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AWE Night of Legends
by Erick Von Erich
It's Awesome Wrestling Entertainment, or simply "AWE" to those-in-the-know and in love with acronyms. That may sound like a goofy name, but is it really any sillier than "World Wrestling Entertainment" or "Total Non-Stop Action"? This is one-night only PPV, re-ditributed as a DVD, then re-re-distributed via Netflix Instant Queue. Recorded sometime in 2011, from somewhere in Waynesboro, Virgina and you're welcome for those details. Our hosts are "Dirty" Dutch Mantell, Larry Zbyszko and Chris Cruise. Cruise, of course, being of "WCW PRO" fame, where he helped to tell us all about clubbering. Dutch sounds like a mellower Honky Tonk Man and Larry's his usual self. Cruise seems like he had just been picked to call matches about 30 minutes before the show, as he uses the word "great" to describe everything way too often. But with so much going on in Awesome Wrestling Entertainment, let's get down to ringside for..
Tommy Dreamer vs. Terry Funk (No Disqualification Match)
The announcers inform us that this match was initially scheduled in 1999 and that these two have never met in the ring. For further hyperbole, it was originally scheduled for later in the card, but due to SUCH anticipation, both Dreamer and Funk demanded to the promoter that it lead-off. Dreamer, ever a company guy, comes out in an AWE t-shirt. Funk gets the house mic and is instantly greeted with "what" chants from the crowd. After telling them to shut up, he mentions that his doctor did NOT give him the okay to wrestle, but because he loves Dreamer and the fans of Virginia, he's here! Just as he pats Dreamer on the back, he brains him with the mic and the brawl is on. They quickly go outside, where Dreamer tosses a fan's drink at Funk. Funk counters with the Atomic Crotch-Drop on the railing. Molded plastic chairs get playfuly tossed back and forth, then into the ring. Back inside, as Funk delivers a series of rolling head-butts, then kicks Dreamer to the floor. Dreamer takes a slurp of another fan's soda, then spits it at Funk, a la the Great Muta. Y'know... I certainly hope the beverage was Sierra Mist; that'd be so appropriate. I'd even settle for some Surge. Dreamer takes a VERY choreographed dived into another railing. After more slow brawling and a visit with the ring steps, they make it back inside, where Dreamer tries to set up the drop toe-hold onto the chair. Funk reverses and Dreamer takes the fall. Funk then cinches in the spinning toe-hold for about 30 seconds. Dreamer grabs a chair and smacks Funk to break. Another chair-shot, then Dreamer hooks a small package to get the pin. Wha?! The fans and announcers are confused, but it's announced as a pinfall win for Dreamer. Larry says that this was a "great example of the human game of chess". Yes, beating someone with a plastic chair is very much akin to chess. I get that that line is Larry's catchphrase, but egads! Crowd is absolutely silent, which Cruise tries to play off as "being stunned at what just happened". Sure, Dreamer and Funk have not aged well, but for a show-opening garbage brawl, there needed to be some creative spots and a better ending. We're not off to a good start, as I think even Chad Hermansen could've done a better job of leading-off.
Jamin Olivencia vs. Sonjay Dutt
We get pre-match promos from each guy, conducted by Chris Graham (a tubby cardboard guy) and Bill Apter. Bill Apter?! Golly, I sure hope he brought Matt Brock and Liz Hunter along! The promos are incredibly generic, just "I am good and will beat you" stuff. Apparently, this is a rematch and there's been previous AWE programming. Sweet Lord! Olivencia comes out in a custom football jersey and demands to be introduced as "the biggest player in the game". I guess Olivencia's charcter is that he's cocky and likes to say his own name. That's it. They start with a lock-up, going into a mat sequence by trading waistlocks and headlocks, to the delight of those named Gagne. Olivencia hops up to say his name, again, but Dutt kips up, slaps him, drop-kicks, then performs an awkward hurracanrana to send Olivencia out of the ring. I say "awkward", because Olivencia had to lift himself up and over the rope. Olivencia sneaks back in with a buncha' punches, kicks and a chinlock. Really? He gets a vertical suplex, then stops to posture again. Dutt flips out of a backdrop attempt and does the hurracanrana, again. They hit it better, this time, as Olivencia goes out over the middle rope. Dutt then hops up on the turnbuckle to hit a moonsault to the floor. Would've been cool, but Dutt stops to posture, as well. Back inside, Dutt gets a t-bone suplex and a springboard splash off the ropes to get 2. Dutt catches him in the corner with a double-kick from a teeter-totter move, then a guillotine legdrop on the second rope. Olivencia drops Dutt on his head with a release belly-to-back suplex. Dutt gets to his feet, waits for Olivencia to turn around and super-kicks him. Both guys are then down on the mat... why? I get that Olivencia just got kicked, but why would Dutt suddenly collapse after delivering ONE super-kick? Ref counts to 9 as they make it to their feet and start brawling with forearm shots. The ref gets bumped, allowing Olivencia to kick Dutt in the nards, then deliver his "O-Lock" finisher... which the camera misses. That gets the 3 count for Olivencia. No replays of the finish are shown, but it looked like the "O-Lock" was a mid-section leg-scissors with a forearm shot. Maybe? Ehh, this match was nothing special and just two guys hoping to get more exposure.
We get a quick flashback to the Contract Signing between Kevin Nash and Ricky Morton. Morton has heat with Nash and says: "you wanna' know why? Go to the Internet and dial in...err, type in: 'Ricky Morton hates Kevin Nash' to see why". Huh? Sure, you could probably search for "Erick Von Erich hates Raven", but nobody's booking a match between the two of us. I'm a little disappointed that Morton didn't say "Internets", though.
Perry Saturn vs. C.W. Anderson
The commentators and wrestlers both talk about how Saturn's been homeless and addicted to drugs since he disappeared back in 2002. Rick Garrison, the president of AWE, is at ringside because: "Saturn's had 3 screws inserted into his vertebrae. I'm here to see if they've come loose". Umm, I don't think that'd be visible through the man's skin, Rick. Saturn's looking just a little pudgy and lost some definition, but overall he looks all right. He's almost acting like a modern version of Bugsy McGraw, with his overall goofy demeanor as he's introduced. He's also added some new ink, including a racing stripe atop his dome and one of those Mike Tyson facial tattoos on his right cheek. Saturn controls the early-going with a front facelock takeover for 2, a shoulderblock, t-bone suplex, then a sloppy flying leg scissors to knock Anderson out to ringside. Saturn dives through the ropes after him, but Anderson swats him in the head with a chair. Saturn blades; or he may have actually been cut by the chair; then Anderson rolls him back in and works the left shoulder. Back outside, Anderson keeps working the shoulder against the ring-post. Into the ring, where Saturn reverses a whip and connects with a flying reverse neckbreaker. Anderson with a series of thumps, a super-kick and his spinebuster for 2. Cruise mentions to Larry: "shades of your old partner", to which Larry replies: "yeah, but when Arn did it, they stayed down"! Saturn works in a ricochet clothesline. Saturn is sent to the ropes and pins Anderson with a sunset flip. Whoa... haven't seen that
pin anybody in about 30 years. Saturn looked a little gassed after the first few minutes, but you can't expect him to be the guy who opened ECW's Barely Legal '97, ever again.
"Hacksaw" Jim Duggan vs. Mohammad Akbar
Akbar's a cruiserweight billed from "Persia" and I'm disappointed that there's no mention of lineage with General Skandar Akbar. Mohammed comes to the ring to tell us three reasons why we should hate him. First, he's ripped and tanned (isn't that two things). Second, he has a buncha' money from the oil business and third... Hacksaw then interrupts on the video screen, saying that Akbar's insulting the flag of the USA. Wha?! I thought Akbar was talking about his tan and his bank account. Sheesh. I imagine Hacksaw could walk into the local 5-star Indian restaurant and suddenly have a problem because it's not his idea of "America". "What's this tan-dorky chicken stuff?! U-S-A! U-S-A!" Sorry, but F*CK you, Hacksaw. Yeah, I know it's WRESTLING, but I'm sick of this constant xenophobic bullcrap from your character's mouth and how anything you disagree with is "insulting the USA! U-S-A! U-S-A!" Worse, is how fans instantly take to him. This is not to say Akbar's anything great, either, but let's at least try
to make some sense and don't start shouting "U-S-A" at anything. The match is very generic. In fact, it's just like any Hacksaw match you've seen. Backdrop, brawling, bad guy tries a chin-lock, Hacksaw shoves him to the corner and hits the 3-point stance clothesline for the pin. In that regard, Hacksaw hasn't lost a step, as his in-ring abilities are nearly identical to what they were in... well, let's say 1996 to be safe.
Dave "Fit" Finlay vs. Alex Silva (w/Tammy Sytch)
One thing I liked about WWE circa 2005 to 2011 was that Finlay got over. Surprisingly, Tammy isn't in the pre-match interview to talk about herself. In the ring, Silva introduces her, then she puts him over as the "future of wrestling". Can't tell if Silva's just unfocused, or working some sort of "crazy" gimmick, because he keeps sticking his tongue out and hollering. Finlay dominates the first half of the match with his mat-based holds. He starts with an armbar and a knuckle-lock to quickly take Silva to the ground. Silva reaches the ropes and bails for a bit, but comes right back into a shoulder-block and series of kicks from Finlay. Silva finally hooks a head-scissors, while Larry and Dutch talk about how one uppercut could eliminate his tongue-waggling habit. Cruise, meanwhile, keeps going on and on about how Silva is the future of wrestling, because he's only 20. I think we get it, Cruiser. Silva takes it to a vertical base by working ...something to the neck. Finlay quickly counters with a nice arm-drag and takes Silva back to the mat with a facelock. Finaly methodically works him over and drops a knee for 2. Silva hooks the ropes to break another reverse chin-lock, then wanders into an uppercut, clothesline and slam from Finlay for 2. Irish whip (I guess it really is
"Irish" since Finlay's involved) to the corner, but Finlay blows his left knee out trying to climb the turnbuckle. Finlay writhes around on the mat, while the ref keeps Silva away. Tammy gets a SLAP and a CHOKE in for the hell of it. Finaly rolls out to ringside, ref in tow, and it looks like the match might be stopped. Silva gets the house mic and calls Finaly a coward, which of course springs Finlay back to life. Silva's all punchy/kicky on the injured knee and works in some leglock variations, along with a half-crab and an anklelock. Finlay gets in a few shots, then ducks outside. Silva follows, but Finlay counters by catching him in the ring apron for a beatdown. Silva drags him back in and keeps targetting the knee until Finlay smacks him in the mush and butt-drops him for 2. Forward-roll slam gets another 2 from Finlay. He tries another forward-roll after catching Silva on the top turnbuckle, but Tammy reaches in to "trip". Finaly goes after Tammy, which allows Silva to roll him up from behind to get the 3 count. Match was all Finlay trying to carry somebody, but Silva did absolutely nothing aside from punchy/kicky and a few holds. At least have him blindside Finlay with Whatever His Finisher Is and not a cheesy roll-up. For someone they're trying to push as "the future of wrestling", he looked terrible. Silva made Danny Spivey in 1986 look like a seasoned pro. Match went way too long, as well. Darn near 20 minutes.
Special Attraction: Short Sleeve Sampson vs. Abo Shongo
Production mix-up, as the ring announcer announces Shongo as Sampson makes his way down. Once again the house mic is grabbed as Sampson does a little freestyle rap, a la John Cena 2004. He concludes by saying: "It's Midget Tiiiiiime"! The crowd actually seems to like his routine. Shongo's a 5' 7" cruiserweight dude with a voodoo gimmick, billed from "Parts Unknown". Cruise, however, tells us that he's from Cameroon. Dutch begins doubting that and wonders if Shongo is actually from Kansas City. Larry drown-dresses him further by saying his name "sounds like a breed of dog". Shongo attacks right away, but throws Sampson to the ropes where he rebounds. Sampson bounces around the ring and applies the Mid-Rope Crotch Hold. Seated drop-kick from Sampson gets 2. Cruise says: "that might've been the move of the night"... I'm hard-pressed to argue. Two schoolboy roll-ups get a pair of 2 counts for Sampson. Shongo gets a fist to the dome to take over, plants him with a slam and drops a leg to the external occipital protuberance for 2. Shongo tries a dragon sleeper, then a horiztonal slam, but pulls Sampson up at 2. Sampson bounces the ropes, leaps under Shongo and lifts him into a face-first electric chair drop. Shongo misses a (mildy) super-kick. Samspon with an airplane spin, face buster , then sets up for "inch worm" routine. Oh boy. Shongo rolls out to avoid that potentially devastating chop. Sampson follows up with a charging headbutt to the outside! Shongo tries to mess with his voodoo powder, in the ring, but it backfires. Sampson with a facebuster, then -- after about 90 seconds-- flies off the top turnbuckle with a splash to score the 3 count. Whatever... basically a squash for Sampson.
We get two video flashbacks. First, Kevin Nash smacks Ricky Morton with a chair. In the second, Morton and Robert Gibson, in full Rock n' Roll Express gear are beating the tar out of some dude named Marvin Ward, when ...the Midnight Express makes the save?! Yup, there's Bobby Eaton and Dennis Condrey. Guess what, they don't look like they did in 1985. For whatever reason, the Express then beats the tar out of Ward, as well, joining forces with the Rock n' Roll Express. It's finally broken up when Diamond Dallas Page makes the save. The announcers routinely said "Marvin Ward", but too bad didn't tell us who the hell he is, or what his role is. I'm guessing he's the AWE's "comissioner" or some nonsense. Don't make me Google you, Marvin Ward.
Kevin Nash & Mystery Partner vs. The Rock n' Roll Express
Kevin Nash's pre-match promo tries to go for a "shoot" angle, but he quotes the movie "The Champ" along with Clubber Lang in "Rocky III". The "mystery opponent" is revealed to be "Diamond" Dallas Page
, as we get a reunion of former WCW Tag Team Champions, the Insiders. Page slaps a headlock on Gibson, then quickly tags in Nash. Mild face-off, but we get a cut-in from Marvin Ward on the house mic. Ward tells Page and Morton to "take the night off" as it's now been reduced to a no-disqualification 1-on-1 match between Nash and Morton. As a bonus, we even get a new special referee: Ronnie Garvin
Match resumes as Nash just beats away on Morton. Knee-lifts into the corner and side suplex slam from Nash scores 2. Nash follows up with his "snake-eyes" move into the corner, twice, as Morton blades. Brief visit outside the ring, where Morton kisses the ring-steps. Elbow-drop from Nash gets 2. Morton's all wobbly, but manages to fight back with some forerarm shots. Morton goes all punchy/kicky to knock Nash down. Choke-slam from Nash, but that only gets 2. Once again, it's house mic time, as Nash decides to have a discussion with Morton. Nash asks just what Morton's problem with him is. Morton calls him an a**hole and says that he's just in it for the money; not for the "love of the business" that Morton has. Nash says that he's not in it for the money and that they don't have a problem, then suckers Morton in for a jackknife power-bomb. Nash gets the mic again and says "you're damn right it's about the money". He insults the crowd by saying that he's not suffering in this economy...and walks out. Garvin awards the match to Morton by count-out.
Well, that was...confusing. A garbage re-booked match and the special referee had absolutely no effect on things. I was completely confused on who the face was. In the flashbacks, Morton acted like a jerk by beating up the worthless Marvin Ward. Nash didn't seem like a straight-and-narrow good guy, either. So I guess the story of the match was to prove who was a bigger prick? I don't think I've sat through such an underwhelming "main event" since an episode of Thunder in 1999.
Why'd You Watch This?
They tried to present AWE as an on-going promotion, but it looks like they haven't done anything since this show. Either they've changed names, re-branded themselves or sold off their assets. Currently, as of this writing in August 2013, there is an "Awesome Wrestling Entertainment" page on The Facebook, but it looks like they just shill this DVD and promote autograph signings. Heck, just having meet-n-greet autograph sessions with past "Legends" sure beats seeing them in the ring in an event like this. I mean, I'd go to see "Mean" Joe Greene at an autograph signing, but no way would I want to see him try to play a few downs in the modern NFL.
Anyways, about this show. Yes, this is bullcrap. To dig into my (thankfully) short-lived turd rating system, it's 5 turds and 2 side helpings of apathy. The apathy being the Saturn and Dutt matches. Yet, this is about par-for-the-course for these types of shows. Is this worse than any other North American start-up or indy promotion? Can't say that it is. Dig up some old talent to get the publicity, then sprinkle in the younger and lesser-known guys. Having "Hacksaw" Jim Duggan on the marquee will sell more tickets than having Sonjay Dutt up there.
Just a lackluster show, top-to-bottom. My curiousity led me to check this out, but it was quite a chore to sit through this and I hope to never see any part of it again.
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