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The other Tom Magee matches were so bad (the AJPW one with Wajima is apparently legendarily bad), that this one being good enough to pop a TV taping crowd in a dark match showed how good Bret really was years before everyone knew it. 

What really struck me is how 1986 WWF saw someone they thought had potential, had him work off TV, and even when it started to be clear he needed a lot of work they still kept him on C shows giving him every opportunity to catch on. 2019 WWE sees someone who has potential,  puts them on TV whether they are ready or not, and jobs them out within a month or two making sure the audience never sees them as anything but a midlevel talent at best. 

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I loved the presentation of this match on the Network. I wish they did the same thing for The Last Battle Of Atlanta, which was a much bigger find and a much better match. I liked how they pointed out that Magee was supposed to be the Next Big Thing, but it turns out the Next Big Thing was in the ring, but it was the mechanic, Bret Hart. 

It is a Bret Hart's 80s match through and through. The very clear highlight is the backflip off the top rope->two dropkicks->powder. It was a helluva highspot sequence. Crowd popped huge. It was Magee's best offense way better than the rest of his herky jerky. I have noted in many Bret Hart match reviews that he much like Ric Flair or Arn Anderson had the special talent of having a match unto themselves meaning they both enough offense and stock bumps that they could fit an opponent into their formula take their bumps and do their offense and have a good match. I am happy for those people that were excited about this, but there are countless other examples of Bret and other great 80s workers doing this in the decade. Yes, Magee looked very green and it seems pretty obvious why he didnt pan out not only did he move like a robot, but he lacked the charisma that an Ultimate Warrior or Sid Vicious has to overcome their technical deficiencies. 

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The telling point for me is after Bret took his patented chest-first turnbuckle bump and it was time for Tom to go on offense, he had a deer in the headlights look and time stood still while you could see him trying to figure out what to do.

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Just before the chest bump, when Bret has Magee in the opposite corner, you can see him nod his head as Bret gives him instructions too. It was nice to get Magee as part of the documentary, he seemed like a nice guy. 

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For Thursday May 16, 2019

AWA 11/02/1980 – To Slam a Giant [Duration: 17:40]

Andre the Giant looks to become the recipient of five thousand dollars as he faces Jerry Blackwell in this Bodyslam Challenge Match.

AWA 11/07/1982 – Defying the Odds [Duration: 27:01]

Andre the Giant teams with Hulk Hogan to face Bobby Heenan, Nick Bockwinkel, Ken Patera and Bobby Duncum in this Handicap Match.

WWF 07/20/1984 – The Battle of the Giants [Duration: 14:29]

Andre the Giant goes one-on-one with long time rival Big John Studd from the legendary Kiel Auditorium in St. Louis.

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14 hours ago, NotJayTabb said:

Just before the chest bump, when Bret has Magee in the opposite corner, you can see him nod his head as Bret gives him instructions too. It was nice to get Magee as part of the documentary, he seemed like a nice guy. 

 

Is it weird that I'm kind of happy he didn't make it? Seems like too nice a guy for the wrestling business.

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3 minutes ago, paul sosnowski said:

For Thursday May 16, 2019

AWA 11/02/1980 – To Slam a Giant [Duration: 17:40]

Andre the Giant looks to become the recipient of five thousand dollars as he faces Jerry Blackwell in this Bodyslam Challenge Match.

AWA 11/07/1982 – Defying the Odds [Duration: 27:01]

Andre the Giant teams with Hulk Hogan to face Bobby Heenan, Nick Bockwinkel, Ken Patera and Bobby Duncum in this Handicap Match.

WWF 07/20/1984 – The Battle of the Giants [Duration: 14:29]

Andre the Giant goes one-on-one with long time rival Big John Studd from the legendary Kiel Auditorium in St. Louis.

@khawk20 So, we have 10 minutes of an 11/16/82 handicap match, or do we think these are the same? I remember that being a lot of fun for what we have.

We have ~6 of the Blackwell match (and I remember that being fun for what we have too). 

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I would bet they are the same, probably with some of the build from the month before and interviews included here with the full match. Same for Blackwell and Andre, likely the full match from the one we had available previously. 

Very cool :)

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16 hours ago, khawk20 said:

I would bet they are the same, probably with some of the build from the month before and interviews included here with the full match. Same for Blackwell and Andre, likely the full match from the one we had available previously. 

Very cool :)

Follow up question:

It seems like they have a number of AWA matches, in full, that we'd only previously seen JIP, Outside of Bockwinkel vs Flair, are there any matches in the most likely period for which you've only seen a few minutes of, that you'd really want to see?

I'm blanking a bit myself. Maybe one of the Super Destroyer Mark II vs Bockwinkel matches? 

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17 hours ago, sek69 said:

 

Is it weird that I'm kind of happy he didn't make it? Seems like too nice a guy for the wrestling business.

This. I am happy for him getting some recognition this many years afterward but he seems like such a chill and well-adjusted guy from those few minutes that aired, that i really dont want to see the convention and meet-and-greet circuit taint that too much. 

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That seven minutes of the high flyers vs Tito and Rick that we have would be one for sure. Not the one where Tito is pinned with a droplock from Jim, the one before that.

There are tons more im sure but that one is first and foremost for me.

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Here's what I wrote over at SC about Studd vs Andre:

I'd like to introduce everyone to the hill I am going to die on this week: Big John Studd. Studd is, I think, one of the most wildly underrated wrestlers of all time. He's not a total package like Eric's Berzerker-era Nord. In fact, one element of his game is actually quite flawed and I'll get to that. It's more the case that he's one of the biggest victims in history of workrate primacy and the undervaluing of stalling and stooging that afflicted wrestling writing and thought for much of the last forty years. 

Studd more often than not is the world's largest Larry Zbyszko. He's a heat-generating magnet, made all the more so by the fact he's so damn big and so damn powerful. He's a giant. Even facing another giant, there's massive dissonance in the idea that he's going to take five minutes walking around the ring jawing with fans or that he'll do everything he can to avoid a lock-up. That's part of what made it all so brilliant. This isn't base laziness. It's premeditated and effective. 

This match is as perfect an example as you'll get. He absolutely takes his time getting in, making at least one full, languid, rotation of the ring, interacting with the fans, taunting Andre, drawing heat. The second he starts to get in, Andre is on top of him. This is a return match (though the return was a few months and other shows in the making) so everything was primed and the fans absolutely love Andre not letting Studd do what he wanted to do. That loops us right into the second half of the Memphis-equation, the stooging. If the stalling is the build, the stooging is the payoff. Studd sells everything happening in the ring as only a guy his size could, with massive limbs flailing and body bouncing all over the place, gigantic recoil. His robe ends up over his head. This never aired. It has no commentary. It was filmed to potentially air (much of this show ended up on TV or on videotapes) and they occasionally cut to members of the crowd looking absolutely delighted. As good as Andre was at being Andre, that's not him. That's all Studd. 

When Studd takes a powder out to the floor and is surrounded by the crowd, the two cops come down to stand on either side of him. The visual is striking. Everyone's so much smaller than Studd and here he is, running away, in hostile territory, Gulliver in the land of the Lilliputians, and he needs these two tiny cops to protect him from all the other tiny people. People are most affected by things when there is a gap between their expectations and reality; that's John Studd in a nutshell and it works. 

Where it falls apart, generally, is when he takes over on offense. Some of his stuff, the clubbering, some of the intensity with the choking, is really good, but it almost always settles down into a bearhug or a chinlock and Studd, while so good at giving and giving and giving, at delaying and delivering with his stooging, wasn't great at making his holds compelling when he was on top. Someone like Flair or Bockwinkel absolutely were, and even a guy like Zbyszko could take that first half of his act and pay it forward into the second part. Studd couldn't or wouldn't. That's half of the problem. It's what people remember. It's what stands out because it falls later in the match. Even so, the fans were completely into Andre's comeback (so much of that based on the heat that Studd had drawn previously in the match) and it all finished both definitively and well. 

Like I said, the chinlock was half the problem. Only half. The other half is the workrate bit. We spent decades in a dark age where stalling was frowned upon as the opposite of everything wrestling should be. Why care about the acting in a movie when there are special effects to look at, right? They're flashier. They involve less thought and less nuance. People have turned the corner on wrestlers like Lawler and Zbyszko. Studd isn't on that same level. He's only half the act, but I feel like it's time he finally got proper credit for that half, which was truly exceptional. That's the hill I'm standing on. Shoot your arrows accordingly.
 

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Georgia Championship Wrestling 12/04/1983 – Wildfire and The Nature Boy [Duration: 01:58:39]

Ric Flair puts the World Heavyweight Championship on the line against Tommy Rich, while Ted DiBiase battles Buzz Sawyer from The Omni

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Was it ever confirmed if they have any GCW TV in good condition?  Wondering if it's somewhere in an unlabeled box next to where the Last Battle footage was found, or if it was just not Network quality enough for WWE. 

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2 hours ago, Phil Schneider said:

Is this the only Flair vs. Rich match on tape?

Probably from that era.  They did wrestle on the WCW Power Hour in March 1990.

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