The SmarK Retro Repost – Wrestling Gold Volume 3

The SmarK Rant for Wrestling Gold Volume 3 – We Like to Hurt People!

– Tommy Rich & Eddie Gilbert v. Phil Hickerson & The Spoiler. For those who think that WCW cornered the market on stupid ideas, witness Rich & Gilbert. The idea at this point was that they were the “New Fabulous Ones”, replacing the massively popular team of Stan Lane & Steve Keirn. This went over with the Memphis fanbase about as good as Fake Razor and Fake Diesel did in 1996. And speaking of stupid things done by bookers, you’ve also got fat ugly redneck heel Phil Hickerson, who was no longer getting over by the late 80s, at which point Eric Embry (booking Dallas) decided to repackage him as Vietnamese mercenary PY Chu-Hi. Yes, you read that right. The thing that really scares the bejeezus out of me most nights is that IT GOT OVER. Anyway, this is a Tennesse Street Fight, so girly men need not apply. JIP with everyone brawling. Tommy starts bleeding at the hands of Hickerson. Gilbert cleans house with what appears to be a ringbell hammer, but the heels pound them down and take over. Jim finally gets in his first shot at Paul Heyman, three DVDs in, accusing Heyman of double-crossing Gilbert and stealing ECW out from under him. Now we’re just waiting for him to go off on Russo to complete the cycle. Everyone is just gushing blood. Spoiler tries a piledriver on Gilbert, unsuccessfully. Spoiler takes his loaded boot off and beats on everyone with it, but Rich steals it and returns fire. Glibert piledrives Spoiler on the floor, and Rich steals his loaded mask, headbutts Hickerson with it, and Gilbert gets the pin at 6:18. Got blood? **1/2

– Randy Savage & Lanny Poffo v. The Rock N Roll Express. Presumably a rematch from DVD #2. Savage comes flying off the top, but gets caught. He bails, and Lanny comes in to try against Gibson. Savage tosses Morton and axehandles him off the top. Back in, Morton gets tossed and takes another dramatic bump to the floor. Savage & Poffo double-team Morton for two. Morton leapfrogs Poffo but walks into a Savage elbow. The punishment continues as Morton bails and they take turns kicking him in the face from the ring apron. Ah, Randy Savage in the days before money and drugs cut his scrotum off. Back in, Morton dives for the tag, but Poffo holds the ankle until Savage goes over to get in Gibson’s face and presumably say things about his mother. Classic tag psychology there. They head out and Savage tries another Table-Driver ’84, but Morton is able to counter this time. Hot tag Gibson, as he cleans house while Cornette gives a lesson on tag psychology. Superplex for Poffo, but Angelo comes in for the DQ at 8:23, triggering a HUGE brawl to set up another match down the road. I love this old Memphis tag stuff. *** Notice how Memphis matches ended in DQs lots of times, but they always set up the next logical match down the road and left the fans wanting more. Cf. the DQs in the WWF, where it’s the same guys running in for the DQ all the time, leading to the feuds stagnating.

– Dick Slater v. Dory Funk Jr. Slater was totally aping Terry Funk at this point in his career, selling and acting just like him. Dory takes him down and works a headlock. Slater can’t suplex out, but an atomic drop works. Dory backslides him for two, but to the headlock. Slater escapes, but misses a legdrop and gets atomic dropped out. Back in, Dory goes back to the headlock, but this time Slater suplexes out. Backbreaker gets two. Elbowdrop gets two. Slater unloads, but gets nailed with a forearm uppercut sequence. Running forearm gets two. Back to the headlock, but a pre-emptive eye gouge from Slater stops that. Slater escapes a piledriver and they collide, and Slater hits the floor. Tully Blanchard runs in for the DQ at 6:23 and a beatdown follows, with Scott Casey making the save. Too short to go anywhere. **

– The Sheik v. Tiger Jeet Singh. Hey, it’s just like watching Sabu v. Tiger Ali Singh! This is a cage match from Toronto, where Singh was a huge babyface, possibly due to something in the water or mass-hypnosis. Dave relates the story of Antonio Inoki basically created Singh in Japan as a main event opponent for himself, and unleashed the worst main-event star in wrestling history on the world as a result. That’s probably including Giant Gonzalez, by the way. Tiger chokes Sheik down, but Sheik bites him to come back. Singh prevents an escape attempt. Tiger steals the trademark pencil and cuts Sheik open. They fight near the door and slug it out. Sheik keeps diving for the door and getting caught. Tiger meets the cage, but tries for the door and gets caught. Tiger chokes him down with a devastating Cobra Claw to the throat. Amazingly Sheik survives and stops him from escaping. Singh goes nuts and slugs away, but the force of his blows is so devastating to the vile Sheik that he goes FLYING out of the door and wins the match. Cornette suspects that the contest MAY not have been exactly on the up-and-up. Dave speculates on a crooked referee. ½*

– Eric Embry & Ken Timbs v. Al Perez & Manny Fernandez. This is a rare tag title match from San Antonio TV. Eric Embry’s eventual success in the business will shock anyone watching him in these early years. On the flipside, Al Perez’ eventual failure in the business would probably equally shock anyone watching him at this point. Just goes to show, even pasty white short English guys can get over given the right booking. Embry begs off to start, but gets a headlock on Manny. He tries an armbar and controls things with that. Manny leapfrogs and dropkicks, and they go to the mat, where Embry regains control. Perez comes in and works on Embry’s arm. Embry misses a crossbody and Perez goes back to the arm. Embry powerslams out, but misses an elbow and Perez dropkiks him and goes back to the arm. Embry goes to the eyes (in none-too-subtle fashion) while Dave & Jim debate exactly why Perez never got over. Timbs drops an elbow on Perez for two. Double-team elbow and Perez is behind enemy lines. Atomic drop and knee from Timbs gets two. Embry traps him in the corner, and we know it’s a smart move because he points to his head to indicate his intelligence. Whew, glad he cleared that up for me. The heels do the classic formula stuff until Embry tries a piledriver and Perez escapes to make the hot tag to Fernandez. Él es una casa del fuego! Elbow to Timbs gets two, and it’s a pier-six. Timbs tries a piledriver on Perez, but Manny lariats him on the way by and Perez gets the upset win at 10:55. A rare BABYFACE beatdown on Embry is halted by the Sheepwhackers, setting up the next big program. ***

– Terry Funk v. Harley Race. This would be Funk’s last kiss with the NWA World title, as he makes his final defense in Toronto against former champion Race. JIP as Tery is pounding Race down and a piledriver gets two. Swinging neckbreaker and kneedrop, but Race comes back and knocks him silly(er) with a headbutt and a pair of knes to the head for two. Dave & Jim make the point that all the moves MEAN something, no matter how small. Race backbreaker, but another try is countered with a headscissors. Race tosses him, and methodically drops a knee after he comes back in. Race goes upstairs, but Funk slams him off and starts pounding on the knee. Race fights off a spinning toehold, but Funk falls on top during a suplex attempt for two. Funk goes back to the toehold, but Race kicks him off and counters a headlock with a kneebreaker. Race applies a variation of the indian deathlock, but Funk can’t counter or go anywhere, and has to submit the NWA title at 7:14. No idea how long it was without clipping, but it was classic stuff nonetheless and looked about ***1/2.

– Pepper Gomez v. The Bounty Hunter. Pepper is the man with the cast-iron stomach, and he tosses Mr. Hunter and works a headlock. You’d think someone named The Bounty Hunter would be better off hunting bounty, and would probably make a better living at it. Bounty punches him in the gut, but he has CAST-IRON ABS and no-sells. Peper goes to a hammerlock. Bounty stomps him down for two for Jim & Dave relate the famous Gomez-Stevens angle. Basically, Gomez has a cast-iron stomach, and he had a running challenge whereby anyone could jump off a ladder onto his stomach and he wouldn’t feel a thing. So Ray Stevens takes him up on it, jumps off the middle of the ladder, nothing. He goes up to the top of the ladder, jumps off again, and this time changes trajectory and lands on Pepper’s THROAT, and much money was made as a result. Once again Dave rallies for the WWF to do the same angle with the Rock, but before the discussion can go further Gomez finishes with a cradle at 4:18 to put Mr. Hunter out of his misery. ¼*

– Austin Idol v. Jim Neidhart. From 84 in Mempho. Neidhart overpowers Ido, but Jimmy Hart trips him up. Neidhart plays chase, buying time for Idol. Cut to Idol controlling with a backdrop and slam, but Neidhart hammers him and hits the chinlock. Big slam gets two, another one gets two. Backdrop gets two, and bearhugality follows. Neidhart gets some near-falls off it, but Idol escapes, hooks the sleeper, and the Spoiler runs in for the DQ at 5:53. Nothing here. ¼*

– Junkyard Dog v. Butch Reed. From Mid-South just before JYD jumped to the bigtime. Dog pounds him down and sends him running to the floor. Back in, Dog nails him and starts the headbutts and Reed bails again. Back in, Dog chokes him down, but Reed cheapshots him out of the corner and takes over. They slug it out and knock each other out with a clothesline. Reed pounds him down and goes to a facelock. Jim’s stories of JYD’s insane popularity are way more interesting than this match. Dog atomic drops out and makes the comeback, then hits the Thump for the pin at 7:43. Zzzz. ½*

– Rick Rude, Ox Baker, The Japanese Assassin and Jim Neidhart v. Robert Reed, “Tiger Mask”, Keith Eric and Mad Dog. I put Tiger Mask in quotes because it’s just Ken Wayne, not anyone from Japan. Robert Reed is not the dad from the Brady Bunch, in case you were wondering. Rick Rude is wearing a dress due to a pre-match stipulation. Just picture Chyna with less facial hair and a bad perm. Total slaughter for the heels, as a pissed off Rude finishes Eric with the neckbreaker at 3:14. DUD

– King Kong Bundy v. Jerry Lawler. Bundy stomps the crown, which Cornette thinks will come out of his paycheque, and starts stomping Lawler. Big elbow and splash get two. Another splash gets two, and Jerry’s in trouble. He bails to buy time, since the stipulation is that he gets $1000 from Jimmy Hart for every minute he can last. Bundy posts him and back in, an elbowdrop gets two. Bundy chokes him down for two, and hits the bearhug. Elbowdrop misses and Lawler bails again. Lawler stalls for time in order to cost Hart more money. Finally Bundy gets fed up and hauls him in for more punishment. Big elbow gets two. Big splash misses, and Lawler pulls down the strap! Bundy finds a chain, however, and nails him. A splash finishes (with the FIVE COUNT) at 7:18. Probably the only time you’ll see Lawler taking the five-count in Memphis. *

– Terry Funk v. Mark Lewin. A very young Funk here. This is just after he lost the title to Race, and it’s from Detroit TV. Lewin works the arm, and Funk tries to headbutt out, to no avail. Funk tries to bail, but Lewin keeps hold of the arm. That goes on insanely long before Funk tosses him and they brawl for a double-countout at 4:40. A brawl brawl follows as Terry tries to spike Lewin with a shard of wood. ¼*

– Tommy Rich v. Massao Ito. JIP with Rich working a headlock. Ito slams out, but Rich hits the chinlock. Ito chops away. Rich can’t roll him up, but a hiptoss works. Ito chops away and uses the VULCAN NERVEGRIP OF AGONY, and a jumping knee gets two. Back to that nervehold as Dave & Jim discuss varying degrees of success in wrestling. Rich slugs away to come back, but Ito goes up and misses. Rich gets an elbow series and the Thesz Press, but Tojo Yamamoto’s over-exuberance at ringside distracts the ref and allows Jimmy Hart to nail Rich, and Ito gets two. Rich fights back again, but Hart salts his eyes and AGAIN Rich escapes the sure finish. Tojo finally gives Rich some salt of his own, and THAT’S your finish at 8:02 as Rich gets the pin on Ito. Good booking there. *1/2

– Kamala v. Jerry Lawler. From 84. Lawler bumps around for Kamala, quite a lot. Kamala goes to the pectoral claw for some two-counts. Big splash gets two. Kamala seems confused, however. He chokes Lawler and gets another splash for two. Lawler gets pissed and pulls down the strap, and we get a discussion from Dave & Jim that traces the origins of Hulkamania back to Popeye. So it’s SPINACH that George Zahorian was distributing, then. I knew he was framed. Kamala shrugs off Lawler’s normally-devastating comeback and Lawler gets tossed. They brawl and Lawler gets whupped. He eats post and collapses back onto the ringside table. Jim is more worried about Randy Hales’ condition. Lawler crawls back to ringside, but gets posted again. Lawler is just DYING here and Kamala keeps pounding him. Lawler tries a chairshot out of desperation to counter, and Kamala goes into convulsions and gets counted out at 10:31. Good psychology from Lawler (all explained by Cornette, of course) there saves it. **

– Ray Stevens, Blackjack Mulligan & Baron Von Raschke v. Bruiser, Crusher & Sailor Art Thomas. Steves goes after the Bruiser and gets choked out. Baron tries, no luck. Blackjack comes in and eats turnbuckle, but they lure Bruiser into the corner and choke him with the tag rope. Baron gets double-teamed in the babyface corner to end that, however. Stevens tries with Dick the Bruiser and gets his ass kicked. Dave & Jim point out that while the company line is that Steve Austin was something new and different, he was really just a 90s version of Dick the Bruiser. Big brawl erupts and Bruiser cleans house. Crusher stomps the Baron off the middle and gets the pin at 6:54. Not much here.

The Bottom Line: Starts real good, but once they go from classic footage to Pepper Gomez squashes, it loses steam REAL fast. Call it the third-best out of the five.

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Next up: Volume four – No More Mr. Nice Guys!