AWA Championship Wrestling
On ESPN Classics
May 7, 2008
Back again with another edition of the AWA on ESPN Classics. Still more action coming from Minot, ND. It’s still early 1988 and I’m still trying to figure out why I’m still doing these recaps. I must be a glutton for punishment. Quick note here: There will be no AWA on ESPN Classics tonight (Wednesday). ESPN Classics is paying tribute to a boxer by showing three of his best matches instead. But the AWA will return on Thursday night. And I will too with another recap. So there ya go.
But that will be then and this is now. So let’s get on with it. It’s the AWA and it’s the “major leagues of professional wrestling”. It’s the Tuesday night show. Let’s do this.
We start off and immediately Larry Nelson sends up to take another look at a match from last week (or yesterday, if you’re keeping track at home) – “Mr. Magnificent” Kevin Kelly versus AWA World Champion Curt Hennig. They only show the last half of the match on the show, but through the magic of cut & paste, I’ll once again share the entire match with you. This is from Monday night’s recap:
And now, it’s to Rod Trongard and Donna for the main event of the evening.
AWA World Heavyweight Championship Match
Curt Hennig (c) vs. “Mr. Magnificent” Kevin Kelly w/ Madusa Miceli
Both men are booed as they come to the ring. But Kelly gets a few more cheers. I guess having a hot blond chick as your manager has some benefits. A quick handshake between Kelly and Hennig and the match begins. Kelly with a hard shove on Curt. Curt goes to the ring apron while Kelly flexes for the crowd. He’s definitely becoming the crowd favorite here. Kelly with an elbow. Curt with the arm-drag. Kelly hits a clothesline and Curt bails to the floor.
After a lot of stalling, Hennig gets back into the ring and trades kicks with Kelly. Curt again bails to the floor. Looks like he’s been watching Zbyszko tapes about how to stall. Curt gets back in the ring again and backs Kelly into the corner. It’s a “Shades of Ric Flair” chop by Hennig. Woooo! Kelly no-sells the chop. Curt reaches down and goes after the leg of Kelly. He pulls and twists at the leg of Kelly and drags him to the corner. Curt slams Kelly’s leg against the steel ring-post. A step-over toehold by Hennig and he gets a couple of two-counts by grabbing the ropes for extra leverage. The ref catches him and breaks the hold.
Curt with more kicks to the leg and it’s time for an Indian Deathlock by Hennig. He grabs the ropes again for extra leverage. The ref catches him again and calls for the break.
Curt with punches and kicks. Kelly fights back with punches and a big backdrop. A big elbow by Kelly for two. A power-slam by Kelly for another two. He picks up Curt for a slam, but Curt grabs hold of the ropes to prevent the move. The referee knocks Curt’s hands from the ropes with a kick and Hennig & Kelly tumble backwards with Curt landing on top of Kelly. The ref counts three and Curt pulls out a win.
Winner and Still AWA World Champion: Curt Hennig
Kelly is upset and attacks Hennig with punches and kicks. Kelly grabs the AWA title belt and tosses it down on Hennig in disgust. Kelly poses for the fans and flexes as Hennig grabs his belt and slides out of the ring, heading towards the back.
And now, back to reality and tonight’s show. It’s still Rod & Donna on the commentary as we go to the first match.
“Mr. Magnificent” Kevin Kelly & Nick Kiniski (w/ Madusa Miceli) vs. Mike Smith & Darryl Olsen
Madusa is wearing a skin-colored bodysuit and she is smokin’. About the only response from the crowd for this match is applause for her. I think the crowd is worn out or bored otherwise, and based on the last three or four shows, all from Minot as well, I’m thinking that this was towards the end of a very long night and TV taping. The crowd is restless, exhausted and kind of bored.
Kiniski starts off against Olsen and shoves him before going after the arm and hitting a knee. Olsen with a arm-drag and he locks up Kiniski’s arm. Nick with a slam, but Olsen holds on and keeps the arm-lock intact. Kiniski with a hip-toss and a tag to Kevin Kelly. Olsen tags out to Smith as well. This Smith guy is big, but he’s so obviously lost in these matches.
Kelly with a hammerlock and a tag out to Kiniski. Kiniski with punches and a twist to the arm before tossing Smith to the floor. Kelly is there and rolls Smith back into the ring. Nick with an elbow shot and a tag out to Kevin Kelly who comes in with some punches. Kelly distracts the referee as Kiniski gets in some choking and shots from outside the ring. Kelly takes Smith and slams the big, useless sack of flesh into his own corner where he can tag out to Olsen. Olsen in and Kelly greets him with a kick and a slam. He just picks up Olsen and tosses him across the ring like a sack of potatoes. A tag to Kiniski who comes in and delivers a piledriver to get the easy pin. Complete squash!
Winners: “Mr. Magnificent” Kevin Kelly & Nick Kiniski w/ Madusa Miceli
Back now to Larry Nelson in the studio. He plugs that the AWA will be on tour all around the world and brings in Chief Wahoo McDaniel. Wahoo says it’s great to be in the AWA and this is where the action is. He’s traveled all over and the top talent and competition is in the AWA. Everyone has the goal to be # 1 and the AWA is the place to be. Blah! Blah! Blah! Just pandering and kissing up by saying how great the AWA is. Nothing really significant here.
Greg Gagne steps in next and he’s still the AWA International TV Champion. He talks about all the places he’ll be traveling (Memphis, Kansas, Florida, Portland, etc.) and names a few names. He gives the company line (which he probably wrote) and says that the AWA is the place to be and where all the top competition is at and everyone wants the titles. He mentions that Adrian Adonis & Bob Orton are after his title and the segment ends.
And it’s back to the ring. Ray Stevens has joined Trongard for this match at the announce table.
AWA International Television Championship Match
Greg Gagne (c) vs. Mark Wagner
Greg starts off with a hammerlock. Wagner reaches down and grabs Greg’s leg. Greg with an amateur style take-down and he locks in a body-scissors for a quick two-count. Greg goes back to the arm and then back to the leg as he locks in a stepover toehold. The fans are totally dead for this match. Wagner rips at the eyes and hits some clubbing blows and some choking. A slam to the corner by Wagner. Greg fights back with a kick, a chop and a slam of his own. A backdrop and a dropkick and it’s a “Shades of Daddy Dearest” sleeper hold by Greg. Wagner is quickly out and Greg is still the champion.
Winner: Greg Gagne
We go back to Larry Nelson who is with Brian Knobbs & Jerry Saggs – The Nasty Boys. Knobbs says that everyone wants to know if the Nasty Boys are crazy and nutso. Knobbs screams, “Yes! Yes! Yes!” He tells the losers at home to get back on the couch because men are jealous of them. Saggs says that they don’t just smell nasty with their bad breath, but they are nasty. Larry Nelson agrees that part of that statement is true. Knobbs concludes the segment by saying that the Midnight Rockers can run and hide, but the tag team titles will be theirs. “Rockers, you’re ours!”
And to the next match. Still Rod & Ray on commentary.
The Nomad vs. Tom Zenk
The Nomad is the token masked jobber used to fill up space during a long taping or show. Stick a job guy under a mask and make him wrestle again. He’s against the future “Z-Man” and master of the shoot interview, Tom Zenk. Tom with a quick roll for two. The two men trade shoves and I hear a small “Nomad” chant in the crowd. Zenk goes after the arm, scores with a backdrop and then locks in an arm-bar. Nomad misses an elbow off the ropes and just looks lost. Nomad goes to the eyes and tries the elbow again. He hits it this time and does a suplex on Zenk for a two-count. Zenk does the comeback-kid routine with some punches, a dropkick and a quick pin. It’s over that quickly.
Winner: Tom Zenk
We go to Larry Nelson again who briefly talks about Curt Hennig. Everyone is after the champ. Then he brings in Tom Zenk. Tom says that getting a shot at Curt Hennig is top on his list, but Curt is being evasive and won’t sign on the dotted line for the title. Zenk brings in his new tag partner, Ricky Rice. Nelson inquires about his background and Ricky says that he did some amateur wrestling and played hockey. He says that Zenk has been helping him in the gym and they’ve been practicing their high-flying moves. Tom closes up the interview by saying that whether it’s tag team or singles, look out because he has a man in his corner.
And now, after a ton of squash, we go to the main event of the evening. Rod Trongard and Donna are on commentary.
AWA World Tag Team Championship Match
Shawn Michaels & Marty Jannetty – The Midnight Rockers (c) vs. “Adorable” Adrian Adonis & Cowboy Bob “Ace” Orton
Adonis and Jannety start off. Adrian with a headlock and a tag out to Orton. Orton with forearms. Marty with a dropkick for two. Shawn tags in and locks a headlock on Orton. Orton escapes and whips Shawn across the ring. Orton with a leapfrog. Shawn with an atomic drop. Jannetty lands a punch from the outside and Shawn goes back to the headlock on Orton. Adonis comes into the ring and Shawn grabs Adonis in a headscissors while holding on to Orton still in the headlock. Shawn takes both men over. Shawn tags Marty and Adonis grabs Marty in a full nelson. Orton off the ropes with a knee and Marty slides out of the way. Orton nails Adonis with the knee. Marty with a headlock on Orton and a tag back out to Shawn.
Shawn comes in with a headlock and a shoulder-block, but Orton comes back with a backbreaker. Some double-teaming on Shawn by Orton and Adonis and Adrian tags in. Adrian with three big knees on Shawn and a tag back out to Orton. Punches and a suplex by Orton. A big slam into the corner and another suplex by Orton. A bearhug by Orton and a tag out to Adonis. Orton catapults Shawn up and into a clothesline by Adonis. Adonis tries for a splash, but Shawn gets the knees up and Adonis gets popped. Adrian rips at Shawn’s back and tags in Orton. Orton with a knee and a forearm drop to the face for two. Jannetty breaks it up. Adonis in with a power-slam for two.
Shawn breaks away and tags in Marty, but the ref was distracted with Orton and didn’t see the tag. It’s not allowed. While the ref argues with Jannetty, Orton and Adonis double-team Shawn and toss him to the floor. Orton to the floor and he pounds away at Shawn before slamming him into the steel ring posts. A kick by Orton and then Adonis pulls Shawn back into the ring. He whips Shawn across the ring, but misses a charge into the corner. Shawn scoops Adrian up with a big slam, but misses a splash of his own. Adonis with a suplex and a tag out to Orton.
Orton with a neckbreaker on Shawn and it’s up to the second rope with a flying fist by Orton. A headbutt by Orton for a two-count. Shawn reverses a whip into the corner and hits a big kick on Orton. Adonis is in and Shawn finally tags out to Marty. Marty is in with a flurry of punches for Adrian and Orton. Marty whips Adrian into Orton and Marty hits a snapmare for two. Orton pulls Marty to the floor. Shawn is back in and goes after Adonis and that brawl quickly goes to the floor as well. Everyone is outside the ring fighting and it’s OINGO BOINGO time. The referee is counting and reaches ten, calling for the bell.
The bell-keeper must have been taking a nap because the bell hasn’t rang yet. Marty and Shawn with a double super-kick to Orton and he goes to the floor. Finally the bell rings and the referee ends the match. Both teams were counted out.
Double Countout – No Contest – The Midnight Rockers retain the Tag Team Titles
And that’s where it ends. No more Larry Nelson, no “Fan of the Week”, nothing like that. Just some closing credits and that’s all. A pretty decent main event, with a lot of squash for filler. But this was the eighties and was what was expected so no complaints allowed.
Again, I want to remind everyone that there will be no AWA on ESPN Classics tonight. So no recap for tomorrow. But the show and I will both return the next night, so look for it. If you still want an AWA fix for tonight / tomorrow though, just go to my blog over at MySpace. I did some fantasy booking and wrote up how an AWA Reunion Show in 2008 would go. And I have to admit, it would totally rock. Check it out if you get the chance. The MySpace addy iswww.myspace.com/salt_palace. The blog is titled “AWA Night Of Legends 2008 (Fantasy Wrestling)”. I think you’ll enjoy it.
And on that note, I am out of here. Comments and questions can be sent toDoug28352@yahoo.com. And as the great Baron Von Raschke would say, “Dat’ is all de’ people need to know!” See you on Friday morning. Until then, take care and always be a fan. See ya!