The SmarK Rant for AWA SuperClash II – 05.02.87
Hey, it’s another show I’ve never seen, as a part of a giant AWA content dump on the Network! Oddly enough, they skipped over SuperClash I, which was available on WWE Classics on Demand back in the day. We covered this one a little bit in the Observer Flashbacks at the time, but obviously my opinion is the one that matters!
Live-ish from San Francisco, CA. The arena looks like it’s struggling to be ¼ full, and in fact they only drew 2800 for this one.
Your host is Rod Trongaard.
Sheik Adnan El-Kaissey v. Buck Zumhofe
Hey, Kaissey might be portraying a Middle Eastern terrorist, but he’s still a better person than Zumhofe. So Adnan immediately runs away and we get the bare minimum of contact in between all the stalling. Can’t blame Adnan, I wouldn’t want Zumhofe touching me, either. They trade wristlocks for the “wrestling” portion of our presentation, and Zumhofe takes over with a “headknocker”, where he puts Adnan in piledriver position and jumps in the air. Yeah, if someone was putting my face in Buck’s crotch, I’d jump away in horror, too. Buck works a spinning toehold while Trongaard is already literally reading the credits to find something to talk about. Who would WANT to take credit for producing an AWA show at this point? You’d think all their TV would be directed by Alan Smithee. Buck goes to the exciting neck vice, but Adnan bites him to take over and yells at the crowd to really pick up the pace. Zumhofe bails and Trongaard stresses that he only has a count of 10 to return, but time is so dilated by this match that relativity pretty much renders it into a 100 count. So he’s got some time. Zumhofe suddenly gets fired up and makes the comeback, but Kaissey pins him in the corner with a rollup at 10:45. I’m pretty sure some sweaty tattooed guy is doing just that to Zumhofe in prison right now. Or at least we can only hope. DUD
DJ Peterson v. The Super Ninja
Peterson had a shot and a good look for the Big Two, but tragically died in a motorcycle accident a few years after this. Apparently they’re calling him “TNT” because of the explosive way he finishes matches. I thought maybe that was a street name for something he was taking at this point. Super Ninja is not Muto, sadly, but Shunji Takano. I believe I’ve mentioned this before, but Super Ninja has gloves adorned with throwing star emblems that are rather too close to swastikas. They trade armbars on the mat, and now I notice that DJ has dollar signs on his boots. You sir, are no Million Dollar Man. Stall stall stall as Ninja runs away and finally takes over by tossing Peterson. We get some shenanigans as the various Ninjas attack one by one (Super Ninja, Ninja Go, Brainy Ninja, Papa Ninja, Hefty Ninja) and then we go to the dreaded Ninja Nerve Hold in the ring. That goes on for a while and the crowd is shockingly into DJ’s comeback, but the Ninja takes him down for a rear chinlock instead. Into the Boston crab, but DJ finally makes the comeback for real with a snap suplex for two. Dropkick gets two. Ninja fires back with kicks for two, but DJ gets a sunset flip and small package as they hit the 15:00 time limit. Wow, so thrilling. There was almost some action at the end there! *1/2
AWA Women’s title: Sherri Martel v. Madusa Micelli
Madusa was early in her rookie year at this point, basically quasi-pushed because she was hot and added another six inches to her height with super-teased hair. She looks like she saw Axl Rose in “Welcome to the Jungle” and was like “Hey! I know how to style my hair now!” Madusa was RIPPED at this point, a look that she’d quickly abandon. Along with the hairstyle, thankfully. Madusa overpowers her to start, but Madusa quickly cuts her off and goes to work on the arm, which mostly means they lay on the mat and yell a lot. Madusa wisely just lets Sherri work by herself more or less and provides a target to bounce off. Sherri goes to a chinlock and the crowd is already bored with the match. Madusa does a toehold in the corner for some reason, which turns out to be a setup for that deal where she does a forward roll while holding the move. That was way too convoluted a spot for her. Madusa works a wristlock and Rod is like “Sherri may be on her way out!” I think that might be jumping a gun a bit. Madusa continues working on the arm and headlocking her. The Divas Revolution this is not. Airplane spin, but Doug Somers is distracting the ref, and Sherri gets the distraction rollup for the pin to retain at 11:45. Now, given the benefit of hindsight and a booker who isn’t completely clueless, you would have put Madusa over for the title here since Sherri jumped to the WWF with the belt a month or so after this and Madusa ended up getting it anyway. 1/2* Like really, Madusa had no idea how to work the match or what the proper time for stuff like headlocks was.
AWA World title: Nick Bockwinkel v. Curt Hennig
Stanley Blackburn is at ringside, so you know shit is going down at the finish if they thawed him out of his freezer and woke him up. Artist’s rendition:
Larry Zbyszko shows up to challenge the winner to a title match, thus establishing his reason to be there. Kind of a dull start with Hennig working a headlock for most of the first portion, but Bockwinkel finally tosses him and takes over with an armbar while someone works way too hard to get their “Larry is a Spud-Head” sign on camera. Larry draws all the heat for the match while the crowd pretty much ignores Bockwinkel. I guess that explains why they were drawing 2800 to a 15,000 seat arena for a supposed major show. Hennig reverses the endless armbar into a spinning toehold and then figure-four as this is not exactly feeling like the ***1/2 match that Meltzer rated it at. Bockwinkel fights out and blocks a second attempt by slugging Hennig down and puts him down with a knee to the gut. The crowd reaction is really weird and subdued as well, because both guys were supposed to be babyfaces, but Hennig was turning heel, but the crowd still wanted to cheer him. And no one cared about Bockwinkel at this point. Bockwinkel slugs away in the corner, and whips Hennig into the turnbuckles for a typical dramatic bump from Hennig that gets two. Hennig with a sunset flip for two. Rollup gets two for Hennig, and a crossbody gets two. Jackknife cradle gets two. The Axe gets two, as Bockwinkel is in the ropes. Standing dropkick gets two as Hennig just goes crazy trying to get this over. Bockwinkel blocks a blind charge with a lariat out of the corner, and follows with a back suplex, but he can’t make the pin. Both guys are out, at which point Larry hands Hennig the infamous roll of dimes, and he slugs Bockwinkel down and out to win the win AWA World title at 24:00, and the crowd goes CRAZY. So yeah, it ended up pretty good thanks to sheer willpower from Hennig. *** Stanley Blackburn immediately jumps in to overturn the decision (which causes the crowd to erupt in a “Bullshit” chant), but soon after this Hennig got a big money offer from the WWF and Verne just forgot all about the controversy and left Hennig as the champion after all in order to keep him.
Buddy Wolfe & Kevin Kelly & Doug Somers v. The Midnight Rockers & Ray Stevens
Wolfe is announced as the “Hackensack Hammer” and he’s damn old. Apparently he retired after this match, to show you what we’re dealing with. I don’t get where this match comes from at all, but it’s likely that the bookers didn’t either so everyone is at least on the same page. According to Rod, Ray Stevens still holds the attendance record for this building with “Pepper Rogers”. I believe “Pepper Gomez” is what he was going for there. Further, Stevens was on commentary earlier in the show and talked about his attendance record, and Trongaard was like “Really, I haven’t heard about that, what match was it?” And then he’s regurgitating the answer two matches later as his own fact! Shawn works on Kelly for a bit, but Marty comes in and gets caught in the heel corner and worked over. I once again wonder how the hell Kelly lost all his hair and muscle definition in the five years between this and his debut as Nailz. Maybe he had two kids like Homer Simpson? Marty bumps all over the ring to carry this thing on his own, and Kelly gets a delayed suplex for two. Ray Stevens goes in to be all fired up while the heels triple on Marty, while Shawn stands on the apron basically like “Eh, what are you gonna do?” Meltzer insinuated that Shawn seemed to be not exactly invested in the outcome of the match due to external chemical factors, and I can see where he’s coming from. Finally it’s BONZO GONZO and Stevens runs around attacking people, but then it settles down to Marty getting the heat again from the heels. OK, we get the damn point, wrap this up already.
So despite my dank meme, Somers continues to work on Marty’s leg, but he finally fights back on the HACKENSACK HAMMER, only for Somers to slow it right the fuck down again with a spinning toehold. And then Wolfe goes to a half-crab. WE GET THE DAMN POINT ALREADY. Marty has a hurt leg, for fuck’s sake, I understand. Rod notes that Marty is glassy eyed and doesn’t know where he is. Sounds like a normal Friday night for him. Thank god, it’s finally hot tag Shawn Michaels, and Stevens pinned Somers with a small package at 18:00. What the hell is the point of a six-man tag if you’re literally just gonna have one person sell for 15:00 of it? *1/2
Jerry Blackwell v. Boris Zhukov
Oh this’ll pick up the show, I bet. Blackwell slugs away on Zhukov, who runs away. Repeat a few times and you’ve got the first half of the match. Blackwell with an elbow for two and we hit the chinlock, as he’s apparently blown up now. When BORIS ZHUKOV is looking like the competent worker carrying the match, you SUCK. Zhukov pounds away while Blackwell staggers around the ring. Just for fun I read Blackwell’s Wikipedia page while this boring match continues, and I’m pretty sure that Blackwell wrote it himself from beyond the grave. Did you know he was the top babyface for the AWA from Hogan’s departure until 1987? Fascinating. Boris swings away with punches that were supposed to miss, but then Blackwell hits him with one that was supposed to hit but looked like one of the missed punches. And then we get a ref bump for good measure as the heels double-team Blackwell, but he clotheslines Boris and pins him at 12:30. Is this show over yet? -*
Alleged Main Event: Jimmy Snuka & Russ Francis v. The Terrorist & The Mercenary
This match was the subject of weeks of controversy in the Observer at the time, as Dave couldn’t figure out who the hell the Mercenary was, thinking it was Soldat Ustinov or other tall guys before finally realizing it was Ron Fuller. Russ Francis was a player of the footballs for the 49ers who had previously done the battle royale at Wrestlemania 2. Like wow, what a main event, two random heels under masks against a football player and washed up Jimmy Snuka. It seems that Col DeBeers was supposed to be involved here as a part of the Snuka feud, but he no-showed and they went with the Mercenary instead. Lucky us. The Terrorist (Brian Knobbs) has a mask with a swastika on the forehead, so you know he means business and dislikes people of color. Both he and the Mercenary are hailing from South Africa tonight and I’m shocked they didn’t kick a puppy and wear a “Vote for Trump” button to the ring to go for every cheap heat tactic possible. Francis chases the Terrorist back to the dressing room, leaving the Mercenary 1-on-2. Rod sets the stage here: The Terrorist slapped Russ Francis’s father, Ed Francis, right here in his building “not that long ago”. OK, question: You’re already using Brian Knobbs under a mask and presumably paying Jerry Sags to be there as well, so why not just put HIM under the other mask and then you’ll presumably get a half-decent match with both Nasty Boys? Why bring in just Brian Knobbs as a single? I JUST DON’T UNDERSTAND VERNE GAGNE. Snuka starts properly for his team as this thing actually gets going FIVE MINUTES after the initial bell, and we immediately hit the chinlock. Rod is pretty sure it’s the Terrorist. Does he have a swastika on his head? Then it’s the Terrorist. I’m pretty impressed with the dude in the front row who holds up a variety of signs supporting the babyfaces, printed on a dot matrix printer via Printshop. That shit was CHALLENGING in 1987, so good on you, man! Our racebaiting heels continue switching off on headlocks on Snuka as people are literally dozing off in the front row watching this. Now, I have to say, at least I can feel some sympathy for the Mercenary, since by definition he’s only doing it for the money and could just be someone who messed up his life with a drug problem or ill-timed brawl with the police while overseas. Perhaps he has all kinds of interesting backstory to his life that could build to a babyface run. Now, the Terrorist, he’s just a guy with a swastika on his head who does it to inspire fear. That’s uncool, man. Anyway, hot tag Francis and he slams the Terrorist and “hits” a “flying splash” off the top rope for the pin at 11:26. Thankfully, the forces of terrorism and puppy-kicking are once again prevented from wreaking their havoc in these United States, thanks to a football player and a drug addict. GOD BLESS AMERICA. DUD
Stanley Blackburn should have held up this show and reviewed it with the championship committee to prevent it from sucking.