NWA World Championship Wrestling, July 19, 1986

A classic between The Rock & Roll Express vs. the Andersons, Dusty Rhodes & Magnum T.A. vs. the Midnight Express, and Tully Blanchard defends the National Title vs. Sam Houston in another good one. The Great American Bash continues and we’ve got another really good program this week. Let’s get to it… Once again outside the TBS Studio, we’re got an arena show from Columbia, South Carolina. We open with Don Kernodle vs. the Golden Terror already underway. David Crockett & Tony Schiavone are our hosts this week. The Terror (Ben Alexander) has the advantage on Kernodle, but a roll up gets a two count for Kernodle. They continue with mat grappling. Kernodle gains the advantage and delivers a knee top Terror’s head, and drops him throat-first across the top rope. This one goes back and forth. Terror delivers a head butt, but hurts himself more than Kernodle. Fisticuffs, as the crowd rallies behind Kernodle. He finally wins is with the top-rope clothesline. **

We go to our special guest hosts, Bob Caudle & Jim Cornette, with Big Bubba Rogers. Cornette hypes Bubba’s credentials and says he’s the meanest, toughest man in the planet, and vows Bubba will take out Dusty Rhodes. Cornette calls Baby Doll a “big fat pig” and says she will be his before the Bash is over.

After a break, it’s the Warlord w/ Baby Doll vs. Vernon Deaton. Warlord delivers a reverse atomic drop. Deaton tries a shoulderblock and just bounces off Warlord, who ends it quickly with the running, over-the-shoulder powerslam. *

We go to Cornette interviewing the Andersons. Arn hypes a bunkhouse match they’ve got upcoming with the Rock & Roll Express in Atlanta at the final Bash show. Ole says they deserve to be the world tag team champions and the R&R are stupid for agreeing to a match with no rules against the Minnesota Wrecking Crew. Ole says the R&R better have their insurance paid up and an ambulance nearby.

To the ring, it’s Khrusher Khrushchev vs. Todd Champion. The crowd picks up a loud “USA! USA!” chant. Another lively audience this week. David says they’re going to try to bring the show to every state capital. They never came close to achieving that goal. But two out of 50 ain’t bad. Champion reverses an armbar into a hammerlock. Khrusher yells in pain and retreats to the ropes. Khrusher locks in an armbar and works it for awhile. Champion reverses again and takes Khrusher down. Champion hits a shoulderblock and goes back to the arm. He almost botches locking in an armbar. Yes, really. We go to a break…

Back live, Khrushchev is working over Champion. He tosses Champion outside, who takes a pretty stiff bump off the floor and the railing. Khrusher rams him into the apron and drops his throat across the top rope twice, then locks in a boring bearhug. Champion escapes with the double-head slap and lands forearms and punches in the corner. Champion misses a dropkick as Khrusher holds onto the ropes and Khrushchev puts him away with the Russian Sickle. *

Dusty Rhodes & Baby Doll join Bob Caudle. Dusty says putting him inside a steel cage is risky business. He says he’s on the top of his game, and he and Ric Flair will meet in the cage for the 40-pound piece of gold. Dusty wins the Nostradamus of the Week Award, saying he will take the World Heavyweight Title for the third time, in the cage. (He doesn’t say where, but it’s a week away in Greensboro.)

To the ring, Nelson Royal vs. Mitch Snow. This is our first look at future AWA “star” Mitch Snow, who is about 20-years-old here. Royal is about 137. He trained Snow. They shake hands at the bell. Headlock takeover by Royal, reversed into a headscissors. Snow delivers an arm drag. Headlock by Royal, followed by a shoulderblock, but then Snow catches him with a hip toss. Snow holds Royal down for an extended period with a headlock, though Royal keeps trying to fight out of it. Running the ropes, Royal delivers an arm drag, but Snow locks in the headlock again and bores the hell out of the crowd and this reviewer. Snow delivers a bodyslam, but Royal catches him by surprise in a small package and pins him. They shake hands again. Had they ditched the prolonged rest holds it could’ve been a fun little match. *1/2

Cornette interviews Tully Blanchard & J.J. Dillon. Tully notes that everyone continues to come after the Horsemen, but they don’t get the job done. Blanchard notes that Ronnie Garvin said he was going to knock Tully out, but he’s still standing and he’s still the National Heavyweight champion.

Time for a Great American Bash update: We see a replay of last week when Baby Doll cold-cocked Jim Cornette. Bob Caudle tells us Magnum T.A. is down 3-0 to Nikita Koloff in the best-of-seven series for the U.S. Title. He spends significant time hyping the Bash show in Atlanta on August 2. The Rock & Roll Express join Bob. Morton says the NWA Tag Titles are coming back to them soon and they hype the Atlanta show as well.

Have to say, that was a really weak Bash update. The syndicated shows at the time did a much better job keeping us apprised of what was going on. This told us nothing, other than Magnum being down 3-0 to Nikita. How about some freaking highlights?

To the ring, National Heavyweight Champion Tully Blanchard w/ J.J. Dillon vs. Sam Houston. This is for the title. Houston surprises Tully a roll-up and almost pins him. The crowd goes nuts as Houston fires right hands at Tully. He whips him into the corner and delivers a high backdrop. Into the ropes again, Houston lands a back elbow, followed by a bodyslam and two count. Houston snags a headlock, but Tully works his way out. Houston cartwheels past a backdrop attempt and delivers a dropkick. He follows with a headlock takeover. Tully powers out, but Houston takes him down again. Very quick exchange that the crowd is loving…

Tully backs Houston into the ropes and slaps him in the face, pissing him off. Houston chases after Tully, who heads outside. The chase goes around the ring. Tully tries to surprise Houston by reversing course around a post, but Houston ducks the punch and lands a few of his own. The crowd is on its feet cheering on the youngster. Houston suplexes Blanchard back into the ring and gets a two count. Tully grabs the tights and uses the leverage to ram Houston into the top turnbuckle. J.J. distracts the referee and Tully throws Houston over the top rope to the floor, which would be an automatic DQ if the ref saw it. We go to a break…

Back live, Blanchard misses an elbow, but he maintains the advantage on Houston. Tully delivers a gutbuster. He follows with the over-the-knee backbreaker and repeated elbowdrops to the back. Blanchard applies a rear chinlock. Houston powers up and lands elbows to Blanchard’s gut. Running the ropes, Blanchard tosses Houston outside again for a hard bump. Dillon takes off his shoe and nails Houston with it. Tully yanks Houston back in and tosses him out the other side of the ring. He stomps Houston from the apron. Houston sunset flips back in and scores a two count. Now a backslide and another near fall. Blanchard misses a big swing. Houston delivers a big atomic drop. Tully is hurting in his nether region. Houston pounds away with jabs and a big right hand. He mounts Blanchard in the corner and slugs him repeatedly, but Blanchard catches him with the reverse atomic drop. That sets up the slingshot suplex and the three count. Blanchard retains. Really good, competitive match. ***1/2

Cornette interviews Khrusher Khruschev and it’s really boring.

After a break, Caudle interviews Ronnie Garvin. He says he’s still chasing Tully Blanchard and the National Title, and he’s got Tully’s number. We see a replay of the closing moments of the Blanchard/Houston match. Garvin analyzes the action, then promises he’s going to be the man to “terminate” Blanchard.

After a break, Magnum T.A. joins Bob, who asks Magnum if he can come back from the 3-0 deficit. Magnum says he’s no quitter. Magnum says Nikita has nothing to be proud of because of the way he obtained all three victories. Magnum adds that Nikita is still a long way from taking the U.S. Title and Nikita should have finished the job when he had Magnum hurt, because he will continue coming back as long as he has an ounce of breath in him. Magnum says he’s going to make the series even and then he will punish Nikita for every evil, commie word that’s come out of his mouth. Great promo.

To the ring, the Rock & Roll Express vs. Ole & Arn Anderson. Massive, extended cheers for the R&R. Gibson and Ole start. Gibson fires punches at Ole’s head. Ole backs him into the Andersons’ corner for the double-team, but Gibson adeptly slides out of the ring to avoid it. Arn tags in and nails Robert in the gut. Gibson with the hip toss, headscissors and dropkick, sending Arn out for a powder. The crowd is insanely hot for this match. Gibson tags in Ricky Morton, who motions to the nose that the Four Horsemen broke a couple of months ago. Morton is no longer wearing the nose brace. A very loud “rock and roll” chant breaks out…

Running the ropes, Morton slides between Arn’s legs and drops him face-first, right on his nose, which Arn sells beautifully. Morton delivers a DDT, on the nose again, and Arn heads outside holding his proboscis. Great psychology there. Ole tags back in. He backs Ricky into the Andersons’ corner, but Morton punches his way out of it. Arn comes in, which drops in Robert and they both whale away on the Andersons. Arn ducks out. Ole is like a tennis ball, bouncing back and forth between punches from Morton and Gibson before he finally goes down. Morton sells his hand being hurt from hitting Ole so many times. The little things matter…

Gibson tags in. Ole grabs the arm and tags in Arn. They double-team Gibson and dump him outside. Ole rams Robert into the ringside railing. Back in, Arn locks in a stepover armbar. The “rock and roll” chant picks up again. Arn turns it into a hammerlock and drops his knee on Gibson’s arm. A snapmare breaks the hold and Gibson almost reaches Morton for the hot tag, but Ole is tagged in first and cuts Gibson off. We go to break…

Back live, Robert Gibson is still playing Ricky Morton as Arn Anderson continues to punish him. The irony. Finally he makes the hot tag and the crowd goes apeshit. Ricky Morton nails both Andersons with punches. He dropkicks Ole, punches Arn. Morton does a sort of Superman Punch on Ole, 30 years before Roman Reigns ruined a great UFC move. Morton delivers a great top rope dropkick on Arn and follows with a neckbreaker. Ole tags in. Morton takes him down with a single-leg and the R&R go to work on Ole’s leg. Remember, Ole Anderson missed six months after Dusty Rhodes broke his leg. The crowd remembers and loves every second of it. Again, psychology matters, and so does past history. WWE Creative really should be watching these shows and learning…

The R&R do the double-wishbone, front roll into a double-punch on Arn in the corner. Quick tags as they continue to work Ole’s leg. Another really loud “rock and roll” chant breaks out. Morton drags Ole to the corner and tags Gibson. He springs over the top rope and down onto Ole’s leg. Gibson distracts the ref, which allows Morton to work on Ole’s leg behind the ref’s back. More quick tags and the punishment on Ole’s leg continues. They’re using Minnesota Wrecking Crew tactics on the Minnesota Wrecking Crew. Awesome. A “break it” chant erupts. Ole catches Morton with an uppercut and headbutt, and finally tags Arn…

However, Morton catches Anderson with a leg trip and takes him down. He drags Arn to the corner and tags Robert, who comes off the top rope with a stomp on Anderson’s leg. Gibson applies a combination leglock/chinlock. He tags in Morton, who wrenches back on the leglock. Morton stands up with the hold still applied, and uses Gibson to push him down a couple of times to help cinch in the pressure on Arn’s legs. We go to a break…

Back live, the Andersons are working over Ricky Morton and apparently have been destroying him for the past few minutes. They’re working on Morton’s face and nose. Again, psychology matters. Arn bodyslams Morton and drops his knee on Morton’s face. A two count, and the crowd erupts at Morton kicking out. Morton fires back with a headbutt, but Arn takes him down and tags Ole before Morton can reach Gibson. Ole works over Morton’s face with his knee, then rakes Morton’s face across the ropes. Arn adds a stomp to the head from outside. Morton fires back with an elbow and a punch, but Ole maintains the advantage. He drives the heel of his boot into Morton’s face. Ole delivers a back elbow into the face and covers. Morton gets a shoulder up. Ole tries to hold Morton’s arms down, but he barely gets a shoulder up again. Once again, the “rock and roll” chant erupts to try to inspire Morton. They’re in a knucklelock, and Morton muscles up. He delivers headbutts to Ole’s gut, breaks out of it and nails him with right hands, but he’s in the Andersons’ corner. Arn tags in and dumps Morton outside…

Three minutes left in the match. Arn tries to ram Ricky into the turnbuckle, but Morton blocks it and rams Anderson. He climbs the turnbuckle and comes off with a cross bodyblock that’s a little high and hits Anderson’s head. Still not enough to tag in Gibson, but Arn is able to reach Ole. Irish Whip, and Morton comes off with a side bodyblock and near fall. A 2 and 3/4 count. Arn tags back in as the “rock and roll” chant erupts again. Two minutes left. Arn tags Ole and holds Morton. Ole comes off the top rope, but Gibson comes in and catches him in the midsection with a punch. Gibson fires away on both men. He holds Ole for Morton, who comes off the second rope with a punch. Gibson locks Arn in the abdominal stretch. Apparently referee Tommy Young is going to allow Robert to be the legal man. Ole breaks up the stretch. Small package on Arn and a count of two. Arn pokes the eye and signals for the gourdbuster. Gibson reverses into a vertical suplex…

Ole tags in. Robert goes behind him and rolls him up for another near fall. The crowd is upset that wasn’t the pinfall. Once again, the “rock and roll” chant erupts. Ole rams Robert into Arn’s knee. They double-team him and ram him into the corner. Robert reverses Arn’s whip into the ropes and locks in the sleeperhold. The bell rings. Ole comes in and Ricky Morton locks him in the sleeper. The crowd pops huge for the sleeperholds. We’ve got a time limit draw. What a match, made even better by the really, really hot crowd. ****3/4

We go to Jim Cornette, who puts over his Midnight Express and notes they’ve fended off all challenges, including the Road Warriors, America’s Team and all the rest while putting their tag titles on teh line.

After a break, it’s NWA World Tag Team Champions Midnight Express w/ Jim Cornette & Big Bubba Rogers vs. Dusty Rhodes & Magnum T.A. w/ Baby Doll. Dusty gets in Big Bubba’s face before the bell rings. Magnum and Beautiful Bobby will apparently start off. Dusty enters, points at Cornette, and then at Baby Doll, and challenges Cornette to step into the ring to take on his female nemesis. Baby Dolls steps in. So does Cornette, and they both take their jackets off. David Crockett says, “Whoo, she’s a nice lookin’ woman.” If you like Amazons, he’s correct. Cornette acts like he’s going to punch Baby Doll, then waives his hands like it’s not worth his time. An attempted sneak attack follows, but Baby Doll spots it and Cornette scurries away, scared. Dusty holds Bobby so Baby Doll can smack him, to a huge pop. And again. Dusty nails both Midnights with elbows. Magnum drills Bobby with a right hand. The crowd is going nuts again, but we’re running out of time. Bobby nails Dusty in the corner, but Rhodes whips him across the ring. Bobby does a Flair flip and bounces outside. Dusty follows and hip tosses him to the wooden floor…

And we’re out of time. Once again, they end the show right at the start of a huge match, a trend that would soon become all too familiar on Crockett shows. However, this show was phenomenal, especially the Andersons vs. the Rock & Roll Express. If you want to see a perfect illustration of the way Jim Cornette described the R&R during his WWE Hall of Fame induction speech, this match delivers. Great stuff.

Thanks for reading.