The SmarK Rant for WWE Network Hidden Gems – 12.06.18
This week, it’s LADDER MATCHES. Sort of. Plus, a couple of guys who know a thing or two about ladder matches.
The Crusher and the Colonel
Jerry Blackwell v. Col. DeBeers (11.27.86)
More proof that the AWA invented the ladder match in 1986, although it was mostly ripping off the Dusty Rhodes v. Tully Blanchard feud, I’d imagine. There’s $10,000 hanging above the ring in this “ladder match” and we’re joined in progress about 4:00 in, with DeBeers dropping the ladder on Blackwell’s ribs. DeBeers climbs for the money and Blackwell pushes the ladder over and then hurls DeBeers into the ladder for a pretty spectacular bump. Blackwell rams the Colonel into the turnbuckles for the 10 count and DeBeers bumps to the floor, so Blackwell follows him out and drops an elbow on him outside. Back in, Blackwell sets up the ladder, but DeBeers runs his head into it. DeBeers charges and walks into a powerslam and Blackwell chokes him out on the mat until referee Billy Robinson breaks it up for some reason. Blackwell tries to climb and DeBeers follows him up, but Blackwell slugs him down to the mat and grabs the money at 5:38 for the win. Someone probably broke into Bret Hart’s locker room and stole the plans for it, 6 years before Bret had the chance to introduce it to Vince McMahon, who would call it the greatest match he’d ever seen with tears in his eyes. I bet it was that bitch Julie who stole it. Anyway, this kind of ruled for 1986 and DeBeers could BUMP. 1 for 1.
The Stairway to Hell
The Dudley Boyz & Big Dick Dudley v. The Sandman, Spike Dudley & Tommy Dreamer (05.16.98)
Tonight, it’s Joel “You said you were celibate and then did me for the hell of it” Gertner, who has calves that could be mistaken for full grown cows. So the gimmick here is that it’s a ladder match, with barbed wire hanging above the ring that they’re trying to reach. I don’t know how “hidden” this one is, since it was widely available as a video release in between PPVs, but the show isn’t on the Network, at least. Funny bit before the match where Sandman convinces Spike to chug a beer, and one beer literally knocks him on his ass. Bubba: “You just had one beer and now you probably think Beulah is good looking!” Beulah: “I just had one beer and now I think you’re thin!”
So after our requisite 10 minutes of ballyhoo and nonsense from the Dudleys, Dreamer slugs it out with D-Von and they trade rollups for two. Bubba comes in and he wants Spike and quickly powerbombs him and adds a backdrop. He hurls Spike across the ring, but misses a blind charge and Spike comes back with a rana out of the corner. Spike with a bulldog and Bubba backs off to his own corner like a coward and brings Big Dick in. Spike wisely runs away and lets Sandman try and they have a TERRIBLE sequence where they mostly posture and growl at each other and the crowd quickly turns on it. Bubba loudly calls for a powerbomb from across the ring, and for all I know Dick was so terrible that he legit had to call spots for him that way. However, Sandman escapes it and everyone brawls on the floor as we’ve all had enough of watching Big Dick Dudley try to work a match.
Back in, Dreamer slugs it out with Bubba and slingshots in with a splash for two, but Bubba hits him with a backdrop driver and they disappear. Spike gets his bulldog on D-Von for two, but charges and hits boot and D-Von gets two. So we go back to the thrilling saga of Sandman v. Big Dick and that ends with Dick hanging in the Tree of Woe, followed by the other two Dudleyz, and Sign Guy. And then the babyfaces, including Beulah, all dropkick chairs into their faces and this is just contrived and awful. Then Gertner gets in there and challenges Beulah, while evil ref Jeff Jones comes in to officiate. He goes for the kiss, so she kicks both Gertner and Jones in the nuts and DDTs them. So then we go back to the main match again and Dreamer brings in the ladder and bulldogs D-Von onto it, but tries a splash and misses like a goof as usual. Dreamer gets tossed, but Sandman fights off the heels and Dreamer returns to climb for the wire, only to have the ladder toppled over on him. Spike climbs up on Sandman’s shoulders and that gets messed up, so Dick chokeslams Spike and Bubba slams him on the ladder. This isn’t a Stairway to Hell, it’s more like the stairway that leads nowhere on the Simpsons. Bubba climbs and retrieves the barbed wire, because everyone bleeding is JUST what this shitty match needed to liven it up, I guess. So Tommy of course gets slammed on it and D-Von is a bloody mess. Spike climbs up the ladder and dives on Bubba, but lands in a Bubba Cutter that gets two. Spike fights back with the Acid Drop on the ladder, but D-Von pins Spike for two. Sandman makes a drunken comeback and pins D-Von with a DDT at 24:30. This was AWFUL. No heat, no point to the barbed wire, Sandman looked like he was in another timezone, Spike Dudley blew almost every spot he tried… you name it, it went wrong. A complete and total waste of 30 minutes. 1 for 2.
OK, let’s wash that bad taste out of our mouths with…
Edge & Christian Show S2E02: HEY YOU GUYYYYYYYYSSS! (12.03.18)
And we start with a WWE Films production of THE MOONIES, as Sean is hanging out with the boys and still can’t find his pants. Tommy Dreamer (who has to do the Dreamer Steamer first) shows up in a Kenny Omega wig, along with Funaki, who has a map to Mooney’s pants. Edge doesn’t want to go, and he’s gonna hit them so hard that they’ll think Dreamer’s matches are good!
INTERLUDE: E&C’s Employment Agency, where they pair retired wrestlers with new jobs, like Jim Duggan: Morning Wood Handler.
Taggin’ In with AJ Styles. Edge reveals that AJ actually starred in a Broadway production of Cats. He’s got pictures, so it must be real!
Back to the Moonies, as they’re in a cave so dark and devoid of life that Christian wonders if they’re in the Impact Zone? OUCH. Sadly, their progress is halted by Vickie, Santino and Nunzio, since Vickie’s been trying to get into Mooney’s pants for years. Dreamer: “Take a number…” Luckily, Funaki has a bottle of Arrogance handy and creates a smokescreen so they can escape via green screen.
INTERLUDE: Painting for Joy, with Rob Sauce. Goldust is the unwilling canvas, sadly. “It looks like Marlena taking a crap on a Prius!”
Chumpstain Challenge, Week 2: E&C take turns guessing the identity of WWE action figure silhouettes. This is so awesomely nerdy, with real LJN figures and the guys just destroying the challenge with glee. Sadly, Christian screws up Hulk Hogan and falls behind 3-2 and then Edge puts him away 4-2. This was AWESOME.
INTERLUDE: The Revival gets tag team therapy from Bayley, as Dawson wants to try some flips and Dash only cares about fisting. Luckily, she knows Michael Hayes, who looks suspiciously like Edge in a wig, and promises to help them like he did the Hardyz.
WORD ON THE STREET with Finn Balor. Today’s word is “OVER”, as he demonstrates various uses of the word. But not Lashley. NOICE!
Back to the Moonies, as they find a boat that supposedly has Sean’s pants, but Funaki only sees a big, smooth, hard deck. Turns out that Carlito is the captain. “Bet you never thought you’d see me again! I’m no Young Buck, but there’s plenty of money on the indy circuit.” This is the most awesomely nerdy thing ever. So of course it all leads to a big sword fight showdown on the dock, as Sean regains his pants and EVERY WWE CHAMPIONSHIP IN HISTORY. You see, the writers might have buried Carlito, but he buried all the belts. Christian: “It’s not our fault, it’s never our fault!” Everyone gets a title! Except Tommy Dreamer.
This show makes SO HAPPY to be a proudly nerdy wrestling fan.