Wednesday, February 21, 2007

The Spectacular Legacy of the AWA

This 2 disc set certainly didn't show much of a legacy to me. The video feature was interesting to watch and see some inside on how the old territory system worked and to learn about how the promotion was started. Verne and Greg Gagne both seemed very bittersweet about how the place ended, and Vince and Jim Ross both were highly critical and absent minded about big details (such as Vince not remembering if he told Hulk to work the rest of the AWA dates or not. Right.) Now, onto the matches. Keep in mind that all but the last 3 were clipped,so there's not much analysis you can do on a 5 minute highlight.

1 High Flyers v. Nick Bockwinkel/ Ray Stevens- 4
Your classic babyface against heel tag match; not much was shown and that which was had the heels bumping quite well, if not over theatrically.

2 Verne Gagne v. Baron Von Rashcke- 3
Gagne impressed me in his video clips in the feature, but all he seemed to do was a body rake in this match. He looked like a mentally handicapped Freddy Krueger walking around with his hands extened, chasing the ugliest man to ever step foot in a wrestling ring, Baron. He looked like a Hewitt family member.

3 Pat Patterson/ Ray Stevens v. Billy Robinson/ Frankie Hill(2 of 3 Falls) -4
Just as on the Dusty Rhodes DVD, Billy Robinson is a freaking god of the squared circle. His presence alone kept this stinker from getting a one. He was a phenomenal athlete and was doing things not seen for the next ten years in the ring. The Heels bumped all over, as if slipping on banana peels through the whole match and Frankie Hill was a balding, fattening Native American. He may not have even been Native American; I shouldn't assume just because he was tan, wearing a feathered head dress and seemed to be completely intoxicated.

4 Verne Gagne/ Mad Dog Vachon v. Jesse Ventura/ Adrian Adonis- 0
Whoever put this set together, do me a favor and burn this footage. Ventura was absolutely fartsuck. His sells were way overdone and very protected. He sold a phantom dropkick from Gagne (that only got as high as Bret Hart's dick as he watches his overweight wife strip at night). Completely awful. Mad Dog was a shell of himself by that time and looked more like Docile Puppy Vachon.

5 Verne Gagne v. Nick Bockwinkel- 3
There wasn't much of a match left; probably only 5 minutes after the footage was re-edited for this release. Bockwinkel seemed destined to be Gagne's flag bearer in this match, out selling him, and doing it with poise. Gagne's performance didn't improve, even with such a superb competitor against him.

6 High Flyers v. Jesse Ventura/ Adrian Adonis- 1
Another desperate attempt at Ventura wrestling. I am not convinced he should have ever worn boots and tights, even one's as homo-sympathetic as his gear. It's like he became a wrestler just long enough to establish a personality, then retired. So, he becomes an annoucner in WWE and everybody assumes he was this great performer, but how wrong they were. Even Adonis out shows him here, and he was carrying fifty extra pounds, with none of it in his jock.

7 Nick Bockwinkel v. Hulk Hogan- 2
A few minutes of action were shown; both men were sweating like they were on trial for steroid abuse in the early 90's; wait that happened to one of them. Well, serves you right for not letting Verne make some money off a few lousy T-shirts (supposedly the reason Hulk decided to leave AWA.)

8 Jesse Ventura v. Baron Von Raschke- 1
Have you ever blocked out something as it was happening, like when you get your first prostate exam, or get caught jerking it by your mom, then the dog comes up and tries to make a meal of your baby batter- yeah, this was that moment for me.

9 Hulk Hogan v. Masa Saito/ Mr. Hatori- 1
This potentially could have been a fun match, although it look like curdled milk in ring. Saito actually won the AWA title years later in it's dying day, but that wasn't mentioned in the feature.

10 Legion of Doom v. Crusher/ Larry Henning/ Curt Henning- 3
Curt showed some wisps of his later brilliance in against the MOST NO SELLING MOTHER PUNCHERS THIS SIDE OF NASTY ASS CRACK STREET CHICAGO in the visages of Sir Hawk and Lord Animal. Crusher had a tough reputation but by this time in his career, he had the temperment of the Grandmother from Looney Tunes. And he was oddly wearing that same shawl.

Complete Matches

11 Midnight Rockers v. Buddy Rose/ Doug Somers (Steel Cage)- 5
The Rockers beat the fatboys asses for the first 10 minutes or so, then they split Shawn open like a decaying pumpkin. The end of the match saw a Janetty comeback, then a sloppy free for all to pull the velvet curtain. It was more like a fight than a wrestling match, which wasn't necessarily a bad thing, but the Rockers hadn't matured into a very good psych team yet. And I think their opposition were mostly concerned about whether it was Ponderosa or Cracker Barrel after the show.

12 Curt Henning v. Nick Bockwinkel- 6
These guys went roughly 26 minutes and it was quite brilliant, my favorite match on the tape. It was the one that most resembled old school wrestling. They built very slowly with headlocks, takedowns and both guys were bumping brilliantly. Bockwinkel was the Ric Flair of AWA and quite an excellent performer. Henning won with a punch you just have to see to believe; it would have made Mike Tyson in the 80's look like Richard Simmons (I don't mean appearance, I mean in punching power.)

13 Jerry Lawler v. Kerry Von Erich(Title Unification Match)- 5
First the good: Both men could punch like they had been fighting for food since they could learn to bawl a fist together. That part I enjoy. Both men give brain busting piledrivers too and Von Erich bleeds as if no one had ever seen a match from Puerto Rico. Now, the bad: Techincally, there wasn't much wrestling in this match. They pretty much punched around, then went into finishing moves with very little substance. There was tons of confusion near the end and in the middle a little bit, as well as the ref looking as lost as me on a road trip. Now, the strange: Von Erich appears to slice into his arm before the match even starts!? He stares at it multiple times in the first few minutes as if he needs to go home and get a Band-aid and a popsicle from his mommy, then he forgets it's even there. I wanted to like this, but it just didn't have what it needed to be a good match.

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