I'm watching a bunch of stuff from the Memphis set again. Some of it I haven't watched since I originally went through it almost six years ago. Oh, Tojo Yamamoto, how I've missed thee (disc 2 might be the best disc of any wrestling comp in history).
Jerry Lawler & Bill Dundee v Masa Fuchi & Atsushi Onita (8/1/81)
I had this at #26 on my original Memphis ballot, which seems kinda crazy in hindsight because it was pretty much an extended squash for nine minutes. But it was a super fun extended squash. Seeing Masa Fuchi as a stooging goofball heel doing a mocking Bill Dundee strut is so awesome. He was always really charismatic, but you get so used to seeing him as a dirty cheapshotting little prick in the cathedral of stoicism that is All Japan that you're sort of taken aback that he can work this style as well as he can. Fuchi and Onita do a bunch of the classic stooge spots and Dundee/Lawler light them up with Dundee/Lawler punches. At one point Fuchi sets himself in a cooky "martial arts" pose and Lawler backs into the corner, so Dundee sneaks in and pops Fuchi in the chin with a hook. Tojo is skulking about ringside dressed like someone taking golfing lessons and you're always ready for him to jab someone with a stick. At some point I think Jimmy Hart hits the scene and the whole thing deteriorates into a gigantic brawl. I think the entire locker room empties and it's just a total pier sixer. Rick Gibson gets shot in the face or something because he is a fucking MESS, and Fuchi is right there stabbing him with a kendo stick. During all this Dundee ends up getting pinned, so Fuchi and Onita win the belts! I think. Anyway, if nothing else this is a cool glimpse at young Fuchi and Onita, and especially at how good Fuchi was even then (how awesome would a Pat Tanaka/Masa Fuchi Orient Express have been? Not that the Fuchi we actually got wasn't an all-time great level wrestler, but you know).
Ricky Morton & Eddie Gilbert v Atsushi Onita & Masa Fuchi (Tupelo Concession Stand Brawl) (9/4/81)
"Look out, Randy, get outta the way!" Christ almighty this is even better than I remembered. I'm not even sure how they wind up in the concession stand in the first place, but once they do it's just complete and utter carnage. Gilbert upturns a box of ice, so everybody's slipping and sliding all over the floor, chucking kitchen utensils and condiments like this is a high school food fight. After about thirty seconds they're covered in everything and I'm not sure what was blood and what was ketchup. Tojo's sitting under the sink like a fucking homeless person covered in mustard and Gilbert keeps smashing things over his head. And holy shit is Morton laying it in with the kendo stick (kendo stick belongs to Tojo; they're not actually selling kendo sticks in the arena). I think Fuchi got stabbed in the ear somewhere along the line. Could've been with a fork, could've been with a broom, could've been with a broken mustard jar; I have no idea. Eddie Marlin comes in and tries to break it up so Gilbert cracks him with a plank. Then he breaks it over Tojo's head. And Tojo goes fucking ballistic. Some guy in a white shirt ends up getting involved (fuck if I know how) and Tojo tries to choke him to death (dude's white shirt is covered in blood and mustard). Then a hysterical lady in a summer dress - maybe white shirt's husband - tries to drag him away so Tojo CHOPS HER IN THE HEAD! HE CAN'T BE STOPPED! SOMEBODY STICK A FORK IN ME BECAUSE I AM DONE!!! I can't tell you how hilarious Tojo was during this whole thing. He's the last one left in the concession stand at the end, so he grabs a board and crawls over the counter like a gremlin looking for somebody to attack. Just amazing. When we cut back to the studio Lance and Dave are shaking their heads all disapproving like and you can see Dave is just DYING to laugh. If hating Tojo Yamamoto hitting people with sticks is wrong then Dave Brown doesn't wanna be right. And neither do I. This is my favourite thing ever.