What the World Was Watching: The Wrestling Summit (Special Column)

As noted in prior columns, this show was a joint effort by the WWF, New Japan Pro Wrestling, and All Japan Pro Wrestling.  The WWF was looking to expand its global presence while New Japan and All Japan felt threatened by Akira Maeda’s shoot-like Universal Wrestling Federation, which drew a 50,000 person crowd to the Tokyo Dome for a big show in November 1989.  To counter them, New Japan and All Japan worked together on a supershow at the Tokyo Dome on February 10.  Then, they built on that effort by partnering with the WWF for another big card in Tokyo on April 13 that was named The Wrestling Summit.  According tothehistoryofwwe.com, the show drew a crowd of 53,742.

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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!

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Rock Star Gary reflects on AWA on ESPN 12-10-1985

Taped from Atlantic, City, NJ

Airdate: December 10, 1985 (taped 11/04)

Attendance: unknown

Hosted by Larry Nelson, Dick McLeod, & Verne Gagne

Can Hansen, um, wrestle the World title from Martel? What does Bockwinkel say about Zbyszko’s actions from last week? Also, Garvin, Regal, and Precious are here! Let’s party!

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Rock Star Gary reflects on AWA 10-22-1985

Taped from Atlantic, City, NJ

Airdate: October 22, 1985 (taped 10/16)

Attendance: unknown

Hosted by Larry Nelson, Doug McLeod, & Nick Bockwinkel

Can Curt defeat Garvin, or will Garvin’s entourage play a part in Curt’s demise? Also, the Freebirds return. Hansen will wrestle, but will his opponent survive? In addition, I included a BONUS MATCH. Let’s carve into and see what’s inside this week’s episode.

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Yokozuna vs. Kamala (and other Dream Matches!)

Kamala, The Ugandan Giant: 6 Things To Know About The Late Professional Wrestler - CINEMABLEND

As a lover of “Big Fat Guys Running Into Each Other” spots, this screencap makes me so, SO happy.

Time for more Dream Matches! And if you’re a Kamala fan, boy have I got the column for you! Watch a newly-babyface Kamala trotted out as a sacrifice for a bigger, fatter Yokozuna! And then him teaming up with the mostly-forgotten “Kimala II” in All Japan of all places, teaming with Abdullah the Butcher to take on Stan Hansen, Joel Deaton & Mike Golden! Plus Bad News Brown vs. Koko B. Ware!

And also, a very special random match from RINGS of all places, as the Japanese fake-shoot fed gives us two of their top stars- Volk Han & Dick Vrij in one of those weirdly inexplicably-scored matches (but don’t worry- the counts are only there to lead to the come from behind finishes!).

YOKOZUNA (w/ Mr. Fuji) vs. KAMALA:

(WWF RAW, May 1993)
* Hell yes- someone recommended this to me, and it’s perfect. Another FAT MAN STAND-OFF, as Yokozuna takes on the newly-babyface Kamala, with no Slick at ringside, so you know his ass is being jobbed out. Heenan writes off Kamala’s chances because Yoko has never been slammed, while Savage votes for “the definite underdog” on account of Razor Ramon’s recent loss to the 1-2-3 Kid meaning everything’s up for grabs. Yoko is about ready to fight Hogan for the WWF Title at King of the Ring, so that pretty well tells you the finish right away.

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Rock Star Gary reflects on AWA 10-08-1985

Taped from Atlantic City, NJ

Airdate: October 8, 1985 (taped 9/26)

Attendance: unknown

Hosted by Larry Nelson, Doug McLeod, & Verne Gagne

Can Slaughter retain the Americas title against the crafty Bockwinkel? Will Zhukov be involved? There’s chaos on the Christmas show. What happened? Speaking of chaos, what nightmares will Hansen deliver? Let’s dig right in…

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Rock Star Gary reflects on AWA Super Clash ’85

Live from Chicago, IL

Airdate: September 28, 1985

Attendance: 20,347

Hosted by Larry Nelson

Can Magnum defeat Flair for the NWA World title? Will Martel retain the AWA World title against Hansen? How will the Road Warriors fare in their hometown? Does Slaughter stand up for America against Zhukov? Let’s sink our teeth into this delicious supershow!

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What the World Was Watching: WWF Wrestling Challenge – January 28, 1990

Tony Schiavone and Gorilla Monsoon are in the booth and they are still in Chattanooga, Tennessee.

A replay of the Hacksaw Jim Duggan-Pez Whatley match that aired on Prime Time Wrestling is shown.

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Bret vs. Misawa, Savage vs. Tenryu & Hogan vs. Hansen (and other Dream Matches!)

 

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Hogan & Hansen: Main Event in the making!

WWF/AJPW/NJPW WRESTLING SUMMIT:
(Tokyo Dome, April 13th, 1990)

* This is a pretty wild and wacky card, full of the kind of “Dream Matches” you’ll never see again- I’m really shocked it’s not more famous. I mean, it’s a triple-show with All Japan, New Japan, AND the WWF all at once! In the Tokyo Dome! Apparently highlights were aired on Japanese TV, but complexities with the rights led to the full event never being shown in its entirety (which might be why it’s so obscure). The biggest matches are Hulk Hogan vs. Stan Hansen, Macho Man vs. Genichiro Tenryu, and the Ultimate Warrior vs. Ted DiBiase. The WON awards declared this the “Best Major Wrestling Show” of 1990!

“TL;DR” Version: So come see Bret Hart vs. Mitsuharu Misawa in the most disappointing Dream Match of all time! Hogan with his “Japan working boots” (where he’s more “Unstoppable Monster” than the Technically-Gifted Powerhouse I was led to believe he was) on against Stan Hansen in one of his greatest matches ever! Macho King & Queen Sherri doing their schtick against a stoic top-tier Japanese legend in a befuddled Tenryu! Grumpy ol’ Jumbo Tsuruta dealing with hard-working heels in Martel & Perfect!

The show had two dark matches- Dan Kroffat, Doug Furnas & Joe Malenko beat Samson Fuyuki, Tatsumi Kitahara & Toshiaki Kawada in (11:56), and Jushin Liger beat Akira Nogami in (8:37). An extremely shaky fancam of the latter exists- it’s mostly hold-trading. They trade corner moves and Liger hits a surfboard and a rock-the-cradle. They trade flash-pins and Nogami hits a very good plancha and German Suplex for two, but Liger dropkicks him coming off the top and hits a Tope Con Hilo to the floor! He misses a roundhouse kick but gets a powerslam and finishes with a Moonsault Press. Looks **1/2-ish but holy god am I not gonna go move-for-move with such a shaky vid.

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Bridge of Dreams- Tokyo Dome Supershow (Part 2)

WEEKLY PRO WRESTLING “BRIDGE OF DREAMS”:

* Welcome to Part Two! This is the part of the massive interpromotional show that sees Michinoku-Pro and All Japan put on their best stuff in 6-Man Tags, and then New Japan putting on… that match. The story goes that they were gonna put on a throwaway bout until everyone else brought their A-game matches, so they had to scramble and put their top stars in a bout to be a proper “Main Event”. But… oof. They also hit the YouTube video with an immediate copywrite claim over the Main Event, so it’s missing from the show above, but I managed to finagle an MP4.

See Part One here!

“TL;DR- What’s the Deal?”: 4-5 all-time classic matches, the women showing up nearly everybody, worked shoots, bloodbaths, spotfests, comedy- something for everybody. Two more ****+ matches to go!

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Rock Star Gary reflects on AWA WrestleRock ’86

 

Live from Minneapolis, MN

Airdate: April 20, 1986

Attendance:  22,000

Hosted by Rod Trongard & Larry Nelson

Three cage matches along with the Midnight Rockers, Sergeant Slaughter, Jimmy Snuka, Road Warriors, Freebirds, and more fill out this star-studded supershow. Read on!

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Rock Star Gary reflects on…NWA Battle of the Belts I

Live from Tampa, FL

Airdate: September 2, 1985

Attendance:  7,600

Hosted by Gordon Solie and Mike Graham

Similar to the WWF with WrestleMania, WCCW with the Parade of Champions, AWA with Superclash, and JCP with Starrcade, Championship Wrestling from Florida (CWF) created Battle of the Belts as their supershow to showcase the best wrestlers of the Sunshine State.

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