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Found 4 results

  1. 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! ****
  2. Kerry Von Erich vs Michael Hayes - 11/24/83 Loser Leaves Town Steel Cage Match Off the top of my head, I can't think of a better sub-ten minute match! Absolutely electric match that pays off the entire angle in one incredibly climax! They met in the very structure that caused this blood feud a steel cage and after a year it is time for the ultimate blowoff, a Loser Leaves Town match. Kerry and Michael play their roles to perfection and cut a terrific pace. Michael never once backs down from Kerry and this makes for one helluva fight, Those fists were flying early and love the early attempt at the Claw. Hayes throwing Kerry into cage and choking him with the bandage was perfect heel wrestling, Even better was Kerry using these tactics against Hayes and Hayes is busted wide open. I love the Sleeper in the 80s it is such a BIG move in the sense of a titanic struggle. Hayes applies it first to break Kerry's momentum only to see Kerry power up and apply his own. I love this tit for tat, taste of your own medicine wrestling. Here comes the big Hayes push for victory, suplex, bulldog and piledriver in succession, but Kerry gets foot on ropes. I think thats lame in a cage match. It is Loser Leaves Town just hotshot everything BABY and kick out of the piledriver BABY! Kerry nails a suplex out of a suplex struggle. Here comes BAM BAM! The very man that slammed the door into Kerry's head in shot heard round the world. Head collision and both are out. Buddy Roberts scales the cage and tosses in knux. Hayes catches them, but Kerry nails a discus punch and the knux go flying. Fritz slams Gordy into the table. Kerry obliterates Michael Hayes. Buddy climbs to the top to save Michael, but crotches himself on the cage and falls pathetically to the ring. Love it! Kerry 1-2-3! Banishing Michael from Texas! Fritz slams the door on Gordy to tie up that loose end and finally Von Erich vengeance is achieved! The match is a little too short and there are a couple details I did not like that keep this from being absolutely perfect like DiBiase/Duggan. In terms of blowoffs and paying off multiple elements of a blood feud, this is hard to beat and it is like the DiBiase/Duggan of World Class! Really fucking awesome and not talked about enough! ****3/4
  3. NWA World Heavyweight Champion Ric Flair vs Kerry Von Erich - Christmas Star Wars 12/25/82 Steel Cage match, Michael Hayes Special Guest Referee They had two different gimmicks to establish in this match plus they needed to get Kerry's revenge in, needed to have a championship style match and run the one of the biggest angles in the history of pro wrestling. I think that was the biggest hindrance to this match was they were trying to accomplish so much in one match. With three lesser men, this would have been a clusterfuck. In the hands of Flair, Kerry and Hayes, they still manage to present an excellent match even if it is at the level of the first Kerry vs Flair bout. Unlike David, Kerry does not have to worry about disqualifications and he goes after Flair's leg immediately in retribution. Flair establishes he has nowhere to run due to the cage. Something I have noticed in watching five Flair vs Von Erich matches already is that he does not take many walks to break rhythm. He does beg off or back into a corner, but is not powdering as much as I remember from him. He definitely fight back more at this point with more hair pulls, tight-pulling and eye-raking to set up his chops and short knees. The other gimmick gets established early and often that is even if there is no disqualifications, Michael Hayes will not let one wrestler beat the other senseless in the match to the point where they can defend himself. So Hayes is very forceful in pulling the men off. This is a more logical and better approach than the fucking Kinski performance a year later. Hayes was introduced to the territory in mid-October as a friend of the Von Erich, but he has been even in actions. Kerry Von Erich grabs the sleeper and a huge pop happens because they remember that was the move that should have won him the first fall. Flair becomes incensed at getting his ass kicked, but Kerry is looking CLAW. They did a good job establishing the cage as nowhere for Flair to hide, they did not tease going into the cage. Regardless, when Kerry sends Flair head first into the cage and grates his forehead it gets a huge pop. This is Flair in his element bleeding and hollering. The verbal selling here is just top notch. Hayes throws Kerry off, but he still signals for The Claw and the crowd is pumped! Flair goes to his best weapon kicking Kerry in his bad leg and he takes Kerry to school. Kerry is pushing Flair off as a last ditch effort and throws him into the cage. It is around this time that it feels haphazard. They want to get Kerry's revenge in on Flair because he is not going to win the title tonight, but at least he will get his licks in. Yet, Flair is still trying to work in a championship style and perpetual motion. Again, trying to accomplish too much. Flair finally applies the figure-4 and when it is reversed we get some really classic Flair selling. He is so great at selling the struggle and then upon reversing it, just wow! Kerry Von Erich is just beating Flair senseless now and it does not look like the champ has a chance to survive. Hayes is trying to keep thing somewhat safe by pulling Kerry off. CLAW! Flair drapes his leg over the rope and Hayes pulls him off to big BOOOS! That was lame. One thing to keep Flair safe another to force a rope break. While Hayes and Kerry get into it, Flair hits a high knee sending Kerry into Hayes. Flair and Hayes go at it and Hayes decks Flair. Kerry won't take the pin and Hayes pulls him by the hair on top of Flair, but Kerry won't take it. Again Flair gets a high knee that makes it seem like Kerry shoved Hayes out of the cage. So the "Guardian of the Gate" (TM HHH), Freebird Terry Gordy has had enough of Kerry's shit and blasts him with the steel cage door! With that shot the Freebirds vs Von Erichs begins! Flair covers Kerry and Hayes comes back in counts a quick three even though Kerry had kicked out. The match actually continues, which I think is all for the better because we get some amazing staggering Kerry selling. You really get a sense of how much Kerry is hurt. I am not sure you would get the same feeling if it was Kerry knocked out, Flair pin and then Von Erich brothers swear revenge. Here you get to see Kerry's injury plus how sadistic Flair is in this situation. I love Kerry flailing around in the cage trying to get away from Flair and try to mount a comeback, but he is just too injured. Kerry is able to get a last resort Discus Punch, but he collapses and David Manning has not choice, but to call it. The announcer is worried about a concussion and the Von Erich brothers are worried and pissed. It was a great finish to keep Kerry looking strong and really show how much the Freebirds cost him the match. The world famous angle and the finish stretch ensures this match's place in history. There is never a boring moment in this match, but early on there is just too many things going on for this to be considered on the level of the first Flair vs Kerry match. I still think it was an excellent heated championship match. I have just slightly below the Flair/David match. ****1/2
  4. Piper starts out the match by hanging some posters of football players. No idea what the context for that is, I went into this match totally cold. Bruno comes in and is still incredibly over. The crowd were incredibly hot for Bruno and everything that he did. He comes in and tosses Piper into all four walls of the cage and busts Piper up early. Bruno rips up the posters and shoves them down Piper's throat and trunks which I thought was kind of funny. Then you have the attempts to escape the cage and it plays off a little more naturally than usual in this match. I thought the struggles to get out the door were actually quite fun. It's fun to see Piper ragdoll and sell for Bruno, literally showing ass for the guy. Thought the little things Piper did like low blowing Bruno to keep him from getting out or thumbing Bruno's eyes as he came back in were really good heel tactics. Ended on a great finish with Bruno low blowing Hot Rod off the cage and then nailing him with a chair as he struggled to get out. Fun stuff all around! ***3/4
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