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  1. I felt like watching some stuff from the 80's after watching 80's wrestling commercials on YouTube. I've got tons of stuff so I went through and cherry picked a disc from my AJPW collection. Only one match actually is an AJ match which is nice since that smattering of wrestling was what I wanted. Jack and Jerry Brisco vs Bob Orton Jr/Jimmy Valiant (06/12/83 in Savannah, GA): This was a high energy tag match but there wasn't a lot to it. That and three of the guys had red trunks on! It was very good stuff but not much than I can recall. Orton does a great back breaker. Jumbo Tsuruta vs Brad Rheingans (08/30/83): This was a fantastic technical match that AJPW isn't always known for at this time. This is more like what I've seen in NJ at this time. It makes sense since both are former Greco-Roman Olympians. There were plenty of reversals and escapes and I don't recall one rope break. This is really my favorite type of stuff to watch. Great match Harley Race vs Kevin Von Erich (NWA Title on 06/17/83 in Dallas, TX): This was a great title match. I've only seen Kerry Von Erich so it was nice to finally see Kevin. This is especially true after watching the Von Erich Dark Side episode a few weeks ago and as the only living brother, I guess I feel for him. So he's a true babyface in this case if that makes any sense. He's up against Harley Race which I think is a good match up since Harley has a more deliberate orthodox style that transfers well regardless of his opponent. Kevin is more like a Ricky Steamboat heavy weight and his awesome dropkicks look devastating against the champ. Mixed with his body scissors hold (something we don't ever see anymore) and the Iron Claw, he's got Race reeling. Eventually Harley gets Kevin to the floor where he crashes into TV equipment (I think) and hurts his shoulder. There's blood in the water for the shark. The champion is a great white in his attack - ax handle smashes and viscous knee drops are the best. The ref wants to stop the fight but Kevin refuses. He still has his big weapons and won't be told to quit...not even when big brother David comes out. What a great match to introduce the Von Erich clan and a great bout overall.
  2. NWA World Heavyweight Champion Ric Flair vs Kevin Von Erich - WCCW 4/1/83 It is always Kerry, Kerry, Kerry and David, David, David, what about Kevin Von Erich!!! Kevin is an aggressive offensive dynamo. He is not going to take any shit and quite frankly does not give a shit. He is going to punch and claw his way through any situation. He does not wait for Flair to cheat, he just attacks. I love it! Kevin Von Erich does not believe in clean breaks. He believes in winning goddamnit! I love that spunky, high energy babyface of the 80s and Kevin was probably the best because he had the cool moves, he laid his shit in and he had the aggression. Kevin is telling Flair to put up his dukes early and is totally crowding the Nature Boy. I think Flair the master of the corner in setting up a transition is really thrown off by Kevin not giving him a clean break. Their brawl out of the corner is a great heated exchange. Kevin also adds dropkicks and flying headscissors to make him a dual threat. Kevin was definitely the best brawler of the family. Flair punches Kevin right in the face and Kevin yelps "I think my nose is broke!" Flair is in the ropes and Kevin calls for the Claw. The other brothers would be dissuaded not Kein who applies and yanks Flair out! Flair desperately gets out only to be put in a sleeper, he rakes the eyes. Great selling by Kevin! We get our first Flair press slammed off the top rope. On a kick out, Kevin lands on Bronco and when he moves Flair elbows the ref. Flair sends Kevin over the top and they do a great job teasing the countout. Flair works in his high impact blow like that nasty elbow. In the middle of a backbreaker, Kevin just punches Flair in the side of the head. This is a fight! Kevin kicks him legs up, but Flair has it scouted. Kevin starts teeing off on Flair. I love when the Von Erichs grab Flair by his mane and just start going off. Kevin runs through the ref. Kevin sends Flair over the top, but that is not the right side because the ref ain't over there so Flair gets him to toss him over the other side. Back in, Kevin hits a tremendous reverse crossbody. 1-2-3! THE CROWD GOES WILD! I am so confused and excited at the same time! Of course, Bronco reverses the decision since he saw Kevin dump Flair over the top. BOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!! That is just cruel to do that with your fanbase. I hate, hate, hate those finishes. I am usually very open minded when it comes to a finish if a DQ or countout sets something up that is a good finish. This is cruel and stupid. Great match otherwise, I am so, so, so looking forward to more Kevin Von Erich. Everything he does is perpetual struggle. Him and Flair could have some Flair vs Garvin level encounters if they really let them go. I love the dynamic with Kerry being able to wrestle that long championship style while Kevin wrestles these high energy sprints. Flair is of course a master of it all. The finish brings the match down, but the work beforehand was World Class! ****1/4
  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. NWA World Heavyweight Champion Kerry Von Erich vs Ric Flair - WCCW 5/11/84 Coming off his recent loss of the World Championship to Kerry Von Erich, Ric Flair is out to prove he is still The Man. Wow, does that give this match a totally unique feel compared to other Flair vs Kerry matches. Flair is wrestling with a challenger's mindset even if this is non-title and he is here for a fight. He establishes this with a slap to Kerry in the corner. He is here to fight. People want to talk about matches that do not follow the Flair Formula, well here you go because this is a sprint where Flair is crazed and desperate. His hyper-offensive mindset is a double-edged sword as we will see. More often than not, he is rushing and like my mother always says "Haste makes waste" and in his haste Flair was giving Kerry openings. It was creating his own too. We see Flair crowding Kerry early and often. He is bringing the fight to Kerry. When he sends Kerry to the outside, he is right there with a hammer elbow and then crowding him in the corner. This leads to these spirited skirmishes in the corner with each man fighting through each other. Flair's offensive control seems tenuous because in his haste he leaves himself prone to dropkicks and press slams. He is keeping the powerful Kerry off-balance with his perpetual motion. Kerry looks to put Flair to sleep, but he gets a kneecrusher. Flair quickly looks for the figure-4 again haste makes waste as it leaves him prone to the Iron Claw! He fights through it, but then here comes press slam and discus punch. The loss of the championship is clearly eating away at Flair who is not consolidating advantages, which he has had in this match. It is a very frustrating match if you were a kayfabe Flair fan. I am loving the narrative they are building here. Flair jabs at Kerry's bad knee and this time he gets the figure-4. I love how when it gets reversed, he immediately gets out and limps over to chop Kerry. There is no rest in this match he is out to prove something leg be damned! Flair goes right back to the figure-4 and Kerry shoves him off. Flair back with the hammer elbow, Flair is not giving up. Flair runs right into a press slam and now a cross body. Flair tries a hiptoss, but Kerry falls back into a banana split cradle for the 3. Flair needs to stop trying to hiptoss Kerry that's two times in a week Kerry has gotten a pinfall from that situation. He has it scouted Flair. Awesome little sprint from these two. Flair worked like a madman and Kerry was with him every step of the way. Kerry thwarted him at every pass and it just frustrated Flair more and more. I loved all the heated exchanges and there was another after the match. Flair is just ripshit he is not champion. It is awesome. Really great TV match! ****1/4
  5. Fabulous Freebirds vs Von Erichs - WCCW 11/21/83 Elimination Match This match is three days before the big Kerry Von Erich vs Michael Hayes Cage Loser Leaves Town match so this serves as the tag team blowoff to the 1983 war between Georgia vs. Texas. JIP. We see Gordy and Kerry in the midst of an awesome stand up slugfest. I am really looking forward to their Championship match. Gordy wins the battle and here becomes Buddy Jack. Kevin and David have enough and attack. Assholes! Kevin is incensed tries to pull Kerry to his corner, but loses battle. Hayes in and Kerry no sells perfectly. He bashes Hayes head into turnbuckles and Hayes is busted and they brawl, Ref loses controls DQs both of them perfect way to save them for their big blowoff in a few nights. Kerry is pissed and takes it out on Hayes so runs to the back. It is down to 2 v2, Kevin & David vs Gordy & Buddy Jack. Kevin and David beat up on Buddy. Buddy turns the tide with the loaded Headbutt on Kevin. Gordy bodyslam, but Kevin pops up to press slam him. This is a common Gordy spot and cant say I like it. Kevin applies the claw on Gordys midsection. Broken up when everyone comes in and they both tag out. David hits a high knee on Buddy, which is probably his best move. Buddy kicks David and Gordy with a big heabutt dazes himself. David reaches Kevin with fingertips and Kevin is a house of fire from time call missed first four minutes of action. Melee and Gordy presses Kevin onto Buddy Jacks knee for a gutbuster and elimination! David is down 2 versus against the Freebirds. Based on the typical Texas booking pattern, it does seem likely David was in line for shots against Flair. David employs an interesting strategy try to use Buddys helmet to his advantage by repeatedly slamming Gordys Head into it, but only gets two! Sleeper! Buddy in and saves. Buddy comes crashing down on Gordy by accident. Still two! Oriental Sleeper! David gets the claw at the same time. Thats awesome, just a really cool moment. Buddy interferes. High knee by David sends Buddy over top top rope and eliminating him according to the ring announcer. Gordy grabs a high vertical suplex. Gordy goes spike, but David intercepts with the claw and throws him over the top rope. It was a bit too stop-start with all the eliminations. They never really got into a good flow. It was a disappointing blowoff for this chapter of the war. The finish stretch with David was pitch perfect and really did set him up for big things in 1984 before tragedy struck. ***1/2
  6. Gorgeous Jimmy Garvin & Terry Gordy vs Kevin & David Von Erich - WCCW 8/15/83 2 out of 3 Falls Kevin is PISSED at Garvin for parading the American Championship that he stole (I did not watch the rematch, but it is clear Garvin won the held up title). Ring jackets aren’t even off and he just pulverizes Jimmy Jam sending him packing. Then they send Gordy packing again and again. Red hot start! Garvin, Gordy and Sunshine regroup. Garvin is antagonizing the crowd and Von Erichs. Even getting his ass kicked, he won’t let up. Gordy wants him to calm down figuring otherwise he was going to have clean up his mess. Gordy whipped into buckles and dropkicked out. Garvin is only making things worse with his attitude. Kevin takes a swipe at Garvin and then headscissors on Gordy. Garvin wont shut up. Easy to talk when you ain’t in the ring, Jimmy Jam. David lays one in on him try speaking with a knuckle sandwhich in your mouth. Kevin in the headscissors still clawing towards Garvin and shooting daggers at him. Awesome! Kevin is the man; he is a constant state of pissed off. He is the Tito Santana of World Class. Gordy makes the tag and holds him down while Garvin repeatedly knees him. Kevin headscissors on Garvin and the girls in the front row lose their shit for a headscissor. Imagine that today! Again, Kevin gets in wrong corner and they stomp away on him prone. Kevin makes it to David in and bombs away. Garvin sells well for David. David kneedrop for two, but misses next one and Garvin tags out and lets Gordy take care of him. Garvin single leg pick up and Gordy presses advantage. Gordy gets knees up in corner and flying kneedrop takes the first fall! Birds 1-0. Relatively clean win for the Birds. Garvin and Sunshine are such a great heel act. Gordy was at his best being the muscle, but also realizing he cant fight the Von Erichs two on one so shut up, Jimmy! The Von Erichs rage was very entertaining. Surprised how clean the fall was. Gordy & Garvin celebrate. Garvin picks up where Gordy left off and kneedrops on David. David tags but ref doesn’t see it. Garvin hits the chinlock. Gordy goes a clubberin’ with David fighting back. Kevin blasts in and Kevin is the man! Gordy overwhelms dumps him to outside with trunks. Kevin keeps comin’. Hot shot by Gordy. Gordy Tags Garvin. Kevin keeps comin’! Love how chippy this is. Fighting in corner. Criss cross and Kevin tags in David hits a high knee and wins second fall. 1-1 Tied. Kevin constantly fighting back is what pro wrestling is all about. I love exasperated the heels were they just could not keep this fucker down. Great stuff! Wild start to the third fall. David thinks piledriver then Gordy is inspired and thinks the same thing. Neither can wrangle it on the other. David applies the claw and Garvin saves and Kevin obliterates Garvin. Fight over suplex and David wins. David applies Claw and Garvin rakes eyes. Kevin attacks Garvin again. Double sleeper and ref rings the bell. Von Erichs win?!!?!? Double dropkick on Gordy after bell. Double DQ! Booooooooooooooo. Shitty finish aside, this was a fucking war. The second best tag match of the Von Erich vs Freebird war after the Independence Day match. What an incredible fucking year and feud for these seven men! Watch as much Freebirds/Garvin vs Von Erichs in ’83 as you can. Cant wait for ’84 and beyond! ****1/2
  7. NWA World Heavyweight Champion Ric Flair vs Kevin Von Erich - Parade of Champions 5/5/85 Kevin Von Erich is my favorite Von Erich! Dude is just fucking relentless. Talk about "thinking shoot, but working" he personifies it. I watched this match on a plane to Italy last summer and I was floored by it then and still am. This is just nonstop fighting between two wrestlers who hated each other and wanted to be champion. The entire match is Flair trying to figure out a way to get through Kevin's perpetual motion, which is his usual strategy. Kevin Von Erich is the epitome of a good offense is a good defense mantra. He is just always coming forward and attacking. Every other Von Erich would break on the ropes or not use a closed fist. Kevin Von Erich just flies with reckless abandon. In the beginning, Kevin frustrates Flair with an O'Connor Roll, besting him in a test of strength and fire right back at him in the corner (Flair's domain). Quickness, strength and aggression, what the hell is Flair going to do? Flair just keeps going at it and Kevin traps him in the sleeper. Flair might be the best ever at selling a sleeper at this point in his career. He looks to be at a total loss. "WE WANT THE CLAW" is the chant goes up and Flair does all he can to avoid that. Flair catches him with a running atomic drop that buys him some time, but not much as Kevin Von Erich puts on the best abdominal stretch ever I mean he hooks his foot behind his own foot. Finally, I know what Gorilla was talking about! There is a great struggle over the Irish Whip out of a corner. Everything in this match is earned. Flair is putting forth a kickass effort and is just being beaten by someone who is wrestling like a man possessed. There is two rings at this event. Flair does his Flip in the corner and falls into the other ring. KEVIN HITS A SPLASH FROM ONE RING TO THE OTHER! HOLY SHIT! There is no rest for the wicked, Flair! Kevin kicks some more ass and Flair can just Flop. Iron Claw, oh so close! Flair gouges the eyes and throws him to the outside. Finally, Flair gets a chance to recuperate. This has been a war! Wait, here comes Kevin again. Oh, hell! Flair tries to escape into the other ring. Flair gets his short knee. He is going up top, oh no, this is not going to end well. Press slam off the top! Kevin just takes his foot presses Flair's face up against the ropes. Kevin might be the most underrated asskicker of all time. Goes for the Iron Claw so Flair goes for his bridge sequence, which ends in a backslide that is how Kerry won it 1-2-NO! Texas Stadium erupted for that nearfall! IRON CLAW! They tumble to the outside. There is a melee with Flair restraining Kevin from returning to the ring triggering a double countout and retaining his title. Kevin loses his fucking shit. He decks the ref and that puts the Iron Claw on Flair and will not let go. It takes David Manning, his brothers Kerry & Mike and his father Fritz to finally convince him to let go before he kills Flair. Wow! Kevin Von Erich kicked the shit out of Flair, but it never felt like a squash or an exhibition. Kevin was determined from the outset to win the match. You truly believed that this was the most important thing in the world to Kevin and he was going to do whatever it takes to win. It was never a squash because Flair was just as invested as Kevin. He wanted to win the match and was constantly fighting back, but Kevin was fighting through his offense. It was a truly great brawl by these two badass wrestlers. ****1/2
  8. "Gorgeous" Jimmy Garvin w/Precious vs "Gentleman" Chris Adams w/ Sunshine - WCCW 1/30/84 Steel Cage Match World Class was way ahead of its time. Better TV production values, entrance music, cool badass heel stable and catfights! Was there any place doing catfights before Precious & Sunshine? This is for the vacant American Heavyweight Championship. I don't know why it is vacant, but I do know why Sunshine dumped Garvin it was because he hired Precious as her valet and that of course led to problems. I should really watch those angles. This was pretty outright boring for the first half of it with all the excitement coming from the women and whether they would go at it. Otherwise, they just did Adams one upping Garvin with long leg grapevine. I did like Garvin's verbal selling and Adams mocking the Garvin strut. Once Garvin headbutted Adams in the midsection, the match at least picked up from an action standpoint with Garvin being a scummy heel and Adams selling. Finally Adams goes into the cage and is bleeding profusely. Wow! Huge bladejob! Sunshine is a really effective valet selling her anxiety well. I did not get a real feel for Precious, but Sunshine is pretty charismatic. Adams' comeback was fine, but I thought the best part of the match by far was the finish. Adams landed on his feet from a back body drop and then promptly SUPERKICKED Garvin's head off. New American Heavyweight Champion! Garvin sends Adams flying out of the ring. Sunshine is locked in the cage with Precious and Garvin. Sunshine beats the living shit out of Precious. Adams clears the ring, but Garvin absconds with the championship belt. Sunshine talks some smack, which is great! Awesome angle for a return match. Blood, women and a badass finish make this an easy recommendation, but way too much downtime to say this is anymore than just very good. ***1/2
  9. 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
  10. Fabulous Freebirds vs Von Erichs - WCCW 2/18/83 Lumberjack Match Go home Freebirds! Now we get into the meat of the feud by watching some badass six man tag action. There is a great struggle between these two teams throughout the match. They did not make much use of lumberjack stipulation, but I do not hold that against them. The match starts with Kerry fighting off all three when Gordy is trying to get him in that corner. Kerry unloads on Hayes, who bumps out and thrown back in. David/Gordy is up next, Gordy has a really cool bump off top rope basically Vaderbombs himself and needs to be seen. Gordy was a massive bumper in this early on. OH HELL YEAH! Here comes Kevin with dropkicks galore. Roberts jumping knee to Kevin’s back, fucking asshole. Good heat segment by the Birds. Kevin always trying to get tag compliments it nicely. He tags in Kerry. Kerry gets in his licks with fire. Gordy drives him into the corner. Again, Roberts attacks illegally. They target Kerry’s arm. Hayes really nice arm work on Kerry using ropes and hammerlock backbreaker (that move should be cribbed). Gordy throws him through ropes. Robert/Kerry collision sets up the finish as they both tag out. David applies a sleeper on Gordy. Katie bar the door, there is a pier-six brawl a brewin! David apllies claw, Hayes hits from behind. Freebirds looks like they will win by hook and crook. I totally bite on this finish, but Gordy wants the piledriver first, but Kevin hits from behind. He puts David on top. 1-2-3! Love how the babyface fought fire with fire there. A good start to the six man tag wars definitely not a blowoff, but a damn solids double FIP tag with an innovative finish. ****
  11. NWA World Heavyweight Champion Ric Flair vs David Von Erich - World Class Championship Wrestling 10/11/82 World Class was really obsessed with Star Wars, who knew Fritz was such a huge nerd! Flair and David both enter to instrumentals from the Star Wars movie. After Kerry came within just one controversial referee call from winning the world championship, Flair did what any champion in the early 80s would do he put out a bounty on Kerry. Gary Hart Presents The Great Kabuki did the dirty deed, but not dirt cheap by breaking Kerry's leg. An incensed David is out for revenge for BountyGate 1982. David might not be built like his brother, but he is one big boy. This is the first David singles match I have ever watched and was intrigued to see how he would do. He has struck me as the least entertaining of three main Von Erich brothers in the six mans I have watched. I love Kerry as the golden boy power wrestler with great selling and Kevin Von Erich as the crazy, violent dynamo. Of course, i keep an open mind at all times and you can ask for better circumstances to look better than Flair in 1982. Flair is the master tactician. He knows David is hot about what happened to his brother. So he forces David to cool down with stalling tactics to force the match into a more championship style encounter. In a short brawl, anything can happen and as the champion he can't afford that especially with a big angry Texan out for blood for his brother. He wants to dictate the pace and be in control. David points to his leg and then lets Flair know he is going to snap his. Flair is not phased strutting, pec-bouncing and letting David cool off. David know what is at stake here. If he goes overboard, he will get disqualified and not win the championship. Is the ultimate revenge the championship or breaking Flair's leg? Early on the answer to that question is the championship. That being said, who says they have to be mutually exclusive. When Flair tries a whip out of the corner, it is he who is whipped and shoulder first. Flair sells this jammed shoulder like he has been shot. David just pounces and never lets go. David tortures the arm of Flair, he is focused, but you know he is enjoying it. The strategy for Flair is to create separation, movement and chaos. He needs to get out of this predicament by any means. At first he tries rifling out of it with chops, but David tenaciously holds onto the wristlock and pulls him down into a hammerlock. Then Flair tries pulling the tights into him to get that nasty short knee (somebody needs to crib that). Flair tries to create some movement but gets caught in a drop toehold and it is back to the hammerlock. David is not charismatic, but he is wrestling a smart match. He is not getting flustered by Flair's constant cheat and his singular focus is the left arm of Flair. Flair finally scores that bit of a chaos he needed. He does a seemingly innocuous dropdown on a rope running sequence, but pops up quicker than expected and chases David down to throw him out the ring. Wow! That is a genius spot. It is worth pointing out Flair never cowered in this early portion of the match. He took an unlucky bump and paid the price. David worked a smart strategy and Flair was cheating and selling, but never cowering. Once Flair is on top, he is sadistic. He hits these nasty little hammer elbows on David's face and then gnarly punches to David's face. David really shows his first glimmer of something extraordinary. His selling of the face is just spot on and some of the best work I have ever seen. The way he is covering up and reacting to Flair's punches is so great. Flair's punches taking their toll allow Flair to facelock David and regain his energy. This is the slowest part of the match and where it loses a bit of steam. There is some fun stuff like Flair telling the ref to watch the hair only to pull David back down by the tights, but overall it is dull though smart work. David throws his game plan out and just starts throwing live rounds. Flair does not want to get into a slugfest with David. but he obliges and is left cowering. David throws Flair into the Flair Flip. Flair looks to stop the bleeding with a suplex, but he is reversed. Flair grabs a desperation sleeper, but David dives and Flair takes a header into the turnbuckle. David goes for his jumping knee which scored him a point early, but this time he hits the top turnbuckle. Ruh roh! An injured knee in a Flair match, Flair goes right for the figure-4, but David pushes him off twice. Flair says fuck it and sit back into a toehold then converting into a deathlock. I LOVED THAT SEQUENCE! Kerry on crutches shows up, guess it is endgame. David rolls to the outside and Kerry coached him up. At first, I am confused if this was any later this would clearly be telegraphing a Kerry heel turn, but since it is 1982, I believe he is earnest. I can't figure out what Kerry is saying. Go for a side headlock?!?!?! David rolls back in and Flair goes for the figure-4 and it is an inside cradle!!! That's what Kerry told him to do! He was playing possum! HOLY SHIT! That was so cool! Flair throws him to the outside and rams him into the post repeatedly. David is wearing a crimson mask. I really bit on the countout finish. Flair starts jawing with Kerry and then he decks him. He stomps on the injured knee! OH THE HUMANITY! David grabs the world title and smashes Flair knee with it. Sick! Flair's head into the crutch and it is a five alarm blade job that must have been one helluva splinter. David is now wrapping Flair's leg around the post. It is a knee for a knee if he can't have the championship he is going to break his leg. Of course, the ref threw this whole fracas out, but wow that was one helluva angle. I loved how you morph from a great championship match to a hot and I mean double hot angle to set up the HUGE Kerry Von Erich Cage match for Christmas. Great booking! This was an excellent match that accomplished so much in a quick 30 minutes. David looks like a viable challenger. He kept his cool and wrestled a strong match early. Not very charismatic, but Flair is so good at keeping things moving that it was still very exciting and dramatic. His selling of Flair's punches to the face was his standout moment. The finish run was awesome with David rearing back and going for broke, but hitting the top turnbuckle with his knee. He did everything he could to keep the figure-4 off him and then some great coaching from Kerry almost got it for him. Flair was just the man in this match. Seriously, why do people need drugs when you have Ric Flair. I get a personal high watching his matches. I feel like I can take on the world after watching him kick ass in that ring. The angle was pitch perfect to get you pumped for the rematch and give the Von Erichs a taste of revenge to whet your appetite. On to Christmas at the Reunion Arena in the CAGE! ****1/2
  12. American Heavyweight Champion Kevin Von Erich vs Gorgeous Jimmy Garvin - WCCW 7/18/83 Zack Galfinkas clearly took his grooming cues from the sleeziest man in wrestling, “Gorgeous” Jimmy Garvin. Garvin and Sunshine were a tremendous heel act and perfect as the top singles heel down from the Freebirds and as their ally. My love for Kevin Von Erich is well-known and one of the first matches I ever watched of him was this one. I was excited to re-watch it and it did not disappoint. Kevin outclasses the preening, cocky Jimmy Garvin in the beginning with a dropkick out of chain sequence then bodyscissors. Kevin Von Erich is one of the wrestlers that has a credible body/head scissors. There is something about the way he does it that has me believing. Maybe part of that is Garvin’s great verbal selling in the hold. Garvin shows he can wrestle with a drop toehold and Indian detahlock and Garvin tries a pinning combination. Von Erich, always fighting, punches out. Garvin does not let up with good vicious knees to back. Garvin hits the chinlock.. Kevin blocks and throws Garvin into turnbuckle and Irish Whip. Kevin reverse crossbody from top rope to win first fall! Garvin is pissed at himself and rightfully so he dominated the first fall and let it slip right through his fingers. Kevin starts the second fall with a nice armbar takedown. Kevin applies a headscissors. Sunshine is such a fun valet. Good facial expressions and reacts well to events in the ring. He basically piledrives Garvin when he tries to escape headsicssors. Garvin pops up, but ends up in a hammerlock, love foiling the heel like that. Great verbal selling by Gorgeous Jimmy again. Kevin is really working it and wrenching it, so good. Nice reversals in hammerlock with Kevin getting the best of it. Kevin now applies the double wristlock. Garvin powers up and hangs Kevin up on top rope, but Kevin keeps fighting. Big splash and Kevin eats feet to face. NASTY! KEVIN WENT FULL BORE INTO THAT! Tied 1-1. Kevin looked to have this title defense against Jimmy Jam all sewn up, but he blows it in the second fall. Garvin presses his advantage clubbering and drops Kevin throat first in the top rope. Garvin back to the chinlock. Michaels Hayes is on apron and at first I thought it was Sunshine. Lets be honest, Hayes has way better than Sunshine so sorry for dissing you, Michael! Kevin throws Garvin’s head into turnbuckle and great selling by Garvin knowing what is coming next! Kevin applies the vaunted Iron Claw to the head of Gorgeous Jimmy. Is that perm enough of a helmet? Garvin gets to ropes. Kevin dropkick sends Jimmy Jam out to the floor. Sunshine slaps Kevin so Kevin spanks Sunshine! Garvin comes crashing down on him for the victory!!! Sunshine taking one for the team! Kevin is a total hothead in the ring and that’s what makes him great. Sunshine and Garvin parlayed that into an advantage of their own. Great action in there, loved the symmetry of the first two falls and a super hot finish run. Another great Kevin Von Erich match! ****1/2
  13. NWA World Heavyweight Champion Ric Flair vs Kerry Von Erich - Parade of Champions 5/6/84 Great match? Not really. Awesome moment? OH HELL YEAH! I have seen this match a handful of times, but watching after seeing the other Von Erich bouts in order really hit home for me last night. I was as excited as every one of those 32,000 people in Texas Stadium (announcer claims 50k and the largest audience ever in attendance to watch pro wrestling) to see Kerry Von Erich capture the World Championship achieving his dream and honoring his late brother. The entrance was perfect with Kerry coming out with the Yellow Rose and wearing "In Memory of David Von Erich" on his jacket and the yellow trunks. The crowd starts up with a Go Kerry Go! Even though they are in stadium, the crowd is just as rocking as an intimate arena crowd. Flair does not seem psyched out, but maybe he is as he is brings the fight to Kerry trying to go for amateur takedowns. Or maybe it is the fact that he can lose title by DQ thus stripping him of his champion's advantage and forcing him to wrestle more like a challenger. I think he knows the moment and he needs to hush the crowd and bring Kerry down. On May 6, 1984, Kerry would not be denied. Kerry in a criss cross stops on a dime and hits a nice dropkick. Flair breaks his rhythm by retreating to the corner. We are getting the more standard Flair vs power wrestler here. Kerry gets the big punches and huge press slam that is such a great picture and gets a huge pop. It makes sense to work a bigger match in front of a stadium crowd. They work their usual spots like the sleeper and the tussle over the ab stretch. Flair tries to create motion to get something going, but Kerry gets the CLAW out of nowhere for the big pop! Flair knee to gut and then press slammed off the top and Flair Flip as we get now trademark Flair spots. He is desperate looking for the figure-4 with no prep work to salvage this match, but Kerry kicks him off twice. They go through the hiptoss sequence, but Kerry gets a backslide and 1-2-3! WOW! WHAT A POP! One of the loudest pops you will ever hear. Just an amazing moment for Kerry and his family after the heartbreak of the loss of David. It serves as the climax to the first half of Flair's reign as he transitions away from the travelling champion to Horsemen Flair. It is also a satisfying conclusion to the Flair/Von Erich program. Of course, Kerry would drop title back in Japan and Flair/Von Erich would continue in other territories, but this was a great moment for this series. ****
  14. Superstar Sleeze

    Sleezin Through The 80s

    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.
  15. NWA World Heavyweight Champion Kerry Von Erich vs Terry Gordy - WCCW 5/7/84 I am such a mark for Kerry to have the belt. I love the title victory and just love seeing the NWA World Championship around his waist. I don't think he would have made a great champion mostly due to personal problems, but I wish it was a bit longer. This match against archrival Terry Gordy is the day after the Parade of Champions. This match is actually worked like a 90s workrate sprint. There is not a terrible amount of selling, it is mostly about Slam! Bang! Action! I think they do a great job laying in everything and making it exciting. They just don't tell much of a story. I love how Kerry runs through his shoulder block and he works the arm early. Gordy takes a big bump off the turnbuckle shot. Kerry misses a knee and Gordy hits a delayed vertical suplex. Kerry kicks out and looks for a suplex, but it is Gordy that gets it. He is excited. Gordy wants to put him early with a piledriver. Kerry drives him back into the corner. I love how Kerry winds up for his strikes. They do the ab stretch dance and it is Gordy that gets it. Go Kerry Go! Kerry switches into his own ab stretch. Kerry forms the claw and the crowd goes bezerk. He applies the Claw to Gordy's stomach and Gordy collapses. Gordy rakes the eyes and Kerry wins a Irish Whip Battle, but then Gordy gets a cross body off the ropes. Gordy hits a back suplex, but only gets two. Kerry pops up and hits a dropkick. This is Cena vs Owens of the 80s with slightly better selling and transitions. At least they are not actively helping each other into spots. They knock head on a criss cross. Kerry backdrops out of a suplex. Gordy sleeper. I think they are trying to get every 80s spot squeezed into this 15 minute match. Kerry elbows and roll up for two. Gordy nails a big boot. Hell, two Gordy moves in a row I think this qualifies as a heat segment in Texas. Kerry drills Gordy with a right and sends him to the floor. Kerry suplexes Gordy over the ropes, but they kinda botch it and Gordy suplexes Kerry. Kerry kicks out and comes back with a kneedrop. Gordy piledriver!!! The most dangerous move in wrestling! Kerry is FUCKING He-Man! He fights from his knees with punches. Kerry hits a back suplex only gets two and applies the Iron Claw to the forehead! Kerry hits a clotheline Royale! Drills a middle rope elbow, which felt like a cool spot. Gordy cuts off with a series of punches and Kerry gets a small package, My Dad's favorite move. Gordy backslide shades of the Parade of the Champions! Gordy with an awesome crossbody! I will say this is very dramatic down the stretch. Kerry starts revving up, but misses the Discus punch. Gordy calls for the Oriental Spike! He applies it! Kerry uses the ropes to thrust himself off onto Gordy. Gordy goes up top and Kerry rolls through a top rope crossbody to a HUGE pop! They went out there to have an action-packed match and never let the crowd get bored. They succeeded. At the very least, they still worked towards finishers and there was a great sense of urgency that lent itself well to a dramatic ending. They did not really have a story or a hook that you could really sink your teeth into and selling was pretty much non-existent. Fans of the modern style would lose their shit over this match. I really liked it, but I had higher hopes for it. ****
  16. Michael Hayes vs Buddy Roberts - WCCW 5/16/88 Holy shit! Was Michael Hayes over! I know he was coming off a house show run with Flair in Crockett in early 88, I think a lot more could have been done with him as a singles babyface. I think they had the right idea by turning Hayes face against the Birds to freshen things up. I would go one step further and I acknowledge that would NEVER happen, but they should have turned Kevin heel against Kerry. Kerry & Hayes vs Kevin, Bam Bam & Buddy Jack would have probably given them business for at least another year. Then they could have used Lawler like they used Flair before. This was an absolute blast. Hayes was awesome playing to the crowd was actually a pretty damn good asskicking babyface. He was just drilling Buddy who could not find refuge anywhere. I loved the moonwalk away from the corner just come flying back with more punches. He even landed a stiff chop. He looks to end it with a bulldog on the concrete, but goes flying into the post. Buddy choked him with a rope that Hayes sold really well. It becomes one of the better ECW brawls you have ever seen with each slamming the other into the table. Then Hayes cracked Roberts in the back of the head with a chair. Heyman was an incredible promoter. He took a style totally prevalent in the South and just repackaged it for Northern audiences and sold it as completely original. Hayes kicks some more ass, but ref gets bumped and Roberts nails him with a foreign object to win. The crowd heat was off the charts for this. They LOVED Michael Hayes. Another option would be to run face vs face Hayes vs Kerry, which I think could have been electric. Wicked fun match. ***1/2
  17. Kerry & Kevin Von Erich vs Fabulous Freebirds (Terry Gordy & Buddy Roberts) - WCCW 2/16/88 Badstreet Match Finally, the Von Erichs and the Freebirds have the brawl that I always knew they had in them. I think scaling it back to 2 vs. 2 was a big boon. Another big difference was Gordy was working way bigger in this match. His first instinct was to stand his ground rather than bump. There are two reasons for that. Probably the biggest was his knees were shot as he two giant metal braces on them. I would hazard having worked Japan for at least five years now had rubbed off on him and he definitely seemed more offense-focused which made more a more awesome stand up battle rather than the usual feel-good Von Erich/Freebird battle. A note the Freebirds were sans Michael Hayes and incorporated Iceman King Parsons as the third member. This coming off the infamous Christmas 1987 where Fritz faked a heart attack to try to kickstart business. The beginning of this match is why I fucking love pro wrestling. Kerry and Gordy just go fucking nuts on each other. They were really throwing haymakers at each other and it felt like a real struggle. I loved Kerry's discus punch to Gordy and his first bump came off that. Gordy clinches with the house of fire Kerry and throws a nice belly 2 belly when Kerry was trying to loosen up his belt. Gordy tags in Roberts and Kerry catches his boot and rips off his belt and just goes crazy on Buddy. This is fucking awesome! Kerry discus punch and tags in Kevin. He is like lightning punching both Birds right in the mouth. A melee breaks out in the corner and Kerry jumps on the pig pile. Gordy throws Kevin over the top rope for a nasty bump. Then he suplexes Kevin on the floor. So Kerry tries to give him a taste of his own medicine only to have Buddy clobber Kevin with his boot so Kerry nails Buddy with his belt. Just when you think how can this any crazy, you have to watch the next spot. I really cant do it justice, but I will try. You know how when someone hits someone with a chair usually there is enough delay to give the other person some time to prepare. In real life, if you were armed with a chair against assailant, you would just start swinging for the fences while the assailant charged you. That's what fucking happened. I mean Gordy fucking smashes Kerry in the head as he charging him. It looked like a fucking shoot. This match is so damn good. Kevin slams Buddy on the floor and ground and pounds him. He tries to apply the claw. My biggest problem of the match is Kerry does not really sell those awesome chair shots. Buddy with a quick knee to the midsection allows him to tag in Bordy. Gordy shows his new no-selling attitude. He absorbs Kevin's punches. Kevin rolls away takes off his boot and Gordy no sells those shots going after Kevin's eyes. Kevin gets a foreign object from Kerry and Gordy is finally disoriented. Kevin looks for the claw to the head and settles for the stomach. Kerry leaps over them and decks Buddy! Kerry is looking for his belt and cant find it. Love it! Gordy a little quickly gets up and piledrives Kevin and gives a great maniacal laugh. Now backdrop driver, yep Japan definitely has taken a hold of him. One more time?!?!?!? Kevin back drops out and here comes Kerry house of fire! He immediately piledrives Gordy and then piledrives Buddy! I love it! Kerry has found his belt and attacks Buddy. Gordy decks kerry so here comes Kevin with a boot to clobber Gordy. They both deck Gordy with a belt. Iceman and Adams brawl on the outside and the ref calls the match off. Lame finish aside, this was a fucking war! For one night in 1988, they totally recaptured the magic of the Von Erichs vs Freebirds as the crowd was absolutely electric for this match. I think Gordy working a lot stronger with his first tendency to fight back rather than bump made a huge difference. This is one Kerry's best individual performances in terms of just being a total asskicker. There was not enough selling to take it to the next level for me, plus the bullshit No Contest in a Badstreet match was lame. Still the second best Von Erich vs Freebirds match and Ill be shocked if it is not in my top tier of matches for Texas. ****1/2
  18. Six-Man Tag Team Champions Fabulous Freebirds vs Von Erichs - WCCW 9/5/83 The Freebirds must think the Confederate soldiers are their lucky charm as they repeat the entrance from when they won the titles. Per usual, there is massive heat. Buddy Jack Roberts is cocky because the Von Erichs cant put the Claw on his head due to his headgear, the very loaded headgear that won the Birds back their titles. So David puts it on his stomach. Great set up and payoff! Love Buddy Jack! Hayes drives Kerry into the allegedly loaded helmet. Again it is through Buddy the heat segment starts. They work a strong heat segment on Kerry, who is the best seller of his brothers. Gordy hits a really cool somersault splash. Kerry fires back, but misses a Tenryu elbow. Again, he is driven back into Roberts’ helmet. He picks the ankle and tags out to Kevin, who comes flying off the top with a kneedrop, then headscissors and finally TRIPLE DROPKICK! Great face offensive sequence! Kevin is headbutted by the loaded helmet and writhes in pain. Gordy comes crashing down on him and then the big boot. Freebirds getting in a lot more offense and I am really liking what they are doing. Head collision and they both tag out, poor choice for a transition given Buddy’s helmet. Kerry hot tag with a wicked sweet dropkick and slams heads together. The ending is a total fun clusterfuck of raucous mayhem. Explosive Double dropkick on Buddy Roberts! Claw on Hayes! Von Erichs throw Gordy out. Kevin & Kerry try to get the headgear off Buddy Roberts. Gordy Oriental Spike on Kerry while Hayes is in the Claw! In the fracas, Hayes ends up on top of Kerry for the win. Too short to be an absolute classic, but this was my second favorite of their six man tags so far. I loved that Freebirds got more time on offense. Gordy looked great and Buddy is such an asshole I am really hoping that this is comeuppance comes in the elimination tag team match I am about to watch. They have really been piling the heat on him. ****1/4
  19. Time to go back to the 80s for some soul food! Michael Hayes vs. Kerry Von Erich (2/7/83) After hearing about the legendary Freebirds vs Von Erichs feud (I would say the most famous territorial feud), I was very excited to finally watch the feud in action. According to Bill Mercer, this is the first encounter between Kerry Von Erich and Michael Hayes since the dastardly deed was perpetrated on Christmas night 1982. They laid out a very smart first match in the series based on strong face-heel dynamics. With a blood feud that started with such a hot angle, it is tempting to go to the pay windah right away with violent brawl sprints, but they paced themselves well by starting with this match. It is not a classic, but definitely makes you want to see more. At the outset, Hayes plays the prissy sissy in this match perfectly by taking his robe off seductively and then playing cat and mouse with the red hot Kerry. Once Kerry gets a hold of him, he kicks his ass and Michaels bumps like a madman to the outside. Rinse, lather repeat to great results. Kerry misses a kneedrop. Michael Hayes exhibits the perfect transformation of a prissy sissy heel into a sadistic brute by attacking the knee well. I like that Kerry is always fighting back, but getting cut off. Kerry goes for the vaunted claw, Hayes is quick to throw him out. My one gripe with the match is that Hayes abandons the more compelling knee work for a side headlock and Kerry comes back, but is cut off. Hayes tries to “leap” from middle rope and eats punch to mid section. Hayes takes a breather to break momentum, but in doing so he lost his own. Thus the playing field has been leveled. He gets back in and Kerry kicks ass. Very nice Stepover toehold by Kerry. Kerry works on the knee and Hayes great verbal selling. Hayes misses a knee drop. Kerry working knee so more and leg lace. Hayes working gritty to get out and has been a consummate heel in this match. Kerry tries to salvage the match with an iron claw, but Hayes rakes the eye rakes. Hayes is thinking piledriver, but back drop. Kerry wants the piledriver, but Gordy attacks for DQ. Great face work by Kerry complimented by awesome heel work by Hayes great match that makes you want to see more. ***1/2