NWA: Big Time Wrestling (October 1978)
NWA: Big Time Wrestling
We are entering new territory here at PDRwrestling because I am absolutely in no way an expert on the Detroit NWA territory ran by Ed “The Original Sheik” Farhat. There are at least a dozen different episodes from the 1970s circulating around the internet and I thought I would give them a look. I do enjoy watching unfamiliar wrestling from time to time. However, even if you don’t know the angles or feuds, this is still an NWA territory and you should see some familiar faces of the era. I don’t even know the name of the TV studio they are wrestling in because there is so little amount of information available on this company! Someone help me. Let’s hope this will be an interesting read if nothing else.
This ring looks very small.
Your hosts are Chuck Allen and Mark Lewin. Chuck feels like your standard corny wrestling pitchman who never really sounds like he’s using his real voice while he’s calling the action. He’s completely overdressed for a weekly TV show. A suit or at least a sports coat would have been fine, but a frilly suede tuxedo is going too far. Mark Lewin was another wildman character in his day who terrorized various NWA territories: notably Detroit, Dallas, and Florida. He’s now apparently a good guy and the voice of reason in Detroit.
- The Fabulous Kangaroos vs. Big Red & Jim Widell
This is one of MANY incarnations of the Fabulous Kangaroos. The original Fabulous Kangaroos consisted of Al Costello and Roy Heffernan. Their gimmick was that they were from the land down under and carried boomerangs to the ring. They were one of if not the most successful heel tag team of the golden age of wrestling TV era. They held tag team titles all over the NWA from 1958 to 1965. But moving forward to 1978, we now have Al Costello (who is about 60 years old) and Bob Heffernan (Bob is the best cousin name they could come up with to give this guy the Roy Heffernan rub?). CWF fans in the 1980s may remember Don Kent and Bob Heffernan working together there.
Their opponents are Big Red and some jabroni named Jim Widell. Sounds like the name of a putz about to learn a serious life lesson on the Twilight Zone. Anyways, you may recall seeing Big Red on the Memphis TV from 1979 I recapped not that long ago. He’s doing the same Thunderbolt Patterson gimmick now just above the Mason-Dixon line.
The Fabulous Kangaroos go through an arm wrestling warm-up routine at the sound of the bell. On the other side of the ring, Big Red and Widell mock the Kangaroos routine as Big Red shakes his booty. This is 1978 and disco is still king, folks. Anyways, Widell with his farmer’s tan starts this match against Heffernan. The ref looks like a creepy Genesis-era Phil Collins. Widell gets worked over for a while. Chuck Allen tells us if we want Detroit wrestling to come to an event in Canada, we need to call Pat O’Connor at a listed phone number. Can you imagine? They do a blind tag spot to Big Red, but Widell reaches Big Red in front of the ref’s two eyeballs moments later. The Kangaroos sell his weak Thunderbolt Patterson offense. Heffernan goes for a slam and fails. Big Red ends up getting stuck in the wrong corner though. There is an awful ringing sound happening throughout this match. Widell gets a tag and he is absolutely useless. They deliver the BOOMERANG (catapult into a backdrop) and Heffernan delivers an elbow drop off the ropes for the win. (8:45) Widell didn’t even budge for that elbow drop – like he was knocked out cold from the backdrop. What a guy. The Kangaroos try and double-team Big Red after the bell and get tossed aside. ¾*
- Abdullah the Butcher vs. John Irish
I’m assuming this jobber is from Ireland. Just a hunch. Anyways, we are joined in progress here. Butcher chews on the ropes while choking this poor ham-and-egger. Headbutt and elbow drop takes care of Irish in 0:30 shown. He continues to choke Irish after the bell until Mark Lewin scares him off and pulls Irish out to safety. VINTAGE ABDULLAH~!
- The Sheik vs. Billy Bird
The names of these jabronis, I tell ya. You gotta love the floating close up shot of the Sheik and my mind goes to the movie Aladdin. Yeah, I just made a Disney reference. I’m a 1990s kid. Anyways, Sheik gets cheered as he gets in the ring. He gives praise to Allah and charges Billy Bird. RELIGION OF PEACE, EH? Lewin points out that his violent style of wrestling hasn’t changed, but perhaps his personality has changed. He’s now fighting guys who Lewin feels certainly need to be hurt by the Sheik. He bites Bird and throws him out to the floor. As Bird makes it back on the apron, Sheik flips him back inside the ring and applies the CAMEL CLUTCH for the win in 1:22. He doesn’t break immediately and even pulls back on Bird’s neck some more as we go to commercial.
No mention yet of any active champions in this territory.
- Austin Idol vs. Steve Cooper
Sounds like Idol is a newcomer to the area. 1978 is the first year of the super confident Austin Idol character as well. Lewin puts over Idol’s physique, but says he’s pretty “far out” talking about making other people his slave. He puts the boots to Cooper and throws him into the announce table. Back inside, he thumbs Cooper in the throat and slams him around. Running clothesline sets up what he calls the RACK as his finishing hold. It’s not the Lex Luger hold, but basically Sgt. Slaughter’s Atomic Noogie in 2:01.
- Dory Funk Jr. & Pierre LaFiv vs. Kurt Von Hess & “Bulldog” Don Kent (w/”Pretty Boy” Floyd Creachman)
This is the feature match of the show. You should know who Dory Funk Jr. is. I have no information on who Pierre LaFiv is. He just looks like a 1970s northern midcarder to me meaning that he plays up his French ethnicity. Kurt Von Hess is another guy doing a Nazi gimmick that has been happening since the end of World War II. He’s been a part of the Detroit roster for most of the 1970s as a tag team wrestler. If you followed my Memphis 1979 recaps, he was included there as one of the Assassins tag team. While he is best known as one of the Fabulous Kangaroos tag team, Don Kent is wearing a dog collar here doing a “bulldog” gimmick. I don’t know much about the manager other than his father was Eddie “The Brain” Creachman who was a manager in the Montreal area. Smoke a cigar, wore sunglasses, and played up his Jewish-ness to get heat. He managed a lot of the monsters in that area like the Sheik, Abdullah the Butcher, and Don Leo Jonathan. Johnny Valiant the manager comes to mind – except for the Jewish thing. Lots of arm work here from Dory and LaFiv. Dory knocks Von Hess silly with his signature forearms. Kent tags in and Dory headlocks him to tag in LaFiv. The heels keep LaFiv in their corner with chinlocks and clubbering. We get another blind tag spot allowing Von Hess to choke LaFiv in the ropes. Dory is getting FRUSTRATED. More abuse administered to LaFiv. They do a nice spot where LaFiv avoids a corner charge from Von Hess at the last second and lunges towards Dory for a tag. Von Hess yanks LaFiv by the tights trying to cut off the tag, but nothing doing. Dory is a HOUSE OF FIRE here. He dumps out Kent and delivers the Butterfly Suplex to Von Hess. It looks like it should be over and done, but Dory keeps punishing Von Hess. He misses an elbow drop as the heels start beating up Dory. Just when you think they have Dory, Dory has Von Hess in an inside cradle for the win. (9:40) After the bell, Dory gets double-teamed as Kent blasts him with a chain wrapped around his fist. Dory begins to bleed as LaFiv leaves to go find some help. Next thing we know, TERRY FUNK appears and scares away Creachman’s boys. Mark Lewin gets a t-shirt from an audience member and rips it up to make a bandage for Dory’s head. Now that’s old school. Austin Idol and Don Kent return to ringside, but Lewin tosses Dory a chair and they don’t dare jump in the ring now. Just because he wants to fight, Dory gets rid of the chair and tells Kent and Idol to get in the ring with him and Terry. Of course, they don’t budge. I’m disappointed there’s no Terry Funk promo. AUSTIN IDOL AND DON KENT ARE CHICKEN LOVERRRRRS. *½
- Stan Stasiak vs. Garth Vader
So it’s essentially a guy who looks like Mr. Wrestling II who REALLY likes Star Wars. Stasiak spends much of the match weakening the arm to set up that Heart Punch. The Sheik comes out and throws a metal trash can at Stasiak. With the Sheik close by, Stasiak quickly delivers the HEART PUNCH to Garth to pick up the win at 5:45.
Sheik chases Stasiak around ringside after the bell. Stasiak says after he gets done with Sheik, he’s coming for Lewin. Sheik pounds on him with a card table, but Stasiak won’t get in the ring with him. They’re still chasing each other around as the fans want Sheik to take Stasiak apart. Sheik finally hits Stasiak with the card table. He even hits Stasiak with his the Heart Punch! And with that message sent, Sheik leaves Stasiak in the ring. Stasiak then goes over to the announce table telling Chuck Allen that he was still standing while everyone else goes down when he delivers his Heart Punch.
And that’s going to do it for this week.
Final Thoughts: I’m not totally sure what I was expecting. There’s serious-minded wrestlers and crazed brawlers everywhere here. However, you got to see THREE former world champs on one show and one of them showing up appeared to be a surprise, so that’s always cool. Nothing must-see wrestling-wise, but if you’re at all interested as to who the Original Sheik was then this isn’t too bad of an example. The only thing this show needed was a fireball and an introduction to the Sheik would be complete.
Next time we come back to Detroit, we’ll be visiting the late 1960s! This TV episode is so old that Arnold Skaaland is on the card.
Posted on July 5, 2016, in Detroit and tagged Abdullah the Butcher, Al Costello, Austin Idol, Big Red, Bob Heffernan, Don Kent, Dory Funk Jr., Fabulous Kangaroos, Floyd Creachman, Kurt Von Hess, Mark Lewin, Pierre LaFiv, Stan Stasiak, Terry Funk, The Sheik. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.