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AWA Championship Wrestling 01-24-1988

Taped from Las Vegas, NV

Airdate: January 24, 1988 (taped 12/27)

Attendance: 2,000

Hosted by Larry Nelson, Ron Trongard, & Ray “The Crippler” Stevens

Can the Midnight Rockers regain the coveted World tag team titles? Or will Dangerously intervene to help the Midnight Express retain? Who in the blue hell is Billy Jack Strong, and what happens when he runs into someone named Stone? Pick yourself up and let’s enjoy!

POINT OF ORDER: Unlike the previous AWA tapings, this one was retrieved from Peacock; thus, there will be no screen captures for the foreseeable future. My apologies.

Opening montage.

Match 1: “Mr. Magnificent” Kevin Kelly & “Slick” Nick Kiniski (w/ Madusa Miceli) versus Van Van Horne & Jake “The Milkman” Milliman


Rating: DUD

Summary: Showcase match for the bleach blonds listed #3 in the tag team rankings. Who’s better than these guys?

Oh, wait. In actuality, the teams ahead of them square off in the main event.

Match 2: Billy Jack Strong versus Tom “Rocky” Stone


Rating: ½*

Summary: Showcase match for Strong as Stone probably can’t remember his zip code after this match. To say the least, Strong needs a lot more seasoning.

PRO WRESTLING ILLUSTRATED PRESS CONFERENCE: Bill Apter interviews “Chief” Wahoo McDaniel who touts his ability in strap matches. No offense, dude, but that’s not saying much. Nevertheless, when discussing Dangerously, McDaniel describes the manager’s intellect and job function in detail somewhat enthusiastically. Apparently, McDaniel is training Strong, so McDaniel’s got his work cut out for him.

Match 3: Soldat Ustinov (w/o Adnan Al-Kaissie) versus Dennis Stamp


Rating: DUD

Summary: Unimpressive showcase match for Ustinov.

Match 4 for the AWA World tag team titles: Original Midnight Express (champions w/ Paul E. Dangerously) versus the Midnight Rockers


Rating: ****

Summary: Tremendous victory for the Midnight Rockers as they cement themselves as the faces of the promotion.

For those curious about what and where the AWA was doing:

  1. 01/02 (Tokyo, Japan): Curt Hennig retained the AWA title against Tiger Mask II by being counted out of the ring.
  2. 01/03 (Tokyo, Japan): Curt Hennig retained again with a double countout against John Tenta.
  3. 01/04 (Memphis, TN): The Midnight Rockers defeated Scott Hall and Ken Wayne by DQ.
  4. 01/05 (Choshi, Japan): Curt Hennig retained again by beating Toshiaki Kawada.
  5. 01/11 (Memphis, TN): Scott Hall and Ken Wayne defeated the Midnight Rockers by DQ. Also, the Power Twins lost to the Bruise Brothers. You may recall them from my UWF reflections.
  6. 01/18 (Memphis, TN): Curt Hennig defeated Jerry “The King” Lawler in a title versus ring match. In a no-DQ match, the Midnight Rockers beat Scott Hall and Ken Wayne to settle that mini-feud.
  7. 02/04 (Minneapolis, MN): In a cage match, Greg Gagne defeated Curt Hennig to become World champion. Two things: this was the final AWA card at the Minneapolis Auditorium, and the belt was returned to Hennig.

Conclusion: The main event is a major must-see if you’ve not already done so. A bit more high-flying or team synchronicity could have made the match *****. In addition, despite being quite a hoss, Strong almost turned Stone’s brain into mush. Ustinov looked as inept as a fork at a soup convention, and Madusa’s men made mincemeat out of their enhancement talent. Get all this!

TV Rating: NONE

Stay tuned for AWA on ESPN 02-13-88!

Comments? Suggestions? Send them to me at rsg@rockstargary.com and follow me on Twitter (@rockstargary202).

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