THE SPECIALISTS Nostalgia Review: AWA Super Clash II; Bockwinkel vs Hennig; Blackwell vs. Zhukov; Midnight Rockers and more
May 4, 2008 - 10:00:14 AM
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By: Brian Hoops, Nostalgia Specialist
This week’s trip back to wrestling nostalgia takes us back to the AWA promoted SuperClash II. SuperClash II was held on May 2, 1987 from the Cow Palace in San Francisco, California. The AWA was my all time favorite wrestling promotion that I grew up watching. The AWA focused on athletic contests and generally had a good in ring product; however the lack of star power, poor television and production values and marketability eventually led to its demise. SuperClash II was attended by 2,800 fans live and featured a classic, must see matchup between Nick Bockwinkel and Curt Hennig.
The announcer is Ron Traungard.
1. Sheik Adnan Al Kassie defeated Buck “Rock & Roll” Zum Hofe in 11:58. The Sheik was mostly a manager by this time but had been a very solid in ring performer in his day. I believe the Sheik destroyed Buck’s boom box to lead to this matchup. The finish came when Buck was making his big comeback but the Sheik reversed an Irish whip and placed his feet on the ropes to pin Zum Hofe. It was a decent match but had too much stalling early.
2. DJ Peterson wrestled the Super Ninja to a 15 minute draw. At the beginning of the match, Traungard announced it was a 20 minute time limit match. Peterson would mostly wrestle in independent promotions in his career but did win the AWA World Tag Team Titles with The Trooper (Del Wilkes, The Patriot). Peterson and the Trooper would be the last AWA Tag Team Champions as the AWA folded during their championship reign. Peterson would lose his life in a motorcycle accident in 1993. The match was average, and it was hard to get emotionally involved in since so little was known about Peterson or the Super Ninja at this time.
3. Sheri Martel defeated Madusa Micelli in 11:31. This match was for the AWA Women’s Title. Martel, who won the title in May of 1986 at Battle by the Bay, was defending the title against Micelli. Martel refused to give up her belt or to get in the ring early in the match in an attempt to build cheap heat on her and cement her as the heel to the fans. Sheri worked on Madusa’s arm early in the match. The story was Sheri was the cagey veteran that relied on her knowledge to defeat the younger, stronger Micelli. Micelli had a visual three count; however Doug Somers had the ref distracted. When Micelli argued with Somers, Martel rolled her up from behind with a schoolgirl for the pinfall in 11:31. An above average match.
4. Curt Hennig defeated Nick Bockwinkel in 23:44 in a match for the AWA World Heavyweight Title. This was a classic match for the AWA World Heavyweight Championship. The challenger, Curt Hennig was trying to win his first AWA World Heavyweight Title against tthe 4 time AWA World Heavyweight Champion, Nick Bockwinkel. Larry Zbyzsko interrupted the ring introductions to challenge the winner of this match. Lots of early mat wrestling, with Hennig holding his own against the more experienced Bockwinkel. Bockwinkel and Hennig traded move for move for the first 8 minutes of action. Hennig made the first mistake of the match, and went flying through the ropes and hit his head on the steel guard railings. Bockwinkel was vicious in not allowing Hennig back into the ring. Bockwinkel worked over Hennig, until Hennig reversed the momentum and Hennig locked in a figure four leg lock. For the next 10 minutes, they exchanged several incredible near falls. At the 23:30 mark, Zbyzsko walked to the ring and handed Curt Hennig a roll of dimes. Hennig then hit Bockwinkel with the dimes and covered Bockwinkel for the pinfall. Hennig became the new AWA World Heavyweight Champion amidst controversy. In fact, the belt was held up after the match due to the controversy; however the belt was given back to Hennig several days later. Hennig would hold the title for the first and only time in his career, before losing the belt just over a year later to Jerry Lawler. This match was a classic, must see wrestling match.
5. The Midnight Rockers of Shawn Michaels, Marty Jannetty, and local hero Ray Stevens defeated Buddy Wolfe, Doug Somers, and Kevin Kelly in 17:59. The Rockers came into the match as AWA World Tag Team Champions after defeating Doug Somers and Buddy Rose in St. Paul, Minnesota in January 1987. Stevens was a San Francisco wrestling legend who was past his prime from a wrestling standpoint, but was kept to only limited duty in the match. Kelly would go on to wrestle in the WWF as Nailz and briefly in the WCW as The Convict. Marty Jannetty was worked over by the heel team for the majority of the match. In fact, Jannetty worked the first 17 minutes until he made the hot tag to Michaels. Finish came when Stevens small packaged Wolfe for the pin. It was a decent match.
6. Jerry Blackwell defeated Boris Zhukoff in 12:31. Buck Zum Hofe accompanied Blackwell to the ring and Zhukoff was accompanied by his manager Sheik Adnan Al Kassie. Blackwell worked on Zhukoff most of the early portion of the match before Zhukoff got the advantage by raking Blackwell’s eyes around the seven minute mark. This segment was bad as Zhukoff had no offensive abilities. Things picked up around the 12 minute mark after a ref bump, Kassie came in the ring. Blackwell hit a double clothesline and Zum Hofe pushed the ref back into the ring and he counted the pin for Blackwell. This was a very boring match to watch as Blackwell was on the downhill slide of his great career and Zhukoff was not very good.
7. Jimmy Snuka teamed with San Francisco 49er tight end, Russ Francis to defeat The Terrorist and The Mercenary in 11:13. The Terrorist was Brian Knobbs of the Nasty Boys and the Mercenary was Ron Fuller, who wrestled for SMW and later managed in WCW as Col. Rob Parker and briefly in WWF as Tennessee Lee. Francis was not unfamiliar with a wrestling ring as his father ran a wrestling promotion in Hawaii for a number of years. Due to Francis experience level compared to Snuka, Snuka worked most of the early match which was smart booking. The Mercenary/Terrorist team worked over Snuka for the first 10 minutes until Snuka made the tag to Francis. Snuka and Francis both went to the top rope for the finish. Snuka splashed the Terrorist first, then Francis hit a horrible looking splash and pinned the Terrorist. It was an average match.
Summary: This was a decent show that provided one excellent mat classic in the AWA World Heavyweight Title match with Curt Hennig and Nick Bockwinkel. The rest of the matches I would rate at average to below average. The title match is well worth seeing if you can find a copy of the match.
As always, feel free to contact me with any thoughts, comments or suggestions. You can reach me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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