As a wrestling fan, I read a ton of websites, articles, and reviews. It isn’t the current news I’m so thirsty for, it’s that I want to find awesome matches that I’ve never really heard spoken of before, that are not just worth a look, but highly praised. So I thought a section of my writings could be devoted to such things. Whether it’s a match buried in the under card of an awesome PPV, or a match that had the unfortunate task of being included with some of the worst cards our beloved sport has to offer. I root, dig, and try to bring you classics you’ve never seen, or ones you saw but never stuck out and deserve a second look.
Okie dokie, karaoke. First up
Match: The Ultimate Warrior vs. ‘Hollywood’ Hulk Hogan
Place: Halloween Havoc, October, 1998
Company: World Championship Wrestling
DVD Release: Halloween Havoc 1998
I’m completely joking. This is a classic everyone has heard of. Heard of in the sense of how you can hear a coyote shrieking because it caught it’s leg in a trap, and has to naw’ it off, only to realise it nawed the wrong foot off. Like that….this will be saved for another column.
Match: Chris Jericho vs. Christian
Place: Wrestlemania XX – March 14th, 2004
Company: World Wrestling Entertainment
DVD Release: Wrestlemania XX, Wrestlemania Anthology Vol. 4
Build-Up: Jericho and Christian had a bet, for one dollar Canadian, that Jericho could nail Trish Stratus before Christian could Lita. However, love had different plans for Jericho. He ended giving his heart to Miss Stratus, whom unfortunately found out about the bet and was understandably upset with the Ayatollah. He becomes greatly love-sick because his feelings are unrequited, and this doesn’t sit well with Christian. He tries to get Jericho to snap out of it, and come to the reality that she wants nothing to do with him. Jericho ends up on the bad-side of the GM, Bischoff, whom forces Christian to face Trish. Captain Charisma, being the gentleman that he is, informs Trish she has nothing to worry about, and he’ll just lay down for the 1-2-3. Match time comes that evening, and things don’t go to plan. Sure, he lays down, Trish goes for the cover but a 2 is about as far as she’ll get before she’s thrown off. She’s able to get a confused look off before Christian mows her down with a vicious clothesline and places her in the Walls of Jericho. He claims he acted out in revenge, for his pal Jericho whom she’s not only playing with, but thus far has ruined Jericho’s life and their friendship. Jericho, still love sick, doesn’t care what the reasoning is, no matter how noble and in the name of dudes it may be. He attacks Christian, getting very little offense in before the leader of the Peep Nation flees the ring and we’re left having to wait until Wrestlemania XX.
The Match: This is an incredible match. For me, I believe it to be just as good as Angle vs. Guerrero from that same night. Both men had each other scouted like crazy, with reversals all over the place, and a great mix of mat-wrestling, brawling, and high-flying. Jericho was great in the expressed joy he was feeling every time he bested Christian, and the Instant Classic was awesome with his braggery and the sense that every time he laid Jericho down with something, it was for his own good, and that he was just that much closer to curing Y2J. A nice ending that makes Christian a bigger heel than when he entered the match, which is great. Please do see.
Rating: * * * * 1/2th
Match: Rob Van Dam vs. Hardcore Holly – Extreme Rules
Place: ECW Television, 26th September 2006
Company: World Wrestling Entertainment, Extreme Championship Wrestling
DVD Release: ECW – Extreme Rules
Build-Up: The week prior, Rob Van Dam was taking on Smackdown’s King Booker. Hardcore Holly had become the new muscle-for-hire for Paul Heyman, whom at the time was feuding with Rob. So, Hardcore made a little cameo with a steel chair, and rocked Rob just as he was about to get the 3 count. So, Rob felt that justice needed to be served, thus setting up this little bout the next week on ECW TV. Not the deepest story-line, but hell, it got us to the dance and didn’t involve necrophilia or a McMahon.
The Match: This one is actually somewhat known, if you’ve watched any WWE DVD in the last couple of years you’ve seen that super-annoying “Don’t Try This At Home” preview. During said preview, one of the things they show is someone with their back gashed open, that’s Holly. This was a great match, especially for TV. Hell, they could have saved it for a PPV and people would have gone home happy. You had some nice innovation here. Such as Rob placing a chair on Holly, then going for the 5-star, only to have Bob throw it in Van Dam’s face. Ouch. About mid-way through the match Holly suplexes Rob from the ring-curtain to the outside through a table; however, Holly lands on the metal stripping and slices his back open. It makes for a nice image throughout the match, as they beat each other down, Bob’s body is just dripping blood. He didn’t stop the match, and just kept on trucking. It’s a classic hardcore brawl that isn’t just punch, punch, chair, punch. While the match isn’t void of that, it’s peppered through-out and gives you a many thing to look forward to.
Rating: * * * 3/4th
Match: The Undertaker vs. John Cena
Place: Vengeance 2003
Comapny: World Wrestling Entertainment, Smackdown
DVD Release: Vengeance 2003, The Undertaker: Tombstone
Build-Up: It had been about a year since John Cena answered one of Kurt Angle’s challenges and was plucked from OVW and into the halls of WWE. At this point it had been about a year since he arrived, and he wanted to set out an open challenge to anyone who dare face the feared Smackdown veteran, John Cena. Orlando Jordan answered the call, and after a short match, got put down for the 3 count. Afterwards, Cena put the boots to Jordan, until Undertaker made the save and scared off Cena. In the back, Taker told Jordan that to deal with people like Cena, you gotta man-up. Show him you got a pair. Cena, being an angry young fellow, didn’t take to the Undertaker sticking his nose in his business, and trying to tell him how things should be done. So, for awhile Cena would mess with Taker’s matches, as would Taker to Cena. So, the stage was set at Vengeance. The Undertaker was on a path to show Cena that if you can’t give respect, then sometimes it’s beat out of you.
The Match: This is one of my favourites of the Undertaker and John Cena. It was handled really well. As it wasn’t a squash match, and it wasn’t a feat of miracle with John owning the Taker. The Dead man had the upper-hand for the beginning of the match, then made a mistake; he had Cena for the three, but picked him up to show him a lesson. Well, Cena caught a reversal and sent Taker down with a nice DDT. Cena was also smart enough to help make things even by taking off the turnbuckle pad, and busting up Taker’s ribs by slamming him into the steel ring. Biker Taker didn’t have very many good matches to his name, but this was one of them. An awesome new-school vs. old-school type of match. Good amount of back and forth, and both made to look awesome.
Rating: * * * *
There we have it kids. Another thug-a-rific article brought to you by the Caliber man. Any thoughts on matches you feel don’t get their come-uppins, hollar at cha’ boy and I’ll let the world know. Till then, keep it gangster…