Shockingly judging by these physiques, both of these guys are still alive today.
Welcome back to more Dream Matches! This week, we have a big assortment of tag team matches, plus a couple of random one-off solo bouts! First off, it’s a very “1988 WWF” match, as the WWF Tag Team Champions Demolition face off against The Young Stallions on WWF Superstars! Then a 1993 match where the new Headshrinkers team faces off against the “1992 Job Squad” of Virgil & “El Matador” Tito Santana! And it’s nearly a ten minute match! Over to WCW, as my “Best of Mortis” series continues, as he tries to win the TV Title from Ultimo Dragon on a 1997 Nitro! A request, as Rick “The Model” Martel faces off against a jobber Paul Roma, who is REALLY gunning for a push, judging by his effort here! And finally, a throwaway WCW Worldwide match, as Vicious & Delicious (Scott Norton & Buff Bagwell) take on The Southern Posse!
DEMOLITION (Ax & Smash, w/ Mr. Fuji) vs. THE YOUNG STALLIONS (Paul Roma & Jim Powers):
(WWF Superstars, June 11th 1988)
* I’ve seen very little of the TV from this time period, but this should be fun. The Stallions were at the bottom of the babyface team pecking order, looking like IMMENSE dorks with their generic “Yay!” personalities. Demolition are the Tag Champs at this point (having beaten Strike Force at WrestleMania IV), but it’s non-title.
Smash & Roma start off, with Smash naturally hitting the Jumping Demolition Axehandles immediately by powering Roma down, but Roma leapfrogs him a bunch and makes a blind tag to Powers, who dropkicks Smash as the Stallions take over. Smash gets double-teamed, but he hilariously just scoops Powers up and brings him to the top turnbuckle, where Demolition beats the hell out of him. Haha, that was great. Ax adds a vicious back elbow and the Demos do constant tags, neck-vices and more. Powers fights out of a vice, but Smash actually hits a drop toehold and tags in Ax- man, Powers is just being ANNIHILATED here. He finally dodges a Smash charge and tags out, sending Roma in with dropkicks & clotheslines. He hits a flying sunset flip on Smash, but Ax clobbers him at “2”. Powers runs in but Smash clotheslines Roma and they grab Fuji’s cane, but that brings STRIKE FORCE in, clearing the heels out to a big reaction, and it’s a DQ at (4:47). Ventura agrees with the DQ while bemoaning Strike Force interfering with no contact from the cane having happened yet!
Pretty solid TV match for the time, with Demolition’s trademark frequent tags keeping what’s a pretty long, simple beatdown on Powers from getting boring. They just look like HUGE badasses here, completely wiping the floor with him and grabbing pieces of him and trying to pry them off. Demolition just looked like they were on another tier compared to dweebs like this.
Rating: ** (solid, simple TV match- no finish but fine heeling work)
The original, and superior, incarnation of the Headshrinkers. They’d been the Samoan SWAT Team since the late ’80s and were managed by Samu’s father, Afa. Samu would sit out a year due to injuries (replaced by the Barbarian as “Sione”) and the “Samoan Gangster Party” (with the future Rosey) would never form a proper angle once Fatu started “Makin’ a Difference”.
THE HEADSHRINKERS (Samu & Fatu, w/ Afa) vs. “EL MATADOR” TITO SANTANA & VIRGIL:
(WWF Superstars, Jan. 4th, 1993)
* Another “Pair the JTTS Guys” match, as Tito & Virgil are fed to the Headshrinkers, a new team who needed some wins in a mostly gutted tag division. Tito’s in the black tights, and Virgil’s in the white & black pinstripes. Monsoon & Heenan discuss the upcoming Royal Rumble, both marking out over that youngster, Carlos Colon making the show! Heenan even points out Colon taking care of everyone on a Japanese tour “a few years back” and says he’s a big star in Puerto Rico.
The bell rings a minute before everyone has their gear off, which is a very “WWF” kinda thing, and Samu easily powers back Tito a few times as Heenan describes how he doesn’t think anyone in the WWF can beat these “Savages!”, and puts over their intelligence in slowing the match down after Tito throws some speed and drops Samu. Samu gets caught telegraphing a monkey flip and Virgil works him over, dodging an elbowdrop, and a double elbow doesn’t even get a count on Samu before he’s up. Tito finally puts his head down and Fatu comes in, only to miss a headbutt and eat Virgil’s boxing jabs and a crucifix for two! Heenan goes “I really thought he had him!” but Virgil tries the same boxing sequence and eats a big backdrop suplex (which I note now is a common way he uses to start the heat segment). Virgil gets choked, bitten and thrust kicked, but dodges a big corner leap and Samu goes right into the post! Tito scores a pair of back-body drops and “a beauty!” of a dropkick to Fatu, but gets tripped by Afa trying the Flying Forearm. This sets up a double-chop and Fatu’s face-gouging, but Tito catches him with his head down- Virgil gets too excited and comes in, but Samu clotheslines Fatu by mistake and Virgil’s in with jabs and dropkicks, then stomps all four Samoan feet… and hits a Double-DDT! But… they no-sell it! Virgil makes the classic mistake of bashing their heads together and gets destroyed- double headbutt sets up the Flying Splash from Fatu for the win (9:34)- Monsoon chiding Virgil not doing his homework as Tito has recovered too late to make the save.
Impressive showing by Tito & Virgil! They were job guys by this point, but an effort was made to give them a lot of offense on TV before most jobs, and they dominated the early going here, putting over their smarts and reversals on the “primitives”. Honestly, they dominated almost the whole match, with only a couple Shrinker comebacks- though they ended up repeating offense as they almost got TOO much (so many dropkicks off of hot tags). But still- this is a very long match for TV (probably why the veterans got so much of the match) and managed some decent flow despite multiple hot-tags and repeated stuff. It’s funny how “Samoan Hard Heads” actually worked into the finish, as a double-DDT not only fails to win, but REJUVENATES them, getting Virgil killed.
Rating: **1/2 (solid TV match- better than you typically saw in those days)
WCW TV TITLE:
ULTIMATE DRAGON vs. MORTIS (w/ James Vandenberg):
(WCW Monday Nitro Aug. 11th 1997)
* Man, I forgot about Ultimo’s (er, “Ultimate Dragon”) TV Title reign entirely. I do remember some Cruisers getting it off and on, though- he was chosen to end Prince Iaukea’s bad run, but lost quickly to Regal. He’s in black & silver here, defending against Mortis. Ultimo appears to get startled by his pyro too, haha- what a dork.
Mortis throws some slow kicks to start, but Ultimo does the handstand in the corner into a double-kick and then his kick series to put him down, then lands on his feet from a back body drop only to eat an elbow. Tenay talks about Mortis’s pretend backstory of pit-fighting in Southeast Asia (to be fair, that’s a BADASS backstory and should totally be copied now- screw kayfabe!). Tony calls him “Wrath” a few times as Vandenberg grabs Ultimo’s leg to prevent him from catching Mortis up top, but Ultimo blocks a superplex with a front superplex anyways. Ultimo tries a spinning DDT but eats a Northern Lights suplex with a leg-hook for two, then Ultimo reverses a whip, only to eat a Rocker Dropper, again for two. He signals the Flatliner (a Samoan drop off the second rope at that point), but Ultimo flips over- Sunset Flip Powerbomb into the Dragon Sleeper! Mortis taps at (3:07)! Ultimo wins a pretty quick one.
Unfortunately a very short match with little of Kanyon’s well-known move inventing- there just wasn’t time. And stuff like this really helped make Mortis & Wrath out to be JTTS guys, being unable to go even 5 minutes with pushed wrestlers on TV.
Rating: ** (good stuff, but way too short)
RICK “THE MODEL” MARTEL vs. PAUL ROMA:
(WWF Superstars, April 28th 1990)
* It’s the battle of the arrogant pretty-boys! Except this is jobber-tier Roma in his Young Stallions jacket while Martel’s still freshly a heel as “The Model” in powder blue and his curly mullet look.
Roma gets caught turning his back to stretch out after the bell rings and Martel wipes the floor with him and dumps him as a result. But Rick overdoes it and just tears in with a clothesline out there and hammers the post, letting Roma work him over. Roma wristlocks him, Martel going to the apron to escape, but Roma just hauls him back over in a rare spot. The fans get pretty into Roma hitting a big dropkick while McMahon disses the Arrogance scent as attracting dogs & bugs while Ventura goes on about the women he scores with it, and Martel finally pops Roma in the throat to end his surge… but misses an elbow and Roma slams him and hits a flying fist drop for two! Martel has to deck him again and grabs the ropes to avoid another dropkick to FINALLY get more offense in, and he goes right to the Boston Crab for the win (3:08).
Wow, unexpectedly one-sided bout as Roma beats Martel all over the place until he makes one mistake and loses. Sorta the “Randy Savage Template”, but with good enough offense I’m not surprised he was given the Power & Glory push soon after this. I’ve seen a few Roma squashes from this time period (like against Earthquake) and he shone in every one of them, REALLY trying to impress people. Everyone’s stuff here looked good, even if it was short and Martel just hit one move to win.
Rating: *1/4 (unusually good by Jobber Match standards since Roma actually controlled everything)
Heavens. And I thought some AEW guys had bad looks.
VICIOUS & DELICIOUS (Scott Norton & Buff Bagwell) vs. THE SOUTHERN POSSE (Sonny Trout & Rick Thames):
(WCW Worldwide, Oct. 12th 1997)
* More Scott Norton, as Vicious & Delicious take on jobbers. Trout’s a hairy, gross-looking guy in long tights (like he looks like someone made an entire person out of Miguel Perez’s back), while Thames is dumpy with a long mullet and a singlet. I have no idea who these guys are. WCW jobbers? They’re in red, blue & white gear.
Hilariously, Scott Norton attacks at the bell while Buff is STILL POSING, not even bothering to get involved. Norton slams both before Buff can drag him off, then Buff keeps doing a single piddly move and posing endlessly, SO proud of himself (is it any wonder he got over eventually?). Norton keeps getting so aggressive he pulls one guy in while beating the other’s ass. Norton crushes Thames with a clothesline, but Buff misses an elbow, but easily catches Trout running in and hits a running frog-splash. He picks him up for a dropkick, then marks out for it (“WOW!”), indicating to the crowd how high it was, haha. Norton adds an avalanche and beats Trout up outside, but Buff gets whipped into Rick’s knee and takes a side slam for two. Double-shoulderblock gets two for the Posse and Thames hits a short-angle version of Booker T’s standing side kick and throws a ton of running elbows, but Norton just gets sick of it and clotheslines him, then mauls Trout on the apron with headbutts so Buff can hit the Buff Blockbuster (flying somersault neckbreaker) on Thames for the win (5:36).
Man, that was AGES for a squash. Mostly because Buff kept posing, then Norton would methodically crush guys and walk around, then the Posse got a bit of heat on them thanks to cheating. Okay enough as squashes go, even if it was extended really far. Buff was a hoot, though- talk about a guy who’s a lot better in retrospect.
Rating: 3/4* (fine as squashes go- not often you go 5 minutes and have it not feel too long)