This week on Random Reviews, we’re going back to the past with a look at a selection of modern-day squash matches!
For years, squash matches were the meat and potatoes of televised wrestling, as promotions used their free television product to showcase some of the stars you would see in longer, more meaningful matches, once you paid to see them live. The Monday Night Wars effectively killed off the era of squash matches, save for a couple of brief comebacks, but thanks to one of Allan Blackstock’s YouTube playlists, we’re going to take a look at some squashes.
Eddie Guerrero vs. Jimmy Jacobs (WWE SmackDown – taped May 10, 2005; aired May 12, 2005)
Yes, this is the same Jimmy Jacobs who spent years on the indie scene in furry boots before joining WWE’s creative team. Eddie’s out with Rey Mysterio’s mask – as we’re entering the early stages of their summer-long feud. Jacobs gets the “already in the ring” treatment, and looks like he’s barely a teenager. That’d be because he was 21 when this was taped…
Eddie places Rey’s mask on the ringpost as he makes his way to the ring, and he cheapshots Jacobs with a clothesline as the referee checked him. Guerrero stomps down Jacobs, then drops him with a punch to the head. An irish whip culminates with a back elbow from Eddie, before Jacobs is dropped with a snap backdrop suplex.
We pause as Eddie stares at the mask of Rey Mysterio, and Eddie grabs it off the ringpost, screaming at it as if it were a real person. Eddie puts the mask onto Jacobs, and punches him some more, thinking that the mask has turned Jacobs into Mysterio. Guerrero hurls Jacobs out of the ring as if he were Mike Bell, and the mask is such that Jimmy can’t see!
Jacobs gets thrown repeatedly into the announce table, then back into the ring, before Eddie grabs a chair. Referee Charles Robinson screams at Eddie to get rid of the chair, but even the threat of disqualification doesn’t scare him, as Eddie puts the chair down, before dumping Jacobs onto it with a brainbuster, and there’s your DQ. A nothing match, but thoroughly entertaining – and storyline enhancing – to boot. This is how squash matches can (and really, should) be used in the modern era! **¼
Yokozuna vs. Scott Taylor & Mike Davis (WWE Monday Night Raw – taped April 26, 1994; aired May 2, 1994)
We were at the tail end of squash match wrestling here in 1994, as WWE wheeled out “enhancement talents” to continue the rehabilitation of Yokozuna, as he was in the “lift after being champion” phase of his WWE career. His opponents here were Mike Davis (a journeyman from Texas, who did mostly jobs in WWE and WCW), and Scott Taylor. Yes. THAT Scott Taylor. There’ll be no worms here.
Yokozuna was being billed at 568lbs here, and he started by doing his usual sumo gestures and taking down Davis and Taylor with a standing double clothesline. A simple slam and legdrop obliterates Davis as Randy Savage reads some promo copy… and Scott Taylor is drilled with a uranage. Taylor gets tossed over the top rope with ease, leaving Davis in the ring by himself. Davis was toyed with, as Yokozuna slapped him, then dropped him with a headbutt, before Taylor came back to the ring and was promptly chopped to the mat.
Mike Davis tried to fight back, but was simply swatted away before making hard work of being thrown out of the ring. Taylor takes a back suplex, and Yokozuna waits for Davis to climb back in – and helps him – so he can chop him to the mat again. Another headbutt sends Davis to the mat, and Yoko sets up the two on top of each other, with Taylor slammed on top of Davis.
Yoko climbs the ropes, and comes crashing down with the Banzai Drop, and that’s this match mercifully over. Even at four minutes long, this felt like it lasted ages, partially because the jobbers sold everything like death. DUD
Shelton Benjamin vs. Colin Delaney (WWE ECW – December 18, 2007)
‘Twas the week before Christmas, and the horror that was WWE’s ECW revival gifted us this squash. The segment started with Benjamin and Delaney in the ring with Tazz, who was introducing the debuting Delaney.
This was the start of Delaney’s run in WWE/ECW, and he gets out the local references for some cheap pops. Delaney says this is his first match (ignoring the 70-plus he had on the indies as Colin Olsen!)… Tazz wishes him luck, and we’re underway.
Shelton locks up and shoves Delaney into the ropes, with the rookie rebounding into an Exploder suplex that Shelton barely left his feet for. He kicked away at Delaney, who tried a comeback with a slap, before taking a massive big boot from Benjamin. Some clubbing forearms followed, as Shelton looked to end things early, dropping Delaney in the corner with a buckle bomb, and then finishing things off with the Paydirt (reverse STO). Short, simple, and effective. Can’t complain, but likewise, can’t rate it high as it was only a 90 second outing, if that! **
Trevor Murdoch vs. Colt Cabana (WWE Heat, taped June 5, 2006; aired June 9, 2006)
From the WWE.com era of the former Sunday Night Heat, Murdoch was in action here against Colt Cabana… billed from Pennsylvania, as opposed to Chicago for an easy hometown pop.
Cabana gets slapped by Murdoch at the bell, as Murdoch whips him into the corner and lands an avalanche elbow. Cabana kicks away a back body drop attempt, but is dropped with a full nelson slam. Murdoch repeatedly throws Cabana shoulder-first into the ring post, before dropping off the apron to hang the back of Cabana’s neck.
The Cabana comeback is brief, as Murdoch lands a drop toe hold then a bunch of crossface forearms, before Cabana gets tied up in the Tree of Woe. Outside again, Murdoch pulls back on the hung-up Cabana, then rolls in as the referee unties Colt. An elbow sends Cabana to the mat, and then we go to a rear chinlock for a breather, and Colt again fires back with a chop, before a sunset flip comes to nought.
Murdoch punches free from that sunset flip, but Colt crabs onto the ropes to avoid a neckbreaker. More punches from Colt give him an opening, and he finally lands a jumping clothesline, before Colt misses a dropkick as Murdoch held onto the ropes. One simple DDT later, and Murdoch took the win. A decent Heat squash match, but by Lord, Murdoch needed a better finisher than that! **¼
Scott Steiner vs. The Yung Dragons (Kaz Hayashi & Yang), Evan Karagias & Jamie Knoble (WCW Monday Nitro – February 5, 2001)
We end this look back at modern-day squashes with something that summed up WCW towards the end of their run: a handicap match involving the WCW champion that killed FOUR members of their cruiserweight division.
Steiner drops one of the Yung Dragons as they tried to get into the ring, before he kills Knoble with a Tiger Driver. Karagias gets planted as he went for a tiltawhirl, and Knoble was pinned for a one-count from a clothesline as Steiner went to do some push-ups instead of win the match.
Those push-ups let Yang fly in with a guillotine legdrop to the back of Steiner, and it became four-on-one against “Big Poppa Pump”, as Knoble and Karagias hit a double-team suplex, before the Yung Dragons flew on top of him with duelling body splashes. All four men piled on, but of course Steiner kicked out, and after coming off the ropes with a clothesline to Knoble and Hayashi, Karagias went flying with an overhead belly-to-belly suplex.
Yang gets crotched on the top rope and is left laying as Hayashi is gorilla press slammed to the outside. Knoble joins him, as does Karagias, and that leaves Yang prone for a T-bone superplex… and that’s all folks. But no, Steiner stopped the count at two. Jamie Knoble slides in to try his luck, but he’s thrown across the ring with another T-bone suplex, as was Karagias, and finally, Hayashi is laid out with a belly-to-belly.
Steiner looks to finish them off a-la Yokozuna, and piles all everyone bar Yang on top of each other, and we have a three-way Steiner Recliner for the submission win. That was fun to watch, if extremely damaging… but was it any wonder WCW went out of business less than two months later?! **
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