AWA Championship Wrestling
On ESPN Classics
March 21, 2008
Another night of the AWA on ESPN Classics. This show originally aired on August 5, 1986 and is from the world famous Showboat Sports Pavilion in Sin City, USA, aka “Vegas”. The men at ringside are Lord James Blears and Rod Trongard. Larry Nelson does the interviews. And me? I’m just the crazy old wrestling guy that you kind of wonder about sometimes, but still hold near and dear in your heart.
No time for chit-char so let’s jump right to the action.
“Pretty Boy” Doug Somers (with Sherri Martel) vs. Kurt Gunther
Sherri is dressed all in white and looks, dare I say it, sensational. Somers takes the early advantage by grabbing the arm and then nailing some knee-shots to Gunther. A big old twist of the neck by Somers and a knee-drop. Stomps and a suplex by Somers and that’s it. Just an easy pin that was over before it even really began. Somers does make sure to get some extra kicks in after the match as well, just to make it worth the effort of even being there. A total squash.
Winner: Doug Somers (with Sherri Martel)
We see a caption: On June 28, 1986, Sherri Martel won the Women’s Championship from Candi Divine in Oakland, CA.
“In This Corner” with Larry Nelson and Larry Zbyszko
The guest is Greg Gagne.
Zbyszko starts the segment by saying that Gagne is part of a conspiracy, along with Scott LeDeoux, against Zbyszko. Gagne comes out and says that even though it’s difficult to be out there with Zbyszko, he’ll be professional. Zbyszko rags on Gagne and says that he’s just there to try and impress his daddy. Gagne shoots back that Larry hides behind the legend of Bruno Sammartino. Larry says he’s a better wrestler than Bruno ever way and goes back to his conspiracy theory that Gagne, Bockwinkle, the AWA in general, is all out to get him.
We see one of the great AWA video packages that they’re so famous for. It’s “A Special Look At Greg Gagne”. Yeah, just what we need to kill about two minutes of time. Greg Gagne mat moments. It’s as exciting as you might think.
We come back to Larry Nelson, Larry Z. and his brother-in-law, Greg Gagne. Yeah, Larry Z. was married to Greg’s sister and was the original “Triple H”. But shhhhh… We’re not supposed to know anything about that.
Zbyszko calls himself a great wrestler and Gagne questions why he needs the services of Mr. Go in his corner. Zbyszko says that he keeps go to help watch his back. And he makes reference to a situation on the tape where Go & Zbyszko were beating up Gagne. Zbyszko says that it was a “two-on-one” situation and Go was there to watch his back. He repeats more about his AWA conspiracy theory. Voices are raising and fingers are pointing as Gagne and Zbyszko begin to argue. And Larry Nelson ends the segment.
After the break, we come back and Larry Nelson is with Donna (Gagne), who just happens to be Verne Gagne’s daughter and the wife of one certain “Living Legend” (but we don’t know about that stuff, so keep it under your hat, OK?) “Ringside Rumors”, Donna’s little semi-regular piece, will return next week. And Donna gives a little bit of gossip about the AWA Women’s Champion, who also happens to be the manager of the Tag Team Champs. Yeppers. Donna is talking about Sherri Martel. Donna says that Sheri claims that she’s had several offers from Hollywood to co-star with several major leading men. Donna doesn’t elaborate and says that “Ringside Rumors” will return next week.
Another interview segment, but this one actually matters. It’s Nick Bockwinkle. He’s a three-time champ and will be fighting The Barbarian later in the show. Nick talks about how the fans have been chanting “Number 4” at him and how, even though he realizes that he’s a “senior member” of the AWA roster, he’s in great shape and knows all the dirty tricks. He won’t apologize for anything he’s done in the past. Nick knows that the Sheik wants someone in his army to win the title so that he (The Sheik) can take it back to some country in the Middle East. Nick won’t let that happen.
Don Fargo vs. “Superfly” Jimmy Snuka
Before the match has even started, Fargo is claiming that Snuka has pulled his hair. Look at that head. I don’t think anyone would willingly grab and pull on it. Fargo and Snuka lock up and Fargo pulls the hair of Snuka. And then does it again. And again. A chop by Fargo, but Snuka finally has enough and cuts loose with a chop of his own. Fargo quickly bails to the floor and stalls for a bit, complaining about anything and everything. A full-nelson by Fargo and Snuka easily powers out. Snuka with a chop and again, Fargo bails to the floor to complain and stall. The fans are really getting into Fargo and giving him fits on the outside.
Fargo finally comes back into the ring and wants a test of strength. Snuka agrees and comes out on top, again pretty easily. Fargo goes to the ropes and locks in a chin lock, which quickly becomes the world-famous “Fargo Sleeper”. Lord Blears warns everyone to never try this at home. Damn, let me put the cat down. Fargo keeps the move locked in for a while and I’m about to fall asleep just watching. Finally, we see some action as Snuka fights back with some kicks, a chop, a headbutt and a big slam. Snuka hits a fist from off of the second rope and scores with a back breaker. It’s to the top and the “Superfly” flies. He almost misses Fargo entirely, but Fargo grabs hold and sells and Snuka gets the 1-2-3.
Winner: “Superfly” Jimmy Snuka
Larry Nelson talks to Jimmy Snuka. It’s hard to understand what Snuka is saying, but I managed to catch that he thanks the fans for their support. Nick Bockwinkle is the AWA Champ (he wasn’t one segment ago – whassup wit’ dat?) and Snuka will keep that in mind. Sheik Adnan El Kassie has men that Snuka might have to go through to get to the title. Nelson mentions Barbarian and Boris Zhukov. Snuka says that Sheik needs to get these men in shape (?) because he’s ready to be tough. Umm! OK. A typical Snuka interview. The lips are moving, but he doesn’t really say anything. Kind of like my ex, for that matter.
And to the last match… the main event…
The Midnight Rockers (Shawn Michaels & Marty Jannetty) vs. “The Living Legend” Larry Zbyszko & Mr. Go
Before the match has even started, Zbyszko is arguing with Larry Nelson. He moves on to argue with the fans and the referee too. The bell rings, but Larry hasn’t even taken his jacket off yet and is complaining about that as well. A big “Larry Sucks” chant fills the arena. We go almost five minutes and Larry is still complaining and stalling. This is classic Zbyszko at his best.
Finally, Jannetty and Zbyszko lock up and Larry moves quickly with a fireman’s carry and an arm bar. Jannetty hits a shoulder-block. Larry decides to roll to the floor and stall some more. Larry takes his time to get back into the ring and goes after the arm of Jannetty. Jannetty reverses and Zbyszko tags in Mr. Go. Jannetty tags in Shawn Michaels as well.
Shawn goes after the arm of Go, but Go responds with a kick and a small bow. Nice. Go locks in a hammerlock, but Shawn reverses into an arm-twist. Go goes to the ropes, but Shawn drags him back to the center of the ring. And again. And again. Go flees to the floor, but Shawn hangs on and still has the arm locked up. They trade blows and get back into the ring where Shawn hits a sunset flip for two before going back to the arm.
Zbyszko tags in and argues with the referee. More “Zbyszko sucks” chants fill the arena. Love him or hate him, this guy is major over with the AWA fans. Larry slaps Shawn across the face and Shawn slaps him right back. Larry Z. bails to the floor again. Larry comes back in and after slapping Shawn again, hits a back breaker. Shawn explodes and introduces Larry’s face to the turnbuckle in the corner. A tag off to Marty Jannetty. Zbyszko tags in Mr. Go.
Go takes control with a headlock, a hip toss and a little bow. Karate thrust in the corner and it’s all Go at this point. Back breaker for two and a tag out to Zbyszko. Larry pounds away at MJ and we see Go get some shots and a little choking action from the outside of the ring. Marty eats steps as well. Zbyszko with some slams and punches. Go tags in with a knee-lift. A double-elbow by Zbyszko and Go on Jannetty. Larry stomps away. And then Marty starts to fight back with punches. A kick to the face by Jannetty. Go is tagged in, but Marty kicks him as well. A hot tag to Shawn who levels both Go and Zbyszko with super-kicks to the face. Shawn hits an elbow on Larry for two.
It’s OINGO BOINGO time as Larry and Jannetty brawl on one side of the ring and Shawn fights with Mr. Go. Zbyszko and Go reverse a whip and we see the Rockers collide mid-ring. Larry rolls up Jannetty for two. Go and Shawn brawl to the floor. Jannetty with a suplex on Larry for a two-count. Larry with a roll of Marty for two. It’s confusion time as everyone seems to think that the time has expired for this match. The referee goes to the announcers to check and there is still time left. The match continues.
It’s just chaotic brawling and back and forth at this point. It’s hard to keep track of who’s fighting who and doing what to who. The announcers mention that there is a minute left in the time limit. Zbyszko is working on Jannetty’s leg. Jannetty rams Larry into the corner and pounds away with some wild punches. Zbyszko with a suplex. It’s just crazy. MJ hits an atomic spine-crusher on Zbyszko. Shawn and Go are brawling. And the time limit expires as all the action continues.
Results: A Time Limit Draw
Both teams continue to brawl for a bit. And finally, Zbyszko and Go head for the dressing rooms.
A great main event to finish the evening out. Both teams looked great and it was awesome to see the future “Heartbreak Kid” in against someone like Zbyszko. They had some great chemistry together. All in all, it started off slowly, but turned out to be another great show.
Well, I’ve got to run now. Time to run up town for a bit. Send questions and comments toDoug28352@yahoo.com. Visit me at MySpace at www.myspace.com/salt_palace. Add me as a friend.
Have a great day and always be a fan. I’m Doug and in the words of the legendary Baron Von Raschke, “dat’ is all de’ people need to know!” I’m outta here. See ya!