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  1. Accident Prone

    Review A Debut Gimmick Match

    Here's an idea for a thread! Review the match where a gimmick first debuted in a company. Here's some examples from the top of my head, but obviously you're not restricted to just them (they also might be wrong so don't use me as your source, Tilde); Elimination Chamber - Survivor Series 2002 TLC - Summerslam 2000 Hell In A Cell - In Your House: Bad Blood 1997 Buried Alive - In Your House: Buried Alive Falls Count Anywhere - WrestleMania 10 Dutchess Of Queensbury - Backlash 2001 First Blood - King Of The Ring 1998 Tables - Royal Rumble 2000 Last Man Standing - St. Valentine's Day Massacre 1999 Boiler Room Brawl - SummerSlam 1996 Royal Rumble - USA Network Special Jan 24th 1988 Inferno - Unforgiven 1998 Punjabi Prison - Great America Bash 2006 Casket - Survivor Series 1992 Dumpster - WrestleMania 14 For ease, if you fancy reviewing something, just post in the thread in order to call baggsys on it first, otherwise we might end up with repeat match reviews. Anyway, I'll kick us off with... Shawn Michaels vs Bret Hart, Ladder Match for the WWF Intercontinental Championship, 21/07/92 So unless someone unearths some rare house show match where this happened prior, according to several resource sites and documentations this is the first ever WWF ladder match. Yes, they were happening in Stampede and the NWA way before this, but this is the first on WWF soil. It was also a main selling point of the brilliant 'Smack'em, Whack'em' VHS tape, which haphazardly gave away the bloody ending on the front cover. They've made it a real dumb habit to do this occasionally and it's equal parts infuriating and baffling. Lets get on with the festivities then! Commentary consists of Gorilla Monsoon and....Alfred Hayes. Fuck. To offset that horrible combo, HBK has his far superior old school Sherri-led theme tune! Weird how he used this version for his initial heel run, as surely a woman singing about how great you are is more of a babyface move compared to having yourself singing about how great you are. Ah well, It's all shades of Nickelback I guess. Shawn is actually accompanied by Sherri too, looking fantastic as per. During Shawn's entrance, the camera makes sure to capture the WWF Universe. All right, own up; which one of you is this? The crowd noise is so piped in that it makes the 2K games feel natural. It's an awful production woe that WWE still uses regularly and it pisses me off to no end. People hate being lied to, and manufacturing a reaction kills any natural flow. But thank fuck for Bret, as he pops the crowd for real with a biiiiiiig back body drop! We're underway and it's not the fieriest of starts. Apart from the initial flurry, the audience is kind of indifferent to what's going on here. There's been no ladder play yet but the lack of holds or pinfall attempts, and maybe not yet knowing how these matches are structured, hasn't really got the crowd invested. Uh oh, Gorilla and Hayes get into some shady territory chatting about Sherri's boobs and Gorilla sounds disgusted by the idea. "She got a tattoo on her breast, Alfred! I'll show you on the next close-up!". Gorilla is not a big fan of the alternative lady, and attributes her style to her evil ways. Proper Facebook babyboomer, our Gorilla. Bret pops Shawn with an uppercut that gets the trademark HBK sell of death. Fucking lovely. Sherri distracts Bret on the outside and Shawn makes the first climb! Bret dashes back to the ring from the aisle to bring Shawn back down to the canvas in a lovely bit of business. Crowd is going ape shit now as Shawn almost got his manicured hands on the strap. The crowd now realise how easy it is to win the match, and it's got them deep. Bret tries climbing this time and Shawn brings him down, and now we've established the ladder match dynamic and the crowd is really into it after that soft start. And the first ladder-based offence in WWF history is....some gingerly placed shots to the gut. Hardcore. Shawn really gave it to Bret there, with about as much force as you'd place a newborn baby in your weird mate's arms. Still, in 1992 WWF it's the equivalent of Shawn smashing Bret with a barbwire baseball bat. But the first PROPER ladder bump is Bret taking the patented Hart Chest Compactor Corner bump into the ladder. It looks particularly devastating. "YES! YES! YES! OH YES!" -Sherri After some brief back-and-forth, both attempt to climb a couple of times more and this rabid crowd reaction appears genuine. Gorilla goes nuts when Shawn takes a tumble off the second step and the ladder topples onto him. Bret then takes control with a cracking clothesline from the second rope. What's great about this match is it's based around hurting your opponent then making the climb for the belt. Both men actually look like they want to win so everything they do is designed to incapacitate and give themselves enough time to set up the ladder and climb it. There's no fannying about; it's all action and there's always something going on. Now, I'll be honest; I fucking love ladder match spot fests. Fucking love them. Give me a bunch of creative people doing wild spots with ladders and you'll make me a fan for life. But they're very hard to pull off; if it looks too choreographed, then the resulting highspot best be absolutely spectacular to make up for it. However, matches like Bret vs Shawn, where it's two men battling for a prize and you can see that their intent is grab the championship belt instead of setting up improbable situations involving HomeBase's best, tend to be satisfying on an entirely anther level. Obviously though, the worst kind of ladder match, and the easiest to fuck up, are spot heavy one-on-one affairs, as they are usually way too long and drawn-out, and they take way too much suspension of belief with very little payoff. A great example of that being done well is Chri$ Ca$h vs Joker (CZW Cage Of Death 5); it's heavy on the spots, light on the selling but they go at a great pace and they build the crowd up to a fever pitch. Anyway, back on-topic, we get another first as Bret slingshots Shawn into the ladder and Shawn takes it beautifully! That looked so much better than most ladder bumps that you see today. Mainly because it's Shawn. Who would win a wrestling match, Shawn Michaels or God? Shawn? Nope! God!? Wrong, dickhead! Trick question. Shawn *IS* God. Bit of miscommunication afterwards as Shawn, Bret and Sherri mess up on a leg trip spot, but all three are total pros and you wouldn't even notice unless you were a total cunt like me. Even when recovering and trying the spot again, it looks better than most guys doing it right first time. Shawn also does this neat little irish whip where he tucks his head and shoulders under Bret's armpit in order to gather the momentum to chuck him off the ropes. You don't see that a lot these days. Bret is in trouble as Shawn hits the sweet chin...crescent kick! No reaction from the crowd on that one. Weird times in 1992. Shawn climbs but Bret hits a standing dropkick and Shawn takes the big bump to the outside. The people become unglued as Bret just climbs the ladder and grabs the title. No slow, step-by-step, 'my feet are made of 350kg weights', climbing here. Bret just popped right up and secured the belt. Really believable stuff. Cracking little match that sets the foundations for all future ladder-based affairs. Shawn and Razor would go on to do much better later on, but for a debut match type that 99.99% of the audience would be seeing for the first time, it was a home run.