Tuesday, September 26, 2006

The American Dream: The Dusty Rhodes Story (3-Disc Set)

1. Dusty Rhodes and Dick Murdoch vs. Dick the Bruiser and The Crusher - 6
2. Dusty Rhodes and Dick Murdoch vs. Dick the Bruiser and The Crusher - 5
3. Dusty Rhodes and Dick Murdoch vs. Billy Robinson and Don Muraco - 2 Out of 3 Falls Match - 8
4. Dusty Rhodes and Pak Song vs. Mike Graham and Eddie Graham - 3
5. Dusty Rhodes vs. Terry Funk - 3
6. Dusty Rhodes vs. Harley Race - Lumberjack Match - 3
7. Dusty Rhodes vs. "Superstar" Billy Graham - 7

I think it was just a burst of energy and excitement that led me to grade the first match as highly as I did. I was so eager to watch this massive collection of Dusty footage in one sitting, and nothing was going to deter me. Both matches against Bruiser and Crusher were good, of course, as seeing these four rugged pricks beating the hell out of each other is endlessly entertaining. One of the hidden gems on the entire set is the unbelievably beautiful tag match featuring Billy Robinson (my new wrestling God) and a very young Don Muraco. It’s shot in a dingy TV studio, but these guys give it their all, in a perfectly executed batch of phenomenal professional wrestling. It’s all there, you’ve got great story and psychology, manly mustaches, and Muraco taking a hellish bump against the ring post that’d make Mick Foley piss in his sweatpants. The following tag match isn’t worth noting, but is significant because it’s the bout where Dusty turned into a good guy and became wildly successful, and because Pak Song is referred to as the “Korean from Korea”. Pak looks like Antonio Inoki’s rebellious cousin, who’d never join the other siblings in games of Twister because he was too busy putting an iron claw on the family dog. I was expecting a war between Rhodes and Funk, but it was about as intense as Scott Hall passing gas on Sunny’s face on an international flight. The lumberjack match was ludicrous. The match with Billy Graham in MSG is legendary, as for one of the first times; McMahon featured a star from the south in the main event of one of his shows in New York, and boy, was it ever worth it! These guys tore it up, and had just a fantastic match that the crowd ate up like it was filet mignon.

Disc 2:
1. Dusty Rhodes vs. Stan "The Man" Stasiak - 5
2. Dusty Rhodes vs. Johnny Rodz - 3
3. Dusty Rhodes vs. "Superstar" Billy Graham - Texas Bullrope Match - 4
4. Dusty Rhodes vs. Harley Race - 5
5. Dusty Rhodes vs. Harley Race - 5
6. Dusty Rhodes vs. Tully Blanchard - Cage Match - 7
7. Dusty Rhodes vs. Ric Flair - Cage Match - 8
8. Dusty Rhodes vs. Lex Luger - Cage Match - 7
9. Dusty Rhodes and The Road Warriors vs. The Powers of Pain and Ivan Koloff - Barbed Wire Match - 4
10. Dusty Rhodes vs. Ivan Koloff - 4
11. Dusty Rhodes and Sting vs. Arn Anderson and Tully Blanchard - 6
12. Dusty Rhodes and Sting vs. The Road Warriors - 5

I don’t know exactly why I gave Dusty’s match with Stasiak the score I did, since I currently can’t recall anything from it, but to play it safe, let’s just say I did because Stan “The Man” is that damn consistently super. Rhodes squashes Rodz like he squashed hookers in 46 of the states in the continental United States. Although on the documentary on the DVD, they put over the Texas bullrope rematch with Graham as something special, it fails to live up to the hype or quality of its predecessor. Both matches with Harley Race are really cool, and for separate reasons; the first, in MSG, is a slow paced psychologically-heavy match that’s overwhelmingly orgasmic, and the second, isn’t as good to me personally, but notable as it was the first time Dusty won the NWA championship. I also can’t recall a lot of the cage match with Tully, but I am a sucker for Blanchard, as well as blood, so that justifies the good score it received.

The second cage bout, with legendary Flair, is nearly perfect. I can’t even summarize it, you just simply need to seek it out and add it to your collection, as Farrooq used to say, “by any means necessary!” Hell, Rhodes even carried Luger to a stellar cage match. The six-man barbed wire match was reprehensible, and a big mess; honestly, I only gave it points because seeing one of the Road Warriors wearing a hockey mask made me giggle. Rhodes beats Koloff in perfectly acceptable squash. I really loved the tag match against Arn and Tully, as Dusty and Sting make an interesting team, and all of these guys were so good at what they did during this time. The match with Sting and Dusty versus the Road Warriors wasn’t bad either, but I’d have loved to seen it develop into something much more.

Disc 3:
1. Dusty Rhodes vs. The Honky Tonk Man - 5
2. Dream Team (Dusty Rhodes, Red Rooster, Tito Santana, and Brutus Beefcake) vs. Enforcers (The Honky Tonk Man, Bad News Brown, Big Boss Man and Rick Martel) - Elimination Match - 7
3. Dusty Rhodes and Sapphire vs. "Macho Man" Randy Savage and Queen Sherri - 4
4. Dusty Rhodes and Dustin Rhodes vs. Ted DiBiase and Virgil - 2
5. Dusty Rhodes vs. Steve Corino - Bullrope Match - 1
6. Dusty Rhodes and Dustin Rhodes vs. Ric Flair and Jeff Jarrett - Kiss My Ass Match - 5

Dusty and Honky from Summerslam, we all know it, we all recall it being extraordinarily passable. Next, we go from just tolerable to totally awesome, with a vintage Survivor Series match that was totally better than I could have ever predicted. It’s not noteworthy for breaking any new ground, but everybody worked hard, and delivered. It’s just fun, and harkens back to when this concept actually worked, as today’s Survivor Series shows pale in comparison to the first half-dozen. The mixed tag isn’t very good, but as about as much as you could have hoped for. Savage is always a force to behold, and there’s something morbidly fascinating about watching Sapphire execute the most basic of maneuver. The next tag, featuring Dusty and his deadbeat son Dustin, was just awful. Dustin was greener than George “The Animal” Steele’s tongue. There were a lot of miscues and miscommunications in this retched pile of suck. That leads us to the absolute worst match on the DVD, and one of the shittiest excuses for wrestling I’ve possibly ever encountered. Here we have Corino, who’s supposedly a huge fan of old school wrestling, in there with a legend, and dragging him through a painfully sloppy brawl that’s insulting to everyone involved. I can’t stress enough how bad the finish is, and will go on record right now, and say that it’s one of the all-time worst fucking endings to a match. Dusty tried to tape a cowbell to Corino’s head, does a hideous job, and the referee (who’s supposed to be an unbiased official) has to hold the fucking prop on Corino’s head, so Dusty can elbow it and get his lame spot off. Now, this essentially denies any logic whatsoever, and totally shits on the rules and regulations that the sport is built upon. Just the principle of it kills me… how are you going to have a ref hold a foreign object on one competitor’s head to further his opponent’s attempt at bludgeoning their skull? ECW presented some of the most illogical and irrational wrestling in the history of the sport. Finally, the last match is from Russo-era WCW, which is scary. However, given all the circumstances working against it (Flair wrestling in the same clothes he went shopping at the mall in earlier) it’s still surprisingly decent. Plus, anytime you can get a chance to see someone rub their smelly ass all over Jarrett’s face is totally worth it.

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