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[1981-03-23-CWA-Mid-South Coliseum] Jerry Lawler vs Terry Funk (No DQ)

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Jerry "The King" Lawler vs Terry Funk - Memphis 3/23/81, No DQ

 

The entrance of Lawler with the trumpets heralding the arrival of The King was majestic and the crowd heat was awesome. I loved the all-white Lawler attire because you knew the blood would flow in this one and plus all white is a bitchin look.

 

The battle of the two best punchers in the history of pro wrestling does not disappoint as this is a rough 'n' tumble affair. Funk's bumps in the beginning are very entertaining especially getting caught up in the rope that acts as the boundary between crowd and wrestlers and letting himself be tripped into the ring. They go blow for blow. The King really takes command when he drives Funk headfirst into the bell splitting him wide open. Lawler looked to have this one in hand, but that pipsqueek, Jimmy Hart, came in and hit Lawler with a cane. This annoyed Lawler more than anything else, but Funk was able to go low and then hit a pair of headbutts to turn it in his favor. Funk started gnawing at the forehead and cut him open. Funk fires away with punches to the top of Lawler's head. Lawler is staggered, but still on his feet. Slowly, but surely he seems to be absorbing the blows of Funk. STRAP DOWN! BOMBS AWAY! Huge rights to Funk's jaw and one says him spinning out of control. Fist drop! The Mouth of South introduces a chair and Lawler blasts Jimmy Hart. Funk is able to recover the chair and drive the chair repeatedly into the knee of Lawler. Jerry really sells this all very well. Funk is able to tear the tights and I think he was trying to move the kneepad off the knee to set up his world famous Spinning Toehold, which is he is able to apply. However, as he is leaning over, Lawler blasts him in the head and Funk's staggered selling is money. Hart throws the chair back in to Funk. Funk throws bellbottom-donning Jerry Calhoun. Lawler is able to get a hold of the chair and give Funk a taste of his own medicine destroying his leg. He really did a number on Funk's leg. Funk's selling and the heat for all this is awesome. Funk is crawling away on the outside on his belly and Lawler is relentless. It is a countout!

The beginning was what you expect from a Lawler/Funk brawl with great punches, fun spots and blood, but once the chair got involved the drama went through the roof. Definitely one of all-time great 1980s classics from Memphis. ****1/2

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Jim Cornette did a great look back and watch-along of this match recently. The DVDVR Memphis set version has the full intros and an extra bit of action that Jim's YouTube-sourced version doesn't, so if you're using that one, pause on the first lockup and you'll be at the watch-along's start point. (You could also just find whatever YouTube he's watching.)

 

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This was two bloodied up southern men throwing some of the best punches you're going to ever see in a wrestling ring. They sell them well and this was a good example of having a match with the most basic of moves and making the most of them. This went into 'epic' territory when Lawler hulked up and the Mid South Coliseum came unglued, one of the best comebacks I've ever seen. 

★★★★¾

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Jerry Lawler coming out to ‘Gonna Fly Now’ with loud trumpets was an incredible entrance. If he went all out for his entrance like this regularly, you can see why Lawler was indeed the King Of Memphis for the next decade. The match gets quite a rep for being the first ever 5* rated match. Not by Dave Meltzer, but Norm Dooly (and Jim Cornette). But as well, this is quite a famous match although not as famous as their Empty Arena match. I loved this match the last time I saw it and re-watching it was just as rewarding. This was a classic memphis bloody brawl, at its finest. Incredible heat. Both roles were executed at a very high quality and we just got enough for a rematch. The match started off heated with Funk initially running from Lawler and getting bounced into the corner and ropes. But Funk catches Lawler with some offence before unleashing some immaculate punches. Lawler then replied with punches of his own and busted Funk open by slamming him into the table. Funk’s bumping and selling for so great. Lawler was just as excellent at the selling. Lawler also got the aid of the blood soaking his white attire - it was visually gross, yet it added to the match greatly. Lawler brought tremendous babyface fire with his fired-up comebacks and his decimation of Funk’s knee with the steel chair. The crowd was unglued when Lawler brought the straps down and they were able to keep that heat for the remainder of the match until the match called for a count-out win for Lawler. ****1/2

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