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WWE Vintage Collection 09/07/2011

Once again Vintage Collection starts off with the legend ‘Mean’ Gene Okerlund welcoming us to the conclusion of the look back at the cruiserweights and high-flyers of sports entertainment.

First match brings us to the dying days of WCW for a 4 corners match from January 2001. We have Elix Skipper vs. Shannon Moore vs. Yang vs. Jamie Knoble taking on each other in this awesome cruiserweight match. I’ll always miss the passion and pride the WCW cruiserweights had. They knew they made WCW a huge part of what it was and it was great WCW actually gave them the time they deserved to showcase the skills and guts involved.

Match #1 – Elix Skipper vs. Shannon Moore vs. Yang vs. Jamie Knoble January 2001

The match starts out with fast paced action that we’ll probably never see from WWE unless it’s a spotfest. ‘Primetime’ Elix Skipper seems to be taking control in the beginning of the match. It’s refreshing to see how great Jamie Knoble actually was. I don’t think he ever really had the opportunity in WWE to live to his full potential. Between Yang and Knoble this match gets its fair share of sentons and moonsaults to the outside. Knoble hits Yang with a sick tombstone piledriver on the outside of the ring, while Skipper and a young Shannon Moore entertain in the ring. Shannon hits a wild top rope fame-asser type move on Knoble for the win. I can’t believe how horrible Shannons music was. Backstreets crap, oh yeah!    ***Note to self…interesting to see a WCW ref allowed to have red hair. It must just be Vince who hates gingers.

Oh how to I miss the WCW cruiserweights. It was so great to see a whole division get that much time and get that much hype. That WCW Cruiserweight title actually meant something and was usually showcased on the PPV’s. The wrestlers didn’t seem watered down or held back like what we’re used to these days.

Now back to November 1982 in MSG. One year before my time….sorry I won’t have much to say about the history here but I’ll fill you in on the pros and cons I can pick out.

Match #2 – Jose Estrada vs. Tiger Mask {C} (Worlds Junior Heavyweight Championship match) November 1982

Good to hear Gorilla Monsoon on commentary. I honestly miss this man more than anything. His commentary was golden, and his wit will never be matched by anyone. I loved the days when Gorilla and Bobby Heenan were able to go back and forth on each other. That my friends, was real chemistry. Vince actually worked well with Gorilla I must say. The match is actually pretty fast paced at first and started off with a lot of quick armdrags and leg take downs. Jose is honestly huge for this division. I’m guessing the weight limits were different back then. I’d look into it, but hey…we’ll just pretend. A lot of submissions and quick escapes between these two. It’s interesting…the lightweight style back then is quite similar to when we have a lightweight face off these days. Smaller spots with multiple quick escapes and the odd bigger spot coming out of nowhere just to keep the fans involved. I guess it’s the safe way of keeping guys off the injured list. I do honestly not like this match or what it’s turned into as I feel it’s just too slow paced now and these two don’t have any chemistry for this match. I can’t even tell if the crowd is actually human or cardboard cut outs. Seriously very long match in today’s standards to the point where Vince and Gorilla are a little bored sounding. Tiger Mask with the pin after an off the rope moon flip splash type move (just picture it) and finally the match comes to an end. Would it have been wrong just to write DUD for the recap? Yikes.

Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh Hakushhhiiii! Justin is quite young looking here. I wonder if he knew he’d end up the way he did. Lawler and Vince on commentary. I absolutely love how Lawler got to give Vince so many digs, it probably felt great. “Where do you find a toupee with split ends??”

Match #3 Hakushi vs. Aldo Montoya Spring 1995

The Portuguese man of war is looking ready to go with those kick ass beads on his braids. I always enjoyed Hakushi to be honest. It just always seemed like they gave him the big entrance, the mystery, the moves but they just never totally trusted him enough to push him. You could blame the language barrier, but that didn’t stop Yoko and others to be big, bad, silent heels they used to make the faces stronger. This match has a nice pace to it with both men getting in some eye grabbing spots. You could say the crowd is a little more into it than a Khali match. Hakushi is in control with some solid hits. The handspring elbow has been thrown around over the years like a dirty…..anyways we’ll just say I’ve just seen it lots over the years. The modern day kamikaze has control for most of the match mixing It up with some high speed hits and some control moves. Aldo ends up hitting the huge double chest slap, taking control of the match in a big way. He actually had a few fans with that gimmick. After that, basically out of nowhere a huge moonsault from Hakushi which gives him the easy pin. It more or less looked like a knee to the body….but decent match.

We’re back to a great WCW cruiserweight match. ‘Lionheart’ Chris Jericho from Calgary, Alberta, Canada was always my favourite gimmick of his. Man this guy was(is) entertaining. His theme seemed like a total rip off of Pearl Jam’s Evenflow and so many themes in WCW seemed so close to copyright infringement, or they paid big money for rights. His attitude came out perfectly this night by calling JJ Dillon JoJo and making a mockery of WCW management. I do agree with him when he said he equalled buy rates.

Dean was supposed to be in this title match but got himself suspended. Jericho thinking he would get off easy, was making a knob of himself in the ring (in a good way) until JJ Dillon came out to make a proposal to Jericho to fight a local wrestler. They were in San Diego, CA….the hometown of Rey Mysterio Jr.

Match #4 ‘Lionheart’Chris Jericho {c} vs. Rey Mysterio Jr. (Dean Malenko suspended) WCW Cruiserwight Title Bash At The Beach July 12, 1998

A really tanned and less tattooed Rey comes out to meet the baddest mama jama on the planet in the ring. Rey starts off strong taking it to Jericho with a bunch of typical Mysterio moves. You can tell Rey is just starting to get crazy muscle here…the roid days. A horrible spot outside the ring doesn’t do justice, but obviously Rey had ring rust being out for 6 months with his first injury…a knee injury. Ahh the young days. Do his knees even work anymore?? Jericho quickly takes control with his intense attacks. They take it outside to the beach (yes, there’s a beach set up) and Rey ends up getting into the lifeguard chair and hits Jericho with an “off the top of the lifeguard chair leg scissor take down”. WCW always knew how to take the themes right to the extreme. I remember pools being set up for spring break. Back to the match…Jericho hits a huge top rope powerslam then goes outside to get a chair. He starts smashing Rey’s brace covered knee then sets the chair up on it and goes up top. Rey makes it out and starts to give it back to Jericho, even cracking him in the back with the chair. Rey gets smart and uses the chair to dropkick into Chris’ legs then goes to hit a springboard but Jericho gets him down and almost puts him in the Lion tamer. Out of nowhere Malenko comes out and distracts Jericho which gives Rey Mysterio the roll up win to become the new Cruiserweight champ. As Jericho tries to run from Malenko to the back area, Arn Anderson grabs Jericho and holds him giving Dean the chance to catch up and start beating on him.

Mysterio looked good and I honestly miss a lot of his old work. I guess that goes both ways in this match, as Jerichos old ways honestly made me laugh my ass off. Not a bad Vintage Collection this week. I love watching the show just because it brings back so many damn good memories. Hope you enjoyed my venting memory lane recap write up this week.

@violentshadows  /

James Bones