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[1992-07-11-USWA-Memphis TV] Eddie Gilbert vs Ricky Morton

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First, they show clips of their 7/6 match at Mid South Coliseum, which I wish was available in full because the clips look really good. This match is good, but I was really wanting it to be better, because they gave them 20+ minutes (I'm assuming, the match went through a commercial break that was edited out), and the title was on the line.

 

There was some really good stuff. Working holds translates well in a studio setting because the details are picked up on more. Gilbert and Morton work the holds well, with Gilbert verbally complaining about Morton trying to break his "sore thumb" and the struggle for holds looking pretty good. The match expires due to TV time, and at this point, Gilbert has him in the figure four. The match is declared a draw, and Gilbert asks for five more minutes because he had him beat. Within two minutes of returning to the ring, Morton gets the pin and presumably, the title! But Gilbert points out that he never signed a match for five more minutes and Eddie Marlin is stuck having to return the belt to Gilbert.

 

Marlin signs an immediate return match for the coming Monday at Mid South Coliseum, with Morton being allowed to pick any stipulation he wants. All Morton wants is "an official referee". Gilbert signs the contract, then Marlin asks who the ref will be, and Morton says it will be his dad, Paul Morton! Gilbert is livid because he thought Paul Morton was dead!

 

I liked this whole segment and really think if there's a DVDVR 90s project, this match needs to make a Memphis set. It's the longest USWA studio match on a yearbook so far, and it's solid stuff. It's just not great. With the time they were given, I was hoping that it would be.

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I really enjoyed this mostly for Gilbert conning everyone with the time limit thing. Found it funny that Morton's offense was mostly armbar or armdrags. SLL reviewed this on Segunda Caida and didn't really like it.

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I thought this was solid. I thought we might get a little more brawling. I was surprised that Morton's ring post bump didn't lead to Gilbert destroying the arm. Still the presentation of the angle with match was gold.

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Nice to see a long studio match. Gilbert got really cocky as he was in control of match until the time limit hit. He arrogantly asks for five more minutes to beat up Morton but gets pinned. Not really playing to the champion's advantage there. He is able to worm himself out of it by saying the second match wasn't a title match.

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We start with clips of the MSC match, with near falls before Gilbert uses a chain and interference for the pin. Would've been nice to have this in full, but can say that about most every big match at the Coliseum. We then go to a studio match, where the psychology seemed a bit off with Morton working on top much of the way. Gilbert asks for 5 more minutes after the time limit and Morton proceeds to quickly wrap him in a small package, though Gilbert keeps title b/c of a contract technicality. They handled that pretty well. Eddie Marlin gives Morton a return match and lets him pick the stip -- Morton picks his dad Paul Morton as ref, and Gilbert flips out. Fun stuff.

 

**1/4

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Clever finish to the MSC match that Lauren Davenport didn't execute that well. She continually saves Gilbert from pins by putting his foot on the rope, and then ostensibly shoves Morton's foot off when Gilbert gets a cover. Gilbert's foreign object plus Davenport's interference leads to a title rematch on television.

 

Long studio match follows, and this is Exhibit A of how wrestling in a studio differs from wrestling in an arena. The little details stand out more, you get more direct interaction with the crowd, and the wrestlers can express things verbally right to the camera. It's also a fantastic showcase of Dave Brown as a hold-by-hold announcer. On the '80s set he was (until the very end) overshadowed by Lance Russell, and on these Yearbooks his main job that we've seen has been holding the microphone, introducing film clips, or trying to make sense of crazy studio brawls. Here's a nice demonstration that Dave was more than that--that he could get storylines over while also getting over the holds and the work. We get the '80s WWF time limit draw finish with the heel champ in control, but here we have an actual reason for it: Gilbert demands 5 more minutes, and gets pinned to apparently lose the Unified title. The other babyfaces run out to congratulate Morton and hey, there's Eric Embry! Pity he's not actually being used for anything now.

 

Gilbert has gotten one over on all of us, though--the title match was only valid for the originally agreed-upon time limit, not the extra five minutes. I love how quietly confident Gilbert is here--instead of doing the usual rant and rave act after a loss, he knows he's got the technicalities on his side so he just calmly explains his case. Eddie Marlin takes the title back but makes it up to Morton by allowing him to name his stipulation for an immediate rematch. Morton wants to name his own referee and assures Gilbert that it will be an actual official and not someone like Lawler. Gilbert all to eagerly signs the contract, and only then does Morton reveal that it will be longtime ref and father, Paul Morton. "WAIT A MINUTE, PAUL MORTON?! I THOUGHT HE WAS DEAD!"

 

I don't think the match itself is great, but it was really solidly worked and is the best "straight" studio match seen so far. But the presentation as a whole was Memphis at its best. A semi-convoluted set-up that seems to make perfect sense when you watch it instead of seeing it described, that makes you want to see another match.

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What match is Corey calling? He blames Lauren twice for sticking Eddie's foot on the ropes when she's halfway across the floor, then misses the finish completely? Sure, Lauren knocked Ricky's foot off the rope, but she did it after the three count. Not only that, we didn't get a bell or a ring announcement; Eddie just stuck his crown on his head and left. It wasn't the smoothest of nights at the MSC, that's for sure.

 

It's not often that we get a full Memphis match on a Yearbook, and this one was worth the wait. It was nothing revolutionary, but it served the purpose of letting the fans know that Eddie could be beaten, that he couldn't pull the wool over everyone's eyes all the time, to borrow Marlin's phrase. He was dominated by Ricky except when he resorted to out-and-out cheating, and even his end-around concerning the time limit only worked temporarily, as now he has to defend the title against Ricky with Ricky's dad Paul as the special referee. Eddie had a moment or two here and there brought about by the cheating I just spoke of, but for the most part this was Ricky's day, even if he was (temporarily) cheated out of the belt. He looked almost as good here as he did challenging for the NWA title six years before against Flair. I'm not sure he could bring it at this level night in and night out by now, but for a one-shot TV match in Memphis he was outstanding.

 

Dave's match call was excellent, a nice blend of move-calling and storytelling. I especially liked his chagrined reaction when he found out that Eddie had the contract on his side and would retain the title despite getting pinned clean as a sheet. He'll never replace Lance, and I think he'd be the first one to tell you that himself, but as of this moment he's in the top three announcers in North America, and that's if you put color commentators and play-by-play guys together and include Jesse. If you're talking strictly play-by-play, he's in second place, and number one (JR) has been awfully inconsistent lately. That's right, Dave Brown is a better wrestling announcer than Vince McMahon, Gorilla Monsoon, Tony Schiavone, and Bobby Heenan. Not bad for a weatherman, eh?

 

No Corey at all, even on color? Was he on vacation that week or what? If he was, he was back in time for the MSC card two days later. If he was there in the studio and wasn't used, what does that say about what Papa really thought of him? All the other color guys have gotten at least some mic time during matches, even if all they did was crack bum jokes like heel Lawler.

 

Line of the match: Eddie, after finding out that Paul was going to referee this Monday night's rematch: "PAUL MORTON? I thought he was dead! What did they do, dig him up?"

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The match was really good and I loved Eddie's reaction to the special referee.  Good detail work on the holds and Morton is way more versatile than anyone thinks he is.

I would like to point out that they are recycling the Flair/Lawler World Title match from the 80s pretty blatantly.

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