ESPN Wrestling Classics
This week features action from Joe Blanchard's Southwest Championship
Wrestling. In fact, here's Joe in a slamming light blue leisure suit to
welcome us to the program and rundown the card. There are no graphics,
chyron, ring entrances, music or anything to help us identify the
wrestlers...just the ivory tones of Joe. The matches have dubbed-over audio
commentary, so we can hardly hear the crowd's reaction. Also, no lights are
in the audience, so it's tough to see anybody in the crowd. I'm guessing this
is circa 1978-1979. A quick interview clip of Al Madril is shown, but we
immediately jump to:
Match 1: Henry Garcia vs. Leo Seitz
Blanchard mentions that these two guys are perennial Southwest jobbers.
Garcia is built like El Dandy and has snazzy lightning bolts on his drawers.
Seitz is built like the old guy who greets you at Wal-mart to offer you a
shopping cart. Nice comb-over, too. Bronco Lubich is the referee, and if
you've never seen Bronco make a three count, you're in for some fun. Garcia
cinches in a standingside headlock to start, but Leo breaks, sends himto the
ropes and lands a knee to the tummy. Leo comes off the ropes, right into a
backdrop from Garcia. Garcia grabs the headlock, shoves Leo to the ropes for
a shoulderblock, bodyslam, back to the headlock and takes him to the mat. Leo
manages a headscissors to break, but Garcia keeps cinching in the headlock.
Repeat this five times and you've got this match down-pat! Blanchard: "this
is a fine match... on the most exciting hour on television". Garcia works him
to the corner for a monkeyflip. Headlock/headscissors sequence again. Garcia
backs Leo in for another monkeyflip, but fails. Leo covers him for two.
There's Bronco with the 2 count love tap! Leo picks up Garcia for a running
bodyslam and that gets him the 3 count (Tap... tap..tap) and the win. About 8
Match 2: David and Kerry Von Erich (w/Kevin Von Erich) vs. Killer Karl Krup
and Gene Yates
Kerry is still a rookie at this point, has short hair and little resemblance
to the "Modern Day Warrior" everybody remembers. Say what you want about the
Von Erichs, but they knew how to work a match and, IMHO, were one of the most
underrated stables of the late 70's and 80's. Thankfully, this is wrestling
and Krup is announced as "KRUP"...not hockey where they'd call him "kroop".
In fact, if wrestling was like hockey, they'd wrestle 386 matches for the
sole purpose of eliminating Steve Lombardi from title contention. Kerry gets
an immediate rollup on Krup. Krup bails to the outside, then comes back in,
where Kerry grabs his leg and works hi to the mat. Both guys stand up for a
collar-to-elbow tie up. Krup is shoved to the ropes, Kerry armdrags him and
works him back down to the mat. Whoa... mat wrestling! Krup reverses the
armbar and gets a 1 count love tap. Kerry punches him and shoves his head to
the mat. Tag to David, who comes in to deliver a hiptoss and a dropkick. Krup
staggers back and tags Yates. Lock-up, turned into an armbar by David. Tag to
Kerry who continues the armbar fun. Krup tries to run in, but David is there
to chase him off. Kerry works Yates' arm into a hammerlock, sends him to the
ropes and armdrags him. Yate finally takes over with a standing side
headlock. Kerry manages to tag David. Dropkick! Dropkick! David with his
version of the standing side headlock on Yates. Yates with a hiptoss and
David kicks him from the mat. Yates tags Krup, but Bronco argues that he did
NOT tag OVER the ropes, so it's disallowed. David whips Yates to the corner
and follows with a headlock takeover. Oh crap, the headlock/leg scissors
thing again! Tag to Krup who pounds away on David. Heels doubleteam and work
him over. Krup goes for the Evil German Claw Hold! David punches out and tags
his bro. This time Krup goes for the stomach claw. Porno mat wreslting until
Krup tags Yates. Kerry with an Erik Watts-esque dropkick. David comes in and
applies the sleeper. Four way brawl errupts and David rolls up Yates for the
pin. Roughly 11 minutes.
Match 3: "Cowboy" Bob Ellis vs. Dale Valentine (w/Johnny Valentine)
Joined in progress, it appears. Dale Valentine is billed as Johnny's little
brother, but he might be better known to you as Buddy Roberts. Ellis has
spiffy shiny blue cowboy boots and "Vaquero" on his drawers. Ellis with an
armdrag, then Valentine with grabs the leg and goes to the hammerlock. At
this point, Joe Blanchard mentiosn: "you're stuck with Joe Blanchard on the
commentary..but we're trying to find a new anouncer". Believe me, Joe makes
Bill Mercer and Marc Lowrance seem exciting! Ellis escapes with an armdrag,
twists around and gets a drop toehold. He works the leg for awhile until
Valentine comes off the ropes with a shoulderblock. ANother drop toehold from
Ellis and they go back to the mat. Valentine pounds out, snapmares him, drops
a knee and gets a 2 count love tap. Hiptoss, elbowdrop, but he misses
another. Ellis takes him to the corner and smashes his head into the
turnbuckle. Bulldog out of the corner. He takes Valentine to the other side.
Smash. Bulldog attempted...but Valentine holds on to the ropes! Valentine
grabs Ellis' legs and clamps on the figure four! Valentine is in the ropes
and wont break the hold. Bronco DQ's him for being in the ropes and Ellis
escapes with the victory.
Ringside Interview: Johhny Valentine and Dale Valentine
Johnny is on crutches at this point. He sez that his little bro was "..over
eager. But it was a morale victory, he made him scream, and that's all that
counts!" Dale comes in and cuts a promo directed against Rocky Johnson.
Match 4: Collosso Collosetti vs. Ricky Thompson
Feel free to correct me on the spelling... but Thompson IS hard to spell :)
Collosetti is tossing out tortillas as he enters, to prove he's from
Argentina. Insert Bobby Heenan joke HERE. ("those are the leftovers from
Sunday's brunch!") Both guys shake hands before they lockup. Thompson with a
go-behind waistlock. Collosetti counters and manages a hammerlock. Clean
break and for some reason the fans start getting on Collosetti. Collosetti
goes for an armlock and works into a cobra clutch. Ricky complains with
Bronco about the hairpull, drawing a break. Ricky side headlocks Collosetti,
takes him over and down to the mat. Oh no...the headlock/leg scissors
treatment, AGAIN! Criss cross rope action. Shoulderblock from Collosetti. Two
armdrags from Ricky, but he misses a dropkick into the corner. Collesetti
slams him and slaps on the Argentinian Neckbreacker for the submission win.
Happens real fast, but the move looks a bit like the stump-puller.
Match 5: Jerry Stubbs vs. Harley Race
Blanchard had been plugging a special video tape match with Ricky Romero.. so
not sure why this is suddenly in there. It's from a Mid-Atlantic show, and
it's anybody's guess if this was part of the original broadcast. Southwest
Championship Wreslting WAS an NWA affiliate, so it fits in, regardless.
Harley's in his second title reign as NWA champ and dominates the match.
Non-title, by the way. Stubbs looks like a cross between Big John Studd and
Buck Zumhoffe. He gets an armdrag and a powerslam on Race, and that's all.
Race knees him to take over. Snapmare, kneedrop, headlock, gut-wrench suplex
and a 2 count. Underhook suplex from Race gets another 2. Stubbs reverses an
irish whip to the corner, but makes the mistake of using his chin to smash
Race's knee. Race snapmares him, drops two knees, then executes a long,
hanging suplex for the 3 count pin.
Ringside Interview: Rocky Johnson
Johnson talks about Dale Valentine in a generic promo. Blanchard wraps it up
and signs off. It took me the whole hour, but at this point I realize that
they have TWO interviewers.. one English and one Spanish. Never said I was
Why'd You Tape This?
Simple, because I didn't want to get up at 5am to watch it :) Nothing
earth-shaking here, it's more of a "day in the life" episode of Southwest and
I'll be taping over it, soon. The Von Erich footage is okay, but they had
about 300 matches of higher quality on ESPN's old "Legends of WCCW" tapes.
Those matches also have Bronco's hilarious love taps, so you can't lose. Take
a pass on this show, though.
Next week's show has John Paul Henning, Hans Hermann, Jim Hady and Moose
Cholak. This show is listed as one of the following on your TV line-up:
"CLASSIC'S PROFESSIONAL WRESTLING", "ESPN Wrestling Classics" or "Golden Age
of Wrestling". Saturdays, 5am MST (you do the math) on ESPN Classic. I wont
be here for it.... but if you'd like to watch it, you have my permission to
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