Terry Gordy in the US

Whenever I looked at tapes from the 80's, Terry Gordy was always a name I looked for. The Freebirds were too damn cool and Gordy ruled the ring at that point. He worked the mat and had a brutality to his style that made everyone pay attention.

Over time my tapes of Gordy either got stolen or actually belonged to people I no longer live near. I was left with scraps in my collection and I didn't want to go over the GWF stuff again, even if I didn't do it justice. Thankfully I got Gancarski's comps and a tape Bill Barnwell put together as a favor.

Maybe this is just bandwagonning. As much as I say I liked Gordy, I wasn't planning on reviewing any UWF in the near future. I was thinking of doing the Hennig/Bockwinkle match this issue. I know that some people probably already think that this is just jumping on the dead guy's train. I don't think it is but if I can't convince myself it isn't, how can I convince you?

Mike Jackson
GA 1981

Make no mistake about it: this is a squash. Gordy doesn't miss the chance to play the heel and begins the beat down before the bell. Jackson gets a brief flurry before tumbling to the floor. There he fights back Michael Hayes well enough, but his opponent isn't Hayes. The Freebirds stomp Jackson for a while after the bell (either DQing Gordy or counting out Jackson) until the locker room empties and a Pier 6 occurs.

Your average "smart" fan loved Gordy but he was also the butt of many jokes. The infamous coma that he never fully recovered from prompted many punch lines of "just say no." People will talk of Gordy as the great should-have-been. It's like Dean Rasmussen said: in some ways, we've been mourning his death for a long time.

Gordy / Michael Hayes
Bruiser Brody / Kerry Von Erich

The match has Japanese commentary but was filmed in the US. The story here is that neither Freebird wants to come close to Brody, which allows Von Erich more offense than he would otherwise get. It also establishes Brody as a monster without him doing a thing. Meanwhile the Freebirds are, well, the Freebirds. Gordy beats around Von Erich before tagging in Hayes who gets some quick showy offense before losing control and tagging his big friend back in. Things break down and the end comes when Brody knocks Gordy out of the ring and then tosses Von Erich onto Hayes for the pin. Short but sweet. Unfortunately, so was the Gordy v. Brody part of the match.

So in some ways I'm left wondering about my own reaction to Gordy's death. Is this the honest disappointment of a fan or just another "me too"? Did I write this because I wanted to or felt I should or even just because I wanted more hits for this website? I like to think that my emotions are honest and that I was just a fan, but it's part of my nature to question myself.

Ted DiBiase

This match is joined in progress as Gordy has DiBiase in a chinlock. This is everything a chinlock sequence should be as Gordy tosses DiBiase around by his head and DiBiase attempts to escape. Gordy goes for the piledriver, but DiBiase backdrops out of it and the fists go flying. DiBiase hits his big moves, but Gordy kicks him to prevent a figure four. DiBiase flies into the buckles and his head bounces off in an ugly way. Gordy clotheslines him out of his boots for the pin. Everything in this match looked like it still hurt the next day.

After the match Michael Hayes comes in to taunt DiBiase, which leads to DiBiase attacking Hayes, which leads to the Freebirds beating DiBiase in response. It's more than just "heels come beat the face up because they're heels" there's actual motivation for the beating. You understand why the Freebirds attack DiBiase and you hate them because of why they do it, not just what they do. Actually, it's the Freebirds, so you probably sat there with a smile on your face as they get the upper hand on Steve Williams, who ran in to save DiBiase, and spike piledrive him on the concrete.

Steve Williams

This match is just bull vs. bull. Both Gordy and Williams understood one thing: being big alone isn't enough. You have to make people believe you know how to use it. Nobody believes that The Big Show is tough and why should they? Everyone believes that Gordy and Williams were mean bastards and why wouldn't they?

The match is joined in progress right before it breaks down. One of the reasons I say I don't like brawls is that few are as well thought out as this one. Gordy tosses Doc to the floor to get out of danger and tosses him into the guard-rail, which Doc takes on his back. Gordy then targets the back for the rest of the match, tossing Doc out of the ring whenever he's in trouble because it never fails. Williams wises up and reverses the whip into the barricade, but back in the ring Gordy knows he can at least get a breather by tossing Doc out a third time. Williams gets busted open this trip to the floor and when Gordy follows up, the ref counts them out. That doesn't stop them from fighting. People run out of the locker room and both men toss them aside. They exchange finishers as well as punches and both men are bleeding. It's not until Doc knocks Gordy to the floor and Gordy decides to call it a day that the fight ends.

Meanwhile, amidst all of this wondering who's legit upset and who's not being honest, maybe we lose sight of what just happened. A man died. Some of us were fans, some of us will become fans, and some of us will go back to cracking Gordy jokes, but Terry Gordy is no more. Any way you slice it, that's no good.

Gordy / Steve Williams
The O'Days
Clash XIX, 1992

If the Oxford English Dictionary had a multimedia part, this could very well be used as the definition of "squash match". The O'Days look like they thought they were going to get some offense but they didn't have a single successful move. Gordy rudely dumps the elder O'Day on his head before Williams puts him away.

Gordy / Williams
The Steiners
Clash XIX 1992

There is a very long freestyle wrestling sequence that at times looks like the four guys just said, "fuck it," and went out there with no plan. It would make sense that four guys with freestyle backgrounds would go out there and take it to the mat, treating each other with respect. Slowly but surely the respect erodes and strikes start flying and then all agreements are off. Williams and Gordy focus on Scott Steiner's knee, which, along with the ref missing a tag, wins them the match.

I wasn't going to do this match justice in capsule form, so I didn't even bother trying. I may give it more attention some other time. It is a completely unique match for the modern era and, if just for that reason alone, everyone should see it.

Sometimes I think it's impossible to do a man justice just after his death. We'd all be better off if we could appreciate people's greatness in their lifetime. Unfortunately, we just won't think about it before it's too late.
Fly on Freebird.

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©2001 by the author