Yes! Time to celebrate America’s birthday with a repost of a pair of 1986 Great American Bash shows posted to the Hidden Gems section of the Network a couple of years back, with Dusty at the peak of his Dusty-ness.
The SmarK Rant for NWA Great American Bash 86 – 07.05.86
By popular demand!
Taped from Charlotte, NC, drawing 23,000 to the Memorial Stadium, and yet somehow they managed to go out of business two years later.
No commentary for the show, by the way, although it’s shot from multiple angles and professionally produced by Crockett.
We get some pretty impressive precision skydivers as a sort of pre-show attraction, and then it’s on with the show.
NWA World Junior heavyweight title: Denny Brown v. Steve Regal
Regal gets a slam and does some strutting, but Brown comes back with his own slams and Regal bails and stalls. I should note that very few people in wrestling have had nicknames as mismatched to their style as “Mr. Electricity” did, because he was basically a dull underneath guy trying to be Eddie Gilbert and failing miserably. Seriously, they picked HIM to be the guy to beat to the ROAD WARRIORS for the AWA tag titles?! Back in the ring, Brown gets a couple of takedowns while Regal launches various protests about hairpulling, and they fight over a wristlock and then do an extended headlock on the mat. Both guys are kind of odd cases, in that they were names in a few territories around this time, but then both basically vanished off the scene completely by the end of the year. Brown basically went into retirement by the end of 86 and resurfaced a few years later doing jobs in WCW, and Regal hung around Windy City Wrestling pretty much exclusively and didn’t work much. I mean, Regal I can understand because he’s fucking terrible and got passed by with his Memphis reject act, but Brown was a pretty decent worker who could have fit in as a tag team guy or midcarder with Crockett. Regal works a chinlock and grinds it and grinds it, then cuts off a comeback attempt with a suplex for two. He stomps Brown down in the corner and Denny finally makes a comeback, but Regal cuts him off AGAIN with a knee in the corner for two. Back to the chinlock with time running out, and Regal drops an elbow for two. Another one misses and Brown finally makes his damn comeback with a legdrop for two, but time expires at 15:00 before they can even do a big dramatic sequence and that’s that. What a deathly dull start to the show, with Brown taking a beating for 14:00 of a 15:00 match. *1/4
Black Bart v. Robert Gibson
Interesting use of Robert tonight, with Ricky otherwise occupied. I’m assuming this is a non-title match, although Bart is the Mid-Atlantic champion at this point for whatever that was worth in mid-1986. Bart pounds away on the ropes, but Robert gets a bodypress for two. Bart slugs away in the corner, but Robert gets a flying headscissors and controls him on the mat. Nice bit as Bart tries to power out of the headscissors, so Robert basically piledrives him from a sitting position to put him down again. Minor note: Robert is actually chewing gum while working the match, which seems a tad glib to me. Bart finally powers out and beats on Robert with forearms, which he sells with GUSTO, flying all over the ring while the crowd shrieks. Bart drops him on the top rope and follows with a backdrop, but Robert gets the hope spot in the corner before Bart boots him out of the ring and drops him on the railing. I was hoping he would slam Robert on the turf so I could mock the idea of selling the soft grass, but NOPE. They outsmarted me. Back in, Bart hits a damn senton and gets two before choking Robert down, but Robert keeps fighting from his back. Bart hits him with a lariat for two, but Robert makes another comeback and fires away, then follows with a bodypress out of the corner for the surprise pin at 7:42. Damn! The googly eyed freak just beat the Mid-Atlantic champion! Maybe Ricky’s got a shot in the main event, too! Gibson’s selling was ON POINT here and this was a hell of a match for what simple story they were trying to do. ***1/2
Special Challenge match: Ole & Arn Anderson v. Sam Houston & Nelson Royal
Despite the name I don’t see the Andersons being particularly challenged here. Arn, my hero, yells “ARE YOU KIDDING ME?” and laughs at the idea of Sam Houston posing a threat to him. Arn quickly slugs him down and yells at the ref not to let little kids into the ring. Houston gets the hiptoss, however, and Arn backs off and brings in Ole. Houston runs away from that and Royal comes in for the battle of grizzled vets, as he slugs away on the miserable fuck and hits Arn with a kneelift to set up a chinlock. Ole traps him in the corner and goes to work on the arm, but Royal escapes and it’s back to Houston. Sam slugs away and quickly gets MAULED in the corner, having poked the wrong bears tonight, and Arn drops a knee for two. AA goes to work on the arm and Ole hammerlocks him into the corner and stomps the shit out of his arm before going back to the armbar again. Houston fights free and makes the hot tag to Royal, but Arn just weathers the punches and rope-a-dopes him to allow Ole to club Royal from behind. Now THAT is an awesome strategy. Ole continues punishing the arm and the Andersons double-team him with some quality trashtalking in the corner, and Arn gets two. Arn stays on the arm while Ole provides motivation from the apron (“TEAR HIS DAMN ARM OFF! RIP THE PEC OFF!”) and then they switch off and do it again. If there’s anyone uniquely qualified to stand on the apron yelling about what a worthless human being you are, it’s Ole Anderson. Ole antagonizes Houston and allows Arn to beat Royal down and continue destroying the arm with a hammerlock slam, but he gets too fancy and goes up and misses. Hot tag Houston, who bulldogs Arn for two and it’s BREAKING LOOSE IN TULSA. Houston with a rollup on Arn, but Ole clubs him behind the ref’s back and that’s all she wrote at 12:20. VINTAGE WRECKING CREW! ***1/4
Bunkhouse Match: Manny Fernandez v. Baron Von Raschke
Baron is wearing jeans and t-shirt and looks like someone’s history teacher out at Wendy’s for lunch. Way to kill the aura there. Baron stalls for a bit and beats on Manny with forearms, but Bull hits him with a forearm and kneelifts to take over. Blind charge misses and the Baron uses a foreign object on him, which bless his heart he makes sure to hide even though it’s anything goes, and SURPRISE SURPRISE the Bull is bleeding. Baron chokes him out with his belt and now faces the unfortunate side effect of not being able to keep his pants up, which somewhat diminishes the drama. He beats on Manny with his boot in the corner, but Fernandez comes back and whips Baron with his belt and then hits him with a flying boot shot from the middle rope. Flying forearm misses, however, and he lands on the turf for some punishment from Paul Jones. This match is already way too long. Baron slugs away on the apron, but tries a slam and Manny cradles him for the pin at 9:00. This was about what you’d expect and less. *1/2
Indian Strap Match: Jimmy Garvin v. Wahoo McDaniel
We’re getting into another of the numerous Dusty booking problems, that being gimmick matches up and down the show. I know you’ll be shocked to hear this, but Garvin runs away and yells at the fans a bunch to start. Wahoo gets some straps on him, but Garvin grabs a headlock and then controls with a facelock on the mat. They fight on the floor and Jimmy runs him into the railing and it’s more stalling. Back in, Garvin tries to drag him around and manages to hit two turnbuckles, but Wahoo kicks free. Wahoo is bleeding, of course. I mean, why wouldn’t he? Wahoo also busts Garvin open and drags him to three corners, but Precious gets involved, so Wahoo shoves her away and finishes at the fourth corner at 10:23. Absolutely nothing to this one but the crowd was rabid for both guys and they didn’t need to do much. *
Taped Fist match: Tully Blanchard v. Ron Garvin
Yeah, seriously, three gimmick matches in a row is getting to be a bit much. So this is in rounds of 3:00 each, and Garvin just walks in and NAILS Tully to knock him out before the bell, which gives us a hilarious sell from Tully and a great reaction from JJ. So Tully finally gets going after water on the head from JJ, and Garvin continues blasting him with rights until Tully goes down again. Tully tries to fight back and Garvin casually blocks all his shots and beats on him in the corner, which gives us an 8 count. Ron just mercilessly beats on him and he tries to run away, but Wahoo throws him back in for more punishment. And Tully hides in the corner until the bell rings for the end of the round, at which point he charges out and attacks Garvin…and gets knocked out. So it’s a 30 second rest period and Tully is out cold for his “rest”. Round two and Tully somehow gets to his feet, so Ron punches him down again and beats on him with headbutts in the corner, for which Tommy Young mildly chastises him. Tully goes down again for another 8 count, so Garvin beats him down again and Tully’s just on another planet. They do a pinfall reversal sequence and Tommy Young yells “Come on! We’re not wrestling here!” and Garvin puts him down again as the round ends. Third round and Tully finally puts up a fight, sending Garvin to the floor and into the post. And now HE’S bleeding. Tully slugs away in the corner as the round apparently comes to an end, although they’re just kind of doing rounds whenever now. Garvin fights back, but Tully elbows him down and goes for a pin. “YOU CAN’T PIN THE MAN!” yells Tommy in exasperation. Tully takes a count instead and then beats on Garvin in the corner, but they hit the floor and Wahoo can take no more of this shit and hits Tully with an atomic drop into the post. This allows Gavin to make the comeback in the ring and punch Tully down for a nine count, but now we’re at the end of the fourth round. JJ gives Tully some more tape, which is apparently the key to victory, but Garvin just punches the shit out of him anyway. Finally Tully goes up and they collide on the way down, and both guys are out for the 10 count. But there must be a winner, so the first man up wins and the crowd is SHRIEKING. So Wahoo tosses a bucket of water on Garvin and he’s up for the win at 15:20. This was pretty amusing for about 5:00 but wore out its welcome pretty quick. Still, as something goofy and different, it was fine. **1/2
Double Russian Chain Match: Ivan & Nikita Koloff v. The Road Warriors
Again with the gimmicks! Everyone chokes each other and slugs away with the chains, and fucking Ivan Koloff is bleeding at 30 seconds into the match. Animal clotheslines him with the chain for two while Nikita works on Hawk, but Hawk goes low with the chain and beats on Nikita. Ivan pounds Animal down for two and chokes him out in the corner. And then they kind of take turns beating on each other. Hawk goes up and hits Nikita with the chain, but the ref is bumped, because that’s what this needs. So Nikita escapes his chain and hits Animal with the Sickle, but Ivan gets tripped up and Animal pins him at 5:48. Just awful. DUD
Shaska Whatley v. Jimmy Valiant
Whatley attacks and pounds on Jimmy, then goes to a chinlock and elbows him down for two. The ring announcer suddenly mentions now that the loser gets their head shaved in the ring, just in case we didn’t have enough stipulation matches already tonight. Oh, and Valiant is bleeding, of course, because apparently it would kill them to go more than one match without someone gigging. Whatley holds a long chinlock and gets two, then hangs Jimmy in the Tree of Woe and chokes him out there. Valiant makes the comeback and Whatley beats him down again and slugs away. Valiant fires up again and Whatley cuts him off again for two. He’s so confident that he stops to dance before delivering an elbow, and Valiant moves and makes his big comeback for real this time. Ref is bumped and he gets the sleeper, but now Baron runs in and attacks. And that goes horribly wrong as usual, as Valiant steals his loaded glove and knocks out Whatley for the pin at 10:40. There’s a reason why Jimmy did 20 second squashes at this point. DUD But there’s no ducking the stip here, as the babyfaces rush in and poor Shaska is shaved BALD. And no matter how terrible the match was, the crowd was still going cuckoo bananas the entire time.
Steel cage match: The Midnight Express & Jim Cornette v. Dusty Rhodes, Magnum TA & Baby Doll
Cornette aggressively attacks the babyfaces and that goes badly for him. Bobby starts with TA and slugs on him in the corner, but Magnum comes back with slams on both Express. He sends Bobby into the cage and it’s over to Dusty, who beats on both heels and then chases Cornette into the corner. Magnum beats on Condrey and Dennis is already busted open, but some well timed cheating turns the tide. Magnum gets sent into the cage and he’s bleeding, but Bobby comes off the top and TA hits him on the way down for a hope spot and a sunset flip gets two. At this point Baby Doll runs in and beats on Cornette and gets the pin at 10:03. Well you knew that’s where they were headed. Didn’t have any particular flow to the match, aside from the flow of blood, but it was fine for what it was: More blood, more gimmicks. **1/4
NWA World title, steel cage: Ric Flair v. Ricky Morton
This one really hammers home the point about the booking troubles, since you’d presume the main event would be dramatic and filled with blood and violence, but we’ve already had gimmick matches and juice up and the down the entire show! However, you can’t take one thing away from this, which is RIC FLAIR IN THE MOTHERFUCKING HELICOPTER ENTRANCE. For those wondering the backstory, Flair had delivered a pretty brutal attack to Morton in the dressing room, rubbing his face into the concrete and breaking his nose. So Ricky is sporting a face mask for protection and out for REVENGE. Ricky immediately runs Flair into the cage and Tommy Young is like “Come on you two, stick to wrestling!” Oh man, when you’ve disappointed the referee, you’re pretty low. Flair gets the chops in the corner and Ricky slugs out of there, so Flair makes a break for the cage and Ricky pulls him back in and beats on him. Backslide gets two. Flair gets all flustered and that allows Morton to go for the nose in revenge and run him into the cage for two. Flair: “You motherfucker! Come on!” This only motivates Ricky more and he slugs away in the corner and goes for the nose again, then rolls him up for two and slugs him down. Ricky with the headlock and Flair tries a kneecrusher, but Morton hangs on. Finally Flair gets into the ropes and nails Ricky with an elbow to the neck, but Ricky gets a bodypress for two.
Flair gets a hiptoss to buy time, but Ricky clotheslines him for two and slugs away on the mat, before missing an elbow. Flair goes to work with chops now and rips off the face mask before sending Morton into the cage, and the females DO NOT LIKE. Apparently Ricky is quite attractive and smashing up his face angers them. He’s like the Kota Ibushi of 1986, if you need context. Flair decides to wear the face mask just to be a complete wank, and Ricky is of course bleeding. Flair goes to work on him and we get the classic cheese grater action as Ricky turns up the sympathy sell to ELEVEN. His face is a mess and Flair just beats on him, and then picks out a section of the front row to antagonize before tossing Ricky into the cage, right in front of them. This man is amazing. Tommy Young keeps offering to stop the match, but Ricky cannot and will not. Flair asks for a closeup from the cameraman and then rubs the bloodied face of Morton into the cage, quite rightly pointing out that if you want to be World champion, this is the stuff you have to deal with. Backbreaker gets two after all that.
Flair with a suplex out of the corner and Tommy is AGHAST, because he’s not even giving the man a chance! Figure-four time and Flair uses the ropes as Young pleads with Ricky to just give it up for his own safety. But Flair of course gets caught and Morton escapes the hold. Flair just beats the holy bejesus out of Ricky on the mat and gets two, then adds the chops in the corner, but Ricky fights back like a man and goes up to pound on Ric in the corner. And now Flair goes into the cage and gets busted open after some cheese grating, setting up a sleeper from Morton. Flair makes the ropes, so Morton runs him into the cage again and goes up with a flying bodypress that gets two. Flair tries to run away like a coward again, but Morton follows him up and we get a rare Flair Flop off the top rope, followed by Ricky coming down with a fistdrop for two. Ricky runs him into the cage and goes for the nose again to frustrate Flair, and then goes up with a missile dropkick for two. The ref gets bumped on the kickout, however, and Flair goes to the nuts and runs Morton into the cage as a result, and uses the ropes to finish at 23:10. This was indeed a pretty goddamn great main event, although it was Ricky’s only shot at the top. ****
Overall, it’s a fascinating slice of history that I love from the perspective of nostalgia, but fuck did I not want to sit through gimmick after gimmick and everyone bleeding in every match. The reasons for the territory going into the toilet are pretty clearly on display here, with Dusty just giving in to all his worst excesses. I could go either way on it as far as a recommendation goes, but I think most people nostalgic for this era will have a fun time with it, so I’m gonna go with WATCH IT.
The SmarK Rant for WWE Network Hidden Gems – Great American Bash 86 (Greensboro 07.26.86)
Figure I might as well get this second Bash show done so it’s not hanging over me.
For those who don’t know or don’t remember, this show and the previous supercard in Charlotte were both added as Hidden Gems a couple of months back, the full versions of the shows that were edited down to a 2-hour compilation tape called “Great American Bash 86” back in the day.
Taped from Greensboro, NC
“Mr. Electricity” Steve Regal v. Sam Houston
Just to confirm that we’re in the southern states, someone’s got the stars & bars draped over the railing in the front row. Regal slugs away in the corner to start, but Houston elbows him down for two. Sam works the headlock on the mat, but Regal pulls the tights and rolls him over for two. Meanwhile, Houston stooges him out to the ref, whining and crying like he’s Seth Rollins, so the ref dutifully asks Regal if he did it, and Regal denies it. Well, not much more he can do. Houston misses a charge, perhaps because he’s so shook from having his tights pulled, and Regal takes over with a suplex for two. Time for yonder chinlock, but Houston powers out of it, so Regal pulls the hair and puts him down with a knee to the gut. Well at least he didn’t blubber about it to the ref this time. Be a man, Sam Houston! Regal with a backbreaker for two and back to the chinlock. Sam fights up and Regal puts him down with a clothesline for two. And back to the chinlock. We get some amusing banter from Regal (“Look at him, ref, he’s weak! Ask him!”) and the ref again deals with accusations of trunk-pulling from Houston. Hasn’t he ever heard that snitches get stitches? Houston finally mans up and comes back with a suplex instead of bitching to the ref, and he slugs away in the corner and follows with a monkey flip. Backdrop gets two. Houston yanks him out of the corner and tries the bulldog, but Regal runs him into the corner and pins him with his feet on the ropes at 8:00. And then Houston pisses and moans about THAT, too! He’s kind of a sore loser. So he demands a restart and they slug it out, but Regal runs away and lives to fight another day. Perfectly cromulent opener. **1/2
Denny Brown & The Italian Stallion v. Black Bart & The Barbarian
Despite the introduction of Paul Jones, he’s not there. Brown gets a hiptoss and flying headscissors on Bart to start and the babyfaces double-team him in their corner. Stallion works on the arm and Brown comes in and drops a knee on it, as they cut off the ring and keep Bart from tagging in Barbarian and thus ensuring certain death for them. And then it happens and Barbarian immediately kills Brown with an elbow and goes to work with a press slam. Big boot and backbreaker get two on Brown. Bart comes in with a lariat for two and chokes him out on the mat, but Brown fights back and Bart hits him with a pair of legdrops to put him down again. Bart goes up for one more, but that misses and Stallion actually gets a hot tag and cleans house with dropkicks. But then Bart cuts him off with a suplex and Barbarian puts him away with the diving headbutt at 7:58. Another totally fine match. **1/2
Coal Miner’s Glove match: Manny Fernandez v. Baron Von Raschke
Baron quickly takes Manny down and pounds on him, then drops some elbows and climbs for the glove. Fernandez hauls him down and hits the back elbow, but is unable to get to the glove. To the top for a flying knee and he climbs again, but Baron cuts him off and stomps away. Backbreaker gets two. He climbs for the glove but Fernandez hauls him down and gets another back elbow for two. Blind charge misses and Baron applies the claw, which somehow busts the Bull open. So that goes on for a while as Bull does the Dusty sell on the mat. Baron is able to retrieve the glove off that, but Bull hits him with a bodypress and pins him at 8:24. Not so good here. ½*
Indian Strap Match: Wahoo McDaniel v. Jimmy Garvin
This is a WRESTLING MATCH TO A FINISH, so you know they mean business. I can’t imagine that this will be much different than the match they had on the other Bash show, though. Just so we know we’re in a totally different era, Precious gets heel heat by demanding that fans in the arena refrain from smoking while Garvin is wrestling. Big stall to start and they finally get hooked up, at which point Wahoo whips him like a dog with the strap and some of them sound pretty nasty. Finally Jimmy goes to the eyes and slugs away in the corner, then takes him down with a facelock and makes sure we know HE AIN’T GOING NOWHERE. Shockingly Wahoo does escape from this predicament and heads to the floor, but Garvin uses the power of momentum to yank him into the ringpost and they slug it out on the floor. And Wahoo is bleeding, which I know will come as a shock to all of you. Wahoo just UNLOADS with that damn strap and I would not want to be Garvin there. Aside from the sex with his hot wife. Is it worth taking those straps to the chest for that? I leave it to you, the reader, to decide. Wahoo chops him down and decides to tie him up before hauling him around to the corners, but Precious trips him up to break the momentum. Garvin goes up and Wahoo yanks him down and now both guys are bleeding. So Wahoo hogties him again and hauls him around to three corners, but Precious gets involved again and just straight up hits him in the head until he pushes past her and gets the fourth turnbuckle to win at 8:27. I liked that finish, didn’t have to overthink it. The shots with the strap were BRUTAL and this was a fun match, actually much better than the Charlotte one. ***
Taped Fists match: Ronnie Garvin v. Tully Blanchard
This is another repeat from the other Bash show in Charlotte. Same deal, Wahoo in Garvin’s corner, 10 rounds of 3 minutes each. Tully comes over for some trash talk and Garvin knocks him out cold before the bell even rings, so JJ has to dump cold water on him to wake him up for the match.
Round 1: Garvin immediately punches him out again and Tully stumbles around the ring trying to recover, taking out the ref in the process by accident before finally going down for an 8 count. He fights back in the corner, but Garvin puts him down again and now Tully is busted open and takes another 8 count. Finally he makes it out the round alive, but Ronnie knocks him out at the bell again just to be that way.
Round 2: Garvin is still out cold, so the ref gives him the count and JJ pours smelling salts on him to wake him up. Tully tries to go for the leg a few times, but Garvin just wallops him again and Tully barely escapes the round again.
Round 3: JJ tapes up Tully’s fists a bit more, and Tully sends Garvin into the turnbuckles to take over and stomps him down. Tully fires away in the corner and goes up with a forearm shot from the middle rope, but Garvin slugs him out of the ring and they brawl on the floor. This allows Wahoo to get involved, and that goes pretty badly for Tully, who gets knocked out on the floor.
Round 4: Tully revives and makes it back in the ring, and Garvin just unloads on him as Tully can barely stand up under his own power. So Garvin literally holds him up by the neck and punches him out again, but JJ takes the ref and thus he can’t count. JJ gets into it with Wahoo while Tully loads up the dreaded knuckle dusters and puts Garvin out behind the ref’s back, and now even JJ is bleeding, but Garvin is counted down and out at 11:38. The Charlotte match had way more heat and a much hotter ending, but this was OK and had the benefit of not wearing out its welcome like that one did. **
#1 Contender match: The Rock N Roll Express v. The Andersons
The Andersons immediately overpower the RNR, who have trouble getting something going on them, but Robert gets some dropkicks on Arn and the heels are chased to the floor as a result. Back in the ring, Arn invites Ricky in to test out the nose and gets some shots in the corner to do just that. Ricky takes him down and hits a DDT, and of course Arn hurts his nose in the process and runs away. Ah, irony. Back in the ring, the RNR goes to work on Arn’s knee. Finally Arn goes to the nose to escape Ricky’s leglock, and it’s over to Ole for some mauling in the corner, but Ricky also takes out HIS leg and they go to work on that as well. I love that the crowd is so into it, cheering along with the moves and chanting “Break it” while they work him over, instead of just treating it like wasted time before the big moves. Everyone comes in for a slugfest, but Arn misses a kneedrop and Robert gets the figure-four on him, and of course Ricky gets the figure-four on Ole, for STEREO FIGURE-FOURS. But the ref escorts Ricky out and Ole dives onto Robert and claws his eyes like a true scumbag heel, and the Andersons take over. The target is Robert’s arm and Ole stomps on it, but Robert keeps hitting the knee and brings Ricky back in. He runs wild for a bit, but Ole cuts him off and then kicks him when he’s down for good measure. Ole chokes him out on the apron and gets an elbow for two. Ole distracts the ref and Arn tosses Ricky over the top rope for more heat, and then steals a camera from someone at ringside and chokes him out with the strap from THAT. Back in, Arn gives him the old rope burn and goads Robert so they can dish out more punishment behind the ref’s back, and Ole gets the flying knee to the shoulder off the top and beats him down again. Ricky tries to fight away but gets taken down and beaten in the corner, and Arn comes in with a kneedrop for two. Ricky finally comes back with a flying bodypress for two on Arn, but Ole immediately jumps in and boots Ricky down again to save. Ricky fights back on Arn in the corner, and dodges a blind charge to set up the HOT TAG as the damn building nearly explodes. Robert cleans house and gets a sleeper on Arn as time expires at 20:00. This was FANTASTIC and felt like it was building to another 10-15 minutes of action. ****1/4 And of course it led to a rematch for the tag titles at Starrcade 86 that was also pretty great.
Hair v. Hair: Jimmy Valiant v. Paul Jones
Jones attacks to start and goes to work on the back with knees for two, but Valiant puts him down with a forearm. Jones finds an international object and hits Valiant for two, and of course Jimmy is now bleeding. He makes a comeback, but Paul hits him with the object again to cut him off. Jimmy steals it and destroys him with it, grinding it into his forehead for the double juice, and the elbow and elbow combination seem to finish. However, the Baron takes the ref, and Paul Jones gets the loaded glove from earlier in the show. But Jimmy gets one more shot with the object, and Baron takes the ref AGAIN, at which point Shaska Whatley runs in and knocks out Valiant with a chair and puts Jones on top for the pin at 4:30. So Pez gets his revenge for having his head shaved in Charlotte! The babyfaces all storm the ring and protest this injustice, but Jimmy takes it like a man and tonight it is he who is the Bald Headed Geek. Of course, he would get his revenge another day. ¼*
Magnum TA v. Nikita Koloff
This would be part of their famous best of seven series, and although they don’t announce anything they should be about 2-2 at this point. Magnum quickly chases him out of the ring with a forearm, and they do a dramatic lockup in the ring before Nikita grabs a headlock and Magnum takes him down and works the arm from a hammerlock. Nikita pounds him in the corner to escape and drops him on the top rope to take over. Magnum tries a comeback and Nikita beats him down for two and goes to the chinlock, but Magnum comes back with a bodypress for two and Koloff sends him to the floor on the kickout. They fight on the apron and Magnum bumps to the floor again and some redneck in the front row yells “COME ON MAGNUM, SUCK IT UP, BUDDY!” Oh, and he’s bleeding, of course. The girls in the front row are NOT happy about this. Back in, Nikita gets a backdrop suplex for two and chokes him out for two. Back to the chinlock as Magnum is really gushing now, and Nikita gets a backbreaker for two. Slam gets two. Magnum gets tossed and Uncle Ivan gets his shots in, and then Magnum fights his way back and immediately gets tossed out again, hitting his head on the stairs on the way down. Sunset flip back in gets the pin at 13:38, however. And it’s the deal where he does the move and Nikita grabs for the ropes, so Tommy Young kicks away his hands and Magnum finishes the move. Big pop for the finish, but the match was just kinda there. *1/2 Amazing how Nikita got drastically better working with Flair.
Cage match: The Midnight Express & Jim Cornette v. The Road Warriors & Baby Doll
Pretty clever way to have the Road Warriors win a cage match without getting the tag titles. Cornette demands that the “big fat pig” Baby Doll start the match with him, and he does girl pushups to really demonstrate his fitness. So she obliges and Cornette immediately runs away while the Warriors destroy the Midnights. So Condrey starts proper with Animal and we get a funny spot where Animal no-sells a shoulderblock and Condrey just bounces off, clutching his nose from running into the granite body of Animal. Hawk gets a big boot and follows with a press slam and fistdrop, and Condrey tries to run away but lands in the Warrior corner and gets beat up some more. Over to Bobby, and Hawk kills him as well, so Bobby tries to tag in Cornette and he freaks out and hides on the top rope. So Animal comes in and gets a press slam on Bobby, dropping him on the top turnbuckle. Condrey comes in with a slam on Animal and Cornette finally tags in, but Baby Doll comes in and he runs away again. Eaton throws punches at Hawk and he just stands there and takes it, but Animal tries a splash and hits knee to finally give the TAG TEAM CHAMPIONS OF THE WORLD some damn heat on the Road Warriors. So they work Animal over in the corner and Bobby just goes up to the top of the cage like it ain’t no thang and drops a knee for two. Condrey with a clothesline for two and Bobby just heads back up to the top of the cage again, but Animal hits him on the way down and it’s hot tag Hawk already. Powerslam and dropkick gets two on Bobby, and everyone brawls, which allows Baby Doll to finally get her hands on Cornette. And one right hand finishes at 9:22. Cornette was great here, the rest were just going through the motions. *1/2 Oh, and Bobby was bleeding at some point in the match that I can’t really determine.
NWA World title, cage match: Ric Flair v. Dusty Rhodes
Flair grabs the headlock to start and tries to take Dusty into the cage, but gets blocked. Dusty takes him down with a wristlock and gets a sleeper, but Flair sends him into the cage to take over. And Dusty is of course bleeding. Flair drops a knee for two and does the cheese grater on the cage as this match is really slow-paced and nearly 10:00 in with nothing much happening as of yet. Flair snaps his neck on the ropes and goes to work on the knee, and Tommy Young is HORRIFIED. “Don’t do that champ! Don’t do that!” Figure-four follows and Dusty fights out of that, so Flair chops away in the corner until Dusty gets a lariat for two. They slug it out and Flair tries to run from the cage like he’s Seth Rollins and Dusty is the Fiend, but Dusty hauls him in and makes the comeback, running Flair into the cage for yet more blood on this show. 1986 was a much different time, that’s for sure. Dusty works on Flair’s leg now and Ric makes a run for it again, but they fight on the top rope and Flair goes down via his crotch. Dusty runs him into the cage again, but accidentally punches the support pole and hurts his hand. That’s his buffet-filling hand! Flair goes up and Dusty slams him off and gets his own figure-four. Flair escapes and Dusty chops him in the corner to set up a Flair Flop, and a backslide gets two. Bionic elbow gets two. Flair runs to the top again and gets a bodypress for two, but Dusty runs him into the cage for two. This match is just going nowhere and not building to anything in particular. And then just like that, Dusty reverses a slam attempt into an inside cradle and wins his third and final World title at 21:10. I mean, COME ON. By 1986 it was clearly just a vanity deal for the bookerman to put himself over the hottest drawing guy in the promotion. He dropped it back basically right away, at least, but this did not need to happen. **
Well, you can’t say this one didn’t have star power, as this was essentially a Wrestlemania-level show in terms of the card. I liked the Charlotte show a lot better, though, given the much better main event. But for Crockett nostalgia, you can’t go wrong with either one and I would have been losing my mind if I got to see this tape back in 1986. I’d give it another solid WATCH IT, just like the Charlotte show.