Thursday, 3 December 2020

EVENT REVIEW - NWA The Great American Bash 1986 - Greensboro (July 26th)

NWA Great American Bash 1986 (Greensboro, July 26th) - VHS cover
July 26th, 1986
Greensboro Colliseum, Greensboro, North Carolina

When WWE decided to take two of the events from the National Wrestling Alliance's Great American Bash 1986 tour and upload them to the WWE Network,  they did so as they were originally recorded, ie: without a commentary track.


While it certainly made for a novel experience, it didn't make the first of those two shows (the July 5th event in Charlotte) any less enjoyable.

On this July 26th stop in Greensboro, things would naturally be a little different.

Unlike the Charlotte show, this was an indoor arena, meaning we wouldn't kick things off with a parachute show, and we certainly wouldn't have Ric Flair arriving for his main event title match in a freakin' helicopter.

Still, that doesn't mean this couldn't be every bit as enjoyable.





Here's what went down when the NWA Great American Bash Tour stopped into Greensboro on a hot summer night in July 1986.

Mr Electricity Steve Regal vs. Sam Houston

NWA Great American Bash 1986 (Greensboro, July 26th) - Mr Electricity Steve Regal faced Sam Houston
There will likely be people who slate this match for being one long chinlock followed by a pinfall, but Steve Regal and Sam Houston had the crowd right where they wanted them the whole time and this made what could have otherwise been a very boring match very entertaining.

Houston was immensely popular and had the audience desolately rooting for him from bell to bell, especially as he struggled to break free from Regal’s chinlock.

For his part, Mr Electricity made that wear-down hols matter, constantly urging referee Earl Hebner to ‘ask him, ref’ and acting like he was seriously trying to beat Houston with the hold rather than, you know, using it as an excuse not to do anything.

The chinlock didn’t win the match for Regal, but he did score the victory after he thwarted Sam’s big comeback and pinned him with his feet on the ropes.
Your Winner: Steve Regal

Afterwards, Houston petitioned to Earl Hebner about the nefarious means by which Regal had won. Hebner, ever the genius, marched over to Regal and asked him whether he had indeed cheated, as though the victorious grappler would willingly fess up and yell ‘Sure! Of course I did!’

Naturally, Mr Electricity denied the whole thing but did accept Houston’s challenge to a spot of impromptu fisticuffs. Much to the delight of the Charlotte faithful, he promptly lost said fisticuffs and stormed out, leaving our man Sam to bask in the adoration of his doting fans.

NWA Mid-Atlantic Champion Black Bart & The Barbarian vs. Denny Brown and The Italian Stallion

NWA Great American Bash 1986 (Greensboro, July 26th) - The Barbarian and Black Bart
This was a completely acceptable lower-card match. Not spectacular, nothing that would make you want to tell your friends about it or even watch it ever again, but a decent, watchable outing all the same.

Both teams traded the advantage before Black Bart slammed The Italian Stallion to the mat then tug in The Barbarian for the match-winning top-rope headbutt.
Your Winners: Black Bart and The Barbarian

In an amusing, post-match moment, Stallion and Denny Brown embraced them raised their arms as if in victory to acknowledge the crowd. Half the crowd started booing them as if to say ‘what are you doing that for? You lost!’

Well, I thought it was funny anyway.

Glove on a Pole Match
Baron Von Rashke vs. Raging Bull Manny Fernandez

NWA Great American Bash 1986 (Greensboro, July 26th) - Baron Von Rashke chokes Manny Fernandez
Since I first started diving back into old NWA shows from the 1980s, I’ve become a bit of a fan of Manny Fernandez, but even I can’t find much good to say about what was a pretty dumb match.

First of all, there was the glove. Notice this is just a ‘glove on a pole’ match. Not a coalminer’s glove, not a Deadly Handmitten of Doom or anything like that, just your average, everyday glove.

Honestly, when the cameras zoomed in on it, it looked just like a lady’s driving glove. Not exactly very intimidating.

Then there was Fernandez’s opponent. If you’re going to have any type of ‘on a pole’ match, it should at least involve competitors who can move around easily to sell the idea that either man would be capable of grabbing the offending weapon. Yet Barron Von Rashke was so slow and immobile that Fernandez could have crawled from the other side of the state and still had time to stop Rashke climbing to the top rope.

Eventually, the Barron got so fed up of spending six weeks trying to climb up and grab the glove that he just gave up and clamped the Claw on Raging Bull instead.

Inexplicably, having another man’s hand squeezing his head somehow caused Fernandez to be busted wide open. It was pretty ridiculous.

After applying the hold for several millennia, Rashke eventually got the glove but before he could use it, Manny hit him with the Flying Burrito (seriously, that’s what it was called) and won the match.

In other words, this was a glove on a pole match in which neither man actually used the glove.
Your Winner: Manny Fernandez

Post-match, Rashke beat up on his rival but still didn’t get to use the glove because the Raging Bull got the hell out of there.

Indian Strap Match
Wahoo McDaniel vs. Gorgeous Jimmy Garvin (w/ Precious)

NWA Great American Bash 1986 (Greensboro, July 26th) - Gorgeous Jimmy Garvin & Precious
The ring announcer declared that this would be ‘a wrestling match to a finish’ which I suppose makes it different to all those wrestling matches that never end.

If you’ve seen the Indian Strap Match these two had on the Charlotte stop of the Great American Bash 86 tour, there’s no need to watch this one because it was the exact same match.

Though it may not have been move-for-move identical, the structure and all of the big spots were.

From Wahoo McDaniel whipping Jimmy Garvin before the match started to Precious interfering and both men’s attempts to get round all four corners, everything went down the same, including the finish.

As he had done last time, a bloody McDaniel dragged an equally as bloody Garvin around the ring to win the match.

Yes, this was the second match in a row to feature blood and, if past shows are anything to go by, I’d be very surprised if we got through a single match before the end of the show rush doesn’t feature blood.
Your Winner: Wahoo McDaniel

Just as he had done last time, Garvin attacked his opponent after the bell. This time, however, they spiced things up by having McDaniel turn the tables and send his nemesis packing.

Taped Fist Match
NWA National Heavyweight Champion Tully Blanchard (w/ James J. Dillon) vs. Ronnie Garvin (w/ Wahoo McDaniel)

This is another match that was very similar to the one they had in Charlotte, but I enjoyed that one so much that I didn’t mind watching the whole thing again.

As with the last match, this played out in mostly the same way as it had before. Tully Blanchard took a beating from Ronnie Garvin and sold the whole thing like he was on the verge of death.

However, there was something about this particular performance that didn’t quite match the intensity nor the enjoyment of their previous outing.

The finish was different too. This time, instead of narrowly avoiding a double count-out and winning the match, Garvin got clocked by Blanchard’s brass knuckles and lost.
Your Winner: Tully Blanchard

Afterwards, Blanchard helped a bloody J.J. Dillon backstage. Yep, the NWA loved their blood so much that even the managers had started to get cut open.

Tag Team Championship Number One Contender’s Match
The Andersons (NWA TV Champion Arn Anderson & Ole Anderson) vs. The Rock ‘night Roll Express

NWA Great American Bash 1986 (Greensboro, July 26th) - Arn Anderson taunts Ricky Morton
With a shot at the tag team titles on the line, all four men earned their money by working hard to give us what was hands down the best match of the night so far.

With the ever-passionate NWA fans firmly behind Ricky Morton and Robert Gibson, Ole and Arn Anderson pushed them to their limits only for the good guys to continually fight back.

The results made for captivating viewing even if you could see the ending coming from a mile away.

As both teams waged a compelling war, the ring announcer told us that five minutes were remaining, then four, then three and then, well, let’s just say the time limit draw was predictable.

Other than that, this was a lot of fun.
Time Limit Draw

Post-match, The Andersons attacked only for Robert Gibson to clean house with a steel chair.

Hair vs. Hair Match
Number One Paul Jones (w/ Barron Von  Rashke) vs. Boogie Woogie Man Jimmy Valiant (w/ Manny Fernandez)

NWA Great American Bash 1986 (Greensboro, July 26th) - Jimmy Valiant is traumatised by getting his head shaved
We joined this one with Jimmy Valiant leading the crowd in a chant of ‘Bald-headed geek!’ - an insult the crowd had earlier levied at Von Rashke in the glove on a pole match.

After beating Shaska Whatley in a similar Hair vs. Hair mask in Charlotte, Valiant promised that he would turn Paul Jones into a bald-headed geek too but, alas, tonight wasn’t to be his night.

After an underwhelming match in which both men just hit each other with an international object and made each other bleed (obviously), Whately ran in and clocked Valiant with a chair to give his manager the win.
Your Winner: Paul Jones

Valiant’s second, Manny Fernandez was joined in the ring by Denny Brown and The Italian Stallion, all three of whom protested this terrible injustice to referee Earl Hebner, but Valiant agreed to take the loss mike a trooper and had his head shaved by ‘former wrestling great, Sandy Scott.’

Valiant looked distraught at first and sold the shaving as though he was being tortured. Then, he went into a state of zen-like calm as his trademark locks were chopped off and Paul Jones gloated on the microphone about having beaten the Boogie Woogie man all by himself.

Ok then.

NWA Great American Bash 1986 (Greensboro, July 26th) - Magnum TA and faced Nikita Koloff in their Best of Seven seriesNikita Koloff (w/ Ivan Koloff) vs. Magnum T.A.

This was match number four of the famous Best of Seven Series between Magnum T.A and Nikita Koloff. and it was disappointing at best.

Another match with lots of unnecessary bloodshed, it was a fairly average encounter with nothing beyond Magnum’s crimson mask worth mentioning.

Speaking of Mr T.A, he scored the victory following a sunset flip.
Your Winner: Magnum T.A

Up next, inter-gender fun...

Six-Person Inter-Gender Cage Match
Jim Cornette and NWA Tag Team Champions The Midnight Express (Loverboy Dennis Condrey & Beautiful Bobby Eaton) vs. Baby Doll & The Road Warriors (Hawk & Animal w/ Paul Ellering)

Jim Cornette and The Midnight Express fought in a similar match back in Charlotte, only that one had Magnum T.A. and Dusty Rhodes in Baby Doll’s corner rather than The Road Warriors.

NWA Great American Bash 1986 (Greensboro, July 26th) - Jim Cornette
Personally, I enjoyed this one the most out of the two and that’s surprising because I rarely enjoy Road Warriors matches.

Maybe it was the sweet arm drag Baby Doll gave to Beautiful Bobby Eaton at the start of the match. Maybe it was Jim Cornette playing the cowardly heel to perfection. Whatever it was, something about this match worked.

As in Charlotte, Baby Doll got the win for her team by pinning James E.
Your Winners: Baby Doll & The Road Warriors

And finally, our main event of the evening:

Steel Cage Match for the National Wrestling Alliance World Heavyweight Championship
NWA World Heavyweight Champion Nature Boy Ric Flair vs. Dusty Rhodes

NWA Great American Bash 1986 (Greensboro, July 26th) - Dusty Rhodes celebrates winning the World Heavyweight Title from Ric Flair
A rematch from their Starrcade 85 encounter, this one started pretty slowly but got better and better as it went on.

Unsurprisingly, both men battered each other to a bloody mess, with their charisma and personality doing more to make this a captivating performance than any of their actual wrestling moves.

Personally, this fan enjoyed Flair’s Charlotte bout with Ricky Morton much more, but this was still pretty damn good.

After a good effort, the head booker of the company won the title with a cradle.
Your Winner and NEW World Heavyweight Champion: Dusty Rhodes

After the bell, the babyface locker room flooded the ring to celebrate with the new champion as the show came to a close.





On the whole, the two Great American Bash 86 shows featured on the WWE Network have been a lot of fun to watch.

Sure, not everything was amazing, but Flair’s two main events, The Andersons’ tag team efforts and Tully Blanchard’s awesome selling in his matches with Ronnie Garvin were all highlights.

In between, old-school fans will certainly find a lot to enjoy here.



Other WCW Great American Bash reviews: 
Other 1986 events:
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Retro Pro Wrestling

New reviews of classic WWF/WWE events recalling every moment from Wrestlemania 1 - 30. You'll also find reviews of WCW, ECW, TNA and the occasional indie event, along with a look at old school magazines, merchandise and more.