NWA World Championship Wrestling, January 11, 1986

The opening video clip is from last week’s show, when Baby Doll tells Arn Anderson he’s next. No, not to job to Goldberg, but to get injured by Dusty Rhodes. To the show open we go…

Tony Schiavone & David Crockett are our hosts this week and they tell us Arn Anderson is the new World TV champion, (he beat Jimmy Valiant, Ron Garvin, and then Wahoo McDaniel in the finals of the tournament last weekend in Greensboro)…

They also tell us Ole Anderson might not ever be able to wrestle again, so the Andersons’ National Tag Team Titles are in jeopardy of being stripped. A new segment with Bill Apter debuts today, and there’s Mid-Atlantic Title match on the show today, with Khrusher Khrushchev defending against Sam Houston. I wonder if anyone else will get involved in that one…

Ron Garvin comes to the podium. They’re hyping him as a top contender to Ric Flair’s world title. Garvin says he’s the man to get the job done and Flair is scared.

To the ring, Ivan & Nikita Koloff vs. the Italian Stallion & Rocky King. Ivan struggles a bit with the Stallion early on. He usually lets the jobbers get in a little offense. Ivan really is the best Russian character ever in the business and should have been in the WWE Hall of Fame long ago. King gets tossed outside and Nikita punishes him on the floor while Ivan distracts the ref, just like a good heel team should do. Nikita hits two Russian Sickles on King for the win. *1/2

The Russians go to the podium and are joined by Khrusher Khrushchev, who shows a black and white picture of him punishing a Japanese wrestler with a chain. I couldn’t make out who it was and they don’t bother to tell us. Ivan and Nikita make it clear they’re coming after Magnum T.A. and the U.S. Title, and have their eyes on the Road Warriors.

To the ring, it’s Tully Blanchard w/ J.J. Dillon vs. Mac Jeffers. David Crockett astutely points out that J.J.’s attire has changed since joining forces with Dillon. He’s ditched the tacky tuxedos for a three-piece suit. Tully punishes Jeffers and wins with the slingshot suplex. *

Arn Anderson joins Tony at the podium. Arn promises that Ole Anderson will be back in time for them to defend their National Tag Team Titles with the 30-day rule. He also says today begins a new era with a new TV champ defending the title in the ring “every show, every week”, unlike previous champ Dusty  Rhodes. Arn closes by mentioning the members of the Four Horsemen, and tells Tony “it’s been your pleasure”. Good stuff as usual from Arn.

To the ring, the Barbarian w/ Paul Jones vs. Art Pritts. They show a fan with a handwritten sign with the word “weasle” on it, as the fans chant “weasel” at Jones. Who says wrestling fans aren’t all that bright? We get the usual Barbarian match, finishing with a powerslam and diving headbutt off the top. 1/2*

After a break, it’s Magnum T.A. vs. Thunderfoot. Magnum takes him down with an armdrag and holds on to the armbar despite a bodyslam by Thunderfoot. This has already gone longer than the standard Magnum TV match, which is usually less than 30 seconds. Magnum finds various ways to work the arm and outsmart his opponent. Thunderfoot gains a brief advantage with eye rakes and a choke, but Magnum hits the belly-to-belly suplex and it’s over. *1/2

After a break, it’s Pez Whatley vs. George South. David Crockett is way too excited about this match. He also calls Pez “one of the greatest wrestlers in the world, if not the greatest black wrestler in the world”. Whatley hits a nice German suplex and bridges for the pin, but only gets two. Pez keeps the action up and wins with the flying headbutt. *

Whatley chats with Tony afterwards. Pez says JCP was “alive in ’85” and something about “1986” and “grits” to make it rhyme. He hypes up Dusty vs. the Horsemen and says he’ll be in the middle of the action this year.

After a break, Dusty Rhodes & Baby Doll join Tony. Dusty says his mom asked him what he’s doing with a woman he called “Jezebel” not too long ago. He says there are bad Jezebels and good Jezebels, and Baby Doll is a good Jezebel. It’s been awhile since I was in Sunday school, but I don’t recall the “good Jezebel” story. Dusty also says “Ric Flair is living proof that white people ain’t got no rhythm.” White people, except the American Dream, of course.

To the ring, it’s the Rock & Roll Express vs. Vernon Deaton and Randy Mulkey. The fans go nuts for the R&R, especially the women. Morton hits a big dropkick on Deaton. They use quick tags and double-team maneuvers, and repeatedly take down their opponents. Mulkey does a great job selling move #973: armbar, with cries of anguish. Seriously, the Mulkeys are the best. A double hip toss followed by a double dropkick puts away Mulkey Mania. *1/2

After a break, Tully Blanchard & J.J. Dillon join Tony Schiavone. They show us footage of Jimmy Valiant vs. Black Bart. Valiant has the sleeper locked in when Tully hits the ring and attacks Valiant from behind. He rams Valiant into the ring post and delivers a spike piledriver on the floor, with Dillon’s help! Tully says Valiant is history and he’s just a step toward taking out Dusty Rhodes & Magnum T.A.

To the ring, it’s Ron Garvin vs. Paul Garner. Garvin locks in a hold that puts pressure on Garner’s arms, neck and one of the legs all at once. He lets it go and lights up Garner with open-hand chops and headbutts. A backdrop and knockout punch and it’s over quickly. *

The Rock & Roll Express join Tony for an interview. Robert Gibson says Jim Cornette and the Midnight Express jumped the wrong team. Apparently they hurt Morton’s throat, so he can’t talk this week.

After a break, we find out why Morton can’t talk. Jim Cornette joins Tony and he’s laughing at the R&R. They show us footage of the Midnight Express jumping the R&R after a match. Gibson gets tossed out, then they Midnights lift Morton for double-slam and drop him, throat first, on Jim Cornette’s tennis racket. We see Morton apparently coughing up blood. Cornette says this is the greatest thing that he’s done in his life. Tony Schiavone tells Cornette it’s one of the sickest things he’s seen in his life. Cornette says he doesn’t give “a tinker’s twiddle” what Tony, the fans or the R&R think. What in the blue hell is a tinker’s twiddle?

Cornette introduces his team, the Midnight Express vs. Bill Mulkey & Bill Tabb. They attack Mulkey before the bell. Beautiful Bobby hits a nice elbowdrop off the top rope. They toy with Tabb and Mulkey and put Mulkey Mania away, as Dennis lifts Bobby up and helps him drop the leg on Mulkey for the win. *1/2

Now, the debut of “Scouting Report” with Pro Wrestling Illustrated’s Bill Apter. Magnum T.A. joins Apter for a sitdown interview. Magnum says 1986 will be the year he’ll put the pieces in place to take the World Title from Ric Flair. We get highlights of the TV Title Tournament, with very brief clips from each match, set to music. Arn Anderson won over a bloody Wahoo McDaniel in the finals. Magnum says Arn will be one of the top contenders for his U.S. Title. He adds that the issue between him and Tully Blanchard might never be settled. Considering he marries Tully’s ex-wife and helps raises Tully’s kids years later, I’d say Magnum wins the “JCP Nostradamus of the Week Award”…

Apter brings up some potential challengers to the U.S. Title, including Bobby Jaggers from up in the Portland territory, who has “recently gone from a fan favorite to a hated rulebreaker”. Magnum says he’s done a little scouting of Jaggers, and he’s a big, rough brawler. Apter than asks Magnum about the Mid-South territory’s Ted Dibiase. Magnum says he respects Dibiase’s wrestling ability and says he’s got what it takes to be a champion. Interesting. The NWA territories were still around at this point, but not much longer. We go to a break…

After a break, they discuss Nikita Koloff. Apter tosses to video of Nikita vs. “Jerry Blacklund”, continuing the trend of no one being able to get Jimmy Backlund’s name right. Backlund does a 360 in the air from Nikita’s Sickle. It looks awesome. Magnum says Nikita is his greatest challenger and he represents all the things he disagrees with by living in the U.S. but constantly putting the country down. Apter calls Nikita “the Russian Road Warrior”. Magnum says “the Russian Nightmare” is more befitting…

Now, a fan question segment. Tony from Montreal wants to know about Ronnie Garvin’s favorite hobbies, and 30 years later, I can still hear the ratings plummeting. Garvin says his scuba dives, flies airplanes, skydives, fishes and hunts. He blabs about the joys of hunting for awhile and says you can probably call him “the real Nature Boy” because he likes nature so much. Yes, really. That was atrocious.

Back live, it’s Baby Doll, holding the National Heavyweight Title, joining Tony at ringside. Baby Doll says again that Arn Anderson is next and “some bones of yours are gonna be broken” if she and Dusty Rhodes have anything to do with it.

To the ring, it’s Khrusher Khrushchev w/ Ivan Koloff vs. Sam Houston for the Mid-Atlantic Title. Khrusher sends Houston reeling with some shoulderblocks off the ropes. Houston executes a drop toehold off the ropes and works Khrusher’s leg for awhile. Khrusher finds ways to escape, but Houston remains one step ahead and continually goes back to the leg. We go to commercial…

After the break, Khrusher presses Houston over his head and drops him face first, but Khrushchev is limping badly. Nikita Koloff is now at ringside. Khrusher uses his the superior Russian steroids to take over. He tosses Houston outside the ring, follows him, and press slams him face first onto the floor. Khrusher goes to the top rope and hits the Sickle, but he’s limping too badly to make a quick cover. Houston kicks out of the pin attempt…

The Road Warriors run out and attack the Koloffs! Khrushchev throws Houston over the top rope, but the ref doesn’t see it. Animal press slams Houston back in, onto Khrushchev, holds the Russian sympathizer’s leg while the ref counts the pin, and Sam Houston is the new Mid-Atlantic Heavyweight champion! All six enter the ring. Hawk headbutts Nikita and sends him sailing through the ropes. Magnum and Dusty come in to celebrate with Houston, who is still down on the mat. Good match, awesome finish as the Warriors get some revenge on the Russians. **1/2

After a break, it’s Arn Anderson vs. Jim Jeffers for the World TV Title. Baby Doll comes back out. Arn goes to work on Jeffers’ left arm. Arn yells at Baby Doll and almost gets pinned with a surprise rollup. But Arn responds quickly and wins with the gourdbuster. *

Afterwards, Arn confronts Baby Doll at the podium. He asks why Dusty Rhodes has to have a woman do his talking for him and questions where Rhodes is. He’s in the ring! Dusty challenges Arn to enter. After teasing a fight, Anderson opts not to, looking like the cowardly heel as the show ends.

Another good program this week. One good, competitive match, some interesting highlights to further some feuds, and we have two new champions crowned. JCP is really, really good right now.