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Dark Pegasus Video Review: NWA Battle of the Belts III

September 20, 2008 | Posted by J.D. Dunn
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Dark Pegasus Video Review: NWA Battle of the Belts III  

NWA Battle of the Belts III
by J.D. Dunn

  • September 1, 1986
  • From Daytona, Fla.
  • Your hosts are Gordon Solie and Stan Rhodes

  • The Cuban Assassin vs. Tyree Pride.
    JIP to Pride rolling up the Assassin for the win. Gordon was introducing the show during the match, so it’s hard to judge quality. Given that it features the Cuban Assassin and a schoolboy finish, I’m guessing not much. [NR]

  • US Tag Titles: The Fabulous Ones vs. The Sheepherders.
    You know the Sheeps as the Bushwhackers, but before they were a goofy comedy gimmick in the WWF, they were actually quite accomplished brawlers. They don’t actually get to show that here as the Fabulous Ones (Steve “Skinner” Keirn and Stan Lane) turn things into a classic southern-style tag match. The Fabs actually get cheered by default, despite the fact that they play heels throughout the match. Both of these teams were coming off of runs in the UWF, which was the great thing about the territorial system because if you fell out of favor or got stale in one place, you could just move on to a new territory and get fresh again. Stan gets caught in the heel corner, and the Herders start stomping away. Keirn gets the hot tag, but the ref misses it, allowing the Sheeps to smash Lane with the flagpole. The ref is distracted with Butch, though, and the Fabs pull the old switcheroo to get the win via small package. **1/2

  • US Jr. Heavyweight Title: Tim Horner vs. The Ninja (w/Kendo Nagasaki).
    You know the Ninja as Keiji Muto. He is not yet as awesome as he would become in 1989. He is incredibly crisp, though. Horner’s not so bad himself at this point, trading hold for hold with the future Hall of Famer. Ninja comes back, wrenching Horner’s leg back. Look at how sharply he does that! At this point, all he’s missing is the ability to really build a match, so they spend a lot of time in chinlocks and sleepers. Horner makes the miracle comeback, but Nagasaki trips him up from the outside, and the Ninja finishes with the moonsault at 10:26. Great stuff for its time. **3/4

  • AWA Heavyweight Title: Nick Bockwinkle vs. Kendo Nagasaki (w/Oliver Humperdink).
    Florida. Where even the managers have managers. This was advertised as Rick Martel versus Nagasaki. I’m guessing that’s right around the time Vince came calling. Bockwinkle, while a great wrestler, was helping kill off the AWA at this point along with Verne’s crazy booking. “No one wants to see your goddamn trampoline act, Shawn Michaels!” Very mat-based match here, and thus right up Nick’s alley. Bockwinkle was one of the premiere mat wrestlers of the 1970s and early 1980s. Unfortunately for Nick and the AWA, that style died out about three years earlier and no one told them. But if you needed a more glaring contrast, just watch the previous match between Ninja & Horner. The finish sees Bockwinkle go for a slam only to have Humperdink get caught tripping him up for the DQ at 7:00. Boring. Kendo was not really the go-to guy for a mat classic (at least not at this point). *

  • AWA Tag Titles: The Road Warriors (w/Paul Ellering) vs. The Shock Troops (w/Oliver Humperdink).
    The Shock Troops are Bull Gantner (think Danny Spivey) and Karim Mohammed (think Islamic Sexual Chocolate). Ever wonder what would happen if you put four guys in there with nothing but power moves and no ability to sell? Probably not because it used to happen all the time, but bear with me here. Animal falls to the floor to allow the heels to take over. Karim misses a splash, though, allowing Animal to make the hot tag to Hawk. Hawk impressively slams Mohammed and hits a shoulderblock. The match breaks down, though, with none of the participants paying attention to the referee. More referees and wrestlers come down as the brawl continues on into a double DQ. 1/2*

  • Bahamas Heavyweight Title: Chris Champion vs. Kendall Windham.
    It’s hard to put my finger on who Champion reminds me of. Maybe Dan Kroffat. Windham comes out hot because the Windhams rule Florida. Champion slams him on the outside and hits a double ax-handle off the top. Back in, Kendall makes the big comeback, but Champion tosses him into the ref off a bulldog for the DQ to save the title. Well, that sucked. 3/4*

  • NWA World Heavyweight Title, 2/3 Falls: Ric Flair vs. Lex Luger.
    First Fall: Luger is in his second year here. Apparently, he turned face and changed the spelling of his last name in between Battle of the Belts II and this show, although word hasn’t gotten to the graphics department. This is his first brush with greatness and they evidently didn’t have confidence in him to go the full 60 minutes with Flair because this is actually three 20-minute matches, leading to a much shorter draw than you’d usually get. Oops. Gave it away. Luger overpowers Flair at every turn. Flair considers just walking out, which is mildly ironic considering Luger’s actions with Bruiser Brody a year later. Flair does come back, and the ass-whuppin’ continues. Luger press slams Flair and poses. Flair finally catches him with a punch “to the gut.” Ahem. Luger makes a mini-comeback but misses a charge and rams his own knee into the buckle. Flair kicks at the leg and locks in the figure-four with a handful of ropes to get the pin on Luger at 10:32.

    Second Fall: Luger is still gimpy, so Flair goes after the leg again. Luger avoids a splash on the leg and fires away. He explodes with a lariat for two. Flair bounces off the ropes right into a powerslam at 2:52.

    Third Fall: You can tell pretty early into the fall where this one is going as Flair begs off for the first minute or so. Luger grabs a bearhug to burn some more time. Then, infamously, the signal begins to go in and out due to local weather problems (the same that plagued the first Battle of the Belts). Flair comes back with a sleeper. Time’s wastin’, Lex. To the outside, Luger sends Flair to the post, busting him open. Luger reverses a figure-four as we start to close in on the 20-minute time limit. Lex hulks up and slaps on the bearhug, but Flair holds out for the time-limit draw at 33:24 of total time. Luger would use this match to springboard into the NWA and become a member of the Horsemen. [***1/2]

  • Florida Heavyweight Title: Ron Bass vs. Barry Windham.
    Gotta send the fans home happy, right? Unfortunately for Barry, he has to follow Flair and gets saddled with Ron Bass, who was never what you would call a great worker. Bass controls early, blasting Barry with a lariat. Both men get busted open on the outside. Windham fires back, but Bass blasts him again and loads up the elbow pad. Barry catches him, though, and sunset flips him for the win and the title. Yay Barry! *
  • The 411: While Florida nostalgists might get a kick out of it, there's not much to recommend outside of seeing an early Flair/Luger meeting. Very few of the matches have any context, so unless you want to look up the feud (if any), many of the matches are meaningless. Can't recommend this one, old-school fans.

    Thumbs down.

    Final Score:  4.0   [ Poor ]  legend

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