AWA CHAMPIONSHIP WRESTLING ON ESPN CLASSIC REPORT
By Doug Maynard on 3/6/2008 12:58 PM
AWA Championship Wrestling
on ESPN Classics
March 6, 2008
(Originally Aired October 12, 1986)
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
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
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
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.
Until the next time, I'm Doug and I'm outta here. Have a great day and always
be a fan.