Rock Star Gary reflects on…NWA Battle of the Belts III

Live from Daytona Beach, FL

Airdate: September 1, 1986

Attendance:  8,000

Hosted by Gordon Solie and Stan Rhoads

Match 1: The Cuban Assassin versus Tyree Pride

Highlights:

  • The show began with this match already in progress.
  • Assassin tossed Pride over the top rope, but Pride skinned the cat back into the ring.
  • He then rolled up Assassin for the pin.

Rating: NONE

Summary: Timing a show correctly means not having the remaining sixty seconds of a match as an opener. Let’s hope this is the only timing issue.

Match 2 for the NWA US tag team titles: The Fabulous Ones (champions) versus the Bushwhackers Sheepherders

Highlights:

  • What You Need” by INXS brought the Fabulous Ones to the ring. Let’s hope they don’t become suicide blonds.
  • At the onset, the Fabulous Ones made a wish using Butch’s legs. YEE-OUCH!
  • Somersault rollup by Lane of Luke got 2.
  • Cross-corner whip by Lane, but he came up empty on his follow-through.
  • After an Irish whip, Butch put a knee in Lane’s midsection.
  • Sleeper on Lane by Luke countered by a jawbreaker.
  • Back elbow off the ropes to Lane got 2 for Butch.
  • Lane ducked a clothesline then hit one of his own on Butch.
  • False tag occurred as Luke distracted referee Bill Alfonso.
  • While Luke continued to distract Alfonso, Butch nailed Lane with the New Zealand flag pole.
  • SWITCHEROO by the Fabulous Ones.
  • Keirn rolled in, feigned being laid out, and then hooked an inside cradle for the pin on Butch.
  • The champs retained as the crowd went wild.

Rating: ***

Summary:  Tag formula worked to perfection with the babyface switcheroo stolen from the Big Event.

Match 3 for the NWA US junior heavyweight title: “White Lightning” Tim Horner (champion) versus the Ninja (w/ Kendo Nagasaki)

Highlights:

  • This would be appearance #2 for the Great Muta in CWF.
  • Quick rollup by Horner got 1.
  • Rhoads equated Horner’s nickname to speed and agility whereas I would equate it to the #1 beverage of the Smoky Mountains.
  • Horner used a cartwheel to avoid a Ninja hip toss then gave Ninja one of his own.
  • Next, Ninja countered a hammerlock with a mule kick in the corner.
  • Inside cradle by Horner got 2.
  • On the other hand, a vertical suplex by Ninja got 2.
  • Spin kick by Ninja followed by an elbow to the back of the neck.
  • Slam and elbow drop got 2 for Ninja.
  • Horner came back with a back elbow and dropkick for 2.
  • Vertical suplex by Horner got another 2.
  • After Horner gave Ninja a shoulder block, Nagasaki tripped Horner as he was coming off the ropes.
  • Backbreaker by Ninja who quickly mounted the top turnbuckle.
  • He then hit the moonsault for the pin.
  • WE HAVE A NEW CHAMPION!

Rating: *1/2

Summary:  Who gave these guys ten minutes for what they could have accomplished in five? Mutoh’s style was definitely ahead of its time here in 1986. Based on a technicality, the belt was returned to Horner due to Nagasaki’s interference.

Match 4 for the AWA World title: Nick Bockwinkel (champion) versus Kendo Nagasaki (w/ Sir Oliver Humperdink)

Highlights:

  • Wait! I thought Stan Hansen was the AWA World champion. What happened? Oh.
  • Before the match began, Nagasaki spewed some green mist. Meanwhile, perhaps peeking through the curtain, Muta wisely swiped that ritual for future use.
  • Only notable fact for the first five minutes of the match—WCW referee Jimmy Jett officiated this match.
  • Cross-corner whip by Nagasaki was followed by a knee to the midsection on his follow-through.
  • Awkward cross body block by Bockwinkel only got 1.
  • After giving Nagasaki a cross-corner whip, Bockwinkel delivered a back drop.
  • He then followed with a dropkick. Way to go, Nick!
  • When Bockwinkel tried a slam, Humperdink tripped him with the kendo stick.
  • Jett called for the bell.

Rating: *

Summary:  Nagasaki was the best opponent CWF could find for Bockwinkel? To quote John McEnroe, you cannot be serious! Very old school match that contrasted drastically with the previous match. Bockwinkel should have brought Curt Hennig with him.

Match 5: The Road Warriors (w/ “Precious” Paul Ellering) versus the Shock Troops (w/ Sir Oliver Humperdink)

Highlights:

  • For those unaware, the Shock Troops were Ed “The Bull” Gantner formerly of the USFL Tampa Bay Bandits and Kareem Muhammed formerly of the Zambuie Express. Lest we forget that WWE Hall of Famer and US Republican Presidential candidate Donald Trump used to own the New Jersey Generals of the USFL.
  • Hawk gave Gantner a flying shoulder block to begin the match.
  • Dropkick by Animal sent Muhammed over the top rope down to the concrete floor.
  • A pair of shoulder blocks by Muhammed astonishingly could not take Animal off his feet.
  • After a clothesline by Hawk, both he and Gantner went down due to a double clothesline.
  • Gantner reversed a cross-corner whip by Animal then applied a bear hug.
  • Animal broke the hold by ringing Gantner’s bell.
  • Slam by Muhammed, but he missed an elbow drop.
  • Subsequently, Animal slammed Muhammed. That’s no small feat.
  • Upon nailing Gantner in the corner, Animal fell victim to a low bridge from Gantner sending him down to the concrete floor.
  • While Animal was draped over the second rope, Gantner distracted referee Bill Alfonso. In the meantime, Humperdink nailed Animal. How dastardly!
  • After giving Animal a forearm smash to the back, Muhammed missed a splash.
  • Hot tag Hawk.
  • Dropkick by Hawk was followed by a slam. Impressive!
  • A fist drop and flying shoulder block by Hawk put Muhammed down on the mat.
  • All four men were in the ring.
  • Alfonso lost control as both teams went crazy at one another. Officials hit the ring but went down just as quickly.
  • Wrestlers from the back came in to put a stop to the melee.

Rating: **

Summary:  As hot as the Road Warriors were in ’86, there was no way they would be jobbing in this match. Since the Shock Troops were practically glued to the territory at the time, I guess they refused to put the Warriors over.

Match 6 for the NWA Bahamas title: Chris Champion (champion) versus Kendall Windham

Highlights:

  • Hip toss by Champion gave him the early advantage.
  • However, an inside cradle by Kendall got 2.
  • Champion slapped Kendall who angrily chased him around the ring.
  • After Champion tossed Kendall down to the concrete floor, he mounted the top turnbuckle and hit a double axe handle.
  • He then slammed Kendall on the concrete.
  • Back in the ring, Kendall nailed Champion with a flying forearm.
  • After a slam, Kendall attempted the bulldog; however, Champion pushed Kendall directly into referee Jimmy Jett.
  • Kendall hit the bulldog, but Jett called for the bell.
  • Kendall won by DQ as Champion retained.

Rating: **

Summary:  Playing a cocky heel suited Champion. I look forward to seeing him as part of the New Breed.

Match 7 for the NWA World title (2 out of 3 falls): “Nature Boy” Ric Flair (champion) versus NWA Southern champion Lex Luger

Highlights:

First fall:

  • AC/DC’s “Back in Black” brought the challenger to the ring.
  • According to Solie, this match contained three 20-minute falls rather than a sixty-minute time limit. Hmm…
  • Solie also mentioned Flair’s being a four-time NWA champion. Just 37 days earlier, Flair had regained the title by beating the “American Dream” Dusty Rhodes in Greensboro, NC.
  • After winning tests of strength against Flair, Luger no-sold Flair’s chops.
  • A mystified Flair exited the ring to regroup.
  • Luger reversed a cross-corner whip then gave Flair a gorilla press slam (no jerk).
  • Make that 2.
  • As Flair and Luger traded chops for punches, Solie referred to the match as a “pier-sixer.” All that’s missing in this match is a “Katy, bar the door!”
  • Hip toss out of the corner by Luger was followed by a cross-corner whip.
  • Unfortunately for Luger, he came up empty on his follow-through and jammed his left knee into the top turnbuckle.
  • Smelling blood in the water, Flair attacked Luger’s knee.
  • Belly-to-back suplex by Flair who then splashed Luger’s knee on the bottom rope.
  • Knee crusher by Flair was followed by the figure-four leg lock.
  • Behind referee Bill Alfonso’s back, Flair grabbed the ropes multiple times.
  • 1-2-3. Luger passed out from the pain, and Flair won the first fall.

Second fall:

  • Knee drop by Flair but he missed another sit-down splash on Luger’s leg.
  • Cross-corner whip by Flair, but Luger steamrolled him for 2.
  • Powerslam by Luger got the pin.
  • The match was tied one fall apiece.

Third fall:

  • After giving Luger an elbow, Flair mounted the top turnbuckle but got caught in a bear hug on the way down.
  • Luger lowered Flair’s shoulders to the mat.
  • DO WE HAVE A NEW CHAMPION?
  • 1-2-NO!
  • On attempt #2, 1-2-NO! So close.
  • Flair then broke the hold by raking Luger’s eyes.
  • After Flair missed a chop, Luger hit a clothesline and almost got the pin and the title.
  • Right hand by Luger sent Flair over the top rope down to the concrete floor.
  • Fifteen minutes remained in the match.
  • Luger countered a snap mare with a backslide but couldn’t get a count.
  • After Flair tossed Luger outside the ring, he joined him then rammed him face-first into a ringside table twice.
  • Back in the ring, Flair tried to pin Luger with his feet on the ropes but only got 2.
  • Huge kick-out of another pin attempt by Luger.
  • Flair then missed knee drop #2.
  • As a measure of payback, Luger exited the ring and rammed Flair’s leg into the apron.
  • When they returned to the ring, Flair guillotined Luger with the top rope.
  • Sunset flip over the top rope by Luger got 1, 2, NO! Ooh. Almost.
  • Ten minutes remained in the match.
  • Sleeper by Flair, but Luger rammed Flair into the top turnbuckle to break the hold.
  • Upon reversal of an Irish whip, Luger applied his own sleeper on Flair.
  • 1-2-NO!
  • Flair put his foot on the bottom rope.
  • Military press slam (complete with jerk) by Luger, but Flair countered with another belly-to-back suplex.
  • Luger blocked a haymaker and nailed the champion resulting in a Flair flop.
  • Five minutes remained in the match.
  • Sunset flip by Flair over the top rope got 2.
  • Again Flair tossed Luger outside the ring then joined him.
  • He tried to ram Luger face-first into the ring post but was blocked.
  • Luger then rammed Flair face-first into it.
  • As Flair tried to regain his balance, Luger rammed him into an adjacent ring post.
  • After Luger rammed Flair face-first into a ringside table, it became apparent that Flair was BUSTED OPEN!
  • Flair mounted the top turnbuckle but got caught and came down the hard way.
  • Three minutes remained in the match.
  • Cross-corner whip by Luger resulted in a Flair flip to the apron.
  • Flair then grabbed Luger’s leg and rammed it into the apron twice.
  • With two minutes remaining, Flair reapplied the figure-four leg lock.
  • Will Luger submit?
  • No, Luger reversed the hold.
  • Flair hit an elbow drop as one minute remained.
  • With only 30 seconds remaining, Luger reversed a cross-corner whip and hit powerslam #2.
  • DO WE HAVE A NEW CHAMPION?
  • 1-2-NO!
  • Bear hug by Luger with only 15 seconds left.
  • Time limit expired as Flair held on.
  • With the tally at one fall apiece, the match was ruled a draw.
  • Flair retained.

Rating: ****

Summary:  Flair made Luger into a bona fide star here. I foresee better things on the horizon for Luger.

Match 8 for the NWA Florida title: “Cowboy” Ron Bass (champion) versus Barry Windham

Highlights:

  • Atomic drop and slam by Barry sent Bass outside the ring to regroup.
  • Barry joined him then made him taste the steel railing. It must have tasted like the Alaskan Trawler at Ocean Deck.
  • After slamming Bass on the concrete floor, Barry delivered an elbow drop.
  • Barry suplexed him back into the ring then delivered a leg drop for 2.
  • Loaded elbow pad by Bass knocked Barry silly.
  • As Bass tossed Barry outside the ring and rammed him face-first into the ringside table, the show went off the air. Damn timing issues!
  • Whew! I found the ending on another feed.
  • Barry was BUSTED OPEN!
  • As Barry nailed Bass repeatedly, it was evident that Bass was also BUSTED OPEN.
  • Lariat by Barry only got 2.
  • Double shoulder block put both men down on the mat.
  • Slam attempt by Barry resulted in Bass landing on top for 2.
  • Bass mounted the top turnbuckle, adjusted his elbow pad again, but got caught on the way down.
  • Piledriver attempt by Barry, but Bass countered into a back drop instead.
  • Barry countered that into a sunset flip for the pin.
  • WE HAVE A NEW CHAMPION!

Rating: **1/2

Summary:  Great way to send the fans home happy with a title win for Barry.

Conclusion:  Combine the Fabulous Ones-Sheepherders match with the Flair-Luger match, and this is a great show.

Unfortunately for CWF, money was not on their side. In early 1987, they would be purchased by Jim Crockett Promotions in its effort to compete on a national level with the WWF. Back in those times, I would attend the CWF shows in Robarts Arena in Sarasota. The memories still resonate to this day.

See you for WWF Saturday Night’s Main Event VII!

TV Rating: N/A

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