The SmarK Rant for AWA Christmas Night 1987 – 12.25.87
WHERE THE HELL DID THIS COME FROM? I was just randomly trolling through the Network’s “Best of Christmas” stuff and HOLY CRAP it’s an AWA show I’ve never seen before! What a way to celebrate on New Year’s Eve!
Taped from a very empty arena in Minneapolis, MN, about 1800, and brought to you by SCHMIDT BEER. Apparently you can win a 19” color television if you’re a lucky fan tonight! That’s huge, who could possibly fit that into their home?
Your hosts are Rod Trongard & Mick Karch
Slick Nick Kiniski v. JAMMIN’ Mitch Snow
The guest ring announcer, some fan who donated money to fight child abuse, is just horribly bad at it. Like, really awful. Also if you want to fight child abuse you can start by making sure that Buck Zumhoff isn’t in the building. Kiniski tries for a clothesline and misses, landing on the floor, and Snow starts working on the arm back in the ring. So just wondering who told Mitch that “Jammin” was a suitable nickname that would get him over? What about “Magic” Mitch? Alliteration is the key. Snow gets a bodypress for two and Nick chokes him out on the mat in response as the camera goes to a really wide angle, like WCW when someone is slightly bleeding. Kiniski misses a blind charge and I think they edited a bunch out of the match at some point because we get a 15:00 time call at 5:00. Even the AWA isn’t THAT incompetent. Snow comes back with a kneelift and backdrop and tries a rollup, but Kiniski gets a sloppy reversal and grabs the tights for the pin at 7:00 shown. An OK opener, although I’m always surprised that Nick never really had much of a career after the AWA. *1/2
Alan West v. Kevin Kelly
So Madusa is out with West because Kelly lost a match to DJ Peterson and thus lost Madusa’s services for 30 days. But then DJ got injured and missed this show, so West is taking his place, which kind of ruins any buildup that the match might have had. But that’s the AWA for you. Kelly is of course the future Nailz, albeit with 50 pounds less body fat and 50 pounds more steroids. It really does stand as one of the more bizarrely unbelievable transformations in wrestling history, as you literally wouldn’t know it was the same guy if you hadn’t been told. Kelly works the arm, but West reverses until Kelly whips him into the corner to break. West, by the way, was not anyone, just a local Minnesota guy that did some TV jobs on AWA shows and left the business soon after this. Kevin takes him down and goes to a chinlock. That goes on for longer than you’d like in polite society, while I also note that Madusa is wearing a Santa suit for the occasion and looks adorable in it. Kelly tosses West and beats on him outside while Karch notes that when it comes to Madusa, “there’s a serpent underneath that flower”. Hopefully he got a “Metaphors for Wrestling Announcers” book for Christmas. Back in the ring, Kelly gets a backbreaker, but misses an elbow. West can’t even get a comeback and Kelly just keeps beating on him and puts him down with a clothesline and drops an elbow for two this time. Kelly continues beating on West, but he finally comes back with a dropkick and backdrop for two. Powerslam gets two. Backbreaker gets two, as West forgets his spot. And indeed, he picks up Kelly and tries another one, but this time Madusa trips him up and Kelly falls on top for the pin at 11:00 as planned. That finish was all kinds of botched and West looked way out of his paygrade here. ½*
Soldat Ustinov v. Nord the Barbarian
Wow, it’s the match where they keep the lights turned down low so that fans might be fooled into thinking we’re watching Nikita Koloff v. Bruiser Brody! We’re immediately clipped to them brawling on the floor and into the crowd, and then back into the ring as Wish.com Koloff holds a chinlock on Nord. Nord fights out and dropkicks him, but he goes up to the middle rope and misses by a mile. So then Ustinov goes up and he also misses a move, and Nord gets the pin at 5:40 shown. DUD
Nord the Barbarian v. Sheik Adnan El-Kaissey
So as a result of the win, Nord gets 5:00 with Sheik Adnan, and he immediately puts the beating on him, but Ustinov runs in for the DQ at 0:45. You have to love Verne just screwing the fans out of every little thing.
AWA World tag team title: The Original Midnight Express v. The Midnight Rockers
So Shawn and Marty were freshly back from the WWF after getting fired, and we get an immediate brawl to start as the Rockers clean house. Back in the ring, Shawn slugs Condrey down and sends him back to his own corner to talk it over with Randy Rose. We’re clipped to Condrey trying a cheapshot on Shawn in the corner, but TROUBLESHOOTING REFEREE Scott LeDoux prevents that, and the Express runs away for a bit while the Rockers try to steal the tag belts. So the Rockers chase them off again as this is taking FOREVER to even get started for some reason. The Rockers continue getting their shine on Condrey as they lift some Rock N Roll Express gags and this continues at a leisurely pace. Shawn with a monkey flip on Rose and Rod thought that there would be some “rat a tat tat” on Randy’s skull, but not in this case. Rose gets trapped in the ropes and Shawn slugs away for the rocking chair spot, and then they double-team Condrey again for two. Marty comes in and works a headlock on Rose and takes him down with a bodypress for two before going to a headlock on the mat. The fact that they’ve managed to stretch this out to 15:00 already despite NOTHING HAPPENING WHATSOEVER makes me think that we’re in for a 30:00 draw. Shawn trades off on the headlock and hiptosses Rose into a Marty dropkick for two, and it’s back to the headlock again as we’re suddenly clipped to a bit later due to apparent tape issues. Oh man, why couldn’t Verne have rented a better VCR to record this one? Finally Paul E. distracts the ref and Shawn gets clobbered on the floor as a result. Back in, Rose slugs away and we get a Flair Flip from Shawn in the corner. Rose with a gutbuster and a snap suplex for two. We’re clipped again via tracking error on Verne’s Kenmore brand Betamax and Marty gets the hot tag and runs wild on the Midnights. Back elbow on Rose gets two, but Condrey makes the save. Marty hits Rose with a back elbow for two with time running out. Small package gets two. Condrey comes in and stalls for time and they all just kind of brawl aimlessly until time expires for the 30:00 draw at 18:04 shown. To give you an idea of how lame this was, the Rockers were doing the rowboat move on the Express as time expired. A huge disappointment as they were just kind of screwing around for most of the match and it never went anywhere. **
Wahoo McDaniel v. Adorable Adrian Adonis
This was of course one of Adonis’ last matches in the AWA, as he had a couple of matches early in 1988 and then left for Japan before being killed in a car accident in July. Wahoo gets a couple of chops as Trongard tells ridiculous lies about Adonis weighing “458 pounds and a 54 inch waist” despite looking basically the same as Wahoo at this point. He was actually down quite a bit in weight here and was actively trying to get back into the WWF again. Adonis works a headlock on the mat, but Wahoo chops him in the corner and they have a slugfest out of that, which Adrian loses. Adonis takes over with a pair of splashes in the corner, but another one misses and the ref is bumped. So Paul E. gives Adonis the phone and Adrian lays out Wahoo with that. Adonis with the big fat splash for two, but Wahoo is in the ropes and Adonis thinks that he’s won. So Wahoo goes after Dangerously and then steals the phone and nails Adonis and the ref and that’s a DQ at 5:45. The ref took the best bump of anyone on the show off that phone shot. This was junk. ¼*
AWA World title: Curt Hennig v. Greg Gagne
Well it wouldn’t be Christmas without Greg challenging for the World title! I bet he put at least 50 of those 1800 people in the seats tonight. So in addition to Curt and Greg, and their fathers as seconds, we also have THREE referees in the ring, so this thing at least goosed the attendance figures by a good 0.5% or so. Verne is strapped to Larry the Ax on the outside as a stipulation. We actually lose TROUBLESHOOTING REFEREE Scott LeDoux because the Hennigs protest that they don’t want a “French referee” favoring the Gagnes. Makes sense to me. They trade headlocks for the first few minutes and Curt goes to a leglock on the mat. Hennig with a figure-four, but Greg reverses, so Hennig beats on him in the corner and takes out the knee again. Curt misses a blind charge and hits the post, and Gagne dramatically does a FULL ARM DRAG AND TWIST as his big highspot. Oh my god no wonder they needed Jerry Jarrett to help save the territory. Groovy Greg works the arm, but Curt kicks him in the knee and gets two. They collide for the double down and Greg makes a comeback with a flying kneedrop for two. Hennig tosses him and the Ax gets a cheapshot out there, before Curt knocks him off the apron again. Finally Groovy Greg fights back in and makes the comeback to set up the GAGNE SLEEPER, not be confused with fans going to sleep from Greg Gagne’s matches at this point. Meanwhile the fathers fight on the floor and Larry gets involved again, hitting Greg with the strap to break up the sleeper, and Curt uses the belt for the DQ at 18:08. Well you don’t want to beat Greg Gagne on Christmas! That would be MADNESS! These are just some spectacularly awful finishes on what is supposed to be a major show. **
And then we get some after-show words from the Rockers, Greg Gagne, Curt Hennig and Adrian Adonis to fill the last 15 minutes.
Good lord this was bad. What a way to spend my New Year’s Eve. Hopefully they add more!