It’s finally time for the long awaited U.S. Title showdown between Magnum T.A. and Nikita Koloff, Ric Flair tangles with Dusty Rhodes, a major return, the NWA president gets decked, a title gets stripped, a notable debut, someone’s hair gets snipped, some killer promos and more on a historic edition of NWA World Championship Wrestling…
Before I get to the recap, let my pass on my condolences to the friends and family of the legendary Ivan Koloff, who figures prominently on this program, and passed away Saturday. The recognition he deserves from the wrestling community, as a former WWWF champion and greatest foreign heel in the history of the business, is long overdue. I hope WWE inducts him into the Hall of Fame this year and gives him respect he deserves. RIP, Uncle Ivan.
We open with video of Baby Doll leading Dusty Rhodes to the ring on one of the syndicated shows. Dusty tosses opponent Vernon Deaton out of the ring, and then Ric Flair walks to the ring in his robe and tights. We’ve got the big showdown on free TV. Flair hands the belt to the referee, the bell rings, Dusty struts, and we go to the show-opening video montage…
Tony Schiavone & David Crockett are our hosts from the TBS Studio and they open with the major news that the U.S. Title has been stripped from Magnum T.A. WHAT in the ass?!! We’ll find out why later on, and we won’t have the Magnum vs. Nikita Koloff match here today. That merits some grumbles from the audience. But David informs us we’ve got Dusty Rhodes vs. Ric Flair, and the crowd applauds. And Tony also lets us know, we’ve also got the return of the Fourth Horsemen, Ole Anderson!
Ron Garvin comes out. Garvin talks about upcoming taped-first matches with Tully Blanchard for the National Title. They’ll be like boxing matches, with 10 three-minute rounds. The right hand is going to do Blanchard in, Garvin says, and that’s a promise.
To the ring, the Rock & Roll Express vs. Kent Glover & Bob Owens. Robert Gibson starts vs. Owens. He hiptosses Owens and tags in Ricky Morton, who is still wearing the full-face nose brace from the attack by the Four Horsemen. Glover gets tagged in and taken down quickly. Morton delivers a DDT! Then the double-dropkick ends it. It looked like Glover screwed something up and Morton improvised nicely. *1/2
Jim Cornette and Big Bubba Rogers join Tony. Cornette says you’d have to do a telethon for the Rock & Roll Express if they looked any worse. So wrong, and yet hilarious. Cornette notes the James Boys have disappeared since Bubba showed up on the scene. Cornette says Baby Doll is in a world of delusion and fantasy if she thinks she can beat a man in a wrestling match. Cornette adds that she has the services of Dusty & Magnum, the Road Warriors and the Rock & Roll Express, and who knows what kind of services are being rendered, but Baby Doll will be rendered if she tries to get in the ring with him. Classic.
After a break, NWA World Champion Ric Flair joins Tony. He demands the camera shows numerous well-dressed fans with “Slick Ric” spelled out in signs, in the TBS audience. Flair says right here today, it’s the return of Ole Anderson, the Fourth Horsemen.
“Today, whether you like it or not, you’re going to see Dusty Rhodes get beat up real bad. And you know why? Because week in and week out, the Dream has walked out here and he’s threatened us. He’s told us what’s he’s gonna do. And now, Dusty Rhodes, you’re in it again daddy. You’re the center of attention. You’re the focal point. And Big Dust, you’re gonna pay the price!”
To the ring, Manny Fernandez vs. Larry Clarke. The Ragin’ Bull manhandles Clarke and ends it quickly with the Flying Burrito.1/2*
Fernandez joins Tony at the podium and promises Paul Jones will be bald this summer because he and the Boogie Man are going to dance all over Jones’ Army. Fernandez brings in Jimmy Valiant, who says he loves Manny to death and calls him his brother. Valiant shows a photoshopped picture of a bald Paul Jones, which elicits laughs from the audience.
After a break, it’s the big match: Dusty Rhodes vs. Ric Flair. From one of the syndicated shows. Dusty tosses his scheduled opponent Vernon Deaton out of the ring and calls out for Flair. Dusty leads the crowd in chants for Flair. The NWA champ comes out. David & Tony are voicing this over from the studio. I wish they would have left the original commentary on. It’s better. Flair hands referee Tommy Young the belt, indicating this a title match presumably. Dusty struts to the corner, and motions for Flair to come get him. The fans in the arena are going nuts for this one, with loud “Dusty, Dusty” chants…
Dusty hits a shoulderblock. Flair leapfrogs as Dusty runs the ropes. The champ goes for a hip toss but Dusty reverses and delivers one of his own. Then the big elbow and the champ goes down. Another big “Dusty” chant erupts. Flair chops Rhodes in the corner, but Dusty goes into his boxer mode and floors Flair repeatedly with jabs. Then the Flip, Flop and Fly and Flair goes down again. Flair goes after Baby Doll from the apron, but Rhodes grabs him and rams him into the turnbuckle. Flair goes down on the arena floor. Back in, Flair lays in chops and punches. He snapmares Rhodes over and delivers the knee drop for a two count. Rhodes reverses a corner whip and press slams Flair coming out. Rhodes misses an elbowdrop. Flair with the Irish Whip but Rhodes comes off with a clothesline. He covers for a two count. Flair rakes the eyes and goes to the top, but of course gets slammed off…
That brings out Tully Blanchard, who is clotheslined by Dusty. Ditto for Arn Anderson. Dusty hits Flair with another clothesline. He tries to fight all three men off, but then Ole Anderson makes a surprise return and pounds away on Dusty with a vengeance. The Four Horsemen are reunited!! Ole goes to the top to try to break Dusty’s leg again, but a bunch of faces come in for the save. Fun match while it lasted, but it was more to set up Ole’s return, which was huge. Dusty wins by DQ. For the action plus the angle, this one gets ****.
Back to the TBS Studio, Arn Anderson comes out. Arn said when the Horsemen tell you something’s going to happen, it happens. He promised a rebuttal was coming from Ole Anderson soon, and Ole delivered. Arn says they will jump Dusty and his friends anytime, anywhere.
We go to video of very fiery remarks from Ole Anderson right after his big return, joined by Arn, Flair, Blanchard and J.J. Dillon.
“You’re looking at the Four Horsemen. We’re back together. Rhodes, you made the biggest mistake of your life by even staying in wrestling. You shoulda got out. You’ve got two chances now. One is to stay out. There other is to get yourself crippled so bad that even your papa the plumber ain’t gonna know ya when we get down rearranging your pipes.
You take a look at all the people that tried to help Dusty Rhodes. (He holds up Ricky Morton’s nose brace.) The Rock & Roll Express, here, we got a nose on the other end of this one. We take care of you, Ricky, we go to Robert, and we go to the most important man, the American Dream, the one that everybody believes the sun rises and sets on. Did you really think, did you really think that you were going to get rid of the Horsemen?
Did you really think that Ole Anderson was going to go off to the sawmill and sit for the rest of his life? I tell ya this Rhodes, there’s no way that it’s gonna be over until one of us is dead and buried (“the dead and buried” part gets edited out, I presume by WWE Network) and right now, you’re looking at the burial team. We’ve got the shovels and the plot of ground out there and you might as well realize it and everybody in the world better realize it. This ain’t no joke. This ain’t no funnin’. This ain’t no April Fools. I’m as serious as I can be. We’re going to get rid of Dusty Rhodes. You bank on it. You go down, you can bet on it. I don’t care who helps him. I don’t care where or when. All I know, it’s gonna be done. And right now, we’re gonna do a little celebrating because THE FOUR HORSEMEN ARE BACK IN BUSINESS!!
Holy crap, what a promo! I haven’t seen that one in 31 years. It was absolutely awesome. NXT/WWE should really make a loop of the fiery, intense promos from JCP in the spring of ’86 and make them required viewing. This is how you sell a feud. Just awesome, awesome stuff.
After a commercial break, even more bad news for America’s Team. We go to tape of NWA President Bob Geigel reading a reprimand to Magnum T.A. for his actions during the contract signing/press conference, when he jumped Nikita Koloff for badmouthing Magnum’s mom. Geigel says it’s the majority opinion of the NWA Board of Directors that Magnum’s conduct was “not in accordance with the standard of conduct that the National Wrestling Alliance would expect from a champion… There will be no fine, there will be no suspension, but for the record, let it be noted that this is an official reprimand…for conduct unbecoming a champion.” Magnum asks Geigel what he would have done if it was his mom out there. Geigel says the U.S. champion is expected to “keep himself in good conduct at all times.” Magnum’s reply? “Well reprimand this!” Followed by a right hand to the neck that sends Geigel down.
The crowd in the TBS Studio loves Magnum’s actions. They won’t love this. We go to another video from Bob Geigel. The NWA is stripping Magnum T.A. of the United States Title, effective immediately, for conduct unbecoming a champion.
After a break, Ivan & Nikita Koloff join Tony. Nikita said he knew Magnum would try to get out of the title match because he knew Nikita would embarrass him on TV. Uncle Ivan proclaims Nikita the new U.S. champion. Jim Crockett comes out and says that’s not true, and that the NWA has ordered a best-of-seven series Magnum and Nikita for the U.S. Title, and it will start with the kickoff of the Great American Bash on July 1 in Philadelphia. Ivan proclaims this a conspiracy, that Nikita is the U.S. champ, and he will give Magnum a few titles matches during the Bash. They’re also going to win the Six-Man Tag Titles from the Road Warriors and Dusty Rhodes, “and you, Ric Flair, nephew Nikita is going to take World Title away from you as well.”
To the ring, it’s Tully Blanchard & Arn Anderson w/ J.J. Dillon vs. George South & Randy Mulkey. Arn pounds away on South, drops a knee and tags Tully. South forces Tully into the corner and tags in the legendary Randy Mulkey, who immediately gets thrown across the ring and almost over the ropes. Arn tags in and hits a beautiful spinebuster. He picks Mulkey up for a bodyslam, and drops the knee. They finish Mulkey Mania with a double gourdbuster. Awesome squash. **
Tony & David hype all the dumb country music concerts that will be part of the Great American Bash, and we get an interview with Waylon Jennings. Good thing they were going to those country music hotbeds like Philadelphia & Washington, D.C.
Back to the studio, Baby Doll joins Tony. She introduces a pre-taped promo by Dusty Rhodes, that is full of fire directed at Ole Anderson. He talks about this feud has raged for years and they’ve tried to cripple, maim and hurt each other. Dusty calls Ole a redneck and a bigamist (I assume he meant bigot), who doesn’t believe in the American Dream. Dusty says color never mattered to him and now Ole is back and tried to tear his head off and “get into my personal, you understand”. Dusty says this is serious business, not some cartoon wrestling you see on Saturday mornings. Dusty says if this is the end, and it comes down to him and Ole, then that’s how it should be. Emphatic promo from Big Dust. Some of it didn’t make sense, but damn, you could tell he meant it.
To the ring, Nikita Koloff w/ Ivan Koloff vs. Todd Champion. Tony and David were hyping Todd Champion earlier, and they clearly thought he was a promising young prospect at this point. Too bad he never learned to wrestle worth a damn. Nikita shoves Champion out of a lock up. They tie up again, and this time Champion pushes Nikita off, then flexes his bicep. The crowd chants “USA! USA!” We get a test of strength, and Champion holds his own, but Nikita forces him down. Champion keeps battling and gets back to his feet. Nikita kicks him in the midsection, but Champion kicks back! Another lockup and Champion twists Nikita’s arm. Nikita forces Champion to the corner and hits shoulderblocks. We take a quick break…
Back live, Nikita slams Champion. Nikita misses a back elbow and Champion hits a crossbody block. Count of two, but Nikita kicks out so big that he throws Champion out of the ring. Champion comes back in, but Nikita catches him and pounds away. Nikita nails the Russian Sickle and that ends it. Did a good job of making Champion look promising. **
Tully Blanchard & J.J. Dillon join Tony. J.J. hypes the upcoming taped-fist matches with Tully and Ronnie Garvin. He notes that Ronnie Garvin was knocked out and carried out of Norfolk on May 23, at the hands of Tully Blanchard. Tully says the start of the demise of Dusty Rhodes was when he pinned him for the National Title. Blanchard says the Four Horsemen are back and Dusty is going down. They add that Garvin said, “I quit” in Norfolk.
After a break, a very pissed off Magnum T.A. joins Tony. Magnum still has the U.S. Title with him. Magnum rails against the audacity of the NWA. He walked out of the brutal I Quit match last year with the belt and has defended his title against all comers. He says Nikita couldn’t get it done in the ring. Magnum talks about what his mom means to him.
I tell you something Nikita Koloff, and this is straight out there to Bob Geigel too. This belt is nothing but a bunch of metal and leather without the meaning behind it. You can take this out of my hands, but you can’t take what’s in my heart. You can’t take the love for my family and my mother that I’d die fighting for, no matter what it takes! The best-out-of-seven tournament, it doesn’t matter what they want to dictate to me, because I dictate my life! I dictate my action and whatever kind of fight it’s gotta be, that’s just fine, because I’ll bow to no man, especially a no good, commie Russian!
Another awesome, intense promo. JCP is really bringing it on the microphone this week. Textbook promos. They deliver them like believe in what they’re saying, and the fans buy into the intensity and hatred. Again, these should be required viewing for all wrestlers, and especially WWE writers/producers.
To the ring, Shaska Whatley & the Barbarian w/ Paul Jones vs. Italian Stallion & Jim Dawson. Jones rants about the photoshopped bald picture they showed earlier. Shaska hits the superplex for the win. Afterwards, Manny Fernandez, Jimmy Valiant and Ron Garvin hit the ring to battle Jones’ Army. They grab Shaska, and Valiant has some scissors. He’s cutting Shaska’s hair! They finally drag Shaska out, but not before Valiant gets a few snips in. Boring match, but the post-match livened it a bit. *1/2
After a break, Wahoo McDaniel, carrying his Indian strap, joins Tony. We see video of Jimmy Garvin & Steve Regal jumping Wahoo. They stretch him across the ropes. Precious hands Garvin a leather strap, and they start whipping Wahoo across his back. Wahoo says it’s the end for Garvin, and he can count on it, and if Precious sticks her nose in, she’s in trouble too.
To the ring, it’s Wahoo vs. Lee Peek. Wahoo jaws a little with the Flair fans at ringside. He manhandles Peek and wins with the over-the-knee backbreaker. *
After a break, Jim Cornette & Big Bubba come out again and Cornette rails on Baby Doll and Dusty/Magnum, then introduces his team…
Midnight Express vs. Robert Burroughs & Vernon Deaton. Bobby bodyslams Burroughs and delivers a beautiful (pun intended) elbow off the top rope. Cornette keeps ranting and raving about Baby Doll, and says he flying out to California tomorrow for some training with “his good friend Richard Simmons“. Later, Bobby drops the Alabama Jam top rope legdrop on Deaton. Cornette tells Schiavone “you’re looking real average today“. Bobby drags Burroughs over to introduce him to Tony & David, and slugs him right in the face. They finish with the Rocket Launcher. **
After a break, the Rock & Roll Express join Tony to announce the “Super Summer Sizzler Tour” in August, with contests for fans, including a look-a-like contest, the Miss Rock & Roll Express contest (open to all girls 14-17 years old. Yes, really.) And the Rock & Roll Express dream date context, open to ladies 18 & older.
To the ring, Ron Garvin vs. Bill Tabb. Garvin pulverizes Tabb with grappling and chops, and wins with the KO punch. *
Manny Fernandez & Jimmy Valiant return. They boast about cutting Whatley’s hair and vow that both Shaska & Paul Jones will be bald-headed geeks before the end of the Bash.
After a break, the James Boys w/ Baby Doll join Tony. Frank (Dusty) says Big Bubba looks like something out of “The Godfather”. Frank vows to come down Mama Cornette’s chimney on Christmas and scare her out of her PJs. Pretty pointless segment, really.
To the ring, it’s Jimmy Garvin & Steve Regal w/ Precious vs. Rocky King & Paul Garner. King gets in a few moves on Regal, but gets leveled with a short-arm clothesline. Regal wins it with the Russian Leg Sweep. *
Afterwards, Garvin runs down Wahoo McDaniel pretty well, and mocks Magnum T.A., saying if his mom knew he used to be a dancer in San Francisco, she’d throws him out of the house. And that’s a wrap.
Wow. A very eventful and enjoyable show this week. Well worth checking out.