Classic Wrestling General Discussion & Review Thread
This is the place to discuss the careers of your favorite wrestlers, review classic matches, historic events, share videos, and more! So start discussing topics from the WWF, NWA/WCW, ECW, and the Territories.
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AWA World Heavyweight Championship Match Nick Bockwinkel(c) vs. Curt Hennig AWA Championship Wrestling from Las Vegas, NV 11/15/1986
“ARE YOU READY TO GO SIXTY MINUTES?”
The two very best wrestlers in the American Wrestling Association collide in a one fall match with a sixty minute time-limit for the Heavyweight Championship of the World. The challenger is second generation wrestler and son of Larry “The Axe” Hennig – Curt Hennig. The World’s Champion is the consummate professional and has wrestled and has defeated all that there is to defeat – Nick Bockwinkel.
Hennig has the youth and hunger to be a World Champion to his advantage because he has worked so hard for this moment. Bockwinkel is the “Man of 1000 Holds” and he has the experience and Championship advantage in this match. Hennig has to beat Bockwinkel via pin fall or a submission to win the title, Bockwinkel does not have to beat Hennig. He only has to secure his championship whether he pins Hennig, makes him submit or endures the time limit.
When I prepared to watch this match I knew it would run sixty minutes because well it said so on the program. What I wanted to find out was how were these two extraordinary wrestlers going to tell a story and keep me entertained for that amount of time? I’ve seen the “Flair Broadways” with Sting, Windham and Steamboat. I’ve experienced live on television Michaels/Hart, HHH/Rock and Angle/Lesnar and was impressed by them all. I can now add Hennig/Bockwinkel to that elite list of THE HOUR MATCHES.
The story in this match is actually broken down into three chapters:
1) A “catch-as-catch can” feeling out process that lasts for the first 15+ minutes. Bockwinkel tried to ground Hennig with a headlock which I must say the commentators explained expertly how a simple hold as this can be very excruciating when the aggressor of the move places the bone of his forearm into the skull of his opponent. Hennig countered out of the champion’s painful hold several times with arm drags and set him up in the armbar. These two are just getting warmed up!
I know there are many fans who do not like a slowly paced build in matches but I appreciate this structure so much as far as storytelling is concerned because it makes the finish that much more exciting.
2) Mat-based, almost amateur wrestling style, submission period. This period is 25-30 minutes of complete ground wrestling and I absolutely loved it! Hennig continued his attack on Bockwinkel’s left arm with knee drops straight into the targeted area.
My hats off to the psychology used by Bockwinkel with him missing a shoulder tackle and landing into the steel post to further damage his arm. Bockwinkel also shakes and stretches his hands on occasion to get feeling back into his arm which makes the wrestling so authentic.
Hennig then used a short-armed scissors which Bockwinkel fought for his life to get out of, even using the tights to try and get a cheap victory.
What was so intelligent about Bockwinkel resorting to that tactic was it allowed Henning to release the hold or be pinned and Bockwinkel was able to get a breather and rethink his strategy.
When the match proceeded, Hennig locked Bockwinkel back in the short-armed scissors but this time Bockwinkel wrestled his way out of the submission and caught Henning with a drop-toehold turned into a leg scissors submission. Now that is what I call a game play strategized in a few short moments and executed with brilliance!
For the next say 15 minutes, it’s all leg work delivered by Dr. Bockwinkel who just twists and stretches every joint and ligament of Hennig. I marked while Bockwinkel had Hennig in the leg scissors; he churned his ankle round and round applying more pressure to the hold which only causes more pain. We then get to see a wishbone leg stretch to Hennig and eventually the Indian Death Lock.
I like the fact that Bockwinkel is a damn fine wrestler who will wrestle you one on one until he realizes he may be getting out wrestled then he may put a foot on the rope for extra leverage. He is still a heel after all.
Let me just say both men sell the submission moves and worked over areas exceptionally well all throughout this match. Bockwinkel never forgets to grab his injured arm and Hennig noticeably limps to the very end of the match.
3) The final quarter of the match is when the intensity and the climatic end came to ahead. These men wrestled a pure wrestling match and it would continue that way but the match also manifested into “Ok, it’s almost over. Let’s now bring out the big moves!”
That’s right, Hennig and Bockwinkel straight up mat-wrestled for about 3/4 of the match and now they would use chops, kicks, punches, suplexes, Piledrivers and the Sleeper Hold! You could really feel the sense of urgency from the story they told was they would try to wrestle the respectable Champion’s mat game but now that time is closing in we will do anything to win.
Hennig then attacks Bockwinkel’s leg on a steel post but when he went for the spinning toehold, Bockwinkel shifted him headfirst into the steel post. Talk about pay back! In the final ten minutes we now have blood in the match and Henning has that famous “crimson mask.”
I’m pleased the booking of this match allowed Hennig to show his heart and his courage and I know the fans were insanely behind him at the time. Bockwinkel being the antagonist and vicious champion that he is only infuriated them more by slamming Henning’s cut opened head into the edge of the ring apron. The only flaw I’d like to point out was that we can clearly see both men when they are blading.
Bockwinkel brawls with Hennig until Curt catches the champion with “The Axe” which busts him open too. In the final minute of the match Hennig place Bockwinkel into the Figure Leg lock until the time expired! The match was officially a draw and Bockwinkel would retain his AWA World Heavyweight Championship!
The announcers put this match over so well saying, “I will never forget this for as long as I live! These two men not only gave all they have to give but "THEY GAVE ALL THERE IS TO GIVE TO THE SPORT OF PROFESSIONAL WRESTLING!”
This is an epic championship match and a favorite of mine. The pacing is absolutely perfect and has superb storytelling in this wrestling classic!
5 STAR MATCH
For those who appreciate selling, the long-term selling from both Bockwinkel (shoulder) and Hennig (leg) is precise. I also love how both men have their moments in this match where they shift the momentum in their favor by using the other man's attack. Bockwinkel worked over Hennig's leg and eventually Hennig slammed Bockwinkel's leg into the steel post and worked a hold on his leg. Early in the 1st half Hennig pushed Bockwinkel shoulder-first into the steel post and by the final moments of the match Bockwinkel pushed Hennig head-first into the post which split him open. That's great psychology. This is one of the best matches I've ever seen.
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Thanks 777. At the time it seemed Hennig hadn't quite perfected his promos, yet.
Randy Savage vs. Ricky Steamboat - Maple Leaf Gardens 02/15/1987
There is tons of hate shown throughout this match from Steamboat. Savage does a very good job of taking advantage of Steamboat's rage and he exploits Ricky's injured throat and neck. Savage ultimately ends up getting busted open and Steamboat really works on the cut viciously. This may be the most rage I’ve seen Steamboat display in a match. There are some nice payback spots here too, like Steamboat attacking Savage's throat by dropping him snake's style- throat first on the top rope. There are a lot of great rapid near-falls at the end which is a precursor to the showdown at WMIII and the finish is perfect with Savage cunningly escaping with the belt even though Steamboat beat him to a bloody pulp from pillar to post.
Last edited by Clique; 11-03-2012 at 01:33 PM.
Reason: removed dead video
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Doink the Clown vs. Marty Jannetty - 2 out of 3 Falls Match - Monday Night Raw 06/21/1993
I really had no expectations for a good wrestling match just an entertaining contest but Jannetty and Doink (Matt Bourne) changed my view quickly. During this "New Generation" era in the WWF it was fitting to have an evil clown as a villain to scare the kiddies. Doink’s mannerisms are spot on and while he has a smile on his face and bounces around the ring you can sense menace in him which is great. His malicious actions complement the scary nature of this jolly figure.
In the first fall, Marty and Doink work the standard showcase of atheletism and chain wrestling. The spot where one guy leaves the other bouncing off the ropes is a delight to see because it makes a fool out the guy and the match has a right to be FUN anyway. Doink obviously doesn’t like that Marty is playing his goofy game on him so the evil clown turns the intensity up a bit. After some back and forth exchanges, Doink gets a lucky break and pins Marty via a leg drop/senton from the top rope.
Towards final portion of the match Doink shows good psychology by attacking Marty’s legs on the ring post and then a Figure Four Leg Lock. A second Doink comes out and hides under the ring. I like how as the match progressed they continued to build layers to a solid story with Marty selling the knee but continuing to fight back, and Doink upping his arsenal on Marty with leg-work and submissions.
This match certainly exceeded my expectations and is a really good wrestling match. Both men played their roles well and delivered an exciting and entertaining Raw match.
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Ricky “The Dragon” Steamboat vs. “Ravishing” Rick Rude 30-Minute Iron Man Challenge
WCW Beach Blast 1992
Rick Rude is the United States Champion but this match is a non-title contest which undoubtedly is set to prove who is the better wrestler, but also who is the toughest man - The Iron Man. I’ve always appreciated Iron Man matches because they can make this circus that is professional wrestling look more like a competition through the athleticism and spirited fire we see lit in the performers; especially in Ricky Steamboat matches.
Am I the only one that feels Rude’s “Fat, out of shape … take a look at a real man” promo that he did before every match never gets old? I chuckle a little every time I hear him say it. I mean a lot of those WCW fans actually do look like “sweat hogs” and Rude is really awesome.
This match pits a contrast not only in styles but also in personalities. While Rude verbally destroys the fans on the mic, the ultimate good guy, the man whose family escorts him to the ring - Ricky Steamboat - has always been and will always be an enduring babyface in wrestling lore.
Steamboat brought the fight with extra aggression in the opening moments of the match. It was almost like Steamboat was punishing Rude for even thinking about attacking him from behind while Ricky assisted his family out of the ring. The pace is pretty fast in the opening moments of the match due to the fire The Dragon brings and the ride has taken off!
I think it is excellent how they incorporated injuries for both men to work with in telling their story of ‘who will be the most durable for the duration?’ Rude suffered a rib injury from one of Steamboat’s gut-busters and Ricky completely dominated until Rude got a lucky break with a knee to the Steamboat’s head which leads to an injury to him. These moments are extremely important because the rest of the match, including the foundation for the finish is set here. I’ll explain further on.
The storytelling couldn’t be any better than it is here: Rude is the one who had an early injury and was dominated yet at one quick turn he has the advantage at 2-0.
Rude smartly works on Steamboat’s head and neck with “The Rude Awaking” and an illegal diving knee drop from the top rope to Steamboat’s neck. Again, we have more storytelling with Rude taking a DQ only to injure Steamboat more and further his own advantage with 3-1. The “no flying off the top rope rule” did have valid reasoning behind it no matter how much we don’t like it because what Rude did was malicious!
Both men are in the best of the best category as far as I’m concerned, and their psychology used here to tell a simple yet fantastic story is just right. Rude never forgets to sell the rib injury. Even though he dominated a large portion of the match, he would always go back to holding his left arm towards his ribs. This is something that seems to be lost with the majority of workers today, some who are in the main event.
And as far as getting behind a face that is in peril, Ricky Steamboat is at the very top as one of the best. I’d put him in the top class with Rey Mysterio, Undertaker, Shawn Michaels and Chris Benoit. When you see Ricky’s hand cramped and shaking with his fingers twitching, there’s no why I can’t sympathize with this man.
Steamboat showed his desire to win as he kicked out of a Piledriver and seconds later performed one of the best Tombstone reversals I’ve ever seen. When Steamboat was climbing, fighting out of the Tombstone position you can clearly see him “gutting it out” to pull off the reversal and hit a homerun and spike Rude’s head into the canvas. That moment for me really had that athletic-sports type feel to it.
Steamboat picked up another win there and then ANOTHER with the grueling backslide pin to make a tie at 3-3, and that is when the fire reignited in “The Dragon”.
I cannot say enough how great the psychology is here in this match. First of all, this burst of running and quickly hitting clotheslines while scrambling for pin-falls comes at a great period in the match to keep the crowd enthralled with the ups & downs of the match.
The pace is steady throughout with 100 percent selling which I say again is phenomenal. What I want to point out is how Rude shut Steamboat down again during Ricky’s electric onslaught. Rude gained the advantage due to Steamboat being overzealous in the beginning of the match but the end of the match is coming up and we saw how long it took for Steamboat to make a comeback the first time he got shut down. So what does Rude do with only three minutes left? He puts Ricky in a sleeper hold – GENIUS.
It’s genius because this isn’t just a mere rest-hold but an essential and fine piece of storytelling that led to a remarkable finish. The sleeper hold will eat up the remaining time but if Steamboat passes out there is no more comebacks. I loved how Rude would kick Steamboat’s arms down so he couldn’t reach the ropes. Man, I miss how intense it used to feel seeing someone locked in the sleeper! Steamboat continued to sell the fight in him denying to passing out, denying losing.
Steamboat finally fought up courageously and used the corner ropes to turn the sleeper-hold into a pin-fall! The snake gets his own poison spit back into his face! With only 30 seconds left in the match it was Rude that found himself scrambling to get a win with a flurry of clotheslines into pin-covers, shoulder blocks into pin-covers, ANYTHING to get a pin-fall! But the time ran out and the match was over with the final score at 4-3 . Steamboat turned a move that would have finished the match for him into a situation that not only finished, but embarrassed the narcissistic Rick Rude which is flawless storytelling for the match and their combating characters.
This is truly a superb technical wrestling match. This is how you build and build the drama of a contest as a compelling race to the finish line. This is the type of match that should be viewed by all wrestling fans. I think anyone can and should appreciate the work performed here. It is the type of match that takes what we call sports-entertainment and makes it feel more like, as Jim Cornette once said, “an entertaining-sport.”