We’re back for more strange, wild Dream Matches! Including a WrestleMania III “Gear-Up” match, SHINOBU KANDORI wrestling men in WAR (which continues to be the greatest clusterfuck promotion ever), Bret Hart fighting the African Dream, Mick Foley as a WWF Jobber in the ’80s, and the Steiners fighting their non-union Power Plant equivalents in High Voltage.
As always, WWE-owned clips are non-kosher to post on the Blog- you can find all of this with easy YouTube searches, however!
“MACHO MAN” RANDY SAVAGE (w/ Miss Elizabeth) & HERCULES vs. RICKY “THE DRAGON” STEAMBOAT & BILLY JACK HAYNES:
(March 21, 1987)
* This is during the build-up to WrestleMania III, with two huge feuds going on between these guys- both were featured on the card, though Savage/Steamboat obviously is a much more famous rivalry. Macho’s in red with yellow boots, Herc’s in black undies, Steamboat’s in white long pants, and Haynes is in ugly mustard-yellow with white boots. Haynes looks so similar to Savage, but with Herc’s physique, that it’s bizarre to me that he never got a push… at least until I realized how f’in crazy he was.
Monsoon is shocked that Steamboat is even wrestling again, while Heenan asserts that “He’s not MENTALLY right, and he never will be!”. Herc keeps teasing a test of strength while Savage wants no part of the Dragon, but Ricky uses technique to get out of it- Herc pulls the hair but misses an elbow, earning one of those “martial arts” shots to the noggin as a result. Herc bails off of a double-team to Heenan’s glee, then tags in Savage, who takes a hiptoss before Herc distracts Billy Jerk, who takes a knee to the back as a result. Herc pounces now that Haynes is weakened since he’s a dick and all, and hits a big clothesline. Savage with a shot to the throat, but Billy powers out and hits a press slam! Haynes is still sore, so Herc pounds away, but stops to taunt and gets clotheslined! Herc cuts off the tag and they stay on him, Macho distracting the ref and slugging Steamboat so Herc can do some damage outside.
Steamboat is selling two shots like absolute death and Savage does great “little things” like just jostling Haynes while walking by him on the apron. Savage finally gets caught with a clothesline as both men are down, but Steamboat gets tagged in! Karate abound! Both heels take big chops and Savage eats a Flying Chop, but he reverses a whip by tossing Steamboat over the top. Ricky’s hurt, but comes back in with a sunset flip on Hercules, but Savage yanks him off. They hit repeated double-teams, but Steamboat hits a cross-body and runs under Savage to bring in Billy Jack- clothesline & press slam for Herc! The heels get rammed into each other and Savage goes flying over the top! Steamboat blasts Herc into Billy’s Full Nelson, but there’s Savage- Flying Axehandle to Haynes to break it up! But Steamboat turns the ref around at the exact right time and he calls for the bell- Disqualification win for the faces at (11:51).
Standard Formula Tag Match, with the heels doing two heat segments in a row, but great selling from Steamboat and good move application by everybody makes it good. Some great over-the-top bumps by Savage & Steamboat and the match breaking down led to a logical finish that kept both feuds active.
Rating: **3/4 (perfectly fine TV match)
GENICHIRO TENRYU & ULTIMO DRAGON vs. KODO FUYUKI & SHINOBU KANDORI:
(Wrestle Association R, 12.08.1995)
* Another match from that insane “Hitting Random in FirePro” tournament WAR held, with Tenryu & Ultimo, the top Heavy & Junior stars in WAR, fighting a big fat guy and SHINOBU KANDORI, a woman’s wrestler and the Ace of LLPW in Japan. A legitimate Judoka with Olympic credentials, she’s double-tough and has fought Akira Hokuto to a pair of ******-ish matches. The notion of men wrestling women is pretty controversial, and was relevant a couple of years ago when CHIKARA & Lucha Underground were doing it- old-schoolers felt it unrealistic and others pointed out the grodiness of men beating up women to get heat… but here, Kandori is like the exact same size as Ultimo, and would probably beat the shit out of him in a real fight, so that feels a tad moot. I don’t recall hearing about Fuyuki, but oh- he was an All Japan guy, and Kawada’s partner in “Footloose”, then moved his Fuyuki-Gun stable (with Gedo & Jado, plus Chris Jericho!) to WAR, FMW and other places, dying in 2003. Tenryu’s in black undies, Ultimo’s in pink, Kandori’s in ugly purple LLPW gear, and Fuyuki’s in yellow.
The Dad Bods have a FAT MAN STAND-OFF to start, but Kandori attacks and Fuyuki hits a release powerbomb on Ultimo. The crowd ROARS for the tag to Kandori, as she suplexes Ultimo and swings her leg into his balls to break a waistlock. Then, in a great bit, tries the same move when SHE hits a waistlock, and she gives the most hilarious taunt, all “As you can see, I have no testicles!”, because if Mortal Kombat and King of the Hill have taught me anything, it’s that being hit square in the genitals isn’t the slightest bit painful for women. He escapes an armbar and tags out, and Tenryu smugly stuffs her judo-toss attempts, being way to stout… but then Fuyuki barrels in with a fucking BOOMERANG LARIAT, and she uses the momentum to carry him over for the flip! HOLY SHIT THE FATASS CAN WORK! They hit a double-armbar to a pop, but Tenryu powers Kandori the corner, then All Japans Fuyuki with bludgeoning stuff. Ultimo with kicks and a RANA for two, and even hits a tolerable Bridging German on the big guy.
Tenryu with gunshot chops and an Enzuigiri, and Ultimo’s Moonsault gets two. Tenryu’s Folding Powerbomb gets the same, but Kandori grabs an armlock when he climbs- Fuyuki takes a missile kick from Ultimo but he tags out. Kandori eats a clothesline but gets a DDT, and an assisted lariat & powerbomb from Fuyuki hammer Ultimo, and they pose over his body. Ultimo eats a big chairshot outside, but a BIG flying cross-body only gets two. Kandori keeps going for basic suplexes because Ultimo resists her judo, so Fuyuki just bowls him down for two. Flying Thesz Press gets two and a Stretch Plum is broken up by Tenryu, but Fuyuki’s comeback is broken up by him getting repeatedly distracted by some guy in the crowd- Tenryu lariats him from behind and Ultimo hits La Majistral for three (12:20).
Interesting kind of match, as Kandori only really got to wrestle Ultimo, and oddly did only basic rookie-level stuff, as her main moves- all Judo stuff- were stuffed and avoided. She was kept away from Tenryu for the most part, leaving Fuyuki to wrestle the rest of the match, doing a comedic “screech while kicking” thing and also taking the lion’s share of the strikes. He’s a good bumper and can move for a fat guy, so I’m seeing why he was a big deal for a while.
Rating: **1/2 (came off as more of an exhibition, with Kandori only being in it a little bit, but had some fun spots and good moves from Fuyuki)
AKEEM (w/ The Doctor of Style, Slick) vs. BRET “HIT MAN” HART:
(WWF Prime Time Wrestling, Feb. 1990)
* Bret was still on the Hart Foundation, but slowwwwwwwwly gaining credibility. Back then, all he really had charisma-wise was cool shades and his “holding his hands out” cool-guy pose. Monsoon & Hillbilly Jim are on commentary, noting how popular Bret was with the ladies. Just ask that bitch, Julie!
Akeem powers Bret around to start, shoving him over in grapples and yanking the hair (“That’s legal in Africa!”, he quips- excellent). Bret then BITES THE NOSE (I love how the Harts cheated even as babyfaces), then lures Akeem into bumping to the outside- Akeem even punches the steel post by mistake! Bret slams the hand into the turnbuckle and chomps on it as we go to break, and come back with him continually working it. Even Monsoon is impressed with how rare this kind of offense is. But Bret headbutts Akeem, hurting himself in the process, allowing the African Dream to come back with slow, plodding offense. Thankfully Bret’s selling is tremendous, treating every move like a gunshot and collapsing from the impact. Big elbow gets two. Bret gets the foot up and slugs away, slamming Akeem into the turnbuckles, and a clothesline gets two. Bret trips him up schoolboy-style and the ref is way delayed so he only gets two, then he tries a sunset flip and Akeem sits on him for the three (8:39). Well I mean, they gave him an “out” for the loss with that terrible ref, but serves him right for trying a sunset flip on a fat guy. This means Akeem has pinned both Bret Hart AND Shawn Michaels, which is pretty funny.
Akeem is dreadful, but Bret’s stuff looked great, and the hand stuff is a neat unique bit. But oddly, Bret had to slug away and brawl with the guy, and Akeem’s stuff is some of the slowest “80s lummox”-style brawling you’ll ever see.
Rating: *1/2 (seemed to be going okay until Akeem controlled for most of it)
It’s just like the Steiners, if all you had was steroids and flexing!
THE STEINER BROTHERS (Rick & Scott Steiner) vs. HIGH VOLTAGE (Rage & Kaos):
(WCW Monday Nitro, 02.10.1997)
* Yes, it’s the Steiners versus the team that was probably/kinda trying to evoke them. Voltage are wearing black and pink- a color combo I don’t recall seeing on them, while Scott’s in silver & Rick’s in purple. The inset promo by the Steiners makes no sense even by Steiner standards.
Scottie hiptosses Rage (who’s nearly as big as Scott is, shockingly), but Rage hits a pretty sweet chop-block when Harlem Heat & Sista Sherri come out to scout the Steiners. Rage comes off the top, but stops like a foot from Scott, who “catches” him and hits a huge overhead belly-to-belly and a press slam, and it’s Rick vs. Kaos as the Faces of Fear come out, too. Awful neckbreaker from Kaos as The Public Enemy are out now, but Rick gets the mid-air takeover. Scott slams Kaos in the corner and cranks his neck while he’s upside-down. Voltage cheat to come back, but Scott makes his own comeback and Rick Steinerlines Rage- Kaos saves, and Rage whips out a friggin’ Slingshot Cannonball, but Rick Powerbombs him in mid-air! Woah! Kaos saves again, so Scott just WHIPS him out of the ring, and the Steiner Doomsday Bulldog wins at (3:58).
The Steiner Squash Machine was in full effect here, with Voltage getting only a tiny bit of shine and the Steiners just eating them alive. The kids took their beating like men, and that Powerbomb spot was pretty sweet, as Rage could actually kinda move.
Rating: *1/2 (Steiner Squashes are always a bit fun, though the kids were a tad awkward)
What a flabby, wimpy-looking jobber. I don’t see anything for this kid.
HERCULES (w/ Bobby “The Brain” Heenan) vs. JACK FOLEY:
(WWF Wrestling Challenge, 1986)
* Yes, it’s Hercules during the midst of his big heel push (Heenan apparently laid out some “serious bread” for Herc’s contract from Slick) against MICK FOLEY, still a fuzzy-haired jobber with no body definition (edit: y’know, as opposed to the chiseled look he adopted later) and a jobbery black singlet & pants. Mick said in his book that he was a solid hand at this, but made sure to bail on the WWF before he could be overly-recognized in this role- one of his few good career choices in his early years. Johnny V & Gorilla Monsoon do commentary.
Hercules easily pounds away and slams Foley, then smirks at some weak punches and clotheslines him down with a great look on his face. He hoists Jack up into a Torture Rack and easily gets the win (1:29). Foley was a perfectly-acceptable jobber, just doing bumps, looking like a nothing, and getting easily killed.
Rating: DUD (basic one-sided squash with like… three moves)
And that’s all for this week! Next week- some wild mess of a bout Maffew found! A third Islander! The New Rockers! And Furnas & Kroffat from All Japan!