WCCW Christmas Star Wars 1981 Review

WCCW Christmas Star Wars 1981 Review by Retro Pro Wrestling

December 25, 1981
Reunion Arena, Dallas, Texas

The version of WCCW Christmas Star Wars 1981 available on Peacock doesn't feature the full card. 

The show, promoted under the NWA Big Time Wrestling banner, kicked off with a singles match in which El Negro Assassin and Richard Blood battled to a 15 minute draw, followed by Tiny Tom beating Little Tokyo. 

Neither match was on the version I watched for this review. So, if you were hoping to hear all about them, I can't promise that you'll find what you're looking for. 

What I can promise you, is more World Class wrestling, more of the Von Erich family, and more bonus commentary from my wife who really, really hated Ernie Ladd. 

Here we go:

Welcome to WCCW Christmas Star Wars 1981

We began with a zoomed-out shot of a dark Reunion Arena, a single blue spotlight beaming down on ring announcer Marc Lowrance, as commentator Bill Mercer welcomed us to WCCW Christmas Star Wars 1981.

For his part, Lowrance pointed out the double-ring setup, informing us that some matches would take place in one ring, some in the other, and some in both. 

Got all that? 

Great. Then let’s get down to it:

National Wrestling Alliance Brass Knuckles Championship 
NWA Brass Knuckles Champion Ernie Ladd  vs. Jose Lothario 

As Ernie Ladd somehow took five minutes to remove his ring jacket, Mercer explained that the Brass Knucks title was fought over by those who embraced toughness and violence.

WCCW Christmas Star Wars 1981 - Ernie Ladd

So it was a little curious to see reigning champion Ernie Ladd cower in the corner as a challenger half his size threatened to knock his block off.

Jose Lothario dominated the early part of the match as my wife (who occasionally stopped by to watch the show with me) yelled at Ladd for being a wuss.

The champion soon turned the tables, of course, breaking out of a Lothario bear hug with a well-placed Greco-Roman eye poke.

From there, things descended into something akin to a slow-paced boxing match until the challenger once again seized the momentum and lept off the top rope, clocking his opponent with a flying bump to the noggin for the match-winning fall.
Your Winner and New NWA Brass Knucks Champion: Jose Lothario

Personally, I found the match pretty engrossing. Apparently, however, I was the only one. 

“That was sh*t! That was the worst wrestling match I’ve ever seen!” proclaimed my better half, who has probably seen a grand total of 10 matches in her life.

“The big guy should have creamed the little guy easy!”

To be fair, she has a point.

Universal Wrestling Association World Junior Light Heavyweight Championship
UWA Light Heavyweight Champion El Solitario vs. Killer Tim Brooks 

My good lady liked El Solitario way more than that big wuss, Ernie Ladd, whooping and cheering as the luchador threw himself in and around the ring, launching at his opponent with dropkicks and planchas.

WCCW Christmas Star Wars 1981 - Tim Brooks vs. El Solitario

All the while, I was still trying to work out how the burly Tim Brooks qualified as a light heavyweight.

Ignoring that, it was hard to disagree with my wife that this was an exciting match, with Brooks pitting his brawling prowess against Solitario’s high-flying agility.

In the end, it was the latter who prevailed, taking down the challenger with a diving bodypress to retain his title.
Your Winner and Still UWA Light Heavyweight Champion: El Solitario

Up next, this:

Texas Death Match
Fritz Von Erich vs. Kabuki (w/ Gary Hart)

Fritz Von Erich and Kabuki had an awfully dull match back at the February 1981 Star Wars event. 

WCCW Christmas Star Wars '81 - Fritz Von Erich vs. Kabuki

10 months later, the two apparently still hadn’t settled their rivalry, leading to a Texas Death Match which was, mercifully, better than their last Star Wars encounter.

Kabuki launched at Von Erich right from the opening bell but was gradually overpowered by the enormous Fritz.

Admittedly, things did begin to grow a little tedious when the two spent a portion of the match exchanging various nerve holds, but it was still a good watch.

Fritz soon gained the upper hand, applying The Claw and grinding Kabuki down to the mat for the three count.

Refusing to let go, the Von Erich patriarch had to be prized off his opponent by two referees before turning his attention to Gary Hart, who had been running interference at every opportunity.

All the while, the referee began a ten count. Kabuki got to his feet and the match continued. Shortly after, it ended again, this time with both men sprawled prone on the ring apron.

Neither of them could beat the official’s ten count, so at first, it looked as though this one was a draw.

However, since this was a Texas Death Match, the referee declared that there had to be a winner. The official also decreed that the winner would be the first man to get in the ring and get to his feet, essentially making this a death match which was determined by a race.

Not that there was much of a race.

In a heinous act, Hart threw Von Erich off the apron into the crowd and rolled Kabuki into it, where the Japanese star crawled to his feet and won.
Your Winner: Kabuki

Mercer informed us this was the only Texas Death Match Fritz Von Erich had ever lost.

Six-Man Tag 
The Von Erichs (Kerry, Kevin, and David Von Erich vs. Frank Dusek, Wild Bill Irwin, and Ten Gu

This was different to the kind of six-man matches we’re all used to today. 

NWA Big Time Wrestling Star Wars Christmas 1981 - NWA Big Time Wrestling Christmas Star Wars 1981 - The Von Erichs (Kerry, Kevin, and David Von Erich vs. Frank Dusek, Wild Bill Irwin, and Ten Gu

What we had here, was basically two singles matches going on simultaneously (one in each ring) with the third men from each team standing five feet away from each other between the rings with the freedom to tag into either one at any time.

I’ve only ever seen one match like this before (and I believe that was also a World Class show), and I did not like the format at all.

I didn’t like it here, either.

For one thing, the show’s attempt to cover the action in two rings on one camera meant that it was often hard to figure out what you were supposed to be paying attention to.

For another, why would two guys fight so intensely against one another in the ring, then both end up on the apron together and just stand there a few feet apart, ignoring each other like two strangers waiting for a bus during flu season?

Don’t get me wrong, The Von Erichs were as exciting as ever here, with a double flying head scissors from Kevin Von Erich serving as the match’s only real highlight, but there was still too much going on to keep track of.

Honestly, this seemed like the kind of match TNA would do in the mid-2000s and then get laughed at for it by the Internet.

Naturally, Kerry, Kevin, and David won thanks to an elbow drop from Kevin:
Your Winners: The Von Erichs 

Finally, it was battle royal time.

$10,000 Battle Royal
Featuring:   Big Daddy Bundy, Al Madril, Armand Hussein, Bill Irwin, Blue Demon, Carlos Zapata, David Von Erich, Frank Dusek, José Lothario, Kerry Von Erich, Killer Tim Brooks, El Negro Assassino, Richard Blood and Ten Gu

Poor Marc Lowrance could barely finish explaining the rules of this match before he was interrupted by David Von Erich and Frank Dusek, who clearly hadn’t settled their score in the last match.

Wrestling Star Wars 1981 Christmas Edition - Battle Royal Graphic

When he did get to finish, the ring announcer explained that wrestlers would be thrown from Ring A into Ring B and then eliminated, with the last man remaining in each ring ultimately facing each other for the $10,000 prize.

What followed was a fairly standard battle royal void of any meaningful highlights.

Big Daddy Bundy (King Kong Bundy with a full head of hair and jeans) was the last man remaining in the first ring, with Bill Irwin somehow standing tall as the sole survivor in the second ring.

As per the rules, the two collided in a fun exchange where it legitimately looked like Irwin might take the whole thing.

Wrestling Star Wars 1981 Christmas Edition - Battle Royal

Of course, being about 10 times smaller than his opponent meant that was never going to happen.

Irwin had Bundy on the ropes and charged at him. Bundy dropped to the apron, yanked down the top rope, and Wild Bill went falling to the outside.
Your Winner: Big Daddy Bundy

WCCW Christmas Star Wars 1981 wasn’t quite as good as the other Star Wars show available on Peacock, but it was by no means terrible. 

The light heavyweight title match stood out to this fan as being the most fun to watch, though looking back 40+ years later the whole show offered a wonderfully nostalgic change of pace that was most enjoyable.

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