The SmarK Rant for Jerry Lawler’s Classic Memphis Wrestling – 07.20.19
After a weekend of Flair v. Steamboat, I wanted the exact opposite of Flair v. Steamboat. Which has gotta be this.
So this is a repackage of a special from the early 90s called “Jerry Lawler’s Personal Royal Rumbles”, which is basically a bunch of Lawler’s singles matches at the Mid-South Coliseum from 1993-94.
Unified World title: Jerry Lawler v. Bam Bam Bigelow
This is June 6 1994 according to the comments on the video, in the Mid-South Coliseum. We get the stall to start and they finally lock up before Bigelow whips him into the corner and offers some trash talk. Sidenote: I always thought it was hilarious that they were pushing the “Unified World title” deal years after both companies “unified” into the belt (AWA and World Class) were both long dead. Wrestling for ya. Bigelow continues to overpower him and offers up a free shot, so Lawler gives him a right and Bam Bam freaks out and beats him down in the corner and out of the ring. Lawler recovers and slugs him out of the ring in turn. The announcing from Corey Maclin makes me miss Lance Russell even more, as it sounds like Ron Burgundy drunkenly calling the match. Bigelow headbutts him down and grabs a chinlock on the mat as we’re suddenly “10 minutes” into the match at 6:30. Come on. Stopwatches are a thing. Bigelow works the nervehold, but misses a headbutt and Lawler pulls down the strap and makes the comeback. Fistdrop and Doug Gilbert and Troy Graham run in for the DQ at 9:38. Whole lot of nothing here. *
Unified World title: Jerry Lawler v. “Dream Machine” Troy Graham
I’ve always found it funny that someone named “Dream Machine Troy Graham” would look pretty much the exact opposite of how you’d picture him. Like, you hear that name and think of Austin Idol or Ric Flair, but NOPE. Ugly tattooed greasy biker bod. So now we’re at August 1994 as Lawler is looking for revenge from the past match in a “Coward’s Way Out” match, and the gimmick is that there’s no referee and the match just continues until one man QUITS, like a coward is wont to do, and goes back to the dressing room. So they brawl on the floor and Lawler slugs away in the ring, but Dream pounds him with forearms and a random 2×4 before choking him out, and with no referee he just keeps choking him out with the board. Finally Lawler escapes, but Dream busts him open in the corner. So Lawler gets pissed off and tosses Graham, then PILEDRIVES HIM ON THE CONCRETE. Amazingly, Graham not only survives this, but kicks Lawler in the balls and runs him into the ringpost a few times. Graham pounds away and runs Lawler into the post again, just beating the hell out of Jerry before grabbing the 2×4 again and beating on him with that in the ring. Lawler fights back again, but misses the fistdrop, and Graham gives him some stiff shots in the corner. Dream slugs away in the corner, but Lawler goes DOWNTOWN with a low blow that’s got mustard on it, and then pulls down the strap and makes the comeback. So they throw down in the corner and finally Lawler puts him down and out to the floor. Graham hauls him out and continues beating on him, but Lawler goes nuclear and THROWS FIRE, as Graham has had enough and runs away in terror to the dressing room to give Lawler the win at 13:04. This was FUCKING AWESOME. What a fight! ****1/4
Unified World title: Jerry Lawler v. Mr. Perfect
Back to Feb 1 1993 for this one, as we finally get a rematch of their AWA World title match 5 years later. Perfect is playing heel here, naturally, since it’s Memphis. They trade shots and fight for the lockup to start, really jockeying for position on the ropes, but Lawler kicks out the leg and Perfect takes his usual crazy bumps off that. Lawler already has the strap down and he slugs away in the corner and follows with a bulldog, but the future Gangrel runs in and throws Perfect a chain behind the ref’s back, and Perfect gets the pin and the title at what is apparently 14:08 but was only 4:00 here. There was a pretty slick edit in there somewhere. However, Eddie Marlin comes down and restarts the match, and Lawler rolls him up for two. Sunset flip gets two. Bulldog gets two. Lawler tries the 1988 finish and slingshots Perfect into the corner again, but the ref is bumped and Gangrel comes back in with another chain, but this time Perfect hits Gangrel by mistake and Lawler gets the chain and knocks out Perfect, at which point the vampire dives in for the DQ and the heels beat Lawler down until Jeff Jarrett saves. Wish we could have seen the full match, it seemed pretty good. **
Cage match: Jerry Lawler v. Bret Hart
So we wrap it up on August 29 1993, with a heel Bret facing a babyface Lawler the night before Summerslam 93! We cut to 10:00 in as Bret goes low and beats on Lawler’s gut, then hits a deadly piledriver and tells off the crowd. This doesn’t satisfy him, so he does another piledriver, and that gets two. Backbreaker gets two. Bret uses the boot laces and headbutts him, but Lawler has had enough and makes the comeback, slugging Bret down and biting him in the corner. So now Owen Hart comes out and climbs the cage, but Jeff Jarrett and Giant Gonzalez stop that as we’re in full Bizarroworld reversed roles city. But then Giant breaks into the cage and turns on Lawler, high-fiving Bret and chopping Lawler down. But then he hits Bret by accident and Lawler dives in for the pin at 7:38 aired, and the oddball team of Bret Hart and Giant Gonzalez double-team Lawler and beat him down. I would call this one a historical oddity more than anything, although it makes me want to see more of Owen and Bret running roughshod over Memphis.
Next time: It’s the last one, as we wrap up the show with a feature on the Rock N Roll Express and then have to say goodbye to Memphis.