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AWF Warriors of Wrestling; Episode 8

by Scrooge McSuck

- It's been a while since I've taken a dive into the anals (not annals) of the AWF. Last time on Warriors of Wrestling, we've finally figured out who will compete in the Finals of the AWF Championship Tournament, and there will also be a special referee for the match, just for the sake of having a special referee. You know the rule: If no one bothers to mention who it's going to be, odds are always on that it's going to be a disappointing reveal. Will it be Hulk Hogan? Ric Flair? The Iron Sheik? Reno Riggins? It can be anyone!

- Mick Karch and Terry Taylor are here to call all the action, just like every other episode that was taped in one long day of shooting.

AWF Heavyweight Championship Tournament Finals:
Tito Santana vs. Bob Orton Jr. (w/ Sir Oliver Humperdink):

This one is scheduled for 12 Rounds, and President Paul Alperstein comes to the ring with all of the presence of a second rate Jack Tunney. The special referee is introduced as... Jumpin' Jim Brunzell, to practically no reaction. That's when you're supposed to can in the crowd reactions, folks. Tito Santana went through Hercules, Mr. Hughes, and Tommy Rich to get here, while Bob Orton had a somewhat easier path with scrub Johnny Gunn, JTTS Koko B. Ware, and Chris Adams in his way. I have to call bias on this special referee... he's clearly going to favor his former tag team partner. Remember... they teamed up on an episode of PTW against Demolition, back when Crush was introduced as the newest member? Yeah, I dug in deep for that one. Brunzell seems to have trouble remembering his lines, blowing the pre-match rules and introductions on repeated instances. We even get a lame handshake.

Round 1: Lockup, taken to the corner and broken cleanly. Tony Atlas is sitting at ringside, along with the other hobos thast came for a freal meal. Lockup, and Orton applies an overhead wristlock, but Santana quickly counters into a hammerlock. Lockup, and Santana with a side headlock and takeover. Orton tries to escape, but Santana cranks it up. Irish whip to escape, and Santana with a shoulder block, then back to the headlock as we end the round.

Round 2: Hey look, Sgt. Slaughter is standing around watching, too. I hate when promotions do that when it's clearly lame. Lockup, and Orton with a waistlock. Taylor goes on and on about fingers, and I know he was this close to saying four-finger spread. Orton with a takedown, and he works the arm. Irish whip, and Orton with a shoulder block. Santana comes back with a hip toss, arm drag, then back to his side headlock. Santana slams Orton face-first into the canvas for a two count. Santana with a scoop slam, and that's the end of Round 2.

Round 3: Chris Adams is hanging around, watching the action, as well as Pedro Morales. What the hell is he doing there? The two trade hammerlocks until Orton sweeps the leg and cranks a step over toe hold. Santana counters with a headlock, and that's been most of the match. Orton escapes with a head scissors, and they repeat the formula until Santana regains control with the headlock. Another round in the books...

Round 4: We take a look at Brunzell's scorecard, and somehow he gave Round 1 to Orton, but Santana won 2 and 3. Lockup, and Orton with an overhead takedown. They do a bridge spot, and Santana with a backslide for a two count. Santana with more headlock cranking. Santana releases for a near fall, then goes back to it. Orton sucker punches Santana after the bell, then claims hearing damage.

Round 5: Orton was deducted a point, by the way. Orton with a series of elbows across the throat, as Rico Suave joins the commentary team. Orton with a sling shot from under the bottom rope. Terry Taylor really needs to make up his mind wether he wants to be pro-babyface or pro-heel. He can't be both. Orton works Santana over and claws at his face. Santana with some weak body blows, but Orton lays him back out. Orton with a headbutt to the chest for a two count. Irish whip, and Orton slaps on a sleeper, but time expires.

Round 6: Orton attacks with forearm uppercuts for a two count. Irish whip, and Santana with a sunset flip for a two count of his own. Irish whip, and Orton reapplies the sleeper hold. Santana escapes with a jaw buster, but Orton recovers and drops a pair of forearms across the throat. Crowd responses reminds me of WWF WarZone on PSone, with the rapid changes of boos to cheers and random chants. Santana takes control with rights and lefts, then takes it to the corner for 10 more. Whip to the corner, and Santana charges into a knee. Orton with a modified neck breaker for a two count.

Round 7: Orton attacks in the corner and unloads with rights. Whip across the ring, and Orton bumps his way into laying across the top rope. Santana with a punt to the midsection, followed by a forearm for a two count. Santana drags Orton to the center of the ring, and drops his weight across the left knee. Orton counters the Figure-Four, kicking Santana into the turnbuckle and covers for a two count. Santana sends Orton to the corner again. Santana sweeps the legs and covers for two. Santana to the top rope, and he misses a body press. Orton crawls over and covers for a two count. Orton with a roll over into a pin for another two count. They hug around the ring until getting caught in the bottom rope.

Round 8: Orton backs Santana to the corner and hammers away, then sends Santana into the opposite corner. Orton sets Santana up across the top rope, but Santana fights off the Superplex attempt and knocks Orton off. Santana top the top, and he comes off with a sunset flip for a two count. Slugfest from their knees, and Santana grabs a headlock. IRish whip, and Orton with a boot to the midsection. Orton goes for the piledriver, but Santana counters with a back drop. Santana hits the ropes, but gets caught in a powerslam for a two count. Orton with a back breaker for another two count. Orton goes for it again, but Santana counters with a cradle for a two count. Santana hits the ropes, and nails the flying forearm for the three count and AWF Championship at 2:06 of Round 8 (30:06 total wrestling time). It's really hard to rate matches like these, with the rounds breaking up the action. The first few rounds were dreadfully dull because it was almost entirely a resthold for each of them, but the last few picked up the action quite nicely. Solid match, and they did a good job of trying to establish the pace of building up the match. Sadly, this pace and style was wonderful for the 70's and early 80's, but by 1995 standards, it seemed way out of place.

Final Thoughts: One match took up the entire show. It concluded the tournament that occupied the previous four episodes, so it's a good finale, I guess. I really can't think of much more to say about it.

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