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Review a match you didn't like


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Yeah, a review a match thread. Doesn't have to be thousands of words, just entertaining. Which I might fail at on the first post and the thread will die!


Find a match you didn't like and watch it again. Review it and let us know if you've changed your mind, you still feel the same, it's not as bad as you thought or it's worse!


Ideally, it'd be a match that you didn't enjoy but other people do but it can be any match you fancy finding out if it really was that bad.


I'll start off with a really divisive match: Bret Hart © vs. Shawn Michaels - WrestleMania 12


Intro: I'm not a fan of this match. It might be the most disappointed I've ever been in anything in my life. I've never watched it back, in full, since 1996. I'm almost certain, this is only my second ever viewing of the whole thing although I've seen bits of it since.


This is the first WWF match I can remember a ref reading out instructions, Boxing style. I can't remember one since come to think of it. Earl Hebner's yap is boring and overly long. Jees, I hope that's not an omen.

Everyone's familiar with HBK's entrance. I love that the Fink announces him as normal over Jose Lothario walking out alone in his mad jumper while all the first time viewers go "What the fuck is this?". Bret gives his 6 year old son, Blade, his glasses. Blade will now be 26. Twenty-six. Because this match was 20 years ago. And we're all fucking old.

The bell rings and there is a period of feeling out, or so you think. 5 mins in, the mat wrestling kicks into a series of quick reversals, but quickly reverts to a headlock and front facelock. Lawyer is trying to sell them but as they never normally bothered back then so it's just not something you buy into. After 9 mins of feeling out, Vince says "Both individuals are pacing themselves". No shit sherlock. The front three rows are looking bored already. One guy yawns, another plays with his camera and another shows his friend something. That I'm even watching the crowd says how dull this is.

On 10 mins, Bret elbows HBK in the chest in the corner before Shawn responds with big forearm. These are the first strikes, there are hardly anymore for 20 mins. Breat is head-scissored to the outside before he takes it back to mat. He then throws HBK over the top but he skins the cat, catches Bret completely by surprise and ... just takes him to the mat again.

Lawler's great in this match. Stu Hart is shown at ringside and Lawler says you've seen Nacho and Huckster in geriatric wrestling, Stu Hart and Jose Lothario would be Jurassic wrestling.

Quarter of an hour in and, fuck me, we get a spot! Bret lands on the time keeper's lap. You've got to watch this, he just sits on him like musical chairs and the time keeper sells it like he's dead. Bret's then avoids a superkick and the time keeper eats it. Now he's fucking dead.

It's soon back on the mat with HBK getting the upper hand. McMahon sells surprise that HBK is hanging with Bret and even frustrating him. It's clear to see what they were going for here but it's just so lifeless that it's a swing and a miss. On 24 mins Bret goes shoulder first into the ring post. HBK shows some aggression and posts his arm. He then hits his original finisher - the shoulder breaker of doom. Lawler says he thought Michaels would be jumping about like a Mexican jumping bean. Didn't we all.

Another great Lawler line follows as he asks if Michaels gave lothario one of his five Slammys the previous night. When McMahon confirms it, he says "That'll be in a pawn shop in Tijuana tomorrow".

HBK continues to work the arm methodically. It's so out of character that despite McMahon's constant selling, it just doesn't work. The crowd pop for Bret dropping HBK throat first on the ropes. They're just delighted to see anything other than a fucking rest hold.

Nearly half way and Bret takes over on offence. An atomic drop (gasp), clothesline (gasp) and bulldog (gasp). HBK hits a sweet powerslam in response before tasting Bret's beautiful piledriver. Finally, moves you might actually get a pin off waken the crowd a bit. Lawler's protecting his move asking in shock "How do you kick out of a piledriver, McMahon?"


The first half has been a bust but surely they've saved enough energy to now have a proper match? Here's hoping. The first (only?) tease of sweet chin music is followed by a big cross body off the top to the outside. Bret recovers before the count, gets back in and rolls through another crossbody for the first genuine near fall after 34 mins. Couple of mins later and a huge backdrop over the corner post on HBK sends the cameraman spiralling. Great spot. McMahon "guesses" Bret might do something dastardly and shockingly he's right! Bret posts HBK back, the crowd applauds.

Twenty mins left and Bret is in control now, working over Shawn's back with strikes, kicks, elbows and a back breaker. It has impact and is going somewhere. You can feel a bit of momentum. This is what was missing earlier. No-one's buying armbars from a guy who's never submitted anyone. Bret hits a back suplex off the top rope. Sold beautifully. Shawn takes another big back bump with his Ric Flair corner spot and lands on Lothario on the outside. The crowd cheers. Rightly so, what a fucking albatross Jose was. Whoever thought it was a good idea for the new poster boy to hang around with a pensioner wants a barbed wire baseball shot to the tadger.


HBK is thrown into the steps and Lothario takes another bump. Sadly not a career ender. Bret comes up with a belly to belly suplex. It's so methodical at this point though. Lacking in any tempo. I understand why they're selling tiredness after almost 50 mins but realistically, they've done fuck all. The whole point of the match is to put them over as a pair of iron men but that hasn't come across at all.


49 gone and a german suplex with bridge from Bret is absolutely beautiful. There's a brief slugfest with HBK fighting from the floor. Michaels signals "just bring it". Lawler reads it but McMahon insists HBK is done. Great sell, not. Eight to go and the crowd are still waiting for the drama to build to a crescendo. Instead, Bret's got HBK in a camel clutch. There's no semblance that they're trying to win it, it's just holds. It's especially baffling considering we all know Bret's routine. So far there's only been a Russian legsweep.

You know what this match really doesn't need with seven left and the crowd waiting for the finishing sequence? A mother-fucking double clothesline. At least no-one says it's the irrestable force meeting he immovable object. It's followed by a decent top rope superplex and then Bret fails to put on the sharpshooter. First time he's tried since very early on. Bret grabs a single leg Boston crab instead but the crowd don't buy it as a finish and there's barely a murmur. This audience isn't daft. They're waiting for finishing moves, especially with time running out. The ones who are still awake anyway. During the rest holds, I've been looking out for amusing crowd activity, funny signs, etc, but there isn't any. They're so fucking bored.

Only four mins left and HBK kicks into gear. Bret takes his turnbuckle chest bump followed by HBK's flying forearm and a Rockers' back elbow after a kip up. Shawn hits the top rope elbow and it's a fucking beauty for a near fall that the crowd still don't buy. With 30 seconds left on the clock Bret avoids (presumably) a missile dropkick and locks in the sharpshooter. The crowd spring into life but this little bit of drama is too little, too late. The bell rings, Bret is given his belt and with no fanfare he wanders off down the aisle.

But wait, there's more. That cunt Monsoon steps in to screw Bret iwth some sudden death overtime. Bret isn't happy but he does come back to the ring straight away like the classy baby face he is. McMahon keeps saying Roddy Piper made the overtime decision. Maybe he was on the coke that night.

The dispicable actions of whoever the authority figure actually is affects Bret's focus and our hero eats a superkick outta nowhere. Shawn can't make the cover. A second kick follows and that's the lot. Bret walks off pissed but doesn't gob on anyone or write "WCW" in the air. The director focuses on his son again and he's singing HBK's theme. Glorious moment.


McMahon delivers his "A boyhood dream has come true" line that you've heard a million times and I turn off the Network feeling the same disappointment I felt in the spring of 1996.

Summary: I didn't get this match at the time and I still don't. The first half so, so, so deathly dull. I get what they were going for, with HBK bringing a different game plan than Bret expected, but it doesn't work at all because it's boring as fuck and no-one is buying it. The 28 minutes of mat wrestling and grabbing a body part is about 23 minutes too long. Were all those fabled one hour matches in the territory days like this? God forbid.

I don't think the match showcases HBK as the new champion either. It's not an exhibition of the athleticism, energy and bottle that were his redeeming qualities. It's an hour bore that he wins controversially. I get there were egos involved but this should have been so much better. Even if they insisted on ending 0-0, the last 20 minutes could have been action packed but it never got out of second gear. Lawler is great on commentary. He's the MVP in the match and the only redeeming feature besides the time keeper getting booted, that beautiful German and a top rope elbow that Randy Savage would have been proud of.

Last year I watched the TOWER OF DOOM back. That's a shit match that destroys half the heels in an entire company but it's better than watching this match. At least something happens. Some of it hilariously bad, granted but it has a sense of inanity and fun that's absent from this massive turd. I'd rather watch that every day than ever watch this again. A run-in from the YETAY would have livened this bastard up no end.


Verdict: As bad as I recalled.

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Set the bar pretty high there, Rick. You recount the match exactly as I remember it and while for certain parts I understand the story they wanted to tell, in a way, it did not make for entertainment. If you watch the highlight package for the match it looks like the highlights of one of the best 30 minute matches you might have ever seen, and that's what it should have been, because spread out for 60, it doesn't work. There will be plenty of people that think no wrestling match should go 60 minutes before a single decision - personally I disagree, but this match was not the match for dispelling that. And the finish was garbage.


I'm back at the family home this weekend with hundreds of tapes at my disposal so I'll have a think and pick out something I can't stand for a watch tomorrow. Spoiled for choice really. I * do * have an awful lot of WCW.....

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I have gone for the option of "finding out if it really was that bad" and I've chosen to watch and review SCG's choice for the worst PPV match of all time, Jenna Morasca vs. Sharmell from TNA Victory Road 2009.


0:35. I'm already confused. Someone called Sojo Bolt has come out. She's in the corner of Sharmell but gets her own entrance. I don't remember who she is. Sharmell's trainer or something.


1:00. TNA's music for Booker T was an utter rip off! 


1:33. Sharmell's wearing an evening gown. She's not wrestling in that, is she? Don West's trying to explain the backstory of the match but it's to do with the Main Event Mafia so it doesn't make a lot of sense.


1:42. Did the Main Event Mafia have their own little hand signal thing? Sharmell keeps doing it. It looks rubbish.


1:45. Jenna gets quite a big pop!


1:50. No, wait, that was for Awesome Kong, who also gets her own entrance.


2:46. Jenna's music is terrible! Her walk down to the ring is a little ungainly. I think she's trying to swagger but isn't quite pulling it off. The leopard print outfit was also a bad choice.


2:55. Gratuitous bum shot.


3:08. The gratuitous bum shot just ended. 13 seconds of Jenna's bum. TNA! TNA! TNA!


3:20. It looks like she's wearing a wig.


3:37. The two corner women are hyping up their charges, but the camera's back on Jenna's bum. She's not Stacy Keibler or anything, it should be pointed out, but someone at TNA's a fan.


3:42. Bum shot ends, the match begins! Here we go!


4:07. After 20 seconds of circling each other with their hands on their hips, Jenna does a little twerky thing and points to her bum. Sharmell will indeed be wrestling in the gown.


4:15. Lockup! Sharmell gets the early advantage with a Nakamura-esque knee to the gut. She follows it up with a club to the back of the neck that would have made Demolition proud.


4:30. She tries for a jumping slap, but Jenna reverses her into the ropes and Sharmell comes back with a … well, she sort of threw her down face first by the hair. They don't have a name for that!


4:37. Stomping a mudhole! They must teach you that in Texas.


4:42. One minute in and the match has devolved to the rolling-around-hair-pulling-head-beating thing that they do in cat fights.


5:02. Jenna runs the ropes, in a sense, and is met with an elbow so stiff she just crumples to the floor. She may be out cold.


5:07. Nah, she's fine, she just forgot how to bump I think. 


5:31. It's been all Sharmell so far. Camel Clutch applied! Or is that the Steiner Recliner? Maybe he taught her that in the Main Event Mafia! Submission manoeuvre!


5:41. Submission had been applied in the centre of the ring, nowhere for Jenna to go, she looked to be in pain, no escape. So Sharmell lets it go after 10 seconds. I don't know why.


5:55. Both women's running of the ropes has to be seen to be believed. It's indescribable. Jenna just hit a cross body that'd make Steamboat think twice for a two count.


6:25. Sharmell's standing on her hair now. I should say at this point, the referee for the match is Earl Hebner. Oh how the mighty, etc.


6:42. The hair pulling is still going on. The crowd have turned. I genuinely can't believe this match has only been going on for three minutes. It feels like forever.


7:00. Two guys in the crowd are clapping along. Jenna hits what the announcers call a jawbreaker, reaches to run Sharmell into the ropes but can't quite get her hand so Sharmell reaches out to her for it, Sojo Bolt trips up Jenna and Kong chases her which the crowd likes.


7:11. Double team on Jenna, who I guess is the babyface here? Just realised they hadn't actually established that yet.


7:42. Close up on Sharmell slapping Jenna in the - can you call it a corner in the six sided ring? - anyway, it doesn't connect at all, it doesn't even look close.


7:51. Jenna on the rampage! You know those flurries of strikes that AJ Styles or Hideo Itami do? Forget those. This is like if you hold your arms in front of you, bent at the elbow, and relax your lower arms, and let them swing as gently as you can from side to side. Try it. That's Jenna's rampage right there.


7:54. The crowd are booing.


7:57. SPEAR! SPEAR! SPEAR! I think it was a Spear, it's hard to tell, they might have just accidentally run into each other!


8:00. She's now mounted Sharmell and using those powerful arm attacks, seems to be playing a game of patty cake. Like a toddler playing with a toy drum.


8:03. Ground and pound! Not really, it's the rolling-around-hair-pulling thing again.


8:16. They roll over Earl Hebner. Comedy! Jenna is now blatantly choking Sharmell. And I mean blatantly, she's got both hands wrapped around her throat.


8:35. She's ripped out a clump of Sharmell's hair in the process. I don't know how to feel.


8:45. As we hit the five minute mark, Sojo climbs the turnbuckle but Sharmell runs into her for some reason and she falls backwards to the floor where I think Kong was meant to catch her but she sort of just sailed past and landed with a thump on the ground. I don't understand.


8:58. Kong's put Sharmell's hair down her top, presumably for safekeeping.


9:11. Kong pulls her clump back out again because Sharmell wants it back. They tease it, and tease it, and then Kong hits Sharmell in the face and she flies back like Scott Hall taking a Stunner.


9:29: Jenna twerks her way down onto Sharmell's prone body, rubs her crotch in her face for a bit, then sits on her chest for the world's slowest three count, eerily reminiscent of Sharmell's husband's loss at WrestleMania XIX. At the 5 minute and 47 second mark, this match is over. There's still another minute and a half left on the Youtube video but I don't know if I can face it.


10:40. I'm glad I did. Jenna slapped Kong so Kong crushed her.


11:00. The end.



Well, that's eleven minutes of my Saturday I'm not getting back. Not as bad as I thought? Sadly, no. It really is that bad. In fact, it's worse. SCG was right!

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At least you get the giggle of Morasca's flange falling out during her entrance. Meltzer gave it an extra quarter star for that.


As they said on WrestleCrap ; "Sharmell’s reaction was the same as mine. And she only saw it from Jenna’s front side. I can only assume that she was able to look right down Jenna’s throat and see daylight out the other side."

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I wanted to contribute to this, and to prepare for the Monday Night War Timeline podcast for May-June 98 later this week, I stumbled across a match that absolutely needs to be discussed here.


Steve "Mongo" McMichael Vs. Stevie Ray, June 22nd 1998 on WCW Nitro.


Just look at that match on paper. Envision it. Then realise somebody thought this was the match to put out in a heated ratings war.


Just for some context, this was an extension of the Booker/Benoit Best of Seven Series, with Benoit giving respect to Booker and saying he was always happy to back him up, which Stevie Ray took personally, and Mongo appeared to back Benoit, leading to this classic.


We get the ball rolling with Harlem Heat's music, which seems to energise the Florida crackers (TM Terry Funk), who burst into that "raise the roof" gesture that was all the rage at the discotheques at the time. Then Stevie Ray walks out, and the excitement in the air gets cut in half.


Mongo rocks up to the Horsemen music circa-96, as the camera cuts to various fans holding 4 fingers aloft and screaming "Whoo!". It should be noted that WCW was suing Ric Flair for $2 million at the time, and he was off television, countersuing them.


The bell rings, and the two men lock-up, which is sadly the third best executed move of the match. Not even kidding.


The two begin exchanging punches, and in an ominous sign, the two are unable to even do this correctly, as time stands still seconds in, with Mongo arching his neck as if expecting a punch from Ray which never comes. The fans respond by chanting "We Want Flair!"


Stevie fires off a forearm, and Mongo takes a back bump while screaming like he's been thrown off the roof of Cobo Hall. Just hilarious.


The two gladiators return to their feet, at which point they begin to forgo punches and get technical. To the surprise of nobody, it's bloody awful. Stevie Ray quite literally grabs Mongo's arm and wraps it around his own neck and feeding his back (perhaps looking to debut the Ipponzei judo takedown he's been working on in the Power Plant), and Mongo, having no fucking idea what Stevie is trying, and it really is a mystery, just decides "fuck it", and goes back to the clubberin'.


After this appalling attempt to liven up the action, Mongo decides to try a superkick, a devastating blow that hits Ray directly in the funny bone, no doubt an attempt to give him that tingly feeling you get in your fingers that can be a real bother. Stevie crumples to the mat with all the conviction and impact of Jenna Morasca years later in TNA. Perhaps due to severity of the attack and the possible need to call the trainer in, they cut to commercial.


We're back, and sadly the match continues, with Stevie Ray ripping off his brother's arm wringer/back kick combination, and doing it half as well. Tony Schiavone tactfully picks this moment to talk about Harlem Heat, calling them "a pair of mega athletes", right as Stevie Ray performs a legdrop that looks like a fat kid slipping in dog shit.


The crowd, which is in either quiet awe or silently dejected with how they chose to spend their money this evening, is further entertained as ring general Stevie Ray hits a chinlock. Guess he needed to calm them down. Shockingly it doesn't work, as they seem to grow restless, murmuring amongst themselves. Mongo rallies up, firing a couple of elbows to the gut, but Ray waffles him with a forearm to the back of the head that Mongo sells in such preposterous fashion I may struggle to do it justice, but here goes. Ray hits the forearm to the back of the head, and Mongo's response is to shoot his head and body straight up, wide eyes, like a dog if somebody grabbed his balls from behind, then stumbling towards the ropes like a drunk man told to walk in a straight line. By the time he sinks to the corner, he may well be out cold legit.


But wait. Mongo is fighting back. So much for building the heat and the comeback. Mongo just decided that the crowd needed something, and opted to batter Ray with sloppy kicks, campy forearms and a knee to the face. In credit to Mongo, his punches (and there are a lot of them in this match) don't look half bad, and surpass the lock-up so far as the best looking thing on display.


Mongo then makes me eat those words with an attempted forearm/clothesline that "forced" Stevie through the ropes in a bump slower that continental drift. The action goes to the floor, and Mongo takes a fucking header into the steel steps in the single best moment of the match. He went for it.


Mongo is back in, and Stevie Ray goes for a steel chair, knocking over the timekeeper in the process. "It's okay, it's just Penzer", says Heenan on commentary.


But before Stevie gets to use the chair, Chris Benoit himself runs in, managing to get his baby arms high enough to grab the steel chair out of Ray's hands as he swings it overhead. The referee stands there as this third man has entered the ring and grabbed a chair, watching. Booker T saunters in and takes the chair from Benoit as he moves towards Ray, and tosses the chair out the ring. The ref observes, making no decision. Stevie moves towards Booker. Benoit moves towards Mongo. We have the makings of a stand-off, until Booker and Stevie just get out the ring. What!?!


The bell slowly rings. The match ends. Mongo's hand is raised. The crowd, which cheered Mongo in his entrance, now aims a chorus of dissatisfied boos in his general direction. As Harlem Heat walk down the steps and up the aisle, the crowd breaks back into another chant of "We Want Flair!"


This was awful. It was everything it said on the tin, with the added bonus of not even attempting a semblence of an actual finish. It was like two slow kids having a barney in the playground until the parents came to break it up. In all, this went nine minutes and twenty-nine second. Steve McMichael. Stevie Ray. Nine and a half minutes. No finish.


Nitro lost that week.

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Tony Schiavone tactfully picks this moment to talk about Harlem Heat, calling them "a pair of mega athletes", right as Stevie Ray performs a legdrop that looks like a fat kid slipping in dog shit.

I was stifling the laughter until this bit. Great stuff.

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Triple H v Roman Reigns Mania 32...


The match was exactly what they would have wanted to happen the year before but had to abort. This time they thought fuck it lets go for it...


The fact the event had been on so long and that no one wanted this to end without a heel turn, interference or a surprise twist ...all this coupled with the bland, Roman wins and thats that ending makes it one of my least favourite matches in recent memory. So much potential, a mania main event and they utterly fucked it.

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Ric Flair vs Ricky Steamboat – Clash of the Champions VI – 2nd April 1989 The Star Wars of the wrestling world… the trilogy of the 80s… Flair vs Steamboat has been credited by a number of wrestlers as being a huge influence on their choice of profession. Out of all of their matches I found this the most hideously tedious! 


This match was almost an hour (around 54:00 in duration) and though it was a great performance from a technical perspective I tend to feel that I only rated it at the time of first watching because I am supposed to rate it highly. 


Both stars showcase classic 80s style wrestling at it’s best, trading hold for hold and move for move – Steamboat taking the early advantage locking on a headlock and continually going back to the move. The question is... do you like 80s style wrestling? For the 'golden' era of wrestling is can be mighty dull in places. The promotion could have chopped off about 20 minutes from the beginning and it would have sat better with me.


That said the final ten minutes were red hot, a great crowd and back and forth pin attempts. Flair has always been marmite for fans… personally I tend to find his whole routine tiresome;  his legendary status doesn’t hold up on some viewings years after the matches took place. Steamboat however is a stunning performer, the classic babyface in peril. He is one of the best to study the art of ‘selling’ an injury and this was a prime example of selling exhaustion and pain.


So basically, I can appreciate the level of skill involved in this match but it went on for way too long and was hindered by my blind dislike for Flair - who I tend to believe is one of the most overrated performers in the business. If I were a Flair fan I probably would love this but Steamboat does not have enough of the character  that makes me care if he wins. 


I didn't want to bore you with the 'move for move' style review - I don't get the need - but thought I would highlight my issues with 80s Flair! 

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I watched Undertaker & Kane vs. Kronik - Unforgiven 2001.


First time I've ever seen it back. Only watched it because it came up on an SCG podcast and got me wondering if it was really as bad as I recall. In truth, it wasn't. The first half isn't that bad. It's mainly Kronik getting heat on the Undertaker but it's reasonable stuff. Kronik look the business in their barbed wire gear which is more than you can say for Stevie Richards with his jet black Elvis hair cut. He looks a right cunt.


Brian Clark particularly looks decent and while there aren't too many great moves, the match is OK. A lot of punches and kicks but hardly out of the ordinary for WWF at the time.


About half way through, kronik start to look a bit blown up. There's a terrible spot where kane whips Clark into the turnbuckle and stands waiting for the sidewalk slam but Clark is just so slow come back. Then the memorable cry of "Feed" from Taker as Adams is too slow to take the punches to make his comeback look hot. Adams cuts him off towards the end with a horrible looking jawbreaker. Otherwise it's not that bad. Certainly not for the level of infamy it has and the immediate sacking of Kronik. It wasn't any worse that Taker's main event stuff the spring of the following year.


Not that the world was mourning the sacking of Brian Adams. I'm a Kona Crush-aholic and always have been but otherwise, that guy was employed way too long in too prominent a position.

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