The Massive Memphis Thread

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The Massive Memphis Thread

Post by towney007 » Thu Sep 18, 2008 7:46 pm

K guys as I"m sure you all know, I just got done with the DVDR Mid SOuth project and it was a pretty fun time checking out all that stuff. To be honest though, there really isn't just one piece I could write about it that would do the set or the promotion any justice.

So now i'm working on the Memphis set and want to try and give you guys a 'guide' of sorts to the promotion as I go through the set. The really notable stuff i'll include in this thread and any matches you guys can find on You Tube or whatever, send em to me via PM and i'll post them with a match review. Basically, I'm using this, more than anything, as a guide to Memphis as a whole and some really essential stuff that captures the spirit of the territory.

Not all of them are going to be ***** matches or anything, but they'll be things that may spark some interest or help amplify what made Memphis what it was. Enjoy.

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Last edited by towney007 on Wed Sep 24, 2008 11:17 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Post by towney007 » Thu Sep 18, 2008 7:57 pm

Bill Dundee vs. Wayne Farris & Tojo Yamamoto (3/7/81)

So of all things, i'm starting off with a handicapped match. This is sort of the first match that really sticks out in any way to me. Now this isn't anything that's going to rock your socks. Tojo basically blows, although Farris was pretty darn decent and Bill Dundee is, well, Bill Dundee. But it's the overall structure of the match and some of the cool stuff that's going on that caught my eye.

First thing that sticks out is Jimmy Hart. He wants to win tag belts and has set it up so his boys can do it in the cheapest way possible. Hart's surprisingly more serious in Memphis than the more animated version we saw of him in WWE. Hart is really just a total D!ck bag.

The story of the match is really simple stuff. There's a 15 minute time limit. If Dundee survives, he keeps the belts. If he gets beat, he loses the belts quite obviously. The babyface actually dominates until the odds eventually get the better of him. Dundee puts up a much tougher fight than Tojo, Farris or Hart were banking on, so much so, that it forces the heel's hand and makes trhem cheat and cheat like crazy to win. They refer to the time limit A LOT in the match which sort of builds up tension, not for Dundee to win per sae... in fact I think he loses well before the time limit is anywhere near expiring.. like at nine minutes or something... but the crowd and commentators have this whole 'sure he's doing great, but how long can he actually keep it up?' thing, which I dunno if it's good or whatever, but it adds to the uniqueness of the match.

Also making it sort of interesting, is that a lot of Memphis tv main events are sort of throw-away stuff. Good action but throw away. Most of the major angle stuff was done in the middle of the show... here's it's pretty different and shockingly efficient for wrestling's version of the 'muppet show'. Heels win the belts, put a ton of heat on themselves, garner sympathy for Dundee while protecting him AND the Dream Machine comes in and saves Dundees a$$ to give himself an extra bump after leaving the stable before the match. Holy fvck that's a lot.
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Post by towney007 » Thu Sep 18, 2008 8:10 pm

Jerry Lawler vs. Terry Funk (No DQ) (3/23/81)

Well, the first big feud I come across on disc 1 is probably the one that gets the most attention these days and that's Funk-Lawler. They had a match before and now this one is all business with no Disqualifications... This is just pure insanity and frankly, one of the best pieces of pro wrestling you'll see. I actually prefer this a lot to the Empty Arena one i'm reviewing in like five minutes.

This is one of those matches that anyone could 'do' the stuff Lawler and Funk are doing here, but there's no way they could do it better sort of thing. Lawler wearing all white and bleeding like a pig all over it. Funk quivering after eating the HUGE right hand from Lawler. The just wild and absolutely out of control feeling you get. The crowd going banannas in the background, Funk getting tangled up in the guardrail, Funk hitting Lawler with the SIDE OF THE CHAIR, etc.

A lot of people aren't nuts about the finish, but I actually like it more than a pin sequence. Lawler essentially chases Funk out of the ring and into the first couple of rows and bashes his leg to smitherines with a chair which is not only an awesome revenge spot, but just has such a feeling of this match being utterly out of control. Funk sells the beating like a bear chewed his leg off on the outside while Lawler watches from in the ring as Funk's counted out. This is just phenominal stuff.

Here's a video of the match clipped. Sorry, couldn't find the WHOLE thing, but this is most of it with a cool Lawler video after it.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iKsvQ5qQa5I
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Post by towney007 » Thu Sep 18, 2008 8:19 pm

Jerry Lawler vs. Dory Funk Jr. (3/30/81)

So I go from this out of control snizzle fest to something TOTALLY different in the span of like five seconds.

Just another really cool match. Dory really wasn't anything like his brother. Terry was sort of this wild brawler with crazy mannerizms and whatnot.. Dory was a good deal more reserved and certainly more grounded on the mat, but could be equally as nasty, just more in his own way.

Jimmy Hart, whose been a huge part of the first match, is suspended above the ring.. not in a cage... just dangling from a rope. It's kind of funny. Anyways, Terry sent Dory out to soften Lawler up before he lays down the empty arena challenge and he does a pretty good job of it.

Dory's stuff isn't wild swinging blows... it's more like an arm bar with the extra twist. It's working the arm bar to the corner, breaking it, BEATING THE FVCK OUT OF LAWLER'S SHOULDER before clamly going back to an arm bar. Lawler manages to hold his own in the mat segments while Funk holds his own in the brawling segments...

Hart, despite hanging from the ceiling, still finds ways to inject himself into the match, dropping chains and all sorts of other nonsense into the match. Just a cool match because it gets Dory's personality across so well. He's not exactly an integral part of the history of Memphis or anything, but it's always cool to get a quick snap shot of a guest star like Dory because frankly, this is the last you see of him on the set.

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Post by towney007 » Thu Sep 18, 2008 8:29 pm

Jerry Lawler vs. Terry Funk (Empty Arena) (4/6/81)

So yes, this is one I'm sure a lot of people remember and enjoy so i'll save the commentary.

Just a really weird thing that works so well. Lance Russell makes the match for me. He really does. Some guy said on the DVDR boards that Lance was always sort of the Kermit the Frog of Memphis wrestling. Things would be going fine if it weren't for all those crazy muppets around him. And really, I couldn't think of anything better that would describe Memphis TV and wrestling in general.

So here we are with this absurd situation with a total maniac like Terry Funk whose swearing (yes, s, f, and b all on broadcast television) like crazy, threatening him, and here's Russell already playing peace maker...Lawler shows up, in full Kingly atire no less, and proceeds to beat the crap out of Funk in a sensationally weird way... Stabs Funk in the eye and then sort of leaves..... all the while Russell is just sort of documenting with words what's going on and how surreal the whole scene is... he even helps 'call for help' for Funk, the villain, after the match. Funk is weirdly believable, Lawler is awesome and Lance Russell, well IMO, he's the star of the match..

It's just bizarre but awesome stuff.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1cDkNzzovRE
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Post by towney007 » Thu Sep 18, 2008 9:52 pm

Jerry Lawler vs. Crusher Blackwell (5/4/81)

This is a good match. Very Cena-Khali-ish in it's delivery in the sense that they just do such a good job of getting Crusher's size over. A few i've talked to compare this match A LOT to Cena-Khali structurally and for sure, the paralells are definately there.

Basically the match is one giant Crusher control segment with some good hope spots thrown in from Lawler. Crusher, despite being totally out of shape and not the most mobile, IS capable of some pretty impressive stuff here and there. In fact, the opening move of the match of all things is a running drop kick that totally catches King off guard and starts the avalanche. Lawler's comebacks are really well timed but never over done.

Jimmy Hart is pretty great on the outside not in the sense that he's envolving himself in the match but he looks so emotionally invested in the going ons in the ring. The end is good, highly believable stuff as Crusher misses the big splash and the thud for the big man pretty much puts him away, much like Cena was able to capitalize on Khali's one misstep.

Overall, a totally enjoyable match worth checking out.
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Post by towney007 » Fri Sep 19, 2008 1:29 am

Disc 2 of 9 suckas.

Jerry Lawler & Bill Dundee vs. Masa Fuchi & Atsushi Onita (8/1/81)

OMG this match is just NONSENSE. Fuchi and Onita are just awesome here as incompetent, yet highly effective heels. The shenanigans in this are just awesome from Dundee sucker punching Onita to Fuchi's drunken Terry Funk punching to even Tojo being a barrel of fun with his kendo stick on the outside. And three cheers for the heels playing the good old look-alike (because you know, all Japanese wrestlers look the same) switch thing.

And Lance Russel whining about Lawler pounding Fuchi on his desk, the out of control brawl afterwards and just the hillarious caning from Tojo afterwards... Good lord this was great. Of the studio stuff, this is my favorite so far...
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Post by towney007 » Fri Sep 19, 2008 1:40 am

Ricky Morton & Eddie Gilbert vs. Masa Fuchi & Atsushi Onita (Tupelo Concession Stand Brawl) (9/4/81)

This is just out of this world awesome crap. This isn't even a match. The match ends and the fun begins. There's mustard, toilet walls being ripped down, Tojo decks a woman, one guy bleeds and the assailant squirts mustard in the wound.. this is just amazing crap. Morton beats Tojo with a rubbermade tiny waste basket... this is just beyond glorious.

The thing about Memphis that ruled so much is that fans really bought this crap. How WOULDN'T they when Tojo's chopping a hot dog vender in the dome and decking some chick... ?? I mean c'mon, this rules. Thank god for you tube..

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Un_zQqdeVTo
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Post by ScToTeE » Fri Sep 19, 2008 6:25 am

towney007 wrote:Ricky Morton & Eddie Gilbert vs. Masa . & Atsushi Onita (Tupelo Concession Stand Brawl) (9/4/81)

This is just out of this world awesome crap. This isn't even a match. The match ends and the fun begins. There's mustard, toilet walls being ripped down, Tojo decks a woman, one guy bleeds and the assailant squirts mustard in the wound.. this is just amazing crap. Morton beats Tojo with a rubbermade tiny waste basket... this is just beyond glorious.

The thing about Memphis that ruled so much is that fans really bought this crap. How WOULDN'T they when Tojo's chopping a hot dog vender in the dome and decking some chick... ?? I mean c'mon, this rules. Thank god for you tube..

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Un_zQqdeVTo
Hahah, that was great. 'Out of this world awesome crap' is a pretty spot on assessment there. Tojo attacking the woman was pretty funny as well.

:D

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Post by Graham Crackers » Fri Sep 19, 2008 5:57 pm

Memphis is probably my favorite territory in the 80s and Lawler might be my favorite babyface of all time. I remember the first time I saw the Empty Arena match. It has this element of danger to it. I love when Lawler first shows up and Terry asks him "Do you have a gun?" Its so crazy but their acting makes it seem almost real. I was just complaining about stipulations in another thread but I love a lot of Memphis' stipulation matches (I 'm a hypocrite). I love the crazy almost lawless quality of the brawls.

On the topic of the Funk/Lawler No DQ: I still like the Empty Arena match more but that one is still awesome. Terry is great at selling leg work (like at the end of the "retirement" match with Dory against Stan Hansen and Terry Gordy from 83).

This set looks rad. I can't wait.

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Post by ScToTeE » Fri Sep 19, 2008 6:46 pm

Graham Crackers wrote:Memphis is probably my favorite territory in the 80s and Lawler might be my favorite babyface of all time. I remember the first time I saw the Empty Arena match. It has this element of danger to it. I love when Lawler first shows up and Terry asks him "Do you have a gun?" Its so crazy but their acting makes it seem almost real. I was just complaining about stipulations in another thread but I love a lot of Memphis' stipulation matches (I 'm a hypocrite). I love the crazy almost lawless quality of the brawls.

On the topic of the Funk/Lawler No DQ: I still like the Empty Arena match more but that one is still awesome. Terry is great at selling leg work (like at the end of the "retirement" match with Dory against Stan Hansen and Terry Gordy from 83).

This set looks rad. I can't wait.
Yeah, the Empty Arena match was fantastic. That feeling of a dangerous, legit brawl rings through, culminating in an incredibly 'shocking' moment with the eye stabbing. It was simple, effective and well performed.

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Post by the_raven » Sat Sep 20, 2008 4:09 pm

ScToTeE wrote:
Graham Crackers wrote:Memphis is probably my favorite territory in the 80s and Lawler might be my favorite babyface of all time. I remember the first time I saw the Empty Arena match. It has this element of danger to it. I love when Lawler first shows up and Terry asks him "Do you have a gun?" Its so crazy but their acting makes it seem almost real. I was just complaining about stipulations in another thread but I love a lot of Memphis' stipulation matches (I 'm a hypocrite). I love the crazy almost lawless quality of the brawls.

On the topic of the Funk/Lawler No DQ: I still like the Empty Arena match more but that one is still awesome. Terry is great at selling leg work (like at the end of the "retirement" match with Dory against Stan Hansen and Terry Gordy from 83).

This set looks rad. I can't wait.
Yeah, the Empty Arena match was fantastic. That feeling of a dangerous, legit brawl rings through, culminating in an incredibly 'shocking' moment with the eye stabbing. It was simple, effective and well performed.
How can anyone forget Terry begging for mercy in the final? "My eyeeeeee.... my freakin eye my god..." Now that's MOTHERVCKIN PRO WRESTLING right there.

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Post by towney007 » Sun Sep 21, 2008 2:19 am

Jerry Lawler vs. Dutch Mantell (No DQ) (3/22/82)

Now this is quite something. Jerry Lawler loses as clean as you can possibly expect. Not something you see every day in wrestling... not only that, but he loses with a babyface move of all things. It's pretty remarkable.

There's some really cool stuff here that I just absolutely love, especially the chair toss into the ring that catches Lawler in the shin and looks legit painful. Mantell's the only guy who can really trade with Lawler in any capacity and the finishing run here is just off the charts.

This is a really sensational match IMO, and was fighting the Funk-Lawler No DQ match for #1 until I saw the last match in this post...


Jerry Lawler vs. Dutch Mantell (Loser Leaves Town) (3/27/82)


This, their second match in this series, is pretty cool stuff, but not so much for the match itself but the angle around it. Feel free to check the match out, which is pretty good, but probably won't crack my top 50. I'm posting this more for the cool angle they run and just how "Memphis" it is.

So Mantel comes out and calls out Lawler in the studio. He's ranting and raving about how they've beaten each other back and forth and whatnot and how they should consider the bigger picture that Memphis is only big enough for one dude. So Mantel suggests they put the title on the line in a loser leaves town match on free TV.

Lawler comes in a little later and says 'you're on'. So these two pepper and pelt each other around the studio for about 10-15 minutes before Dutch races out of the ring and over the commentator's table and bacialy says, 'you know, this is pointless. Lawler's a great champion. I'm a great champion. I'm calling off the rest of the match'. Lawler's skeptical at first but after they exchange some words, they become good friends and Mantel extends his hand. So Lawler shakes it and they start talking about forming a tag team to lump up Jimmy Hart's crew. Lawler's going on and on about how the world can't handle Dutch and him... Dutch is next to him nodding his head and then ABSOLUTELY SMASHES Lawler in the face.

Not only does the bad guy call off the match he proposed in a tounge in cheek act of cowardice, he apologizes, fakes a turn, just to give him a better opportunity to rough up Lawler. He even puts Lawler in the ring and counts the three count himself.

Just awesome stuff.


Jerry Lawler vs. Dutch Mantell (Barbed Wire Match) (3/29/82)

Just one of those matches that just delivers everything. Now you've gotta head into this realising that the barbed wire, while it can be used as a weapon, isn't really meant to make this a brutal bloodbath feud ender. It was (in kayfabe terms) used more to contain Lawler and Mantell, who imfamously would fight all over the arena.

What makes working that angle of a barbed wire match so good though, is that it leant heat to the heel to use the wire and look like a dastardly villian for doing so. Lawler is looking back almost every time he heads into the ropes to avoid the stuff... Once Mantel finally gets control, he just pounds the crap out of Lawler with punches and then begins using the barbed wire.

The next super awesome thing about this match is the whole theme of exhaustion. I mean both eat barbed wire. Mantel eats Lawler's piledriver and actually kicks out. The INCREDIBLE slug fest heading down the home stretch. Just everything you'd want in a blow off match. The barbed wire is a factor, but the match doesn't get caught up or carried away with being dependent on the stip to be good. It's just fantastic stuff.

I IMPLORE you guys to check this one out.
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Post by the_raven » Sun Sep 21, 2008 9:59 am

There's also a AWESOMEEEEEEEEE loser leaves town were Dundee puts his WIFE and hair on the line.

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Post by towney007 » Sun Sep 21, 2008 1:36 pm

Yeah that's coming up in a little later on the set I believe. Lawler and Dundee had like 50 million loser leaves town matches... they all rule.
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Post by towney007 » Sun Sep 21, 2008 10:54 pm

Bill Dundee vs. Sweet Brown Sugar (2/3 falls, Scaffold Match) (6/21/82)

So not only is this a scaffold match, this is a TWO OUT OF THREE FALLS scaffold match which means you fall down, then some sorry bastard has to get back up and do it all over again. Jesus. That's just awesome.

So these scaffold matches usually blow. Big time. But wouldn't ya know, Bill Dundee seems to be the only guy who could do it. He's facing this guy named Sweet Sugar Brown whom you Dildos might know better as Koko B Ware. Not only is this just supremely weird because there are multiple 'falls' (literally HA!) but Koko B Ware is the bad guy.

And this is just cool. No, it's not in my top five right now and probably by the end of this thing, it probably won't be in the top 50, but god, it's really fun. Lance Russell, who may be the MVP of the set and he's not even wrestling, does an awesome job in the beginning talking about how Dundee was a steel worker on high rise units in Australia before becoming a wrestler. The beginning is a cool struggle after Dundee gets crotched on the scaffold and we've got this crazy sitting up straight slug fest. Dundee climbs around like a monkey under the scaffold, too. There's a BRUTAL nut shot to Brown on the part of Dundee on the climb back up for the third fall to boot.

Just great stuff for a match that almost always sucks.
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Post by towney007 » Sun Sep 21, 2008 11:02 pm

Bobby Eaton & Sweet Brown Sugar vs. Dutch Mantell & King Cobra (7/19/82)

God this is an awesome tag. Lots of stories sort of going on here as well. Mantell and Cobra had a spat not so long ago, so they're not exactly bosum buddies... Koko and Cobra have been engaging in black on black crime of late while Eaton wants not part of Dutch Mantell, whose been pursuing him and his title.

Eaton and Koko are awesome heeling it up here. Koko launches himself to a ridiculous bump at least three or four times in this match, especially dumping HIMSELF out of the ring in the end to escape the wrath of Mantell's bull whip. Eaton wants know part of Dutch and only gets into the action when he wants to inflict some more damage. So dastardly.

Of the tag team stuff, this is probably the most solid match i've seen thus far. Just a lot of little stories all coming together for a fun time. The DQ finish is a little weird and slightly unsettling (a white dude chasing a black dude around with a bull whip) but makes for the most part, a strong outing that'll rank high for me.
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Post by towney007 » Sun Sep 21, 2008 11:08 pm

Jerry Lawler vs. Ric Flair (8/14/82)

Well this of course is the famous studio fight we get which is more of an angle than a real match, but it still just rules your mama. There's not a lot to be said other than what's been said in the past, so I won't be too verbose here. Flair's awesome with the tounge in cheek comments about Memphis in general. Lawler's great at goading him into giving him a shot, etc.

The match itself is great, great, great stuff with Flair constantly finding himself frustrated by Lawler.. great strikes and a fun if not totally condensed 'touring Flair' style match. Just fantastic stuff.

I love Flair working out of the studio. This is the second territory (Mid South being the first) that you really get to see him in action working a smaller crowd and a killer angle that's 'one day only'.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ryGKFpg7MFA

Enjoy guys.
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Post by Graham Crackers » Mon Sep 22, 2008 11:43 pm

Lawler saying "Jimmy Hart, this is about the closest you'll ever get to me" as he holds out his fist is badass.

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Post by towney007 » Wed Sep 24, 2008 10:18 pm

New York Dolls vs. Steve Regal & Spike Huber (10/4/82)

Yah I dunno what to think of this. One part of me says this rules because the heel-ery in this is awesome. It's the heels cheating the entire match. No comeback. No fun in mudville. They just keep cheating and win. The babyfaces get totally outsmarted here...

And I guess that's why i'm throwing this out there because it's the first match that i've no idea as to how i'm going to rank it. Heck, I dunno if it's even 'good' yet. But certainly a stand out in the sense that it's unusual.

The babyfaces look plain bad. They try to jump the heels in the beginning. Jimmy Hart is chased all about and stuff and it's pretty much the fastest i've ever seen a manager run.... anyways they get powder in the eyes. And then the rest of the match is just the NY Dolls baiting the inexperienced babyface challenger. He comes to save the day, but the ref won't let him. While ref tends to the diaper dandy, the heels just go bananas on the good guy.

And it keeps happening over and over and over again. Right about the time I think to myself 'good lord, this is the longest heel control segment like.... EVER'... the match goes home and the good guys lose. Then the babyfaces try to brawl and regain their street cred or whatever and they get mauled.

Then of all things, Terry Taylor shows up with Stan freakin' Lane.... AND THEY DON'T succeed in bailing these guys out.

Now ALL THAT SAID.... the heels were wearing top hats and bow ties prancing around with coat tails and canes before the match....

Yah. Weird.
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