The Fabulous Ones v The Sheepherders (6/22/85)
So this set was amazing for a number of reasons. There's the obvious ones like the abundance of great matches, interviews and angles. It's what really cemented guys like Lawler and Dundee as two of the best wrestlers of all time. It got people to watch a bunch of Dutch Mantell and see how great HE was. It showed how awesome Lance Russell was, and I'd assume that 99% of the people who watched the set would consider him one of the best commentators/announcers ever. This set made it pretty clear that Jimmy Hart is one of the all-time great managers. You got to see Randy Savage act like a complete fucking lunatic and it only strengthened HIS case as one of the best ever. Koko Ware showed up and totally ruled it. Really, for a promotion/territory that had a rep for being an "angles territory" with not much in the way of "great work" or whatever...this set really blew that myth clean out the water.
Then The Fabs. I never saw any of the Fabs stuff on the Mid-South set until later (I never picked that up until after I had finished the Memphis set), so going into Memphis I was pretty much completely in the dark when it came to those guys as a team. I'd probably say I was already a Stan Lane fan from his MX stint, but I only really knew Keirn as Skinner in the WWF and that match against Sting in WCW that was really good. By the end of the set they'd become one of my favourite tag teams of all time (then they acted like total assholes when I watched the Mid-South set and that made me love them even more).
Honestly, this isn't the kind of thing I'd show someone that had never seen the Fabs before if I was trying to make a case for them as a great team. If I wanted to highlight babyface Fabs I'd go with the matches against the Moondogs or Pretty Young Things (which serves as a double showcase -- the Fabs and Koko Ware). If I wanted to highlight heel Fabs I'd go with the Guerreros matches from Mid-South (which also serves as a double showcase -- the Fabs and the Guerreros).
This has Keirn getting his ass stomped and hitting a huge gusher, but the Moondogs matches have Keirn AND Lane getting their asses stomped and hitting huge gushers (unless my memory has fucked me again). PLUS they dish out ass stompings of their own and everybody bleeds and FUCK those Moondogs matches were awesome and I can't wait to watch them again.
This is worked in the studio and doesn't really allow them to go totally nuts and brawl and assault each other all over the place like an arena setting would.
Lane and Keirn come out before the match and talk about how they'll defend their tag straps any time, any place. Boyd and Morgan want a title shot, so they'll give them a title shot right this minute. I don't remember what set this whole thing off, but I'm assuming it has something to do with Boyd and Morgan ripping on the USA because Lane is all "You can go back to your own country, you know," although he's not as full on in-your-face about it as a Hulk Hogan or a Hacksaw Duggan. It was more understated. "You come over here and drive American cars and sleep in American hotels, and then every night you try and score with American women" as opposed to "This is AMERICA, God dammit. If you don't like it you can GIIIIIT OUT." Lane is puffy as Hell here, btw. Looks like he has mumps.
Match itself gets a decent amount of time to build. Keirn is really the workhorse for his team here. Lane probably does some stuff early on, but I'm not exactly remembering any of it. Boyd and Morgan aren't my favourite version of Sheepherders, but Boyd will stab you in the head with a flagpole and bite you in the forehead which is all good with me. Morgan is fine enough, but this is really all about what Jonathan Boyd and Steve Keirn are bringing from their respective teams. Boyd coming in to sneak a cheapshot and Keirn just scooting out of the ring because he has no intentions of being caught between two Sheepherders is the kind of cool little touches they bring to this.
Eventually Keirn gets jabbed with a flagpole and starts bleeding. Boyd and Morgan work him over well enough, but I'm not really FELLING it, you know? Keirn had some great "blood loss" selling and took a good pasting, and the Sheepherders worked some nice distraction/choking spots, but it's all kind of a five out of ten on the 'Midnight Express Gang Rapes Ricky Morton Scale'.
Finish is sort of a double-edged sword. On the one hand, someone putting a cue ball in a sock (I'm not sure if it was a cue ball, but it was something in a sock, and cue ball + sock is a match made in heaven so we'll just assume that's what it was), swinging it around in a circle and blasting it off another person's ear is a heck of a way to end a match. On the other hand, you never get that hot tag to really blow the lid off the place. Well, you do, but the ref' misses it and tosses Lane back out. Actually the more I think about it the more I don't really mind it. The replay of Keirn reaching out to make the tag before being dropped like a sack of potatoes makes for a pretty great visual.
Post-match the Sheepherders are stripped of their newly won belts because of the way they won them, but then some lawyer dude that I don't remember ever seeing before (I'm assuming he floated around the territory for a little while) comes out and tells them he'll take the promoters to court over this travesty -- the referee's word is final and his final word was that the Sheepherders won the tag titles. I think Marlin just gave up in the end and handed them the titles. He must not have wanted the messy legal battle.
Not really a great match, and I'd be surprised if I didn't think there were fifty matches better than it by the time I get through the rest of this stuff (2015, probably), but if nothing else it's got me looking forward to the cage match that I had a few spots higher than it.