Recently, I decided to seek out and obtain Memphis wrestling from 1986 to 1995, at least for now. I’ve been reviewing a bunch of the shows from 1986 and thought it would be a good idea to share them here to read your reactions/memories and maybe get a better idea of what Memphis wrestling was all about. Currently, I’m up to August 1986, but I’ll start from the beginning here.
From: Memphis, TN
Lance Russell and Dave Brown open the sow telling us what we’ll see on the show later on.
Rick Casey gets a music video treatment to promote himself. He’s a cowboy and being presented as a babyface.
Opening Contest: Rick Casey vs. The Invader: Casey keeps Invader on the mat early on with a step over hip toss. Casey comes off the ropes with a dropkick but his offense remains to be a side headlock on the mat. Invader gets a few forearm strikes in the corner but Casey fights back with a boot to the face. Casey connects with a running bulldog and wins the match. (1/2*. They didn’t do very much, but it seemed like just a way to give Casey a TV win.)
Lance Russell is backstage and he’s promoting the Wednesday night show at the Coliseum. Buddy Landell will be back in town. Fantastics battle the Sheepherders. Rick Casey and Dutch Mantell in a pole bull whip match. In the main event, Jerry Lawler will wrestle Bill Dundee. Bill is putting his hair and his wife Beverly’s hair on the line as Lawler has the loser leaves town stipulation. Dutch Mantell comes into the scene and says that Rick Casey didn’t beat him last week and he’s never lost to Casey. He’s going to whoop Casey like he’s stolen a bull. He’s never lost a bull whip on a pole match. Bill Dundee is next and he’s thrilled to finally have a shot against Lawler. Dundee’s wife will be cutting a promo later, too. Dundee promises to win the match against Lawler.
Second Contest: Dutch Mantell vs. Jim Jamison: Mantell dominates Jamison with several strikes and a snap suplex. Mantell comes off the middle rope with a double axe handle. Mantell finishes Jamison off with a front suplex for the win. (1/2*. A complete squash and a dominating win for Mantell. I thought it was effective for what it was.)
The Fantastics also get a music video as they insert some wrestling action and working out in the gym.
Third Contest: The Fantastics (Bobby Fulton & Tommy Rogers) vs. The Spoiler & Pat Rose: Rogers and Rose start the match, but the action stalls due to the fans cheering on the Fantastics. Pat Rose is apparently having some issues as Sherri Martel may be in Houston with Tom Prichard, considering they both went there for Christmas so he may not be there mentally. Rose keeps Rogers on the mat briefly before Rogers wiggles free. Rogers controls Rose with a hip toss and arm drag. Rose counters Fulton’s offense, which looked awkward as Fulton was running the ropes. Rose doesn’t take a hip toss very well and bails to the floor to regroup. Spoiler tags in and communicates with Rose. Fulton keeps control of Spoiler with an arm drag, but Spoiler gets a few strikes in the corner before tagging in Rose. Rose scoop slams Fulton followed by an elbow drop. Fulton knee lifts Spoiler and here comes Rogers to clean house. All four men enter the ring and the Fantastics send their opponents into each other. Rose is met with a double dropkick. Rogers jumps off of Fulton’s back and pins Spoiler. (*1/4. Considering Rose seemingly has a feud lined up with Tom Prichard, it made sense for Spoiler to take the fall. Fantastics appear to be really over with the crowd and I’d assume they’d be the top tag team in the company.)
Lance Russell promotes a show for January 6 and January 9th. Buddy Landell and Tracy Smothers will be wrestling and he mentions the other matches from earlier.
Fourth Contest: Tracy Smothers & Billy Travis vs. Lou Winston & Masked Man: The commentary team have no idea who the masked guy with Winston is so they just call him the masked man. Smothers and Winston kickoff the match with Smothers hitting a slam and dropkick to send Winston to the floor. Travis gets the tag and continues to work over the Masked Man with strikes. Travis comes down with a knee drop off the ropes. Smothers comes off the middle rope to deliver an elbow strike. Winston comes back in and hip tosses Smothers but Smothers returns the move. Smothers works over Winston’s left arm with a leg drop before tagging in Travis. Winston stops Travis with an eye rake and several right hands. Masked Man tags in and Travis fights back with strikes. Travis pins the masked man with a sunset flip. (1/2*. Nothing really going on here for the most part.)
Tony Falk comes over to Lance Russell to cut a promo saying he’s going to change his fortune tonight. He proclaims that he’ll beat Jerry Lawler tonight and make a name for himself. Falk has never won a match in the CWA.
Fifth Contest: AWA Southern Heavyweight Champion Jerry Lawler vs. Tony Falk: Falk rushes into the corner and pummels Lawler with right hands. The referee was knocked down, but Lawler ducks a clothesline to deck Falk. Lawler picks Falk up and spikes him with a piledriver for the quick win.
Jerry Lawler gets a music video to promote his career. There’s footage of him beating on Hulk Hogan, too. Lance Russell plugs a VHS consisting of Jerry Lawler’s greatest matches. It costs $29.95 and has a $5.25 postage.
Jerry Lawler comes over and is interviewed by Lance Russell. Lawler wants to talk about last Monday and said he wasn’t going to let anybody down. Lawler talks about Dundee begging for rematches. Lawler says the first thing he thought about was a loser leaves town match. Dundee had been gone for two years and wants to get rid of him again. Lawler then had a brilliant idea because he didn’t want a loser leaves town match. The only way that Dundee will get a rematch is if Dundee put his hair and Beverly’s wife on the line. Lawler is surprised that Dundee signed the contract. Lawler knows how serious this is because if he loses then he can’t wrestle anymore in Memphis. Lawler assures us that Dundee and Beverly will have their head shaved completely bald. Lawler can’t believe that Bill was able to convince his wife to put her hair on the line. Lawler reminds us how four or five years ago the same thing happened and they had to look at each other like two cue balls. Lawler doesn’t know if Beverly can handle it a second time.
Lance Russell hypes up some house shows again. The Fantastics come into the scene and they cut a promo on the Sheepherders. They get a warm feeling when they see the pretty girls. They are going to come out winners against the Sheepherders. They are proud of the USA and take care of the Sheepherders. Rick Casey enters and cuts a promo on Dutch Mantel. Casey says he can handle a bullwhip pretty well and he’s confident he’ll tear Mantel up.
Main Event: Bill Dundee vs. David Johnson: Dundee works over Johnson with right hands. Russell sats that Johnson has no chance in winning the match. As soon as he says that, Dundee pins Johnson after a standing knee drop. Apparently, Dundee wanted to show up Lawler by winning as quickly as possible.
Bill Dundee gets a music video to also promote his career. Dundee is then interviewed by Lance Russell and he can’t wait for tomorrow because he gets better looking everyday. Beverly Dundee shares a pre-tape promo saying she had to think about putting her hair on the line. Beverly wants to know if Paula Lawler can do what she did. Beverly would never go for this if she ever thought Bill would lose the match. Beverly knows that Bill can win the match and she’ll see Jerry and Paula at ringside. Dundee says this isn’t just a wrestling match this goes back to 1975. Lawler wasn’t even hear but was rather in Florida. Dundee is still mad about Lawler claiming to be the king of Memphis. Dundee notes that Lawler has beaten everyone working for New York from Hulk Hogan to Jimmy Hart. Dundee has dreamt about running Lawler out of town and he is going to do it. Dundee doesn’t like Lawler and he’s the new king of the South. He’s going to get the last three count and Lawler will be done.
Lance Russell says that the Freedom Fighters are now going by the Bladerunners. They proceed to highlight what we saw earlier in the show.
This is my first time ever watching Memphis TV and I thought it was a solid show. There wasn’t any kind of feature match, but they do a fine job of keeping viewers updated as to what is going on. The Dundee/Lawler feud seems to be rather intense and I believe their match that they are referencing to is on YouTube to be watched. Looking forward to more CWA action.
Thanks for reading.
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