Tuesday, March 21, 2017
It's All Fun and Games Till Somebody Turns Heel
Steve Simpson vs Jerry Allen, 18 April 1986, Dallas (WCCW)
I have more than one theory about when, exactly the moment, Jerry Allen turns heel in this match. Every one involves reading way too much into individual gestures. Really the beauty of this match is the slow accretion of small gestures that eventually reveal the jobber as a bad guy. He seems like a good enough guy at the start. He looks good. The crowd, most of it, gives him an enthusiastic welcome, though nothing compared to the squeals of delight as Simpson is introduced. He shakes Simpson's proffered hand in a show of good sportsmanship. When he backs Simpson to the ropes, he makes a clear show of making a clean break. Then something goes sour.
I have said this before, more than once, but I love a match that starts with two good-looking babyfaces, but sometime between the introductions and the finish, one of them turns bad and has to be put down for stepping over the line. This is exactly the storyline that gets my juices flowing. After a sunshine-and-butterflies opening, Allen gets a taste of how rough Simpson plays, and he looks shocked, grimacing in a tight hammerlock, but also looking dismayed that the match isn't going as easily for him as he had hoped for. He gets a "nice takedown" on Simpson, but Simpson springs back up to his feet in less than a second. Allen seems to take this personally.
Frustration builds on frustration, with Simpson repeatedly proving himself the better technical wrestler. Every successful tactic Allen employs gets immediately reversed by Simpson. When Simpson takes him down with an arm drag, Allen reacts angrily. He kicks, an unworthy and unmanly response, aiming for Simpson's crotch. Simpson catches the foot and (accidentally) hurls Allen out of the ring. So right about halfway through this eight-minute crowd-pleaser, the line between good sport and bad sport gets drawn, and Allen appears to declare all-out war. Ultimately, his envy and hotheadedness are Jerry Allen's undoing, with Simpson, golden and decent (but no pushover by a long shot), playing the avenging angel--to everybody's delight and with a considerable tug on my libido (for whatever reason, my libido works this way).