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AWA WrestleRock ‘86

Live from the Metrodome in Minneapolis, MN

Airdate: April 20, 1986

Attendance: 23,000

Hosted by Larry Nelson, Rod Trongard, & Ken Resnick

Can the Road Warriors get revenge against the Freebirds? Will Bockwinkel regain the World title? How will Snuka and Greg fare against Brody and Barbarian? What’s going on with the Midnight Rockers? Let’s dig in and find out!

In addition to this meaty and delicious card, here’s the promotional video performed in the same style as the Super Bowl Shuffle by the Chicago Bears. While it wasn’t great, it was a good vehicle to promote the show. Unfortunately, it didn’t get the same love as the Super Bowl Shuffle.

Resnick interviews Rheingans who cuts a promo on Zhukov.

Prior to the opening match, Rheingans grabs the Soviet flag from Zhukov and blows his nose with it. All-American snot, RSG-ites! If the USSR wants a Cold War, Minnesota’s pretty damn cold in April.

Match 1: Brad Rheingans versus Boris Zhukov (w/ Sheik Adnan Al-Kaissie)


Rating: **

Summary: Solid opener as each wrestler used psychology, yet Rheingans scored the victory with a fluid power move.

After the match, Zhukov nails Rheingans, and Al-Kaissie joins in for some double-teaming. Zhukov headbutts Rheingans out of the ring to regain his heat.

Match 2: Little Tokyo & Lord Littlebrook versus Cowboy Lang & Little Mr. T


Rating: *

Summary: Comedy match for the kiddies.

Prior to the next match, ring announcer Gary Michael Cappetta recognizes Chuck Lilligren as the special guest ring announcer.

Match 3: “Chief” Wahoo McDaniel versus Colonel DeBeers


Rating: DUD

Summary: Waste of time.

After the match, DeBeers and McDaniel brawl at ringside, and McDaniel makes him HIT THE POLE. The brawl continues until McDaniel chops down DeBeers.

Prior to the next match, Nelson interviews Somers and Rose along with Sherri. Rose believes the Midnight Rockers are “steppingstones” to the World tag team titles. Methinks the “Doughboy” has been watching too many Monkees reruns.

The next match wasn’t on my recording, yet I added it as a special gift just for you, RSG-ites!

Cappetta announces Randy Schaefer as the next special guest ring announcer. If that’s not an invitation to grab a beer, I don’t know what is. Cheers!

Match 4: “Playboy” Buddy Rose & “Pretty Boy” Doug Somers (w/ Sherri Martel) versus the Midnight Rockers


Rating: ****

Summary: For 1986, this was eye-popping, chocolatey goodness with the high-flying and double maneuvers by the Midnight Rockers. Bravo, gentlemen!

After the match, Michaels slams Rose on the stadium floor while Jannetty shoots Somers over the top rope. This feud must continue.

Nelson interviews Rose and Somers while Sherri disputes any controversy. They’re ready to win the World tag team titles. They would do so on May 17 in Hammond, Indiana thanks to nefariousness by DeBeers against Hall. Please ignore the fact that a title changed on a countout, ok?

Prior to the next match, Resnick interviews Zumhofe who’s not afraid of tigers.

Match 5 (non-title): NWA Junior Heavyweight champion Tiger Mask versus “Rock’n’Roll” Buck Zumhofe


Rating: ***

Summary: Tiger was working Zumhofe’s ground psychological attack which is the opposite of his style. When he switched to some aerial maneuvers, Tiger kicked it into higher gear.

Prior to the next match, Resnick interviews the US Express. Rotunda, looking like he just got his CPA at the school of hard knocks, is ready for the Fabulous Ones. Windham subtly puts down the WWF (“wrestling wrestlers”) and wants to climb the ladder to the World tag team titles. Unfortunately, ladder matches had not been invented yet.

Match 6: The Fabulous Ones versus the US Express


Rating: ****

Summary: Although the story was a bit disjointed, both teams threw everything they had into the match but the kitchen sink. Excellent work, gentlemen!

Match 7: Giant Baba (w/ Hiroshi Wajima) versus “Bulldog” Bob Brown


Rating: DUD

Summary: Popcorn match if there ever was one.

Prior to the next match, Resnick interviews Race who claims to be the best. He makes a very strong argument.

Match 8: Rick Martel versus Harley Race


Rating: ***

Summary: Despite the crappy finish, two mat veterans told a great story with solid workrate and psychology.

After the match, the brawl continues as Race tries to piledrive Martel on the stadium floor. However, Martel counters with a back drop before promoter Wally Carbo sends them back to the dressing room. They know who signs the checks, so they comply.

Match 9 (battle royal):

Participants: Debbie Combs, Candi Devine, Rose Divine, Joyce Grable, Kat LeRoux, Sherri Martel, Despina Montagas, Misty Blue Simmes, Taylor Thomas, & Luna Vachon


Rating: NONE

Summary: Nothing worthwhile as it was another chapter for the ongoing feud for the Women’s title between Devine and Sherri.

After the match, Rose and Somers jump into the ring to celebrate with their manager. Allegedly, she has won $50,000, but that’s purely speculative conjecture. Resnick interviews them in the ring, and Sherri vows to regain the Women’s title. Meanwhile, Sherri tosses the microphone away, so Resnick grabs another one. Rose, once again, requests a shot at the World tag team titles. We get the memo, Doughboy.

Match 10 for the AWA Americas title: Sergeant Slaughter (champion) versus Kamala (w/ Skandor Akbar)


Rating: *

Summary: Slaughter didn’t play to the crowd as much as he should have because his comeback should have encouraged a roar from the Minneapolis faithful.

After the match, Slaughter pulls Akbar into the ring. Before he can lay waste to Akbar, Slaughter intercepts the object from Kamala. Upon getting whipped, Kamala hightails it from the ring as the Minneapolis faithful finally give a shit.

At ringside, Nelson interviews Slaughter who encourages a group of boys to recite the Pledge of Allegiance.

Prior to the next match, Pro Wrestling Report honors Hall with a trophy as “Most Popular Wrestler.” You may recall this magazine from my previous AWA reflections, yet it’s no Pro Wrestling Illustrated to me.

Match 11 for the AWA World tag team titles: Curt Hennig & Scott Hall (champions) versus the Long Riders


Rating: **½

Summary: If only Akbar had managed the Long Riders like he did the Super Destroyers, they may have won the titles. As it was, the tag champs looked solid as Hall’s lack of experience was quietly hidden.

After the match, Scott retrieves his motorcycle boot and CLOBBERS Curt and Hall with it. Nelson interviews the tag champs, and a pained Curt wants a rematch with or without the motorcycle boots. Hall shares Curt’s anger and also wants another shot at the Long Riders.

At ringside, Resnick interviews LeDoux who’s going to rain “a thousand pounds of Idaho potatoes” upon Zbyszko. Pass the sour cream and bacon bits please.

Match 12 (boxing): Larry Zbyszko (w/ Ninja Go) versus Scott LeDoux (w/ Bob Lurtsema)







Rating: NONE

Summary: Zbyszko sold this exhibition well including the “punch” that stunned him. As expected, he cheated, got caught, and lost.

After the match, LeDoux saunters after Zbyszko in the ring but gets hammered from behind by Ninja Go. Larry gets involved and chases Ninja Go within the ring. At the same time, Zbyszko OBLITERATES LeDoux with nunchucks until Larry BELTS him out of the ring.

At ringside, Nelson interviews LeDoux who questions Zbyszko’s moxie albeit in not-so-kind words.

Prior to the next match, Nelson tries to grab an interview from Hansen but gets destroyed instead. Nelson must’ve forgotten to buy Hansen a drink at the bar one time too many.

Match 13 for the AWA World title: Stan “The Lariat” Hansen versus Nick Bockwinkel


Rating: ***

Summary: The hope spots for Bockwinkel cued the Minneapolis faithful into the match, but Hansen found a way to keep his title through iniquitous means.

After the match, they brawl in the ring until a flurry by Bockwinkel sends Hansen scurrying to the stadium floor. Hansen tosses a chair into the ring, but Bockwinkel grabs it. As Hansen holds the belt overhead, Bockwinkel is frustrated for having not achieved his goal.

At ringside, Nelson interviews Bockwinkel who vows to win a rematch.

Match 14 (cage): King Kong Brody & Nord the Barbarian (w/ Sheik Adnan Al-Kaissie) versus “Superfly” Jimmy Snuka & Greg Gagne (w/ Verne Gagne)


Rating: ***

Summary: Feud-ending brawl that got the Minneapolis faithful to its feet.

After the match, the brawl spills outside the cage and amongst the Minneapolis faithful. Verne grabs Al-Kaissie before he can escape and rams him face-first into the cage.

Match 15 (cage): Verne Gagne versus Sheik Adnan Al-Kaissie


Rating: *

Summary: Revenge match for Verne, and the Minneapolis faithful appreciates their host.

After the match, Verne rams Al-Kaissie into the cage again before kicking him out of the cage.

At ringside, Nelson interviews Verne who hangs up the trunks once and for all.

Match 16 (cage): The Road Warriors (w/ “Precious” Paul Ellering) versus Michael Hayes & Jimmy Garvin


Rating: ****

Summary: Exciting cage match that would have been better had Terry Gordy been involved. As it is, these guys went balls to the wall to thrill the Minneapolis faithful. I’d say the Freebirds got their just punishment.

Afterward, Hawk sends Hayes into the cage again and wallops him with the foreign object. The Road Warriors double-team Hayes as Ellering joins them in victory to end the show.

Conclusion: Where’s the butcher because this was a solid show that needed some fat trimmed from it that would have made it even better. Unfortunately, Verne took a bath on this show.

Perhaps having ESPN behind them, they’ll do better next time.

Three **** matches make this show an easy thumbs-up from me but be ready to invest a boatload of time because this show is four and a half hours long.

TV Rating: NONE

Stay tuned for AWA Battle By the Bay!

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

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