I originally wrote this way back in 2008, a time when I was writing recaps of AWA Wrestling as shown on ESPN Classic. The AWA never really had a chance to say good-bye and just kind of faded away after a great thirty year run as one of the top territories and I had the idea to give that company a fitting farewell. Looking back now, not quite ten years later, all of the names that have left us since then, I’m glad I wrote this when I did. Give it a read and let me know what you think. American Wrestling Association (1960 – 1991) – RIP.
Flashback: AWA Night Of Legends 2008 – May 8, 2008
Everyone loves to do some armchair booking when it comes to wrestling and I’m no exception. I might even be one of the biggest examples as I’ve had my own versions of fantasy NWA and WCW companies that were pretty popular for a while. Nothing like taking a lot of “What If’s” and giving them a little life. Well, since I became the recapper for the AWA shows on ESPN Classics (available for your viewing pleasure at http://www.pwinsiderxtra.com), I’ve been wondering what it would be like if the AWA, which went out of business in 1991, had a reunion show.
Well, I’m not wondering any more. Using some common-sense booking and the stars that would be available today for such a show, I decided to write up a fantasy version of just such a show. I’m doing it from the viewpoint of Eric Bischoff to start because I truly don’t believe that such a show could ever happen without his influence. Plus, I just like to use the Bischoff character when I can. And I only used stars in the wrestling spots who either are still wrestling today (or) are still healthy and viable enough to step into the ring in a limited role if they were to choose to. I tried to be as realistic as possible for a wrestling reunion show of this nature. Anyhow, just read it and enjoy it and let me know what you think. It’s much appreciated.
Eric Bischoff was in his office and sat back with his feet propped up on the desk. He had just finished sealing the deal for the reality show with Hogan to air on CMT. Another notch in the belt of the “Bisch” and he was in a great mood. Several successful shows on the air and several more in the works. Bischoff had been a busy man and was now reaping the beneifts. Eric smiled. Life is good!
Eric was startled out of his blissful daydreaming by the sound of the phone ringing. He glanced at the caller ID. Greg Gagne? What would he want? Eric picked up the phone to speak to his former employer and long time friend.
After about 45 minutes of conversation with Gagne, Eric hung up the phone sat back in his chair, reflecting on what Gagne had asked him. Verne Gagne was ill and beginning to show signs of dementia. Greg wanted to have a wrestling tribute to his dad, a final “AWA Super Show”, if you will. Greg had already contacted Vince McMahon who had agreed to let Greg have a WWE TV production team to film the event and full use of the AWA name for a one-time event. And then the WWE would, in exchange, release this show on DVD. It was to be the AWA equivilent of the ECW “One Night Stand”.
But the catch was, Vince and Greg had discussed it and neither man felt that Greg was the right man to book and run the show. He had been out of the business for too long. They wanted someone who knew the ins and outs of the AWA, but also was up to date on the current world of professional wrestling. In other words, they wanted Eric to do it. Book the show, be in charge of advertising and promotion, everything. It would be Eric’s baby from start to finish. He would have the full power of the WWE behind him, but he was the man in charge. Would he do it?
Eric told Gagne that he’d think it over and get back to him within a few days. Eric’s mind was spinning at the possibilities. He could do it, but it’s be hard to find AWA alumni. The company had been out of business for seventeen years and most of the wrestlers who were stars back then were either dead or retired and way too old to get in the ring. Eric reached into his desk and pulled out an old address book that he hadn’t used in almost fifteen years. “I hope these numbers are still good”, he mumbled to himself, as he picked up the phone and started dialing.
Things quickly came together as Eric was able to secure the old Showboat Pavilion in Las Vegas, NV for the event and Eric contacted the WWE to handle the advertisements and promotional tasks. Once word got out, Eric’s phone quickly began to ring off the hook and he was able to secure literally dozens of former AWA stars to appear at the event. Eric & Greg Gagne talked frequently on the phone and quickly put together a card of seven matches and a battle royal. Vince McMahon even joined in on conference calls and offered suggestions. A card quickly developed and the format was set. Now, all they needed was a name for the event. Several names were tossed around and finally, they agreed on one. It would be called “AWA – Night Of Legends 2008”. Simple and to the point. And now, all that was left is to have the show.
Eric tracked down Larry Nelson to handle the ring introductions. “Mean” Gene Okerlund would handle interviews and himself and Lee Marshall would take care of the commentary. Scott LeDoux & “Earthquake” Ferris would handle the referee duties. As for the matches, Eric booked eight big matches and a fifteen man battle-royal to give some of the talents that weren’t really in great wrestling shape anymore a chance to participate. Plus a video tribute to the fallen warriors of the AWA and allow some of the other legends a chance to appear as well. On paper, Eric knew that he had booked one helluva show. And he had no doubt that it would exceed all expectations as well.
The time quickly flew by and the night came for the big three-hour taping at the Showboat. The energy was amazing and the Pavilion was sold-out with a standing room only crowd. Vince McMahon called to wish Eric luck with the event. Several wrestlers who were never part of the AWA, such as Kevin Nash, Randy Orton, Triple H, etc. were spotted walking around backstage and enjoying the nostalgia. They knew this was going to be a big night and wanted to be a part of it. The director gave Eric the cue. Sixty seconds to air. Eric took a deep breath and patted Lee Marshall on the back. It was time to get this party started. For one night only, the AWA was back in business and they were going to make it something the fans and wrestlers would never, ever forget.
And now… the event
AWA Night Of Legends 2008
Showboat Sports Pavilion
Las Vegas, Nevada
As the cameras start to roll, Eric Bischoff and Lee Marshall welcome everyone to the show. Tonight is about the AWA – the American Wrestling Association, which ran from 1960 – 1991 and was the “major leagues of professional wrestling”. They talk about how it’s a Who’s Who of professional wrestling that have worked in the AWA rings, such as Hulk Hogan, Jesse Ventura, Nick Bockwinkel, Stan Hansen, Ray Stevens and so many others. And tonight, many of those great names and legends are back, for one night only, to relive the magic that was the AWA.
But first, a video tribute to some of the fallen AWA warriors. A video airs, to the sounds of “Hurt” by Johnny Cash as we see pictures of AWA Superstars who have passed on: Crusher, Dick the Bruiser, Adrian Adonis, Jumbo Tsuruta, Ray “The Crippler” Stevens, Road Warrior Hawk, Dick Murdoch, Lord James Blears & Rod Trongard
We go to Larry Nelson for the introductions to the first match.
Marty Jannetty & Shawn Michaels – The Midnight Rockers vs. Ricky Morton & Robert Gibson – The Rock & Roll Express
It’s Shawn starting off against Ricky. A quick handshake and then Shawn with an armdrag and Ricky responds with the same. Ricky to the hammerlock and Shawn reverses into a hammerlock of his own. Ricky with an armdrag and a dropkick. Chinlock and tag out to Robert. Robert runs into an armdrag by Michaels, who tags out to Jannetty. And back and forth it goes with neither team able to maintain an advantage. Double-team by Morton and Gibson and they have Jannetty trapped in the corner. Jannetty with forearms and a flip to Gibson to escape. Tempers are beginning to flare. Gibson and Jannetty trade fists. Tag to HBK, who scores with a suplex for two. Another tag and Jannetty is in with the double-team. Marty with a backdrop and clothesline for another two. Robert fights back with fists and then a small-package on Marty for two. Ricky tags in with fists and a dropkick. A slam and tag out to Gibson. Double-dropkick by the Rock & Rollers and Gibson gets a two-count before Shawn breaks it up. It’s back and forth again and both teams are trading moves and scoring two counts.
Suddenly, from the back comes Sheik Adnan El Kassey and he’s got Nord the Barbarian and Ali Khan with them. They climb into the ring and attack both the Rock & Roll Express and the Midnight Rockers. Adnan and his army are here to break up the party. Morton, Gibson, Jannetty and Michaels all start to work together. Morton and Jannetty with a double-dropkick on Khan that sends him flying to the floor. Gibson grabs Barbarian and gives him a monkey-flip right into a Shawn Michaels super-kick. Barbarian flies to the floor. Adnan is alone in the ring with both tag teams and decides to hit the trails as he slides through the ropes and escapes to the back along with his men. As both teams hug and shake hands, Referee Earthquake Ferris (finally) calls for the bell.
NO CONTEST DUE TO OUTSIDE INTERFERENCE… DRAW!!
After the match, we go to “Mean” Gene Okerlund, who is standing by with Blackjack Mulligan, Blackjack Lanza & Red Bastein. The Blackjacks talk about how honored they are to be there tonight and see all their old friends. They send out get-well wishes to Bobby “The Brain” Heenan, who is currently at home recovering from surgery. Red Bastein reflects a moment on old times and his memories of being one-half of the AWA Tag Team Champions with the late Hercules Cortez.
And here are Wayne Bloom and Mike Enos – The Destruction Crew. They interupt the segment and say that no one cares about three washed-up old men. They’re here to see Bloom and Enos – the last men to hold the AWA Tag Team Championship. Okerlund points out that they lost the titles to D.J. Peterson and the Trooper, but Enos and Bloom tell Gene to shut the hell up. They tell the Blackjacks and Bastein to hit the pavement because they’re there to steal the show.
And here comes Ricky Rice & Derrick Dukes – The Top Guns. They climb into the ring and Rice has the mic. Why don’t Bloom & Enos shut their traps and get into the ring. If they want a match, the Top Guns will give them one. Enos and Bloom appear reluctant, but Mulligan, Lanza & Bastein grabs Enos & Bloom from behind and roll them into the ring. Referee Scott LeDoux calls for a bell and we’ve got a match.
The Top Guns – Ricky Rice & Derrick Dukes vs. Wayne Bloom & Mike Enos – The Destruction Crew
Rice and Dukes start off strong with the arm-drags and the dropkicks and are keeping Enos and Bloom off balance. Finally Dukes misses a charge into the corner and Bloom nails him with a vicious clothesline. Bloom & Enos go to work on Dukes and pound away on him in their corner and batter him senseless. Enos is getting cocky and slams Dukes to the mat. He takes his time before dropping a knee and Dukes moves. Crash and burn. Hot tag to Rice who unloads the dropkicks on both men. Slams for both and Rice with a suplex on Enos. It’s too the top and Rice with the cross-body splash, but he only gets two as Bloom breaks up the count. Dukes is in now and it’s OINGO BOINGO time. A running clothesline by Dukes takes both himself and Bloom to the floor. Rice rolls up Enos in a small package, but from out of nowhere, here comes Don Fargo into the ring. Referee LeDoux is busy with Dukes and Bloom and doesn’t see Fargo roll Rice and Enos over so Rice’s shoulders are the ones that are pinned. The ref turns around as Fargo slides to the floor and outside the ring and counts the three on Rice.
Winners: Wayne Bloom & Mike Enos – The Destruction Crew (with an assist from Don Fargo)
And now, we go to another video tribute of some of the AWA Superstars who have left us… To the sounds of “Brickyard Road” by Johnny Van Zant, we see pictures of: Hard Boiled Haggarty, Mr. Saito, Hercules Cortez, Yokozuna, Wahoo McDaniel, Eddie Guerrero, “Hot Stuff” Eddie Gilbert, Lord Alfred Hayes & Andre The Giant.
And it’s to the ring and Larry Nelson for the next match.
“Playboy” Buddy Rose & Col. DeBeers vs Rikishi Fatu & Samu – The Samoan Swat Team
Larry starts to introduce Rose at 271lbs, but Rose quickly stops him. He’s 217lbs! Yeah, right! And DeBeers grabs the mic. There is no way that he will step into the ring and face these two savages. They’re not even caucasian. The fans are booing and DeBeers goes into a rant about how ignorant and inferior that the fans are, even after all these years. Rikishi and Samu charge the ring and DeBeers is so busy arguing with a fan that he doesn’t even notice. Rose does and quickly bails to the floor. But DeBeers gets caught off guard by a quick attack by the two Samoans. A slam by Samu and he whips DeBeers into the corner. Rikishi sees DeBeers down in the corner and goes for a stink-face, but Rose reaches in and pulls DeBeers to safety. Rose and DeBeers regroup on the floor as the fans cheer the two wild Samoans.
Rose climbs back up and gets into the ring. He’e ready to wrestle against Samu. Samu is ready to lock up, but Rose stops him. Rose drops and does some one-armed push-ups. A few jumping jacks too. He invites Samu to do the same. Samu looks as if he’s ready to do the push-ups, but spins around and catches Rose with a quick kick that sends Buddy through the ropes and to the floor. Samu does some jumping jacks in the ring as Rose glares at him from the outside.
Rose climbs back in the ring and they lock up. Rose with punches and knees and a tag to DeBeers. Double-team by Rose & DeBeers and DeBeers continues the assault with stomps and kicks. A slam and DeBeers gets two. A tag to Rose who hits the flying elbow off the ropes. A suplex and another two count. Tag to DeBeers who pounds away at Samu and slams him into the turnbuckle. Samu no-sells the head shots and unloads on DeBeers with a series of chops. A slam and a tag to Rikishi Fatu. Rikishi in with chops and kicks and a huge slam. Here comes Rose and Kishi hits him with a big superkick too. Rikishi whips DeBeers into the corner and DeBeers collapses into the corner. Samu has Rose and hard whips him into the opposite corner. Rikishi with the stink-face on DeBeers. The fans are going nuts and loving it. Rikishi goes over to Rose and he gets the stink-face too. As Rose sells the stink-face and looks ready to puke, Kishi and Samu are celebrating in the ring. It’s DeBeers with a low blow shot from behind on Rikishi and he rolls him up with the foot on the ropes for extra leverage to get the pin out of nowhere. Samu tries to get threre to break it up, but Rose grabs his foot and keeps him from making the save.
Winners: “Playboy” Buddy Rose & Col. DeBeers
“Mean” Gene is with former AWA World Champion Nick Bockwinkel & Larry “The Axe” Hennig. They reflect for a few moments and we go backstage to “The Living Legend” Larry Zbyszko.
Larry is with “Ninja Go” (aka Steve O.) and has with him the AWA World Championship Title Belt. He calls everyone spudheads and says that since he was the last AWA Champion, and since he retired Bruno, Bockwinkel and the AWA, this shouldn’t be a “Night of Legends” – it should be just a “Night of a Living Legend” and all about Zbyszko. He beat everyone there was to beat in the AWA and when he got bored and left, they had to close the promotion down because no one could fill his shoes.
Into the picture steps Jerry “The King” Lawler. He reminds Zbyszko that Larry won the title in a Battle Royal when Lawler was stripped of the title over politics. Larry says, “So?”. Lawler says that he was the AWA Champion and never lost the title. So that means that Zbyszko was never really the champ. Larry is PO’ed and says that he has the title belt and was the champion and no matter how much whining and crying Lawler does, it doesn’t change things. Lawler just smiles and says, “Well, maybe this does!” and levels Zbyszko with a big fist. Lawler backs away and leaves before “Go” can aid his fallen partner. Larry pulls himself up, holding the side of his face. “If that’s what you want, Lawler… you and me? You’ve got it! I retired Bruno. I retired Bockwinkel and tonight, I’ll retire you too… for good!”. Larry & Ninja Go stalk off as we go back to the ring where Diamond Dallas Page has come out and has the mic.
Dallas says that the only reason to come to this show is coming up next. Being led to the ring by several “Diamond Dolls”, Dallas introduces the team of Pat Tanaka & Paul Diamond aka Badd Company. Diamond and Tanaka join Page in the ring and get on the mic. They insult the fans and say that there is no team that is willing to face them. We hear some familiar music and here comes Randy Rose & Dennis Condrey – The Original Midnight Express. Rose has the mic and says that if Badd Co. and their manager want a match, look no further than the Midnight Express. Page, Diamond and Tanaka laugh at Rose and ask if he’s kidding. Rose hasn’t wrestled a match in years and besides, there are only two of them. Rose smiles and says that he’s not wrestling anymore. That’s true. But there are more than two members of The Midnight Express. So if Page and Badd Company want a match….
Rose waves to the back and here comes “Beautiful” Bobby Eaton & “Sweet” Stan Lane. The 4 Midnight Express members come to the ring and Page & Badd Co. go to the floor to talk for a moment. Page gets back on the mic. If they want to get their butts kicked by DDP and Badd Company, they’ve got it. But get ready to feel the BANG!
Badd Company – Paul Diamond, Pat Tanaka & Diamond Dallas Page vs. The Midnight Express – Dennis Condrey, Bobby Eaton & Stan Lane w/ Randy Rose
It’s Tanaka starting off against Eaton. Tanaka with chops and kicks. Eaton with a left and a slam. Lane in with kicks. Page with a cheap shot from outside and tags in. Page works over Lane until Condrey gets in a shot from the outside. Dennis and Stan with the double-team and Condrey with the two-count. Eaton tags in with punches and a suplex. Eaton goes to the top for the Alabama Jam, but Page moves and tags in Diamond. Diamond on Eaton with kicks and punches. A tag to Tanaka and some double-teaming. Tanaka tags to Diamond and flips Eaton up into a Diamond clothesline. Paul gets two as Lane & Condrey are in to break it up. Back and forth it goes and neither team is able to get any kind of long advantage because of the other men getting involved. Finally, Lane nails Diamond with a superplex.
Tanaka comes in and super-kicks Lane in the face. Condrey with a big clothesline on Tanaka. DDP comes in and hits Condrey with the “Diamond Cutter”. Bobby Eaton nails Page with a big left that sends him to the floor. Everyone is in the ring and brawling and the referee can’t get control. Referee Scott LeDoux gets shoved by Diamond and then by Condrey. He’s had enough and calls for the bell. It’s a double-disqualification.
Double-Disqualification – NO CONTEST!
We now go to “Mean” Gene Okerlund, who is with Ox Baker and The Iron Sheik. Baker hollers and yells as only he can do and then the Sheik is up. He cuts an old-style Sheik promo about how he’s the World Champion, how he made the AWA what it was, he hates Sgt. Slaughter, and he will humble Hulk Hogan. Sheik is just ranting and Gene cuts him off to send things back to Larry Nelson in the ring.
Madusa Miceli vs. Wendi Richter
Wendi starts off with a couple of armdrags and Bischoff and Marshall talk about how this is Madusa’s first match in several years, so she’ll be rusty. Wendi has the arm locked up and Madusa backs her into the corner. Forearms and a spin-kick. A slam by Madusa and some kicks. Madusa has Wendi by the hair and tosses her across the ring. Madusa tries a kick, but Wendi catches her leg and spins her around, leveling her with a clothesline. Slam by Wendi and some elbows. Wendi picks up Madusa and goes for a suplex, but Madusa with the small-package for two. Wendi kicks out and throws some punches. A forearm shot by Wendi and she picks up Madusa, slamming her down hard with the power-bomb. Wendi is going for the pin when here comes Madusa’s former proteges, Nick Kiniski & “Mr. Magnificent” Kevin Kelly. They storm the ring and pull Wendi off of Madusa as referee Earthquake Ferris calls for the bell.
Winner by DQ: Wendi Richter
Kelly and Kiniski are holding Richter as Madusa slaps away at her. The crowd erupts again as we hear the sounds of Black Sabbath and “Iron Man” echo out over the sound system. Road Warrior Animal and “Precious” Paul Ellering come running to the ring. Ellering directs traffic as Animal clotheslines both Kelly and Kiniski and sends them to the floor. Madusa gets in the face of Animal and is talking trash and gives him a big slap in the face. Ellering grabs her from behind and spins her around where Madusa catches a Wendi Richter clothesline and goes to the floor as well. Ellering & Animal raise Richter’s hand as Madusa, Kelly and Kiniski head to the back.
Back to “Mean” Gene who is with former AWA World Champion Stan Hansen. Hansen talks about how much fun he used to have whooping up on guys in the AWA. He left the company on a bad note and he’s sorry about that, but the memories being the AWA Champ were some of the best of his life. He just wishes Brody was here tonight to see all of this and bust in some heads. Ivan Koloff steps into the picture and says a few words about how, during his career, the AWA had the toughest and the best wrestlers and he’s just glad to be there.
Another video tribute to those who have fallen. “You Can’t Put Your Arms Around A Memory” by Guns & Roses plays as we see pictures of Curt Hennig, Sherri Martel, Bruiser Brody, Terry Gordy, Crusher Blackwell & Kerry Von Erich.
Larry Nelson is standing in front of the ring and talking to Greg Gagne and former AWA World Champion Rick Martel. Gagne talks about what a big night this is for him and for his father, who unfortunately, was too ill to come to the show. But Greg is estatic about the show and the chance to come back one more time in an AWA ring and under an AWA banner. He thanks Vince McMahon, the WWE and Eric Bischoff for making it all happen. Rick Martel is glad to be a part of all of this and thanks the fans for their support over the length of his career.
And here comes Sheik Adnan El Kassey, along with “Cowboy” Bob (Ace) Orton & The Russian, Soldat Ustinov. If they’re so happy and thrilled, Sheik is there to ruin their night. Why not have a match right there and then. Martel and Gagne glance at each other and say, let’s do it. We’ve got a match.
Greg Gagne & Rick Martel vs. Cowboy Bob Orton & Soldat Ustinov w/ Sheik Adnan El Kassey
Martel starts off against Ustinov. Ustinov tries to grab Rick, but Martel is too fast. Armdrags by Martel and a tag to Gagne. Gagne with armdrags and a hip-toss. Soldat to the eyes and some clubbing blows. A tag to Orton who pummels Gagne with punches and a suplex. Knee for two. Tag to Ustinov who slams Gagne and locks in the bearhug. Gagne bites Ustinov on the nose to escape and throws some punches. Tag to Martel who comes in with the dropkick on Ustinov.
Adnan is up on the ring apron and Martel levels him with a punch. But Soldat takes advantage with a knee. Punches and slams and a tag to Orton. Bob with the choke on Martel and a suplex for two. Clothesline by Orton for another two. Orton whips Martel into the corner and charges in, but Martel moves. Crash and burn for Cowboy Bob. Martel with the hot tag to Greg Gagne. Greg with fists on Orton. Orton reverses a whip into the ropes and tries for a clothesline, but Gagne ducks and locks in the sleeper on Orton. Ustinov comes in to break it up, but Martel cuts him off and it’s Boston Crab time for Ustinov. The ref checks and Orton is out.
Winners: Greg Gagne & Rick Martel
We see a video by “Nature Boy” Ric Flair. He wishes he could be there tonight, but unfortunately, he had previous committments. But Ric puts over Verne Gagne as the man who trained him and got him started on his career. Ric says that he spent most of his career as a “NWA” guy, but the AWA will always hold a place in his heart. He talks about title vs. title matches against Nick Bockwinkel and Rick Martel and says that they were some of the best matches of his career. Diamonds are forever, so is Ric Flair and so is the great memories of the AWA. Wooooooooooooo!
We go backstage to “Mean” Gene Okerlund who has a very special guest. It’s Hulk Hogan. Hulk says that Hulkamania really got it’s start in the AWA and he puts over the company as a great place where a young Hulkster really got his first taste of what was to come. Hulk Hogan ruled the wrestling world and became the strongest force in the universe. And it started in the ring in Minnesota and here in Vegas. Hulkamania is running wild! And whatcha gonna do, brutha! Hogan rips open his shirt as Gene sends up to a pre-recorded promo with Sgt. Slaughter.
Slaughter talks about how he was the original “American Hero” and how he loves the USA. And the cold war might be over, but his hatred for one Russian maggot has never died. And tonight, it’s 1987 all over again because he’s facing Boris Zhukov in a “Boot Camp” match. And he’s warning Sheik Adnan and everyone else not to get involved or else they’ll end up getting crushed like the disgusting little maggots they are. As for Zhukov, prepare for the beating of a lifetime. And he’s dismissed!
We go back to “Mean” Gene who is with Billy Robinson, Pat Patterson and former AWA Ladies Champion Candi Divine. Both men put over how tough the AWA was back in the day and how important it was to so many people. Divine talks about the ladies match earlier with Richter & Madusa and puts over both ladies as “tough as nails”. But if they ever want a piece of Candy, just come and get it!
And now to Larry Nelson who is ready to introduce the participants for the 18-Man Battle Royal.
18-Man Over The Top Rope Battle Royal:
Teijo Khan, “The Trooper’ Del Wilkes, “Rock & Roll” Buck Zumhoffe, Dennis Stamp, “Jumping” Jim Brunzell, Leon “Vader” White, “Magnificent” Don Muraco, Ken Patera, Brad Rheingans, Baron Von Raschke, Nikolai Volkoff, Jimmy “The Boogie Woogie Man” Valiant, “Wildfire” Tommy Rich, Ronnie “Hands of Stone” Garvin, Chavo Guerrero Sr., David Sammartino, Kamala the Ugandan Giant and “Superfly” Jimmy Snuka…
Everyone is in the ring and the ref calls for the bell. Dennis Stamp is the first man tossed by Ronnie Garvin. Buck Zumhoffe quickly follows as Vader throws him to the floor. David Sammartino hits a running clothesline on Ken Patera and both men are eliminated. Ronnie Garvin is eliminated next by The Trooper. But Vader comes up from behind and tosses Trooper to the floor. Don Muraco comes up and lifts Vader up. An assist by Jim Brunzell and Vader has been eliminated. Muraco turns as if to thank Brunzell for the help, but grabs his arm and tosses Brunzell to the floor too. Jim Brunzell is out. Nikolai Volkoff tosses Kamala to the floor and then Chavo Guerrero as well. Snuka and Muraco have started battling and exchanging blows. Snuka eliminates Muraco. Snuka climbs to the top and gives Muraco a superfly splash on the floor. Snuka has eliminated himself.
Teijo Khan and Jimmy Valiant are fighting on the ropes. Tommy Rich moves in and dumps both men over the top. Valiant and Khan are eliminated. Brad Rheingans with punches and slams on Nikolai Volkoff. A flying shoulder by Rheingans and Nikolai goes over the top and is eliminated. It’s down to three men – Tommy Rich, Brad Rheingans and Baron Von Raschke. The Baron locks up with Rheingans and takes a hard shot to the chops. The Baron collapses to the mat and rolls under the ropes to the floor. Rich and Rheingans are fighting in the ring. Rich reverses a whip into the ropes and catches Rheingans with a backdrop that sends him to the floor. Rich thinks he’s won and raises his arms in victory. Baron Von Raschke, on the far side of the ring, rolls back inside and quietly moves up behind Rich. Rich turns around and the Baron locks in the claw. Rich is fighting, but the Baron has the claw locked in. Rich is trying to escape and goes over the rope to the apron to break the German’s claw. The Baron gives Rich a shove and he falls to the floor. Tommy Rich is eliminated.
Winner of the Battle Royal: Baron Von Raschke
As the Baron celebrates his victory in the ring, we hear a disruption in the back of the arena. The cameras spot a figure coming through the crowd and to the ring. It’s Scott Hall. Scott climbs over the fan barrier and Larry Nelson is there with the mic. Scott takes the mic from Nelson and tells him to “go back to the bar. I’ve got this one!” Scott has the mic and after a slight delay, “Hey yo! I’m looking around and what’s with all the old folks? I know the years are kind of foggy sometimes, but when did it become 1987 again? Anyhow, I’m here and seeing all the old faces and old sights. Good memories with Curt… Man, this was the place. But I heard someone in the back and it broght me back to reality. How can one man be so damn full of himself as Hulk Hogan? I thought he was off playing stage-mom or something these days, but here he is, trying to steal the spotlight as always from the men and women who busted their butts all those years and deserve the credit. To hear Hogan talk, you think he made the AWA and wrestling, but I got news for you, Terry. The AWA and wrestling made you, Chico! But it’s time for Hogan to give back a little bit. So how about this. Scott Hall and Hollywood Hulk Hogan… in this ring… right now! I’m here Chico.. and if you’ve got the guts… well, don’t sing it… bring it!
Scott climbs into the ring and is waiting. Bischoff & Marshall are talking over whether Hogan will accept this challenge. We hear the sounds of “Real American” and here comes Hogan toward the ring. He’s wagging the finger at Scott and talking the entire way. It looks as if we’ve got a match as referee Scott LeDoux calls for the bell.
Hulk Hogan vs. Scott Hall
Hogan and Hall are both talking trash as they square off. Hall with a shove. Hogan with a fist and it’s on. Hall with a thumb to the eyes and a big slam. Elbow and some punches by Hall. A whip to the ropes and Hall scores with a backdrop. Hogan gets up slowly and Hall throws him to the floor. Hall follows and starts punching. Hogan blocks the blows and scores the advantage with punches of his own. Hogan runs Hall into the ringpost and rolls back into the ring to break the count. Hogan reaches outside the ring to grab Hall and Scott catches him with a thrust to the throat. Hall climbs back into the ring and a big slam on Hogan. Another slam and Hall gets a two-count. Hall is cocky and hits a big “Shades of Hulk Hogan” legdrop on Hogan. Hall covers and gets a two-count as Hogan kicks out at the last second. Hall with fists and punches.
Hogan is taking the punches and is starting to do the no-sell. He’s “hulking up”. Hogan is shaking and pointing the finger and talking trash. Three punches and Hogan wth the big slam on Scott Hall. Hogan goes for the legdrop and connects. Cover and it’s only a two-count as Hall gets a foot on the ropes. Hogan is arguing with referee Scott LeDoux about the count. Hogan turns around to go back after Hall and Scott grabs Hulk by the tights and pulls him face first into the corner. Hall is up and kicking and stomping at Hogan. More fists and Scott whips Hulk into the ropes. He catches him in his arms and it’s a fallaway slam by Hall. He covers Hulk and gets a two as Hogan gets a foot on the ropes for the break. Hall is mad now and arguing with the ref. Hogan is pulling himself up and here we go again as Hulk is “hulking up” again. Hogan rips at the eyes of Hall. Several fists and a big slam. Hogan pulls Hall up and whips him into the ropes, catching him with a big “Axe” blow as he comes off the ropes. Hall is down and Hogan is posing and flexing for the crowd. He signals for the legdrop and goes into the ropes. Legdrop by Hogan.
Here is Kevin Nash from out of nowhere and up on the ring apron. Hogan goes after Nash, but gets nailed by a big fist. The ref calls for the bell to end the match.
Winner by DQ: Hulk Hogan
Nash is in the ring and pounds away at Hogan. Hall is back up too and joins in the attack on the Hulkster. Double-clothesline by Hall & Nash. Kevin picks up Hogan and hoists him up for a big jack-knife powerbomb. Hogan is out. Hall grins and he grabs the fallen Hogan. It’s time for the Razors Edge and Hogan is slammed hard to the mat. Hall & Nash stand over the fallen Hogan and raise their arms in victory as the crowd greets them with a loud mixture of cheers and boos. Hall & Nash leave from the ring after one last kick at Hogan and walk to the back. The referees and trainers pile into the ring to help Hogan leave the ring.
As the referees help Hogan from the ring, we go to a pre-recorded message from former Minnesota Governor Jesse “The Body” Ventura. Jesse puts over Verne Gagne and how the AWA gave him a start in professional wrestling. And the rest is history. It’s a historic night for wrestling and the fans and it’s long overdue to see the AWA get their proper dues. Jesse recalls that teaming with Adonis in the AWA was what took him to the next level and where “The Body” was born. Jesse sends much love and respect to Verne, Greg, Bockwinkel and all the others who made the AWA what it was.
And to Larry Nelson to introduce the next match.
Boot Camp Match
Sgt. Slaughter vs. Boris Zhukov w/ Sheik Adnan El Kassey
Sarge is wearing an army helmet and camoflauge as he comes to the ring, waving a big American flag and handing out small American flags to the crowd at ringside. His “GI Joe – Real American Hero” music is blaring out over the sound system. Zhukov comes to the ring with a Soviet flag and waves it proudly to the roar of disapproval from the crowd. As Sarge hands his big flag to the ring attendent, Zhukov comes across the ring and attacks. Fists and forearms and Zhukov is on the attack. Stomps and kicks and a big headbutt by Zhukov. A slam and a diving headbutt. Zhukov covers for a quick two-count. Zhukov with more punches and another big slam. Another two-count. Zhukov takes Sarge and tosses him outside the ring and to the floor.
While Zhukov is arguing with referee Earthquake Ferris, Adnan is out the outside and kicking and stomping away at Slaughter. Adnan runs Slaughter into the steel ringpost and Slaughter is busted open and his face quickly becomes a crimson mask. Adnan rolls Slaughter into the ring and Zhukov gives another slam before covering for another two-count. Punches and kicks by Zhukov and a hard whip into the corner. Zhukov charges in and Sarge moves. Crash and burn for Zhukov.
Sarge is back now and throwing punches and kicks. A big slam and a knee. Adnan is up on the apron and Slaughter nails him with a fist, causing Adnan to fall to the floor. Slaughter with punches and kicks on Zhukov and another big slam. Sarge climbs to the second rope and launches himself with a flying clothesline. Slaughter back up quickly and he locks the Cobra Clutch on Zhukov. Sheik Adnan is waving towards the back and here comes Col. DeBeers, Ali Khan, Nord the Barbarian & “Playboy” Buddy Rose. But just as quickly from the other dressing room comes Shawn Michaels, Marty Jannetty, Greg Gagne, Jimmy Snuka, Jimmy Valiant, Baron Von Raschke, The Top Guns and many others. The “face” locker room empties and they keep the Sheik’s “Army” away from the ring.
Meanwhile, in the ring, Sarge still has the Cobra Clutch locked on Zhukov. The referee checks and Zhukov is out. He calls for the bell. Sarge wins the match and finally, American justice is served.
Winner: Sgt. Slaughter
And now, back to “Mean” Gene Okerlund who is with some very special guests… 8-Time NWA World Champion Harley Race, “Dr. D” David Shultz & Mick Foley. Harley talks about he got his start in the AWA and they helped make him into the man and champion he became. “Dr. D” talks about how he was black-balled by the WWF after “slapping that idiot, John Stossel”, but the AWA gave him a place to work and keep his career going. Hogan and the WWF were scared of him, but the AWA said come on down and be the biggest and baddest you can be. And he did. Foley talks about how Cactus Jack got his start in Texas and Tennessee and the AWA was there.. and people began to notice him. It’s where Cactus Jack really began to stand out and make his mark. Mick appreciates everything Gagne and the AWA did to put him on the map.
And now we go to Larry Nelson in the ring for the main event.
“The Living Legend” Larry Zbyszko w/ Go the Ninja vs. Jerry “The King” Lawler
Lawler and Zbyszko are facing off and arguing. Larry is arguing with the referee as well and then leaves the ring to go down and argue with some fans at ringside. Big “Larry sucks” chants fill the arena. Larry gets back into the ring to break the count and then bails again to the floor. He goes to Bischoff and Marshall at ringside and tells them to tell the fans to shut up! Lawler is just standing in the ring and he starts encouraging the fans to shout even more. Zbyszko is livid on the outside of the ring and is threatening to walk to the back. The referee starts counting and Larry turns around and gets back into the ring at the nine-count. Larry is arguing at the referee and then goes over to Lawler. He’s got his finger in Lawler’s face and is constantly talking trash. Jerry lets him talk and… WHAMMO! A big left from out of nowhere. Zbyszko crumbles to the mat and quickly rolls back out to the floor to stall and delay some more.
More arguing and stalling by Zbyszko. He confers with Ninja Go for a moment and finally climbs back into the ring. Finally, Lawler and Zbyszko lock up. Larry with a fireman’s carry and an armbar. Lawler reverses into a hammerlock and Larry goes to the ropes and demands a break. As Lawler backs away, Larry catches him with a karate spin-kick. It’s Zbyszko with forearm shots and a big slam. Kicks by Zbyszko and he whips Lawler into the ropes for a clothesline. Jerry ducks and catches Zbyszko with a big left hand. Slam by Lawler and he goes to the second rope for the flying fist-drop. Cover for two by Lawler. Jerry with some more punches and another slam for Zbyszko. Punches by Lawler. Jerry delays for a second to play to the fans and Zbyszko grabs him by the tights and pulls Lawler face-first into the turnbuckle.
Zbyszko is in control now and stomps away at Lawler. Larry backs away and distracts the referee and we see Ninja Go with a couple of karate thrusts from the outside of the ring. Lawler is down and Zbyszko moves in confidentially and sets up Lawler for a piledriver. Larry delays for a second to yell at a fan at ringside and Lawler takes advantage to backdrop Zbyszko and escape the move.
Lawler is back up and the straps come down. Jerry with fists and punches on Zbyszko and another huge slam. Jerry sets up Zbyszko for a piledriver of his own and Ninja Go is up on the apron. Lawler drops Zbyszko and goes after Go, punching him off the ring apron and to the floor. Zbyszko is up in the corner and digging into his tights. Lawler comes back over and grabs Zbyszko. Larry with a roll of quarters in his fist as he nails Lawler under the chin. Quarters fly everywhere and the referee, who was busy trying to keep Go from getting into the ring, turns around to see Zbyszko cover Lawler. The ref counts three and we have a winner.
“The Living Legend” Larry Zbyszko w/ Ninja Go
Zbyszko and Go are celebrating their victory and Larry is on the mic. He calls everyone a bunch of spudheads and is being obnoxious and arrogant to any and everyone. Lawler is pulling himself up in the ring and looking at the quarters all over the mat. He sees “The Living Legend” at ringside bragging and just being an ass. Lawler slides out of the ring and attacks Zbyszko. It’s brawl-for-all OINGO BOINGO time. Zbyszko and Lawler are brawling all around the ring. Referees and security come from all over the place to break them up and pull the two men apart. Finally, after a few attempts, they get them seperated.
After the men are seperated, Eric Bischoff, Larry Nelson, and Lee Marshall climb into the ring. They invite everyone from the back to come out to the ring and the ring starts to fill up as the locker rooms empty. The Midnight Rockers. Badd Company and Dallas Page. Scott Hall & Kevin Nash. Slaughter. Race. David Shultz. Foley. Greg Gagne. Rick Martel. Stan Hansen. The Blackjacks. Red Bastein. Madusa. Wendi Richter. The Top Guns. Don Fargo.
Everyone comes out and fills up the ring and surrounds the ring. Eric has the mic and starts to end the show. But we hear a sound that no one expects. The sound of crashing glass. What the… ?? Here comes “Stone Cold” Steve Austin.
Austin gets to the ring and glares at Bischoff, snatching the mic from him. “You know, I was never part of the AWA! But I heard that there was going to be a party here tonight with some of the biggest and baddest folks in wrestling history.” “What?” And you can’t have a party without a lot of beer” “What?” Austin continues, “And you can’t have a beer bash without Stone Cold Steve Austin!” “What?” “So, everyone grab a beer and let’s have a toast to the baddest bunch of S.O.B.’s in wrestling history. And that’s the bottom line because….. Stone Cold says so!” Everyone is hugging and toasting beers. And here comes Larry Zbyszko back to the ring.
Larry gets in Austin’s face. “Who the hell do you think you are?” Larry proceeds to bad-mouth Austin and threatens to take him on a one-way trip, all expense paid trip to “Larry-Land”. Austin just lets Zbyszko rant and rave and talk his trash. And then Larry slaps the beer from Austin’s hand. As the beer falls to the mat, Larry glares at Austin. “So what the hell are you going to do about it, spudhead?”, Larry asks. Austin glares at Zbyszko and… BLAMMO! It’s Stone Cold Stunner Time! The fans love it! Austin calls for a beer and gives a two-beer salute towards the AWA banner hanging on the wall.
Eric Bischoff has gotten the mic back and it’s time to end the show. He quickly says, “It’s the AWA! We love you, Verne! Good night everyone! And thank you!”
Fade to black…