WWE Vintage Collection Report: 26th July 2009
By Shaun Best-Rajah.com Reporter
Hosted by: Mean Gene Okerlund
This week we wrap up our Cruiserweight theme with three more unique matches, including another stellar bout from WCW when it was healthy and in direct competition with the WWF. Okerlund hammers home the demise of WCW, but let’s not dwell on things and get to the matches.
WWF In Your House 16 – Canadian Stampede (July 6th 1997)
Taka Michinoku vs The Great Sasuke
Announcers for this match are Vince McMahon, Jerry Lawler and Jim Ross. Both competitors had just performed on ECW’s debut PPV ‘Barely Legal.’ Vince brought them both in in as the start of a Light Heavyweight Division, to try and counter WCW’s excellent Cruiserweights. However, only one, Taka wound up staying and enjoyed some short-term success before being turned into a joke with Kaientai. Ross gives some background on the two. Sasuke starts with a series of kicks and holding a couple of headscissors on the mat. Taka goes after an arm, Sasuke counters into a sleeper, before leaping up to floor Taka with a kick to draw the first big crowd response. Sasuke twists Taka into a half crab. Taka counters more kicks with a hard palm slap, then scores with a couple of low dropkicks. Taka gets nice height as he’s tossed to the floor, then hit with a high kick. Taka is worked over with more kicks in the corner. Taka catches a leg turning it into a dragonscrew legwhip. With Sasuke limping, Taka dropkicks the knee. Sasuke rolls out, Taka nails a beautiful springboard dive, to win over the crowd. Both counter suplex attempts. Taka delivers a huracanrana and la mahistrol cradle for nearfalls. Sasuke retaliates with a handspring backelbow and asai moonsault. It’s worth noting that both are spending time selling the aerial moves after they’ve been hit on the outside, and not just doing spots for the sake of them. Back inside, Taka delivers a belly-to-belly suplex, springboard dropkick and the Michinoku Driver, but Sasuke kicks out. Sasuke catches Taka in mid-air with a dropkick. Following a moonsault from the second rope, Sasuke softens Taka up with a powerbomb, before hooking Taka’s arms and pinning him with a bridging german suplex. This was a really good match on arguably the best PPV card of 1997. Taka would go on to win a tournament later in the year to crown the first Light Heavyweight Champion. This was the furthest Sasuke went in the WWF. Winner: THE GREAT SASUKE.
WCW Halloween Havoc (October 26th 1997)
Cruiserweight Title vs Mask – Eddie Guerrero vs Rey Mysterio Jr
Tony Schiavone, Dusty Rhodes, Bobby Heenan and Mike Tenay call this one. Tenay in particular is full of knowledge, dropping little snippets in about both wrestlers throughout. Rey held the psychological advantage going in, following two recent victories over Eddie on Nitro. Rey was dressed in a unique light purple bodysuit, with the mask forming part of the suit. Eddie talks trash to begin. Rey scores with a springboard armdrag, monkey flip and cross body which takes Eddie to the floor. Eddie pulls Rey off the apron then sends him headfirst into the steps. Back inside, Eddie flips on top of Rey with a rolling senton from the apron. Rey comes back with a dropkick, but Eddie counters a handspring leap with a back suplex. Eddie gets nearfalls from a brainbuster and tilt-a-whirl backbreaker. Eddie applies an abdominal stretch while ripping at Rey’s mask, to no avail. Tenay notes Konnan as someone that’s done well after losing his mask, but still warns it could be devastating for a wrestler’s future. Tenay continues by revealing Mysterio had to earn his name, by going by the moniker Calibre (humming bird) for three years. Eddie delivers a backbreaker and gets frustrated at not being able to pin Rey’s shoulders to the mat. Rey leaps on top of Eddie and uses the ropes to hit a springboard DDT out of nowhere. Rey dropkicks Eddie through the ropes. Eddie quickly gets back in to dropkick Rey off the apron. Eddie sits on a camel clutch and rips into Rey’s mask above the eyehole. Tenay notes Eddie’s ‘Black Tiger’ tenure in Japan was under a mask. Eddie lifts Rey onto his shoulders, locking in a Gory special (named after Eddie’s father). Rey unhooks himself to armdrag free. Eddie swats away a dropkick, lands one of his own, then delivers a backbreaker across his shoulder. Eddie applies a bow and arrow submission, breaking to connect with a flying backelbow. Rey is tossed upside down in the corner and dropkicked. Rey sits up to avoid a baseball slide, and Eddie crotches himself in the ringpost. Rey hits a successful dive from the top rope onto Eddie on the floor. Back inside, Rey counters a tilt-a-whirl with a huracanrana for two. Eddie immediately clotheslines, then catches a 619 attempt, but Rey spins round to send Eddie out with a headscissors. Rey hits a somersault headscissors over the top rope. I’ve never seen that before. Truly amazing. Rey follows that up with a top rope corkscrew senton and slam. A split legged moonsault attempt meets with Eddie’s knees. Eddie bounces Rey’s head off the mat with a powerbomb. 1-2-no. Eddie sends Rey to the corner, charges, but Rey elevates him into the turnbuckles. A staggering Eddie is hit by a spin kick. Rey signals for a springboard huracanrana, but Eddie catches Rey across the knee. Eddie attempts the frog splash, Rey moves and Eddie manages to roll forwards and back to his feet. Eddie catches Rey going airborne, crotching him on the top rope. Eddie climbs, and Rey counters a top rope Razor’s Edge into a huracanrana pin. Rey hooks the leg. 1-2-3. New Cruiserweight Champion. Wow! This was undoubtedly their best match and better than anything they’ve done in the WWE. If you haven’t seen this, it’s worth going out of your way to see. I’d rank it above the Pillman/Liger match from the other week. It was that good. The crowd heat throughout was pretty constant with several big ‘Eddie sucks’ chants. Classic Eddie Guerrero. Post match sees Eddie attack Rey as he cuts a promo into the camera. Rey manages to get out and escape with his title. Winner: REY MYSTERIO JR.
Before our last bout, we cut to the March 26th 2001 telecast of Raw and Nitro with Vince McMahon bragging to both audiences that he’d bought his competition. It was just a matter of time. The Monday Night Wars were officially over and the demise of WCW was nigh.
SummerSlam (August 19th 2001)
Winner Take All Unification Match
Light Heavyweight Title vs Cruiserweight Title – Tajiri vs X-Pac
Jim Ross and Paul Heyman are announcing. X-Pac has generic music and boos piped in over his X-Factor theme. Ross doesn’t think X-Pac sucks, but most of the crowd do. Both hold up the two titles in a small popularity contest with the crowd. Unsurprisingly, Tajiri wins. Both exchange holds to begin. Tajiri trips X-Pac from a test of strength and gets a nearfall from a standing moonsault. The two exchange slaps to the back of each other’s heads. Tajiri nails a huracanrana to the floor, baseball slide and asai moonsault. The crowd chant ECW. X-Pac ducks a clothesline to lift Tajiri and crotch him in the ringpost. X-Pac surfboards Tajiri mid-ring, then counters an aerial attempt in mid-air with a powerbomb. X-Pac misses a bronco buster, gets trapped upside down then nailed with a baseball slide to the face. Tajiri scores with a reverse kick, handspring backelbow then locks in the Tarantula, which Heyman goes wild for. X-Pac rolls through from a top rope cross body for a close nearfall. Tajiri crotches X Pac up top, grabs his legs, faceplants him to the mat, then flips him over for a pinfall attempt. Tajiri slingshots X-Pac into the corner, delivering a bridging german suplex for two. X-Pac kicks Tajiri off the apron, lands a somersault plancha, then avoids another springboard maneuver to hit the X Factor. X-Pac is slow to cover and can only get a two count. Tajiri nearly wins it with a rollup, as X-Pac’s F Factor stable mate Albert slowly makes his way to the ring. X-Pac takes advantage of the distraction to floor Tajiri with a roundhouse kick. Tajiri counters a powerbomb attempt with a kick to the gut. As Tajiri sets up for a buzzsaw kick, Albert jumps onto the apron, so Tajiri mists him. The misting is freeze framed for reasons unknown. X-Pac gives Tajiri a low blow behind the referee’s back, and another X Factor is enough for the 1-2-3. X-Pac unifies the titles. Thanks for the memories WCW. X-Pac helps a blinded Albert to the back as we check the replay. Good match, but not a patch on the other two shown today. Winner: X-PAC.
Okerlund wraps things up, before promising a series of SummerSlam specials beginning next week. This format will probably be similar to that of the Cruiserweights, lasting four weeks to lead us nicely into the biggest party of the Summer. However, SummerSlams 1988-1995 were pretty much covered around this time last year, so hopefully they pick things up from 1996 to avoid repeating matches. That would be plain lazy, considering the size of the vault WWE has at its disposal. See you next week. Shaun.
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