Mike Reviews Shows Considered To Be Stinkers – Grand Masters of Wrestling: First Blood Volume One
By Michael Fitzgerald on 31st July 2021
Back with another Stinker Review, where I look at a show that has gained a reputation for being bad for whatever reason and then give it it’s day in court so we can decide whether it truly is a Stinker or not.
This month we have yet another reader request, which comes to us courtesy of Chael Sonnen’s Coke Dealer, as he wanted me to take a look at Grand Masters of Wrestling. And based on the reputation this has, I might need some kind of stimulant just to get through it all.
I’d never heard of this prior to watching it for this review and I haven’t really been that successful in finding out more. As far as I can tell, Grand Masters of Wrestling was a collection of super cheap wrestling DVD’s that were pumped out in the early to mid-00’s, featuring footage from small indie events and starring the likes of The Iron Sheik.
I had a search on the old YouTube machine and managed to find this. I’m not sure if this is the particular show that C.S.C.D wanted me to review, but it’s got Grandmasters of Wrestling in the title and it looks like it will be awful, so hopefully it’ll scratch whatever demented itch he has.
If you’d like to watch along with me (And why wouldn’t you) you can do so by clicking HERE, but don’t hold me responsible for any misery it might cause you!
The event would appear to have taken place in Livingston, New Jersey on the 4th of April 1993 (The same day as Mania IX). That’s what I can gleam from looking on CageMatch.com anyway. By the looks of things the show was called Maccabiah Mania and they’ve just taped some matches from it with a roaming handheld camera.
We open up with a Nikolai Volkoff, who cuts a promo on The Iron Sheik, who cuts one back on him in reply. Wait, The Evil Foreigners are going to EXPLODE?!?! Say it ain’t so!! Sheik’s promo was the usual craziness, and it was entertaining in that respect.
Ace Darling Vs Mr. Motion
Darling was always someone I’d sign on early 90’s data packs of EWR because his stats were generally decent. I’ve actually never seen him wrestle though. Motion apparently also wrestled under the name Shane Taylor and he looks to have retired in 2018. Both of these guys are sporting mullets, with Motion’s having some blond in it. Motion also seems to have a valet with him, but there isn’t a graphic for her.
This match appears to be taking place inside a tent somewhere, not unlike the ROH Generation Next show from 2004. Darling seems to be playing the Heel, as Motion shines on him in the early going with generic babyface fare like arm drags and whatnot. The crowd mostly gets into it, and Darling can at least bump and feed properly so it works for the most part, even if some of Motion’s offence doesn’t look the best. From looking online, these two would team quite a bit, so they knew each other well and probably got booked together a lot.
In a funny moment, Mr. Motion tries to apply an arm bar and can’t get it locked in properly, so you can actually hear Darling coach him through how to apply it properly in between his selling. Darling eventually manages to slingshot Motion over the top rope to the floor for the cut off, which leads to some heat. Motion sells it reasonably well to be fair, and Darling looks fine on offence.
Motion is clearly pretty green, but Darling seems to know what he’s doing and you’d probably book him if you were running a smaller indie promotion. They do some spots in the heat where Darling gets near falls but he makes cocky covers that allow Motion to kick out, which of course leads to Motion eventually making the comeback.
Hey, there’s actually a cogent story being told here that’s easy to follow. I’ll take it! We get some near falls following Motion’s comeback, and the crowd is mostly with it all too. They take some pretty big bumps too, including a spot where they both tumble over the top rope to the floor from a cross body. Darling tries it on with Motion’s valet, but the delay that takes allows Motion to get him with a superplex, followed by a belly to belly suplex for three.
WINNER: MR. MOTION
I must be getting soft in my old age, but I didn’t have any problem with that at all. Yeah, some of the work was a bit iffy due to Motion being pretty green, but Darling held it together well enough and they actually told a decent story with the cocky Darling being undone by his own hubris. For a small indie outfit like this company, it was just fine
Darling complains following that, but he has no one to blame but himself.
Iron Mike Sharpe Vs The Cheetah Kid
IMS was a notable enhancement talent for the WWF during the 80’s and 90’s, renowned for his loud selling and OCD when it came to cleanliness. Cheetah Kid would perhaps be better known as Rocco Rock, one half of The Public Enemy tag team with Johnny Grunge. Interestingly we can’t be far off the formation of that team, as Paul Heyman had seen them as opponents and decided to team them up and bring them into ECW later on in 1993.
Sharpe does the big stall to start, which is one of those things that generally works better when you’re actually at the show as you can react to it and give the wrestler stick, but it doesn’t always translate as well to watching at home. Sharpe’s usual booming voice is on display, and to be honest he’s quite fun in the role of a loudmouthed Heel who gives the fans hassle for having the temerity to cheer for the babyface and not allow him to concentrate.
It’s a very basic match, but it does the job and the kids in the crowd in particular are fully behind Cheetah due to his masked man gimmick. Sharpe cheats by rubbing Cheetah’s eyes along the ropes and taunts the crowd, which isn’t especially exciting to watch but at least they’re telling a story. Cheetah makes the comeback by ramming Sharpe’s head into the buckles and Sharpe teases walking out before storming back.
This has hardly been an especially good match from a technical wrestling aspect, but it’s not been awful either in my opinion. Yeah, it’s been as basic and by the numbers as you can get, but both men understand their role and how to play it, and the crowd has been responding for the most part. For a match between a WWF enhancement guy and a tag team guy who was never really known for being a great worker, it’s been okay. Dull, but efficient.
Cheetah tries some high-flying, but ends up getting crotched on the top rope when he tries the Hakushi rope walk spot, only to get revenge by pulling Sharpe crotch first into the ring post. Sadly the match falls apart a bit in the closing stages, as they botch a rope walk arm drag spot, before going into some roll ups from Cheetah for two. Sharpe pulls some sort of weapon out of his tights though and clocks Cheetah with in for the three count. Interestingly, some of the crowd actually popped for that.
WINNER: IRON MIKE SHARPE
Just two guys having a match on an indie show. It wasn’t even close to approaching something I would consider “good”, but for a show in a tent with 300 people watching I’ve seen significantly worse. Again, at least they were able to tell a story and the crowd mostly reacted to it all. Take out the botches and shave a couple of minutes off and this would have been fine. Not “being sold on a DVD” fine like, but fine for a small indie show
Cheetah beats up Sharpe post-match to get revenge for his cheating.
Misty Blue Vs Linda Dallas
I don’t know who either of these women are, but they both appear to be Killer Kowalski trainees and he’s appearing on the show later, so he probably managed to get them a booking as well. Dallas looks a bit like Melrose from the Netflix GLOW show, whereas Blue has the 80’s babyface woman’s wrestler look, complete with blond highlights in her hair. She even enters to “Girl’s Just Wanna Have Fun”, so it’s not surprise whose act she’s trying to mirror.
Dallas cuts the Heel promo to start, telling the crowd to be quiet so she can concentrate, which goes about as well for her as you’d imagine. She mostly stalls and stooges in the early going, heading outside to yell at the fans and whatnot. Again, it’s something that is probably more entertaining as a fan if you’re actually at the show and can yell back at her. That’s kind of the problem that comes with taking these shows that clearly aren’t intended to be watched at home and then slapping them on the DVD, especially as its all handheld footage with no commentary.
They actually do try to do some wrestling to be fair to them, with Blue working a Figure Four spot at one stage and Dallas doing a good job of selling it, although her nasal shrieking does get kind of annoying after a certain point. It’s not just snapmares and hair pulls like you’d get from The Fabulous Moolah, so it has that going for it if nothing else. It’s not especially good wrestling like, but at least they’re having a go and Dallas is working her gimmick.
Like the previous match they probably go for too long, and things start falling apart a bit as they get tired and kind of run out of stuff to do. There isn’t really a proper heat segment either, with it mostly being back and forth. Eventually Blue catches Dallas with the old Airplane Spin and that’s enough for the three count.
WINNER: MISTY BLUE
Damming with faint praise here I know, but I’ve seen worse
Dallas cuts a bitter promo post-match and I believe this match have been her last match if CageMatch.com is anything to go by.
The Iron Sheik Vs Nikolai Volkoff
Sheik has some kind of Heel manager with him, and of course gets booed out of the tent considering that a lot of the crowd are probably Jewish if the name of the event is anything to go by. Nikolai has a nice looking valet with him, but I can’t make her name out. Nikolai actually enters to Lex Luger’s WWF theme from 1993 when he first went all Lex Express. Nikolai sings Hava Nagilah to anger Sheik and pop the crowd, just so we’re absolutely clear who the babyface is.
Sheik attacks Nikolai with the Iranian flag prior to the bell and then works him over for a bit. Nikolai fights back, at which point the camera zooms right in for whatever reason and we can barely make out what’s happening. Honestly I think they should have just set up a hard cam and told the guys to avoid fighting out of the ring too much. At least we would have had one consistent shot of the ring that way.
Sheik wasn’t completely immobile yet at this stage, but he still can’t really do much and Nikolai can only do a little bit more than that. Amazingly the WWF would end up bringing Nikolai in for another run following this! Nikolai can at least manage the basics and does the likes of clotheslines and slams. Both men fight outside the ring and that leads to a double count out.
DOUBLE COUNT OUT
Oh come on, they were wrestling in a tent in front of 300 people and STILL neither one of them was willing to do a job?! The match itself was pretty bad, with Nikolai being the only one of the two who could do anything even approaching wrestling by this stage in their respective careers
Sheik and his manager flee following that.
Is It Really A Stinker?
It certainly wasn’t good that’s for sure!
Whether it was really a Stinker though is a bit tricky to answer, because ultimately it had zero chance of ever really being good. It was a small group with pretty much no production and the matches featured either really green people or veterans long past their best. They didn’t even have a smegging hard cam for goodness sake!
To me, for something to be a full on Stinker the show would have needed to have some potential to be good in the first place, only for that potential to be wasted in outrageous brutal fashion. That isn’t really the case with this show. It was never going to be good, so it would feel almost unfair to class it as a Stinker. It’d be like complaining that a chef with no taste buds didn’t know how to season food. They never had a chance to get it right to begin with, so knocking them for it is just cruel.
Not a good show, but not a full on Stinker either.
Final Rating – Stinky
(Ratings are done on a scale of Stinker/Stinky/Odourless/Pleasant/Fragrant)
If you’d like to suggest a show to review then mention it in the comments or send an email to [email protected]
There actually is a hat that I keep these requests in and I do genuinely draw them at random too, so if you want to be in the game then suggest away
See, they’re in there waiting to be picked!
Currently in the hat;
LPWA Super Ladies Showdown 92 – Requested by Dave Newman (I think
it was Dave who suggested it anyway)
WWE Great American Bash 2004 – Requested by Sivsky
TNA Victory Road 2011 – Requested by Priest of Syrinx
WWF WrestleMania IX – Requested by JLAJRC
WCW Fall Brawl 98 – Requested by Robertd0803
WWF Rock Bottom 98 – Requested by Bones
NWA Bunkhouse Stampede 88 – Requested by WChilders 49
WWE Breaking Point – Requested by greaterpower99