Meltzer’s Classics: The Sheepherders vs. The Fantastics

14

As is the norm with wrestling in this period, pictures are tough to find.

Let’s start this one off with a confession. I was very surprised to find The Sheepherders (later known as The Bushwackers) on this list. They are a tag-team that even as they were inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame felt like more of a comedy duo that a real wrestling proposition. Although, maybe that all stems from seeing the clip of Luke being eliminated from the Royal Rumble a million times.

In this match, they are up against The Fantastics (Bobby Fulton and Tommy Rogers) in the Jim Crockett Cup. It’s one of the shortest matches we’ve seen, with it not even hitting the ten-minute mark, although it has to be said that the only version I can find of it does appear to have spots where it goes to commercial, so it’s not the full experience.

the-fantastics

It’s not hard to see why these teams feuded, though.

Which makes it hard to get a feel for it, the pacing is off at times as moments are cut out. However, if you get past it, this is a fun brawl. The Sheepherders and The Fantastics traded wins throughout 1985 so by this point they had been in the ring together countless times, and it pays off. There’s a natural chemistry that only comes from experience, and there’s not a single slip up.

It also adds a personal element to proceedings. This isn’t a wrestling match and, Fulton’s dropkicks aside, most of it is a fight with even a little of biting thrown in for good measure. As a fan of hard hitting wrestling, I enjoy that, but it does leave you wondering exactly what this match did to earn its five-star rating. It’s good, sure, but I reckon you could find twenty other matches that go down similar routes that weren’t given the same rewards.

sheep

The Sheepherders are weird looking fuckers.

The finish comes after the ref is knocked out and the two teams take it in turns to beat each other round the head with a flag pole. Eventually, the officials regain some control and call for the bell. It doesn’t stop the fight, but it means all four men are out of the tournament.

It’s an interesting theme of this series that a lot of these matches don’t have a clean finish. We have become conditioned to needing one in modern wrestling for something to be a success and you wonder if we have lost this style of booking. Much like Dynamite Kid and Tiger Mask you get the impression that these teams are inseparable. They know each other inside out and are willing to do anything to win which ultimately means that no one can. It’s an excellent technique and one that I enjoy.

rogers

And The Fantastics are golden boys.

However, that doesn’t change the fact that this is easily the worst match we’ve seen so far. I don’t know if that’s because of the slightly shortened version or if it is just a poorer quality encounter. Don’t get me wrong; it’s not bad, but when you think of five-star matches you expect something special, and that’s not what this delivers.

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