The SmarK Rant for WWE Network Hidden Gems – Georgia Championship Wrestling at the Omni – 12.04.83
(Hey youse guys, you get a second rant this morning because I wrote this on the weekend to have something banked for later. However, with NWA Powerrr, AEW Dark (yeah I’m gonna review that too, wanna fight about it?), Dynamite and Smackdown all coming up this week, I’m pretty packed for content as it is and I don’t know when this would get posted. So let’s just post it now! )
Wait, where the hell did THIS come from? I don’t even remember this getting added to the Gems collection but it’s just sitting there now, mocking me for never watching it this whole time.
Taped from Atlanta, GA. As usual with this stuff, no commentary present. Things were not great at this point and this show only drew 1900 people to the Omni.
We get a shot of the jumbotron board at the start of the show, which lays out the upcoming card. And it looks like a corker!
Bob Roop v. Mike Jackson
The board introduces him as “5 Scoop Roop”, which seems a bit judgmental. Or was he actually using that nickname? Jackson controls with a headlock to start and offers a handshake after a clean break on the ropes, but Roop just scowls at him. What a grumpy-pants. Roop takes him down with a wristlock and overpowers him with shoulderblocks, but Jackson counters one of them with the headlock again and regains control. Jackson was such a smooth and underappreciated technician. Roop escapes with a back suplex, but Jackson just calmly takes him down with the headlock again and squeezes away. Finally Roop runs him into the turnbuckle to escape and hits a lariat for two. Roop slugs away in the corner , but Jackson fights back, so Roop goes to the eyes. Jackson keeps fighting with a dropkick and hits a hooking clothesline for two, but tries a big splash and lands on Roop’s knees. And the shoulderbreaker finishes it off for Roop at 5:54. Good little opener. **1/2
Chic Donovan v. Johnny Rich
Chic is a guy where I know the name but haven’t ever seen him wrestle as far I can remember. Far as I’ve ever heard, he was a Buddy Landel clone looks-wise, but without the promo ability or in ring ability. Which doesn’t leave much. Apparently he’s still working indies at 70 years old, too. Donovan stalls outside the ring to start and then gets a hammerlock in the ring, but Rich makes the ropes. Rich works the arm in turn with a wristlock, but Donovan backs off to the ropes. “Go back to the chicken coop!” yells some redneck. Spicy! They fight over a wristlock and Rich wins that battle before switching to a headlock as this match is going NOWHERE, and a rollup gets two. Small package gets two. Chic goes to the nuggets behind the ref’s back to take over and slugs away in the corner. Rich makes the comeback, but Chic gets a clothesline for two. Rich fires up again and Chic goes to the giblets again and drops a leg for two. This guy has NOTHING in the ring. Rich comes back with a bodypress for two and slugs Chic down for two, but this time Chic goes to the eyes, so Rich gets a small package to finish at 10:12. Donovan had the bodybuilder look but could barely move around in the ring and had nothing but simple stuff for a moveset. *
Ronnie Garvin v. Cy Jernigan
I’m not familiar with Cy, but I doubt he was anyone. Probably just one of the numerous journeymen who hung around Georgia. Ronnie takes him down a couple of times and they jostle in the corner for position, and Garvin takes him down and works an armbar. They’re both similarly sized guys with shaggy blond hair and the same color trunks, so it’s actually kind of a challenge to tell them apart without looking at the monograms on the boots. Jernigan gets some cheap knees in the corner and goes to a chinlock, then runs Garvin into the corner, but HANDS OF STONE finishes at 4:42. Nothing to this one. ½*
World TV title: Jake the Snake Roberts v. Pistol Pez Whatley
As per usual, only the first 10:00 of the match is for the title, so it gives the challenger some urgency. Which is why it’s so dumb that Pez waits until the bell rings and THEN cuts a promo on Paul Ellering. You just wasted the first minute of the match, dummy! So for those not aware, Ellering was managing Jake Roberts, the Road Warriors and King Kong Bundy in Georgia, and that group was collectively known as The Legion of Doom. So once Paul got down to just managing the Warriors later on, the LOD moniker stuck with them and became another name for the Road Warriors specifically.
Pez wants a show of fisticuffs as Jake wisely just backs off and runs down the clock, then takes him down with a snapmare for two. Pez gets some offense and Jake runs away and use up more time, and then gets an elbow in the corner on the way back in. Pez runs him into the corner and Jake takes his time and walks it off, and then Pez goes to an armbar and gets a slam for two. And then he lets Jake just leave the ring again and burn more time off the clock. And Jake stalls and stalls before heading back in, where Pez gets a backdrop for two. And then Jakes slides out again and uses up more time. Man, Pez has no one to blame but himself for this shoddy time management. Jake heads back in and Pez whips him into the corner and tries a Boston crab, but Jake quickly makes the ropes. Jake gets a cheapshot, but Pez gets another simple slam and gets two. Pez finally gets a flying headbutt, but Ellering pulls him off at two and Pez stupidly chases him until the 10:00 title match portion expires, so now it’s non-title. Well, Pez, you’re officially a moron.
So the match continues and now Jake is free to let loose and chokes away on the ropes, then tosses Whatley and allows Ellering to get his shots in. Jake slugs him off the apron and then chokes him on the way back in, and he beats on the big dummy with a kneelift. Pez fights back with headbutts and Jake does a great facefirst bump to sell it, and that gets two. Pez goes to the chinlock and gets two off that, and he holds it for a couple of minutes until Jake manages to convince the ref that tights are being held illegally. Pez goes over to yell at Ellering again and Jake kicks him in the kidneys because Pez is just the dumbest son of a bitch ever. Elbowdrop gets two for Jake. He wraps up Pez with a crucifix pin for two and holds him on the mat like that for a while and they do a nice little battle over that and go back and forth. Pez comes back with an abdominal stretch and they collide on a shouderblock and just kind of lay there on the mat working for an armbar, but Jake slugs away in the corner to take over again. Ellering gets a shot from the outside for good measure, and Jake gets a back suplex, but then tries a slam and Pez falls on top for two. Jake bails for a word with Ellering, but Pez chases him and brings a chair into the ring like a complete dumbshit. So Jake necknsaps him while the ref takes the chair, but Pez finally makes a comeback with about 2:00 left in the match and ties up Jake in the ropes. Pez slugs away and then decides to chase after Ellering again for some stupid reason, but this just allows Jake to free himself and clobber Whatley from behind. Pez reverses a suplex for two, but misses an elbow, and so does Jake, but Pez gets a nice dropkick for two. Another dropkick gets two and time expires at 30:00. This had moments, mostly after the initial 10:00 expired, but overall wasn’t worth sitting through and was just a lot of chinlocks and armbars and Pez being the stupidest human being alive. **
Georgia National title: Ted Dibiase v. Buzz Sawyer
Now this is what I’m looking for. Dibiase mockingly slaps the doo rag off Buzz’s head and then runs away, but Buzz chases and kicks his ass in the front row while the stunt grannies applaud like crazy. Back in, Buzz takes him down and slugs him out of the ring again, and Dibiase thinks it over out there. Back in again, and Buzz does the Roman Reigns “AAAAAAAAAWOOOOOO!” pose as the grannies go nuts. Buzz takes him down with a shoulderblock and Dibiase bails again and complains to the ref and the front row, unable to get anything going against the nutcase. Back in, Dibiase finally catches him with a cheapshot and pounds him down to take over, but Buzz gets fired up and bites him on the ropes before choking him out in the corner. Buzz goes to the chinlock and gets two and then hangs onto it for a LONG time. Finally Dibiase runs him into the corner to break and slugs away on the ropes, then drops the fist for two. Middle rope elbow gets two. Clothesline gets two. They fight over a suplex and Buzz wins that one, but they collide against the ropes for the double down. They fight to the floor as Sawyer has managed to get busted open at some point, and Dibiase gets rammed headfirst into the table at ringside and it’s a double DQ at 15:50. This started with a lot of promise but was pretty boring. *1/2
Georgia National tag team titles: The Road Warriors v. Brett Wayne Sawyer & A Mystery Partner
The Warriors decide not to wait and hear the announcement, so they attack Brett before the bell, but Buzz Sawyer comes out again to save and he’s the mystery man, apparently. There’s a funny story with this feud from the very first Observers, as Buzz Sawyer was named the booker of the territory and decided to just start beating the Road Warriors night after night for the tag titles around the horn, without clearing it with anyone first. And the Warriors were so green that they didn’t know any better and just went along with it. Finally the people above him had enough of his shit and fired him in January and the Warriors just got the belts back again one week. Apparently none of this was ever explained or acknowledged on TV at all. And then people were like “Gee, why did this company go out of business six months later?” The Sawyers clean house and Buzz manhandles both Warriors in the ring and works on Hawk’s arm. Animal comes in and tries to get some heat on Buzz, but Brett cuts him off with a forearm off the top. Finally the Warriors trap Brett in the corner and get heat on him as Animal goes to a backbreaker submission and adds a press slam. Hawk gets a bearhug and holds that for a bit, but then Buzz tags himself in and slams Brett onto Animal for the pin and the titles at 11:30. This was the one that ended up getting officially recognized, by the way. This was total horseshit and Buzz completely went out of his way to expose the Warriors and make them look foolish. *
NWA World title: Ric Flair v. Tommy Rich
Going back to the original Observer in 1984 again, Dave notes at the time that attendance for this show was so low because they had previously booked a title match with Harley Race against Tommy Rich, and then Race no-showed with no explanation to the fans and they never got a title match. So, Dave notes, who is to say that Flair wouldn’t have done the same thing? Flair was of course fresh off winning his third NWA World title from Harley Race at the first Starrcade. They do the feeling out and Rich gets a small package for two and goes to a headlock and abdominal stretch, but Flair elbows out of it and so Rich drops an elbow for two and goes to the chinlock. Flair escapes and pounds away in the corner, but Rich reverses to a sleeper. Flair escapes that and Rich misses an elbow, allowing Ric to take over with a butterfly suplex for two. Flair goes to the Boston crab, but Rich reverses out and headbutts Flair into a backslide for two. Rich grabs a headlock and Flair escapes with a back suplex and tosses him, then runs him into the apron a few times to work the back. Back in, Flair gets a suplex back into the ring for two and goes to work on the neck. Piledriver gets two. Flair gets another two count by using the ropes, drawing MEGA heat until the clueless ref catches him and breaks it up. Flair gives him the Zeus necksnaps and gets two, but misses an elbow and Rich makes a comeback. Rich whips him into the corner and slugs away, which gives us a Flair Flop. Tommy elbows him down for two, but Flair gets a questionable knee, so Rich gets a sunset flip for two. Flair puts him down again with a chop for two and works on the knee to set up the figure-four. Rich manages to reverse that, but Flair goes up and Tommy slams him off to make the comeback. He slugs away in the corner to set up a Flair Flip, which leaves Ric hanging upside down in the corner, but he manages to toss Rich and they fight on the floor. Flair meets the ringpost and he’s busted open, allowing Tommy to go for the kill in the ring. Flair bails to escape, however, and grabs the title belt, then hits Rich with it behind the ref’s back and falls on top to retain at 24:38. Usual Flair match, kind of a shitty finish to a shitty show. ***1/4
While I’m a strong proponent of more GCW on the Network, this one is a definite pass outside of being a lesson in how NOT to book the hottest tag team in the sport.