Wild Bull Curry v Johnny Valentine (Houston Wrestling, 6/20/69)
This was a ton of fun -- the kind of thing that makes the NWA On Demand service truly awesome. Like, this being unearthed and thrown up on the internet in perfect VQ almost half a century after it happened is just...cool. I've never seen Wild Bull Curry before, but my goodness, his face! Is about 50% comprised of one single eyebrow! He looks like a newly hatched duckling, or Stig of the Dump. I love him already and so do this crowd. If you ever wondered where Greg Valentine picked up a lot of his quirks as a worker, it was from his old man. Johnny just LOOKS like an older, grizzlier Greg. Nobody could clubber a guy in the chest like the Valentine family. This is 2/3 falls, and the first fall is largely puncher v technician. Curry only knows how to throw fists and he'll live and die on that. Valentine tries to work holds and it feels as much like a tactic to smother Curry so Bull doesn't punch him in the ear as it does a way of actually winning. It wasn't remarkable hold-working or anything, but it was fairly active and I like how he seemed to be trying to actually use leverage, plus I dug Boesch's descriptiveness on commentary. Curry's flurries of wild punches were pretty great. They're not pretty at all but every bit as reckless as you'd expect punches to be when thrown by a man raised by orangutans. Some of them were stiff as a bastard as well, especially the ones where the camera gets up real close and Valentine is eating them square in the bloody forehead and staring into space like he's having a stroke. He even topples backwards like Greg would eventually do (except Greg would fall on his face). Stinker of a finish, but Curry trying to eat people post-match like a psychotic wee ManBearPig was entertaining.
Dusty Rhodes v Ivan Koloff (Coffin Match) (Houston Wrestling, 10/24/80)
I was kind of confused about how this stipulation was supposed to work. They never really explained it well pre-match and then they started working it like a Texas Death Match with falls and rest periods in between which. But Dusty also demanded the coffin be left in the ring and both guys would sell being near it like the coffin was a sentient being that could suck them into another dimension. THEN they started trying to shove each other in the coffin and...basically it was a casket match where you win by throwing your opponent in the coffin (although this one didn't have a lid), but for whatever reason you could also win falls that...didn't really matter whatsoever. They had some fun spells of brawling in between the rest periods, though. Ivan hit a nice gusher initially and they built to a hot crescendo at the end considering the early parts were fairly heatless for a big Dusty match. And in reverse 80s fashion the finish was actually awesome! Ivan laid Dusty's head over the edge of the coffin - which looked like a prop from an early Doctor Who episode - and went to hit a top rope kneedrop like he was trying to decapitate Dusty guillotine style. Dusty moved, Ivan kneed the coffin, and Dusty bionic elbowed him into said coffin. I wouldn't really call this good, but it was an interesting spectacle.