WWF Championship Wrestling 08.03.1986
First match of the evening sees Barry O and John K-9 going up against WWF’s version of America’s Team, Corporal Kirchner and Danny Spivey. To be fair, they aren’t really a patch on Dusty Rhodes and Magnum TA, but Kirchner is usually good for a laugh or two. Kirchner starts in the ring with Barry O and is actually dropped for a two count off of a powerslam. To be fair to Kirchner, the fans do like him, and go wild for a monkey flip out of the corner that sends O close enough to tag in K-9. Spivey gets his first introduction to the match with an axehandle on the arm of his opponent. Not content with looking and dressing like Hulk Hogan, Spivey even hits a big boot and a legdrop for good measure. Kirchner eventually locks K-9 in a sleeper, but with the ref distracted, Barry O comes off of the top rope with an axehandle to break the hold. This is all a bit pointless however, as Kirchner fights back instantly, leading to a Spivey tag and ropey looking dropkick. Kirchner hits a Samoan drop for the victory, and manages to go a whole match without botching something.
Important news from Lord Alfred Hayes – the winners of the Slammys are announced! Best Personality in ‘Land of a Thousand Dances’ Video goes to Roddy Piper, but the Slammy breaks as he grabs it. Junkyard Dog also won a Slammy as well for the best single vocal performance. Just an odd attempt to get mainstream interest focused on the wrestling product. We then get a short advert for WWF Thumbwrestlers, with an Iron Sheik appearance!
Paul Orndorff is still in the fan’s good books at the moment, and faces off against Les Thorton in the second match of the night. There is an element of struggle in the early exchanges, with Thornton even rocking Orndorff with several European uppercuts. A slugfest ensues, which is won by Orndorff, forcing Thornton to back off. Showing he too can match up to Thornton’s wrestling ability, Orndorff manages to hold on to an armlock attempt even after Thornton tries to chuck him off. Uncharacteristically, a missed charge by Thornton is met by a running dropkick by Mr Wonderful. A back suplex into the ring and a chop off of the top rope leads to the piledriver for the three count. More competitive than your average squash, and more interesting because of it.
Hulk Hogan is on the mic next, selling not only the beating by Bundy but the match that would see him team with Junkyard Dog against the Funk Brothers in Boston. We get an impromptu dog impression because no 80s Hogan promo would be complete without something a little bit batshit insane.
The Hart Foundation are against the team of Andre Malo and SD Jones in the next match. This is still early enough in their run for Bret to be rocking the two T first name. Neidhart and Jones start in the ring, and Neidhart laughs off two Jones shoulderblocks, only for Jones to telegraph a drop down and hit a headbutt to the Nevada native. Malo is clearly the weak link in the match, and he gets double teamed as soon as he enters the ring. A Hart headbutt to Malo is followed up by a spit at SD Jones, Jones stopped by the ref from getting into the ring. This is the last time Jones gets in the ring, Malo quickly finished with the Hart Attack.
Mean Gene has the big announcement of the Wrestlemania 2 main events, with Hulk Hogan to meet King Kong Bundy, Mr T to fight Roddy Piper in a boxing match, and a Battle Royal starring Andre The Giant.
A special attraction for an episode of Championship Wrestling this week as we get a midget match between Butch Cassidy and The Haiti Kid. Haiti Kid is the clear favourite, and he impresses the crowd with two quick dropkicks before putting Cassidy in a side headlock. A crossbody gets a two count and it takes an eye rake by Cassidy to stop Kid. However, even a black midget has a thick skull apparently, and he no sells a turnbuckle smash. It takes a second eye rake to stop Kid, and Cassidy lands a knee into the corner before avoiding a Kid charge into the corner. McMahon and Sammartino posit the idea that Cassidy might even be too big for a midget division. A missed legdrop off of the second rope leads to a round of midget bum biting, much to Vince’s obvious delight. A pretty neat little finish does see a dropdown turned into a roll-up by the Haiti Kid for victory.
The Haiti Kid only has a short window for celebrating as Roddy Piper and Bob Orton Jr. drag him out of the ring and take him to Piper’s Pit! Apparently, The Haiti Kid is a friend of Mr T. and he hopes that T beats Piper at Wrestlemania 2. In an attempt to make Kid look more like Mr T, Piper takes a pair of scissors to the Kid’s hair, putting tape over his mouth to stop his protests! Just an evil angle that really helps build Piper as the uber heel at this time.
A Mean Gene progress report gives us more Hogan interview time, though Mr T. does his best to interrupt Hogan at every opportunity to give his two penneth worth.
The Dream Team go up against Nelson Veiulleux and Lanny Poffo in the last match of the evening. Poffo reads a poem that champions the British Bulldogs to be the next team to wear the gold, and Sammartino suggests it isn’t the best idea to rile Beefcake and Valentine before the match. As if to prove him correct, Valentine slams Poffo hard early and Beefcake is able to ram him back into the corner with authority. The heels work the arms with quick tags, yet Poffo manages to fight his way out of the corner to tag to Veiulleux. Nelson is down quickly though, a Beefcake knee absolutely nailing him. Not content to allow Valentine to just beat him down, Beefcake even aims a couple of shots behind the ref’s back from the apron. A running knee by Valentine almost puts Veiulleux in position to tag Poffo, but Valentine knocks the poet off of the apron, slams Nelson and locks in the figure four for the victory.
Before the show ends, we get Jimmy Hart promoting the big show in Boston – Bret Hart vs Ricky Steamboat is another big match on the card, and one that would have been interesting to watch during Hart’s initial tag team run. Terry and Hoss Funk also talk about putting down animals on the ranch, and promised to do the same to Hogan and the Dog.
NWA World Championship Wrestling 08.03.1986
As tends to be the way, we start our NWA show with footage from a bigger show elsewhere, with the match up between the team of Dusty Rhodes and Ronnie Garvin going up against Arn Anderson and Ric Flair. With Anderson breaking up a Rhodes figure four leglock, it puts the referee out of position and allows Garvin to punch Flair out and let the face team pick up the victory. Heading into the studio, Tony Schiavone and David Crockett let us know to expect footage of a major title change that has occurred in the NWA recently, before inviting Ron Garvin out for interview. This time, he talks about becoming a part time electrician, and the shock that is in store for Ric Flair when they meet again.
It is Ron Garvin who is in the ring first for us, taking on Tony Zane. As always, Garvin is no nonsense and he absolutely destroys Zane with chops, strikes and slams. A modified bow and arrow style move is used to allow Garvin to slap and tread on Zane – when Zane finally does get back to his feet, he is rocked with a hard slap around the face.Some more brawling is followed up with the Hands of Stone punch for an easy victory.
Baron Von Raschke and Paul Jones are out next, with Jones speaking about the $10,000 offered for someone to beat The Barbarian across three feats of strength. Jones promises more men will join his army, whilst also calling Jimmy Valiant a coward due to him not stepping up to take on the Barbarian’s challenge. The Barbarian is in the ring after the advert to take on Bill Tabb. Tabb is also a pretty big guy, yet the Barbarian blasts through him with his power offense, including an absolutely brutal looking big boot straight to the face off of an Irish whip. A press slam is an impressive feat of strength against such a sizeable guy, and even Teijo Khan gets involved when Tabb is sent to ringside. Powerslam and a diving headbutt gets the finish. To round out this overall segment, Jimmy Valiant is out to respond to Jones’ talk of a new army member. Valiant tells us ‘the bigger, the better’.
Having seen him on Pro before, Leo Burke is making his debut on World Championship Wrestling against George South. Before he has even taken off his jacket, he throws South to the outside, hitting with a neckbreaker upon South’s return to the ring. A boot rake and back suplex has Burke in control, but as South is a jobber of some repute, he gets a brief segment of fighting back, leading to Burke leaving the ring to get his bearings back. Even after a systematic Burke beatdown, South gets another firey segment leading to a dropkick for a two count. However, Burke catches South off the ropes with his modified dropkick and drops a knee to the face for the victory. I’m not really feeling it with Burke, as he doesn’t have much of a personality yet outside of ‘being Canadian’.
The title change before the footage is spoilt by a JJ Dillon and Tully Blanchard interview, Blanchard cradling the National Heavyweight Title in his arms. Dillon gloats that they had told everyone they would win the title back. Blanchard tips his hat to Dusty and the fight he gave, but as far as Blanchard is concerned, Rhodes goes to the back of the line. Blanchard also calls out Magnum TA, promising to head for the US Title as well.
The last time Pez Whatley was on the show, we got a fairly competitive match between him and his opponent, so maybe Art Pritts might get a reasonable showing. A Whatley headbutt has Pistol Pez jiving in celebration, before he begins to target the arm with wringers and hammerlocks. A small package gets a quick two, a short interlude before he returns to the arm. Whenever it seems like Pritts might fight back, Whatley overpowers him, getting another two off of a back body drop. Whatley is a dull man to watch in a squash, as he doesn’t offer much in the way of interesting offense, going back to a hammerlock mid-match. No-selling of several Pritts punches shows we still struggle with racial sensitivity at this time, and a leaping headbutt/tackle gets Whatley the win in a dull, overlong squash. Whatley follows a boring match with a non-descript promo telling Dusty Rhodes that he has his back.
Prior to a Midnight Express squash, Jim Cornette is out to talk about the seedings for the Jim Crockett Sr Memorial Tournament. He believes that the Midnight Express will be seeded first, and will win the tournament after watching everyone else beating each other throughout the course of the day. Cornette also continues his anti-Betty Lou rhetoric, clearly still frustrated about the decision to stick him in a cage. The Midnights face off against Brodie Chase and Mike Simani and Simani is worked over in the early going, Cornette even finding an opportunity to go nose to nose and rant at him. Eaton is up for the first time and lands an elbowdrop, pulling Simani up at a one count. Similar to last week, Condrey forces the tag to Chase. Chase gets chucked twice to the floor, and twice rolled back in, before Eaton teases a third time, cutting it off with his own fist. Simani also gets some ringside treatment, Eaton dropping him with a swinging neckbreaker. A suplex by Eaton is followed up by Eaton forcing Schiavone to give him a high five! Eaton finds an opportunity to head back to the top for the kneedrop, leaving Chase easy pickings for the full nelson facebuster. The Midnights continue the attack after the bell, even throwing out the referee, but The Rock and Roll Express hit the ring! They run off the Midnights and hit the double dropkick on Jim Cornette!
As was promised at the start of the show, we then get footage from the Tully Blanchard vs Dusty Rhodes title change. I can only hope it is more interesting than their match from Superstars on the Superstation, as that was dross. We begin mid-match, with Blanchard attacking Rhodes leg with a kick to take advantage at a time when he was backing off. An extended leglock session is broken by a Rhodes elbow, only for Rhodes to fall down as he tries to get up. This allows Blanchard to lock in a figure four. Rhodes reverses it and after we head back from the advert begins his comeback.The leg is still an issue though, as he falls on a slam attempt, allowing Blanchard to once again work the leg. A slingshot suplex sees the roof almost come off of the arena when Dusty kicks out. A clearly tired Dusty works away with strikes before putting on the sleeper hold. This forces JJ Dillon to get on the apron and he gets put in a sleeper as well. A pair of brass knuckles have found their way into the ring, yet Blanchard misses on his first attempt, getting backdropped to the outside. In a repeat of the Santana/Savage finish, Rhodes his hit in the face on a back suplex from the apron attempt, and we have a new champion. Baby Doll is in the ring and tried to fight Ric Flair, leaving Magnum TA, Sam Houston and The Rock and Roll Express no choice but to come down as it looks like Flair and Blanchard are about to lay a beating on her. In the studio, an irate Dusty Rhodes is out and is livid with what happened.
After the advert break, we have Magnum TA with Schiavone talking about the Russians seeming refusal to accept Magnum’s offer of a US Heavyweight Title shot on TV. This is followed by a standard Road Warriors squash, as they rush to the ring to take on Carl Styles and Bill Mulkey. Hawk drops Mulkey with a powerslam before Animal hits two press slams, the second one designed to send Mulkey into the corner to tag. Styles gets tossed around as well, before a prototype Doomsday Device finishes it (a bear hug rather than an electric chair drop set-up). Ivan Koloff is out at the commentary booth with Nikita when we come back, and he voices his excitement about facing off against The Road Warriors in a steel cage match, as well as denying Magnum TA’s claims that there is a signed contract for Magnum/Nikita.
The Rock and Roll Express take on the team of Bob Owens and Larry Clarke this week, and they are still bringing the tennis rackets to ringside. This time, they use their athletic offense to attack the leg of Owens with stomps and knees, Morton even landing a legdrop onto the inside of the knee. Crockett makes a big deal about Morton’s cast, and how difficult he must be finding it to wrestle wearing it. Even with one hand, Morton showboats in the middle of a leglock to prove how little it is affecting his work. Owens is eventually able to make the tag, but he is caught with a Gibson monkeyflip and the double dropkick in very short order for the Rock and Roll Express victory.
Ric Flair is out next, gloating over Dusty Rhodes’ lose to Tully Blanchard, whilst also selling the quality of the heel champions as a whole, including The Midnight Express. He also finds time to discuss Garvin and Baby Doll, both people he promises to beat if they get in his way, and even has some words for Hawk and the Rock and Roll Express. Not one to waste his airtime, that is for sure.
We get our next opportunity to see Gorgeous Jimmy Garvin in the ring, as he gives a pre-match smooch to Precious before his match with Rocky King. A back body drop and a slam throat first on the top rope give Garvin early control and Garvin finds opportunities to lambast King for his lack of fight. Mid-match, he also finds an opportunity to call out Wahoo McDaniels, a move that the commentators suggest is suicidal. Rocky keeps trying to fight back, but the modified suplex/brainbuster is enough for a Garvin victory. Further clarification of Garvin’s desire to take on McDaniels follows in an interview post-match, with Garvin believing it will be an opportunity to show he is one of the best wrestlers in the world.
Off of the back of his jobbing tag team role a few weeks back, Black Bart gets singles action this week against a masked wrestler by the name of Mr X. Bart is uncompromising, slamming and striking X around the ring. A face first slam into the mat and a big lariat soften up X, before Bart hits a legdrop on the back of the head as he tried to get back in the ring in a novel finish.
The Road Warriors get some mic time next, and Animal shouts a lot about the Jim Crockett Sr Memorial Tournament and The Russians. Paul Ellering calls The Road Warriors ‘the scum’ that sits above the cream in reference to a Ric Flair promo. Another man who has a bone to pick with the Russians is Magnum TA, who comes out once more to complain about Koloff’s lies regarding the US Title contract.
To finish off the in-ring action this week, we get Baron Von Raschke taking on Mike Jackson, who proves slippery in the early going, even managing to take down Raschke with a couple of arm throws, a dropkick and a crossbody off of the second rope for a two count. Jackson’s momentum is eventually derailed by a Raschke knee to the gut after hitting the ropes, and this allows Raschke to slowly take Jackson apart. Even whilst his charge is in complete control, Paul Jones still finds an opportunity to interject by hitting Jackson with several shots of the cane. Jackson almost manages to reverse a suplex into a roll-up but Raschke is able to block it, locking in the iron claw shortly afterwards to pick up the win.
The last segment of the show has Blanchard and JJ Dillon out once more to crow about Blanchard’s title victory. Dillon talks about the match being the best match of all time, and suggests that Rhodes won’t get a title shot for a long time. I’d be happy if that was the case, as neither match was very good.
Show of the week: Whilst it is all about the angle, it is hard to beat Memphis this week due to the Buddy Landell and Bill Dundee assault on the Jarretts, leading to the impending return of Jerry ‘The King’ Lawler. It legitimately has me excited for next week’s show.