Previously on the Best and Worst of NWA World Championship Wrestling: Ronnie Garvin managed to embarrass Ric Flair by knocking him out on national television, even though the cameras missed the actual punch. Nikita Koloff explained the media bias the United States has against the Russians — thanks to the so-called “tolerant left” — and Dusty Rhodes took a bubble bath with Baby Doll. Presumably in a War Games-style tub.
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And now, the Best and Worst of NWA World Championship Wrestling for January 25, 1986.
Worst: Literally The Only Thing That Happens On This Episode Is We Find Out Dusty Rhodes Can’t Wear His Metal Boot Anymore
The National Wrestling Alliance has a “Superstars On The SuperStation” special coming up in February, so they’re preserving their card of “dream matches” — aka “any match you might actually want to see” — by filling World Championship Wrestling with filler so egregious it makes the previous filler look like Starrcade.
The only plot development for anyone in the entire episode is Arn Anderson revealing NWA President Bob Geigel’s notarized letter declaring that Dusty Rhodes can no longer wrestle in his medical support boot. If you don’t recall, the Four Horsemen jumped Dusty and broke his leg, so Dusty had to wrestle in a boot. The boot has steel in it to protect him, so the Horsemen immediately decided that makes Dusty a horrible cheater who won’t face them one-on-one without a weapon. Dusty’s response to that was a promise to break all their legs, one-by-one. He made good on that promise by injuring Ole Anderson, and now has his sights set on Arn. So of course Arn wants to protect himself by removing any “unfair” advantage Dusty might have.
Dusty’s response (while wearing an amazing Olin Skis promotional hat) is this:
Dusty’s a little more heel than usual this week — yes, that’s a foot joke — by saying he doesn’t care what the NWA has ruled, he’s going to wear his boot, and if they don’t like it, he thinks [raspberry] about the NWA. He also gets a little suggestively homophobic by saying he’s out here with a beautiful woman, but Tully Blanchard dumped a beautiful woman to “hang out with a man, now tell me what that means.”
Tully Blanchard’s response is uncharacteristically baller: Frenching a stranger while J.J. Dillon explains that you “go to the grocery store with your mother, but you go hunting with your FATHER!” James J. loses points, though, for trying to make a fat joke about the logo on Baby Doll’s designer jeans and saying when she puts them on it turns into a “Brontosaurus Rex.”
Oh, and if you’re wondering about whether or not Dusty Rhodes had a walk-in closet full of promotional hates and/or was into skiing, I managed to confirm both of those things on Twitter earlier today. Please enjoy this photo of Dusty Rhodes on skis (!!).
How did that guy even manage to look fashionable in a ski suit? It’s almost supernatural.
Best: Ric Flair Wins The Week
Ric Flair is barely interested in what’s going on with Dusty and the sub-Flair Horsemen and cares even LESS about the upcoming challenge of Ronnie Garvin, alternately insisting that Garvin either “got in a lucky punch” or hit him with a foreign object. He’s more concerned with an 18-year old girl in the parking lot’s request for him to wear blue jeans “like Magnum,” so he turns his ass to the camera and tells all the girls to pretend. He’s proud of Blanchard for pulling a new woman who could even meet Space Mountain standards, which tells you everything you need to know about what Flair thinks of Tully.
He shows up later to once again clarify that only women 18-years or older can ride Space Mountain, but ALL women over 18 should follow his schedule, as he’ll be available to have sex with them anywhere he’s announced on the card. David Crockett’s face here is also my face.
As for Garvin, he gets an easy win over heartthrob Mark Hawk, who looks like the Great American Hero after a bout with depression.
He also proves to be chillingly prophetic, showing up in one of Miss Atlanta Lively’s glittery vests to tell Flair to call the IRS man and let him know he’ll be in a lower tax bracket once he loses the World Heavyweight Championship. He advises him to sell his limo, stop eating at five-star restaurants and start living more conservatively. You know, I would’ve been really into a “Ron Garvin: Soothsayer” gimmick, especially if he did it in the wig and makeup.
I Need An Official Name For The Squashes Lightning Round
Every match this week is a squash, so let’s knock them out.
Manny Fernandez defeats Tony Zane with a Flying Burrito, fulfilling Zane’s lifelong fever dream of having someone throw a six-foot, 250-pound burrito at his face. Zane’s bruises have almost gone away, so shout-out to whichever production assistant at the TBS Studios brought him some fucking orange juice.
Manny returns later and secures this week’s most “wait, what” moment about how he gets “not nine, but TEN” Christmas cards every year. Uh, okay? It’s almost February, man. And I totally would’ve thought you sucked if you only got nine Christmas cards a year.
A man who gets no Christmas cards because he doesn’t have a home mailing address is Jimmy Valiant, who cuts a pre-match promo that’s just him panhandling to Tony Schiavone to get dip. He just “needs a little pinch between the cheek and the gum.” Tony’s like, “uh,” and Jimmy says he’ll be back for the dip later. Boogie Woogie Man is the worst, but I also kinda love the thought that he had zero wrestling training and was just a guy Dusty Rhodes let into the building so he wouldn’t have to sleep in the rain.
Valiant defeats Paul Garner with his signature “I’M ON METH, GET OUTTA THE WAY” style of offense.
It’s a strong week for the Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact of the Koloffs and Baron Von Raschke this week, with every man on the team getting a win. The Russians are facing the Road Warriors at the Superstars on the SuperStation special, and Baron will be facing the reality that he looks like a 200-year old Shrek.
Nikita Koloff defeats “Bob Brown,” who is [Jedi mind trick] not the Bob Brown you’re looking for. This Bob Brown is JACKED and almost certainly got the job because he looks like a jobber Hulk Hogan. They even gave him yellow underpants. Nikita has an oddly hard time with him, but wins with a Russian Sickle out of the corner. Nikita’s gunning for Magnum T.A.’s United States Championship so he can ironically piss on it as a Soviet Superman, and Magnum’s starting to show the wear and tear of taking on all comers. Dude looks like he prepped for his studio interview by playing tic-tac-toe on his own forehead with a butcher knife.
Baron Von Raschke defeats Rocky King, and it continues to be hilarious to hear the announce team put Baron over as an Ivan Drago-style super athlete when he looks like a Bloater from The Last Of Us.
This week’s most notable jobber is “Patrick” Tanaka, who loses to Ivan Koloff but actually gets in a little offense and gets the crowd behind him. You may know Pat from his time in the World Wrestling Federation as one half of The Orient Express — because Hawaii is “The Orient” — or from his occasional appearances in WCW losing karate fights to Glacier or wrestling as “El Gato.” I feel like the Russians and the Baron should’ve brought him into the faction. That would’ve really spun the NWA on its Axis.
The most competitive match of the week is the future Brainbusters, Arn Anderson and Tully Blanchard, against The Italian Stallion and Don Kernodle. I haven’t had a chance to write about Kernodle yet, but if you aren’t familiar with him, he might be one of the most underrated guys of his era. He’s near the end of his short TV wrestling career here, but he’s most notable for a run in the early ’80s as part of Sgt. Slaugther’s “Cobra Corps” alongside “Private Jim Nelson,” aka Boris Zhukov. He was an amateur wrestler and a multiple-time arm wrestling champion, so imagine a weird mash-up of Sgt. Slaughter and the 1982 equivalent of Cesaro.
You can’t expect to do well teaming with the Italian Stallion, though, who eats a double-team gourdbuster and loses the match. Maybe he’ll have better luck at the after party, happening at Kitty and Stud’s
There’s a heapin’ helpin’ of cowboy action on this episode as well, as I guess Black Bart and Cowboy Ron Bass have healed up from trying to cowbell each other to death at Starrcade. Black Bart defeats Josh Stroud with the “Texas Compactor,” a leg drop off the second rope with Bart landing horizontally instead of sitting up, because that would require some amount of athleticism.
Meanwhile, Cowboy Ron Bass wants to accept Number One Paul Jones’ $10,000 challenge to defeat The Barbarian in “three tests of strength,” but needs to know the specifics of the rules because he knows Jones is just going to jerk him around. But he could use 10 grand, because he’s a cowboy, so he’s gonna inquire. He gets a quick victory over jobber Mike Simani, who could also use a paycheck, because he’s here to get Simani.
The best part of Bass/Simani is that despite Simani getting zero (0) offense, Bass starts bleeding. That’s the downside of everyone in the company having a forehead like the back of your grandma’s hands.
As for The Bavarian, he defeats George South with that diving headbutt from across the ring where he lands on his belly somewhere in the middle and kinda bounces head-first into his opponent.
Jones insists that Barb is the strongest man in professional wrestling, and we hold on this tight shot of Barbarian having no idea what to do with his face that’s still cracking me up days later.
We also get a shot of ANOTHER sign that spells weasel “WEASLE,” because “Bobby Heenan without the spellcheck” is a pretty accurate way to describe Paul Jones.
Best: Cornettes Throughout History
Just wanted to take a second and show some love to this Jim Cornette promo in which he brings out an “official replica” of the Cornette family history — the original lies in his mother’s library back in Kentucky — to illustrate that every Cornette in history has been a successful entrepreneur. According to Jim™, there was a Cornette in the 1600s who “sold tickets to the Indians to watch the Pilgrims get off the boat.” Amazing.
Best: Wee Willie Wilkens Episode One
The final thing you need to know about this week is Wee Willie Wilkens, a legendary NWA jobber for all the wrong reasons.
So this is Wee Willie. He’s the one who looks like he’s doing Fourth of July-themed Mr. T cosplay. According to everyone’s stories, Willie showed up with some of his bodybuilder friends looking for a spot on the show, and assumed that being friends with muscular guys meant he would be a star, and not enhancement talent. He wanted to call himself, “Blue Thunder.” He had a chip on his shoulder despite being like 150 pounds and five-foot-nothing, so Dusty Rhodes ribbed him by naming him after a dead football player from the 1940s.
Being given what most people would assume is a midget wrestler’s name and told to be a job guy didn’t deter Willie from trying to be a star, however, and in March he decides to mostly no-sell an entire match against the Midnight Express. You can guess how that ends up, but we’ll save the details of that story (and Jim Cornette’s endless, hilarious rantings about it) for later.
Here, Willie makes his debut against Beautiful Bobby, and Cornette spends the entire match yelling out specific suplexes for Bobby to illustrate. It’s great, but you can already see Willie not really wanting to play ball. Bobby tries to pin him with one foot, so Willie gets up his arm and tries to “block” it. I cannot wait until the March 29 episode recap when this all blows up.
The fallout from Superstars on the SuperStation (which isn’t on the Network) including new champions, a controversial finish for Flair and Garvin, and a Mulkey Brother getting a title shot. BE THERE!