One of the greatest wrestling feuds of the late 1980’s, and possibly of all time, was between the Brainbusters (Arn and Tully, shown here in matching red trunks) and the Rockers (Shawn and Marty). This was the perfect Heels against the ideal Glam-Rockstars — what great chemistry they had, and what amazing talent! One blog article I read about their hot feud indicated that these teams faced off 69 times between late 1988 and the end of 1989 when Tully was fired for a drug violation and retired from wrestling. That’s more than once a week that they all four got together!
So I want to dig into this intense rivalry a bit — to break down some of their matches over a few articles and discuss why their Tag Battles trip my trigger.
Today’s featured match, which occurred early in their rivalry, is from 12/17/1988 at the Philly Spectrum. You can read a well written play-by-play recap of the action, or just scroll down and check out my images here to see what these cruel middle-aged brutes in their bulging red trunks did to my poor Young Rockers.
For your viewing pleasure, I also created a two-part video of this match on YouTube. Part 1 is embedded below, beginning with the Rockers Shine and ending at the “Cutoff” when the bad guys take control. (Note: I added some zoom-ins and freeze frames to emphasize the most eye-catching visuals.)
Shown here is the “Cutoff” moment when future “Sexy Boy”, Shawn Michaels foolishly chases Tully around the ring where Arn is waiting in ambush, leveling the pretty-boy with a Clothesline that leaves him ragdolled.
This moment perfectly summarizes young Shawn’s foolish eagerness and the veteran team’s cunning.
Obviously the appeal of this feud lies in the contrast between the two teams — Arn and Tully the older, bulkier, no-nonsense Daddies (their big cocks prominent in those snug red speedos), while Shawnetty are young, fun-loving, smooth-bodied, and somewhat effeminate Baby-Face Heroes.
The Heels now isolate Shawn, having their way with him — always a pleasure.
Look how Shawn spreads his arms out on the mat and keeps them there, leaving his face wide open to Arn’s relentless boots. THAT is some good jobbing!
Then big Tully leaps off the ropes, his arm raised like a cudgel to ruin the trapped victim’s ribs. Their awesomeness and masculine power is conveyed in their movements and it is glorious to watch.
One of my favorite moments occurred when Arn locked Shawn in the Ab Stretch, a spot they will enact frequently in their 69 matches with the Rockers, as you will see in future articles on this feud. We see the dirty cheaters join hands, working together to separate Shawn’s ribs. This moment perfectly illustrates their Heel cruelty and naughtiness contrasted with Shawn’s martyrdom.
Here is the second half of the video, focusing on the Heat portion of the match from the Cutoff to the Finish. By the way, the awesome Double Ab-Stretch scene occurs at about 2:41 into the video, just after a big Reverse Atomic Drop to Shawn’s balls…
As will often happen to our poor down-trodden Rockers in this series of videos, Arn and Tully cheat to win. Behind the referee’s back, Arn clips Marty Jannetty’s knee, enabling Tully’s bulk to collapse on the poor kid and crush him. The crafty veterans steal the win from the oh-so-gullible young studs.
Finally, I had to capture this rare moment of affection between Arn and Tully, a brief snuggle as Arn circles an arm around his partner to help him stagger back to the locker-room. It doesn’t really add to the narrative of how they dominated their young rivals — I just thought it was hot.