As a lover of “Big Fat Guys Running Into Each Other” spots, this screencap makes me so, SO happy.
Time for more Dream Matches! And if you’re a Kamala fan, boy have I got the column for you! Watch a newly-babyface Kamala trotted out as a sacrifice for a bigger, fatter Yokozuna! And then him teaming up with the mostly-forgotten “Kimala II” in All Japan of all places, teaming with Abdullah the Butcher to take on Stan Hansen, Joel Deaton & Mike Golden! Plus Bad News Brown vs. Koko B. Ware!
And also, a very special random match from RINGS of all places, as the Japanese fake-shoot fed gives us two of their top stars- Volk Han & Dick Vrij in one of those weirdly inexplicably-scored matches (but don’t worry- the counts are only there to lead to the come from behind finishes!).
YOKOZUNA (w/ Mr. Fuji) vs. KAMALA:
(WWF RAW, May 1993)
* Hell yes- someone recommended this to me, and it’s perfect. Another FAT MAN STAND-OFF, as Yokozuna takes on the newly-babyface Kamala, with no Slick at ringside, so you know his ass is being jobbed out. Heenan writes off Kamala’s chances because Yoko has never been slammed, while Savage votes for “the definite underdog” on account of Razor Ramon’s recent loss to the 1-2-3 Kid meaning everything’s up for grabs. Yoko is about ready to fight Hogan for the WWF Title at King of the Ring, so that pretty well tells you the finish right away.
Oh man, and they start it out in the best way possible- FAT GUYS RUNNING INTO EACH OTHER! And Yoko actually gets staggered! Kamala uses raw speed and agility (…) to duck a clothesline and hit kicks and chops, but a single throat-thrust puts him down. Kamala wibble-wobbles off of chops and headbutts and the soon-to-be-Hulkbuster Legdrop has him kicking and thrashing. He actually makes the comeback with running chops, but Fuji grabs the leg and Yoko blasts him with the thrust kick and avalanche. Ass Avalanche and Banzai Drop, and it’s over at (3:39).
Kamala put Yokozuna over very well, here- he got just enough offense than you bought he could hurt the guy (he’s significantly taller than Yoko, but practically looks rail-thin next to him), but eventually got powered-down, and had no answer when Yoko got his momentum going thanks to cheating. Yoko had one of the better “Fat Guy Squash” styles going- just an overwhelming amount of rapid-fire offense that looked like murder. It made him very good for his size when he was still light enough to move.
Rating: ** (put possibly that’s my Pro-Obesity Bias at work)
ABDULLAH THE BUTCHER, GIANT KIMALA I & GIANT KIMALA II vs. STAN HANSEN, JOEL DEATON & MIKE GOLDEN:
(All Japan fancam match, 6/4/91)
* Oh, now this is just bizarre. A DOUBLE KAMALA match, as both the original and his shorter, chubbier follower (a guy doing a copycat gimmick) end up in All Japan teaming with Mr. ZZZ Cup himself against Stan Hansen and some white guy filler. I have no idea who either of these guys are. Deaton was “Thunderfoot” (who loaded his boot and kicked guys in the head) and was a Southern heel in the 1980s- he’s about Stan’s height and has black trunks to match his. Golden didn’t have much of a career- he has no Cagematch record after 1994. He’s a pretty tall white dude with a blonde mullet and red trunks.
And they don’t even make it to the ring before it’s a pier-six brawl! They finally get in the ring and Stan runs Kimala I into Deaton’s boot. But I guess Kimala II is legal so they triple-team him awkwardly like they didn’t pre-plan this. Deaton has no luck trying shoulderblocks on Kimala II. The guys next to the cameraman appear to be BIG fans of the Kimalas, and mark out when Kimala I LEAPFROGS Deaton and hits him with a reverse crescent kick. A splash misses (kinda) and they both tag out- Stan just immediately tosses Kimala II to the outside and beats the shit out of him with chairs! But Kimala I just attacks and I guess he’s legal now- he throws chops and headbutts until Abdullah’s in, and Golden tags in to hit a double-elbow before tit-fu overwhelms him and the fatties pound him down. Deaton’s in and a flying (!!) chop from Kimala II puts him down, and it’s more brawling and a nervehold from Abby until Deaton flips him to impress the crowd. Stan comes in to strangle Abby with his lasso, but Golden again gets his ass kicked, eating a walrus-like falling clothesline for two.
Golden takes a spinning savate kick but Deaton gets a blind tag and comes off the top for two on Kimala I, but the big guy scores an avalanche, then holds Deaton for KII’s avalanche! Wait… wouldn’t that hurt him, too? But it’s an obvious “hit your own partner” trick as Kamala I tumbles out of the ring on impact. Stan blasts away at KII and the smarks ironically chant for Golden, who gets two legdrops for two. Both Golden AND Deaton fire off a flip on Kimala II out of the corner, but Golden eats headbutts and Abdullah comes in, throws a few shots, then finishes him with a running elbowdrop while the others brawl at (10:02). Pretty much a nothing match- Stan barely did ANYTHING while Abdullah was horrendously lazy. The Kimalas of all people were the workhorses, running around and throwing shots, and Deaton looked okay. Golden was an obvious job boy here- soon as he got in, he started getting killed.
Rating: *3/4 (some guys did okay, but it was mostly simple brawling and “Kill the Rookie”)
BAD NEWS BROWN vs. KOKO B. WARE (w/ Frankie):
(WWF Superstars, Feb. 13th 1989)
* A quick warm-up match for Brown, as hyper-JTTS Koko is brought out to do the job. Koko’s in his “Squat Guy” days and mustard-yellow tights while Bad News is in black, as usual. Lord Alfred & Sean Mooney are on commentary, with Mooney teasing Alfred for chasing around college girls.
Bad News jumps Koko while he’s taking off his outer pants, but makes the mistake of slamming him into the turnbuckle. Koko’s all “HO HO YOU SILLY BITCH! THAT WILL NOT WORK FOR YOU SEE, I AM BLACK!” because it’s back when black wrestlers had hard heads, but when he tries the same move, Bad News is all “HO HO, IT IS YOU WHO ARE THE SILLY BITCH, FOR YOU SEE I AM ALSO BLACK!” Is this racist? I never know what to think of “black people have hard heads”. Koko charges into a boot and Bad News starts eating him alive, but Koko ducks a clothesline and hits a cross-body for two- he puts his head down too soon and gets clobbered, too. Mooney puts over Brown’s ruthlessness and lack of mercy, but suggests “there’s gotta be a soft spot SOMEWHERE”, pontificating on a mother he might have while Brown pounds and chokes away. “Somebody killed his pet dog when he was young or something?”
But then Bad News tries a HEADBUTT, and apparently Koko is the blacker of the two men (I think- how do kinda-racist ’80s wrestling stereotypes work in that regard?), because only Brown hits the mat! Koko throws a bunch of shots to an anemic reaction, but misses an elbow. Koko can’t get any comebacks going- flash-pins are attempted by Brown just comes right back each time, and Brown shoves him in for a Bret Corner Bump, dumps him, and hits the Baba Chop across the chest. Koko finally gets the knees up on a splash and makes a fired up comeback with punches and clotheslines, but does his Standard Match-Costing Mistake by diving in on Brown and slamming himself on the top rope, and Bad News walks right over and hits the Ghetto Blaster (standing enzuigiri) for the pin at (7:35). Hayes goes in on that “dreadful mistake” and Koko’s lack of experience (??), marking Koko as a JTTS guy.
Perfectly normal match, but it reminds me of what Bret Hart said in his book about Bad News- he was good, but he just ate you alive out there, gobbling up all your offense and not giving up ANYTHING- he sold only a little bit, and stuffed at least three comebacks by immediately lashing out after a rollup or something. This was more just an extended squash with a few weird reminders of how black people were booked in wrestling matches (“black people have hard heads” isn’t a stereotype I’ve seen outside of wrestling, now that I think about it), though only one being affected by a headbutt is a curious case.
Rating: ** (perfectly fine but just kinda plodding brawling)
VOLK HAN vs. DICK VRIJ
(Fighting Network RINGS, 8/21/1992)
* Okay, so this is RINGS! I… okay, I have no idea what RINGS is. It’s like, one of those fake shootfighting promotions that came about in the dissolution of Newborn UWF in 1991- this one has big name Akira Maeda’s name attached to it, however. When I asked around, Ioan said that “It’s interesting, there’s a certain section of wrestling fans who believe Volk Han is one of the greatest of all time” and Moskow (commenter in the Joshi Spotlights) gushed about his stuff, partially confirming that! So I figured I’d take a look at one of two RINGS matches on YouTube. I’ve never heard of him before, but he’s a legit Sambo/MMA guy (though the validity of any of his “real” fights is highly contested). Dick “Fry” here is actually Dick Vrij, a bodybuilder & kickboxer known for his intimidating physique. Volk is in powder-blue tights and has an unimpressive, regular-looking figure, while Vrij is ripped and in black tights.
So RINGS has this weird scoring system that has become iconic to it. You are allowed two rope-breaks- two count as a “Down”, but I think in Title fights you only get docked once and that’s it. You can be knocked down as well, and are given to the count of ten to get up (standard pre-UFC rules in fake MMA). Each one is also a “Down”. Five “Downs” and you’re done.
Volk goes right to the legs to start and the fans go nuts already- Dick rolls him over a couple times and has to grab the rope to break (Break 1/2). Volk does a Superman-style Uraken but misses by a mile and Dick does nothing to capitalize. They circle a bit and Volk goes down to a stiff thigh kick but pops right back up so I guess that’s waved off. Dick scores a couple small shots but Volk ties up the legs again and keeps trying to cross the ankles for his finishing hold (I’ve watched ahead- he does it a lot). When Volk crosses the legs around his own leg, Dick just grabs the ropes (Break 2/2). Dick scores a couple shots and knocks Volk over, but Volk nears a cross-armbreaker as the crowd thinks it’s the end- Dick holds onto the wrist to prevent a full extension, but finally has to use the ropes (Down 1/5). Dick takes him down after some kicks, but Volk gets control a couple more times (breaking a headscissors) and it’s another break (Break 1/2). They stand up into a grapple, but Volk eats a knee to the face- Down! (Down 1/5). They tangle up and the ref stands them up, but Dick nails an Uraken- down! (Down 2/5). Like last time, Volk sells it as a potential KO but leaps to his feet at “8” to make the fans on edge.
Volk hilariously scoots on his ass like Inoki vs. Ali to avoid Dick’s stand-up game, but I guess that gets broken up in the ropes (why are those not Breaks?). Dick scores another takedown by Volk ties him up and they tug-of-war over Dick’s arm until the ref stands them up. A trio of kicks brings Volk down! (Down 3/5). He’s up at “4” but running out of chances. He finally catches one of those kicks and goes for a sleeper, then a cross-armbreaker until Dick breaks (Down 2/4). Then Dick scores a knee and a head kick for another down! (Down 4/5). Volk looks tired and is rolled over, having to grab the ropes to break a sleeper. Dick throws a few more kicks, but Volk catches a head kick and sweeps him down- he wraps his legs around Dick’s bent knee and that’s the tap-out (10:35)- Volk wins! He grabs the ref and carries him over his shoulder in a show of the charisma that apparently made him very popular to RINGS fans.
Well this is a weird kinda match- the rules are tricky but really I think they just serve to create some tension as a guy is “down on points” and needs to score a big move for a tap-out. Volk dominated to start, but then Dick’s “puncher’s luck” takes over and his strikes knock Han all over the ring, and even the grappling starts to affect him until he just catches a kick (it hit “flush” but Volk just snagged it while it was against his neck) and gets the miracle comeback for the insta-win.
Rating: **3/4 (such a weird style and I have no idea how to rate this kinda stuff for the most part, but it flowed pretty well and was dramatic- Han did a good job looking tired and beaten until he scored a last-minute move)