The Last Battle of Atlanta - Tommy Rich vs Buzz Sawyer
Hello Dwellers and Welcome to The Basement...
Since I just watched it on the WWE Network, I wanted to give my thoughts regarding the lost 'gem' that was The Last Battle of Atlanta, a match between Tommy Rich and Buzz Sawyer that was held in a totally enclosed steel cage thanks to there being a roof being placed on top of the cage, to make sure neither man could escape... and it is the match that Shawn Michaels said helped inspired the 'Hell in a Cell' match in the WWE.... said match however was nothing like the match between Rich and Sawyer, as he and Undertaker both left the cage and there was quite a bit of outside interference....the total opposite of the idea... but I digress.
Now I'm not too familiar with Georgia Championship Wrestling, the promotion / territory, where the match took place, nor am I all that familiar with Tommy Rich or Buzz Sawyer at this point in their careers. I do know of their reputation, that Rich was someone who had incredible popularity for a good portion of time before his career went off the rails as the 80s progressed, while Sawyer would be in Mid-South later in his career, but that's about it. I don't know the history of the feud, what started it, etc. In fact I'm hoping the WWE starts uploading some of the studio shows from Georgia Championship Wrestling to help add some context to the proceedings.
So I was watching the match 'cold', one thing of note is that Paul Ellering, who is Sawyer's manager is suspended above the ring in a smaller cage, apparently there is a stipulation that if Rich won, then Ole Anderson would get his hands on Ellering. At least that's how I understood it watching the match....cause that's the only way it makes sense.
The match itself is basically a straight fight, very much that of two guys who totally hate each other wanting to rip one another to shreds... and that's pretty much all it is, it's totally a fine blow off match ,what makes this match 'great' is the crowd, who want to see these two end their personal war once and for all. They are there to see the match, not to be apart of it or hijack it (unlike modern crowds).
Now I would argue, the stuff afterward with Ole Anderson and Paul Ellering had the crowd more fired up, and my reason for thinking that is that Ellering was a heel manager, and the audience who was familiar with his antics would want to see him get his ass handed to him by Ole who has been a mainstay in the territory for a solid decade by this point. So I was able to wrap my head around that a lot easier, because it's a familiar story seen with villain managers.
But the real question obvious, is 'The Last Battle Of Atlanta' worth watching, is it the 'lost gem', the 'holy grail', every one thinks it was....eh.... kind of, it certainly is a nice time capsule of that period in wrestling, but without the context and seeing the build up to the match, it's just two enclosed cage matches. It's fine for what it is, but without the context of the story, I didn't get as much out of it as those who are more familiar with the Rich-Sawyer feud.