And we’re back with more of wrestling’s most unusually-booked matches! Or just random stuff on YouTube I found! First up, one of the most disparate matches ever in terms of the gulf in workrate between the two competitors. Plus one of those “Split up two tag teams and have them wrestle each other” WWF matches that I love, the Beverlies taking on the weirdest JTTS duo ever, and then one of WCW’s weirdest Jobber Matches- an 8-man tag mixing the Quebecers, Roadblock & Greg Valentine together.
As always, WWF-owned clips are non-kosher to publish on the Blog, but you can find them easily enough on YouTube.
THE GREAT MUTA vs. EL GIGANTE:
* Oh this just looks fascinating. Keiji Mutoh is at the peak of his abilities here as the Great Muta, and he’s up against the most hopeless man to ever have wrestled. Gigante just LOOKS awkward, being all gangly and 7’7″, especially in his little blue gym shorts. Muta’s a huge star in his black pants and black & white facepaint. Entrances and interviews take up a HUGE amount of this, as they’re clearly building it up as a huge deal.
One minute goes by and all we manage is Muta spraying green mist into the air and Gigante shoving Muta over when he gets close, twice- then Muta bails to look under the ring apron and flips back into the ring. Gigante backs him into the corner, but Muta throws kicks and strikes as we see Gigante’s biggest weakness as a worker- all of his “selling” looks like a video game with the physics engine broken- limbs just kinda jerking around in random movements. Puffing his cheeks out or doing a “d-uhhhh…” expression doesn’t help. Muta bites him in the corner, then hits the Cartwheel Back Elbow! Gigante gets a boot up and knocks Muta around with chops, then dumps him and tosses him around outside. Very slow pace, benefiting Gigante a lot. Gigante actually grabs THE CLAW from the inside of the ring to the floor in a great use of his height, dragging Muta back into the ring, and hits a shitty chop.
Muta forward rolls under another Claw attempt, then sprays mist… onto Gigante’s tummy. What, can he only reach a certain height with that? Gigante no-sells it and dumps him again, but Muta crawls under the ring and comes out the other side with a chair, hitting Gigante repeatedly. He goes down in the ring and rolls around like a dying animal to repeated shots, but Muta comes off the second rope with the chair and Gigante gets the foot up! He goes for the chair, but Muta dropkicks him, sets up the chair, stands on it and can NOW spray Gigante in the eyes! Okay, I think I have to award it an extra * just for that. Muta goes up, but Gigante somehow ANGLES HIMSELF WRONG in the process of selling, so poor Muta has to go to the other corner, THEN hits the Moonsault for the three (8:07).
hahahaha how is this guy so bad? He buggers the finish just because he’s sorta “flailing” and slides on his ass into the wrong position. Gigante’s about as bad as a human can be at wrestling, not even being able to sell properly, so this is probably the best possible match you can get out of him (Randy Savage had a similar one)- you just bounce off of him until he falls over and you hit your finish. Muta’s great fun, but had nothing to work with- all Gigante did was shove him, lift his foot sometimes, and do the Claw. In eight minutes, not hitting a DUD is virtually miraculous, so full credit to Keiji Mutoh.
Rating: *3/4 (a full * just for the bit where Muta uses a chair to get proper height on his mist- I mean, that’s just fucking beautiful)
JIM “THE ANVIL” NEIDHART vs. SMASH:
(WWF TV, SummerSlam Fever 1990)
* A precursor to the Hart Foundation’s shot at the Demos at SummerSlam, this is one of my favorite things to watch on regular TV back in the day- tag teams split up and fighting each other. They show Demolition beating the Rockers on Saturday Night’s Main Event with Ax running in for Crush and pinning Shawn, sending the Harts AND the Legion of Doom into the ring, making me sad at how much better the tag team scene used to be. Heenan makes a big deal over this match being scheduled as Bret/Smash, but Vince blows it off as a psychological thing.
Standard lockup/headlockery to start, but Smash bounces back from a shoulder tackle and they play a psychological thing. Neidhart works his arm and actually bowls him over with a shoudlerblock. Smash whines (Darsow is a good whiner for such a huge guy), but hits a cheap knee and chokes away. Neidhart overpowers him, bounces him around and hits a clothesline for two. Smash scores a slam out of an armlock, and comes off the 2nd rope with an axehandle, but Jim actually CATCHES him in a good bit, hits an inverted atomic drop (or “reverse piledriver” in Vince-speak), but is run into the corner when he tries to grab Smash from behind. Jumping Demolition Axehandles abound! Jim’s in trouble, but slams Smash’s head into the mat and trips him up. Back body drop & dropkick get two, Russian legsweep & shoulderblock send Smash outside, and Neidhart looks to finish with a sunset flip back in, but Smash grabs the ropes and holds him down for the cheap pin at (6:09). Smash brags at the win, but Neidhart smashes him with the Tag Title to get his heat back. He takes the belt down the aisle with him, but Ax & Crush jump him in the aisle and leave him laying! They cut a dominant promo with Mean Gene for SummerSlam.
Rating: *1/2 (Kind of too long for both guys, as neither has very well-rounded offense and tend to fall into “run into the guy a lot” as moves, but it was fine- there wasn’t any resting)
THE BEVERLY BROTHERS (Beau & Blake, w/ The Genius) vs. GREG “THE HAMMER” VALENTINE & “THE TEXAS TORNADO” KERRY VON ERICH:
* This is truly weird. Like… Valentine and KERRY? Both are nearing the end of their run for sure (I have no memories of either in ’92, which is when I first started watching routinely). And it’s the Beverlies’ old theme song. Sean Mooney quips that “He knows he’s got a job to do” while Greg has the most dead-eye “I’m jobbing tonight” stare ever.
It’s so weird in retrospect to see the Beverlies as generic sniveling, cheating heels with generic offense when both are HUGE- they tower over the Hammer completely, and Beau is getting beaten up and totally dominated, then Blake’s foot gets caught and he’s spun around and atomic dropped. Kerry comes in to cheers from the ladies, but all he does is big, dramatic punches (Blake avoids the Tornado Punch) and the Beverlies retreat while Kerry does this weird stance with his arms and hands splayed out. Blake takes another beating and 360s off a clothesline, but Kerry hits the post off a charge and gets double-teamed and garotted on the top rope. The Beverlies hit their “Hangman/Leapfrog” move on him for two, and a falling headbutt gets the same for Blake, and then hold him off from the tag. Beau hits a butterfly suplex but gets a high knee in return, and the Hammer comes in with a big flurry, drops the hammer, and hits the Figure-Four Leglock! Blake interferes to stop that, Kerry runs in to see him off, and Blake takes advantage of the distracted ref with a flying axehandle (which does +10 damage in tag team matches, as everyone knows), Beau picking up the win at (7:27).
Pretty forgettable, basic match, with the Beverlies not really looking that great- they mostly sold a lot and bounced around for the low-tier Valentine, and just scored a one-hit distraction finish for the win.
Rating: *1/2 (standard-issue stuff)
THE GIANT, LEX LUGER & THE STEINER BROTHERS (Rick & Scott) vs. GREG “THE HAMMER” VALENTINE, ROADBLOCK & THE AMAZING FRENCH CANADIANS (Jacques Rougeau & Carl Oulette, w/ Col. Rob Parker):
* This is a match I’ve remembered and been obsessed with for like twenty-five years, lol. I think it’s the reason for this whole damn set I’ve been doing! It’s just such a random assortment! You’ve got a washed-up WWF guy on the tail end of his career, a giant Jobber, and The Quebecers, shuffled into WCW as a bottom-tier tag team before they came back for a one-off so short I have to frequently double-check to make sure it happened. And they’re up against the anti-nWo squad in one of WCW’s most iconic sets- the Spring Break set in Florida. I knew I’d found my people when the Blog waxed nostalgic over this brilliant “ring in the pool” set. Luger & Giant are in black, with Scott in his near-Poppa Pump look (uber-roided and in a white singlet) & Rick in black & neon. Greg’s in black, Roadblock’s in a rare black singlet (with his name on it), and the Canadians are in black singlets with maple leafs & fleur de lis on them.
Hammer drops elbows on Luger, who comes back with a slam. Rick comes in with a Steinerline, but gets snagged by Carl and eats more elbows. The Canadians double-team him and garrotte him on the top rope. Roadblock’s in, and he hits a slam, but misses a dive off the second rope- Scottie comes in and just LAUNCHES him with a waistlock/under-the-crotch suplex (keep in mind this dude’s like 360 lbs.), then tags in The Giant, who finishes him in one move with the Chokeslam (2:09) as his partners beat on the opposing team.
LOL my description of the contestants was longer than the match. This was just a total squash to set us up for War Games, with these guys taking only a tiny bit of offense before squashing the biggest guy on the opposing team in two hits. Such a bizarre, WCW-esque use of guys like the Canadians. They even had a manager!
Rating: * (just a complete squash for the most part)