The SmarK Rant for AWA Championship Wrestling – 03.19.88
Taped from Las Vegas, NV. I bet if Verne actually put 50,000 tickets on sale, he’d have beaten this year’s Summerslam attendance by himself. Greg Gagne could probably still main event today, if they gave him a shot.
Your hosts are Rod Trongard & Donna Gagne
Meanwhile, Larry Nelson tells us to GET IN THE TIME MACHINE and takes us back to last week, as Jerry Lawler and Curt Hennig battle to a DQ or countout or something. What if I don’t WANT to get into the time machine with you, Larry? I don’t even know you. Plus there’s a bunch of Samoans running around at that point in 1988 AWA and I might inadvertently make the Anoa’I family tree even more confusing by accidentally splitting up Sika and his wife before Roman Reigns can even be born! We might all wake up tomorrow and Karrion Kross could suddenly look like the Big Boa figure from GI Joe! I’M NOT WILLING TO BEAR THE BURDEN OF THAT KIND OF RESPONSIBILITY!
Oh wait, I guess that second one already happened anyway. Well you can’t blame that one on me.
TONIGHT! MIDGETS! And MORE!
The Nasty Boys v. Kevin Collins & Greg Robertson
Knobbs clotheslines Collins for two and chokes him out, and I might be crazy but Collins looks like he might be Del Wilkes, aside from the fact that Wilkes doesn’t debut in the spot until later in 1988 and he was already better than this guy on his first day in the sport. The Nasties double-team Collins in their corner with the usual, but Collins gets a sad sunset flip attempt on Knobbs before Sags cuts him off and they continue beating on him until Knobbs misses an elbow. But then they just haul the guy back to their corner and continue the beating, as Sags gets a clothesline for two. Finally Collins catches him with his head down and makes the HOT JOBBER TAG to Greg Robertson, who promptly charges in and hits the turnbuckle. And then Sags finishes him with a legdrop at 4:29. 0 for 1.
Meanwhile, Ricky Rice gets more promo time and has nothing to say, getting chased off by the Nasty Boys so they can continue complaining about getting screwed over by the Midnight Rockers two weeks ago. “You seen it, LIAR-FACE!” Telling it like it is, Knobbs. But fear not, because they’ll get a rematch when the AWA tours “all over the world”.
Sheik Adnan El-Kaissie v. Tim Patterson
Adnan stalls to start while the crowd chants “Sheik the Freak”, and Patterson uses that distraction to go after the arm right away. Patterson takes him down and works a headlock while Trongard gets his name wrong, calling him “Tom Patterson” but making sure that we know it’s SPECIAL TROUBLESHOOTING REFEREE Scott LeDoux. Adnan uses the hair and takes Patterson down while Verne Gagne joins us on commentary and references Lord James Blears and other names that the kids are all talking about. Adnan meanwhile takes over with fingernail rakes on the back before putting the boots to him and going to an abdominal stretch. And that FINISHES AT 5:00?!? Holy shit, this poor bastard had to submit to an abdominal stretch in 1988? That was lame even by 80s standards. 0 for 2.
Meanwhile, Larry Nelson chats with former Olympian and future UFC founding father Jeff Blatnick. Jeff talks about battling cancer and wanting to come back for a second run in 1988, but sadly that never happened because he had another bout of cancer and had to retire early.
Meanwhile, let’s once again go back to two weeks ago, as Sheik Adnan faces Baron Von Raschke. So at this point, both guys were ancient, although Adnan was “only” 49 and Baron was 48, which means that their combined age was STILL LESS THAN GOLDBERG AND LASHLEY FROM SUMMERSLAM. If that doesn’t give you some perspective on how nuts Vince McMahon is getting, I don’t know what will. Oh also we watch this ENTIRE FUCKING MATCH again in case we didn’t see it the first time. On the bright side, at least Baron can sell a weapon shot without a 2 second delay. 0 for 3.
AWA International TV champion Greg Gagne v. Steve Olsonoski
Rod already declares that this will be a CLASSIC. He points out that they’ve grown up together, trained together and worked out together. Sounds like someone’s shipping them. Can’t blame him, I have a hard time staying objective with Greg Gagne flaunting his hot bod out there week after week. He’s just so dreamy. Steve O tries for a full nelson and Greg reverses to a hammerlock while Verne puts over his friend Dan Gable, who is apparently having a pretty good season of wrestling in college. Greg works a headlock and they each try for a takedown but end up in the ropes, gazing deeply into each other’s eyes and trying to deny the electricity that we can all feel. Don’t fight it, Steve. Greg dropkicks him to the floor while Verne reminisces about the Mills Brothers, which all the kids are listening to on their Victrolas. Steve makes a comeback and hits Greg with a gutbuster for two, and that sets up an abdominal stretch. We’ve already had one submission to this move already, could it be two? Obviously this is hopeless because Greg’s rock-hard abs would never allow the move to applied fully, and he escapes with a hiptoss. They collide with time running out, just like time is running out on their unspoken love, and they trade atomic drops before Greg rolls him up to JUST beat the time limit, at 9:18, which is 40 seconds before the time limit if we’re gonna be all TECHNICAL about things. To be fair, Verne probably thought that stopwatches were black magic and only trusted timekeeping via sundial, so the match times weren’t terribly accurate. 0 for 4.
NEXT WEEK: Baron Von Raschke v. Sheik Adnan PART TWO! HOLY FUCKING SHIT! Larry poins out that it’s a main event in any arena in the country but WE’LL SEE IT FOR FREE ON TV NEXT WEEK! This is gonna make the rating for CM Punk’s appearance on Rampage look like an Impact PPV buyrate. Anyway, Soldat Ustinov joins us to do a promo, but Baron shows up and gets in his face, prompting Ustinov to run off and grab what appears to be a flower vase or piece of wood or maybe a car door from a Dodge Charger, which he smashes on Baron’s head to knock him out before draping the Russian flag over him and declaring that HE’LL NEVER WRESTLE AGAIN. You think the Elite can book heavy heat angles like these? I THINK NOT.
The Midnight Rockers v. Destroyer Samoan & Samoan Joe
THE MEGASAMOAN POWERS UNITE. Verne is really getting his money’s worth out of these Samoans as Rod lets us know where exactly Samoa is: Between Hawaii and Japan. Well that narrows it right down. Marty clotheslines the Destroyer Samoan for two, but Destroyer headbutts him in the gut to get some offense. Shawn comes in and they take Destroyer down for a double team elbow before Shawn goes up with the flying fistdrop, and it’s over to Samoan Joe, fighting out of New Zealand. Joe beats on Shawn with a headbutt, but Shawn fires back with chops to put him down and Marty comes in with a dropkick to set up a double facefirst suplex to finish at 3:08. Shocker: The Rockers are the best part of this awful promotion on any given week. 1 for 5. Afterwards, the Rockers do an interview with Lee Marshall and tease a feud with the Rock N Roll Express that sadly never came to fruition in the AWA outside of a couple of matches in Memphis. But it should be noted that the matches they had with the RNR in early 88 were the most batshit crazy awesome matches of their career to that point, with the Rockers working Memphis as arrogant party boy heels in an eerie preview of Shawn’s future persona.
Meanwhile, we get some highlights of Badd Company squashing jobbers to fill more time on this episode.
MIDGET MADNESS: Bad Boy Brown & Killer Cruz v. Cowboy Lang & Karate Kid
I somehow doubt this Karate Kid practices either Miyagi-Do or Cobra Kai karate. This goes on for like 10 minutes and I fast forward because even I have my limits.
Meanwhile, Greg Gagne stops by to give us an update on the health status of the Baron after that horrific attack by Soldat Ustinov. “I’m not a doctor, but I think it’s obvious he has a concussion.” YOU JUST SAID YOU’RE NOT A DOCTOR. He swears revenge on behalf of the Baron, whose career might be over, cruelly ripped from us far too soon in his prime before he can even start collecting Social Security to supplement Verne’s paydays. Spoiler: He’s not really injured, wrestling is fake.
NEXT WEEK: The Midnight Rockers defend the tag team titles against Badd Company as I run out of episodes on the Network again!