Jerry Lawler’s Greatest Opponent – Bill "Superstar" Dundee

Jerry Lawler just lately instructed me that the late Jack Brisco was one of many high three wrestlers he ever confronted in Memphis, placing the previous two-time NWA World champion in the identical class as Nick Bockwinkel and Dory Funk Jr. However most longtime Memphis followers would agree that no person had higher chemistry with the King than Invoice Dundee, who arrived in Memphis with associate George Barnes within the mid-70s. I by no means noticed the Aussies’ first run in Memphis, however I recall their feud in 1987 when George returned to the world for a couple of months. Their match on Aug. 11 1987, was a part of an enormous card with Lawler working with Curt Hennig for the primary time for the AWA title in the principle occasion. Additionally working beneath had been Jeff Jarrett and Billy Travis vs. Pat Tanaka and Paul Diamond–that foursome had been having some superb bouts across the horn. They could have been previous their primes, however I will be damned if Dundee and Barnes did not steal the entire rattling present. Only a super bloody Memphis brawl. If the chemistry they’d working with one another as opponents was something like they’d as a team–especially after they had been 12 years younger–they will need to have been one thing collectively.

Invoice was the right underdog babyface opponent for Lawler. And no person may promote like Dundee in his prime–the lifelike method he endured punishment jogged my memory of a boxer. Rumor has Ricky Steamboat watched movie of boxers to review how they reacted to punches, and integrated that into his good work within the ring. If I did not know higher, I would say Steamboat studied movie of Dundee. The scrappy little Australian (as Lance would name him) can be on the ropes, however he simply would not give up. Then simply if you had him virtually counted out, out of nowhere the Famous person would catch his foe with sundown flip a or a flying bodypress off the center ropes/turnbuckle for the win–and the group would pop.

Folks at all times put over Lawler’s promo abilities, and it is true, the King was a grasp. However Dundee wasn’t far behind. A really underrated expertise in that regard. And man he may he work. Apart from his matches with Lawler, Dundee’s bouts with Tony Charles, Bockwinkel and Billy Robinson had been a few of my favorites.

Nonetheless, the primary Jerry Lawler vs. Invoice Dundee sequence with all of the wild stipulations in 1977, is the primary feud that basically captured my creativeness as a child. Lawler and Jerry Jarrett used to remind one another that “private points draw cash” when co-booking the Memphis territory. That philosophy was evident within the preliminary Lawler vs. Dundee sequence, an extended program that includes heated promos and a sequence of stipulations over the summer time of 1977 that captured the creativeness of the followers. For weeks, the promotion featured the identical bout on high, persistently drawing cash.

July 11: Lawler’s Cadillac on the road vs. $4,000 of Dundee’s cash; Attn: 8,044

July 25: Lawler’s Southern title on the road vs. Dundee’s Cadillac: Attn: 7,681

Aug. 1: Lawler’s hair vs.Dundee’s Southern belt and Cadillac; Attn: Promote-Out 11,300

Aug. 8: Lawler’s Southern title and Cadillac vs. Dundee: Attn: 11,100

Aug. 15: Mickey Poole’s hair (Lawler’s supervisor) vs. Dundee’s Cadillac: Attn: 8,397

Aug. 22: Poole’s hair vs. Dundee’s hair: 7,143

Aug. 29: Lawler’s hair vs. Dundee’s title and Cadillac: 7,420

Sept. 5: Lawler’s hair vs. Dundee’s hair: 10,129

Sept. 13: Lawler’s hair and title vs. Beverly Dundee’s hair (Invoice’s spouse): 9,000

The non-public stips saved the matchup recent and fascinating, with the followers captivated persistently week to week. I keep in mind Dundee managed to avoid wasting his hair on Aug. 22 of ’77 after “NWA official” Man Espresso initially stopped the bout as a result of Dundee had taken an excessive amount of punishment. (By the way, the thought of Mr. Espresso being a high-ranking NWA consultant is fairly humorous.) Desperately, Dundee pleaded to proceed, and naturally, he got here again to win the bout and shave the pinnacle Lawler’s supervisor, Mickey Poole as an alternative. I used to be solely 6, however I keep in mind all of the matches with the hair and Cadillacs at stake, particularly when Dundee and his spouse, Beverly, had their heads shaved on consecutive weeks because the summer time of ’77 got here to an in depth. These matches, the discharge of Star Wars and the dying of Elvis Presley are just about the one reminiscences I vividly recall from that yr of my youth.

My mom had a pal who managed to get me an autographed image of Dundee round that point, and I assumed that was the best factor. It was my first autograph of any form. After I first entered the enterprise, Dundee wasn’t too pleasant towards me. I attempted to interrupt the ice by explaining how a lot he meant to me in my childhood. I used to be dissatisfied when he took it the improper method, saying one thing like, “Jesus, child, have you learnt what number of occasions every week I’ve folks telling me how they grew up watching me?”

No person feuded longer–or better–than Invoice Dundee and Jerry Lawler.

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