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AWA Battle By The Bay

Live from Oakland, CA

Airdate: June 28, 1986

Attendance: 1,500

Hosted by Larry Nelson, Rod Trongard, Lord James Blears, & Greg Gagne

Can Blackwell achieve greatness by defeating Hansen? Will Devine retain against Sherri? What will Bockwinkel do against Nord the Barbarian? How will the Midnight Rockers and Hennig fare in the main event? Let’s uncover the mystery right now!

Opening montage.

Nelson stands with Blears and AWA President Stanley Blackburn outside the Kaiser Convention Center to hype tonight’s card. As Blackburn promotes the AWA as he has been president for 27 years, he stumbles over who’s currently in the promotion. Next, he declines the use of instant replay by stating “if the referee doesn’t see it, he can only call what he sees.” The Oakland faithful rightfully boos him.

Commercials air including your favorite--delicious Budweiser.

Match 1: Earthquake Ferris versus Ali Khan (w/ Sheik Adnan Al-Kaissie)


Rating: *

Summary: Showcase match for the hometown kid as the Oakland faithful went nucking futs for him.

After the match, Khan demolishes Ferris and makes him HIT THE POLE. Afterward, all tremors in the Bay Area subsided at least until 1989.

Promo airs for roller derby followed by grueling AWA action on Tuesday nights beginning at 8pm.

At ringside, Nelson interviews Ray “The Crippler” Stevens and former San Francisco 49er Leo Nomellini who tout the Bay area for its wrestling tradition and proud fans. If not for the cost of the rent, I’d bet this show would have emanated from the Cow Palace.

Match 2 for the AWA Women’s title: Candi Devine (champion) versus Sherri Martel (w/ “Playboy” Buddy Rose)


Rating: *½

Summary: A distracted finish costs Devine the title. Smell the excitement!

At ringside, Nelson interviews Donna Gagne who gossips about Sherri possibly heading to Hollywood.

More commercials including YOUR favorite--Bud Light.

Catch the AWA on tour!

  1. 6/29 in Denver, CO (Rose/Somers versus the Midnight Rockers)
  2. 7/5 in Las Vegas, NV (ESPN TV Taping)
  3. 7/11 in Arlington Heights, IL (Bockwinkel versus DeBeers)
  4. 7/12 in Milwaukee, WI (Snuka versus Zbyszko)
  5. 7/13 in St. Paul, MN (Rose/Somers versus the Midnight Rockers)
  6. 7/18 in Appleton, WI (Hennig/Hall versus Rose/Somers)
  7. 7/19 in Chicago, IL (Bockwinkel versus Nord the Barbarian)

At ringside, Nelson interviews Frank Biner and Mick Gillette. For those curious, Gillette was the founder of the Tower of Power.

Commercials including a trailer for Big Trouble in Little China.

Match 3: Jimmy “Superfly” Snuka versus Jay York


Rating: *

Summary: Despite the resemblance of workrate, York’s style didn’t translate well in the 80s; nonetheless, Snuka’s high-flying saved this match from the garbage heap.

In the ring, Nelson mistakenly refers to Snuka’s homeland as Samoa, yet Snuka touts his tag team partner Greg Gagne. Also, he wants a shot at Hansen.

At ringside, Nelson interviews Bockwinkel who doesn’t hide the fact that he’s older than most wrestlers. Nevertheless, he’s ready to encounter Nord the Barbarian.

Match 4: Nick Bockwinkel versus Nord the Barbarian (w/ Sheik Adnan Al-Kaissie & Boris Zhukov)


Rating: **

Summary: Bockwinkel used a lot of psychology to keep Barbarian at bay, but shenanigans by the Sheik allowed Barbarian to steal a huge victory.

At ringside, Nelson interviews some local musicians.

IN THIS CORNER: Nelson and Zbyszko interview Greg Gagne who argues with Zbyszko about who’s the better wrestler. We then revisit the 12/03/85 episode when Zbyszko went 5150 on Greg to the glorious tunes of Van Halen’s “Jump.” We return to ringside, and Zbyszko defends having Ninja Go at his side. After all, it pays to have a golfing buddy.

Match 5 for the AWA World title: Stan “The Lariat” Hansen (champion) versus Jerry Blackwell


Rating: **

Summary: A bloody brawl that resembled two men fighting over either women or money.

In the ring, Nelson interviews Hansen who challenges Bockwinkel for tomorrow night.

AWA tour plug #2 airs.

At ringside, Nelson interviews Jim Gabbert from San Francisco’s KEMO-TV while some knuckleheads hold up a large BEER sign. Who’s thirsty?

Match 6: AWA World tag team champions “Playboy” Buddy Rose & “Pretty Boy” Doug Somers & Alexis Smirnoff (w/ Sherri Martel) versus Curt Hennig & the Midnight Rockers


Rating: ****

Summary: Exhilarating and intoxicating tag match where each wrestler played his part to perfection. Bravo, gentlemen!

After the match, Hennig and Jannetty whip Smirnoff into a Michaels dropkick, and the babyfaces celebrate their victory. During the replay of the pinfall, Michaels presents the Oakland faithful some more excitement with a plancha atop Rose.

In the ring, Nelson interviews Hennig and the Midnight Rockers. While Michaels holds up a sign jeering Rose, Hennig displays a fierce attitude and Jannetty’s ready to win the tag titles tomorrow night. Michaels struggles but gets his point across to finish the interview.

Before the show ends, Nelson introduces Frank Biner and the Soul Patrol. The Midnight Rockers join them onstage to jam.

In other matches: Colonel DeBeers defeated Brad Rheingans while Zbyszko and LeDoux battled to a no contest.

Conclusion: AWA’s attempt at a live show did not disappoint. The main event showed the up-and-coming youth of the promotion, and matches such as the men’s and women’s World title bouts offered a little bit of everything.

BREAKING NEWS: Remember that show in Denver? Nick Bockwinkel was awarded the AWA World title because Stan Hansen refused to relinquish the belt. In fact, when he ultimately returned the belt to Verne, the long-standing rumor of his running over the belt with his pickup truck was subtly confirmed in a shoot interview. While Hansen appreciated being champion, he stated that the AWA didn’t promote him well with solid opponents to draw money. Therefore, you just witnessed the last AWA match for Hansen. Ultimately, he’d end up in WCW who wasn’t stupid enough to put their World title on him.

TV Rating: NONE

Stay tuned for AWA 07-15-86!

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

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