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: 45:54
Tora Yatsu vs. Kamala
The Mongol vs. Mike Reed
The Freebirds vs. Kerry Von Erich, Iceman King Parsons & Chavo Guerrero – Penalty Box Match
JT: Easily the main event on this card. The two undercard matches were pretty blah and the six man was popping. It was stacked with some great talent and a unique stipulation and given plenty of time to breathe. Plus anytime you get to see Terry Gordy and Michaels Hayes squeezed into a tiny cage, you have a winner.
Chad: Can’t see any sane person picking anything else but the main event. This is our last foray into WCCW for a while and this may be the second best match we have seen on these run of shows only behind Flair vs. Kerry in the cage. The stipulation was unique and fun throughout, all six guys were able to shine and the Sportatorium faithful was molten like usual. ***1/2
Jason: A no brainer this week as the main event stole the show. We’ve seen a few unique gimmick matches in World Class so far and this one was easily my favorite. The babyface team was a nice blend of styles, but they worked well together against the super trio of the Freebirds. The match went on for quite some time, but have few dull moments.
Dan: Without a doubt, the main event. Interesting concept with the penalty boxes though after not going to them early, they seemed to find any excuse in the book to throw a guy into their respective cells. All these guys busted ass in this one and they really had their working boots on this night. In addition to it’s unique stip, we also finally got to see Kerry and Hayes mix it up a bit which caused the crowd to go bananas. I wonder how many more of these we will see along this adventure. Time will tell!
Scott: Clearly this main event is one of the biggest matches we’ve seen in this run of episodes, not counting the matches from the Star Wars show. Plenty of workrate and charisma in that match and the crowd was rabid for it. It’s one of the longer matches we’ve seen on the WCCW shows.
JT: I will go with everyone in the main event. It was a fun, unique match and everyone played their roles well. The post match fight was really good too with the stiff spike piledriver on Kerry.
Chad: Iceman King Parsons was a welcome edition to the promotion but I haven’t been too impressed with his performances so far. He did a ton here showing a more vicious side and mixing in his high energy performance with stiff strikes. I was worried he would look out of place on the face side but he shined throughout.
Jason: We have a seven way tie this week! The six men from the main event all worked their asses off and David Manning was fantastic as well, topped off by great ref bumping.
Dan: The six main eventers of course. They dominated probably two-thirds of this show and can’t get enough praise. There was so much going on from keeping track of all the violations to the several face-in-peril sequences. Even David Manning took a serious pop towards the end courtesy of Michael Hayes. A fantastic finale that must have had that crowd buzzing all the way home.
Scott: Great performance by all six guys in the main event and even referee David Manning, who was in charge of the penalty box and took an unexpected bump from the cage door. For me a top five match of what we’ve watched so far.
JT: Surprising to see Chavo Guerrero pushed up the card so quickly as he has only been around a few weeks. It feels like he is stepping into Al Madril’s role in some ways. I have enjoyed him so far and he has been a nice addition to the top of the card.
Chad: I was surprised by two things in the main event. One was the integration of the stipulation. It was a lot more fluid and natural than I would have imagined. The other surprise involved the finish and Iceman getting the clean pin over Terry Gordy.
Jason: I agree with JT in that Chavo being hot shotted into the main event picture was cool to see. His unique style and move set brought something different to the stellar main event.
Dan: I’m baffled at the number of sheep that Mongol must have slayed in order to make his robe on this evening. But seriously, I’m surprised at how feeble Yatsu looked against Kimala. I guess you can call him one of their top guys of late and he looked like a member of the J.O.B. Squad next to the Ugandan Giant. And who would have believed Kimala would get face pops in 1983?
Scott: Going along with the disappointment, I’m very surprised that Kimala didn’t put Yatsu away clean and finish off Hussein’s stable of losers. He’s been pumped up every week but instead of advancing the storyline they advanced Kimala’s unpredictable gimmick.
JT: I was really looking forward to Yatsu vs. Kimala but it ended up being a weirdly booked clusterfuck with a lame ending. I was hoping for a wild brawl or some mayhem and maiming but instead we get horseshit with Hussein getting involved and stumbling around before getting splashed. Kimala looks crazy and all but I wished we got more action.
Chad: We leave WCCW with Yatsu still looking like a chump. This is one of the best wrestlers in the world in the back half of the 1980s but he shows nothing in his World Class run.
Jason: Armond Hussein’s clan of clowns is getting worse and worse. Even Tora Yatsu, who seemed to be having some momentum for a weeks is real bad. Time to press the reset button on things, Mr. Hussein.
Dan: Kind of out there but I wasn’t a fan of Akbar’s promo from his estate. Seemed he was unsure of himself and kept repeating things like Mongol’s hair being that of an elite warrior. Seriously, Devastation Inc. is now going after guys because of their hair styles? Stupid! It finished strong with the imagery of time running out as the hourglass is drained of those last bits of sand. Though I was expecting more than just a rehash of our previous show’s interview.
Scott: I was expecting the official end of Armand Hussein’s pitiful heel stable, but instead we get a double disqualification and more confusion from the fans on who to root for. Akbar did cut a promo after the match but still it’s time for this to end and focus on other babyfaces.
JT: Poor Yatsu stuck slumming it with Hussein when all of these other great factions are running around; Lowerance wearing the giant headset while ring announcing was interesting; Yatsu’s smile will never not make me smile too; Kimala vs. Yatsu is a pretty cool matchup here; What the hell is the Mongol wearing in this Akbar promo? A sheepskin quilt?; Akbar’s promo was on point as always though; Mongol really is getting quite the little push, I guess he is filling King Kong Bundy’s role with him away; I like the concept of the penalty box just because it is different and adds some flavor to the top feud; Stop saying “Guerrera” Mercer!; “Michael Hayes retreats into the forest”; Terry Gordy has beefed up a little since the Freebirds debuted; Gordy and Hayes squished into the cage was awesome; “Oriental” count: 1
Chad: The sad state of Hussein continues. Has a man plummeted more from when we first saw him in wrestling history? The match here was hot garbage as it breaks down in a matter of seconds. Skandor Akbar’s shows some great chops in his promo. Mongol vs. Mike Reed was a complete nothing match. This show was really dragging into the final match. The Freebirds blue and white ensemble is amazing.
Jason: Kimchee going with the camouflage outfit this week was cool. Kamala is getting close to Great Kabuki on the scary wrestler power rankings. The early years of this gimmick has been really good. I was hoping for a clean Kimala squash as Hussein’s crew is hanging on by a thread. Skandor Akbar’s promo was phenomenal. His, “time is ticking” line while holding the hour glass was great. The Mongol as a worker has been mediocre, but I do approve of him being the muscle for Akbar. Mike Reed sucks! David Manning explaing the rules of the main event while in the cage and acting quite happy made me chuckle. The Freebirds nail it every week with the matching trunks. I was expecting some blood with the chosen white trunks from this week. The crowd was super into the main event and ate up being there live for the super fun six man.
Dan: Listen closely to Mark Lowerance in the Mongol match. When introducing Mike Reed he says something like “from Tulsa, Oklahoma, welcome in his red tights, Mike Reed.” As if we weren’t going to welcome him if he was in his blue tights. Maybe he should have come in wearing body armor when facing the warrior Mongol. David Manning was having too much fun being in that cage for my liking. I’m not judging. I think Mercer would have left him in there if he could. Yatsu looked like such a jobber against Kimala. What a fall from grace! Did you catch the new video graphics at the start of the show hyping the combatants in the main event? Chavo is a younger, more energetic version of Jose Lothario.
Scott: It seems when Devastation Incorporated is in a heel vs. heel match, they get the babyface cheers, although that might be just Kimala because Bundy gets booed consistently; Bill Mercer is very laid back in this episode and not going too crazy, almost like he’s sick; This six-man tag is the first time in my opinion that the Freebirds/Von Erichs feud feels big, although without Kevin and David it does lose some luster; Michael Hayes is bumping like Ric Flair in this main event; The penalty box concept is a little confusing as there’s no real clarifying of why guys are going in the box
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 is a weird episode. The depth was on display here but most of it was jammed into one match so the rest of the card felt super thin. Yatsu/Kimala was a real disappointment and the Mongol does really seem like he should be getting the push he is currently in the middle of. The main event was really good and I dug the penalty box concept to help mix things up and everyone worked really hard. We don’t get many matches of this length on these shows, so it was cool to see. The episode is a tale of two halves and was a pretty down the middle installment. It will be a while before we return to the Sportatorium, but it has been a really fun stay. Final Grade: 5/10
Chad: A terrible first half followed by a really good main event with big implications makes this a middle of the road show overall. As we leave World Class, it is clear that the promotion is hot, but I can’t say I enjoyed this rewatch as much as I thought I would due to the over-reliance on protecting the faces. Final Grade: 5/10
Jason: The first twenty matches were quite dull, but once we got going with the main event things turned around quickly. It’s been quite a trip here in Dallas. We’ve seen some great angles, ring work and a few surprises. It’s time to pack our bags for a little trip to Mid-South and then off to Greensboro. Until then, we’re all piled in the Excellent Adventure van and ready to hit the road. Final Grade: 5/10
Dan: It pains me that this is our last WCCW for several installments of the Excellent Adventure. We had some ups and downs from an all-time classic between Kerry and Flair to anything involving Bugsy McGraw. This particular episode started off at the bottom and really didn’t pick up steam until the main event. The penalty box concept was unique and enjoyable for someone who has never seen such a match before. Plus all the big names were involved minus the other two Von Erichs and maybe Jim Garvin. It’s too bad that Yatsu/Kimala match was a dud otherwise we’d be looking at a very good finale to our first run of World Class. But alas, our journey takes us elswhere. Happy trails to you Dallas, until we meet again. Final Grade: 6/10
Scott: This was an average episode with a hot main event and a blase undercard. I loved the Skandor Akbar promos, as he was very ambiguous pertaining to faces and heels. The Freebirds are still awesome, as by now the roster seems to have filled out a bit particularly on the babyface side. Too bad by the time we review our next episode things would have changed dramatically. Overall the main event was great, but the rest is forgettable. Final Grade: 5/10
Keep track of every category winner and show grade throughout the entire Excellent WWE Network Adventure right here!