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 WORLD HEAVYWEIGHT TITLE:
BRET “HITMAN” HART vs. BUDDY LANDEL:
(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.

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WWF Prime Time 1992 Battle Royal (and other Dream Matches!)

Wrestling With The Past: The Bizarre Origins of the Battle Royal - Part One  - Cageside Seats

The Battle Royal: in an era of jobber vs. jobber matches making up almost all TV wrestling, this iwas the only way to get to see a TON of big stars in one place!

It’s another Dream Matches column! This time I find a Battle Royal from 1992 with a very unexpected victor! A 40-man battle royal with an incredible SEVENTEEN jobbers getting paydays, and extended runs by guys like Kato and a beyond-done Texas Tornado! Read on!

I also find some disparate stuff- Crush vs. Damian Demento from a 1992 WWF Mania, as I find an incredible smorgasbord of horrible low-grade matches on that program! Essa Rios vs. Jeff Hardy from 2000, as the Hardyz push REALLY starts to get in gear and “Team Extreme” is ready to form! WCW midcard glory as Glacier faces Lash Leroux! Then it’s a request, as we see a very young MIKE AWESOME in late ’80s WCW, as he faces the “Z-Man” Tom Zenk! And finally, some throwaway lucha stuff as Juventud Guerrera & Super Calo face Silver King & El Dandy in a match that ends in a REAL mess of miscommunication!

BATTLE ROYAL:
(Bret Hart, The British Bulldog, Sgt. Slaughter, Rick “The Model” Martel, “Million Dollar Man” Ted DiBiase, I.R.S., The Nasty Boys, “El Matador” Tito Santana, “Texas Tornado” Kerry Von Erich, Virgil, High Energy, Skinner, The Beverly Brothers, The Berzerker, Kato, Jim Powers, Barry Horowitz, Jumping Jim Brunzell, Duane Gill, Joe Milano, Rick Johnson, John/Tom Star, J.K. Goodman, Chico Martinez, Bob Bradley, Bruce Mitchell, Bob Knight, Terry Davis, Joe McMullen, Al Tucker, Barry Hardy, Nick Danger, Scott Palontonio?)
(WWF Prime Time, July 6th 1992)
* Okay, so while Scott Keith HATES Battle Royals, I LOVE them. I mean, in an era where your weekly main event was like Bam Bam Bigelow vs. Koko B. Ware, seeing THIRTY GUYS in one match? That was incredible! Plus it was fun to see guys go out almost in the exact order of importance. This one’s a real mish-mash of the most “1992” acts possible, including Kato as a singles act, the Beverlies, High Energy & Skinner. I don’t recognize most of the seventeen (!) jobbers, but there’s a pudgy short guy in a red singlet who is AMAZINGLY bad-looking, and Johnson is some huge, ripped dude. Bruce & Bob look like a tag team in matching black tights & white boots. LOL some asshole fan on the right is grabbing all the babyfaces by the arm and not letting go, resulting in a bunch of dudes (Virgil, Kerry) spinning around, probably giving him an earful.

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John Cena vs. Scott Vick (and Other Dream Matches!)

Whatever Happened to Scott 'Sick Boy' Vick? | Ring the Damn Bell

Welcome back to more Dream Matches! So if you’re a fan of Sick Boy, you probably know the legend of him almost getting a big WWE push with the “Katie Vick” storyline, until he was cut loose for less-publicized reasons. Well come look at one of those reasons, as he faces OVW’s Prototype (a young, even more roided John Cena) in a Dark Match on RAW!

Also today, we’ll take a look at the DRAGON KID of all people making WCW TV, as he takes on Psychosis! Then some WCW Saturday Night goodness as it’s Wrath vs. Kenny Kaos! Also more of my “Essa Rios” series, as he takes on Crash Holly in early 2000! The Repo Man vs. “Superfly” Jimmy Snuka in 1993 (yes, Snuka was around EVEN THEN!)! A very “WCW Squash Match” as Lash Leroux goes up against Tommy Rogers of The Fantastics in 2000! And we end things with another WWF match, as Virgil gets fed to “The Narcissist” Lex Luger, shortly before his repackaging!

GUEST REFEREE JACQUELINE:
THE PROTOTYPE vs. SCOTT VICK:
(WWF RAW Dark Match, June 2nd 2002)
* Yes, this is a very rare match between John Cena and Scott “Sick Boy” Vick, back when Vick was in developmental. Prototype’s in blue & silver shorts, and Vick’s in black shorts, and is actually taller than Cena, I think- just lankier.

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Gorgeous George vs. Jesse James (and Other Dream Matches!)

Welcome back to more Dream Matches! This week, I have a hell of a find- a 1951 Gorgeous George match! Come watch the ORIGINAL wrestling gimmick perform with some stuff you still find today! Also up: more of the infamous KISS Demon as he faces Rick Fuller! Bill Goldberg takes on roided jobber Chase Tatum! And finally it’s more Papi Chulo, as he teams up with El Merenguero (Jesus Castillo of Los Boriquas) against the pre-fame Hardy Boyz on WWF Super Astros! Also I threw in Yuji Nagata vs. Psychosis from an old Nitro, cuz I didn’t want only four matches.

BEST TWO OF THREE FALLS:
GORGEOUS GEORGE (w/ Thomas Ross) vs. JESSE JAMES:
(April 9th 1951)
* Oh yes, it’s time to review a GORGEOUS GEORGE match! So for those unaware, George is essentially the first “Gimmick Wrestler” of importance, doing a character performance as opposed to just being some tough guy. He’s got curly bleach-blonde hair, an imperious manner, and a fussy, pain in the ass character, insisting his valet use an atomizer to scent the “filthy” ring with perfume, “Because all the dirty wrestlers that have been in there”. George comes down to some flouncy theme music (he may have even invented the concept of wrestlers using theme music), throwing flowered leis into the crowd, and you get the perfect shot to realize that people back then “got it” about George- every man and woman there either has a look of disgust or the biggest “Can you believe this f*ckin’ guy?” grin on their face.

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Jeff Jarrett vs. The KISS Demon (and other Dream Matches!)

The Kiss Demon (WCW) | Iconos

When you make a deal with a nostalgia act and stick a Power Plant nobody in Gene Simmons’s gear. Then set up a deal for a PPV Main Event without knowing how it’s gonna get over. The most “Because WCW” thing ever.

Welcome back to more “Dream Matches”! Today, we take our first look at the infamous WCW run of “The Demon”, Dale Torborg wrapped up in KISS gear and made to be an official “KISS Wrestler” in a giant failure of a gimmick. Here he’s a speedbump for Jeff Jarrett during his never-ending WCW Main Eventer run. Then it’s a hilariously bad match where The Disciple cuts an impassioned promo to beg the fans to cheer for him, then goes out and flubs horribly in a match against Kenny Kaos! I find one more Super Assassins match, as Warlord & Barbarian (in masks) go out against the Nasty Boys!

One more “PG-13 in WCW” match, as they try to take the WCW Tag Team Titles from The Mamalukes! Then it’s a pair of Essa Rios vs. Funaki matches, as they fill time on all the lower-end shows with Light Heavyweight Title defenses! And finally, I end my “Los Cowboys” run by finally slotting in their trios match with Tigre Canadiense (a forgotten white guy who got unexpectedly over in lucha) against Dr. Wagner Jr. & The Headhunters!

U.S. TITLE:
JEFF JARRETT (w/ The Harris Twins) vs. THE DEMON:
(WCW Saturday Night, March 11th, 2000)
* UGHHHHHHHHHH I forgot the Harrises were in the last-ditch “nWo”. And Jarrett is saying they’re in “Slapnut County” to get crowd heat and cuts this rambling, boring promo about putting Sid’s career “on life support systems”. He’s in silver shorts, up against the KISS Demon in a US Title defense, and poor Dale Torborg has to do his giant entrance, brandishing his cape like a doofus, all so Jeff can jump him from behind.

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Jake Roberts & The Barbarian vs. Ron Simmons & Nikita Koloff (and other Dream Matches!)

Ron Simmons vs The Barbarian (WCW, 10-25-1992) | Tape Machines Are Rolling

The Barbarian was a big, strong, legit-tough dude, but a WORLD TITLE CONTENDER? On PPV? No wonder WCW lost so much money.

Welcome back to more Dream Matches! This week I have a sequel to last weeks’ Jake/Koloff match, as it’s Jake & Barbarian vs. Nikita & Ron Simmons, the WCW World Champion! Then, it’s one of the stranger “two guys you didn’t think ever met” contests, thanks to Erik Watts’ run in late ’90s WCW, where he takes on Disco Inferno on TWO separate occasions! Then it’s a giant Hoss Match as The Giant takes on Roadblock on WCW Nitro, in a match with a remarkable ending that’s stuck in my mind for 25 years! More Essa Rios content, as he & Funaki take on the Hardy Boyz back when Rios was “Papi Chulo”! Then it’s a shockingly very good Wrath match, as he & the underrated Mike Enos fight like hell on a filler WCW Thunder bout! With some commentary you really have to hear.

JAKE “THE SNAKE” ROBERTS & THE BARBARIAN (w/ Cactus Jack) vs. RON SIMMONS & NIKITA KOLOFF:
(WCW Power Hour, Oct. 17th 1992)
* By recommendations, here’s Jake & Barbarian as WCW heels vs. Ron Simmons (the WCW World Champion!) and Koloff. Jake’s in blue, Barbarian’s in black, Ron’s in green and slapping hands with the fans, and a very bored-looking Koloff is in a black singlet. Nobody seems nearly as over as they should be considering this has the World Champ and the guy he’s wrestling at Halloween Havoc in a week.

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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!

CHRIS JERICHO vs. MR. JL:
(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.

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Lord Steven Regal vs. Eddie Guerrero (and other Dream Matches!)

WCW United States Heavyweight Champion Eddie Guerrero | Eddie guerrero, Pro  wrestler, Champion

“Plucky Babyface Eddie Guerrero” is kind of a forgotten era for the guy. Also a reminder of the time WCW tossed the U.S. Title on a lot of pretty new acts in the company.

It’s time for more Dream Matches! With more of a big WCW focus again, but I throw in a WWF tag match from the weird early days where “Cool Dad” Michael Hayes was managing the Hardy Boyz, and they were in a throwaway match with Funaki & Papi Chulo (the future Essa Rios)! But our main event of the evening is Lord Steven Regal doing another one of his technical clinics against a new hire named Eddie Guerrero!

Also come see CIMA up against Perry Saturn, when the former was still a rookie trainee in WCW! A weird “Late WCW is more like Early TNA” match as Psychosis fights Shark Boy in 2000! And another shocker- PG-13 made WCW TV in 2000! They take on the much-maligned 3 Count! Then come see Bobby Eaton’s time on the WCW job squad continue as he’s set up against Fit Finlay in a match of the short, stocky veterans. And finally, a TRUE main event and the kind of match I was born to review- SCOTT PUTSKI vs. MEAN MIKE OF DISORDERLY CONDUCT! Smell the ratings!

LORD STEVEN REGAL (w/ Jeeves) vs. EDDIE GUERRERO:
(WCW Nitro, Jan. 9th 1996)
* Regal takes on the relative newcomer Eddie, here a a dorky babyface with a white & red singlet, a HUGE mullet, and a pretty generic persona. However, he was getting pretty great reactions at this point- I believe I read that a focus group test actually showed he was one of their more popular wrestlers, which led to some emphasis on TV. This was the “WCW Special” of just throwing two good workers out there with 8 minutes of TV time and seeing what happens.

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Eddie Guerrero & Essa Rios vs. The Hardy Boyz (and other Dream Matches!)

What happened to former WWE Superstar Essa Rios

The before-time, when Lita was introduced to the WWF audience as ESSA RIOS’ manager!

Welcome back to more Dream Matches! This time it’s a bunch more WCW stuff, but I throw in more Los Cowboys! We start off with an early Hardy Boyz match as they take on Eddie Guerrero & Essa Rios! Then it’s Yuji Nagata on his Western excursion as he takes on WCCW star Chris Adams, popularizer of the Superkick! A FAT MAN STAND-OFF as the One Man Gang takes on P.N. News!

Then come see Los Cowboys (Silver King & El Texano) as they take on the guys from last week- Doug Furnas & Phil LaFon! But as masked heel wrestlers in Mexico! Then it’s popular late-stage WCW act 3-Count (Shane Helms, Shannon Moore & Evan Karagias) oppose three jobbesr… including ELIX SKIPPER AND SONNY SIAKI, who yeah- were late WCW guys! Late WCW is more like Early TNA sometimes. And finally, as I have some space to fill, here’s the debut of the legendary HORSHU in WCW, as he faces poor schmuck Joey Maggs on the D-show.

EDDIE GUERRERO & ESSA RIOS (w/ Chyna & Lita) vs. THE HARDY BOYZ (Matt & Jeff Hardy):
(WWF RAW, April 17th, 2000)
* Here’s one recommended by Steve Austrian, with strangeness abounding as Lita leads a team AGAINST the Hardy Boyz, because when the former Miss Congeniality of ECW debuted (and had the mandatory surgery), she was the manager of the former Aguila. They barely even tried with Essa Rios, as he barely ever got mic time or any big wins, and quietly vanished. He’s in white tights with red, while Lita’s in a red bodysuit with cut-outs instead of her iconic gear. Eddie, meanwhile, is studying for his GED in an angle I don’t remember, and wearing a “VaChyna” t-shirt. Jeff’s got a black shirt and Matt has his best “2000s club guy” velvety blue shirt on.

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