May 19, 2010
Matt D & Vic
Legion of the Damned
Demolition & Mr. Fuji vs. the British Bulldogs & the Ultimate Warrior
Maple Leaf Gardens, 7-24-88
Aired on Prime Time Wrestling 8-1-88
Matt D: Demolition is at the very height of their heel powers. Dynamite Kid has returned from his "back injury" and is pretty much immobile. Ultimate Warrior is about to break out at Summerslam and is batshit insane. Fuji is wildly underrated in this role and in general. Actually, let me stop there for a second. It drives me MAD to see that Fuji won the "worst manager of the year" WON award so many times in this era, an era where Frenchie Martin and Coach John Tolos were running around. Fuji may have been as scummy as they come in real life (or so the stories go) and was playing a downright racist character years after that was totally okay but he was a great manager and REALLY played his character. He could inflict damage. He could take bumps. He was a former champion and played the ultimate evil Mr. Miyagi. He could stooge and do comedy. He could project hatred. You got the idea that he wanted his men to hurt people. And he could come into the ring, do his little headbutt to the groin and piss off the fans.
I know we're talking about Demolition here, but I won't lie. The story of this match is that the Ultimate Warrior is a madman lunatic and it's awesome. Early on the announcers note that he is not built for tag work. He doesn't have the patience, and it shows. Oh man, does it show. The Bulldogs come to the ring with him and he shakes the ropes and Dynamite just points at him, smiling like an idiot, as if he's watching the greatest thing ever. Then comes the pep talk huddle, with Warrior bringing in the Bulldogs close and talking to them and shaking them, paranoidly looking over to Demolition every 3.5 seconds or so. And then, once Dynamite convinces the Warrior to let him start the match off (looking in pain already), the ref has to stop things, because Warrior's randomly gone to the neutral corner and is standing on the ropes beating on his chest.
Ok, this is taking every bit of self-contro lI can muster, but I will try to focus on the match itself. Broken Down Dynamite and Fuji start off and that's a pretty good pairing at this point. Dynamite hits an anemic crossbody and a good slam and Fuji quickly tags out to Ax who slowly walks through the ropes with menace in his gait. He carefully helps Fuji back in before turning to his opponents. But Dynamite quickly slips out of Ax's grasp and makes the tag to Warrior. Dynamite points towards Ax as if trying to contain his insane partner and... it's all for naught. Warrior starts running the ropes as if the match just started and it's as if the world just stops. Finally, they lock up and go for shoulder tackles and Ax bounces off the Warrior, which allows Eadie to walk around the ring looking bemused and a bit confounded. Nice subtle reaction. Just what is he going to do with this lunatic? Well, he's going to smartly rake him in the eyes and start clubbering. Warrior reverses it quickly and Ax ends up on his knees in his corner, frustrated and at his wits end. Great body language throughout as he finally gives a tag to Smash and lets him try to make sense of Warrior.
Smash goes for the eyes again and hammers Warrior only to meet the same out-of-the-corner reversal clothesline that Ax met a minute before. Warrior is befuddling. Thankfully, as we come back from commercial break, Warrior tags to Davey Boy and things calm down. Some good back and forth stuff, including a nice-looking delayed headscissors takedown by Davey Boy and a reversal into a bodyslam. Smash gets him into the corner however and the FIP segment begins. Smash sets up the Bombs Away/Pearl Harbor headbutt for Fuji and Warrior is outside on the ropes acting like a total nut. Deliberate strikes from Fuji, quick tags, power moves, clubbering, nerve holds. Davey finally fights back but Ax does another one of those really great looking sneak tags, this time to Fuji and they cut him off. Fuji goes to the top for some sort of unfortunate seated senton and Smash seems so excited that Master Fuji is going to have his moment of glory. There are about a thousand examples showing that Smash sees him as a father figure and this is just one of them. Suffice to say, he misses and Davey makes the hot tag to Warrior and the world goes mad!
Warrior is all over the place, clotheslining and bodyslamming and ending up on the announce table somehow before climbing to the top rope and hitting Smash with a double axe-handle in the midst of the chaos to get the pin. It's actually something on an inspired finish in the midst of all the bedlam. Anyway, this match has to be watched just to see the Warrior's antics. As it pertains to Demolition, they show of their range even MORE in this match, playing heels who are mystified and daunted by the Warrior. Ax was especially great in that role.
Vic: I watched this match as a boy in the year of our lord nineteen hundred and eighty eight. One of those matches that sticks out to me for whatever reason.
I remember being really excited about seeing Warrior tangle with Demolition. They were big and wore facepaint. In a kid world thats a dream match. I was confused by Fuji wrestling. As a 7 year old I did not understand Fuji was not always a manager.
Match starts with Fuji and Dynamite. Fuji gets the best of Dynamite with a chop or two. But Dynamite takes him down with a crossbody block. Dynamite then gives Fuji a nice looking slam. Thats enough for Fuji who tags out to Ax. Ax beats down Dynamite instantly. Dynamite tags out to Warrior. Now here is what I want to see. Warrior starts running laps in the ring. I do not want to say Ax is scared. But he is certainly bewildered. He has no idea what to make of him. Ax runs into him and Warrior no sells. Ax looks surprised. Now he rakes the eye but Warrior reverses a whip into the corner and clotheslines Ax.
He tags in Smash to see if he can fare any better. Smash starts laying in rights to the Warrior followed by chops and knee lifts in the corner. Smash tries the whip and gets mowed down by Warrior. Warrior tags in Davey Boy. Who keeps the advantage briefly. Smash gets him in the Corner and all three men work him over. Fuji is old and broke down but he is experienced enough to bull shit his way thru a six man tag. He slides into the Demolition dynamic seamlessly.
Fuji drops a headbutt on the lower abdomen of Davey Boy. Now Demos are in full clubbering mode. Fuji comes back in and misses the Flying Legdrop on Davey Boy. Warrior is tagged in and he is going nuts. So excited he has no idea who to attack first. He gets Fuji. Smash tosses him out. Now Demos are beating down Dynamite and Warrior comes off the top with a flying ax handle for the win.
Watching this you can tell the WWF has big plans for Warrior because nobody else has gotten anything on Demolition at this point.