WWE Network Hidden Gems 2
Brock Lesnar vs Leviathan
The Beast vs The Animal! Despite being part of the Class of 2002 that also featured Randy Orton and John Cena, these two somehow never matched up in WWE proper. Even though they got called up pretty much at the same time, and were on the same show. Fucking HOSSES. Batista is the first to hit a big bomb, a back drop, that Brock no sells. The spinebuster smashes Brock. Just two excessively large and excessively oily men in their underwear. Nothing better. Batista is dominating. Brock is working as an outmatched face. Very strange. And then he hits a reverse cross body block like he's a Von Erich. Great cut offs from Batista. This is really interesting. Wouldn't expect this type of match between two huge guys, especially not this early into their careers. Brock's early F5 move was a Samoan Driver. He had the match won, but SYNN scratched his eyes, with allowed Batista to hit a spear for the win. Very interesting how much better Batista looked here than his first 2 years on the main roster. Obvious both were going to be big stars, though.
Funk Brothers vs Bad Company
Now, this is weird. This was part of a card for Stu Hart's 80th birthday, and it featured mostly WWF talent, but also Benoit and Pillman from WCW. In fact, there was a WCW vs WWF match on the card: Chris Benoit vs Rad Radford. Pillman is in the middle of starting the Loose Cannon stuff, but now he's back to his Bad Company gear and normal gimmick. Bruce Hart was washed a decade earlier, so I can't imagine he's going to be he'll be doing much work in this. Pillman takes a beating early on. God damn Makhan Singh is back as Makhan. Don't call him Bastion anymore, brehs. But he's still wearing a jersey and his underwear and gets involved right away. Terry does Terry things, Dory looks like a Mummy, and Pillman does all the work. Pillman was taking a lot of hard bumps for such a show. When Bruce finally decides to work, he briefly brawls with Terry on the floor and immediately tags out. God forbid he take a bump or anything. The show is for his dad. He does take ONE bump. The rest were flying clotheslines and a splash, but one actual bump. Terry broke up a pin with a chair and got disqualified. A brawl continued after the match. I'd like to see some of the rest of the card: Bastion Booger vs Gangrel, Benoit/Spicolli, 123 Kid vs Keith, Razor vs Owen, and Bret vs Bulldog. All in the Calgary Coral with Ed Whalen calling the action.
Jerry Lynn vs Lightning Kid
These have special rules that Kid must win via lighting strike, and Jerry must win via sleeper, or the falls don't count. The series these two had have long been credited as bringing the junior/cruiserweight style to America. Interesting that Kid is the heel. He's been avoiding Lynn for quite a while. After some stalemates, Lynn catches Kid off guard with a flippy ass arm drag, which bothers Kid tremendously. Lmao, Kid trying a test of strength. Jerry's arms are literally twice as thick. Kid baits Jerry into some amateur stuff only to kick him in the gut when Jerry was in referee's position. SWERVE! It's weird to me that anyone would see Kid at this point in his life and book him as a heel, but he's a good heel. Fascinating that he's able to do fucking planchas and they're heel moves. Jerry locks on the sleeper to win the first fall.
Fall two starts seemingly clipped a bit. Kid quickly wins with the Lightning Strike, which is a tombstone piledriver.
Fall three continues with both guys forgetting they need to win with their finisher. Then there is a ref bump and Scott Anthony aka RAVEN comes out to hit Jerry with a chain, but accidentally hits Kid. Jerry sends Raven out of the ring and locks Kid in the sleeper to win the match. NEW CHAMPION! Jerry got a promo with Bruce Pritchard after the match. When you're dwarfed by Brother Love, breh.
Ernie Ladd vs Kerry Von Erich
This for the American Championship. Ernie is fucking huge, god damn. I feel like his size is not mentioned enough in talk of giants. Kerry wisely goes after the legs early on. Ernie is resorting to international objects not even 10 minutes into the match. Much of this match is Kerry's speed, youth, and athleticism being too much for Ernie to handle. Kerry frequently over powers him, too. Then he wins with a top rope sunset flip. Talk about nepotism running wild. New champion.
Stan Hansen vs Antonio Inoki
A very rare match for both. While NJPW had a pretty long working relationship with Stampede, Inoki himself only made one other appearance for Stampede, defeating Kerry Brown by DQ in 1983. This was Stan's only appearance for the company. This match is for the NWF Championship, and 16 year old Diana Hart presents Inoki with flowers before the match. Stan was so deceptively fast in his youth. But not as fast as Inoki, and the opening minutes of the match are centered around Inoki being able to counter Stan's attacks with speed and technique. Always a big fan of how white and clean Inoki's boot laces were. I appreciate the neatness. He came correct everywhere he went. Once Stan gets a hold of Inoki, he smashes and grinds him down with elbows, knees, and chin locks. Inoki fires up and wins with an enzuigiri followed by a top rope knee drop.
Bill Watts vs Terry Funk
Mid South 11/27/75
This match is for the North American Championship, which Watts is defending. The winner I believe will receive a NWA Championship shot. Terry goes after the arm right away, and that's his focus completely. "Ask him, damn it! ASK HIM!" That's basically the whole match, as they go into some punches, then Watts wins with a body slam OUTTA NOWHERE to retain his title and presumably get a title shot at Jack Brisco. However, it's Terry Funk that will take the title off of Jack in just 2 weeks. Doesn't look like Watts even got his title shot at all from this match. He did get a shot at Funk at a superdome show in July of 1976.
Bruno Sammartino vs George Steele
Steel Cage Match
For the WWWF Championship. Not happy at Bruno's opponent, but more Bruno is more Bruno. Bruno attacks the Animal as soon as he makes in the ring, immediately throwing him into the cage and beating his ass. George is trying to escape the cage just to get away. ALL MEN ARE ANIMALS WHEN LOCKED IN A CAGE! Lots of gut work from Bruno. Animal takes some pretty big bumps from the top rope and almost the top of the cage. A low blow from George changed the course of the match, but only briefly. Bruno has balls, nerves, and muscles of steel. Lol, Bruno hit a low blow of his own. Before George used to eat the turnbuckle padding, he'd use it as a weapon to mash into the eyes, mouth, and nose of his opponents. That's...quite smart, actually. Get some of that foam shit in your eyes and it's stuck there forever. Anyway, the moral of this story is that Bruno is an animal himself, and he became more of an animal as the match went on until he left George down and exited the cage. Title retained.
While none of these were particularly great matches, I'm certainly more interested and supportive of WWE Network putting out more content like this as opposed to 500 hours of shitty ECW shows.