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#1 Cross Face Chicken Wing

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Posted 02 November 2012 - 01:44 PM

The Greg Valentine vs. Ron Garvin submission match discussion over at the 1990 yearbook thread got me thinking about Greg Valentine. Actually, it got me thinking about how aware I am of Greg Valentine, but how little I know about him. I feel like I've seen a fair amount of Valentine matches, but none really stand out as either good or horrendous with the exception of the dog collar match at the first Starrcade. I also feel like Valentine's name gets brought up in discusions fairly often, but never in-depth. Valentine was in the WWF when I was growing up -- I even own his rubberized action figure -- but I don't even really have many nostalgic memories of Valentine moments. Wrestlers from Valentine's era often talk about him fairly positively, but never in an over-the-top gushing way. It sometimes feels like they say nice things about Valentine just because he's another old wrestler and was a decent guy so they should throw a few compliments his way. From what I can tell, most people think Valentine was decent to good, but I feel like he's one of those guys where I might be missing something. Is he really just a guy from the 70s and 80s that was decent but not good enough to be memorable? For a guy that was around so long and doesn't have a huge crowd of detractors, why does it feel like I should know more about Valentine and have a higher opinion of him? The answer is probably as simple as, "Well, he wasn't all that memorable." But I have a sense that that answer might be a little oversimplified, and would like to hear from people that know more about wrestling and Greg Valentine that I do.

#2 Loss

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Posted 02 November 2012 - 01:48 PM

The line on Greg has always been that his best stuff was in the late 70s, which we'll probably never see. I think he was solid in the 80s too, and the Valentine/Santana feud has gotten lots of praise as one of the best in-ring feuds of the decade.

#3 El-P

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Posted 02 November 2012 - 01:59 PM

Maybe it comes from the fact Eddie Carpentier used to put him over big time when I got into wrestling, but I always loved Valentine. The look, the robes, the stiffness, the deliberate style, the elbow drops, the face bump. My idea of what a classic wrestler would look like (along with guys like Flair, Anderson and such). His series with Santana in the 80's is tons of fun. He had some great matches with Backlund too. He's a guy I certainly wish I would see more, as I never get tired of him. Even his WCW stints when he was way past his prime in the 90's I find enjoyable. Big time Greg Valentine fan.

#4 Dylan Waco

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Posted 02 November 2012 - 10:15 PM

I think Valentine is one of the most underrated all around performers in the history of wrestling. I was going to work on him after The High Flyers and still plan to, but I've had to go back to Patera because I really want to push him for the WON HoF ballot. I'll get to him eventually unless someone beats me to it and I think people are going to be surprised to see how successful and talented a wrestler he was. I'd rate the Tito feud as one of the best feuds of the 80's, I love the Garvin matches, the Piper Dog Collar match, the available match v. Wahoo, and the Backlund matches. In fact the Backlund draw from 79 is one of the most underrated matches ever and one of the best broadways I've ever seen. He was a good tag worker too, with the Dream Team being solid and his team with Flair has always had a good rep as well. I actually think he was a consistently good worker through 89 where he not only had the series with Garvin, but also good tv matches v. both Bret and Owen (I actually LOVE the Owen match and think it's one of the more underrated tv matches of the year). I think Greg is hurt in the historical memory of wrestling fans for a lot of reasons. One is the fact that his dad was an iconic wrestler and he was never going to be able to completely live up to that image. Another is the fact that he was never THE guy, nor am I positive that you could point to any extended period where he was even THE top heel anywhere. There is also the fact that he had the workman's look and while he was extremely good in the ring he always came across as a rugged - almost dated looking - wrestler. But historically there are interesting things about Greg that people forget. IIRC it was him and Flair v. The Andersons that drew the first sell out in Greensboro in ages. The Wahoo and Piper feuds are both generally believed to have done very good business. He was brought in to work Backlund several times over a five or six year stretch, which suggests that he was seen as an opponent that could work and draw against Bob. The Tito feud is incredibly great in the ring and actually did well at the box office when given the chance (particularly for a feud that would have been considered "mid-card" in the eyes of many casual fans by that point). He is the only person ever to win the PWI Most Hated Award three times (and was a runner up in 1980), which is actually a good indicator of how over he was at the time. Even a cursory overview shows that Valentine was one of the biggest heels in wrestling from 75-85 and he had some worth to his promotions on the front and back end of that. I also personally believe he's no worse than one of the hundred best workers of all time and don't think it's out of the question to think about him as a top fifty guy. There's a lot more to say about thread and when I get around to looking at his career results I'll use this thread.

#5 ohtani's jacket

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Posted 02 November 2012 - 10:40 PM

Dylan pretty much covered everything. A lot of his Dream Team work is solid but it pretty marked the beginning of the end of him being one of the WWF's top workers.

#6 FLIK

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Posted 03 November 2012 - 10:13 AM

Even his WCW stints when he was way past his prime in the 90's I find enjoyable. Big time Greg Valentine fan.


Yeah, he was still good up until the late 90's atleast. He did a random tour for Battlarts in 98 and had a fun match vs Hisakatsu Oya

#7 Cross Face Chicken Wing

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Posted 03 November 2012 - 11:55 AM

I think Valentine is one of the most underrated all around performers in the history of wrestling. I was going to work on him after The High Flyers and still plan to, but I've had to go back to Patera because I really want to push him for the WON HoF ballot. I'll get to him eventually unless someone beats me to it and I think people are going to be surprised to see how successful and talented a wrestler he was. I'd rate the Tito feud as one of the best feuds of the 80's, I love the Garvin matches, the Piper Dog Collar match, the available match v. Wahoo, and the Backlund matches. In fact the Backlund draw from 79 is one of the most underrated matches ever and one of the best broadways I've ever seen. He was a good tag worker too, with the Dream Team being solid and his team with Flair has always had a good rep as well. I actually think he was a consistently good worker through 89 where he not only had the series with Garvin, but also good tv matches v. both Bret and Owen (I actually LOVE the Owen match and think it's one of the more underrated tv matches of the year).

I think Greg is hurt in the historical memory of wrestling fans for a lot of reasons. One is the fact that his dad was an iconic wrestler and he was never going to be able to completely live up to that image. Another is the fact that he was never THE guy, nor am I positive that you could point to any extended period where he was even THE top heel anywhere. There is also the fact that he had the workman's look and while he was extremely good in the ring he always came across as a rugged - almost dated looking - wrestler.

But historically there are interesting things about Greg that people forget. IIRC it was him and Flair v. The Andersons that drew the first sell out in Greensboro in ages. The Wahoo and Piper feuds are both generally believed to have done very good business. He was brought in to work Backlund several times over a five or six year stretch, which suggests that he was seen as an opponent that could work and draw against Bob. The Tito feud is incredibly great in the ring and actually did well at the box office when given the chance (particularly for a feud that would have been considered "mid-card" in the eyes of many casual fans by that point). He is the only person ever to win the PWI Most Hated Award three times (and was a runner up in 1980), which is actually a good indicator of how over he was at the time.

Even a cursory overview shows that Valentine was one of the biggest heels in wrestling from 75-85 and he had some worth to his promotions on the front and back end of that. I also personally believe he's no worse than one of the hundred best workers of all time and don't think it's out of the question to think about him as a top fifty guy. There's a lot more to say about thread and when I get around to looking at his career results I'll use this thread.



I was hoping Dylan would take the bait and write a Valentine dissertation or give him the Patera treatment. I got the dissertation and it sounds like the Patera treatment is forthcoming.
Looking forward to it.

#8 JNLister

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Posted 03 November 2012 - 11:56 AM

This thread won't really get going for the first 15 posts.

#9 Dylan Waco

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Posted 03 November 2012 - 05:59 PM

This thread won't really get going for the first 15 posts.


Excellent reference :)

#10 KrisZ

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Posted 03 November 2012 - 06:24 PM

Biggest mistake that Greg made in his career was not going to Crockett in 1988 when he had the chance. He was being recruited to replace Luger in the Horsemen and decided against it which forced them to put Windham in his spot.

#11 MikeCampbell

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Posted 04 November 2012 - 05:34 PM

The more Greg/Tito matches I see, the more I love the feud. The October '84 MSG show was dullsville, until Tito and Greg had about a five minute match with Greg juicing. I'm getting a couple of '81 MSGs with Backlund/Valentine, including the one where Greg gets announced as new champ.

#12 cm funk

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Posted 05 November 2012 - 12:22 AM

Valentine is one of my favorite guys to watch and I'd point to him as one of the best examples of a guy who made his matches believable through simple but effective work. He was definitely hurt by staying in the WWF so long when most guys were cycled in and out. He peaked early with the IC title feud with Santana and The Dream Team. Can't blame him when the Hogan money train was so good, and the office must have loved him as a hand, but he would have gotten a huge push in the NWA if he jumped in 87-88 It's funny, because I hated him as a kid watching WWF (partly because he was a good heel I suppose, but I liked lots of the heels). Discovering his earlier 80's stuff, and his NWA run specifically, later totally changed my opinion of him, and he was one of those guys I was just compelled to watch more of. Dick Slater is another one. Does any footage exist of his mid-70's New Japan tours?

#13 Dylan Waco

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Posted 05 November 2012 - 12:31 AM

If he had jumped to the NWA post-Dream Team it's very possible that he would have had another four-to-five years as a relevant player. It would have cheated us out of the Garvin feud, but lord knows there were plenty of guys he could have had great matches with in Crockett at the time. Hard to really pinpoint who would have been the best opponent for him there at the time and it's possible he would have been lost in the pack anyhow, but I think his chances to remain near the top of the wrestling heap would have been greater if he had gone down south.

#14 cm funk

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Posted 05 November 2012 - 01:25 AM

Well, Garvin was in the NWA at that time, they could have had a feud there. Valentine against young babyface Luger would have been fun I think. Valentine-Dusty would have been great. He'd have been great against the Steiners with the right partner, maybe Arn Anderson? I'd have loved a Valentine-Kevin Sullivan match, even though they'd have both been heels Did Valentine ever have any matches against Flair before or after their team?

#15 Loss

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Posted 05 November 2012 - 06:52 AM

There is a 25-minute Flair/Valentine handheld from 1980 mixed in with the Mid Atlantic garbage tapes. I've always meant to watch it. If Valentine goes to JCP in 1988, I see him feuding with Pillman in 1989, and probably having some TV matches with Zenk. I could actually see a feud between him and Rick Steiner being interesting.

#16 KrisZ

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Posted 05 November 2012 - 09:24 AM

Plus the possible Flair/Valentine tag team revival matches would've been great as well.

#17 jdw

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Posted 05 November 2012 - 06:49 PM

Does any footage exist of his mid-70's New Japan tours?


I think the only thing that exists is the 12/04/79 Fujinami vs. Valentine match.

A number of other matches were identified by Dan G as being on Raijin's wonderful list, Raijin went off the grid before Dan was able to get everything.

#18 jdw

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Posted 05 November 2012 - 07:02 PM

Adding to some of what Dylan went through... The series with Backlund produced good matches in three different feuds: 1979, 1981 and 1984. It's certainly a matter of taste, and of one doesn't like Backlund's style of work you're not likely to enjoy them. But if you do: * the 02/19/79 draw is great * the 11/23/81 match after the title was held was good * the 04/23/84 MSG match was very good I've seen the 1981 match where the title got held up... doesn't stick with me. I also have watched the full version of the 1982 Philly blow off in the cage (rather than the chopped version the WWF/WWE usually releases)... I don't recall it either... I'm guessing Hoback and I were talking about something that distracted us during it. The 1979 return match in MSG off the draw *wasn't* good, and probably does a good job of capturing what a lot of us would see in the WWF in the second half of the 80s with Greg: he's just not terribly interested in doing much. It's a pretty stark contrast to the great draw. Which is probably what one would get from Greg if going through his career and watching Everything that's available. The high end would be very good. He'd have a fair amount of solid stuff. But there would also be times where he wasn't into it. I don't think he was every as consistent in sucking as Muraco was. But I do also recall seeing him live a number of times where it was just killing time. We clearly don't have the best of his stuff, which was probably his two Mid Atlantic runs around the 1979 trip to the WWF. Obviously the holy grail for Greg would be to get several singles matches with Steamboat. I think Greg's not an unreasonable candidate. Perhaps not quite in, but also not an embarrassing one to be on the ballot and talked about. John

#19 Dylan Waco

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Posted 05 November 2012 - 08:35 PM

I don't really have a fully formed opinion on Valentine as an HoF candidate. As a worker my opinion of him is probably higher than John's. Yeah there are probably a lot of instances of Greg going through the motions, or just doing enough to get by, but he's never struck me as a particularly lazy worker and the best available matches of his would compare very well to other great workers from the era. The fact that we have very little of his 70's work relative to his 80's work is unfortunate, but I think what we have from the 70's shows a guy who was quite good. As a star of note, I think he's harder to evaluate than someone like Patera. Patera started out a star and went to prison a star. You can point to periods where he seemed to be slipping, but every time he relocated and moved on to another quality run. The guys he feuded with and places he drew on top are pretty much a who's who and a where's where of wrestling during that period. I know Valentine went other places, but he was primarily a MACW/WWF guy. When I looked over his MACW results I was really surprised by how often he was in a top spot there, but even then I don't know how often during that period he was even a top three heel there. In a way Valentine seems like a guy who was always the absolutely highest of the second tier guys, without ever really being an upper tier guy. That may just be perception and I could be proven wrong on that when I go back and look at results. I will say that when I look at Greg as a candidate next to Jericho as a candidate I think they have a lot of surface level similarities, but in pretty much all of the particulars I think Valentine is better candidate. I'm not sure that's really an argument for Greg, but he deserves to be looked at and I think he's probably the sort of guy you could make a perfectly reasonable case for even if he's obviously not a slam dunk

#20 jdw

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Posted 06 November 2012 - 04:21 PM

I think he was a quite good worker when he wanted to be.

When saying that, I don't think he was as lazy as Muraco, who probably was even more talented and charismatic than Greg... but just a stunningly lazy fuck in way too many (as in the Majority) of his matches.

But I also think the 1979 rematch with Backlund is an example of Greg not being engaged, especially if watched with the prior draw in mind. I happened to watch the rematch years before the draw came out, and was rather stunned by how mediocre it was. In the context of watching a lot of Backlund matches, seeing how he worked when matches were good, and how things went when they weren't, you did get the feel that it was on Greg. Similar to a couple of Backlund-Patterson matches that I saw before a "good one" finally washed up: Pat wasn't working very hard, and attempts by Backlund to do stuff that worked against others tended to run into a brick wall of Pat wanting to lay around. It's been a while since I've watched the Bob-Greg rematch, so it's not pefectly in my mind and I also don't have a write up of it to refresh myself with. In my mind, it was less shitty than the mediocre iterations of Bob-Pat matches, and instead was "wildly disappointing" because I expected more out of the two. In turn, the draw hit those expectations... and then ran a lap or two around them. :)

There were Greg matches in the 80s after the tag title run that were like that. I wonder if he got that his major push was over, he wasn't doing anything that interested him but the money was okay, so he was just getting by in his matches. The problem for *me* as someone trying to get my head around Greg is *that* is the Greg that I cut my teeth on. That image of 1986-91 Greg is the one in my head because he's the one I saw so many matches of on places like PrimeTime and some house show matches. In turn, I could contrast him with the JCP guys... and he really wasn't at their level.

That's a *bias* on my part, and also a part of his career that is over influential in my brain when forming an opinion on him.

Two things soften that:

* I generally appreciate 80s WWF, and some 80s WWF workers, more now when sifting through it than back in the 80s

Tito is an example... okay, a bad one since I didn't hate him in the 80s, just didn't pay much attention to his solid work. Better example is Hogan: I hated his stuff in the 80s, but now find a fair amount of that perfectly watchable.

So watching more Greg may play into the fact that I'm more open to WWF 80s now than in the 80s. :)

* I have seen some 80s Greg that I like a good deal

Those Backlund matches. It's always a big positive when a worker has matches that are good not only in the context of a single 6-12 month feud, but that he focused enough to do it again 2+ years later... and then focused again to do it again 2+ years after that. 02/79, 11/81, 04/84... that to me is a good sign. Sure, they're comfortable with each other. But the last is five years after the first, a lot has changed since then, and the two put on a damn fine match at the dawn of Hulkamania that the MSG crowd like. That's a positive, not just for Bob but also very much for Greg.

The Tito series is real good.

The Tito & Steamer vs Greg & Beefcake is *damn* good, and it's largely Greg for the heels not only as a worker but also as the ring general guiding things for Beefcake.

I'm less high on the more noted of the Garvin matches than just about everyone else, but I'm also not much of the "He punched him in the MOTHERFUCKING nose!" or "This was a fucking WAR!" type of fan, and instead thought that is was a gigantic mess stupid work:

http://www.otheraren.......=3935

So I'm sure that with more watching of Greg in the WWF, I'll like stumble across something like the Toronto Tag the surprises me for how good it is. I'll also likely come across some stuff where Greg strikes me as going through the motions in matches.

John




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