The SmarK Rant for WWE Network Hidden Gems (and Other Stuff)–12.18.18

The SmarK Rant for WWE Network Hidden Gems – 12.18.18

Damn! Although Andy PG already claimed Christmas Star Wars, there’s been no shortage of awesome added in the past few days. So let’s check out some classic Christmas night matches from the AWA in 1981 as a part of the WWE Network’s 12 Days of Hidden Gems!

AWA Christmas Night 1981

So this whole deal appears to be edited down from an episode of AWA All Star Wrestling, with 3 matches from the Christmas night show. Which again raises the question of why they don’t put more AWA on the Network if they’ve got all these classic TV episodes.

Kenny Jay v. Rene Goulet

We’re joined in progress as Goulet controls Jay on the ground with a wristlock and the crowd thinks this is more boring than Dean Ambrose v. Seth Rollins. No, wait, that’s unfair to these guys. Jay works a toehold in response, but Goulet makes the ropes, so Jay yanks him back and gets a stepover toehold this time. We get some comedy with Goulet haplessly trying to escape this simple hold and failing. Finally he escapes with a back elbow and drops a knee off the middle rope for the pin at 5:50 aired. It was a match. 0 for 1.

Curt Hennig v. Evan Johnson

Obviously this is very early in the career of Hennig, as he was a very green rookie. The announcer talks about how both guys could be candidates for Rookie of the Year, but obviously only one of them fulfilled that potential. Hennig works an armbar FOREVER and about the only notable thing is that the referee is George “Scrap Iron” Gadaski, who worked with Ric Flair in Flair’s debut match. Johnson gets a pair of slams for two and Hennig gets all worked up and they tussle on the ropes but time is running out and it’s obvious where we’re headed. Hennig gets a pair of rollups for two and an atomic drop for two. Snapmare gets two. The Ax clothesline gets two and time expires at 10:00 aired. This ended up with some OK action. 1 for 2. Apparently Evan Johnson, a former Olympic wrestling hopeful and Verne project, called it quits soon into 1982 and became a referee instead.

Jim Brunzell & Greg Gagne v. Jerry Blackwell & Sheik Adnan El-Kaissie

Groovy Greg gets Blackwell down for two and the High Flyers double-team him in their corner and this announcer is so cornball. “There’s a Hey How Are Ya from the High Flyers!” he declares as they hit Blackwell with a punch. Adnan comes in and Gagne takes him down with hammerlock and the announcer says Greg “makes him eat the canvas without salt and pepper!” The Flyers continue working the Sheik’s arm and the heat for this actually pretty insane. Blackwell comes in and drops a nasty elbow on Greg, but misses a splash. Greg heads to the corner to rest and Blackwell hits him with a corner splash, but misses a running splash and Brunzell gets a cheapshot from the apron and then goes after Adnan on the other side. However, this allows Blackwell to hurl Greg over the top behind the ref’s back. Adnan beats on him out there and it’s back in for more abuse as the heels cut off the ring and we get the false tag for even more heat on the heels. Blackwell gets a bearhug and Greg escapes with a double chop, but Adnan cuts him off and puts him in his own bearhug. Greg finally fights back on Blackwell and it’s hot tag Brunzell, as he unleashes dropkicks of fury on the heels and Greg comes back in with a flying kneedrop onto Adnan’s leg, which sets up Brunzell for a figure-four on Adnan. Blackwell breaks that up with a splash and puts Adnan on top for the pin at 12:13. Well that’s kind of a bummer on Christmas. Hell of a tag match, though. 2 for 3.

Hey, for half an hour, this was mostly worth checking out.

But now for the REAL main event…

The Edge & Christian Show S2 E04 – “Straight Outta Greenwich”

­­­So we start with Jeff Jarrett ready for an appearance on the show, but his contract expired the day before and he won’t do it unless he’s paid up front, because he just signed a deal with Southpaw Regional Wrestling, where Vince Russo is the head writer and he can really make an IMPACT.


Our heroes try to dine at a fancy French restaurant in Greenwich, but the snooty waiter doesn’t serve Molson and throws them out with the help of “a group of Harvey Wipplemans”. Obviously they’re gonna need some help.

INTERLUDE: Becky Lynch hosts the Save a Heel network, where you can send $20 a month to make lives of bad guys better and improve conditions for them everywhere. 1-800- Save-A-Heel.

Heath Slater is on the Maury Povich Show, standing accused of “hitting his finisher on his opponent before tagging out…in the bedroom.” He faces a series of women bearing babies for him, and the DNA evidence doesn’t lie. He’s got kids!

INTERLUDE: New and Improved Wrestling Buddies, fully posable and life-sized. So you can watch PPV with them while your wife binges another boring show on Netflix.

Back to the boys, as they go camping and run into Woken Matt Hardy in the woods, which turns out to be the Hardy Compound. Christian: “We know Edge has intruded on your property before. Boom!” Spicy! So Matt reads them “Goodnight Moon” in his own manner. “Goodnight, Mr. Nordholm.”

E&C journey to the Greenwich Library in their quest to be more learned nerds, and they run into Pete Gas, who unfortunately doesn’t have Rodney’s number. So it’s time for a makeover! “Christian, you look like a backup dancer for NSYNC.” “Thank you!” So it’s overly tight sweater vests and dance lessons.

Chumpstain Challenge #4! – “Who Dat?”

The boys try to guess the names of classic Survivor Series teams. First up, Christian blanks on Doink’s team from Survivor Series 94. Edge whiffs on Roddie’s Rowdies. Christian misses the 4x4s. Edge can’t even hazard a guess at the Teamsters. Finally Christian gets a point with Rated RKO. Edge misses the Royal Family, and Christian wraps it up with Rude’s Brood to even up the Challenge overall 2-2.

INTERLUDE: Jeff Jarrett teaches spelling to the Conquistadors. This gives us the most amazing throwaway gag of the show…


The “ha ha” randomly thrown into the middle KILLED me. Sadly, they confuse their teacher with Dean Douglas and get an F as a result.

E&C get to try out their new personas as Greenwich losers, meeting with the mysterious big boss rich kid. I’m sure you can all guess what the payoff is here. And of course we can only wrap up the transformation with a hip hop video. Edge has got more vests than Sunny’s got court dates! Edge rapping is…something.

Kind of a weaker episode this time, but Jeff Jarrett manages to steal the show, which is something you don’t see every day.