Rey Mysterio Jr. vs. Psychosis (and other Dream Matches!)
By Jabroniville on 28th June 2023
Welcome back to more Dream Matches! This week, I have an incredible match of the ’90s for you- a WON ***** bout between Psicosis & Rey Mysterio Jr. for the WWA Welterweight Title- one of those matches that turned both guys into instant stars and tape-trader darlings, and got them jobs all over the world.
Following that, it’s weirdo WWF mish-mash stuff, we get one of the weirdest combinations of dudes I’ve ever seen- Eddie Guerrero, D’Lo Brown & Lance Cade vs. Brian Adams, Haku & KWEE-WEE! Yes, the WWF’s farm-league in HWA was hosting this weirdo variety of trainees, fading stars and guys trying comebacks. Then it’s the Natural Disasters vs. Koko B. Ware and a jobber, in a match showing just how far Koko’s falling down the card! And finally, we see Pat Tanaka of all people end up in 1994 ECW as he challenges for Sabu’s TV Title- a match that has good elements but then you start wondering how much crack Tanaka is on.
WWA WORLD WELTERWEIGHT TITLE:
PSICOSIS vs. REY MISTERIO JR.:
(AAA Mexico, Sept. 22nd 1995)
* This is a fabled WON ***** match, and is pretty well the start of the legend for both guys in the U.S. as a result- both were still somewhat unknown otherwise. Both guys were already 6-year vets and had been seen in ECW. Psicosis is in white & black, while Rey seems to be in grey, and is backed up by what is clearly the White Tiger Power Ranger. Juventud Guerrera (with his old mask, with no hair showing) is backing Psicosis.
Primera Caida: Good gamesmanship to start, as Rey rolls Psicosis to the floor and down the aisle, but Psi just charges back and slides into the ring to cut a dramatic pose like “nah- didn’t bother me!”. Both guys do a sequence only they could do, Psicosis taking the “trip his leg so he flips upside-down into the ropes” spot but landing on his feet, then trips Rey when he backflips off, and tosses him off onto his feet out of a rana attempt. A similar sequence sees Rey armdrag him out of a wheelbarrow as these guys are clearly on another level from every wrestler in history up till this point. Just insanely smooth. Psicosis keeps going to the arm, but Rey reverses and they roll about trying various pins, Rey hitting a great leaping victory roll but Psicosis rolling back on him repeatedly.
Rey keeps doing armdrags out of everything and they do a double-flip-up except instead of the “pause for applause” that usually follows that these days they just bolt into a breakneck rope-run ending in ANOTHER armdrag and Rey stretches him out. Psicosis keeps reversing him and even deadlifts him into a German-esque suplex, twisting over to the side. He hits a proper German, but gets rolled up trying another, then shoves him to the ropes, where Rey slips off, botching a springboard. Psicosis dives in to check on him and improvises missing a wheel kick into the corner, and Rey dropkicks him into a grounded Octopus Stretch while hammerlocking an arm for the submission at (8:02)! Rey wins Fall One!
Segunda Caida: Rey just NUKES Psicosis’ leg with a dropkick during another breakneck rope-run, and he screams when Rey folds up all four of his limbs. Rey finally slips back and I guess that’s like reversing a figure-four because he’s selling, and ends up in a figure-four for a while, then a bow & arrow. Psicosis hits a whirling slam & legdrop, but Rey tiger-feints and springboards onto his shoulders but ends up electric chair dropped for it, and Psicosis finishes him with a moonsault and ties him up in a bow & arrow/Rings of Saturn variant using an arm and a leg on one side of Rey’s body, hooking the other with an arm, and twisting back crucifix-style. Well it’s pretty painful looking. Rey gives up verbally at (3:11). They oddly slow down the replay to show that the moonsault got zero contact. All evened up now, as you’d expect.
Tercera Caida: Psicosis tries to divebomb Rey at the bell, but misses! Rey with a tilt-a-whirl headscissors then goes from the apron into a Flying Rana to put Psicosis on the floor for a breather, celebrating in the ring after teasing a dive. Psicosis ducks so Rey hits the corner, but the same happens to Psi, who sails to the floor. Springboard somersault press from Rey! They’re out there for half a minute to sell that, and Rey gets a Manami Toyota Roll for two in the ring. Rey charges in like a doofus for what is obviously a counter that vaults him to the floor (like what move was he even gonna do in that position?) and Psicosis does a CRAZY suicide dive over the top rope, ending up at a 45 degree angle to the floor! Both guys sell that big (another 30 seconds) and Psicosis is like “Hey, HOW BOUT IT?” in the ring, but of course eats a springboard missile dropkick to the back of his head, sliding him face-first onto the floor again. Massive Quebrada from Rey! Springboard Hurricanrana in the ring for two!
Psicosis recovers first and hits a falling powerbomb. Recovering, he tries another and Rey hits the single greatest hurricanrana counter I’ve ever seen, tying up Psicosis into a bow but AGAIN gets only two! These are still only flash-pins, though, so Psi isn’t hurt and Samoa Joes away from a dropkick and puts Rey on the floor- Juvie holds him for a move, but a Corkscrew Dive to the floor nails him by mistake! Rey psyches him out with another tiger-feint and hits a slingshot plancha that again wipes them both out- Psicosis seems to recover first and charges Rey, only to post himself- Rey follows up with a tornado DDT and locks him in a standing Octopus with both arms twisted back, and Psicosis gives up at (7:47)! Rey wins the WWA Welterweight Title! Psicosis actually takes it from the ref and gives it to Rey in a show of good sportsmanship and limps to the back.
This was pretty wild stuff, as you’d expect for a pair of 20-somethings with something to prove- it started slow like ya do, with just enough hints of their speed and athleticism, and then Fall Three is just non-stop huge moves that keep on escalating. Neither had become mega-stars yet but the eyes of tape-traders were on them, as were the bookers of some important American companies, as they ended up in ECW on the regular, then WCW came calling and gave them a new home. The reversal sequences were extremely intricate and ten times faster than anyone else was doing them, which is what turned Rey into “the guy to watch” of his generation. Psicosis, more technically gifted and a good “base”, was just as necessary to their match quality but didn’t have the charisma or selling to get as over elsewhere, typically just acting as the “bully” for the flippier, showier Rey. But he was good to go here, flying around and being every bit as crazy as his name suggested (that suicide dive!). Rey having picture-perfect precision on some of his moves was incredible, too. That Quebrada could have been used in a video game, and he just splats FLAT across Psicosis.
I also loved how it wasn’t just SPOT SPOT SPOT with no waiting between moves- one issue I see with modern guys like Rey Fenix & Vikingo in the AEW style is that they practically start doing their next move immediately after the last one- here, they know the value of a double-down, putting both guys on the floor after a huge dive to put over the impact so you still remember it. This means that every move has impact (the gaps are nearly always thirty seconds, which I do not think is a coincidence- this is probably how they’re told to milk dives), and it looks like a constant game of one-upsmanship and doing as much damage as possible and not just flash.
So in the end, we had 18 minutes of match- starting off slow and with Rey’s speed emphasized over Psi’s arm-work. Psicosis wins the next one by being clever and reversing stuff. And then they’re just going balls to the wall with Only Big Moves, throwing out everything they can to kill the other guy and draw big reactions (astonishing given they’re young guys and not yet legends, who tend to get the loudest responses in Mexico). It’s tricky to assess these with modern eyes, as the spots are the key, but are themselves not as flashy as a lot of today’s stuff. But Rey’s moves are still a level above everyone else’s, even today- the snap he gets because of how small his body is makes them far more impactful- guys rana’d by Rey just seem to be helpless like he lassoed them. The only weird stuff is the very “lucha” endings where after all these insane dives and flashy moves you always win by a submission that appears made up on the spot.
Rating: ****1/2 (one of the best matches of its era, and I feel it turned both guys into superstars- it probably got them appearances in every company imaginable as well)
I quit watching WCW before Kwee-Wee showed up, so I missed this era. To the point that I thought this was Lodi on way more steroids and said so.
EDDIE GUERRERO, D’LO BROWN & LANCE CADE vs. HAKU, “THE ENFORCER” BRIAN ADAMS & KWEE-WEE:
(Heartland Wrestling Association, Nov. 3rd 2001)
* I’m sorry, WHAT? I had to review this one as soon as I heard about it. This is a pretty spectacular conflagration of weird, disparate dudes at different levels of their careers, all in what was then the WWF’s developmental territory (where OVW would eventually set up). Eddie was trying to return to the WWF after flaming out due to his drug addiction, D’Lo was fading away after his career had nosedived, and was in HWA before a comeback that lasted about a year. Lance Cade was a trainee of Shawn Michaels’s training school who was as obvious a “WWF Cookie Cutter” as you were ever gonna get- he was 6’5″ and 262 lbs. and had the exact same physique as nearly every new hire they made for years. Here he’s green and getting some seasoning. The others? Haku had been a “Fuck you” hire away from WCW during its dying days but hadn’t been up to much. Brian Adams had just moved to HWA for additional training after embarrassing himself in the infamous KroniK vs. Taker/Kane match at InVasion weeks earlier- his partner Bryan Clark had refused and quit, while Adams played ball. Kwee-Wee is the outlier- he’s a late WCW hire, who was actually hired on by WWF after the buy-out but had never shown up on TV, and just farted around HWA until being released.
Haku’s in the big baggy pants he wore back then, and has an absolutely MONSTER afro. Kwee-Wee’s in pink shorts and has his hair up like a peacock’s tail as I marvel at a Kwee-Wee/Haku team. Adams is in a his KroniK black tights/pants barbed-wire combo. D’Lo looks young and skinny and is in his usual black singlet, Cade’s in blue trunks, and Eddie’s in black tights. This is billed as a “WCW InVasion” on the part of Haku’s team. And for all that typing, I’m reviewing a 7-minute match, lol.
Adams starts with Eddie and he mysteriously looks vastly more skilled and graceful against Guerrero than he did against Undertaker or Kane weeks before. FUNNY THAT. Eddie lays evasion and tries some leg shots, but Adams press-slams him, posing and using only one arm before slamming him. Eddie dodges an elbow and hits a suplex for two, getting launched off- Kwee-Wee (who is ROIDED TO SHIT hoping to draw Vince’s eye) and D’Lo do an International sequence that was ABSOLUTELY taught in the WCW Power Plant- it even ends with the “boot in the corner/2nd-rope clothesline”! Cade comes in with a double-back elbow and they do another International, but Haku comes in and starts no-selling on him- Cade is a bit too early with his “excitable young man armdrags” against his burly opponent, and just gets caught by the monster. Haku slams him down, hits a side slam and puts the boots in, then Kwee-Wee chokes him- Adams tries a suplex but eats an awful superkick that misses by a foot (Cornette calls it out on commentary, at least- “he didn’t get full extension on that!”), and Cade enzuigiris him for the hot tag to Eddie. Everyone brawls in the ring as we’re left with D’Lo getting pancaked trying a spinning headscissors (!!) on Kwee-Wee, but Cade hits Kwee-Wee with a flying bulldog and Eddie finishes him with the Frog Splash at (5:31).
Wrestling 101 here: Everyone pairs off to start, then the rookie gets some shine, then eats a beating, then it’s a fast sequence after the hot tag and they do a finish on the weakest heel. Good timing and choreography, with most guys being protected- Haku in there less than a minute and Adams not having a chance to suck, either. Cade had that “eager young man” energy and wrestled somewhat like Al Perez & Val Venis (mostly that unique stance- does that have a name? With the open hands held out like that?)- he was a bit too quick on some moves and his move application wasn’t all there, but he was green as hell so that’s excusable. D’Lo was as thin as I’ve ever seen him (Cornette puts him over as starting at 370 and ending up at 230) but was in there even less than Haku. Seems like everyone was just barely getting geared up and it was mostly training for Cade & Kwee-Wee (who was fine, if forgettable and generic- all his stuff was either brawling or Internationals).
Rating: ** (fine generic TV match, with everyone looking anywhere from “okay” to “good”)
THE NATURAL DISASTERS (Earthquake & Typhoon, w/ Jimmy Hart) vs. KOKO B. WARE & BOB FRAZIER:
(WWF SuperStars, July 13th 1991)
* Poor Koko gets the “teaming with jobber” role tonight, as they’re due to get squashed by the Disasters, then a brand-new team. Koko’s still pretty ripped here (as High Energy he was pretty chubby and that was only a year later), but is absolutely dwarfed by his giant opponents- he’s in red tights while Frazier’s a tall, lanky white guy in blue trunks. Roddy Piper, using a voice so normal that I didn’t recognize him at first, makes a big deal out of Jimmy Hart’s statement that there’s “a half a ton of humanity” in there, pointing out the Disasters were a mere 852 lbs. and not a thousand, but then Piper realizes that Jimmy weighs 148! Macho theorizes this is only 999 lbs. (it’s not, actually), but both freak out and go “FRANKIE!!!” regarding Koko’s bird and start laughing while poor Vince has to rein this cocainey shit in.
Koko plays evasive games with Earthquake to start (wisely, as Quake appears literally double his size), and even ducks out after a shoulder-ram in the corner and lights him up with punches! Quake does the “shake off” sell, but Quake just snarls at him after some dropkicks. Koko still crawls under him a few times, but nearly eats a big elbowdrop and tags out so Frazier can meet his death. Earthquake no-sells a forearm and just hammers him, then the Disasters take turns stepping on him and each hits an avalanche as Macho writes off the Bushwhackers’ chances at SummerSlam– Piper tries to argue the point about Luke & Butch but just shudders and goes “ah, you might have a point, Macho…” when Earthquake flattens Frazier with one. He hits the head-tuck powerslam and Earthquake Splash, Typhoon finishing with the Tidal Wave splash at (3:20), Koko running in just a second too late (like he didn’t see that finish coming, lol).
Pretty basic squash, as Koko plays it smart to the point of not even selling having to sell a single move, and then the hapless jobber comes in and gets his ass beat. There was something so inevitable about the Disasters offense, like it was only a matter of time until you ate an overhead forearm and then they just hit all their shit on you and you died.
Rating: 1/4* (barebones squash)
ECW TV TITLE:
SABU vs. PAT TANAKA:
(Eastern Championship Wrestling, 1994)
* This is a weird one- Tanaka, now gone from the WWF, is a portly job guy in EASTERN Championship Wrestling, before it went Extreme. But he’s still against Sabu, at this point an indie darling who wasn’t yet a big name in wrestling. Sabu’s in banana-yellow pants and a green belt, while Tanaka’s in what looks embarrassingly like regular clothes- a black sweatshirt and navy blue sweatpants.
Sabu does his “dive-in” wildman stuff while Tanaka rolls away repeatedly, then hits a side kick but Sabu wins an International with a roundhouse kick, then does a horrible backflip into a clothesline. Tanaka with a chop out of another International, but gets his leg swept out, and they keep going to headlocks to chat and run these sequences, Sabu now rolling over his back and hitting a clothesline. Thankfully this allows Sabu to get into what he’s good at, with a slingshot tope con hilo and a chair attack, then sets Tanaka on a table (911 keeps wandering around ringside with Paul E and was carrying it), but goes for the same flip dive and goes through the table himself when Tanaka moves! Sabu sells that big-time and 911 slides him into the ring, where a bloated, drugged-out looking Tanaka throws weak shots and goes up- Sabu reveals he was playing possum and tries a Super Frankensteiner, but Tanaka “holds on” and Sabu biffs it, taking a flying chop for two. He tries a rana but gets Ligerbombed for two, but makes an instant comeback with a dropkick on the mat, Bret Bumps Tanaka into the corner and finishes with the Slingshot Moonsault at (6:48), clearly telling him something on the cover in the most obvious way possible.
Haha, so this is the equivalent of “let fans have their Sabu match- whatever”, as he & Tanaka do the most basic stuff possible until Sabu can get into his SPOTZ zone where he’s actually comfortable. Then Tanaka looks all kinds of fucked-up, wandering around in a daze, throwing crap strikes and then maybe possibly forgetting the spot with the Super Rana (he doesn’t emote, and kinda just sits there, grabbing the ropes AFTER Sabu slides off him). Sabu might have been like “let’s just get the fuck out of here” on that cover, too, sensing something was up. This match always looked like it was five seconds from exposing the business and being a disaster, but they reined it in enough to just be Basic Stuff/Sabu Spotz/Heel Comeback/Sabu Win, though they didn’t really go from the third thing to the fourth thing very well (Sabu eats a huge move then just hits the next thing and then a finisher).
Rating: *1/4 (okay, clumsy basic match that always felt like it was about to become a disaster)