One Year in Memphis – January 4, 1986

What’s this? What’s going on here? Find out inside and join the trip!

I’m sure that you’re wondering what’s going on. What is One Year In Memphis? What happened to Great-ing Gimmicks of the Past?

I’ve decided to put Great-ing Gimmicks on hiatus for now.

What One Year is – well, I’ve decided to dig into my video collection and we’ll be spending a year going through some vintage wrestling. The next 52 weeks will see us following the CWA broadcasts from Memphis from 1986 week by week. In addition, the great folks at memphiswrestlinghistory.com have agreed to also let us include the weekly results from the Mid-South Coliseum, which will be starting next week. These TV shows are from the Evansville broadcasts, so the cards in Evansville may not always match up exactly with the Mid-South results, but they should be fairly close.

So, let’s get started with January 4, 1986:

Lance Russell and Dave Brown welcome us to the show and give us a quick rundown of who’ll be here – namely Rick Casey, Dutch Mantell, the Fantastics, the Freedom Fighters (Steve Borden and Jim Hellwig), Jerry Lawler, and Bill Dundee.

After a quick commercial break, we got a video on Rick Casey, set to the tune of “If Heaven Ain’t a Lot Like Texas.” It showed clips of Casey wrestling and riding horses. Some of his opponents included the One Man Gang (in what appears to be from Texas Stadium), Ric Flair, and Dutch Mantell.

After the video, it was on to the first match of the day, where Casey faced the masked Invader (not the one from Puerto Rico), who was from the ever-popular Parts Unknown.

The Invader got off to a quick start, but after he got backed off for being in the ropes, Casey took the Invader down in a front face lock that the ropes allowed the Invader to escape. A hip toss just continued Casey’s dominance.

During the match, Russell mentioned that Dutch Mantell (from Oil Trough, Texas) had said that he was the number one cowboy from Texas (which pointed at Casey’s San Antonio roots).

Casey, meanwhile, was continuing his dominance with a side head lock on the mat. The Invader attempted to roll him over for a pin and that led to Casey pulling the Invader up and keeping the pressure on with forearm shots. Casey followed those up with a super kick and the Last Roundup (a bulldog) put the Invader away at 3:53.

With that, it was time for a commercial.

When we came back, Lance Russell was in the back to tell us about the Evansville show that week. He specifically mentioned that Buddy Landel would be in town and Koko Ware would also be there. Dutch Mantell came in for a moment to put over his feud with Casey. After Mantell finished, Dundee came in to build his match against Lawler.

After another commercial, we came back to see Jim Jameson facing Dutch Mantell. As might be expected, Mantell quickly took control of the match and began dominating Jameson. Mantell seemed ready to put Jameson away under a minute into the match but instead elected to pull him up and continue the beating. Mantell slammed Jameson down and got the win at 1:42 (during which Jameson didn’t land one offensive move).

After another commercial, we got a video featuring the Fantastics (Bobby Fulton and Tommy Rogers) which opened with footage from Bill Watts’s Mid-South Wrestling and featured a very young Jim Ross. Between clips of the Fantastics wrestling, we saw footage of them working out in the gym, laying in a sunbed, and swimming.

After the video, the Fantastics came out and hugged the fans as they headed around the ring. Their opponents were the Spoiler (not that one) and Pat Rose. Rose was looking for his regular partner (Tom Prichard) who’d vanished with their manager, Sherri Martel.

The Fantastics high-fived as the introductions were finished and we had Pat Rose taking on Tommy Rogers as Russell recapped how Prichard and Sherri had disappeared. Sherri had headed to Houston to “clear her head,” and Prichard lived in Houston.

Rose got off to an early advantage, but two hip tosses from Rogers changed that. While Rose was down, Rogers brought in Bobby Fulton who continued to dominate Rose. Rose kept trying to fight back but he couldn’t get control of the match.

Rose bailed, returned to the ring, and tagged in the Spoiler. Spoiler tried to send Fulton into the corner but Fulton reversed the Irish whip and took command. A quick right hand put Fulton on the defensive, and after doing a little more damage he tagged Rose back in.

Rose tried for a pin, dropped an elbow, and brought the Spoiler back in. Fulton managed to fight free and brought Rogers back in. Rogers took quick control and locked Spoiler in a sleeper. That brought Rose in to break that up, and Fulton came back in to even the odds. The Fantastics caught Rose with a double drop kick then Rogers put the Spoiler away after a flying body press from Fulton’s back at 4:12. That sent us to another commercial.

When we came back, we were back with Russell, who was discussing a couple of upcoming local shows before giving the full rundown for the Evansville card.

After another commercial we were back to see Billy Travis and Tracy Smothers taking on Lou Winston of the Memphis Vice and an unknown masked opponent (who was originally introduced as Jerry Bryant – Lou Winston’s partner). Smothers and Winston started the match and Smothers soon took control with a body slam and a dropkick.

Lou bailed to reconsider his options while Russell put Smothers over on commentary. Winston came back in and landed a shot before tagging in his partner. Smothers decided to let Travis come in and have some fun, and he did as he kept control of the masked wrestler.

Travis tagged in Smothers who landed an axe handle and locked the opponent in a hammerlock which the ropes broke. The opponent decided to bring Winston back in as soon as he escaped, and Smothers simply hip tossed Winston to take control.

Travis came back in and Winston landed a punch that staggered Travis. Winston brought the masked man back in and Travis soon got Smothers tagged back in. Smothers tagged Travis back in and whipped the opponent across the ring. Smothers doubled him over and Travis flipped over to pin him at 3:33.

When we came back, Tony Falk headed to the announce desk. The winless Falk announced that he was sure he’d beat Jerry Lawler to make a name for himself. Russell and Brown weren’t too sure about it, especially since he’d managed to lose 3 matches the week before.

Falk got the ref to warn Lawler about a fist and took advantage of the opportunity to attack Lawler. Lawler whipped Falk into the ropes, nailed a piledriver while the ref was down, and that was all she wrote at :24.

After another commercial break, we got a music video featuring Lawler wrestling opponents such as Big John Studd, Jerry Blackwell, Hulk Hogan, Andy Kaufman, Nick Bockwinkel, Bill Dundee, Dr. D David Shultz, King Kong Bundy, Jimmy Hart, Bruiser Brody, Randy Savage, and Kamala. Another interesting moment saw Lawler tagging with Austin Idol to take on the Road Warriors.

We came back to see Russell at the interview set shilling Lawler’s new videotape for the low low price of $29.95. After that was finished, Lawler came out to discuss his match against Dundee. He mentioned how he’d defeated Dundee the week before in a match where he regained the Southern heavyweight title. By winning, Lawler had saved his hair and the hair of his wife as well. Lawler promised he’d be winning and then brought up how, years earlier, he’d taken Dundee’s hair one week and Dundee’s wife’s hair the next.

After another commercial, we were again backstage with Russell, who hyped up the upcoming shows. He brought in the Fantastics for a quick word about their match against the Sheepherders. Casey was up next to discuss his match against Mantell (and how he’d beaten Dundee in a Texas cowbell match the week before).

We came back from a commercial break to see David Johnson taking on Bill Dundee. From the start, the crowd was on Dundee’s case with a Baldy chant and he took his frustrations out on Johnson. As a matter of fact, Dundee got the win with a clothesline in sixteen seconds.

That was our cue for a Dundee music video, set to Duran Duran’s “Wild Boys.” Some of Dundee’s foes included Nick Bockwinkel, Jos LeDuc, Koko Ware, the Fabulous Ones, and (of course) Lawler.

We came back for an interview between Russell and Dundee, who immediately said he couldn’t wait for tomorrow because he was better looking every day. We paused for a moment for a videotaped message from Beverly Dundee where she explained that she’d agreed to the match to get revenge on Lawler and his wife Paula by forcing Lawler to leave Memphis to wrestle, which would put the Lawlers on the road. Beverly closed by reiterating her belief in her husband.

Dundee gave a quick rundown of the problems he’d had with Lawler and claimed they dated back to 1975. Dundee put over Lawler for beating “everybody who was wrestling in New York” like Hogan and Hart. Dundee went on about how he’d dreamed of revenge against Lawler ever since his head and his wife’s head had been shaved. Dundee closed by promising to beat Lawler.

We closed as Russell claimed that the Freedom Fighters (who never actually showed up) had contacted him and told him they were now known as the Blade Runners. Dave Brown gave a quick recap of the show and Russell closed by urging the fans to check out the Lawler/Dundee match.

Card for Wednesday’s Evansville show:
Southern heavyweight title – No DQ, No time limit – Bill Dundee vs. Jerry Lawler – if Lawler wins, both Dundee and his wife Beverly will be shaved bald. If Dundee wins, Lawler will be forced to leave town.
Bullwhip on a Pole match – Dutch Mantell vs. Rick Casey
Fantastics vs. Sheepherders
Fabulous Ones vs. the Freedom Fighters
Koko Ware vs. the Mega Maharishi
Buddy Landel vs. Tracy Smothers
Tojo Yamamoto vs. Tony Falk
Billy Travis vs. Pat Rose

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