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

Thursday, 24 December 2020

PPV REVIEW: WWF King of the Ring 2001

WWE / WWF - King of the Ring 2001 - Event Poster
June 24, 2001,
Continental Airlines Arena, East Rutherford, New Jersey

Over the course of the year 2000, Kurt Angle had enjoyed the best rookie year in WWF history up to that point.

Not only has he captured the European,  Intercontinental and WWF Championships, he had also been crowned that year’s King of the Ring winner.

Tonight, the Olympic Gold Medalist was looking to keep his incredible streak alive by becoming the first two-time King of the Ring winner on top of facing Shane McMahon in a grudge match.

Yet that wasn’t the only interesting thing happening in the WWF at this time.

On Raw, Triple H had suffered a horrific injury in a tag team title match on Raw in which he and partner Stone Cold Steve Austin faced Chris Jericho and Chris Benoit. Despite gutting it out to finish the match, The Game’s injury was so severe that he’d be out of action until the following year.







With The Rock out shooting The Scorpion King and The Undertaker tangled up in a dumb stalker angle with DDP, that left only Austin and Angle propping up the top of the card.

That perhaps explains why tonight, Benoit and Jericho found themselves in tonight’s main event, taking on Stone Cold for the WWF Championship.

Would the two Chrises take the title back to Canada?

Let’s find out...

Welcome to King of the Ring...

WWE / WWF - King of the Ring 2001 - Paul Heyman & Jim Ross called the event
Our opening video was one of the WWF’s best yet. It featured shots of a royal throne that looked ominously like an electric chair, sitting in a dark, creepy-looking building while we got shots of some of the main stars we’d see on tonight’s show.

It was very creatively done and very impressive, and it was followed, as always, by shots of the crowd and a greeting from the announce team, tonight made up of Jim Ross and Paul Heyman.

As the Dane was panned the arena, we saw that the throne/electric chair motif had made it to the set design, with an enormous version of it looming over the entrance.

Whatever else may have gone done on this night, there was no disputing the fact that this certainly felt -and looked- like the biggest and most important King of the Ring PPV to date.

Make Me Famous

WWE / WWF - King of the Ring 2001 - DDP wanted The Undertaker to make him famous
Before we got to any of the matches, the show was interrupted by the WWF theme of one Diamond Dallas Page.

You know DDP, right? The guy was universally loved during his last few years with WCW and who famously had a smoking hot wife called Kimberly who we’d seen on TV countless times over the years?

Yep, well the WWF brain trust had decided in their infinite wisdom to ignore all of that and introduce him to their audience as an unhinged heel who was stalking The Undertaker’s wife, Sarah. Now, far be it for this writer to say anything negative about Sarah, but just to reiterate, he was stalking her while he had Kimberly Page, this Kimberly Page sitting at home.

Anyway, Dallas made his way to the ring via the crowd because -as Paul Heyman quickly reminded us- he was a WCW star and had no right to be there. This despite the fact that he had his own entrance music.

Once in the ring, the former WCW Champion declared that he had some very non-PG photos that he had taken of Sarah Taker and reminded us that he’d gone after her not because he’d suddenly gone insane, but because he wanted The Undertaker to make him famous.

To that end, he challenged The American Bad Ass to come and find him, announcing that he wouldn’t be hard to find as he’d be sat in the front row with a sign that read ‘MAKE ME FAMOUS.’

DDP clearly did the best he could with what he’d been given here. It was just a shame that what he’d been given was pretty dumb.

After that, JR told us that Spike Dudley and a mystery partner would challenge The Dudley Boyz for the tag team titles while Heyman addressed rumours that either Chris Benoit or Chris Jericho had been negotiating with WCW and were looking to take the title off Steve Austin and into enemy territory.

King of the Ring Semi-Final 1
Kurt Angle vs. Christian

WWE / WWF - King of the Ring 2001 - Kurt Angle faced Christian in the first semi-final
This was as good an opening match as you were going to get from two guys like Kurt Angle and Christian, with lots of quality action leading to an exciting finish.

At one point, WCW owner Shane McMahon came down, seemingly to distract his rival Kurt Angle.

However, after a great sequence in which Christian escaped the ankle lock,  got picked up in an Angle Slam but reversed that it unto an Unprettier, McMahon stopped him from getting the pin.

The confusion allowed The Olympic Gold Medalist to regroup, Angle Slam his opponent and win the match.
Your Winner: Kurt Angle (Advances to the final)

The announcers couldn’t understand why Shane would do such a thing if he hated Angle, but really, it was obvious:

The two were due to meet in a street fight later on in the show so, if Shane set it up so that Kurt had to compete in two matches first, that gave him an obvious advantage.

Where’s Vince?

WWE / WWF - King of the Ring 2001 - Jonathan Coachman interviews WWF Champion Steve Austin (w/ Debra)
Backstage, Jonathan Coachman wanted to get Steve Austin’s thoughts on the rumours that Benoit and Jericho were planning to beat him and take the title to WCW.

Austin, however, had no idea what he was talking about and only wanted to know where Vince McMahon was.

Though this wasn’t yet full-on comedic Austin, it was getting there and was pretty funny.

Please, I’m Beggin Ya, Make Me Famous

For saying the WWF were acting like Dallas Page was a nobody, they sure were spending a lot of time on him.

Up next, we got a look back at him stalking Undertaker’s wife and ‘Taker himself promising to kick his ass. This was followed by Paul Heyman interviewing Page, only to be interrupted by footage on the titantron which showed someone stalking Page while he ordered lunch at a restaurant.

Naturally, Page didn’t find it amusing.

King of the Ring Semi-Final 2
Edge vs. Rhyno

WWE / WWF - King of the Ring 2001 - Edge
Looking to do what his tag team partner couldn’t, Edge locked up with real-life buddy and on-screen associate Rhyno in this second semi-final match.

Though some might disagree, this definitely looked like the better of the two semi-finals, with both men holding nothing back and really turning up the aggression.

At one point, we got a great-looking spot where Rhyno’s gore and Edge’s spear canceled each other out, though even that full-on collision wasn’t enough to put either man away.

After more solid action, Edge finally hit Rhyno with the Impaler to secure his place in the final.

Man, that was fun.
Your Winner: Edge (Advances to the Final)

WWE / WWF - King of the Ring 2001 - Spike Dudley & Molly Holly were a couple
Earlier, on Heat, Spike Dudley had challenged his brothers for the tag team title. The smallest Dudley had fallen out with his brothers as part of a Romeo & Juliet angle in which he’d fallen in love with Molly Holly.

Live in the arena, with Molly by his side, Spike refused to be drawn into revealing his mystery partner, promising to save that for when he hit the ring.

Before he got there, however, he and Molly were confronted by D’Von and Bubba Ray, both of whom were playing the heel.

Spike wasn’t the only one refusing to give anyway. Back in the locker room, Chris Jericho toyed with new interviewer Tazz by announcing that he was aware of the rumours he would take the WWF title to WCW but wasn’t going to say whether they were true or not.

World Wrestling Federation World Tag Team Championship
WWF Tag Team Champions The Dudley Boyz (Bubba Ray & D’Von Dudley) vs. Spike Dudley & WWF Intercontinental Champion Kane

WWE / WWF - King of the Ring 2001 - The Dudley Boyz faced Kane & Spike Dudley
This was better than it probably sounds. The Big Man/Little Man combo of Little Spike and The Big Red Machine added a unique touch to what could have otherwise been a mediocre tag team match.

It was especially fun to see Spike come so desperately close to winning the tag team titles only for The Dudleyz to kick out at the last moment. That’s to say nothing of the great moment when Kane gorilla pressed his pint-sized partner and launched him to the outside on top of Bubba Ray and D’Von.

Alas, even that wasn’t enough to get the win for the makeshift team as the champs retained thanks to the 3D.
Your Winners and Still Tag Team Champions: The Dudley Boyz

Afterwards, D’Von got the tables but Kane ended up slamming Bubba through it, keeping up the tradition of The Dudley Boyz never (or at least rarely) successfully putting anyone through a table on PPV despite that being their whole gimmick.

Coming Up, The Final

Backstage, tensions seemed high between Edge & Christian, but all Christian wanted to do was wish Edge well in the final.

Meanwhile, over at WWF New York, 1999 King of the Ring winner Bad Bum Billy Gunn was furious about the fact that his stock had plummeted so far that he wasn’t even on tonight’s card.

King of the Ring Final
Edge vs. Kurt Angle

WWE / WWF - King of the Ring 2001 - Kurt Angle tries to get out of facing Edge in the final
Before they locked up, Angle encouraged Edge to forfeit so that he (Angle) could be well-rested for his street fight with Shane McMahon while also sparing the future Rated-R Superstar the embarrassment of losing to the Olympic Gold Medalist.

Unsurprisingly, Edge responded by walloping Angle in the mush. The bell sounded, and this soon evolved into another solid match.

Though it’s arguable that the two semi-finals were better, there’s no denying that Angle and Edge put on a solid performance here.

After the inevitable cameo from Christian failed to end the match, Edge actually tapped out to the ankle lock but the referee was out so didn’t see it.

Shane then ran in and speared his nemesis. Edge got the cover, the referee miraculously recovered in time to make the count as they always do, and this one was done.

Though it was a good match, the fact that Edge tapped out and had to rely on Shane O’ Mac to help him win sure did put a dampener on Edge’s victory.
Your Winner and 2001 King of the Ring: Edge

Backstage, Chris Benoit also refused to tell Tazz whether or not he was going to take the WWF Championship to WCW if he won it.

Meanwhile, out in the crowd, a paranoid-looking DDP looked around the place from his front-row seat.

The Era of Awesome

WWE / WWF - King of the Ring 2001 - Jonathan Coachman interviews Edge
In lieu of any kind of coronation ceremony, King of the Ring winner Edge was awarded a brief backstage interview with Jonathan Coachman.

After Christian stopped by to congratulate him, our new King declared that the Era of Awesome has begun.

Elsewhere in the arena, an enraged Kurt Angle ranted and raved about his loss and vowed that if any WCW star got involved in his street fight with Shane, he would ensure they never worked again, went on welfare, and starved to death.

Harsh.

World Wrestling Federation Light Heavyweight Championship
WWF Light Heavyweight Champion Jeff Hardy vs. X-Pac

WWE / WWF - King of the Ring 2001 - X-Pac challenged Jeff Hardy for the Light Heavyweight Championship
Though it was short and mostly forgettable, this was nonetheless a decent filler match.

Sure, there was a blown spot halfway through and sure, it was nowhere near as good as it could have been, but it was otherwise an OK effort.

After dominating most of the contest, X-Pac succumbed to a Swanton Bomb and lost the match.
Your Winner and Still Light Heavyweight Champion: Jeff Hardy

Backstage, Steve Austin was having trouble getting hold of Vince McMahon on his cell phone, so he stormed into William Regal’s office to use his landline.

What followed was a funny exchange where it sounded as though Vince was screwing with the champ and pretending not to recognise his voice.

‘Vince, it’s Steve,’ he said. ‘Steve Austin...Vince, it’s Stone Cold Steve Austin, the World Wrestling Federation Champion....I’m fine, how are you?’

I can’t do it justice here, but trust me, it was funny.

Anyway, The Texas Rattlesnake was really worried about the rumours that Benoit and Jericho were planning to take the title to WCW and only just stopped short of begging the Chairman to come to the arena and fix the problem.

This was the early days of Austin’s storyline where he became super dependent on Vince, and it played out well here.

Page Gets His Wish

WWE / WWF - King of the Ring 2001 - Undertaker beat up DDP while Sara filmed it
After more footage of DDP going about his business that day, it was revealed that it was Sarah who had been stalking him.

She turned the camera on herself and told DDP that it was time for him to become famous.

Sure enough, The Undertaker arrived and proceeded to kick Page’s ass all over the place.

This wasn’t a match, it was just a straight-up ass whoop on’ with Dallas making only the briefest of comebacks.

Sure, this whole angle may have been silly, but if this fun brawl was the full extent of the pay off then it was worth it.

Backstage, Austin stalked the parking lot area waiting for Vince.

He asked a steward how long it would take for someone to drive to the arena from Greenwich. The steward initially had no idea, but when Austin asked him a second time he suddenly gained a whole new level of knowledge and declared that it would take ‘about an hour and a half.’

Growing infuriated, Austin demanded the guy send Vince to him as soon as he arrived.

Street Fight
Shane McMahon vs. Kurt Angle

Holy sh*t.

WWE / WWF - King of the Ring 2001 - Shane McMahon faced Kurt Angle in an awesome street fight
That’s what the crowd chanted half a dozen times throughout this incredible, violent street fight, and for good reason too.

Surpassing just about anything either man had done before in a professional wrestling ring, this kept getting better and better the longer it went on.

Of course, the match is best remembered today for Kurt suplexing Shane through the glass set design (and how reluctant that glass was to break) and it was an insane spot. What was even better was the sight of both men covered in blood and broken glass and keeping the fight going afterwards.

Everything before that was equally as enjoyable, and when Kurt Angle used a lumber board as a platform to hit Shane with the match-winning top-rope Angle Slam, it was a thing of violent beauty.
Your Winner: Kurt Angle

Out in the back, an increasingly anxious Austin stalked the parking lot, still waiting for Vince McMahon.

There was no more time left, however, as he has to head to the ring while a video package played highlighting his turbulent relationship with Vince and issue with Benoit and Jericho.

Triple Threat Match for the World Wrestling Federation Championship
WWF Champion Stone Cold Steve Austin vs. Chris Benoit vs. Chris Jericho

WWE / WWF - King of the Ring 2001 - Stone Cold Steve Austin faced Chris Jericho & Chris Benoit in a triple threat match for the WWF title
I’m not sure if it’s because you had two babyfaces attacking a heel, or because the crowd were spent after the awesome street fight, but this one started off without much life to it.

OK, so it was still the collective talents of Benoit, Jericho, and Austin in one ring, so it was always going to be decent, but it didn’t really seem to get exciting until the final act.

They started with both challengers applying their finishing holds to the champion at the same time. Stone Cold tapped, but Earl Hebner declared that since only one man could be champion, Austin’s submission didn’t count.

Things continued with a surprise run-in from WCW Champion Booker T, who attacked The Texas Rattlesnake and put him through the Spanish announce table, giving Benoit and Jericho the chance to go one-on-one with each other.

Austin was eventually dragged back into the ring by Jericho, but despite the best efforts of both his opponents, he was still able to escape with his gold intact.
Your Winner and Still WWF Champion: Steve Austin

Not the greatest main event of all time, but at least it got better the longer it went on.







The early part of the title match aside, King of the Ring 2001 was a consistently good show. The actual tournament gave us three quality matches, the tag team title match was more fun than it should have been, and that street fight was one of the greatest of all time.

Of all the WWF’s 2001 PPVs, King of the Ring may not have been the best, but to be fair, the bar had been set pretty high. The company were enjoying an incredible run in terms of quality.  It was just a shame that all of that would soon be overshadowed by The Invasion.





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, 10 December 2020

PPV REVIEW: WWF Judgement Day 2001

WWE / WWF Judgement Day 2001 - Event poster
May 20, 2001
ARCO Arena, Sacramento, California

Only in the world of professional wrestling could two men attempt to literally murder one another  then put all that behind them and form a team.


That's exactly what happened with Stone Cold Steve Austin and Triple H. If you recall, the latter had hired Rikishi to run over The Texas Rattlesnake with a car (and Rikishi was happy to do it for The Rock).

After taking a year to recover from the attempted vehicular homicide, Austin had returned and tried to end HHH's life at Survivor Series 2000.

Now, however, the two men had joined forces and gone on a power trip, and that's just about all you need to know before we dive into this week's review:

WWF Judgement Day 2001.






The End is Nigh

WWE / WWF Judgement Day 2001 - Paul Heyman & Jim Ross
Tonights' opening package interspersed footage of our four main event stars (Undertaker, Kane, HHH, and Stone Cold Steve Austin) with an actor portraying one of those eccentric street preachers who heads out to warn people that the end of the world is nigh.

Honestly, it was far better than I described.

The video led us into footage of the live crowds in both the arena and at WWF New York before our usual greeting from announcers Jim Ross and Paul Heyman.

With that, it was onto the opening match.

William Regal vs. Rikishi

Prior to the bell, William Regal took to the microphone to remind us that Rikishi had recently put his "filthy, disgusting behind" in Stephanie McMahon's face.

WWE / WWF Judgement Day 2001 - William Regal's reaction after getting stinkfaced by Rikishi
Tonight, the commissioner was out to punish 'Kishi for his heinous crime and vowed that if the big man even dared to put his bloody bum in the Comissh's face, the punishment would be 'severe and permanent.'

Naturally, Rikishi did give Regal a stinkface, and Regal sold it with a convincing look of shock and disgust that was truly Oscar-worthy.

I kid you not, I played his reaction back three times and laughed my head off every single time. It was absolutely the highlight of an otherwise average match.

Regal got his revenge by winning the match by moving out of harm's way when his opponent charged at him in the corner. Rikishi -who had been forgiven by the fans for his attempted murder on Stone Cold Steve Austin- went colliding, injured shoulder first, into the rope, collapsed to the mat, and was pinned.
Your Winner: William Regal

WWE / WWF Judgement Day 2001 - Kurt Angle catches up with Edge & Christian backstage
Out in the back, Kurt Angle approached Edge & Christian to talk about his impending two-out-of-three-falls match with Chris Benoit.

In particular, the Olympic Gold Medalist was concerned about the match reaching the third and final fall - a ladder match with his gold medals on the line- and wanted his friends’ advice.

The advice they gave him?

Don’t fall off the ladder because it sucks.

Across the way, Vince McMahon grilled Triple H about Hunter and Steve Austin getting The Undertaker’s wife, Sarah, involved in their feud.

With Stephanie McMahon looking on, Vince questioned whether it was such a good idea to interfere with the sanctity of marriage, to which The Game replied by reminding Vince that he had recently had his own wife committed to an institution.

Two-out-of-Three-Falls
Kurt Angle vs. Chris Benoit

WWE / WWF Judgement Day 2001 - Krispin Wah faced Kurt Angle in a two-out-of-three-falls matchFirst fall - pinfalls only
Second fall - submissions only
Third fall - ladder match for Kurt’s gold medals
Unsurprisingly, this was remarkable.

Angle and Benoit had previously met in a two-out-of-three-falls match at Insurrexion 2001. That match was food, but this was way better.

Benoit won the first fall pretty quickly by hitting Angle with the Olympic Slam. A solid stretch of action followed before Kurt even the score with an ankle lock, then we got an epic ladder match that only ended when Edge and Christian ran in to fight Benoit while Angle climbed the ladder.

As I write this, I haven’t seen any other matches on this show but already I seriously doubt If anyone could top that.
Your Winner: Kurt Angle

WWE / WWF Judgement Day 2001 - Undertaker threatens William Regal
Backstage, William Regal was busy being treated for the cut he received in his match with Rikishi when an enraged Undertaker stormed into in his office.

Fuming about HHH and Steve Austin dragging his wife into their rivalry, Mr. Dead Man Inc. demanded that Regal make his WWF Championship match with Austin No Holds Barred.

Reluctant, Regal appeared terrified at the thought of telling Austin that his match had been changed, though Undertaker’s not-so-subtle threat to slit the Commissioner’s throat was enough to convince him to make the match.

Jerry Lynn is the Light Heavyweight Champion

Up next, we went live to WWF New York, where Jerry Lynn set a new world record for the most times saying the words ‘light heavyweight champion’ in three minutes.

WWE / WWF Judgement Day 2001 - Jerry Lynn: Your Light Heavyweight ChampionLynn was angry about being left off tonight’s card when he really wanted to be defending his light heavyweight championship because he was the light heavyweight champion and as the light heavyweight champion he should have been defending the light heavyweight championship at Judgement Day because that’s what a light heavyweight champion does.

Seriously, that’s pretty much what he said. Don’t get me wrong, I’m a big fan of Lynn, but his promo did him no favors.

Meanwhile, back in the arena, Kane wandered down a dark corridor hitting some steel poles with a chain.

Scary.

World Wrestling Federation Hardcore Championship
WWF Hardcore Champion Rhyno vs. Test vs. The Big Show

Offering a complete change of pace from our previous match, this was a fun hardcore match with all of the usual creative, spots and the kind of weapon shots that made you wince and go ‘oof.’

WWE / WWF Judgement Day 2001 - Test faced Hardcore Champion Rhyno and The Big Show
Starting with a mad brawl in the ring, the three men made their way backstage, where Big Show lifted Rhyno up and pinned him against a wall. This was somehow good enough for the referee to make the count, but the champion kicked out and helped Test dump Show through some pallets.

They then made it back to the ring to play with the obligatory trash cans for a bit before Rhyno threw one at Show and gored him into oblivion.
Your Winner and Still Hardcore Champion: Rhyno

Out in the back, William Regal fretted about informing Steve Austin of the changes to his match, but he really had nothing to worry about. He finally caught up with The Bionic Redneck (talking to his wife, Debra, in the dressing room), who shrugged his shoulders and didn’t seem to care one way or another.

Elsewhere in the arena, Lita was getting ready for her Women’s Championship match with Chyna when The Ninth Wonder of the World’s ex, Eddie Guerrero, stopped by to offer her some advice.

With the Hardy Boyz looking on, Lita politely declined Eddie’s help and vowed to beat Chyna on her own.

World Wrestling Federation Women’s Championship
WWF Women's Champion Chyna vs. Lita 

WWE / WWF Judgement Day 2001 - WWF Women's Champion Chyna appeared in her last WWF PPV
Though both women were technical babyfaces here, Chyna definitely took on the role of heel, dominating Lita in a competent but unspectacular match.

At one point, the women’s champion seemed to be having major wardrobe trouble. The production crew had to continuously pixelate her chest as her boobs kept spilling out of her top. I mention this because it was the most noteworthy thing to happen in the whole match beyond a brief cameo from Eddie Guerrero who mainly just watched the match from the entranceway.

Though not bad by any stretch, this wasn’t all that exciting and came to an end when Chyna powerbombed the life out of her opponent.
Your Winner and Still Women’s Champion: Chyna

After a quick shill for the upcoming King of the Ring PPV, we went backstage where Michael Cole caught up with Angle. The Olympic Gold Medalist told Cole that he was planning to reenact his 1996 Olympic medal ceremony on the following night’s episode of Raw.

As the two walked backstage, they bumped into Edge and Christian. Angle stopped to address the two, insisting that he beat Benoit all by himself but was grateful for his buddies ‘cheering him on’ at ringside.

‘Thank god,’ said Edge once Angle was out of earshot. ‘Now we don’t have to listen to Kurt bitching about his medals ever again.’

He and Christian then briefly discussed their plans to become eight-time tag team champions before we went to another part of the arena where Vince McMahon gave The Two Man Power Trip a pep talk.

Triple H would be in action next.

Chain Match for the World Wrestling Federation Intercontinental Championship
WWF Intercontinental Champion Triple H (w/ Stephanie McMahon) vs. Kane

WWE / WWF Judgement Day 2001 - Kane beat HHH for the Intercontinental Championship
A fantastic match with a white-hot crowd, this was brutal, bloody and brilliant.

Fought under general no DQ rules with both men attached to one another by a length of chain, Kane vs. Triple H was utterly compelling from start to finish.

The champion dominated a large chunk of the match but The Big Red Machine continually fought back and pummelled his opponent with brute force.

Just when it looked like Kane had the match in the bag, Steve Austin ran down to help The Game but this strategy backfired. Austin accidentally waffled his tag team partner with a chair and three seconds later the Intercontinental championship had changed hands.
Your Winner and NEW Intercontinental Champion: Kane

After a commercial for WWF: The Music Vol. 5, we went backstage where Jonathan Coachman reminded Chris Jericho that he still hadn’t revealed the name of his mystery partner for the upcoming tag team turmoil match.

Without giving anything away, Y2J only promised that he would be teaming with ‘a real party animal,’ and that together, they would bring the fight to Edge and Christian.

Meanwhile, a battered and bloody HHH struggled to stay on his feet as he complained to Vince McMahon about the outcome of his match.

Tag Team Turmoil Match
(Winners Become Number One Contenders to the Tag Team Titles)
The Acolytes vs. The Radicalz (Perry Saturn & Dean Malenko w/ Terri) vs. The Dudley Boyz (Bubba Ray & D’Von Dudley w/ Spike Dudley) vs. The X-Factor (X-Pac & Justin Credible w/ Albert) vs. Chris Jericho & Chris Benoit 

WWE / WWF Judgement Day 2001 - Terri cheered on Saturn
This was a gauntlet-style, winner-stays on match starting with The Acolytes taking on Dean Malenko and Perry Saturn, the latter of whom was looking more and more like Superstar Billy Graham with every match.

Unfortunately, that didn’t help him and Malenko get the better of The Acolytes.

In just a few short minutes, the duo were sent packing by Farooq and Bradshaw, who then entered into a spirited performance with The Dudley Boyz. A second win followed, this time thanks to interference from Crash and Hardcore Holly, though shenanigans from Albert meant that Acolytes succumbed to The X-Factor.

Albert’s involvement also meant that X-Pac and Justin Credible get past The Hardyz, but they were no match for Chris Jericho and his mystery partner, former rival Chris Benoit.

The duo who had faced each other in one of the all-time great ladder matches back at the 2001 Royal Rumble beat both X-Factor and Edge and Christian to win a shot at the tag team titles

As with almost everything on this show, it was a tremendous effort. Every match-within-a-match between all the teams gave us something different to enjoy, building all the way up to the gripping all-Canadian finale.

The ending was the right result too. Having had high-profile matches in the past, Benoit and Jericho were the best choices for challenging HHH and Austin and the pair with the most realistic chance of beating them.
Your Winners: Chris Jericho and Chris Benoit

No Holds Barred Match for the World Wrestling Federation Championship
WWF Champion Stone Cold Steve Austin vs. The Undertaker

WWE / WWF Judgement Day 2001 - Steve Austin defended the WWF Championship against The Undertaker
Once again, this absolutely delivered.

With Austin playing a sick, twisted and violently unhinged champion and Undertaker being his usual dominant, badass self, both men waged absolute war with one another in a phenomenal main event.

Exciting, enthralling and excellent? It was an absolute joy to watch and only got better the longer it went on.

Undertaker looked to have the title in the bag, but HHH ran out with his trusty sledgehammer.

At first, the challenger was able to stop the attempt of both Hunter and Vince McMahon (who had been on commentary), but eventually, the three-on-one assault proved too much.

Kane tried to help his brother but it was too little, too late. Austin smashed Undi in the head and got the cover, the count, and the fall.
Your Winner and Still WWF Champion: Steve Austin

Afterward, Triple H seemed to have forgiven Austin for costing him the Intercontinental championship and embraced him as they made their way backstage.







You know, over the course of running this blog, I find myself watching a lot of wrestling, and it’s rare that I see a show that I absolutely enjoy from start to finish.

Judgement Day 2001 was such a show. While the Regal/Rikishi match wasn’t great, Regal’s reaction to the stinkface was one of the funniest things to ever happen on a pro wrestling show.

After that, only the women’s title match was underwhelming. Everything else, from the awesome Angle/Benoit match to that excellent main event proved to be a great deal of fun.

I’m not saying Judgment Day 2001 was the best show ever, but it sure was a blast.




Other reviews of 2001 pro wrestling events: 
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Thursday, 3 December 2020

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

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

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


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

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

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

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





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

Mr Electricity Steve Regal vs. Sam Houston

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Well, I thought it was funny anyway.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Ok then.

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

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

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

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

Up next, inter-gender fun...

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

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

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

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

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

And finally, our main event of the evening:

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

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

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

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

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

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





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

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

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



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

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