Truly a main event in any arena in the country!
Welcome back to more Dream Matches! This one is a pretty wild assortment of mostly tag team matches, but I start off with a request, as the eternally underrated Mike Enos spends the last of his WWF career doing jobs as a solo act, as he’s one of the few “name” guys send to job to the new 1-2-3 Kid! Come see good ol’ Blake Beverly pull out some very unique offense for 1993 WWF against the hot young star!
Then we hit another 1993 oddity, as the Rock ‘n’ Roll Express invade the WWF to take on Well Dunn! They wrestle a pretty classic example of a “Southern Tag Match”, probably owing to the heels being part of Smoky Mountain Wrestling at the time as well. We get the second match in a week of Terry & Dory Funk vs. Stan Hansen & Bruiser Brody from AllJapan as well- a sequel to a match from last week’s column! And finally, it’s another request: “Dirty” Dick Slater & Bunkhouse Buck vs. Men At Work! A jobber duo of Chris Kanyon (pre-Mortis) and Mark Starr doing their duties on the D-shows against a heel team just about to be done.
THE 1-2-3 KID vs. BLAKE BEVERLY:
(WWF RAW, July 5th 1993)
* A request! And a great “wow, that happened?” match, as the 1-2-3 Kid’s run was just starting, and I do NOT remember his career crossing over with that of the Beverlies. This was when Blake (Mike Enos) was kicking around for a couple months as a solo act, in that “Kato” role as “a guy we’re pretending is an actual star so you can be tricked into thinking this is a real Featured Match between stars instead of a jobber match”. A big dude, Blake looked merely average-sized in the monstrous WWF, and had no charisma, so he was sunk, no matter how surprisingly good he was. The Kid has MASSIVELY cheap gear on, a blue singlet covered in numbers and “KID” in giant ’90s yellow writing.
The two just stare at each other to start, and this actually gets the crowd into a “1-2-3!” chant, but Blake just paintbrushes the Kid and knocks him to the mat. See, Kid being so small he could take a face-bump off a SLAP made him a great underdog babyface. But Blake celebrates and gets dropkicked to the floor, and eats a baseball slide- furious, he tosses Kid up but eats a mid-air dropkick as the crowd marks out for how innovative this stuff looked in 1993. Blake catches a spinkick but tastes the other leg, but he catches Kid with a powerslam off a whip. Blake measures him with a neckbreaker and celebrates, then does a unique move by vertical suplexing the Kid’s ass into the turnbuckle. Blake keeps slapping him around, taking him WAY too lightly (Heenan warns him not to do this, as the Kid is dangerous), then press slams him right to the floor! Blake then hits a backbreaker into the OKLAHOMA STAMPEDE, just going wild on this kid- he pulls Kid up at one and jaws with the fans, but still manages to dodge a leap out of the corner.
A short-arm clothesline hits and Blake knocks Kid to the floor, but takes his sweet time climbing to the second rope and just FACEPLANTS! Kid follows with a spinning dive to the floor (insane for 1993) while Heenan & Savage put him over as a crazy person doing impossible shit (“Came off that top rope, turn in the air and hit a man with your back in the face? I don’t know how you even DO something like that!” “The kind of crazy that I LIKE!”). The Kid gets fired up as Blake sells this as a complete killshot, writhing in agony even as he rolls back into the ring. Kid whips him off the ropes and leapfrogs, but tries a backwards one like a doofus and gets backdrop suplexed. Blake makes another mistake by faceplanting off the second rope, and Kid finishes him with a Guillotine Legdrop to the back of the head at (8:02). Kid beats a “name” guy! Even Heenan gives him credit (“I got to on that one! The BEATING he took–!”).
Oh man, it’s a pity Blake had little charisma and always had to wrestle huge dudes in the WWF, because he was pulling out the MOVEZ here. He could do little heel mannerisms here and there, but he really shoulda been putting more “oomph” into things, because this was a ton of unique stuff (a suplex onto the turnbuckle?), and he had a great bumper working with him. The Kid’s advantage is that he was so tiny that he could justifiably sell and sell and sell, but his offense was so wild you could buy him as a miracle comeback artist. As a whole, the match was largely one long heat sequence, with Blake hitting a move, then boasting about it, keeping a very slow, deliberate pace. The Kid scores one huge comeback off of Blake’s mistake, but only keeps it up for a second and looks screwed… only for Blake to get overconfident and take too much time again. So there’s psychology and a “story” here where he keeps getting careless despite the Kid’s inexperience and small size.
Rating: **3/4 (one of Blake’s better matches, though it was very slow and steady)
THESE GUYS were sex symbols. That dude’s eyes are pointing in completely different directions! The friggin’ South, I swear…
THE ROCK ‘n’ ROLL EXPRESS (Ricky Morton & Robert Gibson) vs. WELL DUNN (Timothy Well & Steven Dunn, w/ Harvey Whippleman):
(WWF All American, Oct. 10th 1993)
* Yes, it’s the ROCK ‘N’ ROLL EXPRESS on WWF TV! Apparently for the first time ever right here. They look impossibly old and out of date even in 1993, and they’re here to take on their Smoky Mountain Wrestling adversaries (Well Dunn hopped between both companies). They’re in black tights with yellow tassels and Ricky even HEADBANGS, but like… twice.
Gibson uses a flying headscissors (“Don’t see many of THOSE anymore!”- Monsoon) and Morton a hurricanrana on Dunn, then Morton slides under so Gibson can leap over with a clothesline- Jim Cornette comes out and all the heels have a chat outside the ring. Morton gets a dropkick, but Cornette’s on the apron and this lets Well Dunn jack up Morton and double-team him on the floor, putting them in control. They get their double-team running forearm and a few other moves (Morton gets necked on the ropes by the illegal man), and we’re back from break with his comeback cut off via Dunn’s powerslam. Monsoon rips on Cornette & Harvey (“they don’t have more than thirty dollars of clothes on them combined!”) while the heels trade off with chinlocks- Morton finally comes back as Cornette does the old “slap the mat three times so the fans chant ROCK AND ROLL to it” trick, but Ricky goes into the post. He finally comes back when Well hits the corner and rolls into the hot tag- Gibson lights up the heels and a double-flapjack sets up a pair of Double Dropkicks (their finisher- seriously!), but Cornette comes in with the tennis racket to break it up behind the ref’s back. Gibson chases him down the aisle, but that brings in the Heavenly Bodies to beat him up and Cornette SMASHES him with the tennis racket while the ref is busy in the ring. Well Dunn wins by Count-Out at (11:19).
A pretty ordinary tag team match- a lotta chinlocks, but a handful of decent double-teams and cheating by Well Dunn, while Morton does his usual sell-job. Even in 1993, he was pretty good with collapsing, struggling to his feet, etc., even against some anemic offense at points.
Rating: **1/4 (a pretty long Tag Formula match, but those are hard to screw up, even with a screwjob finish)
TERRY FUNK & DORY FUNK JR. vs. STAN HANSEN & BRUISER BRODY:
(All Japan, April 22nd 1983)
* A rematch from the first bout. Terry gets a hero’s welcome, but Brody has the whole crowd into his “Huss! Huss!” act.
Terry & Stan scrap on the ropes in their distinctive way (where nothin’s really going on but they’re so manic about it it looks like they’re trying to kill each other), then the Funks double-elbow Stan down, but he manages his slam/elbow combo on Dory. Dory draws a pop just for avoiding the big guys trying their OWN double-elbow, but gets beaten up by Brody. Terry gets stomped on by both guys, but latches onto Stan’s leg and the Funks double-team him, but he comes back and Dory eats a double big boot for two. Brody just FLIES with a legdrop (“guillotine drop!”) but misses- the Funks hit a double-suplex and Terry works him over with a kneedrop & jabs, but Stan’s in and Terry takes a beating again. Brody’s dropkick gets two, but Dory hits his own dropkicks, and Terry draws a big reaction for slowly winning a slugfest with Stan, who goes to the eyes and kneedrops him for two. Dory goes with Stan and wins a criss-cross with an elbow as Stan is bouncing around a lot compared to his usual (he has a good “head-flail” to respond to strikes).
The bigs work Dory’s leg as we FINALLY slow the pace for a minute, but then they’re off again- multiple tags and scraps see Terry backdropped to the floor and repeatedly double-rammed into the post. Terry’s doing his best “I’m dying!” selling by going upside-down while his back is worked, feet hanging on the top rope and Brody jacks him with a piledriver for two. They slow it down with a chinlock but Terry finally backdrops out and Dory ducks Stan’s elbow and hits his own, and they throw strikes while Terry/Brody fight on the floor. Brody eventually gets too pissed off and starts swinging his chain around, taking out the ref and then the young boys when they hit the ring, causing a Disqualification at (14:30). Dory gets choked with the chain, but Terry’s in and does his “punching while split-legged and dazed” thing until it’s a pullapart brawl.
A very fast-paced tag match with a TON of quick tags- instead of “Peril” formulas you saw guys just take a bump and roll right to the corner, giving the match a permanent energy & flow to it. Brody is an interesting guy to watch, as you see a lot of later heels mimicked his “perpetual motion” mannerisms, but only Brody threw THAT much of his body into stuff like regular dropkicks & legdrops. Dory’s “old man” offense is kind of a buzzkill with all these brawlers, as his elbows and European uppercuts make up most of his stuff and it’s an odd fit when they others are throwing everything into their shots. Overall it was good fun, and I’m impressed by the sheer length of the bout considering how fast it was- weak finish and all, it nonetheless came off like a never-ending FIGHT- as soon as a guy got hurt instead of doing extended selling he’d bail and we’re back to square one with more shot-trading.
Rating: ***1/2 (just a completely manic, never-ending brawl in tag format- weak finish but justifiable given how they fought and scrapped for 15 minutes)
My weakness is “future stars in stupid jobber tag teams”.
BUNKHOUSE BUCK & “DIRTY” DICK SLATER (w/ Col. Robert Parker) vs. MEN AT WORK (Chris Kanyon & Mark Starr):
(WCW Worldwide, Jan. 6th 1996)
* A request! This is one of the last TV appearances of Buck & Slater as a tag team, taking on a ridiculous jobber team of Men At Work- two construction crew guys showing off their bodies. And yeah, it’s an early incarnation of Chris Kanyon, the future Mortis & Kanyon. Starr is just a job guy who never made it, lasting until 1998 in WCW- he’s got a pretty basic look and is undersized. I gotta question the gimmick, though- the open shirts, jeans and hardhats is okay-ish, but if they were a real construction crew wouldn’t they have five more guys on the outside of the ring standing around watching two do all the work?
Buck starts with Starr as Kanyon is doing bad “sexy boy” schtick on the apron, despite having no abs. Starr actually gets some jobber-fu and Slater’s sent out by the ref, and the construction boys cheat a little. Is this heel vs. heel then? It occurs to me now that Buck looks like an overprotective “pa” in a 1950s Western, coming downstairs in his undershirt and pants to fix some guy messin’ with his daughter. He gets his leg stretched but decks Kanyon so Slater can work him over with punches. Kanyon gets his boot up in the corner but misses a MOONSAULT of all things, then Starr saves him from a double-whip in an interesting spot. But Kanyon backflips over the ropes off a kick as I realize this dude is working for a PUSH. Starr goes over the top as Parker boots Kanyon right in front of the ref, then Kanyon comes in and eats a double punch for the pin (4:08). Yes, a PUNCH pins him.
This was a pretty basic match- Buck & Slater were in the “just punching” variety of Southern wrestlers Vince McMahon would make fun of, and their opponents were super-green and limited. So you just get the formula match, but with the worst finishers ever.
Rating: * (kinda clumsy and limited)
BUNKHOUSE BUCK & “DIRTY” DICK SLATER (w/ Col. Robert Parker) vs. MEN AT WORK (Chris Kanyon & Mark Starr):
(WCW Saturday Night, Jan. 20th 1996)
* A rematch! Yeah, WCW tended to run the same matches a lot of the time on the D-shows, as I guess they expected the fans not to watch every program, or figured it’d let guys work the kinks out.
Starr starts off and gets worked over and double-teamed when he goes into Buck, who has a rope stretched between his hands and rams it into Starr’s throat. Buck chokes him out on the floor but he IMMEDIATELY goes into the comeback, reversing a suplex on Slater and tagging out- Kanyon uses Jobber-Fu, but Buck gets a blind tag and big boots him. This is about done, but Buck drops the rope he was gonna use and Kanyon rolls him up… for three (3:44)! Men at Work win!! A surprise jobber win from a company that ran that a bit more than you’d think… but often had it be meaningless. This was near the end for the Buck/Slater team. Pretty equal to the last match but even simpler.
Rating: 1/4* (nothing really interesting happens until the finish)