Shawn Michaels vs. The New Rockers (and other Dream Matches!)

Well That Didn't Work: The New Rockers | Ring the Damn Bell

Welcome back to more Dream Matches! This week, I have Shawn Michaels taking on both members of the New Rockers, but in separate matches! This is during the year he became WWF Champion for the first time, so it was a pretty big deal. And both Marty Jannetty & Al Snow were good workers, so the matches are pretty good! And then we get a lucha-rules match from late-stage WCW where Rey Mysterio & Eddie Guerrero team up against Blitzkrieg & La Parka for a shockingly great short match! Also since I showed Al’s run as Shinobi a couple weeks ago, here’s part of his run as Avatar! And finally, some of the mightiest of the Rick Fuller Division go up against each other, as the dreaded huge JTTSs of Roadblock and RON STUDD are in our final bout!

SHAWN MICHAELS (w/ Jose Lothario) vs. LEIF CASSIDY:
(WWF RAW, March 25th 1996)
* So naturally, with Marty Jannetty returning to the WWF and forming the New Rockers, it was only fitting that at some point his old partner Shawn would end up wrestling one or the other. Shawn, introducing Jose for possibly the first time in front of fans, was on the road to the Iron Man Match at this point. Humorously, Leif is such a dork he’s seen marking out for both Shawn and Jose, then aggressively shakes Shawn’s hand to start. Shawn’s in red and Leif’s in a black singlet with a neon “X” across it.

Bret Hart comes down to do commentary right at the start, kind of amusing/annoying Shawn (like a “hey, I’m not gonna act like this bothers me” thing), and Shawn & Leif do a very quick, well-wrestled criss-cross sequence that finally ends in a dual cross-body that puts Leif down for two. Bret points out he respects Jose, but does a “well it’s just MY opinion” thing trashing Mexican wrestling “as flashy as it is, and as fast-paced as it is” and then BAM- Leif hits a monstrous sit-out spinebuster/powerbomb to a charging Shawn that has the entire first five rows gasping in shock and horror. Hahah, holy shit, I keep rewinding to look at their reactions. One guy’s just like “OOOOOOOOH” and an old lady puts her hands on her head. Leif hits a turning Rock Bottom for two as MARTY now comes down to check things out. Back from break with Shawn bleeding for some reason as Bret just kinda goes on- half-droning (“ya know, that’s why they CALL me the Hitman- I just hit guys and I hit ’em and they stay down” “The, uh, sixty minute match”) and half-hilarious with that dry tone of his mentioning “coming down from the vicious beating from the nine cheerleaders in Syracuse”.

Leif begs off after a good pin-trading series, then buggers an overthrow powerbomb into the ropes when Shawn catches his feet and they tumble down in a pile. Leif checks on him and then hits a big superplex for two. Now Bret compares Jose to Stu unfavorably (“Rolling around in a ball is great and all, but it doesn’t mean you’re TOUGH”). Leif goes to the same move, which Bret points out is a mistake- Shawn front suplexes him off and hits a flying clothesline. Leif buggers up another thing (going up for a back body drop but switching to an inverted atomic drop), but now Marty trips up Shawn and holds him in the corner. Bret immediately bails on commentary and sends Marty off, so Leif misses his shot and eats the Sweet Chin Music for the pin at (8:29). Shawn confronts Marty, but Bret takes exception to Shawn pushing past him and they nearly get into it.

Rating: **1/2 (Not a bad TV match at all- Leif catches some advantages, they do a couple of high-tempo “these guys are good wrestlers” sequences, and Shawn bumps well. Even the botches didn’t really mess up the match because they created vicious-looking bumps)

SHAWN MICHAELS (w/ Jose Lothario) vs. MARTY JANNETTY (w/ Jim Cornette & Leif Cassidy):
(WWF RAW, July 1st, 1996)
* Well this is a perfect match for Shawn (now WWF Champion in a non-title match)- as they point out, Jannetty is not only Shawn’s ex-partner, but DEFEATED Shawn for a belt in the past. And Jim Cornette, whose client Vader is Shawn’s SummerSlam opponent, is out there “scouting”, too. The Rockers are in super-dorky neon tie-dyed singlets, while Shawn’s in a pretty unique light blue set of tights. This bout is split up among several videos on one guy’s YouTube channel.

Lock-up leads to a knock-down into a double kip-up to establish evenness, and Marty hits a trio of armdrags into a punch that Shawn sells huge. Shawn wins another bit with a dropkick, but gets tossed into the corner- he counters punches with an inverted atomic drop and flying axehandle. Leif pulls Marty to safety, so Shawn baseball slides him into the barricade, but this only allows Marty to nail him from behind. Leif scores some cheapshots thanks to distractions, and Jannetty quickly stops a Shawn comeback and back bodydrops him. An eyepoke stops another comeback and Shawn gets suplexed onto the top rope. Back from break with more punishment, Marty doing chinlocks and a clothesline to prevent yet another comeback. Shawn goes into the post off a charge, Marty getting two. Marty crotches himself in the other corner off a whip, but lands on his feet from a monkey-flip and clotheslines Shawn down again.

Off the second rope, Marty lands on Shawn’s foot and both are out. Marty’s up first, but a whip is countered with a mat slam, and we’re FINALLY at the comeback- Shawn hits the forearm & kip-up! Big dropkick, and Marty tries another backdrop, but Shawn catches him- piledriver position is set up, but Marty swings up and back for a Rana reversal- then Shawn reverses on HIM for two. Shawn fakes Marty out with a leap off the second rope, then climbs and hits a reverse flying bodypress, but Marty rolls through for two! A clothesline gets two, and we’re back from another break with the Rocker Dropper! Marty takes forever getting up top, allowing Shawn to avoid the Flying Fistdrop- Marty lands on his feet, but Shawn reverses a suplex to a piledriver. Flying Elbowdrop! And naturally, Shawn tunes up the band until Marty staggers up and BAM- Sweet Chin Music ends it at (14:53 shown). Leif charges Shawn, but immediately backdrops him onto his feet and turns around into another Superkick. CORNETTE takes a shot, but begs off only for Jose to knock him out. Okay, that’s pretty funny.

Very good counter-wrestling from these two, being some of the best at “former tag partners who know each other” spots like intuitively countering each other’s stuff. The match was mostly kept very basic, and yet it was so tightly-wrestled it was still good. And they started ramping up the moves, doing your unusual stuff like ranas and fake-outs into cross-bodies and it starts getting really good. The final bit was great as well, with Marty going for his big stuff, only for Shawn to just overwhelm him with recovery and big moves of his own. Shawn “levels up” by handily defeating his former partner, but only after a long match.

Rating: ***1/4 (very good TV match, even with all the breaks)

Induction: Avatar: "Avatarded". Yes, We Know That's Not PC. But It Is Accurate, So Yeah...AVATARDED! - WrestleCrap - The Very Worst of Pro Wrestling!

When Al Snow dressed as a Power Rangers character is only the second worst gimmick in a match, you know it’s mid-90s WWF.

DR. ISAAC YANKEM DDS vs. AVATAR:
(WWF TV, 1996-02-03)
* The Dynamic Duo EXPLODES! SMW’s heel tag team of Al Snow & Unabom repackaged into idiotic New Generation gimmicks- so 1996. Yankem was BEYOND done at this point- I’m shocked he was still around. I guess he remained Yankem until May ’96 and was repackaged as Fake Diesel that September. That’s… did I recognize him at that time? Boy, I hope I did.

Avatar uses speed and martial arts kicks to get away from Yankem’s punches, but runs right into a press slam. Yankem hits some bad short clotheslines and tosses Avatar around, then hits a huge clothesline that Avatar sells like death. DDS (DDT) gets the easy win at (2:25). Absolute squash- Yankem didn’t look any good, but Al was bumping for three here- no wonder he was repackaged almost immediately.

Rating: 1/4* (for Al’s bumping)

LUCHA RULES:
REY MYSTERIO, JR. & EDDIE GUERRERO vs. BLITZKRIEG & LA PARKA:
(WCW Nitro)
* Random lucha match from the “Star Trek Logo”-era WCW, as Blitzkrieg & La Parka match, with LP’s SWEET red & black variant gear. Eddie & Rey are apparently friends at this point, with Eddie in black and Rey looking like an 11-year old boy with his maskless face and gigantic overalls. Seriously, why didn’t someone pull him aside and say “You look stupid”? Never mind how unmarketable he is here- there’s a reason he got the look back in the WWF.

La Parka makes Rey stand aside for his trademark dance, so Rey smacks him- Parka knocks him over and spits on Eddie, taunting him on the apron, so Eddie makes him faceplant onto the floor and then whips Rey into a slide into a spinning DDT (sounded better than it looked- the momentum’s a little weird). Blitzkrieg hits Eddie with a somersault senton & standing moonsault for one, and Eddie hits the tilt-a-whirl backbreaker. Rey adds a Lionsault (better than Jericho’s, even- he just SPRINGS onto the rope), but poses so Blitz escapes. La Parka takes a couple of cartoon bumps trying stuff, but catches a springboarding Rey and DOES HIS DANCE while holding him, beating him up a bit. Double-team kick gets two as Vampiro and the Insane Clown Posse join us. Rey tornados around Parka’s body off a double-team and gets him to nail Blitz by mistake, then Eddie hits a missile dropkick and walk-up springboard Rana to La Parka! Rey tries his “roll up the body” move but he & Parka both go over the top on his rana attempt, and Blitzkrieg misses his cartwheel handspring and hits a frickin’ standing moonsault into the corner, ending up in superplex position! Rey hits the Super Frankensteiner from there, gets airlifted onto Parka to the outside, and Eddie finishes Blitzkrieg with the Frog Splash at (3:54)!

Very fun little match- largely a set of flippy moves all in a row with minimal selling, but you’ve got three of the best all-time flippers in there. Like seriously, it’s less than FOUR MINUTES yet was awe-inspiring at points with all the incredibly-acrobatic stuff they were hitting. It should have come off more choreographed than it did, and only didn’t because they were just so good at “threading” moves into each other, building off of each one.

Rating: **3/4 (when are you ever gonna see ratings like that for borderline squashes going under 4 minutes?)

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His taunt is slapping his head repeatedly. Yeah.

ROADBLOCK vs. RON STUDD
(WCW Main Event, Nov. 2nd 1996)
* OH MAN! Roadblock vs. Ron Studd! Two guys nearly 400 lbs. who jobbed every week! And they’re fighting EACH OTHER, so you know one of them has to win! Studd was a Big John Studd trainee who later became Reese and then disappeared from wrestling- he’s arguably most famous for the story of Steve Regal yelling at Paul Wight “The only difference between you and Ron Reis is a push!”. Studd is wearing black tights and slapping his bald head as his SmackDown!-building taunt, while Roadblock is in his old Tugboat-esque shirt. Roadblock, a big dude, barely comes up to Studd’s eyes.

Studd slowly pounds away, but Roadblock whips him into the corner- Studd gets his foot up and dropkicks him out (chest-high, but still), RB flipping all the way over the top and landing on his feet! Roadblock manages to trip Studd and drag him out, but goes into the post. Studd charges him but hits shoulder-first into the post himself. RB throws him inside, but puts his head down and gets slammed into the mat. Studd rakes his eyes and hits a big suplex, but won’t go for the pin- he instead just hits a horrible elbow off the second rope for the win (3:03). Haha, wow, that was it? I was expecting Studd to pay for not going for the pin, but nope- he just beats Roadblock super-handily. Really putting into place just how low on the totem pole the guy is.

Rating: 1/2* (Weak match- neither guy was any good or that agile, and their power stuff looked bad against each other. I love a good Monster Fight, but Studd was too green and it was super-basic as a result. Weak finish, too)