The Way Too Long Review of Legends of Wrestling: Jerry Lawler & Junkyard Dog

I’m going to  skip recapping the yawn-inducing round table.  I will say that Mike Graham could very well be the worse then Mick Foley in terms of his go-nowhere stories.  Plus, as anyone who’s listened to this yahoo on previous DVDs knows, he’s a bit of a liar.  This is one of the three discs included in the regular, non-Best Buy Legends of Wrestling release.  Let’s go.

Before I get to Lawler’s matches, all of which suck, I don’t want this review to suggest that I must hate Lawler’s ring work.  The problem is one of the few classic federations the WWE does not own the tape library of is Memphis and the USWA.  Since Lawler spent his entire career there, the WWE is stuck using his matches from the AWA where he lasted a cup of coffee or his WWE matches which all took place well past his prime.  The WWE still wants to buy the Memphis tapes but won’t do so until they know they can turn a profit on the purchase in a reasonably short order of time.  And let’s face it, Legends DVDs are hit and miss in sales.  The Warrior and Hogan sets did good.  The Piper/Rhodes/AWA/Billy Graham/WCCW/ sets bombed (especially the WCCW set, which I think is the lowest selling WWE DVD ever).  Given that most fans remember Lawler only for his WWE work behind the announce table, I wouldn’t think a set featuring Lawler would be bankable.  But I hold out hope.

Match #1
Jerry Lawler & Jimmy Valiant vs. Kerry Von Erich & Michael Hayes
1/22/89 AWA

Very interesting choice for the set.  And when I say that, it’s usually a bad sign.  Lawler was the AWA Champion here in what might have been his last match for the Gagnes, who apparently never paid him for any of his work for them.  Kerry looks a bit tipsy here.  Par for the course, really.  Kerry and Lawler start out.  Long feeling out to start.  Lockup and Kerry powers out.  This leads to another long stall.  Lockup, shoot off and Lawler gets a shoulderblock.  He struts a bit.  Fans seem like they’re not sure who to cheer for.  Another long stall, while I notice the timer bar on my DVD player shows we’re almost half-way done.  Ugh.  Lockup, and they end up breaking in the corner, only for Jerry to punch Kerry, leading to Kerry using the discus punch Lawler.  Kerry loads up for a piledriver, an odd move to use this soon in the match, but from what I’ve read Kerry was infamous for nonsensical match structure due to his drug problems.  Besides, the piledriver is banned, so the ref waves it off.  Kerry opts to try another discus punch, but misses and gets punched down.  Kerry totally oversells it and bails to the corner and we have another long stall.  This match sucks.  Lawler goes for a slam but Kerry turns it into a small package for two.  Lawler yanks Kerry down by the hair for two.  Kerry pops up and punches Lawler down.  Whip to the corner but Lawler gets a foot up and Kerry eats it.  Both guys throw a punch, knocking each other out for a double KO in a horrible looking spot.  Yea, another stall, but Lawler throws a dropkick out of nowhere leading to Kerry bailing to the corner. Kerry throws a boot and shoots off Lawler, then dropkicks him.  Cover for a loooong two as the referee appears to be terrible at his job.  Double dropkick that again looks awful and both guys are out.  Both guys finally tag out to end the pain.  Valiant rakes Hayes’ eyes, blocks a punch and kicks him in the balls.  Slam into Lawler’s boot, but Hayes dumps him to the floor.  Valiant’s selling here is embarrassing.  They take the fight to the floor, and things break down, leading to the ref scrubbing the entire match on a double count out.  Holy shit, you have to be kidding me.  Everyone brawls after the match, with Kerry decking the referee as well.  Lawler gets the best of Kerry and knocks him out cold with some brutal looking punches.
DUD I’ve been reviewing these WWE DVDs for a couple years now and I have to say this was one of the most terrible selections I’ve ever seen.  As a match, it was a total failure in every way possible.  Psychology, pacing, actually hitting the moves correctly, and even the referee was awful.  It makes me wonder if the WWE timed every match in their video library then has a computer select the matches based on the time required.  No doubt that computer was supplied to them by Skynet as part of their destroy the world plan.  A total abortion, one of the worst tag matches I’ve ever seen.

Match #2
Jerry Lawler vs. Owen Hart
7/6/93 Wrestling Challenge

This is more like it.  I think.  Owen was a plucky babyface here.  His heel turn didn’t begin until the 1993 Survivor Series about five months later.  And once again I must stress that Owen Hart had some of the ugliest tights the business has seen.  Lawler gives Owen a chance to bail on the match, provided that he kisses his feet.  Owen chooses to spit on his feet instead, then bitch slap him. Lawler bails, while Owen, still fairly green at this point, tries to rally the crowd.  Lawler returns and gets a punch in, which makes him overly arrogant.  Owen backdrops him, leading to Lawler bailing to the corner and acting like a cowardly bitch.  Man, Lawler was great at that shit.  Lawler brawls Owen to the corner but again gets smacked about by Owen.  Lawler decides to ask the ref to stand down so they can slug it out.  Lawler misses a big round house and Owen beats him around, then dropkicks him.  Lawler crawls quickly to the referee.  Lawler catches hell from the crowd, then checks his tights like he has something hidden in them.  Owen rams Lawler into the turnbuckle, but Lawler loads up his hands with brass knucks and KOs Owen.  He tosses the knucks but decides not to cover.  Instead, he punches Owen around and drops a fist.  Choke on the ropes, then a shoot off but Jerry lowers his head and Owen uppercuts him.  Spinheel kick and a backdrop.  Owen climbs and hits a missile dropkick for two.  Owen misses a charge in the corner and eats post.  Lawler loads up a piledriver and covers with a handful of tights for the pin.
DUD Well, my optimism was misguided.  A nothing match with no real structure.  Boring from start to finish, and Lawler’s comedic overselling did nothing to make Owen look good.

Match #3
Jerry Lawler vs. Roddy Piper
6/19/94 King of the Ring

Kill me.  Believe it or not, this was the main event for this pay per view.  The WWE Championship match with Bret Hart defending against Diesel was actually the fifth match of the ten match card.  Piper brings out a fan who was humiliated by Lawler during the setup for this feud.  Piper grabs the stick to say they’re here to kick ass and chew gum, and they’re out of gum.  Piper, despite looking ancient, appears to be in decent shape here.  He throws his kilt on Lawler and slugs it out.  Piper is only forty years old here, but looks much older.  Piper mounts him on the ropes and bites away, then slings Lawler to the ground.  Lawler begs off but gets smacked around.  Big wind-up punch by Piper and Lawler tries to bail on the match.  Piper catches him in the aisle, then gives the fan a free bitchslap.  Back in, Piper throws some punches at Lawler, then mounts some punches, then bitches at the ref who tells him to lay off the punches.  Headlock, shoot off but Lawler ducks for a leapfrog and gets stomped in a horrible looking spot.  Lockup and a shoot off.  Lawler goes for a stomp but gets caught.  He holds the foot for what seems like forever, then gives Jerry an atomic drop that sends him flying out of the ring.  Lawler tries to chase the fan or something but Piper catches him and chops him against the guardrail.  Lawler goes for a punch but gets caught and punched some more.  Lawler tries to grab the fan but Piper saves, leading to Lawler actually landing a punch.  Lawler goes back for the fan, takes out Piper again, then drags the fan in the ring.  He goes to stomp the fan but Piper jumps on top of him to take the stomps himself.  Jesus Christ, what a shitty match.  Lawler goes to stomp the fan in the corner but again Piper puts himself between the fan and Lawler’s foot.  The fan falls out of the ring.  Lawler slugs it out and chokes away.  Fist-drop gets two.  Shoot off and Lawler grabs a sleeper.  Piper collapses to the match, while I collapse into a coma.  The hand drops twice, but Piper lives.  He gets to his feet but Lawler prevents a shoot off and punches him.  Piper throws a wild punch and misses by a mile.  Lawler loads up the driver, hits it, celebrates for a while, then finally covers for two.  Lawler doesn’t even sell the kick out with shock.  Lawler punches Piper down.  Piper to his feet and he asks for more.  So Lawler punches him down.  Piper to his feet again where he spits and Lawler and asks for more.  They trade punches, with Piper winning out.  Bulldog by Piper, then another that looked like pure unfiltered shit.  He goes for a third but Lawler shoves off and Piper wipes out the referee.  Lawler pulls out brass knuckles and knocks out Piper with them.  Referee recovers slowly while Lawler puts his feet on the ropes.  It gets two as the fan throws Lawler’s feet off the ropes.  Lawler goes to jaw with the fan leading to Piper hitting a shitty back suplex and a pathetic looking cover.  This leads to a very long three count.
DUD A contender for worst WWE Pay Per View main event ever.  Painful to watch from start to finish.

Match #4
Bret Hart vs. Jerry Lawler
5/14/95 In Your House

Back story: Bret Hart won an award for most popular wrestler in the WWE magazine.  Lawler, who always hated Bret, got in Japanese star Hakushi’s ear about how the vote was rigged by Bret to prevent Japanese people from voting, and that Bret was racist.  So Hakushi attacked Bret, leading to the opening match of this same show being Bret vs. Hakushi.  Bret hated Lawler for calling him a racist so he offered to face him after the Hakushi match.  Bret beat Hakushi in the first match, but then appeared to blow out his knee jumping out of the ring.  He decided to still face Lawler.  It’s mother’s day, so Bret dedicated this match to his mother.  Lawler decided to bring his ‘mother’ with him.  Some hot thing likely twenty years younger then him.  It’s kind of disturbing picturing Lawler in bed with her calling her mommy.  I’m going to have nightmares.  And the announcers, especially Vince McMahon, are acting like total idiots.  “That can’t be his mother.  This has to be a joke.”  No shit, Sherlock.  Backstage, Bret gets interviewed and reveals the leg injury is bullshit.  They should have saved that part for the match.

Match starts and Bret brawls Lawler around and slams him into the guardrail, then the stairs.  In the ring, Lawler grabs the ref and begs for mercy.  One would think that should count as a submission, but it’s wrestling logic.  Legdrop by Bret and a shoot off, but Bret lowers his head into a piledriver.  Jerry celebrates, but Bret springs straight up.  Ugh.  That’s one move that should not be no-sold.  Bulldog by Bret and then a piledriver.  Elbowdrop and then a choke on the ropes.  Bret rakes his face up against the ropes but Lawler rakes his eyes and slams him.  Lawler climbs but gets caught coming down with a punch.  Shoot off and a backelbow.  Headbutt between the legs and some mounted punches, but Hakushi’s manager Shinja comes down to distract.  Shoot off knocks the referee out of the ring, with his foot getting caught in the ropes.  Backbreaker and an elbow off the second rope, but Hakushi comes down and drops a fist off the top rope onto Bret, then a diving headbutt off the top rope, then another.  Lawler uses a jackknife cover and gets the pin after about five minutes.
3/4* Pretty abysmal.  Lawler was well past his prime by time he hit the WWE and his over-exaggerated heel shtick was kryptonite to good matches.

Match #5: Kiss My Foot Match
Jerry Lawler vs. Bret Hart
6/25/95 King of the Ring

Vince McMahon declares that if Bret actually loses this match, his career is over.  Which really is one of the worst on-commentary burials of a wrestler’s ability (in this case, Lawler) I’ve ever heard.  Lockup and Bret takes Lawler to the corner and slugs it out, leading to Jerry bailing.  Bret catches him and tosses him into the guardrail.  Rake against the ropes and the announcers won’t shut up about being worried that Bret will get himself DQed.  More punches in the corner and a headbutt from Bret.  Lawler bails again, so Bret gives chase and brawls him on the outside, but gets tossed into the stairs.  Lawler stalls a bit then brawls Bret around on the outside a bit more and the announcers are STILL bitching about a DQ.  What the fuck, serpico?  It’s annoying as hell.  Back in the ring Lawler fires off a piledriver and stalls.  Then he fires off another and gloats some more.  Nothing more lazy then the overly cocky heel who struts instead of making the pin.  It’s played to death, even in 1995, and not believable in the slightest bit.  He fires off a third piledriver and covers… for two.  Fans didn’t buy it one bit.  Bret tries to fight back but gets his eyes raked and dumped through the ropes.  Lawler takes off his boot and exposes his sock, which filthy.  He smacks Bret with a boot and covers for two.  The announcers are selling it like the stinkiest shit ever.  Michael Hayes acts like he’s gagging from the smell.  Vince McMahon follows with “the stench must be horrible.”  Consistency, gotta love it.  Bret catches a kick from Lawler, takes him down and headbutts him in the gut.  Lawler grabs the boot and smacks Bret with it again.  Fist-drop off the second rope gets two.  Lawler goes to crotch Bret on the ring post, but Bret uses momentum to sling Lawler into it.  BUT WAIT~!  Here comes Hakushi and Shinja.  Hakushi misses a punch on Bret and hits Lawler.  Bret takes control in the ring with the FIVE MOVES OF DOOM~!!  Punch to the gut, Russian legsweep, backbreaker, elbowdrop off the second rope, and the sharpshooter finish the match.  Bret takes his boot off, Hakushi fails to make the save again, and then Bret sticks his foot in Lawler’s mouth.  He then takes Lawler’s own unwashed foot and sticks it in his mouth.
*1/4 which makes it the best Lawler match in this set.  Although it should in theory lose point for setting up the debut of the evil dentist Dr. Isaac Yankem.

Match #6
Jerry Lawler vs. Marty Garner
6/8/96 Superstars

What the hell?  Garner is known as Chris Pain these days.  This was part of the build to his match with the Ultimate Warrior at the 1996 King of the Ring.  The less said about it, the better.  Lawler whips Garner into the ropes and slugs it out.  Garner springs off the ropes and gets a crossbody for two.  Lawler misses a punch and slugs it out.  Ten punch but Lawler shoves him off .  Face-first body drop and a fist off the second rope, then the piledriver finishes.  Well that was brisk.
DUD Though I must say, if Garner had a good body or was a couple inches taller, he likely would have made something of himself in the big leagues.

Onto the JYD section, and as a preface, I was never a big fan of his.  He was very charismatic, and the first black wrestler to be a true national mega-star.  The problem is he was also a serious drug user and by time he ended up in the WWE in 1984, he was so heavy into it that his ability all but disappeared and he started to get out of shape.  The WWE really did intend to go all the way with JYD.  McMahon brought him in intending to use him as a backup champion in the event that Hogan got injured at some point, and had him penciled in for an IC title win at the first Wrestlemania.  Sadly, he could never stay clean enough to be reliable for such roles.  He was bounced from the company in 1988 and never got clean enough to come back even for a one-time spot.  He died in 1998 in a car crash coming home from his daughter’s high school graduation.

Well, I feel like shit just for typing that.  Onto the matches.

Match #7: Tornado Tag Match
Junkyard Dog & Sgt. Slaughter vs. Iron Sheik & Nikolai Volkoff
11/10/84 Spectrum Show

Doesn’t sound too bad.  Fans *hate* the heels and pelt them with garbage just for having the nerve to step into the ring.  Ahhhh, for the old days where fans would wad up their programs and do that without fear of being thrown out of the building.  If it wasn’t for dickheads throwing batteries and stuff like that, I wouldn’t mind seeing the garbage tossing return at some point.  JYD and Slaughter get a huge pop.  Fans don’t really care who’s in the match as long as they kill the heels.  Match starts with a big brawl and the heels bail.  Sarge takes his helmet off and smacks the Sheik in the noggin with it.  Shoot off and a clothesline with his crop.  JYD chokes with his dog chain and the heels bail again.  Heels back in but they miss a charge and wipe out each other in comically bad fashion.  Grounded headbutts by the faces, more punching.  JYD bites the Sheik while Slaughter brawls with Volkoff on the outside.  Back in, Slaughter stomps the Sheik and covers for two.  Heels fight back with some horrible punches, while Sheik slams Slaughter into the turnbuckle.  Nikolai chokes JYD and there’s nothing the ref can do about it.  JYD fights back and knocks out the Sheik on the turnbuckle, but Volkoff saves with a kick.  Sheik dumps Sarge through the ropes, with the underrated Slaughter bumping like a nut to make it look decent.  Shoot off to the Dog and a double back elbow.  Another shoot off and a fucking TERRIBLE double something to the Dog that was feeble to the point that Mr. Burns would blush at it.  Slaughter tries to save but gets dumped in another huge bump that the camera missed.  Camel clutch to JYD and the heels won’t let Slaughter back in.  Dog should be dead by now.  Slaughter finally blocks a shot from Nikolai and fights him off, then takes his sweet time making the save on JYD.  Heels double team Slaughter now, beating him in the corner while JYD at least takes some time to sell the clutch.  He finally comes in and makes the save, but fails and the heels whip JYD and Sarge into each other.  Sheik grabs a belt and whips Sarge with it.  They dump JYD and double-backdrop Sarge.  Choke with the belt and some punching.  The heels miss a double clothesline and Sarge takes them both down.  Volkoff gets dumped and Sarge slaps the Cobra Clutch on the Sheik  Volkoff grabs a chair but JYD saves Sarge, leading to the Sheik submitting.  Fans are happy.
* Wouldn’t have been bad if the heels offense had not been so awful looking.

Match #8: Intercontinental Championship
(c) Greg Valentine vs. Junkyard Dog
3/31/85 Wrestlemania

Junkyard Dog’s music is overdubbed on the DVD.  JYD barks Greg into the corner.  Really.  Awkward looking lockup, JYD gets a lazy wristlock and headbutt.  Headbutt and punch by the Dog.  Valentine gets an elbow but misses a forearm and he does his stupid headbutts.  Valentine wins a wristlock sequence then starts to work the leg.  Valentine tries to put a half-crab on JYD, then gives up after forever and drops down.  Man, that looked bad.  Headbutt, stomps, but JYD fights back.  Big headbutt, then JYD gets distracted by Jimmy Hart.  He attacks Hart, then Valentine KOs Hart by accident, but JYD fails to do anything and Valentine covers him for the pin with his feet on the ropes.  But wait… here comes Tito Santana, who convinces the referee to restart the match.  Which he does.  Yeah.  Then the ref counts out Greg Valentine.  Uh, why?
1/2* Bad match, bad ending.  Drugs had already destroyed JYD as a performer at this point.  I assure you at one point he wasn’t THAT bad.

Match #9: Wrestling Classic Tournament Finals
Junkyard Dog vs. Randy Savage
11/7/85 Wrestling Classic
As Seen On: The Greatest Superstars of the 80s

This is the finals of the tournament that was aired on the WWE’s official first pay per view only show.  Savage uses Liz as a human shield to start, then bails and grabs a chair.  He throws the chair at Dog, but Junkyard catches it.  Savage comes in the ring to break the ref’s count, then bails again.  Savage ends up jawing with the fans, then finally comes in and gets powered out of a pair of lockups by JYD.  Headbutt to the back by JYD.  Atomic drop followed by a bearhug, but Savage rakes out of it.  JYD slugs the back some more, and Savage ends up going to the ropes to cover up.  Headbutt and foot choke by Dog, but Savage fights back with a weak clothesline for two.  Junkyard Dog gets dumped, and Savage hits an axehandle off the top rope.  Zzzzzzzzzzzz Savage rams JYD into the ringpost and hits another sledge off the top rope.  Savage grabs another chair and smashes JYD, but the ref doesn’t DQ him.  Savage chokes him on the guardrail’s guardrail (don’t ask), then dives in the ring to beat the count.  Ref tells him off, but JYD dogs up.  Headbutts, pancake off the ropes, headbutt and Savage is tied in the ropes.  Savage fights off with an eye gouge, but JYD backdrops him out of the ring to win the match and the tournament via countout.
* Another horrible match.

Match #10
Junkyard Dog vs. Adrian Adonis
3/1/86 Saturday Night’s Main Event

JYD sends Adonis into the corner, then headbutts him into the ropes, leading to him being tied up.  JYD gets some free shots in, then slings him back into the ring.  Shoot off and a clothesline for two.  JYD drops his weight on Adonis’ neck, then prevents him from fighting back and shoots him into the corner, sending him up and over to the floor.  Jimmy Hart goes to help Adonis so JYD comes over and headbutts them both.  JYD drags Adonis into the ring, with Jimmy Hart holding on to him.  So he headbutts Adonis and then slings Hart into him, sending them both over the top rope and to the floor.  We cut to a commercial.

We come back and JYD punches Adonis down for a close two.  Adonis distracts the referee while Jimmy Hart ties JYD up in the ropes.  Adonis an elbow, then Hart distracts again while Adrian chokes away.  They keep running distractions, with Jimmy getting some shots in himself.  Finally the ref has enough and drags Adonis by the hair off of JYD.  Adrian oversells that, in a good way, then drops a flying knee on JYD for two.  JYD barely moved during this entire sequence, like he was taking a nap in the middle of the match.  Adonis goes for a piledriver but JYD’s feet knock the ref out.  Jimmy Hart sets up JYD to get hit with the Mega Phone, but JYD reverses a whip and Adonis eats it instead and JYD covers for the three.  After the match, Adonis gets his heat back by hitting JYD with the megaphone.
**1/4 Which is match of the set.  Good intentions, but it never really got going.  I’ve always felt Adrian Adonis is one of the most underrated wrestlers of all time.  It’s a shame the WWE felt the need to bury him because of his problems with weight.  Considering all the guys in the 80s in the WWE who were full-blown junkies, weight issues would have seemed like a welcome change of pace.  Even when he was heavy he was still one of the best bumpers on the roster and a guy who was good at getting the babyfaces over.  I was really sad when I was a little kid in 1988 and heard he died in a car crash.  He was always one of my favorites.

Match #11
Junkyard Dog vs. Harley Race
1/3/87 Saturday Night’s Main Event
As Seen On: WWE Hall of Fame 2004 Induction Ceremony

JYD gets distracted by evil referee Danny Davis and ends up getting punched down by Race.  Kneedrop gets two.  JYD fights back and sends Race into the ring post shoulder-first.  Punch and a headbutt by JYD but Davis rides him some more, leading to a belly to belly suplex.  Diving headbutt by Race to JYD’s head proves to be a dumb move as JYD’s gimmick was he had the hardest skull in the business.  As a result, Race knocks himself out.  Another pair of headbutts, then JYD sends him to the corner where Race goes up and over to the floor.  JYD grabs Race’s robe and crown and puts them on.  He then beats up Bobby Heenan a bit, but Race comes off the ropes with a sledge.  The bell rings and JYD is awarded the match by DQ, while Davis watches Race and Heenan beat up the Dog.
1/4* Pretty awful.  Set up the Wrestlemania III match which only was slightly better.

Match #12
Junkyard Dog vs. Harley Race
3/29/87 Wrestlemania III

Slugoff to start.  JYD goes after Bobby Heenan instead of fighting his opponent.  Always hated that spot.  Big headbutt sends Race down, but Harley doesn’t really sell it and dumps the Dog.  Harley then goes for a flying headbutt off the apron but lands HARD on the ground and misses.  Ouch.  JYD ties up Race, hits a neck cruncher, then dumps him to the outside in another sick bump by gutsy Harley Race.  Back in, abdominal stretch.  Race fights out tries the diving headbutt, hits it, but JYD has a hard head and thus it knocks out Harley instead and Race gets dumped to the floor by the Dog.  Back in, Race hits a belly to belly suplex for the pin, even though JYD clearly kicked out.  JYD has to bow to Race, but doesn’t do it.
* well, it was short, and Race sure bumped for JYD like a madman.

BOTTOM LINE: Ladies and gentlemen… your winner… and NEWWWWWWW Worst WWE DVD Ever… Legends of Wrestling: Jerry Lawler & Junkyard Dog.  This was an abomination.  This one gets a big stinky thumbs down and let us never speak of it again.

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