Twelve more days ’til Starrcade ’85 … We open with a clip of Nikita Koloff vs. Jimmy
Black Blackland Backlund. The Russian Nightmare turns the scrawny ginger inside out with the Russian Sickle. Great bump by the future gigolo. We go to the show open.
David Crockett & Tony Schiavone are our hosts. Coming up on the show, we have Ric Flair, Tully Blanchard, the Road Warriors and more. The Superstation Championship Challenge Series (SCCS) match today should be a good one: Flair & the Andersons vs. Terry Taylor, Ron Garvin and Pistol Pez Whatley. The Russians come to the podium. Nikita talks trash on the Road Warriors. He claims he’s stronger than Road Warrior Animal and says sometime Animal will feel the Russian Sickle. They cut to a shot of the U.S. flag hanging from the rafters while Uncle Ivan talks. Because subtlety.
Ivan says they don’t believe in Thanksgiving or Christmas (filthy commies!), but they do have a present for the Rock & Roll Express. Ivan tells the TV crew to get a closeup of what Nikita is holding, which the production team fails to do. It looks like a case for a beta videotape. There’s writing on the cover but we can’t read it. #ProductionValuesMatter
Our first match is Jimmy Valiant vs. Tony Zane. Valiant high fives the fans then comes to the podium, puts his arm around David Crockett & talks gibberish. I honestly didn’t understand a word he said. Valiant works over Zane with a thumb to the throat, followed by the Nervehold of Doom (Is it gimmick infringement if I steal Scott’s stuff on his own blog?) After what seems like forever, but is probably 20 seconds, Valiant releases it, whips Zane into the ropes for the back elbow, followed by the elbowdrop and thankfully ends it quickly. -**
The show quickly improves as Jim Cornette comes to the podium. Cornette is fired up about his Midnight Express facing Valiant & Miss Atlanta Lively in a street fight at Starrcade. Cornette is going along with the charade that Miss Lively is indeed a woman. He promises to strip all of her & Big Mama’s clothes off at Starrcade & reveal their “shortcomings”, then beat Valiant’s brains out. He adds that Valiant is an idiot.
To the ring, Billy Jack Haynes vs. Gerald Finley. They start with a handshake. David Crockett says Haynes looks like “a Greek god”. 15 seconds into the match, BJ locks in a bearhug. Ugh. The crowd goes mild. It’s finally broken about a minute later. Haynes hits an over-the-knee backbreaker, gets a count of two, and we have a premature bell ringing. Alas, the match continues. A press slam from Haynes. At least he continues to work the same body part. Haynes locks in the full nelson, which does not work the back, but is enough to finish it, thankfully. -***
After a break, back to the ring, with Khrusher Khrushchev w/ Ivan Koloff vs. Larry Clark. The Russians unveil the USSR flag, in case we didn’t get the message with the Soviet logo on the commie red headbands & tights. Khrusher uses straight power moves. He tosses Clark outside, follows, does the over-the-knee backbreaker, then dumps Clark to the floor. Khrusher is smashing and demolishing him, while jawing to the crowd. He finally puts Clark away with a left-handed Russian Sickle. DUD
Ron Bass, carrying a bullrope, is at the podium with Tony. Bass is preparing to face Black Bart/w J.J. Dillon at Starrcade in a Texas Bullrope Match. He’s ranting about the dangers of a bullrope match. He tells Bart & Dillon to look out, because if Bass wins, he gets five minutes in the ring with J.J. Dillon.
After a break, Jimmy Valiant is back. Joy. Valiant says he’s been to Mars, Jupiter, Pluto and Saturn and hung around the Big Dipper for five minutes. Time to cutback on those LSD dosages. Valiant says Jim Cornette is going to be busier at Starrcade than a one-armed man at a peep show. Wow.
To the ring, it’s Ron Bass vs. Paul Garner. Bass uses hiptosses and headlocks to wear down Garner. Four hiptosses already. Innovative offense. And back to the headlock. Again. And again. Now it’s an interminably long headlock. Garner comes back with some offense. Punching, kicking and raking the eyes. Bass fires back and motions for the claw. He pins him with the claw locked on. Another DUD.
Ric Flair, in one of his extravagant ring robes, is at the podium with Tony. Flair calls David Crockett a “cheerleader commentator”. He tells Crockett to come over because “when I’m out here, we need two full-time commentators because I’m not like every other Tom, Dick and Harry that walks on your program. I’m wearing this, you understand?” He shows off the NWA Title belt. “This costs more than the car you’re driving in, brother,” Flair says. Flair says the program’s ratings have gone down the past couple of weeks because he hasn’t been here. I believe it.
They show the clip of Flair and the Andersons breaking Rhodes’ leg on September 29. Flair says they’re “the three greatest wrestlers alive today.” Crockett says, “No. No.” Shut up, David. Flair brags about breaking Rhodes’ leg. Flair says all the fans sitting at home on the couch with beer guts don’t like him because their old ladies finally see what a real man looks like.
Flair tells the production crew not to wrap him up as he rags on the Road Warriors. “They come out of that reject AWA, trying to get back in the major leagues.” Flair adds that if they side with Rhodes, he and the Andersons will show the Warriors that Rhodes & the AWA “are not what’s happening in professional wrestling.” Two “whoos” to end it. Classic Flair. Awesome promo.
Time for a Starrcade update, and David Crockett is totally bungling it. They’ve added Sam Houston vs. Khrusher Khruschchev for the vacant Mid-Atlantic Title to the card. Tony doesn’t say, “That’s gonna put some butts in the seats.” David and Tony run down the rest of the card.
To the ring, it’s the Barbarian w/ Paul Jones vs. George South. Barbarian hits a dropkick(?!??). His first, and perhaps last. They’ve really loaded up the first half of this show with their worst in-ring performers, and I don’t mean mean George South. Barbarian tosses South outside. Jones kicks him a couple times. A powerslam and headbutt off the top thankfully ends it. DUD
Finally, we get the SCCS match. It’s a six-man tag: Ric Flair and the Andersons vs. Pistol Pez Whatley, Terry Taylor and Ron Garvin. Before the match, Arn tells the NWA to come get the TV Title from him if they want it. It’s been ruled vacant. He hands it to Paul Jones, who takes it to the locker room, presumably. Teddy Long, who was a referee last week, is back collecting the ringrobes and gear for the wrestlers this week.
Here we go: It starts with Ole & Pez Whatley in the ring. They go to the ropes and Arn tags in. He tries to ride Pez, but gets flipped out of the ring. Ole and Flair come in and get nailed with fisticuffs. Pez is pumped. Dropkicks send Arn back to the floor. Flair tags in, as does Ron Garvin. They trade chops and punches. Garvin backdrops the champ, who backs away. Garvin tags in Whatley and they do a double-team wishbone on Flair’s legs. Pez gets tossed outside by Flair and Arn stomps on him for good measure. In comes Ole. Pez kicks him off and tags in Terry Taylor. All six enter in for a donnybrook. The faces get the better of it.
A Garvin headbutt results in the Flair Flop. Naitch secures a leg takedown and tags in Ole, who hammers on Garvin. In comes Arn, who pounds away. Back to Flair for chops in the corner. Quick tags as Garvin is the face in peril. They go to a commercial break…
Back live and Garvin is still getting hammered. Flair nails the kneedrop. They trade chops in the corner again. A collision and both men are down. Flair goes to the top, and we know how this ends. Garvin slams him off and tags in Taylor. The future Rooster nails all three opponents and a noggin-knocker on the Andersons. Taylor misses a dropkick and Ole takes charge. Flair back in and he and Taylor exchange blows. Taylor rolls him up for two. They continue beating him down. Flair slams Taylor on the floor, gingerly, behind the ref’s back. Back in, Flair misses a kneedrop and Taylor briefly locks in the figure-four, but Arn breaks that up.
Finally, Taylor tags in Pez. All six are in again. Garvin knocks Flair over the top rope with a punch. Whatley gets whipped into the ropes by Arn. Flair trips him from the outside and Arn nails Whatley with an elbow. Arn goes for the pin, Flair holds Whatley’s legs down from the outside, which the ref somehow doesn’t see, and they score the pin. Action-packed, entertaining match. ***
To the podium, it’s Tully Blanchard w/ Baby Doll, while Tony and David whine about Flair and the Andersons winning by cheating. Tully tells them all that matters is how it goes in the record book. Blanchard gets very serious as he talks about the I Quit Match with Magnum T.A. as Starrcade. He says Magnum is going to say, “No more, Master Tully.” Tully says after he’s done, he’s going to let Baby Doll slap Magnum around as payback for forcing himself on her. Tully goes Baby Doll “the most beautiful thing on two legs in all the world”. Cocaine is a wonderful drug.
After a break, Jim Crockett tells us next week’s SCCS will feature the Ragin’ Bull Manny Fernandez vs. Buddy Landell. Then Dusty joins Schiavone for an interview. Rhodes says he has Flair’s number, and his color, too, and it’s yellow. “I’m gonna break your leg live and in color, jack,” Rhodes says. “And then I’m gonna put you in my limo. I’m gonna send you home to your momma and let you lay up for about six months, because I know you ain’t got enough money to last you two weeks, jack.” Shooting.
To the ring, it’s the Road Warriors vs. Mac & Jim Jeffers. A few months later, the Jeffers would steal the Warriors’ original gimmick: Village People-esque bikers, and become the Mod Squad. Hawk and Animal storm the ring and hit double shoulderblocks and dump the Jeffers outside. No Paul Ellering here. Animal drops the elbow, tags in Hawk and whips Jeffers into a flying shoulderblock off the second rope. Total destruction here. A patented Animal powerslam, a press slam, and a Hawk clothesline that looks just as devastating as the Russian Sickle. Hawk has Jeffers pinned, but picks him up at two and tags in Animal. Jeffers gets turned inside out with a back elbow and that’s it. **
To the podium, it’s the Andersons and Flair. Ole claims “we’re the ones that are gonna run this joint, whether you like it or don’t like it.” Prophetic. Ole tells Dusty not to come out here with that 50 cent jacket on, looking like a hayseed farmer, and telling everyone how tough you are. Arn asks Tony how much cross-pollination it took to get a family like this together. Flair yells at the production crew again for trying to cut him off. He says he’ll mop the floor with Dusty at Starrcade.
After a break, it’s Tully Blanchard w/ Baby Doll vs. Jimmy Backlund. We don’t get a graphic this week, so the streak of getting Backlund’s name wrong ends. Darn. Tully dumps Backlund outside. Baby Doll helps the bandaged-up ginger back in, then slaps him while Tully drapes him across the ropes. Tully punishes Backlund and ends it with the slingshot suplex. *
To the podium, it’s the Road Warriors. Tony asks about the whereabouts of Paul Ellering. Hawk says he’s back in Chicago counting their money. He says they lost respect for Ric Flair and although they don’t have any friends, they’re going to help Dusty Rhodes against Flair & the Andersons because Dusty asked them, and he’s “from the streets” like they are. They hype a matchup in Philadelphia. Animal talks about being from the streets too. I hope Big Mama doesn’t come out. Animal tells the Russians he is the strongest man in professional wrestling. Hawk tells the Russians to bring it.
To the ring, Magnum T.A. vs. Joe Malcolm. Dropkick, belly-to-belly suplex and it’s over. The usual quick Magnum squash. *
Magnum goes to the podium promises it will be Tully Blanchard yelling “I Quit” at Starrcade.
After a break, The Barbarian and Paul Jones are with Tony. They hype the arm wrestling challenge vs. Superstar Graham at Starrcade and play up Barbarian’s right arm being in a cast, but Jones says he’s just as strong in his left arm.
To the ring, it’s Ivan & Nikita Koloff w/ Khrusher Khrushchev vs. Rocky King and Adrian Bivens. The Russians unveil their Soviet flag and tells the referee to hang it from the rafters, like all the other countries’ flags at the TBS studio. The ref says he has no control over that. Rocky King opens with a hiptoss and dropkick on Ivan, but gets taken down. Nikita suplex King and calls out the Road Warriors. Nikita nails the Russian Hammer, a chokehold. David begs kids at home not to try any of these moves at home. Bivens, a big guy, tags in and chops Nikita a couple times but quickly gets taken down. The Russians punish him for awhile before Nikita ends it with the Russian Sickle. Nikita drops some elbows on Bivens after the bell, and Ivan stomps Bivens just for the hell of it. *
Back to the podium, it’s Ric Flair again, this time in a suit. Flair mentions hanging out with the best people and brings out “the great” Tully Blanchard and his “own family” the Andersons. It’s the Horsemen! Ole says they’re the best. No mention of the Four Horsemen name, though. Magnum and Dusty interrupt by going to the ring. Dusty tells them to come to the ring. The Horsemen approach, but it’s four-on-two. In come the Road Warriors and the Horsemen back away. The fans are going nuts. And that ends the show, concluding with the tease of a big showdown.
The first half of this show was dreadful. The second half was excellent. One more episode before Starrcade ’85 “The Gathering”, and we inch closer to 1986, which was an awesome year to be a fan of the NWA.