Tuesday, 1 November 2016

NWA Classics 24/7 #17

Jim Duggan v Kamala (Houston Wrestling, 6/28/85)

This is more about the big picture segment than the bell-to-bell match. The match only lasts a couple minutes before it gets thrown out, but that doesn't stop Duggan and Kamala having a big pull apart brawl for a while afterwards. This is Duggan's return to Houston, presumably after an eye injury, because he comes out wearing a big eye patch. Of course Kamala rips it off and tries to stab him in the eye with Akbar's whip. I don't know if Duggan bladed around his eye or whatever but it looked like he got shot in the face. Duggan is really one of the best ever working pull apart brawls. Anybody who gets in his way will be mowed down and when you see him marching around wielding an axe handle (a literal handle of an axe) you know you don't want to be anywhere near that. I don't think any of these Duggan/Kamala matches that've been upped are very long, but it's a fun pairing and Duggan seems to bring out the same kind of fire in Kamala that Invader I does. I'll check out the others in due course.

Butch Reed v Jim Neidhart (Houston Wrestling, 1/27/84)

Maybe it's because I knew this was the first match in the feud and two subsequent matches had been uploaded, but this definitely felt like the first match in a feud. Neidhart (or Need-hart as Boesch calls him) was usually pretty fun in Mid-South as Reed's partner. He would stooge and bump pretty big. This is obviously taking place after the babyface turn, but he still bumps a bit like a heel, taking some big exaggerated bumps off of Reed's punches, really throwing himself across the ring when Reed slingshots him into the ropes. Reed is Reed and takes all of Anvil's stuff great, bumping big himself and bouncing around for his punches. I'm not sure if he blades or he just ends up half covered in Neidhart's blood, but there's a cool image at the end where he has blood running down his chest like he'd just participated in a Dothraki heart-eating ritual. Perfectly fine eight minutes.

Ted DiBiase & Dr. Death v Dick Murdoch & Masked Superstar (Houston Wrestling, 3/14/86)

This was the business. It was structured a little differently from your tried-and-true southern style tag -- they worked holds briefly and evenly at the start so there wasn't much of a babyface shine, but that made the eventual payoff with a bloody and battered DiBiase cleaning house all the more meaningful. I guess you could say the heels took more of the match as a whole than was necessary (we basically got three heat segments that maybe could've been compressed a little), but it didn't really bother me. It's been a while since I've watched any Murdoch, but I don't think he'll ever stop being a favourite of mine. The camera angle was pretty wide in this so it meant you got to see him work the apron all the way through, and man is he great at working the apron. A lot of it was subtle, but you could see him getting worried when it looked like Superstar might've given up control, then he'd compose himself again after things were put back on track. The FIP spell on DiBiase was stellar, mostly for DiBiase's blade job and awesome selling, but Murdoch was clearly having a hoot beating him up. At one point he grabs a near-lifeless DiBiase by the hair, cackles at Williams across the ring, then smashes Ted's face into the canvas. This about sent Williams over the edge and he nearly threw Tommy Gilbert out his shoes to get to Murdoch, but of course all it did was give Dick and Superstar free rein to double team DiBiase some more. Post-match was great as well, with Ted and Doc holding Superstar's mask aloft in triumph. Strong tag match.

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