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AWA 1987: Rambo's Revenge

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“The modern history of professional wrestling is dominated by two men. One, the son of a father who had spent years in the business earning the respect of his fellow promoters only for the fruit of his loins to ‘spit’ in the face of his father’s legacy. The other is Vince McMahon Jr...”


– Dave Meltzer (introduction from his book – The Rise, Fall and Rise Again of the AWA)




Rambo's Revenge: The Return of the AWA


I remember distinctly the day it all changed. My father’s office in our old family home had been the base of operations for decades. In these four walls we’d plotted some major hits and some even more major misses in the wrestling business. From these four walls, Verne Gagne had launched a wrestling empire in the Mid-West and had such luminary figures in the business as Ricky Steamboat, Ric Flair, Hulk Hogan, Bobby Heenan, Gene Okerlund, Jesse Ventura and countless others calling Minneapolis their home. Others like Larry Hennig, Ray Stevens and Nick Bockwinkel had stayed a little longer and rightly deserved their place amongst the greats of pro-wrestling. I’m proud to say that my own modest efforts in the ring, while never coming close to becoming the next Verne, weren’t too shabby either. I’m not the greatest second generation wrestler of all time, others have topped my achievements... but I held my own. For all our efforts in the ring and our faith in the faithful, it wasn’t working. We missed the boat with Hulk Hogan. I can admit it now but at the time it seemed the right thing to do – the business was built around the chase, we just held out too long on what the fans wanted. Stan Hansen was another mis-step, for years I blamed Hansen for his lack of professionalism, looking back on it now it should’ve been a warning.


So here I was now, sitting in the same oak panelled room having said the most decisive thing to my father that I ever had or ever could. “I think it’s time I took over the book.”


This is that story.




OOC – Yes, this is the story of Greg Gagne’s fictional run as the Owner and Head Booker of the AWA. I intend to write up short TV show summaries with key events and results with the odd extract from Gagne’s made up interview/autobiography! At the end of each month ‘Dave Meltzer’ will provide his take on the wrestling world with a particular focus on how it impacted on Gagne and his quest to make the AWA number 1 again. Thanks in advance for reading, hopefully you’ll find enough to make you want to come back every now and then to see how I’m getting on!

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March 1987 - Week 1



Announce Team: Rod Trongard;Paul E. Dangerously & Eric Bischoff

From the U.S. Cellular Center (Idaho - Mid West) in front of 5,504 fans and taped prior to AWA Championship Wrestling

Broadcast Exclusively in the UK & Europe on Screensport


Show Recap


  • The Blade Runners d. Nacho Berrera & Tom Stone (Warrior pins Stone - Clean) - (49)
  • The Blade Runners are interviewed by Larry Nelson warn the AWA and The Midnight Rockers in particular that they're here for the gold - (52)
  • Sgt. Slaughter d. Mark Young (Submission - Clean) - (60)
  • Greg Gagne d. Mike Miller (Pin - Clean) - (54)
  • Buddy Wolfe d. Steve O (Pin - Clean) - (42)
  • Buddy Rose & Doug Somers (who is assisted by Sherri Martel) are interviewed by Larry Nelson and they dismiss The Blade Runners: they're the ones who are going to take the gold back from The Midnight Rockers at AWA Battlelines! - (55)
  • Buddy Rose & Doug Somers (w/ Sherri Martel) d. D.J. Peterson & The Assassin (Somers pins Assassin - Tainted) - (57)

Overall: 56



Announce Team:


Rod Trongard; Lee Marshall & Paul E. Dangerously

From the U.S. Cellular Center (Idaho - Mid West) in front of 5,504 fans

Broadcast from Coast to Coast and from Sea to Shining Sea on ESPN in the United States of America!




2v2: Tag Team Contest


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The Nasty Boys vs. The Top Guns


The Nasty Boys dominated The Top Guns in a short and sloppy match that the crowd couldn’t get into. Sags was visibly impeded by the use of hard drugs. We were put out of our misery when Sags flopped an elbow onto Ricky Rice and scooped a handful of tights to seal the win.


The Nasty Boys d. The Top Guns - (30)





The ring is flanked by various backstage personnel and some more familiar faces including Baron Von Raschke, Ray Stevens, Buck Zumhofe, Jerry Blackwell and Bulldog Bob Brown as Stanley Blackburn makes his way out to meet Eric Bischoff in the ring.


After a short introduction from Eric, Stanley gives a basic speech where he thanks the crowd for their support but confirms that it’s time to settle down to a life where he doesn’t have to deal with the shenanigans of rule breakers like Nick Bockwinkel or Sgt. Slaughter! He receives a pleasant round of applause as Eric thanks him for his years of selfless service and that the AWA board will find it impossible to replace him. - (56)



1v1: Singles Contest

AWA World Television Championship


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'Rock and Roll' Buck Zumhofe © vs. 'Mr Magnificent' Kevin Kelly


Rod Trongard explains that Mr. Blackburn’s last action was to recommission the Light Heavyweight Title of Buck Zumhofe, remove weight classes and re-christen as the AWA World Television title. This will be Zumhofe’s first defence against the powerful ‘Mr Magnificent’ Kevin Kelly. Using his considerable size advantage, Kelly powers his way to a comfortable pinfall victory and picks up the AWA World Television title for his trouble.


Kevin Kelly d. Buck Zumhofe to win the AWA World Television Title - (47)


After the match Sherri Martel joins Kelly in the ring to celebrate the win. He stands with his arms in the air while she straps the belt on him and playfully rubs his pecs while rubbing her leg up against him. - (70)



1v1: Singles Contest


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'Bulldog' Bob Brown vs. 'Dirty' Dick Slater


A match between two wily veterans, ‘Bulldog’ Bob Brown puts up a solid effort against ‘Dirty’ Dick Slater but is ultimately left facing an uphill battle as Slater takes every opportunity to cheat his way to victory: eye gouging, back raking and biting – all of which went on behind referee Bill Alfonso’s back. Despite his best attempts to fight fire with fire, the low blow used to take the win was a bridge too far for Brown and Slater had his arm raised in victory.

Dick Slater d. Bob Brown - (64)





Curt Hennig is standing by with Larry Nelson and Jerry Blackwell

“Jerry, let me start by saying I wish you nothing but good luck for your match with Nick Bockwinkel tonight. It’s true that Bockwinkel’s been ducking me but that’s not your call – all I would ask is that if you win the AWA World Title tonight that you treat that belt with the respect it deserves and take on all comers, take on the true number one contender... Curt Hennig!”


Jerry counters “Curt – thank you for your support – but you know I’ve been paying my dues for the longest time now... I deserve this opportunity more than anybody, if you think you’re man enough to beat me down the line then... well... I guess we’ll just have to agree to disagree but right now I’m focused on one thing and one thing only and that’s becoming the next AWA World Heavyweight Champion.”


The segment ends with both men staring each other out, clearly neither wanting to back down to the other. - (66)



1v1: Singles Contest


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Col. De Beers vs. Wahoo McDaniel


The villainous Col. De Beers has been on a hot streak in the AWA, our commentary team waste no time in telling us but he’s facing one of his stiffest challenges yet with Native American legend Wahoo McDaniel not about to back down in the face of a fight. De Beers takes the early going, unleashing a hitherto unseen level of aggression – stopping only to mock Wahoo with a fake war dance and wah-wah motions to his mouth, De Beers is on fire in the early going. The racist behaviour seems to galvanize McDaniel who battles back with his trademark brawling moves. Wahoo counters an attempted neckbreaker by De Beers, Irish-whipped him to the corner and caught him neatly with a Tomahawk Chop as De Beers rushed too quickly back from the corner.

Wahoo McDaniel d. Col. De Beers - (64)


As De Beers slinks away to the back, the focus of our cameras is on Wahoo in the ring who has replaced his ceremonial headdress and is waving to the crowd.




From out of the crowd, Leon White, jumps the barricade and begins to assault McDaniel! Lee Marshall can’t begin to wonder what has inspired this random act of violence from the Baby Bull! The tired Wahoo can barely fight back and it takes the interference of various backstage and security personnel to dissuade Leon from carrying on the assault! - (71)



1v1: Singles Contest

AWA World Heavyweight Championship


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Nick Bockwinkel © vs. 'Crusher' Jerry Blackwell


Barely getting any chance to re-catch their breath, the audience are treated to our main event and a defence of the AWA World Heavyweight Championship by the legendary (if unbearably arrogant) Nick Bockwinkel. While far more popular with the audience in terms of cheers, few felt that ‘Crusher’ Jerry Blackwell had much of a chance in this one. Despite the advantage in age, Blackwell found it hard to keep up with Bockwinkel’s pace who, using his years of experience, seemed to realise that if he can stay away from Blackwell’s grasp then he stands a far better chance of being caught in his crushing bearhug. A run of the mill match and routine title defence followed as Bockwinkel tired out his giant opponent before putting him away with a sleeper hold that the giant couldn’t shrug off.


Nick Bockwinkel d. ‘Crusher’ Jerry Blackwell - (69)



Overall: 67


Backstage News


In his first major act as AWA Booker, Greg Gagne dissolved the Women’s Division and terminated the contracts of:

  • Candi Devine
  • Debbie Combs
  • Vivian Vachon
  • Madusa Micelli
  • Penny Mitchell


Also told that they were surplus to requirement:

  • Stanley Blackburn – Personality
  • Jake Milliman - Opener
  • Sonny Rogers – Opener
  • Tom Stone - Opener


A busy week in the talent market was rounded out by the hiring of:

  • Sting – a young powerhouse working in Bill Watts' UWF with a painted face gimmick
  • The Warrior – another powerhouse and a former tag team partner of Sting in Memphis - AWA have reformed the team and are set to use them extensively in their tag division
  • Outback Jack – a relative unknown in the US, he was set to sign on with Vince McMahon's WWF when a last minute change in plans for the New York outfit left the deal scuppered. Gagne has picked him up relatively unsighted on the basis that if he's interesting New York, he must have something about him...


In other news, following his drug influenced poor performance, Gagne fined Jerry Sags which was said to have resulted in an improvement in behaviour. Sags appreciated Gagne's candour and accepted the punishment in good grace.


Said to coming up on Next Week's shows:

o Jerry Lawler returns to action in an AWA ring

o The Battle of the Midnights as the Rockers take on the Express

o We hear from Leon White as to why he attacked Wahoo McDaniel

o Nick Bockwinkel addresses his opponent for AWA Battlelines

o The debut of Australian Sensation: Outback Jack!

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<blockquote data-ipsquote="" class="ipsQuote" data-ipsquote-username="Smasher1311" data-cite="Smasher1311" data-ipsquote-contentapp="forums" data-ipsquote-contenttype="forums" data-ipsquote-contentid="44965" data-ipsquote-contentclass="forums_Topic"><div>This is a fantastic time to be on GDS, I'm excited for your return, and certainly will be following! Best of luck.</div></blockquote><p> I'll second that! RKOwnage and Ritchardo both resurface with new projects within 24 hours of each other? Score! <img alt=":D" data-src="//content.invisioncic.com/g322608/emoticons/biggrin.png.929299b4c121f473b0026f3d6e74d189.png" src="<___base_url___>/applications/core/interface/js/spacer.png" /></p><p> </p><p> It's always a treat to see you playing around in this timeline. And bonus, this time that jerk James Hill isn't hoarding every talented guy under the sun!</p>
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<p>The pictures of the Nasty Boys made me laugh because they look so damn ridiculous with the face paint on. I never even knew they wore face paint, thanks for posting those pictures and giving me a laugh.</p><p> </p><p>

Also, great write-up on the Col. De Beers vs. Wahoo McDaniel match. I could just see De Beers taunting Wahoo by making fun of his heritage.</p>

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