The Best And Worst Of NWA World Championship Wrestling 3/1/86: A Valiant Effort

Previously on the Best and Worst of NWA World Championship Wrestling: “Rick” Flair debuted the Big Gold belt, Dusty Rhodes gave the Rock ‘n’ Roll Express a shark cage with a name, Jimmy Garvin showed up to not wrestle, and Paul Jones debuted the monstrous Caucasian Asian “Teijo Khan.”

Click here to watch this episode on WWE Network. You can catch up with all the previous episodes of World Championship Wrestling on the Best and Worst of NWA World Championship Wrestling tag page.

Note! If you don’t follow us on social or haven’t picked up on it yet, we’re trying an experiment where we post one of these columns every Saturday afternoon at 6:05 Eastern, like the SuperStation would do. If you like this column and want to see it keep going, your job is to share it around on social media, baby, tell people to read it, daddy, and drop down into our comments section to talk about it, baby.

And now, the Best and Worst of NWA World Championship Wrestling for March 1, 1986.

Best: Nikita Koloff Is An Underappreciated Fashion Icon

You know, a lot of this column is dedicated to how fashionable Ric Flair and the Four Horsemen and Dusty Rhodes were, but we don’t talk enough about Nikita Koloff. From his autographed t-shirt of himself to his condescending polo and sunglasses look to this borderline Freddy Krueger sweater, Nikita Koloff always screams, “man who has just arrived in this country and is fashionable for wherever he came from, but just out of touch with this country’s trends.” And that makes him EXTREMELY fashionable 20 years later.

It’s a light week for the Russians, as they just put a hurting on Rocky King and call the Road Warriors and Magnum T.A. cowards. Magnum squashes Randy Mulkey in like 15 seconds in response, which is like somebody shoving you on your ass and you getting back at them by sticking out your tongue. I could’ve squashed Randy Mulkey in 15 seconds, and I was six.

Best: Valiant’s War

From 1984 until 1986, one of the best ongoing stories in the NWA was “Valiant’s War,” the beef between “Boogie Woogie Man” Jimmy Valiant, Number One Paul Jones, and however many sub-Heenan Family heels Paul Jones could gather in one place. In January of ’84, Jones and “The Assassins” tied Valiant to the ropes and cut his beard — an unforgivable offense, daddy — setting up a grudge match at the hilariously named ‘Boogie Man Jam ’84’ in Greensboro. If WWE’s bringing back War Games and Starrcade, they should run an NXT TakeOver: Boogie Man Jam ’18. Jimmy Valiant versus Roderick Strong!

Anyway, despite Boogie Woogie Man matches being the pro wrestling equivalent of having someone ask you to pull a Stretch Armstrong as far as it’ll go so they can trick you and let go so it snaps back and smashes you in the balls, the angle was good-to-great at times. It featured some of the best promo work of Valiant’s career, and also an unforgettable segment where Boogie Woogie Man thanks Dusty Rhodes by giving him a prostitute.

On this week’s show, the War is back on for 1986 as sort of the Return of the Jedi of the trilogy. Valiant defeats Kevin Owens’ dad Bob in a squash match so easy he gives running gasp-and-threat commentary during it, and reveals in a post-match interview that he’s found out that Paul Jones has been assembling his group of “foreigners” in the hopes of finally, finally ridding pro wrestling of both Boogie and Woogie.

Later in the episode after Baron Von Raschke has defeated George “I’m Not Rising Again” South and The Barbarian has defeated America’s worst-looking citizen Tony Zane, Jones confirms Valiant’s suspicions, and says he was trying to assemble this group to destroy Boogie without him knowing it. He also adds some AMAZING color to the conversation, shitting on Boogie Woogie man for derisively calling his men “foreigners” like it’s a bad thing, and showing a scar on his arm to prove that he got his ass kicked for the entirety of 1985 and isn’t afraid to fight his own battles. The War is back on, and 1986 will be dedicated to ending the career of the Boogie Woogie Man, a guy I no shit saw wrestle at Big Time Wrestling in Tennessee two years ago.

Assembling a group of foreign heels to end a wrestler’s career is a crazy idea. But I know a gentleman who had a lot of crazy ideas. He was a carpenter …

Worst: Wrong Garvin

Last week, Garvin announced he’d decided to drive a truck for four hours a week so he could say a truck driver beat Ric Flair. Now he’s added carpentry, saying he’s “fixing doors” so he can say Flair was beaten by a truck driver and a carpenter. Garvin should take a job as a librarian so he can say Ric Flair was beaten by someone who can convincingly read a book.

Best: ARN

So over the past few weeks, there’s been a lot made of the house show encounter between Garvin and Ric Flair where they went to a 60-minute draw, Flair challenged Garvin to get back in the ring, and Garvin knocked him out and pinned him. It wasn’t officially part of the match, so Flair’s still the champion, but the “win” earned Rugged Ron a shot at Arn Anderson’s Television Championship.

As you might imagine, Arn isn’t very happy about this. Arn lights Garvin up with a blistering promo about how Garvin’s not a top contender for the TV title, he’s a top contender to “go to prison, “murder somebody” or “be a pervert.” Arn rules so hard you have to change the functional definition of “use” in the phrase to have it be a strong enough word.

Best: Ric Flair Is So Over He’s Popping Barb In The Upside Down

I’d say The Nature Boy was in rare form this week, but I’m pretty sure that’s the only form he had from 1983 until like, the Black Scorpion. His job this week is to show once again show off his beautiful, brand new, $40,000 World Heavyweight Championship and give every mid-80s Georgian housewife in attendance a raging lady boner. “Can you imagine the rush the female population of the world gets when THE world’s heavyweight wrestling champion walks out on national television?”

The great thing about Flair, as I’ve said before, is that his presence on the show not only gives context to everyone else in the company, it gives everyone a +1 in whatever they’re good at. In this one promo, Flair puts over the random heel groups in the promotion — Paul Jones’ Army, the Russians and the Midnight Express — while shitting on Magnum T.A., taking shots at Ricky Morton, and giving Dusty Rhodes an inferiority complex. More on that in a sec.

He also makes sure to clarify what a murderous perverted convict Ronnie Garvin is, not taking him seriously for even a second, not even after being knocked out and “pinned” by him, twice.

“When you make excess of a million dollars a year, when you ride in nothing but long limousines, you fly around in your own Gulf Stream, you’ve got the biggest house on the biggest hill on the biggest side of town, and you’ve got any woman in the world you want, just like that, woo, then there’s not much else. Now, Ronnie Garvin, 90 minutes, one hour, two days, it makes no difference. I used to pride myself on every woman in the world calling me, woo! A 60-minute man. Well I can go 90 minutes just as easily as I can go 60.”

At this point in his career you could say, “okay Ric, you’re feuding with a vacuum cleaner,” and Flair would not only make the vacuum cleaner look like Lou Thesz, he’d have you caring about all the dust busters and hammers and carpet cleaners in the store. And you’d buy a fucking vacuum cleaner.

So! Arn Anderson wrestles Ron Garvin for the Television Championship, and as you know if you’ve ever watched a TV title defense, any match between the champion and a quality challenger — in the mid-80s, at least — is going to end in a time-limit draw. It’s what they did. You only had 10 minutes to beat the champ, which is a BRILLIANT stipulation to “protect” the wrestlers while still having competitive matches with a sense of urgency. I wish they’d bring that back for the Intercontinental Championship or something these days. But yeah, Garvin “goes the distance” and Arn retains without actually being able to defeat him, because the TV title is a heel’s best friend.

Ric Flair does commentary for the match, and sticks around long enough afterward to distract Garvin and let his cousin Arnold attack him from behind and drop him with a Gourdbuster. Flair slides into the ring when Garvin’s unconscious and counts him down for three. The best part? It’s a fast count, because Flair’s secretly terrified of this dude and in the back of his head thinks he’s gonna kick out at two if he does a regular count. LOVE IT. The master at work.

Oh, and Flair RETURNS at the end of the show to totally squash Brodie Chase, which is a special insert you get from opening packs of Mallrats trading cards.

Dusty Rhodes is so shook by Flair this week that he’s got fans heckling him about how they “don’t want to hear it,” and he’s stopping his promo in the middle — Dusty Rhodes is doing this — to aggressively yell at them. “Well if you don’t wanna hear it, get your fat ass out of here!” Damn, Dust, maybe it’s because Flair’s out here wearing a 40-grand gold belt and you’re splitting your time between Hollywood and the National Wrestling Alliance’s least appealing human woman.

He even adds a, “sorry Tommy, you might have to edit that a little bit,” at the end. It’s like the Horseman took his spirit out into the parking lot and broke its hand with a baseball bat.

Tully Blanchard Enterprises™ is flying high off Dusty’s agitated mental state, reminding him that a month ago they announced that in four (4) weeks, Dusty Rhodes’ National Title would no longer be his and would go to “the commodity Tully Blanchard.” Tully’s so confident that he’s out here in sunglasses with Magnum’s gym sweater wrapped around his neck like a cape. They look like the uptight father and son bullies in an early ’80s slobs vs. snobs comedy.

Tully tells Dusty and Baby Doll to spend all their money now, because when he’s the National Champion, he’s gonna be “jet flying, limousine riding” — sound familiar? — and have “five women on each arm.” Spoiler alert: he wins the National Championship from a preoccupied Dusty in Spartanburg, SC, a day later. Dropping Baby Doll apparently made Tully better and made Dusty worse. Maybe she was the problem all along?

Later in the show, Tully Blanchard moves forward five spaces in the rankings by pressing Bill Tabb.

Best: Rock ‘N’ Roll Is Nothing But Racket

This week’s final important story is the next step in the Rock ‘n’ Roll Express’ plan to get back the NWA Tag Team Championship: bring tennis rackets to the ring, because if Cornette can do it, so can they. This is a week after they announced they’re going to put Cornette in Dusty Rhodes’ personified shark cage “Betty Lou” and hang him “80 feet” above the ring for their match.

Cornette’s response is, as you might have guessed, not wholly positive:

Cornette’s promo here is a thing of beauty, because it combines a real narrative — the Rock ‘n’ Roll Express are getting to do pretty much anything they want to get back their titles, and the NWA seems to be helping them instead of making them follow the rules — while blaming them for everything he’s ever done. For example, he claims their tennis rackets have to be loaded, because it was a “big ol’ square thing” and when Morton smacked his against the podium it made “all kinds of loud noise.” He doesn’t think it’s fair that they’re bringing these tennis rackets to the ring to use a weapon because all he does with his is “gesture with it.”

Also? Everyone hates him because he’s JUST LIKE RIC FLAIR: a higher class of winner. The only way Jim Cornette could be Ric Flair is if a wizard gave him the power to transform into him by shouting “Shazam!”

Corny’s rant continues throughout the entirety of The Midnight Express vs. Paul Garner and Alan Martin, which honestly might be in the top 10 Midnights jobber brow-beatings ever. They beat the SHIT out of these guys, neckbreaking them on the concrete and giving them repeated backdrops just to see how high they can throw them, all while Cornette pulls every word he’s ever known out of his ass. He says that even if it takes until the last second before they close the cage door, his mom’s lawyers are going to find a way to get him out of the match stipulation, and even starts talking shit about other, unrelated people, including the Russians. He says “me, Dennis and Bobby” would be Six-Man Tag Team Champions in addition to Tag Team Champions but he doesn’t want to wrestle full-time. This dude is out here crying about how his mom has to save him from his fear of heights while simultaneously bragging that he could beat Nikita Koloff if he wanted. That is WIZARDRY.

In response, the Rock ‘n’ Roll Express win a match against Bill Mulkey and Mike Simani, whose all-white gear and striped socks 100% make him look like somebody’s drunk uncle was thrown into a match before he had a chance to get dressed:

That guy looks like Robert Gibson talks.

Next Week:

Pez Whatley explains the birds and the … horses (?), we’ve got a new National Heavyweight Champion, and Ric Flair absolutely nukes an already detached and depressed Dusty Rhodes. Be there (here) next week at 6:05 for more of the best in professional wrestling, and also Jimmy Valiant.