AWA All Star Wrestling 08.01.1984
My second trip to AWA, and I’m quite interested by what is potentially on offer. AWA had some big names that never made the move to WWF, or if they did, it occurred during a time that I wasn’t watching, or they were very much past their prime.
The opening match begins straight away, as Greg Gagne fighting Rooster Griffin. My biggest problem with the wrestling shows I’ve watched so far is how they handle squash matches – all too often they don’t really act as enough of a showcase of the star. This is a perfect example, as Gagne and Griffin are fairly evenly matched for three minutes, then Gagne hits two dropkicks and gets the three count. Griffin did at least entertain me, kissing his muscles and strutting around the ring even after he was defeated. Gagne just bores me, to be honest.
Following a High Flyers interview about the upcoming matches at the big show on the 15th, Steve Regal faces off against Craig Carson. A fun little match, mostly built around Regal stooging, complaining constantly about hair grabs and tight grabs, with several spots repeated to show Carson matching up well competitively against Regal. Without much time in charge of the match, Regal hits Carson with a suplex for the pinfall. This is where the video is a bit odd, as Gordon Solie suggests that this was the 1st fall of a 2 out of 3 fall match, but we never see the next fall. Odd.
In a strange segment following from last week’s show, Nick Bockwinkel changes his partner for the big match against The Crusher and Mad Dog Vachon. No longer will it be Crusher Blackwell, but Blackjack Mulligan. Admittedly, Mulligan does look pretty cool, and having never seen him wrestle, he’d look like a guy who’d be worth watching kicking ass. The following three promos see Crusher and Vachon respond, suggesting they will win no matter what partner Bockwinkel picks, and we see Brad Rheingans and Billy Robinson speak about an upcoming match against The Far East West Connection. Finally, Buck Zumhofe has a short promo decrying Steve Regal’s ambitions to be the next light heavyweight champion.
The third match of the night sees Ken Patera vs The Black Panther. I’ve never really seen Patera at his peak either, and I enjoy what I see. It is also the closest thing to a proper squash match I’ve seen on the show, as Patera shows off some good power moves and always looks better than The Black Panther. He wins with a suplex (two suplex finishes on one show…..), but I particularly liked this throwing bodyslam which led to the finish.
We then get a plug for the AWA t-shirt, which is horrific on so many levels.
We then get a Verne Gagne promo – once again, weirdly talking about anything but AWA. He is happy about the new coach of the local University team, apparently.
The main event for the evening sees The Far East West Connection fight Kenny J and Baron Von Raschke (subbing for another wrestler). Jesse Ventura and Masa Saito treat us to a demonstration of Saito’s strength, as he breaks three wooden slats with his head. The match itself is pretty fun, and ends with Kenny J hung in the tree of woe, which prompts Raschke to enter the ring and try and help him. With the referee losing complete control (and I’m assuming DQ’ing Raschke), Ventura ends up in the iron claw. Saito has an effective counter for this, smashing the Baron over the head with a wooden board, splitting him open. The beatdown continues, until Jim Brunzell hits the ring, only to eat a face full of salt from Saito. This leads to a Greg Gagne rundown, which makes it just seem confusing as to why they didn’t come down together. Finally, the heels are run off.
The last promo of the evening sees the booker Wally Karbo promising to fight fire with fire in dealing with The Far East West Connection.
A really fun end to a pretty good show. It is just a shame that the next AWA show I have in my collection isn’t until May. Having had a look for the results from the big card that was advertised throughout, I see that Mulligan turns on Bockwinkel, reforming The Blackjacks in the process.
Next show is my first trip to Mid South, which I am very much looking forward to.