A Wrestling Year – 19.03.1986-25.03.1986 (Part 2)

With two NWA shows to cover this week, the second column covering this week in wrestling 1986 will look solely at the Memphis offering. Just like UWF/Mid-South, Memphis are upping the ante as we get a Tag Team Title match on the show, as well as the usual chance to showcase wrestlers such as Bill Dundee, Buddy Landell and Billy Travis.

Memphis Wrestling TV 22.03.1986

Opening match of the evening is our first chance to see Billy Travis in the ring for a short while as he goes up against Keith Eric. A spin into a drop toe hold allows Travis to wrench on Eric’s neck as the commentators talk about Travis’ current alliance with Frank Morrell. The two men trade hiptosses before we get another takedown from Travis and an arm lock. A roll-up gets Travis a two count, but Eric grabs the hair twice shortly afterwards to jerk Travis down to the mat, riling up his opponent and getting a punch to the face for his troubles. No clean break either, with Travis blasting Eric with a chop much to the delight of the crowd. An eye rake and kneelift allows Eric to begin to work over Travis, but it is short lived, as Travis uses kicks and punches to take control back. A backbreaker and Vader splash gets Billy Travis the win in a fairly competitive match.

We head back to Frank Morrell for more words about Billy Travis, focusing on Travis losing his title shot against Abdul Gaddafi for the International Heavyweight Title. Footage is also shown of Travis training as Morrell barks instructions at him. After the advert, the big shill is for a card featuring a match between Bill Dundee and Dutch Mantell with Buddy Landell barred from the building. Unsurprisingly, Dundee isn’t happy with this, but like he defeated Lawler, he promises he will beat the odds and defeat Mantell.

Speaking of Bill Dundee, we get Dundee and Buddy Landell in the ring next against Jerry Garmin and Benny Traylor (the bookers clearly realising that when your commentators can’t differentiate between two men, it makes more sense to put them together). Traylor is quickly battered into the heel corner, with Dundee choking him down to the mat for good measure. The heels target the left arm, with quick tags allowing them to keep the fresh man in. Dundee even decides to throw Traylor across the ring to allow him to tag, only for Garmin to get taken down as soon as he steps in the ring. Garmin gets even rougher treatment, a double boot and a clothesline followed up by Landell’s figure four for the submission victory. Landell refuses to break the hold as Dundee boots the knee several times before leaving.

After Jeff Jarrett’s assault several weeks ago, we get video footage of him letting the fans know how he is and why he wants to become a wrestler. He talks about his Dad being on television, being like a hero to him and how he wanted to be just like him. At the end of the footage, he explains that he is still willing to referee Dundee’s matches, as he refuses to give up. He even reads a poem that apparently his Dad wrote for his baby brother which inspires his choices.

Finally, considering the amount of time they have spent on his feats of strength away from the ring, we get a Joe LeDuc match against David Haskins. This is the first time I’ve ever had a chance to see LeDuc in the ring, so I’m intrigued as to what he has to offer. He throws off Haskins from a top wrist lock and then shoulder blocks his opponent after he hits the rope. A wrenching front facelock sees him in complete control, and he continues to growl as he paces after Haskins. Surprisingly, LeDuc even manages to hit a dropkick, which is impressive even if it isn’t exactly the most impressive looking attempt. Haskins does fight back with several punches, but LeDuc reverses an irish whip by dropping down to the mat, spinning around and clocked him with a clothesline for the three count. Interesting, for sure.

Joe LeDuc

The MOD Squad have been told they need to put $3000 up for a Tag Team Title match against The Fantastics, yet JD Costello is out after the break to say that they have the money ready and want the match today. Lance Russell doesn’t seem too sure that this would be possible, but said that they would check with Eddie Marlin and see what they can do. After the advert, The Fantastics come to the ring and we are informed that they have agreed to the match.

So, in an impromptu main event, we have an expiration of time match for the Tag Team Titles between The Fantastics and The MOD Squad. Before the match begins, The MOD Squad hit the ring but are run off by The Fantastics with relative ease. As the bell rings, all four men are in the ring, but as the match settles down, the Fantastics are still in control with Rogers hitting a dropkick and side headlock on Spike. Spike is able to get a tag out of a Fulton headlock, but Basher gets some of the same treatment with Fulton nailing a dropkick. The MOD Squad’s best hope is to use their power and heel tactics, but the quick tags of the tag team champions keep the challengers isolated. Rogers is overly reliant on the dropkick, having hit three in the opening three minutes.

It takes an attack from the outside to slow down the Fantastics, with Rogers now playing face in peril. Rogers leapfrogs one and runs straight into a clothesline from the other for a two count, whilst a legdrop gets another two count. A beautiful powerslam off of the ropes gets another close fall, and it is only a piece of ingenuity from Rogers that allows him to make a tag, as he sunset flips both members of the MOD Squad following an attempted double back body drop. Fulton gets in and blasts away on both members, only to get nailed with the money in Costello’s purse during a roll-up attempt, sending the money flying everywhere. The MOD Squad get the pinfall and claim the titles, but Marlin changes the decision, stating that the money wasn’t real and the deal is reneged. An interesting booking choice, though I guess it gets people interested in a potential rematch.

Stuff and stuff

This time, Russell talks to Dutch Mantell about the match between himself and Bill Dundee, and he is obviously excited that Landell has been barred from arena. He promises to take the title off of Dundee

As the match for the Tag Team Title didn’t go to time, we get another match, this one between the team of Paul Diamond and Michael Lee and the jobber collective of Tony Faulk and Pat Rose. Initially, Rose uses a hair pull to drag Diamond back into his corner, but Diamond hits a double crossbody to take both men out after an attempted double team. Lee controls Faulk with armdrags, but doesn’t have the same luck with Rose, who clobbers him with a huge chop. Rose assaults a grounded Lee, before tagging Faulk in for a punch off of the second turnbuckle. Faulk can’t miss this time, taking down Lee with a big clothesline and tagging back out to Rose. A huge powerslam is followed by a bodyslam, but he pulls Lee up on the pinfall and tags out to Faulk. The commentators posit the idea that Rose is trying to allow Faulk to get a pinfall, but Lee is instantly able to reverse an attempted back body drop, tag out to Diamond and lead to Diamond taking the pinfall with a russian leg sweep into a cradle.

All in all an interesting show, considering the booking and subsequent outcome of the MOD Squad and Fantastics title match. With The Fantastics being promoted on UWF TV this week, it can only be a matter of time it would seem before JD Costello gets what he wants and his charges win the tag team titles. I guess we will just have to wait and see.

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