The Best And Worst Of NWA World Championship Wrestling 12/21/85: Ol’ Saint Ric

Previously on the Best and Worst of NWA World Championship Wrestling: Dusty Rhodes wore a fur coat, Buddy Landel said goodbye by promising he’d be around forever, and Al Scott lost via the most sexually aggressive bearhug of all time.

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And now, the Best and Worst of NWA World Championship Wrestling for December 21, 1985.

Best: Ric Flair Is Here So The Show Is Automatically A Thousand Times Better

If you want to see a great, unheralded Ric Flair promo from his absolute prime, check out the one on this episode where he calmly tells Tony Schiavone about how difficult it is to wake up every day and have to be Ric Flair. He has to be the best looking, he has to be the best dressed, he has to be the World Heavyweight Champion, and he has to be a “modern day sex symbol.” He also starts handing out money for no reason, giving Tony $300 to take his wife out to dinner, $200 so Magnum T.A. can buy some new clothes (LOL), and enough money to buy Dusty Rhodes a first class ticket out of Atlanta, Georgia, to anywhere after Flair beats him. A true master craftsman at work. This segment basically invented hip-hop.

And of course since Flair’s here, they bring him out a couple more times to set up a match with Ronnie Garvin for next week, and for a show-closing promo that’s almost as good as the first where he admits to being “spread a little thin,” but promises all the women of the world that he’ll “be in their stocking” and have sex with them on Christmas morning.

The reaction shots of the women in the crowd are INCREDIBLE.

That lady got a FastPass to Space Mountain. The best part? When the camera cuts to the women, Flair gets pissed and demands they put the camera back on HIM, because HE’S the one those women want to see. Five stars. Six and a quarter if he was talking in the Tokyo Dome.

Another great thing about Flair being here is that his mere presence changes the attitudes of everyone else on the show. For example, Ron Garvin wanted a shot at the National Champion Buddy Landel last week, and talked about how he was gonna sign a contract and challenge him. This week, Garvin remembers that there’s an actual Ric Flair on the show, and ends up getting into it with him instead. Because why go to Olive Garden when the finest chef in Italy is stuffing his homemade best down your throat?

On last week’s episode, Dusty Rhodes and Magnum T.A. were out here in fur coats bragging about all the doe tail they got in Alaska. Dusty was sassily promising to injure the Andersons. This week, Magnum’s in his wrestling gear mumbling his ass off, and Dusty’s dressed like Dan Connor at The Lobo, cutting quiet, measured promos.

Even Flair’s friends are changed by his presence. A couple of weeks ago, Tully started off the show in gym clothes, got his confidence back somewhere in the middle of the episode, then ended the night in his dirt mall Ric Flair suit and glasses. This week Flair’s back, so Tully’s back to the gym clothes.

We get the great explanation of the sweater, too, with Tully explaining that it’s for the gym Magnum T.A. grew up working out in, and how now he wears it all the time to remind him to keep training and defeat the evil, cheating, whatever-else-Tully-believes Magnum. He also tries to go the humble working man route by explaining that he needs to be the champion because that’s how he makes the most money, and if he isn’t champion and doesn’t make money, he’ll lose Baby Doll and the life he’s built for himself. He squashes the hell out of Vernon Deaton, and the announcers put over how desperately Tully needs to go to the pay window, which is HILARIOUS when you remember how every third promo he cuts is about how rich and Horsemanny he is.

I think 1985 Ric Flair might have the highest WAR of anyone in wrestling history. And that’s counting people who wrestled in WAR.

Best: The MulkeyMania Era Is Here

Aside from Flair weaving a beautiful tapestry of arrogance and Santa Claus sexuality, the best part of the episode for me is that the Mulkey Brothers, Bill and Randy, are finally here.

If I haven’t made it clear enough — and I use a lot of hyperbole, so maybe I haven’t — Bill and Randy Mulkey are my favorite jobbers ever in a walk. It’s not even close. They were SO FUNNY to me as a kid, because they were so notably more helpless than even the other jobbers that a five-year old could tell. Imagine if Larry Bird was Station and got split back into two smaller, nonathletic versions of himself. That’s the Mulkeys. In their career I think they got in like 8 offensive moves combined, and they took such violent beatings from teams like the Midnight Express that I can still see them writhing on the floor of the World Championship Wrestling studio like a couple of albino trout.

They don’t team up this week for some reason, but both of them make their SuperStation debuts. Bill loses to Krusher Kruschev in a match nominally better than last week’s shit-show against Pez Whatley, and Randy teams up with Larry Clarke to lose to the Rock ‘n’ Roll Express. The Mulkeys are so easy to beat that the RNRs beat him with a sunset flip. They don’t even need to dropkick him.

I’m so happy to be recapping the rise and immediate fall of MulkeyMania. The show is now officially the show I remember.

The Rest Of The Jobbers Lightning Round

Not to be confused with the “thunder round,” which happens in this week’s Championship Challenge Series match.

The Barbarian makes short work of Richard Dunn, who has a real Freddie Mercury thing going on. Like, look at him. He looks like Dan Severn sat in a big thing of mustard.

Barb wins with a flying headbutt and does his crotch-to-the-face dominance pin, which I’m pretty sure is the closest thing we’ve gotten to a mustache ride on TBS.

Uh, speaking of mustache rides, here’s Nikita Koloff “coming and going down on Tony Zane.” Thanks for that image, David Crockett’s dotard-ass vocabulary.

Speaking of Crockett and his PICKS UP THE MAN, LOOK AT HIM style, here he is explaining the complex political situation of Russian talent wanting the Soviet Union’s flag hung up in a United States workplace in 1985:

There are a lot of cutaways to women in Ron Garvin t-shirts holding up U.S. flags and just sorta staring blankly into the camera, but sadly nobody was daydreaming about hooking up with Ivan Koloff and had their tongues out. That we saw, at least.

Ivan smashes Don Turner, who Crockett calls “Dan Turner” despite DON TURNER being written across his screen in bold white letters.

I think the best actual squash of the week goes to Ole Anderson trying to dismember Bob Wayne. For the record, “Bob Wayne” looks exactly like you’d think a guy named Bob Wayne would. Here we see “The Architect” Ole Anderson hitting a flying knee of the top rope to Wayne’s shoulder, which is the centerpiece of him working an armbar for like 15 minutes. I really love this because Ole not only targets the arm the entire match, he WINS with a basic-ass armbar. He’s just fundamentally wrecked the poor guy so bad the guy has to tap out to literally anything. That should happen more often, you know? Why would a star need his signature moves to finish off a guy who 15 minutes before the match was driving over from his day job at the Dollar Store?

If you want to see how NOT to work an arm, here’s Sam Houston working an arm so boringly the camera man appears to pass out.

Either that, or this is the SuperStation Colonoscopy Challenge Match of the Week.

Speaking of, the actual Championship Challenge match of the week — a match that was supposed to be Buddy Landel, Black Bart and the homie Thunderfoot vs. Manny Fernandez, Ron Bass and Ronnie Garvin, but got quietly changed to Black Bart and Thunderfoot vs. Manny Fernandez and Ron Garvin because Landel’s been written off the show, and all we have left of him from this set of tapings is J.J. Dillon putting him over while dressed like the ringmaster of a nationalist circus — features a long take from the same camera.

Not that I’ve got a problem staring at the Thunderass and his presumably loaded diaper for several seconds, but did Sam Houston actually bore a camera man to death? This one ends with a sunset flip, too, because it’s too close to Christmas to put yourself in danger doing your finishing moves for the 26 people in the TBS studios. Even if you’re Ron Garvin and you’re finisher is “punching.”

Best: Finally, My Cousin

Finally this week we have Arn Anderson taking on Josh Stroud, who I’m pretty sure is the only pro wrestler in history to have my last name. And, like me, he is a short, extremely muscular black man. Stroud’s here via Mid-South, and even gets a little time in the World Wrestling Federation I wish he’d spent the entire match armchair booking the show and explaining to Arn Anderson why what he’s doing is wrong.

Join us next week for a show featuring actual things happening, including Magnum T.A. having to wrestle a full match instead of just belly-to-bellying George South five seconds in, Ric Flair taking on Ron Garvin, and the much, much, much needed return of the Midnight Express.