Monday, May 15, 2017

AWA WrestleRock 1986

It's time to do the WrestleRock Rumble! This is on the Wayback Playback and I don't recall seeing this show in full before - but I really enjoyed this era of the AWA on ESPN. We start off with shaky cam footage from a camera man - so they spared literally no expense here. We get a somewhat cut up version of the national anthem with still shots and shots of the crowd...not exactly filled. Brad Rhenigans is with Ken Resnick, who are covered up by fans thanks to the camera shot. He jumps in to face Boris Zukhov, who Wade watched gets his head shaved by his wife because they were in the same apartment complex. Pay was huge back then, clearly.

Brad blows his nose and wipes his ass with the Russian flag.  Brads hits a dropkick. They talk about how Verne actually never saw his own ESPN show because cable was too expensive and he was too cheap. After seemingly 20 years, we get a suplex from the non-Russian. Brad works the leg and slams the knee into the post. An atomic drop hits revealing a ton of empty seats. Brads hits a sorta-powerslam to win.

Brad eats a heel beating after the match. We get some goofy close-ups of Boris exiting the ring that are then blurred, so great work there. Some writer gets an intro and it's time for a midget match. Little Mr. T and Cowboy Lang face Littlebrook and Little Tokyo. Little Mr. T at least attempts to look like Mr. T. Cowboy Lang apparently died homeless in Portland. Well, that's depressing. Rod says they're here to entertain. And people thought it was real! The ref treats this like a complete shoot, which is amusing. Long chinlock here. Can they please hurry to ass-biting and schoolboy kneeling trip-ups?

Lang misses a chop and it's sold. T tags in and Littlebrook won't tag in. They talk about the worthless midget world title and talk about Larry Sweeney's Tex Arkana Title, which Bryan Alvarez now has. Rod forgets Littlebrook's name. Crowd is dead silence, and having seen this on the ESPN show a decade ago, there's no reason to. This is the modern-day cruiserweights doing heavyweights match where they're not doing what they're good-ish at, and just doing an actual match. Tokyo just kind of runs into Lang. The AWA IS THE MAJOR LEAGUE OF PROFESSIONAL WRESTLING. So let's cut to the no-crowd. Airplane spin gets 2. ROWBOAT SPOT! Lang gets a cradle and it thankfully ends.

2 matches down, 13 TO GO. Wahoo comes down to face DeBeers, and a horse breeder is introduced for some ungodly reason. We get a nice tight shot that actually makes things look somewhat good-ish. Rod describes the racism of DeBeers with an excitement level on par with grabbing some milk at a 7-11. DeBeers moves with the speed of a glacier, eats a chop. A foam finger assault highlights things. Wahoo kicks him in the balls and tosses him over the top. DeBeers wins via DQ. The racist beats the Native American - fantastic! They brawl and wow as that not a thing.

A local athletic director gets a mild applause. That seems to sum this show up perfectly. Now Buck Zumhofe is out. Oh Jesus. Ken Resnick cuts a promo with him, which they have to get in there along with the dubbed music. Holy crap is this awful, and it's muffling out the promo. Buck Zumhofe prepares to wrestle MITSUHARU MISAWA. So we get an all-time great being wasted here to wrestle a kid fucker. Buck's Elvis outfit looks like it cost him a good $200 - so he's downright major league here. Miawa flew from Japan to wrestle this guy. Holy crap. Buck takes the getup off to reveal red undies.

This is surreal, and it's also odd to see Misawa so skinny. Buck is talked about as someone who not only fucked his kid, but also lured kids into abandoned buildings. Joy. And he was the only one shocked he was found guilty a few years back. Buck works the leg and they talk about Mike Graham cutting a great promo on Buck. Buck gets a Boston crab. BUCK ZUMHOFE IS DOMINATING MISAWA. Misawa gets a long armbar. Misawa gets hiptossed for 2 and then a front facelock. Buck works the mask for a bit and rakes the face on the mat. Buck gets a slam for 2. Buck hits a bell clapper. Misawa thankfully hits the spinkick. Body slam by Buck and then an abdominal stretch. OVER THE TOP DIVE BY MISAWA. There is a giant...brown stain on the ground. Well, at least there's a tarp over it. Misawa sandbags him and wins with a somersault dive off the top. Pat gets a horrible, but amusing joke about how if this was his daughter, he'd let Buck do more to him.

Ken Resnick meets with the US Express, which is a nice get for them. This is like the WWF vs. Memphis a bit here. Stan adjusts his kneepads while BARRY WINDY-HAM is introduced. Steve KERNS is not amused. Fabs are in zebra-print speedos, which fits their gimmick perfectly. Scott LeDoux is here as ref. Outstanding tans on the Fabs, who work as heel here. Rotunda dives off and hits an axehandle before a fireman's carry. I'm shocked he isn't already sweating profusely.

Barry locks on an armbar. Keirn mouths off to the fans. Rotunda hits a forearm before a tieup. Barry gets a chinlock. Barry and Mike were actually brothers in law, and it's odd it was never brought up because they never had any logical reason to be together otherwise. Rotunda was so boring on paper, but he did move with the times fairly well. A sunset flip is blocked. Barry gets 2 off a powerslam. Pat talks about Keirn and Eaton in WCW originally almost being called the Fabulous Express - which is a far better name than Bad Attitude. Rotunda does a legdrop to the balls and then an airplane spin. Barry hits a flying elbow off the top and wins it. The crowd actually makes noise!

Bulldog Bob Brown is mid-ring to face Giant Baba. Baba's robe is incredible. They go in slow motion for everything, including a run off the rope. Brown goes for a takedown, but Baba...stands around to block it. Baba gets a headscissor. Brown chokes away and we get a closeup of a scar on Bob's back. Baba chops him and Brown...lightly moves away. Trongard talks about THE REFEREE STEVE OLSONOWSKI'S BACKGROUND because nothing is happening. Baba walks on his tummy. Baba does a few chops and then the legsweep, WHICH BROWN GETS UP FIRST FROM. Baba gets a kick to the chest and wins it.

Harley comes out for an interview in front of a ton of empty seats. And then they manually move a light around to blind them. Wow. Rick Martel comes down in a black and glittery silver jacket. The guest ring announcer has a red AWA blazer on - I dig that. Martel does a few armdrags. Harley apparently held a gun to Hogan, but they made up and did business in the WWF. Shane McMahon also told folks to train with Harley whenever possible. Harley gets the lifting knee and the kneedrop. Martel goes for a top wristlock and one guy yells BORING. Well, he's not wrong.

Martel apparently wrestled Harley in the mid-'70s and that made him an underground hit. Martel gets the sleeper. Martel hits a knee for 2. Martel hits a backbringer and a slingshot splash, which was pretty surprising, and it gets 2. Harley hits a piledriver, and they show Race landing right on his ass. The headbutt hits and gets 2. Harley gets a chinlock. Martel slips off the top and Harley hits a knee seamlessly. The AWA logo mid-ring looks good - and it's held up nicely as a logo. Harley goes over the top for his bump. The ref counts Race, so it's no DQ. Nope, the ref just didn't DQ. Harley gets a swinging neckbreaker. Harley goes for another piledriver, but Martel backdrops him and hits a side suplex for 2. Race gets 2 off a small package. Martel hits a dropkick, which Harley sells perfectly. Harley locks on a bearhug and then a KNEELIFT ALMOST TAKES MARTEL'S HEAD OFF, according to Rod - or not. Martel counters a suplex with a suplex, but a flying splash meets knees. They fight outside and I'm sensing a double countout. Yup. Wow. All of that for a double countout. Harley gets backdropped on the tarp covering up the shit stain.

A lot of women come down in a sequin-filled battle royal. One of them has a random lunchbox-shaped belt. Luna is here with a dyed mohawk - so she at least stands out. Pat talks about Misty Blue doing porn. Yikes. This of all things gets a guest ref. Candi Devine holds up the...silver belt with no text. So this is very important. Sherri is in a blue spandex bodysuit and a loincloth. Okay. This is dreadful, but I like hearing them talk about Moolah's WWF deal allowing her to go elsewhere and get booked - and scout and give gossip to Vince. POWERBOMB! Sherri is tossed by Candi, but through the middle rope. Candi tosses out Joyce Grable, and Sherri wins it. Sherri gets $50,000 in Monopoly money.

Sherri points at fans and then it's time for Kamala and Akbar to come down. Sgt. Slaughter comes down to save America from those evil-doers and hands out tiny American flags. Pat talks about how Sarge and Kamala set the record for anything in Washington state until WM XIX. Sarge has his GI Joe gear on, and kudos to him for getting that gig. He wound up working less, making more money, and still got a big WWF run and a title run too. Sarge says he's going to send Kama out ala a baseball. Kamala hits a heart punch to start and another. And now it's lockup time after a finish is done. Wow.

Kamala avalanches him in the corner. Kamala splashes him on the back. Sarge takes a big bump into the post. Kamala works the armpit. Riveting. Kamala hits him with a foreign object. Kamala distracts the ref so Ak can choke Sarge...which they miss. A fan gets a shockingly high amount of airtime running by with the American flag. Okay then. SARGE IS NOW FIRED UP. Sarge hits a dropkick that is sold just enough to set up a bodyslam that gets a big pop. A WINDUP PUNCH SENDS HIM DOWN. A slow motion Slaughter cannon hits, and then a cobra clutch is on. Akbar gets involved and Kamala eats another cannon, which is a DQ for some reason. Sarge gets the weapon and hits Kamala with it.

Sarge and his amazing combover are interviewed by Larry Nelson, who is not getting a blowjob off-screen here. Sarge has some kids do the pledge and Larry joins in too. Another random balding man is ring announcing now. I'm sure he's the official barber of a local MN business. Scott and Bill Irwin, the DIRTBALL DUMBOS are here to face Hennig and Hall. This is Scott Irwin's final match before a brain cancer diagnosis that ended his life prematurely. Hall has a RIBERA STEAKHOUSE JACKET.

Scott Hall gets some award from something called the wrestling report, and he gets a trophy. The trophy is put outside the ring - so it's doomed. Hall cranks on a long headlock. Hennig shows great fire and he's so much smaller than usual. Hall is bigger than he was later on - only with the Magnum PI stache. Hall throws a great punch. Hall hits a legdrop to the arm of Bill. Hennig gets a side headlock takeover. Great dropdown by Bill leads to Curt dropping next to him, saying hi and scaring the shit out of him. Okay, that's great.

Bill Irwin was a fine carpenter - he wouldn't draw you a house, but he'd help build one. Curt and Bill get into a test of strength. Curt takes a nice, realistic spin in mid-air off a lariat. That was gorgeous - he was graceful. Scott comes in with a black sleeveless shirt, black tights, and light blue trunks over the tights looking awful. It's amazing how long it took Hall to click - but when he clicked, he clicked. The Diamond Stud look was a good rough draft, and Razor Ramon was the final product. Hennig is tossed over the top, but the ref is distracted. Hennig hits a missile dropkick to win and retain the titles. Good stuff - but nothing amazing. Hennig cuts a good, intense promo on them and man do these belts rule.

Scott LeDoux cuts a promo on Larry Zbyszko. He has Go the Ninja, and it's actually a Japanese wrestler. "Benchwarmer" Bob Lurtsema is here, and he'd do AWA work in 1990 too. This is a boxing match on a wrestling show - so no discipline can really look good. Larry has the highest pair of trunks on ever. Scott's pants are hiked up even higher. Larry Hennig is the ref and Rod thinks that MAYBE the boxer has the edge here. No shit. Larry Zbyszko manages to stall for eons here in a timed-round boxing match. Scott throws a punch that would damage ANY LIVING THING.

Scott gets outwrestled to end round 1. Larry takes him down and gets the back mount. Scott elbows away here in the boxing match. Larry armdrags him down and eats a series of nice punches. This is a damned fine little match here. Larry pokes the eye and lands body shots. Larry slams him down and that's the end of round 2. Damn good stuff here. Larry was apparently blackballed from the WWF for holding Vince Sr. up for money before the Bruno match at Shea.

Larry hits a shoulderbreaker, which Rock did - but not for long due to his bad knees. Larry hits a spinkick to the gut and a takedown. Larry takes him down and gets a front facelock. Round 3 is over. Okay, this can end any time now - Larry isn't good enough to carry a non-wrestler for longer than two rounds. Slow motion on the back kick showed it missing. Great work! Larry goes for the kick, but misses and gets stuck in the rope and beaten down - good stuff. Scott slams him and gets a headlock punch. This is picking up again, and it's not amazing - but it's better than it should be. Larry eats a big punch and is saved by the bell.

They fight on the floor and now it's a DQ. Or something. The post shot by Larry warranted a DQ. So this match with vague rules somehow ended. Larry Z beats up Scott with the nunchuks, but he knocks Larry into the announce table. We get a great shot of the light right in the camera. Scott cuts a promo for the spudheads and he wants a rematch. There's a missing match on this show - a Rockers vs. Rose/Somers match! Yes!

A local newscaster is the ring announcer, but instead of him, we get a Larry Nelson interview. Buddy does his 217 pound bit. The Rockers have goofy shades on that couldn't have even been cool then. Sherri has a pink dress on and a giant pink feather in her hair - looks solid. Rose does the nip up and the Rockers mock him. Shawn does a backflip off the top. Everyone is doing stuff without bumping. Buddy goes for a moonsault, but of course, falls off. He does it again, but Marty shakes the ropes so he gets crotched.

Marty flips out of an armdrag and slams Buddy. They talk about how great Buddy was and how he drew well against Backlund, but how he ballooned to about 500 pounds towards the end. Buddy is calling this match and it's all the better for it. Buddy goes for a corner punch, but Marty ducks and Buddy hits Doug - now that's a spot that should be redone now. Marty gets an arm stretcher and a powerslam gets 3 - but Doug is in the rope. A brawl breaks out and Doug eats a double elbow. The heels cheat and get a win. Good stuff - best actual match on the show. They brawl on the floor, and given how hard the ring is, it's probably better to bump out there.

Nick comes down, followed by Stan Hansen - who beats the shit out of Larry Nelson on his way to the ring. Hansen has the belt, which he would later run over it with his truck/ Stan just charges around while the announcements go on. They go to the floor and brawl for a bit. Mid-ring, Nick gets a hammerlock and 2 off a sunset flip. Nick gets a sleeper and Rod talks about how the Gagnes called it a sleeper for years. Well, of course it would have to be about the Gagnes. Nick gets a crossbody and doesn't even get 1 - wow. Nick gets a stiff dropkick and a piledriver doesn't even get 1. Stan came to play. Stan dumps him over the top and THAT is a DQ. A fan gives the double bird to Stan. Rod says it was on purpose, while Larry DEFENDS STAN. Well, if I got beat up by Stan every week, I would do that too.

Nick hits him and Stan won't sell, so Nick hits him harder and now he registers. BY GOD, STAN TOOK A BUMP. Nick cuts a fantastic promo on Stan and wants a rematch. Nord comes down and fans are already leaving. WE HAVE ANOTHER GUEST RING ANNOUNCER. I'm sure he's a local shop teacher. Brody is with Nord and they're facing Snuka and Greg Gagne, WITH A BRIGHT RED HEADBAND. Oh my God this is great.

If the faces win, Verne gets Adnan. Brody beats the fuck out of Greg and is getting paid well to do it. Nord comes in and now Greg's stuff gets sold. Snuka chops away before Brody comes in with him, and given their history in All Japan, they'll mesh well. Snuka hits the big chop and Brody gives him the big sell. Snuka has a bit of a gut and even though he's in his 40s, he's still in reasonable shape overall. Greg makes a save for Snuka.

Greg hops up top and stomps on Nord. He bonks Brody into Nord, sorta. Greg eats a piledriver, which gets nothing. Nord gives Greg a big sell for a wacky double boot. Snuka sends Brody into the cage. Snuka dives off the top, but Nord moves, so he hits Greg. Brody accidentally dropkicks Nord, who trips and gets pinned by Snuka. Verne gets to face Adnan. Adnan of all people would later main event Summerslam '91.

Pat and Jim talk about how the photo of Adan and Hussein was not a Photoshop - it was legit, but only due to them being friends and of course the Slaughter photo with Saddam was altered. Verne beats up Adnan outside before getting thrown into the ring. Adnan is already bleeding and gets whipped with his belt. Verne stomps away and hits a kneedrop. Verne gets the sleeper, but Adnan escapes. Verne gets a cradle and wins. Verne tosses him into the mesh hard. We get the finish in slow motion. Verne announces yet another retirement.
 Now it's time for another main event - Garvin and Hayes, not the official Freebirds face the Road Warriors. Hawk has even higher tights than either Larry or Scott. Hawk beats the shit out of Hayes. Hawk hoists him up high for a press slam. Hawk is jacked to the gills here. They had a busy week being in the Crockett cup and working in Japan the prior week apparently. The Road Warriors were such a huge deal here - they could main event and draw houses.

Animal beats up Garvin and press slams him down too. Hawk clubs Hayes and then chews his face. Hayes gets a figure four and Hawk sells it. Animal stomps away on Garvin in the corner. Hayes jumps off the top onto Animal, but he misses and Garvin eats the shot.  That's it, and the Road Warriors win - but the heels celebrate after they win. Well, that was a star-studded show and it was devoid of much good. Historic show though.


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