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.