Thursday, February 26, 2009
Ric Flair Vs. Jake Roberts (Mid-South - 11/24/85)
Not much that I know about. Ric Flair was the perennial NWA World champ throughout the 80’s and he traveled from territory to defending the belt against all comers. Here he takes on the up and coming Jake the Snake Roberts in Mid-South.
Jake's the clear fan favorite here. Before the match Flair makes fun of Jake’s trailor-park-trash hand-me-down outfit. What is this XPW? This is a NWA World title match goddamit, you gotta dress in style. Flair bends down to mock Jake’s ghetto pants he must’ve picked up from the Salvation Army's Wrestling gear donation box, when suddenly Jake DDT’s him! Ric Flair is out! And I mean OUT. This is all before the bell has sounded! Flair stayed on his back for a super long ass time, about 5 minutes, until he weakly and very gingerly rolls out. The sell job by Flair is just incredible. Flair’s obviously in no shape to wrestle so he says “I’m outta here baby” and makes for the dressing room. What a jype! The crowd is booing unmercifully. DUD
Wait! The ref says that Flair MUST defend the NWA World title. He gives him until the 20 count to return or else Jake is declared the winner! Huge pop for that. The ref starts to count and Flair barely makes it back in time.
Crowd’s hot now, chanting “DDT”. And with that move’s devastation already shown to the crowd, just one more DDT and Jake’s the new champ. Jake immediately goes for the DDT but Flair takes him down like it’s MMA. Flair scoots to the corner and begs for time. See just a few moments in and Robert’s has been established as a threat to winning the World title tonight. Man, Flair is the master. After a Flair flop, Jake goes for the DDT again but Flairs quickly drops to his belly. Jake works a facelock for a few 2 counts until Flair gets a ball-shot in and stuns him. Now Flair goes on the offense with his usual bag of tricks including a Low-Ki-lite foot stomp. Flairs works him over and hits the sleeper. Jake’s losing consciousness and he hasn’t even hit the bars yet!
Jake manages to get out but Flair's not done yet. Flair goes for his patented knee drop but Jake catches Flair’s knee in mid-move and clamps on his own Figure-Four leglock! Flair nearly gives up the World title by losing but then suddenly regaining consciousness right at 2.9 counts. Flair escapes and gets some near wins due to cheating then starts knocking Jake around with punches and chops. “DDT DDT DDT!” chant’s the Mid-South crowd. Flairs with more chops but suddenly Jake feel’s no pain! He even asks Flair to hit him with all he’s got. Now Jake starts in with the punches. It’s Drunken boxing, and Jake’s the Drunken master! Jake gets a sleeper, but Flair belly-to-back suplexes out. Flair goes top rope and of course gets slammed down. Jake hit a hits a running knee lift. He goes for another but Flair moves and Jake's knee hits the turnbuckle. Flair reverses a small package and uses the ropes for leverage to score the pin!
Flair is the man. He was the master at coming into a territory and putting the local guy over. Not satisfied by this shaky verdict, after the match Flair and Jake decide to have round 2. Then round 3. Then round 4, And so on until someone passes out from the alcohol. (17:43) ***3/4
Kerry Von Erich Vs. Jumbo Tsuruta (All-Japan – 5/22/84)
Two weeks ago Kerry Von Erich stunned the world by defeating Rc Flair for the NWA World title. One week ago Jumbo Tsuruta lost the AWA World title to Rick Martel. For years Jumbo Tsuruta has been wrestling Ric Flair for the NWA World title, always coming close but never winning. More experienced than Von Erich, now Jumbo gets the chance to get another World title for Japan.
Crowds hot right away. Tie up and a clean break from Von Erich. Stalemate to start. They spend the opening minutes testing each other out.. Von Erich tries to be cute with an arm-bar so Jumbo lifts him right over his head into a fireman’s carry and gently places him sitting down on the turnbuckle and walks away. Sign of respect or disrespect? Dory Funk Jr. quantum leaps in Jumbo’s body and brings the pain with the Texas European uppercups. He channels Dory again with a double arm suplex attempt to BIG POP! Kerry’s stunned!
Kerry comes back with a Von Erich claw attempt!! Jumbo protects his head for all he’s worth so Kerry instead clamps in on Jumbo’s mid-section. Kerry picks up Jumbo and this time it’s him gently placing Jumbo on the turnbuckle, but he adds a shove to Jumbo’s chest while backing away. Tempers are flaring! Tie-up in the ropes, Kerry gives a clean break, but Jumbo gives a return shove! It’s on now! Jumbo with the big knee and Kerry tumbles like a drunk to the outside. Kerry gets a sunset flip back in for a 2 count. A Tentative tie up but it’s all a sham cause Jumbo stuns Kerry with an enzugiri and gets the 3 count!!!!!
Only one more fall and Jumbo’s the champ! Jumbo smells blood and lays in punches. Actually he really does smell blood cause Von Erich’s busted open! The NWA World title’s at stake! If Kerry comes back to the states without the title he may be getting a visit from Harley Race with some pliers and a blow torch. Kerry comes back with punches and kneesdrops but he’s staggering around having trouble standing (nothing new for him). Kerry gets a sleeper on Jumbo! Jumbo nearly goes out but the power of the Puro fans gives him the strength to get out.
Jumbo goes all monkey-ape-crazy on Von Erich in the corner, the ref has to pull him back. Jumbo gets a crazy close nearfall and nearly wins the title. Both guys run off the ropes and knock heads. The ref begins the count but they both make it up. Jumbo with the piledriver! Another close 2 count, the crowd senses victory. Kerry with a discus punch. CLAW!!!!!!!!!! IRON CLAW!!!! This time even the fans shouts aren’t enough, Jumbo fights but to no avail. Kerry pins an unconscious Jumbo for the 2nd fall. But Kerry refuses to release the hold! The ref manages to pry him off before a riot breaks out.
Jumbo’s posse try to regroup him but Jumbo on dream street. Last fall for the title. Kerry goes for the claw again right away but Jumbo fights it. Jumbo gets a knee and starts working on Kerry’s hand! Jumbo keeps up on the hands for a few minutes including stomps and posting it on the outside. Kerry in incredible pain, he won’t be opening up pickle jars anytime soon. If his iron Claw is nullified, what is Kerry’s plan B? Jumbo with a Fujiwara armbar. Kerry gets out and hits a pile driver but misses a reverse elbow drop off the top rope, injuring his hand further! Jumbo knee #3! Jumbo clamps on a Boston crab. Kerry gets out and they exchange a series of near-falls like their were Lynn vs. RVD or something. Both guys tumble out. They keep each other from reentering the ring. Belly to back suplex onto the concrete floor by Jumbo! Jumbo makes it back in! Jumbo raises his hand up in triumph but no! They both didn’t make it back in, a double count out. Henceforth, still your NWA World champ, Kerry Von Erich! Awesome match. (27:38) ****3/4