JCP Great American Bash Tour 1986
Before the Bash was a PPV event, it was a 14 day tour across the country. Each city would get a (mostly) unique show, which meant television had to have multiple angles for all major talent. So while Ric Flair was feuding with Dusty, he was also feuding with the RNR Express (who were feuding with Arn and Ole), the Road Warriors (who were feuding with the Russians and Midnights), Nikita (who was feuding with Magnum), etc. It's actually a fascinating undertaking to have so many angles interconnected, even if tenuously. This was the commercially released tape that served as a best of for the tour.
Ric Flair vs Hawk NWA Championship
Hawk over powers Flair immediately (obviously), and Ric thinks about bailing. I always lol how Ric would puss out on taking chops, considering how hard he'd hit people with them. He does show some pretty impressive power with a stalling suplex, though. Hawk's power is more impressive. Hawk then...works a headlock. For quite a while. Hawk misses the diving lariat and rolls all the way to the floor. This gives Ric his opening, and he controls the next few minutes, trying to soften up Hawk's leg and back. Hawk actually does a surprisingly good job of selling the leg (for a bit, anyway), considering LOD's whole thing was never selling. Fans are dying for Hawk to win. After a ref bump, it appears he did win. Tommy Young came back in and counted the pin. Fans erupted...and then Tommy gave the title to Ric. Lol. Title retained.
BETWEEN TWO FERNS. Tony and David Crockett talk about the month long tour, with some recaps of storylines along the way. And a MUSIC VIDEO! They will be doing this before and after every match for the rest of the tape.
Shashka Whatly vs Jimmy Valiant
Hair vs Hair
I was hoping this would be one of the matches skipped for the home release. Jimmy Valiant is just a plague on JCP shows. And Memphis shows. And everywhere else he went (which was everywhere). This is terrible. Valiant bleeds a lot and is dominated the whole match. Baron Von Raschke came out with a loaded glove. Manny Fernandez intercepts him, and Jimmy uses the glove to KO Pez. Pez got his head shaved. Paul Jones would get so upset that he put his own hair on the line against Valiant later on in the tour, and he won after Shashka hit Jimmy with a chair. NWA official Sandy Scott would do the hair cutting.
Ron Garvin vs Tully Blanchard NWA National Championship
Taped Fist Match
Tully and JJ injured Ron's hand before even the Crockett Cup, so this has been building for a while. After Tully complained about Garvin being able to use a taped fist in matches, a decision was made that both men would have their fists taped to make things even. Ron hits a KO punch before the match even starts. I love Tully. He's so much fun to watch. He can bounce from vicious cunt to stoogy heel at the drop of a hat. This has boxing rules, I believe. 10 rounds, 3 minutes each, and I guess 10 counts instead of pins. Tully just gets REKT in the first round. He gets no punches off and ends the round a bloody mess. Round 2 is much of the same. Tully's wobbly legged stumbling is so great. At the end of the round, Tully throws a kick and gets kicked in the balls. JJ wraps extra tape around Tully's hand. Tully gets an opening in round 3. As things go to the floor, Wahoo gets involved, which totally should have been a DQ. JJ would slip an international object to Tully, which KO'd Garvin. A double taped fist AND an object on top of that. Lol. Tully was a treasure.
Road Warriors vs Ivan and Nikita Koloff
Russian Chain Match
Think about getting hit with a chain by Hawk. Nikita and Animal also had title shots against Flair on the tour. I doubt Ivan did, but he should have based on being a former WWF champ. Naturally, more blood. This is a mess, but at least it feels like these guys really hate each other. There are no "this spot would be neat" moments. It's just burly dudes pound on each other and bleeding. Tommy Young got bumped. Hawk yanked Ivan balls first on the ropes, and Animal pinned him. Nikita flipped his shit and just started hitting anyone around with Russian Sickles.
TO THE CONCERT. The Rock N Roll Express performed a terrible song.
Rock N' Roll Express vs Minnesota Wrecking Crew
This should be good. The opening minutes of the match center around the Andersons trying to get Robert into their corner, but Robert being able to use his speed to escape before anything can happen to him. It's really insane how over the RNRs were. Particularly as heartthrobs, considering how goofy both looked. Arn is probably going to look to re-break Ricky's face. SWERVE: Ricky tries to break Arn's nose! Ole has such a malevolent vibe to him. He really seems like a guy that is going to try to hurt you. He works on Ricky's face by just trying to shove Ricky's nose into his brain. There are some edits in this, although I can't tell how many. The Andersons really don't seem to be even trying to win. They're just trying to reinjure Ricky, and seem to be enjoying it very much. They then move to tearing up the arm, because that's what Andersons do. Time is running out in this match. Ricky finally makes the hot tag that has been building for about 10 minutes, and this place EXPLODES. But there is only about a minute left in the match. He's able to put Arn out with a sleeper, but not before the time ran out. The brawl continues, with Robert blasting both Andersons with a chair.
Magnum TA vs Nikita Koloff NWA US Championship
Best of 7 Match 4
After months of hemming and hawing, Nikita Koloff finally agreed to face Magnum TA. However, at the contract signing, Magnum TA would jump the table and begin fighting. Because of this, he was stripped of the US Championship. The NWA then decided that the two men would have a best of 7 series during the Bash, with the winner being declared the new US Champion. Coming into this particular match, Nikita is up 3-0. God, Nikita was a SPECIMEN. What a great look, great voice, great everything. And then Magnum was also fucking dope. These two could have been huge stars for years. Imagine Nikita coming into the WWF and actually destroying Hogan to take the title. Nikita has more power, but Magnum has more technique on the mat. Magnum bleeds everywhere. I'm not sure how it happened, since it was during the edit. But it is a lot of blood. Magnum won with a sunset flip OUTTA NOWHERE, with possibly some help from referee Tommy Young.
Midnight Express/Jim Cornette vs Dusty Rhodes/Magnum TA/Baby Doll
Steel Cage Match
Lol, the match starts with Baby Doll arm dragging Bobby Eaton. My man was walking over there to punch her in the face. Corny hides as best he can from her. Would you believe people are bleeding in this? And would you believe Bobby Eaton decided to jump off the top of the cage multiple times? Baby Doll finally gets her hands on Corny, and pins him after a punch. Post match saw Dusty take a beating from Big Bubba.
Dusty Rhodes vs Ric Flair NWA Championship
Steel Cage Match
It was right here in Greensboro, in a cage, that Ric Flair began his current title reign. Dusty has a big flurry at the start of the match that frustrates Ric more than does damage. You gotta wonder how many matches two had. A place like cagematch.net is a great resource, but no way could it cover everything. Even Dusty press slams Ric Flair. Tommy Young stops Dusty from throwing closed fists...in a cage. This allows Ric to go after Dusty's injured arm, which doesn't last long. I'm so stunned that there is blood in a Flair/Dusty cage match. Flair finally starts going for the leg about 15 minutes in. Have you seen a Ric Flair match? Have you seen a Ric Flair cage match? Have you seen a Flair/Dusty match? Well, this is all of those matches. Dusty wins with a small package OUTTA NOWHERE. New champion!
It's kind of hard to judge the matches since they were all clipped to some degree. Compared to the garbage of something like Wrestlemania 2, this is incredible even in condensed form. JCP was such a hot product in 1986, it's a shame how poor their home video department was. Some other matches that were taped but not released: the rest of the Magnum/Nikita series, Flair vs Morton/Gibson/Magnum/Wahoo/Garvin/Animal/Nikita, multiple variations of Midnights vs RNRs, Wahoo vs Jimmy Garvin, a lot of cage matches.