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The Name on the Marquee: NWA World Championship Wrestling (1.24.1987)

May 14, 2017 | Posted by Adam Nedeff
NWA World Championship Wrestling
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The Name on the Marquee: NWA World Championship Wrestling (1.24.1987)  

-Cold open: Dr. Tom introduces Barry Windham and Ric Flair before their famous TV match that went the full hour.

-Originally aired January 24, 1987.

-Your host is Tony Schiavone’s bad haircut.

-Ivan Koloff & Vladimir Petrov are here. Tony keeps calling Vladimir “The Russian Assassin,” which I find funny. Vladimir tanks but that nickname is just so awesome that we need to slap together two masked guys to keep it alive. Here’s how badly he’s eating it. Ivan touted Vladimir’s debut by calling him “The Big Red Machine.” In this promo, Ivan retcons it by saying he mentioned he was bringing in a “Big Red Machine,” and THAT guy is going to be debuting shortly. Vladimir isn’t the Big Red Machine he was talking about, no sir.

-Valiant connects with two love taps and a shitty elbow to finish in seconds.

-Tim Horner is here calls out the Four Horsemen. Jimmy Valiant jumps in to endorse Tim Horner as a good friend, and Horner looks like he’s in actual pain when Valiant offers his friendship. Valiant completely ignores Horner’s mission statement about the Horner and cuts a totally disconnected promo about how much he loves his grandpa, then kisses Horner on the mouth. This segment achieved levels of badness you wouldn’t think possible in a five-second squash and a post-match promo.

-Brad Armstrong calls out the Horsemen. For God’s sake, Brad, talk fast, Jimmy might still be in the building.

-We go to NWA Pro Wrestling, where Brad and Ric Flair get into an argument about who’s scheduled to give an interview in this segment. Flair is so condescending to Armstrong and basically treats him like a child, trying to shoo him off so he can give his interview, and then the Horsemen show up and just go to town on Brad. Arn finishes him off with a gourdbuster onto a chair, and after weeks of being adrift, I finally give a shit about Brad Armstrong.

-Baron just BARELY gets Chase off the mat for a backdrop, and Murdoch finishes Stevens quickly with a brainbuster. “Old guys in a hurry” seems to be our theme for the week.

-Dick and the Baron are ready for the Crockett Cup, and Dick also wants a piece of Tully Blanchard for $10,000.

TV TITLE + $10,000: TULLY BLANCHARD (Champion, with JJ Dillon) vs ZANE SMITH
-Tully offers a handshake and sucker-punches Zane, celebrating with the nerdiest dance he can muster. Slingshot suplex finishes. This is weird, it’s a full two-hour show this week, but all of the matches are going really fast…Hey, wait a minute, you don’t suppose…

-Aww, shit, they are showing it! Joined in progress, but better than nothing. We pick it up at the 25-minute mark.

-Flair drops a knee on Windham. He chops Windham so hard that about a quart of assorted fluids fly off him. Elbow sends Windham over the top and onto the beer-laden floor. Flair tries to suplex him back in from the apron, but Windham lands on his feet and gives Flair a HARD right for two. It turns into a chop fight until Flair suplexes him and applies the figure four. Windham flails his arms so desperately that he accidentally blinds Tommy Young in one eye, so Tommy doesn’t see Flair using the ropes for leverage. NICE!

-Tommy Young finally manages to catch Flair and forces the break. Damage is done though, so Flair just brings him to the center of the ring to reapply the hold, but Windham turns it into a cradle for two. Dusty Rhodes, on commentary, gets the call of the year, with “Somebody bring me a cerveza!”

-Flair applies a sleeper. Windham slips out and connects with a second-rope clothesline, but Flair gets the foot on the ropes and this crowd dies a little bit on their collective insides. Windham brings him to the center of the ring and tries a splash, but Flair raises the knees. Windham manages to hit a suplex and goes to the top to try to finish it, but the flying elbow misses and both guys are out of it.

-Windham comes back to life and goes to work on Flair’s leg, finally applying his own figure four. Windham’s arms are so long that he just pops Flair in the face to try for a three-count with the hold. Flair breaks free as we pause for these messages.

-Slugfest as we return. Flair goes for a hiptoss, but Windham keeps his feet planted and turns it into an abdominal stretch. Flair hiptosses out and Windham lands on Tommy Young to wipe him out. Missile dropkick by Windham, but Young is too slow to recover and can only count two. Windham tries the sleeper again as Dr. Tom Miller does a time limit announcement, again, my least favorite thing about the NWA.

-Windham reverses a bodypress for two and goes to the sleeper one more time. Flair escapes and we get another fistfight. Windham finally gets the lariat, but he’s so exhausted that Flair can recover before Windham can even try for the pin. Flair tries to escape the ring, but Windham suplexes him back in and drops a knee for two as we hit the one-minute mark.

-Windham slams Flair all over the place for a two-count. Flying lariat connects, but time expires as he goes for the pin, and Flair barely escapes with his life and his belt intact. Windham becomes a national superstar and a main event player in the span of a single TV hour. Windham grabs the belt and makes a vow that it WILL be his some day, and punctuates the point by gently lying it across Flair’s still-unconscious body.

-We jump ahead a few minutes later to Bob Caudle in the Horsemen’s dressing room, and Flair behaves like he won the match clean as a sheet and gloats about what a loser Windham is. This is GREAT mic work for Flair, as he just gives Windham no credit for the effort whatsoever.

-Back in the studio, Windham is all smiles in the face of Flair’s bullshit. He’s made his point and he’ll make it again.

-JJ Dillon is here with Tully & Arn, talking about how great it was to watch Flair’s victory again. JJ makes a major announcement; they’re impressed with Lex Luger, and they’re honored by the offer. BUT, at the moment, the Horsemen are an elite group, every member as strengths that they bring to that group, and they can’t disrupt that by entertaining an offer from an outsider. So Luger’s request is appreciated but rejected.

-Luger was standing in the ring listening very attentively to JJ. He reacts calmly as he can to the bad news and shows no trace of anger or disappointment. He locks up with Mulkey and in fact, he keeps it a pretty straight wrestling match, doing a holds-based offense and breaking cleanly, almost as if he’s a babyface now that the Horsemen have said no. Powerslam by Luger, and the torture rack finishes it.

-Puzzlingly, JJ Dillon returns after the match, whispers something to Lex, and shakes his hand. Tony asks what just happened, and Luger refuses to offer details. Barry Windham returns to complain that Luger hasn’t returned his phone messages, and reiterates that being a Horseman would be a bad career move for him.

-Road Warriors complain that their challenges to the Horsemen for six-man and eight-man tags with Dusty and Nikita have been going unanswered. Tony presents the team with their very own commemorative copy of the Starrcade ’86 videocassette to congratulate them on their success. After carefully checking to make sure it’s not a Beta copy, Paul Ellering thanks Tony for the gift.

-They go to work on the mat and have a pretty even battle. Armstrong shoulderblocks Royal and rolls him up for two. Royal wrings the arm, Brad goes to the side headlock. Royal snapmares out but misses a fistdrop. Armstrong applies an armbar. Royal gets free and slams Armstrong down. Armbar applied while the fans chant “Go Brad go!” So Brad goes, on the advice of his fans, and finishes with the Russian legsweep.

-Rock & Roll Express continue their crusade to get their title belts back and have thankfully decided to stop giving a shit about the letter R. Special guest star David Allen Coe gives his support to the Rock & Roll Express, and announces that Magnum TA took his first step since his accident, so Ric Flair had better look out for him soon (cringe). Coe prophetically wraps up by mentioning he has a concert in Atlanta tonight, at some venue called Center Stage. Never heard of it.

-Superpowers are tired of the Horsemen attacking everyone and they’d better knock it off, before Nikita knocks it off FOR them. Dusty spouts off a completely incomprehensible line of bullshit about talking with Little Richard on a plane.

-Robert Gibson takes down Isley, and Ricky Morton comes in to help with a double elbow. Funny spot where the referee holds up his hands to stop the Express from double-teaming, and Ricky just nods his head and gives him ten. Isley comes back in and falls victim to the double dropkick to end it.

-Bill Dundee and Jimmy Garvin announce the thrilling news that the Barbarian is coming back to the NWA, sending shockwaves through fans who didn’t realize he was gone. Jimmy says he’s sorry he can’t make it to Center Stage tonight to see David Allen Coe.

RAVISHING & RAGING (World Tag Team Champions, with Paul Jones) vs TOMMY ANGEL & CHANCE MCQUADE
-Okay, seriously, if you haven’t watched these shows on the Network, you seriously need to watch just one for the hilariously godawful stock music they’re using for Ravishing & Raging’s entrance.

-Manny mat wrestles Chance McQuade while Tony again brings up the weird talking point about how nobody ever expected these guys to hold the belts for as long as they’ve had. What are they accomplishing by saying that?

-Manny works Chance’s arm and chops him down, and it’s weird how perfectly color coordinated the two opponents are. Tommy Angel tags in and Rude just mows him down with a clothesline right away. Rude Awakening finishes things.

-Paul Jones cuts a promo and his hair has totally grown back under his hat and that just irritates me so much more than I realize it should. Manny borrows a few lyrics from Bon Jovi to boast about how the Rock & Roll Express was shot through the heart, and the champs are to blame.

-The match begins with Martin in agony because Petrov apparently didn’t realize that the show was in commercial when he got into the ring and just kicked the shit out of Martin off the air. So they pretty much have to do the match over. Vladimir hits the sickle and follows with a backbreaker. Russian hammer finishes. Finishes again, I guess.

-Ivan says the Kremlin is offering him anything he wants if he and Vladimir bump off the Superpowers. Okay, great.

-Jim Cornette threatens legal action against anybody who buys a copy of Starrcade ’86, because it contains an attempted murder.

-Dennis clubbers Denny while Cornette plugs all of the Night of the Skywalkers matches his men STILL have scheduled, as they just milked that cash cow dry after Starrcade. By the way, a quick look at thehistoryofwwe.com reveals that this was a completely insane day for Cornette’s crew, as they did this TV taping in Atlanta, then hopped a plane for a house show in Roanoke, where they lost a match in under five minutes, got in the car, and hauled ass to DC to work a house show that had been hastily rescheduled due to bad weather, and after a 1-hour intermission to stall for time, they worked the main event at 11:50 pm.

-South hits a flying bodypress for two. Bubba chokes and punches South as he’s getting prepared for the Bunkhouse Stampede finals against Big Dust. Eaton tosses South out to the floor. Bubba tosses him back in. Mulkey tags in to get Mulkeyed all over the place by each opponent. Flying elbow by Bobby. CRAZY finish for 1987, with the Express doing a double backdrop on Mulkey with Bubba standing behind them, so Mulkey lands in Bubba’s arms and he makes it a powerbomb, which Cornette names the Bubba Spike for three. GREAT detail at the end; the other two jobbers do the usual post-squash thing where they come in and kneel down to check on their partner, and Dennis Condrey joins them.

-This is bizarre, as Tabb has suddenly changed his look out of nowhere and is 100% ripping off the Barbarian in every detail but the facepaint, and nobody notices that the big hulking jobber suddenly looks like this guy that we just announced is on his way back to the company after being gone for not-particularly long.

-Arn works the Tabbarian’s arm and then catches him in a spinebuster to finish it right away.

-Lex Luger is here again to plead his case for being a worthy member of the Horsemen.

The final score: review Very Good
The 411
Well, that was a hell of a show! An all-time great feature match, even in edited form, plus the intriguing saga of Lex and the Horsemen steering much of a fast-paced two hours. Big-ass thumbs up for this week.