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Rip Oliver, The Assassin & Ed Wiskowski vs. Buddy Rose, Roddy Piper & Hack Sawyer (2/3 Falls) (3/17/84)

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​First fall: ​This one gets started before Don can finish the introductions, as the faces hit the ring swinging. This is Piper's baby from start to finish, as despite what looks to be a legitimately injured thumb he cleans house on the Clan almost singlehandedly, even throwing punched with the injured hand. He gets the pinfall after a nasty-looking DDT on Assassin, and the RBA leads one fall to none about eleven minutes (disc time) into the match.


Matt Borne is the special referee here, and the Clan has a point about him trying to fast-count pinfalls on them. We all know that Matt's got his own problems with Oliver and company, so it'll be interesting to see just how his officiating affects the bout going forward. For the record, I couldn't tell if his final three-count of the fall was fast or not, though it probably was.


At first I thought Piper's bad thumb was a story concocted by Don so he could get Piper out of the tag title match without making him seem like a coward; after all, how could he and Buddy defend the Northwest belts if he was wrestling for Vince? But I looked it up on Graham's site, and Piper actually wrestled and beat Tony Rocco on March 9 in Sacramento. The next night he forfeited a match in Los Angeles against Tony Garea, and he had to be subbed for on March 14 in White Plains, New York. I don't think the thumb was nearly torn off as Don claimed, but a broken thumb is certainly a possibility.


That was a vicious DDT Piper laid on Assassin. Since he used very few holds or moves in the WWF, it's always interesting to see him bust out a move that I didn't think he knew. Assassin sold the effects brilliantly in the promo between falls.


There was no time for this sort of thing in the first fall, but I honestly hope we don't get any teased dissension spots between Buddy and Rod in this match. I hate reluctant partner angles; if two wrestlers can't trust each other normally, why would the presence of a common enemy change things?


Matt and Oliver look almost like twins; for a second I wondered why Rip was making sure that Don got out of the ring safely at the start of the match, only to realize just now that it was Matt.


I know that this was impossible, but since the RBA needed another partner in order to make this match a six-man tag, I wonder what would have happened if Piper had asked Don to bring in his regular WWF partner Paul Orndorff. I don't think Paul ever worked Portland, and if he did he wasn't nearly the name there that Hack was.


I normally like Wiskowski's promos, but I think he was reaching with the crack about finding out Buddy's real sexual preference. He provably should have stuck to calling him gutless instead.


​Second fall:​ It looks for a while like the RBA's going to steamroll the Clan in two straight; Piper and Buddy even turn the inevitable miscommunication spot to their advantage against Assassin. But the masked man plants his loaded hood in Buddy's midsection, and the heels finally take control.


After taking a sizable beating, Buddy makes the hot tag to Hack, who comes in on fire. But he's eventually dragged into the heel corner, and while Matt's busy restraining Buddy and Piper, Oliver clocks Hack with some kind of foreign object and gets the three count just before Piper can make the save. We're even at a fall apiece with about fifteen minutes of disc time remaining.


I said up above that I don't care for reluctant partner or dissension spots, but this one was handled very well. It would have made no sense for special guest Piper to fight Buddy, so they hugged it out and doubleteamed Assassin instead. The funny thing is, this match would be forgotten a little more than a year later when Piper came in to fight Buddy on the Owen sixtieth anniversary card; they each made out like they hadn't crossed paths in years.


Matt was a bit more impartial in this fall, although he still hasn't had to make a tough call against the face team yet. I'd like to see just one tag behind his back by the faces just to see if he'd allow it or not; it's a bit of a surprise to me that we haven't seen that spot already. (They did it in the third fall, and Matt allowed the tag with no problem whatsoever.)


The way Stan and Coss are hyping how gutsy Piper's being throughout the match, I wonder if he really was ​defying doctor's orders by wrestling. Normally I'd say that stuff like that was just announcer hype, but knowing how Rod felt about Don and the city of Portland, it wouldn't surprise me if he decided to wrestle injured, knowing that it might be a while before he'd appear again at the House of Action.


Poor Hack; as popular as he still is in Portland, here he's the third man on a one-man team. I get the feeling that the fans would have been quite content to see Piper fight the whole Clan by himself if that had been possible; even Buddy seems a bit superfluous here, as hard as he's working.


Third fall: ​Piper plays FIP for most of this fall, as the Clan directs a brutal attack on his injured hand. Several times, the announcers wonder how he's even staying conscious, let alone trying to fight back. Eventually Piper gets out of trouble and tags Hack, who stages a brief rally before he's ​overwhelmed. But it helps to have a man on your side who makes his living as a heel these days, as Hack gets close enough to his corner for Piper to pass him a foreign object, which he promptly uses to knock Oliver into the middle of Easter. Three seconds later, the RBA is victorious.


After the match, Tom Peterson tries to give an award to Buddy for being the wrestler whom the fans believe did the most for Portland wrestling in 1983 (the Frank Bonnema Memorial Award), but the ceremony's first interrupted by a bloody Matt, who was tripleteamed by the Clan immediately following the match, and then by Oliver, who has chains with him. In the end, Buddy gets his award, and it seems like we're headed for a six-man chain match pitting the Clan against Matt, Buddy, and Piper, whom Buddy graciously dedicates his award to.


I'd pay a pretty penny to have a tape of that six-man chain match. Even if Piper had to be replaced by Hack, I have a feeling that it would still be incredible.


There was so much chaos after the match that I missed how Matt got bloodied, but his promo in the Crow's Nest was glorious. I only wish we could have heard more of it. By the way, that looked like Curt Hennig who came out to restrain him; I thought he'd left Portland by now.


Poor Tom Peterson looked like he had no idea what to make of Matt raving in front of him. That just goes to show that no matter how much wrestling you watch (or sponsor) on TV, seeing it live is an entirely different experience.


I liked the faces trying to break Assassin's hand as payback for the Clan's work on Piper's thumb. If Rod really had an injured thumb, I admire him for allowing it to be worked on as relentlessly as the Clan did. If he didn't, he might have before the match was over, just like the Clan predicted before the match.


I liked Piper using his famous line "You don't throw rocks at a man who's got a machine gun". He used the same line on a ​Pit ​that aired that very day on ​Championship Wrestling​. His target? Andre, who had lifted him out of his chair after he (Piper) had spent the entire segment making fun of Andre in every way he could think of. That Pit ​was the opening segment of Piper's Coliseum Video tape back in the day.


Stan and Coss may have seemed a little too forgiving of Hack for using a foreign object to get the win, but considering what Stan in particular had been through at Oliver's hands, I'm inclined to forgive them for it.

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