Tuesday, 28 February 2012

RAW Stuff From '94! No Catchy Title!

The Quebecers v Razor Ramon & 123 Kid (RAW, 2/21/94)

My fears were confirmed: Jannetty went and got fired before he and Razor could wrestle the Quebecers. But then the 123 Kid takes his place and that's about as good a replacement as we could've gotten. On the one hand Kid isn't as good a tag wrestler as Jannetty. On the other hand he was REALLY good in '94. Either way, this turned out to be as good as I was hoping. Razor has a pretty uninspired FIP spell, and going through all of this stuff he hasn't really looked, like...good. Hasn't been terrible, but I'm not sure 1994 Razor Ramon would make the top 25 WWE wrestlers of 2012. Still, he and Kid have some neat double-teams, like Razor fallaway slamming Kid onto Pierre, and he only gets worked over for a few minutes before they head into a longer heat segment on Kid. Kid is miles better as a FIP than Razor. He just bumps and sells his ass off for everything. He's still nursing the leg injury that kept him out of the Rumble and is visibly limping, so the Quebecers zero right in on it -- Jacques slams Pierre straight on his knee at one point, they repeatedly stomp on it, etc. Finish is screwy and they almost mistime it, so you've got Michaels running through the crowd and hopping the rail at a million miles an hour just to get in the ring and break up the pin. Really, this was a Hell of a match. I was psyched about it when it was announced, then my excitement died a little when Jannetty got canned, but then Kid stood in for him and I was psyched again...and it totally lived up to my expectations.

Bret Hart v Tom Prichard (RAW, 2/21/94)

This was okay. All really basic, but it got plenty of time and built well. Bret controls early by always going back to the arm. He slips out of a headlock and hammerlocks Tom's arm; he armdrags him down and bars it; he applies a top wristlock and takes him down to keep him grounded, etc. It's the kind of stuff you've seen in a thousand Bret matches, but it keeps things moving along nicely and they don't waste a ton of time sitting idly in holds. Eventually Prichard takes over, and there's a nasty looking spot where Cornetee winds up the tennis racket to take a pop at Bret, but Savage jumps up form the announce desk and rips it out of his hand, and Cornette stumbles back and falls into the steps, smacking the back of head on the way down. Bret ends up on the floor, so Owen comes down and tosses him back in the ring. Then as he's walking back up the aisle Bret scores the win, and Owen makes a bunch of pissed off faces. He thought he was throwing him back in so Prichard could finish him off...then THAT happens? Wasn't the plan. They tease a scrap there and then, but the refs keep them apart. Their match for 'Mania has been built up pretty well. They built to the Owen turn well, then the turn came off great, and Bret has been good as a guy that doesn't want to fight his little brother, but has resigned himself to the fact that it has to happen. Owen continually acting like a little shit is only making it easier to accept.

Randy Savage v Yokozuna (RAW, 2/28/94)

This started the show and it was GREAT. Savage is super fired up and you can just tell he's psyched to be wrestling on TV again. Vince seemed to have been trying to phase him out for about a year and a half at this point, but he still looks like one of the best wrestlers in the company. They should've put him in a programme with Bigelow and had them beat the shit out of each other for a million years. Yoko bumps and flings himself around like an absolute trooper here, taking a huge faceplant airball bump off a missed splash, hurling himself out to the floor, etc. Savage has to stick and move and flies around like a bearded pinball. Crowd is crazy hot for all of it as well. We get shenanigans at the finish with a salt bucket shot and run-ins, but Savage is amazing in the post-match trying to get at Crush, taking wild swings and spitting on him. There aren't many guys that sell "I want to tear your head from your shoulders" quite like Savage, and I'm definitely looking forward to seeing the Wrestlemania match. I fucking love Savage, Yoko was boss, and this was really good.

1994 WWF Project

Monday, 27 February 2012

1992 WCW -- That Well is STILL Not Dry

Brian Pillman v Jushin Liger (Superbrawl, 2/29/92)

I'd kind of been putting off re-watching this for a while. Last time I watched it I thought it was good, but I just had very little desire to sit and actually watch it again. It came off this time about as well as I thought the last time, but I'll probably go another 10 years before feeling the need to watch it again. They work even at the start and it's decent enough, then Liger takes over and starts working Pillman's leg. They do a nice struggle over the surfboard and Liger putting on the figure-four gets everybody wooing (although no "we want Flair" chant, unfortunately), and it's all solid stuff and does a fine job killing time...but then Pillman does...something, and it basically serves as the transition into the extended finishing run, and the five minutes of leg work ends up meaning jack shit. Pillman literally does not sell the leg for one second and renders the entire period before that meaningless. Finishing stretch is good and everything, but it's two great athletes doing whatever great athletes do, and I don't really, like, CARE, you know? The vampire in me would prefer it if they hated each other and headbutted each other until they were both bleeding buckets. But they respect each other and Pillman does a nice roll-up. Sure, this is good and all, but punch him in the FACE or something.

Brian Pillman v Shane Douglas (Saturday Night, 10/17/92)

THIS was more like it. This has no nice guy Pillman bullshit -- he is a smarmy little prick and acts like a smarmy little prick. They do some nice duelling armwork in the first half that's punctuated by Pillman acting like a smarmy little prick. Douglas is pretty vanilla, but I'm digging everything he's busting out when going after the arm. He does this hammerlock-into-headstand thing that looked way cool and nasty at the same time. Eventually Pillman takes over by tossing Shane out to the floor and giving him a baseball slide that broke his chin. Then he laughs because he is SMARMY and a prick. You know, as a guy that always used to think babyface Pillman was way better than heel Pillman, I'd probably rather watch heel Pillman at this stage. He's probably a better worker as a babyface, but I'd rather see him act like a shithead than respectable nice guy with high cheekbones. He still has the high cheekbones as a heel, but he's a PRICK about it so it's better. The psycho look he gets on his face as he's about to ram Douglas' head into the ring post was really the pro-wrestling perfection. Shane Douglas seems like a guy in quite the need of a reappraisal. Maybe.

WCW 1992 Project

Saturday, 25 February 2012

All Foreign Wars I do Proclaim Live on Blood & a Mother's Pain. I'd Rather Have my Son as He Used to be Than the King of Mid-South & His Whole Navy

Rock 'n' Roll Express v Midnight Express (1/21/85)

Fuck, the beatdown on Morton is amazing here. It's not quite as good as the absolute shellacking he takes in the RnR/Duggan v MX/Ladd six-man from Houston, but Eaton and Condrey really beat the shit out of him. In a lot of ways this kind of felt like a low-key version of this match-up. The crowd heat isn't as crazy as you're used to in a Midnights/RnR match; the opening stretch has little in the way of MX stooging; the RnRs only bust out one double team; Cornette barely gets involved at all, etc. Morton's heat segment is the best part of the match, but Condrey and Eaton (and Cornette) don't really whip the crowd into a frenzy by taking a ton of cheapshots and constantly cheating. They tone it down a bit, but in some ways they come off looking more vicious than usual. Some of the subtle little bits of nastiness are really awesome, like when Eaton has Morton in a headlock near the MX corner and Condrey just stomps right on Morton's ankle from the apron. I'm convinced Condrey is one of the all time great subtle nasty bastards in wrestling history. When he starts laying into guys with kneedrops right to the ribs, that's not subtle. It always looks brutal, but that's in-your-face brutality. He can do that and do it REAL well, but shit like stomping on a guy's ankle or driving his palm into a guy's throat behind the ref's back or digging his knee into someone's adam's apple, that's the kind of subtle brutality Condrey is a master of. I didn't think any of the MX/RnR matches on this set were blow away great or anything (unless you count the six-man tags), but this DID have an awesome heat segment. Condrey is SUCH a bad motherfucker.

Hacksaw Duggan & Terry Gordy v Ted DiBiase & Steve Williams (Texas Tornado Match) (1/21/85)

This was a fun chaotic brawl, but it never did a great deal for me when I first watched it and it didn't do a great deal for me this time. Gordy drags DiBiase over to the railing and says something to a group of kids, then he grabs DiBiase's head, the kids all kick the guardrail out and Gordy rams DiBiase's head into it. THAT is fan interaction! There's a great moment towards the end where Duggan just comes flying into camera shot and tries to kill DiBiase. The Duggan/Ted interactions in this weren't nearly as molten as they usually were, but that bit was awesome. Loaded glove finish with the twist was cool as well. Really, there isn't anything I can complain about here, but the Mid-South set is so completely STACKED with great shit that even the fun chaotic brawls get lost in the shuffle.

Mid-South Project

Friday, 24 February 2012

1992 WCW -- When I Thought the Well Was Dry...

Ricky Steamboat & Barry Windham v Greg Valentine & Dick Slater (Power Hour, 8/1/92)

Yeah, this was good. Slater looks like Jeff Jarrett circa 1996 only a little more bloated. I've never really "got it" with Slater. He's not bad or anything, but any time I see him I kind of feel like I'm watching someone playing Terry Funk. He does a decent enough Terry Funk impression, but I usually watch Slater and find myself wishing I was watching Funk instead. Slater has nice Funk-isms, but nobody has better Funk-isms than Funk. "You can buy that knock-off Rolex, but people will know. You'll fool nobody. Before long you'll wish you had the real thing. But you can't afford the real thing because you're bloated and you look like Jeff Jarrett." Valentine looks pretty much exactly the same as he did in '79. He takes his awesome bump where he stares off into space for a few seconds before falling flat on his face. Has the internet given that bump a name yet? Is it the Valentine Flop? "When a blond haired ruffian falls in the woods and nobody is there to hear it, does it make a sound?" Steamboat plays FIP here and you can imagine how that goes. Valentine and Slater clubber and Steamboat sells like he is who he is. I don't remember Greg throwing a ton of chops, but there was probably a Valentine/Steamboat chop exchange in there somewhere that ruled. I'm assuming this was supposed to be a six-man tag, because before the match Barbarian is out with Slater and Valentine but gets told to hit the bricks, turning it into a 2-on-2. Dustin would've been Steamboat and Barry's partner, but he's got a busted up knee and couldn't even make it out. Well eventually Barbarian comes out anyway and slams Steamboat on the floor, so Dustin hits the scene to even things up. When he gets in there he cleans house on one leg, throwing bionic elbows as Greg, Slater and Barb try to circle him like a pack of hyenas. When Valentine locks in the figure-four, Steamboat grabs the towel and his milking of throwing in the towel is classic dramatic Steamboat.

The Steiner Brothers v Terry Gordy & Steve Williams (Worldwide, 9/26/92)

I'm not sure how many matches these guys had together in '92, but this feels like the "weakest" of the three I've seen (Beach Blast and Clash XIX being the other two). Well, maybe not. The Clash match is definitely better, but this is sort of an abbreviated version of the 30 minute Beach Blast match. It takes a lot of the good from that (BEEF, clubbering, dudes getting tossed around) and, because it's only 12 minutes, eliminates some of the downtime. Rick Steiner throws a total bomb of a clothesline. He always does. When he hits it on beefier guys it sounds like someone took a baseball bat to a slab of meat. Scott plays FIP here and there's a spot where he tries to roll to his corner to make the tag, and Williams, who's on his knees, cuts him off by shoulder tackling him right in the jaw. I liked the finish to this, too. Rick gets the hot tag and things start to break down, but he still manages to pair off with the legal man (Gordy). Williams hits a bridging German suplex on Scott, but as he does that Rick hits one of his own on Gordy for the win. I had no recollection of the tag titles changing hands on TV, but it made for a pretty great moment.

Rick Rude v Erik Watts (Worldwide, 12/5/92)

Man, Rude's promo before the match is so great. He calls Bill Watts a piss ant and rips on his kid for being shitty. He's a boy in a man's world, and Rude is the manliest of them all. He even forgoes the "Shut you mouths while I take my robe off and show you all what a real SEXY MAN looks like" bit at the start and just calls Watts a lowlife punk kid instead. This is a total Rude show. Watts is completely fine and makes nice comebacks and sells well...you can't really ask for much more out of him in a situation like this. He does everything he needs to do and he does it well...but Rude just carries himself like such a fucking badass pro. He is a guy that gets paid to kick the shit out of people, and when he gets to kick the shit out of punk kids whose daddies are piss ants, he takes a certain degree of enjoyment in that. There's no posing and fuck around; this is business and the Watts family is on his shitlist. I've wrote in the past about how Rude really perfected that "hierarchy formula" in '92. This is another example of it. It's not as good as the Dustin and Pillman matches (the two matches I'd say highlight that formula best), but Rude's performance is about as strong in all three. He gave Dustin a good amount of their match because Dustin wasn't far off being his equal. Dustin came out of it looking great and there were points where you could believe he'd win. Pillman was a bit further down the card when they had their match, so he didn't give Pillman as much as he gave Dustin, but he gave him enough. Pillman came out of it looking great and there were points where you could believe he'd win. The gap between Rude's spot on the card and Watts' spot on the card is much bigger, so Rude hardly gives him anything. Watts comes out of it looking great just for hanging as long as he did, and there were STILL points where you could believe he'd win. It's a huge testament to Rude that he'd eat about 20 seconds of offence the whole match and still come across as someone that was in danger of being upset. And it's not like he destroyed his credibility in the process, either. I finally settled on Rude being the best in the world in '92 a while back. This just strengthens his case.

WCW 1992 Project

Thursday, 23 February 2012

Oh, Marty. I Wish You Saved Yourself From Yourself

Marty Jannetty & 123 Kid v The Headshrinkers (Wrestlefest, 1/11/94)

Oh, fuck! Dream match! Waltman and Marty were two of the best guys in the company in '94, and the Headshrinkers might be the best tag team. This got ten minutes and totally ruled like I hoped it would. There are some GREAT kicks in this. Waltman throws a few roundhouse kicks that look like they'd just shatter your jaw, and both Samu and Fatu rattle Jannetty's brains with side kicks. Great spot where Jannetty rams Samu's head into the steps, but Samu just shakes it off (he's Samoan and has an indestructible head) and cracks him right under the chin. Kid and Marty try and work the arm and make quick tags so Fatu just punches Kid in the nose and flattens him with a fatboy powerslam. He looked disgusted that a 70 pound girl would even try that. Marty is a really good FIP, taking a sweet inside-out bump off a Fatu clothesline (which is a cool role reversal since Fatu always loved to take that bump when he'd get clotheslined) and sells the shit out of getting choked with the tag rope. He and Samu have a nice sequence early on where they do a criss-cross spot with Marty dropping down and catching Samu with a monkey flip. When they get back up they do it again, but this time Samu drops down and tries to monkey flip Marty, except Marty is hip to it and just punches him in the face instead. Apparently Samu getting hanged in the ropes is a signature spot of his, because he does it again here. Maybe I should feel guilty about loving that spot so much since it wound up mutilating Mick Foley and turning him into a hideously deformed freak, but I'll assume the ring ropes in the WWF were more forgiving than the ones in Germany that ripped Foley's ear off. So I will continue to love that spot. Headshrinkers should've been on every show WWF ran, every week of every month in 1994 (although I think they turn face soon...that's mildly disappointing).

Marty Jannetty v Johnny Polo (RAW, 1/31/94)

We were supposed to get Kid/Polo here, but Waltman picked up a knee injury and had to drop out of the rumble (for SPARKY PLUGG...did that have one or two 'G's? I forget), and he's still on crutches this week so we get no Kid/Polo match after all. Instead we get Jannetty/Polo while Kid joins McMahon and IRS at the announce table (this is when RAW had a different guy next to Vince on commentary every week. Irwin was fine when he wasn't making crappy tax cheat jokes. He's no Savage, however). I wish Jannetty managed to stay cohesive enough to have a really good run in the WWF, because he can still GO at this point. This was pretty good. I find myself coming around to Levy. ECW Raven does nothing for me, but after watching a bunch of WCW Raven recently and this WWF stuff where he acts like an obnoxious shithead, I get the sense I'd rather watch 1998 Raven or 1994 Johnny Polo than 2012 Naomuchi Marufuji or Fergal Devitt. He blows a backdrop pretty hilariously, but he redeems himself with a nasty crotching on the top rope, and the opening bit where Jannetty ties his feet together with the microphone chord ("I believe this is the first time on Monday Night RAW we've seen a microphone chord used in an offensive capacity" -- Vince, obviously) while he stumbles and stooges was a nice comedy spot. I don't think Jannetty lasts much longer before getting fired (again?), but I'm hoping he gets to wrestle someone like Owen or Bam Bam (or Bastion Booger or ADAM BOMB) before he goes, because that could be the shit.

Marty Jannetty v IRS (RAW, 2/7/94)

This was about as good as IRS/Savage, which I'm content with. Came about after Kid stole Irwin's briefcase the week before and Marty came to his little buddy's aid, and then there was some shit with Razor Ramon and his gold chains. This happened because of that. Marty controls early then Irwin throws him into the ring post and Marty takes an aaaaawesome bump. He goes head-first into it then flies in the air and spins around before coming back down and landing on his face. Looked like he came zooming out of a huge water slide and tried to hit the pool below as awkwardly as he could. Irwin is sweating PROFUSELY after about 45 seconds. He's like the guy at the wedding that spends the whole night dancing and by the end his shirt is completely drenched in sweat. If he's wearing a pale blue shit, by the end of the night it's turned navy. I can't imagine wrestling in a shirt and suspenders being all that comfortable. Actually, why does he never use his tie or suspenders to choke his opponents? It feels like every IRS match in existence has an extended headlock spot where he puts his feet on the ropes for leverage, but it'd be much more fun if he used his uncomfortable wrestling attire to his advantage. The Quebecers and Johnny Polo come out at some point (Quebecers come out twice -- first time they get sent back to the dressing room), then Razor comes out, and I was figuring this would set up a Razor/Jannetty v Quebecers match. Polo trips Marty as he's trying to slingshot himself from the apron into the ring (I'm assuming he was going for a slingshot clothesline or something), and Marty takes it by almost landing on the side of his neck. After the match Razor cleans house, and sure enough he and Marty challenge the Quebecers to a match. Later on in the show Vince tells us it's going to happen in two weeks time, but I'm not sure Marty lasts long enough to take part in it. If he does then I'm STOKED. If he doesn't then they should have the Headshrinkers kill jobbers.

1994 WWF Project

Wednesday, 22 February 2012

Negro Casas v Blue Panther (CMLL, 4/24/11)

This was tremendous. I have no idea how Negro Casas does it. He's a 52 year old man and looks as good as he did 20 years ago. I mean, there's plenty of guys in lucha that reach their 50s and are still awesome. Shit, half of them don't even hit their prime until they're 45. But Casas is more or less the exact same as he was when he was in his 30s. Black Terry, Negro Navarro, Negro Casas, Blue Panther...those guys are still some of the best wrestlers in the entire world. Christ, Terry will be SIXTY this year. Terry and Navarro and Panther have a maestro/vet aura about them. I guess Casas does as well, but he doesn't LOOK old. He doesn't move around like a guy in his 50s that's been wrestling for 30+ years. If someone were to watch this without actually knowing he was 52, they'd think this was a lucha vet wrestling a guy 20 years his junior. Still, this being as good as it was had as much to do with Panther as it did Casas. The first fall is short, but the brawling segment with Casas dishing out punishment was really awesome shit. He jumps Panther in the aisle and just beats on him, choking him with his jacket, headbutting him right in the nose, ramming his head into the fixed seats, etc. Casas is cocky as all get out, but Panther manages to catch him with a flash Fujiwara armbar for the first fall, and they do a great job making the arm a focus for the rest of the match. Panther is such a nasty bastard going after it. He folds it up in a chair and starts kicking at it so hard you could imagine Casas' shoulder getting torn to pieces, and there's a few moments where he'll hammerlock the arm and start biting Casas' fingers. At the end of the second fall Casas dropkicks Panther in the knee (and then takes the fall), and by the end of the match Panther is hobbling around like his leg is completely useless. Third fall is loaded with great moments, but the spot that really cements this as a work of fucking ART is Casas breaking the Nudo Lagunero by SPITTING right in Panther's eyes. Just an incredible desperation spot. Finish pays off all the arm work and is about as great a "flash finish" as the first fall's was. I'm not sure if I'd call this the best match of 2011, but these guys have a fucking hair match coming up in about a week and I will be counting the minutes until that shit shows up.

Tuesday, 21 February 2012

DVDVR Memphis Set, Top 60; #48

The Fabulous Ones v The Sheepherders (6/22/85)

So this set was amazing for a number of reasons. There's the obvious ones like the abundance of great matches, interviews and angles. It's what really cemented guys like Lawler and Dundee as two of the best wrestlers of all time. It got people to watch a bunch of Dutch Mantell and see how great HE was. It showed how awesome Lance Russell was, and I'd assume that 99% of the people who watched the set would consider him one of the best commentators/announcers ever. This set made it pretty clear that Jimmy Hart is one of the all-time great managers. You got to see Randy Savage act like a complete fucking lunatic and it only strengthened HIS case as one of the best ever. Koko Ware showed up and totally ruled it. Really, for a promotion/territory that had a rep for being an "angles territory" with not much in the way of "great work" or whatever...this set really blew that myth clean out the water.

Then The Fabs. I never saw any of the Fabs stuff on the Mid-South set until later (I never picked that up until after I had finished the Memphis set), so going into Memphis I was pretty much completely in the dark when it came to those guys as a team. I'd probably say I was already a Stan Lane fan from his MX stint, but I only really knew Keirn as Skinner in the WWF and that match against Sting in WCW that was really good. By the end of the set they'd become one of my favourite tag teams of all time (then they acted like total assholes when I watched the Mid-South set and that made me love them even more).

Honestly, this isn't the kind of thing I'd show someone that had never seen the Fabs before if I was trying to make a case for them as a great team. If I wanted to highlight babyface Fabs I'd go with the matches against the Moondogs or Pretty Young Things (which serves as a double showcase -- the Fabs and Koko Ware). If I wanted to highlight heel Fabs I'd go with the Guerreros matches from Mid-South (which also serves as a double showcase -- the Fabs and the Guerreros).

This has Keirn getting his ass stomped and hitting a huge gusher, but the Moondogs matches have Keirn AND Lane getting their asses stomped and hitting huge gushers (unless my memory has fucked me again). PLUS they dish out ass stompings of their own and everybody bleeds and FUCK those Moondogs matches were awesome and I can't wait to watch them again.

This is worked in the studio and doesn't really allow them to go totally nuts and brawl and assault each other all over the place like an arena setting would.

Lane and Keirn come out before the match and talk about how they'll defend their tag straps any time, any place. Boyd and Morgan want a title shot, so they'll give them a title shot right this minute. I don't remember what set this whole thing off, but I'm assuming it has something to do with Boyd and Morgan ripping on the USA because Lane is all "You can go back to your own country, you know," although he's not as full on in-your-face about it as a Hulk Hogan or a Hacksaw Duggan. It was more understated. "You come over here and drive American cars and sleep in American hotels, and then every night you try and score with American women" as opposed to "This is AMERICA, God dammit. If you don't like it you can GIIIIIT OUT." Lane is puffy as Hell here, btw. Looks like he has mumps.

Match itself gets a decent amount of time to build. Keirn is really the workhorse for his team here. Lane probably does some stuff early on, but I'm not exactly remembering any of it. Boyd and Morgan aren't my favourite version of Sheepherders, but Boyd will stab you in the head with a flagpole and bite you in the forehead which is all good with me. Morgan is fine enough, but this is really all about what Jonathan Boyd and Steve Keirn are bringing from their respective teams. Boyd coming in to sneak a cheapshot and Keirn just scooting out of the ring because he has no intentions of being caught between two Sheepherders is the kind of cool little touches they bring to this.

Eventually Keirn gets jabbed with a flagpole and starts bleeding. Boyd and Morgan work him over well enough, but I'm not really FELLING it, you know? Keirn had some great "blood loss" selling and took a good pasting, and the Sheepherders worked some nice distraction/choking spots, but it's all kind of a five out of ten on the 'Midnight Express Gang Rapes Ricky Morton Scale'.

Finish is sort of a double-edged sword. On the one hand, someone putting a cue ball in a sock (I'm not sure if it was a cue ball, but it was something in a sock, and cue ball + sock is a match made in heaven so we'll just assume that's what it was), swinging it around in a circle and blasting it off another person's ear is a heck of a way to end a match. On the other hand, you never get that hot tag to really blow the lid off the place. Well, you do, but the ref' misses it and tosses Lane back out. Actually the more I think about it the more I don't really mind it. The replay of Keirn reaching out to make the tag before being dropped like a sack of potatoes makes for a pretty great visual.

Post-match the Sheepherders are stripped of their newly won belts because of the way they won them, but then some lawyer dude that I don't remember ever seeing before (I'm assuming he floated around the territory for a little while) comes out and tells them he'll take the promoters to court over this travesty -- the referee's word is final and his final word was that the Sheepherders won the tag titles. I think Marlin just gave up in the end and handed them the titles. He must not have wanted the messy legal battle.

Not really a great match, and I'd be surprised if I didn't think there were fifty matches better than it by the time I get through the rest of this stuff (2015, probably), but if nothing else it's got me looking forward to the cage match that I had a few spots higher than it.

Monday, 20 February 2012

Royal Rumble 1994

Well this was a pretty fucking good show. I actually sat and watched the entire thing in one sitting last night. One sitting. I NEVER do that anymore. Tenryu being in the main event was a decent motivator, but everything else was at least solid.

Bam Bam Bigelow v Tatanka

I remember this mostly for Bam Bam stopping Tatanka's war dance/Hulk-Up by blasting him in the back of the head with an enziguri and then mockingly doing a war dance of his own while the crowd boo him really loudly. On top of that one spot I remembered the actual match being good, and for once my memory held up, because this was indeed a good match. Bam Bam strikes me as clearly being one of the best guys in the company at this point. He takes a HUGE DDT bump here, has some great cut-offs, and generally comes across as a guy you don't want to fuck with. Plus his head is covered in tattoos. His enziguri looks real nasty, but there's another spot where they're both standing and he jumps up and squashes Tatanka's head between his ankles. Imagine a pair of giant hedge clippers closing on a rose bush. Finish is good too, with Bigelow crashing and burning on a missed moonsault and Tatanka following it up with a cross body off the top. Fine way to start a PPV.

The Quebecers v Bret & Owen Hart (WWF Tag Team Titles Match)

I'm assuming most people remember this for the Owen turn and subsequent "That's why I kicked your leg out of your leg" promo (I know I did), in which case everything leading up to that has been lost in the shuffle, because this was a really fucking good match. Bret and Owen controlling things at the start is good, then Bret plays face in peril and that's good, then Owen comes in and throws the Quebecers around and THAT'S good. Owen has an awesome belly-to-belly, and as soon as he got the hot tag and started whipping the Quebecers into the ropes I was hoping he'd belly-to-belly suplex someone...and sure enough he did. Then we hit the part most people probably remember (other than the post-match), with Bret taking a spill out to the floor (because Polo held the ropes open as he was running off) and coming up clutching his knee. Bret is really awesome at selling the leg from this point on (not just in this match, but in the rumble match later). The only thing he manages to put together offensively the rest of the match is a half-assed sharpshooter that lasts about 3 seconds before he crumbles in a heap again. Other than that he just sells the crap out of the injury the whole time. There's a great segment on the floor where the Quebecers mug him and Owen keeps trying to come around and protect his brother. Jacques nails him in the knee with a chair, Pierre jumps off the steps and lands with his entire body weight on the leg, and Jacques sneaks all the way around the ring while everybody else has congregated at the other side so he can whack Bret in the knee with Polo's putter. Eventually the ref' throws the match out because Bret is borderline-crippled, and that's what sets Owen off. You can sort of see where he's coming from with this. He's RIGHT THERE for the tag, but Bret has other ideas even though he can barely stand up. Little brother is ready and waiting, but big brother tries to go it alone. All you had to do was tag, Bret. All you had to do was tag. I might've kicked his leg out of his leg, too.

Razor Ramon v IRS (WWF Intercontinental Title Match)

This was decent enough; certainly better than their King of the Ring match later in the year. This at least has a clear layout/direction, whereas the KoR match just kind of plodded along with stuff happening and then ended. Razor takes his cool over the top rope bump here and Irwin does the same spot he did against Savage where he comes off the middle rope, catches Razor's leg, tosses it aside and hits a regular elbow drop. Schmozz finish has Michaels run down and hit Razor with the "fake" IC belt, then Irwin pins him and wins, but then some other shit happens with a ref' bumped ref' and another ref' and Razor winds up winning in the end. This still has nothing on the finish to the next match.

Yokozuna v The Undertaker (Casket Match, WWF Title)

Man, the Undertaker promos leading up to this were great, all dark and ominous with Paul Bearer being awesome. Calaway (and Pringle) really nailed that shit. This starts out pretty well, with Undertaker being indestructible and Yoko bumping around and being all bug-eyed. He rams Undertaker's head into the steps, but Undertaker just whips his head back and Yoko sees the whites of his eyes and shits himself. Actually, everything leading up to the million run-ins was good. Not a spectacular brawl or anything, but I dig watching both of these guys do their thing. THEN we get the million run-ins. Tenryu and Kabuki run in and Tenryu throws chops at a zombie. I don't remember Kabuki throwing his awesome uppercuts, but one out of two ain't bad. Bigelow hits the scene at some point and he even looks great standing around directing traffic, getting hit with a salt bucket, not making it look blatantly obvious he's just WAITING there to be punched while the Undertaker fights off 60 people. Fatu completely crushes Undertaker with a splash off the top. I mean, God damn he has an amazing top rope splash. Once they finally stuff him in the casket (after the power of the urn has escaped or...some shit), they're wheeling him up the ramp when the lights go out. Undertaker talks about how he won't rest in peace (cuttin' a promo inside the casket) and then he ascends to the heavens. Where did he go? Nobody knows. It took Leslie Nielson 8 months to find him.

Royal Rumble Match

Not really one of the better rumbles, but it had its highlights. The stuff with Diesel worked really well and even got him a standing ovation and a Diesel chant when he eventually got eliminated. Michaels was really good here too. He's a guy that will hurl himself around endlessly in these matches and he's always a part of a few great near-eliminations. His elimination was probably the best of the whole match, just getting launched out right over the ring post and taking a really nasty looking spill. Bret is still selling his leg like a trooper, and by the end you get the sense the crowd are ready to take to him as the guy running with the ball. When they did the co-winner bit the reactions to him were far more favourable than they were to Luger. Plus him just being in there meant there was always something for someone to focus on. There'll be moments where you don't have anyone to pair off with, so just head over and start stomping on Bret Hart's knee. He won't mind; that's what he's there for. Samu takes an absolutely horrendous "bump" into the ropes early on that I'm sure he would've thought twice about if he knew it'd tear Mick Foley's ear off a few months down the line. He tries to clothesline both Steiner brothers and ends up hanging himself in the ropes, but the way he totally HURLS himself into it looked like it could've yolked his head clean off his shoulders. Just crazy. Still, Tenryu was probably my favourite guy in this. He wasn't necessarily the "best" guy in it, but the second he got in there my attention was focused completely on him for practically the entire remainder. He knows nobody at this party, but his girlfriend dragged him along and now she's disappeared somewhere and he's left to mingle with people he's never met. He's not much of a socialite and doesn't really fit in at these shindigs. His brand of humour might seem strange to these people. There are times where he walks around the ring with nobody to play with, and he's not exactly eager enough to initiate conversation himself, but whenever somebody ELSE does...like Greg Valentine. You'd think those two would get along swimmingly. Two of the stiffest bastards in wrestling history. Guess what they do? They chop each other really hard and at one point Valentine just fucking clubs Tenryu right in the face. I'd say that qualifies as swimmingly. Tenryu's coming in to this as one of Mr. Fuji's hired guns that was sent to take out Lex Luger, so naturally you get plenty of Tenryu/Luger interaction. Luger has wrestled Ric Flair several thousand times at this point in his career, so he's a guy that is used to having his chest lit up. Sure enough he lets Tenryu light him up good and often. Bob Holly is in this as a replacement for the 123 Kid. That bums me out because Waltman has looked awesome in all the '94 stuff so far, and Holly isn't...all that good. Tenryu chops him REAL hard and I'm wondering if this is what made him think it'd be fun to stiff the bejeezus out of rookies. Other than Valentine and Luger, Marty Jannetty was probably the most willing to mix it up with Tenryu, which was surprising but awesome. When he eventually gets eliminated he tries to scoot back in because he's Tenryu and belligerent as all Hell. I'm hoping there's a Tenryu/Valentine singles match out there somewhere.

1994 WWF Project

Sunday, 19 February 2012

Headshrinkers, Beef & BEEF

Randy Savage v IRS (RAW, 1/17/94)

This was the main event of the show leading into the Royal Rumble, and it was pretty good. Gets about 12 minutes. Savage is all hyper and shit before the match starts because Crush is on commentary, so when Irwin is getting in the ring Savage just pounces on him and we're off to the races. Savage's sell of getting his head smashed into the steps was great. He takes the initial shot and then kind of takes a bump where he deliberately falls onto the stairs and tumbles down them (all two steps) really loudly. Irwin looked way better here than he did in the King of the Ring matches I watched forever ago. Savage being Savage definitely helps make a control segment compelling, but Irwin was bringing it on his end as well. Cool spot where Savage is down and lifts the foot up as Irwin is coming off the middle rope, but Irwin clocks it before going face first into it, instead landing on his feet, throwing Savage's leg out the way and hitting a regular elbow. Crush gets involved at the end to the surprise of nobody and the match gets tossed, but it leads to a bunch of guys - including Luger, Bret and Yoko - hitting the scene for good old Rumble warm-up.

The Headshrinkers v Men on a Mission (RAW, 1/24/94)

We were supposed to get the Headshrinkers v Bret and Owen Hart here, which probably would've ruled it, but Owen kicked Bret's leg out of his leg at the Rumble so Men on a Mission sub in for them. There's like 4 Samoan Heads Are Made of Granite spots and the Headshrinkers throw a bunch of superkicks. Like, 12 or something. Mo plays FIP and he's not terrible. I don't remember a thing about the guy as a worker, and "not terrible" is generally enough to keep me relatively happy these days, so I was pleasantly surprised and give thumbs up all around. Mabel is a guy I remember having a somewhat okay spinning/rolling wheel kick, but he hits one on Samu here that was kind of crummy. Although he's gigantic so you can still buy a dude that size causing some damage with a fucking wheel kick. Samu lobs a GIANT gob of spit in the air upon contact. Fatu's splash off the top is such an awesome looking spot. Beefy guys splashing people from the top rope should look devastating (and, to be fair, most beefy guys who've ever done that spot HAVE made it look devastating), and Fatu's looks like it'd just crush your insides. JR dropping an internal bleeding line would've pushed this into 6 star territory. But he didn't so fuck him.

Yokozuna & Crush v Typhoon & Mabel (Wrestling Challenge, 7/31/94)

Came across this on DVDVR and thought it sounded interesting. "Interesting" is about as far as it got, although I dug it for what it was (7 minutes of three superbeefs and a big hoss clubbering and so forth). Typhoon and Yoko do a great shoulderblock spot early where Yoko does his awesome teeter-totter sell after two big BEEFY shoulderblocks before eventually going down on the third. Then he gets up and takes a swing at nothing before falling on his rump. Crush and Yoko take over when Crush hits a side kick on Mabel. Looks like he's trying to hit him in the head, but he's standing too close when he throws it and his foot gets swallowed up by Mabel's gut. It tickles me to hear Stan Lane commentate on "expert martial arts" that look even worse than his. Crush's kick to the back of Typhoon's head that sends him reeling into a big belly-to-belly from Yoko is a nice finish, but I'm watching this with the memory of Chris Adams obliterating Kevin Von Erich with a superkick to the back of his head fresh in my mind, so some piddly Crush version seems less impressive.

1994 WWF Project

Saturday, 18 February 2012

Tonight Down Here in Mid-South I Watch the Cars Rushin' by Home From the Mill. There's a Beautiful Full Moon Rising Above the Mansion on the Hill

Brad Armstrong v Ted DiBiase (1/16/85)

This was super solid stuff; not spectacular, but I can get behind a nifty 10 minute TV match no problem. Armstrong is pretty bland, but he works the headlock well and they do some neat stuff around it. He also takes a nasty bump into the middle turnbuckle where it looked like he smashed his nose off the middle rope (which would've hurt like a bitch). Ending is good with DiBiase wrapping Brad's leg around the ring post and slapping on the figure-four for the submission. I remember really liking their arena match that's coming up soon, but this was a fine "lead-in."

Kevin Von Erich v Chris Adams (1/18/85)

This was a really bossy 5-6 minute brawl. I get the sense I would've liked it even more if I hadn't seen them have longer, better, crazier matches on the Texas set, though. Not necessarily a criticism of the match in front of me, but still, it is what it is. There's a few brutal superkicks here. Someone grabs a chair early and the ref' seems content to just let it fly, so as Kevin is charging Adams with the chair, Adams pulls up and superkicks it back in his face. A little later Kevin is chasing Adams around ringside, Adams slides in, and as Kevin comes in behind him Adams fucking WASTES him with a superkick right under the chin. The third one at the finish is just the meanest bastard of a superkick you'll see, square in the back of the head. I'm surprised it didn't blind him. This basically feels like the starter in Houston for the main course in Dallas, but it's a Hell of a starter.

Buddy Landel, Chavo & Hector Guerrero v Rock 'n' Roll Express & Joe Lothario (1/18/85)

I definitely liked this one less than the elimination match with Dundee and Porkchop in the RnR's place, but it was still a lot of fun. The Guerreros' bumping and stooging wasn't quite as transcendently great here, but Lothario punches them in the face and they still fly around for every shot, so you can't complain too much. After a while it looks like the heels are going to take over on Gibson, but then he just kind of rolls away and tags in Ricky. I was grateful, because Ricky Morton playing Ricky Morton is better than Robert Gibson playing Ricky Morton. Chavo hits an awesome delayed belly-to-belly in this; he just snaps his hips around and really plants Morton. Landel was pretty much a non-factor here other than doing his multiple missed elbow drops spot that he liked to do, but these matches have mostly been about the Guerreros and Jose Lothario, anyway. I'm wondering how many guys could make 98 year old Jose looks as good as the Guerreros do...I'm not coming up with very many names.

Mid-South Project

Friday, 17 February 2012

Pirata Morgan -- YOUR One-Eyed Psycho Motherfucking GOD

El Hijo Del Santo v Felino (CMLL, 4/5/96)

I had no idea this even happened, so I was pretty psyched when I came across it on the '96 yearbook. Unfortunately, it wasn't nearly as good as I was hoping. I mean, I wasn't expecting it to hit the heights of their '98 Monterrey match, but I still figured it could've been really good. Definitely wasn't terrible, but still disappointing. First two caidas are pretty short, but the matwork in the primera was solid enough. Felino isn't a guy I think of as one of the all-time great lucha mat workers - nor is Santo for that matter...maybe - but I always dig these two working the mat against each other -- Felino is always someone I can buy being genuinely petrified of being caught in the camel clutch. Third caida is really what makes the match, though. Santo has had some of the most spectacular dives in lucha for the last 20+ years (shit, it's closer to 30 now), and he hits a couple corkers in this. You can see about three rows of spectators scatter as he's gearing up for his tope, and when Felino crashes into the fixed seats and almost tears an entire row off the floor, you understand why. And sure enough Felino fights and fights and fights, but Santo WILL have that camel clutch. Not the classic they're capable of having, but plenty good. Still, it's all background noise to what I really wanted to talk about...

Pirata Morgan v Masakre (Hair vs. Hair) (2/28/92)

THIS was the fucking greatest. Pirata Morgan is pretty much a God when it comes to working hair matches. He punches you right in the face, takes outright insane bumps, bleeds like a fucking faucet, and generally brings everything you'd want someone to bring in an apuestas match. He jumps Masakre at the start, and the first fall, which lasts only a few minutes, is basically him opening Masakre from ear to ear and drinking his blood. He bites him in the open cut and gets right in there for a mouthful of it, then he spits the blood in the air like Masakre's head was a water fountain. He doesn't half ass this -- it's Gangrel drinking out of that goblet and spitting it everywhere, except Pirata is actually doing it with real blood. When Masakre fights back in the second fall Pirata takes one of the nastiest postings I've ever seen (you audibly hear the THUD) and bleeds all. over. the. place. I'm not sure anybody takes a posting like Pirata Morgan. There's a post in the third fall where Masakre is repeatedly drilling his head into the post and Pirata is taking all of them completely unprotected. He also takes a crazy bump from the apron to the floor that was pretty unnecessary in amongst all of the other mutilation he'd inflicted upon himself already. Masakre is a capable brawler, mostly stumbling around selling the blood loss when he's not beating someone up, and Pierroth plays a Hell of a second to him, but it's Parata's performance that makes this so awesome. He really looked like one of the best wrestlers in the world here.

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 cursed...cursed...it's got a death curse."

Mid-South Project

Thursday, 9 February 2012

Stay Hard, Stay Hungry, Stay Alive if You Can, and Meet Me In a Dream of This Mid-South Land

Terry Gordy v Hacksaw Duggan (8/3/86)

Kind of in the same vein as Gordy/Doc -- just two big surly motherfuckers charging at each other to see who budges first. Ross is in full hyperactive FRUITY DELICIOUS FRUITY FRUITY SKITTLES mode on commentary, which some will hate and some will love. I'm still a fan of ol' JR though, so I thought his call of the whole thing was pretty great. I'm trying to think if there are any regular 1-on-1 Duggan matches I like more than this. The DiBiase series is amazing, but their matches on this set all have stips. The Sawyer barfights are incredible, but I have a hard time calling them "regular 1-on-1" matches, even if they don't necessarily have a stip (well, there's the dog collar match, but I'm pretty sure the November '85 match is stip-less). Did he have anything in the WWF that's even close to being this good? Whatever; point is this fucking rules. I really liked how it was structured, especially. Gordy never quite "takes over" and has a real control segment. He kind of works on top for a large stretch, but Duggan is constantly fighting back through sheer fucking willpower and refuses to stay down for any length of time. It's pretty back-and-forth, but it doesn't feel like they're working "my turn/your turn". It leads to Gordy using the sleeper and the oriental spike just to ware him down, and Duggan is all cock-eyed and stamping his feet while trying to get to the ropes or break the hold some other way. TV time limit finish is annoying, but I'm used to shitty 80s finishes at this stage in my wrestling fandom.

Terry Taylor v John Tatum (8/17/86)

"Tatum...he gets the darndest looks in his face." I remembered nothing about this, but the Tatum stuff on the Texas set and the Fantastics six-man I watched last week had me geared for some more Tatum, and I wasn't disappointed. He just stooges to the fucking moon here. He pouts and makes AMAZING whiney faces early, then when he takes over it looks like he's about to start crying after ever pin that doesn't keep Terry down. He's like a kid that REALLY wants that video game, but his parents won't buy him something with such an abundance of titties and curse words, no matter how much he begs. Shit, he actually kind of looks like Ohtani when he used to do the whole crying after ever nearfall thing, except Ohtani wasn't out and out TRYING to make people want to punch him in the nose. They have an awesome exchange towards the end where Taylor is lighting him up with punches and Tatum is practically dead on his feet, basically swinging out of instinct before finally falling flat on his face. Taylor hotshotting himself on the top rope off a missed cross body looked nasty, and his flying forearm looked great, but this was pretty much a Tatum show.

Hacksaw Duggan, Terry Taylor & Bill Watts v The Fabulous Freebirds (8/17/86)

Oh man, the pre-match of this totally rules. Watts is out with a baseball bat and calls it his "wing clipper". Hayes is irate and wants no part of this shit, calling Watts a maniac and refusing to compete. Watts says they have no guts and that he'll show them where Badstreet really is and Gordy is losing his shit. Hayes and Gordy are up on the stage where Ross is doing his announcing and Watts says he doesn't care where he has to fight them, whether it's in the ring or up there. Jim is all "Oh I don't like this situation one bit." Watts heads up to the stage with a ball bat and Ross is caught in the middle of it all so he just JUMPS off the fucking stage to get away. Eventually Buddy Roberts comes out (I think this was supposed to be Watts & Taylor v Gordy & Hayes initially) and then the locker room half empties to try and talk Watts out of murdering someone with a baseball bat. Eventually Duggan talks him down and the match becomes a six-man tag, which is then a shit ton of fun on top of the awesome pre-match stuff. Hayes is such a great scuzzy shithead, mocking Duggan's puffed out chest with hands on hips pose and bolting out of dodge when Duggan gets in the ring. Taylor is no Ricky Morton, but the Freebirds do a fine job playing your Midnight Express and constantly running distractions and double teams. Watts coming in off the hot tag and blasting Gordy with a right had was fucking great. Out of control DQ finish was unsurprising, but otherwise this was a blast. They also play Born in the USA for like 3 minutes while showing a bunch of crowd shots of people with no teeth or shoes. That was awesome.

Ted DiBiase & Dr. Death v Michael Hayes & Buddy Roberts (Lumberjack Match) (8/31/86)

After coming out of the Texas set thinking Michael Hayes was the king of the ten minute out of control brawl I was pretty psyched for this. Maybe my expectations were too high, but it never really did anything for me. I mean, on paper this shit is way up my alley, but I thought it was "just okay." They do some cool lumberjack spots where Hayes and Buddy try to bail only to be tossed right back into the thick of it, and Hayes trying to lynch DiBiase looked super nasty and awesome, but I'd forgotten most of the rest of it 10 minutes after watching it. Which is strange since ten minute out of control Michael Hayes matches don't tend to fall into that category (at least not after the Texas set).

Mid-South Project

Wednesday, 8 February 2012

Driving Down to Mid-South County, Me & Wayne On the Fourth of July

Rock 'n' Roll Express & Hacksaw Duggan v Midnight Express & Ernie Ladd (7/2/84)

Not quite as great as their first match, but this was really good stuff as well. The clip job at points is annoying, but them's the breaks. Layout is pretty much the same as the Houston match, only this time Robert Gibson actually gets to do something. He takes Morton's place at the beginning by running the heels in circles, then he tags in Hacksaw and they eventually run the same short Hacksaw in peril segment before the longer beatdown on Morton. Duggan matching up with all of the heels is super fun. He and Ladd have a cool exchange, then the Midnights try and just pile on top of him only for Duggan to keep throwing them off, eventually leading to them both trying to pin him and getting tossed at the same time (Duggan standing chest puffed out with his hands on his hips afterwards always gets the crowd amped up big time). He also fucking nukes Bobby Eaton with a clothesline and Eaton takes a crazy flip bump that looked like it cracked his collarbone (and gives him a seizure). The heat segment on Morton isn't as great this time around (lacked the MX almost causing a riot), but it's still the best face in peril in wrestling history playing face in peril in front of a rabid crowd, so it's still really fucking good. And besides, the beating these guys put on him in the Houston match was about as good a beating you're likely to see in a southern tag, so it's not a bar that'll be reached all that often. Ladd does crush him with his giant legdrops though, and I love how he just picks Morton up by the ears and holds him in the air. Finish isn't as hectic this time either, although that's not really a complaint. Without the clipping this likely would've been even better.

The Fantastics v Chavo & Hector Guerrero (10/12/84)

Man, 1984 Hector and 1994 Eddie are pretty much identical. Same hair, same moustache, same facial expressions...just dead ringers. They're also both fucking great pro-wrestlers. As is Chavo, who totally blew me away when I first watched all of this stuff. Thing that separates the Guerreros from most US heel teams (and babyface teams for that matter) of the era is that they just have a truckload of great offence. They bust out a stack of it here; bunch of suplex variations, Hector's tricked out running splash, and Chavo's amazing dive at the end. They don't whip the crowd into a rabid frenzy the way the Midnights do with the constant cheapshotting and double teaming (although it doesn't hurt having Cornette there to help out), but they have the killer offence, and it's not like they don't bump and stooge and cheat with the best of them. Match starts out with them playing "anything you can do, I can do better". Chavo will take Fulton over with an armdrag so Fulton will come right back and do the same. Chavo will string together a couple snapmares so Fulton will come back and string together a couple of his own. Chavo and Hector are pissed, naturally. Then the Fans grab hold of Chavo's arm and go to town on it with armwringers and armbars. Chavo climbs over the top rope to get away, but Rogers just yanks him back in and goes right back to the armbar. Hector's mannerisms and reactions to this are Eddie through and through (well, I guess Eddie is Hector through and through, but I saw Eddie before Hector so the latter reminds me of the former...or...whatever). Eventually the Guerreros isolate Rogers when he airballs on a dropkick, and that's when they bust out the big guns. Watts is on commentary and he's talking about how he's never seen half of this shit before (like the slingshot suplex). Rogers is on the floor at one point and Fulton comes around to help out, so Chavo starts shit talking him to draw him away so Hector can mangle him over the guardrail. Rogers doing a double sunset flip sounds like a goofy spot (because it's a spot that usually always is goofy), but even that looks good and this match pretty much fucking rules. Finish is awesome. Rogers has made the hot tag and the Fans are clearing house, and Fulton wipes out Hector with a cross body. Ref' is putting Rogers out, and while he's doing that Chavo jumps halfway across the ring and sort of somersault headbutts Fulton right in the kidneys (Watts is great at putting it over, talking about how even that would fell Andre the Giant), laying Hector over him for the dirty victory. The Guerreros/Rock 'n' Rolls match on one of the later discs is one of my favourite matches ever, and I'm stoked about going back and re-watching it soon. This was boss as fuck.

Butch Reed & Ernie Ladd v Brickhouse Brown & Master Gee (10/21/84)

This was boss as fuck, too. Wouldn't necessarily go as far as to say it's a TOTAL Butch Reed show, but he's really kingsized here and it's him that puts an otherwise good match way over the top. He asks Brickhouse for a test of strength, and when Brickhouse obliges Reed just muscles him around, hammerlocks him with one arm and sort of chokes him with the other, then he grabs hold of the other arm and turns it into a surfboard. At that point he starts the shit talking. "COME ON, BOY! WHAT'S IT GON' BE, SUCKA? WHAT'S IT GON' BE?" There's an amazing spot where Brickhouse is still in the surfboard and manages to walk his way over to his corner, but as he gets close enough to make the tag Reed just yolks him back and completely folds him with a back suplex. Brickhouse takes it right on his neck and it looked super nasty. Ladd is gangly and awkward as all get out, but he does what he does well and his legdrops look about as great on Brickhouse as they do on Ricky Morton. Brickhouse is really solid and plays a good face in peril, plus he has a cool "float like a butterfly, sting like a bee" shuffle and an awesome dropkick. Master Gee is pretty crappy and doesn't really bring anything of note, though. His flying headscissors looks cool, he hits a nice enough dropkick, and the Fuller leglock at the end was nifty, but other than that...yeah, not much. Still, this was another really good tag on a set LOADED with really good tags. I can only imagine how much better it would've been if you swapped out Master Gee for someone like Koko Ware. Actually that would've been fucking incredible. Butch Reed v Koko Ware? THAT is my motherfucking DREAM match right there.

Mid-South Project

Tuesday, 7 February 2012

Sly Says There's a RIOT Goin' On (In Mid-South)

Rock 'n' Roll Express & Hacksaw Duggan v Midnight Express & Ernie Ladd (6/8/84)

Well talk about a party. This was fucking awesome the first time I saw it and it's just as fucking awesome this time around. Everybody brings it huge here. Sure, Gibson is in the ring for all of about 20 seconds over the course of the entire match, but he at least runs along the apron and, like, does that well, and then he gets stomped like a cheap cigar in the post-match, so I can't criticise him, even if he was only the 6th best guy in the match (or 7th of you count Cornette). First spell is all about Ricky Morton v the entire heel team. He runs the gauntlet against Condrey and Eaton and comes out on top every time. They do the bit where Condrey gets caught in the babyface corner and they all lay into him while Eaton comes creeping up behind Morton. Morton turns around before Eaton can blindside him, so Bobby quickly turns and struts back to his own corner because he dodged a bullet. Then he turns back around and Morton is waiting right behind him to pop him in the chin. Then we get Ladd matching up with Morton, and their cat-and-mouse routine might be the best part of the whole match. Morton tries to shoulder tackle him and winds up getting bounced halfway across the ring. Ladd was a fucking defensive tackle and Morton weights a buck forty, so you know how that goes. He tries it again -- same outcome. Then he tries it again, but at the last second he slides under Ladd's legs and catches him with a dropkick while the big guy is left scrambling. Ladd really bumps and stooges like crazy here considering he's in his mid-forties and banged up to Hell; "whipping" himself over on armdrags and throwing himself around after eating dropkicks. His legdrop is also probably the best standing legdrop in history. He comes crashing down with both legs and it looks like it'd only be slightly worse than having your head shut in a car door. They briefly tease Morton going FIP, but he quickly tags in Duggan and then it's his turn to clean house for a few minutes. There's a great spot where Ladd keeps trying to ram his head into the turnbuckle only for Duggan to block it every time and ram Ladd's head into it instead. Condrey runs along the apron to help out, but Duggan blocks that as well. Condrey initially backs away like "Fuck it, I want none of this shit," but changes his mind and comes back for a second go. This time Duggan just grabs both guys' heads and gives them the double noggin knocker. It's going on 3 years since I last saw this, and I completely forgot about Duggan playing face in peril here. But shit, that's what he does, and he plays a HELL of a Ricky Morton for a guy that's on the same team as the actual Ricky Morton. Before watching the Mid-South set my memory of Duggan was that he was a borderline-retard that swung a plank of wood and chanted USA, so seeing him play such a great face in peril probably would've blown my mind on first watch. Ladd goes into his trunks and pulls out a titanium thumb guard or some shit, then he jabs Duggan in the throat and Duggan is just amazing at selling this. He's rolling around clutching his throat like his larynx is crushed and Cornette and the MX keep running distractions so Ladd can continue to thumb him in the throat. When he manages to make the tag, Gibson comes in for his 20 second cameo, throws some punches, maybe a dropkick or two, maybe even a slam, then tags Morton back in. If they had gone to the finish after the first hot tag this would've been a really good match. Instead, Cornette gets up on the apron to bitch about something and gives Condrey the chance to just launch Morton over the top to the concrete. At this point the match shifts into a different gear entirely. Eaton comes over and whacks Morton in the head with a chair (Hacksaw coming around with a chair of his own and swinging it like a wild man was awesome), and now we get Ricky Morton being Ricky fucking Morton. The MX/Ladd beatdown here is just spectacular. Ladd is crushing Morton with those legdrops and there is an audible reaction of terror from the crowd every time he does it. These crowds'll go batshit insane for Morton no matter what, but you get the sense they are genuinely frightened for his well being whenever Ladd does that legdrop. And, well, you can see why, because they look lethal. This also has to be one of the best performances Condrey and Eaton ever had together as a team. They're just relentless here, constantly dragging the ref' out of position (whether it's by running distractions themselves, having Cornette do it for them, or by goading Duggan or Gibson into the ring so the ref' has to spend time getting them back out) and taking Morton to the fucking cleaners behind his back. So many cheapshots and illegal double teams. It sounds like the crowd is about to legitimately riot and Cornette just antagonises them over and over by poking Morton in the throat with a tennis racket or choking him with the ring ropes. And Jeeeesus Christ is Dennis Condrey a vicious motherfucker. There's one spot where Morton is lying on the ropes all bloodied and motionless like a homicide victim and Condrey completely motherfucking WASTES him with stomps and knees. He's right up there with a guy like Arn Anderson when it comes to shifting between comedy stooge and calculated hitman seamlessly. Finish is pretty crazy and all over the place. Morton is finally able to make the tag, but the ref' is pulled out of position AGAIN and misses it, so he won't allow it. Duggan and Gibson have had enough and come in anyway, and it breaks down into a free-for-all. Somehow the ref' winds up stuck in the corner trying to break up a Duggan/Ladd fistfight and Cornette sneaks in the ring with a rag and a can of ether. Crowd is fucking NUCLEAR because Cornette is going to date rape Ricky Morton. Cornette shits himself when Morton turns around and catches him red handed, dropping the can of ether and running away. Ref' is still caught in between Duggan and Ladd, so Morton picks up the can and starts spraying it all over Bobby Eaton. The ref' gives up on trying to split up Duggan and Ladd just in time to see Morton roll up Eaton for the win. Crowd comes fucking UNGLUED, but then Cornette comes back in and this time manages to smother Morton with the ether covered rag. It's 4 on 2 now so you know how that goes...and I am astounded nobody tried to jump the rail and murder one of these guys. I mean, they are just hurling debris at the ring while Cornette and crew stroll around putting the boots to Duggan and the RnRs. Pritchard gets on the house mic and tells people to stop throwing shit, but nobody gives a fuck about Tom Pritchard and continue to launch buckets of popcorn and cups and all sorts at the ring. The ring wasn't quite filled with trash ala Bash at the Beach '96, but it was on its way. If the Mid-South stories Cornette has told are anything to go by, I'm assuming they needed a police escort to get out of the building that night. Really, this is just a great match. I could see people being annoyed by the finish since it was pretty much a clusterfuck, but I kind of liked how it added to the insanity of everything. Or maybe that started the insanity, who knows? My recollection was that it was one of the best US tags ever. There might be 10 straight up 2-on-2 tags I'd put ahead of it, but it's almost certainly the best US 6-man I've ever seen. Who predicts a riot?

Mid-South Project

Sunday, 5 February 2012

Daniel Bryan v Big Show (Smackdown!, 1/7/12)

This was pretty damn great. I've barely seen any of the Henry run from the last year or so (which I should do something about), so I wasn't expecting him to be so awesome on commentary here, but he really was. The way he just shut Cole's stupidity down time after time was outstanding. "Michael Cole, you say one more word I'mma slap the taste out your mouth." He also threatens bodily harm on someone in the crowd and it was as great as Butch Reed calling people "honky." Actual match going on in the ring rocked too, of course. All of the stuff with Bryan trying to dodge and run from Show was like watching a game of whack-a-mole. He'd pop up and disappear and pop up somewhere else, but Big Show is the size of a bus, and when you're playing whack-a-mole with a guy the size of a bus it's only a matter of time before you get bonked. Show lifting him clean up off the ground by his head and then headbutting him was fucking awesome. Bryan moving from the guillotine straight into the Labell Lock looked super smooth as well, and when he realises he's up shit creek without a paddle he manages to find an out by pissing off the one person he knows will bite. And the post-match celebration...man, that was the greatest. I don't remember him ever reaching such a high level of douchebaggery when he was in ROH. Just awesome.

Friday, 3 February 2012

Senorita, Spanish rose, Wipes Her Eyes and Blows Her Nose, Uptown in Mid-South She Throws a Rose to Some Lucky Young Matador

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.

Mid-South Project

Wednesday, 1 February 2012

I Know a Pretty Little Place in Southern Oklahoma Down Mid-South Way, There's a Little Cafe Where They Play Guitars All Night and All Day

Ted DiBiase v Magnum TA (7/6/84)

I'm pretty sure this was my least favourite of the three Ted/Magnum matches when I went through the set the first time. If we're ranking matches where the ring breaks I probably liked it less than Gordy/Williams. That's not really a knock on this -- the first two Ted/Magnum matches were fucking awesome and Gordy/Williams is 10 minutes of two burly sumbitches throwing each other all over the place. This time around I liked it more, probably only behind their 5/27/84 match from Tulsa (their second one that day). This is longer than their first two matches and doesn't really have the nuclear heat and seething hatred that those ones had. Instead, they take a little more time building from the ground up, but it still has a lot of the same characteristics that made their other matches so great. One of them being Magnum getting the shit beat out of him. I don't recall too many people pimping Magnum TA before the Mid-South set, so I don't think anybody spent a great deal of time talking about how he fucking LEANS into getting his head rammed into shit. But man, he fucking LEANS into getting his head rammed into shit. DiBiase bonks his head off the turnbuckle at one point, and having your head bonked off the turnbuckle is a standard spot that hardly ever looks all that violent. Magnum just leans right into it and doesn't put his hands up for any protection at all and it looks super nasty. He gets thrown head first into the ring post and he LEANS into it. He gets thrown head first into the barricade and he LEANS into it. The way he leans into having his head smacked off the ring apron was really MS-1/Sangre Chicana-ish. The fact he's gushing from his forehead during all of this makes it look even more nutty. When he makes his comeback he's like a lion that's about to tear apart a zebra, all roaring with the mane-like hair. The turnbuckle breaking off even leads to a great moment where Ted tries to pick it up and use it as a weapon only for Magnum to take it from him and whack DiBiase instead. This is Mid-South; even the fuck ups are awesome.

The Fantastics & Jim Duggan v Midnight Express & Jim Cornette (7/20/84)

Different day, same...ring? I mean, it breaks...again...so probably. First half of this basically your MX comedy road-show. Cornette is all pasty and shit and looks ridiculous in ring gear. He wants no part of the actual wrestling unless he can get in there, take a few shots and jump right back out. He just wildly swings his arms in the direction of an opponent and drops an elbow or two before making a bee-line back to the corner and tagging in Bobby or Dennis. Bobby almost pops him in the jaw by accident, but they hug and make up. The babyfaces grab Eaton or Condrey by the arm and try and force the tag to Cornette, but he keeps avoiding it until Condrey is whispering something in his ear and doesn't see Hacksaw using Eaton's arm to tag him in. All the while the crowd are itching for Duggan or the Fans to get a hold of him. This is basically how they kill the first ten minutes, and it's a ton of fun. When the Midnights eventually take over and start beating on Fulton I lose some interest. It's not "bad" or anything. You still get Eaton and Condrey beating on some pretty boy, but this felt like a lesser version of an MX beatdown and Fulton doesn't take a grade A shitkicking the way Rogers does, so I'm left wanting. I did love Cornette putting his knee up for Eaton to ram Fulton's head into it and then selling his own leg afterwards, though. That was an awesome little touch. DQ finish with the run in sets up the Hercules stuff later and doesn't really bother me. Cornette gets his shortly, anyway. Something I'd call "comfortably good", but nothing that is likely to stick out on a set full of shit this good.

The Fantastics v Midnight Express (8/9/84)

After the 3 matches these teams had on the Texas set I was really stoked about going back and re-watching the Mid-South series. The Midnights/RnRs feud is still the pinnacle of southern tag wrestling for me, but fuck if this isn't a match-up I couldn't watch again and again. The first stretch isn't too different from anything you've seen these guys do against each before. The Fans like to do the switcheroo behind the referee's back shtick, and I'm a fan of switcheroo shtick, but I wish Rogers and Fulton weren't so in your face about it. At least clap so it SOUNDS like you made the tag, fer fucks. Still, all this blatant chicanery deserves a receipt, and holy fuck do the Midnights give them a receipt. Condrey has AMAZING knee drops and just fucking obliterates Rogers with the fucking BEST knee drops right to the ribs. Rogers keeps trying to crawl back in the ring and Condrey just slide tackles him right in the chest every time. And God damn is this crowd going APE shit for all of it. Best part of it all is the Midnights working Rogers' THROAT. Condrey jumps off the middle rope and chops him in the throat (Rogers' bump is GREAT), Eaton chokes him over the middle rope, Cornette jabs him in the throat with the tennis racket...Fulton is scrambling around trying to stop this gang rape and the Express just brutalise Rogers while the ref' tries to calm his partner down and restore order. I don't mind Fulton, but compare Rogers in peril here to Fulton in peril in the previous match and the gulf in quality is astounding. Rogers should be FIP every match and Fulton should stick to playing cheerleader. Pop for the hot tag is everything it should be and I dug the finish a lot. Just an awesome match.

Mid-South Project