Bret “Hitman” Hart vs. Buddy Landel (and other Dream Matches)!

Mid-Atlantic Gateway: Buddy Landel Passes Away

“Mom, can we see Ric Flair?”
“We have Ric Flair at home.”

Welcome back to more Dream Matches! Today, we’ve got a wild mish-mash of WWF stuff, as we get the weird time when Buddy Landel was a regular WWF guy until an ice patch, not his own demons, caught up with him! And Buddy gets a shot against the WWF Champion, Bret Hart!

Then it’s the true debut of “Team Extreme”, as Matt Hardy takes on Essa Rios (w/ Lita), and Essa’s had enough of his manager! Then we have Marty Jannetty vs. The Repo Man as Marty gets ready to face Shawn Michaels at the Royal Rumble! There’s also an interesting jobber match, as the Steiner Brothers take on Al Green and a very young Mike Awesome! Vincent vs. Damian on WCW Saturday Night, as they continue to give VINCENT of all people a mini-push on that show!  Then it’s one of those throwaway Nitro spotfest matches, as Psychosis, La Parka & El Dandy take on future Dragon Gate guys CIMA Nobunaga, Tokyo Magnum & Judo Suwa!

(WWF Mania, Jan. 15th 1996)
* Yes, it’s the hilariously short time BUDDY LANDEL was in the WWF- an ill-timed injury slipping on ice ended this, what could have been his most lucrative run ever. Though he jobbed to Ahmed Johnson in like 45 seconds on PPV, so I don’t think they had high hopes for him. His “Ric Flair Wannabe” gimmick was in full effect, with fancy robes and he even used Flair’s WWF entrance music! This is actually taped before Buddy’s injury and aired after it- he was only in one-off WWF matches after this.

Bret works a headlock to start, Buddy rolling him over for two-counts in a very “Flair” sequence, but Buddy gets clotheslined to the floor, where they brawl it out- Bret lands his headbutt in the ring, but Buddy catches him with some shots of his own. Bret fights out of a headlock and hiptosses him, then does a chinlock- Buddy gets up and out, but leaps up and Bret takes him down right into the Sharpshooter at (3:49)- Bret handily wins. Shockingly “nothing” match, though really, Buddy’s pedigree was largely as a jobber already, so why should Bret sell a lot? But it was kinda funny seeing the entire match be themed around punches and two short simple holds. Buddy did a bit of begging off, but didn’t seem nearly as desperate or troubled (when Bret took him down, Buddy just flat-backed and splayed out, not even resisting the Sharpshooter attempt). If Bret REALLY wanted to have some fun, he should have just sent Buddy around doing cartoon Flair bumps.

Rating: 1/2* (kind of a disappointment given both guys were veterans)

ESSA RIOS (w/ Lita) vs. MATT HARDY (w/ Jeff Hardy):
(WWF SmackDown, May 25th 2000)
* The Rios/Hardyz issue continues, and on the previous RAW, Lita actually turned on Rios, angry after he was partying with the Godfather’s Hos. She cost him a match by knocking him off the top rope, but is still with him here. Both are in red.

They start with an Attitude Era brawl, followed by Rios hitting a reverse rana out of the corner, a spinkick, and his over-the-corner Tope Con Hilo, only barely making the jump this time. That looked like it must have HURT. It gets two in the ring, but Matt dodges Rios in the corner and hits Dynamite Kansai’s Splash Mountain- a Razor’s Edge-style Sit-Out Powerbomb! He doesn’t even go for the pin (Monsoon would’ve eaten him alive for that), and is still wobbly throwing punches- Rios gets dumped, but uses Lita as a shield in a big heel move, then shoves her into Matt. Matt nonetheless reverses a whip into the steps, but Rios hits a Moonsault Press in the ring for two. He gets leapfrogged by Matt, which blasts Lita off the apron, setting up for the finish- Twist of Fate wins at (2:52).

The Hardyz leave Lita lying on the floor, and an enraged Rios picks her up, hauls her into the ring, and hits a huge Sit-Out Powerbomb AND a Moonsault, sending the Hardyz back out- they backdrop him to the floor and rescue Lita- thus begins the “Team Extreme” era properly, turning all three into huge stars. Rios pretty much peaks at this point and tumbles down the card thereafter.

This was one of those “only Big Movez” matches, with the interim just being punches. AE-style, it was only punches and whip reversals scoring all the comebacks. Fine enough short TV match.

Rating: *3/4 (a buncha flips and then the match ended)

Repo Man's original attire. : r/SquaredCircle

I only include this one because it’s the only time this gear made TV.

(WWF Prime Time, Dec 28th 1992)
* Marty is fresh off returning to the WWF to challenge IC Champ Shawn Michaels, so of course he needs a heel to beat up early on to give him some credibility. Bobby Heenan trashes him for “the way he smashed Sensational Sherri with that mirror”, sending Monsoon into a tizzy (“she throws herself in front of a LOT of things, but that isn’t one of them!” “You happen to be talking about a very respectable person”). Marty’s in pink with yellow tassels- one of his most ’90s outfits.

Repo easily scores with brawling stuff and laughs about it while Monsoon & Heenan debate, but Marty scores four rollups in a row to come back. Repo LOUDLY whines while Marty makes him look like a doofus, dodging everything and staying on him despite hairpulling from the heel. Marty slickly slides back in under the ropes when Repo tosses him, but runs into the clothesline for his 360 bump and Repo beats on him slowly and puts on a neck-twist, Monsoon AND Heenan tearing apart his strategy and flat-out calling him “stupid” several times for letting Marty recover or laughing when he should be following up. geez guys, he’s just putting in a low-effort match- ease up! Bobby insists Repo needs to use his big hook to latch around Jannetty’s mouth “And spin him around 40 or 50 times” while Monsoon calls him a sadist. Marty nearly powers out while the two have an obvious chat (Repo sticks his mouth basically into the side of Marty’s head).

Repo eats a cross-body but quickly chokes Marty as Monsoon puts over his leg-strength repeatedly for the way he keeps kicking out of stuff. Repo takes him down and keeps working a pin while Monsoon & Heenan are debating the tattoos Heenan’s last date had, but Repo tries to force Marty down one too many times and lands balls-first on Marty’s knees. But Marty runs into a knee-smash and Repo’s in charge AGAIN, but he gets distracted by the referee and Marty lands a “BEAUTIFUL reverse crescent kick!” for two, FINALLY getting back into things. Dropkicks & a back elbow get two, but Repo catches him in the corner and drops him on the top rope! But Marty kicks out, misses a clothesline, but hooks a crucifix hold and gets the big win at (9:24)- Marty triumphs. Poor Bobby didn’t even expect that, having to stop mid-sentence.

Really not a good match- it was way too long, with Repo Man having to fill the entire thing with his own plodding offense because Marty just wasn’t doing the speed stuff as much as he should have. The benefit of a Rockers match is always wild bumps and fast-paced offense, but this was instead just Marty selling basic stuff. The canned heat was obvious (the fans were sitting in their hands until the end) and it really wasn’t the best way to showcase a freshly-returned Marty.

Rating: * (mostly just basic, filler offense by Repo Man based around a small handful of fast-paced Marty comebacks)

(NWA Worldwide, Oct 21st 1989)
* Oh man! Al Green AND Mike Awesome as rookie jobbers! All the way back in 1989! Al would become one of the Master Blasters with Kevin Nash, but never rise above WCW’s “Jobber Corps”, while Awesome of course went on to FMW & ECW success. Both are green as grass, but VERY big guys, so I’m curious to see the ways the Steiners choose to murder them. Awesome has a pretty weaksauce physique and generic black trunks, while Green’s got a HUGE roid-belly and black singlet. The Steiners look weird- Rick has floofy hair and a black singlet, while Scott’s in yellow trunks- not a look I associate with him.

Scott hits a hiptoss & Steinerline on Green, then a shoulderbreaker as we get an inset promo that goes off the rails in seconds, as Scott (with a low-pitched voice) acts like the biggest jock doofus ever, while Rick stares at the ground and stutters his way through a promo taunting Kevin Sullivan “You short, little, fat uh, toad!”. Rick goes up against Green, resisting his shots and hauling him up to the second rope, where Green hilariously stumbles back down, clearly refusing to take a Super Powerslam bump from the reckless powerhouse. Green takes a couple Steinerlines and Scott lets him tag out to Awesome, and just as Jim Ross puts over his 284 lb. weight, Scott deadlifts him the the f--- up in a T-Bone Suplex. Awesome whines to the ref but gets caught in a Belly-To-Belly Suplex into a pinning combination for the three at (2:52).

Pretty standard jobber match- the Steiners gave NOTHING, and all we got was some amateurish whining and “come on, ref!” stuff from the jobbers. Still funny seeing two guys this big being steamrolled so easily, but at least the Steiners were going easy on them. Green dropping down so he didn’t have to take the power move was hilarious… if understandable.

Rating: 1/2* (just a showcasing for the Steiners, gobbling up two giant jobbers and tossing them around)

Vincent (Virgil) vs. Damián (01 23 1999 WCW Saturday Night) - YouTube

WCW Saturday Night was so bad it repeatedly featured VINCENT squashing guys.

(WCW Saturday Night, Jan. 23rd 1999)
* More Saturday Night filler as it’s the lowest-tier nWo member versus the lowest-tier guy who eventually joined the LWO! Smell the ratings! Damian’s just wearing a normal t-shirt over tights, with his face painted mostly purple. It’s funny- I never associate Vincent with being a big dude, but he absolutely DWARFS Damian here. And I think Damian’s theme is just the backdrop for “Footloose”.

Vincent attacks at the bell, pounding Damian down and even launching him up neck-first onto the top rope after missing an elbowdrop. Weird armdrag (Vincent just locks up the arm and falls back, so Damian has to do a huge flipping bump all by himself) sets up more kicks from a particularly slack-ass Vincent. He scores that elbowdrop on the second try, but misses a charge and Damian clotheslines him down… then goes up like an idiot and misses a big senton, so Vincent armbreakers him and slaps on the Fujiwara Armbar for the tap-out at (2:09). Man, how low on the totem pole do you have to be for VINCENT to handily squash you? Damian was energetic but had nothing to work with here, as Vincent did “just clubbing forearms & kicking” and almost nothing else.

Rating: 1/4* (quick moves from Damian but he got eaten alive out here)

Cima (wrestler) - Wikipedia

(WCW Nitro, April 6 1998)
* Yes, it’s time for another “Throwaway Nitro Trios Match”, but this one has the TORYUMON guys, as all three of Dragon’s WCW jobbers come out to play! Against real luchadores! Psychosis is in his bitching white variant gear, Parka’s in the normal stuff, and Dandy has on his ridiculously jobber navy blue singlet with white stars. The Toryumon guys get the dreaded “already in the ring” bit here, but that might just be YouTube cutting off their intro. Magnum’s in black & pink trunks, Shiima’s in yellow & black tasseled trunks and Suwa’s in black judo pants.

Magnum does his stripper dance to start, but La Parka gets a better reaction for his dance and Magnum gets triple-teamed by the luchadores, who get a babyface pop for that. Shiima comes off the top when the ref’s back is turned, but they quickly hit a double-dropkick/double-elbow/running kick lucha team on him as well. Suwa runs in and it’s obviously lucha rules as there’s no tags- but he’s immediately held up by two guys so Psychosis can hit a missile dropkick! Suwa’s buddies save him, and things get awkward as La Parka keeps interrupting Magnum’s s--- and then Psychosis “accidentally” tags his own partner with a kick to the balls.

Psychosis takes a dropkick and that’s all that’s necessary to put him up top for a Springboard Super Hurricanrana for two! Both guys immediately tag out and Shiima elbows Dandy, then La Parka does a header missing Judo, then faceplants all the way to the floor in a slide- but Dandy tosses Judo and hits a jam-up suicide dive! Pescado by Magnum to Dandy! Rope-bounce moonsault by La Parka to Judo & Tokyo! Psychosis breaks the pattern by flying into Shiima in the ring, but misses and takes a flying wheel kick for two. Shiima tries for a springboard, but Psychosis kicks his legs out with great timing, setting up the Guillotine Legdrop for the finish at (4:39). And then while the celebrate, La Parka chairs Psychosis in the head for that little ball-kick, indicating so to Dandy via pantomime. How did WCW never use this guy?

Great little match- Nitro was so good about tossing out the “fast workers” for these short sprints, starting slow but just going all-out in the end with multiple dives until two guys end up paired off in the ring. Great bits as Psychosis fails his jump and takes a big move, but counters the kid with great precision and hits his finisher to win it.

Rating: **1/2 (great short little match)