AWF Warriors of Wrestling: Episodes 17 and 18
by Scrooge McSuck
- I guess I should say I feel bad for my outbursts to end the 16th episode, having been subjected to one too many examples of inconsistantly bad programming. Since we're down to the final couple of episodes, I'm just going to lump them both together in one final recap, so I can get this ordeal over with. This week begins the matches for the first round of the Tag Team Championship Tournament. I made fun of it enough in the last couple of shows, so we'll just go with it and kick things off, with...
The Renegades vs. Steve Storm & Jon Paul:
Hey Jon Paul, how's George Ringo? I never get tired of that joke. Anyway, we find out the Renegades are, yep, Warlord and Gaylord. Even though they've already bee aknowledged as that team. I guess you can say that them submitting their names twice for a shot to be in the tournament is a clever idea, except, you know, for the fact they were called the Renegades during a squash match 3 or 4 shows ago. Gaylord and Paul start. Lockup, and Gaylord grabs a headlock. Paul counters, but a shoulder tackle sends him tumbling to the canvas. Jim Powers and Johnny Gunn are standing by in Warriors Corner, while Gaylord plays to the crowd. Paul uses the opprotunity to roll Gaylord up for a two count. That's what happens when you aren't paying attention. Warlord tags in, catches a body press attempt, and casually slams Paul to the canvas. Paul rolls away from an elbow drop, but doesn't do anything to follow up on it. Lockup into the corner, and Paul hammers on Warlord after avoiding a cheap shot. Whip to the corner is reversed, and Warlord follows in with a clothesline. Warlord with a swank drifting back suplex as the round comes to a close.
Round 2: Warriors Corner with Sir Oliver Humperdink, hyping the Hangmen. Warlord pounds away on Storm to start, and takes him over with a gutwrench suplex. Gaylord to the top with a double axehandle. Gaylord with sledges across the back of the head, followed by a back elbow for two. Storm mounts a mild comeback and eats a clothesline for his efforts. Warlord tags back in and comes off the ropes with a diving shoulder tackle. Gaylord sets Storm up on Warlord's shoulders, and he plants Storm with a Super-Powerslam. Gaylord with a flying elbow drop, and it's over at 2:45. Warlord, in short-spurts had some good high impact offense, but wow, Gaylord's elbow drop might've been the worst I've seen from someone that had been in wrestling for nearly a decade at this point.
- Chris E. is with AWF Champion Tito Santana and Sgt. Slaughter, both no doubt disappointed by not being included in the Tag Team Tournament.
Johnny Gunn & Jim Powers vs. The Texas Hangmen (w/ Oliver Humperdink):
Opening Round Match of the Tag Title Tournament. The Hangmen have been an "established" team since the early weeks of AWF, but the team of Gunn and Powers have actuaslly been developed well, if not a little bit puzzling at times, hinting at Powers being jealous of Gunn, but then dropping that aspect of the team. Gunn gets mugged by jailbait, again... you know how I would book things? Have Gunn so pre-occupied by this, that Powers gets squashed in about 30-seconds, and then you build Powers vs. Gunn. It doesn't have to be right away, but it's an idea. Powers and Killer start. Lockup, and Powers with a headlock, followed by a shoulder tackle. Killer with a knee to the midsection, followed by clubbing blows. Whip to the ropes, and a criss-cross ends with Powers taking Killer over with a hip toss. Powers with slams to both men, and a pair of clotheslines clears the ring. They try to get it together, but Gunn greets them with a tope'. Back inside, Killer pounds away on Powers. Whip to the corner, Killer misses a charge, and Powers works the arm. Gunn tags in to continue the punishment. Gunn fails a roll up, but a body press connects for two. Psycho distracts Fonzie from making another count. Whip to the ropes, and Gunn with a diving elbow for two. Killer rakes the eyes and tags out, but the round comes to an end with Gunn having Psycho trapped in an armbar.
Round 2: Gunn goes for a waistlock, but Psycho escapes with an elbow. Whip to the corner, Gunn avoids a charge, and tags out to Powers. Whip to the ropes, fist to the midsection, and a knee lift for two. Powers continues to work the arm and a double elbow gets two. Whip to the ropes, and Killer grabs Powers from the apron, finally allowing the Hangmen to take control of the action. Killer with a back suplex for a two count. He pounds away and slaps on a seated chinlock. Elbow drop for a two count. Psycho with a sledge from the second turnbuckle, followed by choking. Killer with a running powerslam, but that only gets two. Round 2 ends, with Powers still taking a beating.
Round 3: FINAL ROUND! Killer misses a charge, but Powers' stompin' isn't enough to take control. Killer with a boot to the face, followed by a clothesline for two. Psycho with a slam, followed by an elbow drop for a two count. Psycho takes a cheap shot at Gunn, just for the sake of him being Johnny Gunn. Heel miscommunication sees Psycho clothesline Killer. Gunn gets the hot tag and connects with a double clothesline. Whip to the ropes and a dropkick to Psycho, and then one for Killer. Gunn with a double-underhook powerbomb on Psycho for two. Everyone brawls, and the Hangmen send Pretty Boys into each other. Slam to Powers, but Psycho walks into the Power Blaster, and Gunn and Powers are headed towards the next round at 2:35 of Round 3. Surprisingly decent little match. I liked that Gunn and Powers finisher can come out of nowhere, instead of waiting for the obvious finishing spot.
Blacktop Bully vs. Chris Nelson:
Woah, woah, woah... what is Barry Darsow doing at an AWF taping? This must've been very shortly after his release from WCW, considering he's still working his last gimmick (at the time). Guess what... same generic "EVIL" music. Bully tackles Nelson at the bell and wraps his arm around the bottom rope. Then he uses the top rope. Bully with a drop toe hold and more clubberin' blows. HE'S GONNA KICK YER STINKIN' TEETH IN! Sorry, channeled the wrong Darsow gimmick. Snapmare, and Bully continues to work the arm. winning the match by submission with a hammerlock at 1:17. Way to earn that paycheck.
- Ken Resnick is with Shiek General Adnan Alkaholic, along with Mr. Hughes and Hercules. They're in the Tag Tournament, and face the team of THE RENEGADES in their first round match.
The Executioner vs. Derrick Lambert:
Another debut, and it's just another masked scrub, I'm guessing. Giving someone a mask and calling them "Executioner" or "Destroyer" makes them sound more marketable than John Smith or Big Hungry Joe. He'll team with Nails in the opening round of the Tag Team Tournament. Lockup, and Lambert quickly grabs a hammerlock. They fight over that until Executioner catches him on the side of the head with an elbow. Whip to the ropes, and Executioner counters a body press with a powerslam. He sends the scrub from corner to corner, and connects with a backsuplex. He signals for the end, and a LAZY single leg crab wins it at 1:14 of Round 1. Wow, that makes Blacktop Bully's armbar look like an impressive submission hold.
- Chris E. is with Koko and Atlas. They're due up next.
Koko B. Ware & "Mr. USA" Tony Atlas vs. The Super Destroyers:
Another opening round contest for the Tag Team Championships. I smell squash. Destroyers attack before the bell, dumping Koko out and working Atlas over in the corner. Shiek Adnan Alkahassie, Fidel Sierra, and Ron Powers are standing by in Warriors Corner. Destroyer #2 continues to dominate with the classic hold of choking. Destroyer #1 with a jawbreaker, and Destroyer #2 with more choking. Atlas counters a piledriver, and Koko tags in to clean house. Whip to the ropes, and Koko with a back body drop. Atlas with a press slam, followed by the Simba Splash for the three count at 2:16. Well, that was quick. I'm sure this was taped without the intention of being a tournament match, otherwise, I feel jipped.
- Ken Resnick is with Chris Adams and Konan 2000 to hype more matches in the Tournament. End of Episode #17 (really #18, which will be explained in just a few seconds).
EPISODE #18: THE FINAL FIGHT
- It's time for the conclussion of the opening round of the AWF Tag Team Championship Tournament. For the last time, we've got Mick Karch and Terry Taylor calling all the action. With so much time and so little to do, lets throw it to ringside for the first match of the telecast...
"Gentleman" Chris Adams & Konan 2000 vs. The Samoan Swat Team:
I wonder if Scott Putski continued working in wrestling past the turn of the decade. Remember, this version of the SST is Samu and the Samoan Savage (a.k.a Tama). Adams and Samu start. Lockup, and Samu shoves Adams back. Adams with a standing side headlock, followed by a shoulder block. Adams manages to hit a crescent kick, but Samu no-sells blows to the head, and lays Adams out with a headbutt. Konan and the Savage go at it now, working a test-of-strength. Konan controls until Savage goes to the midsection. The SST with a double headbutt. Samu continues to pound away on Konan as the first round comes to a close. We get a Warriors Corner from Jeff Gaylord, one half of the Renegades.
Round 2: Konan and the Savage lockup, with Konan grabbing a headlock. Whip to the ropes, and Konan with a shoulder block. My God, they've used that spot at least four times already in this match. DO SOMETHING ELSE! Konan connects with a clothesline, knocking the Savage into the ropes. Adams tags in and quickly ges worked over after crotching himself in the ropes. Savage pounds away for a bit. Double clothesline from the SST. Samu tags in, and a headbutt gets two. Samu with a sloppy powerbomb, followed by a leg drop and headbutt. Tama tags back in, and misses something, allowing Konan to get the hot tag. He tries to give the SST a double noggin-knocker, but you know the rest. Everyone gets into the action until heel miscommunication leads to the Samoan Savage to be knocked to the floor. Adams with a Super-Kick on Samu, and Konan finishes with a splash from the top rope for the three count at 2:40 of Round 2. OK at times, but there was definitely a major styles clash, here.
"Cowboy" Bob Orton Jr. (w/ Sir Oliver Humperdink) vs. T-Rex:
Orton is still on hot pursuit for a title shot against Tito Santana, but hasn't bothered to meet him face to face about it... whatever. Lockup into the corner, and Orton offers a cheap shot. Orton with a waistlock, and Rex counters it into the ropes. Orton pounds away with rights, and we get a Warriors Corner from The Sheiks Army. I love when people cut promos during matches they have nothing to do with. Orton comes off the ropes with a knee drop, followed by a boot to the face. Whip to the corner, and Orton with a series of knees to the midsection. T-Rex offers some token offense, but Orton kills the momentum with a running dropkick. Orton finishes things off quickly with the piledriver at 2:43. Afterwards, Terry Taylor stops Orton for a quick word, putting down Santana once again.
Sgt. Slaughter vs. The Terrorist:
You got to love when the jobber is someone with a threatening masked man name, like the Shadow, or the Blackmailer. Terrorist... how did someone get into the arena with that name? Slaughter sucks up to the fans at ringside by handing out miniature American flags. Lockup, and Slaughter grabs a side headlock. He turns it into an armbar, then back to the headlock. Slaughter with a knee lift, followed by the stomach buster. Slaughter puts the boots to the Terrorist, because Terrorists are EVIL! The scrub gets his token offense of jobber-ness in before Slaughter takes him down with a crummy looking clothesline. Slaughter with the Cobra Clutch, and the Terrorist is finished at 2:50 of Round 1. We're almost at the finish line...
- Chris E. is standing by with Koko B. Ware and Tony Atlas. They have words for the Sheik's Army, consisting of Fidel Sierra and Ron Powers. I'm guessing they'll be meeting in the next round of the Tag Team Tournament?
Mr. Hughes & Hercules (w/ Sheik Adnan Alkahassie) vs. The Warlord & Jeff Gaylord:
Why book a heel vs. heel match? I can't imagine this being anything other than total garbage. Hercules, Hughes, and Warlord, IN THE SAME MATCH?! I'm not saying Gaylord is good, either, but my God, the others are in a world of their own in terms of being awful. Hughes and Gaylord start, but not before we get a boat-load of stalling first. Lockup, and no one gets the advantage. Lockup again, with the same result. Gaylord takes Hughes down with a drop toe hold and grabs a side headlock.Warriors Corner from Rico Suave, who's team of Valentine and Rich got a Bye, and face the winners of this match. Gaylord and Hughes trade shoulder blocks, and now it's the Warlord's turn to drag things down, slowly pounding away on Hughes. Warlord with a wristlock, but Hughes escapes with a rake of the eyes as the round comes to a close.
Round 2: Hughes and Warlord stalemate on a lockup, so Hercules tags in. They do the double shoulder block spot (ugh). Warlord comes off the ropes with a clothesline, then pounds away with axehandles. Hercules fights back with rights and grabs an armbar. Warriors Corner with Nails and the Executioner. Hughes tags back in and continues to work the arm. Warlord offers a comeback before allowing Hughes more offense. He finally remembers he's the Warlord, so he starts no-selling and catches Hughes off the ropes with a hip toss. Gaylord tags in, and walks into an eye rake. Hughes with a headbutt, and Hercules with clubberin' blows. Gaylord comes back with a spinning heel kick on Hercules as the round ends.
Round 3: FINAL ROUND! Hercules has an armbar applied on Gaylord. Hughes tags in, and connects with a dropkick for a two count. Everyone brawls in the ring for a while, forcing the referee to call for the bell, calling it a Double Disquaqlification at 1:46 of Round 3. They keep brawling after the match, because that's what egomaniacal heels do? What a putrid pile of garbage... stalling, bad wrestling, slow brawling... one of the worst matches I've ever seen from this promotion. This means Valentine and Rich get a Bye all the way through the Semi-Finals.
- We hype next weeks episode of Warriors of Wrestling, the Tag Team Tournament continues with Koko B. Ware and Tony Atlas facing Fidel Sierra and Ron Powers, as well as Chris Adams and Konan 2000 taking on the team of Nails and the Executioner. That's not all! AWF World Champion Tito Santana will also be in action. Chris E. is standing by with a promo from the Champion as the broadcast comes to a close...
Final, Final Thoughts: Unfortunately, next week never happend. While I'm not an expert on the promotion, and extensive searching for information lead to very little, the best I could find is that this was the last episode of the original run of tapings from 1994/95. This fact leaves me to believe my original theory that they took random matches, made brackets out of them", and called it a real tournament. There's no edvidence available of their taping results, and after spending way too much time looking, I found... nothing. I guess Valentine and Rich won the titles in a finals with Atlas and Koko on an episode that aired in 1996! Considering all the information available online for a lot of promotions, including extensive results for UWF tapings from 1991-94, I'm surprised nobody has much on the AWF.
So, with these episodes out of the way, the AWF disappeared for a while, coming back to television the following year, with a slightly different look to the ring and set up, and with some new talent, including the likes of The Road Warriors, Honkytonk Man, Steve Doll, and the One Man Gang, as well as LORD ALFRED HAYES calling the action in place of Terry Taylor, and Missy Hyatt replacing Chris E. for interviews. Oh, and we finally did get a match between Tony Atlas and Nails. Again, online searches found almost nothing of these episodes, so don't expect any recaps from the "lost" episodes.
There wasn't a whole lot of development going on that seemed to lead to anything, except for the tag team of Johnny Gunn and Jim Powers. It wasn't golden, but did have potential for something down the line. If there was a common goal for everything (tour dates or a PPV), you could've figured out a card looking something like Santana/Orton, Adams/Casey, Slaughter/Sierra, Atlas/Nails, possibly a tag match between Valentine/Rich and Gunn/Powers, and round out the rest with the semi-deep roster they carried.
To sum everything up, the shows weren't spectacular, but there was effort put into building everyone for possible storylines and programs, and doing it from the ground up isn't nearly as easy as fantasy bookers like to think. However, the wrestling quality was barely average when it wasn't all squashes, sometimes the editing didn't make a whole lot of sense, and there could've been more effort in feature matches, when there's no clear point if and when there would be a chance to feature a supercard. Obviously, talking about it now, they needed a much better and consistant time slot than late-night saturday, never being set on a certain hour for a consistant length of time. I can't say I recommend tracking this set down, but I won't say you shouldn't either. It's an example of being a curious mind, and if you want to then pick it up. It's dirt cheap.
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