Watch the Funk Brothers, Stan Hansen, Bruiser Brody, Jimmy Snuka AND Giant Baba all get into it!
Welcome back to more Dream Matches! This time, I take a look at the early 1980s of All Japan, because I was curious about just what the Funk Brothers were like in their 30s (the answer: Still old!). And they’re taking on another gaijin team- the brawling mega-heel Bruiser Brody, along with “Superfly” Jimmy Snuka himself!
Also, prepare for some torture as we dive further into the career of one ERIK WATTS- two matches featuring the blandest, most forgettable tag team in WWF history, and one from his bizarre 1999 WCW comeback! That’s right- it’s time for some TEKNO TEAM 2000! Watts & Chad Fortune team up against Barry Horowitz & the Brooklyn Brawler, then the Smoking Gunns! And then watch ’90s Dudebro Heel Watts up against the legendary jam-up guy, El Dandy!
REAL WORLD TAG LEAGUE 1981- FINAL MATCH:
THE FUNK BROTHERS (Terry & Dory Jr.) vs. BRUISER BRODY & JIMMY SNUKA (w/ Stan Hansen):
(All Japan, Dec. 13th, 1981)
* Damn, so Snuka has wrestled in Japan before. And here he is teamed up with legendary psychopath Bruiser Brody against the Funks, at this point beloved heroes in All Japan. Dory merely looks to be 75 here, as opposed to his usual self, while Terry has the curly hair and looks reasonably in shape. Both Funks are in blue trunks, while Brody & Snuka are in black (Broady with furry boots) and backed up by Stan Hansen. Jimmy looks like he’s only had a dinner plate full of cocaine compared to how much he was using in the WWF, and looks weird with boots and normal wrestling gear on. I’ve literally never seen a Brody match before this, so this will be interesting.
Snuka & Terry do a simple sequence, with Snuka impressing with his kip-up and big leapfrogs over the charging Texan. He dodges an elbow but faceplants off a Funk double-team. Dory tries thrice to get a butterfly suplex (good tease, there), but Brody’s in, “Huss!”-ing away (Berzerker indeed stole his whole act). Terry absolutely pinballs off of some basic strikes, putting Brody over as a powerhouse (he’s not that much bigger than Terry is, really), but Dory comes in with his “tricep-slap” European uppercuts (nobody tell Vince!), and Brody tags in Snuka, who gets caught on another leapfrog- Brody saves Snuka from the Spinning Toe-Hold, bringing Terry in to deck him. The heels control Dory with a headlock for a long time, but the fans stay with them- Brody gets distracted and the Funks double-suplex him- I think that was an MDK in 1981, but Brody kicks out at two. Terry throws elbows, but Brody tosses him into a Flair Flip and the Funks milk that as devastating. Suplex gets two, and Snuka’s chop gets the same. Snuka gets tossed, but flies in with a Springboard Splash (!!) for two (in 1981!). Then Dory dumps him and Terry hits a plancha suicida! Brody beats his ass for that, while Dory brings Snuka back in with a suplex for two.
Snuka gets a sunset flip, but Dory hits a piledriver- Snuka’s foot’s in the ropes. But then Terry just shoves him to the corner and calls out Brody, and we got us a SLUGFEST on our hands! And Terry actually wins! Brody is taken aback, but the heels quickly double-team Terry until he fights back on Snuka and kicks him in the coconuts. Dory comes off the top onto the ankle, and the Funks work it over, setting up the Spinning Toe-Hold! That remains the funniest-looking move in wrestling, looking like something Bugs Bunny would do in a Looney Tunes wrestling match against some big goon. Someone on the Blog said it looks like he’s trying to take off the other guy’s shoe. Snuka sells that terribly, but Brody gets locked in Terry’s before booting him off and throwing him into Stan’s monster Lariat outside the ring!
Snuka kicks Dory off and Dory goes out to check on his bloodied brother and comes back in LAYING WASTE, all fired up and murdering the other two with punches. Brody goes into the post and gets beaten bloody, but FINALLY comes back with a boot. Snuka comes off with a Flying Headbutt, and the fans ERUPT when Dory kicks out at two! Brody comes in to mop up, but Dory AGAIN kicks out. Backbreaker also gets two as Terry is still quivering on the outside. Snuka hits a flying thing, but a splash hits knees- kneecrusher leads to the Spinning Toe-Hold again, but Brody comes off the top to break it up! Poor Dory has no energy left, and so a massive Running Kneedrop (Brody’s finisher) kills him dead at (21:41).
Hansen comes in to celebrate, and all three enjoy kicking Dory’s ass as he objects to the trophies they’re winning. But that triggers a HUGE brawl, as Giant Baba and some other guys run into the ring, and Baba brawls with Hansen! Finally, a crimson-masked Stan heads to the back with his boys, screaming about that “Big, fat son of a bitch!” and now “I don’t gotta take this shit!”, coming off like a total villain, which is terrific.
This was such a different time- SO much milking of spots, guys repeatedly standing off to take each other’s measure, a 2-minute headlock spot where they roll around and fight for pins, etc.- it’s kind of fascinating and an interesting way to milk things. Terry’s cartoon bumping is great as always, though I didn’t get as much of the “aura” of Brody- he seems like just another big tough guy at this point. Snuka’s stuff had to be state of the art, and fired-up Dory was great fun, though.
Rating: ***1/4 (started out a bit too “old-school” for me, but the story was pretty great and Snuka’s stuff was really advanced for the time)
TEKNO TEAM 2000 (Troy & Travis) vs. BARRY HOROWITZ & THE BROOKLYN BRAWLER:
(WWF Superstars, May 27th 1995)
* Hey look! It’s Tekno Team 2000! Another completely bizarre short-lived duo, as they entered the WWF with no fanfare one week and disappeared only a few weeks later, so fast I was like “Hey… wasn’t there a team named Tekno Team 2000 for a second there?” They were a perfectly ordinary “Young Man Tag Team”, which is always a great character thing, as you can throw in the Young Stallions or early Smoking Gunns or whatever and have them be an undercard duo with fans accepting that they’re young and will one day improve, but in this case they just cut bait immediately.
They’re Erik Watts, infamously-crappy son of Bill, and Chad Fortune (with a furry mullet), and both are big tall guys wearing gunmetal gray long tights with red accents, and I guess they’re supposed to be edgy cool cyberpunk kids- or at least a 50-year old man’s 1995 interpretation of what cyberpunk was like. And named “Troy and Travis”, way before Vince commonly removed surnames. And they’re fighting the WWF’s two most elite jobbers! Horowitz has blue trunks and black suspenders, which is a look I don’t remember on him.
Troy (Chad) starts with the Brawler, winning a super-basic “Wrestling School Reversal Sequence”, bringing Barry in- TT2K do a double-leapfrog into a hiptoss/splash combo. Troy’s tagged back in for a reverse flying bodypress, and the Brawler breaks up the pin. Travis (Watts) beats on him, and a double corner-whip sees Travis clothesline Barry. Double back-body drop & double dropkick send out the Brawler, and a Hanging Vertical Suplex/Flying Body-Press combo move pins Barry at (1:58). Huh, that’s not the worst finisher, but it’s pretty basic- just two regular moves combined together, which wasn’t much for 1995.
This was a suuuuuuuuuuuper short match, which is kinda funny, as these guys would be a solid “Jobber Litmus Test” for the new team. Tekno Team 2000 looked like you’d think every other Power Plant Grad would look like- bland, but not actively bad. But having these two tall, lanky dudes act as high-flyers is a bit odd.
Rating: 1/2* (perfectly ordinary jobber squash)
THE SMOKING GUNNS (Billy & Bart Gunn) vs. TEKNO TEAM 2000 (Troy & Travis):
(WWF TV, April 5th 1996)
* A very unexpected bout, as TT2K were sent to the USWA for “seasoning” and are back a full YEAR later, which I don’t remember at all. They’re fighting clean-shaven Smoking Gunns (when Billy was JUST ABOUT ready for his first failed solo push- you can tell by his super-’90s undercut ‘do). The rookies are still in their gunmetal gray/red tights, but have now added black sleeveless shirts and goofy “club guy” hand poses, and silver lines under their eyes. Skip & Zip, the WWF Tag Team Champions (god damn this era was so sad) are on commentary with Vince & Mr. Perfect, taunting the Gunns, as Billy is just back from the neck injury that set up the tourney that saw the Body Donnas win the gold.
Billy starts with Troy (Chad) and they do a criss-cross, with Troy slickly leaping out of a drop-toehold and getting his own, but Billy reverses an armbar and hits the Fameasser (!), back before it was a finisher and was instead a reversal to pop the fans. TT2K do their double-leapfrog over Bart, and hit a double-pump kick after he ducks their clotheslines. That gets two. Leapfrog avalanche keeps up the punishment, but Bart drops Travis (Erik) over the top rope and tags out, and the Gunns whup his ass for a while as Mr. Perfect talks about Sunny’s Slammy Awards (“they’re a beautiful pair”). Billy FLIES into the corner missing his charge, and Troy slugs both Gunns down like a babyface on the hot tag, but gets caught alone when Travis is dumped, and caught in a variation of the Sidewinder (backdrop suplex/jumping inverted DDT) for the three (4:29).
Very, very odd little match, with Billy & Bart kinda wrestling heel in anticipation of Billy’s future angle with Sunny, but Tekno Team 2000 ALSO wrestling kinda heel while also being treated like jobbers- they get theme music and come out second, but most of the offense was just the Gunns kicking and elbowing them. But then they get a random hot tag until Troy just gets caught fighting both guys and a one-hit move pins him. Meanwhile, on commentary they COMPLETELY ignore the kids and focus entirely on the Gunns, making TT2K out to be complete jobbers.
Rating: *1/2 (nothing filler bout- goes a bit back & forth but almost no heat sequences to speak of)
Erik Watts as a dudebro goof heel.
ERIK WATTS vs. EL DANDY
(WCW Worldwide, May 15th 1999)
* Now we’re in late-stage WCW, with ERIK WATTS of all people returning to the company and getting a mini-push. A big dude now wearing giant baggy jeans and a black shirt, he’s now a full-blown arrogant heel, going up against a very squat, tubby El Dandy, who may be a jam-up guy, but is out of his depth here, most likely. He’s in a purple singlet. I’ll give Watts this- he’s supposed to be, and looks like, a GIGANTIC douchebag here, and has none of his youthful awkwardness anymore.
El Dandy uses evasive tactics to start until Watts catches him with a boot and a slam, but manages some dropkicks and slugs him down with a big right hand while Watts is smirking at him. Dandy misses a big missile dropkick, though, and a smug Watts kicks him and hits a weird Famasser with his leg over Dandy’s back. Watts casually throws shots until he picks Dandy up and uses a BUCKLE BOMB, and puts him in Uranage position and just lifts him up and slams him face-forward (sorta like a Flatliner, but with more elevation and less snap), getting the pin at (2:31). ERIK WATTS. Used a BUCKLE BOMB.
Perfectly acceptable squash, here- you could see Erik wasn’t very quick or athletic, but he had “it” as far as looking like a complete smug asshole, just smirking away and sarcastically cheering on El Dandy and ending with some casual stuff. Like, he obviously was no Main Eventer, but he’d make a great “Third Guy” in some stable- I almost wanna buy a ticket just to see him get beaten up, right now.
Rating: 1/2* (standard-issue squash- Dandy got some decent stuff and Watts is a believable power guy against such a small opponent)