/8 July 2000
|Pro Wrestling Classics by Miguelito Fierro
PRO WRESTLING CLASSICS RECAP - JULY 8, 2000
(Original date sometime in 1963)
Okay, when did we enter Bizzaro world? Hogan getting run down on-screen at PPV? (I know, remember CRZ's rules of wrestling: If it happens on TV, it is a work.) Booker T wins the World Championship? Vampiro winning matches? Where did the predictably crappy WCW go to? What's going on here?
Hello, everyone. I am Miguelito, and I am the smartest man alive! Because, instead of dishing out the cash to get Bash at the Beach, I instead chose to spend my money on a Nintendo 64 with Zelda 64. It's far more entertaining, but I do wish that I could've seen Russo call Hogan bald live as it happens. But I never do anything "Live as it Happens." That's why I recap THIS show! That's right, welcome once again to the Classic Pro Wrestling recap!
I must admit that ESPN Classic is not ignoring this show. Sure, it puts it on at a time when 85% of America is asleep. But there have been improvements being made to the show over the last month or so that have really helped out me, your friendly recapper. And one of those improvements starts us out today!
ESPN Classic kindly puts up graphics letting us know who we are going to see today. Let's see... We have Verne Gagne -vs- Hans Schmidt, Rocky Marciano (!!) refereeing a match between Whipper Billy Watson and Fritz Von Erich...
And we already start out with Hans Schmidt attacking Verne Gagne before the bell rings! That's a good way to get started. Gagne sells a punch to the stomach for a few minutes, allowing the referee to regain control of the match. Schmidt has a good six inches on Gagne, and is taking full advantage of his size. Snap mare. Kneedrop. Schmidt throws Gagne out to the floor.
Schmidt is an older wrestler, and is balding. He sorta reminds me of that one guy... you know, that one who always wants to be the champ... what's his name? He wanted to run for president in the near past...
Gagne has basically spent the last two minutes outside of the ring. Every time he tries to get back up to the ring apron, Schmidt kicks him back down to the ground. In other areas, this might be referred to as "stalling." Here in...in... you know, we have not been told who is sanctioning these matches, nor where they are taking place, so I have no idea what territory we are in. Thanks a lot, ESPN Classic. That's the last time I say something good about your network! (just kidding) Anyway, in whatever territory this is from, this is called "devastating wrestling strategy."
We sneak in a commercial break here somewhere, but to tell you the truth, I didn't notice. When we come back, Gagne (definitely the face in all of this) is trying to get into the ring with the "German Terror." Schmidt is an archetypical heel for the period. Tall, lean, willing to take cheap shots, and German.
Gagne finally figures out a way in, sliding between the ropes and nailing Schmidt in the abdomen. Gagne finally in the ring, and driving his shoulder into Schmidt's abdomen. Schmidt finally takes a breather outside of the ring, and now Gagne won't let Schmidt in the ring! Gagne takes him down with a right hand, pulls him into the ring, then dumps him right back out. Schmidt grabs a chair (!) and tries to use that to get back in the ring. The ref isn't having any of that, however.
The commentator gets in a great line. Schmidt is finally in the ring, huddled in the corner, and Gagne is just watching him. I am thinking, "Why is he waiting?" and the commentator comes out with: "For the life of me, I cannot figure out why they wait..." but is then cut off as Gagne decides to charge the corner. That was a mistake, though. Schmidt wraps the tag rope around Gagnes neck and starts to choke him out! We have to go to commmercial, though. OH, NO! It's the return of the Extra-Super-Crappy ESPN Classic voiceover guy. He's a little less annoying than last week, but not much.
Ah, thank you ESPN Classic! (See, I WAS just joking.) This match was taped sometime during 1963 at the Buffalo War Memorial Auditorium (according to the ESPN Classic banner). I still wish I knew who sanctioned these matches, but at least I have a time frame and a territory.
Gagne fights his way out of the corner, and starts working Schmidt over. Dropkick. Kneedrop for 2. Gagne with a front face lock, and is actually choking Schmidt! The crowd boos the referee for breaking the hold. (HA!) Schmidt sneaks in a heart punch, and Gagne collapses into the corner.
Both men to different corners, now to the center of the ring. By my clock, we are 12 minutes into a stall-fest. Strange how the old-time promoters could make these stall-fests entertaining. I don't know how to explain it, but it's true. It's true!
Test of strength, which Gagne uses to slam Schmidt to the ground. No follow-up, both men back to their feet. Collar-and-elbow into an armdrag takedown. Again. And again! Now Gagne steps on his face!! The crowd pops for this, then again boos the referee when the ref gives Gagne a warning. (I love this crowd!)
Both men back up, and Schmidt is waving his fist in a "You just pissed me off!" gesture. But we go back to commercial? We got a whole four minutes of the match that time. Thanks, ESPN Classic! (Note the sarcasm, please.)
Gagne with a body scissors when we come back from the break. Schmidt tries to roll through, gets to the ropes, and then quickly starts nailing Gagne with kicks! The ref backs Schmidt up, Schmidt isn't backing up, so the ref takes a swing at Schmidt!!! Schmidt trying to pay back the ref, and doesn't see the kick to the stomach coming from Gagne! Arm wringer! Schmidt runs to the other side of the ring, jumps over the top rope (!!) and heads out into the crowd.
The ref has on a count, but Gagne keeps breaking it. Schmidt gets his wind back, then heads back towards the ring. In spite of myself, I am enjoying this match. If only WCW could provide this type of excitement! And this is without CrashTV!!!
Uh-oh. Crappy announcer (who, to ESPN Classic's benefit, has toned down his crappy announcing A LOT since last week) means we are going to a commercial break. This gives me the chance to try and draw a connection between Nike, Pepsi and AC Delco. Hmmmm...
WHERE'S MY HAIR REPLACEMENT COMMERCIALS!!!! I miss them things. Waking up at 6:00am just isn't the same without the hair restoration spiel.
We are back, and the wrestlers have each other in a collar-and-elbow. Headlock by Schmidt. Gagne trying to fight out of it, and Schmidt pulls Gagne back by the hair. (I love that spot! Schmidt takes him down in a rear chinlock, but Gagne bridges out of it (!) and grabs a headscissors on Schmidt. Schmidt is really selling the sucker, too. Gagne supplements the scissors with judo slaps to Schmmidts head. Gagne up, and standing on Schmidt's head again! The ref is trying to calm Gagne down; apparently he isn't familiar with the famous Gagne-family temper!
Back to the center of the ring, and Schmidt looks weary. Collar-and-elbow into a headlock for Schmidt. Crisscross off the ropes... both men collide in the center of the ring. Schmidt looks like he is going to get to his feet first. Schmidt covers, but Gagne kicks out with Power! Schmidt now looks worried; the fans sense the match is almost over.
Gagne nailing Schmidt with kicks to the side. He covers, Kickout with Power by Schmidt. Schmidt with a devastating backbreaker! Schmidt covers, but Gagne kicks out again. Schmidt picks Gagne up for another backbreaker, but Gagne reverses the move into a head scissors.
The referee is checking on Schmidt, who looks to be out. The ref accuses Gagne of choking the opponent, so forces the break. Gagne is going to hit the ref! Gagne backs off, and we go to commercial again. (??) Is this show really making this much money for advertisers? Does ESPN Classic really need this many commercial breaks? I don't know, either! But I can see the connection between Crest, Chili's and the Institute of Art.
Back from commercial to one hell of a long match. We've gotta be getting close to the time limit here; this one is only supposed to go for a half-hour. Test of strength? No, Gagne slaps Schmidt's arm away. Gagne takes Schmidt down, then starts working on Schmidt's leg! Stomping on the knee... there's the bell. We have a time limit draw at (30:00).
Gagne is stupid enough to turn his back on Schmidt. Schmidt nails Gagne with a high knee to the back of the head, then slams Gagne's head into the steel ringpost! Schmidt now back into the ring, and is playing to the crowd. But Schmidt turns HIS back on where Gagne ended up, so Gagne comes in and nails Schmidt in the back with a double-axehandle. Gagne tosses Schmidt outside. Schmidt back in, but gets tossed out again. And now security grabs ahold of Schmidt, keeping him from getting back into the ring (which he apparently wants to do). The fans boo, because even back in the 60s, the fans wanted a clean finish.
Another commercial break, including a great Sportscenter commercial featuring the Monkees.
Back to the ring, boxing legend Rocky Marciano is our referee for Fritz Von Erich -vs- Whipper Billy Watson. Von Erich starts out in a frenzy. Von Erich gets into a tussle with the referee! Von Erich won't actually throw a punch, but is thinking about it. Watson looks like Jack Nicholson at the end of Witches in Eastwick.
Von Erich and Marciano are having major problems during this match. Von Erich feels that Marciano is playing favorites, and gets ticked every time Marciano does anything. Can YOU tell where this angle is going?
Watson finally gets in some offense, a forearm to the face, then he dumps Von Erich down onto the commentary table! The commentator gets rightfully indignant, telling Von Erich to get back into the ring. Watson tries to keep Von Erich out of the ring; the fans rightly boo these stall tactics. And the commentator actually calls this as a stall! We have smart fans and commentators tonight!
Commercial break has MGD pushing Clown Love, baby! It doesn't get any better than this! Geico also throws in an ad.
We are back to the stall, er, wrestling match as Watson DUMPS Von Erich over the top rope all the way to the floor! This even manages to wake up the crowd! Von Erich continues to take his time getting into the ring. Finally, they are both back in the ring. Headlock by Watson, into the ropes, Von Erich attempts a dropkick but misses! Von Erich rolls out of the ring because he hates me.
Von Erich just beats the count. Watson grabs an armbar, and uses it to throw Von Erich over the top rope! Von Erich is really playing up the crowd, throwing them the two-arm bird and generally getting them pissed at him. While there isn't much wrestling, there's tons of RING PSYCHOLOGY!!!
Von Erich back in, and gets tied up in the corner. Marciano is trying to break the men, gets between them and Von Erich takes the cheap shot! Marciano trying to pull Von Erich off... Marciano actually has Von Erich in a full nelson. And Watson just nailed Von Erich! Von Erich goes down, takes 30 seconds to shake off the effects of the wide-open right hand, then goes straight for Marciano! Marciano puts up a left and Von Erich immediately backs off. And now Marciano is chasing Von Erich out of the ring!!! Things are starting to break down here! Not even this commercial break, nor that stupid Crest commercial can lessen my interest now!
We are back, and Von Erich is starting to take control over Watson. Von Erich has hiim in the corner again, and Marciano again pulls Von Erich off. And they are going to go at it! Von Erich nails Marciano with a shot! And Marciano drops Von Erich with a left! Watson takes advantage of this and nails Von Erich with a forearm (that bastard!). Von Erich is out of the ring and fighting with security. Is Von Erich going to get back in the ring? Here he comes...
Stupid "I hold the top rope, you pull on the top rope and I get slingshotted into the ring" spot has Von Erich flying into the ring. Watson then throws Von Erich back out onto the floor (then why bring him in?). Von Erich slowly makes his way back into the ring. Von Erich is stopping to talk with his manager Big Dean Kiniski, until Marciano breaks THAT up. I tell ya, Rocky is BEGGING to get his clock cleaned!
Von Erich tearing back into Watson. Von Erich misses a right, and gets clotheslined out of his boots! Beal! And Watson grabs the sleeper, but Von Erich is in the ropes. Snapmare into the center of the ring, Watson again applies the sleeper. But Von Erich again gets to the ropes. Break, and Fritz looks like he is out on his feet.
Snap mare by Watson. Sleeper in the middle of the ring, but Kiniski is in the ring! Watson is tearing the clothes off of Kiniski! Kiniski and Von Erich are all over Watson, security is in the ring, and we officially have ourselves a clusterfuck!
As security pulls Kiniski off of Watson, Von Erich starts laying in his licks again. Marciano pulls him off, which allows Watson to gain the upper hand. Somewhere in here, Marciano disqualified Fritz Von Erich, so the winner is WhipperBilly Watson in (17:11).
And that's our show for this week! It definitely had some MAJOR slow-points. Especially during the Von Erich - Watson match. But the stories told during the matches, especially during the epic between Gagne and Schmidt, was enough to keep me excited during the lulls. All in all I had a good time. I hope that you did, too!
'Til next weekend...