Repo Man is a veritable fountain of horrible matches that are somehow also amazingly fun to watch- a rare talent!
Welcome back to more Dream Matches! This week I have another assortment of weird stuff from various promotions, starting off with a classic “Roddy gobbles up his opponent” match as “Rowdy” Roddy Piper defends his Intercontinental Title against Repo Man, in a match based around Repo swiping a ringside lady’s watch!
Following that, I finally investigate a question I’ve always had: Were Doug Basham & The Damaja actually any good? Both were bland-ass forgotten wrestlers in WWE and never made an impact on the wrestling business, but Jim Cornette adored them in OVW and I swear I’ve heard some people fanboy for them as true lost gems. As such, I check out their final match in Ohio Valley Wrestling for the OVW Title! Then it’s more of “Dream Matches MVP” Blake Beverly as he faces Mr. Perfect! Then it’s back to Dragon Gate, as I try to find more of their solo matches- this one is CIMA vs. Sumo Dandy Fuji in a Hair vs. Hair Match!
“ROWDY” RODDY PIPER vs. REPO MAN:
(WWF MSG, Feb. 1992)
* Oh damn! You don’t often see Roddy Piper taking on lower-midcarders- these are always totally one-sided and humiliating. I love it! Repo Man is hilariously skulking along, looking shorter than every single ring attendant despite being like 6’3″ legit, then POCKETS A LADY’S WATCH while hugging her and how did this gimmick not make millions? She’s now on camera screaming “I want my watch back, thief!” while Heenan suggests she was just behind on payments (“What’s the matter- didn’t her husband have a good enough job?”). Now the lady sics Piper on him and Monsoon backs her up (“Her husband’s a deadbeat!” cries Heenan).
Naturally while Repo’s yelling at the lady Piper just grabs his belt and goes a-whippin’ as the bell rings. Ref Earl Hebner just lets this go as Piper strangles him, runs him into the corners and clotheslines him with it as Heenan suggests Piper just has compassion for anyone else in a skirt (“They’re like a fraternity- or a SORORITY”). Piper blocks an inverted atomic drop and of course goes to the eyepoke as Repo bails- Piper chases and kicks his ass again for yelling at the lady while Monsoon mumbles “Looked like a cheap watch at that- why even bother stealing it?”. Repo finally drags Piper out and runs him into the post, then beats him up a bit before Piper goes behind and hits the Sleeperhold. Repo makes the ropes and goes for his hook, but the ref snags it in mid-swing and they tussle over it- Repo drops it but Piper grabs the metal part behind Hebner’s back and just KOs Repo Man instantly, waits for Hebner to turn around, then drops the most overwrought elbowdrop ever for the pin at (3:29). Thankfully Piper rifles through Repo’s pockets and gets the lady her watch back.
The usual “Roddy gobbles up and humiliates the heel” match, as he was less and less giving with time and just devoured lame-duck acts like this one. Repo does manage about a minute of shine with basic stuff, but then Roddy just casually comes back and one-ups his own cheating.
Rating: *1/2 (barely a match- mostly some fun cheating, some generic beating, then more fun cheating- but the watch stuff is fantastic, lol)
The most generic, jobbery looking dudes to ever hit the main roster- come see if they’re actually any good!
NO DQ/COUNT-OUTS; LOSER LEAVES OVW:
“MACHINE” DOUG BASHAM vs. “THE PHENOM” THE DAMAJA:
(Seconds are Handcuffed Together at Ringside: (w/ Smooth Johnny Spade, “This Year’s Model” Mark Magnus, Nikita & “Iron Man” Rob Conway, then “The Thrillseeker” Johnny Jeter, Jillian Hall, “Mr. Wrestling” Nick Dinsmore & “The Blueprint” Matt Morgan)
(Ohio Valley Wrestling, Aug. 2nd 2003)
* WOO I FINALLY BRAVED MORE OHIO VALLEY WRESTLING! This was of course WWE’s farm-league, building guys they actually wanted to push while Jim Cornette was running things and overseeing it all. Cornette had a batch of “workers” held up as pillars of OVW- Basham, Damaja, Rob Conway, Nick Dinsmore- but was of course ACTUALLY seasoning the stars of the future like Cena, Batista, Orton, Lesnar, etc. Nearly everyone who hit WWE at one point went through OVW, and I get the impression Cornette’s notes on who had potential were often completely ignored in favor of who had the best physiques, but like, they still trained a remarkable number of huge stars. And these two.
So The Damaja is an all-time bland-looking guy- a generic white dude with a shaved head and shiny, baggy leather pants. I think I had to hear his name spoken out loud to understand it was supposed to be like “Damager” and it didn’t rhyme with “Rajah” or something. Doug Basham is… also a generic white dude in shiny leather pants, but has a tiny amount of fuzz on his head. More ripped than the soft, “doughy but muscle-ish” Damaja, but annoyingly this looks like a mirror match with two generic white guys in similar gear. And jesus does Cornette love him some nicknames- every male involved has one, even though the Damaja’s name IS a nickname.
Basham does basics to start, but Damaja goes to the eyes and clotheslines him as Cornette puts the latter over as a “loose cannon” who will bend the rules. He gets a flapjack & kips up into a Stinger splash for two. Basham tries to use a big plastic garbage can and Damaja just SMOKES him with it, knocking him over the guardrail. Damaja pounds and chokes away and flips off the heels, but Basham hits a leg lariat for two-counts as Damaja sells that as a big deal and gets pushed to the floor so the heels can throw boots until they’re dragged back. Back from break with Damaja selling a beating and Basham hits a Vader bomb elbow for two, then a neck-twist & ripcord lariat while Cornette calls this crowd “more rabid” than at any Flair or Austin match. lol okay bud. They’re chanting “Da-Ma-Ja!” but let’s not act like it’s the Crush Gals out here or anything. Basham throws strikes but Damaja keeps reversing him to backslides & stuff, then finally catches a leg lariat with a powerbomb. That’s a double-down for 30 seconds, Damaja coming in with punches & inverted DDTs him for two.
Basham hits a jawjacker & inverted Russian legsweep to come back, only to miss a flying headbutt so Damaja hits a Sit-Out Double Chokeslam for two. OH MY GOD DAMAJA DOES SHOCKED KICKOUT FACE WE MUST BLAME CORNETTE FOR THAT SHIT. He tries a superplex, but gets shoved off and the flying headbutt finally hits and they’re both out. Basham gets two, then the Grillbuster (sit-out pedigree) is reversed but the ref gets taken out. Another Damaja chokeslam is reversed with a ballkick to the Grillbuster but no ref, and the delay of a second one results in a two-count. Basham puts Damaja up top, but takes a slow uppercut to the nards and Damaja hits a SUPER Sit-Out Chokeslam for the pin from both refs at (13:39). New Champion! Damaja & Basham give each other props to end things on a positive note, but Conway is DISGUSTED by this sportsmanship garbage and hits the Ego Trip (here just a regular neckbreaker), stating “You’re either with the Revolution, or against them” with his usual S-tier charisma.
Well this was perfectly… cromulent. Not good, not bad, just fine. It was there. Which says as much about these two guys’ careers as you can get. Obviously neither was gonna draw so much as a single fly but they were perfectly adequate midcard losers I guess. At least they SOLD- you can bet Cornette being in charge means they’d treat moves like they hurt and that part was fine. It was just altogether really bland, with a lot of throwing punches and really basic reversals. Like it was two dudes straight out of wrestling school doing every move adequately with like… 7/10 in terms of “snap” and energy. It really lacked the nature of a blood feud, though- there were a couple shots to the penile area but very milqetoast as far as strangulation and such went- like two dudes taught to be heelish but weren’t good enough actors to portray any real viciousness. Where’s the biting and savagery? I don’t need blood, but at least some major desperation or hatred is necessary. And this is something Cornette ABSOLUTELY harps on today in his podcast.
Rating: *** (fine basic good TV match between two guys who knew each other well and knew a variety of moves and how to do them adequately)
MR. PERFECT vs. BLAKE BEVERLY:
(WWF Wrestling Challenge, April 25th 1993)
* “Dream Matches” icon Blake Beverly now gets fed to Mr. Perfect! This is after Perfect drummed Ric Flair out of the company and is kinda… hovering around in the upper-midcard as a babyface. Perfect’s in blue and Blake’s in purple, and Blake divebombs him before the bell, grabbing Perfect’s towel and choking him out.
Blake keeps on with the towel, even spinning Perfect around by it and then mimicking the “behind the back” toss- haha. He pounds away, but they collide off a whip and Perfect takes over, dumping him and Blake bails again off a dropkick. But then BEAU Beverly runs out and charges the ring, immediately taking a back body drop and flying over Blake, who was holding the top rope down. Perfect pauses for emphasis before dunking Blake on his face and hits the necksnap, but Beau distracts him and he gets clobbered. Beau heads to the showers while Blake necks Perfect on the top and hits a neckbreaker, kicks out after a cross-body and stays on him, but Perfect reverses a suplex, only for Blake to cut off THAT comeback, too. But he misses his falling headbutt and Perfect absorbs his kicks and chops, dares Blake to hit more, then firing back and pinballing him- Blake puts his head down early and of course the Perfect Plex finishes at (5:32).
Pretty interesting little match, as the Beverlies look like fools to start, but cheat and Blake stays on Perfect, cutting off three mini-comebacks like Macho Man’s matches (where he keeps trying to fire back so he looks less weak). There’s a great bit with Perfect, whose strap Blake just pulled down, just dropping his other strap and taunting him to try his strikes again. The fans immediately reacted and Bobby Heenan sold the moment on commentary. Blake took a big bump and then it went straight to the finish, putting over the Perfect Plex as a great one-move match-ender.
Rating: **1/2 (basic solid TV bout from the era)
HAIR vs. HAIR MATCH:
CIMA vs. SUMO DANDY FUJI:
* Time for more Dragon Gate! Except it’s Toryumon, the predecessor! With CIMA taking on Sumo Fuji, who is kind of the most forgotten of the trio that hit WCW, I think. CIMA’s in great shape and has movie-star looks, while Sumo’s uhhhhh, adequately named, with a jiggly dad-bod and a one-shouldered singlet.
Fuji eats a thrust kick right away, but lariats CIMA for a close two- they trade stuff and Fuji powerslams & chokeslams him for two and they’re both doing the Mortal Kombat “Finish Him!” sell, which is a bit cartoonish. CIMA avoids getting chokeslammed off the apron with his shotei palm-thrust, but takes a flying thing out there and both guys take a full minute to recover (it’s hilarious how often that exact time signature pops up on both sides of the ocean- like it’s the standard “okay that’s enough time to waste”). Fuji with some lariats & side suplex, then holds a double-chickenwing that’s sold as a halfway threatening hold (and thankfully leaves CIMA’s glorious abs exposed)- he puts CIMA up top, but eats the shotei & Iconoclasm (inverted sit-out crucifix toss off the top). Fuji counters a piledriver with a spinebuster & lariat for two, then hits two chokeslams- CIMA’s foot’s in the ropes. Super Chokeslam- two! But he goes to the lariat one too many times and CIMA hits a legsweep inverted DDT & piledriver, then his cross-legged Michinoku Driver for two-counts. CROSS-ARMED Iconoclasm as this tells you exactly what era it is, and the Frog Splash gets three at (8:07). Well that was quick. Fuji bravely shaves his own head, but CIMA takes over and leaves him with the humiliating “Hogan Cut”
A very “WCW Nitro” kind of match, except one guy was just spamming lariats & chokeslams, and the other was doing flashy stuff. CIMA looked fine, but the Iconoclasm always looked kinda impossible and fake- like he shouldn’t have enough torque from that angle to just launch the guy. He got a lot more well-rounded as a worker later. Fuji was fine but it’s a very “puro Cruiserweight fed” thing to have a guy Koko B. Ware’s size be this big powerhouse guy with big strong-man offense.
Rating: **1/2 (fine but super-short and they just kinda went right into the moves. And why do a one-minute sell-job in an 8-minute match?)