The SmarK Rant for AWA Super Sunday – 04.24.83
This is a relatively famous show, more for the finish than anything on it.
Taped from St. Paul, MN
Your host is Rod Trongaard.
Rocky Stone v. Brad Rheingans
Rod is promising us numerous scientific moves, and some roughness as well. Quite the opener! Rheingans works an armbar for the science portion of our show, but Stone elbows out for the roughness. HOW DID THEY KNOW? Stone blocks a leapfrog with an elbow to the ribs, and takes over with a vicious chinlock. The crowd, unappreciative of the promised mix of science and roughness, yells that the match is boring. Mean Gene announces 5:00 at the 4:00 mark, so obviously there’s some kind of time dilation going on due to all the science and whatnot. Stone pounds away, but Brad makes the comeback with dropkicks and a gut wrench to finish at 6:52. Gene announces it as 9:34, so obviously they need a better stopwatch manufacturer. ½*
Buck Zumhofe v. Steve Regal
These two feuded FOREVER from 83-85, with Dave complaining about it weekly in the Observers at the time. They trade hammerlocks and Zumhofe wins that battle with a monkey flip, but Regal slugs away and takes over with a hiptoss. Regal with an armbar as Gene announces 5:00, this time only at 3:30 in, so by the main event we’ll be doing 60:00 broadways right after the lockup at the rate we’re going. Regal pounds away with nothing special and goes to various chinlocks, but Zumhofe makes his appointed comeback with dropkicks, just like the first match. Gene announces 10:00 at the 7:00 mark. Regal cuts off the comeback with a knee out of the corner, but Buck finishes with a pump splash at 8:23. This was basically exactly the same as the opener, with the babyface selling forever and then making a quick comeback for the win. At least it was a bit more energetic. *1/2
Jerry Lawler v. John Tolos
Well this is random. Lawler was just on Letterman, so it’s as good a time to cash in on him as any. Tolos (who would later manage Mr. Perfect as “Coach” in one of the worst gimmicks ever) attacks before the bell and goes to work on the arm. Lawler does a cute bit where he grinds on a headlock and the crowd counts along. Except the dynamic is all wacky here because Lawler was a total heel on Letterman, but here he’s a babyface. Tolos with a sunset flip for two, but they collide and Tolos accidentally punches him over the top at 5:10 for the DQ. But then the ref just changes his mind and the match continues anyway. Tolos with a kneedrop for two, but Lawler makes his comeback while Tolos does clownish selling. Like really over the top ridiculous. Tolos misses a kneedrop and Lawler finishes him with the piledriver at 7:55. Kind of a mess, but the crowd was really into it by the end. **
Women’s tag team title: Wendi Richter & Joyce Grable v. Judy Martin & Velvet McIntyre
Richter & Grable are the “Texas Cowgirls” and playing heel at this point. Richter tosses Velvet around to start, but misses a charge and lands on the floor in a pretty dangerous spot for a women’s match in 1983. Richter was pretty new to the business at this point, having been trained by Grable a few months prior while they took this tag match on the road all over. Martin & McIntyre control Richter with armbars, but Grable comes in and works Velvet over with the dreaded hairtosses. I don’t know who would look at hulking Richter at this point and see top babyface, but I guess Vince did. She does seem like a much more natural heel. The Cowgirls work over Judy Martin in the corner FOREVER, but Velvet gets the hot tag and the heels collide. Cute spot as everyone tries a splash and misses and then they just go back to the heat on Velvet again. Richter puts her in a body vice and Velvet gets doubleteamed with the backdrop-powerbomb combo that the Faces of Fear would later use, and that’s enough to finish at 13:28. Yeah, that’s a powerbomb in 1983, baby. Typical women’s match for the time. *1/2
Dizzy Ed Boulder v. Wahoo McDaniel
Geez, Brutus is pretty much unrecognizable here with bleached blond mullet and pornstache. You can see how Vince would immediately jump on him, since the steroid needle is practically hanging out of his ass-cheeks here. Jerry Lawler joins us on commentary to immediately improve the entertainment value of the show while Wahoo works the arm. Rod notes that Wahoo does NOT “stand still for any shenanigans”, so you know business is about to pick up. For my liking, I appreciate some shenanigans here and there. Boulder comes back with his staggering array of forearms and kneedrops as he is just the dirt WORST at this point. Lawler, unfortunately, is playing it completely straight as the humble babyface on commentary instead of being Jerry Lawler. I was hoping for at least one indian joke. Boulder manages to hang Wahoo in the corner and now switches to working on the leg, which Wahoo ignores anyway. Wahoo throws some chops as the crowd is just having this match at all. Wahoo with more chops to finish at 7:00. He had NOTHING to work with here. DUD
Jesse Ventura, Ken Patera & Blackjack Lanza v. Greg Gagne, Jim Brunzell & Rick Martel
Patera tries to overpower Martel to start, but Rick controls him with armdrags and Brunzell gets an atomic drop for two. Over to the Body, and he gets triple-teamed in the babyface corner, but Groovy Greg comes in and gets beat up by the heels. Martel comes in with a dropkick on Lanza for two while Jesse gets pulled into the ring while trying to make the tag. Can’t say Jesse wouldn’t let himself look silly to get over. Patera drops an elbow on Brunzell for two and the heels go to work on him. It’s MAYHEM IN MINNESOTA as the heels all collide and Gagne gets the sleeper on Patera, but Gagne gets the heat again as the match slows down. Jesse with an atomic drop for two. We get the false tag as the heels switch off with bearhugs on Greg, but he fights free on Lanza and makes the hot tag to Martel. Martel fires away with dropkicks, but misses a third one and Patera comes in with an elbow for two and a suplex for two. Martel fights back, but the heels cut off the tag again until it’s finally hot tag Brunzell. Figure-four on Lanza, but it’s breaking loose in Tulsa again. The ref has ZERO control here, and Patera manages to pin Brunzell in the confusion at 16:00. Apparently some sort of international object was involved, but we never saw it on camera and Trongaard is no help in clarifying things. Decent match with good heat. **1/2
AWA World title: Nick Bockwinkel v. Hulk Hogan
The crowd reaction for Hogan’s entrance is just insane, with the crowd so loud that Trongaard can barely hear himself talk. Popular lore for this match, which I believe got carried into the Official WWE History as well, is that Verne was dangling the carrot of the World title at Hulk to entice him into staying, only to rip it away and force him to go to the waiting arms of the WWF to live out his dream. Of course, reality is closer to the exact opposite, as Verne repeatedly offered Hulk the belt and was turned down because Hulk didn’t want to give up all his Japan dates to tour for Verne. In the end, neither guy came out of it looking particularly good. Trongaard tells a story about how Bockwinkel demanded SUCH a high fee for taking the match that Wally Karbo was FORCED, forced I say, to increase ticket prices for the show tonight. Bockwinkel stalls and runs away for 5:00 until Hogan finally gets a hold of him and slams him for two, but Bockwinkel knees him in the ribs to take over and goes to a facelock on the mat. Hogan powers out and makes a comeback, and he’s somehow blown up despite doing maybe three moves over the entire 10:00 thus far. Lariat and elbowdrop get two. Shoulderbreaker gets two. Bockwinkel cuts him off, so Hulk does the big Hogan routine and gets a powerslam for two. The big stinky Giant-killing legdrop misses as the crowd size has now magically risen from 20,000 to 25,000 via Trongaard. Hulk comes back again with the big boot and Axe Bomber for two as referee Lord Blears just stops counting for whatever reason. Hulk misses a charge and Bockwinkel gets the sleeper in as awkward a fashion as possible, but Hogan flips out of it and the ref is bumped. The crowd immediately knows what’s going on and starting booing, as Hogan tosses Bockwinkel over the top and goes to revive Blears. Back in with the legdrop to finish at 18:11 as Hogan has apparently won the AWA title. The crowd goes INSANE for this. However, Stanley Blackburn immediately overturns the decision because saw Hogan throw Bockwinkel over the top, and the ring is immediately drenched in garbage as a result. Once in a while is OK, but Verne started doing this finish over and OVER all year until Hulk just left. And then he kept advertising the match well after Hogan was gone! *1/2
Verne Gagne & Mad Dog Vachon v. Sheik Adnan El-Kaissey & Jerry Blackwell
Verne came out of retirement for this, again, and he attacks the heels and backdrops Blackwell for two. The faces double-team Blackwell in the corner while James Blears completely stooges out Stanley Blackburn on commentary and puts all the heat for the Dusty Finish onto him. Meanwhile Vachon gets the heat here as he manages to get himself busted open until Verne Gagne just can’t take it any longer and hits people with a chair. Vachon no-sells all of Adnan’s offense, but Blackwell gets a powerslam for two. Hot tag Gagne, but Blackwell powerslams him as well and gets two. Blackwell misses the splash and Gagne gets the sleeper, but Adnan tries to break it up and Blackwell gets knocked out with Adnan’s cast as a result. The babyfaces rip off the cast and double-team the arm until Verne pins Adnan at 12:30. The storyline for the match, by the way, is that Verne wants to beat up the heels so badly that they will be unable to challenge the High Flyers for the tag titles. So…yay? *
The show did well at the time, but there’s absolutely nothing here for modern fans. Take a pass and watch the Hogan match on one of the numerous DVD sets where it’s included.