Rock Star Gary reflects on AWA WrestleRock ’86

Live from the Metrodome in Minneapolis, MN

Airdate: April 20, 1986

Attendance:  23,000

Hosted by Larry Nelson, Rod Trongard, & Ken Resnick

Can the Road Warriors get revenge against the Freebirds? Will Bockwinkel regain the World title? How will Snuka and Greg fare against Brody and Barbarian? What’s going on with the Midnight Rockers? Let’s dig in and find out!

In addition to this meaty and delicious card, here’s the promotional video performed in the same style as the Super Bowl Shuffle by the Chicago Bears. While it wasn’t great, it was a good vehicle to promote the show. Unfortunately, it didn’t get the same love as the Super Bowl Shuffle.

Resnick interviews Rheingans who cuts a promo on Zhukov.

Prior to the opening match, Rheingans grabs the Soviet flag from Zhukov and blows his nose with it. All-American snot, RSG-ites! If the USSR wants a Cold War, Minnesota’s pretty damn cold in April.

Match 1: Brad Rheingans versus Boris Zhukov (w/ Sheik Adnan Al-Kaissie)

Highlights:

  • For those unaware, Zhukov put Rheingans on the shelf with a knee injury. Can Rheingans exact some comeuppance?
  • Rheingans hip-tossed Zhukov out of the corner and dropkicked him.
  • When Zhukov rebounded with a knee lift, he followed with a pair of knees to the midsection for 2.
  • He guillotined Rheingans with the top rope and clotheslined Rheingans for another 2.
  • As he nailed Rheingans down to the stadium floor, Al-Kaissie considered using his sword against Rheingans but thought otherwise.
  • Back in the ring, Zhukov fed Rheingans a backbreaker but couldn’t get 3.
  • He dealt Rheingans a belly-to-back suplex for yet another 2.
  • After Rheingans responded with a cross corner whip, he backdropped Zhukov.
  • He rang Zhukov’s bell and worked on Zhukov’s left knee.
  • While he rammed Zhukov’s knee into the apron, Rheingans rammed it against the ring post to the extreme delight of the still-entering Minneapolis faithful.
  • He delivered an atomic drop for 2.
  • When Rheingans powerslammed him, he pinned Zhukov at 8:35.

Rating: **

Summary:  Solid opener as each wrestler used psychology, yet Rheingans scored the victory with a fluid power move.

After the match, Zhukov nails Rheingans, and Al-Kaissie joins in for some double-teaming. Zhukov headbutts Rheingans out of the ring to regain his heat.

Match 2: Little Tokyo & Lord Littlebrook versus Cowboy Lang & Little Mr. T

Highlights:

  • KSTP’s Gary Lumpkin was the special guest referee for this match.
  • C’mon, Jedi master, let’s give all three guys a chance here before we send them packing.
  • As Littlebrook tagged in, he struck Lang down I-35 SOUTH near Faribault.
  • Tokyo tagged in, and the lights above the ring burned.
  • Thanks to a spotlight, the Minneapolis faithful could view the match, and T tagged in.
  • When he hip-tossed Tokyo, T dropkicked him.
  • He catapulted Tokyo across the ring, but LIttlebrook implemented heel shenanigans to turn the tide.
  • After Tokyo got mixed up in the chicanery, LIttlebrook tagged in and backdropped T.
  • Speaking of T, he hooked a full nelson on Littlebrook, and heel miscommunication reared its ugly head again as Tokyo inadvertently nailed Littlebrook.
  • Tags were exchanged on both sides, and a criss-cross ensued.
  • While Lang hip-tossed him, he fed Tokyo a senton splash.
  • Tags were exchanged on both sides again, and Tokyo backdropped T.
  • As T headbutted him, he dealt Tokyo an airplane spin for 1.
  • He delivered a second airplane spin, but LIttlebrook made the save.
  • With all four wrestlers in the ring, the babyfaces humiliated the heels with a rowboat.
  • The little people dogpiled Lumpkin, and T backdropped Tokyo.
  • When tags were exchanged on both sides yet again, Lang backdropped Littlebrook.
  • Lang hooked a rolling cradle and pinned Littlebrook at 10:02.

Rating: *

Summary:  Comedy match for the kiddies.

Prior to the next match, ring announcer Gary Michael Cappetta recognizes Chuck Lilligren as the special guest ring announcer.

Match 3: “Chief” Wahoo McDaniel versus Colonel DeBeers

Highlights:

  • When he slammed DeBeers, McDaniel chopped him down to the mat for 1.
  • DeBeers threw him out of the ring, but McDaniel channeled his Native American heritage and responded with a war dance chop.
  • As he tossed DeBeers to the floor, McDaniel grabbed the returning DeBeers and deposited him over the top rope to the floor.
  • Referee Steve O called for the bell to disqualify McDaniel at 5:01.

Rating: DUD

Summary:  Waste of time.

After the match, DeBeers and McDaniel brawl at ringside, and McDaniel makes him HIT THE POLE. The brawl continues until McDaniel chops down DeBeers.

Prior to the next match, Nelson interviews Somers and Rose along with Sherri. Rose believes the Midnight Rockers are “steppingstones” to the World tag team titles. Methinks the “Doughboy” has been watching too many Monkees reruns.

The next match wasn’t on my recording, yet I added it as a special gift just for you, RSG-ites!

Cappetta announces Randy Schaefer as the next special guest ring announcer. If that’s not an invitation to grab a beer, I don’t know what is. Cheers!

Match 4: “Playboy” Buddy Rose & “Pretty Boy” Doug Somers (w/ Sherri Martel) versus the Midnight Rockers

Highlights:

  • Customarily, Rose claimed that instead of weighing 271 lbs., he weighed 217. HA!
  • In a game of Can-You-Top-This, Rose challenged Jannetty to perform one-arm push-ups, and Jannetty met his challenge.
  • As Michaels challenged Rose to perform a backflip from the top turnbuckle, Rose almost lost his balance.
  • Rose made a second attempt, but Michaels shook the ropes causing Rose to crotch himself. OUCH!
  • With that out of the way, the match began.
  • When Somers tagged in, a criss-cross ensued.
  • Michaels leapfrogged Somers and followed with a dropkick.
  • After tags were exchanged on both sides, Jannetty mounted the second turnbuckle and lowered the boom on Rose.
  • Jannetty flipped out of a hip toss and slammed Rose.
  • While Somers tagged in, he gave Jannetty a cross corner whip but came up empty on his follow-through.
  • Tags were exchanged on both sides again, and Rose cartwheeled away from a monkey flip attempt by Michaels.
  • As Jannetty tagged in, he also cartwheeled away from a monkey flip attempt to psyche out Rose.
  • Michaels tagged in and hip-tossed Rose.
  • When Jannetty nailed Rose in his ample midsection, Michaels connected with a knee lift for 2.
  • Rose catapulted Michaels into a Somers back elbow, and Somers tagged in.
  • After Somers distracted referee Marty Miller, Rose gave Michaels the business in the heel corner. How dastardly!
  • Rose tagged in and fed Michaels a flying back elbow for 2.
  • While Somers tagged in, he suplexed Michaels for another 2.
  • Rose tagged in and dealt Michaels a HARD cross corner whip.
  • As Michaels blocked a suplex, he delivered one of his own.
  • Jannetty tagged in and backdropped Somers.
  • When he hit a flying back elbow, Jannetty got 2.
  • He powerslammed Somers and should have gotten 3, but Sherri placed Somers’ foot on the bottom rope. SNEAKY!
  • With all four wrestlers in the ring, the Midnight Rockers crushed Rose’s nighttime plans with a double atomic drop.
  • They double-backdropped Somers and followed with a double elbow drop.
  • After Miller reprimanded Michaels for being in the ring, Jannetty mounted the top turnbuckle only for Rose to knock him down to the mat.
  • 1-2-3.
  • Although Sherri devilishly had pushed Jannetty’s leg off the ropes, Rose and Somers won at 12:05.

Rating: ****

Summary:  For 1986, this was eye-popping, chocolatey goodness with the high-flying and double maneuvers by the Midnight Rockers. Bravo, gentlemen!

After the match, Michaels slams Rose on the stadium floor while Jannetty shoots Somers over the top rope. This feud must continue.

Nelson interviews Rose and Somers while Sherri disputes any controversy. They’re ready to win the World tag team titles. They would do so on May 17 in Hammond, Indiana thanks to nefariousness by DeBeers against Hall. Please ignore the fact that a title changed on a countout, ok?

Prior to the next match, Resnick interviews Zumhofe who’s not afraid of tigers.

Match 5 (non-title): NWA Junior Heavyweight champion Tiger Mask versus “Rock’n’Roll” Buck Zumhofe

Highlights:

  • For those unaware, Tiger was portrayed by Mitsuharu Misawa. Puroeso fans rejoice!
  • Upon working the left leg, Zumhofe attempted a Boston crab.
  • He successfully hooked it, but Tiger escaped immediately.
  • When Tiger dropkicked him, he got 2.
  • Zumhofe hip-tossed him for 1.
  • As Tiger delivered a cross body block, he got 2.
  • He suplexed Zumhofe and got another 2.
  • After Tiger gave him a cross corner whip, he ate knee on his follow-through.
  • Zumhofe tried to remove the mask, but referee Larry Lisowski read him the riot act.
  • While he slammed Tiger, Zumhofe got 2.
  • He rang Tiger’s bell and rammed him face-first into the mat for another 2.
  • When Tiger scored with a spin kick, he got 2.
  • Zumhofe responded with a slam and an abdominal stretch.
  • As Tiger escaped, Zumhofe fell out of the ring.
  • To wow the Minneapolis faithful, Tiger followed with a plancha. Woohoo!
  • After Zumhofe returned to the ring, Tiger missed a dropkick.
  • Tiger escaped another slam attempt and countered with a belly-to-back suplex.
  • While he mounted the top turnbuckle, Tiger nailed a somersault senton.
  • 1-2-3.
  • Tiger won at 10:57.

Rating: ***

Summary:  Tiger was working Zumhofe’s ground psychological attack which is the opposite of his style. When he switched to some aerial maneuvers, Tiger kicked it into higher gear.

Prior to the next match, Resnick interviews the US Express. Rotunda, looking like he just got his CPA at the school of hard knocks, is ready for the Fabulous Ones. Windham subtly puts down the WWF (“wrestling wrestlers”) and wants to climb the ladder to the World tag team titles. Unfortunately, ladder matches had not been invented yet.

Match 6: The Fabulous Ones versus the US Express

Highlights:

  • To utterly frustrate me, referee Buddy Lane was assigned to this match. One Lane per match should suffice, right?
  • Stan leapfrogged Windham but ate a size 15 boot for his troubles.
  • As Rotunda tagged in, he mounted the top turnbuckle and lowered the boom on Stan.
  • Windham tagged in, mounted the top turnbuckle, and lowered his own boom on Stan.
  • When Keirn tagged in, he tried to leapfrog Windham but ate a knuckle sandwich.
  • Windham slammed him, tagged in Rotunda, and the US Express double-dropkicked Keirn.
  • After Rotunda gave Keirn a cross corner whip, he came up empty on his follow-through.
  • Stan tagged in and landed a thrust kick to Rotunda.
  • While Keirn tagged in, he raked Rotunda’s back as if he was trying to skin him.
  • Stan tagged in, but Windham tried to protect his partner in the opposite corner.
  • With Buddy distracted, Stan tossed Rotunda over the top rope. Clever!
  • Rotunda re-entered the ring via sunset flip but ate a knuckle sandwich. Was there a sale and I missed it?
  • As Keirn tagged in, Windham distracted Buddy.
  • The Fabulous Ones illegally switched, and Stan fed Rotunda a swinging neckbreaker.
  • When Stan missed an elbow drop, Windham tagged in and rang a double noggin knocker upon the Fabulous Ones.
  • Windham powerslammed Stan for 2.
  • After Windham hooked a sunset flip on Stan, Keirn distracted Buddy causing a false pin.
  • For some reason, Keirn mounted a neutral top turnbuckle and distracted Buddy again.
  • Meanwhile, Windham secured an inside cradle on Stan for another false pin.
  • A mid-ring collision sent both Windham and Stan down on the mat.
  • While Rotunda tagged in, he dropkicked Stan.
  • He hit a back elbow to Stan and split his uprights.
  • As Rotunda gave Stan an airplane spin, Keirn tripped him.
  • With Stan on top, he got 2.
  • Stan backdropped Rotunda and attempted a piledriver.
  • When Windham mounted the top turnbuckle, he BLASTED Stan with an axe handle.
  • 1-2-3.
  • The US Express won at 14:05.

Rating: ****

Summary:  Although the story was a bit disjointed, both teams threw everything they had into the match but the kitchen sink. Excellent work, gentlemen!

Match 7: Giant Baba (w/ Hiroshi Wajima) versus “Bulldog” Bob Brown

Highlights:

  • And now for something completely different…
  • Brown missed a leg drop, so Baba hooked a side-Russian leg sweep.
  • He dealt Brown a big boot and pinned him at 5:42.

Rating: DUD

Summary:  Popcorn match if there ever was one.

Prior to the next match, Resnick interviews Race who claims to be the best. He makes a very strong argument.

Match 8: Rick Martel versus Harley Race

Highlights:

  • It’s a battle between former World champions which is a big deal in ’86.
  • As Martel hip-tossed him, Race leapfrogged him before eating an arm drag.
  • Race dealt him a high knee followed by a knee drop for 2.
  • When Martel caught Race with a cross body block, he got 2.
  • Race headbutted and powerslammed Martel for 2.
  • After he escaped a vertical suplex attempt, Martel hooked a sleeper.
  • Race used momentum to send Martel head-first into the top turnbuckle.
  • While he fed Martel a swinging neckbreaker, Race mounted the top turnbuckle.
  • Martel caught and slammed him down to the mat.
  • As he delivered a knee drop, Martel got 2.
  • Race countered a side head lock with a belly-to-back suplex.
  • When Race missed a head butt, Martel hit a backbreaker, migrated to the apron, and scored with a springboard splash for 2.
  • Race piledrove Martel, nailed a headbutt, but only got 2.
  • After Race landed an elbow drop, he got another 2.
  • Race reversed a cross corner whip, but Martel leaped to the second turnbuckle.
  • While Martel leaped, he spectacularly crashed down to the mat.
  • Race hammered Martel with another knee drop but couldn’t get 3.
  • As Race gave him a cross corner whip, Martel reversed a second one sending Race flying over the top turnbuckle down to the stadium floor.
  • With Race on the apron, Martel suplexed him back into the ring.
  • Martel missed an elbow drop, so Race demolished him with a shoulder breaker for 2.
  • When Race doubled down with a second swinging neckbreaker, he got another 2.
  • Martel countered a side head lock with a belly-to-back suplex for 2.
  • After a mid-ring collision, Race bounced over the top rope down to the stadium floor again.
  • Race returned and attempted another piledriver.
  • While Martel countered with a back drop, he applied a gutwrench suplex for 2.
  • Martel attempted a slam, but Race countered with an inside cradle for 2.
  • As Martel dropkicked him, he got 2.
  • Race secured a bear hug and converted it into a belly-to-belly suplex for 2.
  • When he smashed Martel with a knee lift, Race attempted a vertical suplex.
  • Martel blocked it and suplexed Race instead.
  • Upon attempting a splash, Martel ate knees.
  • Both wrestlers spilled over the top rope down to the stadium floor.
  • While each wrestler prevented the other from returning, Race made Martel HIT THE POLE.
  • The bell rang, and both wrestlers were counted out at 17:35.
  • BOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!

Rating: ***

Summary:  Despite the crappy finish, two mat veterans told a great story with solid workrate and psychology.

After the match, the brawl continues as Race tries to piledrive Martel on the stadium floor. However, Martel counters with a back drop before promoter Wally Carbo sends them back to the dressing room. They know who signs the checks, so they comply.

Match 9 (battle royal):

Participants: Debbie Combs, Candi Devine, Rose Divine, Joyce Grable, Kat LeRoux, Sherri Martel, Despina Montagas, Misty Blue Simmes, Taylor Thomas, & Luna Vachon

Highlights:

  • For those keeping track, Devine regained the Women’s title on 1/16 in Winnipeg, Manitoba.
  • Without question, this was a convoluted mess at the onset.
  • Vachon, not of sound judgment, mounted the second turnbuckle but got dumped down to the stadium floor. Give her a break. It’s only her second year, and she’s only 24 years old.
  • Combs suplexed Montagas over the top rope to eliminate her.
  • Using momentum, Sherri eliminated Combs.
  • Grable mounted the second turnbuckle but mistakenly dropkicked Sherri who was holding Devine.
  • With Sherri on the floor, Devine backdropped Grable over the top rope to the floor.
  • Thinking she’d won, Devine began to celebrate only to get CREAMED by Sherri.
  • Ultimately, Sherri tossed Devine over the top rope to the floor to win at 7:34.

Rating: NONE

Summary:  Nothing worthwhile as it was another chapter for the ongoing feud for the Women’s title between Devine and Sherri.

After the match, Rose and Somers jump into the ring to celebrate with their manager. Allegedly, she has won $50,000, but that’s purely speculative conjecture. Resnick interviews them in the ring, and Sherri vows to regain the Women’s title. Meanwhile, Sherri tosses the microphone away, so Resnick grabs another one. Rose, once again, requests a shot at the World tag team titles. We get the memo, Doughboy.

Match 10 for the AWA Americas title: Sergeant Slaughter (champion) versus Kamala (w/ Skandor Akbar)

Highlights:

  • Nelson joined the broadcast table for the remainder of the show.
  • As Kamala gave Slaughter a cross corner whip, he followed with an avalanche.
  • Kamala made him HIT THE POLE and splashed Slaughter’s back.
  • When he turned Slaughter over, Kamala got 2.
  • He gave Slaughter a cross corner whip, and Slaughter almost flew into the end zone.
  • After Kamala applied a nerve pinch, he got 2.
  • Slaughter escaped, but Kamala obtained a foreign object from Akbar.
  • While Akbar distracted referee Larry Lisowski, Kamala used it on Slaughter. Devious!
  • Kamala wisely returned the object to Akbar and distracted Lisowski.
  • As Akbar nailed Slaughter off-camera, the Minneapolis faithful began a “U-S-A” chant.
  • Slaughter tried a comeback, but Akbar handed Kamala the object again.
  • When Kamala smacked Slaughter with it, he returned the object to Akbar again. Wily!
  • Slaughter rebounded with a dropkick and slammed Kamala.
  • After Slaughter fed him a back elbow, he clotheslined Kamala for 2.
  • Slaughter hooked a Cobra clutch until he saw Akbar on the apron.
  • While Akbar held Slaughter, Kamala inadvertently nailed Akbar.
  • Slaughter clotheslined Kamala between the ropes, and the bell rang.
  • Apparently, Slaughter retained by DQ at 9:44.

Rating: *

Summary:  Slaughter didn’t play to the crowd as much as he should have because his comeback should have encouraged a roar from the Minneapolis faithful.

After the match, Slaughter pulls Akbar into the ring. Before he can lay waste to Akbar, Slaughter intercepts the object from Kamala. Upon getting whipped, Kamala hightails it from the ring as the Minneapolis faithful finally give a shit.

At ringside, Nelson interviews Slaughter who encourages a group of boys to recite the Pledge of Allegiance.

Prior to the next match, Pro Wrestling Report honors Hall with a trophy as “Most Popular Wrestler.” You may recall this magazine from my previous AWA reflections, yet it’s no Pro Wrestling Illustrated to me.

Match 11 for the AWA World tag team titles: Curt Hennig & Scott Hall (champions) versus the Long Riders

Highlights:

  • Match key: Scott equals Scott Irwin while Hall, in essence, equals Scott Hall. Try not to get confused.
  • For those curious, Nelson mentioned that the Long Riders were forced to wear normal wrestling attire rather than their BANNED motorcycle attire, namely their boots.
  • Scott fed Curt a back elbow and tagged in Bill.
  • When Curt met him with a dropkick, he chased Bill around the ring and hip-tossed him.
  • Curt dropkicked him again for 2.
  • As he knocked Bill into 1988, Curt hooked a somersault rollup for 2.
  • Bill gave Curt a cross corner whip but came up empty on his follow-through.
  • After Curt scored with a monkey flip, he got 2.
  • Scott tagged in and slammed Curt.
  • While Bill tagged in, he clotheslined the BEJEEZUS out of Curt.
  • Scott tagged in and distracted referee Buddy Lane.
  • When Scott duped Hall into the ring, Bill guillotined Curt with the top rope. Sinister!
  • Bill tagged in, slammed Curt, mounted the second turnbuckle, but missed a splash.
  • Hot tag Hall.
  • As he slammed Bill, Hall dealt the Long Riders a double noggin knocker.
  • Curt tagged in and dropkicked Bill again.
  • With all four wrestlers in the ring, Bill launched Curt over the top rope to the stadium floor.
  • In the meantime, Lane was occupied with the other two wrestlers.
  • Hall slammed Bill, but Scott dumped him down to the stadium floor.
  • Curt mounted the top turnbuckle and uncorked a missile dropkick to Bill.
  • 1-2-3.
  • Curt and Hall retained at 13:04.

Rating: **½

Summary:  If only Akbar had managed the Long Riders like he did the Super Destroyers, they may have won the titles. As it was, the tag champs looked solid as Hall’s lack of experience was quietly hidden.

After the match, Scott retrieves his motorcycle boot and CLOBBERS Curt and Hall with it. Nelson interviews the tag champs, and a pained Curt wants a rematch with or without the motorcycle boots. Hall shares Curt’s anger and also wants another shot at the Long Riders.

At ringside, Resnick interviews LeDoux who’s going to rain “a thousand pounds of Idaho potatoes” upon Zbyszko. Pass the sour cream and bacon bits please.

Match 12 (boxing): Larry Zbyszko (w/ Ninja Go) versus Scott LeDoux (w/ Bob Lurtsema)

Highlights:

ROUND 1:

  • For those unaware, LeDoux was a boxer who’d been in the ring with Leon Spinks and Muhammed Ali. In addition, he’d sparred with Mike Tyson and Lennox Lewis. That’s quite the résumé.
  • Larry “The Axe” Hennig was the special guest referee for this match.
  • As LeDoux applied a full nelson, Larry escaped but ate a left jab.
  • Zbyszko performed his best stalling until he took down LeDoux.

ROUND 2:

  • When Zbyszko scored with a spinning thrust kick, he leaped onto LeDoux’s back.
  • LeDoux backed him into the corner, but Zbyszko took him down with an arm drag.
  • After Zbyszko tried to cheapshot him, LeDoux’s punching power sent Zbyszko into retreat mode.
  • Zbyszko powerslammed LeDoux and tried to choke LeDoux before Hennig intervened.

ROUND 3:

  • During the break, Nelson mentioned LeDoux’s receiving a thumb to his left eye.
  • Zbyszko delivered a shoulder breaker and took advantage of LeDoux’s limited sight.
  • While Zbyszko took him down, he held a front chancery until the round ended.

ROUND 4:

  • Zbyszko missed a spinning thrust kick, so LeDoux grabbed a head lock and BELTED him.
  • As he slammed Zbyszko, LeDoux CLOCKED him sending Zbyszko down to the mat.
  • The bell rang, and Zbyszko’s bacon was saved for another round.

ROUND 5:

  • When the round began, Zbyszko lured LeDoux down to the stadium floor and made him HIT THE POLE.
  • Hennig called for the bell, and LeDoux won by DQ.

Rating: NONE

Summary:  Zbyszko sold this exhibition well including the “punch” that stunned him. As expected, he cheated, got caught, and lost.

After the match, LeDoux saunters after Zbyszko in the ring but gets hammered from behind by Ninja Go. Larry gets involved and chases Ninja Go within the ring. At the same time, Zbyszko OBLITERATES LeDoux with nunchucks until Larry BELTS him out of the ring.

At ringside, Nelson interviews LeDoux who questions Zbyszko’s moxie albeit in not-so-kind words.

Prior to the next match, Nelson tries to grab an interview from Hansen but gets destroyed instead. Nelson must’ve forgotten to buy Hansen a drink at the bar one time too many.

Match 13 for the AWA World title: Stan “The Lariat” Hansen versus Nick Bockwinkel

Highlights:

  • Bockwinkel gave Hansen a cross corner whip but ate a kick to the midsection on his follow-through.
  • When Hansen landed a back elbow, he scored with an elbow drop for 2.
  • A barely recovered Nelson vociferously rooted for Bockwinkel, yet Hansen slammed his hero.
  • As he dealt Bockwinkel a knee drop, Hansen got another 2.
  • Bockwinkel hooked a sunset flip for 2.
  • After another elbow drop, Hansen earned a 2-count.
  • Bockwinkel reversed a cross corner whip and applied a sleeper.
  • While Hansen escaped, both wrestlers spilled down to the stadium floor.
  • Hansen rammed him face-first into the steps hoping to win by countout.
  • Upon Bockwinkel’s return, Hansen guillotined him with the top rope for 2.
  • Bockwinkel blocked a vertical suplex and delivered one of his own for 2.
  • When Hansen quickly rebounded with a backbreaker, he got 1.
  • Bockwinkel reversed an Irish whip and backdropped Hansen for 2.
  • As he slammed Hansen, Bockwinkel got another 2.
  • He slammed Hansen again but knocked down referee Steve O.
  • After Bockwinkel earned a false pin, he launched a cross body block.
  • Steve O still hadn’t recovered, so Bockwinkel couldn’t grasp the brass ring quite yet.
  • While he dropkicked Hansen, Bockwinkel piledrove him.
  • Next, Hansen backdropped Bockwinkel over the top rope, so Steve O called for the bell.
  • Although Bockwinkel won by DQ, Hansen retained at 10:12.

Rating: ***

Summary:  The hope spots for Bockwinkel cued the Minneapolis faithful into the match, but Hansen found a way to keep his title through iniquitous means.

After the match, they brawl in the ring until a flurry by Bockwinkel sends Hansen scurrying to the stadium floor. Hansen tosses a chair into the ring, but Bockwinkel grabs it. As Hansen holds the belt overhead, Bockwinkel is frustrated for having not achieved his goal.

At ringside, Nelson interviews Bockwinkel who vows to win a rematch.

Match 14 (cage): King Kong Brody & Nord the Barbarian (w/ Sheik Adnan Al-Kaissie) versus “Superfly” Jimmy Snuka & Greg Gagne (w/ Verne Gagne)

Highlights:

  • Snuka was replacing the injured Jerry Blackwell for this match.
  • If Snuka and Greg won, Verne got 10 minutes with Al-Kaissie.
  • Greg gave Brody a cross corner whip but ate boot on his follow-through.
  • As Barbarian tagged in, he missed a knee drop.
  • Tags were exchanged on both sides, and Brody leapfrogged Snuka before crushing him with a big boot.
  • When Snuka leapfrogged him twice, he practically chopped Brody out of his boots.
  • Snuka mounted the second turnbuckle and unloaded a fist drop for 2.
  • After Barbarian tagged in, he suplexed Snuka for 1.
  • Greg tagged in, mounted the top turnbuckle, and fed Barbarian a flying knee drop.
  • While Barbarian rebounded with a backbreaker, Brody tagged in and rammed Greg face-first into the cage.
  • Greg was BUSTED OPEN!
  • As Brody rammed him again, he piledrove Greg for 2.
  • Barbarian tagged in but ate a mule kick from Greg.
  • When Greg reversed an Irish whip, he sent Barbarian into the cage.
  • Hot tag Snuka.
  • After Snuka rammed him face-first into the cage, Brody was BUSTED OPEN!
  • Snuka slammed Brody, mounted the top turnbuckle, and dealt him a flying head butt for 2.
  • While Barbarian sandwiched him in one corner, he SQUISHED him in the opposite one.
  • Barbarian tagged in, and the heels double-teamed Snuka.
  • With all four wrestlers in the ring, the heels tried to ram the babyfaces together but got reversed and rammed together instead.
  • The babyfaces double-dropkicked Barbarian and double-suplexed Brody.
  • As the babyfaces mistimed another double-team, Barbarian clotheslined Snuka.
  • The heels tried to double-team Snuka, but Brody dropkicked his partner inadvertently.
  • 1-2-3.
  • Snuka and Greg won at 11:29.

Rating: ***

Summary:  Feud-ending brawl that got the Minneapolis faithful to its feet.

After the match, the brawl spills outside the cage and amongst the Minneapolis faithful. Verne grabs Al-Kaissie before he can escape and rams him face-first into the cage.

Match 15 (cage): Verne Gagne versus Sheik Adnan Al-Kaissie

Highlights:

  • A BUSTED OPEN Al-Kaissie tried to escape the cage, but Verne joined and hammered him down to the mat.
  • When Verne whipped Al-Kaissie with his own gun belt, he delivered a knee drop for 2.
  • He backdropped Al-Kaissie and applied a sleeper.
  • As Al-Kaissie escaped, he slammed Verne for 2.
  • Al-Kaissie attempted another slam, but Verne countered with an inside cradle.
  • 1-2-3.
  • Verne won at 4:25.

Rating: *

Summary:  Revenge match for Verne, and the Minneapolis faithful appreciates their host.

After the match, Verne rams Al-Kaissie into the cage again before kicking him out of the cage.

At ringside, Nelson interviews Verne who hangs up the trunks once and for all.

Match 16 (cage): The Road Warriors (w/ “Precious” Paul Ellering) versus Michael Hayes & Jimmy Garvin

Highlights:

  • Hayes piledrove Hawk who no-sold as only he could.
  • As Hawk dropkicked him, he dealt Hayes a flying shoulder block.
  • He rammed Hayes face-first into the cage and military-press-slammed him.
  • When Hawk fed a BUSTED OPEN Hayes a fist drop, Garvin avoided tagging in.
  • Hawk rammed him into the cage again, and Hayes tried to escape over the top of the cage.
  • After Hawk joined him, he headbutted Hayes down to the mat.
  • Hayes walked into another head butt from Animal, and Hawk launched a flying splash.
  • While Garvin tagged in, Hawk applied an over-the-shoulder backbreaker and dropped a leg.
  • Animal tagged in and powerslammed Garvin for 2.
  • As Animal repeatedly pressed him overhead, he dropped Garvin like a bad habit.
  • Hayes refused to tag in initially until Garvin delivered a knee to Animal’s midsection.
  • When Animal reversed an Irish whip, he hit a back elbow to Hayes.
  • Hawk tagged in and gnawed on Hayes’ forehead.
  • After Garvin tagged in, he headbutted Hawk in the midsection.
  • Hayes tagged in, mounted the second turnbuckle, and lowered the boom on Hawk.
  • While Hayes trapped him in a figure-four leg lock, Hawk reversed it.
  • Hawk blocked a vertical suplex and furnished Hayes with one of his own.
  • As tags were exchanged on both sides, all four wrestlers were in the ring.
  • Hayes pulled a foreign object from his tights and mounted the top turnbuckle.
  • Although Garvin held Animal, Hayes leaped but mistakenly blasted Garvin.
  • 1-2-3.
  • Road Warriors won at 6:48.

Rating: ****

Summary:  Exciting cage match that would have been better had Terry Gordy been involved. As it is, these guys went balls to the wall to thrill the Minneapolis faithful. I’d say the Freebirds got their just punishment.

Afterward, Hawk sends Hayes into the cage again and wallops him with the foreign object. The Road Warriors double-team Hayes as Ellering joins them in victory to end the show.

Conclusion:  Where’s the butcher because this was a solid show that needed some fat trimmed from it that would have made it even better. Unfortunately, Verne took a bath on this show.

Perhaps having ESPN behind them, they’ll do better next time.

Three **** matches make this show an easy thumbs-up from me but be ready to invest a boatload of time because this show is four and a half hours long.

TV Rating: NONE

Stay tuned for AWA Battle By the Bay!

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!