Cactus Jack vs. El Gigante (and other Dream Matches!)
By Jabroniville on 22nd March 2023
I always wonder how you should rate this guy’s look. I mean he’s so big he makes 300-lb. men look like small children, so he’d be a 10/10 in “Look”… but he’s so skinny and awkward looking.
Welcome back to more Dream Matches! This time it’s another smattering of random WWF, ECW & WCW stuff, starting with a match I had no idea existed from 1992 WCW as Cactus Jack has to try and make a match work against EL GIGANTE, the most hopeless in-ring guy to ever live! Then it’s over to ECW as Stan Hansen of all people shows up, and he’s immediately put up against jobber duo Twisted Steel & Sex Appeal!
Then a very “1993 WWF” match as Tatanka takes on Mr. Hughes! WWF’s Light Heavyweight Division heats up as heatless heel Brian Christopher gets put up against his Player Two version and future tag team partner, Scott Taylor! And finally, it’s the first-ever Scaffold Match in wrestling as Jerry Jarrett faces Don Green in Kentucky- a request since Jerry has died fairly recently.
CACTUS JACK vs. EL GIGANTE:
(WCW Pro, Jan. 18th 1992)
* Oh yeah, this is the good shit- WCW in the early ’90s isn’t the fountain of “Wait, that happened?” nonsense as other promotions but MICK FOLEY vs. JORGE GONZALEZ? That will do nicely. Cactus Jack is coming down to a slow piano version of the “Funeral March” here, while El Gigante, in his black bicycle shorts, somehow looks like a giant dork despite making his 290-lb. opponent look like a small child. Gigante’s sporting a bandage on his face owing to a scrap with Vader in Japan.
Gigante grabs a headlock as Jim Ross marvels over his reach advantage, and he hits overhand clubs, a bodyslam and a clothesline, and Cactus fails to whip him out of the corner so settles for just tearing at the bandage and eye. El Gigante sort of approximates selling as he shrinks back from some glancing blows, but hits more overhands and a “big boot” (barely kicking Cactus in the chest) to send him to the apron. Gigante uses THE CLAW~~ out there, but the ref hits a 5-count and Gigante won’t break the hold, resulting in a DQ at (2:06), tragically costing us several minutes of El Gigante offense. However, an incensed giant refuses to break the hold, dragging Cactus OVER the top rope, and swats away some jobbers who come to break it up- Abdullah the Butcher (Jack’s partner) comes out and wails away with his stick, but Gigante just no-sells it, grabs it from him, and annihilates BOTH heels as he goes completely nuts. Hahah it’s so sad Gigante sucked because I love a good Enraged Giant Babyface story and this is awesome. Cactus assumes that ABDULLAH was clubbing him, so once Gigante leaves he attacks the Butcher and it’s a wild brawl all over ringside, complete with a chair.
Rating: 1/2* (just two guys trading shots for a while, though it was kept simple enough that even El Gigante couldn’t screw it up, as unconvincing as his selling is)
See I appreciate loser dweebs if they’re set up to be loser dweebs.
STAN HANSEN vs. TWISTED STEEL & SEX APPEAL (Herv Renesto & Don E. Allen):
(ECW TV, 1993)
* LOL, what? Manjiimmortal requested this one, featuring Stan Hansen straight from All Japan taking on these two idiot goons named after a “Superstar” Billy Graham catchphrase. Paul Heyman appears with them in an interview beforehand, noticeably towering over both guys, who look as skinny and dweeby as possible, like midget dorks trying really hard to be cool. The oversized shades, gold vest on Sex Appeal and “we’re gonna hit him over the head with his own lariat!” promo is perfect for making them out to be idiots. Both guys have the same “college guy who maybe once worked out” look to them, with unshaven chests- Twisted Steel has an Italian tan and is in black tights, while Sex Appeal (ECW jobber Don E. Allen) has a dorky jobber singlet in black with a white leg. And here comes big fat jovial Stan out there in his black trunks and country music theme song.
Stan immediately demolishes Steel, revealing himself as easily 100 lbs. heavier than either jobber and a head taller, and he completely ignores their offense while throwing chops and overhand elbows. Renesto’s dropkick is no-sold and he eats a Baba Chop as both jobbers are dumped, then Don/Appeal gets suplexed back into the ring and hit with the standing Lariat for the pin at (1:17). Haha, but he’s not done! Kicking ass is so much fun that he ties Steel/Renesto to the ringpost with his bullrope and lays in headbutts!
Rating: 1/4* (very simple squash, with everything no-sold and Stan just treating both guys like gnats buzzing around him)
TATANKA vs. MR. HUGHES:
(WWF Mania, June 12th 1993)
* Tatanka’s undefeated streak is tested against the 360-lb. Mr. Hughes, still pretty new to the company. The King of the Ring is just around the corner (literally later in the day, though this was obviously taped prior), with both dudes in the first round, making the result pretty clear in this one.
Hughes makes a boo-hoo face in Tatanka’s wristlock, but yoinks the hair and knees him in the kidneys while Jim Ross & Monsoon question the wisdom of accepting this match so close to the KOTR. Some slow clubbing works Tatanka over, then Hughes tries a pin off a BODY SLAM, even taking his time doing so! Irish whip sets up a neck-twist, and Tatanka’s comebacks are countered THRICE until Hughes lands balls-first trying a charge in the ropes- Tatanka does the “War Dance” comeback and chops the big man down and hits a full bodyslam and the Flying Tomahawk Chop, but Hughes “kicks out” (looks like Tatanka just willingly got up on the hard cam) and Tatanka misses an elbowdrop. They slug it out and the ref gets between them, Hughes shoving him and then clubbing him on purpose, causing a DQ at (6:13). Yup- that was expected. Hughes hits his Falling Chokeslam off the ropes as the ref calls it a Double-DQ.
A very dreadful match, with Hughes doing the worst kinds of time-wasting- the “walk & stomp” and the neck-vice resthold (twice!). Then Tatanka hit his only offense (overhead chops) and there was a DQ. Really nothing to it, and if I’m Vince seeing this performance from a guy who should be a Monster Heel, I’m disregarding the “Hughes Push” right away.
Rating: 1/2* (just a total weaksauce match from two very limited guys)
“TOO SEXY” BRIAN CHRISTOPHER (w/ Jerry Lawler) vs. SCOTT TAYLOR:
(WWF RAW, June 23rd 1997)
* The future Too Much/Too Cool take on each other on RAW, anticipating the Light Heavyweight division that’s slowly becoming a thing- Christopher’s obviously getting the push here so this isn’t exactly in doubt. He’s in blue tights and Taylor’s in black with tons of tassels on the sides.
They do basic snapmares and Taylor fails a kip-up, so Christopher covers and tosses him around, hitting a release German, but Taylor dodges an elbow and hits a weird front leg lariat (just leaping up and sticking his leg out), then his somersault double-leg to the back gets two. He puts his head down and takes the Rocker Dropper, then a second rope dropkick. Backbreaker gets two, then Brian runs into the corner and Taylor hits a springboard clothesline. They do two reversed-whip spots in a row, Taylor getting the worst of both, then Christopher hits the Inverted DDT into the Tennessee Jam (flying legdrop) for the clean pin at (2:53).
Solid little mini-match, as Taylor was allowed to hit some stuff, but mostly bumped his ass off for Christopher, who needed at least one clean pin to justify his run to the title match (which is shockingly all the way in November). All of Brian’s stuff hit flush and was very crisp, and thankfully he only did his hyena laugh once (I wonder if someone pulled him aside after last show, where he did it a dozen times).
Rating: *1/2 (only 3 minutes but fine and had a good flow to it)
(You lose if you fall off twice; $5000 purse)
JERRY JARRETT vs. DON GREEN:
(Memphis, Aug. 15th 1971)
* A request made back when Jerry died, it’s the first-ever Scaffold Match in wrestling history! I think! As a kid I’d heard of these matches but never seen one- it seemed like the most bad-ass match imaginable so I REALLY wanted to watch one, but it’s pretty clear that these are just stupidly risky and guys are hesitant to ever work them, so I can’t blame dudes for more or less shutting these down in the 1980s. I have no idea who Don Green is and he doesn’t even have a Wikipedia page, but Cagematch says he’s actually the original Mr. Wrestling and Masked Superstar #1, and retired in 1978. He’s very decorated with NWA US Titles and Tag Titles (the belts retired in 1977, I guess?). He’s in black trunks and is balding, while Jerry’s in red, I think.
This is shot from a stationary camera in a VERY dark arena, so it’ll be tricky to see some stuff. The scaffold is twelve feet (looks closer to 9-10- Green is about a foot from the mat when he hangs all the way down, and it’s about 4 feet above the referee’s head) in the air and maybe two feet wide. You have to toss the guy off twice (they say “consecutively” but that’s not what that means) to win.
This pretty well goes like a battle royal when guys are just leaning against the ropes, as Green keeps dropping to his ass and belly out of cowardice so Jerry leans on him. Green fights up and starts slugging away with right hands, facelocking Jerry until he’s almost off as the crowd can be heard screaming. Jerry ends up underneath the scaffold hanging on with all four limbs while Green tries to hammer him off and starts pushing Jerry’s face with his boot before they end up 69ing with the scaffold between their bodies. He seems to get tired, and Jerry finally gets back up after weathering a storm of punches as the crowd screams “Go Jerry Go!”. Green keeps on him but a punch sends Jerry reeling back to his ass, and he kangaroo-kicks Green flat and then pummels the crap out of him, has him hanging by two hands, then stands up so everyone can see it and STOMPS his hands, sending Green falling to the mat! (1-0)
Green’s up soon enough, and gets his head bashed into the scaffold repeatedly, but begs off and they fingerlock, going from side to side until Don pulls out a CHAIN, choking Jerry! The ref heads up to try and stop this- the grip is broken and then JERRY gets the chain and starts choking Green with it! Don manages to slug him and re-chokes away, and they take turns at each other’s necks as the ref finally gets the chain, until Don manages to twist the ankle to stop a headscissors and then throws powder in Jerry’s eyes and then stomps on his knuckles until he collapses off the scaffold in a heap. (1-1)
Jerry accuses Don of shenanigans, causing Green to hit the mat and start smashing him into the metal scaffolding and use the chain again, and Jerry’s just wiped. He finally comes up and Green uses ANOTHER chain from his tights, but Jerry makes a heroic comeback with twin fists coming down, and finally fights the chain around his OWN hand and beats the shit out of Don, finally standing up and just raining boots down on him, sending Don sideways and finally Jerry just sits back down and crushes his hands until Green slides right down and off into a back bump- Jerry wins (18:12)! (2-1) Don writhes in agony on the mat selling a broken arm while fans throw in garbage and a wreath with his name on it (EPIC). Fans eventually file out of the building while Green is still dead, which is a great look.
Well this was about as good as it could be expected to be- doing the old “fight them into each hold” style is actually superior to a lot of styles that could be used up there, as the drama is in the reversals, not just “pretending to push each other” like battle royals often tend to be. So you’d have a headscissors reversed with an anklelock or Jerry getting punched and using that momentum to swing back and kick Green back. Add in some heel cheating and you’ve got something. Jerry’s triumphant comeback is great stuff, as it has the classic “Babyface fires himself back up and starts countering punches, then beats the cowardly heel onto his back” thing, then gives him some comeuppance by using the heel’s own weapon against him. Some great bumps off the scaffold, too- it’s a legit 10 feet or so and both guys just dropped to their feet and back-bumped after- that diminishes SOME impact but after 18 minutes it can’t have been easy. It’s still not a GREAT match given the limitations of two dudes sitting on a board and hitting each other for a while but it’s about as good as you can expect. And like… the fans got to see a cheating heel get horribly injured and writhe around in agony, so they went home happy! Wrestling 101!
Rating: **3/4 (a lot of “they stand there doing the same punch over and over”, but they swung the momentum around enough times and Jerry’s comebacks are legit great)