Jerry Lawler v Dutch Mantell (Barbed Wire Match) (Memphis, 3/29/82)
I like the No DQ match a bit more, but this is just a timeless match-up. I love how they start the match all cagey-like. Lance is great as always on commentary, saying that even hitting the ropes requires caution because of the barbed wire being so close. There are some attempts at dragging each other into the wire, but for the most part it's a lingering monster in the background and doesn't come fully into play early on. Some of the punches in this are just unbelievable. Whole last ten minutes or so are basically a game of Punch-Out!! and it's everything that's great about Lawler v Mantell brawls. The hooks, the jabs, the uppercuts, the double KO's, the punch drunk selling - everything rules. The barbed wire wasn't used a whole lot, it was more about the punches (which I'm all for), but both guys really dug it into the other's face like they were trying to rip out eyeballs. There was one bit as well where Mantell was on the deck and just booted Lawler in the nuts, then got up and dropped the strap, and it was maybe my favourite moment in a match with about a hundred and fifty awesome Jerry Lawler/Dutch Mantell punches. Finish is pretty much perfect, I thought. Both guys are utterly spent and running on empty, and it all came down to one guy basically being lucky enough to fall down on top of the other. Epic scrap, which is exactly what you'd expect out of these guys at this point in their careers.
Bill Dundee v Sweet Brown Sugar (Scaffold Match) (Memphis, 6/21/82)
There hasn't been a scaffold match in history within a hundred miles of this, right? I mean, one or two have been "good for what they are," but it's always kind of faint praise. It's not like you can do a whole lot in a scaffold match, anyway. This is just a ton of fun though, and I can't think of any other match that manages to be so good despite such obvious limitations enforced upon it by the stipulation. Dundee as a former steel worker/circus act that's totally at home in a match like this because he has no issues with high places is so great. Some of the stuff he does is really awesome, from swinging around under the platform like a monkey to shaking said platform so Sugar loses his balance. At one point Sugar tries to throw him clean off the scaffold and for a second it looks like Dundee is heading straight for death, but he clings on and climbs back up like Spider-Man scaling a skyscraper. Koko was a blast in this as well. He never worked in the circus so he's not used to being up this high, and he has a bunch of great petrified facial expressions when it looks like he might fall.