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Wrestling At The Chase/St. Louis Wrestling Club

Superstar Sleeze

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I have become fascinated with 1980s US Wrestling. The territory system and the mystique of so many of these larger than life stars has ensnared me again. I think Parv did a deep dive on this footage with Pete maybe in podcast form. I have flickers of memories of this, but I could be mistaken. 

The famous Larry Matysik's St. Louis 12 disc set is on Impact+ Streaming Network of all places. My free trial rolled over and I figured I should get my money's worth out of it now. I hope to watch a disc a day, we shall see! Shorter form notes than my usual long reviews:

Larry Matysik's hair in 1979 is I dont know how to describe it. I will say this I dont know how any human could ever get their hair to look like that. It is truly a feat of 1970s hairspray. 

I believe all the footage on this disc is from 1979

David Von Erich vs Gene Stevens is a very entertaining competitive squash. Larry M only mentions Kevin & Fritz on commentary no mention of Kerry. I have never bought into the whole David was the anointed one story. He was the most unattractive, gangly and less charismatic of the brothers. Kevin and Kerry were both very good looking, superior workers in my estimation (in fairness David is the one I have seen the least) and more charismatic. I thought David looked really strong here so really nice mat wrestling and wristlocks. This reminded me of the 1986 squashes on Crockett TV against an Action Mike Jackson or Rocky King or a higher ranked jobber as Gene Steven got plenty of offense in. I liked David's dropkick a lot. Strong finish with repeated kneedrops in the corner and then a Vaderbomb to win. Workrate was alive and well in 1979 St. Louis, brutha! Really solid match, I dug it. ***

Brusier Brody  & Bob Sweetan vs Bryan St. John & Billy Starr is a very boring, competitive squash. I was surprised how long this was. The heel stars not being able to put away these chumps was weird. I was shocked when Brody covered after a backbreaker and there was a kick out. Brody has an aura to him for sure, but given how competitive this was. He did lose his luster. Bob Sweetan gets lumped in with Bulldog Bob Brown and Bulldog Bob Brower as lumpy old dudes that are just kinda there for me. Sweetan is the one who usually screws up and lets a face jobber tag, but as Matysik correctly points out Brody&Sweetan have tagged like 20-30 time compared to the jobbers and let have not put them away. David is pretty good on commentary. No mention of Kerry again. I looked it up Kevin is the oldeest then David then Kerry. Kerry would have only been 19 at this time. Kerry would only be 60 today, same age as my Dad that's crazy. We could have had Kerry matches as late as 2010 if he was still alive. Kerry Von Erich in TNA would been nuts! Anyways, thats a tangent. It looks like they are building to Brody vs Andre which definitely have have been a spectacle. Brody one-arm bodyslam and Flying King Kong Kneedrop to win. 

Brody promo: Apparently, inclement weather kept Brody from tagging with Flair against Andre. Instead it was Flair & Murdoch vs Andre & someone that would be awesome to see! Dick Murdoch vs Andre The Giant is being built to. I would love to see Dick Murdoch vs Andre, do we have that? Flair vs Andre does that exist? Brody is a solid promo, but I dont know I wanted him to sound more unhinged or like a savage ruthless. He challenges the winner of Murdoch vs Andre. 

Brody wins a Handicap Match that is competitive but at least shorter than tag. It is a one-arm powerslam and flying kneedrop. I think there's another promo. This is more about gunning for Harley's World Championship. He mentioned he defeated three previous world champions, I cant remember which ones and that Flair is too pretty to be World Champ. A shoot perhaps?

Battle of the Dicks: NWA Missouri Heavyweight Champion Dick The Bruiser vs Dick Murdoch. Murdoch was scheduled for a squash against St. John, but Dick The Brusier comes out and wants a piece of Dick Murdoch. Sam Muchnick comes out and makes the match official for the Missouri Championship. DB had defeated Murdoch for the Championship but Murdoch I guess was hounding him. Looks like this is from March 18, 1979 as Murdoch wins the Missouri Championship which until Muchnick retirement on January 1, 1982 was probably the second most prestigious title after the World Heavyweight Championship in the NWA. The Brusier was 51 at the time. He was not bumping or selling for shit. There were some fun Murdoch moments. I loved how hard Murdoch would try to ram his head into the buckles but Brusier would resist, Brusier sold resistance better but Murdoch's face made it. They brawled on the outside with DB slamming his head into the table. 1979 St. Louis has workrate and brawling! DB gets a stomach claw and a couple bodyslams too close to the ropes. I liked that the Brusier slammed Murdoch's head into the buckles. Further symmetry, Murdoch slammed Bruiser too close to the ropes, but he scooped DB's leg off before the ref could see and count the fall. Winner and new champion! A very heel controversial finish! St. Louis was not dry at all. The fans hated Murdoch too. Murdoch did the best he could, but DB was a load. 

NWA Missouri Heavyweight Champion Dick Murdoch vs Pat O'Connor: These two have a match from All Japan 1975 that I should revisit to see if I have more patience for it. I remember it being dry with a headlock/headscissors dominating most of the match. O'Connor is 56 years old! He moves a lot better than the Bruiser and this is a much better match. Murdoch controls with a side headlock, O'Connor Roll as a hope spot! O'Connor works some great armdrags reminiscent of Jack Brisco or Ricky Steamboat. Very technically sound match. Murdoch's heat segment is great at one point he tries to rip O'Connor jaw apart. It is always a joy to watch Murdoch great blend of comedy and torture. Finish is alright. O'Connor has him in the sleeper and TV crowd goes wild! They really want him to win. Murdoch milks it but gets up and rams O'Connor's head into the buckles. Matysik says he sees red but I dont. Dick The Bruiser comes out and attacks Murdoch triggering the DQ.  It makes sense as Bruiser was trying to prevent further injury to his fellow old-timer.

Murdoch's heel promo is great! He talks about beating up everyone Jack Brisco, Ted DiBiase and Brusier with Brainbuster and Larry reminds him that those Brainbusters were illegal outside the ring. After one, Murdoch says you shouldnt have moved the ring. Which popped me! Oh I loved Murdoch calling the ref Muchnick Stooges during his matches. He calls Larry a Muchnick stooge. 20 years before Austin vs McMahon there was Murdoch vs Muchnick. He accuses Muchnick of conspiring against him. Awesome promo!  

Dick The Brusier vs Mike Bowyer - DB uses some nerve holds and test of strength. He throws Bowyer outside. Slams him into the table over the table into the chairs. Ice water to the face and then beats on the stairs. Pins with a flying stomp. If Dick The Bruiser was not 51, that would probably have been great. Larry talks about how no wrestler has been suspended more than Dick The Brusier and how he is a general ruffian. Question traditionally roughhouser were heels and the clean technical wrestlers the babyfaces. Was Dick The Bruiser the first sort of blue collar, everyman roughhouse babyface? That's very influential if true as he would be the ancestor of Stone Cold Steve Austin. Da Crusher was also similar but I find Da Crusher more entertaining. 

Larry tells us the next matches are clipped for a Best of Wrestling at the Chase episode they ran in 1979 of 1978 matches. 

Bruiser Brody (a St. Louis mainstay, it is from St. Louis we get all the Flair vs Brody matches) beats a jobber with a Boston Crab. It is interesting that Muchnick and Verne Gagne has reps for loving technical, classic/traditional wrestling but featured a lot of roughhouse brawls like Brody, Dick The Bruiser and Da Crusher. 

Terry Funk wins with a Sunset Flip over Tank Patton, good Funk selling performance. 

Dick Murdoch beats the crap out of Steve Hall. Murdoch was feuding with Andre and Dick The Bruiser at this time. Great Murdoch performance. 

Joyce Grable (babyface) vs Leliani Kai (heel) was awesome! Bodyslam on the floor starts these clips. Throwing themselves into catapults, belly flops and flying hair mares. The ref gets caught in their Tasmanian Devil tornado of dust to delight of the fans. Nice pinning combinations. I believe Grable got the duke. 

Pat O'Connor/Joyce Grable vs Bulldog Bob Brown & Suzette Star, the first clip we see is Grable hop on O'Connor's back and slap Bulldog. Bulldog got hot. That spot was over. O'Connor worked Brown. Suzette came into do the same spot but Bulldog collapsed from exhaustion. Grable wins the match. Grable was a good wrestler from these clips. 

Dick The Bruiser beats the shit out of a jobber. He was Missouri Heavyweight Champion. They were building to a Harley Race World Heavyweight Title shot. Bruiser beats him around the ring and over the table. Flying stomp and a piledriver. 

Harley Race vs a jobber. He beats him down with some high knees. Dick The Bruiser is out and has an extraordinarily husky voice. He puts on the NWA Championship to taunt Race. Race goes for the Piledriver on the floor but is backdropped out. Dick The Bruiser might old as dirt but he is over as rover. 

Next we go to Ted DiBiase finally a babyface under 50. Powerslam and Figure-4 gets the win for him. 

Ric Flair vs Pat O'Connor which I think we have in full somewhere else. Ric Flair is a breath of fresh air after all this old man footage. Flair Flip. Flair ends up taking over and kicking ass. I love he maintains control of his Figure-4. O'Connor gets to his belly and Flair snaps him back over in the hold. O'Connor was a very athletic man compared to the average wrestler back in the day which were a lot of tough guys and strongmen. Flair rams O'Connor hard into the post and O'Connor is really bleeding. Flair taunts DiBiase and throws water in his face. It is on! Great pull apart brawl as DiBiase kicks some ass until some midcard heels help Flair and then the midcard babyfaces save DiBiase. I know we get Flair vs DiBiase in that epic Mid-South angle but I would love to see what they could with some time at the Kiel Auditorium. 

Clips of Ted DiBiase vs King Kong Brody (sorry for incorrectly using Bruiser Brody, anywhere Dick The Bruiser worked, Bruiser Brody had to work as King Kong Brody). Brody kicks his ass as we are JIP, great King of the Mountain. Brody is shorter than I thought he was. This could be a combination that DiBiase is taller than I gave him credit. I would say both are in 6' 2"-6' 4" range. Brody takes a Sunset Flip. I think Brody not bumping is a little overstated and may have more to do that he worked Face against Flair and also he worked Japan a lot. So those two contexts would make sense for him not to bump as opposed to here where DiBiase had him on the ropes. Brody bumped for the dropkick and DiBiase repeatedly going for the Figure-4 with Brody clearly reeling. This being Superstar vs Superstar we get the Double DQ/DCO finish with Brody and DiBiase going wild into the announce table. DiBiase crowns Brody with a chair. Pretty damn good little brawl. I would check out a DiBiase vs Brody arena match in full based on this TV Match.  

Clips of Dibiase & Orndorff vs Harley & Bulldog Brown - Orndorff is a dude I have no idea what he was like before WWF. Some preliminary research shows he was a big deal in Georgia at the time. He looks good here, I liked his Irish Whip heel into the other heel spot. This is all about DiBiase vs Race. Lots of the young upstart Ted DiBiase showing up Race at the beginning and then on the floor back dropping out of a piledriver and then in the grand finale pinning the World Champion with a bridging German Suplex. Crowd popped huge and DiBiase celebrated big. I wouldnt read into this too much insofar I dont think he was going to win the Title tomorrow. I think it clearly shows the NWA was high on DiBiase and that he was being groomed for big things, but to say he was in contention to be the Man after Harley Race would be a stretch. I think this was more looking into building him as a potential champion after Flair in the Late 80s if the NWA stayed with the same business model.  

Harley Race beats Gary Young interesting Gary Young is a protege of Pat O'Connor were their higher hopes for Gary Young than realized?

Overall Thoughts: The best part of St. Louis since it is a town that flies in all its talent from around the country, you get an all-star feel and a nice cross-section of what was out there. There is a lot of heavy hitters like Flair, Brody, Murdoch and Race for the time. You get the young upstarts like DiBiase and Von Erichs. You get plenty of old-timers like Dick The Bruiser and Pat O'Connor. Negatives were I would have liked to seen more promos or angles. The angle between the two Dicks was very fun even if the match was not so more stuff like that would be great. Pat O'Connor vs Dick Murdoch was my favorite match with the David Von Erich competitive squash being a close second. Dick Murdoch is who I enjoyed most based on his in-ring work and that one promo. Dick The Bruiser to me is an intriguing figure even if he looks as old as dirt. Looking forward to the next disc...looking ahead there's a Dick Murdoch vs Kevin Von Erich match that if it is clips will be enjoyable and if it is in full with a clean finish is a possible MOTYC on paper. Murdoch & Kevin are both in my Top 50 of all time, really looking forward to this! 

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Thanks brutha for the tip! That sounds interesting even given the circumstances.

Disc 2 is more from 1979!

Harley Race vs David Von Erich deserves its own thread. 

We see clips of Harley Race defending the title against Jumbo in Japan, Martel in Australia and Randy Alls (Rose) in Atlanta. All surprisingly clean victories and the last two with the delayed vertical suplex, I didnt realize he had a finish move and if he did I thought it was the headbutt so that was cool to learn. 

Fabulous Moolah vs Winona Littleheart was workrate because they knew the crowd was not into them. So they just kept moving. Smart strategy. Where's Joyce Grable? I liked her. 

Dory Funk Jr vs Jobber only say Funk hit a piledriver, suplex and Spinning Toehold. I like Dory usually. 

Ric Flair vs Jobber ok Flair begs off against this jobber and probably shouldnt BUT and there is CAPTIAL BUT he did throw a kick right into the breadbasket when he lured him into the corner so it was strategy. Flair wins the Criss-Cross with a reverse elbow after firefighting didnt work. See strategy shifting in 1979 squash matches, you gotta love Flair. Flair kicks ass now with the delayed vertical and the Figure-4. 

Bobo Brazil vs Two Jobbers, this is my first Brazil match, he is HUGE! He was 55 at this point. He had plenty of charisma. His heel jabronis did not. I got to see the Coco Headbutt so that was cool! 

I got work to do so that's it for the night. 

We get some famous 1960s footage of Wrestling At The Chase, in black & white at the Chase Hotel in its Ballroom. I know I have seen this before because the setting of well-dressed patron at long dining tables watching the pro graps made quite an impression on me.

Johnny Valentine vs Bill Frazier - Joe Garagiola is pretty funny on commentary calling Valentine the Baking Soda man because of his Arm & Hammer finish which is just big Hammer Elbows. Greg didnt fall too far from the tree. He teases Frazier about not missing any meals and that his head resembles a bowling ball. Decent match. Solid grappling and such . Valentine is a good roughhouse wrestler like his son. Frazier tries to play king of the mountain with Valentine but that just draws his ire and Valentine waylays him with some Arm & Hammer shots. The Baking Soda Man!

Pat O'Connor vs Lorzeno Parente is just beautiful wrestling! If you havent seen it, you simply must. It is gorgeous all around. Pat O'Connor is someone I feel we are missing out on big time to have seen in this time period would have been a joy. This is real deal chain wrestling how we mean it. The best part by far is how O'Connor maintains controls of the hammerlock even through snapmares. This is a technical babyface vs babyface classic. They keep it clean and they work wonderfully in and out of holds. What's amazing is after 3-4 minutes of chaining they both stand up and the crowd applauds. The more things change, the more they stay the same! That wouldnt be out of place at an Indy today! They work a terrific workrate finish that's bing bang boom and O'Connor ends up on top for the win. ***1/2

Now if you havent seen O'Connor apply wrestling holds on Joe Garagiola, I implore you again, you simply must! This is tremendous TV!

From there they segueway into Kevin Von Erich applying the body scissors on Larry Matysik but it is not quite as fun as the previous segment from the 60s. 

Then we get a long, but action-packed tag pitting Missouri Champion Dick Murdoch & Bulldog Bob Brown vs Kevin Von Erich & "Big Thunder" Gene Kiniski. About 17-18 minutes long with a great Dicky Murdoch promo to set up the Murdoch vs Kevin Missouri State Tile Defense the next week. Triple face in peril. St. Louis Wrestling is Gorilla's dream promotion as they have two refs for tag matches but that does not stop the cheating. There is a triple face in peril. Murdoch works strangling with the tag rope into multiple situations. Kiniski was 51 years old but similar to his eager beaver performance at Starrcade 1983 had plenty of energy. Him and Bulldog Bob looked like twins but Bulldog Bob is a little shorter and squatter. Vigorous action though throughout. Kevin is wearing boots, but not quite as feisty. Murdoch carries this as expected with his heel shenanigans. The Iron Claw is applied mid-way through the match. Murdoch sells it for all its worth. Funny spot is when Brown comes over to tag, Murdoch walks to a neutral corner. He has no desire to get back in there with the Iron Claw. They work a fake finish with Murdoch feet on the ropes and the second ref calls it off. Double DDQ is the real finish, they love brawling at ringside and so do I! Murdoch and Kevin bash each other into the announce table and it looks great. I am wicked excited for the singles clash between two of my all-time favorites! ***

Duck Murdoch vs Kevin Von Erich - Two of my Top 50 favorite wrestlers of all time. Murdoch cuts a great promo about how Kevin is a boy and that he shouldn’t be out here if he’s going to sound like he is crying. It is true the Von Erichs were pretty terrible promos. The match did not live up to the hype in my head. Kevin didn’t wrestle very Kevin-y if you watched a lot of Kevin in World Class you know what I mean. The easiest way to describe it is like it felt like no one told Kevin it was a work. He was always struggling always fighting back and it gave his matches a unique feel. I don’t know if it was because this was St. Louis instead of Dallas or if he didn’t develop style until later (this match took place in 1979-1980, all the World Class I have seen is from 1982 on). It is still a good match but it is not extra special. Murdoch forces Kevin to wrestle from underneath. Kevin wins a test of strength in great fashion and Gorilla would be incredibly impressed by his abdominal stretch as it is absolutely perfect! Murdoch also is not quite as Murdoch-y in this match. Not much in the way of fun heel shenanigans or torturing a body part. Both just give good performances. Kevin kicks out at 1 from the Brainbuster. Giant Splash eats knees. Iron Claw really well done and dramatic. Bulldog Bob Brown attacks Kevin before Murdoch gives. Massive pull apart that really builds to the Kiel match in a week. Nice little TV match to build to the house show match but not extra special sumthin sumthin. ***1/4

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Disc 3

Begins with a Lou Thesz promo, he comes across very affable. I would like to listen to Thesz spin a yarn. He has that old school charisma that requires no yelling, just pleasant to listen to. 

Thesz is doing commentary while Rufus R Jones wrestles a squash. I dont think I have ever seen a Rufus match. The way he juked & jived out of the side headlock popped me. He was a shucking & jiving babyface and liked his vibe. The best part was Thesz talking about how all the old timers are so pissy about new fangled wrestling, but he doesnt feel that way. The more things change, the more they stay the same. 

They show five squash matches of Rocky Johnson. Another wrestler I dont think I have seen wrestle. Lots of Ali influences you can tell with the shuffle as a wrestler he takes it further with back rolls and stuff. Each squash ends with two dropkicks and then another move such as Argentine Backbreaker, Gutwrench or vertical. Larry tells us that Rocky had a NWA Championship Match against Harley Race, which I didint realize he was that big of a deal. That's pretty cool. 

Dick Murdoch vs Dick The Bruiser's Son In-Law Spike Huber. Huber is all piss 'n' vinegar to start. Raucous start as Murdoch takes a walk. Murdoch has been the MVP of this footage. He was great at combining the charisma and the explosive offense. He pulls Huber up only to hit the Brainbuster to make a point to his archenemy Dick The Bruiser. 

King Kong Brody vs Abdullah The Butcher as I learn from Larry that St. Louis did do spot shows. I didnt realize that. It was on either side of the Missouri and Illinois border. I thought they just worked the Kiel or Checkerdome and Wrestling at the Chase.  I have seen at least one of their brawls from World Class not as good as that. Brody lets himself get beatup and stood upon. Brody blades very visibly on camera. Brody comeback just happens. No real fire. No big transition. They do the brawl on the outside with chairs and stuff. This was ok. The fact the lighting was so bright and it was in High School Gym made me think this was in the 90s.

Judy Martin vs Winona Littleheart - Judy Martin is a badass. Good kickass performance from her. Littleheart has an American Indian gimmick does the Wardance and ends up winning with a reverse crossbody. Joyce Grable vs Judy Martin is my new dream match. 

Just realized I have more work to do in the morning so gotta cut it short tonight. 

Dick Murdoch & Baron Von Raschke vs Ted DiBiase & David Von Erich - AWESOME 20 minute time limit draw! I really need to make a review for this because this rocked. Murdoch continues to be the MVP of this set. Before there was Rick Rude there was Dicky Murdoch selling Atomic Drops. He gets strangled with the tag rope he brings in. Baron ends up putting the Claw on him! That popped me. The Figure-4 on Murdoch and Claw on Von Raschke was good craic. DiBiase/Murdoch brawled on the outside. So much Murdoch goodness. Baron was still pretty solid at this point as he was a spry 40 years old at this time compared to some of the other old-timers. The main crux of this story was the Battle of the Claws, the Von Erich Iron Claw vs the Von Raschke BRAIN Claw! Great moment where Baron has the Claw applied, David fights through the pain and applies THE CLAW WHILE IN THE CLAW~! I popped for this! Another great moment saw David applying the Claw on the Baron and Murdoch jump off the top rope into a STOMACH CLAW! Awesome! Finish was Murdoch hitting a piledriver on DiBiase but time ran out. This 20 minutes of kickass action with a great story. ***3/4

Baron Von Raschke promo about the Brain Claw vs Iron Claw it is a bunch of trash talk but it is said with conviction and that's the major difference between today and yesterday. If the wrestler's believe, you believe. That's all kayfabe is, brutha. 

NWA Missouri Heavyweight Champion Ken Patera squash. Our first look at Patera and given that he is Missouri Champ and Larry says he beat Kevin Von Erich (a dream match I gotta see!) means this in between April-November 1980. Patera hits a nice bodyslam. A little Flair begging off there. Swinging Full Nelson wins him the match. Patera was clearly presented as a strongman and a main event act. 

Killer Karl Kox & Bulldog Bob Brown vs Pat O'Connor & Tommy Yates - a nothing match, I thought Yates was a failed babyface experiment at first, but no he was a jobber and just the fall guy. Kox and Brown argue over who should pin him. Kox vs Brown, I am sure that put asses in seats in 1980. 

Ted DiBiase & Wendi Richter vs Bulldog Bob Brown & Vivian St. John - The women were good fun in this. Vivian is a nasty heel. She went to the double goozle more often than not but with head shaking from Wendi it was a good visual. I like how raw the women are. Bulldog Bob got socked but gets his licks in on Wendi, which is pretty edgy for 1980 including choking her with tag rope. Wendi ends giving him a lickin for the lickin he gave as The Dream would say. Bulldog Bob sold for DiBiase pretty well. Wendi won with a Schoolboy. Very ok match. Skippable. 

NWA Missouri Heavyweight Champion Ken Patera squash against Tommy Yates.  Patera hits the delayed vertical as a shot across the bow to the World Champion Harley Race. Patera has a great bodyslam. Swinging Full Nelson. Patera's promo is solid nothing earth-shattering. He is coming for Race, he got a shot in 1977 but he is more experienced and seasoned and this time he is taking the Gold home. 

David Von Erich vs Bobby Jaggers - David is growing on me. He is not immediately appealing like Wild Man Kevin Von Erich or Herculean Kerry Von Erich but he is a nice solid wrestler. Reminds me of a Barry Windham or a Dustin Rhodes which is mighty high praise, but not quite at their level. Jaggers is the quintessential 80s midcarder, never a jobber, never in the main event (well maybe Central States or Southwest). David looked really good at the fundamentals and the mat wrestling. Jaggers was using the thumb jab to the throat liberally as his cutoff. Liked David throwing that back at him after two. This felt like a match they were just extending to fill time with a long chinlock from Jaggers. They were really selling David vs Baron in the Battle of the Claws. The finish is David busting open Jaggers with the Iron Claw for the win. 

Dick Murdoch & Baron Von Raschke vs Pat O'Connor & Kerry Brown - Another O'Connor/Jobber connection. Murdoch is fantastic in this everyone else is fine. Murdoch just ragdolls Brown. Beating him to a pulp on the outside with the announce table. Then crowning him with the chair. I loved him jumping on the back of O'Connor from the top rope illegally. They continue to sell David vs Baron, Baron defeats Brown with the Claw, BUT NO BLOOD! Seems like David's may be superior. Come to the Kiel Auditorium this week to find out!

Overall Thoughts: Dick Murdoch & Baron Von Raschke vs Ted DiBiase & David Von Erich was terrific! That's really all you can ask for these old school comps is if you get one really strong, long match a disc then the disc is a success. Dick Murdoch continues to shine. David Von Erich is growing on me. Nice to see Lou Thesz and Ken Patera. 

Next Disc looks pretty skimpy. I would say I am most interested in Ted DiBiase vs Big John Studd as I have seen almost zero Studd before WWF. 

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Disc #4 Baby!

NWA Missouri Heavyweight Champion Ted DiBiase vs Big John Studd - Apparently, DiBiase is coming off the heels of a controversial match with World Champion Harley Race (more on that later) that has Larry calling DiBiase "The Uncrowned World Champion" which does bolster Parv's case for DiBiase as a top contender for the World Championship. I am a sucker for Big John Studd even though I know he is not very good. I got excited that there would be something here, but not really. The match was pretty boring. Lots of chinlocks from Studd. DiBiase is a decent white-meat babyface but I think he found his true calling as a heel in Mid-South. When you compare DiBiase to the great babyfaces of the 80s, Steamboat, Santana, Martel and Windham, he doesnt have the fire, charisma or selling chops those four had. He is solid enough here. Studd does look like a monster. Studd plays King of the Mountain and DiBiase yanks him down and posts the knee. Nice! DiBiase is looking for the Figure-4 big kickout by Studd sends DiBiase crashing through the ropes. Studd slams DiBiase into the front row seat. I think a woman put her leg on that seat so Studd couldnt do it again! Awesome! DiBiase took control and bashed Studd with the chair! It is a double DQ or countout! Boring match, strong finish. 

I had never heard a Studd promo. He is alright. Sounds like a pretty normal wrestling dude. Says punk a lot. He says he whupped DiBiase so he knows he can whup Harley Race and he is going to win the Missouri and World Championship. 

Bulldog Bob Brown & Kerry Brown vs Kelly Twins - Turns out Kerry Brown is Bulldog Bob's nephew. He is bleeding. Turns out the Kelly Twins are not jobbers. They are Irish-Canadian twins of some size that I have never heard of. Did anything come of them? Bulldog Bob gets the hot tag. Oh boy! That's what everyone was clamoring for in 1981 was the Bulldog Bob face turn. Kerry submits to the Irish Clutch, looked like a standing, inverted Figure-4. 

Bulldog Bob Brown vs Pat Kelly - Oh boy! The worst most boring match I have seen in quite sometime. The match is a 15 minute draw so boring that Larry has enough time to regale us with the complete story of the Race vs DiBiase match from the Kiel. It was 2 out of 3 falls, Harley took the first, Ted the second. It was a Dusty finish. You know in retrospect even though Dusty used the finish a lot he clearly cribbed it from somewhere else. Harley hurled DiBiase over the top rope but the ref had been bumped. DiBiase recovered and hit a bridging suplex to get the three count from the new ref, but the original ref called for the DQ. Lame. Brown poured it on with a couple minutes left including a dropkick and a lot of backbreakers. In his defense this old ass ref had a really slow count. Legdrop as time expires. Yeah I watched a 15 minute Bulldog Brown vs Pat Kelly draw, sympathy cards welcomed. 

Time for bed.  

Akio Sato vs Max Blue - Almost skipped this, glad I didnt as I enjoyed it a good bit. Akio Sato is Sato from the Orient Express. It seems he got pushed in the Central States territory as a babyface partner of Bob Giegel which is interesting and cool. Guys on RAW, Dynamite and Smackdown wish they could have a match this efficient and tell such a great story in 7 minutes and change. Just such nice fundamental wrestling from both. So tight. Sato keeps getting the upper hand. So Blue starts in with the dirty tactics, a shot to the kidney, no clean break. Sato keeps sticking to the holds. Blue throws in some high flying with the headscissors and Sato just keeps dogging him. Then Sato sneaks in the punch for all the bullshit Blue was doing. Side suplex wins it for Sato. Just beautiful meat & potatoes wrestling. ***1/4. They dont make em like they used to. 

Dick The Bruiser & Jesse Barr vs Buzz Tyler & Mike George - Let me tell you something,  I didnt expect Buzz Tyler OR Mike George to look like that. I think I was getting Buzz Tyler confused with Bugsy McGraw. I never seen Buzz Tyler before. He is a tubby fellow and I was not expecting that. Mike George is another name I have seen a bunch but never seen wrestle. I was not expecting the toothless cousin of Bob Ross. This match was not much. Dick The Bruiser may have been good craic in the 60s and early 70s but he was toast at this point. The heels were as generic as they come. Jesse Barr was very, very sound fundamentally I can see why he was pushed in Florida, he had that pedigree they like. DB busted Buzz open in the nose and mouth hardway on the announce table because he didnt get his hands up in time. To add insult to injury, he claws and raked at his face after he pinned him. 

NWA Missouri Champion Ken Patera vs Tommy Sharpe - At least Sharpe tried to give this a shot on work on Patera's knee. Patera had MASSIVE arms. It is interesting because the rest of his body is not that big, but his arms are huge. I wouldnt say Patera is someone I really want to seek out after watching these squashes but he is definitely good. Great bodyslam and the Full Nelson is perfect for him. 

Larry Matysik and Mickey Garagiola reminiscing about old times was great. Loved finding out Gene Kiniski was a motormouth, chatterbox & gourmet cook. Dick The Bruiser was the salt of the Earth, tough guy that cries at his daughter's wedding. Great story about how Mickey's brother Joe a famous baseball player got some free food, but a different person didnt know who the brother was, but he knew Mickey from Wrestling At The Chase! :)    

King Kong Brody & Ken Patera vs Rocky Johnson & Pat O'Connor - 15 minute draw. This match was a bit of clusterfuck and boring at times. Brody was pretty useless. Just plain not selling in a Rocky John Full Nelson. Patera was real into chinlocks. However, at least Patera was willing to bump and sell for Rocky Johnson. I enjoy Rocky. All his movements are very exaggerated which I bet played for arena audience. Very athletic. I loved his shaking his tailfeather to power himself out of a Brody knucklelock. I love a good booty-shakin' babyface. He was a fun babyface. O'Connor had a hot tag. It is interesting he had a hot tag with 5 minutes to go so I expected 5 minutes of uptempo action. I think we have been spoiled by the long finish stretches of Flair and All Japan. They took us back down and worked more heat. The finish with a minute to go was not even that hot. Like what I have seen from Rocky, not a good showing from Brody or Patera.

Brody was a weird a promo. There is almost no way his voice could match his aura. He just sounds like a big redneck. He is complaining about being in tag wrestling and Sam Muchnick. Lots of heels going after Muchnick. 

Weakest disc so far. Akio Sato vs Max Blue was the best match. The best part was Larry and Mickey reminiscing! :) The next disc should be better we have Ric Flair vs Pat O'Connor and Kerry Von Erich vs Ken Patera! Two marquee matches!

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Disc 5 lets roll...

Hangman Bobby Jaggers vs Tommy Sharpe - Jaggers has the Hangman name. He wrestles very similarly to Flair, but not as energetic, not as interesting and not as loud. He lets Sharp overwhelm him at every turn. Sharpe charges and Jaggers repels him. Jaggers has some good clubbering offense, but then its chinlock city. The finish is a Hangman's Lariat, didnt look good. 

Baron Von Raschke vs Art Crews - In one of those St. Louis nomenclature idiosyncrasies, Baron is forced to dropped the Baron from his name. St. Louis is cool because you do get to see the AWA stars mix it up with the NWA. I would bet Baron was a great wrestler in the late 60s and throughout the 70s. I have watched a lot of him recently and you can pick up his wrestling pedigree. Great athleticism besides a botched monkey flip probably because he had never taken it before. The middle section was quite exciting with the Baron kicking ass. He let Crews have a little and then it was chinlock city by the Baron. Yawn. Baron wins with the Brain Claw!

Kerry Von Erich! vs A Jobber- Kerry looking like a million bucks but still growing his hair out. Good technically sound wrestling by Kerry early and then we get the Power wrestling. Great Urnage/Oo-Soto-Gari combination. Basically think Rock Bottom combined with a Hiptoss and it looked vicious! The Iron Claw ends up in the ropes but the Brain Claw gives him the victory and it was powerful. He hoisted the jobber up with the Stomach Claw and slams him to the mat!

Butch Reed & Rufus R. Jones vs The Kelly Twins - I am surprised in a more soap opera-oriented territory like a Memphis they didnt pick up the Kelly twins just to do the evil twin angle. Soaps can do the whole evil twin with camera tricks. WWF did with the Hebners once to great effect. To me the dumbest thing you can do is debut twins together. Give one a year or so as a babyface and then you pull the evil twin trick that's money. I think you could still do it, but probably not as effectively but in the 80s, huge! Kelly Twins werent half bad either. Rufus is from Boston?!? Maybe the best Boston wrestler until John Cena came along! Rufus was over with the audience and me. He is fun. Reed looked awesome in this. I need to check more Reed, great wrestler. Kellys were effective heels, but Reed was the MVP. Draw finish. Reed was cooking at the end though, dropped the leg as time expired. 

NWA World Champion Jack Brisco vs Giant Baba Kiel Auditorium Highlights form 8/8/75 - Jack wins the first fall with the O'Connor Roll. Jack wrestling heel in this is interesting. Baba wins the second fall with his Neckbreaker Drop Lariat. Brisco wins with a Back Suplex. We have their 1974 title switches in full and in great quality thanks to the Japanese. They are dandies! Definitely check those out if you have time. 

Time for a break. When we come back Ric Flair vs Pat O'Connor! Kerry Von Erich vs Ken Patera!   

Bruce Reed vs Hangman Bobby Jaggers - Im sad to report that Jaggers is not a lost worker of the 80s. He is a very basic heel. I liked Reed a lot of this good, strong babyface. This is a more traditional structure compared to some of the slam bang workrate tag matches I have seen. After besting Jaggers at every turn, Reed takes a tumble to the outside off a missed charge. Jaggers plays of the King of the Mountain, which was good stuff. Then it is chinlock city. Two Reed tackles and it is followed by the Jaggers kneelift. It is clear they are working for the draw. Reed doesnt get his comeback until there's less than a minute. So weird not seeing the long extended babyface finish. They both knock heads after the time limit expires. 

Ric Flair vs Pat O'Connor - Wooooo! Daddy, this is more like it! They are building to Flair vs DiBiase for the Missouri Championship and de facto Number 1 Contender to Harley Race. This is during the time they were really building Flair giving him wins over the former World Champions and top contenders. Flair looks great here, maybe the best he ever has. He was always jacked but he looked leaner than ever. O'Connor looks like dogshit, but he can still wrestle, brutha. Classic Flair with O'Connor getting the best of him in interesting and entertaining ways. Flair works the front facelock and it is really fun and cool because O'Connor uses a lot of suplex attempts and other ways to break Flair's grip and on the third suplex does. Flair is the master of using all the real estate afforded to him and the action goes to the outside. He wraps O'Connor's knee around the post. I love O'Connor's reaction to the Single Leg Pickup he just starts throwing right haymakers to the bandage on Flair's head reopening the wound! What great psychology. Now Flair is bleeding and the crowd is whipped into a frenzy. O'Connor with a sleeper on the outside and Flair slams him into the post, Figure-4! The ref count is on and Flair makes it in. Flair's promo is money. He is 100% The Nature Boy! The ladies only care if he wins or loses, daddy, they dont care how he does it. He runs down DiBiase and Race and says all the gold will be his. The Man! I love Naitch. My favorite match thus far, but not for long, I will say Flair vs Kerry, Reed vs Blackwell and Kerry vs Valentine top this from St. Louis. ***3/4

Kerry Von Erich & Rufus R. Jones vs JJ Dillon & Mike Kelley - Sub-5 minute match. JJ's heart was not in it, barely stooged for Rufus. Nothing match. 

Ken Patera vs Kerry Von Erich was great. Really enjoyed all the ways Kerry showed up Patera and how Patera sold that. Ken tried to flex early and Kerry made him paid. Then Patera thinks he got some momentum rolling and Kerry dropkicks him out of the ring. Patera has Kerry in a headlock and ends up sat down the top rope. At this point Patera comes crashing down on Kerry. I thought Kerry's selling was better than Patera's offense. It was entertaining throughout. It was a predictable draw in this star vs star match with Kerry getting an O'Connor Roll as time expired. ***1/4

Wendi Richter & Joyce Grable vs Carol Summers & Jill Fontaine was the surprise of century! My favorite match of the set so far. Grable looked fantastic in her singles match and I thought Richter was pretty good in that mixed tag. I remember remarking to myself and surprised I didnt put it in my review of the Richter tag that I wanted to see Grable vs Richter. They put turned heel and just put on a clinic. They were giving Mickey a ton of shit during the introductions. He gets out of there and compares them to Ox Baker and Bulldog Bob Brown. I popped. If you wanna see a carryjob watch this. Richter and Grable put on a clinic. They rip through the babyfaces at the start, but then it becomes competitive. There's a part where they are missing giant splashes that is great. Richter throws herself into some great bumps. The finish is a Richter backdropping one of the girls into a Grable POWERBOMB~! MADNESS! SHEER MADNESS! Loved the hell out of this! ****

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Disc 6 does not look like it has much meat on the bone

We start off with my main man, Crusher Blackwell looking like a million bucks. Love his freight train body splash in the corner and we get a sick legdrop. He gets into a brawl with Dewey Robertson not yet the Missing Link. Robertson sends Blackwell into the post and he NO SELLS IT! There is a fight. Blackwell yanks the chair right out from the smokin' hot girl in the red sweater. He then starts to bash himself in the head with the chair. That was something else! Love Blackwell! 

Bob Orton vs Mark Romero was a surprisingly awesome squash. Orton's reputation has risen over the last decade as a workrate dynamo and it is rightfully shown here. Romero looks like the type of cat with the right breaks and mentor could have been somebody, but it didnt pan out. There is a clip in the middle unfortunately but what we get is rockin'. The two most memorable things by far are Orton's two escapes from the headscissors. The first Romero ends up hanging down his front and that could have easily been converted into a tombstone piledriver but it is c. 1981 so I am not sure if it was even invented yet. The second had Romero down the back and Orton executed one of the best Airplane Spins ever! Romero was a serviceable babyface but this was the Orton show. Great rope-assisted dropkick. Loved the powerslam and backbreaker. Orton is a worker I need to see more of. His best match by far is that Southwest Classic with Terry Funk. Pre-WWF Orton is definitely on my to do list, but I dont know how much we have. Romero goes back to the flying headscissors. I would be remiss to mention that Orton executed a flying headscissors early in the match to my surprise and then missed it in entertaining fashion. Romero executes the first attempt but on the second attempt Orton evades and Romero ends up eating the top turnbuckle which is a perfect set up for the Superplex! Hard to beat this competitive squash! ***1/4

Bruiser Brody vs Dory Funk Jr in All Japan - I dont know why this made the comp except that Larry is a total Brody mark. Double juice, good Dory fire and clean finish. Easy recommend. ***3/4

Kerry Von Erich & Rufus R. Jones vs JJ Dillon & Bobby Jaggers - JJ underwhelms again! Best Jaggers performance, lots of great stooging, I loved him falling into the ring and also tagging Kerry in the wrong corner and getting waffled. I enjoy Rufus' schtick and Kerry had some great highspots. Then way Kerry hit his dropkicks in a whirlwind of energy was really cool. Time limit draw. 

NWA Missouri Heavyweight Champion Ted DiBiase vs Chief Thundercloud - DiBiase beat Flair and is back in contention for the World Championship, but The American Dream Dusty Rhodes is coming, baby. Thundercloud gave DiBiase more fits than I expected with his chops, hair pulling, getting DiBiase off his feet more than once. DiBiase used the Fireman's Carry liberally not quite as good at as Baron Von Raschke but it is an underrated takedown and I dug it here. Flair & Patera vs Dusty & Dick The Bruiser is being advertised. I liked when Thundercloud was chopping in the corner that DiBiase used the Greco-Roman Double Underhooks and repositioned so they could open a can of whoop ass on him. DiBiase wins with the Figure-4.

After like three or four discs mentioning this big angle at the Kiel with DiBiase and Race from February of 1981, it turns out we have footage of it! Race won the first fall with a Tombstone Piledriver so I guess it was around, it was not exactly like the Undertakers as Race just fell forwards. DiBiase hit a kneecrusher/Figure-4 to win the second fall. The third fall was just as Larry explained. Ref bump to outside. DiBiase over the top rope. DiBiase pins with the Bridging Back Suplex, but the top rope is a DQ so Race retains. Crowd did pop huge and it looked like DiBiase was very over! 

NWA World Heavyweight Champion Harley Race vs Spike Huber is exemplary of how Harley works, all action no substance. Lots of highspots and bomb-throwing, but light on character work, struggle. It is very cold, mechanical. It is very Triple H. You can see how Triple H picked up a lot more from Harley Race than he did the Nature Boy. Huber, who is Dick The Bruiser's son in-law bounces the champion around but with none of the pizzazz that Flair would have also Flair would have created obstacles for Huber to overcome. I will admit I did find the finish quite exciting. It was Harley missing a falling headbutt on the outside right into concrete that generated some nice nearfalls for Huber. They did these two weird leapfrogs spots where the collided into each other, but they looked gnarly. Race got pressed slam off the top. Harley hit a nice piledriver to win. Like I said if you like highspots galore and pure workrate you will enjoy this, but it is very Spot A->Spot B->Spot C wrestling with little connective tissue. ***

A pair of Dusty Rhodes squashes. I do think these squashes put the previous match in perspective for as much I would rail against the lack of character work, psychology and struggle in the previous match, it was at least not as boring as these matches. Dusty was not quite as charismatic as usual. He had flashes moreso in the first squash than the second. He worked the leg in the first and the chinlock in the second. Some good Bionic Elbows and it was a falling elbow drop that got him the duke in each. 

According to the match listing I have the Volume should have extended but I am missing a Dusty promo (which are always a treasure), Harley squash, DiBiase/Huber vs Harley/JJ Dillon and highlights from Harley vs DiBiase in the Checkerdome, the last is a bummer as I feel like most of these discs have really been building to this. 

On to Disc 7 which looks light BUT does feature Kerry Von Erich vs Greg Valentine! I wonder if this is the match I have already seen or if it is a new one! :)



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UGH Volume 7 was cut short on the Impact Wrestling Network so I missed Kerry Von Erich vs Greg Valentine. I will have track that down online. 

NWA Missouri Champion Ken Patera vs Dewey Robertson - This was a good glimpse into what it would have looked like if Patera had been a travelling NWA World Champion. He takes four massive bumps in this and really lets Dewey's shine. I would say he is in between a Flair and a Race. He bumps to make his opponent shine but he has a lot more personality than a Race. Dewey was fine but nothing about say missed opportunity. I thought where Patera may come up short compared to a Race or a Flair is the lack of offense. The Bearhug and Full Nelson is all well in good and I liked the focus on the back, but it was a lot of clubbering offense. The finish was a time limit draw which surprised me. Good match. ***

Spike Huber vs Gil Guerrero - Huber is a good plucky, white meat babyface. He wrestles very early 80s babyface with lots of armdrags and energy. He loves the Gutwrench suplex. Airplane spin and backdrop get him the win. 

Harley Race vs David Von Erich - is definitely the best match I have seen watching these DVDs so far, I thought it was so good, I made a review for it. Excellent escalation. I dont really like Harley Race, but when I do is always against the Von Erich boys. Great chemistry, great finish. ****

Kerry Von Erich 40 second squash with the Stomach Claw. What is Kerry's accent? I dont think I have ever heard anyone talk like that. He has never come across as the brightest bulb but he was a helluva wrestler. 

Bobo Brazil Squash, extrapolating based on this performance, I bet Bobo Brazil was a helluva wrestler in his prime in Detroit against The Sheik & Abdullah. He was doing double dropdowns no problem. He was moving great and hitting hard. Coco Butt gets the win. I wish we would get our hands on primetime Detroit Wrestling Footage. 

Instead of a great Kerry Von Erich vs Greg Valentine match, I got 12 minutes of Bulldog Bob Brown vs Baron Von Raschke. I like the Baron but this way too much Brown doing a headlock. It was tight I will give him that. Baron almost gets the Claw on. They both tumble to the outside. They both hit the ref for a Double DQ. 

Baron giving a contemporary interview with Larry was nice to hear about his football and legit wrestling credentials. Then how he broke in with Verne and Mad Dog. Seems like an affable fellow. 

Once I track down Kerry vs Valentine, this could be the best disc of the set. Without it, it is pretty weak besides the excellent Harley vs David match. 

Next disc appears in full as the run time is back up to 2 hours. Oh boy, nothing looks good, we may be getting to the dregs of the set. Some Flair matches those are usually at the very least entertaining. 

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Disc 8 doesnt look too exciting save for Nature Boy goodness...

Gene Kiniski, Art Crews & Ricky Romero vs Gene Lewis, Roger Kirby & Max Blue - Six-Man Tag Elimination - Oh boy! A rough start for this disc of Wrestling at the Chase. Flair is World Champion and this is from 1982. His two major challengers, 54 year old Big Thunder and 53 year old Dick The Bruiser. Gene Kiniski old as fuck in this match but he actually moves around really well and is the best wrestler of the match. I liked Max Blue the most from the heels so of course he is eliminated first. Gene ends up 1-on-2, he uses heel miscommunication to his advantage to win with a kneedrop and backbreaker. 

Gene Kiniski cuts a classic pro wrestling promo. He is no carnival barker like the 80s pro wrestlers. He is blue collar, salt of the Earth. He tells like it is in a no-nonsense style. I liked the content a lot even if it was a little dry. He came off as really lucid and analytical. What the fuck happened at Starrcade 1983? He looked like an old man that didnt know what was going on. Kiniski is coming for Ric Flair, they are complete opposites, Dick The Bruiser is the Uncrowned Champion and if Big Thunder wins, he will give The Bruiser the first crack, he gives his kids the rub which is the reason I think he is being pushed again. 

Interview with Jack Brisco from 2004. Nothing earth-shattering seemed to be in kayfabe, but I liked it. 

Mark Romero vs Roger Kirby - Sue me, I liked this match a lot. It is so fundamental but I loved it. Romero was the 19 year old son of Ricky Romero, I am surprised the kid dint get a break somewhere. Good looking kid and good execution. He could have been molded into something. Headlock, tackle stuff. Kirby roughhouses a little and then works the hammerlock. Romero works a one arm bodyslam as a hope spot. Great use of the flying headscissors. Time limit draw as Romero has him trapped in ab stretch. ***

Ted DiBiase Music Video set ONJ's Let's Get Physical...St. Louis goes Mempho baby!

Ric Flair & Jerry Brown vs Dick The Bruiser & Bulldog Bob Brown - Terrific Ric Flair performance, he was such a little shit to Dick The Bruiser throughout this, taunting him constantly. Flair worked strong on top against Bulldog Bob Brown. So much energy. You can really see why he is a cut above everyone else. Just great Flair offense and character work. Before he was in there with Bulldog, he was in there with Bruiser. He stood toe to toe with Bruiser before eventually Flair Flopping for him. The Bruiser was FUCKING OVER! The only time I have heard the crowd actively chant for the wrestler was here. Chants for the 53-year old Missouri Heavyweight Champion. When you are that over no matter your age, you deserve to be in the mix. Jerry Brown was Buddy Roberts former partner in the famous, original Hollywood Blonds. Loved the finish. Flair and Brusier are going at it hard. They are building to a Kiel rematch after a controversial finish had Flair retaining. Flair goes to post the leg but DB shoves him off and Flair goes HARD into the announce table and Larry & Mickey were expecting as one of them lets out a yelp. Brawl. DB slams Flair head into the table and then PILEDRIVES Flair on the floor and busts him open! Countout win for the Bruiser & Bulldog. Bruiser celebrates with the Missouri and World Championships. I went ragging on the Bruiser vs Flair program and  came out wanting to see it! That's the most effective TV match possible! ***1/4

Dewey Robertson squash I'll be honest I dont remember much of this. 

Kerry Von Erich & Rufus R. Jones vs Hercules & Jobber - Hercules with a shaved head and looking yoked, looks like he should be a Russian, Larry is calling him Hercules already. Kerry mocks him posing. Rufus is a ton of fun. Rufus & Kerry are my new favorite tag team. Kerry puts down the jobber with a Stomach Claw suplex. 

We get a look at the Flying Sheiks, Ken Patera & Crusher Blackwell, Blackwell's match is in the AWA nd he is in peak Blackwell form. Patera is kinda bland to me. He is not bad per se, but he is not great either. He is just there. Full nelson wins his match. 

Here's the highlight of this disc and it is good craic as the Irish would say, Ric Flair vs Art Crews. Flair is the World's Champion as this is 1982. Very Ric Flair match but with more amateur stuff and lots of good chain wrestling. He lets Crew shine, but this tight and tenacious Flair. The best part is this is a backdrop for an angle with Dick The Bruiser. The Bruiser is over like gangbusters. He steals Flair's robe and belt. Puts it on and parades himself around ringside. Flair is INCENSED! This is the best Flair, the ref and Crews try to hold him back. As The Bruiser mocks him in the ring, STOMPS ON THE ROBE and flung it into the crowd! Flair was madder than a hornet. He beats on Crews and makes him tap out to the Figure-4. He retrieves his robe and belt and cuts a great pissed off promo. 

Dick The Bruiser beats Hercules in a minute, he throws him on the announce table, hits him with a metal water pitcher and two Atomic Stomps win it. 

Bruiser cuts a pretty lame promo that Flair is a sissy and no one wants a girl as a champion, they want a man. The dude is fucking over. He talks about going to saloons, drinking beer and smoking cigars way before Stone Cold Steve Austin. 

I skipped Dewey Robertson/Rufus R Jones/Mike George vs Three Chumps. 

From a match quality perspective one of the weakest of the set, in a territory that very rarely ran angles on TV, this is the best one we have on tape. Sam Muchnick retired on January 1, 1982 and I wonder if the changing of the guard was one of the reason you all of sudden saw angles on TV and music videos of wrestlers set to Olivia Newton-John. I am all for it! 


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Impact Wrestling does not have Disc 9, I got a late start. So I am going to watch Disc 12, which has the famous Ric Flair vs Bruiser Brody hour draw that I have already reviewed which I am going to skip

Spike Huber vs Billy Howard - Spike is the perfect plucky midcard babyface and Larry does a great job putting him over as such giving 150% all the time. Billy Howard was a pretty good heel jobber. Lots of cheating. Spike wins with a crossbody. Perfectly acceptable studio wrestling.

Chavo Guerrero & Tom Prichard vs Buddy Landell & Max Blue. - This is from Larry's Outlaw promotion in 1983. Central States absorbed St. Louis after Sam's retirement and ended Wrestling at the Chase in early 1983 opting to run the city without TV but still attract big name stars to headline the Kiel. Of course, this fucked over Larry the announcer, so he ran opposition recognizing the Southwest World Champion (Adrian Adonis) as champion, using those guys (Tully Blanchard, Scott Casey etc...), his best friend Bruiser Brody, Dick Murdoch, Nikolai Volkoff and the Poffos. I did my research there is a Dick Murdoch vs Randy Savage tag match from one of Larry's house show! O how I wish we had that. This was fine, Max Blue is my favorite of the St. Louis jobbers. Chavo & Prichard steamroll him. Chavo was the most impressive wrestler in the match. Chavo nails a perfect German but tags in to let Prichard get the glory with a crossboy. Landell kicks Blue in disgust for losing, this is heel behavior I approve of!

Ken Patera vs Jobber - Back to Wrestling at the Chase, best Patera squash I have seen so far! This rocked! Patera kicked the shit out of this jobber. Great armbars, bodyslam on the floor, Suplex in the ring. He was hit hard and everything looked tight. Bearhug and Full Nelson looked vicious. Larry says he was coming off a loss to Jack Brisco that's why he is pissed. 

Kevin Von Erich vs Ron Starr - Best match of the disc! I love me some Kevin Von Erich, I am purposefully saving Kevin vs Murdoch for the last match I watch. This is babyface vs babyface and is terrific. So much effort, so tight, so much struggle, so gritty. The takedowns, chaining and working the holds is awesome. Larry is great on commentary building up Kevin's new move the bodyscissors. Starr does a great job putting it over the two times Kevin puts on the headscissors, he scrambles to the ropes. Starr's Rolling Short Arm Scissors is awesome! I am such a mark for that move. As time is about to expire, Kevin FINALLY gets the bodyscissors but Starr makes it to the ropes. Excellent babyface vs babyface draw. ***1/2

Tully Blanchard & Donna Day vs Scott Casey & Debbie Combs - "We Want Spike" chants ring out LOUDLY not once but twice in this match. I audibly said to myself "I cant believe Spike Fucking Huber is over". Move over Brody, Spike is the Man. Besides Donna Day taking some great bumps on hair-mares and catapults, this was a nothing match.

Dick Murdoch Squash - Dick Murdoch beat the shit out of the jobber in and out of the ring and a great brainbuster.

Nikolai Volkoff vs Al Perez - Nikki V! What up, my commie comrade! This was fine as most Nikki V matches are. He wins with a Backbreaker. Al Perez has always been fine. Here's a challenge for my wrestling fan buffs...greatest Al Perez match? Let me know what you think it is and I will watch it. 

Ric Flair vs Bruiser Brody - 2/3 Falls, February 1983, my review is in the Match Discussion Archives. Pretty famous. It is a very solid match but when you are going sixty you have to be more than solid to warrant a rewatch. 

Kevin Von Erich and Ken Patera are the stars of the show. Flair & Brody is worth a watch if you have never seen it before. 

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Disc 11, wanted the Sam Muchnick Retirement Show to be the last disc I watched. So we get a hodgepodge of St. Louis Wrestling Club and Larry's Outlaw Promotion

Bruiser Brody & Jerry Oates vs Adrian Adonis & Nikolai Volkoff - Very odd foursome. Brody vs Volkoff was being touted as a dream match main event and the company's number one feud. Larry says Adonis claims to be the Undisputed Champion, he is the Southwest World Champion. Larry points out in 1983 that wrestling is going through a lot of changes and semi-acknowledges that NWA exists but that Adonis is worthy claimant to the throne. Very prescient of Larry as Vince Jr was coming. The match is non-descript. Adonis is the best wrestler by a country mile. Some really great bumps by him. Larry is 2002 TNA Mike Tenay insufferable in this. Who says Brody cant wrestler? No Larry seriously who says that? "Brody and Volkoff in a singles match it is going to be rough & tumble, but it could end in a Backslide because THEY CAN BOTH WRESTLE! What the fuck, bro. I think being the promoter instead of the announcer was getting to him. One of the lamest finishes I have ever seen. Melee, four men in the ring for too long so the ref calls a no contest, babyfaces whip the heels into each other, BUT THEY CAN WRESTLE!

Harley Race vs Omar Atlas - I liked this more than most Harley matches. Harley showed a little more struggle and was not just a ragdoll for Atlas. I liked Atlas a lot. I bet he was not a jobber everywhere. I bet in your B-Territories he was a headliner. Very tight and good offense. Harley busts out a FLYING HEADSCISSOR! Popped me! Classic Harley going for the piledriver on the floor but backdropped out. Atlas shows Harley the chair. Harley takes over, wicked diving headdbutt and a piledriver. I liked the finish a lot, Atlas misses a reverse crossbody, full layout on the crossbody and Harley executes a beautiful Sunset Flip for the win. ***1/4

Tully Blanchard vs Al Perez - Very typically good Tully vs midcarder match. Dominic DeNucci is on commentary which is sure to pop my old compadre @Ricky Jackson. Dom is great on commentary bragging he speaks better Italian than Mickey. Perez looked great here, very explosive, great headlock. Tully worked the back fine. Perez showed great fire. Loved the weight shifting back suplex pin by Tully. ***

Spike Huber vs Eric Embry - Here's St. Louis' biggest star, Spike Huber! I dont remember much of this at all. I remember Dominic DeNucci being the most entertaining thing. Pretty typical white meat Spike Huber performance. 

Cowboy Bob Ellis highlights from 1969 which is pretty cool. Ellis won his first match with his famous Bulldog which seems like he invented. The second match was against Bob Geigel, a famous Central States wrestler turned promoter than President but he doesnt seem like he was well respected. Ellis was a pretty big star in the 60s. It was cool to see him and Geigel. Also hilarious that in 1969 the announcer called an abdominal stretch and said "shades of Wilbur Synder" 50 years later nothing has changed. 

Kerry Von Erich vs Art Crews - Art is typically a jobber for heels but he roughs it up here, not giving clean breaks and going for the eyes. Longer than I expected. Kerry looked great here, awesome offense. Moving away from the Stomach Claw he was using and won instead with Discus Punch.

Ric Flair Squash if you like when Ric Flair doesnt sell for shit and just beats the ever loving shit out of someone this one is for you. I always like these. He was feuding with Butch Reed at this point lots of "We Want Reed" chants. I dont think it was included on this comp but they did a great angle on Wrestling At The Chase with the two. It was an amateur riding competition. Flair was not able to escape Reed and got frustrated. Then it was Reed's turn. Reed escaped Flair with some great sitouts. Flair was pissed. Flair wants another crack and instead cracks him in the ribs in the prone position. Reed makes a furious comeback and crossbody and the ref counts 1-2-3, big pop! You could tell Flair vs Reed would draw money in STL. 

Bob Orton & Bobby Duncum vs Bulldog Bob Brown & Jobber - Slap me, silly, and call me Sally! This was fucking fantastic! Bulldog Bob Brown was on fire. The dude missed a true calling as a red hot old man asskicking babyface. He was tearing into Bob Orton who was bumping like a freak for him. Orton took the Slaughter bump in the corner and then crotched himself on the top rope. When Brown got the hot tag he was biting, clawing and knocking heads together.  Great shit. Orton was cookin' tonight. Not only bumping like a madman, his offense was terrific. Vaderbomb and Superplex on the jobber for the win, but also pummeling Brown on the outside against the table. Way better than it had any right to be. ***1/2

Ric Flair & Crusher Blackwell vs Dory Funk Jr & Ken Patera - Dream Tag Team of Ric Flair & Crusher Blackwell! Blackwell and Patera is the main feud. Let me tell you something like Bulldog Bob Brown, Patera is better as a babyface. The crowd was SCORCHING HOT for Patera. Patera was calling him "Fatwell" and the crowd was dogging him with chants of "Fatwell's Chicken". The crux of the feud is Blackwell is wicked heavy and Patera is the World's Strongest Man so can Patera slam Blackwell. Love it! Patera was chasing Blackwell all over the place and whipping the crowd into a frenzy. This left Flair and Junior to do the heavy lifting in the ring which they were than capable of. Blackwell does the Runaway Freight Train splash on Dory. They end up working over Patera in the heat segment. Blackwell is just so damn good in this against Patera, relishing beating up his rival and doing it with pinpoint accuracy. Flair vs Dory is just great 80s workrate, hard, heavy blows and big time submission attempts. It breaks down and the ref calls the match a no contest. Flair is screaming and hollering. Hoss tells him to get back in the ring. They brawl a bit. A match that we have but does not make the set is the Flair vs Dory singles matches from TV which I think is the only Flair vs Dory match we have. I will include that as a bonus match. ***1/2 

Butch Reed Squash - The jobber gets some good fishhooks and eyerakes in this match. Reed is solid. The finish is awesome. Impressive Deadlift Military Press by Reed! 

Bruiser Brody Squash - Max Blue deserved better. Flying Knee takes it for Brody.

Those two tag team matches delivered big time to keep this disc afloat. Surprisingly great Harley squash coupled with routine Tully goodness makes this an easy recommendation. I need to see more Bob Orton, pronto! 

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Home Stretch here as this is Disc 10 featuring exclusive content from San Muchnick Retirement Show on 1/1/82, Kiel Auditorium. Unfortunately we dont have much footage from the Kiel, but this is a real treat. 

We get highlights of Dusty winning the NWA Championship from Harley which I have seen before with the crossbody. The crowd & Dusty go apeshit. 

What I had never seen before is Flair's first championship victory which is weird because I am a such a Flair mark. So many people place emphasis on the Starrcade 83 win they kinda forget the first Flair title reign, which is still a dandy of a reign. It is Flair winning after Dusty's knee gives out on a suplex attempt (Flair had been working on the leg the whole match). Very muted response from Kansas City. With Flair being such a heel and Dusty  being such a massive babyface in the southeast, it ruled out those promotions. So I guess Harley's home promotion in KC made about as much sense as anywhere else. 

Ric Flair Squash. This may be the mutha of all Ric Flair squashes. Not only does he beat the shit out of this jobber but he also talks a metric ton of shit while doing it. "If you keep the women off me, I will show you what a champion looks like", "NOW he knows he is in there with the champion". Flair cuts a promo exactly like he would in 1986 and it shows the Nature Boy had the gimmick down pat early. 

Dusty cuts a pretty great pre-taped promo. I love how he says Missouri. These two were meant for each other and I am glad the stars aligned and we got them full-time in Crockett together. 

Crusher Blackwell & Ken Patera vs Butch Reed & Spike Huber - Three bonafide legends and an always game Spike Huber make this an easy slam dunk great Wrestling At The Chase match. The Sheiks team up before they were the Sheiks and they have great chemistry. Patera is the bump man and Blackwell is the heavy. Huber, the son-in-law of Dick The Bruiser, is the stand in for the Brusier in his feud with Patera. So main crux of this match is the Patera/Huber interaction. Huber beats the shit out of Patera and Patera takes a BIG back drop. In contrast, Blackwell does not give an inch this match. Whether, it is Reed or Huber, Blackwell was on a mission to kick ass. If you like Blackwell offense, boy, do I, this is the match for you. He does not bump or feel, he mowed these dudes down. After Huber ripped through Patera, Blackwell sizes him and out of nowhere NAILS A STANDING DROPKICK! I marked out so hard! The story of the match was Blackwell would dominate and then Patera would lose control of the match. End of the match, Blackwell CRUSHES Reed with his Runaway Freight Train Splash. Patera is poised to lock on the Full Nelson when Dick The Bruiser interferes and triggers the DQ. Not competitive enough to be a great match, but Patera/Huber stuff was heated & energetic, Blackwell was an offensive juggernaut, wish we got more out of Reed. ***1/4

Dick The Bruiser tells Larry out of respect for Sam Muchnick retirement he will play by the rules and only kick ass in the ring, he will not get DQ'd and he is going to bring home the Missouri Championship for Sam and the fans!

Dick The Bruiser squash he hurls the jobber out of the ring but he does not give chase. This is the New Bruiser. Atomic foot stomp wins it for The Bruiser.  The dance the Bruiser does I have seen it also when he was mocking Flair with his robe on is impossible to describe and is simultaneously endearing and repulsive. 

It is not just Sam Muchnick's retirement night, it is Pat O'Connor's too! He defeats Sweetan with a sleeper. O'Connor was insanely over both on his rind entrance and his victory. Nice way to go out to thunderous applause! Did a little research and that's not entirely true, he did a tour of Japan after this which makes sense, you want to say farewell. He participated in a legends battle royale held by WWF in 1987 that Lou Thesz won. What is interesting is he did a job to Bobby Duncum in the AWA as his last American singles match, maybe as a way to say goodbye to Verne. 

Crusher Blackwell vs Ox Baker & Butch Reed in a handicap match, we get all 5 minutes of this and Blackwell is just at his absolute physical peak. His offense is great and his taunting Reed by hitting the double bicep flex is great. That Runaway Freight Train splash in the corner is terrific. He beats Baker with a Powerslam. Larry has a great quote from Blackwell, "I am not fat, I am short. If Andre was my height, you would call him fat too.". :P

Dewey Roberston pins Baron Von Raschke with a reverse crossbody. 

Harley Race & Greg Valentine vs David Von Erich & Rufus R. Jones - The Jones/Von Erich Connection lives! We only get the last two minutes or so. David looked fantastic, awesome uppercut dropkick. I am a mark for the falling headbutt into the Iron Claw! Things get too rowdy and the refs get decked in the fracas leading to a no contest. 

Sam Muchnick's Checkerdome Retirement Ceremony includes local political & sports dignitaries, ex-announcers, but lets focus on the wrestling representatives AWA is represented by Verne & Wally Karbo. The NWA is represented by current President Bob Geigel who puts Sam over huge in his speech. Frank Tunney of Toronto is there and seems to be Sam's closest friend. Pretty telling, no representative from the WWF. Semi-surprised that Baba didnt send someone over but it is a long trek so understandable. 

NWA Missouri Heavyweight Champion KEN Patera vs Dick The Bruiser - What better way to ring in 2021 than to watch Dick The Bruiser from exactly 39 years ago! What the fuck? 1982 was 39 years ago thats insane! Anyways, we get very little. The Bruiser made a big deal he was not going to get disqualified in his Wrestling At The Chase promo. A steel chair is introduced by Patera but he hits the top turnbuckle and it ricochets and hits him in the head. Lame finish, but Dick The Bruiser is still wicked over. 

NWA World Heavyweight Champion Ric Flair vs Dusty Rhodes - 2/3 Falls, I want to say we get like 3/4ths of this so we can judge this pretty fairly. I dont see this as a lost classic, but it is still entertaining wrestling. We JIP to Dusty working Flair's arm and Flair takes the turnbuckle bump arm first. I really like when he does the Flair Flop through the ropes outside the ring. I love 80s Flair use of short strikes to the breadbasket to break his opponent's rhythm and create offense for himself. We see that when he doesnt give Dusty a clean break and uses the short knee and then lunges with the headbutt to the gut out of the corner. That is the one that lets him take over. Flair gets too chinlock-y for me. I like Flair working in and out of headlocks, but this was too stationary. Dusty does not sell this like 5 minute chinlock at all and just has all this energy. He misses the big elbow drop that he was using as a finish at least in St. Louis. Flair pounces with a Sunset Flip, cradle for the first fall. Second fall, Dusty has a terrible sleeper on Flair but I have seen worse. I like the symmetry of this fall where Dusty hits the Big Elbow and wins the fall. It bear mentioning that Gene Kiniski's performance in this compared to Starrcade 1983 is night and day. Here he is a presence and tastefully interacts with Flair. Two years later he looks like a confused old man that is just interrupting the flow of the match. As you will read about at Sam's Retirement Banquet, Gene Kiniski absolves himself of his Starrcade 1983 sins with a great promo at that. I liked the third fall the most by a country mile. Terrific wrestling. Lots of Dusty charisma early in the fall with the Bionic Elbow and the Flip Flop & Fly! Flair comes back with a toe kick right above the knee! What a dick! Great leg work by Flair, he was on fire, loved the use of the Strut. What a jackass! Great selling by Dusty. Dusty reverses the Figure-4 and then applies his own! This is just classic. In the KC title change, Dusty gave out on a suplex attempt and then Flair scrambled for the pin. Dusty is able to execute the suplex, but it is on a bodyslam his knee gives out and Flair falls on top for the pin. Really enjoyed the third fall would give that **** on its own, first two falls were more like *** so lets split the difference. ***1/2

Sam Muchnick Retirement Banquet backstage is much more chill and fun to watch. Lots of good old-timey ribbing going on. Pat O'Connor was very sentimental and looked teary-eyed as a combination of his own retirement and what St.Louis & Sam meant to him. Then there was the show-stealer fucking Big Thunder Gene Kiniski. He made me laugh out loud twice. Joe Garagiola is the classic quick-witted funny dude that shocks you with  how tough it is for him express genuine sentiment. As soon as it is time to start teasing though he starts shining. He calls Gene Kiniski what it would sound like if a brillo pad could talk. Kiniski just comes on and owns him..."Sarcasm is a very low form of wit" with a cool, intellectual tone. Gene who is massive in a high, white turtleneck sweater has his arm wrapped tightly around Joe. Then delivers this epic, "What talks and is black & blue all over...the first one to make a Polish joke!". Damn! Joe makes remark, you get one Pope (John Paul II was the first Polish Pope) and you think you run the world! LOL! This was awesome! Gene that makes a heartfelt tribute to Sam's late wife, Helen, which I think was just damn classy! Gone, but not forgotten. With that Gene Kiniski forever absolved himself of the Starrcade 1983 debacle. Epic performance. Sam came off as a really personable, affable fellow throughout this. Cool watch.   

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  • 3 weeks later...
On 12/13/2020 at 10:56 PM, Superstar Sleeze said:

Turns out the Kelly Twins are not jobbers. They are Irish-Canadian twins of some size that I have never heard of. Did anything come of them?

The Kelly Twins wrestled a lot on the Canadian independent scene for infamous promoter/wrestler Dave "Wildman" McKigney.  They gained a measure of "fame" in Canada in the 80's when they were featured in a couple of TV commercials.  Sadly, Pat Kelly was killed along with Dave McKigney in the car accident that took the life of Adrian Adonis.  They were on their way to a show in the wilds of Newfoundland, when a Moose crossed the road. (An actual Moose...not the wrestler from Impact.)  The van swerved to avoid hitting the moose and crashed. Mike Kelly was the one driving the van, and he was apparently pretty badly injured.  I don't think he ever wrestled after the accident.

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