Segunda Caida

Phil Schneider, Eric Ritz, Matt D and occasional guests write about pro wrestling. Follow us @segundacaida

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

1971 Match of the Year

Tony & Roy St. Clair v. Vic Faulkner & Bert Royal World of Sport 1/12/71

ER: I really dug this, the whole vibe of everything, the (almost entirely) elderly crowd in their Sunday best, the pastiness of the athletes, the 8' long tag ropes; World of Sport can be magic. Up front I will say that I wish things ramped up a little bit. You could argue that the first five minutes were worked like the last five were worked like the middle five. But it seems like more of the context of the times than anything. That aside, the ringwork was excellent. Royal was a real mean fucker, Faulkner was showy and super skilled and looked like Gary Crosby, and while the Saints were a little more dry their talent is clear and I loved the way they showed constant annoyed amusement towards Faulkner, how he was getting under their skin but they were begrudgingly maintaining professionalism. The pace of this was super impressive as we get all sorts of rolling leg picks and awesome monkey flips, weird pins and killer tricks. The counters and reversals were terrific, and when they would wrench something in it would really land, like when Royal was locked into a headscissors and tried controlled thrashing to get out of it, and when that didn't work he kept trying to sneak a foot up to kick Roy off of him. Or when Faulkner was forcing Tony to do the splits by holding down his right leg and pushing Tony's left leg with his boots...and Tony merely stood up. Faulkner was great at rope feints and awesomely cartwheeling out of danger. All guys worked together marvelously (although I really don't like the aesthetics of all of these face sitting pin attempts...) and craft a ridiculously fun match using hardly any strikes. But Royal is the guy I need to see more of. You can see that violence behind his blue eyes.

PAS: This was a blue eye v. blue eye battle of technique and really a masterful exhibition of holds and counter holds. The Royal brothers reminded me a bit of the Funks, with Bert as the balding master of mat work, and Vic Faulkner as more of a wild out of control ball of energy. Faulkner runs the ropes with total abandon, he just flings himself as hard as he can, and always looks like he is going to fly into the fourth row. I also really enjoyed Faulkner as a trickster, he seemed to be always running some sort of wrestling con, like he will buy you a beer, smile tell you a great story, and then you realize your watch is missing. The Saints didn't have as much personality as the Royals but they were both tremendous counter wrestlers, it took to the  fifth step for anyone in this match to gain an advantage, the first four were always countered. This match stayed friendly, although I really enjoyed the moments of chippiness. Roy St. Clair has a great looking back elbow, and at one point Royal was wrenching the wrist like he was going to pop Tony's hand off. I would have liked to see this break down a little more, but for this type of scientific contest it is pretty unparalleled.


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