5-Star Match Critiques: The Fantastics vs. The Sheepherders

Some matches age like superb wine whereas others age like milk. That’s one of many conundrums of watching older matches; you by no means know which of them will maintain up properly and which of them received’t.

Whereas match high quality is essentially a subjective matter, there are some uncommon circumstances when even essentially the most informal of followers can watch a match and assume, “wow, that’s what went for 5-Stars again then?”

That’s what we’re coping with right here: one of many few circumstances that make viewers surprise what the Wrestling Observer and its readership had been considering when this match occurred. And now, after over thirty-five years, we’re revisiting this largely-forgotten match to see how properly it holds up.

As a reminder, I’m reviewing 5 Star and almost-5 Star wrestling matches as rated by Wrestling Observer’s Dave Meltzer. It goes again to the Nineteen Eighties and I’m going to choose totally different matches from totally different eras to see how they give the impression of being right this moment. Take a look at earlier entries in my 5 Star Match Critiques collection proper right here.

The story

The Crockett Cup was a particular all-day occasion held in 1986. 24 tag groups competed in a single-elimination match to find out one winner. Groups got here from everywhere in the NWA and its numerous regional divisions, together with Jim Crockett Promotions, Central States Wrestling, All Japan, Quebec’s Lutte Internationale, the Continental Wrestling Affiliation, Common Wrestling Federation/Mid-South Wrestling, and extra. included among the many numerous groups had been the Fantastics of Tommy Rogers and Bobby Fulton and the Sheepherders/Bushwackers of Butch and Luke.

The Sheepherders beat Chavo Guerrero Sr. and Hector Guerrero within the first spherical after which beat The Rock N’ Roll Specific (Ricky Morton and Robert Gibson) to advance to the quarterfinals. In the meantime, the Fantastics (who had been UWF Tag Group Champions) beat The Fabulous Ones (Stan Lane & Steve Keirn) after which beat Arn Anderson & Tully Blanchard within the second spherical.

The match

This match initially occurred on April 19th, 1986. Additionally, for anybody excited by watching the match, I’ve a hyperlink under. Nonetheless, the audio for this match is terrible; you’re going to must put your quantity on full blast simply to listen to something. Then once more, that typically comes with the territory once we return in time to evaluation older matches.

The Fantastics begin with the Pledge of Allegiance to Previous Glory after which begin brawling with the Sheepherders within the ring. Each Sheepherders get dropkicked to the ground. Luke will get into the ring and lands a headlock punch on Fulton. The Sheepherders commerce fast tags and easy strikes to isolate Fulton from his companion. Fulton tries a hammerlock as an escape mechanism however Luke tags in and retains him on the defensive with extra punches. Luke counters an irish whip with a shoulderblock however then Fulton does a traditional duck down monkey flip sequence. Then he dropkicks Luke just a few occasions after which each he and Rogers dropkick Butch. Rogers tags in and takes Luke to the mat. Luke powers Rogers to the ropes to flee a headlock and Irish whips Rogers however Rogers counters with a sundown flip for a two-count.

Butch tags in as the group chants USA. Rogers slingshots Butch into the ring and tosses him into Fulton’s ready boot. Fulton tags in and Rogers whips Butch into Fulton’s fist. Luke tags in and smashes Fulton right into a turnbuckle. He chokes Fulton in a single nook and sends him into one other however Fulton dodges a cost. They slug it out a bit and Fulton lands an atomic drop that sends Luke to the ground.

Butch tags in and headlocks Fulton after which dumps him to the ground. The 2 authorized males begin brawling ringside and are quickly joined by their respective companions. Chaos erupts with individuals being thrown round and stomped on, together with some interference from the Sheepherders’ supervisor Jack Victory.

Fulton’s bleeding and struggles to make it again into the ring. However when he does, he geese a clothesline and hits certainly one of his personal on Butch. The Sheepherders take turns working Fulton over with numerous strikes after which Luke, who’s now authorized, bites Fulton’s bloody brow. Fulton will get thrown to the ground once more and sells like he can’t even defend himself. He lands some desperation kicks and Luke tries pulling him away from his companion. However Fulton makes a tag, besides the referee doesn’t see it. Luke goes to smash Fulton into Butch’s boot, however Fulton blocks and smashes Luke into it as an alternative. Sizzling tag to Rogers. Rogers punches Luke till he’s a bloody mess and Fulton goes after Butch.

Instantly, the ref will get knocked to the ground and the Sheepherders double-team Rogers. Rogers fights Butch within the ring as Luke brawls with Fulton at ringside. Jack Victory tries interfering once more however Fulton catches him and stops him…for a second. Butch assaults Fulton from behind after which takes the New Zealand flagpole and hits Rogers with it a few occasions. Butch teases a giant pole strike on Rogers however Fulton pulls him down. The Fantastics get some revenge and hit Butch with the identical flagpole. Then they hit Jack Victory with it as properly. in the meantime, one other referee comes down to assist the primary referee stand up. Rogers and Luke (I feel?) play tug-of-war with the flagpole because the bell rings. The match is dominated a Double Disqualification!

Match consequence: Double Disqualification after 14:26

The timekeeper rings the bell again and again however nobody can cease these 4 wrestlers from combating. A number of managers and referees have to tug each groups aside because the Fantastics demand the Sheepherders return to the ring. The Fantastics have a quick celebration however they’re livid that they’ve been eradicated from the Crockett Cup match. Annoyed, they finally depart the ring simply as bloodied as their opponents.


There’s a wrestling time period known as ‘bonzo-gonzo’ which describes a match that ends in chaos when the ref can’t restore order. That’s what this match was: bonzo-gonzo and nothing else. However to be sincere, there wasn’t a lot order to start with. This was extra of an prolonged angle than a correct match. It was simply brawling and punching with out a lot within the sense of construction. And whereas that tends to work on occasion (corresponding to with Jerry Lawler and Terry Funk), it didn’t work right here.

This was a decidedly common match that benefitted from a sizzling crowd. However a sizzling crowd alone doesn’t make a match particular or distinctive anymore; in any case, COVID was taught us that nice matches can occur even with the smallest or quietest of crowds.

As for the motion itself, it was painfully boring and simplistic. There wasn’t a lot to it past easy punching and cheap-shots. True, the Sheepherders performed off the group’s emotion and acted like chickens**t heels. However they actually didn’t do something thrilling past sluggish brawling. There was a mildly inventive second with the ref lacking a Fantastics tag, however the payoff for it by no means actually got here. As soon as the referee bought knocked out, the match simply fell aside. And why did it take so lengthy for the second to come back out? And why didn’t he simply take over refereeing duties whereas another person attended to the primary one? Blatantly apparent holes like these make a match much less thrilling. The group principally died between the second the ref bought knocked out and the second he awakened. All of the nonsense between these two factors bought middling reactions at greatest, however they served no objective for the reason that match led to a double-DQ anyway.

Closing Score: **

Perhaps this was revolutionary in 1986 nevertheless it simply doesn’t maintain up properly over three many years later. This match is principally an inferior model of the Lawler/Funk brawl from 1981 that began this complete collection and the idea of the 5-Star match. This match was just too chaotic to essentially get pleasure from. Ten minutes of brawling with out escalation isn’t something to crow about. The one motive it will get any kind of ranking is as a result of each groups performed to the group’s emotion properly. That’s it. Every thing else on this match sucked.

When individuals take into consideration 5-Star matches, this one is regularly neglected. Hell, if it weren’t for all of the lists and sources on the market, most individuals wouldn’t even know that Meltzer rated this match so extremely within the first place. However after a lot time, there’s no means this match deserved such a ranking. It is a utterly forgettable match that basically doesn’t maintain up. There are higher matches that occurred earlier than and after this one from the identical promotion (together with one involving certainly one of these two groups) that do deserve the reward far more than this one does.

Thanks for studying. You possibly can e mail me with any questions or feedback, and be sure you try my 5-Star and Virtually 5-Star Match Critiques collection right here.


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