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Buddy Rose & Rip Oliver vs. Roddy Piper & Steven Regal (2/3 Falls) (6/20/81)

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First fall: ​Now I know why Piper stayed loyal to Don Owen and made his home in Portland. My God, what an ovation. Even after such a relatively short time, he was like Bruno in Pittsburgh and Flair in Charlotte. I've never seen the ovations Moondog Mayne got in Portland, but if Frank says Piper's were louder, I can only imagine how big they were. Buddy and Oliver nearly broke the land speed record leaving the ring until the crowd calmed down just a little.


I'm a bit surprised that Don used Thesz as a ref here. You'd think they he would have used Lou in a match with regular rules so the crowd could see him do something instead of just standing around waiting to count pins. I'm betting he gets involved in one of the last two falls somehow just to make it worth his time and trouble, and also so the TV audience can see him in action.


The action was hard to follow by design, but I noticed that what little teamwork there was, Piper and Regal had the better of it, working both more doubleteams and more stereo spots. But Buddy and Rip took the first fall when Buddy stungunned Piper on the top rope and got the pin. The Army leads one to nothing with about twelve minutes of disc time remaining.


I don't think they'd go to the trouble of putting Piper on TV if he wasn't going over in the end, so I think Piper and Regal will take the next two falls.


Second fall: ​The Army dominates the action here, hitting several impressive stereo spots including a reverse chinlock that almost puts Regal out. But the faces rally to take the fall, as Piper uses the airplane spin to finish Buddy and tie the bout at a fall apiece. There's a Piper/Regal promo between falls, so by the time the third fall gets to the ring, we're down to less than two minutes of disc time remaining by my unofficial count.


An I the only one who wants to see how Piper would do against Oliver in a singles match? If they ever had one, it's not on this set.


I was shocked to see Piper use the airplane spin as a finisher here. His finisher for Vince was a sleeper, usually applied so far under the chin that it was actually a blatant choke (especially during his heel run). I think the airplane spin would have been much more effective, and him lifting the likes of Hogan and JYD would have put him over as a powerhouse despite his relatively small size. My best guess was that the move was protected for Mike Rotundo, who was in the WWF by the time Rod's wrestling career really got rolling.


I was also surprised that Rod threw such a good dropkick. He never attempted that move in the WWF regardless of which side of the fence he was on. I wonder what else we missed out on by just seeing his WWF run for the most part. We'll probably find out more when we get to the Crockett and NWA territorial sets, if we ever do.


I liked Regal's off-the-cuff nickname of "Dynamite and Lightning" for his team with Piper. I don't know how well they would have worked as a long-term team, but they've sure done well so far in this match.


I loved Piper promising to donate his purse to Muscular Dystrophy if he can get an NWA World title match in Portland. Knowing Rod, I'll bet he did it too.


Line of the Night goes to Rod, describing the difference between the fans of Portland and Buddy: "You people soar with the eagles; Rose scratches with the chickens."


Third fall: ​This fall takes less than a minute, as Buddy and Oliver throw the faces outside, then Buddy goes crazy with a chair to cause a DQ and award Piper and Regal the match, which makes Rod undefeated for his Northwest tour, according to Frank. I don't think they wanted to have someone who was staying (Buddy or Oliver) be pinned by someone who was technically an outsider like Piper, and Regal wasn't on their level yet, so this was probably the only possible finish.


I don't think Piper ever got a World title shot at the Rose Garden, so we'll never know if Frank was right about Rod's ability to sell out there.


I'd have loved to see a Piper-Race NWA World title bout no matter where it was from, but by the time Rod finally became a serious contender, Flair had the belt.


Thesz never got physically involved, which disappointed me a little. I'd have loved to see him sock Buddy or Oliver just once for the hell of it.

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After the Youngblood and Borne stuff was a bit hard to get through the disc ends on a high note with a very heated match. Having Thesz referee here seemed a bit random though. You would expect that he would be used like a special enforcer and not like any other referee. Having Sandy Barr as the referee instead would not have changed the match or the reaction (or I assume the gate) one iota.

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