The SmarK Rant for AWA Championship Wrestling on ESPN Classic – 08.18.11

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The SmarK Rant for AWA Championship Wrestling on ESPN Classic (08.18.11)

– Taped from Las Vegas, NV

– Your hosts are Lee Marshall and Larry Nelson, with Rod Trongard on commentary.  We’re still in 1988 for this one.   I don’t think there’s any set schedule for this stuff on ESPN Classic Canada, as the DVR just seems to pick up random episodes all over the place and no repeats yet.

Cousin Luke v. Chris Curtis

How did they manage to not get sued by the WWF for keeping the hillbilly gimmick and name?  I mean, that’s pretty clear-cut, even Jerry McDevitt could win that case.  Curtis throws forearms, but gets nowhere with it.  Luke gets pissed off and puts him down with a double axehandle, as one of the 40 people in the crowd is already chanting “boring”.  C’mon, it’s a hillbilly fighting a jobber with a jewfro, what more do you people want?  Luke hits a clothesline and big splash to finish at 2:54.  I’m pretty sure this stint didn’t last long.  Luke notes that out in the country, Saturday nights are either for bathing or hodowns.  Of course, with the benefit of science and HBO, we now know that southerners are in fact more likely to be sexy vampires or waitresses who solve mysteries surrounding sexy vampires.

Bill Apter interviews the Top Guns, Ricky Rice and John Paul.  See, Verne’s a hip guy, he doesn’t need the Rockers when he can just make his own awesome tag team.

Teijho Khan & Soldat Ustinov v. Larry Bicone & David Koorijon

Could they possibly come up with names harder to type?  Those all look like randomly generated passwords.  Teijho Khan is a survivor of the Paul Jones Army in the NWA, for the 3 of your wondering what happened to him after 1986.  Khan chops down Koorijon and adds a bad powerslam, then brings in Ustinov.  The evil Russian drops the jobber on the top rope for two, and adds a hiptoss for two.  Russian Sickle finishes at 2:10.  If you squint and then hit yourself in the head with a hammer, you might think he’s Nikita Koloff.  Or at least that’s what they were hoping for.

The Top Guns v. Pete Sanchez & Brian Costello

The Guns actually got a little bit better when they dumped John Paul and replaced him with future boxing diver Derrick Dukes, but not by much.  Rice and Paul throw dropkicks at the jobbers to establish their pretty boy credentials, as if the tassles on their arms and bandanas on their boots didn’t do that already.   John Paul brings Sanchez in with an armdrag and Lee Marshall gets inordinately excited about it.  Trongard tries to get “The Edina Connection” over as a team name, because that’s totally more marketable than “Top Guns”.  Costello gets some jobber offense on Paul, but misses a blind charge (after Paul forgets to move the first time), and Rice gets the hot tag.  The Guns finish with a powerslam into Jerry Sags-level shitty flying elbow at 3:55.

Greg Gagne presents this week’s Mat Classic, as the Fabulous Ones take on the Road Warriors in Winnipeg.

The Big K has another meaningless segment.  He tells it like it is, but doesn’t actually say anything.

Manny Fernandez v. Mike Luca

Manny takes a backdrop out of the corner, but comes back with headbutts and a corner clothesline.  Manny chops him down and offers some racially insensitive “woowoowoo” for Wahoo McDaniel.  Flying Burrito finishes at 2:04.  The burrito, Lee Marshall explains, is really just a Mexican sandwich, and what he’s doing is sandwiching his opponent.  I hope everyone is taking notes.  On the bright side, it saves me from wondering if Luca lived on the second floor.  Wahoo comes out to answer Manny’s challenges, and Fernandez punks him out and tears up the headdress.  Manny was such a great old-school heel like that.

Mondo Guerrero v. Pat Tanaka

DDP is now managing Badd Company, beginning a very unlikely career in the sport.  Guerrero offers some crane poses to mock Tanaka.  Trongard notes that he’s “seen Mondo work 4 or 5 times”.  Isn’t that kind of a no-no word for announcers?  Mondo takes Tanaka down and works the arm with a rowboat move, and they fight for wristlocks on the mat.  Tanaka switches to a hammerlock, but Guerrero flips out of it and into a rollup for two.  He takes Tanaka down witha bodyscissors and rolls him around the ring for two.  That’s a move that needs a comeback.  Goofy and yet cool.  Tanaka comes back with a flying forearm and runs him into the turnbuckles, but Mondo fires back with forearms and a dropkick for two.  Backslide gets two.  Mondo goes to an armbar, but misses a blind charge and Tanaka takes over with a headbutt for two.  Mondo fires back and monkey-flips him out of the corner, as Tanaka gets some impressive hangtime on that, and Guerrero gets a release northern lights suplex and into the Rita Romero Special.  This was early 1988 and these guys out there doing stuff that wouldn’t be seen until WCW in the late 90s.  Paul Diamond runs in for the DQ at 9:00 and the Badd Company beatdown commences.  Sadly, repeatedly ringing the bell has no effect, but the Top Guns finally make the save.  ***

Gotta say, a shockingly watchable show this time around.