The SmarK Rant for WWE Network Hidden Gems (and Other Stuff) – 10.26.18
Only a couple of Hidden Gem additions this week, so we’ll do another bit where we check out assorted collections and big matches and see what looks good.
But first, the gems!
Destruction After Dark
Undertaker & Kane v. HHH & Steve Austin (04.16.01)
This is from after the RAW episode that night, with the Brothers of Destruction chasing off the Power Trip (complete with full Limp Bizkit music for Undertaker!) and a lengthy staredown setting up an impromptu match. And wasn’t everyone SUPER excited to see Undertaker v. Steve Austin again? Anyway, the Power Trip tries to walk out, but the Brothers haul them back into the ring and deliver stereo chokeslams, then hijack Austin’s beer supply and drink it. Kane trying to drink with his full mask, while chokeslamming HHH mind you, is pretty funny. Anyway, there’s no actual match here, but if you want to hear “Rollin” on a loop for 7 minutes, this is your jam. 0 for 1.
Destruction Comes to OVW
Undertaker & Kane v. Leviathan & DDP (06.30.01)
The original advertised match was Undertaker v. Leviathan with Mick Foley as special referee, but Mick got pulled from the show for whatever reason, so heel manager Kenny Bolin brought in DDP as referee instead. So then Jim Cornette changes the match to make DDP into Leviathan’s partner instead, and adds Kane to the match. So then we’re joined in progress for the actual match, with DDP and Leviathan double-teaming Kane and Leviathan missing a blind charge. Kane gets a clothesline and makes the hot tag to Undertaker, who hits a side slam on Page for two. Leviathan saves and it’s BREAKING LOOSE IN TULSA, but the babyfaces both chokeslam the heels and a bunch of heels run in for the DQ at 2:14 aired. Not much to this one, although it’s always funny to watch Batista tripping over his own feet early in his career. 0 for 2.
So that’s all the “Gems” this week. Can’t all be Last Battle of Atlanta, I guess. So what else is in the news this week?
NXT UK v. North American title: Pete Dunne v. Ricochet
I know people have been asking for this one, so let’s check it out. The graphic with the merged title is pretty awesome, although spending all the time building up the “winner take all” aspect when any idiot can tell that it’s a screwjob finish coming up is a bit crummy of them. The crowd is pretty jacked for this one, though, and the show’s got lots of time for the match. Ricochet takes him down with armdrags, but Dunne is not about to be intimidated. Funny bit on commentary as Nigel ponders what Dunne winning the North American title would do to the morale of “All you Yanks” and Mauro quickly points out that he’s Canadian. Dunne takes him down and works the arm with SMALL JOINT MANIPULATION, my new favorite silly thing in wrestling. Ricochet goes to work on the knee with a leglock, but Dunne reverses out of it and they do some nice counters to each other while the crowd just won’t let up. Dunne just bends the wrists and surfboards him. Ricochet fires back with firearms and dropkicks him to the floor after some gymnastics, and follows with the suicide dive to the ramp.
Back in, another roll into a headscissors, but Dunne bends the man’s toes to block him and then kicks him in the hand. NASTY. Dunne ties him up like a pretzel on the mat and does more horrifying finger-bending, but Ricochet comes back with a rolling clothesline. Running forearm gets two. Dunne escapes a TKO and fights back with an enzuigiri, but Ricochet flips out of a suplex and hits a standing shooting star for two. Ricochet goes up and Dunne dodges him, then takes him down into a flying armbar while cranking on the fingers at the same time. Ricochet fights out, but misses a standing moonsault and splats on the mat, so Dunne steps on the hand and stomps the fingers as Mauro is in his GLORY. Ricochet goes up and Dunne just punches him in the face on the way down and hits the X-Plex for two. Ricochet with a german suplex, but Dunne lands on his feet, so Ricochet kicks him to the floor. Another dive misses, and Dunne suplexes him on the apron, THE HARDEST PART OF THE RING, but Ricochet manages to hit a reverse rana in the ring for two. Mauro is just losing his mind and finally has a proper outlet. Dunne goes back to the fingers and stomps him again, but they trade huge kicks and Dunne catches him with a lariat and fires up. Ricochet then handsprings into an insane tornado DDT that gets two. WHAT THE FUCK WAS THAT? In this house we OBEY the laws of physics, young man!
They fight to the top and Dunne tries to break the fingers again, but Ricochet takes him down with a rana from the very top, and adds an Ax kick and downward spiral for two. Ricochet with a springboard 450, but Dunne smartly catches him with a triangle on the way down and bends the fingers while applying it. Ricochet powerbombs out and now HE’S pissed. So Dunne bends the fingers AGAIN and hammerlocks him while trying to break the fingers and Ricochet’s selling here is amazing. Ricochet deadlifts him into a brainbuster to escape and both guys are out. They slug it out from the mat, but the Undisputed Era runs in for the DQ at 21:46. Well, shit. Still, what an amazing match, one of the best I’ve seen all year. ****3/4 1 for 3, obviously.
Well, gonna be hard to top that one. I think I missed some stuff in the Jeff Jarrett collection, so we’ll clean up there, too.
A Big Apple Warm-up (04.02.95)
This is from Times Square the week before Wrestlemania XI, as they’ve got a ring set up outside. Jarrett promises to figure-four Razor at Wrestlemania until he quits. So we get an exhibition match as a bonus!
Jeff Jarrett v. Unnamed Jobber
He might actually be Tommy Angel, I’m not 100% sure. There’s no commentary to indicate, but it doesn’t really matter. Jarrett chokes him out while jawing with Diesel at ringside, then tosses the guy so Roadie can get his shots in. Suplex back into the ring and he follows with a DDT, but picks him up at two. Jarrett steals Nash’s belt and runs away, so Big Kev powerbombs the Roadie and it’s some kind of DQ at 3:00. Nothing to the match, but I liked the unique visual of the Times Square setup, so I’ll give it a point. 2 for 4.
That Championship Spark
Intercontinental title: Jeff Jarrett v. Bob Holly (05.07.95)
From the Action Zone! This was during the brief period where the title was held up due to controversial finish in a previous match, which later got retconned into a title reign for Holly by WWE announcers. They fight for the lockup to start and Jarrett takes him down with the headlock. They were already hyping Jarrett v. Ramon for the first In Your House, so the result here isn’t exactly in doubt. I’m not even sure what the point of this whole angle was, in fact. Holly gets his own headlock while Jarrett bitches about having his hair pulled, and Bob gets some shoulderblocks for two and goes back to the headlock. Bob with a sunset flip for two, and we take a break. Back with Jarrett getting a stungun for the apparent pin at 4:35, but Holly’s foot was on the ropes, so Earl Hebner comes out and demonstrates the “foot on the ropes” concept to Tim White like he’s a complete moron, complete with pantomime. So THIS MATCH MUST CONTINUE. Jarrett whips Holly into the corners not once, not twice, but THRICE, and Roadie undoes the turnbuckle behind the ref’s back. But Hebner gets involved AGAIN and actually jumps into the ring to prevent Jarrett from using it. Gorilla Monsoon was probably having an aneurism at this refereeing job. HE’S NOT EVEN THE REFEREE! So Hebner then ejects Roadie and finally leaves the ring so the assigned ref can do his job. Holly runs Jarrett into the exposed steel, but that only gets two. What a geek. Holly makes a comeback with a back elbow for two and follows with a piledriver for two. Bob slugs away in the corner and gets a clothesline for two and credit to Jim Ross for taking an average match and calling it like a classic. Holly misses a charge and Jarrett rolls him up with his feet on the ropes for the pin and the title at 9:32. This was fine, Perfectly Acceptable Wrestling, if a tad overbooked. 3 for 5.
OK, I think that wraps up the Jarrett collection now. So quite the mixed bag this week, but DAAAAAAAAAMN you should check out Ricochet v. Dunne.