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Buddy Rose vs. Steve Regal (2/3 Falls) (10/24/81)

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​First fall: ​This is a no-disqualification match, with Stasiak and Masters of the Army in a cage at ringside. There's a lot of activity surrounding the cage in the first few minutes, as first Masters tries to bend the bars, then both he and Stan try to tip it over so they can crawl out. Dutch comes down to ringside and keeps it right side up with the help of some other wrestlers (I know I saw Iceman in there somewhere) and eventually we get down to business.

 

Regal controls most of the fall with a chinlock, but Buddy turns the tide by crotching him on the top rope, and from then on he targets the crotch with his offense, hitting a few low stomps and even crotching Regal on the post. Several times he has the chance to get the pin, but refuses, and Sandy can't do a thing about it. Finally he covers and allows Sandy to make the three count with about sixteen minutes of disc time remaining.

 

I think all of the crotch-based offense is Don's way of reminding the audience that this is indeed a no-DQ match. Even though it's far from fair and may offend a few people, it's better than a total bloodbath, which is the other way they could have gone in terms of violence.

 

Regal just doesn't have the same charisma (for lack of a less clichéd word) as Hack does at this time or Curt and Billy Jack will in the future. He executes his moves well, and he's certainly popular enough, but I don't see the fans embracing him as their number one hero at any point (as indeed they didn't).

 

How cool must it have been for Steve to grow up near the world's best-known auto racing track? I wonder if one of Frank's wives really cane from there. (The town of Speedway, where Steve's billed from, is the home of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, where the Indianapolis 500 is raced every year.)

 

Nice job by Frank reminding us that even though Buddy couldn't be disqualified for what he was doing to Regal, he could still be counted out. It's easy to forget that, since a lot of no-DQ matches ended up being fought more outside the ring than in it, even in the kayfabe days.

 

It was educational to hear Frank talk about how NWA rules supposedly prohibited more than one stipulation per match. It probably wasn't true, but it made this match with two stips (no-DQ, Stan and Masters in the cage) more special.

 

I also liked Frank talking about the different kinds of cages that a promotion can use for different purposes. Something tells me that this is a sort of apology in advance for Stan and Masters staging a breakout and interfering somehow in one of the last two falls. We'll soon see if I'm right.

 

I got a kick out of Frank basically directing the show (which was apparently the Spokane syndicated version of the KPTV show) on the air, telling people when to go to commercial for the Spokane market. That's the type of stuff you don't get from national, corporatized promotions.

 

Finally, congratulations to Frank for learning new names for the sitout backbreaker. Hopefully he'll demonstrate this knowledge over the final three matches plus on this disc.

 

Second fall: ​Buddy continues to work on Regal's lower regions, continuing to work on the crotch and also busting out an abdominal claw. But Regal eventually fights his way out of trouble and takes back command, and from then on he repays Buddy for every crotch-based move performed on him in the first fall. He even picks Buddy up from potential pinfalls twice, just as Buddy had with him earlier. Finally, after crotching Buddy on the post, Regal takes the pin, and we're even at a fall apiece with about eleven minutes of disc time remaining.

 

I liked Regal's "repayment tour". Most faces in Steve's position don't go quite as far as he did, but poor Buddy brings out the sadist in people like few others in wrestling.

 

Stan managed to reach through the cage and grab Regal's arm at one point to hold him in the corner so Buddy could work on him. I have a feeling that we'll hear from the Army again before this bout's over.

 

Third fall: ​It all breaks down here, as we get an all-out brawl with chairs, spare ropes dragged out from underneath the ring, and interference from the Army despite the fact that they're still locked in the cage. Finally, the match gets back into the ring, but Matt provides a distraction for Buddy, allowing Regal to roll him up and score the winning fall. We get a three-on-two brawl for a few minutes after that until Hack comes down to even out the sides once and for all.

 

Regal really picked up his game in this fall. Before this, most of his offense had mirrored Buddy's, but once the brawling started, he held up his end of the deal quite well for a white bread babyface.

 

Frank tried to insist throughout the fall that the no-DQ stipulation didn't apply outside the ring, even though Regal and Buddy were pounding each other with chairs and choking each other with ropes right in front of him. Personally, I've never heard of weapons not bring allowed in a match like this; it would sort of defeat the purpose of the no-DQ stip if the guys couldn't use weapons on each other.

 

Frank was right about this being one of the wildest, most brutal matches in Portland history. It was more violent than most of the coal miner's glove matches that I've seen, and those are supposed to be the standard for wrestling violence in Portland. The most impressive thing is that this was all done without blood from either man.

 

Funniest Visual of the Night: Sandy standing on (not in) the middle of the cage to try and stop Stan and Masters from interfering. He's lucky that he didn't accidentally put his foot right through it and end up with a broken leg.

 

It was a shock to hear Frank say that fans were lined up in the front row trying to give Regal chairs that he could use on Buddy. Based on what I've seen in this set, Portland fans take a back seat to no others when it comes to craziness. The promotion surely would have had a reputation as storied as Mid-South's for that sort of thing if it hadn't been somewhat isolated from the rest of the wrestling world. This has to be the sixth or seventh match on the set in which Frank has had to warn the audience not to get involved physically the next time they come to the House of Action, which is about five or six more times than any other promotion in this project has had to do so.

 

I'm not sure if the other match on this disc between these two can top this one, but I'm looking forward to finding out!

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