One thing that has become apparent in my attempt to watch all of Meltzer’s five-star matches is that no one is sure exactly what they all are. While you might think the Wrestling Observer would have an easy to access list, if they do it has been hidden from me. If anyone does know where I can find a comprehensive list, then let me know. Until then, I will be going for a mixture of this one and this one.
Which brings us onto match number two and four names I am very familiar with. Stan Hansen & Bruiser Brody vs. Dory & Terry Funk. However, as much as I might be familiar with them, it doesn’t necessarily mean I’m an expert on their careers. With Hansen and Brody having spent most of their time in Japan and Dory being before my time they have passed me by. Even what I’ve seen of Terry Funk tends to stem from his later career (although that later career has been pretty long).
While the first match surprised me with its fast paced wrestling, this one did nothing of the sort. It was exactly what I thought it would be. Four guys beating the crap out of each other. Brody and Hansen control much of the early match, and at times they are just dealing out a beating. There is a moment when Terry is caught up in the ropes where they seem intent on slapping him silly.
What makes it stand out is the psychology. Some suitably nuts selling from Terry aside, you feel like this is a fight. From about five minutes in all four men are staggering around the ring from the blows they’ve received and Hansen & Brody play the bullies fighting the upstart Funks wonderfully. Every time it feels like Terry and Dory are about to find their way back into the match one of them cuts them off and makes sure they stay in control.
Towards the end of the match, there is a ref bump and Hansen & Brody take advantage of it by slamming aa wooden bench over Dory’s back. They then do a nice jump of isolating him and keeping Terry out of the action. Eventually, Terry makes the comeback, starting by taking out the ref again before going to work on Hansen and Brody with a chain. At this point, Terry appears just to be hitting everything that moves and eventually the bell is called for.
It’s a bit of a dud finish, to be honest. Hansen and Brody escape through the crowd with Terry briefly giving chase but being cut off before he can do any damage. While it does a good job of keeping Terry, Brody and Hansen strong – and even Dory gets the out of being double teamed behind the ref’s back – I can’t help but feel like a five-star classic needs something a bit more than that. While Dynamite Kid vs. Tiger Mask also lacked a comprehensive finish it saw the two warriors take everything out of each other, this seemed to say let’s fight another day.
This isn’t to say this is a bad match, far from it. It might well be a case that viewed in the wider whole of whatever the story is here; it makes a lot more sense, and if you like your wrestling hard hitting then quite frankly, I can’t imagine you’ll find many better. However, for me, the lack of a real finish prevents this from being a five-star classic and is instead just very very good.