NWA World Championship Wrestling, February 22, 1986

Our opening shot is Gorgeous Jimmy Garvin & Precious making their Jim Crockett Promotions debut in Fayetteville, NC on one of the syndicated shows, coming to the ring to ZZ Top’s “Sharp Dressed Man”, or in this case on the WWE Network, a sad ripoff.

Tony Schiavone & David Crockett are our hosts this week. Today, we get our first look at the Big Gold Belt, which Tony says cost $35,000. Also coming up, Arn Anderson defends the World TV Title, and we’ll have lots of new about the Jim Crockett Sr. Memorial Cup Tag Team Tournament.

The Rock & Roll Express come to the podium. They yap about Jim Cornette being placed 80 feet above the ring in a cage and “rock and roll is gonna get you”.

To the ring, it’s the Road Warriors vs. Bill Mulkey and Carl Styles. Mulkey Mania is no match for the L.O.D., as Bill gets press slammed by Animal. Hawk takes out Styles with a flying shoulderblock. Animal bodyslams Styles, clotheslines him and they finish him with Hawk doing a weak splash off the top. Sure hope they develop a better finisher soon. 1/2*

At the podium, Hawk says they’re gonna kick the Russians out of the country. Animal says he hopes Nikita Koloff was watching. Paul Ellering says the Rock & Roll Express aren’t the only ones chasing the NWA Tag Titles held by the Midnight Express. Looks like Cornette has more things to fear than being locked in that cage above the ring.

After a break, its’ Tully Blanchard w/J.J. Dillon vs. Mike Jackson in what should be a good matchup. Jackson is one of the best jobbers in the business and still grapples occasionally to this day. Jackson armdrags Blanchard, applies a hammerlock and drops knee on Blanchard’s arm. A series of hiptosses by Jackson, reversed into headscissors by Blanchard, then escapes by Jackson make Tully go regroup and consult with J.J. Time for Tully to play head games with Jackson. He slaps the junior heavyweight and makes him lose his cool. The fans chant “We want Dusty”…

Blanchard snares Jackson in a headlock and lands big time punch to the face. He tosses Jackson to the floor. Jackson’s sunset flip attempt back in is blocked. Jackson turns almost a 450 on a backdrop and lands awkwardly. Bounding off the ropes, Tully grabs Jackson’s leg and uses the momentum to throw him out again. Blanchard throws Jackson back in and lands an elbow to the head off the top rope. Tully pounds away, but Jackson keeps coming back. Jackson gets the better of some fisticuffs and knocks Blanchard through the ropes! That makes Tully mad. Finally, he’s had enough and delivers the slingshot suplex for the win. Good match. **1/2

NWA World Champion Ric Flair joins Tony at the podium. Flair asks for a moment of silence “for the best looking man on the face of this earth.” Flair showcases his really nice pinstripe suit, courtesy of Michael’s in Kansas City. He unveils the new NWA World Title belt, a significant upgrade. The Big Gold Belt, which Flair says cost $40,000, with gold, silver, diamonds and rubies, with his name on the front of it. Flair rattles off a long list of upcoming challengers, including Dusty Rhodes, Magnum T.A., Ronnie Garvin, Bob Armstrong, and Tommy Rich.

“It doesn’t matter, daddy. To be the man, you’ve gotta beat the man, and whether you like it or not, you know, the only difference between me and the guy in the red cape is, I don’t need a phone booth to bring me action in. You understand what I’m telling you? I’m the best there is. Whoo! I’m the world heavyweight wrestling champion. WHOOO!

Flair adds that no else can come out here and follow that, and he’s right.

To the ring, it’s Baron von Raschke w/ Paul Jones vs. Rocky King. The Baron pounds, slams and stomps away on King. He locks in a stiff-looking front facelock. Baron signals for the claw, locks it in and King is out.*

After a break, we get Jimmy Garvin and Precious, prerecorded in an empty studio, because he doesn’t want to be around these fans who aren’t worthy. Garvin says we’re looking at the greatest wrestler in the world, and it’s not his fault. He adds that he’s not going to get on here and wrestle on TV because he doesn’t feel like it and he doesn’t think there’s anyone here that can beat him. Good introduction to showcase Garvin as an obnoxious heel.

To the ring, the TBS debut of Teijho Khan w/ Paul Jones vs. George South. Khan lands knees in the corner and hiptosses South across the ring. The fans chant “Weasel” at Jones, as they did throughout the previous match. South punches back, but Khan no sells. Khan lands three chops in the corner, follows with knees to the midsection and finishes with a powerslam. DUD

After a break, Dusty Rhodes & Baby Doll join Tony. Dusty says whether you like or respect Ric Flair or not, you’ve got to understand there’s only one world heavyweight champion anywhere in the country. He puts over Flair’s hourlong matches and the years and years of NWA history. This is obviously a slap at Fritz Von Erich and World Class Championship Wrestling, which withdrew from the NWA on February 18. Dusty said he’s been out in Hollywood this week and that he and Jim McMahon (Chicago Bears QB) were doing commercials for sunglasses out there, but they chose Dusty over McMahon. Sure they did. Dusty snuggles with Baby Doll and says, “It’s good and it’s a lot of it.” I just threw up in my mouth.

To the ring, Ron Garvin vs. Bob Owens. Garvin chops Owens and hiptosses him into the corner. Owens tries to mix it up with Garvin and that’s a huge mistake. Garvin lights up Owens’ chest, rakes his back and takes him down for some painful holds. Owens takes a big flatback bump off a chop to the chest. Garvin ties Owens up “like a pretzel”, as David Crockett says. Garvin slaps Owens repeatedly to add to the humiliation. More chops, a vertical suplex, a stomp to the gut, and Garvin applies a rear chinlock. He slugs Owens across the chest. Backdrop followed by the knockout punch and Garvin wins. *3/4

Afterwards, Garvin thanks the fans for the cards and letters. He thinks 99% of the population doesn’t like Ric Flair, and those that do probably thought Adolf Hitler and Charles Manson were great men. Wow. Hyperbole much? What a dumb fuck thing to say. I enjoy Garvin’s matches a lot more than I did at the time, but his promos are horrendous. He talks about driving an 18-wheeler truck four times a week because he wants to be able to say a truck driver beat Flair for the NWA Title. What a colossal mistake that would be for JCP…

After a break, Ric Flair returns. He plugs the Jim Crockett Sr. Memorial Cup and says it’ll be the biggest wrestling event of all time. Flair says he’s taking his cousin, Arn Anderson, as his partner and they will take the cup home.

To the ring, Arn Anderson vs. Denny Brown for the NWA World TV Title. Brown is the World Jr. Heavyweight champ, which is pretty meaningless at this point. Flair sticks around to offer commentary. Flair puts over Denny Brown and the Jr. Heavyweight Title big. Brown beats Arn to the punch on a break against the ropes. Brown then takes down Arn with a drop toehold. Tony & David speculate that Flair and Anderson would be the favorites in the Crockett Cup. Arn misses an elbow and Brown delivers an armdrag, into hold #973, ARMBAR! Brown holds on as Arn tries the armdrag in an attempt to escape. Arn forces Brown into the corner and pounds away, but Brown fires back and goes back to the armbar. We go to commercial…

Back live, Denny Brown is still in control, driving knees into Arn’s arm. Flair is at ringside now. Dusty Rhodes comes out to support Brown and the crowd pops. Arn takes control and works on Brown’s midsection. Brown tries to fire back, but Arn rakes his bootlaces across Brown’s face, then drops Brown’s gut on the top rope. Brown responds with left hands. We’ve got two lefties in the ring. Arn takes Brown down again and returns to a leg scissors. Arn rolls it into a pinning combination and gets several two counts. Arn grabs the ropes for leverage and the ref breaks the hold. Brown punches back and rams Arn into the turnbuckle. He punches away. Arn grabs the tights and throws Brown outside. Brown tries a sunset flip, but Arn blocks it. To the ropes, Arn ducks his head, Brown kicks him and follows with a back drop. Brown hits a semi-flying forearm. But Arn quickly responds with a gourdbuster and that will end it. Another good match, which Arn carried. **3/4

Afterwards, Dusty Rhodes goes in to check on Brown, while Ric Flair congratulates Arn. Magnum T.A. jumps into the ring and they’re ready for a fight! Flair and Arn go to the podium and say it figures Rhodes & Magnum want to jump someone wearing $15,000 worth of clothes and someone who just finished a very competitive match. Arn says Flair told him that if he wants to run with the champ, he has to beat the best every week, and that’s exactly what he’s done.

We see video off Flair vs. Ron Garvin from a house show. Apparently it was a 60-minute time limit draw, after which, Flair called Garvin back into the ring. Flair asks where they got this footage from and says it’s propaganda. Garvin lands the knockout punch and covers Flair. Tommy Young counts the pin.

Back live, Flair is pissed. He yells that it was after the 60 minutes way over and the referee had no right counting 1-2-3. And if Garvin keeps messing with Flair, the same thing is going to happen to him that happened to Dusty Rhodes (broken leg).

Tony tells us the Crockett Cup will be a one-night tournament with the best teams from all over the world and a purse of $1 million has been added . Next week we’ll find out where the tournament will take place.

To the ring, the Barbarian w/ Paul Jones vs. Kent Glover. Typical power moves and headbutts. He press slams Glover, which isn’t easy, and finishes with the diving headbutt off the top rope. *

Jim Cornette joins Tony and David. Cornette tells Paul Ellering to call Mama Cornette if the Road Warriors want a tag title match and maybe they can work it into their busy schedule sometime before December. Cornette says they should just give the Midnight Express the Crockett Cup and the $1 million since they’ve already proven they’re the best tag team in the world. Cornette says the Rock & Roll Express are habitual, chronic losers and they can’t top the MX. Also, he’s not a criminal, a pickpocket, a gorilla or a parakeet and he doesn’t belong in a cage. He has documentation, including a doctor’s note saying he has a fear of heights, and letters from all his fans, saying he shouldn’t be put into a cage. Another great promo from one of the true masters.

To the ring, the Midnight Express vs. Mike Simani and Larry Clarke. Loverboy Dennis drops Simani throat-first across the top rope. Bobby tags in and delivers a textbook vertical suplex. Simani gets dumped outside and Bobby bashes him from behind off the top rope. Back in, Simani is facedown and Bobby comes off the top with a knee to the back of the head. Dennis delivers a full nelson facebuster for the pin. *1/2

After the pin, the Rock & Roll Express hit the ring with tennis rackets and bash both Midnight Express members with them, as the audience erupts.

After a break, Tully Blanchard and J.J. Dillon join Tony. They mention that their personal time limit of taking the National Title from Dusty Rhodes is down to two weeks. Dillon mentions the Crockett Cup and floats Jimmy Garvin as a potential teammate for Tully.

To the ring, it’s two of Dillon’s former charges, Black Bart & Thunderfoot vs. the Rock & Roll Express for what should be a fairly competitive match. Morton starts hot with a pair of hiptosses on both opponents. He leapfrogs Bart and dropkicks both men, then tags in Gibson who powers Bart over with a backdrop. Bart catches Morton with a hotshot and he tags in Thunderfoot for a double clothesline. Morton plays face in peril for a minute or so. Trapped in the corner, he crawls through Thunderfoot’s legs for the hot tag to Gibson. He locks a sleeper on Thunderfoot, which Bart breaks up. We have all four men in. Bart tries a clothesline, but Morton ducks, causing Bart to fly over the top rope. The R&R hit a double dropkick on Thunderfoot for the win. Fun little match. **1/2

The Road Warriors and Paul Jones join Tony. Animal hypes upcoming matches with the Koloffs in their hometown of Chicago and at the Meadowlands. Hawk says they started with streetfighting, then bouncing bars, then back to streetfighting, and into professional wrestling, and they still return to Chicago every once in a while to clean up the streets. Sure could use them in Chicago these days.

After a break, Ivan & Nikita Koloff join Tony. Ivan talks trash on the Road Warriors and Magnum T.A., and stay there as we go to the ring…

Magnum T.A. vs. Bill Tabb. Dropkick and belly-to-belly suplex and it’s over in 15 seconds.*

Afterwards, Magnum challenges Nikita Koloff to come into the ring. Nikita debates it with Ivan. Magnum flies off the apron and nails Nikita from behind with a double axehandle. They slug it out and it goes to the floor with neither man getting a clear advantage. The locker rooms empty to try to break it up. It’s mostly jobbers, then Dusty Rhodes comes flying in. They’re still unable to pull them apart. It breaks up finally, but Magnum goes lunging at Nikita to continue the brawl. And the show ends with them still trying to pull the arch-enemies apart.

Really, really good show this week with a hot finish. Three competitive matches, the ending pull-apart brawl was awesomely done, Rock & Roll Express/Midnight Express feud gets even hotter, the unveiling of the Big Gold Belt and some awesome promos made this a show everyone should check out.