Wednesday, 8 February 2012

Driving Down to Mid-South County, Me & Wayne On the Fourth of July

Rock 'n' Roll Express & Hacksaw Duggan v Midnight Express & Ernie Ladd (7/2/84)

Not quite as great as their first match, but this was really good stuff as well. The clip job at points is annoying, but them's the breaks. Layout is pretty much the same as the Houston match, only this time Robert Gibson actually gets to do something. He takes Morton's place at the beginning by running the heels in circles, then he tags in Hacksaw and they eventually run the same short Hacksaw in peril segment before the longer beatdown on Morton. Duggan matching up with all of the heels is super fun. He and Ladd have a cool exchange, then the Midnights try and just pile on top of him only for Duggan to keep throwing them off, eventually leading to them both trying to pin him and getting tossed at the same time (Duggan standing chest puffed out with his hands on his hips afterwards always gets the crowd amped up big time). He also fucking nukes Bobby Eaton with a clothesline and Eaton takes a crazy flip bump that looked like it cracked his collarbone (and gives him a seizure). The heat segment on Morton isn't as great this time around (lacked the MX almost causing a riot), but it's still the best face in peril in wrestling history playing face in peril in front of a rabid crowd, so it's still really fucking good. And besides, the beating these guys put on him in the Houston match was about as good a beating you're likely to see in a southern tag, so it's not a bar that'll be reached all that often. Ladd does crush him with his giant legdrops though, and I love how he just picks Morton up by the ears and holds him in the air. Finish isn't as hectic this time either, although that's not really a complaint. Without the clipping this likely would've been even better.

The Fantastics v Chavo & Hector Guerrero (10/12/84)

Man, 1984 Hector and 1994 Eddie are pretty much identical. Same hair, same moustache, same facial expressions...just dead ringers. They're also both fucking great pro-wrestlers. As is Chavo, who totally blew me away when I first watched all of this stuff. Thing that separates the Guerreros from most US heel teams (and babyface teams for that matter) of the era is that they just have a truckload of great offence. They bust out a stack of it here; bunch of suplex variations, Hector's tricked out running splash, and Chavo's amazing dive at the end. They don't whip the crowd into a rabid frenzy the way the Midnights do with the constant cheapshotting and double teaming (although it doesn't hurt having Cornette there to help out), but they have the killer offence, and it's not like they don't bump and stooge and cheat with the best of them. Match starts out with them playing "anything you can do, I can do better". Chavo will take Fulton over with an armdrag so Fulton will come right back and do the same. Chavo will string together a couple snapmares so Fulton will come back and string together a couple of his own. Chavo and Hector are pissed, naturally. Then the Fans grab hold of Chavo's arm and go to town on it with armwringers and armbars. Chavo climbs over the top rope to get away, but Rogers just yanks him back in and goes right back to the armbar. Hector's mannerisms and reactions to this are Eddie through and through (well, I guess Eddie is Hector through and through, but I saw Eddie before Hector so the latter reminds me of the former...or...whatever). Eventually the Guerreros isolate Rogers when he airballs on a dropkick, and that's when they bust out the big guns. Watts is on commentary and he's talking about how he's never seen half of this shit before (like the slingshot suplex). Rogers is on the floor at one point and Fulton comes around to help out, so Chavo starts shit talking him to draw him away so Hector can mangle him over the guardrail. Rogers doing a double sunset flip sounds like a goofy spot (because it's a spot that usually always is goofy), but even that looks good and this match pretty much fucking rules. Finish is awesome. Rogers has made the hot tag and the Fans are clearing house, and Fulton wipes out Hector with a cross body. Ref' is putting Rogers out, and while he's doing that Chavo jumps halfway across the ring and sort of somersault headbutts Fulton right in the kidneys (Watts is great at putting it over, talking about how even that would fell Andre the Giant), laying Hector over him for the dirty victory. The Guerreros/Rock 'n' Rolls match on one of the later discs is one of my favourite matches ever, and I'm stoked about going back and re-watching it soon. This was boss as fuck.

Butch Reed & Ernie Ladd v Brickhouse Brown & Master Gee (10/21/84)

This was boss as fuck, too. Wouldn't necessarily go as far as to say it's a TOTAL Butch Reed show, but he's really kingsized here and it's him that puts an otherwise good match way over the top. He asks Brickhouse for a test of strength, and when Brickhouse obliges Reed just muscles him around, hammerlocks him with one arm and sort of chokes him with the other, then he grabs hold of the other arm and turns it into a surfboard. At that point he starts the shit talking. "COME ON, BOY! WHAT'S IT GON' BE, SUCKA? WHAT'S IT GON' BE?" There's an amazing spot where Brickhouse is still in the surfboard and manages to walk his way over to his corner, but as he gets close enough to make the tag Reed just yolks him back and completely folds him with a back suplex. Brickhouse takes it right on his neck and it looked super nasty. Ladd is gangly and awkward as all get out, but he does what he does well and his legdrops look about as great on Brickhouse as they do on Ricky Morton. Brickhouse is really solid and plays a good face in peril, plus he has a cool "float like a butterfly, sting like a bee" shuffle and an awesome dropkick. Master Gee is pretty crappy and doesn't really bring anything of note, though. His flying headscissors looks cool, he hits a nice enough dropkick, and the Fuller leglock at the end was nifty, but other than that...yeah, not much. Still, this was another really good tag on a set LOADED with really good tags. I can only imagine how much better it would've been if you swapped out Master Gee for someone like Koko Ware. Actually that would've been fucking incredible. Butch Reed v Koko Ware? THAT is my motherfucking DREAM match right there.

Mid-South Project

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