PWInsiderXTRA - WWE News, Wrestling News, WWE



By Doug Maynard on 3/6/2008 12:58 PM
AWA Championship Wrestling
on ESPN Classics
March 6, 2008
(Originally Aired October 12, 1986)
Doug Maynard
What time is it kids? It's not Howdy Doody time. That's for sure. I think of "Howdy Doody" and picture a person looking down into his toilet and saying "good morning". And I have no idea why I even mentioned that. I think I need sleep. Lots and lots of sleep. And maybe a good therapist as well? It couldn't hurt. That's for sure. But before I crawl into bed and "rest my eyes" for a little while, I have something far more important to do. And that's recap the latest edition of the best wrestling show on television today. Yep, I'm talking about the AWA on ESPN Classics. And if the feedback I've been getting from these recaps is any indication, it's truly the most talked about wrestling show on TV today. Everyone is talking AWA.
Which would be great if it wasn't twenty-two years old. That doesn't say very much for the wrestling of today (WWE & TNA). Maybe it's just the nostalgia factor? Maybe it's just that we (the fans) are actually thrilled to see a wrestling program that actually features "wrestling". Maybe it's a little bit of both. Who knows? All I know is that I'm glad that ESPN decided to bring it back. And even happier that I've been given the chance to be the "Recap Guy" for these shows.
I'm Doug and this is AWA Championship Wrestling. It's from Sin City, USA aka "Las Vegas, Nevada" and taped at the Showboat Hotel. The men calling the action are Ron Trongard and Lord James Blears. And watch out for the evil monkey who lives in the closet. Lets do this...
Tom "Rocky" Stone vs. Scott Hall
The opening match features "Big" Scott Hall taking on the wily veteran, Tom Stone, who Trongard refers to as "Rocky". Well, if it's good enough for Trongard, it's good enough for me. I always thought Stallone was taller though. The two men start off by trading punches and Stone quickly locks in a big headlock. Hall powers out with a wrist-lock and a take down. Stone calls foul and claims that Scott pulled his hair. They lock up once more and Stone pulls the hair to get the advantage over the bigger and more powerful Hall. Stone slams Hall's head repeatedly into the corner, but Hall decides to "no-sell" the corner shots and slings Stone into the far corner across the ring. Big elbow by Hall.
Ron Trongard's "man crush" on Hall is pretty obvious at this point as he refers to Hall as "a real handsome man" and a "dynamic looking individual". Lord Blears agrees and then rambles off on some other subject. These guys are so bad, they're good.
Stone fights back by ripping at the eyes and rubbing Hall's face across the top rope. Chin-lock by Stone that quickly turns into a choke. Rocky does some pounding away at Hall and yells to the fans, "Hey Adrian!". OK, he doesn't do that, but it would have been cool if he had. Scott finally has enough and starts throwing some big punches at the smaller Stone. Backdrop by Hall and he follows with a big slam. Scott goes for the bulldog and it's over as the referee counts three.
Winner: "Big" Scott Hall
A graphic pops up as we go to commercial that says, "Scott Hall was voted the AWA's most popular wrestler in April, 1986". And somewhere, Boris Zhukov was spotted sitting in a corner, pouting, with a small tear running down his face.
Larry Nelson climbs into the ring and talks to Scott. Scott puts over his finisher, the bulldog. It's been good for him and lead to many big wins. Nelson mentions the upcoming AWA Battle Royal Series and Scott talks about his success in Battle Royals. It's lots of big money and a future chance at the AWA World Championship and Nick Bockwinkle. Scott sees these Battle Royals as a chance to get some paybacks against some different folks such as Buddy Rose, Doug Summers and Col. DeBeers. Everyone will be in the ring and it's an opportunity to settle some outstanding scores.
Mike Richards & Frankie DeFalco vs. Alexis Smirnoff & Yuri Gordyenko
It's the two big, bad Russians taking on the two younger rookies in what was pretty much a squash match. Alexis started off against Richards and immediately went after the arm with an arm-drag and then locking up an arm-bar. Tag out to Gordyenko and he continued the attack on the arm of Richards. Lots of switching off and fast tags and the focus stayed on the one part of the body. It was like a "Anderson Brother Wrestling Clinic" in my eyes. 
DeFalco managed to tag in after a while and got in a few punches, but that was it as Gordyenko and Smirnoff quickly took back the advantage and worked on his arm for a little bit. Richards was tagged back in and the beginning of the end finally came as the Russians managed to trap him in the corner and do several double-teams on the arm. In the end, it was a stomp from off the top ropes on to the arm and a hammerlock by Gordyenko on Richards that led to the end. Richards had enough and was forced to submit.
Winners: Alexis Smirnoff & Yuri Gordyenko
Another graphic pops up as we go to commercial and the AWA thanks the Showboat Hotel for their hospitality and the use of their facilities.
Dennis Stamp & Tony Leone vs. Shawn Michaels & Marty Jannetty - The Midnight Rockers
The fans really love the Rockers and they get a loud reaction as they make their way to the ring. As for Dennis Stamp, he is the "Dennis Stamp" from "Beyond The Mat". Jannetty and Stamp start off and Stamp immediately goes after the arm of Marty with a hammer-lock and a slam into the corner. Shawn tags in and barely clears a leap-frog over Stamp before catching him with an arm-drag take-down. Shawn has control now on Stamp and works on the arm with a series of knees. A big elbow by Michaels and he tags back in Jannetty, who locks up Stamp with a chin-lock. Leone gets into the ring and unloads some fist shots at Marty. Marty fights back and unleashes a flurry of punches before tagging back out to Michaels. Shawn with a dropkick and a big chin-lock of doom. Stamp manages to get back in and we see some double-teaming by the heels on the young Michaels. Leone is back in and pounds away at the future "HBK", but Shawn rebounds with a "Shades of Mr. Wrestling II" knee-lift that sends Leone reeling. Jannetty comes back in and hits a flying elbow. It's double your pleasure and double your fun as the Rockers do the double-superkick on Leone and then follow up with Shawn dropping his partner, Marty across Leone with an inverted suplex-type maneuver. Marty covers and gets the pin.
Winners: Shawn Michaels and Marty Jannetty - The Midnight Rockers
A graphic pops up that says The Rockers claim that they may recruit a female manager if Sherri Martel keeps interfering in their matches against Buddy Rose and Doug Summers.
Larry Nelson talks with the Rockers. Marty talks briefly about the Battle Royal Series and how it's a chance for some good money. They love money. But they're more concerned about Buddy Rose and Doug Summers. Marty says that he & Shawn will do what they have to do to get even with Summers and Rose. Shawn says they're not worried about Battle Royals or even titles. It's all about proving that the Rockers are the best tag team in the AWA. They don't want the titles anymore. They want to kick Rose's and Summers' ass.
Larry Nelson comes back after the commercial break and introduces a segment that took place during a show in Wisconsin. It was an edition of "In This Corner" and Larry Zbyszko had a confrontation with a local attorney. First, Larry rags on the guys wardrobe and calls the local fans "spudheads". Larry questions the lawyer about the legality of the AWA handing the World Championship to Nick Bockwinkle and why he hasn't had his title shot yet. He doesn't think it's legal. The attorney responds that the AWA has a ranking system and Larry hasn't gotten a shot yet because he obviously hasn't qualified for a title match.
Zbyszko doesn't like this suggestion and says that (AWA President) Stanley Blackburn is protecting Nick Bockwinkle and the AWA Championship. He calls the lawyer a "stooge" for Blackburn and "Spud-head Central" and continues to rant away about how he plans to sue the AWA. Larry is in rare form as he's complaining about everything under the sun and moon. Larry Nelson ends the segment as we cut to a commercial.
And now, the main event...
"The Living Legend" Larry Zbyszko (with Mr. Go) vs. Curt Hennig
Larry is still complaining as he enters the ring, along with his bodyguard / henchman Mr. Go. He interrupts Larry Nelson several times as Nelson tries to make the ring introductions and then argues with the referee as well. Larry starts off by stalling and asking for a time-out. He argues with the referee. He goes to the announce table and argues with Ron Trongard and Lord Blears. A big "Larry Sucks" chant fills the arena and Larry complains about that. I think we go almost five minutes before Larry ever actually locks up with Hennig. This is Zbyszko at his best.
Hennig manages to get in a forearm shot, but Larry rolls to the floor and stalls some more. Mr. Go gets on the apron to try and distract Hennig, but it doesn't work and Hennig gets the best of Larry in a brief ruckus. Hennig finally manages to get hold of Zbyszko and locks him in a headlock. Larry uses the tights to roll up Hennig a couple of times, but only gets a couple of two-counts. Larry fights out with some elbow shots, but Hennig reverses a hip-toss attempt and locks Zbyszko back up in the headlock again. Even while trapped in a headlock by Hennig, Zbyszko is still talking and complaining. Larry manages to escape from the headlock by using a suplex. Hennig scores with some punches and a "perfect" dropkick. Zbyszko rolls to the floor and pulls Hennig out by the leg. It's brawl city on the floor as both men trade punches and try to get back into the ring. The referee is counting and neither man makes it back into the ring before the count of ten.
Referee's Decision: Double Count-Out - Yeppers, it's a draw!
The fans don't like this decision and neither does Hennig. Larry Z. quickly flees to the back along with Mr. Go as Larry Nelson gets into the ring to talk to Curt Hennig.
Curt is not happy with the end of the match. He feels that whoever had won the match would be the number one contender to Nick Bockwinkle and the AWA World Championship. He puts over how tough Zbyszko is and says that next time, things will end differently. He talks about the Battle Royal Series and how the winners get a shot at Bockwinkle. Curt has been training extra hard with Scott Hall and is ready for anything . New people are coming as a result of these Battle Royals and Curt is ready for them.
And on that note, the show abruptly ends. Another fun show that brought back some good memories for me. I've always been a Larry Zbyszko fan, due to his work in Georgia and WCW. I never had much of a chance to see him strut his stuff in the AWA before now and it's a definite treat. Add Scott Hall, Curt Hennig and The Rockers to the mix and this is pure heaven for me. I'm loving it. Now, if we could just get WWE to release the old Mid-Atlantic and Georgia Championship Wrestling tapes in a similar fashion as this, it would be a dream come true. This is old-school wrestling at it's best. And that's true. It's damn true.
And on that, I'm done for the day. But before I head out, I'd like to send my condolences to the fans and family of rocker Jeff Healy, who passed away on Sunday after a life-long fight against cancer. Healy, 41, is best known for his song, "Angel Eyes" and his role in the movie "Road House", which also starred Patrick Swayze, Terry Funk and featured John Studd as well. So there is a wrestling connection here as well. He has a new album, "Mess of Blues", due for a North American release on April 22nd. It was his first rock album in 8 years.
Healy is survived by his wife, Christie and his two children. Please keep them in your prayers and thoughts.
And also, I'd like to send out best wishes and prayers for actor Patrick Swayze, who has been diagnosed with cancer. Swayze, the star of "Dirty Dancing", "Ghost" and "Road House", is undergoing treatments and hopefully, will be able to make a full recovery. Good luck to him as well.
Any questions or comments? Send 'em to Come visit me on MySpace at Add me as a friend. You know you want to.
Until the next time, I'm Doug and I'm outta here. Have a great day and always be a fan.