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Superstar Sleeze

[1983-11-24-JCP-Starrcade '83] Greg Valentine vs Roddy Piper (Dog Collar)

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NWA US Champion Greg "The Hammer" Valentine vs "Rowdy" Roddy Piper - NWA Starrcade 1983 Dog Collar Match

The 1980s were just a decade of absolute awesome, violent brawls. It is a total lost art. I love how Valentine and Piper put over the danger the match early with the tug of war with the chain and just how cautious they are. I love a barnburner brawl, but there is something about this slow build that adds to the danger element. You add in Gordon & Caudle stressing the injury to Piper's ear. You know at any point Valentine could lash that heavy steel chain against the Hot Rod's vulnerable ear. Piper was in command early and used the chain more effectively. We got some many cool, violent chain spots. Valentine wrapping it around Piper's eyes only to have Piper wrap it around The Hammer's mouth and nose was an awesome visual. We got of course Piper yanking the chain out from under Valentine into his crotch, a good TIMBAH spot and Piper fucking around with Valentine in the corner. One of Piper's counters was just to take the chain hold it taught and pop right into Valentine's face. I let out an audible "Shit!" and grimace every time I see that spot. On the outside, Valentine seeks refuge, but Piper just hurls a chair at him and continues to wail. The ref tries to restrain Piper and BOOM! Chain lashed straight against the ear. What follows is one of the nastiest and gnarliest heel heat segments. Valentine bashes the side of Piper's head into the post and chucks him into chairs. He constantly is brutalizing the ear with the chain, his massive forearms and knees. The infamous blading of the ear takes to a whole new visceral level. There are two times Piper is in his element: loud, obnoxious jackass you want to punch in the face and scrappy underdog. We get the best damn scrappy underdog Piper! I loved when he fires up and just tackles Valentine. He sees his own blood and just fucking loses his shit. The best part about any Valentine match he will take as good as he gives. So he is game for taking all the beating from Piper. Also what is great about the Hammer is he ain't just let you fucking hit him. He is going to fire right back at you with some stiff shots. It was awesome watching this. The suplex struggle and the visual of both men lying on their backs with the chains on their faces was more telling than any words I can write. After all this violent awesomeness, how can I have complaints, I do and they are minor. I have never really like Piper's punches and some of them were clear whiffs. I wished he tightened that shit up. My bigger problem is the finish. It is just too anticlimatic. In the 80s, you can get away with that finish because the crowd is going to pop anytime an over babyface goes over an over heel. It was just Piper yanks Valentine off the second rope in the safest bump of the match, sort of throws the chain around and then just pins with a half-hogtie, just was not that definitive violent ending. What takes Slaughter/Sheik, Duggan/DiBiase, and Mags/Blanchard to that next level is that definitive, satisfactory and memorable violent ending. It is the lack of that ending that gets this knocked down a peg. Up until that finish, it was right there with him in terms of sheer brutality and great hated-filled brawling. ****3/4

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Just rewatched this after their July match, and it is even better than I remembered. What a fucking fight, Id say this and the July match are the two best Piper matches Ive ever seen. This is just a violent masterpiece, the violence is simple but so effective. Both guys bleed buckets, and whike the territory leaned too far into the bladejobs, it was a needed element to put over the brutality. Pipers blade job to the ear is an all timer in terms of effectiveness, really puts the match over the edge. I like the way they used the chain, there were no cute creative spots just grinding and hitting each other with it like a dog fight, pun kinda intended.

Watching this back, I didnt mind the finish as much as I remember. Yes, as Superstar said the bump off the ropes was probably the safest of the match, but the shots afterwards were great and the match really didnt feel like it could go on much longer with the damage they had inflicted. That being said, a more climactic finish probably would hve put it at the full 5 for me, but it is one of the best brawls I have seen and the best use of the collar/chain gimmick I can remember.

****3/4

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