I downloaded Jericho vs. the Rock 10/21/2001 and skipped through the match making sure it was a legit file, which it was. A spot in the match caught my attention; it was when the Rock gave Jericho a dragon screw. He did the same unusual fall in that match as he did against Danielson on NXT.
I went through and watched the match anyway, and here are my thoughts:
Chris Jericho vs. the Rock 10/21/2001
• Match is for the WCW World Heavyweight Championship – a title that hasn’t had any credibility for about eight years prior to this match.
• The typical, yet excellent video montage of why we’re here, and why Jericho and the Rock are feuding with each other – the WWF has always excelled in this region. Their video packages can make or break a feud.
• I still find it surreal to hear anything WCW related on a WWF Pay-Per-View. I still think the WWF completely bombed the Invasion angle – and I am not alone in that thinking. It could have been a legendary success; instead, it turned out to be a legendary failure.
• Jericho was a man possessed in the opening minutes of the match, as he really took the fight to the Rock. I wish Jericho would have flairs of this aggressive side occasionally as a heel.
• Jericho acting all smug like in the match, like with the boot scrape and throwing his elbow pad in the Rock’s face was awesome.
• JR’s analytical observations and generally solid to excellent announcing is surely missed.
• Jericho’s flurry of offense including a nice hurricanrana up to the finisher theft was well scripted.
• The contrived announce table bump of the WWF’s. Yeah it is obviously planned, orchestrated and all of that jazz…but it is still neat.
• The People’s Elbow counter into the Walls of Jericho – it was extremely fluid and well performed.
What didn’t work:
• This is petty, but why did the Rock throw Jericho to the floor, only to toss him back in without brawling or making Jericho headbutt random things?
• The theft of finishers and subsequent abandonment of proper pacing, and selling was not scripted well. There was no drama behind it, and I think it cheapened the moves. Jericho hits the Rock Bottom and immediately hits the Lionsault, and then immediately covers the Rock for him to kick out. There should have been that pause, that momentary stall, and then Jericho crawls over and makes the pin attempt, only for the Rock to kick out at 2.9. The crowd would have erupted, and it wouldn’t have cheapened two finishing maneuvers – at the time, the Rock Bottom had pinned all of the mega stars (‘Taker, Austin, HHH), while the Lionsault covered all of the lower tiered guys (Angle, Benoit, Kane). The way things went down; I think it discredited both moves simultaneously.
• The Rock’s sharpshooter. Yep, I am a part of that camp. I have never liked the way he got his opponents in position for it, how he turned them over, how he locked it up, or the fact he does it standing up. The way he performs it makes it look phonier than it really is. Also, I find it disrespectful for him to be using it since it was Bret’s finisher. I find it very disrespectful. Outside of Eugene’s comically usage, no one else uses the Rock Bottom. No one will be doing tombstone piledrivers after the Undertaker is gone. I know damn well that Pedigrees will not be seen after HHH stops doing them. I just think it is tasteless, like how HBK started doing the cripple crossface.
• The end of the match was a ball buster for me. I had never viewed this match prior to this, and only knew Jericho eventually won. I didn’t know he would win his first World title by stupid interference of a steel chair. This was a bad contrived spot. Obviously, Stephanie wasn’t going to use the chair, but conveniently placed in the ring so the Rock could get his head bounced off it. Jericho had already trapped the Rock in the Walls of Jericho, worked his back over a bit with backbreakers…so why couldn’t Jericho make him submit instead of the cheap finish?
• Stephanie’s abysmal selling with the Rock Bottom. She was on her feet too quickly post-match.
• No blood, and a poor false finish – those are absolutely crucial to huge matches of importance. The blood sells the violence and hatred of the match and the false finishes builds drama to intensify the crowds’ reactions - and while it did pop the crowd, the aforementioned finisher theft negated the effects in my eyes.
All the while, it was still a decent match.
I wrote this for my Intro to Creative Writing class...
WWF’s first episode of NXT aired last night, and it was an entertaining show for two reasons – Bryan Danielson…erm…Daniel Bryan, and Chris Jericho.
I was pleasantly surprised to see Danielson being showcased right off the bat to begin the inaugural show. His interactions with Miz were humorous, but I wonder what direction they will take with the angle they started. Will the Miz end every show pummeling Danielson after he stole the show with the match of the night?
Matt Striker and Michael Cole came across as douchebags, which isn’t anything new, but Cole’s sudden heel turn was unexpected, but cool. He was harping on the Miz only a day prior, but the next day he is a supporter of the Miz and his heelish actions. I’m presuming his lines were being fed to him, as he still cannot string together a sentence of his own without citing one of his favorite lines ad nauseam. Cole’s incessant burial of Danielson was head scratching (it does serve a purpose), but at least Matthews continued defending the best in the world. The WWF wants to hammer in how unimportant Danielson really is because of his non-WWF accolades – not surprising in the least, but tacky, yes, lame, certainly - but they will make him into a superstar (hopefully). Judging from last night though, that is the plan, and I am game for it. I also hope Danielson responds to Cole's bashing and beats the "living life" out of him for being an obvious mark.
The main event was awesome. I was excited to see that Jericho’s intro music played with twenty minutes left of television, but they started the match with five minutes left until the top of the hour. Damn commercials and advertisements. The match itself was no MOTYC, but a simple star building exercise for Danielson to display what he can do in five minutes. As it stands, it is my favorite match of the year. Danielson’s tope suicida bump was inane, very similar to what Benoit did on SmackDown! many years ago against Booker T. It was funny seeing Jericho botch a dragon screw, as he hasn’t competed with someone that has a lot of talent since what…Mysterio in mid 2009? Honestly though, there were a few mistakes which I noticed - like Danielson falling backwards after an enzuguri, and the attempted topple over the ropes. I chalk that up as nerves.
It was scary how truly small Danielson is; I just forget that he is another “vanilla midget”. Nevertheless, yeah, the match was an awesome debut match, not on par with Benoit/HHH, but damn close. **1/2 in my book. Probably high for a six minute match, but oh damn was it entertaining.
The other “rookies” are forgettable, and some are very annoying. That Otunga guy…*vomits* Slater looked like a woman when the camera was panning around in his vignette, and his voice is all nasally. I can’t even remember the guys name who is with Jericho, or Punk’s rookie. Tarver is unimpressive as well. The Carlito/Christian match was nearly identical from last right – apparently, Carlito forgot his back springboard attempts were reversed….
Maybe it is my biased outlook, but Danielson is hands down the best in the WWF right now, even after ONE match. Now that is in-ring talent alone, more than half of the roster is better on the stick than Danielson, but I do not care about those superficial qualities. I want to see wrestling, not talking.
All Japan 1980s – Been watching me some “classic” and actual classic All Japan from ’80-12/31/89 @12:00PM…
Harley Race vs. Giant Baba 9/9/1980
• Race looked like a pimp I met in Chicago in 2005, or the grizzled shark hunter from Jaws.
• Baba is Akira Taue’s father, the resemblance is too similar.
• Baba is defending the NWA World Heavyweight Championship and he looks completely miserable and out-of-shape.
• Baba even does the Taue stomp and those stupid overhead chops that look incredibly soft and fake.
• The theme of the match for me was laughing at how incredibly slow and physically weak looking Baba was in this match. I mean, he is normally slow and plodding, but tonight was extra helpings of that bad stuff.
• Race was the consummate professional, bumping all over the place for Baba and his quasi Hogan move set. Race took a gorilla press slam from the top rope, a big bump circa 1980. Race also did a better version of RVD’s piledriver bump than RVD’s own version.
• Race stalling on the pinfall attempt following a vertical suplex I found interesting.
• Race started head butting tables and the ring post on the floor busting himself open, which did add some level of drama and excitement to the match.
• There was this intense bro hug on the ropes that made me do a double take…they seriously stood there just hugging each other for a few moments.
• The ending was abysmal, Baba goes up top (no idea why), gets crotched, and is pinned to lose the title.
• Race was blown up by the end of the match – his physique slipped considerably from a match with Lawler in ’77.
• *1/4 – if this is on the viewing list, bottom tier has some company.
Stan Hansen vs. Terry Funk 9/11/82
• I anticipated this match to be one crazy ass bloody brawl – who wouldn’t when HANSEN and TERRY FUNK get in the ring?
• Terry looks like a stand in for Dale Dobeck, which I find hilarious at 4:30AM.
• Funk goes punch drunk early in the match, and takes an awkward looking back-body-drop from the ring through the ropes and to the floor that caught my attention.
• Hansen is spectacularly stiff in this match.
• Terry bailed to the floor A TON. It’s rare to see a FACE bail to the floor.
• Funk’s use of Stan’s kneepad for a takedown was splendid – a nice touch of excellence.
• Funk using the London wake-up call numerous times was also spectacular. It is one of my favorite strikes of all-time, because it really works in disorientating an opponent – I have used it in MOUT training and in combat.
• I found it interesting how long it took them to go for a cover.
• I loved how Hansen absolutely hurled the chair that Funk had just thrown at him back at Funk who was on the floor. That was awesome.
• Whoever assisted Hansen is a genius. He held Funk to get lariated, and instead of standing upright so Funk can duck so his captor takes the shot, he bends down and is at knee level. Attention to details…
• Hansen beating on young boys never gets tiresome; neither does Hansen low blowing Jumbo.
• Funk’s selling of the lariat post-match was incredible.
• Although there was *zero* blood, and a zero finish, the brawl was still hate filled, which I mark out for. ***
That’s the title of my wrestling column, it’s not too eye popping original, but it’s not completely devoid of originality either. I got my motivation to write this time consuming column because I love professional wrestling, and I want to make an honest living out of writing professionally. Being a forum member at internet message boards like DVDVR (Death Valley Driver Video Review) and Pro Wrestling Only also helps considerably in wanting to spend the hours it takes to watch matches, jog down some thoughts, and then spin them into words that will hopefully be clever enough to garner actual readers.
This will be a definite learning experience, I’m sure I’ll skin my knees more times than I wish too, but it is life, one excruciating Kawada kick to the face at a time.
Here’s some information for you to know about me. Just pretend to care.
Getting down to business, in my very first column, I’ll be covering some ECW barbed wire matches, hardcore matches in both TNA and the WWF, and a fabled Big Japan death match. I’ll also cover the legendary King of the Deathmatch tournament finals between Cactus Jack, and Terry Funk.
I’m a fan of brutal hardcore matches in professional wrestling; it’s always been a favorite style of mine. Unfortunately, like the rest of the wrestling world, things become outdated, newer things are invented, and if you don’t change with the times, you get passed by. Hardcore wrestling has been a huge victim to this new system of change. Being put through a table isn’t treated like it was back in the ‘80s, like when Randy Savage put Ricky Morton through a table with a piledriver. It was treated like death. If that same spot would occur today, it’d be a mid match near fall depending on the promotion. It takes fire, barbed wire, and a million thumbtacks to get a response out of a crowd these days in hardcore matches, just look at what the IWA:MS guys do to each other in their annual King of the Deathmatch tournament.
Without further delay, here are the matches:
8/20/06 - Ric Flair vs. Mick Foley - I Quit
This isn’t your typical Ric Flair I Quit match. This is your typical Mick Foley I Quit match, minus the 14 unprotected chair shots. Feuds in professional wrestling are usually 99% scripted, but there’s always that one percent that is realistic, and is far more real than what the normal fans know about. This is definitely one of those feuds. Their storied history started when Foley was employed by World Championship Wrestling. Foley became an icon for WCW in a short amount of time due to his willingness to take unusual levels of pain and punishment, like his series against Vader. Ric Flair, being the insecure jealous man that he truly is, attempted to bury Foley by always criticizing him whenever given the chance. Flair went so far as saying that Foley is nothing but a glorified stunt man, not a professional wrestler. Flair was just paranoid of possibly losing his spotlight, many of Flair former associates and friends like Bruiser Brody and Abdullah the Butcher had gotten themselves over using the hardcore approach. Hell, later in his career, his long time friend Terry Funk did the same routine.
The match was violent, and was a true eye opening experience. Never in my life have I seen Ric Flair, one of the most cherished and fabled wrestlers of all-time take bumps on thumbtacks and get hit with barbed wire boards. It was a sight I’ll never forget until my mind slowly gets erased from dementia. It seemed like a true fight from the very beginning with Foley just unleashing with right hands and his running knee smash to the corner; then he did it with a trash can. The match gets hardcore awfully quick, after using the mandible claw on Flair, less than two minutes in the match; he decides to wrap some barbed wire around Mr. Socko. I cannot tell you how awesome that is, or how awesome it would have been for Foley to use the mandible claw with barbed wire on his hand, sadly, he didn’t get to do it. In one of the coolest Flair spots ever, he manages to get the sock off of Foley’s hand, and puts on his own, delivering his trademark chops with a barbed wire sock on his hand. Yes, it’s as cool as it sounds. Foley is busted open hardway, I believe, on the chest from the chops with barbed wire; this further cements its coolness in my eyes. Foley doing what Foley does best, he gets whipped into the ring steps knees first. That was a gruesome bump in my opinion, I have horribly injured knees, and that’d have ended the match for me because I wouldn’t be capable of standing up for probably a week. The next scene of hardcore action shows Foley throwing a barbed wire board at Flair’s head. It makes an audible thud, and Flair comes up gushing blood out of his head, the crowd erupts in “oohs” and I cringe watching the near senior citizen get pummeled with a barbed wire board. Foley escalates the violence even further elbow dropping the barbed wire boarding unto a prone Ric Flair, which got a legit good God out of me a la JR. In one of the most surreal bumps in recent history, Flair gets slammed on thumbtacks. He comes up screaming in pain and has quite a few tacks stuck in his body. That is one of those images that’ll stay in my memory bank for a long time, just an unbelievable sight to see. After taking all of the abuse a thirty year ring veteran should possibly be able to withstand, Flair snaps and turns into crazy Flair. I’ve always had a special place in my heart for crazy Flair, although it was embarrassing for the man, crazy Flair never fails to entertain the masses.
Flair gains possession of the barbed wire baseball bat Foley had just rubbed on Flair’s forehead, and he starts swinging for the fences with the dangerous weapon capable of maiming an individual. Foley takes a concussion giving bump from the apron to the floor, and refs and trainers say he is unable to continue. Crazy Flair has different intentions and continues the barrage of punishment on the now defenseless Mick Foley. Flair has truly lost his mind, he willingly rolls through the tacks himself and then threatens to remove Foley’s eye from his head, and that he’ll kill him and Melina (who had ran down to ring side recently) as well. You see what I mean, crazy old man Flair is top notch. Melina attempts to throw in the towel for Flair, but Flair will not tolerate some woman quitting for a man, which is superb. Foley himself quits after being beaten bloody and Flair threatening to hit Melina with the barbed wire baseball bat.
For a man nearing sixty, Flair sure did take a ton of abuse in 2006. He had already competed in two ladder matches prior to this spectacle of violence. I was watching this in complete disbelief. I still can’t fathom Ric Flair, the legend, the icon, the God damn Nature Boy getting thrown on thumbtacks. It’s nothing new to see Mick Foley get his brains scrambled, and this would have been a snoozer if it was anyone else but Flair as his opponent. Like I wrote prior to this match, hardcore matches have to continuously upgrade and have bigger and more dangerous spots and bumps to stay ahead of the curb. This didn’t do that, it was an awfully pedestrian hardcore match for 2006 standards, but the involvement of Ric Flair took the match from being a DUD to getting a positive scoring. This is one of my favorite matches of 2006; the sheer magnitude of abuse a man in Flair’s condition and age takes is legendary. This match isn’t for everyone, I’ve read reviews on message boards that shit all over this match, those are generally the people who like nothing in wrestling and actually hate life. If you dislike this match, you hate life. It’s that simple. ****¼
Abyss vs. Sabu - Hardcore Match
I find it odd that the WWF hasn’t signed Abyss to a contract yet. He’s what they’re looking for, a huge hoss of a man, has plenty of tattoos, and spiny slammy moves. There’s only room for one Kane in a promotion though. Plus, all he’d do is job to Undertaker, Triple H, and John Cena before being neglected to the mid card and eventually being released when he is too far past his prime to make a legit comeback.
I used to be a fan of Sabu’s, back when his spots were still top notch, and his grocery bag full of injuries hadn’t put his number on speed dial. Those days are long, long gone. To give the man credit, he can still take some unusual punishment, but the fear of watching a man end his career tragically in the ring is always present. I believe Tenay makes a grossly inaccurate call when he says Abyss only has a 125 pound weight advantage. Abyss is billed at 350 pounds, so that’d make Sabu 225. There’s absolutely no way. Sabu used to be quite muscular back in the day, much like Shawn Michaels, but has seemingly lost internet in physical exercise with weights.
Sabu does impress me, and early on at that. His springboard tornado DDT was fantastic. Sabu further escalates the match by taking a belly to belly suplex from the ring to the floor going through two set tables in the process. That looks like it was very painful for Sabu, unless he’s suddenly become a very convincing actor. I don’t know who to attribute blame to, but the chair assisted leg drop through the table looked great at first, but upon a replay you can clearly see that Sabu’s back made the table breaking impact, not Abyss’ cranium.
Here’s when TNA really shows their ass. It’s a hardcore match, which means there are no disqualifications. In the botched match ending spot Sabu just performed Abyss gets his foot on the ropes when Sabu makes the cover. The ref quit’s the count when he discovered this. Give me a break. It doesn’t matter though, because Abyss is back up and ready to fight hitting Sabu with the Shock Treatment. I bet Sabu loves that move, considering how awfully his back is.
Here’s a thing I’ve always wondered, especially with Triple H and Abyss. Why would a sledgehammer or a bag full of thumbtacks be conveniently under the ring ready for the wrestlers to use at their discretion? Another little thing that just takes more realism out of a “sport” that is fake. Let alone the fact the thousands of thumbtacks that some ring crew workers are going to have to sweep up later on, I hope they’re getting hazard pay.
Sabu goes for another springboard move, but takes a Black Hole Slam into the massive pile of recently dumped out thumbtacks. I’d hate taking a bump like that, not because of the pain involved, it wouldn’t hurt all that bad, but it’s the fact that whatever shirt you wear will get blood all over the inside of it. That move into the tacks stood up and screamed predictability, but it was a nice spot nonetheless.
It was a decent hardcore match, nothing Earth shattering. I’ve always felt that it’s far more interesting when both men take punishment and big bumps. The rope break killed any and all momentum the match had, which severely hindered its end result. As a general rule of thumb, don’t do things like that in a hardcore match, it makes the ref and bookers look stupid.
Abyss vs. AJ Styles - Tables Match
Not much can be said about this match, it was too short to really gain any momentum. Styles had to quickly get in his trademark offense and flashy highspots, including a nice shoulder step hurricanrana. Styles is certainly athletic, him and Shelton Benjamin would make a nice tag team, which I think is a great idea. They’ll be my new tag team champions in my TEW league.
Styles hit’s a running ropes free senton to the floor, and then a springboard 450. Both were incredible spots, but they didn’t have a reason to be hit other than to pop the crowd because the match is so short they cannot build on the spots at all.
Abyss loses the match after bumping on his head from a sunset flip powerbomb. A table match that only lasts four minutes is bad booking; Styles and Abyss are two huge home grown talents that should be carrying the promotion, a la Shawn Michaels and the Undertaker. TNA as per unwritten law, does the complete opposite and not only gives away a pay-per-view caliber gimmick match on free television, but they kill it before it even has a chance to succeed due to the horrendously short time allowed.
Abyss vs. Jeff Hardy - Falls Count Anywhere
Hardy is another good opponent for Abyss. Abyss shares some similarities with the Undertaker, although Abyss isn’t as talented as the dead man, he does work really well with smaller wrestlers who’ll break their necks bumping for him to make him look monstrous. Abyss definitely has the no selling aspect down pat as well, which Tenay even acknowledges.
They quickly brawl out of the arena and into an apparent parking garage. Hardy quickly finds his calling and hits a huge Swanton bomb off crossing steel pipes unto Abyss who breaks two tables. That was an incredible bump, Hardy can really deliver a career ending bump without ending his career. Sabu is probably envious of the man.
Abyss showing his no selling abilities regains control in the match about :35 seconds after the elevated Swanton bomb. TNA has always had a major problem with this kind of ridiculousness. What is the point of Jeff Hardy performing a potential life ending spot if Abyss isn’t going to sell the effects of the maneuver? TNA booking has done the same thing to AJ Styles countless times since his debut in TNA in 2002. The WWF gets a ton of negative backlash for their profoundly offensive storylines and angles, but at least their superstars will sell moves like with respect and treat it as death. Hardy performed an elevated Swanton bomb to the WWF World Champion Randy Orton from atop a scaffold and Orton sold it like death. I’m sure even the Undertaker would. It’s moments like this that completely kill the flow of a hardcore match, the wrestlers are supposed to crawling around like they’re dying, selling for extended periods of time. If TNA is unable to use the time requirements that it takes to hold a successful hardcore match, they shouldn’t advertise them anymore.
Hardy seems frustrated and his in ring performance is now suffering, an ultra weak chair assisted dropkick would fail to impress even the newest fan. Hardy then takes a huge highspot from Abyss. Hardy had a chair draped over his upper torso and head, and Abyss delivers a top rope Superfly splash. Abyss is easily 330 pounds, or more, and Hardy is probably tipping the scales at around 200 pounds, that should have been a match ender, or at least a delayed cover for a huge false finish. But TNA, as usual, screws it up. Hardy then hilarious channels Abyss and decides not to sell the match ending top rope splash by delivering two thunderous unprotected chair shots, which ridiculously only gets a near fall. This match has turned from bad to horrible quickly.
In another hilarious moment, Hardy wastes about a minute and a half looking under the six sided ring for a weapon of his liking. He eventually pulls out a ladder and does his plain Jane leap frog leg drop. Come on Jeff, change up your spots a little in gimmick matches, the leap frog was cool back in 2000. Abyss again decides to neglect the pain he should be feeling and hit’s the Shock Treatment. The match continues to worsen as the ref fucks up the count, it should have been a three count, Abyss didn’t kick out in time after running head first into a turnbuckle wedged steel chair. That is completely devoid of logic. Abyss is pretty tall, 6’7’’ or so, he has to duck down to run head first into the chair. Ugh.
Hardy takes another match ending spot, which doesn’t end the match, a top rope powerbomb through a table. Even though the top rope powerbomb has been done since like 1994, it’s still considered a match ending spot in some circles. I believe it to be one, so of course I’ll frown upon someone kicking out of it. The match continues to get even worse as Hardy hit’s the twist of fate on the ladder, and Abyss clearly makes zero contact with the ladder. If Abyss isn’t willing to take a face first bump that is the designated finishing bump, don’t pencil it in. Also, they need to train their camera men how to get the right angles just in case the talent isn’t willing to take the pre-scripted bumps. They did this in the Sabu/Abyss match as well, with the top rope chair assisted leg drop through the table. To top it all off, it received no kind of reaction whatsoever from the crowd.
This match sucked. Abyss has shown me that should really go back and get retrained in professional wrestling, and should have a stern talking to by an established big man, like the Undertaker. Hardy was certainly uncharacteristic; he seemed to turn unprofessional in the match. Avoid this match if you’re expecting something worth watching.
10/23/05 - Sabu vs. Jeff Hardy vs. Rhino vs. Abyss - Monsters Ball
Mike Tenay makes a rather exaggerated emphasis on Jeff Hardy’s nickname, which IS the “Charismatic Enigma”. That’s one of the petty things that drive me insane about the NWA:TNA. About 99% of the top tiered, and even mid card wrestlers have some kind of nickname. The WWF has ventured into the nickname overkill territory almost as often as TNA, but not quite. Giving everyone a nickname makes having a nickname less important, it loses its luster.
I have rather high expectations for this match, Hardy and Sabu are absolute bump freaks, and don’t mind jumping off elevated platforms to deliver their death defying trademark moves. The Monsters Ball match is a Vince Russo creation, I’m pretty sure on that one. The competitors in the match are locked in solitary confinement for an extended period of time before being released so they can wrestle. This short amount of time in solitary confinement apparently unleashes the inner beast within the human psyche. It’s original, but just because something is original doesn’t mean it’ll be a great idea.
Sabu per his usual shtick, wastes no time busting out highspots. Hardy isn’t far behind him, and even utilizes Sabu’s springboard offense. Rhino does what every other wrestler does; he stands in position to take a highspot from Sabu. I understand that they have to do it, but doing something different would be a better approach, like for instance, catching your opponent by “surprise” with a dive or plancha to the floor. Just little things like this bother me, the things that especially take what little realism wrestling has left away.
Abyss has some nice offense outside of the typical big man punches and kicks. His shock treatment move is nice; it’s a sit-down torture rack. Guys like Hardy and Sabu are the ideal guys to hit this kind of move on, they’ll bump for it. Hardy took a nice unprotected face bump, Sabu using his normal flurry of chair assisted offense. That could have easily injured Hardy legitimately, but I think Hardy is pretty much indestructible, considering all of the hellacious matches he’s had in his relatively short career, and has had little to no time off recuperating injuries. Like his brother Matt, and the TLC matches they had against the likes of Edge and Christian. All three, minus Jeff, have suffered low to serious injuries including a broken neck. Jeff must be made out of the stuff in stretch Armstrong. Hardy has consistently proven that theory, and does so in this match, hitting a Swanton Bomb from the top of the TNA stage to the floor unto Abyss who had conveniently set up two tables. Hardy barely made contact with Abyss, his legs, mostly hamstrings, hit the concrete floor. If that was Edge, he’d have a torn hamstring. I think the difference between guys like Edge and Jeff Hardy is steroids.
Rhino does a spot that is incredible stupid. He gets whipped into a corner that has a chair wedged into it and decides to hit his finishing maneuver the Gore on it. Spots like that make the wrestler look incredibly moronic. Why would he lower his shoulder and spear a chair?
I understand that Abyss is a monster, virtually incapable of feeling pain, being defeated and the sort, but he was on his feet and in the ring before Hardy had even stood up yet. It’s possible that Hardy was somewhat legitimately injured in the huge bump, but the chances aren’t very high for that possibility. Khali, one of the most imposing monsters since I can’t remember when even sells better than that. I’ve noticed that about Abyss, his selling is worse than the Undertaker’s, which is saying A LOT.
Sabu once again shows why his body is broken down to the point that it is, much to the viewer’s approval. He springboards at Abyss, who of course catches him, and then proceeds to press slam him and throw him over the top rope unto an awaiting table. Sounds like a typical, and generic hardcore match bump, but that kind of assumption would be wrong. Sabu doesn’t land like you’re supposed to on a table, you know, landing in the center of the table width wise. Sabu instead lands length wise on the table, i.e his head was at one end of the table, while his feet were at the other end. I rewound it to verify what I had just watched, and yes, it was an awesome welcome into this match. Since Abyss just kicked Sabu out of the match, Rhino being the opportunist that he is, Gores Abyss through a table, and then hits his Rhino driver (second rope piledriver) on Hardy for the win.
I actually liked this match, its pacing wasn’t as plodding as some hardcore matches get, and it wasn’t a no selling sprint like some hardcore matches either. Sabu and Hardy were the bump masters in this match; Hardy has clearly surpassed Sabu in that particular area a long time ago, roughly 5 years. The Swanton bomb from the top of the TNA stage was incredible; there were no crash pads like in the WWF. Hardy hit Abyss and the concrete floor. Sabu took some nice bumps, especially the press slam through the table from the ring to the floor. Abyss was his normal no selling self, but he does bring some awesome big man offense to the table, the Shock Treatment is a really cool move. Rhino looked pretty much incompetent throughout the majority of the match, someone had to play the village idiot, might as well be the “War Machine”.
8/9/97 - Terry Funk vs. Sabu - Barbed Wire
This is a legendary barbed wire match. Funk and Sabu are no strangers to each other; they’ve been feuding in ECW since its inception, and have torn up the American Indy scene as well.
They waste no time going at each others throats. Funk opens up with some neck targeted offense and Sabu bumps off a pulling piledriver nicely. Sabu is the first one introduced into the barbed wire, and he does so side first, the most tender area on the torso. Sabu after this point is routinely re-introduced to the barbed wire, Funk may actually believe that Sabu doesn’t remember what the barbed wire is like. Sabu gets crotched on the barbed wire, which is a painful spot to any man watching. The wire gets a hold of Sabu’s colorful plastic looking pants and I’m sure it doesn’t feel too good rubbing on his inner thighs.
The biggest spot of the match comes when Sabu misses a springboard poetry in motion and gets his bicep ripped open on the barbed wire. It must be a blood capsule. His arm has just been mutilated on real barbed wire. Sabu thinking quickly tells his manager Alfonso something and he scurries off to the backstage area. What occurs next is one of the coolest moments in professional wrestling. Alfonso returns with athletic tape and Sabu tapes up his badly mangled bicep. That is not only intelligent, considering he could have injured one of the major arteries in the body which is located in the arm. Besides the fact of intelligent thinking, something rarely seen in professional wrestling, it was just a fantastic visual and overall spectacular dedication to the man’s craft.
The match continues as planned, and Sabu is still taking an absurd amount of punishment, even with a torn up arm. He takes a rude awakening on an up right steel chair. Spots like that make me cringe, having severely injured my neck in high school. Funk brings a whole new level of awesomeness into a barbed wire match; he gets a strand of barbed wire and begins whipping Sabu with it. Absolutely incredible.
Funk eventually is entangled in barbed wire, and lying in a precarious position on a table, Sabu does what Sabu does best; he puts Funk through the table with a leg drop from the ring. Funk is just ungodly. He’s an ancient wrestler; he was a huge territorial and Japanese star in the 1970’s. I believe he was near sixty years of age around this time, probably closer to fifty though. Regardless, it’s just awe inspiring that he can take this kind of punishment and continually lace up his boots the next day.
The match gets even more dangerous as Sabu wraps barbed wire around his legs and leg drops Funk through a second table. Both men are literally “joined at the hip” at this juncture in the match. It appears that Funk has barbed wire wrapped rather tightly around his throat and upper torso. Sabu covers Funk, and Funk manages one kick out, but is unable to escape the second pinning combination. It seems like that was a blown finish, but Funk is unable to physically lift his shoulders off the mat, he is being choked out by barbed wire.
The ending portion of the match was just ridiculous. Both men could have been severely injured; Funk could have died from being wrapped so tightly with the barbed wire. They took some huge risks, and Sabu did his normal routine of putting people through tables, but add a new and welcome mixture of wrapping his lower extremities with barbed wire. This is one of the biggest spectacle matches the United States has ever produced. I believe it ranks only behind the Hell in a Cell between Mankind and the Undertaker as a spectacle match. I haven’t seen very much of the newer “garbage” wrestling matches, which the way they’re pimped I’m sure, would blow this out of the water. Either way, this match brings the awesomeness that a barbed wire match should bring. *****
Sandman vs. Cactus Jack - Barbed Wire
I have very high expectations for this match. Jack at the time was one of the biggest body destroying freaks of all-time, he was willing to get blown up with explosions from C-4. Sandman is no slouch either; he’s a 260 pound bump freak.
I like how Joey Styles put emphasis on Jack’s previous experiences in barbed wire matches in the IWA in Japan. It’s always a nice touch when an announcer does that. These two waste no time starting the match kicking the crap out of each other. However, they start the match on the outside of the ring, a trend they’ll unfortunately continue throughout the match. It seems as though Sandman gets concussed early on with a hard trash can smash.
Jack takes the first big bump into the barbed wire taking a front suplex into the barbed wire, which happens to break the barbed wire free from the turnbuckle. Sandman has possession of his trust Singapore cane, which I don’t understand why he hasn’t been using it all match long. Sandman does his jumping over the top rope spot, which seems like it’s more stupid than helpful. Again, they’re brawling out on the floor, away from the barbed wire. I don’t get it.
Jack gets his arm torn to shreds when it gets put on the barbed wire and yanked back and forth like dental floss. That was a nice visual of grotesque butchering. Sandman decides to pay attention to maiming Jack’s face by grinding barbed wire into it; I’ve always liked that spot in barbed wire matches, especially during major feuds. You just don’t want to hurt your opponent; you want to maim them permanently.
Sandman arrogantly lights up a cigarette during the match, which is legendary, but ultimately his arrogance costs him the match when Jack hits him with the double arm DDT.
How disappointing. They spent more time brawling on the outside then they did using the barbed wire. I was expecting Jack to be taking a beating like Terry Funk did in his barbed wire match against Sabu. Nothing of the sort occurred; Sandman didn’t even remotely do any kind of serious bumps, nothing like he is capable of doing.
Raven vs. Sandman - Barbed Wire
I’m wondering if Sandman will redeem himself from the previous barbed wire match, or will they brawl on the outside of the ring for an extended period of time? I’m thinking I’ll be disappointed once again…
Nothing incredible happened at all during this match. Sandman goes through three tables in the match, one of which he makes even worse by doing a senton through the table. Both men show well deprived levels of intelligence, as Sandman routinely does incredibly ignorant spots. Raven even removes his t-shirt half way through the match, and ends up getting a front suplex on the barbed wire. That just defies logic. Ugh.
What a disappointing cluster fuck of a match. Avoid.
Cactus Jack vs. Terry Funk - IWA
This is the finals of the IWA King of the Deathmatch Tournament. Both men are already heavily bandaged from their previous bouts in the day, a nice touch if you ask me.
The ropes are covered in barbed wire, and there are barbed wire boards in the ring. Funk looks like he's fought off a horde of zombies, but that doesn't stop his angry old man grunts of violence.
These two crazy men tear into each other like two wolves fighting over a kill. They are both already injured coming into this match, I believe Jack had 2nd and 3rd degree burns on one of his arms, and Funk is just old, so he probably has arthritis.
Jack no sells being pushed into the barbed wire ropes; I’m sure he’ll notice the pain later on in the bout. Funk is taking right hands after right hands but refuses to fall down; eventually he succumbs to the barrage of bloody firsts and falls on the exploding barbed wire board. The smoke that bellows out from underneath the weathered veteran is shocking to see. Transition of control in hardcore matches occur quite frequently, this match is no different, and Jack definitely feels the pain this time when he is reunited with the barbed wire.
It’s now Jack’s turn to get thrown on an exploding piece of barbed wire boarding. The crowd oohs in definite approval, and Funk is in steady control. Jack takes two pulling piledrivers, one of which is through a barbed wire board; this one had already been exploded. I believe that spot would have actually hurt Funk more so than Jack. Funk throws Jack at a considerable speed making his head bounce violently off the broken barbed wire board. That looks like it’d be quite painful. Jack is bleeding excessively at the moment.
Funk takes the biggest explosion of the match when he gets whipped into the corner face first unto the exploding barbed wire board. That was fantastic, Jack got in that desperate offense only after some sword welding wrestler accosted Funk from behind.
After the lackluster ring explosions, Jack allows Funk to back suplex him on an exploding barbed wire board, that looked to legitimately injure the Funker. Cactus Jack uses this time to uncover a hidden ladder; this will most certainly be worth while. Jack drops an elbow from almost the top of the ladder, and climbs again but Funk tips the ladder over causing Jack to fall on the barbed wire ropes. That ravaged his arm pretty well there.
The finishing sequence is weird as all hell. Jack pins Funk, after Jack had just got knocked off the ladder. Funk kicked out right after the three count, so it appears that the finish was blown. Funk seems very legitimately injured at this point; his hands are all contorted like he’s having a stroke or something. He did take three explosions in the match, including the devastating one face first.
The match isn't as gruesome as I originally recall. Jack takes some moderately insane bumps into the barbed wire, especially falling off the ladder into the wire. The explosions were cool. The two hardcore legends were already so worn out, so torn up, that it was a miracle that they even pulled out this good of a death match.
6/20/99 - Ryuji Yamakawa vs. Tomoaki Honma
This match is universally heralded as the greatest Japanese death match in the 1990's. It was voted the third best Japanese Indy match in the 1990's.
There are four boards at each corner; some have barbed wire, while others have light tubes. Whichever poison is picked, it'll hurt. They brawl on the floor for a little bit, nothing too exciting happens. The ref has knee pads and shin guards on, which is impossibly cool.
The match starts off extremely slow for a death match, and I am actively bored out of my mind within a few minutes of their nothingness. Honma gets busted open hardway on an ungimmicked table; he really hit a juicer on that one.
Honma takes a tiger driver on a pile of chairs for a near fall. Yamakawa is in steady control, but that’ll change at any given moment.
I like how they continually teased the nail board spot, Yamakawa kept getting Honma closer and closer throughout the match. It was a nice touch, no huge bumps are given.
Yamakawa takes the first real big bump of the match getting hurricanranaed off the top rope through a barbed wire board set up on two chairs. That was a nice spot, I was expecting Yamakawa’s back to bleeding profusely, but it didn’t seem to leak any. Honma disappears for a few moments but remerges with a lightube that is on fire. Honma attempts to hit Yamakawa after he had jumped off a balcony but hilariously misses. Honma eventually breaks it over Yamakawa’s head. Yamakawa gets pile driven on the concrete floor. Honma goes up some stairs and emerges with a lightube which is on fire, and jumps off a balcony trying to hit Yamakawa, but misses, which is hilarious. Honma ends up breaking it over Yamakawa's head anyway.
Yamakawa takes one of the coolest yet worst looking bumps I have ever seen. Honma had set up two chairs on the floor with a lightube board in-between them. Honma proceeds to deliver a tombstone piledriver from the ring apron through the lightube board on the floor. Yes, a tombstone piledriver from the ring apron to the floor, through a lightube board. That bump saved the match from being a waste of time. The sad thing is that it didn’t end the match; they killed the bump with atrocious pacing.
The nail board gets teased again, and Honma eventually “falls” on them. He more or less gently lies down, kind of like how Hulk Hogan just sits down for his atomic leg drop these days. Yamakawa comes back to life and wins the match with two under hook face busters.
The ending really killed the momentum and flow of the match for me. The ring apron bump should have ended the match. I am definitely disappointed right now. One huge bump in the match, and that’s it. There’s no way this is the best death match, let alone third best match in the Japanese Indies in the 1990’s. Cactus Jack vs. Terry Funk is better than this match. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not horrible, just not as good as it’s praised to be.
I hope you’ve enjoyed the very first ever edition of Doesn’t Play Well With Others as much as I have enjoyed writing it. I’m hoping that my writing style will keep people interested, and that my opinions are respectable. I love discussions, and I hope issues and matches I analyze and review eventually lead to some kind of discussion.
email@example.com is where I can be reached. Anything you have to say, negative or positive, send it my way. I will try to address as many e-mails as I possibly can in my columns. I’m always looking for advice, ways to better my writing.
Stay tuned DPWWO fans; the next issue contains some cool new topics of discussion, like an expanded star rating system, cage matches both of good and bad quality, and some matches from 2005, 2006, and 2007. I’ll also throw in some thoughts about the DVDVR 1980’s WWF project. I’m even throwing in a little extra opinionated story on Shawn Michaels’ back “injury“ from 1998.
DVDVR - theintensifier
ProWrestlingOnly - smkelly13