WCCW Star Wars 1981 Review

WCCW Star Wars 1981 Review

February 22nd, 1981
Dallas Reunion Arena, Dallas, Texas

The February installment of WCCW Star Wars 1981 is one of only two of the many Wrestling Star Wars events produced by the company that is currently available on Peacock. 

That's both disappointing and surprising, especially given the renewed interest in Fritz Von Erich's promotion generated by the December 2023 release of The Iron Claw movie. 

Still, any World Class action is better than no World Class action, right? 

Produced at a time when I believe the company was still called Big Time Wrestling, the show featured all your Von Erich favorites (including Fritz himself), along with other big stars from the time, making this fan eager to dive into it. 

So, with nary a lightsaber joke in sight (apart from that one), let's head down to the Dallas Reunion Arena for a WCCW Star Wars '81 review featuring -for the first time in Retro Pro Wrestling history- very special bonus commentary from non-wrestling-fan wife.

Mil Mascaras vs. Killer Tim Brooke 

We began with a cold open on the ring as Mexican legend Mil Mascaras made his arrival, ready to take on Killer Tim Brooks in our opening match.

WCCW Star Wars 1981 (Feb 22nd) - Mil Mascaras vs. Tim Brooks

The two men started with an old-school catch-as-catch-can duel which clearly favored the more technically gifted Mascaras.

Watching this match now, at a time when a lot of modern wrestling has a much flashier, fast-paced style centered around big, crowd-popping spots, it’s actually very refreshing to watch two old-school grapplers trading holds.

Unable to get the advantage, the devious Tim Brooks twice tried to claim an easy victory, first accusing Mascaras of pulling his hair and demanding a DQ win, and then again asking for his arm raised in victory after the legendary luchador hurled him over the top rope.

When the referee refused to yield, Brooks resorted to his style of wrestling -brawling- and faired much better against his smaller opponent.

Better, but not enough to get the fall.

As the finish approached, Mascaras battled back and sent his foe flying with a big dropkick. His second dropkick missed, but when Brooks tried to capitalize with an elbow drop, he too ate nothing but canvas.

At that point, Mascaras climbed onto the top rope and pounced on his opponent for the three count.

I can see why some people may not have enjoyed that match, but personally, I thought it was a strong way to start this 40+ year-old show.
Your Winner: Mil Mascaras

Up next, the one and only Fritz Von Erich made his way through the crowd for our next match and was immediately surrounded by fans who flocked to the ring apron to get his autograph.

Since I started catching up on WCCW, this has been one of my favorite things to see; wrestlers signing autographs for the crowd moments before the match began.

No Disqualification Match
Fritz Von Erich vs. Kabuki (w/ Gary Hart)

Between Von Erich’s impromptu autograph signing and Kabuki’s pre-match rituals, this one took forever to get started and then even longer to get interesting.

WCCW Star Wars 1981 (Feb 22nd) - Fritz Von Erich vs. Great Kabuki

Fritz was largely retired at this point but had donned the trunks one more time to avenge his son David, who had recently been attacked by the apparently not-yet-Great Kabuki.

Despite being out for revenge, the aging grappler spent a lot of time stalking his nemesis around the ring, with only the occasional strike or attempt at a nerve hold from both men breaking up the monotony.

As the match progressed, Gary Hart started to get involved and was attacked by a fan. As security (and a cigarette-smoking gentleman who looked curiously like the late, great gonzo journalist, Hunter S. Thompson) rushed to the scene, Hart socked the fan and resumed helping out his charge.

It was genuinely the most exciting moment of the entire bout.

Not long after, David Von Erich ran out to even the score. After initially getting his ass whooped by Kabuki, David recovered and beat down on the foreign star (this was, remember, no DQ), helping his pops get the win.
Your Winner: Fritz Von Erich 

Post-match, the younger Von Erich resumed his assault, sending Kabuki packing before embracing his dad.

National Wrestling Alliance World Heavyweight Champion 
NWA World Heavyweight Champion Harley Race vs. Kerry Von Erich

Following the fiasco in the previous match, ring announcer Bill Mercer took a moment to warn the fans that they would be arrested and prosecuted if they dared get involved in the matches.

WCCW Star Wars 1981 Review - Kerry Von Erich vs. Harley Race

He then announced our champion and challenger, with commentator Steve Harris noting that Kerry Von Erich would be the youngest world champion in wrestling history if he could usurp Harley Race tonight

For the most part, it looked very much like Kerry would succeed as he dominated the champion for the majority of this entertaining match.

He even managed to slap on the dreaded Von Erich Claw, but Race managed to escape to the outside, where he gained momentary respite from getting his ass kicked by clocking the challenger upside the head with a sandbag.

Von Erich soon regained the advantage, taking the fight back into the ring. An attempt at reversing an Irish whip into the corner resulted in the referee being knocked out to the arena floor.

Ever the hero, Kerry went to check on the fallen official. Race followed in pursuit, but was slapped in a sleeper hold and rolled back into the ring, where he was covered for what would have been at least a seven-count had there been a referee present.

The longer Von Erich covered the prone champion, the rowdier the crowd became. Little kids in the front row waved their arms as if counting “one, two, three.” One fan even rushed to the apron and began slapping the canvas as though counting the fall, only to be quickly ushered back to his seat, probably to avoid Gary Hart coming back out and whooping the fan’s ass.

With the crowd reaching fever pitch, David Manning dove into the ring from nowhere and made the official count, but Race kicked out on two.

Moments later, the action once again spilled to the outside.

This time, neither man made it back into the ring before Manning had finished counting them out.

It was clearly a major disappointment to the Texas audience, but a perfect way to make Kerry Von Erich look like a major star while ensuring Race could take his title on to the next town.
Double Countout

Couldn’t get enough of the Von Erich family?

Don’t worry, there was more of them up next.

National Wrestling Alliance World Tag Team Championship 
NWA World Tag Team Champions Ali Mustafa & Hercules Ayala vs. The Von Erichs (Kevin & David Von Erich)

For the first time since I started this blog 11 years ago, my wife actually sat down to watch a match I was reviewing with me.

WCCW Star Wars 1981 Review - The Crowd Swarm the ring

She was drawn in by the sheer size of the crowd gathering around the ring, clamoring for an autograph from the Von Erich brothers.

“Wow, look at all those people around the ring!” she exclaimed in what was a pretty fair reaction.

Seriously, if you thought the number of people at Fritz’s pre-match signing was a lot, you should see the crowd that gathered for his sons.

Other than asking me why Kevin Von Erich was wearing a diaper, my wife’s only other contribution to this match review was to ask me the following question:

“So, this is from when wrestling was more real, right?”

Again, it was a fair comment. Not that WCCW was any less worked back then, but the way Kevin & David battled reigning champions Ali Mustafa & Hercules Ayala lent an air of believability to proceedings, making it easy to see why Mrs. Scholes, and the hot Texas crowd, could so easily buy into things.

With disbelief well and truly suspended, both teams produced a solid tag team match that was still captivating even for this old and jaded fan.

After a gripping effort, Ali Mustafa had David Von Erich set up for a submission hold, only for Kevin (the legal man) to leap off the top with a sunset flip to bring the titles home to Von Erich ranch.
Your Winners and New NWA Tag Team Champions: The Von Erichs

The show then skipped over a match in which Chang Chung defeated Bruiser Brody, taking us to our final contest of the evening.

$5,000 Battle Royal 
Featuring: Bruiser Brody, Ali Mustafa, Billy White Cloud, Brian Blair, Chang Chung, Hercules Ayala, Jesse Barr,  Jose Lothario, Raul Mata, The Lawman,  Tim Brooks

The addition of pinfalls to this one meant that we got at least two instances of guys being eliminated literally by everything piling on top of them.

Those were the only two moments in the match were anything vaguely exciting happened.

After a pretty good show, this battle royal with a supposed $5,000 surprise was completely underwhelming.

At one point, it looked as though Jose Lothario, looking as old here as he would 15 years later when he managed Shawn Michaels, would win the whole thing.

Alas, it wasn’t to be.

Bruiser Brody, who had been knocked through the middle rope, returned to the action, tossing Ali Mustafa and Tim Brooks to claim the prize.
Your Winner: Bruisr Brody

As short as this presentation of WCCW Star Wars 1981 was, it was mostly an enjoyable watch. The Fritz/Kabuki match and battle royal were not exactly exciting, but the rest of the matches involving The Von Erich family certainly were, and the opener was a pleasingly old-school change of pace from the current product.

I’ll be back with more World Class Championship Wrestling reviews very soon. 

Until then, thanks for reading.

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