NWA World Championship Wrestling, May 10, 1986

An attempted murder of Jim Cornette by some “mysterious” masked men, a historic and devastating first encounter between the Midnight Express & Mulkey Mania, Ric Flair & Arn Anderson in a rare, in-studio tag team appearance, and the Great American Bash hype begins. That and more on this week’s program…

We open with video of the Midnight Express & Jim Cornette attacking Sam Houston & Nelson Royal. Cornette whacks the 87-year-old Royal with his tennis racket, while his crew double-teams Houston. Suddenly, the James Boys appear, dispose of Bobby and Dennis, and wrap a rope around Cornette’s neck…

Cue the video montage…

For some reason, the WWE Network is missing the famous May 3, 1986 episode, in which Dusty Rhodes & Magnum T.A., posing as a masked duo called the James Gang, beat the NWA World Tag Team Champs the Midnight Express with simultaneous belly-to-belly suplexes, and Baby Doll chased Jim Cornette away with a bull rope. This was a small measure of revenge after Cornette hit Baby Doll in the stomach with his tennis racket, so no review for that one, but it was a great angle.

To the TBS studio we go. Tony Schiavone is our host this week. David Crockett is not here and for that we can all be grateful. Rock & Roll Express member Robert Gibson joins Tony. He pushes his partner Ricky Morton’s challenge of Ric Flair and the R&R’s pursuit of the Midnight Express.

To the ring, Ron Garvin vs. Maurice Cooper. Cooper looks like my high school algebra teacher: skinny, pale, balding. I don’t think that bodes well for him. Garvin headbutts and chops Cooper, takes him over and stomps on his face. Garvin locks in a painful-looking arm and leg submission, releases it and just rubs Cooper’s face into the mat. Garvin does the Cesaro Swing, which would be more impressive if Cooper weighed over 120 lbs. Garvin drops an elbow & wins.*

Manny Fernandez joins Tony and talks about his “very personal friend” Jimmy Valiant and hypes the feud with Paul Jones’ Army. Manny promises Jones will be bald, orders some nachos and guacamole, and encourages kids to say no to drugs. Pretty good promo when he gets to the “just say no” part.

After a break, Wahoo McDaniel joins Tony. We see video of Wahoo beating Thunderfoot. Then Precious jumps on the apron to distract Wahoo. Jimmy Garvin jumps Wahoo from behind, but McDaniel fires back. Then Arn Anderson attacks. Arn and Garvin double-team Wahoo. McDaniel wants a shot at Arn’s TV Title now.

To the ring, Robert Gibson vs. David Dillenger. I guess Ricky Morton is still smarting from the attacks by Ric Flair and the Four Horsemen. Gibson wins fairly quickly with a sunset flip. 3/4*

Dusty Rhodes & Magnum T.A. join Tony. Magnum talks about getting some vengeance on Jim Cornette for what he did to Baby Doll, and refers to the James Boys. But it ain’t over. Magnum says Nikita Koloff’s plan to damage him in Russian Chain matches ain’t getting the job done and he’s still U.S. champ. “He is so pretty, it’s unreal,” Dusty says about Magnum. Dusty adds that some lucky girl will get him some day and will be in heaven. It would’ve been awesome if he said it’d be Tully Blanchard’s wife (who marries Magnum later on). Dusty says they gonna take care of business on Jim Cornette and the Midnight Express.

To the ring, Nikita Koloff w/ Ivan Koloff vs. Tony Zane. Zane lands some early shots, but Nikita quickly reverses and hits a back elbow. He tosses Zane to the floor. Back in, Nikita pounds away, then tosses Zane out again. Zane tries a sunset flip back in, but can’t get Nikita down. He knocks Zane for a flip with the Russian Sickle and it’s over. 1/2*

To footage from one of the syndicated shows for an announcement from Jim Crockett and Sandy Scott for a “Great American Bash” announcement. Crockett says they’re rented some of the best sports facilities throughout the U.S., for the greatest birthday party ever for America. Scott several stadium shows, including  Veterans Stadium in Philly, RFK Stadium in D.C., the Liberty Bowl in Memphis, Riverfront Stadium in Cincinnati, & the Gator Bowl in Jacksonville. Plus there will be country music! Yee haw! Dumbass idea to run these huge stadiums that aren’t even in main JCP territory, and I knew that back then at the age of 15.

Back live, Tully Blanchard vs. Rocky King. Rocky fires back on Tully’s early offense, but Blanchard regains control. King struggles to keep it competitive but Tully is relentless. King lands a headbutt to the midsection, and Tully sells it like he got nailed in the nads. The crowd loves it and King punches away on Blanchard in the corner. Irish Whip into the corner, but King misses the charge. Tully ends it with the slingshot suplex. Fun while it lasted. **

Jim Cornette & the Midnight Express join Tony. Cornette is still pissed about last week, and even more about the happening that I referenced at the top. We see video of the James Boys jumping the Midnights, wrap their bull rope around Cornette’s neck. Frank & Jesse carry Cornette from the ring and carry him out of the arena. They go out back to a pickup truck. They tighten the rope, Baby Doll’s in the truck, and they’re going to try to drag Cornette behind the truck!! Attempted murder! Fortunately, Bobby and Dennis save their manager just in time….

Back live, Cornette calls them psychos, fighting for Baby Doll who’s “nothing but a fat pig”. Cornette says this ain’t the Old West. Mama Cornette was horrified and spent three days putting vaseline on Jim’s rope burns. Cornette says he will run Baby Doll out of this business and she’ll be a fat, unemployed valet with Sealy Posturepedic tattooed across her back. Wow.

Midnight Express vs. Randy & Bill Mulkey. YES!!! This is our first look at the Mulkeys in tag team action on the TBS show, and they’re facing their most famous rivals, the Midnight Express. Randy takes a huge back drop from Loverboy Dennis. Randy gets tossed outside for an ENORMOUS bump on the floor. Bobby goes out and drops him with a vertical suplex on the floor! Bill Mulkey tags in and receives some taunting from Cornette. Bill gets tossed outside. Bobby brings him over to the podium for a punch in the face. Cornette is still ranting about Dusty & Magnum/The James Boys. Bobby delivers a back suplex off the second rope on Bill Mulkey. But wait…He’s Mulking up! No, sorry, those are just convulsions from the devastating beating he’s taking. Bobby delivers a double-arm suplex, goes for the pin, and keeps raising Mulkey’s arm to stop the count. Hilarious. Randy, who should be paralyzed from that big bump earlier, tags in and he’s pissed! Mulkey lands two right hands. It’s a huge offensive flurry, by Mulkey Mania standards. Dennis responds with one elbow and Randy goes back down. Bobby hits a beautiful top rope elbow. Dennis follows with the full nelson facebuster and it’s over. Awesome squash. I love both teams. The Mulkeys are the best jobbers ever. ***

Afterwards, Cornette demands Jim Crockett reverse the decision of last week’s loss to the James Boys. Crockett comes out and has talked to NWA President Bob Geigel, who says the match result will stand unless Cornette can prove it was Dusty & Magnum under the masks.

Ric Flair & Arn Anderson vs. Carl Styles & Bob Owens. We’ve got the NWA World champ and the World TV champ in the ring together. Arn & Ric methodically take apart Owens. Flair laces in the chops and they work on the arm. Flair delivers his patented knee drop. Arn goes for a backdrop and Owens kicks him and tags in Styles. But Arn catches Styles coming in and decimates him. Flair works Styles over in the corner. He tags in Arn, who works the leg. That sets up Flair for the figure four and submission victory for two of the Horsemen.**

Afterwards, Flair shows off the Big Gold Belt. “I can talk about all the women I have. I can talk about the big cars. I can talk about the nice clothes. I can talk about the yachts and the airplanes. You know why I can talk about that? Because I’m the world champion. And Ricky Morton, you poor little thing, if you think that walking through life with a bunch of teeny boppers in training underwear gets it done, you’re sadly mistaken. Because for every teeny bopper that’s gunning for you, there’s two dozen big girls that’s gunning for me. You know why? Because I’m the champ and whether you like it or not I’m gonna be the champ for a long time.”  Flair sings the praises of his fellow Horsemen, and promises after breaking Dusty’s leg, and beating up Ricky Morton, next on his list is beating up one of the Road Warriors on TV.

After a break, Jimmy Valiant & Manny Fernandez join Tony. Valiant has a shirt that says Pistol Pez Whatley will be a bald-headed geek. Nobody cuts the Boogie Man’s hair like Whatley did, so it’s payback time for Shaska and for Paul Jones.

To the ring, it’s Valiant & Fernandez vs. Paul Garner & Larry Clarke. Thankfully, it ends quickly with Fernandez hitting the Flying Burrito. DUD

Magnum T.A. & Jim Crockett join Tony. Crockett announces that Magnum T.A. has signed a contract to meet Nikita Koloff live on TV and they’ll have a special announcement next week. Magnum challenges Nikita to sign the contract so they can settle this once and for all.

After a break, Paul Jones & his Army join Tony. More hyping of the eternal feud with Jimmy Valiant and nonsensical ranting about cutting hair.

To the ring, the Barbarian, Shaska Whatley & Baron von Raschke vs. Art Pritts, Kent Glover & Butch Brannigan. The Army wins is with the flying headbutt from Shaska, followed by the top rope diving headbutt from the Barbarian on Brannigan. 1/4*

The Koloffs join Tony. Ivan says they forced Magnum T.A. into the Russian Chain matches and by the time the Great American Bash tour comes around, Nikita will be the U.S. champion. Nikita makes the same promise.

To the ring, Gorgeous Jimmy Garvin w/ Precious vs. Jim Dawson. 15-second squash that Garvin wins with the brainbuster.

Afterwards, Garvin says he’s sickened by Dusty Rhodes calling Magnum “pretty” and strongly implies they’re gay. Then he refers to Wahoo McDaniel as a “punch drunk Indian” and asks how McDaniel can start talking about Arn Anderson when he hasn’t dealt with Gorgeous Jimmy yet.

And that will do it. Definitely some non-politically correct stuff from Jimmy Garvin to end the show. In fact, a huge chunk of the show was non-PC, which is fine with me, but they’d never get away with it today. Thanks for reading.