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[1991-05-24-USWA Texas] Bill Dundee vs Eric Embry (Cage)

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This is a cage match with a twist, as there are handcuffs on the cage, and if you manage to cuff your opponent, you are cuffed for one minute while your opponent does whatever he wants. After the minute is up, the referee unlocks the handcuffs. The match has a lot of interesting stuff built around the handcuffing. Dundee is one of the best gimmick match wrestlers ever, so of course he comes up with some really creative spots. Good stuff with both guys put in positions to attack their defenseless opponent pretty often, although Dundee even adds some interesting twists to that when he does his one-armed comeback. I loved Dundee taking his boots off and attacking Embry. After a ref bump, Tojo tosses an ether soaked rag into the ring and after another ref bump, Embry covers Dundee's face with it. Having to listen to Michael St. John do fake coughing aside, I liked the finish and thought this was again one of the better USWA Texas matches. However, Elliott Mays is out again to HOLD UP the belt, and Embry manages to get fined $5000 in the process. Not crazy about doing this twice on one show, but it's what they did.

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This was a blast. The handcuff to the cage was a nice little wrinkle to the match, but played a huge part in the story of the match. Dundee is a master of stip matches and this is no exception. Embry was good here, but Dundee was tremendous. I liked the near cuffing spots, the 1st one where Dundee does a complete number on Embry's body. Another cool handcuff spot was when Dundee fought off Embry the whole time. I also dug how Dundee beat Embry with his boot. If we got some blood it would have put it over the top.

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This is a THUNDERDOME TORTURE CHAMBER MATCH--a clever way to add some meat to the gimmick match without the need for blood or use of the actual cage at all. Yamamoto again finds a way to get involved...maybe if they didn't have the cage come to a stop six inches above the mat. This time an ether-soaked rag puts Dundee down for the decisive 10-count. I dug Michael St. John going all-out to sell the effects of it. Both belts get held up, which seems a little excessive unless they plan to phase one of them out, which probably would be for the best.

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Much better as they have a cage match with also the ability to handcuff your opponent to it for a minute. Really liked the spot where Dundee handcuffed Embry three consecutive times and put the boots to him. Finish wasn’t great with ether being involved. Announcer was choking and coughing but the referee seemed complete fine and not aware of what happened. We end up having another belt held up.

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I much perfered this cage match. Dundee especially found some neat ways to use the handcuff stip and the punches he was throwing in this match were really great. The booking has become WCW level awful though with a direct repeat of what we just saw.

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Yet again, we have a match that calls attention to violence, yet has to be sanitized for ESPN. The beating these guys took (particularly Embry in the sequence just before the finish where he was handcuffed for three straight minutes) needed to be punctuated with blood, particularly after Dundee's vicious boot shots. Embry's top-notch selling made up for it a little, but not nearly enough. Then, we had yet another instance of the cage not being able to stop interference, as Tojo was able to pass the ether rag to Embry as if there was no cage at all, and that's where things really go to hell.

 

It's not the finish itself; if there's no cheating, then the rag was cheap as hell, but not illegal. It's the aftermath, when Elliott Mays (and just who the hell is he? I've never seen him before in my life) holds up the Texas title belt on behalf of the USWA Board of Directors. Why? The match isn't supposed to have any rules. Note the italics and read that sentence as many times as it takes for that concept to sink in. That means that Embry's the Texas champion, period. Or it should, except that Dallas needs someone to face Embry for the same reason Memphis does; no Lawler. Of course, there would have probably been as little Lawler as possible in Dallas even if he wasn't out of action, but that's another story.

 

The bottom line is, with Jeff fighting Prichard for the Southern title, there's no one else with any credibility for Embry to feud with except Dundee, so we get the loser-leaves town stip gotten around (rather ingeniously, I must say) in Memphis and the held-up Texas belt in Dallas. Pete brought up the possibility of either the Texas or Southern belts being retired, and since the last USWA Texas match we have is dated 6/7, I'd think the Southern belt returns to Memphis full-time before June's done and the Texas belt gets the chop. We'll have to wait and see; I guess they could keep Embry as the Texas champ for vanity reasons and to help promote the Lawler/Embry showdown that's coming soon.

 

I'm not so sure that Michael was faking those coughs entirely; Cornette has said that the various ether substitutes used to load rags have pretty strong smells that can make people dizzy when they're close to them. Of course, that wouldn't explain Tony Falk not smelling it from right there in the ring. Come to think of it, I don't ever recall a referee selling the smell of ether or lawnmower starting fluid or whatever else they use for this spot. I wonder if they're instructed not to, if they take it upon themselves not to, or if they're so caught up in the finish that they just forget.

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For me, Tojo dumping that shit all over would have had to have some ill effects on him. But I guess I'll put that aside. Great stuff from Dundee with the cuffs and I dug the match. Just the finish somehow being illegal was more than a little wonky. I'll also second the idea thta a cage with that much clearance above the mat isn't truly meant to keep anyone out.

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