The Best And Worst Of NWA World Championship Wrestling 11/9/85: Hard Times

Previously on the Best and Worst of NWA World Championship Wrestling: We took an ill-advised break from finishing up the 14 Fascinating Facts About What We Learned That You Might’ve Missed From A TV Show Everybody Watched to write 4,000+ words about 31-year old local pro wrestling programming. We’re good at the Internet!

If you didn’t read that column, please do that first so you’re caught up with all the relevant storylines.

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And now, the Best and Worst of NWA World Championship Wrestling for November 9, 1985.

Best: A Spot Of Tea

The theme of last week’s episode was forced kissing. This week’s theme is tea-bagging. Urban Dictionary defines this as, “to have a man insert his scrotum into another person’s mouth in the fashion of a teabag into a mug with an up/down (in/out) motion.” Perhaps you’ve had an aggro 11-year old do it to you in Halo.

Up first, Ole and Arn Anderson take on Jimmy Blacklund (identified as “Jimmy Black” last week but accidentally called “Jimmy Backlund,” so now he’s “Jimmy Blacklund” to cover for it) and Keith Freeze (Glacier’s dad) (not really) (maybe). Arn kills Freeze dead with a Gourdbuster — a vertical suplex transitioned into you falling on your damn face — and camps out balls-first on his throat. It’s like a more aggressively dominant Stinkface.

Note: Lord loves a DDT, but the Gourdbuster will always be the best Arn finisher.

Teabag #2 comes later in the show, when The Barbarian hits Gerald Finley with a flying headbutt and straight-up humps the mat through his face:

He’s also clearly posting on his dick for that lateral press, which means his two points of balance are dicks. It’s like a plate balancing act.

Finally, the most egregious tea-bagging of the night goes to “Hands of Stone” Ron Garvin, who knocks out Paul Garner and deposits his Stones of Stone on his chin:

After two weeks of revisiting the program, I’m certain they had a pre-show meeting before each set of tapings, rolled some sex dice and promised a thousand bucks to whoever could work the result into a match. Next week there are gonna be like four jobbers getting graphic reach-arounds.

Best: Important Promo Time

This week’s episode is notable for two variations on very important promos.

The first and most notable for casual viewers is the Dusty Rhodes “Hard Times” promo. Well, not the Hard Times promo. A Hard Times promo. See, the original promo everyone loves and quotes happened 12 days earlier on Mid-Atlantic Wrestling, but this is Dusty’s return to the (at the time) flagship show for the NWA, which means they more or less had to do it again. Think of it with the old Raw and Smackdown dynamic, where if something good happened on Smackdown, they’d recycle it on Raw when more people were watching.

Dusty hits a lot of the greatest hits of the promo — the textile workers still can’t find work, the guy who worked for a company for 30 years (30 years!) was still given a watch, kicked in the butt and told a computer took his job — but it doesn’t have the same telepathic preacher vibe as the original. Dusty’s wearing a jean jacket and a cowboy hat, though! And Estelle Getty’s glasses!

The second big moments comes during an Arn Anderson promo, and you can probably guess what it is.

“What you’ve got right here in the ring, you’ve got a champion. You’ve got Tully Blanchard. You’ve got Ole Anderson. You’ve got myself, and last but by no means least, you’ve got Ric Flair, the world’s heavyweight champion. You’re talking about the four horsemen of professional wrestling … the people that make things happen.”

Yes, that’s for all intents and purposes the first time that the Flair, Andersons and Blanchard crew are given a name: The Four Horsemen. Arn had been calling them that on local promos, but this is the birth of the Horsemen on canonical, nationwide television.

As a fun note that’ll never get talked about in those history-rewriting WWE retrospectives, Baby Doll was (unofficially) the original valet/manager of the Horsemen, thanks to her association with Tully Blanchard. J.J. Dillion doesn’t crew up with them until January, and that only happens because Buddy Landel gets fired in December. Spoiler alert for any massive Buddy Landel fans reading.

One more quick bit on the Andersons before I move on: that tag team match that ended with Glacier’s Dad feeling the wrath and rigor mortis of Arn Anderson’s ballsack features Young Boy turned referee Theodore R. Long, which makes it WWE Network’s earliest footage of Teddy Long organizing a tag team match.

Holla holla.

Best: Russia Can’t Stop ROCK AND ROLL

This week’s episode also features the secret origin of #DIY’s t-shirt, apparently.

With Starrcade ’85 coming up and the Midnight Express locked in a blood feud with a methed-out grandpa and his transvestite supercrush — more on that in a minute — the big tag team title feud revolves around the challengers, the Rock n’ Roll Express, and the champions, The Russians. The NWA had like 600 championship belts in 1985, so the Russians are both the World Tag Team Champions and the World Six-Man Tag Team Champions. Not the National Tag Team Champions, though, that’s the Andersons.

The Express get a win over Mac and Jim Jeffers. What’s great about RNR squash wins is that they’re barely squashes, as they don’t actually have any offense. Ricky Morton and Robert Gibson have zero moves. They just armdrag you, let you get up, trick you into taking another armdrag, maybe kneel on top of you with an arm bar for a while and then just punch you on top of the head until it’s time to do a double-dropkick. Hell, their big match move is somebody catching Ricky, and Robert dropkicking Ricky in the back to knock both dudes over. And somehow, they’re AMAZING. I think the total absence of offense and the bulletproof, 100% killrate of the double-dropkick is what made those RNR/Midnights matches so great. The Midnight Express would just beat the shit out of them for 30 minutes with no response, and then you’d wait and see if the faces could hot tag their way into position for the dropkick.

Quick aside: the Jeffers Brothers eventually get repackaged as abusive motorcycle cops called “The Mod Squad,” a dated reference even for 1985. They’re sorta the 1980s equivalent of Alex Wright, because every YouTube clip of them is accompanied by comments like this:

As for the Russians …

… they get a quick, great squash win over a team I’d love to see at next year’s King of Trios, Jimmy Langston, Kent Glover and Larry Clark. After the match, they cut an absolutely magical promo where Nikita holds up a picture of the Russians holding the Six-Man Tag Team Championship trophy, because the fans don’t deserve to see them holding it in person. Ivan Koloff punctuates this by shading Dusty’s Hard Times promo with an incredible line: “Who cares about the hard times of the American people? I hope your other leg gets broken.” Somebody give that man a Star of the Russian Federation.

Best: Yeah, Here Comes Amos

You’d think KEITH FREEZE would be the best chump name of the week, but that honor goes to Terry Taylor’s opponent Amos Moses, named after a man of the cloth. Now, Amos Moses was a Cajun. He lived by himself in the swamp. He hunted alligator for a living. He’d just knock them in the head with a stump. The Louisiana law is gonna get him, because it ain’t legal hunting alligator down in the swamp, boy.

Terry Taylor is, of course, the most average human being in the history of wrestling. Dude made Tommy Rich look like the Boogeyman. Here’s he’s the National Heavyweight Champion, on a collision course with Buddy Landel for Starrcade. Eventually he ends up in the WWF repackaged as a fucking human rooster.

Taylor gets the win with his trademark superplex, and it’s impressive that he can lift a man that can eat up his weight in groceries.

Worst: Thunder, Thunder, THUNDEROOT, HO!

Actually wait, can I give the “best jobber name” to THUNDERFOOT? He’s got a foot MADE OF THUNDER.

Thunderfoot is a 6-foot-5 electricity-themed ghost jobber in a full body suit and two different boots; one with a black sole, and one with a white sole. The idea is that he had two different boots because he would “load” one of them, I guess with lightning, and that’d help him cheat. The problem there is that he never won, so he comes across as a confused guy in a pillowcase trying to count like a horse.

Here he is losing a Superstation Challenge Series match to Billy Jack Haynes in what appears to be a video game glitch in real life:

The Superstation Challenge Series is sort of a G1 Climax for 1985’s worst wrestlers. Anyway, my going theory is that Thunderfoot was secretly Jose Lothario, and that Shawn Michaels started stomping his foot before Sweet Chin Music because Thunderfoot taught him how to load a shoe.

Another fun note: Thunderfoot is managed by J.J. Dillon here, and when Dillon abandons all his jobber charges to manage the Four Horsemen, a SECOND Thunderfoot shows up, and they become a team known as the “Thunderfoot number one and Thunderfoot number two.” Pretty sure y’all are both Thunderfoot number two.

Worst: Big (Bad) Mama

And now, the story you’ve been waiting for. At Starrcade, the Midnight Express will face Boogie Woogie Man Jimmy Valiant and “Miss Atlanta Lively” — Ron Garvin in drag, for literally no reason — in an “Atlanta Street Fight.” In the corner of Valiant and Lively will be Valiant’s “street lady” Big Mama, the lady on the far right who looks like a ghoul from Fallout dressed up like an aerobics instructor and tried to shoplift a pair of bowling balls. Valiant asks her what she’s gonna do to Jim Cornette at Starrcade, so Mama pops a squat like she’s going to shit in David Crockett’s lap and screams, “I’M GONNA SLAP HIS FAYYYCE!”

Looking back, the funniest part of this angle is that Ron Garvin in a Jimmy Garvin wig is simultaneously a better looking man than Jimmy Valiant and a better looking woman than Big Mama. It’s like Eddie Izzard and the derelict Mr. and Mrs. Claus decided to be a tag team.

Also On This Episode:

Tully Blanchard continues to take out his frustrations on the local talent, mauling “Broadway” Joe Malcolm in short order. Not sure if Malcom was ever good enough to actually go Broadway. In an interview, Blanchard reviews the footage of Magnum T.A. kinda sorta trying to rape Baby Doll on national television by saying he knows Magnum T.A. has to force himself onto women, and that he’s going to kick his ass at Starrcade like only the dirt mall Ric Flair can.

Manny Fernandez defeats Vernon “Dean Vernon” Deaton with the Flying Burrito and a knee drop off the ropes. He also aligns himself with Billy Jack Haynes, and cuts the ultimate “80s guy who is asked to cut a promo but isn’t good at it” promo. I’ll paraphrase: “Billy Jack Haynes, let me tell you one thing. Let me make one thing clear. At Starrcade, let me tell you, let me tell you this, I will win. And let me tell you one more thing, the thing is, Billy Jack Haynes. And let me make this perfectly clear.”

Number One Paul Jones is so upset about Superstar Billy Graham’s contract status, Graham’s upcoming match with The Barbarian and the bizarre, recently announced “$10,000 arm wrestling challenge” that will directly precede it that he starts screaming about Waterloo and makes Tony Schiavone visibly uncomfortable:

They show a clip of Jones and Barbarian distracting and attacking Graham from a previous event, with new commentary by Jones about how he was just trying to calm Graham down, and tried to put a hand on him to let him know everything was okay. But then, you know, Graham attacked him, and all bets were off. I wonder when that part of my brain that wants to see someone get beaten up for a bullshit narrative like that warped into it making me love them for being brilliant assholes.

And that’s this week’s show. We’re only a couple of weeks away from Starrcade now, and here’s the announced card:

– Dusty Rhodes fighting Ric Flair for the honor of recently-fired textile workers
– Magnum T.A. and Tully Blanchard having the single greatest pro wrestling match of all time (spoiler alert)
– Russians trying to destroy Rock n’ Roll
– Terry Taylor and Buddy Landel in the Battle Of Who Could Care Less
– Manny Fernandez fighting an obese Sudanese fork murderer for Mexican hat
– an arm wrestling contest leading directly into a wrestling match
– a bullrope match between two extras from a Western your grandpa will watch on TBS after wrestling
– 8 different tag team title matches
– the Boogie Woogie Man deciding whether he wants to win a wrestling match or fuck Ron Garvin in real time

It’s gonna be great. We’re gonna GATHER.