Last week I looked at some classic British Wrestling and today we’re going to look at some from New Zealand. I stumbled across “On The Mat” by accident on YouTube, and from doing some digging around I’ve found out that it was an NWA affiliated show that aired on the channel “TV2” between 1975 and 1984.
Seeing as the episodes are under 30 minutes I decided I’d have a bash at reviewing one of them just to have something new to watch. It’s essentially your typical studio wrestling shoot, ala Mid-Atlantic or Memphis, except sometimes the venues aren’t traditional TV studio’s and instead in things like sports halls and YMCA’s. The presentation is similar though. How can that not be good eh?
If you fancy watching the show, you can do so by clicking HERE.
So let’s head over to the other side of the world and watch some chuffing wrestling!
The matches are being taped from Auckland, New Zealand
Calling the action are Barry Holland and Steve Rickard
The commentators open us up by saying that a lot of the big names will be coming over to take part on the show this year.
NWA Champion Ric Flair is currently in New Zealand and having great matches, which leads to a promo from him in front of a private jet. We get to meet his limo driver and a duo of pretty ladies who travel with him. It’s a classic cocky World Champ Ric Flair promo, and few did it better.
The Mongolians (Zar & Gor) Vs Farmer Boy Ipo and Roy Starr
Zar is apparently a very early gimmick for Barry Darsow, as he seemed to spend the majority of his early years pretending to be a Foreign Menace. Gor I couldn’t find out much about sadly, but he looks a bit like Tony Kozina. Ipo is apparently a Samoan wrestler who also worked in places like Hawaii. Starr I sadly can’t find anything on either, but apparently he’s American. Starr runs wild on those gosh darn Mongolians with some arm drags in the early going, which leads to some heel miscommunication to pop the crowd.
The ring looks huge here, it must be 22 by 22 or something, either that or the wrestlers are tiny. Darsow does tower over them all actually, which kind of highlights just how big everyone on the late 80’s WWF roster was. Whilst the action goes on, a bald chap called Man Mountain Link comes down to watch things. He looks a bit like how Justin Credible looks today actually. A lot of headlocks and chin locks get worked, with none of the wrestlers looking especially good, including Darsow who is clearly still green here. Darsow eventually catches Starr with a bear hug and that’s the finish.
WINNERS: THE MONGOLIANS
Pretty rough around the edges here, with Starr selling well but that was about it. Ito and Gor weren’t especially good and Darsow was only in his first year as an active combatant, so he wasn’t going to have the experience to carry it.
Steve Rickard has an interview with Mark Lewin, who gives quite a low-key promo about how he has defeated Ric Flair in the past in a non-Title match and wants to defeat him in a Title match next. This felt like both men had just eaten a heavy lunch and drank a warm glass of milk before filming.
Lars Anderson Vs Mark Lewin
Lars was the gimmick brother of Gene and Ole Anderson, and he wrestled in both the NWA and AWA. Around this time his home-base was in Hawaii and Polynesian Pacific Wrestling. Lewin was a huge star in New Zealand and tagged with Curtis Iaukea for a while. He also worked in Detroit against The Original Sheik and feuded with Terry Funk on occasion too. His nickname was supposedly “The Maniac”, but he sounded pretty docile in that promo just then.
Lewin does have a great physique here actually, as he looks like your traditional 50’s era heavyweight with the black boots and trunks. Anderson was showing his age here but he still knows how to sell to make Lewin look good. Anderson spends most of his time on offence peppering Lewin with punches whilst Lewin tries to out wrestle him with holds and roll ups, which does a good job of establishing which wrestler is the face and which one is the heel.
In a cool spot the crowd actually counts along every time Lewin cranks in a side headlock, which I can’t recall seeing before. Lewin generally controls things here, mostly working holds and keeping Anderson on the defensive. It’s not especially thrilling to watch but they work it well for the most part and the crowd is in to Lewin getting the better of his opponent. We actually get some crowd brawling at one stage, which the audience loves, and Lewin leaves Anderson laying on the floor and the match seems to have ended.
Match was going fine until the abrupt weird ending.
Following the bout, Man Mountain Link challenges The Mongolians, which explains why he was having a look at their match earlier, whilst Lewin reiterates that he wants a match with Ric Flair. I mean, you couldn’t beat a beyond washed up Lars Anderson in a TV match, I’m not seeing you as Flair’s next challenger to be honest.
There wasn’t much to this one from an in-ring perspective but it was a super easy watch due to the run time and there’s a few more of these up on YouTube that I might seek out if you all enjoyed it. It’s always interesting for me to watch different versions of wrestling from around the world to see what they do that other places don’t.
Believe it or not, I’ve actually got a schedule all set up for how I’m going to do the reviews of Survivor Series, Starrcade and Royal Rumble Main Events. Those will start on the 1st of November and I’ll have a special Halloween Havoc “Stinker” Review on the 31st of October.
Prior to that my Saturday’s are going to be free and I’m open to suggestions. We’ve got some Japanese Wrestling planned for next week, but after that September and October have yet to be fully organised. If there’s anything you’d like me to take a look at, be it more World of Sport, On The Mat, Japanese Wrestling, classic ROH, other indies, Lucha etc then feel free to let me know and I’ll see what I can get my grubby paws on. I’ve had quite a few “Stinker” suggestions from the review I did a couple of weeks back, with Heroes of Wrestling getting mentioned along with Uncensored 96, so we might possibly revisit that topic in September.
In the meantime there’s still ECW Hardcore TV every Wednesday and I’ll find something to fill this slot (Ooo err matron) on Saturday’s, so keep a look out for more Mike Reviews!