Thursday, 30 August 2012

Buddy v Martel, The Rematch!

Buddy Rose v Rick Martel (Portland, 5/10/80)

You know, as much as the first match surprised me by how good it was - and I'd say it's about as good as any match of 1980 - I thought this was right on the same level. Shit, I *might* even have preferred this. What's especially cool, not just about this match, but about seemingly all of the Buddy Rose in Portland footage I've watched, is that it's so DIFFERENT week to week. Few guys in wrestling history are able to change things up and do them all as well as Buddy can. Not to say this was a Buddy carry-job, because it was not, but I've seen enough Buddy matches at this point to know he would've changed it up whether he was in there with Rick Martel or Steve Pardee or Mando Guerrero or fuggin' Yaki Joe. This doesn't have the amazing Martel sell-job of the first match. Martel's bum leg was really the story of that match the whole way through, and while they don't necessarily have that one big story point here, they make up for it by doing so many other things so well. In some ways the lack of any truly extended body part work allows them to branch out and try a bunch of different stuff (although you still get some great body part work and selling to go along with it). First fall is just killer. Someone gives Martel a bouquet of flowers before the match, so when he hands them to the guy at ringside Rose chases him, steals the flowers and chucks them at Martel's face. Sandy Barr is disgusted by this, so when Rose covers up in the corner to get away from Martel, Barr basically tells Rick to go ahead and beat the shit out of him. Rose and Sandy Barr have shtick like that they'll roll out from time to time (they sometimes do this bit where Sandy will get fed up with Rose pulling hair so he'll yank Rose's hair to get him off, and Rose will take a huge bump on his ass), but I don't think I've ever seen that before. They work the headlock for the first 7 or 8 minutes, and both guys are great in that stretch (Martel applying it, Rose working to get out of it). Awesome spot where Rose tries to run Martel into the corner, but Martel runs up the turnbuckles, flips over and lands on his feet behind Rose, and as Rose turns around Martel hits a fucking hurricanrana (!) before going back to the headlock. Rose tries to bridge out of it at a few points and Martel just drops him with a reverse DDT of sorts. Bonnema on commentary is great again, apologising for not being able to properly call some things (like the hurricanrana and the reverse DDT...things) simply because he's never seen them before and doesn't know WHAT to call them. He doesn't come off like a tool that doesn't know his stuff; instead he puts Martel over for busting out all sorts of nifty and unusual shit. Rose eventually takes over when Martel tries to run up the turnbuckles again and Rose knows what to expect, falling back and planting him with a back suplex. This is where you get the body part work, as Rose rams Martel's back into the post, hangs him up on the turnbuckle and punts him in the spine, and eventually takes the first fall with the inside-out backbreaker. That bleeds into the second fall where Rose goes right after the back again, and they do a great slow transition to Martel making his comeback. First Martel is able to grab an abdominal stretch, but Rose yanks the hair and flips him over to break it. It's bough Martel some time, though. He manages to hit a slam, but he sells it like his own back is still in rough shape and he can't capitalise. Rose gets up groggy and goes for a vertical suplex, but Martel is able to block that as well, and he reverses it into one of his own. When he gets up you know he's right back in it, but it was a struggle and it took its toll on the already injured back -- Rose didn't give up the advantage without a fight. Third fall starts out with Rose hiding something under one of turnbuckle pads and the old lady at ringside going ballistic. I have no idea who that lady is, but she's front row almost every week and seems to hate Buddy's guts. Buddy jawing with her and winding her up is always great. Final few minutes really feel like the final round of a title fight. Both guys are throwing punches and selling exhaustion, and you can buy one big shot being enough to end it. When Martel hooks on the sleeper the place just comes unglued, and I don't even mind the Sheepherders running in to cause the DQ at the end if for no reason other than the fact it leads to more crazy Butch Miller ramblings post-match. When the DVDVR Portland set comes out there's going to be roughly 90 Buddy Rose matches on it. And even then I'm not sure that's enough.

Sunday, 26 August 2012

Buddy v Martel!

Buddy Rose v Rick Martel (Portland, 4/26/80)

So I'm working my way through the awesome AWA 80s set right now, and I've just reached the point in that set where Rick Martel has clearly hit the level of a truly great wrestler (basically when he wins the World Title in '84). I mean, it's not like I thought he sucked before that. He didn't. It's just that he's on a set where Jerry Blackwell is launching himself face first into a cage every other minute and Jim Brunzell is hitting the greatest dropkicks ever and Nick Bockwinkel is being fucking GREAT in general, so Martel wasn't standing out quite as much. But then there was the Jumbo match and the amazing Bockwinkel matches, and now Rick Martel is right there with your Jerry Blackwells and Jim Brunzells of the world. This is from four years earlier, but fuck if he doesn't totally rule it here, too (to the point where I suspect I was selling him short for thinking he never got REALLY great until '84). Of course, so does Buddy Rose. Martel is a guy that's really awesome at body part selling, and most of this is built around him having his leg torn up. I don't want to get lost in hyperbole, but his sell job here really felt like one of the best I've ever seen. Buddy works it over for the duration of the first fall, and there's a great bit where Martel hits an atomic drop by planting Buddy on the bad leg before crumpling up in a heap. Buddy's sell of it on his end is Rick Rude levels of great, and Rick Rude is pretty much the God of atomic drop selling, so it's a doubly great spot. Martel tries to push himself up and out of a leg scissors, and Buddy lifts up his forearm, shows it to the ref' so he knows it's legal, and clubs Martel right in the kidneys. I thought that was cool as shit, and it's the kind of neat stuff Buddy ALWAYS does. When Martel comes back out to the ring for the second fall he's still hobbling, moving in to lock up really gingerly and trying to keep Buddy away from the leg. He takes over when Buddy goes to wrap the leg around the post and Martel just grabs his head and smashes that into the post instead. He starts working over Buddy's back at this point, and as great as Martel is at selling the leg, Buddy isn't far off with selling the back. He goes to slam Martel at one point and ends up clutching his own back like he just separated discs. When Martel works him over he always looks like he's struggling, never moving quite right or being able to put full weight down on the leg, and I love him hitting a backbreaker by dropping Buddy down across the good leg this time. Finish with Buddy bolting to the back after having the mask/wig pulled off would've been a fine non-finish on its own, but the crowd fucking LOSING it adds at least 4 and a half stars. Also need to show some love for Frank Bonnema on commentary. He's not quite Lance Russell, but I think when DVDVR put out the Portland set people will dig him. He's been pretty great on all of the Buddy Rose/Portland stuff I've been watching, and he certainly doesn't prattle on like a Rod Trongard. Anyways, this seriously fucking ruled.

Sunday, 19 August 2012

Buddy Rose Month (what's left of it, anyway)!

Buddy Rose & Chris Colt v Matt Borne & Iceman King Parsons (Portland, 1/12/80)

Well fuck me if Chris Colt isn't the scummiest looking motherfucker you've ever seen. He looks like a serial rapist that tattoos his victims' names onto his body. He's also wearing the greatest patchwork tights. The GREATEST. I don't think I'd ever seen a Chris Colt match before this, but he and Buddy made a pretty fucking bossy team. Buddy Rose might be the best begging off stooge in pro-wrestling history, so when you're in a tag team with him and your begging off and stooging shtick doesn't look second rate in comparison, you're totally doing something right. They both work begging off spots in really cool ways here, sort of as distraction spots. Borne will get fired up and Colt will get on his knees and put his hands behind his back because he wants a truce, and you can't very well hit an unarmed man. Borne doesn't really buy it, but he pumps his fists and looks to the crowd like he's waiting for them to tell him he definitely should punch that scumbag in the nose. While he's doing that Rose will sneak in from behind and cheapshot him. When they isolate Borne and work him over, they roll out a few cut-off spots based around stuff like that, too. It was pretty cool and I dug it and stuff. Iceman doesn't have the ridiculous hair yet, but he's still shuckin' and jivin' and has a head made of granite. He headbutts Rose right in the ear at one point and Rose sells it like he's Buddy Rose. Finish looked a bit flubbed, but this was a super nifty match. How contentious a statement would "Portland was the best week-to-week wrestling on TV in the early 80s" be? Because Portland was putting on some fucking badass week-to-week wrestling in the early 80s (and even before that).