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 411mania » Wrestling » TV Reports

411's AWA on ESPN Classic Report 04.28.08
Posted by Randy Harrison on 04.29.2008

411's AWA On ESPN Classic Report

A terrible week of programming last week as we've started to get into the real dregs of the AWA shows, minus a few bright spots. A new week brings new hope, so let's see how it all turns out, shall we?

AWA Championship Wrestling (Originally aired on...)

This looks to be from the same Nashville taping as the previous episode that was on Friday night, and Lee Marshall is at ringside with Verne Gagne.

Match One:
Beauty and the Beast vs. The Top Guns

The Guns come out to yell and fire up the crowd, but they get nowhere near the reaction that most of those other rock and roll tag teams ever got for the AWA. Rice gets a headlock on "Beauty" and gets shot into the ropes, taking him down with a shoulderblock and following it up with a hip-toss before tagging in Jon Paul. Double armwringer and they take "Beauty" down and both hit legdrops on either arm. Paul Irish whips him in and hits a HARD clothesline before tagging Rice back in for a double axehandle off the second rope. Standing armbar from Rice but "Beauty" goes to the eyes and gets a tag in to the Beast. Armdrag takeovers put the Beast down before Rice tags in Paul for an elbow to the arm. Paul with a hip toss and another legdrop on the arm, before cranking in an armlock. Tag in to Rice who leapfrogs over Paul, landing on the outstretched arm of the Beast. Rice hits the standing armbar until Beast goes to the eyes and tags in the "Beauty" again and after a face tag, both guys hit a reverse elbow. Another tag for the faces and Rice comes off the second rope onto the arm again. "Beauty" tries a couple of punches then rakes at the eyes before tagging in Beast, who hits a hard elbow shot before pushing Rice into the corner and they double-team him a little before another heel tag is made. Irish whip in by "Beauty" and he misses a clothesline and eats a flying bodypress for a LONG two-count. Not that it was close to three, just that the referee was counting it like he was trying not to break a nail. Standing dropkick for Rice and he tags in Paul who comes off the top rope with a flying splash for the victory.

Winners: The Top Guns (pinfall, top rope splash)

Match Analysis: A decent enough match, but like a lot of AWA jobber matches, there's a ton of psychology that just goes nowhere. Why bother with working the arm for five minutes of a seven-minute match if it's just going to be some sort of flash finish with a move that has nothing to do with the arm. It might be a little quibble, but it always bugs me to see that kind of thing. The Guns were decent enough, but still really green and lacking that spark that was going to make them superstars. I will say that at least the audio problems have seemingly been resolved from the last episode so there's no feedback yet, thank goodness.

Beast seemingly had a seizure on the outside of the ring after that move hit, convulsing on the apron, but he comes in after the pinfall and ends up eating a big right hand before bailing. Gagne talks about how he's never seen Jimmy Snuka get that high on a splash before, in an effort to desperately try to get these guys over. No subtlety at all in it, which shows how badly Verne needed to make new draws so he could try to get more money coming in.

Back from the commercial and Diamond Dallas Page is coming down to the ring, pushing a stretcher, and he says that anyone that gets in the way of the Diamond Exchange is going to end up on the stretcher. A nice touch as he introduces Col. DeBeers in kilograms instead of pounds, and Page riles up the crowd a little as DeBeers finally makes his way into the ring.

Match Two:
Col. DeBeers vs. Ken Raker

I think that it's his name, though Marshall sounded like he said Ken Raper, which would just be an unfortunate name on so many levels. DeBeers gets a side headlock to start and hits some punches and forearms before snapmaring Raker over and stomping him in the face. Irish whip in from DeBeers and he buries the knee into the midsection before lifting him up for a big backbreaker. Raker tries a right hand but DeBeers just runs his eyes across the top rope before hitting some right hands. PANCAKE PILEDRIVER!!!! 1-2, pick-up by DeBeers, as per the usual. SECOND PANCAKE PILEDRIVER!!! A HUGE cheshire cat grin from DeBeers and he pins him for the 1-2-3!!

Winner: Col. DeBeers (pinfall, pancake piledriver)

Match Analysis: Short and squashy, just the way that the Col. likes his matches. Of course, it was all the usual from DeBeers, so at this point I'm going to talk about why the hell DeBeers needed a manager. Usually managers have stables of guys that can talk and work together, or a guy that can't talk to get over uses the manager to help in that aspect. DeBeers was already over huge as a heel and could talk his ass off, so what really did DDP bring to the table for him? I guess it was just more of Verne throwing shit at the wall and seeing what would stick.

After the match is over DeBeers jaws with some fans on the way back to the locker room while the referees are bringing the stretcher out and loading Raker up onto it as he holds his neck with both hands.

After the break Larry Nelson is in the SuperClash control center and he takes us back to the Miceli/Richter match that gets finished with Badd Company coming in to beat on Richter. I believe that was on Thursday's show, but I can't recall because it all just blended together towards the end of the week. After the highlight, Wendi Richter has some pre-recorded comments saying that she wants Miceli because she will have The Top Guns to protect her from the Badd Company goons. She threatens Madusa with one of her man-handed fists and says for Madusa to beware, almost cracking up before the camera clears.

Match Three: CWA Tag Team Championship
Nature's Best vs. The Rock and Roll RPM's w/Downtown Bruno

Bruno is best known for his Harvey Whippleman run in the WWF and if you'll remember last week when there was a team all in green that were jobbed out to The Stud Stable, this would be the same team. No idea who these guys are, but apparently they're nature's best. The RPMS make their way down to the ring with Molly Hatchet on in the background and all I can think of whenever I hear that song is the chord structure for it from RockBand. Yeah, I'm a nerd that way, I can't help it. I wonder if Lee Marshall will name either of the RPM's this time. Dave McClane joins Lee for commentary, sounding HORRIBLY annoying before he's even done with his first sentence. Tommy Lane starts out for the RPM's and knees Jobber A in the gut before tagging in Davis who hits a short-arm clothesline. Another tag to Lane and they Irish whip him in for a double reverse elbow. Side suplex from Lane and it's another tag to Davis who hits a NICE vertical suplex and an elbow before tagging in Lane. Lots of quick tags and punishment for Jobber A so far. Lane tags Davis back in and stomps away before Davis just throws Jobber A into Jobber B and yells "DO YOU WANT SOME?" . Irish whip to Jobber B and Davis hits a boot to the midsection, tagging in Lane for a double-Irish whip and punches to the gut. Tag back to Davis and he hits a HARD kneelift, tagging Lane in for a snapmare and reverse chinlock/neck crank. Almost five minutes of action thusfar and Lee Marshall has called no one by name, on either team. Davis throws B in to make the tag to A again and hammers away with a forearm shot and tags in Lane for a double-team maneuver, with Davis backdropping Jobber A into a powerbomb from Lane and that's all she wrote. I wonder if that was the infamous and "deadly" Spandex Splits move that the RPM's were known for.

Winners: The Rock and Roll RPM's (pinfall, double-team finisher)

Match Analysis: Quick tags from the RPM's made this one a little more interesting to watch, but a squash is still a squash really. Adding Dave McClane onto the commentary team had me pining for Verne to come back. Nice to see the RPM's get to used some of their teamwork though, and they looked like a million bucks, which is the purpose of getting to squash someone.

Match Four:
Gary Young w/Downtown Bruno vs. Brickhouse Brown

Brown makes his way to the ring with a cowboy hat and an Auburn jacket on, dancing and looking like Carl Weathers in Rocky II. They lockup to start and Young hits some forearms to the chest against the ropes while the official is calling for the break. Brown fires back with some right hands of his own and he puts Young down with a big one and follows it with a dropkick and some dancing. Side headlock from Brown and he gets shot into the ropes, hitting a shoulderblock and they rope-run before Brown nearly drops Young on his head with a powerslam. Roundhouse right hand to Young and he's through the ropes all the way to the floor and Brown slingshots him back in over the ropes off the apron. Brown tries a flying bodypress off of an Irish whip but he misses it and ends up rolling to the outside. McClane says that he looked like Superman, but I don't remember Superman being clumsy enough to fly four feet and then smack face-first into the side of the Daily Planet building. Maybe I missed that issue. Punches in bunches from Young and he whips Brown into the ropes before pancaking him onto the mat and lifting him up for a hard kneelift. Side headlock and Young goes to the throat before pounding away at Brown in the corner. Young tries for a turnbuckle smash but Brown reverses it and ends up slamming Young's head into the top buckle, taking over with right hands before Brown hits a reverse elbow off the ropes. Right hands from Brown and Young goes to the eyes to cut that shit off. Young gets a big backdrop off the ropes and Brown does a little more punching, Irish whipping Young into the ropes and hitting a flying tackle. Another Irish whip but this time Bruno trips up Brown from the outside, but Young misses the elbowdrop to follow, rendering the interference useless. Brown gets ahold of Bruno and drags him up to the apron but Young attacks from behind, knocking Brown down and whipping him into the ropes for a big clothesline. Young goes up to the top and tries a flying headbutt but Brown is able to roll out of the way, leading to Brown getting a big flying tackle for the three-count.

Winner: Brickhouse Brown (pinfall, flying tackle)

Match Analysis: Two guys from Memphis who had very little following in the AWA area and were only on this show so that they wouldn't be completely unknown when they showed up on SuperClash III in a few weeks. A decent enough match, but it seemed a little disjointed and never really found a flow. Lots of punching and kicking, which was seemingly the style in the Memphis territory, but it was still a fairly good match.

Match Five: Unified World Heavyweight Championship
Jerry Lawler vs. Kerry Von Erich

Most people don't know this, but SuperClash wasn't the first time that Lawler and Von Erich tried to unify the titles as this ESPN main event will testify to. The crowd reaction for Lawler is hot as to be expected, but even Von Erich gets a nice pop from the fans in what is ostensibly Lawler's home turf. They do a little staredown and at least this time Von Erich doesn't blade himself before the match starts. They circle and Von Erich tries for a single-leg takedown but he misses it and gets back to his feet. A fake from Von Erich leads to a little strutting, which the crowd kind of turns on a little. They finally lockup and Von Erich pushes Lawler off into the corner. They lockup again and Lawler gets the push-off this time, following it up with a little smirk. They end up locking up and rolling all along the ropes from corner to corner and the referee finally gets into the middle and Lawler throws a right hand over the ref, which gets both tempers going. Von Erich pushes Lawler into the ropes and shoots him off but Lawler gets a shoulderblock that puts Von Erich down and Lawler does a little strutting of his own, to the roar of the crowd. Von Erich gets a knee to the gut and Irish whips Lawler in, following it up with a clothesline and the fans are starting to turn on Von Erich.

Another Irish whip and Von Erich tries another clothesline but Lawler ducks under it and tries one of his own, missing that and eating a clothesline from Von Erich again. Lawler tries to get the crowd a little further behind him and they're with him 100%. Lawler gets a small package out of a slam attempt and that gets a two-count and they shove each other away and threaten each other with right hands. Von Erich goes to the Irish whip again and tries that clothesline but Lawler ducks it and finally hits one of his own, sending Von Erich out to the floor to think it over. Lawler pushes Von Erich into the corner off of a lockup and he hits a right hand that Von Erich no-sells, turning into a DISCUS PUNCH that puts Lawler down on his ass in the opposite corner. BIG slam from Von Erich but he misses the follow-up elbowdrop and Lawler goes to the top to try to capitalize. He jumps off RIGHT INTO THE IRON CLAW!! Lawler fights it but ends up almost all the way down and on his back before being able to turn into Von Erich to break the hold, elbowing Von Erich to the body and hitting a right hand that turns Von Erich inside out.

DOWN COMES THE STRAP!! RIGHT HANDS FROM LAWLER!! RIGHT HANDS FROM VON ERICH!! The referee tries to get in the middle to break these two up and they both punch the referee right in the face before going back to punching each other. Another referee comes down from the outside and calls the match off, disqualifying both men for the punch on the referee. Kerry gets on the microphone after the match and says that he didn't come all the way from Texas for a disqualification and that he's not leaving the ring until there's a winner. Lawler goes for it too and the new referee gets the match restarted!! Left hook lands for Lawler and he puts Von Erich into the corner, landing some right hands before Von Erich reverses it. Irish whip into the corner gets reversed and Von Erich ends up getting whipped into the referee, taking him down and putting him out of the match. PILEDRIVER FROM VON ERICH!! The referee is over and counts the 1-2-3!!!! WE HAVE A UNIFIED CHAMPION OF THE WORLD!!

BUT WAIT!!! The referee on the outside saw the use of the piledriver, which is a banned move in the state of Tennessee. The AWA title gets handed back to Lawler and he gets on the microphone to say that Von Erich got disqualified and Lawler says that in World Class you lose titles on disqualifications and Lawler wants Kerry's belt!! Von Erich says that in World Class there are no sissy rules like no piledrivers and as far as he's concerned, he's the world's champion. The referees keep them separated and they're looking to tangle again but both referees are trying to send them to the back.

Winner: Jerry Lawler (disqualification, illegal piledriver)

Match Analysis: A good, slow-paced, old-school match that was just starting to get going before it ended up getting cut short. Obviously this was only here to further the angle that was going to sell SuperClash and it did it's job. The finish might be a bit of a screwy one, but it was also a good way to keep them from having a definitive finish while keeping both guys strong for the REAL match that was still to come. They needed to have a way for both guys to save face before they met in Chicago, and they managed to do it.

After a commercial break, we're back to Sheik Adnan El-Kaissie and The Iron Sheik, in the SuperClash control center, with Larry Nelson saying that there are rumors that both Sheiks will be part of the big card in Chicago. El-Kaissie says that it's not his business whether they'll be there or not, but he also asks how they could miss the biggest wrestling card in history. El-Kaissie says that there is going to be a big surprise and then throws it over to The Iron Sheik who says that everyone who is intelligent in America already knows who he is and that now he's in the roughest, toughest organization for wrestling, the A-Double-Double-A, and his Muslim brother Sheik brought him in for one reason, Lawler, Greg Gagne, Sgt. Slaughter and Sheik says that he's here for the belt that Jerry Lawler has and that they're going to take it back to their motherland. ALLAH AKBAR!! Then they start going on in Arabic and I lose the rest of it.

Time now for a special look at Sgt. Slaughter, complete with his hideous theme song. Highlights of Slaughter's ring entrances before we see him working over guys like Boris Zhukov and Nick Bockwinkel at the Tropicana AWA shows. It's not the whole video though, cutting off when it gets to the part about Slaughter being a real American hero and that's it for the show. A bit of a weird ending.

Final Thoughts

I'm not really sure how I feel about this show, since there were a ton of squashes and the like, but the main event was a pretty good old-school wrestling match. If it had had a finish, I think this show would have gotten an entire thumbs up, but I'll go with thumbs in the middle for this show. Cool to see the Lawler/Von Erich first match that led to the SuperClash match-up. Now excuse me while I check out some competitive eating on Cheap Seats.

Fun With Comments

From G-Walla:
"Man, I did not enjoy Lee Marshall on commentary. He sounded like a DJ for some
easy listening station. And was the commentary played over the arena speakers,
or was it recorded in a location with terrible acoustics?

I didn't really pay attention til the women's match. I was really frakin'
tired when I cut this on (working 12 hours'll do that), but I caught my second
or third wind during it. How often was the powerbomb used 20 years ago? I
don't remember ever seeing one, outside of, I think, one Rockers/Twin Towers
match, until 96 (I didn't much watch wrestling from 91-92ish till 96).

I kinda wish they had stuck with the GI Joe cartoon... I guess I could stick in
the movie... I did enjoy the Slaughter/Sheiks^2 promo. It was different,

I want Hayes' robe. That's awesome. Glad to see the Swat Team from Samoa
after all. I guess I win.

This episode gives me hope for the future. Not much, but more than the
previous episode I saw gave me."

Lee Marshall was horrible on commentary and you're right about the best parts of the show being Hayes' robe and the Slaughter cartoon bit. Good that someone has hope for the future episodes because I'm surely feeling discouraged.


Thanks for the support and yes, Hayes was brilliant at working a crowd. Apparently not when drunk and singing to fellow WWE employees though, if his recent suspension is any indicator.

From Silo Sam:
"random fact:

With his exceptionally deep voice, Marshall recently went on to replace Thurl
Ravenscroft after his death, providing the voice for the Frosted Flakes mascot
Tony the Tiger, signing a 10-year contract with Kellogg's in 2006."

And with that, Frosted Flakes will be forever ruined for me. I could never eat them in good conscience knowing that I was providing Lee Marshall with a job.

From jasonel:
"It was actually a bit creepy how much the Top Guns were meant to resemble Shawn
and Marty. They should have just ran a full-blown Coy and Vance from Dukes of
Hazzard type gimmick where Jon Paul and Ricky Rice were the Midnight Rockers
first cousins or something. They obviously didn't have the in-ring or mic
skills of the Rockers but I guess the job application only required one box
checked, which was either "blond hair" or "dark hair" "

It was very stalker movie-ish to have them look so much like The Rockers, but I guess they needed to try something to keep the fans with them. It only happened once Derrick Dukes left though, so who would have known that the less-talented version of the team would also be the one that didn't make you feel uncomfortable watching them.

From Yeah:
"You know what I missed this week, seriously, was Lord James Blears who kicks
fucking ass on the stick."

Yeah, hearing Gagne and Dave McClane and all the crappy color guys this week, along with the craptacular Lee Marshall has me begging for a return from Rod Trongard and Lord James. Maybe by the end of the week we'll be back at the Showboat.

From Scrotum Pole:
"Manny Fernandez's forehead looked like a depressed emo goths arm after her
favorite band broke up. I always thought Flair and Rhodes in the 80's had the
freshest cuts but this guy looks like he never met a match he didn't think
deserved the crimson mask."

I actually just finished up watching the Wrestling Gold set again and Jim Cornette says that it's a combination of his bladejobs, as well as the fact that Hernandez got into a lot of outisde of the ring tussles as well. Lots of scar tissue and kind of ugly, and I remember seeing a match between Hernandez and Nick Bockwinkel where it looked like he bled just from Bockwinkel looking at him.

From Guest #8311:
"Blears was great, nuff said. He could probably write better than the
kindergardenish "I am self-depreciating and make no money wasting my life
like this" Randy Harrison."

Eh, I've said it before and I'll say it again, thanks for contributing to my hit count, and if you feel the need to come hate me, make sure that you do it five times a week. Don't feel like you have to comment every time since they're a litle redundant, but feel free to come and read my stuff.

From TJack:
"So, was wrong with a little lechery? What would you expect out someone trying
to promote a Lingerie Battle Royal? Lawler used to be far more annoying and
stomach-wretching with his incessant "puppies" comments and his
Vince-approved persona as the
-in-order-to-date-15-year-old -girls" lecher.

By the way, don't you find it hilarious when good ol' J.R. is forced to hype
the latest gravy bowl match as if it were a straight up catch-as-catch-can
contest between Lou Thesz/Strangler Lewis?"

I do find it funny when J.R. has to do that, but his lack of enthusiasm is probably why most of those matches make it to Smackdown where Cole will call anything like it's the greatest title match in history. As for the perving, Lawler has actually toned it down a lot, but I didn't like it when he did it either. It just seemed creepier when Larry Nelson was doing it because he really looked like a bus-station pervert, while Lawler is usually just acting like a goof.

Finally from Shawn Baxter #1 Fan:
"Yay! Shawn Baxter!!! I had completely forgotten about this guy.

Coolest wrestling 'do ever!!! (Reminiscent of Vince Neil during Crue's
"Shout at the Devil" or CC Deville during Poison's "Look What
the Cat Dragged In" era. Good stuff!

A while back there was a poll going 'round regarding favorite jobber of all
time. I'm changing my vote to "Mr. 'Do" Shawn Baxter! Rock on,

Side note: anyone else see the physical resemblance of Paul Diamond 1988 to
Brutus Beefcake crossed with Mike Awesome? Looks like he even stole a pair of
Brother Bruti's tights!"

That hair was god-awful, but I will always remember it, so I guess it accomplished its goal. As for Diamond, he did look a lot like Beefcake, and I'm shocked that they didn't try to bring him into WCW as some sort of doppelganger to the real Bruti through one of his many horrible gimmicks. Double Zodiacs anyone? Yeah, that would have been awesome.

That's it for today's AWA report, and I actually have a little ray of hope for tomorrow based on the main event. I'm still hoping for Las Vegas instead of Nashville for tomorrow's show, but then again I'm guessing I'm not the first person that's wanted to see Las Vegas a lot more than Nashville. See ya tomorrow everyone!!


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