Through the Years: NWA Matches & Angles from May through Jul. 1987


Once again, it’s time to knock out three months of NWA action! Their merger with the UWF is on, and it should lead to some new guys coming in. It may also lead to some guys leaving. A good example was Big Bubba heading to the UWF to defeat the One Man Gang for the UWF Championship. The company was also becoming a little stale in my opinion, so the additions are nice.


Unfortunately, there are a few things that I don’t have video of. One of those is the Final of the United States Tag Team Championships Tournament. Apparently the Midnight Express won them after beating Barry Windham and Ron Garvin in a super long match. I really wanted to watch that.


– Taped to air May 16th and May 23rd, on World Championship Wrestling, from WTBS Studios in Atlanta, Georgia


BAH GAWD IT’S THE FREEBIRDS. THEY’RE COMING BACK BROTHER. Apparently they’re going to face the Horsemen at the Omni! Wish that was taped for television. The Birds don’t look so great in that promo. They look old and used up, but Hayes is great whenever he talks. I’d review more stuff between these two, but I don’t have the match…so it qualifies as building to nothing for me.


– Taped to air May 23rd, 1987, on NWA Pro, from Dorton Arena in Raleigh, North Carolina


Ric Flair (NWA World Champion) & Lex Luger (w/JJ Dillon) vs. Dusty Rhodes & Nikita Koloff (US Champion)


Pre-Match Thoughts: Huge match to be having on television. What I don’t understand is that WWE has all this stuff in their video library but doesn’t release it. Don’t they realize that people want to watch matches like this?

Match Review: Dusty and Flair start the match, with Flair getting floored by a shoulderblock. Dusty is getting fatter and fatter. Flair replies with some chops, and gets beaten up Dusty style. The people still eat this up. Flair gets thrown into the corner, goes onto the apron and tries a body press, but Dusty hits him in the gut and gives him a DDT. Luger rushes in, gets knocked down to the floor..and damn. Dusty then gives Flair a gorilla press slam, and finally tags in his partner. I’m tired of Dusty, so that’s good. Luger tags in as well, as we head to a commercial.

The promos during NWA Pro’s commercials are usually interesting. This was no exception. Nikita’s promo on Luger was hilarious. Now we’re back to the match, and Luger is working over Nikita. Nikita comes back with a sunset flip, getting a 2 count. The Horsemen then give Nikita a double clothesline, and Luger follows with a powerslam. He puts Nikita in the TORTURE RACK, only for Dusty to hit him from behind. That’s too bad. Flair tags in, and Nikita does a bridge to backslide combination, getting 2. Nikita lands a clothesline after that, and finally tags in Big Dusty. Dusty feeds Flair a bunch of elbows, and a clothesline to follow. Luger gets clotheslined, JJ gets elbowed, and Flair sneakily trips Dusty while Dusty’s in the middle of all that. That was neat. Flair gives Dusty’s leg a knee drop, and heads up to the top rope so that he can get slammed down from it. Dusty locks on THE FIGURE-FOUR, and Nikita cuts Luger off from making the save. However, the other Four Horsemen get in the ring, and Tully goes to work on Dusty’s leg with a briefcase. Obviously, Flair and Luger have been disqualified. Time that I have is 5:26.

All of these guys continue to beat Dusty up, but finally the Rock ‘n’ Roll Express comes out…only to get beaten up. Hard to get in a ring with five guys inside of it who don’t want somebody else to get in there. When the Express finally does, it’s too late, and the Horsemen leave.

My Thoughts: To explain the briefcase, Dusty is going to face Tully Blanchard in a match for the TV Title where the winner also gets 100,000 dollars. As for the match, this was angle building towards the Great American Bash. That’s always good. It was okay, and basically what you’d expect. Not sure about the time, though. It felt quite a bit longer. **.


– Taped to air May 30th, 1987, on NWA Pro, from Greenwood, South Carolina


Lex Luger (w/JJ Dillon) vs. Dexter Wescott


The match is at 35:00. Why would I watch a squash match? You’ll soon find out. Dexter is so small compared to Luger, it’s hilarious. Luger gives him a few stiff shots, one of those being a hard clothesline. He also gives Wescott a powerslam, AND PUTS HIM IN THE TORTURE RACK, BEST MOVE IN THE BUSINESS, IT IS OVER! After the match, Luger calls out Nikita! Here he comes! Nikita knocks JJ over, and the two big men brawl! They tumble out of the ring and fight in the crowd! Eventually the cavalry of wrestlers heads out to break it up, but this was a great angle. I recommend it.


– Taped to air June 6th, 1987, from Spokane, Washington


The Rock ‘n’ Roll Express vs. Manny Fernandez & Rick Rude (w/Paul Jones) for the NWA World Tag Team Championships


Alright, so this wasn’t really a title match when it first happened. Rude disappeared on Crockett, with the intention of heading to the WWF. He never gave any notice, and never dropped the title. The other plan that Dusty had was for Ivan Koloff to take Rick Rude’s place and lose the titles. Rude was much better in the WWF, so this hardly bothers me. He wasn’t used properly in JCP. I also have no idea if this is where the match took place. It would seem not, but I don’t know. It is an old non-title match, with dubbed over commentary.

They certainly didn’t show the whole match. Not that anybody would be surprised by that. We join in progress with Fernandez having Gibson in a chinlock, then he lets go and gives Gibson a back suplex. Back to the chinlock, and when Gibson crawls over to his corner, the referee never spots the tag. Rude enters, and continues to punish Gibson, only to be given an inverted atomic drop. Finally Morton tags in, and takes both of the heels out. He gives Fernandez a backdrop, and a hurricanrana for a 2 count. Gibson pairs off with Rude, Morton gets thrown to the floor, and the heels now double team. Morton sunset flips Fernandez, and somehow gets the pinfall! It’s so obvious that wasn’t a real title change, because they cut away from that video and added a ring announcer so quickly after the pin. Funny stuff. The Express are now 4 time tag team champions.


– Taped to air June 13th, 1987, on Worldwide Wrestling, from Greensboro Coliseum in Greensboro, North Carolina


Dusty Rhodes (w/Magnum TA) vs. Tully Blanchard (w/JJ Dillon & Dark Journey) in a WINNER WINS 100,000 DOLLARS MATCH for the NWA World Television Championship

Pre-Match Thoughts: With Magnum involved, they are really pushing a Dusty victory here. He can’t possibly lose with Magnum in his corner, can he? Before the match starts, JJ complains about the purse…and is forced to back away when Magnum puts his cane on his throat. HAHA. Tully and Dusty have had bad matches previously, but this is really important, so I must review it regardless.

Match Review: They lock up, and Dusty throws Blanchard around a bit. Dusty does that awful elbow act, causing Tully to regroup on the outside. Tully gets hip tossed when he gets back in the ring, and teases an attack on Dusty outside of it, but that’s not going to happen. In the ring, Dusty hits Tully with more elbows, until he leaves the ring again. This act is so stale to me. When Tully gets back in the ring, Dusty hits him with everything. Again. Even when Dusty gets cornered, he comes back with a hip toss or something to get the advantage. Now there’s a break in the action.

Back from the commercial, Dusty is trying to take out Tully’s leg. They head to the floor, and Dusty wrenches it on the guardrail, until referee Tommy Young comes over to tell them to stop. Tully tries to run back into the ring, and does, only for Dusty to hit Tully’s leg with Magnum’s cane. How was that legal? Dusty works a terrible looking toe-hold, and eventually turns that into a figure-four. Tully quickly makes the ropes, and winds up on the floor next to Magnum. The crowd is super heated for this bit, which has Magnum slapping his old enemy. Dusty notices, heads to the floor, and gives Tully a figure-four on the floor. Haha. With Tommy Young not paying attention to Dusty, JJ walks over and kicks Dusty in the head. Even better! Dusty tries getting back into the ring, but Tully is there to kick him in the knee. He puts his own figure-four on Dusty now…please, variety in leg locks soon. This is driving me nuts! Dusty finally summons the gumption to reverse it, and of course Tully gets help from JJ to make the ropes. When they get up, Dusty gives Tully a DDT. Tully tries to come back with a leap off the top, but Dusty catches him and deposits him in the corner. Dusty tries to charge at him after that, but his knee is hurt and he falls down. Tully capitalizes on that by ramming Dusty’s knee into the apron, and when Dark Journey distracts the referee, Tully uses JJ’s shoe to hit Dusty with. Tully attempts to pull off Dusty’s boot, but gets punched and headbutted in response. Tully reverses an attempt at a suplex, then both guys run the ropes and fly into each other.

Dusty gets up from the collision first, and nails Tully with a few elbows. Tully misses a charge to the corner, and Dusty goes back to the figure-four…only to get poked in the eye. Dusty tries a backslide though, and it gets 2. Dusty then gives Tully an atomic drop, and applies a sleeper as well. This is actually a good match. Tully gets out and bails to the apron, and Dusty tries to suplex him in. It becomes a SLINGSHOT SUPLEX, and Dusty covers, but Tully’s foot was on the bottom rope. The crowd thinks it’s over and Tommy Young isn’t reacting, so I’m quite confused. Magnum TA then has his hands on Dark Journey for some reason, and JJ takes that opportunity to STEAL THE PURSE and run out of the arena. What an evil bastard. He knows that Magnum can’t chase him. That is the most fucked shit ever. The match is now supposed to continue, but Dusty went to go chase JJ. So he gets counted out, and doesn’t win the title, nor win the 100k. That match was around 15-16 minutes long.

Dusty was so upset about losing the money that he cut an Attitude Era style promo on the house microphone. HAHA. In the dressing room, Dusty is just as upset. Magnum is quite upset too.

My Thoughts: The look on Magnum’s face was one of complete despair and disgust. I felt bad about seeing that. This was an unusually good Dusty match. He gave Tully a lot more than he usually gives his opponents, he was made to look like an idiot, and looked weak too. Dusty also has a feud for the Great American Bash tour that is not an NWA Title feud. That is a good thing, even though he’ll be in a lot of main events. **3/4 for the match. It’s the best match between these two that I have seen, so I’m glad I chose to watch it.


– Taped to air June 27th, 1987, on World Championship Wrestling, from WTBS Studios in Atlanta, Georgia


Ric Flair (NWA Champion) & Lex Luger (w/JJ Dillon) vs. Ron & Jimmy Garvin (w/Precious)

Pre-Match Thoughts: They’re hyping “The War Games” now! About time! I can’t wait for that. I’m sure this is going to be a great match.

Match Review: Ron and Flair will start the match off, and Garvin runs Flair over. They trade chops afterward, and Garvin eventually gives Flair a backdrop. Flair replies with a back elbow, and tags in Luger who was supposed to continue Flair’s work, but was given a flying body press for 2. Jimmy tags in and puts a headlock on his muscled opponent, then tags in Ron to dish out some arm work and headbutts. Flair comes in too, and they brawl. It’s awesome, and after a splash, Ron gets a 2 count. Jimmy tags in, and lands some chops as well, then gives Flair a hip toss. Flair doesn’t take long to dish out something, by whipping Jimmy into Luger’s knee and making a tag. Luger slams Jimmy, and gives him an elbow drop for 2. Flair tags in, and Jimmy gives him a backslide for a very near fall. Ron and Flair trade shots yet again, and Ron puts a chinlock on the champion to keep him from tagging. Flair fights out with a back suplex, and here comes Luger. Luger powerslams Ron Garvin, and poses like he’s going to give him THE TORTURE RACK. However, that’s not going to happen, as is made obvious when Ron bites him. He then rams Flair and Luger’s heads together, and suplexes Flair in off the apron.

We come back from the commercial with Luger having Ron in an armbar. Flair tags in and chops away, but Garvin goes crazy and dishes out some major offense. He whips Flair into the corner, over the top and down to the floor. Flair pulls Ron down to the floor, and they trade even more chops. This is hilarious. Flair bumps on the floor, and gets his head rammed into the announcers podium. This is great stuff. Jimmy tags in, gives Flair 10 punches in the corner, and Ron comes back in. He flies off the top with a sunset flip, and Luger breaks up the cover. Regardless of that, Jimmy comes in and gives Flair a hip toss, getting a 2 count. Jimmy tries a backdrop on a newly tagged in Luger, but he leaped over him…and Jimmy had to take him down with a headlock. In comes Ron, with a roll up for 2. Flair tags in, and gives Ron a shin-breaker, then goes for the FIGURE-FOUR! It’s locked in, but Jimmy comes in to break the hold. To the outside Ron goes, where Luger beats him up. Jimmy tags in, as we continue the back and forth. Nobody can get an advantage, and it makes the Garvins look quite legitimate. Jimmy cradles Flair for 2, but gets pushed towards Luger, who tags in. Luger gives him a backbreaker for 2, and Flair tags in, only to miss an elbow drop. Here comes Ron once again, and I think it may be for the last time.

He lands some massive chops on Flair, and gives him yet another backdrop. He clocks Luger too, and all four guys are in the ring. Flair dumps Jimmy to the outside, and goes after Precious. What a creep. JJ picks Precious up and tries carrying her out of view, but there’s Dusty Rhodes. IT’S ALWAYS DUSTY RHODES. He punches JJ, which makes him let go of Precious. Now Jimmy Garvin is getting double teamed, until Flair attacks the referee and tosses him to the outside. Luger tries to set Flair up to break Jimmy’s leg, but Ron rushes in and tosses Flair off the top rope. HANDS OF STONE lands on Luger, and Jimmy gives Flair a BAH GAWD BRAINBUSTER. Ron counts the fall, but the match was over, both teams have been disqualified after 15 minutes of crazy action.

My Thoughts: Now that’s the kind of match I wanted to see. It made the Garvins look outstanding. They were able to go back and forth with Flair and Luger, and in the end they had them beaten. That’s great for their upcoming tour. Obviously, I wasn’t a big fan of Dusty’s involvement, but this was a fantastic TV match. Ron Garvin is a great match for Flair, and as I’ve said previously, it wasn’t that crazy for him to have won the NWA Title. He was the clear top babyface behind Dusty, and Dusty couldn’t have the belt again. Unless you wanted to see the Road Warriors win it, there wasn’t another option…other than to have Flair keep it. If that had happened, he would have had a run of around two and a half years. They knew that Survivor Series was going to happen on the same day, so they had to come up with something. ***1/4 and recommended for the match.


Of course, the Great American Bash tour is going on during this time. However, I’m reviewing the matches on the video tape in another article. Not here.


– July 18th, 1987, from Memorial Stadium in Charlotte, North Carolina


The MOD Squad vs. The Rock ‘n’ Roll Express for the NWA World Tag Team Championships


Pre-Match Thoughts: Big crowd at this outdoor venue. Kind of weird to see the challengers working in the Mid-Atlantic area. They definitely didn’t last long there. Despite the title of the video, this is not the Midnight Express.

Match Review: Gibson and Spike will start the match, and we go straight to commercial. What the hell?

Back from that commercial, Morton is in there, and has a wristlock on Spike. He gives Spike a drop toe-hold as well, and Gibson tags in. He kicks Spike down low, and tags in Morton to start working over Spike’s leg. Gibson tags in again, rolls over with Morton to punch Basher, and continues with a toe-hold. The Express is really working these guys. The heel in peril stuff continues, until Spike finally tags in his partner. Morton gives Basher a drop toe-hold, and tags out. They follow that with a double wishbone move, and continue with tags and leg locks. I’m not going to describe everything that happens, just know that there’s another commercial and that segment of the match is over.

Basher continues to keep Gibson from making a tag, and Spike tags in to do the same. Nice sneaky throw over the top rope when the referee isn’t looking, too. Gibson makes his tag out to Morton, who cleans house. He puts a sleeper on Basher, and Gibson knocks Spike out of the ring. They land the DOUBLE DROPKICK on Basher, but Spike breaks up the cover with an elbow drop. Gibson gets dumped to the outside, and the MOD Squad dishes out some double team action. While Basher is punching Morton, Gibson sunset flips in from the apron and pins Spike! Time of that was around 7:30.

My Thoughts: Decent little TV match. There’s not a whole lot to say about it, but I found it slightly surprising that the Rock ‘n’ Roll Express didn’t have a bigger part on this portion of the Bash tour. Then I looked at results, and for the majority of the tour, they faced the Midnight Express. Maybe they needed a lighter workload for the night. On the other hand, the Midnight Express faced the Freebirds. **1/4.


– Taped to air July 25th, 1987, on World Championship Wrestling…


Ric Flair’s date with Precious
Flair beat Jimmy Garvin in a match that I’ll be reviewing for the GAB tape. As a result of that, he won a date with Precious. And something awesome happened. At the hotel room, Precious was about to be taken on Space Mountain by Ric Flair…or so he thought. Even funnier, JJ Dillon was supposed to be watching this from the closet. Instead, of what Flair had planned, a very large woman entered the hotel room and…KICKED FLAIR’S ASS. JJ shows up, and gets pushed into the pool! That’s how Ronnie Garvin deals with shit, brother. One of the funniest angles I’ve ever seen, and I hope everyone’s seen it before. That’s why Flair’s so awesome too, because he agreed to do that.


And that’s it for those three months. There’s some awesome stuff coming up, but it’s all on the Great American Bash tape. Unfortunately, there isn’t a lot of the Starrcade build kicking around, but we’ll cross that bridge when we get to it. I think it may be a good thing that there isn’t a lot of videos out there. The product is getting stale, and the UWF guys haven’t come in yet. The Road Warriors haven’t been around much either. The UWF guys don’t even come into the company by the time of Starrcade, but thankfully they do afterwards. It’s weird because they’re now in direct competition with the WWF, so you’d think this stuff would be more popular and more fresh. But I guess not. I’ll be glad when this period is over, because I’ll have reviewed a lot of WWF by the end of it, and I need an NWA fix. Next up, it’s going to be WWF from June and July of 1987. There’s some really good stuff there…but one last note first. Vladimir Petrov, who I’ve hardly even watched, got convicted of drug charges. And now I’ll never see him again.


Best: Ric Flair’s “date.” It was awesome.

Worst: Literally every storyline has Dusty Rhodes involved in it.


Written by Sage Cortez

Sage is a boisterous Los Angeles sports fan. Unsurprisingly, like many other loudmouth LA fans, he also likes the Raiders and a range of combat sports.

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