12,000 fans came out for a stadium show where 92,000 seats were available for football games. This created a bad look for television, since only one camera angle showed loads of fans, while the other shots revealed 80,000 fans dressed as seats. I wonder why Flair wasn’t brought in to help pop the house?
George Weingeroff vs. The Missing Link
It’s probably not a good sign for a mega show if one of your top heels is stuck facing a jabroni. Granted the Link is finishing up here soon IIRC. Weingeroff was a journeyman, probably best known for working with the Poffo’s outlaw promotion. Wrestlingdata states he actually stayed in the business until 1993, making WCW TV as a jobber. Huh.
Weingeroff tries to figure out Link’s odd behavior. He tries a dropkick but Link no sells that and batters into Weingeroff with charging headbutts. Link adds some boots before delivering another headbutt. He climbs to the top rope for another headbutt and that wraps things up fast at 2:25. Weinergoff was legally blind – as announcer Bill Mercer pointed out, which makes you wonder how an athletic commission approved of his match with a match with a certified wacko.
The Fantastics vs. Kelly Kiniski and El Diablo
Kiniski is going with his dad’s buzz cut look. The ladies are screeching for the Fantastics. Kiniski is much larger than his foes. THE DEVIL HIMSELF starts off with Fulton, who quickly double teams Satan with Tommy Rogers and has him rattled. Kiniski comes in and he finds himself trapped in armbars from both Fantastics. More armbars as the Fantastics trade off without tags to thrill the crowd. Beelzebub tags in and manages to give Rogers some trouble; he then tags in his larger partner. Kiniski delivers a nice looking flying clothesline. Ol’ Scratch and Kiniski start using quick tags as Rogers continues to absorb punishment.
The fans (well the ladies) are totally invested and screaming for Rogers as the heels deliver a simple punch-kick-headlock beat down Rogers tries a dropkick, and misses. Kiniski sells it anyway, then jumps right back up to his feet.. Rogers makes the hot tag and Fulton quickly downs the Archfiend, then tags Rogers back in. Rogers hits a flying splash on the Incubus and makes the pin at 10:22. Totally basic formula, but the heels used really no rest holds. This kept up with WCCW’s reputation for fast-paced action, making this watchable but unremarkable.
“Captain’s Match”: Kevin Von Erich vs. Chris Adams The fans voted on this match to happen as The Von Erichs and Gary Hart’s men are meeting later in the evening but beforehand one guy from each side was to be picked for a one-vs.-one challenge. Adams had turned on Von Erich four weeks earlier, and now aligns himself with Hart. Adams challenges Kevin to meet him in a scientific contest, devoid of punches and kicks. Both men show off their athletic ability by doing flips. Mercer talks about how Gary Hart must worry about Chris Von Erich lurking around ringside. I’m sure Hart must be terrified that a chubby teenager might make a move toward him – doesn’t Mercer know Hart always cares a blade?
Nice hair, I’ll give him that…
Von Erich has a determined glare during the men’s stare down. Adams and Kevin work cleanly to start, each man getting a slight advantage to show parity. Adams is tied up in a leg grapevine. Both men exchange some clean breaks from holds before Adams gets hot from Kevin being able to reverse his moves and a brief shoving match breaks out. Mercer rambles on about Chris Von Erich hiding at ringside again.
Von Erich continues to out grapple Adams, as Hart reminds Adams to keep his cool. Adams gets frustrated and starts to blast Kevin with punches, then superkicks him to the floor. Von Erich can’t be bothered to really sell his opponents finisher and gets back in the ring. Kevin is knocked to the floor again and Adams runs across the ring and leaps down upon him. That’s a pretty good high spot for 1984. Von Erich rolls Adams up almost as soon as the men get back in the ring and scores the pin at around the 13 minute mark.
Adams is pissed and starts throwing things at ringside. Von Erich gets on the mic and offers Adams his friendship back if Adams is willing to fire Hart right now. Adams waits for Von Erich to turn towards Hart and he smacks Kevin with a chair. That blow supposedly gave Kevin a legit concussion. Hart and Adams scurry off. The ref begs on the mic for an ambulance as the ladies at ringside squeal in fear. “Please don’t die, too!” The refs and police have to hold back the fans as they try and charge the ring and help. Mercer talks about how Von Erich’s extremities are “burning”. They show ladies crying at ringside as they play this up huge, spending several minutes holding Kevin down before hauling him off to an ambulance.
The match told the story it needed too, and the angle that followed was nothing unique, but it’s certainly awesome to see thousands of fans buying into WRASSLIN. Credit to WCCW for playing the injury up for all they could.
We get a music video package of Iceman Parsons and the Fantastics goofing off at the Texas State Fair. The Fantastics are wearing dress suits – because wrestling?. The music is annoying, but the video is charming and helps WCCW engage their fans.
Kerry and Mike Von Erich and Bobby Fulton vs. Gino Hernandez, Chris Adams and Jake “The Snake” Roberts
Fulton is taking the place of Kevin, who is still dead from earlier. Baby Doll aka “Andrea, the lady giant” is with the heels. She looks almost unrecognizable, as she is dressed more like Luna Vachon than her better-known persona. Roberts yanks on her hair to put over their S+M style of relationship. They shoot her from low angles to try and make her seem larger than she is, but they have her partnered up with one of the tallest men in the promotion in the 6’6 Roberts, so that kind of kills the gimmick.
The ladies in the stands screech for the babyfaces, and pierce the air with high decibel wailing as a six-way brawl kicks off the match. The heels head for lower ground. Kerry gets on the mic and demands Adams starts the match. Hernandez starts anyway and quickly tags in Roberts. The fans scream “Chris is a traitor!” in unison. Roberts gets too cocky too fast and Kerry slams him. Mike tags in and gets his licks in too. I’ve seen these two face off on WCCW TV from around this period, and they’d actually had Roberts blade from Mike’s claw, to give you an idea of how much they were putting Mike over.
Gino tags in, does very little and tags in Adams. Kerry jumps at this chance and tags in, causing the ladies to freak out in anticipation. So of course Adams tags right back out. The crowd is enraged from that little bit of heel cowardice. God, it’s fun watching a show with a kayfabe crowd. Kerry misses a charge at Roberts and now Adams is willing to tag in. He gets some licks in on Kerry, before Roberts and Gino take turns torturing the “Modern Day Warrior”. Adams attacks Kerry from behind and lays him out with a superkick. Roberts and Gino get more cracks in as the heels make quick tags.
Adams tries to cut Kerry off, but he is able to deliver some hard blows and tags in Mike. The crowd again erupts as Mike stomps at Adams. The heels are able to regain control quickly, and all three men batter Mike. Kerry is able to tag in and Adams runs for his life. The tags come fast and furious on both sides. Gino misses a flying elbow on Fulton. Adams downs Mike with a superkick. Mike becomes the face-in-peril for a moment before Kerry makes the tag and a six-way brawl ensues. Kerry tries a suplex on Jake the Snake but Adams sneaks in and superkicks Kerry, allowing Roberts to score the upset at 11:45. I wasn’t sure who was going to go over here, I figured the heels had a good chance to do so, since they were fresh and needed to get some heat to draw for the next several months. Although, I could not discount the Von Erichs coming out ahead on a big show like this either. I was particularly impressed that they had Kerry take the fall, with Fulton right there as plausible cannon fodder.
The heels deliver a gloating promo in the locker room, breaking out the booze.
Iceman Parsons vs. Butch Reed
Reed is in on loan from Mid-South, as the WCCW depth isn’t the best at this point, and outside stars will help make this feel like a special show. Reed promises to “whip ice cream” out of Parsons’ “drawers”. That is some quality trash talk. Parsons is attacked but manages to reverse things in his favor and send Reed running. Jukin’ and Jivin’ follow. Reed is out punched back in the ring and is forced to the floor to regroup.
Reed continues to play the foil back in the ring, wobbling to the mat after a headbutt and not getting any offence in before Parsons makes a mistake and runs into his knees. Reed stomps away and chucks Parsons to the floor. Parsons gets back in and finds himself pounded out of the ring again. Reed locks on a headlock and chinlock to eat up time before Parsons wiggles free and starts punching away until the time-limit expires at 10:00. Reed didn’t seem too motivated, and a draw seems kind of pointless. The match was fairly lifeless to boot.
Mike Von Erich and Stella Mae French vs. Gino Hernandez and Nicola Roberts (Andrea, the lady giant)
Stella Mae French is Sunshine’s (Jimmy Garvin’s valet) truck driving aunt. She looks the part, as she’s a middle-aged lady, who has that “owned by the road” appearance. I kind of really dig the idea of some tough old broad coming in to pound on the evil henchwoman of WCCW. She’s there to defend her niece, who was done wrong by the heels.
“Thelma Harper is headlining our stadium show, folks”
French’s “real” identity appears to have been a source of mystery for long-time wrestling geeks like myself. Rumors were she was old time wrestler Kay Noble – then Jimmy Garvin debunked this. It appears her real name was Tanya Pope, but she worked as Tanya West. Records show her working from 1971-1980, before returning for this angle. She retired two months after this match after suffering an in-ring injury. Pope died in the mid-90’s.
French might be able to take Mike in an arm-wrestling contest. The crowd chants “We want Sunshine!” Almost on que, a small helicopter drops in on the football field and Sunshine hops out and rushes to the ring. She embraces the faces.
The ladies are not wrestlers, so they go straight into a catfight, rolling on the mat, yanking hair. Gino and Mike briefly skirmish before the ladies are allowed back in. This time French eats a big blow and goes down. Roberts is stomped and stepped on, then chokes French. Sunshine tries to interfere, grabbing a chair and whacking the ropes and (theoretically) Roberts. That looked really fake, and unfortunately that was the finish as French scores the pin at about the seven minute mark. The match was mostly just a backdrop for Sunshine’s memorable entrance, and the brief cat fight. That being said, this was all quite fun.
“I will have my revenge!”
In matches that were not on my DVD: Novell Austin fought Skip Young to a 15-minute draw, Kerry Von Erich bested Butch Reed in an “arm-wrestling” challenge, Buck (yuck) Zumhoffe pinned Koko B. Ware and Killer Khan smashed Jules Strongbow.
Final thoughts: After watching a slew of WWF house shows, full of bigger men working a slower style, it was a welcome break to witness some young men busting their butts in front of a stimulated audience. As much as I am a WWF fanboy, sometimes the grass really is greener on the other side.