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: 43:15
King Kong Bundy vs. Magic Dragon
“Iceman” King Parsons vs. Armond Hussein
Jimmy Garvin vs. Al Madril (“Not televised”)
Von Erichs vs. Freebirds, Six-Man Tag Team Lumberjack match
JT: The main event easily takes this one as we get our first big war between the Von Erichs and Freebirds and the crowd was all fired up. The early portions were well balanced with the Freebirds on offense but spirited comebacks from the Von Erichs keeping the match chugging along. Anytime a Freebird got the business the crowd just went absolutely bonkers and the energy was through the roof. The heat segment on Kevin was solid and Kerry rocking Gordy with right hands after the hot tag was a nice follow up. Of course that was followed by a second heat segment on Kerry, which was just as well worked as the first. The breakdown at the end kept the crowd rocking right into the finish, which saw the Von Erichs finally nab a win in this feud. Good stuff.
Chad: The main event all the way tonight. We had a frantic pace and some real stiff action between all six men involved. I appreciated that we got a match that didn’t leave the viewer feeling cheated in any way, but also left the viewer wanting more. The finish was fine tonight and I have been critical of how unprotected the Birds have looked at points. The top rope knockout shot was done in a way that was totally believable. Overall this was honestly one of the better matches we have watched in this series so far. ***1/4
Jason: The main event was so much fun! The crowd was super hot the entire match. The Freebirds matching trunks made the trio look even more badass than they’ve been. I thought the Sportatorium was going to explode during the brawl with all six men prior to the finish. What a great match for the hottest feud in Texas.
Dan: The main event was awesome! I couldn’t take notes fast enough with all the action going on in and out of the ring. By the ending sequence, I threw my pen against the wall and just enjoyed the pandemonium. Kudos to the ref bump we only heard about by Manning and his Ray Bourque-esque dive in making the count on Gordy at the conclusion. It was also cool seeing the other guys on the roster at ringside mixing it up with the two headlining trios. A tremendous atmosphere, a loud crowd and the good guys come out on top is the perfect way to cap off this crazy night!
Scott: Definitely the main event as it’s the headline feud of the promotion and had the most juice attached to it. I’m looking forward to when King Parsons has a match against some capable competition, as Armand Hussein isn’t it.
JT: I will go with the General and Bundy. Bundy had solid win and then capped it by flanking Akbar in his press conference. I love the absurd set they built up for this thing and the random women standing in the back brought it all together. Akbar is a good talker and made the segment work despite the goofy setting. Plus Bundy with the shades and no shirt look while he counts out a stack of cash is straight baller. Shout out to Jimmy Garvin too, as his refusal to wrestle on camera gimmick is unique and effective.
Chad: I will go with Kerry Von Erich. I thought this was the most effective he has looked so far as the leader of the Von Erich family and the ace of the promotion. He was great interjecting himself into the match and cheering his brothers on. In the ring, he carried a big presence and personified a modern day warrior that was not going to back down. Just please keep him away from the mic.
Jason: I can’t pick just one person, so I’ll go with all six men involved in the main event. The Freebirds had some great quick tags and the Von Erich boys fed off the white hot crowd the entire match.
Dan: The whole package of the six-man tag was excellent. Even Mercer rose to the occasion in a match I’m sure was difficult to call. He kept us informed of the big spots even if the camera crews didn’t catch them initially. I also dug his call after the Freebirds lost the match calling it “a study in frustration and sorrow.” I was mad last week thinking we lost this match to a Network blunder and was so happy to be proven wrong so we could be treated to this fantastic performance.
Scott: The entire Freebirds/Von Erichs match was a lot of fun with the crowd and the action in the ring. Obviously this feud had many more legs but this first real encounter was off the charts and everybody chipped in.
JT: I was a bit surprised with how much offense Magic Dragon got in on King Kong Bundy. Bundy is in the middle of a strong push and Dragon hasn’t won on TV much here lately but he really gave Bundy a go, get a good amount of offense and hanging in for quite a while. It was also weird seeing him take the face role on. Bundy got the win but it was more a struggle than you may have expected.
Chad: I may say this every time but Jimmy Jam Garvin. I am shocked at how enjoyable he was again tonight. He cut a good promo with Sunshine and then his logic about not wrestling was pretty masterful. He is a great heel to contrast the other heels inside the promotion at this point in time.
Jason: I’m surprised Armond Hussein doesn’t have back problems from carrying around those man boobs of his. But seriously, I was shocked the Magic Dragon lasted as long as he did with King Kong Bundy. I was expecting a 30 second squash from Bundy.
Dan: I would say the revealing of General Akbar but since we saw that last week, I’ll go with Magic Dragon getting in tons of offense and gaining face pops against the evil Bundy. He was always one of those “token masked guys” in these reviews but he shined in a losing effort today.
Scott: I was surprised that Fritz actually went through with the storyline and didn’t air the Jimmy Garvin match. I thought that was just cheap talk, but they actually dumped the match and went to the Akbar press conference.
JT: No use of “Oriental” by Bill Mercer.
Chad: Not a lot of disappointing stuff tonight. I guess the Madril vs. Garvin match could have been fun, but I thought the angle they did instead was much more effective.
Jason: The six man tag has been a long time coming and Marc Lowerance botching Buddy Roberts’ name during the ring introductions was sad. “Buddy Hayes”? C’mon, Marc!
Dan: So very sad we didn’t get to see that stiff Madril get pummeled again. Thanks for nothing Gorgeous Jimmy Garvin!
Scott: Bill Mercer is getting worse overall. He can’t say things smoothly when pertaining to wrestling jargon like titles and gimmicks and he never can get questions out smoothly. You’d figure by now he’d know how to talk to both the audience and the wrestlers. WHERE IS JAY SALDI???
JT: Interesting to open the show with a heel/heel bout but in some ways King Kong Bundy is a super tweener; Armand Hussein should wear his suit when managing, he looks like a goof at ringside in his t-shirt and tights; Mercer notes that Dragon comes from a very upper class family and I appreciate his attempt at granting him a back story; Dragon somehow became the de facto face mid way through the match; I like how ever face has to be friends with the Von Erichs and Iceman Parsons is the latest to proclaim his broship with the World Class boys; “The All Black Hope”; Interesting to see Hussein getting more run in the ring lately despite being just a bit out of shape and of course before his bout he has to remind us that Iceman is a pal of the Von Erichs; And Hussein gets straight up squashed; Garvin’s heel act is top notch already at this point, he had all the little things down perfectly; The lumberjack situation in the main event really shows just how thin the roster is;
Chad: I like the heel vs. heel dynamic they continue to push with Devastation Inc. vs. Hussein’s charges. Dragon got in a lot more offense on Bundy than I would have imagined. Bill Mercer was pretty rough tonight but him pointing out that Bundy would deny the amount of offense Dragon got in was a nice touch. Sunshine is an interesting manager overall and I feel she was very effective in her role. She feels overshadowed by Baby Doll in the 80s valet pecking order. Holy mackrel at that camera. I wonder if she has any backstage footage as that would be pretty priceless to watch. Hussein vs. Parsons as a match made about as much sense as Iceman receiving his nickname. At least it was short and Iceman picked up the win. Madril can’t even match properly at this point as his jacket was this weird orange color and his trunks were red.
Jason: Bill Mercer was all over the place here. Did he get into Kerry Von Erich’s gym bag before the show? Bundy’s Von Erich “sisters” line was incredible. King Parsons got a huge pop from the crowd, but could use some work on his promos. Speaking of promos, Jimmy Garvin shined again on the mic. Magic Dragon coming from an upper-middle class family was a nice fun fact from Bill Mercer. Dragon’s no eye hole mask was something else. Mercer referrring to Armand Hussein’s boots as “camel shoes”. Sunshine’s early 80s camcorder is a hell of a piece of equipment. More about Sunshine, she is SMOKING HOT. My eyes are still hurting from Armand Hussein’s bright trunks. General Akbar’s entourage, including Bundy during the press conference was excellent. King Kong Bundy rocking a pinky ring.
Dan: Bundy calling the Von Erichs “sisters” made me chuckle. I also loved how he belittled Dragon right away by saying that he doesn’t need “The Boss” at ringside against this caliber opponent. We learned that Dragon was Kabuki’s protege prior to the great one jumping to Devastation Inc. Ice Man earned his moniker by hauling ice to put himself through college. I’m not sure it’s a good thing to be told by women that you have “cold hands.” Hussain’s interview was a trainwreck of awesome if you ask me. “All Black Hope,” calling Parsons an “Old Possum,” and then saying he would “send him back to the graveyard” was just brilliance personified. I also smiled at Mercer saying that Parsons “must have learned to be slick on that ice” following the Ice Man’s win.
Scott: It’s crazy that there are so many heels in this promotion that they’re stuck having to face each other on TV matches; King Parsons is a smooth talker; I like how Bill Mercer knew who Sunshine was in the last episode, but here he forgets her name. He’s getting worse on these shows; I loved Garvin’s storyline that he doesn’t get taped for his matches; I also love how matches are so important in WCCW that three referees have to come out for them, even if they aren’t the official referee
Consensus Best WWE Network Match to Date: Ric Flair vs. Kerry Von Erich (Christmas Star Wars, WCCW 12/28/82)
Consensus Worst WWE Network Match to Date: Ivan Putski vs. Baron Von Rashcke (Madison Square Garden, 6/27/77)
JT: This was a fairly solid episode of WCCW but the main event was super hot a lot of fun. Also, the Bundy & Akbar press conference was really good too. The Garvin stuff is good and when you factor those three segments in they ate up most of the show. The opening two matches were a bit bland but inoffensive overall. I was ready to pan the show but the last 25 minutes to so turned it all around. The Von Erich/Freebird feud is so damn hot that any matches involving the groups should carry these shows. It was good to see the Von Erichs grab a win here too. Final Grade: 5.5/10
Chad: A solid show tonight. The first two matches were nothing exciting but they did advance certain aspects of the promotion. The final fifteen minutes with the Von Erich vs. Freebirds battle was all you can ask for in a televised main event. Final Grade: 6.5/10
Jason: The amount of star power in this promotion right now is at an all time high. The main event made up for some of the stinkers on the undercard. King Parsons has a lot of potential and I’m looking forward to seeing more of him. Once he gets his promos down pack, he’s gonna be alright. The six man main event was worth the wait as it delivered big time. More Jimmy Garvin and Sunshine please! Final Grade: 6/10
Dan: The company is starting to heat up a bit with the emergeance of some new faces. We got a taste of it last week even though the episodes were out of order. At least we can fill in some of the gaps with this effort. The main event makes up for some of this program’s shortcomings in my opinion. The press conference with Devastation Inc. revealing their leader with Bundy counting $100 bills establishes them as a force to be reckoned with in the company. All in all, I can’t say I hated this show because it corrected the ill feelings I had last week when I thought this footage was lost or questionably omitted from the Network. It’s like a late Christmas miracle and I look forward to seeing so much more! Final Grade: 6.5/10
Scott: Other than the main event this show was kind of flat. The Akbar press conference was pretty awesome and the main event was a lot of fun as we finally see the Freebirds and Von Erichs battle, but the Parsons/Hussein match was bad and the Bundy match was a blah squash. King Parsons has been a breath of fresh air as he’s the first non-Von Erich babyface in the company that the fans can latch on to. The biggest feud in the promotion is in high gear and perhaps it will get some new talent to flock to the Metroplex. Final Grade: 4/10