Olde Timey #3
Again, it's Phoebus Apollo for another Olde Timey Tape Review. I'm here to dig up some classic footage, and review the footage for you from a virgin perspective. Maybe this will give you a glimpse of the world you missed because, well, you weren't even born yet! If the tape in question doesn't have a greenish-grey blurry tint to it, and cobwebs litering the casing, it's still not ripe for the plucking for this reviewer! These archives show a time when wrestling was pure, and shoot-fighting needed no angles... they are from a time when wrestling matches where long and drawn out and the ring was made of spandex laced with twine due to low production values.
It was a better time. (Or so they tell me.)
Now, today's tape is kinda uneventful, but there are a few gems. It only has two matches, one of which is drawn out after what seems like at least 3 finishes. Overall, the second match pulled the first, making the whole thing worth my while. This broadcast was a part of Classic Pro Wrestling on the ESPN "Classics" channel, as a reminder, if you get that channel you can catch it on every Saturday morning at 7 AM EST.
The following report is play-by-play commentary, I call it as I see it, and the only further editing is basic spellchecking and loose ends. I try to keep the impression as close to live and simple as I can as not to taint the broadcast's -perfectly settled fermentation. Without further ado, let's get on with the "action"...
Sky High Lee and Rudy Kay vs. the Shiek of Arabi (not the Iron Shiek) and Reggy Lisowski. Now, we are thrust into the footage, so it's quite hard to tell what's going on, but this tape is OLD. This is "apt to be a donnybrook", as the announcer states. Now, the Shiek is arab but Reggy is star spangled and bannered, so it looks like a very odd combination. Reggy must have went traitor angle as he got crowd heat when he was announced. Reggy starts and locks up with Rudy. They go up against the ropes, fight a little, and Shiek interferes. The Shiek has a foreign object but the ref is keeping that in check as Reggy beats down Rudy and gets him in a headlock. They plod around and Reggy tags in the Shiek. The Shiek locks it up and goes after Rudy with a few good punches, Reggy gets tagged in, just after Rudy nearly socks the ref by accident, who was getting in the way. Nearly, but he stopped himself. Off the rope goes the Shiek, who got tagged back in, and on his return he gets knocked down by Rudy who then takes out some aggression on poor ol' Shieky. Reggy gets tagged in, and a beat-down Rudy tries to get the tag but doesn't quite make it as Reggy is holding him back with a headlock and we go to commercial break.
Commercial break mid-match? Err... okay. Either way, this footage is very old. It's not even color. It looks 60's-50's (only a guess). Although, that's just speculation, it might not be all that old, they may just have had a horrible ring and camera.
And we're back to the match. Rudy fights off Reggy, gets a couple of good rights and hammers him into his corner. Sky High gets tagged in, and immediately goes for a sound headlock. Reggy gets a far stretch to the corner for the tag, and Shiek comes in, but Sky High pounds him. Sky High looks like a taller wrestler, and probably will be a little dominant. Reggy gets tagged in and beats down Sky High and puts him in a headlock. Sky High powers out and starts socking him left and right, but he gets within grabbing distance of the Shiek and the Shiek bites him in the corner. The Shiek chokes Sky High, Reggy interferes, and the Shiek beats on him more. Sky High makes a big grasp for Reggy, the Shiek chokes him some more, and Reggy is in with Sky High. Bearhug on Reggy by the larger Sky High, and Reggy is immobilized. One punch by Rudy and it's off to commercial in mid-match, still.
Commercial break, again? This match isn't very fast paced, let me tell you.
We're back with Reggy choking out Sky High, but Sky High walks back with a intimidating wide puffed up look. Okay. He comes down, grabs Reggy, and puts him into another bear hug. The Shiek gets tagged in by an outreaching Reggy, but Sky High gets the bear hug on him. A sock to the gut keeps the Shiek submissive, but the Shiek is getting out of the hold. He pushes up on the chin of Sky High, and pulls him down to the mat. 2 count, rope break, 2 count, rope break, and Reggy inteferes by grabbing the foot of Sky High. Reggy gets tagged in, puts on a choke hold, pins Sky High to the floor with it, 2 count, 2 count, 1 count, 1 count, Sky High gets back up, Reggy applies the pressure again, and the announcer gives us his doofy impression of a big oaf, as if we care. The Shiek pounds on Sky High some more, but Sky High gets back out. The Shiek pulls over Sky High for a roll-up, but Sky High quickly reverses it into a odd grip on the mat. This just plain looks funny to see. Weird.
And dull. But I digress, he holds the Shiek down there, Shiek reverses, Sky High makes the tag and Rudy comes in and gets a armdrag takeover followed by a armbar on the Shiek on the mat. Rudy is looking good here, adds a elbow to the braced arm, and continues holding it. Ouch! The Shiek was starting to get up, and the armbar was still on, and Rudy just busted him with a vicious elbow to the left shoulder of the Shiek, thrusting him back down on the mat.
And another commercial. Hmph.
We're back with the Shiek getting on top of Rudy with another variant of an armbar, the Shiek tags out to Reggy, but Rudy was paying attention and drove Reggy down. Rudy gets Reggy's leg in a simple leglock, and we've hit the 20 minute time limit. The match still goes on. The leglock is still on, and Rudy gives a little added pressure. Reggy tries to break the hold but cannot, left essentially to lie there. Rudy applies a little more pressure, moves around so he can put more weight on the hold, and Reggy tries to get out. Rudy gets another one of those elbows, this time to the gut, and Rudy stands up to put a more advanced leglock on. Reggy is squeeling, but the Shiek outreached and grabbed Rudy, interfering with the hold. Rudy socks the Shiek, but Reggy takes advantage and throws Rudy around the ring like a rag doll. The Shiek gets in and thrusts Rudy in the ropes, but the top ropes bust up. What shoddy ringwork. Rudy is down on the ground, he "could be knocked out colder than a barn door", says our thickheaded and suspiciously unthrilled announcer.
Rudy gathers his bearings as the ref holds up the match due to the ring problem, and the Shiek goes right back to it with a nice submission hold, finishing the match. I think this was going to go differently, but the accident with the ring probably was what called for the Shiek's quick finish. His finishing hold, by the way, was him putting his foot on the small of Rudy's back, and grabbing up both legs. Imagine Chris Jericho's "Walls of Jericho", except standing opposite (facing forward while holding the legs) and placing your right foot on the small of the back of the opponent. That's about it there. The announcer didn't know the name of the finishing hold, but he says "it's probably Arabic something-or-other", reflecting my sentiment perfectly, as I was a little underwhelmed by this match, and we're already half-way through this show.
Commercial break, and we're back. Oh, we're still at the scene of the match, Sky High is approaching the Shiek and gets him in a bear hug. Reggy gets a leglock on Sky High, and I'm wondering why the match is still going on. Oh well, maybe it was elimination or whatnot. Maybe not. I don't know. Either way, Reggy applies more pressure as he stands with his left leg on a instep applying downward pressure on Sky High's left leg. Sky High gets up but is taken down and put into the same standing leglock. I need to bone up on my known movesets if I want to record these old age battles. I'm at a loss for words. Everything is a "lock", I guess.
Reggy takes down Sky High and puts the same standing leglock on him. The Shiek rushes in, replacing Reggy, and takes Sky High down applying the same leglock on Sky High that he had on Rudy earlier. The Shiek leans down on the leg, and Sky High resists, wrapping his long legs around the Shiek. It does no good as the Shiek starts dragging towards the corner where Reggy awai... ugh, damn. Commercial, again, with no warning. I thought Rudy submitted, so I don't know why this match still continues.
This was obviously in the days of long matches, as this match is just drawwwwwwwwwwnnnn out. I'm definitely not impressed by it, but now I'm a little interested to see who finally wins after this long match. With so little movement in the ring, instead concentrating on mat work, it makes the whole contest seem more a matter of basic wrestling only twice as slow. This is the wrestling we overdramatize now because we realized this style of wrestling was far too boring without such dramatization. Anyways, we come back, the Shiek is tagged in and puts on another leglock on Sky High. Reggy tags in, works the leg of Sky High, and pulls him back down to the mat. Rudy gets the tag in, and holds up Reggy for Sky High to sock down to the mat. 2 count, but a strong pushout from Reggy. They roll around a few times, exchange 2 count pins, and the 30 minutes announcement is called. Rudy socks the Shiek, and the two square off, waiting for the right moment to go in. The crowd boos at the Shiek and the Shiek goes in, pushes Rudy in the corner, and socks him twice in the back with big blows. Rudy grabs the Shiek, slams him in the corner, and suplexes him thrice on this elastic trampoline-like mat. The 1, 2, 3 and Rudy Kay and Sky High Lee win.
After more than 30 minutes. Wow. Not a bad match, taking in context, but not worth that much air time. Of course, this film looks like it was in a age where any sport was a treat to watch.
We're back. Huh?! It's Sky High and Reggy facing off again. OH, maybe this is a 3 falls deal. Hmm. Anyways, here we go, again. Sky High overwhelms Reggy by shoving him back into the corner, and Sky High puts Reggy in a headlock, torquing it back. Reggy's face meets Sky High's knee, twice, in two facebusters, and the announcer gives us another lame "big oaf" impersonation. Reggy works his way up against Sky High, pounds on him, the ref breaks it up in the corner, and they go back at it. Reggy gets in the face of Sky High with his hands, gets back, and slams Sky High hard into the ropes... and the ropes bust again! Reggy starts choking Sky High with the ropes to no end, and Sky High is sorta pinned in there now. Rudy gets hit accidentally by Sky High, who makes a off-swing to nowhere, and the ref announces that both teams are disqualified.
Disqualified. No decision. All this for... disqualified? The damn ring fell apart after a few slams in the corner. What is up with the people who made this ring? What are these guys thinking wrestling in such a shoddy contraption? A death-pit trampoline whose ropes tear away at a mere bounce.
Oh, now who is this? It's a pretty boy character, bowing for the audience. Ricki Star, a ballerina?! That's what it looks like, he's loosening up like he was doing the nutcracker suite tomorrow in the school play. Frank Fozo vs. Ricki Star. Not a bad demeanor around Ricki Star. He is a ballerina-turned-wrestler? Wow. Star takes a cocky approach, Fozo tells him to get the match underway as he just sits there, more or less with the motion of "look but don't touch", gesturing that Star is just that good. I like this character. Now he feigns around the ring like a pretty boy, and, mockingly, prances around the ring! Good lord! Haha! The ref holds Fozo back as Star struts up and slaps him! Ha! Star kinda runs around the ring, dances, and gets on his hands and feet and creeps around the ring, in a series of weird and exhuberating movements. This is really weird, I gotta tell you. Star prances around, Ricky gets Star in a headlock, and Star socks Fozo, waving around his hand like it's sore from the punch. Star takes down Fozo then runs up and in a fury of girly slaps fends off Fozo! Good lord, that's the most hilarious thing I've seen!
We return from a short commercial break to Star still playing up his goofy and prissy in-ring stylings. Star gets Fozo on the mat, and slaps Fozo around, while retreating to the opposite corner and pointing at Fozo like a mother telling off her children. Fozo puts Star down, Star leaps up on Fozo's back, mounting him and riding him like a horse, controlling Fozo's movements by prying open his mouth. Star gets Fozo down in a leglock and spanks him! He spanks him! The crowd is in tears. Star dances around, grabs Fozo by the midsection, and holds him back against the ropes. Star gets tossed into the rings and comes back with a little jig, and the crowd pops. Star gets Fozo down with a leglock, and this man's gestures are like none I have seen before. Ouch, I say, as Star gets a grip on Fozo's head with some nasty headscissors. Then, he steps on a downed Fozo and wiggles his hips! Ha!
Star flys off the ropes and gracefully lands in Fozo's arms, taking him down. He gets Fozo up ready to bodyslam him, but Fozo falls over on top of him before he can follow-through, and in turn Star reverses the hold with his nimble movements. Star gets thrust into the ring, Fozo hits him with a knee. Star fights back, bounces off the ropes, does a straight standing series of 2-3 flips in the ring ending on a jump kick, pins for a 3 count, and goes up for a slap, but Star holds back as he pulls back, kisses, and bows to the crowd. Then, in a burst of speed and agility, Star tiptoes in a fast pace darting in on Fozo for one final slap, and as Star beats the retreat Fozo just sorta sits in bewilderment and frustration, and the match ends with a gleeful Star running clear out of the ring with his hands feigning and flaying about like a girl.
I've never seen such a thing. That's a great gimmick lost in the annals of history, I tell ya.
And that's the end of today's tape review.
Overall, not great, but Ricki Star's match made it all worthwhile. I've not got a lot more to say about it, this tape was just plain too old for it to leave much trivia a young'un like myself can attribute to it.
I'll try to get Xavier to post the feedback from this commentary along with his normal mailbag post. I'm looking for some stories and whatnot from you old fogeys so I can post some memories with the mailbag, so if you remember these days of yore, maybe you actually know who Sky High Lee is, speak on up! Just don't speak too loudly, or your dentures might fly out of your mouth!