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[1990-05-26-USWA-Memphis TV] Race Relations In The USWA: A Panel Discussion, Led by Eddie Marlin!

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We have a clip from Mid South Coliseum to start us off. As promised, Snowman is at ringside. Eddie Marlin is there to confront him and send him off, with Lawler also in the periphery.

 

Snowman is in the studio today, and Eddie Marlin wants to give him the opportunity to speak. Snowman immediately throws out the accusations of racism, and Eddie Marlin said he thought he might go there, so he brought King Cobra out. Snowman points out that the only reason they have King Cobra around is because they know he's not good enough to keep the belt.

 

Marlin asks Cobra if he has ever encountered any racism in his 15 years in Memphis. Cobra says not with the organization, but with people from time to time. The studio crowd nearly boos him out of the building. Snowman brings some black business owners to the podium, one of whom is Norvell Austin's brother. He cuts a pretty good little promo on Lawler and talks about racism in wrestling. Then we get a few words from "Bohemian Brother". They point out that he has defeated Ted DiBiase, Steve Williams, Junkyard Dog and Jake Roberts, so it makes no sense to have him start from the bottom.

 

Lawler finally has enough of this and is out to confront the situation. Cobra walks away when Lawler shows up, which is an AWESOME bit of subtlety and continuity in the context of what Cobra said about encountering certain racist people. He challenges Snowman to a match Monday night at MSC, which makes Eddie Marlin put him in his place, telling him he doesn't have a match until Marlin says so. Lawler points out that Marlin is giving credibility to Snowman by denying him the title shot. He wants a fight with Snowman right then and there, but Marlin splits things up. Finally, Marlin agrees to the match, but says the company will not sanction it, and he hopes the two of them beat each other's brains out.

 

GREAT segment, and a hot angle that doubled the typical house around this time IIRC.

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Clips from the Mid-South Coliseum as Snowman gets into things with Eddie Marlin, security, and what appears to be several fans. A fantastic chaotic scene that the ringside crowd seems to believe is 100% real. Marlin and Brown do an incredible job of what Memphis has always done best: get even the most absurd angles and developments over as being completely plausible. This isn't even absurd or unrealistic, but I love the explanation that Snowman is getting a public forum to prevent future incidents such as the one at the MSC.

 

Marlin almost immediately cuts Snowman off and brings out King Cobra, who denies encountering racism on a business or promotional level, but has on an individual level. Cobra actually does a good job of dismissing the resulting boo birds with a "They're not in the business, so they wouldn't know." One time where that talking point has validity. Snowman constantly shits all over Cobra while he's talking, pointing out that he lost the title as soon as he won it and that he's nothing but a whipping boy. Snowman referring to Lawler last week and now Cobra this week as "boy" is a surefire reaction-getter.

 

Snowman brings in two members of his posse. Norvell Austin's brother says that putting Lawler in the ring with Snowman would be the same as putting Al Bundy in the ring and dares Lawler to run Snowman off himself if he's truly "The King."

 

Lawler comes out and demands to cut through the BS by offering a title match at Snowman. Marlin shuts him down, saying that he's the one who signs the title matches and that just gives Snowman another opening. Marlin gets fed up and leaves after declaring the USWA won't sanction a match, but says the two can fight in the ring if they want. More back and forth, with Lawler actually getting flustered for about the first time I've ever seen, and it's more or less promised that Lawler and Snowman will go at it Monday night, despite Lawler's scheduled title match with Jeff Gaylord.

 

Another hot segment. Eddie Marlin was great again, not quite able to maintain control but still keeping credibility intact as an authority figure.

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I think this may actually trump the segment from the week before in my mind. This is an angle where you are really glued to your tv and want to catch every detail of what each person says because of the perfection each character is playing.

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Snowman in the face of Eddy Marlin. Snowman seemed to be getting out of control here getting in security’s face and aggressively going through the crowd.

 

Back in studio, Dave Brown lets us know we are under a thunderstorm watch in Memphis.

 

Snowman joins Dave and Eddy and announce booth. Snowman calls Marlin a racist. Marlin to demonstrate he’s not a racist brings out King Cobra. Farakhan will be in town soon. Will Eddy Marlin be attending that? Ha. Lawler is out and wants a match with Snowman. Marlin is not having it and wants Snowman to work his way up to Lawler. Marlin storms off. I was expecting him to get popped in the face. This segment was uncomfortable to watch at times.

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This is great stuff, because Lawler isn't concerned with one-liners or burying his opponent, but he's treating Snowman as a credible, serious threat and as a guy whom he really wants to fight. Everybody here is great in their role, even Bohemian Brother. It feels like Lawler has become invigorated by having an opponent he actually treats seriously rather than the parade of jokes that they've run through the territory during the first five months of the year.

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Another tremendous segment, but like the first one, it lacked something. Last time it was a non-worker taking a bump to heighten the feeling of chaos. This time it was a principled stand from Lawler. If he truly believed that the only way to stop Snowman was to give him a title match and Eddie Marlin didn't agree, all he had to do was threaten not to defend the belt against anyone Eddie ordered him to wrestle, including Jeff Gaylord. He's threatened to take his belt and go home before; why not now?

 

It would have been dramatic as anything to see Eddie resist and resist until the very last moment before the show goes off the air, then reluctantly grant the match in the interest of keeping the peace. Would it have made him seem a bit wishy-washy? Maybe, but you can't tell me that there weren't certain black fans who thought, "I'll be damned, they really are racists. Why am I watching this instead of the WWF?" It may not have been many, but in a case like this, even one is too many. Of course, they do (presumably) get in the ring, so at least there's that, and if Snowman beats Lawler in the non-sanctioned match, Eddie would presumably have no choice but to grant him a title match.

 

I found the actual dialogue kind of hard to follow, with people constantly interrupting each other, and Eddie was a bit over the top with his demands that they "get back to wrasslin'". Every move he made seemed to prove Snowman's points, and I doubt that's what they really wanted, particularly against the hometown hero Lawler. I realize that he had to come off as the authority figure, but it seemed at times as if he wanted to give Snowman a forum on one hand and take it away with the other, like they didn't know just how far they were willing to go with all of this quite yet. In the end, if what I've read in future threads is correct, the answer is "Not nearly as far as everyone hoped".

 

It sounds from the names of the guys Snowman had beaten that Norvell's brother rattled off like they were trying to say that Snowman had spent time in Mid-South. Was this true, or did they just pick those four names out because they were all with either the WWF (DiBiase, Jake) or Turner (JYD, Doc) at the time?

 

Who is this Bohemian Brother, and should I have heard of him? He didn't look familiar, but I'll probably kick myself for not recognizing him. Is it Snowman himself, perhaps?

 

One thing I really liked had nothing to do with wrestling; Dave took time out from the hottest angle in Memphis to briefly reassume his meteorologist duties and pass along a thunderstorm warning to eastern Arkansas. You won't see that on Saturday Night's Main Event, folks!

 

Great stuff so far. We'll see where it heads in June.

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We start off with some clips from the Mid-South Coliseum and the Snowman is in the front row as promised. Eddie Marlin (with his jacket off) is in his face and the two exchange pushes and shoves with one another until security does their best to try and get Snowman out of there. This was a chaotic looking scene and one that all the fans seemed to think was legit.

 

Back in the studio and Eddie Marlin is sat with Dave Brown. Eddie apologizes to the fans for what they’ve just seen and Dave says that Snowman is in the audience today. The reason being that they want to avoid a repeat incident happening again, so they’re going to let him have his say here in a controlled situation. Marlin says that they want to treat him just as fair as they do the other wrestlers and he will have his chance to say his piece.

 

We return from a commercial break and they invite Snowman to join them with Eddie reminding him that they have lots of small children watching so control his language. I think Snowman was about to talk about how the tape from Monday had been edited to make him look bad and he calls Marlin prejudiced and racial, but before he can get any further Marlin cuts him off. He says he thought he might say that so he’s invited another guest to be here today as well, King Cobra. Cobra joins them but Snowman doesn’t let him get much of a word in and constantly telling him to ‘talk up!’ Marlin gets involved and tells him to let Cobra, a man he considers a top athlete, a top wrestlers, a top contender and a personal friend, have his say and that he’s not going to mistreat him. Cobra says that he never experienced any racism in his time with the CWA and USWA, but Snowman doesn’t believe him and asks the audience if he’s lying? He calls over a couple of his friends who are black businessmen from the Memphis area. They watch the wrestling on Channel-5 and they can tell the weak wrestlers and King Cobra is nothing but a whipping boy. One of the businessmen turns out to be Norvell Austin’s brother and he says despite his track record here, they gave Norvell no respect. He says that if you are talking about putting Jerry Lawler in the ring with the Snowman you may as well put Al Bundy in there, because if ‘The King’ is in there with the Snowman he’ll be squashed in two minutes flat! Why did it take 15 security guards to take the Snowman out of that building when ‘The King’ could have taken care of it himself if he really is ‘The King’? He’s no King, he’s a wimp! Snowman’s other guest ‘Bohemian Brother’ says a few words but he’s tough to understand. Marlin tells Snowman to get what he’s got to say off his chest as they’ve got to get on with the program. Snowman says that they know what he’s got to get off his chest and are they going to give him Jerry Lawler before he leaves here? Norvell’s brother pipes up again and says that Snowman has defeated Ted Dibiase, Steve Williams, Junkyard Dog and Jake Roberts so why does he have to start from the bottom as Jerry Lawler is nowhere near the wrestlers they are.

 

At this point Lawler comes out to join them. Cobra heads off in the opposite direction and Snowman’s guests return to their seats. Lawler says that he’s tired of all this crap and there is one way that they can put a stop to it. He tells Marlin and Snowman that he’ll give him a match any time that he wants. Marlin isn’t too keen on the idea, but Lawler says Snowman might impress the fans and those two pencil necked geeks stood out here with his shirt off, but he doesn’t impress him and he’ll put him flat on his back right here. Marlin tells the pair of them that he runs the company, not them, and Jerry Lawler can’t go around giving title matches to anyone he wants. They can run their mouths all they want, but they won’t have the match until he says so. Snowman again accuses Marlin of protecting Lawler and he says that he’s not, he just has to work his way up to prove to him that he’s a title contender. He says that he’ll work his way up by beating Jerry Lawler Monday night, but Marlin tells him that he’s already booked against Jeff Gaylord on Monday. Lawler says that as long as Eddie keeps this stance and keeps them apart, all he’s doing is giving credibility to all these lies that Snowman is spouting out. Lawler tells him again that he’s already got a match and if he wants him, he’s got him. ‘The King’ takes his shirt off and the two of them square off. Eddie Marlin has had enough by now and tells Lawler if he wants to run things ‘you run it’, but the USWA is not sanctioning the match and he hopes that they beat each other’s brains out if they ever do get in the ring. Lawler tells Snowman that he’ll be standing in the ring Monday night at the Mid-South Coliseum, he’ll have the belt with him and it’s time to put up or shut up! Snowman says he’s never liked Lawler, he’s no King and he’ll be there Monday night.

 

Second week of the angle and second home run segment. I preferred last week to this, but that is taking nothing away from what happened here. Norvell Austin’s brother was surprisingly good and makes a valid point about Snowman having beaten Dibiase, Williams et al (of course this didn’t happen in Memphis so it is easy to say that he never beat anyone here). I also liked Eddie Marlin here and how they eventually ended up booking the match as everything made sense and was all very logical. Roll on Monday night at the Coliseum now!

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