The AWA began airing their weekly wrestling shows on ESPN in 1985, to my total delight. If you had cable television in 1985 like we did, then you had ESPN — which meant that your universe of hot pro wrestling content suddenly expanded that year.
Prior to this, we had the WWF out of New York, which was campy and over-the-top like your goofy uncle. And we had NWA out of the dirty South, which was gritty and raw, like that white trash kid who lived in your neighborhood trailer park and threw rocks at cars.
So the addition of the AWA out of Minnesota was an exciting breath of fresh air. They featured a bevy of talented and handsome young lions to cheer for (Curt Hennig, Rick Martel, Jim Brunzell) who in 1985 slid easily into the rasslin fantasies that always played out in my head while I was bored in Geometry class, my text book placed strategically on my lap.
Perhaps more than any other federation, the AWA reveled in the sexiness of masculinity. Their roster included several hairy-chested daddies (Michael Hayes, Jim Garvin, big Scott Hall, the Fabulous Ones) who proudly flaunted their manly beefcake, flirting shamelessly, their hyper-confidence inspiring lust and desire in my testosterone-soaked teenage brain.
One of the YouTube channels I follow has been posting the AWA episodes from that first glorious year on ESPN. This is good classic rasslin, and a fun walk down memory lane as I recall at least a shadow of my youthful excitement when I discovered the AWA on ESPN.
This match from the 10/22/85 episode features the Fabulous Freebirds in tag team action.
I suppose Michael Hayes had a partner, but I paid little attention to him. My focus was glued to this blond viking, with his dark beard contrasting with his beautiful golden tresses. His thick hairy body was a total turn-on, forcing me to crave running my hands from his ample chest, all the way down that long treasure-trail to the tight black spandex briefs.
I realize Hayes may not appeal to every wrestling fan — he’s not as cute as Curt Hennig or as swole as Rick Martel. But in my mind, his sex appeal is undeniable, and the fact that he put himself out there, grinding his hips and striking sexy beefcake poses for us, raised him from about a 7 to at least a 9-and-a-half.
I suppose Jim Londos had a partner too, but again, my attention span was very limited. Why would I ever look away from his smooth physique, his clean-cut preppy haircut, and his perfectly-chosen snow white outfit.
Meanwhile Hayes steps in front of the camera to present his dick right in our faces. He insists that we keep our wandering gaze on him at all times.
The AWA guys were well-trained and athletic. Their moves were crisp, like this gorgeous Elbow Drop to the jobber’s leg. The Heels focus on the jobber’s leg, proving that they understand and respect classic ring psychology.
This is in contrast to some of the big clumsy goons that other federations were beginning to promote just because of their epic size. We could count on the AWA to keep it classy and classic.
He’s like a dog in heat, humping your leg with growing intensity. And those tall yellow boots, laced nearly up to his knees are kinky as fuck.
The outraged commentators use provocative language to further stoke our arousal:
“They’re not content for Londos to just lie there and writhe in pain — they wanna hurt him some more!” “It takes a while sometimes to get the man unraveled from it.”
Now do you see why this horn-dog Michael Hayes and his bad-ass partner were able to not only intimidate me, but excite me as well?
“The devastating thing about the Figure 4 is that you are hyper-extending one leg with your own other leg. You’re using two legs to do it…
This hyper-extends the ligaments on the side of the leg, the man’s leg is hurting right now. You go inside, now he swings that one over. And it’s the lower leg right now that’s gonna be hyper-extended, you can see where the pressure is. He locks that over. There’s two legs pulling down on the one. And it’s one of the most painful in the world. I use that one myself and it’s very efficient.” (Oh Verne — you filthy-mouthed slut.)
The Figure 4 Leglock is being fetishized for how “devastating” and “painful” it is — and Michael Hayes is presented as heartless and sadistic for having mercilessly “hyper-extended” the helpless man’s ligaments. I’m loving Hayes more and more.
As we go to commercial, we’re treated to an ad for AWA Wrestling on ESPN at 8:00 PM. I’ll be tuning in for sure if they’re going to show us these chubby jobbers in sexy red speedos being brutalized by big bad men like Scott Hall and one of the Long Riders.
This is the wrestling I love, that respects its traditions, that treats the holds and moves as legitimately tortuous, that delights in violent and vicious tactics.