In a summed up history briefing, a long time ago, I stumbled across a random wrestling show simply titled "Warriors of Wrestling", that had aired on the MSG Network. The show was held under the promotion of the American Wrestling Federation (AWF for short, from now on), and it seemed to feature a lot of has-beens and never-were's that even WCW or the WWF would hire back. The opening title sequence seems to imply that the most notables of the promotion are Tito Santana, Bob Orton Jr., and surprisingly, Sgt. Slaughter. I say surprisingly because these shows were televised around 1995-96, and I thought Slaughter was working with WWF at the time. Maybe he got permission to work with them or something, I don't know.
What you're about to read is recaps of the episodes of AWF Warriors of Wrestling that have seen the light of day on a 4-disc DVD set released through some cheap-ass company looking to make a quick buck on wrestling fans, yours included. So away we go...
- Hosting the program are the broadcast team of Mick Karch and Terry "Don't Call Me The Red Rooster" Taylor. I guess Taylor isn't the worst choice, but what happened, couldn't the AWF steal away Todd Pettingill from WWF? I should also note, all matches are held under the sometime-used rules of "Rounds", like in european wrestling, boxing, the long-running use in UFC among other mixed martial arts competitive promotions, among others. Interesting way to promote wrestling, but you never know unless you try, right? Each round lasts 4-minutes, by the way.
- 1st Ever AWF Match:
Tito Santana vs. The Ultimate Destroyer:
Squash match time, as the Destroyer is a masked scrub with a singlet and plain white t-shirt on underneath. Santana comes out wearing one of his "El Matador" jackets, and is using generic "mexican" sounding music. Damn racist company. Round 1: Lockup to start, and they go into the corner. Destroyer with a go-behind takedown, but Santana escapes and is back to a standing position. Wristlock applied by Destroyer, followed by a takeover and armbar. Santana counters with a head scissors, but Destroyer is in the ropes. Santana with a go-behind, and Destroyer elbows him to escape. Criss-cross time, and Santana takes Destroyer over with a series of arm drags before applying an armbar. The Destroyer finally escapes, but is sent over the top rope and to the floor with an atomic drop. Apparently there's a "over-the-top rope" rule, but it's not enforced on this situation. LAME! Santana goes back to the arm and I have nothing of interest to say. Scoop slam by the Destroyer, but he misses a splash. Irish whip and a back body drop by Santana, followed by a dropkick as the 1st Round comes to an end. Round 2: Destroyer offers a handshake, but the three fans that care tell him "NOOOO!" Despite non-stop noise, you can clearly see everyone sitting on their hands. Santana with a hip toss, followed by an arm-drag into a armbar. Destroyer fights back to his feet and drops Santana across the top rope. Santana is back in control, though, with a scoop slam and dropkick. Irish whip, and Santana comes off the ropes with the Flying Jalupeno for the three count at 1:20 of Round 2. 1/2* Yes, that was a squash match. We'll be seeing a lot of them, me thinks.
- We go to a big black room with the Interviewing guy, Ken Resnick, who I've last seen doing the same role in the WWF back in the mid 80's, up until around WrestleMania III when he was replaced by Craig DeGeorge. Talk about digging up those old names, eh? Tito Santana comes in, hyping up the AWF. Close your eyes, and he sounds like George Lopez. That's not a compliment, by the way.
- Greg "The Hammer" Valentine (w/ Rico Suave) vs. Billy Joe Eaton:
Here we go with another squash match. Valentine's last moment of "glory" was a brief return to the WWF as a masked Knight at the 1993 Survivor Series, and as himself in the 1994 Royal Rumble Match. No idea who Rico Suave is, just some fat tub with funny hair trying to be all sophisticated and arrogant. Round 1: Right off the bat, the PBP announces Valentine is slow, plodding, and not the most flashy. Well, at least they're honest. Eaton starts off with arm drags and an armbar. Irish whip, and Valentine cleans Eaton's clock with a clothesline, then follows up with a stomach buster. Valentine with knees to the chest, followed by choking. Irish whip, and Valentine puts Eaton down with a back elbow. Inset Promo (Warrior's Corner) with Gentleman Chris Adams, who hypes the AWF and his Debut... NEXT WEEK! In the mean time, Valentine remains in control of the action. Whip to the corner, and Eaton battles back with boots to the belly. Eaton charges, but eats elbow, and Valentine comes off the second turnbuckle with an elbow to the top of the head. Hammer calls for the end, drops an elbow, and applies the Figure-Four for the submission victory at 3:01 of Round 1. 3/4* Better squash match than the last one, but all you've got is still a squash match.
"Mr. USA" Tony Atlas vs. Sonny Rogers:
Wow, Atlas looks like crap here. Not because of his musuclar physique, but because his ring attire consists of dingy sweatpants and a black singlet top. Was this before or after that MTV special talking about how his career has fallen? Sonny Rogers is a recognizable WWF Jobber from this time frame, but he's still a jobber. Round 1: Rogers attacks from behind with clubbering blows and eye rakes. He heads up the ropes and drops Atlas with a double axehandle. Jawbreaker by Rogers, followed by an ear smacking. Irish whp, and a shoulder block works against Rogers. Atlas with a big scoop slam, followed by a choke lift and slam. Giant headbutt by Atlas, forcing Rogers to flee the ring and catch a breather. Back in the ring, and Atlas takes Rogers over with a back body drop. Eye rake and dropkick by Rogers, followed by a series of elbow drops. The canned heat here is off the charts. I'm talking WWF circa 1990-91 syndication territories. Atlas starts no-selling, and whips him to the corner... with authority! Atlas wih a big hip toss, then chucks Rogers across the ring. Atlas appplies a bearhug, but Rogers rakes the eyes once more, as the Round comes to an end. Round 2: Atlas traps Rogers in the corner and tosses him across the ring. Irish whip, and Atlas charges with a clothesline. Inset promo from Johnny Gunn, probably better known as Salvatore Sincere, or as his real name Tom Brandi. He's also making his debut... NEXT WEEK! Atlas sends Rogers to all the turnbuckles, because this match just needs to go longer than it already has. Atlas calls for a press slam, and yes, indeed, he performs a press slam. AStlas comes off the ropes with a splash, and it's over at 1:43 of Round 2. 1/2* Another in a series of them, but giving a jobber that much offense kind of makes up for it... I guess.
- Ken Resnick is back to interview the President of the AWF, Paul Alperstein. He's just a fat, balding guy who has no personality, so why is he eating up the time himself? He's here to enforce the rules! No one is being thrown over the top rope! No one is going to touch the referee! He explains the rounds system, but not really, if you know what I mean.
- Nails vs. Rick Thunder:
Um... how did the AWF get away with this? Nails is Nailz, with the same ring attire, the same look altogether, except the numbers on his prison jumpsuit are worn off to the point they're barely visible anymore. Round 1: Nails with a boot to the chest, then he rams Thunder into the turnbuckle. Irish whip to the corner, and Nails chokes away, thinking Thunder is Vince McMahon and he just got short-changed on his SummerSlam '92 payoff. Toss across the ring and more choking from Nails. Thunder gets tossed out of the ring, and Nails follows to deliver more punishment. Stupid Nails goes to the side of the ring that is tarped off and starts throwing stools and chairs at Hunter. Where's the Disqualification? Oh, there it is. Hunter wins the match by Disqualification at 1:48 of Round 1, as Nails continues nailing him (HA!) with a chair, then chokes him out with some cables at ringside. DUD, but it was a lot more fun than the other matches.
- Ken Resnick is with Sir Oliver Humperdink, and to describe what he looks like would require me taking a lot of mind altering substances. He's got a new tag team for the AWF, Killer and Psycho, the Texas Hangmen. They're masked guys for those that care. They'll be here... NEXT WEEK!
- Sgt. Slaughter vs. Ken McGuire:
Please God, just let me get through this last match and then take a soak in a champagne bath or something. Slaughter hands out a bunch of tiny american flags to fans at ringside, because he's a babyface, and it's the AMERICAN Wrestling Federation. Round 1: Lockup into the corner, and Slaughter gives a clean break. Lockup again, and McGuire gives a cheap shot. Lockup to the corner, and Slaughter returns the favor. Inset Promo from Shiek Adnan Alkahassie... it's General Adnan! Is he going to feud with Sgt. Slaughter? He's got new proteges, and they're going to be seen... NEXT WEEK! Back to the match, and Slaughter puts McGuire down with blows to the midsection, followed by a stomach buster. Irish whip, and Slaughter drops McGuire with a clothesline. Cobra Clutch time, and it's over at 2:27. DUD Another bad squash match.
- Back to Ken Resnick once again, and he brings in the winner of the last match, Sgt. Slaughter. He's got a flag for Resnick. Slaughter hypes the AWF, just like everyone else has.
- Koko B. Ware (w/ Frankie) vs. Bob Bradley:
Is there no end to my torture?! Bradley is another WWF Jobber, best known as Battle Kat, and the guy Tugboat was wrestling when Earthquake sat on his face. Koko seems to be using his WWF music, and has his High Energy tights on. Round 1: Why is the crowd chanting "Whoop, there it is!" at Koko? Bradley attacks, but gets taken over with a hip toss. Irish whip, and Koko connects with a dropkick, followed by a fist drop, sending Bradley out of the ring. Back inside, and Bradley with a series of knees to the midsection, followed by some biting. Bradley remains in control, choking Koko across the top rope, then he goes to a reverse chinlock. Koko escapes with elbows to the midsection, but gets nailed with a clothesline, and Bradley covers for a two count. Bradley goes back to the chinlock. Koko applies a sleeper hold, but Bradley manages to escape as the 1st round comes to a close. Round 2: Bradley jumps Koko at the bell and slams him down, hard. Inset promo from Mr. Hughes. He's got threats for his opponent... NEXT WEEK! Irish whip across the ring, and Koko misses a blind cross body press, allowing Bradley to cover for a two count. Bradley tries for a suplex, but Koko blocks and takes him over with his own. Whip to the corner is reversed, and Koko comes off the top rope with a missile dropkick, but Bradley kicks out at two! Koko connects with the Ghostbuster, and that's enough for the three count at 1:46 of Round 2. * Best match of the night, but that isn't saying much when they're all squash matches.
- Ken Resnick is with Rico Suave and one of his three proteges, Greg Valentine. He's got two more that he won't disclose to us. Valentine cuts a promo about how great the AWF is, and how awesome he is. Weird seeing him in a suit, but I guess that's part of his character.
Final Thoughts: Interesting to say the least. I kind of liked the idea of a Rounds system, even if it doesn't really apply very well to squash matches. Putting on their "top" names in their first week was a good idea, even if those names were guys like Tito Santana, Greg Valentine, and Sgt. Slaughter. Introducing other wrestlers through interviews for the next week got a little annoying, as we've got Chris Adams, Johnny Gunn, the Texas Hangmen, Mr. Hughes, and a protege of Shiek Adnan Alkahassie debuting next week, eliminating any mystery of what's going to be on tap. I'm not going to bother giving this a thumbs up or thumbs down, since it's only episode 1 of the first disc on the set.