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Extras 1986 - 1989

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​Rex King vs. The Grappler:

 

​This wasn't much of a match at all, but the aftermath was spellbinding.

 

I never knew Nord wrestled in Portland, so him coming out of nowhere to attack Billy Jack was a shock. I thought Billy Jack handled himself quite well for a two-on-one until Grappler used the mist, which he actually recovered from in order to rejoin the fight once Styles was beaten down.

 

Nice job by Styles to sell his blindness.......until he got to the ring. He shouldn't have been able to throw punches that straight if he was supposedly swinging wildly, and Nord and Grappler should have been able to get rid of him easily before he ever pulled out his chain. Either that or he should have been swinging the chain from the minute he entered the ring.

 

Nice touch on Nord's part to bleed, even though it didn't stop him from being a part of the beatdown.

 

I think we're seeing a bit too much of Don. Let your referees enforce the rules; don't come down and order matches stopped and people out of the ring. He's acting a bit too much like Eddie Marlin did in Memphis, and although he won't be made to pay for it physically like Eddie was several times, it's still annoying and, dare I say it, Mr. McMahon-like.

 

Speaking of annoying, get a load of the commentary here. Both Coss and Levy were way too much here, and Coss in particular sounded extra whiny, and also like he'd never seen Grappler before. Disgust with his actions was certainly called for, but to act like you'd never heard of a wrestler (gasp) pulling up a pinned opponent was ridiculous. Levy's right; there's no rule against it, no matter how unsportsmanlike it may be. Not that that excuses him from an awful performance, even for a self-absorbed heel character. If you don't have a heel in your promotion that can sound intelligent about wrestling at least part of the time, don't put one in the booth. Simple as that.

 

A tag match where one of the participants can't see? That's a new one on me. Good move not to put it on TV, as I can't imagine it'll be much good athletically, and I can't see how Styles will be able to sell enough to make it believable without taking himself out of the action. Still, the interview setting it up was tremendous, with Styles just barely holding it together and Billy Jack promising to be his eyes. It may have been too late to save the promotion for its eventual death, but Grappler and his many feuds have really given Portland a shot in the arm during 1989.

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​Beetlejuice vs. Al Madril:

 

​The match was well-worked by both guys, but I wasn't a fan of the ending. I understand the part where King came in to tell Sandy what had happened to Beetlejuice, but right after that Madril threw him over the top rope, which should have ended the match immediately. What that would have meant for the stips I'm not sure, but King counting down Madril in the sleeper didn't sit too well with me. My mood was lightened by seeing Al in the Beetlejuice makeup, though.

 

Art would have done well if he'd gone to the WWF and been allowed to portray Beetlejuice this way, with the calypso music (Harry Belafonte would have been out, though), the kids going wild, the paint, and of course the amazing athleticism. I'm surprised that Piper, whose idea this character supposedly was, didn't put in a word for Art with Vince. Then again, I'm not sure I want to know what Vince would have done with him; if it had been anything close to what he did with Doink after Matt Borne was fired, it would have been a disaster. Come to think of it, The Juicer didn't get over too well in WCW when Art went there, if I recall correctly.

 

Coss and Levy were a bit more tolerable, though I could have done without the "Bob and Snotty" bit. It kind of disturbs me that Coss is so willing to go down to Levy's verbal level and exchange playground insults; the veteran play-by-play man's supposed to be above that sort of thing. As for the future Raven, his biggest drawback in the booth remains that he shows almost no interest in what's going on. He constantly says, "Who cares?" to just about everything that doesn't involve him directly, which even dyed-in-the-wool heels like Heenan don't do. They put themselves over, sure, but they acknowledge that there's a match in the ring too, and Levy either doesn't or has been told not to, neither of which are very helpful. Art flying around the ring and pulling off some of the moves he was able to against a veteran like Madril deserved at least some grudging respect.

 

I've never seen a guy literally use the rafters like Tarzan uses a vine in order to make a move work, and I doubt too many at the House of Action had either at this time. Art truly was a once-in-a-lifetime wrestling athlete.

 

Correct me if I'm wrong, but Beetlejuice had been on TV before as Art Barr, correct? I ask this because if he wasn't, I wonder how thrilled he was to be outed as Sandy's son by Levy when Beetlejuice was supposed to be from someplace not of this universe.

 

Were they trying to start something between Levy and The Grappler? Judging by some of the dismissive comments Levy made about him, it would appear so. That would have been quite the interesting feud, and judged on what we've seen from both guys this year it's hard to figure out who the face would have been.

 

We're not liable to see a match with unique stips like this again, and we're certainly not liable to see a match where each man got to have his stip enforced, however briefly. Art actually made a very good burro during his ride with Madril, and I liked how he willingly went for the ride even though he'd been cheated and he knew it. Most faces in his position would have raised the devil or flat out refused to go through with it unless threatened.

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​Rex King vs. Scotty the Body:

 

​For those who enjoy heel comeuppance, it doesn't get any better than this. Absolutely nothing goes right for Levy and Boyd, not even Boyd freeing himself from his handcuffs with a hacksaw, which may be the most inventive way I've heard of yet for getting around a handcuff stip. Doll's right there to intercept Boyd once he gets to ringside, and even the tried-and-true powder in the face isn't enough to stop King from scoring the pun and taking the Northwest belt.

 

Talking about the powder, I guess this means that you can't beat a Portland babyface even if you blind him, which seems ridiculous. What's the next step up, a shotgun?

 

Boyd and Levy are one of the oddest couples I've seen in wrestling yet, especially since Levy wrestles a completely different style than Boyd and doesn't need his help on the mic. Was this a thank-you gesture from Don? I thought Boyd said that he was in the upcoming TV title tournament, so it's not like he was completely washed up yet.

 

The work on the arm from both guys was vicious, but it was overshadowed by Boyd complaining up in the Crow's Nest. Do us all a favor next time you want to run this stip, Don: Handcuff two wrestlers together at ringside and leave the announce position alone. It's not like Coss is Gordon Solie or Lance Russell, who could have dealt with something like this and still made a memorable call.

 

The setup for this, with King dancing to Levy's music and taunting him with the belt, was inspired, and probably more effective than simply hitting the ring and starting a fight. Portland's really come up with some fresh ways to execute their angles this year; it's a shame that the promotion was in bad financial shape which would only get worse over the next couple of years.

 

Something tells me that someone objected when Levy used the word "pissed" in the postmatch interview, because Coss threw it to commercial at warp speed. Given some of the other words that have been broadcast in the first three discs, that was surprising. Maybe they'd gone over their swearing quotient for the time being.

 

Sandy gives the finishes away for face wins, whether he knows it or not. When a heel's going to win, or when there's a false finish, he counts with one hand. When the face is going to win. he counts "one" with one hand, "two" with the other hand, and "three" with the original hand, almost as if he wants to get the face their win more quickly. I'll be watching in future matches to see if the pattern continues,

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​The Assassin Promo (12/12/87):

 

​This promo was originally at the tail end of the American Ninja-Moretti match.

 

This one had a whole bunch of matches to try and get over all at once. Chief among these was a double pole coal miner's glove steel cage match between Assassin and Grappler. Apparently Grappler's been doing the orthopedic boot routine, because that's what he and Oliver stole from Assassin during the interview.

 

The promos themselves weren't works of verbal art, but they got over the matches effectively, which was their job. The double pole match sounds like one of those stereotypical matches that non-fans like to think every match is, but the way Assassin and Barry Owen explained it made sense. Coss did a great job selling the effects of the boot, claiming that it almost ruined the desk when Assassin slammed it down.

 

It's a little rich on Barry's part claiming that no fighting's allowed in the Crow's Nest after there's been a brawl there almost every week since Portland Wrestling began. That "rule" seems more like an excuse to fine Grappler for general malfeasance and mayhem than anything else.

 

Miller-Colt in a hair match sounds like another real winner. These smaller promotions know how to make their action red hot.

 

I guess "shockwave" is Coss's favorite buzzword, because he's used it in multiple interviews throughout the first three discs.

 

Lucille for a baseball bat and Baby Doll for a pet snake. These Portland guys must have thought a lot of their women to name their most prized foreign objects after them! :D

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​The Mafia Promo (12/12/87):

 

​This promo was done before the Bryan Adams-Moondog Moretti match.

 

The most memorable part of this was the demonstration of Colt's "Mafioso hair cream" on Moretti. I'd like to know how they worked that, because I would think it's impossible to remove all of the hair from someone's arm that quickly. I liked Moretti's line: "It smells like dirty shorts, but it works!"

 

Graapler was also here, furthering concurrent feuds with Assassin and Matt Biorne. Apparently Assassin can't bring the coal miner's glove to the ring except for sanctioned coal miner's glove matches, and Grappler's happy about it. He's certainly an effective promo. but not a ​good ​one. There are too many "daddy's and "brother"s mixed in with his spiel for him to be good.

 

I'd love to know who was the first man to use words like that in a promo, and whether he ever knew exactly what he wrought, which is too many old fat white guys trying to sound like they're from the ghetto.

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​Adams vs. Moretti:

 

​Not a bad showcase for someone whom Don obviously intended to push hard. Adams looked like much more of an athlete with this American Ninja gimmick than in any other he ever had.

 

Nice to see how Assassin got a hold of Grappler's boot, and it's ironic that he used a loaded mask to knock Grappler out and steal a loaded boot.

 

Ove again Coss is too busy shilling everything in sight to pay much attention to the match. It really grates in short matches like this, because they get almost no call at all. It's bad when the Big Two do it, and it's just as bad when small promotions like Portland feel the need to do it.

 

For those who don't know, KPTV was an independent station back in '87, so I have a feeling that any preemption of wrestling was arranged, if you know what I mean. It's actually a smart move on the Owens' part to make sure that all the fans come down to the House of Action, but they'd be smart not to use the gimmick too often; once people see through it, both arena attendance and TV ratings are liable to go down.

 

Kudos to Don for smelling Moretti's forearm, whether it actually stank or not, without flinching.

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