WCCW- November 30,1982
by erick von erich
Hey! It's World Class Championship Wrestling from Dallas, Texas! Filmed every week at the Sportatorium, it was like the ECW of its day. These episodes were rarely seen or taped when they first aired, but gained a huge following when they were rerun on ESPN from about 1988 to 1990. In fact, this particular episode was the first I ever saw of WCCW, back in April 1988. I came home early from eighth grade and finally got to see all the stuff I had read about in the pages of "Pro Wrestling Illustrated". It took me awhile to figure out that what I was watching was a re-run.
But thanks to WWE 24/7 and Kevin (Von Erich) Adkisson selling his video library, these things are airing once or twice a month on YOUR cable box. Each episode has a host segment cut with Adkisson and Michael Hayes babbling. Well, Adkisson just kinda' talks while Hayes rambles endlessly, pumps up the Freebirds and provides nothing of substance. Example: in this particular episode, he runs down Brian Adidas and announcer Bill Mercer, saying of the latter: "you suck". Gee, with THAT kind of introduction, I CAN'T WAIT to see this show!!
The actual show begins with the old World Class "drum music". If you've ever seen their shows, you know what I'm talking about ("boom-da-da-da-boom, da-da-da-boom, da-da-da-boom"). Bill Mercer and Jay Saldi are the hosts. Saldi was a Dallas Cowboys tight end, who was either injured or on strike in 1982. As a color man, he's quite awful, with poor timing and a grumbly voice. I think he was brought in to give WCCW a "celebrity" rub, since I don't remember hearing him on the later episodes. Mercer introduces a clip of a recent interview with the Spoiler (Don Jardine), who has recently returned to WCCW, but with so much going on in World Class, let's get down to ringside for...
Match 1: Spoiler vs. Humberto Ernesto
Or maybe it's "Ernesto Humberto"? Either way, the old saying is "never trust a guy with two first names". Match is joined in progress, with Spoiler dropping some elbows on Ernesto. Hmm, I'll safely say that we didn't miss much in the opening minutes of this match. Spoiler goes for the pin, put pulls him up at 2. Spoiler drags Ernesto to the corner, lays his neck on the top rope, then lands a guillotine legdrop from the turnbuckle. Saldi, being the master of relevancy, suddenly makes a reference to BlackJack Mulligan's claw hold. Ernesto makes a brief comeback with two reverse flying elbows, then the Missed Knee into the Corner! Spoiler finishes him off with two flying forearms and a standing elbow drop off the top rope for the pin.
Match 2: "Special Exhibition": Little KoKo vs. Hillbilly Pete
Midgets! Errr, excuse me: little fuckers! Don't worry, this will be a short match. KoKo's kinda' like the Haiti Kid, while Pete looks like a minature version of Charlie King. Koko flips Pete into the ring through the middle rope. KoKo with an irish-whip and jumping "butt-butt". Pete with a flying shoulderblock and a 2 count. KoKo breaks the pin by pressing Pete onto referee David Manning. Both guys go after Manning for a bit for interferring. Boring midget brawl until KoKo gets a backdrop, slam and a 2 ct. Pete whips KoKo to the corner, where he climbs up to the second turnbuckle, twists and connects with a flying headbutt. Badly. Well, this match never really lived up to its high expectations, but I hear that they were running short on time.
Bill Mercer and the Von Erichs go Duck Hunting
At around 2 in the afternoon. Fritz and Kerry Von Erich drop off Mercer and Kevin in a duck blind, which means Kevin must've drawn the short straw. Kevin talks a little bit about wrestling and how this is such a spiffy relaxation technique. Kevin says: "I get off on natural things. Not disco dancing or any of that sort of thing". The segment ends with all four guys walking off with ducks. I hear Fritz ate his duck, raw.
Match 3: Al Madril vs. Great Kabuki (w/Armand Hussein)
Hussein was partnered with fellow manager Gary Hart as "H & H Enterprises". They provided most of the generic EVIL heels for World Class, until about 1983 or so. Hart was fairly well-known and probably travelled outside the territory, but Hussein is largely forgotten by today's fans. Black guy, and I think he was supposed to be Haitian or from the West Indies. He also uses his WHISTLE quite often, annoying fans over a decade before Bill Alfonso would. Kabuki is billed as the "All-Asian Champion"-- one of those fictional titles, like Gorilla Monsoon's "All-Asiatic" title. During the introductions, Kabuki spews green mist on his hands! Remember: green blinds, but red mist burns. Kabuki goes for a wristlock, but Madril counters into one of his own. Madril with a quick shoulderblock off the ropes, then a deep armdrag to work the arm. While working the arm, Madril hooks Kabuki's neck with his knee. They trade jabs and bitchslaps in the center of the ring, until Kabuki hits a reverse thurst kick. Nerve hold time, as Kabuki clamps down on Madril's neck. Kabuki tries kicking again, but Madril catches the leg. Kabuki counters with an enseguiri, then goes back to the nerve clamp. Mardil gets another shoulderblock, then sends Kabuki out of the ring with a flying dropkick. Mardil hops over to the apron, then hits a flying crossbody splash onto Kabuki and the floor. Wooo! Fans dig that! They roll back in, where Madril tries to attack the turnbuckle with his knee. Kabuki quickly grapevines Madril's injured knee and fals forward with his "kneebreaker" leg hold. Pretty cool hold and it looks like it'd actualy hurt: Kabuki basically sandwiches a guy's shins with both of his legs and falls forward. Mardil rolls around in pain, and to the floor, allowing Kabuki to win by countout.
Match 4: Kerry Von Erich & Brian Adidas vs. Magic Dragon & Checkmate (w/Armand Hussein)
Pre-taped generic interview from Adidas & Von Erich. Adidas was Kerry's high school buddy and football teammate who became the Von Erich's Second Banana for most of the 80's. From what I hear, Adidas walked through concert doors and roamed all over coliseum floors. And he did the illest things. This match is Kerry's big return from an injury, so he makes sure to stop and smooch some skanks on the way to the ring. Checkmate is Les Thornton in mask and Magic Dragon was a masked buddy of Kabuki's. He's billed as 1/2 of the "All-Asian Tag Champs" with Kabuki. I imagine the list of contenders for an "All-Asian" division out of a Texas wrestlng promotion wasn't too long.
But before the match begins, something significant happens! More significant than a midget match, at least. King Kong Bundy, a former member of H&H who had been fed up with his contract haggling and working as an independent "free agent", comes to the ring and announces that he's forming his own corporation: "Devastation, Inc". Important, because Devastation would go on to become WCCW's big heel stable for the remainder of the company's life. Even today, Gen. Skandar Ackbar will appear on independent cards as the head cheese of Devastation, Inc.
After Bundy departs, the match begins with Kerry and Checkmate circling each other. They trade headlocks and Kerry gets a reverse takedown from underneath Checkmate. Kerry with a head-scissors on Checkmate, who counters with a reverse toe hold. Checkmate quickly floats over and gets 2. Magic Dragon comes in for some chopping and an attempted snapmare. Kerry counters the attempt, flips over Dragon's shoulder and gets a roll-up off the ropes for 2. Tag to Adidas as they work Dragon's arm. Dragon tries to slam Adidas, but he rolls through and maintains the armbar. Dragon escapes and does a backflip into a reverse thrust kick. Adidas manages the armbar again, then tag Kerry in. Kerry punches away and catapults Dragon into a sloppy forearm shot from Adidas. Dragon gets a cheap shot to the tummy and follows up with flying/spinning headbutt. Kerry fights back and all 4 guys enter the ring. Adidas backdrops Checkmate and hits him with a flying dropkick. Magic Dragon makes the save as referee Bronco Lubich tries to sort things out. Behind Bronco's back, the bad guys do a double-slam on Adidas. Checkmate drops a knee to the throat and covers Adidas for 3.
Why'd You Tape This??
Even though I didn't see it until 1988, World Class became my favorite wrestling promotion of the 1980's. Any angle seemed to get over with the Sportatorium fans. Heels were alwasy boo'ed and they'd always chant "Go, Kerry, go" (or whatever the name of the face wrestler was). WCCW had a constant roster turnover, but some great talent came through the area. As much as people like to slam the Von Erichs, they were actually capable wrestlers, as Kerry performs well in the last match. Fans usually generalize WCCW by saying "oh, it was just the Von Erichs and the Freebirds", but as these shows carry on, we'll see that there's alot of fun stuff beyond that.