The SmarK Rant for WWE Network Hidden Gems – NWA Boogie Jam 84 (03.17.84)
I totally forgot that this one got added as a Hidden Gem show a while back, mostly because the interface is such dogshit now that I can barely find anything unless I know exactly where I’m supposed to be looking. And since Clash VI is apparently hacked to pieces on the Network anyway, we’ll go with this one as our second version of the Flair v. Steamboat celebration this weekend.
I know, I know, I could have been watching the debut of XFL 2.0 tonight, but I forgot to set my alarm and I ended up getting busy doing literally anything else. Sorry.
Taped from Greensboro, NC
As you’d expect, this show is shot with professional camera by Crockett, but there’s no commentary.
Tully Blanchard v. Dory Funk Jr.
Funk gets a GIANT babyface reaction from the crowd here, and Tully attacks right away and gets chased out of the ring as a result. Tully is with Paul Jones at this point, which seems like an odd fit to me. Funk works a headlock in the ring, but Tully rolls him over and grabs the tights for several near-falls while Tommy Young frantically crawls around the ring making the count and trying to catch Tully at the same time. Finally Funk dumps Tully to the floor, and Tully regroups. Back in, Tully throws Funk out this time, but Dory goes right after Paul Jones and so that one backfires on them. Back in, Funk catches the fleeing Tully with a slam, but he runs away again. Back in, Funk takes him down and works an armbar on the mat, but Tully powers out, so Dory slugs him down with a forearm for two. And back to the armbar. Tully escapes with a cheapshot and drops an elbow from the middle rope for two, then goes to a chinlock. He tries to whip Dory out of the corner, but Funk goes dead weight on him in a weird spot, so Tully goes back to the chinlock again. That goes on for a while, but Funk makes a comeback with uppercuts in the corner and a back elbow for two. Dory with the abdominal stretch into a rollup for two and he keeps Tully on the mat in a hold, but Tully fights up and they collide for a double down. Dory with a forearm and he follows with a delayed suplex for two. Butterfly suplex gets two. Tully tries a leapfrog and Funk catches him with a single leg in mid-air and gets the spinning toehold, but Tully shoves him out of the ring to escape. So Dory fights back from the apron and throws forearms in the corner, and a rollup gets two. Tully grabs a handful of tights and reverses for the pin at 14:00, however. Dory was definitely on the downswing but he could still time his comebacks and keep the crowd going, and this was pretty good. ***1/4
Ernie Ladd v. Rufus R. Jones
Yes! Always love to see some new Ernie Ladd matches these days. Rufus grabs a headlock right away and knocks Ladd down, then follows with a backdrop to send him out of the ring. Ladd takes him down with a wristlock and headscissors, but Jones makes the ropes and dances to celebrate. So Ladd puts him down with a forearm and chokes him out on the ropes. Jones escapes and gets all fired up, so Ernie offers a truce, and Jones attacks him anyway. Well that’s not very sporting. Ladd ends up taking an upside down bump in the corner off that, and Rufus works the arm until Ladd makes the ropes. They slug it out in the corner, but Ladd goes to the eyes and runs him into the turnbuckle, then follows with a big boot and a senton (!!) for two. The Big Cat goes up to the top, but misses a flying splash and Jones comes back with the headbutt for the pin at 6:10. I wouldn’t classify it as “good” or anything but it was certainly watchable and Ladd continues to amaze me with all the little things he does every time I watch him. *1/2
Cowboy Bob Orton & Don Kernodle v. Wahoo McDaniel & Mark Youngblood
Wahoo and Youngblood were actually the NWA World tag champs at this point, but this is non-title. Wahoo gets the big chop on Kernodle and sends him flying out of the ring right away, but Kernodle regroups and attacks Wahoo in the ring. That goes badly for him and he’s chopped to the floor again and takes a 9 count to think it over. Back in, the heels double-team Wahoo in the corner and Kernodle runs him into the post while Orton runs interference on the ref, and if you guessed that Wahoo comes up a bloody mess…well you’d be wrong in this case. I’m as shocked as you. Orton beats on him while the crowd goes APESHIT, and Kernodle gets a running powerslam for two. Orton gets his own powerslam, but Wahoo makes the tag to Youngblood and he runs wild with chops of his own. My god Vince would KILL to have crowds this hot today. They are just SHRIEKING for the babyfaces with every move. Kernodle cuts off Mark’s comeback with a clothesline and drops an elbow for two. Kernodle snaps his neck on the ropes and it’s over to Orton, who presses Youngblood into a stungun for two. Mark gets tossed and beat up by Kernodle out there, and Orton gets a pretty awesomely sick spot where he does a backbreaker onto the railing and Youngblood is left hanging there helpless. Someone should rip that off. Back in, Kernodle with a delayed suplex and Orton gets a forearm off the top behind the ref’s back, but then Youngblood dives over and makes the hot tag to Wahoo. And Wahoo is a great hot tag, as he hits everyone with chops and allows Youngblood to pin Kernodle at 11:39. Good solid tag team action here. ***
Gary Hart & The Great Kabuki & Ivan Koloff v. Junkyard Dog, Angelo Mosca & Angelo Mosca Jr.
Well this is quite the mixture of people. Mosca Jr. is of course one of the all-time champion Knights of Nepotism, getting a ridiculous push in Mid-Atlantic because of his dad and then flaming out of the business before the end of the decade. Wikipedia, amazingly, describes his career as “brief but successful”, which is why you shouldn’t trust Wikipedia. Kabuki beats on Jr. with chops, but Mosca gets a bodypress for two and goes to the armbar. The heels trap him in the corner and beat on him, but JYD gets a hot tag and slams Koloff for two. Backdrop gets two. Daddy Mosca comes in and drops an elbow on Kabuki and chokes him out, but Gary Hart gets a cheapshot from behind and the heels take over. Hart and Kabuki take turns raking the eyes and Ivan slams him for two. JYD gets another hot tag and destroys Hart, and OF COURSE Mosca Jr gets the bodypress to finish at 9:47 so he can be the big winner. Pretty bad. *
US title, cage match: Dick Slater v. Greg Valentine
My mind is unable to process Greg Valentine as a babyface. They slug it out to start and Valentine wins that one and stomps him down for one, but Slater is in the ropes. Valentine pounds him with elbows for two and goes to a chinlock, but Slater powers out and they fight on the ropes until Greg sends him into the cage and clotheslines him for two. Valentine with the chinlock again, but Slater takes him to the cage for the cheese grater to bust him open and he chokes Valentine out on the ropes. Suplex gets two. Slater pounds on the cut and drops elbows on him, but Valentine makes the comeback until Slater elbows him off the middle rope for two. Valentine makes another comeback and slugs away on Slater, then rams him into the cage and busts him open as well to return the favor. Hammer with a suplex for two and they slug it out until Hammer gets an atomic drop for two. Valentine drops elbows, but Slater gets the knees up to block a splash and they slug it out from their knees. Valentine goes up and misses an elbow and Slater piledrives him, but Valentine’s foot is on the ropes. Slater with a neckbreaker for two. Valentine gets a kneedrop and goes to the abdominal stretch, but Slater fights out of it and so Hammer drops a bunch of elbows on him and tries the sleeper. They slug it out, but Slater runs him into the cage and goes up top, allowing Valentine to slam him off and go to work on the leg. Slater kicks him into the cage, however, and rolls him up for the pin to retain at 23:30. This was pretty slow and never really felt like it was going anywhere. Plus, as noted, Greg Valentine as a babyface is NO BUYS. Still a good match, but not a classic or anything, especially given the time it had. ***
NWA World title: Ric Flair v. Ricky Steamboat
Flair was solidly a babyface in Mid-Atlantic, but you just never knew with him. Steamboat immediately cradles at the bell and gets two, which spooks Flair. They trade headlocks and Steamboat holds on to his through a suplex. They trade hammerlocks and Steamboat goes back to the headlock, but Flair makes the ropes and we get a clean break. We’ll see how long that lasts. Steamboat goes back to grinding on the headlock again and Flair rolls him over for two, but he just cannot get loose from it. He fights up and Steamboat takes him down with a series of headscissors and goes back to the headlock. They fight over a suplex and Steamboat powers him down to the mat with a facelock and turns it into a neck crank for two. Flair powers him into the corner to break, but Steamboat just holds on with a guillotine and puts Flair on the mat again for two, but this time Flair rolls him over for two and actually manages to reverse the hold. Finally he gets a fisherman’s suplex to triumphantly break free, but NOPE, and Steamboat just hangs on to the facelock and gets two. Flair gets a hiptoss to escape, but he tries an elbowdrop and misses, allowing Ricky to grab the head again. So this time Flair just goes into the ropes to play it safe. And we get another show of sportsmanship with a handshake, even. Flair fights for an armbar on the mat and Steamboat keeps wiggling free, and now the sportsmanship is slipping away from Flair. But we get another handshake anyway. Flair takes him down, but Steamboat immediately reverses and tries a figure-four, which Flair fights out of. But Ricky tenaciously comes right back and gets a Boston crab this time, although Flair quickly makes the ropes. Flair tries his own headlock, but Steamboat dropkicks him out of the ring this time and Flair is getting flustered. Back in and they do the test of strength, as Steamboat powers him down and gets two. This allows Flair to catch him in a bodyscissors, however, and Steamboat has to power out and dropkicks Flair for two.
Flair gets very flustered now and takes cheapshots on the ropes before tossing Steamboat out (to the horror of the fans!) but Ricky climbs up the ropes and gets the big chop to send Flair running away. I should point out that Tommy Young is HORRIFIED at the two babyfaces acting this way. So now Flair offers another handshake and the fans know what’s going to happen next. Flair gets another cheapshot in the corner and now it erupts, as Steamboat throws the chops and we get a Flair Flop. Flair goes to the eyes, so Steamboat gets a press slam and SHIT IS ON. Flair begs off in the corner and Ricky yanks him out by the leg and tries a figure-four, so Flair grabs the tights and rolls him up and they’re in the ropes. Flair goes to work on the ribs, and he’s definitely not offering any handshakes or sportsmanship now. Flair hits his own chop and Steamboat does his awesome dopey sell of it on the way down, but fights back with his own and they end up in the ropes. Where of course Flair hits him with a cheap elbow and takes him to the floor. Tommy Young encourages Ric to give him a fair chance to get back in, so of course Flair shoves the ref aside and attacks on the way in, then drops a knee on him for two. Steamboat fights back with a sleeper, but Flair breaks free and goes back to the ribs again to set up an abdominal stretch. Ricky throws out of it, but misses an elbow and Flair chops him down again and they go into the pinfall reversal sequence. Steamboat tries a slam but falls back, and Flair gets two. Steamboat keeps coming with chops for two, but Flair leaps into a sleeper of his own. Steamboat runs him into the corner to break and rolls him up for two, and then chops him down again and beats on him with more chops in the corner and into a press slam for two. Steamboat tries a bodypress and Flair drops him into a stungun and follows with a butterfly suplex for two. Elbowdrop gets two. Flair gets cocky with a delayed suplex and that sets up the figure-four, but Steamboat grabs the leg and stops the hold! And then he stomps on Flair’s leg for good measure and takes him down with a back suplex for two. Flair goes back to the chop, but Steamboat does a double leap frog and chops him back into the corner before going up with the flying chop. That gets two. They head to the floor and exchange chops out there, but Steamboat comes in with a sunset flip for two. Backslide gets two. Small package gets two. He keeps holding the cradle and gets another pair of two counts, so Flair goes low to buy time and Steamboat hits him with a double chop to the throat for two. Flair tries a suplex and Steamboat reverses THAT for two. Flair headbutts him low again, but Steamboat keeps fighting, so Flair keeps him in the ribs and drops a knee…which Steamboat catches and takes him down for the figure-four! Flair quickly makes the ropes with time running out. Flair drops an elbow and goes to the top, but Steamboat slams him off and gets another double chop, then goes up to finish with a flying splash as time expires at 60:00. First half was a bit slow, but it exploded into awesomeness after that and never let up. And hey, after all that, Steamboat still offers the handshake and congratulations, because he’s a real man. ****1/2
Hair v. Mask: Jimmy Valiant v. The Assassin #2
Not sure why it’s specifically Assassin #2 facing Valiant tonight. Maybe they just flipped a coin? Paul Jones is also chained to Dusty Rhodes at ringside to really add stips here. I’m surprised they didn’t stick Assassin #1 in a shark cage or something too. Although in fact they do announce that Jim Crockett has barred him from ringside, which causes the crowd to explode. So Jimmy chases #2 around the ring and chokes him out with a chair outside, then sends him into the post and crotches him on it. Back in, he gets the sleeper, but lets it go and misses an elbow. Assassin #2 goes to work for a bit with a bearhug, but Valiant fights out and chokes away in the corner. #2 loads up the mask and headbutts Valiant to escape, then drops a knee for two as it’s OBVIOUS who is under the mask here. He might as well have a big “H” on his boots. Running powerslam gets two and the ref is bumped on the kickout, which allows Paul Jones to take down Dusty, but Assassin runs into the cowbell by mistake and Valiant drops the elbow and pins him at 6:59. And to the shock of no one, we reveal the face of good old Ray “Hercules” Hernandez under the hood. But hey, there was no screwjob here, they promised someone either gets a haircut or unmasked, and they delivered. **
This was a fun slice of Mid-Atlantic supercard and I’m sorry I didn’t review it sooner! Give this one a watch.