Southwest Championship Wrestling: Best Of The 80s Volume 1 (DVD Review)
Rated: UR/Region: 0/1:33/Number of disc: 1
Available from JADAT Sports
19 big matches! Over two hours of matches and extras! The best of the best when it comes to 80s wrestling. Check out Bruiser Brody, Stan Hansen, Shawn Michaels, Abdullah the Butcher and more in their prime!
Seeing as how I am just as big of a Pro Wrestling fan as I am a horror fan, I was pleased when the chance for me to review a wrestling title came up. Turns out the fine folks over at MVD have a few wrestling titles under their belt and this is one of them. This takes us to the 80s when Hulk Hogan and the Rock n Wrestling era was making wrestling main stream, only this isn’t the then WWF, this is SouthWest Championship Wrestling. Think of it like an indie of today, but back then this was simply one of many territories in the United States. Now, I’m not Dave Meltzer, but I will be going match by match here with my Flair rating system (5 is perfect just like with movies) and giving you some info on the match, even if I’m not going to go play by-play for the matches. With that being said, here we go…
And we open up the disc possibly in someone’s basement! This being a budget wrestling disc you never can be too sure of these things. Our host is former wrestler, Rock Parsons. I’m sad to say in all my years of inhaling all the wrestling I can find, I don’t think I’ve ever heard of him. He’s joined by a man I’ve heard a lot about, Ox Baker. OX is bringing the comedy in this odd duo and I would be lying if I didn’t mention that at times Rock seems a little frustrated with Ox as Ox seems to have no off switch.
Tiger Conway Jr. vs Ali Bey The Turk
Didn’t know of these two before this match, but both are “workers” and there is more to this one than just kicking and punching. Tiger even proves to be before his time with dives to the outside of the ring! The thing is sadly too short to really get cooking, but the match was fun for what it was and as short as it was.
Leading into our next match, our duo of Rock and Ox get Tugboat/Typhoon (Here known as The Terminator) confused with The Big Bossman, talking about how he died young, when the man who would go on to The Shockmaster is very much alive..Doh!
The Terminator vs Tug Taylor
Squash city here as Terminator (Typhoon) is basically just have a short match to build himself up. The match is short and very ugly, but if nothing else you will notice that a young Typhoon was pretty jacked back in the day before he got to the WWF and ballooned up. Funny part of the match is how the announcer has no idea what Terminator’s finishing move is called.
Ox is back trying to shill his cookbook! He also still thinks that The Terminator is The Big Bossman and still think he’s dead, when he isn’t. Things get even funnier when leading into the next match pitting Wahoo McDaniel against a very young Atsushi Onita, they mistakenly call Onita Mr.Fugi, but say he’s not THAT Mr. Fugi. I also don’t think he was ever called Mr. Fugi honestly.
Wahoo McDaniel vs Atsushi Onita
Either way, McDaniel is a legend in American wrestling and Onita would go on to become a legend in Japan, especially in FMW and in death matches. Here, he actually shows he can wrestle as he and McDaniel have a really good, but too damn short match. If you grew up like me seeing Onita covered in blood and being blown up by explosives in Japan, it is very strange seeing him have a good technical match here. This would have been great with more time.
Ox is still shilling his book.
Shawn Michaels vs Ken Johnson
Here we have a more modern legend in the Heartbreak Kid Shawn Michaels, but this is even before The Rockers as he’s only 18 here. Either way, we can see shades of what Shawn would become, busting out some awesome for their time moves and it is clear Johnson is here to make him look good and to his credit he does a fine job. Only negative side to this is the awful color commentator calling the match.
“Maniac” Mark Lewin vs Henry Garcia
Well if it isn’t The Purple Haze Mark Lewin! Lewin always played a crazy gimmick and that is in full force here, as this was mostly just an angle instead of a match, with them just showing how crazy Lewin is before a later bout with Bruiser Brody. Lewin beats the mess out of Lewin with Garcia getting little in before Lewin bloodies up the ref and people spill out to break it up. Like I said, it is a short angle more than anything else.
Ox talks about how most refs are just guys who couldn’t make it as wrestler. He isn’t NOT telling the truth here.
The Mongolian Stomper (w/ Don Carson) vs Frank Monte
More squash on our plates here! This basically just shows us how nuts the Stomper character was. Which he was a character and a creepy one that even I can remember watching in some local Tennesee feds heading into the 90s. There is a little wrestling but a lot of butt kicking from Stomper here. The funny part is at the end when an obvious plant, who they are playing off as a fan, enters the ring and gets beat up by Stomper.
We are leading into a mixed tag match with midgets! This bring an awkward moment when one of the matches participants, Tom Jones, who just so happens to be black, is called one of the best “coloreds” by Ox..Oh boy!
Billy the Kid and Killer Brooks vs Tom Jones and Lone Eagle
This one isn’t that bad as our little guys know their role and the big guys know theirs as well. Jones is a good worker and he holds this one together, as we even get a little comedy from the little guys! One of the better matches on the set so far.
Bobby Jaggers and Luke Williams vs Sweet Brown Sugar and Bob Sweetan
This one is a longer match, but it is mostly just here to tell a story. Basically, Luke Williams is better known as Cousin Luke of the loveable Bushwackers, but this was before that when they were the evil Sheepherders. Butch isn’t here, so Luke teams with Jaggers and all sorts of miscommunications happens. The match is a little dull for the length, but like I said it was more for the story than anything else.
Ox is trying to solve an Rubik’s Cube here now.
The Sheepherders (The Bushwhackers) vs Bo Beck and Tony Faulk
This was just a match to show us how the soon to be Bushwhackers use to be! The young guys get some stuff in, but mostly Luke and Butch beat the stuffing out of them while Joe Blanchard (Daddy of Tully Blanchard) stands around outside jawing with them. Nothing pretty here, but you can get the point.
More Ox and More cookbook! We do learn that Ox and The Stomper invented the stretcher match!
“Mad Dog” Buzz Sawyer vs “Wildfire” Tommy Rich (Special ref Lou Thez/No DQ Match)
Here’s a blue print for what would be ECW m.o. later on, as we got the original Doink, Buzz Sawyer going at it with former NWA World Champion Tommy Rich. These two has one of the bloodiest feuds you’ll ever heard about in the 80s and this match here shows why. Now, spoilers aside, we don’t see the finish of this match as the TV time limit expires before the match ends. That never happens today, but it did happen a lot back in the 80s. That was apparently the point of the match being on here, but the lack of finish hurts the match here.
Ricky Morton and El Santo Negro vs The Grapplers (w/ Don Carson)
Nice little tag match here, as Morton is here before his more known Rock n Roll Express days. He’s one half of the tag champs here, but his partner is hurt so while unable to defend the titles against those nasty masked men, The Grapplers, he gets his own masked man in El Santo Negro and they have a pretty good paces tag match. However, like most matches here, things end up a bit on the short side.
This takes us to the Bruiser Brody music video that I thought was an extra? After that we have an interview with the AWA World Champion Nick Bockwinkle! There was a classy champion for ya. This of course is an angle to get Nick in the ring with Manny Fernandez. Apparently Nick was signed to face a young Terry Allen (Magnum T.A.) but after trash talking the competition, Fernandez steps in and that match is next!
Nick Bockwinkle vs “The Raging Bull” Many Fernandez
This one is kind of short, but it is a Bockwinkle match so you can expect it to be good! It starts slow, but builds to a hot finish. These types of matches happened all the time as World Champions like Bockwinkle would leave their home promotions to go and make the stars of the regional areas look good and build to later matches. This was a perfect example of just that.
Rock and Ox have had a change of clothes! They are, however, in the same basement.
Abdullah the Butcher ( w/ The Sheepherders (The Bushwhackers)) vs Bobby Jaggers
If you’ve seen one Abdullah match you have seen them all! Basically it is classic Abdullah with him stabbing at Jaggers head, which leads to lots of blood. This of course goes on, but ends up with Carlos Calon, Abdullah’s greatest rival out for a cameo! This one was more angle than anything else.
Dick Slater and Bruiser Brody vs Bobby Sweetan and Jim Dugan
Here’s a brawl to wrap up all the matches on the disc! Slater is of course known for having the name “Dirty Dick”, which probably didn’t mean back then what comes to mind when you hear it now. This was actually before Dugan became the flag-waving good guy we know him for being later. This tag has the stip that if Slater and Brody win, they get the manager of Sweetan and Dugan alone for a few minutes, which was big for the time. This things works as a brawl and bigger angle to lead to something later, but not much else.
– Previously unseen Bruiser Brody music video!