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

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