Awesome Wrestling Entertainment made its national-television debut Saturday night before a sellout crowd at Augusta Expo in Fishersville, Va.
The show started with the first-ever one-on-one match for former ECW stars Tommy Dreamer and Terry Funk. Funk came to the ring to wild applause from the crowd and from his opponent, Dreamer, a protege who had admitted beforehand that the match with his mentor would be tough for him personally. Funk changed the tone quickly, attacking Dreamer with the house mic at the opening bell and battering Dreamer around the arena with the aid of chairs, the ringside table and the steps leading to the ring.
Dreamer scored a controversial pinfall with a schoolboy rollup. Funk attacked the referee following the quick three-count, and postmatch highlights showed that Funk had kicked out at two.
Next up was a battle of Future Legends, Jamin Olivencia and Sonjay Dutt. Dutt, a veteran of TNA, controlled the action at the outset, but Olivencia rallied to gain control late in what might have been the match of the night. Olivencia rolled up Dutt for the one-two-three to sneak another controversial pinfall in the series between the two.
Perry Saturn made his return to the ring at Night of the Legends against C.W Anderson. Saturn had last wrestled in 2002 before a knee injury put him on the shelf, sending his life into a tailspin that ended with him being homeless for a short time. Anderson controlled the match at the outset against the ring-rusty Saturn, who survived a series of near-falls to score the win in his return.
Mohammad Akbar drew the most heat of the night from the live crowd before his match against Hall of Famer “Hacksaw” Jim Duggan with an anti-American rant that Duggan interrupted backstage before storming the ring. Akbar more than held his own against the 32-year veteran before Duggan scored the pinfall at the seven-minute mark. Backstage cameras caught up with Akbar, who directed another anti-American rant at Duggan and the live crowd before stalking off.
Billed as “The Future of AWE,” Alex Silva tangled with veteran Fit Finlay in another match-of-the-night candidate. Accompanied by Hall of Fame Diva Tammy Sytch, Silva took control of the matchup early before Finlay went down with an apparent match-ending knee injury after taking an awkward bump into a turnbuckle. Finlay gamely continued and had a series of near-falls on Silva, who used a tug of the tights for illegal leverage while scoring the pinfall on Finlay. After the match, Silva did a quick interview with a backstage camera crew that showed that he had suffered an apparent broken nose from a stiff Finlay blow late in the matchup.
A Special Attraction match featured Short Sleeve Sampson from Hulk Hogan’s Micro Championship Wrestling against Abo Shongo. Sampson dominated the matchup with the bigger Shongo and won with an off-the-top-rope frog splash on his prone opponent.
This all set up the main event, which featured The Rock-n-Roll Express against Kevin Nash and a mystery partner, who was revealed to be Diamond Dallas Page. AWE CEO Marvin Ward, who had been scheduled to tag with Nash in the grudge match, interrupted the match at the two-minute mark and said that at Nash’s request the match would be a singles match between Nash and Morton, who had egged on the match with a series of shoot interviews blasting Nash for perceived slights dating back to 2002.
Ward also inserted former NWA World Champ Ron Garvin as the special guest referee to maintain order for the main event.
The 7’1″ Nash as would be expected dominated the early action against the 5’10″ Morton, who rallied at the five-minute mark and seemed to have Nash on the edge of an upset after attacking his surgically-repaired left knee.
Nash regained control and chokeslammed Morton for a near-fall, at which point he grabbed the house mic and asked Morton if he had had enough, at which point the bloodied Morton responded that he’d proven his point by taking the beating from Nash. Nash offered a handshake as a way to say no hard feelings, then used his powerbomb finisher on Morton to set up the apparent ending pinfall.
Then Nash mysteriously left the ring and was counted out by Garvin, leaving Morton the improbable winner in one of the more impressive performances of his career.