Tuesday, 22 April 2014

Bill Dundee! Fightin' the Odds! For Justice!

Bill Dundee v Wayne Farris & Tojo Yamamoto (Memphis, 3/7/81)

So it occurred to me that on the Memphis set there's maybe the best scaffold match of all time (likely is) and the best handicap match of all time, and Bill Dundee is a major reason for both. He was alright at the pro-wrestling. I think I remember during the voting process for the set that there were some folks who were kind of iffy on this because they thought Dundee took too much of the match. I think that's a valid enough criticism, but it never bothered me. I actually like how Dundee is mostly the aggressor, because he's far more established and practically lives at the top of the card. Farris and Tojo are basically midcarders. Shit, Tojo is practically a comedy act at this point. Match feels a bit like a game of football (or soccer, if that's your thang) where the home side - and strong favourites to win - get a man sent off early. They're still the team on top, doing all the attacking, because sometimes going down to ten men motivates you. Ten v eleven doesn't always go in favour of the eleven. And besides, they're at home and the far stronger team, so going a man down probably shouldn't hurt them too much, anyway. They're playing against a team two leagues below them. Fuck, Tojo and Farris can't even win the Ramsdens Cup! Then the ten men go and score and everything! Stuart McCall is having a party, bring your vodka and your charlie! But then time goes on and those ten men start to tire a bit. The initial burst of adrenaline starts to die down, and now the other team are getting to the loose balls first. They have an extra pair of legs, after all. So the home team decide to slow things down for a while, rest on their lead until they get their breath back. They can run out the clock if they want, because now the impetus is on the other team: it's THEM that have to go and chase the game. Except the away side are a bunch of dirty cheating bastards and Ian Black has a chain in his sock, so eventually the ten heroes succumb to the dark force of the eleven goblins, and you're left wondering if the good guys can hang on until the final whistle. It's a story for the ages, and Bill Dundee is pretty much a master at telling it. Tojo Yamamoto also reacts in really funny ways to being punched in the mouth.

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