World Class Championship Wrestling - December 3, 1983
by Erick Von Erich
You'll notice that I skipped over the November 25, 1983 show. It was full of nothing but hype for Holiday Star Wars, recounting the big angles and matches leading into the event. But this episode is the first part of the actual Star Wars card. From Reunion Arena in Dallas, Texas and the 5th straight sell-out for the series. As the show opens, Bill Mercer runs down the card, as we'll see the much-ballyhoo'ed debut of Mike Von Erich as he looks to lock horns with General Skandar Akbar. Plus the American Tag Team Titles are on the line! But with so much going on in World Class Championship Wrestling, let's get down to ringside for...
Opening Ceremonies of Holiday Wrestling Star Wars
Marc Lowrance welcomes everyone to the show, then brings in ring announcer/gopher Ralph Pulley to sing the National Anthem. After that, "Thus Spake Zarathustra", aka "Theme From 2001: A Space Odyssey", aka "Theme from Ric Flair" plays over the PA system. The theme wasn't widely know for Flair at the time, so nobody's marking out and expecting the Nature Boy to walk that aisle. It's just played to set the "epic" feel that World Class is hoping for. Lot of folks did that in the early 80's. Heck, I remember it playing before some talent shows at my elementary school.
Match 1: Jose Lothario, Mike Reed & Johnny Mantell vs. Boris Zhurkov, Black Gordman & Tonga John (w/Skandar Akbar)
Hey, it's another random 6-man match of low/mid carders! This seemed to be a usual Star Wars technique. Despite the lower/midder aspect, this match has an element of intrigue going for it, because honestly you don't know who will win. I thought Zhurkov had been let go from Devastation, Inc after he failed to put away Brusier Brody, circa September 1983. Tonga John finally lives up to his name, as he's billed from "The Isle of Tonga", as opposed to Samoa. He also has little fabric flowers hanging down the front of his trunks, which sorta' makes it look like Lil' John is flapping out the barn door. Gordman gets a good chorus of boo-birds, while Lothario gets an equal amounts of cheers. Ol' Jose was still over, despite his advanced age and the fact that he seemed to be off in his own little world in terms of World Class booking.
Mantell starts off with Tonga John and works a side headlock to the mat for way too long. TJ bounces the ropes, Mantell delivers a hip-toss and it's right back to the headlock. Really? You start one of your biggest cards of the year with 4 minutes of headlocking? TJ finally ends the headlock portion with kneelift and clubbering, bringing in Zhurkov and Gordman. Reed comes in and gets whipped n' chopped by TJ. Zhrukov checks in for some kickin' and chinlockin'. Reed manges to escape the chinlock and tags Mantell, who delivers a backdrop, suplex and a drop-kick for a 2 count. Lothario finally checks in, to a big pop. He bops Zhrukov, then greets the entering Blackman with the same. Lothario connects with a reverse elbow off the ropes, sending Gordman out to the floor. Lothario knocks him outside again, but Gordman returns and brings in Zhurkow who works the lower back. The Tonga John portion resumes, with a short diving headbutt for a 1 count. Thingsbreak down as all 6 men begin brawling. Reed and Tonga John go corner-to-corner, then Mantell delivers a backdrop on TJ. Heels take over and begin working on Mantell in their corner. Zhrukov whips him for a charging clothesline, covers, but Lothario makes the save. All 6 men enter again to signal the final stretch. The cmaeras miss exactly how it happens, but Mantell rolls-up Zhurkov and gets the 3 count pin. Afterwards, Lothario clears the ring by drop-kicking Gordman away. Just another paint-by-numbers match with very low to elementary offense. I think this is the last we'll see of Zhurkov and Tonga John in World Class (at least on TV).
Bill Mercer Ringside Interview: The Von Erichs
Looks like it was taped just as the crowd was filing in. Mercer has all FOUR Von Erichs: Kevin, David, Kerry and the rookie Mike. Mercer talks about the Von Erich lineage, then brings up David's basketball background. Dave seems a little irked and has to slip in that he also competed in football. Kinda' weird. But this may have been a rib, since a friendly bloke over at KayFabe Memories tells me that Kevin considered David's particpation in basketball as "feminine". So I could see Kevin ribbing his little brother by saying to Mercer: "psst, when you interview Dave, ask him about his basketball days!" Kevin concludes the interview by pumping up Mike's debut and saying: "we're going to toss him in the trough and see how the horse chews cabbage."
Before the next match, Marc Lowrance announces two special guests at ringside: former NWA President and St. Louis wrestling icon Sam Mushnick. Along with the club president of the football St. Louis Cardinals, Bing Devine (who gets a small chorus of boo-birds. Remember: the Cardinals were in the same division as the Dallas Cowboys). Devine was actually very well-known for his work with the baseball Cardinals in the 60's, though.
Match 2: Mike Von Erich vs. Skandar Akbar (w/Friday)
Pro debut for Mike, as this match was set-up after Akbar slapped him during a run-in. Akbar has somewhat of a barrel chest and is rather ring-fit for a manager. Even in his wrestling trunks he looks like someone I wouldn't want to meet in a parking lot after midnight. Kevin walks half-way down the aisle with Mike. They lock-up and Akbar complains of a hair-pull. They grapple again, and Mike surprises Akbar with a backslide for a quick 1 count. Akbar runs out of the corner, as Mike performs a leg takedown and works it to the mat. Akbar makes the ropes to break, then cranks an arm-wringer. Mike flips out of it and blasts him with a drop-kick. Akbar goes to the eyes, stomps away, slams him, then drags him over to Friday's corner. Akbar signals for Friday to toss him a whip. As Akbar's distracted, Mike rolls him up off the ropes and scores the 3 count pin! Akbar tries attacking, but Mike grabs the whip and nails Akbar with it. Kevin comes in to congratulate his little brother (and to make sure the heels head to the back).
Match 3: American Tag Team Championship:
The second chapter of Ice's feud with the Super-D's. It sounds as if Marc Lowrance asks JYD where he's from, as we can clearly him saying "Tennessee" before his introduction. Indeed, Lowrance announces him as being from "Tennessee", which is a bit of a rarity since JYD was usually billed as hailing from South Carolina. The Super-D's also have differing masks. One has a yellow star on a red mask and the other's is the opposite.
Super Destroyers (c) (w/Skandar Akbar) vs. "Iceman" King Parsons & the Junkyard Dog
JYD begins with SD1 and works an armbar. SD1 sends him to the corner, but JYD runs out with a charging forearm. They tag off to SD2 and Iceman, respectively. Iceman criss-corsses with SD2, then drops to all fours and chases him out of the ring in a manner similar to JYD. SD2 returns and gets an Iceman side-headlock, followed by a hip-toss, kick-out, sidemare and a drop-kick. JYD comes in to drop a knee and apply a chinlock. SD1 tries coming in, but JYD headbutts both. SD2 jabs JYD in the eyes, allowing SD1 to brawl with him for a bit. They work on the Dawg for a bit, but SD2 puts his head down, allowing the lukewarm tag to Iceman. Ice comes off the ropes with his butt-butt, but SD1 makes the save. All four men enter the ring and, in the confusion, SD2 and Akbar send Ice into the ring post, splitting his forehead open. The SD's work on the cut and eventually Iceman has to leave the ring for medical attention.
JYD goes it alone, backdropping SD1 and slamming SD2. SD2 manages a knee in the abck and drops an elbow for a 2 count. They begin double-temaing JYD when Iceman suddenly returns to the match, head all a-bandaged! The bell sounds for ...a disqualification? I guess that's the verdict, as Iceman may have been officially ruled OUT of the match when he left for the locker. Everyone brawls and out of nowhere Akbar suddenly ignites a FIREBALL right in Iceman's grill! Crazy spot for the time. As JYD and officials check on Iceman, the Super-D's walk down the aisle holding their belts high. The fireball spot was intense, as it made Akbar and Devastation, Inc seem truly EVIL! You got the sense that they really wanted to dismemeber Iceman. A slow-mo replay of the fireball is shown as we go to the final commercial break.
Bill Mercer quickly signs off and invites us back next week! Cue the DRUMS!
Why'd You Tape This?:
We have at least one more episode chronicling "Holiday Star Wars". As a special event, this delivers. Not so much in the match quality, but the angles. The first match is completely forgettable, but the Mike/Akbar tilt ended up being more competitive and entertaining than I expected. I usually write-off "wrestler vs. manager" matches, but Akbar handled his role well. I'd say Akbar was a better choice than, say, Buddy Roberts-- who seemed to be the sacrificial lamb for the World Class heels at this time.
Boom-da-da-da-boom, da-da-da-boom, da-da-da-boom
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