What if…Ric Flair helped Dusty Rhodes after the cage match?

0 Submitted by on Thu, 27 December 2012, 16:02
 
Text By Simon Rawls

What if…Ric Flair helped Dusty Rhodes after the cage match?

Part 1 

Our story begins on September 29, 1985 at the Omni in Atlanta. Ric Flair has just successfully defended the NWA World Title against Nikita Koloff in a grueling cage match. After the match, Nikita’s Uncle Ivan and Krusher Khrushchev enter the cage and triple team the champion. Dusty Rhodes then storms the cage and makes the save for his longtime rival in a show of American camaraderie. After emptying the cage of Russians, Rhodes focuses his attention on the fallen Flair. Still not trusting of Dusty, Flair points and yells what appear to be disparaging remarks to “the American Dream”. Rhodes is clearly confused, trying to explain to Flair that he was helping him. At this point, the Anderson Brothers [1] enter the cage and attack Dusty.

 

September 29, 1985

 

Flair slowly stands up. He looks right at the Andersons and gives a loud “woo”. “He gives a big grin and tells the Andersons to “hold that fat man for me”. The rugged Minnesotans happily oblige. Flair then charges to hit Dusty with a punch… and at the last second, to the crowd’s ecstatic cheers, “The Nature Boy” slugs Ole Anderson instead. Arn’s jaw drops to the mat. A second later he regains his senses and attacks Flair, who blocks his punch and hits one of his own. Seconds later the two are going at it. Ole recovers and is about to hit Flair with a double fist smash. But Dusty Rhodes has regained his equilibrium, swings Ole around, and nails him with a bionic elbow. The two former rivals are now working hand and hand against the Andersons. In just a little over a minute, the Norsemen realize that today is not there day and retreat from the cage. Dusty and Flair stare at each other for several seconds. Flair finally offers “The Dream” his hand and after a second, Dusty accepts. Rhodes smiles and Flair give off an even louder “woo” than before”.

 

September-November 1985

 

The new alliance between Flair and Rhodes, two long-time rivals, sends shockwaves throughout the National Wrestling Alliance. The promotion’s top two stars now on the same side. What would be the implications? From Mid-Atlantic Championship Wrestling to World Wide, to Jim Crockett Promotions (JCP) flagship show, World Championship Wrestling, speculation is abound as the clip of the incident runs over and over and is continually discussed by announcers, wrestlers and fans alike. Finally on World Championship Wrestling, the two come out for an interview with David Crockett and Tony Schiavone along with Rhodes’ “America’s Team” tag team partner, Magnum T.A.

 

The fans cheer loudly as the three favorites make there way down the announce area. All are smiling wide. David Crockett proclaims “Dusty, Magnum … Nature Boy … I’d never thought I’d see this day. How did it happen?” “Well David Crockett” Ric Flair responds, “I’ll be honest with you. When I first saw Dusty Rhodes in the cage, I didn’t know what to think.” Chuckling lightly he continues “You know we have a bit of a past. But when I saw those no good Andersons attack him after he had just saved me… well I just knew what had to be done. And let me tell you, hanging with Dusty and Magnum over the last two weeks …” Flair then starts chuckling again. “What “The Nature Boy’ means to say” Magnum intervenes “is he is still getting used to his new surroundings. I mean Ric is used to limousines, posh nightclubs, French restaurants and caviar. And Dusty and I have been showing him motorcycles, roadhouses, and good old fashioned BBQ.” Putting his hand on Flair’s shoulder and laughing slightly, Magnum continues, “But don’t worry, Ric’s learnin’.” “”Dream’?” Tony Schiavone says, addressing Dusty Rhodes. “Well let me tell you somethin’ Tony Schiavone. The Russians thought they could just walk over Ric Flair, a fellow American, right here in the Omni in Atlanta, Georgia. Well Dusty Rhodes didn’t like that. And then Arn and Ole Anderson, the vultures that they are, thought they could use the opportunity to take me out. But, you see Tony Schiavone, what those two no good yellow bellies didn’t count on is Ric Flair. You see, he may be a bit of a high roller (Flair nods his head) but he is still a stand up kind of man. He is the NWA World’s Champion. And boys, anytime you two want to go back to the woodshed, we ain’t hard to find.” Flair then says “Arn, Ole, Ivan, Nikita, Krusher, anytime you want to take a ride on Space Mountain, just hop in line. Woooo!” The three then leave the interview area with everyone in high spirits, Tony Schiavone and David Crockett smiling as happy as kids when the school bell rings.

 

On the next episode of Mid-Atlantic Championship Wrestling, in the last match, the Andersons successfully defend their National Tag Team Titles, venting their obvious frustration and making short work of Rocky King and the Italian Stallion. Afterwards they go to the podium for an interview with Bob Caudle and Tony Schiavone. “Arn, Ole” Caudle begins, “Everyone has been asking, what were the two of you thinking, attacking Dusty Rhodes after he had just saved Ric Flair from the Russians?” “First off” Ole begins, “I want to publicly apologize to Arn right now.” Arn shakes his head “No Ole, don’t do …” “No. I have to” “The Rock” responds. “You see, I was under the impression that Ric Flair was finally starting to get his head straight. I mean he had just beaten Nikita Koloff- barely- but that’s besides the point. And when I saw Rhodes in that cage and I knew Arn and I had to take our chances and take that fat loudmouth out once and for all. I never thought Ric Flair, who has never done a selfless thing in his life, would rain on our parade. But… that’s exactly what did happen. And Ric, let me let you in on something: We’re NOT the Russians. And when we’re done with you, there ain’t going to be nothing left. But Arn, I should’ve known better. You see, Ric Flair has been a thorn in our family’s side now for a long time now. He used to spend his time tormenting me and our older brother, Gene. And now, he’s continuing the tradition. In fact, you in the back roll that tape I brought you earlier.” Sure enough a tape plays showing Ric Flair confronting Gene Anderson.[2] After the clip ends, the camera returns to the TV studio. Arn and Ole are both bloody and laid out, the podium has been overturned and Bob Caudle and Tony Schiavone are both speechless with eggs on their faces as the show ends.

 

Wrestling fans everywhere are asking “What happened while the Gene Anderson-Ric Flair video was running?” Only fans live and in attendance and those they talked to know and that number is only a micro portion of fans of Jim Crockett Promotions in America and around the world. Finally on World Championship Wrestling, David Crockett and Tony Schiavone, both hyped up address the issue. “Fans,” Crockett begins “I know everyone has been asking what happened to the Andersons at the end of Mid-Atlantic Championship Wrestling, and folks let me tell you, it was a shocker. Let’s roll the footage.” The footage then airs, starting right when the clip went to the vintage footage. Immediately after that, the Russians stormed the ringside area and blindsided the Andersons, Nikita using the chain as a weapon. For almost two minutes they beat the unsuspecting Andersons senseless, ending with Krusher slamming the announcer’s podium on Ole. World Championship Wrestling then resumes. “Now folks you just now saw what happened.” Tony Schiavone explains. “And a little later on the Russians are wrestling and then we will hear their explanation.”

 

After a few matches, Krusher Khrushchev and Nikita Koloff wrestle Sam Houston and Brady Boone with Ivan Koloff in their corner. The young American duo tries their best, but they are quickly bested by the larger more experienced Russians (and having Ivan interfere on their behalf a couple of times doesn’t hurt either). As soon as the match ends with a Nikita Russian sickle to Boone, followed by a quick pin, the three make their way to the interview podium. “Ivan, Nikita, Krusher” David Crockett begins, “Everyone is waiting for an explanation for your actions on World Wide. “Mr. David Crockett,” Ivan Koloff begins, “the explanation is simple. “You Americans are weak- weak and divided. And the Andersons are two stupid Americans like the rest of you. They thought they could come out and run their mouths about me, nephew Nikita and comrade Krusher? Well, they were wrong! And they learned the hard way, right Nikita?” “Andersons you think Russians can no get the job done? Well look at this.” Nikita says in a very deep voice, pointing to a NWA World Tag Team Title belt that he and Ivan have just won from the Rock ‘n’ Roll Express. “We are the World Tag Team Champions, and the World Six Man Tag Team Champions. Soon I will beat Ric Flair and become the World Heavyweight Champion!” Krusher then says, “You Americans never learn, do you? No, you don’t. Thing is, we don’t care who we have to destroy to take the gold. In fact Andersons, we’re going to add the National Tag Team Titles to go along with the World Titles. And next week, I’m going to take the U.S. Title from another weak American, Tully Blanchard.” The interview concludes with the three Russians all laughing in a low yet eerie tone.

 

A week passes and it is time for the U.S. Title match. Khrushchev comes to the ring first accompanied by Ivan. Then Tully Blanchard, as arrogant as ever, comes to the ring with his valet, Baby Doll. Blanchard wisely keeps his distance from the Soviets until the bell rings and he and Krusher lock up. The two go at it for several minutes, neither giving an inch. At separate times, Ivan and Baby Doll both try to interfere (neither strangers to that art) but both times referee Tommy Young turns his head before they can complete the task. Krusher eventually gains the advantage and beats Tully down. He then whips the champion across the ropes and goes for the Russian sickle, but Tully ducks and running across the ropes hits a clothesline. He then puts Krusher in his patented slingshot suplex and goes for the pin. But before he can get 3, Ivan runs in and interferes, causing the disqualification. Baby Doll immediately runs in and pulls Ivan off her man. Incensed an American woman would put her hands on him, Ivan turns an evil glare towards Baby Doll. Nikita then enters the ring and the three Russians all eye Baby Doll. But before they know what hit them, the Andersons charge the ring and attack the Russians, looking for some payback. Tully Blanchard joins the fray and the six men go at it. Eventually the three American heels clear the ring. Arn and Ole both shake hands with Tully and raise each others hands to celebrate the forming of a new alliance.

 

On the next World Championship Wrestling, some of the matches for the upcoming annual Thanksgiving extravaganza, Starrcade, are announced. In a title vs. title match, the Koloffs will defend their World Tag Team Championships against the Minnesota Wrecking Crew who will put their National Tag Team Titles on the line. Additionally, the Rock “n’ Roll Express will be in the match. It will be Texas Tornado rules, with one fall. Only the team that loses will lose their title if any. In a rematch for the U.S. Title, Tully Blanchard will defend his title against rival and former champion Magnum T.A. in an “I Quit” cage match, which cannot end until one of the contestants says “I Quit” into the microphone. Dusty Rhodes is booked to defend the World Television Championship against Krusher Khrushchev. And in a historic moment, Ric Flair is booked to defend his NWA World Championship … in a title vs. title match versus AWA World Heavyweight Champion Rick Martel! [3]

 

The star-studded card, which is announced will take place in both the Omni in Atlanta, Georgia and the Coliseum in Greensboro, North Carolina, sends the entire wrestling world, north and south, abuzz. For the first time in over 25 years, the rift between the NWA and AWA could finally be at least partially mended in the form of one unified World Heavyweight Champion. And the stacked undercard is guaranteeing Starrcade 85, appropriately billed “The Gathering”, will be a night to remember.

 

The reaction to the card is immediate. Tully Blanchard, Baby Doll and their new allies, the Andersons, are the first to comment in an interview on that episode of World Championship Wrestling. “You know this is just what the doctor ordered.” Tully gloats. “I mean does Magnum T.A. think I am afraid of him? Or that I would ever quit to the likes of him? Guess again, Magnum. Come Starrcade in Greensboro, I’m taking you out once and for all. And then, Ric Flair … or Rick Martel, it doesn’t matter to me … after Starrcade, I’m coming for the World’s Titles. Get ready.” Arn then chimes in. “Koloffs, Rock “n’ Roll Express, the match we have is going to be unprecedented. Three teams, two titles-both on the line. No rules. First pinfall counts. Look for the Andersons to take all the gold.” “That’s right.” says Ole. And when the three of us, with this lovely woman (Baby Doll grins widely at this flattery) walk that aisle with both our National and the World Tag Team Titles, just watch out.” “Well Ole, Arn, we have some news for you and all the fans” David Crockett says with a gleaming smile. “What’s that, Crockett?” Ole responds. “Well next week, right here at the Omni, you’re going to meet Robert Gibson, Arn there is going to face Ivan Koloff and Ricky Morton is wrestling Nikita  Koloff. A build up to the big night.” “That’s fine.” Arn says. “They may not make it to Greensboro”. This statement causes laughter amongst his group. “Wait, wait, Arn. Your confused.” Arn gives Crockett a puzzled look. “Tully is wrestling in Greensboro … but you and Ole will be in Atlanta! This announcement causes a huge pop from the crowd, but has the three new allies livid. “What do you mean, Atlanta? We’re not going to be separated!” Ole angrily shouts. “Oh yes you are.” David Crockett responds. “I am going to see your no good brother right now!” Ole shouts. “Come on!”

 

Next week on World Championship Wrestling, it is announced at the beginning of the show that there would be more NWA/AWA interpromotional matches as well as an AWA intrapromotional match. Additionally, both Ric Flair and Rick Martel will be on the air the next week to give interviews.

 

The first of the three buildup matches has Ole Anderson facing Robert Gibson. Arn accompanies Ole and Morton comes with Gibson. Referee Teddy Long, however, sends both men back to the dressing room. The two go at it, Ole relying more on roughhousing and traditional pro wrestling and Gibson using more highflying tactics. Ole was able to take advantage with a thumb to the eye, ignoring Teddy Long’s warnings. He puts Gibson in an armbar, but the young rock “n’ roller is able to reach the ropes, causing a break. Ole tries a cheapshot, but Gibson blocks it and turns up the heat with a punch of his own. He then follows up with a hip toss and a couple of dropkicks. He goes for a third, but Ole moves out the way. Ole, still groggy, whips Gibson across the ropes for a lariat, but Gibson responds with a flying cross body press and is able to keep Ole down for three. Robert Gibson promptly exits leaving a not happy “Rock” to gripe about his loss.

 

The next match in the series has Arn Anderson facing Ivan Koloff. Both hard-hitting excellent match technicians, they put on an excellent fight, repeatedly exchanging the advantage, occasionally helped with a low blow or rake to the eyes. Having Arn weakened, Ivan goes for the Russian Sickle, but Arn is able to duck it and turn it in to a spinebuster for a victory.

 

The final match is Nikita Koloff against Ricky Morton. Morton throws every highflying tactic he has against the big Russian, and dodges every blow he can. But the large “Russian Nightmare” proves too much a challenge on this day. And after wearing down the much smaller Morton, he nails the Russian sickle and gets the pinfall, evening the count to one victory per team.

 

The day of the two big interviews arrives. Ric Flair is first. “The NWA World Champion, “The Nature Boy’ Ric Flair” Tony Schiavone proudly announces. “Ric,” David Crockett says, “give us your thoughts on your upcoming unification match with AWA Champion Rick Martel.” “Well David Crockett, as you well know, I travel the whole world defending this” Flair says while patting the NWA belt. “And I am known this whole wide world over as world’s champion. THE World’s Champion. The best. But, low and behold, there is another man who claims that very crown. And David, he is good. He’s damn good. Athletes finer than Rick Martel are few and far between. And that belt he holds … well it speaks volumes. But NO title is more respected than the NWA World Heavyweight Title. And come November 28, I am going to do it proud and show the whole just who is the Real World’s Heavyweight Champion. Wooooo!”

 

A few segments later, the moment all have been anticipating arrives. “Ladies and gentlemen” David Crockett says, “Please welcome the AWA World Heavyweight Wrestling Champion, Rick Martel!” Mostly cheers (and a few boos) are heard as Rick Martel makes his way to the interview podium. “Thank you. Thank you, Atlanta.” Martel says. “Welcome champ.” says Tony Schiavone who offers Martel his hand. Martel shakes it and David Crockett follows suit. “Now, in just a few weeks, I am going to get the chance of a lifetime. I will be meeting the most recognizable wrestler with the most recognizable title … yes I admit it. BUT, on that day, I will prove that the AWA and its World Title are equal to the NWA World Title. Additionally, I will become the NW…” The interview is interrupted by the appearance of the Andersons and Tully Blanchard. “Hold on now.” Tully says. “Just who do you think you are? Some of us have been waiting in line for years for a NWA World Title shot and you just walk in here and think you deserve one?” “I do deserve one Blanchard. Look at this.” Martel says, pointing to his belt. “Wait a second, boy” Ole responds. “Don’t flash that trinket here. That belt is worthless here.” “Trinket?” Martel angrily responds. “I show you what a trinket it is. Just come a little closer.” The three approach Martel, only to have Ric Flair come from behind and waylay Ole. Seconds later the two World Champions are fighting three opponents side by side. The fighting eventually spills into the ring. After a few minutes of intense fighting, Flair and Martel clear the ring. The two stare at each other for several seconds, then shake hands. There is then a commercial break.

 

When World Championship Wrestling returns on the air, Flair and Martel are back at the announce podium. “Jim Crockett,” Flair shouts, “if you can hear me, I want you here right now! Me and Martel demand a tag match next week against any two of those buffoons. Hell, we’ll take on all three of “em. We don’t care!” Seconds later, Jim Crockett Promotions president, Jim Crockett, Jr. appears. “Ric, Rick” he says, “next week, I have booked a tag match between the two of you against Arn Anderson and Tully Blanchard.” “Good, Mr. Crockett” Martel says. “And in seven short days, I am going to show Arn and Tully just what the AWA is made of!” The show then ends with the two World Champions standing together as one.

 

With Starrcade less than a week away, the NWA is on fire. On the last World Championship Wrestling before the big event, everyone has something to say. The Koloffs won’t stop bragging about how they are going to take the National Tag Team Titles to add to their collection.  Krusher Khrushchev is already calling himself the next World Television Champion. The Andersons swear they are going to capture World gold and pummel those “punk sissies” the Rock “n” Roll Express while they are at it. The Rock “n” Roll Express promise another upset, pointing out that “dynamite does come in small packages.” Both Magnum T.A. and Tully Blanchard vow they will never quit to the other. And Dusty Rhodes promises he’s going to make Krusher Khrushchev wish he had never turned his back on America.  Finally, the much anticipated tag match arrives.

 

Tully and Arn come down to ringside with Baby Doll. Then the two World Champions make their way to the ring. Flair starts off with Arn, not surprisingly without a handshake. The two lock up then push off. They try again. This time Flair puts Arn in a headlock. Anderson pushes Flair away and they run the ropes then collide shoulders, neither budging. The do it again and Flair hits a hip toss. Then another. Blanchard enters the ring and gets a dropkick. Martel then enters and he and Flair clear the ring. Their opponents regroup and Tully is tagged in. He and Flair lock up, then Martel is shortly tagged in. He and Tully go at it, both exchanging harsh words. Martel gets the advantage, but Blanchard is able to make a blind tag to Arn. A sneak attack and a double team gain them the advantage. Flair tries to intervene, but while Tommy Young is sending him back to his corner, the two heels use the time to further beat the AWA Champion down. Arn and Tully get many close counts, proving they are a formidable team, even for their first time together. Tully eventually goes for his slingshot suplex, but Martel is able to reverse it and executes a suplex of his own. Tully is able to tag Arn first, who prevents Martel’s tag to Flair, but an attempted back body drop gets “Double A” a kick to the face. Arn tags a still shaken Tully, but this time Flair is tagged and goes to work to the crowd’s elation. Baby Doll jumps on the ring apron causing Arn to try to intervene. But he gets a Flair low blow for his efforts. Martel then enters the ring and dropkicks Arn out of it. He and Flair then hit Tully with a double suplex and Flair gets the pin. Ole Anderson charges the ring and in seconds the two World Champions are pounding on him. Arn grabs a chair and reenters, but before he can use it Dusty and Magnum T.A. are there to head him off. The Russian trio then storms the ring and attacks all parties. The Rock “n” Roll Express joins the fray and World Championship Wrestling ends in all out donnybrook with David Crockett exclaiming “We’ll see you at Starrcade!”

 

November 28, 1985: Starrcade ’85: The Gathering

 

The big night has finally arrived. Fans the world over are ready for 
“the granddaddy of them all.” A star studded card lines both Atlanta and Greensboro.

 

In Greensboro, Dusty Rhodes sets to defend his World Television Title against Krusher Khrushchev. The two go at it hard from the opening bell, knowing national pride as well as world gold is on the line. There is little technical wrestling involved. After a double clothesline/sickle, both men are knocked out. Krusher is able to get up first and goes for a double arm smash. But Dusty beats him to the punch hitting a punch to the groin and hits several bionic elbows, winding up the last one for several seconds. It knocks the large Russian to the ground. Dusty then drops a final elbow for the victory.

 

The Atlanta fans are given the rare treat of seeing stars of the AWA compete. Greg Gagne wins a great match against Larry Zbyszko with his sleeper. The All-American team of Sgt. Slaughter and Don Kernodle win a grudge match the Warsaw Pact team of Boris Zukhov and Baron Von Raschke. The Midnight Express (with the help of manager Jim Cornette and his loaded tennis racket) beat the Midnight Rockers in a classic tag team encounter, featuring high-flying, fast tags and great technical moves.

 

Atlanta’s semi-main event match, the World/National Tag Team Title Three Way Texas Tornado, tears down the house. All three teams are determined to prove themselves as the NWA’s dominant team. The action, fast-paced and intense, never lets up. Even with Tommy Young, Teddy Long and Randy Anderson all officiating, keeping up with all the close pins and intense actions proves a daunting challenge. All parties take advantage of the no rules stipulation and use chairs, chains (initiated by the Russians though the Andersons and Rock “n’ Roll Express have no problems using them either), the ring bell and anything else they can get their hands on. After over twenty minutes of grueling action, all six men are a bloody mess and are struggling for breath- and to walk. All at once, Ivan hits Arn with a Russian sickle, Ricky Morton dodges a Nikita Koloff turnbuckle splash and Ole hits Robert Gibson with a piledriver. All three men pin their stunned opponents … at the same time! After several minutes of arguing between the wrestlers and referees, the three referees confer and announce the decision. “Ladies and gentleman” ring announcer Tom Miller begins, “the referees have reached a decision. The rules of the match were that the first fall scored would count. As all three falls were at the same time, all were the first fall. Therefore, the Andersons are credited with a victory over the Rock “n’ Roll Express, the Koloffs are credited with a victory over the Andersons and are the new National Tag Team Champions (this announcement causes Ole and Arn’s faces to drop) and the Rock “n’ Roll Express are credited with a victory over the Koloffs … and are the new World Tag Team Champions!” The Koloffs are furious at this last announcement. Ricky and Robert embrace as they are awarded the World Tag Team Titles- now for the second time.

 

Back in Greensboro, Magnum T.A. and Tully Blanchard are set for their epic cage match for the United States Title. The two go at it with pure venom and vigor, neither giving an inch. Many times both demand the microphone and tell his opponent to say the deciding words. Neither man will comply. Tully knocks down referee Earl Hebner, prompting Baby Doll to throw in a wooden chair. Tully breaks the chair, tries to cut Magnum with a sharp broken piece of it, but he blocks it and uses it on Tully’s forehead, causing Tully bleed profusely. Magnum again asks the question and Tully screams “Yes.” and Magnum is given the victory.

 

Finally it is time for the main event in Atlanta. Both World Champions are introduced. NWA President Bob Geigel, AWA President Stanley Blackburn, Jim Crockett Promotions President Jim Crockett Jr. and AWA owner Verne Gagne are also introduced and all shake hands with both wrestlers. Jim Crockett then gets on the microphone and declares that this is a very important historical match and any JCP wrestler who interferes will be stiffly fined and suspended. Stanley Blackburn says the exact same thing regarding his AWA contingency. All parties but referee Tommy Young, Ric Flair and Rick Martel then exit the ring. The bell rings, the two champs shake hands and the match is on. AWA referee Dick Woehrle is assigned as the outside second referee. Flair and Martel have a classic match- one for the ages. Both know what is at stake and neither pulls a punch. They repeatedly trade holds and blows. The fans are solidly behind Flair, though Martel is by no means hated or booed. Martel nearly gets Flair in his Boston crab, but Flair is able to make it to the ropes before it is cinched in. Flair goes for the figure four, but Martel turns it in to a small package for a close two count. “The Nature Boy” hits Martel with a dropkick and sends him into the turnbuckle, inadvertently squashing a poorly positioned Tommy Young, who falls and rolls out of the ring. Dick Woehrle attends to his fellow referee. Seconds later, Flair charges at Martel and the two go flying outside the ring over the top rope. Both hit the floor stunned. After a few moments, they go at it exchanging punches, chops and kicks. Martel slams Flair’s head into the guardrail, causing a storm of boos from the Atlanta crowd. He then throws Ric Flair back into the ring and follows suit. He picks Flair up for a double underhook suplex, but Flair blocks it. Martel attempts it a second time and it is again blocked. Martel releases Flair and goes for a right hand. The NWA Champion ducks, kicks the AWA Champion in the gut and executes a double underhook suplex of his own. He twists his body midair and lands with him having Martel pinned in a reverse nelson. Dick Woehrle dives in the ring and makes the three count. For the first time in over twenty-five years, the NWA and AWA titles are reunited! Flair’s hand is raised in victory. The locker room storms out. Dusty Rhodes, Magnum T.A., Ron Garvin, Jimmy Valiant all congratulate the new unified champion- their champion. Rick Martel proudly shakes Ric Flair’s hand as do all the promoters on hand. The fans in Atlanta eventually leave the Omni after experiencing a night they will never, ever forget.

 

December 1985-Febraury 1986

 

At the opening of the next episode of Word Wide, the camera immediately goes to Jim Crockett, Jr. Mr. Crockett says “On Thanksgiving Night thousands of fans in attendance and all around America saw Starrcade 85. The main event saw the National Wrestling Alliance World Champion, Ric Flair wrestle the American Wrestling Association World Champion, Rick Martel in fantastic match. And at the end of the night, Ric Flair was declared the new, unified World Champion. However, moments before the pin, he knocked Rick Martel over the top rope. AWA referee, Dick Woehrle, who made the pinfall, did not see this as he was attending to an injured Tommy Young. However, Mr. Young did see this, though he was too injured to speak at the time it happened. Mr. Young has indicated had he been capable, he would have called for the disqualification of Ric Flair. Based on this, the result of Starrcade’s main event has been declared null and void. Ric Flair is still the NWA World Champion and Rick Martel is still the AWA World Champion.” [4]

 

Later on in the show, the Minnesota Wrecking Crew wrestle and make minced meat out of the Mulkey Brothers. Afterwards, they further vent their outrage. “Koloffs, Rock “n’ Roll Express, you both have something that belongs to us.” Ole begins. “And when we get our hands on either one of you, watch out.” “”Rock’, as usual you’re 100% right. Whether it’s that old commie and his peanut brain nephew, or those teeny boppers, we don’t care. Just realize that your days as champions are numbered. The Andersons are gunning for you.

 

On World Championship Wrestling, the main event is announced as a World Six Man Tag Team Title defense with the Russians defending their trophy against Dusty Rhodes, Magnum T.A. and Sam Houston. Ric Flair is also set to be interviewed regarding his apparent Starrcade title win and the subsequent reversal. The Rock “n’ Roll Express also have a match against Jim and Mack Jeffers.

 

 In their first appearance since regaining the World Tag Team Title, the Rock “n’ Roll Express make quick work of the Jeffers, winning with their patented double dropkick. They then go to Tony and David for an interview. “Well, boys,” David Crockett says enthusiastically with a huge smile, “it looks like rock “n’ roll is here to stay.” “Mr. Crockett, rock “n’ roll will never die.” Ricky Morton says. “Robert and I proved that at Starrcade. We fought the fight of our lives. And I give both the Andersons and the Koloffs a lot of credit. I may not like them, but they are double tough. And I know we’ll be fighting both of them again real soon. Boys … just come on and bring it!” “Robert?” Crockett says addressing Robert Gibson. “Well I think Ricky just about said it all, except for one thing: We NEVER could have won it at Starrcade without all our great fans!” Gibson says to a huge crowd pop. “Thank you all!”

 

Later on Ric Flair comes down for an interview to loud cheers. “Nature Boy,” David Crockett says, “Welcome.” “Welcome, CHAMP” says a proud Tony Schiavone. “Thank you.” Flair begins. “At Starrcade ’85, Rick Martel and I fought the fight of our lives. It will go down as a classic for the ages. And by God there is not a wrestler in this whole world I respect more than Martel. Not one. After Thanksgiving, I know he is worthy of the title “World’s Champion’. Do I wish I was AWA World’s Champion? Oh yeah! But as my father used to tell me, “son, life ain’t always easy, and it ain’t always fair. You just have to keep…” All of a sudden Tully Blanchard interrupts the interview. “Now just a minute, Flair. You come out here and run your big mouth about how much you respect Martel after he screws you out of the AWA Title? And then you give some boring speech about your daddy that no one wants to hear? Tell you what “Slick’ Ric, why don’t you defend that ten pounds of gold against a real man?” Tully says, ending the last sentence pointing to himself with his thumb. “Well Blanchard, when I see a real man, not a QUITTER, I’ll do just that.” Flair responds. Tully then attacks Flair and the two go at it. Flair gets the best of Tully when the Andersons charge the podium and triple team the World’s Champion. Seconds later, a barrage of Flair’s friends arrive on the scene, but the damage has already been done. The heel trio retreats with Baby Doll while Dusty, Magnum, Sam Houston and the Rock “n’ Roll Express help the fallen champion.

 

At the main event, the Russians come down looking to take care of business, while Dusty, Magnum and Houston are still clearly perturbed by the attack on Flair. Nikita and Magnum start it out. The Russian gets the upper hand and drags Magnum to his corner where a 3 on 1 beatdown occurs. Dusty and Houston try to intervene, only to have Tommy Young make them go back to their corner, causing an even longer triple team. Nikita tags in Krusher and the Russians dominate for a while. But a missed Ivan turnbuckle charge, allows Rhodes to be tagged in. He quickly takes it to Ivan and then to his other two comrades. Sam Houston joins in and prevents a Nikita sneak attack, dropkicking him out the ring. Shortly after, his comrades are cleared as well and the three Americans now stand tall and celebrate. Eventually the Russians regroup. Krusher tries to enter, but Tommy Young insists that Ivan, the legal man, do so. Begrudgingly and after much arguing the Russian leader reenters. Dusty quickly bests him and tags in Sam Houston. The young Texan hits a barrage of dropkicks and hiptosses Ivan. A leg scissors gets a near three count. But, Ivan manages to reach his corner and tags in Nikita. Houston surprises the big Russian with a leg takedown and headlock. Nikita is eventually able to get back on his feet and executes a backdrop suplex. He then tags in Krusher and the Soviets dominate Houston for several minutes. Nikita eventually tries for a Russian sickle, but Houston ducks and hits a flying body press for a near fall. Nikita regroups and tags in his uncle, but Houston makes it to a fresh Magnum who takes control. This brings in Krusher which in consequence brings in Dusty. While Tommy Young tries to regain control, Nikita grabs the chain from his corner. While Young is forcing Dusty back to his corner, he clobbers Magnum with it. Ivan jumps on him, and when Young turns around, the Russians get the pin.

 

At this point, the heat amongst the various factions of JCP wrestlers is at an all-time high, and that is saying something. On Mid-Atlantic Championship Wrestling, The Andersons and Tully fight the Russians in a match for the World Six Man Tag Team Titles. It is a rough and tumble encounter, with both teams bending the rules at every opportunity. Arn hits a gourd buster on Ivan and is able to get the pin and the Six Man trophy, but the celebration is short lived as Ric Flair runs in with a chair and starts pounding the Andersons (and takes a couple of swings at the Koloffs for good measure). Immediately after this, a World Six Man Title match is signed for World Championship Wrestling, pitting The Andersons and Tully Blanchard vs. America’s Team and Ric Flair.

 

When match time comes, both teams are super focused. Magnum and Arn start out and neither gives an inch. But the faces are able to take control and clear the ring. The heels call a “time out” (which Earl Hebner informs them is not valid) and regroup. They eventually reenter the match and are able to take control, getting the better of Ric Flair. But, a kick to Ole’s face after an attempted back body drop allows Magnum to be tagged in. Fresh and hungry, Magnum clotheslines the now legal Blanchard, then slugs the Wrecking Crew for good measure. This draws them, and then Dusty in. Seconds later, Baby Doll jumps on the ring apron and starts arguing with Earl Hebner … when all of a sudden Ric Flair goes over and grabs her, and starts forcibly kissing her. This enrages Tully Blanchard, who charges at Flair … who moves out the way and causes Tully to run into Baby Doll. A stunned Tully is then hit with Magnum’s belly to belly suplex and the faces get the win and the Six Man Championship.

 

Shortly after this on World Wide, a distraught Tully, along with Ole and Arn Anderson, comes out for an interview. Tully, looking like he’s about to cry, starts off. “Flair, you dare to put your hands on my woman? And then you cause me to charge and hurt her? And cost me and the Andersons our World Six Man Championship trophy that we worked so hard far?” Shaking his head he says “Well laugh now, because it won’t last long.” “Flair, Rhodes, Magnum T.A.” Ole Anderson says. “You think you’re so smart. Well knocking around a woman is one thing, but knocking us around is a whole nother ball game. That being said, Baby Doll is going to need a little time to heal. And while she did a great job watching our backs, this is a man’s business and believe me, it can get ugly. But Arn, Tully and myself did a lot of talking. And we got in touch with a man- a brilliant strategist. And he will not be knocked around by the likes of Dusty Rhodes, Ric Flair or Magnum T.A.” “Who are you talking about?” asks David Crockett. “Folks,” Arn Anderson says “Without any further adieu, Mr. J.J. Dillon!” The well known, equally hated manager arrogantly strolls to the interview podium. “Thank you, Arn, Ole, Tully.” Dillon says patting a still distraught Tully on the shoulder. “You know, it sickens me how some men, the likes of Ric Flair, think just because they have a little money and some small fame that they can push a woman around. Well Flair, I know your type. And you do not impress me. Not one bit. We’ve had run-ins before, but with these three superior wrestlers, well better hold that belt tight, because it will not be yours very much longer. Nikita may have failed, Rick Martel may have failed, your fat friend Dusty Rhodes may have failed, but failure is not a part of my lexicon. Let’s go boys.”

 

Dillon and his new charges do not wait long to seek revenge. Over the next couple of weeks, they attack Sam Houston, Ronnie Garvin and “Chief” Wahoo McDaniel while they are in singles matches, beating them mercilessly. In a tag match on World Wide, Garvin and McDaniel reciprocated the favor, getting the best of the Andersons while they are wrestling Tony Zane and Denny Brown. The circle of violence goes unabated with grudge matches and outside attacks becoming a constant. On World Wide, the Andersons get a rematch for the National Tag Team Titles against Nikita Koloff and Krusher Khrushchev [5] with Ivan in their corner. As usual, it is a rough and tumble encounter with no love lost between either team. Momentum swings back in forth until finally all four men are in the ring together. J.J. jumps on the apron which brings Earl Hebner … and Ivan Koloff over. Ivan pulls J.J. down and the two get in each others faces. While this is happening and Hebner is arguing with them, Tully runs down to ringside. Nikita is running with Arn to the ropes to set him up for a roll-up. Tully clocks Nikita as Arn ducks, which allows “Double A” to pin “The Russian Nightmare” and regain the National Tag Team Title.

 

It is announced on all of JCP’s programs that in a few weeks, a prime-time special, Superstars on the Superstation , will be airing. Top grudge matches and title defenses are all going to be on the card. On World Championship Wrestling, it is announced that the Andersons would get a shot at the World Tag Team Titles. Tully Blanchard would also be meeting Ron Garvin in a taped-fist match. Other matches are soon added. Ivan Koloff, a former World Champion himself, is given a shot against Ric Flair. Krusher Khrushchev is given another shot for the World Television Title against Dusty Rhodes. The Barbarian, managed by the devious Paul Jones, is given a U.S. Title shot against Magnum T.A. The Midnight Express will meet the Road Warriors, the winner getting a shot at the World Tag Team Title in the near future.

 

On World Wide, The Barbarian, along with his sadistic manager, Paul Jones, is given a chance to show his stuff against San Houston. Houston gives it everything he has, but is unable to make a dent against the massive Barbarian. At one point, Barbarian catches Houston after an attempted flying body press and repeatedly presses him over his head until finally gorilla slamming him. Houston is able to capitalize on a missed boot and stuns The Barbarian with a clothesline. He then hits him with a bulldog headlock. Pee Wee Anderson counts to 2, but The Barbarian throws Houston off him and goes back on the attack. Houston fights back, but in the end, after a devastating shoulder block and body slam, The Barbarian nails a top rope diving head butt for the win. While Barbarian’s hand is raised, Jones looks at the camera and says “You’re looking at the next U.S. Champion.”

 

Wrestling the Mulkey Brothers the last World Championship Wrestling before the Friday Night prime-time special, the Midnight Express give what that they say is a sneak preview to Superstars on the Superstation. Introducing them before the match, Jim Cornette proudly says “Gentlemen, meet the men who you’re wives want, ladies meet the men you want and everyone meet “Beautiful’ Bobby and “Loverboy’ Dennis- The Midnight Express!” Their theme music, from the movie of the same name as their team, plays and they make short work of Randy and Bill.

 

Later on, the Road Warriors wrestle Thunderfoot and George South. Not wasting time, the Warriors storm the ring and dismantle their smaller, lesser skilled opponents. After knocking South down with a hard shoulder block, then tossing him out the ring between the second and top ropes Animal signals for Hawk to climb to the top rope. Hawk does as Animal puts Thunderfoot on his shoulders for the Doomsday Device. Three seconds later and it is over. Afterwards, they and their manager go to the interview podium. “Mr. Ellering, Hawk, Animal” Tony Schiavone says “you have a big match coming up.” Ellering starts. “Big match is right, Tony Schiavone. Jim Cornette says his men are the next World Tag Team Champions. Well right here (pointing to his boys) are the next World Tag Team Champions. Animal.” “Paul, you just said it. Come Friday night, we’re going to tear the Midnight Express limb from limb. They may last longer than these two saps we just beat, but not by much. Tell “em Hawk.” “Well,” Hawk says. “Look at them and look at us. Who would you be more afraid of David Crockett?” “Oh you, absolutely!” Crockett responds. “That’s right!” says Hawk. “And Jim Cornette, get any cute ideas and Paul here will tear you limb from limb!” At this the LOD leaves to the crowd’s cheer and the interview concludes.

 

Everyone else is pumped for the prime-time special. The Andersons swear that their moment will finally come. Ron Garvin says he will “shut that punk Tully Blanchard up for good.” Dusty Rhodes swears “Those no good Russians ain’t getting mine or “The Nature Boy’s’ title.”

 

February 2, 1986: Superstars on the Superstation

 

At the Omni, the prime-time special opens with a clip of Magnum T.A. coming into the arena on his motorcycle with Willie Nelson’s “Georgia on a Fast Train” playing in the background. Nelson was also featured in an interview with Dusty Rhodes while filming his TV show, “Stagecoach” and Magnum is seen talking to racecar driver Benny Bartens. Truly a star studded night.

 

Dusty and Krusher start things off with the World Television Title defense. Dusty taunts Krusher, calling him a “no good traitor” which causes Krusher to foolishly charge Dusty, an act that earns him several bionic elbows. Dusty takes advantage for several minutes, until a low blow turns the tide. After a while, Dusty is able to hip toss his way out of an abdominal stretch and start kicking away at Krusher. He sets the big Russian up for a bulldog, but Khrushchev is able to push out of it and throw Dusty into the opposing turnbuckle. Dusty runs into the turnbuckle, momentum pushes him backwards and he and Krusher bump heads. Teddy Long starts a ten count, which Krusher beats at eight. He then goes after Dusty, who blocks a punch and goes for the elbow, which Krusher blocks. Khrushchev then rakes Dusty’s eyes, bodyslams him and goes for the pin. Krusher puts his feet on the ropes for leverage, but Teddy Long misses it. Krusher gets the three count and wins the Television Title, much to the crowd’s and Dusty Rhodes’s chagrin.

 

Next, The Legion of Doom, the Road Warriors meet The Midnight Express. The Midnights come to the ring first, looking ready to fight. When the Road Warriors music hits, the two painted warriors storm the ring. Knowing discretion is the better part of valor, Eaton and Condrey hightail it to the floor to calm the mood down. They finally reenter the ring when Tommy Young sends the LOD to their corner. Animal and Eaton start out. The Warriors use their intense hard-hitting power and aerial ability against the Express’s scientific moves, dirty tactics and high flying skills. The Road Warriors dominate most of the match, with occasional spurts of control by the Midnight Express. After a period of Midnight control, Animal manages to tag in Hawk after stunning Bobby Eaton with a clothesline. The more muscular Warrior clears house on both Eaton and the now legal Condrey. Animal quickly joins in the fray. Trying to restore order, Tommy Young demands Animal return to his corner. This prompts Jim Cornette to throw his loaded tennis racket in the ring to Condrey. However, Hawk intercepts it and nails “Loverboy” and “Beautiful” Bobby with it as Paul Ellering chases the momma’s boy Cornette back to the dressing room. But before Hawk can get rid of the racket, Tommy Young turns around and calls for the DQ, giving The Midnight Express a very tainted win.

 

Magnum and The Barbarian go at it next. The bigger Barbarian tries to overcome the smaller champion with his sheer power, but Magnum, no stranger to fighting power wrestlers, will not budge. He stands his ground using speed and technical ability to take it to the challenger. As Magnum forges ahead, Paul Jones climbs the ring apron- only for Magnum to punch him down. The Barbarian then charges him, but Magnum meets him with a back body drop. Magnum then hits the belly to belly suplex and retains the United States Championship.

 

The next match is for the World Tag Team Title. The Rock “n’ Roll Express use all their teamwork and highflying to keep the Andersons at bay. A missed Gibson dropkick however, allows the Andersons to gain advantage. They focus on the right arm of Gibson (an Anderson trait) in an attempt to injure or force submission. Gibson though, will not give them that satisfaction. After reversing an Arn Irish whip and connecting with a clothesline, Gibson falls to the mat. With the crowd cheering on, Arn tags Ole … but Gibson tags in Ricky Morton who promptly cleans house. J.J. Dillon removes a steel tipped loafer from his foot and throws it to Arn. Dillon then jumps on the apron and distracts Earl Hebner. Ricky runs Ole into the ropes setting up for a rollup, but Arn runs toward them and whacks Morton on the head. This allows Ole to reverse it for a rollup of his own. Hebner then seeing the pin, moves for the count. Arn prevents a Gibson save and the Andersons win the World Tag Titles to go along with their National straps.

 

At intermission, a session runs where Jim Crockett Jr. and Magnum T.A. are talking and announce that there will be an upcoming tournament; the first annual Jim Crockett Sr. Memorial Cup Tag Team Tournament. It will be sponsored by Jim Crockett Promotions and will also have competitors from Mid-South Wrestling and all over the world.  A clip is shown showing Joel Watts, Mid-South owner Bill Watt’s son, speaking to Bob Johnson, the executive vice president of the Louisiana Superdome in New Orleans, where the event will be held.

 

Ron Garvin and Tully Blanchard have their taped fist match. It is predictably more a street fight than a wrestling match. The rules favor Garvin, “Hands of Stone”, but Tully gives not an inch. Garvin eventually knocks Blanchard down and goes for the cover. Teddy Long reaches two, when J.J. Dillon pulls him out the ring. Tony Schiavone and David Crockett both cry foul as the crowd boos profusely.  Garvin goes outside and slugs Dillon. While this is going on, Baby Doll jumps the guard rail and hands Tully a pair of brass knuckles. She quickly exits. Garvin and Long reenter the ring, but Garvin is totally unaware of Tully’s weapon and is cold cocked and Tully gets the one-two-three. The devious trio of Tully, Dillon and the now returned Baby Doll celebrate in the ring.

 

Moments before the main event, Bob Caudle interviews the three Russians. “Gentleman, you already won one title tonight, do you think you will win another?” Caudle asks. Krusher begins “Oh the Politburo is going to be proud. Very proud! After Ivan wins the World Title tonight, the three of us are hopping a plane to Moscow to be greeted by the premier with full honors. Tonight is our night.” Krusher responds. “Comrade Krusher is right.” Ivan adds. “Tonight, we show average puny Americans just what the superman really is. Tonight I become two-time World Champion. Ric Flair, you have evaded us for too long. No more. Let’s go comrades.”

 

Not being a particular good night for fan favorites, the crowd is really hoping for Flair to come through. Predictably, he does not miss a beat, and wrestles a superb match. But, Ivan a skilled, crafty veteran will not be shown up. “The Russian Bear” knows he can win on the big stage and wants to prove the first time was no fluke. He gets several close two counts, but can’t keep “The Nature Boy” down for three. After a back-breaker, he attempts a knee drop, but Flair moves out the way at the last second. He then grabs Koloff’s legs and drags himself out the ring holding them. He bangs Ivan’s left leg against the ring post, then his right, while Tommy Young threatens him with disqualification. He then climbs back in the ring and hits a back drop. A moment later the figure four is locked in. Already injured, Ivan quickly submits and “The Nature Boy” retains his “10 pounds of gold”.

 



[1]            Arn and Ole are not really related. They have been different relatives depending on the time frame. This article has them as Uncle/Nephew.http://www.ddtdigest.com/anderson/introduc.htm However, a video clip closer to this time frame has Ole referring to Arn as his brotherhttp://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FuWJSid3fC4 (go to 2:20, 4:15 mark) . Based on that, for this story, Ole and Arn are brothers.

[2]            http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l27peN9uWK4

[3]            AWA and NWA/JCP co-promotions were common then. In fact, Flair and Martel really wrestled as partners and against each other in October 1985.http://www.thehistoryofwwe.com/jcp85.htm, Tokyo, Japan – October 21, 1985 NWA World Champion Ric Flair fought AWA World Champion Rick Martel to a double count-out at 34:00 after a crossbody by Flair caused both men to fall over the top to the floor; prior to the bout, the two men shook hands;

[4]            Being that this is Jim Crockett Promotions in late 1985, I had to have one Dusty finish. I promise there will not be another one in this story.

[5]            The Russians defended their tag titles with “Freebird rules”.

 

Part II

 

February-April 1986

 

The effects of the recent supercard are immediately seen on World Championship Wrestling. It is announced that the Midnight Express will be getting their World Tag Team Title shot in one week, giving the fans something to look forward to. Additionally, The Minnesota Wrecking Crew is stripped of the National Tag Team Title due to their victory of the more prestigious World Tag Team Championship. Another announcement is made about the Crockett Cup, promising more details, including teams, rankings and ticket information as the weeks progress. The Andersons make easy work of Bill Tabb and Rocky King, Ole forcing Tabb to submit to an armbar after a good deal of punishment to both he and King. Afterwards they and J.J. Dillon give an interview. “Now” Dillon begins “We can all see that the proof is in the pudding. And here are THE World Tag Team Champions, the Anderson Brothers. We said it, we did it. And we’re going to do it again and again. Watch out.” “Ole,” David Crockett asks, “What about the Midnight Express?” “First off,” Ole begins, “I will say that Jim Cornette is a great manager. The SECOND best in this business (this causes Arn and J.J. to both grin). And the Midnight Express are a great team.” But they will be meeting the most superior fighting force in wrestling- The Minnesota Wrecking Crew. And boys, we will not be pulling any punches.” “Like J.J. and ‘Rock’ just said, we said we were the best and we went and proved it. Rock ‘n’ Roll, you had one helluva run. Hats off to you. But there are new sheriffs in town.” Arn says as he points to himself, his manager and his brother. “And you are looking at them. And Ric Flair, Tully Blanchard told me to tell you, soon he’ll be adding the Word Title to our collection. Let’s go boys.” At this the three left.

 

On World Wide, Tully Blanchard wrestled a tight match with veteran, Nelson Royal. It was largely scientific and clean, in the end Tully wins with his slingshot suplex. Afterwards, he and Baby Doll are interviewed. “I told all of you that I am tougher than Ronnie Garvin “Blanchard says while kissing both his fists. “And I proved it to you. And now, Ric Flair, I am calling you out. I’ve held the Television Title, I’ve held the U.S. Title and I am going to be the next World Heavyweight Champion. ‘Nature Boy’, your days are numbered.” “Ric” Baby Doll says. “You made the mistake of your life kissing me. Now Tully is going to take what you value most. And get close to me again” and now giggling, she says “I may just have you neutered.”

 

The next World Championship Wrestling comes and the Midnight Express v. Minnesota Wrecking Crew has everyone abuzz. Additionally, Ric Flair has a match against Black Bart. Flair, wrestling earlier, beats Bart with no trouble and then interviews with Tony and David. “Champ” David Crockett says, “We’ve all heard Tully’s challenge. What do you say?” “Well David Crockett, first off Baby Doll. Sweety, you know after getting a taste of Space Mountain that you want some more. Neuter, Ric Flair?” Flair chuckling says “I don’t think so! And Tully, you want a piece of me? You want the three times World Champion? ‘Super Brat’ I don’t think you’re ready for Ric Flair. But brother, anytime, you want to put your money where your mouth is, Ric Flair is not a hard man to find. Wooooo!” There you have it” Crockett says. “Ric Flair accepts the challenge!”

 

In the main event, the Midnight Express and the Minnesota Wrecking Crew come down to the ring, both ready for action. What follows is tough, tactical fight. All four men consummate ring tacticians. The Andersons are able to isolate Bobby Eaton and work him over. But Eaton’s skill enables him to dodge a double clothesline and connect with a dropkick to both opponents. He tags in Dennis Condrey who takes it to Arn and Ole. Things are looking good for the Midnights when in rush the Road Warriors to take revenge for their fluke loss. Teddy Long immediately calls for the disqualification as the Andersons head for higher ground, leaving their opponents with an angry LOD. Dennis Condrey is the victim of a vicious Animal powerslam. But he fares better than “Beautiful” Bobby who gets to go up for the Doomsday Device.

 

After the commercial break, the Road Warriors and Paul Ellering are interviewed. “Midnight Express, you should have known not to mess with us!” Hawk begins. “Cornette, you just saw how we handle those who take what is ours. And Andersons, watch out because you’re next! Animal.” “That’s right, Hawk. Those two momma’s boys and their wimp manager thought they could pull one over on us. Well, think again! You don’t mess with the Legion of Doom!”

 

The atmosphere in the NWA thickens. On Mid-Atlantic Championship Wrestling, new World Television Champion, Krusher Khrushchev gets a shot at the World Title. “I am going to take what has been denied the Russian people for far too long.” he says before the match. Krusher takes it to Ric Flair, but the three-time World Champion will not be had. He foils his Soviet challenger by moving out of the way of a turnbuckle charge and rolling him up (and grabbing a handful of tights for good measure). The night does not end well for the “Nature Boy” though, as Tully Blanchard storms the ring and attacks him. Flair initially does well against Tully, but Arn and Ole join in and before long, Flair is beaten down hard. Ron Garvin, Sam Houston, Jimmy Valiant and Manny Fernandez eventually come to Flair’s rescue, but by then the champion is already a mess.

 

Due to the incidents on Mid-Atlantic Championship Wrestling, it is announced on the beginning of World Championship Wrestling after the footage is shown, that America’s Team and Ric Flair have demanded Tully and the Andersons in a six man bunkhouse match for tonight. The heels said they would accept only if the title was on the line, which the proud good guys promptly agreed to. “A main event anywhere in the world will be seen right here tonight” Tony Schiavone exclaims. “It may very well be the most important night in the history of our sport!” Additionally the first participants, all who will receive first round byes, are announced for the Crockett Cup: The number 1 seed is the World Tag Team Champions, the Minnesota Wrecking Crew. Number 2 is The Midnight Express. The Road Warriors are number 3. America’s Team is ranked 4. Additionally, it is announced that Ric Flair will defend the NWA World Title at the event against Tully Blanchard.

 

Before the main event, Flair, Dusty and Magnum are interviewed. Flair comes carrying something under a black cover. “Champ, how are you after your match with Krusher and the attack after?” David Crockett asks Flair. “Tully Blanchard, you’ve thrown down the gauntlet. You want a piece of me. Well brother, ya got it! And when I get my hands on you later tonight, with those two hooligans buddies of yours, just watch out. You three may not make it to the Crockett Cup. And you are NEVER getting my belt … THIS BELT! Flair then removes the black cover, revealing a gigantic, new, golden, World Title belt with Ric Flair’s name engraved on it. Crockett and Schiavone’s jaws drop. “That is huge!” exclaims Tony Schiavone. “Brother, it is. Brother it is.” says Flair. “Champ, that is a beautiful belt.” says Magnum. “One day I may want a piece of that.” he says jokingly. “Hey now.” Flair responds with a laugh. “I would like to say” Dusty Rhodes begins, “that I have not forgotten about you Krusher Khrushchev. And the World’s Television Title. But, right now, I have other things on my mind. Andersons, Tully, I am going to show you why Dusty, Magnum and Slick Ric are the elite in this sport. And Baby Doll, J.J., just get in my way and see what happens. We’ll get funky like a monkey all night long!”

 

The six man main event is a predictable all out brawl. The challengers come out first, dressed in street clothes, Tully having his fists taped. Then charge the champions, ready for blood. And it doesn’t take them long to get their wish. The six go at it without mercy using every possible object they find in their path. Dusty Rhodes uses a bullrope with cowbell intact to bust open “Double A”. Magnum and Ole exchange rights and lefts until both are black and blue … and then still go at it. From the opening bell Flair concentrates on Tully, who works on his cardio by running away. Eventually, all men go at it with an opponent. Flair gets Ole in the figure four leg-lock, only to have Arn drop the timekeeper’s bell on his head. Arn pins Flair, but before he can get three, Magnum breaks the count with a good, swift kick to Arn’s cranium. Dusty throws Tully over the top rope and is readying to nail Arn with a clothesline, but Baby Doll hits him across the back with a steel chair when he hits the ropes. This incites Magnum to chase her out the ringside area. Arn is able to hit Dusty with a spinebuster and a still stunned Flair can’t stop the count and thus new champions are crowned.

 

Things heat up in Jim Crockett Promotions even more. In a house show in Charlotte, Dusty beats Krusher Khrushchev in a bloody non-title bullrope match. On the same show, the Andersons retain their World Tag Team Titles against Ric Flair and Magnum when J.J. hits Flair with his steel toed shoe, enabling Ole to get a tainted pin.

 

More teams are announced for the Crockett Cup on World Championship Wrestling, all who will also get first round byes.  The Koloffs are announced as fifth. The Japanese team of Giant Baba and Tiger Mask is ranked sixth. The Rock ‘n’ Roll Express is seventh. Getting the last bye is the Canadian team of Rick Martel and Dino Bravo with the eighth seed. The Russians are interviewed on the show and they brag about how they are going to win the tournament. “Americans. Foolish as can be.” Krusher Khrushchev starts out. “Do you really think we are going to let this chance, in this international tournament, slip by our fingers? Of course not. We are going to win the tournament, split the money three ways, and bring the trophy back to mother Russia.” “Comrade Krusher is totally right” Ivan Koloff chimes in. “We Russians have for too long been held back and denied our rightful place in world recognition. After tournament, no more!” At this point, Jim Crockett, Jr. makes his way down to the interview area. “Gentlemen,” Jim Crockett says, “I think you are a little confused.” “About what?” Ivan confusingly asks. “Well, normally the NWA allows any trio of Ivan and Nikita Koloff and Krusher Khrushchev to compete and defend titles. However, being the attrition factor involved in a one day tournament, the board of directors has met, and has determined that for this tournament, that will NOT be the case. You entered this tournament as Ivan and Nikita Koloff, and that is the team.” Pointing at the Koloffs he says “You two will not be able to alternate with Krusher Khrushchev!” The crowd comes alive as the Russians freak out. “What do you mean, Crockett?” Krusher responds. “This is some slimy capitalist trick isn’t it?” “No tricks, Krusher. Only fair play.” The Russians are very angry as the interview ends.

 

The week involved even more teams announced for the Crockett Cup. The Mid-South Tag Team Champions, “Dr. Death” Steve Williams and Ted Dibiase are given a birth. So are fellow Mid-South tag teams, The Sheepherders and The Fantastics.

 

 Ole and Arn Anderson fended off a close attempt by the Rock ‘n’ Roll Express to regain the World Tag Team Titles on World Championship Wrestling. “We’re going to walk out of New Orleans with both these belts and that trophy.” says a wheezing Ole after the match. “And with the million dollars” adds Arn.

 

This week’s World Championship Wrestling has yet more teams announced for the tournament: The B and B (Boogie Woogie and Bull) Connection consisting of “The Boogie Woogie Man” Jimmy Valiant and “The Raging Bull” Manny Fernandez, Paul Jones team of The Barbarian and Baron Von Raschke, and Chavo and Hector Guerrero all get bids as well.

 

In the main event, Khrusher Khrushchev defends his Television Title against “Chief” Wahoo McDaniel. The big Russian and the rugged Indian have a great match, with no love lost. Wahoo gains an early advantage and hits Krusher with a barrage of chops. Krusher is able to turn the tide by throwing Wahoo over the top rope, narrowly avoiding a disqualification by convincing Randy Anderson that momentum took McDaniel over. After roughing Wahoo up outside, he throws him back in and gets many near fall pins. Krusher goes for the sickle, but Wahoo is able to dodge it and stun the Russian with a kick. They trade jabs and Wahoo hits an atomic drop and pushes him head first into the turnbuckle, throws Krusher into the ropes, nails him with a hard chop to the head and gets the three count, winning the TV title.

 

At the start of World Championship Wrestling, Tony Schiavone announces that Ron Garvin and Wahoo McDaniel are now a team in the Crockett Cup as are Sam Houston and veteran Nelson Royal.

 

The Russians are interviewed later on and seem much happier. All three laughing, has Tony Schiavone ask “What is so funny?” “Well, Tony Schiavone, you American capitalists thought you had the advantage by not letting comrade Krusher team with me and nephew Nikita. Well, we have found something even better. Welcome Mr. Paul Jones.” Ivan says. The hated manager comes out with one of his men, Teijo Khan. “Thank you very much, Ivan” he says as he shakes all three Russians hands. “You see, I did some wheeling and dealing and now I can officially say that Krusher Khrushchev and Teijo Khan WILL be a team in the Jim Crockett Cup. With three teams between us, we CAN’T lose!” All five heels start laughing profusely. “And know what else?” Krusher more states than asks. “Teijo and I are facing Wahoo McDaniel, who stole my Television Title last week and that no good punk, Ron Garvin, in the first round. And boys, we’re gonna tear you limb from limb.” The interview concludes with all five continuing their laughing.

 

As the weeks go by and the Crockett Cup approaches, the tension heats up. Matches are getting rougher and bloodier. It is also announced that “Hacksaw” Jim Duggan will defend the Mid-South North American Title against former champion Dick Slater.

 

Three weeks before the Cup, on World Wide, The Andersons and Tully Blanchard defend the World Six Man Championship against the Russians. No strangers and certainly not on friendly terms, the six go at it with nonstop fury. The Russians, eager to prove they are the dominant force in wrestling, with their American opponents wanting to do the same, leads to a very brutal match. Predictably the match comes apart and all six wind up in the ring together with Tully and Nikita as the legal men. As Tommy Young tries to restore order and has his back turned to the legal men, Baby Doll tosses a pair of brass knuckles to Tully … but Nikita intercepts it and uses it on Blanchard then Ole for good measure. Arn is kept at bay by Krusher and Ivan while Nikita wins back the title for the Communist trio.

 

On World Championship Wrestling, video is shown of that match and what happened after the show went off the air. Tully, with the help of Baby Doll, and Ole, with J.J. and Arn assisting him, finally both get up. Tully angrily pushes Baby Doll away. “You did it again! You did it again!” he yells at her. “She says “I’m sorry”. Arn points outside the ring and tells her to “Hit the road!” She begs Tully for help, but he merely tells her to get out. Ole grabs her by the arm and drags her to the ropes. She then leaves the ring crying.

 

Later J.J. Dillon and his three men are interviewed about the match and their subsequent treatment of Baby Doll. “David Crockett” Ole began. “Understand this. This is a man’s world. Always has been, always will be. And this is a man’s sport. Always has been, always will be. Now we knew Baby Doll messed up back at Starrcade and we were reluctant to work in a business environment with a woman. But, Tully convinced us it was an isolated incident and that she was good for the team. Then she costed us the Six Man Titles. But Ric Flair’s chicanery had us give her the benefit of the doubt. Yet, she once more proved herself a liability, costing us our Six Man trophy yet again. And being the man that he is, Tully did the right thing.” “That’s right. I told that woman time and time again not to mess up. And what did she do? She messed up! I can’t have a stupid bimbo messing things up when I take on Ric Flair. I mean I am destined to win the World Title. And I can’t let anybody, man or woman, interfere with that. Besides I got the best brains in the business right here.” Tully says as he points to J.J. “Three strikes, and you’re out!” Dillon now chimes in “Thank you and well said Tully Blanchard. We are going to win the World Title in New Orleans. Make no mistake about it. And with the World Title and World Tag Team Titles, we will prove ourselves to be the elite force in professional wrestling. Bank on it!”

 

A mere week before the big day and the bubble is about to burst. The main event of World Championship Wrestling is a U.S. Title defense, Magnum T.A. vs. Nikita Koloff. Interviewed before the match with Dusty Rhodes, he and “The American Dream” are confident on their tournament chances. “You see, there are many teams in this tournament,” Dusty says. “But we are America’s Team.” We ain’t dirty Russians like the Koloffs, or Canadians, Mexicans or Japanese. We are Americans. Proud Americans, too. Unlike those no good Andersons or that rotten Midnight Express with that fruity manager of theirs.” “That’s right, Dusty.” Magnum says. “And tonight, I am going to give all these people and all those watching at home a taste of what’s in store for our opponents in New Orleans. Nikita, watch out!

 

The main event has the Russian powerhouse against the proud American champion. Nikita takes it to Magnum, but the champ is relentless as well. After the first few minutes, Nikita gets the advantage and pounds on Magnum, but nonetheless just can’t put the champion away. Nikita makes the mistake of climbing the top rope. Magnum kicks the rope, causing Nikita to fall on his midsection. The champion then slams him off the ropes. He then nails a belly to belly suplex and goes for the pin. However, Ivan and Krusher storm the ring before Earl Hebner can finish the count, causing a disqualification. Dusty Rhodes, Ric Flair, Wahoo McDaniel and Ron Garvin all run to Magnum’s aid and start to clean house. Paul Jones’ Army then storm the ring. Shortly after Arn, Tully and Ole join the fray. Then come The Road Warriors, then the Midnight Express, then the Rock ‘n’ Roll Express. It is an all out brawl. “MY GOD!’ Tony Schiavone exclaimed. This is crazy. “Well see all our fans in New Orleans next Saturday for what will undoubtedly be the biggest night in the history of our sport!”

 

April 19, 1986: The Jim Crockett Sr. Memorial Cup Tag Team Tournament

 

The day of the big tournament has finally arrived. 24 of the best tag teams from all over the world have arrived in the Louisiana Superdome, all vying for $1 million and the bragging rights to call themselves the best of the best, the elite of the elite.

 

 

1st Round                            2nd Round                          3rd-5th Rounds

                                                                                              

Houston/Royal_________Winner____________       Follow Brackets Accordingly

Battens                              Andersons

                                                                            

McDaniel/R. Garvin____Winner___________

Krusher/Khan                   Martel/Bravo

 

Guerreros_____________Winner_____________

Sheepherders                    America’s Team

 

Fantastics_____________Winner_____________

Fabulous Ones                   Koloffs

 

Barbarian/Baron_______  Winner_____________

B and B                              Midnight Express

 

Peterson/B.W.Sawyer____Winner____________

Bart/J.Garvin                      Rock ‘n’ Roll Express

 

Stallion/Ware__________Winner____________

B.Sawyer/Steiner              Road Warriors           

 

Taylor/Williams________Winner____________

Dundee/Landel                  Baba/Tiger Mask

 

1st Round

 

Sam Houston and Nelson Royal beat Brad and Bart Batten fairly easily. Wahoo McDaniel and Ron Garvin vs. Krusher Khrushchev and Teijo Khan is a predictably rough fought match, no love loss between these two teams of hard-hitters. After being distracted by Paul Jones, Wahoo McDaniel falls victim to a vicious Teijo Khan karate chop, which gets Kahn the 3 count and advances his team to the next round. The Sheepherders vs. Chavo and Hector Guerrero is a great match between two veteran teams. The hated New Zealanders pull out all the stops. Their valet, Lady Maxine jumps on the apron, causing referee Tommy Gilbert to admonish her. While this is going on, Sheepheder flag bearer, Jack Victory tosses the New Zealand flag to Butch Miller, who nails Chavo in the neck with it. Miller tosses out the flag and while Luke Williams tangles with Hector, the Sheepherders get the victory. The Fantastics and Fabulous Ones put on a highly skilled, high-flying match, albeit one where fisticuffs do sometimes fly. After being Irish whipped into the ropes, Bobby Fulton holds on, avoiding a Steve Keirn dropkick. After a dropkick and bodyslam of his own, he tags in Tommy Rogers who then with Fulton’s assistance hits the rocket launcher (assisted top rope splash). Fulton makes sure Stan Lane doesn’t intervene and the Fantastics advance to round two. Shaska Whatley comes down to ringside with Paul Jones and his team of Baron Von Raschke and The Barbarian, holding Jimmy Valiant’s ponytail that he recently cut and bragging about how he soon planned on “finishing the job.” The Boogie-Woogie and Bull Connection then comes to ringside to massive cheers. This match is fought hard from the opening bell. After Manny Fernandez hits a stunned Baron with his flying burrito (flying forearm smash), he and Valiant advance. Black Bart and Jimmy Garvin have no trouble with Scott Peterson and Brett Wayne Sawyer. The Italian Stallion and Koko B. Ware fall prey to “Mad Dog” Buzz Sawyer and his protŽgŽ, Ric Steiner, Sawyer finishing off the Stallion with a well executed powerslam. To close out round one, Terry Taylor (substituting for an injured Ted Dibiase) and “Dr. Death” get past “Superstar” Bill Dundee and “The Nature Boy” Buddy Landel, when after a failed blind tag from Landel to Dundee has the two smashing heads, “The Nature Boy” is set up for Taylor’s five arm (flying forearm smash) and the pinfall.

 

2nd Round

 

The Anderson Brothers are too skilled and too experienced as a team to have much trouble beating Sam Houston and Nelson Royal. Arn takes Houston out with his gourd buster (inverted suplex slam) and the World Champs move on.

 

At the time for the second match, Krusher and Khan come out with Paul Jones, but Rick Martel comes out dressed in a suit. It is announced that Dino Bravo is ill and cannot compete so the Canadians have to forfeit. Krusher, Khan and Jones all start laughing hysterically. Krusher takes the microphone and says while still laughing like a hyena “We beat the Americans, but you Canadians don’t even bother to show up! You French Canadians are cowards- just like all your Coonass [1] cousins, here in Louisiana!” the slur causing massive boos throughout the entire Superdome.

 

The Sheepherders try to get the bum’s rush on America’s Team, but Dusty and Magnum see them coming and get the best of them. The match is roughly fought, but after multiple bionic elbows and a belly to belly to Luke Williams, the beloved Americans shut up the felonious foreigners and advance to the quarter-finals.

 

Shocking the entire Superdome crowd, hated Mid-South heel wrestler/manager, “Hot Stuff” Eddie Gilbert shows up with the Koloffs. Gilbert has recently been snubbed, his Bladerunner tag team not getting a tournament bid. “Hot Stuff” gets on the microphone and proudly proclaims “I told all you people I was going to be here tonight. And now, I have a one days manager permit to manage Ivan and Nikita.” The still stunned crowd is booing profusely. And guess what, their going to take the trophy … back to Russia! Ha ha!” Fulton and Rogers, no strangers to Eddie Gilbert and both proud Americans, are determined to not allow the turncoat to make good on his threats. Though smaller, The Fantastics use all of their skill and explosive moves to push Ivan and Nikita to the limit. However, the Russian duo proves to be too formidable, and while Eddie Gilbert distracts referee Tommy Gilbert (his own father), Ivan knees an incoming Bobby Fulton and Nikita almost takes his head off with the Russian sickle, giving the Koloffs the win. Gilbert jumps up and down in jubilancy, then straight into Nikita’s arms like the two just got married.

 

Next Manny Fernandez and Jimmy Valiant meet the Midnight Express. “B & B” gets the early advantage, using the crowd’s enthusiasm for momentum and to break the Midnights’ Concentration. But, Dennis Condrey is able to switch the momentum by dodging a Manny Fernandez elbow charge to the turnbuckle. He brings “The Bull” to his corner and he and Eaton work him over. Valiant tries to help out, but Tommy Young forces him back to his corner, allowing for even more of a beat down. Looking like victory is in their grasps, the Midnight Express gets cocky and lollygags a little. This allows the “Bull” to slug Bobby Eaton then connect with a bodyslam. Within seconds both men are struggling for their corners. Eaton tags in Dennis Condrey first … but Fernandez makes it to the “Boogie Woogie Man” who promptly cleans house.  Taking out first Condrey, then Eaton. Shortly after, “The Raging Bull” is back in the ring. They ram the Midnights together and the crowd can sense victory. Fernanadez is sent back to his corner as “Boogie” starts grooving. He picks up Condrey by the hair, only to have his eyes raked. Boogie starts swinging and after a second, picks his opponent up for a bodyslam. But, he loses his balance and Condrey falls on him. Jim Cornette reaches in the ring and holds Valiant’s feet and much to the crowd’s chagrin, Tommy Young counts to three.

 

The Rock ‘n’ Roll Express, still fresh, don’t have much trouble beating the patchwork team of “Gorgeous” Jimmy Garvin and Black Bart. A double dropkick to Bart’s mush around the five minute mark and a quick follow-up pin is all it takes for a rock ‘n’ roll victory.

 

Buzz Saywer and Rick Steiner vs. The Road Warriors is a predictably hard-hitting, roughhouse match. Sawyer’s unorthodox style, normally very intimidating, doesn’t phase Hawk and Animal like it would most opponents. Using their natural power, ability and top notch tag skills, LOD incapacitates Sawyer and is able to get Ric Steiner up for the Doomsday Device and thus advance to the quarter-finals.

 

The Japanese team of “Giant” Baba and Tiger Mask proves to be very formidable against Steve Williams and Terry Taylor. A little too formidable. It is a clean well fought match, the crowd favoring the better known Americans more, but still respecting the Japanese legends. A big boot by Baba to Taylor, followed by a Russian legsweep spells defeat for him and Doc.

 

3rd Round

 

The fans have absolutely no one to cheer for the Krusher/Khan v. Andersons match. No love lost, the two heel teams waste no time with semantics and go at each other from the opening bell. Paul Jones and J.J. Dillon exchange choice words as the match begins. The Andersons get an early advantage, and in typical Anderson fashion, work on Teijo Khan’s arm. He is put immense pain with an Ole armbar but will not submit. Khan is finally able to lift himself up, but Ole grabs his Mohawk and drags him back down. At this Teddy Long demands a break and after a four count, Ole reluctantly complies. Khan is about to tag Krusher, but Ole slugs the Russian, bringing him in. Teddy Long stops his progress. This allows Arn to sneak without a tag. Turning around, Long questions Arn, who insists a tag was made. Long asks the crowd, who give a mixed reaction. The issue is rendered moot when Arn tags Ole back in. After a quick double suplex, Ole hits Khan with a piledriver and the Andersons make it to the semis.

 

The Koloffs come back down to ringside with Eddie Gilbert who is jubilant over the Russians earlier victory. But Dusty and Magnum have come to fight and charge the ring instantly throwing fists. Gilbert runs for cover as Carl Fergie rings the bell. Under threat of a double disqualification, order is restored. These two perennial powers go back and forth, neither able to gain a long term definitive advantage. It looks like the match is going to reach the thirty minute time limit, when with two minutes left, Eddie Gilbert jumps on the ring apron to distract the referee. This prompts Ivan Koloff who is on the outside to throw his chain to Nikita. But from the back, “Cowboy” Bill Watts storms to the ring and drags Gilbert, his arch-rival, off the apron slugging “Hot Stuff” This allows Carl Fergie to turn around and see Nikita with the chain, which instantly leads to an America’s Team disqualification win.

 

Jim Cornette enters the ring and takes the microphone and says “From seashore to seashore, from coast to coast, they are team with the absolute most, ‘Beautiful’ Bobby and ‘Loverboy’ Dennis, The Midnight Express.” His two charges come to the ring, ready to meet their longtime rivals. The Rock ‘n’ Roll Express makes their way to the ring and the two teams pull no punches and give not an inch. The Midnights gain an early advantage, but Ricky and Robert soon change that. The momentum swings again in the Midnights direction and they are able to work on Robert Gibson, but can’t put the determined youngster away. Reversing a Dennis Condrey neckbreaker, Gibson is able to tag in the wily Ricky Morton who promptly kicks Midnight butt. Bobby Eaton runs in and gets a dropkick right to his mush. Ricky then rams Condrey’s and Eaton’s heads together and things look good for rock ‘n’ roll. He tags in Robert and they set up for their patented double dropkick. Jim Cornette jumps on the apron and tries to distract his hated opponents- and is greeted with a double dropkick that sends him all the way to the guardrail where he hits his head hard. Tommy Young sends Morton back to his corner while Robert Gibson climbs the top rope to finish Dennis Condrey off. However, he fails to notice Bobby Eaton has snuck out the ring and grabbed his fallen manager’s loaded racket. He climbs the apron and nails a diving Gibson with it. Dennis Condrey, ever ring savvy, follows this up with a pinfall.

 

The last match of the third round is a classic. The Road Warriors and the Japanese put on an intense match, both teams giving it their all and taking everything their opponents dish out at them and then some. Having Animal stunned, Tiger Mask attempts a top rope dive. But the mighty Animal recovers in time and catches his smaller opponent with a powerslam and gets the three for the LOD. The two rival teams shake hands in a show of mutual respect, earning cheers throughout the Superdome.

 

North American Title Match

 

The hated but very ring knowledgeable Dick Slater is foaming at the mouth to regain what he considers his North American Title, which not he but “Mad Dog” Buzz Sawyer lost. But he will be meeting Mid-South’s most popular star, “Hacksaw” Jim Duggan. But the proud “Hacksaw” does not want to give up his title so easily. The two go at it and pull all the stops, but in the end, Duggan’ spear (three point stance followed into a running football tackle) settles the score and to the crowd’s delight, “Hacksaw” retains his gold with a clean pin.

 

4th Round

 

The rival Minnesota Wrecking Crew and America’s Team match has the intensity of two brigades of soldiers about to go into battle. There is nothing but absolute hatred between these two teams. Arn and Magnum start out and it doesn’t take long for fists to fly. Pee Wee Anderson repeatedly warns both men to use an open hand. An Anderson attempt at a double team fails. A little after that Ole and Dusty go at it, which when given the opportunity, Dusty uses Ole’s head as a repeated landing base for his elbow. Arn storms the ring and “Big Dust” nails “Double A” with a few elbows for good measure, causing the brothers to retreat and confer with J.J. while Dusty and Magnum give each other a big double high five. A few moments later and Ole reenters the ring, slowing down the pace of the match. A low blow allows the Andersons to gain the upper hand. But Dusty will not be kept down for long and is able to tag in Magnum. The popular superstar nails Arn with a backdrop then a clothesline. Things look good for America’s Team, when Magnum sets Arn up for a back body drop.  But the younger Anderson sees it coming and nails Magnum with a DDT. He gets a VERY close two, but he and Ole now have a very decisive advantage. They keep going to Magnum’s head with fists, kicks and elbows but can’t put him away. Arn hits a second DDT, and would’ve gotten three, except for the fact Magnum has a foot underneath the rope. All looks bleak for the babyfaces when Ole attempts a running clothesline and Magnum dodges it and hits his belly to belly suplex. Both men are stunned, but Ole makes it to Arn. Before Magnum can make it to Dusty, Arn cuts him off, but Magnum hits a low blow, nearly getting disqualified, and crawls to his corner. “The Dream” enters with a vengeance, hitting both Arn and then an unsuspecting Ole on the ring apron with everything he has. J.J. Dillon hands Ole something which the “Rock” puts in his tights. Dusty bodyslams Arn and is about to put him in a figure four, when Dillon makes the distraction by jumping on the apron. Pee Wee runs to him, demanding he get down. Dusty releases Arn and goes over and grabs Dillon. The much smaller Pee Wee Anderson gets in between the two, demanding a release. Dusty concedes but when he turns around Ole, who has entered the ring, hits “The Dream” with appears to be brass knuckles. He smacks a still weary Magnum on the apron as well, knocking him down. Arn then covers Dusty which prompts J.J. to abandon the apron for the floor. Pee Wee then refocuses on the ring, and seeing a pin attempt makes the count. Three seconds later, the Andersons are in the finals.

 

The Midnight Express come to the ring without Jim Cornette. The Road Warriors enter with Paul Ellering. The Midnights work well without their manager as they are both seasoned ring veterans. They use every technical move and dirty trick they know to down their larger opponents, and wind up getting a couple of close counts. But in the end, the Road Warriors are too strong and powerful. An Animal powerslam on Bobby Eaton, followed by a Hawk top rope shoulder block, puts The Legion of Doom in the finals with the Andersons.

 

World Title Match

 

Tully comes down to ringside first with J.J., looking quite confident. He really believes that tonight is his night. Then Sprach Zarathustra hits and outcomes Ric Flair. “The Nature Boy” receives a huge ovation and stops halfway down the aisle, with a huge grin on his face. Then to the shock of everyone, out comes Baby Doll decked in a beautiful evening gown. She and Flair lock elbows and they make their way down to ringside. Tully and J.J. Dillon are beside themselves. Harsh words are exchanged as Baby Doll and the champ share a kiss. Eventually J.J. and Baby Doll are cleared from the ring and the match starts. The match is a classic encounter. Both men extremely technically sound, give what may be the fight of their lives. At one point hoping for a clean break on the ropes, Tully lets his guard down, only to be slapped by Flair. This enrages Blanchard, who charges Flair. The champ hits a drop toe hold and puts his challenger in a headlock. They rise up and Flair throws Blanchard into the turnbuckle. He then hits a montage of chops, reddening Tully’s torso. They go back and forth with wristlocks, bodyslams and everything else. Tully throws Flair into the turnbuckle, but Flair is able to flip over it, run to the opposing turnbuckle, and connect with a flying body press on Blanchard for a close two. Flair picks Blanchard up and tries for a running roll-up combination, but Tully pushes Ric away and he knocks heads with referee Earl Hebner. Tully attempt his sling-shot suplex, but Flair blocks it and hits a suplex of his own. J.J. Dillon pops up on the apron and gets Flair’s attention, but Baby Doll jumps up on it behind him and pushes him off. Tully runs to his former girlfriend and grabs her. Flair charges Tully… only to have him release Baby Doll. Tully promptly ducks and Baby Doll throws fire into Ric Flair’s face! Blinded and in pain, the champ his face screaming. Tully puts him in a small package and a just recovered Earl Hebner counts to three. Baby Doll and J.J. enter the ring as Tully is awarded the World Title. He takes a few kicks at Flair, who is then attended to by EMTs. The new World’s Champion, his manager and his once again valet then exit the ring all holding one and other in celebration.

 

Final Round

 

Arn and Ole come down to ringside, jubilant over recent activities. J.J. joins them, still with a huge grin on his face. But Black Sabbath’s “Iron Man” hits and they realize they now have to meet the Road Warriors. And the LOD are totally focused. Paul Ellering has them totally in the zone for this match against the reigning World Tag Team Champions. Arn and Hawk start out the action. It is a great finish to the night. The Road Warriors clear the ring early, causing the Andersons to hit the floor to regroup, J.J. signaling for a timeout. Not in the mood for a timeout, Hawk and Animal exit the ring on opposite sides and surround the brothers. This turns in to a fight on the floor. Tommy Young issues a count, but realizing this match requires a winner, stops at 9 and beckons the two teams to send a legal man in the ring. Finally Animal and Arn enter the ring and restart the match. Animal clobbers Arn with a clothesline, beats his chest and tells Ole he’s next. “The Rock” enters the ring, only to be admonished. This allows Animal to bring Arn to his corner and Hawk gives him several hard punches while Animal holds him, giving the Andersons a dose of their own medicine. Hawk is then tagged in and he promptly presses Arn over his head several times. Arn looks very shocked and flustered while Hawk smiles and sticks his tongue out. He then picks up Arn only to have his eyes raked. Realizing the danger he is in, Arn quickly crawls to Ole and tags in his big brother. Smaller than the LOD, but tough and rugged, Ole hits Hawk with a hard right hand. He then goes to work on his arm. The Andersons use this to their advantage for several minutes. Realizing a submission victory over the Road Warriors would boost their reputation to unheard of levels, they continue to focus on Hawk’s arm. During a double team, they attempt a double suplex. But Hawk reverses it and suplexes both Andersons! He struggles to his corner. Arn gets his right foot, but Hawk still manages to tag in Animal as the crowd comes alive! The Andersons try for a double clothesline, but Animal dodges it and clotheslines both of them. He slams Ole then Arn, then knocks their heads together. Sensing danger, J.J. jumps on the apron. But “Precious” Paul doesn’t allow this to last long. He immediately joins him on the apron and knocks his socks off. And unlike Baby Doll, Ellering is NOT pulling a scam on his men. Hawk now reenters the ring and takes it to Arn. Ole, the legal man with Animal, starts swinging with all he has. Animal stuns him with a kick. Then takes him to the turnbuckle and rams his head into it ten times as the crowd counts in absolute delight. By now Hawk has Arn nice and stunned. They ram the two brothers together and both Andersons drop. Arn is tossed out of the ring courtesy of Hawk and that only means one thing; doomsday. Animal puts Ole on his shoulders, Hawk delivers the clothesline off the top rope and three seconds later, the Road Warriors have won the first Crockett Cup! The crowd roars with absolute delight as the two Warriors celebrate with their manager. Shortly afterwards, they are awarded a $1 million check by Jim Crockett Sr.’s widow, Elizabeth, Jim Jr. and “Cowboy” Bill Watts. The Road Warriors then thank the fans for their support and promise that the World Tag Team Titles will be around their waists REAL soon.

 

April-June 1986

 

The effects of the Crockett Cup are immediately seen. On the first episode of World Championship Wrestling after the Cup, Tony Schiavone and David Crockett give an update on the status of former World Champion, Ric Flair. “It appears that Ric Flair luckily escaped any permanent damage to his eyes. He WILL make a full recovery and return to the ring. When however, is a totally different question. The burn Ric Flair suffered was severe. And it will take time to heal.” David Crockett says. Later on, Tully Blanchard, Ole and Arn, along with J.J. and Baby Doll come out for an interview. “Look at this, look at this.” Blanchard says very smoothly, proudly holding the World Title belt, now with a Tully Blanchard nameplate on it. “You didn’t think I could do it did you? And look at her.” he says while pointing at Baby Doll. My perfect 10. Flair did you reallythink you could have her? No way, pal. She’s all mine. Now and forever.” Tully then gives her a kiss on the lips. “Ric Flair” Baby Doll says. “How could you think I would let you get your dirty hands on me? When I’ve got this man. Sure we had a little spat, but so what? He’s MY man and don’t you or your stupid fans forget it.” she says to a cry of boos.” “Well Tully, did win the World Title” Tony Schiavone says. “But the Andersons didn’t win the Crockett Cup. The Road Warriors did.” “Don’t even go there, Tony Schiavone!” J.J. Dillon says. “Arn and Ole were too happy for Tully to concentrate on the match. It was a fluke. Nothing more. We’ll be taking care of Hawk and Animal real soon.” “Indeed you will.” says an emerging Jim Crockett. “Because based on their win in New Orleans, the Road Warriors are now the number one contenders for the Anderson Bros. World Tag Team Titles. And right here next week, they will be defending those belts against the Road Warriors!” The crowd roars as J.J. and his men gasp in anger. “How dare you do that Jim Crockett?” an enraged Ole Anderson asks. “They don’t deserve a shot at our belts!” “The NWA championship committee feels differently.” Crockett responds. “Be ready next week.” Jim Crockett then leaves the fuming heels as the interview concludes.

 

The next week of World Championship Wrestling comes with much anticipation. Fans everywhere want to see LOD knock the Andersons’ socks off. Arn and Ole approach the ring first with J.J., calm and collected. Then the Warriors music hits and the Road Warriors and Paul Ellering storm their way to the ring. Arn and Ole don’t leave the ring, choosing to stand their ground. All of a sudden, J.J. whips off his shoe, and before anyone figures out what’s going on, Arn nails Paul Ellering with it. Hawk clobbers Arn and the match is in full brawl mode. “Precious” Paul has to be helped back to the locker room by ringside officials and the Andersons now have the Warrior’s manager out of the equation. This match follows its start by being very chaotic. Both Hawk and Animal are concerned for their manager and do not seem on their “A” game. The Andersons use this to their advantage and are much more dominant than they would otherwise be. Still, the Road Warriors are tough nuts to crack and still put up a helluva fight. The Wrecking Crew is able to get the best of Animal and work him over hard. They try to work on his arm, but he is able to power out of their submission holds. He is able to reverse an armbar of Arn’s and quickly turns it into a backdrop. It looks like he will make it to Hawk, but after handing something to Ole behind the referee’s back, J.J. jumps on the apron. This distraction allows Ole to throw a pair of brass knucks to his younger brother, who turns Animal around and decks him. Hawk storms in, but Tommy Young, after J.J. timely drops to the apron, stands in his way and eventually sends the flustered Road Warrior back to his corner fuming. Arn motions his thumb across his neck in a cutting motion while Ole turns around and raises his hands in victory. Tommy Young counts 1-2 and Animal kicks out at 2! Arn is stunned. Panicking, he quickly tries to pick up his opponent, but with Arn’s guard down Animal grabs Arn by the hair, and drops to his knees, knocking Arn’s jaw against his head. Stunned, Arn crawls to a still unsuspecting Ole to tag him. “Rock” eventually turns around and after the initial shock, tags in, but Animal makes it to Hawk who comes in with a vengeance. He cleans house, kicking serious Anderson butt. Ole tags in Arn, who punches his larger opponent with little to no effect. But when Hawk tries for a back body drop, Arn hits a DDT. This gets a close 2, count, but the Andersons now smell blood. After working Hawk over for a few minutes, Arn holds his now very weakened opponent while Ole climbs to the top rope. An incensed Animal tries to stop the double team and Tommy Young has to intervene. All of a sudden, the crowd picks up. A bandaged Paul Ellering runs down to the ring. He jumps on the apron and pushes Ole off the rope. Ole takes a bad fall. Arn Anderson quickly exits the ring and attacks the already injured Ellering. However, even injured, Ellering, an extremely tough man, still holds own with “Double A” as Animal quickly drops from the apron to enter the fray. Hawk slowly picks up Ole, throws him across the ropes and hits a flying shoulder block. J.J. Dillon climbs to the apron, but a Hawk right hand quickly drops him. Hawk then climbs to the top rope, waits for Ole to stand and hits a flying clothesline, albeit not with his usual impact. He covers Ole and hooks the leg … and gets 1-2-3 as Ole kicks out not quite in time. Arn is able to throw Animal into the guard rail and enters the ring in disgust. But before he can attack Hawk, Paul Ellering runs in with a chair, chasing him and Ole out. Tommy Young raises Hawk’s hand as the crowd cheers. But before any celebrating can happen, the Midnight Express storm the ring. Dennis Condrey clobbers Paul Ellering, knocking the chair from his hand. Bobby Eaton attacks Hawk. Animal climbs back into the ring and helps out his partner and manager. But before any progress can be made, Jim Cornette climbs on the apron and says “Get ‘em Bubba!” A massive man in a suit and Fedora hat enters the ring. He starts waylaying both Hawk and Animal. With the help of the Midnights, he has soon laid out all three members of the Legion of Doom. Bubba hits a vicious sidewalk slam on Animal. He then climbs to the top rope and with both Eaton and Condrey, launches on Hawk. Jim Cornette repeatedly pounds Paul Ellering with his tennis racket, adding insult to injury. To make matters even worse, the Midnights then leave with their manager and new strong man with the Road Warriors’ newly won belts.

 

Interviewed on World Wide Wrestling after a success Television Title defense against “Gorgeous” Jimmy Garvin, “Chief” Wahoo McDaniel is asked what he thinks about the recent events surrounding Ric Flair. “I tell you what I think David Crockett.” Wahoo says, “It makes me sick. Absolutely sick! Ric Flair is a longtime friend of mine and that hoodlum Tully Blanchard and his no good girlfriend Baby Doll nearly ended his career. Well I’ll tell you what. I have come close, but have never won the World Heavyweight Championship. Well there’s no time like the present, is there? Tully, I am calling you out. I want a title shot. And the beating I am going to give you is for Ric Flair.”

 

On World Championship Wrestling, Jim Cornette makes his way to the interview podium with his new acquisition and The Midnight Express both proudly carrying a World Tag Team Title belt on their shoulders. “Now Cornette,” David Crockett says “you know perfectly well that the Midnight Express are NOT the World Tag Team Champions and that you and your boys are being fined $500 a day until you return those tag belts to the Road Warriors.” “$500?” Cornette says in puzzlement. “Shoot, my mama can cover that in a New York minute. These belts are staying right here with their rightful owners- The Midnight Express. And I bet all you people are wondering who this is?” he says pointing to the man only known as “Bubba”. “This is my new bodyguard, ‘Big’ Bubba Rogers. And Road Warriors, just come try and put your hands on me and this man will tear you both LIMB FROM LIMB.” Now laughing, Cornette says “That’s right, ain’t so tough now with your little painted faces now are ya?” The interview then ends with Tony and David both shaking their heads.

 

Later on, J.J. Dillon, Baby Doll, Arn and Ole Anderson and Tully Blanchard are interviewed after Tully makes easy work of Scott Peterson. “Tully, you’ve heard ‘Chief’ Wahoo McDaniel’s challenge” Tony Schiavone says. What do you say?” “Wahoo, you big fat Indian.” Tully responds. “You think you can beat me and win my World Title? Well, come and get it, cuz I am not running from you or any of Flair’s friends.” “And Road Warriors,” Arn Anderson says “don’t think because you got beat up after our match last week that we’ve forgotten you. Nuh uh. The Andersons don’t forget.” “And Russians, that goes for you and our Six Man Trophy.” Ole adds. “Crockett, Schiavone, you are looking at the elite of pro wrestling today. We will dominate.” J.J. Dillon then says, closing the interview.

 

At the beginning of the next World Championship Wrestling, Tony and David start the show off very somberly. “Something very disturbing happened at a show in Greenville, South Carolina. Let’s just roll the footage.” Schiavone says. A clip from the ending of a Tully Blanchard vs. Wahoo McDaniel match is shown. Wahoo is clearly dominating and looks to be in a position to win the World Title. All of a sudden, the Andersons storm the ring. Wahoo fights them off for as long as possible, but is eventually overwhelmed. Then, while Arn and Ole hold “The Chief” down, Tully takes off his belt and the clip ends with the World Champion repeatedly whipping Wahoo with the leather strap.

 

Later on, Blanchard and his cohorts come out, all laughing. “Can you please explain your actions?” asks an angry David Crockett. “Just who do you think you are?” “I tell you who I am, I’m Tully Blanchard and I am the World’s Champion. Wahoo, you stuck your big nose where it didn’t belong and you paid the price. Don’t let it happen again! And anyone else who has any funny ideas, well,” he says now chuckling “you just may not be so lucky. Let’s go boys.” And at this they exit.

 

The main event for the night has the Road Warriors defend their titles, still without the belts against Teijo Khan and Shaska Whatley. Though a good team, Khan and Whatley are in the wrong place at the wrong time. Paul Jones’ duo puts up little offense as the still enraged Road Warriors go through them like a knife through hot butter. Afterwards they express their indignation in an interview. “Well, Jim Cornette wants to get rough?” starts off Hawk. “No problem, Corny, we’re happy to oblige! Eaton, Condrey, enjoy wearing our belts while you can, because, pretty soon, we’re going to make you eat ‘em!” “You think that stunt you pulled last week was bad?” Animal adds. “Brother, you haven’t seen bad. We saw that kind of thing growing up on the streets of Chicago two or three times a week. Now you just made us mad.” “And Jim Cornette,” Paul Ellering states “do you really think hiring some fat bodyguard is going to keep me off you?” Now laughing lightly he says “Better think again. The Legion of Doom does not forgive and we don’t forget. Hire a bodyguard, hell hire a mercenary force. It will do you no good.” The LOD leaves as the crowd cheers their approval as the show closes.

 

Things in the NWA are now past the boiling point. In a house show in Norfolk, Ron Garvin gives a great effort against Tully Blanchard several times nearly winning the title. However, putting his foot on the ropes for leverage after a bodyslam, Blanchard is able to gain an illegitimate pin. The good times do not last long for Tully however, as “Chief” Wahoo storms the ring and attacks the arrogant champion. Then pulling out his Indian strap, he returns the favor Tully gave him, whipping him several times until finally Baby Doll pulls him from the ring. The Road Warriors and the Midnight Express meet in various house shows, Cornette always closely guarded by “Big” Bubba with the belts. The matches between them always end in a count out victory for the Road Warriors as the Midnights retreat or a disqualification after Bubba illegally joins the action.

 

On World Championship Wrestling, Jim Crockett appears and makes a major announcement: “Last year, The Great American Bash was in Charlotte. Well, the NWA couldn’t agree on a location for this year’s Bash. So after careful consideration, it has been decided upon, not to have the Bash in any one location. Rather, for one month, starting in early July, there will be a Great American Bash tour. This monumental event will hit 13 American cities. Tour dates will be announced imminently.” The announcement of this major event sent things in JCP into overdrive. Later on that card, Nikita Koloff wrestled Jimmy Valiant. The veteran grappler put up a great fight, but in the end, he could not overcome “The Russian Nightmare’s” sheer power and fell victim to the sickle. Afterwards, Nikita, his Uncle and “Comrade” Krusher make a blatant challenge. “For too long,” the corrupt American politicians have denied my nephew his rightful place. Well, I say here and now, he wants and demands a United States Title shot against your champion, Magnum T.A.!” “The Russian Bear” says. “Let me get this straight” David Crockett says. “You want your nephew, a Russian, to be the United States Heavyweight Champion? Are you mad?” “Mad, no. Angry, YES!” Ivan replies. “The way we Russians have been treated by you no good bourgeois capitalists is inexcusable.” “Magnum T.A.,” Nikita says. “You are great wrestler for American. But no American can handle the sheer force of a Russian athlete. I will take U.S. Title!” “Well you won’t have to wait long for a response.” Tony Schiavone says. “Here’s Magnum.” Sure enough the U.S. Champion approaches. “Let me get this straight, this big Commie” Magnum says while pointing at Nikita, “wants MY U.S. Title. Well boy, if you think I would ever let a red take the United States Championship, think again!” “Watch your mouth, son.” Krusher says with a deep solemn face. “I’ll watch nothing, you no good S.O.B.!” Magnum retorts. The Russians start to approach Magnum, but the appearance of Dusty Rhodes and Wahoo McDaniel makes them think otherwise. The segment goes to a commercial with the two sides at each others throats.

 

The next week, two monumental events occur. First, Magnum and Nikita meet to sign a contract to meet for the U.S Title on an upcoming episode of World Championship Wrestling on the SuperStation. Nikita has his Uncle Ivan with him, Magnum is with his mother. After the signing, Nikita insults Magnum, his mother and American women in general. This causes Magnum to jump the table and attack Nikita, only to be double teamed and beat up by both Koloffs. [2]

 

However, later on, Ric Flair makes his triumphant return! “Welcome back, champ!” Tony Schiavone says. “Thank you. Thank you, Tony, David, and all my fans. So Tully Blanchard, Baby Doll… Baby Doll, Baby Doll, Baby Doll. You set me up. You got me. I was a fool! How I  could have fallen for that, I’ll never know. I should’ve known, once a Jezebel, always a Jezebel. You burned my face and tried to end my career. Well guess what? I’m still here! I took a little time off and after being World’s Champion 365 days a year for the last two years, I deserved it. But now, I’m back. And Tully, let me make this very clear. The Great American Bash. Woooo! My kind of event. “Slick” Ric hitting every major venue in America. If you think this summer will end, without me holding my World Title, think again! And bring, Baby Doll, bring J.J., bring Arn, bring Ole, bring ‘em all. It will do you no good. Because, cream always rises to the top, diamonds are forever and so is Ric Flair! And “Super Brat” don’t you forget it! Wooooo! Wooooo! Wooooo!” “Ric Flair, welcome back.” David Crockett says jubilantly.

 

The next week on World Championship Wrestling, after saying that Magnum was stripped of the United States Championship, David Crockett calls for two clips to be rolled.

 

The first has NWA President Bob Geigel meeting with Magnum T.A. Mr. Geigel tells Magnum that due to his action at the press conference, he will be reprimanded for conduct unbecoming the United States Champion. Magnum is angered by this and asks Geigel what would he do if it was his mother. Geigel repeats his statement of Magnum’s conduct being unbecoming an NWA Champion. Magnum retorts by telling Geigel to “reprimand this” and slugs the NWA President hard on his neck knocking him down.

 

This leads to the second clip which has Bob Geigel announcing that because he attacked an NWA official in the performance of his duty, he has been stripped of the U.S. Title after a vote of the National Wrestling Alliance board of directors.

 

After a commercial break, Ivan, Nikita and Krusher are out for an interview declaring Nikita to be the U.S. Champion. Jim Crockett then comes out and informs the Russians that though Magnum is no longer the champion, neither is Nikita. He then informs the Russians that Nikita Koloff, the number one contender and Magnum T.A., the former champion, will meet in a best of seven series for the vacant U.S. Title, starting at the Great American Bash, July 1 in Philadelphia. Ivan once again declares an “American conspiracy” and adds “Nephew Nikita is the United States Heavyweight Champion. But, being generous as we are, we will grant Magnum T.A. a couple of title shots.” [3]

 

The next World Wide has Arn and Ole making an example of Sam Houston and Tony Zane. Afterwards they, J.J., Baby Doll and Tully Blanchard have an interview. “First off,” J.J. Dillon says “We are glad to see Ric Flair up and running. That being said, we have to make something clear. Flair, you may think you are entitled to an automatic shot, but I beg to disagree. The NWA’s bylaws clearly state that the former champion has a rematch clause, but must exercise it within 30 days. You failed to do so.” That’s because Baby Doll threw fire in his eyes!” David Crockett interjects. “Don’t interrupt me again.” Dillon says in a harsh tone. “Now, if Lou Thesz himself, who is the greatest World Champion of all time…” Seeing Tully’s head jump he clarifies, saying “who was the greatest World Champion of all time, wanted a shot, he would not automatically get it. He’d have to get in line and earn it. So Ric Flair, maybe after proving yourself, you can have another shot. Until then, no dice.”

 

World Championship Wrestling opens with an announcement that the NWA Board of Directors has reached a decision on Ric Flair’s title shot status and that Jim Crockett would make an announcement later on in the show. A few segments in, a clip goes to Mr. Crockett’s office, and he says the following words. “Traditionally, the former NWA World Champion is entitled to a rematch within 30 days. However, Tully Blanchard’s manager is correct in saying that Ric Flair did not exercise his clause within the required 30 days. However, due to the circumstances by which he lost the title and the injury he suffered, the NWA Board of Directors has reached what we believe is a fair solution. During the Great American Bash, Ric Flair will meet Ole Anderson in Charlotte on July 5 and Arn Anderson in Richmond on July 18. If Mr. Flair can win both matches, he will be granted a title shot in Norfolk on July 25. If not, then he will still wrestle World Champion Tully Blanchard on that date, but the match will be non-title. Either way, if Flair wins that match, title on the line or not, there will be a World Title match between them to close out the Bash, August 2 in Atlanta.  If not, Tully Blanchard will defend the title against the winner of the Magnum-Nikita contest.”

 

The Great American Bash is proving to be the hottest event of the summer. A slew of matches, many of the grudge matches with special stipulations, are signed. The Road Warriors will meet the Midnight Express for the World Tag Team Title in a ladder match, with both belts suspended above the ring. First team to grab both belts wins. Additionally, the Midnights will team with “Big” Bubba Rogers and meet the LOD with their manager, Paul Ellering, in a six man match. Jimmy Valiant will meet Shaska Whatley in a hair v. hair match. The World Six Man Tag Team Titles will be on the line in a three way Russian Chain/Texas Bull Rope/ Indian Strap match. The Russians will meet The Minnesota Wrecking Crew and Tully Blanchard and Dusty Rhodes, Magnum T.A. and Wahoo McDaniel. Each team will have its members have a hand tied to one of the three different fasteners and the match will go to the first fall. Other great matches are booked, some (such as title defenses and number one contender matches) which are dependent on the outcome of matches earlier on in the Bash and on other cards beforehand. On the eve of the first night of the Bash, Tony Schiavone declares “Three days from now in Philly, the Great American Bash tour gets underway. Fans, it’s going to be the biggest night in the history of our sport!”

 



[1] Coonass is a term, often used derogatory to describe a French Canadian (Acadian or Nova Scotian) descended Louisianan.

[2] http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cRHhQfnzKaw

[3] http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tWe9LNKOTKA

Part III

July-August 1986: The Great American Bash (with non-tour cards as well)

 

July 1, 1986: Philadelphia, PA

Fans in Philadelphia are packed to see the opening tour date of the Great American Bash. Magnum and Nikita hit the door running, having a great opening match. Favor swings back and forth between the American and the Russian, predictably neither giving an inch. After dodging the Russian Sickle, Magnum is able to get a belly to belly suplex on Nikita, but his opponent is sent out the ring with momentum. Magnum chases him out and the two get into a scuffle on the outside. Magnum kicks Nikita in the gut and throws him back into the ring. He crawls in himself, but right before he reenters, Tommy Young hits 10. Nikita wins the first fall by count out as the crowd boos in dismay.

Tully Blanchard defends his World Title against Dusty Rhodes. It is a closely fought match, with the two-time former champion nearly regaining the title several times. A string of bionic elbows sends Tully to the ground. Dusty then does a little dance to mass crowd approval. He then picks Tully up, only to have his eyes raked. Blanchard then rams Dusty’s head into the turnbuckle and bodyslams him. He climbs to the second rope and drops a fist on his challenger. Tully then sets Dusty up for the slingshot suplex, but as he is coming down on the ropes, Dusty is able to lock his feet and use his weight to pull himself down on the outside side of the ring. He then suplexes Tully over the top rope and they both go to the floor. As he does not throw Tully over, Teddy long doesn’t call for the automatic DQ. They are both slow to get up, yet both do and crawl back in the ring and beat the count. Tully goes for a wide roundhouse punch which Dusty ducks and turns into a small package. Rhodes only gets 2 before Tully turns it over. Noticing Teddy Long is out of position, Baby Doll crawls in the ring and holds one of Dusty’s legs, disenabling a kickout and allowing Tully to get the tainted victory and retain his title.

 

July 3, 1986: Washington DC

On the eve of the American nation’s 210th birthday, fans in its capital are treated to one of the most historic Six Man Tag Team Title Match the NWA has ever seen. All three teams come out, all looking like they’re out to kill someone. All the fasteners are extra long so everyone will fit and be able to use their’s (or another’s) as a weapon. Dusty Rhodes, Ivan Koloff and Ole Anderson are tied together with the Texas bull rope. Magnum TA, Nikita Koloff and Arn Anderson are tied together with the Russian chain. Finally Wahoo McDaniel, Krusher Khrushchev and Tully Blanchard are bound with the Indian strap. When Tommy Young calls for the bell, the action starts and it gets real bad, real quick. In no time at all, men are getting tangled, the chain is being used as a weapon, as is the cowbell on the bull rope, which Dusty tests on Ole Anderson’s head. Wahoo and Tully take turns tanning each others hides with the strap. At some point, Ole is able to sneak up behind Magnum while Dusty and Ivan are going at it, put his noose around the former U.S. Champion and choke him. To make matters worse, he throws him over the ropes and starts to choke him. If Wahoo McDaniel hadn’t thrown him over the top rope and broke the hold, Magnum may’ve been choked to death. This unparalleled mayhem continues unabated for almost 20 minutes when Wahoo McDaniel sees Nikita bundling the chain with his fist and about to deck Magnum with it, he grabs a loose end which happens to be in between the giant Russian’s midsection and lifts up causing Nikita to sing soprano. Dusty Rhodes hits a DDT on Arn Anderson while Magnum nails Nikita with a belly to belly suplex and instantly turns it into a pin. Tommy Young makes the count while Wahoo keep the other two Russians, Ole and Tully at bay. Three seconds later, the babyfaces are the new World Six Man Tag Team Champions. All three men are promptly released from their binds and not one of the nine does not require medical attention.

 

July 4, 1986: Memphis, TN

American turns 210 and in Memphis, TN there is indeed fireworks in the air. The Road Warriors and manager Paul Ellering are slated to meet The Midnight Express and “Big” Bubba Rogers in a six man street fight. The participants will wear street clothes and there will be no disqualification, though Australian rules will be enforced. Jim Cornette’s team comes out first, Bubba in particular looking hungry for action. The Road Warriors and “Precious” Paul storm the ring and Australian rules or not, things instantly erupt into a pier six brawl. Tommy Young and Teddy Long are finally able to restore order. The LOD gets the initial advantage over Camp Cornette, beating Dennis Condrey pretty hard. But a missed second rope elbow drop by Ellering turns the tide. The Midnights and Bubba work him over hard, relishing in getting the chance to beat up a manager without relent. However, Ellering not being a typical manager and with every bit the grit of his two behemoth charges, will not be held down. While Eaton is holding him as Bubba charges, he is able to break free, resulting in a major Midnight mishap. Ellering crawls to his corner and tags in Animal, who promptly goes to town. Bodyslamming Eaton, then an interfering Condrey, then even one for Bubba himself. Hawk enters and the two go to town. Young and Long try to restore order, but Hawk and Animal are no longer taking referees’ orders. Sensing desperation, Jim Cornette tosses his tennis racket to Eaton, but Hawk intercepts it and smacks “Beautiful” Bobby right upside the head. After seeing the same done to Condrey and Rogers, Cornette runs to the locker room, still with the Road Warriors belts, as the apocalyptic tag team finishes off their hated rivals and get the V.

 

July 5, 1986: Charlotte, NC

“The Boogie Woogie Man” Jimmy Valiant finally gets his chance for revenge against his former friend Shaska Whatley. Neither man pulls a punch in the jam packed Charlotte Coliseum. However, it is “The Boogie Woogie Man”, with the help of a loaded glove, who gets in the final and decisive punch and shaves his hated opponent’s head clean bald. Seeing himself in a mirror after his haircut, Shaska freaks out and storms out the ring as fan and foes alike laugh in delight.

Nikita and Magnum, both still the worse for wear from two nights ago, go at it again in their second match. Magnum seems to have the edge throughout it all, but can never quite put the “Nightmare” away. After nailing Koloff with a scoop slam, Magnum attempts a knee drop, but Nikita moves out the way at the last second. The Russian slowly gets to his feet. Magnum arises too and charges his opponent, only to be nailed with the Russian sickle. Nikita makes a successful cover and goes up 2-0.

The match the fans are all here for has arrived. Ole Anderson, still bandaged, slowly walks to the ring with J.J. Dillon. Then Sprach Zarathustra plays and the roof nearly comes off the Colisuem. Ric Flair, escorted by four beautiful ladies, makes a triumphant return. The three-time former World Champion promptly takes it to his still hurt veteran opponent. Tough and grisly as ever, Ole shows no give, but “The Rock” is still human. Flair wears him down with great mat wrestling and targets the bandaged head with punches and elbows. Foiling a desperate back body drop attempt, Flair hits Ole with a dead-on piledriver and wins the first of his two qualifying matches.

 

July 10, 1986: Charleston, WV

The Midnight Express, still carrying around the Road Warriors World Tag Team Title belts, meet the Rock ‘n’ Roll Express in a fast paced match between two teams that know each other all too well. The crowd heavily favors Ricky and Robert, who pound away at the hated Midnights with everything they have. All four men are in the ring after nearly a half hour of intense action. Condrey and Eaton try to throw the Rock ‘n’ Roll Express into each other from opposing turnbuckles, but Robert reverses Condrey and Ricky nails him head on with a dropkick. This prompts Jim Cornette, ever the eternal pest, to jump on the apron. Robert grabs him and Earl Hebner tries to separate the two. Ricky Morton and Dennis Condrey start going at it. Condrey whips Morton across the ropes, where “Big” Bubba is waiting with a hard right hand. Condrey then follows up with an Enzuigiri kick. He then dropkicks an unsuspecting Robert Gibson who has just turned around to the outside. After that, he tags in Bobby Eaton, the two execute the rocket launcher and get the win. Afterwards, Bubba attacks Gibson on the outside for grabbing Cornette. He throws him in the ring while Jim Cornette goes on a tirade as his three men dismantle the Rock ‘n’ Roll Express. Eaton and Condrey launch Bubba off the top rope on to both Ricky and Robert, leaving the two beloved fan favorites a beaten mess.

“Chief” Wahoo McDaniel defends his TV Title against Arn Anderson, both still being the worse for wear. Both work the other for all their worth. Wahoo sets Arn up for his big chop but Arn ducks and is able to hit a clothesline. He tries to finish Wahoo off, but the big Indian chief will not stay down. Wahoo eventually regains the advantage and is on the verge of victory. He throws “Double A” across the ring into the opposing turnbuckle and charges, but Anderson gets out the way at the last second. A stunned McDaniel walks right into Arn who nails him with a spinebuster and gets the pin, winning the World Television Championship.

 

July 12, 1986: Jacksonville, FL

Nikita and Magnum wrestle there third match in the series. It goes neck and neck which is very typical of this feud. When Magnum gains a decisive advantage, Nikita’s Uncle Ivan comes down to ringside, ignoring Tommy Young’s threats of a disqualification. Magnum executes a belly to belly on Nikita but Young does not see for seconds later due to Ivan’s distraction and the count only goes to two. Magnum picks his opponent up and tries for another belly to belly, but Nikita pushes him off into Tommy Young, stunning him. Ivan slides him his chain, which he uses to slug Magnum with. He tosses the chain back and after Ivan revives him, Tommy Young counts to three, giving Nikita a 3-0 lead and putting him at the door of the U.S. Title.

 

Interim

On World Championship Wrestling, Arn Anderson defends his newly won World Television Championship against Hector Guerrero. Both men from prestigious wrestling families, the match is well fought and several times the proud Mexican comes close to making Arn a very short lived TV Champion. But miscalculating how hurt Arn is, he ducks his head prematurely and gets hit by a DDT which enables Arn to get the pinfall victory. Afterwards, Arn and J.J. Dillon go to the interview podium. Still breathing hard, Arn says “Hats off to Hector Guerrero, a great competitor there is no doubt. He’s definitely no turkey. But onto Ric Flair.” “See this?” Arn says pointing to his Telelvision belt. “I beat one of your best buddies for this. And I know Wahoo is no slouch. Now you caught Ole when he was still hurt, Flair. Now I’ve had time to heal. The belt won’t be on the line in Richmond, but something much more important will be; pride … and reputation. You want a crack at Tully’s title, Ric, you gotta get past me. And ‘Nature Boy’, that ain’t gonna happen. Let’s go J.J.”

 

July 18, 1986: Richmond, VA

The atmosphere is electric in Richmond. Nikita Koloff, brazenly declares that he will “dominate and destroy Magnum T.A. tonight”. Magnum, knowing the deck is stacked against him, responds in a pre-match interview “Janis Joplin used to say ‘Freedom’s just another word for nothing left to lose’ and Nikita, I know I’m at the end of my rope. But don’t count the good ole U.S. of A. out, yet. See you in the ring.” True to his word, the American hero took it to “The Russian Nightmare” with everything he has, taking more risks than usual. Nikita is determined to end it tonight, but Magnum shows true grit and repeatedly takes the big Russian down. He evens shocks the whole crowd by lifting Nikita over his head and dropping slamming him. Nikita gets up woozy and charges with the sickle. Magnum sees it coming ducks and hits the belly to belly to gain his first win in the series.

Ric Flair knows tonight is a monumental earmark in his career, as does Arn Anderson. He knows that if he can stop Ric Flair dead in his tracks, his already blooming career will explode like a wild flower. The two both come down to the ring and meet. Shockingly, they actually shake hands. From then on though, it’s no nonsense. The two go at it with everything they have learned in their respective careers and then some. Flair gets Arn in a figure four, but “Double A” manages to reach the ropes, causing a break. This weakens the Television Champion, which “The Nature Boy” eagerly exploits. Arn manages to lock Flair in an armbar and getting Flair close to the ropes, climbs to the outside and leaps to the floor before releasing, causing Flair’s arm to twist the wrong way and really hurting him. Arn climbs back in the ring with J.J. patting him “a job well done” on the back. Flair is crouched down on the ropes when Arn approaches him, and forgetting Flair still has a fresh arm, Arn gets caught with a hard left hand. Ignoring the referee’s warnings, Flair goes to work. After working Arn down he hits a knee drop, picks him up and connects and atomic drop, then clotheslines him from behind. Flair promptly reapplies the figure four leg lock, this time keeping his hands real close to the ropes, which he shamelessly uses for leverage when the ref is checking on Arn. J.J. and Arn try to alert Pee Wee Anderson, but Flair, still “the dirtiest player in the game” is too quick. Finally with no where to go and facing serious injury, Arn submits and Ric Flair advances to meet Tully in Norfolk as the crowd screams its approval.

 

Interim

Interviewed on World Wide, before his much anticipated and deserved rematch, Ric Flair gives a rousing speech. “Tully, you got your girlfriend to burn my face. Then you got your no good manager to keep me from my rematch. After that, you put Ole in front of me. Then Arn. Well guess what? None of it worked! I’m still here and come this Friday in Norfolk, I’m becoming a four time’s World’s Champion! And whether you like it or don’t like it, get your ticket ready, because Space Mountain is open for business. Wooooo! “Fans,” Tony Schiavone says, “I think it is safe to say that this Friday will be the biggest night in the history of our sport. See you in Norfolk.”

 

July 21, 1986: Fayetteville, NC

Magnum comes within one when Earl Hebner catches Nikita using a chain Ivan throws him, causing a disqualification victory. The Fayetteville crowd roars its approval as the worm starts to turn in Magnum’s (and America’s) favor.

Tully Blanchard successfully defends his title against “Hands of Stone” Ron Garvin, winning with his slingshot suplex.

 

July 23, 1986: Johnson City, TN

Johnson City, Tennessee is eagerly anticipating the long awaited ladder match. Jim Cornette pompously strolls down to the ring with Bubba. “For those two or three you with dates, just remember when later out goes the light, they may be with you, but their minds will be on Midnight! “Beautiful” Bobby and “Loverboy” Dennis, the Midnight Express! The two Midnights enter the ring to rousing boos. Then LOD’s music hits, and the crowd goes crazy as the two painted warriors come down amidst cheers with their manager, slapping hands. The two jump on the apron. There are ladders stationed outside the ring. Teddy Long rings the bell and the match is officially underway. Hawk and Animal approach their opponents, ready to start raising hell. But before they know it, Condrey and Eaton throw powder in their eyes and go on the offensive. Blinded, the Warriors are much more vulnerable than otherwise. Eaton and Condrey beat them down as fast and hard as they can. Jim Cornette looks on in sheer delight. Eaton signals to Bubba who slides a ladder in the ring. Wanting to make it a quick night, the two Midnights quickly stand the ladder up and open it. Paul Ellering gets on the apron and yells to his still blinded men what is happening. Animal charges in the middle of the ring, knocking both the ladder-and “Beautiful” Bobby down. He starts swinging wildly, and is double teamed by both Midnights. Condrey holds him as Eaton repeatedly punches him. But while this is going on, Road Warrior Hawk has been clearing out his eyes. He attacks his opponents with a ferocity even vicious for Road Warrior standards. He is determined to leave Tennessee with he and his partners rightfully won belts. Eaton and Condrey double up on him, but have a much harder time now that Hawk can see. Eventually they manage to get the best of him and nail a double suplex. Bobby Eaton once again tries to climb the ladder, but this time a now not blind Animal intervenes, climbing the ladder with him, engaging in a slug fest. Dennis Condrey pulls Animal by the leg while Animal kicks at him while swinging his fists at Eaton. Seeing “Beautiful” Bobby is about to grab the belts, Hawk charges the ladder, knocking both friend and foe down. He then goes at Dennis Condrey whose face is showing signs of trouble. The four go at it for a little bit longer, but the rough and tumble, no rules environment favors the Road Warriors. After beating the Midnights down, Hawk and Animal position the ladder upright and are ready to reclaim their belts. “Big” Bubba jumps on the apron and starts to enter the ring… but before he can get in, his legs are grabbed and he is pulled back to the floor by the Rock n’ Roll Express! Ricky and Robert start swinging with all they have at the big bodyguard and the three fight all the way back to the dressing room. The distraction allows Condrey and Eaton to regroup and gain a little more time, but the LOD will not be upstaged. They incapacitate them for good, then Hawk climbs the ladder while Animal keeps guard. Seconds later, the World Tag Team Champions finally possess the belts which they have rightfully earned to the absolute delight of the crowd. But the fun is not over, yet. Realizing he has lost his bodyguard, Jim Cornette tries to make a prompt exit. Anticipating that move, Paul Ellering blocks the entrance way and walks towards James E. He then turns it into a chase and Cornette runs in the ring and in desperation climbs to the top of the ladder. Ellering with his two men laugh at the situation, then “Precious” Paul, climbs up the first couple of rungs, grabs Cornette by the pants and pulls him down. Ellering slugs him several times, then flattens him with a clothesline after pulling Cornette to him. Then he signals to his men, and the fans knowing full well what is now coming. Animal puts Cornette on his shoulders and Hawk climbs to the top rope. A moment, “The Louisville Lip” has been silenced for a long time.

 

July 25, 1986: Norfolk, VA

Fans are hanging from the rafters at the Norfolk Scope. Nikita Koloff comes out, as confident as ever that he WILL become the United States Champion tonight. The crowd goes insane, when Magnum T.A.-a Norfolk native- comes down. The two opponents glare each other down for a long while before Nikita throws the first punch. Magnum blocks it and the Cold War in the ring continues. The two go at it with the ferociousness the fans have come to expect. But Magnum has no intention of losing in front of his home crowd. He beats Nikita from pillar to post, not giving the hated Russian one inch of breathing room. Remembering the results of the past match, Nikita gets no help this time from Uncle Ivan or Comrade Krusher. Magnum hits a back body drop and follows up with a hard knee drop. Nikita is still reeling when Magnum hits a hard drop kick. He then executes a belly to belly suplex and evens the series as the crowd roars its approval.

The main event meets all standards of anticipation- and then some. Tully comes out with his full contingency, including the Andersons. Ric Flair enters alone with the crowd solidly behind him. Tommy Young instructs the Andersons back to the locker room which they begrudgingly acquiesce after bumping fists with Tully and giving him final words of encouragement. The second the opening bell hits, champion and former champion circle each other like buzzards. They finally lock up, knowing much more than the World Championship is at stake. Control shifts several times, with the action getting out of hand quite often. Tommy Young’s DQ count possibly has reached four more than any other time in his career. But, both competitors (and everyone else) wanting a pinfall or submission so bad, the count never quite hits five and Tommy Young no doubt feels this one should take its natural course. Tully nearly gets a submission on Ric Flair with the figure four but Flair reverses and Tully has to pull off. Flair gets a figure four of his own a few minutes later, but Tully, with the help of J.J., is able to reach the ropes and force a break. Flair continues to work on Blanchard’s legs after this, setting him up for another figure four. Showing his protest, J.J. Dillon jumps on the ring apron. This distracts Tommy Young, who demands Dillon jump off the apron. Dillon continues his distraction allowing Tully to poke Flair’s eyes. He then signals Baby Doll who tosses a small chain to Tully. But her throw is a little off and it takes the World Champion longer than anticipated to catch and secure it around his fists.  He comes at Flair, who with ever great presence even while temporarily blinded, nails Tully with a low blow. Flair then takes the chain and hammers Tully with it. He then throws it back to Baby Doll, thanking her. Having had enough of Dillon’s nonsense, Flair runs diagonal at him, avoiding Tommy Young, knocking the bespectacled manager off the apron, all the way to the guard rail. He then drops his knees on Tully, makes the pin, hooks the leg and three seconds later, is a four time World Champion. The Scope erupts as Flair’s hand is raised. Seconds later, the locker room clears as Dusty Rhodes, Magnum T.A., “Chief” Wahoo McDaniel, Jimmy Valiant, Manny Fernandez, Paul Ellering, the Road Warriors, the Rock ‘n’ Roll Express, Ron Garvin and the Guerreros all come to congratulate the new World’s Champion. They strap the belt around his waist and hoist him on their shoulders, giving him a true hero’s triumph.

 

July 26, 1986: Greensboro, NC

In a controversial ending, Paul Jones beats Jimmy Valiant in a hair v. hair match, after Baron Von Raschke interferes. Jimmy does not fight after the match and allows the dastardly heels to shave his long blonde locks.

In a number one contender match for the World Tag Team Title, the Midnight Express meets the Rock ‘n’ Roll Express. The heels come to the ring with “Big” Bubba but not with Jim Cornette. Teddy Long does not allow that to stand, as Bubba is Cornette’s bodyguard, not the Midnights. Determined to prove they don’t need their mouthpiece to win, Condrey and Eaton show a vicious side of them rarely seen. Equally determined to show they are the team of the 80s as they have been billed, Ricky and Robert, go full steam. The action is nonstop and intense, and eventually Eaton and Morton wind up on the outside while Gibson and Condrey duke it out in the ring. Eaton attempts to throw Morton into the guardrail, but Ricky reverses and sends Eaton into it instead. Ricky climbs on the apron and sees Robert has Condrey stunned. Quickly glancing at each other, the two know what must be done without any spoken words: They execute a double drop kick, with Morton turning his body so he gets as full blast as possible on “Loverboy’s” Dennis’ face. Morton falls to the ringside floor but is luckily not hurt as Gibson gets the pin, setting up a legendary babyface vs. babyface match to close the Bash.

Nikita and Magnum meet for their seventh and final match. Magnum has evened the series and wants to show he is the real deal. Equally the same thing can be said for Nikita Koloff. This is the hardest hitting match of the seven- and that is saying something. There are several close pinfalls and a lot of fists fly. Magnum is able to dodge a Nikita charge to the turnbuckle and hit the belly to belly, but only gets two. The stunned American works his Russian challenger more, but Nikita recovers. The action continues and when they are running at each other, Nikita nails a flying Russian sickle. He covers Magnum, but this time Magnum gets out at a close two count. Frustrated, Nikita quickly attempts another sickle, but Magnum dodges and nails a clothesline of his own. He picks Nikita up who swings a roundhouse and misses prompting Magnum to execute a back drop instantly turning it into a pin. Nikita manages to get his left shoulder up, but Earl Hebner is on the right side and does not see it. Thus Magnum successfully comes back, winning the series 4-3, much to the Greensboro’s crowd’s utter delight. Magnum proudly holds his U.S. Title on the top turnbuckle, taking turns at each one, so all the fans can enjoy a truly American victory.

 

Interim

World Championship Wrestling hits the door running. A recap of the week’s Bash activities is shown on a highlight reel with commentary. Then the following announcements are made. At the close out Bash Tour stop, in the Omni in Atlanta, the Ric Flair-Tully Blanchard World Title rematch will be in a steel cage, set for one fall. Additionally, because the replay shows that he indeed did have a shoulder up, Nikita Koloff will get a U.S. Title shot at Magnum T.A.

Early on in the show, the Road Warriors dismantle Pablo Crenshaw and Bob Burroughs in about 15 seconds. After this they give their take on their ladder match and upcoming match against the Rock ‘n’ Roll Express. “Welcome,” Tony says “the World Tag Team Champion, Road Warriors. I’ll bet you are finally glad to have your belts back.” “You don’t know it, Tony Schiavone.” Animal says. “Those creep, Midnight Express stole our belts, but you know what- they couldn’t take our titles. And Ricky, Robert, we owe you thanks. You kept Bubba out of our hair and now providence has granted you a shot at the gold. We know you two are great wrestlers, but we assure you, come Friday in the Omni, it will be all business. Tell ‘em Hawk.”. “WELL, they say dynamite comes in small packages. And Rock ‘n’ Roll Express, you two are proof that’s true. Problem for you is, it comes in big packages, too. And though we respect you immensely, the LOD pulls no punches. Never has, never will. We just got these belts back,” Hawk says as he proudly displays his tag belt. “And we’re not aiming to give them away anytime soon.” “There you have it, David Crockett says, Road Warriors and Rock ‘n’ Roll Express, right here in the Omni this Friday.”

Later the Russians, not looking at all happy, come out for an interview. “Well, well, Nikita … what happened? It looks the American athlete proved he was worth something after all.” David Crockett gloats. “You shut up, David Crockett” Ivan Koloff screams. “My nephew, Nikita was robbed by crooked American official. And Magnum T.A., your parade will not last long. Nikita will rain on it till it floods!” MAGNUM T.A.!” Nikita growls. “You are tough opponent, I admit that. But you are no Russian athlete. You get tainted best of seven series win, but American victory will not last long. This Friday, I am United States Champion. “Krusher Khrushchev finishes by saying “We all saw the results of the Good Will Games, right here on the SuperStation. And who won? The Russians, that’s who!” He laughs and his comrades join in. “And just like the Soviet Union won the Good Will Games, the Russians are going to finish the ‘Great American‘ Bash winners. Nikita Koloff- U.S. Champion, bank on it!”

After a few more segments, Tully Blanchard, the Andersons, J.J. Dillon and Baby Doll all came out. “Well, Ric Flair, you did it. You took my belt, brother, you took my belt.” Tully says. “I stayed up all night asking ‘how?’ And you know what answer I finally came up with? I was too damn soft. That’s right.” “Baby Doll,” Tully says now addressing his valet. “You cost me the U.S. Title, but I let it go. Didn’t say a word. Then you cost us (pointing to Arn and Ole as well as himself) the World Six Man Title. Twice! Didn’t take that so well, but we forgave you. We all forgave you. But the World Title? Can’t even throw a small chain correctly?” Baby Doll looks confused and nervous. “Honey, looky here.” Four beautiful women in evening gowns appear and each puts an arm on one of the male interviewees. “This is a where a woman belongs. Baby Doll, I am getting my title back on Friday. But your services are no longer needed. Bye-bye.” Tully says giving Baby Doll a sarcastic wave. “But Tully…” Baby Doll says, nearly to the point of tears… “A woman’s place is not in the ring.” Ole Anderson interjects. “Baby Doll, we let you stay and even took you back because Tully insisted. No more. Honey, hit the road.” Baby Doll looks at her apparently former man with sad puppy dog eyes, looking for a reprieve. “You heard the man, Baby Doll.” Tully says. “Scat!” At this, she knows it’s over, and walks away dejected.

The final interview of the night is Ric Flair. Sprach Zarathustra plays, and Ric Flair comes out to a grand ovation. “Welcome back, CHAMP” David Crockett proudly says. “David Crockett, it’s great to be back and it’s great to have this for the fourth time.” Flair displays the World Title belt, his engraved name once again gleaming on it. “Tully, you thought you were the man, but you learned the hard way, that there is only one MAN in this sport. And that is Ric Flair! You got rid of Baby Doll, which, well I can’t blame you for that one.” Flair says chuckling. “Oh, and don’t come to the ‘Nature Boy’ again, I’m not that nice.” he says laughing a little louder.” “But Friday night, Blanchard, you and me in a steel cage. Two men in, one man out. And brother, whether I make you quit like Magnum did at Starrcade, or I pin you, count on one thing, you are not leaving that cage with this belt. Bank on it! Woooo!” “Ric Flair, Tully Blanchard in a cage. Nikita and Magnum T.A. for the U.S. Title, the Road Warriors meeting the Rock ‘n’ Roll Express for the World Tag Team Title, folks this is without a doubt going to be the biggest night in the history of our sport!” Tony Schiavone says as World Championship Wrestling goes off the air.

 

August 2, 1986: Atlanta, GA

The atmosphere in the Omni is so thick you can cut it with a knife. Tonight is indeed the culmination of the past several month’s activities. Moments before his title defense, Magnum T.A. is interviewed by Bob Caudle. “Magnum, first off, congratulations on winning back your U.S. Title.” Bob Caudle says. “Thank you, Bob. In truth, I don’t think I ever really lost it. I had it taken from me by corporate fat cats who have lost sight of what America really is. But that doesn’t matter. The belt is back where it belongs- around MY waist.” “That’s good and true and Magnum” Bob Caudle responds. “But you have a tough challenge tonight, and the video shows Nikita did lift his shoulder up at two in Greensboro.” “You know I don’t deny that Nikita Koloff is a great athlete. One of the best. He hasn’t got much upstairs, but then his Uncle handles that now doesn’t he? But, I do admit Nikita was out at two in Greensboro. But tonight, I promise there will be no debate. I am winning and putting an end to this for good. God Bless America.”

Both competitors make their way to the ring. Nikita attacks Magnum while he is taking off his ring vest behind his back. This gives the Russian an early advantage. But Magnum reverses an Irish whip and executes a hard back body drop. A pair of dropkicks send Nikita out the ring while the crowd roars in approval. Frustrated and angry, the Russian pounds his hands to the mat. Realizing he must beat the count, he crawls back in at 8. Knowing tonight is “do or die” he goes at Magnum full force. Ditto for Magnum. Teddy Long admonishes both men repeatedly for closed fists, low blows, not breaking on the ropes or chokes at five. But neither Koloff not Magnum ever quite warrant a disqualification. At the 25 minute mark, Magnum has gained decisive control. Ivan Koloff approaches ringside and jumps on the apron. Not in the mood for distractions, Magnum cold cocks him, knocking the wily veteran to the floor. The match continues when Krusher Khrushchev comes to ringside. This time Magnum beats him to the punch, sliding out the ring and waylaying the vile turncoat. He slides back in the ring, but by now Nikita has had time to recover. Nikita hits a barrage of elbows, fists and kicks, stunning Magnum. He then signals for the Russian sickle as the crowd boos in distress. He waits for Magnum to get up then charges, but Magnum anticipates his move and ducks under it. He kicks Nikita and sets him up for a backdrop, but loses his balance and has Nikita fall on top of him. Teddy Long counts. Magnum’s left foot is out the ring, which Krusher grabs while Ivan pulls back on him for even more leverage. A badly positioned Long does not catch this and to the ire of the Atlanta crowd, the hated Russian becomes the new United States Heavyweight Champion. An irate Magnum T.A. tries to explain the situation to Teddy Long. He questions the Russians who vehemently deny everything. Both Dusty Rhodes and Ric Flair come to ringside to try and help Magnum’s cause. Teddy Long is listening to them when Nikita takes his Russian flag and nails Dusty Rhodes in the back with it. Ivan and Krusher then pounce on Flair and Magnum. The ambush proves successful, and the Russians leave the ring in celebration while their three American adversaries need help back to the dressing room.

Just before their big match with the Road Warriors, the Rock ‘n’ Roll Express is interviewed by Bob Caudle. “Ricky, Robert, as many legendary tag team matches as you two have been in, this has GOT to be the biggest one of them all.” “Bob Caudle,” Ricky Morton begins, “Robert and I have faced them all. We have always been told we’re not big enough. Not strong enough. Not good enough. And you know what? we’ve proved them wrong, time and time again. The Koloffs, the Andersons, the Midnight Express. All went to down to rock ‘n’ roll. But we’ve never faced anyone like the Road Warriors before. They are the definition of what tag team wrestling is. But the Rock ‘n’ Roll Express doesn’t back down from anyone. No matter how tough or how big. And tonight, we’re making history.” “Robert?” asks Bob Caudle. “Mr. Caudle, I think Ricky just said it all. I’ll just add, Road Warriors, Paul Ellering, we respect you. But don’t take us lightly. We’re no pushovers.”

The Rock ‘n’ Roll Express’ music hits and the fans give them a huge ovation. Seconds later the LOD’s music hits and they get an equally loud one. Once the music stops and the Road Warriors put their gear away, they walk over to the Rock ‘n’ Roll Express who is on guard. Hawk, Animal and “Precious” Paul offer their hands which Ricky and Robert except to the crowd’s delight. Seconds later the bell rings and this dream babyface tag match is now a reality. Ricky and Hawk start off. They lock up and Hawk throws the much smaller Morton across the ring. He then flexes and sticks out his tongue. Ever bold, Morton tries again to the same result. Likewise Hawk mocks him by sticking out his tongue and flexing. But this time, Morton catches him off guard with a hard dropkick, stunning the Road Warrior though not knocking him down. Ricky hits another one sending Hawk against the ropes, then catches him with a hip toss on his way back. He makes a quick tag to Robert Gibson who dropkicks Hawk from behind right when he gets up, sending him into a Ricky Morton drop toe hold. Robert then locks his larger opponent into a side headlock. The Omni crowd roars at this unexpected turn of events. No one thought the Rock ‘n’ Roll Express would start this strong against the Legion of Doom. Not one to be out done, Hawk struggles to his feet and attempts a backdrop… but Gibson flips over and cradles Hawk for a two count. Hawk pushes away and tags in Animal who is incensed and charges his opponent, only to fall to a drop toe hold headlock combo by Gibson. He gradually gets up and pushes Robert against the ropes. Robert leapfrogs him, then vice-versa, it ending with Animal being knocked to the ground with a dropkick. At this he crawls out the ring, with Hawk joining him, both getting sage advice from the ever wise Paul Ellering. Ricky joins Robert in the ring as the crowd cheers the underdog challengers. “Precious” Paul refocuses his frazzled team and Animal reenters. This time, the large Road Warrior is calm and collected. He turns a lock up into a hard bodyslam and does no showboating. He picks Robert up, throws him across the ropes and nails a hard hitting shoulder block. Grabbing him by the hair, he picks his smaller opponent up and tags in Hawk and the two work Gibson over to Teddy Long’s four count. Hawk takes it to Robert for a bit more, but after an Irish whip to the ropes, Robert slides under his legs and makes tags Ricky Morton, who jumps back in, dodges a Hawk clothesline and hits a flying body press as both men are running at each other, taking his larger opponent down. Before Teddy Long can even start a count, Hawk throws Morton off, but Ricky is right back into it, proving that he and Robert will NOT be LOD’s doormats. This pattern goes back and forth, the Warriors using their size and strength, the Rock ‘n’ Roll Express using speed, quick tags and shrewd tag tactics to keep the fight to the champs. After an attempted flying body press, Hawk catches Ricky Morton. He powerlifts him over his head and gorilla slams him. This definitively turns the tide for him and Animal. They hit Ricky with everything but the kitchen sink, knocking him around like a pinball. The Road Warriors get many close counts, but the big hearted Morton will not stay down. Finally after yet another seemingly endless Animal shoulder block, he tags Hawk and signals for the doomsday device. Hawk quickly ascends to the top rope, but somehow when picking up Morton, the beaten and bruised challenger finds the strength to fight. They struggle for a couple of seconds and Animal throws Morton right into the Road Warrior corner, which causes Hawk to lose his balance and fall between the ropes, his legs split between them. Not thinking Animal charges, but Ricky dodges. This stuns Animal, allowing Morton to stumble to his corner and tag in a fresh Robert Gibson. Gibson enters the ring and takes it to Animal, repeatedly punching him. He then slams a just recovering Hawk off the top rope. He then picks him up and rams the two Road Warriors’ heads together! “Precious” Paul’s jaw drops. He can’t believe he is seeing his two men manhandled like this. Gibson hits a side Russian leg sweep on Hawk, but only gets two. As Teddy Long clears the ring of the illegal men, Gibson goes for a dropkick but Hawk moves out the way. Both are stunned, but Hawk is still the worse for wear. Realizing he is hurt, he goes for the tag to Animal. Knowing he will probably not have the benefit of a hurt Road Warrior again, Gibson charges Animal and hits him with a forearm. This infuriates, Animal who illegally enters the ring, with Teddy Long holding him off with all his might. In a very untypical fashion, Hawk, rakes Gibson’s eyes and starts to beat on him. But he hasn’t noticed that Ricky Morton has ascended to the top rope. When slamming Gibson down, he takes a breath to gain his composure and turns around just in time to get a dropkick right in the face. Gibson catches Hawk and rolls him up while Ricky makes a prompt exit. Teddy Long, having got Animal back to his corner sees the pin, runs over and makes the three count. The Omni explodes, having just witnessed one of the biggest tag team upsets in pro wrestling history. Ricky and Robert embrace as they are awarded the NWA World Tag Team Title belts. Hawk and Animal are consoled by “Precious” Paul. Showing how much they respect their temporarily vanquished opponents, Ricky and Robert go over and congratulate the Legion of Doom on a hard fought match. Without any hesitation, the Road Warriors accept, and the two teams raise each others’ hands to their fans’ delight. Both teams then exit, the Rock ‘n’ Roll Express having just proven that it’s not the size of the dog in the fight, but the size of the fight in the dog.

Full of adrenaline having just witnessed an epic tag team encounter, the fans now realize the night very well may end on a downer. Tully Blanchard comes to the ring with a very smug, confident look on his face, knowing he is facing a hurt Ric Flair. Then Flair’s music hits, and to the somewhat surprise of the audience, the World Champion “walks that aisle” with all the splendor and spectacle typical of Ric Flair. Though bandaged, he obviously has zero intention of letting the Russians make him look any less like the “Nature Boy” that he is. Flair enters the cage, not once taking his eyes off Tully. J.J. gives some last minute instructions and then exits. Then the bell rings and the grand finale to the Great American Bash is on! Flair, still feeling the effects of the earlier beatdown, is noticeably off key. Tully has figured this from the get go and wastes no time taking it to his hated opponent. Still being a great tactician and consummate athlete, Flair will not go down lightly, but it seems like he is fighting an uphill battle. Every time he starts to gain the advantage, Tully either uses either a dirty tactic or his natural skill to retake control. After about a grueling 15 minutes, Tully hits a knee drop and signals for the slingshot suplex. But he makes the deadly mistake of underestimating “the dirtiest player in the game” when he nonchalantly picks Flair up. This earns him a patented “Nature Boy” blow to the family jewels. A moment later, Flair throws him headfirst into the steel cage, busting the challenger wide open. Flair starts stomping Tully and now it’s anybody’s match. “Slick” Ric styles and profiles all over Tully, not letting up for even a second. After nailing a back body drop, he looks out to J.J. and gives him a “wooo” causing the normally collected Dillon to throw a small fit. Flair then hits a knee drop of his own and is ready to take it home. He signals for the figure four, but then makes the same mistake Tully did. As he goes to cinch it in, Tully counters with a small package, nearly getting three. Both men pop up with fists clenched and teeth gritted. The match now turns into a verifiable slug fest with referee Tommy Young helplessly protesting. Tully wins the day and sends Flair flying into the cage headfirst, returning the favor from earlier. Flair, now also wearing a crimson mask is in clear peril. Smelling victory, Tully sets “The Nature Boy” up for a piledriver. He nearly gets him all the way up but Flair pulls him down at the last second. He tries again with a similar result. Blanchard makes a third attempt, but this time Flair uses the momentum after the pull down to reverse the piledriver attempt into a back body drop. Using his unparalleled ingenuity, Flair drops right on Tully’s face and pulls the challenger’s legs up from behind, getting an unexpected pin victory. The Omni crowd roars as their beloved champion overcomes the odds of an earlier sneak attack and still walks away “the man”.

Part IV

August-September 1986

The Bash is finally over, but the action in the NWA is as hot as the August sun. After a successful title defense against George South and the Thunderfoots [1] , Dusty, Magnum, and Wahoo have an interview. “Well Dusty, I know you and Magnum must have something to say after last Friday.” David Crockett says. Dusty Rhodes replies “Well David Crockett, it goes like this: Those no good Russians ripped off Magnum T.A.’s U.S. Heavyweight Title belt. Then they snuck attack me, Magnum and ‘The Nature Boy’. To add insult to injury, they hit me with that no good dirty flag of theirs. Well guess what, this here flag (Dusty pulls an American flag from behind the podium to the crowd’s cheers) is the only flag we care about. And Russians, anytime, anyplace, we’ll put this Six Man trophy on the line in a flag match. Old Glory vs. that dirty red rag of yours.” “What a challenge.” Tony Schiavone says. “Magnum?” “Well Tony Schiavone, Nikita got lucky and was able to take the U.S. Title after I worked so hard to get it back. But that doesn’t matter. That Rusky’s time’s coming. Meanwhile, myself, Dusty and Wahoo are going to whip some Commie butt all over America!” Magnum says as the crowd cheers on.” “And Russians, you don’t have any clue what you’re dealing with. You’re messing with three proud Americans who don’t like Red no gooders running their mouths on our land. Just wait, flag match is a comin’.” “Chief” Wahoo McDaniel says to end the interview.

On World Wide, the World Six Man Title Flag Match is ready to happen. For the whole show, the beloved Stars and Stripes flies high over one ring post while the reviled Soviet Hammer and Sickle flag flies over the other. The loyal American crowd waits for the main event. The Russian team enters first to typical jeers which bothers them not at all. The World Six Man Tag Team Champions are introduced next and are greeted like the heroes that they are. The rules of the match are simple. It will be an otherwise standard six man match, but a team can only win by having the legal man capturing their own country’s flag, which each will be hanging in one of the two unteamed corners. Nikita and Magnum start out and these two stare each other down without blinking an eye. Nikita throws a punch which Magnum promptly blocks and the match is on. It is a predictably roughhouse affair, no love lost between either of the opposing sides. The action goes on for several minutes, the Americans get an early  advantage after a botched Koloff double team on Dusty Rhodes, and they proceed to work over Ivan. After a hard chop knocking “The Russian Bear” to the ground, Wahoo McDaniel makes the first go for old glory, but Krusher Khrushchev runs in and pulls him down. This brings in Dusty and Magnum and then Nikita and it is a pier six brawl with all parties involved. Pee Wee Anderson eventually restores order, and Ivan tags in Krusher. He and Wahoo go at it, then after getting an armbar on him, Wahoo tags in Dusty, who climbs to the top rope dropping a hard elbow on the Russian’s arm. Dusty takes it to Krusher with all he has then tags in Magnum who continues where “The Dream” left off. After a few holds, he throws Krusher against the ropes and starts running, aiming for a clothesline, but Krusher ducks. An Ivan Koloff kick as he is near the Russian corner hurts Magnum, allowing Krusher to nail the Russian sickle. Instinctively, he goes for the pin. Ignoring Randy Anderson’s pats on the back, it is several seconds before he hears Ivan yelling “No pin, get flag.” at him. He finally gets up and goes for the Russian flag, but Magnum recovers quickly enough and climbs the ropes with him. Krusher tries to elbow him down, but Magnum gets the better of him and takes him down with a big back drop. Both men are clearly hurt as Randy Anderson starts the ten count. He gets to nine before Krusher gets to his feet and is able to tag in Ivan. Rather than go after a still dazed Magnum, the wise Ivan goes straight for his nation’s flag. This causes Dusty Rhodes to return Krusher’s earlier run in, pulling Ivan down. Nikita comes in, which brings in Wahoo and sure enough all six men are once again soon in the ring. Dusty and Ivan go at it while Nikita and “The Chief” swing at one another. Seeing Magnum just getting up with the help of the ropes, Krusher decides to take him out once and for all with another sickle. He charges, but this time Magnum sees him coming and back body drops him over the top rope while Randy Anderson is not looking. Seeing his other two opponents occupied with his partners and himself still the legal man, Magnum climbs the turnbuckle and grabs Old Glory, right as Pee Wee Anderson turns his head. The crowd goes nuts when the bell rings. Magnum helps Dusty and Wahoo clear the ring of Russians and proudly waives the red, white and blue for everyone to see.

The next week on World Championship Wrestling, Jim Crockett Promotions President Jim Crockett, Jr. comes out to make an announcement at the interview podium. “Folks, as you well know, we’ve retired a lot of titles in the last year or so; the National Title, the National Tag Team Titles, the Mid-Atlantic Heavyweight Title, now all defunct. But with all the competition here in the NWA, there has been talk of bringing back a title. Well, I thought about it and have decided rather than reinstate an old title, why not create a new one? And I realize our tag team division only has one title, the World Tag Team Title currently held by the Rock ‘n’ Roll Express. And that is a very intense division.” “It is.” agreed his brother. “So after careful consideration, the NWA will now have two tag team titles; the World Tag Team Title and now” he says while unraveling two new belts, “the United States Tag Team Title. We will have a tournament right here in the Omni very shortly to determine new United States Tag Team Champions.” All of a sudden, Ivan Koloff comes out. “Excuse, Mr. Crockett. Did I just hear you right? Did you say that there will now be a U.S. Tag Team Championship? “Yes I did.” Jim Crockett responds. “Well as you know, Nephew Nikita is already U.S. Heavyweight Champion. And comrade Krusher and myself would love to complete the circle and win the U.S. Tag Team Titles. How can we arrange this?” “Well, Ivan, you and Krusher are a perennial tag team powerhouse here in the NWA. I think you have little to worry about as far as being in the tournament.” “Very good.” Ivan happily responds right before a commercial break.

The action in the NWA Crockett area heats up even more. All team are vying for a spot in the U.S. Tag Team Title Tournament; the Russians, America’s Team, The Andersons, The Road Warriors, The Midnight Express and all other regular and patchwork tag teams are putting their names in the hat for tournament consideration.

As the U.S. Tag Team Title Tournament grows near, the teams are more avidly stating their intentions. In an America’s Team interview, Dusty Rhodes states “Now we already have one dirty Russian holding a U.S. Championship which is bad enough. But there’s no way Magnum and I are going to stand for two U.S. Titles to be in Russian hands. Tell them Magnum.” “Dusty you’re totally right. And Nikita, you’ve been keeping that title by having your no good Uncle andComrade Krusher interfere on your behalf either causing me to lose or getting you disqualified. Well, in the game of numbers your luck’s going to run out and I’ll once again have MY U.S. Title back around MY waist!”

On a top notch match on World Wide, Wahoo McDaniel beats Baron Von Raschke with his patented chop. Right after, the Russians storm the ring and proceed to triple team the “Chief”. Baron gets up and the Russians gleam at the now four on one. But the gleams turn to frowns as the Baron clamps the iron claw on Nikita’s head! This causes, the Russians to attack him. A few seconds later, Wahoo rejoins the fight and repays the German’s favor. After finally fighting the Koloffs off and staring at each other, the two former and now current friends shake hands, much to the crowd’s delight.

It is announced that because of his victory against Baron Von Rashcke and other top stars in recent weeks and because of the Russians cowardly attack, the NWA Board of Directors has given Wahoo McDaniel a U.S. Title shot, to be had the night of the U.S. Tag Team Title tournament.

Making his return shortly before the tournament, Jim Cornette says this right before another no doubt Midnight Express win against the Mulkey Brothers: “You thought I was done and that the LOD put me down and laid me down to rest. But as long as there is life in this body I will never quit this sport at anyone’s behest. Introducing to you the next United States Tag Team Champions, ‘Beautiful’ Bobby and ‘Loverboy’ Dennis, the Midnight Express!”

September 28, 1986: The United States Tag Team Title Tournament

1st Round

B & B Connection

v.

The Barbarian and Shaska Whatley

 

For Second Round, Winner Meets Winner of

Ivan Koloff and Krusher Khrushchev

v.

Kansas City Jayhawks

 

America’s Team

v.

The Andersons

 

For Second Round, Winner Meets Winner of

The Road Warriors

v.

The Midnight Express

 

And the two teams that win in the Second Round meet in the Finals.

 

First Round

The tournament starts off with Jimmy Valiant and the Raging Bull taking on Paul Jones’ team of Shaska Whatley and the Barbarian. As the bad blood runs deep here, it is not surprising this one is a drag out knock down fight. Paul Jones attempts to interfere, but Baron Von Raschke runs down to ringside preventing his former manager from doing so. This allows Jimmy Valiant to hit an elbow drop on Shaska for the pin.

Next is the Russian team against “Dirty” Dutch Mantell and “The Hangman” Bobby Jaggers, two rugged veterans now teaming as the Kansas City Jayhawks. This is a pretty rough and tumble match with all four men being double tough as well as skilled wrestlers. But the Russians who are more experienced as a team work together as collective unit more proficiently than their opponents, giving them the edge to get the win after a Khrushchev sickle to Jaggers.

The next match is definitely not between strangers. J.J. Dillon is determined to walk away with a title victory over his hated rivals. From the opening bell this one is not pretty. The Andersons take the early advantage on Magnum, working on his arm in typical Anderson fashion. But a miscued Ole punch intended for Magnum hits Arn instead when Magnum breaks Arn’s grip allowing him to tag in Dusty Rhodes, who promptly gets “funky like a monkey” on both Anderson brothers. This causes J.J. to jump on the apron, which earns him a bionic elbow for his efforts. Dusty then nails Arn with a hard lariat and showing he is not at all above bending the rules, pins Arn with his feet on the ropes, unbeknownst to Earl Hebner, while Magnum prevents Ole from getting the save.

The final first round match is a grudge match if their ever was one. The Midnights show learned (and wise) caution against the LOD. The Warriors tend to dominate, but the Midnights show great resilience being top notch competitors themselves. After several minutes, the Warriors have the Midnights on the rocks when “Big” Bubba attacks Paul Ellering. This causes Hawk, the legal Road Warrior, to promptly quit fighting a hurt Dennis Condrey and leave the ring and help out his manager while Animal is having it out with Bobby Eaton. Tommy Young counts ten and the Warriors are eliminated, giving Camp Cornette, who promptly makes haste, a small amount of revenge for their past grievances.

 

Second Round

The B & B Connection is pumped to upset the Russians. They come at Koloff and Khrushchev full force and actually are able to dominate a lot of the match, with the Russians still holding their own. At the 15 minute mark, Manny Fernandez hits Ivan with the flying burrito and covers him, but Krusher stops the pin, which brings in Jimmy Valiant. All four now fighting in the ring, Teddy Long attempts to regain order to little avail. After getting punched by Krusher several times, “The Boogie Woogie Man” has enough and starts to bite the Russian’s forehead, causing Teddy Long to demand a break. When he won’t stop biting, Long calls for the bell, giving the Russians a DQ berth to the finals.

 The Midnight Express, happy to be done for the night with the Road Warriors, use all their speed and skill against Dusty and Magnum. But America’s Team will not be outdone. They take everything the Midnights give them and throw it right back at them. It looks bleak for Eaton and Condrey, but when Dusty is running across the ropes, Jim Cornette drops the top rope with his hand, causing the large Rhodes to spill to the floor and hurt himself right when Bubba distracts Earl Hebner. Dennis Condrey promptly exits the ring and begins kicking and punching Dusty with everything he has, even ramming his head against the ring post. He throws him back in and follows, just beating a count out.  A livid Magnum T.A. tries to help out, but is held back by the referee, allowing Cornette’s team to double up on Dusty. Condrey and Eaton work on putting away an injured “Dream” but he will not go down for the count. After several minutes, Eaton goes for a top rope body press, but Dusty turns it into a powerslam and nearly gets the three. Both men struggle to their corners, with Eaton making it to Condrey first. But Dusty makes it to Magnum who comes in with a vengeance! After a couple of minutes of fighting, Magnum hits a dropkick on Condrey. He notices Jim Cornette has moved to opposite sides of the ring as “Big” Bubba is once again trying to distract Earl Hebner. Sensing foul play- and wanting revenge for the earlier hurting of his partner- Magnum all of a sudden slides out the ring and punches “Corny” right in the nose, instantly dropping the 90 pound weakling while at the same time bloodying his nose. He quickly slides back into the ring. Bubba is incensed, but knows he can’t charge the ring or he’ll cause a disqualification. Bobby Eaton, does however, enter the ring and starts swinging at Magnum. This prompts a now refreshed Dusty to follow suit. Initially the Midnights get the better of America’s Team and prepare to ram them together from opposing turnbuckles. But, Dusty and Magnum both reverse the Irish whip, causing Eaton and Condrey to bump heads. Eaton is then met with a Magnum right hand while Condrey faces “The Dream’s” bionic elbow. They then both simultaneously whip their opponents across the ring, hit dual belly to belly suplexes and get the pin to advance to the finals.

 

United States Title Match

Nikita Koloff and “Chief” Wahoo McDaniel are next. Wahoo, a former U.S. Champion himself, is determined to send the rambunctious Russian packing back to Moscow. He and Nikita, both hard hitters, go at it full force. Wahoo, the consummate ring veteran uses his skill and craftiness, while the Russian relies more on power and brute force, which he possesses in mass. Wahoo is able stun Nikita with a barrage of punches and kicks and wears Nikita down with all around great wrestling. He then throws him across the ropes and nails the Indian chop and makes the pin. But Koloff is too strong to lose to a chop and kicks out at two. A bit flustered and frustrated, McDaniel picks Nikita up and hits him across his skull with several chops. He then throws him across the ring for a finishing big chop, but this time Nikita dodges and knocks the Indian chief down with a hard running shoulder block. He then easily slams the not at all light McDaniel hard to the mat. When picking him up, McDaniel rakes his eyes and starts pounding away on Nikita. He again throws him across the ring, but this time Nikita catches him off guard and charges full speed ahead, nailing Wahoo with the Russian sickle. He then makes the pin, retaining his U.S. Title.

 

Final Round

It’s the final match of the tournament. Ivan and Krusher are determined to monopolize all N.W.A. U.S. gold while Dusty and Magnum are equally determined to not let that happen. By now both teams are somewhat beaten and tired, but both nonetheless give nothing but their all. The Russians having had a bit easier trek, seem to hold up better. Dusty and Magnum rely on quick tags so as not to run out of gas. The Russians wisely focus more on Rhodes who is not in as good a shape as Magnum and took a nasty spill earlier on. However, “The Dream” will not go gently into the night for anyone and he and Magnum are able to stand toe to toe with the grisly Russians. In fact, after 18 minutes, it looks like Magnum is going to finish off Ivan while Dusty takes care of “Comrade Krusher”. He nails Ivan with an atomic drop and then follows up with a gorilla press slam. He then hits starts running for a diving knee drop. All of a sudden the crowd perks up, as out of the locker room with a heavily bandaged nose comes Jim Cornette. Right when Magnum hits the knee drop, Cornette times a dead on swing of his loaded tennis racket right into Magnum’s face. Teddy Long, who was separating Dusty and Krusher, does not catch it.  Ivan instinctively rolls over on Magnum. Teddy Long, now in position, makes the three count, leaving the Atlanta fans with a bad taste in their mouth to go home with … and regrettably leaving the Russians with all three U.S. Title belts.

 

September-October 1986

The Russians immediately start to proudly showcase their trio of U.S. gold around house shows and television tapings, really rubbing their dominance into the wounds of the loyal American crowds. On World Championship Wrestling, Dusty, Magnum and Wahoo show up for their first post tournament interview.

“Dusty, Magnum, Wahoo,” David Crockett begins. “I know the three of you must be disappointed about the happenings at the United States Tag Team Tournament. “David Crockett,” Magnum T.A. replies. “‘Disappointed’ doesn’t even begin to cover it. Dusty and I beat the Andersons, beat the Midnight Express and we were going to beat the Russians. But that no good weasel, Jim Cornette had to come and sucker punch me with that loaded tennis racket of his. Well, Cornette, laugh while you can you 90 pound brat, because I’m gonna beat you senseless and neither your mother’s money nor Bubba can stop me!” “Jim Cornette, it goes like this.” Dusty Rhodes says. “You think that tag team of yours and Bubber can protect you? You try to hurt me, so then my best friend, my brother Magnum T.A. steps up to the plate for the ‘American Dream’ and breaks your little ugly nose. Then you stick that broken nose where it definitely don’t belong- in our U.S. Tag Team Title match. And if you and your men want to get ‘funky like a monkey’ with Magnum and Dusty, well remember this: we go all night long. We don’t stop at Midnight. And next week, gear up the Midnight Express, gear up Bubber, cause next week, they gonna meet yours truly, Magnum and ‘Chief’ Wahoo McDaniels for the World Six Man Tag Team Titles!” “The Dream” announces to the cheers of the crowd. “And Russians, we haven’t forgotten you either.” says the “Chief”. “Your time is coming, too. But first we’re going to have a little Midnight snack.” The crowd cheers as the interview ends, with a huge main event promised for next week.

After a very long seven days, another World Championship Wrestling comes, and after an hour and a half, it is time for the Six Man Championship main event. Jim Cornette introduces his team to the jeers of the crowd. Then the favorites are introduced and the Omni gives a predictable pop. Once in the ring, there is plenty of trash talk from both corners, but Tommy Young insists they wait until the bell. Finally the match starts with Magnum and Bubba. Not even bothering to lock up, Magnum starts swinging at his larger opponent, with little effect. “Cornette choose the pick of the litter.” David Crockett says on commentary. Rogers gets the early upper hand, unpredictably manhandling Magnum. But just when it looks bleak for the ever popular hero, he dodges a Bubba clothesline and nails a hard dropkick, sending Bubba into the ropes. He doesn’t quite go down, but he falls on the ropes and his arms get stuck. No love lost between them, Magnum starts to hammer the big man, ignoring the reprimands of the referee. Cornette is screaming for an intervention and the Midnights oblige. This brings in Dusty and Wahoo and soon it is a free for all. Eventually, the faces clear the ring, while Camp Cornette regroups outside with “The Louisville Lip” giving advice. Bubba comes back in and locks back up with Magnum. But he quickly rakes Magnum’s eyes and tags in Bobby Eaton. They then quickly double team their opponent. They are able to isolate Magnum for a bit, but a mistimed Dennis Condrey kick leads him to be knocked senseless by Magnum, who drags him to his corner, where he tags in Dusty Rhodes, who proceeds to nail Condrey with a barrage of bionic elbows. The fan favorites hold advantage for quite a while, not quite being able to put “Loverboy” away. A desperate Dennis is able to dodge a Wahoo Indian chop and hits an enzugiri to the “Chief’s” head. He tags in “Beautiful” Bobby who takes it to McDaniel with sheer mastery. The Midnights and Bubba use every tactic they know to work their opponent down, double and triple teaming him, taunting Dusty and Magnum to enter illegally allowing more illegal moves and having Jim Cornette distract Tommy Young so they can cheat yet even more. After taking so much of this, Wahoo is almost out. “Big” Bubba slams him down, then slides out the ring and slugs the “Chief” right in the face. He then rolls back in the ring, picks Wahoo up and takes him down with an arm wrench short-arm clothesline and tags in Bobby Eaton, who immediately climbs to the top rope. The plan is obvious. Bubba is going to launch Eaton on to McDaniel while simultaneously launching Camp Cornette right to the Six Man Trophy. But right before he lands, Wahoo, sticks up a foot, hitting “Beautiful” Bobby right in the mouth. Panicking, Dennis Condrey climbs the top rope and Bubba launches him … to the exact same result. Bubba then tries to splash Wahoo, but the “Chief” moves out the way. He crawls to his corner and is able to tag in Dusty Rhodes, who gets “funky like a monkey” like never before. Magnum joins in the fray and it is once again a pier six brawl. Bubba attacks Magnum, but now he is all stoked and sends the big bodyguard reeling with a series of hard punches. He throws him against the ropes and nails him with a belly to belly suplex. Dusty is taking it to both Eaton and Condrey while Wahoo finally starts to recover. Tommy Young demands Magnum and Wahoo return to their corner. In desperation, Jim Cornette jumps on the ring apron. Dusty Rhodes immediately grabs him and starts to scream in the wimp manager’s face. He lifts his elbow up, but right before he does, Bobby Eaton nails a low blow. He then rolls Dusty up and Tommy Young, having just returned Dusty’s partners to their corner, counts the pin. Jim Cornette jumps up and down like a kid on Christmas, his team having just won the World Six Man Title.

 

October 14, 1986

In one of the most tragic moments ever to hit the wrestling world, Magnum T.A. is in a horrible, near life ending car accident. He crashes his car into a utility pole at 2:30 a.m. in Charlotte, North Carolina. His fifth cervical vertebrae from the top explodes, sending bone fragments into his spinal cord. Eyewitness reports say he had not been drinking and subsequent forensic reports prove he was not speeding. The road was wet due to rain.

 

October-November 1986

The mood in the NWA is very somber over the next few weeks. Everyone is utterly devastated over the career ending injury of Terry Allen, better known as Magnum T.A. His fate at this time is not known. [2] Friend and foe alike express their love and respect for this fallen champion.

Shortly after Magnum’s tragic accident, Magnum’s biggest in ring rival makes the ultimate gesture. On an episode of World Championship Wrestling, in a pre-taped interview, Magnum T.A.’s best friend, Dusty Rhodes said he has found a new partner, a great athlete, though he does not agree with him on everything, he has infinite respect for this man. This athlete said he is so emotionally affected by Magnum’s accident it had caused him to change. Though they were rivals, he knows Magnum was a great champion and wishes to whatever extent he can to fill his shoes. This athlete is Nikita Koloff and from this moment forward, he and Dusty Rhodes are to be known as the Super Powers. [3]

The effects of this announcement are immediate and gargantuan. Announcers and wrestlers alike are talking about Nikita’s sudden change of heart. Not surprisingly, no one has more to say about it than Nikita’s Uncle Ivan and Krusher Khrushchev. On World Championship Wrestling, they are interviewed by David Crockett and Tony Schiavone. “Ivan, Krusher, what do you two think of Nikita and his new alliance with ‘The American Dream’ Dusty Rhodes?” “Nikita, what have you done to me?” Ivan Koloff says in a highly distressful voice. For the last week I have been getting calls from Kremlin, from the president, from the Politburo, from the athletic committee. They want to send me home! ‘Ivan, we trust you to watch your nephew and this is what happens?’ they tell me.” He then lowers head his on his hand and shakes it in distress. “Nikita… Nikita… Nikita. “Look what you’ve done to your uncle, Nikita.” Krusher Khrushchev says sickeningly. “He’s given you everything and you stab him in the back like this? You are dead to me, you TRAITOR!” “Just a second, who are you calling a traitor?” David Crockett counters. “After all, before you started flying a red flag, your name used to be ‘Crusher’ Barry Dars…” Krusher Khrushchev grabs David Crockett by his jacket and pulls him hard, stopping the much smaller Crockett in mid-sentence. “Don’t you ever call me by that name! I am Krusher Khrushchev and I want no affiliation with your sick, corrupt capitalist system ever again!” He then pushes David Crockett away and concludes “And Nikita, as you well know Ivan and myself had a U.S. Tag Team Title defense against Dusty Rhodes and Magnum T.A. scheduled for next week. I suppose you’ll be taking Magnum’s place in that. Well, Ivan and I are looking forward to it. Let’s go, Ivan.” He puts his arm around his heartbroken friend’s shoulder and the two Russians walk away.

Later on, the Super Powers come out for their maiden interview after announcing their formation. “Dusty, Nikita” a much more upbeat than earlier David Crockett says. “You’ve heard Ivan and Krusher.” “Well David Crockett, it goes like this. Those two no gooders are running around with belts that just do not belong to them. And yes, Magnum and I had planned on winning them next week. But we all know that is no longer possible, so instead…” Before Dusty can finish his sentence, “The Nature Boy” Ric Flair comes out looking very flustered. “Dusty, listen, please listen. I know what you’re going thru right now. Brother it’s affecting me, too.” Pointing at Nikita he says, “But, ‘Dream’, I don’t trust this big S.O.B. as far as I can throw him. Not one bit! The Russians are no good, he’s no good and I’m willing to bet him, his uncle and that other idiot are plotting to stab you in the back!” Becoming incensed, Nikita immediately counters. “How dare you say that about me? You don’t know what I am thinking! I would never turn on Dusty Rhodes!” “You think I am going to buy that malarkey, Nikita? I was born at night, not last night, Commie!” Nikita tries to rush the World’s Champion and Dusty Rhodes has to step in between them. “Ric, please. This is not the time. I trust Nikita and believe he is sincere.” “All right ‘Dream’, all right. Just one thing: For weeks Magnum was telling me how bad he wanted back the United States Title and the United States Tag Team Title. He wanted to win them for America. And as tough as that one is,” Flair says pointing to Nikita, “he ain’t an American. Never was, never will be. Dusty, let’s fulfill Magnum’s wish. Next week, you and I ride as America’s Team.” emphasizing the last two words while looking at Nikita. Dusty is silent for several seconds, then he turns to his new ally. “Nikita, Ric Flair is right on this one. That was Magnum T.A.’s wish. Would it be OK if this one time, I teamed with ‘The Nature Boy’?” “Dusty,” Nikita responds, “if that was Magnum T.A.’s wish, then of course I fully respect it. Go ahead and team with Ric Flair.” Flair nods his head and says “Next, week ‘Dream’, next week.” and walks off as the interview concludes.

The wrestling world is abuzz for this epic tag match. Dusty Rhodes and Ric Flair, forming a new America’s Team, fighting for the U.S. Tag Team Title, held by two loyal Russians. After a week of much anticipation, match time arrives. To say tensions are high would be an understatement. While disappointed they are not getting their hands on Nikita just yet, Ivan and Krusher are venting at the chance to take out their frustrations on the man who they perceive had him turn on them, Dusty Rhodes, and Ric Flair who of course is no ally of theirs. The match gets underway with Dusty and Krusher starting out. It is a predictably rough affair, with tensions running high and both teams on edge. Though not nearly as experienced a team as the Russians, Rhodes and Flair work great together, not surprising with the credentials of six World Heavyweight Titles between them, But Ivan and Krusher are determined not to disappoint the Kremlin for a second time in such a short period. Control of the match goes back and forth between the two teams, neither able to put the other one away. After an exhausting 20 minutes, Ivan is punching away at Dusty Rhodes, both of them being the legal men, and is ignoring all of Tommy Young’s warnings to stop. Having a man who is so loyal to a nation so opposed to his own, coupled with the facts that he believes Dusty drove his nephew Nikita away from him and that his government has given him the blame for the transgression is too much for “The Russian Bear”. He snaps. He pushes Dusty into his corner, then calls for Krusher Khrushchev to get his chain, which Krusher promptly does. From the outside, Krusher starts choking Dusty while Ivan works away on him, getting an instant disqualification. Ric Flair storms in the ring and slugs Ivan, then swings at Krusher, causing him to drop the chain and quit choking Rhodes. Flair grabs the chain, but before he can use it, Ivan starts punching him, causing him to drop the chain and retaliate. While Ivan and Flair are going at it, Krusher enters the ring and picks up the chain, preparing to use it on a still woozy Dusty Rhodes. But before he can, Nikita storms the rings to the crowd’s delight. He gets in Krusher’s face, the two former comrades seething at each other. Nikita yanks the chain and wraps it around his fist. Not backing down an inch, Krusher dares Nikita to slug him. “You haven’t got the guts you yellow belly chicken traitor!” Krusher yells at Nikita with absolute disgust.” Nikita just shakes his head and starts to leave the ring. But while his back is turned, Krusher smacks him in the head. This sets Nikita off who now does swing at Krusher… but before he can connect, Ivan pushes Ric Flair right into the path of the punch and Nikita accidentally knocks the World’s Champion’s lights out instead. Krusher then attacks Nikita, but a now recovered Dusty Rhodes joins in. He and Nikita are able to clear Ivan and Krusher in short notice, afterwards attending to Ric Flair.

On World Wide, a clip of the previous World Championship Wrestling’s main event is shown along with what happened after. Ric Flair is finally revived. But he immediately slaps Nikita and pushes him away. Dusty Rhodes gets in between the two, only to have Ric Flair push and curse him and leave the ring by himself in disgust. Dusty asks Nikita what happened, and Nikita explains. Dusty shrugs his shoulders and the two leave the ring. It is then announced that Ric Flair has demanded a World Title defense against Nikita for the next World Championship Wrestling and that Nikita has accepted the challenge. Ric Flair is interviewed by Bob Caudle to close out the show. “Now Ric,” Bob Caudle says. “By now you’ve surely seen the tape of last week’s match and must know Nikita didn’t mean to hit you with that chain. It was an accident.” Having a near crazy look on his face, the normally always energetic Flair slowly and coldly says “Accident? You think it was an accident? Let me ask you, was it an accidentwhen the Russians starved millions of Ukrainian farmers to death? Was it anaccident when they shot 25,000 Polish POWs in the Katyn forest during World War 2? And was it an accident when the no good SOBs killed and tortured hundreds of thousands of Hungarians which led them to try and free themselves in the October 23 uprising?” Getting louder, he yells “No! And it was no accident when Nikita punched me! And if Dusty Rhodes really thinks that Russian has changed … well…” Flair ends the thought just shaking his head. “But Nikita, rest assured, in a short couple of days, you’re all mine and if your uncle and Krusher show up, they will face the consequences.” he says to conclude the interview.

A couple of days pass and it is now time for this highly anticipated and extremely tense match between Ric Flair and Nikita Koloff. The challenger enters first then Flair. They are both given ring instructions, Tommy Young taking special care to warn both not to break the rules. Both stare dead on at the other while this is going on, daggers in their eyes. The bell rings and the two go at it. Flair with revenge and hate on his mind, Nikita knowing any World Title opportunity can never be taken lightly. It is very fast paced, Flair being untypically aggressive and much less cautious than usual, the fans being divided down the middle. After wearing down Nikita and working on his legs, Flair sets him up for the figure four, but Nikita kicks him away in the rear end before he can lock it on. He then pounces and charges Flair, hitting a Russian sickle, though Flair is able to put an arm up, blocking the full effect of it. Right after this, Ivan Koloff and Krusher Khrushchev storm the ring each with a chain and attack Nikita. Not knowing what to do, Tommy Young calls for the bell, ruling the match a no contest. Shortly after, Dusty Rhodes runs in to help out his new comrade. But a second later, the Andersons, Tully Blanchard and J.J. Dillon enter the ring. Ole had grabbed a chair beforehand and starts attacking Ivan, Krusher, Dusty and Nikita with it. Tully Blanchard pulls a small chain from his tights and is about to hit Dusty Rhodes with it, but “The Dream” blocks it and nails a bionic elbow on Tully causing him to drop the chain. Dusty picks it up, wraps it around his fist and is about to nail Tully with it … but Ric Flair crawls towards him and hits him with a low blow! Tully slugs Rhodes and grabs the chain and he and Flair join the Andersons and J.J. in attacking everyone. Wahoo McDaniel and Ron Garvin charge the ring but Wahoo gets nailed with a chair by Ole Anderson and J.J. takes off his steel toed shoe and hits Ron Garvin from behind. The Rock ‘n’ Roll Express comes down. But Flair nails Ricky Morton from behind and he becomes the victim of an Arn Anderson DDT. Tully Blanchard nails Robert Gibson with his chain covered hand. Sam Houston and Jimmy Valiant also try to help out, but by now Arn, Ole, Blanchard, Flair and Dillon are on an unstoppable roll and quickly dismantle them. They use chairs from ringside, the timekeeper’s bell, the Russians’ chains, their own fists and low blows to stomp a mud hole in anyone in their paths. Even the Road Warriors and Paul Ellering, normally impervious to anything, fall victim to them.

Finally after leaving the ring scattered with a mess of fallen bodies as still as corpses, Flair, the Andersons, Blanchard and Dillon, all panting, make their way to the interview podium, to a shocked David Crockett and Tony Schiavone. “What just happened?” is all David Crockett can muster. “I’ll tell you what just happened.” Ole Anderson replied. Pointing to Flair, he says “It looks like this man finally just got hit his head on straight. Look at that mess, that mass of human carnage in the ring. It looks like the four horsemen of the apocalypse just rode through.” Very observant, Ole. Very observant, indeed.” J.J. Dillon says. “After all, I see right before me 1-2-3-4 of the greatest wrestlers in the world.” he says as he counts, keeping all four fingers up after finishing. Four horsemen.” “The four horsemen. J.J. Dillon I like the sound of that. I like it a lot.” Ric Flair now says with a huge grin. He now lifts four fingers up as well. “Four horsemen, indeed!” Tully Blanchard says, lifting up four fingers. “Four horsemen.” Ole says lifting his four fingers, too. Finally, just slightly more assertive, Arn Anderson lifts his four fingers and says “Four Horsemen.” sealing a bond destinedNEVER to be forgotten.

 

The End

 



[1] Or Thunderfeet. Not sure which.

[2] Though he would never wrestle again, with extensive therapy and surgery, Magnum would walk miraculously be able to once again walk.

[3] http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sGbEy0DhAJ0

 

 

 

Written by

Creator, editor and semi-sorta-retired original author of Rewriting The Book, husband, father of three, gamer, lover of 90's MTV animation.

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