Rock Star Gary reflects on AWA 10-29-1985

Taped from Atlantic, City, NJ

Airdate: October 29, 1985 (taped 10/16)

Attendance: unknown

Hosted by Larry Nelson, Doug McLeod, & Verne Gagne

Can the Freebirds snag the tag titles from the Road Warriors? Will there be any shenanigans? What do Bockwinkel, Slaughter, and Akbar have in store for us this week? Let’s find out!

This is a rather condensed episode with no commercials or tour schedule. Get your refund at the door if you wish.

For those of you who remain hardcore AWA fanatics, let’s rock!

Opening montage.

Match 1: Nick Bockwinkel versus Mike Gola

Highlights:

  • Gola hip-tossed Bockwinkel who responded with a drop toe hold.
  • Methodically, Bockwinkel worked on Gola’s left knee so that Gola couldn’t run away.
  • With the dad bod of the month, Gola couldn’t run that far anyway.
  • When he slammed Gola, Bockwinkel trapped him in a figure-four leg lock.
  • Gola submitted; thus, Bockwinkel won at 4:15.

Rating: *

Summary: Showcase match for Bockwinkel.

In the ring, Nelson interviews Bockwinkel who challenges Rick Martel as well as the tag team champions “Gorgeous” Jimmy Garvin and “Mr. Electricity” Steve Regal. He refers to his team with Larry Zbyszko as the Professionals.

In the ring, Nelson interviews General Skandor Akbar who touts his protégé Kamala. Next, he states that wrestlers like Martel, Blackwell, and Greg Gagne who will “fall by the wayside.”

Match 2: Sergeant Slaughter versus Tom Rice

Highlights:

    • Slaughter made his way to the ring to the GI Joe theme song rather than the Marine hymn.
    • As Slaughter slammed him, he hip-tossed Rice.
    • He slammed Rice again before dealing him a gutbuster.
    • When Slaughter scored with a back elbow, he got 2.
    • He tied Rice up in a bow-and-arrow until Rice bit Slaughter to escape. Perhaps he thought it was hamburger night in the barracks.
    • Nevertheless, Rice gave Slaughter a cross corner whip, and a mid-ring collision occurred during his follow-through.
    • Slaughter fed Rice a standing dropkick, threatened a Boston crab, but instead catapulted him face-first into the second turnbuckle.
    • After Rice reversed a cross corner whip, he followed with a running knee to the midsection.
    • Slaughter blocked a hip toss and chopped Rice down like a fir tree.
    • While he delivered a knee drop, Slaughter got 2.
    • He attempted a suplex but ended up dumping Rice over the top rope to the floor. Miscommunication, perhaps?

  • With Rice on the apron, Slaughter suplexed him back into the ring.
  • Slaughter applied an abdominal stretch, released the hold, and hit a shoulder block.
  • Believe me, folks, Rice was dead weight at this point.
  • As Slaughter guillotined him with the bottom rope, he guillotined him with the top rope.
  • Rice was ready for boot camp following this beating.
  • When Rice nailed Slaughter down near Cape May, Slaughter slammed him a third time.
  • He mounted the second turnbuckle, launched a flying clothesline, and hooked a Cobra clutch.
  • After Rice passed out, referee Tom Fornini called for the bell.
  • Slaughter won at 9:15.

Rating: *½

Summary: Extended showcase match for Slaughter who treated Rice like he was owed money.

After the match, the Atlantic City faithful chant “U-S-A,” and Nelson interviews Slaughter with some kids. Once the kids recite the Pledge of Allegiance, Slaughter apologizes for his anger, answers Akbar’s challenge, and celebrates racial unity in America.

I recently reviewed the next match for Super Clash ’85, so here’s my review:

Match 8 for the AWA World tag team titles: The Road Warriors (champions w/ “Precious” Paul Ellering) versus the Fabulous Freebirds (w/ Buddy “Jack” Roberts)

Highlights:

  • As the Chicago faithful chanted “go home, Freebirds,” Hayes stalked around foul territory like a mad man.
  • Hawk reversed an Irish whip and clotheslined Gordy.
  • When Hawk fed Gordy a knee lift, Hayes tagged in, got reversed on an Irish whip, and ate a back elbow.
  • Animal tagged in, reversed a cross corner whip, and sent Gordy spiraling.
  • After Animal slammed Gordy, Hawk tagged in, mounted the second turnbuckle, and lowered the boom on Gordy.
  • Hayes tagged in, attempted a sunset flip, but ate a knuckle sandwich from Hawk.
  • While Gordy tagged in, Hawk reversed a cross corner whip but came up empty on his follow-through.
  • Gordy suplexed Hawk and tagged out.
  • As Hayes dealt Hawk a sidewalk slam, he got 2.
  • Gordy tagged in, and the Freebirds destroyed Hawk with a double elbow smash.
  • When Gordy piledrove him, Hayes tagged in, but Hawk conducted a meeting of the Freebirds’ minds. Interestingly, nothing of note was conjured.
  • Hayes clotheslined and slammed Hawk.
  • After he mounted the top turnbuckle, Hawk caught and slammed him down to the mat.
  • Gordy tagged in, but Hawk reversed a cross corner whip.
  • While a mid-ring collision occurred, and it sounded like a pair of coconuts cracking against one another.
  • OK, perhaps not like that.
  • Hot tag Animal.
  • While he delivered an atomic drop, Animal powerslammed Gordy for 2.
  • All four wrestlers were in the ring, and Roberts jumped on the apron.
  • As Ellering hauled him down to the infield, he nailed Roberts.
  • Not to be outdone, Roberts grabbed a steel chair and WAFFLED Ellering.
  • The Freebirds tried to double-team Animal, but heel shenanigans ensued.
  • When Hawk stomped the bejeezus out of Roberts near the pitcher’s mound, Animal military-press-slammed Gordy.
  • He powerslammed Hayes and flew with a flying shoulder block to Gordy.
  • After Animal tried to pin Gordy, Hayes mounted the second turnbuckle and leveled him.
  • 1-2-3.
  • Gordy pinned Animal at 10:00, and WE HAVE NEW CHAMPIONS!

Rating: ***

Summary: Wild match where heel shenanigans allowed the Freebirds to steal the tag titles. But the Road Warriors can’t lose in their hometown, can they?

After the match, Nelson interviews Verne who requests to see the finish again. Due to INSTANT REPLAY, the decision is reversed, and “Chicago’s own” Road Warriors retain. In 1985, replay was a scorching hot topic in sports, but it hadn’t been implemented to change rulings. The AWA took it upon itself to innovate the concept in professional wrestling.

Ken Resnick interviews the Freebirds who feel their victory over the Road Warriors was legitimate. Resnick refutes it, and Hayes hits him with “the doctor that delivered you said that your parents were crazy.” HA! They promise to “punish” and “finish” the Road Warriors.

Just like the wrestling business.

Conclusion:  The finish to the tag title match telegraphed the title change the following night in St. Paul. According to cagematch, the St. Paul match was the last time the Road Warriors directly worked for the AWA until WrestleRock ’86. Before you ask, yes, the Road Warriors maintained their Pro Wrestling USA obligations.

TV Rating: NONE

Stay tuned for AWA 12-03-85!

Comments? Suggestions? Send them to me at [email protected] and follow me on Twitter (@rockstargary202). Also, please check out all of my reflections at rockstargary.com including Herb Abrams’ UWF!