The Pat Patterson Hall of Fame feature continues this month with three new matches. Hopefully this will be better than the first batch.
-Pat Patterson (w/Ray Stevens) vs. Rufus R. â€œFreight Trainâ€ Jones:
This is from AWA All-Star Wrestling from Minneapolis, Minnesota on February 4, 1978. Stevens is in Pattersonâ€™s corner because they were teammates in the AWA. In fact, they were awarded the tag titles later in the year because of an injury that Jim Brunzell suffered and would hold them for nine months. Patterson attacks Jones before the bell but Jones doesnâ€™t sell it and Patterson flees. Back in, its chinlock time and when Jones tries to get out Patterson tosses him to the floor. Man, they are just using all of the stalling tactics imaginable here. Patterson pulls Jones into the ring but misses a blind charge and falls to the floor. Back in, Jones works the arm for a few minutes until Patterson kicks his way out of a wristlock. Jones quickly comes back and a Patterson causes Patterson to get tied in the ropes. Stevens jumps on the apron and receives a headbutt like his partner. Jones pounds away and covers and Stevens jumps off the top rope too late to break the pinfall so the referee has to act like a three count didnâ€™t happen and that Jones wins by disqualification instead at 6:44. After the match, Patterson and Stevens beat on Jones until the faces run into the ring to make the save. This was a whole bunch of nothing. Grade: F
-In a post-match interview, Patterson says that Stevens is going to wrestle his way and AWA promoter Wally Karbo tells Stevens that heâ€™ll get fined $1,000 for his attack on Jones. His rant against Stevens is pretty funny because it sounds like a bitter old fogey hating â€œnew wrestlingâ€ that uses top rope moves.
-Pat Patterson vs. â€œCowboyâ€ Bob Orton:
This is from Madison Square Garden on August 30, 1982. Vince McMahon is on commentary as per usual. A couple of lockups donâ€™t go anywhere and when Orton tries to get in a cheap shot Patterson blocks it. They pop the crowd huge when Orton jumps over the top rope to get into the ring and falls on his face. Patterson rolls up Ortor two and Orton quickly bails. Back in, Patterson gets a quick sunset flip for two and counters a hiptoss with a backslide for two. That counter came off a little sloppy but both guys were so smooth that it looked like they were fighting over the move. Orton goes to the eyes but a blind charge sees Orton ram his knee into the middle turnbuckle. Patterson delivers a kneebreaker and applies a figure-four, but Orton gets to the ropes. Patterson continues to work the knee but Orton goes the eyes again. Orton goes for a piledriver but the knee prevents him from putting weight on it and Patterson backdrops out. Patterson hits his own piledriver for two before Orton puts his foot on the bottom rope. Patterson puts his head down too early and gets punched in the face for two. Orton dropkicks Patterson to the floor but when he tries to suplex Patterson inside Patterson falls on top of him for two. Orton atomic drops Patterson on the top rope and Patterson falls to the floor and gets counted out at 8:41. See, sometimes count out finishes do make sense. There was a lot of great storytelling in this match and they worked in lots of great spots to keep the crowd alive. Grade: B
-Pat Patterson & The Wild Samoans (w/Captain Lou Albano) vs. Ivan Putski, Dominic DeNucci, and Larry Zbyszko:
This is from Championship Wrestling from Allentown, Pennsylvania on February 12, 1980. McMahon and Bruno Sammartino are on commentary. Itâ€™s weird that thereâ€™s no barrier between the fans and the ring. Fans could just walk up to the wrestlers and get autographs and Putski signs a few as heâ€™s being introduced. Patterson was the Intercontinental Champion at this point. It takes a while for the match to get started, but when things settle down DeNucci and Afa start things off. DeNucci is apprehensive about locking up with Afa but when Afa gets him into the heel corner he accidentally clocks Sika. Lots of stalling ensues as the faces continue to get the better of the heels. The faces pound on Patterson in their half of the ring as Albano tells the Samoans not to tag in yet. Patterson rakes DeNucci in the eyes and goes to make the tag, but Albano jumps on the apron and once again tells the Samoans not to tag in. Patterson isnâ€™t very happy about that so he pushes Albano off the apron and the Samoans turn on him. Albano takes a chair heâ€™s had at ringside and waffles Patterson with it and a no contest is declared at 4:56. Thatâ€™s an interesting turn of events. The match itself never got going. Grade: D-
The Final Report Card: Based on what Iâ€™ve seen, the 1970s style of wrestling just isnâ€™t my cup of tea. However, the wrestlers back then played more to the crowd than the ones today who I think have more of a â€œtake it or leave itâ€ approach to what they do. The style also meant less wear and tear on guys bodies than what we saw in later eras. As far as this set goes, the Patterson-Orton bout is really worth a look and is the gem of the collection. You are better off avoiding the other stuff.
Overall Grade: D