Dory's rep has always been as a technical worker who is world class on the mat. While he's been in some great matches so far, the best performances have been in heated brawls. We've only glimpsed Dory's technical prowess against Horst Hoffman. Because I find Inoki so deathly dull, I can't face the prospect of that hour-long today, but I do want to see some more "technical Dory". I thought, well, who better to see him with than Billy Robinson? The following three matches were among the most difficult to find of all the matches I've tracked down for this. And thanks to those who helped me out in finding them.Dory Funk Jr and Terry Funk vs. Billy Robinson and Horst Hoffman (12/06/77)
This one has no sound for the first minute or so. You can find it here
. This is from the 1977 RWTL in All Japan. Hoffman and Robinson are a bit of a European dreamteam. Terry has a very short buzz cut here and doesn't quite look like himself.
First ten minutes feature some neat chain wrestling between Dory and Hoffman based around various headlock reversals. Robinson then takes over with a head scissors, which Dory tries to headstand his way out of. Bit dry so far.
Terry tags in and gets an atomic drop on Robinson. Robinson takes things back to the mat with a headlock and eventually hits what is basically a Stone Cold Stunner before tagging Hoffman in. Hoffman works on Terry's arm now. The phrase "he's twisting him like a pretzel" comes to mind. Funny moment now when Terry deadlifts Hoffman while still in the arm hold and deposits him in the Funks' corner to tag out. Dory comes in and Hoffman gives Terry this slow double take, quite funny and surreal. Armdrag by Dory. Cool suplex thing by Hoffman. Robinson back in. He works Dory's arm a bit but then takes a randomly massive bump all the way to the outside after Dory elbows him. He sold that like Curt Hennig! Bearhug by Dory now. Terry takes over. Eventually Robinson gets in a belly-to-belly suplex to break it, but Terry goes right back to it. Tags in Dory who takes over and dumps him in the turnbuckle. Here come some uppercuts. But it's back to that bearhug. We get a shot of the young Jumbo Tsururta in the crowd studying the competition. Quite cool. Double forearm smash by the funks now and Terry tries to turn Robinson over for a Boston crab. Obvious point but it's good psychology to follow up an extended bearhug with a Boston crab. They've been focusing on Robinson's back for about 10 minutes now. Terry rocks back and forth on this Boston crab. A lot of men would have submitted by now. Terry turns it back over for a pin attempt then tags in Dory. Hoffman is getting a bit pissed off on the apron now. Dory turns Robinson over for another Boston crab but Robinson powers out. But Dory goes right back to it and gets the full crab again. He bounces on the small of Robinson's back, then pulls it back and twists him before Robinson powers out again. Dory runs over to prevent the tag and brings Terry back in. Robinson eventually gets to tag out and Hoffman is hot. Terry ends up bailing. Back in and he's ready to fight. Hoffman tags out. Now I don't understand that at all, Robinson had taken almost twenty minutes of punishment and he's tagging back in?
Robinson absolutely levels Terry with a loud smacking elbow and Terry seems to shout "you fucking bitch" at him, or words to that effect. Test of strength spot now. Crowd seem distracted by something, which sometimes seems to happen on these All Japan shows. Terry goes for the spinning toehold and Robinson quickly scarpers. Dory back in. Hoffman back in. Headlock takeover by Hoffman. Dory counters the headlock with a shinbreaker. Standing leglock. Terry takes over on it. Dory back in. Double falling leglock! They are clearly setting Hoffman up for the spinning toe hold. But Hoffman is back to come back with a surfboard thingy. Full nelson! Don't seem to see that very often. Hoffman gets Dory in a pinning predicament. Again something during this gets the crowd laughing. Snapmare by Hoffman and a very nasty kneesnap to Dory's head. Robinson in. Backbreaker! Tombstone piledriver!! Couple of uppercuts before Dory flips him out of the ring. Terry decides he wants to give Robinson a little helping hand to get back in the ring and they brawl outside. Back in and Robinson gets an abdominal stretch on Terry. Things threaten to boil over now but don't quite and both guys tag out.
Dory gives Hoffman a couple of reverse knife edges and goes for the big butterfly suplex. Hoffman struggles. It would be lovely for something to happen. Robinson comes back in and does a series of headscissor takeovers. Hoffman come back in with uppercuts and a side salto. Terry in and it's a slugfest. Hoffman does some nasty shots on Terry while holding back his arm now and Robinson comes in to hit a butterfly suplex. Hoffman is busting out some stiff chops now. Terry is spagghetti legged. Gets the tag though and Dory hits a back suplex on Robinson. Uppercuts now. Forearm smash. Spinning toehold! Spinning toehold! The bell goes for a 45-minute time-limit draw. Dory shakes hands with Robinson and Hoffman, but there's a standoff between Terry and Robinson. Will they shake hands? They do.
I have to say that this was pretty boring for the most part. Almost an hour and the matwork surprisingly lacked intensity or brutality. I was disappointed by the Europeans here who were not as stiff as I would have hoped. While the psychology was good in parts, the matwork was flatout boring at times just eating up clock. When the high spots do come, for whatever reason, the don't feel very special either. Crowd was mostly sitting on their hands too. Match felt like it drifted at times, expected more from these two teams.
**1/2Dory Funk Jr and Terry Funk vs. Billy Robinson and Les Thornton (12/01/1980)
This has now been kindly uploaded to youtube by someone. It's from the 1980 RWTL in AJPW.
Funks start out with Thornton and neither of them seem to be in the mood for matwork. Forearm smash by Dory. Piledriver by Terry. Robinson tags in and immediately nails Terry with a Rick Rude neckbreaker and a big uppercut. Thornton back in with an uppercut. Scoop-slam suplex (???) by Thornton. He gets Terry in a chinlock now and pounds on his head while doing it. Robinson in: butterfly suplex! Uppercut and Terry is noodle-legged. Dory tags in and calms his brother down. Running forearm smash by Dory. He goes for the spinning toehold and Robinson bails! Terry goes out after him and they brawl outside. All four men brawl and they pull apart.
Back in the ring and it's Terry vs. Robinson to start, but Dory seems to want to go and Terry tags out. This really pisses Robinson off who swings at Terry at the apron, who in turn gets really pissed off himself. Another big stand off. Finally it's Dory vs. Robinson, but Robinson is distracted by Terry on the apron. Big backbreaker by Robinson! Two uppercuts. Dory comesback with a backdrop to reverse a piledriver attempt. Full bridge up to come back to a vertical base, and again. Oh! It seems like Dory pinned Robinson on the second bridge up. He's not happy! Terry jumps up and down in victory rather childishly to rub it in.
Well, well, forget about technical wrestling! This was a really fun 10-minute sprint and bomb-throwing contest worked at a good pace. It was really Terry who made this match though, his constant goading of Robinson made for a very entertaining encounter. Very fun.
***1/2Dory Funk Jr vs. Billy Robinson (03/07/82)
This match took place in Charlotte for Mid-Atlantic but on Baba's TV and seems to have been a whole card co-promoted by JCP and AJPW. Many listings have it down as being on MACW TV but as far as I know it only aired in Japan and it is on one of the old G+ classics (#41), but you can also find it here
. Mr Charisma Jim Crockett Jr himself is here to introduce the match to the crowd. As far as I know this is the only Dory vs. Robinson match that exists on tape. It's for Dory's NWA International title.
As things start Robinson does the massive oversell on Dory's elbow again and goes tumbling out of the ring to the floor. He almost lands on a guy in the crowd and threatens to punch him, which gets some good heel heat. Robinson looks like a great heel with that moustache! Full nelson by Robinson. He has this applied for some time. Dory struggles and gets a snapmare for his troubles, then a swinging neckbreaker. Robinson is doing a good job playing to the crowd and heeling in this match, he's jawing with them and playing up. Cheeky slap on Dory, who slaps him back and gets in an armdrag into an arm bar. There's a shot of the crowd and a guy looks like a fat, bloated William Shatner. Wristlock by Dory. This is more like the matwork I'd want to see from him. Robinson kips up but Dory shoves him back down controlling that wrist.
Random aside: every time I see Robinson with the tash, he reminds me of The Bloodbottler from the film version of Roald Dahl's BFG.
Fairplay, Robinson seems intent to work this at a fast pace. He's been very agile and sudden with his movements in the counters. He targets Dory's back with a few stiff shots now. Dory comes back with uppercuts and a Boston Crab. Fifteen minutes gone and this has been a good match so far.
Backbreaker by Robinson. Goes for a Boston Crab himself but Dory twists and powers out. Abdominal stretch by Robinson. Somehow Dory reverses it. Both men tumble out of the ring. Back in and Dory hits his big uppercuts a few times. Robinson comes back with a forearm. Dory goes to an arm lock now which somewhat takes the life out of the match when it seemed to be picking up. Robinson comes back and targets the leg. Some stiff shots while he's doing so. Dory reverses this leglock and Robinson screams out in pain. Forearms and elbows everywhere now. Butterfly suplex by Robinson! That gets two. Gutwrench suplex by Robinson! Barely a one count. Spinning toe hold! Spinning toe hold! Has Dory got this? No, Robinson gets an inside cradle. Backbreaker! But Robinson hurts his own knee. Another spinning toehold attempt. ... Holy shit!! There's a cut to the crowd and ...
WHAT IS THAT? Ha ha ha ha. It's Tweedle Dum from Alice in Wonderland.
Series of nearfalls now and the bell goes for a 30-minute time-limit draw.
This was one of the better Dory singles matches I've seen, but in truth it was the Billy Robinson show. I don't think Dory is particularly compelling on the mat working a hold, he's better working counter sequences. Robinson was terrific in this match from start to finish, and those considering him for their GOAT lists should definitely give it a watch. Not the greatest advert for Dory, but he did hang in there. He might have been a bit more emotive when selling -- he was really shown up by Robinson's screams of pain here. Despite this being 30 minutes, Robinson insisted on keeping it moving. He was definitely on for this one.