Tuesday, 25 October 2016

Welcome to Mid-South. Try to Criticise Us for How We Live and then Go Do the Same Things That We Just Did

Rock 'n' Roll Express v Dirty White Boys (5/11/85)

Remember when pro wrestling crowds used to adore a team like the Rock 'n' Roll Express? The RnRs, with their tassels, rockstar tights, dodgy mullets and lazy eyes. The most babyface of babyfaces, revered in a time when wrestling was simple and Steve Austin hadn't beat his boss's brains out with a bedpan. This is one of the all-time great wrestling crowds, because they despise the heels and are absolutely blistering for the babyfaces. I'm not the first person to say this and I'm basically echoing a friend of mine who's been talking him up for ages, but Tony Anthony was really, really good. He and Denton were a great pair of scuzzy, filthy hillbilly bastards in this, like Reggie Ledoux's distant cousins. They distract the ref' and beat on Morton in underhanded ways, but you buy them as a team who can seriously kick somebody's tail when they need to. Like when they take over with Denton just crushing Morton with a lariat. There was no cheating or foul play with that, Morton just took his eye off the ball and Denton made him pay. The RnRs were pretty special for a while there. They'd come out and do all sorts of cool spots, many of which have been cribbed and modernised to some degree since, but there's something about Morton and Gibson doing them that just feels authentic. I loved the early parts built around the greco-roman knucklelock in this, with Morton coming in, crawling under Gibson's leg and popping Denton in the stomach, then Anthony coming in to try the same only for Morton to be waiting to kick him in the head as he's on all fours. And Morton is still timeless as a face in peril. He reads the crowd better than most people ever could, knowing when to start firing back to get them as loud as possible, then get cut off to break their hearts and make them a little more rabid for that hot tag. The finish kind of stunk, but people went schizo post-match, and you can't go wrong with a Mid-South crowd going schizo.

Mid-South Project

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