Rock 'n' Roll Express v Ivan Koloff & Krusher Kruschev (9/30/85)
I had this about 30 spots higher on my Memphis ballot than it wound up finishing on the overall list. I watched the RnRs/Nightmares match that finished just outside the overall top 40 a little while ago and couldn't believe I had it ranked outside my own top 50 (I had it was down at #88!!!). I mean that match was just WAY up my alley and I totally underrated it the first time around. I half expected to come away from re-watching this match and thinking I undersold the Nightmares match while overrating this one. Turns out I liked this one even more than I did before. The Nightmares match is still better, but I do not regret ranking this just outside my top 50.
First half of this with Ricky and Robert in control is a blast. RnRs have a shit ton of stuff they can bust out in an opening shine segment and they roll out a few great spots here. My favourite is the spot where Ivan whips Morton into the corner, but Gibson runs along the apron and uses his own body to cover the turnbuckle and save Ricky. Ricky then makes to whip Ivan into the same corner so Krusher runs along the apron and does the same thing Gibson just did, except Morton spots it, keeps hold of Ivan and whips him into the opposite corner while Gibson runs along the apron to kick Krusher off the turnbuckle.
Russians eventually take over when Gibson hits the ropes during the course of a mid-match brawl and Nikita yanks the top rope down. Gibson's a fine FIP. He takes a nice beating and is good at firing back, and he's more than happy to get heaved around and tossed to the floor by the Russians. Russians do the phantom tag switcheroo shtick here and I always love when the guys doing that spot make sure to clap their hands so the ref' at least "hears" a tag, even if they can't see it. The Fantastics did the switcheroo spot a bunch on the Texas set, but they never clapped and gave the ref' any real reason to believe them when they said they made a legal tag (other than the screaming girls in the crowd backing them up). The Conquistadors or the Super Destroyers can get away with it because they're wearing identical full body attire and it whips the crowd into a frenzy. If you don't look alike you gotta clap your hands, man. Ivan and Krusher are both bald and I guess they kind of look alike, but not to the point where they're fooling anybody so they clap their hands and that gets a thumbs up from me.
I like the Dusty finish to this. Ref' is distracted and Kruschev gets the chain and blasts Gibson in the head, rolls Ivan out of the ring and covers Robert for the three. This is where bald wrestlers with same ring attire that don't necessarily look the same facially doing the switcheroo thing is great, because Kruschev makes sure to hide his face when he's covering Gibson so the ref' can't see it and assumes nothing fishy is up. Of course the Russians celebrate and Morton points out that Kruschev wasn't the legal man and that he used a chain. Match is restarted, Hell breaks loose, Morton scores a roll-up on Ivan (who's legal).
I love matches like this and I dug the shit out of this match.