Previously on the Best and Worst of NWA World Championship Wrestling: The feud between the Midnight and Rock ‘n’ Roll Expresses heated up with an attempted murder on Ricky Morton. Arn Anderson became the Television Champion, Krusher Kruschev blew out his knee, and Dusty Rhodes told Ric Flair to go season some food.
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And now, the Best and Worst of NWA World Championship Wrestling for January 18, 1986.
Best/Worst: The Four Horsemen Are Going After Dusty Rhodes’ Weird Friends
Would you say it’s … NWA total non-stop action?
So in a video clip on last week’s show, we found out that Tully Blanchard Enterprises™ attacked Jimmy ‘Boogie Woogie Man’ Valiant at a house show and dropped him on the concrete to send a message to Dusty Rhodes. I’m not trying to compare Dusty to Jesus by any means, but in a Jesus and His Disciples setup, assuming Dusty is Jesus, Magnum T.A. would be Peter, Ron Garvin is Judas, and Valiant is Jude, the one who’s always like, “WE’RE LITERALLY RELATED.”
This week, Valiant returns to action in an understated lavender track jacket with GET IT ON on the back to put over the attack, acknowledge that he’s both “not playing with a full deck” and “missing a few house payments,” and take grotesque gasps of air between every third or fourth word.
“TOE-NAY [gasp] I have nevah [gasp] I said nevah [gasp] been dropped on my wig [gasp] HADAH [gasp] than I have [gasp] by J.J. Dillon [gasp] and Tully Blanchard [gasp] on the concrete floor, baby. Busted the Boogie Man, WIIIIDE open!”
Valiant defeats a guy named “The Golden Terror”, which is a pretty nightmarish phrase to include in any recap of the Boogie Woogie Man’s life. Join us next week as Boogie teams up with Big Mama and Miss Atlanta Lively to face the masked man only known as Coprophagial Bib.
This week’s major attack after Ron Garvin, encapsulator of American politics, knocks out Saint Pablo Crenshaw. Garvin reads a series of motivational posters aloud, saying he’s got desire and that Ric Flair going down in ’86. Hang in there! Be the change you want to see in the world!
A little later, Flair shows up and absolutely murks Garvin on the mic, which he could do in his sleep. He says Garvin knocking him out as astronomical odds, and that he’s “walked over” better men than Rugged Ron. He also shades the women cheering for him with the brutal line, “There’s a lot of women in here today that better hope the dog catcher is not around, because the studio would be empty if he walks in.” Flair could literally fart into a microphone and it’d be a better promo than Ron Garvin’s best.
More on this after we discuss Dusty Rhodes and Baby Doll taking a bubble bath.
Upon reflection, I think the only thing better than a Dusty Rhodes promo is Dusty trying to cut a Ric Flair promo. He’s rich and famous too, you see, but he doesn’t have that snot-nosed old money attitude Flair has, so his bragging takes the weirdest forms. As an example, here’s Dusty in a Willie Nelson tee, snakeskin belt buckle and Westerley sweater it looks like he bought at a Grand Canyon gift shop to brag about how he and “best looking woman on this Earth” Baby Doll — sure, Dust — went to the Himalayas and sat on yaks. He straight up brags about how Baby Doll sat on a yak, and I’ve spent all week trying to figure out if that was his self-deprecating way of saying they fucked on a mountain.
One of the plot points of the episode is that doctors say Dusty can take off the steel-toed boot he had to wear after the Horsemen broke his leg, but Dusty’s not taking it off. Presumably he (1) wants to continue to protect himself, because he’s entered into a war with people who want to end his career, and (2) he wants to kick them with steel.
The Horsemen are irate about this, of course, and scream and complain about how Dusty’s always cheating and taking cheap shots. +1
Tully Blanchard squashes Gene “Jushin Thunder” Ligon, and most of the commentary and the entire post-match interview are dedicated to what an opportunistic cheater Dusty Rhodes is. He won’t just face them in the ring like a man, face-to-face. Tully’s doing everything he can to run his mouth and maintain a weird moral high ground despite attacking Jimmy Valiant, slapping Baby Doll in the face and just generally being Tully Blanchard.
J.J. Dillon nukes Baby Doll on commentary: “I don’t know how far a yak is off the ground, but I would bet ya 33-hundred dollars and spot you about 10 inches that it would probably take a forklift to get her on the back of a yak.” Tony Schiavone’s delayed ” … my goodness” is incredible.
All of this comes to a head late in the show when the announce team brings out Garvin again and shows clips from a match he and Flair had at the end of 1985. Tony says the match proves Garvin can “go toe-to-toe” with the World Champion. Flair immediately interrupts, because he will straight-up murder you for besmirching his good name to his dear friend Tony Schiavone. Flair gets in his face, cheap shots him, drags him to the ring to hit a gorgeous vertical suplex and then, in the ultimate Ron Garvin-related indignity, sits on his chest. I said sits, Jimmy.
Flair wanders back to the announce area, but Garvin recovers too quickly and follows him over. They fight BACK to the ring, and now Garvin gets the upper hand because Flair hasn’t been able to cheap-shot him and get him off his game. And of course that brings out Arn and Tully, the guys who have spent the entire program yelling about how people need to fight them fairly.
Dusty and Sam Houston show up to even the odds, and that gives Garvin a chance to land one (1) punch to Flair’s jaw and knock him out. He sits on FLAIR’S chest, then rolls out to join Dusty’s crew for safety in numbers. I think the very best part of this is that Dusty pulls Arn out, leaving Tully to absolutely COWER in the face of a one-on-one fight with Garvin. He falls on his ass to avoid a punch, then just kinda scoots away while Flair’s getting humiliated. Arn slides back in and runs Garvin off, so then, then Tully is like, I’M HELPING TOO. What a piece of shit. Tully Blanchard is so wonderfully awful at being a human being, I love it.
Garvin has proven he can knock out Flair, and the Horsemen don’t move an inch while he stands 20 feet away from them with Dusty, Magnum and Sam Houston. When he leaves, the wander back over to cut a heated promo about how it “took 3 or 4 of them” like a “pack of dogs,” like a “pack of wolves.” Arn starts getting melodramatic about people hurting his family to make it even better/worse. “Now, if somebody smacked one of your babies, put him in his stroller, and ran him off a mountain, would you take it personal?”
Pez Whatley, despite last week’s promise that he’d “be in the middle of this in ’86,” is nowhere to be found. Neither is Boogie Woogie Man, who I assume celebrated his win over The Golden Terror by drinking an entire can of lead paint.
Best: Jim Cornette Answers His Fan Mail
This week, the Rock ‘n’ Roll Express vs. Midnight Express feud is advanced in an unusually subtle way: two squash matches with swapped intent.
The Midnight Express usually take pleasure in violently mauling their opponents, right? Well this week they have an unusually technical, light squash win over Bill Tabb and Larry Vickery*. The Rock ‘n’ Roll Express usually wrestle light, technical matches against their opponents and win with skill and teamwork. This week, the RNRs beat the ever-loving shit out of Jerry Garmin and Larry Clarke. They hit a double dropkick to the throat, Ricky’s stun-gunning dudes with misguided throat injury anger and Robert Gibson is going full Kawada on a guy dressed like Kawada with what I’m calling the Gibson Driver ’86.
The backdrop of the contrast is Jim Cornette turning blood red, cutting a breathless promo about how he’s been getting cards and letters from concerned fans about why he tried to put Ricky Morton out of wrestling.
“I’ll tell you what I’m upset about, because all across the country ever since what we did to Ricky Morton — shut up, you idiots — ever since what we did to Ricky Morton I have had five, maybe six thousand letters from all a bunch of teeny-boppers all across America, little 12-year old girls saying AW WHY’D YOU DO THAT TO RICKY, WHY’D YOU DO THAT TO RICKY, with their little crayon, well let me tell ya something you little prepubescent little females, you are just the same as your parents, you’re just the same as your older brothers and sisters, YOU CAIN’T SPELL for one thing, you don’t know any words over two syllables, and furthermore I’m not interested in your putrid little comments, I don’t care what these people think, I don’t care what you think, I do what I wanna do, and the Midnight Express gets what they wanna get, and if you wanna write me your stinkin’, little slimy letters, then you better tell us how great we are or don’t say anything at all.”
Best: Liberal Media Bias Against Russia
The Russians get a couple of quick squash victories of their own — Nikita defeating Mac Jeffers in the main event by barely moving, Ivan crushing Benny Traylor in one of the prelims — but it’s all about (1) Nikita’s inclusion in Sports Illustrated‘s Sportsmen of the Year (at #5, because they couldn’t put him at #1 over an American), and (2) Nikita’s absolutely five-star t-shirt. That thing needs to be reprinted on Pro Wrestling Tees like, yesterday.
With Krusher Kruschev on the shelf, Number One Paul Jones volunteers the services of Baron Von Raschke to the Russians, which they accept.
If you aren’t familiar with the Baron, he’s a guy from Nebraska with the body of your grandpa who was “German” because he could do a passable, growling impression of the bad guys from Hogan’s Heroes. Dusty Rhodes calls him the “ugliest man in the world,” and he’s probably right. The Baron was already a 20-year veteran when this aired, so he’s kinda spectacular in the way that it looks like he waltzed onto the show straight out of 1966. My dad does an impersonation of him, mostly saying “mishtook” instead of “mistake,” because my dad was seven when Baron debuted. The only footage of him should be in black and white, yet here we are.
Baron’s finisher is the claw, which he applies sideways for some reason, so it doesn’t have the “cover your face and crush your head” vibe of the Iron Claw, nor does it have the Von Erich kayfabe thing where you’re supposedly grabbing their temples with your thumb and fingertips. Dude just places his hand sideways over your eyes and YOU ARE DEAD. Like the Baron himself, it’s archaic and great.
The Road Warriors are definitely scared of the guy from the ‘Unforgiven’ video.
Also Getting Squashed On This Episode
Sam Houston defeats Art Pritts with a bulldog, once again proving that Art is not The Pitts Who Was Promised.
I wouldn’t normally end the column with a Barbarian squash, but this week he takes on a young man named “Ray Taylor,” who you may know best as Ray Traylor, the future Big Boss Man. I’m guessing he’s “Taylor” instead of “Traylor” here because they already have a jobber named “Benny Traylor” and with all the shuffled-around brother teams they didn’t want you to think they were Dudley Boy related.
Bubber is only 22 years old here, less than a year into his wrestling career, and he is such a baby. Look at him. Any part of him Barb touches turns blood red. This might be the only version of Bubba/Traylor/Bossman you’ll see wrestling without a shirt, so soak it in. What a Young Boy. Bavarian wins with a powerslam and a headbutt off the top, and these two would meet again on a random Nitro like 10 years later.
That’s it for this week’s episode. Join us next week for Ron Garvin predicting Ric Flair’s problems with the IRS, one of the best Flair promos of all time, and the long-awaited debut of Wee Willie Wilkins. Be there!