It's Doug and I'm back again with yet another recap of the best wrestling action available on television today, the AWA on ESPN Classics. It's another action packed episode of classic wrestling at its finest. OK, so maybe I won't go that far. It's not World Class or Crockett wrestling, but it's still pretty damn good. Hey Vince, take some notes, OK? This is how wrestling is supposed to be presented. Even when it's bad, it's better than most of the stuff on today in WWE and TNA. Yeah, I just went there. It's the AWA and it's on ESPN Classics. Let's do this.
Larry Zbyszko (with Mr. Go) vs. Larry Clark
As the match begins, the guys at the announce table make mention that the AWA Tag Team Championship recently changed hands and that "Playboy" Buddy Rose and "Pretty Boy" Doug Summers, along with their manager, Sherri Martel, recently defeated Scott Hall and Curt Hennig. While Rod Tongard and Lord James Blears are talking about the new tag champions, Larry Zbyszko is in the ring taking care of business with a take-down and arm lock on Clark. Spinning back-kick to the guts and Clark falls to the floor. Zbyszko follows and throws Clark back into the ring. Suplex by Zbyszko and then he goes to argue with the referee for a moment. It wouldn't be a Zbyszko match if he didn't argue and complain for a bit. Neckbreaker by Zbyszko and then a piledriver. Larry Z. covers for the easy pin.
Winner: Larry Zbyszko (with Mr. Go)
Larry Nelson talks to Zbyszko and Go. Larry is insulted. He wants a shot at Stan Hansen and feels he deserves the big money and the glory. He's tired of dealing with fools like Stanley Blackburn, Scott LeDeoux, the Gagne's, etc. Nelson asks if Zbyszko and Go plan on teaming and going after the new tag team champions. Larry says that Hall and Hennig have a lot of growing up to do and a lot to learn.
Go starts ranting in Japanese and Larry Nelson is befuddled. Larry Z. talks about how, if he gets the chance, the titles will change hands and vows to start serving up heads on a platter. He wants to know what he has to do to get his shots? Go talks some more in Japanese and Larry Nelson admits he doesn't understand what Go is saying. Zbyszko translates and says that Go is saying that both he and Zbyszko are "Number 1".
Marty Jannetty (with Shawn Michaels) vs. Alex Knight
Knight attacks Marty at the bell and tosses Marty to the floor. Knight follows, which may not be too smart a move. Jannetty with fists as he gets the advantage on the floor. Knight tries for a clothesline, but Jannetty manages to catch him with an arm-drag and locks up the left arm. Marty hits a power-slam for two and then scores with a dropkick that sends Knight to the floor. Knight slowly climbs back into the ring as the referee counts.
Back in the ring, Knight wants to be friends and shake hands. Marty shakes his hand and then catches the foot as Knight tries for a sneaky kick. Marty teases the low kick, but just hits a borderline legdrop instead. Marty hits another slam for two. Knight grabs the leg and manages to work his way to an advantage with a step-over toehold on Jannetty. Marty escapes and hits a flying elbow to the face. It's back and forth as Knight throws some punches to try and regain the advantage. Marty with a kick and a cross-body to pick up the pin.
Winner: Marty Jannetty
Larry Nelson talks to the Rockers. Marty talks about the different matches they've been in and no matter what type of match it is (singles, tag, etc), they win. Rose and Summers won't give the Rockers a title shot, but the Rockers will keep coming after them and the belts. Shawn talks about how he likes tag matches and the tag team titles are their ultimate goal. Somewhere down the line, Shawn vows that the Rockers will get the titles. Marty talks about Sherri Martel and how she likes to get involved in matches. The Rockers have a surprise for her and say that Sherri will end up getting hers. Larry Nelson tries to find out what the surprise for Sherri is, but the Rockers won't tell him anything as the interview ends.
We cut to Larry Nelson again after the commercial break and he talks about how King Kong "Bruiser" Brody has been suspended from Las Vegas and they haven't had a Brody match on TV recently because of that. Nelson puts over how crazy Brody is and introduces the next match, which was taped in St. Paul, MN.
Larry Nelson & Verne Gagne are calling the action from ringside.
King Kong (Bruiser) Brody vs. Pete Sanchez
It's just what you'd expect. A slaughter by Brody as he dominates from the very beginning with chops, kicks and clubbing forearms. Brody tosses Sanchez to the floor and then just stands on the apron and repeatedly kicks the guy in the head as he tries to get back into the ring. Brody hits him with a picture-perfect piledriver and gets the easy pin.
Winner: King Kong (Bruiser) Brody (with Sheik Adnan El Kassey)
We're back to Larry Nelson again. Damn, I'm getting tired of looking at this guy's face. He must have gotten paid based on the amount of time he spends on camera. We've seen the next match before, but since so many fans have requested it, they're going to show it again. It's for the AWA World Tag Team Championship and it's the then-Champions Scott Hall and Curt Hennig defending the titles against "Playboy" Buddy Rose and "Pretty Boy" Doug Summers, who are accompanied by Sherri Martel.
Note: This match, according to the PWI Wrestling Almanac, happened on 5/17/86 in Hammond, IN. But this show aired on July 1, 1986 and they're acting like it's fresh news. That's seven weeks in-between the title change and the date this match aired. Whassup wit dat?
AWA World Tag Team Championship Match
Scott Hall & Curt Hennig (c) vs. "Playboy" Buddy Rose & "Pretty Boy" Doug Summers (with Sherri Martel)
As Larry Nelson introduces Rose and Summers, Rose corrects him. His weight is not 271lbs as Nelson has stated, but a sleek and slim 217lbs. OK. And this was even before Rose endorsed the "Blow Away" diet in the WWF. Nelson and Greg Gagne are calling the action from ringside and put over how the doctors had told Scott Hall not to wrestle due to a recent attack by Col. DeBeers where Hall was face-driven into the floor. But Hall is out there and ready for action.
Hennig starts out with Buddy Rose and quickly takes control with a backdrop and a dropkick. Summers is quickly in, but Hennig cleans house and sends everyone to the floor. Rose comes back in and locks up a headlock. Curt responds with an arm-drag and an arm lock. Rose with a punch and a tag to get Summers in. Hennig snatches Summers with an arm-drag and arm bar. Hall tags in and unloads some big punches on Rose. Rose tries to slam Hall, but can't life the 302-pound Hall. Scott shows him how it's done with a big slam for a one-count. Hall goes after the arm and then tags Hennig back in. Rose tries to mount a comeback, but Hennig is tenacious and holds on to the arm like a pitbull with a new chew toy. Summers tags in and unloads with some punches on Hennig, but misses a dive into the corner as Curt moves at the last second. Curt goes back after the arm and tags in Scott Hall. Hall with some punches before going back after the arm again. Rose is climbing on the ropes to attempt to tag Summers and ends up crotching himself. Ouch! Scott dominates on Summers before tagging Hennig back in. Hennig goes after the arm again, but ends up with a knee-shot from Summers into the guts. We see that Col. DeBeers has come to ringside and has joined Nelson and Gagne at the announce table.
Rose and Summers have taken control and are unloading punches and knees on the fallen Curt Hennig. Hennig attempts a sunset flip on Rose, but Rose manages to grab the ropes. The referee kicks Rose's hands and Curt gets a quick two count before Rose gets a shoulder up. Hennig makes the tag and Hall is in with a flurry of fists for everyone. Backdrop by Hall on Rose. It's all Scott Hall. Scott scores with a clothesline on Rose. Sherri Martel climbs up on the ring apron and distracts the referee. Summers gets into the ring and Hennig is quickly in to cut him off. Col. DeBeers is out to the side of the ring and he catches Hall's attention. Scott goes to argue with DeBeers and Rose takes advantage to level Hall and ram him head into the ring post. According to the announcers, this would be an automatic DQ in the AWA, but the referee is still distracted and trying to deal with Sherri Martel on the far side of the ring.
Hall hits the floor and the referee is there (finally) to start counting. Despite Hennig trying to help his partner up, the referee reaches the count of ten and calls for the bell.
Winners by Count-Out and NEW AWA World Tag Team Champions: Buddy Rose & Doug Summers (with Sherri Martel)
Yeah, the belt changed hands on a count-out? I didn't understand it when I read about it in the old Apter mags and even now, after watching the match, I still don't understand it. But I guess I don't have to understand. What does logic or common sense have to do with anything? Rose and Summers are the NEW Champs.
Larry Nelson talks to Hall & Hennig. Hall is busted open and bleeding from that shot to the ring post. Hennig is complaining that he doesn't know why this decision is standing. It's not right. Hall is hot at Col. DeBeers and says that DeBeers wanted his attention. Well, now he's got it. DeBeers hasn't seen the last of Scott Hall. Hennig gets in one last rant about how this is not right and things around here need to change. And then he mentions something about Hennig and Hall kicking butt. Time for a commercial break.
We are back and it's Larry Nelson (again). Hall and Hennig are still outraged. Coming up next is an edition of "In This Corner" with Larry Zbyszko. And Larry's guest will be Scott Hall. This should be interesting.
We come back and it's Larry Zbyszko and Larry Nelson. Nelson asks Zbyszko about Scott Hall. Zbyszko thinks that talking to Hall might be interesting. Hall used to be so cocky, but now he's learned a lesson of life. We go to a match where Col. DeBeers is beating up on a jobber. Hall comes out and interferes in DeBeers match by attacking DeBeers and leveling him with an airplane spin and a Samoan Drop before sending DeBeers to the floor. As Hall checks on the fallen jobber, DeBeers is back in with his cane and he slams Hall in the stomach. DeBeers slams Hall to the ringside floor and quickly follows, driving Hall face-first into the floor with a face-driver.
Back to Larry Z. and Larry Nelson. Larry Z. says that it's disgusting. It's the most disgusting thing he's ever seen Scott Hall do. DeBeers was involved in a match and Hall came in from behind and "pearl-harbored" him. It's kind of ironic that a wrestler with a Japanese bodyguard would mention Pearl Harbor, but that's the "Living Legend" for you.
We go to film of a match that happened a week later. This is the tag team title match that we witnessed earlier in the show. DeBeers comes out and distracts Hall. Buddy Rose takes advantage and runs Hall's head into the steel ring post, busting him open and sending Hall to the floor. Hall is counted out by the referee and Rose & Summers are the new AWA World Tag Team Champions.
Back to the brothers Larry. Scott Hall is with them. Scott promises that he and Hennig will get the tag team titles back. Col. DeBeers' distraction cost Scott and Curt everything and Scott says that DeBeers will pay. Larry Zbyszko questions Hall blaming DeBeers for the title loss. Zbyszko thinks that Hall should blame himself and not DeBeers. Hall is getting upset as Larry Z. continues to rag on and insult him. Zbyszko mentions that Hall attacked DeBeers first and Larry is sick of people like Hall coming out and whining and crying. Zbyszko accuses Hall of sticking his nose where it didn't belong and he deserved what he got. Hall stands up and is in Zbyszko's face. Hall & Zbyszko are arguing as Larry Nelson tries to get between them. Nelson is shoved down to the floor and Zbyszko and Hall are nose to nose as the show abruptly ends.
Another good show. I've been hearing about the Hennig / Hall vs. Rose / Summers match for years and it's good to finally get a chance to see it. Why the title changed hands on a count-out? I still don't get it. And I hate to admit it, but I have to agree with Zbyszko in the closing segment. Hall DID attack DeBeers first. Maybe he was justified, but still... I can see the teasers here for a future Zbyszko - Hall feud, which was awesome then and even better in their later years in WCW. But saying that, I watched the final segment and Zbyszko going nose-to-nose with Hall and I just have a strong suspicion that as soon as the cameras went off, they probably broke up laughing and went out together for a beer. It's just a feeling I have.
I also like how the emphasis in every interview, are the title belts and championships. That's the way wrestling should be. You can have differences with people and personal issues, but the bottom line for every wrestler should be trying to be champion. Even when the wrestlers are trashing each other, they put the emphasis on the title belts. That and money are what it's all about and should be all about. I think WWE and the modern day product needs to take note of this. It does make a difference.
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I'm Doug and I'm outta here. See you again on Monday when I'll be back with more classic goodness from the AWA. Have a great weekend and always be a fan.