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AWA 1984: THE DAWN OF WAR

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The Dawn of War

 

          It appears that Vince McMahon’s road to controlling the wrestling industry has some real competition and it is coming from Verne Gagne and the American Wrestling Association.  It all started with a phone call between Jerry Jarrett and Verne following the NWA quarterly meeting in March of 1983. Jerry informed Verne that Vince was threatening once again to break away and start his own national promotion and everyone in the room knew had the money to do it.  Jarrett’s other concern and the real reason he called Gagne was that he felt that the NWA would never break away from their territory system as each owner was too pigheaded to see the forest through the trees.

The original deal between Jarrett and Gagne to have Memphis break away from the NWA and join the AWA hinged on one big factor; Verne must sign Hulk Hogan to a long- term contract.  Verne and Jarrett both loved the sport of wrestling but while Verne wanted to focus on the technical side, Jerry knew that in a large national promotion where you only visited major venues once or twice a month, Hogan’s schtick would be way over in every market.  This required Verne to do two things.  First, he had to agree to give Hogan the best merchandising deal ever handed out in the pro wrestling.  This was the only way Verne could compete with the contract being offered by Vince McMahon and his money.  Verne also allowed Hogan to go to Japan numerous times a year to pad his pockets with a whole lot of Yen. 

The contract extension for Hogan in 1983 means that Stanley Blackburn never entered the ring on April 24th, 1983 in Minneapolis.  This was the night that Hulk Hogan had defeated Nick Bockwinkle for the AWA World title.  In real life, AWA President, Stanley Blackburn entered the ring and reversed the decision saying that Hulk Hogan had thrown Nick Bockwinkle over the top rope and was therefore disqualified.  In our version of wrestling history, Hulk Hogan is still the AWA World champion as we enter 1984. 

          The next phone call by Verne was to Joe Blanchard of Southwest Championship Wrestling.  Southwest had a great working relationship with the AWA and recognized their World Champion.  Verne knew that SWCW was a key to the AWA succeeding and Vince not controlling the whole enchilada.  The reason for this is that Southwest worked out a deal with the USA Network and was being seen across the United States on cable television each and every Saturday morning.  Word was that Vince wanted this spot and the USA Network was intrigued as it would give them some major viewership in major east coast markets.  While Joe and Verne were okay business men, Jerry Jarrett was a genius.  Just look at his 17,000 square foot mansion outside of Memphis and you can see he is the one small time market who made it big.  Jarrett had pitched an idea to Verne who was to relay it to Joe. 

          TNT Wrestling…. Texas and Tennessee!  TNT would combine Memphis and Southwest but with a name like TNT it would not have a regional feel. Combining some of the huge names from Southwest with the likes of Jerry Lawler and Nick Bockwinkle, who has been in Memphis ever since losing to Hogan in 1983, would make TNT one hot AWA show each and every week.  Joe Blanchard loved the idea and so did the USA Network Executives who signed a long-term deal with Verne Gagne.  TNT Wrestling will be airing each week starting in January of 1984.  The other reason USA Network agreed to stay with the AWA and not go to Vince was another of Jerry Jarrett’s good ideas.  “We only asked for 30% of what the WWF wanted from USA.  We understood that we were not making much on our TV broadcasts at the time but as long as Vince’s product not being seen on national tv, he was not going to dominate the industry.  Now all we had to do was put on a product that the fans loved and we would be the brand FOREVER! 

          Since that original phone conversation with Jarrett back in March of 83, Verne has completely bought in to the idea that cable is the way to go. Taking a page out of Georgia Championship Wrestling and Fred Barnett, Verne looked to the new superstations of cable tv.  WTBS has done wonders for Georgia as it has allowed him to move into places like West Virginia, Ohio and Michigan.  These are three states that Gagne had hoped would someday become AWA but now he sees that as an uphill battle; all because of Ted Turner.  So, what does Verne do?  He turns to WGN, a superstation based in Chicago.  Chicago, along with the Twin Cities has long been an AWA stronghold and if he could secure air time on this channel, he could lock up the third largest market in the county and bring in money that could rival Vince in, NY.  Verne, once again, offers a major network a contract they can’t resist.  He gives away some money in the deal for longevity as he knows McMahon is running out of cable options. 

               Verne next turns to Stampede Wrestling and Stu Hart based out of Calgary.  Gagne has already been running shows in Winnipeg and his AWA Major League show is shown across Canada on TV station CKND and syndicated across the country.  Verne now wants to   convince Hart that it is okay to jump ship and come to the AWA.  In talks with Stu, Verne promises to keep his boys, Brett, Keith and Bruce over and to add a Light Heavyweight title and to bring in Stampede’s North American title as the second major title in the AWA.  As luck or lack of luck would have it, the action was so hot on December 2, 1983 in the Ogden Auditorium in Calgary, a riot broke out as Bad News Allen turned on his teammates, the Stomper and Jeff Gouldie.  After piledriving Gouldie on the concrete floor, Bad News Allen took the microphone and told everyone that he wished that his attack on Gouldie led to his death.  This caused the crowd to erupt in anger and several injuries were reported.  After this, Stu Hart was suspended from promoting events in Calgary.  Without Calgary, Hart and Stampede was dead so it!  Verne again calls Stu and offers him a small share of the AWA for his promotion.  Hart is still reluctant until Verne gives him one more little nugget.  For this bit of information, everyone will have to tune into WGN and All-Star Wrestling each and every week. 

          Verne was on fire now, and once again took to the phones.  He contacted both ESPN and TSN, the Canadian equivalent of ESPN, looking to make a deal.  ESPN originally wanted a weekly show but Gagne felt that the way ESPN was looking to promote the AWA was a little too stuffy and came across with a boxing style feel so Verne went with WGN for the weekly show.  He offered ESPN and TSN something bigger; 6 major cards with all the true stars facing each other.  ESPN and TSN salivated at the idea of cheap, live, prime time shows that could see the likes of Hulk Hogan vs Jerry Lawler.  Verne also gave ESPN and TSN all the rights to run the shows as often as they liked in reruns but he retained the video rights!  Verne saw his audience growing and growing and for the first time, he thought that he might actually succeed in going national.  We will see.

          Hopefully you enjoy Dawn of War and thanks to my partner in this project; Spaldoni.  Any questions pm either one of us.

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It seems the winds of change in the professional wrestling industry are blowing harder and harder.  Ever since Roy Shire left the wrestling business in 1981 and Mike LeBell left Hollywood Wrestling earlier this year, the AWA has taken over northern California and especially San Francisco and the legendary Cow Palace.  This left Don Owen up in Portland completely isolated from his other NWA buddies.  He has struggle to attract major talent in the last few months and many have headed for stronger territories.  According to the rumor mill, Billy Jack Hayes, Playboy Buddy Rose and Rip Oliver have one foot out the door if Owen can't promise them bigger gates.

Verne Gagne who seems to always have one ear to the floor has also heard these rumors.  He could just offer Owen's stars a contract but he wants more.  He wants everything!  Again, this is only a rumor but Verne and Don have been said to be behind closed doors.  What will this mean for the wrestling industry.  If Pacific Northwest very joined the AWA, Verne would have a stranglehold on almost all wrestling west off the Mississippi and with his recent TV deals, expansion seems to be the way to go.  Hold on to your hats and keep reading the wild and bumpy ride of Pro Wrestling and the growth of cable TV as we hit the New Year.... 1984

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Current Rosters and Free Agent List

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PROMOTERS:  VERNE GAGNE & STU HART

BOOKER:  Kevinmcfl    

1.  Hulk Hogan            2.  Bret Hart     3.  Randy Savage     4.  Curt Hennig     5.  Jim Neidhart     6.  Animal     7.  Hawk     8.  Jimmy Garvin     9.  Ali Bey (Turk)     

10.  Bad News Allen  11.  Al Perez              12. Hiro Saito                 13.  Jos Leduc           14.  Jonathan Boyd   15.  Luke Williams  16.  Butch Miller  17.  Ken Patera 

 18.  Jerry Blackwell      19.  Eddie Gilbert       20.  Keith Hart        21.  Bruce Hart      22.  Davey Boy Smith        23.  Dynamite Kid        24.  King Kong Bundy  

25.  Rick Rude  26.  Crusher  27.  Bobby Fulton  28.  Steve Regal  29.  Lanny Poffo     30.  Tommy Rogers  31.  Roger Smith  32.  King Konga  33.  Porkchop Cash 

 34.  Norvell Austin  35.  Greg Gagne  36.  Mongolian Stomper  37.  Tom Zenk    38.  Brad Rheingans   39.  Superstar Graham    40. Rick Martel

Managers:  1.  Bobby Heenan    2.  Sheik Adnan Al Kaissey     3.  Paul Ellering     4.  Precious 

 

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PROMOTERS:  Jerry Jarrett & Joe BLanchard

BOOKER:  SPALDONI

1.  Jerry Lawler    2.  Nick Bockwinkle   3.  Terry Funk  4. Stan Hansen  5.  Stan Lane  6.  Steve Keirn  7.  Bob Sweetan  8. Randy Colley   9.   Leo Burke

10.  Austin Idol    11.  Tully Blanchard  12.  Sweet Brown Sugar  13.  Koko Ware  14.  Don Bass  15.  Phil Hickerson  16.  Tommy Rich  17.  Tony Atlas 

 18.  David Schultz  19.  Billy Robinson     20.  Ken Wayne   21  Danny Davis.    22.  Hercules Ayala  23.  Harley Race  24.  Bruiser Brody  25.  Jumbo Tsurata  

26.  Scott Ferris  27.  Bill Howard  28.  Honky Tonk Man  29.  Adrian Street     30.  Cocoa Samoa  31.  Ivan Putski  32.  Cuban Assassin  33.  Wahoo McDaniel  

34.  Dream Machine  35.  Terry Gibbs  36.  Mando Guerrero  37.  Hector Guerrero  38.  Rick McGraw      39.  Mike Shaw

 

MANAGERS

1.  Johnny Valiant  2.  Jimmy Hart  3.  Miss Linda

 

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PROMOTER:  DON OWEN

BOOKER:  Rainmakertv

1.  Billy Jack  2.  Playboy Buddy Rose  3.  Cobra     4.  Chris Adams  5.  Adrian Adonis  6.  Bob Orton  7.  Blackjack Mulligan  8.  Kareem Muhummad

  9.  Elijah Akeem       10.  Ron Garvin  11.  Ricky Morton  12.  Robert Gibson  13.  Abdullah the Butcher  14.  Eric Embry  15.  Killer Tim Brooks 

 16.  Larry Zbysko  17.  Matt Borne  18.  The Spoiler     19.  Hillbilly Jim  20.  Mad Dog Vachon    21.  Goldie Rogers     22.  Gama Singh  23.  Ron Starr 

 24.  Jimmy Valiant  25.  Bobby Jaggers  26. Buck Zumhofe      27.  Mike Sharpe     28.  Mr. Hito  29.  Tony Anthony  30.  Rip Oliver  31.  Al Madril

32.  Brian Adias     33.  Stan Stasiak        34. Roddy Piper        35.  Jesse Barr      36.  Jules Strongbow      37.  Brett Sawyer     38.   Baron Von Raschke  

39.  Timothy Flowers   40.  Scot McGhee

 

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PROMOTER:  Jim Barnett

BOOKER:  Captain Redneck

 

1.  Buzz Sawyer     2. Chief Joe LIghtfoot       3. Pez Whaltey       4. Iron Sheik       5. Bob Roop       6. Dick Murdoch       7. Mr. Wrestling II       8. Tito Santana

9. Paul Orndorff       10. Ole Anderson       11. Arn Anderson       12. Ivan Koloff       13. Brian Blair       14. Jake Roberts       15. Jesse Barr       16. Butch Reed,

17.  Johnny Rich       18. David Sammartino       19.  Pat Rose       20. Scott Irwnin       21. Bill Irwin.       22. Ray Candy       23. Masked Superstar     24. Les Thorton,

25. Ted Dibiase       26. Brad Armstrong       27. Chick Donovan           28. Mike Miller       29.  Ken Lucas       30. Terry Daniels          31.  Scott Casey       32.  Tio

33.  Timothy Flowers       34.  Sifi Afi       35.  Tapu       36.  Bugsy McGraw       37.  Chris Markoff       38.Korstia Korchenko      39.  Ken Timbs       40.Angelo Poffo 

 

OPEN PROMOTION:  MAKE US AN AN OFFER!  Mid-South?,  World Class, Mid Atlantic. Florida or even the WWF.  Maybe a combo?  We listen to all ideas.  

FREE AGENT LIST                                 

 Art Crews          Athol Foley      Johnny Wilhoit     Mark Batten     El Santo Negro     MS-1     Tojo Yamoto     Blackjack Lanza     Don Kolov    JR Foley     Ninja Warrior     Francisco Flores     Buddy Moreno      Juan Reynosa      Kurt Von Hess       KY Wakamatsu,    Rick Renslow     Ciclon Negro        Mark Ragin       Maseo Ito     Hubert Gallant     Tommy Gilbert     Randy Webber       Jake Millman      Jimmy Doo      Norman Charles III      Sonny Two Rivers      Roger Kirby      Loch  Ness Monster      Dave Morgan     Larry Hennig     Danny Babich       Dick the Bruiser     John Quinn        Steve O        Phil Lafluer

 

WORLD CHAMPION BOOKINGS

AWA WORLD TITLE:

All Star:  Jan 8,14, 15, 20,22

TNT:  Jan 23

AWA TAG TITLE

All Star:  Jan 8,14, 15, 20,22, 29  Feb:  5, 17, 19, 25,26 

TNT:  Jan 23

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AWA WORLD TITLES

AWA World Title

Hulk Hogan:  defeated Nick Bockwinkle:  April 24, 1983 in Minneapolis, MN

AWA World Tag Team Title

The Sheiks (Ken Patera & Jerry Blackwell) with Sheik Adnan:   Al Kassie defeated the High Flyers (Jim Brunzell & Greg Gagne):  6/26/1983 in Minneapolis, MN

AWA World Lightweight TItle

Buck Zumhofe:  Defeated Mike Graham:  June 19, 1983 in Hamburg, MN

 

ALL-STAR WRESTLING TITLES:

AWA North American Title:  

Title was vacated after Bad News Allen was suspended for his role in the Brawl in Calgary on Dec. 3, 1983.

 

TNT WRESTLING TITLES:

AWA TNT TITLE (Formerly the Southern Heavyweight Championship)

Nick Bockwinkle:  defeated Jerry Lawler :  November 24, 1983:  Memphis

TNT Television Title: 

Tommy Rich defeated Dream Machine on January 4, 1984 to become first TNT Television Champion

AWA Southern Tag Team Championship

Fabulous Ones:  Defeated the Bruise Brothers on November 16th in Memphis.  7th title reign for the Fab Ones

 

AWA SUPERSTARS OF WRESTLING TITLES

AWA NATIONAL TITLE :

AWA NATIONAL TAG TEAM TITLE

AWA SUPERSTATION  Television Title: 

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Nice to see that this will gain some traction and kinda replace the 83 Project. Wishing you all the best guys!

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TNT Wrestling Update

A lot is happening as TNT gears up for its television debut on the USA Network. Jerry Jarrett and Joe Blanchard are ecstatic about their new working relationship with Verne Gagne and the AWA. They are more than confident that their TNT roster will be an exciting addition to the AWA.

After his world title loss to Hulk Hogan in April, Nick Bockwinkel rebounded well by defeating Jerry Lawler for the Southern Title. With the formation of TNT, the Southern title will be now known as the AWA TNT Heavyweight Championship. Bockwinkel thought for sure this would guarantee him a world title rematch with Hogan. However, before Bockwinkel defeated Lawler, a deal was made during the AWA merger that Jerry Lawler would get a title match with Hogan in Memphis at the first ESPN super card on Jan. 23rd. Needless to say, Bockwinkel is furious and has been very vocal about this. The AWA committee has assured Bockwinkel that he will get a world title shot in the near future. 

In the meantime, Bockwinkel should stay focused on his TNT title as Wahoo McDaniel, Austin Idol, Tony Atlas, Terry Funk and Harley Race all want a crack at it. Recently signed Leo Burke and Hercules Ayala are coming in with one goal on their minds...the AWA TNT Championship. All these contenders will keep Bockwinkel very busy. 

The current AWA Southern tag champs, the Fabulous Ones are ready to take on all comers and they have a long line of contenders including the Nightmares, Guerreros, Mike Shaw and Randy Colley, and the international team of Billy Robinson and Jumbo Tsuruta. TNT is going to put a lot of focus on their tag team division. Another team that's coming in with a lot of buzz is Sweet Brown Sugar and Koko Ware.  

It's been announced that on TNT's debut show on the USA network, a match between Tommy Rich and the Dream Machine will take place to crown the first TNT Television Champion. TNT is looking forward to having a title defended frequently on TV. Tully Blanchard has already issued a challenge to the winner. Tully says he's the only wrestler in TNT that's worthy to hold that title. 

And finally, rumors are circulating that Jerry Jarrett and Joe Blanchard have been in serious negotiations with Stan Hansen and Bruiser Brody. Hansen and Brody are both huge global stars and this would be a major coup for TNT and the AWA. 

 

Stay tuned! 

 

 

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JANUARY 1, 1984

From coast to coast, continent to continent and border to border, we welcome you to AWA All-Star Wrestling coming to you from Superstation WGN right here in downtown Chicago, Illinois.  I am Rod Trongard and joining me today with some special interviews will be Gene Okerlund.  Well fans, welcome to a New Year and welcome you to a new age in professional wrestling.  That’s right folks, we will be coming to you every Sunday night right here on the Superstation WGN.  And that’s not all that is new here on All-Star Wrestling.  Let’s head over to Gene Okerlund and his special guest, AWA President Verne Gagne.

 

Gene Oakerlund:  Well Verne, Happy New Year to you.  Thanks for joining us on our first show here on WGN.  I understand you have a few big announcements for all the great fans of the AWA. 

Verne Gagne:  Happy New Year to you and all the AWA fans.  First of all, I want to thank the good people at WGN for airing AWA Wrestling and we know this is going to be a great partnership.  We have fans all over the world and now they will be able to see AWA wrestling each and every week.  Along with our show here on WGN, AWA wrestling will also be airing a second weekly show on the USA Network titled TNT Wrestling. 

Gene Okerlund:  TNT Wrestling… It seems like the AWA is exploding here in 1984!  Haha

Verne Gagne:  That’s right Gene but that is not all!  Let me show you a quick video from from Stampede Wrestling in Calgary, Alberta Canada on December 3.

 

VTR:  We see a video tape of Bad News Allen turning on his teammates, the Stomper and his son Stomper Jr. in a 6 Man tag match against Bret Hart, Davey Boy Smith and Sonny Two Rivers.  The attacked resulted in Stomper Jr. being piledriven numerous times on the cement floor.  After Jr. was carried out on a stretcher, Bad News Allen took the house mic and said that he hoped his attack on Stomper Jr. led to his death.  This was more than the fans at Ogden Auditorium could take and a riot broke out.

Gene Okerlund:  Verne that was some seen up there in Stampede Wrestling.

Verne Gagne:  You got that right Gene and as a result, Stu Hart, the promoter of Stampede Wrestling has been barred from hosting events in Calgary.  Stu and I are good friends and we go back a long way.  I didn’t think it was fair that Stu was being blamed for the riot caused by Bad News Allen and I didn’t think it was fair that the great wrestling fans in Calgary would be without the sport they love so Stu and I sat down and hammered out a deal.  Stampede Wrestling will now become one with the AWA.

 

Gene Okerlund:  Wow, that is huge.  So now the fans in such places as Calgary, Edmonton and Saskatoon will get to see all the stars of the AWA.

Verne Gagne:  True but it works both ways, the AWA fans in our regular cities like Denver, St. Paul and Chicago will see all of the great stars from Stampede like Bret Hart and Dynamite Kid.

Gene Okerlund:  And let’s not forget that lunatic…. Bad News Allen.

Verne Gagne:  Speaking of Bad News Allen… He has been suspended for 90 days for his actions in Calgary and he has also been stripped of the North American Heavyweight Championship.  Next week, we will have information on how that title is to be filled. 

Gene Okerlund:  Well thanks Verne… what a night is has been already.  A new superstation, a second weekly show on TNT to go along with All-Star Wrestling and Stampede Wrestling has been added to the growing AWA family!

 

COMMERCIAL

Match:  Rick Martel & Curt Hennig defeat Porkchop Cash & Norvell Austin

This match is exactly what the new show is all about.  Limit the squash matches and give the fans what they want while keeping the top stars hot.  Martel and Hennig are one of the top teams in the AWA are on the heels of the AWA Tag Team champs, The Sheiks (Ken Patera & Jerry Blackwell) who are managed by Sheik Adnan Al Kassie.  As for this match, we get a lot of back and forth but in the end, Martel and Hennig are just too good and Hennig catches Cash with the Hennig-plex.  Gene Okerlund catches Martel and Hennig for a quick interview.

 

Okerlund:  Well folks, let me tell ya, I am delighted to bring in our next guests.  The #1 contenders for the AWA tag team titles… none other than Rick Martel and Curt Hennig.  Guys…. This Friday night in Calgary at the Coral, you will get a World Title Shot against Sheik Patera and Sheik Blackwell.

Ric Martel:  First of all Gene… it is great to be with you but let’s get one thing straight, it is going to be wonderful to be on the first AWA card in Calgary.  I am so excited to be working with some of the great stars to the North.  As for the AWA tag team champs, they are as much Sheiks as my grand-parents.  They are nothing but traitors who have been corrupted by that no-good Adnan Al Kassie. 

Curt Hennig:  That’s right Rick and after this week in the Corral, Ken Patera and Crusher Blackwell will be as much Sheiks as they are champions!

Gene Okerlund:  Trust you me … Curt Hennig and Rick Martel mean business.  If you are anywhere near the Corral this Friday night, you will be in for a real treat.

COMMERCIAL

Match:  Tommy Rogers vs “Mr. Electricty” Steve Regal

Tonight’s match between these two skilled grapplers is one of the things that Sturt and Verne Gagne talked about in their merger.  Fast paced, technical wrestling that seems to follow the rules.  While Mr. Electricity did try a few questionable tactics, for the most part, this was pure wrestling.  In the end, Rogers executed a spot-on drop kick and as Regal staggered to his feet. Rogers hit a sunset flip for the three count.

Match:  King Kong Bundy with Bobby Heenan vs Bobby Fulton

Fulton is a nice up and coming light heavyweight but he is in way over his head here.  Fulton tries a few dropkicks and even a cross body block but each time he is swatted away like a gnat.  The end came in just a few minutes as Bundy hit the Avalanche.

Gene Okerlund:  Ladies and Gentlemen… this Friday night at the Coral in Calgary…  Bobby Heenen and his man King Kong Bundy … will take on Hulk Hogan for the AWA World Title.

Bobby Heenan:  Listen up all you Humanoids up there in Calgary…  Just a few months ago the two smartest men in all of wrestling… myself and Sheik Adnan Al Kassie made the deal of a lifetime.  He paid me $500,000 for Ken Patera.  He has turned that into the greatest tag team in wrestling today… the Sheiks.  With that money I am in the process of rebuilding the Heenan family to rid the World of Hulk Hogan… this week you will see King Kong Bundy break Hogan into little bits and pieces and bring the title back to the family where it belongs.

Gene Okerlund:  Remember the last time your “family” tried to stop Hulk Hogan.  Nick Bockwinkle lost the AWA World title.

Bobby Heenan:  And who asked you anyway.  Go grow some hair.

COMMERCIAL

Match:  Bret Hart vs The Turk Ali Bey

Another good match for the TV audience and it was used to put Hart over with the AWA fans.  Bey came in wearing his fez and antagonizing the fans on his way to the ring.  Rod Trongard hypes Hart up for the entire match as we see he has a lot of technical skill but also a lot of fire in his belly when things turn rough.  It is obvious that Stu has groomed him well and he is going to be a star.  The win came with a submission move Trongard called the Northern Lights Cloverleaf. 

Gene Okerlund gives us a quick interview and Hart is real serious about showing the fans what wrestling up in Calgary is all abooot.  They also spend some time hyping up his match this week in Calgary against the Stomper.

COMMERCIAL

With Gene Okerlund now is the AWA World Tag Team Champions, Sheik Ken Patera and Sheik Jerry Blackwell along with their manager Sheik Adnan Al Kaissie.  As Al Kaissie comes in, Okerlund notices a cast on his right hand and asks what happens.

Sheik Adnan Al Kaissie:  Hala Gene Okerlund.  Assalum Alaikum.  Insha Allah Masha Allah.  Ahlan Marhaba Wa Sahla.  I have been back in the middle east with King Hussein of Jordan and his people were so excited to see me that they nearly pulled my arm off.  They are ecstatic that I have convinced these two men behind me that Allah is the one true God and this week in Calgary, we will prove that Allah is on our side as we crush Rick Martel and Curt Hennig. 

Gene Okerlund:  Well ladies and gentlemen I did not understand half that conversation but trust you me, that Word Tag Team match in Calgary this week is going to much tougher then the Sheiks think.  Martel and Hennig are really on their game.

Match:  Rick Rude beats Verlon Biggs with the Full Nelson

Rick Rude is a nice up and comer with a great wrestling body who Trongard puts over.  The fans also seem to buy into his persona and it will be interesting to see his growth her in the AWA

Match:  Greg Gagne defeats Larry Cheatum with Sleeper

The interesting part of this is that Jimmy Garvin and Precious came out to ringside during this match.  Garvin and Gagne will meet this week in Calgary and Garvin was just trying to get under the skin of Gagne.  Nothing else really happened except Precious flaunting her beauty as Garvin and Gagne gave each other a real stare down.  At the interview desk, Okerlund asked Gagne what that that was all about but Greg seemed to care less and wanted to talk about how excited he was by all the new things going on here in the AWA.

COMMERCIAL

Match:  Crusher vs The Assassin (Roger Smith in a mask)

 

The crowd loves this physical brawl which saw the old timer,  Crusher, wrestling from the top when all of a sudden the Sheepherders and Jos Leduc hit the ring.  They beat Crusher all over the arena as Rod Trongard yelled for help at this disgusting act by Leduc and the Sheepherders.  Eventually the entire Hart family, Bret, Keith and Bruce hit the ring.  Trongard had to introduce Bruce and Keith to the AWA audience as they had not been seen in these parts but the fans loved what they saw.  The Harts eventually won control of the ring with Leduc and the Sheeherders on the floor and the Harts in the ring.  The Harts dared them to come back for more but the group Trongard was calling the Commonwealth down feet and shook his hands.  This alliance instantaneously put the Harts over in the AWA!

COMMERCIAL

As we come out of break, Trongard informs us that it will be the Crusher, Bruce Hart and Keith Hart against The Sheepherders and Jos Leduc this week in Calgary.  The show ends with one last interview

Gene Okerlund:  Ladies and Gentlemen…. With me now is none other than the AWA World Champion.  That’s right folks…. Hulk Hogan.  Hulk, please tell us how you do it.  This schedule you have is insane.  Every week you wrestle the best of the best on you keep coming out on top.  This week in Calgary … it will be you and the monster called King Kong Bundy. 

Hulk Hogan:  Well listen up Mean Gene… that is what being the champ is all about.  This week in Calgary I will be hanging and banging and pumping these huge 24 inch pythons up so I can scoop up that 450 pound Bundy and slam him through the mat and then I am going to drop these huge legs across his head for the 3 count.  After that I might just catch me a weasel named Bobby Heenan and take him outside where it is 30 below zero and slam him into the frozen tundra.

Gene Okerlund:  What I sight that will be

Hulk Hogan:  And when I am through with him, I hear there is a King down in Memphis who has been talking about how I could never go down to Memphis and leave with the belt.  If there is one thing Mean Gene that the Hulkster doesn’t like, it is being told he can’t do something.  Jerry Lawler, watch what you saw or all those Hulkamaniacs down in Memphis will be turning against their King.

 

THE CORAL:  CALGARY:  JANUARY 6th, 1984

1.       Rick Rude defeats the Turk with the Full Nelson

2.       Tommy Rodgers defeats Lanny Poffo with the Drop Kick followed by a Sunset Flip

3.      Jimmy Garvin defeats Greg Gagne when Precious hit Gagne with the loaded purse

4.      Dynamite Kid defeats Bobby Fulton with the Diving Headbut

5.      The Sheephers and Jos Leduc wrestled Bruce Hart, Keith Hart and Da Crusher to a DDQ as they brawled all over the arena with a lot of bloodshed.  Crusher really endeared himself to the fans of Calgary as he went toe to toe with Leduc.

6.      Bret Hart defeated the Stomper with the Northern Lights Cloverleaf after a long war of a battle.

7.      AWA WORLD TAG TEAM TITLE:  The Sheiks (Patera & Blackwell) defeated Curt Hennig and Rick Martel in a wild match with a finish that saw Sheik Adnan Al Kassie get involved.  All 4 men were in the ring at the same time and the ref was knocked to the ground.  Adnan Al Kassie came up on the apron and clocked Hennig with that new cast of his and down Hennig went.  When the dust cleared, Blackwell came off the top rope for the 440 pound Giant Splash and got the three count just as the ref recovered.

8.  AWA WORLD TITLE:  Hulk Hogan defeated King Kong Bundy with Bobby Heenen.  Bundy did have his time on top in this match and looked to be on the verge on the championship as he went for the Avalanche but Hogan moved at the last second.  Hogan fulfilled his promise and body slammed the big man and then connected with the Big Boot and Leg Drop for the win!  Hogan also endeared himself to the fans of Calgary as he grabbed Heenen by the neck and press slammed him to the Mat.

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I love that you kept the format you've always used. Why change a good format when it works, right? Starting things off with a bang. Digging the pairing of Rick Martel & Curt Hennig!

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What a show to kick things off! The AWA works out a deal with Stampede, which will no doubt give wrestling fans around the world non stop action. I love the team of Martel and Hennig and look forward to watching them chase the titles. Some nice competitive TV matches to give the fans an idea of what to expect. Enjoyed that Mr. Electricity/Tommy Rogers match up. The Light Heavyweight division should be pretty exciting. The Harts get over with the AWA fans aligning with Da Crusher. Bundy looks like a beast but falls short against Hogan. This really puts Hogan over as the dominant world champ. Looks like the King will have his hands full in Memphis. Great first show as you did an awesome job of incorporating the Stampede talent. Bad News is already over with the footage of that riot. Big things on the horizon for the AWA in 1984! 

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TNT Wrestling Update Part 2

Jerry Jarrett and Joe Blanchard have ironed out all the details and are all set for the television debut of TNT Wrestling on the USA Network. Here's how the TV schedule will work. The shows will alternate weeks between the Roane Fieldhouse in Memphis TN and the Junction in San Antonio TX. Lance Russell will host the shows in Memphis and Steve Stack will host the San Antonio shows. Verne Gagne loved this idea and thinks it will give TNT a broader appeal, which is exactly what he wants for the AWA.The debut show will air on January 4th in Memphis. 

TNT has big plans for their house show loops as they want to bring their promotion all across the Southern States. Of course their staple venues will be the Mid South Coliseum and Hemisfair Arena. 

With all this going on, the AWA is also gearing up for their first ESPN super show on January 23rd at the Mid South Coliseum. The main event will be for the AWA World Title as champion Hulk Hogan defends against Jerry 'The King' Lawler. ESPN is very excited to have a main event like this and are confident it will draw in some good ratings. Verne has no doubt this will sell out the Coliseum and knows that will look very good on TV. 

As mentioned, one man who isn't happy about the main event is current AWA TNT Champ Nick Bockwinkel. However, Nick will defend his title on that night against Wahoo McDaniel. 

Jarrett and Blanchard have already been meshing their talent on recent house shows. They want to make sure everybody is on the same page before they get to TV. So far, things have been clicking well as the house show matches have been delivering. 

Mando and Chavo Guerrero and the Nightmares have been putting on fantastic tag team matches. Cocoa Samoa and Adrian Street have had a rivalry going with Miss Linda getting involved more than once. Tony Atlas seems to be very over with the crowds. To the surprise of a lot of people, fans in the arenas have taken a liking to the international team of Billy Robinson and Jumbo Tsruta. Their hard hitting style combined with their pure wrestling skill have impressed the southern crowds. Harley Race and Terry Funk headlined a few shows and drew some big crowds. Tommy Rich and Jimmy Hart's Dream Machine have been involved in some heated contests as they get ready for their big match for the TNT TV title on January 4th. 

Jarrett and Blanchard are working hard to make sure TNT becomes a driving force for the AWA. Be a part of history as TNT comes to you January 4th on the USA Network. 

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TNT Wrestling @ The Special Events Center, El Paso TX, 1-1-84

'Mr. USA' Tony Atlas vs. Cuban Assassin

Cuban Assassin gets in some good heel offense but in the end, Atlas displays his strength by press slamming Assassin and follows with a splash for the pin! 

Decimation (Mike Shaw and Randy Colley) w/Johnny Valiant vs. Ivan Putski and Rick McGraw

Putski and McGraw show off some good chemistry as they keep Decimation off their game. A distraction by Valiant turns the tide. Colley and Shaw hit a double back elbow smash on McGraw and Shaw follows with a big elbow drop for the pin! 

'Exotic' Adrian Street w/Miss Linda vs. Cocoa Samoa

These two have been having quite the rivalry of late and it shows tonight as they start off brawling as soon as the bell rings. The finish sees Street nail Cocoa with a loaded purse (handed to him by Miss Linda) to get the pin!  

Mando and Chavo Guerrero vs. The Nightmares

Great back and forth tag match as these top contending teams get their shining moments. In the end, all four men are in the ring fighting. The Nightmares swing the Guerreros to the ropes and go for double back drops but Mando kicks Davis and Chavo sunset flips Wayne for the pin! 

'The Universal Heartthrob' Austin Idol vs. Hercules Ayala

Hard hitting match up between two of the strongest. Ayala gets a flash pin victory! When the Ref raises Ayala's hand, Idol attacks him from behind, throws him outside the ring and rams him head first into the steel post, busting Ayala open! 

Harley Race vs. Terry Funk

Battle of two of the all time greats. Both men display pure scientific skill and all out brawling. The brawling gets the best of them as they brawl to a double DQ! This rivalry is far from over.

Main Event

AWA TNT Champ Nick Bockwinkel, Tully Blanchard and The Dream Machine w/Jimmy Hart

VS.

Jerry 'The King' Lawler, Tommy 'Wildfire' Rich and Wahoo McDaniel 

This 6 man tag match keeps the fans on their feet for 30 minutes! The faces give the fans plenty to cheer about as they have plenty of hot moments. At one point Wahoo put Tully down with a big chop and Lawler and Rich followed with a double fist drop. The heels had their moments as Dream Machine and Tully double suplexed Lawler and Bock tried to put him away with he figure four. The big finish came with all 6 men brawling. Rich and Dream Machine ended up fighting to the outside. Jimmy Hart tried to interfere but Rich put him down with a right fist. Lawler punches away on Bock, winds up and sends him flying over the top rope with a big fist. Tully has Wahoo down. Tully turns around and gets nailed by a Lawler fist. Tully staggers back and Wahoo rolls him up 1..2..3!!! 

The fans roar as Lawler, Rich and Wahoo send them home happy. 

 

 

 

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Wow.... great start for TNT!  You have really got the tag team division going.  Decimation... The Nightmares... the Guerreros and not to mention the Fab Ones who were not even on the card.  I wonder who will ultimately come out on top.  Great way to hype up 3 feuds in one match with that main event.  The are all huge names and with Wildfire in Memphis you have that wildcard who could turn on anyone at any time.  Love your roster!  Great way to get the crowd into it with Mr. USA vs the Cuban Assassin!

All of that and I have not even mentioned Harley Race vs Terry Funk!  Wow.  The people will be rushing to TNT to see action like that. 

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One major problem with this is that Southwest was already canceled by USA by the time Hogan would have won the AWA belt, which makes a launch of the TNT show in Jan. '84 not very likely (would have had a better chance of being pushed by Verne for ESPN in '85, but Southwest by then was sold to All-Texas)

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On ‎1‎/‎3‎/‎2019 at 10:23 AM, TheBestThereNeverWillBe said:

One major problem with this is that Southwest was already canceled by USA by the time Hogan would have won the AWA belt, which makes a launch of the TNT show in Jan. '84 not very likely (would have had a better chance of being pushed by Verne for ESPN in '85, but Southwest by then was sold to All-Texas)

Thanks for commenting and yes you're right. This is basically a What If 1984 Project. What if Hogan became champ and stayed in the AWA? What if Verne and the promoters pulled off a miracle and banded together under the AWA banner to become a wrestling powerhouse promotion. What if the AWA secured the USA and WGN networks. We thought this would be a fun and creative project. Thanks for the feedback and hope to see more :)

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Thanks for the comments in our fantasy booking game.  In our research, we saw that WWF All American Wrestling didn't take place until Sept 6, 1983 and  in our game Hogan had won the belt on April 24th of 1983.  We also had the beginnings of the relationships between Blanchard, Jarrett and Gagne starting in April of 1983.  Maybe we could have explained it better but in our version of the game, talks between all parties, including USA network would have began and Southwest would have keep their weekly show until Memphis joined them to kick off 1984; changing the show on USA from Southwest to TNT.  

If we have some of our dates mixed up, we are sorry.  Thanks everybody for reading.  If anyone ever has any interest in joining us, we would love to have you.

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I wouldn't worry about the dates. The scenario is what's important and the story behind it.

I am immensely enjoying the story that came about and excited to where all it goes. I also am really enjoying the write ups that you guys are doing. Keep up the good work.

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TNT Wrestling TV @ The Roane Fieldhouse, Memphis TN, 1-4-84

TNT.jpg

 

Lance Russell: Hello everyone and welcome to the USA Network television debut of TNT wrestling, sanctioned by the American Wrestling Association. I'm Lance Russell and I'll be hosting the Tennessee television shows. I'm very excited to be a part of the AWA and on that note, I want to bring out the man himself, Verne Gagne. 

Verne: Thank you very much Lance. 1984 should be a historic year for the AWA. We're very happy to be here on the USA Network. The AWA will be giving the fans the best wrestling action possible, as wrestlers from all over the world will be competing under the AWA banner. I'm very much looking forward to the working relationship between myself, Stu Hart, Joe Blanchard and Jerry Jarrett. Before I leave I want to remind all the fans that on January 23rd at the Mid South Coliseum, live on ESPN, the AWA will present our first joint super card. The main event will be Hulk Hogan defending the AWA World title against Jerry 'The King' Lawler. That's the kind of action the AWA will be bringing to you. Lance, I know you and these great fans are ready for action, so I wont take up any more time. 

Lance: (smiling) Thank you very much Mr. Gagne. Tonight you will see that action Verne Gagne is talking about. We will crown a TNT TV champion, as Tommy Rich will take on Jimmy Hart's Dream Machine. Also in action will be Tony Atlas, Tully Blanchard and Jerry Lawler. The Soul Patrol, Sweet Brown Sugar and Koko Ware will be in the ring. You'll also see Rick McGraw taking on the Cuban Assassin and a big tag match with the Guerreros taking on the Nightmares. We will also hear from the AWA TNT Champion Nick Bockwinkel and the AWA Southern tag team champs the Fabulous Ones. Right now let's get to the ring as Cocoa Samoa clashes with Adrian Street. 

 

Cocoa Samoa vs. Exotic Adrian Street w/ Miss Linda 

These two have been trading wins on the house shows and now they get things going on TV. Street takes his time as he skips around the ring blowing kisses up at Cocoa. When the bell rings, Cocoa unloads on Street. Cocoa dominates early by pounding away on Street and a headbutt sends him through the ropes. Miss Linda helps Street recover. Street later takes control and wears Cocoa down with an Indian Deathlock. Cocoa makes a comeback but it's stopped by an eye rake. Street swings Cocoa to the ropes, misses a clothesline and Cocoa comes back with a flying body press 1..2..3!! 

The crowd cheers as Cocoa rolls out of the ring to celebrate with the fans. Linda runs in the ring to console a furious Street.

 

Commercial Break

 

Lance: What a way to kick things off on TNT as Cocoa Samoa gets the win over Adrian Street. Fans, please welcome the current AWA TNT Champ, Nick Bockwinkel.

Nick walks out with pure arrogance on his face as he shows off his title to the booing fans. 

Nick: Mr. Russell, you are looking at the most premier dominant champion in the entire AWA. I beat the so called King for this title. My question is why is Lawler getting the world title shot at Hogan on January 23rd? Is he the TNT champion? No! Hogan is walking around with my world title. It looks like Verne is up to his old tricks again and is protecting his golden boy. 

Lance: Hold on a minute Nick. Their match was signed before Lawler lost the TNT title. I have been informed that you will meet the winner of that match and get your world title shot. But first things first. You will be defending your TNT title on January 23rd against Wahoo McDaniel. 

Nick: McDaniel is a formidable opponent but is nowhere near the level I am. I will use the exposure on ESPN to showcase my talents and prove to the world why I should be AWA world champ. It doesn't matter who wins between Hogan and Lawler because the end result will be the same. Nick Bockwinkel will be the AWA world champ. 

Lance: A strong prediction from Nick Bockwinkel but he better not look past the challenge of Wahoo McDaniel. Wahoo will be in action next week. Fans back to the ring. 

 

Tully Blanchard vs. Keith Ramsey

Tully puts on a wrestling clinic tonight with a series of take downs. Tully turns it up with a back elbow smash off the ropes then follows with a delayed forearm drop. Tully toys with Keith for a bit then finishes him off with a sling shot suplex for the pin! 

Tully cuts a promo and says he's the only one worthy to wear the TV title and issues a challenge to the winner of the Rich/Dream Machine match. 

 

Commercial Break

 

Mr. USA Tony Atlas vs. Frank Romer

The fans are way behind Atlas tonight as he body slams Romer down. Atlas picks up Romer and nails him with a headbutt. Atlas military presses Romer over his head and slams him down then follows with a body splash for the pin! 

Atlas cuts a promo and says he's here for the gold. 

 

Lance: Ok, a fired up Tony Atlas. I'm sure he's going to make a splash here in TNT. Fans joining me now is a legend in wrestling, multi time world champion Harley Race.

Race: Lance, as you know I'm a champion and it doesn't feel right walking around without a title. That's going to change real quick but first I need to take care of a nuisance and that nuisance is one Terry Funk. Funk! You're an obstacle on my way to bigger and better things and since you wont stay out of my way, I'm just going to have to knock you down! 

 

Commercial Break

 

'Quick Draw' Rick McGraw vs. The Cuban Assassin

The crowd boos as Ratamyus is escorting Cuban Assassin to the ring. Lance Russell doesn't know why Ratamyus is out here. The bell rings and Cuban attacks Rick from behind. Cuban swings Rick to the ropes and goes for a back drop but Rick kicks him. Cuban staggers back and Rick puts him down with a drop kick. Rick starts pumping his fists but Ratamyus jumps Rick from behind and hammers away. The Ref signals for the DQ! Cuban staggers up and joins the beatdown. They pick Rick up and double body slam him then start kicking away. The fans roar as Ivan Putski hits the ring, Putski starts hammering away on both men until they roll out of the ring. Cuban and Ratamyus yell and make threats to Putski as Putski attends to Rick. 

 

Lance: Wow, I'm not sure what kind of alliance Cuban Assassin and Ratamyus have but that was interrupted by Polish Power Ivan Putski. With me right now is the Universal Heartthrob Austin Idol. 

Idol: Lance baby the toast of the coast is here in TNT and brother I'm ready to do some damage. First name on the hit list is that big dummy Hercules Ayala! Where does that guy get off on using the name Hercules? Just look at my body here. I'm the real deal baby. The other night in El Paso, I rammed that thick head of his into a steel post and brother he's still reeling from that. He felt real power and I wouldn't be surprised if he never shows his ugly face in TNT again! 

 

Commercial Break

 

The Soul Patrol (Sweet Brown Sugar and Koko Ware) vs. Rudy Thomas and Vic Hillman

The Soul Patrol have the fans standing as they are in full offense tonight. They work their opponents over with solid teamwork and high flying moves. The finish comes when Sugar and Koko hit dual missile drop kicks for the pin! The fans are on their feet cheering as the Soul Patrol pump their fists to them. 

The Soul Patrol cut a fired up promo and say they're here in TNT to face the best and get their shot. 

 

Lance: The tag team division is hot here in TNT and the Soul Patrol is sure adding the heat. When we come back, Jerry the King Lawler will be in action. 

 

Commercial Break

 

Jerry 'The King' Lawler vs. Gary Williams 

Lawler hammers away on Williams with some hard fists then body slams him down. Lawler hops up on the middle ropes and crashes down with a fist drop to get the pin! Lawler raises his fist to the cheering fans and heads over to talk with Lance.

 

Lawler: Lance, on January 23rd, the King gets his golden opportunity with a AWA world title shot. It hurt me more than you could imagine when I lost the TNT title to Bockwinkel in November. But I want to assure all my fans and especially you Hulk Hogan, that I will be more than ready on January 23rd and when it's all said and done the King will be raising that AWA title high in the Mid South Coliseum. You can bet on that! 

 

Commercial Break

 

Mando and Chavo Guerrero vs. The Nightmares

These two teams have been involved in some fantastic matches on the house shows. Both teams want a shot at the tag titles and a win tonight would put them in a good position. The action is back and forth and keeps the fans on the edge of their seats. The Nightmares control a segment by working Chavo over in the corner. Davis executes a shoulder breaker and Wayne follows with a knee drop on the shoulder from the top rope, they almost get the pin but Mando makes the save. Chavo eventually makes the tag and Mando comes in fists flying. The Guerreros take control and almost get the win with a double back drop followed by a double drop kick but Wayne saves his partner. Later in the match all four men end up brawling but the bell rings as the 10 minute time limit expires! The bell keeps ringing but the teams keep fighting into the commercial break. 

 

Commercial Break

 

Lance: Fans as you just witnessed, all the tag teams desperately want a shot at the titles. Well, let's bring in the AWA Southern tag team champs, the Fabulous Ones.

The crowd roars as Steve Keirn and Stan Lane come strutting out with the titles. They're all smiles as they walk around slapping hands with the fans when all of a sudden two men hop the rail and attack them from behind! 

Lance: Wait a minute! That's Dr. D David Shultz and Bruiser Bob Sweetan! What are they doing here?

Shultz and Sweetan put the boots to the Fab Ones then take the titles off them and start hammering away on them with the belts. Sweetan then does the unthinkable and piledrives Stan Lane on the concrete!!! Shultz follows that up by piledriving Steve Keirn on the concrete!!! The fans are going into riot mode. Officials and security run out. Shultz and Sweetan hop over the rail and head out through the crowd. 

The fans are in a shocked silence as both Keirn and Lane are stretchered out of the arena. 

 

Commercial Break 

 

Lance: Fans, I'm just as shocked as you are after what we all just witnessed. The Fabulous Ones have been taken to a near by hospital for evaluations. I don't know what to say. I didn't even know Bob Sweetan and David Shultz were signed with TNT. We hope to have an update on the Fabulous Ones next week. Before we get to our big TV title bout, here are some pre recorded comments from both Dream Machine and Tommy Rich. 

Jimmy Hart: Tommy Rich! You're in a lot of trouble tonight. Don't even think you're walking out with that TV title baby, because that title belongs to the Dream Machine baby.

Dream Machine: Rich! You don't have the guts to hold that title boy! You're looking at a real man that needs to represent TNT television. 

Tommy Rich: Did somebody say something about fired up! Because I'm fired up tonight and Dream Machine you're going to feel the wildfire baby! I want that TV title and I'm going to win it here on TNT! 

 

Commercial Break

 

For the TNT TV Title

Tommy 'Wildfire' Rich vs. Dream Machine w/Jimmy Hart

Another rivalry that's been going on at the house shows and it culminates here for the TV Title. The bell rings and Jimmy Hart is distracting Rich and wont leave the ring. This allows Dream Machine to nail Rich from behind. Dream takes control as he swings Rich to the ropes and hits a clothesline then hits a delayed leg drop 1..2..Rich gets his foot on the rope. The Ref is guiding Dream back as Jimmy Hart chokes away on Rich from the outside. Dream stays in control with punches and stomps. The tide turns when Dream comes off the 2nd rope with a knee drop but Rich moves. Rich fires up and takes control. Rich punches away on Dream, swings him to the ropes and back drops him then follows with a running high knee 1..2..Hart puts Dream's foot on the rope. Rich thinks he won but the Ref is explaining what happened. Dream nails Rich from behind with a clothesline. Both men are regrouping. Dream gets up and stomps on Rich then body slams him. Dream drops an elbow 1..2..Kick Out! The crowd roars as Hart is having a breakdown. Dream is yelling at the Ref. Dream picks Rich up and swings him into the turnbuckles and charges in but Rich moves. Once again both men are trying to recover. Jimmy Hart gets up on the apron and cheers Dream on. Dream staggers up and swings Rich to the ropes but Rich reverses it and swings Dream into Hart. Hart fly's off the apron. Rich grabs Dream, swings him to the ropes and hits the Thesz Press 1..2..3!!!! 

The fans stand up and cheer! Rich rolls out of the ring and slaps hands with the fans then heads towards Lance.

 

Lance: Congratulations Tommy! Please welcome out Jerry Jarrett.

Jerry walks out with the TNT TV Title.

Jerry: Tommy, it's my privilege to award you with the first TNT TV title. I know you will represent TNT well.  

Jerry hands Tommy the TV title and shakes his hand.

Tommy: Thank you Lance and you to Jerry. I signed with TNT with the goal of being a champion and here I am standing here in front of all these great fans holding the TNT TV title! Tommy Rich will be a fighting champion and Jerry, I  will represent TNT well.

Lance: Well fans, that's it for our first edition of TNT Wrestling. Steve Stack will be with you next week from the Junction in San Antonio TX.

TNT.jpg

The show ends with Tommy Rich holding up the TV title.  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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You certainly haven't lost the touch nor did you lose a step in your writing style. I see that you're bringing in some new names in this (I had legit no clue about who was Ratamyus until I saw some stuff from the NWA-R board you were on) and it feels like a fresh start already. Lots of serious contenders in TNT for either Hogan or Lawler: Bockwinkel, Tully, not counting out Tommy Rich and Austin Idol as well! Certainly will be interesting!

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Wow... this is exactly what we imagined when we started talking about this.  The merger of Southwest and Memphis gives you an awesome roster and it is going to be a roller coaster ride each and every week to see who is on top.  I mean ... Race vs Funk, Bock vs Lawler... Rich vs Tully... Impossible to pick the Main Event.  I am so excited for the first ESPN show.  Great first show!  Exotic Adrian Street is such a wildcard.  He could really get some heat with his antics in some of your venues.  Also, looking to see who rises to the top in a stacked tag team division.  Thanks for doing this with me.

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cECCNe5.png

January 8, 1984

 

From coast to coast, continent to continent and border to border, we welcome you to AWA All-Star Wrestling coming to you from the Pavilion in downtown Calgary on WGN.  I am Rod Trongard and joining me today with some special interviews will be Gene Okerlund.  Well fans, the new era of the AWA has begun and what a kick-off classic we had this past Friday night in the Coral right here in Calgary.  Unfortunately, the shenanigans of the Sheiks were once again one of the major stories.  Let’s check out the action in their World Tag Team title defense against Rick Martel and Curt Hennig. 

VTR:  We see a video of Sheik Adnan Al Kassie using his cast to clock Curt Hennig and help Patera and Blackwell retain their AWA title.

Gene Okerlund:  Well ladies and gentlemen… we all just saw it… the Sheik used the cast as a weapon

All of a sudden, the Sheiks rushed out and took over the interview.

Sheik Adnan Al Kassie:  Hala   Assalum Alaikum.  Insha Allah Masha Allah.  Ahlan Marhaba Wa Sahla.  Gene Okerlund…. You upset me very much.  You claim that I used my cast as a weapon.  I told you last week my arm was broken doing good deeds all across the Middle East and now you accuse the great sheik of cheating.  I assure you, my men are the best wrestlers in the World and can beat Rick Martel and Curt Hennig or any other team the AWA has to offer.

Gene Okerlund:  I guess you failed to watch the tape we all just saw. Anyway…  this Saturday in Edmonton, Blackwell and Patera… you will be meeting Rick Martel and Curt Hennig but this time in singles competition.

Patera and Blackwell are pretty good on the mic themselves and they let everyone know exactly what they are going to do Martel and Hennig. 

After the Sheiks leave, AWA President, Stanley Blackburn comes out and informs us that tonight we will see the first match in the tournament to fulfill the open AWA North American title that was vacated by the suspension of Bad News Allen.   He lets us know that there will be 8 competitors and tonight it will be Jim “the Anvil” Neidhart vs Tom Zenk.  Blackburn also informs us that Bret Hart will face off against Superstar Graham in a first round match this week in Sales Pavilion in Edmonton.  And next week, right here on All-Star Wrestling we will find out that last 4 competitors.

        COMMERCIAL

MATCH:  The Road Warriors defeat Tom Stone & Pete Jackson

This is a complete squash match that gives Rod Trongard time to hype up the brutality of the Road Warriors and reminds all the fans in Edmonton that the Road Warriors will be action this Saturday night. 

MATCH:  Al Perez defeats Verlon Biggs with a Sleeper

Rod Trongard pushes the youngster Al Perez hard and it is obvious that the AWA has plans for him down the road.  Perez does a nice job of getting over with the fans.  Between Al Perez and Rick Rude, the AWA has some young talent who could just turn out to be stars. 

COMMERCIAL

Match:  King Kong Bundy with Bobby Heenan vs Lanny Poffo

Poffo has shown a lot of skill of late but this is an impossible task.  Poffo attempts a few forearms but they have no effect on KKB.  Poffo knows he is in trouble and tries to escape but Bundy snags him. The end came quickly as Bundy hit the Avalanche.

Gene Okerlund:  Ladies and Gentlemen… this Friday night at the Sales Pavilion in Edmonton…  Bobby Heenen and his man King Kong Bundy … will get another shot at Hulk Hogan for the AWA World Title.

Bobby Heenan:  Listen up all you Humanoids … the reason for the rematch is simple… the AWA officials know the referee messed up in Calgary as Hogan couldn’t do anything against the monster that is King Kong Bundy.  We all saw it.  Hogan illegally grabbed Bundy by the throat and choked him and the ref refused to make him break the hold.  Hogan should have been stripped of the title and put in jail for assault.  I threatened to sue the entire AWA but then they agreed to give Bundy another title shot this week in Edmonton.  If I see any funny business, I will be on the phone to the lawyers immediately.  King Kong Bundy will by the champ within a week. 

Gene Okerlund:  Oh, the web we weave when we seek to deceive.  Bobby Heenan, your nose is growing.  You know as well as I do that Hulk Hogan slammed King Kong Bundy in the center of the ring and then got the 1..2..3.

Match:  Brett Hart defeats the Assassin (Roger Smith) with the Northern Lights Cloverleaf

After a tough match against the Assassin, Bret Hart tells Gene Okerlund how excited he is to be in the North American Title tournament and he can’t what for Saturday in Edmonton with his first-round match against the Superstar!

COMMERCIAL

Before we get back to the ring, we go to Gene Okerlund with Superstar Graham

Superstar Graham:  You know Gene Okerlund…. I hear the rumors that the Superstaaaa is a little long in the tooth.  (As he flexes his big biceps)  Well, I know I have been in this game a long time and all that means is that I am real goooood!  Bret Hart…. You were out here a few minutes ago acting all humble…. Well you should be.  This Saturday night in Edmonton, I am going to teach the young buck something… and that something is HE AINT READY!

Match:  Mr. Hito defeats Larry Cheatum with the Senton Bomb

Before the match starts, Rod Trongard tells us we are in for a treat.  The fans of Stampede have known that Mr. Hito is one of the best lightweights for a long time and know the fans of the AWA know that to.  He was awesome tonight and the fans appreciated his skill.  It is rare, but Mr. Hito is one of the few fan favorites from Japan wrestling in America.

Match:  Jos Leduc vs Bruce Hart

Before this match started, the Sheepherders and Leduc were interviewed by Gene Okerlund about the feud that is going on between them at the Harts.

Jos Leduc:  I will tell you the problem. No respect… No respect for the British Commonwealth.  The first sign of trouble and that sniffling Stu Hart goes and sells his company to an obnoxious American capitalist.  Why…. Because he must protect his little boys.  Well make no mistake about it… Harts… the Commonwealth is coming for you.

As for the match… it is a repeat of last week when Leduc took on Crusher.  It lasted only a minute or two and then the brawl was on.  Bruce and Keith Hart along with the Crusher vs Leduc and the Sheepherders. 

Ron Trongard:  I can’t believe how hot this feud has gotten in just two weeks.  These guys really loath each other.  Fans in Edmonton… the Sheepherders will be taking on Bruce and Keith Hart this Saturday night.  All I can say is hide the women and children

COMMERCIAL

Out of the break we see the AWA Champion, Hulk Hogan, with Gene Okerlund who first hypes up the fact that no matter what Bobby Heenan says, Hulk Hogan did indeed bodyslam King Kong Bundy last week in Calgary and reminds Hogan that Bundy will get one more shot as Hogan this week in Edmonton.

Hulk Hogan:  As I told you last week Mean Gene… Hulk Hogan backs down to no challenge.  I saw Bundy down and I summoned all the power in these 24 inch pythons and I scooped up King Kong Bundy and slammed him to the mat.  And I will do the same this week.

Gene Okerlund:  Indeed… Indeed.  Hulkster what I am about to show you may disturb you but take a look at this video from Jerry “the King” Lawler

 

Jerry Lawler:  Well Hulk Hogan, I heard you say last week that I better be careful if you come down to Memphis as all the Hulkamaniacs down here would turn against me.  Well you are right!  I would be very afraid if a maniac came at me.  I mean a maniac is someone who should be locked up because they are out of their mind and anyone who roots for you is out of their mind.  I have heard people say that Hogan is afraid to come to Memphis and that I should come to you.  Well I know one thing.  I am not coming to the great white north where it might be 40 below zero.  I am not afraid of you but the polar bears might get me.  And if they don’t, then something much scary than polar bears might come after me and that’s Canadian women!  I think I will be right here waiting for you Hogan if you ever get the guts to come to Memphis

Hulk Hogan:  Mean Gene, I am getting sick and tired of hearing from the King of Nothing.  He knows what would happen if I wrestled him anywhere in the country and that includes Memphis.  He can try to bribe everyone in the Mid-South Coliseum including the referees who I know for a fact are related to Jerry Lawler and it won’t make no difference….   Hey Jerry Lawler…What you gonna do when Hulkamania and the largest arms in the world run over you!

Gene Okerlund:  Well Rod, you heard him… Hogan is ready for anyone including King Kong Bundy or Jerry Lawler.

Match:  Dynamite Kid vs Bobby Fulton

The AWA Light Heavyweight Champion, Rock n Roll Buck Zumhofe joins Rod Trongard at the announce table for this one and they hype of the stacked light heavyweight division here in the AWA including Dynamite Kid, Bobby Fulton, Steve Regal, Greg Gagne, Mr. Hito and Bruce Hart.  This is where Eddie Gilbert comes out and wonders why they have left his name out.  Zumhofe and Gilbert get into each other’s faces and have a pretty good verbal fight.  Rod Trongard tries to keep the peace as he reminds Gilbert that Zumhofe wrestles whoever the AWA says he wrestles. 

As for the match, it is awesome.  So many technical moves as these guys are moving around the ring like they are on fire.  In the end, Dynamite knocks Fulton down with a spear and then catches him with a Diving Headbutt and gets the three-count.  Dynamite Kid goes over and helps Fulton get to his feet and this match then ends just like it started… with a Handshake.  The crowd loved it.

Dynamite sees the scene between Gilbert and Zumhofe and goes over to the announce area where he is confused at how Gilbert thinks he is in line for a title shot as it should be him.  Verne Gagne comes out and let’s everyone know that he has a big announcement next week about the AWA Light Heavyweight Title and that will come next week.  This seems to ease the tension between Dynamite and Gilbert but Zumhofe has a quizzical look on his face.

COMMERCIAL

MAIN EVENT:  AWA NORTH AMERICAN TITLE TOURNAMENT MATCH

Jim “The Avil” Neidhart vs Tom Zenk

So, what is stronger… a chiseled bodybuilder like Tom Zenk or a barrel-chested guy shaped like a fire hydrant.  Well this match will give us the answer.  The crowd is going for Zenk as the men don’t like the antics of the Anvil while the girls can’t get enough of Zenk’s good looks.  Zenk starts strong but both men know there way around the squared circle.  The Anvil is able to get on top and hits Zenk with everything but the kitchen sink but he can’t get the pin as Zenk keeps kicking out at 2 ½.  Neidhart, as we have seen before, gets frustrated and tosses Zenk to the floor and follows him out.

WHAM… The Anvil has clobbered Zenk with a chair and the ref immediately calls for the DQ.  Zenk may have moved on in the tournament but the Anvil doesn’t stop his beating of Zenk.  In the end, we see a bunch of jobbers come from the back and pull the Anvil away.

Rod Trongard:  Well folks… we will have to see what Stanley Blackburn and Verne Gagne have to say about what we just saw.  I know that this is something the AWA won’t stand for and Jim Neidhart might have just gotten himself in some trouble.  We are out of time tonight but don’t forget the big show in Edmonton on Friday and TNT Wrestling on the USA Network on Saturday.  So long from the Corral.

SALES PAVILLION:  EDMONTON:  JANUARY 14th, 1984

1.      Al Perez defeats Tom Stone with the Sleeper

2.      Mr. Hito defeats Lanny Poffo with the Diving Senton

3.      The Road Warriors defeat Steve O and Phil Lafon as the Road Warriors hit the future Doomsday Device on Lafon.  Wow the Road Warriors are impressive

4.      Dynamite Kid defeats Mr. Electricity Steve Regal with the Diving Headbut

5.      The Sheepherders vs Bruce & Keith Hart ended in a 20 minute time limit draw that saw both teams beat each other all over the ring.  Neither team wanted it to end and the locker room had to empty to regain order

6.      Sheik Jerry Blackwell defeated Curt Hennig after Hennig was clobbered once again with Sheik Adnan Al Kaissie’s  and the Blackwell hit a top rope Giant Splash 

7.      Rick Martel defeated Sheik Patera when he ducked under the Cast shot and Al Kassie actually clubbed hi own man.  Martel made the quick cover and then went after Al Kassie.  Hennig came back on the other side of the ramp and they #1 contenders to the tag titles cornered Al Kaissie and began to rip of the cast.  WHAM… Blackwell came from behind and attacked.  Patera recovered enough and the brawl was on…. And it carried on all the way to the locker room

8.      AWA NORTH AMERICAN TITLE TOURNAMENT MATCH:  Bret Hart defeated Superstar Billy Graham with the Cloverleaf.  This match was a little awkward as Superstar had some difficulty getting around the ring and his bumping and selling were not up to par.  Hart made the best of t and it didn’t really matter as Bret is so over in Canada that just his presence excited the fans. 

9.      AWA WORLD TITLE MATCH:  Hulk Hogan defeated King Kong Bundy with Bobby Heenen.  Bundy did have his time on top in this match and looked to be on the verge on the championship as he went for the Avalanche but Hogan moved at the last second.  Hogan fulfilled his promise and body slammed the big man and then connected with the Big Boot and Leg Drop for the win!  Hogan also endeared himself to the fans of Calgary as he grabbed Heenen by the neck and press slammed him to the Mat. 

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Breaking news !

Veteran promoter Don Owen has brokered a deal with the AWA promoters to form a substantial territory on the West Coast. While Owen and his Pacific Northwest Wrestling leaving the NWA comes as a shock, it couldn't come as a complete shock as the AWA's increasing west coast presence made Owen's position ever more tenuous, and Owen wound up deciding "If you can't beat them, join them." The result is a bold expansion across the west coast that includes :

- The acquisition of Al Tomko's All-Star Wrestling promotion in Vancouver (which had formerly been affiliated with the NWA), as well as the remaining assets of the defunct Big Time Wrestling in San Francisco from Roy Shire and NWA Hollywood in Los Angeles from the Le Bells.

- the purchase and refurbishment of the disused Grand Olympic Auditorium in Los Angeles, along with extended contracts for wrestling shows in the Pacific Coliseum in Vancouver and the Cow Palace in Daly City (near San Francisco). This, along with Owen's ownership of the Portland Sports Arena, gives Owen guaranteed access to major venues in all of his main towns.

- A contract for a Saturday afternoon wrestling show on ESPN (in the USA) and TSN (in Canada) that will be called Pacific Wrestling Showcase

This new promotion, dubbed AWA Pacific, will be majority owned by Don Owen, but with stakes owned by the other AWA promoters, and given their substantial investment , they are expecting a considerable return. Owen is confident that he can deliver the goods, especially anchored by Northwest legend Buddy Rose, a considerable star in both Portland and San Francisco. The other promoters are also helping out : Stu Hart has sent Stampede Wrestling stalwarts Gama Singh, Mr. Hito and Goldie Rodgers, as well as the exciting Japanese high flyer Cobra ; Jeff Jarrett has sent the up and coming tag team of the Rock & Roll Express ; and Stu Hart has sent no less than the former AWA World Champion Maurice "Mad Dog" Vachon. Even with this, Owen has promised some big surprises and major signings to get AWA Pacific off on the right foot. Stay tuned for more news when it comes in.

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AWA BREAKING NEWS:

It appears that Jim Barnett and Georgia Championship Wrestling were stuck between a rock and a hard place but found a last minute solution.  Barnett was really not happy with the idea of selling his company to either Ole Anderson or Vince McMahon, both of whom he distrusts immensely.  Barnett has seen the landscape of professional wrestling change dramatically offer the last few weeks with many of the old guard NWA promotions joining Verne Gagne and AWA wrestling so Barnett figured he had nothing to lose when he picked up the phone to call Vern.  Rumor has it that the talks have gone well as Barnett would love to stay in the game and Verne would love to scoop up the Superstation as another national television channel airing his new brand.

Stay tuned.... who could be next?   Cowboy Bill Watts, Fritz Von Erich, the Grahams in Florida or maybe even Vince himself will succumb to the power that is AWA Wrestling!

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Things are moving pretty fast with Dawn of War. I love the rejuvenation on the fantasy board with the upcoming 2019 Project and you, guys. Glad to see rain jumping aboard in this! :)

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