CWA Championship Wrestling – January 3, 1981: Tupelo Concession Stand Brawl

CWA Championship Wrestling
Date: January 3, 1981
Location: WMC-TV Studios, Memphis, Tennessee
Commentator: Lance Russell

Much like with Power Hour, if I don’t like this one then I’m dropping the whole series. If nothing else it’ll make my list a lot smaller. Anyway we’re in 1981 now and not a lot has probably changed. To give you an idea of how much I enjoyed last week’s show, I don’t remember anything about it for the most part other than a few flashes, and I only reviewed it a few days ago. Let’s get to it.

There’s going to be a retrospective on Jerry Lawler later today.

Tom Maley vs. David Oswald

They go to the mat and it’s a technical exhibition to start. Maley is a rookie here and Oswald is the bigger guy. Back to more mat stuff. Oswald is the heel here it seems. This is a very different style and looks more like an amateur or MMA style here. There hasn’t been a single strike in almost four minutes. Maley keeps taking him down but stands up so Oswald can get in some forearm shots. Maley comes back with forearms of his own but they collide and both guys are down. Oswald hits a knee lift and drops an elbow for the pin.

Rating: C. This was different than almost anything you’ll ever see. It certainly wasn’t bad or boring but it’s really not something that you’re going to want to see. The crowd didn’t seem all that interested but Memphis crowds are always an odd bunch. It wasn’t bad though and was nice to see for something different.

We get a clip from Lawler vs. Dundee, hair vs. hair. Lawler keeps beating on Dundee in the corner until the match is stopped because Dundee can’t continue. Dundee begs them to let it keep going and actually gets his way. Lawler pounds on him again and the beating gets even worse. Dundee hits something like a headbutt…and we cut to another match between them. Make that a highlight reel of them. I want to know who won the hair match.

We get some magic words though: Tupelo Concession Stand Brawl. Video of it later.

House show ads. Lawler has a match with Dream Machine and if he wins, he gets five minutes with Hart. Lawler has been out for eleven months with a broken leg. Nothing will stop him from getting his hands on Hart though.

Here’s a clip from Lawler vs. Dream Machine. Machine says something before the match but I couldn’t understand a word of it. There are stipulations to this but Machine stops the announcement to yell some more. Ok so it’s a handicap match with Bobby Eaton/Jimmy Hart vs. Tony Charles. So Lawler and Machine aren’t in the match but are seconds? This is hard to follow.

If Tony loses he gets his hair cut. If he wins, Eaton and Hart are gone. Lawler and Dream Machine get into it on the floor and there’s no match. Little trivia note for you here: Eaton has brown hair here. Scratch that: the match happens but we don’t get to see it. This is getting annoying.

Angel/Tony Russo vs. Carl Fergie/Tommy Russo

This is 2/3 falls again. Russo and Tommy start things off. Very slow to start as it’s off to Fergie. I think he and Gilbert are the faces here. They work over Russo’s arm and it’s back to Gilbert. Russo brings in Angel for all of 8 seconds and it’s back to Russo. We’re three minutes into this and nothing of note has happened. Cross body gets two for Gilbert. Fergie hits an elbow to the face and drops another one for the first fall on Russo.

Apparently we’re going to get the rest of the match later. For now though, OFF TO TUPELO!!! Ok so this one needs some backstory. We have Bill Dundee and Lawler teaming up against Larry Latham (Moondog Spot) and Wayne Ferris (Honky Tonk Man), collectively known as the Blonde Bombers. The Bombers cheated like CRAZY to win the tag titles. The show looked like it was ending but as they faded to black you heard Russell saying stay with this because there’s a big brawl going on. The brawl went down to the concession stand, and this is what followed.

The Blondes are all busted open and they beat on each other with EVERYTHING. Mustard goes flying and they’re filming from the stairs. This is totally serious stuff in case that wasn’t clear. Everyone is bleeding. Lawler destroys Ferris while Dundee is stomped on. Jerry Jarrett comes in and finally gets Dundee away for a second. Also this isn’t one of those fake WCW concession stands. This is the real concession stand where the fans are buying food. The Blondes run so Lawler and Dundee chase them but the Blondes come back and destroy Jarrett, stripping his clothes off. They’re FINALLY pulled off to end this.

I won’t go into details on the whole history of this (if you’re interested in why this was booked and why Jerry Jarrett is one of the smartest men ever in wrestling, look up Jim Cornette’s commentary called “The Slippery Slope of Hardcore Wrestling.” It’s incredibly interesting and well worth the read, as is almost anything Cornette writes) but the main idea is that this is pretty much the birth of modern hardcore wrestling.

The key difference though: it was believable. This wasn’t something that you saw every day (first time ever for the most part) and EVERYONE talked about it. It saved the territory and worked because it was treated as a huge deal. This is something you’ll still hear about from time to time and you’ll occasionally see tributes to it even today. This is incredibly historic stuff and possibly the most famous moment in southern wrestling.

We get a clip of the rematch (one of many) with the crowd being noticeably larger. That’s the idea and it worked like a miracle.

House show plugs.

Oh yeah we have to go back and finish that tag match. Fergie and Russo start us off but it’s off to the monster named Angel very quickly. Fergie fights off an abdominal claw and it’s Gilbert’s turn to get beaten down. Back to Russo as the beating continues. Russo (who looks like Mario from the Super Mario Brothers Super Show, and yes I know who played him) chokes away but it’s back to Angel. There’s the hot tag to Fergie who misses an elbow and gets pinned by Angel to tie it up.

Before the third fall, here are MORE Lawler highlights, this time of him getting beaten up by Harley Race and beating up Nick Bockwinkel. We see him losing to Jack Brisco after a one hour fight. Also some of the matches with Jackie Fargo (the guy that made Lawler), possibly the one where he won the name King.

The third fall is finally joined in progress with Angel pounding on Gilbert. Everything breaks down for a bit as Gilbert hooks Angel in an abdominal stretch….and the time limit runs out.

Rating: D. This was about as different of a match as you’ll ever find. I really don’t get the point in having it all cut up like this. It took almost 40 minutes to get through a ten minute match because of all the Lawler stuff. The problem otherwise was that this was a really boring match with nothing interesting to it at all, which is the problem with most of the matches on these shows.

Dream Machine isn’t worried about Lawler.

Russell wraps things up.

Overall Rating: C+. Given that Lawler is coming back, I think I have to keep watching this. The Tupelo Brawl scene is more than enough to bring me back, even though it’s part of a clip show. Still though, fun show and the Brawl footage is great. The wrestling here was certainly different, but it wasn’t all that great. Lawler coming back will completely change the show though so I’ll keep watching this for now.


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