(This is one of the initial offerings in the Network’s Vault section, and wouldn’t you know that it was already shown on Classics on Demand and ranted on by myself around 2008. So here you go, Network watchers!)
The SmarK 24/7 Rant for World Class Championship Wrestling - November 2 1982
- This era of WCCW is a few years before the time when I was using a dish to watch the territories on a regular basis, so the whole era is pretty new to me. But hey, we'll give it a shot. World Class was always WAY ahead of the curve in the pre-WWF days, using multi-camera shooting and rock music for entrances.
- Hosted in the present by a very old Michael Hayes and Kevin Von Erich, looking more like Paul Orndorff than Orndorff even does these days.
- The Great Kabuki v. The Samoan & Castro. Gotta love the generic jobber names. Within the boundaries of kayfabe, Kabuki is the father of the Great Muta, although that was dropped many years ago. The Samoan looks more like Carlito than a samoan, although if you held a gun to my head I'd say it's a very young Sam Fatu. Kabuki lays out both jobbers with spinkicks and takes Castro down with a bodyscissors from the ground, but Castro comes back with a headscissors until Kabuki kills both dead with superkicks. Kabuki wraps up Castro's leg in a toehold and drops knees on it until he submits at 1:38. The Samoan carries on alone, taking Kabuki down with a pair of headbutts and following with a diving headbutt, but it misses and Kabuki uses the same toehold to finish things at 2:56. Energetic squash. *1/2
- Back from a break with King Kong Bundy and Bill Irwin blindsiding the Freebirds before a squash match, which triggers a huge brawl. Bundy looks positively svelte here, although maybe it's because he's wearing jeans. Nice touch as the ring announcer calls for more help from the back instead of people magically knowing when to run out and try to break itup. The brawl gets crazier as the ring fills up with people trying to help, and finally Bugsy McGraw just starts grabbing people and tossing them out of the ring. When things finally calm down...
- Michael Hayes & Terry Gordy v. Grand Marquis II & Destroyer #1. Yeah, it's mix-and-match masked jobbers here. Gordy slams the Destroyer with one arm and drops a knee, back when he was young, dumb, and scary as hell. He brings Marquis in and it's over to Michael Hayes, who pounds away before Gordy comes back in with an elbow off the middle rope. Destroyer comes in against Hayes and throws knees, but Hayes escapes with a back suplex and brings Gordy back in again. Bamm Bamm cleans house and they finish Marquis with a spike piledriver at 3:18. Another fast-paced, high energy squash. *1/2 Hayes puts out another challenge to Irwin & Bundy (or, as he puts it, "The guy who thinks he's Wyatt Earp and the other guy who looks like a washing machine") after the match.
- Kerry Von Erich, recovering from a knee injury, lets Ric Flair know that's coming for him, and Flair's incentive to face him is that Von Erich is the best in the world. Thank god Kerry at least got better on promos over the years.
- Al Madril & Bugsy McGraw v. Checkmate & The Magic Dragon. Is the Dragon's first name Puff? Checkmate (good wrestling name!) grabs a headlock on Bugsy to start, and then turtles when Bugsy breaks free. Bugsy is unable to get a hold on the compact Checkmate, so that's an effective defense. Kind of interesting that you don't see more guys trying that. Checkmate misses a charge, but goes into the turtle position again and Bugsy has no counter to break him out of it. Finally, Bugsy does it himself and forces Checkmate to actually do an offensive move, in this case a facelock. Bugsy tosses him off, but Checkmate evades him with rolls and regroups on the floor. Over to Madril, who uses Bugsy's body to block a whip to the corner, and sends Checkmate into Bugsy's fist. The Magic Dragon comes in and snapmares Madril into a chinlock, and chops him for one before going right back to the chinlock again. This crowd is unreal, just popping for ANYTHING and constantly cheering the faces. Checkmate comes in and works on the back of Madril with some knees, and catapults him into the corner for a shot from the Dragon. Madril fires back on Checkmate, who turtles in response, and Madril doesn't know what to do with him either. He tries taking him to the mat, but Checkmate rolls him over and tags Dragon. This guy is devious. Dragon chinlocks him again, and Checkmate starts working on the leg, but can't get him over into a Boston Crab, as Madril powers out. Hot tag Bugsy, who gets an atomic drop on Dragon before Madril chops him down for one. Dragon keeps fighting from his knees, and sending Madril into the heel corner before it's BONZO GONZO. The heels whip Madril & McGraw into each other, but they do-see-do and get rid of Checkmate as a result. Madril hits Dragon with a flying forearm, but misses a blind charge and Dragon tries to come off the top. McGraw nails him coming down and Madril finishes with a crossbody at 12:25. Holy cow, this was looking like a squash, but turned into a REALLY good match, with some unique offense from the masked side and a neat flow to it. ***1/4 The camera work was amazing, too, keeping it snappy and looking generally better than anything that the WWF was putting out at the time.
- Kevin Von Erich v. Wild Bill Irwin. Kevin starts working the arm and takes Irwin down with a nice armbar, using the legs for leverage. Dropkick and Irwin backs off, so Kevin takes him down with a headlock and then brings him down again with a flying headscissors out of the corner. Irwin makes the ropes, so Kevin throws knees in the corner and then comes charging in with a high knee before taking him down with a chinlock. Man, whoever is directing this thing knows the EXACT angles to show for the best impact. Kevin holds a bodyscissors on the mat and rolls him over for two, then rolls him around the ring for two. Irwin makes the ropes again. Another flying headscissors is blocked by Irwin, and he drops Von Erich on the ropes and stomps away to take over. Slam gets two. Kevin comes back with abdominal stretch, but Irwin punches the ref to break it up, and it's a DQ at 7:29. Very entertaining before cheap finish. **
- The announcers wrap things up for the week.
The Pulse: Those who still buy into the WW E's ridiculous version of history whereby wrestling was only in smoky bars until 1984 should definitely check this out, with high production values and young, exciting athletes out there working at twice the speed that the plodding old guys in McMahonland were doing at the time. Great show, highly recommended you check this stuff out if you've never watched it before.