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SECRET SANTO 2023~!


Matt D

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  • 2 weeks later...

@Casey As always I'm trying not to give you the most, most famous thing so not the Dibiase vs Duggan tuxedo match for Mid-South. Instead Duggan vs Buzz Sawyer. I don't think it was on youtube so I tossed it on a burner.

 

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@Matt D Appreciate the burner account, that makes things easier for me.  I’ve got this weekend off so plenty of time between now and next weekend to watch that.

For you, I’ve got… more indie women’s wrestling. But from a few years ago. It’s Mercedes Martinez and Kylie Rae in a no ropes submission match. I’ve always been a big supporter of Mercedes - criminally underrated in the larger women’s scene anlongside the previously watched Nicole Matthews - and Kylie Rae is one of those What If questions for early AEW.

Again, not sure of what I’m supposed to be giving you every month since you’re more cultured than I am, but I figure somewhat current indie women’s wrestling might be a small blindspot for you.

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I watched Kylie vs Yamashita when I came in for ZSJ vs Makabe and I had not seen much Kylie and have some questions now so this will be illuminating. Also a big fan of Mercedes but I'll talk about that. Will catch it over the next few days. Thanks.

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On 4/24/2024 at 4:17 AM, Casey said:

@Matt D Appreciate the burner account, that makes things easier for me.  I’ve got this weekend off so plenty of time between now and next weekend to watch that.

For you, I’ve got… more indie women’s wrestling. But from a few years ago. It’s Mercedes Martinez and Kylie Rae in a no ropes submission match. I’ve always been a big supporter of Mercedes - criminally underrated in the larger women’s scene anlongside the previously watched Nicole Matthews - and Kylie Rae is one of those What If questions for early AEW.

Again, not sure of what I’m supposed to be giving you every month since you’re more cultured than I am, but I figure somewhat current indie women’s wrestling might be a small blindspot for you.

Mercedes is easy to talk about. I (like the rest of the crowd) gave way too long of a standing ovation in 2002 to Mercedes vs Sumie Sakai at NECW and I cringe thinking back to it but I was young and dumb and on the internet too much. But I feel fortunate I saw that match live then and Mercedes has been a favorite of the last few years, most especially her feud with Serena Deeb but not just. She has great presence in the moment, which, past the ability to structure matches in a logical and compelling way (which she has as well) is probably the most important thing for me when it comes to a wrestler. Regal talked about how it wasn't selling but reacting and if you get two classically trained and experienced wrestlers in there, they can just react to one another. She's great at reacting. She's one of the most emotive wrestlers going. You can always see what she's thinking (as a character) in any moment.

Kylie baffles me a bit. I get what she's going for and it's obviously over but it's much more artificial and plastic than other comparable examples like babyface Bayley and Willow. She's doing these staged poses and smiley faces and has the gear and the nickname (and the pokemon song!) and it's all way too in your face and obvious. But it works with the crowd which seems to desperately want to make it work so that they can feel better about themselves. To me, there's much more of an 80s vibe to her, and... I'm trying to express what I want to compare it to. It feels a bit Von Erich-y when it comes to the relationship with the crowd and how badly they want something to believe in and how thoroughly she can provide it but they were so natural in their own jocky bufoonish way. It feels kind of like... babyface Brutus Beefcake, who was, let me remind you, basically the #3 babyface in WWF in 1989 and a guy who could main event B shows and tag with Hogan as the main event of PPVs. He absolutely had a connection with the crowd but it felt like someone who didn't actually get it and just had read a book how to do it and there was nothing genuine about it necessarily. But it was 1989 so it worked. She somehow makes it 1989 again. And I appreciate that level of being able to work people, I guess? Of being able to manipulate people, even if maybe they're vulnerable people in the first place in a sort of less toxic hyper positive Amanda Palmer sort of way? I don't know enough about her to really go deeper down this path in a way that I feel comfortable and good with. I'll just say it sure feels like working and since no one works these days, I appreciate it.

As for the match itself, it was good! I didn't love the two big transition spots of Mercedes going into a post. The second was better than the first. I would have had them play just a little more with the no-ropes gimmick. I liked Henry vs Priest a bit more in how they used it maybe? More teases of falling to doom. More inability to get rope breaks. Kylie at a disadvantage because she can't rope run? I have more respect for the Brass City Sleeper now but I get that maybe in 2019 it wasn't as big a deal. In general I loved how Mercedes filled time not with spots but with consistent and opportunistic violence in the moment. She just does damage and then milks it for all that it's worth as she interacts with the ref and the crowd and the wrestler and reality. Kylie is talented at what she does and what she does best is to reward the crowd when they chant for her with smart timing. Even if she's going to get cut off. She makes them feel like they matter in the match, like they have agency in helping her. Finish was neat with the la mistica set up and was bolstered by the commentary talking up the crossface throughout the match which covered for the fact she didn't really tease it or try for it at any point. I would have maybe had Mercedes try to make it to ropes that weren't there to help protect her in the finish? I don't know. I just find Kylie unsettling to watch on some level, like an uncanny valley sort of thing, but I also have to kind of respect it. Just like watching 89 Beefcake, which you won't get but someone else reading this will.

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On 4/20/2024 at 7:44 AM, Matt D said:

@Casey As always I'm trying not to give you the most, most famous thing so not the Dibiase vs Duggan tuxedo match for Mid-South. Instead Duggan vs Buzz Sawyer. I don't think it was on youtube so I tossed it on a burner.

 

Now this is what I’m talkin’ about, this right here is fucking great stuff. I can count the amount of wrestling moves used on one hand, it’s just a straight up FIGHT, and it’s bloody as all hell. Buzz looks like a jacked up cousin of the Andersons, I like this guy. Duggan doesn’t do much for me usually, but it’s so weird seeing him outside of his WWF gimmick and he’s just a nasty brawler here. Is there another match between these two after this? The conclusion of the match, with the pull apart leading to more brawling backstage would normally lead me to believe there would be some sort of gimmick match in their future. If so, I want it now.

No idea where this is, or what promotion, but I love that it’s just a ring with some barricade and the floors are dirty and it’s not even concrete - like wood floors kind of. The mat is fuckin’ gross. Really adds to the aesthetic of it all, like it’s a bar fight transported into a wrestling ring.

More of this please, because I could watch stuff like this all day long. I don’t know why this did it for me more versus Patterson/Slaughter, maybe it’s because one seemed… too produced? I don’t know. But this is a great pick, I love it!

One request, and it doesn’t have to necessarily be for our Secret Santo adventures, but: do you have any links or anything for some Tennessee wrestling from the late 70s/early 80s? It’s always Lawler and stuff like that, but I’m super curious to see the stuff that my Dad would’ve watched when he went to shows in the Middle TN area. I don’t specifically want Tojo Yamamoto matches, but for example he’s told me stories about seeing Tojo wrestle around here back then.

Edited by Casey
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Posted (edited)

Definitely glad you liked it. There are more hard-nosed slobberknocker Bill Watts promoted Mid-South Wrestling matches along those lines. Give me a day or two and I'll start to pull things together for you, with some Memphis matches too, including some of the other non-Lawler players.

Edited by Matt D
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@Casey

Let's start easy.

Mid-South Brawls

First off, the follow up with Duggan and Sawyer:

A chain match as you surmised:

And here's Dibiase vs the freebirds in a cage:

I'll find you the tuxedo match later. Also the concession stand brawls and some moondogs brawls for Memphis among other things.

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  • 2 weeks later...

A Gordy match should be fun, the Dark Side episode made me want to watch some of his stuff (moreso his AJPW run, but yeah). Duggan/Sawyer in a chain match sounds nice and brutal and bloody, yes please. I’m gonna watch these this week. To be clear, are these my picks for May or just for fun? If they are, I’ll get you something soon.

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12 hours ago, Casey said:

A Gordy match should be fun, the Dark Side episode made me want to watch some of his stuff (moreso his AJPW run, but yeah). Duggan/Sawyer in a chain match sounds nice and brutal and bloody, yes please. I’m gonna watch these this week. To be clear, are these my picks for May or just for fun? If they are, I’ll get you something soon.

Just for fun. I'll give you some Memphis stuff for May. Feel free to give me something though.

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So for May, trying to give you some Memphis color with a few things.

Jerry Lawler, Dennis Condrey & Phil Hickerson vs Bill Dundee, Rocky Johnson & Tojo Yamamoto NWA Mid-America 9-6-76 Here's what my pal Chad said about this one:

Spoiler

Seven minutes of a big six-man tag with Johnson debuting for the Mid-South Coliseum fans and making a great impression. Super bumping, punches, Lance Russell narration. This is a great encapsulation of how exciting Memphis 1970’s footage can be. 

The second concession stand brawl:

And I'll try to upload TOMMY RICH & BILL IRWIN & GYPSY JOE vs BILL DUNDEE & TOJO YAMAMOTO & ROBERT GIBSON (10/11/1980) for you later which is a super heated studio match. So much of understanding Memphis is understanding the studio tv show that got massive tv shares in the region.

Again, I could give you Lawler vs Dundee or Andy Kaufmann stuff but you can find that yourself. This will give you a taste of that period in general and probably what your dad would have been watching.

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Something about Memphis that Jerry Jarrett said on the Territories show that made an impression on me was that they had to be original constantly because the territory was so small and the TV so popular that they couldn't repeat themselves. It was always something new. Interesting to know.

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@Matt D Oh I’m gonna eat up all of this, starting tonight. AEW just isn’t hitting like it used to for me, so I might turn Wednesdays into watching stuff like this (and fast forward through Dynamite).

But, speaking of AEW… I’m not sure when you started watching it, so maybe you’ve seen it. I know on Segunda at least it was Phil, not you, that reviewed it. We all know I’m a Punk mark, but I still think this is in the upper echelon of his stuff in AEW. It’s his debut/return match from All Out 2021, against Darby Allin. Much like his pipebomb promo in 2011, his return to wrestling got me more invested than ever. Was I watching already? Yeah. But this put my interest into a whole ‘nother level. If I could bottle the emotions and feelings from late August ‘21 through the rest of that year when I’d watch AEW, god… I miss it. It was a special time.

 

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I still have to upload the third. Just have to find it. Will try to do that tonight.

Happy to watch Punk vs Darby again. I did see it right around the time it happened but it was my first time ever seeing Darby and I understand him much more now.

In general, here's the deal with Memphis. You should watch the TV starting in 79 or so. It's all on Youtube (so much as is out there) and it's perfect "background noise" You almost never need to pay too much attention to the studio matches though some can be really good, but it's more about Lance and Dave hosting and the format and how it gets disrupted and the vibe. Stars cycling through, Lawler holding court, the supporting cast being these entertaining weirdos like Jimmy Valiant or Jimmy Hart or Dutch Mantell or Bill Dundee, the up and coming acts like Tommy Rich or the Fabs and the Rock'n'Roll Express or Bobby Eaton and Koko Ware, random monsters when they couldn't get an actual talent so they just stuck a guy in a mask (hockey or otherwise), things that worked and things that totally bombed (Kill Paul Ellering for instance). It's probably the most watchable wrestling ever and would really give you a sense of the community to some degree, between the way they weave in charity softball games and local sponsors and all the other goofy things the King has going on in the community. You sort of just pick a year and go and it works all the way from 79 to 94 more or less. Yes, you get frustrated that you don't have all of the big matches on tape but there are a good chunk as you go and they fill you in on what happened anyway. There's nothing else like it in wrestling.

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On 5/22/2024 at 12:14 PM, Casey said:

@Matt D Oh I’m gonna eat up all of this, starting tonight. AEW just isn’t hitting like it used to for me, so I might turn Wednesdays into watching stuff like this (and fast forward through Dynamite).

But, speaking of AEW… I’m not sure when you started watching it, so maybe you’ve seen it. I know on Segunda at least it was Phil, not you, that reviewed it. We all know I’m a Punk mark, but I still think this is in the upper echelon of his stuff in AEW. It’s his debut/return match from All Out 2021, against Darby Allin. Much like his pipebomb promo in 2011, his return to wrestling got me more invested than ever. Was I watching already? Yeah. But this put my interest into a whole ‘nother level. If I could bottle the emotions and feelings from late August ‘21 through the rest of that year when I’d watch AEW, god… I miss it. It was a special time.

 

It's an underrated AEW match that.

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