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Found 22 results

  1. Mid-South North American Champion Ted DiBiase vs Hacksaw Jim Duggan - Mid-South 3/8/85 No DQ Jim Duggan looks like Rihanna at the end of Bitch Better Have My Money. They beat the living fuck outta each other in this battle like they owe each other some cash money. DiBiase had returned to the territory from an extended stay in Georgia and All Japan. Hooking up with Dr. Death and Skandor Akbar to exact revenge against his former partner in crime and the man who banished him from Mid-South, Hacksaw Jim Duggan! DiBiase & Dr. Death had jumped Duggan to kickstart the feud on TV in the fall of 1984 and DiBiase defeated Brad Armstrong to win the North American Championship. It all came to a head in this No DQ Bloodbath. I loved the beginning with Ted making sure everything was legal only to immediately throw the powder in Hacksaw's face and once blinded he was easy pickins to busted open on the outside. The best part of this was Duggan's incredible performance throughout. He was always staggering and always swinging at DiBiase. DiBiase was kicking the shit out of him, but you always felt like Duggan had something left. When Duggan caught coming off the top (patented DiBiase somersault bump) and suplex, the crowd came unglued. You could feel DiBiase shit his pants as Duggan stomped around. The fists were flying and it looked awesome. Hacksaw got into this three point stance and hit his wedgebuster, which should have claimed his first North American title, but Skandor Akbar hit him with the cane. A shitty head collision followed which also wiped out the ref. Dr. Death handed Ted DiBiase the lethal loaded black glove and DiBiase had the presence of mind to sock Duggan. DiBiase was perfectly good on offense knowing how to work the cut and cheat his ass off, but this was Duggan through and through modulating his selling perfectly and really building to the match to crescendo. I have this under the first Buzz Sawyer brawl and the second Magnum/DiBiase bloodbath, but still a bitchin' match. ****1/4 Now if there was just some way Duggan got HIS hands on that coal miner glove and keep that infernal Skandor Akbar & Dr. Death out of the ring and come to think of it I just wished Duggan could banish DiBiase all over again and you know this fucking DiBiase thinks his shit don't stink, but if you are ugly on the inside like DiBiase then you are ugly on the outside so I know Duggan would look better in a tuxedo. If there was just a way to combine all these facets of the feud into one match....hmmmmmmmm....
  2. Hacksaw Duggan vs Buzz Sawyer - Mid-South 12/27/85 Dog Collar Match Due to the out of control nature of the previous match and Buzz Sawyer's moniker of Mad Dog, it was only logical that they would have a Dog Collar match. I liked the dog collar posturing from Buzz Sawyer early only to have him running after Duggan balls up the chain and gives him a good thwacking and he realizes there is nowhere to run. Again, an argument with the ref is Duggan's downfall as Sawyer comes rushing in with the chain. He rakes the chain across the forehead as the crowd chants for Duggan. Sawyer is raking the chain across the open wound in a gnarly moment. Now Duggan cant get away from Sawyer and finally Duggan just lets out this bellow that is so primal and horrific wearing the crimson mask. He opens up a can of Lawler-esque whoop-ass. Duggan hits a clothesline and is so proud of himself gives the crowd the thumbs up! LOL! I love the 80s! Buzz tries to run, but the chain restrains and Duggan is taking so much glee in tormenting the Mad Dog. Is he taking too much joy in this beating? Duggan looks to drag him back in from the outside where he is beating his ass, but Buzz in desperation clobbers him with a chair to win the match in a shocker. Duggan was absolutely dominating, but definitely needed to put Sawyer away earlier he lost sight in his bloodlust, which is a great story. Buzz Sawyer just looking to survive hits him with a chair wins and gets the hell out of Dodge. Neither here nor there in terms of rating the match,. but the commentator sounded like he was narrating a golf tournament and dude he was bringing me down! Excellent brawl not at the level of their crazy brawl, but still a definite Mid-South classic. ****1/2
  3. Hacksaw Duggan vs Buzz Sawyer - Mid-South 11/11/85 "Kiss my fucking ass!" - Hacksaw Jim Duggan to Buzz Sawyer in the post-match fracas from Hell. Hacksaw Duggan is for real! His run in Mid-South should go down as one of the best "everyman" brawler types in the history of Mid-South. The DiBiase matches are exceptional, but you can point to them being propped up by the angle the matches with Mad Dog Buzz Sawyer are just unadulterated violence. At this time, Dicky Slater & Buzz Sawyer were the lead heels in the Mid-South territory soon to be Universal Wrestling Federation and Duggan and Butch Reed were among the lead faces. While Slater & Reed were feuding over the North American title, Duggan was left to face Dicky's gatekeeper, the crazed Mad Dog. THIS IS A BLOODBATH! Duggan jumpstarts the match with fists of fury that sends Buzz packing. I love the Duggan Superman pose juxtaposed with his goofy ass face. Duggan obliterates Sawyer's face into the guardrail and busts him WIDE open. Buzz does his best Chris Webber is asking for a timeout, but there are NO TIMEOUTS in wrestling, you fool! Hacksaw continues the onslaught of punches to the head. The ref takes pity of the pathetic bloody heap that is Buzz Sawyer and tries to hold Hacksaw back. Ruh roh! Buzz tries to claw Duggan;s eye out and then kicks him in the balls. Hacksaw takes an equally wicked bump into the barricade and now he is busted WIDE open too. Buzz slams a table on him! I love this raucous mayhem. There is no real story other than two guys kicking the absolute shit out of one another. Hacksaw is trying to mount a comeback, but does not have much in the tank. When Hacksaw stops Sawyer from slamming his head into the turnbuckles, this feels like the most important thing in the world given the amount of effort both men are putting in. Hacksaw wins out and hits a back elbow. WEDGEBUSTER~! The Mad Dog heads for the hills and the crowd is on his case. Buzz ain't yellah; he races back into the ring and blasts Duggan. The ref throws this chaos out. Buzz wants to maim the hero of Mid-South with a piledriver , but Hacksaw reverses and kicks ass. The wrestlers come to break it up, but they are just getting started. Duggan breaks free and jumps Buzz in a crazy moment! Crowd is chanting bullshit. This is incredible! We see Buzz get dragged back to with his friends and he is moaning and groaning. Then Hacksaw is coming to the back and Buzz breaks free again. Holy shit an absolutely nuts brawl breaks out again! Hacksaw is screaming kiss my fucking ass as Buzz Sawyer is left wailing. The whole shebang is the epitome of pro wrestling. All the stars in the world for this! Hacksaw Duggan is my hero! HOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!! U-S-A! U-S-A! U-S-A! U-S-A! U-S-A! *****
  4. NWA World Heavyweight Champion Ric Flair vs Ted DiBiase -Mid-South 11/6/85 Perhaps my favorite angle of the 1980s and that's saying a lot, but just an awesomely executed angle from every aspect. Bill Watts is just money in putting over the guts of Ted DiBiase, the violence that had just occurred and the importance of a World Heavyweight Championship match. Jim Ross puts in one of his best performance. "I CAN'T BELIVE HE KICKED OUT!" "IF HE HAD HIM IN THE CENTER OF THE RING, I GUARANATEE YOU WE WOULD HAVE A NEW WORLD HEAVYWEIGHT CHAMPION"! Ric Flair was without question the perfect champion for this exact angle. He has all the credibility you need, but he is so selfless that he will give to DiBiase everything he needs to go from the most reviled man in Mid-South to their top babyface at a snap of the fingers. Flair can kick ass to make you believe DiBiase is climbing a massive mountain and let himself get his ass kicked that you really believe Ted can pull off the miracle. Dick Murdoch as the crotchy, old redneck that wants DiBiase to step aside and then lashes out in anger was awesome. That first punch!!! HOLY FUCKING SHIT! It sounded like a gun went off. At the end of the match, he looks crazed and calm at the same time before dropping DiBiase head first on the concrete after having done a five alarm blade job at the beginning. This is Ted DiBiase's career performance. Standing up to Murdoch, selling the attack, not backing down to Flair, giving it his all in the match. The powerslam and not being able to cover is such a dramatic moment. Fighting through everyone of Flair's offensive volleys was just pure babyface. The figure-4 attempts were riveting. When he took that tumble out on the floor and smashes his into the railing it looks devastating. It is a ***** angle, but as a match let's go ****1/2. No matter, what you do watch this angle! You owe to yourself as a wrestling fan.
  5. Butch Reed vs Buzz Sawyer - Mid-South 12/31/85 Dog Collar Match Think about the roster Mid-South had at this time on the heel side you had Dick Slater, Dick Murdoch and Buzz Sawyer, which is pretty great. Then get a load of the babyface side: Hacksaw Jim Duggan, Ted DiBiase, Butch Reed and Jake Roberts. That is bonkers deep. Reed is looking for revenge on Sawyer. Sawyer wants a Dog Collar match and Reed is like you are playing right into my hand, sucka. Reed gets his No DQ match. I watched this six months ago and thought it was every bit as good as the Duggan Dog Collar match and still think so. It is just violence and hatred personified. I really like how such small mistakes can have such devastating consequences in a match like this. For instance, by missing one punch at the beginning, Sawyer gets his ass beat for the next five minutes and is bleeding like a stuck pig. Reed is great at hollering and really playing up how he much he enjoy beating Sawyer up. I loved the chain pressed against the cut. The same thing applied to Reed when he missed a fist drop now Sawyer could take over on him and really do a number on him and bust him open. It was a total war of attrition. I loved that Dog Bark Sawyer did. One of his chain whips sounded brutal on Reed's head. It was scary and crazy. Both men are exhausted and Reed bowls him over, but cant stand himself. Sawyer and rips off his Dog Collar and ties Reed to the bottom rope. Reed comes out of his funk and realizes his plight, but it is too late the Mad Dog sneak attacks. Then in one of the most brutal finishes of all time Sawyer goes to bulldog Reed, but because he is tied to the bottom rope he is yanked back violently to the ground. OUCH! 1-2-3, Buzz Sawyer wins. Slater and Sawyer look to double team Reed, but Duggan saves only to be clothesline brutally by the chain right before his North American heavyweight title match with Dicky Slater. Awesome, awesome violent spectacle. Sawyer was totally out of control and Reed was awesome as the avenging babyface. What an insane finish! Easy top 10 Mid-South match of all time. ****1/2
  6. Mid-South Tag Team Champions Butch Reed & Jim Neidhart vs Mr. Wrestling II & Magnum TA - Mid-South 12/25/83 Steel Cage Mid-South is probably the territory I know the least about in terms of the American Power 6 of the 1980s (WWF, Crockett, AWA, WCCW, Mempho, and Mid-South). I have understood that is generally considered one of the best booked territories and has among the best episodic TV ever produced in pro wrestling all under the helm of Bill Watts. Of course, this presents a problem watching a "Best Of" comp without much context, but hey that's what Kayfabe Memories is for. In 1983, it seems Mid-South had transitioned to having Butch Reed be the co-lead heel of the territory. While DiBiase and Duggan were having a blood feud that carried the territory in terms of sheer hatred. Reed and the ever-popular Junkyard Dog feuded over the North American Championship. Magnum TA was plucked from relative obscurity (Florida mid-card scene, I believe) and was immediately pushed as Duggan's tag partner and tag champion, but with the need to focus Duggan (co-lead face) elsewhere veteran Mr. Wrestling II and all his booty-shaking glory was introduced as TA's mentor. The angle that led to this tag match was two-fold. Mags & Duggan lost the tag titles to Reed & Neidhart (Neidhart was a heel du jour) and they ran a hot TV angle as an off shoot of the JYD and Reed feud. Reed was supposed to defend the title against the Dog, but balked and instead gave the title shot to the young up and comer, Magnum TA, which he thinks would easy pickins. However, when JYD was made special guest ref, it became anything but that and Magnum TA became the North American Champion! A meteoric rise for the newcomer! Due to some technicalities, the title change was reversed and now Magnum TA who had tasted the gold only to have it ripped away from him wanted to prove he could do it again against the arrogant asshole, Butch Reed. Instead of coming after his North American Title, he was going to share his glory with mentor, Mr. Wrestling II. Butch Reed is really fucking good. I have heard it bandied around that he is the greatest black wrestler of all time and having watched a Flair match, I knew he was good, but seeing him here makes me excited to see more Butch Reed. He was a fantastic big bumper for the faces in the beginning. He did a nice Flair Flip and bumped huge for Mr. Wrestling II's famous kneelift. A couple things about presentation in this match, in my smattering of Mid-South watching, it seems most of the footage we have is shot from one hard camera in the corner and sans commentary. I ain't complaining as long as we get to see the action, I'm cool. The steel cage does not rest on the apron, but actually goes to the floor thus there is an area to powder and it makes taking cage bumps a little more difficult. Neidhart tries to slow TA down with an eyerake, but does not consolidate the advantage and TA overwhelms the heels. Reed finally stymies Mags by throwing him into the cage, which I said before is complicated as he goes over the top rope into the cage and then falls the floor in a nasty bump. Mags blades and the heels are content to send him into the cage, The camera zooms in and I think this is going to be the opposite of WCW where they zoom in on the blood, but instead we get a long close up of Mr. Wrestling II. TA uses shoulderblocks and rolls around to avoid Neidhart and tags out to II. II is a great hot tag and as a knee lift mark I think we are going to get along well. Neidhart trips him up. Pretty good heat segment ensues with some impressive power spots from the heels like a Neidhart Samoan Drop and Reed flying shoulderblock. II shows some good underneath fire. The heels get cocky and keep pulling up II. The Anvil goes after the mask and he yanks it off! He is very proud of himself, but II was wearing another mask. Reed is frantic trying to get Neidhart to turn around. II, unphased, tags in Mags, who unloads on the heels. Belly to Belly on the Anvil, cover, II leaps over the cover to hit Reed with a kneelift. WOW! Great finish. There were some parts where they were kind of out of sync and it seems Magnum's strong suit at this time is selling. It is ok because II makes up for it in spades with great offensive fire. Neidhart was a perfectly servicable heel and Reed was badass. I love the cage spots and thought the finish was fantastic. Still needed some more heat or a more interesting hook to take it to an all-time classic level, still a great match! ****
  7. North American Heavyweight Champion Magnum TA vs Ted DiBiase - Mid-South 7/6/84 You know you are over when the crowd is doing the sound effects for your punches. Magnum TA, you are over, brutha. Magnum had 80s babyface down pat. He had all the mannerisms with him shaking his fists, hands over head, raring to go. He is a way better seller than I was expecting. You hear he was going to Hulk Hogan of the NWA and I see where that comes from in terms of look and cool factor. While Hogan sold a lot especially in the late 80s, it was the over the top, comic book style selling as opposed to Magnum's gritty, bloody screams and his anguished countenance. This is much tamer version of their bloody brawls in late May (even though it did get bloody). It almost seemed like the matches were booked backwards chronologically. Though they seem to be in a different town so maybe they were starting the story fresh here. The beginning of the match was pretty common 80s beginning with Magnum besting DiBiase at every turn and DiBiase powdering to break his rhythm while Mags was energized. It was a fun beginning. Really hated the transition to the heel heat segment with DiBiase just hitting some shoulder tackles in the corner and then he just throws TA's back into the apron and post. I would have liked something more devious or a Magnum mistake to transition to the heat segment. It was just way too routine and not a real hook for the match. While the transition sucked, the heat segment proper was awesome because Mags' forte was selling and DiBiase seems like a strong offensive presence. It could have used more Magnum hope spots, but his selling was very good. TA bucked him off to the floor and then DiBiase takes his somersault bump in the follow-up. The crowd is red hot for the Magnum comeback until a collision (80s really liked that spot). DiBiase, out of desperation, sends Magnum head first into the post and busts him open. I liked DiBiase going from the back to the head because he was feeling the match slipped away from him. Mags feels blood on his face and just loses it. He whips DiBiase so hard into the ropes the turnbuckle breaks! I don't think it was a work, but maybe it was. Ted grabs hold of the turnbuckle and cracks him him, but it is only two. Mags bounces off the bottom two ropes with a ref drop down (hmmmmmmm maybe this was planned) and it is a hot shot by Teddy. DiBiase loads the glove, but misses the fist drop into the Belly to Belly! The finish stretch took this from a good match to a great match, but I didn't think it was as good as the bloody brawls from late May. These two are definitely made for each with DiBiase's offense and Mags' selling. The finish was memorable with the turnbuckle breaking and it was a feel good finish. ****
  8. North American Heavyweight Champion Magnum TA vs Ted DiBiase - Mid-South Tulsa 5/27/84 I have to say I was a bit skeptical that on the exact same day albeit different arena they would be able to even match the awesomeness of the earlier OKC match, but boy was I wrong. Not only did they match it, they topped it with an even better blood-soaked brawl. The first match was a great bloody sprint, but this was a dramatic spectacle. They played to Magnum's greatest strength, his selling and it just ensnared you and never let you go. I got to say, I loved the beginning of this, where DiBiase went to pearl harbor Mags, but Magnum was wise to his games and beat him to the punch. Since they were working a different arena, I did not expect them to actually learn from match to match. So I was very impressed. Did they show these matches on TV and thus they needed to show inter-match progression? The early portion of the match is all Magnum, but DiBiase is making him earn it. The match really busts open (pun fully intended) when DiBiase sends Magnum crashing to the floor reopening the cut. DiBiase working the cut on the floor with Magnum's screams of agony and the fans enraged was a perfect confluence of pro wrestling. DiBiase clawing at the cut and Magnum just making you believe this is most painful thing is the difference between the last match being great and this being a classic. In the ring, Ted is on point it is all fist and elbow drops to the head. Magnum is peppering in hope spots, but can string anything together as Ted stymies him immediately. DiBiase applies the sleeper and just when it looks like we will have a new champion, Magnum in a last ditch effort sends DiBiase flying over the ropes. DiBiase tries to rebound with a piledriver, but Mags back drops out of it. He pulls himself by the ropes. I love it, Ted is modulating the strength of his punches with them getting progressively weaker as he is more exhausted! Magnum is coming alive! He sees the blood. Run Ted Run! The collide in the center of the ring. I have this to be a way more common spot in the 80s than in anytime since and it was definitely a clue the finish is coming. DiBiase wants to get this over with and loads the glove. Wild swing and Mags hits the atomic drop and Ted bounces off the ropes into a Belly 2 Belly! I loved that setup for the Belly 2 Belly. Best Mid-South match yet and just everything you want from bloody brawl. Ted was vicious during the heat segment and backpedaling on Magnum's offense. Magnum is a really, really good seller and knows how to connect with audience during a comeback. ****1/2
  9. North American Heavyweight Champion Magnum TA vs Ted DiBiase - Mid-South OKC 5/27/84 Nice, fist throwing bloody sprint as I get my first look at Ted in Mid-South. Watching prime Ted DiBiase for the first time in Mid South is something that really intrigues me. Bockwinkel, Lawler and Von Erichs are known commodities to me, I know what to expect because I have watched a decent amount of footage going in for those wrestlers. DiBiase is someone who is well-known for excellent character work as the Million Dollar Man, but leaves me cold in the ring. In Mid-South, he has a blank slate to really impress me. This match was an excellent start. I thought he was vicious, focused and relentless. There was no jawing and no wasted time. He was in there to win and press his advantage to win that title. From the opening bell, when the wrestlers looked to return to their corners, he jumped Magnum from behind. It established his tone for the match and that was to attack, attack, attack. His strikes looked great as he took to the outside.The ref's admonishing distracted enough that Mags was able to bounce his head off the table. Holy shit, look at Magnum go with those awesome right punches that has DiBiase reeling. I love DiBiase begging off and taking some big bumps. Mags looks way better on offense here by sticking to strikes and brawling with Ted. DiBiase feeling like the match was slipping away and being overwhelmed loads up his glove and blasts Magnum busting him wide open. Around this, Jim Ross magically joins us on commentary and they mute the crowd. JR just calls the moves and does not add much in terms of story so I wish they kept the crowd noise. I loved the crowd visibly expressing to the ref that DiBiase loaded the glove. DiBiase was awesome in his heat segment. Every move was designed to hurt Magnum and take advantage of the cut, fist drops, ring post shots, and strikes. DiBiase hits a nice powerslam to set up the spinning toehold, but Magnums kicks him off. DiBiase goes up top and I have seen enough WWF DiBiase to know how this story ends. He eats the punch to the midsection and somersault flip to a nice visible reaction. Magnum roars and I wish I could hear the crowd. He hits his Belly to Belly to retain the title. It clocks in under 10 minutes, but this is a sprint. It is a just an action-packed brawl between two pros. Magnum is greta at selling and really has gotten firing up down now in a very short time since I last saw him. DiBiase really checks a lot of the boxes as a heel. Definitely looking forward to more! ****1/4
  10. NWA World Heavyweight Champion Ric Flair vs Terry Taylor - Mid-South 6/1/85 My recollection is that this a contender for one of the best matches of the 1980s and is one of my all-time favorite Flair matches lets see how it holds up. First Twenty Minutes: Fuck yeah, this holds up. Incredible opening twenty minutes. I love how Flair always starts off clean against Taylor before working himself up into a lather. I think he underestimates Taylor and thinks he can take him by conventional means only to realize he is in for one helluva fight. I love Taylor's body language in this. He is confident and you believe in him to become the world champion. Taylor grabs a couple headscissors early out of a Flair headlock. Flair is bit annoyed, but he goes back to his strategy of taking it to the mat. Taylor rides a hammerlock. There a ton of little details to watch for in this match. Flair is selling the arm and pulls the ropes to try to loosen it up. Watch closely you will watch Taylor try to pick up that arm, but cant quite find an opening until Flair forces his hand by coming in with a collar elbow tie up trying a suplex attempt, but Taylor blocks twice before Flair gives up. Flair takes him down twice with drop toeholds, but both times cant hold Taylor. Taylor/Flair now work a side headlock sequence that blows the Reed one outta the water. Tons of interesting stuff. Taylor cranking to stop Flair from getting a knee crusher. Flair tries movement to gain an advantage, but on the second attempt Taylor does not even humor him and drops down into a headlock when Flair drops down. Smart, conservative wrestling. Taylor wrenches the front facelock and I love how Flair goes for a suplex and Taylor wrenches hard and the way Flair hollers and then falls it is just so perfect. These are the things that make him better than everyone else. Flair drives Taylor into the corner three times and finally forces a break. Now tempers flare and a fire fight breaks out. Taylor to his credit does not back down. He goes blow for blow with the heavy-handed Flair in just a great sequence. I love Flair feigning with the left only drop low into the midsection with the right. Just a great spot. He throws Taylor out and he rushes back in the ring. Vero's Hero is here to fight, muthafucka! They fire off into the corner, love how Flair bullies him in the crowd only for Taylor to rifle back. The ref interferes and hooks Taylor's arm and Flair nails that short knee to the family jewels of Vero's Hero. With that the twenty minute mark is reached and the Nature Boy is finally in control. I loved, loved how they built into this fight. You see Flair goads him into this. He knows that in the chaos there will be opportunities to sneak in a cheapshot. He got Taylor off his smart, conservative gameplan and he is reaping the benefits. I am so excited for the next twenty minutes! Final Twenty Minutes: They don't relent for one second in this match. Flair punches Taylor right in the face and I love Taylor grabs his face and sells it. Flair is incensed and is choking Taylor. He grabs an arm and they work a good armabr sequence. Flair uses the ropes and hair to control Taylor. Flair goes for chops in the corner, but loses control and is sent flying into the opposite the turnbuckle. Flair tries to get a suplex quickly, but Taylor drops down the back and it is a sleeper. Taylor actually gets a suplex in before eating knees. Taylor don't quit. He is up and rocking Flair with rights until the Flair Flop. This portion feels like an up and down the court basketball game as they start throwing out nearfalls until Flair thumbs him in the eye to finally stymie Taylor. Flair, who clearly realizes he is starting to get in over his head, applies the Figure-4 hoping to end the match. Taylor reverses the pressure. Flair is still nominally in control as Taylor is selling the leg, but misses the kneedrop and he ends up in the figure-4. Flair pushes Taylor off on the second attempt. He thinks now is the time, it is the time to fly. RUH ROH! He sure does go flying. Taylor is on fire with the punches and general intensity. Taylor rattles off nearfalls again, crossbody, backslide. Flair grabs a sleeper on a criss cross, but cant hold Taylor who drops down and kicks him off into the ref. So when Taylor gets another backslide there is no ref. Flair rakes the eyes and throws Taylor over the ropes. He needs to get the ref to count him out! Doesn't work out. Flair suplexes him back in and a big elbow to Taylor he is trying to get up only gets two. Taylor slugs it out with Flair just throwing bomb after bomb. Flair flops on his face. Taylor just needs that one big move. O'Connor Roll will this be it...Flair reverses he has the tights...1, 2, 3! Incredible match. I think what I like the most about is the intensity of both combatants. You really believed that this match was the most important thing in the world. The sense of urgency was very high throughout the match and never relented. Taylor was really awesome in this. He was firing off some great shots. The back half once Taylor made his initial comeback was Flair cheating like a muthafucka to win the match. Eye thumb sets up the first figure-4, but Taylor persevered through that. Then the rake of the eyes and throwing him over the top rope. Taylor survived and overcame. However, you could tell he just did not have much left in the tank and Flair yanked the tights to win. It was a war of attrition and they fought like hell. It is matches like this that are the reasons I love pro wrestling. *****
  11. The Fabulous Ones vs The Guerreros - Houston 1/24/86 Mexican Death Match I didn't know the Fabs worked heel and guess what they were absolutely fabulous at it. Easily one of the top tier heel tag team performances I have seen so far even outclassing the MX performances so far. Stan Lane was such a great obnoxious dick mocking the Guerreros while Keirn was the mean, sadistic prick that loved flipping off the fans and telling Guerreros to kiss his ass. I loved Lane at the beginning saying i have never heard of this stupid Mexican match, you can make all the Mexican rules you want and we are going to kick your butt. Really should said Mexican butt. Mexican Death Match is a Texas Death Match. Compared to other non-NWA World Championship matches, this was a long match going almost a half hour. Lane and Keirn kept it entertaining throughout. The Guerreros work better as faces because of all their offense and Lane is great at stooging. I like Lane trying to turn it into a track meet to only get caught with a dropkick. Lane looks a lot like a shorter Lex Luger in this with the hair and stacked upper body. Keirn is also ripped. Lane takes the shine in this and gets his ass kicked. The first fall goes to the Guerreros with a piledriver. Lane does not take Chavo's overhead suplex, but takes his gutwrench suplex. Lane throws Chavo into the Keirn who snaps his neck across the top rope and tags himself in. Keirn is incredibly ornery and violent in this. He fishhooks him and then flips off Hector. Really nice backbreakers by Keirn followed by kiss my ass. He throws some of the stiffest headbutts of the 80s and bites Chavo until he finally cuts him. He spews blood from his mouth. The Fabs do a great job setting up double teams where they throw a ton of punches. Stan Lane throws one of the best butterfly suplex really driving him to the mat. This really was an all-time great heel performances from the Fabs in terms of offense, sadism, obnoxiousness and general unlikeability. Chavo breaks free, but goes to the wrong corner and Kerin bites at his cut and spews blood. If looks could kill, Keirn would obliterate Hector as he stares daggers into him during a fall, but only gets two. Lane gets the first fall for the Fabs with a back heel kick to the head. Wow! Great stuff from the Fabs so far. They keep kicking at Chavo like a revolving door keeping Hector on the move as he tries to intercept them. Hector exhorts Chavo, but the Fabs are too much for him. Keirn has placed a chair on the apron. As Chavo tries to wander to his corner, Lane stops him by his hair. Chavo takes a nasty Flair Flip bump. At the exact right moment, Keirn picks up the chair and Lane throws Chavo head first into it. Wow! I am digging this. As you would expect Chavo begins to mount his comeback with some big rights. Keirn sells this perfectly even with phantom punches. Chavo rolls to Hector. Hector is a pretty decent hot tag and slamming Keirn repeatedly into the top turnbuckle is great babyface wrestling. Hector splashes to get the Guerreros a much needed fall. Keirn gets up and lights may be on, but no one seems to be home. Lane throws a quick karate kick to Hector to stymie Guerreros run. They double team Hector, until Chavo saves. Lane drags him out to the floor and physically cuts him open with a point of a chair. Keirn gets a suplex, but is clearly discombobulated and still gets a fall. Hector is a bloody mess, but still gets to his feet. Keirn is stalking his prey and lands a massive right! BIGGGGGG BACK BODY DROP! Lane and Keirn smother Hector. Keirn hits rapid fire heabutts while Lane gets on the house mic to mock Mexican music. Keirn hits a nice piledriver for another fall. If the Fabs got an extended heel run somewhere, they would be an all-time great heel act. Lane as the character and Keirn as the muscle. Hector somehow gets up and Lane with a karate kick, but misses three elbow drops. Hector rolls to tag Chavo and it is breaking loose in TUL...HOUSTON! They ram the Fabs heads together. Keirn grabs a chair from the floor and breaks it up to crack Chavo. Then Keirn goes fucking BEZERK on Hector. I mean absolutely goes to town on Hector with some violent chairshots. Wow! He drives the chair into the throat and now swinging chair at Chavo. Chavo comes in wildly with a chair to chase them off. Countout finish! Super lame. This was awesome! The Fabs knocked it out of the park in their performance. You could not ask much more from a heel team. I love the Midnights as much as anyone, but sometimes I wish they could be a bit more violent. This was like an even edgier, meaner, more sadistic MX. This version of the Fabs would have over huge in the 90s. Guerreros were fine babyfaces and bleeders in this, but this was all Fabs for me. The finish really marrs this for me and I would have liked to seen more babyface fire to match the awesome Fabulous Ones. ****1/4
  12. NWA World Heavyweight Champion Ric Flair vs Jake Roberts - Mid-South 11/24/85 Jake the Snake is another substitute for Butch after he was injured by a bounty put on his head by Flair. I think it was Dicky Slater and Buzz Sawyer that collected the bounty. The beginning of the match is the perfect blend of Flair and Roberts psychology. Flair is using his jack psych out tactics mocking Roberts gangly frame, which results in a shoving match and then BANG! DDT! But one problem the bell has not sounded. Flair sells and sells then flees to the back. The ref forces him back and Roberts is over huge. Jake the Snake really gets the DDT chants going. Flair the master of the psych out actually looks a little skiddish. Jake is actually pretty energetic in this. Flair tries his normal crowding tactics before settling for a hair pull (set up by complaining about his own hair being pulled) and then a butt to the balls. Loved the double stomp follow up. Flair is really good at this heat segment until his kneedrop gets caught leading to a Jake the Snake figure-4. Jake goes after the leg, but to no avail. I really liked the Schoolboy with Flair's foot on the ropes as that got a ton of heat. The crowd was really pissed and worried that Flair might win. Jake the Snake was really into using the kneelift in this match. Flair gets a kneecrusher. Flair's sell of missing the seatdrop on the knee was fucking awesome. Jake doing a Sting-esque comeback was pretty funny at first, but then doing the whole hit me right in the kisser and then no sell was really good shit. Jake gets a big running kneelift, but whiffs on the second one, which was a wicked bump. Flair reverses an inside cradle for the win. Butch Reed in a neck brace is pissed. Flair goes for the piledriver, but reversed and runs Flair out of town. I think Flair stopped coming to Mid-South after this, but I could be wrong. So Flair/Reed was never resolved. Excellent Flair match! I loved the beginning psychology portion before they settled into a strong 15 minute match. Jake was a great babyface in this. I would have liked so more DDT teases. Flair was so on his game here with the crazy selling and offense. I would say this is probably Jake's second best match of his career after the Steamboat Boston Garden one. Gotta love Flair! ****1/2
  13. Hacksaw Duggan & Rock N Roll Express vs Ernie Ladd & Midnight Express - Mid-South 6/8/84 Jump plays the Rock n Roll Express down to the ring and Ernie Ladd is introduced as a new member of Midnight Express. What an awesome time to be alive! Ricky Morton is the fucking man in this. It is performances like this may edge him over Bobby Eaton in my book. He works a tremendous segment with an ancient Big Cat Ernie Ladd and it is just wicked entertaining. Morton is moving around a million miles an hour. Ernie is wondering what he has gotten himself into because the Midnights had just been totally shown up by Morton and had to retreat twice and now he is discombobulated. The corssbody Morton hits on Ladd gets a massive pop. Ladd finally catches Morton and hits a double leg drop to give the MX their first advantage. Morton scrappy as ever tags out to Hacksaw who literally fights his way into the ring, which is a cool touch. Eaton rifles Duggan to no avail as Hacksaw comes back with a lariat. Eaton is in retreat mode and the MX can't get anything started. There is a fun spot where the both members of MX try to pin Duggan in rapid fire fashion only to be pressed and then they both pin him and both are sent flying. The crowd is just molten for this match especially Duggan! Ladd busts out the old foreign object to finally stymie the fiery Duggan. Duggan is able to tag out, but Ricky goes flying over the ropes and is nailed with a chair that busts him open. Duggan comes flying around with a chair of his own, but it is too late the damage is done. In the story as old as time, the MX beat the holy hell out of Ricky Morton. Morton is just in his element here working hope spots and selling like a million bucks. Eventually a fracas breaks out, Corny tries to use some sort of knockout spray, but instead he sprays Eaton! The babyfaces pick up the win, but do not win the war as the heels beat them down complete with choloroform. Ricky Morton really gave an inspired performance here: getting the most out of Ladd I have ever seen and a typically great FIP. Duggan is king-sized in there and looks like a ready successor to JYD and the heels were typically awesome. It is a fun, fun match, but nothing that gets to that next level classic, missing that big hook. ****1/4
  14. Chavo Guerrero vs Mr. Olympia - Houston 6/24/83 Chavo Classic had all the tools on offense. He shows off his ability to fly (dropkicks, plancha), submissions (upside down surfboard and a lucha submission), hot strikes and suplexes (German). He is ripshit because Olympia/Akbar put him on the shelf for two months. He starts off hot with punches and three dropkicks to send Olympia to outside. This is match of levels and is incredibly well-executed. Olympia never really fully takes control, but slowly earns his heat segment. He takes advantage of each mistake by breaking Chavo's momentum with a trip to outside or sapping his energy with a chinlock. In fact most of Olympia's offense in this is a chinlock. Normally, I would dislike that but it makes logical sense because how hot Chavo is and the need to cool him off to set up your own moves, We see that each chinlock takes more of its toll at first Chavo is able to resume control, but it as the match wears on Olympia's offense is more sustained. Olympia's first major opening is when Chavo was yanking him by the mask into the turnbuckles and on the third one he sent Chavo in hard into the turnbuckles. He followed up with his first big offense of the match a kneedrop and backbreaker neither negotiated the fall. Now instead of going back to the chinlock, he Irish Whips Chavo this is dumb because Chavo feeds off movement this allows Chavo to hit a crossbody, yank him out by the mask and then a plancha. This was perfect face wrestling and plays right into the movement vs power story. Chavo loses it in the corner with strikes and when the ref pulls him off Olympia loads the boot and dropkicks him to the floor. Olympia cant get the win again so it is back to the sleeper. They tease the three arm drops and Chavo powers up to a big pop and drives Olympia into the corner. Olympia misses the top rope elbow. Big rush by Chavo ends in a German suplex for the win! He wants to take the mask off so he gives him another. Almost gets the mask and here is Akbar and now DiBiase. Hell beatdown commences until the save, I loved Chavo's fire in this and commitment to always fighting back. He played the perfect vengeful face. He did a great job mixing up his stuff. Olympia gave a a really simple, but effective performance. I didnt mention this but he was great bumping for Chavo. Match of Olympia/Stubbs career and maybe the best Chavo match on tape. ****1/2
  15. Ted DiBiase vs Jake "The Snake" Roberts - Mid-South, Nawlins 7/22/85 It is my understanding now after the Duggan blowoff, DiBiase was primarily in a tag team with Dr. Death when in Mid-South. So maybe I should watch a couple of their matches. This is a part of a larger tag feud between the champs DiBiase & Doc against Jake the Snake & Nord The Barbarian (Berzerker). Nord is wearing a shirt that says "Weasel Slapper", which sounds oddly homoerotic. This is ostensibly heel vs heel, but as in most matches involving Jake, the "DDT" is very over. Jake did such a great job with that move. They get the Nawlins crowd to chant "Weasel" at DiBiase. I like DiBiase alright, he is not my favorite. Jake The Snake does very little for me until discovering the WWF Steamboat matches I thought he was a borefest. He actively seeks to do as little as possible in a match while still getting a crowd reaction. Minimalists might adore that type of work ethic, but I ask for a little more. What I do appreciate about him is that all his matches have an instant hook, the DDT. DiBiase brings the hook of his loaded glove. What can I say I am a sucker for a pair of big dumb hooks, Katy Perry 4 life BABY! I will forever defend DDP because he took the Jake Roberts match formula and added so much more through sheer effort. DDP built his entire match around the Diamond Cutter just as Jake built his match around DDT. Early on they establish, they are both heels with hair pulls, but after that is three DDT teases and each time DiBiase bails. The Snakeman finally gives chase and DiBiase catches him as he comes in with a fist drop. I loved that as a transition to the heat segment, but it was all for naught as Roberts was able to get back on offense. DiBiase loads the glove and clobbers Roberts. The ref checks the glove and in all the time wasting, DiBiase cant get the pin. Roberts is busted wide open. Lots of fist drops from DiBiase. DiBiase is trying. Roberts is taking his beating. DiBiase likes the chinlock too much for my liking. Jawbreaker. Holy shit! DiBiase with a badass sell of that. I wish everyone sold it that well. It may actually mean something. A bit of a fracas ensues and Doc accidentally bumps DiBiase into the clutches of the Snake, DDT! 1-2-3! Pretty simple structure: tease DDT-> loaded glove -> heat segment with blood -> DDT. It was enjoyable, but nothing mind blowing. DiBiase selling of the jawbreaker was the highlight. The payoff of the DDT after all the teases is always sweet victory. ***1/2
  16. After finishing up the 2000s Japan project, I wanted a departure from puroresu and the 2000s so I decided it was a high time for me to go through 1980s in America. I have been reading about these matches for a decade plus in some cases and in others I only learned of their existence through this enriching and wonderful project. In either case, I was ready to watch some bitchin wrestling featuring my some of my favorite wrestlers from my favorite decade for entertainment, the 1980s! In my mind America, there was a power six at the start of the decade: WWF, Jim Crockett, AWA, Mid-South, WCCW and Memphis. I am starting with the last four. The one nice thing about doing this after everyone else is that I can use the results as a guide to focus on the best of the best. My current aim is to bring myself up to speed on any every era and every promotion by focusing on the classics before doing any deep dives into any on particular one. Another goal of mine since about 2012 is to determine what I believe to the greatest match of all time is. Now, of course, I can't resist a fun *** or **** match when they come up thus detours into WWF tag team scene and late 90s WCW during this time. It is not my sole focus to find the OMG GREATEST MATCH ever, but I do want to familiarize myself with the classics first so I will not be watching all 150 matches from all the sets. Instead, I will focus on 40-50 from each set that appeal to me either because of the combatants involved or the critiques given, I am about halfway through this project and have posted the match reviews in the 1980s subforum and on my blog with links provided. I though post my general thoughts on each territory thus far. Memphis Wrestling Watched: Lawler vs AWA World Champions, Lawler vs Savage, Lawler vs Idol, Rich and Bam Bam, a total of 22 matches Need to watch: Lawler vs Dundee, Lawler vs Mantell, Lawler vs Funks, Fabulous Ones, Miscellaneous Non-Lawler Classics Match Rankings Thus Far (only >=****1/4): 1. Randy "Macho Man" Savage vs Ronnie Garvin - ICW 1982/1983 Steel Cage Match ****3/4 Violent. Perfect build to piledriver finish. What an awesome finish it was! 2. Jerry "The King" Lawler vs Austin Idol - Memphis 4/27/87 Steel Cage Hair vs Hair Match ****3/4 Awesome selling of punches. Great heel finish. 3. Jerry "The King" Lawler vs Bam Bam Bigelow - Memphis 9/7/86 Texas Death Match ****3/4 Masterpiece. Great David vs Goliath story 4. AWA Southern Heavyweight Champion Nick Bockwinkel vs Jerry "The King" Lawler - Memphis 11/8/82 ****1/2 Lawler's big victory over Bock. 5. AWA World Heavyweight Champion Rick Martel vs Jerry "The King" Lawler - Memphis 10/12/85 ****1/2 Heel Martel! 6. AWA Southern Heavyweight Champion Randy "Macho Man" Savage vs Jerry "The King" Lawler - Memphis 6/3/85 ****1/4 Anit-workrate classic Findings: I think moreso than any other territory I have watched I feel like this is the worst way to watch this territory. This is probably pretty obvious statement for most people. but I think it needs to be stated. I really ought to watch the Memphis TV surrounding each of the matches to better appreciate the context of the matches. That being said I have done my reading and I understand the gravity of the ICW vs CWA war and how much Lawler vs Savage was a blood feud. I understand the ardent desire and journey of Jerry Lawler in facing the AWA World Champions. It is the story of your high school classmate that is the best ball player on your team and you believe he can be a major league ball player. Jerry was the King of Memphis, but when Bock or Martel or whoever it may be strolled into town, That's what made the Bock victory in '82 so special even though it was just for Southern Title, it was a victory over the AWA Champ and it was cool to see him finally get it. it was your local hero getting that crack at playing major league ball. It is a great story no doubt. Even though, I am not watching Memphis correctly per se, I feel I understand the context well enough to make my observations on match style. Jerry Lawler may be the greatest limited wrestler in history. He has right hand and his left hand he is going to ball them up and give you everything he has got. He does not create much movement on his own, but he will bump big. He is great at selling and his comeback is perhaps the greatest in the history of wrestling. There is one comeback against Nick Bockwinkel that is just so fantastic. I think his best matches are these main event style, long build through selling matches. I have liked the Memphis brawls I have seen, but none of there are really any better than great. I think the AWA and Mid-South are much better brawling territories from what I have seen. The only Lawler match ranked above, I would consider a brawl maybe the Idol one, but I ranked that mostly for the amazing selling of each individual and the awesome finish. The Lawler vs Bigelow Texas Death Match, which I think is Lawler's masterpiece so far, is rooted in David vs Goliath storytelling more than anything else. I love how committed Lawler is to his style. Styles make for matches. The homogenization of wrestling has ruined this as so many workers can't tell a story no longer of a contrast of styles. Here we can see how Lawler the puncher works against a giant like Bigelow, frustrates a technical wizard like Martel and controls a wildman like Savage. There is no adaption necessary because his style is universal and he melds it with his opponent. There is no plug n play into his spots. He responds to a wrestler's character and his opponent responds accordingly to his. I am always surprised when people say AA is Cena's road agent. Nothing about Cena matches feel very Arn Anderson to me. Cena's character is very Backlund-esque and he has power in common with Backlund, but in terms of match structure he is deeply rooted in the Lawler dynamic. He likes very short shines and likes to get that heat quickly. They both sell fantastically. Lawler was better at the comeback, but they both transition to the comeback through no selling. Lawler has the strap down. Cena has the shoulder tackles. Cena is at his best when adds the wrinkle of cutoffs ala an extended Misawa comeback because the modern style necessitates longer finish runs. Lawler had the advantage of quick finish bursts so that incredible burst of energy would quickly followed by a finish of some sort. Overall, I have enjoyed watching Memphis and think that Lawler is tons of fun to watch when he is selling his ass off and gets you amped for that comeback. There is something lacking in his pure brawls like the tags against Rude/Bundy and Idol/Rich. I don't think he is great at sprints because he is not great at movement. He has quick bursts of energy, but a 10 minute sprint is not his forte. Granted I have only watched 20 of his matches so may be I will see him rock out a good sprint brawl. Quick word on Randy Savage, dude was a fucking rockstar in Memphis. Dude would run up and down the apron and gets a huge pop when he was a babyface and mega-heat as a heel. He is one of the best character wrestlers of all time. If we were not missing a huge chunk of Lawler/Savage Loser Leaves Town I would have that much higher that is the anti-workrate classic. Awesome character work by both men. In addition, I wish we had more of his ICW stuff. He rocked it against Garvin. That was a great violent steel cage match that built and built to the piledriver finish. What a fantastic finish it was! Look forward to more Memphis and to watch some Memphis matches without The King to see what others were up to.
  17. UWF Heavyweight Champion Terry Gordy vs Dr. Death - UWF TV 6/22/86 If there is one style of wrestling I'm partial to it is this raw-bone, pure power slobberknockers pitting two stout hosses against each other. Mid-South gives you a lot of variety, but this is their bread and butter. Who better than two members of the Miracle Violence Connections butting heads. Doc throwing Gordy around was fucking impressive as all hell at the beginning. Gordy took him down with a clothesline and then whipped him so hard into the buckles that it broke the top turnbuckle. Worked or not, I don't think it was that was awesome. I thought Michael Hayes was great on commentary. Doc was great at firing up and working in hope spots only to miss the big blows like his headbutt or spear. The finish run was wicked hot with Doc finally nailing the spear by wiping out the ref. Hayes trips him up so Bill Watts slugs Hayes. Doc slams Gordy down with authority and Watts counts the pin. It is clearly a Dusty FInish, but it get a huge pop. That's really my least favorite finish so the match leaves a bad taste in my mouth, but up until the end this just pure heavyweight fun. ****
  18. Mid-South North American Champion Dick Slater vs Jake "The Snake" Roberts - Mid-South, Houston 2/14/86 No DQ In the angle leading to this match, Slater wanted to hold all the gold in Mid-South and was angling for Roberts' TV Championship. The Snakeman was ok with that as long because he wanted the North American Championship. Dicky Slater said the match would only be title vs title if the DDT was banned. Roberts being smarter than most wrestlers says no way, but when Slater doesn't budge he calls for Dark Journey to be banned. They brawl and Dark Journey sprays something in his eyes. Roberts in his blind sat DDTS DARK JOURNEY!!! HOLY SHIT! THAT WAS AWESOME! CROWD EXPLODED! Jake pokes fun of Slater asking him where Dark Journey is at the start of this match and Slater loses it on Roberts using a shirt to choke him and attack him. Slater beats the shit of Jake in this No DQ bout. He posts him, which busts him open. Piledriver! Jake's foot is on the ropes. Slater does his Terry Funk impressions while punching and chopping The Snake. Nice Russian Legsweep and then chokes him with tape. This is a really good match thus far. Slater has looked awesome and Roberts is a pretty decent seller. Jake takes off his boot and just starts wailing on Dicky Slater with it. Awesome idea! When you are getting beaten that bad, desperate times call for desperate measures. Slater blades off this. Roberts follows up with a clothesline and is signaling for the DDT! The crowd is going wild, but Slater dumps him with a back drop. Slater comes off the top, but cant follow it up. Jakes takes off his boot again, but loses control of it. Dicky Slater goes to pick it up. Jake steps on the boot and then BANG DDT! AWESOME FUCKING FINISH! Huge pop! This match is helped immensely by how over Jake and the DDT are. It was such a great ending. I thought Slater was great working on top kicking ass. He was getting revenge for the Dark Journey DDT, but never like the babyface. Too short to be an all-time classic, but as a feel good match with a ton of heat to it this was awesome. ****1/4
  19. Ted DiBiase vs Bob Sweetan - Mid-South 10/11/85 Taped Fist Match I may have never seen a Hillbilly Jim match, but I have seen a Bob Sweetan match. Sweetan is one of the few US wrestlers I had never heard of before coming to PWO. It seems he wrestled primarily in the smaller territories like Southwest, Central States and WWC. This was probably his biggest break. It is not surprising to see why he did not make much further. I will say casting him as a babyface does seem counterproductive so perhaps if he was a heel I would have liked him more. This match came about because DiBiase was on one of his many tours of Japan so Sweetan stepped in to defend the tag titles with Doc, but lost them to the Miracle Dream Team of Al Perez and Wendell Cooley. Hey if I was Ted I'd be pissed too so DiBiase kicked Sweetan's ass and Sweetan turned babyface. This is the big blood feud match. If I did straight up play by play of this, it would probably come off as a violent classic. It had a simple but effective layout. There was plenty of blood, chairs, metal, and hard right hands. There was a piledriver and a great finish, but I thought it came off cold and a lot of that was on Sweetan. If there was ever match to point DiBiase carrying someone this is it. He gave a really great performance both on top and then stooging and bumping for Sweetan, who was capable on offense, but no great shakes either. DiBiase kicked some ass during the heat and showed ass during the comeback. That's the way I heel should be. I thought he threw a good chair shot and plenty of great punches. Sweetan was fine at the comeback climaxing with his famous piledriver, but only getting two. When a face hits his finish and only gets two, that is a death kneel. DiBiase gets his loaded black glove and wallops Sweetan. This is a great match and a very entertaining one, but needs a better performance from Sweetan and just more hate. ****
  20. Ted DiBiase vs Terry Taylor - Mid-South TV 7/3/85 Vero's Hero is set to take on Teddy Boy in a battle of former North American champions that are looking to get back in the hunt as everyone is jockeying to get a title match with the Nature Boy. Flair in tandem with Eddie Gilbert was getting tired of Terry Taylor's challenges and got him bumped off in favor of The Nightmare. Eddie Gilbert said The Nightmare gave his contractually obligated rematch to Terry Taylor and was owed no more. DiBiase had a beef with Taylor because he never got his and slapped the taste out of his taste to start this impromptu TV match off hot. These two wrestlers have reps for being a bit on the bland side, but I thought they showed some good fire in this TV sprint. Nothing in this match would revolutionize pro wrestling and there is no spot that wows, but it is a very entertaining bout and just nice to see these two in this setting. I feel that DiBiase wrestled up to this match where sometime he can be overshadowed. He was one the creating the movement and energy in the match. His punches looked good and everything he did felt urgent. I liked him going for the figure-4 early and Taylor going for the dropkick->pin early. Taylor was gritty in how he worked the arm with nice knees to the biceps and a forearm to the face. DiBiase created the action forcing him into the corner and unloading with the heavy artillery. The heat segment was fine with Taylor peppering in a nice backslide, which I bit on since they were working at such a fierce pace. Just as Taylor looked to be mounting a comeback, DiBiase hit the kneecrusher and into the figure-4 and then reversal spot. Taylor wanted to continue the work on knee, but DiBiase was in the corner and this necessitated a break affording him the opportunity to load his glove. I liked how he missed at first so there was a bit confusion in my mind if Taylor would eek this out which conflicted with the sense of impending doom and then BAM! Taylor was out. I probably wont remember this match in a couple months, but it was a fine TV match. There was really no hook. They worked hard and everything felt urgent. Good match. ***
  21. Mid-South Tag Team Champions Mr. Wrestling II & Magnum TA vs Midnight Express - Mid-South 2/10/84 After exacting some revenge from Butch Reed by taking his tag team titles, fans and Magnum TA thought it would be a sweet honeymoon for the beloved teacher/student partnership. However, as Magnum star grew, the fans clamored for him to get a North American Championship shot and jealousy reared its ugly head. Let me say, green is not a good color on Mr. Wrestling II. In the meantime, a new heel tag team from Memphis burst on the scene and would go down as perhaps the greatest tag team in the history of wrestling, Jim Cornette's Midnight Express and this version is "Loverboy" Dennis Condrey and "Beautiful" Bobby Eaton. Midnight Express matches should be played for those with clinical depression because if you don't smile after one of these then I don't know what could make you happy. The MX is just so awesome at stooging, bumping and generally making the babyfaces look like a million bucks. I think my favorite part of the early match was how every sequence ended with Mr. Wrestling II giving a knee lift to a Midnight Express membrane and then selling it dramatically and fantastically. This is where Mr. Wrestling II has a little Dusty in him with his booty shaking as the heels keep scurrying. After ten minutes of getting their asses kicked, Condrey is rightfully terrified of II's kneelift and backs up in the corner. Condrey is able to lure him into the corner and force II to make a tag, but he prematurely tags out to Eaton. Mags goes after Eaton's injured shoulder (rammed into the post earlier). Mags gets caught running as Eaton ducks and Condrey chops him in the neck. At this early point in his short career, TA is clearly better at selling and the MX go to town with a great revolving door attack on his arm even Corny gets his licks in with his racquet. Mags powers out and desperately gets to Mr. Wrestling II, who fights out of his corner to earn his way into the ring. II's Eaton-seeking knee lift is on target, but the ref is distracted and Condrey throws powder in his face. The ref throws out the match, but MX kicks the ever loving shit of Mr. Wrestling II and Magnum TA especially with a belt. There is some mega heat on MX and Watts is out to lay down the law as MX finally exits. This is a really fun match where MX were just on point working their match with ton of popcorn, fun spots early to feed to the babyfaces. Mr. Wrestling II looked huge in there. Magnum really does not have much in the way of offense and again he was out of place on multiple spots. He is really good at selling, but not much else. It will be interesting to see how he fares in singles matches with Ted DiBiase shortly. The match was mostly a backdrop for the hot angle to set up a tag team title match with the stip of belt lashes for the losers. Mr. Wrestling II completed his heel turn by walking out on Magnum costing them the tag titles and forcing Magnum to take all the belt lashes. Mr. Wrestling II would go to win the North American Championship to set up Magnum TA to get his revenge by beating him for the title. Setting up the major title match between the rising star Magnum TA and lead heel, Ted DiBiase. The match was a really fun Midnight Express match that got to show off their stuff and get in an excellent beatdown. ****
  22. Shoe and I reviewed this match as a part of our tribute to Tommy Rogers for Tag Teams Back Again Episode 6. Link is here. I had forgotten most of the match (the finish stuck with me) so I rewatched it and liked a lot more this go around. I was having a hellish time at work when I first watched it and am on vacation right now so I am going to chock it up to that. http://placetobenation.com/tag-teams-back-again-episode-6-special-edition-tommy-rogers-tribute/ The Fantastics vs The Guerreros - Houston 10/12/84 The Guerreros were big stars for Houston Wrestling. There are people way more qualified to explain Houston wrestling, but in simplistic terms it is similar to St. Louis in that it is a wrestling town unto itself not associated with a larger territory (for history buffs this is like the free cities of the Holy Roman Empire). A town would align itself with a larger promotion to draw on its talent. Houston at this time was aligned with Mid-South as Bill Watts is doing the commentary and this is being presented on Power Pro Wrestling. It is also a No. 1 Contender's match for the MId-South Tag Titles held by the Rock N Roll Express (which kinda gives away the finish). Paul Boesch, a highly respected figure, was the promoter for Houston and would also bring in figures as diverse as the AWA Champion, Dusty Rhodes and Andre The Giant and align himself with WWF and Southwest. The Guerreros and Jose Lothario were some of the biggest Houston mainstays. Watts explains that Guerreros were babyfaces up until recently until Hector, who is a bit of a loose canon caused some friction with local hero, Lothario and Chavo had to step in to defend his brother's honor, but in the process turn heel. The Guerreros are the heels and the Fans are the faces. Hector throws a wild boot at Fulton while he is high-fiving fans and we are off to the races. Awesome raucous start that sees the Fans sending the Guerreros packing. I really liked the story at the beginning of the match that Guerreros are quick, but the Fantastics can play that game too and were always one step ahead. There were some fun chain sequences that saw the Fantastics get the best of it. This was until Rogers missed a dropkick and the Hector pounced. I really liked Watts righteous indignation about the ref counting after the ref counted a fall that resulted from a Hector suplex from the apron to the ring. I have always agreed with Watts that enforcing the rules helps sell wrestling. Just like great selling helps sells the moves. Tommy Rogers is doing a great job selling the Guerreros awesome suplexes. Rogers double sunset flip was a great hope spot. I thought the transition to the tag was well done with Rogers really stepping through his kick on Hector who telegraphed a back drop and then falling back into the tag. Fulton was a great house of fire. It should be mentioned that he was a great on the apron constantly urging on Rogers and interacting with the crowd. He was really bringing it to the Guerreros and even through miscommunications keeping the sequence together. He gets the visual fall on the bodyslam, but the ref is distracted trying to get Tommy back into his corner so one of the Guerreros hits a swanton bomb and the other Guerrero rolls him up for the win. Great finish! This is a perfect fundamentals-based tag with a great shine that proved the Fantastics were every bit as fast as the Guerreros, a fun heat segment with some cool moves and an explosive finish run. Really good 80s tag wrestling. ****
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