We’re going back to the past for this week’s Random Reviews, as I trawl the WWE Network’s archives for some matches you may have forgotten about, or probably never seen before!
The Godwinns vs. The New Blackjacks (WWE @ Madison Square Garden, March 16, 1997)
Filed away in the WWE’s “Old School” folder, this match from 1997 isn’t quite old school, but we’ll go with it! Jim Ross and Jim Cornette are providing commentary for this house show that aired on the old MSG Network… and from the hard camera above the aisle-way, kegendary WWE “super fan” Vladimir is front and centre.
Announced as simply hailing “from Texas” by Howard Finkel, the New Blackjacks were Barry Windham and the future JBL as Blackjack Windham and Blackjack Bradshaw respectively. They barely lasted a year before being disbanded, like all of the other “new” rehashes.
The Blackjacks attacked the pig farmers at the bell, with Windham starting in the ring against Henry Godwinn, before Bradshaw joined in. Phineas Godwin came in to make the save and make sure it stayed one on one, with Henry gorilla press’ing Windham in the middle of the ring.
Bradshaw kicks Phineas as he went to come off the ropes, and that led to a little bit of double teaming that kept the Blackjacks on top. Sadly, a lot of this match was very “punch, kick” in style, save for the odd suplex or slam. Very slow, very plodding, and the almost came mercifully when Henry caught Bradshaw off the top rope and slammed him for a count of two. Sadly, we had to endure some more, and Henry had the match won with the Slop Drop (reverse DDT), but Windham came in to kick Henry off of Bradshaw as Phineas had the referee distracted, and then swapped places to make the pinfall. **
Lex Luger vs. George South (Mid-Atlantic Championship Wrestling, January 17, 1987)
This was Lex Luger’s televised NWA debut, and by God, he is jacked. They randomly show us two women who look bored out of their mind, rather than enthralled by the debutant, and Luger’s first move is to push South out of a collar-and-elbow tie-up.
Bog standard match, with a suplex and clubbing blows to the back of South, before hitting a powerslam off the ropes and yanking South up at the count of two. South then gets lifted into the torture rack, and there’s your easy submission victory. Too short to be anything, but Lex still managed to look blown up after that squash. **
Rhino vs. Super Crazy (ECW on TNN #3, taped August 26, 1999; aired September 10, 1999)
We’re going back to the early days of ECW’s ill-fated TNN show, and a potential styles clash between Rhino and Super Crazy. They’re shooting this with the isometic, Fire Pro-style hard camera, and boy, Rhino looks really young… I guess that’s why he’s being labelled as Steve Corino’s rookie monster.
Crazy ducks an attempt at a lock-up from Rhino at the bell, but walks into a knee in the midsection as Rhino hammers away at the luchador. Crazy tries to get away and hit a moonsault DDT off the middle rope, but he’s caught as Rhino drills him with a Michinoku driver for a near fall.
After missing a splash in the corner, Rhino takes a springboard dropkick, then a springboard leg lariat from Super Crazy as Joel Gertner gets annoying with his Spanish commentary lines. Rhino goes to the outside after a tiltawhirl headscissors, before Crazy’s baseball slide sends Rhino into the crowd… and in perfect place for an Asai moonsault into the front row!
Rhino makes it back in and gets stomped… but manages to elevate Crazy with a flapjack, with the Mexican crashing to the mat. Rhino gets a two after a powerslam on Crazy, but he is met with Crazy’s boots after charging into the corner, before Crazy gets a two-count following a tornado DDT out of the corner and a quebrada. Crazy then sets up Rhino for his triple moonsaults, but the first one (off the bottom rope) sees him take Rhino’s knees.
Rhino counters with a pumphandle slam for a near-fall, but ends up losing after seeing a powerbomb countered into a huracanrana for the shock win for Super Crazy. A good match, and Super Crazy was one of my favourite ECW guys from their dying days, but this match was victim to the late 90s/early 2000s curse of not giving spots time to breathe **½
The Fabulous Freebirds (Jimmy Garvin & Michael Hayes) vs. The Road Warriors (NWA Clash of the Champions IX, November 15, 1989)
We wrap up this set of random reviews with the opening match from the ninth Clash of the Champions – headlined by an I Quit match between Ric Flair and Terry Funk (which we’ll get to one day!)
The Fabulous Freebirds were the champions if you followed the TV lineage, and were announced (graphically, at least) as the NWA tag team champions, but they’d already lost the belts to the Steiner Brothers at a TV taping two weeks earlier… so they didn’t come out with their belts. Fair enough then! The Road Warriors somehow managed to keep their “Iron Man” theme, despite this being on the Network… not sure how they managed that when the ECW themes got cannibalised, but I’m not complaining.
Michael Hayes starts out with a headlock on Hawk, but gets sent into the ropes as Hayes takes a powder… such stalling! Back in the ring, Hawk picks up Hayes with a gorilla press slam, before eating a shoulder charge, but Hayes gets a tag to Garvin, only for a two-on-one attack to fail.
Animal comes in as the Road Warriors hit a double back elbow on Garvin, who responds with a suplex that is promptly no-sold by Animal. Garvin takes a clothesline and rolls to the floor, as Gordon Solie on commentary teases that this may go to the thirty-minute time limit. I seriously doubt that! Hayes comes back in to connect with another back elbow, this time on Animal, but that gets no-sold too, and Animal takes Hayes down with another shoulder charge.
Hawk returns to deliver an arm wringer on Hayes, as Jim Ross plugs their upcoming match on the World Championship Wrestling TV show, as the Freebirds (who came out without the belts, remember) defend against the Steiner Brothers. Ah, the pre-internet days, where title changes could happen in advance and you’d be none the wiser!
We revert to Animal and Garvin, and as Animal misses a charge into the corner, Hayes throws him onto the apron as the Freebirds go to the quick tag routines, antagonising Hawk on the apron in the process. Hawk then comes into try and save his partner from the constant two-on-ones, and then throws the referee into the corner for an easy disqualification, which the fans do not like.
This was a really weird match on paper – the soon-to-be-dethroned champions against the unbeatable Road Warriors – why have this match if you couldn’t beat either man? Not a stinker, but because of the lack of time given to it, it wasn’t great either **½.
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