Have you ever signed on the WWE Network and just don’t know what to do by being overwhelmed by all the content? You spend more time looking for shows than actually watching wrestling. We’ve all been there but hopefully with this new regular column “Falcon’s Picks” that won’t be an issue anymore.
The goal of this column is to give my take on ten matches you should seek out on the WWE Network to get the most out of your subscription. I won’t be giving (or am I good at) detailed match reviews, but more so my monthly recommendations and reasons to watch for the first time and enjoy or, if you’re watching again, you may see something new or you forgot about.
The aim of Falcon’s Picks is to avoid obvious recommendations, with a few notable exceptions I’m sure, but many matches will have a theme for the month. I’ll try to mix some hidden gems, some pay-per-view forgotten matches, and whatever else I find that I feel may not have the attention it should have. These are my picks for May. I have included the event name on the Network, date, and time-stamp for the Network version of the show.
I hope this column will gain your trust as a go-to resource for your future WWE Network viewings. While this column will be posted toward the middle of the month, I will try to have this ready to go around the first week of each month. I am always open to your feedback and suggestions. Please tweet me at @MikeVSPhilly with your hidden gems on the Network.
Balls Mahoney vs. Masato Tanaka
ECW Hardcore Heaven 2000
May 13, 2000 (5:10 start on the WWE Network; 10:45 if you want to skip the Joel Gertner/Cyrus stuff)
This is a great match to pick in honor and memory of the late Balls Mahoney, who sadly passed away last month. Balls was a real good worker who would be more than just the chair swinging freak. Here he goes back and forth with Tanaka, a guy who miraculously with all the punishment he took in his career is still going. They have a hot opener in of one of my favorite ECW venues, The Rave in Milwaukee. Super hot crowd for these two who really have a good chemistry working together, both as opponents and as a tag team. Great finish on this one too. Very fun match to pay tribute to a beloved extreme talent.
Ken Shamrock vs. Vader
WWF In Your House: A Cold Day in Hell
May 11, 1997 (58:40)
If you think 2016 has been a surreal year in wrestling, imagine if WWE plugged a UFC PPV on Raw this Monday night. It wasn’t as surreal here since UFC was fairly new, but still, it’s very bizarre with 2016 eyes and ears to see and hear JR plugging an upcoming UFC PPV with the graphic coming on the screen. I remember watching this match live back in 97 and being in awe at how different it was where it almost did seem real. These dudes just beat the absolute piss out of each other. There is a brutal lariat by Vader here. You’ll know it when you see it, believe me. Loads of stiff shots. If you’ve never watched this before, this is really a must-see in some ways, just to see how brutal these guys were going just as WWF started to get edgier with it’s product to fight WCW.
Hulk Hogan vs. Big Boss Man
WWF Saturday Night’s Main Event
May 27, 1989 (26:53)
Boss Man was induced into the WWE Hall of Fame last month and very deservedly so. He was—and remains—one of the best and most agile big men in pro wrestling. A true #HossDivision Hall of Famer. This match is one of the highlights of his career as he and Hulk Hogan have one of Hogan’s best matches ever. Boss Man worked so well with Hogan, great selling, and was able to use his agility to work with Hogan for one very memorable spot in this match. The Twin Towers were used in the Hogan/Savage story, but Boss Man still ended up having a small feud with Hogan resulting with a great performance here. This is also notable for a special guest Slick brings ringside.
Mr. Perfect vs. Doink the Clown
WWF Monday Night RAW
May 23, 1993 (about 1:00 in)
Heel Doink ruled. This match is a wonderful showcase for one of my favorite and sadly short lived WWF characters ever working against one of my favorite in-ring performers in the WWF. Before Dink, before he became wacky, before he was a kid friendly babyface, Doink was this miserable, maniacal clown. Matt Bourne was a hell of a wrestler and it never hit me until I learned years later that this was Big Josh who I’d watch in WCW growing up. This is a great match, good pace, and I thought both guys gave each other a lot to look good. Perfect is one of my favorites too. Love Heenan, Savage, and Vince on commentary here.
Steven Regal vs. Meng
WCW Monday Nitro
May 5, 1997 (23:10)
These two stiff the crap out of each other for 30 seconds straight. It is just totally bonkers. And then Regal and Sullivan go at it! This is not much of a match, only a few minutes. But an absolute spectacle that you may not even know is on the Network. Worth checking out if you just have a few free minutes. It’s so fun.
2 Cold Scorpio vs. Shane Douglas
ECW TV May 14, 1996 (3:30)
— Michael (@mikeVSphilly) April 24, 2016
— Michael (@mikeVSphilly) April 24, 2016
This is an unbelievable match, an incredible display of Scorpio’s talent being one of the all time greats, and a showcase for Douglas becoming the promotion’s cornerstone heel. One of the few times an episode of ECW TV was just one match. This never gets boring, this never seems like it’s dragging at all. Just two dudes going out there in a hot ECW Arena and putting on one of the best ECW matches that year. This also kicked off a crazy summer of 1996 with the TV title. These guys are still going today, with Shane Douglas working recently for C*4 in Ontario and working for a few New Jersey indies.
Cruiserweight Battle Royal/winner vs. Chris Jericho
WCW Slamboree 1998 – May 16, 1998 (34:00)
Included this as the token Slamboree match since it’s May. Plus, it’s in the intro to the flagship podcast. If you never saw Ciclope unmask, here is your chance. If you think you see a “big pop” now, wait until you see how unglued this crowd becomes when Malenko unmasks and—19 year old spoiler—wins the belt.
War Games ‘92
May 17, 1992
(in Greatest Matches Ever Collection)
I recently discussed this on the GREAT Joe Gagne’s podcast (which you can find here). So you can listen to that for the ten minutes I gush about how much I adore this match. I had a few people tweet me after Joe’s show and say they just watched it for the first time based off the show, so I hope you are also encouraged to see this if you never have. The PPV itself, Wrestle War ‘92, is a fun show overall. So if you have the time watch this and the Pillman/Z-Man and Steiner’s tag with Tatsumi Fujinami and Takayuki Iizuka (yes, it’s the same Iizuka).
Tajiri vs. Super Crazy
ECW Wrestling 22
January 21, 2000
Tajiri rules pic.twitter.com/f11WZ6E2mc
— Michael (@mikeVSphilly) April 30, 2016
This was taped on January 15, 2000 at the ECW Arena, airing on ECW on TNN (which is just labeled as “ECW Wrestling” if you’re new to ECW) and could be one of the better matches that aired on the TNN run. This is a pretty psychotic match for a couple of reasons, one spot in particular with Tajiri sliding a chair on a table and it going right into the crowd. Tajiri has one spot here too where he mimicks Crazy who is on his knees dazed and it is absolutely hysterical. Crazy ends up bleeding real bad too as Tajiri just tries to decapitate him one way or another. If you have the chance, watch the segment before with Dusty Rhodes coming to the ECW Arena to brawl with Steve Corino and Jack Victory to a monster reaction.
Dean Malenko vs. Scotty 2 Hotty
WWF Backlash 2000
April 30, 2000
16 years ago today. One of the craziest WWFE spots still today https://t.co/fTLpfDk6MA
— Michael (@mikeVSphilly) April 30, 2016
I had posted the finish for this match on my Twitter and wow did I get a bigger amount of responses than the one or two I assumed I’d get. Seems this match is near and dear to a lot of fan’s hearts. So if you never saw this, really fix that immediately and watch it. Great match right around Malenko coming in the company and working so well with Scotty, who after having his leg worked on the entire match, hops on it to do the W O R M, but let’s not talk about that. Let’s talk about the great Dean Malenko here almost killing poor Scott Taylor with one of the most brutal finishers ever.