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Charles (Loss)

[1991-12-07-USWA-Memphis TV] Jerry Lawler vs Kamala

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Not a bad studio match, and it's cool to see it given so much time. Lawler sells most of the match for Kamala -- like, it's 100% Kamala offense until the last minute or two of the match when Lawler starts throwing punches for his comeback. Kamala looks awfully spry. Kamala shoves the ref multiple times. At first, I thought the referee pushing should have ended in a DQ, but it plays into the post-match angle nicely. Lawler throws fire at Kamala for the finish, which makes Kamala take off running to the dressing room.

 

Referee Frank Morrell holds up the belt based on the finish of this match -- the fire from Lawler plus the fireball. Lawler isn't happy about this. Eddie Marlin doesn't agree either, saying the match should have ended right away when Kamala shoved the referee, and Lawler should have won by DQ. That's EXACTLY what I was thinking, which shows how awesome the USWA is with being in touch with those sorts of details where they book things through the perspective of someone watching at home -- a perspective completely lost and rarely even considered in today's scene.

 

This all sets up a No DQ match for Monday night, which is the cherry on top of a great presentation.

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Dave Brown advises of the one hour limit on World title matches. Kamala flips the announcers desk up on it’s side and then runs Lawler into it. Referee is very lenient with the brawling outside ring. What I figured would be a real quick match actually gets some time. Lawler uses a fireball but instead of getting disqualified he has his title held up by referee. Marlin makes some good points regarding Frank Morrell’s decision making. Referees under the gun of late.

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Another freak challenger for Lawler, but this one at least carries a bit more cache than Awesome Kong or Dragon Master. Even as somewhat of a mark for the gimmick, I can't describe the confusion I had when I opened up an issue of PWI to find out that Kamala was some company's Heavyweight Champion. Dave Brown emphasizes that this match carries a one-hour time limit, which is hilarious considering who's involved. Kamala's attempt to do the babyface clap-and-stomp act and his resulting confusion when the fans don't join in is one of the most surreal and hilarious things I've ever seen him do. Lawler does some great bumping and selling in going out to the floor and then going into the upended USWA table. That bit of earlier stooging aside, I do like how Kamala seems to be a guy out to win the match rather than a guy with an extra chromosome. He even argues with Frank Morrell, in between headbutts, over the pace of his count. Lawler torches Kamala with a fireball and gets DQ'd--the "technical loss" stuff has been long gone but they're still pushing that this could be a title change. Instead, the belt is merely held up.

 

After the break, Eddie Marlin is out and he's not sure about this decision either. He rightly points out that Kamala attacked Morrell multiple times and should have been DQ'd. Morrell brings that up and uses that to justify not awarding the title to Kamala outright. "Technical loss" makes its return to USWA lexicon after a long absence. Marlin DEMANDS a rematch for the vacated belt for Monday night, and Lawler insists it be anything-goes.

 

I'm not going to champion this as a great match, but I think it does illustrate that there's a very real, tangible difference between Kamala and the various other weirdos whom Lawler has been wrestling the past few months in the USWA. In terms of ring smarts, in terms of bumping, in terms of charisma and presence, and in terms of offense. There are criticisms to make about Kamala's work and I can see where people are coming from with regards to the gimmick, and "better than the Ta-Gar match" may be very faint praise, but he was a guy who had definite strengths.

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Fun long studio style match. kamala takes a lot of the match and Jerry does a good job selling for it. Things spill to the outside for a bit setting up the mayhem of the finish. The nearfalls off of the splash was really well done. Kamala loses it and starts attacking Frank Morell but this just allows Jerry to make his comeback. Great kickout by Kamala too off of some big punches. Kamala spills to the outside again and the match breaks down with Kamala and his "attendant" attacking Jerry. Jerry uses an equalizer with a fireball and Kamala bails. The explanation by Eddie Marlin was amazing and great attention to detail only USWA and Memphis does at times. I enjoyed this immensely.

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I'm glad most of you enjoyed this, because I sure didn't.

 

The problem wasn't the match itself, but the finish and how it made Frank Morrell look. Let's put it thus way: when Dave Brown, of all people, publically buries your referee's decision, he's really been made to seem brainless.

 

One of the kayfabe rules of refereeing is to be consistent in your enforcement. If you're going to call the match strictly by the book, do it for both guys. If you're going to let anything short of murder go, do that for both sides too. Don't allow yourself to be distracted by Friday and literally pushed around all over the studio by Kamala, then throw the match out when Lawler tries to defend himself with a fireball. The minute Morrell screamed at Lawler, "I'm not having it!" I said to myself, "Sure, Frank, at least not until this Monday night at the MSC." Think about it: How many times has Lawler thrown fire right in front of Morrell and the other Memphis refs with not a word said? But now, since Frank's put out about Kamala shoving him halfway to Arkansas, he's going to crack down and play Mr. Law and Order? I kept waiting for Lawler to bring up all the other fireballs he's thrown during his career with no consequences, but he didn't.

 

Eddie was brilliant in saving the situation by all-but-officially reprimanding Morrell for not disqualifying Kamala right away after the first shove. Loss and Soup brought up Memphis's attention to detail, and it comes into play here, as Dave mentions that Kamala incurs a $1000 fine every time he touches Morrell. This hasn't been brought up often, but it's a nice way to remind the people that Kamala's actions aren't going altogether unpunished.

 

Kamala may have looked better once or twice, but I can't remember when. Sure, Lawler's selling with everything in him to help out one of his own creations, but Kamala himself is more athletic physically and sharper mentally than he has been at any other time for any other promoter. As Pete said, he's a wrestler trying to win a match, not a trained animal sent by his handlers to sic somebody. About the only thing he didn't try was the splash off the top, but with the studio ring, that was probably just as well.

 

I could be wrong, but I think the guy playing Friday was different than usual. He seemed a bit bigger, and he threw his strikes in a somewhat similar fashion to Kamala when he was attacking Lawler. The strike-throwing is easy to imitate, of course, but I wonder how many jobbers in Memphis at the time weighed around three hundred pounds. as this particular Friday seemed to.

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Good studio match and I enjoyed Kamala's performance for the little details. Lawler did really well in this too. Count me in with everyone above on the officiating. If you're going to let Kamala shove you around all match and cheat, don't freak out on Lawler for the fireball.

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