Starrcade ’85 “The Gathering” is in the books and five new champions were crowned, including a new NWA World Heavyweight Champion, Dusty Rhodes. Two days later, we’re back in the TBS studios for another exciting edition of the Saturday night tradition, NWA World Championship Wrestling.
No teaser clips to open the show. Odd, especially coming off the biggest show of the year and perhaps the best Starrcade in NWA/WCW history, before and after 1985. Tony Schiavone and David Crockett are our hosts, per usual. This week’s Superstation Championship Challenge Series (SCCS) features the Road Warriors vs. Black Bart & Thunderfoot, but this week’s show will focus heavily on Starrcade ’85 clips, they tell us.
First match is a clipped version of Sam Houston vs. Khrusher Khrushchev for the Mid-Atlantic Title. Since I just reviewed Starrcade, I won’t bother with another recap. Khruschev won the title in a *1/2 match.
Next, we get a clipped version of National Heavyweight Champion Terry Taylor vs. Buddy Landel from Starrcade. I’m surprised they’re giving us these matches for free, two days after the big show, which they sold on closed circuit around the southeast. They never did this before, that I can recall, and certainly didn’t after. Nice way to kill your VHS sales, which is a lucrative market in 1985. Landel won the title from Taylor with J.J. Dillon’s help in a decent match. **1/2
Back to the studio, we’ve do have live matches. Jim Cornette introduces his Midnight Express, taking on the Italian Stallion & Rocky King. This should be fun. Pretty even early on as Cornette demands title matches for his crew. After allowing some offense for the Stallion, Loverboy Dennis tosses him outside and stomps on him. Eaton drapes Stallion’s neck across the ropes as Cornette gets in Stallion’s face and tells him to lay off the spaghetti and meatballs. Stallion finally tags in Rocky King and he’s a house of fire for about 30 seconds. That doesn’t last, as Bobby drops the knee off the top rope and Dennis puts him away with the brainbuster. **
At the podium, it’s Billy Jack Haynes. He kisses Schiavone’s butt, telling him he’s the best announcer in the world. Haynes says he wants to get into the ring with men like the Russians, the Road Warriors, & the Barbarian. Those matches sound awful. Fortunately, we were spared of those atrocities after Haynes got into a physical confrontation with promoter Jim Crockett and left the NWA just a few weeks later. Good riddance.
We go back to Starrcade for the post-match interview with Buddy Landel & J.J. Dillon. It’s worth reading about, knowing what happens with Landel a few weeks later.
To the ring, it’s the Ragin’ Bull Manny Fernandez vs. Tommy Lane. Fernandez wears Lane down with hip tosses and headlock takedowns. Lane keeps it semi-competitive, but Fernandez nails the Flying Burrito and scores the pin. *
At the podium, Fernandez, talking about 1986, says “the past to the Bull is the future, daddy.” No clue what in the blue hell that means. Then he rattles off some Spanish and walks off.
To the ring, the Road Warriors w/ Paul Ellering vs. Black Bart and Thunderfoot w/ J.J. Dillon in the SCCS. Animal nails Bart with the flying shoulder block and press slams Thunderfoot. Hawk misses a clothesline on Thunderfoot but nails him with the big boot, then slams both mean repeatedly. The crowd chants “Warriors, Warriors”. They don’t ask them to come out to play, though…
After a commercial break, Hawk misses a charge in the corner and Thunderfoot loads up the Boot of Doom! He catches Hawk in the midsection and he’s down. All four men come in. Bart and Hawk have a botched exchange where Bart completely misses a clothesline but Hawk sells for it…
Ivan Koloff comes to the podium to talk trash on the Road Warriors. Hawk comes back with a clothesline on Bart as Paul Ellering gets in Koloff’s face. Nikita Koloff nails Ellering from behind with the Russian Sickle. Hawk comes out to defend his manager. In the ring, Animal powerslams Thunderfoot for the win. Khrusher Khrushchev comes out and they’re beating down the Warriors, using the chain for a double-clothesline on Animal. David Crockett points out that the Road Warriors have never been decimated like this. The Warriors have to carry Ellering to the back. The match wasn’t much, but the angle was good to set up a major feud. I give it *** because the part with the Russians was well executed.
Jim Crockett comes out to tell us about next week’s SCCS match. He says every SCCS match in December must be won by pinfall or submissio: No disqualifications, no time limit draws. Next week: Ole & Arn Anderson and Tully Blanchard vs. Magnum T.A., Sam Houston and Billy Jack Haynes.
To the ring, Ron Garvin vs. Jim Jeffers. Garvin was notably absent at Starrcade, but Miss Atlanta Lively hit a Garvin-like knockout punch to help her and Jimmy Valiant beat the Midnight Express. Garvin tries to take down Jeffers with shoulderblocks, but the future Mod Squad member stands his ground. Garvin uses a leg takedown, drives Jeffers into the ropes and slaps him across the face. They stand up, and it’s more slaps across the face. Garvin just brutalizes Jeffers…
He’s got him in a Stu Hart-in-the-Dungeon-type sugar hold. And follows it with a stomp. Garvin’s open-hand chop turn Jeffers’ chest red. Then a stiff kick to the gut followed by a double-stomp. That looked and sounded painful. Garvin hits the knockout punch and that’s it. I’ll tell ya, I like Garvin better looking back now than I did at the time. That was fun to watch. **1/2
To the podium, the Road Warriors are back out and they are pissed. Hawk says what just happened to them has never happened before. “We don’t have no friends, don’t want no friends, but we’re from this stinking country and you Russians ain’t. Forget about any summit meetings. World War 3 started today!” Animal yanks the mic from Schiavone and shoves him out of the way. Hawk says they’re never gonna be happy until they get their hands on the Koloffs and Khrusher. Animal has similar comments and the feud with the Russians is now red-hot.
After a break, Arn Anderson is at the podium with Tony & David. They’re talking about the vacant World TV Title. Arn says he’s got the best won-loss record on this TV station. They show us video of Dusty Rhodes doing an interview from several weeks back when he was on crutches. Arn and Tully Blanchard come out and get in Dusty’s face. Tully kicks the crutches out from under Dusty, he falls and Arn swipes the TV Title. Horseman-style…
Arn says he possesses the TV Title and possession is 99% of the law. We get video of Arn putting the gourdbuster on one of the Jeffers brothers and then Gene Ligon. Now to video from one of the syndicated shows of Arn holding the TV Title while being interviewed by Bob Caudle when Dusty Rhodes nails him from behind with a wooden chair to the head. Dusty grabs the TV belt and walks off. Back live, Arn says he never had to jump a man from behind in his life, unlike what Dusty did. Arn promises he will get his title back.
After a break, they show the video again of Dusty bashing Arn with the chair and taking the belt. Then back to Starrcade, for a post-match interview with Magnum T.A. after winning the brutal I Quit match over Tully Blanchard.
Back to the TBS studio, Jim Crockett is with Tony to announce a one-night tournament for the World TV Title on January 4 in Greensboro.
They take us back to the Great American Bash from the summer of 1985 when Dusty Rhodes took the TV Title from Tully Blanchard in a cage match in Charlotte. Tully is a bloody mess. He tries to escape over the top. Dusty goes up after him, elbows him off, then attempts an ugly elbow drop off the top rope that Blanchard avoids. That was horrible. Blanchard gets a loaded elbow pad from Baby Doll, but Dusty yanks him off the ropes, piledrives him and wins the title. Hard to rate a clipped match, but what I saw was not very good. The crowd popped big for the title change though.
And that’s the end of our show as we immediately go to credits. Not one mention of Dusty winning the NWA World Title. Strange. The show was obviously taped before Starrcade, but had numerous clips from Starrcade. It was an interesting program and set up the Road Warriors/Russians feud nicely, but the silence regarding the NWA Title is odd and playing up Dusty Rhodes and his battles for the TV Title is even stranger.
Next recap coming soon…