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By Doug Maynard on 3/7/2008 2:17 PM


AWA Championship Wrestling
on ESPN Classics
March 7, 2008
(Originally Aired February 23, 1986)
Doug Maynard
Sup' all? What time is it? It's time for more of that awesome wrestling goodness that is the AWA on ESPN Classics. I'm Doug and I watch this stuff so you don't have to. But you should watch it anyhow. Try it. You'll like it. Have I ever lied to you?
No time for the chit chat today. Time is short so let's get to cracking. It's Verne Gagne's AWA and this originally aired on February 23, 1986.

Chris Curtis vs. Marty Jannetty

After several nights of airing matches of Marty teaming with Shawn Michaels, we go backwards in time and get Marty in a singles match that was taped before he and Michaels have even started teaming up yet. Whassup wit dat? Marty is sporting a rather prominent black eye as he comes to the ring. It looks pretty bad, but he's all smiles anyhow.
After locking up, Marty immediately goes after the arm of Curtis after taking him down to the mat. Curtis locks in a headlock, but Jannetty comes back quickly with a backdrop and then goes back after the arm again. Curtis tries a few times to gain the advantage, but Jannetty keeps control and keeps going back to the left arm again and again. Curtis has a brief flurry with some punches, kicks and forearm shots to Jannetty in the corner and scores a big knee to get a two-count. Chris Curtis locks in the "chin-lock of doom" and has the advantage over the future Rocker. Curtis pulls the hair a few times to keep Jannetty secure and locked up. Jannetty fights back with a sunset flip for two and then hits a big dropkick. Marty goes to the well again for another dropkick attempt, but Curtis holds on to the ropes and Jannetty crashes and burns. Curtis tries to drop an elbow, but Marty rolls out of the way and Curtis crash and burns. Marty hits a suplex and a shoulder-block. Marty with the cross-body and he grabs the leg to get the pin.
Winner: Marty Jannetty
Larry Nelson talks to Marty Jannetty. Marty is happy to be in the AWA and he's looking for a tag team partner. He had much success in the past as part of a tag team and prefers to wrestle in a team. We see Larry Zbyszko headed towards the ring so Marty ends his segment and takes off as Larry Z. climbs into the ring and starts to talk.
He's back. The suspension is over. Larry talks about how AWA President Stanley Blackburn, Nick Bockwinkle, The Gagnes, etc. all tried to screw him over, but their suspension wasn't worth a three dollar bill. Larry was right and his actions that caused his suspension (beating up Greg Gagne, I believe?) were justified. Larry calls Bockwinkle and (referee) Scott LeDeoux "losers and thugs". Larry is back to stay. Larry Nelson cuts off Zbyszko and ends the interview, claiming that they're out of time. Zbyszko grows irate and complains as we go to commercial.

The Barbarian & Boris Zhukov (with Sheik Adnan El Kassey) vs. Chris Bassett & Spike Jones

Before Larry Nelson can even do the introductions, Barbarian and Zhukov are in the ring attacking their opponents. It's OINGO BOINGO from the beginning as the resident monsters from Sheik Adnan's army are intent on putting a major butt-kicking on their opponents as quickly as possible. Lots of back and forth switching by Barbarian and Zhukov as they concentrate on the arm and shoulder of Jones. Well, Zhukov works on the arm. Barbarian seems content to just keep stomping away and kicking the guy in the head. Jones and Bassett attempt a few times to mount comebacks, but it never seems to last as the huge size advantage of General Adnan's two men is just too much to deal with. Zhukov hit a dropkick. That's something you don't see every day. And Barbarian did a dropkick as well. Wow! The slaughter continues for several minutes until Barbarian finally decides to end it on Jones with a big slam, a big knee, and a big leg drop to pick up an easy pin.
Winners: The Barbarian & Boris Zhukov (with Sheik Adnan El Kassey)
After the match, Barbarian and Zhukov decide to attack and beat on Chris Bassett a little more as well. It's just some classic pounding and Barbarian ends it by ramming Bassett into the steel ring post outside of the ring.
Larry Nelson has Sheik Adnan and his two monsters in the ring. Sheik rambles something about how his team deserves to be the tag team champions and deserve a shot. His army will capture the gold. Adnan threatens to buy the AWA. Barbarian yells and rants a bit. They want a title match. His partner is the best Russian ever. Their manager is a great tactician. And mercifully, Larry Nelson cuts them off by saying their out of time. We head to a commercial.

Scott Hall vs. Earthquake Ferris

Ferris has been working as a referee for the company, but I'm not sure if his referee stint was before or after this match. I wish ESPN would show these shows in order so we could have a little continuity and keep up with things better. Both men start off by shoving each other to prove just how strong they are. Scott hits a hip-toss and a dropkick and Ferris decides to head out to the floor for a bit. Ferris eventually comes back to the ring and locks in a headlock. A couple of shoulders off the ropes and again, no one gives an inch. Scott drops down and locks up the legs of Ferris. Ferris fights back and gains the advantage with a knee and some hard fists. He whips Scott into the corner and charges in. Scott moves at the last second and Ferris crashes hard into an empty corner. Scott hits a big elbow from the second rope and picks up an easy pin.
Winner: Scott Hall
Larry Nelson talks to Scott. Scott gives an update on the health of Curt Hennig, who had been recently injured by (then) AWA Champion Stan Hansen. Scott talks about how Curt's neck has swelled up and they don't know the extent of his injuries. Scott puts over Hansen as a tough World Champion and very capable wrestler. But there are a lot of capable wrestlers in the AWA, like Curt and himself. Scott calls Hansen a "bully" and says his Mama always told him that if you face down a bully, they run. And Hansen, he likes to run. Nelson tries to cut him off, saying they're out of time, but Hall chimes in with a message to Stan Hansen, "Any time and any place!"
We now go to Donna with a "Ringside Rumors" segment. I might be wrong, but I believe Donna is the daughter of AWA Owner Verne Gagne and the (future) wife of Larry Zbyszko. That would explain how she got this job because she's definitely not Barbara Walters. Donna sends out congratulations to the new champions in the AWA. Scott Hall & Curt Hennig are the new AWA World Tag Team Champions, after defeating Steve Regal (not the guy currently in WWE) an Jimmy Garvin to capture the belts. And Stan Hansen is the new AWA World Champion after recently defeating Rick Martel at the Meadowlands Arena in New Jersey. She also mentions that several new stars are coming to the AWA, such as Marty Jannetty, David Sammartino and Col. DeBeers. And boxer turned referee Scott LeDeoux is looking at getting in the ring in order to deal with people like the Sheik and his army, as well as Larry Zbyszko.
And now, to the main event.

King Kong (Bruiser) Brody (with Sheik Adnan El Kassey) vs. Crusher Jerry Blackwell

We saw part of this on one of the shows last week as the opening moments of Brody and the Sheik attacking Blackwell before the bell has already aired. Sheik and Brody double-team on Blackwell and Brody ends up nailing Jerry with a chair as the two men beat-down the fallen Blackwell. Buck Zumhofe, Leon White (who will one day be known as Vader) and Scott LeDeoux come out and help Jerry to the back.
But Brody isn't finished. He is moving around the ringside area and goes after Greg Gagne, who is working at the announce position as the color commentator. Brody drags Greg to the ring and throws him in. Greg explodes on Brody and goes to town on the much larger Brody with a series of fists and kicks. Brody rips at the eyes and kicks Gagne in the face. Greg still isn't ready to quit and explodes again with more punches. Greg slips off his boot and goes to town on Brody, just wildly swinging the boot and hitting everything that gets too close. He smacks the Sheik with the boot and goes back after Brody. Brody scores with a kick to the face. The Sheik holds down Gagne as Brody drops a knee and several stiff leg-drops across the smaller man. Here comes Blackwell back from the locker room and he lands punches and headbutts on Brody and the Sheik. Blackwell works over the Sheik while Gagne is back up and pounding away at Brody with his boot. Gagne and Blackwell whip Sheik and Brody into each other and the two crazed heels quickly roll to the floor to escape. Brody and Sheik head to the back as Blackwell and Gagne stay in the ring to be cheered by the fans.
As for the match, it never officially got started so I guess it would be ruled a "No Contest!"
Larry Nelson talks to Greg Gagne and Crusher Jerry Blackwell. Blackwell talks about how disgusting Sheik and Brody are. He hates the Sheik. They think they can do what they want. Greg Gagne talks. He's been out of action for eight months. He's still injured, but Greg isn't afraid of Brody. Greg isn't the biggest guy around, but he has heart. Blackwell talks some more. He wants Brody in a cage. He plans on making sure the Sheik gets his too.
And the show ends abruptly. I hate it when that happens.
And that's the AWA for tonight. Another decent show with Scott Hall, Larry Z., Marty Jannetty, Bruiser Brody, and so many more. It's not slick or polished, but it's got a charm, a special something, that makes it all work and work well. I just wish that ESPN would get their act together and show the programs in order so we can have a little continuity, but that's just a small gripe of mine. I"m still enjoying the shows and the great memories. And for that, ESPN Classics needs to be thanked.
And I'm out of here for now. Send questions and comments 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 out. Have a great day and always be a fan.