Rock Star Gary reflects on AWA on ESPN 09-23-1986

Taped from Las Vegas, NV

Airdate: September 23, 1986 (taped 8/30)

Attendance: unknown

Hosted by Larry Nelson, Ron Trongard, & Lord James Blears

Can Hall deal DeBeers some comeuppance for shelving him? Also, with Bockwinkel, Zbyszko, and Hennig on the program, what else is in store for us? Let’s get comfortable and find out!

Opening montage.

Match 1: Ninja Go (w/ Larry Zbyszko) versus Robert Burroughs


  • Oh, thank goodness! Zbyszko’s not actually wrestling; otherwise, the main event may have gotten clipped.
  • When the Vegas faithful chanted “Larry sucks,” Go landed a bicycle kick.
  • Burroughs got slammed, gave Go a cross corner whip, but ate a back elbow on his follow-through.
  • As Go delivered a backbreaker, Burrough reversed a cross corner whip.
  • Burroughs ate boot on another follow-through, so Go mounted the second turnbuckle.
  • Upon remembering the script, Go blasted Burroughs with a clothesline.
  • He mounted the adjacent second turnbuckle and scored with a flying elbow drop.
  • 1-2-3.
  • Go won at 4:03.

Rating: ½*

Summary: Showcase match for Go.

After the match, Nelson interviews Zbyszko with Go. Zbyszko believes the AWA has lined up people to get rid of him. If only that was the case. Ultimately, he wants a match against Bockwinkel, or he’ll sue the AWA. Has Clarence Mason passed the bar yet?

AWA on ESPN Classic is sponsored by Quizno’s. Where’s the Budweiser? At least there was a Guinness ad.

Match 2: “Big” Scott Hall versus Thomas Pitman


  • Donna Gagne joined the broadcast table for this match. Fortunately, she didn’t unfurl any vicious rumors.
  • As Hall countered a side head lock with a belly-to-back suplex, he delivered a back elbow.
  • He blocked a cross corner whip, gave Pittman one of his own, and backdropped him.
  • When Hall leveled him with a lariat, he bulldogged Pittman.
  • 1-2-3.
  • Hall won at 2:07.

Rating: ½*

Summary: Showcase match for Hall.

Following a commercial break, Nelson interviews Hall with Curt Hennig. Hall cuts a promo on DeBeers while Hennig has his back 100%. Despite their youth, each cuts a solid promo.

Match 3: Ali Khan & Boris Zhukov (w/ Sheik Adnan Al-Kaissie) versus Butch Cooper & Pat Meyers


  • Why couldn’t Khan look more like his cousin Tony? In the case of Ali, the Khan tree branch sprouted a few ugly leaves.
  • When Zhukov and Khan hit the ring, they ambushed Meyers and Cooper.
  • Zhukov backdropped Cooper and rammed him back-first into Khan’s knee.
  • As Khan tagged in, he slammed Cooper.
  • Zhukov tagged in and hip-tossed Cooper into the babyface corner.
  • After Meyers tagged in, Zhukov headbutted his back.
  • Khan tagged in and dealt Meyers an atomic drop.
  • While Zhukov tagged in, he tossed Meyers down to the concrete floor.
  • He joined and rammed Meyers back-first into the apron.
  • When Zhukov slammed Meyers on the concrete floor, Cooper tried to rescue his partner.
  • Unfortunately, he felt the wrath of Khan.
  • On the other hand, it’s HOT in Vegas.
  • Back in the ring, Khan tagged in, and the Sheik’s Army double-backdropped Meyers.
  • Khan fed Meyers a swinging neckbreaker, tagged in Zhukov, and slammed him onto Zhukov’s right knee. OUCH!
  • As Zhukov pulled him up at 2, he sandwiched Meyers in the corner.
  • Khan tagged in, and Zhukov slammed Meyers atop Khan’s knee. That kid’ll need more than an attitude adjustment following this match.
  • After Zhukov tagged in, he crushed Meyers with a running guillotine.
  • Another backbreaker by Zhukov preceded a series of diving headbutts to Meyers.
  • Meanwhile, the Vegas faithful couldn’t care less.
  • Khan tagged in and applied a Canadian backbreaker.
  • When Meyers submitted, Khan and Zhukov won at 5:36.

Rating: *

Summary: Showcase match for Zhukov and Khan.

After the match, Zhukov tosses Cooper out of the ring while Khan distracts referee Marty Miller. Zhukov demolishes Meyers before depositing him upon the concrete floor.

In the ring, Nelson interviews Al-Kaissie with Khan and Zhukov. He requests a shot at the tag team titles for his Army. To finish the interview, Zhukov spews nonsense prior to challenging Bockwinkel to a Russian chain match.

Match 4 (non-title): AWA World champion Nick Bockwinkel versus Paul Garner


  • Garner attempted a back drop, but Bockwinkel blocked it and rang his bell.
  • As Garner dealt him a back elbow, he followed with a double axe handle.
  • Garner reversed a cross corner whip and planted a knee to Bockwinkel’s midsection during his follow-through.
  • When Bockwinkel scored with a lariat, he applied an Indian death lock.
  • Garner submitted, so Bockwinkel prevailed at 6:21.

Rating: DUD

Summary: Showcase match for Bockwinkel who gave Garner WAY too much offense to my liking.

Match 5: Colonel DeBeers versus “Big” Scott Hall


  • Hall stormed the ring, and the brawl was ON.
  • When he gave DeBeers a cross corner whip, Hall followed with a back elbow.
  • He dealt DeBeers another pair of HARD cross corner whips, yanked him from the corner, and got 2.
  • As he slammed DeBeers, Hall missed an elbow drop.
  • The Vegas faithful chided DeBeers with a “U-S-A” chant although their nemesis punished Hall’s left hand.
  • After Hall slammed DeBeers again, he couldn’t escape DeBeers’ grasp.
  • Trying to unleash more punishment, DeBeers fell off the apron off-camera.
  • DeBeers attempted a slam, but Hall blocked and fed him slam #3.
  • While DeBeers mounted the top turnbuckle, Hall caught and slammed him down to the mat.
  • Hall nailed DeBeers in the midsection and followed with an elbow drop.
  • When he bulldogged DeBeers, he only got 2 due to a foot on the bottom rope.
  • Hall attempted another bulldog, but DeBeers shoved him directly into referee Marty Miller.
  • As Hall tried to stand Miller upright, DeBeers planted a knee into his back.
  • Subsequently, Hall SQUISHED Miller in the corner knocking him OUT COLD.
  • Hall gave DeBeers a cross corner whip followed by a back drop.
  • After Miller rose to his feet, he called for the bell.
  • DeBeers surprisingly won by DQ at 9:09.

Rating: **

Summary: DeBeers sold his ass off for Hall whom the crowd showered with cheers. In the meantime, Miler’s decision stunk on Melba toast.

After the match, Hall bulldogs DeBeers again and counts his own pin. They stand nose-to-nose until DeBeers stumbles out of the ring.

AWA Top 5 contenders to the World title:

  1. Nord the Barbarian
  2. Colonel DeBeers
  3. “Big “Scott Hall
  4. Larry Zbyszko
  5. “Superfly” Jimmy Snuka

Following a commercial break, Nelson interviews Hall who refers to DeBeers as “soldier boy.” Either Hall feels like more of a superhero than DeBeers or truly wants to crank it. Nevertheless, the feud between Hall and DeBeers is NOT over.

Conclusion:  While I would have preferred to witness a DeBeers promo accusing Hall of using anabolic steroids, seeing Hall bounce him from pillar to post was fun. Our trip to Larryland this week wasn’t a long journey, so let’s be thankful. Although I understand Bockwinkel’s preference for psychology, I would have preferred that he tie up Garner like a pretzel than have us suffer through the garbage in their match.

On the next reflection, the Rockers along with Hennig are in action, so look forward to reading more of my chocolatey goodness.

TV Rating: NONE

Stay tuned for AWA 10-05-86!

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