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Dark Pegasus Video Review: Crockett Cup ’88

October 8, 2008 | Posted by J.D. Dunn
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Dark Pegasus Video Review: Crockett Cup ’88  

Crockett Cup ’88
by J.D. Dunn

So, what’s been going on in the NWA? Well, for starters Sting became one of the hottest stars in wrestling, taking Ric Flair to the limit at the very first Clash of the Champions. Lex Luger dumped the Horsemen because they were holding him back and formed an alliance with Sting. Barry Windham, who had been a Luger ally, turned on him and joined with the Horsemen, making for one of the best wrestling lineups in that illustrious group’s history.

  • April 22-23, 1988
  • From Greensboro, S.C..
  • Your hosts are Tony Schiavone and Jim Ross.

  • Round One: Jimmy Valiant & Wilbur vs. Ivan Koloff & Dick Murdoch (w/Paul Jones).
    JIP to Wilbur using THE POWER OF THE FAT to overpower the heels. See, he’s a big fat hillbilly, and you can just hear the disdain dripping from Ross’ voice. Valiant plays face-in-peril. This is pretty awful. I believe I was promised clipping! Where is my clipping? Murdoch knees Valiant in the ribs, and Koloff nails the “Boogie Woogie Man” with the Russian Sickle at 2:26. Seemed much longer. [1/4*]

  • Round One: The Varsity Club (w/Kevin Sullivan) vs. Steve Williams & Ron Simmons.
    Simmons and Williams were both Bill Watts’ blue-chippers, though Simmons didn’t make it to the big leagues until after Watts sold out. JIP to Williams hitting a series of 3-point tackles. Steiner avoids one, though, sending Williams to the buckle. Simmons steamrolls over Rotundo, and you might not believe it, but Simmons was an excellent and explosive worker at one point. DAMN! No wonder Watts loved this guy. Big brawl causes Simmons to fall to the floor where Sullivan nails him with a foreign object. Simmons gets counted out at 4:26. [**]

  • Round Two: Tully Blanchard & Arn Anderson (w/JJ Dillon) vs. Kendall Windham & The Italian Stallion.
    Windham is the brother of Barry. Stallion was a decent JTTS. We’re JIP to Tully complaining about tight-pulling. The faces don’t do much other than punching, and boy does the Stallion look chubby. He ducks his head and gets DDT’d by Arn at 3:27. [*3/4]

  • Round Two: The Road Warriors vs. The Jive Tones.
    The Jive Tones are Tiger Conway and Shaska Whatley. The Roadies won the first Crockett Cup in ’86. The Road Warriors give them absolutely nothing. Hawk hits a flying shoulderblock and finishes Shaska with a flying clothesline at 2:23. [1/2*]

  • Round Two: The Fantastics vs. Larry Zbyszko & Al Perez.
    Man, Al Perez dropped right off after leaving Mid-South. The Fantastics first burst onto the scene with a series of outstanding matches with the Midnight Express. Perez’s German Suplex only gets one. It used to be his finisher back when he had a future in the business. Pretty good back-and-forth stuff, but I don’t think Perez and Zbyszko have any idea how to sell the Fantastics light-heavyweight offense. The finish sees Fulton go for a small package on Zbyszko, but Perez provides an assist by hanging on. Rogers knocks Perez clear out of the ring with a dropkick, allowing Fulton to roll up Zbyszko for the win at 3:33. See, sometimes the simplest finishes are the most effective. [**]

  • Round Two: Lex Luger & Sting (w/Magnum T.A.) vs. Dick Murdoch & Ivan Koloff (w/Paul Jones).
    Sting and Luger were the obvious favorites as the two young studs that the NWA was supposed to be built on for years to come. Sting, in fact, was just coming off his big challenge to Ric Flair’s title at Clash of the Champions I, and Luger was hot off leaving the Four Horsemen. The heels work in every cheating move in the book, and that’s a book Murdoch probably had memorized. He strangles Sting with a chain and then elbows his throat. Sting hits the Stinger Splash on Murdoch but goes for the figure-four allowing Koloff to hit him from behind. Murdoch tries to slam Sting back in, but Sting uses the Ricky Steamboat counter to small package Murdoch for the win at 5:20. Murdoch wasn’t much of a worker at this point, but he was an excellent ring general, and Sting & Luger benefited from it. [**1/4]

  • Round Two-and-a-Half: The Midnight Express (w/Jim Cornette) vs. The Sheepherders (w/Rip Morgan).
    Both teams are heels, but the fans are on the side of the Midnights because they’re Amrrrrrrican. Bobby winds up playing face-in-peril, which is just wrong on so many levels. Rip Morgan distracts the referee at the wrong time, costing his team a chance at a pin. Eaton grabs the tennis racket and waffles Butch at 2:48. The result and presence of the match makes no sense because the Sheepherders actually won in the second round and were put into another match here, which they lost, conveniently eliminating them from the tournament. I suppose you could argue that the Sheepherders vs. the Cruel Connection was some sort of qualifier, but then you’d be putting a lot more effort into it than I’d want to. The bottom line is – the Sheepherders are out. [1/2*]

  • Prince of Darkness Match: Kevin Sullivan (w/Rick Steiner) vs. Jimmy Garvin (w/Precious)
    This is a glorified blindfold match like the one at WrestleMania VII. The difference is Steiner and Precious are there to give their man hints. Steiner keeps interfering by tapping Garvin and making him think it’s Sullivan. Sullivan finds Garvin, but Jimmy simply small packages him at 2:32 (shown). A big brawl erupts as Steiner attacks a helpless Garvin before Precious can get the mask off. Ronnie Garvin and Mike Rotundo join in for a huge fracas. Judging by what they left in, I can’t imagine this was any good. [1/2*]

  • Bunkhouse Stampede Finals
    This is from earlier in the year. This would be the one time Dusty Rhodes failed a drug test, because there’s no way this booking wasn’t drug-induced. The idea is that it’s a cage match battle royal where the winner is the last one out of the cage. Think about it for a second. When I first heard about this, I wondered how that would even work. The answer: it doesn’t. We’re JIP about halfway in with the Powers of Pain and Ivan Koloff destroying Dusty. Luger, who has already left the Horsemen and turned face is taking a beating from Arn and Tully. The Road Warriors are also in there, intermittently beating on the Powers of Pain. Tully strangles Ivan Koloff near the door. Koloff gets tossed. Animal and Warlord get knocked out of the cage. That leaves Arn & Tully, Dusty Rhodes, Lex Luger and the Barbarian. Luger racks Tully, but it’s irrelevant. Barbarian works on Dusty’s shoulder while the Brainbusters try to eliminate Luger. Arn has the brilliant idea of walking to the steps and then pulling Luger out. Step one: get on the steps. Step two: choke out Luger. Step Three: money. Luger and the Brainbusters all fall to the floor, making it a moral victory for Luger and leaving Barbarian and Dusty Rhodes. Barbarian scales the cage because there’s just no other realistic way to get him out. Dusty follows him and hits an elbow to send Barbarian to the floor around 13:00 in (out of about 24). I believe this was Earl Hebner’s last match with the NWA for about 18 years. That earns it 1/4*, and that’s all it deserves. [1/4*]

  • Round Three: The Road Warriors (w/Paul Ellering) vs. The Powers of Pain (w/Paul Jones & Ivan Koloff).
    The POP and Ivan had just defeated Dusty and the Roadies for the six-man titles. I’m surprised Vince didn’t do this feud briefly before the Demolition/LOD feud. Believe it or not, the POP were one of my favorite teams in 1989. The Roadies overpower the POP, but Warlord grabs Hawk’s ankle to hold him long enough for the Barbarian to nail him. Hawk plays face-in-peril as Warlord grabs a bearhug. A heel doubleteam backfires, though, and Barbarian knocks Warlord out of the ring. Animal gets the hot tag and cleans house with clotheslines. He accidentally knocks Referee Randy Anderson out of the ring. The Roadies hit the Barbarian with a double-clothesline, and Teddy Long slides in to count the three at 8:36. Oh, but Randy Anderson disqualified Animal before the three count. This was not bad at all. These two teams were like mirror images of one another. This was supposed to lead to a Scaffold Match later in the year, but the Powers of Pain jumped to the WWF instead. **

  • Texas Bullrope Match: The Midnight Rider vs. JJ Dillon.
    You win by pinfall here. Okay, in defense of the Midnight Rider, the first angle with Kevin Sullivan as “Lucifer” back in Florida was a thing of beauty. It was like a psychological chess match between good and evil. I think this was the fourth time Rhodes booked this angle, though, and even the most markish of fans were catching on. In this case, Dusty accidentally hit NWA President Bob Geigel with a baseball bat and got suspended. Suddenly, a masked man started appearing on TV. Dillon insisted Dusty was under the mask, but he couldn’t prove it, so he agreed to this match with the Rider unmasking if he loses. Oh, and if it *is* Dusty Rhodes, he’s suspended for a year. Dillon tosses powder in the Rider’s face before strapping on the bullrope. It doesn’t help. The Rider takes over and smacks Dillon around, busting him open and finally putting him out of his misery at 4:10. Oh, but now a second masked man named The Masked Texan attacks the Rider and beats him down. Steve Williams tries to make the save but gets beat down too. The Rider eventually makes his own save. I don’t know if anything ever became of the Texan or if his identity was ever revealed. I’m going to guess it was Dick Murdoch, though, unless Barry Windham was stuffing pillows in his shirt. 1/4*

  • Semi-Finals: Sting & Lex Luger (w/Magnum T.A.) vs. The Powers of Pain (w/Paul Jones & Ivan Koloff).
    Sting tries a flying headscissors that goes horribly, horribly wrong. He smartly pretends that he meant to do that. Jones threatens Magnum with his riding crop, so Magnum just takes it away from him. Sting pops the crowd early, dropkicking Barbarian to the floor. Sting and Luger come up with a nice little strategy of working Barbarian’s arm, but he catches Sting with a powerslam and boots him over the top. Sting plays the face-in-peril for a while, but it seems like we’re either clipped or rushing because he tags in Luger moments later. The faces clean house and do the double mounted punches. Warlord shrugs off Luger, though, and goes for a slam, but Sting dropkicks them over, putting Luger on top and giving the babyfaces the win at 5:34. **1/4

  • Semi-Finals: Arn Anderson & Tully Blanchard (w/JJ Dillon) vs. The Fantastics.
    Oh, now this should be good. Rogers and Blanchard start out with a hot sequence. Blanchard blocks an atomic drop and goes for his own, but Rogers backflips out and knocks Tully to the floor. Arn checks on Tully on the outside. We’re clipped to the Fantastics doing a double backdrop and then the Fargo strut. Arn finally has had enough and knees Fulton in the kidneys. Arn and Tully go to work as only they can. Fulton gets a backslide for two, but Arn boots him. To the floor, Tully distracts the ref while Arn cheapshots Bobby. Just great sneaky stuff from Arn. I know that every team does that, but Arn makes it look like he’s actually getting away with something. Bobby eventually gets out of trouble and makes the hot tag to Rogers. Tommy cleans house the heels, and the Fantastics hit the Rocket Launcher on Arn. Tully makes the save at the last second, though. Teddy Long turns to put Fulton and Blanchard out, so Arn takes JJ’s shoe and blasts Rogers for the win at 6:56. It’s like watching a machine when Arn and Tully tag up together. We need more solid tag teams like Arn and Tully – oh, and little bitch teams (and I mean that in the nicest possible way) like the Fantastics for them to screw over. ***3/4

  • NWA Heavyweight Title: Ric Flair (w/Barry Windham) vs. Nikita Koloff.
    Barry is the freshly turned heel at this point, replacing Luger in the Horsemen, but he leaves and never comes back. I guess that was just to introduce everyone to the new heel Windham in case they didn’t know about the turn yet. Koloff was set to enter the tournament alongside Dusty Rhodes, but Rhodes was suspended This is basically the same as the rest of the Flair/Nikita matches with the exception being that Nikita has dropped a ton of muscle mass. It makes him a little more mobile, but when your gimmick is that of a human muscle, it just doesn’t have the same appeal. Not that I think he should fire up the ‘roid needle or anything, but Flair is still selling like Nikita is the same guy from 1985. Tommy Young gets bumped on a back swing, but it’s not serious. It just disorients him long enough for Flair to toss Nikita over the top. Nikita lands on the apron and comes back in the Flying Sickle. Young can’t see the pin, so it only gets two. Nikita clotheslines Flair over the top, the second move that could have drawn a disqualification. Koloff tries to suplex Flair back in, but Flair rolls him up. Koloff fires off a few lariats, but he goes for a third one, and Flair backdrops him over the top for the DQ at 8:49. Christ on a cracker, that’s a lame finish. Nikita was a better wrestler than he was in their earlier matches, but he just didn’t have “it” anymore. **1/2

  • Crockett Cup Finals: Sting & Lex Luger (w/Magnum T.A.) vs. Arn Anderson & Tully Blanchard (w/JJ Dillon).
    The babyface team was thrown together by circumstances at the last minute. Sting was paired with Ronnie Garvin, but Ronnie was injured by Kevin Sullivan while coming to the aid of Jimmy Garvin. Both babyfaces were having serious problems with the Horsemen. Sting challenged Flair, and the Horsemen treated him like he just cut a fart during communion. Luger was much the same way, refusing to job to JJ freakin’ Dillon, so the Horsemen excommunicated him and replaced him with Barry Windham. Man, that intro was way more Catholic than I’d intended. Luger destroys the heels early as Ross ponders the psychological strategy of starting with Luger (who is seething with hate toward the Horsemen) versus Sting (who’s a relatively cool dude). Arn gets frustrated and stalls on the floor. Tully tags in and gets more of the same. The faces are just KILLING the heels here. Even Magnum gets in on the act, slapping the taste out of Tully’s mouth. Luger does a Hammerlock Stampede in the corner on Arn. Pretty cool, although it’s dependent on Arn just holding his arm behind his back. Arn saves Tully from a Stinger Splash, and they toss Sting over the top behind the ref’s back. Now, Arn and Tully go to work, cutting off the ring and systematically dismantling Sting. Sting hits Tully with the Stinger Splash but goes for the Scorpion Deathlock instead of the tag. Tully is in the corner, so he just tags in Arn. Arn SPIKES Sting with a nasty DDT, but Sting powers to the corner and tags in Luger. Luger cleans house but gets spinebustered by Arn. It turns into a donnybrook, and Arn picks up Luger for a slam. Magnum casually trips him up, giving Luger two. Arn goes after Magnum, but that allows Luger to schoolboy Arn for the win at 11:37. Sting and Luger get some much needed revenge on the Horsemen after several months of torment. The match was just fine with Sting and Luger being a nice middle ground between the quick, small teams like the Rock ‘n’ Roll Express and the monster faces like the Road Warriors. They could play either role, depending on the circumstances. Luger and Sting celebrate with Mother Crockett. ***1/2
  • The 411: I'm a bit torn on this one as the crap is clipped quite nicely to avoid it taking up too much room. The last 3-4 matches are okay-good, but I can't quite say they're enough to recommend the tape.

    Thumbs in the middle, leaning down.

     
    Final Score:  6.0   [ Average ]  legend

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