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: 44:21
Jose Lothario vs. Jimmy Garvin
Tola Yatsu vs. King Kong Bundy
Kevin & Kerry Von Erich vs. Terry Gordy & Michael Hayes – Tornado Rules
JT: The opener was my choice. They had the crowd hooked the whole way and was two veterans doing their thing with their personas dictating their actions beautifully. Lothario’s selling was on point and Garvin really worked his submission holds well. I loved Jose’s big comeback too with some crisp punches that set up Garvin cheating to take the win. It felt like we may be headed for a draw so I was pleasantly surprised when Garvin won it. Plus the crowd was really juiced and all over the Texas champ.
Chad: I am going to go with the main event. This was a fierce, intense 10 minutes of action. I thought both the Birds and Von Erichs looked strong in the match and this had the perfect mixture of being satisfying action while still making you savor the blowoff. This was honestly one of my favorite matches of the rewatch series so far. ***1/4
Jason: Man, the opening match between Jose Lothario and Jimmy Garvin was a ton of fun. Lothario is a little past his prime, but showed that he had a little gas left in the tank against Garvin. Just when you think Lothario can pull off an upset, Garvin grabs the ropes for support and gets the pin.
Dan: I think I’ll give the nod to the opener as well. Even though he has one foot in the nursing home at this stage of his wrestling career, Lothario had awesome energy in this match and even busted out a monkey flip to the excitement of the Dallas faithful. I’m really gaining a new appreciate for Garvin too. We may have even got our first taste of the 50/50 chants when the fans chanted “Go Jose” with the gorgeous responding with an emphatic “Shut up!” Garvin stalls a great deal so this isn’t an all-time classic but he cheats to win keeping with his sleazy character and just like that, we have a match of the night.
Scott: The main event was fun with a lot of expected chaos so I’ll vote that one, although honestly top to bottom the Garvin/Lothario match was a lot of fun also. Garvin has been nothing short of brilliant since arriving in WCCW.
JT: Jimmy Garvin and Sunshine are so tremendous at this point, nailing every little nuance of their characters. Everything comes across as so natural and easy for them and it makes them easy to hate and also admire for how perfect they are. Sunshine has a natural girl next door look and it adds to Garvin’s playboy gimmick and humanizes him a bit because of it. It is a tremendous package that was on point here again tonight just as it always is. Especially when Garvin yelled “Que Pasa” to Lothario while wrenching him in a tight side headlock.
Chad: Kerry Von Erich looked like the ace of the promotion that I have been clamoring for. He delivered a fired up, pissed off performance that included intensity with accuracy with his strikes. I also relished in the fact that he gave the Birds some offense and looked vulnerable.
Jason: There is nothing more enjoyable right now than Jimmy Garvin and Sunshine. They are the complete package and so damn entertaining. Garvin fluffing his hair while Lothario was working his arm made me chuckle. It’s little things like this that could make Garvin my choice in the category for a few more weeks.
Dan: Boy this is tough but in the coppiest (Did I make up a word?) of cop-outs, I’ll just say everyone involved in that opener. I always suspect that Lothario is about to die in every match we view, and not only does he not keel over, but puts on a good show. And I’ve already showered Garvin with praise and it’s hard not to look good when Sunshine constantly cleans him up outside the ring.
Scott: This comes out of left field but Skandor Akbar’s performance in the vignette was classic. He was in command of his words, he worked current events with wrestling storylines in perfectly. It seems at times this group gets as much airtime as the Freebirds/Von Erichs feud.
JT: I am surprised at the layered depth behind Devestation, Inc. Akbar is negotiating with OPEC! And he needs his stable to be successful in this promotion in Texas to keep those negotiations going positively! And his oil deals lead to an increase in compensation for Bundy and his men and something to do with the consumer too? This is amazing. I also loved him shooting down Mercer’s snooping about the six-man tag team from DI. Akbar saying he is unable to risk Kamala in a tag situation is a great touch and then he drops that he is negotiating with Ric Flair to work with his boys. Tremendously surprising in the best way.
Chad: Akbar spouting off real world oil trading was a shocking bit of wrestling being step by step with the current trends in the world. Him insinuating that he is rigging the market was heel carny development at its best.
Jason: Akbar negotiating with Ric Flair was huge quite the bombshell. Flair, Bundy, Kamala and Kabuki? Now THAT’S a stable!
Dan: My man Kevin Von Erich is the North American Champ again? When did this happen? Did Gordy drop it in Egypt or Rio de Janeiro? And now he has a shot against Flair down the road? Sign me up for that!
Scott: The surprise for me is that it seems like Devastation Incorporated is the babyface in the feud with Hussein? I guess, as the DQ came from Yatsu using the kendo stick. I’m sure it bounces around between both sides depending on who they’re facing but it definitely seems like Hussein is still the heel group.
JT: For the second straight week I was disappointed by a King Kong Bundy match. The build was pretty good with Bundy looking for revenge for Yatsu injuring Great Kabuki but the match was pretty meandering until Ytsu busted out the kendo stick. Bundy’s work with DI has been great but his matches over the last two weeks have been lacking.
Chad: I was fine with the action inside the ring so I will go with Bill Mercer. He was not very effective in getting over the action this week and his mistakes are getting more glaring.
Jason: Again, King Kong Bundy should be cleaning house of his opponents in record time every week. This was Bundy’s chance to gain revenge on Yatsu for taking about Kabuki.
Dan: Just a minor beef but I hate when Mercer tries to shoehorn Devastation Incorporated into King Kong Bundy’s name. It just sounds awkward. We know he’s the charter member of the group, but stop saying King Kong Devastation Incorporated Bundy and A Partridge in a Pear Tree. That’s not his name Billy. Also, it’s not like Yatsu was on his death bed. He probably didn’t need to resort to weaponry at that stage as the match was far from over.
Scott: Honestly Bill Mercer gets worse and worse by the week. This time he gets a guy’s name wrong and he still fumbles over the “World Class Six-Man Tag Team Championship.” How hard is that to say, really? He obviously was a news guy because he is terrible at ad-libbing, which he has to do during the studio head shots.
JT: David Von Erich checked in with a solid, lucid interview right out of the gate which is always a pleasant surprise; I always get a kick out of Jose Lothario signing autographs in the ring before his matches; Sunshine was looking good tonight; Mercer calling Jimmy Garvin “Jimmy Garvey” made me laugh; Bill Mercer’s meeting with King Kong Bundy, Skandor Akbar and Kumar was tremendous and there is so much backstory behind DI it is amazing; Mercer’s wrap up of his meeting with DI was beautiful; I always enjoy watching Yatsu laugh like a goof; I like that we get a big grudge match with Bundy and Yatsu but this has been a bit of a confusing feud; Yatsu pounding Bundy with the kendo stick adds more fuel to the fire in the Hussein/DI war; This episode is pretty focused and has a lot jammed into it; I am alway surprised at how willy nilly they would toss out big VE/Freebird matches on TV; The Freebirds’ Oregon trunks were interesting;
Chad: David Von Erich looks weird but at least his heart is behind his promo and it was succinct. Where is the video camera at this week? Sunshine is also wearing an interesting outfit with a bowtie around her top. Lothario has some good punches. I am still a little unsure of Garvin vs. Lothario from a booking point overall but Lothario has been presented fairly strong. Bill Mercer is on location again. Mr. Kumar seems to be the money man behind Devastation Inc. I really like the mixture of real world events to coincide to the wrestling developments. Yatsu laughing off the claims of Akbar was great. Bundy did some nice arm work. I understand being disappointed that Bundy is working as the monster, but he was solid here working Yatsu over. I also thought this was by far the most fire Yatsu has shown to, terrible cane shots aside. Kamala, The Ugandan Giant! That Freebirds matching gear is boss.
Jason: Bill Mercer continues to grow on me the more World Class I watch. David Von Erich’s promo had a lot of fire behind it. He’s by far the best of the brothers on the mic. Oh, and let’s not forget about that sweet track suit he was sporting. I needed a cigarette and cold shower after seeing Sunshine in that white outfit. Holy smoke! Tora Yatsu’s kendo stick shots to Bundy were pretty bad. Skandor Akbar is very well spoken and delivered big time here. Bundy sitting at the conference table without a shirt made me chuckle. The Freebirds’ matching Oregon trunks were pretty sweet. I enjoy Hayes and Gordy in tag matches more than all the Birds in six man tags. Buddy Roberts seems like he’s a step behind his partners. I was cool with the double DQ finish in the tag match. Keep this feud going as long as possible.
Dan: Garvin’s anger at the ring announcer not acknowledging his recent title win was amazing. I also wonder why David Von Erich needed fans to write letters in order to get another crack at the Texas Title. Couldn’t he just ask Daddy for a title match? Mercer digs up his accusation of Garvin’s finisher being illegal and possibly lethal though we never see it even attempted in this match. How did that two-bit ref not see Garvin grab those ropes? Akbar saying that Kamala is too dangerous and he can’t afford to put him in a tag match just adds to the level of horror I’ll have when the Ugandan Giant finally debuts. David Manning wearing a red track suit as his referee attire was a questionable decision at best. According to that video, Kamala has arms and legs the size of trees. How can he even fit in the ring if he’s that massive? I think all Von Erich/Freebirds tag matches should be free-for-alls with no rhyme or reason to them. Just let those boys beat the gravy out of each other all the time and I’ll be smiling.
Scott: Sunshine had that natural hotness to her that no other early-mid 80s valets had; Bill Mercer at one point called Garvin “Garvey”. He’s gotten progressively worse as these shows have moved along; Garvin and Sunshine had great chemistry, which made sense since they’re related; Does King Kong Bundy have to be shirtless for all these Devastation Inc. vignettes?; I love how they added the OPEC oil situation to the Akbar storyline; This Devastation/Hussein storyline was bizarre, as I’m not sure which side the fans were supposed to cheer for; WCCW referees have their own fashion sense, as David Manning rocks the rust colored workout suit; Why can’t Mercer get the title of six-man tag team champions right? He fumbles over it every time.
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 was a pretty energetic episode that was jam packed from start to finish. The opener was quite fun and Jimmy Garvin is totally locked in right now, giving off such a star aura and just owning the gimmick. The Devastation, Inc vignette may be one of my most favorite ever in wresting history. The idea that Akbar is funding major OFAC oil deals that are based on the success of his wrestlers is amazing. The Bundy/Yatsu match was disappointing but the finish teases the continuation of a heated issue. The main event was very fun as well with a hot crowd and lots of action. For the first time in a while the promotion has strong focus with multiple high level storylines going on and it is leading to some fun weekly TV. Final Grade: 5.5/10
Chad: I liked this show a good deal this week. We got more depth with Akbar. Garvin and the Freebirds continue to be strong heels and had two good matches, and the Bundy vs. Yatsu match wasn’t offensive either. I thought this was top to bottom one of World Class’s strongest efforts. Final Grade: 7.5/10
Jason: This show wasn’t my favorite, but the opening match and the stuff with Devastation Inc. were two highlights that makes it worth checking out. Plus we get more classic Freebird and Von Erich moments. One of these days, I hope we get a Bundy squash, but until then… Final Grade 5/10
Dan: I want to like this episode and it’s hard to imagine anything involving Von Erichs and Freebirds killing one another being a middle-of-the-road show, but tonight’s effort was just that. The opener was decent, the Bundy/Yatsu match was a letdown and the main was a chaotic mess. Devastation Inc. continues to intrigue and I desperately want to see Flair again but this show could have used some better matches or at least stronger finishes. Don’t worry WCCW, I still love you. Final Grade: 5/10
Scott: This was a pedestrian episode highlighted by a fun Garvin/Lothario match, a great Devastation Inc. vignette and the usual Freebirds/Von Erichs chaos. Nothing over the top here but a fun enough episode. Final Grade: 4/10