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Memphis Wrestling (11.11.1978) Review

July 16, 2021 | Posted by Adam Nedeff
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Memphis Wrestling (11.11.1978) Review  

-Originally aired November 11, 1978.

-Your hosts are Lance Russell and Dave Brown. The first minutes of the show are actually a bit ahead of the curve, with a slideshow accompanying the rundown of who’s on the card this week.

HANDSOME JIMMY VALIANT & WAYNE FERRIS vs. DANNY DAVIS & SAMMY HOLT

-Wayne Ferris is a very young and very blond Honky Tonk Man. Danny Davis would go on to much bigger things in this territory, and unless Sammy Holt is someone going by a different name, he’s the odd man out in terms of career success.

-Davis gets knocked around by the Dollywood Blondes to start. Valiant teases pinning him with a knee, but tags Ferris in instead. Davis keeps getting beaten down while the camera gets a funny shot of Holt looking forlorn about what a crappy partner he has. Ferris misses an elbow and Holt finally tags in as a “Go, Wayne, go!” chant goes up, and it’s funny to think of Honky Tonk Man as a babyface heartthrob. Hot tag to Valiant, and a big elbow on Holt gets the three-count.

-Jimmy Valiant cuts a babyface promo about getting coked up with Burt Reynolds and Sally Field and not being able to shut his eyes for 48 hours, and he just set an MSG attendance record for his concert with good personal friend Bob Seger. How did this clown keep getting over as a babyface?!

-So Valiant brings a receipt for that last claim, bringing film from the “concert at MSG” that looks like he rented a band to back him up for a 30-minute shoot at a high school auditorium. All credit in the world here because we’re still three years out from the launch of MTV, and they are right there with a slick music video and a catchy original song, which solves a little bit of the mystery of how Valiant got over. Valiant even gives a plug to a local station in Memphis that added the song to their rotation.

-Jerry Lawler & Bill Dundee, the Southern Tag Team Champions, pop in, and here’s a stat that I find kind of funny for whatever reason: we’re only in 1978, and this is Dundee’s 10th Tag Team Title, and Lawler’s 17th! Memphis had such a small roster at any given time, and they ran on such a small circuit, that you couldn’t really do long title reigns there because after the champ beat all 10 of the babyfaces in the span of 2 1/2 months, who else would he wrestle? So belts changed hands CONSTANTLY in this territory.

-Anyway, the champs are here to tell us that a large lady wrestler named Heather Feather successfully wrestled a bear for three minutes at a recent show, and they think she’s entitled to a match against a man as a result, but no man has agreed to a match, and they don’t think that’s fair. They give Lance a petition that they’ve filled out demanding a match between Heather Feather and any man in the promotion. They invite anybody in the building to come to the commentary desk during the show to sign their name on the petition to force the promoters to let Heather Feather wrestle a man.

BOUNTY HUNTERS (with Chuck Malone) vs. ROBERT GIBSON & JACKIE WELCH

-Robert Gibson is THE Robert Gibson. Jackie Welch is a member of the Welch wrestling family, but according to Cagematch’s data, he pretty much calls it a career two months or so after this match.

-Before the match, Chuck Malone comes over to the broadcast table and laughs off the idea of Heather Feather wrestling a man, so he signs the petition just for the pleasure of watching her get her ass kicked at some point. Just as the match is about to get underway, Jerry Lawler and Bill Dundee walk out because, aw crap, they made a terrible mistake. They meant to bring a petition out to ringside, but, whoops, that document they brought out was actually a CONTRACT, and Malone just signed on to be Feather’s opponent.

-David Novak starts with Gibson. Gibson armdrags him around and he’s pretty much already got that “it” factor with everything he does in the ring. Welch doesn’t fare as well, getting slammed and elbowed down. Bounty Hunters with a fight with Robert Gibson while Welch is laid out. Referee stops to break everything up, and during the distraction, Malone pops up and piledrives Welch on the floor, and the referee turns around to count Welch out.

-“RHUBARB TIME!” proclaims Lance as the Bounty Hunters go back to attacking Gibson after the match, but Lawler & Dundee make the save. MVP of the match: the lone security guard frantically trying to stop the studio audience from storming over to stop the attack before Lawler & Dundee made the save.

-Back from commercial, Chuck Malone complains about being coerced into signing a contract, but Lance Russell picks the folksiest, politest way possible of telling him “Tough shit” and announces that Malone must leave the territory if he doesn’t show up Monday night at Mid-South Coliseum to wrestle Heather Feather. Malone reluctantly agrees to wrestle, even though he knows he’s going to maim and injure that poor woman, and he tells Lance Russell that her blood is on his hands.

-Lawler and Dundee are back. They’re defending the the Bounty Hunters on Monday night, and the Bounty Hunters wanted the match so badly that they put Chuck Malone’s hair on the line to get the match signed. So Monday night, Chuck Malone is going to have the worst night of his life, because he’ll get his head shaved and he’ll get his ass kicked by a woman.

-And here comes Handsome Jimmy Valiant to suggest a six-man tag with himself, Lawler, and Dundee vs. Malone and the Bounty Hunters. The champs tell him thanks but no thanks, because the whole deal was that Malone agreed to put his hair on the line for a Tag Team Title match, and the stipulations wouldn’t hold if they switched it to a six-man tag.

-Valiant actually takes that shockingly poorly and accuses “King Fish” and “Short Wit” of being jealous of him and not wanting to share the spotlight. Lawler reiterates that if the match gets changed to a six-man tag bout, Malone won’t put his hair on the line and they want to do THAT match. Valiant insists on a six-man tag match so hard that Lawler gets tired of being nice and tells Valiant, “You’re in a PRELIMINARY match, where they put the preliminary guys!” And he whips out a homophobic slur for good measure. Actually, two of them. Lawler’s just letting it all hang out. Also, Lawler emphasizes that Valiant needs to buy a damn car already because they’re tired of driving him to all the shows.

-So the babyface locker room empties out to try to make peace, but the unexpected turn that takes is that Valiant points to Wayne Ferris and accuses Lawler of sabotaging his own family’s career! Lawler says Cousin Wayne needed to learn how to make it on his own in the wrestling business, and now Valiant has Cousin Wayne so corrupted that Cousin Wayne is walking around with bleached blonde hair, which makes him look also like a homosexual, except not the word “homosexual.”

-So with that, Lawler gives Valiant a slap in the face. Valiant grabs a weapon, and the locker room again steps in to help out, with Wayne Ferris conspicuously acting as a human shield before the confrontation is finally broken up.

TOMMY GILBERT & TERRY SAWYER vs. DON FARGO & BILL DROMO (with Al Green)
-It seems like Al Green should have been the one breaking up the confrontation in the previous segment because he could have just told the guys “Let’s stay together.”

-Everybody just kinda…wrestles, ya know? The match just meanders from hold to hold for a bit. Dromo applies headscissors on Gilbert and gets him to the wrong corner that way, allowing Fargo to get some free shots on him.

-We interrupt this commentary for an awkward apology on live TV. Jerry Jarrett acknowledges that the language in the previous segment was unacceptable and announces that he is fining Lawler AND Valiant for their remarks, and Valiant had better file a protest on THAT bullsh because the homophobia in that last segment was a one-way street. Unless he’s fining Valiant for saying Lawler’s wife has skinny legs. Anyway, this match actually has a SHOCKING ending, as Sawyer refuses to tag in when Gilbert tries three times to tag out, and Sawyer finally just knocks him on his ass, allowing Dromo to drop an elbow and get a three-count. Two heel turns in a single show! Who says Vince Russo was an innovator?

KOKO WARE vs. STEVE BRODIE

-Lance marvels at Koko’s meaty thighs as he gets an early one-count. They’re both babyfaces, so this is a heavily scientific match and the fans aren’t having that at all, as you can hear every little creak and bend in the floorboards under the mat. It’s like a golf match broke out in the studio.

-Brodie works Koko’s arm. Koko turns it around and applies a wristlock. But TV time is starting to get away from us, so Koko just throws three dropkicks in a row and gets the pin.

-And here’s Jerry Lawler with more damage control, as he hurries over to commentary to apologize for what he said earlier in the show. Wow, two apologies in under ten minutes. Twitter must have been PISSED about this show.

JERRY “The King” LAWLER & SUPERSTAR BILL DUNDEE (Tag Team Champions) vs. KELLY TWINS

-Kind of funny, as they aren’t even subtle here, Lance Russell gives everybody time signals loud and clear as we run out the TV time. The end!

-Next week: We jump forward to June 1979 and these reviews will start to have some continuity to them!

8.5
The final score: review Very Good
The 411
Rhubarb time, indeed!
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Memphis Wrestling, Adam Nedeff