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By Doug Maynard on 3/4/2008 12:32 PM

AWA Championship Wrestling
ESPN Classics
March 4, 2008
(Originally Aired on September 23, 1986)
Doug Maynard
It's another edition of AWA Championship Wrestling coming to us from the world famous Showboat Hotel is Las Vegas, Nevada. This originally aired way back in September of 1986 - more classic goodness from Verne Gagne and the AWA. I'm Doug and I'm your recap-guru for the night.
I'll have to keep it kind of short and sweet since it's late and night and (for a change), I have to be up early in the morning for some happy-happy, joy-joy fun doing the infamous "job hunting" thing. I'd rather sleep in, but ya gotta do what ya gotta do, right?
Let's get straight to the action. I didn't catch who was calling the action, but I heard Lord James Blears talking so I'll assume it's Ron Trongard as the play-by-play guy. I've found it's better to watch with the sound turned way down during most of these matches. Jim Ross and Jerry Lawler, these announcers are NOT! Not even close.
Mr. Go (with the "Living Legend" Larry Zbyszko) vs. Robert Burroughs
Mr. Go, if I remember right, was supposed to be some kind of kung-fu or karate champ and was Zbyszko's "hired hit man" at the time. Look! Larry has hair. Wow! Go dominates the action with an arm-drag and a big kick to the face. Lord Blears warns the fans to not try this at home. Amazing insight by the veteran announcer. The crowd is really getting on Zbyszko with a huge "Larry Sucks" chant. And somewhere, a young Kurt Angle is listening and saying that "Some day, the fans will say that to me!". A big clothesline by Go and he picks up an easy pin.
Winner: Mr. Go (with Larry Zbyszko)
Its promo time as Zbyszko gets on the mic with Larry Nelson. The AWA is bringing in Jimmy Snuka to attempt to stop Zbyszko. But it won't work and nothing will stop him from achieving his goals and fulfilling his destiny. Classic Zbyszko promo as the "Living Legend" struts his stuff.
Scott Hall vs. Thomas Pittman
"Big" Scott Hall is back in action. It's squash-city as the future "Bad Guy" pretty much walks all over the young jobber, Pittman. A big backdrop, some punches, a couple of clotheslines and that's all she wrote. Scott sits on the kid to up an easy pin.
Winner: Scott Hall
We were also treated to a graphic that says that "Scott Hall has been voted the most eligible bachelor in the AWA." What is this? Wrestling or a singles bar? Well, I guess it was either Scott or Boris Zhukov. I'm glad they went with Scott.
Larry Nelson talks with Scott and he talks about the AWA and Vegas and puts over the company big time. Scott sounds like a real "company guy" at this point - a far cry from what he would later be in WWE and WCW. I guess you do what you've gotta do to pay the bills. Curt Hennig is out as well and is standing by Scott's side. Scott calls out South African bigot and racist Col. DeBeers (Ed Wiskowski). Curt Hennig lets Scott and the fans know that he has Scott's back and if anyone tries to get involved in Scott's match against DeBeers, they'll have to answer to him.
And now it's time for tag action as Sheik Adnan El Kassey brings out his two resident psychopaths for their match.
Boris Zhukov & Ali Khan (with Sheik Adnan El Kassey) vs. Ruth Cooper & Ray Meyers
It's another trip to squash-central as the two monsters of the Sheik's army just cleaned house and squashed the two enhancement talents. Myers is decimated by Zhukov who just pounds on him again and again. Myers gets slammed on the concrete floor by Zhukov and that looked stiff. Ouch! Myers gets back-dropped for a two-count and then Zhukov goes for a submission - some kind of vice-hold and Meyers gives it up. Just a slaughter by Sheik's two mercenaries. Brutal!
Winners: Boris Zhukov & Ali Khan (with Sheik Adnan El Kassey).
It's promo time again as the Sheik rambles a bit and puts over his wrestlers. He claims that Zhukov will be the next AWA Champion. Zhukov does some yelling in bad-fake Russian and say something about a Russian Chain Match. I'm guessing he's challenging Bockwinkle to put the title up in a chain match, but that's just speculation on my part. I need to brush up on my fake-Russian a bit.
AWA World Champion Nick Bockwinkle vs. Paul Garner
The champ is here! OK, so it's not John Cena. It's someone better. It's the original "Cerebral Assassin" and "thinking man's wrestler", Nick Bockwinkle. And he's facing (surprise) a jobber. What the... ?? My, how things have changed. Headlock and shoulder-block by Bockwinkle. He's looking like the champ he is. And Garner makes the comeback. Punches and a single-leg take down on the Champ. Nick isn't a happy camper. Nick fights back and plants a boot to the belly before locking in the patented "Indian Deathlock" for the quick submission.
Winner: Nick Bockwinkle
A graphic pops up on the screen. "Nick Bockwinkle won his first AWA World title on November 16th, 1975". November 16th? That's my future ex-lover and better half's birthday. Way cool! Of course, Chris wasn't even born yet when Nicky won his first title, but still, it's kind of cool anyhow.
It's time for the main event.
Scott Hall vs. Col. DeBeers
Yep! Scott is back. Two matches on one show. Don't you feel special? Scott whips DeBeers around the ring and delivers a big slam, but misses the elbow drop. A big "U-S-A" chant fills the arena. Scott unloads with some heavy forearms as the two men trade blows. We hear the announcers talk about how DeBeers had called Hall a "steroid baby" the week before. Damn! Is this 1986 or 2008? I don't think you'd ever hear anyone suggest that in a promo or interview these days or they'd be out of a job in a matter of moments. Scott was a hoss back then. And hell, he's still the man! Yeah, I said it! Hey yo! DeBeers does some biting and chewing on Scott's hand before being on the receiving end of a big bulldog by Hall. Scott gets a two-count, but DeBeers makes the ropes to get the break. DeBeers pushes Scott into the referee and the ref is down. Scott is always a gentleman and goes to help the official up, but DeBeers hits a dropkick and knocks Scott back into the ref again. Scott scores with a backdrop, but the referee is up and calls for the bell. He's disqualifying Scott for hitting him, I guess.
Winner by DQ: Col. DeBeers
We have a stare-down between Hall and DeBeers for a moment and it ends up getting physical as Hall pushes DeBeers out of the ring and to the floor.
It's time for another graphic as we get "Top 5 Contenders For The AWA Title". They are: 1) The Barbarian, 2) Col. DeBeers, 3) Scott Hall, 4) Larry Zbyszko, 5) Jimmy Snuka.
Dougie Note: This is "Nord the Barbarian" and not the "Barbarian" who later wrestled in WCW.
We come back for another promo with Scott Hall. He talks about the match with DeBeers. He should have won the match, but his mother always told him that what goes around comes around, so in the end, DeBeers will get his.
And then the credits roll.
Another good show. Two Scott Hall matches as well as Zbyszko and the AWA World Champion too. The AWA may have been on their last breath during this era, but you can't tell it by the talent. Wait! (Looks at Zhukov & Mr. Go) - yes, you can! But it's still an awesome show and a great look back at the days when wrestling was wrestling and not "sports-entertainment" crapola.
One final note - this has nothing to do with the AWA, but I noticed earlier tonight on RAW that Mae Young was announced as the next inductee, along with Ric Flair, Peter Maivia and Rocky Johnson, to be in the WWE Hall of Fame Class of 2008. Young has been one of the top female stars for longer than most of us have been alive. Forget about the comedy and WWE hijinks's - she's a legitimate legend and superstar who paved the way for a lot of lady wrestlers over the years. I've heard many a Mae Young story from the days I used to talk regularly to Ann Casey (another icon and true legend) and she's the real deal all the way. Congratulations to Mae Young and all of the Inductees named so far to represent the WWE HOF Class of 2008. So far, the list looks pretty damn good.
And that's it for me tonight. Questions and comments can be sent to Come visit me at MySpace at Add me as a friend. You know you want to.
I'm Doug and I'm gone. See you next time.