The SmarK Rant for St. Louis Wrestling – Episode 1
Not sure of the exact date here, but this episode was included in a question this morning and I couldn’t not review it. This is Larry Matysik’s slightly bonkers outlaw promotion after Wrestling at the Chase shut down in 1983, co-founded by himself and Bruiser Brody and doomed to fail from the start due to egos but surprisingly not money, apparently.
Taped from St. Louis, MO, sometime around September of 1983.
Your host is Larry Matysik, who is of course also the booker.
Eddie Mansfield v. Vic Peterson
Oh man, one match in and we’ve already got friggin’ Eddie Mansfield to talk about. If you’ve seen the Dark Side episode about Dr. D, Eddie’s career trajectory is detailed there, but basically he claimed that promoters were trying to blackmail him for exposing the business on the famous Stossel episode of 20/20, and claimed that he was promised various levels of success that were then ripped away from him. Eddie’s reputation amongst other wrestlers is not exactly of high quality, suffice it to say. Mansfield beats on Peterson and drops a knee on him, then hits a twisting suplex for two before picking him up. He drops more knees on Vic and apparently lots of people in St. Louis are talking about Mansfield, including Dr. Chuck “the Moose” Ershaw. That’s high praise. Mansfield finally puts the guy away with a clothesline at 4:10. 0 for 1.
Tom Prichard, Dominic DeNucci & Spike Huber v. Tully Blanchard, Eric Embry & Killer Karl Kox
Well this is crazy. Huber and Tully immediately fight to the floor and Spike slams him on the floor as the crowd goes crazy. Tully decides he’s had enough already and walks out of the match, leaving the heels 3-on-2 against the babyfaces. DeNucci goes after Kox, who retreats and complains to the ref, but finally the heels double-team him in the corner and Kox bites him. DeNucci fights them off while the announcers hype up a Texas Death Match between Tully and Huber that’s coming up and Matysik makes it sound like a bloodbath that the promotion washes their hands of. The heels continue cheating and working over DeNucci. We watch a replay of Tully Blanchard taking an atomic drop from Huber on the floor, which is great, and back to the match as Huber gets the hot tag and dropkicks Embry. Prichard in with a legdrop, but Eric hits him with an enzuigiri, so Prichard hits his OWN enzuigiri. Kox comes in again and puts Prichard down with a back elbow, but Tommy fights back and slugs away, setting up a dropkick. Back to DeNucci, who no-sells a headbutt from Kox in a funny spot. The heels get another cheapshot and work DeNucci over again as Matysik points out that Kox wanted to be a dentist but ended up being a wrestler instead, which is why he’s so obsessed with biting people. But then Kox manages to distract the ref, and the other two babyfaces come in and double-slam Embry behind the ref’s back, allowing DeNucci to hit a big splash on Embry for the pin at 11:00. A really entertaining six-man with a hot crowd. 1 for 2. And then Tully hits the ring for another attack on Huber and they brawl away for another donnybrook! Spike was mostly a Memphis guy, the son-in-law of Dick the Bruiser, so he was mostly set for life in wrestling even if he didn’t do much and was, shall we say, pretty terrible.
Tully Blanchard thinks that St. Louis rules are STUPID if it means he can be slammed on the floor, but he’s down with this Texas Death Match idea because Huber called him a wimp and that doesn’t fly in Texas. Does Huber have enough INTESTINAL FORTITUDE in his Hoosier body to face him in a match where either guy can come off the top rope? Tully doesn’t think so.
Nikolai Volkoff v. Sammy Darro
Volkoff quickly stomps Darro down as he’s on a path towards Bruiser Brody and he’s apparently a former member of the Russian Olympic Weightlifting team. What was he, the guy who delivered them steroids? Volkoff goes to the middle rope and comes off with another flying stomp, and follows with a clothesline before putting the boots to this geek some more. Press slam into the backbreaker finishes at 2:14. That could be a finisher someone could resurrect in NXT 2.0 actually. 1 for 3.
Ken Timbs v. Jerry Oates
Oates’ nickname is apparently the Georgia Greyhound, which to be honest sounds like something from Urban Dictionary. Suggested usage: “Oh man, I was so wasted the other night that I picked up this girl at the bar and we did the Georgia Greyhound!” FUN FACT: Matysik points out that Jerry has a younger brother named Marty Oates who he’s been training, and who might be debuting soon in St. Louis! Yeah, and in fact young Marty Oates changed his name to Marty Jannetty and became a much bigger star than Jerry despite his propensity to fuck up his life. Timbs does a lot of running away and tries various headlocks, but Oates takes him down with a rollup for two. Timbs gets another headlock and takes him down again, but Oates escapes and works the arm before going to a facelock. Fan: “RIP HIS NOSE OFF!” Well that’s pretty extreme. Timbs escapes to the ropes, but Oates slugs away with forearms and puts him down with a backdrop, then dodges a kick and takes Timbs down and finishes with a spinning toehold at 6:10. Next stop for Oates: Dick Murdoch. 2 for 4.
Jerry Oates says there’s been some stuff that went down between himself and Dick Murdoch years ago, and he doesn’t want to get into it now but he’s sick of getting jumped by Murdoch. And the thing happened out of the ring and we don’t know what it was, but it was bad. Larry Matysik is really good here at steering the promo and explaining things for the fans.
Chavo Guerrero & Tiger Conway Jr. v. Butcher Salviccio & Randy Savage
Savage is the ICW World champion at this point, speaking of outlaw promotions, and he’s rocking the most amazing kimono-pattern robe as well. Savage was like the 1983 equivalent of WALTER, the world’s hottest indie star that people were throwing money at and couldn’t quite convince to leave his home territory. Savage works a wristlock on Chavo, who grabs the ref and uses him to flip out of the move. That’s a cool spot. Butcher comes in and gets caught in the babyface corner while Matysik shows off the ICW title and puts it over as being on the same level as the WWF and AWA World titles. I don’t think so but it’s nice of him to try. The babyfaces take turn stomping on Butcher’s arm and Tiger runs him into the corner. I should note that there’s two referees working tag team matches in this promotion, so Gorilla Monsoon must have loved it. Chavo comes in with a monkey flip on Butcher and holds the armbar while Randy Savage is screaming at both referees and pacing the apron like a madman. Finally he gets a tag and comes in, but he promptly misses a kneedrop and Conway makes a comeback on him with a backdrop for two. Tiger misses a charge and hits the post, allowing Savage to suplex him for two. Butcher comes in and slugs away on Conway, and then Chavo follows with dropkicks and a senton for the pin at 6:20. Automatic point for the Macho Man. 3 for 5.
Love me some old territorial wrestling. I wish WWE would pick up the rights to more of this kind of stuff and put it on the Network instead of all the current 4 hour indie shows they’re dumping on there instead.