Mega Powers Running Wild!

The legendary 'Macho man' Randy Savage teams up with 'The Immortal' Hulk Hogan to take on Ted Dibiase and Andre The Giant in the first ever WWF Summerslam!

Shawn Micahels vs. Mankind

The Heartbreak Kid defends the WWF Championship against Mankind in a thrilling main event at WWF In Your House: Mind Games.

The Birth of the nWo

From Hulk Hogan's shocking turn at WCW Bash at the Beach 1996 to the addition of Ted Dibiase, THe Giant Syxx and more, relive the very beginning of the New World Order.

Austin 3:16 Says I Just Kicked Your Ass

It's one of the most famous promos of all time; Stone Cold Steve Austin wins the 1996 King of The Ring and serves notice on all the WWF superstars. Check it out in our complete review

Wrestlemania 12 Review

The boyhood dream comes true as Shawn Michaels battles champion Bret 'The Hitman' Hart in a classic 1-hour iron man match. Plus, Diesel vs. Undertaker and more.

WCW Fall Brawl 1996 Review

Was Sting in cahoots with the New World Order? Would Lex Luger be able to get along with the Four Horsemen as they faced the nWo in War Games? Find out in this review

Showing posts with label Ivan Koloff. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Ivan Koloff. Show all posts

Thursday, 14 January 2021

PPV REVIEW: NWA Bunkhouse Stampede 1988

NWA Bunkhouse Stampede 1988 Event Review - Event Poster
January 24, 1988,
Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum, Uniondale, New York

Dusty Rhodes has an interesting reputation as a booker and a creative force in the world of professional wrestling.

On the one hand, he created War Games and came up with concepts like the Lethal Lottery which, you have to admit, was at least interesting.

On the other hand, he's the guy who thought The Shockmaster was a good idea, had a tendency to vanity-book himself into high profiles spots, and gave name to the much over-used Dusty Finish. 

The American Dream also came up with this:

The Bunkhouse Stampede:

A "street fight" style battle royal where the wrestlers wore "bunkhouse gear" (jeans, t-shirts, and boots, basically) and could use weapons to beat up their opponents with.

Over the course of several weeks, several bunkhouse stampede matches were held, with the winners all converging on Uniondale, New York to compete in tonight's final.

Of course, having created the concept, Dusty had won every single one of the past three Bunkhouse Stampede finals.

Would he win this one?

More importantly, would this be a War Games or a Shockmaster deal?







Let's go to New York to find out.

Welcome to the Bunkhouse Stampede Finals

NWA Bunkhouse Stampede 1988 Event Review - Jim Ross & Bob Caudle called the action
There was no fancy intro video for tonight’s show. Instead, the most basic of introductory graphics faded to the arrival of NWA Television Champion Nikita Koloff making his way to the ring.

The show then cut to our announcers for the evening, Bob Caudle and Jim Ross. The duo ran down tonight’s card before sending it to our ring announcer for the evening, the man with the most rockin’ 80s moustache-and-mullet combo in history, Tony Schiavone.

National Wrestling Alliance World Television Championship
NWA TV Champion Nikita Koloff vs. NWA US Tag Team Champion Beautiful Bobby Eaton (w/ Jim Cornette)

NWA Bunkhouse Stampede 1988 Event Review - Jim Cornette cheered on Bobby Eaton in a TV title match against Nikita Koloff
This could have been a great match if it didn’t start getting really stupid towards the finish.

The majority of the contest saw Bobby Eaton grind the champion into the mat and try and force him to submit to a standard armbar while Jim Cornette trash-talked The Russian Nightmare from a safe distance on the outside.

It was mostly fun in an old-school kind of way, but as the clock began counting down, you couldn’t help but feel as though Eaton was a bit of a dumb ass for not trying a different strategy to win.

Despite the fact that Koloff hadn’t submitted for the first 15 minutes of the match, the challenger continued to use the same hold for the last five when anyone with any common sense might have tried more desperate and decisive measures to capture the title.

Instead, he kept doing the same thing until Koloff made a last-minute comeback and battered his rival from pillar to post until the time ran out.
Time-Limit Draw

Afterwards, Eaton‘s partner, Sweet Stan Lane, came down to help him beat up Koloff while Cornette held back the referee.

Universal Wrestling Federation Western States Heritage Championship
UWF Western States Heritage Champion Barry Windham vs. Larry Zybysko (w/ Baby Doll)

NWA Bunkhouse Stampede 1988 Event Review - Larry Zybysko and Barry Windham battled for the UWF Western States Herritage Championship
This was a lot of fun.

Barry Windham and Larry Zybysko played their parts well, creating a feeling that they really hated each other which helped make every move and every blow more meaningful.

The action itself was solid. The duo battled inside and outside of the ring with an intensity and urgency that the earlier match had lacked and which made the whole thing that much more enjoyable.

After the better part of 20 minutes, the referee took a tumble, allowing Zybysko to knock Windham out with Baby Doll’s shoe.

One three count later and Zybysko was the new champion.
Your Winner and New UWF Western States Heritage Champion: Larry Zybysko

Not only was Larry our new champion, but he was also our last champion. The Living Legend would hold on to the gold until he left for the AWA the following year, leaving the Western States Heritage Championship to fade away, practically unnoticed.

National Wrestling Alliance World Heavyweight Championship
NWA World Heavyweight Champion Nature Boy Ric Flair (w/ J.J. Dillon) vs. Road Warrior Hawk (w/ Paul Ellering)

NWA Bunkhouse Stampede 1988 Event Review - Ric Flair looks concerned as he defends the NWA world title against Road Warrior Hawk
This was a decent match that suffered due to the fact that you never really believed that Road Warrior Hawk had any chance of winning the title.

Since the outcome was something of a foregone conclusion, it was hard to get invested in the match.

Still, to be fair to them, both men did at least put a fair amount of effort in, trading the advantage several times as Ric Flair pit his wits and cunning against Hawk’s brute power.

The end came when Flair blasted Hawk with a chair right in front of the referee.
Your Winner via DQ: Road Warrior Hawk (Ric Flair retains the title)

As the ring crew set up the cage for our main event, Jim Ross and Bob Caudle ran through the show credits and reminded us how you win the bunkhouse stampede match

Throw your opponent over the top of the cage or through the door.

Right on, let’s do this:

Bunkhouse Stampede Final
NWA US Champion Dusty Rhodes vs. NWA Tag Team Champion Tully Blanchard vs. Ivan Koloff vs. The Warlord vs. NWA Tag Team Champion Arn Anderson vs. Lex Luger vs. The Barbarian vs. Road Warrior Animal

NWA Bunkhouse Stampede 1988 Event Review - Paul Ellering leads Road Warrior Animal into battle in the Bunkhouse Stampede cage match battle royal
Yes, you read those rules right. This was basically a battle royal cage match in which you had to throw people out of the cage to lose.

It was a dumb concept because there was really no way to make it look believable. If you wanted to throw your opponent over the top of the cage, he first had to voluntarily climb to the top which, of course, he had no incentive to do.

It didn’t help either that the action wasn’t that interesting. It was one of those ‘come as you are’ affairs that Dusty Rhodes loved so much when everybody would dress in jeans, cowboy boots and sleeveless t-shirts, presumedly to add a sense of realism to the whole thing.

That was about the only thing worth mentioning here. The whole thing was just one big slow, sluggish, and bloody brawl. If you like that kind of thing then sure, then you might enjoy this match, but I doubt it.

After what felt like forever, Dusty Rhodes sent The Barbarian crashing over the top of the cage and won the Bunkhouse Stampede final for a third time.

Honestly, anyone would think he was booking the whole thing or something.
Your Winner: Dusty Rhodes

Post-match, Dusty celebrated with his cheque for ‘half a million dollars’ and an enormous boot that I assume was the Bunkhouse Stampede trophy.







Bunkhouse Stampede 1988 was not a show anybody should be in a hurry to track down.

Though this writer enjoyed the opening two matches, the fact that Bobby Eaton spent the better part of 20 minutes holding Nikita Koloff in the same hold means that the whole thing has more than its fair share of critics.

Likewise, the Zybysko/Windham bout wasn’t to everyone’s tastes, but personally, I enjoyed it much more than the underwhelming world heavyweight championship match and the bland and bizarre bunkhouse cage match.



Other 1988 events:
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Thursday, 17 December 2020

EVENT REVIEW: NWA Starrcade 1986 - The Night of the Skywalkers

NWA Starrcade 1986 (The Skywalkers) - VHS cover
November 27, 1986 
Greensboro Coliseum Complex, Greensboro, North Carolina 
Omni Coliseum in Atlanta, Georgia

For the second year in a row, the National Wrestling Alliance's marquee event of the year came to us live from two different venues in Greensboro and Atlanta.

I thought I'd read somewhere that there was also a Kansas portion to this show, though that seems not to have been the case.

Thank goodness too, because with just the two venues, Starrcade 1986 ran to four hours long, setting a record for the longest Starrcade in history that would remain unbroken by the time of the last event in 2000.

Still, unlike the four-hour chore that would be Wrestlemania 4, this event proved that having a super-long event didn't have to mean compromising on quality entertainment.

Don't believe me? Here's what went down on the Night of the Skywalkers.







Welcome to The Night of the Sky Walkers

NWA Starrcade 1986 (The Skywalkers) - Tony "Good Mustache" Schiavone & Rick Stewart
Tonight was the first Starrcade to feature anything like a proper intro. While all of the previous shows had started with the action already in the ring, Starrcade ‘86 went full-on 80s with a seizure-inducing light show and rocking guitar riff.

This super cool intro gave way to an awesome shot of the arena with the scaffold for tonight’s main event looking large over the ring.

As fired up as ever, ring announcer Tom Miller played MC at the Greensboro venue, welcoming us to the show and inviting us to stand for the playing of the National Anthem before sending it over to Atlanta where Tony Schiavone and his glorious mustache were standing by with fellow commentator, Rick Stewart.

The Atlanta commentators were psyched about the big scaffold match while their counterparts in Greensboro -Johnny Weaver and Bob Caudle- were more interested in the rest of the card, starting with our opening match.

Tim Horner & Nelson Royal vs. The Kernodle Brothers (Don & Rocky Kernodle)

NWA Starrcade 1986 (The Skywalkers) - Nelson Royal puts a hurting on Don Kernodle
Honestly, I’m happy to see Don Kernodle competing on this card. The guy had appeared at every Starrcade event so far yet this was his first time actually wrestling at the NWA’s marquee event.

Tonight, he teamed with his brother Rocky to face Nelson Royal and future Smoky Mountain Wrestling star, Tim Horner.

Though it wasn’t the longest match in the world, it was pretty good and featured some quality wrestling and fast-paced action from bell-to-bell.

After a solid six-or-so minutes, Horner got the roll-up on Rocky Kernodle and This one was over.
Your Winners: Tim Horner & Nelson Royal

Moving on...

Gorgeous Jimmy Garvin (w/ Precious) vs. Brad Armstrong

NWA Starrcade 1986 (The Skywalkers) - Jimmy Garvin hurts Brad ArmstrongThis was another great match.

Brad Armstrong spent so much time floundering in the lower echelons of the card during his time on the main stage that it’s easy to forget what a talented performer he really was. Combined with Jimmy Garvin’s unquestionable charisma and flamboyance, it made for an entertaining contest that told a simple story.

As the aggressor, Garvin continually looked to wear down Armstrong and eventually put him away, but his resilient opponent refused to stay down and took the Gorgeous one quite literally to the limit.

The time expired, rendering this a draw, but as the minutes went by, the crowded were swept up in the story of Garvin growing ever more desperate to win and Armstrong sneaking near falls wherever he could.
Time-Limit Draw

Afterwards, Precious distracted Brad so that Garvin could attack, but Armstrong met him with a flurry of fists and sent him packing, much to the delight of the live crowd.

The Barbarian & Shaska Whately vs. Barron Von Rashke & Hector Guerrero

NWA Starrcade 1986 (The Skywalkers) - Shaska Whately & The Barbarian
Yes, Barron Von Rashke was a babyface now but hadn’t actually changed anything about his character, making for an odd moment when the crowd cheered loudly for a guy doing a goose step despite all the connotations.

The match itself was one of those that the live crowd clearly enjoyed yet didn’t translate well to television viewing, at least not 34 years after the fact.

After a passable but forgettable contest, Rashke picked up the pinfall for his team.
Your Winners: Barron Von Rashke & Hector Guerrero

Post-match, Shaska Whately and Barbarian threw Hector Guerrero out of the ring and beat up on Rashke until Guerrero returned for the save.

Leave Me Alone, Johnny

Backstage in Greensboro, Johnny Weaver told us that Dusty Rhodes had been uncharacteristically quiet as of late, refusing to give any interviews about his upcoming World Television Championship defence.

Just to prove it, Weaver poked his head inside The American Dream’s dressing room and asked him to come out. As a viewer, all we heard was the champion encouraging Weaver to leave him alone.

No Disqualification Match for the National Wrestling Alliance United States Tag Team Championship
NWA US Tag Team Champions Ivan Koloff & Krusher Khruschev vs. The Kansas Jayhawks (Bobby Jaggers & Dutch Mantel)

NWA Starrcade 1986 (The Skywalkers) - Ivan Koloff & Krusher Kruschev
Despite the stipulation, this was mostly just a normal tag team match in which it appeared that nobody involved actually had any idea it was No DQ.

That was decent enough -not great, not the kind of thing that anybody would be raving about afterwards, but decent and inoffensive- though when all hell broke loose in the final minute and whips and chains got involved, it suddenly turned into a lot of fun.

That wild brawl at the finish culminated in Krusher Khruschev blasted Bobby Jaggers in the back of the head with Ivan Koloff’s trusty chain. Koloff himself made the cover and that was all she wrote.
Your Winners and Still US Tag Team Champions: Ivan Koloff & Krusher Khruschev

‘Ricky, you are so ravishing, where do you come from?’ asked a sultry voice as Ravishing Rick Rude’s weird theme music played. Honestly, I don’t know if this is a WWE Network dub or his actual NWA theme, but my goodness it was strange.

NWA Starrcade 1986 (The Skywalkers) - Wahoo McDaniel Indian Strap Match
Ravishing Rick Rude (w/ Paul Jones) vs. Chief Wahoo McDaniel

A lot of other reviewers have ripped this match to shreds but this writer -ever the optimist- quite enjoyed it.

Ok, so it wasn’t a technical marvel or anything, but the crowd were firmly into it, and that made all the difference.

Wahoo McDaniel won after touching the first three corners and then being pushed into the fourth by Rude.
Your Winner: Wahoo McDaniel

Rude and Paul Jones attacked the chief after the bell but Barron Von Rashke and Hector Guerrero came to his aid.

NWA Starrcade 1986 (The Skywalkers) - Ivan Koloff & Krusher Kruschev
Backstage, Rick Stewart interviewed Ivan Koloff & Krusher Khruschev.

Proud of themselves for getting past ‘the jaywalkers’ Ivan and Krusher had their sights set on an upcoming bunkhouse stampede match, though not before paying attention to their former ally Nikita Koloff and his World Heavyweight Championship match with champion Ric Flair.

The Russians were angry at Dusty Rhodes for ‘Americanising’ Nikita but still hoped Koloff won anyway so that they could challenge and defeat him for the title.

Although not the greatest promo in the world, this was pretty compelling stuff that did a great job of advancing the storylines.

National Wrestling Alliance Central States Championship
NWA Central States Champion Sam Houston vs. Bill Dundee

NWA Starrcade 1986 (The Skywalkers) - Sam Houston battled Bill Dundee
Seriously, how many different titles did the NWA have?

This match probably has its critics too, but honestly, I enjoy any match where two guys just wrestle each other and look like they desperately want to win.

Again, this won’t ever be regarded as an all-time classic, but both men did the best they could with what they had and the results were enjoyable.

Towards the finish, referee Scrappy ‘Good Name’ McGowan got bumped in the corner. Bill Dundee used this opportunity to yank Sam Houston’s boot off and hit the champion over the head with it, only for Scrappy to reveal he’d seen the whole thing and disqualify him.
Your Winner and Still Central States Champion: Sam Houston

Up next, the latest in the never-ending rivalry between Jimmy Valiant and Paul Jones.

Hair vs. Hair Match
Jimmy Valiant (w/ Big Mama) vs. Paul Jones (w/ Manny Fernandez)

Valiant had already lost a Hair vs. Hair match to Jones on that summer’s Great American Bash tour, so if he lost today it would be his valet Big Mama who would lose her locks.

Since the aforementioned Bash, Valiant’s former ally Manny Fernandez has betrayed him and aligned himself with Jones. Tonight, he would be suspended in a cage above the ring for the duration of the match even though it took four babyfaces to get him in there.

The match itself was, like most Jimmy Valiant matches from the mid-80s, not very good. Still, the crowd loved it so what can you do?

After a few minutes of nothing noteworthy happening, Valiant seized possession of Jones’ random International Object, blasted his nemesis in the face with it and won the match.
Your Winner: Jimmy Valiant

Post-match, Valiant got to work on turning Jones into a bald-headed geek but was eventually attacked by Fernandez and Rick Rude. The two hit The Boogie Woogie Man with a wicked-looking spike-DDT on a chair that was the best spot in this whole part of the show, but then Barron Von Rashke and Wahoo McDaniel chased them off.

Welcome to Intermission


While the show went to intermission, we cut to a vignette in which Nelson Royal invited us to join him for a cup of coffee by a roaring campfire as he explained the backstory of the Bunkhouse Brawl and the Bunkhouse Stampede event.

The whole thing seemed a little goofy at first but actually made for a fascinating watch as we learned the kayfabe story behind the whole thing.

For the curious, Royal told us that, once upon a time, cowboys working on ranches used to take lodgings in bunkhouses and there’d be so many guys living under one roof that issues were bound to come up. When they did, the men who were at odds with one another would go outside ‘just as they were in their jeans, their shirt, their spurs’ and fight until only one man was left standing.

We’d see this combined with a pro wrestling battle royal at the second annual Bunkhouse Stampede event, coming soon.

We also got a look at the 1986 Jim Crocket Sr. Memorial Cup Tag Team Tournament which had been won by the Road Warriors. The second such tournament would be coming our way in April 1987.

With that, intermission was over and it was back to the show.

Louisville Street Fight
Ronnie Garvin vs. Big Bubba Rogers (w/ Jim Cornette)

Bubba Rogers' theme was basically The Blues Brothers theme, which was lots of fun.

NWA Starrcade 1986 (The Skywalkers) - Big Bubba faced Ronnie Garvin in a Louisville Street Fight
The Louisville Street Fight rules gave he and Ronnie Garvin carte blanche to go anywhere in the arena and basically do anything they wanted. Instead, they stayed exclusively in the ring (give or take the odd time Bubba got thrown outside) and did nothing more extraordinary than having Garvin choke his opponent with a piece of cord and throw a Pepsi in his face.

It was pretty disappointing, especially when the finish was a straight rehash of the same one Garvin had used in his taped fist match with Tully Blanchard on the first night of that year’s Great American Bash tour.

Referee Tommy Young got knocked down. Garvin took out Bubba with a piledriver but got clocked over the head by a tennis-racket-wielding Jim Cornette.

Young came to and when neither man stirred before the count of ten, he declared that there must be a winner and the first man to his feet would be it. That part was exactly the same as the aforementioned Garvin/Blanchard match. Where things differed was that when Garvin almost got to his feet, Cornette once again whacked him with the tennis racket, allowing Bubba to get to his feet and win the match.

The whole thing got better towards the finish, but you got the feeling they could have done a lot more with this.
Your Winner: Big Bubba

If you hadn’t yet had enough of gimmick matches, or if blood being featured in almost every match you were in for a treat as our next match would give us both.

First Blood Match for the National Wrestling Alliance World Television Championship
NWA TV Champion Dusty Rhodes vs. Tully Blanchard (w/ James J. Dillon)

NWA Starrcade 1986 (The Skywalkers) - Dusty Rhodes wearing a Magnum TA t-shirt
Years before the WWF would do this regularly, we saw Dusty Rhodes walking through the backstage area en route to the arena. It was a cooler site than I can adequately describe.

He wore a Magnum T.A t-shirt in tribute to the superstar whose career had been tragically cut short following a tragic automobile accident that October, and had the word ‘Tully’ painted on the side of his head because why wouldn’t he?

Once he got to the ring, he and Blanchard delivered a fun performance, not so much because of their actual wrestling but because of the storytelling and theatrics of it all.

Before we began, James J. Dillon drew some major heel heat for his man by putting a head guard on him. When referee Earl Hebner made him take it off, Dillon started to coat his man’s face in Vaseline to protect him from getting cut open.

While Hebner was busy wiping that off the challenger’s face, Dusty hit Dillon with his patented bionic and bust him open. Yep, the NWA loved blood so much in the 1980s that even the managers couldn’t resist blading.

After a short, decent brawl, Hebner got bumped, because who says having two ‘the referee was knocked out’ finishes in back-to-back matches is overkill?

With him down, Dusty used his elbow to make the challenger bleed, but Dillon covered up the cut with Vaseline and handed his man a roll of quarters that Blanchard used to cut open the champion.

Hebner came to, and there was a hilarious bit where he looked at the blood gushing down Dusty’s face with a state of utter disbelief, wiped it on his own finger, stared at his own hand in shock then looked at Dusty with a double-take and did it again.

Without bothering to look at Tully, our man Earl called for the bell and we had ourselves a new champion.
Your Winner and New TV Champion: Tully Blanchard

Afterwards, Dusty cried out in shock and dismay before protesting to Hebner. When the official refused to change his decision, The American Dream tossed him from the ring.

As I said, the actual wrestling wasn’t great, but the story was a lot of fun.

Scaffold Match
The Midnight Express (Beautiful Bobby Eaton & Loverboy Dennis Condrey w/ Jim Cornette and Big Bubba) vs. The Road Warriors (Hawk & Animal w/ Paul Ellering)

NWA Starrcade 1986 (The Skywalkers) - The Midnight Express and The Road Warriors in a scaffold match
I started watching this match with anxious trepidation, knowing the sickening injury Jim Cornette suffered at the finish.

Indeed, the whole thing was more of a morbid curiosity than an actual wrestling match. Being the hesitant heels that they were, Beautiful Bobby and Loverboy Dennis took several years just to get on top of the scaffolding. When they got there it quickly became apparent that everyone -including the badass Road Warriors- was absolutely terrified.

Even Hawk and Animal clung tightly to the sides as they moved timidly and with trepidation in an attempt to give us some kind of match.

This is absolutely spectacular,” said Schiavone,  lying.

Admittedly, things did get a little bit more exciting towards the finish when all four men began scaling their way down the support structure and ended up swinging from the underside of the platform.

It was a cool visual that resulted in The Midnight Express taking some sick bumps down to the canvas, thus losing the match.
Your Winners: The Road Warriors

Afterwards, Paul Ellering chased Cornette, who, in his fear-inducing stupidity, climbed to the top of the scaffold.

Ellering and Animal met him up there, so Cornette had no choice but to jump down. I say jump, it was a nasty fall that saw him land on his feet and immediately crumple to the mat with a broken knee bone and all kinds of ligament and cartilage damage.

Ouch.

Great American Bash Highlights

NWA Starrcade 1986 (The Skywalkers) - Starrcade Control with Bob Taylor
If you missed that summer’s Great American Bash tour, no worries, the Starrcade ‘86 control center had a highlights package for you.

You can also read reviews of two of the shows in this blog.

The highlights package was followed by another intermission during which time Tony Schiavone hyped up the rolling of the credits like it was some big deal.

I don’t know about you, but it strikes me as somehow fitting that a company that would become the badly-managed WCW would put the end credits in the middle of the show.

Sure enough, they rolled away, giving a Senior Producer credit to the one and only Virgil Runnels.

Schiavone also told us that there were only two matches left on this show, so these must be som pretty long matches.

Cage Match for the National Wrestling Alliance World Tag Team Championship
NWA World Tag Team Champions The Rock ‘n’ Roll Express (Ricky Morton & Robert Gibson) vs. The Andersons (Ole & Arn Anderson)

NWA Starrcade 1986 (The Skywalkers) - The Rock 'n' Roll Express defended the tag team titles against The Andersons
You know, it never fails to amaze me just how insanely over the Rock ‘n’ Roll Express were in their prime.  I bet you could put them in the same ring as Hulk Hogan at the height of Hulkamania and it would be difficult to tell who was the most popular.

Speaking of amazing, this tag team title classic truly is a gem worth watching.

Both teams were at their best here, The Andersons as evil heels taking great pleasure in the pain they were able to inflict on their opponents and The Rock ‘n’ Roll Express as they courageous babyfaces who refused to surrender.

Together, it made for incredible drama, the crowds cheering their heads off as Morton played face-in-peril role that he did so well it became named after him, and took it to a whole new level. At one point, he came within a fingertips length of making the hot tag to Robert Gibson only to be cruelly denied by Ole and Arn.

There was, however, good news for the champion’s loud and diehard audience. After the match broke down into an all-out brawl, Morton got the win after Gibson dropkicked him on top of his opponent.
Your Winners and Still Tag Team Champions: The Rock ‘n’ Roll Express

Post-match, The Andersons attacked the champions until Ricky & Robert we’re able to escape the cave.

National Wrestling Alliance World Heavyweight Championship
NWA World Heavyweight Champion Nature Boy Ric Flair vs. NWA US Champion Nikita Koloff

NWA Starrcade 1986 (The Skywalkers) - Nikita Koloff challenged Ric Flair for the World Heavyweight Championship
According to all sources, this was originally planned to be Flair defending the title against Magnum T.A. since Magnum’s accident had put paid to those plans.

As a tribute, we first saw a video paying homage to T.A That had him running down along a beach and holding hands with his mother. As far as I can gather, this was originally set to a the song ‘Wind Beneath My Wings’ but due to licensing it was replaced with a weird song that made it seem as though Magnum was in love with his mum.

Anyway, that aside, this was a quality match. Maybe it wasn’t the best main event of all time, but it was certainly compelling and made for an enjoyable watch.

After a grilling back and forth battle, referee Tommy Young got knocked to the outside.

Nikita Koloff took down Flair and covered him, giving us the old routine where the babyface should have won because he technically covered the heel for the count of three but there was no referee.

Scrappy McGoodname then got involved but he too got flattened. Young returned, but then got pushed down by both men, resulting in the double DQ finish.
Double DQ

Afterwards, half the heels who had competed on the show (but strangely none of Flair’s Four Horsemen teammates) helped the champion attack Koloff, only for the babyface contingent to rush to the rescue.

After that, Schiavone and Stewart reminisced over some of the show’s highlights and that was Starrcade over with for another year.







Starrcade had started with a bang with a good show back in 1983 but had suffered from two lackluster installments in 1984 and 1985. In 1986, however, the brand came back strong with its most enjoyable episode to date.

Though not every match was world-class caliber stuff, only the poor Valiant/Jones match left a bad taste in the mouth while everything else ranged from decent to awesome.

Even the scaffold match -though not good in the technical sense- was intriguing enough to make it watchable.

The tag team title cage match stole the show and must have been up there as a serious Match of the Year contender.

On the whole, a pretty good show, even if it was on the long side.




Thursday, 19 November 2020

EVENT REVIEW: NWA The Great American Bash 1986 - Charlotte (July 5th)

NWA Great American Bash 1986 (Charlotte, July 5th) - VHS cover
July 5th, 1986
American Legion Memorial Stadium, Charlotte, North Carolina

Before it became the annual WCW PPV we all remember, The NWA Great American Bash began life as a summer tour designed to showcase the best of the best in some of the organization’s most profitable hotspots.

The first such tour kicked off in 1985, though we don’t currently have access to any footage of that since Retro Pro Wrestling started using the WWE Network exclusively for material for this blog.

What we do have access to is two shows -the July 5th and July 26th events- from 1986.

Both of these were uploaded to the WWE Network and, at almost three hours in length apiece, both seem to be the full versions of those shows, or at least as near as dammit.

With that said, let’s head to Charlotte, North Carolina for The Great American Bash.





Let’s Go Skydiving

NWA Great American Bash 1986 (Charlotte, July 5th) - Epic crowd
Our show began not with a video, not with an introduction from the announcers (there weren’t any for this show),  but with a presentation from a gold-medal-winning North Carolina National Sky Diving Team.

I’m sure this was very exciting live at the time, but watching it back 24 years later there’s not much to say about it.

This was followed by the obligatory playing of the American National Anthem, then it was down to ringside for some hype from our ring announcer and, finally, our opening contest.

National Wrestling Alliance World Junior Heavyweight Championship
NWA World Junior Heavyweight Champion Denny Brown vs.  Mr. Electricity Steve Regal

NWA Great American Bash 1986 (Charlotte, July 5th) - Mr Electricity Steve Regal faced Denny Brown
For newer fans, it’s probably worth pointing out that this isn’t the same Steve Regal you’re probably familiar with, but a former star of the AWA who then jumped to the NWA before ending up as cannon fodder for WWF stars.

Though his career on the big stage may not have ended in spectacular fashion, it did look like he was about to have a solid match here with Junior Heavyweight Champion Denny Brown. Things started well, with plenty of running around and athletic wrestling, but then it slowly devolved into one long chinlock as both men quite obviously began just trying to run down the clock.

Regal dominated the bulk of the contest but did so with none of the urgency or desperation that you might expect from a challenger in a championship match.

This was especially frustrating. Rather than doing his best to win, Mr. Electricity seemed quite content to keep reapplying wear-down holds and occasionally boasting to the crowd.

Inevitably, the time ran out and this disappointing opener came to a suitably lackluster finish with the ring announcer simply declaring them match is over’ as Regal and Brown punched each other.
Time-Limit Draw

Post-match, both men continues to wail on each other. Regal again got the upper hand, hurling Brown over the top rope and stealing his title, only for referee Earl Hebner to steal it back.

Non-Title Match
NWA Mid-Atlantic Heavyweight Champion Black Bart vs. Robert Gibson

NWA Great American Bash 1986 (Charlotte, July 5th) - Robert Gibson locks Black Bart in a head scissors
If the non-title stipulation didn’t telegraph the ending for you, the overwhelming popularity of Robert Gibson certainly gave it away.

The crowd absolutely loved the Rock ‘n’ Roll Express member and went wild for everything he did, even when what he did wasn’t all that special.

Indeed, that just about sums up this match. It wasn’t anything special, and from a technical standpoint it was average at best, but the sheer adoration for Gibson made it an enjoyable watch all the same.

Predictably, Black Bart came down on the wrong side of a flying cross-body block and ate the pin, much to the delight of the Charlotte crowd.
Your Winner: Robert Gibson

Afterward, Bart stood in the middle of the ring, hands-on-hips, looking as though he couldn’t believe he’d lost.

Special Challenge Match
The Minnesota Wrecking Crew (Ole Anderson  & NWA World TV Champion Arn Anderson) vs. Sam Houston and Nelson Royal

NWA Great American Bash 1986 (Charlotte, July 5th) - Arn Anderson puts Sam Houston in an arm bar of doom
I’m not sure if the Andersons were technically the Minnesota Wrecking Crew here as they were never announced as such.

What I do know is that this was a fairly solid by-the-numbers tag team match that kept me entertained.

After some back and forth offense in the early going, The Andersons cut Nelson Royal off from his partner and worked over his arm for a good length of time.

This could have been boring, but Arn and Ole Anderson kept their offense interesting while Royal did such a great job at writhing in agony that you couldn’t help but enjoy it.

Eventually, Royal made the obligatory hot tag, yet in the ensuing chaos, Sam Houston got waffled by an Ole Ax-Handle from the ropes and lost the match for his team.
Your Winners: Minnesota Wrecking Crew

Moving on...

Bunkhouse Match
Baron Von Rashke (w/ Paul Jones) Manny “Raging Bull” Fernandez

NWA Great American Bash 1986 (Charlotte, July 5th) - Baron Von Rashke faced Manny Fernandez in a Bunkhouse Match
This was billed as Anything Goes, but nothing really went besides Barron Von Raske taking his boot and belt off to use as weapons and at one point pulling a random International Object from his pocket.

The belt was especially a dumb move as he then spent the rest of the match with his jeans falling down.

Despite all that, this was a decent, old-school brawl with the crowd firmly behind Manny Fernandez.

The former Brass Knuckles champion took such a beating from his opponent that he was eventually busted wide open for our first blood let of the evening.

This made a nice change from the last NWA event we reviewed, Starrcade 1985, where almost every wrestler on the card bladed regardless as to whether it made any sense to or not.

After a fun fight, the Raging Bull got the three count on his opponent.
Your Winner: Manny Fernandez

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

NWA Great American Bash 1986 (Charlotte, July 5th) - Jimmy Garvin faced Wahoo McDaniel in a strap match
This was neither the longest nor the greatest strap match in the world, but both Wahoo McDaniel and Jimmy Garvin made the best of their allotted ten minutes.

Meanwhile, on the outside, Precious was a very vocal (and pretty attractive) presence, cheering on her man and getting involved physically whenever she felt it necessary.

Unfortunately for her and Garvin, that wasn’t enough to stop the man described by the oh-so-impartial ring announcer as ‘the greatest Indian wrestler of all time.’

Wahoo pummelled Garvin into a bloody mess then dragged him from corner to corner to win this enjoyable match.
Your Winner: Wahoo McDaniel

Afterward, Gorgeous Jimmy attacked Wahoo with what looked to be a bottle of baby oil.

Bet that hurt.

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

NWA Great American Bash 1986 (Charlotte, July 5th) - Tully Blanchard battled Ronnie Garvin in a taped fist match
Historically, boxing-type matches in pro wrestling have never been very good. So it was a surprise to discover that this ten-round taped fist match between Ronnie Garvin and Tully Blanchard was by far the best thing on the show up to this point.

In each three minute round, both men took turns beating the living hell out of each other in truly glorious fashion.

Every time a man got knocked down, referee Tommy Young really amped up the authenticity by beginning a serious ten count as though his life depended on it.

Of course, wrestling moves were still allowed because, as Gordon Sollie would often remind us, that’s what it says on the marquee, but there was still far more boxing than wrestling and it was surprisingly awesome.

In the fifth round, both men simultaneously knocked each other down. Young told the ring announcer to announce that the first man to his feet would be declared the winner.

That brought in James J. Dillon, who began desperately- and hilariously- fanning Blanchard with a towel to revive him. That didn’t work, though Wahoo McDaniel has better look reviving Ronnie Garvin by chucking a bucket of water on him.

Garvin got to his feet and this one was done.

Man, if I ever write a ‘best Great American Bash matches’ article, remind me to put this on there.
Your Winner: Ronnie Garvin

Post-match, Dillon argued with the official about Wahoo throwing water on Garvin. Young claimed not to know anything about it even though the ring was now clearly soaking wet.

Brilliant.

Double Russian Chain Match
The Koloffs (Ivan & Nikita Koloff) vs. The Road Warriors (Road Warrior Hawk & Road Warrior Warrior Animal w/ Paul Ellering)

NWA Great American Bash 1986 (Charlotte, July 5th) - Ivan & Nikita Koloff faced The Road Warriors in a chain match
With Hawk chained to Nikita Koloff and Animal linked with Ivan Koloff, this one played out more like two singles matches going on at the same time rather than a coherent tag team match.

Apologies to Road Warriors fans out there, but the results just weren’t that impressive.

After watching Blanchard and Garvin put on a dramatic and entertaining brawl, seeing four huge dudes punch and kick each other with nobody really selling anything just seemed very underwhelming.

After a few minutes of big man brawling, Paul Ellering shoved Ivan off the top rope. Koloff crotched the ropes fell to the mat and was pinned by Animal.
Your Winners: The Road Warriors

Post-match, the Russians attacked by were seen off by the Warriors.

Hair vs. Hair Match
Jimmy Valliant vs.Shaska Whately (w/ Paul Jones)

This was a weird one as we cut right to the action with Shaska Whately attacking Jimmy Valiant from the opening bell then, a few minutes in, the ring announcer declared that the loser would get his head shaved.

Like many NWA bouts, this one wasn’t much to write about, but the crowd were hot so that’s all that matters.

Also, remember what I said earlier about the lack of blood? I take it back. From the Bunkhouse Match onwards, every single match had one or more competitors bleeding, including this one.

Valiant bled hard and really didn’t need to. It was completely unnecessary.

Towards the finish, Barron Von Rashke and Manny Fernandez both put in an appearance, leading to Valiant getting hold of Rashke’s loaded glove and knocking out his opponent for the win.
Your Winner: Jimmy Valiant

Afterward, most of the babyfaces who had already appeared on tonight’s card showed up to fill the ring while Valiant shaves Whately’s head.

It was the highlight of the entire match.

Six-Person Inter-Gender Steel Cage Match
The Midnight Express (Dennis Condrey, Bobby Eaton, and Jim Cornette w/ Big Bubba Rogers) vs. Magnum T.A, Dusty Rhodes and Baby Doll

NWA Great American Bash 1986 (Charlotte, July 5th) - Jim Cornette and The Midnight Express faced Dusty Rhodes, Magnum TA and Baby Doll
Bubba Rogers must have still been in his learning phase here. Despite being on the side of Jim Cornette and the Midnight Express, he spent the entire match watching on from the babyface corner.

That oddness aside, this was a perfectly decent tag team match with the added attraction of people getting their faces ground into the cage for -you guessed it- more bloodshed.

Everyone had their part to play here and played it well, with Dusty Rhodes and Magnum T.A putting in the work against Bobby Eaton and Dennis Condrey, Jim Cornette providing the comic relief, and Baby Doll getting the big pops for hitting the men.

Speaking of which, she got the pin for her team when, in the middle of a six-person fracas, Jim Cornette kind of just tumbled to the mat and allowed her to pin him.
Your Winners: Baby Doll, Magnum T.A, and Dusty Rhodes

Afterward, Big Bubba and the Midnights trapped Magnum and Baby Doll in the cage and destroyed Dusty Rhodes.

Eventually, Rhodes’ partners were able to come and check on him as the ring announcer reminded the live audience to stick around for the post-show fireworks.

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

NWA Great American Bash 1986 (Charlotte, July 5th) - Ric Flair arrived in a helicopter for his match with Ricky Morton
OK, forget what I said earlier about Blanchard/Garvin being the match of the night. This one was far, far superior.

Ric Flair arrived in a frickin helicopter. It brought him right into the stadium, a red carpet was rolled out for him, and he sauntered to ringside like it was just another day at the office.

Several decades later, Flair’s daughter Charlotte would pay homage to that at Wrestlemania 35.

Meanwhile, Ricky Morton wore a protective face mask after Nature Boy had attacked him and ground his face into the concrete.

The story of the match was Morton going out for revenge by attacking the champ’s face whenever he could, while Flair himself took every opportunity to do even more damage to Morton’s.

The results were glorious. With blood dripping down his face, Ricky sold Nature Boy’s offense as though he were literally dying, looking so destroyed that even referee Tommy Young begged Flair to give his opponent a chance.

For his part, the champion was excellent both on offense and defense. As an aggressor, he merely toyed with his battered opponent, dragging him around the ring and verbally humiliating him with unbridled confidence as he delivered shots to the face and occasionally grated Morton’s head in the steel cage.

When his opponent was in charge, however, Flair backed off, begged, and played scared.

It was excellent.

Of course, the champion retained his gold so that he could go on to defend it on the rest of the Great American Bash tour dates, but the journey to get that victory was wonderful.
Your Winner and Still World Heavyweight Champion: Ric Flair

I should also point out that this was the first major event (chronologically speaking) to feature the famous Big Gold Belt.





If you forget about the fact that there were far too many gimmick matches and bloodshed on this show, the Charlotte stop of The Great American Bash 1986 was a decent effort with two stand-out matches.

Though not everyone agrees, this fan found the taped fist match between Tully Blanchard and Ronnie Garvin to be genuinely enjoyable, while the Flair/Morton main event is definitely worth a look even if you skip the rest of the show.

Finally, give me a moment to complain about the blood some more. Though it was a great visual in the main event, the sight of Ricky Morton covered in blood would have had a much bigger impact had we not seen almost every wrestler on the card do the exact same thing.

It was a problem at Starrcade ‘85 and it was a problem here too.

We’ve all heard stories of older wrestlers telling the younger performers that ‘less is more,’ and I can’t help but wish somebody within the NWA heeded that advice back in the mid-1980s.




Other WCW Great American Bash reviews: 
Other 1986 events:
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Thursday, 8 October 2020

PPV REVIEW: NWA Starrcade 1984 - The Million Dollar Challenge

November 22, 1984
Greensboro Coliseum Complex, Greensboro, North Carolina

Back at Starracde 1983, Dusty Rhodes had appeared multiple times and, in between cutting a series of bizarre promos, appeared to challenge the winner of the Harley Race vs. Ric Flair title match.

Between then and now, Flair had actually lost and regained the title at least twice, but give credit to the National Wrestling Alliance, they stuck with their long-term booking plans and presented Rhodes vs. Flair as tonight's feature attraction.

Not only was the title on the line, however, but the winner of the match would also win one million dollars, hence the Million Dollar Challenge subtitle of tonight's show.

As for the rest of the card?

Well, let's head down to the Greensboro Colliseum and check it out, shall we?







Welcome to Starrcade, The Premier Event of the Decade

We began tonight's show with a brief look back at the finish to Starrcade 1983's main event with Ric Flair pinning Harley Race to become our new World Heavyweight Champion.

Alas, as our announcers Bob Caudle and Gordon Sollie were quick to remind us, that was then and this is now.

Tonight, three-time World Heavyweight Champion Flair would defend the title against Dusty Rhodes in a match where a million dollars was also on the line.

The two then hyped up tonight's show before sending it down to the ring where the ring announcer clearly got lost and wasn't sure what to do.

The Premier Event of the Century, Starrcade '84

Seriously, he first welcomed all the ladies and gentlemen to Starrcade '84, calling it 'The Premier Wrestling Event of the Decade.'

He then changed his mind and introduced us again, this time to 'The Premier Event of the Wrestling Century.' After that, poor Mr. Ring Announcer flipped through his papers but still couldn't figure out what to say next so ended up asking referee Earl Hebner.

National Wrestling Alliance Junior Heavyweight Championship
NWA Junior Heavyweight Champion Mike Davis vs. Denny Brown

Eventually, the ring announcer figured out what was happening and we got on with our opening contest, a decent junior heavyweight match between champion Mike Davis and challenger Denny Brown.

This was an interesting match as it was clearly just two guys competing to see who the better wrestler was with no animosity and none of the back-stories that are usually attached to almost all modern pro wrestling matches.

At one point, Brown even went crashing out of the ring. Rather than capitalizing on this by heading out to attack him, Davis left the ring, checked on his opponent and held the ropes open for him so that he could get back in the ring.

Unfortunately, being Mr. Nice Guy didn't work out quite so well for the champion.

At the finish, Davis hit a bridging German suplex on Brown but ended up pinning himself when Brown got his arm up at the last second.
Your Winner and NEW Junior Heavyweight Champion: Denny Brown

Afterward, Davis was irate for like two seconds but then congratulated the new champion.

The ever-confused ring announcer declared the wrong man as champion before correcting himself.

Backstage, Tony Schiavone hung out in the dressing room to let us know that he'd be hanging out in the dressing room for the rest of the show and conducting interviews.

Mr Ito vs. Brian Adias

There wasn't much to this match. It was only a few minutes long and very much felt like filler, but even then it was a decent enough match.

After a few minutes of basic, old-school professional wrestling, Adias lifted his larger opponent up for an airplane spin and won the match.
Your Winner: Brian Adias

Seriously, only in the 80s would that move end a match.

National Wrestling Alliance Florida Heavyweight Championship
National Wrestling Alliance Florida Heavyweight Champion Jesse Barr vs. Mike Graham

This was another really good quality match. Ok, so maybe it wasn’t the kind of raging classic you’d see from today’s performers, but neither man held anything back and gave us nothing less than solid wrestling from start to finish.

After an unrelenting performance, champion Jesse Barr used the ropes for leverage to get the cover, the count, and the fall.
Your Winner and Still Florida Heavyweight Champion: Jesse Barr

Up next, we flashed back to a recent TV taping on which Ricky Steamboat and Dick Slater had been beaten up after competing in a tag match.

Sollie and Caudle told us that Steamboat had put $10,000 of his own money on the line to get revenge.

Tag Team Elimination Match
The Zambuie Express (Kareem Muhammad & Elijah Akeem w/ Paul Jones) vs. Assassin Number 1 & Buzz Tyler

There wasn’t much to this match. It was mostly just punching, clobbering, and more punching, but there was something about the way that the crowd was super into every blow that made it just incredibly fun to watch.

At least it was fun until the finish.

We were told that this was an elimination-style tag team match, but after Assassin #1 pinned one of the Zambuie Express, the match should have continued, right?

Even the announcers seemed to think so, but then it was revealed that their respective partners had been counted out and thus had both been eliminated.

It was a little confusing and would have made more sense if they’d just kept this to a standard one-fall tag, but hey, it’s a small complaint.
Your Winners: Assassin Number One and Buzz Tyler

Backstage, Dusty Rhodes was sad chilling while Tony Schiavone bigged him up.

Rhodes then cut a fast-paced shouty promo in which he promised that Ric Flair would become yesterday’s newspaper.

He probably meant 'yesterday's news,' but with Dusty, who knows?

Anything Goes Match for the National Wrestling Alliance Brass Knuckles Championship
NWA Brass Knuckles Champion Black Bart (w/ James J. Dillon) vs. NWA Tag Team Champion Ragin’ Bull

The Brass Knuckles Championship was essentially a precursor to the modern-day hardcore championships. The announcers told us many times that anything goes, but sadly neither champion Black Bart nor challenger Manny ‘Ragin’ Bull’ Fernandez really took advantage of that stipulation.

For the most part, this was just a straight-up wrestling match with added blood.

It was OK for what it was, but certainly, nothing that anybody should rush out to see.

Eventually, J.J Dillon tossed the champion a length of rope but Bart got rolled up and pinned by the Ragin’ Bull.
Your Winner and NEW NWA Brass Knuckles Champion: Ragin’ Bull

As the show went to intermission in the arena, Ricky Steamboat talked to Tony Schiavone backstage.

When he wasn’t repeating the phrase ‘everybody has been gearing up for this night all year’ over and over again, Steamboat told Schiavone that he had been seriously injured when Tully Blanchard, Black Bart and Ron Bass attacked him and was in a lot of pain. Regardless, he was looking forward to getting his revenge on Blanchard.

God bless Steamboat, he was one of the greatest in-ring performers ever but his promos were never much to write home about.

Offering a retort, TV champion Tully Blanchard and his manager J.J. Dillon reminded us of the stipulations for their match:

The title could change hands on a DQ and if Blanchard tried to run away, he’d lose the title.

The champion didn’t seem too concerned by this. He insisted that Steamboat was going down and that after that he’d go after the world champion no matter who that might be.

Tuxedo Street Fight
Loser Must Leave Town
Paul Jones (w/  Kareen Muhammed) vs. Jimmy Valiant (w/ Assassin Number One)

So, Jimmy Valiant was no longer doing the Charlie Brown gimmick he had back at Starrcade 1983. That’s a bit of a shame. As ridiculous as it was, I kind of enjoyed it.

What I didn’t enjoy this chaotic mess of nonsense.

In the opening moments, Valliant tied Paul Jones to the ropes and very quickly stripped him down to his undies.

Honestly, I thought that’s how a tuxedo match should end, but not this one. Jones broke free and went on the attack but Valliant made a comeback and looked to be in control until JJ Dillon interfered, giving the win to Mr Jones
Your Winner: Paul Jones

The loss meant that Jimmy Valiant now had to ‘leave the area,’ though it was never expressly stated what that meant.

  • Did he have to leave the NWA?
  • Did he have to leave whatever territory he was most closely associated with?
  • Or did he simply have to leave the town they were in like every wrestler on the show would have to anyway?

If so, for how long?

Who knows?

Not me, that’s who.

Ric Flair is Ready

Backstage, Tony Schiavone reminded us that Ric Flair had been champion for a year after defeating Harley Race at the first Starrcade. This wasn't technically true. Flair had dropped and regained the belt a bunch of times over the course of the year, but apparently, none of those occasions counted.

Anyway, The Nature Boy warned The American Dream that he better be half the man he claimed to be when they stepped in the ring tonight.

National Wrestling Alliance Mid-Atlantic Heavyweight Championship
NWA Mid-Atlantic Heavyweight Champion ‘Cowboy’ Ron Bass (w/ James J. Dillon) vs. Dick Slater

It’s starting to feel like Dillon is in practically every segment on this show. Meanwhile, Dick Slater used to be dirty but apparently, he’d had a wash since turning babyface.

This was all part of one of the hottest storylines in the company between Dillon’s stable and a gaggle of babyfaces but sadly the heat generated by that story didn’t translate into a quality match.

Though the fans were into it, there was nothing special about this one.

Bass won when Slater got disqualified for putting his hands on the official.
Your Winner and Still Mid-Atlantic Champion: Ron Bass

Post-match, Slater got revenge by taking out both Bass and Dillon.

We then got a brass rendition of the Star-Spangled Banner as a clearly unsteady cameraman tried to focus on the flag.

Keith Larson & Ole Anderson vs. Ivan & Nikita Koloff

Keith Larson was the brother of Don Kernodle.

Know how I know?

Because the announcers mentioned it about twenty times before he and Ole Anderson had even fully reached the ring.

Seriously, this was like the NWA’s version of Rellik.

Speaking of Kernodle. He showed up in a neck-brace to hang out on the apron and wave the American flag with Ole Anderson and Keith Larson who was his brother don’t you know?

The match finally got underway and turned into a good, solid traditional tag team match.

The faces spent the first part of the contest in control, Anderson and Larson taking turns to work over Ivan Koloff's arm until The Russian Bear turned the tides for his team with a Greco-Roman eye poke.

From there, we got bear hugs aplenty and some enjoyable action before Ivan picked up the win for his team by blasting Larson with a chain behind the referee’s back.
Your Winners: Ivan & Nikita Koloff

Afterwards, Don Kernodle took to the ring and used his crutches to beat the crap out of the Koloffs.

National Wrestling Alliance World Television Championship
NWA World TV Champion Tully Blanchard (w/ James J. Dillon) vs. Ricky Steamboat

Both men had put up $10,000. Winner takes all.

Well, this was excellent.

Proving that consistent selling really is a lost art these days, Ricky Steamboat came into the match with his injuries and sold them well from bell to bell in the kind of way that you just do t see today.

When he did get control of the match, he proved why he was one of the greatest of his generation With some outstanding work. Tully Blanchard was no slouch either and played his role perfectly.

That included being the devious heel champion who blasted his opponent in the head with a discreet International Object to retain his title.
Your Winner and Still TV Champion: Tully Blanchard

National Wrestling Alliance United States Championship
NWA US Champion Wahoo McDaniel vs. Superstar Billy Graham

In direct contrast to the previous match, this wasn’t very good at all.

Superstar Billy Graham looked nothing like you remember Superstar Billy Graham looking like. He looked like how Bruno Sammartino looked in the last few years of his life and was apparently doing a weird karate gimmick.

Wahoo McDaniel was incredibly over, but even his popularity did nothing for the match.

Wahoo won with a tomahawk chop but the whole thing was not fun.
Your Winner and Still US Champion: Wahoo McDaniel

Out in the dressing room, Tony Schiavone interviewed Smokin’ Joe Frazier and two men who would be the judges for our main event.

It was hard to tell if Frazier was drunk, bored, or had taken one too many punches to the head, but his interview comments made him sound dumb.

National Wrestling Alliance World Heavyweight Championship
NWA World Heavyweight Champion Nature Boy Ric Flair vs. The American Dream Dusty Rhodes

Special Guest Referee: Smokin’ Joe Frazier
In one of those bizarre, it-could-only-happen-in-the-80s moments, Dusty Rhodes came down wearing a silver and purple robe with purple smoke bellowing out and Prince’s Purple Rain (dubbed on the network) playing.

I mean, I love Prince, but it but just looked odd for Dusty.

Meanwhile, Flair came down in a hot pink robe that made him look like a drag queen.

The match started off well, got better, and was on the verge of turning into an all-time classic...

...Then Joe Fraizer got involved and the whole thing turned to hell.

Dusty got an admittedly nasty-looking cut in his eye that Fraizer kept stopping the match to check out the eye and eventually just stopped the match, awarding it to Flair.
Your Winner and Still NWA Heavyweight Champion: Ric Flair

If that had happened today there'd be very loud "BULLSH*T" chants and possible riots.

Post-Match Interviews

Backstage, Ric Flair told Tony Schiavone that he only cared about two things:

The title and his million-dollar cheque. He had both and was therefore happy.

After cutting to Sollie and Caudle, Schiavone then caught up with a very angry Dusty Rhodes who was unsurprisingly irritated at both Flair and Fraizer.

Finally, after the post-show credits, Fraizer himself cut another sloppy-arse promo in which he defended his terrible decision making.







Starrcade 1983 had been both historically important and critically acclaimed. Starrcade 1984 was neither.

Sure, only the Graham/McDaniel match was flat-out bad, but outside of the Blanchard/Steamboat match and the first two-thirds of the main event, nothing was particularly memorable. Then there was that ending, which was both infuriating and insulting.

Seriously, Starrcade 84 is not a show you necessarily need to spend any time with.



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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.