After 8 months, I finally remembered I had this blog and found myself watching some old tapes to find some decent content. While watching IWA Mid South's Simply The Best 5, I rediscovered this match. It's easy to see why this might be an overlooked match- on a card with the excellent AJ Styles/Matt Sydal match, an entertaining 6 man elimination match, Samoa Joe's IWA debut, plus good to great matches from Hero/B-Boy, Michael Shane/Austin Aries and Delirious/Jerry Lynn, you can't remember every good match. On rewatching, you realise how well matched these two are.
This is an excellent mix of comedy and mat wrestling. It holds back from the over-the-top humour you find a lot in pro-wrestling (no underwear humour here) and relies more on Colt Cabana, the charismatic popular face, trying to humiliate the stooge. Daniels is a tremendous stooge- his cocky attitiude makes his pratfalls all the more entertaining. The spot where, frustrated by his failure to shoulderblock Cabana over, Daniels pyches himself up for the third effort, only to get tripped over by Cabana is funny, but not in the kayfabe-breaking way that, for example, an Ebessan match is, great as they are. Daniels realising he's too short to grab Cabana's arms on a modified surfboard and having to work his way up Cabana's singlet to get there has the same effect.
Luckily both men are good enough workers to know how to have a good match as well as the comedy. Daniels, having endured Cabana's mockery, works over Cabana's upper back and head for his finishing piledriver. Also, as any good heel knows, having a manager to attack your opponent to allow you to roll them up for the win doesn't hurt either.
Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you a master class on how NOT to open a PPV. This match took place in the period of 1998 where WCW decided to push the babyface Wrath, who started to get incredibly over, especially his pumphandle slam "The Meltdown" (until, of course, he fought Kevin Nash on Nitro, derailing all the good progress made). Bryan Clarke, although limited as a worker, could put on an entertaining powermatch and logic would dictate that Wrath would steamroller through Glacier, who had never been over in the 2 years since his debut. A quick squash for the popular Wrath, demolishing Glacier with a string of powermoves, would warm up the crowd nicely and was the obvious way to go, right?
Oh, it's true enough that this is a squash. Glacier gets in very little offence, and what he does is no-sold, even his Khryonic Kick, one of his major moves . In fact, his offence is no sold to the extent that Glacier seems to be ignoring the no-selling and continuing with his offence without a care. The majority of the match though is Wrath on the attack, and he does so, very slowly. Punches and kicks and chokes with power cables are the name of the game and it's only the excellent selljob performed by Glacier (witness the nice 360 Marty Jannetty clothesline selljob or the bumps taken from several weak looking Wrath chops) that stops this from being totally dull. Finally, after eight or nine minutes of slow offence, Wrath sells something for Glacier, who instantly decides to try his finisher, the Ice Pick (Asiatic Spike). From the way Glacier telegraphs it, with his thumb held aloft for an age, we know he has no chance of applying it. Indeed, Wrath blocks it and instantly hits the Meltdown for three. Ten minutes of slow squash, when 5 minutes lopped off would have made the same point, hidden some of Wrath's limitations on offence and psyched the crowd up for the awful PPV ahead. Good work WCW, 1/2* because I'm feeling generous towards Glacier's fine selling
Hello, and welcome to my blog, where I intend to look at a variety of different matches, with different lengths, gimmicks, standard of worker, purposes and give my humble opinion on them. While I may not have the knowledge of a HTQ or a RRR, I hope you'll still enjoy my attempts at match analysis. Without any further ado...
Chris Benoit vs The Barbarian-WCW Monday Nitro April 1997
I've chosen this match not as the usual "look how good Benoit is against even the worst opponents", but to show my theory that Barbarian is actually underrated as a wrestler. Now, I'm not going to try and convince you he was actually really good, but he's generally looked back on as a talentless muscle man, like his former partner the Warlord. I personally believe that, if he was in his prime today, he'd put the likes of Heidenreich or Snitsky to shame. The match is in the middle of the "Dungeon Of Doom hate Chris Benoit" storyline. Barbarian charges to attack, but Benoit ducks and kicks the tar out of Barbarian in the corner. Barbarian fights back, setting up Benoit for a powerbomb, only for it for be reversed into a sunset flip, where Barbarian makes the ropes. A Northern Lights suplex gets two for Benoit. In a clumsy moment, Benoit telegraphs some interference by looking directly at Jimmy Hart at ringside, before running off the ropes, where Hart predictably trips him up. Benoit levels Hart, but the distraction allows Barbarian to hit a big boot on Benoit on the outside and throw him into the ropes, which looks pretty nasty. Back inside, Benoit ducks a clothesline and hits a German suplex, but gets caught on the top rope, allowing Barbarian to launch him across the ring with an overhead belly to belly. Barbarian tries his top rope headbutt, but misses, allowing Benoit to hit his own for the win.
Now, as a short TV match, I'm not going to try and pimp this as an underrated, forgotten classic. However, it was a decent, fun match. Barbarian sold all Benoit's offence believably, especially when getting the shit kicked out of him in the corner. His top rope overhead suplex looked awesome, as Benoit literally went to the otherside of the ring and he looked comfortable going to the top rope, in spite of the fact he missed the move. Obviously Benoit also looked great here, attacking the larger man with hellacious ferocity. Overall, a good match, especially for the time given **