Hello everyone and welcome to Random Match Roundup #12. This is where I review 5 random matches from anytime and anyplace. I have a very interesting one this week, so lets get it underway.
Bret Hart vs. Sting – Semi-Finals Match in the WCW World Heavyweight Championship Tournament – WCW Mayhem 1999
While this is a dream match with two great workers, the match was not able to reach the lofty expectations. The match started off quite promising, with the structure of the match being very smart. Since the match was in Canada, Hart got the offense early to pop the crowd, but Sting got control during the body to build heat. Also, Sting made the very smart choice of playing a heel and not trying to fight the crowd. He mocked the crowd and used an eye rake to gain the advantage, and, while the low blow in front of the ref was dumb and on the nose, his overall performance was good. Really, only two things drag this match down. First is the fact that this match didn’t get the chance to get out of first gear, which held the match back a lot. On top of that, as soon as the match got going, interference hurt the momentum of the match. While it wasn’t the finish, which is good, WCW couldn’t help it and had to have interference. While the interference wasn’t huge, it still hurt the flow of the match and kept it from fully kicking into another gear. However, after the interference the match comes together, and there are some fun moments and a cool finish. While these two never produced the classic we all wanted, this is the closest thing to a great Sting vs. Bret Hart match I have seen.
DOUKI vs. Low Rider – Tokyo Gurentai One Night Stand 2015
I am shocked how good this match turned out to be! While no one is confusing this with a MOTYC or a 4*+ match, this match is quite fun and a breeze to watch. At a tad under 15 minutes, it feels like half the length because the action was just so compelling and fun. After stalling for the first few minutes of the match, they kick it up to 11 with a sequence that reminds me of the sequences you sometimes see in PWG, with flips and headscissors reversed with cartwheels. The best part of that was after doing the cool sequence, they didn’t do the generic standoff, they kept wrestling until DOUKI hit an insane senton from the top rope to the floor. While that was probably the best part of the match, most of the following action was good and even innovative on occasion. While not everything was crisply executed, they definitely tried and I commend them for it. An exceptional spot that happened as the match progressed towards the finish, though, was Low Rider hitting a crazy somersault dive from the top into the audience. Since this video was only on the hard cam, we just saw Rider dive and disappear into a sea of people. It was nuts. I have to say that this match was loads of fun, even if everything wasn’t the most crisply executed.
Andre the Giant vs. Ernie Ladd – WWWF on MSG Network 04/26/76
This match had its old school charm, but it was just too long and dry for its own good. It started off with a lot of stalling from Ladd, which I would usually complain about, but since it worked in getting the crowd excited for Andre I won’t. Then, though, the match fell off a cliff, where Andre was switching from nerve hold to bear hug back to nerve hold for the longest time. While some of Andre’s offense in between the rest hold looked decent, and most of Ladd’s strikes early were excellent, the majority of the match had no flow and no momentum. The pacing of the match, where Andre just does stuff for a really long time before Ladd cheats to comeback, made the match feel really choppy, as Andre could not string together a sequence of moves for the life of him. He would just hit a move, wait a bit, hit another move, rest hold, and repeat. Ladd making the comeback via cheating was okay and worked decently, and Andre using Ladd’s thumb with a foreign object taped to it against him was very goofy in a charming sort of way. I will say, though, that after a match where most of it was nothing, I would have really loved a pinfall finish to make the journey worthwhile. Instead, Ladd just said fuck it and went to the back. Overall, this match had its moments and its charms, but it was just not a compelling package as a whole.
Tajiri vs. Steve Corino (w/ Jack Victory) – ECW Hardcore Heaven 2000
Tajiri dished out the beating of the century, but somehow that is not the only great thing in this brief, yet spectacular match. Corino is the ultimate heel in this match, to the point where he cuts a racist promo pre match to get more heat on himself. And boy did he get heat for himself! The crowd was molten in support of Tajiri, partly because of Corino and partly because of how awesome Tajiri is, and Corino is booed mercilessly. It is very refreshing to see a crowd that isn’t cute, but instead is fully invested, which is a testament to the talent in this match. By Corino playing such an unlikeable heel, Tajiri’s epic beatdown is so much more satisfying. When I say epic beatdown here, I mean epic. For probably about five minutes Tajiri destroys Corino with snug strikes and even a brainbuster on the apron. After this near murder, Corino tries to comeback, which was executed well. While the back and forth wasn’t the most spectacular, it was adequate and lead to a fantastic finish, with Tajiri hitting one of the most fast paced, stiff, brutal, and beautiful strike sequences in history and a spectacular spot to end the match. Overall this was an intense match with two great characters and a simple story. Its not overly complex, but it is very well executed.
Ultimo Guerrero vs. Mistico – 2 Out of 3 Falls Match – CMLL Televisa Deportes 02/25/05
This was a very unique Lucha 2 out of 3 falls match. Most consist of the heel winning the first fall, dominating the second fall, but the face ties it up. This match was just Guerrero beating the tar out of Mistico. He went after Mistico before the bell, stiffed the hell out of him, and hit tons of dangerous, high impact moves. Mistico, to his credit, made Guerrero look like a monstrous powerhouse, and timed his comebacks perfectly. Another wrinkle added to this match is that Guerrero wasn’t jus the stronger; he was also the smarter and more experienced of the two. Mistico tried to gain the advantage via speed and athleticism, but Guerrero was just better. Speaking of Mistico’s athleticism, he hit some stellar dives, and took a disgusting bump off a beautiful missed dive. Honestly, the action in this match is some of the smartest and crispest I’ve seen in a while. That’s what makes the finishes to the falls so baffling (Minor Spoiler Alert) Guerrero, after being seen as the smarter of the two, and destroying Mistico, he looks like a moron in some of the finishes. He injures himself after having Mistico beat by hitting a top rope sit-out powerbomb. Also, Mistico looked like a little bitch in the finish of the first fall. (Spoilers Over). The bad booking keeps this match from being the classic it deserves to be. Both put in world-class performances and risked their bodies for this match, but bad finishes handicap this match.
So that was Random Match Roundup #11! If you enjoyed, like, comment, and maybe even follow my blog. If you want to keep up with this site, my contacts and social media are here or in the sidebar to the left. Also, check out my work at Free Pro Wrestling, which is a great site where a person more talented than I write about great, legal, free matches. I plan on working on the Starrcade 1991 review very soon, so keep an eye out for updates on that. Other than that, thank you for reading and see you next time.
Best Match of the Roundup: Ultimo Guerrero vs. Mistico
Worst Match of the Roundup: Andre the Giant vs. Ernie Ladd