Got some All Japan Pro Wrestling, IWA Mid South & WCW for you today…
British Bulldogs Vs Malenkos (AJPW: 1/88)- An interesting matchup from Japan here, although Dynamite was well on his way downhill at this point. The Malenkos actually looked like the more impressive team here, which isn’t surprising given Dynamite’s condition & the deterioration of Davey Boy & Dynamite’s relationship at this point. The Malenkos used a lot of nifty scientific wrestling stuff, which you’d probably imagine if you’ve ever seen Dean do his thing in WCW. This is like a lot of the Bulldogs matches during this time period where it’s a solid match, but never gets out of first gear. ***1/2
Devon Moore Vs Danny Havoc (IWAMS: KOTDM 2008)- This is the finals of the King of the Death Matches tournament so it has more stips than I care to list. I watched this because these two are supposed to be some of the best hardcore guys on the indy scene, but I can’t say I was too impressed. This genre of wrestling tends to have a lot more bad than good, and it just needs to be retired for a while because it’s completely played out. They just walk around and hit each other with light tubes for a while. There isn’t really any drama and it’s just like “ok I get it, you can take a light tube shot now do something else.” However, I will say the finish is absolutely crazy, with a Michinuko driver off a scaffold through a table covered in light tubes. I’ll go * on this just for that.
Foot Loose Vs Can-Am Express (AJPW: 10/20/89)- Foot Loose features future All Japan main eventer Toshiaki Kawada, while the Can-Ams were known as Doug Furnas & Phil Lafon in the US. Kawada works a lot different here than he would later in his career, less emphasis on hard strikes and more junior style stuff. I personally love the Can-Ams as a tag-team as they really complemented each other stylistically and always had solid matches, and a few great ones. This is a pretty fast paced matchup and the Can-Ams are great being brute foreign, double teaming and bullying the Japanese team. I thought this could’ve used a more dramatic finishing sequence, but the finishing move of a Doomsday Device, with a Bombs Away type dive instead of a clothesline is a move worth stealing. For some reason, I vaguely recall Dave Meltzer giving this a super high rating back in the day, but it’s not quite that good. ***3/4
TV: Steven Regal Vs Ricky Steamboat (WCW: Fall Brawl 1993)- The story coming into this, is that Regal attacked & injured Steamboat’s ribs the night before. Both guys are just fantastic incorporating the rib injury into the match and it makes this a stellar piece of work. I can’t say enough good things about Steamboat in this as EVERYTHING he does, offense or defense is affected in some way by the selling of the injured ribs. Regal is also great here, just constantly targeting the ribs, instead of doing the here, there, everywhere type of attacks you see in a lot of matches even when there is already an injury written into the storyline. WCW didn’t do a lot right around this time, but signing and pushing Steven Regal was one of the few things they did do correctly. ***1/2
Charlie Norris Vs Big Sky (WCW: Fall Brawl 1993)- And this is a prime example of stuff they didn’t do correctly. Big Sky is probably best known for playing Sabretooth in the first X-Men movie & Norris was a bargain basement Tatanka rip-off. This is actually the pinnacle of Norris’ work as I saw him kicking around the AWF in 1995 and he actually got worst which is impressive in that in 1993 if WCW would’ve signed one of those wooden cigar store Indians its workrate would’ve been like 100x that of one Charlie Norris. Big Sky really not that much better and this just dies in front of the crowd as they get hit with “We Want Flair” chants like maybe a minute in. This wasn’t even a quality match up for TV let alone PPV. *