To those uninitiated the much respected website Death Valley Driver Video Review is putting together a list of 1001 matches to see before you die called the DVDVR 1001. This is my project where I am reviewing every match in the DVDVR 1001, continuing with #11,
This is the Final Match in the 1981 Real World Tag League.
A case of a match that has become famous for the circumstances surrounding it. The circumstances in this case would be the moment when Bruiser Brody & Jimmy Snuka come down the entry way and are followed by Stan Hansen. The announcers yell and generally lose their shit over the appearance of The Lariat. Just days prior Hansen had been in a New Japan Pro Wrestling ring, and now he finds himself siding with Giant Baba’s All Japan Pro Wrestling promotion.
It’s a major switch, there is no denying that. Hansen departing New Japan for All Japan had a huge impact on business in Japan. He would go on to be a mainstay in All Japan for nearly the next twenty years. He was instantly a main event player, a money maker for the promotion, a major star, and further proof to the masses that New Japan was the one playing catch up to All Japan.
Unfortunately I think that this is a clear cut instance of the historical importance of a match masking the actual quality of said match. Because what these four legends present here isn’t all that good of a professional wrestling match. It starts off hot, and ends hot, but there’s a whole lot of aimless middle. There’s too much aimless middle, so much of it that it easily drowns out a respectable beginning and end.
All four men work hard, I’ll give them that. They realize this is an important moment for All Japan, and the effort behind their work demonstrates this knowledge. That being said, all the effort in the world can’t make up for a match that meanders around far too much. Sure, watching Snuka stand with his back to a charging Terry Funk and Leapfrog over him is a sight to see. But that takes place, the crowd is charged, then not much of note happens for the next fifteen or so minutes while the wrestlers bide their time for the match ending theatrics.
I do place a significant chunk of the blame for the low quality of the match on Brody. He’s a wrestler who simply has never done it for me and this match is no different. He no sells everything the Funks throw at him, gets his shit in, and exits out of the ring as quickly as possible. Brody is the very definition of a “me first!” worker. When he’s in the ring with two guys as unselfish as Terry and Dory Funk Jr. the willingness of Brody to dominate a match at the expense of said match’s quality is all too evident. He husks, he bleeds, and he makes sure he looks great, but in doing so Brody sure as heck makes the match into a considerably lesser affair.
Hansen demolishing Terry with the Lariat is a great moment. Just as the arrival of Hansen to All Japan is a great moment in general. However, it can’t hide that most of this match is filler. It’s filler that the live audience eats up, mind you. Maybe they were right and I am wrong, but I can only speak on what I feel about the match. In that regard this is a match I have many issues with and feel comfortable labeling as subpar.