NWA World Championship Wrestling, May 17, 1986

Some classic comedy lines from Jim Cornette, a brainbuster on the concrete floor, and the promise of the return of the fourth Horseman. That and more on this week’s episode…

The opening video shows Tully Blanchard slingshot suplexing Sam Houston and pinning him, then Jimmy Garvin stomping on Houston after the bell. That prompts Houston’s partner Wahoo McDaniel to lace some stiff chops into Garvin’s chest. Cue the video montage open…

Tony Schiavone and David Crockett are our hosts, joined immediately by Jim Cornette. Cornette makes a fat joke about Baby Doll and calls  the James Boys are a bunch of cowards & hillbillies. He vows to have his Midnight Express unmask the James Boys.

To the ring, Magnum T.A. vs. Art Pritts. 10-second squash with the belly-to-belly suplex.*

The Rock & Roll Express join Tony as the fans yell “rock & roll, rock & roll”. Morton’s face is still a mess from the attack at the hands of the Four Horsemen. Morton responds to Ric Flair’s previous taunts about hanging around teeny boppers in training underwear. Morton says a maid at the Hyatt told him to deliver a gift to Flair. “You know, you talk about your ‘big girls’, but this big is being a little bit ridiculous,” as he holds up panties that look built for a 700-pound woman. Well played.

After a break, Ragin’ Bull Manny Fernandez joins Tony. He says nonsense about Paul Jones Army and his pal Jimmy Valiant, who comes out. Joy. Valiant has a small electric razor, which he tries to play for the mic and tells everyone to listen. But you can’t hear it. Because WCW. Valiant promises everyone in the Army will be a bald-headed geek.

Ronnie Garvin vs. Robert Burroughs. Garvin takes down Burroughs and locks in a sugar hold, stomps on him, and applies a modified camel clutch. Garvin rakes Burroughs back and works the arm. The crowd chants, “Beat him Ronnie, beat him up!” Garvin maintains the armbar while stepping on Burroughs’ head, then stretches the leg simultaneously. After a backdrop, Garvin lands the knockout punch with his no-longer-injured hand, and it’s over. Enjoyable squash. *1/2

Jim Cornette is back out. He’s worried about the James Boys jumping him from behind and introduces the NWA World Tag Team champions…

The Midnight Express vs. Rocky Kernodle & Vernon Deaton. Kernodle gets some early offense on Beautiful Bobby, with a crossbody block, dropkick and monkey flip out of the corner. Cornette says Dusty Rhodes’ dad “wasn’t a hard-working plumber like everybody said he was. His daddy was a drunk that always laid in the gutter everyday of his life. He was born in the sewer, he lived in the sewer, and he died in the sewer. He committed sewercide.” Funny. Dennis tags in and takes control over Vernon Deaton. Bobby drags Deaton over to the podium and slugs him in the face. Dennis tosses Deaton outside again, and Bobby holds the ropes open to help Deaton back in, then kicks him in the head. Awesome. Cornette taunts Deaton. Bobby hits a beautiful (pun intended) flying dropkick off the top rope. Cornette says Baby Doll ought to be out of wrestling and in the kitchen barefoot, but not pregnant because no man with any sense would want to make that happen. Dennis delivers the atomic drop on Deaton, followed by the Rocket Launcher. Bobby gets the pin. Tremendous showing again.**

After a break, Tully Blanchard & J.J. Dillon join Tony. J.J. rants about Tully being forced into taped-fist matches with Ronnie Garvin for the National Title. Dillon notes that the Horsemen have all the titles and this is all a ploy by Dusty Rhodes to get the belts back on their side of the locker room. Blanchard calls himself “the wrestling machine of the 1980s”.

To the ring, Manny Fernandez & Jimmy Valiant vs. Brodie Chase & Jerry Garmon. Valiant is mobbed by the kids at ringside. I think this is what led to the mass production of hand sanitizer. Fernandez works over Chase, then Garmon. David Crockett with his always astute analysis notes, “Shaska turned on Jimmy Valiant, but this man Manny Fernandez, he never will,” as we glimpse Paul Jones lurking in the shadows. Fernandez wins with the Flying Burrito. DUD

Tony & David hype the Great American Bash and lists all the big stadiums they’re running in July, as the smell of cash burning wafts through the studio. Arn Anderson comes out and mentions all the men the Four Horsemen have injured, including Sam Houston’s broken arm, Dusty Rhodes’ broken leg, turning Ricky Morton into “the human scab”, and vows the Robert Gibson is next. “Everybody’s been asking me, where is the fourth Horsemen? And they’ve been asking me in a sarcastic tone. Well I’ve just been given the word. The fourth Horsemen is on the way back…” Arn says at a time of their choosing, a rebuttal is coming for Dusty Rhodes (he’s referring Ole Anderson getting payback for Dusty injuring him).

To the ring, the Road Warriors w/ Paul Ellering vs. Ray Traylor & Carl Styles. Animal hits a very stiff shoulderblock on the soon-to-be Big Bubba. Baby Doll joins Ellering at ringside for some sort of discussion. Animal powerslams Styles, Hawk hits a legdrop and over-the-shoulder backbreaker for the quick pin.*

After a break, it’s Jimmy Garvin w/ Precious vs. Rocky King. Garvin dominates and wins fairly quickly with the brainbuster. 1/2*

Afterwards, Garvin & Precious join Tony. We see the video referenced at the top of the show. Wahoo and Garvin mix it up after he and Tully Blanchard double-teamed Sam Houston. But Blanchard comes back and helps knock Wahoo outside, where Garvin delivers a BRAINBUSTER on the concrete floor! He didn’t get him up very high, but looks like he dropped Wahoo right on his head. Yikes. Back live, Garvin calls Baby Doll a “loose woman” and a “Jezebel”.

Ivan & Nikita Koloff vs. Bob Peters & Jim Dawson. The fans loudly chant “USA! USA!” at the evil commies. Ivan works over the jobbers. As Ivan distracts the ref, Nikita grabs Peters from the apron and drops his throat on the top rope. Nikita wins with the Russian Sickle. 3/4*

The Koloffs join Tony at ringside, with their Six-Man Tag Team Trophy. They’ll be defending that title against the Road Warriors & Dusty Rhodes very soon. Ivan demands Magnum T.A. come out later in the program so they can talk face-to-face.

After a break, they bring out Baltimore promoter Gary Juster and announce the 1987 Crockett Cup Tag Team Tournament will take place in Baltimore.

To the ring, the Rock & Roll Express vs. Gene Ligon & Randy Mulkey. Randy Mulkey lives! I’m surprised he’s still walking after the enormous bumps he took at the hands of the Midnight Express last week. Quick double-dropkick by the R&R for the win. Good that Mulkey didn’t have to do much. *

Ric Flair joins Tony. Flair shows off his expensive suit, while running down Magnum T.A., the R&R and Dusty for their jeans & cheap clothes. Flair calls Jim Cornette “the greatest manager of all-time“. Interesting. Flair calls out the Road Warriors and says he will humiliate Hawk some day soon. We get several shots of women in the audience, who seem enchanted by the Nature Boy. WHOO!

After a break, the James Boys join Tony. Jesse James (who sounds and looks an awful lot like Magnum T.A.) threatens to take Jim Cornette out. Frank James (who seems very similar to Dusty Rhodes) says the Midnight Express need to look out for them, anytime, anyplace. Frank tells a heckler fan to shut up before he comes and slaps his face. Frank basically threatens to hang Cornette & the Midnight Express.

To the ring, it’s Shaska Whatley & the Barbarian w/ Paul Jones vs. Mike Simani & Bill Mulkey. MulkeyMania is running wild. Shaska & the Barbarian beat up Simani. They toss him outside so Jones can stomp on him. Then the Barbarian picks Simani up and rams his back into the ring post. Bill Mulkey tags in and takes the flying headbutt from Shaska, followed by the flying headbutt off the top rope from the Barbarian, and the Army wins. 1/2*

After a break, Dusty Rhodes & Baby Doll join Tony. Dusty says he just passed the James Boys backstage in the hallway. They passed like ships in the night. Dusty talks about the fourth Horseman coming back, as Arn Anderson claimed earlier. We get a slow, full-body tilt of Baby Doll, starting at her shoes. Why, I’m not sure. She promises revenge and embarrassment on Jim Cornette.

To the ring, it’s Baron von Raschke vs. Tony Zane. The Baron wins quickly with the claw. Lots of quick squashes this week. 1/2*

Magnum T.A. joins Tony, and Ivan Koloff comes out. Ivan has a message from the Kremlin, saying Magnum showed a lot of courage facing Nikita in Russian Chain matches and signing a contract to defend the U.S. Title vs. Nikita. However, Ivan wants to hold a press conference for the contract signing and tells Magnum he’s inferior and has no chance at keeping the title. That pisses Magnum off. Magnum says he’s ready anytime for the final confrontation…

When the red blood of this American goes out there to take on that commie, then it’ll be over. Then, and only then will I be able to walk around with my head help high and proud because I fought ’em all, I sent ’em all back with their tails between their legs. And that’s what you are, is a nothing happening Russian dog to me, and the U.S. Championship will stay here with me if I have to give my last breath for it,” Magnum says. Good promo to end it.

Not much in the way of wrestling on this show, just more building toward the Great American Bash and adding more heat to the ongoing feuds. Thanks for reading.