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WCCW- January 15, 1983
by erick von erich

Originally airing on January 15, 1983, it's another installment of World Class Championship Wrestling, courtesy of WWE 24/7. Of note this month is that Michael Hayes is solo in the 24/7 "intro studio", sans Kevin Von Erich. The actual show fires up with Bill Mercer announcing tonight's card, which will be hevay on the Freebird involvement. This was the first Sportarium card since the Freebirds big heel turn at the "Wrestling Star Wars" show. But with so much going on in World Class, let's get down to ringside for...

A Very Special Rinsgide Interview with Michael Hayes and Buddy Roberts
Roberts is making his first World Class appearance and Mercer introduces him as "the newest Freebird". Roberts goes off on Mercer, saying how that's incorrect and he's been around forever. Hayes cuts a promo at the Von Erichs, saying the Freebirds are "here to play and here to stay".

Match 1: Brian Adias vs. Buddy Roberts
Roberts starts with two side headlock takedowns, which Adias counters with the illest leg scissors. Adias tries a hammerlock, but Roberts kicks him to the ropes and monekyflips him. Adias lands on his feet and performs his Special Move: the dropkick. Twice. Roberts is sent out of the ring and begins bitching at the crowd. Roberts returns to work an armbar and it's time for "Go, Brian, Go!" Adias with a sunset flip out of the corner for the desparation 2 count. Roberts hits the post and things are evened up with a brawl. Roberts performs a swinging neckbreaker for 2 and follows up with a side backbreaker for another 2. Ring announcer Marc Lowrance alerts the crowd that the time limit is expiring soon...so thanks for telegraphing the ending. Adias gets a another sunset flip for 2, but Roberts kicks out and THEN the time expires. Would've been a better move to signal the time limit as soon as Roberts fell to the canvas. Roberts hops out to argue some more and says "it's just like Penn State!" Penn State had just won the 1982 National Championship by beating Georgia a few weeks earlier... but I'm not sure how that applies to a 10 minute time limit draw against Brian Adias.

A Very Special Interview at the Freebirds Home
Bill Mercer is in the Freebirds rec room. All 3 are playing pool and are apparently shitty shots. I think I have a grainy copy of the original footage somewhere, but while the video is excellent here, the audio is awful. In the original, Lynyrd Skynyrd's "Freebird" was played in the background, but due to licensing restrictions, WWE 24/7 dubs over the background music with generic "country rock" music. It's cranked up too high and it's tough to listen to the interview. The gist is that the 'Birds give no real answer to why they slammed the door on Kerry Von Erich and walked out on the NWA Championship Match. Terry Gordy says that he was there to guard the gate and since Kerry had pushed Hayes out and was coming out of the ring, he did his job by closing the door. All 3 'Birds say that they're in "my house" and order Mercer to take off.

Match 2: Al Madril vs. Michael Hayes
The crowd is fired up for this one, boo'ing everything Hayes does and creaming their pants whenever Madril punches him. They walk around sizing each other up...and Madril gives Hayes the big Thumbs Down!! Ooo --them's fightin' words in 1983!! Of course, if this had been 1996 or later, Madril would've given him the finger. Mardil punches for most of the bout and Hayes sells like crazy. In fact, Hayes's antics are VERY similar to any Honky Tonk Man match from 1987. Right down to backing into the corner on his kness and saying "nooooo". Hayes manages a reverse chinlock and the crowd is into it with an instant "Go Al, Go" chant. Madril fights him off and hits a flying shoulderblock for 2. Hayes comes back with a piledriver, goes for the cover, but pulls him up! Hayes wants to do more damage and begins stomping away. This cues a run-in from.... Jose Lothario?! Lothario makes the save, allowing Hayes to win by disqualification. Afterwards, Lothario is at ringside to challenge Hayes. Obviously, it looks like a little mini or "warm-up feud" for Hayes.

A Very Special Interview with Referee David Manning
Manning is backstage in his swanky jacket to explain the rules of tonight's main event: a $5,000 6-man match. You can be eliminated by pinfall, submission or being thrown over the top. Basically, a battle royal immediately condensed down to the only guys with a real chance of winning, so it saves us 15 minutes of jobbers hugging each other. Originally it was 5 men, but when Terry Gordy was announced as a participant, Kerry Von Erich demanded to be included. The segment is concluded when Andre the Giant walks in to chat with Mercer and Manning.

Match 3: 5,000 6-Man Free-For-All
Kerry Von Erich vs. Terry Gordy vs. Bugsy McGraw vs. King Kong Bundy vs. "Wild" Bill Irwin vs. Andre the Giant

This was typical of Andre back in the day: he'd travel around as the special atrraction, appearing in the main event or battle royal. It was always a "Special Occassion" whenever you'd get the big guy in your town and the fans would always pop for him. Before the introductions are finished, Kerry starts pummelling away on Gordy. Michael Hayes is at ringside to second Gordy, and the duo succeeds in eliminating Kerry after about 20 seconds. It takes awhile to separate them, but as soon as Gordy re-enters the ring, Andre atacks him and cranks in a nerve hold. Andre clamps down on Gordy for the rest of the match, while everyone else tries to break the hold. Bundy tosses McGraw, then teams up with his tag partner, Irwin, to break Andre's grip. Bundy comes off the second turnbuckle with a double axehandle, but Andre simply headbutts him then goes back to Gordy. Irwin tries the same. Andre finally gets annoyed and tosses Irwin and Bundy into each other. All 3 try to team-up on Andre, but Gordy acidentally nails Bundy. Bundy tries slamming Andre to no avail. Mercer mentions "only Harley Race has slammed Andre" (sorta' true.. although ALOT of guys did it in the 70's and early 80's). All 3 beat away on Andre and it's time for "Go Andre, Go"! Andre places a big boot in Irwin's grill, then atomic drops him over the top. He flings Gordy over, but Hayes is there to save him and toss him under the bottom rope. Andre is pissed, hops over the top rope and goes after hayes, eliminating himself. Down to Bundy and Gordy, now. Bundy slams Gordy for a 2 count, then misses an avalanche into the corner. Gordy hits a quick dropkick to send Bundy over the top and it's the first big Freebird Main Event Win!

Bill Mercer wraps things up at the soundstage, where he's joined by Brian Adias and Kerry Von Erich. Adias is due to face Gordy next week, but since Hayes will be in Gordy's corner, Kerry has managed to secure a manager's licensand will be in Adias's corner. The DRUMS hit and that's all the time we have this week!

Why'd You Tape This??
Good stuff, as it's essentially "Freebird Superstars of Wrestling". Just as it was WCCW vs. Ric Flair, it now seems to be WCCW vs. the Freebirds. Almost overnight, they're the most hated heels in the promotion, garnering heckles that even King Kong Bundy couldn't get. The matches aren't anything spectacular, but the angle development and the crowd is great. The Main Event is basic old-school stuff, but definitely has that "special occassion" feel, mostly due to Andre's presence. Even though he didn't win, he was booked very well. He kept going after Gordy, which signalled to the fans that Gordy was a legitimate threat. If Andre the Frickin' Giant paints a target on your back, that's no small feat.

The WWE 24/7 studio wrap-up has Hayes joined by his special guest: Buddy Roberts. Hayes really pumps up Roberts and justifiably so, since he's often the overlooked member of the 'Birds. But Roberts appears with one of those vocal chord buttons on his neck and looks n' sounds awful. It's not the mechanical voice box like the cowboy on the tobacco commerical or Johnny from "Mad Max", but it's tough to listen to him on-screen.

But it's not all Freebirds from here on out. There's still the official debut of Bundy's Devastation, Inc. and the dissolution of H&H Enterprises. All sorts of cool combinations will be popping up soon.

Boom-da-da-da-boom, da-da-da-boom, da-da-da-boom

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