WWE Vintage Collection Report: June 13th 2010
By Shaun Best-Rajah.com Reporter
Hosted by: Mean Gene Okerlund
Welcome aboard to the third week of our Cruiserweight retrospective. Once again, WCW lends a hand, providing two of this week’s three offerings. Make sure you have your shades and flip flops as our first high-flying stop is Bash at the Beach. Let’s begin!
WCW Bash at the Beach: July 13th 1997
Cruiserweight Title: Chris Jericho vs Ultimo Dragon
Tony Schiavone, Mike Tenay, Dusty Rhodes and Bobby Heenan are at the (oversaturated) announce table. Did you know that Dragon held 11 titles from various promotions during the fall of October 1996? Impressive feat. Jericho had just won the Cruiserweight title from Syxx at a House Show after the nWo member had just defeated Rey Mysterio in a gruelling match. Despite being a heelish tactic, Jericho remained a babyface. Gotta love that WCW booking.
After some chain wrestling on the mat, the two go counter for counter, cancelling out monkey flips, armdrags, spin kicks and dropkicks. A test of strength takes Dragon to the corner. Dragon turns a float over into a headstand on the top turnbuckle before kicking Jericho away. Dragon scores with stiff kicks. Dragon utilises a trifecta of quick submissions – chinlock, nerve hold, headscissors. Jericho catches Dragon trying to slide underneath and turns a hurracanrana into two powerbombs and a senton back splash. Jericho delivers a delayed suplex and backbreaker across the knee. Dragon immediately escapes a sleeper with a back suplex. Dragon floats over Jericho in the corner, Jericho surprises Dragon with a moonsault. Jericho delivers a tiger driver (double underhook powerbomb) for a nearfall. Jericho looks for a superplex, Dragon wisely blocks by grabbing the turnbuckle, Jericho switches to a dropkick, but doesn’t connect as Dragon anticipates it and drops to the floor. Jericho lands a springboard cross body on the floor to take us into a commercial break.
Back inside the ring, Jericho eats a boot following an aerial dive. Dragon sets Jericho on the second rope. Jericho foils two Dragon high risk moves by throwing him to the floor twice. Jericho goes airborne and is met mid-flight with a dropkick. Jericho reverses a suplex on the floor, snaps Dragon’s neck across the top rope, then misses a springboard dropkick. Dragon fools Jericho by faking a couple of aerial dives, before kicking him away and landing an asai moonsault (named after him). The referee lays the count on both, with Dragon getting back in at six and Jericho scrambling back in at nine. Dragon scores with a hurracanrana. Jericho gets a foot on the bottom rope. Jericho catches a handspring backelbow attempt, Dragon reverses a la mahistrol cradle attempt, but Jericho once again clutches the ropes. Both exchange a series of rollups then spill to the outside, where Dragon scores with an enziguiri kick. Jericho foils a suplex back in by landing on his feet, tackling Dragon and hitting a lionsault. A rollup gets Jericho two. Jericho slams, tries a second lionsault, but Dragon stops it with a dropkick. Jericho blocks a tiger suplex attempt, then drops down, kneeing Dragon in the head to prevent a dragon sleeper. Dragon takes Jericho down with a clothesline and hits a top rope moonsault. Dragon hooks Jericho’s arms, Jericho tries for a tiger driver, Dragon turns it into a hurracanrana pin, but Jericho rolls through into a sunset flip. 1-2-3. Jericho gets his belt and says into the camera “this is my belt and I’m proud of it.” This was an excellent back-and-forth opener. Both gave it everything they had. All match the announcers were teasing an nWo run-in. I’m so glad that didn’t happen. Winner: CHRIS JERICHO.
WCW Monday Nitro: September 6th 1999
Eddie Guerrero, Chavo Guerrero Jnr & Billy Kidman vs Juventud Guerrera, Blitzkrieg & Psicosis
Tony Schiavone and Bobby Heenan cover this tag match between former Cruiserweight champions. Lenny Lane was the current reigning champion, but the less said about that the better. Juvi and Kidman were feuding. Juvi came out dressed just like Kidman in a white vest and blue jean shorts, prompting Heenan to state both are in for the “janitor of the year award.” Psicosis and Blitzkrieg are both under masks.
Team Juvi ambush at the start to clear the ring and isolate Eddie. Juvi gives Eddie a spinebuster, mockingly screams “Eddie, Eddie, Eddie” and climbs on the ropes to rile the crowd. The crowd react by cheering for Eddie as Team Juvi put the boots to Eddie in the corner. Psicosis crotches Eddie along the top rope then connects with a spin kick to the back of the head. Kidman breaks up a cover. Juvi tags in a couple of times, but for whatever reason opts not to come in. Eddie shifts the momentum with a heel kick to Psicosis. Eddie hooks hands with the luchador and comes off the top rope to flip both Psicosis and the interfering Juvi over. Kind of a headscissors takedown. Both Kidman and Chavo claim to get the tag and come in, clotheslining Juvi and Psicosis to the floor, before hitting Blitzkrieg with a double clothesline and dropkick. Kidman muscles Chavo away as he goes for a cover and the two show some tension. The one-upsmanship continues after Chavo back suplexes Blitzkrieg, as Kidman delivers a guillotine legdrop, quickly followed by an Eddie forward roll senton.
After a commercial break, Blitzkrieg kicks Kidman down and Juvi delivers a wheelbarrow slam. Juvi works over Kidman in the corner, misses a splash and Kidman explodes into action, pummelling Juvi with punches and ripping his vest off. Juvi maniacally swings his arms about in vain. Kidman catches Juvi by the hair, Juvi lifts him onto his shoulders and Psicosis hits Kidman with a missile dropkick. Chavo breaks up a cover. Schiavone brags that Nitro’s been on the air for four solid years, with Heenan adding he’s been ever present. Be quiet Tony! Blitzkrieg hits Kidman with a spin kick and reverse somersault elbow smash. Kidman sends Blitzkrieg face first to the corner and rebounds with a flying clothesline. Juvi re-enters, spits towards the Guerreros and calls for the finish. Heenan hilariously threatens to call AAA to get Juvi a mask. Kidman blocks three Juvi Driver attempts and elevates Juvi with a BK bomb. Vampiro and the ICP appear on the ramp to hype an upcoming match. Chavo takes the fight to all three opponents. Eddie gives Psicosis a tilt-a-whirl backbreaker as Juvi catches Chavo in a headscissors. Eddie flapjacks Juvi on top of Psicosis, then sends Juvi into a Chavo backbodydrop to the floor. Juvi trips Chavo and pulls him outside. Blitzkrieg’s somersault dive intended for Chavo takes out Juvi after Chavo moves. Chavo wipes out both with a top rope dive. Inside the ring, Psicosis elbows Eddie off the apron, then sets Kidman up for a powerbomb. Kidman counters into a faceplant mid-move and Eddie finishes Psicosis off with a frog splash. Viva La Raza. Un, Dos, Tres. This was a pretty good, all action matchup. Juvi’s antics during the match made it so easy for me to dislike him. It’s a shame that things never seemed to work out for Kidman in a WWE ring. Winners: EDDIE GUERRERO, CHAVO GUERRERO JNR & BILLY KIDMAN.
WWF In Your House 1: May 14th 1995
Bret “Hitman” Hart vs Hakushi w/Shinja
This match was set up after Hakushi attacked Bret, while the Hitman was being honoured by the Japanese media. Labelled a “modern day kamikaze,” Hakushi, who sported Japanese writing across his face and upper body, was unbeaten thus far, five months into his tenure. Backstage at the inaugural In Your House show, Bret is standing by with the mullet-sporting Todd Pettengill. Bret is pulling double duty, with a second match scheduled against Jerry Lawler later in the show. Bret puts over Hakushi as a great wrestler, stating the fact he’s undefeated says it all, but he’s never ever faced anybody like the Excellence of Execution. Bret is determined to go out and prove that he’s still the best there is, was and ever will be. After dedicating this match to his mother, who’s watching at home, Bret warns Lawler he’s next. Bret promises to tear Lawler apart then wishes his Mum a Happy Mother’s Day.
Vince McMahon and Dok Hendrix announce today’s Main Event. Hakushi utilises a side headlock, then uses a forward roll and cartwheel to avoid contact with the Hitman after coming off the ropes. Bret stamps on Hakushi’s feet to take control of a test of strength, so Hakushi uses the hair to yank Bret down. Hakushi hits a dive attack off the ropes. Both exchange armbars. Bret has Hakushi reeling after a tackle, hiptoss and a couple of armdrags prompting the Japanese superstar to go outside and ponder a re-think. Bret cuts off a sneak attack, reverses a head ram in the corner, but Hakushi takes control after sending Bret front first to the corner. Hakushi follows up with a slam and Vader bomb, as a delighted Jerry Lawler is seen watching from a backstage monitor. Hakushi keeps the advantage with a nerve hold and Bronco Buster.
After commercials, Shinja asserts himself into the match, stomping and choking the Hitman while Hakushi distracts the referee. Hakushi lands a handspring backelbow, reverses a backbreaker and hits a beautiful top rope headbutt. Hakushi goes to the well one too many times though, as he misses a springboard splash. An angry Bret launches into his comeback of a gut punch, side Russian legsweep, running bulldog, backbreaker and second rope elbow. Sharpshooter time…no, Shinja distracts Bret who lunges forwards. Bret turns back to catch Hakushi with an inverted atomic drop then turns him inside out with a clothesline.
Back from our final break, Bret hammers away on Hakushi in the ropes. Shinja trips Bret as he runs the ropes. Bret leaps out to hammer away on the evil manager underneath the announce table. Back inside, Hakushi meets Bret with a dropkick. Bret blocks a suplex and a reversal takes both men to the floor. Shinja grabs Bret’s ankle to stop him from re-entering, enabling Hakushi to hit an asai moonsault. Bret stops himself from getting counted out and manages to counter a suplex back in with a victory roll for the 1-2-3. Winner: BRET “HITMAN” HART. Fireworks go off above the ring. Hakushi and Shinja would cost Bret his match against Lawler later in the night to build heat for Bret and Lawler’s return “Kiss My Foot” bout at the following month’s King of the Ring. Despite a shaky start, this developed into a well-paced match with lots of innovative offence. Hakushi hung in there with the Hitman and his intricate moveset and unique look clearly captivated the crowd. Surprisingly, Hakushi’s big push never materialised as less than a year later he was gone after being saddled with bad booking and a horrendous angle with Barry Horowitz. He had all the tools to be the WWE’s answer to the Great Muta, but it wasn’t to be. Currently the 43-year-old Hakushi under his real name of Kensuke Shinzaki has a hand in politics as well as running Michinoku Pro Wrestling and is a co-founder of Sendai Girls’ Pro Wrestling alongside Meiko Satomura.
Okerlund puts over Bret using the match as an example as to why Bret is the best there is, was and ever will be. Regarding Hakushi, Okerlund states “Cruiserweights should never be overlooked,” before saying he took the Hitman to the limit.
Unfortunately, our Cruiserweight focus ends next week.
From top to bottom, this week’s show is a really entertaining, solid broadcast. Three great matches that are well worth a look. See you next week. Shaun
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