Lords of the Ring!
By Dave Newman on 28th February 2021
I was asked in the manager matches review if I could take a look at Lord Alfred Hayes and Bobby Heenan wrestling one another in the AWA, and while I don’t have any other manager-themed matches in the bag to put alongside it I thought it would be a good time to do a lord-themed review, so have a look and see what awaits inside!
Bobby “The Brain” Heenan vs. Lord Alfred Hayes
Before it was comedy between them in the WWF there was more credible heat in the AWA, mainly over Bobby Heenan swiping the contract of Super Destroyer Mark II. Joined in progress with Rodger Kent on commentary, Alfred wriggles out of a full nelson and backs Heenan into the corner with punches, then he sweeps his legs off a test of strength. His Lordship is the more popular one of the two despite both being heels at this point. Heenan sneaks a foreign object out but the referee shoot sees it before he should see it and things get a bit awkward, so they go to Alfred punching and dumping Heenan, who takes his regular big bump through the ropes. Alfred then rams his head into a chair on the outside. Bobby seemingly gets a shot in with the tongue depressor, which Rodger is ahead of himself on calling too. That’s the trouble when something is done too often. Alfred starts no-selling and makes a comeback with an eye poke. It is funny to see them both trying to out-cheat one another. Alfred does the Eddie Guerrero face spinner, although twenty years before he was doing it. Heenan walks into a boot in the corner at low speed and Alfred gets the pin with his legs on the ropes. Bobby, ever the good loser, wipes out Alfred and the ref with a chair after the match. Wasn’t feeling this one, the timing was really off.
Dutch Mantel and the Master of Pain vs. Jerry Lawler and Lord Humongous
Not a match, just a confrontation. Dutch Mantel, flanked by the Master of Pain (a young, short-haired, jeans-wearing Mark Calaway) challenges Jerry Lawler to a match with a partner of his choosing. Cue War Machine by Kiss, as big Sid comes out in the gladiator gear and hockey mask. Kinda loses something when the curly blonde hair is visible behind the mask. He and the Master stare each other in the eye before the heels walk off. Sid didn’t really need the gimmick at this point because it was more than clear he had presence to go without it. Far better than the one in Scott’s Mid South reviews at the moment, though.
The Master of Pain vs. Lord Humongous
Highlights of the two wrestling at the Coliseum. First, Master slamming Huey on a table. Then Huey headbutting Master with the mask on. Master blades for it, and further shots see a big blood smear on Huey’s mask. The ref calls it no contest and guys like Frankie Lancaster and a young Scott Steiner come out to split them up. Back in the studio, Ronnie P. Gossett speaks for Master, who’s quite obviously dressing to the left, and calls Humongous a “steroid king” and insults the “boy scouts” that came out to help. Dave Brown goes to question Master and just sees a death stare, so thinks better of it in a humorous moment.
The Powers of Pain vs. Chris Walker and “Stanley”
I previously reviewed a pretty decent Warlord/Chris Walker match from 1992, so here they are in tag team action. Walker looks just as good here physically. Clipped to Walker as the second man coming in, the Barbarian kneelifts him on entry and stands him up and gives him the big boot. He then goes and big boots the other guy off the apron in a cool moment. Warlord comes in for a double shoulder block and then they finish with the Hart Attack/Doomsday Device cross. Loved the big boots, Walker and his partner sold them like death!
The Steiner Brothers vs. The Ringlords
WCW squash match, sold as a feature match. I believe the Ringlords were independent workers in the Carolinas. Rick and Scott have just won the US tag team championships from the Midnight Express. Scott, who just looks awesome despite his neon green singlet, gets a suplex with a surprising lack of snap for him, so the Ringlord tags his partner in and Rick replaces Scott, hitting a powerslam and clothesline, punctuated with Joker-like giggles. Scott comes back in and hits a Tiger Driver just for the fun of it then forces the original Ringlord to tag back in. Pumphandle slam. Rick calls for the DDT, which is from the top rope with the jobber sat on Rick’s shoulders. Rick belly-to-belly suplexes the other one off the top rope and they cover him with a Steiners t-shirt for the win. Rick and Scott were just completely awesome at this point, the best tag team WCW ever had.
Lord Humongous vs. Samantha Pain
Back to Memphis and the latest in a long line of Lord Humongouseseses. This one is a short bodybuilder with a red mask and black cycle shorts with pink accents, slapping hands with the crowds and delivering a promo with that sinister opening line “How you doing, Dave?”. He’s been all over the world and the “mid-size” (Mid-South) people are the best in the world, especially the kids. Samantha Pain, manager of Bull Pain, comes out and comes onto him. Huey acts all embarrassed and tries to take the mask off while Dave and Michael St. John stand by. Bull Pain comes in and attacks Huey while Dave and Michael have to act like they know who He-Man Randy Lewis is. Lewis makes his comeback, but Samantha jumps on his back to take him out. Jeff Jarrett and Robert Fuller make the save, and Bull slips on some ice off camera as he runs off, with the audience laughing at him. The audience farted at the whole thing and Dave and Michael sounded thoroughly embarrassed throughout. Good to laugh at, nothing else.
Ta-Gar, Lord of the Volcano
Speaking of embarrassing… Jerry Lawler must’ve been in his Francis Bacon art period at this time. Ta-Gar does a chromakeyed promo in front of a volcano painting with Ole Anderson’s Black Scorpion voice as if he’s some sort of interplanetary gladiator, threatening to invoke fire and lava as part of his arsenal before producing flames from his fingers. I’ll stick to Papa Shango making people puke and black liquid coming from their head for my version of real wrestling, thanks.
Ta-Gar, Lord of the Volcano vs. Randy Johnson
Ta-Gar takes on Randy Johnson, who looks like a cross between Shawn Michaels and Carrot Top. Ta-Gar wanders around ringside while waiting for his shield to shoot fireworks, then just clumsily dumps it. Nice clothesline to start, with a big bump from Johnson. Big slam and then another clothesline, followed by an elbow and a claw after shooting another fireball from his gauntlet, which gets him the win by pinfall. Ta-Gar won’t break, so Bill Dundee comes in and hits him over the back with a chair, sending him scurrying. If you’re going to give it a go you should have this metal Skeletor guy no-sell it, so that’s one that’s even deader from the start. Bill comes over to Dave and talks his way out of a losing streak like a pro and back into contention. They should’ve pushed the kid in green doing the bumps, not the big clod in the tinfoil helmet.
Jerry Lawler vs. Ta-Gar
Well, a king trumps a lord anyway, but I guess Jerry wanted to be the final one to bury this guy after Dundee had his shot. Ta-Gar gets the first shot in while Dave and Michael speculate on what he has in his gloves. Lawler hurts his hand trying to punch the faceplate, so instead gets him down and tries to remove it. Test of strength, which the King gets the kicks in on, but tries to ram Ta-Gar’s head into the corner to no success. Ta-Gar catches another kick, leading to LUCHA KING! with the enzigiri. Ta-Gar rakes the face in return. Lawler’s had enough an drops the strap, then tells Paul Neighbors to look away and kicks Ta-Gar in the balls. Ta-Gar misses a charge and gets rolled up for three. Eric Embry tries a sneak attack, but the King hits him so hard that he hurts his own hand and sends the nudist flying over the top rope. Alright match to write off the Lord of the Volcano. Dave seems to lose his thread with the live show and throws to a series of clips of Jackie Fargo in far hotter vintage action than the then-present.
Todd Champion vs. Lord Steven Regal
A brief return for the former Patriot, still draped in the red, white and blue. His music sounds like a muzak version of Hip To Be Square. Tony Schiavone and Terry Taylor on commentary from the Worldwide tapings, so even though this aired in February of ’94 it could’ve been taped three months prior. Regal immediately took to the role and Bill Dundee as Sir William was a great stooge for him. Regal takes a few bumps for Champion and then there’s a very obvious edit via a cut to the crowd with Regal kicking out of something on two, then getting taken over with a side headlock, but grabbing the tights and rolling Champion over for the pinfall victory. “WHERE DID THAT COME FROM?!” asks Terry in a pitch like someone kneed him in the balls. Obviously something or someone fucked up or they just wanted to kill Champion via editing. That was bizarre!
Arn Anderson vs. Lord Steven Regal
Between Fall Brawl and Halloween Havoc, because Regal has a belt and Arn doesn’t, but Arn hasn’t gotten into his fight with Sid in England yet. Tony and Jesse talk about the 15 minute time limit, which pretty much foreshadows the end of the match before it’s gotten started. Jesse talks himself up as going from mayor to senator next year… how about governor in six? Regal is noticeably taller than Arn, which shows off how much bigger he is than you’d think. A bit of walking and talking to start. Regal takes the wrist, which Arn reverses. Classic Anderson knee grinding on the arm, then a twist. Arn as a babyface encouraging a USA chant is just so wrong. Regal gets a full nelson, which Arn again reverses. Regal’s facial expressions as he tries to find own way out are fantastic. He can still even do a cartwheel at this point, but walks into an elbow and Arn goes back to the wrist while Jesse educates the audience on the rules about moves focused on the hand. The story here is Regal escaping, going for a new move, but having it turned back into an arm-based submission move. Regal tries a kip-up also to show off his agility at the time.
Eventually, Regal floors Arn with a charge and Sir William gets a shot in with the umbrella. Senton, which looked like his arse landed on Arn’s face, for two, while Jesse reminisces about Eduoard Carpentier. Jesse gets way too much shit for his WCW run, he and Tony had great chemistry and he seemed in a good mood until the very end. GMC calls out ten minutes expired and five remaining as Regal struggles for a butterfly suplex. William gets in as many shots with the umbrella as he can behind the ref’s back. Arn gets a chance sunset flip, but Regal sits on his chest. Regal then walks into a suspect low shot from Arn, and Arn starts setting up for the spinebuster. Gary calls the last minute as Arn starts trying anything he can. Regal tries to slither out, then tries lifting Arn up for what looks like a powerbomb to counter the spinebuster. Arn scoots over, send Regal in and hits the spinebuster finally, but rolls the wrong way and can’t get over in time for the pinfall before the time limit expires. Well, we knew they were getting there, but they got there in fairly interesting fashion for a weekly TV match.
The Bottom Line: If you ask me, Steven Regal is the one Lord of the Ring to rule them all.