The Grand National Championships

June 30, 2008

ESPN is bringing back the goods.

Now I’ve been one who has said certain bad things about ESPN. And yet? There are things that I love about ESPN. Mainly ESPN Classic. But still…

They have brought back some awesome television. They brought back Cheap Seats. They brought back American Gladiators. But you know what they did that’s spectacular?

They brought back late-80’s AWA Wrestling. Just as the federation was dying out from the WWF taking all their big names, ESPN had a television contract with the AWA. And my friends, 1980’s wrestling is the greatest thing of all time. Why?

I will make the argument in list order.

1. You are looking live from the Showboat Casino in Las Vegas.

Before the city of Las Vegas became all acceptable and family friendly, there would be certain efforts to bring people out to Las Vegas not involving washed up lounge acts or debauchery. These usually involved sports of ill repute such as rollerderby, and in 1986, pro wrestling. This makes the crowd shots awesome.

After all, you get the bad guy wrestler acting all heelish and you cut to a shot of this guy…

White Trash Mark

You have to love it. It’s pure America.

2. Fake Russians

Now there are those who say that pro wrestling was at its peak during the Cold War. All you had to do was give a man an accent, and voila instant feud with American superhero. But you know what the protip is?

Most of your Russians weren’t even Slavs. And in the AWA, they had this team of Russians in Boris Zhukov and Soldat Ustinov. Or Jim Barrell from Roanoke, Virginia and Jim Lanning from Minneapolis.

That’s right. Most of the Sociopolitical aspects of pro wresling have been faked! Awesomely faked!

3. Nepotism

The Owner of the AWA was Verne Gagne. He was a Hall of Fame wrestler. He had a son. His name was Greg, and he was spindly. But he kept getting runs at the title. He didn’t suck, but as charisma goes? This next sentence brings more to the table than Greg Gagne. Hell Greg Gagne the shortstop was better with the Mic.

Greg Gagne 87T

But on several occasions? Greg Gagne was this close to a championship. Wrestling is gold like that. Awesome.

4. And yet? There’s the occasional shot of talent.

There’s a certain before they were stars quality to these shows. You want to see the Heartbreak Kid before he became HBK? How about Vader before he because the special guest star on Boy Meets World? Or how about Scott Steiner before he became the after for every steroid abuse poster? You watch the AWA.

5. Racism! Untranscendant Racism!

Let’s face it, the go-go Politically Correct 90’s have lead to a coarsening of the culture. From these evil, evil, nasty blogs, to the racist shit that Comedy Central puts out? Racism is back in flavor.

So how about we introduce you to the AWA’s own…Col. DeBeers.

That’s stuff Chuck D wouldn’t stand for if he was alive.

6. Fat = Handsome

Dennis Condrey

This is Dennis Condrey. He was a member of the Midnight Express. They had a gimmick of the handsome technical wrestler. Seriously. He was known as “Loverboy” Dennis.

At this point in his career.

That’s just paunchtastic! And it’s as awesome as a dude in a mullet and a mustache wearing a party girl t-shirt! Yeah, buddy!

Look at the facts. There are 6 reasons that AWA 1987 Wrestling is the best of the best. And I could throw out more. (Ninja Star Wars? An ambiguously gay Lenny and Carl in Ricky Rice and Derrick Dukes?) But you know what? I won’t. It’s 3:30 a.m.

I’ve got better things to do. Love you.


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