May 14, 2010
The Untitled Demolition Project
There are certain opinions that are deeply ingrained within the internet wrestling community. These are tenets that are simply not questioned, things that people have thought for decades. They could be about Ric Flair or Jumbo Tsuruta or they could be about Billy Gunn or Hulk Hogan. These are things that are just taken for granted. Recently, I bumped up against one of those. I was trying to argue just how well put together and executed I felt the first SNME Demolition/Brainbusters match was. I couldn't get any traction at all. No one even wanted to argue against me.
You know what? On some level, I don't blame them. Depending on where you're from geographically, conventional wisdom has it that the combination of Bill Eadie and Barry Darsow as Ax and Smash were one of two things. If you're from the south, then they were Vince's second rate Road Warriors clones and that it was something of a travesty that they were so embarrassingly over with the Northern rubes who didn't know better. If you're from the north, they're remembered with a rosy nostalgia and you'll talk about their aura and their theme song and the Powers of Pain double-turn and of their #1 and #2 Royal Rumble draw. Even the northerners don't necessary look at them as a first rate tag team when it comes to their actual body of work. It's okay. I didn't either. Except for that I started watching a lot of 1987-91 WWF over the last year and a half, using The History of WWE as something of a road map, everything in context and everything in order. As I did, I started to notice something. Over a couple of matches, I realized that Demolition was pretty good. And then over a few more, I realized that Demolition was really good. And then I hit that Brainbusters SNME tag and I was just blown away. Then I tried to explain my thoughts and see if I could get some discussion going about them and I half think people who saw it just figured I was trolling. Again, I don't blame them.
So I went to the one guy I know who is as open to evaluating any wrestler's work, preconceived notions be damned, and who knows more about that era of the WWF than just about anyone, my buddy Vic, and I put it to him, and he agreed that OF COURSE Demolition was good and surely people realize that. But they don't. And a lot of people haven't seen the matches together to compare and contrast. They haven't had any reason to seek them out. No one's given them a reason. So we put our heads together and this is what we came up with: our Untitled Demolition Project. We're going to provide write-ups and reviews on a number of Demolition matches worth watching and relatively easy to find and try to get some recognition for Eadie and Darsow. At the very least, we hope to get some discussion going.
When I started the project, I was a little worried we'd only find a few matches worth talking about or that we'd be watching a lot of the same. There are just a ton of Demolition matches out there from between 87 when Darsow is substituted in and 90 when Crush enters the scene. We live in a very fortunate time where a lot of the Boston Garden/MSG/Philly Spectrum/Maple Leaf Gardens house shows have been released so we don't have to just look at PPVs and SNMEs. (Once again, The History of WWE was an excellent road map for hunting down matches). I'll admit that part of me was worried that the sheer amount of matches was going to be a curse and not a blessing. After just a few matches it began to become obvious that I had nothing to worry about. Probably the most amazing thing about Demolition is that they were so adaptable. There is no formula to Demolition matches. They wrestle every opponent (and often times numerous matches with the same opponents) differently. This is especially true once one hits 88 or so. Many of the moves may be the same (and relatively simple in some people's eyes), but how and when and why they're utilized are different. The stories are different. No formula, but perhaps an engine, but we'll get into that as we go along. This adaptability was downright remarkable and probably the single thing we are going to try to spotlight the most, though not the only thing by any means.
In the end, we're not trying to cherry pick the thirty best Demolition matches or anything like that. We're taking a wide cross-section, including some matches that look fairly disastrous on paper and we're going to tell you what we liked about them (and yes, what we didn't like) and try to showcase just how good Ax and Smash were no matter who they were in there against or what sort of match they were working. We think you'll see that a lot of the matches, seen together, will speak for themselves. We're just here to offer some thoughts and pull together some of the narratives along the way.
The Demolition Project Matches
Vs. The Killer Bees (5/18/87)
Vs. SD Jones & B. Brian Blair (6/1/87)
Vs. The Junkyard Dog & George Steele (8/22/87)
Vs. Brady Boone & Scott Casey (10/31/87)
Vs. Ken Patera & Billy Jack Haynes (11/7/87)
Vs. Billy Jack Haynes & Brady Boone (12/11/87)
Vs. The Rougeau Brothers (3/5/88)
& Mr. Fuji vs. The Ultimate Warrior & Strike Force (6/4/88)
Vs. Strike Force (7/11/88)
Vs. British Bulldogs (7/25/88)
& Mr. Fuji Vs. The Ultimate Warrior & the British Bulldogs (8/1/88)
Vs. The British Bulldogs (8/6/88)
Vs. The Hart Foundation (8/29/88)
Vs. The British Bulldogs (10/15/88)
Vs. The Rockers (10/24/88)
Vs. The Bolsheviks (10/26/88)
Vs. The Powers of Pain (2/20/88)
Vs. The Twin Towers (4/22/89)
Vs. The Twin Towers (5/1/89)
Vs. The Brain Busters (5/27/89)
Vs. The Twin Towers (6/3/89)
Vs. The Brain Busters (7/29/89)
& Jim Duggan vs. Andre the Giant & the Twin Towers (8/28/89)
Vs. The Brain Busters (9/30/89)
Vs. The Brain Busters (11/4/89)
Vs. Andre the Giant & Haku (12/13/89)
Vs. Andre the Giant & Haku (12/28/89)
Vs. The Orient Express (3/19/90)
Vs. Andre the Giant & Giant Baba (4/13/90)
Vs. The Rockers (7/28/90)
Vs. The Hart Foundation (8/27/90)
vs. The Ultimate Warrior & Legion of Doom (9/21/90)
MORE COMING SOON