Sunday, 9 September 2012

Walkin' in Memphis

Watched a buncha random stuff over the last couple days. This set is the greatest. Like, genuinely the greatest wrestling compilation ever compiled.

Bill Dundee, Steve Keirn, Rick & Robert Gibson v Dream Machine, Nightmare #1 & Heartbreakers (7/25/81)

Fun sprint. It's pretty unstructured outside of Dundee-in-peril segment, but that only adds to the chaos. Bill Dundee is the king of the studio match. He always has something new and cool to roll out for every occasion. Here he almost yanks one of the Heartbreakers' head off going for a sleeper. He throws him into the ropes and wraps his arm around his head just under the chin as he's coming back off the ropes, but whatever Heartbreaker it was seems to think Dundee is cotheslining him. He goes to take the bump on his back, but Dundee keeps hold of his head and just pulls him into this sleeper hold whether the guy taking it is ready for it or not. Looks like Billy gets pissed off at something later on too, because he totally cracks one of the Heartbreakers (don't know which one. Might've been the same one he almost decapitated) right in the nose with a really potatoey looking punch. Match goes about ten minutes with a million quick tags and everybody gets to show their stuff. Just what an 8-man Memphis studio tag should be.

Stan Lane & Koko Ware v Eddie Gilbert & Ricky Morton (No DQ, 2/3 Falls) (10/81)

I waaaay sold this short when I put my original Memphis ballot together. I had it around #80 on that, but if I were to redo the whole ballot now I'd have it about 40 spots higher. The VQ is pretty rough, unfortunately, so at times it can get difficult to tell the difference between the dudes with long-ish blond hair (which is...everybody other than the black guy), but I do sort of get a kick out of watching wrestling from 30 years ago that looks like it came right off a scraggly film reel. I thought this was largely the Koko Ware show, and what a show it was. Everybody else was fine-to-good, but Koko just bossed this with his stalling and cheating and general douchebaggery. All of his shtick with the chain ruled so much, then in the second fall he and Lane would take turns launching Morton (or was it Gilbert?) over the top rope behind the ref's back. At one point Koko chucks him over the top and then hits the deck himself. The ref' puts the count on Morton, and Koko is writhing around like he's hurt, "struggling" to get back up to his feet, then when Morton eventually makes it back in Koko just drops the whole charade and pounces on him. It's also pretty clear he has one of the best dropkicks ever. I brought it up the other day when I wrote about the Fabs/PYT match, and yeah...undeniable. Super fun match, mostly built around cheating and Koko Ware being fucking awesome.

New York Dolls v Steve Regal & Spike Huber (10/4/82)

I forgot Rick McGraw was a New York Doll. Dream Machine looks way different here than he did in that six-man. Like, he's the 'after' picture in an AA poster here (he was the 'before' picture in the six-man). This started out with Regal and Huber all house o' fire, then it basically turned into an extended squash when someone chucked powder into Regal's eyes. I thought Regal was really good at stumbling around the ring like a blind man, and he'd always be rubbing at his eyes like he'd just been maced. I'm not entirely sure whether that was him selling or if the powder was genuinely irritating, but it added to the match either way.

Sweet Brown Sugar & Bobby Eaton v Terry Taylor v Jacques Rougeau (1/1/83)

Super nifty ten minute studio tag. Koko and Eaton are SO the greatest version of the Midnight Express that never was. I mean, I like Stan Lane more than most, but Koko and Eaton are just a fucking dynamite tag team and Cornette should've hit up Koko after Condrey left. Great spot where Eaton slingshots Taylor into Koko who catches him and slams him. And Koko dropkicks a motherfucker. I could watch shit like this all day.

Bill Dundee v Terry Taylor (4/4/83)

Dundee is mid-heel turn here, but by the end he's acted like enough of a shithead for ten minutes to get even the people on the fence to boo him. Dundee is the fucking greatest. He pops Terry in the mouth at the start, then he does his little hip shake, so Terry boots him in the ass and does his own little dance. Dundee keeps bailing and trying to frustrate Taylor, trying to rile him up...trying to sucker him in. His running punch out of the corner was killer, then he looks down at Terry in disgust and does his hip shake again. Taylor didn't stink or anything, and I'm not down on him like 90% of the people that watched the Mid-South set are, but he basically showed up and did a few things while Bill Dundee made with the Bill Dundee. Ten minutes of Bill Dundee making with the Bill Dundee? There are plenty of worse ways to pass the time.

Fabulous Ones v The Moondogs (4/4/83)

The Fabs/Moondogs feud was one of the best things on the whole set, but this was pretty pedestrian and probably the weakest of their matches. Wasn't bad or anything, but these guys set a HIGH bar, and it never had the kind of seething hatred or balls to the wall carnage that made their best stuff so great. Steve Keirn doing a fucking Jet Li style flying forearm was badass, though. Just comes soaring into the camera shot from nowhere and brains Latham.

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