August 4, 2023

WCCW 3rd Von Erich Memorial Parade of Champions (5.4.86) review 

WCCW 3rd Von Erich Memorial Parade of Champions (5.4.86) review 


May 4, 1986 


We’re in Irving, Texas at Texas Stadium. 24,121 in attendance. Host is Bill Mercer. This is pretty much the end of World Class as a major entity. The promotion benefitted, in horrific fashion, from the untimely death of David Von Erich. If that was an isolated incident, who knows how long the Von Erich family would have been a hit in Dallas. With Kevin and Kerry, they had two world class guys who weren’t going anywhere because their dad was in charge.  


In Gino Hernandez, they had a near perfect heel foil. So, the company was rocked earlier in the year when Gino died. He was just 28 years old. Gino had been running drugs in his spare time in order to pay for his lavish lifestyle. Witnesses suggest he regularly had a sugar bowl that was full of cocaine. His official cause of death was a cocaine overdose, but people suspected foul play. Either way, that’s a bad look for the promotion. It’ll get worse for the Von Erich’s. In just a month, Kerry will lose his foot in a motorcycle crash. Mike Von Erich, who hadn’t recovered from toxic shock and almost dying late in 1985, would kill himself in 1987. This is a promotion that’s about to scrape the barrel. 



Gauntlet Match 

Great Kabuki vs. Mark Youngblood 

So, this is a challenge match where four guys get a shot at Great Kabuki. First Youngblood, then Jerry Allen, Steve Simpson and Chris Adams.  

Chris Adams is still selling the eye injury he sustained at the hands of Gino Hernandez. A man who’s been dead for three months. Apparently, he wore an eye patch all the time. The selling was so convincing that the police received calls tipping them that Adams probably killed Gino because of the angle.  


Mark Youngblood, I know from undercards from AJPW in the mid 90s where he tagged with his brother Chris. As with any of the guys with the native American gimmicks, you can probably predict what moves he does and how he works. Michael Hayes is managing Kabuki here, but that doesn’t make him any more interesting. He is terrible and we’ve got him for, potentially, four matches here. Anyway, he chops Mark for win #1. 


Great Kabuki vs. Jerry Allen 

If you’ve seen a lot of WWF house shows from this era, you’ll probably recognise Allen as a WWF jobber. These two have zero chemistry. Kabuki chokes Allen into a pin. Allen is eliminated. 


Great Kabuki vs. Steve Simpson 

Simpson has that ‘Von Erich’ look. It’s easy to see why they’ve signed him. He even has boot tassels, which Kerry would adopt. Simpson would have made a better Von Erich than Lance. He’s from South Africa, so it’s a little hard to sell that.  

It’s a dull match with Kabuki doing a lot of nerve holds. Simpson catches him with a sunset flip and while he’s celebrating Kabuki clocks him with a crescent kick. Michael Hayes jumps in there too, but Chris Adams makes the save to solidify his babyface status. Adams makes this gesture towards his eye but hey, it’s too late to get revenge for that.  


Texas Heavyweight Championship 

Brian Adias (c) vs. Steve Regal 

Adias comes out to “Born in the USA”, which isn’t the patriotic song everyone in wrestling seems to think it is. Do people just not listen to lyrics? Regal is not that Steven Regal. He finished with AWA earlier in the year and WCCW figure they might as well use him. He’s about to sign for Crockett but wouldn’t last long. WWF even hired him later in the year. While Regal was quite dull, he was technically proficient and could have done a job somewhere. When you wash out of the Big Three in the same calendar year though, that can’t be good for your morale. Adias is a guy who never really made it beyond Texas.  

Considering he’s the secondary champion, he stinks of JAG. Regal takes some decent bumps in this but it’s a long 13 minutes. Adias wins with a victory roll and the crowd are into it. This was not fun to sit through.  


Chris Adams & Brickhouse Brown vs. John Tatum & The Grappler 

Tatum has Missy Hyatt with him. Fritz hasn’t resorted to putting her in mud matches just yet. Len Denton, aka the Grappler, is a solid hand. Tatum is the opposite, he’s all sizzle, no steak. They make for a good pairing thanks to his chicken shit act and Grappler just getting it done in the ring at Tatum’s behest. The whole package, with Missy yelling at people, works. “I wanna win, I wanna win, I wanna win” – Missy.  

Well, this isn’t very neighbourly.  

Tatum is good at generating heat and we spill outside to get the fans close to the action. I also notice, when they’re outside, that Bill Mercer has a flannel (probably wet) on top of his head. Man, I bet it’s boiling in that stadium. The finish perplexes me somewhat as Adams splashes Grappler for the pin and Tatum is left watching on the top buckle, like he was going to come in and didn’t. Brickhouse dropkicks him shortly afterwards so maybe he just missed his cue. Missy jumps in there to slap Chris Adams and she does it on his blind side too. “I want her out of here” screams Missy at someone shit-talking her at ringside. This was a tidy little tag match. **½ 


Since the last time I was in World Class, they withdrew from the NWA. Which means they can claim their own world champion. Technically, the promotion is now called WCWA. World Class Wrestling Association.  


World Heavyweight Championship 

Rick Rude (c) vs. Bruiser Brody 

Rude, and Percy Pringle, have taken over this area of the world. Rude becoming the first World Class ‘world’ champion. Brody became a World Class mainstay in 1986 and 1987. He actually wrestled more here, in those two years, than in territories and promotions he’s better known at working in. There’s an interesting wrinkle in the DQ rule, in that a title can change hands on a DQ but only if the champion is disqualified. It’s an odd choice. It’s designed to make the crowd more invested as a heel champion can’t get himself deliberately disqualified. It means they’re less likely to get a screwy finish in a title match. Percy Pringle gets involved so Brody drags him into the ring and in a moment of frustration chucks Rude over the top for the DQ. This wasn’t great. Rude wasn’t much of a worker just yet.  


World Class Six Man Championship 

Fabulous Freebirds (c) vs. Kerry Von Erich, Lance Von Erich & Steve Simpson  

The Freebirds had to turn heel again to give the Von Erich’s a monster to slay. Kevin Von Erich is supposed to be in this but he has a bum arm. With Mike Von Erich also out of action, we have one real Von Erich in here.  

Despite this the challengers were introduced as “The Von Erichs”. Mike is among the lumberjacks.  

Here’s Chris Von Erich, the most tragic of all the Von Erichs. He’s just too small and frail. The aim of this match is to get Lance over. The logic is that he can’t get over if he’s in the shadow of Kerry. It’s bad enough that Kevin isn’t in the match but to have Kerry go out first is madness. Like, what the fuck were they thinking? An absolute wet fart of a booking idea.  

Simpson looked ok earlier on but he’s out of his depth here. With Simpson not able to get it done, the match relies heavily on Lance. This is a terrible mistake. He’s about a year in at this point. They have to use smoke and mirrors, so Mike Von Erich jumps in there at one point. David Manning, referee and booker, kicks the Von Erich’s out for cheating. Well, shit, he’s not wrong boys. Michael Hayes tries hard to get this over and anyone who says the promotion was ‘just Von Erichs’ can arguably be proved wrong by this. Simpson rolls up Hayes to level it at 2-2.  


Simpson, having got a win, gets double teamed and Buddy pins him. Lance vs. Gordy & Roberts now.  


This is like that Simpsons cartoon where they try to get Poochie over. Anyway, Poochie dropkicks Gordy over the top, which apparently counts as an elimination or something? Iron Claw finishes Buddy off and the Von Erichs win the belts. The Gordy elimination was very confusing. So, the big Von Erich’s revenge win over the Freebirds comes via fake Von Erich, Lance, stealing the claw. Fritz had a shocker here.

If only Fritz had known about this booking option.


The 411: 

The worst WCCW show I’ve seen so far. The Kabuki gauntlet was terrible. It only served to help get Steve Simpson over. Adias-Regal was fine but a little dull. Adams & Brown vs. Tatum & Grappler is MOTN. Low bar. Rude and Brody was short with a bad finish. The main event was a shit show. This will always be the show where Lance Von Erich stood tall at the end. A statement win for lying to your fans. They needed Lance to get over so they had him win here and boy, does it look like a horrible mistake in retrospect. Another promotion on its way to the grave.  

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