The SmarK Rant for AWA Championship Wrestling on ESPN Classic – 08.23.11

The SmarK Rant for AWA Championship Wrestling on ESPN Classic – 08.23.11

– My DVR is filling up with these fast, so I have a nice selection of time periods to choose from.  Today:  Mid-1990, which is nearing the end of the line for the promotion.

– Hosted by Uncle Eric.  Commentary is provided by Lee Marshall and a guy I’ve never heard of before — Ringside Randy or something like that.  When even Rod Trongard is bailing on you, you’re in trouble.

– We start with highlights of last week’s main event:  Slaughter/Koloff/Trooper beating Mike Enos/Larry Zbyszko/The Russian Brute.  And I care why?

The Yukon Lumberjacks (John Nord & Scott Norton) v. WT Jones & John “Pistol” Pistulka

That jobber sounds like a UFC name.  So even by late AWA standards, The Lumberjacks were a retarded idea for a tag team.  John Nord, who was just a barbarian a couple of years before this, is suddenly a Yukon logging expert and speaks perfect English, and powerlifter Scott Norton is now a champion flapjack eater.  I shit you not.  Nord boots Jones out of the ring to start.  Over to Norton, who pounds on Pistulka.  Nord adds a sloppy gutwrench, then finishes with the legdrop at 1:49.  Nord had an interesting look and was pretty over, but it was just way too late by this point.

– We then get subjected to a followup promo in the studio with the Lumberjacks, as Scott Norton will soon be returning to the Yukon to defend his pancake-eating title, and Nord is looking for Larry Zbyszko.  They didn’t even really have any tag team feuds for them at this point, they were just out there throwing out whatever came to mind, apparently.  How were you supposed to watch this mess back in 1990 and get excited for any of this, I wonder?

The Russian Brute v. George Anderson

Case in point with the Brute, who was an indy guy about the size of Rhino playing a Russian that couldn’t even be bothered to shave his head.  EVERYONE knows that Communists go bald due to a Democracy deficiency, that’s just basic science.  Anyway, speaking of gimmicks stuck in the 50s, Ox Baker is at ringside after severing his managerial relationship with the Brute.  Brute does OK on his own, finishing the jobber with the heart punch at 0:30.  Lee Marshall questions whether he was able to figure out the right time for his finisher on his own, without Baker.  Uh, I don’t know what the setup for punching a guy in the heart is supposed to be, but considering he beat him in 30 seconds, I’d say he did fine.  Replay shows that the Brute lived up to his name, stiffing the poor kid pretty good and hitting him in the throat.

– And here’s the feud that the world was waiting for:  Baron Von Raschke has had ENOUGH of the Texas Hangmen, so he introduces his new partner Buck Zumhofe.  Oh, Verne Gagne, sometimes I just don’t have the words.

– And now, it’s a BOUND FOR GLORY  TEAM CHALLENGE SERIES update.  Scott Norton beats Col. DeBeers in a bodyslam challenge for 2 points.  By the way, apologies for my AWA rant last week where racist overlord DeBeers was wrestling a jobber named Michael Richards and I didn’t even make ONE JOKE about it.  I had a sinus infection and went to bed early that night.  I won’t let that kind of sloppy attention to detail go by again on this show, fear not.   Verne Gagne will regret the day he went bankrupt!  Well, even moreso than he already did, I guess.

Tommy Jammer v. Tom “Rocky” Stone

Fun fact:  It took me many years to get the pun in Stone’s nickname.  I was always like “What does this guy have to do with Stallone?” Anyway, Stone attacks and gets backdropped, and Jammer finishes him with a pair of dropkicks at 0:30.   There’s no program for Jammer and he gets no promo time or followup.  This show is a mess.

– Eric chats with Verne about all the up-and-comers in the AWA who would soon be up-and-going to WCW once the promotion folded.

Johnnie Stewart & Mean Mike Enos v. Steve Berg & Mike Braham

That’s “Braham”, not “Graham”.  Bloom was injured or at McDonalds or something that night of the taping, so they randomly insert Stewart into this squash.  Berg manages to slam Stewart, but the smaller Braham comes in and gets powerslammed.  Enos runs Braham into the corner and Stewart finishes with a running knee.  Or he looked like he was trying for a leg lariat, but didn’t get the rotation and instead slammed his knee into Braham’s face.  Either way it was a pretty badass finisher and people should take note today and stop doing variations on the fireman’s carry and DDT for every move.

AWA World title:  Larry Zbyszko v. DJ Peterson

This is also for TEAM CHALLENGE SERIES points, in case the title on the line wasn’t enough of a draw.  Larry gets a slam for two and follows with a suplex for two.  DJ has a sunset flip blocked, but clotheslines him and chases him to the floor.  He gets an atomic drop out there and suplexes him for two.  Larry tries a neckbreaker, but DJ gets a backslide for two.  Larry finally gets a backdrop suplex for two, and of course hits the chinlock.  DJ makes a comeback, but Larry dodges a dropkick and gets two.  DJ with an inverted atomic drop and powerslam, and a middle rope elbow gets two.  Alas, the ref is bumped and DJ gets a small package (FOR THE COUNT OF SIX! declares Lee Marshall as if JFK had just been shot) but Larry pins him in the corner, with a handful of tights and feet on the ropes, to retain at 8:08.  Marshall thinks that DJ has a very strong case for being World champion, but really if the best he could muster was a small package, fuck him.  Better than usual for Larry tonight.  ***

Last one out of this promotion, turn off the lights.

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