The Name on the Marquee: NWA World Championship Wrestling (1.10.1987)
-Cold open: The Four Horsemen’s mafia hit on Barry Windham from last week’s show.
-Originally aired January 10, 1987.
-Your host is Tony Schiavone.
-The Rock & Roll Express is still needlessly offended by Paul Jones’ cultural appropriation of the letter R.
GORGEOUS JIMMY GARVIN (with Precious) vs. KEITH VINCENT
-Jimmy leaves on the pants AND the gloves, so you know he’s not taking this one seriously. He slams Vincent down and stomps all over him. Vincent, who’s incredibly built for a jobber, tries a top wristlock, but Garvin shakes him off and slugs him down. Garvin slams him down and stomps all over him again, then applies a front facelock. Weirdness as the jobber gets a burst of energy and they roll around a bit, and then the jobber just goes totally limp and falls victim to the brainbuster to wrap it up.
-Tony Schiavone welcomes the new Central States Champion, Superstar Bill Dundee. He laughs at Dusty Rhodes for not having a belt like him, and calls out all the top contenders in the Central States territory, including…and check out this list: Brad Armstrong, Dave Peterson, Todd Champion, and the Italian Stallion. Holy shit, you can hear the drain circling all the way from 30 years later for Central States.
-We go to NWA Pro, with Tony Schiavone talking to Jim Cornette and his crew. Cornette declares Big Bubba the Bunkhouse Stampede Champion and demands the $400,000 and the Boot Trophy coming to him. Jim Crockett comes out to clarify that, in fact, Bubba and Dusty are tied, so the Stampede Champion will be decided in Pittsburgh on February 27th, Dusty vs. Bubba in a steel cage, but with battle royal rules. Thankfully, he clarifies that sending your opponent out through the door IS an option in the match.
BRAD ARMSTRONG vs TOMMY ANGEL
-Armstrong and Angel trade arm wringers. Armstrong applies a side headlock while the fans chant “Beat him up, Brad, beat him up!” Brad’s offense tends to skew more toward “Wear him down gradually, Brad, wear him down gradually.”
-Brad goes to the arm, and stays with the arm, leaves the arm, returns to the arm, remains with the arm. Crowd gets bored and chants “DDT!” for some reason, so I guess this is the smarky post-Wrestlemania NWA TV taping.
-Brad stays on the arm as I start to wish the armbartender would yell “Last call!” on this armbar, know what I mean? Right? Anyway, the Russian legsweep finishes.
-Barry Windham and Ron Garvin put the Horsemen on notice.
SUPERSTAR BILL DUNDEE (Central States Champion) vs RANDY BARBER
-Barber hiptosses the champion and tries for a pin right away. Dundee takes him down with some mat wrestling. Front facelock by Dundee, “Australia’s greatest athlete” according to Tony. He gives Barber a Moe Howard-style boink on the nose, which gets Barber all fired up. Dundee throws jabs and Barber dodges all of them. Dundee finally knocks the wind out of him with one shot. Dundee goes to work with knees and stomping, and a knee from the top rope gets three. Honestly, I did not buy into Dundee as a threat to the jobber here.
-Jim Cornette and Big Bubba are ready to knock the Road Warriors right off all that scaffold that’s being set up all over the country, and Big Bubba’s not gonna get robbed of his prize money for the Stampede.
-Dusty’s here to talk about the Bunkhouse Stampede finals against Bubba. He says his strategy is to just shove Bubba halfway through the door because Bubba’s so fat that if he’s even halfway through the door, the only way he can dislodge himself is to go the rest of the way. That’s the pot calling the kettle splotchy, isn’t it?
NIKITA KOLOFF (US Champion) vs LARRY STEVENS
-Stevens tries for a suplex, but Nikita easily reverses it and finishes with the sickle. So Nikita is dedicating his career to Magnum so thoroughly that he’s adopting the same approach to squash matches.
$10,000 + TV TITLE: TULLY BLANCHARD (Champion) vs ALAN MARTIN
-Tully is feeling pretty sportsmanlike and shakes Alan’s hand before kicking him down and dropping a series of elbows. Tony mentions that JJ Dillon isn’t at ringside because he asked Jim Crockett for a meeting; we don’t have any idea why at this moment, however.
-Tully works Marin over with a chinlock in a ridiculous spot where Marin is in total agony, but if he would just straighten his damn arm, he’d be in the ropes. Nice bit where Martin throws a punch, Tully no-sells, Martin throws a punch, Tully no-sells, Martin hits Tully with a dozen straight punches and Tully’s reeling, so the moment Tully can, he hits the slingshot suplex and ends it to get outta here.
-Ric Flair shows off his new suit from Michael’s of Kansas City and brags about a label on the lining with “World Champion” on it. Google search says Michael’s is still in business and they’re in their 112th year of business, so good on them.
-Tully says the Four Horsemen are all equals, but he gives his props to the toughest Horseman of them all, “The Rock” Ole Anderson. That was unexpected. Tully has his $10,000 with him and say he might bring them to the ring for his match with Dusty at the house show tonight, but maybe not because he dictates the rules about that $10,000 risk. He mocks Barry Windham by lying on the floor, and good GOD, the commentary area needs a fresh coat of paint.
ROCK & ROLL EXPRESS vs ALLEN WEST & EDDIE ROBERTS
-Express is MOBBED and completely surrounded during their entrance. Gibson armdrags Roberts around and elbows him down. Ricky Morton does likewise to West while Schiavone says something completely weird on commentary, explaining that nobody expected Ravishing & Raging to hold the title very long, but here it is a whole month later and they’ve surprised the world by still having the belts after all that time.
-Back from commercial, Morton has Roberts in a chinlock. Gibson tags in and goes to town on the arm. West sends him into the ropes but gets shoulderblocked and slammed for two. Gibson works the leg while Tony plugs the Rock & Roll Express Fan Club, which, according to Meltzer at the time, was bringing in $50,000 A WEEK for Jim Crockett and the Express. Holy crap! If Jim Crockett hadn’t become so obsessed with trying to out-Vince Vince McMahon, he’d probably still be in business today.
-Double dropkick finishes Roberts off….Still….good god, $50,000 a week for the damn fan club memberships!
-Dick Murdoch continues his weird run of promos where all he talks about is how great JCP is. He never puts himself over, just goes on about how big the crowds have been for JCP lately and how hard the promoters are working to put on quality events. Was Dick trying to buy a stake in the company? He issues a challenge to Tully for the $10,000 and promises the match would be a real hootnanny.
ROAD WARRIORS (with Paul Ellering) vs RAY AARON & DAVID ISLEY
-Really funny start here, as the Road Warriors deviate from their usual format by throwing BOTH jobbers out of the ring, and Hawk is clearly concerned when he catches the mistake. Like, “Shit, what do we do next?”
-What he does next is bring Aaron back in the ring and bodyslam him straight down on his head, holy shit. Isley tags in and gets shoulderblocked by Animal. Hawk tries for a body vice and has a shitload of trouble getting his balance. Animal powerslams Isley off the second rope to finish it. Watching Hawk during this match was actually quite concerning.
-Fortunately, he still has his promo game on, as he hates slugs and Jim Cornette’s neck threw up and formed his face. They promise Ravishing & Raging they’ll take the World Tag Team Title, WHEN they feel like doing it. Paul Ellering, cosplaying as Indiana Beige, wonders why anyone would walk around dead when you can be buried for $22. A’ight.
BARRY WINDHAM & RON GARVIN (US Tag Team Champions) vs MULKEY BROTHERS
-Sadly, David Crockett isn’t here, so we don’t get to hear him gush about Mulkeymania. Garvin rolls Randy around the mat and pretzels him. He turns it into a chinlock, and luckily, Randy is a smart enough jobber to locate the rope. Garvin wedgies Randy as he brings him off the mat. I watched a shoot interview with Tommy Young not long ago where they asked about him having to, uh, tuck Nikita back in at Starrcade, and Tommy basically said he was more bothered by guys who had that issue on a regular basis. He specifically cited Ron Garvin, whom Tommy said had a tendency to yank a guy’s ass completely out of his tights during his matches.
-Garvin suplexes Bill Mulkey and chops him down. Windham tags in and dropkicks Bill. Garvin boots him and drops the elbow for two. Garvin squeezes and slaps Bill on the back, leaving multiple visible handprints on his back. Garvin’s offense for so much of his career was so unique and honestly, it was actually FUN to watch him do this stuff a lot of the time. It makes me sad that I didn’t have any exposure to him until he jumped to the WWF and just became completely generic with his moveset.
-Flying lariat by Windham wraps up, by the way.
-Ivan Koloff shows us some videotape from NWA Pro of Vladimir Petrov applying a Russian hammer from the second rope. Ivan throws Tommy Young out of the ring for no real reason before Vladimir does it, and it’s funny to see the referee just take a wild bump all the way out to the concrete and bounce right up and shake it off.
VLADIMIR PETROV vs VERNON DEATON & GEORGE SOUTH
-Petrov outmuscles both opponents and slams both of them down. Double sickle (well…double gentle clothesline), and the Russian hammer finishes Deaton. Fans seem completely underwhelmed by this guy.
-Cornette leaves money at the commentary area because he doesn’t really need the money. He goes into his promo but stops and cuts Tony off when he sees Tony actually trying to take the money.
IVAN KOLOFF (with Vladimir Petrov) vs ZANE SMITH
-Stomping and elbows by Ivan…Honest question for the fans who grew up watching this…did you ever honestly believe the stuff about the Kremlin handing down orders to Ivan Koloff and his friends? Because even in my densest 6-year-old mark days, I grasped that the outside world didn’t give a flying shit about pro wrestling and that it basically existed in a bubble.
-Smith trades punches, but Ivan drops him with a hard forearm. He tosses Smith outside, Petrov tosses him back in, and Koloff goes to town on him with stomps. This is just going on forever. Ivan chokes Zane and connects with an elbow from the second rope. He bops Smith on top of the head in Moe Howard-like fashion, as apparently somebody rented some Three Stooges movies at the hotel the night before and everyone’s feeling inspired. Knee to the back from Ivan finally closes things.
-Here’s Nikita Koloff. He hates Ric Flair.
“Captain Redneck” DICK MURDOCH vs BRODIE CHASE
-Murdoch applies a crossface chicken wing to start, but his procurement is so plebian that Chase is able to exculpate himself. Murdoch applies a wristlock on Chase. Backdrop followed by a brainbuster gives Murdoch the win.
-Ivan closes the show with more threatening words about Vladimir. They are COMMITTED but this just doesn’t work. Here’s the issue I think I’m having with Vladimir…with Ivan, Nikita, and Khrusher, yeah, you had three Russian guys with near-identical looks, but at least they had distinctive personalities. Ivan was a cocky blowhard, Nikita is the muscle of the group, Khrusher is their American sympathizer. With Vladimir, you just look at him and see Nikita again. You can’t even buy into him as an actual person, you know he’s just manufactured to be the same character.