Best of Memphis in the 80s Part 1
Larry Latham vs Bill Dundee 4/19/80
Larry Latham is known as the Blonde Bombshell. He's a middle aged man with a beer gut and bleach blonde hair/beard. He teams with with future Honkey Tonk Man as the Blonde Bombers. Bill Dundee is a very short Aussie who still wrestles in the Memphis area, but is probably best known from his time in WCW as Sir William, Steven Regal's manager/butler. Dundee does some really solid arm work, including a spinning toe hold to the arm and a kimura. Latham has been busted open on accident, just because he had a fresh cut. Wasn't intentional and didn't come from any big spot. Latham bails when he can and takes a cheap shot and tries to do some arm work. Dundee is a machine on the mat, so it didn't last long. Mid ring collision. Latham misses a big second rope elbow. Dundee hits a great knee drop to the sternum, then misses the second. Latham goes right for the knee. Dundee is able to hit a desperation rebound cross body for the win. Wayne Ferris (HTM) hit the ring after the match to throw a fit and Dundee bolted. Solid wrasslin.
Sonny King vs Rick Morton 4/26/80
Rick Morton is a pre-Rock N' Roll Express Ricky Morton. It's weird seeing him without the mullet or paunch. He's about 24 in this match. Sonny King was a journeyman who won a few regional NWA titles and was a former WWWF Tag Team Champion. They have a pretty aggressive lock up. Morton goes for a shoot and they do some amateur stuff on the mat. Sonny isn't giving clean breaks. He's also much bigger than Ricky and even then, he's having trouble staying in control on the mat. Tempers are starting to flare. This has basically been a full on amateur match. No strikes, no slams, just grappling on the mat for control. The 10 minute time limit runs out with Morton finally getting a sunset flip. Straight grappling match.
Bill Dundee vs Paul Ellering 5/24/80
Ellering was fucking SWOLL. God damn. There weren't a lot of guys in as good of shape as him in 1980. Even the big guys in that time still had a lot of flab and usually weren't very defined. Ellering has both the MUSCULATURE and STRIATIONS. He also still has hair and some amazing mutton chops. Dundee embarrasses him a few times and Ellering has to resort to cheating to stay in control. Dundee rolls through some leg work and does some mounted punches. Arm ringer. Jimmy Hart is Ellering's manager. More cheap shots from Ellering. Ellering misses a leg drop, but his foot connected with Dundee's head. Powerful knee lift. Dundee threw a shoot jab. Ellering put him in a bear hug seconds later. Dundee gets out and hits kind of a spear. Neck breaker from Ellering. Jimmy takes a cheap shot. Dundee hits his flying cross body, but hits the ref on accident. Jimmy Hart tries to interfere. Sonny King grabbed him and took him out of the studio. Dundee was able to win with a roll up. Jimmy's pink cowboy hat and creepy mustache are great. Ellering flips his shit after the match, screaming about Sonny and flipping the announce table.
Bill Dundee/Tony Boyles vs Blonde Bombers 6/7/80
Fucking Honky Tonk Man. He looks so weird with long blonde hair. Dundee and Latham start out. After a hip toss, he tags out to HTM. Dundee monkey flip. Double drop down spot ends with Dundee outsmarting the Bombers. Dundee is showing the Bombers up. Boyles is tagged in. Dundee does a baseball slide into HTM's face while in the corner. It was kind of an early face wash. Kind of reminded me of D-Bryne. Latham misses a second rope elbow. Dundee hits a double stomp and Vader Bomb knee drop. He then tricks HTM into clobbering his partner 3 times in a row. I like Dundee. Dude could go. Boyles is back in and working a headlock, but he didn't have it on very well. HTM got out, so Dundee punched him in the face for it. "Stem-winder" of a tag match, says Lance Russell. Boyles seems like he's probably a rookie. He looks like he's early 20s at best. Dundee gets the tag back in and goes back to making the Bombers look like shit heads. Latham does a kitchen sink to the sternum of Boyles. Poor Boyles can't catch a break. Dundee goes after Danny Davis on the floor. The Bombers botch a spike piledriver twice and eventually end up getting the win from them. Dundee kicks Latham right in the mouth for celebrating. The faces were attacked after the match. Dundee was busted open. After a commercial, they came back with Dundee cutting a promo about wanting all 3 men in singles matches. Danny Davis came out and Dundee beat the fuck out of him. It was awesome. Match was fun. Dundee was "beating the stew" out of Danny Davis. The Bombers came back out while Lance begged Eddie Marlin (promoter) to get some decorum. He eventually hit the ring and got involved physically as he was a former wrestler. He got attacked and had powder thrown in his eyes. Jerry Jarrett hit the ring to make the save. You know, I don't think I've ever seen Jerry Jarrett in any kind of physical role. Interestingly, he had the same hair cut Jeff had in 2006-2010 and they had the same punch. Jerry took his belt off and started hitting anyone in sight. The post match angle was much better than the match, which was pretty decent. After another break, the Bombers were pissed and ranting to Lance. HTM has been wanting to get his hands on Jerry for 3 years for booking him in places he didn't want to go. Dave Brown takes Lance's spot because Lance had to talk to someone. The Blonde Bombers vs Jerry Jarrett/Bill Dundee has been booked!
Bill Dundee vs Tommy Rich 8/23/80
SOMEBODY SAY SUMTHIN BOUT BEING.....FIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIRED UP?! Leave it to Mark Madden to ruin everything. The winner will get a title shot at the Southern Heavyweight Championship. This has a 30 minute time limit, which wasn't very normal for TV. These guys used to be partners. King is on color for this. If you're wondering why there haven't been any King matches yet, it's because he had broken his leg in a football game. Tommy seems to have Dundee's number in the opening exchanges. Lot of amateur stuff in this. King believes that Dundee should automatically get a title shot as he had to vacate the Southern Heavyweight Championship when he won a higher ranked title. Dundee must have been a cardio machine. Dundee finally gets a big move with a back drop, but the previous 5 minutes had been all amateur stuff with Rich getting the better of the exchanges. Rich powers out of a Boston crab. Mid ring collision. Rich comes back with a big suplex. Powerslam from Dundee. Really strong sleeper. Rich got to the ropes. Monkey flip form Dundee. Really awkward back drop from Rich. Dundee looked to be going for a leap frog or head scissors and Rich planted his head/shoulder into the knee/balls of Dundee. He helped Dundee up, then did a small package to win the match. Tommy talked with Lance after the match. 3 years ago, he wrestled in Memphis and only got one title shot. So he traveled the country, wrestling the best in the world, and he isn't giving up any shots at the title. He then goes in on King, saying Lawler was the reason he didn't get title shots. He actually pushed King down, broken leg and all.
Bill Dundee vs Wayne Farris & Tojo Yamamoto 3/7/81
Honky and Jimmy Hart talked with Lance before the match. Tommy Rich was supposed to be Dundee's partner (I guess they made up), but he was unable to make it to the match. Lance thinks the match should be postponed because fans wouldn't respect HTM/Tojo if they won the titles in a handicap match. The Dream Machine, one of Jimmy's men, comes out to confront Jimmy about not being in the title match despite having been loyal much longer. HTM starts for his team. Dundee completely dominates on the mat and HTM tags out. Judo throw from Dundee. Tojo is a legend in Memphis wrestling, on par with King, Dundee, and Jackie Fargo. He's noticeably shorter than Dundee, who himself is five and a half feet if you're generous. Dundee does some hand stomps and Tojo tags out. Boston crab. Tojo comes back in. Dundee is having little problems here. A few cheap shots and Dundee starts stalling to play mind games and pace himself. He surprises HTM, then bails back out and does a Fargo Strut. This is probably the only time I've seen this kind of stalling used as a face tactic. He gets back in and unloads on Tojo. Fucking head kicked him. Then he did a teep kick to the face a few moments later. It takes cheating to get the heels on the offense. Dundee is busted open on the floor. He gets pissed and fires up. Tojo hits him with an international object and picked up the win. New champions! Dundee gets a beating after the match until the Dream Machine makes the save.
Bill Dundee/Tommy Rich vs Dutch Mantell/Austin Idol 3/12/81
Dutch and Dundee start out. This is at one of the arena shows. Dutch goes for an arm drag, which Dundee counters by just wrenching the arm instead. Rich does an illegal tag. These faces are heels! Rich sneaks out of the corner, and Austin had no idea. Dundee shows Idol up. Idol gets ping ponged in the corner. Dutch is in and gets nailed with a dropkick. WE THE PEOPLE! Dutch is such a virile looking man. A low bridge sends Rich to the floor. Rich is double teamed for a bit and tags out. Dundee locks on a sleeper, which is broken up by Dutch kicking him in the kidney. Standing Decapitation Elbow. Second rope elbow from Idol. Powerslam from Dutch. I like Dutch a lot as a wrestler. He was very off putting as a manager to me in the WWF, but I also thought Bunkhouse Buck sucked when I was a kid for many of the same reasons. Rich and Idol get into it hardcore on the floor. The ref was distracted and missed a Dundee pin. O'Connor Roll OUTTA NOWHERE gives the faces the win. New champions!
Bill Dundee & Dream Machine vs Dutch Mantell & Wayne Farris 3/14/81
Dutch and Dundee again start out. They have a pretty even exchange and Dream Machine is tagged in. Jimmy Hart is in a neck brace. I assume he got clobbered at the arena show. Dream Machine kind of wrestles like Dusty Rhodes, but I don't think he's supposed to be implied to be Dusty or anything. I'm sick of HTM already. Machine and Dutch go at it. I'm not sure I like Dream Machine. I'd rather see Dutch vs Dundee for sure. Not a lot going on here, because HTM, while better in Memphis than he ever was/got to show in the WWF, still isn't very good. Shake Rattle and Roll! Dutch and Dundee collide. The ref got hit and the heels were disqualified for the first fall. In the second fall, Dundee tries to break HTM's hand. Good. He should break his face, too. The second fall ends quickly in a double count out. I would guess that means the champions retain. As it turns out, there wasn't enough TV time remaining, so the match ended at 1-0.
The next set of matches include the King/Funks series, a collection of Terry promos, Kevin Sullivan, and a concession stand brawl.