Wrestler of the Day – January 8: Bushwhackers and Chris Masters

Today doesn’t have the best options so you get a double shot: Chris Masters and the Bushwhackers due to Luke’s birthday.

We’ll start with the older of the two. Luke Williams is of course one half of the Bushwhackers who got their start as the bloodthirsty team known as the Sheepherders. Their most famous match was at the 1986 Crockett Cup Tag Team Tournament against the Fantastics, though the full version doesn’t exist on video as far as I know.

Crockett Cup Quarter-Finals: Sheepherders vs. Fantastics

 

Big brawl to start and the Fantastics clear the ring. Clipped to Butch hammering on Fulton until the Fantastics dropkick everything in sight to send them to the floor. Clipped to Butch hammering on Fulton. I’ve seen this before it seems. Out to the floor for more dropkicking and it turns into a brawl. Fulton is beaten down on the floor and can barely move. Rodgers is ticked off because of it.

 

Clipped to Luke beating on Fulton but the flag bearer messes up, resulting in Luke going into the flag. There’s the hot tag to Rodgers and Butch is busted open. The cameraman and referee are taken out and now Fulton is busted as well. The flag bearer tries to cheat again and one more time it doesn’t work. The future Wackers get the flag stick in the ring and beat on Fulton with it but as is the case in wrestling, they get beat on with it as well. Another referee comes down to wake up the first and it’s another double DQ. That means the Road Warriors are in the finals as well.

 

Rating: B. Meltzer gave THIS five stars? It’s a fun brawl and WAY violent for its time, but the clipping must have killed it because this wasn’t a classic or anything resembling one. It’s good and the most fun match on the show so far, but if the full version was 15 minutes, this was the low half of it. My mind continues to be blown by his ratings at times as this is one of the matches better than Savage vs. Steamboat? Really?

The team would stick around the NWA for a few more years before jumping to the WWF, where they were mainly used as a comedy team that feuded with the Rougeau Brothers, including a match at Wrestlemania V.

Bushwhackers vs. Fabulous Rougeau Brothers

ALL AMERICAN BOYS BABY! That would be the Rougeau’s theme song and one of the most awesome entrances in company history. Seriously, go Youtube that thing. Jimmy Hart loses his jacket somehow but the Rougeaus save it in a humane act. Not that it matters as the Bushwhackers clear the ring a second later. Luke and Ray start things off and Ray quickly takes him down. I turn my head for a minute and come back to hearing Jesse say “So as far as you’re concerned, tear down the Statue of Liberty?” Like I said, commentary was a bit different back then.

Luke and Butch clear the ring of Rougeaus again before it’s down to Luke and Jacques. Butch tries to interfere for no apparent reason and Luke gets caught in a Boston Crab. In a sequence that has haunted me for years, Ray loads up Luke for a slam and while Luke is upside down, he rubs Ray’s crotch. There’s nothing more to it than that and to this day I don’t know why he did that.

Anyway Ray puts on an abdominal stretch as a fan or two chants USA. In theory that would be for the Rougeaus here who are the All American Boys facing the guys from New Zealand. The Rougeaus prematurely hug and get caught by the Battering Ram and a double gutbuster is good for the pin on Ray out of nowhere.

Rating: D. It’s a comedy match and not a very fun one. This is called a big upset but I don’t really see how you can call it that. It’s not like either team is great or even good here and the Bushwhackers were still brand new here, so presumably they had won most of their matches up to this point. I don’t get it but whatever.

Even though they were a comedy team, the Bushwhackers did get the occasional tag title shot, such as this one against the Nasty Boys at Saturday Night’s Main Event #29.

Tag Titles: Nasty Boys vs. Bushwhackers

This is the Nastys’ first major defense since winning the belts from the Hart Foundation at Wrestlemania 7. Brian pounds away on Luke in the corner but Luke comes back and scares Knobbs into the corner. Some shoulders in the corner have Luke in trouble but everything breaks down with the Bushwhackers taking over. The Nastys are sent to the floor for some regrouping before we get down to Sags vs. Butch. Sags gets kneed in the chest and a double clothesline gets two as everything breaks down again.

A pair of Battering Rams send the Nastys to the floor and the challengers strut a bit. Things settle down and Luke gets elbowed over and over for two. Butch breaks up a cover and gets a hot tag to clean house on the champions. Knobbs gets two off a clothesline and everything breaks down yet again. We get a botched near fall with Butch being thrown onto Knobbs but Sags is late breaking up the pin. Knobbs double legs Luke and Sags adds a bit of leverage for the pin to retain.

Rating: D-. This was horrible quality but keep in mind that this was a TV special before the idea of top level weekly wrestling became a big deal. The Bushwhackers were as fun of a team as you could ask for and the fans always got into them. It’s not a good match or anything but the crowd liked it.

We’ll wrap up the team with an entry from perhaps the worst show ever: Heroes of Wrestling.

Bushwackersvs. NikolaiVolkoff/IronSheik

I’m calling them the Bushwackers as they’re Luke and Butch, formerly the Bushwackers. There’s some guy with Volkoff but he’s another guy that is imitating a better manager. I’m just not sure who he’s imitating. We get the USA chant going, despite the faces being from New Zealand but this isn’t the smartest crowd in the world.

 

The manager is dressed up in a Russian military uniform. Oh dear. He speaks English with a so bad it’s funny but the show is so bad it’s not funny accent if that makes sense. Oh and Volkoff is now an Olympian also. We get the Russian National Anthem of course and the Persian clubs which are as old school as possible.

 

The clubs become Iranian all of a sudden and we’re three minutes into this. Sheik needs to humble someone. It would be more entertaining. We hear about Hogan and Backlund for no reason at all but whatever. That’s my word for this show: whatever. We’re at about 5 minutes of build for this disaster. I guess Bushwackers is a copyrighted term.

 

Somehow they look better than anyone else. Luke licked my face once. Can we get the tape of the Bushwackers on Family Matters instead of me having to watch this atrocity? Apparently they’ve won tag titles in 26 countries. Well ok then. The heels jump them early to start to further establish that they’re EVIL. Dutch explains the term short end of the stick which has some kind of scale according to him. Please, just take me now.

 

Sheik gets on the mic and says if they keep chanting USA then he’ll leave. You know what comes next. The announcers argue about cutting each other off. I hate this show quite a bit. They’re really trying to get this whole they’re Heroes thing embedded in. Can we just watch Heroes instead? Just the first season though as it’s by far the best. Sheik is wearing shorts also.

 

The kicks they’re throwing aren’t even close at all. How much are these guys being paid? I guarantee you it’s too much. After a “slam” Nikolai covers Luke and Butch comes in for the save. He doesn’t need to though as Nikolai reacts to the saving shot before it hits so there we are again.

 

The camel clutch, which made British Bulldog tap inside of 5 seconds in 1986 is on for 15 seconds before Butch saves. At least I think he saved as we cut to a shot of the manager so for all I know Butch just did the Charleston for awhile and Sheik didn’t like his movement and showed him what to do. Who knows though?

 

I do however know that the manager raised his right arm. You can hear individual lines from the fans by the way. And I mean individual conversations, not just random screams. ANOTHER foreign object misses and Luke pins Sheik with the fastest count this side of Nick Patrick gets the three. The heels almost fight afterwards but they hug it out.

Rating: G+. That’s below an F-. This was stupid and bad. I think it was a comedy match but I couldn’t tell. They did manage to name the heel team The Iron Curtain though which I can’t believe no one got that before. We’re half done with this and I want to cry. Or die, either one. Getting humbled wouldn’t be bad either. When the Bushwackers are the best workers in there, that’s not saying a lot at all.

Overall the Bushwhackers were perfectly fine for what they were in the WWF: a comedy act to give the kids something fun. Luke even licked my face at a house show once which is one of those things you just don’t forget no matter what. They were the polar opposites as the Sheepherders and got to show more of their talents with the original gimmick.

Moving on to Chris Masters. If there’s ever been a guy only known for one thing, this is it. That’s a shame too as the guy had some actual talent. He would starts in OVW as part of a team with Brent Albright before debuting on Raw doing his Masterlock Challenge. The idea was simple: break his full nelson and get cash. His first major feud was against Shawn Michaels, culminating in a match at Unforgive 2005.

Shawn Michaels vs. Chris Masters

 

Masters is undefeated here. Shawn does his in ring entrance but Masters grabs him in the Masterlock (full nelson) before the bell rings. See, why don’t more people get that idea? The bell rings and Shawn counters this time. Shawn takes over and dives to the floor, hitting a bunch of right hands after a plancha connects. Masters is sent into the steps as the idea is he’s shaken up from never being tested before.

 

Shawn grabs a chair but gets it taken away, allowing Masters to get a shot in to take over. Masters is put into a powerbomb position and rammed back first into the post twice. Back in the ring Masters takes over and drops a leg for two. A delayed vertical gets two. Michaels can’t get anything going because of his back and the power of Masters. Off to a backbreaker but Masters holds Shawn over the knee for a submission attempt.

 

Shawn tries a crucifix but Masters counters into a full nelson attempt. Instead here’s a torture rack and the referee goes old school by checking the arm. Shawn counters into a sunset flip for two. Masters is bleeding from the nose. Here’s the Masterlock but Shawn goes rudo and kicks Masters low while he’s got the referee distracted. A slugout is won by HBK and there’s the forearm (called the Flying Burrito by JR) followed by the nipup.

 

The top rope elbow hits and it’s time to stomp the mat loudly to let my opponent know that his finisher is coming. Like clockwork Masters ducks and hooks the Masterlock. Shawn fights to the corner and gets over the top rope somehow, forcing a break. Masters tries the hold again but Shawn escapes and there’s the superkick for the pin. Shawn collapsing after getting the pin is always a nice touch.

 

Rating: B. Good stuff here as Shawn does his usual stuff but still pulls out a good match. He knew timing, which is what so many wrestlers have no clue about. He knew how to make his comebacks mean stuff and played everything to perfection. Good stuff which you never see from most young guys because it’s not important to learn in the eyes of the trainers today.

Masters would stay near the top of the card and get a world title shot at New Year’s Revolution 2006 inside the Elimination Chamber.

Raw World Title: John Cena vs. Carlito vs. Chris Masters vs. Kurt Angle vs. Shawn Michaels vs. Kane

Naturally it takes forever to get to this match but less time than last year which is at least a plus. Cena of course gets a lot of boos. This wasn’t even the most hated that he would ever get. He starts with Shawn. Cena isn’t ready to do that yet so this is nowhere near what it sounds like. Just 18 minutes between the ending of the last “match” and the bell in this one. The fans are ALL OVER Cena here.

The Chamber really does look awesome to say the least. Cena can sell really well. Kane comes in last due to winning a Beat the Clock Challenge. He’s the odds on favorite. That’s most amusing. In third is Carlito. He means nothing at this point either and no one really knew why he was in this. Nothing at all happens here other than some potential alliances. Finally Angle comes in to wake the crowd up by suplexing the living tar out of everyone in the freaking match.

Styles saying Angle is all impact amuses me. I mean he must throw everyone 4-5 times each. I have never seen anyone wake a match up like Angle did. Shawn is busted after being thrown into one of the cells. Good night Angle throws a pretty suplex. I mean Angle is just completely dominating. He gets the ankle lock on Shawn and then on Carlito. Masters finally comes in for the save. We’ve fought 15 minutes or so at this point and look at how little I’ve had to say.

Masters comes in and takes an ankle lock. Cena makes a save for no apparent reason and goes for the FU but Angle reverses into ANOTHER ankle lock. He’s just on freaking fire tonight. And then Shawn kicks him in the head and pins him. Yeah seriously, that’s how they get rid of him. Give me a freaking break. Ok it’s not that bad but I hate the out of nowhere ones like that.

You can tell they’re just killing time at this point as nothing at all is happening. Kane comes in so they’re all in now. I seriously couldn’t care less. This thing is boring as anything you can think of. After some brief domination, Kane chokeslams everyone but like an idiot never covers them. Carlito and Masters double team him and amazingly…it works. They do a double DDT and then a press slam of Carlito onto Kane.

At this point, it becomes somewhat clear how this is going to end and it gets dumber and dumber every second. Oh I forgot to mention that Shawn is bleeding. The problem with this match: Carlito and Chris Masters are dominating. Still, this is better than the Extreme Elimination Chamber as Shawn and Cena are at least major star power. Four of the six here were legit title guys and Carlito and Masters were solid midcard heels at the time, so it’s forgivable.

Don’t get me wrong: it’s freaking dumb and it’s bad, but it could be worse. The other four being awesome balances it out a lot. Shawn gets Sweet Chin Music on Cena and Carlito hits a rolling cutter (Cody Rhodes’ finisher) on Shawn to pin him. Yes, the final three are Carlito, Masters and Cena. This is freaking stupid. No one bought Cena losing for a second.

I was reading WZ and was on AIM at the same time with a girl I knew who was a Cena fan and was telling her what was going on. She went to bed at this point as it was obvious to even her, a mark, that this was ending with Cena winning. The fans are now cheering for Cena as they see the alternatives. That’s rather funny. So they double team him for about 5 minutes until the Masterlock is put on. Carlito low blows Masters and rolls him up before getting rolled up by Cena to win the match.

Rating: D. Seriously, Masters and Carlito? This is short because literally the second the match ends, Vince’s music starts playing and it becomes clear what’s going on and why the Chamber sucking means nothing, so I won’t bother going into detail on it.

Masters’ career would take a sharp downturn after this as he would be stuck in the midcard until being released at the end of 2007. He would move on to various international tours before coming back to WWE in 2009. Here’s a random match against January 18, 2010 against Randy Orton.

Chris Masters vs. Randy Orton

Masters has the always gorgeous Eve Torres with him here. The bell rings and we immediately get Sheamus, Orton’s opponent at the upcoming Royal Rumble. Masters hits a quick shoulder but can’t get the Master Lock. A scoop slam gets two for Chris but he walks into the backbreaker for no cover. The RKO is countered into the Master Lock but Orton eventually makes a rope. In an awkward looking ending, Masters leans forward to grab the hold again but Orton just puts on the RKO for the pin.

Masters wouldn’t do much in WWE after this as he would be stuck on Superstars for the most part. He would be released a year or so later and get back to the indies.

Overall Chris Masters is a guy who was a victim of the current WWE creative process. He clearly has talent but he was given one of the least creative gimmicks possible and when it didn’t get over, his push stopped cold. That’s the opposite of how pushes used to work; back in the day you would keep switching gimmicks until you found what worked because the talent was there. Now it’s the writers who have all the ideas and if you don’t get over, it’s off to Superstars with you. That’s a shame too as Masters had potential.

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1 comment

  1. Killjoy says:

    I loved the Sheepherders. They were awesome in WWC.