Thanks to the glorious deathvalleydriver.com board for being the roundabout sponsor of this little shindig. I was lurking their “MISC Matches” thread and found myself engrossed in fan cam matches that I'd never seen! Here are some goodies I got during my cyber travels:
Dean Ambrose vs Triple H, Newcastle, England House Show , April 2016
Now I'm probably part of a minority group of fans that really liked the Roadblock match between these two. I felt like that match was very solid and tight, and therefore going into this match I had a fair degree of high hopes. While I feel this match was good, it wasn't at the level of the Roadblock match and part of that is due to time. This match clocks in shorter than the previous match and also doesn't have the added drama associated with a title match. Nonetheless, it feels strong thanks to a hot crowd for Ambrose. I also dug Triple H working Ambrose's arm for a good amount of the middle section of the match. My main critique here would be in regards to the pacing. So much of this match felt slow and not in a good way. Triple H also had some strange selling moments that took me out of it a bit. Ambrose seemed off also to be fair but that isn't to downgrade how utterly phenomenal I find him. This camera work is fucked also but that is to be expected with fan cams so boo hoo me! Matches like this make me wish Ambrose had that same flame he did back in 2009 when I was mesmerized by his insane shit in CZW. Ah, those were the days and now we get a half hearted copy of that man. I can't help but be fairly impressed with Haitch here though because as a 46 year old, he can go fairly well. Ambrose takes wicked bumps that make me both cringe and smile. Man, does Trips love that backdrop over the top spot from the Pedigree position? He does because it is something he can't fuck up...usually. I'm a sucker for Ambrose's standing elbow drop press thing. The final minute is really fascinating. ***
Charlotte vs Sasha Banks vs Becky Lynch for the WWE Women's Championship, Amsterdam, Holland, April 15th, 2016
So these three women stole WrestleMania. To me there wasn't even a competition between their match and most of that bullshit card and it says a lot that I've noticed most of the fans I respect saying the same thing. Just as I expected a lot based on previous meetings with Ambrose and Haitch, there was much more expected here from me. The early going is a foot race until Charlotte bows up and throws hands with her contenders. Charlotte gets the worst of the sequence and fucks off to the floor. Becky vs Sasha time! Charlotte decides nope and pulls Sasha outside. Charlotte is obsessed with staying away and right when I write that she decapitates Sasha with a big boot. Becky throws armdrags like hell on Charlotte and ends with an armbar. Charlotte has done well in evolving into her super bitch role. Charlotte does a gorgeous ode to her old man's corner bump to the apron and Sasha shit cans her in favor of Becky vs Sasha goodness. We get some good grappling between the two with flash roll ups. They does a very fun luchaesque roll up sequence where they just roll around like a ball but Charlotte don't play that shit and drops both women with LARIATOS~! Sasha plays Eddie with a so-so lucha armdrag spot from the corner. Becky fucks up and gets involved in a double knee drop in the corner by Sasha on both women. I love that move so vicious looking. We get Charlotte vs Sasha now. Sasha floats over with a headscissors into a straight jacket neckbreaker?! Jesus and Becky breaks a pin attempt. Charlotte thanks Becky with an odd backbreaker variation. Charlotte focuses on Becky while doing all she can to keep Sasha out of the equation on the floor. At one point Becky throws a European Uppercut that makes me happy. Standing Meteora by Sasha on Charlotte looks wonderful. Becky annihilates Sasha with a European! Man this is fun. Becky shitcans Charlotte with a T-Bone and we get more Sasha vs Becky. This match felt much more in sync than the Mania match did and that is a compliment. The sequence between Becky and Sasha in the final minute is a thing of beauty. Charlotte gets the W with her feet on the rope like papa. This match makes me want more! ***3/4
CM Punk, Triple H, and Randy Orton vs Chris Jericho, Dolph Ziggler, and Cody Rhodes, March 18th, 2012 in Madison Square Garden.
So browsing through YouTube for fan cams brought me this strange gem. This is during the build for Mania 28 so Punk is WWE Champion and Jericho is a douchebag. Triple H and Punk on the same side was something I just had to venture into. Punk vs Rhodes starts us off with Punk feigning a kick that makes Cody gather himself in the ropes like a little punk. Jericho tries to distract Punk for Cody but it fails. Punk wants Jericho so Cody tags him in. Jericho is very Living Legend Larry here by avoiding Punk at all costs with a quick tag to Ziggler. There's a fair amount of stalling by the heels early here because after a quick little sequence with Punk even Ziggler gets out of dodge. Orton comes into the fold against Rhodes and amps up some intensity. Regardless of your opinion of Orton, he's been fairly solid for some time. Orton and Rhodes have some pretty strong chemistry here. Just as the mood increases, in comes Triple H...and he pounds on Cody in the corner with lefts and rights. We get the usual Triple H high knee spot and some other basic Triple H offense. He actually does the Davey Boy delayed vertical suplex that makes me just want Davey doing it. Here comes the crotch chop knee drop. Yep it is totally the Triple H Greatest Hits here until Orton is tagged in to stomp the dogshit out of Cody. This is fun. Cody finally gets an elbow in and Jericho helps with a cheap shot from the apron on Orton. Cody prances around the ring while stomping Orton like a bitch. Jericho is in now commencing with the shit kicking. This match makes me daydream of the possibility of a trio with the heels here, they're such dicks. Alas, that would have led to them becoming cannon fodder for the faces though so we'll just float on to more of this match. Orton finds some daylight reversing a suplex and does his face crawl to his safe corner. Jericho ruins his day and cuts off Punk and Punk decides to run after his ass! They look to run all the way up the ramp now. Punk returns but Jericho is out of sight and the count is on. Jericho barely makes it and immediately takes it out on Orton. Orton reverses a shitty Jericho bulldog and Jericho's balls suffer. Rhodes comes in along with Punk who hits a springboard clothesline and the hot tag is official! Knee and bulldog combo like whoa. Sleepy sleep time but nope, Rhodes reverses but can't take advantage. Punk gets crotched on the turnbuckle by Jericho though and Rhodes decides he will win but no! Two only. Only when Punk is down is when we finally see Jericho vs Punk officially in this match. Ziggler is in now doing his dickhead schtick. Honestly this match feels pretty formulaic and not in the good way. I felt like there wasn't a lot of unique stuff happening here and that isn't surprising with it being a house show.
Ric Flair vs Roddy Piper, Worcester, MA February 24th, 1992.
This match is immediately awesome because:
1. This is a Champion vs Champion match with Roddy as IC Champion and Flair with the WWF title.
2. It's a cage match!
Flair starts off with a sucker punch and tries ending it early over the cage! Piper catches him and we get work on the top rope. Flair eats the cage and retreats. Piper proceeds to work on him now. Piper is the one throwing chops early on and Flair actually utilizes the eye rakes. Piper no sells the cage and Flair is scared to death! This is fucking awesome! This is a total example of a house show match that absolutely deserved major TV or Pay-per-view time. Flair is genius with his continual escape teases and at one point Flair gets all the way to the floor side of the cage! Piper grabs his hair to stop him and the crowd pops big while he wrangles him back in the ring. Both guys throw shots at each other at the top of the cage which is super fun. Piper gets over the side of the cage but Flair returns the favor in slinging him back into the ring. We get some chops exchanges and a shoulder tackle by Piper and both me go down. Both men climb over the cage to the floor! It looks to be a photo finish however and the ref says we must restart! Flair comes back in just to immediately go for the win again but Piper is smart to it. For me this is one of the better “WWF style” cage matches with escape rules. We get some cage door work now and it is awesome. Flair gets put to sleep by Piper and Piper slowly makes his way to the door. Piper gets the door slammed in his face by SOMEONE! I couldn't tell who it was, most likely Perfect since this is pre-Mania build. Flair goes over the cage but Piper is back up and wanting more fight. Both men fight towards the floor with Piper falling to the floor and getting the win to a massive ovation! This to me is the best Piper vs Flair match I've seen and a fantastic match in general. ****