Sunday, October 20, 2013

Forgotten Bob Backlund:Against Shawn Michaels

Shawn Michaels v. Bob Backlund-Ref Danny Davis
April 8, 1993-Paris, France-Bercy Stadium
I consider myself a fan of Bob Backlund, especially as a face, either in the 70's and 80's, or in 1993/1994. I actually prefer face Backlund to heel Backlund. There is just something about him that I love. He was a true wrestler's wrestler, to use a cliché, and in the 90's he seemed like he walked out of a time capsule. He still wrestled like it was 1978 and nothing had changed around him. This brought about some interesting match-ups. Kevin Nash talked recently about how it was not really possible to have a good match with Bob at that time, citing the inability of Scott Hall to have one at WrestleMania IX. To be considered a good worker, one needs to be able to adapt themselves to whomever they work with. Hall could not do that in his match at WrestleMania IX. However, wrestlers like Shawn Michaels and Bret Hart were able to have pretty solid matches with Bob.

It should be noted that at Royal Rumble 1993, Bob and Ric Flair worked for a good few minutes and it was pretty good, as well. Sadly, they never got a chance for a one-on-one match before Flair left the WWF. Personally, if I were to somehow start running the WWE now, I would book Backlund and Flair just to satisfy my own tastes but I digress. Yes, I know it would not draw any money but I would not care. Anyways, Bob wrestled many guys between 1992 and 1994 including Terry Taylor, Bam Bam Bigelow, Rick Martel, Bret Hart (over thirty minutes in MSG), and even Nailz once. Without counting, he wrestled Shawn Michaels more than anyone.

Their match in Paris in 1993 was quite solid and I can only imagine what some of their later matches were like through the year and into 94 on house shows. This match started with Shawn not taking Bob seriously at all. He thought he was old and past his time and he thought he was simply better than Bob. He gave him an arm drag, hip toss, and then a slam. Shawn felt good about himself until Bob got on the offense and kicked it into high gear. Backlund gave Shawn the same three moves but with more vigor that caused Michaels to run out and up the aisle only for Bob to give chase. Backlund was ready to go now and was on offense working on the arm. Bob showcased his strength by lifting up Shawn while holding the arm bar. Shawn had to do something and he delivered an eye poke, as he was desperate. He could not keep the offense going and Bob continued work on the arm until a well placed elbow to the face for Michaels. Now, Shawn was punching him and stomping him before putting on a face lock. Backlund's hope spot for this was nice as he was almost marching to get back up to his feet. Finally, after another face lock, his comeback came through. In the face lock, he lifted him up, placed Shawn on the turnbuckle, and slapped him. Shawn came charging at him and got back dropped. Soon, Backlund delivered a great piledriver with a great facial expression. Bob went for a roll-up that was reversed into another roll-up and Shawn won while holding the tights.

This match was all about how Shawn was a young punk who underestimated the older, more traditional Backlund. As a result, he got outwrestled and only gained any kind of advantage by using underhanded tactics. This is a match worth tracking down if you can find it, here's the rest of the card...

Frank Anderson pinned Terry Taylor
Televised on Canal+ - featured Raymond Rougeau & ? on commentary; included a vignette of WWF IC Champion Shawn Michaels on the streets of Paris regarding his upcoming title defense against Bob Backlund; a video of the event was released in France; featured Guy Hauray conducting a backstage interview with Doink the Clown regarding his upcoming match against Crush; included Hauray conducting a backstage interview with the Nasty Boys regarding their upcoming match with the Headshrinkers; featured Hauray conducting a backstage interview with Mr. Perfect regarding his upcoming match with Lex Luger; included a vignette showing Yokozuna & Mr. Fuji beside the Eiffel Tower, with Fuji saying Yoko was bigger than the tower:
WWF IC Champion Shawn Michaels pinned Bob Backlund with a reversal and using the tights for leverage at 13:10
Crush defeated Doink the Clown (Steve Keirn) via count-out at 8:10 when Doink left ringside after sustaining the head vice on the ring apron (Global Warfare)
The Nasty Boys fought the Headshrinkers (w/ Afa) to a double disqualification at 11:33 when all four men began brawling in the ring; after the bout, the Headshrinkers attacked the Nastys with several wooden chairs, breaking them to pieces; moments later, the Nastys did the same to the Headshrinkers in the aisleway after they began to make their way backstage
Mr. Perfect pinned Lex Luger at 6:44 by lifting his shoulder out of a back suplex into a bridge
Kamala pinned Kimchee at 6:45 with a splash to the back; after the bout, Kamala attacked Kimchee with his own hat before putting it on himself
Typhoon pinned Damien Demento at 6:25 with a powerslam
Yokozuna (w/ Mr. Fuji) pinned Jim Duggan with a splash in the corner and the Bonzai Drop at 7:31 after Duggan became distracted by Fuji on the floor; after the bout, Duggan assaulted Yoko with his 2x4 and cleared the ring; moments later, Duggan hit Yoko from behind with the 2x4 in the aisle before returning to the ring and leading the crowd in a chant of "USA" (Global Warfare, Best of the WWF: European Rampage Tour)

Be sure to check out Bam Bam Bigelow v. Bob Backlund for another solid Backlund match here (also check out the rest of the Devil May Care blog).

My apologies for the black bars on the gifs, I'm sure I can fix that for my next post

Friday, October 18, 2013

WWWF MSG 8-29-1977

 After a long lay-off, I am back with more WWWF action, this time with gifs!

Chief Peter Maivia v. Stan Stasiak-Ref Terry Terranova
These two wrestled a few times in 1977 prior to this match including in Pittsburgh and at the Boston Gardens.  Maivia is interviewed by Vince and he said it was an honor to wrestle in MSG and to get the chance to represent his people.  He would like to appear more in MSG in the future.  Stasiak's robe was unbelievable. 

Stasiak had no idea how to take on Maivia in the beginning and he kept stalling.  Apparently, it took Maivia four days to complete his tattoos and he almost died from lead poisoning.  Maivia countered a wrist lock by lifting Stan up into the ropes and smacking his keyster (not my words on that term).  Maivia had Stasiak in an arm bar and Stan proved why he was The Man by kipping up.  It only took one shot to the face for Stan to gain control and he then went to town with hard shots to the back that leveled the Chief.  Stan put on a bearhug and Vince was surprised by this because Stasiak is not the strongest guy in the world.  Comeback time for Maivia and the place loved it.  Good selling and bumping by Stasiak as he made Maivia look great.  He shut him down with a gut shot and tried a heart punch that was blocked and Stan went flying to the outside apron.  Maivia followed, they brawled, and Stasiak attempted another heart punch but missed and hit the post.  He was counted out as Maivia got back in the ring.  Maivia still wanted to fight but Stan backed off.

Baron Mikel Scicluna/George Steele v. Tony Garea/Larry Zbyszko-2 of 3 falls, ref Al Nass

    Back on August 1, Steele teamed with Stan Stasiak to fight Garea and Zbyszko.  Garea got destroyed in that match and he got the same treatment here.  This whole thing was just one big heat segment on Garea.  Baron and Steele got control early and double-teamed the hell out of Garea and Zbyszko.  Steele exposed two turnbuckles and was using a foreign object to the throat.  Larry and Garea looked like a bunch of geeks out there.  Steele eventually shoved the ref and got disqualified for the first fall.  This ref was a total moron and let the heels gang up on Garea as he fixated himself on Zbyszko and making sure he got set straight.  For some reason, Garea started the second fall and got shut down.  He eventually made the hot tag and Larry came in briefly and then held the Baron, tagged Garea who came off the top on Scicluna with a sunset flip and got the win.  Everyone brawled for a few minutes after the match.  Not the greatest match.

Ignore the beginning

Ivan Putski v. “Superstar” Billy Graham w/The Grand Wizard-WWWF Title Match-Ref Terry Terranova

    I am not totally sure Ivan took more than three bumps in this match but it was still a good match.  This really shows you that one does not need to bump around through an entire match to tell a good story.  That is probably the moral of most older matches of this era for the WWWF.  Of course, a match like this might not work in 2013 unless both guys were very hot.  MSG in 1977 loved Ivan and hated Graham and sat through several long rest holds.  Superstar sold his ass off and bumped wildly for  Ivan's big stuff.  I am really not a big Putski fan but I liked this match.  Vince interviewed Graham about his mixed reactions and Graham embraced them.  He said he would defend the title anywhere, and against anyone. 

Graham and Ivan fought four times prior to this in 1977.  Putski started fast and was destroying Graham with shots and sent Graham outside.  Graham got back in and slowed things down to his pace with a neck and arm hold.  Graham knew he had to bring Putski back to his pace and dry out his momentum.  Ivan reversed this with his own neck hold and Graham broke it with an eye rake.  Graham charged at Putski twice with a should block but could not knock him down.  He tried again but met a Polish Hammer and the crowd erupted as Superstar sold like a beast.  Ivan was on him but the ref broke one of his holds and he took his eyes off of Graham for a second and paid for it.  Graham locked in a long full nelson.  Ivan countered this with his own full nelson and he got Superstar down to the mat with it.  Vince suggested he hook a half nelson and go for the pin.  Graham got a rope break, Putski choked him but got an eye rake in response.  Superstar put him in a bearhug that Ivan had trouble breaking.  Finally, he rammed Graham into the corner and put Graham in a bearhug.  The visual of this was nice with the much taller Graham dwarfing Putski.  Another Graham eye rake broke this but Ivan was not done.  Putski hit a should block and went for another one that the champ saw coming.  Graham back dropped him outside and Putski was counted out.  Graham celebrated and did not care how he won as long as he won.  This match is available on the WWE Superstar Billy Graham commercial DVD release.


Vince did mention that Ivan spent part of his life in concentration camps, not sure if that was true.  He would have been very, very young, if so.  From what I have gathered, his parents were in labor camps and they moved to the US when Ivan was young.  If anyone can confirm this or shed some light, shoot me an e-mail.

Verne Gagne v. Nikolai Volkoff

    Verne schooled him for the entire match.  Also, this was his first match with WWWF for over two years.  Nikolai rushed in several times but Verne dodged and took him down.  Verne used ground wrestling to work on his leg and arm and it was not very fun to watch.  Nikolai was great when he would get some offense in, mostly hard power strikes that Verne would actually sell initially.  Nikolai would scream as he was about to strike.  Vince said Verne proved you do not have to be 6'8” and weigh 340 pounds to be a pro wrestler.  It is all about technique.  Verne landed one dropkick but Nikolai saw a second one coming and blocked it.  He went for a powerslam that was reversed into a headscissors roll-up for the win.  Pretty boring match and very one-sided.

Bruno Sammartino w/Arnold Skaaland v. Ken Patera w/Capt. Lou Albano-Texas Death Match-Ref Terry Terranova

    This match was the blow-off for their feud that started with Patera's MSG debut on January 17.  They also fought in another Texas Death Match on February 7.  This feud lasted four matches at MSG in 1977 with Patera only winning one match (1-17-77).  It was hard for Patera to get much going as Bruno was very aggressive in this one.  Bruno was hammering on him early, even choking him with his boots before Patera rolled out for a breather.  This did not work as Bruno delivered a dropkick and Ken went flying back out only to have Bruno follow him and smash him.  Ken was back in and Bruno targeted his lower back with knees and then a camel clutch-esque chin lock was administered.  Patera got some kicks in and yelled “get up boy” twice at Bruno.  Both athletes end up colliding and Patera missed a punch and Bruno went back on the attack.  Bruno power slammed him, gave him an atomic drop, and then a back drop but could not pin Patera.  By this point, Patera was desperate and went for a low blow as Vince pointed out that he was just reaching for the abdominal area.  He choked Bruno, slammed him, and tried to pin him but Sammartino pressed out decisively.  They began trading blows with Bruno winning out and Patera ended up on the apron.  Patera put on the full nelson but Bruno dragged him over the top rope and into the ring.  The full nelson was re-applied and Bruno kicked the corner and managed to pin Patera.  Ken was angry and tried to attack Bruno but he got ran off very easily.  This was a pretty fun match and it was nice to see Bruno get aggressive with Patera.


“Chief” Jay Strongbow v. Mr. Fuji w/Professor Tanaka and Fred Blassie-Ref Al Nass
    This match was a total disaster and one of the worst matches I have seen in a while.  Strongbow got attacked early by Fuji and Blassie.  Then, Strongbow got a couple moves in and Fuji put on a pec/chest nerve hold for the majority of the match.  He grabbed Jay's pecs and Jay sold this in extreme pain.  Yeah.  The curfew was reached and the match was stopped, the end.
Titty twister

Forgive my formatting problems.  I can't seem to get either of my PCs to work very well.