David Von Erich vs. Terry Gordy
April 1, 1983
World Class Championship Wrestling

I’ll be honest with you, it’s very rare that I sit down and watch a match from the 1980s, and I’ll also be the first to admit that my knowledge of the territory days would be unlikely to see me through a wrestling pub quiz. So, just as with last year when I was gifted Low Ki vs. Bryan Danielson, this year’s present is a welcome education in a period I’m not familiar with, and, clocking in at just under 10 minutes, a concise one too.

This was filmed in a small arena and seems to have a crowd around the size of a modern super-indie. And that’s really the only comparison you can make to contemporary pro wrestling, because this really is a world away. Sure, there’s a ring, and a bell and a referee, and two dudes engaged in stylistic fighting, but it’s difficult for the modern viewer to watch this and not be struck about just how wildly different the vibes are.

This is a grainy clip, no doubt copied multiple times from the master, but the atmosphere is tangible. Modern wrestling feels like a niche product, but from the sounds of this crowd here, it almost feels like an entire community packed themselves into this hall. The engagement is totally different too. This audience isn’t making notes of their star ratings or giving rounds of applause for well-worked sequences, they are totally enthralled in the story of the match; Von Erich’s valiant struggle and Gordy’s brutish attacks. You could watch this match in silent silhouette and know exactly who was the good guy and the bad guy from the way they move. It’s a short violent affair, and it served a function to let this crowd know who walked with the forces of good and evil. The handcuff stipulation perhaps was most relevant to the post-match, where David was cuffed to the ropes for a Freebird beatdown, a spot that we’ve seen time and time again throughout the years. Was this the first one? Someone tell me!

With a totally different atmosphere my frame of reference as to whether this was ‘good’ is totally skewed. If you were to tell me this was an all-time classic, I’d believe you. If you were to tell me this was a forgotten TV match that was ok for its time, I’d believe you. That said, I definitely enjoyed watching this, as I hope is clear from the review. I feel a tiny bit more educated on the territories now and if my secret santa wants to recommend the next match in this feud, I’ll certainly watch it.