holds up 13 years later... take away the Jazzercise-attired flower girls and folks'll be none the wiser. And how does a guy scam a copy of Maeda's theme music?
vs. EL SAMURAI - NEW JAPAN- 6/5/97:
(by PHIL SCHNEIDER)
This match was 1997 match of the year and was one of the top five juniors matches ever. The thing that stands out in this match immediately is the big bump El Samurai takes on the reverse hurricanrana: Samurai lands directly on his head and neck, in one of the nastiest bumps you will ever see. However, the really standout thing in this match - and the part that outlives the initial shock of the big bumps - was the level of intensity and stiffness in the mat wrestling and the strikes. The kicks in this match were as stiff as any BattlArts match, and they had an especially nice long mat section, with big stretching on all the moves, at one point El Samurai had on a Rings of Saturn and he nearly had Kanemoto’s elbows touching. Koji worked on the knee the entire match and really got over the submission attempts. Koji was also a spectacular cock, tossing the ref around, slapping Samurai, putting Samurai in a kneebar and flipping him off and such. The big moves at the end were damn big, and the crowd was going nuts. Great wild match, with all the neck death of an All Japan match with the added bonus of tons of mat wrestling.
KERRY and KEVIN
VON ERICH vs. CHRIS ADAMS/GINO HERNANDEZ- WCCW "NO DQ" Hair Match (10/6/85)
(by PHIL RIPPA)
The end of a great feud. Hair vs. Hair. Old school 80's wrestling. The Cotton Bowl. All the makings of a classic WCCW match. One of the Von Erichs best matches as a tag team (Kevin ruled; Kerry was horrible). All you kids who didn't get to see the magic of master heel Gino Hernandez, run out and find as much WCCW as you can. Beg borrow and steal for it. And make sure you get this match because Chris Von Erich does the one cool thing in his whole worthless life as he prevents the heels from leaving the ring after the match.
BOY DOUG SOMERS/PLAYBOY BUDDY ROSE vs. THE MIDNIGHT ROCKERS - AWA Tag Title
(by REV RAY DUFFY)
This is a really brutal tag match. I remember watching this on tv and wincing with how bad the Rocker's where getting beat up. If you're going to watch any thing with Buddy Rose, you've got two choices : this match or the infamous "Blow Away" commercial from Saturday Night's Main Event. This is really a nothing fancy match as Somers and Rose aren't exactly the most dynamic offensive team in the world. In fact, Doug Somers is so Vanilla, I can't think of single move of his that sticks out. It starts off with Michaels getting posted early on and playing Ricky Morton face in peril as Somers and Rose punch him and stomp him in the face and generally cut off any near tags, working the crowd into a frenzy. After about 10 minutes, Michaels matches the tag and Somers blades following two post shots. Jannetty then bleeds following some biting and punching. Jannetty goes out of his way to top the previous 3 blade jobs. We get a ref bump and Jannetty gets killed as Rose drops him stomach first on a set up chair. The locker room clears after Somers and Rose go nuts and start being on Michaels two on one. Post match, the faces try to hold back Michaels who chases after Rose and ends up bleeding on the camera. It was a great way to launch the feud between the young Midnight Rockers and the tag champs. The other great thing about this was that the Rockers continued to sell the beating from this match a few weeks afterwards.
GARZA vs. HIJO DEL SANTO/SCORPIO JR/BESTIA SALVAJE - EMLL 11/96
The grudge match coming off Santito's unthinkable rudo turn the previous week, and the tecnicos are out for his blood. This is the Brawl With It All - ungodly heat (when Santo hits the ring and mockingly blows kisses to the crowd, even the piss-poor Televisa audio mix can't hide the fact that these folks would like nothing better than to see his ass on a platter), insane violence (Santo rips a set of ringside chairs off its moorings so he can level a bloodied Dandy with them) and perhaps the ultimate death-for-your-pleasure highspot (Garza tries a Shooting Star Press to the floor and accidentally invents the German Air Show Senton in the process). Dr. Morales marks out about a half-dozen times, the crowd is at a froth the whole time, Bestia is in tears at the end and Negro LAUGHS IN HIS FACE like a maniac. Unbelievably intense and dramatic. American bookers should be strapped in their chairs and forced to watch this Clockwork Orange-style to see how to book revenge matches.
GUERRERA vs. EL VOLADOR/EL MEXICANO: 1/22/96 -AAA
One of the most beautiful and graceful matches - mostly because El Volador was such a great, great graceful high-flyer - before he ground his knee into oatmeal. Juventud is the perfect freaked-out foil as he sells the high-end in-ring lucha armdrags and headscissors of El Volador while whipping out his arsenal of cool ass suplexes. Psic was knee-deep in Sabu worship at this point in his career but reels himself in to do wads of great straight lucha to augment the psychotic highspots he brings to the table. Poor Mexicano is amazingly smoked in this, but to his credit, doesn't drag down the proceedings because he wrestles over his head for a caida and stays out of the way for the rest. El Volador does a Full Extention Overhead Armdrag into a slide that still ranks as one of the most beautful and graceful things I've ever seen in wrestling.
WARRIOR/KEVIN QUINN/SILVER KING/EL SATANICO/DR. WAGNER JR/SCORPIO JR/EL
HIJO DEL SANTO vs. MASCARA MAGICA/SHOCKER/EL DANDY/ULTIMO DRAGON/ATLANTIS/BRAZO
DE ORO/NEGRO CASAS/LA FIERA- EMLL
An elimination tag which is a showcase for the beauty of Lucha Libre mat wrestling, we have a 20 minute section of the match before the first elimination where the luchadores pair off and take it to the mat like motherfuckers. Santo and Casas heat up that hottest feud in wrestling, Satanico and Atlantis bust it up old school, Ultimo Dragon makes the usually worthless Scorpio Jr. (posesser of the ganckiest back acne in the world) look kingsized, Silver King makes the tubby Oro look brilliant and Black Warrior and El Dandy exchange dandinos in some of the most breathtaking mat work I have ever seen. Then the match kicks it into high gear, as eliminations start coming, Shocker hits a tope where he goes completely vertical, and Felino turns Technico by eliminating four wrestlers to win the match. Nearly an hour of great wrestling and one of the best matches ever in Mexico.
vs. RICKY STEAMBOAT - Wrestlemania III
For along time, this was the best match that I had ever seen. I rewatched it recently as I stumbled across it on a tape I was indexing for Dean. It was probably the first time I had watched the match in easily 10 years and it really withstands the test of time. The blinding pace that this match takes place at is unbelievable. There were something like 9000 armdrags each one of them ruling in their own way. I still don't like the George Steele interference but at least his hairy ass wasn't in the match. Savage used to really rule.
LYGER vs. EL SAMURAI- NEW JAPAN-6/93
This match was the final of the 1993 Top of the Super Junior tourney and arguably the best junior match of all time. The hate was what made this match, it all fine for a stoic battle of great athletes but good old fashioned disgust will take the cake. El Samurai starts by slapping Liger in the face and proceeds to rip his mask, spit on him and give him some super nasty right crosses. Liger responds by shotaying the bejezeezus out of El and tearing his ugly silver mask completely off (which did him a favor fashion wise although it did expose his hideous mullet). This match also had some world class flying with Liger rocking out with the top rope senton to the floor on the prone Samurai, and a Orihara moonsault, while Samurai busted out the playeristic tope-con-hilo which he really needs to start doing again. This match had it all and is worlds better then the current no-selling intensive NJ Juniors stuff.
THE FUNKS vs.
BRUISER BRODY/JIMMY SNUKA - AJ 12/13/81 (RWTL FINAL)
"Oh! Stan Hansen da! STAN HANSEN GA SECONDO DESU NE!" Those words send shockwaves throughout the Japanese wrestling scene as Hansen makes his surprise debut with All Japan, seconding Brody and Snuka scant days after working for New Japan in *their* tag league final. What people tend to forget is that the match itself is really damn good, starting slow and picking up at the 10-minute mark as Terry hits a fucking PLANCHA to the floor on Snuka. Things settle back down after a brief foray into the crowd by Terry and Brody, and the Funks start to work over Snuka's knee setting up Dory's spinning toehold. Brody tosses Terry to the floor... and in one of the most famous moments in puroresu history, Hansen nukes Terry with the Lariat. "TERRY DOWN!" Dory has to go it alone, and despite juicing Brody he soon falls to the King Kong kneedrop and Brody and Snuka take the RWTL. They start to work over Dory some more, which leads Baba and Jumbo to make the save for Dory, and Hansen shows he's already a company man by immediately juicing for the BABA CHOP. Hey Koshinaka, jump in and make the save! You too, Misawa! All Japan will never be the same, as Hansen sets himself up for a 15-year run as a headliner with AJ, thanks to his actions here.
vs. SHINOBU KANDORI - DREAMSLAM 1 AJW- 4/2/93
Wild match which was the highlight of the multipromotional Dreamslam cards. Sort of a weird blend of an FMW streetfight and a BattlArts match, as this is match that has piledrivers on tables and springboard tope-con-hilos along with judo chokes and armbars. Of course, what makes this match stand out is the level 16 blade job by Hokuto, who gets cut too deep by Wally Yamaguchi and sprays blood all over the ring, but this wasn't just a gore fest (gore fests are usually consigned to the Other Stuff you should see category) this had loads of great wrestling in it. Kandori's rep in Japan is as a virtually unbeatable legit badass, and Hokuto played the underdog. This match was super stiff with Hokuto delivering some nasty spin kicks, and Kandori delivering some real stiff punches, then ending was just top drawer, with Hokuto and Kandori busting out loads of wrestling moves (Northern Lights bombs, powerbombs, armbars etc.) and when those moves don't put their opponent away, they just start exchanging punches to the face, with Akira breaking out a super nasty one to finally get the win.
MACHINE ART BARR vs. EL HIJO DEL SANTO/ OCTAGON: Masks v. Hair -
AAA When World Collide PPV
This was the first real lucha show I had ever seen and it took this one match to make me an Eddy Guerrero fan and an Art Barr fan. Despite the fact that the PPV is in LA, the red, white and blue clad super dicks draw almost unparralled hate from the fans. Topped off with Art rattling the fan's cages even more by doing "the swim" and assorted other cheap heat tactics to whip the Mexican fans into a frenzy. Eddy almost lawn darts Santo as he rana's him off of Art's shoulders and then they put away Octagon with a superplex followed by the measuring stick of Frog Splashes by Barr. Santo and Octagon rally hitting a great double tope. The psychology comes into play as Santo gets pinned, putting him out of the second fall and thus the whole legacy of the Santo family is in the hands of his partner who rallies to keep the team alive. The final falls starts out with a mix of stuff, Eddy uses Santo's finisher on him, Octagon saves, Santo goes for it and Barr saves. Eddy busts out his father's Gorry Special. Eddy and Art attempt the sterio topes which ends up with Eddy faceplanting on the floor. Barr tombstones Octagon rendering him DEAD for the rest of the match. Santo gets killed by Gringos double teams until a miscue and Barr's arch rival Blue Panther runs in and kills him with a piledriver, evening the score and leaving it down to the second generation wrestlers settling the score with each other. Eddy busts out the New Japan Juniors offense but can only get two counts. Eddy's suplexes attempts are eventually blocked and Santo rolls up Eddy as Barr says "where am I?", and the Gringos lose their hair. It's sad that Barr would die shortly after this as with his skills at drawing heat, you've got to wonder what whould have happened had he made it to New Japan and ECW like he was supposed to. Also present at the match was the late Louie Spicolli. You can also listen to Mike Tenay of the past, the one that could and was allowed to actually call matches.
vs. CHINO SATO - 1/4/80 -AJ Junior Title Decision Match
Rimi becomes Jaguar later and she REALLY rules it in this match - and, actually, in about every other match she was ever in, up to her last match in Jd'. Chino Sato is mean as heck and rules it hard in this match (maybe she's a younger Jackie Sato- who besides Tim Whitehead could be sure? :-) ) This match is a freaky and great. At some points, it's just magnificently old school to the point where it looks like they were both in a trance and channeling Dory Funk Jr - as they exchange Indian Deathlocks and PRESSURE HOLDS and work out of armbars and headlocks and - just when you think it can't get anymore Old School Extraorinaire! - Rimi whips out the pinnacle of Old School - The Standing Head Scissors - and, of course, I popped like a monkey. Just when you thought that these two were simply perfecting a basic Steve Muzzlin - Boris Malenko match, Chino throws Rimi into the stands and Rimi does a somersault over the first two rows to land blindly on her head - thus taking an insane bump that wouldn't become commonplace for another FIFTEEN years. After Rimi takes a rolling shoulderblock to the stomach while standing on the apron, they go to the OTHER section, showing where Jaguar took wrestling into the modern age by taking flight and by hitting primitive suplexes. Chino actually hits a swanky powerbomb to do her part. Inbetween all this, quarternelsons for the pinfall attempt were the rule of the day just to keep it real in the EIGHT OH. Rimi was a MASTER of both the old and the new aspects of wrestling at an early age and that's why she was probably the best wrestler we will ever see. Jaguar probably shows this match to all her students to show them how to bump to get a match over, how to effectively set up a big finish, and basically how to wrestle like an incomparable QUEEN.
FIT FINLAY vs.
STEVE REGAL - WCW Saturday Night
Anytime you could get Tony and Dusty to stop talking about the NWO, there is magic in the air. This match is Gold! Pure Gold BABY! Dusty starts screaming that this is his favorite match. That comes right when Regal delivers the world's most vicious clothesline. This match is much better than the parking lot brawl because they don't pan away from the carnage. I remember Phil and I having a long discussion on who we would rather have in a bar fight - Regal and Finlay. Can't go wrong in with either, in my opinion.
NANIWA/GRAN HAMADA/TMIV/MASATO YAKUSHIJI vs. DICK TOGO/ MEN'S TEIOH/SHIRYU/TAKA
MICHINOKU/SHOICHI FUNAKI - MPRO 10/10/96
I'd be lying if I told you that Spot-Fu was my cup of tea... that said, this is perhaps the greatest Spot-Fu match of all time. The fun begins before the match even starts as the babyfaces get individual intros before Kaientai DX say "Screw it!" and roll out en masse to their cool-as-living-fuck theme. What follows is 30+ minutes of lucharesu fireworks as all 10 guys throw out every single highspot in the book for the city slickers in Tokyo. K-DX was never cooler than they were here, and Sasuke can take pride in the fact that they had a big house legit and didn't have to darken Sumo Hall like JWP, Tokyo Pro and Battlarts were forced to do.
EL HIJO DEL SANTO- AAA- 6/4/95
Great lucha singles match, probably the best Psicosis match ever. Most of the great Psic matches depend on huge bumps and crazy highspots, this match was mostly on the mat, and Psicosis hung with Santo. Meanwhile, Santo out highspots Psicosis hitting a tope, a plancha and a flying tope-con-hilo on a prone Psicosis. The first fall rules, with both guys rocking it on the mat, and Psicosis getting a submission with Santos camel clutch. These two have had a bunch of great singles matches, and I think they meld even better then Rey Jr. and Psicosis.
vs. DUMP MATSUMOTO - Hair vs. Hair 8/28/85- ALL JAPAN WOMEN
BOY! This is whole lot of blood! There never was a more perfect allegorical representation of good and evil so tailor-made for so specific an audience and the astounding amount of heat is the result. All Japan Women in 1985 was all for teenage schoolgirls and- in their collective eyes- Dump Matsumoto is the embodiment of percieved womanly evil: grotesque, corrupted, corrupting, amoral, violent, hate-filled, powermad- TOTALLY DRUNK ON THE BLOOD OF EVIL! She was motherfucking great in this role. Her entourage of slutty evil henchwomen- Bulldozer Nakano, Crane Yu,- personified each schoolgirls future if Dump takes over in their lives- defiled, debased, subservient to the grotesque, the hideous, the violent. Dump represents the taking of the virtuous and turning it into evil- with the beauty of a young Bull Nakano creeping through the mohawk and cheap mascara drives the point home. Chigusa is perfect as the virtuous defender of all that virginal as she fights the dragon called Dump and her hoary minions. Chigusa- with Lioness as her virtuous second- really fights like a motherfucker and the toll is astounding as Chigusa hits the first of her several hundred world-class bladejobs to bring the whole hellish BLOODfeud to true fruition. The psychological and deep psycho-sexual undertones of these matches make them some of the most fascinating matches in the history of wrestling. The symbolism. the allegory, the blood, the violence- it all taps into a part of what it means to come of age and the journey to Womanhood and all these other things that I don't understand- but was hitting the schoolgirl audience full-on in the face and they understood it perfectly. I think this match was the first time Chigusa understood the power of wrestling as an artform in expressing the unlying anxiety of being an woman in a patriarchial sport in an oppressively partriarchial society- and she uses this power fully in her bizarro Mid-South-Bill-Watts-as-quasilesbianic- messiah booking of GAEA. Great stuff, this. Someone should write a term paper on this angle.
EXPRESS (Lane/Eaton) vs. THE FANTASTICS (Rogers/Fulton) : US Tag
Title Match, Clash of the Champions I
Ahhhhh... Clash of the Champions, the NWA's free tv answer to Wrestlemania. Then Hulkamania would come to town and it would be suck-fest city. Clash I actually had a lot of cool stuff on it, like a barbed wire match on free tv... TBS! Family entertainment at it's finest! The Express have quite a bit of a following in Greensborough. This one turns into a pretty mean brawl as the chair shots and table shots come a plenty. The Fantastics were still pretty new to the territory at this point, but had pulled off a few "upset" wins over the Express to establish enough hate for one another. The Express start double teaming as they were the masters of it and get in cheap shots on Rogers who gets to play Ricky Morton. Rogers gets slammed and bulldogged on a table at ringside. You get your manditory 80's "he made the tag, the ref didn't see it. Frustrated with the Midnights and Cornette interfering, Fulton tosses Randy "Pee Wee" Anderson over the top rope and the Fantastics hit the Midnight's Rocket Launcher to get a three count, only to have themselves DQed. You see, hitting a referee is illegal... and the NWA had that over the top rope rule. To tope it off, the Midnights lay into the Fantastics as Cornette doles out the racket shots topped off with Fulton getting lashed. Dusty-fied ending, but still a pretty great match. JR and Tony Shiavone call the match.... and Tony calls moves!
ONO VS. SATOSHI YONEYAMA/ALEXANDER OTSUKA- BATTLARTS- SAMURAI! TV debut
This was the first TRULY great match to come out of BattlARTS as Ikeda finally perfected the style that he wanted the promotion to use. He toned down the overly-esoteric shootstyle sections or simply used them as a vehicle for a pro-style psychological element and then kicked up the strongstyle and US Pro-style elements to the point that it became the first truly realized Postmodern Pro wrestling style- in that it synthesized whole elements of three styles and synthesized them to the point that they were usually pretty seamless. The match itself is a nigh perfect as the stiffness is fricking amazing and the effortless switching from shootstyle to strong style to US Pro style is really cool- like listening to Game Theory for the first time or something. The ending is fucking AMAZING as Ikeda and Otsuka try to see how much punishment each can take in a worked setting as they try to knock each other out by pounding the living crap out of each other. Harrowingly great.
THE GREAT SASUKE/BLACK
TIGER vs. SHINJIRO OHTANI/WILD PEGASUS- NEW JAPAN- Top of the Super Juniors
tag league 1994
This is set up with some mic work where Eddy Tiger dedicates the match to the Japanese people. Ohtani's interview looks like he's more interested in his fishing date with Misawa than the upcoming final. This starts as a 4 way brawl as Benoit goes over Tiger and Sasuke and Tiger are more than happy to brawl with them. Ohtani gets beat up for a bit and gets chaired for being such a puss boy. Tiger and Sasuke give Ohtani the Rocker-plex and start busting out the double teams. Ohtani survives the intial beating to get in a springboard plancha before playing dead in the corner. Eddy's in full rudo mode with a lot of little dickish moves, including coming in and giving Benoit the old fashion Moe Eye Poke as he's got Sasuke in a surfobard. Sasuke and Ohtani bust out the million pin and counters spot. Benoit suplexes the fudge out of Sasuke with Tiger breaking up the near falls. Ohtani drop kicks Sasuke off of Benoit's shoulders. Ohtani goes after Tiger after numerous pin saves allowing Sasuke to get back on the offensive. This match is a lot of fun as it's little things like Benoit who's in a half crab making a tag to Ohtani and then tying up Sasuke's leg so he can't defend himself or tag so Ohtani can nail him. Ohtani plays totally limp dead after a top rope frankensteiner and Tiger puts him in the Gory Lock and tags to Sasuke who jumps off the top rope and nails him with a double ax handle. Benoit bounces Sasuke's head off the canvas a few times with some powerbombs. Finish starts to build as Ohtani starts going down the murder's row of Tiger finishers. Benoit answers by suplexing Sasuke to the floor and later stepping away from a Quebrada attempt so Sasuke finds nothing but floor. Benoit and Ohtani attempt the rana off the partner's shoulders and pretty much kill themselves doing it, but it leads to win for Pegasus and Ohtani.
VADER vs. CACTUS
JACK - WCW Saturday Night 1993
"The Potato Incident". Vader hits Jack with something like 27 potato shots, each caught by the extreme closeups of the WCW camera work. The crowd gets hotter and hotter as Jack keeps coming back from the pummeling. Vader, who was World Champ at the time, sells a big bunch to make everything even better. The roof finally blows off the joint as Mr. Foley gets the countout win. Vader and Harley Race go nuts over the fact that Jack won so Vader, while destroying the set, challenges Jack to a rematch next week. That match would be the one were they do the "powerbomb heard round the world".
vs. BILL DUNDEE - CWA 10/19(or 12/30?)/85
One of the best brawls Memphis ever produced, which is saying something. No-DQ, no time-limit, Southern title on the line, Lawler leaves town if he loses and Dundee AND HIS WIFE get cue-balled if *he* loses. Tony Falk had attacked Lawler earlier in the night and tossed ink, hair-remover or some other foreign substance du jour in Lawler's eyes, and so Dundee stays just in Lawler's blind sight and whales away on him for the first several minutes, even bumping the ref just because it's no-DQ and he can. So there. Lawler finally catches Dundee clowning around and levels him, takes him outside and sends him into the famous Memphis ringside table. They wade into the crowd and brawl up the stairs, where Dundee sends Lawler over the guardrail and Lawler takes this insane horizontal bump 10 feet to the floor. Lawler somehow makes his way back to ringside (by smell?) and drops his strap so you KNOW Dundee's a dead man now. Lawler drops Dundee (gotta love the Mempho crowd with those "OOOOOH!" pops everytime the heel takes a punch), but Falk gives Dundee the stuff he threw in Lawler's eyes before. Dundee is on target with it, and one three-count later Lawler has to leave Memphis. Fantastic brawl with a beautiful storyline, done back when Lawler could still go and the Superstar was still at the top of his game.
vs. NOBOHIKO TAKADA- NEW JAPAN- 4/29/96
This match was the climax of the UWFI v. New Japan feud and was one of the biggest money matches of all time. The match itself was excellent, though short and was quite a show of both men's versitility. Takada had won the IWGP title and Hashimoto was attempting to return it to New Japan so the drama was built-in. The psychology of the match was pretty simple: Takada wanted to knock out Hashimoto with kicks, while Hashimoto wanted to hit his brainbuster, both men used counters, Hashimoto countering a Takada high kick with a brutal leg sweep, and Takada countering the brainbuster with a Fujiwara armbar. Takada got some close falls with submissions, however after several tries Hashimoto hit the nasty brainbuster and immediately slapped on a triangle choke for the tap out. They never had a rematch, as Takada left New Japan after this show. It was interesting to watch how both men adapted to the styles of their opponent, with Takada using more pro style moves (back suplex, boston crab) and Hashimoto worked a shootstyle match (no pin attempts, submission based.)
vs MAYUMI OZAKI (Barbed Wire Match)- 4/8/97- FRONTIER MARTIAL ARTS WRESTLING
Megumi Kudo was just GREAT at streetfights- a reg'lar distaff Cactus Jack but with a gorgeous face and actual wrestling ability. Mayumi Ozaki is the best garbage wrestler in the world so this was an absolutely gorgeous streetfight. Ozaki bedecked in her Navy Seal T-shirt and ripped up jeans takes it to the mat, hits the suplexes and goes face first into the barbed-wire like a MOTHERFUCKING QUEEN. Oddly bell-bottom bedecked Megumi Kudo, who wasn't as technically adept as Ozaki, makes up for it bringing what she brought to every match she was ever in: an amount of toughness that was in direct correlation to the amount of HOTness she possessed- and goll knows Kudo was hotter than all living hell. This was TRUE Russ Meyeresque feminine archtypical sexuality and violence combined in a dizzying mish-mash of terror and hatred and other stuff that elude me as the coolness of the match washes over me. Ozaki is fucking awesome and Kudo was almost as awesome. Definiteley the best Women's match ever in FMW. Definately disturbing unless you are used to Joshi Puroresu levels of violence and mayhem taken to the extreme unladylike level. It's all very liberating and arty when you think about. This match is fricking great.
Oyez oyez! Hail to thee, gentle and discerning reader, and welcome to the Celebratory Studmuffin Centenial that is Death Valley Driver Video Review 100! Reunited, and it feels so good, the only choice for the best in pro-graps and straight-up ass-kicking, often imitated by those who have never fornicated, the Death Valley PLAYBOYZ stand united in honor of this momentous occasion in online history! So grab a single-malt and push your way through the mob of celebrants (Hey lady, we’ve got a ‘pasties’ law in this state, so cover up! No, I don’t care if your kid is a moderator or not!) as The World’s Sexiest Neurobiologist drops no less than *10* mixed martial-arts matches on ya, each one a masterpiece in its own right and collectively comprising a compilation of fights YA GOTTA SEE!
Let me state then, that these fights are by no means ‘in order’ of quality, but rather a collective compilation of matches significant for both the efforts of the combatants and the overall significance of the match in MMA lore.
ROYCE GRACIE v KIMO (UFC3, 9/9/94)
The Fight: Kimo enters the ring literally ‘on the cross’, dragging the enormous prop to the Octagon before prostrating himself in prayer. Kimo is led to the ring by the infamous Joe Son, who gained notoriety both for using his scrotum as a speed bag in UFC4 and for starring as ‘Random Task’ in the first Austin Powers movie. Kimo’s background is listed as TKD, home of flashy and useless Hollywood-style kicking, but once the bell rings, Kimo charges in maniacally and grabs hold of a shocked Royce. Kimo easily overpowers Gracie and has him pinned to the fence while Gracie desperately tries to protect himself. Gracie manages to drag Kimo into the guard, but Kimo is so powerful that Gracie’s ground technique can barely put a dent in Kimo’s assault; Kimo lands a few fierce punches and seems to be impervious to Royce’s previously dominant BJJ skills. Royce suddenly finds the opening that he’s looking for, in the form of Kimo’s well-groomed topknot/ponytail, which happens to make an excellent handle for Royce to grab on to. From the guard, Gracie uses the leverage of the hair (perfectly legal) and his hips and legs to unbalance the agressive Kimo and thwart his offense. After a blistering start, Kimo is visibly winded only 3 minutes into the match, and Gracie gradually takes over. In a flash, Royce has latched on to Kimo’s arm and tugs with all his might against the elbow. Kimo taps, and Gracie gets the win, but at what cost? Royce Gracie is carried from the ring by his family entourage and must withdraw from his next scheduled fight in the tournament against Canadian 'tomato can' Harold Howard. UFC3 thus marks the first Ultimate Fighting Championship tournament that Royce Gracie did NOT win. The entire match went less than 5 minutes of non-stop action.
ROYCE GRACIE v DAN SEVERN (UFC4,
The Fight: Severn immediately asserts his wrestling excellence by fending off a Gracie shoot and managing a double-leg of his own to land squarely in the guard. Severn establishes his base over Gracie, and as the minutes pass, the differences between Severn and Kimo become apparent; Severn’s stamina easily outpaces Kimo’s Hellwig-esque windpower, but Severn is incapible of throwing effective strikes, owing to his years of amatuer wrestling. Rather than punch Gracie in the face, Severn instead slaps his ears and attempts to smother him with his hands. The time ticks by, and although Severn hasn’t inflicted any significant damage to the much smaller Gracie, he easily maintains his position and seems in no danger of relinquishing his dominance. To the vast majority of the American audience who are uneducated to the nuances of MMA, Severn appears to be easily overwhleming the smaller Gracie. 10 minutes in, and this has become the longest fight in the history of the UFC until this point, with neither man showing signs of fatigue or distress. Severn continues to control the ground action and throw weak strikes, while Gracie skillfully uses his guard to keep Severn from overwhelming him with power. At the 13 minute mark, Royce’s legs begin to creep up on Severn’s back as ‘The Beast’ continues to scoot the smaller man across the mat. Suddenly, Gracie grabs one of Severn’s posted arms and locks his legs around the arm and neck, creating a powerful vice grip on the neck. Severn rears back to extricate himself, and must be absolutely astonished to find that he cannot. Gracie continues to apply the pressure, and Severn is left with no other choice but to tap out. The triangle choke makes its UFC debut at 13:49, and Royce Gracie is once again the undefeated, undisputed UFC champion.
TOM ERIKSON vs. MURILLIO
BUSTAMANTE (MARS, 11/22/96):
THE FIGHT: When Erikson wants to take the
fight to the ground, he does. Bustamante has no hope of countering
Erikson’s jackhammer shoot or Greco Roman power. So the fight goes
to the ground early and stays there with Erikson in the guard. And
as the minutes tick by, the big Boilermaker still looks fresh, landing
sporadic short blows to the face, but Bustamante in unfazed. In fact,
it soon becomes apparent that Erikson has no great advantage on the ground
against the skillful defensive guard of the smaller Brazilian! Bustamante
is so adroit at using his hips and feet to maneuver his opponent that he’s
landing solid blows of his own, *from his back*, against a world-class
wrestler who outweighs him by at least 50lbs. As the fight approaches
20 minutes, Erikson is growing frustrated by his inability to successfully
‘ground and pound’ this fuzzy little bastard, but he’s doing favorably
in the war of attrition. Erikson tries to pass the guard on at least
20 occasions, but can never maintain an advantageous position for long
before falling back into the guard. At 30 minutes, there is a break,
with a 10 minute overtime to follow. Bustamante’s face is battered by Erikson’s
clubbing blows, but remains confidant. Erikson flings Bustamante
to the ground, but winds up in the dreaded guard again. In an amazing turn
of fortune, Tom Erikson, one of the most feared wrestlers in the world
of MMA, simply stands up, takes a step backwards, and dares Murillio to
follow him to his feet! Just think about this for a moment - one
of the best wrestlers in the world, a man who had been utterly dominant
on three separate continents, is REFUSING TO WRESTLE with a man he outweighs
by more than 70lbs! Bustamante grins from his back and slowly butt-scoots
towards Erikson, beckoning the big American to try his luck in the guard
again, but Big Tom stands still as a statute, his hands raised in the classic,
‘Put up your dukes’ pose. Finally, Bustamante clambers to his feet,
but immediately collapses as Erikson closes in. Erikson clearly wants
Bustamante to stand so that he can utilize his Greco-Roman background and
fling the smaller man to the ground, hopefully landing outside the dreaded
Bustamante guard. Bustamante has no intention of allowing the bigger
man to flip him like a pancake, and flops to the canvas at the first sign
of danger. As the minutes tick by, Erikson suddenly develops a strategy.
Bustamante can butt-scoot to his heart’s content, but Big Tom isn’t going
to be drawn into a groundfight. Instead, Erikson shoots in on the
prone Brazilian, lands a few clubbing strikes to the head, and quickly
backs out to his feet. After several minutes of this draining hit-and-run,
Bustamante is clearly showing the wear and tear of a good whoopin’ on his
handsome Brazilian visage. As the clock expires for the 10 minute
overtime, the giant Erikson looks winded, but unscathed, while the smaller
Bustamante has serious swelling on the left side of his face from those
repeated flurries. After 40 minutes of grueling competition, MARS
wisely decides there is only one possible outcome for these proud warriors.
A draw is announced, but Erikson, clearly in awe of Murillio’s magnificent
technique, holds the Brazilian’s hand up to the cheers of an appreciative
crowd. One of the most phenomenal displays of dueling techniques
ever placed on display in the history of MMA, this match is an absolute
jewel for the serious connoisseur of the fighting arts.
vs. JERRY LYNN: GWF Light Heavyweight Championship Final '92:
Ah, '92, when a young man named Shawn Waltman looked like he weight all of 100 pounds and would kill himself for your pleasure because he hadn't taken 50 concussions yet. They take it to the mat early but then it turns into Kid kicking Lynn right in the face and Lynn countering with a dragon screw. This gets pretty bump intensive for a match of this time as Kid gets drop kicked off the apron to the floor and takes a pescado. Then, not to be topped, Kid does a tope about 15 feet from the post to a stage. Since it's a Global match, we get our manditory ref bump as Kid hits a off the top rope somersault body attack to take out Lynn and the ref to lead to the Kid using a chain to knock out Lynn for the win. This is fun to see as for the time, it's not something you'd see in the US. Kid was a great high flyer until the concussions and neck injuries caught up with him. Lynn was solid back then, but would get better with age.
vs. JUMBO TSURUTA- 6/8/90 - ALL JAPAN
Jumbo was SUCH a surly bastard as he was winding down his time at the top of All Japan and was LIVING UP TO the fricking legend that he had become in this- the first All Japan match I ever saw. Misawa is all about the Tiger Mask II offense that had just demasked from and was merely taking really stupid highflying bumps- like the dropkick off the aporn onto his own head- as opposed to the totally retarded Memory-Destroying skullbusting bumps he would get into later in his career. Misawa is also the surly young dick in this when he gets in the cheapshot slap to the face after a break (the legendary stoicism would set in later). Jumbo was a heavyweight that so good that he is the standard all heavyweights should be compared to. At his best, he was Old School, stiff as all hell and he swarmed over a match- dictating a perfect pace and telling beautiful, elaborate stories. Jumbo is definately a fucking one man slaughterhouse in the beginning of this- as he hits fat ass elbows and knee drops and suplexes and lariats. The story of this seemed pretty simple at the beginning of the match- old guard Tsuruta is a heavyweight who must fend off the challenge of quasi-Junior high-flyer New Guard Misawa who is using wacky highflying to baffle the larger, slower wrestler- but this develops into a multi-tiered story of Jumbo's stiffness vs Misawa's high-flying drifting into Misawa needing to hit Jumbo with higher impact moves to somehow contain the mauling offense of Jumbo. Misawa finally makes headway when he hits a crushing ringpost shoulderblock to floor that Jumbo sells like the final offensive transition for Misawa (as in "JUMBO TSURUTA- DEAD AT 44"), and when Jumbo kicks out the crowd is going insane. Jumbo gets back on offense and just starts killing Misawa with his jawbusting High Knees and his MAN-SIZED lariat that was beautiful to see. Wrestling gets no TOUGHER than this. This is MEN wrestling like MEN. This is why I watch pro wrestling and why I've never been afraid for anyone to know it. This is everything good and pure and awesome about pro wrestling. This is possibly the most perfect wrestling match I've ever seen.
TERRY FUNK vs.
ATSUSHI ONITA- FMW- 4/92
Onita has been in dozens of exploding barbed wire matches, they all follow a simple match psychology. Onita takes a hellacious beating, scars himself up, bleeds a ton, makes a big comeback, wins, spits waters, yells on mike, goes into ambulance. This match was a little better then most, because Atsushi drags his back across the barbed wire and opens up some nasty cuts, Funk does his crazy old man selling which rules in small doses, Onita saves a beaten Funk from the ring explosion because of the shared All Japan history or something, and did I mention THAT HE SLICES HIS OWN BACK UP WITH BARBED WIRE? Some decent wrestling psychology with Funk working over the knee for the spinning toe hold, but mostly a worldclass bloodfest. Onita death matches are a must see phenomenon and this is the best.
TENRYU vs. SHINYA
HASHIMOTO: 2nd Round, G-1 Climax Tournament '98
This is a big old batch of fun. This is a whole lotta chops... STIFF chops and Tenryu gets all super grumpy and decides to bring the pain to Elvis Hashimoto who serves up a hunka-hunka-burning chest pain as they just pound on each other. Moves can get old. Stiffness doesn't get old and this match as a result has the potential to age very well. Tenryu decides he's old and the only years he's cutting off are the wearing an adult diaper years so he dives FACE FIRST into Hashimoto leg lariat. Enjoy this and avoid their truly awful J-1 Title match later in the year.
vs. LIONESS ASUKA. 3/26/95. AJW
All Japan Women made their reputation on high workrate matches with lots of high flying action done at a wild pace. Well this ain't that, this is two women beating the every living fuck out of each other, and- call me a sadist- I will take a Lioness Aska punch square to the face over a Manami Toyota missle dropkick six days a week and twice on Sunday. This match was under UFC rules, which appears to just mean that they didn't pull any of their punches. This was wrestling taken to it's extremes, the only thing that seperated this from a real fight was some level of cooperation; every kick, forearm, punch and submission hold was applied with full force and intense malice, there was no artiface. Parts of this match are uncomfortable to watch because the brutality is so complete. Great shootstyle wrestling has a grace to it, this was graceless. By the end of this 22 minute match, both women were bleeding from their mouth. The first part of the match was exchanges of punches and kicks, and then they sprinkled in some knees, and then had a section where they tried to rip each other's joints out , then they had a section were they powerbombed each other right on their heads, and they finished with a Hotta shoot kick which was as legit looking as any worked kick I have ever seen. Amazing match.
vs. KEVIN SULLIVAN - Falls count anywhere - WCW Great American Bash
This was the first great heavyweight bout Benoit ever had- and the fact that he does it by beating the holy dogshit out of total schlub Kevin Sullivan makes it all the more incredible. The great thing is that the amazing degree of sheer violence in this match is pretty much what Sullivan had been trying to pull off his entire career. And it was surprising that he finally found a conduit to bring the TRUE in-ring violence (that he could never muster himself) by booking a feud against an unover Canadian Junior Heavyweight. It was a bit of booking insight by Sullivan that he saw in Benoit an amazing brawling quality that was not present in his prior work and pushed it all towards this match. The key to this match is that Benoit looks legit badass punching Sullivan right in the fucking face so that when Sullivan (who couldn't sell ice water to people in hell) no-sells them, it just makes Sullivan look tough- as opposed to what he usually looked like: a no-selling piece of shit. My favorite part about this match is that it really has the feel to a barroom fight- as they continuously punch each other right in the motherfucking face on their way to each designated spot. The importance of this match is many fold. It set a prototype of what a brawl in the 1990's needs to have to be considered "great"- as it surpassed the gimmicky and overly-contrived brawls in ECW from which this style of match sprang, and it had a gimmickless intensity and violence that only Finlay/Regal, Finlay/Benoit and Hashimoto/Tenryu have achieved through sheer stiffness and toughness. The ECW bouts and the amazingly lesser WWF/WCW hardcore bouts lack the sheer in-ring knowhow of how to convey the sheer violence and hatred that this match impressed upon the viewer- a quality that the three truly great brawls of the 90's also possessed. The other important thing about this match is that it put Benoit in position to be a legitimate heavyweight in the eye's of the US public- a feat that the other New Japan 3 never pulled off. The Amazingly Over Benoit started with this match and hindsight is starting to look twenty-twenty that this was a great move for Benoit's career.
DOS CARAS vs.
THE GREAT SASUKE: Mask Tournament Final : '95
This is pretty insane as the Great Sasuke gets skull fracture #1 of his career. Not content with his first death bump of the tournament (a top rope frankensteiner to the floor in his loss to Gran Naniwa in the first round), Sasuke decides he's going to have Dos powerbomb him off the apron. Now, usually when you see this spot, people will at least have something to break their fall, like maybe a table so they do go directly from the apron to the floor. Well, not our hero Sasuke. Mr. Skull, meet Mr. Floor. Then, after getting his skull cracked on the floor, Sasuke takes ANOTHER powerbomb in ring... but that's not enough boys a girls... he decides to KICK OUT! FUCKIN' INSANE. One more powerbomb seals the deal. You know, there is such a thing as too much commitment to one's job.
vs. KENTA KOBASHI - AJ 7/31/93:
As beautiful as the Hash/Tenryu match from the '98 G1 Climax was for all the stiffness, this IMO is even more beautiful for the variety of attacks used. Kobashi controls the early portion, electrifying the crowd to the point where they're counting along with Joe when Kobashi goes for a pin less than 2 minutes into the match. Stan sells like a champ early, but he finally takes control by sticking his boot in Kobashi's face as he charges into the corner, which results in the left side of Kobashi's face immediately swelling up like a grapefruit. Kobashi rolls to the floor, at which point Stan Misterio Jr. hits a motherfucking TOPE! Kobashi somehow finds the strength to come back, and the rest of the match has the triple-tough veteran and fiery youngster throwing every move they know at each other. The finish is my all-time favorite: Kobashi slams Stan and goes for the moonsault, but Stan recovers and keeps him from going for it. He steps out to the apron and the two trade slaps, headbutts and elbows... at which point Stan absolutely O B L I T E R A T E S Kobashi with an honest-and-for-true Lariat From Hell and gets the pin. You have to hear the reaction when Stan hits it... 16,300 people collectively screaming "Oh my God, he's DEAD!" Most of them don't even bother counting along with Joe when Stan pins him- that's how final this looks. Awe-inspiring.
vs. LEON NEGRO/ULTRAMAN 2000 - AAA - 12/25/95
This match was the highpoint of Extreme Tijuana (there is a star of death match that is rumored to rule even more but no one has a tape). This match was in a barbed wire cage and all four of these nuts weren'r afraid to go face first into the barbed wire multiple times. The meat of the match was good with plenty of guys being strung up in the barbed wire, but the real fun is post match. Haloween lights a barbed wire baseball bat on fire an starts hitting Ultraman with it (Ultraman is Damien 666 ), he pops him pretty good a couple of times, and the Psicosis just whallops him with it, breaking it into pieces of flaming material off the bat. Psicosis then decides to leap off the top of the cage and leg drops Leon Negro through a table on the floor. Then everyone from the locker room comes out, and Rey Mysterio Jr. does a bunch of highspots, they crucify Leon Negro, there is a valet catfight and a bunch of guys yell on the mike and it is wild. Try to get the version with the post match showing of scars, including the charred back of Damien. Not a technical masterpiece but quite clusterfucking goodness.
LYGER/FLYING BRIAN PILLMAN vs. BEEF WELLINGTON/ CHRIS BENOIT: Clash of
the Champions - NWA World Tag Team Title Tournament - Round 1- 6/22/92
Despite some truly bonehead moves by Bill Watts at the time : pushing his son and banning the top rope, someone had the braincells firing as they decide to throw together the Light Heavyweight Dream team of Lyger and Pillman who had feuded over the WCW Light Heavyweight earlier. Then to top it off, they make it a big ol' Calgary Stampede reunion by throwing in that Chris Benoit feller and Beef Wellington. Had beef been replaced with say, Owen Hart, people's heads probably would have exploded, but Beef doesn't get smoked too badly in this. Beef sports a weird ass hair cut, pretty much buzzed except for a pony tail in the back. Beef bumps quite a bit in this, he takes about 3 or 4 bumps to the floor, once drop kicked off the apron, once suplexed to the floor, once through the ropes and once over the post after missing a corner charge. Benoit takes a Pillman belly to back superplex and makes it look totally king sized by making it seem he was dropped on his neck. Pillman hits a cross body off the apron on Benoit to the floor and they lay into each other with chops. Lyger does a cross body from to the post to the floor. Beef counters a Lyger crucifix attempt with a fall away slam setting up Benoit attempting a top rope belly to back suplex which Lyger lands on top of Benoit out of and then pulls out a then unheard of in US wrestling Quebrada. Lyger and Pillman win after Lyger moonsaults Beef. Pillman and Lyger would go on to job to Steamboat and Nikita Koloff. Benoit doesn't get a chance to say "You tell 'em, Beef!" Bill Alfonso is the ref for the match and Ross and Ventura do the commentary. In watching these old tapes, I really miss the days when announcers would call matches and put over the match in the ring rather than talk about the guy who has the book or some bimbo's boob job.
vs HEADHUNTER B: 5/1/95- IWA. Glass Death Match
One of the sickest matches ever but with a swanky twist!: attempted fraticide - as Brother A tries to kill Brother B. Really great stuff in this match with a couple of really twisted garbage spots, the foremost being the Suplex through the box of a pane of glass and the following carving up of foreheads with said glass. REALLY fucking foreign. NOT like something I had seen ever before - as it combined the extragant and elaborate garbage spots with the matter-of-fact violence of the best Puerto Rican bllodlettings. Crowd is behind HeadHunter B and chant "B! B! B!" to add to the whole fucked-uppedness of the proceedings. This match is great if you want to show a friend how fucked up the world really is. Transcendently great garbage match and the Headhunters finest (and possibly only) hour.
MATT & JEFF
HARDY vs. THE SERIAL THRILLAZ - OMEGA (1/29/99)
This match is a prime reason why everyone should love indie wrestling. The stars of tomorrow today. The Hardy's are now former WWF Champions and legit stars. Shane Helms has signed a deal with WCW and Mike Maverick is a passable worker who would work well somewhere. To quote myself from the initial review of this match: "Man that was so the WORLD'S HOTTEST CROWD. The Thesz press ruled so much that in the car on the way home all three of us started to thing about it for no other apparent reason than it RULED. The Hardys show that they spend too much time around Too Much as the bust out all the homoerotic sexual overtones. The wrestling was great but I could have lived without the 69 spot. Anyhoo, Jeff Hardy decided to receive the Dangerous Ring Toss Driver as he flies like five feet over the ropes and to the floor. " Hi. I'm Jeff Hardy. You might not know me but I'M INSANE!!! People who think tag team wrestling is dead need to get copy of all these Serial Thrillaz/Hardy Boyz matches because there is this special anomaly that keeps all this choiceness hovering around the Raleigh/Durham area.
EUGENIO TADEAU vs. RENZO GRACIE:
THE FIGHT: The men approach each other in the
center of the ring, and you can immediately see that
MAURICE SMITH vs. MARK COLEMAN
THE FIGHT: After a minute or so of cautious circling, Coleman makes the inevitable shoot and drives Smith to his back. With animalistic rage, Coleman releases the bludgeoning power of his vaunted ‘ground-n-pound’, winging blows with both hands at the head of Smith. Smith covers up well, but the strength of the assault rocks his head violently. Coleman continues with the drubbing, throwing 20 or 30 punches in just a couple of minutes, but Smith hangs in there. As Coleman’s punching slows, Smith wisely uses his legs to push him down in guard, protecting his head and grabbing Coleman’s wrists to impede his punching. After only 5 minutes, Coleman has slowed visibly; how is this mere kickboxer withstanding his hurricane offense when all others had failed? As Coleman struggles to cope with this unexpected development, Smith jars him with a short right hand from his back. Smith continues to use his guard in conjunction with chopping punches to befuddle Coleman. At the 9 minute mark, Coleman tucks his head to catch a breath, and Smith quickly scoots out from under the bigger man and regains his feet. Maurice Smith has become the first man to pass the test of Mark Coleman’s blistering 'ground-n-pound’, and Coleman, expecting another blowout win, suddenly realizes he has a fight on his hands. The crowd errupts for Smith. Smith lands a few strikes standing before being taken to his back again, even getting mounted by the wrestler and absorbing some stiff shots to the face, but Smith maintains his cool and continues his textbook counters; when Coleman rears back to throw a punch from the mount, Smith bucks his hips, unbalancing Coleman and muffling his power. The time ticks by and Coleman is sucking serious wind, while the challenger seem calm and collected. In an unexpected move, Maurice even flops to his stomach, exposing his back for the rear naked choke fully confidant that the muscleheaded Coleman lacked the technique to take proper advantage of his position. He was right, and soon managed to return to his feet yet again, challenging the exasperated Coleman to come and fight. Smith strikes effectively from his feet, using rudimentary boxing techniques which might as well be ninjitsu as far as Coleman is concerned. Coleman shoots and misses, Smith dancing just out of his reach. With time winding down in the regulation time period, Coleman takes Smith down again and gets the headlock from the side mount, the same submissions crank that caused Severn to quit, but Smith alertly fires some wicked kneestrikes at Coleman’s noggin and survives. The first regulation period expired, with two 3 minute overtime periods to follow. In the first, a fresh Mo Smith dances to the center of the ring and totally outclasses the 2-time, 2-time, 2-time defending UFC champion. Scoring at will with jabs and Muay-Thai kicks, Smith is so dominants that even missing a round kick badly enough to fall on his ass doesn’t give Coleman the opening he needs. Coleman hangs back against the Octagon fence, refusing to go to the center of the ring, where all good strikers like their fights to be. The second overtime continues the humiliation of Coleman, so tired at this point that he can barely stand, but Smith, for reasons he would later reveal to be respect, doesn’t press his advantage by going for the knockout, content to jab and dance until time expires. The judges decision was a formality. Maurice Smith had totally overwhlemed the most dominant fighter in the UFC, and in doing so shocked the martial arts world by proving that a kickboxer/striker can hang with the big boys on the mat.
RICKSON GRACIE vs. ZULU
THE FIGHT:- Zulu performs some sort of ritualistic dance in his corner before the start of the match, which was held in a boxing ring. Zulu quickly goes on offense, and easily takes the smaller Gracie to the mat and flurries with wild chops and punches. Gracie works furiously in the guard, trying to keep the powerful brawler from inflicting serious damage. Rickson tries some striking from his back, but isn’t enough of a striker to make a difference from this position, so he decides to smother his opponent by blocking his mouth and nose with his open hands. Time and film editing take their toll, and soon Rickson has managed to reach his feet. Zulu is visibly pooped, his huge arms rising and falling as he gasps for air. Zulu performs a bizarre dance in the ring, puffing out his cheeks and waving his arms like he was listening to his ‘Morris Day and The Time’ albums or something. Rickson is unfazed, but the crowd seems to dig it. Still, its all just bluff from a poorly conditioned brawler unused to being taken this far in a match. Written reports peg the time of this fight at around 12 minutes, and in the end, a fresh looking Rickson uses strikes from the side mount to force Zulu to give up his back and fall prey to the rear naked choke. If anyone knows a source for this entire fight (not the rematch from 1985), I’d love to own a copy. And the same goes for old Morris Day albums. Do the Oak Tree!
DON FRYE vs. TANK ABBOTT (Ultimate
UFC ‘96 12/7/1996)
FRANK SHAMROCK vs. ENSON INOUE
(Japan Vale Tudo Open, 11/29/1997)
THE FIGHT: Inoue opens with a thunderous right cross that send Shamrock reeling to the ropes. The men clinch and tumble to the mat, where Enson took guard and did a typically excellent job of thwarting Shamrock’s strikes for the next several minutes. Shamrock remains composed, however, and continues his methodical work in the guard while working to advance position. The first 10-minute round ends following more than 8 minutes of highly technical grappling on the ground, with both fighters looking fresh and unmarked for the next round. Early in the round the men clinch and Shamrock attempts a waistlock takedown, but Inoue is too composed to be thrown and ends up mounting Shamrock near the ropes! Enson took advantage of his position with some stiff strikes to the head, but Shamrock does a competant job of fending off the damage before rolling out and powering his way back to his feet. Inoue sees an opening and charges, throwing focused and precise stright rights and lefts, while Shamrock counters with wild punches from many angles. Its an all-out brawl in the ring, with both men throwing hellacious leather and bleeding as a result. Shamrock clinches his knuckles behind Inoue’s neck, Muay-Thai style, and fires a series of wicked kneestrikes to Inoue’s jaw, some of which are blocked with the forearms but others land. Inoue counters with nasty right uppercuts to Shamrock’s chin as he tries to free his neck from the downward pressure. With one explosive burst, Shamrock launches a devastating kneestrike that lands cleanly on Inoue’s jaw, dropping the shootfighter to the mat in a dazed condition. Shamrock follows up his advantage with more punishment from punches, prompting Enson’s brother Egan to enter the ring and insist the referee stop the fight. Enson is unable to defend himself in a coherant manner, but perplexingly the official decision is a disqualification due to Egan’s interferrance. Enson later acknowledges Shamrock’s victory with the kind of class and grace I’ve come to expect from this family of fine professional fighters. Shamrock celebrates in the ring, and you can see the joyous figure of Maurice Smith celebrating with Frank in the ring. Oh, so THAT’S where young Shamrock learned to work the Muay-Thai infighting! A brilliant win that launched the younger Shamrock to prominance in the fighting world; soon he would eclipse even his own brother in stature as a fighter. Enson Inoue continued to fight successfully in Japan and North America, defeating UFC Champion Randy Coutre (yes, the same man who bludgeoned Vitor Belfort into submission in the UFC) in Japan in less than two minutes to cement his place in the fighting community.
And for the last fight, here’s a u-pick-em of
two brillaint short matches!
KEVIN JACKSON vs. FRANK SHAMROCK
FRANK SHAMROCK vs. IGOR ZINOVIEV
MORE MATCHES THAT ARE SO GOOD THAT YOU SHOULD REALLY SEE THEM.
THE NEW DIMENSION
8 QUEENS 60 MINUTES FULL-TIME: AJA KONG/KYOKO INOUE/TAKAKO INOUE/SAKIE
HASEGAWA vs. DYNAMITE KANSAI/MAYUMI OZAKI/CUTIE SUZUKI/HIKARI FUKUOKA -
JWP vs. AJW 7/31/93:
Come, let us travel to Bunka Gym, where the AJW vanguard attempt to humiliate the JWP stalwarts in their very own ring- if we hurry, we can make it in time for the JWP and AJW ring announcers announcing the main event in stereo! This has got to be the greatest women's tag match ever. The match starts with four straight singles matches with a 5-minute time limit ("First Attack") followed by everyone in the ring for an 8-women tag match lasting the rest of the hour. Most falls at the end wins. Non-stop action the entire hour with countless spots, brutal kicks, hardway juice from Kyoko and solar heat all the way from the pro-JWP crowd. Everything here is just so RIGHT, from the aforementioned stereo ring announcers to the scoreboards in the building tabulating the falls to even the first referee getting subbed on the fly when the tag portion starts. You can't go wrong with this match under any circumstances whatsoever.
vs. NOBUHIKO TAKADA- UWFi- 12/5/93:
This match was for the UWFI title and had all the drama of a heavyweight title fight, from the national anthems to the intros by Lou Thez, this felt like a legitimate athletic contest. The coventional wisdom would tend to favor Vader striking and Takada being forced to take it to the mat, and the match starts with Vader scoring a knockdown, however Takada is unable to stymie the big man on the ground and decides to attempt to knock him out, scoring some knockdowns with brutal kicks and knees, however Vader is able to get the best of Takada in striking and Takada is forced to attempt a kneebar which Vader counters. Then it is back on their feet, as they exchange brutal strikes, until Vader is able to counter a Takada shoot with a powerbomb to knock Nobihiko silly. A couple of big punches later, Takada is down for the count. This match had great drama, stiff work, and wonderful psychology. Truly a classic battle.
vs. DEAN MALENKO : 2/3 Falls ECW farewell match
Dean and Eddy had lots of matches that were better than this, but from a crowd heat and respect stand point, I don't think it can be equalled. This is one of the classiest moments in wrestling I have ever seen. The crowd was extremely vocal in this as both got their names cheered at the beginning of the match followed by very loud chants of "Please Don't Go". The match it self is good in that both guys counter stuff that they had been beaten with during the feud. Eddy takes the first fall after the two fight over a backslide with a cradle. Malenko quickly scores the second fall after countering an Eddy hop out of the corner into a double leg slam and then into the Texas Cloverleaf. Each guy kicks out of each others big moves and the match ends when Dean rolls up Eddy and bridges, but Eddy catches Dean's arm so he ends in a draw. Both guys give their farewells, including Dean who's character of the Shooter never spoke on camera until that moment. It's a situation that I don't think can be duplicated again.
vs. AJA KONG- 8/30/93- ALL JAPAN WOMEN
Aja Kong shows why she will be remembered as the greatest monster heel of all time- as she takes a very green Dynamite Kansai and leads her to a quite beautiful and violent match. Aja is Flair as she masterfully sets up every spot for Kansai for the most impact while carrying the body of the match. The build is great as it starts with Aja stretching the fudge out of Dynamite and rubbing the punks face in it and Dynamite would shake loose and kick the holy crud out of Aja. From there it's deulling eight counts as Dynamite hits a NASTY spinning kick to the face and Aja counters with a totally hellish Urican. From there, Kansai and Aja murdalize the heck out of each other with horrible finisher after horrible finisher as they do the Joshi Puroresu clinic on skull-crushing powermoves , Kansai crushing Aja's head with kicks, Aja crushing Kansai's face with Uricans and headbutts, nearfalls and super dangerous highspots. Absolutely gorgeous.
ANDRE THE GIANT
vs. STAN HANSEN - All Japan
It is still one of my favorite matches. Some of the highlights are a surly Andre the Giant. A truly hot crowd and two guys beating the fudge out of each other. You have to watch to see Andre debate with the ref. That alone is worth price of admission. This was the match that made me realize that Andre could go when he wanted to. I also recommend that anytime you can see Stan Hansen punching someone right in the face you do so.
KOBASHI vs. AKIRA TAUE/ TOSHIAKI KAWADA- ALL JAPAN- 6/11/95
The best tag match ever, take it to the bank. What seperates this match from the other six million five star classics in All Japan is the good old fashinioned rudoism. This wasn't a stoic battle of athletes warring for greatness this was Toshiaki hates Mitsiharu. The match really gets cooking in the first minute while in the midst of a lockup with Kobashi, Kawada runs over and kicks Misawa right in the face, then he gives him a look like "Fuck you and everything you stand for." Kawada was feeling it tonight, every kick was as sharp and stiff as it gets, every suplex was more forceful, every facial expression stoically hate filled. The psychology of this match was perfect. Kawada and Taue decide to take out weak link pussboy Kobashi who has a bandaged thigh, so they lay waste to it, with kicks, kneedrops, kneebars and even Nodawizing Misawa on it. Then when Kobashi can't walk, they focus on Misawa, Taue nodowa's him off the ring apron to the floor, the crippled Kobashi covers Misawa up, but they drag his crying ass off. Then Kawada throws Misawa back into the ring, but Misawa rolls all the way to the floor, Kawada is steamed but he gets Misawa in and hits a powerbomb, 1..2.. kick out. Then Kobashi covers him up again but gets layed out with a nodowa-dangerous backdrop combo. But Misawa is up again laying out Taue with some elbows, but just as he shakes off the attack, Kawada catches him with a jump kick, in a perfect moment. Now the black and yellow shark smells blood he covers him but Misawa kicks out, Misawa then hits a last ditch elbow, but Kawada responds with jump kick ... cover ... two count, then he hits a brutal backdrop driver and a big powerbomb for Kawada's first ever pin on Misawa. Then the best part the post match interview, Kawada just got the biggest win of his career, and he sounds like an NFL coach who just lost the first pre-season game "Well we have a couple weeks to the season starts and we have to work on our execution". That is stoicism baby, that is what makes Kawada the king.
vs. BRET HART -WWF- Wrestlemania XIII
The match that had the double turn and the match that made Steve Austin. This match should have been the main even but instead we were tortured with a 20 minute Undertaker/Sid match. This match followed up the great match they had at the 1996 Survior Series. Austin does the Level 9 El Dandy blade job. (Even though he hit a gusher to start with, he blades again in the sharpshooter to make it even worse.) He never submits to the sharpshooter, instead assing out. Wins crowd over. Hart beats up helpless guy and fights win special ref Ken Shamrock to turn himself heel for his last moments in the WWF.
vs. TERRY FUNK- 8/20/95; IWA Death Match Tournament Finals
This match is a good Plasmatics song- all about superhuman depravity and superhuman hate (Plasmatics were also about superhuman lust- but they don't have that here unless it's latent or something. I deeply don't want to know that much about myself.) Cactus is just wearing a mask of red goo as he goes from one amazingly sick bump to the next. Funk also rips his own flesh to pieces for your amusement on the way to the infamous Cactus ladder spot onto the barbed wire. That spot is so fucking sick. I triumph of the will and as close to performance art as YOU'll ever wanna come to seeing. I don't know if it's wrestling, but it's intense as shit and riveting. I just know about this shit sometimes. It's such a rambling wreck of a match and it works because it's all about the ugliness inside- and golly is this ALL ugly. Without any grace and charm, this match challenges your ideas of what you are actually watching when you watch professional wrestling. It's tricked out, fucked up and totally nihilistic- everything good has gone horrible wrong and now you left in the bleak landscape of Cactus Jack and his bloated and hideous worldview of pain and death and hell. Yeah. This shit was REALLY great. The interviews were fucking great too.
RIC FLAIR vs.
RICKY STEAMBOAT 2/3 Falls - 4/2/89
The last great old school match, sort of an end of an era, wrestling would move into shorter more highspot orientated matches, which began at this card with the entrance of the Great Muta into the NWA , this was possibly the greatest 70's style match of all time. 53 minutes of classic mat wrestling, stiff chops and dramatic near falls. Flair and Steamboat put on an epic, on free TV which so thoroughly outclassed the Wrestlemania it was up against. Couple of the things that made this so great, during the restholds, they would just sit in a headlock and catch their wind, both men would be working for position. The end was classic with the double pin which provided a clean ending but kept the drama alive, Flair was at his prime, finally in with an athlete that could rival his skill on National TV with no outside Horseman interference, able to put on the match he always wanted to.
vs. RICK RUDE - NEW JAPAN- Finals of the G1 Climax (1992)
When I first started compiling list of matches that I thought people should watch it was around the time of Rude's death so I figured I would pick one of his best matches as a tribute. This, in my own opinion, is his best match. Chono and him rip it up for the vacated NWA Heavyweight title at Sumo Hall. Rude was in the best shape of his career and he really seemed to click with Chono. (I still haven't figured out exactly how he went over Hashimoto and Sasaki but I'm not the booker.) The race to the STF is a prime focus of this match which means PSYCHOLOGY!!!! This is also a lot better than their rematch later on on American soil.
vs. RAZOR RAMON- WWF- Summerslam
This is the better of the two matches which made Shawn Micheals. Micheals bumped even crazier during this match, and his babyface status made the bumping more credible from a psychological basis. This had tons of regular psychology for a gimmick match, with both men avoiding the others finisher, and with Ramon demolishing Micheals' knee. Including the ring apron to the floor suplex with the leg hitting the guardrail, the ladder colapsing on the knee and kneebreaker across the ladder, the ending was a little convoluded, but the meat of the match is just rocking.
vs. THE GREAT SASUKE - Super J finals 1994:
It's Chris Benoit vs. the Great Sasuke. Do you really need any more reason to watch this match? Well for all you Benoit marks who only just jumped on the bandwagon, go watch this match and you get to see all the SWANKY Benoit moves that he never performs in the states anymore (ie: the powerbomb, the springboard elbow, etc.) Sasuke's knee isn't shot to shit so he really rules it too. Especially on the BOSS Space Flying Tiger Drop. (Fuck you Shinsaki!). Sasuke does try to crack open his skull a few times, proving that he isn't the sharpest tool in the shed. Top it all off with Benoit celebrating the win in a hideous yellow jacket taken straight from Dean's closet.
TIGER MASK vs
DYNAMITE KID - ALL JAPAN 1982
This is the one where TM backdrops Dynamite Kid over the guardrail- slaughtering all civilians in it's wake. This TM/Dynamite series of matches have been analyzed, counteranalyzed and reanalyzed to death, so- of course- here I am kicking the corpse a bit. The thing I noticed about this match beyond the obvious ("GOLLY! THAT THERE BENOIT FELLA SURE DOES A LOT OF THINGS LIKE THAT DYNAMITE GUY- ONLY BETTER!"), the sublime ("BOY! THAT MISTERIO GUY STOLE STUFF FROM THAT TIGERMASK FELLA!"), and the mountain of analysis we can all steal from John D Williams ("WHY I- DEAN RASMUSSEN- THINK THAT SAYAMA REALLY BENEFITTED FROM THE FACT THAT DYNAMITE KID COULD SETTLE HIM DOWN AND SUPPLY THE PSYCHOLOGY TO THE MATCHES! I JUST THOUGHT OF THAT! REALLY! I DON'T EVEN KNOW WHO JOHN D WILLIAMS IS! WHY I'VE NEVER EVEN BEEN TO CLEVELAND..."), is that some of the most classic match ups in all of Junior Heavyweight wrestling copped whole sections of this match for their own classic feuds (and it isn't even the Chris Benoit vs Lyger feud that I'm talking about). The first thing I notice is that huge sections of El Hijo del Santo vs Negro Casas borrow the whole mirroring of moves section from this match- and that would be five years after the fact. I should also mention that the mirroring of moves section in this is a lot larger than I remembered- or it may be that in the time between since first seeing this match in late 1994 and watching it twenty minutes ago, I've seen five great Juventud Guerrera vs Rey Misterio Jr match, eight or nine great Eddy Guerrerro vs Dean Malenko matches and three or four Pre-Nothing But Great Brawling Casas vs Santo matches- and all them seem to trace to this feud and this same sequence of moves- with Eddy and Malenko taking it to the most elaborate lengths. The more obvious things about this here match are that- MOTHER OF FUDGE!- is Tiger Mask fast as crap! And Dynamite was taking bumps in ways even back then in ways that you could pretty much tell he wasn't gonna make it to the Nineties- which is the bittersweet side of this great match.
RIC FLAIR vs.
TERRY FUNK - "I QUIT" Match - (WCW Clash of the Champions IX "New York
Knockout" - 11/15/89)
This Clash of the Champions ruled the most. Not only did it have this match (which Meltzer gave 5 stars) but it had the Midnight Express vs. The Dynamic Dudes, a surprisingly good Lex Luger vs. Brian Pillman match and The Steiners vs. Viscous/Spivey (More on this match later on)- all of this in front of a super juiced Troy, NY crowd. Flair and Funk beat the hell out of each other for awhile and the blow-off was this match. Lots of great brawling and all the while ref TommyYoung is sticking the microphone in each guys face. Truly this match was the most successful to use "I Quit" formula. Granted everyone knew Flair was going over but there was still big wads of drama and suspense and psychology and shit. Listen for Funk's classic quote "Oh God. My leg is breaking!" when he is in the figure. The post-match is really hot to as Gary Hart turns on Funk and Muta, Sting and Luger all get involved.
EL HIJO DEL
SANTO vs. NEGRO CASAS- EMLL - 1/99
This was their mask v. hair match which concluded the hottest feud of 1998, most of their matches over the years were technical wrestling masterpieces, this however was a brutal brawl, which was miles stiffer then any lucha match I have ever seen. Both guys beat the crap out of each other, working a style which is closer to UWFI then UWA. Casas spends alot of the match working on the knee, and at one point he even attempts mount, while Santo goes for a crossarmbreaker and eventually wins with it like he was El Hijo Del Yamazaki. The match did have some lucha matwork and a swank tope by Santo which sent Casas into the seats, but what really made this match was the force of the blows.
RYUMA GO vs.
UCHU MAJIN SILVER X (Go Gundan)- 4/2/95
(note- Hi this is Dean. Ray would only review this match if we promised to put in the "greatest matches you need to see" column and being a man of my word....:)) This match gets on the list because it's so bizarre you have to see this. On 4/2/95, there was a huge copromotional show run by one of the magazines in Japan. All the big promotions in Japan were on the show, NJPW, AJPW, AJW, FMW, M-Pro... all of them except for WAR who decided to run against this show. Anyway, I guess they added this match to the card to fill that open slot. Go's gimmick was that he was the Interplanetary Champion and was fighting "aliens". The aliens consist of two guys wearing alien masks and wearing overalls (I guess they're intergalactic white trash. Their saucer must be up on blocks in the yard with a bunch of 10 eyed dogs living under the porch) and two guys in hockey masks, one with a Star of David like design, I guess a refugee from Mel Brook's Jews in Space. To his credit, it seems like everyone's into Go during his entrance and it seems like everyone's into the spirit of the match. The guys who are taping the handheld seem to be laughing their asses off as well. The fans chant "baka!" which I believe means "stupid" at go and comes off like the old ECW "SHAH!" chant. X spends a lot of time adjecting his hockey mask and has intergalactic buddies interfere liberally. X goes after Go's leg using the Crab Nebula Clover Leaf and and figure four. It starts getting really goofy when Go started headbutting X (who's wearing a hockey mask mind you) and X's is selling it. Go starts working submissions and the aliens start attacking him with some sort of object which looks suspiciously like a vibrator on the jumbotron. The match has more than it's share of blown spots, but it I think it adds to charm of this. This one match in the dome probably had more people watching a Go Gundan match than if you added all the promotions house shows attendence together in the entire run of the company.
This match has one of those weird links to the place that held it. I’ve never been to Puerto Rico, but I like to think of it as a place where you can go to Roberto Clemente Stadium and see Abdullah the Butcher throw Wildfire Tommy Rich's head into a white RV and splattering blood against the quarter panel. It's an anti-romanticized idea that wrestling can represent the violent side of the culture it comes out of- which is of course Bullcrap probably, but it's fun to think. But that's why I love this match. I've never been to Tijuana but I like to think that it is the jaded, corrupted, cynical part of Mexico that I always pictured in my head and that this match represents that image in my head. No beauty or grace or anything else that makes me love Lucha Libre above all- just AMAZING amounts of violence and blood. Los Destructores were the true old-school rudos along with Mirabunta, Mr Condor and the ilk and they BRING THE FUCKING NOISE to the Pandilleros and show them how to bleed like MEN.
BIG VAN VADER/
DIAMOND STUDD/ ADBULLAH THE BUTCHER/ CACTUS JACK vs. STING/ EL GIGANTE/
STEINER BROTHERS: WCW - 10/27/91:
GIANT BABA vs.
RAJA LION - AJ 6/9/87
LYGER vs BARRY HOUSTON. WCW PRO. 12/95:
NEW JAPAN TV
v. SABU/TAZ: ECW- DOUBLE TABLES MATCH (2/4/95):
HECTOR GARZA vs. JIMMY SNUKA/MIL MASCARAS /BOB BACKLUND- WAR 7/7/95
AL SNOW/ UNABOMB
v. LARRY SANTO/ THE WOLFMAN- SMOKEY MOUNTAIN WRESTLING
SUGAR SATO vs
YOSHIKO TAMURA- JUNIOR ALL-STAR 1997 WCW Cruiserweight title (10/4/97)
vs TIGER MASK IV- MICHINOKU PRO- 2/9/97:
BLONDS perform "A Flair for the Old".
vs MASAO ORIHARA - WAR- 7/97
vs THE NIGHTSTALKER (Adam Bomb) - WCW Clash of the Champions XIII. 11/20/91
KOJI KITOA vs
MABEL- SAMURAI DEBUT SHOW 1997:
BEATS UP BLUE DEMON SR - AAA 1/96:
vs SUGAR SATO- GAEA-11/30/98:
vs. JIMMY GARVIN- WCW- Prince of Darkness Match:
HISAKATSU OYA: FMW- SUMMER 95 - WBKC Tournament:
DAMIAN 666 vs.
GRAN NANIWA: WAR Super J Cup '95:
HIROSHI HATANAKA/ AKINORI TSUKIOKA vs. GREAT TAKERU/ LA NING/ ASIAN COUGAR-
JAPAN WORLD INDIE- 5/21/98:
vs. THE SANDMAN: Loser gets 10 lashes match. Early 1995, Florida.
TRIPLE H vs.
CACTUS JACK : WWF, Madison Square Garden RAW '97 :
SCOTT MORRIS vs. PAT SMITH (UFC2)
MARK KERR vs. GREG 'Ranger' STOTT
DAN SEVERN vs. KEN SHAMROCK (UFC9)
DAN SEVERN vs. KIMO (PRIDE-1)
GARY GOODRIDGE vs. THE PEDRO
DON FRYE vs. THOMAS RAMAIREZ
(UFC8, Puerto Rico)
MARK HALL vs. KOJI KITAO (UFC9)
KIMO vs. PAUL VARELANS (UUFC96)
JOHN HESS vs. ANDY AANDERSON
KEITH HACKNEY vs. EMMANUEL YARBOROUGH
KEITH HACKNEY vs. JOE SON (UFC4):
vs. THE MIDNIGHT EXPRESS: Clash of the Champions IX (11/15/89)
This was great just for the crowd. Jim Cornette, Eaton and Lane had been working as babyfaces since Dangerously, Rose and Condrey had shown up and jumped them. After jobbing pretty much around the horn, the Midnights started getting upset when Jim was sort of lending support to the Dudes. This led to the match at New York Knock Out. Was Jim Cornette going leave his old team? They certainly teased it, but in the course of the match, Cornette ends up whacking one of the Dudes with it... which garners a HUGE ASS pop from the New York crowd who can't stand the Dynamic Dudes. Funny as the supposed heel move makes the Express and Corny babyfaces of the night in New York.
MALENKO vs. MIKEY WHIPWRECK/NORMAN SMILEY- ECW- 9/95:
This was the match that totally sold me on Chris Benoit. Benoit hits a high-angle powerbomb on Mikey that makes Mikey's head bounce twenty inches off the mat. I think I watched it 50 times. I was in awe. Smiley was sporting REALLY tiny pants. This was also the first time I ever saw Malenko's Military Press Rib-breaker and I was also suitably stoked. FRICKIN' TWENTY INCHES! Higher than Ohtani's head bounced in the WCW Cruiserweight finals. All I could say was "FUCK!"
FIT FINLAY vs.
JOHNNY SWINGER- WCW 1998:
Finlay beats the pop tarts off the crappy John Cusak look alike including pointing to his nose, before caving it in with a knee drop.
SHADOW WX vs.
TOMOAKI HONMA - BIG JAPAN- KING OF THE DEATH MATCH 1998- 6/8/98-8/9/98
Honma is the BOMNA~! HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA! Honma is the heir apparent to to a couple of folks- Cactus Jack and Minoru Tanaka. He's great on the mat working for a rear naked choke and he's also great taking a powerbomb through a barbed-wire encrusted table. This is deeply into the realm of the latter- as this is one of the better death matches you'll see in Big Japan because Honma is FUCKING CRAZY. Like Yamakawa in 1997 CRAZY. Five buckets of blood and 4 the Rusty Bedsprings Sickness scale.
vs. NAYOA OGAWA - NEW JAPAN- 1/4/99:
Bizarre match that appeared to be a partial shoot, Ogawa representing UFO, demolishes Hashimoto, beating him brutally which sets off a riot between UFO and New Japan (a riot highlighted by Yasuda punching UFO boys in the face) Ogawa acts the part of the perfect dick, by putting his arms out and doing the Bugsy McGraw airplane. It is unclear whether this was a shoot or not, but the beating and the riot make it compelling television.
TAKAIWA/NAGATA vs. KANEHARA/ SAKURABA/ YAMAMOTO/ KAKIHARA- NEW JAPAN- 2/3/96
One of the last gasps from the HORRENDOUSLY booked UWFi vs NEW JAPAN "feud". Quite a minor match at the time, though I always dug it. Now it's quite the Murderer's Row of current Puroresu ass-stompers as Takaiwa is no-selling his sorry ass to the top of the NJ juniors, Ohtani is back on track to being one of the best Juniors ever and REALLY showed his range in this match (he and Sakuraba had a minor shootstyle materpiece at Sky-Diving J to follow this up), Ishikawa is now Kendo Ka Shin and is being as inexplicably pushed as Takaiwa, Nagata is the future of the Heavyweight division having positioned himself for a SuperKoshinaka type role but was feigning juniordom here, Kanehara is the only fun- other than Volk Han- in RINGS these days, Kakihara will be utilized correctly in All Japan any second now, and- oh yeah- this was back when Yamamoto was cool, as opposed to just being a comical victim to Valentine Overeem. Nagata fucking rules it in this match, as does Ishikawa. As does Kanehara- who should have been stolen and made into IWGP champion by now.
vs. MANNY FERNANDEZ -WWC- sometime in 1987 maybe:
We have a regular Puerto Rican match going on here, until Manny goes up for a top rope kneedrop, he must have landed wrong because Invader starts vomiting blood, painting the ring mats and his mask red. Grotesque!
vs YAKUSHIJI- MICHINOKU PRO- 10/10/96
This match will make snot fly out of your nose from laughing so much. Johnny Saint once got Charlemagne in a Half-Nelson and he doing this really unlikely, totally goofball Euromatwork that would make Dr Cerebro say, "You gotta be fucking kidding me." Saint systemically does this STUFF to and around the Robin Hood-esque bedecked Yakushiji who looks like Jodie Foster in the Silence Of The Lambs when she visits Hannibal Lechter in jail. Quite possibly, Johnny Saint was pulling a rib (as they say in THE BUSINESS!) MILLION BILLION STARS.
TATENO vs THE CRUSH GALS- ALL JAPAN WOMEN- 1984ish maybe?
If this was ten minutes longer, it would be way up on the top of the list. This is the duel edge sword- in that Jaguar works circles around the over little punks after Chigusa and Lioness try to beat their matriarchs to death early on. Jaguar responds by busting out the skull-busting moes that would revolutionize the entire artform of professional wrestling. The other edge of the sword is that Noriyo Tateno has a BENATARystique that is totally awe-inspiring. It's true rednecky hardness and beauty and the I- need-a-sammich thinness that few can achieve. She's a good little worker too.
RAYO DE JALISCO
JR/KENDO vs. APOLLO DANTES/FELINO - CMLL JAPAN 2/2/97:
The stiffest comedy match of all time. Rayo works insanely stiff on Apollo, giving him a SATANIC chop that had an entire room of people falling out of their chairs from the sheer brutality of it. Easily the coolest Jalisco match ever. Eagle-eyed viewers shouldn't have any problems spotting Dick Togo and Shoichi Funaki checking things out in the crowd.
vs EMI MOTOKAWA- IWA RESTART 1/24/97:
Yumi Fukawa went from schoolgirl-fetish midnight choker postergirl to ass-stomper deluxe with her ascension to ARSION- but the roots of that go back to this match where she showed that outside of confines of All Japan Women she was a little gal who could go like a wolverine. EMI was a joke pretty much before this time, but this was one of the first matches where her skill finally caught up with her mystique and verve. This was a hot match that years beyond the two doing it and it was a good match from two young women with something to prove.
MASK IV/HIKARI FUKUOKA/HIROUMI YAGI vs. SUPER DELFIN/GRAN NANIWA/CANDY
OKUTSU/COMMANDO BOIRSHOI - 10/13/96
Still my favorite mixed tag match. There is that great blend of wrestling and comedy that MPro used to be famous for. The guys wrestle the girls (even though Great Sasuke refuses to until his ass starts getting beat). Fukuoka crushes some ribs (which was the first time I saw that. Mental Note: Moonsault Stomp. Greatest Move Ever.) Hey, a girl in clown outfit gets beaten up. What's not to love?
vs. GREAT SASUKE- J-CROWN FINALS:
This is in here because we must always mention everytime Sasuke breaks his skull- and golly does he BREAK HIS MIND in this one- as a springboard hurricanrana goes hideously wrong. This one made his noggin all lop-sided and caused him to have delusions that making the WWF a partner would be smarter move than cozying up with Lyger and New Japan.
BROTHERS vs. THE SKYSCRAPERS -WCW- CLASH IX:
This is one of my guilty pleasure matches. I really like this match as it the Steiners could still wrestle (you know during the period when Scott still had tesitcles.) Sid back from one of his softball sabticals and the Skyscrapers are all angry. Rick takes Spivey and puts him right on his head with a German suplex. Scott collapses Sid's lung with the 360 slam that he no longer does. Nitron shows up. So does Doom. Even the Road Warriors make an appearance. Jim Ross and Gordon Solie mark out at the brawl and a good time was had by all.
vs YUMIKO HOTTA- AJW Dreamslam 1- 4/2/93
Hotta isn't Aja Kong so this isn't great or trascendent or psychologically flawless, but Hotta feels the urge to beat the crap out of Kansai and Kansai gives as good as she gets. Kinda shows the limitations of Hotta and Kansai but also shows that they can really take a queen-sized beating for your pleasure and you find that pleasing. Yesss...
vs. MAGIC MAN - Michonoku Pro TV:
Magic Man hypnotises Shinzaki and while he's under Magic Man dances around and does assorted goofy stuff, never thinking to actually PIN Shinzaki. When Jinsei is awakened, he proceeds to kill Magic Man. Horrible match, but if you're going to subject yourself to a Magic Man match, this the one for it's surreal qualities.
vs. RIC FLAIR - MID-SOUTH 1985:
This is the match where babyface Dick Murdoch jumps top heel Dibiase and posts him because he's jealous at the fact that Dibiase got the NWA title shot against Flair, and Dibiase bleeds to the point where we'd be talking about the Dibiase scale instead of the Muta scale if more folks hadn't seen that Muta/Hase match. Bill Watts then gives an all-time speech on how Dibiase's a MAN AMONG MEN for still taking this match, comparing it to the Roberto Duran "no mas" incident, while at the same time warning people with weak stomachs that this sucker's gonna get real bloody if Ted's bandage comes off. And hey! There goes the bandage! Murdoch comes out at the end of the match and cements the double-turn by giving Ted a brainbuster on the CONCRETE floor back when finishers really were finishers, so Ted is out of action for several weeks (read: "Hey Ted, Uncle Shohei on line 2!"). As ugly a human being as Watts may be in real life, you have to give the Devil his due for perfect booking like this. See this one if you've seen Bret-Austin from WM13 and check out the theft ^H^H^H^H^H^H^similarities.
vs. GALACTICA- ALL JAPAN WOMEN- 1983? hair vs. mask match:
We REALLY can't get enough Jaguar matches on this list because you can basically choose pretty much any match of the collective mega-cyber-matchlist of the universe and any match will be good to great. This match is memorable because it transformed Jaguar from GREAT GREAT technical wrestler to ULTRAVIXEN of the Joshi Puroresu midnight choker contingent. Galactica and Monster "Bertha Faye" Ripper cheat like mofos- as Galactica puts up her SWANK and HYPER-EVIL mask against Jaguar Yokota's pedestrian, 1979 Barbara Mandrellesque hairdo. Jaguar fights like a MOTHER but luckily for all of us, Galactica cheats all the way to victory. As they cut her hair, the dowdy Jaguar TRANSFORMS. The NEW WAVE coiffe she ends up with brings out the brazen, saucy ass-stomper that makes every man's heart skip a beat. WOO-HOO!
NEXT WEEK: LIONESS KILLS KYOKO! THAT ALL JAPAN TAG MATCH WITH OGAWA THAT EVERYBODY IS DROOLING OVER! TORYUMON! TORYUMON! TORYUMON!
Thank you to everyone who helped make the first 100 DVDVRs so much fun to write- all the great people who sent us tapes, made constructive criticism, e-mailed support, or pointed out that maybe Tommy Dreamer isn't very good. Here's hoping the next hundred are just as much fun. We love you all.
THE DEATH VALLEY PLAYAHZ.
six fists in the face of wrestling
Something that 'll make you do wrong... make you do right.
-Rev. Al Green