The Search for a Hidden Classic, Attempt #1
The Search for a Hidden Classic: Attempt #1 WWEís Youtube Channel First Ever WWE Main Event:
Iíve seen a lot of wrestling. All of the big time matches Iíve seen. But there has to be something out there thatís just under the radar. Iím going to scour the internet in hopes of finding something that never gets talked about but SHOULD be considered a classic.
Iím looking at different sources for these matches and Iíll try to watch around 5 of them. There isnít a method to the matches. Iíve never seen any of them before and Iím picking based on me hoping they will be good. Iíll give a little insight into why I think something looks good on paper and then talk about the match.
Iím going to start with WWE but Iíll try to dig deeper as things go along. Iím looking at Raw and Smackdown matches first, WWE puts a lot of random ones on youtube and Iíll give some of them a try.
Sheamus vs. CM Punk
Main event just launched and they decided to debut the show with a champion vs. champion match. Sheamus is one of the more underrated guys out there and Punk is amazing. So maybe this is the oneÖ
One problem that you notice early on is that the crowd doesnít seem thrilled with the match. Punk was in the process of turning heel and Sheamus never recovered from his Wrestlemania 28 win. So neither guy was super over a face. They start out with some basic stuff that sets the tone for the match. Sheamus is a big bruiser and he shows thatís heís stronger than Punk. He throws Punk around a little bit and sends him flying. Punk needs to space to get things going. When Sheamus runs the ropes he hits a drop kick. Sheamus goes to the top rope and Punk pushes him down. In his quest to not stay too close to Sheamus a turnbuckle gets removed from the ring. Punk makes some stares at it a few times to show he recognizes itís there.
Punk controls a lot of the match until Sheamus begins his almost hot comeback. The crowd gets more involved and supports Sheamus as he starts to build momentum. When things are looking really bad for Punk he goes back to the exposed turnbuckle and sends Sheamus face first into it for the win.
This was good but Iím not going to say itís a classic match. I liked the slower pace and I certainly didnít mind that there was a lack of big spots and false finishes. That being said the middle portion of the match kind of felt like it was there to kill time. Thereís two commercial breaks in the match and the middle segment is flat. I loved the start and liked the finish but they lose you for a bit in the middle. Still a worthwhile watch though.
The Rock and Kurt Angle vs. The Dudley Boys
I think the Dudleys are really underrated as a team in non-hardcore matches, especially when theyíre heels. What they do works well. So put them against the Rock and Kurt Angle, it should be good. This was in the middle of the Invasion, a time period not fondly remembered. So it seems possible that something may have slipped through the cracks during this time period.
This is how tag matches should go when you have 2 main event guys against the tag team champions. Individually the Dudleys are overmatched. Angle and the Rock get the best of them every time. But the Dudleys work so much better as a team. And theyíre willing to bend the rules. Something that I loved early on was the Rock was beating up Bubba Ray. Bubba gets like one punch in, the Rock staggers, Bubba dives to the corner and D-Von pounces on the Rock. Angle and Rock donít do anything like that and thatís why the match remains competitive.
Thereís another great spot early on in the match where Angle hits the Angle Slam and it looks like things are going to end quickly, but Bubba is in the right position and can break up the pin. Like 30 seconds later the Ankle Lock gets locked in and Bubba is there again for the save. Then the Dudleys gain control of the match and isolate Angle. The isolation was good and you have the Rock as the hot tag so that goes over very well too. They were on their way to a classic and then they took things home with a bunch of interference and no finish. This was really good but it needed more me to call it a classic. Itís probably a victim of the time period it happened in, I feel like this really would have benefited from 5 more minutes.
Raw November 1997
Owen Hart vs. Shawn Michaels
2 great performers, in the middle of a heated feud, and a legendary moment that happened at Survivor Series soon after. Itís possible these guys had a great match and it was forgotten about with the Screw Job happening so soon after.
While that all sounds great in theory it doesnít happen. The video was like 13 minutes long but thereís a 5 minute promo and maybe 3 or 4 minutes post match. So not a lot of ring time. But itís a good short match with Owen playing more of a face, which is nice change for how these two normally are when they wrestle. Shawn takes some big bumps and Owen gets the crowd fired up. But the face/heel dynamic was still kind of off because Hart is locking in sleepers and wearing his ďI Just Broke Your NeckĒ shirt after he injured Austin. Shawn is being an asshole too. Anyway Austin comes out and gives Owen a Stunner and then DX and the Hart Foundation get involved and the match ends. Cool segment with a good match I guess. Not what Iím looking for here.
ECW Championship Match (1/13/09)
Matt Hardy(c) vs. Jack Swagger
WWEís version of ECW was really good. Thatís not the most popular opinion to have about wrestling but I think itís a true statement. They had talented guys and they gave them the chance to have main event level matches. Swaggerís good and so is Hardy. Any chance they did something special?
They didnít. Itís a very good match though. Swagger reminds me a lot of a Kurt Angle that works at a slower pace. Heís a wrestling machine in there and is just relentless. Matt Hardy is smaller, weaker, and slower. Heís fighting with heart and experience. They nail that dynamic of Hardy trying to contain the onslaught from Swagger. There were some heel tactics by Swagger but not a ton. He played the role of a younger challenger that wants his break well. Swagger spent a good amount of time working the arm and it was good to see Hardy selling it. A well worked match with a nice story. Nothing to complain about. But also not something Iím going to tell anyone that they NEED to see.
Jung Dragons vs. Air Raid
Everyone knows about the last Nitro. Nobody knows or cares about the last Thunder. Four young high-fliers knowing they might be looking for work soon? 4 guys that want to make the most out of their last appearance on national TV for a while?
Thatís exactly what they did. I feel like this was a preview of what ROH would end up being. The style they worked would go on to dominate independent wrestling for a while. They were taking ridiculous bumps and working at an amazing pace. I also have to say that the Jung Dragons were throwing some of the best superkicks in wrestling that youíre ever going to see. Styles and Paris took the kicks perfectly and they looked real. The match hovered near the reckless mark but never quite for there. Iím a huge fan of this and it was cool to see something like this broadcast on national TV in 2001. That being said the match is ultimately on par with like 20 matches that ROH had in their first year of business. Itís really good but it isnít special. For a match like this to be considered a classic they need to really go insane. They made the most of their time but Iím not calling a wild spotfest a classic.
No classics found yet. That being said I did like doing this and it was fun just picking matches at random and hoping for the best. If someone has a suggestion for a weird place to look tell me. But donít suggest matches. That kind of defeats the purpose right?