July 16, 2009
The 2nd Annual Crockett Cup
April 10-11, 1987
WOW! What a huge bunch of wrestling this would’ve been to sit through. Good thing they split it up into two days! There’s like twenty-something teams battling it out in single-elimination tournament style. Luckily, the good people at Turner have cut this tape down to a 2-hr highlights tape. As for the tournament, the top-eight tag teams according to the NWA people get to skip the first round and go right to the next round. Those teams would be the NWA tag champs Rick Rude & Manny “Ragin’ Bull” Fernandez, Dusty Rhodes & Nikita Koloff (or the Super Powers, whichever you prefer), The Road Warriors, The Midnight Express, Giant Baba & Isao Takagi, Ivan Koloff & Vladimir “Don’t Call Me Putin” Petrov, and Tully Blanchard and Lex Luger. Why Arn Anderson and Kevin Sullivan are together instead of Arn and Tully, I have no idea. Anyways, the winning team gets to split a million smackeroos and a kiss on the cheek all the way from heaven by Jim Crockett Sr. himself!
This intro video is LONG! Clocking in at just over three minutes!
Your host is Tony Schiavone. All this time in the wrestling biz and he couldn’t make ONE friend?
The Barbarian & “Superstar” Bill Dundee vs. Mike Rotunda & Tim Horner – First Round Tournament Match
Seems like a super random tag team match to me since I believe everybody was working for different territories at the time. We JIP to Rotunda mounting a comeback. He elbows out of a sleeper and avoids a FLYING HEADBUTT from Barbarian to set up a hot tag to Horner. Dundee draws Rotunda back in the ring during all the hotness to take the ref’s attention away long enough for Dundee to blast Horner with the brass knux as Barbarian covers for the 1-2-3. (3:00 shown) Looked like they had a pretty hot tag match going on there. *
Jimmy Valiant & Lazor-Tron vs. Shaska Whatley & Teijho Khan – First Round Tournament Match
Is this Battlebowl or what? Lazor-Tron is Hector Guerrero and the then-current NWA Jr. Heavyweight Champ, which means about as much as the WWE cruiserweight title does today: very little. Lazor-Tron is just one of those bad gimmicks that sometimes sticks on good wrestlers. Of course, it would only get worse for him at Thanksgiving 1990 in that other guy’s promotion up north. If you don’t know who Teijho Khan is, then that’s okay. He looks like Kevin Nash when he was a Master Blaster, only not as tall or trying to be Asian. A double-team on Lazor-Tron works once, but not twice. Shaska receives a double-atomic drop, as does Khan. Then Valiant and Lazor-Tron dance a little. Lazor-Tron avoids a heel sandwich and they collide as Valiant tags. Man, Khan is about as Asian as Harry Hoo from Get Smart. Valiant gets OWNED by the heels until Shaska misses an elbow and Lazor-Tron receives a tag. He’s got the for sure three-count on Whatley, but Valiant is beating up on Khan. Lazor-Tron gets up to tell Valiant to quit it and accidentally dumps Whatley over the top rope for the DQ. (3:20 shown) Whatley and Khan advance. Silly little match there. ½*
Ivan Koloff & Vladimir Petrov vs. Bob & Brad Armstrong – First Round Tournament Match
Vladimir Petrov looks like an even more juiced-up version of Warlord. He’s supposed to fill the void in Ivan’s life since Nikita has seen the much brighter capitalist light and saw that it was good. The Russians control Bob, who’s creeping up on the 50 year-old mark. He escapes a bearhug and collides with Ivan before a HOT TAG TO BRAD! He goes DROPKICK CRAZY on the Russians! Sleeper hold on Ivan, but Petrov bashes him with the chain and amazingly the ref saw that to call for the DQ. (2:00 shown) What’s up with the refs seeing everything tonight? ½*
The Midnight Express (w/Jim Cornette) vs. Ronnie & Jimmy Garvin (w/Precious) – Second Round Tournament Match
Looks like Jimmy’s got the same gear on that he wears at the GAB ’90 tonight. The Garvins beat Ricky Lee Jones and the Italian Stallion in the first round to get here, in case anyone is curious. On a historical note, this would be the debut of the Eaton-Lane edition of the Midnight Express. The Garvins had already been pretty pissed at the Midnights over something because this is starting off pretty hot and heavy. Poor Cornette is FREAKIN OUT as the Garvins corner the Midnights on the outside. Awesome way to kick this one off. We JIP to Eaton working on Jimmy’s lower back. Jimmy then fights out of a chinlock and leapfrogs over Eaton to send him into Lane! Hot tag to Ronnie and he puts those stone hands to work. Ronnie wants to give Eaton a piledriver on the floor, but Cornette ain’t having it and stops that with his tennis racket. That causes Ron to get counted out and gives the Midnights the win. (3:45 shown) So far, the most entertaining match on the tape. **¼
Uh oh’s, Gary Michael Capetta makes the sad announcement that Robert Gibson may have a detached retina. Oh come on Rob, my dad had BOTH of his retinas detached and he went out and plowed a 20-acre field without a tractor! All the same, the RNR Express are gone from the tournament.
Big Bubba Rogers (w/Jim Cornette) vs. Ole Anderson – Texas Death Cage Match
Meaning, the only way to win is to make your opponent stay down for the ten-count. Bubba = Bossman, by the way. This is the MAIN EVENT of the first night. Can’t imagine this one filling up too many seats. This is WAYY after Ole backed out of the Horsemen to go watch his son wrestle and was turned face unsuccessfully as a result. Bubba controls the whole thing with chokes and punching until he misses a top-rope splash and Ole hits a PILEDRIVER to KO Bubba. (5:30 shown) Terrible. CRAP
As a special treat to all of us NWA fans, Turner Home Entertainment has included a Magnum TA tribute feature segment! Let’s check out three of his most memorable matches. You don’t want to miss this!
NWA U.S. Heavyweight Champion Wahoo McDaniel vs. Magnum TA – Cage Match (03.23.85, Charlotte, NC, Charlotte Coliseum)
This is back when Wahoo was pissed at being held down because he was a Native American heel act. As for Magnum, he had only been in the NWA for about six months after making a huge name for himself down in Mid-South. Tony Schiavone and David Crockett are on commentary. Lovely. Wahoo will not release the headlock on his own free will. He finally “heels” it up a bit once his trick knee acts up on Magnum’s balls. That’s right: his testicles. Magnum eats the steel, but Wahoo’s insane chops wake him up and he fires back with a running forearm for 1-2-NO! Magnum cranks on a wristlock. Dropkick gets two and now Wahoo gets sent into the cage. Magnum punches away in the corner, but then Wahoo yanks him into the cage. Wahoo runs him into the cage once more and gets a bunch of nearfalls off that. He chops away and an inside cradle gets two. Magnum’s up to his feet first, but Wahoo goes low with a headbutt. Magnum retreats to a corner and kicks him away. Wahoo wants to climb out, but Magnum is there to meet him with a back suplex for 1-2-NO! Big chop from Wahoo puts Magnum down. Backbreaker and a couple more chops gets him a near-fall. Wahoo runs off the ropes and charges right into a BELLY-TO-BELLY SUPLEX! Cover, 1-2-3! (10:40) Magnum wins his first US title. Everybody in the stadium goes BALLISTIC. Wahoo was another guy nearing 50, but he could still tell a good story in there. ***
NWA U.S. Heavyweight Champion Magnum TA vs. Kamala (w/Gen. Skandor Akbar) – (Great American Bash Tour 07.06.85, Charlotte, NC, Charlotte Memorial Stadium)
Surely this wasn’t one of his best US title defenses. This was a pretty hot feud in Mid-South, but the fire couldn’t be rekindled. Oooo, that was good. Kamala works a clawhold on Magnum’s boobies for what feels like FOREVER. Magnum finally makes the big comeback and Akbar comes in for the DQ. He delivers the BELLY-TO-BELLY SUPLEX anyways and counts three himself after the fact. (6:38) Waste of time, but probably Crockett’s way of sticking it to that Kamala character over in the WWF to show that Magnum (who is now paralyzed on his right side and can’t wrestle ever again) is better. ½*
NWA U.S. Heavyweight Champion Tully Blanchard (w/Baby Doll) vs. Magnum TA – “I Quit” Cage Match (Starrcade 11.28.85, Greensboro, NC, Greensboro Coliseum)
Call me lazy, but I think my Starrcade ’85 recap will suffice. Not only is this match inside of a STEEL CAGE, but they’ve also got to make the other say, “I quit!” in order to win! The “stone cold” expression on Magnum’s face is awesome. They roll around on the mat for a bit clawing at each other until Tully goes to the eyes and unloads on Magnum. That just fires Magnum up as he comes back with shots. Tully blocks a cage shot and took Magnum into the steel instead. Magnum stands up out of a reverse chinlock and hotshots Tully, but then goes face-first into the steel. Tully grabs the mic and screams at Magnum to say I quit, but he refuses. Magnum fights back and applies a hammerlock before throwing Tully into the cage not once, but twice. Ouch, his arm is busted OPEN! Now Magnum shoves the mic in Tully’s mouth, but Tully refuses and headbutts Magnum in the groin. Magnum hammers away on Tully’s bloody left deltoid. Now Tully busts Magnum open, all while kicking him in the face. Tully grabs the mic, but since Magnum refuses to quit this time, Tully hits in the cut forehead with the mic. Tully takes Magnum into the cage again, and comes off the top rope (not cage) with a double axe handle. Tully asks Magnum if he wants to quit again, but Magnum still says no. Magnum fights back and asks Tully again if he wants to quit, but he’s still saying no as well, so Magnum waffles him with the mic. Now will Tully quit? NO! Both men claw on each other’s cuts! That’s just SICK! Magnum fires back and asks Tully if he wants to quit now, but Tully kicks Magnum away. Magnum nails Tully again and goes up for a ten-count corner punch, but Tully counters with an inverted atomic drop. Tully screams at Magnum to quit, but he still says no! Tully nails Earl Hebner and drops Magnum with some elbows as he waits for Baby Doll to throw a wooden chair over into the cage! Tully shatters it in the ring and takes a broken piece of it and tries to stab Magnum in his already badly lacerated forehead! Well that’s just CRAZY! Magnum blocks it, but doesn’t get Tully off of him completely, which adds some amazing suspense to the moment. Greensboro is FREAKING OUT! Magnum is able to knee Tully off of him and jab the sharp-edged piece into Tully’s forehead! OH MAN, Magnum screams at Tully over and over again, asking him, “DO YOU QUIT?” At this point, Tully has no choice but to scream YES several times in order to get this crazy dude off of him. This one is OVER. Magnum walks out with the last wrestling title he would ever hold. (14:43) A match FILLED with hatred capped off by one of the most insane finishes in American wrestling history. I think this match solidifies both men as two of the sickest mofos on the planet. These two were hardcore, before hardcore was cool! *****
The Midnight Express (w/Jim Cornette & Big Bubba Rogers) vs. The Road Warriors (w/Paul Ellering) – Crockett Cup Quarterfinals Match
Just for your information, LOD defeated Whatley and Khan to get here. Hawk brutalizes Lane to start until Eaton draws in Animal and kicks Hawk in the head. Let the cheating begin! The MX freakin’ do EVERYTHING possible to control Hawk by pissing off Animal to the point the ref hardly even looks to see what is going on the ring. I mean, the Midnights blast him with Cornette’s tennis racket, throw him over the top rope, choke him out with a chain – pretty much everything but spit on his mother and kick his dad in the balls. Hawk finally gets a boot up off an Eaton charge and makes the MOLTEN hot tag to Animal! He looks to finish off Eaton with a jumping shoulderblock, but ref Randy Anderson is busy with everybody else at ringside! Cornette even sneaks in and throws a FIREBALL in Animal’s face! Ellering comes in and beats the MX up with Cornette’s racket. Oh, yeah, the ref sees that and DQ’s the Road Warriors. (6:00 shown) Looks like a great match if we only had it in full. Retarded ending though – LOD blows their steam and a million bucks too. ***¼
Rick Rude & Manny Fernandez (w/Paul Jones) vs. Dusty Rhodes & Nikita Koloff – Crockett Cup Quarterfinals Match
As I said up above, Rick Rude & Manny Fernandez were the NWA tag champs here. We JIP to five minutes in with Dusty being dominated by the champs. They try and bust Dusty open, which shouldn’t take this much work honestly. Rude connects with a flying fist drop for 1-2-NO! Fernandez tags in and hooks on a sleeper, but Dusty comes out of it and nails a Lariat. That brings Rude and Nikita in for a big brawl. Manny comes off the top for a crossbody, but Dusty rolls through for the 1-2-3. (5:30 shown) So Dusty goes over the champs. You can’t really blame Rude for high-tailing it to the WWF a month later when he’s treated like this as a champion. ½*
Bob & Brad Armstrong vs. Tully Blanchard & Lex Luger (w/JJ Dillon) – Crockett Cup Quarterfinals Match
Luger twists on Brad’s arm to start. Blanchard tags in and misses a corner charge, which really speeds Brad up. An amazing Missile Dropkick gets 1-2-NO! Then, Luger distracts the ref as Blanchard shoves off a headlock and JJ pulls down the top rope to send Brad flying out to the floor. Tully beats on his back and brings him in the ring for a back suplex. Luger tags in for a suplex for 1-2-NO! Brad gets his foot on the bottom rope. Blanchard tags in and Brad gets a hopeful backslide for 1-2-NO! Brad ducks a swing and atomic drops Blanchard into Luger and knocks him off the apron. HOT TAG TO DADDY! He goes CHOP SUEY on the Horsemen until a pier-six erupts and JJ helps out Tully with a double-clothesline from the apron for 1-2-3! (5:00 shown) Appears to be a great match in its entirety. Horsemen advance on to the finals after they defeat Giant Baba and Isao Takagi who are never even mentioned on this tape for some reason. **½
Dusty Rhodes & Nikita Koloff vs. The Midnight Express (w/Jim Cornette & Big Bubba Rogers) – Crockett Cup Semifinals Match
JIP to five minutes in where Dusty gets funky like a monkey and cleans house on the Midnights! Back in, Eaton comes off the top on neck-braced Nikita’s injured neck and starts cranking on that for a while. Just after the racket gets used, Nikita makes a short comeback and RUSSIAN SICKLES Eaton inside out for the 1-2-3. (6:40 shown) Cornette throws a tantrum, but it doesn’t matter because the booker and his buddy is still heading to the finals.**
NWA World Champion Ric Flair vs. Barry Windham
Always nice to see the lean and mean motivated Barry machine. Windham’s been chasing the NWA belt for months now, but something always keeps him from winning whether he runs out of time (a ***** 45-minute draw back in January!), Flair cheating like crazy to win, or getting himself disqualified. All the same, there’s a great serious of matches between these two during this time. This one is noticeably edited at the beginning with Windham pummeling Flair all around the ring and into the corner. Windham then whiffs on a dropkick and he’s FIGURE-FOUR bound. Flair’s grabbing the ropes for leverage and everything while Windham is crying in pain. Ref Tommy Young finally catches Flair holding the ropes and calls for the break. Flair shoves Tommy back and then he threatens to DQ him right there like a mom scolding her child. I’ll turn this car around RIGHT NOW, YOU HEAR ME? Flair woos right into a Lariat! Windham can’t capitalize in time though as Flair cowers into the corner. Flair kicks back at Windham and elbows him out over the top rope and to the floor and falls back-first on the guardrail. Oh man, Tommy is being strict tonight! Flair wants to give Windham a piledriver on the concrete, but Tommy says he’ll DQ him if he goes through with it. Flair settles for a sick sounding chop instead. Windham sunset flips back in for 1-2-NO! Windham backslide gets two, and Flair rolls out. Back in again, Windham wins a slugfest for 1-2-NO! Stalling suplex gets 1-2-NO! Windham climbs up top, but completely misses an elbow drop. Flair goes for the FIGURE-FOUR, but Windham counters with an inside cradle for 1-2-NO! Windham runs into a sleeper and then drives Flair’s chin into the turnbuckle. Hard right hand puts Flair back on the floor for some guardrail action. Windham wants a piledriver, but Flair backdrops out. Back in, Flair heads up top and tries the crossbody block, but Windham rolls through for 1-2-NO! Flair Flip out of the corner follows and they’re back on the floor. A low blow from Flair definitely slows Windham down. Windham however flips out of a suplex on the way in and hooks a sleeper at the 20-minute mark. Flair falls to the mat and looks to be done, but then he randomly slips his foot on the bottom rope for the break. Windham goes for a splash off the ropes, but Flair brings his knees up to block. Steamboat REALLY should’ve watched this match. It might’ve saved him a lot of trouble two years later. Flair chops Windham down again and heads up top, but he takes WAYY too long jawing with the crowd. Windham’s back up and he slams Flair to the mat. It’s FIGURE FOUR time for Flair! He rakes Windham’s face to escape, but then Windham gets a powerslam for 1-2-NO! Flair ducks a Lariat and then they do the crossbody bump that takes them both over the top rope and out to the floor. Windham sidesteps a whip into the ringpost and surprises Flair back in the ring with a Missile Dropkick! SUH-NAP! Cover, 1-2-3!!! WAIT, no! Young sees Flair’s foot was on the bottom rope and the match continues. Windham’s PISSED and uses that to fuel up a Lariat! Cover again, 1-2-NO! Again, his foot finds the bottom rope. Stalling suplex gets 1-2-NO! Headlock sequence leads to a Windham backslide for 1-2-NO! Windham flips out of a back suplex and rolls Flair up for 1-2-NO!! Flair rolls through with a handful of tights and gets 1-2-3!! (16:15 shown) That cheatin’ sonuvabeesting! These guys go together like PB&J (I know its lame, but that was the first thing that came to my mind) and they were really feeling it. No doubt, one of the greatest matches of the ‘80s. Heck, all-time for that matter. *****
Tully Blanchard & Lex Luger (w/JJ Dillon) vs. Dusty Rhodes & Nikita Koloff – Crockett Cup Finals Match
Dusty and Nikita are doing this for Magnum! We JIP to a Koloff Klothesline that puts he and Tully out on the floor. JJ rips off the neck brace and Luger sends Nikita into the guardrail before putting back in the ring. The Horsemen isolate Koloff for a good couple minutes while working on the neck while Dusty paces on the apron and cheers on the Soviet. Uh oh, JJ takes off one of his shoes and nails Koloff with it. Back in, Nikita catches Blanchard coming down from the top and makes the HOT TAG TO BIG DUST! Bionic elbows abound! Dusty gets dumped, but Luger gets posted. While Tully tries to give Koloff a piledriver to put an end to him, Dusty stops all that noise with a flying crossbody and boy that would put even the Jolly Green Giant down for a three-count. (9:00 shown) FAHGETABOUT IT! Dusty books himself to become a half-millionaire! No more blue-collar common man days for him! Match was pretty standard formula stuff, by the way. **½
Afterwards, the “Where’s the Beef?” lady OR Mrs. Jim Crockett Sr. awards Dusty and Nikita the cup and the million bucks.
Final Thoughts: This was an awesome piece of nostalgia, but was poorly booked with mostly bad finishes and Dustymania. If you can get past that and just watch the show for what it is, it’s definitely thumbs up worthy. YouTube it! That’s what I had to do. ANIMEJOE RULZ!