Jim Crockett Sr. Memorial Cup 1986: A Territory Era Primer
For some unknown reason, this is not on the WWE Network. But you can watch it here, at legitshook.com
I have to point out that, to my knowledge, the full footage of the event does not exist commercially. If it is fully intact, WWE has it or someone at TBS hid the tape. What was released of the event was a tape that condensed the show to 2 hours, meaning none of the matches are complete. It's a shame. But at the same time, it is a great primer for the territories in general, as many promotions and talent from all over the country were involved in this event.
Jim Crockett Sr. first started JCP in 1935, calling his promotion Eastern States Championship Wrestling. In 1948, promoters from across the country met in Waterloo, Iowa to form the National Wrestling Alliance. JCP would be the among the most consistently successful territories for the NWA through out Jim's life and after his death, as his son Jim Jr. took over and renamed the company Mid-Atlantic Championship Wrestling. This company would be the home territory for the Four Horsemen and Dusty Rhodes, eventually becoming the NWA's most important territory, buying out Georgia, Florida, and Mid South, morphing into what became WCW. In 1986, Dusty Rhodes had the idea to run a memorial tag team tournament in Jim Sr.'s honor, involving multiple NWA territories from around the country. It was mostly co-promoted by JCP and Mid South, with the event taking place at the Superdome in Louisiana.
I should also point out that this show doesn't have commentary, either. It is certainly odd to me that a show of such magnitude, with multiple territories working together didn't have a full scale release with commentary. Seems like it could have been on PPV/Closed Circuit. When you look at the names from all over the country and even Japan, it's crazy not to have this shown to as many people as possible.
Bobby Jaggers/Mike Miller vs Wahoo McDaniel/Mark Youngblood
Bobby Jaggers was a journeyman throughout many NWA territories, although had his biggest success in Pacific Northwest Wrestling (Portland), where he was a multi-time heavyweight champion. He was in WWC when Bruiser Brody was killed, which led to him slowing down his career until retiring a few years later. In the early part of his career, he teamed with Sterling Golden, who would go on to be better known as Hulk Hogan. His partner, Mike Miller, was also successful in the Portland area. It's likely that the team was the Portland representative in the tournament. Just a year prior, the two had been involved in a bitter rivalry over the PNW Championship.
Wahoo McDaniel was a NWA legend. He spent 8 seasons in the NFL, moonlighting as a pro wrestler in the off season. After leaving the NFL, Wahoo became a huge star in Texas before moving North to the AWA, where he engaged in a heated feud with Superstar Billy Graham. After that, he moved to the JCP area, which is where he is most remembered. His feud with Ric Flair is normally credited as being the feud that put Flair on the map. He spent the rest of the 1970s and 1980s as a perennial contender to both the NWA and AWA Championships, with a short heel run in Mid-Atlantic. His strong Native American heritage was a major part of his character, being known for his tomahawk chops and Indian strap matches.
His partner, Mark Youngblood, was the son of Ricky Romero, a tremendous draw in the Texas area in the 70s. Youngblood was a regular partner of Wahoo's in JCP. However, he spent most of his career in various Texas promotions, usually teaming with his brothers. His brother, Jay Youngblood, formed a popular team with Ricky Steamboat a few years earlier. He had a brief run in WCW in the early 1990s, but otherwise had a fairly unremarkable career. His biggest moment as a singles wrestler came in 1984, when he won the NWA TV Championship in a tournament final against Dick Slater.
The Indians get the win in about 7 minutes with Wahoo's chop combo.
Nelson Royal/Sam Houston vs The Batten Twins
Nelson Royal was in his 50s at this point and a strict jobber in the studio for JCP. But before that, he had been winning tag titles everywhere he went since the 1950s. At earlier points in his career, he was known as Babyface Nelson. In the 1970s, he spent a significant amount of time in AJPW, where he often teamed with other Americans against Giant Baba. He would continue to do tours of AJPW into the late 1980s. He had three reigns as NWA World Junior Heavyweight Champion.
Sam Houston was a perennial contender for the TV and National titles. He had lost the Mid-Atlantic Championship to Black Bart a few weeks before this show. His father was Grizzly Smith, making him half-brother with Jake Roberts, and the older brother of Rockin' Robin. He bounced around NWA territories for most of the 1980s, having a brief run in the WWF, where he was in the inaugural Royal Rumble, the battle royal at Wrestlemania 4, and as part of the Ultimate Warrior's team at Survivor Series 1988.
The Batten Twins are guys I've covered a few times. They started their careers for ICW, Angelo Poffo's outlaw promotion in the Kentucky area. Both Lanny Poffo and Randy Savage helped train them. They quickly moved to the Memphis area, then bounced around territories on their way to WCCW, where they were renamed the US Express. Their most successful period came in 1988, when they had a major heel turn in WWC, making them one of the most hated teams on the island. They had a very brief run in WCW in the 1990s, but continued to wrestle deep into the 2000s, appearing for such companies as SMW, IWA Mid South, and on the Jerry Springer show.
Sam Houston got the win with a bulldog.
Jimmy Valiant/Manny Fernandez vs Baron Von Raschke/The Barbarian First Round
The Valiant/Jones WAR continues. Brutal. This is the kind of match that makes me happy that all the matches are clipped. Jimmy Valiant had two careers. First as part of a tag team with his "brother" Johnny, who dominated the WWWF tag team scene in the 1970s as Gorgeous George styled prissy pretty boys. At the end of the decade, he grew a massive beard and became known as the "Boogie Woogie Man", a jive talking man of the people. He was a major player in Memphis at the time, even recording a song that was a hit in the area. He then came to JCP, where he had the never ending (and terrible) feud against Paul Jones' Army. After JCP became WCW, he was still a regular player in the USWA. He officially retired in 2005, but has continued to do select matches up to 2015.
Manny Fernandez had first began teaming with Valiant in 1985. As a trainee of Terry Funk, he had his first success in Florida in a feud with his trainer. He would quickly be paired up with Dusty Rhodes. Together, they won the NWA World Tag Team Championships and feuded with the Koloffs. A few months after this match, Manny would sell out and turn on Jimmy. He stayed a heel for the rest of his career, with stints in the AWA, and WWC, where he was involved in a famous angle that involved Invader 3 vomiting a massive amount of blood in the ring after a knee drop to the stomach. He continued wrestling through the 1990s and 2000s, wrestling for independent promotions like South Atlantic Championship Wrestling (successor to Continental), JAPW, and APW. Outside of wrestling, he played in the NFL and served in Vietnam.
As part of the war between Valiant and Paul Jones, Baron Von Raschke made his way back to JCP. Despite his goose-stepping German gimmick, he had actually served in the US Army. While having runs in various NWA territories and the WWF, he was one of the AWA's most known stars. He formed a long lasting tag team with Mad Dog Vachon (also teaming with Maurice Vachon), while also winning titles with partners such as Harley Race, The Crusher, and Ernie Ladd. Later in 1986, he would turn face against Paul Jones, and would enter the Crockett Cup in 1987 with Wahoo McDaniel. He was very briefly a manager for the Powers of Pain in the WWF. His last match on the national scene was at Slamboree 1993, where he teamed with Ivan Koloff to face Thunderbolt Patterson and Brad Armstrong.
His partner and stable mate, The Barbarian, was sent to Japan (along with his future tag partner Haku/Meng) by the King of Tonga to study sumo wrestling in the 1970s. After returning from his excursion, he began training in pro wrestling and debuted in 1980. After a few years, he wound up in JCP, where he was originally packaged as a new member of the Road Warriors. That didn't last long, and he was soon a member of Paul Jones' Army, having a significant feud with the Road Warriors before leaving for the WWF. There, the Powers of Pain were pushed as faces, until a double turn with fellow Road Warriors knock off Demolition turned them heel. He would go back and forth between WWF (as the Barbarian and under his real name as a new Headshrinker) and WCW (as both the Barbarian and a brief reformation of the Powers of Pain as the Super Assassins) for the next few years, eventually forming the Faces of Fear with Meng, where they destroyed jobbers in the most wonderful of ways.
Manny pinned Barb with a sunset flip.
Terry Taylor/Steve Williams vs Bill Dundee/Buddy Landel
Curious as to why Terry Taylor replaced Ted DiBiase. This is Mid South vs Memphis. Some quality dudes in this match. Almost a year from this show, the UWF would be sold to JCP, which led to an invasion angle that was a bigger flop than the WCW/WWF one. But it did lead to Sting being a huge star and the formation of WCW. Terry Taylor, although best remembered as the Red Rooster, had a successful career before his ill-fated WWF run. He was a very popular face in Memphis, JCP, and Mid South, eventually becoming one of the top stars of the UWF. Known as a solid hand in the ring, Terry Taylor came to the WWF as the Red Rooster, an unskilled wrestler managed by Bobby Heenan with the intention of Heenan proving he could make anyone a star. Despite being in the main event of Survivor Series 1988 as a heel, he turned face and engaged in a feud with the Brooklyn Brawler. For most of the 1990s, he bounced back and forth between WWF and WCW, both on and off screen, and with multiple characters. The early 1990s saw him as Terrence Taylor, a member of the York Foundation, which used computer scouting to win matches, then moving on to a Million Dollar Man style gimmick. He spent nearly a decade as head of talent relations in TNA, and returned to WWE as a trainer for NXT in 2012.
His partner in this match, Dr. Death Steve Williams, was a stand out wrestler and football player in college. He got his nickname in middle school, when he had to wear a goalie mask while wrestling due to an injury. Recruited and trained by Bill Watts, Steve Williams was immediately a heavily pushed wrestler in Mid South/UWF, first as part of a team with Ted DiBiase, and then as a top singles wrestler. When the UWF was purchased by JCP, he was one of a handful of stars to get fair treatment on JCP shows. He turned heel and joined the Varsity Club, a collegiate athlete based stable feuding with the Road Warriors. Around this time, he and Terry Gordy began teaming as the Miracle Violence Connection in AJPW. As a dominant team, they returned to WCW in 1992, unifying the NWA and WCW Tag Team Championships at the Great American Bash. He continued as a singles wrestler to the end of the year, getting a WCW Championship shot at Starrcade 1992. In the late 1990s, he had a brief WWF run that ended in the Brawl For All, then returned to WCW with Jim Ross impersonator (and writer) Ed Ferrara, feuding with The Misfits and briefly reforming the Varsity Club.
On the opposite side of the ring was an established team. Buddy and Dundee had been wreaking havoc in the Memphis area for a while by this point. But their paths took a while to cross. Bill Dundee began his career in Australia in the early 1960s. He found his way to Memphis in 1974 and never left. He's still wrestling there, in his 70s. He's been engaged in a never ending love-hate relationship with Jerry Lawler (and Dutch Mantel) ever since. Due to the AWA/CWA association, he made his way to the AWA, winning the tag titles with Jerry Lawler. He was a major star of the USWA, both pre-and-post WCCW involvement. He's probably best known outside of the Memphis area for his stint in WCW as Sir William, Lord Steven Regal's butler.
Buddy Landel came into the wrestling world far differently. His sister was dating Barry Orton, the uncle of Randy Orton. This got him interested in wrestling, so he began training with Boris Malenko, father of Dean Malenko. Much like Williams and Taylor, he began his career in the Mid South area, engaging in a feud with Terry Taylor that followed them both to JCP. While working for JCP, he was styled as the "Nature Boy", aiming to replace Ric Flair. The two had a feud, and Buddy was groomed to be the next NWA Champion until professional issues intervened. He left the area and made his way to Memphis, where he began teaming with Dundee. In the 1990s, he'd have runs in WCW and WWF, replacing Dean Douglas at IYH 5, and receiving a WWF Championship match against Bret Hart.
Anyway, Buddy bumps like a freak and gets pinned with the Oklahoma Stampede.
Sheepherders vs Hector and Chavo Guerrero First Round
Dem Guerrero boys. But fuck the Bushwhackers. Fuck them forever. I don't give a shit if they were good heels. They were still absolute trash in the ring. The Sheepherders began teaming in the 1960s in New Zealand as the Kiwis. They began working in Canada in the 1970s, winning their first title in Stampede in 1974. From there, they split their time in New Zealand/Australia and the Portland area, where they changed their name to the Sheepherders. In Portland, they had a year long feud with youngsters Roddy Piper and Rick Martel. They had success in JCP and WWC before settling in Memphis, engaging in a popular feud with the Fabulous Ones. Butch then left the team. Luke continued without him. They reunited in 1986, returning to various promotions throughout the United States with less success than their first run. They began working for the WWF in 1989 as the Bushwhackers, with a completely different style. Instead of the hardcore, bloody, violent heels, they became comedy faces that, while not very successful in the ring, were nonetheless quite popular with the younger WWF audience. They had a guest role on Family Matters, teaming up against Carl and Urkel, because the 90s were a strange time.
Similarly, their opponents had also been lifelong partners. Hector and Chavo both debuted in the early 1970s, sons of the legendary Gory Guerrero. Often teaming together and with their brother Mando, the Guerreros had a heated feud with Roddy Piper in Hollywood Wrestling. As a youngster, Chavo regularly competed in Japan and wrestled Tatsumi Fujinami for the WWF Junior Heavyweight Championship at the 1980 Showdown at Shea event. The Guerreros were very popular in the South West, both as heels and faces. Hector had multiple stints in JCP, as himself teaming with his brothers and Manny Fernandez, and as Lasertron, a masked wrestler. He also was the man who portrayed the Gobbedly Gooker at Survivor Series 1990 and Wrestlemania 17. Both brothers made appearances in WCW in the 90s, as part of angles with younger brother Eddie, and Chavo Jr. In the 2004, Chavo would compete in WWE as Chavo Classic, becoming the oldest WWE Cruiserweight Champion.
Sheepherders win via outside interference.
The Fabulous Ones vs The Fantastics
Now this is something that should be in full. The Fantastics being the direct rip off/successor to the Fabs, now the super over babyface team while the Fabs have turned heel in Mid South/UWF. As the Superdome is UWF territory, this is a huge match. Steve Keirn and Stan Lane both started in the mid 1970s in Florida. However, as a team, they didn't come together until 1982 in Memphis. Before that, Keirn had spent years as a tag team wrestler, winning titles with Bob Backlund, Jimmy Garvin, and Mike Graham. Before arriving in Memphis, he had begun a singles career, becoming the NWA National TV Champion by defeating Terry Funk. Stan Lane was the only wrestler to be officially trained by Ric Flair, even using both the Nature Boy and Flair names early in his career. When the two arrived separately in Memphis, Jerry Jarrett and Jerry Lawler had the idea to pair them up as heartthrobs, using music videos to get them over with the television audience. This tactic was hugely successful and became a standard promotional tactic all over the country afterwards. With local legend Jackie Fargo's endorsement, the team became known as both The Fabulous Ones and Fargo's Fabulous Ones. They engaged in feuds with the Midnight Express, New York Dolls, and a particularly violent series with all versions of the Sheepherders. The Moondogs were used to recreate the feud. Still one of the most popular acts in Memphis, the Fabs moved west to SWCW for a brief time before spending time in the AWA and the JCP/Memphis/AWA joint promotion of Pro Wrestling USA. They worked as heels in Mid South and made brief returns to Memphis and JCP until the team broke up when Stan Lane was recruited to replace Dennis Condrey in the Midnight Express. Keirn would continue to wrestle in the Florida area before joining the WWF as the alligator wrestler Skinner, and years later become a trainer and head of developmental for WWE. Stan Lane would form another tag team with Jim Cornette in SMW: The Heavenly Bodies. As part of the team, Lane wrestled the Rock N Roll Express at Superbrawl III. He briefly spent time as an announcer for the WWF in the 90s.
Due to the success of The Fabs, promoters around the country were quick to form their own version. Tommy Rogers and Bobby Fulton were quickly paired together and names The Fantastics. Terry Taylor was originally planned for the role with Fulton, even being on TV as the Fantastic Ones, but the team was short-lived. Following in the footsteps of the Fabs, they were promoted with music videos and marketed towards the female audience. They feuded with many of the same teams their predecessors had, such as the Midnight Express and Sheepherders. Both of those left the Memphis area, instead being major matches for the first two Clash of the Champions. As a team, they were nearly as popular, possibly even more popular than the Fabulous Ones. The Fantastics had a brief run in WCW in the Nitro era, and both were in the WWF Light Heavyweight Championship tournament in 1997. Other teams patterned on the Fabulous Ones include the Rock N Roll Express, The Rockers, Southern Boys (AKA Young Pistols), Rock and Roll RPMs, and the Southern Rockers (which became Well Done).
The Fantastics won in what appeared to be a fast paced match with a blind tag and roll up. I'd really like to see this in full.
Koko Ware/Italian Stallion vs Buzz Sawyer/Rick Steiner First Round
I should note that both Koko's and Rick's names are misspelled. There is little to be found on the Italian Stallion. He was mostly a career jobber in both JCP and WCW and is probably better known for being the trainer of Ron Killings and the Hardy Boys. While working as a job guy himself in the WWF, he was able to get the teenage Hardys their first WWF bookings. His partner, on the other hand, is much easier to track. Koko B. Ware began his career in the late 1970s, spending much of his formative years in Memphis. He entered into a feud with Jimmy Valiant in 1980, then changed his name to Sweet Brown Sugar, forming successful tag teams with Stan Lane, Steve Keirn, and Bobby Eaton. After turning face to feud with Eaton, he returned to his heel ways, forming the PYT Express with Norvell Austin, a member of the original Midnight Express. The team would have success in Mid South and World Class, before returning to Memphis to feud with the Fabulous Ones. Once the team dissolved, Koko went back to Mid South as a face, adopting the Bird Man persona that he would take with him to the WWF. He was a midcard staple for the rest of the 80s, known for bringing his bird Frankie to the ring with him. In the early 1990s, he formed the tag team High Energy with Owen Hart, and was in the first ever match on Raw (in a squash to Yokozuna).
The opponents in this case had an interesting relationship. Buzz Sawyer started his career in JCP, but went pretty much everywhere you could go during the 80s. There is a good chance that if you pick out a random show from any of the territories, you'll see Buzz Sawyer. At the time of this show, he was between leaving Mid South for WCCW, but in his first stint in JCP, he had feuds with the Road Warriors and a legendary feud with Tommy Rich. It was his feud with Rich that lead to the event The Last Battle For Atlanta, which had the first ever enclosed cage match, and although no footage of the match survives, WWE acknowledges it as the inspiration for the Hell In A Cell. After being associated with Dick Slater in Mid South, he feuded with the Dingo Warrior in WCCW. He returned to WCW in 1989 to feud with the Four Horsemen.
His partner in this match was actually his protege. In their short time together in Mid South (where Rick was still known by his real name of Rob Ricksteiner), Sawyer took Steiner under his wing. Rick's signature capture powerslam was actually a tribute to Buzz, who used the move as one of his signatures. Of course, Rick's career eclipsed his mentor's, going on to form one of the greatest tag teams of all time with his brother Scott. Rick's career took him from Mid South, to JCP, to WCW, to Japan, to the WWF, and back to WCW, winning tag titles everywhere he went, and having a successful career as a singles wrestler in the later years of WCW.
Buzz pinned the Stallion with his capture powerslam.
Brett Sawyer/David Peterson vs Black Bart/Jimmy Garvin
Brett Sawyer is the brother of Buzz. Neither he nor David Peterson did much. Brett spent most of his career on the East Coast, with some success in the Portland area. David Peterson is maybe a bit more known, as he was a regular in WCCW and Mid South at their peaks, while also being on ESPN in the dying days of the AWA. He was part of the the last AWA Tag Team Champions along with The Trooper (The Patriot).
I can not think of a single reason why Bart and Garvin would be teaming together. They're such opposite characters and never interacted together on TV. Black Bart was the son of wrestler and manager George Harris, who spent most of his career in JCP and was good friends with Jim Sr. This revelation makes Black Bart's significant TV time in 1985-1986 make so much more sense. For most of his career, he worked with a cowboy gimmick, the actual name Black Bart being given to him by Dusty Rhodes in Florida. He first entered JCP as part of a tag team with fellow cowboy Ron Bass, known as the The Long Riders. He soon found himself feuding over the Mid-Atlantic Championship, which he won from Sam Houston weeks before this show. After leaving JCP later in 1986, he had success in both WCCW and Mid South, while also wrestling Antonio Inoki in NJPW. After a short WWF run as a jobber, he turned up in WCW, where he's probably best remembered for being part of the Desperadoes with Dutch Mantel and and Deadeye Dick, a group of bumbling cowboys searching through ghost towns and saloons for Stan Hansen in 1991 WCW. He also trained the Necro Butcher.
Jimmy Garvin was also something of a second generation wrestler. Despite being billed as brothers, Ron Garvin was actually the stepfather of Jimmy. Jimmy would make his debut at 16 as a manager for Ron. He worked frequently in Memphis and Florida until 1983, when he joined WCCW. There, he first formed his relationship with the Freebirds, while engaging in a feud with the Von Erichs and Chris Adams. The high point of the David Von Erich feud came when he and Sunshine were forced to work on David's ranch for a day. He would bring his wife into be his manager, first going by Sunshine II, then Precious, which was the name of Garvin's first manager. The couple moved to JCP in 1986, beginning a feud with Wahoo McDaniel and had just started an angle with Magnum T.A. before Magnum's career ended in a car wreck. He turned face when Jim Cornette threw a fire ball in his "brother" Ron Garvin's face. Both Garvins were chasing Ric Flair's NWA Championship, which Ron eventually won. After taking 9 months off, Garvin would return to the now WCW with Michael Hayes as the Fabulous Freebirds, who dropped the Southern gimmick and were portrayed as a hair band, complete with a "road manager". For a time, they were managed by Diamond Dallas Page. Garvin is acknowledged to be the first man to do the Stone Cold Stunner on US TV, nearly 5 years before Steve Austin would begin using the move, although Ron Simmons had use the move as defensive move in 1989.
Jimmy Jam wins with a nasty brainbuster.
Midnight Express vs Nelson Royal/Sam Houston Second Round
Midnights are the tag champs, yet weren't seeded number one. They weren't even in the top ten. How weird is that? Dennis Condrey is so underrated. Everything that guy did was killer. And of course Bobby Eaton was great. Those two together were such a wonderful team. Originally, The Midnight Express consisted of Dennis Condrey, Randy Rose, and Norvell Austin. They came together as a unit in 1980 in SECW. After much success, they moved North to Memphis, where the team first encountered Bobby Eaton as an opponent. After a return to SECW, the team disbanded. As Bobby Eaton made his way to Mid South, Bill Watts decided he and Condrey should form as a new version of the team, with rookie manager Jim Cornette as a mouth piece. Cornette was just 22 at the time. They engaged in feuds with Magnum T.A. and Bill Watts himself before meeting their arch-rivals , the Rock N Roll Express. The RNRs were the latest in Fabulous Ones knock offs, and their chemistry as opponents led to both critical and financial acclaim. The teams are still feuding 30 years later. They briefly moved to WCCW, where they feuded with The Fabulous Ones, before joining JCP in 1985. They renewed their feud with the RNR, as well as starting a new one with the Road Warriors. The feud culminated in a scaffold match that ended with Jim Cornette having a severe leg injury. Dennis Condrey left the promotion and was replaced with Stan Lane. Shortly after, Condrey and Rose reformed as the Original Midnight Express in the AWA, managed by Paul E. Dangerously. They made their way back to JCP, where both versions of the team had a feud until Condrey again left the promotion.
Magnum T.A./Ron Garvin vs Buzz Sawyer/Rick Steiner
Magnum will forever be the biggest "what if" in wrestling. He was going to be IT. THE guy. The man to truly challenge Hogan as the most popular guy in wrestling. Terry Allen started his career in the Florida area, moving through Memphis and Portland on his way to Mid South. It was there that he was renamed to Magnum T.A. based on his resemblance to Tom Selleck. It was suggested to him by Andre The Giant. In Mid South, he was involved in an angle with Mr. Wrestling II, which had Mr. Wrestling II taking Magnum under his wing, only to get jealous at his exploding popularity. Wrestling II would turn on his protege, leading to a bloody feud that Magnum won. Mr. Wrestling II had been competing since the late 1950s, mostly in the South East. His angle with Magnum was the last major angle he was involved in. Allen then joined JCP in 1984, having a similar angle with Wahoo McDaniel. After defeating Wahoo, Magnum began feuding with the Four Horsemen, before focusing exclusively on Tully Blanchard. The two had a bitter and violent feud that ended in a legendary I Quit Match at Starrcade 1985. As US Champion, Tully then entered into a feud with the Russian Nikita Koloff. The two had a best of seven series over the title, which Nikita won. Due to his extreme popularity, Magnum was set to win the NWA Championship at Starrcade 1986. However, on October 14th, 1986, Allen was involved in a serious car wreck that prematurely ended his career at his most popular. After his injury, he spent a few years as an announcer for JCP and WCW.
Ron Garvin was trained by Pat Patterson in Montreal in 1962, but really made a name for himself in the Kentucky/Tennessee area in the late 70s. He spent time in SECW and the Poffo owned ICW. In ICW, Garvin had heated feuds with both Randy Savage and Lanny Poffo, as well as a well known angle of punching Ox Baker's dentures out, then stomping them. He headed to Georgia, feuding with Jake Roberts over the NWA National TV Championship. Shortly after, he joined JCP. As the "Hands of Stone", he was known for his extremely hard punches and chops. He began helping Jimmy Valiant in Jimmy's feud with the Midnight Express by dressing in drag as "Miss Atlanta Lively". For most of 1986, Garvin had his eyes set on Ric Flair. While he wasn't able to defeat Flair for the title in 1986, the angle did make him extremely popular. As the feud with the Midnight Express renewed, Jim Cornette burned Ron's face, which prompted his stepson (billed as brother) Jimmy Garvin to turn face. They teamed for 1987, and Ron was able to finally defeat Ric Flair for the NWA Championship. He lost the title back to Ric just 2 months later. The Garvins continued to tag in 1988, until Ron turned heel on Dusty Rhodes, leaving the promotion shortly after. He had a brief run in the WWF, where he had a submission match with Greg Valentine at the 1990 Royal Rumble.
Magnum pins Rick with the belly to belly.
The Road Warriors vs Wahoo McDaniel/Mark Youngblood
Paul Ellering formed the Legion of Doom in Georgia Championship Wrestling. The stable consisted of the Road Warriors, Jake Roberts, Matt Borne, The Spoiler, King Kong Bundy, Arn Anderson, and the Iron Sheik. The stable didn't stick, but the name did, referring exclusively to the Road Warriors from then on. Originally, Animal competed as a singles wrestler as the Road Warrior. When paired with Hawk, the team became known as the Road Warriors, extremely muscular men in face paint and spiked shoulder pads who would destroy their opponents in very short matches. They were known for their stiff squashes, and despite the lack of ring time, were the top tag champs in Georgia within months. They then headed to the AWA, where they continued to demolish the competition. They quickly won the AWA titles and were the top draws in the company. There, they feuded with the Fabulous Ones and Freebirds, eventually splitting time between the AWA and JCP. They also began touring AJPW during this time, defeating the team of Genichiro Tenryu and Jumbo Tsuruta for the NWA International Tag Team Championships. Back in JCP, they quickly became just as popular as they were in the AWA, winning the titles while feuding with the Midnight Express, Russians, and Powers of Pain. The Powers of Pain consisted of The Barbarian (who was briefly a member of the Road Warriors) and The Warlord, carbon copies of LOD. The POP were the first team to give the LOD a true physical threat, but the team left JCP after refusing to wrestle in scaffold matches. As the POP went to the WWF, the Road Warriors turned heel in JCP. The Road Warriors would attempt to gouge Dusty Rhodes' eye out with one of their spikes, leading to Dusty being fired due to TBS's strict no blood policy. Despite this, the Road Warriors were quickly faces again as they were still massively popular. They joined the WWF in 1990 while finishing up work in NJPW, eventually winning the WWF tag titles in 1991. While there, they feuded with Demolition, another knock off of themselves, as well as the Natural Disasters. They spent the rest of the 90s moving back and forth between WWF, WCW, and NJPW, playing a big role in both the early days of Nitro and the Attitude Era. They're generally considered to be one of the greatest teams of all time, not necessarily for their in ring skills, but due to their dominating presence and look, which helped usher in the muscle era of the 80s, as well as their tremendous popularity. The muscled, face painted tag team would inspire the aforementioned Demolition and Powers of Pain, as well as the Blade Runners (Sting and Ultimate Warrior), the Master Blasters, and Ascension. The name "Road Warriors" inspired Kerry Von Erich to be called the "Modern Day Warrior". When the Dingo Warrior joined the WWF, it was thought that he should be the Ultimate of all the warriors. Eventually, the four actually formed a Survivor Series team at the 1990 event, despite the "warrior" backgrounds of LOD and KVE not being mentioned on WWF television.
The idea of insanely massive LOD doing possibly triple duty is scary. Here, they can't pull their normal smash and grab style with Wahoo, so they have to be slower and more methodical, which is weird to see, even in clips. Hawk pins Youngblood with a flying lariat.
Ivan and Nikita Koloff vs Jimmy Valiant/Manny Fernandez
The Russian Bear Ivan Koloff was actually not Russian at all. He was born in Montreal and raised in Ontario. He initially wrestled as an Irish character, before becoming the evil Russian Ivan in 1967. Due to Cold War tensions, he quickly became a top heel wherever he went. He joined the WWWF in 1970, and just a year later, he ended the 7 year title reign of Bruno Sammartino at Madison Square Garden. He lost the title just 3 weeks later to Pedro Morales, but stayed a top contender against heel and face champions alike for the rest of his WWWF run. In the late 70s, he headed South, winning multiple championships throughout the South East. He would turn face in the late 80s, and continue wrestling in the 90s, being on the first cards both ECW and SMW. He competed at Slamboree 1993, reforming his team with Baron Von Raschke. In 1984, he brought his "nephew" to JCP.
Nikita Koloff, also not a Russian, was recruited into the wrestling business by fellow Minnesotan Road Warrior Animal. With only months of training, Nikita was put on TV due to his immense frame. He and his uncle Ivan, along with American turncoat Krusher Khrushchev (Barry Darsow, of Demolition/Repo Man fame), tormented the American fans, frequently gloating over the superiority of the Soviet Union to America. Nikita was nicknamed "The Russian Nightmare" by Dusty Rhodes himself, also being called a Russian Road Warrior and Russian Sickle, named after his lariat finisher. With only a year of competing under his belt, Nikita faced off against Ric Flair for the NWA Championship on the Great American Bash 1985 tour. Although unsuccessful, Nikita was established as a top star in JCP. During this period, the Russians and Road Warriors had a violent feud that spilled across JCP and the AWA, often competing in cage and Russian chain matches across the country. After multiple tag titles with his uncle, Nikita took aim at the US Championship, held at the time by Magnum T.A. After months of ducking Magnum, the two finally engaged in a best of 7 series for the title, which Nikita won. When Magnum's career was ended due to a car wreck, Nikita Koloff turned face, joining Dusty Rhodes in his war against the Four Horsemen. He gained more title shots at Flair, although he was never able to win. At Starrcade 1987, he unified the UWF and NWA TV Championships. Nikita would find himself taking a hiatus from wrestling after the death of his wife. He returned on a limited basis for both WCW and the AWA, feuding with his uncle and Sting before retiring in the early 90s.
All I wanted to see was Nikita decapitating Jimmy. Nikita was awesome. I would have loved to see him be the heel that actually beat Hogan, because it would have been completely believable. Dude was such a specimen. Jimmy DID get hit with a Russian Sickle, but he took it like a punk.
Steve Williams/Terry Taylor vs Rick Martel/Dino Bravo
Dino Bravo was rushed to the hospital with appendicitis, so Doc and Taylor advance via forfeit. Of note is that Brother Love is the announcer for this show. I'll cover Martel and Bravo even though they weren't there.
Rick Martel came from a wrestling family in Canada. Throughout the 1970s, he made his name across the country, before becoming a star in Portland. During that time, he held both the PNW and Canadian Championships. He joined the WWF shortly after, winning tag gold with Tony Garea. After failing to move up the card, he joined the AWA in 1982. In 1984, he defeated Jumbo Tsuruta to become the AWA Champion, having a nearly 600 day title reign that was the longest of any AWA champion in the 80s. During his time as champion, he had multiple unification matches with NWA Champion Ric Flair, as well as feuds with Jimmy Garvin and Nick Bockwinkel, traveling to Memphis to face Jerry Lawler. Upon losing the title to Stan Hansen, he returned to the WWF, again in a tag team role. He originally formed a team with Tom Zenk as the Can-Am Express, a heartthrob team in the vein of the Fabulous Ones/Fantastics. While popular, they failed to capture the tag titles. Martel then formed a team with former WWF Intercontinental Champion Tito Santana, under the name of Strike Force. They captured the tag titles from the Hart Foundation, losing them to Demolition at Wrestlemnaia 4. After time off, Martel returned to the team, only to turn on Tito at Wrestlemania 5. He adopted an arrogant model gimmick, even coming up with his own line of cologne, which he used to blind Jake Roberts with. After captaining the first Survivor Series team to win fully intact in 1990, Martel would have a record breaking 53 minute run in the Royal Rumble 1991, then ended his feud with Roberts at Wrestlemania 7 in a blindfold match. For the rest of his WWF career, he was a perennial contender to both the IC and WWF Championships. He joined WCW in late 1997, becoming WCW TV Champion.
Dino Bravo took a similar route to stardom. After making his name in Canada in the 1970s, he found himself in JCP, becoming a NWA World Tag Team Champion, as well has having a major feud with Blackjack Mulligan over the US Championship. After several title shots against Harley Race, Bravo would return to Montreal as a top star, winning the Canadian Heavyweight Championship from former NWA Champion Gene Kiniski. He then moved to Japan, working for NJPW. Around the same time, he made his first appearance in the WWF, winning tag titles with Dominic DeNucci, the trainer of Mick Foley and Shane Douglas. He briefly formed a tag team with a young Haku. After heading back to Canada, he returned to the WWF in 1987 with newly bleached blond hair and a significant amount of extra muscle. He adopted a strong man gimmick, going so far as to break the world bench press record at Royal Rumble 1988 (with significant help of Jesse Ventura). He joined Jimmy Hart's stable, regularly teaming with Earthquake. He won no titles on this run.
Rock N Roll Express vs Sheepherders
Fucking Bushwhackers. AGAIN. They're up on my list with Knobs and Jim Duggan as guys I fucking hate to watch under any circumstances. Even as a kid I thought they were horrible, and they were the jobbers of my wrestling figure federation. Those dudes got squashed by Cyclops and Wolverine more times than I can count.
The Rock N Roll Express were the most successful of the Fabulous Ones knock offs. They were initially formed with the express purpose of being replacements for the Fabs when the Fabs couldn't make shows. Soon after, they found themselves in Mid South, beginning a decades long feud with the Midnight Express over pushing Jim Cornette's face into a cake. As their rivalry heated up, both teams made the jump to JCP. With in months, the RNRs had become NWA World Tag Team Champions, a title they would go on to hold another 3 times. The Midnights and RNRs continued their feud in the Carolinas, with similar acclaim and business as they had in Mid South. As one of the most popular acts in JCP, they found themselves drawing the ire of the Four Horsemen. Ric Flair would frequently chastise the team, making fun of their younger audience. Ric insisted on calling their fans "teeny boppers" and girls in training underwear. This led to Ricky Morton facing Ric Flair on television for the NWA Championship. While the match was thrown out, Morton did score a clear visual win over Flair and walked off triumphantly. The team soon returned to Memphis , being in one of the first table spots in wrestling, and the AWA, where they had a feud with their own knock off team, the Midnight Rockers. Upon returning to JCP, now WCW, they were mostly a mid card act until Morton turned on Gibson in 1991. The team reunited in SMW, holding the tag titles 10 times, while competing on both WWF and WCW PPVs as part of a cross promotional deal SMW had with both companies. The team continued to tag throughout the 90s, having small roles in both WCW and WWF. They are still active as a team as of 2015. They are often considered one of the greatest teams of all time, along with the Road Warriors and Midnight Express.
In a cruel twist of fate, the RNR are disqualified from using the flag that Jack Victory attempted to use on them. It's fascinating that, despite how small the RNR were, and their audience being "teeny boppers", they were booked so strong. Heels never really got one over on them, and in spots that would normally ruin the face team, they were always a step ahead and too clever for the heels. They'd be hated for their booking in the modern era. This also means ANOTHER BUSHWHACKERS MATCH.
Tully Blanchard/Arn Anderson vs The Fantastics
Another match I'd really like to see in full. All dudes involved are so legit. Arn and Tully from 86-89 are about as good of a tag team as you could possibly hope to see.
Tully Blanchard was born into the business. His father, Joe Blanchard, was a star in the AWA and in Texas. In the late 70s, Joe Blanchard opened Southwest Championship Wrestling, where Tully got his start. Trained by his father and Jose Lothario (trainer of Shawn Michaels), Tully's first feud was teaming with his father to face the Funk Brothers. Upon leaving his father's promotion, Tully was an immediate contender for the NWA TV Championship in JCP, which he won just months after his debut. After defending the title for the rest of the year, he began feuding with Dusty Rhodes, who ended Tully's nearly year long reign. As they swapped the title back and forth, the top heels in the territory (Tully, Ole Anderson, Arn Anderson, and Ric Flair) became a loose alliance. They would interfere in matches and tag from time to time, but were not officially a group. Tully began a very personal feud with Magnum T.A. over the US Championship, which ended in a steel cage I Quit match at Starrcade 1985. Tully verbally submitted while Magnum attempted to gouge his eye out with a piece of broken wood, but he never did say "I quit". Undeterred by the loss, and with the backing of the now officially named Four Horsemen, Tully defeated Dusty Rhodes for the NWA National Championship in March of 1986. The Horsemen would feud with all the top faces in JCP for the next two years, with Arn and Tully forming a stable tag team. Due to political issues, Arn and Tully both jumped to the WWF in 1988, teaming together as the Brainbusters, keeping their same look and NWA style in the cartoony WWF world. While only staying for a year, they won the WWF Tag Team Championships and became key members of the Heenan Family. Tully would be fired for a failed drug test and appeared in the AWA briefly in 1990. He made a one off return to WCW to face Terry Funk at Slamboree 1994. He feuded with Shane Douglas over the ECW Championship in 1995.
Arn Anderson got his first break in SECW, being a multi-time tag champ and forging a friendship with Ric Flair. After moving to Mid South, the Junkyard Dog remarked that Arn looked like an Anderson. Bill Watts pitched the idea to Jim Crockett, and a new Anderson was born. Arn would replace the retired Gene Anderson in the new Minnesota Wrecking Crew. The Andersons won tag team gold and as 1985 progressed, they began teaming up with Ric Flair and Tully Blanchard. It was Arn who came up with the Four Horsemen name, something he improvised in a promo. By the start of 1986, he was a dual champion, winning the NWA TV Championship while still National Tag Champs with Ole. At the same time, Tully Blanchard was the National Champion, and Ric Flair was the Wrld Champion, leading to the Four Horsemen having a stranglehold on JCP and the NWA as a whole. At Starrcade 1986, the Andersons lost a cage match to the Rock N Roll Express. This led to Ole being ousted from the Four Horsemen, replaced by a young Lex Luger. From this point on, Arn and Tully became exclusive partners, winning the NWA World Tag Team Championships as Lex Luger held the US Championship and Ric Flair was still the World Champion. After a stint in the WWF, Arn returned to WCW without Tully. Reforming the Four Horsemen, Arn found himself winning the TV Championship 3 more times. After Ric Flair left WCW in 1991, Arn found himself tagging with Larry Zbyszko, then joining a new stable: Paul Heyman's Dangerous Alliance. When Flair returned to WCW from the WWF, the plan was to reunite the original Four Horsemen for the first time since 1988. Tully Blanchard, however, felt he wasn't offered enough money, so he was replaced by Paul Roma. Despite the negative response to the move, Arn and Roma also won tag gold. As the Horsemen were phased out, Arn found himself in yet another stable, this time the Studd Stable, feuding mostly with the Rhodes family. The Four Horsemen were reunited in 1995, with Arn, Flair, and new additions of Brian Pillman and Chris Benoit. He was forced to retire in 1997, although he stayed on with WCW both on screen and off. When WCW was purchased by WWE in 2001, Arn joined as an agent. He has made many cameos over the years in WWE, and was a regular on screen character during Ric Flair's run as GM of Raw.
The Fantastics got an upset win.
Giant Baba/Tiger Mask II vs Black Bart/Jimmy Garvin
What an odd match up. Misawa Mask and...Black Bart? Jimmy Garvin? Just so strange. Baba is very much in the twilight of his career at this point, and in front of a Southern crowd that likely had no idea who he was and why people were selling to his egg safe offense. Which is really shocking if you only know him from his late 80s/90s work and haven't seen him in the late 60s/early 70s when he was legit as fuck.
Giant Baba started his career with Antonio Inoki as students of the most famous Japanese wrestler of all time, Rikidozan. Together, Inoki and Baba were the top stars of the Japanese Wrestling Association, one of, if not the first wrestling promotions in Japan. In 1972, both students formed their own promotions, focusing on their different approaches to pro wrestling. Inoki started New Japan Pro Wrestling, while Baba was the head of All Japan Pro Wrestling. AJPW took JWA's spot in the NWA, meaning All Japan had a steady stream of top NWA talent and title matches throughout the 70s and 80s. Baba would become the first Japanese NWA Champion, holding the title 3 times total. In the 80s, Baba moved himself down the card to allow the next generation of stars to rise.
Among these young stars was Mitsuharu Misawa, who wrestled as the second generation of Tiger Mask, first popularized by Satoru Sayama in NJPW. Sayama had renounced the mask when he started the NJPW offshoot of UWF (not to be confused with Mid South or Herb Abram's UWF in the early 90s). AJPW purchased the gimmick and Misawa was placed under the mask. Misawa wrestled as a junior weight for 5 years, graduating to heavyweight in 1986. As the heavyweight Tiger Mask, Misawa would challenge for the NWA and AWA Championships. When Genrichiro Tenryu left the company, Baba decided to unmask Misawa and push him as his new ace. Shortly after, he kicked off a long running feud with top star Jumbo Tsuruta, which became a classic generational feud, with the aging Jumbo refusing to give up his spot to Misawa, each side bringing friends to the war. Misawa was able to prove he deserved his spot and went on to dominate AJPW along with Kenta Kobashi, Akira Taue, and Toshiaki Kawada for the rest of the 90s. In 2000, after Baba's death, Misawa left the company, taking nearly all of the roster with him to form Pro Wrestling NOAH.
Baba pins Bart with a big boot.
Road Warriors vs Midnight Express
Presumably, anyone that defeats the Midnights in this would be in line for a title shot. You'd think, at least. Or I'd think. Cornette got caught interfering, causing his team to get disqualified.
Ivan and Nikita Koloff vs Terry Taylor/Steve Williams
Nikita and Doc have a dope stand off in this. The crowd is so insane. The time limit expires, so both teams are eliminated. The post match had Korchenko, Eddie Gilbert's Russian monster from UWF, join the JCP Russians in a beat down of the faces.
Fantastics vs Sheepherders
Now these two teams have had a significant feud before and after this show. This match has ref bumps, blood, international objects, and both teams were disqualified. Thankfully, no more fucking Bushwhackers.
Magnum T.A./Ron Garvin vs Giant Baba/Tiger Mask II
Another bizarre match up. The idea of any of these guys squaring off is just odd. Just the difference in styles is hard to get around. Magnum working holds on Baba and bumping for his soft ass chops. I'd love to see the full match just for how weird it must have been. Magnum counted a crossbody with a belly to belly to advance to the finals.
Jim Duggan vs Dick Slater UWF North American Championship
Dick Slater fascinates me, as he made his entire career being a direct Terry Funk clone while Terry Funk was still wrestling in the same areas as him. And I'm not even saying Dick Slater was bad or anything. He did a pretty fucking dead on Terry Funk impression in the ring, which means he was pretty good, because Terry Funk was great. It's just so strange that EVERYTHING he did was a direct lift from Terry Funk. Even the way he walked. I guess the closest comparison I can make is Chris Benoit patterning himself completely on Dynamite Kid. Except Dynamite was pretty much done by the time Benoit started. They did have a brief overlap in Stampede, but Slater was doing all of Funk's shit while Funk was still an active competitor around the world, and they were even in a stable together. Slater started in Florida and Georgia, moving on to JCP, before settling in Mid South. There, he took the manager of Dark Journey, a woman he found dancing at a nightclub. He ended up winning every singles title Mid South had to offer, and when he held both the North American and Television titles, he threw the TV medal into a river in protest of not being allowed to hold both. After a brief run in the WWF as the Rebel Dick Slater, he would return to WCW for the rest of his career, which ended when he blew out two vertebrae in a televised match.
There are a lot of people who will tell you that Duggan was actually a pretty good wrestler in Mid South. He wasn't. He was always shit. He's probably he most confusing guy of all time to me in terms of how over he was everywhere he went despite being so bad. He got his start in Texas, then did a brief stint in the WWF. He really made his name in Mid South, though. After being a part of the Rat Pack with Ted DiBiase and Matt Borne, Duggan turned face and began carrying his 2x4 to the ring. He would go on to win the tag team and North American championships before leaving for the WWF. He became a patriotic face and won the first Royal Rumble in 1988. He stayed with the WWF until 1993, having never won a title with the company. He joined WCW in 1994, immediately winning the US Championship from Steve Austin. After losing the title, he entered into feuds with other former WWF talent such as Haku. After recovering from cancer, he would turn heel in 2000, joining Team Canada.
This match also features a ref bump (that of Earl Hebner). Even with the ref bumping and Slater cheating, Duggan wins and retains his title.
Ric Flair vs Dusty Rhodes NWA Championship
At Starrcade 85, Dusty won the title from Flair, but was reversed after the event by senior referee Tommy Young, who had been bumped and was ready to call the the match off, but a second ref counted the fall for Dusty. Since then, Dusty has been trying to get another shot. This match was signed at the behest of Bill Watts, who had always wanted the Supderdome fans to see the NWA Championship change hands.
The careers of Flair and Rhodes are forever linked, and I can't really do it justice, so I'll leave you with the WWE produced documentaries on their rivalry and careers.
Double juice. Ref bump. Ric used Dusty's boot and got into a fight with Baby Doll. Dusty got disqualified for using the boot, then hit the ref. Title retained.
Magnum T.A./Ron Garvin vs Road Warriors Crockett Cup Finals
Super face tag team match, which is pretty interesting. Ron Garvin has spent most of the year chasing Ric Flair and appears to be the next big babyface in line behind Magnum. So much so that he replaced Dusty in this team. Interesting to see Ron Garvin actually chopping the shit out of Hawk and Hawk selling it. Garvin was able to to hit the KO punch on Hawk, but the injury sustained from Tully Blanchard distracted him enough for Animal to hit him with a surprise lariat for the win.
As a show, it is pretty hard to judge since all the matches are clipped. But from a collection of talent stand point, it was an incredible happening. The 80s was an amazing time for wrestling. So many great talents and different promotions with different styles. This was the last true big event of the territories. By 1987, JCP would buy Championship Wrestling From Florida and Mid South. The AWA was clearly behind WWF and JCP and would limp to the ends of the 80s, closing officially in 1991, although not having TV since August of 1990. CWA and WCCW would join to create the USWA in 1989, with WCCW pulling out within a year and closing down.
The 1990s would see SMW attempt to emulate the territories style, but it only lasted until 1995 even with help from both WCW and WWE. The USWA lasted until 1997, also with help from the WWF. It was the last of the true territories, having been a direct continuation of CWA.
But this show was truly the high point of the territory period. Never again would there be a show with such star power and cooperation of so many companies in the US. Not even the next two Crockett Cups.