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[1980-01-26-Portland] Roddy Piper & Rick Martel vs The Sheepherders


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  • GSR changed the title to [1980-01-26-Portland] Roddy Piper & Rick Martel vs The Sheepherders
  • 4 years later...

Portland really loves a heel in peril sequence. A large chunk of the first fall had Piper and Martel completely control Williams using a series of headlocks. Honestly, it was a little lacklustre but things started picking up when the Sheepherders gained control and Miller specifically made a strong impression. I really liked how the Sheepherders consistently integrated choking into their offense. It doesn’t need to be an extended stretch or really lead to anything in particular, as it didn’t here, but by blatantly adding in stuff like this it adds a bit of authenticity to their heel work; being a heel vs playing a heel. Specifically Miller had a nasty move where he forced Piper into the ropes and then yanked it back, pulling the ropes straight through Piper’s throat and sending him flying across the ring.
In the deciding fall Williams showed a sliver of vulnerability to the lower back and Piper and Martel really jumped on it. After Martel had hit a backbreaker and PIper had hit an atomic drop, I thought it was all over but things quickly spiralled out of control with Miller sending the referee flying over the top rope, Rose interjected himself into the events and Piper got his ear worked over pretty badly. 
We get an interview with the referee afterwards and he’s decided to keep the belts and the championship is vacated. Martel gives one of the best promos I’ve seen from him and Piper just put the cherry on the cake as, right in the middle of a usual Piper promo, he turned to look at Martel and disturbingly said “I don’t think I can hear anything”. That subtle change of tone added a level of verisimilitude that you rarely get from a wrestling promo. Really good stuff. The match itself delivered while not quite being great but I’m pumped for the rematch.


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  • 8 months later...

Portland was such a fun territory. Piper and Martel seem to be having a blast while tagging and dominating the match, interestingly that's the same thing that Martel did against Harley Race a couple of weeks earlier, despite being a babyface (you would think Portland would strive on heels calling the match). The future Bushwhackers here are 10/15 years younger and don't have a silly gimmick, they hold their ground quite well and get decent heat with their dirty tactics (ironically enough, they keep hitting Piper on his ear, a good few years before the Greg Valentine match). We get a non-finish, with the promise of an upcoming rematch, so that's good enough for me.

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