NWA World Wide Wrestling 18.02.1984
As I’ve noted before, it is the NWA World Wide Wrestling shows that make any review of a year seem like more of a slog than it should be. For some reason, they just don’t engage the audience in the same way that Mid-South, WCCW and CWA do, and it always feels like you are seeing some of the lesser roster members on a weekly basis, or at least that the NWA entity that would roll through 85 onwards hasn’t quite been formulated yet.
The first match of the evening sees three of the ‘young lions’ of the promotion as Tim Horner, Mark Youngblood and Angelo Mosca Jr. would team to take on a selection of job guys that never get an introduction (I have surnames of Russo, Royal and White). All three of the young guys feel pretty green, though high energy spots such as multiple nip ups by Horner and headscissors by Mosca do get the crowd going. It is Youngblood who has a short section of time as face in peril, but outside of a botched Irish whip into the corner and Horner struggling to complete a flip using his opponent as leverage, this is a pretty simple win for the faces.
Mosca Jr., as the ‘name’ of the team, would pick up the victory with a crossbody on Russo.
As is often the way, the cut of this version of World Wide Wrestling often sends me careening into matches out of nowhere, and so it happens with the next context, Ivan Koloff against David McCoy. The crowd are on Koloff’s back throughout, dubbing him a ‘bald headed geek’, so much so that Paul Jones is required to calm down the Russian. There are a couple of awkward spots – a sunset flip almost turns into a Canadian destroyer type move, whilst the finish of a Calf Branding just doesn’t look particularly good. Unsurprisingly, Koloff picks up the victory with minimum hassle.
In terms of names on the card, the following match between Dick Slater and Dory Funk Jr. is the biggest match this show – with the added enticement of a spot in the TV Title tournament semi-final against Greg Valentine to the winner. With the history of Valentine and Slater, the commentary team are rightly salivating over that prospect, but Funk Jr. controls the majority of the match, mainly targeting the arms with armdrags and grounded armlocks. The spinning toe hold would get locked in by Funk, but Slater would have the wherewithal to kick him away and send him to ringside. After a couple of flash pinfalls (dubbed ‘close’ by the commentary team even though they were all one counts), Slater would land a Russian legsweep, grab a handful of tights and take his place in the semi-final of the TV Title tournament.
An extended section would be dedicated to furthering various feuds in the region. Angelo Mosca Jr. would talk about Koloff, but also voice his desire to win the tag team titles with his Dad; I can only hope not. Rufus Jones would come out to talk about Gary Hart and Ernie Ladd, calling Ladd a ‘traitor’ before a sudden cut would send me to Jimmy Valiant playing harmonica on a street corner. Upset at losing his beard, he would challenge the Assassins to a hair vs mask match, before getting into a car and being joined by a woman who is excited by an event dubbed ‘Boogie Woogie Man Jam 84’. Yeah, I don’t really know.
The biggest angle that is furthered is the selection of Ricky Steamboat as Flair’s potential next opponent for the NWA Heavyweight Title. Jim Crockett would interrupt a segment at Steamboat’s gym, offering a contract and $10,000 to take on Flair. Officially retired at this point, Steamboat would not commit to the match, but promises to talk it over with his wife. Though this potentially will lead to some good matches, Steamboat is never someone to stick in front of a camera doing a promo for too much time, and this segment drags.
An Ernie Ladd against Bubba Smith match would be joined in progress, and to give him his due, what we see of Smith does involved him trying to take the fight to Ladd. Two Ladd snapmares would cut off two Smith offensive pushes, before a big boot and the double legdrop would seemingly finish the contest – only for Ladd to pick Smith up at two. Paul Jones would tell Ladd to head to the top rope, which he would duly do, landing a huge big splash for the three count.
Just as it seems he is looking to hit a second splash off of the top, Rufus Jones would hit the ring, throwing Ladd to the canvas and eventually sending him over the top rope with a headbutt.
The last match of the show is showcase for Tully Blanchard, a newer member of the region, as he would take on Vinny Valentino. A much closer match than it might look on paper, Valentino would match Blanchard at several key points, even rocking him with an enziguri and gaining a nearfall towards the end with a crossbody. Blanchard would noticeably increase his viciousness as Paul Jones would head down to ringside, seemingly unveiling himself as Blanchard’s new manager. A little bit out of nowhere, a kick to the stomach would allow Blanchard to hit his slingshot suplex and defeat Valentino.
The final segment would see Ivan Koloff out to warn the Moscas about his future plans, as well as Paul Jones to accept the challenge laid out by Valiant to battle one of his Assassins in a mask vs hair match. Two angles that really don’t excite me getting more airplay doesn’t exactly thrill me for what I’ll see next week. Oh well, hopefully I at least get Valentine vs Slater at some point. Next show will see a return to GCW in a show called ‘Best of Championship Wrestling’. Until then, take care.