The SmarK Rant for the Red River Showdown – 07.27.85
I really liked the suggestion of “Red River Showdown” as the name for these, for the Oklahoma v. Texas angle of these reviews. Plus I think Bruiser Brody’s chosen masked alias was Red River Jack, so it’s a nice little tribute to him as well. So once again, we journey back to 1985 for the battle between Mid South and World Class! But I need a logo, can someone with more Photoshop skillz than I have (ie, anyone) whip up a combination Mid South/World Class thing for me?
We’ll start with Bill Watts this week. And the thumbnail appears to be Dick Murdoch taking the Pledge of Allegiance so you know this is gonna be a good one.
The SmarK Rant for Mid-South Wrestling – 07.27.85
Taped from Shreveport, LA
Your hosts are Jim Ross & Joel Watts
Kamala & Kareem Muhammad v. Wendell Cooley & Frank Lane
I wish they’d quit wasting Cooley on these jobber matches because he looks like a legit star at this point. I know they do eventually but it’s needlessly fighting from underneath when you’re jobbing him for weeks beforehand. Cooley gets double-teamed by the big fat heels and Kamala chops him down and chokes him out, and then it’s over to Frankie Lane to try and do something with Muhammad. Kareem chops him down and awkwardly waddles around the ring, and Kamala finishes him off with a corner splash and regular splash at 2:58. 0 for 1.
Tommy Prichard v. Hacksaw Butch Reed
Ted Dibiase interrupts beforehand, and he’s still bitching that he’s the #1 contender to the NWA World title, not Reed. Apparently Flair called him up and offered him a lot of money to take care of Reed, but he turned it down because he’s happy to take care of Butch himself. He wants the title, not the money, and thinks they should wrestle right now to determine the better man. Reed isn’t into that idea, so Dibiase decks him to change his mind, and LET’S HOOK ‘EM UP.
Butch Reed v. Ted Dibiase
Reed throws Prichard out of the ring and goes after Dibiase, but Ted immediately bails, so Reed throws him back in, but Dibiase catches him with a sucker punch and pounds away in the corner. Reed with a backslide for two and he grabs a headlock, with Dibiase unable to dislodge him. Reed grinds it in and gets two off that, but Ted rolls him over for two while grabbing the tights. The ref catches him and pushes them over again, and that’s not cool. The ref’s job is to COUNT, not get physically involved. Gorilla moment over. Reed keeps the headlock clamped, so Dibiase punches him in the kidneys to break, but he tries a monkey flip and Reed drops the SOUPBONE on him for two. Reed grabs the headlock again and Dibiase grabs the tights again and rolls him over for two, but again the ref pushes them over. Dibiase finally escapes with a backdrop suplex and stomps Reed down to take over, then chokes him out for good measure. They slug it out in the corner and Dibiase takes him down for a chinlock. Reed powers out of that, so Dibiase yells at the ref about having his hair pulled, and then he pulls Reed’s hair to take him down while the ref is checking. Always a classic. Finally Reed rams him into the turnbuckle to break and they slug it out, with Reed hitting a dropkick before they collide for a double down. Dibiase loads up the ISOTONER OF DEATH, but Reed ducks the punch and tries a rollup. Dibiase blocks that, but tries the loaded fistdrop and misses, so Reed smashes the gloved hand into the corner and backdrops him, then follows with the shoulderblock to finish at 9:38. And he has this great celebration afterwards, which actually makes him seem like a relatable babyface for once. Jim Ross is in his GLORY here. “THAT’S WHY HE’S THE #1 CONTENDER AND THAT’S WHY RIC FLAIR DOESN’T WANT ANY PART OF HIM!” This was a FUCKING GREAT match, too. **** and 1 for 2.
The Bounty Hunters v. Cowboy Bill Watts & Hacksaw Jim Duggan
So the Bounty Hunters are the Rubenesque twins from last week and I still have no idea who they are, but I’m pretty sure they’re just a one-shot for Duggan and Watts to beat and lead up to Kamala & Muhammad. Watts is unable to slam Hunter #1, but Duggan comes in and beats him down and they team up for a backdrop to put him down. Duggan drops a knee, but gets caught in the corner and worked over. One of the guys goes up and misses a flying splash, and Watts comes in as it’s BREAKING LOOSE IN TULSA and Duggan finishes one of the big fat geeks with a clothesline at 3:38. Yeah these fuckers were terrible and hopefully they don’t get brought back. 1 for 3.
Mike Graham v. Dirty Dutch Mantel
Before we start, Skandor Akbar has an announcement, because he’s sick of people saying he needs to hire help on his behalf. So he reminds us that he was the North American champion years ago, and he wants Bill Watts RIGHT NOW. He’s got his wrestling gear on and everything! So Bill sends out a ref to accept the challenge on his behalf and Dutch is like “Fine by me, peace out”.
Cowboy Bill Watts v. Skandor Akbar
Watts runs in and attacks immediately, but Dutch tries to sneak attack and the SENSATIONAL Mike Graham saves. Then Kareem and Kamala come in and the heels triple on the Cowboy and set up a fireball, but Graham takes the bullet for Watts. Did you know he came up with the idea of throwing fireballs? Hopefully it didn’t take off his glorious moustache and chest hair. Luckily all the babyfaces storm the ring and chase off the heels. A tremendous segment. 2 for 4.
The Nightmare v. Brickhouse Brown
Nightmare slugs away in the corner, but Brown evades him in the corner and slugs away. Nightmare takes him down with a back suplex as Joel Watts is relieved that his father was able to escape getting burned. I mean, Graham took a fireball, but shit happens. Nightmare chokes away on the ropes and finishes with a piledriver at 2:07. Can we PLEASE take the title off this guy soon? Somehow he’s even more boring with Humperdink. 2 for 5.
Dr. Death Steve Williams v. Al Perez
Perez takes Doc down with armdrags while Dibiase comes out to watch at ringside, maybe trip Perez for good measure, whatevs. Williams takes over after that and hits a back elbow for two, and a slam for two. Doc goes to the facelock and cranks on that, but Perez dodges a blind charge and makes the comeback. But then he misses a crossbody out of the corner before teasing another comeback, and Dibiase runs in for the DQ at 3:32 just to make sure. Clearly they’re going somewhere with Perez. 3 for 6.
Dick Murdoch v. Mark Hawk
Grizzly Smith comes out and lets us know that Murdoch was injured in the brawl earlier, but a suitable replacement is forthcoming. So Oliver Humperdink comes in and cuts an offended promo, calling Murdoch a “sissy” as Mark Ragin hits the ring to take his place. But then Murdoch comes out anyway, because he will not abide anyone calling him a sissy even with an injured shoulder. So he’s gonna finish off this jobber and then roast Humperdink like a pig. So a pissed off Murdoch elbows Hawk down and drops an elbow to finish him off quickly as promised, and Humperdink flees about as fast as he ever moves. So I guess the thumbnail was Murdoch grabbing his shoulder in pain and not taking the Pledge. But we know that he does love America, by god! 3 for 7.
Meanwhile, over on Power Pro Wrestling, Dutch Mantel whips the Fantastics, and we’ll apparently take a look at the whole incident next week. Plus midget wrestlers!
The relatively low score belies the amazing Reed-Dibiase main event and fireball-throwing brawl. This was a WINNER of an episode through and through.
Over to World Class now…
The SmarK Rant for World Class Championship Wrestling – 07.27.85
Taped from Dallas, TX
Your host is Bill Mercer
Jack Victory v. Mike Bond
Mercer wonders if Victory is the heart-throb of the entire state of New Jersey, or maybe just Hackensack. Victory beats on Bond in the corner and drops a knee for two, but Bond takes him down with an armdrag and goes to work on that. Victory tries to slam out of it, but Bond hangs on, so Victory grabs the ropes and rolls him over for two. Meanwhile, Mercer ponders, like the rest of the country, if Pete Rose is going to break Ty Cobb’s record for most hits. I’d BET that he does! Finally Victory rakes the face and chokes him out to get away from the armbar, which is a good thing because the crowd was actually starting to cheer Victory while he fought from underneath. See, he’s a smart worker. Victory goes to a chinlock and Bond escapes that with a hiptoss and dropkicks him into the corner. But then Victory drops an elbow on the back of his neck and gets the pin at 6:38. Nothing of note here but Victory was a really solid worker, even early in his career. 0 for 1.
Maniac Mark Lewin v. Scott Casey
Man, Lewin lives the gimmick and you have to respect that. You get these guys with a nickname like “Maniac” and they’re just kind of mean, but Lewin is nuttier than a fruitcake and wrestles like it. Lewin goes to a nervehold on the shoulder immediately while barking, but Casey beats on him in the corner to escape. So Lewin bites him and gets some shots on the ropes, then tosses him and chokes him out on the apron. Finally Casey has had enough and grabs a chair, but Lewin ignores it and chops him down and stomps away to retain control. You think a WOODEN CHAIR is gonna scare this guy? Casey fights his way back in and hits a double axhandle and the crowd is into it, but he charges and hits Lewin’s boot. But then Gary Hart takes the ref and Lewin goes to the tights and pulls out what looks like an 8 inch bolt, knocking Casey out for the pin at 4:28. Where do you even keep that thing in there? “ASSHOLE!” yells some guy from the front row on the way out. I really liked this one and Lewin is just so into his role. 1 for 2.
Meanwhile, we take a look at the Dynamic Duo screwing the Von Erichs over via white powder, although they usually did a good enough job of that themselves.
Killer Tim Brooks v. Mike Von Erich
Here’s what I mean about guys not living their gimmick. He’s supposed to be “Killer” Tim Brooks, but has he ACTUALLY murdered anyone that we know of? DOUBTFUL. Wrestlers are such carnies. So this would be pre-surgery but post-injury for Mike from what I can tell. Mike just doesn’t look athletic enough for this role, and he’s got no muscle definition or tan. Mike takes Brooks down and works the arm, then somehow wins a shoulderblock battle before Brooks grabs a headlock. Mike escapes with a dropkick, but goes after Gary Hart and Brooks hits him from behind to retain control. Mike gets his own headlock while Hart yells at his man to go for the shoulder. I would hope he doesn’t need a manager to tell him that. Brooks fights out of that and they battle over a wristlock, which of course Mike wins. Mike is somehow both the unstoppable force AND immovable object all in one package! Mike takes him down with a very hesitant flying headscissors and slugs away, not even pretending to make contact, but he misses a charge and hits the post. I’m shocked that Fritz didn’t gimmick the ringpost to explode from the impact of Mike hitting it. But then Mike recovers with a rollup for the pin at 7:55, thank god. Now the Von Erich name and legacy can continue forever. Brooks kept it exceedingly simple and Mike still could barely keep up. 1 for 3.
Mike and Kevin Von Erich and Mike is claiming that his shoulder is ONE HUNDRED PERCENT. He tricked them, see! And then the Von Erichs brag about how Brooks is an idiot who fell for an obvious dupe. Gotta love the sportsmanship there. Also you have to have some balls to basically say “Nyah nyah, you’re stupid!” to Killer Brooks and Mark Lewin like that. Also Mike sounds like a fucking hayseed who literally fell off a turnip truck on the way to the arena, like if Jack McBrayer decided to become a wrestler and suddenly got pushed as the one of the biggest stars on the show.
Lumberjack match: One Man Gang v. The Great Kabuki
Once again, the Great Kabuki as a babyface is a thing that happened. Managed by Sunshine. Thing that happened. Kabuki shoots a web at Gang like he’s Spider-Man to throw him off, then throws kicks and knocks him out of the ring with an enzuigiri. The Von Erichs toss Gang back in, and he beats on Kabuki for a bit and throws him out. The heels try to send him back in, but Kabuki scares them off and heads in on his own. Gang chokes him down and goes to the bearhug. “Use your weight!” advises Gary Hart. Worth every penny of his cut. Gang drops a leg on Kabuki and goes to a chinlock, really taking that amazing advice from Gary to heart. Kabuki gets thrown to the babyface side this time and the Von Erichs shield him and gently help him back in the ring, allowing Kabuki to make the comeback in the corner. Hart throws a chain into the ring, which the ref somehow misses, and Gang clobbers Kabuki for the pin at 8:47. Gang is really bad. 1 for 4. Kabuki makes his own comeback afterwards, clearing the ring with kicks and using his nunchuks to fight them off. The Von Erichs move in to help him out, since he’s pouring blood from the chainshot, but Kabuki nearly takes them out as well and everyone backs off as we take a break.
Next week: Kevin & Kerry v. The Dynamic Duo!
Clear win for Mid-South this week with a ripping good main event in that Butch Reed v. Ted Dibiase match. Although the Mike Von Erich saga is a fascinatingly sad trainwreck playing out week by week.