Classic St. Louis Wrestling
Volume 1. (1978-1979)
-Larry Matysik introduces the program. He puts St. Louis over as the jewel of wrestling.
-A younger Matysik puts over Dick Murdoch as a tough guy.
Gene Stevens vs. David Von Erich
February 25th 1979
They are cautious in the early going, and are delayed by Stevens complaining about a clenched fist. Von Erich works the wrist. Stevens counters, but Von Erich fights back with a hammerlock and drives his knee into the back. Stevens is trapped in the hammerlock long enough to make modern wrestling fans bitch and moan. Stevens fights Von Erich into the corner, but gets clubbed off (to some nice crowd approval). Stevens gets a takedown, but Von Erich drops a knee to the elbow and applies an armbar. Shoulder blocks by Stevens wins his freedom and he clubs away at the face. Von Erich is fired up and nails a drop-kick. Cover by Von Erich is stopped by a rope break. Stevens locks himself to the leg of David Von Erich, allowing for a baby face comeback. Head scissors takedown by Von Erich and a body drop to the leg. Leg snap by Von Erich. Kick to the gut by Stevens and some hard shots to the face. Back body drop by Von Erich and a knee drop gets a cover for 2. Elbow smash by Von Erich, but Stevens kicks the gut again to get some momentum. Reverse neck breaker by Stevens, but Von Erich still has some life and hits some strikes. Hard Irish whip by Von Erich and a drop-kick. Knee drops off the ropes by Von Erich and a splash. Von Erich gets the pin after about seven minutes of action. Fun little match, **.
Winner: David Von Erich.
February 26th 1979:
Matysik asks Dick Murdoch how he feels about his bout with Andre the Giant. Murdoch puts himself over as a rugged Texan and puts Andre down as a freak of nature. We are shown clips of Andre dominating in the ring, and Murdoch downplays his accomplishments. Murdoch rants about his successes against Bruiser Brody, Rocky Johnson, and his victory against Dick the Bruiser in a battle royal. Murdoch ended up losing that same battle royal (eliminated by Pat O’Connor) and Andre eventually won. Matysik asks if he’ll be able to hit the brain buster on Andre, and Murdoch believes he can. It’s a shame that no one seems capable of cutting a promo like this one anymore.
Bryan St. John and Billy Star vs. Bob Sweetan and “King Kong” Brody
Brody kicks things off against St. John and they lock up. David Von Erich is sitting in on commentary for the bout. Headlock by Brody. Sweetan tags nails a drop kick. Brody tags whips St. John into the ropes. St. John attempts a running tackle, but it’s no sold. Brody gets a kick to the stomach and a delayed body slam. Brody works the head lock again. St. John fights to his feet, but Brody is ruthless and directs his skull into Sweetan’s boot. Sweetan tags and gets surprised with a sunset flip. Sweetan knees St. John in the face to escape the pinfall attempt and regains control, pummeling St. John into the corner. Sweetan gets his own jackknife cradle and tags Brody. Brody clubs the back but suffers a hard Irish whip. St. John charges, but Brody blocks with his boot. Backbreaker by Brody. Sweetan tags and exchanges shots with St. John. Billy Star gets the hot tag and is a house on fire. Brody grabs Star from the apron, allowing Sweetan to regain control. Brody tags and hit’s a hard smash to Star’s head. Brody smashes Star’s head into the turnbuckles, but Star mounts a slight comeback. Star misses a drop-kick. Sweetan tags clubs the back of Billy Star. Sweetan works the bear hug. Star manages to hit the jackknife cradle on Brody, who quickly escapes (but has a hilarious look on his face when he realizes he’d been caught). Star works the head, and Brody appears to be in trouble. Brody backs Star into the ropes and clubs himself back into control. Sweetan splashes the back of Star, but can’t quite get the win. Brody tags and attacks the midsection of Billy Star. Brody drops Star onto the ropes! Sweetan tags and continues the assault on Star, targeting the head area. Brody and Sweetan keep the tags coming and frequently resort to double teaming. St. John finally gets the hot tag after a long heat period and cleans house on Sweetan. Star gets the tag to carry on St. John’s momentum. Brody catches Star with a spinning body slam! Brody hit’s a flying knee to Star and picks up the win at 12:54. This was a nicely worked, as they made good use of tag team psychology. ***.
Winners: “King Kong” Brody and Bob Sweetan
March 4th 1979
We get an in-ring interview with Bruiser Brody, who recently missed a match with Andre the Giant due to weather problems. Brody claims that all intelligent wrasslin’ fans know he’s the best (the crowd disagrees, they must be idiots). Brody says that everyone knows that Andre is undefeated, but also Andre is living a very dangerous life. Andre has to get back into the ring with Brody at some point, and he’s also got Dick Murdoch breathing down his back. Brody puts himself over for beating three former world champions in Pat O’Connor, Jack Brisco, and Terry Funk. Brody challenges the winner of an upcoming Andre/Murdoch match. Brody isn’t leaving until he wins some gold. I love these promos.
“King Kong” Brody vs. Pierre Bonnett and Randy Alls
Guess what, Ted Dibiase is sitting in on commentary. Brody attacks Alls’ legs in the early going and works the head. Alls backs Brody into the corner, but Brody lifts him up for a body slam. Forearm smash by Brody, but Alls reverses a hard Irish whip. Alls runs into Brody’s boot, so much for that comeback. Alls lands a desperate smash to Brody’s gut, which Brody sells as being more of a surprise than anything else. Brody rakes the eyes and kicks Alls in the gut. Bonnett finally gets a tag, but quickly gets knocked off his feet. Brody hit’s a running tackle and a snapmare for a knee drop. Brody works the head with a front headlock. Brody clubs the back and BITES! Alls tags and hit’s a series of jabs to the face. Brody blocks the suplex by Alls. Brody methodically clubs away at Alls, who makes the tag to Bonnett. Brody hit’s the spinning single arm body slam on Bonnett. The flying knee drop by Brody is enough to put Bonnett away at 5:05. Not bad for a handicap match, **.
Winner: “King Kong” Brody
March 8th 1979
We are treated to another in-ring interview with “King Kong” Brody. Brody is still seeking a shot at the World title and lists off all the former champions he’s defeated. Brody rants about Harley Race, and dismisses all of his accomplishments in the ring against the other big names of the day. Brody claims that Race is the best in wrestling when it comes to everyone else, but he hasn’t proven that he’s better than Brody. Brody puts Race over as the best NWA Champion. Another great promo.
Bryan St. John vs. Dick Murdoch
As the bell rings, they are interrupted by Dick the Bruiser. Bruiser has some advice for St. John, and Murdoch heads to the announce table for a retreat. Bruiser takes the microphone and claims that Murdoch has butted into every match he’s ever had. Dick wants to put his belt on the line. This will be the last time Murdoch ever messes with him, claims the Bruiser.
-Dick Murdoch protests his title shot because he’s “not ready” for it. He gets into the ring anyhow.
Missouri State Championship:
Dick the Bruiser © vs. Dick Murdoch
They exchange clubs in the corner. The match restarts with Bruiser working the wrist. Bruiser pounds Murdoch into the corner, with Murdoch scratching Bruiser’s head to fight back. Bruiser blocks a turnbuckle smash and reverses, driving Murdoch’s skull into the turnbuckle. They work a Greco-Roman knuckle lock, with Dick the Bruiser forcing Murdoch to his knees and kicking him while he’s down. Murdoch fights back, clubbing the shoulders. Murdoch chokes Bruiser on the ropes, almost earning a DQ in the process. Bruiser blocks more turnbuckle shots. Knee lift by Bruiser and the stomach claw! Murdoch rolls over and gets a fist to the jaw of the Bruiser. Leg drop by Murdoch shifts the momentum. Murdoch works the head while hitting the face. Dick the Bruiser gets to his feet and they exchange shots. Bruiser sends Murdoch’s skull bouncing off the turnbuckle and tosses him through the ropes to the floor. Bruiser slams Murdoch’s head into the press table. Bruiser directs Murdoch into the ring and continues to target the head. Body slam by Bruiser, but Murdoch blocks the cover with a rope break. Another body slam by Bruiser, but he stops his own cover attempt at 2. That’s right, Bruiser is having too much fun hurting Murdoch to stop the match now. Murdoch’s skull is repeatedly slammed into the turnbuckle, Bruiser follows up with another body slam, but the cover is broken by a rope break. Murdoch gets a slam of his own, and pulls Bruiser’s leg off the ropes before the referee can see, which earns himself the win and the title at 8:19! Enjoyable brawl, **½.
Winner and new Missouri State Champion: Dick Murdoch
Ted Dibiase vs. Pierre Bonnett
March 25th 1979
Bonnett gets some lucky shots in early, and gets control of the wrist. Dibiase gets a headlock takedown, but gets rolled onto his own shoulders for a cover attempt. Dibiase keeps the headlock and rolls back into a dominant position. Shoulder tackle by Dibiase, who goes back to the headlock. Bonnett reverses into a wrist lock. Bonnett clubs the arm and stretches. Bonnett pulls the hair for a wrist lock, but the referee caught it and the hold is broken. Front headlock by Bonnett. Dibiase struggles to reverse into an armlock, but Bonnett retains the hold. They hit the floor and Bonnett breaks to kick the head. Hard Irish whip by Bonnett, but he runs into Dibiase’s boot. Dibiase hits an elbow to the head, but Bonnett is still fighting back with desperate shots. Elbow smash to the jaw by Dibiase and a body slam. Cover by Dibiase gets 2. Dibiase hit’s a drop-kick, but misses a second attempt. Shoulder tackle by Bonnett, Dibiase leap frogs and hets some elbow shots for the win at 4:50. The match was by the numbers, *½.
Winner: Ted Dibiase
Missouri State Championship:
Dick Murdoch © vs. Pat O’Connor
Murdoch works a headlock. Headlock takedown by Murdoch, but O’Connor rolls Murdoch onto his back for a cover. Murdoch keeps the headlock and rolls back into control. O’Connor shoves Murdoch off and hit’s a rolling cradle for a quick cover attempt. Murdoch halts O’Connor’s momentum with the side headlock again. O’Connor shoves Murdoch off, but gets hit with a running tackle. O’Connor botches a hip toss and finds himself trapped in Murdoch’s headlock again. They repeat the same escape spot from before, except O’Connor hit’s the hip toss properly this time. O’Connor applies a spinning armlock! Armdrag by O’Connor and he continues to work the armlock. “You wanna give up” asks the referee, to which Murdoch answers with “I’ll let you know” in arrogant fashion. That’s gold. Murdoch escapes, and O’Connor lands another hip toss and arm drag to return to working an armlock. Murdoch corners O’Connor and hits some hard smashes. O’Connor tosses Murdoch into the corner and unleashes a flurry of strikes. Murdoch bets for mercy on the mat! O’Connor charges and gets grabbed by the throat by a desperate Murdoch. Murdoch smashes an elbow into the forehead and corners O’Connor. Murdoch favors elbow attacks, as he dominates O’Connor until missing an elbow drop. O’Connor practically curb stomps Murdoch! O’Connor pummels Murdoch into the corner and blasts his nose. Murdoch picks up some momentum, but finds himself trapped in a sleeper! Murdoch yanks the hair to try and escape, but O’Connor won’t break the hold! Murdoch lifts O’Connor onto his back and charges to the corner, driving O’Connor’s head into the turnbuckle! Now that’s what I call a counter! Murdoch busts O’Connor open with the hard strikes to the head. Dick the Bruiser runs int and attacks Murdoch. Bruiser chases Murdoch from the ring as the referee calls for the disqualification at 12:30. That was a sudden finish to what was developing into an epic match, ***¼.
Winner by DQ and still Missouri State Champion: Dick Murdoch
Mike Bowyer vs. Dick the Bruiser
Bowyer gets a side headlock in the early going. Bowyer’s appearance supports my theory that all 70’s wrestlers and porn stars look alike. Bruiser is angry and attacks the back, and clenches the shoulders. Bruiser drives Bowyer’s head into the turnbuckles. Bowyer won’t be intimidated and fights back. They work a Greco-Roman knuckle lock, with Bruiser dominating. Bruiser looks right into Bowyer’s eyes, just to remind him who the stronger man is. Better hit the gym, Mike. Bowyer fights back, hitting knee strikes on Bruiser in the corner. Bruiser regains control, slamming Bowyer into the turnbuckle and tossing him to ringside. Bruiser slams Bowyer into the ring steps, ring post, and press table. Bruiser strangles Bowyer, as he’s sprawled out on some chairs. I’m guessing that Bruiser is projecting his anger with Murdoch right onto Bowyer. Bruiser directs Bowyer back to the ring, where he repeatedly smashes him in the head. Bruiser gets an atomic drop for the win at 4:38. This was sqashtastic! *½.
Winner: Dick the Bruiser
At this point, the format of the program changes from showing complete matches, to featuring highlights from memorable matches/angles.
-We are treated to a match in progress, as “King Kong” Brody is destroying Frankie Lane. We’re five minutes into the match. Lane was getting the classic baby face comeback, but gets planted with a single arm body slam. Brody applies the Boston Crab and he taps out.
-We see another match in progress, as Joyce Grable is battling Leilani Kai. Grable snapmares Kai by the hair. These women are killing each other, this is awesome. Kai grabs Grable by the leg and kicks the hamstring. Knee stomp by Kai gets a cover for 1. They only have two minutes left before the time limit. Grable gets a front rolling cradle for a near fall. Kai gets a roll-up of her own for a near fall. Grable gets a back rolling cradle for the victory.
-We get another match in progress, as Joyce Grable is participating in the first mixed tag team match of the territory. Grable is teaming up with Pat O’Connor against Bob Brown and Suzette Ferrara. O’Connor has a blast tearing apart Brown’s knee, as the women look on. Ferrera tries to interfere, but she accidentally jumps Brown. Grable dumps Ferrera into the rings and hit’s a flying elbow smash. Swinging Neckbreaker by Grable gets the win.
-Dick the Bruiser is destroying Armando Rodriguez, in yet another match joined in progress. Bruiser was not one to show mercy and hits his atomic drop, but isn’t ready to win the match yet. It’s heartwarming to see a man who enjoys hurting people this much. Bruiser sends a message to Harley Race and piledrives Rodriguez. Bruiser pins Rodriguez with his finger. That’s awesome.
-We see more of the Bruiser/Race feud, as Dick sits in on commentary as he watches Harley Race dismantle Pierre Lefevbre. Dick claims that Race’s title will be his in less than a week. Race is distracted when he sees Dick trying on his title belt! Lefevbre takes advantage with a rolling cradle. Dick the Bruiser claims he doesn’t want anyone else to beat Race before he does. Lefevbre suffers a back suplex from Race, who gets the victory. Race storms to ringside and brawls with Bruiser (who’s still wearing the NWA title). Race attempts a piledriver on the floor, but it’s reversed into a back drop. Bruiser holds the gold over his head and stands on Race. The crowd chants Bruiser, who was a complete bad-ass anti-hero in his day.
-Larry Matysik introduces a video package looking at the development of Ted Dibiase into a force in wrestling. We see footage of Dibiase beating Mike Bowyer with a figure four leglock.
-Next we see Ric Flair battling Pat O’Connor, with Dibiase sitting in on commentary. O’Connor gets Flair in a tree of woe and backslides him into a cover attempt. Flair drops an elbow and drives his knees into the leg, setting up the figure four. Flair locks in the figure four and after a lengthy fight it’s countered by O’Connor. They exchange strikes and the match heads to ringside. Flair tosses O’Connor head-first into the ring post. Flair points at Dibiase and proclaims him as nothing. Flair insults Dibiase’s father, which leads to Dibiase chasing Flair into the ring and beating him down! This is awesome! Other wrestlers from the back try to stop Dibiase, and help Flair get some cheap shots in. The locker room empties and they try to break the brawl.
-"King Kong” Brody and Ted Dibiase are having a brawl at ringside, as Rocky Johnson sits in on commentary. Brody dominates, and is reluctant to allow Dibiase back into the ring, knocking off the apron at every opportunity. Dibiase shoulders Brody in the gut and hit’s a sunset flip off the turnbuckle for 2! Dibiase repeatedly punches Brody in the face and hit’s a drop-kick! Snapmare by Dibiase, but Brody blocks the figure four. Brody crawls to the ropes, but manages to block the figure four again, this time kicking Dibiase over the ropes to the floor. Dibiase blocks a slam into the corner, and the bell rings and they start slamming one another into the press table. Dibiase grabs a chair and goes berserk on Brody. The referee calls for a double disqualification.
-Bob Brown and Harley Race are colliding with Paul Orndorff and Ted Dibiase. Again, the match is joined in progress. Dibiase is working a headlock on Race. Dibiase blocks the atomic knee drop. Later in the match, Brown and Race are double teaming Dibiase. Brown tosses Dibiase to the floor. Race attempts a piledriver on the floor, which naturally leads to Dibiase countering with a back drop. Orndorff gets the hot tag and cleans house on Race and Brown. Judo chop and knee drop to Race gets Orndorff a cover for 2. Race attempts a piledriver, but Orndorff counters into a back drop. Brown attacks Orndorff with a knee to the head after a tag. Orndorf gets caught by Race on the apron, while Brown fights off Dibiase. Orndorff pushes Brown to the mat, but gets chopped in the throat. Dibiase gets a hot tag and cleans house on Brown. Race gets a blind tag, but Dibiase blocks a suplex and hit’s a back drop for the win! What an upset! The crowd goes nuts for Dibiase’s win.
-Matysik puts over Harley Race’s toughness for holding onto the NWA World title for over two years.
-Harley Race is working the leg of Gary Young. Race applies the inside reverse toe hold and stretches Young’s leg in sickening fashion. Young rolls Race over to break the hold and the match restarts. Shoulder tackle by Race, but he’s caught in a side headlock takedown. Race attempts a cover while trapped in the headlock. Race counters, lifting Young into a backbreaker. Race applies a front headlock, grounding the younger superstar. Young fights out with a body slam, but he misses the elbow drop. Race drops a knee on to the face and hit’s a reverse Neckbreaker. Young escapes the body press, but Race nails a knee lift to the gut. Race methodically drives his knee into Young’s forehead. Young is completely loopy by now. Race hit’s the suplex and picks up the easy win.
-Matysik thanks us for watching the program.
Final Thoughts: It’s almost impossible to watch these matches and clips without feeling happy. This was a magical period where the wrestlers worked hard and the fans believed in every hold. The format of the program was a little weird, as halfway through all the matches were clipped, which was a bit surprising after seeing so many matches in their entirety. This almost felt like watching the main portion of a DVD and then heading to a bonus disc for the extras. Either way, if you’re in the mood for some classic Bruiser Brody or young Ted Dibiase, you should search the internet for some classic St. Louis.
Big thumbs up!