First of all, sorry for my lack of activity around here the last couple of days. Things have been a little crazy around here as of late, so I just have not had the time to dedicate myself to such pursuits like today's review, which is a discussion of wrestler Barry Darsow and some of his matches. Darsow is a veteran wrestler who has competed under a variety of names. He was Krusher Kruschev in the NWA, then he went to the WWF and played Smash in the famed tag team Demolition. When that ran it's course, Darsow became the Repo Man for a short spell, before going to the WCW as the Blacktop Bully. That didn't last long, but Darsow came back to WCW to compete under his real name and perfected the Barely Legal armbar. So in recognition of his versatility, I have decided to scour the internet and watch a match featuring Darsow under each of his gimmicks.
Match 1: Krusher Kruschev vs. Denny Brown (Worldwide, June 15, 1985) - The former junior heavyweight champion Denny Brown takes on the much larger Russian sympathizer Kruschev, who is accompanied by Ivan Koloff. Brown frustrates Kruschev by dodging his various attacks and keeping the bigger man on the move. A dropkick by Brown knocks Kruschev back, but not down. Irish whip by Kruschev, who then tries to follow with a clothesline. However, Brown ducks between Kruschev's legs and lands another dropkick, this one knocking the big man down. But Kruschev is up quickly, and backs Brown against a corner before delivering a few body punches. Body slam by Kruschev, but Brown moves out of the way of an elbow drop. But Brown does not follow up, and Krusher goes for an eye gouge. Krusher knocks Brown down with a big punch to the gut, then puts his opponent in a half chinlock-half armbar manuever. Krusher follows up with a pair of shoulderblocks, but Brown ducks out of the way of a third and Kruschev hits the turnbuckle hard. Brown tries to capitalize by whipping Krusher into the other corner, but Kruschev recovers quickly and nearly takes Brown's head off with a clothesline. That's enough to get the victory. Match was an entertaining squash, at least. I'll give it a 1.95 out of 5.
Match 2: Demolition (Ax and Smash) w/ Mr. Fuji and Jimmy Hart vs. The Hart Foundation (Bret Hart and Jim Neidhart) - Summer Slam 1988 - This match is for Demolition's Tag Team Titles. Bret and Ax start off the match. Ax overpowers the Hitman with a series of ax handles, but Hart fires back with some punches for Ax and Smash. Rollup by Hart gets two, and Ax tags out. Smash is a little too eager and Hart arm drags him a couple of times before tagging out to Anvil. Neidhart takes Smash down with a flying axe handle, and uses brawling tactics to keep Smash reeling. A huge shoulderblock by Neidhart on Smash, and Neidhart bounces off the ropes again only for Ax to nail him with a kick from the apron. Quick tags from Ax and Smash, who beat the big Anvil down with a whole bunch of double ax handles to the back. The tide quickly turns after Neidhart catches a ducking Ax with a boot, and tags out to the Hitman. Dropkick for Smash, and the Harts are in control. But Jimmy Hart distracts the Anvil, and Demoliton uses it to their advantage by whipping Hart hard shoulder first into the ring post.
For the next few minutes, Demolition works over Hart's shoulder with a series of punches, kicks, holds, and pulls, keeping Bret trapped in their corner and using quick tags to keep fresh. Finally, after a few minutes, Hart is able to clothesline Ax down and tag out to the Anvil, but the referee does not see it. So, the punishment on Hart commences, until Hart gets a knee up into a charging Ax's face. Now Bret gets the tag to Neidhart, and Neidhart starts cleaning house with dropkicks and clotheslines and various other strikes. Both Demos are on the outside, so Hart slingshots Neidhart out to a standing Smash, launching Neidhart to hit a perfect pescado on his opponent. Back in, a powerslam by Neidhart on Smash almost gets a three count, but Smash kicks out to save the titles for his team. Tag into Hart, and he whips Neidhart hard into a corner-bound smash, so Neidhart delivers a shoulderblock to Smash's gut. That also gets a two count. All four men are in now, and Fuji gets on the apron, only to get nailed by Neidhart. However, the distraction allows Hart to throw his megaphone into Ax, who then clobbers Hart in the head with the foreign object for the three count. Match wasn't too bad, but probably not the best between the two teams. Still, I'd give it a 3.2 out of 5.
Match 3: Repo Man vs. Papa Shango, Prime Time Wrestling, December 14, 1992 - A rare heel vs. heel match for this time period. Shango comes out with a big skull on a stick and is accompanied by a bunch of smoke, and the match begins. Shango overpowers Repo Man and the corner and lands some punches and headbutts. Papa follows up with a big clothesline and a top wristlock, backing Repo into the corner. Shango tries for the Ho Train, but Repo Man moves out of the way. Repo gets the advantage, landing a bunch of punches, including one to the throat that knocks Shango down. He follows up with a legdrop and then a top wristlock for Shango, but Shango gets out of it and body slams Repo Man down to the canvas. Afterwards, the two men trade blows and a double clothesline knocks both competitors down to the mat. Shango crawls to the corner to get his 'voodoo stick', as Gorilla Monsoon calls it, and uses it to shoot sparks in the sky. That causes Repo Man to get his rope and hook, and the ref decides to call the match off before somebody loses an eye. Match wasn't all that good. I'd give it a 1.2 out of 5.
Match 4: Barry Darsow vs. Saturn, WCW Thunder, May 27, 1998 - This match is between two bald men, so no hair-pulling in this match. Headlock by Saturn to start, but he's whipped into the ropes. Howevver, Saturn catches Darsow with a kick to the gut and a legsweep, and follows up with another headlock. That proves to be a mistake, as Darsow lifts Saturn up and delivers a back suplex, landing hard on his head in the process. Darsow misses a clothesline and walks into an exploder suplex. After some kicks and punches are exchanged, Darsow gets a clothesline and a two count. Darsow uses various brawling tactics to keep control of the match, and then takes it to the outside, where he throws Saturn shoulder-first into the ring post. The announcers are actually talking about the match and trying to get Darsow's finisher, the Barely Legal armbar over. That's a refreshing change from their usual talk of whatever Hulk Hogan's doing at the time, even if he's not at the show. But I digress. Saturn ducks another clothesline attempt and bounces off the ropes with a spinning heel kick. Saturn then tries for a move in the corner, but doesn't connect. Darsow starts going to work on Saturn's arm and uses a shoulder breaker to further weaken the arm. Darsow goes for Barely Legal, but Saturn gets to the ropes, much to the dismay of Darsow, who starts arguing with the ref. This proves to be a huge mistake, as Saturn gets up and delivers a superkick to Darsow. Saturn follows up with the Death Valley Driver, and the match is over after the three count. Not too bad, considering how short it was. I'd give it a 1.9 out of 5.
Well, I guess I could do a Blacktop Bully match, but I don't want to. In all seriousness. Darsow may not have been the most spectacular wrestler to ever live, but he was a solid wrestler who knew what to do in the ring and rarely made mistakes. I'm not saying he was World Championship material, but he was more than competent enough for a mid-card wrestler. Well, thanks for reading, and if you have any thoughts about these matches or feelings about Barry Darsow, then feel free to leave a comment on the blog. Also, if you have an idea for a future review, then send it to me at firstname.lastname@example.org.