Hacksaw Duggan & Dusty Rhodes v Butch Reed & Hercules Hernandez (8/19/84)
You can probably go ahead and chalk this up to the Butch Reed man crush, but I thought this was just a shit load of fun. First five minutes are basically all about Dusty and Reed. Dusty just boots Reed in the balls and elbows him in the head and Reed takes his awesome bump where he winds up doing a headstand up against the ropes. Dusty pops and locks and his titties jiggle all over the place and Reed stands there like a rabbit caught in the headlights that are Dusty's man breasts. Then Dusty throws another combo that ends with him mule kicking Reed in the balls. This is all happening right in front of the ref' and everybody's out wearing street clothes so I can only assume it's no DQ. If this set accomplished one thing, it was highlighting Butch Reed as an awesome bump machine. You see that in this match. Shit, you see it in practically every Reed match on the set. I hadn't forgotten any of that after watching it through the first time. What I apparently had forgotten is that Hercules Hernandez could bump like a fucking trooper as well. I don't get the sense that if I watched a bunch of Hercules matches from around this time I'd come away from them thinking he was a Butch Reed level bump machine, but he takes a few hiptosses here and he gets stupid elevation on them for a guy as jacked up as he is. When Reed and Herc take over they just go total barfight on the faces; choking them with belts, isolating Dusty and stomping a hole in him while Duggan is sprawled out on the floor, and the ref' can't do a thing about it. Great spot where Dusty fires back on both Reed and Herc and lays them out with bionic elbows, but Duggan is too slow in crawling back to the corner to make the tag. Finish is pretty fucking lame (a STOMP? REALLY?), but Cornette does hurl about 4 kilos of powder in Duggan's face, so at least there's that.
Killer Khan v Chris Adams (9/9/84)
I love Killer Khan. I was neither here nor there on him when I first watched this about 4 years ago, but since then I've watched a bunch of Killer Khan matches on these 80s sets that have either been awesome matches (Khan/Gordy, Khan/Andre, Khan-Choshu/Jumbo/Tenryu, Khan/Choshu) or merely good matches with awesome Khan performances within them (Khan-Gordy/Adams-Iceman). This isn't fucking with Khan/Andre or Khan/Gordy, but it has all the great Khanisms you'd want from a Killer Khan match. Guy has some of the BEST facial expressions. He shoves Adams at the start, so Adams shoves him back and Khan is all bug-eyed and exasperated. "You SHOVED me?!" Adams is out on the floor at one point and Khan grabs his head from inside the ring and gives him the oriental spike. Crowd is going apeshit and Khan is shrieking like a lunatic right in front of the camera. He also has the best flying knee drop in history. I've mentioned Dennis Condrey's amazing knee drops, but those are from a standing position where he jabs the point of the knee right into the kidneys or ribs. Khan is about 300 pounds and when he comes off that top rope (or middle rope if we're playing by the 'coming off the top rope is illegal' rule) it looks like he legit crushes the guy's throat and sternum. Adams is good here too (hits two great superkicks on Khan and a corker on Akbar), but he felt more like a good foil for Khan doing his thing.
Butch Reed v Skip Young (9/23/84)
Pretty much your textbook "established star v underdog with no chance of winning, except underdog puts up Hell of a fight and pushes established star to the wire" match. Sort of the Mid-South equiv of Jumbo Tsuruta v Higo Hamaguchi (in terms of each guy's placement on the card rather than match layout of whatever...although I don't even know if the card placement part is true, either...whaaaatevah). Reed calls some guy in the crowd a honky before the match starts, which has nothing to do with the actual quality of the match, but I felt like I should mention it. He does that in a bunch of matches and I will likely continue to mention it. Reed doesn't seem to be taking Skip very seriously at the start. I mean, he complains about some shit that never actually happened, but he's basically fucking around and even does something that makes Fergie crack a smile while he's getting on Reed's case about something. Then Skip shows him he's no bitch, and the next time Reed goes to the ropes for a breather he looks genuinely flustered. Skip basically works the headlock and frustrates Reed until he's caught with a big back suplex (which is a transition spot I remember from a couple Reed matches...maybe it was a spot he liked to bust out regularly). Reed just stomping on Skip's fingers like a total d-bag as he's trying to get back in the ring was AWESOME...his chinlock was much less so. It did its job in getting heat and let him put his feet on the ropes and cheat, but he basically had Skip lying flat on his back and sort of, like, squeezed the side of his head with his forearms or something. Just ugly. But then Skip Young fights back and hits a motherfucking Skip Young dropkick and I'm RIGHT with them again. Skip's dropkick is the greatest, man. It doesn't look as pretty as Kevin Von Erich's or Doug Furnas's (watching the All Japan set you realise Doug Furnas has a fucking boss dropkick), but he gets SO much height on it. He could dropkick El Gigante in the nose, no problem. Reed's final run of offence is really great, as he catches Young going for a cross body and hotshots him across the top rope, hits a gorilla press slam and rounds it out with an awesome looking guillotine legdrop from the middle rope. Match structure is as simple as can be, but it's how they fill the time and go from point A to B to C that's great. I dug the shit out of this the first time I saw it, and I dug the shit out of it this time.
The Fantastics v Midnight Express (No DQ) (9/28/84)
I thought this was a mixed bag. Everything leading up to Fulton going face in peril was great. It's no DQ, and the Fans just go straight for the jugular right off the bat. Rogers and Fulton are pretty unimpeachable here as a pair of pretty boys trying to murder their opponents. It all feels really hectic and the crowd is insane, and this is what a no DQ match should be. I mean, it's not DiBiase/Duggan levels of hatred and violence, but if you're expecting that out of every no DQ match then you'll be disappointed about 90% of the time. Then Condrey catches Fulton with a cheapshot and we basically settle into a regular formula tag from that point on. Which is fine, because I can totally get behind these guys working regular southern style tags. The fact they don't really work it like a no DQ at all after this doesn't even bother me that much, either. If there's one thing I've learned from watching a bunch of 80s footage, it's that there'll be plenty of times where a no DQ match isn't really worked any differently from a standard match. There's points where you'll be reminded that they have a little more leeway to do things they'd usually be tossed for (like throwing someone over the top rope right in front of the ref', for example), but on the whole the referee tends to try and "enforce the rules" like he normally would. I'm used to all that now. The dip in quality isn't necessarily a result of the shift from "crazy out of control brawl" to "regular tag match," but rather the fact the "regular tag match" part just isn't doing a whole lot for me. I've said before that I don't mind Bobby Fulton. I really don't. But it's gotten to the point where I'd say Tommy Rogers pretty much smokes him at the pro-wrestling, and Fulton as FIP isn't all that compelling here. At some point Rogers decides he's had enough and comes in without the tag, and from there they brawl around the place and we get a ref' bump in a no DQ match. Rogers winds up posted on the floor and the Midnights put Fulton away with a double team. I don't think these teams are even capable of having a match I actively dislike, but on the MX/Fans scale, this was pretty low.
Chris Adams v Adrian Street (10/10/84)
This was really short, but it was a pretty cool Adrian Street showcase. Like the Khan match, Adams is good here. Throws a fucker of a superkick and brings what he usually brings, which is clearly a good thing. But Street is doing forward rolls out of hiptosses and gleaming with self-satisfaction and he applies an armbar where he pulls Adams' thumb back so far it's almost touching his own wrist. He may dress like a transvestite and prance around, but he is one mean bastard. And he also eats that fucker of a superkick square in the face. I'm not even sure what the finish to this is. Terry Taylor hits the scene and plants the lips on Street's woman, and I guess that's enough for Fergie to DQ Street? Maybe? I'll just assume I missed the actual reason due to being distracted by Street making Miss Linda an IPV victim. That was borderline unsettling. I'd definitely be interested in seeing a longer match between these two, because this was good for what it was.