Jose Lothario v Black Gordman (Houston Wrestling, 1/13/84)
This was basically eight minutes of two old dudes punching and bleeding. And of course it ruled. Kind of felt like the opening rudo fall of an apuestas match early on, but it soon turned into a street brawl with both guys throwing fists. I really hope we get a bunch of prime Lothario through this sevice at some point because fifty year old tougher-than-shoe-leather Lothario has been awesome. He threw one uppercut in this that looked a shade away from putting Gordman's nasal bone through his brain. Crowd heat for this is absolutely through the roof. Gordman sneaks in a few shots with a hidden chain, and the pop for Jose snatching it and using it himself is one of the loudest I've ever heard. Seems pretty clear that this is building to a big blowoff and holy shit do I want to see it.
Butch Reed v The Barbarian (Houston Wrestling, 9/13/85)
I liked some of Barbarian's offence in this. He hit a killer powerslam, dropped Reed throat-first across the guardrail, and he's big and imposing enough that you could conceivably buy him throwing around a guy the size of Hacksaw Reed. He's still green as goose shit, but he certainly seems willing to be led along while holding up his own end. I don't remember a single thing he did as the Berzerker, but by '91/'92 he probably could've had enough about him to produce something decent with a guy like Bret Hart (someone else can do a 'Berzerker in WWF Project' if they like). There hasn't been a true knockout from the Reed footage yet (I'm saving the Tito and JYD stuff for after the semester), but he's been solid in everything and this was him leading a rookie to a nice ten minute contest, which is a side of him I don't really remember seeing before. He takes a few big bumps, with his crash and burn across the ropes off a missed crossbody looking awesome, and on the whole this was perfectly decently finely okay.
Dick Murdoch v Al Perez (Houston Wrestling, 10/11/85)
If the last match was Reed leading a serviceable rookie to a decent, competitive contest then this was Murdoch...basically doing the same. This was face v face, though, so more of a sporting affair. The early matwork wasn't mindblowing or anything, but it was solid. I kind of forget just how well Murdoch can work the mat since it's usually the brawling and punching and amazing shtick I think of whenever he's brought up, but he really is fun on the ground. There's a cool bit where Perez catches him with a sunset flip and Murdoch acknowledges it with a handshake and tilt of the head, then a few seconds later he returns the favour with an "anything you can do..." smirk afterwards. Perez throws a couple forearms rather than breaking clean, so Murdoch instantly goes "fuck it" and lays into him with elbows and fists. He reels himself back in again straight away - this is still a gentlemen's contest - but Murdoch isn't some pot-bellied stable hand and these young guys need to recognise. Finish did its job in making Murdoch look like a skilled veteran and Perez a guy that, with some more experience under his belt, might just end up being a stud (maybe in some alternate universe Al Perez is a sixteen times World Champion). And that's really all you can ask for.