Friday, August 17, 2012

AWA Rewind Part 1

The italicized notes are the back story of each match courtesy of the resident AWA expert at DVDVR, khawk20. Show results are from Mike Rodgers.

Lord Alfred Hayes v. Bobby Heenan-January 13, 1980, St. Paul, MN

Hayes was the Manager of Super Destroyer Mark II for a few years in the AWA, notably feuding with Billy Robinson. A few weeks after SD II lost a TV match against the unheralded-in-the-AWA Dino Bravo (and being forced to unmask due to the loss), he came to the ring for a squash and took the mic and fired Hayes. He then introduced his new manager…Bobby Heenan. This set the Hayes-Heenan feud in motion, which included this singles match and several tag matches.

This was the battle of the managers as the face, Hayes, fought Heenan. Hayes started on Heenan by using Heenan's arm to take him down in a pretty fancy manner by rolling on the ground out of a wrist lock. Then, Hayes ripped at Heenan's nose and smashed him in the buckle a couple times. 

Hayes and the ref were talking as Heenan reached for a foreign object but he tried hiding it. Bobby was thrown outside and Hayes smashed him face first into a chair. They both got back in and Heenan gouged Hayes' eyes with his object and he went to work on the prone Hayes. Weasel chants began and Hayes soon gouged Bobby's eyes and he was on top. Hayes was sent into the corner and he put a boot up to an incoming Bobby and then, he scooped him up and won with his feet on the ropes. Afterwards, Bobby slapped him and hit him with a chair that sent the ref down too.

Here's the rest of the card from the show...

Nick Bockwinkle beat Crusher, Jesse Ventura & Adrian Adonis beat Dino Bravo & Greg Gagne, Al Hayes beat Bobby Heenan, Steve Olsonoski drew Super Destroyer Mark 2, Super Destroyer III beat Buck Zumhoff, Jerry Blackwell beat Ron Ritchie.

Greg Gange v. Super Destroyer Mark II-May 1, 1980

The Gagnes had a continuing feud with the Heenan family and this was an extension of that feud, with SD II being managed by Bobby Heenan at the time.

This was joined in progress as Mark II was working on Gagne's left arm. He slammed him onto his arm and put him in an arm bar. 

Gagne was in peril the entire match with some explosive hope spots until he finally made a big comeback and the crowd loved it. Bobby Heenan was managing Mark II and Gagne had hit a knee in the corner that sent Destroyer outside and Heenan demanded a DQ. In the AWA, one can't throw his opponent outside over the top rope. Mark II regained control and hit a big backbreaker but later he was sent into the corner and nearly flipped out. Heenan pulled him out completely and demanded another DQ. Both guys collided and Gagne was sent out and Super Destroyer wouldn't let him back in as he kept pounding on him. Eventually, Gagne smartened up and didn't bother to get back in until he had his wits about him. He grabbed Destroyer's legs and smashed one into the post. Here was Gagne's comeback and Destroyer ended up outside and Gagne wouldn't let him back in. He even did a double noggin knocker with Heenan involved. Super Destroyer was begging off in the ring and Gagne missed a splash in the corner. 

Destroyer was on him with big moves including a tombstone but Gagne kept kicking out. Super Destroyer Mark III came down to the ring and distracted Mark II. Gagne then hit a dropkick and got the win and the place went crazy. Heenan and Mark II tried attacking Gagne until Mark III made the save. Lots of heat for Gagne and this was a pretty decent match.

Mark III
Mark II

Verne Gagne v. Nick Bockwinel w/Bobby Heenan-July 18, 1980, Chicago, IL-AWA Championship

After two years of chasing Verne, Bockwinkel finally won the title in November of 1975 due to interference by Bobby Duncum and some questionable refereeing from Paul Perschmann (aka Playboy Buddy Rose). Heenan and Bockwinkel had avoided Gagne as much as possible (there is a notable title match between the two from 2/10/79 in Chicago that is available on one of the Japan Classics discs) until this Chicago match, held outdoors at Comiskey Park.

Bockwinkel had been champ for around five years since beating Verne in 1975. This match was clipped and started off with Verne controlling things as Bock couldn't get anything going at all. Verne stretched him with a standing surfboard with his knee in Bockwinkel's back. Bock bailed a couple times and finally it worked to his advantage as he grabbed Verne's leg and smashed it into a post a couple times. 

Nick worked on the leg for a little bit and Verne tried to slam him but he collapsed under Bockwinkel's weight. Verne eventually got back up and got control and hit him with a big right hand. He had a lot of momentum but they both collided mid-ring and Bockwinkel hit a piledriver. He tried a second but Verne reversed it and ended up hitting his sleeper hold and the ref called for the bell. Verne won the AWA belt as a bunch of wrestlers came out to help him celebrate. Not a terrible match but it might not be for everyone.

The rest of the card...

Verne Gagne beat Nick Bockwinkle to win AWA title, Jerry Blackwell beat Dick The Bruiser, Greg Gagne beat Bobby Heenan COR, Crusher & Mad Dog Vachon beat Jerry Valiant & Adrian Adonis, Bobo Brazil beat Super Destroyer Mark II, Steve Regal beat Roger
Kirby, Paul Christy drew Tito Santana, Pat O'Conner DCOR Wilbur Snyder.

I hope you all enjoyed part 1, I've got a lot more planned as I go through the last ten years of the AWA and all the best matches.  I'd like to thank goodhelmet for putting together a great set like this.  I still will be working on WWF Primetime 1988 and I'm thinking of starting WCW Saturday Night 2000 soon.  Remember to follow me on Twitter @stevesgraps and my contact email is

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