AWA WrestleRock 1986: With Rock, Rap AND Country

Wrestlerock 1986
Date: April 20, 1986
Location: Metrodome, Minneapolis, Minnesota
Attendance: 23,000
Commentator: Ron Trongard

I hate you. I hate you all. This is another request because SOME IDIOT had to put the Wrestlerock Rumble video up on WrestleZone. This is the show that it was advertising. It’s another of the AWA’s stadium supershows which usually wound up sucking but why would that stop them from keeping them up? There are three cage matches to close the show so you know it’s going to be….different. Let’s get to it.

No real intro here, as is the custom on these big shows.

Brad Rheingans vs. Boris Zhukov

Boris is the same character from WWF and Brad is a former Olympian power lifter. This is going to be a power match and probably not a very good one. They exchange tests of strength to start with neither guy being able to get much of an advantage. Ok scratch that as Brad does pretty easily. Before I forget again: WHERE ARE THE PEOPLE??? There are allegedly over 20,000 people there but my goodness they did a bad job of putting them on the camera side. There might be more empty seats visible that full ones.

This is your standard power match: Brad shoves him around, Boris runs, Brad shoves him around some more, Boris runs some more. Zhukov heads to the floor and comes back to get in a knee and RUSSIA POWER takes over. That more or less concludes the interesting part of the match because Boris Zhukov is a very boring wrestler. He’s slow, he’s bald, he’s Russian. That sums up about half the heels in America at this point. Naturally since this is a big show’s opening match, Brad makes his comeback and hits his fisherman’s suplex for the pretty easy pin.

Rating: D+. The American winning over the EVIL Soviet is always a surefire way to get a crowd going and this did so for the most part. Not a good match by any means, but for about five minutes long and an opening match, what exactly were you looking for? For a power guy though, a fisherman’s suplex is a strange pick for a finisher.

Little Tokyo/Lord Littlebrook vs. Little Mr. T./Cowboy Lang

Great. Midgets. Tokyo and Lang start us off and it’s time for a headlock. Off to Littlebrooke and it’s time for an armbar. They go to a wide shot and oh my goodness that’s a stupid idea. Back to Tokyo as Lang is getting beaten down even more. Here’s a chinlock for rest hold #3 in less than 150 seconds. Lang escapes and it’s off to Little Mr. T. This is a few weeks after WM 2 and I’m sure Mr. T. being on that show is just a coincidence right?

T. does something and Trongard says look at that. Naturally that’s as we go wide to which you can only see shapes in the ring instead of what they’re doing. There goes the referee because this is a midget match. Things calm down and we have Littlebrook vs. T. There’s ANOTHER chinlock as this is going way too long. The midgets argue and this is going nowhere.

Tokyo accidentally hits Littlebrook as people are going off to get food and drinks. Lang is in and we get a crisscross. Back to T. vs. Littlebrook for another headlock. It’s clear they have no idea what to do here to fill in time because MIDGET MATCHES SHOULDN’T GO TEN MINUTES. There’s an airplane spin for both heels and the rowboat spot. Oh and the referee pile on. Lang hooks a rollup on Littlebrook for the pin, thank goodness.

Rating: F. A midget tag team match ran ten minutes and had at least 5 rest holds. What kind of a grade did you expect me to give this? Not a good match at all and the usual midget spots that you’ve seen a dozen times, none of which have made people laugh in years. Moving on.

There are a lot of “local celebrities” introduced here, usually between each match. I’m not going to bother listing them because I don’t know who they are, most likely you don’t know who they are, and I don’t really care. For instance, this one is a local horse owner. See what I mean? Almost all of them get to be guest ring announcers. That’s the show’s gimmick.

Colonel DeBeers vs. Wahoo McDaniel

We have a white supremacist vs. an American Indian. This can’t end well. DeBeers actually TWIRLS HIS MUSTACHE. We have a real villain here people. The Colonel works on the arm, then Wahoo works on the arm. Now DeBeers works on the arm. I think out of boredom, Wahoo chops at him to break it up. Colonel comes back with a knee to the head and some kicks. Coming back in they slug it out with McDaniel on the apron. Back in Wahoo goes on the warpath and throws him to the floor. Back in again and Wahoo throws him over the top for the FREAKING LAME DQ.

Rating: F+. It was somehow better than the midget match. Think about that for a minute. This was five minutes of two old guys hitting each other after some arm work and then a stupid DQ ending to it. This was horrible and the show is off to a very bad start. When a basic American vs. Soviet match is by far the best match of the night after three of them, things aren’t starting well at all.

They brawl on the floor post match in a far better sequence than they had in the match.

Go buy stuff from the souvenir stand! You can get cassettes of the WrestleRock Rumble! For those unfamiliar, that’s a wrestling version of the Super Bowl Shuffle with wrestlers “rapping” lyrics. It’s horrible.

Doug Somers and Buddy Rose are going to beat those pests the Midnight Rockers and then get the tag titles.

Doug Somers/Buddy Rose vs. Midnight Rockers

This is on Shawn Michaels: My Journey. Somers/Rose have Sherri Martel with them. Rose does his traditional thing of “it’s 217lbs, not 271lbs.” Rose and Jannetty start us off with Rose doing push-ups. Wait, still not ready for the match as Rose does a front flip and wants Jannetty to do the same. Marty tags Shawn who moonsaults in and tells Rose to do that. Rose goes up….and comes back down. Naturally they’re wasting time on a match like this which is probably going to be the best match of the show. Rose tries it AGAIN and crotches himself.

Somers and Shawn FINALLY lock up to keep us from dying of boredom. Shawn controls with an armdrag and dropkicks Somers down and it’s off to Rose. Rose tries to speed things up and I think Shawn is all cool with that, as he armdrags him down with ease. Off to Marty who jumps in and hammers down onto the arm. Rose goes for the eyes and brings in Somers who is armdragged right back down. Marty avoids a charge and Doug’s arm goes into the post.

Back to Shawn and both of them grab an arm on Somers. Back to Rose vs. Shawn and Buddy cartwheels (impressive given that gut) to avoid a monkey flip. Marty comes in and does exactly what Buddy did. We’re five minutes into this somehow. Time for Shawn again and the arm work continues. He hooks an arm stretch but Buddy gets up onto his feet to escape the pressure. Marty smacks him in the head and Rose is down again. Not a good night for them so far.

Shawn flies around even more and it’s back to Marty to drop a knee on the arm. Knee lift gets two for Shawn. FINALLY Michaels gets caught in a slingshot into the corner and Somers belts him in the face to take over. Jumping back elbow gets two for Rose. Off to Somers who whips Shawn into the corner hard.

Shawn comes back with a suplex to put both guys down. There’s the hot tag to Marty who cleans house and gets his own two off his own jumping back elbow. Powerslam gets three but the foot was on the rope. Everything breaks down and the Rockers are in control. Marty goes up for something but Somers crotches him which lets Rose pin him. Sherri pushed his foot off the ropes too.

Rating: C+. Not a bad match at all here, despite the goofy stuff to start. The arm work probably went on too long but the match itself wasn’t half bad. The ending could have used a bit more but for a big house show and the fourth match on the card, this wasn’t that bad. Sherri screwing over Shawn is kind of interesting given their future.

Somers and Rose say they’re innocent.

More “celebrities”, this one being the AD for the University of Minnesota.

Buck Zumhofe says nothing of note. Granted that might be because of the REALLY BIG FREAKING BOOM BOX he’s carrying.

Buck Zumhofe vs. Tiger Mask

This should be….different. I think it’s Misawa at this point but I’m not sure. Trongard has never seen him before so his usual horrible commentary is going to be even worse here. They go to the mat quickly with Buck grabbing an armbar. That hold is used WAY too much in this company. They exchange control of the arm and we get a standoff. Zumhofe is your classic guy who wasn’t big enough to be a heavyweight but didn’t have the speed to be a typical cruiserweight. Tiger Mask on the other hand is a master at it.

They go back to grappling and it ends in a spinning toehold by Buck as he works on the leg. This goes on for awhile, because Heaven forbid they have fast guys go to the air. That might get people interested in the show. Off to a Boston Crab which works on the back after Zumhofe spent all the time working on the knee. Eh close enough I guess. That doesn’t last long and Tiger dropkicks him down for two.

Back to the arm (oh boy!) for Tiger as he controls with an armbar after a decent wrestling sequence. A cross body and suplex get four combined which is somehow less than three in wrestling. Zumhofe goes after the mask but can’t get it off because he’s Buck Zumhofe and going after Tiger Mask’s mask. Buck goes into control by ramming Tiger’s face into the mat twice. Well you can’t say he’s overdoing it. Abdominal stretch now to really crank this up. They go to the floor and Tiger hits a nice plancha to take Buck out. Back in Mask slams him down and hits something like a Swanton Bomb for the pin.

Rating: C-. It’s not bad but at the same time Zumhofe was really boring. This would be Tiger Mask toned WAY down which isn’t using his talents as well as they could and/or should be used. Pretty dull match but it could have been FAR worse. Again, somehow this is the second best match of the night thus far and that can’t be a good thing.

The Governor of Minnesota declares it Verne Gagne Day. Not AWA Day or anything, but Verne Gagne Day.

Barry Windham and Rotunda (acknowledged as former WWF Tag Champions) say they’re ready for the Fabulous Ones.

Fabulous Ones vs. Barry Windham/Mike Rotunda

The Fabulous Ones are Steve (Skinner) Keirn and Sweet Stan Lane. The guest announcer here is another radio guy which is the case with the vast majority of them. Windham vs. Lane starts things off. The crowd has filled in a lot and it looks much better. Feeling out process to start as Barry grabs a headlock. This is back when Windham was awesome and in shape so he’s fun to watch.

Off to Rotunda and the arm work (I’m as shocked as you are) begins. Lane tries to escape a hammerlock but gets kneed in the arm instead. Back to Barry who cranks on the arm some more. Off to Keirn who is armdragged right back down. Back to Mike who works a top wristlock. Barry comes in quickly for a chinlock. Keirn tries a leapfrog but gets punched in the face for his efforts. You can’t say Barry is over complicating things.

Windham/Rotunda hit a double dropkick and Keirn is in trouble. Mike misses a corner charge and the heels take over. Things break down quickly but Rotunda can’t make a tag. After a long beating by Lane it’s back to Keirn. Lane comes in for a neckbreaker but misses an elbow. There’s the tag to Barry after a short heat segment. Powerslam gets two on Stan.

The Ones cheat again and Barry gets caught in a chinlock. We’re ten minutes into this and it hasn’t really kicked into high gear yet, which is a shame given what you have to work with here. Barry grabs a small package on Lane for two. Off to Rotunda who speeds things up and gets two on Lane. There’s an airplane spin for two. Lane backdrops him and sets for a piledriver but Barry comes off the top with an elbow to the back of the head, giving Rotunda the pin.

Rating: C. Not a great match or anything here but it was ok I guess. They never cranked this up as high as they could and that really hurt it. Also the lack of any reason for these teams or wrestlers in any match for that matter to want to fight each other is really bringing things down. If they don’t care, why should I care?

The Attorney General of Minnesota is here. Even for a local politician, why would I care about that?

Bulldog Bob Brown vs. Giant Baba

Baba is a guy I’m sure you’ve heard of and Brown is a Central States mainstay who just isn’t that good but was popular in his territory. For some reason he’s billed as a former champion (with 18 total reigns) but based on what I can find, he was champion at this point. Brown hooks a headlock to start, which is really awkward because Brown is about 6’0 tall and Baba is about Kane’s height.

Baba works on the arm but Brown rakes the eye to get out of it. Brown goes for the leg which fails completely. Baba takes him to the mat with a headscissors and works on the arm. The fans don’t care at all here. Brown hammers on him but Baba comes back with some chops. This is REALLY slow paced as they’re stopping every few seconds. A big boot puts Brown on the mat and a chop sets up a Russian legsweep which looked awful. Another big boot gets the pin.

Rating: F. This was HORRIBLE. It was slow, it was awkward, Baba wrestles nothing like a giant, and the fans had no idea who these guys were. That was the big issue with this match: it’s a Japanese guy vs. a Central States guy in front of an AWA crowd. Why would the people care at all about this match? They didn’t, and I can’t blame them at all. The match sucked too.

The GM of a TV station is introduced. Not an on air personality mind you, but the boss that NO ONE EVER SEES.

Harley Race wants an AWA Title shot.

Harley Race vs. Rick Martel

This is billed as former champion vs. former champion, which sounds SO exciting doesn’t it? Race grabs a headlock to start as is his custom but Martel whips him in and it’s time for an armbar. This is so common in this company I can’t believe it. That doesn’t last long as Race whips him in and RACE LEAPFROGS MARTEL. And I thought I had seen everything. Martel doesn’t know what to do so naturally, it’s an armdrag into an armbar.

Race takes him down again as neither guy can get a real advantage here. Headbutt sets up a chinlock which isn’t something the people seem all that interested in seeing at this point. Yep there are the boring chants. Martel gets up and there’s armbar #3 five minutes into the match. Race’s counter this time? Slam his head into Martel’s. Well you can’t say he’s not using his head. I’ll give you a minute to roll your eyes at how lame that joke was.

Powerslam gets two for Race but Martel escapes a suplex and throws on a sleeper. Does this guy know ANYTHING besides rest holds? Race rams him into the buckle and hits a neckbreaker to put Rick down. Harley goes up (not as bizarre as you would expect) but gets slammed off. Well his last major feud was with Flair so that probably has something to do with it. They slug it out a bit which should result in pain bruises and agony for Martel but instead he grabs a headlock. Martel hits a backbreaker and slingshot splash for two, which Trongard says Martel debuted five years ago in 1983. Check the date on the show.

Anyway after that warping of time and space, Race headbutts and piledrives him for two. Elbow drop gets two and it’s off to the chinlock. Race sends him into the corner and Martel tries a cross body out of the corner, but Race just casually steps to the side, ala Samoa Joe. After a brief slugout, Martel whips Race into the corner and out to the floor, but it’s not a DQ due to whatever alteration they want to make this time.

Suplex gets two for Rick back in. Shoulderbreaker and neckbreaker get two for Race. They collide and Race is knocked to the floor. He always was great at taking that backwards fall. Back in another piledriver is countered into a gutwrench suplex for two by Martel. Now Rick goes after the knee for some reason. After some knees to the leg it’s off to a leg hold but Race uses his head (as always) to escape. Race pounds on him in the corner but has his suplex countered. A splash by Martel eats knees and they go to the floor off a slam attempt. They brawl even more and it’s a double countout, two minutes before the time limit.

Rating: C+. Pretty decent match here but again the problem is that there’s no story to this. That being said, they were getting close to overcoming that with some solid back and forth stuff. At the end of the day, it’s Harley Race going 18 minutes so the match by default has to be pretty good. Martel was a WAY bigger deal in the AWA than in the WWF.

Women’s Battle Royal

There are ten girls in this and only three mean anything: Sherri Martel, Luna Vachon (didn’t mean anything yet) and Candi Divine, who was awful but was popular in the AWA. She’s also Women’s Champion here. I have no idea who most of these women are. They’re blondes in spandex. Someone is thrown out and I can’t hear Capetta, nor do I particularly care to know.

Trongard and Capetta keep calling Luna Leona by mistake. Or by lack of intelligence, I’m not sure which. Two more go out but they’re not important enough to announce. Somehow we got down to six. Luna (NOT LEONA) is gone. I think a Greek chick powerbombs Divine but it’s not important enough to talk about. The Greek chick is out and we’re down to Martel, Debbie Combs, Candi Divine and some chick that Trongard doesn’t bother naming. Divine misses a charge and we’re down to three. Her name is Joyce Grable. Ok then. Martel is knocked under the ropes, Combs throws out Grable and Martel sneaks in to steal the win.

Rating: F. I didn’t know half of the names in this. That should tell you everything you need to know.

Sherri gets fifty grand and Rose/Somers want the tag titles.

Ten minute intermission, because this show needs to be LONGER.

We’re only halfway through the card. See what I’m putting up with?

AWA America’s Title: Sgt. Slaughter vs. Kamala

Slaughter is champion and is WAY over. He’s pretty much the most popular guy in the company, which is why he never got the world title. I mean, Heaven forbid the fans decide who the top guy is. That’s one thing that needs to be remembered about the AWA: yes Vince took a lot of their talent, but it was Gagne that screwed up a lot of stuff. If he had just given the title to Hogan like the people were SCREAMING for, Hogan wouldn’t have left.

Oh yeah the match. As usual with Kamala matches, he uses REALLY boring offense like you would see from any fat guy, including but not limited to chops, something resembling punches, shots to the throat, and a stomach claw. Slaughter makes his comeback, Kamala hits him some more, Slaughter Cannon, Kim Chee runs in for the DQ. Short and nothing of note at all.

Hall and Hennig say they’ll keep the titles.

Tag Titles: Scott Hall/Curt Hennig vs. Long Riders

The Long Riders are a biker team who ride in on their motorcycles. Hall gets an award for being popular pre match. The champions won the titles in Albuquerque apparently, which is nowhere near the AWA territory, so I’m going to bet that match didn’t happen. Also the regular AWA ring announcer, Larry Nelson, is now sitting in on commentary with Trongard. The Long Riders are Scott “Hog” Irwin and Wild Bill Irwin.

Hall starts with Scott (for this match, Scott will only be used for Scott Irwin. Scott Hall will only be called Hall) as we hear about the Long Riders being made to wear wrestling gear. Apparently their biker gear has been used for EVIL and has therefore been banned. Nothing goes on here so the partners both tag off. Hennig hits a HUGE dropkick on the future Goon and we head to the floor for a chase scene. Back to Hall as the champions have been in total control the whole time so far.

Bill manages to take Hall to the mat for about two full seconds but the more famous one grabs an armbar to take over. Off to Hennig and the beating continues. Dropkick gets two as we’re five minutes in. Curt and Bill slug it out and Hennig superkicks him down for two. Bill misses a charge and an elbow drop so Hennig grabs a headlock. They get up and do a weird sequence where they’re both on their stomachs and Curt crawls at him as Bill backpedals to the floor.

Test of strength now and Hennig kind of suplexes him over for two. The Riders take over on Curt with some double teaming. They draw in Hall for some lame double teaming as we’re at ten minutes into this. More double teaming which is mainly just assisted choking. Curt avoids an elbow drop and it’s off to Hall. House is cleaned and noggins are knocked but it’s back to Hennig. Everything breaks down and Curt is sent to the floor. It doesn’t really matter though as Hall goes to the floor with Scott, allowing a missile dropkick from Hennig to retain the titles.

Rating: C-. Not bad here as there was a formula and an idea here, but the execution wasn’t that great. The Riders were a pretty weak team but it could have been far worse. Hennig was a huge deal in the AWA and would hold the world title for over a year starting in May of 87. Decent match but nothing all that great. It’s a big upgrade on the majority of the show though.

Scott hits Hennig with a boot post match. The champions complain about that for awhile.

Larry Zbyszko vs. Scott LeDoux

LeDoux was a legit boxer before becoming a referee and wrestler in the AWA. This is under “European” rules, which means they wear gloves and we have ten two minute rounds. Larry Hennig, Curt’s papa, is the referee for no apparent reason. It’s really closer to boxing than wrestling but it’s the AWA so I doubt they knew what it was supposed to be. They tease hitting each other for a bit until LeDoux grabs a full nelson. Larry escapes and Scott (what is with that name being so popular in this company?) unloads on him with punches, sending Larry to the floor.

This is actually closer to MMA (kind of almost sort of) than boxing or wrestling but whatever. Larry chills with his ninja (don’t ask) for a bit as we’re probably about halfway through the first round. LeDoux gets into a boxing stance so Larry bails to the apron. I’m shocked too. Larry picks the leg and goes to the mat which is smart. Round 1 ends with Larry in control.

Off to round 2 and Larry gets on one knee. He gets up and hits a spinning kick to the ribs. Larry climbs on his back which doesn’t work at all as LeDoux pounds on the ribs with elbows. Armdrag by Larry into an armbar but LeDoux punches him in the face. Larry pounds him in the corner and slams him for no cover. Zbyszko pounds on him to end the round.

Round 3 begins with Scott’s eye swelling shut. Larry takes him to the mat and hooks a front chancery. For the first time we’re told you win by pin or knockout. Decisions are still a gray area. Larry POUNDS HIM with punches and a kick to the ribs. Back to the mat and Larry is totally dominating him.

Round 4 starts with Larry missing a kick and LeDoux gets in a flurry to take over. For no apparent reason he grabs Larry and rams him into the corner. There’s a slam and Larry is reeling. The fans aren’t that thrilled but you can’t please everyone. They’re both getting gassed here but LeDoux clocks Larry to end the round but the bell saves him.

Larry starts round 5 bleeding and gets knocked to the floor….where he rams LeDoux into the post for the DQ 5 seconds into the round.

Rating: C-. I liked it but it wasn’t great. As usual with this show, I have no idea why they were fighting because the announcers are too busy telling us that the AWA is a national company to give us a simple story. The match was entertaining though which is really all you can ask for in something like this. Good stuff and thankfully they kept it fast paced. If this was just boxing, it would have been a disaster.

Post match LeDoux wants to kill Larry and the fans are into this for once. The Ninja jumps Scott and Larry (the referee, who did NOTHING in this match) makes the save.

LeDoux wants a rematch.

AWA World Title: Stan Hansen vs. Nick Bockwinkel

Hansen is the champion and evil here. He runs over Nelson for no apparent reason. Hansen normally works for Baba in Japan but is here as champion to give the AWA a boost. They immediately go to the floor with Hansen pounding away. Nelson immediately turns into a super Bockwinkel fan as Nick makes a brief comeback. Hansen kicks him in the face and hooks a chinlock. This is looking wild so far.

Elbow drop gets two for the champion. Bockwinkel takes over on the arm and now Stan is in trouble. Nick tries to fight back with some right hands but they get him nowhere. A sunset flip gets two as the cameraman drops the camera. Off to an armbar as Trongard tells us how great the AWA is. I haven’t mentioned it that often but he says it more often than Cole plugs Twitter. They slug it out, naturally won by Stan, and it’s time for another chinlock.

Trongard spends the entire hold on a speech about how second best isn’t acceptable in the AWA and how they have the best. YOU JUST SAID THAT TEN SECONDS AGO!!! Nick tries to come back and grabs a sleeper, one of his finishers. Hansen gets to a rope though and they fall to the floor. They slug it out a bit out there but then go back inside to punch each other (HARD) some more.

Hansen outsmarts Nick (hard to do) by suckering him into a stun gun for two. Nick blocks a suplex into one of his own for two. It gets two so Nelson says almost only counts in drive-in movies. I think I get what he means there and I don’t think I want to know if I’m right. The referee gets bumped so Bockwinkel’s slam only gets no cover. Crossbody gets the same. Piledriver gets two…and then Hansen backdrops him over the top for the LAME DQ.

Rating: B-. Why am I not surprised? This match was starting to get good and then never mind, because we need to have a screwy finish. As usual, the idea here is simple: give them something to fight over in the form of the title and have two talented guys in there and you’ll get a good match. Bockwinkel would get the title later on when Hansen said screw this nonsense and went to Japan full time.

They brawl post match until Bockwinkel chases him off with a chair. Nick says he used to cheat to keep the title but it’s not fair here.

There’s another intermission to set up the cage.

Now the last three matches are in a cage, but for some reason on the tape they’re out of order. This is in the order that they air on the tape.

Nord the Barbarian/King Kong Brody vs. Jimmy Snuka/Greg Gagne

A few notes here: Snuka is a mystery partner subbing for Jerry Blackwell (that’s for the better, trust me), this match originally went on second of the three cage matches, King Kong Brody is Bruiser Brody because of some legit complaint from Dick the Bruiser, and if Snuka/Gagne win, Verne gets 10 minutes in the cage with Sheik Adnan-Al Kaissie. This is announced as the main event, even though there could be more stuff after it. Oh and Nord the Barbarian is just called Barbarian and is more famous as the Berzerker.

Snuka gets zero fanfare at all. Gagne looks like a 1996 version of Chavo Guerrero. They have to tag here so the match is automatically dropped a few notches. Gagne starts with Brody. Greg gets in a few punches but Brody kicks him in the face, making Gagne look like he got shot. Off to Barbarian who gets punched back into his own corner. Off to Snuka for a death defying chinlock.

The match slows way down as Brody comes in and knocks Snuka down. Then they stand around. Then they stand around some more. Snuka does his leapfrogs but Brody knocks him right back down. Off to Gagne and I can’t believe I’m saying this, but it makes the match way better. If nothing else he sells everything like death which is usually a cool thing to see.

Greg gets rammed into the cage to bust him open. Good piledriver by Brody gets two. Nelson turns into an annoying fanboy again but Gagne’s comeback is shortlived. He manages to send Nord into the cage and there’s the hot tag (with a pop) to Snuka. Off to Brody who is busted open. He yells a lot as Snuka hammers away on him.

Snuka gets in Superfly position but hits a headbutt instead. Nord interferes and Snuka is in trouble again. Everything breaks down and the heels get rammed into each other. Double dropkick puts Nord down and a double suplex does the same to Brody. Snuka rams into Gagne by mistake, but Snuka gets up and dropkicks Nord who trips over Gagne and gets pinned.

Rating: D. Oh boy did they screw this up. First of all, WHERE IS THE SUPERFLY SPLASH??? You bring in Jimmy Snuka and he doesn’t even hit the move he’s legendary for in the kind of match he’s legendary for hitting it in? Second, there was way too much heel control here. The idea is supposed to be faces control to start, Gagne opens, tag to Snuka for more dominance, back to Gagne, Gagne gets beaten down, hot tag, finish.

Instead it was faces control, heels control, faces comeback, faces screw up, faces steal a win. The problem is that it doesn’t allow the fans to build up momentum. This match had the pieces of a decent match, but they were all in the wrong order which is what made it hard to stay invested in. Also the lack of a splash hurt it a lot.

Verne Gagne vs. Sheik Adnan Al-Kaissie

This has a backstory actually. The Sheik and his men broke Verne’s ribs….two years ago. They go in and Sheik automatically tries to run. Gagne slams him and Sheik’s belt is taken off. Not that it matters because the referee throws it away. Verne rams him into the cage and Sheik is busted BAD. For someone that is in a revenge match, Verne is standing around a lot. Backdrop sets up a sleeper but the Sheik breaks it up quickly. Sheik takes over but his slam is countered into a small package for the pin.

Rating: D-. Uh……WHAT THE HECK WAS THAT??? This was like 4 minutes long which is fine, but A SMALL PACKAGE IN A MATCH BASED ON REVENGE??? This should have been Verne destroying him but instead it was like two cage shots, some punches and a small package. I don’t get this at all and it was boring on top of that. Terribly stupid match.

Gagne retires again post match.

Road Warriors vs. Freebirds

Thank goodness this is the last match. This actually took place before the other tag two cage matches, but Verne had to go on last on the real card. The tape version makes him seem more humble at least. This is Hayes/Garvin. Hawk and Hayes get things going. Hayes immediately hits a piledriver which is of course no sold. Let the pain begin. Hayes goes into the cage a few times and he’s busted quickly.

Gorilla press to Hayes and Hawk drops a right hand. Garvin runs away from a tag so Hayes tries to climb out. Hawk goes up top as well and Michael is knocked to the floor. Garvin finally gets the tag and he’s tentative at best. Why no Animal yet? Oh there he is, for a TEN REP gorilla press. Now Hayes runs from the tag.

And never mind as he comes in a few seconds alter. Hayes gets in a few shots but Hawk runs him over quickly. He bites the cut on Hayes’ head because Hawk is a little nuts. Garvin comes in to pound on him and it’s back to Hayes for a figure four. Hawk easily breaks it and it’s back to Garvin, whose offense is shrugged off. Not hot tag to Animal and everything breaks down. Hayes pulls out some brass knuckles but he hits Garvin by mistake so Animal gets the easy pin.

Rating: D. According to the announcer that gives the Warriors revenge for something, but again it’s not important enough to tell us about. This was about as dominant of a match as you can see without it being a squash. The Birds never had a chance but they were against the Road Warriors so that shouldn’t be a shock. The Warriors left the AWA after this match.

That ends the show, but because I have no regard for my own sanity, I’ll thrown in a look at the music video namesake of this show: the WrestleRock Rumble. The idea is a music video of the roster “rapping”, because that fits in so well with the them of WrestleROCK. It’s supposed to be in the vein of the SuperBowl Shuffle from the Chicago Bears. This is going to be painful so let’s get it over with.

We open with Hall and Hennig getting out of a pool wearing Speedos. This isn’t going to be pretty is it? They want the Long Riders and “rhyme” about it, then the girls shove them into the pool. An interviewer raps and some Playboy chick says nothing of note. I’m better at rapping than the Rockers I believe. The Sheik sounds as stereotypical as possible. Blackwell, a fat country boy, is shown crushing a board.

Greg Gagne sounds like he smoked five packs a day. We see the same Hennig/Hall segment that started this nightmare. Amazingly enough, Zbyszko’s and Bockwinkel’s are the least bad. They’re not good, but they could have been a lot worse. LeDoux looks like he wants to die. Verne reads his rap, which is kind of funny. And that’s it. It’s terribly corny but it could have been MUCH worse. Again though, why call it a rap when the show has the word ROCK in the name? On top of that, country singer Waylon Jennings had a mini concert after the show. Even the AWA had no idea what they were doing here.

Overall Rating: D-. I won’t call it a failure, because there are some parts of a watchable show in here. The problem is they needed A LOT of stuff fixed here. First of all, cut this down from the over FOUR HOUR run time this already had down to about two hours and forty five minutes. Shave out the midget match and two to three more and it’s a far less uninteresting show.

Second, give us some reasons to watch these matches. This was a recurring problem in the AWA: there were no stories to back up these matches. The only one mentioned was Verne having broken ribs from a few years ago, which is a stretch but it’s better than nothing. There’s no reason to watch this show as the AWA was flying off a cliff at this point, but the matches for the most part aren’t horrible. They’re very boring, but they’re not horrible. Overall it’s not the worst show I’ve ever seen and there are definitely much worse ones, but there’s no appeal here at all.

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1 comment

  1. Derek Hamel says:

    I remember watching the AWA at this time very well. TOO well, actually. As thrilled as I was that they generated the title switch from the simpering Rick Martel to Wrestling God Stan Hansen, the quality seemed to drop literally every week. Of course, Stan was usually off in Japan wrestling good opponents in front of packed houses in Japan. They had an interesting rookie, Leon White, so to get him over they nicknamed him “Baby Bull” Leon White. Hmm, which is more intimidating, Big Van Vader or Baby Bull?
    By this time Vince’s cartoonish approach to wrestling had awakened most fans to the showbiz element of the sport. When previously ignorant diehards realized that the only way a should-have-been-accountant Greg Gagne could go toe to toe with Bruise Brody, Stan Hansen, and the Road Warriors was because his daddy owned the promotion, it got a lot harder to deflect cynicism.
    Yes, Vince stole all of Gagne’s guys, but in my mind the two main reasons the AWA went from successful promotion to utterly unwatchable in such a short time were the continued pushing of lil Greg, and the ridiculous, crazed announcing by Larry Nelson.