The SmarK 24/7 Rant – Large and In Charge!
– Yeah, so it’s my last month of 24/7, and what do I get? "Classic" big man matches hosted by the Great Khali. What is this, a rib on me personally or something? Might as well go out reviewing, I guess.
Andre the Giant & Hillbilly Jim v. Big John Studd & King Kong Bundy
From MSG in 1985, this is about as "super-sized" as you could get back in the day. Probably drew more than a few huge houses with this match on top, too. Big brawl to start and Andre kicks Studd’s ass out of the ring, which draws a huge reaction from the crowd. Studd comes back in and Andrew whips him into Jim’s big boot, which puts Studd on the floor again. Lemme tell ya, Andre the Giant is the one guy you really didn’t want to piss off, both in real life and in character. Studd and Bundy try to double-team Andre in the corner, but he kicks Bundy the hell out of there and tries a slam on Studd, which only barely misses. Another try and he’s $15,000 richer. Over to the face corner and Andre lets Jim come in and try a slam, but Studd grabs the top rope to block. That would have been an expensive night for Studd. Jim fires away with forearms, so Bundy comes in. Bundy elbows him down, but misses the splash, so the heels regroup again. Bundy and Jim do the test of strength, and Studd comes in for a corner splash attempt that misses. So it’s back to Andre, but he’s so concerned with cutting Studd’s hair that he puts his head down and gets nailed by Studd. So it’s over to the heel corner for a double-team, and Bundy works on a facelock. The heels work him over in the corner as the pace slows right down. Bundy pounds away in the corner and tries the Avalanche, but he knocks Studd off the apron by mistake. Andre can’t escape, though, and Bundy keeps choking in the corner instead to keep him down. However, Studd comes in and gets double-teamed by the babyfaces now, and Andre again wastes time trying to cut Studd’s hair. That’s a little dangerous with those scissors. He gets a few snips and everything breaks down, as Studd and Bundy double-team Andre again and everyone seems kind of lost. Finally Andre fights them both off and boots Bundy down before going after Heenan. It’s BONZO GONZO and the ref just calls for the bell at 14:12. Well you know no one was jobbing here. Didn’t really go anywhere but it was pretty fun while it lasted. ***
El Gigante v. One Man Gang
Oh COME ON. This is a legendarily awful match from Great American Bash ’91, the worst PPV of all time. Gang runs away to start, but Gigante tosses him back in and uses the CLUBBING FOREARMS to put Gang on the floor. Back in, Gigante gets a hiptoss and continues pounding away in the corner, but misses a terrible-looking charge. Gang hits him with a clothesline and Gigante can’t even sell that properly, moving in entirely the wrong direction and staggering around like he’s been sniffing glue or something. Kevin Sullivan hits him with a wrench to put Gang in control and let’s just say Gigante’s selling makes his offense look impressive. And then they hit him in the leg with the wrench and he’s gotta sell the LEG now. Then Gang switches to the back and I’m almost feeling sorry for Gigante because he’s just totally clueless out there. The big fat splash gets two for Gang. Jim Ross refers to Gang as "The OMG" which sounds pretty funny now. Gang goes up for god knows what reason and Gigante slams him off to make the comeback. But oh no, Gang has POWDER, which Gigante kicks back in his face and clotheslines him for the pin at 6:14. He can’t even PIN someone properly! Mind-numbingly awful. -***
Battle Royale of EPIC FAIL
From Smackdown in July 2007, this is for the Smackdown World title because everyone loves battle royales. I forget why the title was vacant, something to do with injuries. And later on Cole confirms that it was because Edge injured himself yet again, so there you go. Mark Henry tosses both of the Major Brothers (aka the Edgeheads later on) and Khali pounds Shannon Moore out and tosses Funaki. We take a break and return with the Henry-Khali showdown, but Kane and Batista break it up. Everyone gangs up on Henry and dumps him. Kind of funny and sad to see all the guys like Deuce & Domino, the Majors, Dave Taylor, Eugene, Moore, Chris Masters and Kenny Dykstra, who were supposed to be the next generation of stars but ended up getting cut a year later. Punch punch punch with absolutely nothing going on. Batista dumps both Deuce and Domino alone, then Dave Taylor, and Jamie Noble for good measure. Eugene sucks up to Kane and Batista and he’s gone too. Finlay and Batista battle on the ropes and that goes nowhere, and we take another break. Kenny finally goes out as we return, and MVP misses the running kick on Matt Hardy and gets dumped. Jimmy Yang lands in a Masterlock, but JBL correctly points out how stupid that is because it’s a battle royale. Yang and Chavo team up and get rid of Masters to prove him right. Yang takes Chavo out with a headscissors. Matt bulldogs Finlay and everyone lays around choking. Yang goes to the apron and Hornswoggle pulls him off and out. Who’s dumb enough to go to the apron in a battle royale? Khali boots Matt out as we’re down to the elite crew of Khali, Kane and Batista. Khali fights them both off and the CHOP OF DOOM puts them down, but Finlay returns with the shillelagh and clubs away on Khali before Batista spears Kane and tosses Finlay. Kane chokes Batista out on the ropes and they fight there, but Khali dumps them both to win the title at 16:55. Yes, someone actually thought that putting the title on GREAT KHALI was a good idea. THIS ACTUALLY HAPPENED. JBL: "You want to know why we’re the best show on TV? This right here in the reason." Um, yeah.
WWF World title: Hulk Hogan v. Yokozuna
Speaking of EPIC FAIL, this is the infamous match from King of the Ring 93 where Hogan met what everyone presumed to be the end of his WWF run forever and ever. It should be noted that Hogan is announced at "302 pounds" here despite obviously being off the juice and looking almost skinny. Seriously, if he came into WWE offices today looking for a job with that physique, they’d probably future endeavor him after a couple of tryout matches. A nice bit from the crack production crew here, as Hogan holds up the belt and they cut to a kid in the audience holding up his replica belt at the same time. That’s a cool little shot. They fight for the lockup to start and Yoko wins that one, then pounds on Hulk with the clubbing chops. And that goes on for a while. Avalanche misses and Hogan fires back in the corner and follows with a corner clothesline, but tries a slam and gets clubbed down. Another try and Yoko blocks it again and clubs him down again. Hulk comes back with clotheslines, but walks into one from Yoko. Yoko misses the big fat splash, but comes back with a big fat bearhug instead. Hogan slugs out, but walks into an elbow. Belly to belly suplex gets two, but it’s hulk up time. The pop for that is not what you’d expect. Like, there’s some big reaction from some people, but mostly it’s polite applause. Hulk with the big boot, which gets nothing, and the punches get nothing, as Yoko won’t go down. Yoko finally goes down after three big boots and the legdrop, but he kicks out at two and the crowd is STUNNED. That’s the most awesome crowd reaction ever. And then a photographer jumps up on the apron, blinds Hogan with the FLASHBULB OF DEATH, and the HULKBUSTING LEGDROP ends Hulkamania at 13:10. The Hogan fan’s jaw dropping at ringside is the best thing EVER. Screwjob finish aside, Yoko kicked out of the legdrop and then pinned Hulk with the same thing, which was a pretty huge "fuck you" from Vince to Hogan on the way out. Yoko gives him the butt-drop as one last kiss goodbye to kick off his title reign. Did we ever find out the identity of the photographer, by the way? Pretty terrible match, but a GLORIOUS finish. **
Jimmy Snuka & Greg Gagne v. Bruiser Brody & Nord the Barbarian
From WRESTLEROCK ’86, one of the most glorious trainwrecks in the AWA’s history. Funny to watch Brody clone John Nord teaming up with him here. Kind of sad too that Brody met the end he did and Nord continued stealing Brody’s act for years afterwards, but with 10% of the talent and none of the charisma. He’s announced from "Parts Unknown", but this is untrue, because Larry Nelson once noted that he was from "Norwegia" and you have to accept that as fact. This is a cage match because, I dunno, they needed a cage match I guess. They work Gagne over and then double-team Snuka in the corner, and Brody gets the big boot. Snuka comes back with the leapfrogs into the chop and it’s over to Gagne. He actually runs wild on Nord and Brody and people are supposed to BELIEVE this shit, but the heels take over on him again. Gagne is BLEEDING. He’s so manly, you know. Gagne fights back on Nord and sends him into the cage and now everyone is bleeding. Hot tag Snuka and he gets a fistdrop on Brody from the top for two, but Nord breaks it up. The heels work Snuka over in the corner and it’s breaking loose in Tulsa, but the heels collide. Then the faces collide. WTF? Who books that spot? This just totally falls apart with everyone out after that stupid spot, but the heels collide AGAIN and Snuka pins Nord at 11:29. This was going OK before the braindead finish with everyone apparently wrestling four different matches with four different finishes. Who would come up with a finish where everyone is incompetent and no one can hit anything? *1/2
WCW World tag titles: Shane Douglas & Ricky Steamboat v. Big Sky & Vinnie Vegas
From WCW Saturday Night in 1993, as Nash was coming to the end of the line for his WCW run. Big Sky is a big goof who got out of wrestling entire and went on to much bigger fame under his real name of Tyler Mane, playing Sabretooth in the X-Men movie. And I guess he’s Michael Myers in the new version of Halloween, too. The champs work Vinnie’s arm to start, but Sky comes in and gets nowhere. Steamboat works the arm, but Douglas comes in and Sky slams him as Jesse throws out the shout-out to SASKATCHEWAN on commentary. Tyler is a Saskatoonian so that’s pretty cool. We take a break and return with Vegas dropping an elbow on Douglas for two, then pounding on Steamboat in the corner. Sky hits Douglas with a tree slam behind the ref’s back. Double chokeslam on Douglas gets two. Douglas comes back with a faceplant on Vegas, but can’t quite crawl for the tag and it’s back to the heel corner for more abuse. Sky comes in and chokes Douglas down, and it’s Vegas with the Nash choke in the corner. Hairtoss from Sky, but Douglas fights out of the corner, knowing how to keep the fans into it with well-timed comebacks, and it’s HOT tag Steamboat. We are BONZO GONZO and the giants collide, as the champs dropkick them down. Double dropkick for Sky to put him on the floor, and they hit Vegas with a double hiptoss before Steamboat presses Douglas onto him. The Hollywood Blonds run in for the DQ at 9:26 and beat the holy hell out of Douglas. This was WAY more entertaining than it had any right to be, as Steamboat and Douglas show once again that if you stick a couple of talented babyfaces in a standard tag match and let them make comebacks at the right times, you can work miracles with nearly anyone. ***1/4
Tags: 24/7, Andre the Giant, Great Khali, Greg Gagne, SmarK Rants, WWE