Rock Star Gary reflects on AWA Night of Champions 2

Live from East Rutherford, NJ

Airdate: December 29, 1985

Attendance: 12,000

Hosted by Tony Schiavone

Can Martel retain the AWA title? Will Rhodes finally defeat Flair for the NWA strap? Can Magnum retain against Blanchard? What will the Soviets do to the Road Warriors? Will Slaughter survive against two Soviets? Let’s jam!

In the cold open, Schiavone interviews the Road Warriors who are ready to destroy the Soviets.

Afterward, Schiavone interviews Blanchard with Baby Doll. Blanchard’s ready to regain HIS title at the expense of Magnum’s eye.

Next, Schiavone interviews the Rock’n’Roll Express who are ready to get “hot and nasty.” Ew.

Match 1: “Cowboy” Ron Bass versus James J. Dillon

Highlights:

  • Hmmm…where’s Black Bart? I bet the Sopranos took one look at him and ensured he wouldn’t work in Jersey ever again.
  • For those curious, Bill Apter was at ringside. I couldn’t see Herb Abrams, but perhaps he was scheduled to be in the midget match.
  • The most interesting portion of the first few minutes were the number of “BOR-ING” chants.
  • When Bass delivered a back elbow, he applied the claw.
  • 1-2-3.
  • Bass won at 5:30.

Rating: DUD

Summary: While I realize that Dillon had been an accomplished wrestler, he was a manager at this point. This match should have seen Bass destroying Dillon from pillar to post. Instead, they bored the Jersey faithful, and the match was a horrible opener.

Match 2 for the NWA Midget title: Little Tokyo (champion) versus Cowboy Lang

Highlights:

  • Tokyo hid behind referee Tom Fornini but ate a dropkick.
  • As Lang leapfrogged Tokyo, he hooked a sunset flip for 2.
  • Since Tokyo was barefoot, Lang stepped on both feet and one hand before Tokyo vehemently complained to Fornini by stepping on his foot.
  • Lang countered a stomp by biting Tokyo’s toe. Although I couldn’t confirm it, Lang must have been craving sashimi.
  • When a criss-cross occurred, Lang hip-tossed Tokyo for 2.
  • He suplexed Tokyo for another 2.
  • After he dealt Tokyo an atomic drop, Tokyo got another 2.
  • Lang backdropped Tokyo, whipped him into the corner, but ate a thrust kick.
  • While Tokyo put his foot on the second rope, he pinned Lang.
  • Tokyo retained at 4:56.

Rating: ½*

Summary: Comedy match that was better than the opener.

Match 3 for the AWA Women’s title: Sherri Martel (champion) versus Debbie Combs

Highlights:

  • To show how over these women were, a fan yelled “bring out Wendi Richter” seconds into the match.
  • Sherri landed a double axe handle and dumped Combs down to the floor. For those curious, particle board was placed atop the ice used by the New Jersey Devils.
  • When she joined Combs, Sherri choked her with a microphone cable.
  • They brawled until Combs slammed Sherri on the floor.
  • As Combs returned her to the ring the hard way, she slammed Sherri again for 2.
  • Sherri gave Combs a cross corner whip but came up empty on her follow-through.
  • After Combs charged, she bumped over the top rope down to the floor.
  • In the ring, Sherri hooked an inside cradle for 2.
  • While she guillotined Combs with the top rope, Sherri rang her bell.
  • Combs rebounded with a knee to the midsection and a catapult for 2.
  • When the Jersey faithful jeered an arm bar, Combs tossed Sherri down to the floor.
  • They returned to the ring, and Combs trapped Sherri in an airplane spin.
  • As Sherri used momentum and the tights, she pinned Combs.
  • Sherri retained at 10:26.

Rating: *

Summary: The lack of chain wrestling made for a total snoozefest.

After the match, Sherri clobbers Combs with the belt before hightailing back to the locker room. That is more exciting than the match.

Match 4 for the WWC Universal title: Carlos Colon (champion) versus the Barbarian (w/ Paul Jones)

Highlights:

  • Barbarian impressed the Jersey faithful with a military press slam.
  • As he scored with a flying shoulder block, Barbarian got 2.
  • He dropkicked Colon and followed with a leg drop and head butt for another 2.
  • When Barbarian applied a bear hug, Colon rang his bell to escape.
  • Barbarian clotheslined Colon but couldn’t get 3.
  • After he slammed Colon, Barbarian mounted the top turnbuckle but missed a diving head butt.
  • Since that was his finishing move, his prospects for winning were not good.
  • Colon cartwheeled and connected with a knee lift.
  • While he dropkicked Barbarian, Colon followed with a senton splash.
  • Barbarian rebounded and tossed Colon down to the floor.
  • As Barbarian distracted referee Tom Fornini, Jones put the boots to Colon. How dastardly!
  • Of course, the Jersey faithful ate it up with a spoon.
  • Barbarian joined Colon on the floor and slammed him.
  • When Barbarian tried to slam him back into the ring, Colon countered by rolling through it.
  • 1-2-3.
  • Colon retained at 6:40.

Rating: *

Summary: Methinks the Jersey faithful had NO CLUE who Colon was yet had seen Barbarian on TBS eating Randy Mulkey for breakfast. Therefore, their reaction for Barbarian was positive albeit unexpected and contrary.

After the match, Jones raises Barbarian’s hands in moral victory, grabs the microphone, and vows to return to a great response.

Match 5: Buddy “Jack” Roberts versus “Precious” Paul Ellering

Highlights:

  • Ellering wore a neck brace during the match.
  • When he dealt Roberts a knee to the midsection, Ellering tied him up in the ropes and literally kicked his butt.
  • Ellering grabbed a side head lock, but Roberts countered with a knee crusher.
  • As Roberts rammed Ellering’s left knee against the ring post twice, Ellering split Roberts’ uprights with it. OUCH!
  • He rammed Roberts’ left knee into the ring post out of revenge and gave him a cross corner whip.
  • After Ellering attempted a monkey flip, Roberts raked the eyes to escape.
  • Roberts fed Ellering a knee drop to the injured neck, mounted the second turnbuckle, and launched a flying elbow smash.
  • While he delivered a bulldog, Roberts clotheslined Ellering with the top rope.
  • Suddenly, the Road Warriors stormed the ring, and referee Tom Fornini called for the bell.
  • Roberts won by DQ at 4:54.

Rating: **

Summary: Sound psychology by Roberts to work the neck. Roberts generated great heat from the Jersey faithful, so when the Road Warriors interfered, their pop was tremendous.

After the match, the Road Warriors hit a double shoulder block to Roberts followed by a Hart Attack. They toss Roberts over the top rope down to the floor like he’s last nights’ garbage.

Match 6 for the NWA World tag team titles: The Rock’n’Roll Express (champions) versus the Long Riders

Highlights:

  • Gibson blocked a hip toss and dealt Scott one of his own.
  • As Bill entered the ring, Gibson hooked him in a headscissors and took both Long Riders down.
  • Morton tagged in, and the Brendan Byrne Arena was rocking.
  • When Scott delivered a back elbow, tags were exchanged on both sides.
  • Morton mounted the second turnbuckle and pulverized Bill.
  • After Gibson leapfrogged him, he dropkicked Bill close to downtown Newark.
  • Bill attempted a slam, but Gibson rolled though for 1.
  • While Morton tagged in, he dropkicked Bill for 2.
  • Gibson tagged in, reversed a cross corner whip, but ate a clothesline from Bill.
  • As Scott tagged in, he scored with a high knee to Gibson.
  • He guillotined Gibson with the top rope and distracted referee Tom Fornini.
  • In the meantime, Bill gave Gibson the business near the heel corner. SNEAKY!
  • Bill tagged in, slammed Gibson, mounted the second turnbuckle, and launched a flying double axe handle for 2.
  • When Scott tagged in, he hit a boot to Gibson’s midsection.
  • Morton distracted Fornini, so Bill guillotined Gibson with the top rope. Nefarious!
  • After Bill tagged in, he placed a knee into Gibson’s midsection. Hopefully, Gibson didn’t eat the mussels marinara for dinner.
  • Morton distracted Fornini again, so the Long Riders illegally switched. Diabolical!
  • While Gibson rebounded with a knee lift, Scott attempted a splash but ate knees.
  • Hot tag Morton.
  • As Morton dropkicked both Long Riders consecutively, he backdropped Bill.
  • Speaking of Bill, he reversed an Irish whip, but Morton landed a cross body block for 2 thanks to a save by Scott.
  • Off camera, Bill disposed of Morton, and the Long Riders decimated Gibson with a double back elbow.
  • Morton returned to the ring via sunset flip and pinned Bill.
  • Consequently, the Rock’n’Roll Express retained at 11:02.

Rating: ***

Summary: Considering the dreck that led up to the match, this match was exciting and fun to watch. Great work, gentlemen!

After the match, the Long Riders dispose of Gibson and try to destroy Morton. However, Gibson grabs Morton by the leg and drags him to safety much to the delight of the Jersey girls. Perhaps Morton’ll take some of them shopping since it’s their favorite sport.

Match 7 (Russian death/non-title): AWA Americas champion Sergeant Slaughter versus Boris Zhukov & Chris Markoff

Highlights:

  • The Soviets ambushed Slaughter before the bell, and Markoff began the match for them.
  • When Slaughter fought out of the heel corner, he reversed a cross corner whip sending Zhukov head over heels onto the top turnbuckle.
  • Slaughter removed his belt, whipped Zhukov, and clotheslined him with it.
  • As the Jersey faithful clamored for more American violence against the Soviets, Slaughter gave them what they wanted and choked Markoff with the belt.
  • A “U-S-A” chant emanated from the Jersey faithful, but the Soviets double-teamed a BUSTED OPEN Slaughter.
  • After Zhukov headbutted him down to the floor, he hammered Slaughter on the apron.
  • He clotheslined Slaughter and got 2.
  • While he delivered a belly-to-back suplex, Zhukov followed with a series of elbow drops.
  • Markoff came in, but Slaughter rebounded with a backbreaker.
  • When he no-sold Markoff’s useless offense, Slaughter grabbed the belt and whacked both Soviets.
  • He clobbered Markoff for 2.
  • As the numbers caught up to Slaughter, the Soviets leveled him with a double back elbow.
  • They double-backdropped Slaughter, but heel miscommunication sent Zhukov flying down to the floor.
  • After Slaughter nailed him with the belt, he pinned Markoff.
  • Slaughter won at 12:52.

Rating: *

Summary: Can you tell the Cold War was in full effect? The heat for this match was off the charts while the workrate stunk like Elizabeth, New Jersey.

After the match, the Soviets try to double-team him, but Slaughter sends them packing.

Match 8 for the NWA US title: Magnum T.A. (champion) versus Tully Blanchard (w/ Baby Doll)

Highlights:

  • Can this match even come close to touching the **** I Quit match at Starrcade ’85?
  • A brawl erupted at the onset, and Magnum reversed a cross corner whip and gorilla-press-slammed Blanchard.
  • As the Jersey faithful taunted Blanchard with an “I Quit” chant, Magnum floored him with a forearm for 2.
  • Blanchard sent Magnum down to the floor, joined, and guillotined him with the steel railing.
  • Next, he joined Magnum on the floor again and made him taste the steel railing. It must have tasted like the Meadowlands Dip at Redd’s.
  • Magnum was BUSTED OPEN!
  • When Magnum dragged him to the floor, he brawled with Blanchard and made him taste the steel railing. Waiter, could you give the pompous jerk with a negative attitude a famous halfway?
  • Back in the ring, Magnum mounted the top turnbuckle and clobbered Blanchard with a double axe handle.
  • He tattooed Blanchard with numerous fisticuffs causing Blanchard to be BUSTED OPEN.
  • After he suplexed Blanchard, Magnum got 2.
  • Blanchard used momentum and the tights to send Magnum between the ropes to the floor, joined, and attempted a suplex.
  • While Magnum escaped, he hoisted Blanchard atop the top turnbuckle.
  • He joined and attempted a superplex.
  • On the other hand, Blanchard blocked it.
  • As Blanchard delivered a backbreaker, he got a series of 2-counts.
  • Blanchard whiffed on a clothesline, so Magnum dropkicked him for 2.
  • When he walloped Blanchard again, Magnum got another 2.
  • He dealt Blanchard a belly-to-belly suplex and pinned him.
  • Therefore, Magnum retained at 11:12.

Rating: ***½

Summary: Superb bloody brawl that told a great story where Blanchard made Magnum look like a star.

After the match, the Jersey faithful continued to harass Blanchard with an “I Quit” chant.

Match 9 for the NWA World title: “Nature Boy” Ric Flair (champion) versus the “American Dream” Dusty Rhodes

Highlights:

  • I’m flabbergasted that this didn’t score the main event since it headlined Starrcade ’85 a month prior to this show.
  • If you’re unfamiliar with this feud, watch this.
  • Flair leapfrogged Rhodes but ate a bionic elbow causing a Flair flop.
  • When Rhodes unleashed a Flip, Flop, and Fly, Flair attacked his previously broken ankle.
  • Flair obliterated Rhodes’ ankle but lost a shoving match with referee Dick Woehrle.
  • As Flair hooked a figure-four leg lock, the Jersey faithful cried “Dus-ty.”
  • Rhodes reversed the hold, but Flair escaped.
  • After Flair caught him in a sleeper, Rhodes used momentum to send Flair face-first into the top turnbuckle resulting in another Flair flop.
  • Rhodes attempted his own version of a figure-four leg lock, but Flair escaped before it could be secured.
  • While Rhodes clotheslined him, he got 2 thanks to a foot on the bottom rope.
  • He kicked Flair in the face with his reinforced boot causing Flair to flip out in pain.
  • With Flair BUSTED OPEN, Rhodes worked the cut with some elbows.
  • Rhodes gave Flair a cross corner whip, a Flair flip occurred, and Flair fell to the floor.
  • When Rhodes fed Flair a ten-punch count-along, he followed with another bionic elbow that Flair sold perfectly.
  • Flair took Rhodes down and tried to pin him with his foot on the second rope, but Woehrle was having none of that.
  • As Flair mounted the top turnbuckle, Dusty caught and slammed him down to the mat.
  • Rhodes applied a figure-four leg lock, but Flair made the ropes to escape.
  • After Rhodes belted him over the top rope down to the floor, he chased Flair around the ring.
  • Back inside, Flair attempted a cross body block.
  • Rhodes ducked, but Woehrle didn’t.
  • With Woehrle OUT COLD on the floor, Rhodes rolled Flair up for a false pin.
  • Flair charged, but Rhodes backdropped him over the top rope and down to the floor alongside Woehrle.
  • While Fornini checked on Woehrle, Rhodes suplexed Flair back into the ring.
  • Fornini substituted for Woehrle, and Rhodes pinned Flair.
  • WE HAVE A NEW CHAMPION!
  • Seriously, the Jersey faithful went APESHIT!
  • Fornini raised Rhodes’ arm in victory and presented him with the World title belt.
  • Before Gary Michael Cappetta could announce Rhodes as the new World champion, Woehrle ripped it out of Rhodes’ clutches and awarded it to Flair.
  • Woehrle and Fornini conferred, and Woehrle explained everything to Cappetta.
  • As a result, Flair won by disqualification at 14:52 due to Rhodes’ back drop of Flair over the top rope.
  • BOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!

Rating: ***

Summary: Fantastic match without a dull moment for a second. Nevertheless, the Dusty finish did NOT sit well with the Jersey faithful. I’m not sure how many knew about it then, but this was the same finish to the Bockwinkel-Hogan match at Super Sunday, and it wasn’t kosher then either. At least we know why it didn’t headline as the Jersey faithful would have rioted. Since Jersey wasn’t terribly clean, you probably couldn’t tell anyway.

Match 10: The Road Warriors (w/ “Precious” Paul Ellering) versus Ivan Koloff & Krusher Krushchev (w/ Nikita Koloff)

Highlights:

  • As expected, the Road Warriors got the pop of the night during their introduction.
  • Animal reversed a cross corner whip and military-press-slammed Ivan.
  • When Hawk tagged in, he dealt Ivan a flying shoulder block.
  • Krushchev tagged in, but Hawk clotheslined him.
  • After Hawk reversed an Irish whip, he fed Krushchev a big boot.
  • Hawk slammed Krushchev, delivered a knee lift, and followed with a fist drop.
  • While Animal tagged in, Krushchev attempted a cross body block, but Animal caught and slammed him.
  • Ivan stormed into the ring, but Animal slammed him too.
  • As tags were exchanged on both sides, Ivan gave Hawk a cross corner whip resulting in a sternum-first bump.
  • He gave Hawk another one, but Hawk applied the brakes, blocked a shot to the turnbuckle, and made Ivan eat it instead. It did not taste like stroganoff.
  • When Ivan missed a leg drop, Hawk hit a shoulder breaker for 2.
  • Animal tagged in, and Krushchev distracted Woehrle.
  • After Animal bestowed the Jersey faithful a Christmas gift with a FIELD GOAL on Ivan, he attempted a clothesline, missed, and flew over the top rope and down to the floor.
  • Behind Woehrle’s back, Krushchev nailed Animal on the floor. Evil!
  • Krushchev tagged in and scored with a shoulder breaker to Animal for 2.
  • While Hawk distracted Woehrle, the Soviets double-teamed Animal in their corner including using the tag rope for a weapon. Sinister!
  • As Ivan tagged in, Krushchev prevented Animal from tagging out.
  • Ivan viciously used the tag rope and cleverly disposed of it before Woehrle caught him with it.
  • When Ivan crushed Animal with a running guillotine, he made another attempt but came up empty.
  • Krushchev tagged in, and a double clothesline put both wrestlers down on the mat.
  • Hot tag Hawk.
  • After he knocked Ivan down with a back elbow, Hawk dropkicked him.
  • Krushchev tried to interfere but to no avail.
  • While Hawk tossed Ivan down to the floor, he distracted Woehrle so that Animal could make Ivan HIT THE POLE. Nasty, but justifiable retribution notwithstanding.
  • Ivan was BUSTED OPEN!
  • As Hawk bit the cut on Ivan’s head, he showed how cool he was by spitting blood into the air. Folks, please don’t try this at home. Giving your friend the Doomsday Device is safer.
  • Nonetheless, Hawk whipped Ivan into a slam by Animal.
  • When Animal tried to pin Ivan, Woehrle was too occupied with returning Hawk back to his corner. Hence, Animal only scored a false pin.
  • Nikita nailed Animal and rolled Ivan out of the ring.
  • Before Woehrle could count the pin, Ellering stopped to notify him of the Soviet shenanigans.
  • Woehrle came to his senses, noticed Nikita in the ring, and called for the bell.
  • Appropriately, the Road Warriors won by DQ at 10:43.

Rating: ***

Summary: Enthralling high-impact match where the Soviets tried to steal one from the Road Warriors, but Ellering was too smart for them.

After the match, Krushchev grabs the chain and ANNIHILATES Ellering with it. If that’s not enough, Ivan whips Ellering into a double clothesline by Nikita and Krushchev. Animal snares the chain away from Krushchev, and the Soviets scatter like flies.

Match 11 for the AWA World title: Rick Martel (champion) versus Stan “The Lariat” Hansen

Highlights:

  • Since this match scored the main event, I don’t think it’ll be a two-minute brawl like Super Clash ’85.
  • Hansen leveled Martel with double axe handles to the back, but Martel responded with a dropkick.
  • When he connected with a cross body block, Martel got 2.
  • Another dropkick by Martel sent Hansen scurrying to the floor to grab a chair.
  • As referee Tom Fornini objected, Hansen returned to the ring empty-handed.
  • He gave Martel a cross corner whip but ate knee on his follow-through.
  • After Hansen continued to work Martel’s back, he tossed Martel down to the floor.
  • Hansen joined and dealt Martel another double axe handle to the back.
  • Back in the ring, Hansen slammed Martel.
  • The Jersey faithful voiced their displeasure as Martel held an elongated arm bar. Methinks the concession stand ran out of rippers and Budweiser.
  • While Martel worked Hansen’s left arm relentlessly, Hansen woke up the Jersey faithful with a backbreaker.
  • Hansen broke out a gutwrench suplex to further injure Martel’s back for 2.
  • When Hansen gave Martel a HARD cross corner whip, he followed with a belly-to-back suplex for another 2.
  • Hansen fed Martel another gutwrench suplex, and you could almost hear Martel’s discs herniating.
  • As he delivered an elbow drop, Hansen couldn’t get 3.
  • He attempted a splash but ate knees.
  • After Martel hit a back elbow, he hip-tossed Hansen for 2.
  • He obliterated Hansen with a knee drop for another 2.
  • While he slammed Hansen, Martel followed with a second knee drop but couldn’t get 3.
  • Martel attempted a suplex, but his back wasn’t having any of it.
  • Instead, Hansen countered with a vertical suplex of his own for 2.
  • Hansen applied an abdominal stretch, but Martel wouldn’t submit.
  • When Martel hooked an inside cradle, he got 2.
  • Hansen rebounded with a Brazos Valley backbreaker facing the corner.
  • As Martel tried to counter the hold, Hansen used the second turnbuckle to block it.
  • Since referee Tom Fornini concentrated on whether Martel would submit, he didn’t see it.
  • Martel tried again to counter, yet Hansen continued to use the second turnbuckle for leverage.
  • After Martel tried a third time but failed, he submitted.
  • WE HAVE A NEW CHAMPION!
  • Hansen won at 14:01.

Rating: ***

Summary: Fascinating story as Hansen tried to pin Martel but couldn’t. Using a ton of psychology, Hansen destroyed Martel’s back yet cheated his way to a World title victory. Merry Christmas, Stan Hansen!

Conclusion:  An historic card with several good matches and a World title change. Although the first few matches may not be your cup of tea, the string of matches at the end are well worth your time.

TV Rating: NONE

Stay tuned for AWA 12-31-85!

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 the Monday Night War and Herb Abrams’ UWF!