The Best of Memphis Wrestling ’86: Volume 8

Mystery Russians, Super heroes, movie monsters, botched promos, and more await!

Bam Bam Bigelow and Larry Sharpe cut a promo. Sharpe rips on Lawler and “The Killer” (Larry Cameron) as Bigelow paces and screams. Awesome. Bigelow is just a raging bull.

Bam Bam Bigelow vs. David Haskins and Larry Santana

Bigelow fends off a brief double team. Santana bumps from a phantom elbow.  Haskins is tossed and Santana is squashed for the win in under a minute.

Fire and Flame vs. “The Mystery Team”

I learned since my last review that there was some angle where Fire and Flame were ordered by Eddie Marlin to face mystery teams each week with their belts on the lines.

Cousin Junior and The Giant Hillbilly come down to Hillbilly Jim’s music. I mark out because I am a dork.  Stan Frazier tries his best to dance. Junior throws his large opponents around with ease. The heels take a breather to regroup. Their new plan is to use a chair to wound Junior.

A four-way skirmish breaks out. Frazier struggles with throwing simple forearms.  He leg drops one of the masked men and that’s enough to win the belts.  The babyface locker room clears out to celebrate. I will always have a soft spot for the hillbillies as they were childhood favorites of mine. I come from farmers and rednecks, don’t judge!

The heels argue they deserve a rematch. Eddie Marlin says they get one match and if they lose, they must unmask.

Lance Russell introduces a fan’s handheld footage of Jerry Lawler facing Bigelow.  Larry Sharpe accidentally hits Bam Bam with a chain. Lawler and Bigelow are both down. Lawler gets to his feet first and is declared the winner.  Sharpe berates his man. He shoves and slaps Bigelow. Bigelow slugs Sharpe, who takes a cartoon bump.  One loss and Sharpe is ready to throw his rookie monster away!??!

Tracy Smothers and Paul Diamond vs. Rough and Ready

R and R are the former “Dirty Black Boys”. Racial sensitivities won out in this case. R and R are seconded by a man named “Boss Winders”, dressed all in white ala Boss Hogg. In other words a guy dressed like a plantation owner is ordering around a couple of black kids.

The faces dominate the job squad with basic moves. Smothers is eye raked, causing him to tag off to Diamond right in front of his opponent. The heel goes ahead and tries a backdrop anyway, so Smothers just shoves him on his ass. That was fun. Diamond wins via dropkick in short order.

Akio Sato and Tarzan Goto vs. Bear Thompson and Van Van Horn

Van Van Horn is wearing his “Beach Boys” gimmick shorts. No idea where his partner Johnnie Stewart is. Bear is a fat black dude. The heels win quickly with some “karate” and a knee drop.  Nothing notable here.

We see clips of Jeff Jarrett and Pat Tanaka battering Goto and Sato with boards and sticks on two recent occasions.

Jeff Jarrett and Pat Tanaka vs. Fire and Flame

The heels switch off, but neither can find much success against the babyfaces. They switch out with their 3rd man (the Torch), but still fail to gain any traction. Jarrett hits a nice dropkick and the heels switch around again.  The heels accidentally collide because they are cheating buffoons.

The evil trio finally get their act together and begin to work over Jarrett. Tanaka tags in, and has a moment of success before Sato and Goto charge in with boards and beat the faces down. The Hillbillies run down to make the save. Jarrett chucks a chair at the heels as they try and run off.  That was a very real looking reaction from Double J. Jarrett wants to fight, but no dice.

We come back from commercial with the heels back at ringside and the faces in the ring. Sato and Goto run off when charged at. We get a stand off that lasts several minutes before Sato, Goto and the Hillbillies leave and the previous match begins a second round.

Tanaka is pounded on as the heels switcheroo tricks have left them fresher. Jarrett watches helplessly as his partner is mauled. Sato and Goto reappear at the entryway of the studio. Jarrett tags in, but fails to make a dent in the heel’s control. One of the masked goons uses a variety of suplexes on his foe. Jarrett is small enough to be a fine pivot man for such moves.

Sato and Goto are shown with boards. The Hillbillies are hiding in another corner, watching their buddies’ back.  Jarrett is battered on the floor by two of the masked men, while a 3rd one remains in the ring. The ref is in the middle of all this, and still doesn’t bother calling a DQ. Things plod along until time expires. Jarrett clears the ring to end the segment. I can’t decide between meh and blah to describe that second act.

Jerry Lawler vs. Nikita Mulkovich

“Nikita Mulkovich” was an alternative gimmick for Nikita Kalmikoff, perhaps most famous for his days as a AWA tag worker in the 60’s. This guy is a bald jobber. I assume the name is a rib or a nod to the past worker.  Anyway, the commie attacks Lawler, so the King drops the strap, unleashes a series of punches, then finishes with a fist drop in under 30 seconds. Well, the King isn’t paid by the hour.

There is nothing online I can find offhand on who this “Russian” geek was.

We see a Lawler music video, with the music overdubbed. Among the clips shown are Lawler with Adam West dressed as Batman, Lawler with Spiderman, and Lawler exposing “Dr. Frank” the monster in a box.  Jim Cornette just recently told a story about that angle.  Dr. Frank was supposed to be a mystery man who dressed up like a monster, not an actual monster (because wrestling is REAL).  Before he could be revealed, a legit bomb threat was called in to the studio, so everyone but Lance Russell, Lawler and Dr. Frank evacuated. Lawler did a live promo to cover the time it took the police to search for a bomb.  No one bothered to warn Dr. Frank, who remained stuck in the box during the ordeal.

Fred Ottman aka Tugboat makes his debut as “Big Bubba”.  Ottman looks almost in shape here, with his belly being way under control, and his look being more like a powerlifter than the fat klutz he would become. The promo only lasts 30 seconds, but Ottman botches just about every sentence he tries to speak. I love a good train wreck.

Big Bubba vs. David Haskins

Bubba can’t be budged. He chucks Haskins across the ring twice, then crashes down with a few leg drops to assert dominance. A splash ends this squash with little trouble for Big Bubba. I want to see Bubba face Stan Frazier!  Botchamania!

They show a “Boy Tony” promo.  He cuts a promo, but he has some sort of licensed music in the background, so the modern Prime producers try and drown it out with their generic music, but the real music is still audible. So there are two songs blasting while Boy Tony is trying to speak, so he can’t really be heard.  He speaks on knowing Boy George, and uses some of Andy Kaufman’s old lines about teaching the Memphis hicks about hygiene. Dear god the editing made this almost unbearable. Did the guy editing this not care about what a mess he left this segment?  Just throw in a different bit if you can’t work around copyrighted music properly!

Final thoughts: Nothing was particularly special here, but it was a fine hour of wrasslin’.




Written by Andrew Lutzke

The grumpy old man of, lover of wrasslin' and true crimes.