Previously on the Best and Worst of NWA World Championship Wrestling: The Commodity Tully Blanchard made true on his promise to become National Heavyweight Champion by cheating to beat Dusty Rhodes, sending him into a complete mental breakdown involving sudden nudity. Also, Road Warrior Hawk announced he’s more popular than Ric Flair because he’s [checks notes] good at cunnilingus.
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And now, the Best and Worst of NWA World Championship Wrestling for March 15, 1986.
Best: Everything About The Crockett Cup (Except Where It Is) (And The Fact That They Didn’t Finish Booking It Before They Announced It)
This week’s biggest development is the press conference for the upcoming Jim Crockett Sr. Memorial Cup Tag Team Tournament, to be held in New Orleans. As a reminder, this regional company who runs all their shows in the southeast and runs their biggest shows exclusively in Georgia and North Carolina were like, “Louisiana would be the perfect spot for our biggest and most ambitious show ever, with a one million dollar cash prize.” If it tells you anything, they held the press conference for the New Orleans show in Charlotte. Even the Widow Crockett during the press conference is like, “I sure hope they can run the tournament in Charlotte next year!” Says everyone. I know y’all are trying to counter-program WrestleMania 2, but that’s in three venues, and none of them are close to New Orleans. Also what are you doing.
Aside from the location not making a heck of a lot of sense — especially if you’re a tiny child who wants to go to the Crockett Cup, Brandon I’m looking in your direction — the worst part of the press conference is that they announce the seeded teams, then announce a non-tournament main event that requires them to re-book the seeds. Wait, what?
Okay, so the first thing you should notice is that that’s the most balls-out amazing tag team tournament in wrestling history. Bottom line. Look at that talent. The four best teams in your company — the Road Warriors (one word, please don’t sue), the Midnight Express, the Rock ‘n’ Roll Express, and the Russians — plus the Horsemen and a Dusty Rhodes/Magnum T.A. super team. The special guests are all-timer incredible, from Ted DiBiase and Steve Williams to the Mitsuharu Misawa version of Tiger Mask. Even the “stinker” teams are legends. The scary, unfunny version of the Bushwhackers are here (the version that would’ve slaughtered Steve Urkel and Carl Winslow) and even Dino Bravo gets balanced out by an in-his-prime Rick Martel. Unbelievable.
The second thing you’ll notice is the NWA setting up this tournament, putting the teams together, announcing the teams via graphic and holding a press conference TO announce the teams, only to immediately change them. Bill Apter and future WCW impresario Cowboy Bill Watts announce that in addition to the Crockett Cup, New Orleans is getting a Ric Flair vs. Dusty Rhodes match for the NWA World Heavyweight Championship. That means now Tully Blanchard will now be teaming with Arn Anderson (upgrade?) and Magnum T.A. will be teaming with Ronnie Garvin (not an upgrade). You guys couldn’t have like, put those teams on the graphic?
Best: Nobody Is Happy About That Seeding
One of my favorite things about the Road Warriors is that nobody else on the show seems to like them. Like, they’ll have Dusty Rhodes show up and bail them out sometimes, but that feels like it’s an act of self-preservation. You have guys like Jimmy Valiant and Pez Whatley and Manny Fernandez on the show all like, “Dusty Rhodes is great! Magnum T.A. is great! Ronnie Garvin is great!” And then they mostly just complain about the Road Warriors. How could these average-ass steel mill-ass 1980s wrestlers identify with Hawk and Animal? They’re like enraged, painted musclebabies.
The first person to complain about the Road Warriors getting the number one seed in the Crockett Cup is, of course, Jim Cornette. Cornette — who instantly nukes an absent David Crockett with the line, “David Crockett is on special assignment today. The Columbia School of Broadcasting is using him today as a bad example” — says that the World Tag Team Champions should be the number one seed (fair point), and that if the Road Warriors want at shot at the Midnights they should “get in the gym,” because they aren’t ready. Young Jim Cornette continues to be the GOAT.
The Midnights get a wonderful squash win over Phil Brown and Lee Peak, the jobbers whose names sound most like something you’d do in the bathroom. They’re beating these poor guys so badly at one point that Phil Brown just covers up and panics, and Bobby Eaton not only has to walk him to his corner to tag out, he has to physically make the tag for him, as Brown won’t uncover. It’s SO GOOD. The Midnights are putting the fear of God into these chump teams.
Considerably less upset are America’s Other Team, Magnum T.A. and Ronnie Garvin. Magnum lost the tournament ringer, Dusty Rhodes, but picked up Goron troll whose finish is an illegal knockout move to the face he can do whenever he wants. Seriously, why didn’t Ron Garvin just charge dudes and swing at them if his hands were stone? What was the purpose of all those armbars and leg locks? YOUR FINISH IS THE HARD PUNCH.
Garvin defeats Johnnie Cochran’s favorite jobber Kent Glover, and cuts a show-ending promo so rambling and bad Magnum has to show up with a fake smile on his face and say YEAH TELL ‘EM RONNIE until they’re safe to turn off the cameras. Magnum should’ve shown up to the Crockett Cup on the arm of Miss Atlanta Lively.
The Russians also aren’t very happy, but this gives them a chance to finally defeat the Road Warriors and presumably win another big trophy they can carry around, and another non-contractual way to fuck with Magnum T.A.
Right now Nikita’s playing this amazing mind game with Magnum where he’s like, “you’re afraid to fight me,” and Magnum goes through the trouble of getting a contract drawn up and signing it to prove a point, and then NIkita’s like, “sorry, your contract writing is terrible, you’re probably just still afraid to fight me.” He won’t sign the contract until The Kremlin is happy with it, and MAGGA TA (™ Nikita Koloff) is just inconsolable. Nikita’s already in his head. You don’t become a Russian Super-athlete by doing a bunch of push-ups, Magga.
Best: The Horsemen Are Spread Thin
Ideally it’d be Arn Anderson and Ole Anderson competing in the Crockett Cup tournament, but Dusty Rhodes is still in the middle of his run-and-gun revenge assault on the Four Horsemen, so that’s a no go.
On this week’s show, Tully Blanchard defeats Don Turner in an incredibly arrogant, lengthy heel squash, then cuts a promo on him after the match about how he embarrassed his entire family. “Dusty will at least get in the ring and fight you,” Tully suggests.
Arn Anderson also works in a passive-aggressive shot at Dusty, saying that he’s going to do tonight what Dusty never did: defend the Television Championship on television. I mean, I see no lie. He has his hands full with Mike Jackson — yeah, Mike Jackson — who if you haven’t been following along is kinda like the John Cena of jobbers. He’s as good as a jobber can be and still be a “jobber.” He’s not a “jobber to the stars” like your Pez Whatleys and Sam Houstons or whoever because he doesn’t actually ever get to beat anybody, but he’s clearly the best dude there at his job.
It takes Arn a while to beat him, but that’s because it’s actually a competitive match, and not him screwing around like in the Tully match. One of the things I like so much about the original Four Horsemen lineup is that they were individual, fully-formed adults with personalities who just happened to be friends and associates and work together. Too often these days you add a guy to a faction and the “faction” is the character. If you’re in the nWo, you’re an nWo guy. If you’re in the Bullet Club, you’re a Bullet Club guy. If you’re in the Nexus, you’re all exactly the same and wear the same t-shirt. Los Ingobernables is a great example of a modern faction that works as a unit but also maintains the individual personalities of the team members. The Horsemen are the A+ forever handbook to that. You can’t find two more different, yet physically identical people than Arn Anderson and Tully Blanchard.
This all comes to a head later in the episode when Baby Doll (fresh off of Dusty Rhodes’ “I apologize for almost getting naked on television” promo) confronts the Horsemen for running their mouths and challenges J.J. Dillon to a fight. Arn insists that “that woman will do anything to get a little affection,” but sure enough she goes to the ring. That causes J.J. to go OVERBOARD in celebration, because nothing makes the CEO of Tully Blanchard Enterprises more glad in his heart than the chance to beat up one of Tully’s exes and not get in trouble for it.
Seriously, look at this guy:
He looks like Daffy Duck at the end of a really old Looney Tune.
The Horsepersons are so caught up in this sudden chance for pedestrian violence that they don’t realize it’s a trap laid by a nude plumber and his handsome motorcycle friend. Dusty and Magnum jump Tully and Arn from behind, and the teams brawl with Dusty trying to stomp out their legs. The Horsemen flee, and … uh, the team that will not actually be competing in the Crockett Cup stands tall!
Also Happening On This Episode
Gorgeous Jimmy Garvin defeats Bill Mulkey, and I’ve got to say that maybe the worst rights usage loss on WWE Network is ZZ Top’s ‘Sharp Dressed Man’ for Garvin being replaced by placeholder music. It’s so depressing. At least Jimmy Valiant gets some dumb ragtime.
Garvin is trying to start a feud with Wahoo McDaniel but Wahoo’s never around, so he has to act scared of (1) a video package, and (2) Baby Doll randomly showing up to explain that Wahoo is Dusty Rhodes’ friend and told Dusty that he’s coming for Jimmy Garvin. Like, at this point you could have Randy Mulkey squat behind the podium with a Chief Wahoo puppet and be like, “GRR, I’M STUPID, I’M GONNA GET YOU,” and it would’ve accomplished the same thing.
Ragin’ Bull Manny Fernandez squashes America’s Worst Looking Man, Tony Zane. That’s not a picture of Zane taking a move, he just fell from the ceiling like that.
Pro Wrestling’s Post Malone Black Bart defeats ‘Phenomenal’ Carl Styles with the “Texas Trash Compactor,” a leg drop from the second rope executed so flawlessly Bart has to fall over backwards every time he hits it. Will Ospreay should steal this.
Finally this week, please enjoy this GIF of Boogie Woogie Man Jimmy Valiant sensually kissing Randy Anderson during his win over Bob Owens.
I think the best part of the GIF is that sea of cheering children, who go CRAZY for Jimmy during his entrance. I hope they’re like, 45 years old now, sitting at dinner with their family like, “hey kids, did I tell you about the time I went to a wrestling show in Atlanta and saw a homeless meth addict French kiss Gallagher? He didn’t even let go of the wristlock!”
We find out the remaining teams in the Jim Crockett Sr. Memorial Cup Tag Team Tournament including Los Guerreros, WWE Hall of Famer KOKO WARE and a Fabulous Ones team that accidentally gives us a new member of the Midnight Express. Plus, Dusty Rhodes declares Magnum T.A. the most handsome non-Dusty Rhodes man in the world, and CRAIG SAGER guest stars. BE there!