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Curt Hennig vs. Buddy Rose (5/28/83)

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I found the prematch promo a bit disappointing; it sounded like Buddy was trying to suck up to Oliver, which isn't exactly a good thing for the top heel in a promotion to be doing. Rip was the one who sounded cool and confident, as well he should be with Assassin and his mystery man to back him up.

 

This match intrigues me because it happens when Buddy's turn is obviously in the works. Curt-Buddy has been one of the most vicious feuds in recent memory; will that continue to be the case here, or might we see a slightly kinder, gentler Buddy?

 

​First fall: ​From the beginning, they're subtly trying to put it in the fans' minds that maybe Buddy isn't such a bad guy after all. He wrestles this fall completely clean, which is amazing since he and Curt were literally trying to cripple each other just weeks ago. The announcers compliment his wrestling ability, and Coss even remarks, "He (Buddy)'s got style." They also put over his ability to draw money at both MSG and the Olympic Auditorium in Los Angeles. (I was wondering when Buddy ever wrestled in a main event slot out in Los Angeles until I remembered that Vince was promoting out there by then, so he probably headlined a house or two against Bob Backlund. He may have also drawn money for the LeBells, though they were mostly out of business by the time he got to be a headliner.)

 

The fall comes out of nowhere here, as Buddy turns his back on Curt to celebrate a good move, only to be put in a bodyscissors and rolled around the ring until he's dizzy. I think I've heard the move called the log roll, but I can't be positive. Anyway, once Buddy's reeling Curt simply turns him over and scores the pin to go up one fall to none about seven minutes into the match.

 

Line of the Fall goes to Dutch after Buddy gets on the mic to announce that he's 221 pounds buck naked: "He must have taken his wallet out of his pants." Well, Dutch, if he was naked he wouldn't have pants on in the first place, would he?

 

Coss mentions that it's over a hundred and twenty degrees in the arena, which explains why Don's only dressed in a shirt. How these guys are going to go up to nineteen more minutes (the time left on the disc) in that kind of heat I have no idea. Coss was probably exaggerating about the arena temperature, but his point still stands.

 

Interesting sales technique by Dutch: Come down to the matches in person, then get home and see yourself on TV. Knowing how popular wrestling was in Portland at this time, it probably worked like a charm.

 

We're going to see Curt and Billy Jack as a tag team later on this disc against Buddy and Dynamite, so we'll know if they were able to beat Oliver and Assassin for the belts in the match Coss is hyping for the following week. (The match we have took place on 6/11, the week after that.)

 

Second fall: ​We get another unusual pin here, as Curt foils a superplex attempt from Buddy, then catches him in a rollup. The two men spend the next minute exchanging two counts, then Buddy finally comes out on top. We're even at a fall apiece with about six minutes of disc time remaining.

 

There were two other epic holds in this fall: a struggle over a backslide which Curt finally got, and a side headlock by Curt reminiscent of the one Jay Youngblood used on Buddy a couple of years earlier. Curt almost broke Jay's record for the number of times a performer ground on a side headlock; Jay had seventy-three by my count, while Curt stopped at sixty-four. He almost got a three-count as well.

 

Buddy wrestled this fall totally clean as well, without even so much as an eye rake or an unclean break. Now that the title's really up for grabs in the third fall, it'll be interesting to see if he keeps this up or if he gives Curt a dose of the old Playboy

 

Dutch does a tremendous job putting over Curt's newfound maturity, which he credits to Curt's stint in the WWF. He calls Buddy out for constantly turning his back on Curt, and also for stalling when he had the chance to possibly score a fall and tie the match. Coss also points out that Buddy's running out of time, which is absolutely right. We'll see how Buddy approaches the third fall.

 

​Third fall: ​As I and just about everyone else who's seen more than one Buddy Rose match in their lifetime expected, he's a lot more aggressive in this fall, though he doesn't out-and-out cheat until the end, when he reverses the momentum of Curt's flying bodypress, then grabs his trunks (which Sandy naturally doesn't see) to get the three-count. Sandy presents the belt to Buddy at first, but Billy Jack comes down and explains what happened, and Sandy reverses the decision, which means that Buddy's disqualified and Curt keeps the title.

 

In a brief postmatch promo, Buddy admits that he pulled Curt's tights, but says that in no other sport is a wrong decision ever reversed. He blames Billy Jack for costing him the title, then says that he'll find a partner and kill both Billy Jack and Curt. (This is most likely the 6/11 match which I referenced earlier.)

 

I'm amazed at how clean this match was without being dull. It proved that Buddy could wrestle at the level of the top scientific guys in the Northwest (as if we needed to be reminded of that).

 

The weightlifting contest between Billy Jack and Oliver that's in the Extras takes place on this show, as Dutch and Coss spend much of the third fall talking about the elbow injury Oliver gave Billy Jack the night before. They also mention that Budd tried to further damage the elbow in the postmatch altercation, but we don't see it.

 

I can't wait to see Dynamite and Buddy as partners. If they're half as good as they were as opponents, we might just have a classic on our hands!

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This is a beautiful bout. Great rhythm and pace, maximum use made of simple spots, and a story is told. Also, the match looked like a WoS bout transcribed to US setting. Great first fall with Buddy fooling around and getting caught, then you get Hennig turning Rose into a vegetable with those fucking headlocks. Buddy morphing from cocky athletic dipshit to stumbling around not knowing where he was, selling his ears and making fun comebacks, including making use of the steel ringpost again and pouncing on Hennig's back out of thin air, was really great. Great back and forth wrestling exchanges, and the pinfall reversal is such a simple, cool spot. Hennig is damn great in his role, up to speed and spot on selling. The commentators point out Curt isn't a rookie anymore and in a way this feels like a starmaking performance. Great nearfall for a vertical suplex here. For how simple this match is, it def. deserves to be tagged as "flawless".

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