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Stay At Home, Watch Wrestling: Vol. 9

By Joe Baiamonte, published on 1st June 2020

After a brief hiatus, SAHWW has returned, only this time with a slight twist. We’ve roped in some very special guests to provide the playlist for us today, in the form of the phenomenal 20×20 Apparel gang.

We’ve long been fans of 20×20’s work, whether it be their tees, caps, vests and pin badges to their outstanding podcast. They make us yearn for simpler times, when wrestling involved more armouries and closed circuit television and heels that fans actually wanted to kill.

Anyway, without further adieu, we will hand the baton over to 20×20 who have compiled a series of bangers for you to enjoy…

It started as a joke on our podcast (@20x20pod and www.20x20pod.com), but it soon found itself onto a t-shirt #stayhomewatchwrestling (Which can be found at www.20x20apparel.com with all profits going to No Kid Hungry.) While under the guidelines to stay at home, many people are doing things around the house, schooling their children… we are watching wrestling.

We are fortunate to have this platform with wrestlingtravel.org and their #StayAtHomeWatchWrestling series to bring to you a top five list, which we call the #fivecount, of some matches that you should be watching during your time at home. If you know us and our humor, we aren’t going with all Savage/Steamboat or Punk/Joe or Flair/Funk…. although all of those sound awesome and I am about to go watch them right now. But not after we give you a taste of some matches that we love and we want to share with the rest of you out there.

Some may be well-known to the masses, some may have fallen under the radar of the average fan. There is fun, there is seriousness, there is technical wrestling, there is blood… we run the spectrum with what makes wrestling great to us. The only rules are a) they have to be on youtube so I hope these links work and b) they are enjoyable to us. Sounds easy, let’s get to it.

MATCH #1

Mike Quackenbush vs Eddie Kingston (CHIKARA – 11/13/2011)

https://youtu.be/vTpyBVlatpw (Grand Championship Ceremony)

After 10 seasons of existence, Chikara finally set a tournament (The 12 Large Summit, named after the late Larry Sweeney) to crown their first singles champion. The tourney spanned numerous shows over many months and it came down to the student versus the teacher, King vs Quack, at their first iPPV. Chikara is great at long-term storytelling, so everyone could feel how special this match was shaping up to be.

Kingston comes into the match with a bad knee and Quackenbush targets it. For someone who is never ever a heel…. Quack pushes the boundaries here, doing whatever it takes to win. Even going back to previous matches in the tournament when it was apparent that Kingston was favoring his knee, Quackenbush was going after his opponents’ knees, again, with subtle story telling. And with years and years of Q always “being the bridesmaid and never the bride” in these tournaments, he finally won BOTB and TPI so it shows that when he gets in these situations now, he’s much more serious and focused on the victory at hand.

Tommy Dreamer and Jigsaw are out at ringside to start the match, but slowly more and more wrestlers of Chikara’s past and present make their way to watch the match from the front row. Emotions are running high as the match goes from submission-based to a fast-paced ending, with Kingston finally getting the victory and becoming Chikara’s first singles champion. The belt is presented to him by Larry Sweeney’s family and he cuts a great promo as only he can. 

Quack is one of the all-time best. That is not hyperbole, he is one of the best wrestlers ever. Everyone who has seen him knows it, yet I feel that he is criminally underrated. Hopefully if you are not familiar with him, this will spark you to do some more digging about him, or the greatness that lines the history of Chikara in general.

See also:

https://youtu.be/QnHgzOmDC_0 [Kingston asks Quack for a favor]

Eddie Kingston Promos

https://youtu.be/o690FN3vfDw – NWA Powerrr 

https://youtu.be/6cHefF4FmHg – Chikara “Grit and Glory”

Ok, we are ALREADY breaking rules. Nothing new. “Give us some matches you like,” they said. We are doing promos. “Make it a list of five,” they said. This is an honorable mention outside of those five. You can’t contain our nonsense!

If you don’t already know who Eddie Kingston is, you owe it to yourself to open up a new tab on your browser and toss “Eddie Kingston promo” into the search bar. Hopefully you are already watching him on NWA Powerrr. But we are giving you some examples here of what to expect. He can go in the ring, no doubt;  he’s not just a stick guy by any means. But the quote that always sticks with me… “Kingston is one of the top two promo guys in the business…. and he ain’t number two.” And here is proof. #madking #lastofadyingbreed

MATCH #2

Dennis Stamp, Grado & Dick Justice vs The Iron Curtain – (Absolute Intense Wrestling 2/20/2015)

There’s so much going on in this match. It’s everything we love about wrestling, all rolled into one match. This is Dennis Stamp’s first match in nearly 30 years! He finally got booked! Any fan of Beyond the Mat knows Dennis’s story and will love seeing him in the ring for what ultimately would be his last match before his passing in 2017. And Dennis was a house of fire when he got that hot tag. Crispy punches, clotheslines like it is 1982… I can only imagine how happy he was to be a part of this.

Also involved in the match are two of our close and personal friends, both of whom we have had the opportunity to talk to on our podcast. Gregory Iron plays the nasty heel as the leader of the Iron Curtain. Playing it straight in a comedy match is something that is so overlooked but necessary in a match like this. We like wall-to-wall nonsense as much or more than anyone else… but you need the seriousness to counter the funny, and then the magic begins. Greg has told numerous stories about this match, the promos leading up to it and the conversation he had with Dennis about the ending of the match and how Dennis wanted Greg to look strong, even in defeat. “You’re not a great disabled wrestler. You’re just a great wrestler,” is a quote from Dennis that Greg Iron still holds close to his heart to this day. Check out our two episodes with Greg (Ep.8 from April 2019 and Ep. 30 from April 2020).

And while you are finding those episodes with Greg on www.20x20pod.com or by searching “20x20pod” wherever you listen to podcasts, find our talk with the Supercop, Dick Justice (Ep.10 from August 2019), where he talks specifically about this match and what it was like working with Dennis. Who would have thought that we would pick a Dick Justice match where he wasn’t shooting someone.

And last but not least, you have a rare US indy appearance by Grado. If you have any of the same tastes in wrestling as we do, you know and love Grado. He had a nice run in TNA, he was profiled in Colt Cabana’s Wrestling Road Diaries 3 and now he’s.. an actor and the host of a morning show? I don’t know what’s going on there, but we know and love him as a great comedic wrestler with a legendary entrance to the ring. If you love Grado, you will love this match. And you spend the whole time figuring out why he is wearing Justice’s singlet… backwards.

Just enough nonsense in this match to not be too over-the-top. One of our favorites, no doubt.

See also:

https://youtu.be/xBtGFaa0idY [Grado’s entrance @ Shug’s Hoose Party]

https://youtu.be/2OB2BMU8kqc [Dick Justice/ Colt Cabana – “Put the Gun down”]

https://youtu.be/2gOJkXsBFE8  [Dennis Stamp on “Beyond the Mat”]

https://youtu.be/eczrtvHVOIY [Gregory Iron vs Vader]

MATCH #3

Cactus Jack vs Shoji Nakamaki (IWA – 8/20/1995)

Let’s go from comedy to hardcore, the funny to the bloody. You’ve probably heard about the King of the Death Match tournament in Japan, the famous Kawasaki Dream. Maybe you had the elusive tape back in the late 90s. Or maybe you bought the shirt on 20×20 Apparel that is modeled by Allysin Kay. And if you have seen it, you probably saw the finals of the tourney. But did you watch any other matches? That’s what we are here for. That… and to shamelessly plug ourselves.

This pick is two-fold from us. Historically, Mick Foley is in the upper-echelon of wrestlers of our time, if not of all time. His run from ECW to WWF is right in the heart of most of our childhood and teen years. Those Japanese years were always so elusive until we all got into tape trading (this was pre-You Tube, kids). You saw them in magazines but once you saw the matches, it was mind-blowing. And it’s not like this match in particular is a classic. Punches in the corner, baseball dropkick into the barbed wire, some brawling… no crazy spots (other than the Cactus Elbow off the apron which…. gave me chills as I just rewatched this match). It’s the history and nostalgia that makes this match great. Not to beat that drum, but they didn’t need 1000 light tubes or an 80 foot fall. They had a few gimmicks to use, they used them effectively, told a story and Foley survived to go onto the finals later that evening.

And now…. We potentially lose the audience. Or at least split them.

Speaking of tapes that circulated….. Have you ever seen Stranglemania? Yes, Stranglemania. It is a tape of Japanese death matches, mostly from this tournament, and it has dubbed commentary from the Insane Clown Posse. It’s a precursor to $5 Wrestling and it’s in the line of MST3K. It’s brilliant. I don’t think you have to be a Juggalo to find it entertaining. But for us…. This was gold. It still is gold. I remember very vividly seeing this VHS tape in the store with my buddy. We bought it and went home to start watching, where this match was the first match on the tape. During the spot where Nakamaki falls out of the ring and into the spikes, my buddy says, “Is this real?!?” Oh baby. This may have been my first dip into the water of hardcore wrestling, and I was hooked. But mostly I was hooked on ICP.

The historic nature of this tournament is enough reason to watch this match. But it holds a special place in the hearts of all Juggalos as well. No matter what side of the #ICP4HOF debate you stand on, you should find enjoyment in this match. Whether you recognize it as Foley vs Nakamaki or Cactus Sac vs Lama Namaneumi, we hope that you enjoy it a much as we have for all of these years.

See also:

https://youtu.be/-7CqAwtajKk [Stranglemania]

https://youtu.be/Kr57tR3n2F8 [Foley as “Cactus Sac” in Big Money Hustlas]

MUSIC VIDEO BREAK

https://youtu.be/05fBx35_Rbc [If You Only Knew]

We can’t have all matches and promos. Let’s take a break and have something that mixes some of our favorite things – a music video…. to an 80’s wrestling song…. using LJNs. If they had iphones and YouTube when we were kids, we’d be doing things like this.

MATCH #4

Briscoe Brothers vs Motor City Machine Guns (ROH – 4/28/2007)

We poured over a ton of matches to put in this slot. We wanted to hit some bulletpoints for our list as a whole and this one checks all of the boxes. Great era of Ring of Honor. A classic tag match. Two of our favorite teams in an era of GREAT indy teams. On a night that was focused on Colt Cabana’s last match before moving to OVW, this match stole this show with what could be the Match of the Year in ROH, if not all of wrestling.

This is the height of Jay and Mark Briscoe ruling the roost in ROH. Mark is just coming back from an injury here, but he’s still throwing caution to the wind. And you have the outsiders, the TNA team, the guys who have been in ROH for years and are now making their way back –  the Detroit boys, Alex Shelley and Chris Sabin.The story being told is that the Guns aren’t under contract so they have to win to establish their spot in ROH. Truth be told, TNA started pulling their contracted workers off of other shows right after this, so it was a rare treat to see them in ROH for awhile, but every time was a banger of a match.

Weird dynamic here as there are no defined heels or faces. Usually, we don’t think that’s a huge deal, especially in this “You’re both awesome” era of ROH, but it does help a tag match structure to have those roles. But hey, when you have two of the best teams doing what they do, that’s out the window. Both teams go all out, trading the advantage multiple times with numerous near-falls before the champs finally retain and send the Murder City Machine Guns packing.

If you like this match, you will LOVE the rematch they had in 2008. You could have a random generator of these two teams, Hero/Claudio, Steen/Generico, Age of the Fall and the Young Bucks and whatever match pops out from this era, you will enjoy. Hell, I will take any of those teams wrestling each other today too. I also noticed as I watched this match back for the first time in forever…. For being known as two great tag teams, you have two World Champions in this match with Jay as a future ROH champ and Sabin as a future TNA champion. Somehow, a major singles title has evaded Shelley to this point and neither team has risen to the WWE-level. With Sabin working backstage at Impact and Shelley putting wrestling on the backburner, we may never see MCMGs on Mondays, Wednesdays or Fridays… but through the wonder of our lists and YouTube, you can always witness their greatness in the ring

See also:

https://youtu.be/vnzOZBtyP8Y [Briscoes aren’t Cosmetically Pleasing]

https://youtu.be/2bGuPwvJNPg [Briscoes – We Don’t Dance]

https://youtu.be/chb8DjmjnCY [Alex Shelley teaching Kevin Nash the X Division]

MATCH #5

Judge Hugo vs Marion Fontaine  (Olde Wrestling – 4/29/2016)

Olde Wrestling is less wrestling and more performance art. If you have never seen it…. Olde is wrestling set in the 1920s, with dvd releases usually in black and white and shows that are full of nonsense. If you’re a wrestling fan and you have a friend or significant other who doesn’t want to get dragged to a wrestling show….. This is the one to take them to. It is very much in the vein of Chikara, just….. more gimmicky, if that’s possible? There is enough fun for the whole family and enough action and familiar names (err… faces, maybe not names) that you will recognize and love.

This match in particular sees the dastardly Judge Hugo Black taking on the gentleman pugilist Fontaine. Over the years, the judge has tried to stop the flow of alcohol through the area, usually to the dismay of the good people of Olde. Recently, he was bodyslammed and claimed that it caused him to be paralyzed, thus confined to the wheelchair. Legit injury or a way to get out of a future match? That’s for you to decide. That judge looks like someone who has put his body through a lot more punishment than just a bodyslam…. I can’t put my finger on it though. So familiar….

You can classify all of Olde as “comedy” wrestling, but this is a step above. Great job by both RS— err, Hugo and Fontaine to incorporate the wheelchair into the match. Not something you see everyday in wrestling…. Nor is anything you will see at Olde. Hopefully when they are able to travel again, we will get them back here in our backyard of Detroit, at the Detroit City Distillery’s Whiskey Factory. Danhausen was scheduled to have a title shot against wrestling’s longest reigning champion, Matthew Cross. Stay tuned for that rescheduled date in the near future.

See also:

https://youtu.be/NePtnmxcrXI [Grapplereel News – Hugo in a Wheelchair]

https://youtu.be/gr7RK56ZwQ4 [Heidi the Riveter prepares for Kimber Lee]

ONE LAST CLIP… or TWO

And before we go… maybe you have been watching the Last Dance documentary on ESPN about the Chicago Bulls. We should be watching the NBA Playoffs right now…. So we leave you with two clips to help you get through this tough time as basketball fans.

https://youtu.be/TCwGn-3DUrw [Yokozuna playing basketball]

https://youtu.be/v8JHoywBdHQ [NWA vs Charlotte Police basketball game, 1988]

We would like to thank WrestlingTravel for bringing this idea to the light of day. Hopefully we can do this again sometime! There are so many more matches and wrestlers that we would love to share with you… there just isn’t enough time in the day, even in a pandemic! So let WT know that you want more of us and we will come back for another volume of nonsense.

You can find us all over the web. Please visit www.20x20apparel.com and www.20x20pod.com. Search “20x20pod” wherever you listen to podcasts and look for our logo. Follow us on all social medias (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram) – all at @20x20apparel and @20x20pod. Tell us what you thought of any and all of these matches, promos and wrestlers. We hope that you learned something about a particular wrestler or promotion that you hadn’t seen before, and hopefully your day has been a little brighter because you watched some wrestling.

By Joe Baiamonte, published on 1st June 2020
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