NWA World Championship Wrestling, August 2, 1986

There’s a new NWA World Heavyweight champion and a new bald-headed geek, as the Great American Bash draws to a close. The grand finale will be later tonight in Atlanta’s Fulton County Stadium. A look at the Bash happenings, previewing the final Bash card, and several new, but familiar, faces make their debuts on a “special edition” of the Saturday night staple…

There was no July 26 program, and lots has happened over the past two weeks. We open with shots of the empty Fulton County Stadium. David Crockett lets us know that Dusty Rhodes defeated Ric Flair for the NWA World Title in Greensboro, inside a steel cage. He hypes tonight’s show in Atlanta.

We go to Tony Schiavone in the TBS studio. No studio audience this week. We’ll hear from new champ Dusty Rhodes, former champ Ric Flair, and the now-bald Jimmy Valiant on this “special edition” of World Championship Wrestling.

He starts with an interview with Khrusher Khrushchev and Ivan Koloff. They talk about taking the Six-Man Tag Trophy back to Russia, and we see a previously taped match of the Russians vs. Vernon Deaton, Mike Simani & Randy Barber that is won with a Nikita Koloff Russian Sickle.

Tony talks about the Magnum T.A. vs. Nikita series. Nikita leads 3-1. Koloff won the first three matches. They hype tonight’s match and Ivan promises Nephew Nikita will win the series tonight.

After a break, new NWA World Heavyweight Champion Dusty Rhodes joins Tony. He’s now a three-time champ. Dusty says it feels “good as punch”. It was Flair’s 13th title defense of the month, along with wrestling in six-man tag matches, bunkhouse matches, and more. Dusty makes an interesting point, stating that no one ever told him to come out on TV and told him what to say or how to say it. (Yet he’s remembered as one of the best promo men in the history of the business. See how that works, WWE?) Dusty says fatigue had nothing to do with it. He and Flair were both at their best. Video of the match coming later.

After a break, they announce the winners of the Rock & Roll Express “Super Summer Sizzler Tour”. Six girls will go on tour with the R&R. Two more get a “dream date” and two boys won the look-a-like contest.

Dusty and Tony hype a six-man match between the Road Warriors & Baby Doll vs. the Midnight Express & Baby Doll later tonight, and replay the great match from three weeks ago between the MX & the Road Warriors, including Baby Doll decking Cornette, with Dusty & Tony voicing over the commentary.

After a break, we go tape from the Greensboro Coliseum for the closing moments of Jimmy Valiant vs. Paul Jones in a hair-vs.-hair match. Valiant decks Jones and pounds away with a foreign object, then drives it into Jones’ head. Jones is busted open and Valiant decks him a couple of times then lands the back elbow, followed by his elbow drop finisher. Baron Von Raschke interferes and Valiant goes to tangle with him, but the Baron tosses his loaded glove to Jones. While Jones slips on the loaded glove, Valiant pulls a glove out of his trunks as well. Valiant beats Jones to the punch and covers him, but the Baron and Manny Fernandez come in and referee Earl Hebner tries to chase them out….

That allows Shaska Whatley to nail Valiant with a steel chair and put Jones on top for the pin. One-two-three and Paul Jones is the winner. Fernandez disputes the decision with Hebner, as do Sam Houston, Denny Brown and the Italian Stallion. Valiant keeps to his word and has his head shaved by NWA official Sandy Scott. Looking like it’s the worst thing that has ever happened to him, Valiant loses all the hair on top of his head, as the fans look on in disbelief. Valiant is visibly shaking as he gets sheared, while the Paul Jones Army celebrates at ringside. They should’ve taken his ridiculous beard while they were at it. Valiant gathers all his hair off the mat as the clip ends.

After a break, we go to Bill Apter interviewing an ecstatic Paul Jones. That’s followed by Tony interviewing the Road Warriors & Paul Ellering. Hawk says the difference between the LOD and every other tag team is, if you put them on a train track and leave them there, eventually the locomotive comes and runs them over. If you put the Road Warriors on the track, the locomotive takes a dirt road. Animal says the Midnight Express is afraid of the Warriors. They discuss the Six-Man Tag Title as well. Ellering also mentions that despite their partnership, Hawk or Animal would welcome a shot at Dusty Rhodes’ NWA World Title.

After a break, former NWA Champ Ric Flair joins Tony. Flair says the word “former” and “Ric Flair” don’t fit. He says he still Space Mountain, and still in his mind and in the mind of every wrestler on the planet, the greatest wrestler alive. The only difference is Dusty Rhodes is now the world champion. Flair makes no excuses and says Dusty was the better man on that given night. Flair says he’s been wrestling 12 years and his record is 3,115 wins vs. six losses, it’s the greatest win-loss record of all-time, and you’ll never see that loss column hit double figures. (Yeah, not quite. Flair jobbed to everybody, and might actually have more losses than wins.) Flair says he’ll dog Dusty Rhodes wherever he needs to and he’ll be there to “reap the harvest”. Flair again puts over Rhodes for being the better man that night and makes no excuses for the brutal schedule.

We go to the tape of the final minutes of Ric Flair vs. Dusty Rhodes for the title in Greensboro, inside a steel cage, with Flair & Tony voicing over the action. Dusty rams Flair’s head into the cage and gets a two count. Dusty lands a back elbow and tries an elbow drop, but Flair moves. Flair goes for a body slam but Rhodes blocks, rolls Flair into a small package and gets the pin to win the title. The crowd goes nuts and the faces enter the cage to celebrate with Dusty. Country singer David Allen Coe congratulates Dusty as well, and Flair puts him over, noting he doesn’t like country music, but Coe showed a lot of class with his involvement with wrestling and the Bash shows.

Flair hypes tonight’s Atlanta stadium show and walks off the set.

After a break, Ole & Arn Anderson join Tony. They hype tonight’s stadium match between fellow Horseman Tully Blanchard vs. Ronnie Garvin. Apparently Garvin is putting his career on the line. Arn and Ole say that’s a stupid thing for someone to do. We see footage of the Garvin vs. Black Bart match from a few of weeks ago, after which they hype the Atlanta stadium show some more.

After a break, Buddy Landell makes his return to the territory, along with Superstar Bill Dundee. The last time we saw Landell in Jim Crockett Promotions, back in December, he had just won the National Title as was primed for a major push. Then he flaked out, or rather coked out, missed an important taping and was out of job.  Now he’s back in the territory, with Dundee as his advisor and tag team partner. Landell says he’s the only “Nature Boy” and it’s apparent Ric Flair couldn’t get the job done and that’s why Dusty Rhodes has the title. Dundee says they’re not here to jerk the curtain, they came to close the show.

We go to video of Buddy Landell w/ Bill Dundee vs. George South, while Landell, Dundee and Tony voice over the commentary. Landell stomps and chops South, but the jobber gets the advantage in a backslide. That doesn’t last and Landell delivers a dropkick and takes over with an armbar. He repeatedly talks trash on Flair on commentary. The armbar lasts way too long. Landell dumps South outside and delivers a dropkick on the floor. Dundee tosses South back in for more punishment. Landell delivers the corkscrew elbow followed by the figure-four leglock for the submission. *

Afterwards, Landell talks about being on top when he left seven months ago, and he’s gotten an attitude adjustment and now he’s back in the major leagues.

After a break, the Kansas Jayhawks, Dutch Mantell and Bobby Jaggers join Tony. This is their debut on the show. They came in as faces, which was a mistake. They’re definitely better as heels. They talk about going after the Midnight Express and the tag titles, but note they might have to wait their turn.

After a break, “Captain Redneck” Dick Murdoch joins Tony. Murdoch congratulates his buddy Dusty Rhodes on winning the NWA Title. He actually mentions the WWF, which was never done, and notes he was tag team champ up there, but says the NWA has the best wrestlers in the business.

We go to video of Dick Murdoch vs. Bill Mulkey, with Murdoch and Tony commentating. Murdoch takes over with arm drags and headlock takedowns. Mulkey Mania lands some offense, with two humungous punches to the gut, that have no effect, and Murdoch nails him with an elbow. A few more elbows followed by the brainbuster, and it’s still real to me, dammit. Captain Redneck wins easily. *

Murdoch analyzes the mechanics of his brainbuster as we see the slo mo replay, and mentions Jimmy Garvin uses the same move. Murdoch says he’s ready to battle the Russians, the Andersons and the Midnight Express. They hype the Atlanta stadium show some more, and that’ll do it for this week’s show.

Not a strong program this week. The lack of a studio audience and fresh matches hurt. Far too much emphasis placed on the Atlanta stadium show taking place that night as well. Several debuts this week, with Dick Murdoch, the Kansas Jayhawks, Buddy Landell and Bill Dundee. None exactly set the territory on fire. But we did get to see Jimmy Valiant shaved and the final seconds of the NWA Title change. Overall though, a missable show.