Pro Wrestling USA @ the Meadowlands 8/16/1985

Sgt. Slaughter goes after Ric Flair’s NWA gold and the Road Warriors battle the Freebirds!

Ken Resnick introduces things, bringing Sgt. Slaughter in for some words on his upcoming bout against Ric Flair.  Sarge alludes to not getting any title matches against Hulk Hogan, Ric Flair or Rick Martel…until now.

Terry Gordy and Buddy Roberts are up next. They cry conspiracy as they claim that the promoters do not want them to dominate the North like they did in the South.

NWA World Champion Ric Flair vs. Sgt. Slaughter

Flair gets a strong mixed reaction, as he has yet to officially turn heel. Sarge gets a good pop. There is no commentary, and it’s a one camera shoot.

The men shake hands before the match begins. Flair plays some mind games by avoiding the lock up and preening his hair. Sarge shows off his power by chucking Flair down and across the ring when they do tie up.

Sarge dominates the early minutes with an arm lock and head lock. Flair finally rolls to the floor to end this tedious beginning.  Once back inside, Flair attempts a suplex, but Sarge blocks him and we end in a stalemate. Sarge goes back to the arm.  The first ten minutes has been a bore as they work a babyface match.

They botch a spot where Sarge attempts a crossbody, but Flair was too close. Sarge connected with Flair, but Flair stayed up right.  Slaughter press slams Flair as they move along quickly.

Flair uses a questionable blow to hurt Sarge’s eye. Flair tries to take advantage, but misses a knee drop.  Sarge tries to use a figure-four for a easy pop, but can’t figure out how to put it on, so Flair kicks him. Sarge uses a knee buster and tries the figure four again. He struggles to apply it, but finally figures out how to tie the legs correctly. Flair fights his way to the ropes to force the break. That was an embarrassing sequence for Slaughter.

The challenger attempts yet another figure-four, but is again kicked off. The match ends up on the floor, where Slaughter is posted. That removes all the subtle heel tendencies from Flair and he goes all in on being the bad guy. He chokes Sarge, prompting a loud “Slaughter!” chant to start. Flair also starts to use the ropes for leverage as he wears on Sarge, giving the fans a reason for outrage.

Slaughter finally gets the advantage back with a clothesline, and quickly follows up with a sleeper. Flair goes low and both men fall to the mat. Sarge fires up and sends Flair up and over the turnbuckle and to the floor. Suddenly we get commentary from Larry Nelson. The rest of the match was clearly shown on AWA’s ESPN show and/or the Pro Wrestling USA syndicated show.

Flair gets desperate back in the ring and tries to cradle Sarge, using the ropes to aid his pin. Flair goes to the top. but waits too long and is slammed off. Slaughter loads up the “cannon” that is his arm and clotheslines the champ to the floor. Larry Nelson admits a DQ is often called for such infractions, but not here.

Sarge gets tangled in the ropes, opening up a chance for Flair to wear at his leg. A figure-four looks to end things. Sarge fights his way free and manages to get lure Flair close enough to lock him in the Cobra Clutch. That prompts Boris Zhukov to charge in and give Sarge the lame DQ win.

The commie lays a beat down on Sarge, blooding him up, with Flair aiding in the attack. Greg Gagne, Tom Zenk and a slew of faces charge the ring to save the day. The crowd actually pops when the ring announcer declares a state commission has fined Boris Zhukov $1,000 for his interference.

I can’t really recommend this one as they started slow to tell the babyface vs. babyface story, then  this wasn’t anything special outside once they slipped into the Flair formula.

This was the final NWA title match for Sarge on record. JCP becoming less and less willing to share talent, along with Sarge turning into a mainstream wrestling recluse over the next several years kept the two apart. They would not face one another again until both took part in the 1992 Royal Rumble.

Paul Ellering and the Road Warriors vs. Terry Gordy, Buddy Roberts and Michael Hayes

Hawk and Gordy are nose to nose talking trash before the bell. Hayes is doing his best to rile up the crowd. Hawk and Gordy trade clotheslines as their alpha male battle proves to be a draw.  Buddy Roberts tags in. He gets a shockingly easy slam on Hawk. Hawk no sells that and slams Roberts 3 straight times. Hayes runs in and is slammed for good measure. This simple story telling gets a big reaction.

Gordy and Animal come in for a bit of a match reset. Animal is slammed and sells his back for a bit. He gets up and tries a press slam, almost losing Gordy. They struggle to the ropes, where Animal has Gordy grab the ropes to help heave himself up. Then Animal finally gets Gordy up for the press slam.

A series of tags sees Ellering getting a beatdown from the heels. He makes his own comeback as he smacks around Roberts. Gordy cheap shots Ellering, allowing the heels to take turns giving him another battering.

The heels build to a miscommunication spot, which opens Ellering up to give Animal the hot tag. A six-way brawl busts out, where Hawk and Animal lay out Gordy and Hayes long enough to attempt a double pin. Roberts keeps his buddies from losing in such a manner by dropping an elbow on the ref to earn a DQ after 14-minutes of action.

The Warriors are knocked to the floor in the aftermath, allowing the Birds to hit a powerbomb/piledriver type move on Ellering. Hawk and Animal charge the ring and clear things out to end the show on a happy note.

That was a good brawl, although the ending didn’t really serve to protect the Birds as they were beaten down regardless. At that point you may as well give the audience a clean win.

Final thoughts: This is a sweet dose of nostalgia from the last months of the AWA being truly relevant.  It is available on the WWE Network under the “Hidden Gems”.

 

 

 

Written by Andrew Lutzke

The grumpy old man of culturecrossfire.com, lover of wrasslin' and true crimes.