It’s time for a Very Special Dream Matches column: I take a look at various Halloween-themed matches, as all the horror movie-themed wrestlers I can find get a look!
So it turns out that “Creative use of copywrite law” is a very common gimmick in wrestling, because holy crap were there a lot of guys ripping off horror movie villains, right down to the names- wrestling has sported multiple Jason the Terribles, Leatherfaces and even a Freddy Krueger & Crypt Keeper or two! So come see them in various messy, bloody matches all over the world!
So tonight we start off with Jason the Terrible vs. Carlos Colón in that youngster’s native Puerto Rico, in a Barbed Wire match! Then it’s Jason in Stampede Wrestling against Makhan Singh (Mike Shaw)! A horror-themed lucha libre match from Mexico sees Halloween (Ciclope as a pumpkin-man), Karis de Momia (a mummy-themed wrestler), Damian 666 & El Espectro Jr. (a ghost wrestler!) vs. Antifaz, Latin Lover, Sergio Roma & Silver Star! Then we go to Japan, where it’s Leatherface vs. Freddy Krueger (Doug Gilbert!) in a parking lot brawl! And finally, it’s Cactus Jack and the Crypt Keeper (one of Los Boriquas in a baseball uniform and the most embarrassing mask in wrestling history) teaming up against another Leatherface and Shoji Nakamaki in another barbed wire match!
BARBED WIRE MATCH:
JASON THE TERRIBLE vs. THAT YOUNGSTER, CARLOS COLON:
(World Wrestling Council, Puerto Rico, 1989)
* It’s the same Jason as the Stampede one (I think- the video description sez so!), in Puerto Rico against native son Carlos Colón, dressed in a red one-strapped singlet (and with an Abdullah-tier scarred forehead). Jason is HUGE here, absolutely dwarfing Colón when you see the two of them standing straight up- at least half a head taller. The barbed wire criss-crosses the ring ropes up and down the whole length of the ring, and extends about a foot over the top rope.
Jason dominates to start, attacking Colón the second he hits the ring and holding him against the wire repeatedly, Carlos grimacing in pain the whole time (even when the close-ups show the wire is not touching him). Jason’s headbutts are really put over here, Carlos collapsing and holding himself up using Jason’s costume- the kind of match where nothing advanced is really happening, but Colón clearly knows timing and selling, and then BAM! He reverses a whip and Jason hits the wired ropes and collapses straight-armed in agony. But he’s back on the assault immediately- that was just a tease. Carlos fights back from his feet and Jason begs off, but wallops him in the balls and we’re back to the beginning. Colón has a gory blade-job and keeps getting fired up, with Jason having a blood stain on the forehead of his mask from all the headbutts in a great visual. The crowd loves them getting into a huge slugfest, and NOW Colón has him, tossing Jason back and forth into the wire and kicking his ass- Jason is a REALLY big seller, as a masked heel should be, waving his arms and howling in agony at the wire impacts.
Jason bumps face-first off a whip again and then Colón SWIPES HIS MASK, putting it on and throwing headbutts while the crowd goes nuts! Jason, lacerated to shit, is wobbling and dying on his feet, Flair Flopping off another headbutt as Colón is just annihilating him here. Begging off and now completely covering his white jumpsuit with blood, Jason looks to be finished but gets a second wind, and a manager swipes the mask and runs to the back with it to save him further punishment. Colón takes his time beating on Jason, but this lets Jason score a kneelift & knee off the second rope- he’s too stunned to follow up, and another sees him miss, and that sends the fans into a frenzy cuz Colón’s finisher is the Figure-Four. And sure enough, he smashes up the knee, does his excited pee-pee dance to jack up the fans more, then hits the move. Jason thrashes about, managing to reverse it once, but Colón builds himself up and pushes off the ref to spin it back around, and Jason gives it up at (12:27). Good end to a wild brawl.
As bloody brawls go, this was a very good one- they had to keep it in the ring and keep it centered, and the flow was the trick, because neither guy had a huge moveset and it was obviously gonna be all about the bleeding and violence. It’s interesting seeing the contrasts in selling here- Colón isn’t very theatrical at all, just grimacing in pain when stuck with the wire- Jason by contrast is almost cartoonish in his wild exaggerated movements, which might be too much but kinda fits this style of match. Colón times his comebacks very well, being Randy Savage-like in scoring just 1-2 hits to make you think he can come back before he’s crushed again. He doesn’t do very much, but he’s over enough that he doesn’t really have to, and when he finally grabs that mask and goes to town, it feels earned. Like Tommy Dreamer’s old “Make the people cum” argument from Beyond the Mat about how wrestling works- the delays in the final moment makes it mean a lot more when it finally happens.
Rating: ***1/4 (not my style of match, and very limited in what either guy was doing, but the match flowed very well, Jason sold like nuts, and Colon had the crowd in the palm of his hand)
MAKHAN SINGH (w/ Karachi Vice) vs. JASON THE TERRIBLE:
* To Stampede territory, where possibly the first “Jason the Terrible” gimmick took form. This one is Karl Moffat, a mostly regional guy whose career was shortened by a car accident in 1989- Davey-Boy Smith & Chris Benoit were also in the car. According to Scott Keith, this guy got TREMENDOUSLY over, which… I mean, it’s a masked dude calling himself Jason in the 1980s. Kids would have thought he was massively bad-ass. Singh is of course the future Bastian Booger, a rotund guy with Andre the Giant hair and a red Andre singlet with the one strap. His heel stable is at ringside.
We’re joined in progress “ten minutes in” according to Ed Whalen on commentary, Makhan throwing Jason into the corners for Bret Bumps (is that a Stampede thing?). Ed mentions that the opening minutes were all Jason but now he’s taking a pounding- Makhan slowly works him over but forgets about the mask and injures his hand punching it, begging off when Jason stops selling and throws shots at him. Jason slams Makhan easily and a running splash gets two, as does a leaping clothesline. Jason throws a suplex, headbutts and an anemic full nelson, then a sleeper but arbitrarily lets go to move to the next spot, accidentally clotheslining the ref. Steve DiSalvo, currently feuding with Jason, comes in after the dudes collide with each other, slamming Makhan onto Jason’s injured ribs for the three (4:45 shown). Okay, THAT had to hurt- that looked like his whole weight coming down.
Very slow-paced, simple match of guys doing the “2000s SmackDown” match of simple submissions and the “do a strike, then walk around and do another strike” thing. Obviously this just leads to other matches down the pike and wasn’t an attempt at a classic.
Rating: *1/2 (regular ol’ short TV match, missing the early part too)
DAMIAN 666, EL HIJO DEL ESPECTRO, HALLOWEEN & KARIS LA MOMIA vs. ANTIFAZ, LATIN LOVER, SERGIO ROMO & SILVER STAR:
(AAA Mexico, Aug. 20th 1996)
* OMG, I found a match with Halloween in it! And he’s teaming with The Son of the Ghost, Damian 666 and Karis The Mummy, making this extra Halloween-y. Halloween is of course Ciclope, a career also-ran. Karis apparently became the fake La Parka years later (the one who died). Halloween’s in orange & black with a PUMPKIN mask so I love him, Damian is a jobber in the US and has his face painted while wearing semi-normal clothes, Espectro has a Juventud-esque set of green & black tights with a hideous dollar-store green mask with a scary face on it, and Karis has a featureless white mask and a Pharaoh headdress and I am instantly a huge fan of his. Antifaz is a black-clad guy who occasionally went as Antifaz del Norte (“Mask of the North”), Latin Lover is a pretty-boy stripper (apparently IRL!) who made WWF TV a few times, Sergio is a jobbery long-haired guy in a black & pink singlet, and Silver Star’s a masked guy in purple & silver.
Damian immediately rudos it up by braining Silver Star from behind with a kendo stick and the heels just destroy him for minutes at a time, doing a mass beatdown into a Hart Attack and Doomsday Device Powerbomb while the technicos just stand and complain. A full brawl results, and Lover eats it next, taking a Hart Attack stick shot and they do repeated sentons on him, and a double-lift Double Doomdsay Device hits Antifaz. No pins here- Sergio eats a guillotine legdrop from Espectro & Silver Star takes a missile dropkick. They try a Las Cachorras Orientales pose on him (dang, LCO probably took the multi-pose like that from their lucha run now that I think about it- that ended up Angel’s Super Move in King of Fighters called La*Cachorra!), but the technicos finally rally with a super-uncoordinated brawl (Lover has the stick but can’t find anyone to hit with it, despite repeated wind-ups), finally ending with Lover sticking everyone and sending them running.
The match finally starts proper with Damian doing cartoon bumps off the ropes for Silver Star. Antifaz/Espectro are next, Espectro throws shots but runs into the post and takes a springboard armdrag & JB Angels armdrag. Halloween/Sergio do some lumbering shots, then Sergio gets a JB Angels armdrag, a headscissors, and whatever the f*ck that slam was gonna be before he dropped him. Latin Lover goes with Karis next, and does his “Sexy Boy” dance to the shrieks of the female fans- he hits a flying cross-body and superkicks Karis to the floor. Plancha from Lover, dive from Espectro, somersault plancha by Antifaz, fatass corkscrew cannonball by Halloween, then Silver Star goes WAY over with a tope con hilo, landing ass-first on the railing and ending up in the stands! Damian does a clumsy dive, ending up under the railing and finally Sergio does a tope con hilo of his own, being slowly placed on the floor by the pile. Lover/Karis hit the ring again, and Lover gets tripped up from the outside and Karis gets one hell of an ugly Japanese leg roll clutch to pin him (11:03). Oh, it’s only one fall?
Fun little match- though it’s weird how it’s wild MOVEZ Finisher Spam in the early going (a double-double Doomsday Device and not even an attempt at a pin?) and a wild weapons brawl, and then they do the “typical lucha match” in the back half, ending with a goofy rollup being the finisher.
Rating: **1/2 (hard to hate “everyone dives to the floor” matches, even if the opening and ending halves are two completely different matches stapled together)
BARBED WIRE BAT MATCH:
LEATHERFACE vs. FREDDY KRUEGER:
(WING?, Japan, 1993)
* This is one of those bouts featuring horror movie characters in Japan, which has different copywrite laws or they just hope they won’t get sued, cuz there were like three Leatherfaces kicking around. There’s little I know less about that Japanese Indie Sleaze so I have no idea who is whom. Both guys look hilariously low rent, with Japanese fans reveling in being chased around- an introverted culture as a rule, they LOVE “scare actor” stuff. Univeral Studios Osaka does zombie nights in October and everything. A comment on the video says “Leatherface is Rick Patterson while Freddy Krueger is Doug Gilbert.” with the fan out-AKSHULLY-ing the “UM, AKSHULLY” fans correcting him, so let’s go with that. The gimmick here is that they start outside the ring, then run for it at the count to see who can get to the baseball bat wrapped with barbed wire in the center of the ring. Freddy, a skinny guy, has a way better chance than dumpy ol’ Leatherface.
Freddy bolts into the ring easily, hammering Leatherface with the bat. They go for a run outside, sending fans bolting, and go behind some tarps and Freddy chokes Leatherface with a wooden post. He goes after some fans with it, but Leatherface gets it, causing Freddy to throw a chair at the fans. They go on an Attitude Era walk-n-brawl, with Leatherface no-selling some chairshots but I guess a boot to the gut & post-shot are more lethal cuz he sells those. Freddy pulls up the ringside mat, which is hilarious because THERE IS BARE FLOOR EVERYWHERE ELSE AROUND THE MATS. Like right beside the mat is the bare ground and he pulls the mat over that spot to get it out of the way of his piledriver. Of course this leads to him being backdropped on a safe mat. Leatherface does one of the least graceful moonsaults to the floor I’ve ever seen in my life to capitalize. Like if I tried one that’s what it’d look like.
Back in the ring, Leatherface hits a powerslam for two, but runs into a boot and Freddy facecrushers him. Hey the bat is right there in the middle of the ring and they’re not using it- these guys would suck at Final Fight. Freddy at least does a bulldog onto it, Leatherface taking an awful bump for two- he throws Freddy off of him but takes a bat to the chest and someone shouts “break the f*cking bat over his head!” in English- Leatherface goes over the top on a bump and they do another wander around before Freddy piledrives him on the flat table for two. Freddy sets up the table in the corner but goes flying into it and is backdrop suplexed for two in a good spot. Leatherface hits a really bad powerbomb on the flattened table that coulda gone WAY wrong. Freddy kicks out, so Leatherface hits another one for three at (7:41). Leatherface celebrates, but Freddy attacks and holds a spiked bat against his face to get his heat back.
Your typical indie violent match, which oddly barely used the weapon at all and was mostly two dudes wandering around, but it was clear both could work and weren’t just two random guys like these matches often are- Leatherface was AWFUL, but had physical charisma (and the crowd was WAY into him, cheering everything he did) and timing, even if his move application sucked. Kinda funny to never put anyone THROUGH the table like you’d normally get- they just flat-backed onto it, though Freddy probably smashed his head real good on those landings.
Rating: *1/2 (not good, but hardly as bad as you might expect)
NO ROPES BARBED WIRE DEATHMATCH:
CACTUS JACK & THE CRYPT KEEPER vs. LEATHERFACE & SHOJI NAKAMAKI:
(IWA Japan, April 3rd 1995)
* This is from Cactus Jack’s deathmatch era that really cemented his aura as a crazy person, and he’s teaming up with the Crypt Keeper (Jose Estrada Jr. of Los Boriquas “fame” dressed up in what looks like a baseball uniform and a dollar store Crypt Keeper mask) against Leatherface (Corporal Kirschner at this point… probably) & Shoji, a big tub of guts who is 3 years into his career, which was mostly spent doing stuff like this. The ropes are actually barbed wire and there’s wire-covered piles of bricks around the ring.
We’re JIP with them brawling before the bell rings, Cactus going onto the bricks but landing some chairshots that Shoji barely sells. Crypt Keeper wisely does some teases at going into the wire to build anticipation while Cactus does the Cactus Elbow off an elevated stage while a bloody Shoji’s on the floor. Everyone fights in the ring, Keeper kind of leaning on the wire while insane Cactus just flips right over top of it when Shoji stops selling and comes back. Leatherface dominates while Shoji uses a spike to dig at Cactus’s face, but Mick fights back and hits the pulling piledriver on him. They trade off opponents and now Leatherface digs Cactus into the wire, but Cactus grabs a spike and nails both faces with it.
Shoji is dumped but Leatherface front suplexes Cactus onto the wires, then grabs a wire-wrapped brick and smashes Cactus with it and digs at his arm- the crowd loves that one. Shoji suplexes Cactus on the bricks and a double powerbomb gets two, so Leatherface just drops Mick BALLS FIRST across the wire! Jesus Christ. Shoji DDTs him onto the BRICK, getting two. Man is Crypt Keeper dead? Help your partner! Oh there he is- he got a chair! Leathface takes it in the back and Shoji no-sells a face shot, so Keeper just big boots him to the floor. Leatherface catches him coming back into the ring with a folding powerbomb & lumbering splash for two-counts, but Mick clobbers him from behind, and Crypt Keeper hits a Rocker Dropper on the brick for three (10:49). Well that was a surprise win. Everyone brawls again as the heels return to the locker room, Leatherface swinging around his chainsaw.
A classic study in brutality, as there’s little match flow and it’s mostly just guys fighting with the comeback being “the other guy punches you when you stop punching him”. Crypt Keeper barely even seemed to be there and the match turned into “how can be brutalize Mick Foley today?” with repeated sick spots and weapon shots to punish him… then oddly Keeper comes back in and does some stuff, then eats some nearfalls until Cactus sets him up for the win. Shoji is a dreadful seller, doing the “NOOOOOO I have FIGHTING SPIRIT!” comeback to every single attack rather than spacing that out.
Rating: **1/4 (about as good as four guys aimlessly brawling for 11 minutes until someone randomly wins is gonna be- Foley bumped for seven guys and the weapon shots looked great, though)