The Hardy Boyz vs. Rob Van Dam & Sabu (and other Dream Matches!)

Welcome back to more Dream Matches! This time I hit a request from a couple weeks back, as the Hardy Boyz (then indie darlings and not WWF superstars yet) take on Sabu & Rob Van Dam in a one-time-only match! Then we get an amazing HOSS MATCH as the Steiner Brothers and Fire & Ice just got buckwild and murder each other with suplexes for six minutes on Nitro. Then it’s Andre the Giant & Giant Baba taking on Terry & Dory Funk in All Japan from 1990! And then I torture you all by featuring the No-Limit Soldiers (B.A. & Swoll) vs. Lenny & Lodi doing an offensive gay gimmick from the dying days of WCW! Finally we end with a “Dream Matches” MVP, Roadblock, taking on one of the Texas Hangmen (maybe the Disorderly Conduct guy!). Read on!

TORNADO TAG TEAM MATCH:
SABU & ROB VAN DAM (w/ Bill Alfonso) vs. THE HARDY BOYZ (Matt & Jeff Hardy):
(All Star Wrestling NWA Legends Show, Feb. 11th 1998)
* Okay, huh? I’ve never heard of this, but it’s before the Hardys meant anything, as they were merely respected job guys at this point in the WWF, with their own spotfest indie promotion (OMEGA). It would be Sept. 1998 when they properly debuted as “featured” guys in the WWF, after being trained by Dory Funk Jr. for a bit. This is some All Star Wrestling show in Greenville, North Carolina. RVD was still with ECW at this point, and Sabu was suspended around this time (might be later). The camera work here is… not great. Very grainy, pixelated and stuck in one corner. Sabu’s in orange, RVD’s in light tights (I can’t tell the color), and the Hardys are in matching checkerboard baggy pants.

RVD & Sabu attack before the bell when Matt talks some shit about ECW or something (“Take the ECW out of ECU?”), Sabu hitting the Arabian Moonsault (slingshot rope-assisted moonsault) for two as RVD hits his spinning legdrop on the other guy. Rolling Thunder combo (slingshot legdrop/rolling standing frog splash) to Jeff, and another to Matt! The Hardys reverse a double-whip to stereo neckbreakers, and an ugly-looking leapfrog punch hits RVD. A suplex into a springboard reverse splash (like Jeff jumps BACKWARDS, but still splashes out- looks kinda cool) for two. Sabu/RVD hit Whisper in the Wind (hey, they Hardys musta swiped that!), but Matt ducks a roundhouse kick and clotheslines them both down. Matt gets a pescado on Sabu, but RVD tope con hilos onto both of them. Jeff Asai Moonsaults onto RVD & Matt (RVD obviously sees him but doesn’t bother to move) and Sabu does his chair-launch springboard… falling punch thing after that. Real catch-as-catch can classic we’ve got here.

Everyone brawls into the crowd (opposite of where the camera is, so it’s just invisible). TWO MINUTES LATER, we’re back for Sabu’s chair-launch kick to Jeff in the corner. There was a clip there, too (30 seconds, it turns out). WHY NOT CLIP THE TWO MINUTES OF NOTHING? Facecrusher on the chair- no ref. They completely lose the plot and just aimlessly brawl until RVD comes back so they can hit a camel clutch/running dropkick to Jeff. Sabu takes forever to get a table while the Hardys beat up RVD, Jeff hitting a springboard legdrop. Matt hits a flying elbow, but WHOOPS- time for the next spot, so Sabu pops up after eight seconds and they adjust the table. He & RVD go onto it, but they fight back and the Hardys end up piled on, and a double guillotine legdrop is our big highspot! Matt kicks out at 2. RVD hits the Split-Legged Moonsault on Jeff while Sabu legdrops a table piece onto Matt to get the pin at (10:00 of 10:37 shown).

LOL, what a spotfest. Literally just STARTED with crazy flips and then did more flips and then additional flips as it went on. Zero pretense of anything else, which is fine for some podunk indie show, but hilariously injurious to the competitors. Kind of the worst elements of all four guys’ styles from this point, but they at least didn’t bugger any of it up. But fucking around in the crowd for a minute, ignoring all selling so you can get your shit in, arbitrarily moving from one spot to the next, and not doing a single transition? Yeah, this is pretty much everything people make fun of late ’90s ECW-style wrestling for, and you can see why.

Rating: **1/4 (okay spotfest marred by two minutes of dead-air and no-selling)

Retro Oasis: Nitro Charged: WCW Monday Nitro: July 15th, 1996

Prepare for some suplex-related ass-kickery!

THE STEINER BROTHERS (Rick & Scott Steiner) vs. FIRE & ICE (Scott Norton & Ice Train):
(WCW Nitro, May 20th 1996)
* So here’s Fire & Ice during their short-lived team, with two guys who look like what happens when you and a friend pick the same character in a fighting game. Norton’s in a black singlet with fire decals, while Train’s in a blue singlet with ice decals. Honestly it’s pretty cool. Rick’s wearing the standard colorful singlet (neon tie-dye?), while Scott’s is clearly designed to show off his muscles, as it’s TINY and more or less has a bikini cut except with black leggings.

Ice Train actually powers out of Scott’s hiptoss and gets his own, then knocks him down on a criss-cross but is caught with a hiptoss on the follow-through. Train goes into the corner, but charges out and lays Scott out AGAIN, then hits a belly-to-belly with an odd over-the-shoulder grip for two. You gotta be real strong to haul Scottie over with THAT grip. But Scott catches him coming off the ropes with an OVERHEAD belly-to-belly as it’s Hoss City in here and I love it. Rick & Norton go, and Norton powers him into the corner, misses a charge, but leaps up out of a rollup with a lariat in one motion. Norton takes all day to come off with a splash from the second rope, but still hits it, then just hammers Rick down over and over… but misses a third lariat and eats a huge release German! Steinerline for two! Now Scottie’s in with a fucking DRAGON SUPLEX, then dumps Norton and hits a flying axehandle to the floor (!). Norton catches him with a Samoan drop in the ring for two- Train comes in and immediately gets launched with a double-leg, then he & Rick double-clothesline each other! Fire & Ice hit a double shoulderblock and dump the Steiners- Norton hits his shoulderbreaker on the floor and tragically we’re counted out at (5:27). They keep fighting out there, Scottie ducking a clothesline and hitting a GERMAN on the floor, too!

HOLY FUCK THIS WAS AWESOME. Just four giants slapping beef and hitting clotheslines and ridiculous power moves (some of this is raw strength, too- Norton barely went up for anything and just got launched).

Rating: ***1/4 (only 5:27 and it was just BeamSpamming out the biggest suplexes and lariats ever. I miss this kind of wrestling, haha)

REAL WORLD TAG LEAGUE 1990:
THE FUNK BROTHERS (Terry & Dory Funk, Jr.) vs. ANDRE THE GIANT & GIANT BABA:
(All Japan, Fancam, Nov. 30th 1990)
* Another request, this one of the late-stage Funk Brothers, Baba & Andre wrestling a legends-style tag match. Everyone looks about five billion here. Baba’s in red, Andre’s in blue, Terry’s in long black tights & Dory’s in blue. This is a fancam shot from a neutral corner.

Baba & Dory slowly go into it as a random fan catcalls and everyone laughs- seems like All Japan house shows were an informal affair. Baba does chain-wrestling, which is at least something he can sorta do that looks like it could hurt… sorta. Dory gets a pop just for escaping a headscissors. Terry gets dropped in a toehold and stretched. We’re clipped (… in a fancam?) to Dory/Andre, with Andre winning a grapple with an overhand wristlock (!!), switching to a double arm as they go into the ropes. Terry does his jabs-and-forearms combo to a pop, and the Giant’s in Andre Position! Dory whips Terry in, but Andre gets the foot up, then dumps Dory and everyone’s outside. Andre soon has Terry in his corner squish, then brings in Dory and double-squishes them, drawing in Baba for the assisted push (Terry’s good enough to circle his arms around in pain). Terry goes punch-drunk and floppy off of a Baba Chop and takes a “swinging” neckbreaker for two. Baba tries an abdominal stretch but is taken down into a “rolling” cradle for two- Dory gets some European uppercuts & a backdrop suplex for two. Baba with a chop & DDT for two. Big Boot gets two for Baba, but he puts Dory on the top rope and both guys safely tumble out, getting Counted Out at (9:57 of 12:13 shown). Baba gets carted out like the corpse he resembles, never getting to his feet.

Well that was a lot of nothing stretched out to ten minutes for fun- Andre was barely in it, leaving GIANT BABA as the team workhorse, him & Dory Funk hitting the world’s slowest offense on each other. Then we get a bad ending, too!

Rating: DUD (sooooooo slowwwwwwwwww)

Gallery - Online World of Wrestling

When your company is falling apart and jettisoning talent but you still get stuck doing this gimmick.

THE NO-LIMIT SOLDIERS (Swoll & B.A.) vs. LENNY & LODI:
(WCW Thunder, 05.08.1999)
* Some classic WCW “filler”, with the jobber duo of Lenny & Lodi, who were being refashioned into a “Gay Gimmick” team- they’re in blue hot pants and body glitter, and suck on lollipops on the way to the ring. Lenny also has pigtails. They’re still testing out team names at this point- they’re “Glitter Brothers” to the commentators. And the No-Limit Soldiers eke out the end of their run.

B.A. schools Lenny with some basics, and Swoll ignores a double-hammerlock takedown with a double clothesline. They console each other outside the ring, and eventually cheat to trip up B.A. and double-team him. The score a couple two-counts, but B.A. dodges a charge, sending the boys into each other, and Lenny headbutts Lodi in the balls on the bump. In comes Swoll with clotheslines and slams, and he smashes them both with one in the corner, the boys ending up in “doggy style” position on the sell-job. They’d use that one a lot. Lodi gets bumped outside so Swoll tosses B.A. in for a clothesline, and B.A. whips Lenny off the ropes and Swoll hits a kneeling heart punch for the pin at (5:50). Lenny & Lodi were sticking around and being emphasized (Lenny becomes Cruiserweight Champion in a couple weeks) while the Soldiers had one more match and were gone, so of course B.A. & Swoll won.

Pretty basic, forgettable match- Lenny & Lodi were in that uncomfortable position of being Cruiserweight-sized but unable to do any cruiserweight moves so they were stuck Brian Christophering it with basics that were just a bit quicker than average. Swoll is a perfectly-fine hot tag guy, but him being kept out of the ring for so long is a clue he doesn’t have the training.

Rating: *1/2 (OK TV match but super basic)

J R and the Texas Hangmen talk title shot - YouTube

Apparently only one of these guys was in Disorderly Conduct, not both! I feel lied to!

ROADBLOCK vs. HANGMAN #1:
(WCW Worldwide, 10-12-1997)
* So it’s Roadblock vs. one of the masked Texas Hangmen, one of whom went to Disorderly Conduct. I dunno which one this is, and Cagematch doesn’t have the match. He’s wearing mostly black with a red bull on his shirt, and is Disorderly Conduct-ish in physique, being kinda squat and unimpressive, but sorta big in the shoulders. Roadblock is in his black gear. Schiavone gets some good snark about how all WCW guys are trained to yell into the camera, even though you can only hear half of it.

Roadblock uses his weight, but the Hangman goes to the eyes repeatedly and pounds away, but Roadblock reverses a whip and annihilates him with some pretty good speed. Hangman ends up on the second rope, but leaps into a bearhug, gets squashed in the corner and more- Heenan does a good job of critiquing the bearhug and how you properly apply it to get it around the lungs and prevent the guy from getting leverage. Roadblock catches him off the ropes for the Dead-End Drop (falling front powerslam) and finishes with that back roll over the top rope at (3:41). Complete squash. Which is funny, as Roadblock hardly has any wins in this year.

Rating: 1/2* (okay enough squash, with the Hangman showing almost nothing and mostly being eaten alive by the bigger guy)