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They have to show the DeBeers-Milliman Turkey On A Pole match...that was the greatest night in the history of the AWA. :P

 

It's been amazing to watch where the AWA went from the mid-80s to when they went in the shitter. I caught them on ESPN from day one when they were on the air back in 1985. When they first started they had a solid show. Rick Martel was very credible as World champion, ditto with Stan "The Lariat" Hansen and later Lawler. For most who have seen Lawler only as a commentator rubbing one out whenever the women enter the ring, he was a good wrestler in his heyday.

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They have to show the DeBeers-Milliman Turkey On A Pole match...that was the greatest night in the history of the AWA.

 

That is probably the most well known crap from the AWA 1990 stuff, as I've heard of that match for years.

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So insomnia hit me again last night, so figured it was time to catch up on this last week of AWA shows from the last week.

 

I think I was at all of these shows that they are airing right now, damn near everything seems somewhat familiar to me, especially the strange gimmick matches they had for the Team Challenge Series. Quite a deal relieving all of these shows after going to them when I was just twelve years old. I even caught myself on camera a few times when they would show the guys leaving or coming to the ring (in typical kid form, I was always right by the walkway trying to slap hands with the wrestlers) and I was shown in the corner of ringside during a Zbysko interview yelling something at him, I think "Larry Sucks" or something. So very weird to see myself on these shows almost two decades later!

 

Just some random bits of thoughts......

 

I definately remember the angle/match they did with Mr. Saito as "the unknown soldier" against Zbysko, it was so goofy since they had the actual Unknown Soldier in various squash matches beforehand, as well as Saito also doing a few squash matches during this taping. Everyone easily figured this out right away, and for the announcers to play stupid was, well, stupid.

 

I still cant get over the bad production on these shows. The bad backgrounds they would add to the bluescreen such as a picture of a tore down house for the Destruction Crew, etc. The promos they then actually did at the tapings that werent behind a bluescreen were just as bad production wise, I don't know what kind of lights and camera they would use for those, but Ive never seen such a tripped out visual coming when a guy would move his hands and "trails" would come off the hands, way weird.

 

Bischoff was way way WAY green during this time, not so bad when he was doing pre-tapes, but when he was out there live interviewing the guys after the matches, he was pretty much all over the place, not really knowing what to do. The guy needed a serious haircut and dye job too.

 

The one show where they did the greco-roman, football, and six man battle royal was certainly something. Anything involving Baron Von Rasche at this point was atrocious, he was so old and uncoordinated, but he sure tried to make the most of his limitations. The football match had the most confusing and convoluted rules I think ever in wrestling history, even Lee Marshall or the special ref (this dolthead ex-football guy who was a crowd favorite in Minnesota due to his commercials for some product around here that got him famous) didn't follow thru or explain why what was happening in the match was contradicting what the actual rules were. On top of it, this Benchwarmer Bob guy was stiffing the hell out of Mike Enos. So bad it was hilarious stuff there. The six man battle royal was pretty bad, other than Illustrious Johnny Stewart, who reminded me of a young Chris Candido. This guy actually ended up running for politics or something, if I recall.

 

Funny that Dale Gagner (aka Dale "Gagne") is the announcer for most of these shows. This is the same guy that WWE has gone after for still running the AWA and their respective trademarks, etc. He actually runs the AWA (I think he's now calling it "Wrestling Superstars Live" for legal reasons) out of the same city that these shows were from (Rochester, MN).

 

That mixed tag team match w/ Mimi and Candy Devine showcased the most blatant crotch shots of the ladies I've seen ever, I think. Mimi was still looking hot but, damn, Candy Devine sported one of the fugliest faces ever seen to man. It's too bad that time treated her badly facially as she always worked hard and had a nice body on her (still did here, even). Unfortunately, these two ladies just didn't click at all and were carrying 80 percent of this match with their horrible botches and bumps. The highlight was Mimi just straight up kicking Candy in the twat while she was laying on the mat, which caught the announcers off guard a bit. But like the football match, it was such horrible shit it was actually entertaining to see what shit they would TRY (not necessarily execute properly) next.

 

Memories of the Russian Brute......Ox Baker was completely in character before, during, and after the shows. Everytime I'd try to get his autograph (and this was numerous times) he would grunt at me and never sign shit.

 

I love how the company actually keeps stating on these shows that if you call the 900 line, you can be "matchmaker." I fell into this mistake a few times and called it, only to get Lee Marshall, Zbysko, and others just cutting promos. It was the biggest waste of money you could find in terms of old 900 wrestling lines.

 

The taped fist match was the biggest joke of a gimmick match I've seen in a long time. Since when was taping your fists some sort of illegal thing? And one of the worst major matches seen on these 1990 shows so far. Just horrible shit. Lee Marshall was just having a fucking fit during this entire match like it was a five star classic. The post-match here showed signs of a Baron v. Slaughter feud they may or may have had plans for down the road. Unfortunately, they never made it far enough to even try that. Plus, of course, Slaughter ended up going to WWE later in this same year, and turning heel, main evening Mania, etc. Pretty amazing how far Slaughter got in just one year......from half ass pushed in the soon defunct AWA to becoming the number one heel, world champion, and main eventing Mania in 91.

 

Last nights show had a "double main event" of first, John Nord (Berzerker) v. Col. Debeers in a one hand taped behind your back match, yet another gimmick that really wasn't ever needed, but they were just pulling out any ridiculous stips they could to these TCM matches. The other main event was pretty good though, Destruction Crew v. the guy who would end up being The Patriot and Paul Diamond (who had no choice but to come back to the AWA after he got fired from WWE when they put in a new guy with Tanaka). Builds well to a final match with the teams, that I think Patriot and Diamond end up winning IIRC. That should be on within the week as I recall the third match with them being taped and being actually pretty decent.

 

These shows may be shit for the most part, but I'm enjoying them alot because of the old connection I had to them.

 

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I guess being there live definitely gives a different perspective to the shows. To someone that didn't have cable until well after the AWA crumbled, these shows are just dreadful. I probably sit through a combined 15 minutes per ep and FF through the rest.

 

As for Diamond, I believe he didn't make his WWF debut until mid-1990 being a heel jobber on the weekend shows. Then in late-1990 they teamed him up w/ ol pal Tanaka and he held onto a job until the Max Moon gimmick fizzled out. Unless, he was the WWF even before that as well. Must have been a blink and you'll miss it stint.

 

And I noticed that Marshall and Stargis can't seem to agree if the Texas Hangmen's finisher is legal or not. I banged my head on the wall when I heard Stargis say something to effect of "I've just been handed this note . . . Killer has apparently given his elbow pad to Psycho before the match so the man in the ring is actually Killer!!!" Followed by Lee Marshall reacting in total disbelief.

 

However, I did mark out when they compared veteran jobber Tony Leone to former QB Don Strock (sp?) during his match w/ Larry Z.

 

And I have to admit DeBeers is pretty entertaining . . . at least compared to this other crapola. I swear I've seen John Nord wrestle 18 times in the last week of shows.

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Oh shit RedJed, you were actually at those shows? God, I can't imagine how awful that football shit would have been watching it live, as I thought it was unwatchable watching it on TV. I mentioned on the previous page that I too thought Johnny Stewart looked like Chris Candido. I thought it was pretty funny on the newest AWA show they mentioned the turkey match!

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DeBeers at least knows how to be a professional heel. He even twirls his mustache and everything. I'm intrigued that he is blatantly trying to usurp Slaughter with the team...am I to assume this is how they write Slaughter out when he went to the WWF?

 

It IS kinda scary that most of these guys on the waning days of the AWA went on to better things. Slaughter obviously became the WWF champ less than a year later, and Adnan managed him. Nord became the Berserker, which is at least a step up from this. The Destruction Crew got picked up and became The Beverly Bros. (which isn't a good gimmick but likely much more $$). Trooper became The Patriot not long after this. Diamond caught on and became the Orient Express with Tanaka. Zbyzsko went to WCW and did decent.

 

Ironically I think the roster was probably better overall than it was in 1987. Those shows really did suck hard, with nothing but white bread jobber guys like DJ Peterson, JT Southern, and Mitch Snow getting pushed.

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I just got done watching that DJ Peterson match, and wow, that was some funny shit. First, Peterson comes out to no response, is facing Frankie "The Thumper" DeFalco, one of those perennial jobbers (if there is such a thing) and for some reason, just spazzes out when he enters the ring, getting in the jobber's face like crazy. They then end up having a hell of a sloppy match because the ring apparently broke (when it happened, Lee Marshall totally no sold it and both wrestlers totally stopped and had to figure out what to do next). Right before this, a commercial was cut into the match, although maybe that was just on the dish feed. Then that promo Peterson did after the match was pretty strange to say the least. They must have been going to do a DJ Peterson/Saito match here soon, as I do remember that happening during one of these Rochester shows in time here.

 

Earlier on the show, Curtis "Mr" Hughes debuted, and IIRC he started here, or possibly Memphis. I remember they give him the nickname "Cat" at some point or another, looked pretty green but it was funny to see him try his best Iceman King Parsons mixed with a little JYD.

 

I actually don't think I was at the show they aired tonight, none of these matches ring a bell to me being there for them. I stopped going to the shows after awhile when, even as a 12 year old, the shit got old. They just did them so often since they had to tape the ESPN show constantly plus a seperate hour of All-Star Wrestling each week. But I think I still went to them until sometime before the summer, so there's more weird stuff on its way here, rest assured.

 

Koloff-Zbyszko's two out of three falls match was ok stuff for AWA main events at this point. I never got Gagne's deal with using that local celebrity Benchwarmer Bob as special ref here and there, the guy was the worst ref in history from the standpoint of actually acting legit and counting properly, etc.

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For the fuck of it, here is the Wiki about the Team Challenge Series, since it's so prominent on these shows right now.

 

The AWA held a "Team Challenge Series" from October 1, 1989 through August 11, 1990. All of the available wrestlers were divided into three teams, "Larry's Legends", headed by Larry Zbyszko, "Slaughter's Snipers", headed by Sgt. Slaughter, and "Baron's Blitzers", headed by Baron Von Raschke. (Sgt. Slaughter left the AWA before the TCS ended, and Colonel DeBeers was named the new team captain.) Babyfaces and heels alike were assigned to teams, forcing bitter rivals to work together. The winners of Team Challenge matches would earn points for their team; at some unspecified point the highest-scoring team would share one million dollars. Some of the earlier (as well as some of the last) TCS matches took place in a TV studio without an audience; the announcers claimed it was part of an effort to stop wrestlers from interfering, but it was actually due to poor ticket sales for arena shows. The remainder of the matches took place at the Mayo Civic Center in Rochester, MN, where the AWA taped live matches for its television program from 1989-1990.

 

The Team Challenge Series was promoted by the AWA as revolutionary, but once underway, it appeared to be little more than a long series of gimmick matches and traditional matches with gimmicky names. Rather than showcasing technical wrestling, as the AWA had done for decades, wrestlers wore football helmets and pads in matches, or fought in a "Behind the 8-Ball Battle Royal." Perennial jobber Jake "The Milkman" Milliman defeated Colonel DeBeers in the "Great American Turkey Hunt," where the one who got a stuffed, uncooked turkey off of the top of a pole first would win.

 

The final match in the TCS was a royal rumble style battle royal featuring Brad Rheingans, The Destruction Crew, Colonel DeBeers, the Texas Hangmen, the Trooper Del Wilkes, and several others. Jake Milliman again came away with the win by eliminating DeBeers at the end, winning the series and the supposed 1 million dollar check for Larry's Legends.

 

The final point tally for the TCS:

Larry's Legends - 56

Baron's Blitzers - 51

DeBeers' Diamondcutters

(formerly Slaughter's Snipers) - 48

 

The TCS concept was ill-conceived and poorly presented; many wrestling fans feel that it hastened the AWA's demise. Yet elements of the series (e.g., having separate "teams" within one company, a "draft," etc.) have parallels to the brand extension (RAW, SmackDown!, and ECW) employed by World Wrestling Entertainment, and the WCW pay-per-view BattleBowl.

 

For years, Eric Bischoff was credited (or blamed) with having developed the TCS -- even cited as such in several books. However, in both his autobiography and The Spectacular Legacy of the AWA, Bischoff denied having anything to do with it. Instead, Greg Gagne takes responsibility for coming up with the idea, and developing it with his father.

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Another quick post......upcoming on these shows, they should be building this craptastic card, the last final "supercard" the AWA ever did before they closed up shop with their last TV taping on August 11, 1990 in Rochester, MN, which after reading up on some info on that particular show, realized I actually attended the last AWA show ever basically, which was that 8/11/90 event. Crazy. Anyway this explains a bit about the AWA's downfall......between this, the TCS, and other booking blunders, its no wonder they shut down.

 

Anyway, I bring you the anemic SuperClash IV, held at the St. Paul Civic Center on April 8, 1990.

 

* Jake Milliman pinned Todd Becker

* The Texas Hangmen defeated Brad Rheingans and D.J. Peterson

* Baron Von Raschke defeated Col. DeBeers by count out

* Tully Blanchard pinned Tommy Jammer

* John Nord defeated Kokina Maximus

* Larry Zbyszko pinned Mr. Saito to win the AWA World Heavyweight Championship (Nick Bockwinkel was the special referee)

* The Trooper and Paul Diamond defeated The Destruction Crew (Mike Enos and Wayne Bloom) in a steel cage match

 

--They were just building the cage match on one of the last shows with Diamond laying the challenge out after they won by DQ but didnt get the belts.

 

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Having that benchwarmer Bob guy being their "celebrity" involvement pretty much sums up that the AWA was 3rd rate then. Their commentary is so embarrassing when they try hyping him.

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For as much as I want to add something to this thread, these shows have been so non-descript that I can't think of anything interesting that happened in the last week or so.

 

I think they skipped past April as Larry Z is the champ once again. And I hope to the heavens Ralph Stargis never does ring announcing again.

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These 1990 shows have been better than those 1987 shows. Those shows really were just boring. At least the 90 shows have the goofy Team Challenge Series crap on them. Some of these shows have been more boring than funny though.

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I miss Larry Nelson. 1987 may have been more dull but 1990's AWA just looks desperate. I'll take the has-beens of 1987 and nightly Dangerously promos over The Texas Hangmen, countless John Nord matches, and the ridiculous TCS.

 

Anyone else see Flapjack Scott Norton last night? Yikes.

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I kinda like The Texas Hangmen, though they don't seem a particularly good fit in the AWA. They should have been in World Class or the USWA. In fact I think they were the USWA tag champs at one point.

 

Wow, on that recent show Jonnie Stewart had a match with Slaughter and he did a really hilarious 3rd rate Flair wannabe schtick. He did almost all of Flair's spots, trademarks, etc. I say 3rd rate because Buddy Landell is the 2nd rate Flair.

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Yeah, the AWA do seem very desperate in 1990, but I still think those shows are better than the 87 ones. Ok, maybe not the one with that football shit, but nothing in the universe is as bad as that.

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Its weird that they just totally skipped over about 3 months all of a sudden, since Thursday's show, now its May 1990, the crowds keep dwindling down and hardly anyone in the crowd even reacts to much anything at all, that's how anemic these tapings in Rochester got after awhile. The TCS concept was as dull and mundane as ever, since the company ran out of gimmick matches all the time and now are just doing standard one on one or tag matches for points. And there was next to no feuds even happening for the most part. But there was still horribly unintentionally hilarious moments all over, probably more than ever.

 

The Nikita Koloff beatdown by, I think it was Zbsyzko, was one of those moments that just nobody in the crowd even gave two shits about, most underwhelming angle I've seen in a good while.

 

 

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What month was it when they had that Turkey match? I sure hope they show that someday!

 

It was November of 89....I'm thinking they will probably go back to do all of 89 once they do the end run of the AWA shows from 90, as I think thats about all they have left for shows, that and I think the first part of 88, we have yet to see also.

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I didn't even know that the Team Challenge Series was in 89.

 

Yup it started in October of 89. And ended in August of 90. The ending of the TCS stuff will be hilarious since they worked all of the last few matches in the TCS (and in the companies' existance) in a small studio covered in pink from top to bottom. Walls and ceilings (and maybe even floors) alike!

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I demand to see these AWA shows from 1989. They haven't touched on that era at all, yet I want to see the meltdown post SuperClash III and see the company really spiral out of control. And yes, I want the turkey match.

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Speaking of meltdown.........the show from tonight was just one of the most boring shows so far this yeah on these 1990 shows. Your squash selection of crap matches from Jonnie Stewart, Debeers, Koloff, and Texas Hangman. Trooper/Larry Z had a fun last minute or so, but it was so predictable and passe shit, even for this time period, that it didn't really do much for me.

 

They showed highlights of last week's main event (which whoever is being re-airing and editing these shows was smart to just have skipped the show in question) of a Team Challenge Series six man battle royale of each team captain (Slaughter, Baron, Zbyzsko) and a jobber from each team, consisting of Todd Evans (I think that was his name), Tom Stone, and Jake Milliman, that just looked really bad, beyond even entertaining. Tom Stone was apparently on Slaughter's team, and then turned on him in this match, like anyone should give a shit that a frequent jobber (in every sense of the word) ends up turning on somebody. I can't even believe they suggested such a horrible idea of a match to have, and then trumpet it as something special, much less.

 

I think the beginning of this show summed up the time period where they showed a young 3 or 4 year old kid at ringside in the front row just literally bored to death. Very apropos considering these shows are turning from a montage of absurd unintentional hilarity because of the wacky shit they did, into more of just a show that literally brings nothing entertaining to the table.

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Jed, I so wanted to see that goofy star w/jobber battle royale. It looked hilarious seeing a total jobber like Tom Stone doing a heel turn on Slaughter, haha.

 

Ah well, at least on this recent show Bischoff now has a decent suit and the hair we are used to seeing. Oh and I can't be the only one who finds Larry Z. completely incoherent on the mic.

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He does tend to be a bit off the wall but I dig it.

 

Lee Marshall is in rare form tonight during this Larry Z/Rheighans match:

"The Living Legend sold out Shea Stadium! Andre and Hogan were in the undercard!!!"

"You can take your steriods and your facepaint and talking like a geek but this is wrestling!!!"

 

Do any of these feuds have closure w/o a wrestler going to the WWF? Every time a heel escapes w/ his title, the face moans and groans like Samoa Joe . . . IT'S NOT OVER YET!

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Holy shit, the boring show last night made up for it with the one I'm watching right now. I'm at this match with DJ Peterson and this goof called Rick McCord (Ricky Morton rednecked and geeked out to the max) against "The Tokyo Bullets", extra duty for a couple of jobbers they already had there. Everything about this match from start to finish was hilarious, DJ Peterson, at this time, sounds like a drunk redneck himself, and then during the match they show another masked guy in the crowd. Wow....

 

The out of nowhere "revival" of the AWA Lightweight Title to just put over Johnnie Stewart (and if I recall, they make up a story where he won it in some tournament in another country) is pretty funny shit too.

 

Oh, and the Lumberjacks doing, damn near verbatim, the same exact off the wall promo about the Flapjack name for Norton, only this time it was at ringside instead of behind the high quality northwoods bluescreen shot, and Norton once again no sells the new gimmick, great stuff. 298 eh?

 

But yeah, Lee Marshall was really on a roll on some of these shows.....and people think Schiavonie was a shill on Nitro?!! Shit, Lee Marshall oversold damn near everything on these shows like he was having a gun stuck in his back the whole time, especially the "excitement" of the Team Challenge Series updates, which the recap on this show was great.....Koloff v. random jobber in a TCS match, apparently this guy (Mike George) was Baron Von Raschke's team "timekeeper." You know its getting bad when the actual jobbers are put over on TV as special!!

 

I thought Marshall was going to have a stroke when he thought Del Wilkes beat Zbsysko, whom, speaking of which, definately throws off a few incoherant ramblings on these shows, behind the shittiest hokey looking "LarryLand" art in the background.

 

Oh and fuckin Brad Rheingans is seriously one of the most uncharasmatic and uninteresting workers I recall thinking back when I was younger watching and going to this shit. My thoughts havent changed much, 18 years later! One of my least favorite Minnesota bred wrestlers, that's for sure.

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He does tend to be a bit off the wall but I dig it.

 

Lee Marshall is in rare form tonight during this Larry Z/Rheighans match:

"The Living Legend sold out Shea Stadium! Andre and Hogan were in the undercard!!!"

"You can take your steriods and your facepaint and talking like a geek but this is wrestling!!!"

 

Do any of these feuds have closure w/o a wrestler going to the WWF? Every time a heel escapes w/ his title, the face moans and groans like Samoa Joe . . . IT'S NOT OVER YET!

 

Hell no, the AWA would hardly even start long term programs in the first place around this time (that was, in particular, what the Team Challenge Series was for, I think), so it was actually kind of a mute point. Way back in the mid 80s, programs definately finished up properly in most cases, though.

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