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@Zimbra

I think you will enjoy this four way match from ROH 2005. Samoa Joe vs Jack Evans vs Kikutaro vs Delirious. Joe has no time for any of the shenanigans of the other three. I think he was working hurt from a Low Ki double stomp to the ribs so he instead flexed his comedy chops as a straight man. 

 

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@Spontaneous Sweet, ROH is actually a big hole in my wrasslin' knowledge and I love me some Joe so I'm looking forward to this.

Here's some not very UWFi-y UWFi: Super Vader & John Tenta vs Gary Albright & Kazuo Yamazaki

This is a rematch from a week before or so and you get 3 big meaty men slapping meat and Yamazaki apologizing for his lack of girth by kicking the shit out of everyone.  It's a little on the longer side (20ish minutes) but it's good stuff.

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On 7/3/2021 at 8:59 AM, SirSmellingtonofCascadia said:

Well, @moribund, let's try Lawler/Bock from 1982. I've seen this match probably three or four times by now, and maybe I've even written about it before? I'm not sure. But it's pretty great! I'm a big fan of a match properly escalating the action, and I think this match does that. I'll say no more than that. 

 

Someone forgot what day it was repeatedly this week. That someone is me...

@SirSmellingtonofCascadia Thanks for this. I can see what you mean about escalating action over the course of the match. I have seen this match before, but it's been a while and I am more than happy to revisit it. I'm not really into doing blow-by-blow write ups, so here are some pros & cons.

Pros:

Lance Russell on the mic. Good god, what a treat! He does so much to put the varying aspects of the match over that my wife (who as she would say herself is not really a wrestling fan but is rather "wrestling adjacent") heard the audio as I watched and at the end laughed and said, "That was awesome just listening along." From the prior results that led to the match, to Bock's viciousness, to Lawler's endurance, to the reasoning behind the ref's actions in a no DQ match, to the rising emotion in his voice at important moments: It was a masterful call.

Nick Bockwinkel is better than you (until the second he isn't), and every movement, facial expression, and bit of sadistic punishment he dishes out lets you know it. He bumps big at the right times, sells like a champ, and does kind of foolish things like not taking a pretty obvious count-out victory when there is more pain to be dealt, totally in keeping with what and who he is. I love Bock, and to lean into a board trope: Lawler may have great punches... but Bock's are better.

The story of the match is great: Lawler without a pinfall victory over Bock, his hair on the line, working as the challenger and default underdog (thanks for the info Lance Russell!), facing the reigning double champion. To say he starts slow is an understatement, as Bock works him over for a solid 5-6 minutes as they build sympathy. Things do escalate logically and in a thematically satisfying fashion throughout, with one exception I'll cover in 'cons,' and both performers clearly know how to give the crowd what they want.

Jerry Lawler is also very, very good at this whole wrasslin' thing and I did find myself enjoying his bumping, selling which is really first rate.

Cons:

I hated Lawler's final comeback. He basically just 'hulked up,' going from just about beaten to invulnerable in roughly 10 seconds. I found it really annoying even though I will usually forgive such things if the audience is hot for it which, to be fair, they totally were. A slightly different choice of sequence, thirty more seconds to incorporate a miscue or a counter of something Bock was trying would have sat a lot better with me.

Just about every word Jerry Lawler spoke on commentary during the Attitude Era. This is it, this is why I've consistently failed to connect with Lawler as a performer - I didn't see any of his classic work before having to suffer through the worst of his announcing and I just can't develop any sympathy for his character, and that is obviously a vital part of the character "The King," especially in a match like this.

You might think from the cons that I'd give the match an overall thumbs down, but I don't. Quite the opposite, actually. This is a great match and should absolutely make anyone's viewing list, totally recommended.

Bonus Pros:

The fan who got picked up on Lance Russell's mic saying "C'mon Lawler, the king ain't dead! Get up!"

Lance Russell's repeated statements of "Bockwinkel is THICK!"

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@moribund I'm glad that you liked it! I'm going to be honest, I root for the heels in Memphis against Lawler. I can't stand Lawler as a face. He's just not someone who I can root for. He comes off like a complete dick in promos, IMO. 

@twiztorWhenever someone doesn't seem to have a lot of experience with WoS, I give 'em WoS. '70s/'80s WoS is basically top-five to me. Like, if I need comfort viewing, it's '80s JCP, '92 - '98 WCW, or WoS from this time period as the first things that I go to.

Anyway, here's the greatest heel of all time IMO, Jim Breaks. I picked this match because it's short and a pretty good showcase of what WoS actually is, and Breaks is very good, as usual. I had a lot of Breaks at this length to pick from, which makes it hard to figure out what to pick, so I just went with something that I've seen and enjoyed that is brief. 

 

Edited by SirSmellingtonofCascadia
Adding match for Twiztor.
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14 hours ago, Matt D said:

Gino Hernandez has been on people's minds lately, so here's one of my favorite singles matches of his. Big heat. Triumphant finish. It gives you some sense of what he meant in Houston when he was lead heel anchoring the town. A real sense of culmination that we can only sort of tap into forty years later.

 

This video starts off with "When Wrestling was Real". Fuck off. Gino beating up a fan ringside, that's timely given what happened on Dynamite on Wednesday. This'll be a treat, since I only know of Gino from Dark Side of the Ring, and Chavo Guerrero from his run in WWE with Chavo Jr as Chavo Classic. Lou Thesz is the referee, and he's out here lookin' like Tommy Lee Jones. Chavo's physique reminds me of late career Eddie, kinda short but built like a motherfucker.

1st Fall:
They lock up twice, once ending in a push into the corner, and the second time with a sharp and crisp looking armdrag from Chavo. Gino isn't to be outdone, and does a nice one of his own. Oh nice, instead of chops in the corner, Chavo gives him... backhand elbows? I've never seen that before. I'm gonna be honest, Gino is doing a lot of restholds right now and it's kind of boring. Chavo suplexed Gino, getting out of a front headlock, and a fireman's carry, but Gino goes right back to these fuckin' restholds. For a "Junior" title match, this is a slow match so far. As of this moment, Gino seems like one of those guys that is... alright... in the ring, but most of what makes him great occurs on the mic and outside of matches, maybe. Still 10 minutes or so left to prove me wrong, though. Does Chavo do more exciting stuff in Mexico or something, or is this pretty much his style as well? I'll give them this - Chavo is doing a double arm/leglock, kind of like a surfboard, and he's changing up his positions and stuff and it's pretty cool. He's got some Japanese-like stiff kicks, too. Gino gets the win for the 1st fall. Lou Thesz is a bad referee, fight me.

2nd Fall:
I've never heard the ring announcer count down from 5 for the beginning of a match, that was weird. Gino is dominating this fall so far, but as soon as I say that Chavo comes back with some fiery punches. Gino begs off into the corner, I got Flair vibes from that. Chavo with a nice german suplex and that's the second fall. That was very, very quick. Not much to say about this section of the match, since it was like 4 minutes, if that.

3rd Fall:
That's kinda cool, Gino asks for a time out and Thesz threatens to award the fall to Chavo if Gino keeps asking for it. Chavo does a nice looking senton here. Gino goes to the top rope and does a really sloppy looking elbow drop. But then Chavo does a Russian Legsweep and wins the third fall. Gino is PISSED and attacks Chavo, busting him open with the International Junior title. Fans are getting pissed, again, just like before the match. And now Lou Thesz grabs Gino by the hair. Who is this Tiger Conway Jr guy? He has a glorious afro. Jesus, the crowd is HOT for Chavo Guerrero.

Thoughts:
Was this something I would have watched willingly? Absolutely not, lol. It was okay, but... what was the appeal of Gino Hernandez besides him looking like a star? From what I remember from Dark Side, he could talk on the mic really well, but watching this one match, he seems very... basic? Chavo had some stuff, but like I said earlier, I want to see him do good lucha things now, not being put into 3 minute headlocks by Gino or slapping on a number of (admittedly) cool submission moves. This felt like a weird styles clash, and with the 2 out of 3 falls stipulation and how Houston handled it, it broke up the flow of the match for me. I've never seen a 2/3 falls match where they count down to the start of the next fall. Cool idea, but like I said, breaks up the flow for me. Give me Gino in a wild brawl or something, and Chavo in a lucha match where he can fly around (if he does that sort of thing, I don't know) and I'd probably like both of them a lot more. Or, hell, give me Chavo in a wild brawl, he obviously doesn't mind getting color. 

But, anyway, about Tiger Conway Jr...

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@SirSmellingtonofCascadia

i'm ignoring that last comment, as it really makes me want to find the best Houston 2/3 Falls match and give to you, but i don't have the time. Maybe your next partner can take up the challenge. I present to you, Vader vs. Inoki, 1/4/96. I think the earliest Nitros are still promoting Vader as being part of the WarGames match, but he leaves shortly thereafter (although maybe all the Vader hype is pre-Nitro?). So, in tribute to your Nitro thread, i submit Vader's only (!) match after leaving WCW but before joining WWF. And it's close in timeframe to the Nitros you're watching now, not that there's any relation between the two. 

https://www.bilibili.com/video/BV1dx411i7t4/

Sorry for no YouTube link, but this was the only vid i could find. But it's free and good quality.

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11 hours ago, Casey said:

This video starts off with "When Wrestling was Real". Fuck off. Gino beating up a fan ringside, that's timely given what happened on Dynamite on Wednesday. This'll be a treat, since I only know of Gino from Dark Side of the Ring, and Chavo Guerrero from his run in WWE with Chavo Jr as Chavo Classic. Lou Thesz is the referee, and he's out here lookin' like Tommy Lee Jones. Chavo's physique reminds me of late career Eddie, kinda short but built like a motherfucker.

1st Fall:
They lock up twice, once ending in a push into the corner, and the second time with a sharp and crisp looking armdrag from Chavo. Gino isn't to be outdone, and does a nice one of his own. Oh nice, instead of chops in the corner, Chavo gives him... backhand elbows? I've never seen that before. I'm gonna be honest, Gino is doing a lot of restholds right now and it's kind of boring. Chavo suplexed Gino, getting out of a front headlock, and a fireman's carry, but Gino goes right back to these fuckin' restholds. For a "Junior" title match, this is a slow match so far. As of this moment, Gino seems like one of those guys that is... alright... in the ring, but most of what makes him great occurs on the mic and outside of matches, maybe. Still 10 minutes or so left to prove me wrong, though. Does Chavo do more exciting stuff in Mexico or something, or is this pretty much his style as well? I'll give them this - Chavo is doing a double arm/leglock, kind of like a surfboard, and he's changing up his positions and stuff and it's pretty cool. He's got some Japanese-like stiff kicks, too. Gino gets the win for the 1st fall. Lou Thesz is a bad referee, fight me.

2nd Fall:
I've never heard the ring announcer count down from 5 for the beginning of a match, that was weird. Gino is dominating this fall so far, but as soon as I say that Chavo comes back with some fiery punches. Gino begs off into the corner, I got Flair vibes from that. Chavo with a nice german suplex and that's the second fall. That was very, very quick. Not much to say about this section of the match, since it was like 4 minutes, if that.

3rd Fall:
That's kinda cool, Gino asks for a time out and Thesz threatens to award the fall to Chavo if Gino keeps asking for it. Chavo does a nice looking senton here. Gino goes to the top rope and does a really sloppy looking elbow drop. But then Chavo does a Russian Legsweep and wins the third fall. Gino is PISSED and attacks Chavo, busting him open with the International Junior title. Fans are getting pissed, again, just like before the match. And now Lou Thesz grabs Gino by the hair. Who is this Tiger Conway Jr guy? He has a glorious afro. Jesus, the crowd is HOT for Chavo Guerrero.

Thoughts:
Was this something I would have watched willingly? Absolutely not, lol. It was okay, but... what was the appeal of Gino Hernandez besides him looking like a star? From what I remember from Dark Side, he could talk on the mic really well, but watching this one match, he seems very... basic? Chavo had some stuff, but like I said earlier, I want to see him do good lucha things now, not being put into 3 minute headlocks by Gino or slapping on a number of (admittedly) cool submission moves. This felt like a weird styles clash, and with the 2 out of 3 falls stipulation and how Houston handled it, it broke up the flow of the match for me. I've never seen a 2/3 falls match where they count down to the start of the next fall. Cool idea, but like I said, breaks up the flow for me. Give me Gino in a wild brawl or something, and Chavo in a lucha match where he can fly around (if he does that sort of thing, I don't know) and I'd probably like both of them a lot more. Or, hell, give me Chavo in a wild brawl, he obviously doesn't mind getting color. 

But, anyway, about Tiger Conway Jr...

A lot of ground to cover here.

80s US Juniors wrestling (and I'd argue AJPW juniors as well) is different than you'd expect. Second fall weirdness (more on that later) aside, I'd argue that this is about as good as you get. Title matches tended to be more technical and that was doubled down for the juniors style. Be glad I didn't give you the 87 Denny Brown vs Lazertron (another Guerrero) title change instead. I imagine a lot of this is following in the legacy of Danny Hodge, but I'm not really sure. I think it's more of just the veneer of title match. We have a midgets title match from 75 where it's worked pretty straight and hold-based. What makes this one different is the crowd and the heat. That's something that we have from Houston to a degree, but less than you'd hope since we don't have full TV episodes. Sometimes there are promos to go with the matches but a lot of the time the matches were pieced out. You lose some context. This match, however, felt like the culmination of a big story, maybe even years of grief and felt like a real triumph for Chavo (even if Gino got his heat back in the end).

As for Gino, he was a bit more toned down in-ring since it was a title match and wrestled straighter to a degree, but he was a heatseeker. That's why people would watch him. Not for crazy moves or spots or bumps but for being able to really make the crowd hate him and then get his comeuppance big. That's what you needed to anchor a territory week in and week out. People weren't going for great matches. They were going to cheer and jeer. I do think he has a lot of really good matches, however, but the end sort of works out as the means for me.

I wrote a whole essay on what we learned about Gino from the footage itself actually: https://winterpalacepodcast.squarespace.com/articles/gino-houston

I really wanted to write one about Tiger Conway, Jr. too, actually, because he was a real lost worker and he was in the mix a lot, especially as a local favorite midcarder, in tags and singles and I though he was very good and very overlooked and we just have so much out him out of the Houston footage. I never found the time and it's all so distant from my mind now.

As for the two/three fall structure, it's interesting. You have to remember that Houston was booked by multiple different people calling in multiple different sources of talent, with only guys like Gino and Chavo and Tiger or the champs they brought in like Bock transcending from one regime to the next. It went from Fritz's talent to Southwest to Mid-South and they kept doing a lot of 2/3 falls matches, though I guess less so with Watts so patterns you see there would either be a Boesch thing or just something bigger stylistically. I don't think it's true for every match but I'd have to go back and watch a bunch more again. Casey, you'd be interested to know that in Portland, they actually cut promos in between the falls.

-----

You gave me Kandori vs Nakano in a chain match and there was a lot to like there. I love matches with unique openings and this was absolutely unique. Kandori was bandaged up and Nakano went after the bandage early with the chain, with kicks, etc. Kandori's response was to leap up in one of the biggest bits of sheer defiance I've seen in wrestling and just headbutt her with her own damaged skull again and again and again signaling to Nakano that she was not going to be abused in that way and that she'd do to herself worse than anything Bull would do to her. I think I instantly knew everything I needed to know about Kandori's character right there.

The match was most interesting overall for how they used the chain. It generally served two or three purposes:

  • It kept them close together. There was no escaping one another. The area where the action could take place at any one time was limited. They were all but tripping over one another or making people in the crowd trip over them at times. The violence was constant because of it. They were simply always within one another's radius. Moreover, if Kandori wanted to get the action back in the ring, for instance, she had to take Nakano with her. Nothing was easy and it prevented her from keeping the offense on her own terms.
  • It enhanced Nakano's violence. She was prone to climbing up the ropes and striking down or pulling up into a choke. She wrapped the chain around her fist or her foot. She whipped at Kandori. You never got the sense that it was doing all that much more damage than Nakano could do on her own but that said more about Bull than it did about the chain. She tempered what she did at almost every point with the chain in mind and while Kandori suffered for it, it also provided some openings.
  • Because of the chain, Kandori could come back at any point. Some of that was Kandori too of course, and her toughness and defiance, but she could fire back with a chain shot at almost any moment after almost any punishment and it would be completely believable as a temporary equalizer.

What Kandori couldn't do was establish any sort of extended offense on Nakano. I'm not sure, within the match itself, I bought that was because of the extra level of damage the chain was allowing Nakano to inflict. I think it was maybe more that Kandori had to heft Bull around to get anything done because of the weight discrepancy and that took an extra bit of effort and allowed, when added to the damage on Kandori, for Bull to work back into things. Everything after the power bomb and then especially after the counter into a reverse pile driver (as opposed to a back body drop) felt somewhat inevitable, not that Kandori wouldn't be able to come back, but that even if she did, she wouldn't be able to put Bull away. Even so, what I thought the match was missing was one more rotation in the last minute, one last bit of a comeback attempt that got cut off or countered to lead to the finish, but we were likely supposed to appreciate instead was that it just took so much for Nakano to put Kandori away.

I liked this, certainly compared to most chain/dog collar matches in wrestling history that have four corners rules or what not, but I was lacking a baseline for these two which makes this a little hard to place overall.

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Jim Breaks vs. Vic Faulkner, 7/16/77

i have only seen maybe two WoS matches that were posted here, so i am for all intents and purposes a complete novice here. I did some quick reading up on the rules so that i wasn't completely lost. I knew about the rounds system (that's not unusual to me due to boxing and MMA familiarity) but that's about it.

Anyway, both men connected with the crowd well. Breaks is obviously the heel, complaining to the ref about every possible rule infraction (even when there is none, as the announcer points out) but taking every advantage (legal or not) that he can. He's pretty over the top, and i can see why he's remembered fondly. He's also got some keen armlocks, bending Faulkner's wrist at an odd angle, then following through with the elbow and/or shoulder and then capping it all off with a keen stomp, or twist, or what-have-you, depending on which position they're in.

Faulkner, for his part, plays the bland babyface well. The crowd certainly loves him, and he shows some flashes of personality but is more the focused do-gooder. He mocks Breaks' complaints at one point by throwing himself on the mat and throwing a tantrum of his own. It was muted, but the crowd really enjoyed it.

this match is JIP, starting with round 4. The score is tied, 0-0. Round 4 contains the best of the limbwork. Round 5 contains a bit more action. Round 6 sees both men score pinfalls (and both are completely pitiful pinfalls), ending the match in a draw.

I gotta be honest. This was OK as a novelty, but it didn't really grab me overall. Maybe it's that i'm not familiar enough with the rules and presentation. Maybe it's just too old for my tastes (anything pre-1980 gets iffy). Maybe my expectations were just in the wrong place (the limbwork is always played up when talking about WoS. This had some of that, but there was little long-term selling, and no real payoff to it overall). I didn't dislike it, but it doesn't drive me to check out anything further from the participants or the promotion in the future.

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Vader vs. Antonio Inoki

This match is not very long, and I suppose that it's a neat curiosity. There's weirdly not much to it. Oh, there are big spots (and I appreciate Vader dumping Inoki onto a table outside, and when Inoki slid off the table, using said table as a weapon instead). But there's a lot of laying around for a fourteen-minute match and a weird sleeper-hold spot on the apron that goes on a bit long. There is a lot of these guys standing around mean-mugging for a match this short.

Vader looks cool and I am reminded of what an AWESOME bumper he was at that size. Was he the best-bumping superheavy ever? If I didn't know Vader, I'd probably be interested in watching more Vader. The match itself, though, is disjointed and never really feels more than like a bunch of spots, some heavy on brawling/bumping and others on sort of boring hold-working, and none of them really pulled together with clear transitions. 

Mediocre as a match, but Vader throws punches and chokeslams and bleeds and looks generally cool as fuck. 

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I am a big stupid who zoned out. I will review the recommendations and go into detail about my tastes and blind spots early this week.

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On 7/11/2021 at 2:53 AM, Morganti said:

@Morganti, my man, don't make a link. Just cut and paste the address and the video will embed automatically. 

I love this and want everyone to enjoy it.

I don't have an encyclopedic knowledge of HUSTLE, but I think the Monster Bono storyline just might be the strangest, funniest, craziest thing they ever did (which is really saying something). 

To sum up: The Great Muta sprayed green mist into the crotch of Yinling the Erotic Terrorist and she subsequently gave birth to a (blue plastic?) egg which hatched into a 215,000-gram baby named Monster Bono (sumo yokozuna, MMA freak show attraction, and major Japanese celebrity Akebono). Yinling treated Monster Bono in an abusively controlling manner, forcing him to fight as part of Nobuhiko Takada's evil Monster Army.  Akebono is a good baby who misses his daddy. The pre-match video package does an amazing job of presenting the story and making it understandable. 

Muta is absent as the match begins and Tajiri, Tenryu, and RG cruelly tease baby Bono about that. I think that they do a great job establishing the evil sex symbol and her enormous man-infant as the sympathetic babyfaces in this particular match. And the babyfaces fight valiantly until they are caught by the cruel bad men, and just as RG is about to rub his fundoshi-clad ass in the baby's face... guess who shows up? 

Spoiler

It's papa!

The most ridiculous thing about this match is not that Muta's green mist impregnated the erotic commie swimsuit model or that Akebono is playing a baby. It's that they do an entire video and music intro before the guy "running in" to save the baby slowly makes his way to the ring in character. I imagine that there is a parodic element intended here.

The second-craziest thing is that RG is probably the best worker in this match. His bumping, selling, and stooging are all first rate.

Also strange is that Tenryu is probably the least important person in the match. He's kind of just there. You could have replaced him with almost anyone and it wouldn't affect the match all that much.

Also, Akebono's acting, his mannerisms and facial expressions and so forth, really tug at the old heart-strings despite the surreal silliness of the entire story. I think he actually cries real tears at a couple of points.

This is, against all odds, kind of moving and funny and dramatic and it's all highly watchable. There's a cleverness behind the stupidity and a pinch of kindness leavening the puerile humour. It stands in stark contrast to various offensively stupid attempts at pro wrestling sex farce such as, say, Mae Young giving birth to a hand after having sex with Mark Henry, or the Katie Vick or Al Wilson and Dawn Marie angles... The Monster Bono story has a heart and a brain.

The whole story eventually came to an amusing and heartwarming conclusion, too:

Spoiler

Tired of her constant abuse, Monster Bono challenged his mom to a match, which he won with a giant splash. Sadly, however, the splash killed Yinling the Erotic Terrorist. However, mother and son reconciled as she lay dying in his arms. Monster Bono eventually left the promotion to go and search for his father.

 

 

Edited by Gordberg
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Sorry about that, it was a mobile issue... my phone sent the post then told me it was converting my link, then when i went to edit it wouldn't embed 😞 but I am so happy you enjoyed that match.  Hustle is one of my favorite promotions

 

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On 7/13/2021 at 9:55 PM, Jimbo_Tsuruta said:

@Super Apedo you have a match recommendation for me?

Geant Ferre vs. Franz Van Buyten, for the French heavyweight championship.

Geant Ferre would go on to achieve fame under the name Andre the Giant, but here he is, in his second match ever.

 

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1 hour ago, Super Ape said:

Geant Ferre vs. Franz Van Buyten, for the French heavyweight championship.

Geant Ferre would go on to achieve fame under the name Andre the Giant, but here he is, in his second match ever.

 

This is one of my favourite French catch bouts, so it’s great to see it again after a while. For anyone who has only ever watched broken down Andre in the WWF, this is definitely a match to check out (match starts about seven mins in).

The champ Van Buyten fastens onto the arm early but the giant tosses him with ease. Franz then goes to work on the ankle but despite twisting and wrenching with all his might Andre is able to peel him off once more.

Van Buyten is throwing the kitchen sink at Andre with flying headscissors, headlocks and uppercuts but the giant is soaking it all up. Franz exposes his neck, Andre can’t fasten on a headlock but ends up trapping the champion in a bearhug.

The champ fights out of it and they start swinging at each other with uppercuts before van Buyten tries a flying headbutt to Andre’s stomach. The giant rocks Franz with a blow and then slams him onto his oversized knee. After another backbreaker and a boot to the face from Andre, van Buyten fires back but the giant nails him once more with a third backbreaker before scooping the champ up for a slam and pinning him to claim the belt.

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@Zimbra

Super Vader/John Tenta vs Garl Albright/Kazuo Yamazaki 10/8/1994

This was some good shit. I always have enjoyed Vader's UWFi work far more than any other promotion. John Tenta is John Tenta to me, I've never seen him as Earthquake. Yamazaki I'm not super familiar with. Albright has always been ok to me.

I liked the pre match scrum between Albright and Vader. Really added tension to the match. This was a fun physical match. I liked Vader's selling here. He made Yamazaki and Albright both look dangerous. By the time it ended I was shocked. It seemed like they could go back and forth another ten minutes. Nasty strikes, suplexes and holds ends in a stiff power bomb. Great match.

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