Rock Star Gary reflects on AWA WrestleRock ’86

Rock Star Gary reflects on AWA WrestleRock ’86

 

Live from Minneapolis, MN

Airdate: April 20, 1986

Attendance:  22,000

Hosted by Rod Trongard & Larry Nelson

Three cage matches along with the Midnight Rockers, Sergeant Slaughter, Jimmy Snuka, Road Warriors, Freebirds, and more fill out this star-studded supershow. Read on!

In case you need hype to prepare for this event, look no further than…the WrestleRock Rumble!

Yes, folks, before there was the Royal Rumble, the AWA made a cheesy rap video to promote this event.

A female singer whom I cannot identify sings the national anthem.

Prior to the opening match, Ken Resnick, standing at ringside, interviews Rheingans who cuts a jingoistic promo on Zhukov. “Killer Ken,” as Hogan would dub him, bolted for the WWF shortly after this show took place.

Match 1: Boris Zhukov (w/ Sheik Adnan Al-Kaissie) versus Brad Rheingans

Highlights:

  • For those unaware, Rheingans trained the following wrestlers among others: Vader, Wayne Bloom, Mike Enos, Brian Knobbs, Jerry Sags, JBL, Jerry Lynn, Scott Norton, Tom Zenk, and Brock Lesnar.
  • Before the bell rang, Rheingans stole the Soviet flag from Zhukov and blew his nose with it. So THAT’S where Shawn Michaels stole that!
  • After giving Zhukov a series of shoulder blocks in the corner, Rheingans delivered a hip toss followed by a dropkick.
  • Shortly after, Zhukov came back with a knee to the midsection.
  • He then guillotined Rheingans using the top rope and clotheslined him for 2.
  • Next, he gave Rheingans a backbreaker for another 2.
  • However, when Zhukov hit a belly-to-back suplex, he couldn’t get 3.
  • Rheingans came back with a cross corner whip followed by a back drop.
  • As he rang Zhukov’s bell, Rheingans rammed Zhukov’s knee into the apron and the ring post.
  • Back in the ring, he gave Zhukov an atomic drop for 2.
  • While Zhukov came off the ropes, Rheingans caught and powerslammed him.
  • 1-2-3.
  • Rheingans won.

Rating: **

Summary:  With the Minneapolis faithful firmly behind the Minnesota native, Rheingans drags Zhukov above his normal skill set.

After the match, Zhukov and Al-Kaissie attack Rheingans to regain heel heat.

Match 2 (midget): Little Mr. T & Cowboy Lang versus Little Tokyo & Lord Littlebrook

Highlights:

  • The special guest referee for this match was Gary Lumpkin of KSTP-TV.
  • Upon giving LIttle Tokyo a hip toss, Little Mr. T delivered a head butt to Littlebrook.
  • He then gave Little Tokyo a dropkick followed by a catapult.
  • As the heels tried to double-team the babyfaces, Little Mr. T turned the tables causing LIttlebrook to choke his own partner.
  • Littlebrook tagged in and gave LIttle Mr. T a back drop.
  • After LIttle Mr. T hooked a full nelson, more heel shenanigans went awry.
  • Lang tagged in, and a criss-cross ensued.
  • When Lang delivered a hip toss, he gave Little Tokyo a senton.
  • Shortly after, Little Tokyo gave Little Mr. T a back drop.
  • Little Mr. T came back with an airplane spin for a 1-count.
  • As he gave Little Tokyo another airplane spin, he got another 1-count thanks to a save by Littlebrook.
  • With all four wrestlers in the ring, the babyfaces gave the heels a row boat until they dogpiled Lumpkin.
  • LIttle Mr. T then gave Little Tokyo a back drop.
  • After tags were exchanged, Lang provided the same medicine to Littlebrook.
  • He then gave Littlebrook a scissor roll for the pin.

Rating: *

Summary: While the comedy was kept to a minimum, the match lacked heat and cohesiveness.

Prior to the next match, ring announcer Gary Michael Cappetta introduces Chuck Lilligren of WCCO-AM as the special guest ring announcer.

Match 3: Colonel DeBeers versus Wahoo McDaniel

Highlights:

  • Who’s ready for the Native American versus the apartheidist? Me, neither.
  • McDaniel delivered a slam followed by a chop for a 1-count.
  • DeBeers came back by tossing McDaniel outside the ring.
  • While McDaniel re-entered, he used his trick knee on DeBeers much to the delight of the Minneapolis faithful.
  • He then tossed DeBeers outside the ring to even the score.
  • Upon DeBeers’ re-entry, McDaniel tossed him over the top rope on the other side of the ring.
  • Referee Steve Olsonoski then called for the bell to disqualify McDaniel.
  • BOOOOOOOOOO!

Rating: DUD

Summary: Short, ineffective match that didn’t receive much of a reaction.

After the match, McDaniel and DeBeers fight among the ringside fans. McDaniel then makes DeBeers HIT THE POLE. As they continue to brawl, McDaniel flattens DeBeers.

Match 4: The Midnight Rockers versus “Playboy” Buddy Rose & “Pretty Boy” Doug Somers (w/ Sherri Martel)

Highlights:

  • This match is edited from the WWE Network version because it resides on Michaels’ My Journey DVD set. BOOOOOOO!
  • For those curious, Michaels was only 21 years old when this event took place. Watch out, Minneapolis night clubs!
  • Rose figuratively challenged both Jannetty and Michaels to a pissing contest. Yet he lost when Michaels successfully hit a backflip off the top rope while Rose crotched himself on the top turnbuckle. OUCH!
  • After a leap frog, Michaels dropkicked Somers.
  • Rose tagged in, but Michaels’ speed got the best of him.
  • As Jannetty tagged in, he mounted the second turnbuckle and lowered the boom on Rose.
  • He then countered a hip toss with a slam.
  • When Somers tagged in, he gave Jannetty a cross corner whip but came up empty on his follow-through.
  • Michaels tagged in, and the Midnight Rockers delivered a double chop to Somers.
  • After Rose tagged in, he avoided a monkey flip by using a cartwheel. Perhaps he’s being truthful with his 217 lbs. claim.
  • Jannetty tagged in and pulled the same trick on Rose.
  • Shortly after, Michaels tagged in and countered a hip toss with a flip followed by his own hip toss.
  • Jannetty tagged in and splashed Rose’s arm while Michaels stretched it out.
  • As he tagged out, Jannetty delivered a shot to Rose’s ample midsection while Michaels hit a knee lift for 2.
  • Rose came back with a catapult into the heel corner sending Michaels into a Somers forearm.
  • Shortly after, Rose delivered a flying back elbow to Michaels for 2.
  • Somers tagged in and gave Michaels a vertical suplex for another 2.
  • While Rose tagged in, he gave Michaels a HARD cross corner whip injuring the back.
  • He then attempted a vertical suplex, but Michaels blocked and delivered one of his own.
  • Hot tag Jannetty.
  • When he gave Somers a back drop, Jannetty hit a flying back elbow for a 1-count.
  • He then delivered a powerslam for 2 thanks to the SNEAKY Martel.
  • With all four wrestlers in the ring, the Midnight Rockers gave Rose a double atomic drop sending him between the ropes to the floor.
  • They then gave Somers a double back drop followed by a double elbow drop.
  • As Jannetty mounted the top turnbuckle, Rose upset his balance sending him down to the mat.
  • 1-2-3.
  • Rose and Somers won because Martel pushed Jannetty’s leg off the bottom rope.

Rating: ***1/2

Summary:  Fast-paced, extremely good tag match where chicanery helped the heels to victory.

After the match, Michaels brawls with Rose outside the ring and slams him. Jannetty then dispatches Somers over the top rope to the floor.

Prior to the next match, Cappetta introduces University of Minnesota athletic director Paul Giel.

Resnick then interviews Zumhofe who has his boombox playing on his shoulder. Unfortunately, it distorts the audio transmission of the microphone.

Match 5: “Rock’n’Roll” Buck Zumhofe versus Tiger Mask

Highlights:

  • For those unaware, Tiger Mask was portrayed by Mitsuharu Misawa.
  • Zumhofe hooked a spinning toe hold followed by a Boston crab.
  • As Tiger Mask escaped, he delivered a dropkick for 2.
  • Shortly after, Zumhofe gave Tiger Mask a hip toss for 2.
  • Tiger Mask then hit a cross body block for 2.
  • Following that, he delivered a vertical suplex for another 2.
  • He then gave Zumhofe a cross corner whip but ate knee on his follow-through.
  • After a slam, Zumhofe got 2.
  • He then rang Tiger Mask’s bell, rammed him face-first into the mat, and got another 2.
  • When Tiger Mask came back with a spinning thrust kick, he gave Zumhofe a knee drop for 2.
  • Zumhofe then delivered a slam and hooked an abdominal stretch.
  • As Tiger Mask escaped, he sent Zumhofe between the ropes to the floor.
  • He then hit a plancha. Woohoo!
  • Upon Zumhofe’s return, Tiger Mask missed a dropkick.
  • Zumhofe then attempted a slam, but Tiger Mask countered with a belly-to-back suplex.
  • After he mounted the top turnbuckle, he hit a somersault senton.
  • 1-2-3.
  • Tiger Mask won.

Rating: ***

Summary:  Good match showcasing Tiger Mask’s aerial arsenal.

Between matches, Minnesota governor Rudy Perpich declares April 20, 1986 as “Verne Gagne Day” and awards him a plaque. Gagne then returns the favor by giving the governor a WrestleRock hat and t-shirt.

At ringside, Resnick then interviews Windham and Rotunda.  Rotunda sports a black eye while Windham’s ready for the Fabulous Ones.

Match 6: The Fabulous Ones versus Barry Windham & Mike Rotunda

Highlights:

  • After a leap frog, Stan Lane attempted a monkey flip but ate a Windham boot instead.
  • Rotunda tagged in, mounted the top turnbuckle, and lowered the boom on Stan.
  • As Windham tagged in, he mounted the top turnbuckle, and lowered the boom on Stan.
  • Tags were exchanged on both sides, but Keirn sought refuge outside the ring to generate heel heat.
  • When Windham tagged in, he thwarted a leap frog by Keirn with a right.
  • He then slammed Keirn, tagged in Rotunda, and the former US Express gave Keirn a double dropkick.
  • After a cross corner whip, Rotunda came up empty on his follow-through.
  • Stan tagged in and gave Rotunda a crescent kick to the midsection.
  • While Keirn distracted referee Buddy Lane, Stan tossed Rotunda over the top rope to the floor. SNEAKY!
  • From the apron, Rotunda hooked a sunset flip, but Stan gave him a knuckle sandwich.
  • Windham then distracted Buddy while the heels double-teamed Rotunda.
  • Stan then gave Rotunda a swinging neckbreaker but missed an elbow drop.
  • Hot tag Windham.
  • When he gave Stan a powerslam, Windham got 2.
  • Rotunda then distracted Buddy while Keirn kicked Windham in the back.
  • After Keirn distracted Buddy again, Windham hooked a sunset flip on Stan for a false pin.
  • Yet again, Keirn distracted Buddy; meanwhile, Windham hooked an inside cradle on Stan for another false pin.
  • A double shoulder block then put both Windham and Stan down on the mat.
  • As Rotunda tagged in, he dropkicked Stan and nailed an incoming Keirn.
  • He then gave Stan a back elbow, an airplane spin, but Keirn tripped him.
  • When Stan fell atop Rotunda, he got 2.
  • He then gave Rotunda a back drop and attempted a piledriver.
  • After Keirn distracted Buddy once again, Windham mounted the top turnbuckle and lowered the boom on Stan for 3.
  • Windham and Rotunda won.

Rating: ****

Summary:  Incredible story told here as the babyfaces used their own shenanigans to beat the Fabulous Ones.

Match 7: Giant Baba (w/ the Great Wajima) versus “Bulldog” Bob Brown

Highlights:

  • After a chop, Baba stepped on Brown with all of his weight SQUISHING him.
  • Brown then missed a leg drop, but Baba didn’t miss a second chop.
  • Next, the size disparity reared its ugly head while Baba delivered a side Russian leg sweep. Baba just dwarfed Brown.
  • Baba then hit the big boot.
  • 1-2-3.
  • Baba won.

Rating: DUD

Summary:  Take your pick: either this was a special attraction or a popcorn match.

At ringside, Resnick interviews Race who wants to demonstrate that he’s the best as well as get a title shot against Hansen.

Match 8: Rick Martel versus Harley Race

Highlights:

  • Dick Jonckowski was the special guest ring announcer for this match.
  • After a hip toss by Martel, Race leap-frogged him only to receive an arm drag.
  • Race then delivered a high knee followed by a knee drop for 2.
  • As Martel hit a cross body block, he got 2.
  • Race came back with a powerslam for 2.
  • When Race attempted a vertical suplex, Martel escaped and hooked a sleeper.
  • Race, on the other hand, escaped by sending Martel face-first into the top turnbuckle.
  • After a swinging neckbreaker, Race mounted the top turnbuckle.
  • Martel, nonetheless, caught and slammed Race down to the mat.
  • Upon giving Race a knee drop, Martel got 2.
  • Race then countered a side headlock with a belly-to-back suplex.
  • As Martel hit a backbreaker, he then moved to the apron and delivered a springboard splash for 2. Nifty!
  • Race came back and delivered a piledriver and a diving head butt for 2.
  • After an elbow drop, Race got another 2.
  • He then reversed a cross corner whip, but Martel leaped to the second turnbuckle only to miss a cross body block.
  • When Race delivered another knee drop, he couldn’t get 3.
  • He then gave Martel a cross corner whip, but while he tried a second one, Martel reversed it sending him over the top turnbuckle down to the floor.
  • With Race on the apron, Martel suplexed him back in but missed an elbow drop.
  • Race then delivered a shoulder breaker for 2.
  • After another swinging neckbreaker, Race got another 2.
  • Martel then countered a side headlock with a belly-to-back suplex for 2.
  • As Race came off the ropes, a double shoulder block sent him over the top rope down to the floor again.
  • Upon his return, Race attempted another piledriver, but Martel countered with a back drop.
  • He then gave Race a gutwrench suplex for 2.
  • When Martel attempted a slam, Race countered with an inside cradle for 2.
  • Martel then hit a dropkick for 2.
  • After Race came back again with a bear hug, he converted it to a belly-to-belly suplex for 2.
  • He then gave Martel a knee lift, attempted a vertical suplex, but Martel blocked and hooked one of his own.
  • As Martel came off the ropes, he ate knees on a splash attempt.
  • He then attempted a slam, but both wrestlers spilled over the top rope to the floor.
  • While each wrestler prevented the other from re-entry, Race made Martel HIT THE POLE.
  • Both wrestlers were counted out. BOOOOOOOOOOO!

Rating: ***

Summary:  Wrong decision for this match as no title was at stake.

After the match, they continued to brawl at ringside. Race tries another piledriver, but Martel backdrops him on the floor. In the meantime, the Minneapolis faithful is NOT pleased with the outcome.

Match 9 (battle royal):

Participants: Debbie Combs, AWA Women’s champion Candi Divine, Rose Divine, Joyce Grable, Kat LeRoux, Sherri Martel, Despina Montagas, Misty Blue Simmes, Taylor Thomas, & Leona Vachon

Highlights:

  • Stu Voigt, former Minnesota Viking tight end, was the special guest referee for this match.
  • I apologize, but I don’t know half of the women involved here, the camera work stinks, and Trongard doesn’t help whatsoever.
  • As Vachon mounted the second turnbuckle, Candi tossed her down to the floor.
  • Five women remained.
  • Next, Montagas gave Combs a powerbomb.
  • After she slammed Combs, Montagas missed a knee drop.
  • Combs then eliminated Montagas.
  • Final four: Candi Divine, Debbie Combs, Sherri Martel, and Joyce Grable.
  • Martel then eliminated Combs.
  • As Martel held Divine, Grable mounted the second turnbuckle but mistakenly missile-dropkicked Martel instead of Divine.
  • Divine eliminated Grable while Martel rolled to the floor.
  • While Divine celebrated, Martel returned to eliminate Divine.
  • Martel won.

Rating: NONE

Summary:  By no means am I being misogynistic as I would say the same about a similar men’s battle royal, but this was a serious waste of time.

While Rose and Somers join her in the ring, Martel wins $50,000 as her team hoists her on their shoulders. When Resnick tries to interview her, Martel vows to regain the AWA Women’s title. Also, Rose and Somers want a chance at the AWA World tag team titles.

After the intermission, the seats opposite the hard camera begin to fill in more prominently.

Match 10 for the AWA Americas title: Sergeant Slaughter (champion) versus Kamala (w/ Skandor Akbar)

Highlights:

  • Nelson joined the broadcast table for the rest of the show.
  • As Kamala gave Slaughter a cross corner whip, he followed with an avalanche.
  • He then rammed Slaughter into the top turnbuckle almost hitting the ring post.
  • With Slaughter down on his front, Kamala splashed him.
  • Upon rolling him over, Kamala got 2.
  • He then gave Slaughter another cross corner whip that almost sent Slaughter over the top turnbuckle to the floor.
  • Shortly after, Akbar gave Kamala his whip and distracted referee Larry Lisowski. That allowed Kamala to nail Slaughter with the whip in his hand. OUCH!
  • While Kamala distracted Lisowski, Akbar nailed Slaughter off-camera. How dastardly!
  • Again, Akbar gave Kamala the whip and distracted LIsowski. Kamala then jammed it into Slaughter again.
  • Slaughter came back and delivered a dropkick.
  • Next, he slammed Kamala causing the Minneapolis faithful to EXPLODE!
  • After a back elbow, Slaughter clotheslined Kamala for 2.
  • He then hooked the Cobra Clutch as Akbar got up on the apron.
  • When he distracted Slaughter, Akbar grabbed him. Inadvertently, Kamala nailed Akbar instead of Slaughter. Oops.
  • Slaughter then clotheslined Kamala between the ropes to the floor.
  • Due to Akbar’s interference, Lisowski called for the bell to disqualify Kamala.
  • Slaughter retained.

Rating: *

Summary: Slaughter certainly woke up the slumbering crowd. Conversely, the match didn’t gel well whatsoever.

After the match, Slaughter saunters after Akbar but catches an incoming Kamala. He then grabs the whip and repeatedly nails both Akbar and Kamala with it. Following that, Nelson interviews Slaughter who brings out some kids to recite the Pledge of Allegiance.

Match 11 for the AWA World tag team titles: “Big” Scott Hall & Curt Hennig (champions) versus the Long Riders (Bill & Scott Irwin)

Highlights:

  • This was one of the rare supercard appearances of Scott Irwin due to his death in 1987.
  • As Hall received his introduction, Pro Wrestling Report honored him as their “Most Popular Wrestler” by giving him a trophy. Somewhere Bill Apter was laughing.
  • Hennig tagged in but ate a back elbow from Scott.
  • When Bill tagged in, Hennig dropkicked him.
  • He then chased Bill around and into the ring before hip-tossing him.
  • Shortly after, he gave Bill another dropkick for 2.
  • He then nailed Bill, hooked a somersault rollup, and got another 2.
  • As Bill gave Hennig a cross corner whip, he came up empty on his follow-through.
  • Hennig then gave Bill a monkey flip for 2.
  • After Scott tagged in, he slammed Hennig and taunted Hall.
  • Bill tagged in and clotheslined Hennig who celebrated with a 360° sell. Woohoo!
  • When Scott tagged in, he and Hall distracted referee Buddy Lane while Bill guillotined Hennig using the top rope.
  • Bill tagged in, slammed Hennig, mounted the second turnbuckle, but missed a double axe handle.
  • Hot tag Hall.
  • After Hall cleaned house, Hennig tagged back in and dropkicked Bill.
  • All four wrestlers were in the ring.
  • While Hall and Scott distracted Lane, Bill tossed Hennig over the top rope to the floor. Nefarious!
  • Hall then slammed Bill, but Scott tossed him between the ropes to the floor.
  • Simultaneously, Hennig mounted the top turnbuckle and hit a missile dropkick on Bill.
  • 1-2-3.
  • Hall and Hennig retained as the Minneapolis faithful EXPLODED again.

Rating: ***

Summary: Hennig worked his butt off to make the Long Riders credible threats; yet, Hall showed his lack of experience quite often.

After the match, Scott re-enters the ring and clobbers Hennig and Hall in their heads with a motorcycle boot.

Nelson then interviews the champions at ringside. While Hennig acknowledges that the boot is loaded, he still wants to fight the Long Riders no matter what the stipulations are.

At ringside, Resnick interviews a focused LeDoux who wants to tear Zbyszko apart.

Match 12 (European rules): The “Living Legend” Larry Zbyszko (w/ Ninja Go) versus referee Scott LeDoux (w/ Bob Lurtsema)

Highlights:

ROUND ONE:

  • This match was scheduled for ten rounds at two minutes each with a sixty second rest period between rounds.
  • Larry “The Axe” Hennig was the special guest referee for this match.
  • For those unaware, LeDoux was a retired professional boxer “hired” as a troubleshooting referee thanks to the chaotic behavior of Zbyszko.
  • Instead of boxing gloves, each fighter wore 4 oz. Karate gloves.
  • LeDoux hooked a full nelson, but as Zbyszko escaped, LeDoux nailed him in the mush.
  • As you would expect, Zbyszko began to stall.
  • Upon his return, Zbyszko took LeDoux down but couldn’t turn him over for a pin.

ROUND TWO:

  • Zbyszko hit a spinning thrust kick and took LeDoux down to the mat.
  • With Zbyszko on his back, LeDoux rose to his feet and backed him into the corner.
  • He then gave Zbyszko a series of elbows to the ribs, but Zbyszko ducked a haymaker.
  • After Zbyszko took LeDoux down with an arm drag and held an armbar, LeDoux punched his way out of it.
  • When LeDoux’s left glove fell off, Hennig placed it back on LeDoux’s hand.
  • Zbyszko then landed a flurry of punches before slamming LeDoux.
  • As the bell rang, LeDoux looked the worse for wear.

ROUND THREE:

  • Zbyszko then delivered a shoulder breaker, landed another flurry, and followed with a second spinning thrust kick.
  • While implementing the strategy of a thumb into LeDoux’s left eye, Zbyszko carried this round.

ROUND FOUR:

  • When Zbyszko missed a third thrust kick, LeDoux landed a jab, grabbed a headlock, and nailed him.
  • He then worked Zbyszko over and rammed him into the top turnbuckle.
  • After a slam, LeDoux took control as only the ropes saved Zbyszko.
  • LeDoux then HAMMERED Zbyszko with a right cross.
  • As the bell rang, Zbyszko remained on the mat.

ROUND FIVE:

  • As the round began, Zbyszko sought refuge on the floor, but LeDoux followed him.
  • Zbyszko then made LeDoux HIT THE POLE.
  • Hennig then stopped the match disqualifying Zbyszko.

Rating: NONE

Summary: This was eons better than the boxing match at WrestleMania 2 since it looked more legitimate and not cartoonish.

After the bout, LeDoux saunters after Zbyszko until Ninja Go nails him from behind. Hennig steps in to even the odds. In the meantime, Zbyszko repeatedly WALLOPS LeDoux with nunchucks. Suddenly, Hennig CREAMS Zbyszko sending him between the ropes to the floor.

Nelson then interviews an injured LeDoux who’s ready for “next time.”

Match 13 for the AWA World title: Stan “The Lariat” Hansen (champion) versus Nick Bockwinkel

Highlights:

  • As Hansen made his entrance, he beat up Nelson instead of accepting an interview. Now THAT’S a heel!
  • He then tossed Bockwinkel outside the ring and pummeled him.
  • Back in the ring, Bockwinkel gave Hansen a cross corner whip but caught a boot to the midsection during his follow-through.
  • Hansen then delivered a back elbow followed by an elbow drop for 2.
  • As you might expect, Nelson couldn’t be impartial during his commentary.
  • After a slam, Hansen hit a knee drop for another 2.
  • Bockwinkel then hooked a sunset flip for 2 as he knocked down the ringside cameraman. LOOK OUT BELOW!
  • Shortly after, Hansen delivered an elbow drop for 2.
  • Bockwinkel then reversed a cross corner whip and hooked a sleeper.
  • When Hansen made the ropes, he dumped Bockwinkel between them to the floor.
  • Hansen then joined and rammed Bockwinkel face-first into the steps.
  • Back in the ring, Hansen guillotined Bockwinkel using the top rope for 2.
  • After Bockwinkel blocked a vertical suplex, he delivered one of his own for 2.
  • Hansen came back with a backbreaker for a 1-count.
  • As Bockwinkel reversed an Irish whip, he gave Hansen a back drop for 2.
  • He then slammed Hansen for another 2.
  • When he slammed Hansen a second time, referee Steve Olsonoski got nailed.
  • Due to Olsonoski being OUT COLD, Bockwinkel earned a false pin.
  • He then hit a cross body block while gaining a second false pin.
  • After Bockwinkel delivered a dropkick, he piledrove Hansen.
  • Do we have a new champion?
  • Nope, Olsonoski still wasn’t available to count. D’oh!
  • Hansen then backdropped Bockwinkel over the top rope.
  • Seeing that, Olsonoski called for the bell disqualifying Hansen.
  • Hansen retained.
  • BOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!

Rating: ***

Summary: Considering what happened on 6/29/86, a title change should have occurred here.

After the match, they brawl until Hansen heads outside to toss a chair into the ring.

Nelson then interviews Bockwinkel at ringside.

Match 14 (cage): King Kong Brody & Nord the Barbarian (w/ Adnan Al-Kaissie) versus “Superfly” Jimmy Snuka & Greg Gagne (w/ Verne Gagne)

Highlights:

  • If Snuka and Greg win, Verne receives ten minutes in the cage with Al-Kaissie.
  • Snuka replaced Jerry Blackwell. Whew! We dodged a bullet here.
  • After Greg gave Brody a cross corner whip, he ate a furry boot on his follow-through.
  • Nord tagged in but missed a knee drop to Greg.
  • As Snuka tagged in, Brody leap-frogged him and delivered a big boot.
  • Snuka then leap-frogged Brody twice and chopped him down to the mat.
  • Next, he mounted the second turnbuckle and hit a fist drop for 2.
  • Nord tagged in and delivered a vertical suplex for 2.
  • When Greg tagged in, he mounted the top turnbuckle and lowered the boom on Nord.
  • With help from Brody, Nord came back with a backbreaker on Greg.
  • Brody tagged in and rammed Greg face-first into the cage.
  • After Brody rammed him a second time, Greg was BUSTED OPEN.
  • Brody then delivered a piledriver but only got 2.
  • As Nord tagged in, Greg gave him a series of kicks.
  • He then reversed an Irish whip sending Nord face-first into the cage.
  • When tags were exchanged on both sides, Snuka rammed Brody into the cage.
  • Brody was BUSTED OPEN!
  • After a slam, Snuka mounted the top turnbuckle and hit a diving head butt for 2.
  • Nord then stormed into the ring and rammed Snuka back-first into a neutral corner.
  • Upon ramming Snuka into the opposite corner, Nord tagged in, and the heels double-teamed Snuka.
  • With all four wrestlers in the ring, the babyfaces reversed cross corner whips sending the heels into each other.
  • They then gave Nord a double dropkick followed by a double vertical suplex.
  • While Greg held Nord, Snuka mounted the top turnbuckle but inadvertently head-butted Greg.
  • Nord then clotheslined Snuka and held him.
  • As Brody delivered a dropkick, he mistakenly got Nord.
  • Snuka then pinned Nord.
  • While Snuka and Greg won, Verne earned ten minutes with Al-Kaissie.

Rating: ****

Summary: Bloody cage match where Snuka and Brody did the heavy lifting to a climactic finish that the Minneapolis faithful ate up with a spoon.

After the match, all four wrestlers brawl all the way back to the locker room. Verne then grabs Al-Kaissie and rams him face-first into the cage before tossing him inside.

Match 15 (cage): Verne Gagne versus Sheik Adnan Al-Kaissie

Highlights:

  • When Al-Kaissie tried to retreat, he was already BUSTED OPEN.
  • Verne then joined him on the top turnbuckle and nailed him.
  • As he removed Al-Kaissie’s gun belt, Verne whipped him with it.
  • Verne then gave Al-Kaissie an Irish whip followed by a chop.
  • After a knee drop, Verne got 2.
  • He then gave Al-Kaissie a back drop and hooked a sleeper.
  • When Al-Kaissie escaped, he slammed Verne for 2.
  • Verne then hooked an inside cradle.
  • 1-2-3.
  • Verne won.

Rating: *1/2

Summary: Just a brawl for Verne to settle the score with Al-Kaissie.

After the match, Verne continues to punish Al-Kaissie by ramming him again into the cage before booting him out.

Nelson then interviews Verne at ringside who believes that “this is (his) last (match).”

Match 16: The Road Warriors (w/ “Precious” Paul Ellering) versus the Freebirds

Highlights:

  • Immediately, Hayes gave Hawk a piledriver who no-sold it.
  • Hawk then hit a dropkick followed by a flying shoulder block.
  • Next, he rammed Hayes face-first into the cage.
  • As you would expect, Hayes was BUSTED OPEN.
  • Hawk then gave Hayes a military press slam and a fist drop.
  • When Garvin refused the tag, Hawk made Hayes pay the price with another shot to the cage.
  • Hayes then climbed the turnbuckles to exit the cage, but Hawk met him atop the top turnbuckle.
  • As Hawk head-butted him down to the mat, he splashed Hayes for 2.
  • A reluctant Garvin tagged in, but Hawk hooked him in an over-the-shoulder backbreaker and dropped to his knees.
  • After a leg drop by Hawk, Animal tagged in and powerslammed Garvin for 2.
  • He then pressed Garvin overhead numerous times before dropping him like an Amatol bomb over Berlin in 1944.
  • When Hayes refused the tag, he distracted referee Marty Miller so that Garvin could punt Animal down near the Wisconsin Dells.
  • Not THAT kind of Dell!
  • Nevertheless, Hayes tagged in, but Animal reversed an Irish whip and delivered a back elbow.
  • Shortly after, Hayes tagged in, mounted the second turnbuckle, and lowered the boom on Hawk.
  • He then hooked Dusty Rhodes’ version of a figure-four leg lock, but Hawk reversed it.
  • As Hayes attempted a vertical suplex, Hawk blocked and hooked one of his own.
  • Tags were exchanged on both sides, and all four wrestlers were in the ring.
  • After Animal whipped Garvin into a back elbow by Hawk, Hayes pulled brass knuckles out of his boot, mounted the top turnbuckle, but nailed Garvin instead of Animal.
  • Animal then pinned Garvin.
  • The Road Warriors won.

Rating: **1/2

Summary: Solid tag match where heel miscommunication enabled the babyfaces to snatch the victory.

After the match, Hawk rams Hayes into the cage again, grabs the brass knuckles, and WALLOPS him. He then mounts the second turnbuckle and nails Hayes again.

Conclusion: At four hours, this was definitely more of a marathon than a sprint. In this case, it was a good marathon because this is the best supershow the AWA ever produced.

Keep in mind that WWF WrestleMania II took place on 4/2, and NWA Crockett Cup ’86 occurred the previous day. With those shows all within a three-week span, getting over 20,000 people to the Metrodome was a remarkable feat for the AWA.

Why couldn’t the AWA follow-up this show with anything worthwhile? Let’s see…

First, aside from a joint promotional show on 4/28, the Road Warriors left the AWA for Jim Crockett Promotions. Second, the aforementioned Stan Hansen incident giving Bockwinkel the AWA World title didn’t sit well with wrestling fans. Third, Rick Martel, Sherri Martel, and Larry Zbyszko all left for either JCP or the WWF. Fourth, Scott Hall, a native Floridian, felt the weather in Minnesota was too cold and the AWA was a sinking ship despite Verne Gagne’s belief that Hall was the next big thing.

Regardless, with Midnight Rockers-Rose/Somers, the Fabulous Ones-Rotunda/Windham, and the Brody/Nord-Snuka/Gagne matches, this show is a colossal thumbs-up from me.

Stay tuned for WWF Summerslam ’91!

Buyrate: NONE

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