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Superstar Sleeze posted a topic in May 1987AWA World Heavyweight Champion Nick Bockwinkel vs Jeff Jarrett - Mid-South Coliseum 5/4/87 One of my favorite genre of matches is the veteran champion up against the overmatched, but zealous young lion. It is a match when done correctly that everyone wins. The young lion will look strong in a competitive loss and the champion reminds us why he is indeed the champion. I can't think two better people to really excel in this match type. Due to footage limitations, Bockwinkel is the veteran champion. That's the lens we see Bockwinkel through. Yes, we have 70s footage with him & Ray Stevens as the tag champions, but the majority comes from his excellent 80s run in the AWA as the elder champion wrestling youngsters like Martel and Hennig. Now for the modern fan, it may seem a little strange why Jeff Jarrett would be perfect in the role of plucky, young babyface. Early on his career, Jarrett actually had a shit load of babyface charisma. Where it all went, I have not a clue. At 1987, we are very early on in his career. If we got 1987 Bockwinkel against 1991 Jarrett, we could have got something really special, but as is it is a really good match in this genre. Jarrett is a late substitute for Lawler and Lance sells this as a huge opportunity for the young Jarrett. They both play their roles excellently. Bockwinkel gets his way early and seems like this will be a blowout, but Jarrett starts getting that movement going. Bockwinkel, ever-calm, breaks Jarrett's momentum by going outside of the ring. Bockwinkel is always ensuring he is dictating the pace. In the turning point of the match, Bockwinkel rams his shoulder into the turnbuckle. I loved how Bockwinkel subtly sells it. He uses the ref to buy some time and stands so that the bad shoulder is away from Jarrett, but Jarrett is here to win and he quickly gets a top wristlock. Bock tries to buck him off three times, but it is no use. Jarrett is tenacious. They work some fun reverse hope spots for Bockwinkel getting out of a hold, but being flustered making an uncharacteristic mistakes that allows Jarrett to go back to holds on the arm. Lance starts selling the idea of a massive upset unfolding before our eyes. Bockwinkel and Jarrett trade blows in the middle of the ring. Watching this footage, you would think that Jarrett would have been one of the best babyfaces of the 90s or at least a great star for the 90s, just a great fired up wrestler. Jarrett goes up top for the missile dropkick, crashing and burning and Bock rolls up him up for the win. Bockwinkel was at a point that he did not need that strong of a win and he really gave a strong performance in terms of elevating Jarrett. Jarrett kept it basic, but he told a strong story from his move selection and body language. He tried to press his advantage, high risk means the rewards may be big, but more often than the house wins. ****
Superstar Sleeze posted a topic in October 1985AWA World Heavyweight Champion Rick Martel vs Jerry Lawler - Nashville 10/12/85 Ornery Rick Martel is awesome! He seems totally pissed that he is even in this match in a really good way. He is just pissed off from the start. it is a really cool dynamic for the usual white meat babyface to play a heel. It is not like he is bad person. He is just having a shitty day and it shines through in the match. So he is more prickly than usual, it allows the fans to be decidedly pro-Lawler without Martel compromising his character. Lance Russell and his partner really play up his unwonted behavior. In addition, it makes for an excellent match and really Rick Martel best match as a heel I have ever seen. This is a very good Lawler performance, but I think Martel carried the day in this one. After failing at achieving the world championship in past efforts, you see Lawler has really put a lot of pressure on himself to win this match. Right from the outset, you see Lawler going for three different types of pinning combinations to keep the champ off balances and when Martel does give Lawler a clean break, Lawler punches him right in the mouth and goes for the pin. Lawler is here to win the title and nothing else. I love that focus. Martel is on edge and the fans chants for Lawler really gets under his skin. Martel tries to fire up and Lawler just makes him look foolish. So Martel kicks The King's leg out from under him. Martel works a masterful match around attacking Lawler's leg, which the announcers note that he had a severe injury that caused Jerry to miss most of 1980. Lawler does a great job of selling Martel's torture of the leg, which includes a variety of stomps, strikes, toeholds and a figure-4. Lawler is kicking him off, but Martel is using closed fists and the hair to relentlessly attack the leg. When Martel misses a seat drop, Lawler fires up, but he has to fire up on one leg. While the punches are finding their mark, he is hesitating because of the bum wheel, which makes him miss a fist drop and Martel pounces on the leg again. Love it! Martel misses on an elbow drop. Lawler is up and it is now or never! HE PULLS THE STRAP DOWN! Martel is great at rocking back for The King's huge punches in the corner. Lawler goes for a running fist, but runs into the ref. Martel wants the spinning toehold, but comes away with Jerry's boot. He wallops him! Lawler kicks out. Now he has the boot and clocks the champ. The ref sees that and DQs Lawler. THWARTED! BULLSHIT! I did not love the finish for quickly Lawler was able to recover and hit Martel with the boot. They were better off having Lawler duck Martel, get the boot and clock Martel. Lawler sends the crowd home happy by hitting a charging Martel with a boot. Besides the finish, this is a hellacious championship match. One of my favorite championship matches, I have seen in a long time. Lawler wants to win so bad early, but Martel takes advantage of a weakness and Lawler has to mount a classic comeback, but a series of unfortunate circumstances means the World Championship is just outside his grasp again. Martel's performance here is awesome! Just great character work conveying himself as a frustrated wrestler that just wants to get this over with, but has a tough time early on and then is just relentless on Lawler's leg. I have the No DQ match with Bock over this, but just by a hair, great, great stuff! ****1/2