Chris Jericho vs. Jerry Lynn (and other Dream Matches!)

5 Times WCW Didn't Know What They Had - The Overtimer

Because WCW: A worker as respected as Jerry Lynn, and he’s in “Player 2” Rey Mysterio gear and jobs on the D-shows.

Welcome back to more Dream Matches! This time we get a couple of double-whammies, as Chris Jericho takes on Jerry Lynn back when he was jobber “Mr. JL” on the WCW D-Shows! Then it’s Marty Jannetty vs. Pat Tanaka on WWF TV, but from two years apart- 1991 (when Tanaka was on a tag team) and 1993 (when he was a glorified jobber)!

And I also found a match from that odd period where Mona (Molly Holly) was suddenly able to get work for her indie buddies as WCW randomly had a women’s division again- she takes on Little Jeannie. Finally, another weirdo “Wait, THAT happened?” match, as Papi Chulo (Essa Rios) shows up on Super Astros… and his opponent is the fourth TIGER MASK!

(WCW Saturday Night, Aug. 31st 1996)
* Yes, it’s more of Jerry Lynn as a Rey Mysterio-like purple-clad Power Ranger, and Spunky Babyface Chris Jericho. Jericho’s got the bright, curly blonde locks and black & yellow tights here.

They start very “New Japan Juniors Style”, with Jericho always going to the arm and doing the occasional elaborate submission hold on it. JL tries a figure-four, but Jericho rolls him over and oddly pulls on the legs- JL gets a headscissors but Jericho clotheslines him for two. Delayed suplex (?!) nets Jericho boos and they chop each other and JL uses a running dropkick… guys, this is going to shock you, but Tony & Dusty are spending this match talking about the nWo. Tony actually suggests gathering all of WCW together and beating the s--- out of them when they arrive at Nitro one time, lol. These guys keep trading shots in the corners until Jericho finally lands his running slingshot to the apron, elbowing JL down. Jericho waits him out in the ring & hits a backdrop & senton, but takes his time going up and gets dropkicked to the apron and then the floor! See that’s the safer version of that bump- no sense dying on the D-show. JL’s plancha to the floor has both down, and they do the “suplex them in/reverse to schoolboy” move, and JL hits a running back elbow & missile dropkick for two. Jericho reverses a whip and they do a standing switch into a very loose Fisherman’s Buster from Jericho (you don’t see THAT move very often in the west), and he hits the then-unnamed Lionsault for the win (6:52)- Jericho finally wins!

Okay, this match was SUPER interesting from a “match construction” aspect, because this had the exact cadence and moves of an NJPW Juniors match, which looked odd on American TV. American matches are often a bit more full of bumps, taunting, etc. in the early going before settling down, but here they went right into that Junior-style “try weirdo submission moves that don’t bear on the rest of the match” thing with the occasional bigger move thrown in at first, then escalating to bigger bumps. It was pretty well-wrestled, and the Junior pace is easier to do when you’re not sure where to go next (they kept butting heads to talk out the next spots), because you can intersperse it with posing and stiff chops and it’s fine. Fans didn’t quite know how to react, though. Jericho ends up winning a pretty hard-fought match with all the big moves shoved into the last two minutes.

Fun Fact: According to a comment on the video, Chris in “The List of Jericho” rated this match a single star & he was paid $271 for it. It was the 586th match of his career. Both men caught heat for the bout afterwards as the bookers wanted it to be more of a squash than a competitive back & forth.

Rating: **1/2 (fine TV match for the time, especially)

(WCW Saturday Night, April 17th 1997)
* A rematch from the next year! Jericho’s now in white tights with purple and letting the fans molest him.

We’re off immediately, as JL splatters Jericho with a running roundhouse kick as soon as he hits the ring! He hits a Russian legsweep but Jericho fires back with a superkick & spinning heel kick as NOW we’re into the “WCW match” pacing! Jericho hits a delayed suplex but takes a backdrop one for two, then a backbreaker. JL hits a running legdrop and flying cross-body, but takes a jumping shoulderblock- he resists a backdrop suplex and tries a victory roll, but gets caught after taking too long (“he’s in a mess” sez Dusty, “He got hisself in a mess up there”) and is faceplanted, setting up the Lionsault! But that’s not a finisher here, and Jericho instead goes up and hits a missile dropkick for the pin at (3:09). Well that was weird.

See, THIS is more like a western match- fast start and quick reversals immediately. I didn’t think it was as good as the last one, though- it was half as long and because of the pace had no build or selling- just guys doing stuff until one won.

Rating: *3/4 (fine enough super-short bout)

720pHD): WCW Thunder 09/23/99 - Mona vs. Brandi Alexander - YouTube

yes, WCW had a weird little resurgence of women’s matches in its last year.

(WCW Nitro, Aug. 9th 1999)
* So in the early 2000s, when most wrestling fans were drooling over Trish Stratus, I correctly preferred Molly Holly. And in my not at all weird or obsessive research, I discovered that during her time in WCW, she sort of convinced them to start up a mini-“Women’s Division” again and got bookings for a lot of her indie buddies. I would imagine Little Jeannie is one of those, as she was set up as a jobber against Mona on numerous occasions. She’s a short girl in sparkly black shorts and a top, with uber-frizzy ’80s hair, while Mona’s still dressed as “Miss Madness” but the evening gown turns into a skirt. She’s barefoot, so if you value your sanity, skip the YouTube comments.

Mona & Jeannie chain-wrestle with armbars, Mona ending it with a snapmare & armdrag- pretty classic “indie wrestling” basics. Jeannie throws knees, but gets monkey-flipped and hits the floor- she stays there for seriously a full minute, and lures Mona out and then tags her when she gets back into the ring. Mona gets punched & choked, then Jeannie hits a headscissors for two (the version Sonya Blade used against Kano in the Mortal Kombat movie!), impressing the fans, but Mona rolls through for two and then gets clotheslined. Jeannie has the advantage, but takes a huge leap into the corner and crotches herself on the middle turnbuckle, and that’s that- Mona just launches her around, dropkicks her in the back of the head, hits a cartwheel back elbow in the corner into a running bulldog, and finishes with her then-trademark move, an Indian Deathlock/Surfboard pinning combination at (4:37). Brandi Alexander, another indie hire, hits the ring to jump the victor, but Mona absolutely TRUCKS her and sends her off. And hey- she’s over!

Interesting little match. This actually has the cadence and style of an indie wrestling match, in that it was kept very simple, but direct- both women were properly-trained, though Jeannie was a bit loose and delicate with her moves. Mona’s stuff was TIGHT and really looked proper. It was well-booked enough that the fans were into it- Jeannie bailed for a solid minute but that just annoyed the fans, and then she started fighting dirty to take advantage, then got crushed by a string of impressive moves. Smart booking- it makes the new act (Mona had only recently started wrestling on TV) look credible and legitimate, and gives a solid come from behind win.

Rating: *3/4 (simple, basic TV match- Jeannie was limited but it was well-booked for the time, despite 1/4 of it being spent with no contact)

Rasslin' History 101 on Twitter: "Pat Tanaka and Paul Diamond,the AWA World  Tag Team Championship combination of Badd Company back on 1988." / Twitter

… my god.

(WWF, March 15th 1991)
* A week before WrestleMania VII, where the Rockers will take on Haku & Barbarian in a weird throwaway match. Monsoon & Hayes declare Tanaka the more dangerous of the two Orient Express members- Heenan: “Are you callin’ KATO a ham ‘n’ egger!?” I’m loving Marty’s blue tights with the pink tassels here.

Marty gets distracted by the Devious One and eats some karate chops & kicks to put Tanaka in the lead, but Marty double-leapfrogs and knocks him to the floor! They do a long resthold/convo while Heenan discusses keeping the pace slow with his guys at ‘Mania, but then Tanaka is psyched into trying his OWN leapfrog, but Marty catches him for it! Nice callback, there. Marty hits a pescado (still a big high-spot back then) to a big reaction, and Tanaka milks the count and then fucks with the top turnbuckle when Fuji distracts the idiot ref. Tanaka taunts Marty as they are noticeably padding out the match-time, but lures him into that corner, only the pad doesn’t come off, so instead he dodges him in the other corner and Marty flies over the top and to the floor.

Tanaka works him over slowly, but Marty comes off the second rope and slams his face into the mat- Tanaka gets his foot on the ropes and then uses the ropes for his OWN pin, but is caught. Tanaka scores a crescent kick and a big spinning forearm smash, getting two, then chops him straight over the top rope. Marty slides under him to get back in, but puts his head down and gets CRUSHED with an axehandle to the lower back- great sell-job, marking that as devastating. Tanaka moves in for the kill with a Tombstone, but shockingly Marty uses the reversal to haul him back, and f------ MURDERS him with the sit-out version! Holy fuckballs- that’s academic for Marty at (10:54) as even Heenan marks out for it.

Very long match, obviously padded a bit (especially early, with guys hitting the floor a lot, and improvising after Tanaka couldn’t get the turnbuckle off), with some good commentary from the old-school guys debating strategy, the upcoming Mania match, and the wisdom of taking such a match so soon before the show. They got into a good battle in the end, each guy maintaining offense only for a bit so it didn’t get boring, and HOLY S--- that ending. Tanaka looks like he took it right on the noggin, and I’m shocked he wasn’t Austin’d right there.

Rating: *** (solid little TV match- a bit padded but an epic ending)

(WWF All-American TV, Oct. 17th 1993)
* And now, three years later, here’s Pat with an “in the ring to my left” announcement (he’s just recently back in the WWF), wearing the “Fat guy at the pool” outfit of sweatpants and a t-shirt, looking quite squat and broad. Our hosts are Gorilla & Jim Ross, which is an odd one, as I don’t recall JR commentating on too many Pat Tanaka bouts. Marty’s in neon yellow & pink striped black tights here, and has just returned to the company.

Tanaka taunts & slaps Marty to start, and gets knocked down, dumped, and Pescado’d for it as JR calls him “Tatanka” by accident, but he scores a headbutt to try and come back. Marty wins a criss-cross with armdrags and a fistdrop for two, then hits the chinlock as they plan the next spot… which is Marty charging right into a Sit-Out Powerbomb! For whatever reason the referee refuses to count that as a pin- holy s---, Scott’s wrong- DANNY DAVIS is the worst, not Joey Marella! Monsoon, god bless him, tries to put over Tanaka, saying he had a “successful tour of the Orient- went UNDEFEATED I understand!”. Double-thrust punch & kicks work over Marty in the corner until Tanaka splatters him with a whip to the corner and drops him with a superkick.

Marty tries a comeback but gets wiped out with a forearm, spiralling around on the sell-job- Tanaka gets two, and then hits a full Sit-Out Powerbomb, and NOW Davis counts- again two! He doesn’t follow-up, instead dumping Marty and doing some plodding stuff, and Marty FINALLY comes back… and Tanaka does a 360 sell off a clothesline! Ya don’t see that one from the OTHER side of a Marty match very often! He gets a foot in the ropes but misses a clothesline off the second rope and is in serious trouble- Tanaka hoists him up for a Tombstone, but they use the same finish as their ’91 match, as Marty reverses it (thankfully hitting his knees this time)! That finishes at (6:59), Marty FINALLY getting going, with an odd move for either guy, given the Taker was the only guy using it at this point.

Marty was just NOT feeling this one very much, seemingly-deliberately given Tanaka every shred of offense. Granted, Marty didn’t mess up any of his stuff and did some great selling, so it’s possible he was putting some real effort in… just being super-generous with the offense. Tanaka’s stuff looked fine, but very antiseptic- his heel mannerisms have always been pretty weak, and so he just hits some pretty advanced stuff for 1993 WWF with this “kinda scowling” expression on his face.

Rating: ** (super-long and an extended squash for Tanaka until the last-minute win for Marty)

Tiger Mask IV vs. Essa Rios from WWF Super Astros June 1999 :  r/SquaredCircle

(1999 WWF Super Astros, June 6th 1999)
* Holy s---- TIGER MASK on WWF TV. But this was on the Mexican show “Super Astros”. And it’s the fourth Tiger Mask- the one who never dropped the name and isn’t considered as good as the other guys. He’s actually wearing blue gear in this one, and gets the dreaded “already in the ring” introduction. This is Essa Rios under his middle identity.

Chulo somehow catches Tiger Mask with a spinkick immediately (like, if you’re just standing there and they can actually spin around and still hit you, you weren’t paying attention), then kicks him around and hits an Early Match Sit-Out Powerbomb- a WWF trademark around this time. He throws chops, but gets dropkicked to the floor- catching Tiger Mask back in, he’s then hit with a cross-body reversal out of the corner, then bails AGAIN off a spinkick. Tiger Mask then hits a huge plancha to the floor that could have gone VERY wrong (he was damn near going to go vertical before twisting back), and we take a break. Back with them just f------ around until TM hits the floor and Chulo swings up and slides through the ropes into a headscissors out there. Chulo throws him into the post & dropkicks him while he’s crotched on the top, then hits his patented Over The Corner Tope Con Hilo, only to take a backflip kick in the ring. Tiger Mask goes up to finish, but misses a Flying Headbutt and Chulo finishes him off with a Shooting Star Press at (4:40 shown).

Good job of hitting a bunch of cool s--- to pop the crowd- the match didn’t have much between the spots but the fans definitely reacted to it. This “guys just hitting moves until someone wins” style is common even today, but I think it’s best suited for 5 minute matches like these.

Rating: **1/2 (a good mini-spotfest, with Chulo doing a ton of cool s--- on his way to victory)