AWE Night of Legends
December 7, 2012
I found the AWE Night of Legends on Netflix and had some time to kill so I checked it out. AWE stands for Awesome Wrestling Entertainment and the Night of Legends event took place Oct. 15, 2011. I have no idea who was behind promoting this event but he sure spent a ton of money putting this show together. The arena set up looked great, with a nice entrance way, lighting grid etc. they had a ton of big name people on the show and the event was actually broadcast on PPV.
They had a huge broadcast team, including two backstage interviewers and a three man announce team. The announce team consisted of Chris Cruise, Dutch Mantel, and Larry Zbyszco. To me this was the first sign that the promoter was spending way too much money. The three man booth did a good job but a two man booth would have been just as good and no one was buying this PPV based off either Dutch Mantel or Larry Zbyszco doing commentary. Of the three I liked Zbyszco the best at the desk and thought he was very good. There were times where all three of them fell off the rails but that was more a result of the show falling completely off the rails first and I think they got to the point where they were just trying to come up with something to say.
There were a ton of name talent on this show, with a couple of guys I've never seen before mixed in, but the talent wasn't the real story of this show it was the booking. Some of the match ups were very odd choices and the finishes of most of the matches were even odder. They drew a good size crowd who was fairly responsive, but I doubt by the end of the night many of them went home happy.
Terry Funk vs. Tommy Dreamer:
This match up made sense and I have no doubt Dreamer was thrilled to finally wrestle Terry Funk, as I was when I got to work with Terry a decade earlier in WCW. For the first half of this match it was exactly what you'd expect; they brawled on the floor and in the ring. It was the second half of the match that was odd in that there wasn't a second half. Just as I thought they were about half way through and would perhaps get into some near falls or some heat, Tommy small packaged Terry Funk for the first cover of the match and 1...2...3 that was it. I was shocked, the crowd was shocked, and neither Dreamer nor Funk looked like they expected that to be the finish either. This was really odd, and ended flat.
Jamin Olivencia vs. Sonjay Dutt:
Both guys did pre match promos and Jamin's gimmick for his promo was that he said his name over and over again. This is generally a good idea especially when this was likely his highest profile match to date and he is trying to establish his name. Unfortunately he did it to the Nth degree and it started feeling like a joke. To make matters worse once the match started he continued his gimmick and every time he got control of the match he would take time to announce his full name several more times. This is where this guy jumped the shark for me and just turned into a tool. I was no longer watching a guy wrestle I was watching a goofy kid pretend he was a wrestler who thought it would be a cool gimmick if he just constantly said his name over and over again. It was so bad I never want to see this kid wrestle ever again. The match had no heat, no doubt due to Jamin being more worried about playing his gimmick rather than wrestling a match, so it was a bunch of stuff with each guy having to cheer lead his own crowd reaction. There was a poorly set up ref bump into Jamin kicking Sonjay in the balls into what I can only assume was his finishing move but the camera cut away and we didn't get to see the move. Not sure if it was a botch they had to cut out in post, or just the worst directing job in history. Jamin of course just stood up after the finish, no selling the entire match, thus further killing any heat he might have generated by the finish.
Perry Saturn vs. C.W. Anderson:
This was Perry's first match back after being MIA for years. Perry battled drug addiction and was homeless for a few years and almost completely dropped off the face of the earth. There were numerous rumors that he had died, before eventually showing up out of the blue and this was his first match in 9 years. Perry was just out there in jeans and was not in the greatest of shape. He sold a lot and worked a fairly slow pace, no doubt because he was out of shape, but when he did do stuff you saw glimpses of the former worker and you could tell he still had talent. Considering the 9 year layoff he didn't look too bad at all. Perry picked up the win with a Sunset flip out of nowhere which didn't seem as out of place as the Dreamer-Funk small package, but was completely anti-climactic and didn't get half the reaction a better booked finish would have.
Hacksaw Jim Duggan vs. Mohammad Akbar:
This match was exactly what you would expect. Akbar did the Iron Sheik anti-US shtick and Jim Duggan waved Old Glory and chanted USA. There were a few whacky moments, like when Akbar was announced as being from Persia, which of course hasn't existed in this kid's life time, and during his promo he mentioned that people hated him because he was "tanned". I found this funny considering he is doing an Arab gimmick so his tan should actually just be his natural skin tone. He also had no accent what so ever coming off as the least convincing "Sheik" type gimmick I've ever seen. Akbar was a young kid who was just there to play the foil for Jim Duggan and put him over, which he did. Not technically a good match but exactly what you would expect.
Fit Finlay vs. Alex Silva w/Tammy Sytch:
This match was very strange. Silva is the guy who won TNA's Gut Check earlier in the year. In his pre match promo he made a ton of whacky facial expressions while sticking out his tongue (no doubt trying to "Get his character over") looking so goofy that my wife asked me in all seriousness if he was mentally challenged. This match started very slow but Fit's execution is so good I still enjoyed it. Fit then did a knee injury spot that went on way too long. They teased stopping the match so long that it became absurd that the match wasn't actually stopped. Fit eventually got back in the ring and Silva got heat on his leg. This did not speed the match up any. Eventually after a comeback Tammy was a distraction leading to yet another low blow into a roll up and Alex Silva defeats Fit Finlay.
Short Sleeve Sampson vs. Abo Shango:
I think Short Sleeve was on Half Pint Brawlers on Spike, because the announcers referenced him being a TV star. Short Sleeve is a midget wrestler and Abo Shango while not being very tall was not. Short Sleeve himself referred to himself as a Midget but the announcers spent the whole match debating what terms were politically correct and what they can and cannot say. The commentary made this match a bit of a joke, but Short Sleeve was very entertaining and actually quite good. He did a lot of fun stuff leading to a win and in a lot of ways this was the best match on the show. I think it was the one I enjoyed the most. Big thumbs up for Short Sleeve.
Kevin Nash & Diamond Dallas Page vs. The Rock and Roll Express:
This match was the Main Event and holy crap it was confusing. This match was built up as a feud between Ricky Morton and Kevin Nash based off a Shoot interview Ricky did 10 or 15 years ago where he buried Kevin Nash for his WCW politics. They tried to play it up like a shoot, which of course never works. It was announced as Kevin Nash and a Mystery partner vs. The Rock & Roll Express, although DDP was promoted as appearing on the show and leading into the main event hadn't appeared as yet. To the surprise of no one DDP was revealed as Nash's partner. DDP came out in running shoes, jeans and a T-Shirt, while the other 3 all wore their gear.
DDP and Robert Gibson started the match with a couple tie ups and eventually a headlock and then immediately tagged out. Now that we have Ricky Morton and Kevin Nash in the ring the promoter comes out and cuts a long promo changing the match to a singles match up telling Robert and DDP to head to the back. Now we have a single match which makes a lot more sense and I have no idea why they didn't just book this in the first place. Perhaps the Promoter really wanted to get his promo in.
From this point on Nash basically just beats the hell out of Ricky including busting him open. Ricky eventually makes a comeback and then Nash just backs off and asked for the microphone. We then get a weird promo where Nash just asked Ricky what his problem was; why is he mad at him? This was really dumb considering the match was built up as a 10+ year feud with both guys cutting promos on each other being very clear why they were mad and how they were going to kill each other. Ricky goes on to explain that he's mad because he loves this business and dedicated his whole life to it. To this Nash explains that if that's the case we don't have a problem, and they shake hands. Nash then suckers Ricky and Power Bombs him making Ricky look like a complete fool. He then cuts a promo burying the fans and leaves without bothering to pin his opponent. Ricky eventually gets to his feet; they ring the bell, and announce Ricky Morton as the winner by Count Out. This was without a doubt the worse finish I've ever seen and the crowd was completely dead by the end of it all.
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