The SmarK Rant for WWE Vintage Collection – 10.07.11

The SmarK Rant for WWE Vintage Collection – 10.07.11

Playing catchup a bit here.

Your host is Mean Gene, and the theme is “Good Friends, Better Enemies”.   This should make the feature match obvious.

Meng v. The Barbarian

From the Road Wild PPV in 1998, I totally forget the circumstances behind this.  JIP with Meng booting Barbarian down and going up, but Barbie brings him down with a suplex for two.  Meng comes back with a powerslam for two, but Jimmy Hart acts as distraction and allows Barbarian to attack.  They slug it out and neither guy sells anything, and they finally make their way to the floor in slow motion.  Back in, Barbarian loads up the boot, but the TONGAN DEATH GRIP finishes clean for Meng at 3:05.  Sadly, Hugh Morrus runs out for the heel beatdown while the apathetic biker crowd revs their engines.  Meng makes his own comeback, but Hugh Morrus hits the moonsault until Jim Duggan makes the save.  I’m perversely curious to see Meng & Duggan v. Morrus & Barbarian now.  DUD

WCW World tag team titles:  Doom v. The Fabulous Freebirds

This is one of the most famous matches in wrestling history, for all the wrong reasons.  From WrestleWar 91, an underrated show. Both teams were heels at this point, with the Freebirds recently adding Oliver Humperdink to their circus as “road manager” Big Daddy Dink.  And that actually WORKED. Simmons overpowers Hayes to start and whips him around the ring, into a spinebuster for two.  The Birds regroup and Garvin goes after Butch Reed, getting nowhere with that.  He manages a sunset flip for two, and it’s back to Hayes.  The Freebirds are so obnoxious that fans are actually cheering for Doom here.  Reeds presses both Freebirds, but Hayes punches him in the face to break up the slam on Garvin.  We take a break and return with Doom putting Garvin down with a double elbow, and Garvin slams him on the floor for good measure.  I guess the bookers wanted Doom to be heels here, which is a weird dynamic because I wouldn’t cheer for the Freebirds if they were saving babies from a burning building while working the match.  Garvin hits Reed with the DDT and Simmons cuts off the tag with a spinebuster.   He adds a powerslam for two and Hayes continues making the save, and it’s BREAKING LOOSE IN TULSA.  Reed tries to hit Hayes with an international object, but he nails Simmons instead and Garvin falls on top for the pin and the titles at 6:23.  This was a really messed up match, with the wrong team playing heel the biggest issue.  I recall the original version being much longer and shittier, too.  **  However, the biggest issue here was the total lack of suspense in the title change, as the Steiner Brothers had actually won the tag titles from the Freebirds…a week earlier.  So WCW gave us the first negative title reign in wrestling history.

THUNDERDOOM STEEL CAGE MATCH:  Butch Reed v. Ron Simmons

So with Doom turning on each other after that last match, they EXPLODE at the first Superbrawl to begin Simmons’ singles push.  We pick things up with Simmons already bleeding, and Reed rams him into the cage for two.  He goes to a chinlock and adds a neckbreaker, then goes up  with the flying shoulderblock.  That gets two, as Simmons has his foot on the ropes.  Reed misses a big splash, allowing Simmons to make the comeback and slug him down.  Reed comes back with a high knee to cut him off, and they clothesline each other, as Teddy Long throws an international object from the cage above the ring.  Reed gets it, but Simmons gives him the spinebuster to finish at 3:30 anyway.  Edited down to almost nothing.  *1/2   Oddly enough, while Simmons would go on to the World title after this, Reed’s career was done and he essentially disappeared for good.

WWF World title:  Shawn Michaels v. Diesel

This is the famous street fight from the “Good Friends Better Enemies” In Your House PPV (April 1996), as Diesel turned on his friend on the way out of the promotion.  They show the video package for this beforehand and it’s epic stuff.  Shawn runs in and attacks to start, then dropkicks Diesel out of the ring and baseball slides him.  He adds a moonsault press, then steals the boot off the Spanish announcer and nails Diesel with it for two.  Foreshadowing there.  Diesel comes back and whips Shawn into the corner for a Flair Flip, then sends him crashing into the railing to take over.  Back in, Diesel slugs him down and adds a short clothesline and Snake Eyes.  He pounds away in the corner with knees while laying the badmouth on Jose Lothario, and the sidewalk slam leads to a break.

Back with Diesel holding a neck vice, but Shawn fights up and we get a great sequence with Shawn slugging away blindly and Diesel fighting him off until he finally goes down and out of the ring.  Then another memorable spot sees Diesel setting up Shawn for a powerbomb on the floor, only to change his mind in mid-air and put him through the announce table instead, resulting in total chaos at ringside and a shocked crowd.  Shawn is DEAD.  Diesel grabs the title and actually straps it on himself while Vince tells Shawn to stay down, and this is all great stuff.  However, Shawn gets a fire extinguisher and sprays it at Diesel, allowing himself time to make the comeback.  There’s no commentary, which makes it all the more effective.  Shawn gets the forearm and grabs a chair as Vince finally gets back on the air, and Shawn lays Diesel out with a sick chairshot to the face.  Diesel is having none of this, however, and hits Shawn with the big boot as we take another break.  Shawn blocks the Poochiebomb and slugs him down, then goes up for the flying elbow.  That sets up the superkick, but Diesel CATCHES it and clotheslines him down.  They brawl to the floor and Diesel drops him on the railing, as Shawn’s Ricky Morton selling is just off the charts.  And then in the other most awesome spot, Diesel mugs Maurice Vachon at ringside and STEALS HIS ARTIFICIAL LEG.   Shawn goes low to stop him, grabs the leg, and puts Diesel down with it, and then hits the superkick with his own foot to send Diesel to WCW at 13:11.  Just awesome, with all kinds of crazy stuff that pre-dated the Attitude era by a couple of years.  I’d say this is easily Diesel’s best match.  ****3/4  My only issue is that Shawn recovered too fast from getting powerbombed through the table, but otherwise everything was spot-on and the selling from Shawn was impeccable.  Plus I had forgotten a couple of the spots and I was going nuts watching it again as a result.  Anything that can make me mark out after 15 years is GREAT.

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