AWA Championship Wrestling
On ESPN Classics
March 18, 2008
‘Sup all! I’m back again with another edition of AWA Championship Wrestling, courtesy of ESPN Classics. More thrills! More chills! More bone-jarring action than you can shake a stick at. As always, it comes from the world famous Showboat Sports Pavilion in Las Vegas, NV. The men who are calling the action are Rod Trongard and Lord James Blears. And Larry Nelson is the ring announcer. And I’m Doug. I watch this stuff each and every night so you don’t have to. But you should. It’s good stuff. Even better than Mom’s meatloaf. And probably better for you too. Check it out. Have I ever lied to you?
This show, which started fifteen minutes later than the scheduled time I might add, originally aired on July 24, 1986.
Dennis Stamp versus Col. DeBeers
It’s Dennis Stamp, of “Beyond The Mat” fame, taking on the racist from South Africa in the opening contest. Stamp looks like my ex brother-in-law. Yeah, my oldest sister had some weird taste. Love ya, Lynn. Stamp starts off on the offensive and goes after the arm with a hammer-lock and then an arm bar. DeBeers tries several times to get free, but just can’t do it. DeBeers finally ends up going to the ropes to escape. DeBeers manages to secure an arm lock, but Stamp reverses and locks DeBeers arm back up again. Meanwhile, Lord Blears is talking about how he once met the “Father of the Atomic Bomb” while on a flight and the guy is (was) a wrestling fan. Ummmm… OK!
Meanwhile, in the ring, Stamp still has control of the arm. DeBeers throws some elbows and reverses the hold. But Stamp counters and is back in control with the arm lock again. So far, it’s been all Stamp. Oops! Spoke too soon as DeBeers grabs Stamp by the front of the tights and pulls him forward, causing a “hot-shot” like snap on the rope for Stamp. Now DeBeers is in control as he stomps away and scores with an inverted backbreaker (a stomach breaker?). More punches by DeBeers and he tries to roll up Stamp, but only manages to get a two-count. DeBeers with some kicks, a slam, some knees, and another slam to pick up another two-count. DeBeers goes to slam Stamp’s face into the mat, but Dennis the Menace reverses and DeBeers eats mat. And gets a couple of helpings of turnbuckle to the head as well. Stamp covers and gets two.
DeBeers is frustrated and fighting back. Knees and punches and some clubbing blows off the second rope by DeBeers. Another roll by DeBeers for a two-count. DeBeers goes for the suplex, but Stamp blocks it and reverses for a suplex of his own for another two-count. Stamp throws some wicked chops and scores yet another two-count. DeBeers with some punches and kicks. Stamp grabs the foot to block the kick, but DeBeers counters with an flying kick to the head. Facedriver by DeBeers and he picks up the win.
Winner: Col. DeBeers
A fantastic match from start to finish. Stamp really got in a lot of offense, which was rare for a jobber back in the day. But he & DeBeers went back and forth and made it an interesting match. It was no Flair – Steamboat to be sure, but it was no Snitsky – Super Crazy either. Just a good, competitive match that made sense and made both men look good.
We come back from the commercial break and it’s straight to Larry Nelson for the next match.
Jay York versus Curt Hennig
Hennig gets a little caption that reads, “Former AWA Tag Team Champion”. I’ve seen this Jay York before, but can’t quite place him. Trongard and Blears are putting him over as a wily veteran who’s been around, so it’s possible I saw him in Georgia or here in the Mid-Atlantic at some point. Hang on for a second.
OK, I went to check out Google and Jay “The Alaskan” York has been around a while and was a well known character actor. He appeared in Paradise Alley (along with Sylvester Stallone), Bad Guys, Angel From Hell, and other movies as well. He’s also well known as the victim of a very cruel prank by Johnny Valentine. Here’s the story, as told by former referee Tommy Young to the Mid-Atlantic Gateway website.
Valentine did something else real dirty. You remember the Alaskan, Jay York? I actually wrestled York in my very brief career as a wrestler.
Anyway, Jay had a problem with asthma. After the matches, he would come back and get his primatene mist, or whatever it’s called…an inhaler of some sort. Good ol’ Johnny decides to put lighter fluid in the inhaler…
…Jay was coming back wheezing, and they said he was in agony.
When Jay realized Valentine did it, he went out to his car and came back in with a gun.
Valentine was getting ready to leave, York stopped him and told John to put his bag down. When he did, Jay blew a hole in his bag. Jay told John, ‘next time where do you think I’ll be aiming.’
Needless to say, Valentine didn’t try any more ribs on Jay.
OK, now that I know who York is, it’s time to get back to the match.
York takes control at the start with a hammerlock. And a little slap for good measure. Hennig with the hip-toss. York locks in what looks like a version of the Cobra-Clutch on Hennig. Hennig tries to escape by flipping out, but York hangs on. York finally breaks the hold and throws some punches and kicks. Hennig fights back with some punches and kicks of his own and takes down York by the leg. Curt moves up to the arm and lands a leg-drop across the arm before locking in an arm bar. York escapes and cinches in a front face-lock. Curt uses a Fireman’s Carry to escape and locks the arm of York back up again. Hennig scores with a backdrop for two. York comes back with some punches and several whips to the corner. Hennig rebounds with a big dropkick. Roll-up and bridge by Hennig and he gets the pin on the big Alaskan.
Winner: Curt Hennig
Coming up: Comments From Curt…
We’re back from commercial and with Larry Nelson introducing the next match. I guess Curt won’t be commenting after all. Let’s get to the match.
Boris Zhukov & The Barbarian versus Marty Jannetty & Shawn Michaels – The Midnight Rockers
Jannetty and Zhukov start off the action. Marty with the fists and a backdrop. Zhukov decides to bail to the floor and calls for a time-out. Marty locks up a headlock on the massive cranium of Zhukov. Shawn gets tags in and we see some quick Rocker double-teaming on Zhukov and then Shawn covers for a two-count. The Barbarian tags in and Shawn locks in a headlock. Barbarian just tosses Shawn away like a piece of trash. Barbarian goes to work on Shawn with some punches and kicks. Barbarian misses a clothesline, but Shawn attempts a cross-body and Barbarian catches him and delivers a bone-crushing backbreaker. Ouch! Barbarian hits the slam, but misses a big knee. Shawn throws some punches and tags Jannetty in and the Rockers catch Barbarian with a double-backdrop. Barbarian bails to the floor.
And we had a brief flash on screen like they lost power or something for a second. Blears and Trongard put over that there’s a bad storm over the arena during the show. So maybe they did black out for a second and I wasn’t imagining things. Good! I’d hate to think I was going crazier than usual.
Jannetty with a headlock and a hip toss on Zhukov. Shawn comes in with a leg drop for two as Barbarian breaks it up. Shawn goes after a headlock and rolls up Zhukov for another two-count, but again, Barbarian breaks it up. Jannetty tags in and locks in a headlock. Zhukov with a suplex before tagging out to Barbarian who comes in with a series of kicks. Jannetty goes all “fist-city” on Barbarian, but ends up caught in a “Shades of Mark Henry” bearhug. Barbarian tags out to Zhukov, who locks in a massive “Shades of Ivan Koloff” bearhug of his own. Jannetty escapes, but falls victim to a big boot by the Barbarian. Shawn gets tagged in and it all begins to break down a bit. Zhukov is the legal man and he is back-dropped, drop-kicked and slammed by the future “Heartbreak Kid”. A “Shades of Jerry Lawler” flying fist gets Shawn a big two-count. Barbarian is in to break up the count and Marty Jannetty is in as well. It’s OINGO BOINGO time. The Rockers hit the double-dropkick on Barbarian and send him to the floor. Shawn climbs up to the top to launch himself at Zhukov, but from out of nowhere comes “Playboy” Buddy Rose. The referee is distracted by Jannetty fighting Barbarian on the floor and doesn’t see Rose shove Shawn Michaels off the top rope. Rose gives a push and Michaels crotches himself on the top rope. Zhukov moves in and covers to pick up the easy win.
Winners: Boris Zhukov & The Barbarian
After the commercial break, we come back and Larry Nelson is with two upset young men in Marty Jannetty and Shawn Michaels. Jannetty blasts Rose and says that he has to come out and attack people from behind. They’re scared to put the belts up. Shawn says that Rose is worried about the Midnight Rockers. They will win the belts in the ring and this is the last time that Buddy Rose will interfere in their matches. Marty is back and says that Rose and Somers run their mouth to anyone who will listen, but everyone knows that Rose is a “yellow-bellied, jelly-bellied coward”.
And the show ends on time. It only ran for 45 minutes tonight. I guess that’s why we didn’t get interviews with Curt Hennig or Col. DeBeers. It didn’t matter though. Only three matches and all of them were entertaining and good matches. The time flew by quickly and it never got boring or slowed too much. Just a good show. The AWA, over the past few shows, has really been on a roll. Let’s hope they can keep it up.
Coming up tonight, according to the ESPN website, will be Ali Khan vs. Earthquake Ferris. Also, Stan Hansen defending the AWA Championship against Jerry Blackwell. Jay “The Alaskan” York is fighting Jimmy Snuka and the main event looks to be a six-man tag with the Midnight Rockers & Curt Hennig taking on Rose, Somers and Alexis Smirnoff. Sounds like a lot of fun.
I’ll be back tomorrow with another recap of the great old-school goodness of the AWA on ESPN Classics. Any questions or comments, drop me a line at Doug28352@yahoo.com. Visit me at MySpace at www.myspace.com/salt_palace. Add me.
I’m Doug and on that, as the great Baron Von Raschke would say, “Dat is all de’ people need to know!” Have a great day and always be a fan.