Sunday, July 20, 2014

The WCCW Report: Episode 57: Enter the Yatsu

January 1983: We kick things off this week with the debut of another mysterious and deadly competitor from the Orient: The Great Yatsu, who’s decked out in a gi (of course) and brandishes a wooden samurai practice sword. Ever notice how there are never any modern Japanese men in the world of classic pro wrestling? They’re always historical martial arts enthusiasts. Thank god they can find work somewhere, even if it’s not their home country. No wonder they’re in such a bad mood all the time, though. I would be too, if my choice of lifestyle made it impossible for me to get a job in my own home country. Kind of makes you wonder if Japanese pro wrestling leagues are full of Americans who are into flagpole sitting and swing dancing.

And what better way to welcome Yatsu to America than by putting him up against the Samoan (from Samoa!), the least dangerous opponent he could possibly fight! Announcer Bill Mercer (and Yatsu’s manager, who claims he had to spend a lot of silver bars to even get the man into the country. Visa issues, we assume) keep referring to “the dreaded” Yatsu as “The Oriental Assassin” and talking up his nefarious deeds. But judging by Yatsu’s facial expressions, body language and general temperament, he’s clearly a good natured youth who’s having the time of his life in America. You should see the joy on his face after he gently puts the Samoan away with the Million Dollar Dream (or “sleep hold,” as the always loquacious Mercer describes it). Sure, he beats the crap out of the Samoan after the match, but only after the Samoan sneakily enters his blind spot. And Yatsu clearly apologizes afterwards.

Yatsu in his later, more stoic years
Next up is an interview with David von Erich, who has apparently been out of state for the last few weeks. I didn’t notice, because the lack of his gaping void of charisma created a double negative.

Our first competitive match of the night sees Freebird Michael Hayes--the crowd is really on board with hating him by now--vs. “brass knuckles champion” Jose Lothario (which sounds impressive until you realize that you’ve never seen a brass knuckles match ever), who Mercer calls a “young man.” I know this is before the HD era, but come on, Bill! You can see the wrinkles on his face! And his male pattern baldness! The match ends when the other Freebirds come to the ring and attack Lothario to the tune of a thunderous “Go Home Freebirds!” chant from the crowd. That’s a new one.

Next: Another interview with King Kong Bundy, this one appearing to take place in a classicly styled wooden sauna. He’s got more boring stuff to say about Devastation Inc., and it’s still unclear if he and “the man” are the same person, if “the man” and “the boss” are the same person, and what the hell the point of any of this is. Interestingly, Bundy gets the manboss on the phone and introduces himself as “Kong,” so apparently that’s what he thinks his own first name is. Kong also reveals that the boss is heavy into the oil and gas industry (so...maybe it’s Ross Perot?), and may be giving Kong his own refinery by this time next year. Wonder how that worked out.

Then Bundy heads to the ring for the main event: A tag team match with he and the Great Kabuki (almost every Japanese wrestler is great!) taking on Al Madril and Bugsy McGraw. Bugsy looks like every “fun,” creepy uncle everybody ever had. I’m hoping he’ll sustain a career-ending injury soon. Or give him a refinery, too, I don’t care! Just get him off my TV!

The match happens, I guess, but I’m more impressed with the dude in the crowd wearing a Cosby sweater and a trucker cap that says “Red Neck MOTHER.” Fan of the year, for sure. And when Bundy splashes Bugsy into oblivion, that puts the cherry on top, making this one of the best episodes of WCCW yet.

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