Pass Me the Mike’s countdown of 30 (and then some) Unheralded Wrestling Gems continues with entries 18-13!
Entries 30-25 can be found HERE
and entries 24-19 can be found HERE.
18) Public Enemy vs. The Gangstas (ECW Hardcore Heaven ’95 – July 1, 1995)
If you want carnage, this match is for you. Bell-to-bell action in this one with loads of weapons, loads of blood and very little wrestling. In other words, an ECW brawl done the right way. Wrestling purists will hate this. This was the kind of stuff ECW built its name and reputation on, but I’ll always have a fondness for the company’s mix of styles and Paul Heyman’s ability to maximize the strengths of his wrestlers. Rocco Rock and Johnny Grunge are prime examples of his ability to do so – especially Grunge.
17) Brian Pillman vs. Norman the Lunatic (WCW Clash of the Champions VIII – September 12, 1989)
To some, this match might’ve looked like a throwaway (Though not as much as the Z-Man/Cuban Assassin match earlier on the show. Gross.), but turned out to be a bit of a shocker. This one is only about four minutes long, but it’s all action with Norman bumping like crazy for Pillman. We even get a crucifix finish. I love it when guys make the most of a small amount of time and deliver something fun and exciting.
AND THEN SOME: There’s nothing quite like a good Sid Vicious squash match and this show had a good one. Sid absolutely crushed Ranger Ross, even breaking out the whirlybird. Short, quick and served its purpose. Sid squashes ruled.
16) Brian Kendrick vs. Kurt Angle (WWE Smackdown – February 27, 2003)
After being convinced by Sean O’Haire to streak his way through a Smackdown ring and the arena a couple of weeks prior in an effort to get noticed and hired by the WWE, Brian Kendrick got his chance at a job. The catch: he had to last five minutes with WWE Champion Kurt Angle. Really good stuff with Angle toying with Kendrick, Kendrick surprising him and Angle just laying into him. Angle smacked the absolute PISS out of him when he was on the top rope, sending him crashing to the floor. With 17 seconds left in the match, Kendrick fired up and really looked like he was gonna make it. A knee to the gut followed by an Angle slam ended the match with two seconds to spare. Love this.
15) The Midnight Express vs. The Fantastics (NWA Clash of the Champions I – March 27, 1988)
The Sting/Ric Flair main event from the inaugural Clash of the Champions event gets most of the praise, but DAMNIT, what a great match these two teams had for the United States Tag Team Titles. Bobby Eaton of the Midnight Express was just THE MAN. One of the greatest tag team wrestlers of all time, and a lot of people these days don’t know just how good The Fantastics were. Tommy Rogers could GO. This match should’ve opened the show instead of the Jimmy Garvin/Mike Rotunda snoozer. This had it all – a hot crowd, a wild brawl, GREAT tag team wrestling and good work by Jim Cornette. The crowd went crazy when Rogers and Bobby Fulton appeared to have won the titles. Jim Ross and Tony Schiavone were also great calling the action. Ross was so good before the catch phrases became the norm, and he had a fire that most announcers just couldn’t match.
AND THEN SOME: These teams had another really good match in June at The Great American Bash. The Fantastics would’ve been a much better team to have around in 1989 as part of WCW’s killer tag team lineup than The Dynamic Dudes.
14) Bull Nakano and Akira Hokuto vs. Cutie Suzuki and Mayumi Ozaki (WCW World War 3 – November 26, 1995)
Lemme get this out of the way first – I love me some Bull Nakano. And so should you. Bull is one of the most badass women to ever set foot in a ring and Hokuto’s not far behind her in that category. Together, they were monsters. This is a match that, I guarantee, almost no fans watching the pay-per-view initially cared about. I hope that, by the end of it, at least some of them were won over. Just a really fun tag match with Nakano and Hokuto shining. For those of you who aren’t familiar with it, go check out some of the ’80s and ’90s All-Japan Women’s Pro Wrestling stuff. There’s a ton of great footage out there. If you think you don’t like women’s wrestling, you should definitely watch it. Some amazing, next-level performers who could put a whole lot of men to shame. I’d recommend it to anyone. Side note: I really miss this version of Mike Tenay on commentary. He added some very insightful stuff for people who didn’t know these women.
13) Steven Regal vs. The Belfast Bruiser (WCW Uncensored – March 24, 1996/WCW Monday Nitro – April 28, 1996)
You’re getting a 2-for-1 deal with this entry, because both matches are just too good to pass up. Buried beneath the garbage that was Loch Ness vs. The Giant and the Doomsday Cage debacle, the Regal/Bruiser (AKA Fit Finlay) match at Uncensored was a diamond in the rough. These two traded holds and beat the hell out of each other. Regal’s face got totally wrecked by a Finlay punch on the floor and he ended up bleeding everywhere. REALLY lame finish to an otherwise fantastic match with Regal’s Blue Bloods teammates Dave Taylor and Robert Eaton hitting the ring for the DQ. The Nitro match was a completely different animal, with the two squaring off in a parking lot. It was a fight. Finlay even put his foot and leg through a car window. Eric Bischoff was about to crap himself on commentary when blood started showing up, demanding that the cameramen go wide with their shots. I’m really curious what he thought would happen when these two were turned loose in a parking lot with cars in play as weapons. He even said if it got to be too much for their viewers, he would demand that the cameramen pull so far wide, you would only be able to see the skyline. And that he would petition the “WCW Executive Committee” to put a stop to this kind of stuff. Just terrible. Nevertheless, WATCH BOTH OF THESE!