Thursday, 6 March 2014

Touchin' Down in Memphis, Gonna Find Some Blue Suede Shoes

So it's been about three months since I've written anything for this thing. That's because I haven't watched shit in three months. But now I'm being told by a bunch of people to watch all these great Shield matches that have been happening, and so I figure I might want to ease myself into the whole pro-wrestling again before I do that. And Memphis has always been one of my go-tos for easing myself back into the whole pro-wrestling. So, Memphis:

Rock 'n' Roll Express & Bobby Eaton v The Moondogs & Jimmy Hart (Memphis, 7/25/83)

Seeing the RnR's and Eaton teaming together is a bit like listening to Fear of Music or Speaking in Tongues if you pretend that David Byrne never left to pursue a solo career and instead went on to front yet another insanely great band. A band that eventually would become the mortal enemy of Talking Heads. Managed by a real asshole like, I donno, Liam Gallagher or something. It's almost surreal seeing Ricky Morton and Robert Gibson on the same side as Bobby Eaton, but it's cool either way. I mean, this wasn't great, but it's like ten minutes long and look at who's in it. You know it's watchable. First thing I look for in a manager pulling wrestler duty is how ridiculous he/she looks during the match. Cornette would always look like a total goober with his gigantic pasty diaper straitjacket thing. Remember when Heenan teamed with the Islanders at Wrestlemania 4 and he wore a fucking K9 training suit and looked totally outrageous? I haven't seen a match that Jimmy Hart actually wrestles in in forever, but I think I can remember him always looking like a real numpty with his ring attire. Pretty sure he'd always change it up a bit to fit with his partners for the evening as well. He's teaming with the Moondogs here, so he comes out wearing dungarees that are all cut up at the bottom and he looks like a meth cook that Boyd Crowder blew up in a caravan. I'm a firm advocate of that sort of behaviour. Whole match is basically built around one of the babyfaces getting a shot in on Jimmy while Jimmy tries to stay as far away as possible. So you know how big the pop is when he runs face first into a Bobby Eaton left hook. And it's kind of worth it just for that.  

Koko Ware v Tommy Rogers (Memphis, 10/27/83)

Koko Ware might be one of my ten favourite wrestlers ever at this point. I've probably written that before, but I drink a lot and don't remember. It's no less true, though. He was the biggest surprise of the Memphis project for me (I knew Lawler and Dundee were good, just not quite HOW good (I've probably written that before, too)), and I even had this in my top 30 for the set. Rogers is another guy that's fucking awesome and an all-time level babyface, but he looked kind of off at points here and this really felt like a showcase for Koko Ware's surliness. Does he have the best brainbuster ever (probably asked that before)? He doesn't hit a single dropkick in this (he might have the best dropkick ever, and I KNOW I've written that before), but he does hit two brainbusters, both a bit different, and both super nasty looking. First one drops Tommy all awkward on the side of his head, and the second one looked like it'd break his spine with the way he almost overshoots it initially (like he's going for a regular vertical suplex before thinking "fuck it, I feel brainbustery"). Rogers can't take all of Koko's surliness and tries to slow things down by going to toe holds, which I guess makes some sense, but wasn't that compelling. How could it be when there are other periods of the match where someone is actively being dropped on their skull from several feet? Eventually Koko kicks Tommy in the head some and Rogers gets the bigger picture, so no more toe holds. Then we get a rubbish ref' bump and the finish is...well, what can you do? I'm not even sure you can call any wrestler "underrated" at this point, because there's bound to be a few circles in a corner of the internet somewhere advocating any wrestler you can think of, and I know Koko and Rogers have been pimped, but if nothing else these guys are really great at the pro-wrestling and way better than a TON of guys that have a bunch of praise heaped on them. "Koko B. Ware was just a chubby dude with a parrot and Tommy Rogers was a poor man's Ricky Morton." Yeah, well, so's your ma.

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