Stampede Wrestling – April 29, 1988

GrantM sent me a link so I could do more AWA reviews, but the channel had some Stampede shows on it, so I’m looking at that instead.

I picked this particular episode because the guy in the picture for the show, Brick Bronsky, looks like he’s in full roid rage, so let’s see if the action lives up to that.

Strangler Steve DiSalvo vs. Brick Bronsky

DiSalvo, who worked both as a face and heel, is in full stalling, arrogant heel mode here, doing the bodybuilding poses, which Bronsky matches him on. Ed Whalen jokes that there’s a bodybuilder inside him just waiting to break out. Spoiler: it never did. They try charging at each other to no effect. I don’t know if there was any build to these guys wrestling, but you’d think you wouldn’t put too such similar guys together. They try clothesline on each other, no effect, although DiSalvo eventually hurts his own arm on one. The crowd chants Tinkerbell at him, which I’m sure made sense to them (I get it, he’s a “fairy”). Suddenly, DiSalvo goes to elbow shots and a bulldog. He’s sweating like he’s been out there for an hour when it’s been five minutes. Powerslam where he just about keeps hold of Bronsky, followed by an elbowdrop. Just no gel between the moves. Bronsky flips over DiSalvo and just about lands on his feet, then starts making a comeback with forearms and shoulders. Kerry Brown, looking like Adrian Adonis in pink trunks, comes to ringside and trips Bronsky, drawing him out for the count-out. DiSalvo actually knocked him into a door to keep him out there, but it all happened off camera in total darkness (not kidding, the arena was so poorly lit that you couldn’t see it, they didn’t just make it up). Terrible match, and the incapacitated Bronsky returns quickly to cut the angry pose above.

Interview: Cross-eyed Jim Davies speaks to Calgary Stampeder Rick Warman, who can’t believe what that “fat toilet-bowl” Makhan Singh is doing to Brian Pillman. Abu Wizal comes out to object and promptly gets shoved right down with one hand, drawing Singh out to talk about what he’s been saying about him in the papers. Bad Company arrive to back Warman up and run Singh off.

Interview: Gary Albright, or Vokkan Singh, talks about how he’s been training, cutting a babyface interview as a heel. I was more distracted by his massive, dangling earring, though.

The Oriental Connection vs. Bad Company

Joined in progress before ten minutes. Brian Pillman looks awesome from the start, with the big hair and body, while Bruce Hart looks like a throwback to the seventies. Hashif Khan (Shinya Hashimoto) gets some sweet kicks and a big suplex in on Pillman. Pill gets a spinning heel kick and a flying clothesline to enable him to tag Bruce in for the “hot” tag. Bruce gets the Hart Attack clothesline that Bret lifted from him on Khan. Yang Chung (seriously) breaks it up. BC gets a double team Irish whip/cross body off the top that Pillman almost entirely overshoots, but skims back into position for the three count. I’m sure it was a good match, but too short to judge.

Makhan Singh vs. Jason the Terrible

One of Scott’s favourites. Jason gets a flying… something on Makhan for two. Jason boxes Singh’s ears and gives him a noogie. He ties Singh up in the ropes and hits him in the gut with a chair, drawing a yellow card from Herman the German. “Despite a great amount of mental instability, Jason has become a favourite with the crowd”, says Ed. Wait another decade, Ed, we’ll go worse. Bit of psychology as Jason works the left arm with headbutts using the hockey mask. Jason makes a very unlikely decent worker. Singh eventually turns it around with a clothesline with the good arm. He runs Jason into the corner for a Bret Hart bump. He makes the mistake of punching him and hurting his hand (“Jesus!”) on the mask. Jason gets a slam and big splash for two. Impressive suplex, both for Jason getting him up and Singh taking the bump, which is proof why Mike Shaw was so highly regarded for this run. William Regal double knee to the head. Full nelson, but the hands are on top of the head, not behind, as Ed reminisces about Dave Ruhl, who got mentioned in Bret Hart’s book. Jason accidentally knocks the ref down with a clothesline out of the corner. Strangler Steve comes in while he’s down and slams Singh on top of Jason for the pinfall. DiSalvo sticks around for the interview after and talk about how he “wants” Jason, which comes off a little camp, then dubs himself “the Great One” ten years before the Rock, then knocks all the local towns they’ll be wrestling in and calls them “enemas”, but he does steal “the Total Package” from Lex Luger.

Johnny Smith vs. Owen Hart

For Owen’s North American title. Johnny’s mullet is pretty bad, very much business up front, party out back, although I’ve seen it far worse. Herman the German is heeling it up by giving Owen Hart an unearned yellow card early on. Owen was always a good wrestler, but his main skill here is speed and agility before his knees started going. Smith is someone who totally looks like a wrestler, but looks pretty plain at the same time, so you can tell why he never made it bigger. Owen works headscissors to start, which Smith tries to do an impressive handstand out of, so Owen gives him a grounded piledriver to stop that. Smith does get a flip out, but walks back into an armdrag and a stiff chop. Davies gives the back story of Smith turning on Lord Voldemort in a match against the Midnight Cowboys and joining Karachi Vice, which is the epitome of a Bruce Hart idea, but got really over. Ed does do it to death with the Johnny “Turncoat” Smith routine, in a way like I’m hearing Gorilla trying to get over “Not-So-Macho Man” on these recently uploaded Wrestling Challenge episodes.

About ten minutes in, Johnny goes for a tombstone, but Owen reverses and gets it. He goes for the finish from the top, but sees Makhan Singh coming and jumps on him instead. Singh manages to post him on a reversed Irish whip, though, and rolls him back in to Smith. He’s not really quick to follow up. Shoulder breaker and some kneedrops, which Owen doesn’t even sell, as if he’s out entirely. Powerslam for two. Standard piledriver, which again Owen kicks out of. To be honest, they could’ve finished with the posting. At this point we’re fifteen minutes into a one hour match and five minutes of TV time remaining. Owen revives and gets a belly-to-belly and some kneedrops and punches. Suplex and legdrop for two, while Ed winds up Makhan at ringside. Owen with a lot of the stuff that he’d continue into the WWF (gutwrench suplex, backbreaker, etc.). Seeing him go for a Boston crab is weird when he later became synonymous with the Sharpshooter. Singh distracts him, allowing Smith to get an O’Connor roll, but Owen rolls through and sits down for three. Really good match. The heels double-team him after the match, but Owen makes his own comeback.

Interview: Makhan Singh, calling Owen ‘Omar’, challenges him to a match any time while telling Jim Davies to shut up.

Interview: Ed interviews Owen in the ring. He hates Makhan Singh and wants him next week. Owen had his passionate delivery here, but not the eloquence or vocabulary to make it more interesting. Ed closes, but the crowd overtakes him on his “In the meantime…” catchphrase, much to his amusement, so he lets them sign off for him.

The Bottom Line: I can do something with shows like these, my knowledge of them isn’t thorough but they’re relatively easy to get into, so watch out for more Stampede reviews.