Through the Years: NWA Matches & Angles from Sept. through Nov. 1986


So, Starrcade build it is! This company has been running super hot over the last few months. Will the momentum continue or not? I don’t really have an answer to that, but stuff happens outside of the ring during these two months that I will comment on as well. Also do not forget, new United States Tag Team Champions will be crowned! And at the end of August, Tully Blanchard won the National Heavyweight Championship from Wahoo McDaniel. I can’t wait to get to watching this stuff, so rather than drone on, I’m going to get to it.


– Taped to air September 6th, 1986, on World Championship Wrestling, from WTBS Studios in Atlanta, Georgia


The Minnesota Wrecking Crew vs. The Kansas Jayhawks

Pre-Match Thoughts: This is, quite clearly, the match of the week on TBS. DUTCH! Very nice to see him here. I don’t know how long he was in JCP, but I’ll enjoy it while it lasts, however short it would appear to be. JJ Dillon is on commentary.

Match Review: Dutch and Arn start the match, which begins with some cool verbal activity. Arn is a big trash talker, and Dutch is great with some of his expressions. Dutch gives Arn a great looking shoulderblock and hip-toss, causing Arn to retreat to his corner. Bobby Jaggers tags in, puts Arn in a wristlock, and tags Dutch who comes off the top with a blow to Arn. That causes Ole to tag in now, so he and Dutch trade wristlocks. Dutch and Ole trade shots now, and Jaggers tags in after they’re done. Ole tries cheating now, but Jaggers holds onto the wristlock…only for Arn to tag in. Arn gets thrown into Dutch’s elbow over in the corner, and Dutch tags in for a 2 count. Jaggers comes in soon after, and Arn misses a charge to the corner, at which point he is given an arm drag. Jaggers has Arn tied up, and tags in Dutch to do the same. Dutch gives Arn an atomic drop, which sends him into Jaggers elbow, and tries a cover which gets 2. Jaggers and Dutch exchange tags now, and Ole knees Dutch in the back as he runs the ropes. Dutch fights back when Ole tags in, and Jaggers tags in as well, to drop some elbows on Ole. A cover only gets 1, and Ole is able to ram Jaggers into Arn’s knee. Ole slams Jaggers now, and drops an elbow for 2.

After the commercial, Arn is beating up Jaggers near the ropes and his corner. Ole tags in and ties up Jaggers arm, then tosses him into the turnbuckles. Arn gets in the ring, and Jaggers summarily runs him over in a collision. Jaggers makes the tag to Dutch, and here we go. Dutch beats up everyone, and tries a bodypress, which gets 2. All four men get in the ring and JJ vacates his announce position to throw Ole a shoe. Ole catches it, comes down from the top rope…and hits Dutch in the head. However, the referee saw it, and the Kansas Jayhawks win via disqualification after around 10:30.

My Thoughts: That was a nice little match. My only complaint is that the guys didn’t take many bumps, and traded tags far too often. But hey, their schedule is really busy, and they can’t go all out every night. So it’s not a big deal. **1/4 for the match.


– Taped to air September 6th, 1986, on NWA Pro, from Memorial Auditorium in Spartanburg, South Carolina


Black Bart vs. Ron Garvin for the NWA Mid-Atlantic Heavyweight Championship

Pre-Match Thoughts: Man, Bart has had this belt for a long time. Unremarkably as well. Bob Caudle and Jim Cornette are our announcers for this bout. Talk about a combination! It’s about time this belt heads on to someone else, you know.

Match Review: Garvin does a great job of avoiding Bart at the beginning of the match, which makes the crowd quite happy. Bart finally catches up to him and lands some clubbing blows, but this is Ron Garvin brother. This pussy shit ain’t gonna do much damage to him. Bart has Garvin in an armbar, but what’s that gonna do? Garvin fights back and clocks big boy a couple times, knocking him down. Bart fires back to his feet and they go into a chop war, which is always awesome. Garvin climbs up to choke Bart in the turnbuckles, but Bart comes back and gives him an inverted atomic drop. This crowd is really into Garvin, but he’s getting beaten up. Bart continues to work on Garvin’s shoulders, but Garvin has had enough of that. He beats Bart up again, and tries a roll up, which gets 2. Garvin goes with a front face-lock now, then floats over to Bart’s back and puts on a chinlock. Bart gets out of that and gives Garvin a leg drop to the left arm, and persists with an armbar. Garvin gets out with an arm drag, but it’s irrelevant because Bart just puts it on again.

Upon completion of the commercials, Garvin has Bart tied up. It looks like it would hurt. When Garvin thinks he can win, he lets go and goes for a cover, which gets a 2 count. Bart gets up, chops Garvin, and sends him hard into the turnbuckles and down. More hard chops follow, then Bart begins to dig at Garvin’s eyes. That’s a good, nasty cheating move which needs to be used more often. Bart then slams Garvin, and follows with a fist to the throat for 2. After a knee lift, Garvin is ready and waiting, so he gives Bart a shoulderblock. Both men go down, both men get up, and Garvin trips the champion. A splash from Garvin gets 2, and the match is starting to fall apart a bit now. Bart puts a chinlock on Garvin to try to get things back in order, then slams Garvin. He heads up to the second rope and comes down with an attempted leg drop, but that didn’t land at all. Garvin clocks Bart with the BIG RIGHT HAND, covers, and wins the Mid-Atlantic Championship. The crowd doesn’t really believe it, and who can blame them, but Garvin grabs the belt and then the fans do believe it.

The Russians come in the ring after the match, and give Garvin a huge beatdown. The killing blow is a SICKLE + BACK SUPLEX COMBO (whoa), and they continue to beat him up until the babyface cavalry shows up in the ring.

My Thoughts: The pro-heel booking is getting to be a bit much at times, and the post-match is a really good example of it. The crowd didn’t get to have their moment, it lasted for about 30 seconds and then it was over. Maybe the audience was expecting that. Who would blame them if they were? As for the match, it was going well until the commercial came. It slowed down afterward and never really got going again. *3/4.


– Taped to air September 13th, 1986, on World Wide Wrestling, from the Civic Center in Asheville, North Carolina


Magnum TA vs. Nikita Koloff (w/Ivan Koloff) in a 2 out of 3 falls match for the NWA United States Heavyweight Championship

Pre-Match Thoughts: This is Magnum’s chance to win the US Title back. I don’t know what to expect from this match, in fact I didn’t know about it until I ran a search on WWE’s YouTube account. I’m going in with no expectations, hoping for something good. We’re back to David and Tony on commentary for this one.

Fall #1: The two men lock up, and Magnum uses his speed to cause Nikita to run into the corner. That was slick. The two stars struggle and struggle, until Magnum slaps Nikita, causing the champion to leave the ring. He gets back in before a count is made, and the fans start chanting USA-USA-USA. Of course they do. Nikita responds to that by kneeing Nikita repeatedly and giving him a back elbow. Then he rams his shoulder into Magnum and rakes his eyes. Magnum fortunately sends him into the corner, and on Nikita’s way out, he gives him the BELLY TO BELLY, and pins him! That was a bit unsuspected.

Fall #2: We come back with Magnum kicking Nikita’s leg out from under him, over and over again. Magnum locks up that leg, and tries for a figure-four, but Nikita kicks him out of the ring. That’s too bad. He rams Magnum into the steel barricade now, and I’m surprised Magnum isn’t bleeding as he usually would. Back in the ring, Nikita rams Magnum into the turnbuckles a few times, and hits him with one to the throat that makes Magnum start choking. Nikita goes to a chinlock now, trying to squeeze the Southern hero until he quits. Of course he won’t, and he reaches his feet, only to be taken down with a hard chokehold. Nikita is ready for the sickle now, and he gives it, clean in the middle of the ring. Nikita wins the second fall, via pin.

Fall #3: After the commercial, Magnum is getting beaten down by his eternal foe. Nikita picks Magnum up and drops him throat-first on the top rope, but Magnum comes back with a bodypress for a near 3 count. That was close. The two men then collide, and the crowd is going quite crazy by this point…and Magnum has a great hope spot with a clothesline. Over for the cover and it’s a 2 count. Nikita should have held off on kicking out for longer. Back to the chinlock again, which is no big deal because this is a very grueling match indeed. Magnum tried to reverse into a wristlock, but Nikita grabbed his hair or something and pulled him down. Nikita goes up top now, but Magnum catches him in the gut on the way down to huge applause. They botch a backdrop type deal now, and trade blows afterward. The story here is that Magnum is tired out, and it sure looks that way. Nikita goes back to the chinlock hopefully for one last time, but Magnum gets out of it with an arm drag. It doesn’t matter much in the big picture, as Nikita resumes with the same stuff. He misses a charge to the corner though, and Magnum is ready to win this match. He heads up top for something big, and it’s a double axehandle. The crowd is going crazy. Magnum suplexes the champion for a 2 count, but again Nikita kicks out early. After some confusion, Magnum gives Nikita a backslide, but Nikita’s feet are on the ropes as Tommy Young counts the pin. Of course he sees it and the fall does not count. Magnum thinks he’s won, and asks for the title belt, which Ivan summarily takes from him. And then, Magnum thinking he’s won, he hits Nikita with the title belt too. That gets Magnum disqualified, but he doesn’t seem to realize. He slings the belt over his shoulder, pushes Tommy Young to the ground, and walks to the back. HAHA.

My Thoughts: That finish was absolutely hilarious, but yet again the fans get screwed over by a finish like that. There are better ways to go about it, a more obvious disqualification being the right idea. I wonder if Dusty got his rocks off on seeing fan reactions to his booking decisions. Good match here, but they started to mess up things and got confused near the end of it. The crowd was into it, as they always were when these two faced each other. The saddest thing is that it’s the last time I’ll be watching one of these matches. ***.


– Taped to air September 13th, 1986, on NWA Pro, from Township Auditorium in Columbia, South Carolina


Dusty Rhodes vs. Arn Anderson for the NWA Television Championship


Pre-Match Thoughts: Well now, what do we have here? This looks like something worth watching. Arn has been great as the TV Champion, I hope he can keep the belt for a bit longer.

Match Review: Johnny Weaver is really annoying on commentary, but here we go. Dusty knocks Arn down with a hard shoulderblock, that Arn sells for quite a while. Arn tries a sunset flip after that, but gets punched in the face and has to vacate the ring. Back in the ring, Dusty trips Arn, and goes to work on his leg. I hate that non-spinning toe-hold that guys do. It’s so dumb looking. Arn takes over and bars Dusty’s arm up, building heat.

After a commercial, it is clear that Arn has decided to attack Dusty’s left knee. That’s Dusty’s “bad leg,” so that would be the prudent thing to do. Arn tries a spinning toe-hold now, and it’s locked in. Dusty fights back with some elbows, and decides to work over Arn’s leg. He went to lock in a figure-four, but hurt himself while applying it because his leg is so messed up. Arn goes back to the leg, and this is going very slowly now. Dusty blocks a figure-four attempt, and tosses Arn out of the ring shortly after. The commentators are going crazy while the crowd is not, and Dusty throws Arn into the steel barricade. Dusty drops a knee on the floor, but that hurt his other knee. So Arn puts him back in the ring, and kicks Dusty’s leg. Up to the second rope Arn goes, then Dusty clotheslines him for a 2 count. Dusty is selling really well here. Dusty then throws Arn into Earl Hebner, so our referee is down and outside of the ring. Arn then grabs a CHAIR, and here we go brother. He misses a chairshot, Dusty DDT’s him on the chair, and covers…for a 3 count! The crowd goes crazy, and where’s the Dusty Finish at? THERE ISN’T ONE. Dusty cuts a great promo after the match, glad I didn’t turn this video off too early!

My Thoughts: This was a slow 10 minute TV match. Not a huge fan of it, nor am I a fan of Dusty’s style of wrestling at this point. He’s a great character and promo though. Stinks that he has to book himself near the top but hey, that’s wrestling. I didn’t like the leg work in this match at all, by the way. It didn’t mean anything. *1/2.


On September 28th, 1986, new NWA US Tag Team Champions were crowned. They were…Ivan Koloff and Krusher Khruschev. That shouldn’t be a big surprise. On the same show, the National Heavyweight Championship was unified with the United States Championship, and Wahoo McDaniel lost that match to Nikita Koloff. It also should be mentioned that the Central States territory became a development territory for Jim Crockett Promotions at this time.


– October 4th, 1986, from Charlotte Coliseum, in Charlotte, North Carolina


Shaska Whatley & Baron von Raschke vs. Manny Fernandez & Jimmy Valiant


We’re just going to get a clip of the post-match here. Of note is that RICK RUDE has joined Paul Jones Army. RICK RUDE. There’s some inaudible shit spoken by Paul Jones here, and then he walks into the ring with a briefcase full of money. He shows Manny Fernandez that he has it, and…Manny Fernandez turns on Jimmy Valiant. Oh no! The crowd’s reaction to Fernandez shaking Paul Jones hand and clocking Valiant over the head with the briefcase was one of complete shock. Back in the arena where the interview was taped, it’s obvious that Rick Rude and Manny Fernandez are going to be a tag team now. Rick Rude was one of the best pure scum acts that there’s ever been. I miss him.


– October 11th, 1986, from Greensboro Coliseum, in Greensboro, North Carolina


Dusty Rhodes vs. Tully Blanchard


Another clip of the end of a match. JJ Dillon enters the ring with a chair, gives it to Tully…and Dusty grabs it. He hits JJ with it, and breaks the chair over Tully Blanchard’s leg. He puts the FIGURE-FOUR on now, and finally, after all this time, Dusty has some BROKEN LIMBS REVENGE on the Four Horsemen. It took long enough! The stupidest thing about this, was that Dusty threw the Midnight Express out of the ring while having Tully locked up in a figure-four. How is that possible? Magnum TA then holds Tully in place as Dusty jumps off the top rope onto that leg. Then he disposes of the Midnight Express again, and comes down on Tully’s leg again. I didn’t like this, to be honest. The Midnight Express shouldn’t have been involved at all.


– Taped to air on basically everything, from the roads of Georgia…


The Four Horsemen get their revenge on Dusty Rhodes


As we know, Dusty injured Tully. As things always go with the Four Horsemen, revenge shall be theirs. Everyone has seen this video before, right? The Four Horsemen chase Dusty down the road, and when Dusty pulls into a parking lot…the Four Horsemen are READY FOR HIM. They ambush him, and…what the hell? I don’t see Ric Flair! Anyway, it’s the other three and JJ, who are tying Dusty to a pickup truck. They break Dusty’s wrist with a baseball bat, and I can’t stop laughing at Dusty’s selling. This is a bit comical in hindsight, but highly recommended.


Unfortunately, on October 14th, Magnum TA was in a car accident that left him paralyzed. As we know, his condition improved, but this ended his career in the ring. His impact on the business is not going to be forgotten by this fan. He would have been a future NWA Champion. He would have been great in the role, and would have been a huge star. But it was not to be. I liked the vast majority of his work, and think his loss hugely impacted the business in a negative way. Flair would have had somebody real to feud with for the next two years, for starters.


– October 19th, 1986, from Charlotte Coliseum, in Charlotte, North Carolina


Dusty Rhodes needs a partner…


Our clip starts with JJ Dillon and Tully Blanchard having things to say. JJ has blackened eyes, Tully is going crazy, and obviously something happened to them. Tully wants to face Dusty at Starrcade or there will be no Starrcade. Let’s see what happened. BAH GAWD IT’S NIKITA KOLOFF AS DUSTY’S PARTNER. WHAT IS THIS CRAZINESS. Nikita attacks Ole Anderson, and the crowd goes absolutely INSANE. That’s one of the loudest pops I’ve ever heard. Flair is extremely angry at Nikita. Well, what do we have here? Could it be our Starrcade main event?


– October 25th, 1986, on World Championship Wrestling, from WTBS Studios in Atlanta, Georgia


Road Warriors & Midnight Express Starrcade 1986 promos

The Midnight Express injured Road Warrior Animal. Let us not forget that! That leads to this…



And here’s the view from the other side.


Cornette rambles on for nearly four whole minutes. It’s as good as you’d expect. That scaffold is HIGH.


– October 28th, 1986, from Winthrop Coliseum, in Rock Hill, South Carolina


Dusty Rhodes (NWA TV Champion) & The Rock ‘n’ Roll Express (NWA Tag Team Champions) vs. Ric Flair (NWA Champion) & The Minnesota Wrecking Crew in a STEEL CAGE MATCH


Pre-Match Thoughts: THIS IS WRESTLING, BROTHER. When I first found this match, I really wanted to watch it. So I waited, and waited, and finally it’s time. It has Japanese commentary! Can this be a bad match? I don’t think so.

Match Review: We come back from the commercials with Morton and Ole locking up in the ring. Morton quickly throws Ole into the cage wall, and Ole goes and takes punishment from his opponents over in their corner. That was good. Arn tags in now, as does Dusty. Dusty has his arm in a cast, but he locks up with Arn anyway. Arn gets clotheslined on a charge to the corner, and with Dusty having that cast, it certainly hurt. Dusty slams his foe, and drops that cast on his face…which should be illegal, I’d think. Arn sells it like a champion, and tags in the Nature Boy. Flair and Dusty, the pairing that seems to never end. Careers entwined with one another, but Ricky Morton tags in quickly, and brawls with Flair in the corner. Flair eventually gets knocked down, which gives Morton the chance to tag in Robert Gibson, who takes down the champion a few times with assorted running moves. Ole runs into the ring now, as does Arn, and the babyfaces beat them up badly. Gibson takes Arn out with an enziguri, and Arn is, well, bleeding now. Badly at that. Flair tosses Gibson into the cage, so I bet he is now too. Arn beats him up quite a lot, but for some reason he doesn’t appear to be bleeding. Now all six men are in the ring, and Tommy Young has lost control for now. Gibson sends Flair into the cage, and they do an amateur wrestling bit on the mat until Gibson reaches his feet and tags in Morton. Flair heads into the cage yet again, and Dusty grinds his face into it, now he has THAT COLOR, BROTHER. Morton punches Flair ten times in the corner, and covers for a 2 count. Once again the Horsemen try to triple team, and it works until everyone gets in the ring yet again. Ole sends Morton’s face into the cage at that point, and stomps on his previously injured nose as things have reverted to 1 v. 1 in the ring. Arn tags in and Morton comes back, his big move being a DDT to the former TV Champion. Dusty makes the big tag and fires off a BELLY TO BELLY, but yet again everyone’s in the ring. They fight and fight, but Dusty rolls up Arn for a 3 count after around 12 minutes. That was unfortunately predictable.

My Thoughts: The finish was predictable, but unfortunately, this match wasn’t as great as I had expected. I’m a big fan of punching and kicking, but a lot of the big brawling spots led nowhere. I was expecting a ****+ classic so perhaps this is my fault, but it was a bit less than that. I’d give it **3/4, and I just wish they had done more with the opportunity. How often could a match like this have been televised anywhere, including in Japan? Not many!


Understandably, they kept everything good off TV before Starrcade. You don’t give away anything good before one of the biggest cards that you’ve ever put together. I’ll tie in the stuff from the last World Championship Wrestling in November into a later article, but this is it until Starrcade. And what a Starrcade it’s going to be. This card is PACKED. Everyone who hasn’t been covered to this point, their involvement, some background will be given then. I need to have something to say in the pre-match thoughts, after all. Anyway, back to the wWF for their October and November. 1986 is coming to a close, and I’m sad to see that be the case for the NWA. However, for the WWF, that’s a good thing. This year hasn’t been too great to watch on their side of the docket.

Best: Road Warriors & Midnight Express skits. CAN’T WAIT.

Worst: Dusty Rhodes vs. Arn Anderson. Not a great match, and a guy who should not have lost their belt did with no buildup. Not very fair on Arn.


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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