Randy Savage v Jerry Oski (5/7/85)
So this is the last 16 minutes of a 31 minute match and I'm pretty steamed that the first half is missing, because what we get is really fucking good. I imagine this'll do better than #52 when I re-watch everything ahead of it and revise the list, but more than that, if this is in full then it's probably a top 20 match.
We're JIP with Oski controlling Savage with some nice stuff focused on the arm. Only other time I can recall seeing Oski is on one of the extras on the Texas set where Abdullah the Butcher slaughters him. Actually that's not true, I remember there's an Oski/Lanny Poffo match that follows this one on the Memphis set, but I'm not remembering anything *about* it. That said, I actually had that match higher than this one. So either I liked it WAY more than everybody else that took part in the Memphis project or I was plastered when I watched it or I was in a terrific mood. Not sure yet, but the point is I haven't seen a ton of Jerry Oski. Actually that wasn't the point. That was more of a digressive point. The point I was in the process of trying to make is that Oski has some neat ways of working the arm here. Maybe he was always a guy that could work a body part with some nice low end stuff, I'm not sure. But here he does neat armdrags, legdrops the arm, bars it, lets Savage up so he can take him down with another neat armdrag, etc. Just simple stuff, but it's effective and it looks good.
Star of this match is Savage, though. Oski is fine at working from the top and controlling the arm, but Savage's selling is what makes it interesting. Not just in terms of selling pain, but in selling frustration, anger, the fact he's unhinged, etc.
He eventually takes over by tossing Oski over the top rope while Tux Newman runs distraction. Unlike Oski, Savage is a guy I have seen a million times before. Every wrestler in history has signature "stuff"; things they like to do in matches that they'll bust out pretty regularly. If you're a fan of that wrestler there'll be stuff you pop for and get a kick out of whenever they do it. If they do it enough you might even be able to tell when it's coming and get giddy in anticipation. Arn Anderson has a ton of stuff like this. Dick Murdoch has a ton of stuff like this. When Arn Anderson points to his head because he's too smart to be fooled I get giddy because I know what's coming. When Dick Murdoch puts his dukes up for a fist fight I get giddy because I know what's coming.
Randy Savage has a ton of stuff like this.
Savage comes across as total lunatic every time he shows up on this set. Doesn't matter if he's a heel or a babyface, he's nuts. Doesn't matter if he's cutting a promo or working a match, he's nuts. He has a bunch of stuff he likes to do when his opponent is on the floor and it goes a long way towards creating this aura. He takes control about 3 minutes in (3 minutes in to what we get on tape, anyway), and he spends roughly the next 10 continually tossing Oski onto the floor and working the crowd into a frenzy with his antics. He throws Oski out on the left side of the ring then exits himself on the right side, gets down on all fours and sneaks around to blindside him. He hits his big double axe handle from the top rope out to the floor. He throws him into the post. He'll distract the ref' so Tux can take shots at him with his cane. All the while he gives Oski enough to keep the crowd believing that there might be an upset on the cards. I can totally see someone thinking 'heel repeatedly throws babyface onto floor' as main offensive manoeuvre for 10 minutes kind of drags, and shit, maybe even I thought it dragged the first time around, but I was way into it this time and thought it was a blast.
Final few minutes really feel like the climax to a title match. Savage has had this guy much lower on the totem pole than him on the ropes for the last while and yet Oski won't stay down. In fact he keeps coming back and there's a few moments where he causes Savage a scare. I guess Oski pops up a little too quick after the elbow drop, but it really feels like a big moment and a satisfying upset when he scores the roll up.
Really wish the first half of this was available. I like what we get a lot, but JIP wrestling, especially when the entire first half is missing, drives me nuts. I suspect there'd be more neat Oski controlling stuff and epic Savage stalling too, and I'd be all for that.
I slightly prefer the Savage/Idol match, but I'd put this second best of the handful of stuff I've re-watched in my top 60 so far.