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Match of the Week: 1/27 - 2/2: Ron Garvin vs Big Bubba Rogers (11/27/86)

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These are my original thoughts on the match when i watched it for the 80s nominations...


Ron Garvin vs. Big Bubba (Louisville Street Fight)

- I really like Garvin but this is one of the weaker street fights/gimmick matches I have watched today. Bubba would really pick up his game in 1987 but I wasn't terribly impressed here. The Garvin piledriver was pretty ugly in a botched/painful way. I wasn't a fan of the ending either.

My new thoughts...

Early on, Garvin is punching Bubba square in the face. To get over how tough he is, Bubba is no selling the Hands of STONE! Bubba tries a new strategy trying to goad Bubba into a test of strength, Garvin pops him a couple of times and Bubba goes tumbling out of the ring. Back inside and Bubba tosses Garvin out of the ring a couple of times. Bubba's clubbering looks pretty weak but he sells the shit out of the water splash and Garvin's subsequent punches. His wobbling, collapsing giant sell was pretty great. When Bubba takes over on offense, he runs through some generic offense except a blast with a roll of nickels that got an 8 count and busted Garvin open. Bubba gives Garvin a big splash for a near fall and another 8 count. Garvin fights back and tries to hogtie Bubba. Bubba gets Garvin into a bearhug and Garvin breaks free with some sick headbutts. The piledriver still looks pretty sick but Cornette's shot to Garvin's head looked great to give us the double count. The finish still was the wrong way to go with Cornette taking out Garvin's knee when both guys were being counted but not a deal breaker.


FINAL THOUGHTS: I liked this much more the 2nd time around. It also helps that I didn't watch this back to back with the other Starrcades as I watched the Starrcades on a Saturday afternoon marathon. I don't like it as much as the Manny-Abdullah fight but it may be comparable to the Garvin-Black Bart fight which I nominated. Bubba's offense was nothing to write home about but his wobbly selling and "What the Fuck Did I get myself Into?" expressions were pretty great. Garvin was the star here and I can see this on the 80s set.

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I forgot how much I liked this match.


Bubba, even so green, is really great at playing his role. He looks super tough and mean, just slower and not as smart as Garvin early on. His bumping, for a big guy, is really great too. He takes this punch that bumps him to the floor, where he is immediately on his feet that looks amazing. His selling of all this is awesome. He still looks tough, just caught there.


The story is what you would expect. Bubba dominates and bloodies Garvin, Garvin fights back. The piledriver is AWESOME, because Bubba is so big he can barely take it. I kind of love the finish, where they are both out and its first one to their feet. Bubba winning by cheating works, because watching this you can see that Bubba has the potential to be a star. I'd say this is an easy thumbs up and should be on the 80's set.

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I went back to the Starrcade 86 show we did to see what was said ...


Me: I actually thought this was pretty good stuff, I think Garvin looks good in this sort of setting.


Chad: I thought this match was really good, some good brawling. It was called a street fight but it's essentially a last man standing match (for the people who watch [wrestling] now). The finish is one we've seen a ton before, where both guys are down and the babyface would have won but gets hit by the manager and the heel ends up winning. I thought Bubba looked pretty green, but he was good. They did a good job of making sure that when he left his feet that was a big deal, so you had a lot of him teetering like a tree in the forest. And getting slammed to the outside and all that. So when he was down flat on the mat at the end it made it pretty dramatic so overall I thought this was a good match.


Me: Yeah, well ... I agree that he looks pretty green here. He doesn't do a lot of the spots we'd see from him later in his career. But Garvin really shines in a setting like this when he's allowed to do all of his boxing moves, his punches. He throws some really good punches, Garvin, in this match. And the fact that Bubba's not going down makes them even better for me because he has to hit him 5 or 6 times before getting him off his feet.




Me: Bossman is sort of an underrated guy, I guess, I mean he's not a bad worker or anything.


Brian: He got better with age. I even like some of his stuff from 98 tagging with Ken Shamrock, so I think he's always been pretty good in the ring.


Me: But at this point, a little bit less agile than he would be later on, I think. Or at least he was working as a much bigger man than he would do.


Chad: He's a real big guy [i know because I met him and used to babysit for him].

So I definitely liked it first time around. Going to watch it again now.


Match really starts taking off after Garvin throws that drink in Bubba's face. That adds to a sense of chaos and his punches are just so good. Bubba is forced to bail as he's been out-strategized by the more experienced brawler. Bubba uses his size and weight advantage to swing back momentum. He's perhaps a little slow when he's on top, it's like he doesn't have a lot of stuff to do. There's one point where he waits for Garvin to get a 8 count and just stands there watching Tommy Young count it -- not sure that's what a Louisville Streetfight is all about. Garvin comes back with violence, but superior strength and size comes out on top again and Bubba goes to a bearhug, again not sure that's what the streetfight is about but Garvin uses some headbutts to keep things rough. Bubba does legitimately look like he's getting his ass kicked in this match and the blood and ripped shirt help. The piledriver ruled, and it made sense to give Bubba the win here if they were looking to make a monster heel (think their booking of Bubba after this sucked tbh, but still).


So I still like this match. I think I saw more negatives in it this time round because Bubba's greenness does come through a lot. For a street fight he doesn't bring a lot of intensity, which is shown up even more by just how fierce Garvin is here. Bubba is too slow when he's on top, too many times when he's looking around wondering what to do next ... you can even hear Jim Cornette screaming at him to do something at several different times.


It's a good match, but I feel that it could have been a very good or even great one if Bubba had brought more.

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I was at this Starrcade, but this match was at the Omni and we were at Greensboro. So we watched this on a big screen live. At the time I was a huge Garvin fan, and I didn't consider Bubba to be an actual wrestler. I know that sounds crazy, but work with me here. To me, he was Jim Cornette's bodyguard...not a wrestler. If I had ever seen him as a job guy on TBS I certainly didn't remember it. So to my 16 year old self, I thought Bubba sucked. However, since it was a Louisville Street Fight, and I was born in Louisville, part of me wanted to cheer for Bubba. A few years later, actually, when I was going to U of L, I used to joke with my college pals that I wasn't scared to go to the rough part of town to buy beer and weed because I knew how to Louisville Street fight thanks to a wrestling match that taught me all I needed to know. :P


Watching it again now. Bill Apter's looking fit and trim in his PW T Shirt. I love the soda spot in Bubba's eyes. Since it's Atlanta, I'd guess it burned Bubba's eyes cause it was more moonshine than soda. I love that Bubba used a roll of nickels, where as later Tully would use a roll of quarters. Not only are nickels worth less than quarters, they also don't pack as much punch. Then again, Dusty must have made sure that he got bloodied by a higher currency. Tommy Young seems gayer and gayer every time I rewatch stuff. He's fabulous and still my favorite ref. And I call bullshit on all this "concussions make you a maniac" shit. I mean, if it was true Tommy Young would have massacred a town First Blood style by now considering how many times he's been knocked out.


Bubba's super green here, but it's a fun brawl. You can totally see the seeds of how great he'd become. And Garvin's his typical killer self.

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  • 5 months later...

Just noticing this thread so I'm coming at this discussion terribly late. Furthermore, I have nothing constructive to add that hasn't already been stated. Just wanted to chime in real quick and say that I LOVE this match. One of my favorites. I've seen it numerous times including within the past year and it's aging well for me. LOVE it. One of my all time favorite piledrivers.

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  • 4 months later...

I've come in *even* later on this, as I kind of dip in and out of this website and completely forgot all about this particular forum! That said, I'm so glad this match was nominated as I've never watched it before, and ten minutes later, I'm totally sold on it. The opening portion was great, with Bubba getting stung with jabs and the crowd popping like crazy for each one. He takes a nice powder to the floor as well, plus both the early soda and nickel spots are lovely. What I love about this match is that it's worked like a street fight, rather than a regular match with regular moves and psychology, but with a chair shot every now and then like a lot of matches would be done today. The style probably covers up for Bubba's lack of experience as well, and his strikes aren't that great yet, but he moves really well for a very big dude, and even then his timing is pretty perfect. Garvin is someone I've not seen a ton of, but I dug him a whole lot here. His street fight attire was bad ass too, which puts him up in my estimation several notches too.


Finish was great, a very clever way of giving Bubba the win without making Garvin look weak. Tommy Young pushing Cornette out the ring was fucking great too, I forget how much of a good referee he was. Cornette shouldn't be slept on in the match either, I loved it when Garvin got thrown out of the ring early near Cornette, prompting Jim to duck under the scaffolding to escape. That was good, but following it up with the line "Garvin's a coward" was awesome. "Don't worry about me, worry about Garvin, he's gonna need people worrying for him" was amazing too, I popped for that.


So yeah, this seems like a fun project - any reason why the weekly matches stopped? I'd definitely be up for participating. Also, if anyone wants to check this match out, I found it on Youtube: someone uploaded the whole three hour show so you have to skim through it, but it's totally worth your while tracking down.

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