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[1980-01-04-Houston Wrestling] Billy Graham vs Dusty Rhodes

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Boy it was weird seeing Dusty as a babyface just slapping on a rear chinlock for control in the early parts of the match. Dusty has a good feel for the moment here and draws as much as he can out of landing some shots on Graham but honestly I felt like this was pretty lackluster and Graham really didn't add much. There is a pretty ugly criss-cross spot at one point that ends with a Dusty kick that misses by a mile and both guys had loose moments like that. And the interminable bearhug spot just isn't the most compelling thing. Predictably shady finish.

 

**1/2

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For a slow, houseshowish match that didn't have neither guy doing anythingout the ordinary, this was kind of fun. It told a story and all that. I always enjoy Dusty mixing it up with the punch and elbow combos like he's a bizarro Misawa, and Boesch even points out his fighting spirit (though Dusty does not nosell any suplexes here). I liked the strength holds from Graham too. Graham ends up blatantly attacking Dusty with a foreign object and we get Dusty bleeding and making a comeback which he can do in his sleep. Then they work a bunch of spots around a bearhug where Dusty wants to hit Graham but he ducks under and clutches him again. Another night of work from the American Dream.

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We get talk about fighting spirit and a double-countout finish. Is this Houston or All Japan?! I thought Paul Boesch really did a good job keeping the match moving forward. The action was pretty slow and typical of the wrestlers involved, but hey, I thought Graham did a decent job with his best hugs and leverage spots with the ring ropes.

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I thought the first portion with them pounding away was setting up for a pretty fun meat and potatoes brawl but then things grind to a halt with the most lifeless chinlock I have ever seen. Graham just doesn't have compelling offense on top and it takes Rhodes getting cut and selling from underneath for any juice to come out of the match. I already know I am going to have to adjust my expectations on this awful 80's finishes as this was a double count out one that happened right as the match was heating up. **1/4

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I liked Graham in this match. For a guy with his abilities, he look very interesting. I would have liked this match was given another finish, though. The WWWF '78 Madison Square Garden Bullrope match is still my favorite from these two.

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