The SmarK Rant for Memphis Wrestling – 01.04.86
I love the Memphis stuff but it feels like 1979 is a little too far back, so let’s jump ahead to something that’s going to have more modern characters and start at the beginning of 1986 instead.
Also on my list of stuff to start in the KrisPLettuce archive: Global Wrestling Federation, and Continental Wrestling from the Eddie Gilbert/Paul Heyman era.
Taped from Memphis, TN
Your hosts are Lance Russell & Dave Brown
Rick Casey is featured in a horse-ridin’, cowboy-doing, good ol’ boy video package to start. Apparently Heaven is a lot like Dixie, or at least that’s what the song would like. All I know is that only a real cowboy could grow a moustache like that.
Rick Casey v. The Invader
You would probably know Casey better as Wildcat Wendell Cooley from Mid-South and other promotions. Casey overpowers the Invader and takes him down with a headlock as we learn that Dutch Mantell is demanding to be known as the #1 Texas Cowboy and he’s offended that Casey is billing himself as a cowboy from Texas as well. To be fair, Dutch also has a strong moustache game, so you have to give him points there. However, Casey has a picture of Texas on his ass, and they don’t let you put it on there unless you have cowboy cred. Casey continues working the headlock on the mat, puts the boots to Invader, and finishes with a bulldog at 3:51. Yup, he’s a cowboy. The math checks out.
Dutch Mantell joins Lance to hype the Evansville show coming up on Wednesday, so that’s where this tape comes from. He’s facing Rick Casey on that show and he will be whipping Casey in a Bullwhip on a Pole match. Meanwhile, Bill Dundee is facing Jerry Lawler in a match where Lawler has to leave town if he loses, and Dundee has to shave both his head and the head of his wife if he loses. Oooh, there’s some stakes!
Dutch Mantell v. Jim Jamison
Dutch is still sore about the #1 Cowboy from Texas thing, and he takes it out on Jamison and slugs away on him and then hits him with a snap suplex for two and picks him up. Dutch chokes him out on the ropes and goes up with a double axehandle from the middle rope and then finishes with a gourdbuster at 1:42.
Meanwhile, the Fantastics are wanting you to give them all your loving, all your hugs and kisses too. By which they mean ring rats I assume. Hot musical take time: Eliminator was an incredible rock album, but Recycler was one of the most cynical cash-in retreads ever, down to the fact that they literally called it RECYCLER. But I still bought it and liked Double Back.
The Fantastics v. The Spoiler & Pat Rose
The Fantastics are using “Sleeping Bag” here to continue their run of awesome ZZ Top themes, and I bet they had more than a few ring rats in their sleeping bags. So there’s another subplot here, as Pat Rose stops by the desk before the match and he’s worried that his girlfriend Sherri Martel left for Houston without him, and then Lance points out that Dr. Tom Pritchard also left for Houston at around the same time, but there’s probably nothing going on there and Pat’s got nothing to worry about. Yeah no need to worry about the DOCTOR OF DESIRE stealing your woman, that’s crazy talk. Rose, understandably distracted, can’t get anything going against Bobby Fulton and decides to bail to the floor and think things over for a bit before letting the Spoiler give it a go. Fulton takes him down with armdrags and this guy is clearly not the more famous version of the Spoiler. Spoiler: It’s Frank Morell, who worked under a bunch of masked gimmicks in Memphis over the years. Rogers gets a Thesz Press and pins him at 4:12.
Meanwhile, Lance Russell is still really excited about this card coming up in Evansville on Wednesday, and not gonna lie, it sounds like a pretty hot show. Fantastics v. Sheepherders in 1986 is a guaranteed winner.
Lou Winston & Unknown Masked Man v. Tracy Smothers & Billy Travis
The masked guy is subbing for Winston’s usual partner Jerry Bryant, and Dave Brown is actually caught off guard and doesn’t know who he is. Winston gets a couple of shots on Tracy on the ropes, and it’s over to Unknown Masked Man, who quickly gets double-teamed by the babyfaces. Travis puts him down with a back elbow and drops a knee on him while Lance and Dave try to guess his identity. Back to Winston, as Tracy takes him down and works on the arm, and then it’s back to the masked man, and Travis puts him away with a sunset flip at 3:33.
Jerry Lawler v. Tony Falk
Falk had never won a match on TV at this point, and he stops by the desk and promises that THIS is the week where he breaks his losing streak and beats the biggest star in the territory. Lance gives him points for confidence. Falk charges in and attacks Lawler, knocking over the ref in the process, so with the ref bumped Lawler decides to give him an illegal piledriver and then the ref wakes up for the pin at 0:24. Well better luck next time to Falk.
Meanwhile, we get a video package of Jerry Lawler beating up on various very big stars when they passed through Memphis, including Hulk Hogan, Nick Bockwinkel, Ric Flair, Kamala, Dr. D, Andy Kaufman, the Road Warriors, King Kong Bundy, Terry Funk, Bruiser Brody, and Randy Savage. Also the great soundtrack continues with “Burning Heart” by Survivor. This leads to Lance shilling a video cassette of Jerry Lawler’s greatest matches, only $29.95 via Master Charge.
Or you can just watch it on YouTube:
Holy shit there’s some bangers on that one.
Jerry Lawler joins Lance to discuss regaining the Southern Heavyweight title from Bill Dundee last Monday. And he’s sick of wrestling Dundee week after week, so this Monday at the Mid-South Coliseum, he’s putting the belt on the line in a loser leaves town match where Dundee and his wife have to put their hair on the line. I won’t spoil the result, but the Tony Falk squash from earlier pays off.
Superstar Bill Dundee v. David Johnson
Dundee hits him with a lariat and pins him immediately at 0:15.
Meanwhile, we get a video package of Dundee beating various people, with the soundtrack this time being “Wild Boys” by Duran Duran. This show definitely nailed what I was listening to in 1986.
Bill Dundee joins Lance at the desk, and he cracks up the crowd immediately by noting “I can’t wait for tomorrow because I get better looking every day.” And then we cut to a video sent in by Dundee’s wife, who is putting her own hair on the line because she’s so confident that her husband is going to beat Lawler and get sweet revenge for 3 years earlier when Lawler beat them in the same match. And then Dundee takes credit for bringing Lawler into the area back in 1975 because “the Aussie was beating up everyone in the territory” and they needed someone to get rid of him, and he’s been dreaming about running Lawler out of town ever since! And Dundee cuts a crazed promo about how he’s going to be the new King of the South and he’ll beat Lawler even if he’s dead and bleeding and it’s the last thing he does.
BREAKING NEWS: The young team known as the Freedom Fighters have decided to rebrand themselves, and next time they’ll debut with their new name: The Blade Runners. Well hopefully they can make a name for themselves with that gimmick. Not sure if we ever heard from either one of them again.
Holy shit I really want to go back in time and buy a ticket to see that Lawler and Dundee match at the Coliseum now.