The WWE recently added some new matches to their Hidden Gems series on the network, and some are a must-watch for longtime fans of professional wrestling. Several of the featured matches in Hidden Gems were already available on the WWE Network, but some were recently added because of the new collection. The entire assemblage is very impressive, and they include contests that date back all the way to 1951. But while the five bouts below are from a bygone era, they feature many WWE superstars that are still involved with the industry today.
The Hammer Pays the Piper
Before Greg “The Hammer” Valentine fought the late “Rowdy” Roddy Piper in a dog collar match at Starrcade ’83, their rivalry heated up at an NWA house show in Charlotte, North Carolina. The two wrestlers told a great story in the ring, and the blood-soaked finish was the perfect setup for their dog collar contest. Because it was a house show, this match is unique as it doesn’t feature any commentary.
At Ease, Yoko!
In this episode of Hidden Gems, Sgt. Slaughter faces Kokina Maximus, or as the WWE audience knows him by, Yokozuna, with Sheik Adnan El Kaissey in his corner. This was part of the AWA’s Team Challenge Series featuring Sgt. Snipers against Larry’s Legends. While the team names could have used some help, as could have the now defunct AWA, the series did feature a few noteworthy contests.
After the match, you can see a young Eric Bischoff interviewing Slaughter. And keep the footage rolling as it also includes Yokozuna’s Superstar’s 1992 debut as Kokina. Currently, the WWE Network misspells his name as Kokena.
Before “The Phenomenal One” was WWE champion, he wrestled for the company on Jakked back in 2002 as, well, AJ Styles. Watch Styles battle Hurricane Helms with Mighty Molly in his corner. Newer fans of the WWE may not be aware of how entertaining Helms and Molly were together, and this is great opportunity to check them out. Styles looks as great as ever in the ring, and many experts felt the WWE would sign him full-time and give him a big push, they just didn’t think it would take 14 years to do so.
The Dark Side of Royalty
Before he was The Undertaker in the WWE, Mark Calaway was known as “Mean” Mark Callous throughout the territories. In this USWA contest from 1990, Jerry “The King” Lawler squared off against “Mean” Mark. It’s pretty surreal to watch “The Phenom” do the “watch the tights and hair, ref” classic heel routine.
Before Triple H and Road Dogg joined forces in D-Generation X, they faced each other on WCW WorldWide. This is back when “The Game” was known as Terra Ryzing, and Dogg wrestled as Brian Armstrong. This classic WCW match is a nostalgic trip down memory lane, and little did we know this would end up becoming a historic contest.
New episodes of Hidden Gems are released on the WWE Network every Thursday.