Wednesday, 7 May 2014

The Lawler, The (Other) Funk, The Memphis

Jerry Lawler v Dory Funk Jr. (Memphis, 3/30/81)

Man, I completely forgot about Jimmy Hart dangling above the ring in this. That is just about the damnedest thing I've ever seen. He's just swinging there in a harness hanging from the roof. At least in Texas they stuck Gino in a cage. This was actually way the fuck better than I remembered. At this point it seems pretty clear to me that Dory was never really all that good and the whole "great technical wrestler" bit is kinda nonsense, because Terry did everything Dory did but was a thousand times better and more interesting at it. If I'm going to watch Jerry Lawler versus a Funk, I want that Funk to be Terry. That said, Dory was pretty damn good here. I mean, he's not Terry and this isn't the same kind of wild, bloody brawl as Lawler/Terry. But it was never going to be. Dory is a pretty mean roughhouse, though. Surly, even. He throws great looking stiff forearms and it's actually him that takes it to the floor after the early hold-trading (which I even found kind of engaging in its own right. You know, for Dory). He comes across as a sort of "thinking man's wrestler," which is one of those cliché terms normally associated with Dory, bailing outside a few times to regroup and halt Lawler's momentum. At one point Lawler breaks the leg off a chair and chases him up the aisle, which in central Scotland is where you'd hear someone shout, "run mate, he's got a chib!" And Dory's jelly-legged sell of Lawler's punches was really good, too. Basically this was about as much fun as I've ever had watching a Dory Funk Jr. match. As Lawler starts firing back the ref' grabs his arm to stop him from throwing punches, so Dory sneaks in a couple knees that looked a few inches below stomach territory. Lawler's comeback is amazing as he drops the strap with a total "enough of this shit" look and just walks over to blatantly kick Dory right in the dick. Final few minutes with them hitting each other with chain-wrapped fists and tossing the ref' around felt like something you'd see if this was Lawler and the other Funk brother. This might honestly be the best Dory singles match I've seen. It doesn't have the hideous blood-loss of Dory/Brody from the AJ set, but everything else was probably better. There's a chance I'm overrating it because of the low expectations I had going in (because Dory), but it was still a hugely pleasant surprise and I'm glad I decided to re-watch it.

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