Friday, July 2, 2010

Canon Video Challenge: Van Hammer vs. the Cruiserweights

Yesterday, a friend of mine and a reader of The Canon Review, Dickson S., came up with a video challenge for me. For some reason, he was watching matches featuring everyone's favorite rock star-wrestler, Van Hammer, and I guess he wanted me to experience the awesomeness of Van Hammer as well, so he came up with a video challenge. The rules are simple:

1. Watch four matches featuring Van Hammer
2. The matches must be against opponents that are considered "cruiserweights"

Well, it took me an hour, but I found four such matches that qualify, so good for me. Let's get this thing started, shall we?

Match 1: Van Hammer vs. Alex Wright, WCW Monday Nitro, September 14, 1998

Here's a non-interesting tidbit, this is the first wrestling match to ever take place at the Bi-Lo center in Greenville, SC. Wright comes out doing his dance, while Hammer comes out dressed like a hippie with a peace sign on his tie-dye shirt. For some reason, Hammer comes out to the old Hollywood Blondes theme song. Hammer speaks into the camera, saying "excuse me while I beat this guy". We start with a tie up, Wright is whipped into the ropes but leapfrogs over Hammer. He celebrates the leapfrog by dancing. Wright takes Hammer down by his hair and starts stomping on him in the corner. Hammer gets up, backdrops the charging Wright, and gives hi two big bodyslams, sending Wright to the outside. Hammer chases Wright back in, but Ernest Miller comes down from the back. While Hammer is taunting Wright from the outside of the ring, Miller ring Hammer's bell with a jumping kick to the side of the head, causing a disqualifaction. Miller gets on the mic, says he's the greatest and other stuff before Doug Dillinger and some police officers handcuff Miller and escort him out of the building. For what, kicking Van Hammer? Who among us would not have done the same thing if we were put in Ernest Miller's shoes? Match was short and not good, so I'll give it an 0.7 out of 5.

Match 2: Van Hammer vs. Chris Jericho, WCW Thunder, January 14, 1999

Jericho comes out with his personal bodyguard, the legendary Ralphus. Before the match, Jericho gets on the mic, and promises to make Perry Saturn wear a dress after their upcoming match at Souled Out 99. Hammer comes out saying something about how too much partying will mess up your brain. The match starts, Jericho dropkicks Hammer after an irish whip and highsteps around the ring. Jericho irish whips Hammer, but Hammer catches Jericho with a short-arm clothesline, and mocks Jericho while Chris is on the ground. The two exchange moves for a couple of minutes, Jericho hits a spinning wheel kick and a vertical suplex. Jericho whips Hammer to the ropes, but Hammer holds on, causing Jericho to whiff on a dropkick. Saturn comes out, maybe to kick Van Hammer in the head. Hammer superplexes Jericho, but only gets a two count. Hammer is unfazed by the kick out, and proceeds to give Jericho a sleeper-hold slam. That only gets two as well. Hammer goes for an enziguri (huh?), but Jericho counters into the Liontamer, forcing Hammer to tap out. Jericho wins, and Saturn applauds his future foe before heading to the back.   Short match that was neither good nor bad, just there. I'll say a 1.5 out of 5.

Match 3: Van Hammer vs. Mikey Whipwreck, WCW Great American Bash, June 13, 1999

Yes, WCW charged people 30 dollars to watch Mikey Whipwreck and Van Hammer wrestle. Not only that, this same card featured Hak vs. Brian Knobbs, Disco Inferno vs. Buff Bagwell, and my favorite match, Ernest "The Cat" Miller vs. Horace Hogan. No wonder WCW is out of buisness. Anyway, Hammer comes out not dressed as a hippie this time, instead wearing a black singlet which says Hammer in big white letters. The match starts, and Hammer dominates his much smaller foe. Hammer continues to dominate Whipwreck. Hammer beals Mikey off the top rope after blocking a monkey flip, a move which the three idiots calling the match actually shut up about the White Hummer for a second to yell OOOOOOOOOHH! Hammer follows up with some of the weakest looking stomps in the history of Western civilization. Hammer picks Mikey up on the turnbuckle, and delivers a good looking Superplex, but he lands hard on his neck, which temporarily shakes him up. Hammer follows with a legdrop but only gets two. Hammer puts Mikey in an abdominal stretch, and the crowd begins to chant "boring" as Bobby Heenan says something about Billy Ripken possibly being in the crowd tonight. Oooh, Billy Ripken, what a big star! Mikey tries to get in some offense, but Hammer has none of it and throws Mikey outside the ring. Hammer sets up the ring steps against the guardrail, picks Mikey up in a fallaway-slam type position, climbs the stairs, and drops Mikey throat first on the guardrail. Why Hammer needed the steps, I'll never know. Hammer goes to pick up Whipwreck, but Mikey counters, and pulls Hammer by his singlet into the guardrail. Mikey gets back in, does a suicide dive, and Hammer has to hustle just to catch him, as Whipwreck was well short of his target. Both men get back in, Whipwreck with a Thesz press from the top, but only gets two. Whipwreck dives off the second turnbuckle, but gets caught and rudely slammed down by Hammer. Oh no, Hammer's taking down the straps which means the end is near. Kurt Angle would later steal that from Van Hammer, or at least I choose to believe that. Hammer with a cobra clutch slam on Whipwreck, which gets the three count. After the match, Hammer looks in the camera and says "I've got nothing to say to you". Tony Schiavone says that sounds like his wife. I wish Tony had nothing to say to us. There was nothing terrible about this match, but it's not something I'd go out of my to see again. I'll give it a 1.95 out of 5.

Match 4: Van Hammer vs. Blitzkrieg, WCW Thunder, September 9, 1999

Another non-interesting note, 9-9-99 was the day the Sega Dreamcast was released to the public. Just thought you might like to know. Hammer comes out and Blitzkrieg soon follows. I guess it's Blitzkrieg's turn to use the old Hollywood Blondes' music. Basically, Hammer throws Blitzkrieg around the ring for about five minutes, doing multiple biels  and also doing some sort of move where he spins Blitzkrieg around on his back and slams him down to the mat. They plug the upcoming WCW Mayhem video game, which Mike Tenay pronounces as "Mayham". Hammer is in control until he goes for a senton (huh?) off the second rope and misses. Blitzkrieg does a standing moonsault, but Hammer sort of moves on the second one and Blitzkrieg mostly misses. Hammer with a biel, but Blitzkrieg counters another biel attempt with a kick to the face. They go to the outside, where Blitzkrieg is able to show off his aerial prowess with an asai moonsault off the apron. Back in, Blitzkrieg tries for a slingshot attack, but Hammer catches him and throws him down. A cobra clutch slam shortly after ends the match and your winner is Van Hammer. This match was just as boring as the other ones, I'll give it a 1.2 out of 5.

Well, that was fun. On one hand, Van Hammer's a big guy that doesn't screw up many of his moves and has some agility. On the other hand, Van Hammer has a pedestrian offense and shows little to no psychology in any of his matches. Is Hammer the worst wrestler I've ever seen? Far from it, but most of his matches are just boring to me. I'm sure there are a few huge Van Hammer fans out there who appreciate his work and felt that he never got a fair shot in WCW, but I'm not really one of them. Well, thanks for reading, and if you have any thoughts on this topic, or any ideas for future topics for The Canon Review to cover, than share them either by leaving a comment or by sending me an e-mail at As a bonus, here's the Hollywood Blondes' theme song that 20 other WCW wrestlers used over the years. If you watched any WCW over the years, than trust me, you will recognize this song.

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