Welcome to the first edition and our first edition will be special as we take a look back at the life of our friend Dick "The Destroyer" Beyer who passed away on March 7 2019 at the age of 88. Dick would tell us all not to be sad but be thankful as he, and this is a quote from him, "lived the best life ever."
With that said let us take a look at the match. This is from 1959 so we are going back a little. Just as some background, Buffalo at the time was one of the hottest territories in the United States. It was so hot they eventually tried to go national (first with the NWF then IWA) before Vince McMahon ever had the idea. It was also the territory that Fritz von Erich was originally going to buy into and run but tragedy (the death of his first born Jack Jr.) changed the landscape forever.
Now the three others involved you might have never heard of. To be honest we are not entirely familiar either. The Gallaghers from taking a quick look at results were an original tag team, much like the Fabulous Kangaroos where they wrestled exclusively as a team and had a team name and wore matching outfits. In 1959, tag team wrestling was still relatively new. "Team matches" started in the late 1930's but they were more a Texas Tornado style where both men were in the ring at the same time and the winning team had to defeat both men to claim victory. It wasn't until sometime in the 40's the "tag" concept was adopted.
That was a lot of backstory so let's talk about this match itself. The run time is 25:57 but the match itself is only about 20 minutes long. The Gallaghers use an early tactic of getting heat by stalling the start to the match by taking their time removing their Roman style tunics. You can also see something Dick Beyer would use later in his career once he donned the mask with their entrance and that's the folding of their arms, standing statuesque as the announcer says their name.
The match officially starts around the 3:43 mark in the video. One thing that impressed me most was Dick Beyer's speed, especially at doing things that are more difficult than they look such as going in and out of the ring. It takes a lot of hand, leg and eye coordination to go through the ropes at normal speed but the way he is able to just jump in and out seamlessly was extremely impressive. At this point in his career, Dick Beyer was only a pro for about three and a half years (I have him debuting September 1955) so the fact he's able to lead the match like is does is another impressive feat. (a modern comparison is someone like Velveteen Dream who "got it" almost immediately")
There is a common misconception that wresting in the 40s, 50s and 60s was boring. I can hear a modern fan now scream "it was nothing but rest holds!" What makes this time period so interesting was each territory had its own style. No two promotions were really alike. Where you had a territory of holds and counter holds, you also had a territory like Buffalo that relied on "good v. evil" and brawling and excitement.
Also when watching this match notice how without seeing the previous weeks you can understand the emotion of the match as commentator (and Buffalo Sports Hall of Fame 1994 inductee) Chuck Healy explains everything straight to the point. Wrestler A faces Wrestler B, B uses an object, they all hate each other. So simple and easy to understand. The emotion is high for this match from start to finish. Take some time to just listen to how the crowd is invested into this.
Another thing to point out for this match is the pacing. I mentioned how Dick was able to seamlessly enter and leave the ring with ease but to everyone's credit in this match, they go full speed for the entire 20 minutes with the only real rest periods being during pinfall attempts.
William Regal mentioned on twitter after Beyer's passing how there are several spots that were named by The Destroyer and he was so well respected that the terminology was never changed out of respect to him. At 10:15 of the video you can see one of those spots that Beyer used and I am sure it is one we've seen a thousand times but never wondered who or when it came to be. When you see it, you'll understand.
I've spent a lot of time talking about Dick Beyer but we have to give a ton of credit to the Gallagher Brothers. Check out how they sell throughout the match but especially around the 11:00 mark. At a time period where wrestlers didn't want to really oversell at the chance of making something look "too fake," both Doc and Mike have found a perfect medium. Their selling is a little over the top but Brown and Beyer are also delivering with such snugness that you can believe it.
Speaking of selling, Bobby Brown does come off a little awkward at times but he also does a lot of good babyface selling. Yes there is a difference. When a heel sells you want to see them suffer. As a babyface you don't want to see them suffer so when they do it well, you get sympathy. This is so when you get to the fire part of the match (aka the comeback) the crowd will react. Like any movie or TV show when you see the "good guy" spend episodes or a whole hour dealing with adversity, when they finally make their big last stand against it, you tend to root for them more versus if they just started coming back without context. So Bobby Brown plays that role nicely to where you are begging him to not take any more punishment and make the hot tag so Beyer can explode.
At about the 23:15 mark of the match you can see how hot the crowd got throughout the match. As Brown is taken to the outside near Healy's announcers table, a fan actually gets involved and tries to throw a kick to one of the Gallagher brothers. Buffalo Police were always surrounding ringside but they were occupied with trying to save Chuck Healy's desk from being used. One officer was still in the way so I don't believe the kick connected but still shows the fever pitch the crowd was as was close to the finish.
The finish comes around the 24:30 mark and we will never spoil the finish so watch it for yourself and be sure to go to the main page and email us your comments on this match and we might use them on a future episode of the Rassle Revue podcast!
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