The Single File #23
I've done a lot of good matches lately; I think it's time again to cover a bad one. I've done two bad matches in the past,
Andre the Giant/Haku vs. Demolition and Sid vs. Nightstalker
(1). But those matches were bad because they had bad wrestlers in them. The match I'm reviewing now has two wrestlers that have some talent (although are still pretty green). However, their match is littered with things I really hate about wrestling that drags it way, way down to wrestling hell. The match takes place in CZW (imagine that), a federation I once praised in
SF #15, but now gets no love from me.
Ric Blade vs. "Sick" Nick Mondo
Where: Champs Soccer Arena, Sewell, NJ
Backstory: Mondo's a skinny guy-about 6'1 and 200 pounds. He can fly around the ring, but partakes in a lot of garbagey death matches-hence the nickname. Blade's about the same size, has some nice kicks and can do some crazy spots (the slingshot 450 Splash being chief among them).
Blade and Mondo used to be partners and even won the tag team titles from the Backseat Boyz (2). I guess something happened and they had a violent split, as Mondo aligned himself with the H8 Club. Mondo attacked Blade during his match with Super Crazy on 1/20 to set up this bout.
The Match: Nick comes out first and jaws with a fan, then threatens to beat up the ring announcer (instead opting to adjust his tuxedo and fix his hair). Blade comes out and slaps the fans hands, since he's a fine upstanding citizen and all. The announcers tell us that a ladder has been placed in the aisle way and is up for grabs, so I guess this is a ladder match (not the kind where you have to climb and grab something-I guess it's just a normal CZW (3) match but there's a ladder conveniently at your disposal).
Tie-up, Mondo applies a wristlock, but Blade does the ol'-flippy-flop-cartwheel to escape and clamps on a Full Nelson, then segues into a weird Lucha-esque rolling submission. Mondo manages to get a foot in the ropes, so Blade releases the hold. Mondo gets to his feet, only to be kicked in the gut by Blade and sent to the ropes. Blade tries a backdrop, but Mondo manages to land on his feet. Blade tries a kick, but Mondo catches it and flips Blade (almost) over (4). Ric tries…a flapjack, I guess…but Mondo manages a go-behind and tries an inverted suplex, but Rick manages to land on his feet while still holding onto Mondo. Nick hits Blade with some elbows to escape, then manages to roll forward with a goofy submission of his own. Ric's in the ropes, so Mondo releases the hold and lays in some stomps. Nick sends Blade to the ropes and hits an ugly jawjacker elbow that thankfully doesn't hurt Blade legit. Mondo stomps on Blade some more, then sends him into the ropes and tries an elbow that Blade ducks. Blade tries to send Nick into the corner, but Nick jumps to the top rope in one motion and leaps off with another flying elbow.
You're probably thinking, "Hey, what's the problem? This seems like a decent enough match so far." Read on.
Blade rolls to the outside, so Mondo gets a running start and tries a no-hand springboard, but slips on the top rope. So Nick gets another running start and tries a through-the-ropes dropkick to the floor, but gets caught up in the ropes and makes no contact with Ric. The crowd is really starting to get on Mondo's case now. Nick, always willing to give it the old college try, tries a perpendicular springboard dive, but slips and falls on his head. That's THREE badly blown moves in a row. Who trained Mondo-Sabu?
Nick finally decides to just slide out to the floor, where Blade hammers him with some punches. Blade tries an Irish Whip on the floor, but Mondo reverses it and sends Blade flying into a section of folding chairs. Nick then wanders off and grabs a ladder and tosses it into the ring, and then dumps Ric back in as well. Nick grabs Blade and hits a backdrop suplex, holds on and hits another backdrop suplex, and holds on again, and hits a sorta slingshot Blue Thunder Bomb right on the ladder. Mondo covers, but only gets 2. See, when a really hurtful move like that only gets 2, you know the wrestlers are in for a long night.
Mondo picks up Blade and sends him to the ropes, then hits a nice tilt-a-whirl sidewalk slam. Nick covers, another 2 count. Mondo hits Blade with some punches, then sends him to the ropes. But Blade reverses, and hits a Samoan Drop right on the ladder. Blade then nips up and hits a standing moonsault while Mondo is still on the ladder. I guess I imagined Ric taking a beating a few seconds ago, because he sure seems fine now. Ric then heads out to the floor and grabs the barbed wired ladder. Yes, a ladder covered in barbed wire. Blade gets back in the ring and tries two kicks that miss, but connects on the third try. Blade then grabs Mondo and hits a Fisherman Suplex, holds on, hits another Fisherman, holds on one more time, and ends the sequence by hitting a sit-out slam on the barbed wire ladder. Mondo is apparently stuck to the ladder, so Blade yanks him off and Mondo rolls outside the ring. While Nick wanders around, Blade goes to the top rope and hits a twisting moonsault press to the floor (any coolness was negated by the fact that Mondo had to stand around for a good three seconds before Blade attempted the move). Blade slaps some fans hands, probably celebrating the fact that he can still walk.
Blade tosses Mondo back into the ring as the fans chant "Ric Fucking Blade." Whoops, guess we hit a clip as Blade magically teleports back into the ring. Blade sets himself facing the crowd, springboards to the top rope, twists around, and tries a 450 splash (5). However, Mondo manages to move and Ric crashes into the mat. Mondo asks Ric if he's okay (6), then covers for a 2 count. The announcers talk about the holes in Mondo's back, even though there's not even a scratch (7). Nick dumps Blade outside the ring, grabs a chair, and heaves it at Ric's back. Mondo punches Ric a few times and tosses him into the chairs again. Yay, we get the old "I have you in a headlock, you must follow me" bit. Mondo drags Ric backstage and tosses him into a soda machine. Mondo tosses Nick into the bleachers, climbs up with him, and gives him apparently was intended to be a DDT. Things grind to a halt as Mondo wanders off and the announcers don't have monitors, so they don't know what's happening. Hey, here comes Nick, and he's got a table covered with light bulbs and barbed wire. I wonder if they stock those backstage in CZW? Anyway, Mondo tries to toss Blade off the bleachers, but Ric ends up hitting a powerbomb into a facebuster, sending Nick crashing through the table. Yup, really needed to see that.
Blade picks up Mondo, and now it's his turn to drag Nick back to the ring, taking a moment to whip him into a chain link fence. Blade then sends Mondo flying into the chairs (8). Blade tosses Nick into the ring and covers, and only gets 2. Ho ho ho, you expected something else? Blade calls for a chair, but when he turns around he gets lowblowed by Mondo. Nick picks up Blade, and hits what could best be described as a Dominator into a DDT. Blade rolls outside the ring for a breather.
Okay, pay attention. Mondo rests the barbed wire ladder on the ropes in the middle of the ring. He then grabs a chair and walks to the opposite side of the ring, where Blade is catching his breath outside. Mondo throw the chair to Blade, and springboards (presumably to try some sort of Van Daminator), but Blade throws the chair back at Mondo who goes flying off the top rope and lands on the ladder. Excuse me? For what purpose did Mondo set up the ladder, other than to go flying into it? That was a dictionary definition of "contrived."
While Nick counts the new holes in his body, Blade is off setting up a table near the entranceway. He goes back to the ring, grabs Nick in a fireman's carry, and totes him over and places him on the table. Nick then climbs up near the ceiling (I'm a terrible estimator, but it was probably about 25 feet up), and hits a Swanton Bomb, putting Nick through the table.
You may be thinking "Hey Joe, I've seen Jeff Hardy do that off a ladder-why don't you get on his case?" Well, to be honest, how often does Hardy do that? A few times a year? Blade does this every match. EVERY one. I've seen him do it off of scaffolding, trucks, balconies, you name it. He does it so often I'm just totally dead to the move, no matter how much you chant "Ric F'n Blade."
Anyway, Blade drags Mondo back to the ring, deposits him, and tries a cover, but it gets interrupted by Mondo's new pals Trent Acid and Z-Barr. Z-Barr grabs Blade in a Fireman's Carry and turns it into an inverted bulldog. Z-Barr then places Mondo on top of Blade, but Acid pulls him off, presumably to inflict more punishment on Blade. Acid sets up two chairs and puts a ladder on them, then puts Blade on the top rope and hits the Acid Bomb (9) on the ladder. Mondo covers, but hey, Blade kicks out at 2. How 'bout that.
Feeling an escalation in moves is necessary, Mondo places Blade in the Tree of Woe, then rests the ladder on top of the middle ropes in the corner, so Blade is resting on top. Mondo heads outside and tries a Van Terminator legdrop, but Blade sits up and Nick crashes into the ladder. Blade manages to free himself as Z-Barr and Acid stand around like idiots, so Blade pastes them with the ladder. Blade then places Mondo on top of the barbed wire ladder, then puts the other ladder on top, heads to the top rope, and hits a nice moonsault on the Mondo Sandwhich. Blade covers (but isn't Mondo on top of the ladder, and ergo, his shoulders aren't on the mat?), and gets the 3 count (about 16:41).
Let's count everything wrong with that match:
1. Badly blown spots: I know wrestlers are human, and humans make mistakes, but watching Mondo blown those three dives was just ugly.
2. Dangerous Spots: Barbed wire ladders? Light bulb covered tables? Swantons off the roof? These spots are stupid, dangerous, and if anyone thinks the match needs them, well, they're fans the biz can do without.
3. Selling? What's that?: Mondo gets but through a light bulb table, minutes later he's hopping around like nothing happened. Hello?
4. No match flow: Do a spot, walk around, do a spot, rinse, repeat.
5. Overbooking: Did the match really need to turn into a 3-on-1 at the end? Why didn't the ref try to usher out Acid and Z-Barr? Wouldn't some quick interference behind the ref's back have sufficed?
6. Finisher killing: Ric got hit with Z-Barr's finisher and the Acid Bomb (on a ladder, no less) and still kicks out. Sure, it makes Ric look badass, but it also destroys the credibility of those moves.
They were doing okay for the first minute or so, but then it all disintegrated into silliness. Someone should force everyone in CZW to write "Less is more" on the blackboard 100 times.
Fallout: Blade tried the exact same balcony swanton on 6/8, but ended up overshooting his intended target of Justice Pain. He broke his shin, required surgery, and hasn't wrestled since. When I first heard the news I was saddened because I know Blade has a wife who was expecting a kid. But at the same time, I wasn't even remotely surprised at the news. My basic reaction was "Well, you knew it was coming." Blade went on the CZW message board on July 18 and announced he would not be coming back to CZW, which is about the smartest move he could make. Look for him in Jersey All-Pro Wrestling when he does return to the ring.
I guess Mondo still wrestles in CZW, assuming he hasn't maimed himself yet.
I'd like to see a regular match between the two, one with flow and selling and no mindless spots. Unfortunately, that match will only take place in (a) a fed other than CZW, or (b) Bizarro World.
Be back later with something better.
(1) Single Files #5 and #7, respectively.
(2) Trent Acid and Johnny Kashmere, doing a 3-Count like gimmick. [Also, they were "Dudley Cousins" on the 4/15/01 Sunday Night Heat and gave everyone Dudley Glasses to annoy special guest Albert so he killed them with Baldo Bombs but only after many lame skits - TCF]
(3) Which means anything goes
(4) It wasn't a badly blown spot, but that didn't stop the crowd from chanting "You Fucked Up." Great fans, huh?
(5) I can't fathom why this is better than a plain ol' 450.
(6) Or maybe they're whispering sweet nothings, who can tell?
(7) Not that I want to see Mondo sliced up, but still…
(8) And in the best moment of the match, a fan removes their coat from the back of a chair that Nick just went flying through.
(9) Acid Bomb = Place opponent on the top rope, turn your back to them, grab under their armpits, then toss them forward so they land face down on the mat. It's the move Billy Kidman used to beat X-Pac for the WCW Cruiserweight Belt a few weeks ago.