The SmarK Rant for Wrestling Gold Volume Two: The Maim Event!
– Dusty Rhodes must be thinking up these titles.
– The Rock N Roll Express v. Randy Savage & Lanny Poffo. From the Memphis coliseum, 84ish. This is a reasonably famous match, more for one spot than any merits as a tag match. Savage & Poffo do some stalling. Lanny gets double-teamed into oblivion and they work on the leg. Savage comes in and Robert misses a blind charge, but tags Morton, who cleans house. Morton & Savage brawl on the floor, where Angelo Poffo nails him to make him YOUR Face in Peril. Back in, Savage boxes his ears, but misses an elbow off the middle. Savage casually tosses him and drops the axehandle to the floor, which was state of the art stuff at the time. Lanny misses a senton off the top, leading to the hot tag. Angelo pulls the top rope down and Robert splats on the floor. They brawl at ringside, setting up the famous spot: Savage piledrives Morton THROUGH the ringside table, horrifying the crowd and guaranteeing a rematch, as the DQ is called at 6:42. You have to keep in mind that a plain ol’ piledriver was a godkiller in Memphis at the time, and combined with a table, you might as well just cremate Morton and scatter the ashes. **1/4
– Nick Bockwinkel v. Manny Fernandez. From 83 in SCW. Manny works a headlock, but gets slammed. Manny responds in kind and grabs another headlock. Small package gets two, back to the headlock. Nick keeps rolling him over for two. Nick whips him off the ropes and goes low to take over, as Jim and Dave relate the story of the Greatest Fight That Never Was between Manny and Tully Blanchard before Starrcade 85. Backbreaker gets two. He goes to the bearhug as Manny starts bleeding. They slug it out, and Manny wins. Kneedrop gets two. Suplex gets two. The FLYING DOUBLE CHOP OF DEATH gets two. Nick bails, but gets suplexed in for two. Sleeper, but TV time runs out at 6:47. Good while it lasted. **1/2
– The Sheik v. Mark Lewin. From Detroit in the early 70s. This is the first of MANY appearances for good ol’ Ed Farhat on this series. The Sheik is legitimately Sabu’s uncle, and he brought both Sabu and RVD into the business. So blame him. Sheik begs off early on, but chokes Lewin down in the corner. More cheapshots, this time with the PENCIL OF DOOM. Okay, sure it’s an effective weapon, but have you ever felt the flimsy lead on most HB pencils? I hope he was at least using one of those drafting pencils. Lewin starts bleeding, and bails to regroup, stumbling around ringside to sell the disorientation and blood loss. That uses up some time. He gets pissed and grabs the pencil, inflicting his own punishment. Really, how many decent jokes can you make about a PENCIL? I’ve got nothing to work with here. They collide and Lewin covers for two, but perennial pest Eddie Creachman saves. Lewin comes back with a sleeper, then puts it on Creachman, which is of course the cardinal error for a babyface, as he turns around and gets a fireball in the face out of nowhere and takes the countout loss at 10:28. Well, that was actually a pretty cool finish. The match itself was the exact opposite of state of the art. Art of the state? Ã‚Â¼*
– David & Kerry Von Erich v. Gene Yates & Killer Karl Von Krupp. It’s Von v. Von! From Dallas, 82ish. A skinny Kerry starts with the evil Von Krupp and controls him on the mat. That goes on for a while. David comes in for a double-team, then Yates tries and gets his arm worked on. Nothing much going on. If you look close you can probably see Kerry doing drug deals on the apron, though. “I’ll take 2 grams and oh shit, I’m up.Ã¢â‚¬Â David gets a pair of dropkicks and works a headlock. He gets caught in the corner as Dave & Jim discuss the mysterious circumstances of David’s death and less-mysterious circumstances of everyone else in the family’s death. Krupp applies that germanic heel standby, the Iron Claw, but David makes the ropes and Kerry comes in to feel the wrath of the Claw as well. Jim brings up a good point here: Giving the Von Erich kids that move as a finish nearly killed their career: I mean, who in their right mind could ever picture Mike Von Erich crushing a man’s skull with a clawhold? Yates comes in and dropkicked by Kerry, and it looks about 0.6 Erik Watts. Hot tag David, who gets a sleeper, then rolls him up for the pin at 9:47. Bleh. Ã‚Â½*
– The Fabulous Ones v. The Pretty Young Things. From Mempho, the usual era. Koko Ware gets cute with Keirn and gets stomped to start, but jumps him and works the back. Fistdrop gets two. Norvell Austin comes in with a bad kneelift and tosses Keirn, allowing Ware to get a chairshot. Back in, the PYTs double-team Keirn. Koko gets an elbow off the top. Austin headbutts Keirn and drops an elbow. Piledriver is escaped, but Koko keeps up the pounding. False tag, and Austin collides with Keirn for the double-KO. Ah, but those sneaky Fabs switch men and a pier-six erupts. Austin gets tossed and the Fabs double-DDT Koko for the pin at 7:55. Formula stuff. **
– Jerry Lawler & Austin Idol v. The Road Warriors. Again, Memphis, 84ish. The Warriors are early in their career here, as I don’t think Hawk has even learned to no-sell the piledriver yet. Animal presses Lawler, as does Hawk. He bails each time. Back in, Lawler backs off, and Hawk misses a charge, allowing Lawler his fistdrop off the middle. Hawk pounds him, but he no-sells the pulls down the strap. Idol comes in and goes low on Hawk while Animal tries a slam on Lawler. So Idol trips Animal and Lawler gets two on a dogpile. Stereo rollups, but Paul Ellering distracts the ref. Heel miscommunication launches a huge brawl and the ref gets tossed for the DQ at 5:37. Interesting for historical purposes, but not much else. *1/2
– Randy Savage v. Jerry Lawler. This is a cage match. As with many smaller territories, I use the word “cageÃ¢â‚¬Â in the loosest sense of the term. Lawler hammers away in the corner, and Savage goes up to escape. Savage spits on him, then grabs a chinlock. Lawler comes back and sends Savage to the cage as Dave & Jim relate fascinating stories about the war between ICW & Jerry Jarrett, which make Crockett v. McMahon look like Brooklyn Brawler v. Red Rooster on the sheer bitterness scale. Basically, Savage and his family were outlaw promoters, running a company called ICW that ran opposite of the Memphis shows and used every dirty Bischoffian trick (and then some) in the book in order to screw over Jerry Jarrett and bring a few fans their way. They used to give out real names of opposition guys on air, promise Jarrett’s talent would be at their shows, and remember this was the late 70s, before wrestlers even admitted to newer wrestlers that the “sportÃ¢â‚¬Â was faked. Finally Angelo Poffo’s money ran out and the Poffos made up with Jarrett and came to Memphis, drawing HUGE money for the feud that had been built up for more than 5 years. This would be the Tennessee equivalent of Bill Goldberg showing up on RAW one week and challenging Steve Austin to a match, ya know? Savage works the arm and cuts off the comeback via a cheapshot. He keeps using an international object and gets two. He nails Lawler with rights and hits the flying axehandle, then chokes him on the bottom rope. They fight in the space between ring and cage, and back in Savage meets said cage. Savage is swinging at air and reeling, but recovers enough to head up to the top of the cage. His move misses and Lawler comes back and tries a piledriver. The ref prevents it. Savage pulls out the AIRPLANE SPIN (Yeah!), and both guys are dizzy. Someone desperately needs to revive that move in the WWF. The fans can instantly understand the psychology behind the move, and it looks spectacular and gets a pop every time it’s done. Hell, you can do it and then turn it into some kind of fallaway slam or death valley driver if you want to get cute. They fight out and ram each other into the cage, but Lawler pulls down the strap. Back in, Lawler makes the comeback, but Joe LeDuc climbs into the cage for the DQ at 13:38. Those wacky Memphis finishes. ***1/4 Huge beatdown follows, which you just know set up another match the next week.
– The Wild Samoans v. Ted Dibiase & Bob Roop. Dibiase & Roop work on Sika’s (?) arm to start. Hell if I can tell the difference between Afa and Sika most of the time. Dibiase grabs a headlock, but gets caught in Samoan territory and worked over. Dibiase fights back as Jim & Dave relate the hilarious story of the Samoans’ first break in wrestling, as they were ECW-ish supergeek fans who used to sit ringside every week for Peter Maivia matches and basically threaten to start a riot if he ever lost. They’d kick the ass of any heel wrestlers who opposed Maivia, so finally the promoter decided to smarten them up to the business, train them to become wrestlers, and then send them ANYWHERE else in the country and let some other promoter deal with them. True story. Dibiase fights back and Afa misses a headbutt, hot tag Roop. He powerslams Afa, but Sika nails him off the top and the Samoans take over again. Big brawl erupts, and Roop gets the shoulderbreaker for an apparent pin, but it’s a DQ due to manager Ernie Ladd’s interference at 6:07. I hestitate to use the term “This was thereÃ¢â‚¬Â anymore because it’s become stupid and clichÃƒÂ© for me to do so, but it was just kind of a match, ya know? Ã‚Â½*
– Bruno Sammartino & Dick The Bruiser v. Ernie Ladd & Baron Von Raschke. Interesting pairings. This is from the early 70s. Bruiser overpowers the Baron, and gets the big stomp off the middle, but there’s no ref to count because Ladd is being a pest. Bruiser brings Bruno in, and he tries with Ladd. Bruno wins a slugfest, and backdrops him for two. Bruno nails him and sends him flying over the top. Bruiser tosses the Baron and a big brawl erupts. Bobby Heenan gets involved as Bruiser backdrops the Baron for the pin at 5:03. Nothing noteworthy here. *
– Tully Blanchard v. Manny Fernandez. From SCW TV, 84ish. They pound each other on the mat, and Manny rides him. Tully backs off. Manny tries a wristlock and grabs an armbar. Tully takes him down, but Manny hangs on. Tully begs off, and hammers away. Manny hammers back and they both tumble over the top. Gino Hernandez makes the non-surprise run-in and a big beatdown follows, as Manny starts GUSHING blood. Chavo Guerrero makes the save as it’s a DQ at 5:26. This lead to the latino contingent winning the tag titles from the Dynamic Duo soon after. Ã‚Â¾*
– Rick Rude v. Jerry Lawler. Rude pounds away on him to start, and Jim Neidhart (at ringside) adds some shots. Suplex gets two. Neckbreaker gets two, but Lawler keeps getting his foot on the ropes. Lawler fights back and pulls down the strap, and Rude’s in trouble. Ref bumped, allowing Neidhart to come in and screw it up. Lawler drops the fist on Rude, but Rude’s valet Angel distracts Lawler and Rude gets the upset pin at 5:20. Early Rude = Not good. Ã‚Â½* Lawler takes a chairshot from Angel, no-sells it, and makes Paul Heyman’s whole booking career by nailing her to a draw a monster pop. Big ass brawl follows.
– Crusher, Bruiser & Little Bruiser v. The Blackjacks & Bobby Heenan. Little Bruiser is a midget wrestler, and if you’re any kind of wrestling fan you can guess the finish without even reading the rest of this rant. Bobby starts with the midget, and gets the short end of the deal. Nyuk nyuk. Mulligan gets worked in the corner by Crusher. Kneelift gets two. Bruiser works a headlock on Lanza, but the heels choke him down. Heenan comes in, prompting Little Bruiser to go after him. Bruiser (the big one) kicks some ass as Heenan bumps like Shane McMahon with a superball up his ass. Heenan lets Lanza come back in, but Bruiser and Crusher go to the eyes to keep him offguard. Things turn into a brawl and Lanza hammers Crusher down, but it doesn’t have much effect. Heenan comes in and Bruiser tosses him, but walks into a trap. Bobby still manages to get the worst of things, and bleeds all over the place. More brawling, and all the heels collide. The Little Bruiser comes off the top onto Lanza for two, then does it again onto Heenan and of course gets the pin at 11:34. No one ever accused Bobby of having an ego problem, that’s for sure. Fun, classic brawl. *** The Blackjacks of course beat up the midget in the name of good taste.
The Bottom Line: Some good stuff is sandwiched between a lot of not-so-good stuff in this case. Not one I’d recommend picking up on it’s own, but it fits within the collection quite well. I’d probably call it fourth out of the five videos, overall.
Check it out at www.wrestlinggold.com if interested, or better yet buy it through Amazon so I get a piece of the action.
Next up: Volume Three: We Like to Hurt People!
No, seriously, who thinks of these titles?