Remembering the American Wrestling Federation

You're THE star now, Tito!

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Paul Alperstein’s American Wrestling Federation popped up in 1994 and ran until 1996. The promotion ran enough shows to make up eighteen episodes but never achieved a PPV or super show.  

Those episodes were collected in a three-DVD set after several years and we get a look at a pretty weird promotion. Guess what? Most of the episodes are available online in all their early 90s quality. 

Oh, and the show production? It smacked of “Filmed before a live studio audience” and WCW Saturday Night between 1999-2000. What I’m getting at is that either there was a sign telling the crowd when to react, the crowd noise was piped in during post-production, or some from column A and some from column B.

What Made the American Wrestling Federation So Odd 

First of all, AWF’s goal was to bring back traditional wrestling at a time when a traditional approach just wasn’t going to do it for a national promotion. After all, WCW was still very much alive and kicking.  

Secondly, the roster was made up mostly of midcarders who came through WCW and WWE. 

A few of the wrestlers were main eventers at some point during the 80s. Guys like Tito Santana, Sgt. Slaughter, Bob Orton Jr, Chris Adams, and Koko B. Ware were the marquee attractions of the American Wrestling Federation. 

Finally, while the promotion was called the American Wrestling Federation, it took the round system from European wrestling. Each round was 4-minutes with three rounds for non-title matches and five rounds for title bouts—with one minute between each round. 

I don’t know why this necessary since it seems like it would just confuse the crowd. Just run regular-ass American wrestling rules! I could even understand having title matches be 2 out of 3 falls. Bringing that back would’ve worked. 

No, the AWF ran with this round system which often meant some squash matches were stretched out but other matches also shined because of it. Honestly, the round system could’ve worked if only AWF had more storylines instead of running Tito vs. Orton. 

We’re diving into the American Wrestling Federation because all of the AWF Warriors of Wrestling episodes are available online and it’s a mixed bag throughout. Some stuff stuck while other elements and talents just weren’t getting it done.  

The AWF is definitely one of the strangest but forgotten companies in wrestling history. We’re definitely getting into this series for Into the Vault: First Month Fire.

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