Decided to MAN UP and take a run at this yesterday and wound up knocking an entire disc out. Gives me hope I'll get this done in time.
Terry Gordy v Chris Adams (2/3 falls, 11/12/83)
- Thought this was really disappointing and didn't do a whole lot for me, but I was pretty tired when I watched it and a 30 minute draw when you're running on a serious lack of shut-eye probably isn't gonna work most of the time. First fall is about 15 minutes and it's simple stuff. Not bad or anything, but it just wasn't engaging me like I was hoping. 2nd fall is your quick return fall and then the 3rd has them throwing out lots of stuff down the stretch before the time runs out. Might be something for the re-watch after a good night's sleep pile; either that or my expectations were too high.
The Freebirds v Von Erichs (Elimination Match, 11/21/83)
- This is JIP, but I'd be shocked if more than a minute is missing. Kerry and Hayes have a loser leave town cage match coming up in 3 days so they waste no time punching the shit out of each other. Hayes gets cut open and Kerry starts biting him and I know I'm gonna like this cage match of theirs. Eventually they get tossed for literally mowing the ref' down in a fit of redneck rage and fury. Kevin's elimination here looks totally badass, and it's timed perfectly by Gordy and Roberts. Buddy getting kneed over the top rope and being eliminated was sort of a bummer since I wasn't aware over the top meant an elimination, but whatever. Not the best of these Freebirds/Von Erichs multi-man matches, but I dug this all the same.
Kerry Von Erich v Michael Hayes (Loser Leaves Town Cage Match, 11/24/83)
- Great fuckin' FIGHT, short and really intense. They do a mounted punch spot in the corner at the start and they are THROWING the fists, man. Hayes taking the wrapping from around his knee and choking Kerry was great, as was Kerry taking it from him so he could wrap his fist and punch Hayes in the mouth some more. Hayes gigs himself pretty big after a cage shot too. Finish has tonnes of shit going down and Buddy takes a fucking crazy crotch bump from the top of the cage as he's trying to interfere. In some ways this felt the perfect length, but on the other hand I do wish it was a little longer; I was enjoying them trying to murder each other. The Kerry/Flair cage match always disappoints me to an extent, but I'll still probably wind up ranking this a few spots below it.
Terry Gordy & Jimmy Garvin v Kerry Von Erich & Chris Adams (2/3 falls, 11/28/83)
- This is about as long as the Gordy/Adams match but I liked this way more. Garvin and Gordy have been a blast together so far. This isn't as good as the match against David and Kevin, mostly because that has horrendous violence and craziness, but it's still my favourite match on the disc so far. So many great little moments, like Garvin shoving Kerry like a dick when he's not looking then running away like a pussy when Kerry gets pissed. Manning doesn't even know what happened and Gordy's blaming him for it anyway. This is definite stooge Garvin in the first fall, unlike the 8/15 match where he just seemed fed up with these Von Erichs and was willing to take a punch in the face if it meant giving one right back. 2nd fall has him and Gordy getting surly and working over Adams basically from the moment it starts. Garvin CRANKS a chinlock like he's Finlay. Final fall has them going all in like you want in a situation like this. Finish is pretty crappy but whatever, the rest of this was largely really good, plus the stuff with Sunshine escalates the Garvin/Adams feud so I guess I can't complain.
Buddy Roberts v Iceman King Parsons (2/3 falls, 12/12/83)
- First fall has some more great Buddy stooging. Iceman is the kind of guy with great shtick that Buddy can play off of and have lots of fun. Whole match is mostly spent with Parsons in control, Buddy trying to make runs at taking over but never quite managing it. He slips in a few great cheapshots and lucky punches, and from time to time he'll claw at Iceman's burned face, but I wish he took over for a more extended period. Iceman is a blast on offence in general, though. Still, I don't see this finishing awfully high.
Iceman King Parsons & Brian Adias v Super Destroyers (2/3 falls, 1/30/84)
- I was getting pretty burned out on the half hour 2/3 falls matches on this disc, but then this shows up and it's fucking GREAT. This is structured far better than the others on the disc, at least when it comes to my own personal tastes, and totally exceeded my expectations. Pretty easily the best Adias match I've seen and I thought he was really good in this, working the early babyface control stuff, post-hot tag work, etc. Iceman is always a ton of fun and he's great on both offence and defence. Super D's are great at getting their asses handed to them, then Iceman gets crushed with a fucking awesome sidewalk slam and they totally rule at working him over. There's a stipulation in place that gives Iceman five minutes with Skandor Akbar after the match, and the D's are just going to town on the back which plays into the post-match stuff really well (Iceman being hurt, Akbar being a slimeball and jumping him right away, etc.). I'm not a fan of Iceman being superplexed transitioning into the hot tag right away, but then Adias comes in as a good house o' fire before getting completely FUCKED UP with one of the best finishes on the set and I'm forgetting my quarrels. Post-match has the crowd going screwball and this was just top stuff from start to finish. Definite top third match that really came completely out of nowhere.
Chris Adams v Jimmy Garvin (Cage Match, 1/30/84)
- Man, this is probably my favourite of all the cage matches so far. They don't really work it like a cage match - other than one spot where Adams gets jiggy with the blade - as opposed to a regular match worked inside a steel cage, but it's definitely my favourite of the Adams/Garvin matches on the set through 4 and a bit discs. Some people will be down on it because it's largely worked like a standard match, but I've never looked at this as a Kerry/Hayes type feud where they despise each other to any great extent. Always felt to me like it was more about the belt than anything else, and besides, the valets bring the HATE for 12 anyways. Plus, as far as standard matches go, no matter how you look at it, this was the bomb. All the early drop toe hold stuff is awesome and I'm definitely starting to see the love for Garvin now. I'm a big fan of the Kevin matches, but this is right there with their best. The Kevin matches were as good to me because of Kevin, but this has all of the great Garvin stuff like cutting off Adams after a fancy cartwheel by headbutting him in the gut. Finish is another peach. Great match.
Ric Flair v Chris Adams (2/3/84)
- Jesus, this was incredible. There is seriously SO much about this that I flat out loved. Flair's pre-match stuff is out of this world. He comes out to the ring and just looks every bit the World Champ, gives a not to two dudes that are obvious Flair fans, blows a kiss to some woman in the crowd, then gets in the ring and spots Sunshine in Adams' corner so he gets on the mic and says something like "Baby, you're the only woman in Dallas not cheering for Ric Flair tonight." Ref's doing the routine check to see if they're hiding anything in the kneepads and what have you and Flair's giving Sunshine the bedroom eyes and DOES A FUCKING PEC DANCE. He's barely acknowledging Adams' existence. He's some kid from England with a funny accent. He offers up a handshake because he'll be done with him in no time and then it's onto the hottie in his corner and COKE on SPACE MOUNTAIN. Starts out with Adams taking Flair down with a few headlocks and "winning" the opening gambits, but it's neither here nor there; Flair just back him into the corner and gives him a clean break, "Well done, kid. I'll give you that one." Then Adams hooks a hammerlock and Flair just casually picks him up and sits him on the top turnbuckle, "Okay, I'll give you that one too, you little trooper, you." but Adams CRANKS him with an arm wringer and Flair screams in pain and tries to chop him in the face and oh man now he's fucking pissed. He shoves Adams and Adams shoves him back and Flair's had enough of this early nice guy bullshit so he decides against a tie-up and just rips him with a chop. Flair's great at showing frustration and signs that he's come to the realisation that this kid is better than he was giving him credit for, eventually begging off so he can stick him in the gut with a knee. Flair's shift in mentality is great here, tossing Adams out to the floor and elbowing him in the throat and he even takes a swing at Sunshine for getting in the way. This is about his World Title now; fuck a ho, he can get a hot blond anywhere. After this they pretty much go into 'Flair finishing stretch' mode and they bust out some great stuff. They do the standard spots you'll see in tonnes of Flair matches like the sunset flip where Flair struggles for the ropes before going over and the backdrop out of the corner, but Flair countering a sleeper with a backbreaker is a spot I don't think I've ever seen him do before, and the attempted shin breaker being blocked with an enziguri was great as well, especially with the awesome Flair Flop he does afterwards. The backdrop that leads to the superkick nearfall is flubbed, but the nearfall itself is fucking huge. Flair actually winning clean was a surprise, but a good one all the same. Totally boss match. Some stuff looked a little messy because I don't think they were 100% on the same page all the time, but it wasn't anything that annoyed me. "Touring World Champ Flair comes to town to wrestle local babyface; Flair gives more of a shit about local pussy than local babyface; local babyface winds up pushing Flair to the limit" is one of my favourite match dynamics in history and this was as good as anything like it. The fact a guy that gets as much discussion as Flair does still has matches like this coming out of nowhere is amazing. I'm thinking of a reason why I shouldn't put this #1 and I honestly can't come up with one. This is RIGHT with the first Kerry match.
Iceman King Parsons & Chris Adams v Jimmy Garvin & Missing Link (3/2/84)
- Adams comes out wearing Garvin's gear and Garvin is pissed off big time so he tries to rip Adams' eyes out like a wildman. He does this basically the entire match. This is PISSED Garvin, not stooge Garvin. Missing Link has great shtick and bumps like acts like a total spastic, which I fucking love. Almost everything he does in the first few minutes is grabbing Adams so Garvin can continually cheapshot him and Garvin is more than happy to oblige. Iceman continues to bring the fun by the bucket load here as well, but this is mostly about Adams and Garvin trying to choke each other to death before all Hell just breaks loose. Won't rank high for me, but Link was a blast.
Michael Hayes & Terry Gordy v Missing Link & Kamala (3/16/84)
- Really short and more of a set up for the six-man match a couple weeks later, but what's here is Hellsa fun. Hayes is a great FIP and he's probably been the biggest revelation of the set for me so far. Post-match with the Freebirds, Devastation Inc and the Von Erichs in a massive brawl was great, then Hayes tells his boys to let their beef with the Von Erichs chill before jumping them anyway, which was even greater.
Freebirds v Kamala, Missing Link & Super Destroyer #2 (3/30/84)
- Aw fuck I loved this. This is about 8 and a half minutes long and total southern tag formula and is in front of a HOT crowd and yeah, this is most definitely my thing. Bunch of great spots, like Hayes stomping on Kamala's bare feet before punching him directly in the face, GORDY playing FIP, Missing Link doing all of his stuff, Kamala STILL not being totally familiar with a tag setting; just way too much fun. I mean, they announce 5 minutes has gone by and it feels like they managed to cram way more than 5 minutes' worth of stuff into that time. Doesn't feel bloated at all, though, so it's definitely not a bad thing. Almost surreal hearing this crowd lose its fucking stack for the 'Birds after the last year. Honestly, I probably enjoyed this even more than the 7/4/83 VE's/Birds six-man tag that I've got as my current #3. Don't think it's necessarily "better" and I can't see myself ranking it anywhere near as high at the end, but I thought the way this was structured was perfect, where as something about the structure of the 7/4/83 match never really clicked with me. Plus this had Kamala and the Missing Link.
Jimmy Garvin v Chris Adams (4/2/84)
- Thought this was one of their best matches, maybe only behind the cage match, but I'm honestly struggling to remember an awful lot about it. Which is weird because I think these two have done a pretty remarkable job at keeping things fresh and different almost every time out. Best spot of the match to me was Garvin taking Adams' crappy slingshot into the corner, but landing on his feet and turning back around to headbutt him in the spine. I'm not a fan of Adams' slingshot at all so I marked out when Garvin shut that shit down. Not being able to remember much in the way of specifics isn't really a knock on this match as opposed to me having watched lots of Garvin/Adams stuff in the one sitting and failing to recall what went where, because this was really good.
Jimmy Garvin v Chris Adams (4/15/84)
- This one I wasn't a huge fan of, though. They were doing some really good stuff as usual, but at the end I felt like they had managed to lay out some great groundwork that was never really built on. Garvin's really good on the mat; simple but rugged and can be quite the shit talker when he wants to be. The Sunshine/Precious stuff was more intense than the Garvin/Adams stuff though... which you don't really want out of this.