The SmarK Rant for WWE Network Hidden Gems–10.12.18

The SmarK Rant for WWE Hidden Gems – 10.12.18

OK, quite the potpourri for you this week. We’ve got a match missed in the shooters collection last week, four new drops featuring Latino stars, and a bonus match. Pitter patter, let’s get at ‘er.

To Catch a Model

Rick Martel v. Billy Robinson (10.18.84)

This one didn’t come up in the autoplay last week so I missed it as a part of the shooters collection. We’re in Winnipeg for an AWA show, joined in progress with Robinson working on the back and going to a bearhug. He switches to a sleeper on the mat, but Martel reverses out and elbows Robinson to the floor in the process. Back in, Billy misses an elbow and Martel dropkicks him out to the floor again, and Billy seeks advice from manager Lord Alfred Hayes. That advise? “Promotional considerations paid for by the following”. That’s TERRIBLE advice! Back in, Martel with a hiptoss and they exchange forearms and Martel grabs the chinlock and then turns it into a neckbreaker instead. He actually hangs on and pulls Robinson up and hits a second one, which is a sequence you don’t see very often. Martel with a headlock and that goes on for a while as this match is still not really going anywhere. Billy’s science is too tight for Martel and he reverses to a wristlock, but Martel won’t let go of the headlock, no matter how much we wish he would. Robinson escapes with a slam, but Martel takes him down with the headlock. Again. Rick slugs away in the corner, but Robinson blocks a monkey flip and they collide for the double down. Robinson recovers first with a kneedrop for two and they slug it out, but Martel slams him for two. Another slam, but Hayes hooks the leg and Robinson falls on top for the pin at 16:23 shown (24:44 according to the ring announcement.) Jesus, even by 80s AWA standards this was boring. 0 for 1.

Unpredictable Greatness

Johnny Rodz v. Carlos Colon (08.01.77)

OK, back to the 70s in MSG for a rare appearance from that youngster Carlos Colon, back when he was a youngster. Rodz attacks during the ref’s check of Colon’s boots and stomps him down. Colon slugs back and Rodz runs away, so Colon gets a pair of ranas, which is pretty impressive for 1977, and whips him into the corners to set up a kneelift for two. Rodz stomps him onto the apron and to the floor, but Colon comes back again with a backdrop and tosses Rodz to the floor. Colon slingshots him back into the ring, but Rodz stomps him down again. Colon comes back with dropkicks and a victory roll for the pin at 6:49. Typical kicky-punchy 70s WWF match. 0 for 2.

When Stars Align

Super Loco v. El Hijo del Santo (11.22.98)

From SUPER ASTROS, featuring the WWF debut of Super Crazy. The arena is basically empty at this point in the tapings. You’d think it was 205 Live! Commentary is in Spanish, by the way, since this is just taken from the TV show. They trade wristlock takedowns and Santo takes him down with a headscissors and holds on from the bottom, but Loco pounds him down and hits a pair of springboard moonsaults as we take a break. Back with Loco going up and missing a corkscrew moonsault, and Santo hits a pair of bulldogs and goes up with a flying bodypress into a camel clutch to finish at 3:03. I couldn’t understand the commentary but DAMN they were excited about it! 1 for 3.

The Heat Comes to OVW

Eddie Guerrero v. Nova (11.20.02)

This is Eddie’s one and only appearance in OVW for whatever reason. I guess this was Nova’s serious phase in between his gimmick as Blue Meanie’s idiot friend and his gimmick as TV fitness guru Simon Dean. Gosh, wonder why that didn’t stick? They trade lengthy headlocks to start and Eddie slugs away in the corner, but Nova takes him down with a monkey flip and Eddie bails. Nova follows with a dive and misses, allowing Eddie to slam him on the floor and hit a senton for two. We take a break and return with Nova fighting out of a chinlock but getting clotheslined back down again. Eddie with a rear chinlock and he pounds Nova down with forearms and then tries the Gory Special, but Nova escapes and Eddie clotheslines him down for two. Eddie with an armbar, but Nova escapes with a powerslam and hits an STO to make the comeback. Jim Cornette is just losing his shit on commentary, and Nova gets an inverted DDT for two. Fireman’s carry into a bridge gets two. Tornado DDT gets two. Eddie escapes the Novacaine and goes up misses the frog splash, but Nova spears the ref by mistake. Damaja (Danny Basham) runs in and hits a powerbomb on Nova, and Eddie finishes with the frog splash at 11:11. Not much to this one, but the ending was solid and it was technically fine. 2 for 4.

The Art of War

Latin Fury v. “The Juicer” Art Barr (01.08.92)

Well FUCK ME SIDEWAYS. This is a dark match from a Wrestling Challenge taping, during one of the numerous tryouts for Konnan. Back when he had a LOT of hair. So basically he was so highly sought after that they allowed him to bring in whoever he wanted to have a great match, which was Art Barr in this case. Of course, he gets “Crank it Up” as his generic babyface music. Konnan with a rolling facebuster and he works the arm, then ties him up with a leglock, but Barr makes the ropes and takes him down for a chinlock while the cameraman focuses on two guys in the audience for some random reason. Barr heads out to mouth off at the front row, but Konnan takes him down with a slopping headscissors out of the corner and a flying armdrag. Barr stomps him down again and tosses him, then follows with a pescado, but goes up and gets crotched. Konnan comes back with a tilt a whirl backbreaker and goes up with a flying clothesline to finish at 5:04. Crazy to see Konnan flying all over the ring with rock star hair. Barr looked like a future star here, too, but unfortunately he’d be dead two years later. 3 for 5.

Marquee Matches

WWE title: Jinder Mahal v. AJ Styles (11.07.17)

Huh, this one popped up on the player and I’ve never actually watched it, so why not. This is from Smackdown in England, shortly before Survivor Series because they wanted a better main event. AJ goes for a takedown and Jinder fights him off with an elbow, but AJ rolls him up for two. Jinder blocks a sunset flip and tosses him, and we take a break. Back with Jinder working a headlock, but he walks into the dropkick and AJ puts him on the floor with a forearm. Jinder catches him on a dive and slams him on the announce table, however, and stomps him down in the ring to take over. Time for the armbar, but he stops to drop a knee and lands on AJ’s foot, and AJ makes a comeback and slugs away on the ropes with the kick combo. Jinder blocks a suplex, but AJ hits the Ushigoroshi for two. AJ rolls through a sunset flip and throws kicks, but Jinder catches it and faceplants him for two. Jinder sets up for a superplex, but AJ slips out and rolls into the calf crusher. Jinder slams his head to escape, but AJ hangs on, so he crawls for the ropes like a coward instead. AJ throws more strikes but Jinder puts him down with a forearm for two. They head up and AJ dumps him to the floor and follows with a forearm to the floor, and back in with the springboard 450, but the Singhs make the save. So AJ heads out and tackles them, then back in where he walks into the Khallas, which gets two. Jinder tries a superplex version of the move, but AJ fights out and necks him on the top rope to escape. Back in for the Phenomenal Forearm and AJ regains the WWE title at 14:35 to end our national nightmare, and has yet to lose it a year later. This was, dare I say, a pretty good Jinder Mahal match and probably his best ever. ***1/2

Well that’s quite the mix of stuff this time.  Say what you will about the WWE Network, but you’ll never run out of interesting stuff to watch!