What’s the good word, kids? The name is Caliber Winfield. Musican, Vampire Hunter, and Pro-Wrestling Journalist Extraordinaire. On a weekly basis I’ll be your host for Monday Nyquil, more than likely the internet’s greatest wrestling column. Where else will you find wild rumours with no merit? Crazy predictions that won’t ever come true yet I insist they will and argue with everyone then when I’m proven wrong I just say your stupid. The kind of stuff you just can’t find anywhere else.
I’ve been a fan of pro-wrestling since I was 11. Next to being a musician, it’s probably my greatest passion. Writing is also something I love, so I figure why not combine the two. Well, I know I’ve set your world on fire so far, so let me continue to fan the flames. Whenever a new wrestling fan comes onto the scene, people wanna know their favourites. So, I thought as an introduction I’d list my top 10 favourite matches. It took me at least a week to configure, watch, re-watch, and write.
As you can see, I enjoy hardcore wrestling. It’s not just that I like blood, or anything of that nature, I just find hardcore wrestling to be epic. It’s two people going at it with everything they’ve got, doing whatever they can to win a match, or a title that means everything to them. That’s why I loved ECW. Every awesome match was just epic, they’d go no time limit, fly to the outside, use tables, chairs, all types of craziness and I just believe that, mixed with superb technical wrestling is the key to an awesome match. At the same time, gimmie a Flair vs. whoever any day of the week and I’m more than happy. Ok, so enough of my witty banter, let us get to the list, shall we?
When you speak to ‘true’ wrestling fans such as myself, it’s almost like a preset that they have to hate Hulk Hogan. They have to say he’s way past his prime, that even in his prime his matches weren’t very good. That he’s backstage cancer, that he politics, that he doesn’t give people a fair chance. And while yeah, some of that is probably true, I don’t believe it to be to that extent. Besides, even if it is, can you blame Hogan for thinking the way he does about himself? In 1988 he was labelled as the most recognizable man on the planet. He’s had more Make A Wish requests than anyone. Almost every time you hear about an attendance record in the western world, he’s responsible for it. His jump to the nWo is one of the most talked about moments in wrestling. He revamped his career and was a huge heel, and huge draw then too. And every time someone is given the torch, it seems they just can’t keep it. Ultimate Warrior, Sid Justice, Bill Goldberg, you name it. So, while I don’t excuse some of Hogan’s actions, I do not believe he’s an actual bad guy. Plus, I love the man. I’ll tell you right now that he is a hero of mine, and probably the number one person outside of people I know that I’d be most upset about come time of death. I can’t explain it. Because there are probably none of his matches, besides this one, that I give 5 stars. Or that I even watch a lot. I just think he’s a really cool character; I get off on the nostalgia nowadays, and I just plain dig him. Now, giving this match a high rating may seem inane. And I’ll straight up tell you, without the crowd there, it’d probably get a 2, or 3 star. But the crowd makes this match. I’ve teared up tons of times while watching it. I just love the reaction that Hogan gets. You can tell he’s amazed, and truly appreciates it. They pop for every move, every head turn, every flex. It’s great. Hogan Hulks Up for the first time in years, and the end isn’t bad. Because it seemed like it could go both ways. Hulk is in no way on the same level as RVD, or Flair, but I like it that way….
Love the way the match starts. Just old school power moves. Crowd popping like you wouldn’t believe…geez, the first offence move that the Rock gets people freaking boo him like just gave a kid cancer. Why the hell did they start doing the X8, X7? Then all of a sudden for 19 they go to XIX? *shrugs* 19 btw, I was at. It was great, because 5 years earlier I had told a friend that I’d some day be at Wrestlemania watching Hogan come down the isle, he scoffed. Oh, he scoffed. But then tadah! Diggin’ Hogan’s choke slam. Haha, love the way that The Rock tries to revive the ref. Kicks him like he’s a dead body. God, the ending of this match is one of the most exciting I’ve ever seen. The transfer of moves, the back and forth of finishers. The double Rock-Bottom. Craziness. Love it. When Rock beat Hogan, I was pretty pissed, because I’m probably the biggest nWo fan in the world. But at the same time, it was cool to see Hogan just give it up clean in the middle of the match. By the way, if I hear ONE MORE metaphor about ‘old lion’ and ‘new lion’ I’m going to set JR and the King on fire. Awesome match. Again, crowd had a lot to do with it, but Hogan and the Rock also put on a really kick ass show. * * * * 1/4th.
9. Shane ‘The Franchise’ Douglas vs. Sabu vs. Terry Funk | Barbwire Match
Hardcore Homecoming, June 10, 2005
Where To Find: Hardcore Homecoming DVD
The match that set the standard for ECW. The three-way dance. I gotta say, this match alone is worth the price of Hardcore Homecoming. I think it’s better than the main event at the first One Night Stand. But then again, I loved seeing everyone at the ONS main event. Regardless. Sabu. Funk. Douglas. Barbwire. Do you need anything more?
They don’t waste time in launching into the wire, with Douglas to be the first, Sabu second, and the Funker third. Everyone is bleeding within 5 minutes. I could watch these guys wrestle all day. Ha, man can Funk ever wrestle in barbwire without getting himself caught all to the high hell? Man, Sabu always goes the extra mile. A barbwire hangman? Christ. Man, the ladder they bring in is the exact same ladder my dad and I used to go painting with. Which is why I love ECW, they’re cheap, and hang out at the Seattle Home Depot apparently. I loved the surprise, I only wish they hadn’t advertised it on the DVD case, leaving it a surprise would have been cooler. Dah well. It’s funny because he says at One Night Stand “Ah, I couldn’t do the Socko thing for this crowd” he knows that for a fact from 2 nights previous. Awesome match. For pure wrestling, brawling, barbwire and nostalgia, I give it a * * * * 1/4.
8. Sabu vs. Abyss | Barbed Wire Match
TNA Turning Point ’05
Where To Find: TNA Best of the Bloodiest Brawls Vol 1
If there’s a barbwire match involving Sabu, I’m there. All 3 of my favourite ones contain Sabu. Abyss is probably the best big-man wrestler in history. He’s the only one I don’t cringe by having to watch. This match, although a pinch short for my taste is incredible. Usually, with most barbwire matches it takes awhile for someone to get tossed, Sabu gets launched in almost immediately. Now, not only are the ropes barbwire, but there’s barbwire boards, bats, and chairs laying around. Sabu gets caught neck first, then pulls out a pair of needle nose pliers and starts stabbing the arm of Abyss, drawing a good amount of blood. He goes for air-Sabu off the chair onto Abyss, but instead get’s a more painful substitute, barbwire. Ooh, nice drop-toe hold on Abyss, sending him face first into the wire. Sabu gets draped stomach first over the wire. Followed by a freefall onto a barbwire board. Abyss brings in another one. Hindsight probably not his best idea, because he misses an avalanche, gets stuck to it, Sabu slams him onto the other, sandwiching him and Sabu drops his weight onto the pile, getting the pin. Awesome bout. Again, if it was just a little big longer I could give it the 5 star, but it gets a very sturdy * * * * 1/4.
7. Ric Flair vs. Mick Foley | I Quit Match
Summerslam, August 20th, 2006
Where To Find: Summerslam 2006 DVD | Mick Foley’s Greatest Hits & Misses; Hardcore Edition
It’s Flair. It’s Mick Foley. It’s a hardcore match. Thank God.
Foley says on the commentary that when Flair said no, he doesn’t quit, he should have beat the crap out of him, to which I agree. But that doesn’t stop this match from being one of my favourites. In a world where we have people doing all sorts of dirty, hardcore things, Ric still is the dirtiest player. His motto seems to be, when all else fails, go for the groin. I love the portable barbwire board. When people talk about the older wrestlers needing to move outta the spotlight, and that they refuse to change things, Ric is never one of those talked about. So, he didn’t really need to change his style, or at least adapt to the more hardcore way of wrestling in his latter years. Matches with Edge, The Big Show, Mick Foley and MITB prove that he’s capable of doing just about anything, when he doesn’t even need to prove anything. Love the barbwire chops. Wish Mick would have shown how ripped up his chest was, you can see it by the way of the red, once-was-yellow shirt. God, Ric just becomes vicious. “Say I quit or I’ll kill you right here”. Gets that look in his eyes as he also screams “This is an I QUIT MATCH! Not a LAY DOWN ON YOUR ASS MATCH!” Then threatening to beat up Melina if Mick doesn’t give in. Ah, just too good, too good. * * * * 1/2.
6. Mick Foley vs. Edge | Hardcore Rules
WWE Wrestlemania 22
Where To Find: WWE Wrestlemania 22 DVD | Mick Foley: Greatest Hits & Misses; Hardcore Edition
Mick Foley is probably my favourite wrestler of all time. Edge is my favourite wrestler of today. So, when I heard this was going down, I got the proverbial match-boner.
Match starts with Edge trying to take Mick’s head off. He fails with a bat, so he cops a cookie sheet, and that does the trick. Edge goes for a spear and Mick pulls a pretty smart move. He says that he borrowed it from Bret Hart in his WCW days, but it’s ok, because no on ever watched WCW in it’s later years. Mick has still got it, hell, he may be better than ever. I just love it. Love this match. After taking a sick bump into some tacks, Mick uses a little trick he conceived at Hardcore Homecoming; barbwire Socko. Hardcore edge to an easycore gimmick. Edge finally gets a hold of the barbwire bat and lays into Mick, eventually they both….well, if you don’t know how it ends, I’m not gonna tell you. But it’s the opposite of anything with the Big Show. * * * * 1/4th.
5. Little Guido vs. Tajiri vs. Super-Crazy
ECW One Night Stand – 6.12.05
Where To Find: ECW One Night Stand DVD
Ah, a recent 5 star favourite of mine is the 3-way-dance from ECW’s first One Night Stand, the ‘International Three-Way’ between Little Guido, Super-Crazy, and Tajiri. They’ve had three way battles before, but this one, I dunno, everyone was just on their game. I seriously can’t find anything wrong with this match other than the fact it’s not that long. Clocking in at around 10 minutes. Hell, I felt like I could have watched this for easily over an hour.
Match starts off with some nice exchanges. Super-Crazy getting some nice short-drop kicks to the face of Guido and Tajiri. That guy is just sharp. Plain and simple. After that, Crazy sends Gudio into the crowd, followed by the FBI, to which Crazy answers by climbing up a 15ft high balcony and doing a moonsault to knock everyone out. He heads back to the ring to do battle with the Buzzsaw. Quickly FBI gets their revenge, and Big Guido tries to set up a double-team powerbomb with Guido on Tajiri. We see the mist hit the eyes of Gudio, as then Mikey Whipwreck, whom I barely recognize as the guy who once sported a huge dragon shirt and neckbrace, climbs to the top turnbuckle and gives Gudio an awesome Whippersnapper. I’m surprised Guido’s head didn’t pop off and shower everyone in blood. God, that would have been awesome. Crazy gets the best of the situation with Tajiri, going for his 3-level moonsault and having Mikey mess those plans up. Follows with a nice powerbomb and the final moonsault for the pin. Man, if it could have only gone on for 5 minutes more. Just awesome stuff. * * * * *
4. Terry Funk vs. Sabu | Barbwire Match
Born To Be Wired, 8-9-97
Where To Find: ECW Blood Sport DVD
I first found this match up on a ECW VHS that I’d bought back in 2000. For me, most barbwire matches had sucked. They were slow. Awkward, and nobody really seemed into it. All they cared about was not getting thrown into the wire. But not with ECW. Not with Sabu, or the Funker. I love it when these two work together, it’s boner-inducing. Yeah, I said it. It has a rather infamous ending.
Terry’s neckbreakers make Rick Rude’s look…..why the hell did he carry around that metal briefcase in the late 90’s? Was his career not really gone? Was it just stored in that briefcase? I dunno. Where was I? Oh yeah, Wrong Turn 2 was an awesome movie…no, wait, I mean, yeah! There we go, Sabu, as per usual, takes the first dive into the wire. Followed by a face-raking, and then a crotch-first saddle ride. It’s such a testament to Sabu’s badassness when he gets whipped into wire, and he can’t quite bounce off because he barbs hooked into his skin. Oooh, shit, we’ve got one of the most hardcore things anyone will ever do. Sabu misses his Air-Sabu in the corner, and crashes into the wire. Well, for his troubles he gets a serious 9 inch gash on his bicep. It’s just pumping blood, so he has Fonzie go get some tape, to which he just wraps a ton of it over his injury and finishes the match. Lets see Big Slow [oh yeah, tha’s right, I’m such a badass I use insults from 99] doing something like that. Fonzie gets whipped from the wire, looks anti-not-getting whipped. Man, does anyone else ever just get the random smell of lasagne? No? Ah, the joys of brain tumours at 24…besides that. Van Dam comes out just to cause problems, wrapping Terry in the wire, and placing him on a table so Sabu can execute an Arabian Face-Buster. Funk is gone. Dreamer appears and cracks Rob in the skull, rendering him out of the match and hauls him to the back. Meanwhile Sabu has covered himself in barbwire, and jumps on Terry again, just sick. Terry is drenched in blood and wire as they crawl back to the ring…..after the match is over, a team of people have to come out and cut them loose because they’re beyond f’ed. Especially for Terry, because a good portion of the wire is wrapped tightly around his neck. Same thing happened to me at Bath & Body Works once. This match is impossible to take your eyes off of. Incredible mix of brawling, technical, Funk’s downright craziness, and barbwire. * * * * *
3. Sandman vs. Stevie Richards vs. Terry Funk with the winner facing ECW World Champion Raven
ECW Barely Legal
Where To Find: ECW One Night Stand 2’s Bonus Disc of Barely Legal | ECW Blood Sport
Terry Funk is just so damn amazing in the ring. I’ve seen his work when he was younger, and people say he needs to hang it up, but I say no. I like his stuff now more than any of his older work. All the stuff he started doing after he won the ECW World Title is just some awesome shit. It’s great because people keep thinking that every performance he puts on that’s great is going to be the last one he has in him, then he’ll do the impossible the next time around. Stevie Richards is pure heart. It’s such a shame what happened to him after ECW. He could have been the next Shawn Micheals had he been given the chance. I guess he just wasn’t a big enough asshole. As for the Sandman. Need I say more? ECW’s first PPV, Barely Legal, in my mind is the greatest PPV that any one company will probably ever put on. At least 3 5 star matches took place, and all the talent was awesomely displayed. They gave you a taste of everything. Just beautiful, beautiful…..
We’ve got Dreamer on colour, because he gave up his spot for Terry. Bell rings. Sandman spits beer into Stevie’s face. ECW’s 3 way dances were the way I’ve always thought they should be. 3 Men actually wrestling. Not two men go at it while one of them lays out cold, or outside of the ring, and so forth and so on. It’s awesome two-on-one, one-on-two, one-on-one-on-one. Just incredible stuff. This match was an awesome blend of the past, present, and future of wrestling. The brawling, the mat clinic stuff, ugh, just amazing. haha. Sandman just chucks a steel ladder into the ring, smashing Terry in the head. 53 year old Funker giving a moonsault off the top of a ladder, awesome. Sandman takes the ladder to the top rope and brings it down atop Stevie, leaving him the last man standing. He rocks Funker until he falls face first onto the ladder. Next nice moment is a Stevie kick into a ladder, which then flys the 2 inches from where it stood and Sandman’s face. Followed by a hip toss into the ladder standing in the corner. Goddamn, few things are sicker than the head-shots that people take when Funker does his ladder-helicopter, which I’ve found is duplicated, but never replicated. Beautiful. Funker kicks out of a two-person pin following a Stevie kick. Funk’s head is like a landing pad for things thrown by the Sandman. He launched a trash can wrapped in steel and it sailed into the ring and crowned Funker. Followed by a crushing of the can by the suplexed body of Stevie. Funker and Sandman work the double team with spike-drivers and a barrage of weapons. Nice double slingshot-swanton-splash on Stevie as he’s buried under the ladder. Stevie is eliminated after a double-team powerbomb and pin. Sandman get’s thrown out after wearing a trashcan on his head, getting boxed, Stevie-kicked [he didn’t leave ringside after being pinned] then a moonsault from the Funker. 1-2-3. Now it’s time for one of my favourites, Raven. He handles the worn-out Funk. Raven claims he’s gonna end Funk’s comeback and career infront of Dreamer, to which Big Dick Dudley tries to chokeslam Dreamer, only to get countered and he’s slammed through 3 tables from the Raven nest. Back in the ring, a little bit of this, and a little bit of that, Funker defeats Raven to earn his first ECW World Heavy Weight Championship. The brawling. The mat technical. The emotion. Nothing short of * * * * *.
2. Mick Foley vs. Randy Orton
WWE Backlash – 4.18.04
Where To Find: WWE Backlash ’04 DVD | Mick Foley’s Greatest Hits & Misses; Hardcore Edition DVD
Mick Foley is easily one of my top three favourite wrestlers. Of course, being the man he is, knows that one of the reasons, if not the main reason you become a star in the wrestling business is make stars out of others. Well, he set out to do that with one of my new favs, Randy Orton. After an awesome match at Wrestlemania 20 with The
Rock, Mick felt that he hadn’t done what he set out to do with Randy. So they had themselves a classic, perhaps the best hardcore match of all time.
Mick is in awesome shape. Weighing about 275lb, and just really taking this all very seriously. Starts off with heat, as Randy’s stupid 1×2 with about 5 inches of barbwire on it unravels and get’s stuck on the ring rope. It’s like driving a tank into battle that has the image of two dudes making out on it. Just loses the ferocity off it all. Anyways, Mick makes up for that with a real weapon and swings for the fences at Randy. Who runs like he’s being chased by the reaper himself. Man, this match is just incredible. Both guys came into it just looking unstoppable. No one pulling a Triple H and expecting us to drop $40 to see if in fact the returning TL Hopper can strip H of the title. I love the barbwire board, the damn thing looks like a thicket of thornbushes, to which Mick gets slammed on it, all of his body weight landing on his arm, and causing 75 cuts. Randy goes for his box and returns with a bag of thumbtacks that he lays out at the feet of Foley. It’s one of the largest beds of tacks I’ve ever seen. Randy sizes up the Mickster for the RKO, goes for it, and ends up in one of, if not thee sickest thumbtack bump ever. Randy gets up and looks like f**king Robocop he’s wearing so much metal. Brawling up the ramp, Mick is finally on the other end of an off-the-ramp launch as Randy flies off it and crashes through a cable box. Refs tell Mick that it’s over, and he seems to accept and head to the back, but alas, no! Oh ho! He flies off the ramp reminiscent of his earlier WCW/ECW days with his elbow. Match is just damn incredible. * * * * *
1. The Rob Van Dam vs. Jerry Lynn Series
Living Dangerously, March 21st, ’99, Hardcore Heaven, May 16th, 99′, Guilty As Charged,
January 1st, 2001
Where To Find: Rob Van Dam: One Of A Kind DVD | The Rise & Fall of ECW DVD
The first time I saw these two fight was on a Best of ECW VHS I bought from Suncoast Videos. I rushed home to watch my new brick of gold, and realized it was worth even more than that. The Rob Van Dam/Jerry Lynn bout on there blew me the hell away. It was the perfect blend of everything I love about wrestling. Technical wrestling, brawling, high-flying, blood, saying F the time limit, just going balls out. These series of matches for me, are like older fans and the Flair vs. Steamboat bouts. Matches that go beyond a 5 star rating. These guys did things that will never be duplicated. The only thing you knew you were going to get, was a 5 star match. And that’s at the very least. Ok, first up, Living Dangerously, March 21st, 1999….
Man, in the first 5 minutes of this match they execute more moves and counters than in the entire same year of WCW. Executing a surfboard on a steel chair, so when you’re done you launch your opponent in the air and they land on it, is just the type of brilliance these matches would bring about. Goddamn, then Lynn ducks the Van Daminator, drops the chair, jumps over Rob’s leg sweep and lands a leg drop on Rob’s head, crashing it into the steel chair. I don’t even think most wrestlers could WATCH that, let alone perform it. MAN…every time I get done typing about something awesome, another awesome thing comes along. Van Damninator from the top rope, crashing Lynn through a table outside. Tilt-a-whirl DDT from the ring-apron to the outside. Speaking of, soon after Jerry gives Rob probably the sickest DDT I’ve ever seen. The ref wants to give Jerry the belt, but Jerry not being a bitch, says F that, and we get 5 more minutes. This is my all time favourite match, and it gets * * * * * * Yes, I give it 6 out of 5. Because it’s just that goddamn good.
The RVD/Jerry Lynn warm up stuff is just brilliant. It’s the embers for the 5 alarm fire. Sick 2nd rope guillotine. Followed by a top rope bulldog which I thought broke Rob’s neck. From that we go to the infamous spill by Lynn, who lands face first on the concrete and is knocked out cold. I’ve heard him talk about it, and the fact he still goes is a testament to ECW’s will and, I hate to use the word, but passion. Because you’d have to die before you let down the ECW crowd. I love it. Lynn sets up a table, and it takes forever before anyone crashes into it. Tons of teases and close calls. Love it. Finally, Rob gets sunset-flip-powerbombed through the table and destroys the f’ning thing worse than pretty much any table I’ve ever seen destroyed. Lynn, I feel, dominated the first bout, where’s this was more Rob’s. This one was just as good as the previous match, but really, you can only give a 6 star rating once. So, this one gets * * * * *.
Guilty As Charged, ECW’s last PPV. RVD makes a comeback to face Rhino, only to have Lynn attack him from behind. Starting an impromptu match-up. Classic Lynn/RVD to start off the match. RVD with a gorilla press slam, back-flip splash, followed by a second rope moonsault. Just incredible shit. Typing it doesn’t do it justice. Love the skateboard with the steel chair. I should do that to my mailman. Why? Because I’m pretty sure he’s the last person who’d expect it. Lynn calls for a steel chair. Calling for a steel chair while in the ring with RVD is like making sure the room is deloused for condoms before having drinks with Magic Johnson. It’s just dangerous. Gertner, the oddest wrestling transition ever gives Cyrus the DDT. Get ourselves a nice Van Damninator, my favourite finisher. Well….nah, let’s say the Diamond Cutter is. Then the VD…..yes, I do mean venereal disease. Rob finishes off Lynn with the sexiest move ever, the Van Terminator. God, that is just sick. I’m so happy that Shane McMahon ripped it off and called the Coast 2 Coast. Man, I miss wrestling like this so badly…..oh well, there’s always DVD’s. And again, for a 3rd time, * * * * *.