World Class Championship Wrestling - February 18, 1984
by Erick Von Erich
As we get into 1984 with the World Class episodes, we've reached a very significant era of the company's history. Namely, in the last episode from February 11 (which I will get around to, soon), Bill Mercer concluded the show with a very solemn segment that announced the news of David Von Erich's death while touring Japan. In the host wraparound bumpers, Michael Hayes also had some heartfelt comments about David's passing.
I obviously wasn't there, but by all accounts I've read, it seemed that David was well-liked by his fans, friends, family and co-workers. There have always been rumors and stories about what made David die. Mixing painkillers with alcohol? Internal organ ailment? Overdose? A combination of a few of those elements, mixed with fatigue and travel to Japan? The only story that's been ruled out is that David did not die after a bad bump in the ring, or right after wrestling a match. Yet in the end, it doesn't matter how it happened. It matters that a young man died at the prime of his life and is suddenly GONE.
We'll see how this affects World Class in the upcoming episodes. While Mercer's segment was added to the last episode, the matches on that episode and this one were both taped before David's departure and death. So while they've officially addressed it, what we're seeing in the ring and in promos is still "pre-DVE-Death". Golly... with so much going on in World Class Championship Wrestling, let's get down to ringside for...
Match 1: Mike Reed vs. The Missing Link (w/Skandar Akbar)
Mercer opened the show by running down the card, which listed George Weingeroff as Link's opponent. As we come back from commercial to this match, Mercer mentions that Larry Higgins was originally scheduled as the opponent. Huh? Ring announcer Marc Lowrance simply mentions that the "original opponent" couldn't make it due to travel complications and in his place we have "the very capable Mike Reed". Gee, THAT'S an encouraging way to be introduced!
The match is a basic Link squash. Link headbutts away and plants Reed with a side backbreaker. Link misses a top-rope headbutt, which allows Reed a brief comeback. That ends soon as Link powers back and scores the 3 count after a charging headbutt off the ropes.
Bill Mercer In-Ring Interview with the Fabulous Freebirds
We're shown clips of a recent Freebirds/Von Erichs 6-man match at the Tarrant County Convention Center. It's Kerry, David and Mike against the 'Birds, as Kevin was mysteriously attacked backstage before the match. Eventually, Kevin came down to the ring, head in bandages, and all HECK broke loose. Back from the flashback as Terry Gordy debukes the fact that they were the ones who attacked Kevin. Michael Hayes backs it up with: "you people blame us for everything. You blame us when you don't get paid. Blame us when your wife has a headache at night!" Then we get a clip from the Sportatroium where the Birds beat up VEs and Mike cleared the ring with a cowboy boot. Hayes: "what you can't hear is that David Manning told us if we didn't leave the ring, we'd be suspended". Great heel double-speak. Hayes concludes the interiew as he says to Mercer: "I like your jacket. Keep wearing it another 10 years and it might come back in style". Nice heel work as the Von Erich/Freebird feud has been moved to the front burner again.
Match 2: Perro Aguayo vs. Fishman
Yeah, here's a change-of-pace! We saw Fishman back in the sumemr of '83, while Perro is the rather legendary Lucha icon (complete with hairy boots). They brawl to start as Fishman send Aguayo outside. Aguayo returns to deliver a backdrop
and 2 flying shoulder-blocks. They go into the usual bouncy ropes, duck n' dodge back and forth lucha style for a bit.
Fishie chops away and whips Aguayo to the turnbuckles, then follows up with a legdrop. Another criss-cross( JUMP! JUMP!) segment as this time Aguayo hits an armdrag takeover and a monkeyflip. Back up on their feet as they chop away. Mercer suddenly talks about Butch Reed arriving in World Class, soon. Hmm...I honestly don't know if Reed ever shows up. Aguayo psyches himself up by jogging around in circles and lands two big charging boots. Fishie responds with a bearhug, but Aguayo escapes and lands a suplex for 2. Fishman is right back with a charging drop-kick for 2, then a slam and a big splash off the top rope for another deuce. Aguayo recovers for a senton off the ropes, then hooks an airplane spin and another senton to score the 3 count. Good for lucha stuff and the fans seemed to be into it.
Match 3: Mike Von Erich vs. Buddy Roberts
Before the bell can ring, Mike charges the ring and is all over Roberts like ugly on Terry Gordy. Roberts suckers him into the corner, gets a lowblow and thumps him to the turnbuckles. More brawling, ending with a Roberts snapmare. Mike goes into his SIGNATURE MOVE: the standing side headlock! This point is emphasized, frequently, in this match. Yes, Mike can apply a standing side head-lock... can we please move on? Roberts get in the sneaky heel tactics by jabbing the eyes and throat, then dragging Mike's forehead across the top rope. Mike manages a sleeper and gets Roberts' arm to drop twice before the rope break. Mike then wheelbarrows him out of the corner. Roberts takes over with his running bulldog for 2, then shoulder-blocks Mike off the apron to the floor. Roberts misses a follow-up kneedrop to the floor and sells it like mad. Mike brings him back in from the arpon with a flying head-scissors, then whips him to the ropes but puts his head down. We're about 5 minutes in and Mike looks VERY winded and lethargic. Roberts with a back-breaker and a rope-walking forearm shot. Roberts goes for his bulldog again, but gets shoved off right into the opposite corner. Mike quickly rolls him up from behind for the 3 count pin. Afterwards, Roberts shoves referee David Manning about an unfair count... and Manning shoves him right back!
Match 3: NWA Wold Heavyweight Championship:
A guy in overalls helps Flair through the crowd. Yup... we're in Texas. Flair gets the mic and tries hitting on Sunshine a bit. They start off with some fast mat-based grappling, including a hammerlock struggle and trading waistlocks. Adams works it up to an armbar, grabs the leg and forces Flair to the corner. Flair suckers Adams in with a kneelift and applies a front facelock, rolling it into a small package. Adams reverses it as they trade 2 counts. Adams gets a standing side headlock, which Flair can't escape. He tries ot lift Adams up for an atomic drop, but Adams keeps the hold and rolls through to take it to the mat.
Ric Flair (c) vs. "Gentleman" Chris Adams (w/Sunshine)
Slam frmo Adams meets some Flair chops. Adams knocks Flair down with a forearm shot off the ropes. Whip and a backdrop from Adams as Flair does his trademark begging schtick in the corner. Flair sneaks in a kneelift and tosses Adams outside. Admas gets stuck on the apron as Flair pounds him across the mush. Adams sunset-flips his way back in for a 2 count. Backslide gets another 2, followed up by a suplex and backdrop from Adams for another 2. Flair works in a side back-breaker and they're back to the mat for the "inverted waistlock/bridge-up" sequence. They fight evenly for a bit until Flair gets a atomic drop on Adams' knee. Out of nowhere, Adams hits him with the SUPER-KICK! But both guys are exhausted and no cover is made.
Final sequence has some criss-cross action, as Flair tries a backdrop. Adams lands cleanly on his feet and blasts Flair with another SUPER-KICK. 1...2... Flair's foot is on the ropes! Up to their as Flair whips Adams to the corner. Adams climbs to the top and deliver a flying cross-bodypress... but Flair uses the momentum to roll him over and steal the pin. Pretty good match, as Flair went on the offensive for a little bit. One thing I've noticed about Flair is that most of his moves seemed to be defensive, so it was cool to see both guys at an equal plane. Flair did his usual great job of selling to make Adams look like a million bucks, but Adams did the same as Flair came off looking like a credible champ.
Why'd You Tape This?:
Solid episode, with the only stinker being the Link squash. But hey, Link's still fairly new to World Class and needs to squash some more guys. Mike Von Erich has improved slightly, but he still looks rather green in there. He'd be okay as a tag partner, so exposing him in these singles matches is probably a bad idea.
I'm curious if the next episode will be shown on WWE Classics. Pundits tell me that the next one was a tribute to David Von Erich. This reason is probably why Kevin Von Erich has been absent from the host segments with Hayes, recently. It's been almost 30 years, but a family death of any kind is never a enjoyable thing to revisit. Yes, the Von Erichs were notorious partiers back in the day. They were still just young kids, having the time of their lives. Wild times are even better when your own brother's involved. He suddenly disappears from the equation and suddenly everything seems fragile.
Boom-da-da-da-boom, da-da-da-boom, da-da-da-boom
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