As many of you are aware, WWE Network is pretty packed with all sorts of content. And as you may also know, we here at Place to Be Nation love long term, in depth projects. So, as part of this initiative, JT Rozzero, Chad Campbell, Jason Greenhouse, Scott Criscuolo & Dan McGinn are starting in 1975 and are planning to watch the entire offering of the WWE Network chronologically. They have plotted their course and after watching each program, they will share their thoughts, notes and recommendations with our readers. So, settle in and enjoy this epic ride through wrestling history!
Run Time: 47 minutes
Brian Adias vs. Killer Brooks
Bugsy McGraw & Al Madril vs. Magic Dragon & Checkmate
Great Kabuki vs. David Von Erich, All-Asian Championship
JT: Al Madril continues to be one of our weekly MVPs and that carries on here, as he had some nice fire early on and then sold like a champ for the H&H boys. Dragon & Checkmate really are the workhorses of the WCCW heel stable, out here week after week in one form or another. They are pretty fluid as a team and worked a pretty long heat segment here. Of course, like last time, this match was enjoyable despite Bugsy’s antics and in no way because of them. The finish was really good too with a nice spot from Madril leading to the faces getting a measure of revenge from their previous defeat. The crowd loved that finish.
Chad: Slim pickings this week as I have to go with the tag match featuring a pairing I am completely sick of at this point. Everyone was effective here and Bugsy didn’t annoy me as much. This felt like a greatest hits version of their match as it was very long but it was decent enough. Sadly, decent enough wins MOTN on this putrid show. Match rating: **.
Jason: I gotta go with the tag-team match this week. Checkmate and Magic Dragon continue to be one of my favorite parts of World Class. Quick tags and a great job working Al Madril’s arm. Although Busgy McGraw was completely worthless in this match, (as he is in every other match he’s in) the other three men made it a fun affair. Al Madril’s sunset flip from the top rope onto Checkmate made for a great finish.
Dan: Ugh this field is weak. I’m sick of Checkmate and Magic Dragon vs. Madril and Bugsy. At least the “Lovable Losers” actually won this time. You don’t see too many double sunset flips for the win. I suppose if you like stomps in the corner and Bugsy looking like a complete jackass for 15 minutes, then this match was five stars for you. I do love Mercer putting over the talent calling Bugsy the “man child” who believes in absolute freedom whatever the heck that means. Checkmate was called the “man of a million holds” which will no doubt make Dean Malenko and Chris Jericho jealous. Let’s stop now before I convince myself to take the Von Erich match instead.
Scott: As tired as I am of seeing these four guys in the ring again, the tag match was pretty good, as these guys know each other back and forth. It’s like wrestling the same guy on a house show swing night after night for two weeks. They do their best to make the matches different, and at least for this episode it’s the best match of the card.
JT: I am tempted to give this to Ric Flair and Fritz Von Erich again as their face-to-face was replayed and it was that damn good. But, I won’t. I will go with Al Madril and his great selling and slick finish to the tag match. Also, he had a pretty pimp shirt on when he was levying his predictions for Von Erich/Flair.
Chad: This show was really bad so screw it, the Fritz/Flair showdown was the most I was entertained on the whole show. I did like the other competitors giving their predictions on the match but the showdown here had an edge that nothing else was matched throughout this show.
Jason: I was ready to give it to my hommie Al Madril, that is until Armand Hussein got hit with Great Kabuki’s green mist. Hussein sold the accidental mist shot like a boss. An honorable mention should also go to the Fritz and Flair showdown. They can replay that every week and I’d be completely Ok with that.
Dan: I will echo some of my brothers here and go with my boy Hussein tonight. Not only did he show such agony when he got sprayed by the poisonous green mist, but dude also shined in a rare speaking appearance on this show. Him claiming that David’s sleeper was a choke and he was justified in helping Kabuki in their previous bout simply because he has exceptional eye sight was amazing. “I can look through muddy waters and spot dry land.” He’s been underutilized so far but on this show, he definitely brought the goods!
Scott: I’ll give Armand Hussein the award for his awesome selling of the mist shot he took from his charge the Great Kabuki when Kevin Von Erich ducked out of the way. He sold it like he was shot, which was cool to see since all he’s done so far on these shows is blow that friggen whistle. So the wrestlers all worked hard, but Hussein’s oversell (and, even worse, the plumber’s crack the camera caught) does it for me.
JT: That Bill Mercer never said “Oriental” once despite the All-Asian championship being defended. Everything else was pretty paint-by-numbers this time around.
Chad: Brian Adidas can’t even beat Killer Brooks clean, how low on the totem pole is this guy?
Jason: A tall skinny kid from Texas was crowned the All-Asian Champion. Only in the south. Right, Chad?
Dan: I’m stunned Checkmate picked Kerry over Flair. So much for heels backing fellow heels. Also, is he British?
Scott: Honestly, that a Von Erich son didn’t win a match clean. Who needs protecting when the belt doesn’t even exist?
JT: Brian Adias. Step up, young fella! Sure, he won the match but he was basically given a bullshit gift. Also, the main event was fine overall but I guess slightly disappointing, especially with the weird finish where Kabuki was DQ’d for spraying the mist at his manager.
Chad: Killer Brooks looks like someone that would have that weird vibe to him and be pretty vicious in the ring. Instead, he has been a bumbling disaster so far in his first two appearances. He even botches the finish of this match in royal fashion. Bill Mercer mentions he was retired until recently, he should have stayed that way.
Jason: Brian Adidas continues to flop down my World Class power rankings. Maybe hanging out with Kerry after hours isn’t such a good idea for young Brian. Just say no!
Dan: The ring announcer. C’mon guy, you have one job to do! How do you butcher the winning call of that tag match? “Al Madril and The Checkmate win the match.” Really? I know they all wear masks and look alike but that’s not even remotely close. Poor Bugsy deserves better than that, Poindexter!
Scott: There’s no question that David Von Erich was the most talented (and that’s not saying much) of the three Von Erich sons, but his promo skills (like Kerry’s) are absolutely brutal. For someone that everyone thought back then was the future NWA World Champion, he wasn’t going to tour the world fumbling through his words. Then his match with Kabuki was bland, as neither guy really has much in the way of movesets, just a lot of kicks and claws. I’m glad the NWA never trusted any of these kids to be longterm NWA World Champions, because they’re all average wrestlers with below average promo skills.
JT: I enjoyed the opening segment with Bill Mercer really pushing the main event and explaining the back story; After watching Killer Brooks here, I am confident he eventually starred in Home Alone as the McAllisters’ creepy neighbor; Brooks got a decent amount of offense in on Adias, who continues to struggle in these episodes; The finisher to the opener was messy and not executed very well and I am not sure why Adias would get the duke instead of restarting the match; Gary Hart’s stare into the camera is an amazing piece of business; I enjoy heel bullshit like Hart and Hussein vowing Von Erich’s sleeper was a choke; A lot of nice continuity on this show, with Madril & McGraw out for revenge for a previous loss; I wish Bronco Lubbich would just count like a normal referee; The segment with everyone weighing in on Von Erich/Flair was really good and helped build the importance of the bout; Kabuki had some badass chainmail on before the match; Armand Hussein’s leisure suit is pretty pimp; The Von Erich fan rooting on David by chanting his name and thrusting his hand in a claw position was inspiring for sure; Hussein takes an awesome bump on the mist, but I am not sure why that led to a DQ;
Chad: They are hyping the main event tonight well as we get promos of both David and Gary Hart/Hussein. Brian Adidas can’t garner a good win to save his life and it takes Bronco Lubbich overstepping his bounds here in order for him to pick up the DQ victory over Brooks, who was jobbed out like crazy vs. Kerry Von Erich a few weeks ago. Something still feels off about Madril’s whole look. Checkmate is still rocking his Tiger Mask tribute hood. I did like the rest of the roster weighing in on KVE and Flair making it sound like a really important match. Hussein is with Kabuki again. We want Gary Hart at ringside. I still stand by the fact that David is the third best Von Erich brother. Hussein at least does take the mist and does a good job writhing in pain. This was a predictable non finish to the main event.
Jason: Time for my weekly Bugsy McGraw rant. This guy is a fat piece of poop that contributes nothing in any match he’s in. How dare he kiss the camera. Now I have to sanitize my TV. Killer Brooks reminds me of one of the bikers from Sonny’s bar in A Bronx Tale; Now yoose can’t leave. Brian Adias winning by a reverse decision was a travesty. Thanks, Bronco Lubbich. If only he can move that quick in matches where he’s the actual ref. Al Madril wins the award for best wardrobe this week. First it was his swank ring jacket, then his amazing Elvis – Love Me Tender shirt. A great idea for a Halloween costume is dressing up as Great Kabuki. He keeps getting more scary looking every week. Poor Bill Mercer isn’t the same without Jay Saldi.
Dan: I’m not sure why all the hate for Adias. Mercer played up how great his physique was and how he is looking for championships. Brian has at least one supporter out there. Make that two if you include “Red Trucker Hat Santa Claus” who was sitting in the front row and was absolutely devastated when he thought Brooks was awarded the match. I swear that guy nearly had a stroke until the decision was changed. David Von Erich is just okay if you ask me, though I’m the president of the Kevin Von Erich fan club on this panel. That claw hold to the armpit looks equal parts ticklish and gross. Mercer, I think, got paid for each time he used the term “pound of flesh” on this evening. P.S. guys, you can’t even win the All-Asian Heavyweight Championship on a DQ.
Scott: I was waiting for the time when Brian Adias would ditch that second “d” so he wouldn’t be confused with the athletic line; Killer Brooks is one hairy bastard; David Manning should have seen Brooks holding the top rope, it was right in his line of sight; I know everyone thought David Von Erich was the heir apparent to the NWA World Title, but honestly Kevin was the only one with any kind of promo skills; Magic Dragon & Checkmate have been on so often Mark Lowrance doesn’t bother to fully introduce them, and just pretty much says they’re in the ring; I think WCCW is the promotion that had the most “made up” titles, like Checkmate is the European Heavyweight Champion, yet we’ve never actually seen a belt; Another title that had to belt, the All-Asian Heavyweight Title; Bill Mercer showed his lack of wrestling acumen on this show, not really knowing the moves.
Consensus Best WWE Network Match to Date: Pat Patterson vs. Sgt. Slaughter (Madison Square Garden, 4/6/81)
Consensus Worst WWE Network Match to Date: Ivan Putski vs. Baron Von Rashcke (Madison Square Garden, 6/27/77)
JT: This is a pretty below average episode. The opener was sloppy and Brian Adias continues to frustrate. The anchor tag was a lot of fun again, but we have seen it before. The main event was fine too, but nothing to really carry the show. I did like all the hype and history packages they utilized here, building both Von Erich/Kabuki and the tag match. Showing the face-to-face again as a nice move too as that segment was gold. Not one of our strongest outings, but they rightfully put a lot of prep in for Von Erich/Flair, which is quickly approaching. Final Grade: 2.5/10
Chad: A week before their big show and WCCW hits a thud that felt like one of those holiday shows that WWE throws together currently. Nothing much of note happened besides the ending brawl and the build up continuing for Von Erich vs. Flair. That was good enough but nothing groundbreaking as the heels picked Flair and the faces picked KVE. The main event featured some uninspiring action but did end in a decent brawl. A pretty poor go home show overall for the Star Wars show. Final Grade: 2/10
Jason: This episode flew by, but was missing a lot. The Kerry and Flair match continues to be the hot angle everyone is talking about and I’m sold on it. Checkmate and Magic Dragon deserve some gold around their waist. Al Madril is the hardest worker in the company right now. David is the best in ring worker of all the Von Erich boys and look forward to seeing more of him down the road. Overall Grade: 3/10
Dan: Yikes! This show certainly isn’t getting me any closer to turning the corner on WCCW. At least you can say for all these shows is that it moves quickly and it usually furthers along the major storylines. I am so ready to see Kerry and Flair finally go to war. The little hype interviews by the other competitors mixed with the replay of the Fritz/Flair standoff really helped build up that eventual main event. I even liked the continuity of David going after Kabuki after Flair paid Gary Hart the bounty to take out Kerry. But still, the matches were blah, we still don’t have a color commentator and Bugsy is still involved so thumbs down. Overall Grade: 2/10
Scott: This episode is pretty much like last week’s episode, including the matches. I was happy to see some energy from the Freebirds and they made the show so exciting and different, but they haven’t been on the past few episodes so we get the same stale guys in the same stale matches. Maybe seeing the Flair/Fritz interview a second time actually saved this show from being a real stinker but David Von Erich not winning the fictitious All-Asian Championship led to a real downer of a show. Even the awesome oversell by Armand Hussein didn’t boost the grade that much. Final Grade: 3/10