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Memphis Wrestling (4.18.1981) Review

February 15, 2023 | Posted by Adam Nedeff
Memphis Wrestling Jerry Lawler, WWE Image Credit: Memphis Wrestling
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Memphis Wrestling (4.18.1981) Review  


-Originally aired April 18, 1981.

-Your hosts are Lance Russell & Dave Brown.


-Oswald is bulking up a bit at this point and now has Lawler-style tights. Pfft. How’s he supposed to have a wrestling career if all he’s going to do is rip off a more famous wrestler? Anyway, his opponent, Dream Machine, takes him to the mat and then gets funky like a monkey to celebrate.

-Lots of elbows by the Machine, and a…something…finishes. It looks like it was supposed to be a legdrop but Machine actually manages to overshoot it and lands on his ass on Oswald’s other side, then leans back and pins him. Oswald actually tried to kick out, because I think he knew how shitty that looked.

-Jerry Lawler chats with Lance about how he got screwed over by his tag team partner, Kevin Sullivan in a match in Louisville last week, and it ended up being an attack by Jimmy Hart, Turk, El Toro, and Sullivan. So this Tuesday night, Lawler is getting his revenge in a one-on-one battle with Sullivan. Oh, cool, so the angle already happened?? Awesome!

-We go to Mid-South Coliseum. The team of Dundee, Dream, and Dutch battle Team Tojo. Chaos breaks out at the 22-minute mark and Dutch accidentally strikes the referee in all the confusion, getting his team DQed. Tojo blinds Dutch Mantell to stop the post-match brawl.

-Dutch comes out and lays out his back story. 10 years ago, he got drafted. He’s from a poor family, so no rich relatives could get him out of it, and he doesn’t have friends in Canada. So he went to Vietnam and fought his ass off because his country told him he had to, and he fought like hell to stay alive. So he won’t sit here and listen to Tojo tell him he’s a loser because the war went badly; DUTCH wasn’t the one who lost the war, and he’s gonna straighten out Tojo good. Oh, and he whips out some racial slurs, so there’s that.

-Next week go to Mid-South Coliseum, where Kevin Sullivan turned on Jerry Lawler in a tag team match. Just like he did the following night in Louisville. I love this, Memphis complained as much as the other territories about the WWF “exposing the business” years later, but Mick Foley pointed out that Memphis was one of the worst offenders, because they would do the same angles and the same match finishes–even title changes!–for seven straight nights on their house show circuit.

-Lance rattles off the complete card for Tuesday night at the Gardens. The first match is a tag team match. The second match is a six-woman tag with the same four people plus two more.

-SO…Terry Funk demanded a match against Jerry Lawler to settle their score, but he made some special demands for the kind of match he wanted and–well, Lance thinks we just need to watch the footage that they shot at Mid-South Coliseum.

-Lance and the cameraman are milling around discussing how to shoot this, then Lance lights a cigarette to chill out for a little bit before the cameraman gives him a countdown.

-And from there, Lance spells out the full angle. Terry has accused Jerry Lawler of having “home field advantage” in their previous matches and challenged Lawler to a match in an empty arena. No referees, no police, no fans present, and Lawler has to wrestle without anybody there who might give him any kind of edge. It’s now 12:50 p.m. and Terry Funk demanded the match start at 1:00 p.m. And now there’s nothing to do but wait.

-Ten minutes later, Funk arrives and wants to know where Lawler is, and he’s cursing up a storm from the word go, with Lance frantically telling him he has to watch his language in case Lawler shows up and they actually air the match.

-Funk is so frustrated with Lawler for running late that he counts to ten himself and just declares himself the winner by forfeit. And after that, Funk just keeps waiting and waiting, driving himself up a wall because he flew from Amarillo to be here, and Lawler, who lives in the neighborhood, can’t be bothered to show up on time for a fight.

-And Lawler finally arrives, wearing his cape and his crown and doing an actual normal entrance, like he would for a regular match. “Don’t you realize there’s nobody here, youuuuuuuuu jackass?” asks Terry. It doesn’t read like much, but that one line by Funk makes the whole segment for me.

-Funk offers Lawler an escape IF he’ll take Lance’s microphone and concede that Funk is the better man. And Funk is still swearing up a storm while Lance makes a note of it for editing later.

-So they finally start locking up. Neither man can get an advantage so Funk scoots to the floor and dares Lawler to face him out there. Lawler doesn’t take the bait, so Funk heads back in. They tie up and end up on the floor together this time. The lock-up spills into the first few rows of seats and topples them. Funk throws a chair and misses. Lawler’s chair makes contact, and Funk lets out a terrified squeal as the fa├žade starts to crack a little bit. Funk is bleeding, and he gets desperate, grabbing the shittiest weapon in the entire building, a frame from the top of a stanchion, and makes contact with it. Fight goes out to the floor again, and Funk piledrives Lawler on the concrete again, then heaves him into another section of chairs. Funk tries to finish by ramming him into the timekeeper’s table repeatedly and demands Lance bring his microphone over for the submission, and Lance is actually about to do it, but Funk instead grabs Lawler and throws him into the ring and grabs a spike.

-Funk tries to blind Lawler with the spike while Lance begs him to stop. Funk rears back to stab him, but Lawler kicks his arm, and Funk’s arm recoils and causes him to accidentally stabs himself in the eye. Funk instantly calls off the fight, sobbing uncontrollably and begging Lance to call a doctor, and Lawler just looks disgusted by the sight and leaves him alone.

-We get an afterward of sorts from Lance, who explains that what we just saw was not sanctioned in any way by CWA. Also, in a nice payoff, Lance explains that because of Funk’s demand about how few people could be in the building, there was no doctor present and there was a delay getting him medical attention. Lance also clarifies that they continued rolling the camera for a bit longer after what we saw, but they agreed in editing not to go further in the interest of taste.


-The little guys start while Kevin Sullivan sits in on commentary. Hart takes a cheap shot from the apron and Sullivan commends him for fending off an attempted attack. Rodgers tags in and Jimmy is forced to tag in. Rodgers connects with a punch. Jimmy goes into his tights and smears his hand across Rodgers’ eyes. Rodgers is blinded, and Jimmy actually has enough muscle to throw Rodgers over the top rope, which gets himself DQed.

-But Jimmy’s not satisfied. Jimmy wants a post-match beatdown and he dishes it out. The referee, Jerry Calhoun, tries to stop it the normal way, but then suddenly realizes “Wait, it’s just Jimmy Hart,” so Calhoun biels Jimmy across the ring! And Jimmy is so shocked and embarrassed by that, he beats up Calhoun! So Jerry Lawler has finally had enough, and he heads in to attack, and then Sullivan its the ring and brawls with Lawler.

The final score: review Amazing
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Memphis Wrestling, Adam Nedeff