Midnight Rockers v Buddy Rose & Doug Somers (AWA, 8/30/86)
This felt like a mid-80s lucha hair match, complete with the technicos wearing white tights to accentuate the blood streaming out of their foreheads. And it was fucking incredible. After a brief opening spell where Michaels comes out ahead of Buddy on a few exchanges, Buddy distracts the referee so Somers can ram Michaels into the post, and from there on out things just get more violent and bloody and awesome. The heat section on Michaels is really amazing here. Shawn is bleeding everywhere and Rose and Somers are just punching and kicking and elbowing and biting him in the open wound. Michaels is staggering around selling the blood loss, and literally any time he throws so much as a punch the place comes unglued urging him on to make the tag. Jannetty is pacing up and down the apron like a caged tiger, and there's a great bit where Michaels is stumbling over with his hand out, but Somers grabs him as he's about a foot away and starts laughing at Jannetty before elbowing Shawn in the head. Michaels' punches look about as good as I've ever seen them in this, and he throws all of them with a sort of recklessness, like a bloody and beaten kid that is fighting for his life against two sleazy old pricks. He's half dead on the floor at one point so Buddy gets the ref' to put the count on him. Michaels manages to scoot back in the ring right before the 10 count, and Buddy has this amazing "oh what the FUCK?!" reaction. The hot tag to Jannetty is as good a hot tag as you'll ever see. Crowd goes absolutely fucking nuts and Jannetty comes in swinging like a maniac, launching Somers into the post a couple times to bust him open while Shawn crawls around on the floor selling his beatdown. Then Sherri gets up on the apron to distract Marty long enough for Rose to knee him in the kidneys, and that leads to the Jannetty in peril segment. He gigs himself and bleeds even more than Michaels and Somers, and he comes across as being even more wild and desperate than Shawn, throwing blind punches like he's just hoping to hit something, but ultimately connecting with nothing. At times he seems downright feral, lunging at Rose and biting him in the forehead. Jannetty makes the hot tag by basically being lucky enough to collapse in the direction of his own corner, and Michaels comes in STILL selling the beating from earlier. Every punch he throws looks like it's being thrown by a kid that's been to hell and back, but he's come too far to stop now. He'll keep going even if it kills him. Match breaks down when all four guys get in there and start (or refuse to stop) mauling each other. Ref' gets knocked down, then Jannetty takes a crash test dummy bump out to the floor and Rose drops him ribs-first across one of those non-folding chairs. Jannetty is rolling around like his spleen's been ruptured while Rose and Somers beat up referees and try to murder Michaels back in the ring. The match is obviously tossed at this point, so the babyface locker room hits the scene to run off Rose and Somers, but Michaels isn't done and takes another crazy leap onto Somers on the floor. Whole scene is complete chaos, and there's even some blood spatter on the camera lens. Just an exceptional match. And it's my new working #1.