This was just reviewed by one of our writers, but I do have every intention of boring people with play by play and ratings. It’s a mega show, so it goes without saying. Very long. Star ratings in bold. Enjoy.
Pro Wrestling USA tie-in makes this a must watch. Chance to explain Pro Wrestling USA here…some of the territories decided to band together to try to fight Vince nationally. They were banded together in the first place, with you know, the NWA and all, but they tried to tape shows together and that kind of stuff. It didn’t work because promoters didn’t trust each other. That’s hardly a surprise. This is AWA turf, and Vince had just started running shows at Rosemont Horizon, so the competition is quite serious. The WWF ran on the next day with an Andre/Hogan tag team main event and drew 14k to an arena that could pull an 18k house. SuperClash drew 21k in an outdoor stadium that could pull 40k+. I don’t think that Verne Gagne ever intended to draw 40k, the point was to run in a big venue. It makes your promotion look big. You guys be the judge of who, if anyone won that fight.
Nobody is turning down a chance to watch and review a 25 minute Magnum TA/Ric Flair match, so I wasn’t going to pass on reviewing the show. Full disclosure here. Some of the AWA angles, I do not know. I know the workers, but not the angles, and that cannot be controlled. This is the WWE 24/7 version of the show, so some of it will be out of order.
– September 28th, 1985, from Chicago, Illinois
Larry Nelson is on commentary, and this is being proclaimed as the greatest night in the history of wrestling. We’ll see how that goes.
Brad Rheingans vs. Steve Regal for the AWA Light Heavyweight Championship
Pre-Match Thoughts: I just wanted to say that this isn’t THAT Regal. This one has a bleached blonde mullet. Rheingans has some legitimate credentials, but that damn Commie boycott kept him from wrestling in the Olympics. These guys are both wearing the most 80’s wrestler jackets, it’s unreal. And Regal has the biggest brick face I’ve ever seen.
Match Review: A graphic pops up notifying me about a midget title match. Shoot me now. Rheingans, which is admittedly the hardest name I’ve had to spell in some time (I’m thankful for copy-paste), takes Regal down with a headlock. They then do a nice rope running sequence, which Rheingans gets the better of with a monkey flip. Rheingans then transitions into an armbar. Regal misses a charge to the corner, and back to the arm we go. I know Gagne likes the LEGITIMATE CREDENTIALS, but Rheingans is bland as hell. Rheingans tries a dropkick, but misses. Regal does a bit of heeling, and lands a pretty big shoulderblock. He gets a 2 count from the dinosaur referee. Regal goes to a headlock, Rheingans tries to break out of it and does the cheesiest facial impressions, but he fails and Regal takes him down again. Some of the people in the crowd are yelling out “boring.” Ha. I cannot disagree with them. Even the announcer says this headlock has gone on for quite a while. Regal then slams Rheingans, and drops an elbow for a 2 count. Another slam by Regal follows, and he misses a crappy elbowdrop. Rheingans does some garbage babyface charge, backdrops Regal, and gets a 2 count. These guys are the definition of VANILLA MIDGETS. Rheingans atomic drops Regal, and JIMMY GARVIN runs to the ring, distracts Rheingans, and Regal wins with a rollup at 8:19.
Rheingans throws Regal into the turnbuckle after the match, but nobody really cares. Regal then cuts a crappy ass promo, and I feel slightly embarrassed to have watched this.
My Thoughts: Those fans weren’t wrong. That sucked. Suffice it to say, I hope the rest of the show is better and not spent with wrestlers sitting in a headlock for half of each match. I’m hoping this show is as cheesy as possible, by the way. 1/2*. I absolutely cannot believe that Regal and Garvin beat the Road Warriors for the tag straps the next day. I just checked out the finish of that title change and it was the stupidest thing. After the Freebirds interfered and attacked Hawk, Garvin pinned Animal. The match was shot in a way that nobody could see what happened to Animal, so the decision couldn’t be reversed. Wrestling is dumb sometimes, but the whole thing gets even dumber as apparently they switched the belts to Scott Hall and Curt Hennig when Regal and Garvin left the company. With no match. Anyway, the AWA Light Heavyweight Title was a nothing belt and didn’t mean anything.
Sherri Martel vs. Candi Devine for the AWA World Women’s Championship
Pre-Match Thoughts: It bears mentioning that nearly every wrestler on this card gets to cut a promo before their match. Unless there’s something spectacular about them, I won’t mention it from here on out. I’ve been trying not to look at results, but the match time for this is daunting. The championship is really stupid looking, by the way.
Match Review: Before it starts, Brad Rheingans slammed Steve Regal on the baseball diamond. Cool. Better than anything that happened in their match. The commentary is so patronizing, pervy, disgusting, what have you. The referee wants to feel Sherri up for weapons. That’s funny. Nice armdrags by Devine at the start. After Sherri locks on an armbar, I lose some interest in the match. Devine tries one of her own, and gets punched in the face. Sherri runs Devine into the turnbuckle, botches a move, and kicks Devine in the head. After tossing Devine to the outside, Devine runs back in and knows Sherri over the top rope with a dropkick. Oh no, this is over the top rope disqualification nonsense. No disqualification for that though. Sherri tumbles back into the ring and gets catapulted into the canvas a few times. Devine puts on a Boston crab, but Sherri reverses it into a pin, and Devine does the same thing for 2. Sherri lands a big legdrop, and I’ve gotta be honest. This commentator is annoying the shit out of me. Sherri does a bodyslam for a 2 count, and tosses Devine out of the ring again. Ha, Devine landed in the sand. My video cuts out for a few seconds, and resumes with Devine pulling Sherri over to the ringpost and slamming her leg into it. Devine then slams Sherri onto some grass, and gets back in the ring. Sherri stalls for some time, but eventually gets back into the ring. They both trade holds on each other’s arms, and Sherri eventually winds up on top with a headlock. Sherri knees Devine in the head, punches her in the face, and backdrops her. Devine then sunset flips Sherri for a two count (the backdrop was clearly supposed to be a sunset flip). Then Sherri clotheslines Devine, and suplexes her. Sherri heads up to the top, lands a terrible big splash, and gets the victory and championship at 11:24.
YES, Sherri beats Devine half to death with the title belt after the match.
My Thoughts: Not a terrible match, in fact better than some Divas matches, but not very good. I don’t have much to say about it, but it was better than I expected. Some botched stuff though. *1/4.
Harley Race, Bill Irwin, & Scott Irwin vs. Jumbo Tsuruta, Giant Baba, & Genichiro Tenryu for the Asian Six Man Tag Team Championships (not a real title)
Pre-Match Thoughts: This was one of the matches on the card that I was looking forward to. Although I haven’t seen them wrestle much, the Long Riders (Irwins) were supposed to have been a great tag team, who rocked a biker gimmick. That’s a fitting gimmick for their look. I love Tenryu.
Match Review: Right from the start the Japanese team is called “orientals.” Is that serious? Like…come on. Tenryu starts with Scott Irwin, and Tenryu gives him an awesome chop. Tenryu sends Scott into the turnbuckle, hiptosses him, and dropkicks him. So we get a Tenryu/Race exchange. It’s funny hearing Tenryu described as a young babyface. Haha. He slams Race, and tags in Jumbo. Race rams Jumbo into the turnbuckle, and tags in Bill, who gives a few big boots. Bill rams Jumbo into the turnbuckle, elbows him, and his charisma is quite apparent. Jumbo puts on a wristlock, but Race comes in after a blind tag and shoulderblocks him. Jumbo lands a big knee, and tags in Baba. They both land a big elbow on Race, and Baba gives out some funny looking slap chops to the head. Baba lands a russian leg sweep, gets a 2 count. Race headbutts him, and tags in Bill Irwin. Baba lands some big chops on Bill, and tags in Tenryu, who lands a big elbow for a 2 count. Bill lands a huge big boot on Tenryu, and tags in his brother, who lands two big knees. That gets a 2 count. Harley tags in, gets chopped like crazy, and Tenryu kicks him in the back of the head. Tenryu winds up in the wrong corner, and gets hit by Bill, then powerslammed by Race. That gets a 2 count. At times this match has looked silly, to be honest. Race piledrives Tenryu, the announcer complains, and Jumbo breaks up the pinfall. Race drops the elbow, gets 2 on Tenryu again. FIGHTING SPIRIT. Scott lands a big dropkick, and this is a big guy giving it, and he gets 2. Tags in Bill, big double back elbow for 2. Another bodyslam, and Bill lands a huge kneedrop. Gets 2. The Long Riders would have been perfect for the WWF at this time, in my opinion.
Tenryu lands a knee, tags in Jumbo, and the crowd doesn’t really give a shit until Jumbo slaps all of the Americans repeatedly. Baba comes into the ring, and tosses Bill over the top rope (nice turnbuckle bump). Baba tags in Tenryu, who slams Bill. Gets 2. Bill clotheslines Tenryu, punches him a few times, and lands an elbowdrop. Cover gets 2. Tenryu tagged in Baba, so everyone gets in the ring and brawls, during which Baba gives Bill Irwin a big boot and pins him at 10:57.
My Thoughts: That was weird as hell and I don’t really know what to make of it. Some nice moves, but it just seemed like, I dunno. A match without purpose. Not much selling, structure, or any of that stuff. Bill Irwin was the only one who came away from the match looking like a star. *1/2.
Little Mr. T vs. Little Tokyo for the NWA World Midgets Championship
Pre-Match Thoughts: Seriously?
Match Review: I’m not even sure if I’ll rate this. The only good midget matches I’ve seen happened in Mexico. Anyhow, Tokyo applies a chinlock after a snap mare. Junior T turns it into a headlock, and then gets bodyslammed. Then they trade punches and Tokyo falls face first to the match. Oh no, Junior T has the racist head is impervious to pain thing that other black wrestlers got at that time. He headbutts Tokyo for a 2 count. Tokyo is a cheater or whatever, and he grabs Junior T’s hair, and shoulderblocks him. Junior T applies a flying armbar (a cool move), and Little Tokyo does some AWESOME heeling with these face rakes. This guy is a good worker. Nice floatover suplex, but it only gets a 2 count. Junior T applies a chinlock, but Tokyo gets out of it and backdrops him. I don’t know what the hell is going on, but Junior T pointed up in the air at nothing and punched Little Tokyo, which was so stupid that it destroyed my interest in this match. Then of course, Tokyo tries the same thing, and gets punched. Junior T hits Tokyo in the face with his ass, and Tokyo responds with a backdrop and chop to the throat. That gets a 3 count at 6:54. Okay.
My Thoughts: Little Tokyo does a lot of the little things (nyuk nyuk) right, but the minstrel comedy aspect of these midget matches mean that these matches suck shit. I hope I don’t have to watch many more of them. DUD.
Buddy Roberts vs. Mil Mascaras for the IWA Heavyweight Championship
Pre-Match Thoughts: I don’t know what the deal is here. Nothing wrong with admitting that. I’ve always found it interesting that somebody who got buried as badly and as often by other wrestlers as Mascaras would get all these bookings in the States. I suppose it’s the allure of having an international star who wrestles a different style than everyone else.
Match Review: I join in progress when the two lock up, and Mascaras does a nice head-scissors. Mascaras then applies a full nelson, and when Roberts tries to climb the ropes to get out of it, Mascaras drops him on his head. Mascaras looks very fast in comparison to some of these wrestlers. Nice armdrag. Nice hiptoss too. He then lets Roberts go. Mascaras blocks a kick, and tries a drop toe-hold, but Roberts blocks it and begins to cheat. He chokes Mascaras with the tag rope in a nice spot. Roberts goes up to the top, and comes down with an elbow to Mascaras head. Then he kicks Mil in the balls. Oh man, the announcer says “Mascaras threw Roberts like a sack of beans.” Serious? Roberts gives Mascaras a backbreaker and swinging neckbreaker, both of which get 1 counts on their covers. Roberts then chops Mascaras a few times, which leads to Mascaras big babyface charge. Roberts throws him into the corner, misses a charge, and gets hung up on the top rope. Mascaras takes Roberts over with a suplex, lands a big flying forearm, and throws Roberts to the buckle. Roberts kicks Mascaras in the face, then gets thrown into the turnbuckle once again. Mascaras backdrops him and heads to the top rope, where he leaps off with a flying crossbody and then pins Roberts for the victory at 6:57!
My Thoughts: This was a decent little match, I have no complaints. I liked the lucha spots, but sometimes things got a little slow and cartoony looking. *3/4, best match so far. Of course I’m not rating it higher because it wasn’t anything more than a little match. If anyone’s noticed that I haven’t made grandiose statements about the quality of workers involved, well, that’s not the point yet. I’m not comfortable making those kinds of statements on people I’ve hardly watched. Of course there are exceptions and eventually there will come a time to make those statements about these wrestlers.
Jimmy Garvin (w/Precious) vs. Kerry Von Erich for the WCCW Texas Championship
Pre-Match Thoughts: Kerry is getting a HUGE reaction. The likes of which hasn’t been seen thus far. In his promo, he talks about his brother Mike being in the hospital. He was laid up with Toxic Shock Syndrome, and the whole story of Mike is really depressing. It’s just sad, I don’t know what else to say.
Match Review: The crowd is definitely hyped for this one. Garvin has a lot of heat. Precious pushing Kerry in the face before the match was funny. They lock up, and Garvin gets pushed way back. Kerry then does Garvin’s strut. I like that. Garvin shoulderblocks him, Kerry leaps over him a few times, and lands two big dropkicks to a big pop. Garvin tries to capitalize on Precious distracting Kerry, who responds by giving Garvin an atomic drop and his BIG DISCUS PUNCH. Cover only gets 2. Garvin regains some control, and snap mares Kerry over only to miss an elbowdrop. Kerry follows by missing an elbowdrop, then they trade punches until Kerry puts Garvin in an abdominal stretch. Garvin breaks out of it, and applies a chinlock. Kerry does a fake babyface comeback, which ends when Kerry gets kicked out of the ring. Kerry teases hitting Precious, but of course he’s not going to do that, he climbs back in the ring. Garvin is there to meet him with a knee that knocks Kerry off the ring apron. Garvin then throws Kerry over the top rope when the referee isn’t looking, and the announcer complains. And the announcer doesn’t even know the rules! Kerry gets back in the ring by sunset flipping Garvin, which gets a 2 count. Kerry lands two more DISCUS PUNCHES, Garvin pleads for his life, and Kerry tries to put on THE CLAW. Garvin blocks it, and causes Kerry to miss a charge to the corner. Garvin goes up top, gets crotched and flies back in the ring, which leads to a Kerry pinfall win at 6:47.
After the match, Precious helps Garvin to try attacking Kerry, but it turns out that Kerry puts THE CLAW on Garvin, and tosses him out of the ring to end the whole deal. Hilarious how these girls are throwing roses at Kerry.
My Thoughts: Better little match than the last one. Garvin plays his heel role very well, so despite Kerry’s stalling and taking too long to get back into the ring, I liked it quite a bit. **. World Class isn’t really my territory (the AWA isn’t either, for what it’s worth), so I won’t see Kerry that much more until he gets to the WWF, but I am really looking forward to seeing a lot more of Garvin, which I will be doing. Still can’t believe they gave him and Steve Regal the AWA Tag Belts on the next night.
Greg Gagne, Scott Hall, & Curt Hennig vs. Nick Bockwinkel, Ray Stevens, & Larry Zbyszko
Pre-Match Thoughts: Old fogies teaming up with Larry Z to fend off younger guys on their way up (and Greg Gagne who was always portrayed as young but not really)? Sounds good to me! Larry is such a good promo, and Gagne is dressed up like a military dope. Hall is, well, big. The pre-match is absurdly long and making me tired.
Match Review: The match starts with Hennig and Bockwinkel, and Bock armdrags Hennig. After that, there’s a fight in the crowd, and everyone including the guys in the ring decides to slow down for a bit. Bock does a nice hiptoss to Hennig, and slams him. Hennig does the exact same stuff, and Bock decides to be a chickenshit and go hide in his corner. Then he tags in LARRY Z. Zbyszko gets armdragged, and does his usual stooge act. Hennig hits Larry with a shoulderblock, gets slammed, does a great armdrag, in a very speedy segment that showcased the athleticism of them both. Hall tags in, and latches onto Zbyszko’s arm. I’m not sure Hall knows how to work but we’ll see about that. The announcer puts over his bigness, and with the referee distracted, Gagne chokes Zbyszko using the top rope. Gagne then tags in, and dropkicks Zbyszko’s arm from the second rope. Stevens hits Gagne, and Zbyszko shoulderblocks Gagne this time. Gagne then monkeyflips Zbyszko, and gives him a nice flying head-scissor. Hennig tags in with a nice move from the second rope, and Zbyszko replies with a back suplex. Bock tags back in, and gives Hennig a couple running knees to the gut. Bock distracts the referee while his partners work over Hennig, and tags in Stevens once he comes back to the corner. Then he does the same thing again. Hall walks over and clocks Bock and Zbyszko, but that doesn’t mean anything. Stevens then tosses Hennig to the outside, where Zbyszko slams the young babyface. They’re destroying Hennig out there. Zbyszko applies an abdominal stretch on Hennig, and Curt makes a tag, but the referee didn’t see it. So the heels beat Hennig up again. Zbyszko suplexes Hennig, which gets a 2 count. Hennig then kicks Zbyszko in the chest, but Bockwinkel tags in to prevent a tag. Hennig lands a crossbody, but only gets a 2 count. They do a big collision in the center of the ring, which Hennig sells with a big bump, and both men make tags.
Gagne is a house of fire, which lends credence to the “Hall can’t work yet” theory I have. Gagne cleans house, and Hall just stands there for the most part. Zbyszko and Bock get thrown into each other, and Stevens takes a big powerslam from Hall, and Hall gets the pinfall victory for his team at 12:20.
My Thoughts: That was far better than the earlier six man tag. Hennig did most of the work for his team, but hey, that’s perfectly fine in a six man match. I get why Greg Gagne didn’t become a big star, because he didn’t have anything resembling a good look…but does anyone think he wasn’t a good worker? Most of what I’ve seen him in has been pretty good. Anyway, this was good too, even though he didn’t do a lot. **3/4.
The Fabulous Freebirds (w/Buddy Roberts) vs. The Road Warriors (w/Paul Ellering) for the AWA World Tag Team Titles
Pre-Match Thoughts: The Freebirds Confederate face-paint is a bit of a trip. Or course, both teams are big acts, so this is a really big match. Good promo by Hayes before the match too. The Road Warriors need no promo.
Match Review: The fans go apeshit as the Freebirds start the match by attacking the Warriors. Animal and Hawk get the better of that, sending the Freebirds back up the entrance aisle in a rage. The crowd then chants “go home Freebirds,” which really pisses Hayes off.
Gordy and Hawk start the actual match, and Gordy eats a huge clothesline. Hayes tags in, and takes a big back elbow from Hawk. Hawk rams him into a couple turnbuckles, and starts smearing the paint off Hayes face. Animal tags in, and Hayes takes a breather. Good idea. Gordy enters the ring during that, and gets thrown and flipped into the turnbuckle. Ha. Animal then gives Gordy a big bodyslam, and tags in his partner. Hawk flies into the ring with a big punch, and allows Gordy to tag in Hayes. Hayes is sacred, but he does a shoulderblock to Hawk. He then tries a sunset flip and gets punched in the face. Not a good idea. The Road Warriors kick his ass, and Gordy reluctantly tags in once Hayes runs to the corner. Good selling of the Road Warriors power there. Gordy goes to the buckle again, but Hawk runs in after him and goes shoulder-first into the ring post. Gordy suplexes Hawk, and taunts Animal. Ha. Hayes tags in, and gets rammed into the turnbuckle himself! Hayes lands a side slam, but gets a 2 count and Hawk bench presses him out of the ring. Hayes scurries in, and rams Hawk’s head into Gordy’s boot. Gordy tags in, and they double elbow Hawk, after which Hayes struts out of the ring. Gordy piledrives Hawk and Hawk does his no selling the piledriver thing, but he doesn’t pop up quite so fast. Hawk fights his way out of the Freebird corner, but can’t get to his corner in time. Hayes clotheslines Hawk, and bodyslams him. Hayes tries to go to the top, but Hawk rushes over and slams him off the top rope. Gordy quickly tags in, he and Hawk collide, and they both make tags to their partners.
Animal enters the ring, and beats up Gordy something vicious. Lands a big powerslam, but Hayes breaks up the cover. Things shortly turn into a brawl, and the managers kick each other’s ass. Roberts hits Ellering with a chair, and Hawk goes to the outside to defend his manager, After that, Gordy accidentally punches Hayes in the face. Animal then does one of the most impressive gorilla press slams I’ve ever seen on big ass Gordy, and powerslams Hayes. The referee is being an idiot and not even looking in the ring, so while Animal is going crazy and doing some awesome offense, there’s no chance of any sort of pin. The bell rings or some shit, Hayes hits Animal with an elbow from the top rope, and Gordy covers Animal for a 3 count and title victory at 9:59!
The Freebirds get out of dodge, but it’s obvious some stupid bullshit is about to happen. So uh, we wait for about a minute, and then Verne Gagne walks to the ring. The crowd is actually listening to the microphone for once, and Verne asks for a replay of the finish. We already knows what happens and that whole thing, and the titles get switched back to the Road Warriors after the video.
My Thoughts: What. The. Fuck. The referee was looking right at what Hayes did, so this is one of the dumbest screwy finishes I’ve seen in some time. And then they put the titles on a worse team than the Freebirds the next night after a stupid finish! With a finish that made sense, I would have liked the match quite a bit, now I just think it’s stupid. The referee didn’t do his job. **, some quarter stars taken off for the idiotic ending. There were good reasons to take the titles off the Road Warriors but the AWA screwed that whole situation up. In my opinion.
Baron von Raschke, Dick the Bruiser, & The Crusher vs. Ivan Koloff, Krusher Khruschev, & Nikita Koloff for the NWA World Six-Man Tag Team Championships
Pre-Match Thoughts: This title is real, and it was highly regarded and considered important at the time. The former of these two teams is OLD. The Crusher is pushing 60, and Dick the Bruiser is in his mid-50’s. Also, THE RUSSIANS. MY NEPHEW NIKITA, etc. This was an awesome Russian gimmick, unlike that bullshit Bolsheviks tag team run. The Crusher will be referred to as Crusher. Krusher will be referred to as Khruschev. Make sense?
Match Review: The old fogies attack those dirty communist scum, and kick their ass until two of them can trap Crusher. It’ll be Khruschev and Crusher in the ring, and Ivan is already leaking blood after taking some punches to the head. The Baron tags in, does some cheesy shit that I can’t take seriously, and gets driven back tinto the Russian corner so Nikita can tag in. Nikita shows the crowd his powerhouse-ness, and things inevitably end up with Nikita being unable to shoulderblock Baron. Then von Raschkhe does his claw pose thing and Nikita sells it like death. Ivan doesn’t give a shit about death, so he tags in and runs over Baron. Baron then backdrops him and kicks his ass. What the hell, man. Dick the Bruiser tags in, and works Ivan over like a jabroni. He no-sells the shit out of Ivan’s punches, and I’m actually getting pretty angry. The Russians finally get some offense on Crusher, but that only lasts for like 20 seconds. Baron tags in, beats up Khruschev, and puts on a chinlock. I know why the match is this way, but I’m in fucking awe. Baron no-sells getting kneed in the back, Khruschev then gives him a shoulderbreaker that he finally sells, and Ivan tags in. He gives Baron a legdrop, which only gets a 2 count. Ivan then gets crotched in the rope, and Crusher tags in, He wrecks Ivan, elbows him in the nuts, and the crowd loves it which cracks me up. Dick the Bruiser tags in, lands a clothesline, then Baron tags in and does his stupid ass goosestep. He gives Ivan the claw, Khruschev tries to attack him from the top, and Crusher hits him in the balls. This is the only good part of the match, and we don’t even get to see what happens as Ivan pins Baron at 9:40. Some AMAZING production work there.
My Thoughts: It’s a good thing that this wasn’t JCP territory, because nobody could take Nikita seriously as an extreme powerhouse after that match. He got beaten up by three old dudes. Ivan tried hard, took some good bumps and bled for the cause. He’s looked like the best of the three so far in all the Crockett stuff that I’ve seen (which includes a year or so of TV that I’m not reviewing). The rest was junk. *.
Boris Zhukov vs. Sgt. Slaughter for the AWA America’s Championship
Pre-Match Thoughts: Some stuff that needs to be mentioned. Slaughter bleeds quite a lot at this point, and has done some of the best blade jobs in wrestling that I know of pre-1985. At some point in Crockett, Zhukov was part of Slaughter’s military based heel stable as one of his Privates. Slaughter was a great heel in fact, a real bastard. Better as a heel than a face, which isn’t how that many people perceive him because they remember things like this, his 84 WWF run, and his stupid Iraq deal.. Reading up on his career, it is a little bizarre to me how he wasn’t able to be as hot an act in the AWA as he was in the WWF, because in the WWF…he was a big deal. Unlike the Krusher Khruschev gimmick, Zhukov was a repackaging of an existing American wrestler, sending him off to a different territory (I believe World Class was the first one) and portraying himself as a true Russian. It’s dumb, but promoters could get away with that stuff then.
Match Review: Slaughter prevents a Zhukov attack at the start of the match, and pokes him in the eyes. Boris then gets his eyes raked on the top rope, and I’m reminded of something…”Boris…why always Boris?” Slaughter punches him in the forehead, slaps him, and throws him past the turnbuckle into the ringpost. Sarge grabs an American flag, beats up Zhukov more, and kisses the flag. Okay. Slaughter does his amazing ringpost catapult jump, and flies up and out of the ring. That is a big man doing that. Zhukov slams Slaughter, and knocks him back into the ring, where he rakes Slaughter’s eyes across the top rope. He beats Slaughter up, and gets a 2 count. A swinging neckbreaker also gets a 2 count. The idiot announcer, once again, called that a backbreaker. Slaughter gets knocked to the outside, and rammed face first into the broadcast table. Zhukov tries to piledrive Slaughter on the grass, and Slaughter backdrops him to a nice pop. Zhukov climbs to the top, and Slaughter slams him down to the canvas to another pop. I’m surprised this match is anything but bad, to be honest. Slaughter gives Zhukov a big back elbow, and a dropkick! Wow. Into the turnbuckle Zhukov goes, out he comes and Slaughter backdrops him. Slaughter went for a clothesline, but wound up clotheslining the ref! He helps the ref up, and keeps Zhukov from attacking him, but gets hit in the head with Zhukov’s elbowpad that is containing a “foreign object.” Slaughter gigs, and Zhukov bites him (ew). He throws Slaughter’s head into the ringpost, which leads to a Slaughter win by DQ at 9:34.
The brawl continues, Slaughter charges up with his PATRIOTISM, and chases that commie Zhukov out of the ring. Then Slaughter drags him back in, Zhukov runs away on the other side, and gets away. USA USA USA. Slaughter cuts a promo after the match that exhibits his blood for all to see, and it’s quite a bit. Slaughter says we’re gonna clean up America and get rid of some of these foreign wrestlers, HAHAHA.
My Thoughts: That was surprisingly not bad. I’ve seen some of Zhukov’s Bolsheviks stuff, and I didn’t like any of it. Maybe this time around, things will be different! But not likely. *3/4, would have liked a clean finish, but again, this was not bad.
Kamala (w/Sheik Adnan El-Kaissey) vs. Jerry Blackwell in a 10,000 dollar bodyslam challenge
Pre-Match Thoughts: It’s remarkable how much Adnan changed his look between the time of this show and his WWF run. Between all involved in this match, including the manager, they have worked in most of the territories. Blackwell is a really fat dude.
Match Review: The stadium is a bit cooled off after that Russian business, and even Adnan’s attempt to sing a song in Arabic doesn’t get them that heated. The two wrestlers slug it out, and Kamala gets the better of it. Kamala chops Blackwell in the head about 10 times or some such, until Blackwell starts swinging back. Blackwell then nails Kamala with a big clothesline, and huge splash on Kamala’s head. That looked dangerous. Blackwell goes for a slam, but uh…not yet. This is unbelievably slow.Kamala knocks Blackwell down with a chop, and does his belly patting thing. He lands a big splash, and the idiot ref counts a pin. Uh…..he must have forgotten. Kamala applies a nerve hold, and all of a sudden I feel quite tired. It lasts for nearly a minute, then Blackwell charges back and lands a big splash in the corner. Then he slams Kamala at 9:50.
Adnan runs into the ring, bashes Blackwell in the head with a sword, and steals the 10,000 dollar check. Blackwell gigs, and Kamala bites the wound open (that is really fucking disgusting). Then some jobber dudes run out from the dugout, and get flung out of the ring by Kamala. The camerawork on this segment is so bad, but hey….there’s Baron von Raschke! He chases Kamala and Adnan out of the ring with a baseball bat to a nice cheer and that’s it.
My Thoughts: Terrible match, good stuff after the match. That being said, I’ll try to pretend it all never happened. DUD.
Stan Hansen vs. Rick Martel for the AWA Heavyweight Championship
Pre-Match Thoughts: HANSEN! I love his crazed throw of the cowbell into the ring. This is the actual main event, it has been re-ordered for the purpose of this 24/7 broadcast.
Match Review: He attacks Martel before I can even type out my thoughts before the match, and they brawl like crazy around the ringside area. All the fans run away scared as Hansen picks up chairs and drops them on Martel’s head, and the bell rings for a double countout before this thing even got started. Or not. They get in the ring, and the match starts again. Hansen works over Martel for a bit, Martel sunset flips him, and gets a 2 count. Hansen shoots Martel to the buckle, misses a charge, and Martel slams him. Then they choke each other, and go out of the ring once again. The carnage of the first time means this will be much the same. Hansen destroys Martel with a few super dangerous looking chairshots, Martel grabs the chair, and hits Hansen with it as the match is ruled a double countout at 2:30.
Hansen clocks Martel with his cowbell, they fight through the infield with Martel being choked by the bell, and the crowd is going wild as these two brawl. Up the first base side they go with fans chasing behind them, and Martel slams Hansen. Into the dugout area they go now, as HANSEN THROWS MARTEL INTO THE DUGOUT. They’re both punching each other, and in short order they disappear into the locker room.
My Thoughts: I’m not sure how to rate this. I’m thinking *1/2 for the actual match, *** for the whole thing in total. The brawl was awesome, but quite short. This won’t be the last time I watch Martel and Hansen wrestle in 1985, and it won’t even be the last time I watch them wrestle each other.
Magnum TA vs. Ric Flair for the NWA World Heavyweight Championship
Pre-Match Thoughts: Great Flair promo before this thing gets started. This is, as far as I know, the longest taped for TV or commercial video tape singles match that these two had. It’s really unfortunate that is the case, because these two guys could have headlined Starrcade many times, and had even more widely known, longer, and better matches. But Magnum had his accident, and that’s just how things turned out. What’s far worse than the matches lost is the quality of life that Magnum then had to lead. Quite unfair. This is a natural progression of The Suit angle and something I haven’t seen.
Match Review: Chicago isn’t a Crockett town yet, so of course, people don’t really know Magnum that well. Everyone knows Flair. They lock up, and do their little slow build amateur wrestling thing. It’s good, and it’s fast. The reversals of every little move are excellent. Another stupid fight is going on in the crowd, during which Magnum applies an armbar. The announcer talks about Ric Flair vs. Rick Martel in the future. Well, I have that match! Magnum then hiptosses and dropkicks Flair, and gives Flair a big gorilla press slam. Flair begs for a timeout, gets a short one, and we’re back to wrestling. Flair lays in the chops, then takes his usual backdrop coming out of the corner. Magnum gets a 2 count. These guys have a job in front of them trying to get heat on this match, that much I can tell. Flair tries to throw Magnum out of the ring, which fails big time and Magnum takes Flair to the corner and kicks his ass. Magnum then misses a dropkick. Of course, Flair takes over a little, and lands a few chops and a kneedrop. Nice double-underhook suplex by Flair gets a 2 count. Abdominal stretch is then applied by Flair. Flair does his ref intimidation deal, and sends Magnum to the corner, where he punches him a couple times. Flair goes for another kneedrop, which he misses, and then Magnum puts on THE FIGURE FOUR. Good psychology there. Flair reaches the ropes, and Magnum’s back to square one. Magnum tries the figure-four again, but this time Flair blocks it.
So we’re clearly onto the next segment of the match that has been laid out, and it starts with Magnum blocking a Flair suplex, doing one of his own, and getting a 2 count on the cover. Magnum backslides Flair for another 2 count, and the crowd really bought into that nearfall. Flair tosses Magnum out of the ring for real this time, and Flair tosses Magnum into the ringpost shoulder first. Magnum sunset flips Flair, and gets punched right in the mouth. Flair attacks that injured shoulder of Magnum’s, and puts his feet on the rope for leverage. He does the same thing on some pinfalls, and after a while the referee catches him. Flair has been cheating quite a bit. Flair shoots the half and transitions to an armbar, which, to be honest, it’s a little unfortunate that this match has slowed down. They were building to something great, but Flair is a smart guy. You don’t use up your best match at an AWA card. Magnum shoots Flair into the corner, and upon Flair bouncing out, locks Flair up into a SLEEPER. Flair falls asleep and goes down to get pinned, but sticks his foot on the bottom rope to break the count. Magnum slams Flair, and misses a splash by landing on Flair’s knees.
We’re 20 minutes in. Flair goes for a shinbreaker, and here comes Flair’s FIGURE FOUR. Magnum has to make the ropes. Flair works the hold as well as he can do, and Magnum sells the hold extremely well…and turns over the figure-four, which Flair breaks up by falling into the ropes. Flair goes for it again, but Magnum cradles him for a 2 count. They fight in the corner, which Magnum gets the better of! He rocks Flair with some right hands, and shoots him into the turnbuckle, which of course Flair takes by flipping over the top. The commentator detraacts from this match, but oh well. Magnum throws Flair’s head into the ringpost, which Flair blades off of. Magnum opens him up with some big punches, and Flair takes some nice bumps off those punches. Magnum covers, only gets a 2. But the crowd is starting to believe in him. Magnum backdrops Flair once again, but Flair barely kicks out at the last moment. Magnum then bridges up into a backslide, very impressive. Crowd thought it was over, but the referee only counted 2. Magnum lands his big BELLY TO BELLY, but the referee got kicked or some shit, and springs back into action only being able to count 2. Magnum rides Flair into the corner, rolls him up and the crowd buys it yet again…but Flair grabs the tights, reverses the pin, and gets the 3 count at 25:10!
My Thoughts: That was some bladejob, as shown during the post-match interview, over the course of those few minutes afterward, Flair REALLY started to bleed. Anyway, as for the match, I liked it, but I didn’t think it was as good as their 10 minute sprint on TV a few months previous. I thought the psychology was on point, but they held a little bit back. As already stated, the reason why was obvious. They did a great job getting fans who weren’t familiar with Magnum onside. ***3/4, highly recommended. A 30 minute blowoff card main event in Crockett would have been even better.
After all the bullshit finishes I’ve seen on this card, and all the bullshit finishes I’ve seen in the WWF during this era, it’s nice to see a big title match that ends in a pin that keeps both men strong. As opposed to Hogan fending off challengers like they were nothing over the closing stretch of these matches, or a non-finish. The show had a lot of bad, quite a bit of good too. I enjoyed some of those matches a lot more than I should have.
Best: Magnum TA vs. Ric Flair. Really good match.
Worst: Kamala vs. Jerry Blackwell. This was garbage.
Card Rating: 5/10. Average show, a lot of treading through bad to get to good.