Welcome back to more Dream Matches! Today, it’s a kind of Giant-themed day by accident, as I went looking for Ron Reis’s stuff and found this bizarre Andre/Baba tag match as well! So come see a weird WWF/All Japan bout as Andre & Giant Baba take on Demolition! Also, come see ERIK WATTS make his “Dream Matches” debut wrestling a knock-off Kamala! Plus Ron Studd versus a jobber Chavo Guerrero Jr., then a couple years later as Ron becomes “Reese” of the Flock and takes on a washed-up ex-WWF guy in The Barbarian! And Earthquake in rare chocolate-brown gear against Rubbish Ronnie Garbage!
ANDRE THE GIANT & GIANT BABA vs. DEMOLITION (Ax & Smash):
(WWF/AJPW/NJPW Wrestling Summit April 13 1990)
* Good heavens! A wild interpromotional show, with an ungodly tired-looking Andre teaming up with the aged Baba in Japan against the Demos! Andre adored both guys in real life so he’ll probably be pretty generous to them, but, uh… neither guy on his side is in any position to be carrying a match. Andre’s in blue, with an obvious brace in his gear, while Baba’s in red and looks like he just got dug out of a mass grave. Looking at this card, I really gotta watch the whole thing.
Smash & Baba start it off, Smash slugging away but eating a “chop” and selling it like Ricky Steamboat would, just rolling around and convulsing all over the ring. Andre roars at him and Baba softly pulls Smash into the corner, looking like he can barely move, but draws a MONSTER reactions for overhand chops Mick Foley described as “not looking like they could break an egg”. Smash sells madly for that, and for Andre’s shots once he’s in- Andre steps on him, but takes too long with his “dying walrus” elbow and it misses! Ax & Smash trade off with Jumping Demolition Axehandles and Andre’s in serious trouble. Andre finally just catches Ax’s face in his bear-paw and rolls over to Baba for the tag.
Baba walks over Ax to a big reaction but Ax slugs back at him and the Demos double-team Baba to great heat while the old man looks like he’s taking a dump. Ax chokes him with the tag rope but it gets no-sold and Baba takes out both guys with more “chops”. A “swinging” neckbreaker gets two on Smash, and Andre stands there laughing off Smash’s punches before pinballing him across the ring with a huge right hand. Ax is in but gets throttled, so Smash jumps Andre from behind and it’s a four-way brawl! For two seconds, as Baba just leaves and Ax tags out- Smash hits a big running clothesline that Andre sells huge. Now BABA interferes, saving Andre from a beating and they run the Demos into each other. Andre finishes Ax with a headbutt while Baba hits a “big boot” on Smash, and Andre drops the elbow on him for the three (6:36)- Andre pins Smash, yet rolls off before the count’s even done. But I guess that counts.
Poor Demolition had NOTHING to work with here, but the big guys were game to sell, and you could see how good Ax was, directing traffic and doing constant tag-outs to keep the action going and make it look like the Demos had a chance and that something was actually happening. Andre sold well for both guys except for one big “Monster” spot in the middle, and Eadie & Darsow were good little boys selling for the boss and probably hoping for an All Japan run out of the deal. Though all their comebacks were kinda strange, as they take a beating but then just come back with shots of their own, kind of arbitrarily choosing a point to start fighting back.
Rating: *1/4 (best you’re gonna get out of Baba & Andre in 1990, that’s for sure)
RON STUDD vs. CHAVO GUERRERO, JR.:
(WCW Saturday Night, Oct. 19th 1996)
* And now welcome to the weird Post-Yeti, Pre-Reese era of Ron Reis’ life, as he takes the surname of the man who trained him (Big John Studd) as a JTTS guy with a bald head and long tights. This look is pretty terrible, as he’s dressed like a jobber and it emphasizes how tiny his arms are in comparison to the rest of his body, making him look like a T-Rex or a gigantic dwarf. He cuts one of the worst promos in history on Jeff Jarrett via an inset, awkwardly slapping his head with the timing of Michael Scott’s Rodney Dangerfield impression. Boy I wonder why they never let him talk again? But HOLY SHIT, the size difference here- Reis is a legit 7’2″, so the diminutive Chavo (billed at 5’10”, but c’mon) looks like an infant next to him.
Chavo outmaneuvers Studd to start, but the big guy just no-sells him, eventually getting down on his knees for a sarcastic test of strength. Chavo cleverly just flips over him, adds a dropkick, and goes up for a Moonsault Press, but Studd awkwardly stands there and it hits with a solid impact and they struggle a bit before Studd falls back, shoving Chavo off at one. Chavo tries a cross-body like a doofus and gets killed, Studd hitting repeated rib-breakers, before gearing up his SmackDown! move by repeatedly slapping his head, and hits with, of all things, a Delayed Vertical Suplex for the three (1:57).
Rating: DUD (Pretty weak squash match, as Chavo had to do everything, and Studd was immensely clumsy and uncharismatic still)
REESE vs. THE BARBARIAN (w/ Jimmy Hart):
(WCW Saturday Night, April 19th 1998)
* And we move forward in time to Ron Reis’s NEXT gimmick! A weird Main Event for this show, as Reese, now repackaged into a mohawked Flock member, is up against Barbarian in his never-ending midcard run in WCW where he’s a JTTS, but still gets a modicum of credibility. Reese is dressed for a grunge rock concert, while Barbarian’s in the usual black tights.
Barbarian has the temerity to no-sell a beatdown from a 7’2″ guy (I mean, he’s Tongan, but COME ON), but they try to out-Hoss each other and give up NOTHING. Barbarian comes off the ropes but eats a clothesline, but Reese makes the cardinal mistake of headbutting him and gets staggered. A beatdown in the corner commences as Reese’s selling is HILARIOUS, like he’s just got the shakes, but he reverses a whip and hits a backdrop suplex and elbowdrop, taking his sweet time. He gets a slam and comes off the ropes, but Jimmy Hart grabs his foot- Reese yanks him up to the middle rope, but Jimmy earns his pay when Barbarian throws some boots and hits the Kick of Fear… then takes a HHH-level time before covering for the three (2:45). Poor Reese. 7’2″ and he’s jobbing to a washed-up WWF guy on SATURDAY NIGHT.
Rating: * (another nothing bout, employing nothing but the most basic wrestling moves, spread out via stalling)
THE MAMBO WARRIOR (w/ Paul E. Dangerously) vs. ERIC WATTS:
(WCW Saturday Night, Nov. 21 1992)
* Yes, I’ve decided you all have to indulge me while I look for more Kimala II stuff. Here, he’s in the exact Kamala gear, but in WCW as “The Mambo Warrior”, and is managed by Paul E but also “in the ring to my left” as Eric (sp.) Watts comes down.
Mambo attacks at the bell, commentator Jesse Ventura insisting “He don’t know the rules!” and how he’s here as a “paid assassin” to kill Watts, who has good “ammater” skills (who pronounces it like that?). He claws and strikes away, but Watts hits a forearm and a dropkick (chest-high! Swear to god!). Mambo shoulderblocks him to the floor and nails him when Watts goes for Paul E, slugging away until Watts just comes back with his own. Watts brings it back into the ring, which Ventura agrees is a smart move (“he can get help from the referee, and at least TRY to keep it within the rules!”), then hits a bad suplex, with a lot of like “nope. nope. not the right position… here we go” mannerisms to his moves. Wimpy forearms, but Mambo comes back with a thumb to the throat and slam, then climbs to the top- Flying Splash misses, and Watts just kinda looks around and hits a shitty STF (almost as bad as John Cena’s) for the easy win at (2:34). Poor Ventura has to talk up the “BEAUTIFUL suplex!” as you can practically hear the tip of Bill Watts’ gun pressed between his shoulder blades.
Watts is a very… David Flair-ish wrestler. Just very awkward and “try-hard” at this stage in his career, with an unimpressive look and a gawky appearance, and too must hesitancy and flailing before he does everything. Ideal for a “wimpy rookie” but his fired-up comebacks are just not working. And like… now’s the time to draw audience sympathy or go “YEAH!!!” when you’re making a comeback, but he just kinda looks at the crowd before doing his next move. Like, even Jim Powers could be giving this guy hints about connecting with the audience. Mambo Warrior was a perfectly fine “Savage” wrestler, doing only weak strikes before more or less being a jobber- he just missed his big move and lost easily!
Rating: 1/2* (borderline Jobber Match, albeit dominated by the guy who lost)
Brown tights- not Quake’s best look.
“RUGGED” RONNIE GARVIN vs. EARTHQUAKE:
(WWF TV, Feb. 29th 1990)
* Here’s a fairly early match from the Earthquake push (he debuted on TV the previous November), as he gets put against Rubbish Ronnie Garbage while wearing an all-brown singlet and boots. That’s… not his best look. I mean, it’s better than Shark or Golga I suppose, but eesh- there’s a reason most dudes don’t wear Chocolate Kwik-colored gear. Both guys are famously legit tough-guys, and I really wonder how a real scrap would go. Garvin’s got some brutally-strong fists, but lookit the goddamn size of Tenta- and he has useful strength, too. The guy once caught Big Bossman coming off the top and barely moved back. The commentary team is Monsoon, Heenan & Hillbilly Jim.
The two lock up as Heenan quips “Is it true Earthquake is prettier than most girls from Mudlick?” to Jim, earning our first “Will you stop!”. Quake wins a tug of war as Monsoon characteristically shits all over this strategy from Garvin, while it’s HEENAN AND JIM of all people making the reasonable excuses (“or maybe that’s what he wants him to think” “Maybe he just wanted to test him out this one time”). Garvin flies in with HANDS OF STONE and Quake is good enough to reel back and sell, and Garvin fights dirty with beard-grabbing, foot-stomping and headbutts. Quake is flustered by Ronnie’s speed and technique, but finally plasters him when he takes too long with a leg-pick, and there you go. Quake hits the jumping boots and then walks right across Garvin’s sternum, but misses the elbow and gets held down for only one, launching Garvin off. He wins a lockup using his power and skooshes Ronnie, but Garvin escapes and slugs away before quickly getting overpowered again.
Garvin is getting overwhelmed here, but manages to fight out AGAIN, going to the eyes and repeatedly grabbing the beard, then hits a double-axehandle, Quake hitting one knee and finally going down to the Hands of Stone! But Garvin goes for the Sharpshooter and gets CLOBBERED with a right hand, at which point both Monsoon AND Heenan shit all over his strategy (“Oh, he’s too big for that!” “He shoulda put the boots to him there!” “The Garvin Stomp!” “That’s what *I* would have done!”) which is a sure sign he’s a-tumblin’ down the card. Jim actually tries to talk Garvin up, pointing out how he’s still fighting, and sure enough, he dodges an avalanche and trips Earthquake! But then he goes up, and you know what that means– he flies off with a cross-body, and Earthquake just catches him like a child, carries him around, and SPLATTERS him with that great Powerslam of his. He stops to flex and pose, jumps around in a semi-circle (Heenan: “I believe services for Mr. Garvin are in about a minute”), and the Earthquake Splash kills Garvin at (7:39).
Earthquake adds another squash to Monsoon & Jim’s disgust (Heenan: “Better get the squeegee!”), and Garvin does a stretcher job while Heenan hilariously suggests the doctor is “Probably a psychiatrist- he’s telling him to quit.” “Will you STOP.” “Best bet would be to quit professional wrestling!”. Yeah, he’s a JTTS now.
Fairly slow, deliberate match, with mostly brawling and a lot of time between moves, but good enough- Garvin is a believable brawler and you bought him keeping Quake on his toes with speed and smarts so it wasn’t a COMPLETE squash, but he was fighting uphill the entire time and every comeback was devastation. Poor Garvin just beat Greg Valentine at the Rumble but he’s on big-time JTTS duty here, never looking like he had a chance and the commentators actively treating him like he’s a buffoon making the wrong moves. But wow did he EVER do his job- not only did he take the finisher twice, but he has the full-on leg twitches and convulsions going as they have to cart him out of there. Garvin’s an ex-NWA Champ and he’s going Full Jobber here and doing well with it.
Rating: **1/4 (good enough Big/Little TV match)