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JvK reviews pimped matches from late 90s-10s


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#1 JerryvonKramer

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Posted 28 August 2015 - 10:04 PM

It's been a long time since I watched late 90s stuff; to be exact: I haven't watched it since the late 90s. In this thread, I'm going to review pimped matches from that era, (but not All Japan). I will probably range into 00s and 10s too. This is going to be my catch-all thread for guys I'm not deep diving on for GWE but who I need a refresher on. Expect to see the Eddies and the Benoits, the Austins and the Reys, etc. I can no longer trust my late teenage self. And I certainly can't trust my early 20s self who thought Kurt Angle was the best worker since Flair. Move over Jack Brisco; say goodbye for a while Dory; JvK is heading into the attitude era and beyond...

Bret Hart vs. Stone Cold Steve Austin (11/17/96)

Weird, Vince and JR together on commentary. The network has blurred out the middle fingers. Ha ha. Austin looks very lean here. MSG hasn't changed too much. Hart works the arm to start, mainly using a hammerlock. Pretty 70s style so far. Austin starts to focus on the neck, using the bottom rope. Still pretty 70s style. Very slow and methodical.

Snapmare. Reverse chinlock. Knee drops on the neck area. I should pause here to mention that this chinlock isn't very good. Austin is just laying there, Bret isn't doing much to sell it. Slugfest breaks out. Austin comes out on top. Inverted atomic drop, clothesline from Bret. Side Russian leg sweep. Cover gets two. Didn't hook the leg. Austin cuts him off. Vince busts out his first "unbelievable". For some reason I've found JR very annoying so far in this match, can't put my finger on why.

Austin tries a suplerplex, doesn't get it. Bret with elbow from the top. Goes for a backbreaker or a sidewalk slam, and Austin goes to the eyes. Dumps him. Clubbing blows by Austin. Posts him. This MSG crowd has been really muted so far. Over the railings. Bret stomps Autin in the crowd. Face first into the railings. Austin with a slingshot into the Spanish announce table. Vince with his second "unbelievable".

Still waiting for this to pick up to be honest. Slam on the table. Elbow from the apron. Just no atmosphere at MSG. A smattering of "let's go Bret". Elbow from second rope. Vince with his first "he got him!" on a nearfall, fake as hell, ha ha.

Abdominal stretch from Austin. Honestly, I've found this a snoozefest so far. Slugfest, Bret only ever going to come out on top of that one. Stungun! Cover for two. Piledriver. Cover gets two. Backbreaker. Goes to the top. Austin knocks him down. Flair chops. Crowd woos, wow, even in 96 they did that. Superplex! Third "unbelievable" from Vince and a "what a manoeuvre!" Couple more nearfalls, including a stunner. Austin can't put him away. Texas Cloverleaf! Innovated by Dory Funk Jr of course. Bret makes it to the ropes. Hot stretch there.

Bret into the ring post. Cover gets two for Austin. Bret goes for the sharpshooter. Sleeper! Jawbreaker by Austin. Million Dollar Dream! But Bret flips it over into a pin. He never did that to Ted! Bret wins. Fourth "unbelievable" from Vince.

Really this didn't grab me AT ALL. It just felt like "a match". The early going was lacking in heat and intensity. The matwork was dull. Bret was really plodding in this match and I thought Austin's punching in particular was surprisingly poor. The stretch into the Texas cloverleaf was hot, and so was the finish, but I'm sorry to anyone who really really rates this, I just didn't think the psychology or work was there. What was the point of the early armwork that led nowhere? Why did they briefly transition to Bret's leg being injured and then to the ribs when it was the neck Austin had been going for the whole match? Just didn't have a lot of flow to me, and the crowd seemed lukewarm throughout, which didn't help. Very disappointing.

***

Bret Hart vs. Stone Cold Steve Austin (3/23/97)

Vince and Lawler this time, oh JR is there too. Austin goes for the Stan Hansen jump start. Brawling to start already. Bret Irish whips Austin into the post, and man it hit with velocity. Austin dumps him over the railings. Smashes his head onto the railings, they are right in the crowd now. Lawler is very high pitched, I forgot about that. Ken Shamrock is ref, this is no DQ, "I Quit" rules. They brawl right in front of a guy wearing an NWO t-shirt, ha ha. Back over the railings, Bret jumps from the railing onto Austin. Irish whip from Austin into the steps, and man that hit with velocity. Double middle fingers, and this time it doesn't get blurred.

This has been super heated so far. Being worked like a true blood feud. Finally back in the ring. Swinging neckbreaker by Bret. Elbow from the second rope. Hamstring snap. Another page out of the Dory Jr playbook. Another one after a punch to the knee. He's focusing on that leg now. Great work by Bret here. Austin's selling of the leg is really very good too. Figure four on the post. Crowd really loses their shit for this. Hot Chi-town crowd. Bret goes and gets the ring bell. And a chair. He puts the chair on the ankle. Crowd is losing it. Austin grabs the chair and lays Bret out. Another chair shot and a beauty. Body slam. Suplex and a nice one. Elbow from top. Kick to the bread basket. Side Russian legsweep. Modified arm thing now that works the neck. Stu Hart doesn't look happy. Boston crab. Great camera close up on Bret.

Austin goes for the sharpshooter! Doesn't get it. Lawler is just the absolute worst colour guy, the total pits. He's so annoying here. Austin dumps Bret. JR has been annoying here too, wish they'd go away and let Vince call this solo. Action goes outside and Austin has been busted open. Bleeding very badly from impact onto railings. Post shot. This has been really good stuff.

Back in the ring. Austin is gushing badly. Bret attacks the cut. Backbreaker! Elbow from second rope. Chair, and he attacks the leg with it. And again. Bret is a sick man! Sharpshooter! No. Austin goes to the eyes. Ring covered with Austin's blood. Bret pounds on him some more. Low blow by Austin. Comeback by him one. Foothole stomps. Jawing. Superplex! Austin is bleeding so much here. Austin goes and grabs the mic chord! It's an electrical extension chord. He chokes Bret with it. The ring bell! Bret whacks him with it. Sharpshooter! He's got it! Austin won't say it. The visual of this is incredible. He's bleeding so much. Agony on his face. Looks like he's broken it but Bret syncs it in harder. Austin passes out and Shamrock calls it. Bret with a few cheap shots after he match and Shamrock attacks him. Face off and Bret leaves to loud boos. Great heel work and psychology.

Wow, this match has lost none of its power, it's super hot from start to finish. All-great great finish and visuals. Bret was fantastic on top and relentless in the attack. But what an incredible performance from Austin working from underneath. His selling was fantastic. Really is a fantastic match and one of the best in WWF history.

*****

Eddy Guerrero vs. Rey Mysterio Jr (10/26/97)

Seems like there are four people on commentary here: Schiavone, Heenan, Tenay and Dusty. Tenay immediately annoying. Rey is dressed like a purple Riddler in a mask. Flip by Rey into a back suplex by Eddie. Vertical suplex and a beauty. Tilt a whirl backbreaker. Cover gets two. Meat offensive stretch by Gurrerro. Abdominal stretch. Goes for the mask a bit. Tenay needs to fuck off and soon, I bet the Meltzer boys loved him, I couldn't hate him more.

Back flip from the top rope into a DDT by Rey. What a spot! Drop kick by Eddie to knock Rey outside. Eddie is still holding his head after the DDT, hooray for long term selling. Rick Rude camel clutch by Eddie. Rips the mask a bit. Tenay, literally I couldn't give a flying shit about Eddie's history as the Black Tiger, stfu already you nerdy whiny twat! This shit isn't getting anything over to me, it's just annoying. He needs to piss off as soon as possible. I think Heenan might feel the same.

Some chops by Eddie. Rey from the top with a plancha. Great clothesline to cut off flippy floppy shit from Rey by Eddie. Head scissor thing to the outside by Rey. From the top headscissors after a somersault by Rey. Corkscrew moonsault thing by Rey. I've never really been into this flashy stuff, it's not my thing. Eddie gets his knees up and then just powerbombs the fuck out of Rey. See that's more like it! Powerbomb mutha fucker!

Spinwheel kick by Rey. Goes for the springboard hurricanrana and Eddie turns it into a backbreaker. Some great counters in this match by Eddie. Gurrerro goes for a crucifix from the top but Rey turns it into a Frankensteiner for three. Eddie dumps Rey after the match, but no beatdown.

Honestly, I hated Rey in this match. Eddie is working this intense sick blood feud, with every single move hitting maximum intensity with hatred. Rey was working some flip flop exhibition shit. Everything Eddie did in this match was incredible. And Rey is a great Ricky Morton for him to throw around and do cool high end offense on, but every single bit of Rey offense in this match was too much for the match Eddie seemed to be wanting to work. Tenay probably contributed to me not enjoying this too, but what this made me long for was Eddie vs. someone else. I've never been high on Rey because I've never been big on high flying, but he was way way OTT here even by his standards. Less is more sometimes. Man, I forgot how brilliant Gurrerro is though and I'm exited to explore one of my favourite wrestlers again. I can see him rocket up my GWE on this refresher course.

***3/4

Eddie Guerrero vs. Brock Lesnar (2/15/04)

Cow Palace, No Way Out. The younger Brock is more punk-like and petulant than his current incarnation. Eddie in Latino Heat mode, babyface. Release German suplex by Brock. Knee to the gut. Cole and Tazz in the booth. Honestly, I'd take these guys over Lawler or Tenay. Brock catches Eddie going for something and spins him around in the powrebomb position. Belly to belly. Asshole crowd with boring chants. Why? Dicks. It isn't boring. Knee to the jaw by Brock. Lesnar's legs look bigger when he's wearing actual wrestling tights rather than shorts. Eddie has taken a pounding so far.

Running knee by Brock to knock Eddie back off the apron. Bock would call this king of the mountain. Eddie tries to drag Brock's leg to the post and smashes it. Good tactics, take out a wheel, keep the big man grounded. But Brock kicks him into the post so he hurts his shoulder. Samoan drop from a fisherman suplex position, don't know proper name. Body scissors by Brock and a near naked choke. Jawbreaker by Eddie. Momentarily stuns the monster. Brock goes for a gorilla press. Eddie hits a low drop kick to the knee. Huge clothesline by Brock cuts off the comeback. German suplex. Some section of the crowd are jeering for some reason, hey smart fans, how about stfu and learn what wrestling is.

Shoulder barges into Eddie's back. Now into the rib cage. Flying knee into the turnbuckle and Eddie ducks it. Third big impact move on Lesnar's knee. This is some neat psychology here. And that was a huge bump for Brock to take, a man his size.

Another low drop kick by Eddie. Almost a baseball slide. Cool as hell move. Suplex by Eddie. Hot shot by Brock. Cover gets two for Brock. Lesnar jaws Eddie, but he sneaks into the STF. Attacking that injured knee. Smashes the knee into the mat. Eddie attacks it some more. Figure four! No, kicks him off. And again. And a third time. Great teasing of this figure four, but Brock hits a belly to belly. Another low drop kick by Eddie. And now the figure four! Brock tried to drag himself and Eddie to the ropes. Gets there eventually, but he was in the hold a long time. This crowd is the fucking worst by the way. Shame on you Cow Palace, awful.

Eddie just stays on this leg. Talk about a game plan. Modified half crab. STF. Tazz tells us that stands for Stepover Toehold Facelock. I didn't know that! Spinebuster by Brock! Cover gets two, and that was close! Some struggle now results in a Brock getting a face full of second turnbuckle. Eddie misses a missile drop kick. Huge suplex by Brock, but he sells the leg while he does it. His nose is bloodied. Asshole fans still jeering and shouting "boring", what the hell?! Those guys need to die and never go to another wrestling show. Brock is frustrated and wants Eddie to "just die", it's that section of the crowd who need to.

Modified gutwrench suplex by Brock. Series of pin attempts by Brock. I can't work out why this great match is dying in front of this crowd. Headbutt by Eddie. Two more. Low drop kick to knee. Another to the head. Headscissors. Brock cuts him off but misses a splash in the corner. Suplex by Eddie. A second one. The triple! Crowd finally pops for Eddie big, Jesus Christ about time they did. Misses the frog splash. F5 but it knocks the ref out! Cover but ref is out.

This has been a long match. Brock grabs the belt. Aw, the lovely old school WWF title. Goldberg! Oh, now the crowd wakes up. Bunch of dicks. Of course, Brock eats a spear. Both guys out, ref still out. Now we get a big Eddie chant. Cover. Ref comes over. Two only! Oh my.

Eddie grabs the title. Waits for Brock to get up. He ducks it. F5! No. Eddie reverses it into a DDT onto the belt. Eddie goes up top. Frog splash! 1, 2, 3! And he's the new champ!

Wow, what a marathon this was. Tremendous psychology of monster upstart vs. wily veteran. Eddie's focus on the knee throughout was classic old school work. The finish took so long to come and perhaps that was a product of the times, I could have done without the ref bump or Goldberg, but it was still a couple of good fake out false finishes. Kind of a mixed bag this match, told a great story, but the crowd just wasn't into it for long portions for no reason that I can see and they never quite woke up until Goldberg came out. Very good match though.

****1/2

Chris Benoit vs. William Regal (7/12/05)

This is from, of all places, Velocity. I believe Josh Matthews on commentary with Steve Romero. They are hyping Muhammed Hasan vs. Undertaker for Great American Bash. God. Test of strength spot in the Greco Roman Knuckle lock presently. Kip up by Regal. Headbutt by Benoit. Oh nasty one, and Regal is bleeding. Was that hardway? Dragon suplex by Benoit. Oh Regal is cut nasty. Regal did a really cool block to the full nelson by grabbing his own leg shortly before that.

German suplex by Benoit. Regal with some very stuff elbows trying to escape before that. Series of nearfalls now as Regal tries to put Benoit away. Regal stretch! No, he can't quite get it. Chickenwing by Regal. Surfboard? From a seated position yes. And now he chokes him on top of it. That was a superb bit of matwork.

Back from break and a backslide from Regal. Sharpshooter by Benoit! Regal goes for the ropes. Benoit drags him into the middle. Regal still not tapping and makes the ropes. He's bleeding and desperate. Snapmare. Cover gets two. Regal goes for a butterfly suplex, but Benoit flapjacks it, but Regal holds on to the arms to prevent the counter, so smart. Regal finally hits the butterfly suplex. Another page out of the Dory Jr playbook.

Drop kick by Regal. Tombstone? No, Benoiit reverses. Shoulder breaker. Crossface? Yes. Regal taps.

Hot hot TV match, especially for velocity. Some tremendous psychology from both and Regal's counters throughout were super smart. I dug this a good bit. Matthews calls it an instant five star classic, wouldn't go that far, but it's good.

****
Chris Benoit vs. William Regal (5/25/00)

I have never seen this match, Josh Matthews mentioned it on commentary. It's from the Brian Pillman Memorial Show 2000.

Regal almost works this World of Sport style to start with hand work and takeovers. Greco Roman Knuckle lock strength spot. Inziguri by Benoit. Action goes outside. Back in, multiple Germans. Regal with a belly to belly from the top! He's got colour in the same place on his forehead as the velocity match, it's almost like that match was a tribute to this one. Series of nearfalls.

Tombstone by Regal, reversed, Benoit misses the diving headbutt. Dragon suplex by Benoit. Crossface and Regal taps. Perhaps a bit too quickly.

Honestly, the Velocity match was so much better. Not nearly as much psychology here and I'm not sure that Regal is best suited working bombfest sprints trading suplexes with Benoit.

**1/2

The Shield vs The Wyatt Family (2/23/14)

Bit of a fast forward for this one. Elimination Chamber was the event, 2014 was the year. Tremendous heat here to start. Alternating Wyatt and Shield chants. Rowen and Rollins to start. Harper in. Bray vs. Roman confrontation now. Harper in. Tries to suplex Roman multiple times, no cigar, Roman hits it. Shades of Backlund from Roman so far, ha ha.

We settle in to a FIP on Ambrose now. Cobra noogie! Slaughter gets a shout out. You know, I only ever saw him do that on the wrestlfest game. We get a Brody and Hansen shout out from JBL. Some spirited work here. Neckbreaker! Allows Ambrose to get the tag to Rollins. So far, Ambrose has come off like the Buddy Roberts of The Shield.

Rollins comes off the rope with a move which gets a "this is awesome" chant. Settle into a FIP segment on Rollins now. Roman comes in eventually with explosiveness. There's a lot happening. A lot of bombs all over the place. Work is stiff. Wow, Harper through the middle rope. Plancha by Roman! So much stuff going on.

Roman and Rowan have a slugfest in the ring. Harper and Rollins outside. Been a while setting up this table spot. Fall away slam by Rowan in the ring. Rollins on the table meanwhile. Double choke slam on Rollins by Harper and Rowan through the table. Roman alone in the ring. Not sure where Ambrose has gone, somewhere in the crowd?

Some double teaming on Roman now. Bray in with Sister Abigail's kiss, but Roman powers out and takes out all three of them. Super man punch. Spear on Harper. Bray with the kiss for the cover.

I thought this was chaotic and fun, but I don't think it was a great all-time calibre match. Some great spots, but that's all it felt like to me, an extended spot fest with six men in it. I really didn't dig the Wyatt's offense very much, which brought down some of the FIP sequences for me. I couldn't put this over numerous spot fest tags I love in all honesty. But it was enjoyable and fun. Maybe you had to be there, or be a fan of this feud or whatever, but y'know I hold things up against everything I've seen and most of the time you aren't in the moment. Very good match, but nothing more than that for me.

****

Stone Cold Steve Austin vs. Kurt Angle (8/19/01)

I remember loving this feud and everything Angle and Austin did together in 2001, but haven't revisited any of it since. Watching some of the hype package, one forgets how heelish Austin became during this run. Kurt looked so much better when he had hair. Oh it's true, it's true. Commentary team is JR and Heyman. Austin had alternate music here, it sucked. Still, the awesome old WWF belt.

Austin attacks Angle right in the aisle and we're on straight away. Angle with a comeback as the bell goes. Reverse knife edge by Austin. Flying cross body by Angle. Austin focuses on the leg some, especially the hamstring. Heyman reminds us, Austin weakened the ankle and leg before with a chair shot. Ankle lock back Angle! Austin breaks and bails.

Clothesline outside. Nice one. I find the main events from this period very watchable, I even remember at the time preferring 2000/2001 to 98/99. Couple of great suplexes by Austin. Goes for a third. angle drops behind. German! And a second. And a third! He holds on for a fourth, Austin struggles but Angle hits it. And a fifth. Jesus five Germans. Sixth German. Seven! Eat your heart out Brock.

Goes for the Angle slam but Austin goes to the eyes, and gets a shot to the gut. Goes for a suplerplex. No cigar. Tries again. Yes, superplex! Austin working a lot more technically than I remember from him. He's bringing the suplexes here, and great execution. Shades of Stunning Steve. Stunner! Angle kicks out.

Second stunner! Angle rolls out of the ring. I wonder if it's a bit soon for those stunners? Angle into the post. And again. I like Austin working as a ring general like this. Third shot into the post. Fourth post shot. Fifth post shot. Jesus! Punches to the face. Angle has colour, I'm not surprised, five postings!

Kurt has the crimson mask here. Cover gets two only. Sixth post shot! God. I don't remember this level of sadism in this match. Suplex over the barrier onto the concrete by Austin. As Austin tries to get over r barrier, Angle gets the ankle lock on and screams. Drags him up the steps. Into the ring. Ankle lock in the middle. Austin screams, gets to the ropes.

Belly to belly outside by Angle. Austin comes back with punches. Back suplex by Angle outside. Angle smashes Austin into the announce table. Back into the ring. Moonsault! Cover gets two only. Angle has lost a lot of blood. Million dollar dream by Austin! JR calls it a cobra clutch this time. Weird, DiBiase was with WCW in 96, but was a free agent in 01, ha ha. We do get a ringmaster call though. Still in the cobra clutch. Arm drops once, twice, but not the third time. Tremendous bit of psychology by Austin to go for the cobra clutch when Kurt has lost so much blood. Makes so much sense.

Stunner by Austin. Still only two! Austin is shocked and flabbergasted. Angle climbs up Austin, Angleslam! Cover gets two only! Austin just lays Earl Hebner out cold. Ha ha, total heel. DDT by Angle. Another ref out. Cover gets two only! Why not a DQ ref?

Austin stunners the sub ref! Ha ha ha ha! Awesome. Austin bails and grabs his belt. Rolls in the ring, a third ref comes out. DQ ref? No, Austin nails him with the belt! That was Tim White. A fourth ref comes out. It's Nick Patrick. He goes to count, but no, he DQs Austin. Angle is super pissed. Lays out Patrick. Ankle lock on Nick Patrick!

Holy overbooked finish Batman. What the fuck was that? JR shut up, he should have been DQ'd the first time, Patrick made the right call. It wasn't a blatant shafting, rules are rules. Heyman 100% in the right. Correct call. First sub ref should have made it, Tim White should have made it.

JR gets right in Heyman's face. Well you are wrong Ross.

Man, I don't know what to make of this. I was digging the match. Great juicing by Angle. Austin was really solid and really sadisitic all the way through the match. The seven Germans and six ring post shots were cool. But I thought they went to the stunner too early on which telegraphed that Angle was never going to fall to it. Also, the four referee finish is probably two levels of BS too much for even me. I understand the invasion context, but y'know. I also thought the finishing stretch was way too overwrought. There's drama and then there's high camp melodrama, and this fell into the latter for me and not in a good way. Very good match marred by poor finish and finishing stretch. Great great performance by Austin though, and not a bad sell job by Kurt either. I would have cut about five minutes or gone to the stunner later.

****

#2 Superstar Sleeze

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Posted 28 August 2015 - 10:21 PM

Parv, I am doing 2002-2004 myself. I needed something to shake it up from the 70s and 80s. There are a lot of fun TV matches on Smackdown in 2002-2003. 

 

Brock and Eddie is one of my all time favorite matches.

 

My defense for Eddie vs Rey Rey is that Rey Rey cant match Eddie's violence and never could. So why play into Eddie's hand. On the biggest night of his life with his mask on the line, he has to employ what brought to the dance and that is his aerial assault. I don't think these were overly fancy moves. These were moves that made sense in the context of the match. These were treated like high-risk moves because on more than one occasion Eddie countered them and really made Rey pay with some badass offense. It is one of the most superb matches from an execution standpoint. Everything is just so fucking crisp. I could go either ****3/4 or *****. I love that match. 

 

To aid you in your Eddie vs Someone Else quest. There is a great, hard hitting Nitro sprint between Eddie and Benoit in late 97 that is must see.



#3 Loss

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Posted 28 August 2015 - 10:22 PM

The magic of Bret-Austin is that it's really the last match of its kind -- a great babyface and a great heel having a great no-frills wrestling match on pay-per-view. The WWF in-ring style continued reliance on gimmicks and shortcuts more and more in the coming three years, and moved farther away from slow-building matches and matwork. The Wrestlemania match is the birth of an era, but this is the death of one. It's a feud that forever changed wrestling. It's Austin's coming out party and the first truly great singles match of his career. MSG can be a tough crowd and this took some time to build, but they eventually had them hot for really basic technical wrestling and non-signature submissions like Austin's Texas Cloverleaf, which was something I appreciated. I also like the finish of Austin beating himself with his own bullheadedness.

 

Eddy-Rey has always been a match I admired more than one I loved, so I'm with you there. Every time I watch it, it loses a little something for me, and I've never been able to get as into it as others.

 

I like how in Eddy-Brock they felt like they had to have the Goldberg run-in since they were building a match with Lesnar at Wrestlemania, but it was a begrudging run-in and they didn't want that to be the biggest takeaway from the match.

 

I'd like to throw out a match that doesn't really get talked up much, but is a great display of Eddy as a cheating babyface: Eddy/Rey vs Bashams from No Way Out 2005. Check it out if you can.



#4 JerryvonKramer

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Posted 28 August 2015 - 10:37 PM

The magic of Bret-Austin is that it's really the last match of its kind -- a great babyface and a great heel having a great no-frills wrestling match on pay-per-view. The WWF in-ring style continued reliance on gimmicks and shortcuts more and more in the coming three years, and moved farther away from slow-building matches and matwork. The Wrestlemania match is the birth of an era, but this is the death of one. It's a feud that forever changed wrestling. It's Austin's coming out party and the first truly great singles match of his career. MSG can be a tough crowd and this took some time to build, but they eventually had them hot for really basic technical wrestling and non-signature submissions like Austin's Texas Cloverleaf, which was something I appreciated. I also like the finish of Austin beating himself with his own bullheadedness.


Maybe, but I wonder if we're coming at this from two different angles. I've been immersed in 70s wrestling for the past year and have seen a hell of a lot of Backlund MSG matches that I'd put over that one. I just ... Well, didn't think the work they did was very engaging. It just felt like any match to me, rather than a great one. In the context of watching every other WWF match from 96 it might feel like this old school masterpiece, but in the context of watching a lot of old school masterpieces, it felt like just a match. I dunno? But it fell very flat for me and was easily the worst Austin performance I saw tonight. Bret seemed bored to me as well.

#5 JerryvonKramer

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Posted 28 August 2015 - 10:42 PM

Brock and Eddie is one of my all time favorite matches.


Any idea what was wrong with the crowd?

#6 Bierschwale

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Posted 28 August 2015 - 11:01 PM

I'd like to throw out a match that doesn't really get talked up much, but is a great display of Eddy as a cheating babyface: Eddy/Rey vs Bashams from No Way Out 2005. Check it out if you can.

 

I think that that's a more interesting pick than the EddieJIRI-Team Angle match from SmackDown (5/27/03) that has always been my go-to for an incredibly entertaining Lie, Cheat, Steal match because of where it falls in that Eddie-Rey superfeud. But it's very topical after SummerSlam, knowing who definitely booked the former and supposedly pitched the finish for the latter. Plus... EddieJIRI!



#7 Superstar Sleeze

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Posted 28 August 2015 - 11:06 PM

 

Brock and Eddie is one of my all time favorite matches.


Any idea what was wrong with the crowd?

 

I'll watch it within the next week and I will let you know.

 

For a great Brock performance, check out the Rey Mysterio match from Smackdown in December 2003. Great, great TV. Brock does one of the best Flair impressions ever while staying true to his monster character. It is so amazing to watch.



#8 Johnny Sorrow

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Posted 29 August 2015 - 02:14 AM

Parv, you stink. That Summerslam match, while a bit over rated , and NOT as good as Mania 13, is fucking awesome. The build to it was super important and you obviously didn't bother with it.

Which is sloppy criticism of a performance, and I'm ashamed of you and you need to think about what you've done. And then say you're sorry for being a dumb bell.

#9 JerryvonKramer

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Posted 29 August 2015 - 02:18 AM

Parv, you stink. That Summerslam match, while a bit over rated , and NOT as good as Mania 13, is fucking awesome. The build to it was super important and you obviously didn't bother with it.
Which is sloppy criticism of a performance, and I'm ashamed of you and you need to think about what you've done. And then say you're sorry for being a dumb bell.


You're talking about Austin vs Angle here right? I thought I gave it a fair shake no? I even watched the hype package.

#10 MoS

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Posted 29 August 2015 - 03:51 AM

Think he meant the Survivor Series Austin-Bret match. 



#11 Badlittlekitten

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Posted 29 August 2015 - 06:14 AM

I thought I was alone. Totally agree with Parv on SS Austin/Bret. I love an old school bout but this felt very by the numbers. Austin wasn't at all engaging as a heel and Bret was dry Bret. It never sparked or hit me. Austin's best singles match at that point was vs Dustin.

#12 Mad Dog

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Posted 29 August 2015 - 07:34 AM

That Rey/Eddie match is a typical lucha dynamic. Eddie is supposed to ground Rey and bully him while going for the mask. Rey is supposed to fly and do flashy shit to pop the crowd. You should go back and watch the parts of Nitro leading up to that match because it was fantastic. Eddie was a great heel in 1997 and this was my MOTY from WCW in 1997.



#13 Grimmas

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Posted 29 August 2015 - 09:00 AM

 

The magic of Bret-Austin is that it's really the last match of its kind -- a great babyface and a great heel having a great no-frills wrestling match on pay-per-view. The WWF in-ring style continued reliance on gimmicks and shortcuts more and more in the coming three years, and moved farther away from slow-building matches and matwork. The Wrestlemania match is the birth of an era, but this is the death of one. It's a feud that forever changed wrestling. It's Austin's coming out party and the first truly great singles match of his career. MSG can be a tough crowd and this took some time to build, but they eventually had them hot for really basic technical wrestling and non-signature submissions like Austin's Texas Cloverleaf, which was something I appreciated. I also like the finish of Austin beating himself with his own bullheadedness.


Maybe, but I wonder if we're coming at this from two different angles. I've been immersed in 70s wrestling for the past year and have seen a hell of a lot of Backlund MSG matches that I'd put over that one. I just ... Well, didn't think the work they did was very engaging. It just felt like any match to me, rather than a great one. In the context of watching every other WWF match from 96 it might feel like this old school masterpiece, but in the context of watching a lot of old school masterpieces, it felt like just a match. I dunno? But it fell very flat for me and was easily the worst Austin performance I saw tonight. Bret seemed bored to me as well.

 

I feel if Flair did the exact same match with Austin that you would had gave it 5 stars.

 

EDIT: There is so much greatness to it. I love the slow build from technical to brawling to the finish. Austin using Bret's moves against him, then Bret returning the favour later. I love Bret trying things like the superplex, failing, then doing a bigger version later for big pay off.

 

The story of the returning vet to take on the young upstart bully and teaching him new tricks is amazing. Best match in WWF history.



#14 Laz

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Posted 29 August 2015 - 10:22 AM

Reading your review of Benoit/Regal '00 makes me wonder if the bombfests we've had ad nauseum for the last 5-7 years has hampered our appreciation of just slightly older ones. Bombfests used to be the exception and not the rule, so they stood out more, but now they're everywhere so even good ones seem tired.

#15 WingedEagle

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Posted 29 August 2015 - 10:59 AM

Parv, great to see you dig into some random stuff from this period, BUT -- don't forget to revisit the 80s. 

 

I'm with you on just about everything here, but would urge that you give Bret/Austin at Survivor Series another look down the road.  Its worth it.

 

Eddy/Rey and Wyatt/Shield never reached anything approaching MOTY level for me that right about the four star level.  Solid, but never saw the epic all-timers that others did. Curious to see you try on some other Shield 6-man tags, particularly the TLC one and others with Bryan in the mix.



#16 NotJayTabb

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Posted 29 August 2015 - 11:26 AM

I actually like the ref-overkill in the Austin/Angle match. Really puts over how alarmed Austin is at Angle kicking out of his big moves, plus helps put over the Invasion. Austin goes frantic, and attacks the ref to lose the match (but keep the belt), only for the next ref to be WWF loyal and not willing to let him keep the title that way. This leads to a crazed Austin having to assault ref after ref, until WCW's Nick Patrick comes out and gives him the result he wants. Great stuff.

#17 JerryvonKramer

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Posted 29 August 2015 - 08:34 PM

Eddie Guerrero vs. John Bradshaw Layfield (5/16/04)

A rather useful hype package before this one. JBL was built well, I remember watching this. He attacked Eddie's mother, a 76 year old woman. Heel heat, it is possible. Cole and Tazz on commentary. JBL cuts a xenophobic promo before the match. Promises to make Eddie's mother his new maid. Asshole! Heel heat, it is possible. This wasn't 1984 it was 2004. I don't believe the fan in 2014 is any different from the fan in 2004. Anyway, that's an aside.

Eddie is obviously super pissed to start and is a house of fire. Assault including postings and a Spanish announce table spot. JBL tries to leave and Eddie chases with a double ax-handle. Nose swivel stomp, shades of Backlund there, who always did that spot. JBL manages to reverse an Irish whip into the steps to change the momentum. That's called a transition.

Table. Rolls him back in. Big boot. Side headlock takedown and we have a headlock. Tazz with some good colour analysis of this headlock talking about weight distribution, simple stuff they never seem to talk about now. Incidentally, this headlock is the definition of a rest hold. Arm drag by Eddie, a second. Crossbody over apron, but JBL catches him and hits a fall away slam on the outside.

Couple of chops by Eddie, and a weird spot where he ran at JBL to take a backdrop on the table. Too much choreography for me that spot, what was Eddie going for? Back in the ring and JBL hits a neckbreaker. Cover gets two. Back drop. Another near fall. Bear hug by JBL. Terrible one too. Eddie goes to the eyes. Fires up. Drop kick. First suplex. Second suplex. But Bradshaw gets the knee in. Misses the lariat. Goes for a powerbombs, but Eddie fights down. Ref bump.

JBL gets backdropped over the top. Head slammed on the announce table. JBL has a chair and nails Eddie and Jesus he gets a real gusher here. Wow, that's some bleeding. It might a top 10 juice job this. Wow, one of those times I wonder if it's hardway. The blood is in his eyes. Crowd has a "holy shit" chant. Steel steps by JBL. Bang. Ref still down, JBL raises his hands to loud boos. Ring covered in blood, Eddie covered in blood. Lariat! They call that the clothesline from hell. Ref still out. A second ref runs out. It's the blonde one who reffed Taker vs. Brock recently. Cover. Two only! I have to say, I saw that kick out coming, lol. Crowd popped though. Second ref bump. This bleeding is insane. Powrebomb! First ref wakes up, cover gets ... Two only! JBL in disbelief. Another cover. Two only! Sleeper! Makes sense because of the blood loss. Back suplex counter by Eddie! Jesus this is insane blood. The most Crimson mask. He fires up again. Latino heat. Ducks the clothesline. JBL catches the crossbody, but Eddie counters into a DDT. He struggles his way to the top rope. Misses the frog splash.

JBL rolls out of the ring and grabs the title and a chair. Throws the chair in the ring. Goes to hit Eddie with the belt, low blow by Eddie. Hits JBL with the belt for the instant DQ. And now post-match he beats on JBL for some great payback in which JBL bleeds bright red as well.

The big story of this match is the juice job by Eddie, which is insane and at all-time level. However, I don't think that can cover up what is a fairly rudimentary match with lack lustre heat sequences by JBL that felt like watching Billy Graham or Jesse Ventura at times, that bear hug especially. The match does tell a compelling story and the near falls are effective. Eddie plays a great fired up face (though not quite Rick Martel levels), and the crowd were into this, but I did think JBL brought it down a bit. About on par with the best of the Terry Funk vs. Abdullah the Butcher matches I've seen recently.

***1/2

Triple H vs. Chris Jericho (7/23/00)

HHH got a stink face from Rikishi, Stephanie made a lot of faces. HHH wants Jericho's ass, he keeps saying it. Jericho ate a sledgehammer. Mick Foley had a bad hair day. Jericho kissed Steph. Rating for hype segment: 0/10, lol.

I am tempted to fast forward past HHH's entrance, but I am appeasing calls for "context". He spits some water over his own head, Steph seems to have found an old Virgil waistcoat in storage. JR is on commentary and he tells us that this is only the second last man standing match in WWF history. Lawler is there too, unfortunately. Jericho has his waist bandaged up here from the sledgehammer attack.

Jericho on top to start. Hits multiple clotheslines. A drop kick. A springboard drop kick sending HHH to the outside. Top of the announce table. Brawling outside now. HHH takes over, knee to the face. Dumps him. But outside Trips eats some steps before throwing Jericho on the barrier. I miss the railings. Triple H is focusing on the mid-section naturally and rips off some of the bandage. Works on this for some minutes now. Perfectly decent psychology. Steph sneaks over for a slap. Right in the kisser.

Suplex outside by Hunter. Kisses Steph. Abdominal stretch. Lays in shots while he does it. HHH takes a leaf out of Flair's book and shoves the ref, who shoves him back. He does sell it with a bump though. Knee to the ribs, DDT. This assault on the midsection has made perfect sense, and it's been perfectly solid, so why am I so bored?

Body scissors by HHH now. Stephanie makes a lot of faces at ringside. She was more minx-like at this time. Still would (sorry feminists). While we're waiting for Jericho to get to his feet, I can feel the time passing like a glacier.

Pedigree! HHH jaws as Jericho now. He sits up on the turnbuckle now arrogantly. So why don't I feel like this is great heel work? Again, there's this glacial quality, that I only see to find with HHH matches: his one with Brock in 2014 had something of this.

Jericho is up at nine again. Triple H grabs a chair and smashes him. Pedigree on the chair? No, low blow by Jericho! He can barely get to his feet. Chair shot. HHH is busted open. True crimson mask. Jericho makes a comeback proper now. Still selling the ribs. Missile drop kick. Bulldog onto the chair! The red is flowing. Throws HHH out of the ring, a Flair bump over the turnbuckle. HHH manages to throw Jericho into the steps. Goes for the pedigree on the steps. Backdrop reversal. They both grab monitors from the announce table and nail each other. Double count going. Both make it up at nine.

Walls of Jericho! Steph in. He does it to her too! HHH nails him. This match needs to end soon, running out of patience. Sledgehammer. He misses and nails the post. Sling shot into the post. Jericho nails HHH with the sledgehammer. Lays him on the announce table. HHH gets up though and back suplexes Jericho through the table. Count going again. HHH barely makes it up by ten. Oh right, heel goes over clean.

I couldn't get into this at all. It never actively sucked, but I found that it was just sort of there, drifting, time passing. A lot of this I blame on HHH, although Jericho must take some of the blame by not putting on a particularly compelling injured babyface performance. This is a spot where you'd long for a Steamboat or Savage, who could really milk that injury. Jericho didn't get it over enough for me. If I was sitting in the "bleachers", I wouldn't know he was in agony. In short, performance just not big enough to get over the beating he took. Which brings me to HHH, who worked a logical match which was basically one long heat sequence. The trouble is that he's just not good enough as a heel to keep that sequence compelling. I could name about 20 guys you could slot into this match to work in the same role that would have made that stuff interesting. Here, it drifted. Blood cannot save what is a monumentally boring match in places. The counts on Jericho were so dull. The double counts lacked any sort of genuine emotion. I can't get behind a match like this, with its manufactured drama and sort of statue-like work. Very disappointing, because I remember watching the live broadcast in 2000 and enjoying it. But fifteen years later, I never want to watch this match again as long as I live. Really really bad. Surprised me in just how poor it was. Bored me to tears.

**

Randy Orton vs. Mick Foley (4/18/04)

Orton was IC champ here. Hype package has Orton calling Mick fat and disgusting and over the hill. I'm actually surprised, Orton's character work is decent here. He calls Foley his "bitch". Hot promos back and forth. This hype package gets at least a 7/10. Foley has been studying his tapes. Clips of Foley vs. Funk, vs. Abby, vs. various Japanese types. Final rating for that hype package: 10/10. Brilliant.

This is falls count anywhere, Foley comes out with the barbed wire bat. Trash can involved soon enough. He's Cactus Jack tonight by the way. Foley is at 272lbs tonight, by the way, JR tells that's his lowest weight since 1989. Neckbreaker outside. All Foley so far. Back suplex by Orton on the ramp. Slams his head on the ramp. Couple of near falls. Uppercut by Orton. He grabs Barbie and tries to mash it in Foley's face, but he blocks. Clothesline by him now. Socko comes out. He spots Barbie. Asks the crowd which one they'd prefer. The bat, obviously. Orton has a gusher immediately. Elbow drop with the bat. Fist to the face. And again. Great working punches here by Foley, people don't talk about his punching much. Goes back to Barbie. Presses it to Orton's forehead. And again. Ouch. Rips his t-shirt off.

Lays Barbie in between his legs and leg drops him on it! Wow, that's brutal. Foley in his element here. He goes looking for weapons. Gasoline can! He douses Barbie in the gasoline. Surely not?! Eric Bischoff walks out and he has a mic. He demands that Foley stop this, says that not only will he lose the match but the Fire Marshall will shut down the building and send the fans home. He doesn't do it. Bischoff sucks chant. Instead, Foley uses a tray of some sort on Orton's head. Back to under the ring. Barbed wire board! It's like a bed of barbed wire. Pushes it into the ring.

Orton with a leaf out of the Mr Fuji playbook! Powder! And body slams Foley onto the barbed wire. Holy shit chant naturally. Orton grabs the barbed wire board and sets it up in the corner. Irish whip? Foley resists. Double reversal and Foley takes it! He's bleeding from underneath the t-shirt. Orton throws the board down on top of him.

Orton goes into his cardboard box and takes out a bag. What is that? Thumb tacks! He pours them over the ring. Goes for the RKO but Foley counters and Orton takes a huge amount of tacks right in the back. Shit. Cover gets, two only! Wow. They are stuck in his hand and he's trying to prise them off. He seems genuinely perturbed. Foley goes after him. They go to the back. Lawler: "I've just witnessed the passion of Randy Orton" -- one great call in over twenty years of horrendous commentary!

They come out though and Foley throws Orton off the stage and onto a table or board or something. Massive bump, Orton still covered in thumb tacks. Foley with the bang bangs. JR has seen enough and thinks this has gotten out of hand. EMTs are out to check on Orton. And then ... Elbow drop from the stage onto Orton! Huge spot. I have to admit they are really pushing the envelope with this one, insane match. Cover, and barely barely, Orton gets a shoulder up. Foley jaws with the ref. Is he subtly turning heel during the course of this match?

Lays Orton on the ramp. We get a smattering of EC-dub chants. Double arm DDT back in the ring. Cover gets, two only! Orton grabs Barbie. A couple of shots, but Foley slips on socko and nails the mandible claw! Low blow by Orton! Foley bleeding a lot in the face now too. RKO! Orton has dried blood on his face. Cover gets, two only! RKO on Barbie! And yes, that's three. Holy crap.

This was a a real war with some legit shocking spots that you wonder how they ever happened in a WWE ring. There was a wonderful narrative running through this: on the one hand, it's Foley doing Al Pacino in Godfather Part III:



It's the old thief brought in for one last caper, it's the retired cop coming back for one last case. It's the old gun slinger taking out one last piece of trash before he calls it a day. It worked perfectly for this because it gave a 100% logical pretext for all of the weapons in the match, and why they were there. Foley going to that dark sadistic part of himself and pulling all of his old tricks out of the bag. But that story had a mirror in Orton: the young punk, arrogant kid who thinks he knows it all already, but who is going to get what is coming to him. And during the process of the match: he grows up. He learns some vital life lessons, he gets shown what pain really is, and it pushes him to go deeper into his own well. I thought that worked absolutely tremendously. And now I think about some matches I've given five stars to: Funks vs. Abby and Sheik 78, Patterson vs. Slaughter alley fight, Slaughter vs. Iron Sheik, Magnum vs. Tully. That's my pantheon of blood feud, blood bath pay off matches. And this just, just falls short. And I'll tell you why: because as compelling as Foley's and Orton's stories are, they remain separate in this. Foley represents something in Orton's story; Orton represents something in Foley's, but it's not ... So personal, so heated, so intense that they go to that point where I can feel the depths of their souls. It's an intangible, and this match has holy shit spots beyond anything any of the ones I've listed can offer, but it lacks that one quality that would send it next level. I do think though, it is a special match and one of the best of its type that I've seen. And I say this as someone who has never cared much for Foley and who probably dislikes Orton more than anyone else on the board.

****3/4

#18 Jimmy Redman

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Posted 29 August 2015 - 08:58 PM

Between you and Sleaze, I'm very much enjoying this trip down memory lane. It's making me want to eschew all the old stuff I'm "supposed" to be watching and watch some of this stuff again instead.

 

If you're taking requests/suggestions, I'd like to see what you make of Sheamus vs Big Show, HIAC 2012.

 

And I know you're done with Cena for the time being, but at some point you have to watch the Cena vs JBL I Quit.



#19 goc

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Posted 29 August 2015 - 09:13 PM

I'd like to see you review The Hardys vs. MNM from either December to Dismember 2006 or Royal Rumble 2007. Or both if you watch one and like it.



#20 JerryvonKramer

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Posted 29 August 2015 - 10:28 PM

Brock Lesnar vs. Rey Mysterio (12/11/03)

This is from Smackdown. I have to say, I've preferred Cole / Tazz to JR / Lawler so far during these reviews. Brock mocks Rey's size to start. Cat and mouse. Rey is trying to wear Brock down. Psychological game. This encounter defines size vs speed doesn't it.

Brock grabs the steps and Rey sneaks in with a baseball slide. But Brock catches him now and nails him against the post. But he manages to come back with various ariel moves from the top to the outside. Back in, and Brock catches Rey, gives him two backbreakers and up for the F5, which knocks the ref a bit. Brock goes for a cheap low blow. Ha ha. Nice bit of rule breaking. Elbow drop. And again. Seems like someone in the crowd is chanting "boring" which gives me the idea that Brock wasn't over with a (vocal) section of the smart crowd in 03-04? Two matches in a row now.

Clothesline takes Rey out. Then he dumps him. Some decent heel heat for Brock here. Rey comes back a bit. 619 round the post! Cover gets two only, but that was close. Flying body scissors. Another couple of nearfalls. Hot ones. Springboard but Brock catches him and hits a power bomb. Brock lock submission thing. And Rey taps out.

Decent little man vs. monster TV match, with Rey disrupting Brock's flow and denying him the extended heat sequence and big impact moves you'd expect of this matchup. And it had you believing for a moment that Rey might get the upset. I still don't find myself rooting for him much, and can't get behind offense that is the wrestling equivalent of fireworks and confetti -- it's just not my thing, y'know. But this was enjoyable enough.

***

Eddie Guerrero and Rey Mysterio vs. The Bashams (2/20/05)

This is from No Way Out and was the opener of that show. Yes! Cole and Tazz in the booth. Rey and Eddie come out separately. Eddie is driving a convertible. I'm not a car guy, so don't ask me. But it's an American style one. Cars always seem more box-y in the states, you guys like the big grills. The Bashams were JBL's secretaries of defense, apparently. I was probably somewhere in Oxford eating cheese and drinking port in February 2005 and this is a period where I wasn't watching, although I did catch the Rey feud in the summer before Eddie died. I didn't finally tap out until the DX comeback in 2006, which was the last straw for me.

Whatever happened to the Bashams anyway? We settle into a FIP sequence on Eddie. Rey comes in and immediately becomes the new FIP. I think it makes more sense this way around. One of the Bashams does a full nelson. I am always like "wtf!" when anyone does the full nelson. It seemed antiquated even in 70s matches. Marty, if you are reading this, Hercules did the full nelson as a finisher. By the way, "I've never seen a Hercules match"? Lol, gtfo!

The Bashams like to stomp. Double hot shot. Blatant choke. Decent heat sequence this. Tags in and out. Rey lands a moonsault though, just a hope spot. Ha ha, ridiculous that a moonsault would be a hope spot. Whatever economic wrestling is, Rey is the exact opposite of that.

Eddie is getting frustrated as the Bashams have cut this ring off. Can't mess up this time honoured structure. Doug in. I won't pretend to know who is who. Cover gets two, Eddie with the save. Extremely elaborate sequence now which sees Rey crawl under one Basham, leap frog another, twice, forward roll and a dive to Eddie. One of the most ridiculous hot tags of all time right there. Clotheslines. Backdrop. Drop kick. Headscissors and arm drag from the top, for two in one. Is all this necessary? I might actually be against "innovation" of this nature. It seems silly to me. Makes a farce out of the match to me.

Rey and Eddie talk about something now. Eddie jumps off the top and lies down pretending to be knocked out. Crowd actually laugh. Small package almost gets three. That was better innovation. Rey tosses a tag belt to Eddie who tosses it to Doug which the ref sees and confiscates and as he does so Rey passes him the other tag belt for a cheap shot. Ha ha. That was a fun finish. They won the belts!

This was a bit of a throwaway match that had a throwaway feel, despite being for the tag titles. It works as a match that is building their relationship for an eventual feud that you can see coming a mile off. However, as much as I liked the finish, there was too much silliness in this match in general. People know I'm not a lucha guy, it's this sort of cutesy choreographed stuff that I don't dig at all, and this match had a lot of it. A moonsault as a hope spot ... "Are you kidding me Conrad?" One thing I've noticed watching Eddie in these matches is that while he's good at basically everything, I don't think he's the best house of fire, he just doesn't fire up that well, which is ironic considering his gimmick. I'm sure people will disagree with me on that, but as an example, his clotheslines after the (totally ridiculous) hot tag in this match were lukewarm. Not enough fire. It's stuff like that which can make you appreciate a Rick Martel who is just so fantastic at that sort of thing. Eddie not in that league in the fire stakes. This was enjoyable, despite the gratuitous excesses of Rey's style.

***1/2

Eddie Guerrero and Tajiri vs. Team Angle [Charlie Haas and Shelton Benjamin] (5/29/03)

This is from Smackdown. I think a week after these guys Guerrero and Tajiri won the titles from Team Angle. I always thought it was a bit confusing how Kurt Angle wasn't actually part of Team Angle. He didn't even come out with them. One of those things that would have made sense in storyline at the time, but seems bizarre now. You Suck chants in full effect with Angle's theme here.

Eddie drives out in a low rider pick up truck thing with the hiccups. Tajiri is laughing. In commentary, they keep on hyping the fact that Vince has got a lie detector test and is going to prove once and for all that Mr. America is Hulk Hogan.

Eddie and Tajiri work over Benjamin some before a double kick spot leaves both him and Tajiri down. We go to a break, but weirdly, this footage stays on and we hear Cole take a call from JR off air before coming back. Ha ha. Haas in and works Tajiri's leg. Tags in and out and this heat sequence is surprisingly old school, just focused matwork on the leg. Good psychology too, since Tajiri is known for his kicking ability.

Once again, Eddie strangely mechanical and lacking in fire on the hot tag. Lovely execution on the moves though. Back suplex. Monkey flip. Triple suplex on Haas. Frog splash and Benjimin makes the save. Savate kick by him and a very nearfall on Eddie, but Tajiri out of nowhere with the save. Eddie counters a double team attempt with a double DDT. He has looked like superman during this comeback. Tajiri in still selling that injured leg. Inzaguri. Haas counters a tornado DDT with a bridging suplex. Eddie with the save from the pin attempt. Third hot nearfall.

Super kick by Tajiri. Eddie goes up top and takes out Benjimin on the outside. Tajiri misses another kick on Haas and ... Haas of Pain! Tajiri taps, and Haas celebrates but ref says no. What's this? Ref says he didn't say to ring the bell. Eddie sneaks in with a tag belt. Tug of war with Haas, who ends up with the belt. Eddie plays dead, ref turns around and DQs Haas. Another ingenious finish. Especially when you realise that Eddie must have sneaked around and rung the bell in the first place. Lie. Cheat. Steal.

Beyond the fun and inventive finish, this was also a really solid match built around a leg injury to Tajiri with some solid, no frills work from Team Angle. Although Eddie's hot tag lacks fire, I think he made up for it with sheer crispness of execution, and it helps when he's giving suplexes to a guy like Haas who is so athletic. They just look great. Very very good TV tag match.

***3/4




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