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Dory Funk Jr./Terry Funk vs. The Sheik/Abdullah the Butcher, AJPW Open Tag League 12/15/77

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#1 Laz

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Posted 08 January 2018 - 02:23 PM

We immediately start with Dory and Terry attacking the opposition, the highlights of which include Terry showing that violent streak he's become legendary for by choking the heel manager (can't tell if it's Grand Wizard or Eddie Creatchman) with his own scarf. What makes this extra special is how Terry shoves his feet against the bottom rope to really wrench it back, and this is followed quickly by Dory stomping a bloodied Abby (surprise!) and dropping elbows, stopping only when Sheik (who's taken a worse beating and sells the hell out of it) kicks him in the ribs.

The pace crawls for a bit as the heels get their shine, but it picks up in no time when Sheik spikes Terry's arm and shoulder as Joe Higuchi just sorta lets it happen. That's one of my few complaints that don't involve Dory's aversion to charisma.

Terry gets taken out and Dory gets double teamed for a bit. Again, Higuchi ignoring the in-plain-view spike is annoying, but all is saved by Terry making his triumphant return. Bandaged, bloodied, but he'll bring the fires of hell if they think they're treating big brother Dory the way they treated him.

The finish comes when Sheik spikes Higuchi in the throat, bringing a DQ. While not a satisfying ending by any stretch, knowing that the feud goes on for a few more years alleviates my issues. Post-match brawl, the heels leave, and the Funks are presented their trophy.

-There's a match featuring three of the godfathers of hardcore and it's as bloody as the time period allowed.
-Seriously, Terry Funk is incredible.
-The pacing is nigh perfect, to the point where I completely lost track of time and didn't check until, unbeknownst to me at the time, the finishing stretch was about to kick in. This is something missing from most matches I've seen in the last 5 years.
-BELIEVABLE SELLING. These 4 men are presented as either fantastic athletes or just all-around tough SOBs, and seeing Dory jump right to a sell mid-kick was beautiful. Sheik deserves a ton of love here, too, as he took that early beating and staggered back for more.

-Higuchi ignoring Sheik's blatant use of a foreign object.
-While the finish may work in the context of the feud overall, I hate screwy finishes to tournaments. Always have, always will.
-Too much Dory, not enough Terry (even if Terry's role was utilized perfectly).

Overall, this was a blast. It's so odd to hear a Japanese crowd unglued for an entire match instead of key dramatic moments, and the heat definitely added to it. This is exactly the type of wrestling I love the most, Richey, and I'm glad you sent it to me.

7.5/10, ***3/4

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