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Ted DiBiase v. Jim Duggan

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Before we dive into the match, on Volume Three/Disc Two, there is a brief history of the feud put together by Mid-South. I?ll run down the feud to get an idea of how we got to this point?


---This feud was two years in the making when DiBiase double-crossed Duggan on April 21, 1983. DiBiase knocked Duggan out at a TV taping and joined Genral Skandor Akbar?s Devastation Inc.


---Duggan exacted revenge later on by breaking a 2x4 over DiBiase?s back.


---DiBiase strung together a long list of victories (according to the video) which helped DiBiase get to Duggan.


---Before a match with Duggan & Dr. Death, DiBiase attacked Duggan in the parking ot, and wouldn?t you know, Duggan shoots a gusher.


---On Nov. 7, 1984, Duggan was supposed to fight Dr. Death but DiBiase took his place. At first, a wrestling match took place, but DiBiase, Dr. Death and Hercules Henrandez all attacked Duggan during the match. Dr. Death was in full football gear and I am guessing this was what led to the Football match that took place on the first Volume.


---On Dec. 31, 1984, Duggan was named Mid-South?s Wrestler of the Year by Bill Watts and was presented with a pair of expensive cuff links. This pissed off DiBiase.


---Duggan wore a tuxedo in the ring to thank Mid-South and wear his cuff links. The next week, DiBiase wore a tuxedo and challenged Duggan to a best-dressed man contest that took place later. Duggan won the contest and a rematch. DiBiase was so enraged, he went to the parking-lot and smashed Duggan?s car.


---This angle, along with matches such as the No DQ match lead us here?




Ted DiBiase v. Jim Duggan (Loser Leaves Town, Tuxedo, No DQ, Coal Miner?s Glove on a Pole, Cage Match) (March 30, 1985)


Man, I don?t know of any gimmick matches so over-the-top. Yet, after watching the match, I have never seen a gimmick match so smartly put together either. First, let?s revisit the match?



Play By Play

Hacksaw has a baby blue tux with tails and vest, DiBiase goes with a traditional black tuxedo with bow-tie. Before we get started, the cage is one of the cheapest looking cages I have ever seen but it should serve the purpose of keeping away interference from the outside.


The referee pats down Duggan before the match gets underway and DiBiase tries a sneak attack to get the advantage but Duggan sees it coming and answers with those beautiful punches. Duggan gets a back body drop and DiBiase begs him off. It makes you think Eddie Guerrero saw a few DiBiase matches when practicing his heel mannerisms. If you don?t pay attention, you?ll miss one of the best spots of the match when DiBiase headbutts Duggan in the groin and pulls him through the ropes and into the cage.


He rams Duggan into the cage and you can see Duggan blading. DiBiase starts ripping Duggan?s tux and laying in some nice punches, exploiting the cut on Duggan?s head. Look closely and you see Duggan putting the blade back in his front pocket. In this instance, I wish I wasn?t trained to see wrestlers blade because it isn?t that obvious if you aren?t looking for it.


DiBiase tries climbing the pole but Duggan pulls him down. DiBiase maintains control and pulls Duggan?s shirt over his face and pounds away. In a truly grotesque moment, you can see Duggan?s blood seep through and stain the shirt. Just like the DQ Match,

DiBiase is the master at attacking the wound, ramming Duggan into the cage and using his patented fistdrops. This gives DiBiase some time to climb the pole but Duggan pulls him down again, this time choking DiBiase down with his blood-soaked tuxedo shirt.


The two wrestlers brawl and DiBiase gains control, leading to a DiBiase piledriver. DiBiase climbs the pole again but Duggan crotches him on the turnbuckle and DiBiase bounces back and head first to the mat. Duggan gains control using those punches. We should make a note that, up to this point, Duggan?s only offense has been his great punches. It doesn?t matter even when he mixes it up with a clothesline and rams DiBiase into the cage.


Duggan climbs the pole and reaches the Coal Miner?s Glove but DiBiase?s old friend, the Powder~!, is waiting for him when he comes down. DiBiase grabs the glove and tries to use it. Each time, Duggan dodges the punch, using his instincts, still selling his ?blindness?. Eventually, Duggan punches his way back and gives DiBiase an atomic drop and rams DiBiase into the cage again, causing DiBiase to blade. Both men are bleeding like stuck pigs at this time.


Duggan smashes DiBiase?s hand repeatedly on the turnbuckle to seize the glove from him. He grabs the glove, and in a fitting end, he Irish whips DiBiase and ends it with? a punch! A beautiful, beautiful punch.




This should have been the biggest clusterfuck in wrestling history? but it wasn?t. It was a match where all of the parts played together, in perfect symmetry, to tell a unique story and bring an end to an entertaining feud.


First off, every gimmick served its purpose and all made sense in the context of the feud. DiBiase liked using his loaded glove. Simple solution? lets put a coal miner?s glove on a pole. This would have been a satisfactory gimmick match right here but it wanted so much more. They were feuding over the cuff links and Wrestler of the Year award so lets put them in their tuxedos. DiBiase had plenty of friends to screw Duggan over so lets put them in a cage. New Orleans was the biggest market in Mid-South at the time so let?s punish the loser by making it a loser leaves town match. I call this match a No DQ match, but in the video package, they call it parking lot rules. Only fitting since DiBiase jumped Duggan in the parking lot with a slapjack in a previous altercation. .


In the match itself, each gimmick is used to perfection. The cage was used as a weapon (allowing each guy to blade with ease). There was also no outside interference. The loaded glove was used as a focus since it would be the key to determining who would win. Whoever hit the opponent with the glove first was going to win the match. They played this part up the entire match. At first, the tuxedos served as a distraction but when they were used against their opponents (DiBiase pounding Duggan while the tux was over his head, Duggan using his shirt to choke DiBiase down), it fit perfectly at that time in the match. Since this was a No DQ match, DiBiase relies on his old friend, the Powder~!, as well as using a headbutt to the groin to gain control. If ECW could ever put together a gimmick match like this, it might not have turned into the embarrassing mess it was known as.


Other intangibles added to the entertainment factor. Once again, Duggan?s offense was minimal but always believable. His punches are still great. The crowd heat for the match was insane and you have to give Duggan credit for giving them someone they can rally behind. He was the perfect babyface. Like the former match, Duggan thrives off of the crowd and musters up enough spirit to fight back after being beat most of the match.


DiBiase once again gave a classic performance and deserves major props for his bumps and selling. DiBiase also deserves props for the more subtle acts that would usually go unnoticed. He knows exactly when to cheat, when to stooge it up, when to attack like a starving coyote. His decisions to use the powder, to headbutt, to climb the pole, to miss his opportunities, were all done at the perfect time. People can?t cheer for Duggan if they don?t want to boo DiBiase. If Duggan was the perfect face, DiBiase was, once again, the perfect heel.


Finally, after boasting how good Duggan?s punches are, the match ended on the perfect note? with a punch. Seriously, in the two matches I have reviewed, the punch is Duggan?s calling card and when he laid DiBiase out (on a great back bump by Ted), it was the perfect end. So, props to these guys for giving a flamboyant match the gravity it needed to be taken seriously. I believed these guys really hated each other and that the only way to settle their differences was through a loser-leaves-town. No DQ, coal miner?s glove, tuxedo, cage match. Sound absurd? Not when the participants are Duggan and DiBiase.

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Great write-up! I'm so glad you're digging this stuff. I can't wait to dive into all of it myself. Do you agree with me now when I said the perfect American wrestling promotion would have a Mid-South booking style and an All Japan wrestling style? I think Mid South was so much better than any other territory in its time period -- better than the WWF because of the match quality and the emphasis on logic and credibility; better than the NWA because the heels actually got their comeuppance when it was time for the faces to go over; better than the AWA because they actually tried to make people care about the wrestlers as people. The only flaw they really had was Watts' tendency to always push big guys, but *everyone* was expected to work hard out there, so you had guys like Kamala and Dusty Rhodes having good matches on his shows because he wouldn't settle for less ... and if there was demand for a small guy to be pushed, be it Ricky Morton or Eddie Gilbert, he at least ran with it. So yeah, I love Mid South. It's the standard I compare all other wrestling to, at least in terms of how a company should be run.

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I agree 100%. It is all of the things you said it would be... but... I grew up on UWF and even went to a UWF show when I saw a kid, headlined by Dibiase v. One Man Gang. Most of the '86-'87 stuff is just jogging my memory. However, the '84-'85 stuff is truly the peak that I have seen so far. When the UWF folded, I was a sad, bitter adolescent.

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  • 2 months later...

HATE! This match has it in abundance. The look on Duggan's face when he's ready to make his comeback is awe-inspiring, as is Duggan cutting off DiBiase's attempt to bushwhack him. This is his match to finally get his nemesis alone, and he's sure to make the most of the opportunity. Duggan's punches are beautiful, and both guys look like they've been in a total war -- torn shirts covered in the splashes of blood do a lot to get over a match's brutality. This match is just as basic as the no DQ that set this one up, but the intensity is off the charts here, to a point where it doesn't matter nearly as much that they're not really pulling off any huge offense, aside from DiBiase's wicked piledriver. This was a really smart, really well put together match that I'd probably love even more if I saw all the 83-85 TV that built to it. As it is, I'd probably go ***1/2 or so on it.

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