wrestling / Columns

The Mount Rushmore of Great Matches That Shouldn’t Have Been Great

April 29, 2019 | Posted by Caliber Winfield
WWE Kurt Angle and Ronda Rousey WrestleMania 34 Ronda Rousey’s


Greetings, all.

OK, before we get to the business of getting down, I wanted to apologize. In my last article, which you can read here, I completely shit the bed. I included Mr. Perfect, despite the fact he’d held the AWA WHC. Now, yeah, the AWA wasn’t shit then, but it was still a major World Title. Also, my inclusion of Andre. I was told that the WWE recognizes it as a title win, so I can’t fight that. I just said he wasn’t, because he never even pinned Hogan, and it was never made clear. So, my apologies, ya’ll. I promise to try and do better, and if I don’t, well, at least I’m pretty! Also, yeah, I should have put Jake Roberts on that list, that was a MAJOR oversight on my part.

Alright, let’s take a look at this week’s list, and I hope I’ve redeemed myself a bit in the eyes of you, the beautiful people. So, let’s have a look at the 4 matches inducted on the Mt. Rushmore of Wrestling Matches That Were Great That Had Absolutely No Reason To Be.

Scott Steiner vs Goldberg – No DQ – Fall Brawl 2000


Why It’s On The Mountain: At no point in time would anyone think Goldberg was a good worker. Or even decent, for that matter. Most times when he went over 3 minutes, it wasn’t pretty. Unless he was working with someone very talented and/or dedicated, like Jericho, or DDP. Then we have Scott Steiner. Back in the day, he was a hell of a worker. Fast forward to 2000 and well, match quality wasn’t exactly Scott’s specialty. Honestly, most of his matches were God-awful. So, when these two were slated for a match at Fall Brawl 2000, there is absolutely NO REASON why it should be anything but a botch-filled mess. However, these guys killed it. It was well paced, cohereant, relatively botch free, and pretty damn intense. It had all the factors going for it in terms of a negative-star rating: It’s WCW in the year 2000 and it’s Goldberg & Steiner. But they went out there and delivered what is arguably the best match WCW had to offer in the year 2000.
Goldberg handles Steiner in the beginning with some impressive power moves before Steiner takes a powder, and gives him the breather he needs to turn it on Goldberg. Bummer for him however, Goldberg has it back just like that. Steiner attempts a Tombstone, Goldberg reverses it into a powerslam, misses a spear, which allows Steiner the time to go up top, however once he jumps, Goldberg catches him in mid-air and whips him with snap power-slam, which looked great. Have I mentioned how GOD-AWFUL Mark Madden is on the mic? Goldberg hits the spear on Steiner, and went for the Jackhammer, only for Russo to show up and club him with a bat a few times. Funny moment where Russo got stuck trying to get in the ring. And then an even funnier moment when we see Russo’s arms. Steiner goes for a top-rope over-head-suplex, and Goldberg CLEARLY lands on his head, and from what it appears, is legit knocked out. Because the ref acts like Goldberg kicked out at 2&1/2, but he clearly kicked out AFTER the ref said he did. Honestly, there is literally 3 different times where Steiner goes for the Recliner and acts like THIS IS IT, except it never is. The match ends when thanks to Russo, he’s able to get out of the Jackhammer, clobbers Goldberg with a led pipe, throws him in the Recliner and the ref drops Bill’s hand 3 times. Now, the interference got way out of hand here, and it became obnoxious, as Russo, Midaja, all kept interfering. However, despite that, this was a very hard-hitting, very-intense match that is pretty text-book on how all hoss matches should be.
Steiner wins after Goldberg is passed out in the Recliner at 13:50 | ***3/4

Bam Bam Bigelow vs Laurence Taylor – WrestleMania XI


Why It’s On The Mountain: Ya’ll ever seen someone who isn’t a wrestler, wrestle? There are few things cringier than that. Any time I hear about a non-wrestler getting in the ring, I get flashes of the worst-match of all time: Rodman & Hogan vs DDP & Malone. So, we’ve got WWE in 1995, with a football player in the main event of WrestleMania XI. This should have been a laughing stock, but in stead they went out and delivered a hell of a match. This was about as perfect of a celebrity performance as you could get. Taylor stuck to a few moves, and the moves he hit looked pretty damn good. Worked punches are really hard to make look good, so they just had him throw forearms and they looked legit as hell. He’d have quick bursts of offense, and it was very believable. The beauty of it was LT looked good, but not polished, as a guy in his first match would. Bammer didn’t look like a punk either, and it pretty much set the standard for celeb matches.

The match starts with LT slapping Bam Bam hard as all get out, that was definitely a live round, which is good. Because nothing looks worse than a fake slap. LT follows it up with one hell of an explosive forearm. Man, Taylor’s shit looks seriously legit, I really gotta hand it to him. Bammer eventually gets things on his side, at one point holding LT in the lamest submission ever. He’s literally just bending his leg back. Like, making his heel touch his hamstring. They do it AGAIN, and basically kill the fucking crowd. Eventually LT hits a powerbomb that looks just as bad as the one Diesel hit earlier. Eventually LT mounts a comeback with some really aggressive forearms before hitting one to the face from the 2nd rope and scoring the pin.
Bam Bam eats the pin after catching a flying forearm at 11:42 | ***

Shane McMahon vs Kurt Angle – King of the Ring 2001


Why It’s On The Mountain: Now, some people may say “Yeah, is this really that hard to believe?”. No, it’s not hard to believe these 2 had a decent match, but I don’t think anyone expected them to have an absolute barn-burning classic that’s still talked about to this day. On top of that, this was Kurt’s 3rd match of the night, and while Shane McMahon had passable matches at this point, he was more known for the matches being OK, but having a giant high-spot. These guys went out and wrestled for almost 30 minutes straight in a street fight for the ages. These guys went the absolute distance with this one, especially Shane, who was cut to ribbons and concussed as a result of that glass spot, which remains one of the most memorable spots in WWE history. It’s a glorious, action packed, innovative, fun, balls-to-the-wall kind of match, and something no one expected.

Man, they start off like a house of fire with technical wrestling at an insane pace, it’s awesome. They eventually get to brawling, with a moment that made me laugh out loud, where Shane clotheslines Kurt over the rail, and as Shane rests, all of a sudden Kurt pops up and screams “AARGGH!” as he throws Shane into a sleeper. Hysterical. Shane breaks out some trash cans, and I wonder if these are ever actually used as real trash cans, or if they’re simply created just for pro-wrestling. Shane puts Kurt in the Sharpshooter, and we get the deal that annoys me to no end, when someone gets the ropes in a no-DQ match and the ref enforces it. Shane attempts a Shooting Star, and it looks text-book. Man, this kid does shit he absolutely does not have to, just to entertain. Hats off. Then we get the suplex spots…man, OUCH. And that shit looks like the worst, splintery substance ever. I mean, it looks like the type of substance where if you even looked at it you’d bleed. I love how with the second pane of glass, Kurt is finally like “Fuck it, just gonna throw your ass”. Kurt literally wheels Shane back to the ring for the pin, and when Shane kicks out, the crowd errupts. Then we get a hell of a moment when Kurt sets up a piece of wood on the top rope, and delivers an Angle Slam, absolutely insane. This is one of my all time favorite matches. Fucking glorious.
Kurt pins Shane after a top rope Angle Slam at 26:00 | *****

Mr & Mrs Stephanie McMahon vs Kurt Angle & Rhonda Rousey – WrestleMania 34


Why It’s On The Mountain: A broken down wrestler 10 years past this prime? Check. A newbie from the world of UFC who’s never stepped foot in a wrestling ring? Check. A member of the backstage crew who’s had maybe 5 matches in her entire career and none of them have been above 2 stars? Check. This match had a lot of odds stacked against it, but these 4 went out there and not only stole the damn show, but at WrestleMania no less. This match was old school fun. They worked a swift pace, had everyone interact, a decent dose of gaga, and everyone looked fantastic. The crowd was eating out of their palms, and they didn’t let them down. Watching this again for the article, I was having a fucking blast. Everyone played their parts perfectly, and I couldn’t get enough. A match that had nothing in it’s favor going in, ended up being one of the best of the entire year. Good times.

You can say a lot of things about Stephanie, but one thing is for sure, she’s such a great heel. Man, Triple H came in shredded. I’ve never seen him look so lean. It’s really obnoxious how many times the announce team mentions that Rhonda has never been in front of a crowd this big. We get it, while in the UFC her crowds were never this big. But, how about them PPV buys, ay? One thing that has bothered me about Rhonda since day one is the fact she needs to get different ring attire, because she won’t stop fucking with her shorts. She does it CONSTANTLY. Steph & Rhonda do great together, although I was annoyed to no end when they had Steph block the Arm-Bar, because no. If Misha Tate can’t stop the Arm-Bar, Stephanie McMahon sure as shit can’t. Arm-Bars are actually pretty damn difficult to defend against when the person applying knows what they’re doing. My Jits coach is a Black Belt, and I couldn’t stop him from putting me in an Arm-Bar if I had a fucking tank. The crowd is insanely hot for this match. Funny moment when you can see Steph taking too long to save HHH, and him and Rhonda are just standing there, like, uh…The Game and Angle have another go around, with Kurt throwing him around, with Steph and Rhonda running in on occasion here and there. Nice spot where HHH is in the Ankle Lock and Steph the Arm-Bar, when Triple H rolls through and it sends Angle crashing into Rhonda. Soon after, Rhonda finally catches Stephanie in the Arm-Bar and taps her out. Great stuff.
Rhonda taps Stephanie with the Arm-Bar at 20:40 | ****

Thanks for reading, buckshots, and for no reason, here’s my favorite Stephanie McMahon moment….


Any questions, comments, drunk-ramblings, feel free to send them my way, I always dig hearing from you, the beautiful people.
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