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[1991-03-02-TWA-Winter Challenge II] Jerry Lawler vs Terry Funk (Audience Lumberjack)

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More of a great scene than a great match, but they sure gave these people a show. The lumberjacks got more involved than I would have expected, and the idea of doing one with fans is a little on the crazy side anyway. It was a wild spectacle and had everyone on their feet.

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Funk has 97-year old Bulldog Brower as his cornerman. He gets in the faces of the ringside fans but has support from Vladimir. This is a pretty crazy set-up that would never be done today or even in 1991 in any sort of controlled environment. Come to think of it, I think Memphis actually ran this type of match AND gave the fans leather straps, at one point. Despite Funk's efforts this is one anti-Lawler crowd. Funk actually takes swings at and shoves around the lumberjacks who try to toss him back into the ring. Eventually Funk accidentally slugs the ref and the match descends into chaos. Brower's trash talk as he beats on Lawler is pretty amusing. I have nothing to say about the match itself but this was quite a compelling, one-of-a-kind spectacle. Great visual at the end, as Funk wanders through a pile of broken bodies on the floor like fallen soldiers in the burning of Atlanta in Gone with the Wind, with Lawler threatening to throw a chair at him.

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As a postscript Lawler has the most flagrantly race-baiting fan interaction in the history of the business after this, telling a "Sambo" to shine his shoes and pulling on his lips to make them look bigger. That's a nice way to kill the fun of this off.

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Funk is back with a haircut. Fans are lumberjacks. I wonder are they plants. Hat Guy was not chosen as one of the lumberjacks. The lumberjacks are very enthusiastic throwing the wrestlers back in the ring. Most of the match is each guy throwing the other to the outside. Funk starts swinging at lumberjacks towards the end and chokes one of them and the referee for good measure. The chair tossing at the end was fun with Funk egging on Lawler to throw a chair as Terry was next to the ringside fans.

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Have no idea how to rank this but it was certainly a memorable spectacle with people flailing all over the place and I'm still unsure whether the "fans" were plants or not. Funk vs. Lawler have had two very memorable if not technically great matches in 1991 so far.

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I'll give a zillion dollars in Monopoly money to the first person who can tell me just what this hot mess was supposed to accomplish. Now I know where the ECW faithful got the idea that they were entitled to not only be a part of the show, but get physically involved in it. Thank God no one was hurt, although the fan Funk choked out with a belt near the end came close. I won't go so far as to say that this match made a mockery out of a serious sport, but if one of the old-timers out there do, I'll be nodding along.

 

I have to give credit to the lumberjacks for one thing: They took their duties seriously. Only once did they let the guy who got thrown out of the ring stay outside for longer than a few seconds. The main problem was that Lawler and Funk must have wanted a night off, so they played pitch-and-catch with the lumberjacks and forgot to wrestle each other. I'm looking forward to seeing a rematch between these two where they're in the mood to work the kind of match we all know they can, because this wasn't it by a thousand-to-one longshot.

 

Good catch by Pete on Lawler's race-baiting. I noticed that whomever he was taunting had the good sense not to respond.

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This was wild. I'm surprised the wrestlers would go for something like this. I would worry that tempers would flare up with all that shoving around. Especially when Funk was knocking guys around. This match was what it should have been, but I would have liked a few more minutes. Terry's punches looked better than ever. Brower's were great too.

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That kid taunting Funk during his entrance was great. And was that ECW Hawaiian shirt guy yelling at Funk later? Great atmosphere and crowd for this one and I thought it was a lot of fun. Tailor made for Terry Funk if you ask me.

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