Dutch Mantel v Jeff Jarrett (1/28/89)
The sub-15 studio match is pretty much the easiest kind of wrestling for me to watch these days. What's great about the 80s Project sets is that there's always going to be a bucket load of them on each one (well, each one from the US). Just straight up good guy versus bad guy in a studio full of loud wrestling fans. Simple as you like. As far as I'm aware, Jarrett had only been wrestling for a couple years at this point, but I always enjoyed him as a fired up babyface whenever he was on the set. Mantel is Mantel, which means he's surly and nasty and awesome. As far as 12 minute studio matches go, this is really good stuff.
Starts out with Jarrett schooling Dutch, hitting all of his stuff and getting the crowd behind him. Dutch has no answer for it and winds up bailing to the floor for a breather, trying to sucker Jarrett in, even offering to shake his hand because he's really a nice guy. He's misunderstood is all. Eventually he takes over with a knee to the gut, and Dutch is a beast on offence. I'll preface this by saying I barely remember a thing about most of the matches on the set two years after finishing it, but Mantel is just crazy surly here; maybe as surly a Mantel performance on the set. He kicks Jarrett in the face, drops knees between his shoulder blades, FLATTENS him with a short-arm clothesline, and then gets fed up with everything else and just starts trying to whip the skin off his legs with Shoo Baby. The DQ finish is even good. I mean, if you're gonna get DQ'd, do it by blasting someone in the face with a chair, right?
Definitely my favourite of the Jarrett/Mantel matches. I remember thinking their orchestra match was solid enough as well, but I had a hard time getting past the ridiculousness of the gimmick to concentrate long enough. It did have Dutch breaking a drum kit over some guy's head, so maybe it deserves a re-watch. Probably.