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[1990-08-11-AWA] Team Challenge Series Recap / Survivor Battle Royal


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  • 2 months later...

That classic Eric Bischoff sincerity starts us off. Lee Marshall updates us on the Team Challenge Series. This is *wildly* complicated, but it was all to set up the survival battle royal.


Then, we have an interview with Larry Zbyszko. He accuses Sting of ducking his challenges and throws out the "Anabolic Warrior" tagline to talk about "Vince Jr.'s champion". This is animated with lots of great lines from Larry. Really, really good.


Then, we get the battle royal. Every 30 seconds a new man from each team - selected by the drawing of lots (lots?) - enters the ring and there's this point system that is so overdone that I'm completely uninterested in trying to understand it. Marshall and Verne do commentary on this, so I'm not sure it could get more quintessentially AWA. I had no idea Curtis Hughes ever worked the AWA. I also see Johnnie Stewart for the first time - a guy I had only previously heard of. The announcers not immediately picking up on who The Unknown Solider is cracks me up. Jake Millman is the last hope for Larry's Legends. The Milkman brings the battle royal home for Larry's Legends. Jake Milliman won the match for his team, but is being shut completely out of the victory party.


The $1 million check is presented to Larry's Legends for winning the entire series.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Bischoff has gotten a haircut and dye job from when we last saw him on the AWA '80s set and is now the WCW Bischoff we know and love.


Lee Marshall narrates highllights of a "Behind the 8-Ball Battle Royal." Curtis Hughes throws a nice dropkick. Two teams get points, and Bischoff promises another look at the 8-Ball Battle Royal--what the fuck did we just see, Eric?


Larry Zbyszko calls out Sting and the Anabolic Warrior, and even takes a much-welcomed potshot at Chris Berman!


The crack AWA production crew didn't bother to edit out any references to "Sgt.'s Snipers" in the highlight package or graphics, even though the Snipers have since become "DeBeers' Diamondcutters." The Russian Brute has possibly the worst look I've ever seen and as a worker makes Jeff Gaylord look like Jumbo Tsuruta. Hughes takes an absurd bump over the top from one uppercut from Johnnie Stewart. Verne Gagne supplies clueless, lost commentary having no more comprehension of the points than I do. The Trooper is the first guy in this segment to have any semblance of future star power about him. "The Unknown Soldier" who suddenly has spouted a moustache is the last one standing until Jake Milliman enters, to Larry and his team's objections. Verne and Lee do a pretty ridiculous job of dancing around who the Unknown Soldier is. Milliman tears the mask off as he's getting bodyslammed and then tosses DeBeers. Verne and Lee are clueless as to who's actually won the damned series until Lee remembers that the winning team gets 5 points. One million dollars to Larry's Legends. Milliman is genuinely amusing trying to get in on the post-match celebration.


Every subsequent week of the AWA from SuperClash III onward got more and more depressing, reaching its final descent here. A dead sparse crowd, a ridiculous kayfabe payoff, ridiculous rules, a dumb masked switcheroo angle, and wrestlers working as though they're trying not to break a nail. The AWA was full of surprises in the '80s, even for quite a long period after Vince started raiding talent left and right. But it just didn't have the depth or vision to do a Memphis or World Class and survive into the '90s.

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  • 4 weeks later...

Arena is really dark so hard to tell how many fans were there. This challenge standings seems ridiculous. Larry Z talks about Sting and Warrior ducking him. I think every outside group is taking shots at Sting and Warrior.


The crowd is very quiet . Lee Marshall messed up the introductions. Battle royal with 30 second entrance times. Guys are getting eliminated very quickly. They miss the Bloom/Enos elimination which was probably the biggest spot in this match. DeBeers under a mask. That was probably the worst battle royal I’ve seen. Larry’s team wins the million dollar championship. Just depressing to watch.

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  • 2 months later...
  • 1 month later...
  • 1 year later...

Larry's pre-match promo was nice, but it got a little confusing toward the end, when he started talking about Chris Berman and missiles scoring touchdowns. I liked that he called out Sting and Warrior, though.


Everyone involved, including Lee and Verne, seemed like they wanted to get this stupid thing over with as quickly as possible and go somewhere where they could make some real money. Not much actual work was done, just a few punches for each man and straight over the top.


Lee said in the intro that pinfalls and submissions count as eliminations, but none are even teased. In fact, I didn't even see referee Gary DeRusha in the ring once it started filling up.


This thing was so sloppily done that they mentioned the name change from Sarge's Snipers to DeBeers' Diamondcutters once, then promptly forgot it for the rest of the match.


No one even tried to explain the point-scoring system, which is supposed to be the point of the whole tournament. In fact, Verne just seemed perplexed by the whole concept, even though he presumably had approved the damn thing over a year before.


A big whoops to the camera crew: After filming the whole postmatch interview where all of the other members of Larry's Legends froze Milliman out, they catch him and Zbyszko amicably shaking hands as each of them leaves. I know none of this crap means anything, and that there's probably only one TV taping left in the AWA's life (the one where Zbyszko wrestles Race), but it was still ridiculous to completely kill an illusion that was created not even five minutes before.


I'm honestly surprised that one of the Big Two didn't take this concept and make something good out of it. The idea of teams fighting it out for collective glory as well as individual glory might have freshened up the booking in either the WWF or WCW if it was used the right way at the right time, which it definitely wasn't here.

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  • 1 year later...
  • GSR changed the title to [1990-08-11-AWA] Team Challenge Series Recap / Survivor Battle Royal

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