The LOD vs. the RnRs! And not in FirePro! But don’t get too excited, because it’s short!
It’s time for another Dream Matches column! I was really surprised by how much of a reaction my 1995 KOTR one got, so I’ll have a 1996 version next week. This one features the one-time-only tag team match between the Road Warriors and the Rock ‘n’ Roll Express… except it’s given 4 minutes on a WWF D-Show and the Express are heels! Life is weird.
Also up is a DOUBLE-SHOT of Ahmed Johnson vs. Al Snow, as Ahmed takes on Shinobi in an infamous squash match, and then the next year faces the New Rockers’ “Leif Cassidy”. Then we get the Bruiser Brody Memorial Show weirdo match of Abdullah the Butcher & Jimmy Snuka against Stan Hansen & Tom Zenk of all people. And we end it with a WCW Lucha Libre show match starring Psychosis, Felino & El Mosco vs. Blitzkrieg, Venum & Super Calo!
THE LEGION OF DOOM vs. THE ROCK ‘N’ ROLL EXPRESS (w/ Jim Cornette, Jeff Jarrett & Barry Windham):
(WWF Shotgun Saturday Night, Jan. 24th, 1998)
* Yes, this is apparently the one and only time the friggin’ Road Warriors & R’n’Rs EVER FOUGHT, despite the vast amount of years both teams had been around, often in the same company. This seems impossible given how today’s wrestling is, but back then, I guess they just never wanted to run it. On this very blog, someone suggested it and Scott pointed out the Roadies weren’t gonna lose and the Express was better off getting the rub for teams who could play ball with them: https://blogofdoom.com/index.php/2020/05/19/road-warriors-vs-rnr/. All there ever was was a 4-way match I guess. So instead we get a four-minute bullshit match on a WWF D-show, and this is the only time these two legendary squads ever faced each other in a tag match… with Jim Cornette backing up the HEEL RnRs, who are advertised as the NWA Tag Team Champions. Life is weird.
The Express are in red tights with white tassels (coming down to the ROCKERS’ theme music of all things) while the LOD are sorta in their “LOD 2000” gear, with grey shoulderpads- an unusual look for the WWF. The Express are 40 and 42, yet both look nearly fifty- they did NOT age well.
Hawk starts with Gibson, shoving him into the corner. He easily breaks out of an inside cradle and clotheslines him, then weakly press-slams Morton onto Gibson when he runs in. Animal puts the boots to Morton, who looks worse than 50-year old Jericho does now, then repeatedly punches Gibson when he tries to interfere. Funny bit as the ref is distracted by Gibson, so Morton runs right into him on a whip, but that wasn’t the plan so both just no-sell it- Morton ducks under Animal’s clothesline and hits a cross-body, but gets caught and Animal does the “walk-around and backbreaker him” spot. Cornette uses a racket shot to finally turn the tide (god that’s weird- him helping the RnRs by cheating), and a Double Suplex has Animal down. Morton uses the ropes to choke him and a double-clothesline hits, but Animal keeps making short comebacks, and finally tags out- Hawk is a house afire, attacking even Jarrett and Windham on the apron, and they hit the Doomsday Device on Morton. It’s an obvious three-count, but Barry breaks up the pin and it’s a DQ at (3:29). Barry can’t even go over the top for a clothesline and carries away Morton like a literal dead body as the four NWA guys run from Hawk & Animal at the end.
Man, I’ve heard that Vince Russo wrote the “NWA Invasion” angle specifically to make Cornette and the NWA look like shit, and this kind of thing makes that look increasingly likely (though Cornette just blames general incompetence from Russo… though confesses if it were anyone else he’d assume deliberate sabotage). Trotting out the washed-up Express, putting WWF jobbers as the “New Midnight Express”, and having loser acts like Jarrett & Windham in there? It’s in the “X-Factor Tier” of shit stables. Never mind an ending like this- demolishing the Rock ‘n’ Roll Express in 3:30 and chasing away a stable of five people? The match itself was fine, but a nothing short bout- only running 3:30 and having a general flow of “Faces dominate, heels cheat, faces come back and it’s a schmozz”, but both teams knew how to do that at this point (despite Ricky & Robert playing heels).
Rating: *3/4 (perfectly fine mini-match, but so weird)
Shinobi: One of Al Snow’s many, many bites at the WWF apple in the ’90s.
AHMED JOHNSON vs. SHINOBI:
(WWF RAW, 1996)
* HAHAAHAHAH OH MY GOD! Shinobi! That weird time that the WWF was desperate to give Al Snow “ring time” and for whatever reason just threw him out there in black ninja gear with a mask (and a Kabuki mask on TOP of that mask!) as a quickie JTTS guy. Oh hell, apparently he was Shinobi even on the indies? Weird. Best thing: he OF COURSE uses the goddamn Orient Express theme music!
Ahmed deals with the speed of Shinobi with a simple tactic- grabbing him under the arms and launching him over the top rope. Shinobi lands some kicks back in the ring, but eats a short-arm clothesline while Goldust “phones in” and recites a filthy poem about Roddy Piper, insisting that “Underneath that skirt you are ANYTHING but lean” and asking “when do I get to play that BAG-PIPE?”. Ahmed takes too long to capitalize and eats a rolling overhead kick (sorta), only for Shinobi to try a springboard and hit his shins on the top rope, faceplanting like a complete idiot. Ahmed recovers quickly with punches and a spinebuster, hitting the Pearl River Plunge (tiger driver) for the finish at (1:50).
Complete squash by Ahmed, clearly meant to be “have the jobber hit a few flippy things but get caught and die”, but that was a humiliating bump by Al. Judging by how quick they recovered I would guess Ahmed was supposed to counter him anyhow, or they just went straight home.
Rating: 1/4* (total squash, under two minutes)
One year later: Al Snow repackaged as a giant dork named after two 1970s teen hearthrobs, because that’s the kind of reference Vince gets.
AHMED JOHNSON vs. LEIF CASSIDY:
(WWF in Germany, 1997-03-09)
* Ahmed vs. Shinobi: The Rematch! The New Rockers had split up before 1997 even started, but Al stuck around in this JTTS role for nine friggin’ months until ECW saved and renovated his career. Here, he’s in a black singlet with neon yellow lines crossed over it- not quite “Rockers” but close enough. But face-wise he’s pretty well the Al Snow that showed up next year, with a goatee and everything.
Ahmed pounces immediately back from a promo, but ends up missing a charge and going into the post on his injured arm, which was bloodied by Faarooq and resulted in an infection, as they point out on commentary (Ahmed getting hurt while wrestling? Sounds outlandish). Leif brutalizes the arm with all kinds of punches and kicks, completely straight-faced and not at all the goof he was with Marty. But Ahmed manages to catch him with a short-arm clothesline, selling that as really agonizing to himself, and follows up with an absolutely VICIOUS piledriver, Leif jolting straight up and down off it. Spinebuster and Pearl River Plunge end it at (3:56), as Ahmed sends a message to Faarooq.
Solid little story, even in this super-short match, as Ahmed’s injury is focused on, but he fights through the pain (even using the injured arm) and kills Al the Indie Bump Machine for a series of big moves. Ahmed goes on to WrestleMania‘s Street Fight against Faarooq’s squad, while Al spends most of the rest of the year trading wins with Bob Holly on house shows and barely ever being on TV (and then only as a quick job guy to Rock, Flash Funk & even Tiger Ali Singh).
Rating: *1/2 (basic TV match with a short, solid story)
STAN HANSEN & TOM ZENK vs. ABDULLAH THE BUTCHER & JIMMY SNUKA:
(AJPW, Aug. 30th, 1988)
* This is the day after the Bruiser Brody Memorial Show from All Japan, as he’d recently been murdered. His partner, Snuka, is now teamed up with fellow Gaijin Monster Abdullah up against top-tier Stan Hansen and… Tom Zenk? Um, okay then. Stan’s in black, Zenk’s in red, Abbie’s in black & Snuka’s in leopard-print.
Stan jumps Abdullah as soon as she touches the ring, and we’re off… though Zenk just grabs a long headlock for some reason, which is kind of a waste of a match with HANSEN AND ABDULLAH in it, you know? Snuka grabs a long chinlock while the big guys fight on the outside, Stan running in to interfere. Zenk eats the karate chop and Abdullah, already bleeding, claws at his face, as does Snuka while Zenk makes what I can only describe as “80s porno” faces while selling. Snuka drops him on the top rope and chokes him with Abdullah’s chain, but then Stan (also bleeding a bit) comes in and they just kinda switch off so he can beat up Snuka a bit. But Zenk hits a running boot and quickly ends up in trouble as the baddies trade off on chinlocks until Stan stops the boredom by tossing a table into the ring. Everyone ends up brawling outside, and it’s a Double Count-Out at (7:54).
Wow, remarkably slow, lazy match- the big guys bladed but it was mostly chinlocks and headlocks, Zenk not making much of being “Ricky Morton” in there.
Rating: 1/2* (only a tiny bit of real action)
Sadly, Felino does not wear this gear in this match.
PSICOSIS, FELINO & EL MOSCO vs. BLITZKRIEG, SUPER CALO & VENUM:
(WCW’s Festival de Lucha 1999, Jan. 27th)
* Here’s a random Trios match from a show I’ve never heard of, as WCW shows some Lucha action in 1999 at the “Heart O’ Texas Fair Complex”. Only a handful of these guys are WCW talent. Psicosis you know from WCW (he’s in his black, green & red gear), but Felino was a pretty big star in his day, wearing a cat mask- he’s REALLY short and squat. Like, Silver King-tier stocky, and in a MUSTARD-YELLOW striped kitty get-up, complete with fur. El Mosco means “Mosquito” and I think is El Mosco de la Merced, who was a kinda big star. I don’t really know much about lucha, though. He’s in a low-rent black onesie with some technicolor abs drawn on the front, and he has no mask.
Blitzkrieg is in his red & black hear, Super Calo’s in mostly grey, and Venum is a short, slender guy with facepaint and a Psicosis-like grey outfit. He looks like he got dressed on the cheap, kinda, with his weird “outside the tights’ banana hammock and low-rent KISS makeup. He briefly made WWF TV during the five seconds luchadors hit Vince’s company before he realized he was using luchadors and got rid of them all (I still think he used them specifically to make lucha look bad so WCW would look worse for using them- like “You guys like lucha? Look at this- lucha SUCKS!”). There is a big-ass watermark on the YouTube video, and two refs in the ring, making this look hella-cluttered. This is lucha rules, so hitting the floor = a tag.
A minute goes by with no meaningful contact, but Team Psicosis starts triple-teaming Calo, then drags his partners into the ring. Venum is hung in the ropes and Guillotine Ledropped by Mosco. Felino gets whipped into him for a clothesline, then hits a Razor’s Edge into Psicosis’ slingshot senton for two. Felino adds a flying elbow & powerbomb into Mosco’s rolling senton. Mosco wheel kick & Lionsault get two as we’re just doing big moves. Psicosis adds a sit-out gourdbuster, but Felino just kinda pushes Venum over to Calo for the tag and I guess we’re not doing a heat sequence after all. Calo gets beaten up in some ugly stuff, and when Calo finally wheel kicks out, Blitzkrieg comes in and gets utterly lost, seemingly having no idea what to do as he just moves Psicosis around the ring until he misses a dropkick. Seriously, it’s like the wrestling equivalent of the “Hip-Hoppopotamus” sketch (20 seconds in).
Blitzkreig tries a comeback and gets slammed, but finally manages his run-up-the-chest move out of the corner and Psicosis SAILS over the top rope trying a charge. Blitz does a Manami Toyota-like leap to the top rope and backflips off to tease Psicosis. Venum & Mosca do a clothesline sequence, then a super-choreographed Venum springboard headscissors sends Mosca to the floor. Mosca gets caught on a Tope Con Hilo but settles for a rana out there and Felino crucifix powerbombs Calo in the ring for two. Slingshot legdrop by Psicosis to Calo, but Calo dropkicks Mosca- he misses a jump-up missile kick and gets clotheslined over the top, though. Blitzkrieg gets beaten up in the ring and Venum eats a Superbomb for the three (9:09)- Team Psicosis wins!
This was kinda the worst aspects of lucha- no transitions, guys just coming in to hit big moves with no build-up, guys recovering immediately and then there’s Blitzkrieg getting kinda lost out there. Felino just wanted to do power moves (all the stockiness of Silver King- none of the deception!), Mosca & Venum looked clumsy, and Blitz didn’t even get to do much of his super-flashy offense! And then Venum just gets isolated and they finish him off.
Rating: ** (just a bunch of STUFF that happens!)