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/12 August 2000
Pro Wrestling Classics by Miguelito Fierro




(Original date sometime in 1963)

Hello, everyone, and welcome once again to the Classic Pro Wrestling recap! First, let me apologize for the lack of a recap last weekend. The reason is simple: ESPN Classic chose not to air the show last weekend. It's all part of this strange game that ESPN Classic is playing. It's called "Try to alienate one's audience." Why they play this game, I am not sure. But they seem to enjoy it.

Unfortunately for them, it is not working. I am not going to give up on this show. I'll watch it (and recap it) for as long as ESPN Classic continues to show it. Speaking of which, let's get to the show!

You'll have to forgive me if I half-ass it this week. I just got back from Nebraska. It's an eight hour drive from here (Denver) to there (Hell), and another eight hours back. I drove far too much this weekend; unfortunately, it will effect my recap. I'll try to keep it to a minimum.

Hey, we start out with the ring commentator, ??, introducing today's matches! That's always a nice start; ESPN Classic might've realized that we really want to see a whole wrestling show from the past, not a compilation of individual matches. Today we will see: Miguel (!) Perez -vs- Hans Hermann, TV Champion Johnny Valentine -vs- The Crusher, Billy Gills & Johnny Gilbert -vs- Strangler Rodell & Jack Owens, Nikolai Volkoff -vs- Luis Martinez. This looks like a good card today. I am getting pretty familiar with a lot of these wrestlers. I'm looking forward to this show!

ESPN Classic graphic is nice enough to let us know that today's show was recorded in 1963 at the Chicago Coliseum.

Let's start off with a promo! At the interview table is the TV Champ, Johnny Valentine. "My problem is in wrestling. Naturally, I'm striving to get to the top, and the only thing up there in my way is Buddy Rogers. [NOTE: I love Buddy Rogers! He was the Ric Flair of the 60's; simply the best thing going. That's why everyone who wanted to get to the top of the card got involved with Rogers in one way or another. This interview would've been taped after Rogers won the NWA World Championship.] This is going to be... matches that I'm going to get... as many matches as I can with Rogers because one of these days I'm going to beat him. And he knows it."

Valentine mentions that he is going to put the Crusher in his place tonight (today), then go on to face Rogers for the NWA Championship. The (so-far unnammed) commentator dares to insinuate that Valentine would be a favorite in a match against the Nature Boy. Valentine dares to agree with him. It would be funny to see the Crusher end Valentine's run at the champ by taking the TV title today.

We are finally ready to wrestle. Our first match is Miguel (!) Perez -vs- Hans Hermann. I have to root for Perez, of course; we share the same first name! Perez is a 24-year old rookie in this match; he is in against a monster of a man. Hermann has at least 100 pounds and a foot on Miguel. Which means, of course, that Perez is the face in this match.

Perez showing off some speed, dancing around Hermann and peppering him with dropkicks. He gets to close to Hermann, however, and pays for it. Hermann with an amazing array of restholds, er, mat wrestling, until Perez is able to slip out the back door. Perez is over enough to get a chant from the crowd! Crowd: "Let's go Meee-Gal, let's go!" Me: "You damned right!"

Perez and Hermann with a standard big man/small man sequence; Hermann tries the power moves, Perez with quickness. Perez manages a single-leg takedown and starts working on the knee. That's too close to Hermann, of course, who reverses the hold and starts working on Perez' knee.

The crowd to these shows is actually pretty impressive. I am guessing that they force everyone who went to the tv tapings to sit on one side of the arena, to make it look like attendance was super high. And it works; it looks like a sell-out in Chicago. And this crowd is hot already! I hope they stay like this the whole show.

In a Vince Russo moment, a blond comes out and gives an insider "shoot" interview regarding bill collectors. Oh, wait, I'm sorry, it's an advertisement. My bad; I thought it was a SHOCKING SWERVE!!!

We are back, just in time to see Perez hit a SWEET flying snap mare! Hermann looks appropriately stunned. Perez with a nice floatover bridge, then dropkicks Hermann into the ropes. Hermann is tied up on the ropes. The crowd wants Perez to take advantage of this, but he is a face, so he can't take any cheap shots.

Chain wrestling taking place here. Perez has the advantage, due to this speed. We get a resthold, so I have time to recommend an MP3 to you! Download "Never Good Enough" by Atlas Hunter at It's a great song (IMHO). We are finally out of the restholds, and the fans are going nuts for Perez! Either that, or they just really want this match to be over. I can't say for sure...

Perez with a monkeyflip. Trying again, but he gets tossed from the ring by Hermann. Hermann won't let Perez back into the ring, so Perez comes over the top rope and splashes Hermann. Cover... One count only. Hermann picks him up and throws him into the ropes. Hermann tries for a back body drop, but Perez rolls him up with a sunset flip and cover... 1-2-3!!! Perez gets the win! (9:43) Replay shows that Hermann almost killed Perez by falling down on Perez' head (OUCH!) during the sunset flip. Nevertheless, Miguel gets the win, and we go to commercial break.

I cannot tell you how grateful I am to ESPN Classic for dumping that annoying voiceover that they had been doing before commercial breaks. Thanks, ESPN Classic! You have won my undying loyalty! (Or something like that.)

Our face tag team is out for a quickie interview. Basically, they want the fans to know that it's okay to cheer for them.

Back to the ring, we have a match for the NWA Television Championship pitting the champ, Johnny Valentine -vs- The Crusher. Crusher attacks Valentine before the bell rings! Crusher all over Valentine, but that's not going to last! Valentine with a flurry of rights (is he channelling the Rock?), knocking the Crusher to the outside of the ring. The bell rings a half a million times, and then a group of security guards escort the Crusher to his dressing room??? Oh, I see. The referee has disqualified Crusher for attacking before the bell. That was a pretty shitty match! (0:00)

I thought we were going to get screwed out of a TV Title match. Looks like I should've had more faith. It looks like we are going to see Valentine defend his title against "Bad Boy" Joe (WHO?). The ring commentator slips in an inside comment: "This is Bad Boy Joe, doing the job that Crusher was supposed to do." SHOCKING!!! This must be where Vince Russo got his booking ideas for the last 10 months of WCW.

Valentine is still trying to get Crusher out here. Valentine hops out of the ring and starts heading towards the lockerroom. We get a great shot of the crowd; it looks like they have legitimately sold out the Chicago Coliseum. The crowd breaks into a LOUD "We want the Crusher" chant. Mind you, they don't like the Crusher; they want Valentine to kick the Crusher's ass. This crowd is RABID! Either of today's Big Three would kill to have a crowd this into a match (or non-match, as the case may be).

We finally get a match started here, as Valentine destroys the Bad Boy with a series of hip tosses, then a jumping elbow to the back of the neck. Valentine immediately covers and gets the pin (0:22). The Crusher is back out!!! But before anything interesting happens, we go to a commercial. [sigh]

We are back, and the Crusher is still standing just outside the ring. Commentator: "Crusher?" Crusher: "RAH ARRGH GAR GRRR ARRR FAR!" Me: "The hell?" The referee continues to try to keep the Crusher and Valentine away from each other. The Crusher decides he'd rather scream grunts at the crowd and the commentator again. Oh, wait, he speaks English! "I wasn't disqualified, the match never even started! I think they are prejudiced, because they know, and everyone here knows, that I am the greatest wrestler to ever step in a ring here in Chicago."

Crusher continues to alternately try to charge the ring, yell at the crowd, and bark into the microphone. Crusher claims that he thought he heard the bell ring ("They should invest in a bell that I can actually hear!" HA!) Crusher surprises himself by actually making it through the ropes into the ring. Valentine starts advancing, though, so Crusher hops right back out of the ring.

Okay, so that was pretty exciting and entertaining. But I can't help but notice that they totally screwed us out of a promised match. Maybe these matches ARE where Russo is getting his booking ideas?

Anyway, the referee finally succeeds in getting Valentine out of the ring, which allows our next match, Billy Gills & Johnny Gilbert -vs- Strangler Rodell & Jack Owens, to get underway. I am a little thrown off by the complete lack of 2-out-of-3 fall matches this week. Well, that, and it is now midnight, and I have been up since 8:00 this morning, and I drove for eight hours today, and I really, really want to go to bed. Oh, there's a commercial break here; we didn't actually get to start this tag team match at all yet.

We are back from commercial, and have Johnny Kace speaking for Nikolai Volkoff. Wait, Nikolai TALKS! And he doesn't have a Russian accent!!! He must've developed that accent in his late 40s as he toured the wrestling rounds in Russia. Or something like that. Nikolai will be up next!

Oh, there's a tag team match taking place here, but it is boring enough that even the crowd has kinda zoned out. Strange, since Johnny Gilbert is in this match, and that should be enough to make it interesting. But nobody seems to care about this match. So I'm not going to, either. Suffice it to say that there were a hell of a lot of rest holds (including a few thousand top wrist locks; Boon can count them himself if he really wants to know how many there were), culminating in Gilbert securing the Abdominal Stretch for the submission (4:10).

Okay, I'm going to be a theif and steal a joke from CRZ that he stole from Herb Kunze: The most over man in this tag-team match was The Crusher. And that's really all we can say about this match. So let's move on to our last match on a surprisingly bad episode of Classic Pro Wrestling.

Volkoff looks amazingly like Buzz Sawyer today. I think it's the combination of his beard and his bald spot. It's really strange, though. I keep expecting him to pull out a picture-perfect powerslam out of nowhere for the pin. Volkoff and Kace are still doing that stupid "Emergency Oxygen Tank" gimmick the pulled out in the title match a few weeks ago. I thought it was a bad idea then, and I still haven't changed my mind. Oh, we do have a match here; it is Volkoff -vs- Luis Martinez.

Martinez is all over Sawyer, -er, Volkoff. This is an earlier match in Luis' career; he obviously already is developing the charisma and energy that will make him so entertaining a wrestler 5 to 10 years after this match is taped. For this match, he just looks green in the ring. Until, that is, Kace nails him over the head with the box that the "oxygen tank" is hidden in. Kace does this right in front of the referee, who calls for the disqualification. Volkoff covers Martinez anyway (ha!) and forces the referee to count the pinfall! (HA!!) Okay, that was pretty damned funny. The three count doesn't change the result, however: Volkoff was disqualified at (2:58). Martinez is duly surprised when the referee explains that he just won the match!

Volkoff and Kace give a quickie interview, exclaiming that they have a HUGE following among the fans (ha!). Volkoff and Kace warn everyone in the NWA that they are on their way to the top. Our (still unnamed) commentator recaps the result of our matches and we are OUT! (Oh, the commentator just revealed himself to be Ned Travers.)

So now I need to decide if this show really wasn't very good this week, or if I am just so tired that everything sucks. Let's see... we had a great opening match, we had a bait-and-switch for the TV title match, we had an entertaining 20 minute segment as Crusher and Valentine teased going at it (something that was actually promised for this show, but then wasn't delivered), we had a REALLY crappy tag-team match, then we had a quickie match which ended in a screwjob. No, I don't think I am just tired. I think this was a pretty weak show this week. Here's looking toward next week!

A couple of quick, final notes:

  • I chose not to go to Nitro here in Denver Monday. There were plenty of tickets still available: According to the Rocky Mountain News, there were only 3,851 tickets sold (there were actually more tickets given away for the show than there were tickets sold: 3900 of the fans at the Pepsi Center Monday night were there free-of-charge). I just didn't feel like wasting a whole Monday night on a show that I was pretty sure was going to suck.

  • Keeping the title on Booker T tonight was one of the smartest moves WCW has made in a long time. Unfortunately, they also brought back David Arquette. Why is it that Russo can't do something right without fucking something else up?

  • Having a pro wrestler in the new Highlander movie is very appropriate: the first Highlander movie starts out with a Classic Wrestling clip: a Fabulous Freebirds match from (what is apparently) World Class Championship Wrestling.

    I am out of here, and in my bed. Peace, everyone! I'll see you all next weekend! Oh, be sure to keep the email coming! And be sure to stop by my website, There'll be a Classic Pro Wrestling Recap Archive there any day now!


    Miguelito Fierro
    [slash] wrestling

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