The SmarK Rant for Jerry Lawler’s Classic Memphis Wrestling – 06.22.19
I’ve gotta say, I don’t really understand the dating structure of these videos, as this one is listed as the next one in the series but I feel like they’re just being uploaded randomly anyway.
And yeah, I’m taking a break from New Japan. Time for the complete opposite of Japanese wrestling. Also, if this is the episode that the thumbnail indicates, it’s totally gonna be worth it.
Taped from Memphis, TN
Your hosts are Lance Russell & Dave Brown
Southern Heavyweight title: Jerry Lawler v. Austin Idol (Hair v. Hair, cage match)
OH YEAH, BABY! Back to April 1987! Never actually watched this match in full but it’s one of the all time great angles. WHY IS THIS STUFF NOT ON THE WWE NETWORK? So the deal is that Lawler and Idol are having a molten-hot feud for the Southern title, with Lawler winning it in a chain match, leading to this final blowoff cage match where Idol promises to win the title back and shave Lawler’s head. At this point, neither guy had ever lost a hair match before, just to really amp up the suspense. Also, Idol has REALLY nice hair. Anyway, Idol further backs up his bravado by promising that he’ll pay $50,000 to Lawler and refund the money of everyone in the building should he not win the match! So basically for the fans, it’s a win-win situation, and they drew a HUGE crowd at the Mid-South Coliseum, doubling the previous week’s gate. The cage is a Hell in the Cell style one surrounding the ringside area, which plays into the famous finish, as young manager Paul E. Dangerly is trapped outside of the cage. Idol runs away but Lawler beats him into the cage all around the ring and Idol’s bleeding already. Lawler goes for the piledriver and Idol runs away, so Lawler traps him in the corner and bites open the cut, then slugs away on him while Idol sells like crazy. Idol finally goes low to escape but Lawler beats him down again and the crowd is just white hot for all this. Lawler destroys him in the corner, but Idol pulls a roll of coins out of his tights and knocks Lawler out, busting HIM open now. Idol just kills him with a chair to the gut and then goes up with a top rope elbow back in the ring. That gets two. Idol goes up and drops a knee, but that misses and Lawler threatens a comeback before Idol hits him with another roll of coins to put him down. Back up and Idol drops another elbow for two, but Lawler dodges a third one and goes up with the fistdrop, which gets two. It’s an anything goes bloody cage match to the death, but putting your foot on the ropes still breaks the count. Idol slugs him down and gets two, with Lawler also getting in the ropes to break. Idol punches him all the way over the top rope to the floor for a great bump from Lawler, and then sends Jerry into the cage for some cheese grater action, right in front of Lance for added dickishness. Back in, Idol stomps him down, but Lawler is HULKING UP and drops the strap.
Goddammit, present-day Lawler cuts in for an ad break at this point!
Back with Lawler continuing to pummel Idol, but the ref is bumped and Idol gives him a piledriver for good measure. At this point, Lawler gets a small package on Idol but the ref is legally dead. So Idol takes Lawler to the floor and Paul E. throws powder in his face, at which point Lawler makes a blind rollup on Idol and has another visual pinfall with no ref to count. Lawler makes another comeback and hits the piledriver, still no ref, but then Tommy Rich makes a shocking return, emerging from under the ring and helping Idol to destroy Lawler with two piledrivers. And then they team up and run Lawler’s crotch into the ringpost so hard that it accidentally ruptures his testicle in real life! And that point, Idol wakes up the ref and pins Lawler to win the title and Lawler’s hair at 18:17. And the crowd is STUNNED. The heels are celebrating and crazed redneck fans are trying to climb the damn cage and attack them while security follows them up and fights them off. Like, the heels have so much heat on them that the crowd is nearing a RIOT. And they just keeping getting heat on Lawler, beating on him with the chair and dropping more shots on him, beating him mercilessly while he’s helpless in the barber chair. And indeed, Lawler is a man of his word, and the barber does an efficient job and shaves him bald right there in the ring. Brutus Beefcake take notes. The “heel under the ring” gag might have been done a million times by WWE in the decades since, but this was the first and one of the best. Also, an insanely simple and great match that I can’t even do justice to, and probably one of Idol’s best ever without much competition. I was going nuts watching it even today. ****3/4
So then Lawler cuts to present-day crazy old man Tommy Rich, as Tommy does a promo still crowing about the beating he put on Lawler in 1987.
And then we get a followup match also featuring these guys, which is a less famous but much more bizarre concept…
Double Jeopardy Match: Tommy Rich & Austin Idol v. Bam Bam Bigelow & Jerry Lawler
OK, so here’s the wacky Russo-esque concept for this match. There’s two rings side-by-side like for WarGames, and they do 2 singles matches. AT THE SAME TIME. So in one ring, you’ve got Bam Bam Bigelow v. Tommy Rich, and in the other, Jerry Lawler v. Austin Idol. And you can switch at will but you only get 60 seconds to double-team or else you get DQ’d. Bigelow beats the hell out of Rich for a while, and then the guys switch rings and Bam Bam destroys Idol for a while, as Lawler slugs away on Rich. They switch again and the guys are allowed one minute of double-teaming before they have to leave, and the babyfaces double-team Idol before Bigelow goes back to beating up Tommy. Bigelow slams Rich out of the ring and onto the announce table, and the faces double-team Idol as Bam Bam headbutts Idol’s groin, and the heels retreat out of the ring and somehow find a 2×4 with a nail in it to get the heat. Now there’s a foreign object you don’t see every day. We take a break and return with the heels trying to rupture Lawler’s balls again, but Bigelow makes the save. Finally the heels keep double-teaming and Idol throws the ref out of the ring and it’s a DQ at 10:48. Well, this was something they tried once and then never again. *1/2
Really, having the full Idol-Lawler cage match available here makes this a must-watch.