Bill Dundee v Tommy Rich (8/23/80)
More from 'King of the Studio Match' Bill Dundee. This was something like the fifth match on the entire set, and by that point you're already coming to the conclusion Dundee is the motherfucking biscuits, but this is the first match where he gets to stretch out against a guy that's fairly close to his level. I mean, I like Larry Latham just fine and the Boyles tag is really good, but none of those guys are hanging around "great" level. Rich is.
A lot of this feels like a stalemate. Most of it is worked on the mat, and I really dug a lot of the tricked out matwork. I guess it's a 'your mileage may vary' deal on how much of it comes off like it's a struggle, but I definitely got the sense that's what it was. The spot where Dundee bridges out of an armbar and scoots over to the ropes on his head is a spot I love. I had no recollection of him busting it out in this match, but he does it in one of the '89 tags on the Texas set and it's stuck with me since then.
As things progress and nobody is able to score any real advantage, it all starts to get a little more hectic. In the first few minutes both guys were matching each other hold for hold and you'd get a spot with them breaking with a handshake. Towards the end they're both rolling out of the way of flying elbows and Dundee almost monkey flips Rich on his head.
Finish is really awesome and leads to the post-match angle/Rich heel turn. He shoots Dundee into the ropes and ducks down for a backdrop, and as Dundee is leapfrogging over him Rich lifts his head and basically headbutts Dundee in the nads. Rich seems unsure what to do initially, but after a few seconds he just rolls Dundee up for the win, which nets him a shot at the Southern Heavyweight Title. Probably the best 'unintentional low blow' spot I've ever seen.
Tommy's post-match promo is really good, too. He eventually directs his piss and vinegar at an injured Lawler, shoving him on his ass to cement the heel turn. The next match on the disc is from March '81 and has Dundee defending the tag belts in a handicap match (which is fucking great and probably the best competitive handicap match in history) because Rich is unable to be there with him, so I'm assuming Tommy turns babyface again at some point in the following 7 months, but for now, Rich is out to get what's his and fuck anybody standing in his way.