The SmarK Rant For Schneider Comp #22

The SmarK Rant for Schneider Comp #22 (Part One)

– As a note before we begin, I do NOT generally do home-brew comps such as this one, but I’m always happy to make an exception for people as awesome as the Death Valley Driver crew, such as Dean Rasmussen and Phil Schneider.

This tape in particular speaks to my heart in several ways, and I highly recommend checking out www.deathvalleydriver.com for this and other Schneider comps of the highest quality, indeed. This is an 8-hour tape, so we’ll split this into two four-hour sessions to preserve my own sanity and to keep things under 10 pages.

– Berlinetta Boxer & Condotti Shuji & Pescatore Yagi v. Kennichiro Arai & Super Shisa & Raimu Mishima. This is Toryumon v. T2P, according to the matchlist. Some of these guys were on the Best of Japan 2002 comp, so I’ll muddle through the IDs best I can. Big brawl outside the ring to start and it’s on. Shuji DDTs Arai on the ramp (Arai, instant hero to children everywhere, was drinking a malt liquor on the way to the ring), and it’s a pier-six brawl in the ring with the rest. Arai and Yagi go in the ring and exchange shoulderblocks, which Yagi wins. Arai ties him in the ropes with a sick looking choke, however, and we move onto the next combo. Boxer takes Mishima down and they exchange submission holds. Shisa comes in next and gets double-teamed by Shuji & Yagi, but dodges them and armdrags everyone until taking Shuji down with a grapevine of the arms. Very slick. Mishima comes in for a quick double-team and works on the leg, but Arai breaks it up. This leads to a double-team submission move (figure-four and bow-and-arrow) before it gets broken up and everyone fights outside again. Arai and Boxer exchange pleasantries on the floor and slap each other around, and back in Arai gets chopped by Shuji. He comes back with more of his own and they fight over a german suplex until Shuji goes low. He walks into a spinebuster, but Arai misses a headbutt to the groin and knocks himself silly, allowing the T2P faction to lay a beating on him. Boxer comes in with a facecrusher that sets up an inverted DDT for Shuji, and they takes turns teeing off on him with elbows. Shuji gets an elevated full-nelson out of a double-team, and the other Toryumon guys walk into what appears to be a very complex and horribly painful triple-team crossface. What kind of drugs do you have to be on to think shit like that up? Boxer catapults Arai into a samoan drop from Shuji, which gets two. Nice double-team, someone should steal it for the WWE guys. Shuji chokes Arai out in the corner, but he fights away from them and launches off the fallen Shuji with a flying headbutt, allowing his teammates to come in and clean up. Shisa gets a crazy variation on the Octopus on Boxer, and then Mishima exchanges machismo slaps with Shuji, who only gets more pissed off. Double-arm suplex gets two. Powerslam gets two for Shuji. Boxer and Arai go again, as Boxer wraps him up with a chicken-wing facelock, only to get caught by Mishima with a crazy standing crossface. Yagi breaks it up, but misses a charge, and then recovers with a version of Gedo’s old submission move. Shisa breaks it up with a sunset flip and a backslide for two, but as he bridges up, Shuji grabs his leg and wraps it around his neck, like Brock does in Smackdown. Arai breaks that up, and suplexes Yagi, and they slug it out until Arai powerbombs him for two. He floats right into a half-crab instead of breaking the pin. Exploding jawbreaker for Boxer into a Mishima backdrop suplex gets two, as guys are diving all over the ring to make the saves. Arai gets caught with a cheapshot to set up a twisting fisherman’s suplex from Yagi, and Shuji gives him a REALLY dramatic spear, into a jackhammer. Looks familiar. He goes into an inverted Texas Cloverleaf and Arai taps at 15:31. This was nutty and lots of fun and much easier to deal with than the pure T2P stuff with the six-sided ring. ***1/2

– Ian Rotten v. Tarek the Great. This is from IWA Mid-South, October of last year. The storyline here is that Rotten doesn’t want to be a deathmatch wrestler anymore, so it’ll have to be a technical match. This is in front of a packed house of 24 people by my count. Kinda looks like a RAW taping. Ian’s looking a little thinner than usual and now has a bushy beard. Tarek takes him down with an armbar, into a cross-armlock to start. As Phil notes in the matchlist, this is like RINGS contested by meth dealers. Ian blocks the armlock and powers Tarek over to break. Rotten takes him down with an armbar of his own, and transitions into a nasty short-arm scissors. Tarek rolls him over for two and goes back to his own armbar. The announcers here are pretty laid-back and funny, making fun of the small crowds and making comments like “That what all the kids are calling strong style these days.” Tarek gets reversed into a toehold by Rotten, and he almost turns it into an anklelock before they reverse off that and Tarek ends up with a facelock. Good matwork there. Tarek goes to an armbar, but Rotten counters with a variation on the Herb Kunze armbar and really cranks it in. If it’s real, it’s over, but Tarek rolls him over for two. Tarek grabs a headscissors and tries to add an armlock, but Rotten hooks the leg with his legs and basically passes the guard into an STF. That’s the kind of basic mat-wrestling you just don’t see in the WWE. Not that it’s better or worse, but it’s a different style entirely. He turns that into a figure-four and gets a couple of near-falls. Tarek counters out of it and grinds on the ankle for a bit, but Rotten makes the ropes and bails. Back in, Rotten immediately takes him down with a drop toehold and works the leg, but gets caught in a headlock by Tarek until the pain of the leglock is more than the pain of the headlock and Tarek has to let go. That’s what “catch as catch can” refers to, by the way – One guys grabs a hold and the other does whatever he can to counter it. Rotten tries a bearhug, but Tarek headbutts out of it. Back up, and Tarek kicks the leg out and grabs a kneebar. They both grab body parts and hang on until Tarek is once again forced to release his due to pain. He yells and swears a lot to emphasize the pain. They’re really making it LOOK real, that’s for sure. Tarek pulls the other leg to break, and then legdrops the offending leg and goes to work on it to take over. Rotten finally throws the first punch to keep him back, and they headbutt each other, with both guys going down as a result. Tarek gets a legdrop, but Rotten grabs a neck crank to break up the pin and hangs on for his own near-fall. Tarek knees out of it in nasty fashion, but Rotten neck-vices him into a cobra sleeper for the pin at 17:15. Went on a wee bit too long, but this was some totally cool old-fashioned mat wrestling from people not normally known for it. Kudos. ***3/4

– The Hollywood Blonds v. Ricky Steamboat & Shane Douglas. From March ’93, on some random WCW TV show. Tony & Larry Z are doing commentary if that helps. Doesn’t matter which, all their matches ruled anyway. Douglas & Steamboat were still the chamions at this point, and the Blonds weren’t named or wearing matching tights. It’s a big brawl to start, and the Blonds hit the high road right away. In the ring, Douglas backdrops Austin and slugs away on him, while Steamboat whips Pillman into a chop. Pillman & Steamboat start the match proper and Steamboat hammers away in the corner and brings in Douglas to stay on the arm. Press slam and Pillman keeps begging off, but he suckers Douglas in and sends him into the turnbuckles. Austin comes in and goes for the knee, but Douglas keeps fighting him off. Shane takes him down out of the corner and gets a Boston Crab, and Steamboat tags in and buttdrops Austin off the top on the way in. He keeps yanking on the neck, but Austin brings him to the corner and lays in the knees to break. A slam is stopped by Steamboat because Austin’s back gives out, and Steamboat goes back to working on the neck again after taking Pillman out of the equation. He slingshots Douglas in for two. Abdominal stretch on Austin by Douglas, but Pillman comes in and goes back to Douglas’ knee again. Shane escapes with an enzuigiri and takes Pillman down with an armbar. The champions work the arm over in the corner and Steamboat does his “hammerlock the arm with his feet and fall backwards” move, into a bridging hammerlock. Man, I miss Steamboat. I mean, Pillman too, but you get the feeling that if not for the back injury, Steamboat would still be carrying guys to **** matches today whereas Pillman was falling apart even in 1995. We return from a commercial break with Austin controlling Steamboat and getting a backbreaker. He drops some knees for two. The Blonds go to work on Steamboat in the corner with their usual awesome heel work, and Steamboat falls backwards out of the ring and lands on his head in a casually sick bump. Back in, he fights back on Pillman with a small package, but alas Douglas was busy arguing with the ref after getting sucked in, so no pin is counted. Austin comes in again and backdrops Steamboat, but gets caught with a sunset flip for two. He elbows Steamboat to stop that rally, and then clotheslines him down for two and chokes away in the heel corner. Shane protests again like a moron and Pillman adds his cheapshots. Steamboat tries to suplex Austin over the top and to the floor, but does it too close to Pillman and gets nailed as a result. Austin then sends Steamboat flying off the apron with a high knee, and Pillman slams him on the floor for good measure behind the ref’s back. This is just awesome tag team wrestling. Austin chases, but Steamboat fights back valiantly, only to get clobbered while diving for the tag. He sends Austin into his own turnbuckle, but Pillman dives in and cuts off the tag again, and hits the chinlock to keep him there. For the person who asked, this is where a chinlock is an effective way to further the storyline – it keeps one member of the team immobile in the heel corner and gives the fans a chance to build sympathy for him. Steamboat fights free and collides with Pillman for a double KO, but Austin JUST BARELY cuts off the hot tag with a backdrop suplex for two. Awesome. Pillman gets cute with Air Pillman, however, and hits the wrong guy, allowing Steamboat to make the tag but he crawls to the wrong corner because he’s so beat up. I love this guy. Austin tries to cut off the tag again with the suplex, but Steamboat reverses and makes it. Great booking there, with the callback to the previous spot. Douglas cleans house and gets two on Austin, and it’s BONZO GONZO. Pillman takes Steamboat out with a clothesline, but Douglas shoves Austin into Pillman and rolls him up for the pin to retain at 15:13. God DAMN this was a hot tag match. ****1/4

– Takashi Suigiara & Daisuke Ikeda v. Takeshi Morishima & Takeshi Suigara. This is from NOAH. The Takeshis are a couple of lumpy dudes. Suigiara & Ikeda attack to start, and Ikeda gets a death valley driver, then Suigiara starts laying in the knees in UFC-ish fashion. Forgive me for not being able to distinguish the Takeshis because there’s no ring introductions. Ikeda gets dumped and a Takeshi follows, but walks into a trap and gets his ass kicked. Ikeda absolutely hammers on him with high kicks on the floor, and they head back to ringside, for a spike piledriver on the concrete. Okay, OUCH. Back in, Suigiara gets two. Suplex gets two, but Takeshi comes back with a Bossman slam and a corner clothesline series. Lariat gets two. Ikeda kicks him in the face and gets a backdrop suplex to stop that rally, however. Running leg lariat gets two. They hammer on Takeshi, but he keeps absorbing the blows and fights back until Suigara takes him down with an armbar. Overhead suplex gets two. Back in the corner, Ikeda kicks away and works on the leg, and gets a figure-four. Suigara assists by rolling them over when Takeshi tries to reverse, and then pulls the ropes away. That’s so cool. He comes in and spears Takeshi, and they start brawling outside. Finally the other Takeshi gets tagged in (who I believe must be Suigara judging by the commentary) and pounds on Suigiara (and you thought keeping Three Minute Warning straight was confusing). Chokeslam and it’s a big brawl, but they start throwing lariats and the Takeshis take over. Suigara gets a powerbomb on Suigiara for the pin at 13:32. Couldn’t get into it too much, but it was pretty good in terms of guys dishing out a beating. ***1/4

– Tatsumi Fujinami v. El Canek. This from 1979 in New Japan with surprisingly clean VQ, too. Fujinami is young and RIPPED here. Ah, back in the days. Canek goes behind to start and they reverse off that as Canek takes him down and works the arm. They do the test of strength, but Fujinami reverses out of it into a hammerlock. Canek goes to a kneebar and then starts twisting the arm, into a stepover variation on the surfboard. Fujinami escapes with a dragon screw, and we’re back to square one. Fujinami takes him down with a sleeper, which Canek reverses. They criss-cross and do a nice tumbling series that ends with Fujinami taking him down with a pair of flying headscissors. Fujinami is the guy who basically invented this stuff, you have to keep in mind. Canek reverses to his own headscissors and figure-fours the arm with his legs. That’s almost a triangle choke, in fact. Fujinami bridges out of it, but only succeeds in rolling himself back into a hammerlocked position instead. Time for a new gameplan. Canek goes to a headlock and overpowers Fujinami, but gets slammed before coming back to the chinlock again. Fujinami overpowers him this time and they criss-cross again before Canek dropkicks him out and follows with a pescado. Fujinami sends him into the post, however, and heads back in to cut him off on the way back in. He rips at the mask while pulling Canek back in (and ramming him into the post), and then dropkicks him square off the apron and follows with a tope suicida. In 1979! That’s heavy shit. Back in, Canek gets a suplex and starts working on the knee, and they kind of mess up a press-slam spot as Fujinami slips out of his grasp and hits the mat again. Canek decides to remove Fujinami’s boot and really start pounding on the ankle. Can’t argue with that plan. A stepover toehold and more stomping sets up a Torture Rack, using the ankle for leverage. Fujinami pokes him in the eye to break. This is getting vicious and ugly. You’ve gotta love that. Canek hits him with a flying forearm for two as the crowd FREAKS. Fujinami fights back, but a knee to the gut drops him again. He bails, and Canek dropkicks him off the apron and follows with a crossbody to the floor. Unfortunately camerawork wasn’t as good back then and this stuff is mostly missed. Back in, Fujinami blocks a bulldog, and dropkicks him in mid-air to stop a cross-body, and that’s enough for the pin at 16:57. Cool beans. ****

– Yoshinobu Kanemaru & Tsuyoshi Kikuchi v. Jushin Liger & Minoru Tanaka. From New Japan, continuing the NJ v. NOAH feud that was started on the Best of Japan 2002 comp. I absolutely LOVED the first match in the series, so hopefully this will continue that trend. Liger has a bizarre all-red version of his suit, making him look somewhat more Satanic than usual. And yeah, I mixed up Kanemaru & Kikuchi last time, my bad. The NJ crew attacks to start and Liger goes BONKERS on Kanemaru as they go brawling out of the ring. In the ring, Tanaka misses a dropkick, as does Kikuchi. Tanaka starts chopping away, but Kikuchi hammers the leg with low kicks and rolls into a hammerlock. Liger kicks him in the head until he releases, which the crowd doesn’t seem to appreciate. Kikuchi lays in the kicks again and goes to a headscissors, but Liger breaks it up AGAIN by slamming Kanemaru onto his own partner! This is so awesome. Kanemaru tags in and sends Tanaka to the floor, and slingshots back in for two. Kikuchi gets the rolling suplexes for two. Sideslam gets two. They double-team Tanaka with a clothesline and Kanemaru gets a frog splash for two. Camel clutch, and Kikuchi comes back in (taunting Liger in the process) and pounds on Tanaka, but gets suplexed. Tanaka goes to the cross-armlock, but Kikuchi blocks it and hangs on. He rolls over for two. Kanemaru tosses Liger, but Kikuchi gets caught in another armlock while trying a rollup on Tanaka. He makes the ropes, as Tanaka refuses to break and draws boos from the home crowd. Back to the Liger end of things, as Kikichi gets tossed and powerbombed on the concrete. Tanaka pounds on him and Liger kneedrops him onto the apron. Into the ring proper as Liger grabs a camel clutch and nearly pulls him into two, which Tanaka adds to by stepping on his face. I love these guys. They work on the legs while the crowd starts chanting for KIKUCHI. In a NEW JAPAN arena. Tanaka with the half-crab and the heels just keep walloping on poor Kikuchi. Tanaka kicks him in the back and does the old one-foot-cover for two. What a great sympathetic babyface Kikuchi is here. Liger piledrives him in dramatic fashion for two. He starts laying in the stomps like a madman as Kikuchi looks like he’s been shot in the stomach with a hollow-tipped bullet by his ex-wife and his dog died the night before. Now that’s selling. Tanaka gets a high kick for two, and he turns the cover into another armlock, but Kikuchi keeps hanging on and rolls to the ropes in desperation. Tanaka still won’t break on four and the crowd completely turns on him. Liger gets the shotay in the corner, but Kikuchi slugs back with elbows and makes the hot tag to Kanemaru, who gets a quebrada for two on Liger. Moonsault misses, however, and Liger hits him with a koppo kick and brings Tanaka in for the rolling anklelock. He escapes a suplex, but so does Tanaka, and Kanemaru powerbombs him and comes off the second rope for two. Moonsault gets two. Another suplex is reversed by Tanaka into the crazy flying armlock, but Kanemaru makes the ropes. Tanaka goes low and tries a backslide, but Kanemaru goes low in response. Oh yeah, now it’s getting down and dirty. Kikuchi & Liger slug it out now, and Kikuchi is a stubborn bastard and won’t go down. Powerbomb finally gets two. Tanaka fights them off, but walks into a leg lariat and soon everyone nails everyone else and they’re all down. Liger is the last man standing, but Kikuchi rolls him up for two. Liger brings him up for a top rope fisherman’s buster, which gets two. Brainbuster gets two, as Kanemaru lunges in for the save. Kikuchi comes back with a german suplex for two, and then a rolling version for two. Kanemaru takes out Tanaka with a brainbuster, leaving Kikuchi to hit Liger with a Blue Thunder Bomb for the pin at 22:22. Fuck it, you only live once, and this was as close to the perfect tag match as you’re gonna get these days. Undoubtedly had I seen this before the end of 2002, I would have voted it as the Match of the Year in a landslide. *****

– Yoshinobu Kanemaru & Tsuyoshi Kikuchi v. El Samurai & Masayuki Naruse. We’re back to NOAH now, 9/23/02. Jushin Liger is accompanying Samurai here so we know who is EVIL~! Hint: Liger spits on the fans on the way to the ring. Kikuchi is just crazy over as a babyface. He exchanges kicks with Naruse to start and they take it to the mat, as Naruse grabs a headlock. He starts kneeing the ribs, until Kikuchi takes him over to relieve the pressure. The partners run in to break things up, but counteract each other, leaving Naruse in control (and his feet on the ropes). Samurai DDTs Kanemaru on the ramp to keep him out of the equation, but Kikuchi fights off both invaders until getting hit by his own partner by mistake. Naruse tries a high axe kick, which is blocked, but Kikuchi’s arm is caught in the process and he’s taken down with a triangle choke. Kanemaru breaks it up, but Samurai takes him out again and Naruse hangs on with an armlock until Kikuchi makes the ropes. Naruse just kills him with knees in the corner and leaves him in a daze, then starts with the kicks to the head instead of the knees. Kikuchi keeps fighting up and slugs him down with a running elbow, and makes the tag to Kanemaru. High dropkick for Naruse and the heels collide, allowing a rollup for two. Moonsault misses and Naruse spears him, as Samurai tags in for the first time. He dives onto Kanemaru with a tope suicida and rubs the boot in for good measure while Liger converses with the referee. Naruse assists by laying in the high kicks, and back in they go. Samurai chokes Kanemaru out on the ropes and pounds him in the corner, then follows with a corner clothesline as they head up. Top rope rana is blocked, however, and Kanemaru follows him down with a jumping DDT and makes the hot tag to Kikuchi. He elbows Samurai in the corner and tosses him into the middle of the ring for another running elbow that knocks him out, and Kanemaru comes back in to hang Samurai in the Tree of Woe and dramatically dropkick him in the face. He slingshots out of the ring, legdropping Samurai on the apron on the way down. That’s NUTS. Back in, a senton gets two. Kikuchi misses a charge, and keeps charging until he gets a lariat out of it. Now THAT’S persistence. Samurai reverses a suplex into the inverted DDT and a hammerlock, but Kikuchi blocks it. Kanemaru breaks it up anyway. Naruse comes in, but walks into a dropkick from Kikuchi, and Kanemaru misses a Lionsault. Naruse gets a capture suplex for two. German suplex gets two as Samurai & Kikuchi brawl all over the place. Kanemaru goes low and gets a brainbuster, allowing him to go up with a perfect moonsault for two. Back up again with a flying DDT that gets two. Had my hand on the stopwatch for that one. A ROLLING BRAINBUSTER gets the pin at 14:32. Holy crap on a crutch. ****1/4 Kikuchi & Kanemaru are like the Baskin-Robbins of tag wrestling right now, with 31 flavors of AWESOME thanks to Kikuchi’s amazing selling and facial expressions.

– Ric Flair v. Ricky Morton. From NWA TV in April 1990. Morton grabs a headlock to start and they fight over it in the corner before Morton backs off. Flair tries it now, but Morton gets his own and holds on as Flair tries to flip him away. Flair tries another suplex out, and Morton keeps rolling into the move again. Back to the corner, where Morton just starts firing away and backdrops Flair out of the corner, into a dropkick, and back to the headlock. Flair brings him to the corner and gets drawn into a slugfest, which Morton wins, and a rana sets up another dropkick, and back to the headlock. Morton must be motivated here. Flair pulls him out of the ring to break the headlock, but Morton punches him in the mouth and heads back in. Flair decides to take a walk to buy some time, but suckers Morton over to the corner and pulls him out. Morton is one step ahead, however, and he’s ready with more punches and a trip to the post. Back in, Morton slugs him down for two. Morton overpowers him, and then opts out of the criss-cross and rakes the face instead. Flair tries chopping, but gets slugged down for his troubles. Flair tries exchanging rights instead of chops, but loses that battle in a hurry and takes a powder again. I’d go for the legs, personally. We’ll see. Back in, Flair calls for time and then gets a cheapshot, and now starts chopping. That works too. He makes the fatal error of “whooing” on an irish whip, however, and gets rolled up for two. That whoo will get you every time. Morton hammers away and gets another right, and Flair rolls out again. He tosses a chair in, but Morton gets it first and holds him off. Back in, Morton grabs a headlock and takes him down for some more punching, and Flair is lost. Flair Flip and he hits the floor again. Flair catches him on the way in and clotheslines him on the top rope, and now he should be back on offense. He starts chopping like he means business and drops the knee, for two. He works the pinfall, sensing Morton’s inability to fully kick out in the first place, which Terry Funk notes. Flair tries holding his hands down, but Morton kips up and fights back. Another backdrop out of the corner, but Flair goes to the eyes and tosses him. The classics never get old. They fight on the floor and Flair dumps him on the railing before heading back in. Back in, Flair hammers away in the corner and NOW he starts aiming for the knee. Backdrop suplex and NOW whoo we go to school, as he works on the knee with a kneecrusher, but gets sent into the corner again. Morton dropkicks him and gets his own figure-four, which gets him a near-fall before Flair makes the ropes. Morton blocks a hiptoss with an abdominal stretch, into a rollup for two. That’s pretty cool. Flair tosses him to cool things down, but Morton flips back in. Flair grabs the ropes for the pin at 15:49. You’d think Morton would have learned after all those years not to try that. Awesome TV match with Morton looking like his prime again, if only for 15 minutes. ****

– El Pantera & Negro Navarro v. Ultimo Vampiro & El Dandy. I’m not really big on reviewing lucha libre, but we’ll give it a shot. Pantera had a cup of coffee in the WWF a few years ago when Taka was the champion, but that’s all I know of him. Navarro elbows Dandy out of the ring to start, while Pantera has Vampiro wrapped up on the ropes. They work Vampiro over in the corner and Navarro punches Dandy down and then takes Vampiro down with a fireman’s carry into a Pantera senton, for the pin, while Pantera gets a deathlock on Dandy for the submission and the first fall at 2:50. Lucha rules have always struck me as goofy. Second fall: Navarro slugs Vampiro down, but gets clubbed by Dandy. Vampiro chases Pantera around the ring until Pantera offers an obviously sincere handshake of friendship. And then kicks him in the gut. Vampiro reverses out of a powerbomb and Pantera bails, so we get Dandy and Navarro again. Navarro works him over with Dundee-like punches, but Dandy fires back with his own. Dandy elbows Pantera off the apron and Vampiro comes in to continue his issue with Pantera, but gets overpowered before coming back with a clothesline for two. A rollup by Dandy and a Sharpshooter by Vampiro take the second fall at 10:30. Third fall: Pantera brawls out with Vampiro right away, and they head back in for an F5 from Pantera. He goes for the mask and rips some of it off before bringing Navarro back in for a headscissors. Dandy is OUTRAGED at the nefarious tactics being used by the heels. He breaks things up and gets into a fistfight with Navarro, and both guys lose. Navarro comes back and starts throwing down again, but Dandy snapmares him into a headscissors of his own. Navarro rolls him up for two, but Dandy reverses to a figure-four. Pantera comes in to break up the hold, unsuccessfully. Dandy releases and starts firing away again, but so does Navarro, but Dandy surfboards him and gets a sunset flip for two. They switch off and Pantera goes with Vampiro again, getting a rolling cradle for two. Vampiro cranks on the leg and takes him down for two. Pantera messes up the Torito, however, and opts for a faceplant instead. Bow-and-arrow gets two. Navarro comes in and gets a pumphandle backbreaker into a hammerlock, and then slugs Dandy down as he comes in again. Dandy knees him down, but Navarro gets a rather uncomfortable looking submission hold, with the legs wrapped up and the arm hammerlocked, and stays on the arm. Dandy rolls into a backslide for two, and into a Sharpshooter, but Pantera breaks it up. Vampiro cradles Navarro for two. Navarro takes him down with a leglock, into a neat hanging Indian deathlock that leaves Vampiro with his shoulders on the mat for two. Pantera comes in with a sloppy powerbomb into another leglock on Vampiro, but Dandy breaks it up. Navarro gets a hammerlock rollup, but Dandy breaks up any potential pin and takes Vampiro’s place in the match again. Navarro starts unloading with fists again and Dandy answers and both are stunned. Dandy clotheslines him for two. La Majastral gets the pin at 24:54. That leaves Pantera alone, and Vampiro comes in but gets rolled up for two. Pantera gets a jawbreaker and a backslide for two. Rollup is reversed by Vampiro for two. Another one finishes things for Vampiro & Dandy at 26:15. Didn’t like the first couple of falls, but the last one was really good stuff, especially with the wicked worked punches from Dandy & Navarro and the crazy submission stuff. ***1/4 I’m still not a fan of the whole lucha libre style in general, though. I find it kind of, I dunno, low impact, if that makes sense.

– Billy Robinson v. Jumbo Tsuruta. I was going to close out the first half of this tape here, as we head back to AJPW in 1977, but unfortunately the VQ of this match is pretty much unwatchable, as it’s B&W and constantly breaking up. Oh well, c’est la vie.

– Ladder match: Fit Finlay v. Boston Blackie. This is from a Welsh group called Reslo in 1995, and we’ll end it here instead. It’s weird hearing the announcers speak actual Welsh, as you don’t normally think of Britain as a foreign country. Fit hammers him down and they exchange wristlocks before Blackie slugs him down. Fit tosses him and introduces him to the railing, but can’t get far with the ladder before Blackie attacks him from behind and rams him into it. Fit doesn’t take that crap for long, and starts ramming the ladder into his chest. A knee to the head sends Blackie into the mat, and Fit smashes the ladder on his back and onto his leg. He climbs in the corner (the belt is hanging in the corner rather than the middle) but Blackie brings him down again. Fit hammers him off the top and hangs him on the top rope, twisting the leg around the ladder in the process. They brawl outside and Blackie comes back with some brutal ladder shots of his own, choking Fit out when they head back into the ring. Fit puts the ladder in the corner and sends Blackie into it, then climbs again, but Blackie follows him up. He gets crotched and hits the floor, and Fit follows him out for more abuse. Another trip to the railing for Blackie follows, and Fit climbs for it again, but Blackie knees him out of nowhere and climbs over him, but gets crotched again. Hope he’s wearing a cup, geez. They head outside, where Blackie gets revenge for getting dropped on the railing all those times, doing it to Finlay in return, and fighting him off before slamming him on the floor and following him down with a splash from the apron. It misses, however, and Fit retrieves the ladder and dropkicks Blackie into the corner and out of his way. He climbs again, but Blackie returns the crotching this time and slugs away in the corner. Legdrop and he pounds Fit with the ladder and climbs again, but Fit yanks him down unceremoniously and drops the ladder on his head. Fit charges and misses and Blackie gets a suplex and grabs the ladder again, sending Fit crashing into it. He climbs again, but Fit upends the ladder. A nice straight shot with the ladder puts Blackie on the floor and Fit climbs and grabs the prize at 11:53. Nicely brutal and fast-paced Finlay match. ***1/2

– And we’ll wrap things up there and carry on later.

Next time: Bas Rutten does pro wrestling! IWA presents tequila shots between rounds of a match! Takayama beats guys up! Barry Windham is still alive? STAY TUNED for Part two of Schneider comp #22!

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