NWA World Championship Wrestling, December 14, 1985

The NWA Title has been returned to Ric Flair after one of Dusty Rhodes’ earliest, and most infamous, Dusty Finishes. That was the big news from last week. What will this week entail? Let’s find out…

No video clip to lead off the show this week. We go straight to the open. Tony Schiavone & David Crockett are our hosts from the TBS studio. Coming up, we’ll see new U.S. Champ Magnum T.A., new National Champion Buddy Landel, new NWA Tag Champs the Rock & Roll Express, National Tag Team Champions Ole and Arn Anderson, and our Superstation Championship Challenge Series (SCCS) match this week: Mid-Atlantic Champion Khrusher Khrushchev vs. Pistol Pez Whatley. 

“Nature Boy” Buddy Landel, looking very Flair-like, comes to the podium, wearing a suit and tie. Manager J.J. Dillon is conspicuous by his absence. Landel says the national champion is the first in line for the World Title and U.S. champ Magnum T.A. is a chump. Landel promises some big things in the weeks to come. He’s quite the Nostradamus…

To the ring, Magnum T.A. vs. Bill Tabb. Tabb gets smacked with a dropkick to the face and a quick belly-to-belly suplex for the win. Standard quick Magnum squash. *

Back to the podium, it’s Arn Anderson. Arn says he’s the rightful NWA TV champ and he’ll prove it in the upcoming tournament for the vacant title.

To the ring, it’s the Andersons vs. the Italian Stallion & Rocky King. The jobbers try to double-team Ole early on. It works for a little bit, but Ole takes over on Rocky, tags in Arn, and the punishment begins. King’s left arm gets twisted, pounded, stomped, yanked and elbowed for awhile. Arn misses a charge in the corner. King hits a dropkick, but gets caught with the reverse atomic drop. Arn follows with the gourdbuster and it’s over. Less competitive than I predicted, but the Andersons doing what they do best. *1/2

Back to the ring, it’s Tully Blanchard w/ Baby Doll vs. Gerald Finley. Tully starts with a genuine handshake. He takes Finley down and works on the leg. Some good mat grappling early from Blanchard, and Baby Doll nods approvingly. Finley powers out with a head butt and some boots to the midsection, but runs into Tully’s boot in a corner charge. Tully lands two nice forearms that send Finley out of the ring. A little more punishment, followed by the slingshot suplex, and Tully wins. *1/2

After a break, it’s “America’s Team”, Magnum T.A. and Dusty Rhodes in matching fur coats. How cute. Magnum tells Buddy Landel he’s ready for him anytime. Dusty says, “I don’t believe there’s any explanation for this right here.” He’s right. Dusty brags that they just got back from Anchorage (that’s in Alaska, for those of you in Missouri). He says they were on the private Jim Crockett Promotions’ sports plane. That’s money well spent. Glad they have plenty $$$ to throw around for many years to come…

Dusty says it’s not over been him and Ric Flair, and promises to hurt Ole or Arn Anderson “real bad” in the near future. Dusty shows off his fur coat, and tells Flair it cost $33,000…

To the ring, the Rock & Roll Express vs. Vernon Deaton & George South. Gibson starts off with a series of hip tosses on both opponents and a bodyslam on Deaton. He tags in Morton, who tricks South into running into a dropkick. David tells us the R&R is “the tag team of the ’80s” and “they represent the youth of America”. God help us. They’re both almost 30 years old at this point, BTW…

Quick tags by the R&R and they wear Deaton down. The fans chant for them to break Deaton’s arm, in case you were wondering if NWA fans like violence. Deaton tags in South. He and Morton totally bungle something they were trying in out of a corner whip. South and Deaton get a brief advantage on Deaton, but he fires out, they hit a double back drop, followed by the double dropkick and it’s over. *1/2

After a break, World Six-Man Tag Team Champions Ivan & Nikita Koloff & Khrusher Khrushchev are at the podium. Ivan complains that there’s still not a Russian flag hanging from the studio rafters. We get video from a JCP syndicated show taped December 3. It’s the Russians vs. Sam Houston & Pez Whatley. Houston gets thrown over the top rope. They double-team Whatley but the Road Warriors come out to lay waste to those commie bastards! But Nikita catches Paul Ellering, grabs the chain and they choke Hawk. Nikita hangs Hawk over the ropes! The Russians get the better of the Road Warriors for the second time. Back in the studio, Ivan says they once again prove that the Russian athlete is superior.

To the ring, it’s Nikita Koloff vs. Mac Jeffers. Nikita brutalizes Jeffers and tosses him outside. Ivan lands a boot just for the hell of it. Nikita hits some power moves, poses, barely sells a temporary offensive effort by Jeffers, and nails him with a big time Russian Sickle. Instead of going for the pin, he picks Jeffers up, but the jobber is out of it and falls down again. Nikita hits another Sickle and finishes it. *

To the podium, it’s Tully Blanchard w/ Baby Doll. Tully says he was down a little last week, and claims again that he never said “I quit”. Tully says he’s still superior to Magnum T.A. at wrestling and he’ll take the title back in a wrestling match.

Now, the SCCS match, Khrusher Khruschev vs. Pistol Pez Whatley. Pez gains the early advantage with some amateur-based grappling, and hold #973, ARMBAR! Khrusher escapes with a fireman’s carry and locks in his own ARMBAR! However, Pez lands a dropkick and goes back to the…ARMBAR. They run the ropes several times and Pez hits a crossbody block, but gets powered off. And then…ARMBAR. Criminy. Pez needs to study the 1,004 holds a little better. Off the ropes, it looks like a botch, but Khrusher recovers, puts Pez on his back and hotshots him on the top rope. He drops him throat-first across the ropes again, and we go to a break…

Back live, Khrusher still has the advantage. Pez almost gets the pin with a backslide. Pez fires away, but misses a dropkick. Khrusher puts on a chinlock, with all the force of a barber about to shave a customer. Khrusher goes for a pin, with his foot on the ropes, but eagle-eyed referee Tommy Young catches the cheater in action. Pez gets tossed outside. He comes back in with a sunset flip, but Khrusher powers out at two. Pez runs into a knee in the corner. Khrusher scales the ropes, but that goes about as expected as he get’s Flaired off. Whatley dropkicks Khrusher out of the ring and dives through the ropes after him! That’s the biggest high spot of Pez’ career! But Khrusher blows it by holding him up before gently falling down. Geez. Back in, Pez hits the flying headbutt, his finisher, but Ivan breaks it up. Then Khrusher nails the Russian Sickle and it’s over. Thankfully. Brutal. DUD

To the podium, Jim Crockett fills us in on next week’s SCCS match: J.J. Dillon’s charges, Buddy Landel, Black Bart & Thunderfoot vs. Manny Fernandez, Ron Bass and Ronnie Garvin. That could sell out any small TV studio in the country.

Back to the ring, it’s the Road Warriors w/ Paul Ellering vs. Larry Clark & Paul Garner. The Warriors bum rush their opponents, as usual. One gets tossed outside, the other is powerslammed. Hawk sends Garner face-first running into the ropes and catches him coming off with a back suplex. Interesting spot. After more brutalization, Clark tags in and gets powerslammed by Animal and pummeled by Hawk. Animal presses Clark over his head and drops him throat-first on the top rope. Then Animal nearly decapitates him with a clothesline and it’s over. The usual Warrior squash, which were always fun. *1/2

After a break, the Andersons are at the podium. Arn says Magnum & Dusty looked like twin koala bears in their fur coats. Arn says he doesn’t care about fur coats and glamour, he cares about winning the TV Title. Ole says Dusty’s talk about hurting someone is just talk. “We’re the ones that do it, Dusty! Let your eyes go down past your belly and take a look down at your leg, and take a look at that ankle. You know what it is? Broken! And you know who did it? The Andersons did it. When you talk about doing something like that, it’s just hot air,” Ole says. Really good promo.

To the ring, JTTS Sam Houston vs. Mike Nichols. We get a handshake and a clean break. Nichols leap frogs, but Houston hits a back elbow and count of two. Then we get…hold #973…ARMBAR! To keep us enthralled in the match, David & Tony send congrats out to fans with wedding anniversaries. Houston works the arm for awhile. Nichols throws some weak punches in the corner, but Houston slugs him back down. The fans are bored, and they’re calling for the bulldog, hoping this debacle will end. Houston responds by going back to the ARMBAR! Wait, a variation. A hammerlock! The “bulldog” chant starts again. Tony says he doesn’t think Houston is ready yet. He’s the only one. Nichols gains the advantage, and locks in the…ARMBAR. Houston reverses. Finally, Houston catches Nichols off the ropes with the bulldog and wins. Houston’s a decent worker as the face in peril, not so much as the presumed winner. This was awful. DUD

To the podium, the Barbarian w/ Paul Jones. Jones says he has proof the Barbarian is the strongest wrestler in the world. But he doesn’t show us any proof. He just lists off a long list of JCP faces, most of which don’t want to be saddled with a horrible feud against Jones & the Barbarian. Jones says he has a dream, and that’s to prove Barbarian is the strongest wrestler in the world. After he already told us he had proof. A nonsensical, rambling mess of a promo. In other words, your standard Paul Jones mic work.

Let’s go to the ring: Manny Fernandez vs. Kent Glover. The Ragin’ Bull spares us more armbar madness, by working the headlock. He hits Glover with a backhand and leaping kneelift. Innovation. Fernandez tries some weak ass karate crap. Finally, he hits the Flying Burrito and it’s over. 1/2*

At the podium, it’s Ron Garvin. You can tell it’s Bunkhouse Stampede month, because almost every wrestler has serious cuts on their forehead from blading. Garvin says he has his eyes on the National Title and Buddy Landel. He predicts Landel might not see 1986 as national champ. Another Nostradamus…

Back to the ring, the Barbarian w/ Paul Jones vs. Alan Martin. Ugh. On the bright side, we’re not getting any boring restholds. On the negative side, I’m not sure Barbarian knows any. Barbarian press slams Martin. He dropkicks him in the belly button, and Tony & David put it over like he’s Kota Ibushi. Barbarian tosses him outside and won’t let him back in. Barbarian goes outside and head butts Martin, who takes a nasty flatback bump on the floor. Then he gets bodyslammed on the floor. Jones tells him to get up and take it like a man. I’d say he is. Back inside, a powerslam and flying headbutt, and it’s over. I’ll give it *1/2 for Martin due to his bumping. Otherwise it was pretty awful.

The Road Warriors w/ Paul Ellering are at the podium. Animal says they’re coming for the Koloffs. Hawk says the Russians have got a problem, because despite being hung with a chain, they’re still here. “We’ve looked for three years to find somebody that could stand up to us in the ring. You’ve been the first, but we’re still one up on you, because you see, we’re a little different. We ain’t exactly right up here (pointing to his head),” says Hawk. Ellering adds that the Russians are going down.

Back to the ring, it’s Ron Garvin vs. Al Scott. Garvin hammers Scott with chops, slaps and take downs. He stomps Scott on the head, but doesn’t do the full Garvin Stomp, thankfully. That’s still in our future. He locks in a modified Camel Clutch. A devastating belly-to-back suplex, followed by another stomp, elbowsmash, open handed chop, and Garvin straddles him. Not sure what in the blue hell that was supposed to be. Perhaps he learned it from Terry Garvin. He finally ends it with the knockout punch. *1/2

At the podium, it’s the Rock & Roll Express. Gibson mumbles something about the Russians. Morton says he’s tired of Jim Cornette’s mouth writing checks that his boys can’t cash. Laying the groundwork for a Midnight Express feud. That could be entertaining…

And that’s it. Frankly, a really bad show this week. No Flair, no Cornette, no Midnight Express, not much of consequence happened and the matches were awful. Don’t worry. It gets much, much better very soon.