No snazzy intro to take up space this time. Let’s go right back into the list of crazy wrestling footnotes.
Picking up where we left off yesterday.
40) EDGE vs. MENG
Someone suggested including Owen Hart’s very brief WCW tenure on the list, but the truth is, he didn’t do anything interesting. He didn’t fight anyone worth talking about. On the other hand, Edge – or should I say Devon Striker – got to face the Taskmaster… who is also not worth talking about. I can’t think of a more sorry main event villain than Kevin Sullivan. The guy looks like his gimmick shouldn’t so much be “top heel” but “drunken uncle who also wrestles”.
Luckily, young Striker got to take on Meng. Meng, unlike Sullivan, is awesome and is worth talking about. Striker was an ill-fitting jobber for Meng to squash, considering he was a little bit taller and didn’t do such a good job making him look like a monster. Then again, he didn’t do a good job of wrestling either. He’s so green that his attempt at a crossbody is more like him telling Meng, “Hold on. Give me a sec. I’ll get there eventuall—there we go!” The only thing he did a good job on was, well, doing the job.
39) UNDERTAKER vs. RAZOR RAMON
Undertaker vs. Scott Hall is one of those matches that didn’t seem like a big deal until I thought about it. Hall spent most of his time in WCW and when he came back to the WWE as part of the nWo, the two never crossed paths due to both being heels. When he was in the WWF as Razor Ramon, he spent most of his tenure as a face, so there was no reason for him to take on Undertaker. Even when he was a heel for his first year, he was so protected in their attempt to make him a star that the idea of putting him up against the more-protected Undertaker was unlikely.
Yet the two did have a couple matches. The first time was in 1992 during a European Rampage tour. The second one happened months later as part of a Coliseum Home Video release. The second match is like the first one, only far better due to better chemistry, booking and commentary (Jim Ross, Bobby Heenan and Randy Savage). Both included the same lame ending where Razor decided that he was getting nowhere and simply walked off, getting himself counted out. Like I said, he was protected.
38) KANYON vs. SHARK BOY
Kanyon and Shark Boy were close friends and regularly met up on the indy circuit, so that pairing itself isn’t so jarring. It’s the fact that they met up in a WWE dark match that was also meant to test the waters (no pun intended) for Kanyon’s new valet dynamic. Kanyon had worked in OVW for a bit, managed by Tough Enough winner Jackie Gayda. The two of them came up to debut the ill-fated teaming where they even did a pre-match backstage promo for a match that wasn’t even going to be televised. The match itself was pretty damn good with the crowd getting really into it. Shark Boy was over as hell and the two played off of it really well. Kanyon won due to Jackie’s interference and she’d end up having the most successful WWE career of the three. Oh well.
I wrote a whole paragraph about Chris Kanyon without making a single joke involving Jackie Gayda’s name. I’m proud of myself!
37) GIANT GONZALEZ vs. KAMALA
This is the first match on my list that doesn’t have a YouTube link. If there’s footage of this match, it’s probably buried in the desert to prevent evil people from turning it into a weapon. For the sake of fishing for trivia, I looked into the history of Giant Gonzalez/El Gigante to see all of his in-ring opponents. I saw a lot of mentions of jobbers, Randy Savage and Undertaker, but the news that there was a Raw dark match between Gonzalez and Kamala shook me to the core. I’ve tried to imagine what such a match would be like and every time I black out and wake up in the forest, covered in way too much blood for it to be mine.
Dark match, indeed.
36) SABU vs. THE DANCING FOOLS
Suggested by Iskanderson
(Heh. Love the way Sabu and Disco’s pics go together)
Sabu being in WCW is one of those mental blindspots where I’ve heard it mentioned, but every time I hear about it, it always hits me as a surprise. He only spent about a month there, but he did get a couple notable matches. For one, he got to take on Jerry Lynn in WCW territory. That’s something.
What catches my attention is how the Boogie Knights were his boogie bookends. Sorry, that was terrible. Anyway, Sabu’s debut was against Alex Wright, who was fresh off a win against Diamond Dallas Page the night before. Their match was incredibly cool, just for the complete contrast in depiction. One represented WCW (or at least the part of WCW that didn’t suck) and the other represented ECW, yet they worked well together. Sabu won with some kind of top-rope Victory Roll move, but then had the decision reversed in Wright’s favor after he kept beating on Das Wunderkid and put him through a table.
Sabu’s final match was against Disco Inferno and while the match is nowhere near as good as Sabu/Wright, it’s still worth looking at for the surreal image of Disco trying to dance while evading a psychotically violent Sabu lunging at him. Again, Sabu won, only this time, when he put Disco on the table and jumped out of the ring, Disco scooted out of the way and ran for it. Sabu cracked the table, but failed to break it, causing the laughter of a nearby child. He had a temper tantrum, ending his WCW tenure as only Sabu could. Botching up a storm.
The best part of these matches? Bobby Heenan doing commentary for Sabu. Feels weird.
35) ARACHNAMAN foils THE OUTSIDERS
Arachnaman is one of the funnier dumb gimmicks in wrestling history. Brad Armstrong having to wear a horrid yellow and purple Spider-Man costume while pretending to be the wall-crawler in wrestling form. Hailing from “Web City”, the amazing, spectacular, friendly neighborhood Arachnaman lasted only two months before Marvel threatened legal action. During that time, he mostly got wins on the house show circuit. One of his first wins was against the Diamond Studd in Albuquerque while a later victory came against Oz. Yes, Diamond Studd and Oz. Also known as Scott Hall and Kevin Nash.
What this means is that there was one force capable of taking out the duo that ran roughshod over WCW. Instead of waiting on Sting, perhaps they should have brought back the other guy with the comic book knockoff gimmick.
34) THE HURRICANE vs. AJ STYLES
Suggested by Dr. Video Games 0055
Coming off the heels of the Royal Rumble, Hurricane had a match on Metal against one AJ Styles. In the WWF. AJ Styles in the WWF. Odd how the commentators refered to him as a virtual unknown since he was kind of getting a push in the latter days of WCW, but oh well. Styles mostly sold in the match, rarely getting in any offense. The crowd seemed more fixated on Hurricane’s sidekick Mighty Molly as they chanted for her while she did nothing more than stand still and watch the match. Styles briefly got things going in his favor, missed a Shooting Star Press and got taken out with the Vertibreaker.
Wow, Hurricane got to use the Vertibreaker at some point during that run? That’s more shocking to me than the whole AJ Styles thing.
33) RICKY STEAMBOAT vs. BRET HART
Suggested by Psychlone
This is a real right time/right place situation. Two legends who would have otherwise not clashed during their personal histories.
In the early days of Bret Hart’s WWF career, Ricky Steamboat thought he was too good to be a tag wrestler and should have broken into a singles career immediately. As part of this, he rallied to do a singles match with Bret that was just as good as it should be. According to the YouTube description, this was originally meant to be a Wrestlemania 2 match, but it didn’t pan out. While I disagree that Bret should have been a singles guy from the beginning (going single when the tag division was starting to die down was for the best), this would only have improved Wrestlemania 2. Instead, we had Steamboat and Hercules do a mediocre match while Bret was cannon fodder for Andre the Giant.
Watch the match. It’s good stuff.
32) RAZOR RAMON vs. CARLITO
YouTube (very beginning only with no sound)
There’s a guideline in wrestling that if a gimmick or storyline hasn’t been done in seven years, it’s fair game. That would explain how upon debut, Carlito Caribbean Cool was considered a total knockoff of Scott Hall’s Razor Ramon character, down to the lead-up vignettes. Carlito was one of the rare WWE wrestlers who got to do some side wrestling at another fed, in this case the World Wrestling Council in Puerto Rico, which is owned by his family. In 2007, they briefly brought in Scott Hall, who wrestled under the name Razor Ramon while wearing his dripping blood WolfPac tights. The two main evented a show where Razor proceeded to accuse Carlito of ripping off his gimmick before the two went at it. Carlito won thanks to interference from the world champion Apollo and afterwards flicked Razor’s toothpick down at him before leaving.
The two met up the very next night in a triple threat match against Apollo, where Razor won and became champ. He remained champ until having to forfeit the title.
While Hall was long past his prime, the very idea of these two going one-on-one is the definition of a dream match. It’s like something out of WWE All-Stars.
31) TONY ATLAS vs. STING
Tony Atlas’ heyday was before my time. I started watching wrestling when he made his return as Saba Simba and we know how well that went over. I didn’t see him again until that MTV True Life special that showed him as a down-on-his-luck has-been, where he came off as a more endearing Randy “The Ram” Robinson. I was surprised to discover that he did some work in WCW after the Saba Simba fiasco and one of his matches was against Sting. While he still had the physique, he was still a bit stiff in movement and being in his mid-40′s didn’t help. At least the story of the match was cool. Sting needed to build himself up so he could win a rematch against Big Van Vader. With Vader considered the strongest force in WCW, Sting decided the best way to train would be to fight the second strongest man. No idea why Atlas had Cactus Jack in his corner, but it adds another wrinkle in the bizarre cocktail that is this match.
30) RAVEN vs. ROB VAN DAM… in WCW
Suggested by LordPants
Years before the two worked out the kinks in their styles and became lynchpins in ECW’s pantheon, Raven and RVD had a short, though competitive match in WCW under the names Scotty Flamingo and Robbie V. As Flamingo, it’s hard to mentally link him as being Raven outside of appearance. He’s an over-the-top cocky heel who gets a little too angry at how the fans perceive him. I can’t quite explain it, but there’s some kind of Michael Ian Black quality with him. Robbie V, on the other hand, is most definitely what I’d expect from a WCW-style prototype of the Whole Fucking Show. He was thinner, wore no boots and came out in a martial arts gi. The offense was definitely reminiscent, especially seeing him win the match with a split-legged moonsault. Watching the match, Robbie V felt like one of those characters you’d see in a Fire Pro Wrestling game where it’s blatantly a well-known wrestler, but they changed his name and appearance enough for legal deniability.
29) WWF vs. WCW in ECW
This one is very well-known, but even to this day I can’t get over it. Months before, ECW’s Taz left the company for the WWF and got a fond farewell. He had a big debut and an extra Z in his name for licensing purposes and then promptly fell into obscurity due to the coming of the Radicalz taking his heat and injuries putting him on the shelf. ECW’s champion was Mike Awesome, who grew more and more annoyed at the company’s money problems and inability to pay him a lot of the time. When WCW offered him some cash to join them and bring the ECW title with him on the air, he went ahead and made his Nitro debut. The guys in ECW, as you can guess, were not very happy with this. Awesome agreed that he would make one more ECW appearance where he’d drop the belt to anyone they wanted.
Paul Heyman decided he’d stick it to WCW in the most hurtful way possible. When Awesome waited for his opponent, Tazz’s WWF theme started pumping and the crowd went into a frenzy. The match was very short and with the help of Tommy Dreamer, Tazz ended up making Awesome tap to become ECW champion. It was insane. The idea of someone under contract from WWF taking on someone under contract from WCW was completely unheard of. The idea that this match would take place in ECW for their world title kicked it up a notch. There are a lot of ways you can say this situation is a microcosm of the industry during the Monday Night Wars, but none more accurate than pointing out that in the end, only WWF won from this match. Everyone else lost.
28) LANNY POFFO vs. BLACK MACHISMO
Suggested by The Duck of Death
I have to admit, whichever promoter came up with this deserves a high five. This is brilliant. At some point in Jay Lethal’s TNA career, it was decided that his Randy Savage impersonation was good enough to make into a gimmick and while it’s easy to argue that he went with it for far too long, it’s still a pretty amazing impression. And so, Lethal remained Black Machismo for most of his TNA career and even still breaks it out once and a while these days.
In Pro Wrestling Syndicate, they signed the Battle of Brothers From Different Mothers. The Randy Savage impersonator vs. Randy Savage’s brother “The Genius” Lanny Poffo. I can’t quite make out what Machismo was saying before the match and it took me about halfway into the match to realize that Poffo was playing heel, but the match is fun shit. The highlight to me is when Machismo grappled Poffo into the corner and gave him a brotherly hug to mess with him. Poffo’s always seemed like one of the coolest guys from a scummy era, so it’s great to see him embracing Machismo’s tribute like that.
27) RANDY SAVAGE vs. STEVE AUSTIN
Suggested by Eugene Jerome
Oh, what an injustice this one is. Savage was still fairly new to WCW and Stunning Steve Austin was on his way out. Hell, by the time this aired on WCW Saturday Night, he was already gone. Imagine these two major names in the wrestling world going at it… and yet it only lasted two minutes. Savage won without breaking a sweat. Jesus, Bischoff really did NOT think much of Austin because even as a WCW midcarder he deserved far better than that.
I should have more to say about this epic pairing, but man, I got nothing to work with.
26) GIANT SILVA vs. THE GREAT KHALI
You know what? I remember when I was ten I thought the idea of having Sid Justice fight Zeus would be a cool match. So I can forgive this match for taking place. While people mention Khali in the same breath as Giant Gonzalez, it’s easy to forget that Giant Silva was there in-between. He appeared as a member of the Oddities back in the late 90′s WWF, but he was mostly relegated to the background due to how terrible he was in the ring. Khali? Not so good either.
Before Khali joined WWE, he wrestled in New Japan as Silva’s tag partner. Eventually, they broke up and we got the blow-off to their feud. It was a strange few minutes, mainly to how it almost appeared like two regular-sized dudes slowly fighting in a smaller ring. It’s like that one Twilight Zone episode where Mickey Rooney was a jockey who kept getting taller and they illustrated it by filming inside increasingly smaller sets. It got to the point where it was almost watchable until Silva brought out a Spear so ugly that you could hear someone in the crowd laughing his ass off. Silva did a splash off the second rope and the match mercifully ended.
25) THE IRON SHEIK vs. THE UNDERTAKER
The Iron Sheik’s early 90′s WWF gimmick always confused me. For those who weren’t watching or don’t remember, the America-hating former champion returned as a member of the pro-Iraqi Sergeant Slaughter’s stable. Even though it would have made perfect sense to just keep him as the Iron Sheik, they instead labeled him Colonel Mustafa despite obviously being the same guy with the same gimmick. He even had the same curly shoes! I seem to recall one of the commentators – Gorilla Monsoon, I believe – outright calling him a former world champion during a match and pointing out that he was the Sheik. So what the hell?
The Colonel Mustafa run didn’t last too long and only existed for the sake of backing up Slaughter and then giving Slaughter someone to strike against when they tried to turn him patriotic again. Once that was done with, he was pretty much pointless and lacked the weight that you’d expect from a WWF Champion in the days when being champ was a bigger deal.
Undertaker, on the other hand, was on his way to true stardom. He spent a little over a year as a heel, but the crowds really took to him and it was decided that he’d turn face. I still consider his initial face-turn to be one of the most masterfully done ones in wrestling history. Upon turning on his sinister partner Jake “The Snake” Roberts, they booked him to face Mustafa on a match shown on Prime Time Wrestling. The battle of former champions was a mighty short one. The bell rang, Undertaker scooped up Mustafa, drove him down with a Tombstone and it was over.
Who’s humbled now?
24) TERRY FUNK vs. FREDDY KRUEGER
Freddy Krueger’s been around. He’s gone several rounds with Jason Voorhees, had a couple comic book battles with Ash Williams, terrorized DJ Jazzy Jeff and the Fresh Prince, spooked the Fat Boys, faced down Dokken and fought against Shao Kahn’s Outworld invasion. With all that, it shouldn’t come to such a surprise that he went toe-to-toe with the middle-aged and crazy Terry Funk.
From what research I’ve done, this was part of an NWA tag tournament back during the days when Memphis wrestling had guys wrestle while dressed as Hollywood monsters. Nightmare Freddy was really Doug Gilbert teaming with what was supposed to be Michael Meyers against Funk and his partner Keisuke Yamada.
That’s all complete bullshit. Here’s the real deal. What that YouTube clip shows? Never really happened. It’s a dream sequence. Keisuke Yamada was really a Japanese foreign exchange student who came to America and studied in Springwood while staying with a nice family on Elm Street. All of his friends mysteriously died in their sleep until Freddy came for him in the dream setting of a Japanese wrestling event. Keisuke simply used his own dream powers to summon Terry Funk to not only beat the shit out of Freddy (and his mime friend), but to put the fear of God in him. Freddy never bothered him again. Mission accomplished.
This happened. Shut up.
23) EDDIE GUERRERO vs. JIMMY JACOBS
Suggested by apsouthern
In Eddie Guerrero’s final months, he took on a local jobber who would one day tear it up in Ring of Honor. Eddie was in the middle of his heel run against Rey Mysterio, so he brought Rey’s mask with him to the ring. He effortlessly wiped the floor with Jacobs, allowing him zero offense. Then he put the mask on him, beat him even more severely, gave him a Brainbuster on a chair and lost by disqualification. It must have hurt Jacobs something fierce because he didn’t even sell it as knocking him unconscious, much to Eddie’s open frustration.
When you look at it, Jacobs is one of the last people to have a win over Eddie! Good for him!
22) JEFF HARDY’s jobber days
It’s no secret that before the Hardy Boyz became a household name in the late 90′s, they worked their way up via lots of squash matches. While Matt has played the jobber role for just as long, it’s Jeff whose path has more notable moments mixed in. Over the course of those years, he laid down for the likes of King Kong Bundy, Hunter Hearst Helmsley, Waylon Mercy and so on. His debut match was against the 1-2-3 Kid, which was pretty competitive since they wanted 1-2-3 Kid to appear as an underdog. Losing to Owen Hart led to Owen’s partner Yokozuna making an example by Banzai Dropping onto poor Jeff. Razor Ramon made short work of him, but then got distracted by Goldust’s personal usher and got counted out, giving Jeff the win. Before hitting it big, both Hardy brothers were put against “Dr. Death” Steve Williams in a handicap match that they promptly lost in a minute, give or take.
At least he looked better there than his match against Sting.
21) KAMALA vs. DANIEL BRYAN
Now this one is a mind-bending trainwreck. Liberty City Wrestling had a main event where Bryan Danielson defended the Ring of Honor Championship against the Ugandan Giant Kamala. The heel Prince Nana made himself the referee, putting Danielson at a disadvantage. The stipulation of putting the ROH belt on the line is like the cherry on top of a “what in the fuck” ice cream sundae with this one. The match itself? Not so good. Danielson tried his hardest, but just couldn’t get a good match out of Kamala. After Nana screwed him over via slow counting when Danielson had the match won, Danielson took Kamala on outside the ring, where they brawled for what appeared to be forever. The fight went to outside the building twice and thankfully ended when Prince Nana disqualified Danielson for throwing him into a wall. A match was signed of Danielson and a mystery partner against Kamala and a mystery partner, but I can’t find any word on what the follow-up to that was.
Coincidentally, despite the small turnout, I recognized a couple people in the crowd who I personally know. Maybe I should ask one of them what became of that feud. Then again, do I really want to put myself through another Danielson/Kamala match?
With that one out of the way, we only have 20 entries left. Join me next time as we finish off the countdown.