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Tommy Rich vs. Buzz Sawyer (GCW Last Battle of Atlanta 10/23/83)

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#1 soup23

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Posted 06 September 2016 - 08:16 AM

This was worth the wait for me. Buzz starts out going after the hand and in a great move Rich gets a glimpse of offense in using his leg. Buzz remains on the attack and Rich is bloodied three minutes in. He really is a bloody mess and only gets some offense in on a low blow. The cage gets introduced and the blood continues to pour as this match reaches that visceral level where you can feel the hatred of both men. Tremendous punches are shown by Rich. Buzz is presented as a great heel that is resourceful and able to capitalize even when overwhelmed. His piledrivers were tremendous and utilized to allow him to take advantage. Rich's head is a complete reddish hue halfway through the match. Buzz misses a big elbow drop and the crowd comes alive. Rich cant get up and is fighting laying down with kicks and the punches on the ground showing both the fatigue of the beating and the fighting nature of Wildfire. A great exchange happens with both men just waylaying into each other with stiff shots that Rich takes the advantage on. Rich then bites Buzz. Rich misses a fist drop from the top rope and the damage that was worked on in the onset by Buzz on the fist and arm is worse now. Buzz misses a wild splash into the corner to a huge pop. Rich's selling off the blood loss is next level with him wobbling after performing each move. Rich sends Buzz wobbly into the cage and is able to cover him to pick up the win. Buzz is a complete bloody mess as well and has to be consoled by Ellering after the match. Finish may be slightly anticlimactic but strike exchange leading up to it with both bloody is something to behold and even at 12 minutes, this felt like the perfect length. I compare it to something like Necro vs. Joe. *****


As an added bonus we get Ole going after Ellering and get the main event of the show. Ole is in his jeans and boots and rips them going after Paul. Paul had a bandage in the hype for this show and that gets opened up and the blood is flowing again. The match is all Ole on offense until Paul gets an inverted atomic drop.  Ole gets sent into the cage and is cut open along with everyone else.  Crowd rallies around Ole now that he is in peril.  Ole makes his comeback with his clubbering forearms and we get a good strike exchange before Ole just tackles Paul down.  Ole sends Paul head first into the cage and then hits a stomp off the middle rope. In a surprise, Paul reverses the tide again sending Ole head first into the cage. Ole fires back and we get another great strike exchange with Ole getting the knockout blow and winning. Closing angle finishes with Jake Roberts coming and whipping Ole with his belt and leaving him a bloody mess in the cage. This portion is really fun but it also shows the difference in intensity that we just watched with Buzz and Rich and the fact that in Georgia at this moment, Rich had more heat with the crowd than anyone including Ole. This felt like a way to shoe horn Ole in as the closing moment of the night. 

#2 bradhindsight

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Posted 06 September 2016 - 09:00 AM

An all-time performance by both guys. I want to put over Rich as being slightly better, but man Buzz was so f'n good here.


Better on the second watch to me since the first time you're just taking in the magnitude of actually watching this while also being attracted to little things like the front row of old ladies, the ring announcer counting (including pins), and just the idea of a literal fenced in cage.


Best slugging it out exchange with both guys on their knees EVER. Perfectly earned, and the slow climb to get to their feet while still waylaying into each other is so natural it instantly dwarfs any other match that's had the same sequence. It's not even close.


I actually think the finish is earned perfectly fine, it just feels weird at first because the announcer is counting and THEN Rich crawls over and covers. Just something you never see so at first may seem like "well that was odd." I also think given the time stamps (and the bonus match) it feels really out of the blue. Was easy to get past the second time I watched. What a war.


Then we get Ole setting future fashion trends by ripping his jeans and just sandbagging poor Paul at some points. But I liked Ellering there - a fun tack-on for the most part. The complete 28 minute package is amazing.

#3 shoe

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Posted 06 September 2016 - 09:11 AM

This is all about the hate. I love that we got KO counts also which added to the drama. Rich misses an elbow into the cage early. Buzz really goes after the arm with vigor. It was nice to see arm work pay off when Rich misses a fist drop. We see Rich with some comebacks and gets cut off quickly. Buzz busts him open and just savagely works that cut with punches, using the cage, nasty stomps, and or cheese grating Rich into the cage. Rich's selling along with Buzz's violence really made this. Again the comebacks and cut offs were so well timed. When Rich finally makes his comeback it truly is a glorious moment and well earned. That punch exchange while both were on their knees was truly an iconic moment and a clear postage stamp moment. While Sawyer's punches are violent, Rich's are big in nature. 4 1/2*
Then we get Ole and Paul. This was solid, but couldn't possibly follow the previous match. Loved Jake post match.

#4 khawk20

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Posted 06 September 2016 - 10:16 AM

I thought it was exactly what we should expect as the climax of an 18 month blood feud. By this point these guys knew everything      about each other, so all they could do really was fight...and they did.


I like that there was no commentary, it really let the match do the talking for itself and I think sometimes that is what you need. 

#5 Superstar Sleeze

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Posted 06 September 2016 - 05:37 PM

Tommy "Wildfire" Rich vs "Mad Dog Buzz Sawyer - Last Battle of Atlanta
"It's gotta be. It's going to be." - "Mad Dog" Buzz Sawyer waxing philosophic in the face of The Last Battle.
Wildfire vs Mad Dog. Precious Paul above it all. A Flood Of Blood To End It All. In a match so concerned about finality, the beginning is neglected. It felt like we joined the match in progress in my opinion. They just jumped right into the heat segment and everyone selling a war of attrition. It was an incredible heat segment and one helluva finish, but it was missing that spark. I think it was because they cut out a red hot babyface shine or even if was just a red hot slugfest to start it out. I liked the cautious beginning with each man afraid of punching the cage or going into the cage. Instead of it breaking loose, Rich's arm gets smashed into the cage and Buzz goes to work.
I like to tuck my complaints in the back end of a review, but because my sole complaint was about the beginning I thought I stick it there. What follows is incredible, violent, bloody war of attrition. Mad Dog was nominally in control of the majority of the match attacking the arm at first, but then switching to smashing Rich's head into the cage followed by biting and working the cut. Rich was great with the desperate hope spots like going for the balls and then just all out slugging Sawyer. I loved the one where he just grabbed Sawyer and piledrove him. At every turn Buzz because he established a lead early on that he was able to cutoff Rich in some fashion with an eye poke, going to the arm or the cut. Rich eventually busts Sawyer wide open on a cage shot. These just are totally bleeding buckets. The rules were a bit unclear at first. There is no ref in the ring. Over the PA, an official is counting at first I thought it was Last Man Standing, but pinfalls were permissible. There was an all-time great slugfest from their knees. The ultimate Oh Shit Highspot was Buzz hurling his own body into the cage as Wildfired ducked out of the way. Rich repeatedly slammed Sawyer's head into the cage. I liked how Rich collapsed and the official was counting both men down and then Rich kinda just flopped his body on Buzz Sawyer for the win.

Impressive heat segment and finish. Absolute war of attrition with great selling, lots of struggle (loved Rich's desperate hope spots and Buzz's dickish cutoffs) and a very final finish. Still felt like it lacked energy. Absolutely great match and worth the 33 year wait. ****1/2
Ole Anderson vs Paul Ellering - Last Battle of Atlanta
In a bonus match that is almost as great as the Last Battle of Atlanta, Ole and Precious Paul tear the house down! Love how Ellering cupped the back of Buzz's head when he got into the cage. Crimson Mask is an understatement here. You can barely make out Mad Dog's face. Ole comes in street clothes and just hands Ellering's ass to him. He even tears his jeans hardway!!! Incredible babyface shine this is what the above match needed. Just so much energy with Ellering playing pinball and Ole killing him at every turn. So that when Ellering finally manages an inverted atomic drop crowd, the crowd is molten for Ole. Ellering works a great heat segment on Ole busting him open and choking him. Ole's comeback is so awesome. He is such a great Walking Tall babayface. He just keeps moving forward with some great body punches and then firing them off into the face. I loved the headbutt finish completely with Ole walking through it and covering. Jake The Snake and Ellering whip Ole like a dog to set up the next show. Awesome bloodbath match with more energy, but didn't have the same hatred as the previous. Still a total classic in my opinion. ****1/2

#6 jdw

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Posted 15 September 2016 - 01:29 PM

It is amazing that this turned up and in the shape that it's in. It's was one of those iconic matches for a lot of us who checked out the wrestling mags in the 80s before moving onto sheets / online - when you thought of Blood Feuds and Epic Matches, the pictures made you think this was one of the must see matches. Really look forward to seeing it.

#7 Laz

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Posted 11 January 2018 - 12:02 PM

I'm going to outwardly proclaim that my opinion on what an appropriate ending to a blood feud should look like has been forged during the era of hardcore wrestling. While I was never expecting a CZW stunt-and-guts splatterfest or even a Terry Funk-tier slugfest, I was at least expecting it to match the Slaughter/Patterson Alley Fight from 4/21/81.

And why wouldn't I have? That match was from cartoonish New York, seen as over-the-top compared to the gritty southern products even before Vince Jr. booked with a Saturday morning cartoon on his mind, and it was one of the most vicious things I've seen still.

We start immediately with the heat segment and Rich gigs early. My only real exposure to him was with the FBI in ECW, and then some clips here and there, usually of him covered in blood. Sawyer is just as physically imposing as I'd always heard, and he lays in some early shots that made me wince, but as Rich starts making a comeback I realize how plodding he feels. He punches Tommy and Rich splats himself down, his selling being so obviously great that I immediately understand his legendary status, but then looks as though he's gingerly stepping over rocks in the road to go back on offense.

What little offense is given between the two comes across as rather pedestrian, to be honest. Buzz slams Tommy into the cage, they throw a few punches (of which Tommy's look far better), and then the finish comes after half a dozen counts from a disembodied referee with both men lying down to sell the exhaustion.

Of a 10-minute fight.

That is almost immediately overshadowed by the angle following it in tempo and quality of offense.

Also, fuck Ole for booking a feud-ending match that had drawn for 2 years across the country into a preview of his side angle.

-Tommy Rich deserves his selling accolades and then some
-Buzz Sawyer has one of the downright meanest auras I've ever seen in pro wrestling
-The heat was constant throughout and flowed perfectly from Rich/Sawyer to Ole/Ellering

-Lack of diversity and intensity in offense
-Finish comes out of nowhere and feels anti-climatic as a result
-Seriously, why book your own side-piece match to immediately follow a huge ending to a years-long blood feud?

This match is saved by "Wildfire" Tommy Rich for me, and the disappointment I felt watching it matches my teenage self discovering how mediocre most "video nasty" films actually were.

5.5/10, **3/4

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