AWA WrestleRock 1986
Another attempt at a supershow to compete with the success of Wrestlemania. It's best known not for the show itself, but for the rap video from the roster to hype the show.
Boris Zhukov vs Brad Rheingans
Brad blows his nose and wipes his ass iwth the USSR flag before the match. That's very, very rude. Imagine if someone did that to the American flag. There would have been a riot. This has a 15 minute time limit, and I'd hope it does't even go half that. Neither guy is particularly good, and since this is the opening match and it is still day time, you can see how about 2/3rds of the stadium is empty. General Sheik Adnan is with Boris. I'd rather watch him wrestle, to be honest. Some bland ass wrestling. Brad won with a gutwrench suplex OUTTA NOWHERE. He was attacked after the match.
Little Tokyo/Lord Littlebrook vs Little Mr. T/Cowboy Lang
Gary Michael Capetta fucked up the intros, introducing Little Tokyo from Chicago. Tokyo is in his fucking name, dickhead. Christ. How do you fuck that up? Gary Lumpkin from Good Company is the special referee for this contest. Not interested in seeing the same midget comedy spots that are in every midget match. WHAT THE FUCK WAS THAT SOUND?!?! It sounds like an alien invasion in the stadium. What the fuck. Mother fucking Mars Attacks up in this mug. The fuck. What a bizarre sound. Sounded like the Deathstar going off. There ARE a lot of people there, but 15-20K in a place that fits 60K looks small. It looks better as the lighting grid seemed to die. That was probably what that sound was. The ring is now lit with spotlights, but there is still light outside so it isn't that big of a deal. "AY YI YI", screams Little Tokyo. Wrong stereotype, breh. Oh wow, there is a witch in the audience wearing a waffle who is casting spells and throwing out hexes. There are a lot of comedy spots, almost all of them relating to Tokyo/Littlebrook having miscommunications. Powerful FU from Mr. T. For some reason, all four dudes start beating up the ref. Since he couldn't tell which little feet were hitting him, he couldn't disqualify anyone. Lang wins with a rolling prawn hold.
Wahoo McDaniel vs Col. DeBeers
Chuck Liligray (?), a local horse farmer, was introduced before the match as a special ring announcer. Fuck this match, too. I'm most enthralled with all the crowd shots. There are tons of them, and there is always something more interesting going on in them than the actual match in the ring. It's exactly the crowd you'd think the audience for a pro wrestling company in Minnesota in the mid 80s would look like. I'll be honest here: I never liked Wahoo. Always found him dull and even tiring since all he could do was chops. He got disqualified for throwing DeBeers over the top rope. What a dolt. Wahoo is a sore ass loser and attacks after the match, even though it was his stupid ass that got himself disqualified by clearly breaking the rules.
Tiger Mask II vs Buck Zumhofe
Misawa can not hide his "am I really wrestling this piece of shit" look even with a mask on. If I'm not mistaken, Buck had an incestual relationship with his daughter for years. He looks like the type to do that, too. Misawa has nothing to work with, and they don't mesh at all. And, because he's Japanese, Misawa Mask is booed despite Buck being the heel. Misawa wins with a top rope flip.
Barry Windham/Mike Rotunda vs Fabulous Ones
Interesting that US Express were hyped as former WWF tag champs. Since this show was in response to WM and WWF's success, it shows how big WWF already was..IRS has a giant shiner heading into the match. This should at least be a step up from the past hour of trash. The announcer over enunciates the HAM part of Windham. Fabs are very aggressive. Heel like, even. Barry and Lane have a pretty dope little sequence. I think Barry broke the ropes running. This is pretty good. Fast paced and aggressive. Fabs have gone full heel. I guess they were heel at the Crockett Cup as well, now that I think about it. I don't know WHY they turned heel, though. I've never found any angle for it. They just started working heel in various territories one day. A very enjoyable Southern tag. Barry got the win despite not being the legal man. I expected the result to get reversed, but it wasn't.
Wait a second. The Crockett Cup took place the night before this show. That's weird. Two supershows from different promotions in different parts of the country on back to back nights with a lot of the same talent? Strange. Why not just do a joint supershow?
Giant Baba vs Bob Brown
Bob Brown is probably best known to Canadians as being a heel announcer in the dying days of Stampede. Look, I like Baba a lot. At this stage in his career, Bob Brown is not the type of dude that is going to give him a good match. Bob gets way more offense than he should. Granted, it's mostly chokes, but still. He also no sold Baba's chops. This is ridiculous. Bob is a short, stocky, clearly past his prime dude and he's having a very, very even match with Baba, who even in 1986 was still able to have great matches against guys like Jumbo and Stan Hansen. This should not be a competitive match. Baba wins with a big boot to the HEART.
Harley Race vs Rick Martel
Oh shit. A real NWA vs AWA match here, even though neither are champion anymore. Very impressed with 1986 Harley even trying a leap frog, and even more so at the quickness of Martel's arm drag right after. This is really the last year Harley was anywhere approaching a top level talent. He'd be in the WWF in about a month (as would Martel) and he got injured in 1988 in a match with Hulk Hogan which essentially ended his career despite him continuing for a few years afterwards. Martel is able to out-speed Harley over and over, so Harley just headbutts that dude in the fucking face and puts all that shit to a stop. Harley is dope. Martel is dope. Imagine a 70s NWA title match in Japan, but condensed to 15 minutes with a double count out. Cut out all the slow parts and have 15 minutes of pretty dope shit. Also amazing how many spots dudes took from Harley. Very, very enjoyable match. Would love to see a 30-60 minute match between them, which I'm sure exists, probably in Japan and therefore better and available online.
Women's Battle Royal
Luna Vachon, Joyce Grable, Kat LeRouz, Rose Devine, Taylor Thomas, Despina Montega, Misty Blue Simmes, Debbie Combs, Candie Devine, and Sherri Martel are the participants. Look, most battle royals are dog shit. Luna looks good. But fuck the rest of this. Sherri won. #Queen
Kamala vs Sgt. Slaughter AWA America's Championship
9 matches in before a title is defended, and it is basically Sarge's vanity title created only because of his involvement with GI Joe. This is worked like a (pretty shitty) house show match. Most of Kamala's offense is centered out...the arm pit. THE ARM PIT. This is terrible. Even by Kamala standards. Sarge won by DQ. Title retained, but fuck this match.
Scott Hall/Curt Hennig vs The Long Riders AWA Tag Team Championships
The Long Riders are Scott and Bill Irwin. Bill Irwin was THE GOOOOOOOON. Hall was such a specimen god damn. Tom Selleck hair and 'stache not withstanding. It's shocking Vince didn't snap him up before 1992. LOOK at that dude. He would have been huge in the WWF even if he was green as fuck. If you're looking at Hennig and Hall in 1986, Hall is the guy you'd think would make it to the WWF first, despite Hennig's clear in ring advantage. Perfect is FIP for a long segment, but tags back in about 40 seconds after his hot tag. That seems to happen a lot and I never understand it. For some reason, this match is double the length of anything else on the card, even though they don't do anything with that extra time. The other tag did what this tried to do much better and in half the time. Perfect wins with a missile dropkick. Titles retained.
Scott LeDoux vs Larry Zbyszko Boxing Match
LeDoux was a former pro wrestler and boxer, and at the time of this match was a referee for the AWA. He'd go on to be the Executive Director of the Minnesota Combative Sports Commission, during which his time was spent causing controversies by accepting bribes and beating people up. Larry Hennig is the guest referee for this. What kind of boxing match rules allows for full nelsons and bailing out to the floor? This is more like a MMA match. Not sure why it is called a boxing match. They have open gloves and are doing amateur grappling. I don't want to say it is shoot-style, but it is something in between pro wrestling and shoot-style. LeDoux is completely blown to shit by the third round, barely being able to stand without leaning on the ropes. Larry is trying to swell his eye shut or something. It's not good, whatever this is. LeDoux finally gets into things late into the fight, which leads to Larry sending him into the ring post and getting disqualified. A ninja attacked Scott after the match. Larry Hennig chased him around the ring and then blasted Larry Z in the face.
Stan Hansen vs Nick Bockwinkel AWA Championship
Bock has a god damn bullwhip to counter act Hansen. Or maybe Stan brought it in and Nick got a hold of it. Stan beat up Larry Nelson before the match for no apparent reason. He also does not take it eaay on Bock at all. Just knocks the shit out of him. This is structurally very similar to the Vader/Flair matches, except Bock staggering Hansen with punches every now and then is far more believable than Ric's shitty punches taking Vader down. Nick, long time technical style heel, is the underdog babyface and mostly has to use his technical skills to compete with the bigger, younger brawler. There was a ref bump, and he came to to seeing Hansen backdrop Bock over the top rope. Bock wins via DQ, but Hansen retains the title. It was okay. Certainly a disappointment considering the talent involved, but not bad or anything. Just okay.
Bruiser Brody/John Nord vs Greg Gagne/Jimmy Snuka Steel Cage Match
I didn't know the Berzerker had actually teamed with Brody. Not sure if that makes it better or worse that he stole Brody's boots and mannerisms. What the fuck is Greg Gagne doing in there? He looks ridiculous up against those two. He's smaller than the ref. Thankfully, he spends most of his time in the ring getting the shit knocked out of him, but he did, at times, fight both Nord and Brody off and they both actually sold for him. There was nothing much happening in this, and it had a wonky ass finish of Brody dropkicking both Snuka and Nord, Nord tripping over Gagne, and Snuka pinning him like he didn't just get dropkicked by Bruiser Brody. This was the most effort I've ever seen Brody give on a US show. The rest of the match though? Bleh. All four brawl around the crowd, which leads directly into the next match.
Verne Gagne vs Sheik Adnan El Kassey
Lol, Adnan is busted open about 20 seconds in. Like...A lot. Half of his face is covered already, but to be honest, it looks a little like BBQ sauce. Verne destroys Adnan for most of the match, but ends up winning with a surprise roll up OUTTA NOWHERE, which is weird since the last match (also in a cage) had the same finish. Also weird that Adnan is a manager, and Verne, even retired, was still Verne Gagne who was the champion about 5 years prior and fighting against all the youngest dudes.
Road Warriors vs Michael Hayes/Jimmy Garvin
Fuck. Main Event Michael Hayes. At least no one is in stars and bars gear. THE FIRST SPOT of the match is Hawk no selling a piledriver. Right after, Hayes is sent into the cage and is busted open. Hawk's fist drop doesn't even come close to connecting. Hayes moved is fucking head. That fuck couldn't even take a fist drop? Fuck outta here, PS. Piece of shit. He also pusses out on a top rope bump. You're in the main event. People came here to see you get your ass kicked. Don't chicken out on everything you fuck. Hawk plays FIP. Which....what's the point? It'd be different if Gordy was in there, but he's not. No one is buying Garvin or Hayes controlling Hawk. This should be, essentially, a 5 minute squash with a wonky finish that keeps the Freebirds from losing their heat. Hayes accidentally hits Garvin with a pair of brass knuckles, which allows LOD to get the win.
Not a particularly good show, but likely better than WM 1 and 2. Race/Martel was by far the match of the night, but the US Express vs Fabs was a very enjoyable Southern tag. Bock/Hansen was disappointing, but still solid enough. Seeing Brody put in some effort Stateside was nice, but everything else was dumpster fire levels of shit. The AWA is probably my least favorite of the major territories, though, so I'm not too surprised. They had a lot of great talent, but god damn did they have lots of boring matches with them. It's interesting how many people on this card would be in either JCP or WWF shortly after. Within the next 2 years, almost everyone on this card had been pulled away by Crockett or Vince. Even guys like Bockwinkel didn't stay on that sinking ship.