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[1986-02-07-JCP-Superstars on the Superstation] Dusty Rhodes vs Tully Blanchard

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Tully was so good in this. I've always sort of taken for granted that he was a step below your guys like Arn, Eaton and Morton, but these days I'd pretty comfortably stick him in that same bracket. He was a phenomenal pro-wrestler. This started out with Dusty working the leg, which is how many a Dusty v Horsemen match would start around this time. Flair and his cousins broke Dusty's ankle so it made for an instant revenge hook any time they matched up for months afterwards. His leg work is fine enough, nothing particularly special or compelling but he's Dusty and the crowd are always with him. It's the way Tully reacts to and sells all of it that makes it stand out. Dusty will throw on a spinning toe hold so Tully will roll onto his belly to prevent that spinning toe hold from turning into a figure four. Dusty will try and drag him to the floor so Tully will push his free leg against the bottom rope to stop him, or at the very least make it difficult for him. It wasn't anything mind-blowing in isolation, but it creates that sense of struggle. He takes over when Dusty hits an elbow off the top and tweaks his own bad ankle, and there was a great bit right away where Tully would drive his knee into the ankle, selling that knee at the same time as Dusty had just wrapped it around the ring post not but a minute ago. Tully jumping a guy is like Pat Beverley playing man defence. He gives you no breathing room, just completely swarms you and on top of that he was rolling out some mean looking inverted Indian deathlocks. Both guys' punches looked amazing in this as well. Dusty's left jabs were as good as I've ever seen them, right up there with the best Lawler jab combos. There was an incredible bit where Tully was peppering Dusty in the corner with rights and lefts and Dusty's jelly-legged selling was out of this world. And JJ's interference, while fairly low key, made for a couple great little moments. The first was when Dusty left the ring to stalk him down and Tully lunged between the middle and bottom ropes to get at him. A bit later Dusty went after him again, but when Tully dove for him this time Dusty was ready and caught him with a peach of a right hand. I liked this a bunch and it might actually be my favourite of all their matches together. 

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National Heavyweight Champion Dusty Rhodes. vs Tully Blanchard - JCP 2/7/86

Tully Blanchard has the distinction of having the best Dusty match of all time, Starrcade 1986. This match starts off great but Peters out in the end. Dusty is looking to break each of the Horsemen’s leg and has Tully’s former valet, Baby Doll looking to gain revenge. Dusty’s work on the leg is good but Tully’s selling puts it over the top. Dusty throws some weak kicks but Tully is such a great heel selling. It is pretty heel in peril but Dusty is so charismatic that’s it pretty fun. Dusty no longer has a special protective boot. He comes off the top with a sledge but hurts his leg. Tully rocks this heat segment. These two control segments were awesome but once Dusty catches Tully off the ropes & slams him I thought the finish was pedestrian and lukewarm. Dusty hits a belly 2 belly duplex but no ref. It never gets rocking. They start counting down minute by minute I thought Tully was gonna steal it but no real hot near falls. Dusty has him in a Boston Crab as the bell rings. First 3/4ths is worth it. ***

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