NWA World Championship Wrestling, August 16, 1986

Can Ric Flair regain the NWA Title from an injured Dusty Rhodes? Magnum T.A. tries to even the best-of-seven U.S. Title series with Nikita Koloff, and another huge confrontation between Dusty Rhodes & Big Bubba Rogers. That and much more on an action packed Saturday Night program…

We open with brief footage of Magnum T.A. vs. Nikita Koloff. Nikita misses a Russian Sickle and Magnum nails him with a dropkick, sending Koloff out of the ring to a huge pop…

To the TBS Studio we go. Tony Schiavone & David Crockett are our hosts. Tony immediately informs us Ric Flair defeated Dusty Rhodes for the NWA Title in St. Louis, which we’ll see later. Also, the best-of-seven series between Magnum and Nikita is knotted up 3-3. Footage of that later as well. Special guest host Jim Cornette, with Big Bubba Rogers joins the announce team. Cornette tells Crockett he looks like a bull frog (because of his ugly green sports coat). Cornette says after what Dusty did to Bubba, he’s out for him and there’s nowhere for Dusty to hide.

To the ring, it’s the Kansas Jayhawks vs. George South & Bill Mulkey. They punish South with elbows and slams early on, tagging in and out frequently. South tags MulkeyMania and a flurry of offense erupts. No, sorry. Mulkey gets nailed immediately and is already flat on his back. Mulkey takes more punishment, with a high backdrop, slams, elbows, and boots to the midsection. Dutch Mantel delivers a nice snap suplex. Jaggers delivers a shoulderbreaker and covers, but pulls Mulkey up. They finally finish MulkeyMania with the Hart Foundation-esque clothesline maneuver, with Bobby Jaggers coming off the second rope for the win. *

The Russians join Cornette for an interview. Khrusher Khrushchev warns Dick Murdoch not to run his mouth about them. Ivan says there was a lot of injustice in the match where Magnum tied the series at 3-3 (and he’s not lying). Ivan says it’s over for Magnum and there’s no stopping Nephew Nikita. The Russian Nightmare recognizes Magnum has a lot of guts to come back from being down 3-0, but he will win the title tonight in Philadelphia. Then, Magnum will crawl in a hole and Nikita will kick dirt on top of him.

After a break, Jimmy Valiant comes out. Joy. He seems much more subdued than usual, thankfully. Valiant vows that if he doesn’t beat Paul Jones and shave his head before the end of the year, he will retire. I just became a huge Paul Jones fan. Valiant says it’s a very short time, just two of three months til the end of the year. It’s early mid-August. Math is not his strong suit.

To the ring, it’s the Road Warriors w/ Paul Ellering vs. Pablo Crenshaw & Tom Pittman. The LOD assaults their opponents immediately. Hawk delivers a dropkick and salto suplex. Animal tags in for a huge flying shoulderblock, followed by a gorilla press slam. Hawk tosses Crenshaw into the corner so his lowly teammate can receive some punishment. Hawk wins with a huge clothesline. Total destruction. *1/2

Dick Murdoch joins Tony. Captain Redneck praises all the great JCP talent. Murdoch plugs a title match vs. Ric Flair tomorrow afternoon in West Virginia. That’ll put a lot of butts in the seats.

After a break, we get footage of Tully Blanchard attacking NWA World Champion Dusty Rhodes with a steel chair after Rhodes pinned Ric Flair in Kansas City. Flair and J.J. Dillon joined the attack and destroyed Dusty’s leg, softening him up for Flair’s next shot at the title…

Back live, Tully Blanchard & J.J. Dillon join Tony. Tully refutes any claims that it was a planned attack. He and J.J. went to KC to buy clothes at Michaels, and the attack happened because he doesn’t like Dusty.

After a break, footage of NWA World Champion Dusty Rhodes vs. Ric Flair from August 9 in St. Louis. Tony, who has never been one for hyperbole, calls it one of the greatest matches of all-time and says it’s in front of a capacity crowd. Only 6,300 were in attendance, according to The History of WWE. We pick it up late in the contest. Dusty slams Flair off the top rope. Dusty charges Flair, who then bumps the referee and knocks him out of the ring. Flair drags Dusty outside, grabs a steel chair and smashes it into Rhodes’ leg. Dusty is down on the concrete floor, but wills himself back into the ring. Flair goes to work on the leg immediately. He drapes it across the bottom rope and drops his weight down on the leg. Flair stomps on the knee and drops his weight on it again…

Dusty gets a surge of adrenaline, jumps up and elbows Flair. He lines up for a clothesline, but the leg gives way. Flair whips Rhodes, but Rhodes reverses and sends Flair to the corner, then nails him with a clothesline coming out. Flair rolls toward the ropes and drapes his leg on the bottom rope at the count of two. The ref doesn’t it see it until after counting to three. Dusty thinks he has won…

Referee Gene Ligon sees Flair’s leg on the ropes and continues the bout. Flair clips Rhodes from behind and locks in the figure-four. Magnum T.A. comes to ringside to encourage Dusty. The pain is immense and Flair gets a near fall. Rhodes finally reverses the hold, but Flair immediately reverses it back, grabs the top rope for leverage and drops down, sending more pain in Dusty’s leg. The pain becomes too much as Rhodes passes out and the referee counts the pin. We have a new NWA World Heavyweight Champion. For the fourth time, Ric Flair is the man. Magnum T.A. tends to Rhodes as Flair celebrates.

Back live in the studio, Ric Flair joins Tony at the podium. Flair calls Rhodes a great champion, then puts over the NWA. “You see, we don’t specialize in rock & roll music. We don’t specialize in Hollywood. We specialize in professional wrestling.” Flair says even though he doesn’t like Big Dust, there’s no disrespect in Dusty walking that aisle, knowing you had to face the greatest wrestler alive today. WHOO!

After a break the Road Warriors & Paul Ellering join Tony. Paul quotes Winston Churchill, which we need more of in pro wrestling, me thinks. Ellering runs down the long list of LOD accolades. Animal hypes some upcoming cards in AWA territory, Green Bay & Minnesota. Hawk says they’ll never forget what the Four Horsemen did to them and vows to push the Horsemen over the edge and end them once and for all. What’s important to them is getting people in the ring and beating them up.

To the ring, “Superstar” Bill Dundee w/ Buddy Landell vs. Vernon Deaton. David notes that it’s Dick Murdoch’s birthday. Cornette says he must be about 150 years old. Dundee drapes his man across the ropes and distracts the ref so Landell can land a cheap shot. And again. Dundee delivers a boot to Deaton’s face and drops an elbow, then works the man on the mat. Dundee delivers a nice clothesline, followed by a bodyslam and ends it with the Bombs Away. *

We go to an interview with Bill Apter talking to now-former NWA Champion Dusty Rhodes. Dusty puts over the NWA as the best wrestling organization in the world. He doesn’t make excuses for losing the belt. Dusty says the Horsemen said they’re going to end his career in 1986, but that’s not going to happen. Dusty says he and the millions of people following him have to regroup and come back, and the American Dream is in all of us. The leg is injured but it won’t keep him from coming back.

Back to the studio, Cornette interviews Paul Jones. He again mentions offering Manny Fernandez a lot of money to join the Army, and says everybody has a price. Gimmick infringement, one year before the gimmick is created.

Time now for the “Schick Match of the Year”, which sounds too close to the “$hit Match of the Week”. Nonetheless, it’s Ole Anderson, Arn Anderson & Tully Blanchard vs. “Toddy” Champion (according to the graphic. Because WCW.), Sam Houston and the Italian Stallion. Arn and Ole control Stallion early on, but he reverses an armbar and tags Houston, who comes off the top onto Arn’s arm. Champion tags in and locks on an armbar…

Blanchard tags in and takes over Champion. Ditto for Ole. They double-team Champion in the corner. Champion finally forces his way over to tag Houston, who pounds away on Blanchard. He goes to the corner to hit the Andersons, but loses the numbers game and gets taken down. Ole dishes out some punishment for awhile. Arn Anderson does the same. Irish Whip to the corner. Houston scales the second rope and lands a crossbody block and two count, but it doesn’t last. Tully tosses Houston out of the ring and Ole rams him into the ring post. Houston gets pummeled some more. He finally makes the tag to Champion, who fires several forearms at Ole, but runs into a triple-team and a double-gourdbuster for the pin. **1/2

Back to the ring, Dick Murdoch vs. Tony Zane. It’s a very quick squash with the brainbuster on the chubby Zane. DUD

Cornette interviews the Andersons. Arn mocks Dusty and says his “American Dream” speech makes him want to puke. The American Dream is dead for Dusty. Arn says Dusty should take that public opinion he cherishes so much and flush it in the toilet. He should be more like the Horsemen, who see want they want, and take it.

After a break, Cornette is joined by his NWA World Tag Team Champions, the Midnight Express. We go to video from one of the syndicated shows, with Cornette arguing with Baby Doll. Cornette says Dusty will apologize to him and Big Bubba, “and he’s going to admit that you’re ugly and he’s a goof and we were right all along. And he’s gonna look in that camera and he’s going to apologize, most importantly, to my mother in Louisville, Kentucky, who has demanded it, and I’m gonna get that, and I’m gonna get it soon, or else something drastic is gonna be done. Now you go back, fatso, and you tell him that…”

Baby Doll says Dusty isn’t going to apologize to anyone, calls Bubba a clown, and mocks Cornette for spitting so much while talking. Cornette asks again if she’s going to tell Dusty to apologize. When she says no, Bubba shoves Baby Doll down. That brings Dusty Rhodes out from the back and he just demolishes Bubba with a steel chair to the back of the head. They fight on the floor and wrestlers from both locker rooms come out to break it up. Cornette promises that Dusty will get his.

To the ring, it’s the Russians vs. Randy Barber, Clement Fields, and Paul Garner. Nikita tosses Garner across the ring. Garner tags in Fields, who gets decimated with a Russian Sickle and pinned. Nikita slugs Barber and Garner just for the heck of it. *

We go to video of the best-of-seven series between Magnum T.A. & Nikita Koloff for the U.S. Title from Asheville, NC. Nikita leads the series 3-2. Late in the match, Magnum fires up and slugs Nikita repeatedly. He lands a dropkick and covers. Khrusher Khrushchev grabs Magnum from the outside. Magnum slugs him as referee Tommy Young gets in between them. Nikita knees Magnum in the back, who bumps Young to the floor. Nikita lands the Russian Sickle and covers Magnum, but there’s no ref. However, Magnum’s foot is well underneath the ropes…

Referee Sonny Fargo comes in and counts the three! Nikita and Khrusher celebrate, thinking Koloff has won the U.S. Title. However, Tommy Young clearly saw Magnum’s leg under the ropes. Young explains to Fargo what happened. While Nikita celebrates with the belt, Magnum comes from behind and belly-to-belly suplexes him. Young counts the pin as the crowd goes absolutely apeshit. The series is now tied 3-3. Nikita was robbed, and this was a patented Dusty finish, but it was really good stuff, too. They didn’t show the whole match, but I’ve seen it. It’s ***1/2.

Back to the studio, Magnum T.A. and Baby Doll join Tony. Magnum says despite all odds, he’s back 3-3. Magnum notes that Nikita can complain about referees, but that there’s always some comrade-at-arms by Nikita’s side. Magnum says he doesn’t claim to be a brawler or a strongman, he’s just trying to be the best professional wrestler in the U.S. today. Magnum says we’re starting fresh and when the weekend is over, it will be done and the U.S. Title will be back where it belongs. Another good promo from Magnum.

We go to video of the “Rock & Roll Express Super Summer Sizzler Tour” and the Miss Rock & Roll Express Court and Queen are announced, as Cornette looks like he’s gonna throw up. Back live, the Rock & Roll Express vs. Bill Tabb & Art Pritts. Cornette says those six girls entered a beauty contest one time and nobody won, adding that they’re the ugliest cows he’s ever seen in his life. Hilarious. Morton dropkicks Tabb, hip tosses Pritts and tags in Gibson. Cornette notes that they’ve fought the R&R for six months and tonight in Philly they’re going to knock them back down the ladder again. Hmm... The R&R do the double-front roll/chicken wing on Pritts and slug Tabb in the corner. They work over Pritts’ leg for awhile, then end it with a double-back drop, followed by the double-dropkick. *1/2

The Four Horsemen join Cornette. Ole says they’re back on top. Ole again guarantees 1986 will be the end of Dusty Rhodes. Tully displays a new diamond ring, with all them contributing $10,000, for J.J. Dillon for being the brains behind the operation. Dillon says, “Diamonds are forever. The Four Horsemen are forever.” Sounds like a catchphrase to me.

And then ends another eventful program. Great stuff. Major happenings on next week’s show as well. Thanks for reading.