Mike Reviews – Continental Wrestling (28/10/1989)

I wasn’t really feeling All Japan this week, so I decided to try something different. We might go back to it, we might not, I’ll see how I feel in a few weeks.

This week we’re going for something a bit different, in the form of Continental Wrestling, which was a territory operating out of Knoxville and Dotham that ran from the 50’s to the 80’s before finally going out of business in 1989.

The main reason I chose this particular episode is that it has a young Mick Foley working in one of his first territories, and I believe it was in Continental that he invented the famed “Nestea Plunge” bump off the apron, which of course led to him taking it night after night for a while, because wrestling.

He was also in World Class/USWA around this time as well though and I haven’t sat down to re-read “Have A Nice Day” in a while, so he might have invented it there instead, but he was still young in his career at this stage at any rate, so this should hopefully be an interesting time capsule.

If you’d like to watch along with me you can do by clicking HERE

I’m not sure when this was actually taped, as I can’t seem to find the show on CageMatch.

Calling the action are Charlie Platt and Johnny Rich

The commentators hype up an upcoming Thunderdome match, although poor Charlie stumbles all over himself in the process. They bring radio personality Dr. Sam Fox in, who will be helping out with the commentary apparently. No idea who he is, but he’s pretty smooth on the mic if nothing else.

Opening Match
The Intruders Vs The Southern Boys (Tracey Smothers and Steve Armstrong)

That’s not an especially imposing name for the masked Heel team is it? Oooooo, they might call round to your house uninvited at a less than ideal time to ask if they can borrow a spatula. Get me my wallet so I can buy a ticket to the next live event post-haste! I have no idea who is under the masks and not even CageMatch seems to know either. The Southern Boys would eventually get a gig in WCW of course and would steal the show with The Midnight Express at the 1990 Great American Bash.

The Intruders are just a pair of warm bodies to take The Boys’ offence here, and they do an adequate enough job in that regard. They even get a bit of offence in themselves at one stage, working some heat on Smothers, who sells it all well. This has been more of an actual match than I was expecting actually. Armstrong eventually gets the hot tag and runs wild on The Intruders, who fight back a bit by using the POWER OF INTRUSION, only to then be sunset flipped by both Boys for the three count.

WINNERS: THE SOUTHERN BOYS
RATING: SQUASH

This was alright, with Smothers in particular looking really good, but the ring seems kind of small and that looked to provide some difficulties when they were trying to do the double team spots

We get some promo time from The Southern Boys, where apparently they’ll be giving out some mink coats at the Thunderdome Show as part of a tournament and The Boys want to win so that they can give the coat to a lovely Southern Belle. I know they’re called The Southern Boys and all, but that’s outrageously southern even for them. What next, are they going to talk about how they make Moonshine in their bathtub or something? Silly though the topic of the promo is, the delivery is good and they do eventually address the Thunderdome too.

On the 3rd of November there’s a show in Columbus, MS. Prices are $7 for ringside, $5 for general admission and $2 for kids. Wow, $7 probably wouldn’t even get you a beer at a WWE show these days, especially in the bigger markets. The world has gone to heck boys and girls. This is the show with the Thunderdome on it too. At those ticket prices it wouldn’t surprise me if the Thunderdome itself was made out of cardboard.

Dennis Condrey cuts a promo about the Thunderdome, where he says he’s going to be wearing his cowboy boots and using them to bust folk open.

We get some promo time from Jerry Stubbs, who says he’s going to break Rob Fuller’s leg. We see some clips following that, where Stubbs put Fuller in the Figure Four during a wild brawl. Fuller is supposedly out injured at the moment as a result of that.

Match Two
The Panther Vs Cactus Jack Manson w/ Stud Stable

The ring announcer announces Cactus as being from “Mexico” as opposed to “New Mexico” it should be noted. Cactus works Panther over and even does the spot where he spits into the air and then catches the spit in his mouth again, which I think Headbanger Mosh used to do in the WWF as well. Cactus is pretty lean here actually, and whilst he batters Panther and keeps pulling him up, Rob Fuller joins the commentary desk to rant in his usual manner. Cactus eventually decides he’s had enough of beating up the enhancement talent and drops the elbow off the apron to win by count out.

WINNER BY COUNT OUT: CACTUS JACK
RATING: SQUASH

That was a pretty impressive win for Cactus and they got a good shot of the elbow drop too, which was almost bordering on professional camera work

The Stud Stable get some promo time following that, with Rob Fuller, Cactus Jack, Jimmy Golden, Brian Lee and Downtown Bruno being present. Fuller shows why he was a natural promoter by putting all of his crew over. Cactus himself doesn’t speak, as he’s supposed to be from New Mexico and his New York accent would kind of give the game away.

Jerry Stubbs and some masked guy cut promos about the Thunderdome match. Apparently the winner gets $5000. That could be a typo though and they’ll in fact only win 5000 Greek Drachma, which would seem more feasible from a budgetary perspective based on how everything looks on this show.

Johnny Rich is backstage with “Exotic” Adrian Street, who would appear to be a babyface in this territory. His missus Miss Linda apparently got beaten up by The Beast and is now injured, which leads to Street cutting a rather reserved promo about how it’s the worst thing to ever happen to him in the business. We get some clips of it, and Beast did a number on Linda’s arm with some bolt cutters in a pretty heavy angle actually. Street and Todd Morton seem to have allied with one another now in an effort to get The Beast back, which has led to Beast and Street setting up a Loser Leaves Town match. Sadly the promo cuts off before it concludes, which could be because the uploader is missing it or Continental just cut to a commercial at the wrong time, and considering how shoddy the production has been here you could easily believe that it was the latter.

Match Three
Chief Little End Vs The Beast

Beast’s name is Mark Gulleen (I’ve seen his surname spelt at least four different ways, so I picked that one out of the hat) and he’s a big bloke doing a cross between John Njord and Bruiser Brody. I have no idea if Little End is actually an Indigenous person or if they just got someone to pretend to be a Native America for the purpose of the gimmick. He doesn’t get any offence in anyway, as Beast destroys him with generic big man stuff and pins him with a big boot.

WINNER: THE BEAST
RATING: SQUASH

Beast flings poor Little End over the top to the floor following that and then yells that he’s going to kill anyone who gets in the ring with him. He has quite a high pitched voice which kind of kills the gimmick a bit to be honest. Just as I’m about to type that he might benefit from having a manager, Rob Fuller shows up and seemingly recruits him to his side, even going so far as to give him a valet called Sylvia.

Main Event
The African Assassin and Lou Fabiano Vs Adrian Street and Todd Morton

Street’s “Imagine What I Could Do To You” entrance music remains one of the better examples of a wrestler singing their own theme. Sadly all of his follow up songs didn’t really live up to that one, but that one was an instant classic so it was always going to be an uphill challenge. Searching African Assassin on Google brings up an MMA guy, who I don’t think is the guy wrestling here. Fabiano would appear to have been an enhancement guy who worked in the WWF at points.

Street is a legend of the British Wrestling scene and became a big star over here in the 70’s before going on to crack America too, mostly working in the southern territories. He was one of the first major stars that Jim Cornette ever got to manage and they had quite a long running and heated feud with Bill Dundee at one stage, which was kind of the feud that really got Cornette’s career up and running. Morton is actually a Dundee trainee and is doing the Rock and Roll Express gimmick. I’m not sure if he’s actually related to Ricky Morton or just storyline related, but that definitely seems to be the implication when you consider his attire.

They work a pretty quick pace in the early going, although there’s a clear botch as Street gets a back elbow on The Assassin and makes the cover but he doesn’t kick out and Fabiano doesn’t break it up either, so the ref just stops counting at two and they keep going. Really the ref should have just called it as a shoot and counted three at the end of the day, as it’s the wrestler’s job to kick out and if they don’t then it’s their fault.

The Assassin looks greener than a stick of broccoli actually, as his bumping and feeding is really stiff and awkward, with it looking like the Faces are having difficulty getting him to go where they need him to. It’s not like he isn’t cooperating, he just doesn’t seem entirely sure what he’s supposed to do. Strangely Fabiano is barely in, as Street goes to an Indian Deathlock on The Assassin and that’s enough for the win. Gah, his ONE weakness!

WINNERS: STREET & MORTON
RATING: SQUASH

The Faces looked okay but poor Assassin seemed like he was way out of his depth

Get ready Lucedale, MS for the most exciting night of your life! Not my words you understand, but the words of the voice over guy here as he desperately tries to hype up a show at a local high school. I give him high marks for effort if nothing else, although something tells me he might be setting the bar a little too high based on what we’ve seen so far. If going to a Continental House Show at a high school is the most exciting night of your life then your life has probably been a pretty sheltered one or you’ve only just recently moved to Lucedale from Scunthorpe. The Main Event this time is that it’s a $2500 Thunderdome Battle Royal. Wait, these Thunderdome matches aren’t even in a cage?! How can it be a Thunderdome match if there actually isn’t some kind of cage or structure to act as the “dome” part? This is VERY misleading advertising I must say.

Street and Morton cut a promo, where Street says he’s ran Terry Garvin out of town and he’ll get The Beast next. He also drops the bombshell that Miss Linda will be coming back to deal with Beast’s new valet, and once that business is dealt with they want to go after the tag belts.

We get a Jeff Jarrett video package, set to a disco track as he does exciting things like arm drags and O’Connor Roll’s. Fetch my wallet again his instant! To be fair, for 1989 Jarrett was genuinely bordering on being a high flyer with his array of dropkicks.

Continental Heavyweight Champ Dennis Condrey (Really? That’s like on the Legends of Wrestling Video Game when you do career mode and the game randomly assigns the World Title to Road Warrior Animal or Nasty Boy Jerry Saggs) joins us to offer $1000 to anyone who can survive his DDT Challenge. Rob Fuller joins us as well, saying he’ll add $1000 of his own if Jerry Stubbs will take on the challenge. The challenge is apparently that you have to take the DDT but then get up and touch all four corners of the ring within a minute. Stubbs turns the tables though, saying HE’LL give Condrey a $1000 if he can take the Figure Four and get up to touch all four corners. Before we can see whether that will happen though, Fuller and Condrey attack Stubbs, leading to Stubbs fighting back and putting Fuller in the Figure Four once again. Condrey breaks it up though and spikes Stubbs with a DDT, which leads to a mass brawl with everyone who has already been on the show. The Thunderdome has come early!!! This was your standard “We’ve got a big battle royal show coming up so let’s do a big brawl to hype it” segment, and they usually work.

Stubbs and The Southern Boys have some comments following all of that, with Stubbs saying he wasn’t thinking earlier but that won’t happen again and he’ll finish the job on Fuller down the line. The Southern Boys talk about the mink coat tournament again, which seems to be the most important thing to them. They don’t care how many animals have to die to make the coat, they just want to impress a southern belle! Someone get Lacey Evans a flux capacitor so that she can travel back and make their dreams come true.

The commentators recap what we’ve seen and encourage us to go and see Continental the next time it comes to our town.

In Conclusion

I mean, I can kind of see why this company went out of business not too soon after this. Even by local territory wrestling standards the production values were pretty bad and it seemed like they only had something like 10 actual proper wrestlers on the whole roster, so they were likely going to burn through all of the potential matches pretty quickly. As a show it wasn’t terrible or anything, but it’s no surprise to me that they were struggling at the time.

If this draws some interest then I might watch some more or I’ll hunt something else down for next week. All the best anyway and enjoy WrestleMania if you’re watching at the weekend. I’m probably going to stay up for the Saturday show but I won’t bother with the Sunday one and will watch it on Monday or Tuesday instead.