The Top 60 Wrestling Matches That Surprisingly Happened (60-41)

December 7th, 2011 Posted by Gavok

While in the midst of dropping the ball on their epic CM Punk story, WWE put together a match between John Cena and Rey Mysterio for the WWE title with no prior advertisement on free TV. Now, while Cena and Mysterio are not my favorite guys in the company, I can’t help but think that they screwed up by not trying to siphon money out of what could have been a major money match. Not only is Cena – the guy who claims to be an underdog – taking on someone who is actually an underdog, but the whole thing is like Hogan vs. Warrior for this generation of wrestling-watching children. More than anything else, it’s one of the few fresh matches.

I looked into it and found that prior to this, they had clashed years earlier on Smackdown for a tournament. That got me to thinking about the surprising nature about wrestling’s history. There’s always plenty of trivia to be found, no matter how long you follow it. Who knew that the tag team the Blade Runners would each go on their separate ways to become two of the most popular names in the late 80’s/early 90’s as Sting and the Ultimate Warrior? At a Tribute to the Troops show, when Steve Austin entered the ring and delivered a Stone Cold Stunner in response to John Cena giving him the “You can’t see me!” gesture, who knew that this would be such a significant footnote?

There are a lot of matches in wrestling history that fit this bill. Dream matches that aren’t in the right time frame to be labeled a dream match. One man might be in the twilight of his career, facing a new up-and-comer who’s yet to prove himself but one day will. Maybe a classic matchup will take place a decade before either man is worth knowing. Two men regularly separated by story and company may have mingled ever-so-briefly on a TV match that nobody truly remembers.

With the help of Something Awful’s Punchsport Pagoda sub-forum, I’ve put together a list of the 60 matches that make me lift my eyebrow and say, “Wow. That match actually happened.” Jobber matches, house shows, C-level shows, forgettable Raw segments and more that look more interesting in retrospect. Today we’ll start with 60-41.

I should note that while I’ve been watching wrestling forever, I don’t know enough about Japanese wrestling to include it. Granted, I have some matches that take place in Japan and even a few with Japanese wrestlers acting as tag partners, but I’m too out of my element to measure matches like Inoki vs. Sid and Great Sasuke vs. Bob Backlund. For that, I apologize.

Let’s get started.

WWF, 1997/1998

Vader vs. Rock isn’t an overly rare match as it happened three times on Raw over the course of 97/98, but there’s a generational changing of the guard that makes it feel unique. The first time around, it was Intercontinental Champion Rocky Maivia defending against the big heel Vader, who had Paul Bearer and Mankind in his corner. The match appeared rather even until Mankind needlessly interfered and hit Rocky with an urn, getting Rock the DQ win.

Later that year, the two faced off again, this time with Vader as the face and Rock as the heel. On one hand, Rock was distracted by Steve Austin watching the match on top of a monster truck with AC/DC blaring. On the other hand, Vader was constantly attacked behind the ref’s back by the Nation of Domination and the Artist Formerly Known as Goldust. Vader completely no-sold the People’s Elbow to the point of throwing Rock off of him and then took after Goldust, getting himself counted out.

Once again, they fought, this time as a qualifying match for the King of the Ring tournament. This time, Vader got taken out by interference by Mark Henry, who splashed him on the outside and made him easy pickings for a Rock Bottom. Rock won, making it 3-0.

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All King of Trio’d Out

March 4th, 2008 Posted by Gavok

You may have noticed that for the past week or so, I haven’t said a damn word on this site. That’s because last Friday I went off to Philadelphia for the three day CHIKARA wrestling show known as King of Trios ’08. What a blast.

Me hanging out with Stupefied, El Generico and Player Uno. This should be the new Mount Rushmore.

King of Trios was the biggest tournament in wrestling history, featuring 28 sets of three-man tag teams. The first two days would feature 14 teams each, whittled down to four teams after ten matches and two byes. By the third night, they’re down to eight teams, with several non-tournament matches added on. Follow that? It doesn’t matter. All you need to know is that there were 31 matches over the course of three days and it was rocktastical.

That’s not to say that there weren’t any disappointments in the roster. CHIKARA top guys Chris Hero and Claudio Castagnoli are in Japan, so they missed out. Plus some of the more memorable guest stars from last year like Yago, Dino and American Balloon weren’t returning. Despite that, we had some of the reliable mainstays, surprisingly entertaining new guys and some bizarre surprises.

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Comics and Wrestling: The Parallels

August 30th, 2007 Posted by Gavok

About now I’m in the middle of writing three different articles while planning to finally update the Table of Contents. It’s annoying, because I want to have something to post, but I end up being torn between all the different projects and nothing really gets done in time. It’s like I’m a monster that has to choose between the scientist that created him or the loving child that befriended him. Too much time looking back and forth and too little time getting results.

What I’m meaning to say is that this here post is going to be really pointless. More so than usual.

As an introduction, let’s look at this quote from my interview with wrestler “Lightning” Mike Quackenbush:

“A certain type of personality and humor attracts a very specific demographic to CHIKARA, and in that way, we end up in bed with (figuratively speaking), and surrounded by, like-minded individuals. There are so many thematic similarities between pro-wrestling and comic books, that there is bound to be some level of crossover.”

This is very true. There are the obvious comparisons, like the concepts of heroes battling villains in a repeated contest of good vs. evil. Colorful costumes. Slick names, whether they be codenames or last names. Mantles are passed down. Bad guys turning to good guys. Good guys turning to bad guys. Characters with names like Sandman, Mysterio, Hercules, Nitro, Crossbones, Rorschach, the Punisher, etc.

But I got to thinking. There are a lot of similarities between comic books and professional wrestling that go unnoticed. Follow me.


In comics, one of the most entertaining guys is a talented man by the name of Morrison.

In wrestling, one of the most entertaining guys is also a talented man by the name of Morrison.

They both have connections to mind-blowing drugs, now that I think about it.

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Secret War Games: The Marvel WCW Comic Part 3

April 23rd, 2007 Posted by Gavok

We’re finishing off the trilogy of World Championship Wrestling articles here at 4th Letter, but first I want to talk about blame.

Ever since the moment I picked a couple of these issues up at New York Comic Con, my fellow 4L guys and my comic-reading friends all asked me the same question: why? Why would I do this to myself? Why am I always the guy on this site willingly reading comics I know are going to be lousy? The truth is, it’s all hermanos’ fault.

He and I are similar in terms of comic-reading background. He and I read stuff in the 90’s, only to break away from comics due to the Marvel Cloneslaught disaster. He got back in the game before I did and had more reading experience. He would be the one who would suggest comics that I would eventually follow obsessively. He suggested I read that Deadpool issue where he Shoryukens Kitty Pryde. He told me to read Kingdom Come. He told me that the Giffen/DeMatteis Justice League is good stuff. And I won’t even tell you how many times I had to hear him push Flex Mentallo in my direction before I submitted.

A problem arises from that. It gets annoying discussing things when he’s read pretty much everything I’ve read and more. Where’s my upper hand?

So I had to dig deep in the opposite direction. Has hermanos read the comic where Venom fights Carnage inside the internet? What about the one where Skeletor controls Superman’s mind and makes him beat up He-Man? Did he read Super-Villain Team… wait, hold on. Super-Villain Team-Up turned out to be pretty great. But he didn’t read the Tekken comic, did he?! And he’s a better person for it because that thing is a stinking turd on the level of the Doom comic.

But the Tekken comic review will be for another day.

I think I’m just stalling because the cover of issue #9 features the Steiner Brothers with the blurb, “The Steiner Brothers are cruisin’ for a bruisin’! Part 2 of 4!” At least Jesse Ventura is in the upper-corner logo. That’s as good a reason as any to keep moving forward.

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Secret War Games: The Marvel WCW Comic Part 2

April 14th, 2007 Posted by Gavok

We continue our look at the adventures of our Friendly Neighborhood Steve Borden. First, another wrestling history lesson.

This Ghoul storyline looks like it’s really meant to be a mix between two “mystery man” storylines WCW had done a year or so before the comic came out. The first was the infamous Black Scorpion storyline. WCW had done Sting vs. Ric Flair to death. They needed to give Sting a new rival. They came up with the Black Scorpion, a masked man with a distorted voice that would appear in taped segments, taunting Sting. He would bring up their past and how intimately they know each other. Then he’d do magic tricks because, you know, he’s mysterious and stuff.

WCW didn’t actually have any good ideas of who the Black Scorpion would turn out to be, so in the end, they just made him Ric Flair, thereby totally defeating the purpose of this storyline.

The other “mystery man” storyline involved a wrestler called the Halloween Phantom, who defeated the Z-Man at the pay-per-view event Halloween Havoc before unmasking. The following issues are more in tune to this one.

As any wrestling fan can tell you, most of these stories turn out to be convoluted messes by the time they’re done. Kind of like the Clone Saga, now that I think about it.

The next issue (we’re on #4, if you’ve lost track) begins with the new tag team of the Diamond Studd and Stunning Steve going up against the fictional cannon fodder Jersey Jerry and Mangy Matt. First a little something on Stunning Steve.

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Ruining the Moment: Volume 3

April 11th, 2007 Posted by Gavok

I should be finishing up my next installment of the WCW debacle, but it’s taking longer than I thought. Admittedly, it’s the least exciting of the three articles and it covers the most issues. Expect it up within the next few days. Honest.

In the meantime, how’s about we pass the time with more of these? For instance, in Annihilation, it was pretty badass when the Silver Surfer returned to Galactus’ thrall as herald. But I know the real reason Galactus was smiling.

Cassandra Cain Batgirl has been out of it for the past few months, acting like a villain and murdering people. I think I have an explanation.

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Secret War Games: The Marvel WCW Comic Part 1

April 3rd, 2007 Posted by Gavok

Chances are, you already know what World Championship Wrestling was. If not, you at least remember the days when World Wrestling Entertainment was referred to as the World Wrestling Federation. WCW was the WWF’s competition and for quite a long while, relegated itself to being a distant second.

Though the company leaked money for many years, it stayed afloat because it was billionaire Ted Turner’s pet project. He kept the fed around because it amused him. Sure, it had its talented wrestlers and a couple personalities like Big Van Vader and Cactus Jack that I admired, but I could never really get into it at that age. I was strictly WWF. Maybe it was just a sense of being loyal. Maybe it was the feeling of blandness that clouded a show that didn’t have the Undertaker and Ted Dibiase. Maybe I was turned off by the rules that dropped the entertainment potential like a rock (like being disqualified for throwing someone over the top rope, being on the top rope or even backdropping your opponent).

That’s in the past. The product would finally get the shot in the arm it needed in the mid-to-late-90’s and would, for a while, dominate the WWF. This lasted for only a few years before the WWF got its act together and fought back, using wrestlers that WCW discarded. Two of which appear heavily in this series I’m about to review. WCW lost its momentum thanks to a lot of amusingly bad decisions, many of which came from hiring the wrestling equivalent of Chuck Austen to write the shows. It eventually drowned on its own suck and was bought by Vince McMahon, who incorporated WCW and fellow beaten wrestling fed ECW into his own company, like some kind of Crisis in Infinite Arenas.

I’m getting ahead of myself. This 12-issue comic, released by Marvel, took place during 1992-93, years before the New World Order would turn the tide. At the time, WCW had its share of problems. Their golden boy Ric Flair was off in the WWF. Another mainstay, Sid Vicious, was also playing for the winners. WCW had talent, but it didn’t have much in terms of big names.

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A Slight Change of Plans

March 24th, 2007 Posted by Gavok

With a heavy heart, I have to announce that the next installment of Deadshot’s Tophat and Other Beginnings is on hiatus. Nobody is more shocked and outraged about this turn of events than former Intercontinental Champion Ricky “The Dragon” Steamboat.

I know, Nikita Koloff. I know. But I have a reason. A very good reason.

You may have noticed that I haven’t been writing too many updates lately. I’ve been using my free time to read through the latest Mick Foley autobiography, Hardcore Diaries. I loved his other two autobiographies, but this one left me sour. About as sour as Mick Foley comes across for most of this book. Interesting wrestling anecdotes take a backseat to stories of Mick meeting B-list celebrities, ragging on the President to the point that it gets real old, and telling countless stories about what a great humanitarian Foley is.

There’s something else I’ve been reading. Readers of the site might remember my acquisition of the first three issues of the Marvel WCW comic at the New York Comic Con. I decided that three issues wasn’t good enough. Not for me and not for you. Fortunately, I came across the entire run on eBay. Unfortunately, it means I own two copies of a comic issue featuring El Gigante. God help me.

I forced myself to read the series and it wasn’t easy. The Malibu Street Fighter comic wasn’t all that bad until the end. The Mortal Kombat comic was honestly pretty good in parts. Even Extreme Justice could keep my attention enough that I’d keep going on to see what could possibly be next. World Championship Wrestling, though, hurt. A lot. Once a friend got wind of what I was reading, he told me, “You could be doing literally anything else and it would be a better use of your time.”

But I can’t let you guys down. Deadshot’s Tophat can wait. I’m finishing up my last What If article (finally), but after that, it’s on. Me and the WCW comic. One-on-one. No holds barred. With hermanos barred from ringside.

Prepared to get Stingersized!

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Wrath of Comic Con

March 1st, 2007 Posted by Gavok

New York Comic Con has come and gone. Fuuuuun shit.

First, let me just go over last year’s show. I only showed up for Saturday. It was the first year of NYCC in the Jacob Javits Center, so they had no idea what they were doing. Me and my friend got there at about noon and already the place was pretty packed. You could barely move through the aisles and if you could, you couldn’t stop. We were packed like sardines.

Eventually, the fire marshal made a stink about the maximum occupancy on the floor. He was threatening to close the place down. Instead, they made a line into the convention floor that wouldn’t allow anyone – not even those with tickets – onto the convention floor unless someone in there exited first. For a few hours, this made things unbearable. Towards the latter hours, many of the people on line just plain left and things were a bit better.

The people behind the Comic Con insisted that they would fix the whole overpopulation problem. For one, they would limit the tickets. For two, they’d allow more room. Since I had a good time last year, I decided to go all three days. This time, I brought hermanos and Riskbreaker with me.

This is our story.

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The Top 100 What If Countdown: Part 14

September 26th, 2006 Posted by Gavok

The new Marvel solicitations have been released, detailing the new What Ifs. One is based on Deadly Genesis, which doesn’t interest me since I haven’t read that yet. The other, which looks to be awesome, is Age of Apocalypse. This time, Legion did kill Magneto… but he also killed Xavier. Judging from the cover, this could be very interesting.


Issue: Volume 1, #20
Writer: Tom DeFalco
Artist: Alan Kupperberg
Spider-Man death: No
Background: I myself haven’t read the Kree-Skrull War arc, but I get the gist of it from Wikipedia and the Watcher’s introduction. It doesn’t sound very good, all in all. The important parts to note are that the Super-Skrull had captured Captain Marvel, Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver with Captain America, Goliath (Pym), Iron Man, Thor and Vision off to save them. Rick Jones somehow got captured by some Kree guys as the Kree’s fleet prepared to invade Earth. In the end, Rick met with the Supreme Intelligence, who betrayed the Kree. He stimulated Rick’s mind so that he mentally projected memories of his childhood heroes (ie. the Invaders and the like) to beat up the Kree fleet. Sounds retarded, but it was the 70’s. This version of the story is far better. There’s a part of the original story where Rick Jones was brought before Ronan the Accuser. Rick stole a guard’s staff and attacked Ronan, only to do no damage. Ronan noted Rick’s courage and figured he’d make a good slave. In the Tom DeFalco version, Ronan is more pissed than amused and kills the boy with his cosmic hammer dealy. He calls for the fleet to make way to Earth and decimate it.

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