The Road Warriors vs. The Crusher & Baron Von Raschke
August 25, 1984
Las Vegas, NV

Reviewed by Gerard Di Trolio (VOW Author Page@GerardDiTrolio of Emerald FlowShow @EmeraldFlowShow)

Gifted by Alex Wendland (VOW Author Page

This was the version of the match that aired on Japanese TV. A little investigation also yielded that this was the match where the Road Warriors won the AWA tag titles and would go on to hold them for 400 days. So this is a bit of an historic match and a window into the AWA in its declining years.

So my first thought about this was how much offense the 58 year old Crusher and the 44 year old Von Raschke got in here. This was the era where the Road Warriors were usually steamrolling through their opponents so to see these two older guys put up a fight was interesting to say the least. Even the finish reflected this bizarre dynamic. Von Raschke had The Claw on Animal, so Paul Ellering jumped on the apron to distract The Crusher. The referee then came over, and while he was distracted, Hawk hit a top rope lariat on Von Raschke and then pulled Animal on top to get the pin.

This was a microcosm of the trends that contributed to the decline of the AWA. The Road Warriors couldn’t get a decisive win over two old men. Yes, both Von Raschke and especially The Crusher were legends but there was little reason to go to the lengths that this match did to protect them or make them look like they could go toe-to-toe with the hottest tag team in the world. After the debacle the previous year of Hogan not winning the AWA World Title and then leaving for WWF, you’d think Verne Gagne would have learned a thing or two. He did not.

As for the match itself, it’s perfectly passable. The crowd heat helps, while The Crusher only tags in for short spurts to throw some punches. Von Raschke isn’t exactly an athletic marvel, but he’s competent. The aura that the Road Warriors had helped to carry this, which again makes the booking only more frustrating, especially in hindsight.

I’ve never been successful in my predictions for VOW Secret Santa, and don’t have a good feeling about it again this year. That being said, I’m going to go with Steve Case sending me this interesting little piece of history.