Joined: 01 Aug 2006
|Posted: Fri Jul 29, 2016 8:24 pm Post subject: YR Watches More Old School Wrestling 7.29.16
|After watching the Dynamite Kid in PNW, I decided to watch more of the Dynamite Kid and that led me to...The World of Sport.
But first, I would say that I've seen more Chris Benoit matches than I have of any other wrestler. We know the background of Benoit and Dynamite. I grew up watching Dynamite in the 80's in the WWF and then some light watching of him in the tape trading days of the 90's. But, I didn't have a great feel for DK's work because the high end stuff was the Tiger Mask rivalry. By the time he hit the WWF and then AJPW, he was still great, but he was too bulky and didn't have that quickness and agility that he had. I will say that from watching DK, his prime was 82 and 83. Prior to then, he was very good, but still a bit green and was still in the mode of realizing his potential. There's a great match from 1980 between DK and Mark Rocco where DK starts to really understand the psychology of a heel vs. face, but he wasn't quite as smooth as he was in 82 and 83.
I remember when Benoit wrestled Great Sasuke at the Super J Cup '94, they started doing the same sequences as DK and Tiger Mask were doing with Benoit as DK and Sasuke as TM. I also remember smarks saying 'hey, they're doing it as a tribute, but they are only doing a better rendition of it!'
Not so fast.
From watching all of the videos of DK and all of those years of Benoit, I think DK was quicker and just smoother with his moves. It's hard to say who was more powerful, but Benoit probably had the edge on overall explosiveness...turning pure speed into power...and had a much bigger moveset. But the opening chain wrestling in the DK vs. TM feud was just flat out stupid (good stupid). Even in the 90's you didn't see wrestlers moving that quickly.
Now...you may see that type of movement in something like PWG or EVOLVE. But, I don't think the wrestlers quite grasp the concept of what they were doing. The chain wrestling was certainly choreographed, but it was done with the purpose of the other wrestler gaining control the hold. So while it looked fancy, it actually served a purpose. And the purpose was to out-wrestle the opponent to win. This sure beats the gymnastics routine we have seen the past 15 years or so. That's just done for showing off their acrobatic skills.
I remember when some of the World of Sport tapes came out about 10 years ago, the guy that every drew to was Johnny Saint. While Saint's stuff could be fun, I can only handle him in small doses because as Steve Austin said of Saint's work, 'it's a lot of tit for tat.'
The guy to really watch in The World of Sport, who was every bit as good as DK, was Mark 'Rollerball' Rocco. I became familiar with Rocco when he was Black Tiger in NJPW. He was phenomenal there, but the World of Sport 'catch wrestling' style is where he really shines. He is crisp, he's snug without potato-ing his opponents, his chain wrestling is about as good as it gets, he has a nice moveset, sells well, goes full bore and plays the heel role so well for that style of wrestling.
I got a kick out of the Rocco vs. DK match from '80 where Rocco plays the heel and DK as the face. Rocco kneed DK in the face when DK was down (illegal in catch wrestling rules) and the crowd was red hot after that and they were only 2 minutes into the match.
I've felt for a long time that Rocco was the most underrated wrestler of all time based on his Black Tiger work, but his World of Sport work only just completely emphasizes my opinion. Not only does he lack recognition as a tremendous wrestler, but future wrestlers are more interested in copying Johnny Saint than copying Rocco.
Jim Breaks is really good here. He's kind of got a crybaby gimmick, sort of like when John McEnroe would pout after a bad call. I also like Marty Jones and of course, Steve Regal and Fit Finlay.
But there are others to watch as well. I don't think Alan Dennison would get rave reviews from smarks, but he played the roll so well against DK in the 'old guard vs. young lion' gimmick. Dennison was considered the 'strong man' of those wrestlers and would play the role of DK surprising him with counters.
Speaking of which, DK was so far ahead of his time, but you couldn't have picked a better name to describe a wrestler than 'The Dynamite Kid' with Tom Billington.
There's plenty of Japanese stars that made their way thru World of Sport like Maede, Tiger Mask and Liger. I remember Bison Smith telling me that Liger was one ugly mofo without the mask. However, in World of Sport he doesn't look anything unusual other than he is jacked to the gills which doesn't show thru his Liger outfit in Japan.
But what gets me so much about World of Sport is the style of wrestling. I haven't quite figured out all of the rules, but this is dressed up as a real sport and if you didn't know any better, you would think that everything was a shoot except for the finish. It is snug, logical and just out and out 'fun.'
The wrestlers shake hands before their match, they don't break the rules in front of the ref. They break the rules when the ref is out of position or they'll just bend the rules. So when a wrestler throws a punch, it means something.
Hell, EVERYTHING means something in World of Sport.
Even Rocco using an abdominal stretch meant something. The same with the Irish Whip into the corners.
A wrestler is climbing to the top rope a tad bit too casually?
He'll miss the move.
A wrestler move towards their opponent without protecting himself?
A head butt to the gut will teach him a lesson.
This is what Ring of Honor should have been. Instead, they got too caught up in heeling up the handshake and getting into over-choreographed high spots that were illogical and sold poorly.
Even the round systems works quite well. It gives the wrestler a nice break and adds a different dimension to the matches. Much easier to have a 30 minute match this way and a promotion using this method could have fewer matches in the same time and save money on wrestler's payroll and not have to worry about booking so many underneath guys into storylines and angles.
So I recommend watching it. It's almost like watching The Destoyer in fast forward.