WCCW 2nd Cotton Bowl Extravaganza (10.6.85) review
October 6, 1985
We’re in the Cotton Bowl, Dallas, Texas for WCCW’s second extravaganza here. One year on from their last Cotton Bowl show. Both shows were huge draws for WCCW. 26,000 in attendance here. Unlike previous big shows for WCCW, there isn’t a lot of Von Erich presence. The boys (Kevin & Kerry) tag in the main event against the territories most devious heels (Gino & Adams). Mike Von Erich is in hospital at the time of this show battling toxic shock syndrome. He would never be the same again. World Class is one of those promotions that I’m going to miss when it’s gone. I love their music. I like their presentation.
Bill Mercer is the host for once. He always seemed to be busy for these things. Marc Lowrance has to make do with ring announcing. They bring out Polly Stevens to sing “God bless America” and she takes her sweet time over it. Mercer claims this is “possibly the biggest crowd in the history of professional wrestling”. Nope! They later claimed 40,000 people. I know it looks like a lot but it’s not that many.
Killer Tim Brooks vs. Scott Casey
Casey is a territory man who you may recognise as a WWF jobber from circa 1987-89. Brooks is here having just finished with AJPW. Mercer spends most of this match talking about Mike Von Erich. Once again, they put microphones really close to the ring and you can hear them calling spots. Brooks tries hard here but Casey is borderline useless. Gary Hart interferes, successfully, and Brooks finishes with the shoulderbreaker. This was bad.
Kelly Kiniski vs. Tommy Montana
Montana looks like Luke Skywalker with a moustache.
Mercer shills the WCCW “game”, and I obviously think it’s a video game. It’s not.
Gene Kiniski is at ringside for this and gets very animated. He doesn’t get in the way like he did at Starrcade ‘83. He loudly tells Kelly to cheat and the referee finds it almost impossible to not see it. The match is basic but pleasingly snug. Kelly wins with a backbreaker, which Luke tried to kick out of. This was better than the opener at least.
The Fantastics vs. Dave Peterson & John Tatum
Tatum is famous for being Missy Hyatt’s boyfriend and she’s here! This is Missy’s first appearance at any kind of major show. Peterson is another guy cursed by WCCW. He was in the AWA after this until it closed and died in a motorbike crash in 1993. He was only 33. The Fantastics are always good. Fulton is in a playful mood, sunbathing on the top buckle after running over Peterson’s abs a few times. The finish gets quite heated, and Rogers hits a high crossbody on Peterson for the win. Missy yells at Peterson for being a loser. Sunshine runs in but John Tatum grabs her and lobs her out of the ring. This would lead to Missy’s first matches; mixed tags and her match against Sunshine at the 3rd Parade of Champions. The match? A mud pit match. This was good but Fantastics had better matches. **¾
The Great Kabuki vs. Mark Lewin
Lewin has been wrestling for 30 years at this point. He doesn’t look that old though. He’s 48 here. Kabuki is a boring wrestler in the USA. He’s much better in Japan. This match is mostly the dreaded nerve holds, occasionally broken up by Lewin using a foreign object. Kabuki goes up top, Hart knocks him off and that’s a DQ. This was, as expected, not very good.
Post Match: Scott Casey runs in to help Kabuki, so Kabuki beats him up. Sunshine tries to stop him and Kabuki cements (another) heel turn by throwing her to the mat. I hope I never get to see that Kabuki-Casey showdown.
NWA Texas Championship
Brian Adias (c) vs. Jack Victory
If you read my recent AWA review, you’ll know Adias is the NWA Texas champion (not Kerry Von Erich).
This is an early look at Jack Victory. A guy best known for managing Steve Corino in ECW. He debuted in 1984. Adias, a popular babyface, is naturally friends with the Von Erichs. As with Kiniski-Montana this is a basic match, but they don’t fuck anything up. Jack doesn’t know how to lead a match, which as a heel is a bit of an issue. Gary Hart is literally yelling out the spots for him. “Clothesline and a pin!” Victory gets put in the Funk Spinning Toehold. “Don’t quit” yells Gary Hart as Victory just lies there and gets pinned. Should have yelled at him to kick out there Gary. This was decent but Victory’s shortcomings were glaringly obvious and Adias just ran through his spots. Better than expected!
Taped Fist Match
One Man Gang vs. Iceman Parsons
Parsons has Kerry Von Erich as his corner man. A taped fist match has a round system, and we’re set for 10 rounds here. Wrestling has dabbled in worked boxing matches over the years and they’ve all been shit. Every single one. Parsons was an amateur boxer so at least his foot work is ok.
I’d question the wisdom of having Gang in this match, where he’s a punching bag. He’d still be feuding with Parsons come the Parade of Champions in May 1986. Parsons ignores the rules and uses Irish whips and such. It does not help the quality of the match.
Gary Hart slips in a roll of quarters but Gang drops it, Parsons uses it (leaving coins all over the ring) and Gang falls out of the ring for the count out. This was stupid but entertaining.
Mike Von Erich is out of the hospital and is at ring side to cut an interview. He looks sick. The interview includes newcomer Lance Von Erich, the fake Von Erich. He’s been drafted in to take some pressure off Mike. It didn’t work.
Lance is one of the lumberjacks for tonight’s main event. Sorry the “Mane Event”. Get it? Because hair? Chris Von Erich is at ringside too. The never-ending Von Erich tragedy soon to envelope him too.
NWA North American Tag Team Championship
Kerry & Kevin Von Erich (c) vs. Gino Hernandez & Chris Adams
The losing team here has their heads shaved. Everyone involved in this is very talented and the match is fast paced with the Von Erichs pulling out flash pins to counter the heel teaming of the Dynamic Duo. Both Von Erich boys eat the heat. This is a rare match for 1985, outside of Japan, because they do a lot of near falls. There’s plenty of unscrupulous cheating from Gino too. Including an assault with a chair. Not a folding chair, a chair he plants on Kerry, attempting to stab him. Chris Adams superkicks in this all look great. I don’t know why they didn’t just stick to that as a finish. The heels miscue with a powder shot and a blinded Chris Adams gets rolled up by Kerry for the pin. ***¼.
Post Match: the Dynamic Duo are stopped from running as they are going to be shaved bald.
Gino tries to run and Chris Von Erich tackles him. Oh Chris, mate, just stay away from wrestling.
This is the last sad sight of Gino Hernandez for me on this 80s odyssey. He’d be dead just four months later from a cocaine overdose. Another victim of the World Class curse. Gino’s death is a bizarre one as the body was never officially identified due to decomposition. Leading to speculation and rumours that he’d faked his death. There’s another popular theory that Gino didn’t overdose at all and was murdered.
It’s another fun WCCW show. The stadium shows were a blast, although the spectre of death hangs over them with the World Class curse. It’s a good main event, albeit not as fun as Von Erichs vs Freebirds from a few years earlier. The show again has an experimental feel with the hair match and the taped fist match. It’s not as wacky as the Parade of Champions show from May though. The promotion wasn’t at death’s door just yet and the next Parade of Champions still drew a huge crowd. By the time the next Cotton Bowl show rolled around it was a different story. All that in due course.