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 Rock n Roll Express. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Rock n Roll Express. Show all posts

Thursday, 31 December 2020

PPV REVIEW: NWA Starrcade 87 - Chi-Town Heat

NWA Starrcade 1987 - Event poster
November 26, 1987
IC Pavilion, Chicago, Illinois

Despite being pro wrestling's premier event a good two years before Wrestlemania, Starrcade didn't actually make it's way until PPV until this, the 1987 event.

Not only was Starrcade '87 the first NWA PPV, it was also the first Starrcade to emanate from a single venue since Greensboro exclusively hosted the 1984 event.

Yet as interesting as those two 'firsts' happen to be, neither happened to be as historically significant as another first:
This was the first NWA Starrcade to take place since Jim Crockett promotions bought out the original Universal Wrestling Federation.

That was a big deal, because in buying the UWF, the brand brought across a number of big name stars, including the future face of the company, a man called Sting.

Of course, even with the lure of PPV and major stars, Starrcade 1987 would be a failure from a financial standpoint as Vince McMahon promoted the first annual Survivor Series on the same night just to stick to it to the NWA.

Still, that didn't mean that the show couldn't deliver from a creative and in-ring standpoint.

Here's what went down when the National Wrestling Alliance turned up the Chi-Town Heat.







Welcome to Starrcade

NWA Starrcade 1987 - Jim Ross & Tony Schiavone called the event
First things first, tonight’s show marks the first PPV to feature the one and only Jim Ross on commentary.

Years before the two would serve as the lead announcers for rival brands at during the Monday Night Wars (and certainly years before things came full circle with them reunited under the AEW banner), JR joined forces with Tony Schiavone to welcome us to tonight’s event and call the action.:
The two talked about the nights five title matches before we went to the ring for yet more NWA PPV debuts.

Six-Man Tag Team Match Rick Steiner, ‘Hot Stuff’ Eddie Gilbert and Larry Zybysko (w/ Baby Doll) vs. Sting, Michael P.S Hayes, and ‘Gorgeous’ Jimmy Garvin (w/ Precious)

NWA Starrcade 1987 - A Man Called Sting
Yep, only Jimmy Garvin, Precious and Baby Doll had appeared at Starrcade before, making this the first time we’d seen Sting, Michael Hayes, Eddie Gilbert, Larry Zybysko, and Rick Steiner on a major NWA show. Also, you know what I miss? Sting‘a bad ass rat tail.

Anyway, all that aside, this was probably the best opening match on a Starrcade show so far.

Whereas most Starrcde openingbouts upto this point had been heavy on the weardown holds and submissions, this was pretty much non-stop action from the moment the bell rang to the moment the whole thing was ruled a draw due to the time-limit expiring. A great match given the standards of the time, this was a lot of fun.
Time Limit Draw


NWA Starrcade 1987 - Missy Hyatt said she was there to do interviews but never appeared again
After some post-match analysis from Ross and Schiavone, we went backstage where Missy Hyatt told us that she was standing by ready to interview the stars of tonight’s show.

Missy was lying though. We neither see nor hear from her for the rest of the event.

Universal Wrestling Federation Championship
UWF Champion Dr. Death Steve Williams vs. NWA Western States Herritage Champion Barry Windham

In the mid-1980s Bill Watts tried to take his Mid-South Wrestling promotion national by rebranding it as the Universal Wrestling Federation. This failed, and the company was sold to Jim Crockett Promotions who decided to keep the UWF title.

Here, Dr. Death Steve Williams defended that title against his buddy Barry Windham in a match that the crowd absolutely hated but which this writer thought was a decent face vs. face match.

Ignoring the obvious disdain and loud ‘boring’ chants coming from the audience, the two looked as if they were genuinely trying to out-wrestle one another. Not hurt each other. Not even necessarily beat each other, just out-wrestle each other.

While it wasn’t poor, the crowd took a dump all over it only popped once, when Steve Williams tried a leapfrog but went bollocks-first into Barry Windham’s head.

Ever the good sport, Windham gave his friend time to recover, but Williams didn’t repay the favour. When Barry got knocked to the outside, he climbed back in the ring but got immediately rolled up and pinned by the champion.
Your Winner and Still UWF Champion: Steve Williams

Up next, a maybe that has been universally derided over the years

Skywalkers MatchNWA United States Tag Team Champions The Midnight Express (Beautiful Bobby Eaton & Sweet Stan Lane w/ Jim Cornette and Big Bubba Rogers) vs. The Rock & Roll Express (Ricky Morton & Robert Gibson)

NWA Starrcade 1987 - The Midnight Express faced The Rock 'n' Roll Express in a scaffold match
The biggest criticism people seem to have of this scaffold match is that The Midnight Express and The Rock ‘n’ Roll Express were capable of having great wrestling matches but sticking them
on a narrow platform twenty feet in the air removed that capability and forced them to do very little.

That’s a fair argument, but you have to wonder if those who criticise this match have seen the atrocity that was the Starrcade ‘86 scaffold match between The Midnights and The Road Warriors.

Compared to that match, this match was a five-star classic.

OK, so it would have still been infinitely better if they’d just been allowed to wrestle, and OK, a scaffold match really was the worst idea of all time, but this was still more exciting than the 1986 version thanks to some Big Bubba Rogers interference, the use of Jim Cornette’s tennis racket, and the overwhelming popularity of Ricky Morton & Robert Gibson.

Naturally, the good guys won after Bobby Eaton and Stan Lane hung on the underside of the platform and took very careful bumps to the canvas.

The crowd didn’t care about that. They didn’t care how little action there’d been. They loved Ricky & Robert and went crazy for them.
Your Winners: The Rock ‘n’ Roll Express

Afterwards, Big Bubba Rogers climbed up the platform and challenged Ricky Morton to a fight. Hilariously, Morton smacked Rogers in the balls and ran off.

I’m still laughing at that just thinking about it.

A (Really Long) Word With Gorgeous Jimmy

NWA Starrcade 1987 - Jimmy Garvin (w/ Precious)
Out in the back, Bob Caudle stood by for an interview with Gorgeous Jimmy Garvin and Michael P.S Hayes, who weren’t officially wrestling as The Fabulous Freebirds at this point.

With Precious by his side, Garvin did all the talking for his team, and man did he talk.

This was a really long, but really enjoyable promo in which he ran down most of the card and spoke in depth (and I mean in *serious* depth) about the matches that mattered most to him.

First, he warned us that he and Hayes would be challenging the winners of the upcoming Road Warriors/Horsemen clash for the tag team titles. Then he turned his attention to his kayfabe brother Ronnie Garvin, who would be defending the World Heavyweight Championship against Nature Boy Ric Flair later on in the show.

After turning face by saving Ronnie from an attack by Jim Cornette and The Midnight Express, Jimmy was all about his brother retaining the gold tonight.

Dr. Death - The Wrestling Machine

This was followed by Caudle interviewing Steve Williams. Far less entertaining than Garvin, the UWF stumbled his way through a shouty, clumsy promo in which he told us that he was the Wrestling Machine of the Year, as if somebody had given him an award.

After putting over Barry Windham, Williams then told us he was the Wrestling Machine of the World, which I suppose made a little bit more sense.

Finally, the Wrestling Machine of the Year of the World promised to defend his UWF title forever. Unbeknownst to him, the belt would be deactivated a few weeks later.

World Television Championship Title Unification MatchUWF World Television Champion Terry Taylor (w/ Hot Stuff Eddie Gilbert) vs. NWA Television Nikita Koloff

NWA Starrcade 1987 - Nikita Koloff battled Terry Taylor in a TV title unification match
There was a point early in this match when your reviewer was tempted to write this whole thing off as one long arm bar.

Thankfully, I stuck with it, because as soon as Terry Taylor took control of the match it got better and better, giving us some of the best professional wrestling seen on a Starrcade show so far.

There will be some critics who say that this nigh-on 20 minute match went too long, but that’s not the case here. The first half dragged, sure, but the second half was wonderful.

To the surprise of no one, fan-favourite and NWA star Nikita Koloff defeated the villainous UWF TV champion Taylor to win the match and unify the gold.
Your Winner and Unified TV champion: Nikita Koloff
Moving swiftly on...

National Wrestling Alliance World Tag Team Championship NWA Tag Team Champions Arn Anderson & Tully Blanchard (w/ James J. Dillon) vs. The Road Warriors (Road Warrior Hawk & Road Warrior Animal w/ Paul Ellering)

NWA Starrcade 1987 - The Road Warriors faced Arn Anderson and Tully Blanchard for the tag team titles
Take a red hot crowd, the pure spectacle of a dominant power team like The Road Warriors and the talent of two performers like Arn Anderson and Tully Blanchard, and what you’ve got is a recipe for an excellent tag team match.

Pure fun from start to finish, this one was at its best when Anderson and Blanchard were selling for their challengers, not just selling but really making Hawk and Animal look like the scariest, baddest dudes in all of pro wrestling.

That said, it was still pretty entertaining even when the champions were in charge.
In fact, the only disappointing aspect was the finish.

Blanchard knocked referee Tommy Young to the outside. The LOD hurled Anderson over the top rope and hit Blanchard with the Doomsday Device. Earl Hebner ran in and counted the pin, but Young argues that he’d seen Anderson get thrown over the ropes and since that was naughty, he was giving the win to the champs.
Your Winners via DQ and Still Tag Team Champions: Arn Anderson & Tully Blanchard

Backstage, Jack Gregory and Magnum T.A. ran down tonight’s card before sending it to Bob Caudle for some interviews.
NWA Starrcade 1987 - Jack Gregory interviews Magnum TA

First up, Nikita Two Belts put over Terry Taylor before boasting about how good it made his heart feel to be the unified TV champion. Next on Koloff’s list of goals was to become our new TV champion.

Then, James J. Dillon admitted that whilst he was glad Arn & Tully we’re still the champs and he had been helping Flair train for his title match, he had mostly been focusing on Lex Luger facing Dusty Rhodes for the US title.

Both promos were pretty effective in their own way, even if Nikita’s was the more entertaining of the two.

Steel Cage Match for the National Wrestling Alliance United States Championship NWA US Champion Lex Luger (w/ J.J. Dillon) vs. Dusty Rhodes

If Dusty Rhodes loses, he can’t wrestle in the US again for 90 days

My goodness, this was insanely boring.


NWA Starrcade 1987 - Dusty Rhodes faced Lex Luger in a really boring cage match
Early on, Dusty Rhodes decided that the best way to really sell the violence and intensity of a steel cage match was to stand in the middle of the ring holding Luger in an arm bar for eight thousand hours.

Luger then made a comeback and decided that since the arm bar had worked so well on him, he was going to use it too.

Dusty bladed because of course he did, but to be honest I’m not even sure how it happened. The whole match was so deathly dull that I sort of passed out and missed that.

Rhodes won the title, but I’m honestly not sure why everybody sung the guy’s praises so much. We’re now on the fourth Starrcade show and I’ve still yet to see him do anything entertaining.
Your Winner and NEW US Champion: Dusty Rhodes
And finally, ladies and gentlemen, your main event of the evening.

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

NWA Starrcade 1987 - Ric flair taunts World Champion Ronnie Garvin with a WOOOO!
Ronnie Garvin’s brief 1987 run with the NWA World Heavyweight Championship has been universally panned over the years. Even on the night, the Chicago crowd loudly booed the babyface champion’s offence and greeted him with loud ‘GARVIN SUCKS’ chants.

But Garvin didn’t suck. At least not on this night.

He and Flair went at it in what was easily the best Starrcade main event since Flair was last in the challenger role back at the inaugural event in 1983.

It was an intense fight with Flair at his best -as he always was- when getting his ass kicked. Even then, the crowd wanted him to win and went nuts when he finally wrapped up Garvin and pinned him.
Your Winner and NEW World Heavyweight Champion: Ric Flair

Afterwards, Flair celebrated with his title before Schiavone and Ross closed the show and sent us to a highlights package.






On the whole, Starrcade 86 was a good show. Sure, the Rhodes/Luger thing was enough to put anyone to sleep, and not every match was a classic, but the TV, tag team, and world title matches were very enjoyable and worth watching. For this fan, the best thing about this show was that it finally felt like it had all the NWA/WCW stars that are so synonymous with the brand. As well as Flair, we saw Sting, Luger, The Road Warriors, Rick Steiner, The Freebirds, all the classic stars. In other words, this is a good one to watch.





Other WCW Starrcade reviews:
Other 1987 events:
Be the first to catch the latest Retro Pro Wrestling reviews by following on Facebook or Twitter @RetroPWrestling.

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, 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:
Be the first to catch the latest Retro Pro Wrestling reviews by following on Facebook or Twitter @RetroPWrestling.

Thursday, 26 November 2020

EVENT REVIEW: Smoky Mountain Wrestling - Thanksgiving Thunder 1993

Smoky Mountain Wrestling - Thanksgiving Thunder 1993
November 28th, 1993
Freedom Hall Civic Center, Johnson City, Tennessee

Much like the National Wrestling Alliance had done with The Great American Bash tour in the 1980s, Smoky Mountain Wrestling promoted a series of events across their region all under the same name, Thanksgiving Thunder.

In truth, there wasn't a tremendous amount of difference from one event to the next, so it took a little bit of detective work to figure out that the event we're about to review from this  YouTube video was indeed the November 28th stop in Johnson City, Tennessee.

To be honest, it wouldn't make much of a difference if it wasn't.

Look into it, and it soon becomes apparent that the cards were pretty much the same for every stop.

Anyway, whatever date it happened to be, here's what went down at Thanksgiving Thunder 1993.





The Loser is the Winner...or something

After a brief introduction from our announcers, Dirty Dutch Mantell and Les Thatcher, we went to some pre-recorded comments from 'Suicide Blonde' Chris Candido and Bobby Blaze.

Smoky Mountain Wrestling - Chris Candido faced Bobby Blaze for a turkey
The two were set to square off in tonight's opening contest with the stipulation that the loser would get tarred and feathered.

That was a relatively straight forward concept, and if they'd left it at that, we'd all be fine.

Instead, Blaze and Candido kept talking about how 'the loser would be the winner' without actually explaining what the hell that actually meant.

Ultimately, it turned out that if you lost the match, you'd be crowd the 'Turkey Champion' and that getting tarred and feathered would be your 'prize.'

There really was no need for that.

A straight-forward 'something bad will happen to the loser' gimmick works just fine without having to complicate it.

Anyway, both promos were fine, with Candido proving once again why he was such an effective heel.

Loser Gets Tarred & Feathered

WWA World and WWA Junior Heavyweight Champion 'Suicide Blonde' Chris Candido vs. Bobby Blaze

Smoky Mountain Wrestling -   Bobby Blaze faced Chris Candido in a 'loser gets tarred and featured' match
Neither of Candido's titles were on the line in what proved to be a pretty solid, 20-minute opening contest.

I've often said that Candido was an underrated performer, and it saddens me that we never got to see him enjoy a more credible singles run in the World Wrestling Federation.

Stripped of the ridiculous gimmick, Candido had the makings of a decent Intercontinental Champion. It's a shame that circumstances got in the way of that.

Regardless, Candido and Blaze performed well together here, building up a traditional heel vs. face match with what was -at the time- fairly fast-paced energy.

Towards the finish, Candido planted Blaze with an awesome top-rope powerbomb, but for some reason, that wasn't enough to put his opponent away. Instead, the two had to keep at it until the Suicide Blonde was able to cheat his way to a pinfall by using the ropes for leverage.
Your Winner: Chris Candido

Except, that wasn't quite the end of it.

Candido immediately got to work on tarring and feathering his rival, but before he could do too much damage, SMW official Sandy Scott came out an ordered the match to be restarted due to Candido's shenanigans.

The WWA Champion immediately attacked Blaze and tarred and feathered him anyway, causing Sandy Scott to fine him $1,000.

That was pretty much that. Apparently, Candido was disqualified, but that was never officially announced.

Daryl Van Horne Promises to End Tim Horner

Out in the back, Daryl Van Horne (Father James Mitchell) promised that the reign of Prince Kharis was about to begin in Smoky Mountain wrestling and that all the other wrestlers would fall to him.

'White Lightning' Tim Horner vs. Prince Kharis (w/ Daryl Van Horne)

Smoky Mountain Wrestling - Prince Kharis faced White Lightning Tim Horner
Daryl Van Horne continued to hype his man when he came to the ring, picking up the microphone and reminding Tim Horner that he'd already offered him an opportunity to back out of the match.

Since Horner had showed up, Horne promised that he was now in big trouble. He then raised a scroll and began chanting some gibberish that we were supposed to believe was ancient Egyptian as his wrestler, Prince Kharis, made his way to the ring.

I kid you not, Karis was the most ridiculous looking thing ever in pro wrestling.

If you thought it was bad enough the time that WCW dressed Ron Reis up as a mummy and called him 'The Yetti,' trust me, you ain't seen nothing yet.

SMW's mummy looked like somebody had bought a cheap knock off of The Yetti' costume and wore it at the most piss-poor Halloween party ever. I mean, he looked like a really shit version of one of those creepypasta stories the kids are into these days.

He looked like somebody doing a bad parody of what they thought a wrestling mummy should look like.

He looked, in a word, like crap.

The match eventually got underway, with Kharis no-selling most of Horner's offense. Every time White Lightning struck the walking toilet paper man, a load of dust came off his body because, you know, he was a 4,500-year-old mummy.

In other circumstances, I imagine that might have looked pretty impressive, but here, it looked just as ridiculous as the rest of the match.

After getting his ass whooped, Horner finally mounted a comeback and left the mummy reeling, but then Daryl Van Horne interfered because the best way to get a seven-foot invincible monster over is to have your tiny manager interfere on your behalf.

The interference was enough to allow Kharis to clobber Horner over the back and knock him out cold.

Referee Mark Curtis raised Horner's hand three times, but when Horner was unable to show that he was still conscious, Curtis ruled the match over.
Your Winner via knockout: Prince Kharis

My goodness. I've reviewed some crap over the years here on Retro Pro Wrestling, but that was just about the most ridiculous thing I've ever seen.

Post-match, Kharis locked Tim Horner in a cobra clutch, that classic move that was so wildly popular back in the days of ancient Egypt.

Eventually, Dirty White Boy -now apparently a face- ran out to make the save.

The Bullet and The Master are Going to Stab Each Other

Smoky Mountain Wrestling - Kevin Sullivan threatened to stab The Bullet
Backstage, 'The Master' Kevin Sullivan claimed that he was jealous of Bob Armstrong because 'The Bullet' had a split personality and he wanted it.

Since he didn't have that particular mental illness, the always-deranged Sulivan vowed that he was going to stab Bullet right in the heart and liver in their upcoming Singapore Spike match.

Offering a retort, Bob Armstrong promised to be just as violent towards Sullivan.

Both gave pretty compelling promos, though it would have been nice if they'd explained exactly why Armstrong was now wearing a mask and answering only to the name of 'The Bullet.'

Singapore Spike Match
Kevin Sullivan vs. The Bullet

Smoky Mountain Wrestling - The Bullet threatened to stab Kevin Sullivan in a Singapore Spike match
If I've learned anything from watching Smoky Mountain Wrestling over the last year, it's that major events like this one barely had any matches that didn't clock in around the 20-minute mark.

This one was the exception to that particular rule.

Lasting an incredibly short time for an SMW bout, this one saw Bullet and Sullivan engage in a reasonably enjoyable brawl before the masked Armstrong got the win.
Your Winner: The Bullet

Out in the back, The Rock 'n' Roll Express insisted that they weren't scared that Jim Cornette had brought The Moondogs into SMW to take them out while Jim Cornette ranted and raved about how much The Moondogs were going to beat Ricky Morton & Robert Gibson.

As Cornette screamed into the microphone, Rex and Spot trashed the backstage area.

Streetfight
The Rock 'n' Roll Express (Ricky Morton & Robert Gibson) vs. The Moondogs (Moondog Rex & Moondog Spot)

Smoky Mountain Wrestling - The Rock 'n' Roll Express faced The Moondogs
I'll be honest with you, ladies and gentleman, I enjoyed this match way more than I thought I would.

Neither time wasted any time in beating the crap out of the other, attacking with 2x4s, trashcans and whatever junk they could find around ringside.

The result was a fun, old-school brawl which, while devoid of any high spots, sure was a riot to watch.

In the end, one of the Moondogs walloped Mark Curtis, causing the official to ring for the bell.
No Contest

Afterward, both teams continued to brawl. Even Jim Cornette got involved and battered Robert Gibson with a stop sign. The Rock 'n' Roll Express continually goaded The Moondogs to get back in the ring, but this ultimately went nowhere.

The Heavyweight Championship is Next

Smoky Mountain Wrestling - Prime Time Brian Lee (w. Tammy Fytch) defended the SMW title against Dirty White Boy
Out in the back, Smoky Mountain Wrestling Heavyweight Champion Prime Time Brian Lee and Tammy Fytch talked smack about Lee's upcoming opponent, The Dirty White Boy.

Offering a response, DWB and his new valet, the imaginatively-named Dirty White Girl promised to take out the champ and his manager in the upcoming contest.

I'll be honest with you, this 25+ year recording hasn't aged all that well and it was kind of difficult to make out whether these promos were actually any good or not. All I know is that the two men and two women hated each other and would square off next.

Smoky Mountain Wrestling Heavyweight Championship
SMW Heavyweight Champion Prime Time Brian Lee (w/ Tammy Fytch) vs. The Dirty White Boy (w/ The Dirty White Girl)

Smoky Mountain Wrestling - Dirty White Boy (w/ Dirty White Girl) challenged Prime Time Brian Lee for the SMW championship
All in all, this was a good match. Not a great match, not an all-time classic, but a good match with a hot crowd and some solid action.

After a lengthy back-and-forth, Dirty White Boy looked to have the whole thing in the bag. Tammy Fytch got up on the apron to distract the referee, allowing her man Brian Lee to waffle the champion with an International Object.

Irate, Dirty White Girl jumped in the ring and leaped onto the champion's back, flashing her knickers in the process.

It was at that point that Mark Curtis turned around, saw White Girl, bare ass and all, and called for the bell.
Your Winner via disqualification and still SMW Champion: Prime Time Brian Lee

Post-match, Lee and Fytch did a number on DWB, but he and Dirty White Girl regrouped and stood tall in the middle of the ring, much to the delight of the live crowd.

Get a haircut, and get a real job

After a quick word from the announce team, we next went to a video package highlighting SMW tag team champions The Bruise Brothers.

To be honest, the video wasn't that interesting. It was basically clips of the future Skull & 8-Ball laying waste to a variety of opponents set to the song 'Get a Haircut
and Get a Real Job' by George Thorogood.

Jim Cornette and The Heavenly Bodies are Ready for The Bruise Brothers

The Bruise Brothers, you see, used to be in Jim Cornette's stable, but had a falling out with them and turned face, leading to tonight's match - a "gang fight" falls count anywhere match against The Heavenly Bodies.

Before the bout, Cornette, Gigolo Jimmy Del Ray, and Dr. Tom Pritchard cut a raving promo in which they declared that they weren't scared of the bigger, burlier Bruise Boys and besides, they had something up their sleeve.

Tag Team Gang Fight
The Heavenly Bodies (Gigolo Jimmy Del Ray & Dr. Tom Pritchard w/ Jim Cornette) vs. SMW Tag Team Champion The Bruise Brothers (Ron & Don)

Smoky Mountain Wrestling - The Heavenly Bodies faced The Bruise Brothers in a Tag Team Gang Fight
The Bruise Brothers' tag team titles weren't on the line in this match, a 'bring your favorite weapon' contest fought under Falls Count Anywhere rules.

Before the bell, Cornette and his men got on the microphone to rile up the crowd, ensuring everyone was more than ready to see them get their asses kicked.

And get their asses kicked they did..at least at first.

The Bruise Brothers stormed the ring and immediately set about laying waste to their opponents. In the opening moments, a wooden door was set up in the corner of the ring and Jimmy Del Ray was sent crashing through it. To give credit where it's due, the cameraman got a great shot of Del Ray's head sticking through the wooden door like something out of a Tom & Jerry cartoon.

From there, the bedlam continued.

There were no high spots, no jaw-dropping moments, just four angry dudes beating the hell out of each other with whatever they could get their hands on.

Sure, the fact that neither the cameras nor the commentators could keep up with the action when all four men paired off and scattered themselves around the arena, but apart from that, this was a fun main event.

The finish came when Mark Curtis took a tumble, giving  Jim Cornette the opportunity to douse a white rag in ether and smother one of the Bruise Brothers with it until he passed out. Before he could revive Curtis to make the match-winning count, however, the other Brother returned to the ring, tossed Jimmy through a table, then used the rag to knock Tom Pritchard out cold.  Curtis was revived, a ten count was delivered, and this one was over.
Your Winners: The Bruise Brothers

Except, it wasn't really.

After the bell, The Moondogs wobbled to the ring and helped Jimmy Del Ray and Jim Cornette beat up on Ron and Don, all while Pritchard lay out cold on the apron.

"Now who's the baddest street fights in Smoky Mountain Wrestling?" yelled Cornette as his team's arch-rivals writhed in agony on the floor.

Just when you thought it was over, we went backstage for a post-show wrap-up from Les Thatcher, not that Thatcher had an opportunity to say much as he was immediately interrupted by Ron and Don.

Last seeing sprawled out, half-dead in the middle of the ring, the duo had made a miraculous recovery and were fully pumped-up as they ranted and raved about getting revenge and even vowed to attack the Moondogs with an angle grinder.

I'm not kidding about that last part either.





It's a shame that the video I have for SMW Thanksgiving Thunder 1993 is of such poor quality because it really did make the whole event that much more difficult to watch. Looking past that, however, this was mostly a fun show.

Ignore the stupid Turkey Champion thing, and you had a pretty decent opener in Candido vs. Blaze. Add the entertaining SMW title fight and the old-school chaos of the main event, and you can almost forgive SMW for putting the abomination known as Prince Kharis on this show.

Overall, Thanksgiving Thunder '93 may not have been Smoky Mountain Wrestling's finest hour, but it certainly wasn't terrible.


Other 1993 event reviews:

Other Smoky Mountain Wrestling Reviews:
Get more from Retro Pro Wrestling on our official Facebook page.

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.