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Old 05-03-2015, 10:34 AM   #1
LKJ
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The Meltzer 4+-Star Match Review Thread

ITT I will set out to review and write up every 4+-star WWE and WCW/NWA Meltzer match ever. I say "set out to," because...well, no promises.

When will you post matches?

As I do them. No set schedule.

Will you ever finish this project?

If I do then it's probably time for an intervention, but it's possible I guess. Just giving a rough estimate to how many there are, it would probably take the combined time it took to do all three of my tribute threads to Owen Hart, Curt Hennig, and Randy Savage. I would bet against me finishing it, since I'm going to take a lazier approach to this than I took to those; with all of those, I was 100% determined to finish them and do them justice.

Also it's rather difficult to truly "finish" a project when Meltzer can just troll me by continuing to give four stars to every new Roman Reigns match.

Why base a project on Meltzer's ratings?

Basically just because he's the one person who has actually done 30+ years of rating at this point, and it's an easy roadmap to use to go through 30+ years of wrestling and see most of the great WWE/NWA stuff that I either have never seen or that I haven't seen in a long time.

What order are you going to go in?

Chronological. I thought about just gathering a list and then putting it in a random.org blender, but it feels like a match gets the most justice if I have the context of the time, because obviously styles morphed over time. A great Golden Era match and a great Attitude Era match are obviously quite a bit different from each other.

Meltzer only gave this match ***1/2, but it's easily at least a **** match. Will you review it?



Obviously situations like this exist, and obviously there are great matches that I will blow right by in this thread because of that, but whatever; it's already a massive project as is.

Alright, let's do this.
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Old 05-03-2015, 10:37 AM   #2
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Re: The Meltzer 4+-Star Match Review Thread

Wrestling Classic: Tournament Quarterfinals - Randy Savage (w/ Miss Elizabeth) vs. Ricky Steamboat

Date: November 7, 1985

Link: http://network.wwe.com/video/v31327261

Background: Just a tournament match; Savage and Steamboat weren't in a personal feud yet. Savage defeated Ivan Putski and Steamboat defeated Davey Boy Smith in the first round, setting this up. Savage is a heel and Steamboat is the face here.

The Match: Steamboat doesn't seem to have Sirius yet, and he gets a jobber entrance for this match. Savage hadn't gotten too outlandish with the costumes yet, and his ring robe is downright subtle compared to what it became as the years went on.



Savage taunts Steamboat and then when Steamboat charges Savage hides behind Liz. Steamboat then gets discouraged and turns around, and Savage clobbers him from behind as the opening bell rings. Savage knocked to the outside, sheds his costume, Steamboat follows him out…you can immediately recognize that frenetic pace that these two would later fight at for WrestleMania III. Brawling in the ring and then out of it, Savage takes an atomic drop on the concrete floor.

Back in the ring, Savage ducks a back elbow off of an Irish whip and then executes a back suplex on the Dragon. Top rope axhandle attempt comes up empty as Steamboat hits him in the gut on the way down. After a suplex he connects on a top rope cross-body that gets a two-count. Steamboat lays in rights and lefts, including some chops that Jesse Ventura gripes about, calling them "controversial."



Savage knocked to the apron, Steamboat keeps following up with strikes until Dave Hebner backs him down. The momentary ref distraction allows Savage to produce brass knuckles from his tights. As Steamboat re-approaches, Savage swings at him with it, Steamboat ducks, Steamboat attempts to suplex Savage into the ring, and as he holds him up Savage clobbers him with the foreign object in mid-move and knocks him out for the three-count. Really short match.

Result: Randy Savage via pinfall (4:00)

Meltzer Rating: ****

My Review and Rating: Again, just a sick pace these two worked at, it was in a different league than most of their fellow workers at this point in time. A very good match, better than I remember it being. I can't quite go as far as Meltzer in giving it four stars, but mostly it's just the fact that it was so short holding me back from going higher; I think his rating is reasonable. If you want a really quick but really good match to watch, this works well. ***1/2

Last edited by LKJ; 05-03-2015 at 10:46 AM.
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Old 05-03-2015, 10:38 AM   #3
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Re: The Meltzer 4+-Star Match Review Thread

Wrestling Classic: WWF Title - Hulk Hogan (c) vs. Roddy Piper

Date: November 7, 1985

Link: http://network.wwe.com/video/v31327261

Background: Hogan and Piper feuded for a long time, and this was the continuation of their feud from WrestleMania. Piper was doubtlessly the top heel in the company, and this really should have been the WrestleMania 2 main event.

The Match: Hulkster is still in the white trunks at this point. Piper jumps him before the bell, and the brawl is on as they're almost immediately outside the ring. They sell their hatred well as they trade cheap shots.



Hogan throws more moves early than you would see out of him as his WWF career wore on. Back suplex and a couple of running elbow drops controls the offense until Piper turns the tide with an eye gouge. Hogan attempts to retake control when he catches Piper off the top into a bearhug, but another cheap shot breaks things in Piper's favor, and we're into the heat segment. Sleeper. Hogan got a clear rope break, but the referee no-sold it and the hold continued; maybe they weren't doing rope breaks then?



Hulk continues fading out from the sleeper, and we get the "raise the hand twice and then he holds up on the third" spot. Hulk fights out and jumps them both through the ropes to finally break the hold. Piper lays in a right hand, but it's time to hulk up. The moves of doom aren't quite the same as they would become here. The big boot actually doesn't even cause Piper to go down. Hulk follows with an atomic drop and an Irish whip that Piper reverses. Hot Rod sidesteps the champ coming back at him, lays in an axhandle to the back that sends Hulk into the ref, and we have a ref bump.

Piper immediately to the outside to grab a chair, comes back in and waffles the champ with it, but Hogan fights back, gets the chair, and gets in a shot of his own. Finally, as the referee comes to, Bob Orton runs in and attacks Hogan for the DQ. Incredibly lame. Paul Onrdorff makes the save and clears the ring

Result: Hulk Hogan via DQ (7:00)

Meltzer Rating: ****

My review and rating: It was half-decent for the first few minutes, then devolved into a mess with a ref bump and a really lame finish. It was somewhat watchable, but that's about as kind as I can possibly be to it. Meltzer is out of his damn mind on this one. **
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Old 05-03-2015, 10:38 AM   #4
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Re: The Meltzer 4+-Star Match Review Thread

Quote:
Originally Posted by LKJ View Post
I would bet against me finishing it.
Damn, was hoping you'd get to the epic Roman/Big Show match from last weekend.
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Old 05-03-2015, 10:40 AM   #5
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Re: The Meltzer 4+-Star Match Review Thread

In all seriousness, I'm looking forward to these reviews.
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Old 05-03-2015, 10:40 AM   #6
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Re: The Meltzer 4+-Star Match Review Thread

Superstars on Superstation: NWA Title - Ric Flair (c) vs. Ronnie Garvin

Date: February 7, 1986

Link: http://www.dailymotion.com/video/x2h...ort&start=2028

Background: I have no idea.



The Match: Garvin gets the better of an early exchange, knocking Flair to the outside and then continuing to take the fight to the champion. Lots of punch-kick-chop. Garvin seems to be the babyface here, but he controls with boring slow-down stuff for long enough that it feels like a heat segment. It's legitimately difficult to tell if he is for sure the face because the crowd sure doesn't care about him.

The match picks up as Flair starts bumping harder for the same stuff, going over the top as a result of an uppercut. Flair manages to retake control and begins to get his first offense in, but then he straddles over a fallen face-up Garvin and insultingly slaps him, sparking a Garvin comeback. It's back-and-forth for a bit, still mostly punch-kick-chop stuff,



(Side note: sorry for the ****ty screenshots, but unfortunately this was the low quality I was working from for this match. I still figure it's worth including a couple just to make the write-up more readable, since it gives the reader something of a visual to work from.)

Garvin gets a couple of near-falls, first on a backslide and then on a cross-body. They are the least dramatic near-falls in wrestling history, but the announcers talk them up. We get a slightly better one after a spot where Flair flips over a turnbuckle out of an Irish whip, runs along the apron, goes up top for an axhandle and Garvin connects on an uppercut on the way down before rolling him into a small package. Again though, just two.

Flair connects on a back elbow, then a chop, then pins for two. He gripes at referee Tommy Young. Garvin knocks Flair into Young while running Flair into the ropes so that he could roll him up backward, and we have a ref bump. Garvin has Flair down for a long time in the roll-up, to no avail. Ronnie attempts to help the referee back in, and during this distraction he gets a running knee in the back from Flair. The champ follows with a pinning attempt, Garvin gets his leg on the rope but a groggy Tommy Young doesn't see it, and we have a three-count.

Result: Ric Flair via pinfall (14:30)

Meltzer Rating: ****1/4

My Review and Rating: This was worse than the average Ric Flair match. I'm not under the impression that Meltzer was just giving out at least four stars to every Flair match, so I don't know what happened here. I thought that the ending sequence was okay in spite of the dirty finish, but that getting there was just a very boring experience. Chalk this up as an early contender for most overrated Meltzer match ever. *3/4
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Old 05-03-2015, 10:42 AM   #7
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Re: The Meltzer 4+-Star Match Review Thread

Nice lkj!
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Old 05-03-2015, 10:43 AM   #8
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Re: The Meltzer 4+-Star Match Review Thread

WrestleMania 2: WWF Tag Team Titles - Dream Team (c) (w/ Johnny Valiant) vs. British Bulldogs (w/ Lou Albano and Ozzy Osbourne)

Date: April 7, 1986

Link: http://network.wwe.com/video/v31347653

Background: The Dream Team (Greg Valentine and Brutus Beefcake) won the titles off of Windham and Rotundo in August of the previous year. The Dream Team had escaped the Bulldogs twice in title defenses, once by getting disqualified, and this was agreed to be the Bulldogs' final chance to win the belts from them.

The Match: The champs get a jobber entrance for this main event of the Chicago portion of Mania.



Gorilla: "Gene, aside from being British himself, what is Ozzy Osbourne going to do for the British Bulldogs?
<pregnant pause>
Gene: "Well I would have to say that Ozzy Osbourne is from Manchester, in the north of England! That's their stomping grounds."

...that's okay, Gene. Let's face it, it was kind of a gotcha question.

Greg Valentine vs. Davey Boy Smith to start. Davey with some nice crisp offense on Valentine before tagging out to Dynamite Kid. We see the snap suplex and the stomping in the corner that Chris Benoit modeled his future offense after. Davey back in and delivers a delayed suplex. Love the Bulldogs' early offense.

Valentine regroups and takes over the offensive after sliding back into the ring. Tag to Beefcake to continue the attack, but he quickly gets caught in a press slam, followed shortly after by a cradle suplex. Davey keeps Beefcake in a standing front facelock, but Beefcake slowly works his way over to the corner and manages to tag in Valentine, who enters with an axhandle from the top. Quick tags by the Bulldogs continue, then a double-team by the two as they send the Hammer into the ropes for a double shoulderblock. Sunset flip by Dynamite gets two. Valentine flails toward his corner hoping to tag for a while, but manages a desperation piledriver that turns things.



Instead of tagging, Valentine stays on offense and heads up top, getting caught on the way down and getting right back in trouble. Davey in and hits with the running powerslam, which isn't a finisher yet. Valentine kicks out on two. Suplex by Davey. Sends Hammer into the corner, but gets reversed and goes shoulder-first into the post himself. Hammer finally tags out to Beefcake, then holds Davey so that Beefcake can enter with the axhandle off the second rope. Valentine back in a moment later with the same move; he really carried the workload in this match for his team.

Running shoulderbreaker by Valentine, and as he goes for the pin he pulls Davey up on the two-count. We know what's happening from there. Valentine goes to ram Davey's head into the corner, Davey slips out and slams Valentine's head toward the corner instead, where Dynamite Kid was halfway perched up the ropes. The force of the collision between Valentine and Dynamite seems to knock Valentine out, and Davey pins him to win the tag belts.



Result: British Bulldogs via pinfall when Davey Boy Smith pinned Greg Valentine (13:03)

Meltzer Rating: ****

My Review and Rating: I've always thought well of this match, but this is as much as I can remember enjoying it. It's really all kinds of fun. While there's a mild temptation to rate it even higher than Meltzer did, the fact that I've rated it lower (more toward the 3.5-star mark) in the past keeps me satisfied in just matching his rating. ****
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Old 05-03-2015, 10:44 AM   #9
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Re: The Meltzer 4+-Star Match Review Thread

This is a great idea and is already fun to read. for the links.

GL.
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Old 05-03-2015, 10:45 AM   #10
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Re: The Meltzer 4+-Star Match Review Thread

Crockett Cup 1986: Second Round - Fantastics vs. Arn Anderson & Tully Blanchard

Crockett Cup 1986: Third Round - Fantastics vs. Sheepherders

Unfortunately both of these matches seem to be inaccessible at this point. The only thing I could find was a heavily-edited edition of the whole Crockett Cup show, which basically reduced every match down to two minutes of highlights. So no real way to recap these. If anyone can find full-length copies of good quality of these, I'd certainly be interested to write them up (even if it messes with the otherwise chronological order of the thread). Especially Fantastics-Sheepherders, since Meltzer gave the full five stars to that one.
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Old 05-03-2015, 10:47 AM   #11
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Re: The Meltzer 4+-Star Match Review Thread

WWF The Big Event: Snakepit Match (No DQ, No Countout) - Jake Roberts vs. Ricky Steamboat

Date: August 28, 1986

Link: http://network.wwe.com/video/v31314741

Background: Roberts attacked Steamboat on an edition of Saturday Night's Main Event, including executing an infamous DDT on Steamboat on the concrete floor that Steamboat suffered a legitimate concussion from. This match was the closest thing to a blow-off that the feud had.

The Match: Roberts in first, then he takes the fight to Steamboat before the bell and before Steamboat had actually gotten into the ring. Steamboat withstands the initial onslaught and ends up dumping Jake to the outside. Dragon lays in the chops on Roberts upon his return to the ring. Gets Roberts in a wristlock, then fully throws him over his shoulder from that hold. Gorilla Monsoon calls it "quite a leverage move." Loved Gorilla, but dude called everything a "leverage move." I don't even fully know what he meant by that.



After a flurry of offense, Steamboat locks Jake into a resthold and then discusses the spots to come as the camera basically zooms in on their conversation. Good work, production crew. As the fight goes outside, Roberts finally stems the tide with a shoulderblock that catches Steamboat low. Bodyslam on the floor. There was a pad and everything, so that had to feel like a Swedish massage compared to the DDT from SNME.

Jake goes for a steel chair, but Steamboat snatches it away and hits Roberts multiple times with it. Throws him back into the ring, executes a tomahawk chop from the top. Jake reverses an Irish whip and sends Steamboat hurtling over the turnbuckle and over the top rope to the floor. Follows him out, and executes a catapult that sends the Dragon head-first into the post. Steamboat is busted open; Jake smells the blood in the water and goes right after him, throwing him into the barricade and then returning him to the ring and laying in right hands directly to the open wound.

Short clothesline by the Snake. Goes for the DDT, but Steamboat desperately rams him into the corner. Only a momentary deterrent, as Jake comes back out of the corner with a knee-lift, then hits him with a stomach-breaker. Sensing that he has the match in hand, he straddles Steamboat with an arrogant cover, and on the two-count Steamboat reverses it into his own pinning combination for the 1-2-3.



Result: Ricky Steamboat via pinfall

Meltzer Rating: ****

My Review and Rating: It was a good match, but it would be pushing it to call it great. I can certainly see three stars, but four is a decent bit too far for me. ***
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Old 05-03-2015, 10:49 AM   #12
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Re: The Meltzer 4+-Star Match Review Thread

WWF The Big Event: Dream Team vs. The Rougeaus

Date: August 28, 1986

Link: http://network.wwe.com/video/v31314741

Background: No real idea. The Rougeaus were pretty new on the scene here, and were in their fairly brief period of time as a babyface tag team.



The Match: Dream Team attacks before the bell rings, but the Rougeaus turn the tables quickly and isolate Greg Valentine. Nice slingshot from the outside into a sunset flip inside by Jacques Rougeau for a two-count. The Hammer eventually tags out, but Brutus doesn't do a lot better, quickly falling under the Rougeaus' control as well. The offense from both sides is mostly pretty slow-moving, though as I type that the Rougeaus do deliver on a decent-looking double dropkick followed by a cradle pinning combo by Jacques for two.

A reversal later, Jacques fall into face-in-peril mode as Beefcake and Valentine take turns on him. Raymond comes in illegally to help his brother, which the referee just sort of allows because…I don't really know. They perform the double-team cannonball move, Ray pins Beefcake, and the referee even counts that. That is, umm, the opposite of making the illegal cheater leave the ring, ref. In any case Raymond just sort of continues as the legal man via squatter's rights or something, and we continue the match.



The Dream Team gets him under control anyway, as Brutus connects with a stomach-breaker of sorts before tagging the Hammer back in. Now it's Ray's turn for face-in-peril. Jacques just stands on the apron cheering for his brother like a sucker, when he could have just jumped in and become the legal man by osmosis.

Fast-forward to the hot tag, Jacques comes in and dropkicks all the things and takes on both members of the Dream Team. They whip him into the ropes for a double clothesline, he ducks it and dropkicks both of them simultaneously. Gets greedy, goes up top, hurts himself on the way down, and Valentine locks in the figure-four leglock. Obviously Ray jumps in for the save without being tagged. He and Beefcake fight for a bit, Valentine looks to re-apply the hold on Jacques, but then Ray breaks free from Brutus and jumps over Valentine for a sunset flip that gets three when it shouldn't have been counted at all.



This match needed a heavy dose of Jesse Ventura calling all of this stuff out since the Rougeaus were cheating their asses off, but unfortunately didn't have it. Actually Gorilla mentions the fact the illegal nature of the pinfall well after the match had ended, but all parties shrug and that's that.

Result: Rougeau Brothers via pinfall (14:51)

Meltzer Rating: ****

My Review and Rating: This was…fine? Pretty standard tag match with nothing much to set it apart. Felt like 10 minutes worth of half-decent content dragged out to run for nearly 15. I dunno. I remember preferring their WM III match, for atmosphere if nothing else. **1/2
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Old 05-03-2015, 10:50 AM   #13
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Re: The Meltzer 4+-Star Match Review Thread

Starrcade 1986: NWA Tag Team Title Cage Match - Rock 'n Roll Express (c) vs. Minnesota Wrecking Crew

Date: November 27, 1986

Link: http://network.wwe.com/video/v31348257

Background: The Express asked for this match as a way of isolating Ole and Arn, and not having to deal with the rest of the Four Horsemen.



The Match: I think that Robert Gibson and Ricky Morton looked old as dirt even when they were just 28 and 30 years old respectively here. Ole and Gibson start, though we quickly end up with all four in the ring. Looks like Earl Hebner is the referee here; can't say I realized that he was part of the old NWA.

Order is restored again (why the outside guys are agreeing to this, I don't know), and the Rock 'N Roll guys use their superior speed to mostly get the better of Ole in a few exchanges until he tags out to Arn. Arn takes it to Morton, but his attempt to slam him into the cage wall gets blocked. Morton again uses his speed advantage to counter multiple moves and back Arn down. Gibson in, and he takes the first cage bump when he charges a corner and comes up empty. Arn immediately starts destroying Gibson's left leg, then the Andersons tag back and forth to take turns on it. The heat segment is on.



Gibson desperately kicks Arn off into the cage with his good leg, but doesn't have time to tag out before Ole corrals him. They continue to isolate, continue to focus all of their offense on the left leg. A desperate enziguiri gets Gibson free at last, and he's finally able to hot tag to Morton. Well…not THAT hot of a tag I guess, as Ole quickly puts him down too. I love watching the Andersons work most of the time, but I'm not enthralled with the fact that we just transitioned directly from one heat segment to a second one.

Arn bites at Ricky Morton and grates him against the cage…at some point, Morton gets opened up and goes full crimson mask. Okay, maybe I spoke too soon on just having a second heat segment; if they're using it add color, I'm cool with that. Ole strains Morton's left shoulder hard, and that seems to be his limb focus there as he releases an arm hold just to stand back and stomp the arm. Arn back in and delivers the hammerlock slam on the bad arm. Top rope axhandle is blocked by Morton, but Ole runs in viciously to put Ricky in his place.



Shoulderbreaker gets two. The blood keeps flowing grosser and grosser as the Andersons continue the beating. Morton manages a knee-lift out of an Irish whip that doesn't do enough to get him to his corner. Ole lays in a right hand, and Morton surprises him by firing back with one of his own. Again though, not enough to really get him anywhere. They're doing this "underdog fights valiantly" thing to perfection though. Morton comes close to a tag, and Arn clobbers Gibson before Morton can get to him. Spinebuster by Double A only gets two when Gibson makes the save.

Flying knee to Morton's back by Ole as he re-enters. They continue with repeated failed teases that Morton is going to tag out, then he falls short. Fully fooled me on a couple of them. Morton with a surprise small package on Ole, Arn in for the save, Gibson in to attack Arn and all four are in. As Ole sets for a powerslam on Morton, Gibson dropkicks Morton in the back so that he falls on Ole. 1-2-3 and the champs retain.



Result: Rock 'n Roll Express via pinfall when Morton pins Ole (19:00)

Meltzer Rating: ****1/4

My Review and Rating: Before looking up what Meltzer gave it, I came up with the exact same mark. This was great stuff, very good story-telling by all sides. I didn't love the ending as I just wasn’t really buying Ole getting pinned by that spot after his team had dominated so thoroughly, but the rest was great. ****1/4
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Old 05-03-2015, 10:51 AM   #14
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Re: The Meltzer 4+-Star Match Review Thread

Starrcade 1986: NWA Title - Ric Flair (c) vs. Nikita Koloff

Date: November 27, 1986

Link: http://network.wwe.com/video/v31348257

Background: This was supposed to be Magnum TA's title shot at Flair, but his unfortunate car accident ended his career and they turned the title shot over to Koloff due to him being the US Champion.



The Match: Koloff wins the initial lock-up and powers Flair down. Rinse and repeat for their second lock-up, and Flair takes a quick breather to regroup. Flair re-enters, lays in some hard chops that Koloff no-sells, and a somewhat rattled Flair goes for another quick walk. Returns, gets powered to the ground once more, and he just can't seem to make any ground on the Russian (Koloff was born in America, but whatever).

Nikita continues controlling with power moves, slamming Flair repeatedly and generally manhandling him. Catches him off the ropes into a bearhug. Flair only finally makes his first dent in Koloff's armor when Koloff comes up empty on a corner charge and the Nature Boy follows with a delayed suplex, but the challenger is right back up after that sequence as well. Flair for another walk. I would usually find this many delays annoying, but I actually think that it's helping tell a compelling story here.



Upon re-entering, the world champ gets some offense in, but also gets caught by Koloff's Russian Hammer choke hold. Koloff then rares back to charge Flair for a big clothesline and takes a hard tumble over the top. Flair finally in control now. Koloff hurt himself on the spill over the top, and Naitch capitalizes by posting Koloff's leg and then chop blocking it once Koloff rolled back in. Single-leg takedown into the figure-four; Flair holds the ropes for leverage as Nikita screams and agonizes in the hold. Koloff finally turns Flair over into a reversal, and the hold gets broken, but Flair does stay on offense and continues with the leg attack.



Ric kind of takes his eye off the ball for a moment as he lays in chops on Koloff, which are still of limited enough effect that Koloff fights his way back in the match. Side headlock and a shoulderblock by the Russian, but the champ knocks Koloff through the ropes again and inflicts further injury on Koloff's bad leg. He follows him out and pounds away on him, busting him open. Had to be a blade job.

Back in the ring, a bleeding challenger is on the receiving end of a back suplex as well as a series of right hands to the open wound. Koloff back up and no-selling the upper body assault again. Gotta say, I was into the story for a good bit, but we're to the point in the match where Koloff should be suffering a lot more and just soldiering through. He shouldn't be hulking up and no-selling THAT much. The fight goes outside, Koloff slams Flair's head into the steel scaffold from the earlier Midnight Express tag match, and now Flair is bleeding as well.



Koloff with a flying shoulderblock, knocks Flair into Tommy Young, which in turn knocks Tommy Young through the ropes to the outside. Koloff knocks Flair out, but we've got no official, and when he goes to revive the official Flair takes advantage with a running knee to the back. Replacement ref in, counts two for Flair. Koloff inadvertently clotheslines the replacement ref a moment later. Tommy Young back in, and as he tries to get control Koloff throws him down twice. We've got a bell and a lame finish. Flair and Koloff keep brawling, the locker room empties out to break them up for some reason that I can't possibly understand, and Flair is going to keep his belt on a DQ.

Result: Ric Flair via DQ (19:12)

Meltzer Rating: ****

My Review and Rating: I thought the first half of the match was really good, but the second half got a bit too repetitive, featured too little in the way of selling by Koloff, and delivered a lame finish. Still a good match, but those factors I named leave it a fair bit short of greatness. ***1/4
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Old 05-03-2015, 10:53 AM   #15
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Re: The Meltzer 4+-Star Match Review Thread

What a project. Flair vs Windham from 2/14/1986 was given 5 stars; not sure if I misunderstood the order.
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Old 05-03-2015, 10:53 AM   #16
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Re: The Meltzer 4+-Star Match Review Thread

WrestleMania III: Intercontinental Title - Randy Savage (c) vs. Ricky Steamboat w/ George "The Animal" Steele

Date: March 29, 1987

Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lPwnUDxme3A#t=01m29s

Background: Savage crushed Steamboat's trachea or whatever with a timekeeper's bell back in November. Steamboat had been out of action, but vowed to return in time to get revenge at WrestleMania. Also George Steele is involved by still being the creeper who wants to grope Elizabeth, so he'll be with Steamboat for this match.

The Match: (Writeup taken from my Randy Savage tribute thread, so if it seems overly Savage-centric or different stylistically, it very well may be.)

Champ out first, but Jesse doesn't rage about it this year. Lockup, stalemate, armdrag by Steamboat, quick walk by Savage and then he's back in. Knee to the gut by Savage, but misses an elbow, Steamboat with an armdrag, then a choke that he holds up for several seconds before dropping Savage.



Savage leads Steamboat on a chase around the ring, gets in, attacks Steamboat as he enters. Knee-lift, kick to the chest, and he rakes at the Dragon's eyes which causes referee Dave Hebner to back him down. Arm wringer by Steamboat, he works it a bit by hanging it over the top rope and then continuing to pound on it. Savage gets free with a hair-pull, sends him into the ropes, elbow smash and then he runs him over to the other side and sends him over the top.

Steamboat attempts to re-enter, gets up to the apron, but Savage turns him around, forcibly leans him back, and drives an elbow straight into that injured throat that Steamboat was coming back from. That chops Steamboat down to size, and Savage stomps away. Snapmare brings Dragon back into the ring from outside, side headlock takeover into a pin, two-count. Knee drop, two-count.



Steamboat blocks a turnbuckle smash and executes one of his own, following with a series of chops and then getting Savage tied up in the ropes. A couple of deep armdrags and a shoulderblock, Steamboat for a pinning attempt but no. Savage blocks and gets a punch in, sends Steamboat over the top. Dragon skins the cat, holds on and flips back in, but Savage instantly clotheslines him hard back over the top and this one sends the challenger to the floor.



Savage follows him out, drives a knee into his back, and that sends him over the steel barricade. George Steele blatantly helps Steamboat get back into the ring. Savage promptly throws him back out, then goes up top for the axhandle to the floor. Throws him back in, axhandle to Steamboat in the middle of the ring. Bounces off the ropes, elbow smash to the top of Steamboat's head. Runs Dragon toward the ropes, hangs him over the top, scurries back at lightning quick speed for a cover but can't finish the match there. **** these guys were fast as hell this match.

Suplex by Savage, two-count. Elbow by Savage, Steamboat back at him with a chop, but Savage remains in control, hitting one more elbow that staggers the dragon and then executes a gutwrench suplex. Attempted back suplex by Savage, Steamboat flips through it. Savage charges him, Steamboat back bodydrops him super high over the top.



As Savage re-enters, the Dragon goes up high, tomahawk chop from the top. Only a two-count due to a rope break. Lowers multiple chops into Savage's eyes. Savage tries to roll out, Steamboat gives him one more right hand for good measure to push him out, then follows. Savage tries to meet him on his way back in, Steamboat with a shoulder lunge and then a sunset flip over the ropes for a pinfall attempt for two. Steamboat with a cradle pinning attempt, two more. Small package, two-count once again. You can see that Hebner is incredibly winded by this point just trying to keep up with his officiating duties. I'd never noticed that before, but it just adds to the awesomeness of their pace.

Steamboat with a roll-up, Savage rolls through and grabs the tights, but still only gets a two-count. That successfully got a fall against Steamboat in a house show match. There were a few of those in this match, where they deliberately played off of falls that worked against each other previously. Just really smart stuff. Savage reverses a whip into the corner and we have a ref bump.

Clothesline by Savage, then up to the top, flying elbow connects with Steamboat but there's no referee. Savage tries to revive Hebner, then goes ringside for the timekeeper's bell. He heads toward the top with it, but George Steele interferes and tosses Savage off the top. Savage back up, attempts a scoop slam, Steamboat rolls him into a small package and gets the three-count.

This match still holds up beautifully today.

Result: Ricky Steamboat via pinfall (14:36)

Meltzer Rating: ****1/2

My Review and Rating: Perfection. Not only is it revolutionary, but it ages like fine wine. Despite giving it a great rating, Meltzer managed to underrate this one IMO. *****
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Old 05-03-2015, 10:57 AM   #17
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Re: The Meltzer 4+-Star Match Review Thread

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Originally Posted by moorobot View Post
What a project. Flair vs Windham from 2/14/1986 was given 5 stars; not sure if I misunderstood the order.
Hmm. I've been going off of this for my WCW/NWA ratings, and that wasn't listed. Where are you seeing a five-star match between them for that date?
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Old 05-03-2015, 10:59 AM   #18
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Re: The Meltzer 4+-Star Match Review Thread

Crockett Cup 1987: Quarterfinals - Midnight Express vs. Road Warriors

Unfortunately another one that I can't get a good copy of to watch and review. There are videos out there, but they either crop the match too heavily or don't give a normal broadcast vantage point. I don't think they're anything I can do justice to in a review. As always, will be happy to look at any actual decent copies anyone can produce.
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Old 05-03-2015, 11:00 AM   #19
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Re: The Meltzer 4+-Star Match Review Thread

Crockett Cup 1987: NWA Title - Ric Flair (c) vs. Barry Windham

Date: April 11, 1987

Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rz7i1o0tg6o

Background: Don't know. This was before Windham had ever joined the Four Horsemen himself.

The Match: This YouTube copy is joined in progress. It's as good as I can find for now.



Flair is in control early, and locks Windham into the figure-four, leveraging with the ropes as referee Tommy Young attentively looks for the tap-out and counts a near-fall. Young catches a glance of Flair cheating, which he promptly stops, and we get a shoving match between Flair and the referee. Young threatens to DQ Flair, but the match continues.

Windham into the corner, but musters enough adrenaline to burst back out of them and connect with a hard lariat. As Barry follows him in, the champ does his spot where he begs for mercy just enough to slow the challenger down to deliver a low blow. Flair with a whip into the ropes, follows him into the ropes with a back elbow that sends Windham over the top and into the steel barricade. The brawl goes outside, as the Nature Boy lays in punches and chops.

Windham manages to launch himself on the way back in and go right back on offense, hitting a surprise sunset flip for a near-fall. After a regroup by Flair, the two trade blows back in the ring but Windham is still getting the better of him. Delayed suplex by the challenger, rolled into a pinning attempt for two. Heads up top, but Flair rolls out of the way as Windham attempts a flying attack. The two rest up and slowly return to their feet, but as action resumes it's still the challenger in control, as he hits a hard uppercut that sends Flair out over the top.



Barry teases a piledriver on the concrete floor, but Flair reverses into a back bodydrop before rolling the challenger in. Nature Boy to the top for a cross-body attempt that the Texan rolls through for a fairly convincing near-fall. Sleeper by Windham gets Flair down to one knee, then fully down on the mat, but was just a bit too close to the ropes and he manages to force a rope break. Frustrated, Windham drags him to the middle and tries to follow with a running splash, but he takes the champion's knees to the gut on the way down.

Windham connects on a one-legged missile dropkick off the top on Flair, pins and actually gets a three-count, but Flair's leg was on the ropes and Tommy Young realizes his mistake and quickly calls the result off. Windham gets another near-fall a moment later when Flair just gets a leg on the rope again. Delayed suplex into a pinning attempt gets two as we hear the ring announcer give a time limit warning. Windham keeps going for pinning attempts, knowing that he has to finish this soon or Flair will be saved by the bell. Backslide gets two. Back up, the challenger runs Flair into the turnbuckle, then rolls him back through for another pin, but Flair reverses the leverage into his own pinning combo, pulls hard on Windham's tights as Tommy Young counts, and Flair scores the pinfall. I love that NWA would do things like teasing a time limit finish and then having a pinfall shortly after that warning.



Result: Flair via pinfall (apparently the unedited version was 26:00)

Meltzer Rating: *****

My Review and Rating: I can't go nearly as high as five stars, but this is a very good match, and I can imagine was probably even better if I could actually see a high-quality full-length version. Let's go with ***3/4 for the edited and rough version, and unfortunately an N/A at this time for the full version.
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Old 05-03-2015, 11:01 AM   #20
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Re: The Meltzer 4+-Star Match Review Thread

Survivor Series 1987: Hart Foundation/Demolition/Islanders/Dream Team/Bolsheviks (w/ Jimmy Hart, Bobby Heenan, & Slick) vs. Strike Force/British Bulldogs/Rougeaus/Killer Bees/Young Stallions

Date: November 26, 1987

Link: http://network.wwe.com/video/v31355077

Background: Not much of one. This was the first-ever Survivor Series, and they had enough teams to be able to justify going ten-on-ten here (even if it took a few jobber squads to get there). The Hart Foundation were the captains on the heel side, with Strike Force captaining the other side. Strike Force had recently won the tag titles from the Harts. Brutus Beefcake was out of the Dream Team at this point, and Dino Bravo was in for him.



The Match: This is a normal elimination match, under rules that one team member being eliminated would cause their regular tag partner to be gone as well. The ten-on-ten is a cool sight, but it does cause some sightline problems with actually seeing the action; there are just too many men on the apron.

Rick Martel and Nikolai Volkoff kick things off. Volkoff gets the better of some back-and-forth and tags in Boris Zhukov, but Martel fights off Zhukov and tags in Tito Santana. Santana quickly catches Zhukov with a flying forearm and a pinfall, and the Bolsheviks are the first out.

Ax immediately races in to keep things going, taking the fight to Tito until Tito tags in Jacques Rougeau. Ax tags Bravo in, Jacques tags in Jim Brunzell, who tags in Brian Blair, who tags in Davey Boy Smith…the rapid-fire tags are far too quick to keep up with from a play-by-play standpoint, as no two guys are facing off for more than 15 seconds at a time. We get our next elimination when Jacques Rougeau comes up empty on a cross-body off the top, and Demolition Ax quickly takes advantage and pins him to eliminate the Rougeau Brothers.



Nice double-team move, as Jim Neidhart holds up Jim Powers in a backbreaker move and Haku comes off the top and connects with an axhandle. The eliminations continue when Dynamite Kid gets isolated in the heel corner, and when the referee attempts to stop the entire mob from getting their licks in, Smash throws the referee across the ring and causes Demolition to have to exit stage left due to disqualification.

Bret Hart in, delivers a beauty of a piledriver on Dynamite. In a Survivor Series match I might have expected that to get a pinfall, but he instead stays on offense until he gets nothing but post on a corner charge and enables Dynamite to tag out.



Gorilla Monsoon declares Jim Neidhart to be the most powerful man in the match. Jesse Ventura knows what's up and asserts that Haku is every bit as strong. Santana hits a flying forearm on Neidhart and goes for a pin, but Bret Hart blindsides Tito to not only break up the pin but to enable Neidhart to pin Santana. Strike Force is out, and we're down to 6-on-6. Maybe the pace will slow a bit now. Jim Neidhart hangs Jim Powers on the top rope; Monsoon says, "Clothesline city *****." Neidhart tags to Greg Valentine, who tags to Bret Hart, and Jim Powers appears to be isolated before he manages to break away to tag in his partner Paul Roma.

The Young Stallions keep tagging back and forth between each other despite taking a lot of damage, which Jesse finally comments on. The Stallions don't get bounced over it though, and Roma eventually tags Dynamite Kid and gets a breather for both of the Stallions. Davey Boy in, and he executes a press slam on Bret Hart. Bret tags Haku, Davey hits a powerslam on him, but that's no good for a pin yet, not even at Survivor Series. Davey tags Dynamite, Dynamite hits a top rope headbutt, but he connects with Haku's head and it knocks Dynamite silly. Haku with a crescent kick, and Dynamite is easy pickings after the top rope spot. 1-2-3, Bulldogs are gone, and the Stallions and Killer Bees are all the face side has left.



Powers is back to being the face in peril, as the heels isolate him. The faces run in to try to save him, but the referee pushes them out. Powers keeps heroically fighting against the heels, and desperately kicks Greg Valentine off as Valentine goes for a figure-four. Manages a blind tag to Paul Roma, Valentine is unaware, and Roma connects with a surprise sunset flip off the top that pins the Hammer. Four-on-four now, with the Bees and the Stallions facing the Hart Foundation and Islanders.

Bret with a back suplex on Roma before tagging in Tama, and Tama and Haku double-team Roma. Roma keeps fighting, desperately arm-dragging Haku, but he can't really follow. The Hart Foundation takes their turns on Roma, but Roma finally manages to tag Jim Brunzell in. Brunzell goes for a backbreaker on Bret, Haku in and dropkicks Bret onto Brunzell for a pin, but Brunzell rolls through for his own and scores the pin. Wow, the Hart Foundation are gone too. I would not have expected this match to somehow come down to the Stallions and Bees against the Islanders.

Haku and Tama, now on their own, are on the ball and quickly re-enter to ambush Brunzell and get some control back. Haku with a shoulderbreaker. And a suplex, but he can only get a two-count. Haku lowers his head too early on a back body-drop attempt, which earns him a boot to the face that enables Brunzell to tag out. The Stallions are in, with Roma connecting on a strong powerslam…Tama has to run in for the save on the ensuing pin. Roma tags Jim Brunzell in, and we get our ending sequence when Brunzell attempts a sunset flip, can't get Tama over, and Brian Blair puts a mask on and jumps in as the illegal man with a sunset flip of his own on Tama that gets three. The mask thing makes kind of a stupid finish, but this was good stuff, and certainly not the result I expected.



Result: Young Stallions and Killer Bees survive (37:00)

Meltzer Rating: ****

My Review and Rating: I'm again going to come in under Meltzer's rating here. I liked the pace of the quick tags and everything, but given the talent in the ring there probably wasn't enough great spots for a match that ran this long. Bret Hart's jumping piledriver at the midway point stands out as the spot of the match. ***1/2
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Old 05-03-2015, 11:03 AM   #21
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Re: The Meltzer 4+-Star Match Review Thread

Clash of the Champions I: US Tag Team Titles - Midnight Express (c) (w/ Jim Cornette) vs. The Fantastics

Date: March 27, 1988

Link: http://network.wwe.com/video/v32286157

Background: Don't know. Sure seems like it was a personal blood feud, but I don't know.

The Match: Jim Cornette sure is skinny as hell here. The champs are out first, but it at least seems to have a purpose here, as they ambush the Fantastics right as they hit the ring. The fight turns into a pier 6 brawl right away, with all four guys going at it. Bobby Fulton brazenly clobbers Bobby Eaton with a steel chair outside the ring, which the official just shrugs at for some reason. Both Fantastics are in, and they double-team Stan Lane. Eaton back in, and he takes the double-team job as well. The brawl spills outside, and Tommy Rogers gets slammed face-first into a steel chair that Cornette holds up. Maybe this is no DQ? It must be; Cornette was openly swinging a chair on the outside as well.



Things finally settle for a moment for a one-on-one between Rogers and Eaton, but within seconds we're back to all four men in the ring. Okay, finally Randy Anderson has things under control. Eaton with a blind tag to Lane, who drops down behind Rogers to trip him as Eaton hits Rogers with a flying shoulderblock. Lane with a savate kick before tagging Eaton one more time. Cornette sets up a table on its edge lengthwise on one side of the ring, and Beautiful Bobby slams Rogers into it.



Rogers can't get free to tag, coming close after a low blow but not making his corner as Eaton picked him off before he got there. Flying elbow by Bobby before he tags in Sweet Stan. Lane spits on Fulton to draw him into the ring, then the Midnights execute another double-team on Rogers. Rogers, forced into the corner, valiantly fights his way out with right hands but Eaton quells the comeback. Sunset flip by Rogers actually has a pin on Lane a moment later, but the referee was distracted and we get no count.



Outside, the Express lays a table flat on the floor and then bodyslams Rogers on it. Umm, does that actually hurt worse than just slamming him on the concrete floor? I mean, I sort of liked the spot, but it didn't make a ton of sense. Eaton follows it up by bulldogging Rogers onto the table. Making sense or not, that was great. Fulton helps Rogers back into the ring as Schiavone and Caudle comment on how that's not possibly legal. Rogers sells excellently when back in, seemingly sleepwalking through a whip into the ropes that turns into a drop-toehold and leglock.



Rogers finally, finally makes the hot tag to Fulton, and the referee is distracted. Fulton is furious and throws referee Randy Anderson over the top rope. With Anderson out, chaos reigns in the middle, as Cornette goes for a tennis racket shot and accidentally hits Eaton. Double-team splash off the top by Rogers, replacement referee Tommy Young is in for the count, and we get the three-count and new US Tag Champs. And…no we don't, as Randy Anderson re-enters and calls that decision off, disqualifying the Fantastics for attacking him and awarding the belts back to the Midnight Express.

Cornette knocks Randy Anderson out with the tennis racket and then goes to town as the Midnights hold Bobby Fulton and Cornette whips him repeatedly with a leather strap. The Express and Cornette leave to significant heat.

Result: Midnight Express via DQ (10:15)

Meltzer Rating: ****1/4

My Review and Rating: I'm finally going to go above Meltzer again. Even with a lame finish, this match was fantastic. Just absolute non-stop action and incredibly fun to watch. Despite the Dusty Finish, I don't even hate the ending THAT much, because the story of the match really did make it a logical conclusion that Fulton would be absolutely livid to finally get tagged and not have it count, so I kind of like him snapping on the referee. Truly elite tag match, the likes of which you'll rarely see in any era. I'm even willing to look the other way on the fact that the referee allowed several weapon shots but drew the line at attacking him. ****1/2
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Old 05-03-2015, 11:06 AM   #22
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Re: The Meltzer 4+-Star Match Review Thread

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Originally Posted by LKJ View Post
Hmm. I've been going off of this for my WCW/NWA ratings, and that wasn't listed. Where are you seeing a five-star match between them for that date?
You can sort this by any year:

http://www.profightdb.com/top-rated-...html?year=1986
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Old 05-03-2015, 11:11 AM   #23
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Re: The Meltzer 4+-Star Match Review Thread

And the Midnights-Fantastics match was as far as I've gotten so far, so I'll go back in time and make that Flair-Windham match my next one. I found what looks to be a good high-quality copy of it on YouTube.

I would simultaneously like to thank moorobot for his help and to punch him in the face for already finding a flaw in my chronology.
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Old 05-03-2015, 11:26 AM   #24
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Re: The Meltzer 4+-Star Match Review Thread

Alright, I can see that there's one other hole to fill in to properly catch me up through March 1988, that being the 11/7/85 match between Randy Savage and Dynamite Kid. That's also from Wrestling Classic, which almost surely means that it's short and has a dumb ending, so I'll bang that out right now. Flair/Windham from '86 will follow. I will also list the matches that I can't get any video of, just for completeness and in case anyone wants to supply a good copy.
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Old 05-03-2015, 11:59 AM   #25
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Re: The Meltzer 4+-Star Match Review Thread

Wrestling Classic: Tournament Semifinals - Randy Savage (w/ Miss Elizabeth) vs. The Dynamite Kid

Date: November 7, 1985

Link: http://network.wwe.com/video/v31327261

Background: This was the next tournament match for Savage after his wins over Ivan Putski and Ricky Steamboat earlier in the night. The Dynamite Kid had defeated Nikolai Volkoff and Adrian Adonis to get here.



The Match: Dynamite Kid is "currently in the ring," but happily they never missed a chance to give Macho Man the full "Pomp and Circumstance" entrance.

Savage and Dynamite lock several times to stalemates as I spot a fan in the crowd wearing a Steve Largent jersey. Tip of the cap to that guy. Savage decides to attack another way and go behind Dynamite with a waistlock, but Dynamite is lightning quick and Savage doesn't get far with that route either. He leaves the ring pissed to regroup.

Back in, the two jockey for position in a lock-up along half the ring ropes, and when referee Earl Hebner finally tries to interject, Savage gets in a sucker punch over the top of him on Dynamite to finally gain n advantage. It doesn't last though; the Kid shows resilience and floors Macho with a shoulderblock of his own shortly after, followed by a back bodydrop with significant elevation. Running cross-body by Dynamite for a pin, but Randy immediately gets in the ropes.

Sunset flip attempt by Dynamite; Savage keeps his footing and drops ass-first on Dynamite. I thought that spot was reserved for fat dudes. Off the ropes, Savage misses a running clothesline, the two come back at each other and knock each other down hard with simultaneous clotheslines. Savage up first, slowly makes his way up the ropes, but Dynamite gets to his feet and throws a high dropkick that causes Savage to lose his footing and crotch himself on the turnbuckle. He quickly follows him up and executes a nice superplex.



He tries to roll back through to transition from the move into a pinning combo, but as he's halfway rolled back Savage gets his legs up and locks him into a surprise small package. 1-2-3, and Savage advances to the finals.



(For completeness: Savage would go on to lose in the finals to Junkyard Dog by a countout. Yes, a countout win by a face to end a tournament.)

Result: Randy Savage via pinfall (5:00)

Meltzer Rating: ****

My Review and Rating: I mean…I was able to give a good rating to Savage-Steamboat from this event despite its four-minute length because those two went at it hard for all four minutes. Savage and Dynamite spent quite a bit of their time in a build-up phase that would work great for a long match, but that basically makes his match feel incomplete when there was suddenly a pinfall at the five-minute mark. This match is fine for what it was, and given their time constraints I don't blame either wrestler for the fact that it wasn't better, but Meltzer was just setting the bar way too low to give four stars to this. **1/2
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