The SmarK Rant for World Championship Wrestling – 02.21.87
One of my Patrons requested more classic JCP episodes of World Championship Wrestling, so let’s pick things up again in 1987 where we left off last time.
Hopefully I can carry on after having the illusion of the stunt granny shattered earlier in the day.
Taped from Atlanta, GA
Your host is Tony Schiavone, going solo (SOLO!)
We join things with Ronnie Garvin getting loaded into a car after something bad happened on February 14 in Charlotte, and notably Jimmy Garvin is helping him.
Jimmy Valiant v. Thunderfoot #2
Yes, our thoughts and prayers are with Hands of Stone Ron Garvin for whatever horrible tragedy we’ll learn about later, but first it’s BOOGIE WOOGIE MAN JIMMY VALIANT to lighten the mood. You can’t grieve forever. Valiant gives Thunderfoot a thumb to the throat and dedicates it to Tony, declaring that “WE IN LOVE, BABY!” while working the arm. I thought Valentine’s Day was last week? Jimmy goes to a neck vice and asks Tony if he wants to see “what this ugly guy looks like” and then offers Tony “one more kiss” and gives him another thumb in the throat before biting on the fingers. Obviously Tony doesn’t need a color commentator when Jimmy Valiant is in the same arena. So the crowd starts chanting “We want the mask!” and Jimmy turns the mask around so the poor guy can’t see, and then follows with a sleeper while loudly declaring his love for Tony. The crowd still really wants the mask, so Jimmy puts him in a nerve hold while clarifying for Tony that he can “beat him like a red-headed stepchild”. Maybe if more people gave their red-headed stepchildren a proper beating, the country wouldn’t be in the state it is. And indeed he finishes with the elbow at 4:21. What a fun squash.
And then the crowd chants “Give Tony some sugar” and Jimmy promises some smooching later before doing his promo. He lets us know that he’s going home to Gainesville and he’s going to hibernate and squat 500 pounds, only 12 or 13 times because his mama didn’t raise a BRAGGART. And then he’s going to find a partner, win the Crockett Cup, and give his proceeds to the homeless and needy people on the street. “Now you want me to kiss Tony, right?” “Um, WE GOTTA GO! WE’LL BE RIGHT BACK!” Well played, Tony.
Rick Rude & Manny Fernandez join us, and Paul Jones is still sure they’ll be seeded #1 in the Crockett Cup. I love that Jones keeps calling it “The Memorial Cup” and even Rude gets all twisted up as a result and then talks about “a thousand dollars” for the winner before Manny corrects him. And then Manny is so badass that he quotes Bon Jovi’s “Raise Your Hands”, but then I guess I’m equally lame for knowing that. BUT I OWN IT. And I’ve paid money to see them. They never do that one anymore, though.
Brad Armstrong v. Larry Stevens
Brad takes him down and works the arm with a hammerlock on the mat, as Tony notes that Brad is a technician because he works the arm until he wears you down and then finishes you off with a neckbreaker. I’m not sure I agree 100% with your detective work there, Lou. Perhaps working the NECK would be the correct call. Stevens makes the ropes to escape the deadly armbars and then takes Brad down with his own armbar, but Brad’s ARM is STRONG and easily reverses before hitting him with a nice floatover suplex for two. So we’re back to the arm as Tony congratulates the Martins on being married for 56 years, ever since 1931, when Joe Biden was a mere junior senator. Brad works a hammerlock on the mat while Tony is still talking about what happened to Ron Garvin WITHOUT EVER TELLING US WHAT IT IS. Show me the money! SHOW ME THE MONEY! Brad finishes with the Russian legsweep at 6:05. That would be the “neckbreaker” referred to by Tony, by the way.
The Rock N Roll Express join us and we FINALLY clarify that Jim Cornette threw fire at Ron Garvin and that’s the horrible incident. Big deal, we’ve seen people getting fireballs thrown at them for, like, the past month on RAW. Bray Wyatt got burned to a crisp! Maybe Ron Garvin needs to man up a little bit and get over it. Anyway, Ricky Morton thinks the NWA World tag team titles rightfully belong to them, because of all the interference and such that’s always happening, so CAGE MATCHES will be happening. And Ricky Morton’s coke bill must be astronomical this week.
Meanwhile, in Charlotte last week, Jim Cornette had been saying for weeks that the Midnight Express would soon be hurting Ron Garvin, and now he’s delivered. So we take you back to NWA Pro, I’m assuming, as Barry Windham & Ron Garvin challenge the Midnight Express for the US tag titles (or the other way around, I forget) and we pick it up with Barry taking a pretty epic shitkicking. Garvin gets the hot tag and knocks out Condrey, but Bobby saves and the ref is bumped, allowing Cornette to come in and throw a fireball right in the face. Kudos to Ron, he took that one like a real man. And all the babyfaces rush in to help him, and Jimmy Garvin comes in to help his “brother”, and that’s the babyface turn. I’d never actually seen it, to be honest. I just remember one week on Worldwide at the time, Jimmy showed up and was friends with Ronnie and I never really got why.
Bob & Brad Armstrong clarify that Garvin & Windham are still the US tag team champs and the Midnights didn’t win them. That’s right, I forgot the Condrey & Eaton version of the team never won those belts. Anyway, Bob thinks they should have burned Garvin’s legs off because he’ll be back. How many f------ fireballs would you have to throw to burn his legs off? Never mind that even if you get through one of them, Ronnie would have been able to use his other leg to at least kick the fireball out of your hand. What a stupid plan.
Meanwhile, back in Charlotte, Jimmy Garvin leaves his brother and charges into the heel locker room, threatening to kill Jim Cornette, but the babyfaces pull him off and get him to go with his brother instead and take him to the hospital. For those who don’t know, in reality Ron was Jimmy’s stepfather but they were brothers in kayfabe.
Meanwhile, Jimmy Garvin returns to the studio and updates us on Ron’s condition, as he’s got burns on his face. No s---. Thanks for that update, Dr. Garvin. Anyway, Jimmy is very broken up about this and wishes that he would have been the one to take the fireball because he’s the one who always breaks the rules. DON’T SAY THAT, JIMMY! You’re much too good-looking for that. Ron was already fighting a losing battle there anyway. So now the smiling Gorgeous Jimmy is gone, and he’s coming after the Midnight Express to avenge his brother because he doesn’t know if Ronnie is coming back. Amazingly, this WENT SOMEWHERE and it was pretty famous.
Dick Murdoch, Ivan Koloff & Vladimir Petrov v. David Isley, Tommy Angel & Ron Sullivan
The crowd lets Murdoch know that he’s a traitor and Murdoch is all about it, taking time to go personally yell at the front row about it. Isley gets the hell beat out of him and then Uncle Ivan hauls in Tommy Angel and slams him. Petrov comes in and throws Angel around he’s just got no finesse and can’t control him at all. Get this f----- out of there before he hurts the guy. So Murdoch comes in and slams Angel on the concrete and that was probably a relief after dealing with Petrov. Over to Sullivan and Ivan drops elbows on him, before Petrov hits his version of the Sickle and then Murdoch finishes him off with an elbow at 3:49. Petrov was so f------ terrible and was blown up after a 3 minute squash. However, Ivan Koloff & Dick Murdoch as the Dark Superpowers is actually a badass idea. And then they do the post-match promo, where Murdoch calls out Dusty Rhodes again, and he thinks that maybe the Russians ain’t so bad after all compared to the way that Dusty treated him. Also, the Rock N Roll Express, or “PUNKY AND HOOT” as he calls them, should stay the hell out of his business. GODDAMN. And then they’re gonna win the Crockett Cup and PARTY LIKE A REDNECK, listening to Hank Williams Jr and drinking beer in Texas. And then he tells all of the fans to shut the hell up to end it. THIS MAN IS AWESOME. Now here’s a traitor that you can really get behind.
Rick Rude & Manny Fernandez v. Ricky Nelson & Alan Martin
They start demolishing the jobbers, but we gotta take a break! Back with Rude beating on Nelson, and Bull comes in with a flying elbow to finish at 1:04 shown. But before they can beat on the jobbers any more, the Rock N Roll Express, aka PUNKY AND HOOT, make the save and hit them with double dropkicks.
JJ Dillon is here to remind us that EVERYTHING IS FINE with Ole Anderson, even though he’s been absent for a couple of months. But Ole is here and wants to remind everyone that he started the group with Gene and Arn and Flair (WHAT?) and then Gene got replaced by Tully. But no matter how good Luger is, there’s only FOUR Horsemen, so if Luger wants in, someone would have to go. And that’s never going to happen. Because there can’t be FIVE Horsemen. Only four. Well I’m glad he cleared that up.
Tim Horner v. Randy Barber
GODDAMMIT Tony forgot to wish Frank and Grace Krohle of Alabama a happy anniversary earlier! DAMN YOU TO HELL, TONY SCHIAVONE! Horner works the arm just like his hetero life partner Brad Armstrong did earlier in the show, somehow managing to be even more boring. When Tony’s plugging senior citizen wedding anniversaries during your match to fill time, you’re BORING. Barber pounds away on the ropes, but Horner gets a clothesline for two and a suplex for two. Rollup finishes at 3:55. Wow you beat a jobber with a rollup what a hero zzzzzzzzzzzz
The Superpowers join us and Nikita concedes that Murdoch might have a right to be upset. They don’t even like Dick Murdoch in Texas anymore, you see! And Nikita has a surprise for Ivan tonight in Philadelphia. So they were filming this show in the morning in Atlanta and then flying to PHILLY for an evening show and Jim Crockett was wondering why he ended up losing so much money? Anyway, Dusty stands with the brown man and the yellow man and there’s stuff in the news about FREEDOM and Dusty stands with Nikita, and he knows that Murdoch is an EGG SUCKING DOG with a yellow streak down his back, and now Murdoch is calling out AMERICA when he calls out Dusty. And Dusty wraps it up with some Bob Seger quotes to finish things. I’ve heard that you’re not supposed to mess with Texans, so hopefully that strategy on Dusty’s part plays out for him.
Lex Luger joins us now, and JJ is talking him up, because you need YOUTH and now they’ve got it. Lex points out that when you buy a ticket to see Lex, you’re stealing a glimpse of the future. Not a bad promo from Lex early in his run.
Big Bubba v. Kent Glover
The Midnight Express has now stolen the US tag team titles, but don’t have them for real. Bubba Slam finishes at 0:43.
The Midnight Express joins Tony and Jim Crockett does a cameo and suspends Jim Cornette, plus fines the Express $1000 a day until they return the tag titles. Also, when Ron Garvin returns, he’ll get Jim Cornette in a cage match.
Meanwhile, Ron Garvin does a promo from another studio with some quality burn makeup and an eyepatch. He’s still got two good legs, he points out. NOT IF BOB ARMSTRONG HAS ANYTHING TO SAY ABOUT IT! Anyway, Ron admits that, yes, Jimmy is his brother and they don’t always agree and don’t have the same lifestyle. I can relate. But even if he loses his eyesight, he’ll wrestle with one eye and he’ll still beat up Jim Cornette in the cage matches. Shouldn’t they have kept him off TV for a week at least?
The Midnight Express v. Zane Smith & Randy Mulkey
The Express are in no mood and finish right away.
Mike Rotunda joins us, playing humble babyface at this point. He notes that he’s been around wrestling for 5 years at that point. Really? I thought he was born 40 years old. Anyway he’s got nothing going on and he’s basically just like “Yeah, I’m here to say hi to my Florida buddies”. Good talk, Mike.
NWA Junior Heavyweight title: Denny Brown v. Rocky King
Denny works King over while Tony puts over how long his title reign has been thus far. However, within a couple of weeks he would succumb to the most awesome force in Junior Heavyweight history…LAZER-TRON! I literally cannot wait until we get there because you so rarely have the opportunity to make Lazer Tag and turkey jokes at the same time. Like, I can think of only three, more four other times, tops. Rocky makes a comeback with some armdrags and goes to an armbar, then backdrops Brown out of the corner for two. BREAKING NEWS: The Midnight Express have been fined an additional $5000 for shoving Jim Crockett earlier. Ah, so that’s how he’s recouping the travel costs to Philly tonight. Denny takes him down with a butterfly suplex for two and drops a knee for two, but then makes the mistake of ramming Rocky’s head into the turnbuckle and King makes the comeback. Denny tries a powerslam and they manage to f--- THAT up somehow, and then they repeat the spot as we see that Rocky was supposed to reverse the slam into a rollup, but they f--- it up AGAIN, and King manages some kind of ugly rollup before Denny reverses that for the pin at 7:00 and holy s--- this turned into a dumpster fire at the end. *1/2
Superstar Bill Dundee does a promo from another studio where he says “you know what I’m talking about” a million times while throwing out challenges to Dusty Rhodes. Hey how about someone challenge someone OTHER than Dusty Rhodes on this show for a change of pace? Think we can make that happen, guys?
Baron Von Raschke v. Brody Chase
The Baron takes Brody down a couple of times and gives him a hiptoss before going to a chinlock and then finishing him with the IRON CLAW at 1:39. Brody Chase was wasted in this kind of role and should have been the loose cannon partner in an 80s cop show. I wanna say they’d be driving a boat around solving crimes, but I think was basically Riptide. How about a hovercraft? I don’t think we ever had that one.
Tully Blanchard joins us and he’s got no sympathy for Ronnie Garvin. It’s a MAN’S sport and if you can’t handle having an eye burned out, go back to where you came from! And take your brother with you!
Tully Blanchard, Arn Anderson, Ole Anderson & Lex Luger v. Bob Armstrong, Dutch Mantel, Eddie Roberts & Ricky Lee Jones
That’s quite the team opposing the Horsemen this week. Eddie Roberts manages to trap Arn in the babyface corner and they get some shots on him, and then Tully comes in and Ricky Lee gets some shine on HIM as well with a pair of headscissors. But Arn knocks him down, so it’s over to Bullet Bob and he trades armbars with Ole. Dutch comes in and works on Arn, but they let Eddie Roberts in and it’s time for the Horsemen to go to work. Lex puts him down with a back elbow and slams him into the corner, but he manages to escape and get Dutch into the match again. Back to Roberts and Lex kills him with a clothesline before Arn gets the spinebuster. Ole stomps the arm while JJ joins us on commentary and has pretty ominous words for Ole Anderson about youth. Ole finishes Roberts with the flying knee to the shoulder and an armbar at 5:03. And the Horsemen pose to end the show, secure in the knowledge that they’re a united force and EVERYTHING IS FINE. Especially with Ole.
Man we’re getting REALLY close to my wheelhouse of fandom now and I’m loving it.