Nightmare Matches – Volume Twelve! Big Kaiju Battel!
By Dave Newman on 17th August 2022
I’m always up for taking requests, so this review includes action from the Big Kaiju Battel promotion, plus Paul Bearer in his pre-Monster Mash days.
Dr. Cube vs. American Beetle
From what looks like a clubhouse with an audience of about twelve. Dr. Cube is an evil scientist who hides his scarred face with a mask that looks like one of those big bricks from Super Mario. Quick start, with Beetle getting two rolling German suplexes but getting kicked in the balls on a third try (“As if we can expect anything less from this guy!”, proclaims the knowing announcer). Beetle’s shell gives him some protection, but not enough to not feel a clunky slam on the floor. However, Beetle makes his comeback and the mask comes off, showing off the latex and clumps of hair on Cube’s cube-less head. They head outside, with Beetle tumbling down some stairs and leaving the building. Two of Cube’s men attack Beetle in the snowy car park, but he climbs a ladder and goes up on the roof and jumps off it onto them. Cut to inside a car, where another villain runs down Beetle once, but Beetle has American power and makes a comeback. Cube heads outside and cackles as he runs Beetle into a U-Haul. Back inside, with a shovel shot to the shell. Chokeslam onto the apron, which we all know is the hardest part of the ring. He gets distracted with another wrestler, looking like he wants to kiss him. Chair pulled out from under the ring as someone asks for one of the wrestlers to give the other a hemorrhoid. Slam onto the chair, with cocky taunt pinfall, but it’s only two. Cube goes up for “the big one!”, but gets slammed off and Beetle hits the Washington Wizard and a Curtain Call, then a Beetle splash for the win. American Beetle retains his title to the patriotic pleasure of all assembled.
How bad was it? Just some silliness, which was fun to watch. Slam on the chair with the legs turned up was a bit scary, but overall it’s a case of a promotion booking for their very specific market and nothing to get too upset over.
Percy Pringle III vs. Tug Taylor
This is two months before Percy would be called up to the WWF for the run of his life as Paul Bearer. From a high school gym where you have to walk up stairs to get to the flat surface. Percy does the cocky heel strutting and posing when he looks like a burst banana. Tug Taylor, who makes Fred Ottman look like Hercules Hernandez, is announced, but it’s actually Chris Adams who comes out first, causing Percy to scarper because they’ve got an issue with one another. Chris regrets that he can’t wrestle Percy today and kick his ass, but brings out Tug, causing Percy to run off. He tries to argue technicalities on the apron but is catapulted in and clotheslined. Tug slows it down straight away with a side headlock while Percy whines. Bearhug, which just looks ridiculous as it looks like two eggs rubbing together. Match doesn’t go any further as Percy calls in Steve Austin and Rod Price to attack. They go for a double clothesline, but Tug walks through it (eventually) and takes them down. Adams comes back out to even the odds. Match is thrown out, with Tug getting the win by disqualification. Adams welcomes Percy back in to take the beating he had coming to him, but he and his blonde heel tag team take a walk instead. It’s not until the end that I realise the referee is Chaz, Tug’s son, so the odds were never going to be even.
How bad was it? Too short to be really bad, but it was never going to be good. Better to be clowning if it’s not going to be good wrestling.
Superfly Jimmy Snuka vs. Captain Lou Albano
A conclusion to the Snuka/Albano split created by Snuka’s new manager, Buddy Rogers, with the majority of the working being done between Snuka and Ray Stevens. Vince and Gorilla are on commentary together at this point, which would become exceedingly rarer over time as both would lead their own pairs or teams on the major shows. Capper wrestles in his trousers and blue and red manager’s vest. Albano gets a weak shot to start on Snuka while he sees Rogers out of the ring then rakes the eyes and wanders around in his more than methodical style. Snuka gets some shots, which Albano walks around like nothing happened. Even the commentators are poking holes in his work. Headbutt and Lou takes his time to remove the tape over his blade and scratches himself about half a dozen times, then gets his one bump in for the match. “Albano’s on queer street right now!”, says Gorilla in one of those phrases that just didn’t transcend well. Vince starts making excuses for the match as Snuka fires away here and there with the Captain in his pocket and adding to his blading. He’s taking all the shots and opening his head up, but there are zero efficient attempts to sell a single blow. Vince keeps on subtly begging for Gilberto Roman to stop the match, but he’s not getting the message. The crowd isn’t really into the match either, other than Jimmy firing up, because it’s punch, punch, punch, headbutt, fall. Roman eventually ends it and gives the match to Snuka, who keeps on going and sets up for the splash and actually gets it without Lou rolling away. To me, that was the main thing with Snuka that you had to see the splash to make up for the rest of the match.
How bad was it? Awful and it felt longer than the six minutes that it went, because it was just lather, rinse, repeat. The feud had lots of heat, but the match had none.
Vader vs. Ahmed Johnson
Technically, this should not be a bad match, because Vader and Ahmed were friends and had good chemistry with one another, but it’s from the putrid Shotgun Saturday Night, the lame attempt to tap into ECW by thinking that filming at clubs and doing “shock” stuff like the Tickle Me Elmo sex tape and pregnant Goldust pictures would be enough. There’s a nonsensical bit before the opening where Vader and Paul Bearer have to retrieve a horned up Mankind (stablemate at the time) from the streets. Inside, Mankind invades the commentary booth and has zero chemistry with Vince or Sunny, which is shocking given all the classic Vince/Mankind moments over the next few years. Six minutes are burned off the segment with entrances before the match starts, with it being a bunch of shots that Ahmed won’t sell from Vader initially until he just puts one on his chin and knocks him down. And another. Mankind says he’s on “queer street” as well, so hopefully he’ll meet with Lou Albano for a bottle of vodka down there. Ahmed turns it round with some punching and stomping in the corner and gets a spinebuster off the ropes. The building is really badly lit, so there’s only the hard camera angle where you can see things really brightly. A bit of a SNME throw to the break as Mankind comes in trying to replace Vader, then we return with Vader in control dropping elbows. Mankind talks about not wanting to wrestle because he’s in his “Sunday best”, which amounts to his usual scruffy trainers, tracksuit bottoms, dad shirt and denim jacket. Vaderbomb is set up, but Vader takes too long and contemplates going up for the Vadersault, allowing Ahmed to recover and kick him in the balls. Pearl River Plunge is set up, but Mankind runs in and almost but doesn’t hits Vader, then Vader almost hits Mankind with it, and Ahmed takes it and runs both off for the DQ victory. “Did we win?”, asks Mankind on his return to the headset.
How bad was it? The match wasn’t bad, but the show was grotty, the angle was ill-conceived (they wanted to tap into the classic Cactus Jack/Vader rivalry from WCW without wanting to say it was Cactus Jack or that they’d feuded before), so it all comes undone.
World Organisation Wrestling – August 15th, 1987
This is an Pensacola-based local promotion with not a lot going for it. The reprehensible Bob Sweetan as booker and top babyface. Nazi biker Don Fargo as one of the heels. A young Bob Holly with mullet and moustache learning his trade. Some bullet points to cover the part of an episode caught on this tape:
- Marcel Pringle, the kayfabe cousin of Percy Pringle, in an interview segment where he stumbles and bumbles his way through a promo. “You see this belt around my waist?” – it’s sat on his waist, folded up.
- Local promos led by an announcer who makes Richard Pryor look like a teetotaler. More Marcel Pringle, in a Badstreet USA, and Mr. Olympia looking like he can understand what they’re saying. Obvious flubs like mispronounced names, wrong days, stutters and lost trains of thought. Jerry Stubbs is like the Rock compared to Pringle.
- Bob Holly vs. Tom “Boogaloo” Shaft – Shaft is a local legend who was one of those guys who was an excellent talker for that area, like Sonny King, but had nothing left in the ring. Holly has to shoot lift up Shaft at one point in a fireman’s carry. The studio looks like a garage that’s been emptied out. Shaft gets an elbow at one point that obviously doesn’t hit, but Holly sells as a phantom hit. Two guys who aren’t just not on the same page, they’re not even in the same library. Holly wins (just about) with a sunset flip.
- Pringle comes out to mouth off at Holly after the match while Shaft does a routine in the ring with the ref. He slaps Holly and runs off, then comes back, then scarpers again.
- Heel group promo with Ali Pasha, a black Arabian heel who sounds like Kamala’s real voice with no attempt at an accent, Mad Dog with his Bruise Brothers briefcase, and Don Fargo and Mike Diamond, dressed in suits and berets for some reason. I’m shocked he didn’t burst into flames. Diamond was probably some green guy Fargo was riding with and trained as he has zero presence.
- Promo with Jerry Stubbs, who’s actually going by Mr. Perfect while unmasked. He finishes up and sounds like he was ready for them to throw to a match, but seemingly they’re not ready, so he goes on a bit more, goes to leave, and the announcer doesn’t have a clue what to say while filling the time.
- Bob Sweetan vs. Ali Pasha – Sweetan has gifted himself with Born in the USA as his entrance music and waves the flag while wearing a bandana. Goes without saying that he was Canadian. No other updates to his gear, the same lump of dried dog shit he ever was, but he’s slicked his perm back and has a horrible moustache. Pasha looks like Bad News Brown and has about an inch lifts on his boots. Pasha’s move set amounts to a slam, some stomps that look like someone trying to scrape mud off their shoes, a nervehold and a splash that he gets about two feet of drop on. Stubbs brings it to an end by interfering and helping with beating up Sweetan.
How bad was it? A terrible show that made no effort to rise above the low budget with any kind of effort and probably set records for the highest amount of people on the roster with criminal records.
The meltdown: Not a good week for bad wrestling, with the Kaiju stuff being the lone highlight. Keep the requests and recommendations coming.