Monday, December 06, 2010

"Project 33" - Match #29 - Bigelow vs. Windham

Bam Bam Bigelow vs. Barry Windham
26 December, 1988
Scope; Norfolk, VA
NWA US Championship Match

Part 2

This match was requested by Teq over that the DVDVR.

Back last summer in a game against the Dodgers, the Cincinnati Reds' Joey Votto had a ridiculous at bat.  Votto went down 0-2 in a tie game with the go-ahead run on base.  He then proceeded to foul off 8 straight pitches, before blasting a hit, which ended up being the game winning hit.  At that very moment, you knew Votto was the real deal, as you just watched him become great right in front of your eyes.

In this match, when Windham has that clawhold sunk in on Bigelow, Jim Ross remarks on commentary that "Windham is rising to a level that I have never seen him compete on.  We have never seen Windham look any better than we have seen in this one".  In this match, you can see Windham go from a solid wrestler at the top of the card, to a man that is going to someday be heavyweight champion of the world.  From good to great in a heartbeat.   
This match is a showcase of two wrestlers that a lot of people forget about.  Barry Windham and Bam Bam Bigelow were both underrated wrestlers. So underrated that it is hard to actually quantify it, although it can be argued that neither man lived up to their full potential.

Barry Windham was a workhorse in the ring, who in the late 1980s had the promise of a future world heavyweight champion.  Bigelow burst upon the scene like a bat out of hell, and was probably the most agile big man ever.  At this point in time both men were young, and appeared to have their best years ahead of them. 

 In this match, the seasoned but still young veteran Windham brings his A-game to go up against the Beast From the East.  At this point Bigelow was full of fire and pure brute strength.  He spends the first half of the match just dominating Windham.  Not only was Windham bumping his ass off for Bigelow, but Bigelow was doing some amazing things here.  Windham looked every bit as good as Ric Flair in his prime here: everything he did was making Bigelow look like a monster.  Bigelow, while not having the same type of physique, was taking advantage of Windham's skill by doing Road Warrior-ish type of moves to Windham.  You gotta keep in mind that Windham is 6'6" - he isn't a 170lb cruiserweight.

And because Windham works so hard to make Bigelow look good, he in turn looks amazing when he gets his big comeback.  Windham could move ridiculously well for a man his size, but he wasn't a high flyer by any means.  Windham has a grace inside the ring that cannot be taught.  Windham had an innate sense of timing and positioning that just cannot be taught.  Putting his performance here over the top was the way he worked the crowd.  While Bigelow certainly did an excellent job getting the crowd behind him, Windham was just amazing in working the crowd here.

The only complaints that I have about the match are Bigelow pulling Windham up from a lateral press, and the count-out finish.  The countout I can live with.  A babyface, especially one with a ridiculous size advantage, should never ever pull his opponent up from a pinfall attempt.  I think they could have got a better reaction there is maybe Bigelow did a cocky cover and his "inexperience" allowed Windham a window to kick out.  However, it didn't ruin the match for me...

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