Saturday, April 25, 2020

Tito Santana vs. Greg Valentine

For reasons unknown I just had the urge to watch a classic feud from my childhood, one that is underrated and doesn't get talk about enough, Tito Santana and Greg "The Hammer" Valentine's battle over the Intercontinental Heavyweight Championship.

Tito first won the championship from Don Muraco on February 11, 1984 in Boston, MA at the Garden.  He held the title for 226 days losing it to Valentine in London, Ontario for Maple Leaf Wrestling on September 24, 1984.  Valentine would hold the title for 285 days when Santana regained it inside a Steel Cage on July 6, 1985 in Baltimore, Maryland.  Santana's second and final reign came to an end on February 8, 1986 in the city he first won it, Boston, when "Macho" Man Randy Savage captured the crown.

So I check the Old School section on the WWE Network and much to my surprise none of the Santana vs. Valentine matches are on it.  I check All Star Wrestling, Prime Time Wrestling, and even Tuesday Night Titans and only TNT has episodes from 1984 / 1985 and none of them featured the title change.

How could this be!?! Whenever a title change took place Gorilla Monsoon would say, history has been made, and yet the WWE doesn't have footage of these matches on their network.  The matches are on YouTube!

Digging deeper into the WWE Network if you go to section In Ring, then WWE Home Video Classics, look for Match Compilations and finally WWE Grudge Match Mar 27, 1986.  This is an old coliseum home video release.  This tape has three segments looking at the feud between Valentine & Santana starting with Valentine winning the championship from Tito and ending with their cage match from Baltimore where Santana recaptured the title.

Here are the links to the matches on YouTube:

September 24, 1984 London, Ontario, Canada
Intercontinental Champion: Tito Santana vs. Greg "The Hammer" Valentine

On Grudge Matches this match is clipped down to four minutes, YouTube has the complete match. 

July 6, 1985 in Baltimore, Maryland
Steel Cage Match: Intercontinental Champion: Greg "The Hammer" Valentine vs Tito Santana

This match is very significant as after Santana won the championship Valentine destroyed the championship belt on the cage.  WWE would then introduce the version of the Championship that most people are familiar with.

In an interview from a couple years ago Santana was asked what happened to the broken championship and he replied that he threw it in the trash that night at the arena in Baltimore.

On the WWE Network is you search Tito Santana vs. Greg Valentine there are 12 matches that come back featuring both men, some are tag matches but there are four in particular that I want to point out.

TNT: Tuesday Night Titans July 17, 1984
Santana is Champion and this features a non-title match between the two.  Valentine is interviewed by McMahon before and after the match and it's worth watching

WWE Old School October 22, 1984, at Madison Square Garden 
Valentine is champion, this match is short but they beat the hell out of each other! Also it sets up the return match that happened the next month.  This is also Santana's first match back after surgery on his knee, also his return match against Valentine after losing the championship to him in September.  Valentine injured Tito causing him to have the surgery.

WWE Old School November 26, 1984 at Madison Square Garden
Valentine is champion and this is the best match between the two on the card during this time frame.  It goes nearly thirty minutes and really shows that these guys can work their ass off.  This match was the main event of the card, Hogan was not on the show, and it was a sell out.  That's how big this feud was they main evented and sold out Madison Square Garden.

WWE Old School March 17, 1985 at Madison Square Garden
Valentine is champion and this is a Lumberjack match but it's really not the over the top Lumberjack style match that I am used to that WWE has put out the last 20 years.

My overall reaction to these series of matches is that these guys beat the hell out of each other everytime they were in the ring together.  A lot of people only know Tito for his time in the WWE in the 1990's and they are missing out on what he could do in the ring.

Santana and Valentine were first in the ring together Mid-Atlantic Championship Wrestling on December 3, 1978 in Charlotte, North Carolina.  Granted this was a 24 man battle royal, but I'd like to think that they mixed it up.  Six months later they were in another battle royal together, this time for the WWF at Madison Square Garden on June 4, 1979.

They wouldn't be in the ring together again until March 31, 1984 at the Spectrum in Philadelphia.  In this match Santana was defending his Intercontinental Championship against Valentine and the match ended in a time limit draw.  The most recent match against each other was an amazing 33 years later on February 25, 2017 for the Superstars of Wrestling Federation in Totowa, New Jersey where they battled to a no contest!

Currently Santana is 66 years old and Valentine is 68 years old and they both had matches in late 2019.  If they wrestled against each other again this year I'd watch it.

Thanks for reading, please leave a comment, read my other posts, and like my blogs Facebook page and while you're at it check out my weekly podcast The Wrestling Insomniac on the Nerdy Legion Podcast Network. 

Until next time!

Wednesday, April 22, 2020

Wrestling with the Pandemic

I don't do a lot of opinion pieces on this blog.  Yes it can be argued that every post is in essence my opinion about the about the topic I am writing about.  Typically though, those posts are backed up with facts about the events or moments that I am writing about.  Today's post is just my opinion about the current state of wrestling.

The Corona Virus Pandemic has spread across the world essentially bringing it to it's knees.  With events greater than ten people being banned live entertainment has come to a screeching halt.  College sports, professional sports, concerts, plays, theaters, everything has stopped.

Professional wrestling thrives on being performed in front of an audience because the wrestlers feed off the audience's reaction. March 11, 2020 was the last day that both WWE & AEW presented their last shows in front of an audience.  AEW emanated from West Valley City, Utah for Dynamite while NXT was live from Full Sail University.

Penelope Ford with a fisherman's suplex pin on Ana Jay in AEW
Since then both companies have continued to present shows featuring matches with no crowds.  For my money AEW has done a better job with their shows, for the most part, than WWE has done with their multiple shows.  WWE even presented a taped WrestleMania which I was much better than I thought it would be.  WWE have been taping their shows in Orlando area while AEW taped shows first in Jacksonville, Florida before moving tapings to Norcross, Georgia.

It should be noted that neither company is using their full talent rosters due to travel, health risks, and quarantine situations.

WWE has even already taped the Money in the Bank PPV matches at Titan Towers in Stamford where the wrestlers started on the ground floor and fought to the roof where the briefcase was hanging.  I'm actually interested in watching this.

It's not just companies in America that are suffering from this.  In Japan, Mexico, England, Canada, and other countries promotions are either running shows with no crowd or not at all.  New Japan Pro Wrestling hasn't run a show since February 26th.  All Japan Pro Wrestling has run a show with no crowd.  Pro Wrestling Noah just completed the six event Global Tag League tournament with no audience.

Tournament winners and new tag team champions: Dr. Wagner Jr. & Rene Dupree
In Mexico CMLL the longest continuously operating wrestling promotion in the world hasn't had a show since March 13th in Mexico City while their biggest competitor Lucha Libre AAA ran their first show since March 15th with no crowd on April 18th.  The oddest part of this show is that it featured seven one on one matches.  Most cards in Mexico feature several tag and trios matches with very few singles matches, much less and entire card of them.

Independent wrestlers has been hurt the most, most companies haven't run a show in over a month which means a month of not working.  Limitless Wrestling, my local promotion, at the end of March after having to cancel their March show ran a taping at the Limitless Dojo.  From what I understand they taped 31 matches to air weekly in IWTV, a limited series show call Pandemic at the Dojo.  Four episodes have aired to date and they are well worth you time to watch them.

Basic Becca ready for action at the Limitless Dojo
I don't know when this is all going to be over and when we are going to be able to get back to going to wrestling shows.  At this point I'm thinking we would be lucky if we could be able to attend a show in June.  Limitless has already had to cancel two shows, most likely their May show as well.  Mikey and I had tickets to the AEW show in Boston scheduled for April 15th and that has been postponed to August 5th.

The only thing I know for sure is at that first Limitless show back, after the fans lose their mind for Rich Palladino coming to the ring, the first wrestler introduced is going to get the biggest pop they've ever heard as we all can't wait to get back to the matches.

Thanks for reading, please leave a comment, read my other posts, and like my blogs Facebook page and while you're at it check out my weekly podcast The Wrestling Insomniac on the Nerdy Legion Podcast Network. 

Until next time!

Wednesday, April 15, 2020

Dr. Death's WCW run of 1999

A couple years ago I wrote a post about the Dr. Death's Abysmal WWE Run.  After he left the WWE in March of 1999 he wrestled a single match in All Japan Pro Wrestling at the Giant Baba Memorial Show before he turned up in World Championship Wrestling.

Monday Nitro November 15, 1999 Little Rock, Arkansas 
"Dr. Death" Steve Williams WCW debut

"Dr. Death" Steve Williams was shown walking into the arena Ed Ferrara who was doing his Jim Ross impersonation and going by the name Oklahoma.  Later that night Williams and Oklahoma joined the commentary team during a Pinata Match.  Eventually Williams interrupted the match laying out Silver King, El Dandy, Psychosis, Juventude, and Villano.

Monday Nitro November 29, 1999 Denver, Colorado
Steel Cage: Williams vs. Jerry Only

That's right, Williams first official match in WCW is a Steel Cage match against the lead singer for the band Misfits, and he lost.  I'm a fan of the Misfits, they've got some great tunes.  At this time they were teamed up with Vampiro.

Doc dominated and the finish came when he threw Only into the corner by the cage door and Only fell to the floor to win by escaping the cage.

Thunder December 2, 1999 Topeka, Kansas
3 on 1 Handicapped Match: Williams vs. Silver King, Villano IV & V

While Doc was dominating the Luchadors, Vampiro and the Misfits jumped Oklahoma on the floor.  Doc pinned one of the Villano's after and Oklahoma Stampede

Monday Nitro December 6, 1999 Milwaukee, Wisconsin
Williams & Oklahoma vs. Vampiro & Jerry Only

Oklahoma wore a microphone and called the action during the match.  Doc dominated, Oklahoma got beat up for a spell.  Then Doc got Vampiro down with the Stampede and Oklahoma got the pin for his team.

Monday Nitro December 13, 1999 New Orleans, Louisiana
Williams vs. Sid

Billed as a Powerbomb vs. Suplex match that Williams lost in two and a half minutes.  Such a friggin disgrace.  Williams was huge in the Mid-South region and in New Orleans and he loses in short order in a crap gimmick match.

Thunder December 16, 1999 Mobile, Alabama
Williams vs. The Wall

Doc won this match by DQ when Berlyn aka Alex Wright hit Williams with his cane, something he attempted to do behind the referee's back but failed.  Doc and The Wall beat the tar out of each other for a couple minutes then the DQ.  This match was more about The Wall and Berlyn breaking up than getting Doc over.

Starrcade December 19, 1999 Washington D.C.
Williams vs. Vampiro

This match had a couple stipulations including Oklahoma in a cage above the ring and if Vampiro won he'd get five minutes in the ring with Oklahoma.

Doc lost this by DQ in just under five minutes which granted Vampiro 5 minutes with Oklahoma.  Security removed Doc from the ringside area and Oklahoma got his ass kicked.

This was the last match that Williams had in WCW.  In total his run lasted 24 days, he wrestled six matches winning three and losing three primarily feuding with Vampiro and the Misifts.  Not a single match in this run went over five minutes.  It was uneventful and a sad closure to Doc's major US coverage.

He would spend the next three years wrestling full time for All Japan Pro Wrestling.  In 2003 he wrestled a couple house show matches against Lance Storm in the WWE, had a program with MLW competing a War Games match.

Sadly in 2004 he was diagnosed with throat cancer and underwent surgery.  He was cancer free in 2005 and returned to wrestling competing on the indies.  In 2007 he helped do some training in OVW even tagging with fellow Oklahoman Jake Hager for a couple tag team matches.  I think this explains why Hager uses the Doctor Bomb.

Williams retired from wrestling in 2008 and in 2009 his cancer returned.  He passed away on December 29, 2009 at the age of 49.

Thanks for reading, please leave a comment, read my other posts, and like my blogs Facebook page and while you're at it check out my weekly podcast The Wrestling Insomniac on the Nerdy Legion Podcast Network. 

Until next time!

Friday, April 10, 2020

The Undertaker: Matches I've Watched Live

At the Boneyard Match at WrestleMania XXXVI we saw a version of the Undertaker that we haven't seen in a long long time.  It was an awesome match, even my wife who doesn't care for wrestling enjoyed it.  Sunday after night 2 of Mania was over they had a First Look at The Undertaker: The Last Ride.

This leads me to believe that this will be Taker's last year in the ring, some thing the Boneyard match was his last.  Undertaker debuted at the 1990 Survivor Series so I think his last match should be at the 2020 Survivor Series 30 years later.

August 15, 1995 
WWF Television Taping, Cumberland County Civic Center, Portland, Maine

This was a marathon television taping of Wrestling Challenge, Superstars, & Action Zone.  I attended this show with my buddy Jay and his brother Scott. Undertaker appeared twice this night.  Summerslam 1995 was just 12 days away which featured  casket match between Undertaker and Kama.  The first appearance saw Undertaker at ringside with Paul Bearer and the casket he made for Kama being interviewed by Dok Hendrix.

Taker vs. Kama from SummerSlam 1995
The second time we say him that night was the main event of the evening in a dark match, and the 26th match of the night.  In this match The Undertaker defeated Kama: The Supreme Fighting Machine in a casket match.

March 1, 1996
WWF House Show, The Civic Center, Augusta, Maine

World Champion: Bret "Hitman" Hart vs. The Undertaker

I attended this show with my pal Rob and Mom & Dad.  It was a solid show with great talent like Godwins, Bodydonnas, Triple H, Owen Hart, Goldust, "Ringmaster" Steve Austin Savio Vega, Davey Boy Smith, Shawn Michaels, and more.

Surprisingly this was not the main even of the evening, that honor went to HBK vs. Smith.  Bret was out first and then Undertaker took and exceptionally long time to get to the ring.  He wasn't wearing his hat or coat and just his wrestling gear.  It was a good match and in the end Bret Hart retained his championship by count-out after Goldust ran down and gave Taker a piledriver on the floor.

I took these pictures on a film camera back in the day and then took a picture of the picture with my camera phone to post them here.

March 28, 1998
WrestleMania XIV, Fleetcenter, Boston, MA

The Undertaker vs. Kane with Paul Bearer

I really don't have to say a whole lot about this event, it's where the Austin era began!  This was my first Pay-Per-View, we had seats in the front row of the balcony, but Jay and I didn't care.  We were overlooking the entrance way so we got a great view of Taker's entrance with the druids.

This was the first epic battle between the Brother's of Destruction, this was also the first time that Kane tombstoned Pete Rose.  Undertaker defeated Kane after three tombstone piledrivers, the last one looks real bad as Kane's head was low.  After the match Kane tombstoned Taker on a steel chair.  This win seven on the Undertaker's WrestleMania win streak.

July 11, 2005
Smackdown! Brand House Show, Cumberland County Civic Center, Portland, Maine

The Undertaker vs. Muhammad Hassan with Daivari

I attended this show with my buddy Rood  Hassan was a talented wrestler who was saddled with a wrong gimmick at the wrong time.  After this match he would only have two more matches in the WWE before leaving wrestling.

On this night even with the help of Daivari and the Shane Twins in black garb Hassan fell victim to the tombstone piledriver.

I took these pictures on a film camera back in the day and then took a picture of the picture with my camera phone to post them here.

December 10, 2005
Smackdown! Brand House Show, The Colisee, Lewiston, ME

The Undertaker vs. Randy Orton with "Cowboy" Bob Orton

This was the first time WWE ever had a show at this venue, also two days before this show I bought my first digital camera and sitting in the fourth row I got some great shots!  I went to this show alone, and it was a last minute decisions because two days later my buddy Rood and I went to Boston for Monday Night Raw.  I took these pictures.

This was a super fun show with a lot of great talent on the card.  Taker and Orton main evented in a very good match that saw Undertaker get the win after a tombstone piledriver.

On the way home I stopped at Burger King on the highway in Litchfield, I used to work there.  My camera battery was beyond dead so I have no proof however, I met Sylvain Grenier, Kid Kash, Steve Keirn, and Arn Anderson!

March 30, 2008
WrestleMania XXIV, Citrus Bowl, Orlando, FL

World Heavyweight Champion: Edge vs. The Undertaker

I attended this show with my buddies Jay & Rood, we bought Silver Packages from WWE as we had heard the rumor that this was going to be Ric Flair's final match and we didn't want to miss that.

You can read all about our adventures in these two posts: this first post was written in 2008 and posted on Facebook Note.  The second post was written a few years later for a different blog of mine.  You can read all about out travels down, the hotel, going to Universal Studios, a crazy bloody indy show, The Hall of Fame, and of course Mania itself.

This was an amazing night of wrestling, we had awesome seats, and it was a truly excellent adventure!  Taker's entrance was amazing!  The best one that I have experienced live complete with flames shooting 40 feet into the air!  Beyond words.

The match was the main event and it was well deserved.  The Undertaker captured the World Championship after submitting Edge.  This was win sixteen of his WrestleMania win streak.  I took these pictures from my seat.

November 23, 2008
Survivor Series, TD Garden, Boston, MA

Casket Match: The Undertaker vs. The Big Show

I attended this show with Rood, two PPV's in one year!  This show featured a dark match, three singles matches and three survivor series matches.  I am a strong believer that Survivor Series should be nothing but Survivor Series matches.

I enjoyed this show, but if I'm being honest when I sat down the write this I had remembered every Undertaker match except this one.  I remember this show and have talked about it often, I can recall every match except this match.

Undertaker got the win when the casket was standing upright and Taker irish-whipped Big Show into the open casket which fell over and the lid fell shut.  This is probably why I don't remember the match.  I took these pictures from my seat, there are more at the bottom of the post.

All in all I have seen the Undertaker wrestle live seven times.  His record is 6 - 1 with his only loss being by count-out.  I saw his win two casket matches, compete at two WrestleMania's and watched him win the World Heavyweight Championship.

If this is Taker's last year and if I never get to see him live again I'm okay with that.  I feel very fortunate that I got to witness Taker live several times and in some significant matches at that.

Thanks for reading, please leave a comment, read my other posts, and like my blogs Facebook page and while you're at it check out my weekly podcast The Wrestling Insomniac on the Nerdy Legion Podcast Network.

Until next time

Tuesday, April 7, 2020

Signed Trading Cards: Trevor Murdoch, Chris Dickinson, Anthony Greene, & More

Hello again and welcome to another post where I look at signed trading cards that I added to my collection.  I got all of these cards signed on February 22, 2020 at Limitless Wrestling: Practice What You Preach.

Trevor Murdoch
The card on the left is from the 2007 WWE Topps Action card set.  The card on the right is from Missouri Wrestling Revival card set released between 2010 - 2014.

"Dirty Daddy" Chris Dickinson
This card is from the Limitless Wrestling series 2 card set

"Retro" Anthony Greene
This card is from the Limitless Wrestling series 2 card set.  I think this is card 25 I have signed by AG.

Alex Hammerstone
This card is from the PCW Ultra set released in 2019.

"Smart" Mark Sterling
This card is from the Limitless Wrestling series 1 card set

Team Limitless...a work in progress
This card is from the Limitless Wrestling Series 2 card set, it features team Limitless from the December 2018 Limitless Wrestling vs. Blitzkrieg Pro show that was held in Connecticut.  Previously I had it signed by Ashley Vox, Danger Kid, & Ava Everett. At this show I added Anthony Greene, Aiden Agro, and Alexander Lee. I now just need to get it signed by Angel Sinclair.

Thanks for reading, please leave a comment, read my other posts, and like my blogs Facebook page and while you're at it check out my weekly podcast The Wrestling Insomniac on the Nerdy Legion Podcast Network.

Until next time