Best of Memphis in the 80s Part 3
Bill Dundee/Steve Keirn/Rick & Robert Gibson vs. Dream Machine/Nightmare #1/The Heartbreakers (7/25/81)
Looks like the Dream Machine is back to being a heel already. He goes right after Dundee. The heels all make quick tags, taking shots at Dundee along the way. Dundee is able to tag Skinner in, who hits a flying forearm. Shoulder breaker. Dundee is back in and Dream Machine gives him a cheap shot. He and a Heartbreaker collide in the ring. Dream is tagged in and does a terrible dropkick. Lariatoo. Rick Gibson had a pretty solid dropkick. Double dropkicks from the brothers. Skinner and Nightmare are now in. He hits a forearm. He tags out to Dundee and does the weirdest thing on the ropes as Dundee hits a Superfly Splash. Dundee blocks a Dream powerslam, but not a back drop. Bear hug. Dundee stick with being FIP for a while. Rick is tagged in and he takes down a Heartbreaker, then shoots the half looking for a pin. Skinner comes in and hits a neck breaker. The Nightmare loads his mask and headbutts Dundee. Dundee comes back with a sunset flip for the win. Jimmy Hart ambushes Dundee after the match. Dundee runs him off.
Jerry Lawler/Bill Dundee vs. Masa Fuchi/Atsushi Onita (8/1/81)
Fuchi is the well known Fuchi from AJPW. Onita is Onita, future FMW leader and death match king. Fuchi and Dundee start out. Onita gets in the corner to block an Irish whip. Fuchi then Fargo struts. They try it again, but this time, Dundee was faking and whipped Fuchi into the other corner as King kicked Onita in the gut. Dundee tosses the Japanese dudes around and tricks them into striking each other. King is tagged in and punches the shit out of Onita. He does the same to Fuchi. Onita taunts King for a bit, so Dundee slips in and punches him in the mouth. Onita does a series of shoulder breakers to King while on the apron. King puts Fuchi's arm in his place and Onita keeps going because he wasn't looking at the ring. Dundee holds Onita open for a King punch. Dundee is then double teamed. Jimmy Hart comes out and King goes right after him. The First Family then ambush and attack King on the floor. The Gibsons, Dutch, and Steve Keirn comes out to even the odds. Dundee is held and attacked with a kendo stick in the ring. Faces are getting crushed all over the studio. Rick Gibson is repeatedly hit in the head with the stick and is bleeding everywhere. The tide turns once Dutch runs the Japanese trio (Tojo is their manager) off. The match was technically awarded to Onita/Fuchi, I believe. Actually, it seems Dundee was pinned in the ring while the brawl was going on on the floor. New champions! This was pretty fun. Fuchi's Fargo Strut was aces.
Ricky Morton/Eddie Gilbert vs. Masa Fuchi/Atsushi Onita Tupelo Concession Stand Brawl (9/4/81)
The match starts with what seems to be near the end of the match. The 3rd fall was mentioned. Tojo threw salt or something in Gilbert's face, giving Onita/Fuchi the win. Morton then took the kendo stick and went to town with it. It heads into the concessions! MUSTARD MUSTARD MUSTARD! This is probably what inspired Onita to form FMW. Is it blood or is it ketchup? Age old wrasslin question right there. Where are all these boards coming from and why are they in the concession stand? Eddie Marlin tries to break it up and gets hit in the arm. Morton is hit with a trash can. Tojo tries to kill some random old dude. He also went after a woman. I have no idea who the guy was. Lance called him, "Herman", but I don't know what he was there for. Or what he did to piss of Tojo. I assume the woman was his wife and it looked kind of shooty to me. The faces return and the brawl continues. The place was completely trashed.
Masa Fuchi/Atsushi Onita/Tojo Yamamoto vs. Roy Rogers/Gibson Brothers (9/5/81)
Robert and Fuchi start the match. Robert is able to win the exchange, but goes shoulder first into the ring post. Onita is tagged in and they collide. Tag to Roy Rogers. SHOOT body slam. He tags out to Rick, who hits an slam and tags out to Robert. In comes Tojo. He legitimately looks like an egg. HIM? Roy and Fuchi have a weird spot where I think Roy thought he was going to do a headlock take down, but Fuchi was going for an atomic drop. Neck breaker from Onita. The Gibsons trade tags. Rick and Fuchi are now in. Fuchi is really good at being mean as fuck and stooging around. Robert nearly wins with a roll up. Leap frogs on Tojo are hilarious considering he'd probably be considered a mini in Mexico. Onita and Rick have a kung fu exchange and things break down. I believe the match ends up in a double DQ.
Stan Lane/Koko Ware vs. Eddie Gilbert/Ricky Morton No DQ, 2/3 Falls) (10/81)
Looks like Stan and Ricky start out. Tape quality is pretty bad and 3 blonde dudes with the same hair cut and bad lighting are kind of hard to tell apart. Stan does some cheap holds and begs off. Both men on the apron try to get advantages for their partners. Eddie is tagged. Eddie works the arm. Koko gets tagged in and the arm work continues. Koko gets out of a Morton back drop and does a Fargo Strut. Standing dropkick. More strutting. This one was more "cool black guy" strut. Second rope dropkick. Ricky catches a leap frog and tags Eddie in, who goes after Koko's legs. Koko accidentally dropkicks Lane. Strut from Gilbert. A lot of stalling. Koko decks Eddie, possibly with an international object. Stan hits a back breaker and Eddie is in trouble. Eddie fires up and wins the first fall with a sunset flip...without the flip. He did it in the brawl match and it's a dumb move. Stan and Eddie continue in fall two. Stan is a cheating son of a bitch. Koko and Morton are in and the match has slowed considerably. Ricky is repeatedly thrown over the top rope. Big Koko leg drop. Ricky fires up, but isn't able to make a tag. He finally makes it. Stan throws a knee while Eddie is running the ropes and Koko gets the pin, tying the match at 1-1. Koko gets knocked around at the start of the third fall. I'm not really feeling this. Besides the bad quality, the match itself is really lifeless and meandering. Lane would end up pinning Gilbert to win the match. A brawl continued after the match. Tojo turned face or had recently turned face.
Jerry Lawler vs. Dutch Mantell No DQ (3/22/82)
They lock up and King throws some punches. A few more and Dutch bails to the floor. King baits him into doing a big kick, which he misses and gets another punch to the face. Dutch offers a handshake and gets a slap instead. Dutch figures out the timing of the punches, so King throws a kick. Dutch catches it. Enziguiri! Dutch gets a big punch. King comes back with a sunset flip and other punch. He throws a chair into the ring. King throws it back at him. Dutch fucking chucks it at his legs with reckless abandon. Looked like it hurt. Dutch then goes after the leg with a spinning toe hold. King gets out by repeatedly punching Dutch in the knee. Dutch goes back to King's leg. I think King is bleeding. Atomic drop. They go to the floor and Dutch goes to town on him. Lots of punches, faces rammed into the apron, and multiple postings. It goes back in the ring and Dutch hits a suplex. Chair shot to the face. Second rope knee drop. Piledriver from Dutch. Second rope splash. King hasn't had any offense for quite a while, but now he's starting to Hulk Up. Oh fuck, the strap is down. King hits about 20 punches and throws Dutch into the ring post. King does a standing splash. Dutch gets his knees up on the second one. They collide and Dutch is sent to the floor. Dutch is on the apron getting drilled with punches. He does a sunset flip and gets a win OUTTA NOWHERE. New champion!
Jerry Lawler vs. Dutch Mantell Loser Leaves Town (3/27/82)
Pre match promo had Dutch challenging King to a loser leaves town match. King came out and agreed. This is a TV match. The two biggest wrestlers in the territory for the title in a loser leaves town match with no hype. It's like Nitro. Dutch is able to get King to the mat. He does an arm ringer and starts slapping King in the back of the head. King gets out and lays Dutch out with a punch. I think the difference between how guys work in the studio and the arena shows is interesting. In the studio, things are much more mat based and snug. In the arenas, it is much bigger and theatrical. Dutch is knocked to the apron. King does a running punch from the other side of the studio while Dutch is hanging over the apron. King gets back dropped over the top rope. Dutch picks him up and fucking wallops him right in the ear. Lawler then goes into the ring post face first and hit it hard. Chair shot to the back. Dutch continues his assault in the ring. Abdominal stretch. The ref stops Dutch from doing a piledriver on the floor. King backdrops him and uses the chair himself. Dutch bails and gets on the mic. He says this is foolish and that King is the toughest son of a gun he's ever faced. He wants King to come to the floor for a handshake. He eventually says that the two of them making up is best for the territory, otherwise they would kill each other. He wants to be a team. King seems to agree to form an alliance. Dutch decks him. SWERVE! Chair shot. Ring post. Piledriver in the ring. Dutch counts his own fall. Dutch leaves with the belt that King apparently won back.
Jerry Lawler vs. Dutch Mantell Barbed Wire Match (3/29/82)
I'm not sure what the rules are for this. No count outs or DQs. Looks like there is a strand of barbed wire on the outside of all the ring ropes. King tries to drag Dutch into the wire right away. Dutch gets it to the mat and wraps King up. They got to the corner and it looks like Dutch accidentally grabbed the wire instead of the ring rope. He comes out of it and decks King. After a few double shoulder blocks, Dutch does a Thesz Press. Big stomp to the face. King's face goes into the wire. Dutch then tries to upper cut that face off. Dutch tries to open the cut further until King has enough of his shit. Dutch's turn to get cut. King gets so fired up he dances and throws punches. Dutch drops some elbows. Suplex from King. Dutch misses a second rope elbow. King hits his first piledriver of this set. It wasn't the end of the match, though. King comes flying out of the corner with a chop block. Back elbow. It appeared that King was doing the rope-a-dope and pulls down the strap once Dutch is too worn out to throw more punches. King himself is pretty worn out, though. This is compared to Ali/Frazier. They collide and collapse in the center of the ring. They're both swinging, but there isn't much behind the punches at this point. They collide again and King bounces off the ropes, falling on top of Dutch for the win. New champion!
Coming up, scaffold matches, Koko B. Ware changing his name, Bobby Eaton, and Ric Flair.