Johnny Saint vs Jim Breaks (World of Sport)
This is a classic lightweight championship match from May of 1973, with slim Johnny Saint, the people’s hero, going up against establishment thug and current champion, Jim Breaks. The contest consists of 10 five-minute rounds, a structure that allows a considerable amount of drama to build up quickly. Both wrestlers, dead even in weight though differently built, are adept at the fine details of scientific wrestling, such as wringing an opponent’s nose or fish-hooking his mouth, executing almost liquid reversals that change the course of the match and steam up the crowd. Breaks and Saint present a master class in How to Be a Heel and How to Be a Face that today's wrestlers should study. The variations in pace and intensity create a rhythm that sucks me in. Saint, in particular, is a joy to behold. His lanky, hairy body moves like lightning while his face beams with dogged determination. Breaks' proclivity for tantrums earns him the nickname Cry Baby with the fans. He is the quintessential man you love to hate. (The link above takes you to the first of three YouTube videos. Follow the trail because you will want to view the entire match.)
Johnny Lightning vs Paul Perris, Canadian Musclehunk Wrestling 3 (Can-Am)
Polish-born Paul Perris was always a favorite of mine, but I like him best in his early not-so-ripped years with just enough body fat to make the muscles bounce when they’re struck. I always rooted for him and liked him to win, but nothing he did ever topped this 1992 match for heart, with Johnny Lightning, already an "old hand" at Can-Am, forcing him to eat the mat again and again. Lightning exudes arrogance even when he’s not trying, but he gives the beautiful JCVD wannabe the deluxe treatment. That’s not to say that Perris doesn’t put up an excellent defense, though hampered by a rather too ostentatious display of his martial arts training and rubbery flexibility. In my opinion he never did find a way to incorporate his cheerleader splits into a worthwhile fighting style, but he was never less than fascinating to watch. I first wore out a VHS tape of Perris fighting his cousin "Jaime Cutler" (later redubbed "Roman Stone") before discovering this gem, shot about the same time, during Perris's first year at the company. I have actually watched Perris-vs-Stone more times than Lightning-vs-Perris, so it's another video that's bound to show up on one of these lists someday.
Steve Sherman vs Wade Cutler, Hard Pros 3 (BG East)
The cocky heel butting heads with the modest hero is one of my favorite pro-wrestling angles, and the images of Steve Sherman and Wade Cutler embodying these roles imprinted on my fantasies early in my BG East fandom. The contest follows an early BGE formula: shoving match leads to posedown, which leads to a villainous sneak attack from behind. An uninterrupted 10-minute squash job ends with a two-minute hope spot for Wade and much later a too-brief-to-notice spot that allows him to peel Steve's gold gogo trunks off the man's well-upholstered ass. I wish Cutler (ex-Marine in patriotic red, white, and blue) took a more commanding position in this fight, but Sherman is one sexy loudmouth, and he literally mops the floor with Wade, and by match’s end both wrestlers are naked and unashamedly hard as nightsticks. In the final shot we get ass and balls filling the frame, and fade to black. If this sounds like a complaint, in this case it is anything but. The two faced off again in an oil match before a live audience ... the same year, if I'm not mistaken. It's a favorite too, but the boners on both sides of the TV screen give this epic beauty the winning edge.