People point to 1984 as the year when wrestling began its qualitative decline, when wrestling lost its simplicity to glitz and glamour. 1984 is the year this match takes place, in Houston, TX, before a consistently loud crowd. There is no flash and dash, just two men in black tights. There is no commentary, the ring announcements are barely audible. The quality of the picture shows its age. The quality of the story knows none.
DiBiase and TA test each other out with a couple of shoves before they lock up. DiBiase gets in a punch which TA returns.
They lock up again and TA hits a shoulderblock, but DiBiase comes back with a slam and lays in some follow-up shots. TA manages to reverse an Irish whip and hit a backdrop and a couple of dropkicks, causing DiBiase to bail. To the observer unfamiliar with the story up to this match, the first hint of structure is seen.
DiBiase is a bit more reserved when he gets back into the ring. He has a plan. TA tries for a lock up, but DiBiase ducks it and gets an easy knee into TA's stomach. When he follows up with an Irish whip, it gets reversed again, this time into the corner. TA follows up with another backdrop.
DiBiase begs off, but it's a ruse. It fails, as TA sees it coming and grabs DiBiase's leg mid-kick before laying in a right. DiBiase bails again.
The hero stands in the ring, wanting to fight. The villain is outside, he's playing a mind game using the hero's eagerness while rethinking his physical strategy.
The villain returns to the ring and they lock up. DiBiase figures he fared better with this last time. They stalemate for a bit before the DiBiase gets TA in the corner and drives his shoulder into the hero's stomach. This time TA goes to the floor, but not by choice.
Outside the city gates, the bandit is king. The villain pounces on the hero and slams him hard onto the floor and drives his back into the ringpost before rolling him back in the ring.
DiBiase gets an elbow off the second rope and this time his whip isn't reversed and his backdrop is successful. He thinks for a second and tries for a pin, just in case he can win the match early. He can't.
The villain focuses on the weakened back, hitting a backbreaker and a bearhug. This isn't a resthold; TA's feet are off the ground and exertion is visible on DiBiase's face. It looks for a second that the hero may have a way out, so DiBiase quickly drives his back into the corner. The villain lays in a forearm and kneedrop to the back for two.
The villain continues his assault, hitting a bodyslam and then wearing down the hero with a chinlock, putting more pressure on the back. The hero rallies the crowd behind him and manages to toss the villain off and out of the ring.
It worked, but it took a lot out of TA. Both men are slow to regroup, with DiBiase climbing the ringpost to attempt a flying punch, but TA gets his own punch in, flipping the villain over.
They exchange rights, the crowd punctuating TA's, hoping that, if they shout loud enough, their hero's punches will vanquish the villain. TA gets the better of the exchange and sends DiBiase into the opposite corner, but a charge meets knee.
The villain goes for the pin, hoping it's over. It isn't, and TA punches back, but the two men collide and the hero tumbles to the floor, which is where he doesn't want to be.
As soon as DiBiase realizes where the hero is, he regroups and rolls to the floor. There the villain grabs the hero and sends him headfirst into the ringpost. It is ten minutes into the match and the transformation into hero and villain is complete and unquestionable. The villain picks up the now bloodied hero and drives his head into the ringpost once more, and then the barricade at ringside. He disdainfully gives the hero a few boots before rolling him into the ring.
The villain taunts the hero. He stands there sneering, fist cocked and ready to catch the hero as soon as he reaches his feet, just to further insult him. The villain does it for the simple reason that he can. Now that he has control, the villain doesn't want it to end. He's tasted blood. He likes it.
The villain points to the fallen hero and jaws at the crowd, "This is your hero? This is the best you can throw against me?" With a handful of mullet the villain drives the hero's head into the corner and then stomps him. The point now is to punish the hero and thereby punish the crowd that supported him and jeered the villain.
A whip to the ropes sets up a lazy backdrop, but the hero rolls the villain up. It isn't enough and the villain quickly gets up and pounces on the hero with kicks. He let the crowd distract him from winning and now has to regain control.
Boots, a punch, an elbow drop, but the villain can't finish the hero for good. Another whip into the ropes and this time he hits the backdrop. Perhaps it was to show the crowd that he could, perhaps it was to show himself.
The villain lifts the battered and bloodied hero and tries to put him away for good, but the hero senses trouble and manages to backdrop his way out of the piledriver.
The villain rolls on the ground as the hero dabs the blood away from his eyes. Did it take all he had left? NO! He punches his way back. It only works so well and the hero gets whipped, but the villain foolishly telegraphs another backdrop and gets his head kicked instead.
The villain backpedals. His plan is failing and he knows retribution could be threefold if he's not careful. They exchange punches again and the hero whips the villain into the corner with such force that the third rope comes down, buckle and all.
The villain sees this as an opportunity and grabs the fallen corner, it's metal buckle is a legal weapon now, but tides have turned and the hero yanks it away, giving the villain a taste of his own medicine before casting the corner aside.
The hero tries a headlock, but the villain tosses him off, into the ropes. In an effort to slow the hero down, the villain drops him throat first into the second rope.
The villain is once again confident and he slams the hero with authority before reaching into his tights for a fail-safe. Tauntingly he waves it to the crowd, there is nothing they can do but scream, pray and try to look away. With the weapon in hand the villain ascends the turnbuckles ready to drop a loaded fist.
He misses. The hero escapes what would've meant certain doom. The villain pays the price. What would have made the hit more powerful makes the miss more costly, not to mention he has lost his last resort.
With all his tricks failed the villain stumbles around the ring, half out of pain, half out of worry. He stumbles right into the arms of the hero who lifts him skyward and drops him on his back.
Only know that he is sure it is over, does the hero try for a pin. Five seconds later the villain realizes what happened, but that's two seconds too late. He can protest all he wants, but virtue is triumphant today.