Welcome back to more Dream Matches! This time I have a pretty spectacular bout from Mexico to lead off with, as all you nay-sayers shucking on El Dandy all the time will have to eat crow as he has an amazing, bloody Hair vs. Hair Match against El Satanico! I also take a look at a random WCW match, as the Road Warriors take on Dick Slater & Bunkhouse Buck in 1996. Also, my nightmare is your nightmare, as I subject you all to a SEVENTEEN MINUTE Ted DiBiase vs. Tatanka match, as the Million Dollar Man faces a green-ass Chris Chavis in a 1991 house show match that’s either a giant rib or a big test of what this kid can do (translation: nothing).
HAIR vs. HAIR MATCH:
EL DANDY vs. EL SATANICO:
(Empresa Mexicana De La Lucha Libre, Mexico, Dec. 16th 1990)
* This match is rated ****1/2 by the WON, so it seems to be El Dandy’s most jam-up match ever! I am completely unfamiliar with Satanico, but he’s been wrestling for a billion years and was about 37 here. His list of titles is as long as your arm, but I don’t know if any of these belts mean much- he’s the founder of the “Los Infernales” stable and Fandom says he’s one of the best trainers in Mexico. Dandy’s actually pretty muscular here (though he has a bad steroid belly), wearing long white tights, while Satanico has the same doughy pregnant physique El Dandy had in WCW seven years later, and he’s in a black singlet with flame designs on the legs. Satanico attacks El Dandy as soon as he hits the ring, smashing him into the post- he’s already busted open!
PRIMERA CAIDA: Satanico beats the hell out of him to start, biting and using headbutts (actually selling the impact himself), El Dandy flailing around pretty well and bleeding like nuts. The ring announcer keeps using his real name (Roberto Gutiérrez Frías), and I note he has kind of a Steamboat-like stance and selling style. A bulldog is the only wrestling move of the first few minutes, Satanico otherwise just tearing into his bloody opponent with Lawler-style right hands. The ref finally pulls him away from the ropes by the hair, allowing Dandy to sock him ass-first to the mat with one right hand. Satanico comes back quickly, but gets slammed- a victory roll is reversed back and again for two-counts, and El Dandy scores a ripcord enzuirigi and La Majistral for three (4:19)! Big come from behind win for the first fall!
OH MY GOD THIS VERSION LEAVES IN MEXICAN COMMERCIALS THIS IS AMAZING!! Navidad albums! Maria Sorte’s photobook/album! Teletours to Guadalahara! Black & white Mexican films!
SEGUNDO CAIDA: Back with Satanico kicking Dandy’s ass again- they slug it out on the floor but the ref trying to stop it leaves Dandy open to getting headbutted in the gut and posted. He’s waited out in the ring, but he immediately fires back and hits a big lariat. He’s slugged down again, but manages a leg-roll clutch with a bridge for two- the dramatic set-up (and cross-armed pose once it’s applied) is hilarious. Satanico slams him down to stop a rana and hits a crooked Liontamer, and another is reversed to a weird crab. Dandy averts both, then just collapses Satanico with a punch to the jaw, haha. But he leaps outta the corner right into a knee- he begs that it’s a foul (but he’s holding his stomach and it looked fine to me), and Satanico locks him into a Gory Stretch (bending him over his back while cradling all four limbs), then lowers him into a pinning combination for the second fall (6:07). We’re tied!
TERCERA CAIDA: Third fall looks like the first, but it’s EL DANDY who dominates, biting Satanico and slamming him head-first into the post & solid ring apron over and over again, as Satanico does this great “lumbering” sell, collapsing in cartoonish ways with his feet sticking up and stuff like that. A good heel sell. Yup, and now he’s bleeding like crazy, too. Dandy’s face stuff isn’t quite as good as others’- he just kinda looks at the fans and holds up his hand. The ref tries to drag him off Satanico after his 18th chomp to the forehead, and of course Dandy gets kneed in the back as soon as he turns to challenge him on it. Satanico does this “holy god, look at me” at all the blood on him and just launches into a feeding frenzy, but Dandy keeps shoving him off and HELL YES IT’S A BRAWL ON THE MAT! I LOVE THAT SHIT! Two dudes just throwing everything they have at each other while being unable to stand- Dandy being clobbered on his knees and his very positioning sending him springing back into a headbutt. Sadly it ends quickly and Satanico scores a floatover DDT. They rest for a sec and Dandy tries a figure-four, but gets rolled up for two- this ref takes FOREVER to get into position.
Satanico tries a leghold but gets launched to the floor and Dandy hits a BIG tope suicida! Lucha Dandy! Wait, he’s always been lucha Dandy but you know what I mean. They sell that for a full minute as both are just dying, and Dandy fires off a lariat in the ring, but misses a Vader Bomb badly. He’s seriously hurt, but counters Satanico’s rocking-cradle submission to a pin on both of them, then tries La Majistral again but gets his legs wiped out and he biffs onto his head. Satanico just sits there in exhaustion in a great bit, finally lashing out with a headbutt once Dandy recovers a bit, and slooowwwwwlly moves onto him for a two-count. Then another, and Dandy fights up and bites, but his bow & arrow is countered to a pin and he’s mouse-trapped for two. Dandy flies into the post and Satanico follows with a senton off the apron and they’re DEAD. Satanico keeps trying to push him away to buy himself some time, and lands a senton in the ring for two. Another gets the same and he pounds the mat in frustration, and a ribcrusher (probably to the balls, as Dandy gesticulates to his groin again) gets two. But then, in a bizarre bit, Satanico wipes out the ref on a criss-cross, and El Dandy FAKES being fouled in the groin, and he and the fans are so convincing (and the ref so annoyed at Satanico now) that he AWARDS THE FALL to El Dandy, who wins the Hair vs. Hair Match (12:14)! Satanico is furious but the fans love rubbing it in, being like “No he TOTALLY DID!” while he screams. Satanico gets his hair cut as we’re out, glowering all the while.
Oh MAN this got good! These matches are tough to assess because I’m out of my comfort zone with regards to lucha, and I’m not a big fan of the “Brawl” style of wrestling, but these two definitely sold well and had a good match flow. Dandy doesn’t have the greatest babyface mannerisms, though- I’ve seen lucha guys who are way better and gesturing to the fans. The selling is good, but I was more impressed by Satanico, who fought with heelish fervor and even sold in this fun “ass over teakettle” stumble so he couldn’t get any sympathy heat even as his skin’s being gnawed off his head. It’s kinda funny that the bloody lucha style involves guys trying to eat each other alive and then every fall ends with a rollup, lol. But by the end of things they’d put in the work that both were 100% justified in doing nearfalls off of basic strikes, selling for a full minute on the floor after a flying move, etc.- great bumps and lots of “OMG I’m exhausted and dying” drama as they milk every little thing. The ending is pretty funny, though- Satanico gets his just desserts and is humiliated, but I guess gets to claim a moral victory and the feud can continue because it wasn’t “clean”. It suits the whole “humiliating your opponent is as good as beating them up” machismo thing of lucha, I’m told.
Rating: ****1/4 (I was… yeah I’m gonna say it… DOUBTING EL DANDY over this one actually earning that WON rating, but they damn near got there with those final 8 minutes or so of crazy action)
This dude was on WCW TV for like 2 years of the Monday Night Wars and I don’t remember a single thing about him or any angle he was involved in. A very “WCW” kind of thing.
THE ROAD WARRIORS (Hawk & Animal) vs. BUNKHOUSE BUCK & “DIRTY” DICK SLATER (w/ Col. Rob Parker):
(WCW Main Event, Feb. 11th 1996)
* So during a huge chunk of the Monday Night Wars, we still had Buck & Slater out there as this total mid-1980s NWA-style act, with Slater being the usual pot-bellied brawler with a mullet and Buck just some sloppy-looking hillbilly dude in jeans, suspenders and a white undershirt with long sleeves. Even Slater’s dressed like a roadie, with a black t-shirt & blue jeans. And this is that rare time you see the Road Warriors in WCW at this point as well. Bischoff actually calls them “L.O.D.” at one point, and they’ve got silver & red spiked shoulderpads this time, and the chyron says “Roadwarriors”.
Buck starts with Animal, but quickly eats a shoulderblock, only to dodge Hawk, who goes into the post. Slater & Buck double-team him, bringing in Animal while Harlem Heat does an unintelligible inset promo, Booker ending with “It’s like I always say- the Edsel was a good car in its day!”. Well, he does always say that. Hawk & Slater brawl to the floor & Parker brings in a weapon to use against Animal, but nails Buck, gets wiped out himself, and Hawk climbs up for the weak “waist-high lift” Doomsday Device at (2:06). Ridiculously short, nothing match- shockingly, despite being made out to be total jobbers, Slater/Buck still made prime time TV a LOT back in the day.
Rating: 1/2* (just an ultra-quick match, 50% of which was a team brawl)
Paul Diamond was a good worker with a 0/10 score in Charisma, making him a perfect JTTS- a role he occupied for quite a few years in the WWF.
VIRGIL vs. KATO (w/ Mr. Fuji):
(WWF Prime Time, July 1st 1991)
* Sisco just reviewed this one for his column, so I held off on this for a while, but it’s one of Virgil’s first real singles “tests”, as he takes on the lowest-tier heel on the roster. As one of the more balanced guys on the roster, Paul Diamond is as good a dude as any to give Virgil a first win.
Virgil no-sells a couple shots into the turnbuckles to start, then catches a boot and hits an atomic drop and his jab combo- Kato catches him with karate chops, but poses and is clotheslined down. Virgil seems to struggle to get his timing and placement right as Kato begs off and dumps him, leading to Fuji attacking with the cane. Virgil’s suplexed back in for two, but Kato puts his head down and eats more punches, only for Fuji to now trip Virgil with the cane- when he goes out to challenge, he gets clobbered by an axehandle off the apron, too. But as soon as they hit the ring, Kato runs into a boot and Virgil slaps on the Million Dollar Dream for the KO at (5:18), winning handily. Despite how epic a pop Virgil got for beating DiBiase at SummerSlam, the fans are DEAD here- you can see them sitting on their hands despite the “heat machine” running.
Very basic match, with Kato threading cheating throughout so Virgil can get his comebacks- Virgil took a while to get any good, as at this point he’s using early ’80s offense and some jabs, and isn’t in position all the time. Like, look at how few moves he really hit in this one.
Rating: *1/4 (fine enough basic match, but pretty much just Kato doing basic moves to set up Virgil comebacks)
Chris Chavis was a pro bodybuilder and powerlifter before starting wrestling in his late 20s. He was shockingly new to the business when he got hired by the WWF, who probably just wanted a new “Ethnic Babyface” star.
“THE MILLION DOLLAR MAN” TED DIBIASE (w/ Sensational Sherri) vs. CHRIS CHAVIS:
(WWF House Show, late 1991)
* A quasi-dark match with French commentary, this features Ted’s dying days as a singles act, and he’s up against a very green Chris Chavis during his trying out phase as Tatanka. Actually, he’s not even named that here- he’s just some kind representing the “Columbee Indians” in red trunks.
It’s the “House Show Special” to start, Ted dominating with simple moves and cheering himself on, but two minutes in, Chavis wins The International and repays all those moves in rapid succession, sending Ted bailing. He stalls and stalls to annoy the crowd and catches Chavis with a knee, but gets sunset flipped for two- they work a long headlock sequence, Ted occasionally fighting up and getting knocked back down. Finally Chavis runs into an elbow and Ted drops a few more, doing his trademark methodical beatdown as I observe that for a dude with a reputation as a mat guy, Ted is honestly more of a brawler- throwing knees, elbows, clotheslines and punches.
DiBiase takes time to jaw with the fans and immediately earns a comeback, but dumps Chavis into the waiting arms of Sherri, who throat-punches him. Ted continues the beatdown on the floor and drops that beautiful fist for two- vertical suplex gets the same and he works the chinlock, switching in choking when the ref goes after Sherri. This gets FOUR SEPARATE “two arm-drops into the comeback” spots, Ted always going to the hair to haul him back down. Chavis eating a knee on the last comeback, but FINALLY manages to come back by smashing Ted’s face into the turnbuckle, leading to him Flair Flopping down. Chavis does a nascent “War Dance” into punches, chops & knees, and DiBiase gets brought back in the hard way, but manages his powerslam counter and scores the Million Dollar Dream for the K.O. at (16:53!!!). Ted wins a LONG one.
This is an absolute masterwork from Ted DiBiase, as he’s facing a green-as-grass kid on a low-yield house show, and has to work an entire bout with the kid and go LONG. Thus it’s very fascinating from a “workings of wrestling” perspective, as Ted has to work the NWA-style “work a hold for a long time, then pose/stall/jaw with the fans”, then lead him through a ton of resthold sequences (including four LONG chinlock ones), because all this kid knows how to do is dropkicks and basic slams, so Ted has to make the most out of every one. The final comeback stretch before Ted catches him was good, and it was venturing into ** territory for most of it, but man, you just can’t reward four minutes of chinlocks, even if Ted shook it up with repeated comebacks, interference, cheating, etc.
Rating: *1/4 (EXTREMELY impressive from poor DiBiase, who has to carry this green kid through a 17 minute match, making the most out of what looks like the first month of wrestling training, but it’s eventually just way too padded out)