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Memphis Wrestling (8.21.1978) Review

July 5, 2021 | Posted by Adam Nedeff
USWA Championship Wrestling 3-23-1991 Jerry Lawler
7
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Memphis Wrestling (8.21.1978) Review  

-Everyone seemed to dig the 1990 shows that I found on Amazon Prime, and you know what? Damn near the entire decade of the 1980s is rather easy to find, so I thought I’d dive in, starting with what I could find of the 1970s first.

-We’re live from the Mid-South Coliseum.

-It’s August 21, 1978.

-Lance Russell is at ringside.

TOMMY GILBERT, SUPERSTAR BILL DUNDEE, WAYNE FERRIS, & DICK THE BRUISER vs. VALIANT BROTHERS, JEAN LOUIS & JOE LEDUC
-Well that’s quite an opener. LeDuc and Jimmy Valiant get bumped around for starters. Louis tags in and gets slammed down by Dundee. but Louis tags out with authority. LeDuc just calmly steps in and knocks the wind out of Dundee with a kick and follows with a press slam.

-Gilbert and Luscious Johnny tag in to take their turns while Dick the Bruiser and Jean Louis get into a fistfight on the apron. Johnny takes advantage of the diversion and hammers on Gilbert, and the heels take the edge. Legdrop by LeDuc, but he tags Johnny back in as the heel team is really oddly dependent on Johnny for this match.

-Gilbert makes a hot tag and all four men end up in the ring, and the match goes from a donnybrook to a ring-a-ding-ding-dandy too fast for the referee to control it, and he calls for the bell without even counting to five first. Awww, weak. Okay, seriously? They just got started in there. Two guys never even tagged in. 0 for 1.

-Lance has words with Superstar Bill Dundee and they address the questions from fans in the Jackson fans about when wrestling will return to the area. Dundee astutely mentions that Jackson fans all live around the Jackson area. They tout an impending house show featuring “the world’s largest wrestling ring” and imply that a 50-man battle royal will be on the card, which suggests that 50 different wrestlers wanted to work for Memphis paydays. I hope the Golden Terror is involved.

VERNE GAGNE vs. EDDIE SULLIVAN

-Missed opportunity: Eddie Sullivan as the manager of Paul Wight, going by the name “The Really, Really Big Shew.” Right? Get it?

-Sullivan with a side headlock. Gagne SNAPS it into a top wristlock and follows with a hammerlock. He gets Sullivan down to the mat and Sullivan rolls over with a handful of tights to get a two-count. Sullivan applies an armbar as we are definitely “Setting a deliberate pace” as Gorilla Monsoon would say.

-Verne reverses the armbar and the crowd is pretty much done with this now. Sullivan throws punches and forearms, then tosses Gagne to the floor to get the crowd’s attention. Verne revives quickly because he trained with Gagnemetrics and applies the Gagne sleeper for the Gagnevictory. 0 for 2.

AWA TAG TEAM TITLE: HIGH FLYERS (Champions) vs. MIKE BOYER & “Nature Boy” FRANKIE LANE
-Somebody in the comments a while back asked how many Nature Boys wrestling has had over the years, so here’s another one to add to the tally. High Flyers work the arm on Boyer, who “doesn’t have the sympathy of the crowd because of the way he shades the rules with his tactics” and I’m already just delighted that I get to listen to Lance’s commentary for a while.

-Lane tags in and gutwrenches Greg Gagne with authority. Gagne fights out and throws a chop, and Boyer immediately runs away and begs off OH FOR GOD’S SAKE. High Flyers take turns working Boyer over with side headlocks. High-flying side headlocks, to be clear. We get some fun spots as Lane comes in and tries to help, but Brunzell just does a succession of spots while holding on to the side headlock, and the old lady contingent at ringside absolutely appreciates it.

-High Flyers clear the ring with dropkicks. We jump ahead a few minutes to Brunzell resisting a front facelock. Tag to Greg Gagne, and the Flyers whip their opponents into each other. Gagne goes for a kneedrop, but Lane gets out of the way and the heels do one of my favorite old spots–one guy genuflects and the other bodyslams his opponent on top of the knee. So simple and it looks painful as hell.

-Funny spot as the heels miscommunicate. Lane backdrops his own partner, doesn’t even notice it’s his own partner, and quickly goes for the pin, and the referee counts two before Lane scrambles off of Boyer. Heels argue and Gagne dropkicks them into each other. High Flyers work the leg over, and Brunzell applies a figure four to get the submission; champs retain. 1 for 3. They were having fun in there and we got a really good match out of that. After the bell, Boyer does a total one-man show at ringside, toppling the stanchions at ringside and getting his legs tangled in the ropes and staggering around trying to free himself.

-Lance and Bill Dundee continue hyping the battle royal until Jerry Jarrett steps in, who says he was inspired to book a 50-man battle royal after watching a gladiator movie late at night.

AWA WORLD TITLE: NICK BOCKWINKEL (Champion, with Bobby Heenan) vs. JERRY “The King” LAWLER

-From the word go, Heenan is going nuts at ringside, insisting that Lawler is pulling the hair every time Lawler tries to do anything. Bockwinkel gets to work with armdrags and pauses to get toweled off by Heenan after the strenuous workout. Lawler responds with his own armdrags, and Bockwinkel escapes for his life and gets a hug from Heenan. Back in, Heenan is still griping about hair, and even Lance can’t hide that he’s enjoying this show.

-Waistlock by Bockwinkel as we hit the five-minute mark and a “Go Lawler go!” chant erupts in the arena. Lawler escapes and applies a side headlock as we hit that quandry that comes up when reviewing a match in the slower-moving ’70s: They aren’t doing much, but the crowd loves it, so why SHOULD they do much?

-Side headlock continues, as Heenan again insists hair-pulling is happening and this time the referee pretty much tells him “shut up” and goes right back to asking Bockwinkel if he submits. Bockwinkel finally makes it to his feet as we hit ten minutes and gives Lawler a punch and a boot, abandoning all semblance of scientific wrestling and just going for the kill. Lawler catches him with a bodypress for one, and then goes back to the side headlock. Lance is now strongly suspecting we’re going to one hour and pledges that the tape machines will roll if we run out of TV time.

-Heenan with some well-timed distraction and it appears Bockwinkel uses the hair to escape, and he goes to his own side headlock. Lawler fights out with forearms and right hands.

-Through the miracle of editing, we jump ahead to Bockwinkel draped across the apron and Lawler just beating and beating on him. Lance Russell establishes that we’ve chopped out about 10 minutes and we’re 26 minutes into this. Lawler sends him into the ropes for a big elbow, and Heenan finally takes his mandatory bump, a noggin knocker, before Lawler goes for the kill with a fist from the second rope, but Heenan was PROVOKED by the noggin knocker, so he runs in and stomps Lawler to break the pin, which really is a letdown of an ending after 30 minutes of investment. Still, it was quite a clinic from the old less-is-more school of working. 2 for 4.

7.0
The final score: review Good
The 411
Two hits, two misses. Misses were short though.
legend

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Memphis Wrestling, Adam Nedeff