Saturday, 11 February 2012

If You See Her, Say Hello, She Might be in Tangier. She Left Mid-South Last Early Spring, is Livin' There, I Hear

Butch Reed & Ernie Ladd v Magnum TA & Master Gee (Ghetto Street Fight) (11/4/84)

I'm not really sure what the difference between a regular street fight and a ghetto street fight is. Maybe you need black people to be involved for it to be "ghetto." I mean, Ernie Ladd is black, but he looks about as un-ghetto as possible. Wearing chinos and a polo shirt to a ghetto street fight? Ghetto? Not really. Awesome? Fuck yes. He looks like he just played a round of golf. My memory of this was that it was great, but I was in full on Reed man crush mode when I first watched it so I figured that probably made it seem better. This time...honestly, I might have liked it even more. Master Gee is still pretty crummy (although there's a cool moment where he gets down off the apron and stands eye-level to Magnum to try and rally behind him as he's getting worked over, which I thought was a nice bit of apron work), but the other guys more than carry the load. It still has the annoying tendencies that most no DQ tags in Mid-South seemed to have, in that they don't necessarily work it "clean," but they don't go full on Duggan/DiBiase level violent. The ref' still tries to enforce the rules, but when Reed throws Magnum over the top rope or repeatedly whips him with a belt right in front of his face, he can't exactly throw the match out. There seems to be a ton more leeway when these no DQ matches/street fights are 1-on-1. Magnum takes another first class ass stomping here, like he has just about every time he's shown up on the set. He also bleeds and bleeds, then he bleeds some more. Reed was probably my favourite guy in this, though. He catches Magnum with a big forearm that knocks him loopy and he does this dance after it because he's so happy with himself. Fergie tries to stop him from whipping the skin off Magnum's back with a belt so Reed gets right in his face and says "Motherfucker, you want some of this?" Then he goes back to whipping the skin off Magnum's back. He and Ladd also bump around like crazy. Shit, Ladd might have even eclipsed Butch fucking Reed as your #1 bump machine of the night. LOVED the finish to this. Magnum has made the hot tag and all Hell has broken loose, but as Ernie is trying to put a figure four (or maybe it was a spinning toe hold) on Magnum he winds up coming away with Magnum's cowboy boot. You just see his face light up as he's lucked his way into this new toy, and sure enough he winds up blasting Master Gee in the back of the head so Reed can score the win. Crowd is outraged and start chucking stuff at the ring, but Reed and Ladd don't care; they're off to the clubhouse (although Reed had better change first).

Buddy Landel, Chavo & Hector Guerrero v Brickhouse Brown, Bill Dundee & Jose Lothario (Elimination Match) (11/16/84)

God damn, the resemblance between Hector and Eddie is unbelievable. They're the SAME fucking person. You can just tell Eddie got so much of his shtick from Hector, because if you sub out Hector for 1997 Eddie, this match turns out basically the exact same (although I think Eddie could crawl across the ring faster). The way they bump off backdrops is even identical (and they both get ridiculous height on them). The Guerreros were amazing here. Match starts out with Lothario decking Hector with a punch, and Hector's sell of it was just indescribable. Then he decks Chavo and Chavo tries to top Hector (he doesn't quite do it, but he comes pretty close). Lothario is borderline immobile, but he throws good punches and has a nice backbreaker, and that's really all the Guerreros need to work with. Speaking of good punches, Bill Dundee was in this match and threw GREAT fucking punches. There's a spot where Hector tries to sneak in and blindside Jose, so Billy comes in and cuts him off with a corker of a right hand. Hector sells it like he's Hector and/or Eddie Guerrero. The whole first stretch consists pretty much entirely of heel horseshit and stooging and it was just awesome. Match does sort of dip at a few points, and after the first elimination it doesn't really hit the highs of the first section, but I was having a blast practically the whole time regardless, and this is another match that was way better than I remembered. The Guerreros were SO fucking great, man.

Rock 'n' Roll Express v Midnight Express (Scaffold Match) (12/2/84)

Yeah, so the Bill Dundee v Koko Ware scaffold match on the Memphis set has basically ruined every other scaffold match in history on account of how fucking good it was. It's hard enough to reach "decent" territory in a match like this, never mind what Dundee and Koko managed. I mean, this was perfectly fine for a scaffold match, and probably the second best in history, but even Eaton taking a backdrop off a reversed piledriver and landing face first isn't going to propel it to Dundee/Koko levels. It's not like it's "disappointing." How can a match that is pretty much destined to suck in the first place regardless of the participants be disappointing? Shit, this was probably BETTER than it had any right to be. But...every scaffold match that isn't Dundee/Koko just...well, they're not Dundee/Koko. These are two of my favourite teams in history...but they're not Bill Dundee and Koko Ware. It's like if Bruce Springsteen sang 'Tangled Up in Blue.' Half the posts in this blog are titled with lines from Springsteen songs, so you can probably guess that I'm a Springsteen fan. He's hands down my favourite artist in the history of music. He could probably do a mean rendition of 'Tangled Up in Blue.' I can imagine him singing "THE ONLY THANG I KNEW HOW TO DO WAS KEEP OWN KEEPIN' OWN LIKE A BIRD THAT FLEEEEEEEW, TANGLED UP IN BLUEEEEEE" and I'd no doubt dig the absolute shit out of it. But he's not Bob Dylan, and if you're not Bob Dylan, you're not nailing 'Tangled Up in Blue.'

Adrian Street v Terry Taylor (Loser Leaves Town) (12/7/84)

I liked Street quite a bit in this, but for a loser leaves town feud-ender, there wasn't really any urgency or...anything to set it apart, really. Still, Street had a bunch of great stuff when it came to working holds. He does this super nasty looking takedown where he hammerlocks Terry's arm and at the same time twists his neck around before just dragging him down to the mat. Then he grabs an armbar and starts bending his fingers, sitting with a knee across his throat and pulling his hair while the ref' is giving him a talking to about something else. He also does all of his fairy shtick and prances around and pinches the ref's butt. Terry gets about 40 seconds of offence the whole match and Boesch says "Terry Taylor is setting the pace." Boesch is basically 'Crazy Ralph as pro-wrestling commentator' from this point forward. "This place is's got a death curse."

Mid-South Project

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