Friday, 4 March 2011

On A Mid-South Highway 40 Days And Nights. Ain't Complainin'; It's My Job And It Suits Me Right

Butch Reed & Jim Neidhart v Mr. Wrestling II & Magnum TA (Cage Match) (12/25/83)

Yeah, this is fucking great. Everybody really brought it here. Neidhart isn't a guy often pimped as being a great worker, but I always enjoy him in tags and he and Reed are quite the pair of asshole thugs in this. Jim is especially good at directing traffic and running distractions so Reed can toss Magnum into the cage or take cheapshots. The first Reed match on the set was pretty much a showcase for his offence, but this has bump machine Reed where he's taking amazing head over heels bumps for II's kneelifts and soaring fifty feet in the air off back body drops. Match goes less than 20 minutes, but they manage to fit both babyfaces taking a spell at getting beat on. Magnum is up first and Reed and Neidhart just brutalise him, repeatedly throwing him into the cage, busting him open, tossing him out onto concrete (it's one of those cages that leaves a gap between it and the ring), etc. Magnum's one of many guys whose rep got boosted big time by the Mid-South set, and he's seriously great at taking a shitkicking here. II's FIP spell is the shorter of the two, but the transition into it is awesome. Also love the finish -- Reed gets cocky and picks II up from a couple pinfalls because he wants to deal more damage, then he tags in Neidhart who murders him with a Samoan drop and goes for the pin. Reed is now happy with the amount of damage dealt, but Jim isn't and decides he wants to take II's mask off first. Reed is going nuts on the apron telling Neidhart to finish it before they get bit in the ass, but Neidhart wants that fucking mask. He eventually gets it off, but II has another one underneath it. Jim doesn't realise this and starts jumping for joy, showing Reed the mask like a kid who just got that one video game for his birthday. Reed is still going nuts, telling him to turn around because II just tagged in Magnum. Magnum comes in, cleans house and hits Neidhart with the belly to belly while II cuts off Reed from making the save by jumping over Magnum and hitting Reed with this flying kneelift. Just great, great stuff.

Ted DiBiase v Magnum TA (No DQ, OKC) (5/27/84)

So these guys had two No DQ matches for the American Heavyweight Title on the same day. This is the first and a really awesome sub-ten minute scrap. Ted is the champ here and jumps Magnum at the start, taking him out to the floor and throwing him into tables while the entire front row loses its shit. Magnum fights back and slams Ted on the floor (which looked real nasty) and fuck man, Magnum is just aces as this fired to the GILLS take-no-shit asskicking Tom Selleck lookalike. Ted takes over again by loading the glove and blasting Magnum in the head, which is a fucking awesome transition, and Magnum goes ahead and taps an artery. For whatever reason, they cut from the crowd audio mid-match and switch to Jim Ross doing commentary with the crowd muted, and it's pretty disappointing given how ridiculously hot they were. Ted takes a nice over the top rope bump to lead into Magnum's burst of offence towards the finish, and I liked how he just unloaded a few big bombs one after the other to put DiBiase away. Might be a little too abrupt for some folks, but I dug it.

Ted DiBiase v Magnum TA (No DQ, Tulsa) (5/27/84)

Thought this was even better. Gets a few more minutes than the first match and there's no annoying audio bullshit at any point. Thing I like most about this is the way they almost play off some of the spots from the first match, which is pretty admirable in some kind of fucked up nerdy pro-wrestling kind of way. They're wrestling two matches in two different cities in the space of a few hours and just as easily could've worked the same match and got the same nuclear crowd heat. They could've had DiBiase jump Magnum at the bell again and people would've been just as rabid for it. Instead, Magnum catches on and this time it's him who starts out the stronger of the two. Ted takes over by throwing Magnum out to the floor, and that gusher from earlier gets re-opened thanks to what looked like a head-first spill into the ring steps. Ted is awesome here, ramming Magnum's head into tables, tearing at the cut right in front of a bunch of screaming Magnum TA fans, and there's an amazing sleeper hold spot where Magnum's blood ends up covering Ted's arm. The lighting and camera angle gives it a really gruesome feel, too. Also love how they play off the loaded glove spot. Ted used that in the first match to score the advantage; this time, after Magnum's already started making his comeback, he tries to shut him down by loading the glove and taking a swing at him. Magnum sees it coming though, ducks it, hits an atomic drop that sends Ted into the ropes, and catches him on the rebound with a belly to belly. Terrific match.

Mid-South Project

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