Flashback: AWA on ESPN Classics – March 25, 2008

AWA Championship Wrestling
On ESPN Classics
March 25, 2008
Doug Maynard
It’s time to get the party started with another week of great AWA action from the vaults of ESPN Classics. It’s Monday night. After two hours of WWE Raw and excessive Wrestlemania hype, it’s time to sit back, grab a cold beverage and chill with the stars of yesterday stylin’ and profilin’ in Verne Gagne’s legendary American Wrestling Association.
It’s coming from the Civic Auditorium in Omaha, Nebraska. The guys at ringside are Lord James Blears and Rod Trongard. This show originally aired on… well, the only information they’re giving us on the show is 1986, but based on some comments in the DeBeers interview, I’m placing this show on or about 5-24-86 (give or take a few days).
I’m Doug and I’m the guy who stays up and recaps this stuff each and every night… and I do it just for YOU! Don’t you feel special?
Pete Sanchez vs. Col. DeBeers
 
It’s the racist, South-African bigot starting things off. I’m kind of curious though. If he won’t wrestle Jimmy Snuka or non-Caucasians in general, what is he doing wrestling Sanchez with little argument or complaint? You’d think that DeBeers would at least get on the mic and call him a few names or something. DeBeers locks up pretty quickly though and after taking Sanchez down by the arm, stomps him across the head. A few punches and some elbows from DeBeers. Sanchez tries to fight back, but with little effect. A kick, a clothesline and a face-driver and DeBeers picks up an easy squash of a win.
Winner: Col. DeBeers
 
Larry Nelson staggers into the ring to talk to Col. DeBeers. He asks DeBeers why he interfered in the tag team title match the previous week and caused Hall & Hennig to lose the titles to Rose & Somers. DeBeers answers the question with a question. Why do people interfere in the affairs of South Africa? DeBeers goes on a rant and calls Scott Hall a “non-athlete” and says that Hall uses steroids to compensate for his lack of confidence and lack of athletic ability. A big “We want Scott” chant comes from the fans. DeBeers tells the fans that they’re being led down the wrong path by their local liberal newspapers. (They’re all Obama supporters?) The chant dies down and DeBeers says that if they really believed in Scott Hall, they would still be chanting and all livid. Nelson cuts DeBeers off to end the interview and DeBeers complains that he hasn’t even had the chance to talk about his political views yet. He’s in the ring with the mic and talking as they cut to commercial.
Chris Curtis & “The Alaskan” Rick Renslow vs. Greg Gagne & Crusher Jerry Blackwell
 
Blears and Trongard say that Blackwell is taking the place of Jimmy Snuka in this match because Snuka’s plane was delayed.
Greg Gagne starts off against Chris Curtis. Greg takes the quick advantage with a take-down and a head-scissors. Curtis with a headlock and shoulder-block. Curtis appears to mess up and Gagne misses a head-scissors attempt. Gagne with a stomp as Curtis tags out to Renslow.
Greg grabs Renslow’s arm and tags out to Blackwell. Blackwell is freakin’ huge! He grabs Renslow’s beard and slams Renslow’s head into that of Curtis’ on the ring apron. Blackwell unloads some forearm shots and Rick tags out to Curtis. Curtis is in and wants to shake hands. Jerry grabs the hand and tags in Gagne. Curtis rolls up Gagne for two and tags out. Renslow is in with some stomps. Gagne with punches and chops. A “Shades of CM Punk” knee-lift and two big slams. Blackwell tags in and Renslow does some “Shades of Ric Flair” begging off. Jerry just unloads on the guy with seven big headbutts. Curtis tags in and gets the advantage over Blackwell with punches and a choke. Lots and lots of double-teaming by Renslow and Curtis as they keep Blackwell trapped in their corner and work him over.
Blackwell takes it for a while and then decides to “hulk up” and no-sells everything. Fists by Blackwell and he tags in Gagne. Greg with some punches, a backdrop and a big “Shades of Greg Gagne” dropkick. Blackwell tags back in and throws some punches and a massive clothesline on Curtis. Curtis gets the big splash by Blackwell. And Jerry tags out to Gagne. Greg with the “Snuka isn’t here, but we still see a Superfly” cross-body on Curtis to pick up the win.
Winners: Greg Gagne & Crusher Jerry Blackwell
 
Larry Nelson talks to Gagne and Blackwell. Greg kisses up to the locals and talks about how glad he is to be back in Omaha. He talks about his partnership with Blackwell and how they both want shots at Bockwinkle and the AWA Championship as well as Rose & Somers and the tags title. But the main thing they have in common is Sheik Adnan El Kassey. Greg talks about the Sheik’s men. The Barbarian was one of their guys and Sheik stole him. Ali Khan is a man named Tom Lentz, who was trained by Greg Gagne himself and sold out to the Sheik.
Blackwell talks next and says that money talks and bull-crap walks. The Sheik doesn’t have enough money to buy protection to keep Blackwell from getting to him. He and Gagne will both fight for the USA. He talks about how Gagne’s been training and working out and says that he (Blackwell) might just come flying off that top rope someday.
After we come back from the commercial, we’ve apparently switched venues as it looks as if we’re in Vegas at the Showboat Pavilion now. But they never say so one way or the other. But I don’t think we’re in Kansas.. or Nebraska anymore, Toto. The announcers for this next match are Rod Trongard and Nick Bockwinkle.
The Barbarian & Boris Zhukov (with Sheik Adnan El Kassey) vs. Rick Renslow & Earthquake Ferris
 
Looks like Renslow is doing double-duty for this show. He was a heel in the last match and is a face here, teaming with Ferris. Such is the life of an enhancement talent in the AWA. Barbarian & Zhukov attack and are on the rampage before Nelson can even get his ring introductions out. It’s OINGO BOINGO right at the start. When the dust settles, it’s Earthquake Ferris and The Barbarian in the ring for action. Barbarian with some boots and Ferris rips at the eyes. A clothesline by Barbarian and he tosses Ferris to the floor. Barbarian takes Ferris towards the back of the arena and slams his head into the cheap-seats. Barbarian comes back to the ring and slowly, Ferris follows.
Barbarian manages to get the huge Ferris up for a slam and follows with a big knee. Zhukov tags in and throws some punches, but Ferris reverses a whip and slams Zhukov into the corner. A “Stinger Splash” by Ferris. And another. A tag out to Renslow who delivers on Zhukov with two slams and two hip-tosses. A big boot by Zhukov quickly ends the momentum of the jobbers and Zhukov tags in the Barbarian. The Barbarian delivers two big “Shades of Bob Backlund” atomic drops on Renslow and follows with a suplex. Zhukov tags back in with some kicks and a clothesline. Headbutt by Zhukov and he tags out again to Barbarian. Barbarian with a slam and then a big elbow-smash from the second rope for an easy pin and the win.
Winners: The Barbarian & Boris Zhukov (with Sheik Adnan El Kassey)
 
Larry Nelson is with Sheik Adnan and his two monsters, Zhukov and Barbarian. Adnan wants to know where the tag team champs are. They’re issuing a challenge for the tag champs and for the AWA Championship too. And to Greg Gagne and Jimmy Snuka as well.
Barbarian says that The Sheik always has something up his sleeves (his arms?) and no one can do anything about it. He wants to fight the midgets (Greg Gagne, Curt Hennig, Scott Hall) and also wants to face the “Dick Clark of Wrestling”, Nick Bockwinkle.
Zhukov chimes in with the worst Russian accent since Krusher Kruschev (who, if you remember correctly, spoke english… with a southern accent). Zhukov wants the tag titles and isn’t done with Gagne and Snuka. He closes the interview by telling Curt Hennig to find a partner because Scott Hall is a coward.
We see some AWA action figures of Sheik Adnan El Kassey, The Barbarian and Boris Zhukov as we go to commercial.
We’re back from commercials and it’s back to Rod Trongard and Lord James Blears. And it’s time for the main event…
AWA Ladies Championship Match
Champion Sherri Martel (w/ Playboy Buddy Rose) vs. Princess Jasmin
 
Sherri and Buddy Rose are coming to the ring to the sounds of Madonna’s “Material Girl”. That’s pretty awesome. I don’t know who this “Princess Jasmin” is. Never heard of her before. Too bad. I was wanting to see another match with Sherri versus the Killer Tomato. Maybe later in the week? Who knows?
Sherri quickly takes control with a headlock. Jasmin with a head-scissors. Jasmin goes after the arm and Sherri quickly claims the hair was pulled. Jasmin stays on the arm and Sherri rolls out to lock in another headlock. Face lock by Sherri. Sherri with a few kicks, but Jasmin shows some spunk by tossing Sherri around by the hair a couple of times. Jasmin with punches and kicks. Sherri fights back and throws Jasmin to the floor. Sherri with the knee and some punches as she keeps Jasmin from getting back into the ring.
Finally, Jasmin rolls into the ring and takes control with some punches and a headbutt. A flip to Sherri by Jasmin and Sherri crashes into the referee. Jasmin is in control with a backdrop and some punches. Sherri rips at the eyes and rolls to the floor. Jasmin follows and tosses Sherri over into the announcers table. Larry Nelson nearly hurts himself trying to get away from the action. Funny! They get back into the ring and Sherri with some punches and a roll-up for a pin. Sherri grabs the ropes for extra leverage and the referee counts the pin.
Winner and still Champion: Sherri Martel (with Buddy Rose)
 
Larry Nelson is with Sherri and Buddy Rose in the ring. He asks about why Sherri used the ropes to get her win. She says it doesn’t matter what anyone says. She won the match fair and square. Nelson then questions Rose about their control of two different titles. Rose says that they have the smarts, the experience and the muscle and that’s why they’re the champs. Sherri always wins fair and square and so do he and Somers. If anyone doesn’t like it, then come do something about it. They’re the champs.
Nelson cuts them off as the show abruptly ends.
And that’s another one in the books. Not a great show by any means, but then again, after those great six-man tags last week, almost anything would pale in comparison. Hopefully, things will pick up and get a little better as the week goes on.
By the way, I probably won’t be doing a recap of the AWA for Tuesday night. Things may change, but my plans for right now are to go out with my friends and do a little karaoke and mass consumption of adult beverages and I doubt I’ll be back in time to watch the show. I’ll set my VCR though and if the machine decides to cooperate, I may be able to get a recap up later in the day. But don’t hold your breath on that. My VCR only cooperates when it wants to and should have been put out of it’s misery several years ago. But I’m cheap and poor so its still here struggling to do what’s expected of it. Just barely.
Anyhow, that’s another edition of AWA Championship Wrestling on ESPN Classics in the book. If you get a chance to watch the shows, I’d encourage you to do so. Even the bad shows are pretty good and it’s definitely far different than the “sports-entertainment” that we are forced to watch so often now with WWE and TNA. It’s good stuff. Check it out.
Questions and comments – send them to Doug28352@yahoo.com. Visit me at MySpace athttp://www.myspace.com/salt_palace.
And on that, I’m out of here. I’m Doug. Have a great day and always be a fan. And in the words of Baron Von Raschke, “dat is all de’ people need to know!”
@ 00 @ 1 1 AWA-Logo

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