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Memphis Wrestling (6.23.1979) Review

August 11, 2021 | Posted by Adam Nedeff
Memphis Wrestling Bill Dundee Jerry Lawler
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Memphis Wrestling (6.23.1979) Review  

-Originally aired June 23, 1979.

-Your hosts are Lance Russell and Dave Brown.

-And to start right off, we have an angle from the “There’s probably a story here” file, as Pete Austin, who debuted last week as the first protege of new manager Sonny King, enters the studio with jobber Danny Davis, who’s now in military fatigues and a helmet. Davis announces that he’s a private first class in Sonny King’s Army, and King, running his empire from afar, has promised Danny a raise and a promotion as long as Pete Austin keeps winning matches. So Danny Davis is now a manager acting on behalf of another manager.

PETE AUSTIN (with Private Danny Davis) vs. RANDY TYLER
-Tyler bounced around the territories for about 16 years but never really broke through as a star. Tyler armdrags Austin, but Austin rakes the eyes and rams him into the turnbuckles. Tyler shakes it off and just takes him down to the mat with an armbar while Davis complains about the use of fists, and Dave Brown is like “Austin did it too, STFU.”

-Tyler continues the armbar. Austin is wearing tights that are mostly blue, but they’re maize around the hips and the picture quality has deteriorated enough on this copy that it looks like he’s wrestling in a banana hammock in some shots.

-Match turns into a fistfight, with Tyler getting the upper hand, and this match is totally The Randy Tyler show, which is weird. Davis gets up on the apron to try to distract Tyler, but Tyler just flings him into the ring to beat up on him, and the referee actually calls that outside interference and DQs Austin, so it’s a big win for Randy Tyler.

-Lance Russell calls Randy over for an interview to get to know him, and Tyler rattles off the territories he’s worked in, but the money is in winning title belts, and he came to Memphis to make money. Oh, man, this guy is about to face some hard, cold facts.


-From Mid-South Coliseum. We’ve abandoned all pretense of “Tommy Jr.” and we’re just letting the boy go by his real name now. We’re joining this match in progress even though there was a pre-match angle which Lance has to spell out for us on commentary. Tommy Gilbert and Buddy Wayne both escorted their boys to the ring. Tommy said something to Buddy, then went to Lance Russell and said that he warned Buddy “You lay a hand on my boy and I’ll bust you in the mouth.”

-Punches and chops are traded, but Gilbert throws a Little Mac-style uppercut complete with spin, and Ken crashes down to the mat. Gilbert goes for a cradle and gets two. It really starts to turn into a brawl, but as soon as it gets close to the apron, Buddy Wayne gives Eddie a right hand and then runs for his life back to the locker room, as Tommy sees it and goes straight for him. Match cuts off at this point, but Lance tells us that Ken Wayne got the win.

-After the break, the Gilbert family heads out here to complain about “Hogjaw” and that boy of his. And that brings out the Waynes, and Buddy feels he owes an apology to the Gilberts and is there anyone here who doesn’t know where this is going?

-So Buddy does a heartfelt speech about how he was so obsessed with seeing his son win that he just did some things he wasn’t proud of, and he wants to apologize and asks Tommy to forgive him and forget that tag team match that they have scheduled at one of the house shows next week. The Gilberts say they don’t want to call off the match, so the expected brawl breaks out while Lance insists that everyone should save that for the ring.

-But it turns out that in the fracas, Buddy Wayne has handcuffed Tommy to the post, and with Tommy unable to move, this altercation takes a magnificent evil turn as the Waynes gang up on Eddie and maim him while Tommy is forced to watch.

-Lance Russell just happens to follow the preceding segment with a heads-up that the Mid-South Coliseum ticket office is open until 5 pm today if we want to run down there and grab our tickets for Monday night.

-The Blonde Bombers come in and tell “Edsel-Face Russell” that Lawler and Dundee have more knots in their heads than Jimmy Carter has peanuts. Russell asks why all of the matches that the champs have signed for the next month are non-title matches and calls them out for taking advantage of the 30-day policy. The Bombers are so insulted that they walk off without acknowledging the accusation.

-And now, because it was so great, and because fans called in and requested it (and in this case, I fully believe that) we rewatch the Tupelo Concession Stand Brawl. The WHOLE THING, starting exactly where we started last week in mid-match, and going to the finish, and the post-match brawl, and into the concession stand to the very last frame of video.

-Back in the studio, Lance quips how funny it was to see mustard covering that hot dog Wayne Ferris, and there’s at least one audible groan from the studio audience.

-Ron Bass is here and he blows off the concession stand brawl because it just looks like a night at Joe’s Bar. But Bass is good and mad because he won battle royals at three house shows in the past week, and promoters aren’t running up to him and offering him title matches.

-Bass just hammers Owens down and suplexes him while screaming “Where’s my title?!” Stampede finishes in seconds.

-Lawler & Dundee tell the Blonde Bombers they’ll be out of the wrestling business by Christmas, so Larry Latham had better hang onto that beard of his because he’ll need it for his job as a mall Santa. Lawler runs down Ferris’ back story, about how Ferris was working as a high school teacher until he came to Cousin Jerry and asked for help breaking into the wrestling business. This is one of the most interesting approaches to kayfabe of this era, “Tell the fans the truth for as long as you possibly can.” Every word Lawler just said was true, which gives everything else about these characters some credibility.

-As Lance lays out the rules, this sounds like an experiment. It’s pretty much an iron man match, with the amount of TV time remaining in the show serving as the time limit, and the winners will be declared when Lance & Dave sign off. Not including commercial breaks, we have 20 minutes left in the show.

-FALL ONE: Koko tosses Gestapo around, and Gestapo complains about mask-pulling after every bump. Montgomery tags in and the commentators are really playing up his improvement in wrestling after a short period. Heels take the edge and Gestapo comes back in, applying a side headlock and driving Dallas into the turnbuckle.

-Hans tags in and kicks Dallas so hard that he tumbles across the ring and lands right in his own corner, so he makes the tag and Koko clears the ring with dropkicks. But Hans gives Koko a shot to the throat and applies a nerve hold. Gestapo comes in and applies a side headlock. Dallas comes in for his own hot tag, throwing dropkicks and still looking green with the way he goes in the air for them.

-Dallas manages to keep both opponents at bay and tags Koko back in as we are more than ten minutes into fall one. Heels take a cheap shot while the referee is distracted, and the Gestapo gets Koko in a Samoan drop for the three-count to take the first fall.

-An important message from Lance: If you send mail to the company and want a reply, you MUST include a self-addressed stamped envelope. “We aren’t spending 15 cents on a stamp” was probably printed on the company flag that flew outside this promotion’s office.

FALL TWO: Dallas works Gestapo’s arm and it’s clear we aren’t getting more than two falls out of this deal. Koko tags in and finds himself the victim of arm work being done by Gestapo, which proves that yes, wrestling is art. Koko gets a flurry of offense and a sunset flip right as TV time runs out, but Gestapo kicks out at one, and the bell sounds, giving the win to The Foreigners as we sign off. Kind of underwhelming waste of the idea. They had a team that they clearly wanted to push and a team that they didn’t want to do to much harm to, and it handcuffed them.

The final score: review Good
The 411
I love how this territory found a way to make its small size work, as every week is just a ton of stuff to make you buy a ticket for the show on Monday night, and next week they'll re-rack and make us want to see another show.

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Memphis Wrestling, Adam Nedeff