Rock Star Gary reflects on Crockett Cup ’87

Live from Baltimore, MD

Airdate: April 10 & 11, 1987

Attendance:  9,300 (4/10), 13,000 (4/11)

Hosted by Tony Schiavone

Instead of the early matinee followed by a night session like last year, Jim Crockett Promotions spanned the tournament over two nights (which probably involved truckloads of money to the Baltimore Marriott). Let’s start with the Friday night show. My reflection is based upon the home video for the show as I await a full-length copy on the WWE Network any day now.

April 10:

After Tony welcomes us to the show, we get a sparkling introduction from everyone’s friend and yours, ring announcer Gary Michael Cappetta.

FIRST ROUND

Match 1: Barbarian & “Superstar” Bill Dundee versus Mike Rotunda & Tim Horner

Highlights:

  • Joined in progress, Dundee made Rotunda taste the steel railing. It must have tasted like the crab cake platter at Mama’s on the Half Shell. Welcome to Jim Crockett Promotions, Mike!
  • Big boot by Barbarian got 2 on Rotunda.
  • Double clothesline put both men down on the mat.
  • After a slam, Barbarian mounted the top turnbuckle but came up empty trying the diving head butt.
  • Hot tag Horner.
  • After a double noggin knocker, Barbarian reversed a cross corner whip, but Horner leaped to the second turnbuckle and hit a flying body press.
  • Dundee ran interference bringing Rotunda into the ring and distracting referee Earl Hebner.
  • Horner tried a sleeper, but Dundee nailed him as Rotunda was being placed in his corner.
  • 1-2-3.
  • Barbarian and Dundee advanced.

Rating: *1/2

Summary:  From what was shown, the crowd loved the hot tag spot, and Horner brought some high-flying making an upset seem possible.

Match 2: The “Boogie-Woogie Man” Jimmy Valiant & NWA World Junior Heavyweight champion LazorTron versus Teijo Khan & Shaska Whatley

Highlights:

  • For those unaware, LazerTron was portrayed by Hector Guerrero.
  • The match began with LazorTron delivering a dropkick to Khan.
  • Whatley tagged in as Khan held LazorTron then put a knee into LazerTron’s midsection.
  • He went for a second attempt but had to put on the brakes due to Valiant.
  • Next, he dove, but LazorTron evaded him causing Whatley to hit Khan.
  • Double atomic drop by LazorTron and Valiant made Whatley’s evening a little harder to handle.
  • Khan came in, received the same treatment, and then unintentionally knocked his own partner down.
  • Afterward, Whatley tagged Khan who mounted the second turnbuckle and delivered a double axe handle to Valiant as well as a shot to the chest. That got a 2 count.
  • Whatley tagged back in but missed an elbow drop.
  • Hot tag LazerTron.
  • Flying cross body block from LazerTron to Whatley, but Valiant intercepted an incoming Khan. That distracted referee Randy “Don’t call me Pee Wee” Anderson.
  • When LazerTron attempted to get Anderson’s attention, Whatley charged at him.
  • LazerTron backdropped him over the top rope and got disqualified.

Rating: ½*

Summary: If you can actually imagine, having a gimmick patterned after a children’s game wouldn’t be the worst gimmick for Hector.

Match 3: Ivan Koloff & Vladimir Petrov versus Brad & Bob Armstrong

Highlights:

  • As this match started, both Ivan and Petrov mauled Bob.
  • Bear hug by Petrov, but a series of right hands caused Petrov to tag out.
  • Ivan missed the Russian Sickle, and a double shoulder block put both men down on the mat.
  • Hot tag Brad.
  • After a back drop to Ivan, Brad delivered a dropkick to him followed by one to Petrov.
  • Upon Ivan reversing an Irish whip, Bob hit a cross body block for 2 thanks to a save by Petrov.
  • All four men were in the ring as Brad applied a sleeper to Ivan.
  • While referee Randy Anderson placed Bob back in his corner, Petrov nailed Brad with the Russian chain.
  • Seeing the chicanery as it happened, Anderson called for the bell.

Rating: DUD

Summary:  The Armstrong curse was overcome because the Soviets destroyed their chances at the Cup.

Matches missing from the first round and their results:

Thunderfoot #1 & #2 defeated Bobby Jaggers & Rocky King (subbing for Dutch Mantell).

Ron & Jimmy Garvin (w/ Precious) beat Ricky Lee Jones & the Italian Stallion.

Denny Brown & Todd Champion defeated Randy & Bill Mulkey (Sorry, folks, there’s no Mulkeymania on the tape.)

Steve Keirn & George South fought Nelson Royal & Mike Graham to a 20-minute draw.

Florida tag team champions the MOD Squad (w/ “Superstar” Bill Dundee) defeated Wahoo McDaniel & Baron von Raschke.

SECOND ROUND

Match 4: The Midnight Express (w/ Jim Cornette & Big Bubba Rogers) versus Ron & Jimmy Garvin

Highlights:

  • Ladies and gentlemen, please allow me to introduce Stan Lane, formerly of the Fabulous Ones, as the newest member of the Midnight Express. Speculation that Dennis Condrey probably joined Loverboy on tour as a roadie cannot be confirmed at this time.
  • To begin the match, all four men were in the ring.
  • The Garvins then gave the Midnight Express cross-corner whips into one another.
  • While Ron and Eaton played tug-o’-war with Cornette on the apron, Lane tossed Jimmy outside the ring.
  • Cornette’s so petrified that he ran away from Precious.
  • Fast forward to where Lane tagged in and gave Jimmy a savate kick.
  • Eaton came in and gave Jimmy a back elbow off the ropes for 2.
  • After a leapfrog by Jimmy, Eaton accidentally ran into Lane.
  • Ron tagged in, gave Eaton a back drop, and prepped the Hands of Stone.
  • HUGE right hand by Ron almost sent Eaton over the top rope. Instead, he rolled out to the concrete floor.
  • Ron joined him and attempted a piledriver, but Cornette WALLOPED him in the back with the racquet.
  • The Midnight Express won by countout to advance.

Rating: *

Summary:  The crowd loved the antics outside the ring, but inside this match was too severely clipped to enjoy.

After the match, the Garvins dispatch the Midnight Express. An angry Ron then decks Hebner. Somewhere Bret watched this and felt tremendous empathy.

Cappetta then announces Ricky Morton’s injury that eliminated the Rock’n’Roll Express. Shortly thereafter, teenage girls and perhaps Rob Feinstein allegedly leave the arena. Confirmation could not be made as of this writing.

Matches missing from the second round and their results:

NWA World TV champion Tully Blanchard & the “Total Package” Lex Luger defeated Florida tag team champions the MOD Squad (w/ “Superstar” Bill Dundee)

Giant Baba & Isao Takagi beat Denny Brown & Todd Champion

The Road Warriors (w/ “Precious” Paul Ellering) defeated Shaska Whatley & Teijo Khan

NWA World tag team champions “Ravishing” Rick Rude & the “Raging Bull” Manny Fernandez (w/ Paul Jones) beat Thunderfoot #1 & #2

The “American Dream” Dusty Rhodes & NWA US champion the “Russian Nightmare” Nikita Koloff defeated “Superstar” Bill Dundee & the Barbarian

The Armstrongs defeated Kevin Sullivan & the “Enforcer” Arn Anderson

Match 5 (steel cage/Texas death): Big Bubba Rogers (w/ Jim Cornette) versus Ole Anderson

Highlights:

  • Texas Death Match rules state that a man must reach his feet by a ten count.
  • So with Lex Luger now in the fold, the Four Horsemen booted Ole the hard way.
  • Mere seconds after the bell rang, Ole rammed Rogers face-first into the cage.
  • After a pair of rights, a knee lift by Rogers knocked Ole down to the mat.
  • He got up at 8.
  • Rogers then rammed him face-first into the cage.
  • This time, Ole got up at 9.
  • Rogers then made hamburger meat out of Ole’s face with the cage.
  • Ole came back with a mule kick that knocked Rogers down.
  • Another pair of mule kicks put Rogers down for a five count.
  • Double axe handle by Ole knocked Rogers down for 3.
  • Ole was BUSTED OPEN!
  • Another back hand by Ole put Rogers down for 5.
  • After choking Ole down, Rogers mounted the top turnbuckle but missed a splash.
  • Piledriver by Ole. Can either man beat the count?
  • While Ole barely got up, Rogers was counted down.

Rating: **

Summary: In actuality, this was a better brawl than it seemed on paper. The Baltimore crowd was solidly behind Ole.

Tony then speaks with Magnum T.A. who still had his right arm in a sling. Included on the tape are three of the best Magnum T.A. matches in the promotion’s vault:

Match 6 (steel cage) for the NWA US title: “Chief” Wahoo McDaniel (champion) versus Magnum T.A.

Highlights:

  • This match was taped from the Charlotte Coliseum on 3/23/85 and aired 3/30 on NWA Worldwide.
  • Chops by McDaniel kept knocking Magnum down to the mat.
  • Magnum came back with rights that floored McDaniel.
  • After raking Magnum’s eyes, McDaniel rammed him face-first into the cage.
  • Forearm off the ropes by Magnum sent McDaniel reeling and got 2.
  • Back hand and dropkick by Magnum got 2 thanks to McDaniel’s foot being on the bottom rope.
  • Slam by Magnum was countered into an inside cradle by McDaniel for 2.
  • After giving McDaniel an elbow, Magnum rammed him face-first into the cage.
  • Upon receiving a head butt from Magnum, McDaniel used momentum to pull him face-first into the cage.
  • McDaniel then didn’t charge him extra for a second trip.
  • After a chop, McDaniel got a series of 2 counts.
  • Slam and elbow drop by McDaniel got another 2 count.
  • Inside cradle #2 by McDaniel got yet another pair of 2 counts.
  • After receiving a trio of mule kicks, McDaniel tried to escape by climbing the turnbuckles only to fall victim to a belly-to-back suplex.
  • Do we have a new champion?
  • 1-2-NO!
  • Chop by McDaniel, but Magnum landed with his leg on the bottom rope preventing a pin.
  • Upon giving Magnum a backbreaker and a pair of chops to the head, McDaniel got 2 because Magnum put his foot on the bottom rope.
  • After eating a shoulder block, Magnum delivered a belly-to-belly suplex.
  • 1-2-3.
  • WE HAVE A NEW CHAMPION!

Rating: ***1/2

Summary: Exciting cage match that elevated Magnum’s career tremendously.

Match 7 for the NWA US title: Magnum T.A. (champion) versus Kamala (w/ Skandor Akbar)

Highlights:

  • This match was taken from the Great American Bash ’85
  • After Kamala missed with a chop, Magnum hit a cross body block knocking Kamala down.
  • A chop to the head put Magnum down.
  • Kamala then hit the splash and got 2. Whew! That was close.
  • Kamala hit a second splash this time to the back of Magnum.
  • Kamala missed an avalanche so a bloodied Magnum delivered three dropkicks to earn a 2 count.
  • Akbar entered the ring to break up the pin.
  • Magnum won by disqualification.

Rating: *1/2

Summary:  Terrible finish since Kamala didn’t do the job. On the other hand, the crowd loved Magnum.

After the match, Kamala charges at Magnum but hits Akbar instead. Immediately thereafter, Magnum slams the Ugandan giant. After turning his attention to Akbar, Magnum gets nailed from behind. He then reverses an Irish whip and delivers a belly-to-belly suplex to Kamala. Impressive!

Match 8 for the NWA US title (steel cage/I Quit): Tully Blanchard (champion w/ Baby Doll) versus Magnum T.A.

Highlights:

  • This match was taken from Starrcade ’85.
  • Back on 7/21, Blanchard beat Magnum for the title with the help of Baby Doll (disguised as a police officer) and a foreign object.
  • A right hand by Magnum followed by an “Ooh” from the crowd sent Blanchard between the ropes.
  • Magnum tried to ram Blanchard face-first into the cage, but Blanchard blocked it by going low.
  • Blanchard then climbed the ropes and delivered an elbow.
  • Next, he rammed Magnum face-first into the cage.
  • To counter a reverse chin lock, Magnum powered out of it magnificently.
  • However, Blanchard put a knee in his side to retake control.
  • Magnum reversed an Irish whip then guillotined Blanchard on the top rope.
  • Blanchard pulled Magnum’s trunks sending him face-first into the cage again.
  • Magnum was BUSTED OPEN!
  • He then stuck the microphone in Magnum’s face but received no response.
  • Referee Earl Hebner checked the microphone and it was on.
  • Magnum then rammed Blanchard shoulder-first into the cage twice.
  • He tore into Blanchard’s bloodied shoulder and grabbed the microphone to get Blanchard to quit.
  • Magnum then bit the open wound on Blanchard’s shoulder. Magnum T.A. = Zombie T.A.?
  • Blanchard: “Say it!” Magnum: “NO!’ (THUMP went the microphone to Magnum’s head.)
  • Blanchard then picked up Magnum and again put him face-first into the cage.
  • Afterward, he mounted the top turnbuckle and delivered a shot.
  • Once again, Blanchard grabbed the microphone. “Say it!” Magnum: “NO!” (THUMP!)
  • Blanchard delivered an elbow drop but missed the second one.
  • Magnum grabbed the microphone. “Say it!” Blanchard screamed: “NOOOOOOO!” (THUMP!)
  • Once again, Magnum asked Blanchard, but received a strong negative response.
  • These two guys are beating the shit out of each other.
  • Magnum grabbed the microphone one more time, but Blanchard kicked it out of his hand. Awesome!
  • Ten-punch (no count-along though) in the corner, but Blanchard countered with a nasty inverted atomic drop. I don’t think Magnum would have a successful hot date later in the evening.
  • Instead of asking questions first and shooting, Blanchard did the opposite with the microphone. Tony’s response: “It’s legal.”
  • Again Magnum said “NOOOOOO!”
  • After a couple of elbow drops, Blanchard tossed Hebner down.
  • Immediately, Baby Doll tossed a wooden chair over and into the cage. Blanchard caught it and destroyed it.
  • Upon grabbing a piece of the chair, he kicked Hebner down again and attempted to murder Magnum live on TV. Yikes!
  • Actually, he was trying to put a wooden spike into Magnum’s forehead.
  • Using all his strength, Magnum fought back and got the spike away from Blanchard.
  • He then grabbed the spike and jammed it into Blanchard’s head.
  • Blanchard was BUSTED OPEN!
  • With the microphone nearby, Tully screamed “YESSSSSSS!”
  • WE HAVE A NEW CHAMPION!

Rating: *****

Summary:  If you look up the definition of method to settle a feud, this match fits it perfectly. While not a technical classic, it is a fight between two men who want to destroy one another. Magnum gets his revenge by taking back the US title, and Blanchard, for the remainder of his career, gets people to taunt him with “I Quit.” This match is a bona fide classic that every wrestling fan should witness, and is one of my all-time favorites.

Afterwards, Magnum offers support to the SuperPowers to win the tournament. Gee, what a surprise.

April 11:

Match 9 (quarterfinal): The Midnight Express (w/ Jim Cornette and Big Bubba Rogers) versus the Road Warriors (w/ “Precious” Paul Ellering)

Highlights:

  • Joined in progress, Animal delivered a powerslam to Eaton and got 2.
  • Lane tagged in but ate a back elbow from Animal which sent him into the middle of 1988.
  • Hawk tagged in and gave Lane a gutwrench suplex.
  • He then mounted the second turnbuckle, hit a flying clothesline, but received no count as Animal distracted referee Randy Anderson.
  • Afterward, Eaton mounted the top turnbuckle and nailed Hawk.
  • While Lane distracted Anderson, Eaton choked Hawk with a belt as Cornette bopped him with the racquet.
  • Lane then guillotined Hawk using the top rope.
  • After a high knee from Eaton, Lane tossed Hawk over the top rope to the concrete floor. Meanwhile, Anderson was distracted by Eaton and couldn’t see it.
  • As Cornette got up on the apron and monopolized Anderson’s attention, Eaton walloped Hawk with a racquet shot to the midsection.
  • Thereafter, Lane tagged in and gave Hawk a leg drop, and Eaton kept him from tagging Animal.
  • Standing savate kick by Lane got 2 as well as a power kick-out that sent Lane between the ropes to the concrete floor.
  • Eaton tagged in, gave Hawk a cross-corner whip, but ate boot on his follow-through.
  • Hot tag Animal.
  • After giving both Eaton and Lane back elbows, Animal caused Eaton to fly on a back drop.
  • However, a dropkick by Animal sent Eaton directly into Anderson knocking him down to the concrete floor.
  • Lane tried to interfere, but Hawk tossed him outside the ring.
  • Back inside the ring, Animal gave Eaton a flying shoulder block.
  • With Anderson still down, Cornette came into the ring and tried to light a fireball in Animal’s face. Since Ellering grabbed Cornette, the fireball missed.
  • Ellering grabbed the racquet and walloped both Cornette and Eaton.
  • As Animal nailed Rogers with the racquet, the bell rang.
  • Anderson disqualified the Road Warriors. No way! They were last year’s winners. That sucks!

Rating: ***

Summary: While I understand the need for a heel versus face dynamic for best crowd reaction, having the Road Warriors lose in the quarterfinals seems criminal.

After the bell, Animal gives Rogers a flying shoulder block that sends him reeling to the floor. Animal then whacks both Eaton and Lane with the racquet. As he and Hawk give Eaton their version of a Hart Attack, Lane pulls Eaton to safety. When Anderson raises Eaton’s arm in victory, Hawk nails Anderson. That’ll cost him. He then rams Eaton face-first into the ring post. As expected, the Baltimore faithful sing a resounding rendition of “BULLSHIT.”

Match 10 (quarterfinal): NWA World tag team champions “Ravishing” Rick Rude & the “Raging Bull” Manny Fernandez (w/ Paul Jones) versus the “American Dream” Dusty Rhodes & NWA US champion the “Russian Nightmare” Nikita Koloff

Highlights:

  • In case you missed it, back on 12/6/86, Rude and Fernandez defeated the Rock’n’Roll Express to win the titles.
  • Nikita was sporting a neck brace here thanks to a Dick Murdoch brainbuster on the concrete floor.
  • After Fernandez missed a clothesline, Rhodes gave him a cross body block for 1.
  • Upon slamming Fernandez, Rhodes gave him both an elbow drop and a bionic elbow.
  • Fernandez came back with a series of knee drops to Rhodes’ head.
  • While Nikita distracted former ring crew member turned referee Teddy Long, Rude rammed Rhodes face-first into the ring post.
  • Back hand by Fernandez got 2.
  • While Nikita distracted Long, Jones nailed Rhodes on the apron.
  • After a slam, Rude mounted the top turnbuckle, hit a knee drop, and got 2.
  • Head butts by Fernandez achieved the opposite of the intended result.
  • Flying clothesline by Rhodes only got 2 thanks to a save by Rude.
  • All four men were in the ring.
  • Back hand #2 by Fernandez who then mounted the top turnbuckle.
  • A flying body press by Fernandez was countered as Rhodes landed on top and got the pin.

Rating: **1/2

Summary: While I understand the SuperPowers were a mega-team, putting them over the World champions in the quarterfinals made zero sense.

Match 11 (quarterfinal): NWA World TV champion Tully Blanchard & the “Total Package” Lex Luger (w/ JJ Dillon) versus Brad & Bob Armstrong

Highlights:

  • Cross-corner whip by Blanchard to Brad, but he came up empty on his follow-through.
  • After giving Blanchard an elbow smash, Brad quickly mounted the top turnbuckle and delivered a missile dropkick. It earned him a 2 count.
  • Blanchard gave Brad an Irish whip as Dillon low-bridged him sending him down to the concrete floor.
  • As Bob continued to distract referee Earl Hebner, Dillon put the shoes to Brad.
  • Blanchard rammed Brad back-first into the steel railing then hit an elbow smash from the apron.
  • Belly-to-back suplex by Blanchard only got 2 due to Brad’s leg being on the bottom rope.
  • After Luger tagged in, he gave Brad a back elbow for 2.
  • Vertical suplex by Luger only got 2 again because Brad’s leg was on the bottom rope.
  • Blanchard tagged in and tried a hip toss, but Brad countered with a backslide for 2.
  • Atomic drop by Brad sent Blanchard reeling into Luger knocking him off the apron.
  • Hot tag Dad, er, I mean Bob.
  • While Brad distracted Hebner, Dillon tripped Bob coming off the ropes.
  • As all four men were in the ring, Brad delivered a dropkick to Luger.
  • Body slam by Bob was followed by a cover, but Hebner was tied up with Brad and Luger rendering him unable to make the count.
  • Blanchard and Dillon gave Bob a double clothesline while Hebner ensured Brad was in his corner. SNEAKY!
  • 1-2-3.

Rating: ***

Summary: Despite losing, Brad looked good here. Unfortunately, the Armstrong curse foiled them as the Horsemen used shenanigans to advance.

Match 12 (semifinal): The Midnight Express (w/ Jim Cornette & Big Bubba Rogers) versus the “American Dream” Dusty Rhodes & NWA US champion the “Russian Nightmare” Nikita Koloff

Highlights:

  • Bionic elbows-a-plenty served by Rhodes began this match. Even Rogers ate one.
  • While Nikita held an arm bar on Lane, Cornette distracted referee Teddy Long. That enabled Eaton to mount the top turnbuckle and nail Nikita.
  • After giving Nikita a snap mare, Eaton delivered a crisp elbow drop.
  • Smartly, Lane tagged in and gave Nikita a swinging neckbreaker.
  • Upon giving Nikita a leg drop, Lane tried to remove the neck brace to no avail.
  • While Rhodes occupied Long’s attention, Rogers hit Nikita.
  • Behind Long’s back, Lane switched with Eaton and guillotined Nikita on the top rope.
  • Lane distracted Long so that Eaton could choke Nikita with the racquet.
  • Nikita came back with a flying shoulder block for 2.
  • With Rhodes’ distraction of Long, the Midnight Express miscommunicated on a double-teaming of Nikita sending Lane to the concrete floor.
  • Russian Sickle by Nikita earned the pinfall.

Rating: ***

Summary: Once again, the mega-team beat the well-established former champions. More on this later.

After the match, while embracing Nikita, Rhodes shouts “one more!” Bartender, the next one’s on Rhodes. Meanwhile, a livid Cornette throws a temper tantrum in the ring to plead his case.

Match missing from the semifinal and its result:

NWA World TV champion Tully Blanchard & the “Total Package” Lex Luger (w/ JJ Dillon) defeated Giant Baba & Isao Takagi

Match 13 for the NWA World title: “Nature Boy” Ric Flair (champion) versus Barry Windham

Highlights:

  • Can these two match what they did back on 1/20/87? And can Windham win the World title?
  • The match began with both men trading blows. The end result became a Flair flop.
  • Ten-punch count-along by Windham was followed by a hip toss.
  • Windham missed a dropkick so Flair applied the figure-four leg lock.
  • Behind referee Tommy Young’s back, Flair held the second rope.
  • Windham basically molested Young in order for him to finally recognize Flair’s chicanery.
  • Cross-corner whip by Flair, but Windham exploded out of the corner with a lariat.
  • A low blow by Flair followed by a back elbow sent Windham reeling over the top rope down to the concrete floor.
  • While on the floor, Flair attempted a piledriver, but Young talked him out of it.
  • Shortly after, Windham used a sunset flip to re-enter the ring and got 2.
  • He then countered a hip toss into a backslide for another 2.
  • Flair exited the ring to regroup.
  • Upon Flair’s re-entry, a series of right hands by Windham got 2.
  • With Flair on the apron, Windham gave him a delayed vertical suplex, floated over, and almost got 3.
  • Windham then mounted the top turnbuckle but missed an elbow drop.
  • Smelling blood, Flair attempted figure-four #2, but Windham countered with an inside cradle for 2.
  • Sleeper by Flair, but Windham used momentum to send Flair into the top turnbuckle face-first.
  • That resulted in Flair flop #2.
  • Right hand by Windham sent Flair flipping over the top rope down to the concrete floor.
  • Outside the ring, Windham made Flair taste the steel railing. It must have tasted like the Alsatian sauerkraut at Woodberry Kitchen.
  • Trip #2 to the steel railing earned Flair a side of crab fried rice.
  • Windham then tried a piledriver but received a back drop instead.
  • After tossing Windham back in, Flair mounted the top turnbuckle and hit a flying body press.
  • However, Windham used momentum to land on top.
  • Do we have a new champion?
  • 1-2-NO! That was close.
  • Cross-corner whip by Windham resulted in a Flair flip to the concrete floor.
  • Deviously, Flair delivered a low blow that not only left Windham writhing in agony outside the ring but also was unbeknownst to Young.
  • Flair tried to suplex Windham back inside, but Windham floated over him and applied a sleeper.
  • So Flair tried the same escape that Windham used earlier, but the challenger pushed into the corner instead.
  • Windham then reapplied the sleeper.
  • He got Flair down to the mat for a 2 count, but Flair put his foot on the bottom rope.
  • Next, he dragged Flair to the middle of the ring, attempted a splash, but hit knees.
  • After a chop knocked Windham down to the mat, Flair SLOWLY mounted the top turnbuckle only to come down the hard way.
  • Windham subsequently applied the figure-four leg lock.
  • A rake of the eyes by Flair broke the hold.
  • Afterward, a powerslam by Windham got a long 2 count.
  • Lariat by Windham missed as both men spilled over the top rope onto the concrete floor.
  • Flair tried to ram Windham face-first into the ring post, but Windham evaded it.
  • He then mounted the top turnbuckle and hit a missile dropkick.
  • 1-2-3!
  • WE HAVE A NEW CHAMPION!
  • No, wait a minute! Young noticed that Flair’s foot was on the bottom rope again.
  • Windham then hit the lariat, but Flair got his foot on the bottom rope yet again. Dammit!
  • A relentless Windham then suplexed Flair, floated over, but got only another 2 count.
  • Backslide by Windham got another 2 count.
  • He then escaped a suplex and rolled Flair up off the ropes.
  • Flair used momentum (and the trunks) to steal the pin.

Rating: ****1/2

Summary: A Windham victory here would have made sense and solidly defined this show as historical. As it was, Flair and Windham told a fantastic story.

Prior to the final match, Cappetta introduces Magnum T.A. who requires assistance from Teddy Long to get to the ring. As you can imagine, the reaction from the Baltimore faithful is deafening. Magnum then embraces both Rhodes and Nikita. What an emotional moment. I don’t like the Horsemen’s chances.

Match 14 (final): NWA World TV champion Tully Blanchard & the “Total Package” Lex Luger (w/ JJ Dillon) versus the “American Dream” Dusty Rhodes & NWA US champion the “Russian Nightmare” Nikita Koloff (w/ Magnum T.A.)

Highlights:

  • A cross-corner whip by Nikita was followed by a choke of Blanchard.
  • Next, a clothesline by Nikita sent both men over the top rope down to the concrete floor.
  • While Luger checked on Blanchard, Dillon removed Nikita’s neck brace and tossed it into the crowd. Souvenirs, anyone?
  • As Rhodes occupied referee Earl Hebner’s attention, Luger made Nikita taste the steel railing. It must have tasted like the “award-winning” beef and Guinness stew at James Joyce’s Irish Pub.
  • Back in the ring, Luger gave Nikita a back elbow.
  • Blanchard tagged in and got 2.
  • Swinging neckbreaker by Blanchard got another 2.
  • LOUD “Nikita” chant emanated from the Baltimore faithful.
  • After a double-team choke, Luger only got 2.
  • He then guillotined Nikita on the top rope and got yet another 2 count.
  • Nikita came back with elbows to the midsection but couldn’t tag out.
  • Clothesline by Luger got another 2.
  • Blanchard tagged in, mounted the top turnbuckle, and gave Nikita an elbow smash to the neck.
  • Following that, a Blanchard catapult guillotined Nikita on the bottom rope and got 2.
  • Blanchard then mounted the second turnbuckle but received a shot to the midsection on the way down.
  • Hot tag Rhodes.
  • He gave bionic elbows to both Horsemen including Dillon.
  • A pair of football tackles by Rhodes knocked Blanchard down; however, a third one missed sending Rhodes between the ropes to the concrete floor.
  • While Hebner was busy with Luger and Rhodes outside the ring, Dillon and Blanchard tried to nail Nikita with Dillon’s shoe but failed.
  • Still outside the ring, Luger tried to ram Rhodes face-first into the ring post but ate it instead.
  • Back inside, as Blanchard tried to piledrive Nikita, Rhodes mounted the top turnbuckle, hit a flying body press, and got the pin.

Rating: ***

Summary: Considering the Flair victory, did you think the Horsemen were taking it here?

After the match, Mrs. Crockett (Jim and David’s mother) presents the trophy and the $1 million check.

Conclusion:  While the show’s format was better than last year’s, the following mistakes were made:

  1. Knocking the previous winners out in the quarterfinals.
  2. Defeating the World tag team champions in the quarterfinals.
  3. Having the SuperPowers defeat established teams such as the Midnight Express practically clean as a whistle.

Dusty Rhodes was both a successful wrestler and booker. On the other hand, it’s booking decisions like this one that cause people to question his sanity. Tag team wrestling was never stronger than in the 80s, yet the SECOND tag team tournament had two make-shift teams in the finals. I’m still scratching my head on that one but will pass on the dandruff shampoo.

As far as a recommendation goes, it’s worth a look for the Magnum matches and the World title match, but unless you LOVE Dusty Rhodes, skip the rest.

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

Buyrate: NONE

Comments? Suggestions? Send them to me at [email protected] and follow me on Twitter (@rockstargary202). Also, please check out all of my reflections at rockstargary.com.