NWA World Championship Wrestling, January 18, 1986

The opening clip shows the Midnight Express jumping the Rock & Roll Express, with the Midnights injuring Ricky Morton’s throat by dropping him on Jim Cornette’s tennis racket…

Tony Schiavone and David Crockett are our hosts this week from the TBS Studio. They tell us the feud between the two tag teams is “the hottest feud in the country right now”. They’ll both be on the show today, along with Ric Flair, Arn Anderson, Dusty Rhodes and many more, including a very inauspicious debut of a future star, and will the Four Horsemen make an impact this week?

To the ring, it’s Ronnie Garvin vs. Pablo Crenshaw. An interesting little match as Crenshaw tries to trade chops with Crenshaw. Garvin doesn’t make him pay as much maybe he should have. He wins with the usual knockout punch. *

Garvin joins Tony & David at the podium. Garvin says to Ric Flair, he’s “got desire”. I doublecheck to make sure it’s Ronnie Garvin, not Terry Garvin. They may have graduated from the same school of self-defense. Garvin adds that Flair’s “going down” in 1986. Enough of that.

After a break, it’s Ivan Koloff, w/ Nikita Koloff vs. Benny “Uhaul” Traylor. David Crockett adds the “Uhaul” nickname, because it’s stupid and David is horrible. They tell us Khrusher Khrushchev suffered a serious injury in last’s week match vs. Sam Houston, and the Russians are blaming the Road Warriors, who interfered & helped Houston win. Ivan beats down Traylor, tosses him outside and slams him to the floor. That’ll leave a mark. Ivan finally puts him away with the Russian Sickle. *

To the podium, it’s Jimmy Valiant. Ugh. I thought Tully Blanchard got rid of him last week with the spike piledriver on the floor. “I have never, I said never been dropped on my wig than by J.J. Dillon and Tully Blanchard on the concrete floor, baby. Busted the Boogie Man wide open,” Valiant says. Valiant acknowledges that he’s not dealing with a full deck. Self awareness is a good thing. He also says he’s missing a few house payments and something about the street people.

Oh joy. After a break, it’s Jimmy Valiant vs. Thunderfoot. Valiant tosses him outside, chokes him with a towel and rams Thunderfoot into the ringpost, followed by a Greco-Roman thumb to the throat. Valiant actually uses a wrestling hold, locking in a sleeper. He follows with what seems like an eternity of choking and punches. Valiant’s matches are usually quick squashes, thankfully. This one isn’t. He finally wins with the elbow drop. DUD

NWA World Champ Ric Flair joins Tony for an interview. The fans boo Flair, so he lets them have it: “There’s a lot of women in here today, that better hope the dog catcher is not around, because the studio would be empty if he walks in.” Score. The champ brags that two days ago he took a woman to places a space shuttle can’t go. Flair switches the subject to Ronnie Garvin. Flair says he’s walked over a lot better men than Garvin and the odds of Garvin knocking him out are astronomical. WHOOO!

After a break, the Koloffs join Tony, with the Six-Man World Title trophy in tow. Ivan says they are still up on the Road Warriors 2-1, despite what they did to Khrusher last week. Paul Jones comes out and says he’ll offer the services of Baron Von Raschke to fill the void of Khrushchev. He’s no Russian, but an evil commie East German will fit in just fine.

To the ring, it’s Baron Von Raschke w/ Paul Jones vs. Tony Zane. This is Baron’s return to the NWA after a a few years in the AWA. Koloff stays at the podium to heap praise on his commie ally. The Baron takes apart Zane and wins with the Iron Claw. *

Afterwards, Von Raschke joins Ivan & Nikita at the podium. He runs down all the top faces, and asks if we should call the Road Warriors “the Road Runners”. Baron laughs way too hard at his own jokes, and “that is all the people need to know”.

Back to the ring, it’s Sam Houston vs. Art Pritts. David calls Houston “the Texas Twister”. Pritts works on Houston’s left arm, and receives a forearm shiver for his efforts. Houston does a stepover armbar and yells ‘Yee haa!”, and that doesn’t come off as the least bit lame. Pritts keeps it competitive with heelish tactics, but gets monkeyflipped out of the corner, hit with a Jake Roberts-like knee lift (wonder where he learned that), and ends it with the bulldog. *1/2

Dusty Rhodes and Baby Doll join Tony at the podium. The audience chants “Dusty! Dusty!” He again promises to injure Arn Anderson. He calls Baby Doll the prettiest woman on this earth, and Baron Von Raschke the ugliest man in the world. He’s pretty accurate on one of those. Way off on the other. Dusty says something about he and Baby Doll being 25,000 feet above sea level in the Himalayas last week and Baby Doll was riding a yak. Baby Doll talks for a bit, then Dusty says “let’s go take a bubblebath”. Baby Doll squeals. I throw up in my mouth a little.

To the ring, it’s the Barbarian vs. Ray Taylor, aka as Ray Traylor aka Big Bubba Rogers aka Big Bossman aka The Boss, aka…you get the idea. I assume they don’t call him “Traylor” because they already had “Uhaul” Traylor on earlier. The future BBM is shirtless with black tights and that is just not a good look. Maybe a suit and tie, or a uniform of some sort would be better. The Barbarian outmuscles Taylor in some tie-ups and shoulderblocks off the ropes. Barbarian executes a difficult Greco-Roman bite and tosses Taylor outside so Jones can kick him. Barbarian powerslams the big man, as David loses his shit at the power display. Barbarian finishes with a long diving headbutt off the top. *1/2

Magnum T.A. joins Tony at the podium. The U.S. champ says he’s got his eye on one challenger, Nikita Koloff. He welcomes the Russian Nightmare to come out and find him anytime.

To the ring, it’s Magnum T.A. vs. Lee Peek for a very quick squash. *

We go to a taped interview with Dusty Rhodes’ doctor, for an update on the Dream’s leg injury after four months. The doctor says Rhodes is fully healed and doesn’t need the boot anymore. I assume this leads to some sort of angle about Dusty using the boot. Otherwise, it’s a pointless segment.

Back live, Arn Anderson joins Tony, and my assumption is correct. Arn says Dusty is using the steel toed boot as a weapon and demands JCP force Rhodes to remove the boot.

To the ring, it’s the Rock & Roll Express vs. Jerry Garmon & Larry Clark. Your usual R&R squash, winning it with the double-dropkick. *

After a break, Jim Cornette comes out. Tony tells Cornette, “I know what you’re thinking.” Cornette responds in classic fashion: “You don’t know what I’m thinking because you can’t think yourself.” Cornette says he should be a happy man because he’s PWI Manager of the Year, but he’s upset because ever since they injured Ricky Morton, he’s received thousands of letters from prepubescent females asking why they did that:

“You can’t spell for one thing. You don’t know any words over two syllables and furthermore, I’m not interested in your putrid little comments.”

Awesome. Cornette tells the R&R to get ready to lose those belts to the best team in wrestling.

To the ring, it’s the Midnight Express vs. Larry Vickery & Bill Tabb. Bobby does an awesome legdrop off the top rope, later called the Alabama Jam. Cornette provides commentary throughout and it’s hilarious. The fans chant “Rock and Roll” repeatedly, driving Cornette crazy. The Midnights dominate and we get what might be the debut of the Rocket Launcher for another MX win. Great as usual. *1/2

After a break, it’s Tully Blanchard w/ J.J. Dillon vs. Gene Ligon. Blanchard controls Ligon early on with snapmares and chinlocks. Dillon, referencing Dusty Rhodes’ interview earlier, says it would take a forklift to get Baby Doll onto a yak. Ouch. Blanchard uses Ligon’s momentum running the ropes and tosses him outside. The fans yell “I quit” at Tully, and J.J. goes over to jaw with them. Tully eventually ends it with the slingshot suplex. *

After a break, Ronnie Garvin joins Tony. Again. We get a lengthy clip of the Garvin vs. Flair TBS match from December 28, a ***3/4 match, which I review here

Back live, Ric Flair comes out and gets in Garvin’s face. He suckerpunches Garvin and tosses him into the ring. Flair throws one of the Jeffers brothers out, then lands chops and punches on Garvin the corner. The ref gets tossed aside as well. Flair nails a textbook vertical suplex, then sits on a prone Garvin the same way Garvin does after landing his knockout punches. Flair goes back to the podium, triumphant…

Except Garvin comes after Flair and tosses him back in. The trade chops and punches, with Garvin getting the advantage. Then he backdrops Flair…and the Horsemen arrive! YES! Tully Blanchard and Arn Anderson pound away on Garvin. They hold him while Flair chops and slaps Garvin. Sam Houston comes in to help, but gets nailed with Flair’s shoe. Dusty Rhodes goes after Arn. Garvin gets up and KOs Flair with a punch as the fans go berserk. He sits on Flair, before Tully and Arn push him off. Garvin gloats at the podium with his friends while Flair remains flat on his back in the ring.

After a break, the Horsemen, minus Flair, speak to Tony and they are pissed. Blanchard says you don’t cheapshot one of the Four Horsemen. Arn says this is personal and they’ve gone after his family, and that includes Tully Blanchard. Arn promises a rebuttal, and somebody is going terminal. Tully ends it by saying, “David Crockett got what’s coming to him.” He collided with Flair when Garvin grabbed him and hurt his nose. Unfortunately, he returns to commentating quickly.

To the ring, it’s Nikita Koloff w/ Ivan Koloff vs. Mac Jeffers. Boring Nikita power moves. He wins with the Russain Sickle. 1/2*

They go to the podium to join Baron Von Raschke, holding the World Six-Man Trophy. Nikita promises he’ll be U.S. champ before the year is out.

They replay the video of Flair getting knocked out, except the camera crew totally missed it. Because WCW. And that’s it.

Decent show this week. They added some fuel to the Flair-Garvin feud, and we saw the first of many instances of the Four Horsemen jumping their enemies. It looks like the Bill Apter segment last all of one week. They continue to do a version of it on the Sunday shows. My guess is Garvin’s horrible “fan queston” segment killed it for the top show. However, things continue to heat up for Jim Crockett Promotions.