What defines “Dream Match” better than “Jorge Gonzalez versus _____”?
Welcome to more Dream Matches! Including a rarity with Giant Gonzalez actually interacting with other “name” guys. Also more “short-lived gimmicks” as The Stalker (Barry Windham) has to try and oppose the might of THE GOON! A FAT MAN STAND-OFF between Mabel and Bam Bam Bigelow! Yokozuna in New Japan taking on Riki Choshu! And did you know that Sherri Martel did a run in 1981 AJW? Now you do- watch her face Devil Masami!
All of this can be readily found on YouTube.
“MACHO MAN” RANDY SAVAGE & MR. PERFECT vs. MR. HUGHES & THE GIANT GONZALEZ (w/ Harvey Wippleman):
* Here’s a random taped “end of the card” bout, and an AMAZINGLY weird combination, as Macho Man & Mr. Perfect team up once more to take on Giant Gonzalez near the end of his run, and Mr. Hughes, who at this point was the new guy feuding with the Undertaker (was this the first “heel steals the urn” angle? This feels like the first). Hughes is DEFINITELY not as tall as I remember- he doesn’t look much taller than either opponent. Macho’s in his AMAZING super-patriot gear with red, white & blue, while Perfect’s in black & orange, and the heels are in their usual- airbrushed muscles (Gonzalez) and the sharp suit (Hughes).
It’s a prelude of King of the Ring as the Misters square off- Hughes showing off his scintillating heel mannerisms of “scowling” and “yelling at the fans to shut up”. We’re two minutes in before any meaningful contact is made, Perfect running into a boot off a criss-cross. He pounds away slowly, and Gonzalez does the same, using his trademark overhand forearm shots- you can tell Perfect is dogging it because he’s up against a GIGANTIC opponent and isn’t flipping and flopping off of every blow like he was zapped by Emperor Palpatine. Hughes adds more punches and no-sells Perfect’s, then does a front-facelock but gets his foot stomped on- hot tag!
But Savage immediately charges into the heel corner like a dumbass and gets double-teamed (like, your opponent is GIANT GONZALEZ and you’re gonna just dive right into him, giving up your back?). Gonzalez hits the Choke Lift and a whirly-armed clothesline. Macho tumbles out of the ring and gets just rolled back in, Gonzalez hits the Rainmaker (I mean, kind of) and tags out, but Hughes whips Savage to the corner and misses an avalanche. Perfect beats on him and hits a pretty good back body drop, but Gonzalez swipes at him- while the ref’s dealing with that, crafty ol’ Savage flies off the top with the double-axehandle, and Hughes pops right back up and into a shitty inside cradle, the faces winning (7:10). BIG pop from the crowd for that, despite this dreary effort.
Hoo boy- I’ve seen less effort from heels before, but I can barely remember when. All the offense was plodding punches, intermixed with the heels raising their arms and yelling at the fans- the “House Show Special”. Like, you have PERFECT AND SAVAGE and you give all the offense to the slugs they’re fighting? I mean… it’s a house show, so yeah.
Rating: 1/2* (dreadful performance)
No word of a lie: the thing I miss most of all from old wrestling is ridiculous gimmicks and costumes like this.
THE STALKER vs. THE GOON:
(WWF TV, 1997)
* So here’s a wild assortment of nutjob 1997 gimmicks, as you get Bill Irwin & Barry Windham deep in the latter halves of their careers, both repackaged with goofy gimmicks. Irwin is the infamous “Goon”, wearing big hockey gloves, elevated boots like skates, and a hockey jersey, while Barry, still acknowledged under his real name, is now some crazy woodsman bounty hunter decked out like a third-year G.I. Joe toy. Oh, and Goldust is on commentary.
The Goon slugs away, but misses a charge in the corner and takes a big punch, all while Goldust hits on Mr. Perfect on commentary. Stalker misses an elbowdrop and takes an avalanche, and the Goon hits a big running boot. Stalker just makes an easy comeback with strikes and a suplex, then goes to the eyes- the Goon hits a running knee and a gutwrench suplex gets two, but Stalker ducks an elbow and nails a flying forearm. The Floatover Superplex finishes for Stalker at (3:15). Pretty weak match, as both guys were in their twilight and hit mid-1980s WWF offense that was super-plodding and put the crowd to sleep. That it was Heel vs. Heel (edit: actually, the Stalker is merely an incredibly unover face at this point!) didn’t help, as there was no one to cheer for.
Rating: 1/2* (The finish was nice, but that was about it)
BAM BAM BIGELOW (w/ his Main Squeeze, Luna Vachon) vs. MABEL (w/ Oscar):
(Madison Square Garden, May 20th, 1994)
* HELL YES! Another glorious Fat Man Stand-Off, this time between Mabel (with the crowd chanting “WHOOMP! There it is!”, so I guess he’s over SOMEWHERE) and Bam Bam. They had a RAW match ending with a count-out when Luna Vachon got knocked off the apron, but this is a house show at MSG. Always funny to see the Monster Heel Bigelow up against a much larger opponent. Mabel is wearing his awful “mostly gold” gear, which I always hated. I mean, I prefered the dignity of his royal purple parachute pants, y’know?
Bam Bam goes to the eyes and pounds away to start, Mabel already falling back in the corner with his selling, but he comes back by reversing a whip and hits the weirdest jumping shoulderblock ever, getting maybe six inches off the mat. Bam Bam ducks a clothesline but takes a baaaaack body drop for two, then dodges a clothesline in the corner and hits an Enzuigiri to the back (Backzuigiri?) to send Mabel to the outside. Mabel gets slammed into the steel steps and Bam Bam waits him out in the ring, then hits a jumping clothesline for two. Bam Bam goes to a chinlock for about 30 seconds, but Mabel fights up… only to eat an eyerake and a proper Enzuigiri. Bam Bam signals for a big bodyslam, but Mabel uses THE POWER OF OBESITY to land on him for a one-count (Bammer seems to know the secret to avoid being accidentally pinned by Mabel- kick out early). Weird short shoulderblock, clothesline and TakerBreaker Legdrop have Bam Bam down, but Mabel goes up too early, and misses a Second Rope Splash! Bam Bam climbs the other corner, Mabel positions himself properly while selling (See? He’s not COMPLETELY hopeless!), and the Flying Headbutt finishes at (4:37).
Tragically short match, without even giving us the necessary FAT MAN STAND-OFF no-sold shoulderblocks, but alright enough. I mean, it had a quick pace, some bumping, and a bit of flow, though it was largely Bam Bam dominating despite being so much smaller, deftly avoiding Mabel’s stuff and hitting all his stuff. Like, there was only a tiny bit of offense really done in all that time, so Mabel jobbing due to a missed splash was a tad abrupt. I mean, he didn’t even hit his Rolling Roundhouse Kick or one of the other moves he can do correctly!
Rating: *3/4 (short, quick enough bout)
RIKI CHOSHU vs. GREAT KOKINA:
* So it’s one of the biggest stars in puro history vs. Baby Yokozuna, back when he was a mobile young rookie. I don’t know what promotion this is, but they’re in some podunk warehouse… huh- this is actually New Japan, as Kokina did a big tour there, mostly paired up with Choshu or Masa Saito (for experience?). Riki is a total Japanese Dad Wrestler at this point, shaped like a barrel and sporting an ’80s mullet, while Kokina’s about 350 lbs. or so and in black shorts. This is from a fancam.
Riki wins a grapple and seems to knee Kokina in the balls, but is met with an eyerake, backrake and falling headbutts for two. Kokina hits a nerve-hold, sending Riki bailing, and he comes back with kicks and punches- now KOKINA bails. He returns with headbutts, punches, and an avalanche, but another falling headbutt misses… RIKI LARIAT! I don’t know much of Riki’s stuff, but I know that’s his big move… oh hey, it got the pin (4:52). Wow, pretty soft match- lots of big, overdramatic strikes and a lot of standing around between them, and repeated instances of bailing to milk the time in what was already a 5-minute match. Classic “house show”-iness.
Rating: 1/2* (another nothing bout)
DEVIL MASAMI vs. SHERRI MARTEL (w/ Judy Martin):
(sometime in 1981)
* Haha, WTF? SHERRI MARTEL wrestled for AJW? OMG, look at that big, brown ’80s perm she has. She’s in a red singlet, while Devil’s in purple here. Martel is actually noticeably taller, and has a bombshell physique she typically hid under lots of weird gear in the WWF. Sherri is backed by Judy Martin, who was one of the Glamour Girls who fought the Jumping Bomb Angels in many ’80s WWF cards. I reviewed this for a Joshi Spotlight on Devil, but I’ll re-watch it here, as the livewatch crew liked it more.
SHERRI MARTEL playing a plucky, nervous girl against an evil, snarling heel really has to be seen to be believed. You can tell she’s trained by Moolah, because she sucks- all eye-gouging and awkward kicks & stumbles. At least she hits a good forearm, and both seem to be working pretty tight. She does the worst bodyslam ever, and Masami refuses to even let her try a pin, shoving her off. Masami stomps and chokes away (Sherri doesn’t even bother to put her hands up to guard her neck- Vince McMahon would HATE that!), and Martin starts throwing punches at Devil, but Sherri gets launched over the top and it’s a brawl outside- Sherri’s tossed over the table and Martin’s back on offense.
Sherri finally comes back in the ring, slugging and tossing Devil around and doing some wimpy falling clotheslines, then standing on Devil’s hair- Judy keeps interfering, but Devil makes her own comeback and starts bashing the both of them with chairs on the outside! This is wild. Butterfly Suplex in the ring gets two, and a pair of vertical suplexes and a falling splash get the three at (7:55).
A total brawl because Sherri couldn’t do anything else, but shit- you think she was taking pointers? Masami was doing half Sherri’s ’90s act! There was a lot of time killed outside and everything was punches and kicks, but Devil carried her end pretty well and it got pretty scrappy and fun at points, so I liked it a lot more the second time around.
Rating: *1/2 (one was barely trained and Devil was only 19; what can you do?)