June 12, 2011
Legion of the Damned
Demolition vs. Billy Jack Haynes & Ken Patera - Boston Garden - 11/7/87
Matt D: Full disclosure from the get go. This is a matinee match. There is an evening match in Philly for the same day. It's just about the exact same match but from a different camera angle and with worse announcers. There are things I am very impressed about that they were able to pull off the same match twice in the same day, certainly, but after seeing so many different Demolition matches against the same opponents that are in fact different, it was a little surreal to see this. I blame the faces so much as I blame everyone, which isn't much.
For one thing, the match works. This is the best post-jail Patera match I've ever seen. I haven't seen any of his earlier work, I'll be honest. People say it's good. I have a hard time believing it. He is up there with Dino Bravo,Boris Zhukov, and Kerry-With-One-Foot as my least favorite WWF guys from this era. He just doesn't fit in at all. I came in knowing next to nothing about Billy Jack, except for the crazy conspiracy theories. From what I understood, his work wasn't thought of highly. So I was not expecting much from this. And you know, it's actually pretty good, though it feels really quite weird for a Demolition match.
Also, and I know I need to get to the match, but one of the best things about the match is that Nick Bockwinkel is announcing. It is such a sad thing that he didn't keep on announcing WWF throughout the late 80s. Yes, the Duke of Dorchester is here too but even he can't hurt things much, not in the face of Mr.Bockwinkel
Ok, the match. Brawling to begin. Obviously, BJH and Patera want revenge from the demolishing they took on Superstars. Faces with advantage. Toss Demos into each other, shoddy kick by Patera and a nice high knee by BJH. Then a tag-in, leapfrog by BJH, terrible, terrible forearm to the head by Patera. Double Elbow-drop. Oregonians showing that they can use teamwork. Faces stay on top with Smash missing a good crash into the corner. Shortly thereafter there's a bit of criss-crossing with him and BJH and Smash actually does a drop down, which you almost never see. Anyway, Fuji hooks the leg with the cane and the heels take over with a great clothesline off the distraction.
Here we get an extended heat segment on BJH, who eats it quite well in a fiery A-List babyface sort of way. I presume he was on top in a territory at some point, because he has that sort of air in this match even if it is much lower on the card. Lots of work on the back/shoulder and Gorilla surmises it's to weaken the Full Nelson later on. Doubleteams, well-timed cut offs, clubbering. The usual. Ax misses a GIANT elbowdrop and BJH makes the hot tag. Patera fights off both guys including a crummy backbreaker and a quasi-garvin stomp and using his arm brace in the most Iron Mike Sharpe way possible. Smash does this great bit of selling in the ropes. Fairly quickly in, he eats an Ax kick while charging into the corner and Demos take over.
Second heat segment now as Demolition just dismantle Patera's injured arm. A good amount of cool stuff like Ax holding the arm down and Smash splashing it and an attempt to tear apart the brace (the existence of which Bockwinkel is great in questioning). Finally though, Patera ducks a shot and hits a brace-assisted clothesline and makes the second hot tag of the match. BJH comes in like a powerhouse, fighting off both Demos. He hits first a power-slam on Smash (in the Philly match it's this neat drop down to a knee out of a fireman's carry) and then a HUGE Suplex, which is something you never see guys do on Smash. Then he goes for the Full-Nelson but can't lock it. I'd love to say that this is because of the back/shoulder work earlier in the match but I think that might be overly generous. Anyway, Ax comes in, Patera comes in. Ref is distracted. Fuji clobbers Billy Jack with the cane. Patera throws the ref and it's a double DQ.
Post-Match, Ax dismantles Patera with the cane until BJH gets his hands on it and swings wild until Ax and Smash take a powder (with smash doing this really big drop down to get out of the ring). It's a pretty good match. I had no problem with Billy Jack. I would have rather had Matt Bourne in there if I can pick anyone with that sort of a look from the Portland area, but it was a lot more than I expected and somewhat unique for the WWF in that era in that it had two heat segments and hot tags. Another different sort of match out of Demolition.