First Month Fire: AWF Warriors of Wrestling #1
We introduced the American Wrestling Federation as it would be another stop as we head Into the Vault for some First Month Fire. It was an experimental promotion that was operated as if it was a true third major promotion. Their AWF Warriors of Wrestling show tried to present traditional wrestling in a new way.
Upon its debut, there was no Big Three in the U.S. It was WWE and WCW, a bunch of indies, and an NWA that was busy sitting on the bench drinking Gatorade.
Greg Valentine came out and lumped up on Billy Joe Eaton in a match that ended in the first round of action. Not a surprising match but not an exciting or fun squash either.
It was Valentine just…beating the guy with his clubbing style then winning with his Figure Four. You don’t really go into a Greg Valentine match expecting the most exciting bout unless he’s in the ring with someone who can bring it out of him.
Tony Atlas vs. Sonny Rogers was another bland match that went to the second round. This was squash territory but it wasn’t as clean as Valentine’s squash. Atlas overpowered Rogers so much that it should’ve been a first-rounder then move this train along.
Also, AWF and Alperstein were so adamant about the rules being followed and Atlas got away with a headbutt to the groin. What?
Sgt. Slaughter is one of the faces of early AWF—it was around less than two years, can I say “early”? Anyways, he does the opening of the show before it moves into this really cool show opening.
This is the best part about the Warriors of Wrestling TV show, the opening reminds you of the commercial version of 90s Japanese wrestling tapes. It’s pretty sweet.
Slaughter destroyed a scrub with his Cobra Clutch in I believe the first round. This wasn’t a match that just held your attention.
Koko B. Ware’s squash match wasn’t awful but it wasn’t exciting or worth watching. Actually, it was like a lot of Koko’s matches in WWE. The most eventful part was even him hitting the Ghost Buster—one of the meanest brainbusters in North America at the time.
Tito Santana’s opening bout against the Ultimate Destroyer wasn’t bad at all. Actually, it was the best match in the first episode and it was Santana facing a scrub.
This match was meant to showcase the rules of the American Wrestling Federation but there is a much better match on episode two that does this.
The action wasn’t much to write home about but that’s true for the whole episode. This was just an extremely cut and dry match with no botches and one clean Flying Burrito from Tito.
I mean that flying forearm was hit so smoothly in the second round that it looked like a regular flying crossbody. The finish was something I had to watch twice before I noticed he bops the Destroyer with that forearm before landing in a pin. Smooth.
Nailz vs. Rick Thunder was not a good match at all but it would’ve made for a great segment to get Nailz over as a heel who just would not adhere to AWF’s rules. This would’ve made for an excellent beatdown because that’s what happened.
Nailz didn’t win the match but he won “Most Exciting Segment” from me.
AWF Warriors of Wrestling #1 Verdict: 4/10
No exotic-tier matches here, one solid match, a bad match but great segment, a bunch of skippable squash matches, and some solid promos between matches.
Honestly, this would’ve gotten a 3-flat if it wasn’t for a solid commentary team featuring Terry Taylor, the show’s kick ass opening, and AWF being one of the most progressive promotions production-wise.
The American Wrestling Federation was using camera shots that you didn’t see on national wrestling TV at the time. What’s weird is that the action just didn’t warrant it! This was not a great first episode but it had some things working for it.
I mean, not the piped-in crowd noise. That crowd was far too excited for Nailz and 1994-1995 Tito. You’d swear Lawler walked into WMC-TV Studios with how rowdy they were.
Then again, they were probably abusing the “APPLAUSE/BOO” button.
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