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 411mania » Wrestling » TV Reports

411's AWA on ESPN Classic Report 04.21.08
Posted by Randy Harrison on 04.22.2008

411's AWA On ESPN Classic Report

After a week-long hiatus due to a myriad of reasons, the AWA on ESPN Classic Report returns, and I'm happier than you can imagine to get back to the show. It's been a week so I'm hoping that they've gotten all of their dud shows out of the way and I'm going to come back to a classic hour of wrestling.

AWA Championship Wrestling (Originally aired on...)

Larry Nelson is in the ring with our first competitor so let's get right to the ring. Rod Trongard and Lord James Blears are our commentators as usual.

Match One:
Nord The Barbarian w/Sheik Adnan El-Kaissie vs. Bobby Bold Eagle

Nord husses his way to the ring and has the stretcher with him again like he did last time I saw the show, which doesn't bode too well for Bold Eagle I'd imagine. They lockup and Nord hits a hard forearm to the face before Irish whipping Bold Eagle in and taking him down with a big boot to the face. He throws Bold Eagle out the floor before picking him up like a bodyslam is coming and RAMMING HIM INTO THE POST!! BASTARD!! He flings Bold Eagle back into the ring and hits a HUGE bodyslam and a fistdrop before picking the poor Indian up for the PILEDRIVER!! 1-2...Nord picks him up to do a little more ass-whipping. Nord gets up to the second rope and hits a HUGE LEGDROP!!!! Bold Eagle is out and Nord piefaces him for the three-count. Nord, ever the sportsman, slaps Bold Eagle around a little to help wake him up.

Winner: Nord The Barbarian (pinfall, second rope legdrop)

Match Analysis: Now THAT was a beating!! I don't know if Brody was still in the territory at this point but Barbarian was really coming into his own with the gimmick and that stretcher is always a heat-getter. That's why they've done it over and over again in wrestling. Actually, that's one that hasn't been done in a while. The last guy I remember doing it was Sid back in one of his NWA runs, so I think that the statute has run out and someone should bring back the stretcher gimmick. Anyhow, this was about a minute and a half worth of assault against a willing victim, but damn if it wasn't fun.

After the match, Barbarian rolls him over to the stretcher that Shiek has helpfully placed on the apron and they call for someone to come get his dead ass. No one comes so Nord takes it himself with the referee and they haul him to the back.

After the break Larry Nelson's in the ring with Nord, Shiek and the stretcher. I bet out of all of them, the stretcher's English would make the most sense and it would probably cut the best promo. Nelson calls the stretcher disgusting and says that the performance was a devastating one. Shiek says that it's not disgusting at all, they promised that people would be carried out on a stretcher and that's what's going to happen. He threatens Greg Gagne and Jerry Blackwell while Nord takes bumps in front of them. Dude knows how to play crazy, I'll give him that. Shiek goes on about how in the old country when they battle and beat their opponents they carry them out on a stretcher. He wants Bockwinkel and Gagne on the stretcher and I think he just called Blackwell a big bastard. Nord promises Shiek that he'll put everyone on the stretcher before touting that he played in the USFL for the New Jersey Generals. He says that they never paid him like the Shiek pays him. The Shiek pays him gold, pays him money, and pays him WOMAN!!! I still think they should have let the stretcher cut the promo. Shiek starts rambling and Nord continues to promise him about putting Bockwinkel on the stretcher as Larry Nelson sends us to commercial.

Match Two:
Larry Zbyszko vs. Alan West

It looks like we've moved to the Omaha tapings and West looks like half of a Chippendale's reject and half of a Fabulous Ones reject with white suspenders, a white bow tie and permed blond hair. Zbyszko makes his way out to his usual chorus of bos, badmouthing the front row and without his faithful Ninja. The ring announcer fucks up saying Pennsylvania and we're down to Rod Trongard at ringside. Zbyszko does a little jawing with the crowd and does some swearing at them as Trongard talks about West's football days in university and how West is a hot prospect in the AWA. Trongard gets in a good burn saying that they'll have five or ten minutes before the match begins to catch up and Blears says that Zbyszko irritates the hell out of his wife. Trongard throws out a compliment while thanking Blears for showing him the "pictures" earlier that day. That sounds a whole lot dirtier in 2008 than it did in 1986 and that also sounds a lot like he's trying to sneak in the backdoor to hit on Blears' wife and the bell rings!

Zbyszko calls a time-out before the match even starts and continues to argue with the front row, leaving the ring to yell at some guy with a "Limp Wrist Larry" sign. Zbyszko wants the sign gone and the fan gone as Blears wonders what Limp Wrist Larry would mean. Trongard says he doesn't understand the connotation behind that and I laugh at how out of it those two are. Again Zbyszko heads back to the floor to yell at the crowd and cal them all mean names. Some of them are trying to get at Zbyszko, so you know that it's working and he's getting the good kind of heat. Blears puts over what a hard working town Pittsburgh is and then talks about how all the Italians and Polish went to Pittsburgh. Yep, Roethlisberger sounds like a good strong Italian name. As you can tell, there's still no action in the ring to speak of, but that's par for the course in a Larry Zbyszko match. They finally locku..no wait, Zbyszko backs out of it and flaps his lips for another thirty seconds or so.

NOW, they lockup and Zbyszko backs away from it again, before armdragging West down and telling him all about it afterwards. West gets a big hiptoss on Zbyszko and then plays to the crowd as Zbsyzko bails out to the apron. Zbyszko gets back in the ring and hits a BIG bodyslam for a two-count as West gets up and hits an even BIGGER slam, sending Zbyszko back out to the floor begging for a time-out. West mocks Zbyszko's professionalism and the crowd starts a little "Larry Sucks" chant before he gets back into the ring. He finally makes it into the ring, bitches at West a little and they lockup with West getting a side headlock before Zbyszko tries to whip him into the ropes a couple times, but West hangs on and cranks on that headlock. Zbyszko throws a forearm to the kidneys to break up the headlock and they do a little rope-running with West getting a sunset flip for a LONG two-count and he's right back to the side headlock, putting Zbyszko down to a knee. Zbyszko tries a roll-up out of the headlock for a two-count and and he does it another couple of times with a handful of tights.

West holds that headlock and Zbyszko gets to his feet, trying to reverse out of it with a top wristlock, taking West down with a handful of hair and getting an armbar. West takes Zbyszko down with a handful of hair himself and Zbyszko turns it right back around, armdragging West down and moving to another armbar. Zbyszko whips West into the corner but it gets reversed and West hits a reverse elbow and a BIG bodyslam before "connecting" with a kneelift that gets a two-count. Irish whip in and West tries for a dropkick but he misses and Zbyszko capitalizes on it, dropping down and holding the tights on a pin attempt to get the 1-2-3!!!

Winner: Larry Zbyszko (pinfall, handful of tights)

Match Analysis: Classic Zbyszko. He probably got paid for a fifteen minute match, while doing about two minutes of actual in-ring work, and was still more over than 95% of the roster. West was greener than Earth Day but still did a decent enough job because at this point Zbyszko could work the the proverbial broomstick and have the same match. Great stall work from Larry Z as always and entertaining in its own right.

Match Three:
Ali Kahn and Boris Zhukov w/Shiek Adnan El-Kaissie vs. Bill Anderson and Jesse Hernandez

Kahn is still scratching away at that beard like he needs a fix. "Please Mr. Shiek sir, give me some more smack. I'LL SUCK YO DICK!!!!" Poor Kahn, a slave to his drug habits. The crowd starts a "Shiek the Freak" chant and Zhukov starts out quick, ramming Hernandez into the corner before they both double-team him. The heels exchange and Kahn goes with a forearm to the kidneys before Hernandez makes the tag. Kahn drags Anderson over to the ropes and drops some forearms across the chest before making a tag to Zhukov. Irish whip in and a BIG back bodydrop before he begins headbutting the small of Anderson's back. Another tag and Kahn hits a hard shot to the midsection before following it up with a BIG kneelift. He lifts Anderson up for a bearhug and RAMS him into the turnbuckle. Another heel exchange and he hip-tosses Anderson into the corner, sending him in for a tag to his partner Hernandez. Hernandez gets sent right into the heel corner for a shoulder to the gut and Zhukov hits a big bodyslam before dropping a knee into the middle of Hernandez's back from the second rope. He tags in Kahn and he gets the old-school, over the shoulder backbreaker for the submission.

Winners: Ali Kahn and Boris Zhukov (submission, over the shoulder backbreaker)

Match Analysis: Squash city. Nothing interesting happened, but I'm guessing if this show is being shown all in order, the guys early in the show were told to keep the highspots and decent wrestling to a minimum because the main event was going to tear the house down.

Match Four: AWA Tag Team Championship
The Midnight Rockers vs. Buddy Rose and Doug Somers w/Sherri Martel

This looks a lot like THAT match. The match that was on the first Shawn Michaels DVD set and was an absolute bloodbath. I have my fingers crossed. The crowd is HOT for this match, shrieking for the Rockers and booing the HELL out of Somers and Rose. Oh man, it IS that match. This is fantastic!!! Rose tries to shimmy out of the belt, but nearly yanks his tights down so decides against it and then just unsnaps it. The bell rings and Rose and Michaels are set to start it out, with Michaels riling the crowd up with some clapping and stomping. Rose stops to get some advice from his "Manageress" and Michaels comes into the heel corner and spits on Rose to break that up. They lockup and Rose shoves Michaels into the corner and hits a hard shoulderblock before whipping him across and charging in after him. Michaels reverses into a sunset flip out of the corner and almost gets the two count right out of the gate. Another lockup and Rose pushes Michaels back into the ropes, and tries a big left hand but it gets blocked and Michaels pops him one of his own in the face. Rose gets a boot to the gut after faking a lockup and Michaels gets Irish whipped into the ropes, leapfrogging over Rose and hopping onto his shoulders to get a victory roll for a long two-count.

Michaels hits SWEET CHIN MUSIC on Rose out of nowhere and gets another long two-count and Michaels ends up on the apron, with Somers RAMMING HIM INTO THE RING POST!!! Michaels is sprawled out on the floor and Jannetty is over to check on him. The referee sends Jannetty back to his corner and Somers takes advantage to ram Michaels headfirst into the apron before rolling him back into the ring. Rose takes over with some stomps and Michaels is a bloody mess from that post shot. Somers gets the tag in and starts BITING THE CUT!! HE'S HARDCORE!! Somers picks him up by the hair and lands a hard right hand before grabbing a side headlock and getting another short punch to the face. Somers tags Rose back in and he drops a knee before just hammering away with right hands on the cut. The crowd is WHITE-HOT and Somers gets tagged back in for another right hand. He taunts Jannetty with Michaels, moving him over to the corner before hitting a hard reverse elbow, breaking up any potential tag. He takes over on Michaels with more punishment and starts stomping away at the head of Michaels, moving him back to his partner Rose and the heel corner. Somers distracts the referee and ends up allowing Rose to work Michaels over a little more while he's draped across the middle rope.

Somers moves back over and stomps at Michaels again as Jannetty gets drawn into the ring for more heel double-teaming. Somers whips Michaels in and hits a high back bodydrop before dropping an elbow for the two-count. Somers moves to the reverse chinlock as we head to a commercial break. Back from commercial and Somers lets go of the chinlock to bite at the cut again and he stomps on the head once more. Michaels with a left hand and a HARD right hand and down goes Somers. He's reaching....reaching.....SOMERS CUTS HIM OFF FROM THE TAG!!! Jannetty gets ahold of Somers and starts laying in some punches while Michaels is out on the other side of the ring getting beaten up by Rose on the outside. The heel team makes a tag and Rose waits in the ring for Michaels to get up off the floor, trying to tell the crowd to quiet down while he waits. Rose counts along with the referee and the count gets up to eight or nine and Michaels gets back into the ring. He blocks a left hand and hits one of his own, and ANOTHER LEFT FOR MICHAELS. HE TURNS TO THE WRONG CORNER!!! Rose makes the tag and Somers comes in to hit a right hand to the back of the head. Michaels comes back with a kick to the gut and right hands of his own, putting Somers down to the mat.

Somers cuts him off again and they're on their knees throwing rights and lefts back and forth, and down goes Somers again. Michaels gets to his feet and HOT TAG!!!! HOT TAG!!! JANNETTY GOING WILD ON SOMERS!!! BACK BODYDROP!! HAMMERING SHOTS ON ROSE AND AN IRISH WHIP INTO THE POST ON SOMERS!! SOMERS IS BUSTED OPEN!! Jannetty's to the outside to hammer away on Rose but Sherri Martel gets up on the apron so he turns his attention to her. Rose attacks from behind with a knee and sends Jannetty back into the ring. Somers and Jannetty are both staggered and Somers tags in Rose who takes over on Jannetty, ramming him face first into the top turnbuckle and landing a ton of short right hands. Michaels comes in and tries to get at Rose but gets sent to the outside by the referee and now JANNETTY is busted open too!!! Rose with HARD left hands to open that cut even worse and Jannetty ends up in the heel corner and they make the exchange with Somers getting a headbutt that stuns both men. Jannetty takes another shot from Somers and a STANDING DROPKICK FROM SOMERS!! 1-2...KICKOUT BY JANNETTY!! Jannetty goes to the wrong corner for the tag but ends up popping Rose with a right hand before collapsing in a neutral corner. Somers comes over and ducks a BIG Jannetty right hand and starts stomping away.

Jannetty starts firing away at anything that moves, slugging at Somers and Rose, but the punches have no effect because of the blood loss. Tag in to Rose and they trade right hands with Jannetty knocking Rose down. They're on their knees and you can see Rose call for Jannetty to bite him and HE DOES!!! They both stagger to their feet and Rose hits a big right hand sending Jannetty flying backwards, RIGHT INTO A TAG TO MICHAELS!! MICHAELS TAKES OVER ON ROSE WITH RIGHTS IN THE CORNER!!! DOWN GOES ROSE!! DOWN GOES MICHAELS!! Michaels kicking and choking Rose in the corner and ALL FOUR MEN ARE BRAWLING!! DOWN GOES THE REFEREE!! ROSE AND JANNETTY ARE ON THE OUTSIDE!!! ALL FOUR MEN DOWN!! ROSE SLAMS JANNETTY ON A CHAIR!!! Another referee comes down to the ring and tries to separate Michaels from Somers. Rose is in now and DOWN GOES THE OTHER REFEREE!! The original referee is to his knees and calling for the bell!! Rose and Somers pound away at Michaels two on one and out go all the referees. GREG GAGNE IS DOWN!!! HERE COME THE FACES AND THERE GO THE HEELS!!! Trongard either makes a mistake or breaks kayfabe by calling him "George Somers" but I'll chalk it up to the excitement of the match.The faces come outside to check on Jannetty and Michaels as Martel tries to help Somers to his feet. MICHAELS FLYING OFF THE RINGSTEPS ONTO ROSE!!! RIGHT HANDS!! GAGNE PULLS HIM OFF AND they're finally all separated. Gagne holds Michaels down and there's BLOOD SPATTERED ON THE CAMERA!!! THIS IS AWESOME!!!

Winners: None (double disqualification)

Match Analysis: HELL FUCKING YES! This match, along with the Bockwinkel/Hennig draw from New Year's Eve '86 are probably two of the best television matches that the AWA ever put on, so to see one of them today is a real treat. A great match between four great workers in the midst of a great feud that helped keep the AWA viable for a lot longer than it probably should have. This match even stands the test of time, looking good even twenty years after the fact as a hot tag-team main event with a ton of action and a ton of blood. MUCH RECOMMENDATIONS TO SEE!!!

After the post-match melee, the ring doctor is down to check on Jannetty who is clutching at his ribs after that slam on the chair and Larry Nelson is with Greg Gagne to talk about the insanity of that match. Gagne says that Jannetty is yelling that his ribs are broken and both of them are cut up pretty bad. He says that everyone knew that this feud was going to come to this and that Rose and Somers are going to pay. Gagne says that he's not a doctor and is saying that Jannetty could hardly breathe and that his ribs are probably broken. He says that he's been in wrestling for thirteen years, namedropping a bunch of legendary wrestlers and he says that this match was something like he'd never seen in wrestling before. Gagne again says that Rose and Somers are going to pay and if the Rockers don't come out of it, there's a lot of guys in the locker room that will come after them. WOW!!!!

Final Thoughts

Man, did I ever pick the right episode to come back with. The main event was still as awesome as it was the first time I saw it and the rest of the show was between serviceable and good. The only thing that I have to quibble about is that there was no Zbyszko promo after his match, but that's a small detail. This was one of the best top to bottom episodes that they've run since the show started and that absolutely thanks to having almost half of the show be covered by that spectacular tag main event. ELEVENTY BILLION STARS AND FOUR THUMBS UP!!!

Fun With Comments

The comments section will return with tomorrow's report since the last comments would be almost two weeks old and a little non-topical by this point. Be sure to get those comments in though, since that was one of my favorite parts of doing the report!!

That does it for the report today, and thanks for joining me again after the extended hiatus. I'll see you all back here tomorrow for another brand new AWA on ESPN Classic Report!!


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