Mike Reviews – On The Mat (17th March 1981)

Greetings Friends!

This week we’re going back to On The Mat, an NWA affiliated show from New Zealand that was mostly built around “Maniac” Mark Lewin. I enjoyed it well enough last time and the episodes are only half an hour long, so it’s not like it’s going to eat into too much of my time.

If you’d like to watch along you can do so by clicking right HERE

Taped from Christchurch, New Zealand

Calling the action are Barry Holland and Steve Rickard

The announcers run down who we can expect to see on the show in the coming weeks, including the likes of Ox Baker, Bret Hart, The Dynamite Kid, Pat O’Connor, Abdullah The Butcher and The Sheik. That’s an impressive list of talent. Larry O’Dea has also sent in a telegram to challenge Rickard, to which Rickard is up for due to O’Dea breaking his son’s leg.

Opening Match
Big Balumba and Kim Hardy Vs Mark Lewin and Kon Yakabidis

Sadly they didn’t put any graphics up, so if I got the spelling wrong on any of those names then I apologise. Balumba is rocking The Sabha Simba gimmick, whilst Hardy is just a generic looking 80’s Heel that you’d see getting stretched by the likes of Brad Armstrong on TBS. Lewin has a scar on his face from a Sheik fireball and Yakabidis is apparently a Greek chap who looks a bit like a Mediterranean Hiroshi Hase.

Hardy isn’t that bad a worker to be far, with his offence looking decent and his selling being on point. Yakabidis looks green, but doesn’t disgrace himself. Balumba doesn’t get to do much as Lewin batters him right from the off, which makes sense as he’s basically the top babyface of the territory and he’s in a bad mood due to the fireball from Sheik. The Heels do eventually manage to cut Lewin off for a bit by doubling on him, and he sells that well.

Balumba does Kamala like offence of face rakes and overhand chops, but he gets caught cheating and that brings Yakabidis in for the hot tag, which Hardy sells well. Hardy is pretty good actually, certainly by enhancement guy standards. The finish is a bit weird, as Yakabidis sends Hardy tumbling to the outside but Balumba attacks and drops him crotch first on the top rope, leaving him tangled in the ropes, at which point the bell rings. Apparently that’s a DQ.

WINNERS BY DISQUALIFICATION: LEWIN & YAKABIDIS
RATING: *

Match was going along fine until the abrupt ending, although I must admit that it’s a pretty clever type of DQ finish that you don’t see a lot. When you think about it, deliberately throwing a guy crotch first onto the ropes when you’re not the legal man in full view of the ref is as good an excuse for a DQ finish as anything else

The Heels bail following that to avoid the wrath of Lewin, which leads into a promo from Lewin with Rickard at ring side. Lewin cuts a promo on Sheik, who threw the fire at him in Japan two weeks prior to this apparently. Lewin promises that this fire attack will not go unanswered, and we get clips of Lewin wrestling King Curtis in Detroit, where Sheik threw fire at him on another occasion. This wasn’t a great promo from Lewin or anything, but it was a solid one that got across the issue between the two men and laid the groundwork for an eventual match when Sheik arrived. The Heels from the match return to say no one cares, and Hardy throws down the challenge for Lewin Vs Balumba in a No DQ match. It looks like we’re going to have that right now in fact. However, before that can happen Balumba uses a voodoo doll to make Lewin start frothing from the mouth (Although it’s implied that this was more down to him being choked by the ropes rather than the voodoo doll actually having any kind of magical powers).

Main Event
Johnny Garcia Vs Samoan Joe

Garcia’s real name is Garea and he’s actually related to Tony Garea of WWF fame. Samoan Joe is not to be confused with Samoa Joe, who is a completely different person. He looks more like an Afa and Sika styled Samoan rather than Joe’s faux MMA fighter look.

This one is worked mostly on the mat, and it’s good fun for the most part. There are a few awkward moments where their timing is a bit off, but for the most part it’s a solid enough technical wrestling exhibition. Joe looks to have it won with THE DREADED YOUNG LION BOSTON CRAB, but the time runs out and we have a draw.

TIME LIMIT DRAW
RATING: *1/2

Joe has some promo time with Steve Rickard following that, along with Kon Yakabidis. They are both pleasant babyfaces who thank the fans and whatnot. Yakabidis looks like he’s almost scared to be there and barely talks into the mic at points, but I kind of like that in an odd way after years of over-produced WWE promos. He delivers a bit of it in Greek too, and he sounds more comfortable doing that actually. Joe does a bit in Samoan too. Hey, that’s how you prove the ethnic babyfaces are legit I guess! It gets a nice bit of applause from the crowd too.

In Conclusion

For 24 minutes of wrestling that was perfectly cromulent and a super easy watch.