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[1990-06-15-USWA Texas] Bill Dundee vs John Tatum


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  • 1 month later...

Tatum is in tears over Dundee's talk of marrying Tessa. He bought Tessa a diamond ring that he plans to give her as a symbol of his love. He hopes Tessa will come back to him. He is completely torn apart, and we start seeing the signs of the mental breakdown to come. Get used to the words CHANGED MAN.


Before the match starts, Tatum apologizes, saying he knows he shouldn't beat a woman. He bought some self-improvement books and he has learned the error of his ways. Fans are heckling him, and he seems genuinely hurt. He wants everyone to know he means what he says. Outstanding.


He apologizes to Dundee and offers to pay his doctor bills for busting him open on the ringpost recently. He promises to wrestle this match in a way to demonstrate that he's changed man. He has nothing against Bill Dundee, but he's ... really not a good person. This is too much for words.


As they try to get the match started, he pleas with Dundee. "I was sick, I was in love!" He randomly stops to shake hands with a security guard and hug the cameraman! He tries to hug Bronco Lubich, but he wants none of it. Tatum gives him a HILARIOUS "Oh, you!" point and smile.


Throughout the match, Tatum teases cheating, but stops himself. He's obsessively wanting to shake hands with Dundee. Dundee takes a big bump off of a shoulderblock and Tatum holds the ropes for him to come back in and goes for ANOTHER handshake. This is a riot! He tries to start a round of applause in the arena after Dundee gets him in an armdrag. If the crowd had done it, this would be the greatest match in history.


Dundee ends up landing on Tessa after a shoulderblock, and Tatum immediately pulls a chain out of his trunks and decks Dundee to get the win.



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Tatum tearfully offers to top Bill Dundee's marriage proposal with a diamond ring of his own. Before the match, he reveals he has been reading self-help books and is, yes, a CHANGED MAN. "Bill Dundee, I really have nothing against you, except you stole the woman I love and you're really not a good person."


Suddenly the match starts and after a few handshakes, Tatum is in fact a CHANGED MAN--suddenly channelling Jimmy Valiant and hugging everything that moves. His goofy smile after Bronko Lubich avoids him is right out of a Mentos commercial (or Dave Grohl parodying one). Tatum overdoes this past the point where you think he's merely setting Dundee up...then as soon as Dundee accidentally knocks Tessa over he blasts him with a chain for the pin and the Southern title, and immediately takes off with the belt with no regard for Tessa at all. Absolutely glorious.

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  • 2 weeks later...
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  • 3 weeks later...

The volume is loud. Tatum ha gone out and bought Tessa a diamond ring and wants to marry her. Tatum is going to kill Dundee and he won’t stop after that. He’s devastated as nothing like having his lady by his side.


Tatum wants to talk first before the match. He acknowledges he has wronged in the past. He is now a changed man and apologizes to Tessa and Dundee. He does manage to take a dig at Dundee for not being a good person.


Tatum wants to shake hands and we actually get a clean shake. He’s got another handshake for the security and starts hugging the camera. That was funny. Tatum holds the ropes open for Dundee to get back in the ring. I’m buying this change. He repeatedly wants to shake hands with Dundee and starts a clap each time Dundee pulls off a move. Uh oh, maybe he hasn’t changed as Tatum nails Dundee with the use of a chain to win the title.



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  • 4 months later...
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  • 1 year later...

This gimmick would have been money for Tatum anywhere, with a few minor adjustments, I could just see it in the WWF; in fact, Hollywood John might just have made a better Brother Love than Bruce Prichard if Vince hadn't been so hung up on making the character look like Jimmy Swaggart. Of course, the constant hugging would have branded this character as gay right out of the box, so maybe it's best that he didn't take it elsewhere after all. A few people have mentioned Crockett/Turner, but I'm not sure he was good enough in the ring to overcome the "gayness" of the gimmick there either, and without Tessa as a reason for it, what reason would the character have to exist?


Huge props to Dundee for selling this so well. He understood that this whole business had to play out in order to get the gimmick over, so he restrains his usual up-and-at-'em style and settles for slightly amused befuddlement. Tessa's skeptical facial expressions are priceless, and the capper, when Tatum waffles Dundee with the chain, wins the Southern belt, and takes off, is a tremendous ending, and really the only one that fits with what we've seen. A tip of the cap to Craig, too; he's had trouble selling angles in the past, but he tries his best this time by detailing his interactions with Tatum as they entered the Sportatorium before the taping. He still has a lot to learn, but he's at least on the road to respectability as an announcer.


I can't wait to see where this one goes as we head into July. Great stuff!

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  • 1 year later...

John Tatum has surpassed Billy Joe Travis for me as far as a revelation goes. He is incredible. I mean truly special. This was so hilarious but there was such a palpable discomfort and tension throughout the match, and you just knew something bad was going to happen. This is almost like reverse stooging, and it's so genius. Those images of John Tatum staring into the camera walking towards it to hug the camera man.... that's the image you see right before you die.

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  • 8 months later...

We open with the USWA Report and an interview from John Tatum. He’s in tears and says how he was backstage and heard Bill Dundee propose marriage to Tessa. He’s been out and bought her a diamond ring himself. Bill Dundee isn’t sincere, he doesn’t mean he ‘loves’ her and he doesn’t really want to marry her. He’s going to give her this ring as a symbol of his love for her, and he hopes she takes it and comes back to him. He then tells Dundee that he’s going to kill him and he won’t stop until he gets Tessa back because he loves her.


Onto the match and Craig Johnson refers to Dundee and Tessa as ‘America’s happiest couple’. Prior to the match commencing Tatum takes the mic and tells Tessa and Dundee that he knows what he did in the past was low down, that he shouldn’t beat a woman, and everything he did in the past was wrong. He’s got himself some help and has been and bought some self-help improvement guides. He’s been studying them and has realised what he did was wrong. The crowd are not buying this one bit, but he tells them that he means it. He apologizes to Tessa for what he did to her and apologizes to Dundee for ramming his head into the ring post and busting him open, and says that he will pay for his doctor’s bills. He means it and he’s going to show Tessa, starting from now, that he’s a changed man! He tells Dundee that he’s got nothing against him, just that he took the woman he loves… and he’s not really a good person! He wants to show Tessa that he’ll never cheat again and never do anything to hurt someone again, and asks her to just stand there and watch.


Tatum offers Dundee his hands before the match gets going and insists that he’s a changed man, he was sick because he was in love. Dundee shakes his hand and then Tatum shakes the hand of one of the security guards, has a hug for the camera men and tries to give one to Bronco Lubich but he’s wanting no part of this. He’s changed, he loves everybody! The match itself is pretty basic. Tatum wrestles it clean, holds the ropes open for Dundee after he takes a spill outside, is constantly wanting to shake his hand after he does a good move (to the point of obsession) and event tried to lead the crowd in a round of applause for ‘The Superstar’ at one point! A shoulderblock sees Dundee take another spill to the floor, but this time he lands on Tessa knocking her down. With her down and not able to see what’s going on, Tatum pulls a chain out of his trunks, wraps it around his fist, and when Dundee gets back in the ring he drills him with a right knocking him out. Tatum makes the cover, Bronco makes the count and Tatum is the new Southern champion.


This was a joy and everything that’s great about pro wrestling. Just a wonderful performance from start to finish by Tatum here.

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  • GSR changed the title to [1990-06-15-USWA Texas] Bill Dundee vs John Tatum

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