The Name on the Marquee: NWA World Championship Wrestling (10.25.1986)
-Cold open: A hired cameraman follows Dusty Rhodes into Jim Crockett’s office, a teaser of one of the all-time great angles from the Dusty vs. Horsemen saga.
-Originally aired October 25, 1986.
-Your hosts are Tony Schiavone & David Crockett. David says that his brother Jim will be here later in the show with an update on Magnum TA.
-Brad Armstrong is here and he’s excited about being involved in Starrcade for the first time in his career.
BRAD ARMSTRONG & TIM HORNER vs BILL TABB & BRODIE CHASE
-Armstrong takes Tabb down with a side headlock. Horner works the arm and takes Tabb back down. Drop toehold and a hammerlock by Armstrong. Horner tags in and enters with a sunset flip for two. Brodie Case tags in and falls victim to a double elbow. Russian legsweep by Armstrong gets three.
-Jimmy Valiant comes dancing in, promising that Paul Jones will be a bald headed geek and then we’ll never have to hear that damn catchphrase ever again.
GORGEOUS JIMMY GARVIN (with Precious) vs JOHN SAVAGE
-Garvin’s so cocky he doesn’t even take off his entrance pants. Shoulderblock and the brainbuster finish it in seconds.
-Jim Crockett, Jr. is here. He asks people to please stop calling the hospital seeking updates (which is actually a legit request; for the first few days after the accident, the hospital had to set up a second phone line just for people calling to ask about Magnum) and gives an address for cards & letters. Jim promises that if anybody can come back to the ring after this kind of accident, it’s Magnum, which would be a big fat “hell, no” unfortunately, and in fact, the doctors pretty much took one look at the first X-ray and told him he was done.
STARRCADE ’86 CONTROL CENTER
-We recap the half-assed attack of the Midnight Express on the Road Warriors, where Hawk no-sold everything, and never looked like he was in any danger, which is why it’s so silly to hear Tony talking about “the comeback of the Road Warriors.” We watch them lifting weights in the gym and cutting a promo into a distorted mic. The distortion is actually pretty funny because it makes it sound like a promo in an arcade game. They tease that they have a big surprise for the Midnight Express.
-Tony says that Cornette signed the contract for the match at Starrcade ’86, and now Paul Ellering springs his big surprise, a Vince Russo “Forgot to Read the Fine Print” Special. The Warriors declare that Starrcade ’86 is the Night of the Skywalkers, and that the bout will be a scaffold match. They throw pumpkins off the top of a scaffold, mostly to threaten the Midnight Express but partly because they’re just really big Letterman fans. This promo must have gone wildly, wildly wrong, because they go up there with three pumpkins, with DENNIS, BOBBY, AND MAMMA’S BOY written across them. We’re shown the most bizarre slow-motion shots of two of the pumpkins falling. We only see Bobby’s pumpkin hit the ground and burst. We don’t see Cornette’s pumpkin land, and we don’t see Dennis’ pumpkin at all.
-Jim Crockett announces that Manny Fernandez will be in a cage, which some call Betty Lou, during the Hair vs. Hair match. Also, Dusty Rhodes will defend the Telebizzion Shampionship against Tully Blanchard in a non-NWA-sanctioned First Blood match.
-And now, best angle ever. Dusty Rhodes signed for a steel cage tag team match in Charlotte, originally with Magnum TA as his partner, against Ole Anderson & JJ Dillon, with a stipulation that if America’s Team lost the match, Dusty would have to sit out Starrcade ’86. Since Dusty is a reigning champion, getting the night off for a supercard would be more reward than punishment for Dusty but, uh, Dusty’s a fighting champion with integrity yada yada yada. Okay, the stipulation’s a little stupid but go with it, because this really is a great angle…
-We go to footage from the day before the tag team match, shot from the passenger’s side front seat of a moving car. The Horsemen have hired a cameraman, you see. They are following Dusty Rhodes’ car to Jim Crockett’s office building. The hired cameraman gets a funny line complaining about how the bumpy entrance in the parking lot means his shot “isn’t gonna be very smooth.” Dusty gets out of his car, and the Horsemen race out and beat the hell out of him with a baseball bat. They tie him to the side of a truck and then shatter his hand with a bat, but only after Dusty tells them “Make it good!”
-So that brings us to the following night in Charlotte. Dusty needed a substitute partner for the cage match, and he promised he had one. JJ and Ole are in the ring, and Dusty walks to the ring with Nikita Koloff. I cannot think of a term to describe the crowd reaction for Dusty and Nikita walking side by side. They’re cheering, but there’s this weirdly half-hearted note to it like everyone in the building is thinking “Am I seeing this right?”
-Dusty is so eager to fight that he beats Nikita into the ring, and it’s a 2-on-1 attack on Dusty. Nikita very calmly walks into the ring and absolutely beats the piss out of Ole to the loudest pop you will ever hear. It seriously gives you a chill hearing this crowd so happy that they don’t know what to do with themselves. And Ole, for his part, is so shocked by having to fight Nikita that he lets his big talking guard down and gets the hell out of the cage. Dusty, with an injured hand, murders JJ with his plaster cast and gets the winning pin in seconds, with JJ a bloody mess. At ringside is Ric Flair, with the ultimate “I’m SO fucked” look on his face.
-Behind-the-scenes tidbit: “Common knowledge” is that Nikita was turned babyface as a result of Magnum’s car accident, but that’s not completely the case. Two months prior, Meltzer announced the face turn was coming. A Nikita t-shirt sold shockingly well during the Great American Bash, and since babyface merchandise sells better than heel merchandise, everybody started seeing dollar signs for a Nikita face turn. My GUESS is the plan for Starrcade was Koloff losing the US Title back to Magnum because of bungled interference from Uncle Ivan, but then Magnum’s accident happened and it gave them a better story to work with. So, yeah, Magnum’s accident changed the storylines around a bit, but Nikita was turning face no matter what.
-Dusty and Nikita are in the empty red studio, wishing Magnum well. Nikita went on a tour of Japan, then returned to America and learned about Magnum. He gained respect for Magnum, so he took Magnum’s place in the cage as a tribute. He vows to walk alone, and that he will no longer take orders from the Kremlin or Uncle Ivan.
OLE & ARN ANDERSON vs RANDY BARBER & CLEMENT FIELDS
-Looks like this one’s joined in progress. Ole comes off the top with the knee to the shoulder, and the armbar gets the submission.
-Jim Cornette is freaking out about the scaffold match. He hastily clarifies that his men aren’t afraid of the match themselves, but that he’s afraid for them.
“Ragin’ Bull” MANNY FERNANDEZ & RAVISHING RICK RUDE (with Paul Jones) vs KENT GLOVER & ALAN MARTIN
-Rude chops and whips Martin. Glover tags in and gets tackled by Fernandez. DT by Rude, which Crockett calls the Rude Awakening…huh. Anyway, it gets three.
-Paul Jones and the Army call out Baron, Jimmy Valiant, Dusty Rhodes, and everybody