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Buddy Rose vs. Rick Martel (2/3 falls) (4/26/80)

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First fall: ​Buddy's in a special mask that he's wearing because Piper (I think) recently won a hair match against him. It's just now growing back a little, and the mask allows him to wear a wig while he's wrestling without having to worry about it falling off. Of course, it's also a bullseye for any babyface who wants to try and pull it off. At least for this match, Sandy treats it like a luchador mask and tries to stop Martel from pulling on it; he's only partially successful, as Buddy has to readjust it several times.

 

As for the wrestling, Buddy spends most of the fall dissecting Martel's left leg. His main hold is a figure-four leg scissors, which isn't all that different from a standard figure four. He also applies a spinning toehold briefly, with the end result being that Martel can't stand on the leg at all. Having the leg rammed into the ringpost twice doesn't help, either.

 

Martel's his own worst enemy when it comes time for the finish. He's making a comeback against Buddy and goes for an atomic drop, but forgets himself and hits it on the bad knee. Buddy follows up with a shinbreaker and a half crab, and Rick wisely submits to conserve his leg as best he can for the rest of the match. Buddy leads one fall to none with about twelve minutes of disc time remaining.

 

Rick's submission is especially smart because this is a non-title match. Even if he has to submit away both falls in order to protect his leg, he doesn't lose anything. I don't think we'll actually see him submit twice in a row, and I'm not saying he should​, but it wouldn't cost him anything if he did.

 

This is the second match on the set that I've seen where Buddy has made someone submit to the half crab. It's still surprising to see someone actually submit to that hold after seeing it used in so many Japanese matches as the equivalent of an armbar or a reverse chinlock in this country. Buddy's leg work in general is something to see; he's not usually this methodical, but makes an exception in this case and has Martel's leg so badly hurt as we get ready for the second fall that security has to help Rick to ringside.

 

Frank mentions that Rick has had plenty of offers to go elsewhere, but has chosen to stay in Portland thus far. That will change by the fall, when Vince the Elder comes calling.

 

Second fall: ​Buddy continues to dissect Martel's leg early on, but tries to ram it into the post one time too many, and Rick grabs a handful of hair and rams Buddy's head into the post instead. He then picks Buddy up and jams his back full force into the post, which sets up his offense for the rest of the fall. Buddy's lower back is hammered relentlessly with fists and knees, and when Rick's had enough of that he applies the Boston crab. Buddy submits after a moment, and we're even at a fall apiece with about five minutes of disc time remaining.

 

This reminds me of one of the matches Buddy had with Curt Hennig a couple of years later, in that it's a total meat grinder of a bout that both men are simply hoping to survive intact. Buddy seems to inspire that kind of hatred in people like few others, and to his credit he takes as good as he gives.

 

I would think that since there's a title match coming in two weeks (which we'll see later in this disc), Buddy will win the third fall cleanly somehow in order to set it up.

 

​Third fall: ​Most of this fall consists of Martel further punishing Buddy's back, which is soon in such bad shape that he can't even get Rick up for a simple bodyslam. At some point, Rick's focus turns from winning the match to trying to unmask Buddy, and after a few minutes he actually gets the mask off. Buddy's head is only seen for a few seconds, as the Sheepherders come out to shield him. A humiliated Buddy flees back to the locker room, and Rick's declared the winner on a countout. Rick tries to abscond with the wig and mask, but Sandy stops him.

 

The finish may have fit Buddy's character at the time, but it certainly didn't fit with the gritty, intense match we'd seen up until that point. That reason alone is enough to dislike it, but the last straw is that Buddy actually gets the title shot that I talked about two weeks later. In essence, he's rewarded for being a total coward, and I think it's ridiculous. I'm still looking forward to seeing the match, though.

 

Frank does a wonderful job of covering for Martel using his bad leg to execute certain moves by saying that the leg's actually feeling better because of the competitive adrenaline that's flowing through his body. Most fans had probably heard of a situation like this or even seen it in other sports, so it would make sense to them. Frank may not have gotten the publicity and acclaim that guys like Lance Russell and Gordon Solie enjoyed, but he's proven on this set that he can be every bit as good in his own way.

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Buddy is wearing the mask/wig combo and it's awesome! He looks ridiculous in the best possible way. The first fall is mainly Buddy working on Martel's leg and he does a masterful job of it I must say. Martel is equally good selling the punishment.

 

Second fall, Martel turns things around and gets some revenge by working on Buddy's back, while continuing to sell the leg damage. I expected things to really go crazy in the third fall but it didn't quite reach the heights I was expecting, although Martel trying and succeeding to get the mask off at the end was a good moment. There was some really good stuff here but I wasn't a big fan of the count out finish. There is another match between them coming up on the disc though, and I seem to remember that one being pretty great. ***1/2

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First taste of Buddy on the set, who I certianly assume will rank as MVP by the time we're done. Buddy stalls to start. Love how vocal the crowd is. Everything Martel does as a babyface is so superb. Buddy works the leg for a long time. Martel keeps ripping at Buddy's mask to try and free himself. Awesome moment where Buddy pulls the mask up to taunt, Martel grabs his ear and Buddy (with an awesome facial) yanks the mask back down to cover his ear. Every movement here has purpose. Martel gives up the first fall to a half crab. Nice tease of Martel potentially being too injured to continue. Martel is awesome protecting his injured leg at the start of fall 2. GREAT spot as Rose is cranking Martel's leg against the ring post, Martel grabs Rose by the hair (mask) and rams him into the post from a down position. Crowd is HOT for Martel making a small comeback in fall 2. Love Martel favoring the leg with every movement on his comeback. Martel is SUCH a superb babyface. Martel punishes the lower back of Rose using the ring post and a bunch of double sledge strikes, then gets a submission with the Boston Crab to win fall 2. So fundamentally sound. Everything makes sense and no wasted motion. Martel stays on the back in fall 3. Rose goes for a slam but can't do it due to his back. Martel gets a slam on Rose in spite of his bad knee. Rose uses the hair to slip out of an abdominal stretch. Nearly everything Martel has done in falls 2 and 3 has been directly concentrated on the back and I love that. Martel still trying to yank the mask off and expose Rose's bald head for added drama in fall 3. Martel gets the mask off but the Sheepherders are there to wrap his head in a towel. Buddy runs off for the count out to end it. Fun match, everything was SO fundamentally sound.

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Loved Stuttsy's breakdown. Really hits a lot of important points. I’ve edited this down from the original review I wrote up a year ago (I watched the first 8 matches, then folded) so everyone has more to comment on. I’ll ask some questions too. Feel free to do the same.


Watched this one 3 times now. It does not get less exciting and old, and though that makes it ripe for nitpicks, I don’t feel like it gets boring or there are a ton (at least I can ignore them because they are small and taste-based). Have not watched the supplemental YT playlist leading up to this one, but I assume it at least explains the white mask and fake hair of Rose. I know he lost a hair match. Anyone Got the story?


Regardless, the first 5 to 7 minutes are a clinic in how to take a crowd you’re already getting big heat from weekly and save your body while working them up. Points to Rose for saving his body while entertaining me. Also, I just loved the real sport psychology of how Rose would sucker him in and control the situation. Non-title, which gives you options to work to a return. Martel is so over here and its awesome. Also, I’m a huge mark for the body work Rose does. Indian Deathlocks rule. Also, did Rose invent the calf killer here, or use an early variation of that. I imagine Styles didn’t create it, but it isn’t something I’ve seen a million times.


Was a HUGE fan of Martel selling the leg. Really builds, leading to him losing the first fall and overcoming in the second. There’s actually a fun story where he refuses to take a countout win in the second fall and destroys Rose’s back, winning the second with the Boston Crab (for the back work), so its kinda two damaged warriors putting it all out there by the third fall. I love that the work in each fall lead to the finish. Third fall was short, like the first match, as it seems they really get miles out of the first fall so far and do in descending time intervals with each fall. Feels like they finish the match on a lull, even if the fans were way into it. This was a great finish one way or the other from being one of my favorite matches in some time, and even with the mask/whig countout victory, I still loved this one. Gonna be tough for me to put something to high over this, as I’d go 4 ½ Stars on this. The style matched where the feud felt like it was. Not a lot of rope running or stand offs, trades. This was kill or be killed.


Bonnema line of the match: The general line of the mask being part of Rose’s “legal match equipment” and therefore needing to be returned at the end by Sandy Bar.


Regarding Rose: Is this one of the best complete heel performances at getting heat within a match during the 80s, both towards Martel, but directly with the crowd? What are the other ones?


How did people feel about Martel’s selling and then overall comeback? Good use of match story and selling or was their a hole that took you out of the drama?


Was the finish of the third fall and the match cool and in character, unsatisfying since it was Non-Title to begin with, or something else to you?


Fan of the times they give each fall or no? What’s your feeling on how three falls should play out, time wise, if you have 25 to 30 minutes to play with?

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I've shared my thoughts on Martel. Buddy I have tied with Bockwinkle as the most versatile worker in the sense their matches varied.

 

Love Buddy' s powder to the outside. Buddy working the leg. Loving Buddy's hand gestures. All of Buddy's manurisms are big. Buddy working the leg to slow Martel down. Absolutely loved the tease of clubberin Martel, and then he does. Crowd are hot for Martel's comebacks, only for Buddy to cut him down. Both guys are great at teasing the nearfalls and hopespots. Everything they've done has been very engaging. Martel's selling has been so great that you feel his pain. Popped for Martel going for the atomic drop but reinjures his bad leg. Loved how all the leg work payed off for the submission. It's also refreshing to see a babyface submit.

 

Rose is after that leg and Martel is getting small and sideways to make it difficult. Eventually he gets it and it's torture time. What a great moment where Martel slams Rose head into the post. Martel targeting the back and posts it. Even on offense Martel still selling the leg. Martel dropping big elbows to the back. Ax handles to the back. Martel ties it up with the Boston Crab.

 

It's all up for grabs and Martel is focused on Buddy's back. I'm loving the story that they're telling. Martel after the mask. The ultimate insult is for fans to see him bald. Martel gets the mask off only for Buddy to escape without the fans seeing him bald. 4 1/2*

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I've always liked Martel from watching as a kid in Strike Force to his WCW return in 98. However, the more I go back and watch him the more I am inclined to think he's the greatest babyface wrestler in history.

 

Rose and Martel have a technical classic here, just exchanging holds and building things up. It gets nice and heated with Martel going for the mask/wig and ripping it off for the finish. I don't think it's possible these two could have a poor match between them.

 

It's not as blowaway as other Martel-Rose matche I have seen, but a damn good affair. *** 3/4

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