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Buddy Rose vs. Curt Hennig (3/26/83)

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I'm not sure what to make of this, really. The match was excellent, but was Buddy legit injured? Was this a cover for another injury Buddy may have needed treatment/surgery on? Or was the whole thing done just to build Curt's resume, since it sounded like they wanted him to be the standard bearer for the faces, at least until Billy Jack got a bit more experience? I'd need to know which this was before I can pass judgement on how effective it was.

 

Assuming for a second that it was number three, Buddy must have thought a ton of Curt to do an injury angle like that. No other face that we've seen, not even Piper, has been able to beat him to the point where he had to be stretchered out. This wasn't any fluke either; once Buddy's attack before the bell fizzled out, Curt controlled most of the rest of the match, doing tremendous work on Buddy's arm. Even though I'd seen Buddy's bedside interview in the extras where he put over the dropkick that hurt him, I thought for a minute that Curt had also broken or severely injured his arm; that's how good Curt's work on it was. I don't ever recall seeing this kind of fire in him in the AWA, at least until he turned. He was kind of bland, a nice hard-working kid next door, kind of like Greg Gagne (which may have been the idea). His mic skills need a bit of work, but other than that he's got the whole package, though of course he wouldn't reach the top of his game for several years.

 

Again, though, I have to take issue with Dutch going too far in an effort to put Portland and its wrestlers over. If Curt sold out MSG eight times, why in the hell did he ever bother to come back to Portland? Any fool knows that New York is the largest, richest city in the world, so it stands to reason that he'd be making more money there than he'd ever make in Portland. Even vengeance for a knee injury wouldn't be worth jeopardizing that kind of a living, at least not to a normal person, and wrestling audiences are made of normal people. When you have to count on them not being smart enough and/or not caring enough to stop and think about what you're saying for more than one second, you probably shouldn't be saying it in the first place. What's the matter with just saying that Curt toured the East Coast for a while, wrestled at MSG (the top arena in the biggest city in America), and is now back home and looking for vengeance on Buddy?

 

Whether the injury was legit or not, they did a fine job making Buddy's stretcher job into the big deal it deserved to be: showing the towel Sandy wrapped around Buddy's neck to protect it from injury, making sure that Sandy told Curt (and the viewers) that Buddy was going to the hospital and had no feeling in his arm, and making sure that the fans cleared the way for the stretcher as Buddy was taken back to the locker room. Dutch and Coss did a great job of making sure the viewers understood that Curt had done what no one else had by promising vengeance on Buddy and getting it, then promoting Curt's upcoming title match. As we take leave of our scene, we don't need Dutch to tell us that Curt's the new star in Portland (though he does anyway); we've seen it with our own eyes, and are ready to follow this new star wherever he may go in the business.

 

This may be the best bit of storytelling I've seen out of Portland so far in five and a half discs, and I'm certainly anxious to see the next chapter unfold.

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This was a really fun fast paced match where Buddy pinballs like a motherfucker for Hennig. I mean, he was bumping for him while in an armbar! So many energetic spots and exchanges. And the usual clever spots from Buddy. Curt is a really good basic babyface here, awesome dropkicks, getting nice height on kneedrops, and totally going into those exchanges at full speed. The finish and angle with the deadly dropkick is great too including a sick cheer from the audience when it is declared Buddy may be paralyzed.

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