A Mark’s Eye View is a weekly look at some of the things that made me a huge fan of professional wrestling.
I was a long time subscriber to Pro Wrestling Illustrated, so I read plenty of articles about dream matches. Like any true wrestling fan, I have paid my dues in EWR and have sunk many hours in various Fire Pro games. Fantasy booking was never really my thing, though.
That’s not to say I didn’t have my personal match wish list, of course. Like every other wrestling fan in the 1980s, I thought of how Ric Flair would beat Hulk Hogan. The idea of the Midnight Express taking on the Midnight Rockers fascinated me.
As I got older, I thought less about dream matches. With the death of the territories and constant promotion hopping, a fan got to see almost every match possible. Once Vince McMahon bought WCW, nothing was off the table. Any wrestler could walk in at any time and have the match they wanted.
Another reason I am not a fan of fantasy booking is experience — time and time again, it’s become clear that fantasy matches are best left that way. The initial Flair/Hogan match and the Legion of Doom finally facing Demolition were huge disappointments.
There is one match I wanted to see but never got a chance to, however. It would have been great to experience the team of Stan Hansen and Bruiser Brody take on the Road Warriors. Hawk and Animal were incredibly over in Japan, and Hansen and Brody are two of the most revered gaijin in the history of Japanese wrestling.
Yet, the two teams never met. It’s somewhat surprising, considering how much time they spent in Japan. While cross promotional ventures are more common in Japan, this wouldn’t have even been an issue since all four men spent the majority of their time in All Japan.
It seems to be one of those quirks of booking. In Japan, it was common to put up local talent against the best foreigners. There were exceptions of course, but these matches were normally built up to. For whatever reason, Hansen and Brody vs. the Warriors never even seemed to be in the works in All Japan.
The answer is simpler in America: with one notable exception, the two teams were never really in the same place at the same time. Logistically, it was impossible for them to have a match. There was a brief period in 1985 when all four were in the same place at the same time. For a short window of time, the two teams could have battled on American soil. Unsurprisingly, it was in the promotion of missed opportunities, the AWA.
In Verne Gagne’s defense, it may not be entirely his fault — rumor has it the promotion was actually working towards a match between Brody/Hansen and Hawk/Animal. As the story goes, Brody refused to do the match as he did not want to make anyone look weak.
(The story is per Greg Gagne. Even as for a wrestler, Greg has issues telling the truth — according to him, his father Verne invented Hulkamania, and the High Flyers always had planned pushes in other territories aborted because promoters were jealous over how over they got after one match.)
There was another supposed occasion where the teams almost met. During 1985, at Florida’s Battle of the Belts, Hansen teamed with Harley Race to fight the Warriors to a wild double count out. Supposedly, the original match was supposed to be Brody and Hansen against the the Road Warriors, but flight issues prevented Brody from making the card. Thankfully, Race was on hand to replace him.
Stan Hansen and Bruiser Brody and the Road Warriors are two of the most acclaimed tag teams of all time. Both have loyal fan bases on both sides of the ocean, so the two teams seemed destined to meet each other. There are suspect theories, but for whatever reason, the two never wrestled, making it one of the most intriguing dream matches of all time.
By the way, my money would have been on the Roadies.
Next week: The first Jake Roberts blinding angle was better.
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