The SmarK 24/7 Rant for AWA SuperClash ’85 (September 28 1985)
– For some reason the full show didn’t appear on Sasktel until yesterday’s update, so I’ve been holding off until now. But I’ve been dying to see the full show for years now, so this is continued evidence of the awesomeness of the people who program this channel. The concept is that all the major non-WWF promotions are working together to beat the WWF, but since they can’t agree on ordering a cup of coffee, let alone running a show, things don’t work out. But it was quite the attempt. The most awesome story I’ve heard about this mess is that David Crockett, acting as the agent for the NWA, spent most of the time signing up AWA stars for his brother. Now those are some balls.
– Taped from Chicago, IL, in the sadly empty baseball stadium. It drew about 20,000, but it would have been better served in an arena.
– Hosted by Larry Nelson
AWA Light heavyweight title: Steve Regal v. Brad Rheingans
I didn’t even know they had a light heavyweight title, frankly. Larry Nelson notes that Rheingans was having trouble making the 220 pound weight limit. Maybe he should try the Gina Carano method and weigh in naked. Brad works on a hammerlock to start and Regal makes the ropes, so Rheingans goes with a headlock instead. Regal escapes, so Brad monkey-flips him and starts working on the arm. Rheingans misses a dropkick, however, and Regal stomps him and takes over. Regal is all punch, kick, punch, kick for two and hits the chinlock. And that goes on forever, as the fans quickly lose patience. Regal slams him, but misses an elbow, allowing Rheingans to make the comeback. Backdrop out of the corner gets two. Atomic drop gets two, but Jimmy Garvin acts as a distraction and Regal gets the cheap rollup to finish at 9:11. Not exactly a hot match to get the crowd pumped up. *1/2
AWA Women’s title: Candy Devine v. Sherri Martell
Big stall to start as the ref wants to check Sherri over and she’s offended by it. Obviously it’s a chilly night in Chicago, as well. Devine takes her down with a pair of armdrags, but Sherri goes to work on the arm. Devine reverses it, but Sherri makes the ropes and then slugs her down. Sherri throws boots and then runs away to stall, but Devine slingshots her back in and goes to a boston crab. Sherri reverses out for two, but Candi reverses that for two. Sherri takes her down again and drops a leg, and a small package gets two. Slam gets two. Candi gets dumped (onto the pitcher’s mound!) and Sherri keeps kneeing her off the apron, but Candi finally catches the leg and wraps it around the post. Slam on the grass follows. You know, if they did more shows in stadiums with natural turf, they might reduce injuries a lot because at least bumping onto grass and dirt doesn’t wreck your body like concrete does. Back in the ring, Candi goes back to working on the arm (uh, what happened to the leg you just targeted?) but Sherri rolls into a headlock to counter. And the match drags on as Sherri works her over with cheapshots and adds a backdrop. Candi comes back with a sunset flip for two, but Sherri clotheslines her and goes up with a flying splash to finish at 11:22, winning the title for the first time. The match had no flow or story, with one woman working on an arm for a while and then the other taking over without building to anything. Plus it was way too long. *
Asian (?) Six Man titles: Giant Baba, Genichiro Tenryu & Jumbo Tsuruta v. Harley Race, Scott Irwin & Bill Irwin
OK, I KNOW there weren’t any AWA six-man belts, so I don’t know what they’re pulling out of their ass for this one. Tenryu pounds on Scott to start and hiptosses him into a dropkick, so he quickly tags out to Harley Race. Holy crap, Tenryu v. Race would be a hell of a match around this time. Jumbo comes in and gets caught in the heel corner right away, as Wild Bill boots him down and adds a back elbow for two. Baba comes in and chops Race into a legsweep, which gets two. The Long Riders come back on Tenryu as the crowd makes the heels into the faces for some reason, but Tenryu chops away on Race and adds the enzuigiri for two. Shoulderbreaker and piledriver get two. The Irwins get a double team elbow for two. Bill drops a dramatic knee for two. Backdrop and it’s over to Scott Hog Irwin again, but Tenryu makes the hot tag to Jumbo, who rams the Irwins’ heads together. Baba whips Bill out of the ring, and back in a slam from Tenryu gets two. But the Long Riders take over again and Irwin drops an elbow for two, but a brawl erupts and Baba boots Bill down for the pin at 10:51. This was really weird, aside from the fact that I have no idea what the hell the “Asian six-man titles” are supposed to be, as they were doing the standard face-in-peril formula but the crowd was cheering for the heels, totally throwing off the dynamic of the match. Bill Irwin was the highlight here, showing crazy energy. **
World midget title: Little Tokyo v. Little Mr. T.
Boy, that gimmick isn’t dated at all. Tokyo runs away and gets slingshotted back in, then goes to work on the arm to come back. Tokyo throws chops, but T slugs him down in response. Tokyo pounds away and T no-sells it and makes the super-midget comeback, with a headbutt getting two. T goes to work on the arm, but Tokyo boots him down and adds a floatover suplex for two. T goes to the chinlock, but Tokyo uses the Mohawk to reverse out, and gets a backdrop for two. Weird spot as everyone stops and points to the sky for no reason, which I guess was midget psychology or something because Tokyo tries it and gets slugged down by T. They do a test of strength and T stomps the bare feet of Little Tokyo. Tokyo slugs away in the corner, but T comes back with the butt-butt. Tokyo backdrops and adds a double chop for the pin at 9:28 to retain. They pretty much played it straight here. **
Mexican title: Mil Mascaras v. Buddy Roberts
Joined in progress for some reason. Mascaras takes Buddy down with a headscissors and monkey-flips him into a full-nelson, then blocks Buddy’s counter and retains the hold. Roberts makes the ropes, so Mil drops him on his head and then goes to the armbar. Buddy goes to the eyes and chokes him out on the ropes, then goes up with an elbow and a low blow for two. They slug it out and Buddy misses a blind charge, getting himself tied up in the ropes. Mil with a suplex and the flying forearm, but a blind charge hits Buddy’s boot. Mil comes back with a backdrop and finishes with a high cross at 6:10. This was fine. **1/4 Buddy winning the Mexican title and doing vignettes in Tijuana to celebrate would have been awesome.
World Class Texas title: Kerry Von Erich v. Jimmy Garvin
Kerry wins the lockup and does a little strutting, then follows with a pair of dropkicks that send Garvin running. Back in, Kerry adds an atomic drop into the discus punch, and that gets two. Garvin comes back with a cheapshot and Garvin slugs away in the corner and drops an elbow, but it misses. Kerry misses a kneedrop and they get into a slugfest, which leads to an abdominal stretch from Kerry. Garvin escapes and takes him to the mat with a chinlock. Kerry escapes, but gets distracted on the floor by Precious, which allows Garvin to knock him off the apron and then drag him in for a trip over the top again. Back in, Kerry fakes him out and then comes back with a neckbreaker, but Garvin blocks the Iron Claw. Kerry tries a charge and hits the post as a result, but Garvin goes up and falls on his crotch, allowing Kerry to get the weak pin at 6:36. Kerry was just crazy over here and this felt like it should have been better than it was, but I’m thinking that about a lot of the matches on this show. **
Nick Bockwinkel, Ray Stevens & Larry Zbyszko v. Curt Hennig, Scott Hall & Greg Gagne
Scott Hall with tassles = MONEY. Greg Gagne in camo outfit with torn shirt = OPPOSITE OF MONEY. Like seriously, Greg is supposed to look tough in that ridiculous getup? Special announcer Jack Brickhouse rambles forever and then forgets to announce the heel team. Hennig starts with Bockwinkel and they exchange armdrags, but Nick gets a pair of slams. Hennig comes back with his own, and Bockwinkel brings Larry in. And we’re suddenly clipped to Hennig getting an armdrag. That was a rather abrupt edit. Curt controls with armdrags and brings Hall in, and he holds an armbar and then runs interference so Greg can get a cheapshot in. Greg comes in and works the arm himself, then takes him down with a flying headscissors before going back to Hennig. Larry backdrops out of a headlock, and Bockwinkel takes over for the heels, putting Hennig down with a knee. Stevens and Zbyszko take turns choking Hennig out in the corner, and then they toss him for a slam on the grass from Larry. Back in, Larry gets the abdominal stretch, and after a false tag Hennig gets dragged back to the heel corner for more abuse. Hennig fights back, but Bockwinkel necksnaps him and cuts off the tag. Hennig gets a bodypress for two, but can’t make the tag, and they collide for the double KO. Hot tag to Greg Gagne, the one guy I wouldn’t want in my corner with a major match on the line, and the match is breaking loose in Tulsa! The heels collide and Hall powerslams Stevens for the pin at 12:21. Ray didn’t even tag into the match! That’s gotta suck for him. This was the formula stripped down so simple that even the AWA couldn’t fuck it up. ***
AWA World tag titles: The Road Warriors v. The Freebirds
This is the famous match where the Freebirds have painted their faces with the Confederate flag. Hawk beats on Terry Gordy to start, and that quickly brings Hayes into things. He too gets pounded, as Hawk messes up his hair and makeup in the corner! Some things are just going too far. Back to Gordy as he tries with Animal, and Gordy tries for the power approach, which gets him whipped into the corner and beat up again. The Warriors double-team him and Gordy tags out again, so Hayes tries a headlock for lack of anything better to do. He tries a sunset flip, but gets punched out and pinballed in the Warrior corner. Hayes tries to tag out to Gordy, but it takes some convincing to get him back in there. Gordy pounds on Hawk in the corner, and gets Hawk to charge him, which results in Hawk hitting the post. Gordy suplex follows and Hayes comes in to press things, but Hawk is done selling again and elbows Hayes down. Hayes gets a sideslam for two and they double-team Hawk with an elbow, setting up a piledriver from Gordy. Hawk only does a half no-sell of it, so he must not have met Jerry Lawler yet. However, Hawk fights back on both Freebirds, but can’t tag. Hayes clotheslines him down again and goes up, you just know that’s not going to accomplish anything. And indeed Hawk slams him off. Gordy comes back in and collides with Hawk, and both are out. Hot tag Animal and he beats on Gordy and gets the powerslam for two. It’s BONZO GONZO and even Buddy Roberts and Paul Ellering are brawling, but heel miscommunication results in Gordy getting press-slammed by Animal. Hayes nails him off top, however, and Gordy covers for the pin and apparently the titles at 10:12. However, this being the AWA where no title change went unreviewed for weeks on end, Verne Gagne comes out and reverses the decision. Dude, that’s bullshit — Hayes wasn’t legal, but at worst it should have only drawn a warning from the ref. The Freebirds were clearly screwed out of a clean win and the AWA tag team titles there. And it takes a lot to make me sympathize with Michael Hayes. **1/4
NWA World Six-Man titles: Ivan Koloff, Nikita Koloff & Khrusher Khruschev v. Crusher, Bruiser & Baron Von Raschke
Big brawl to start and Crusher ends up as the legal man over in the Russian corner, but brings Khrusher over to the face side where Baron grabs a headlock. Nikita comes in and no-sells the shit out of Baron’s stuff, then overpowers him, looking like a star with a capital S. Baron decides to retaliate with the claw, but Nikita backs off and lets Ivan have a go. Baron backdrops him and pounds away, and Dick the Bruiser comes in and lives up to his name. Ivan is already bleeding and Bruiser pounds him in the corner, and we get the test of strength. Ivan cheats to win that one and we get Crusher v. Khrusher. That proves less epic than expected, and Baron gets caught in the heel corner, but manages to tag Crusher back in. Crusher works on Ivan’s leg and Baron sets up for the claw, while Crusher and Bruiser keep the other Russians from interfering. The camera follows them, and returns to the ring as Ivan somehow pins Baron to retain at 8:58. Larry Nelson is no help, either, as he’s watching the monitor and not the ring. Kind of messy but pretty fun. **
America’s title: Sgt. Slaughter v. Boris Zhukov
Boris attacks to start, but Slaughter slugs him into the corner and whips him into the post. He grabs a flag and plays bullfighter with Zhukov, then slugs Boris down. However, as Slaughter’s contract stipulates, he takes his nightly bump into the post (and goes flying over the top for good measure), allowing Zhukov to take control. Back in, Zhukov rams him into the corner and adds a neckbreaker for two. He stomps away in the corner and they brawl on the floor, but Zhukov is unable to piledrive him on the ground. Back in, Sarge slams him off the top to make the comeback, and backdrops him out of the corner. He sets up for the Slaughter cannon, but hits the ref by accident. Boris loads up his elbowpad with an international object and puts Slaughter down, drawing blood, then shoves the ref for the lame DQ at 8:40. Just when it’s going somewhere, they cut to the finish? *1/2
$10,000 Bodyslam challenge: Jerry Blackwell v. Kamala
Kamala pounds on Blackwell while Wally Karbo holds up the cheque at ringside for the camera. See, video evidence that Verne DID pay someone for this show! Thank you, I’m here all week. Anyway, Kamala continues his array of chops, but Blackwell slugs back and clotheslines him. They try to bodyslam each other and get nowhere, so Kamala splashes him for one. He goes to the nerve hold, but Blackwell fights up and gets the avalanche, and the slam to win it at 6:39. Pretty awful. 1/2*
AWA World title: Rick Martel v. Stan Hansen
Hansen comes out swinging and tosses Martel, and they fight so much that the ref initially calls for the bell and then changes his mind and restarts it. Into the ring, Martel wins a slugfest and gets a sunset flip for two, then dodges a charging Stan and slams him. Hansen chokes him out and they take it to the field again, as Hansen nails him with chairs until the ref calls for the bell again at 3:08. Barely even a match. 1/2* Then things get a little crazy as they brawl into the dugout until Verne Gagne pulls them apart to end it.
NWA World title: Ric Flair v. Magnum TA
Yup, the one time this match actually headlined a major show and it wasn’t even for Crockett. Magnum works on the arm to start and holds a hammerlock, then wins a wristlock battle and powers him into the corner. Flair begs off to recover, and chops Magnum down. TA reverses him out of the corner with a backdrop, however, which gets two. He goes to work on the arm again, but Flair dumps him to escape. TA is pissed now, though, and slugs away in the corner before missing a dropkick. Don’t fight angry! Flair drops a knee on him and gets a butterfly suplex for two. He goes to the abdominal stretch and then whips Magnum into the corner, then snapmares him into another kneedrop. That misses and Magnum pops up with a figure-four, however. Flair pulls himself to the ropes and Magnum drags him back out for another go, but Flair fights him off and goes low. Magnum keeps fighting with a suplex for two, and then a slick backslide gets two. Magnum fires away in the corner, but Flair goes to the eyes and tosses him, and they brawl on the turf. Flair sends the shoulder into the post and chops it , but Magnum manages a sunset flip back into the ring. Flair slugs him to block that and goes back to work on the arm with a hammerlock and his good friend the ropes. Flair cranks on the arm with a standing armbar, then takes him to the corner for a few chops before going back to the ropes for more cheating. Flair slugs away, but Magnum catches him in a sleeper. He releases after some great desperation selling by Flair, but a splash attempt hits knee. They slug it out and Flair swoops right in with a kneecrusher and goes into the figure-four without missing a beat. Magnum turns it over and Flair releases to try again, but Magnum reverses for two. They slug it out again and Magnum wallops him, and we get a Flair Flip to put him on the floor. Larry Nelson says “And that’s gonna do it!” but the lack of a bell would seem to indicate that it’s not a DQ. Does he even WATCH wrestling? Flair meets the post and starts bleeding, and Magnum goes after it back in the ring. Flair Flops and Magnum gets two off it. He backdrops Flair out of the corner for two, and they go into the pinfall reversal sequence. Backslide gets two for Magnum and he hits the belly to belly to seemingly finish, but the ref gets knocked down and it only gets two. Magnum rolls him up, but Flair grabs the tights and reverses to finish at 25:46. OK, why didn’t this one make more comps? Because it’s pretty great. Magnum was fired up like crazy here and they did the standard “Flair v. Unbeatable Power Wrestler” formula to great effect. Had they headlined Starrcade ’86 with this as planned, it would have been epic. ****
Unfortunately, the show is a major letdown overall, with really only one good match and a whole lot of mediocre ones. Not worth your three and a half hours, but track down the main event and give it a look, for sure.