It’s finally back over to the NWA with a review of the Crockett Cup! This may be a bit difficult for me, as the tape isn’t very thorough. However, there are fan cam tapes on YouTube. There’s no commentary though. So what I’m going to do, is review the matches I’m most interested in. Easy as that!
– April 10th, 1987, from Baltimore Arena in Baltimore, Maryland
Second Round: The Midnight Express (w/Jim Cornette) vs. Ron & Jimmy Garvin (w/Precious)
Pre-Match Thoughts: In the first round, the Garvins beat Ricky Lee Jones and the Italian Stallion. The Midnight Express were given a bye. Remember the fireball incident with Cornette and Ron Garvin? This match is a very big deal. The Crockett Cup can not only be used as a tournament to determine the best team, but as a battleground for feuds.
Match Review: The Garvins rush the ring to start the match, to an enormous ovation. The Express gets thrown into each other, and given a noggin knocker by Jimmy. Ron tries to attack Cornette, but Eaton makes a save there. Now he has the racket, only to lose it to Jimmy as he clears the ring. That was a hot start. Outside of the ring, Ron punches Eaton in the face, and then things normalize into a regular tag team match. Eaton and Ron are in the match, and Ron gives Eaton a backdrop. Jimmy and Lane enter the match shortly after that, and Jimmy hits him with a back elbow and dropkick. Eaton tags in, and when Jimmy is running the ropes, Lane hits him with a knee to the back. Lane tags in, and lands one of his awesome, goofy looking kicks. Eaton back in, and he lands an elbow for a 2 count before transitioning into a chinlock. Lane tags in, and Eaton runs into him, so Jimmy is able to make the big tag to Ron. Ron gives Eaton a backdrop, and sets up for the HANDS OF STONE, which knocks Eaton to the floor. Ron then attempts to piledrive Eaton on the concrete, but Cornette comes from behind and whacks him in the back with the tennis racket. Sadly, that leads to the Garvins being counted out after around 7 minutes of action.
After the match, Ron Garvin punches the referee in the face. HAHA.
My Thoughts: Ron didn’t even get a chance to put his hands on Cornette, which was unfortunate. I don’t recall how long that feud goes on, but hopefully there’s a blowoff match at the Great American Bash. **1/4. The match was okay, but that’s about it.
Second Round: Arn Anderson & Kevin Sullivan vs. Bob & Brad Armstrong
Pre-Match Thoughts: Bob & Brad are there because they beat Ivan Koloff & Vladimir Petrov by disqualification. Sullivan & Anderson were given a bye. This is a very strange heel team, but actually a perfect fit for Arn. Don’t see any father & son teams these days, but it was much more common during this era.
Match Review: Arn and Brad start the match off, with Brad getting the better of Arn due to some great use of speed and a drop toe-hold. Arn comes back shortly though, and knocks Brad to the apron, where he clobbers him. Brad sends Arn’s head into the turnbuckle though, and comes off the top rope with a flying bodypress for a 1 count. Sullivan tags in and trades chops with the young guy, then Bob comes in and kicks ass, old man style. AWESOME. Bob tags his son shortly after, and Arn tags in as well, to give Brad a bodyslam. Arn gives Brad a knee drop for 2, and tags in Sullivan, who works over Brad’s arm. Brad breaks free and tags in Bob, who wants to dish out some old man punishment. Bob and Sullivan are in the ring now, and Bob gets hit with a clothesline. Arn tags in, and gets punched in the face. He took a great bump off of that. Sullivan then trips Bob as he’s running the ropes, and they trade chops again. This match isn’t very good, to be honest. Sullivan then gets accidentally rammed into Arn’s knee, and Bob makes the tag to his son once again. Everyone brawls in the ring, Arn and Sullivan double team Bob, and Brad leaps back into the ring with a sunset flip on Sullivan, which gets the Armstrongs the victory after around 5:30.
My Thoughts: This match was like an exhibition. Nothing special, nobody taking bumps, and nobody was going to put thought into writing a big piece about the match. 1/2*. After this match, or after a different match, the Rock ‘n’ Roll Express withdrew from the tournament. So, we won’t be seeing them.
Big Bubba Rogers (w/Jim Cornette) vs. Ole Anderson in a LAST MAN STANDING STEEL CAGE MATCH
Pre-Match Thoughts: This was the main event for the first day of the Crockett Cup. I don’t know the exact circumstances of this feud, but I do believe I won’t be watching Ole Anderson much after this match. Not complaining about it, just saying. I have no idea what the rules used will be, either. It may not be a typical last man standing match, or a typical NWA cage match. I don’t know!
Match Review: Hilarious to see Ole get a big face reaction. He attacks Bubba to begin the match, and launches him into the cage. Then they stand there hugging each other and pretty much doing nothing for 20-30 seconds, until Bubba starts punching Ole. He chokes Ole, and Ole gets up before the count of 10. There’s a hint as to how the rules will be applied. Bubba tosses Ole into the cage after that, and he beats another count. Ole does his version of Hulking up now, and blocks a Bubba charge to the corner. Another blocked charge knocks Bubba to the canvas, where Ole can punch him in the face really hard. Bubba gets up, gets knocked down, and that happens once again after a kick to the nuts and a few punches. Ole is bleeding, but that seems irrelevant at this point. Bubba chokes Ole with his suspenders, and then decides to go to the top rope. Bubba tries a crazy big fat splash, misses, and Ole gives him a piledriver. Bubba fails to make the count of 10, and loses the match after like 5 minutes or so.
My Thoughts: I guess the last man standing rules applied completely. I didn’t know if that would be the case, because this is the earliest last man standing match that I’ve ever seen. It’s also quite possibly the worst. There was absolutely nothing good about this. Actually, I lied. There is one good thing about it, and it’s that Bubba left the company to get some seasoning for a short while. Had to be done, he wasn’t any good. DUD for the match, and I won’t be sad to see Ole go with performances like that.
– April 11th, 1987, from Baltimore Arena in Baltimore, Maryland
The second day is far more stacked than the first. Much, much more.
Quarterfinals: Tully Blanchard (TV Champion) & Lex Luger (w/JJ Dillon) vs. Bob & Brad Armstrong
Pre-Match Thoughts: I think and hope that the Armstrongs are going to put on a better performance. Tully and Luger haven’t had many matches together at this point, but we know what they’re capable of. It’s three good workers and a guy in Luger who can be carried.
Match Review: Tully and Brad will start this one off, and exchange blows in one of the corners. Brad gives Tully a hip toss, flying head-scissors, and that causes Tully to hit the floor. Back inside, Brad puts a headlock on Tully, then reverses an atomic drop attempt into one of his own and an arm drag. Bob tags in to continue working over the arm, his facial expressions while doing so are hilarious. He tugs with all of his might to keep Tully from tagging in Luger, and shakes his ass in Luger’s face after that. HAHA. Bob and Brad then do a switch behind the back of the referee, with Brad putting an armbar on Tully. The crowd loved that. Brad release the hold and gives Tully a hip toss, then drags him over to his dad who punches Tully in the face. Bob tags in and continues with arm holds, until Tully kicks away, but Bob hits Luger to keep him from making a tag. The Armstrongs do another illegal switch to a monster babyface reaction, and Brad continues to work on Tully with an armbar. Tully gets out and tries another tag, but just can’t make it over to Luger. Then for a third time the Armstrongs switch. Haha. Brad makes a legal tag this time, and gives Tully a double axehandle from the second rope, after which he tags in his dad. Bob continues with a wristlock, but the older man can’t keep Tully from making the tag. That was good psychology. Luger and Brad are in the ring now, and Luger is getting a big face reaction for pretty much everything he does. Gary Michael Cappetta announces that we’re 10 minutes into the match, right as Luger pushes Brad to the canvas. Then, Brad gets up and dropkicks Luger repeatedly to even bigger cheers. Now the two men lock up on even footing, and Brad gives Luger a cross body for 2. Luger grabs a hold of Brad’s arm to put a stop to this madness, and tags in Tully, who misses a charge to the corner. Brad then heads up to the top rope, and lands an awesome missile dropkick! 1-2…close count. Tully then reverses an Irish whip, with JJ Dillon helping him to cause Brad to fly over the top rope. That’s evil shit. And then Luger and JJ beat Brad up until the referee starts paying attention again. Tully then tosses Brad into the guardrail, and gives him an elbow from the apron. Back inside, and 15 minutes are gone. Tully gives Brad a back suplex for a 2 count, and Luger tags in. Luger continues the punishment with a back elbow, but that only gets a 2 count. He also gives Brad a suplex, for another 2 count. Tully tags in after that, and Brad puts him in a back slide for one of the closest 2 counts imaginable. Brad also gives him an atomic drop, knocking him into Luger, which knocks Luger off the apron.
Luger and Bob make tags in, and it’s awesome. Bob destroys Luger with a ton of chops, kicks Tully’s ass, and JJ Dillon trips him while he’s running the ropes. Then everyone’s in the ring fighting, and Brad gives Luger a dropkick. Bob gives Tully a bodyslam, but the referee isn’t there for the cover. So Tully gets up, and teams up with JJ to give Bob a double clothesline. Over for the pin, 1-2-3, at 17:46.
My Thoughts: Damn, that was a fun match. Once again, simple stuff, but with a few tweaks. The psychology of having Bob be the one to fail at keeping Tully from making the tag was not lost on me. He’s old, you know? The constant illegal switching by the Armstrongs was excellent as well. Luger certainly did his part as well, green as he was. Those four guys put together something worth watching. ***1/2 and recommended.
Quarterfinals: The Midnight Express (w/Jim Cornette & Big Bubba) vs. The Road Warriors (w/Paul Ellering)
Pre-Match Thoughts: This is the good stuff. Well, this whole show is, but you know. Lane added to the mix gives the match an extra dimension. Hawk and Bubba do a staredown once both teams are in the ring. The crowd was ready to see them throw down.
Match Review: This video clips to Eaton and Hawk in the ring, right as they lock up. Inexplicably, Lane rushes into the ring to attack Hawk and is given a hip toss. Eaton is also given a hip toss, and Lane gets dropkicked by the big man, as does Eaton. Hawk then gives Eaton an awesome looking version of Snake Eyes, causing Eaton to tag in Lane for a reprieve. So Hawk tosses Lane into the corner, and stomps on him before tagging in Animal. The Road Warriors give Lane a double back elbow, and Animal follows with an elbow drop for 2. Animal then gives Lane a gorilla press slam with a crappy bump on Lane’s part, and Lane tries to break a wristlock by hopping over the ropes. Animal pulls Lane back in, and tags Hawk. Lane chooses not to tag when he has a chance, then Eaton has to ask Bubba to not interfere in the match. Bubba continues to try to get into the ring, but decides to leave. Nobody can make him leave, that’s for sure.
Now the tape is clipped to Hawk smacking Eaton in the face, and tagging in Animal. Animal then gets lured into chasing Eaton, but back inside the ring, they blow a spot, then try the spot again and Animal powerslams him for 2. Lane tags in, and summarily gets elbowed to oblivion. After another clip, Hawk is beating Lane up, and gives him a gutwrench suplex. Up top Hawk goes, and he lands a huge clothesline. Hawk goes for a cover, but with the referee distracted, Eaton jumps in and kicks him in the head. Now the tide turns. Eaton chokes Hawk with some tape, and tags in shortly after that. He bites Hawk, and with the referee distracted, Eaton gets the tennis racket, only to not use it. Lane tags in, they tease a racket shot again, but it doesn’t happen. With the referee not paying attention, Hawk gets thrown over the top rope, and lands on the apron with his head. That was a very badly taken bump, could have severely injured himself. Finally, Eaton gets a good chance to hit Hawk with Cornette’s racket, and does it. What a bastard. 10 minutes gone now. Hawk starts his comeback to a raucous ovation, but Lane is able to tag in and leg drop him. He hits Hawk with a goofy kick for 2, and tags in Eaton to try delivering punishment to the big man. Eaton misses a charge to the corner, and Animal tags in!
Animal cleans house, and gives Eaton an enormous backdrop. He follows that with a dropkick that also knocks the referee out of the ring, and Lane rushes in to break up the unseen cover. Hawk and Lane head to the outside, leaving Animal and Eaton in the ring to do whatever. Animal lands a flying shoulderblock, and after that, Cornette rushes into the ring to THROW A FIREBALL INTO HIS FACE. Ellering his Cornette in the back with the racket, but gets carried away and hits Eaton as well. The referee spots that, so the Midnight Express wins by DQ at 12:17. That’s not the end of the action though. Animal grabs the racket himself, and hits Eaton with it. Then he gives Big Bubba a flying shoulderblock, and clocks Eaton & Lane repeatedly with the racket. Then the Road Warriors set Eaton up for a huge double team clothesline, and Hawk beats up the referee. Good times. When the decision is announced, Hawk says that the Midnight Express is “dead meat” to another huge pop.
My Thoughts: That was a barrel of laughs. Hawk makes a better face in peril than people would think. The match was strong at that point, but Animal’s entry really ramped it up, and the finish was incredible. There was no let down whatsoever, they just went for it and it all came off. The crowd loved the match, but they were probably surprised to see the Road Warriors lose. I would have been. ***1/2 and recommended, same as the last. That’s a great start to any card, to have two matches like that open the show.
Quarterfinals: Rick Rude & Manny Fernandez (NWA Tag Team Champions w/Paul Jones) vs. Dusty Rhodes & Nikita Koloff (US Champion)
Pre-Match Thoughts: Funny to see the NWA Tag Champions be put in a match where there’s no realistic chance of them winning. Dusty booked it that way, I’m sure. Slightly messed up. I have no expectations for the match, but obviously it’s the only change I’ll have to see the tag team champions wrestle in this tournament.
Match Review: It’s joined in progress five minutes in, with Fernandez kneeing Dusty in the face repeatedly. Nikita is wearing a neck brace, and rushes into the ring to fight with Fernandez, allowing Rude to attack Dusty and throw him out of the ring. Fernandez pulls Dusty back in, and gives him a back elbow that Dusty sells hilariously well. The cover gets 2. Rude now tags in for the first time that we’ve seen, and punches Dusty in the face quite a lot. Nikita is super pissed off during all of this, and especially when Paul Jones joins the ation and hits Dusty. Rude gives Dusty a bodyslam and heads up to the top turnbuckle, coming down from there with a fist drop that gets a 2 count. Fernandez tags in, and puts a boring chinlock on Dusty. How boring. Dusty fights his way out, and now lands a clothesline. Rude and Nikita rush into the ring, and this is obviously going to be the finish. Fernandez hits Dusty in the head with an elbow, and tries a flying bodypress which Dusty very sloppily reverses for a 3 count. That was around 4:30 shown.
My Thoughts: Can’t rate that, but what I saw wasn’t very good. Dusty blew the finish, I can’t say I was surprised by that but it was unfortunate. I’d be lying if I said I thought Dusty would have been able to pull off reversing a bodypress by flipping over using his back and elbows. Typical booking having him beat the tag champions, too. Would expect nothing less.
Going to skip Tully Blanchard & Lex Luger vs. The Giant Baba & Isao Takagi. I know it couldn’t possibly be any good, and considering the non-complete format of reviewing this tournament, it’s a good time to exercise some common sense and skip it.
Semifinals: The Midnight Express (w/Jim Cornette & Big Bubba) vs. Nikita Koloff (US Champion) & Dusty Rhodes
Pre-Match Thoughts: The Midnight Express vs. James Gang feud was good, but that was with Magnum TA as part of it. Dusty and Nikita as a team is a lot different.
Match Review: Haha at Cornette and Eaton having a kiss to the cheek before the match. Crowd didn’t like that at all. Anyway, Eaton and Nikita will start the match off, and Teddy Long is the referee. The two wrestlers lock up, only for Nikita to no-sell a punch, chase Eaton around the ring, and scare him into leaving it the next time. Then Nikita slingshots Eaton back into the ring, and gives him a dropkick to knock him out of it. The tape then gets clipped a bit, to Nikita in there with Stan Lane. Nikita gives Lane a hip toss, and Lane stalls for a bit until Dusty tags in. Hilarious how Dusty making that tag got no reaction whatsoever from the crowd. He gives the Express a pair of elbows, and after Eaton tags in, another one. They do a rocking chair spot allowing Eaton to continually be elbowed, then Eaton takes a hip toss on the floor. He’d do anything for the sake of the match.
We then get clipped again, and it’s obvious that Cornette is trying to keep Bubba from getting in the ring. Not this shit again! Nikita and Lane are ready to wrestle once things settle down, which is obviously what they do. Nikita puts a wristlock on the newest member of the Midnight Express, and Cornette runs interference so that Eaton can come off the top rope and break it, gaining control in the process. Eaton tags in legally, drops an elbow, and brings Lane back in for a swinging neckbreaker. Nice targeting of Nikita’s injured neck. Lane chokes Nikita, and Bubba then hits Nikita while the referee isn’t paying attention. Eaton puts a chinlock on Nikita now, and it lasts for more than just a little bit. Finally Nikita fights out, only for the Express to do an illegal switch. Lane drops Nikita throat first along the top rope, and we’re 10 minutes in. With the referee distracted, Eaton chokes Nikita with Cornette’s racket…that is a bit of a stretch. Referee was nearly looking right at them. Nikita then lands a flying shoulderblock for 2, and with the referee distracted again, Lane rushes in for an attack. Eaton accidentally runs into him, Nikita gives Eaton THE RUSSIAN SICKLE, and covers for the victory at 11:10.
My Thoughts: That was nothing special at all, and once again Dusty’s team gets the pin. At least it wasn’t him doing it this time. I’m really tired of him and the fans seem to be getting that way as well. They don’t know he’s booking it, so their angst is just from a wrestling perspective. For the most part, mine is too. *1/2, which is sad because the Midnight Express deserves better, but that’s the way it is.
Barry Windham vs. Ric Flair for the NWA World Heavyweight Championship
Pre-Match Thoughts: This match is supposedly better than their January affair. I’ve never seen it, so I wouldn’t know. Can’t wait to watch it though. The Flair appeal is nowhere near gone yet for me, even though I have years and years of his matches ahead.
Match Review: They lock up, with the crowd’s full attention placed on them. Flair takes Windham down with a headlock, turns that into a wristlock, and Windham kips up to break it. Not sure of the physics there, but okay. Now they have dueling wristlocks, and fight over who can have the momentum to apply their own, until Flair goes down. He reaches the ropes, and we’re back to square one. Windham fires off a shoulderblock, and over in the corner, Flair chops him. That happens again, and once again, Windham isn’t hurt by a chop. The third time this happens, Windham grabs Flair and acts like he’s going to punch him to huge cheers, but Tommy Young stops it. Then he actually punches Flair, hip tosses him, and gives him a dropkick for a 2 count. Windham then puts Flair in a headlock after Flair tried to drop down and evade him. Crowd liked that. Flair now responds with a shoulderblock of his own, and bails out of the ring to avoid a Windham drop toe-hold. I’ve never seen that spot before. Now they chain wrestle, and Windham gets dropped on the top rope after a frantic bit. Flair follows that with a knee drop, and picks Windham up to toss him to the outside. Flair follows, and throws Windham’s head into the guardrail. The crowd’s reaction to Flair beating up Windham in front of them is hilarious. Back inside, Flair works over Windham with more punches, then puts an armbar on him. So we’re 10 minutes in, and that announcement is met with another Flair knee drop, this time for a 2 count. Windham and Flair now trade shots, until Windham takes him in the corner for punches in bunches. Windham tries a dropkick after that, misses, and Flair puts the figure-four on him. Tommy Young eventually catches Flair cheating, breaks the hold, and pushes Flair to get Flair out of his face. Windham then hits Flair with a big clothesline, and continues to chase him down, only to get hit in the balls.
Now the match is slightly clipped to Flair being warned not to piledrive Windham on the floor. Yeah, he shouldn’t do that. Windham then sunset flips Flair on his way back to the ring, getting 2. Windham then tries a backslide for another 2 count, and Flair decides to leave the ring to catch a breather. Inside the ring they trade shots, as Cappetta tells us we’re 15 minutes into the match. Windham punches Flair a hell of a lot, and suplexes Flair into the ring from the apron for an extremely close 2. Windham now heads up top, and tries an elbow drop, which he misses. Flair tries for his figure-four once again, but Windham cradles him up for another 2. Flair now puts Windham in a sleeper, only to have his face smashed into the turnbuckle when Windham ducks under it. Windham then punches Flair over the top rope, which is for some reason not deserving of a disqualfication. Windham then throws Flair into the guardrail, just as was done to him earlier. Windham then tries to piledrive Flair on the floor, but this time, Flair reverses it into a backdrop. Flair then heads up top, and comes off the top rope with a bodypress that Windham reverses for another near fall. Windham then tosses Flair into the turnbuckles and over them down to the floor, and when Barry follows him down there, Flair hits him in the balls. Haha. Flair tries to suplex Windham back into the ring, but Barry reverses and puts on a sleeper of his own. Flair tries to do what Windham did earlier, but Windham realizes and pushes Flair’s face into the top turnbuckle first. The sleeper stays on, but of course Flair won’t quit. He gets his foot on the ropes, but is apparently asleep. Windham should just pin him. Instead, Windham tries a splash, and it gets blocked by Flair. Dumb. Flair heads up to the top rope after a chop, but Windham gets up and slams him down from there. Windham now puts on a figure-four of his own, reminding me that we really need to see some variety in these leg locks. Soon, we will. The hold is then broken, and Flair is powerslammed by Windham for a 2 count. Windham tries the figure-four again, but Flair rakes his eyes and takes over. Into the ropes, Windham misses his clothesline, and they blow a bodypress spot that was supposed to wind up with both guys going over the top. They did both hit the floor though. Now Windham blocks a throw into the ring post, and back inside, hits Flair with a massive dropkick off the top rope. Flair gets his foot on the ropes during the cover, but Tommy Young didn’t spot that. So he was going to call Windham the winner, but that’s a negative. Keep rasslin’. Windham hits Flair with his BIG CLOTHESLINE, and yet again Flair puts his foot on the bottom rope. What does Windham have to do to win, etc. Windham gives Flair a suplex for another near fall, and tries the figure-four. Flair kicks him into the turnbuckle, takes him down with a headlock, and they do a backslide reversal. Windham gives it to him for 2, and Flair goes for a back suplex. Windham rolls him up, Flair reverses by grabbing the trunks, and finally gets a pinfall over Windham at 25:52. It took Flair months to do that!
My Thoughts: This match is widely acclaimed, and for good reason. It has a definitive finish, it’s a great match, and both guys worked as hard as they possibly could. Now that being said, not everything was as seamless as their January encounter. It’s pretty difficult to get everything right in the ring, but they did once and that was one of the best matches I’ve ever seen. Maybe this is the fan cam perspective talking here, but this was not. Still an excellent match, and a ****1/2 affair. Highly recommended too. The fans got a great show, but for somebody who has seen the Flair formula multiple times, it can be kind of repetitive.
Crockett Cup Final: Tully Blanchard (TV Champion) & Lex Luger (w/JJ Dillon) vs. Dusty Rhodes & Nikita Koloff (US Champion)
Pre-Match Thoughts: This is the final everyone was waiting for. Nobody expected Baba and Takagi to win, and considering that nobody could have thought that the Midnight Express would win either. The crowd went crazy for Magnum TA being introduced before the match. That whole bit with Magnum slowly walking to the ring made me very sad. After Dusty and Nikita’s entrance, they hug Magnum.
Match Review: Tully and Dusty will start the match off, and they trade chops over in the corner. Then of course, Tully bumps all over for Dusty. Tully tries to reach the ropes to make Dusty break a headlock, which he does, but Dusty drops him on his face. Now Dusty fights out of trouble, beating up both Luger and Tully in the process. How annoying. Now Luger tags in, and shows the crowd his muscles. The crowd wants to see Nikita get in the ring, so we get that. In modern WWE, this confrontation would never be teased in a tag team match. Luger shoves Nikita back into the corner, and poses to the anger of the fans at ringside. They lock up once again, and this time Nikita pushes Luger down, making the fans very happy. Nikita and Luger then struggle over a suplex, with nobody getting anywhere. Luger then wants a test of strength, which Nikita obliges. They duel, garnering more and more heat as it goes on, then Luger kicks Nikita in the gut and establishes his strength. What an asshole. Nikita continues to try fighting his way up to his feet, and monkey flips Luger. Never saw that one coming. Tully tags in now, and deals with Nikita in a much stupider way, which is by being given an atomic drop to knock him to the floor. Tully then rushes back in and Nikita puts him in a bear hug, but Nikita stupidly positions himself to face away from Luger, and Luger gives him a double axehandle to the back. Tully then tries a slingshot suplex, but Nikita reverses him and hits him with a clothesline. One for Luger, then one for Dillon too! Nikita suplexes Blanchard back into the ring from the apron, and that gets 2. Nikita then chokes Tully, which is so un-babyface like of him. Somebody should have told him not to do that. Then Nikita gives Tully a stupid huge clothesline over the top rope, which injures them both as Nikita tumbles over as well. I really love his character.
After that bump, while the referee isn’t paying attention, JJ rips Nikita’s neck brace off. I knew it was there for that reason! Luger drops an elbow on Nikita’s neck, and launches him into the guardrail. I would pay to watch a singles match between these two guys. No questions asked. Inside the ring, Luger makes a tag, so he can work over Nikita legally now. He gives Nikita a hard elbow, chokes him with his boot, and cheats with Tully when Earl Hebner isn’t paying attention. Tully tags in, and gives the Russian a swinging neckbreaker for a near fall. The heels continue to choke Nikita whenever Hebner isn’t paying attention, and Luger press slams Nikita throat-first onto the top rope. That gets 2. Tully comes back in, fails to do anything, and Luger regains control after a tag. Guess he has to do this alone. He gives Nikita a clothesline for 2, and Tully follows his tag in with a hard elbow from the top rope. Tully then goes to a chinlock, and we wait. Once their resting is over, Luger tags in to prevent Nikita from making a tag. Dusty has done almost nothing during this whole period. Ran into the ring once or twice, and that’s it. Luger applies a front face-lock, putting pressure on the neck, until Tully can tag in again. With Hebner distracted, Tully tosses Nikita over the top rope. Great cheating. Nikita crawls back in, and gets his throat catapulted into the bottom rope. Sucks for him. We have to be nearing a hot tag now. Tully tries leaping off the top rope, gets caught with a clothesline to the gut, and finally Dusty tags in.
Dusty feeds Luger and Tully a diet of elbows, and gives one to JJ as well. Dusty then gives Tully two football tackles to the knees, charges at him a third time and tumbles out of the ring. The referee follows and tries to break up the fight between Luger and Dusty, only for JJ to climb in the ring. Man, NWA referees are so bad. JJ tosses Tully his shoe, and Tully tries to hit Nikita with it, only to catch JJ by accident. He hits Nikita too, and decides to try a piledriver. While doing so, Dusty flies off the top rope with a body press, and the referee magically teleports into the ring to make the 3 count at 17:29. How convenient! Unsurprisingly, and against all odds that nobody would have possibly given, The Super Powers have won the Crockett Cup, and are presented with that and the 1,000,000 check by Jim Crockett Jr’s mother.
My Thoughts: I hate to say this, but I associate the team of Dusty & Nikita with TNA. That’s just the way it is. Remember how Nikita attacked Dusty only to align with him? When TNA referenced an angle from 16 years (now 27) ago, when there was never any explanation for Nikita to attack Dusty in TNA? Good times. That’s why people don’t wonder why TNA are what they are.
As for the match, I thought it was pretty good. Nikita worked extremely hard. He took a lot of bumps, and did better than anyone could have expected. The match was really cohesive, and low on Dusty to ensure that it was good. Luger is also better than I expected at this stage of his career. I bet the clipped version wasn’t as good, but the full one was. A lot of the heat building resonated with me. I’d give it ***1/4 and say that anyone who got to watch this day of wrestling got to see something outstanding.
As for the tournament, it was pretty predictable. Bear in mind I don’t have commentary on my version of the show, but it seemed like the crowd thought Dusty & Nikita would inevitably win the tournament. At the same time, that wasn’t what the fans really wanted. The crowd reacted the most to the Road Warriors. Not just slightly, but by far. That’s because they’re awesome. In a vacuum, Tully & Luger should have won the tournament. They’re part of a dominant stable, Luger looks really good in the ring, and it would get him over big. Their reaction to being presented with the trophy would have been awesome too, as would any chance for someone to get back after them during the presentation. However, in a promotion that is massively slanted towards heels, it was time for the babyfaces to win. Naturally Dusty has to be one of those babyfaces, because that’s what this company does. Also, Flair had to win his match, and going double heel wins to close the show is not a good idea. Crockett’s company is getting a little stale, but hopefully that isn’t a greater indicator of what’s to come. They’re also adding talent from the UWF, so it seems that would be unlikely. No card rating or wrestling time as I did not watch the whole show.
Best: Barry Windham vs. Ric Flair. Once again, an outstanding match from this pair.
Worst: Ole Anderson vs. Big Bubba. That was awful.