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Horsemen vs. Road Warriors/Dusty Rhodes/Nikita Koloff (JCP WarGames 7/4/1987)


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#1 fxnj

fxnj
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Posted 07 June 2018 - 12:27 AM

BIt of a difficult match to rate. I'll start with my criticisms.

 

This follows a very simple and predictable formula. The match starts out with a face (Dusty Rhodes) dominating a heel (Arn Anderson). Then a heel (Tully Blanchard) comes in and turns the tables until another face (Animal) comes in and the faces go back to dominating. Repeat that until everyone is in and it's time to go to the finish. I just described the entire match. As a viewer watching 30 years of later, I really would have liked to have seen them change things up just a little bit, like having the heels somehow manage to keep the advantage even when it's even or for the faces to try to stay in control even when they're outnumbered. Also, the work is mostly confined to basic brawling. Dusty gets Arn in the figure four in the beginning and then the heels work over Dusty's leg later for a bit of revenge, but those are just short sections that get forgotten as the whole thing just kind of becomes a clusterfuck as more guys go in there. Ross goes crazy on commentary about how brutal it all is, but I didn't really notice anything that stood out as particularly special. The match is lacking a hook or really much psychology at all beyond what I described about the faces dominating when it's even and heels dominating when they have the number advantage. Even the blood seems like it's there mostly to give the Apter mags an opportunity to take some good photos. Also, the finish feels a bit flat. I'd have liked something a bit more decisive than the Road Warriors singling out Dillon while the other Horsemen were distracted fighting the other faces.

 

All that goes out the window if we're just talking about the crowd heat. They were going crazy straight from the beginning and never really settled down. Crockett took a risk pulling out a convoluted gimmick like this, but they definitely managed to make it work with their audience. In that respect, the predictable layout actually works in the match's favor by making it easier to follow for the fans by giving them something familiar they could bite into. They knew that the faces would win in a fair fight and that the heels can only keep up when they have some kind of advantage, and that was what they got here. The result is one of the most fondly remembered matches in the company's history and one that launched a signature gimmick for WCW. In spite of all the flaws I listed above, I still never really found myself bored with the work for much of the match's 20 minute length largely because it's such a spectacle to listen to the crowd and commentators reacting to this as they did.

 

It's difficult to rate because there is such a seeming disconnect between the crowd heat and the match's grander influence with the actual quality of the work. I'm tempted to say it's not really meant for critical analysis. You're best off just letting yourself be hypnotized by the crowd heat and the easy to follow layout. Turn on, tune in, drop out. ***1/2






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