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Memphis Wrestling (9.19.1981) Review

October 23, 2023 | Posted by Adam Nedeff
Memphis Wrestling 9-19-81 Steve Keirn Image Credit: Memphis Wrestling
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Memphis Wrestling (9.19.1981) Review  

-Originally aired September 19, 1981.

-Your hosts are Lance Russell & Dave Brown.

-We recap the Tag Team Title situation. Ricky Morton & Eddie Gilbert won the gold (yellowish-colored aluminum, if I’m a betting man with this territory), but Tojo showed up on TV last week and instigated a brawl. The new champs are refusing to grant a rematch because Tojo stupidly removed the rematch clause from the contract, so they’re holding him to that. But hurling insults at the Gilbert family was enough to make Eddie snap, and the fight was on. Later in the show, Tojo and the gang assaulted Gilbert & Morton, this time with weapons. Later in the show, the champs got their revenge in another altercation.

-We get a house show promo from Koko Ware, who reveals that he’s now aligned with Jimmy Hart, and he’s renounced the name Koko Ware. From now on, call him Sweet Brown Sugar. Wow, this heel turn sure came out of nowhere. You don’t suppose they’re giving away an angle that’s happening later in the show, do you?

-Back from the break, we’re still dealing with the tag team feud. Last week, Gilbert & Morton defended the titles against Fuchi & Onita in…Tupelo, Mississippi. (Thunder clap)

-It’s 2 out 3 and the heels get a tainted win in one fall, and Morton is so damn mad that he steals away Tojo’s kendo stick and absolutely goes to town on the heels with it, and before you know it, YUP, we’re in the concession stand for a sequel to the original classic. Lance notes that the heels are covered in a mix of blood and ketchup, which must have thrilled the Mississippi State Department of Health. Eddie Marlin tries to break up the altercation, but Tojo beats the hell out of him, and then some random woman shows up to try to stop the brawl, and Tojo takes shots at her! Holy shit! I was waiting for Lance to identify her. “That’s Eddie’s wife” or something, and he doesn’t acknowledge that Tojo is slapping this woman around AT ALL. I seriously think she’s just a mark that Tojo had to fend off!

-We get an encore presentation of the Jimmy Valiant music video, which is great because it means we probably don’t have him in an actual match this week.

-We head to the Mid-South Coliseum. The NWA Mid-America Title is on the line, Steve Keirn battling Bugsy McGraw. Just a short clip of the ending. Steve Keirn gets the win and the belt.

-In the studio, Steve Keirn graciously accepts the belt and immediately asks Southern Heavyweight Champion The Dream Machine to a title unification match, because wrestling should have just ONE champion. It’s 1981, you’re going to need about 108 more unification matches. Also when the hell did Dream Machine become the champion?

-Back to the Mid-South Coliseum, where Jerry Lawler is defending the Southern Heavyweight Title against Dream Machine in a No-DQ with Koko Ware as guest referee. Can this company ATTEMPT linear storytelling? Wrestling happens in real time, it’s not like a movie. You shouldn’t have this much damn trouble telling us things in sequence. So Koko does a fast count to give Dream Machine the win and he’s the new champ.

-The new champ marches into the studio, blaring “Pomp and Circumstance” on a cassette player. Dream Machine proudly accepts the Southern Heavyweight Title and introduces us to the new king of professional wrestling, King Jimmy Hart, now sporting a crown and cape, and carrying a scepter instead of his cane. Koko Ware is carrying the train for the huge cape, and Lance Russell seems completely disgusted by his change of heart. Jimmy Hart denies accusations from the fans that he only signed Koko so he could have a “colored” in his group(!) and assures us that he signed Koko because he respects his talent and wants to make him a bigger star. Jimmy then has a knighting ceremony for him, where he rechristens Koko “Sweet Brown Sugar” to make the new name official.

-And with that, it’s time for our only studio match scheduled for this week.

FALL ONE: Keirn starts with…Speed. The replacement Nightmare that they don’t call a Nightmare. They call him Speed. Masked guys take turns in there until Keirn gets an upper hand with a monkey flip. Dundee comes in with a backdrop for a one-count.

-Faces work the arm over. Ricky Gibson tags in and drops the knee for two. Dream Machine tags in and takes control. The battle turns to Robert and Sweet Brown, but Sweet Brown takes a bunch to the face and reacts to it like he’s feeling a hot brown, so he tags out immediately. Nightmare takes a beating again. Dundee misses a corner charge and Jimmy Hart capitalizes, stomping until Dundee takes one swing at him and he books it out of there. Here’s the thing, when it’s 5 on 5, you have to do it as an elimination match because otherwise the match is just everybody trying to get their stuff in. With an elimination match, you have to gradually whittle it down so that there’s some cohesive kind of story happening in there.

-Sugar and Nightmare attempt a double-team but bungle it and crash into each other. Battle royal breaks out and the referee struggles to restore order. By the time he’s done it, Dundee is unconscious somehow, and Sugar gets the win.

The final score: review Not So Good
The 411
Again, watching the Louisville version of this show is aggravating at times and I wish they had done a better job of putting the show together for that market. Imagine watching Star Wars for the first time and as they board the Millennium Falcon for the first time, the movie cuts to Lance Russell chatting with Darth Vader, who's bragging about how he killed Obi-Wan Kenobi, and we'll see the footage of that a little later in the movie. That's what this damn show is like.

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Memphis Wrestling, Adam Nedeff