Looking Back Territories WWW Review Archive (December 2015-July 2017)

DVDVR 1001 Matches #15: Belfast Bruiser vs. Lord Steven Regal (WCW 4/27/96)

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 Matches. This is my project where I am reviewing every match in the DVDVR 1001, continuing with #15,

There are matches that simply work. Trying to articulate why they work is a troubling task, because how does one express the reasons for something just working because it works? The problem takes the shape of losing the narrative, so to speak. In the attempt to explain the why, it’s easy to lose sight of the how. I’m not talking play-by-play either (in case you weren’t aware I loathe play-by-play style reviewing), but rather taking something simple and pure; something that works just because it exists, and in the process of trying to explain why it works one misses the forest for the trees.

I’m treading dangerously close to what I’m preaching in the above paragraph. With that in mind I’m going to cut myself off and deliver one very important sentence. This sentence perfectly describes why Belfast Bruiser, otherwise known as Fit Finlay, and Lord Steven Regal put on an absolute cracker of a match. Bruiser and Regal hit one another very hard, in interesting and diverse ways. It’s that simple folks; two men step into a ring, before spilling out of it, and they pound the snot out of one another in the most satisfying of manners.

This seems to always be the case when Regal and Bruiser meet up. I’ve never seen a bad match between the two. They are two terrific wrestlers, they know what they are good at, and they deliver that in spades. There’s something earnest about such an approach, a ripping away of the layers that can sometimes obscure great art. Because make no bones about it, Regal stiffing the ever loving hell out of Bruiser with a Lariat is a work of art within an even greater work of art. The wrestling arena is the canvas for Bruiser and Regal, with pain being their brush of choice.

What gets me about the way Bruiser and Regal go about employing their art is that they are equal parts overt and subtle. They are hitting one another as hard as they can; they make no attempts to hide that from the audience. At the same time they do subtle things that the audience only notices if they are willing to work to see them. Regal’s baiting of Bruiser isn’t obvious to the naked eye. Neither is the touch of Regal grinding his forearm across the face of Bruiser every single time he goes for a Lateral Press. Those moments are present though, and astute wrestling fans, art aficionados if you will, notice said moments and they make the match all the better.

And what a short match this is; totaling around four minutes in action before the final bell is rung. That’s all the time it needs, because it is but a piece of the puzzle. This is neither the beginning nor the end of the Regal and Bruiser feud. The match on this night, or afternoon as the case may be with a Saturday Night taping, is the middle of the book. It builds on what has come before and prepares the audience for what will come after. It does all this in four minutes; four grueling, hard hitting, and completely engaging minutes.

Look at that, in my desire to not wax completely poetic about this match I ended up waxing completely poetic. This is what the violence bestowed upon the wrestling world by Regal and Bruiser brings out in me. I find high art in what they are doing, not to mention the most fun one can have with a four minute wrestling match. The brass tacks are this; Regal and Bruiser hit one another extremely hard. They do so with purpose and direction; they never let up and they exhaust the senses of all those watching these four splendid minutes. On a show where very few people will care, and even less will watch, they lay out their art for all to see and it is a glorious sight to behold, if ever there was one.

Cheers,
Bill Thompson

About the author

Bill Thompson

I am the almighty Bill Thompson, father of a little girl, husband to an awesome wife, a paramedic/firefighter, and a fan of the Chicago Cubs. I've been writing about wrestling for some time now. You can find me writing about great matches at Blue Thunder Driver, or matches people have suggested I watch at Random Match Generator. I write about free matches legally available to watch online at Free Pro Wrestling and am a contributor to the Cubed Circle Newsletter. I'm also the Senior Writer for the magazine/website The Tag Rope. I'm happy to be on the Wrestling with Words ship, and have I mentioned I am a fan of the Chicago Cubs? Cause I am, like huge, as in they are my #1 priority. Just making sure we're on the same page...

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