NWA World Championship Wrestling, August 23, 1986

A momentous episode of the TBS Saturday night staple, as we have Dusty Rhodes vs. Ric Flair for the NWA World Title, a shocking heel turn, the best-of-seven series for the U.S. Title concludes in dramatic fashion, new NWA World Tag Team Champions, and the Midnight Express vs. the Mulkeys, with the birth of MulkeyMania!

We start with a clip of Ric Flair vs. Dusty Rhodes. Flair has Rhodes locked in the figure-four, and gets a two count. Rhodes is desperately trying to reverse the hold. Rhodes start to turn it, when Baby Doll grabs Flair’s hand, and we go to the show open…

To the TBS Studio we go, with David Crockett and Tony Schiavone as our hosts. They inform us, we have new NWA World Tag Team Champs, the Rock & Roll Express, and more huge news today.

Jim Cornette and Big Bubba Rogers join us. Cornette says the tag title change was a fluke and we’ll see footage later.

To the ring, the Rock & Roll Express vs. Mike Rose & Phil Brown. Ends very quickly with the double-dropkick. DUD

The Rock & Roll Express join Tony for an interview and gloat about their title win over the Midnight Express and Jim Cornette . Ricky Morton mentions challengers like America’s Team and the Andersons, but says they’re going to keep the titles for a long time.

After a break, we go to footage from August 17 in Charlotte of Magnum T.A. vs. Nikita Koloff in the final match of the best-of-seven series for the U.S. Title. Joined late in the contest, Magnum slugs away on Nikita and delivers a dropkick. Magnum covers him, but he’s close to the ropes. Ivan Koloff grabs Magnum, and receives a piledriver on the concrete floor as a consequence! Back in the ring, Magnum slugs away on Nikita some more. Khrusher Khrushchev shows up to distract referee Tommy Young. Magnum hits a belly-to-belly suplex on Nikita and has him pinned, but Young is busy dealing with Khrusher… ‘

Magnum goes over to grab Khrushchev. That allows Nikita to grab his Russian Chain and wrap it around his arm. He nails Magnum with a steel chain-enhanced Russian Sickle to the forehead. Magnum is out and Koloff covers him for the three count. The Russian Nightmare is the new U.S. champion. David & Tony sell it like it’s the worst thing that’s ever happened, which in the height of the Cold War, for many JCP fans, it was. I’ve seen the full match, and it’s very dramatic, but Nikita’s limitations keep it down a bit. ***

Back live, Cornette interviews the Russians. Nikita gloats about his new championship and tells Magnum to take a good hard look at the belt, because it’s the last time he’ll see it. Nikita says Magnum is history (foreshadowing?). Uncle Ivan, wearing a neck brace to sell the piledriver on the floor, says Magnum will pay for that injury. They also hype upcoming challenges for Nikita from Ron Garvin and Wahoo McDaniel. Khrusher wants a shot at the six-man tag titles.

To the ring, it’s Ole Anderson, Arn Anderson & Tully Blanchard w/ J.J. Dillon vs. Clement Fields, Paul Garner, and Big Bill Tabb. Arn and Ole work over Tabb to start. Tully tags in and locks the armbar. Clement Fields tags in and he gets destroyed by all three Horsemen. They use quick tags and double teaming to maintain control for a few minutes, just punishing the guy. Arn delivers a nice gourdbuster on Fields for the finish. *1/2

After a break, we get footage of Dusty Rhodes vs. Ric Flair from Charlotte for the NWA Title. Joined in progress. Rhodes mounting Flair in the corner, pounds away on the champ. Rhodes whips Flair and he does the Flair Flip over the ropes and to the apon. Rhodes suplexes Flair back in and goes for the cover. Two count. Rhodes slugs Flair repeatedly in the forehead. Another whip into the corner. Flair comes out and Rhodes nails him with a clothesline. He goes for the cover. Referee Tommy Young counts to three, but Baby Doll puts Flair’s foot on the bottom rope just as Young counts to three! The crowd goes nuts, thinking Dusty won, but the referee waves it off. Dusty doesn’t understand what happened and announcers Bob Caudle and Johnny Weaver are in total shock…

Flair drops a knee on Dusty’s leg. The champ looks over at Baby Doll with a surprised look, as he’s not sure what’s going on either. Flair drops his weight on Rhodes’ leg as its draped across the bottom rope, and locks in the figure-four. Dusty, reeling from the pain, almost gets pinned. Rhodes starts to reverse the hold, but Baby Doll grabs Flair’s hand and yanks them back down. Rhodes almost gets pinned again. Rhodes finally does reverse the hold, jumps up and asks Baby Doll what in the blue hell is going on. Flair clips the knee from behind and goes for the figure-four again, but Rhodes pushes him off, and takes out the referee in the process. Flair charges, but Dusty delivers another clothesline and covers, however there’s no ref. Baby Doll grabs a steel chair and enters the ring. She swings it as Rhodes, but misses. Dusty grabs the chair and pounds away on Flair’s knee with it. Tommy Young, finally revived, see sthis and disqualifies Rhodes…

Tully Blanchard attacks Rhodes from behind, grabs the chair and uses it to hammer away on Dusty’s leg. Magnum T.A. and the Rock & Roll Express come out to save Dusty. Flair, Blanchard and Baby Doll celebrate at ringside and walk off, arm-in-arm. They only showed the final minutes here, but I’ve seen the complete version. ****

We go to a taped interview of Ric Flair and Baby Doll. Flair says it was only a matter of time before Baby Doll would want to live the lifestyle and join the Nature Boy, and the Four Horsemen. Baby Doll says if you’re not a champion, you’re nothing, and she likes the lifestyle of being with a champion. Flair gets Baby Doll to admit she’s always wanted to ride Space Mountain. Flair says now it’s the Four Horseman and one mare.

Back live, it’s Magnum T.A. vs. Art Pritts. Magnum backdrops and dropkicks Pritts and puts him away very quickly with the belly-to-belly suplex. *

Paul Ellering joins Tony for an interview. Ellering wonders where Cornette went and says the Road Warrios haven’t forgotten about Cornette and the Midnight Express. Ellering says they’re coming for the Four Horsemen now, and the Russians.

To the ring, it’s the Road Warriors vs. Kent Glover & Lee Peek. Peek and Glover get tossed outside immediately, with Peek going first, then Glover landing on top of him. Hilarious. Animal presses Peek back in. Hawk delivers a huge shoulderblock, followed by a gorilla press. Animal tags Hawk while Peek is still pressed, and Hawk drops Peek on Animal’s bended knee. Glover tags in and gets powerslammed. Hawk delivers some more devastation and ends it with a clothesline. *1/2

Dusty Rhodes joins Tony for an interview. Rhodes says the past few weeks have been the ultimate misery for him. He calls Baby Doll “a common Jezebel from off the streets“. Dusty says something about a time when Baby Doll called and asked “is that your horse outside?“. Half of Dusty’s reply is bleeped out, but he ended it with, “and you’re too fat to ride“, which the audience goes nuts over. Rhodes tells the Horsemen they’re time is coming, and they’re gonna find Big Bubba’s clothes strung all over the Omni, “and you’re gonna be in most of ’em, jack!

To the ring, it’s the Midnight Express vs. the Mulkey brothers. YES!!! The Midnights jump the Mulkeys immediately. Bobby pounds away on one of the albinos outside the ring. Dennis suplexes the other. The MX don’t even take off their ring jackets. Bobby delivers an elbow, bodyslam, and goes to the top rope for a huge flying knee drop. Finally Bobby takes his jacket off. Dennis leaves his on. Dennis delivers a huge back drop, then a side slam on the other brother. Bobby hits a nice back suplex. Dennis executes a double-underhook suplex. Bobby tosses Bill Mulkey out of the ring for a huge bump. Dennis tosses him back in for a Beautiful Bobby top rope dropkick. Dennis delivers a running powerslam and they finally end the destruction with the Rocket Launcher…

Afterwards, Randy Mulkey gets thrown out and takes a huge bump. Jim Cornette taunts Mulkey, and Mulkey shoves him down! The crowd pops huge for that one. That prompts Big Bubba to attack Mulkey. He throws Mulkey back in and delivers, for the first time, what would become known as Boss Man Slam. Bubba goes to the second rope and splashes Mulkey. Great stuff, with the after-match happenings bumping it up another notch. ***

After a commercial break, Randy Mulkey is still getting checked out, and they eventually carry him away. The Bubba Slam was brutal, as we see a slo-mo replay.

Magnum T.A. joins Tony for an interview. Magnum says now he’s the hunter and he’s not embarrassed about losing the U.S. Title. He says he does things by himself when it comes to singles titles, something Nikita Koloff knows nothing about. Magnum adds that he’s coming back for the belt.

To the ring, Wahoo McDaniel vs. Randy Barber. Huge chop from Wahoo to start. Cornette comes back out and utters the words, “MulkeyMania” for what I believe is the first time. Wahoo puts Barber away quickly with chops. DUD

Now to tape of the Rock & Roll Express vs. the Midnight Express for the NWA Tag Titles in Philadelphia from August 16. JIP. Beautiful Bobby comes off the top rope with a beautiful elbow drop on Robert Gibson. Dennis tags in and covers for a two count. Morton fires back at Dennis and delivers a knee lift, and reaches Ricky Morton for the hot tag. He takes on both members of MX. Morton blocks a suplex from Dennis and delivers his own, then lands a huge dropkick off the top rope. Bobby comes in to break up the pin, which brings in Gibson. The ref makes Gibson leave, which allows Bobby to come off the top rope on Morton. He then covers Gibson and his him pinned, but Gibson breaks it up and alerts the referee to the fact that Dennis, not Bobby, is the legal man…

Dennis knees Morton in the back, knocking him out of the ring. The Midnight Express double-team Gibson. Dennis goes to slam Morton back into the ring, but gets rolled up and Morton gets the three count as the arena erupts! New NWA Tag Team Champions, the Rock & Roll Express. Didn’t get to see but the final few minutes, but betting this one was a classic, as were most of their matchups.

Back live, Ron Garvin vs. George South. Garvin trades punches with South early, which shows bad judgment on South’s part. Garvin hits headbutts and tosses South out. South keeps fighting back. He catches Garvin’s attempt at a big boot, but Garvin nails him with the knockout punch for the win. Fun little squash. *1/2

Dick Murdoch joins Tony. He talks about Flair and Baby Doll and hypes upcoming matches for the belt. Murdoch runs down Flair and his fancy clothes, and says he don’t have none of those fancy clothes or a fancy blonde on his arm, all he’s got is an old beat up pickup truck, Big Bertha (his fist) and the brainbuster. Maybe an old hound dog, too.

And that wraps up a very eventful program. Thanks for reading.