Flashback: AWA on ESPN Classics – March 13, 2008

AWA Championship Wrestling
on ESPN Classics
March 13, 2008
Doug Maynard
Talk about a show that has it all. The AWA really delivered this morning. Lions, tigers and bears? Oh no! I’m talking about legends, ladies and little people. Yes, we have midget wrestling. Now that is classic old school goodness at it’s very finest. And the rest of the action wasn’t that bad either. I’m Doug and this is the AWA on ESPN Classics. It’s coming to us, as always from the Showboat Sports Pavilion in Las Vegas, Nevada. The men at ringside are Rod Trongard and Lord James Blears.
And now that the introductions are out of the way, let’s get right to the action.
This first match, according to the graphic, is from December 21, 1986.
Tom “Rocky” Stone vs.The Super Ninja (with Larry Zbyszko)
 
For those of you wondering, Super Ninja is, in fact the man we would come to know as The Great Muta. This was early in his career before he established his Muta identity and at the time of this match, he was fresh from a stint in World Class Championship Wrestling and was making the rounds and paying his wrestling dues. After lots of early stalling, no doubt a side effect of being around Zbyszko so much, Ninja with a little slap/chop to the side of the head of Rocky Stone. Ninja quickly goes after the arm and uses a hammerlock and a quick chop before slamming Stone to the mat. Stone tries to fight back, but Ninja throws some chops and kicks before clamping a nerve hold on the neck of Rocky Stone. Stone tries to escape and throws some more punches, but Ninja with a big time thrust kick to the chin and then a suplex and bridge to pick up the quick win.
 
Winner: Super Ninja (with Larry Zbyszko)
Larry Nelson is there to talk to Zbyszko and Ninja. Zbyszko says that they’ve seen what Super Ninja can do and there is not any American wrestler who can match him. When asked about their association, Larry Z. says that they have common interests. They’re both seeking justice. And that brings Larry to the World Championship. Nick Bockwinkle hires thugs for protection and won’t give Zbyszko a title shot. The fans start booing and getting riled up and Larry Z. starts to get upset. Larry says that Super Ninja will help him destroy those who get in their way and capture the World Championships.
We come back from commercials and join the next match in progress. It is from December 24, 1986.
Ken Glover vs. Greg Gagne
 
Glover has a headlock, but Gagne reverses it into a hammerlock. Glover makes the ropes to escape. Greg goes back to the hammerlock, but again, Glover goes to the ropes. Glover takes the advantage with a fist and a headbutt. A slam into the corner by Glover and he rips and claws at the back of Gagne. Forearm shots and an elbow. It’s all Glover as he covers for a two-count. The fists start to fly as Gagne fights back. Glover rips at the eyes and scores with a knee and some good old fashioned punches to the head. Gagne comes back with a backdrop and a flying head-scissors. Another backdrop and the former “High Flyer” hits two dropkicks to pick up the pin and win.
Winner: Greg Gagne
Nelson is there to talk to Gagne. Greg talks about the dropkicks and how they weren’t exactly right, but still worked. He calls Larry Zbyszko the “original spud-head”. He says that he wants to take on whoever the AWA World Champion is, be it Hansen, Bockwinkle or whoever He’s concerned about his regular tag team partner, Jimmy Snuka, who is out with an injury courtesy of Col. DeBeers, but Snuka will be back. Jerry Blackwell has taken over Snuka’s spot as Gagne’s partner and they want a shot at Rose & Summers, the tag team champions.
The next match is from WrestleRock 86. It’s from April 20, 1986… It’s the midgets! Yay! We join the match in progress.
Cowboy Lang & Little Mr. T vs, Lord Littlebrook & Little Tokyo
 
Why do I have the urge here to sing “Follow The Yellow Brick Road”? I just don’t know. But as I’ve told several of my friends who promote wrestling shows with ACW and WrestleKings Championship Wrestling, if you want to have a great show, be sure to have some little people wrestle. It’s simply chaos on a small scale as Lord Littlebrook and Cowboy Lang are going at it. Lang with a knee and he goes after the arm. His Lordship tags in Little Tokyo who tosses Lang into the ropes and scores with a boot and a chin lock. Little Mr. T is in and he looks like the original (Big) Mr. T after being left in the dryer way too long.
A headbutt by T as he tosses Tokyo across the ring. T flips Tokyo and takes a shot at Lord Littlebrook as well. He pities the fool that wants to take him on. Tokyo fights back with chops and pushes T into the corner where Littlebrook stands on the ropes and chokes him. They switch off and Littlebrook does the same thing to Lang. And they switch again, but this time it’sTokyo getting stood on and choked by his own partner. But Littlebrook doesn’t notice because he’s too busy arguing with the fans to pay attention. Tokyo is mad and the men have a small argument as Littlebrook tags back in and goes after Mr. T. Littlebrook scores with a thumb to the eyes and a backdrop on T before stomping and kicking away at the mini-Mohawk wearing grappler. T switches into a full nelson and Lang tags in. It ends up some OINGO BOINGO chaos as everyone is in the ring. We end up with Lang and T attempting some kind of 4-way leglock on their opponents, but the referee gets too close and ends up tangled in the mess. Dog pile on the referee. Yay! He’s mad and warns both teams as they break up the chaotic scene, but can’t DQ anyone because he’s not sure who was first.
T and Lang take back control of Little Tokyo. T keeps control of Tokyo, but every time he tries for a pin, Littlebrook comes in to break it up (and usually ends up kicking or stomping his own partner in the process). I guess they’re having a little communication problem here. In the end, after much more chaos, confusion and shenanigans, we see Cowboy Lang do a scissors-roll to get the pin and win for his team.
Winners: Cowboy Lang & Little Mr. T
Another blast from the past as future WCW ring announcer Gary (Michael) Cappetta comes into the ring after the match and announces the time of the match as 10:01 and the winners are Cowboy Lang and Little Mr. T.
And now we go to Larry Nelson who is sitting behind a desk as he introduces the next match. It’s the AWA Women’s Champion, Sherri Martel in action. Nelson puts over her schedule as the Champion and mentions that she just got back from touring all over the world to defend her title.
This match is from December 21, 1986.
AWA Women’s Championship Match
Sherri Martel vs. Killer Tomato
 
Attack of the Killer Tomatoes” is one of my favorite bad movies. And this lady, with her big blond hair and dressed head to toe in red bodysuit, could easily become one of my favorite bad wrestlers. She looks like a hooker from the corner of McKay and First St. (local reference – what’s up East ‘Burg). All she needs is a halter top, some gum in her mouth and a cigarette in her left hand. I know. I shouldn’t make comments like that. But they’re in Vegas and I have no doubt that this young lady’s actual profession is NOT a professional wrestler. She’s probably from the farm who came to Vegas to make it as an actress. You know she can milk a cow. But she fell in with the wrong crowd and before you know it, was wrestling in an AWA ring. It’s the same old story time and time again. I hear it all the time. Poor child. But now, let’s get to the match.
Sherri goes after the arm, but Tomato reverses into a hammerlock. Sherri grabs the leg and pulls Tomato to the mat. Tomato throws a punch and locks up the arm of the future “Sensational” One”. Sherri escapes into a headlock. Tomato with an airplane spin. Sherri throws some punches and clamps a surfboard-style chin lock on the blond lady dressed in red. A dropkick by Sherri and she gets a quick two-count. Sherri decides to choke the lady with the name of a homicidal fruit on the ropes and scores with a big leg drop. Sherri rips at the eyes and scores with another leg drop. Tomato fights back with two leg drops and a weak “Shades of Candice Michelle” clothesline. Yeah, it was that bad. Sherri hits a clothesline and shows Tomato-Girl just how it’s supposed to be done and slams her into the corner. Sherri plants a knee into the guts of Tomato and follows up with a big slam. Sherri climbs to the top and scores with a “Shades of Jimmy Snuka” bodypress to pick up the win.
Winner: Sherri Martel.
After the match, Tomato gets up and vows revenge. But then, she’s clotheslined from behind by some Killer Carrots from France. And then they vow to take over the world. Bwah-ha-ha-ha-ha! OK, that didn’t happen. I made it up. But if you get the chance to see “Return of the Killer Tomatoes” – the movie…. do so. You’ll get the reference and just laugh and laugh and laugh. What really happened was….
Back to Larry Nelson at his little desk. He puts over Sherri as not only the Women’s Champion, but also the manager of Rose & Summers, the AWA World Tag Team Champions. She’s a powerful lady and at the top of her profession.
And on to the next match from December 21, 1986.
Don Fargo vs. Brad Rheingans
 
I swear that Fargo looks like a Moondog that was left out in the rain too long. He’s an odd looking fellow, even by wrestling standards. Fargo and Rheingans lock up and Fargo immediately goes after the arm and locks in an upper-wristlock. Rheingans tries to escape, but Fargo pulls the hair. And does it again. And again. Finally, the referee catches Fargo and orders him to break the hold. Brad comes back and scores a take-down and some forearm shots before slamming Fargo’s head into the corner turnbuckle. Brad with some more punches and a front-face lock. Fargo escapes and after an elbow shot, locks in a sleeper. Brad fights his way up and tries to escape, but Fargo uses the hair and clamps the sleeper back on once more. Brad keeps fighting his way up and Fargo keeps pulling him back down. Lord Blears talks about Fargo’s past as part of the Fargo Brothers tag team in Memphis and the devastation that they were capable of. Back in the ring, Brad fights his way back up once again. Fargo grabs the hair again and plants an elbow to the face. Rheingans with an forearm and he locks in a sleeper of his own. Fargo reverses into a headlock and whips Rheingans into the ropes. Brad with a big shoulder. Dropkick by Rheingans and then it’s to the top for a flying shoulder-block, or as he calls it, “the Bullet”. Brad covers and gets the pin.
Winner: Brad Rheingans
And then, after a commercial break, it’s time for yet another match. This one happened on December 21, 1986.
Col. DeBeers vs. Mike Richards
 
DeBeers starts off with a headlock and then moves his attack to the arm. Stomp and a twist on the arm followed by an elbow shot and some kicks. It’s all DeBeers as he moves back to the arm. Knee by DeBeers. Richards attempts to fight back and reverses an arm lock, but DeBeers just moves in with some elbow shots, some punches and a choke on the ropes. Richards throws a few punches, but DeBeers ends it with a kick to the head and a face-driver. DeBeers covers for the easy pin.
 
Winner: Col. DeBeers
Larry Nelson talks to DeBeers in the ring. Nelson says that he’s talked to Jimmy Snuka and Snuka will be back soon and looking for Col. DeBeers. DeBeers says that Snuka is out for good and will never return to professional wrestling. DeBeers goes on to say that the rules ofSouth Africa must be obeyed. DeBeers says that he put Snuka out of action because he despises his color. He has no respect for Jimmy “Underachiever” Snuka and will easily defeat him. He then moves on to trash Jerry Blackwell who, DeBeers says, lacks the discipline to move away from the dinner table and is from the south… the states that lost their war and gave up fighting for what they believed in. DeBeers is not that type of person. He has discipline.
And Larry Nelson cuts in and ends the segment as we run out of time. And the show ends.
Another great edition of the AWA and their classic goodness. Six matches in less than an hour. Heck, the WWE does good to fit four matches in two hours of programming every Monday night. This show had everything a wrestling fan can want. Well, change that. Hall & Hennig didn’t wrestle and Zbyszko only made a cameo as the second of Super (Muta) Ninja, but it still had ladies, midgets, bigots, old-school heels, classic “good guys” and some good old fashioned squash! Just awesome television viewing.
And with that, I guess it’s time to close this up. Questions or comments – send them toDoug28352@yahoo.com. And visit me at MySpace at www.myspace.com/salt_palace. Add me.
I’m Doug and that’s all for today with the classic AWA. See you tomorrow. Have a great day and always be a fan.
Ubuntu
@ 00 @ 1 1 a awa 2

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