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By Doug Maynard on 5/15/2008 11:29 AM


AWA Championship Wrestling
On ESPN Classics
May 15, 2008
Doug Maynard
Back again with another night of 1988 wrestling action from the world famous Showboat Pavilion in Las Vegas, NV. I must be talking about the AWA on ESPN Classics. Let's get straight to the action.
Larry Nelson & Lee Marshall are standing at ringside to discuss what's coming up for the evening. The Midnight Rockers are taking on Badd Company. Making their AWA debut will be the Rock & Roll Express. Greg Gagne will be here. And so much more.
To the ring where Lee Marshall and Rod Trongard are calling the action from ringside.

Soldat Ustinov w/ Teijo Khan vs. Greg Robertson

As he comes to the ring with Ustinov, Trongard admits that he has no clue who Teijo Khan is. Marshall says he thinks the guys name is "Joe Khan". Makes you wonder how some wrestling announcers managed to keep a job. Actually, listening to Lee & Rod, I understand the whole "Mike Adamle experiment" in the WWE just that much better. Adamle just thinks he's an AWA announcer instead of an ECW one. It's so simple and he'd definitely fit right in with these two goofs.
Ustinov dominates from the start with a punch, a backbreaker, a clothesline and a legdrop for two. Nick vice and come clubbing forearms by Ustinov. A two-count, but Ustinov picks the man up before the ref can count three. Knees and a suplex for another two-count. A choke by Ustinov and he tosses Robertson to the floor. Khan is waiting outside and Teijo gets in a "Shades of Wahoo" chop on the floor. Robertson is back up on the apron and Ustinov with some clubbing forearms that sends Robertson back to the floor. Slowly he gets back up and into the ring. Soldat with the "inverted body-vice submission", better known as a "Shades of Bruno Sammartino" backbreaker. Robertson submits and Ustinov gets the win.

Winner: Soldat Ustinov w/ Teijo Khan

We go to Donna, who does a quick plug for the "AWA Fan of the Week" gig and reads a letter from a 13-year old kid.
And then it's back to Nelson who plugs the main event of The Midnight Rockers vs. Badd Company. We go back and look at video from the attack on Baron Von Raschke by Soldat Ustinov from a few weeks ago. The Baron is cutting a promo. Soldat attacks him from behind and busts a board over his head. Larry Nelson goes insane. And Soldat covers the Baron with the Russian flag.
And now, here is the Baron. He says that Sheik Adnan is scared of him and so are Ustinov and Khan. The Baron has friends and partners lined up. One friend, a baseball player, gave the Baron a new finisher called the "Louisville Sleeper" - and Baron pulls out a baseball bat. Baron says that the Sheik and his army have declared war on him and he's prepared to fight. And sing too. The Baron sings "Take Me Out To The Ballgame" as he holds up his bat and the segment ends. Yep! Baron Von Raschke was singing! THAT is why I love old-school wrestling! And for the Baron, "dat is all de' people need to know!"
And to the next match.

Ricky Morton vs. Dennis Stamp

Robert Gibson allegedly missed his flight, so it's just Ricky Morton here to make his AWA debut and he's up against the legendary "Beyond the Mat" star Dennis Stamp. Ricky with an arm-drag. Stamp with a headlock. Ricky reverses to the head-scissors. They had so much fun, they do it all again. Ricky with the headlock. Stamp locks up the arm. Ricky with a hammerlock, a shoulder and a dropkick for a two-count. Another headlock by Ricky. Stamp with the knee and a kick. A slam to the corner and Stamp unloads with the fists. A choke on the ropes and more punches by Stamp. Punches, kicks and chops by Stamp. Ricky fights back with punches and a dropkick. Stamp with some punches and kicks again. Morton to the top and a flying cross-body splash to pick up the win.

Winner: Ricky Morton

We go back to Larry Nelson, who immediately sends us backstage to AWA World Champion Curt Hennig and AWA Ladies Champion Madusa Miceli. Curt talks about how he made the right decision to have Madusa in his corner. Madusa reads off their upcoming schedule, which includes Madusa's hometown in Italy. Curt is ready to travel to Italy. Curt changes the topic to the AWA and competition from all across the world is coming to challenge him for his belt. He mentions Wahoo, Baron Von Raschke and Greg Gagne, the latter of which he says will never get a shot at him. If anyone is wanting a shot at his title or Madusa's title, they have to work their way up the ladder because Curt and Madusa are looking down at everyone else.
To the next match.

AWA International Television Championship Match
Greg Gagne (c) vs. Daryl Nickle

Nickle starts off with a couple of shoves to Gagne and flexes for the crowd. Headlock and shoulder by Nickle. Gagne with a leapfrog and a fist to the guts. A step-over toehold by Gagne and he really locks up and cinches in on the leg. Nickle grabs the hair and locks in a choke. A hard slam into the corner. Greg with a backdrop, a slam and some stomps. A dropkick by Gagne and he gets the pin.

Winner: Greg Gagne

Larry Nelson is with Ricky Morton. Ricky talks about the current scene in the Carolinas and says that he and Robert are going to be the 5x World Tag Team Champions. The fans know what the Rock & Roll Express can do and are all about. Ricky cuts a little rhyme about "gotta hurry, gotta go, can't be late, got three lovely ladies, can't make them wait" and shakes Nelson's hand before wandering off. Not bad for his first promo in the AWA - RIcky talked about the NWA, the Carolinas and their goals to be the NWA World Tag Team Champs. Makes sense to me. NOT!
We see a caption for the AWA Notebook with the tag team ratings. The champions are The Midnight Rockers, Shawn Michaels & Marty Jannetty. They're followed in the rankings by The Rock & Roll Express, The Nasty Boys, Badd Company, Adrian Adonis & Bob Orton and finally, Wahoo McDaniel & Tommy Rich.
And now it's to Greg Gagne for the "Mat Classic". This is from the Amphitheater in Chicago, IL in 1981. We join the match in progress.

AWA Mat Classic
Baron Von Raschke vs. Sheik Adnan El Kassey

Sheik Adnan is climbing back into the ring from the floor and is on the apron. The Baron clubs away and chases the Sheik to the floor and then back into the ring. The Baron rips at the eyes and throws some punches. Sheik with a kick, a rip at the eyes and some biting. Sheik pounds away at the Baron before locking in a double-nervehold on both sides of the Baron's neck. Stomps by the Sheik and back to the nervehold. The Baron fights his way up, but Sheik stomps him back down and goes back to the nervehold. The Baron is back up again and uses the elbows to escape. He slams Sheik's face to the mat. The Baron mocks Sheik with a little bow and kicks and clubs away at him. Legdrop by the Baron for two. A slam to the corner and the Baron moves in, biting the Sheik. Sheik Adnan is busted open.
The Baron rakes his nails across the back of the Sheik before unloading some more punches and kicks. Sheik fights back with kicks and stomps and locks the Baron in a stretch. The Baron turns into the Sheik and it's DE' CLAW! Sheik makes it to the ropes and the ref forces Baron to break the hold. The Baron goes back on the attack with forearm shots and three big slams of the Sheik's head to the corner. DE' CLAW again! And again, the Sheik makes it to the ropes and the ref forces a break. While the ref is dealing with the Baron (and getting shoved aside in the process), the Sheik is digging in the tights and pulls out some foreign object (looks like knucks). The Baron walks right into a big shot by the Sheik and his illegal weapon. The Sheik tucks the object back into the tights and covers the Baron to get the pin.

Winner: Sheik Adnan El Kassey

We now go back to that goof from yesterday, the "Big Brain" or whoever he is supposed to be. I think he's called "Big K", but I really don't care at this point. He claims that he told Badd Company about a weakness in the Midnight Rockers and if they listen to him, they'll be champions. He talks about how great a World Champion that Curt Hennig is. I won't argue with that. And then "K" talks about Greg Gagne and how he's rated # 15 in the rankings. He calls Greg a "whiner" just like his father, Verne, was. He puts over "Big Thunder", also known as "Rocky Mountain Thunder" as having a lot of "raw material". The goof claims he'll be back next week with more insights and thoughts, but I'm hoping not. This whole segment is just filler to take up space and this "Big K" or "Big Brain" or whoever the hell he is... just makes me want to throw a brick through the TV screen. Yes, he is that annoying (and not in the good way either).
And now, to the main event.
Great! It's a replay of the match from a few days ago. Well, that means it's time for some "cut & paste". So here you go.

Badd Company (Pat Tanaka & Paul Diamond) vs. The Midnight Rockers (Shawn Michaels & Marty Jannetty)

It's Lee Marshall & Rod Trongard calling the action for this non-title match. Diamond & Michaels start off and we see Diamond with a little strut. A go-behind by Diamond, but Shawn escapes and Diamond goes to the floor to regroup. Back in the ring and Shawn with the armlock. Diamond with the shoulders and it goes back and forth for a bit. Michaels with the hiptoss and an arm-drag before tagging out to Jannetty. Marty with the fireman's carry and a tag back out so we see some Midnight Rocker double-teaming with the double armringer. Diamond tags in Tanaka while Michaels tags back in Jannetty.
Some trash talking and shoving to start. Tanaka with a thrust kick, but Marty rebounds by grabbing hold of the arm. Shoulder and dropkick by Marty. Backdrop by Marty and Tanaka wants a time-out to talk to his partner. Jannetty tags out to Michaels. Tanaka with the headlock on Shawn and two big shoulder-blocks. Shawn with a big fist. It's OINGO BOINGO time as everyone gets in the ring. The Rockers with the double-dropkicks and both Tanaka & Diamond go flying out to the floor.
Diamond comes back and locks up with Michaels. Shawn twists the arm, but gets tripped from the outside by Tanaka. Tanaka in and he gets a two-count on Michaels. Diamond back in with a suplex for two. Another tag and Diamond nails Shawn with a backbreaker, while Tanaka drops the elbow. Great double-teaming move, but they only get a two-count. Tanaka with the chinlock on Michaels.
Shawn comes back with a couple of shoulder-blocks. Tanaka regains control and tags back out to Diamond who pounds away at Michaels. Diamond misses a charge to the corner and crotches himself. Crash and burn! Michaels tags Jannetty. Marty comes in and slams both men and then dropkicks for each as well. Shawn is back in now and all four men are in the ring brawling. It's MUCHO OINGO BOINGO time. Jannetty and Tanaka brawl to the floor while Shawn rolls up Diamond. The ref is caught in the corner and goes down. Ref bump!
Michaels has Diamond pinned, but there's no ref to make the count. Tanaka rams Marty into the ring post on the outside and sneaks back into the ring. He nails Shawn in the throat with a thrust. Diamond covers. The ref is back in action and makes the three-count.

Winners: Pat Tanaka & Paul Diamond - Badd Company

No Rockers promo this time. This time, we just get another AWA Notebook caption with the Tag Team Rankings. It's the same caption we saw twenty minutes ago. Someone in production for the AWA was definitely too busy hitting the bottle with Nelson backstage to pay attention to what they were doing. A repeat match - a repeat caption - and that goof with all the "insights". Geez! This gets more and more painful to watch each and every night. *sighs*
And that's the show. A good flow to start off, but towards the end, it just got more and more difficult and hard to watch. Bad TV is good sometimes, but then again, there are other times that just make you want to rip your hair out and pound your head against the wall. This show ended up as being one of those. And I passed out a chance to go out and slum with the hood-rats for this.
I'm disgusted! And I'm out of here for today. Questions and comments can be sent to Come visit me on MySpace at Add me as a friend. You know you want to.
Anything else? Nah! So I'm gone. Have a great day and always be a fan.