Welcome back to more Dream Matches! And this time I have a hell of a brawl for you, as Terry Funk shows just why he may be the greatest seller of all time in a brutal bloodbath against the monstrous Stan Hansen in 1983 All Japan!
I’ll also get to another request, as I visit two Attitude Era matches featuring the Hardy Boyz vs. Too Cool, back when Too Cool was a reliable “Secondary Contender” team in the very heated WWF tag team ranks! Also, a sequel to one of my “Halloween Eve” reviews, as Damian 666, El Espectro Jr., Karis La Momia (a mummy!) & Halloween take on Pierroth Jr. and three Villanos! And finally, I throw in one last Kurasawa (Manabu Nakanishi in WCW) match, as I find him facing Sting in a long WCW Saturday Night contest!
STAN HANSEN vs. TERRY FUNK:
(All Japan, 1983)
* Ohhhhhhh yeah- I’ve seen very little 1980s AJPW, but Terry & Hansen were HUGE back in the day, with the crowds adoring them beyond all other foreign wrestlers. Terry had an emotional connection with the fans, while Hansen just had them in a combination of amusement and awe. The crowd absolutely mobs Terry when he comes down, but holy god to they part ways for STAN, who swings wildly and blindly. Both guys are in black trunks, with Stan dwarfing Terry- it’s so weird seeing Funk with big muscles, though- my only memories are of him as this old man. He’s still giving up a LOT of mass to the burly Hansen, though.
Stan’s immediately charging in to start, but Terry keeps him at bay with jabs, gnarling up his face with sheer gumption while Stan slaps at him to break his guard. Stan’s overwhelming force finally proves to be too much, as Terry gets knocked around, pushed through the ropes and elbowdropped. Stan has that thing I notice in AJPW heels where every spare second is spent cracking the opponent with something, from any position available- like a kind of technique-free dirty-fighting. Stan just beats him into putty while the fans chant for Terry, as we get that perfect selling of his- the spread-out legs being all that holds him up while his torso heaves and his head flops around. Like, I’ve never seen the “head into the turnbuckles over and over again” spot look that good. Terry throws wild garbage punches from the ground, but manages to yank Stan over the ropes by his hair and throws a dropkick on the floor. Terry gets a body slam and sells the effort so dramatically, haha- wobbling, flailing, collapsing to his knees and going to all fours. Terry can’t stay on him, though, because Stan backdrops out of a piledriver and just CRUSHES his throat with a knee.
More beatings, but Terry backdrops out of a headlock and works the knee to set up the Spinning Toe-Hold finisher. He manages to land it, Stan grabbing his head in frustration and pain, but oh god… it brings Terry into striking distance of that huge right hand. And again. And again. And soon Terry is a bloody mess as he keeps trying the hold despite the danger, and soon he’s pouring blood all over Stan’s chest and almost flopping on him while still applying the hold. Split-legged and holding himself up using the ropes while fans throw tassels into the ring in excitement, Terry throws some jabs to Stan’s head, but gets walloped in return, looking dead on his feet in a sell only he can do (his eyes blazing beneath all that blood, but still looking dead)- he collapses underneath a Lariat and reapplies the Toe-Hold, but Stan boots him into the ref and drops Terry on the top rope- he scoots off holding his balls and Stan wraps the bullrope around Terry’s neck to drag him back to the ring, where he bludgeons the absolute shit out of him. Terry punches at the air and gets part of the rope stuck in his mouth while his eyes roll into the back of his head as Stan literally HANGS HIM using the top rope, and then Stan throws the bloody rope right into a nicely-dressed lady right next to her husband in the front row, hahahahaha.
Terry sells this like he’s a literal corpse and finally the the ref revives, calls the match a DQ (12:34), and Dory Funk Jr. hits the ring to rescue his brother, who is just lying there dead while Stan drops knees on him and repeatedly covering while the ref tries to wave him off. Dory drops axehandles to finally distract Stan, then whips the ref around the ring a couple times, but Stan bodyslams him and tries another elbow- Dory dodges and whips him off the ropes, drilling him with an elbow that finally sees Hansen off. A cheerleading squad (literally) of super-young kids are seen chanting Terry’s name while he stares in shock at the blood all over him and gets taken away. He even makes sure to get ringside tassels on him to make himself look more of a discombobulated mess. And that’s why he’s GOAT-tier.
Damn, what a fight. Not a long match by any means- it barely gets going before Terry tries to finish and Stan massacres him, but the psychology was tight and Terry was a ridiculously-good seller, just going for the cheap seats and flailing around, looking dead on his feet at any moment. He may be the GOAT cartoon seller, almost crossing the line into “too much”, but there’s just this FIRE in his eyes where it looks like his spirit is the only thing keeping his dead body alive. And it made me wanna see Stan/Terry II, Stan/Dory, and the Funks vs. Stan and any partner he could choose, and ALL THE BLOW-OFFS because next time Terry could get some revenge for that. As it stood, Stan came off like an absolute monster- overwhelming force just devastating Terry to the point where he couldn’t get anything going without trickery, and even his best weapon (the Funk Toe-Hold of Doom) let him get within arm’s reach of Stan’s giant fists, and that’s nowhere any man should ever be.
Rating: **** (an awesome, bloody brawl that made me want to see it all! I demand all the links to the follow-ups!)
A reminder that at one point Scott Taylor was one of the most over guys in wrestling. But like, only when doing that one move.
THE HARDY BOYZ (Matt & Jeff Hardy) vs. TOO COOL (Scotty 2 Hotty & Grandmaster Sexay):
(WWF RAW, May 1st 2000)
* This is the return of Too Cool after Sexay’s knee surgery. Too Cool ended up being more of a “Worm Delivery System” with only one guy being over, but at one point they were not only quite popular, but solid “Backup Champions” after the TLC Trio, and Scotty just recently lost to Dean Malenko in probably his best match. The crowd is KINDA into both teams but hardly as loud as you’d think. Scotty’s in mustard-yellow baggy pants, Sexay’s in black, and the Boyz are in their trademark baggy jeans.
Scott lands on his feet from a backdrop suplex and does his own, then does a moonwalk over to Sexay and they do a lot of theatrics into simple strikes- poor Matt looks like a dope having to lie in wait for all that but ya know- Attitude Era. Matt scores a tornado DDT and Jeff lands on his feet missing a moonsault, but eats a wheelbarrow lift into a full nelson facebuster. Jeff lands a triple-jump moonsault for two, but Too Cool double-team him- Jeff blind-tags and Matt stops The Worm with a neckbreaker to tremendous boos, then the Yodeling Double Legdrop gets two. Scotty nails Jeff with an overthrow powerbomb onto the top rope and Sexay gets the Hardyz with a double-facecrusher off the second rope for two, but they get him with a Whisper in the Wind- they telegraph Sexay breaking up another and Jeff pescados him, but that lets Scotty nail THE WORM to a huge reaction. But Jeff attacks and Matt hits the Twist of Fate (ddt to cutter), and they set up a Twist/Swanton on Sexay, but he shoves Matt to the ropes (knocking Jeff off) and finishes him with the superkick in an upset (4:49)!
Haha, man, this is such a spotfest- Attitude Era 101, but with the young, fast guys going all-out instead of the brawling of a year before, with flashy theatrics and then big moves- Matt’s first offensive move was a tornado DDT and we go right into a moonsault and then a complex series into Sexay’s full nelson thing. Every move is either a punch or kick to the gut and a big flashy move because transitions and weardown holds weren’t a thing. It’s fun for that (like, ya have the Hardys for 5 minutes- not enough time to have a good match ANYWAYS, so why not just swing for the fences?), and has a solid amount of TV time for the era.
Rating: **1/2 (lots of action! No transitions or anything else!)
WWF TAG TEAM TITLES:
TOO COOL (Scotty 2 Hotty & Grandmaster Sexay) vs. THE HARDY BOYZ (Matt & Jeff Hardy):
(WWF SmackDown!, June 1st 2000)
* Too Cool won the Tag Titles the previous RAW thanks to Joe C (Kid Rock’s dwarfish sidekick), defeating Edge & Christian. Because it’s the Attitude Era, they’re promptly sent against another top team on the very next show. Everyone’s in baggy black pants tonight.
The Hardys attack at the bell and hit Whisper in the Wind on Scotty, but Sexay helps him score a powerslam for two on Jeff. Sexay gets a 2nd-rope dropkick but Matt blatantly interferes and comes in- the Yodeling Legdrop gets two. Lita is shown watching in the back, as she was just attacked by Essa Rios and they were teasing her pairing with the Hardys at this point. The Hardys beat up Scotty for a while, but the crowd gets way into his comeback off a clothesline, and Sexay runs wild by backdropping Jeff and Ligerbombing Matt in one motion. Jeff dumps Sexay, but Scott knocks him down and it’s The Worm! Matt returns and hits him with the Twist of Fate, but Sexay cross-bodies them both over the top and just kinda looks on as Jeff hits the Swanton Bomb for… Kane’s music hits! The ref just stops counting as Kane comes down with Triple-H’s World Title, and he uses a one-hand chokelsam on Jeff, then Scotty, before taunting Hunter in a promo (using a growly voice, not his voice box, which I don’t recall him doing). It’s a DQ at (4:32).
This one was more of a standard WWF-style tag match with a heat sequence and everything, though oddly it had Scott doing The Worm while both were illegal, then trying again and getting hit with the double-whammy finishers… except he was still illegal and then the match was thrown out anyways. Kind of doesn’t make Too Cool look like great champions when one guy can kill everyone in the ring, but that’s Kane for you.
Rating: *3/4 (seemed like it was going fine, but was mostly a heat sequence, comeback then a screwjob finish)
(38 minutes in)
MEXICAN ATOMICOS TITLES:
PIERROTH JR. & LOS VILLANOS (Villano III, IV & V) vs. DAMIAN 666, EL ESPECTRO JR., HALLOWEEN & KARIS LA MOMIA:
* It’s a sequel to that AAA Halloween-themed match I reviewed on Oct. 30th, as the heel team allies once again, taking on Pierroth Jr. & Los Villanos, which is a team of a WWF luchadore (he briefly formed a duo with Cibernetico in WWF’s short-lived attempt at teaming with AAA) and some WCW ones, as Villano IV & V were used as jobbers.
FALL ONE: The rudos attack to start, easily beating up the technicos, using a stick as well. The technicos regroup but get beaten up AGAIN, but when both refs start getting shoved around by the rudos, one calls for the fall to be awarded to Pierroth’s team (2:53).
FALL TWO: The rudos beat up Villano IV to start- Pierroth comes in and gets quadruple-teamed, so the Villanos dive in and beat on all the rudos, one using a gigantic 2×4 as a weapon to annihilate them all. Karis takes a huge backshot from it via Pierroth, then Damian gets a trumpet (?) pressed lightly into his head, and a Villano slide-dropkicks Halloween over the guardrail and into the fans. Then he gets decked right into a laughing fan’s lap again and again, different guys just walking by and knocking him back. Halloween gets thrown into the posts and Villano V armdrags Damian off the top- Pierroth also Flair Tosses him off. Espectro and a Villano then do a spirited bit, Villano winning with a Perfect Plex (6:39), but Halloween pins him with an inside cradle (helped by Karis) a few seconds later. Damian gets a wheel kick & tope suicida on one Villano, then Karis & another Villano trade near-falls, Karis with two of the worst, slowest ranas ever, and the Villano rolls through with one for the pin (8:15). Pierroth’s team wins!
So this one was pretty much the heels cheating, then an 8-minute round of the babyfaces scoring a ton of wins, bumping around Damian especially and putting Halloween through comedy stuff on the floor. Fun for that, but not even as flashy as WCW’s version of the same stuff.
Rating: **1/4 (these bouts are fine, but largely come off as “a bunch of stuff” to me)
STING vs. KURASAWA (w/ Col. Rob Parker):
(WCW Saturday Night, Dec. 5th 1995)
* Sting, in blue/yellow tights & facepaint, proclaims Lex Luger “The most misunderstood man in pro wrestling!” and talks about his dislike of Ric Flair, and he’s here in a “warm up” against Kurasawa, which Dusty Rhodes warns is no simple task.
Kurasawa works the arm and throws chops, but Sting fires back, only for Kurasawa to slowly work him over with strikes and a neckvice as the pace stays slow. They each do leg-picks into restholds, then Parker boots Sting, distracting him for Kurasawa. Backbreaker, camel clutch OH GOD DO SOMETHING GUYS- Kurasawa stops Sting from electric chair-ing him out of that and Parker chokes away, then Kurasawa does. FINALLY… FINALLY… Sting reverses the Fujiwara Armbar finisher and hits a dropkick, clothesline, Stinger Splash, facecrusher and Scorpion Deathlock for the win (9:22). Just awful- resthold city until Sting gets a buncha moves in a row for the comeback. Granted it’s Saturday Night, but you gotta kill 9 whole minutes with that?
Rating: 1/2* (started fine enough, then got methodical, then just turned into restholds)