Welcome back to more Dream Matches! This time, I lead off with what is probably Blitzkrieg’s best match ever, as he takes on Juventud Guerrera on PPV. More Hossery as the Faces of Fear take on the Giant Jobber Division of Ron Studd & John Tenta at the same time! Then it’s a rare look at the 1-2-3 Kid in a JTTS match, as Damien “I was NOT a JOBBER!” DeMento takes him on! And I found one of Lash LeRoux’s early matches, up against a “long since stopped giving a fuck” Roadblock. And finally, my “King of the Ring Qualifying Matches” series continues, but with the only two bouts I could find on YouTube. No idea why 1993 & 1995 are there in their near-entirety, but this one only has a couple.
JUVENTUD GUERRERA vs. BLITZKRIEG:
(WCW Spring Stampede, 4/11/1999)
* Here’s another Blitzkrieg match- arguably his biggest, as he takes on Juventud on PPV! Juvi’s maskless and in mostly black (with silver & gold highlights), while Blitz has his best gear on- a slick black/red/silver get-up that’s not as loose as it sometimes is.
The two grapple around, fighting for pins, then Blitzkrieg wows people by landing on his feet from being flipped twice, then hits a tilt-a-whirl backbreaker. Juvi fights back with chops and a headscissors to counter another backbreaker, but hits the corner and eats a handspring body attack- Blitz gets ten punches, but Juvi gets ten turnbuckle shots, adding a springboard missile dropkick. Blitz hits the floor and takes a REALLY big tope over the top rope. Juvi hits a suplex & surfboard, but Blitz spins out and lands on him for two and hits a spinkick- Juvi’s on the floor, but walks away from Blitz climbing in the corner… and teases being suckered to another one but counters with that move I only ever see in WCW: The Dropkick To A Flying Opponent! Damn I LOVE that move! Bobby Heenan completely marks out on commentary, just loving all this Cruiser stuff.
They take their sweet time getting back in the ring, but Blitzkrieg puts Juvi on the floor with a spinning armdrag and hits the mother of all Orihara Moonsaults out there! Back in, Blitzkrieg’s powerbomb is turned to a Juvi Driver to an inverted suplex to a reverse inverted DDT in a classic “WCW four-step reversal sequence” (WWF NEVER did those), getting two. Juvi tries an inverted superplex but they just tumble off when Bliz slips out of his grasp, Blitz landing on top (probably the idea they were going for anyways) and aiming for a Phoenix Splash- miss! Juvi Drive- no, small package from Blitz for two! Spinny flip-move slam off the top for two! Blitzkrieg puts him up top for another thing, but Juvi just scoops him when he climbs- SUPER JUVI DRIVER for the three (10:52)!! Juvi wins!
See, the thing with Blitzkrieg matches is that they’re very flashy, but very “stop & start” because he was still green, and so you had a lot of matches where it’s “Big spot, grapple & have a chat, big spot, some flippy moves, then another chat…”, so you can see how good Juvi is here, because even though they stop what they’re doing a dozen times to have those little chats (any time they grapple into the ropes you see them talk), it’s all kept at a running pace so it never looks as Spot-Rest-Spot. And then at the end here it’s just a series of awesome reversals as each guy gets caught, getting closer and closer to the three until there’s a SUPER Juvi Driver, and there’s no kicking out of that. Really excellent match that took advantage of all of Blitzkrieg’s advantages and hid his weaknesses.
Rating: ***3/4 (one of Blitzkrieg’s best matches, with the mother of all finishers)
THE FACES OF FEAR (Meng & The Barbarian, w/ Jimmy Hart) vs. BIG JOHN TENTA & RON STUDD:
(Oct. 5th 1996)
* WEEIIIIIIIIIIIIRRRRRRRRDDDDDDDDDD. Tenta, fresh off of being The Shark, is fighting his old Dungeon of Doom buddies, but using the giant sorta-jobber Studd from Saturday Night as his partner. Tenta has some of the worst gear ever at this point- he’s lost some weight and now has a blue top and black tights, with his hair trimmed super-short and a mustache with no beard- he now officially looks like Just Someone’s Dad. The other three are all in black tights.
All four men brawl to start, Tenta actually taking it to Meng and clotheslining both FoF down, but they finally double-team him, exciting Dusty with the Clubbering of it all. They beat on him a while with boring stuff, but Barbarian can’t slam him and takes one in return. Studd hits a big boot & lariat on Meng, but takes a shot at Barbarian and gets chop-blocked for it, Meng landing on him from a slam position. They hit a double backdrop suplex, and Barbarian hiptosses Meng onto Studd for two. Tenta breaks up the pin but eats Meng’s Kick of Fear off the apron for it, and they beat Studd with… Meng picking him up for a slam, Barbarian hitting the Kick of Fear into his head, and Meng dropping him (4:11)? That was awkward as hell.
Pretty bad match- all clubbing forearms and choking on the ropes and stuff. I’m stunned at how little a shit they gave about Tenta here, but his lack of effort reflected his position on the card. He and his partner weigh more than 800 lbs. combined and they’re jobbing in 4 minutes to the midcard Faces of Fear? And that finisher was dreadful- Studd is just too big a guy for even Meng to slam properly.
Rating: 1/2* (very poor squash-ish match. Very little offense from the losers)
One of the WWF’s most inexplicable characters- a low-grade indie worker turned into an insta-JTTS who almost immediately started losing to “name” guys.
THE 1-2-3 KID vs. DAMIEN DeMENTO:
(WWF Superstars, July 6th 1993)
* Man, I forgot these two had some crossover- I don’t remember DeMento making it that far into 1993 on his JTTS run. He was mostly jobbing to Virgil & Kamala on house shows by this point. The Kid is wearing a powder-blue singlet with “KID” written in positively gigantic letters on the chest, while DeMento’s in the usual black gear (the skinny bald guy whose name I forget in the Dark Order wears the same gear, actually). The version I can find on YouTube has a guy who sounds like an Italian Yakko Warner doing the commentary.
DeMento controls with punches and kicks, but the Kid comes in with a leg lariat off a whip for a one-count- Kid starts mocking Damian’s stupid “hearing voices’ mannerisms, but takes a boot to the gut and more shots until DeMento misses a splash. Kid’s so small he can’t even hit a BODY SLAM, and takes a backbreaker, but dodges a corner charge and only now can hit that body slam- damn, who teases THAT spot in 1993? The Kid puts his head down and takes even more punches and kicks, but reverses a corner whip and hits a spinkick to the back of the head & DDT, finishing with a Guillotine Legdrop to the back of the head at (4:59), slipping onto his back on the landing. Bull Nakano, he is NOT.
Fine enough short match, though Damien DeMento had NOTHING to him- just a lot of punches and kicks without much flow. I guess he had to control being the larger guy and the heel, but it was weird seeing him repeatedly cut off the Kid and even catch him with a bunch of reversals. And then he makes one last mistake and the Kid hits him a few times and it’s over. I dunno.
Rating: *1/2 (there’s a reason DeMento is only known these days for his delusional, bitter “I was NOT a JOBBER!” shoot rants)
Late-Stage WCW: When “a guy with L-shaped sideburns” was one of your prominent midcarders.
ROADBLOCK vs. LASH LaROUX:
(WCW Saturday Night, July 25th 1998)
* So yeah, here’s Roadblock well into the Attitude Era timeline, but still a JTTS WCW nobody, and taking on a debuting Lash LeRoux (here spelled “Laroux”), who’s one of those guys that was just in the wrong era on all fronts- too small for a heavyweight, too new to be a good Cruiserweight, and too old to compete with the later generation like AJ Styles and what-not. Roadblock looks even worse than normal, with his black “Dead End” logo shirt now looking less like a singlet and more like a fat guy’s wifebeater. Like his lat-fat is sticking out from the sides and everything. LeRoux doesn’t even have his trademark L-shaped sideburns here, instead being some generic indie-looking guy in red tights.
Roadblock, a full head taller than his opponent, shoves him back to the ropes and catches him coming off with a bearhug into a belly-to-belly then stomps away. Lash hits the wimpiest clothesline ever but gets clobbered with a return one. More beatings follow, with Lash taking HUGE bumps off of every shot, just earning himself a job here with all this flailing around. Roadblock hits a chop, big boot & elbowdrop for two, and he drops Lash over the top rope, hits a falling front powerslam, and finishes with the Dead End (backflip splash from the apron over the ropes) at (1:52). Pretty great squash, even with Roadblock having nothing but sloppy, ugly moves- Lash just put him over like dynamite. Almost overly theatrical, but hey- he’s a jobber.
Rating: 1/2* (Lash’s efforts deserve it- what can I say?)
KING OF THE RING QUALIFYING MATCHES (1994):
* Unfortunately I couldn’t find very much of this on YouTube. Which is weird as 1993 and 1995 are very well-represented. So what we’re missing is IRS beating Scott Steiner (SERIOUSLY?), Mabel beating Pierre, Razor Ramon beating Kwang, Bam Bam Bigelow beating Thurman Plugg (his friends call him “Sparky”), the 1-2-3 Kid beating Adam Bomb by rollup thanks to Kwang screwing up his interference, and Tatanka fighting Crush to a Double Count-Out. Next week they had a Lumberjack Match as a rematch, of which only the final three minutes is available.
LEX LUGER vs. “DOUBLE J” JEFF JARRETT (w/ Mr. Fuji):
(May 21st 1994)
* UGGGGGHHHHHHHHH all this time this column has been about random weirdo matches I wanted to see, which meant of course I never had to review a Jeff Jarrett match. And now here we are. In case you missed me bitch about him in a Blog thread or someone’s reviews of ’90s wrestling, I HATE JARRETT to the point where he’s one of my top five all-time most despised people to watch. Fuji joins JJ here in response to Lex’s feud with Crush. Jarrett’s in silver gear, while Lex is in the US flag trunks.
As you can imagine with these two guys, everything here is “just the basics”- Lex shoulderblocks JJ down, JJ gets a knee to the gut and rams him into turnbuckles, but Lex gets a cross-body (?) for two. JJ gets an armbar, but Lex press-slams him down. Lex runs the ropes for his clotheslines, but stupidly runs right in front of the Devious One and gets a flagpole to the back as a result. Back from break with Jeff pounding away (the OSW guys are right- Lex DOES yowl a lot when selling), but Lex dodges a corner shot and schoolboys him for two. Jeff immediately comes back with more shots, hitting one of the second rope, then a clothesline off the same for two. Lex tosses him off, but Jeff dumps him and distracts the ref so Crush can come down and smash him. And when Luger realizes what’s happened, he friggin’ runs down the aisle after the evil Hawaiian, and LEX LUGER MOTHERFUCKING CHOKES AGAIN at (6:58), Counted Out! Jesus Christ, he can’t even get past the Qualifying round in a KOTR the year after his main event push started.
Verrrrrrrrrrrrry basic match, as these two guys don’t really have the showiest movesets. It’s essentially a WCW Power Plant match but with a better sense of timing and character. Only a little, though- it’s fascinating watch Jeff- a very competent technical wrestler at this point- completely fail to connect with audiences compared to any heel on his level. In the early ’90s, you had almost every heel midcarder able to get the fans more into it than this- Roma, Martel, Akeem, Herc, etc.. Like, at least tell the fans to shut up or something- maybe stick your feet on the ropes or go to the eyes. ANYTHING! Jarrett would go on to lose to the 1-2-3 Kid in an upset in less than five minutes, beating him down after the match.
Rating: *1/2 (super basic, competently-wrestled match, but with nothing much beyond Lex’s spirited comeback halfway through)
TATANKA vs. CRUSH:
* Tatanka was gonna go up against Jimmy Del Ray in a foregone conclusion, but it was switched with Crush presumably to screw with him, I dunno. This one started off as a regular match, but they went to a Double Count-Out. Last year that DQ’d both Shawn & Crush, but this time it just leads to a rematch. The Lumberjacks are heels Yokozuna, Bam Bam Bigelow, Adam Bomb, Kwang, IRS, Jim Cornette (??), Jeff Jarrett, Owen Hart & Nikolai Volkoff, and babyfaces Duke Droese, Mabel, The Smoking Gunns, The Bushwhackers, Doink, Bob Holly, Razor Ramon & 1-2-3 Kid.
Macho Man bizarrely calls a suplex a “suplay” like it’s 1920 (or amateur wrestling- we called it that when I was on the high school wrestling team), Crush landing one and legdrop for two. Tatanka ends up dumping Crush, who idiotically brawls with the babyfaces on the floor, repeatedly smashing them when they attempt to throw him back in. This sets up Lex Luger interfering as revenge for Crush costing him the match against Jeff Jarrett on a prior show- he smokes him with the Steel Forearm, leaving him dead. Tatanka, who has somehow been rendered near-deceased by basic offense, teases a “Double-KO”, but rolls over for the pin at (2:32 shown).
Rating: DUD (literally two moves and some brawling and we’re done with what this shows)
So anyways, while the first King of the Ring tournament was about solidifying Bret Hart as a top wrestler even after losing the World Title, reheating him after the WrestleMania IX loss, this tournament was about Owen Hart solidifying his OWN Main Event run, proving that his win over Bret wasn’t entire a fluke. Him repeating his own brother’s feat from the year before went a ways towards making their feud look good, especially since it was for the World Title. His journey ended up a bit lamer, however- whereas Bret won three hard-fought matches against top upper-midcarders (Razor/Perfect/Bigelow) fairly, Owen beat midcarders Tatanka & 1-2-3 Kid, then used Jim Neidhart’s interference to pin Razor Ramon. Not quite the same victory. It gave him his “King of Harts” dork gimmick though, so it was worthwhile on that end.