Monday, December 10, 2018

Opening the Vault of Classic Memphis Wrestling (Episode One)


We begin the show with Corey Maclin and Dave Brown telling us all about what to expect on this debut episode of Opening the Vault of Classic Memphis Wrestling. It’s clear that this show was created to filler until Power Pro Wrestling could get back on its feet. Sadly, that day never happened. Both Corey and Dave hype up the show and are thrilled to bring us a peek back at some of the greatest matches and angles in Memphis wrestling history.


The show starts off strong with the Monday Night Memories music video. Back in March 1994, Jimmy Hart quickly put together this song as a tribute to the legends of Memphis wrestling in preparation for the Monday Night Memories show which drew 6,500 fans to the Mid-South Coliseum to see legends like Jerry Lawler, Austin Idol, and Terry Funk. The song is a little cheesy, but it’s a great look at all the big names that came and went through Memphis.


Following the music video, Corey and Dave are joined by The Mouth of the South Jimmy Hart, who I am convinced is never not in character.


He immediately begins bragging about having the most impact on Memphis wrestling history and starts naming off all the big names he’s worked with while Corey and Dave try not to roll their eyes. Jimmy mentions on his favorite teams was PYT (Pretty Young Things) that consisted of Koko B Ware (Stagger Lee) and Norvell Austin. This led us into our first wrestling clip of the show: PYT vs. The Fabulous Ones (Eddie Gilbert and Tommy Rich).

Opening the Vault of Classic Memphis Wrestling is a clip show, so we do not get to see the full match here. This match took place at the WMC-TV 5 studios and was one hell of a brawl. Things got out of control quickly and bodies were flying all over the place. Hellacious punches are thrown and it made me realize how weak the punches thrown nowadays are. These punches looked real and looked like they felt real. Eventually the action spills out onto the floor as the referee loses control of the match. Jimmy Hart gets involved, and starts beating the hell out of Tommy Rich while he’s being held by Koko.


Things become so out of control in the tiny studio crowd, that you actually see Memphis police officers stepping in to keep the crowd back at certain moments. Obviously, this match was a double DQ. I wasn’t able to find a date for when this match took place, but I was able to narrow it down to sometime in 1983-1984.

We cut back to Corey, Dave, and Jimmy who are now joined by Jerry “The King” Lawler. Jimmy Hart jumps out of the big chair to allow The King to sit and he plays it off wonderfully, telling The King how much he’s been bragging about him, when in fact, he has done nothing but trash Lawler until he showed up.


They joked about some bad blood because of the Jimmy Hart vs. Jerry Lawler feud over the years, and Jimmy Hart even commented at one point about not wanting to have his jaw broken again. (Jerry Lawler purposely broke Jimmy Hart’s jaw as a receipt for his comment about having to put down a prized race horse once he breaks a leg which was in reference to Jerry Lawler and the year he had to take off due to a broken leg.) 

Jerry tells the story about how he went to the same high school as Jimmy Hart, although Hart was several years older. He mentions that despite hitting it big with The Gentrys, Lawler found Hart singing in a lounge years later, looking all pathetic, so he took him in and introduced him to the world of wrestling, only to have Jimmy turn on him once he got injured. Hart and Lawler play so well off each other it’s a joy to watch them on the screen at the same time, even when discussing small non-wrestling stories like this.

Our next match is Jerry Lawler vs. Nick Bockwinkle, which is always a good time. Jerry is rocking some awesome purple tights, and Nick Bockwinkle clearly has the upper hand when we begin the match.

Both men are obviously tired where we pick up in the match, but out of no where Bockwinkle head butts Lawler in the crotch. A normal man would cower in pain, but not The King. Instead he hulks up, pulls the strap down, and begins beating Bockwinkle with stiff punches. He crawls to the second rope and hits The Jawbreaker, but Bockwinkle kicks out. Jimmy Hart and Jim Cornette both come out, and Hart pushes Lawler off the second rope and then retreats under the ring. In what has to be a first and only time in wrestling history, the referee listens to the crowd and looks under the ring and sees Jimmy Hart. In the ring, Bockwinkle has covered Lawler, but referee Jim Calhoun pushes Bockwinkle off and disqualifies him. Lawler wins the AWA title, but two days later, Jimmy Hart lobbied Verne Gagne and had the decision over turned.


Following some back and forth between Hart and Lawler, The Fabulous One Jackie Fargo calls in to give Hart a piece of his mind.

We get clips of a crazy match between Jackie Fargo and Stan Lane vs. The Moon Dogs in a grudge stretcher match. If you want to see some insane hardcore wrestling years before ECW would come along, you need to see this match.


Our next match is The Fabulous Ones (Steve Kern and Stan Lane) vs. The Masked Assassins in a masks vs. hair match from the Mid-South Coliseum on November 7th, 1983. The hosts were forced to run this clip after Jimmy Hart proclaimed The Fabulous Ones never once beat a Hart Family tag team. Well, as we see in our clip here, The Assassins are beaten cleanly by The Fabulous Ones and are forced to de-mask.


You can't run a classic Memphis wrestling show without mentioning Andy Kaufman. The King runs a clip from the Memphis News that highlighted the night that Jerry Lawler piledrived Andy Kaufman. It's a very short information piece that was no doubt added to cash in on the recently released Man on the Moon movie.

Next we are treated to a highlight reel set to Jerry Lawler's own song, "The World's Greatest Wrestler." It's uhhh... interesting.


We end the show with some previewing of next week's episode with a promise of some footage of Austin Idol, Memphis most asked about legend.

Thoughts:

For the first episode of a TV show that was just thrown together at the last minute, this worked surprisingly well. It's not polished and plays off more like four friends gathering around to look back at the past and this allows all of involved parties to shine, especially Lawler and Hart.

Saturday, December 8, 2018

Limitless Wrestling No Control Results


Last Friday, November 30th, I made the drive south to Portland for the final Limitless Wrestling card of 2018 at the Portland Club.  I met Mikey, Roy, Phil, and  host of other regulars with a sold out crowd that was itching for a great night of wrestling.  When it comes to the Portland Club I'm not a fan of the parking situation or the lighting when it comes to taking pictures with my phone because they just don't come out well.  However, everything else about the venue is tremendous!


Speaking of photos these fantastic images that you see with this report are courteous of SunnyD Photo, you can find her on Instagram here. Harry Aaron, who typically is the ringside photographer is now doing videography and he brought in Sunny to take over at ringside.  This was her first time and she got some fantastic shots.

Ace Romero pinned Darby Alin with a lariat

Once again Limitless opened big with a hell of a match!  These two have different styles  but they meshed so well.  Darby is so athletic and seems willing to do anything in his matches.  At one point Darby had jumped on onto the top rope while holding onto Romero who viciously pushed him into one of the columns that was wrapped with Christmas lights.


Very hard hitting match that ended with Ace wrecking Darby with a lariat for the pin.

Kevin Blackwood & Harlow O'Hara defeated Doomfly: Eli Everfly & Delilah Doom


Delilah Doom maker her Limitless debut tonight.  Very fast and frenzied match that was fantastic.  Crowd was into this from beginning to end and I know I'm not the only one that wants to see Doomfly back in tag competition here in Limitless.  Finish came when Doom was isolated in the ring and took a couple high impact moves before getting pinned.

Ashley Vox submitted Anthony Greene with the Platinum Hunnies



Hands down match of the night! Sincerely go out of your way to see this match you will not be disappointed.  Greene was dominate most of the match using his size to his advantage.  Vox kept battling back and locking on her finisher wearing Greene down.  The Hunnies interfered several times through out the match until Vox accidentally took them out with a dive after Greene side stepped her.  Vox locked her finisher on for the submission.  I loved this match!  Crowd was into this big time, they were on there feet and the "tap" chant was deafening!


Post match Kris Statlander came out cutting a promo stealing the attention from Vox's victory.

Shooting Gallery: Daniel Garcia & Brandon Thurston defeated Thick Boys: John Silver & Jay Freddie with Puf

Very good tag match, and unlike most it didn't break down into a tornado match.  I really enjoyed watching Thurston and Garcia in the ring with there mat wrestling.  finish came by them pinning Silver with an angleslam lungblower combo

"Dirty Daddy" Chris Dickinson submitted Josh Briggs



I love watching Dickinson in the ring and this match was no different.  Dirty Daddy worked the leg th entire match with some loud has hell kicks.  Briggs continued to show why he's one of the best up and coming big men in wrestling.  Finish came when Dickinson locked in the STF for the surprise submission.

DJ Z pinned Christian Casanova with Stokely Hathaway

DJ Z is replacing the injured Tom Lawlor.  I said this in September and I'm going to reiterate it here, I was never impressed with DJ Z in Impact but these last two shows have made me a fan.  Really good match, highly entertaining.  Ref got bumped and Hathaway threw a gold chain into the ring, Casanova tried to use it but Kevin Blackwood prevented it from happening.  DJ Z got the win pinned Casanova when the ref came to.

Post match a match was for January was set when Hathaway challenged Blackwood and Harlow to a tag match in January against Casanova and Austin Theory, if Blackwood wins he gets his a rematch with Casanova if he loses then he has to get the Dream Team logo tattooed on his arm.

Scramble Match
Puf defeated Brandon Kirk, KTB, Bear Bronson, Brett Domino, & Troy Nelson

As always these scramble matches are friggin awesome!  Puf came out to Mariah Carey's All I Want for Christmas in Christmas themed gear and had the crowd hopping.  Match opened with everyone beating on Domino after he cut an arrogant (read hilarious) promo.

Eventualy the match broke down to just Brandon Kirk and Bear Bronson in the ring, they both had chairs and sat down in what I thought was going to be them trading shots, instead Kirk got two staple guns and they traded staples to the head.  Bronson then took money from referee Kevin Quinn and stapled money to Kirk's head even forcing Quinn to do it.  Bronson then powerbombed Kirk on two chairs facing each other.

The finish though saw Puf get the pin on Domino and then lead a dance party with Nelson and Bronson.

Kris Statlander pinned Penelope Ford



Good match that was back and forth with Statlander squeaking out a win.  Post match she jumped by Ashley Vox which set up an unsanctioned matched between the two on January 11th.  The Vox vs. Statlander feud has been excellent this year in Limitless and I look forward to the blow off next month.


Maine State Posse: DangerKid, Aiden Agro, & Alexander Lee defeated Travis Huckabee, Green Ant, & Thief Ant

Fun match these six man tags are the best with the lucha rules.  Evidently the storyline is that Huckabee treats the ants like crap?  I wasn't actually clarified so it felt out of place.  Huckabee took the pin for his team.  I'm looking forward to the next trio that comes in against MSP.

LAX:Ortiz & Santana defeated JT Dunn & Brody King with MJF



LAX might just be one of the best tag teams around right now.  Brody King tore it down in the ring tonight.  He moves around in a way a guy his size shouldn't!  Match started slow and really built to crescendo where LAX pinned King for the win.


Post match Ace Romero came out and challenged the Kings, Anthony Greene came out, hugged Dunn but then superkicked him. January 11th's it'll be Take Me Home Tonight vs. The Kings

What a fantastic night of wrestling!  I couldn't have asked for a better distraction for myself after a long week.  Can't wait for January 11th!

Thanks for reading, please leave a comment, read my other posts, and like my blogs Facebook page and while you're at it check out my weekly podcast The Wrestling Insomniac on the Nerdy Legion Podcast Network. 

Later Readers!

Wednesday, November 21, 2018

AWA Team Challenge Series on the WWE Network


Recently I found an unaired pilot that the AWA filmed on the WWE Network.  This was centered around the Team Challenge Series and featured wrestling in a studio with no audience.  The wrestlers came to ringside with a very bad green screen showing fans cheering on while a audience noise track was played.  They would cut to canned footage of people who appear to be in a bar.  They might have been watching actual wrestling, but it was not these matches.  Even the camera angles with funky with the hard camera looking down at the ring at an angle and instead of center on the ring it was closer to a corner post.

The opening features bikini clad girls in a ring that keeps say "Yay, yay, yay, for the AWA" with clips of the flag, AWA logo, some mat action, a rock n roll band, and the Beverly Hills knockouts.

Vern Gagne greets us sitting on his dock looking like he's about to go fishing, while his dog sits on his lap.  We then cut to Ralph and Greg Gagne in the satellite base letting us know that this product is nothing like we've ever seen before.  We are going to feel the action, inside the ring.  They are also providing the commentary, which is done in post production.
 
Tommy Jammer coming to the ring
Tommy Jammer vs. Tom Burton

They circle, lock up, arm drag by Burton
They circle, hip toss by Burton
They circle, lock up, body slam by Burton - we get a slow motion replay
They circle, lock up, arm drag, hip toss, and body slam by Jammer in rapdi succession
Lock up, Burton backs Jammer into the ropes, misses a right hand Jammer with an arm drag then they cut to the "crowd" back to the action we see Burton backing Jammer into the corner, Irish whip is reversed Burton comes out of the corner and Jammer with a powerslam then a standing splash or surfer splash for the three count.  Time of the fall 1:46. We got 11 offensive moves in this match.  In the replay   

Promo with Baron von Raschke of the Blitzers and Sgt. Slaughter of the Snipers talking about how Raschke's team member Paul Diamond taking on Slaughters team member Col. DeBeers.

Promo from the Destruction Crew, Mike Enos & Wayne Bloom. 

The Destruction Crew with Luscious Johnny V vs. Jerry Lynn & Ricky Rice

I figured that this would be a squash match but for the first two minutes Mike Enos took a beating with no offense.  He rakes Rice's eyes and tags in Bloom who takes over where Enos left off getting in no offense as Lynn and Rice work the left arm and shoulder.  Finally the Crew took over on Lynn working the lower back until hitting him with the Doomsday Device for the three count at 4:39.
The Crew took a beating for the first three minutes of the match.


Post match Eric Bischoff conducts an in ring interview with Johnny V & The Destruction.

Promo from Sgt. Slaughter talking about the team challenge main event with Col. DeBeers taking on Paul Diamond in an over the top rope king of the hill match.  Cut to Col. DeBeers talking about his upcoming match. 

Ralph and Greg talk about how the teams are selected randomly which is why we have enemies on the same team.

Beverly Hills knock outs segment is next.  It's basically Foxy boxing, three 1 minute rounds and they have giant gloves.  The ring looks like a 10 foot ring with the everlast turnbuckle pads covering all three ropes.


After the second round the Blonde Bomber takes off her gloves and attacks her opponent with knees to the back, a flying snapmare, and a suplex.  Of course she isn't disqualified and is forced to put her gloves back on for the 3rd round.  Mid way in the round the Bomber attacks again with shoulder tackles and kicker her opponent when she is down.  This boxing match has better wrestling than the actual wrestling matches so far. We are getting a second 3rd round

Ralph and Greg talk about the Team Challenge series, three randomly selected teams where each win gets you points.  The winning team get $1,000,000!


Promo from "Hard Rock" Paul Diamond about his match with Col. DeBeers.

Team Challenge Series King of the Hill Match
"Hard Rock" Paul Diamond vs. Col. DeBeers



You can only win by throwing your opponent over the top rope to the cement floor.  Paul Diamond with a an impressive looking dropkick until the slow motion replay shows that he never came close to hitting DeBeers with it.  Otherwise it was actually a pretty good match.  Finish came when DeBeers set up Diamond for a piledriver and he was back body dropped over the top rope at 5:49.


Sgt. Slaughter vs. The Terminator

This match had a lot of lock ups into side headlocks with push off into the ropes to set up a spot usually a shoulder tackle.  Once Slaughter did a high cross body for a two count.  At the five minute mark Terminator finally got the upper hand by ramming Slaughter's head into the turnbuckle, but forty seconds later Slaughter was back in control.  Finish came at 6:26 when Slaughter got the submission with the cobra clutch.


Post Match: Eric Bischoff interviews Slaughter at ringside.

Ralph and Greg Gagne sign off promising an exciting a hour of wrestling next week.

All in all this was not a great hour of wrestling.  If this was the innovations that the AWA was hoping would bring fans to their product they were sadly mistaken.

Thanks for reading, please leave a comment, read my other posts, and like my blogs Facebook page and while you're at it check out my weekly podcast The Wrestling Insomniac on the Nerdy Legion Podcast Network. 

Later Readers!