AWA ESPN Championship Wrestling 1/24/88
The Midnight Rockers will meet the Midnight Express for the tag titles tonight!
Jake Milliman/Bam Van Horne vs Nick Kiniski/Mr. Magnificent
Magnificent certainly does have a magnificent body. At least in comparison to the other guys in this match. He's got muscles and baby oil, so he looks a lot better than the Milkman, who looks like Roy Nelson, complete with a rat tail. Yet he's also fucking SHORT. His shoulders come up to the top rope. He's like...Rey Jr. height with Kevin Owens' body. Kiniski gets the very easy win with a piledriver. Of note, Madusa was their manager and it was really weird seeing her all dolled up.
Tom Stone vs Billy Jack Strong
Billy Jack looks like he likely did steroids. A world class powerlifter and former football player. Benches over 600lbs, squats over 900lbs. He's not that good, but he does have a good presence and air of menace to him. He also does a second rope DDT and tombstone, which seems like overkill. I kind of want to see more of him.
TO THE BILL APTER. Bill spoke with Wahoo McDaniel, who explained why it was more important for him to beat Curt Hennig in strap matches than win the world title. He also talks about being a mentor to Billy Jack Strong. Weird. I assumed Billy Jack was a heel based on how he moved in the ring.
Dennis Stamp vs Soldad Ustinov
DENNIS STAMP! He got booked! Soldad is super bootleg Nikita Koloff. He's not good in the least. He won with a big boot.
Midnight Rockers vs Original Midnight Express AWA Tag Team Championships
Paul E. Dangerously's Midnight Express, which is technically the original version, and would soon be in WCW to feud with Cornette's Midnights. Condrey and HBK begin the match. I always wonder how weird the Rock N Roll Express felt when they were in the same territory as the Rockers (THE most direct rip off), and then when they were in SMW with the Thrillseekers, who did a double missile dropkick when RNR's finish was still a regular double dropkick. And here, this is some weird multi-generational knock off feud. RNR has feuds with all three versions of the Midnight Express, and now the original ME is having a feud with the knock off RNR. And then when the RNR came to the WWF, they had the Rockers' theme. Lots of stoogery in this, which is not that surprising if you've seen ME/RNR matches. HBK does what he did best in those days, which was being the FIP. I'm pretty convinced that Stan Lane was the weakest link in every team he was in. Fantastics, ME, Heavenly Bodies...he was just an awkward dude in the ring. His version of ME is the weakest, despite being the most well known. Shawn finally gets the hot tag, but there is a ref bump. A second ref comes out and both refs count a double pin. Rockers win! New champs!
Pretty enjoyable show. Fun squashes and a good main event. Can't really ask for much more out of nearly 28 year old wrestling shows. These were the dying days for the AWA, and the three biggest stars (Rockers, Curt Hennig) were in the WWF within the year.