Live from San Francisco, CA
Airdate: May 2, 1987
Hosted by Rod Trongard
Can Bockwinkel finally defeat Bockwinkel in their fantastic trilogy? How will Francis and Snuka fare against some militant competition? What happens when Madusa and Sherri battle for the women’s title? Will the Midnight Rockers win in their six-man match? Get ready for a tasty treat!
Match 1: Buck “Rock’n’Roll” Zumhofe versus Sheik Adnan Al-Kaissie
- According to Trongard, Al-Kaissie destroyed Zumhofe’s boombox across his head to set up this match. Will Zumhofe be well-tuned to get revenge?
- Al-Kaissie stalled, so Zumhofe encouraged the Frisco faithful to chastise him.
- When Zumhofe rang his bell, he applied a step over toe hold.
- Al-Kaissie escaped with a monkey flip, but Zumhofe blasted him with an elbow smash.
- As Al-Kaissie bit him, Zumhofe fell to the concrete floor.
- The Frisco faithful chanted “U-S-A” to screw with Al-Kaissie, and Zumhofe returned to hip-toss Al-Kaissie from pillar to post.
- After he dropkicked Al-Kaissie twice, Zumhofe gave him a cross corner whip.
- Zumhofe attempted a monkey flip, but Al-Kaissie blocked it.
- While he put his feet on the second rope, Al-Kaissie pinned Zumhofe at 10:43.
Summary: Not a good opener as it was neither a grudge nor scientific match.
After the match, Zumhofe sought some vengeance, but Al-Kaissie hightailed it to the locker room. Maybe Zumhofe can get him later in the show.
Match 2: Super Ninja (w/ Mr. Go) versus DJ Peterson
- Like the Brawl in St. Paul, Super Ninja was portrayed by Shinji Takano while Go was a heavily-disguised Steve Olsonowski.
- Holy fire drills, Batman! That arena was severely empty.
- In case you’re curious, the ring crew neglected to bring some ring steps making it difficult for wrestlers to enter/exit the ring.
- Peterson hooked a crucifix but only got 1.
- As Ninja attempted a handshake, he bowed to Peterson.
- Rather than reciprocate, Peterson fed him a knee lift.
- He rolled up Ninja and got 1.
- When Ninja tossed Peterson down to the concrete floor, he distracted referee Gary DeRusha.
- Meanwhile, Go took liberties with Peterson. Not in front of the children, dear God!
- Ninja leaped from the apron and dealt Peterson a double axe handle.
- After he made Peterson HIT THE POLE, Ninja tried to suplex him back into the ring.
- Peterson escaped and hooked a backslide for 2.
- While Ninja responded with a knee drop, he chopped Peterson down for 2.
- The Frisco faithful chanted “D-J,” but we’re denied a Michael Fishman appearance.
- Nonetheless, Peterson escaped a nerve hold but ate a thrust kick.
- Ninja mounted the second turnbuckle and uncorked a flying knee drop.
- As Ninja distracted DeRusha again, Go jumped onto the apron to nail Peterson.
- Instead, Peterson clobbered Go down to the concrete floor.
- Ninja slammed Peterson before hooking a Boston crab.
- When Peterson refused to submit, Ninja slammed him again.
- He mounted the second turnbuckle but missed a flying elbow drop.
- After Peterson backdropped him, he suplexed Ninja, floated over, and got 2.
- He scored with a flying back elbow for another 2.
- While he dropkicked Ninja, Peterson ate another thrust kick.
- Ninja launched a spinning heel kick for 2.
- As Peterson secured a sunset flip, he got 2.
- The bell rang, yet Peterson trapped Ninja in an inside cradle.
- Regardless, DeRusha ruled the bout a time limit draw at 15:02.
Summary: Ninja brought a solid arsenal of moves while Peterson had good comebacks to keep the Frisco faithful tuned in.
Match 3 for the AWA Women’s title: Sherri Martel (champion w/ “Pretty Boy” Doug Somers) versus Madusa Miceli
- One look at Miceli’s hair, and you could tell it was 1987.
- When Stevens joined the broadcast table for the match, a fan at ringside held up a printout reading “Sheri sucks.” I hope he didn’t use an entire ribbon to accomplish that task.
- Miceli had enough of Sherri’s shenanigans and tossed her across the ring.
- For refuge, Sherri embraced her protégé.
- She returned and won a test-of-strength with a header to the midsection.
- As she dropkicked Miceli, Sherri rubbed her face into the mat. Hey! That’ll ruin her makeup!
- Miceli responded with a step over toe hold and somersaulted.
- After she suplexed Sherri, Miceli got 2.
- She dealt Sherri a knee lift but fell victim to a headscissors.
- While Miceli slammed her, she got 2.
- She clotheslined Sherri for another 2.
- When she fed Sherri an airplane spin, she couldn’t get 3.
- Because Somers had jumped onto the apron to distract referee Rich Frisk. Crafty!
- Instead, she earned a false pin and went after Somers.
- Seeing her opponent distracted, Sherri rolled up Miceli while grabbing the tights.
- Sherri retained at 11:52.
Summary: Great selling by both women. Sherri could turn up the heat in Hades and make it hotter. However, her days were numbered in the AWA, so she should have dropped the title here.
After the match, Miceli chased the heels back to the dressing room.
Match 4 for the AWA World title: Nick Bockwinkel (champion) versus Curt Hennig
- Uh…why is this match in the middle of the card? I smell chicanery.
- Respectfully, Hennig entered the ring first.
- AWA President Stanley Blackburn received an introduction, but the Frisco faithful couldn’t care less.
- As Larry Zbyszko, wearing a tuxedo, interjected himself, he implored Blackburn to grant him a match against the winner.
- Hennig slammed him, but Bockwinkel returned the favor.
- When they went back-and-forth countering move for move, they’ve migrated from Frisco to Stalemate City.
- Bockwinkel hip-tossed him, but Hennig reversed a cross corner whip before dealing him some forearm smashes.
- As Hennig reversed another cross corner whip, he came up empty on his follow-through.
- In fact, he flew all the way down to the concrete floor.
- Bockwinkel worked the injured left shoulder while Zbyszko pined for his tee time at Pebble Beach the next day.
- After the Frisco faithful chided Zbyszko, Hennig slammed Bockwinkel again.
- He planted a knee into the midsection, but Bockwinkel countered a back drop with a PUNT for 2. Was that Bockwinkel or Max Runager in there?
- While the Frisco faithful was NOT thrilled with Bockwinkel’s methodical psychology, Hennig got the upper hand and worked on Bockwinkel’s left leg.
- Hennig converted a spinning toe hold into a figure-four leg lock, but Bockwinkel made the ropes to escape.
- As Bockwinkel socked Hennig, he got 2.
- He planted another knee into Hennig’s midsection yet writhed in pain as it was his left knee.
- When each wrestler BELTED the other with right hands, they fell to the mat.
- Bockwinkel reversed a cross corner whip sending Hennig HARD into to the turnbuckle.
- After Bockwinkel got 2, Hennig hooked a sunset flip for 2.
- He rammed Bockwinkel face-first into the mat for another 2.
- While he fed Bockwinkel an atomic drop, Hennig tried an O’Connor roll but couldn’t get 3.
- Hennig scored with a cross body block for yet another 2.
- As Hennig decimated Bockwinkel with a right, he secured a somersault rollup.
- Do we have a new champion?
- When he landed an Axe, Hennig came within an eyelash of becoming champion.
- Hennig piledrove Bockwinkel but was too close to the ropes.
- After he launched a standing dropkick, Hennig smelled the title within his grasp.
- He gave Bockwinkel a cross corner whip but ate a clothesline.
- While Bockwinkel countered a side head lock with a belly-to-back suplex, both wrestlers were down on the mat.
- A mid-ring collision occurred, and Zbyszko left his seat at ringside to confer with Hennig.
- As both wrestlers got to their feet, Hennig KNOCKED Bockwinkel OUT.
- Hennig won at 23:33.
- WE HAVE A NEW CHAMPION!
Summary: Finally! After enduring a bloody 60-minute battle in Vegas and a screwjob in St. Paul, Hennig defeats Bockwinkel, but with a punch? How can that be?
After the match, Hennig stuffs something into his trunks and subtly shakes Zbyszko’s hand before roaring about his tremendous achievement.
Stevens jumps into the ring to protest, shakes down Zbyszko, and dimes scatter all over the ring. As Stevens directs Blackburn’s attention to the matter, Hennig basks in the cheers from the Frisco faithful. Believe it or not, Blackburn HOLDS UP THE TITLE to screw Hennig. Will this promotion EVER learn?
Blackburn further states that the championship committee needs to review the tape. To DeRusha’s defense, Bockwinkel gets between him and Hennig to retrieve the belt. While Zbyszko claims Hennig “beat him right in the middle,” Bockwinkel tosses the paper roll up in the air. He rips the belt away from Hennig and gives it to DeRusha. Rightfully, the Frisco faithful chants “BULL-SHIT.”
At ringside, Trongard interviews Blackburn who declares the title in escrow until the film is reviewed.
Next, he interviews Bockwinkel who states his “lights went out” and blames Zbyszko for it. Hennig shoves Bockwinkel, and they argue their own side of the story.
Afterward, Trongard interviews Hennig, but Zbyszko interrupts to take Hennig’s side. DeRusha joins the party, but Hennig CLOCKS him. WE HAVE A HEEL TURN! While Hennig declares himself the World champion, Zbyszko claims injustice on behalf of Hennig. To end the segment, Trongard deems “there is no champion.”
Match 5: AWA World tag team champions the Midnight Rockers & Ray “The Crippler” Stevens versus “Pretty Boy” Doug Somers, “Mr. Magnificent” Kevin Kelly, & “Hackensack Hammer” Buddy Wolfe (w/ Sherri Martel)
- For those unaware, Wolfe was a protégé of Verne Gagne in the early 70s. Was Buddy Rose under the weather or something?
- Nope, he skipped town and returned to Portland in March.
- In the meantime, the Midnight Rockers defeated Rose and Somers for the World tag team titles on 1/27 in Bloomington, MN.
- Stevens tagged in and hip-tossed Wolfe across the ring.
- When tags were exchanged on both sides, Jannetty dropkicked Kelly.
- Speaking of Kelly, he gave Jannetty a cross corner whip whereas Jannetty leaped to the second turnbuckle and launched a cross body block.
- Kelly caught and dumped him in the heel corner.
- As Somers tagged in, he fed Jannetty a gutbuster.
- Wolfe tagged in and distracted referee Scott LeDoux.
- Concurrently, Somers and Kelly rearranged Jannetty’s innards in their corner.
- Somers mounted the top turnbuckle and lowered the boom on Jannetty.
- After Somers tagged in, more heel chicanery befell Jannetty. How dastardly!
- Somers gave Jannetty a HARD cross corner whip to injure the back.
- While Somers tied Jannetty in the heel corner, LeDoux ultimately limited the heel’s nefariousness.
- Kelly tagged in, missed a clothesline, but evaded a dropkick from Jannetty.
- When Kelly delivered a delayed vertical suplex, Michaels prevented the pin on Jannetty. I didn’t know Kelly had it in him.
- Somers tagged in, and more horseplay by the heels was thwarted by Stevens.
- As Kelly tagged in, he gave Jannetty a cross corner whip resulting in a Jannetty flip.
- Jannetty landed on the concrete floor, so Somers bounced his head off the apron.
- With all six wrestlers brawling in and out of the ring, Stevens slammed Somers on the concrete floor.
- Somers tagged in, and the Frisco faithful began a “Mar-ty” chant.
- After Wolfe tagged in, Jannetty made a brief comeback.
- Kelly tagged in and put a stop to that shit real quick with a clothesline.
- While he slammed Jannetty, Kelly missed an elbow drop.
- Wolfe tagged in and cut off another attempted tag.
- When Somers tagged in, he tortured Jannetty’s left leg.
- Kelly tagged in and worked the right leg. Dumbass! I knew he wasn’t the brightest bulb in the package.
- As Jannetty responded with a monkey flip, Wolfe tagged in and applied a single-leg crab.
- Michaels reached into the ring to slap Jannetty so that he wouldn’t pass out. Did they make a pit stop in Tahoe last night?
- After Jannetty woke up, he backdropped Wolfe.
- Somers tagged in and attempted a vertical suplex.
- On the other hand, Jannetty blocked it and dealt Somers one of his own.
- Hot tag Michaels.
- When Michaels gave Somers a cross corner whip, he followed with a back drop.
- Michaels unloaded a back elbow to Somers, and all six wrestlers were in the ring again.
- As the Midnight Rockers rammed Wolfe and Somers together, they bumped Kelly down to the concrete floor.
- Stevens hooked an inside cradle on Wolfe and pinned him at 18:03.
Summary: I never thought that heat segment would end, but when it did, the babyfaces BLEW THE ROOF off the Cow Palace. Yes, folks, the Midnight Rockers are indeed STARS in the AWA.
Match 6: Jerry Blackwell (w/ Buck “Rock’n’Roll” Zumhofe) versus Boris Zhukov (w/ Sheik Adnan Al-Kaissie)
- Zhukov stalled to fuel the “U-S-A” chants from the Frisco faithful.
- As Blackwell gave him a cross corner whip, he SQUISHED Zhukov on his follow-through. Does anyone else smell borscht?
- He fed Zhukov a ten-top-turnbuckle count-along and followed with an elbow drop for 2.
- When Zhukov distracted referee Rich Frisk, Al-Kaissie hammered his former tag team partner.
- Zhukov mounted the second turnbuckle, leaped, but ate a shot to the midsection.
- After he clotheslined Zhukov, Blackwell clamped down on a side head lock.
- Zhukov shot Blackwell directly into Frisk knocking him down to the concrete floor.
- While Al-Kaissie jumped into the ring, he double-teamed Blackwell with Zhukov.
- Blackwell ducked a double clothesline and dealt one of his own to his foreign nemeses.
- Blackwell won in 12:30.
Summary: Popcorn match if there ever was one. I’m surprised the Frisco faithful stayed awake.
Match 7: “Superfly” Jimmy Snuka & Russ Francis versus the Terrorist & the Mercenary
- For those unaware, Francis was a tight end for the San Francisco 49ers when they won Super Bowl XIX. He also participated in the battle royal during WWF WrestleMania 2.
- Contrarily, Terrorist was portrayed by foreigner Brian Knobbs, and Mercenary was portrayed by diplomat Ron Fuller. Hmmm…perhaps here’s where he originally met Sherri Martel.
- For those curious, DeBeers finished up his dates with the AWA on April 4, so Mercenary was inserted for him.
- To begin things, the babyfaces destroyed the heels, and Francis chased the heels back to Parts Unknown.
- When they returned, it looked like each heel had just finished a bread bowl from Fisherman’s Wharf.
- A criss-cross ensued, and Snuka chopped Mercenary all the way across the Golden Gate Bridge.
- As Mercenary distracted referee Scott LeDoux, Terrorist sunk Snuka’s battleship in the heel corner. SNEAKY!
- Mercenary slammed Snuka, and Terrorist tagged in.
- After he fed Snuka a back elbow, Terrorist got 2.
- Mercenary tagged in and dealt Snuka a backbreaker for another 2.
- While Terrorist tagged in, Snuka countered a side head lock with a belly-to-back suplex.
- Francis distracted LeDoux, and more heel shenanigans transpired.
- When Terrorist splashed Snuka, he got 2.
- Snuka leapfrogged Terrorist twice before chopping him down like a California Redwood.
- Hot tag Francis.
- As he unloaded a European uppercut to Terrorist, Francis shoulder-blocked him.
- He slammed Terrorist and mounted the top turnbuckle.
- Simultaneously, Snuka mounted the top turnbuckle and uncorked a diving head butt.
- With Terrorist prone, Francis flew and landed a flying splash.
- Francis and Snuka won at 11:12.
Summary: Celebrity match with the right strategy—use the football player as the hot tag guy. The Frisco faithful ate it up with a spoon and went home happy.
After the match, Francis brawls with Mercenary before ramming both Terrorist and Mercenary face-first into the apron. Snuka makes Terrorist HIT THE POLE before dealing them a meeting of the minds to end the live portion of our show.
In a post-show interview, Trongard and Zbyszko dispute the finish to the World title match. Trongard also interviews Snuka and Francis followed by Blackwell. Next, he interviews both Bockwinkel and Blackburn. Bockwinkel awaits the committee’s decision, and Blackburn systematically explains the championship committee voting process and timeline.
Conclusion: Before I evaluate the show, allow me to point out that the AWA wasn’t the only promotion that suffered poor attendance in Northern California. Perhaps they should have returned to Chicago, IL.
On 4/23, Jim Crockett Promotions held a show at the San Francisco Civic Auditorium and garnered between 1,500 and 1,700 fans.
On 5/8, the World Wrestling Federation debuted at the Santa Cruz Civic Center and hosted 1,375 patrons.
While the 2,800-attendance figure was utterly putrid, the AWA outdrew both of its national competitors.
Let’s dissect the show:
First, with the existing hatred already in the minds of the fans, Zumhofe should have brawled more with Al-Kaissie to send a message that this show was going to rock. Second, Verne should have kept Ninja around as he had a menacing foreign prospect within his grasp. The match between Ninja and Peterson outshines the opener but settles down to a draw. Third, Sherri should have done everything to get Miceli over and lay down for her. Fourth, the Midnight Rockers energizes the Frisco faithful despite not showcasing their tandem offense. Fifth, Blackwell and Zhukov cool down the crowd for the main event. Sixth, Russ Francis fills his role perfectly in the main event to the delight of the 49er faithful.
Really good show but not as good as the original Super Clash ’85. I recommend it, so gather your clique and devour this historical meal.
Oh, wait a minute!
I missed the World title match, didn’t I?
The third match of the Bockwinkel-Hennig trilogy wasn’t the pick of the litter, but it contained something the other matches didn’t—controversy. In lieu of screwing over the entire AWA audience by returning the belt immediately to Bockwinkel, Blackburn held the title up pending a “committee decision.”
What does that exactly mean?
It means the future of the AWA. Almost a year prior to this show, Verne would bestow the World title upon Bockwinkel rather than hold a tournament. That didn’t sit well, so they need to point the promotion in a positive direction and send the right message to their audience. How will they do that?
Tune into my next AWA reflection to find out!
Stay tuned for AWA on ESPN 05-16-87!
Comments? Suggestions? Send them to me at [email protected] and follow me on Twitter (@rockstargary202). Also, please check out all of my reflections at rockstargary.com including the Monday Night War and Herb Abrams’ UWF!