View single post by Heretic
 Posted: Sun Dec 2nd, 2007 09:33 pm
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Joined: Sun Oct 14th, 2007
Posts: 3883
khawk wrote:
Regarding his AWA title run:

True, he got the AWA belt in 1989 because being an in-law meant Verne could trust him not to leave with the AWA title in his briefcase. In fairness, he was probably the best available choice at the time from the pool Verne had to draw from when picking another champion after Lawler left.

He had been mostly an also-ran in the AWA for so long, though, that by the time he got the belt, he didn't have as much credibility as a champion that he might have, say, coming in fresh and on a winning streak at the time of the title win. he'd come out on the short end against most of the AWA mainstays over his tenure there. That hurt him.

As a talker very few could keep up with him once he got going. He was such a good talker that I was actually disappointed with his in-ring performances because of it. Put his vocals on someone with more than a basic, meat-and-potato skill-set and you've got a MAJOR superstar.

At a time when larger-than-life champions in the WWF and NWA/WCW were in place, Larry came across a physically ordinary, and no matter how great his promos challenging the other champions were, you just couldn't believe he could compete against them.

This is an excellent point. The Apter mags back in the 80s ran one of those hypothetical tournaments that are now commonplace on message boards. People were supposed to write in, and the wrestlers would advance month after month. The idea was that all the major stars of wrestling across all promotions were involved.

Well, at the time the WWF champ was the Ultimate Warrior and the AWA champ was Larry Zbyszko. Unfortunately in this apparently random bracketing, Zbyszko drew Warrior in the first round. The readership polling was something like 89% to 11% or something like that. In favor of Warrior, obviously. This is all from memory.

What the unfortunate pairing puts into sharp relief is Khawk's basic point. Now, Zbyszko is a solid champ cut in the AWA mold; the second coming of Nick Bockwinkel, essentially. A solid mat technician with a stocky, if unspectacular, physique, considerable verbal skill and an uncanny ability genuinely to piss people off.

But when the WWF's champ is Warrior and the NWA's champ is Sting, the degree to which the AWA is seen as irrevocably out of touch cannot be denied.

Then again, I'm not sure who would have wanted the AWA to abandon its principles and just go with the times at that point. Whomever they would have had would have been just a pathetic, fourth-rate also ran by comparison (e.g., Nightstalker, a musclebound hack they had painting his face in the Team Challenge Series). Even if Zbyszko looked like the poorer champ by comparison, you could at least accept him as the credible alternative representing a promotion that stood for the old days of wrestling skill, and substance being more important than style.

Last edited on Sun Dec 2nd, 2007 09:35 pm by Heretic

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