Live on closed circuit television from the Greensboro Coliseum in Greensboro, North Carolina is Starrcade 1984! The affects of the impending McMahon-led WrestleMania are already being felt and you will see it as we move along with the amount of changes in the NWA’s roster since last year’s inaugural event. We get a clip from Starrcade ’83 of Ric Flair defeating Harley Race for the NWA World Heavyweight Championship, before briefly going to Bob Caudle and the legendary Gordon Solie. Our ring announcer Tom Miller welcomes us to the “premier wrestling event of the century”.
Match #1 for the NWA World Junior Heavyweight Championship: Denny Brown vs. NWA World Junior Heavyweight Champion Mike Davis
Collar and elbow tie up as Davis gains control. Side headlock, Brown irish whips him into the ropes and Davis with a shoulder knockdown. Davis hits the ropes, but Brown with a hip toss followed by a back to back headscissor takedowns and an arm drag into an arm bar. Davis works to his feet and goes for a body slam, but Brown reverses. Davis reverses a roll-up attempt, but Brown with another arm drag into an arm bar. Davis gets back up consecutive times, only to be thwarted by Brown with takedowns. Brown staying on the arm until Davis backs him into the ropes. Brown off the ropes with a shoulder knockdown, hits the ropes again but trips over a ducking Davis and falls to the outside.
Davis to the outside helps Brown up and opens the ropes to let him back in the ring. Brown hurt his back falling to the outside and now Davis takes advantage with two body slams and then a back breaker for consecutive 2 counts. Brown reverses an irish whip into the ropes and nails Davis with a flying forearm. Davis sneaks a small package onto Brown for a quick 2 count. Davis works Brown into the corner, irish whipping him to the opposite corner but Brown counters by jumping to the second rope and hitting another flying forearm. Brown sends Davis off the ropes for a back body drop and follows it with a dropkick for a count of 2. Back into the ropes, Brown ducks to the canvas and they collide on the other side for a quick double down. Brown with European uppercuts in the corner goes to whip Davis, but Davis doubles back sending Brown chest first to the turnbuckle. Davis with a belly to back and a bridge gets the 3 count to retain his championship….or not. The referee hands Denny Brown the title and he’s awarded the match. Referee Earl Hebner says Brown rolled his shoulder up.
Winner and NEW NWA World Junior Heavyweight Champion: Denny Brown (Belly to Back Counter)
- EA’s Take: A couple of Florida boys open up the action tonight in this under 230-pound division. A precursor to the Cruiserweight Title in the 90’s, the business wasn’t quite ready for smaller workers yet if they had no gimmick or character and this championship is another that’s been lost to time. There’s not much of note about either of these grapplers to be honest, Denny Brown spending the majority of his career as a jobber, even up until 1997 for WCW. The same applies for Davis, except he would also compete in Memphis and for World Class Championship Wrestling along the way. The work in the ring is pretty good, as you’d expect from a “smaller division”, but for the second straight year we get a wonky finish to our opener and the winner was even announced incorrectly.
Backstage: Tony Schiavone is in the locker room as NWA World Heavyweight Champion Ric Flair paces behind him, Schiavone promoting that he’ll be speaking with people throughout the night.
Match #2: Mr. Ito vs. Brian Adidis
They start by locking up and Adidis backs Ito in the ropes and they break clean. Another lockup and Adidis with a quick takedown. Collar and elbow tie-up again and Adidis works into a hammer lock, reversed into one by Ito which is reversed into another by Adidis before Ito takes him down with a version of a drop toe hold. Lock up again with Ito scoring a side head lock. Adidis whips Ito off the ropes, ducks under and then leapfrogs over on the backside before hitting a dropkick and the third time through. Side headlock take down on Ito, Adidis grounds him. Back up, Ito takes control with a top wrist lock into an arm bar. Adidis is up, but Ito uses the hair to take him back down. Ito into a wrist lock, reversed into one by Adidis who takes Ito down and works the arm. Ito gets out with a body slam, but Adidis hangs on and maintains an arm bar. Ito gets out with elbows to the solar plexes. They go into the corner, Ito scoring with chops and Adidis countering with rights. Ito whipped off the ropes gets caught by Adidis into an airplane spin. Adidis takes Ito to the mat and covers him for the victory.
Winner: Brian Adidis (Airplane Spin)
- EA’s Take: Meh. A quick match with a quick pace. Technically sound, but like our first match, no names anybody seems to care about outside of their territory’s region. Adidis comes from WCCW, a high school friend of the late, great Kerry Von Erich and the rest of the family. Mr. Ito is your stereotypical Japanese, 1980’s character. Of course, his real notoriety comes only in the ‘Land of the Rising Sun’, competing for all of Japan’s big promotions. Interesting fact: nobody really seemed to know what Brian Adidis’ ring name is as he’s billed as “Brian Adias” (his actual ring name) in Dallas, but is announced incorrectly for this match. This would lead to him being called “Brian Adidis/Adidas” for the following two years by Pro Wrestling Illustrated!
Match #3 for the NWA Florida Heavyweight Championship: Mike Graham vs. NWA Florida Heavyweight Champion Jesse Barr
Lock-up and Barr backs Graham into the ropes. Clean break. They lock-up again, Graham with an arm drag into an arm bar, Barr counters with a headscissor, but Graham quickly gets out into a drop toe hold followed by a leg lock. Graham inflicts punishment on the leg, but Barr grabs a side headlock. Both men up now and Graham’s out with an arm drag into an arm hold. Graham implores Hebner to count, but he only gets two before Barr reverses into a top wristlock. Barr maintains the wristlock as both men are to their feet now. Graham fights to get out of it and almost does before Barr grabs the hair and takes him down. Back to their feet as Barr now has moved to a wrist lock. Graham hits an elbow and escapes, followed by a shoulder knockdown and an arm drag into a wristlock and again Barr reverses into a top wristlock. Back up and Barr backs him into a corner and nails knees and forearms.
Now wrapping Graham’s arm over the top rope. Irish whip to the opposite corner and Graham counters hitting a drop toe hold into the leg lock again. Barr’s in trouble as the crowd is really behind Graham now, as he repeatedly falls back to the canvas, wrenching Barr’s leg. Graham attempts a figure four, but Barr slips away. On their feet now and both men are being extra cautious now. We get a knuckle lock and Barr takes the advantage, sending Graham to his knees. Graham’s attempts to get up, but fails and is brought to his knees again. Graham to his feet, Barr hits a couple kicks, but Graham is able to get out with an arm drag into an arm bar. Barr gets up and out, whip into the ropes and Graham ducks a back elbow, leapfrogs Barr on the other side and connects with a right hand. Barr is to the mat as Graham goes for the figure four again, but Barr gets to the ropes rather quickly and rolls to the outside. Back inside they lockup and Barr gains a side headlock. He tries twice for a side headlock takedown, but is countered by Graham. Barr scores on his third try and gets 2.
Barr keeping the headlock on the mat, the ref counts 2 again. Graham working up to this feet tries to whip Barr off the ropes, but Barr maintains the hold by grabbing the hair multiple times. Graham hits the knee and gets out with a kneebreaker and starts pummeling Barr’s knee. Graham’s really working it over and he gets the figure four on, but Barr gets the ropes again. Back up Barr halts Graham with a kick, whip off the ropes and he goes for a back body drop, but Graham with a sunset flip for 2. Graham with a headlock, but Barr whips him into the ropes and Graham collides with referee Earl Hebner. As Hebner’s down, Barr goes for a body slam, but is countered into a small package with nobody to make the count. All 3 men including Hebner are up now, Barr off the ropes hits a shoulder knockdown but Graham with a roll-up on the other side. He gets 2 before Barr counters and grabs the tights for another 2 count. Graham ducks a clothesline and hits an atomic drop that sends Barr into the turnbuckle. Barr is able to get a double leg takedown for a cover and as he puts his feet on the second rope for leverage, the ref counts 3.
Winner and STILL NWA Florida Heavyweight Champion: Jesse Barr (Double Leg Pinning Combination)
- EA’s Take: Hey! People I’m familiar with! This is the first match of the night to really pull me in with great ring work from another pair of Florida stars. Many people who have watched a lot of the Beyond The Ring series on WWE Network will recognize Graham, as he appears on a number of those and was still maintaining that trademark upper-lip caterpillar. You would tend to think that being the son of Eddie Graham might give him the win here on a big stage, but we go the other way and the champion (another star who would make his way to the WWF in the coming years) retains. If you know about Eddie Guerrero’s career, you’ll remember his tag partner in Mexico was Art Barr, the brother of Jesse. Pretty funny to think Jesse comes from a wrestling family, then would go on to portray himself as a member of another, more famous wrestling family, under the name Jimmy Jack Funk.
Video: We get a video of Tully Blanchard along with James J. Dillon tying up Dick Slater, joining “Cowboy” Ron Bass and Black Bart to do a number on Ricky Steamboat. They attack him with a boot to the back.
Match #4 is a Tag Team Elimination Match: The Zambuie Express (Elijah Akeem & Kareem Muhammed) w/Paul Jones vs. The Assassin #1 & Buzz Tyler
The Assassin and Buzz pumping up the crowd and egging on Paul Jones. All 4 men in the ring and The Assassin and Buzz quickly clear the ring. Buzz and Kareem in the ring now, lock-up with Kareem backing Buzz to the ropes. Irish whip and Buzz ducks a clothesline, hitting a big right on the other side that sends Kareem to the outside. Back inside and both men tag out, bringing in The Assassin and Elijah. Collar and elbow tie-up with Elijah back #1 into the corner and hitting big forearms. Irish whip to the opposite corner and Assassin reverses, scoring with a big right that sends Elijah to the mat. Buzz and The Assassin are playing ping pong with Elijah as they hit some right hands that send Elijah to the outside.
He’s back in and we get tags on both sides again. Buzz and Kareem tie-up, but Kareem swiftly takes control with overhand chops, punches and a choke. Whip into his corner and Kareem tags Elijah, who maintains the advantage over Buzz with a headbutt. Buzz punches his way out and scores a big knockdown for a 2 count. All 4 men are in now and it’s a brawl. Buzz and Elijah fight on the outside and they both get counted out. We’re down to The Assassin and Kareem in the ring. Assassin is whipped off the ropes and he bangs heads with Kareem. Kareem is knocked down and The Assassin is staggered, teetering on the ropes. Paul Jones jumps up on the apron, distracting referee Earl Hebner which allows Buzz Tyler to give The Assassin a push on top of Kareem. Hebner turns around and counts Kareem down for 3 and the win.
Winners: The Assassin #1 & Buzz Tyler (Pinfall)
- After The Bell The Assassin tries to get his hands on Paul Jones, but is unsuccessful and Jones manages to squirm away.
- EA’s Take: I didn’t get much from this match loaded with big, laboring bodies. This seemed to be a match just to build to Paul Jones possibly getting what’s coming to him later on against Jimmy Valiant, as he’s easily the most over person involved here. It’s strange seeing The Assassin on his own now, his partner leaving the company after losing his mask as part of a match stipulation earlier in the year. Plus, he’s a babyface, a total one-eighty as his in-ring career winds down over the next couple of years. Buzz Tyler has a real Bugsy McGraw-feel too and really seem like the same characters. One thing you’ll notice from this time period is that workrate means absolutely nothing as the crowd often goes batty over simple comebacks that involve nothing more than a flurry of strikes. Sometimes I wish for those days again, but then quickly realize the athleticism today is just ridiculously impressive.
Backstage: Tony Schiavone is with Dusty Rhodes in the back, who cuts a promo about winning the world title and a million dollars over Ric Flair tonight.
Match #5 for the NWA Brass Knuckles Heavyweight Championship: NWA World Tag Team Champion ‘The Raging Bull’ Manny Fernandez vs. Brass Knuckles Heavyweight Champion Black Bart w/James J. Dillon
Both men have their fists taped and are not actually wearing brass knuckles. Bart with a right is countered and Manny who hits one of his own. Bart going for an arm lock is countered again as Manny connects with a right to the ribs. Manny with lefts and a big right followed by a back hand chop takes down Bart. Collar and elbow tie-up and Bart scores to the back of Manny’s ear. Manny with another right to the gut and multiple back hands, dropping Bart. Bart with a side head lock, hits a couple rights and gets stopped by Manny again. This time, Bart is able to counter with rights, irish whipping Manny into the ropes and getting a big knockdown. Bart with more rights and Manny’s been cut on the forehead. Bart is in control with multiple knockdowns on Manny. Bart really pummeling Manny, even biting his face. A couple chops by Manny, he whips Bart to the ropes and gets a big knockdown with a back elbow.
Manny fires up and he score with three big rights, sending Bart over the top rope to the outside. Manny to the apron nails a big overhand chop. Manny rolls back inside as JJ Dillon tries to convince Bart to get and up back in. Manny’s there to meet him with a huge right after sending Bart into the ropes. Bart’s been lacerated now, as Manny hits a big knee and covers for 2. To the second rope, Manny knocks Bart down with a big fist. Manny covers, but only gets 2. Bart with a shot to the solar plexus is able to get back up and gain control. Knockdown on Manny and Bart covers for 2. Bart with consecutive knockdowns followed by an elbow drop for another 2 count. Bart goes for a slam, but drops Manny throat first over the top rope. Bart shoves the ref away and JJ Dillon hands him his rope. As Bart grabs the rope, Manny comes up from behind with a roll-up and gets a count of 3 to win the championship.
Winner and NEW NWA Brass Knuckles Heavyweight Champion: ‘The Raging Bull’ Manny Fernandez (Roll-Up)
- EA’s Take: Well, it’s a plethora of forgotten about championships on the line tonight! The Brass Knuckles Title was created in the late 70’s as a means to an end for the more heated rivalries, but the idea of it never quite took grasp with the fans. Needless to say, it won’t be around much longer. Also, I think you can pretty much envision what went down here with that title being on the line. I was surprised that there was even one collar and elbow, so that’s the only hint I’ll give you. Both of these guys are of course brawlers, but the excitement of the crowd coupled with the brutality and blood (Go ahead, call me a neanderthal) does make it a solid watch. The crowd favorite takes the win here, but with a pretty meaningless championship up for grabs and the fact he’d lose it right back to Black Bart two months later, historically there’s not much significance. By the way, where in the world was the ACTUAL title?
Intermission Video: Just like Starrcade ’83, we get a reel which features some highlights of last year’s event, a Ricky Steamboat promo and then a promo by James J. Dillon & Tully Blanchard.
Match #6 is a Loser Leaves Town Tuxedo Street Fight: Paul Jones w/Kareem Muhammed vs. ‘The Boogie Woogie Man’ Jimmy Valiant w/The Assassin #1
Both men are wearing tuxedo’s and it’s anything goes where the loser of this match must leave. They start with Valiant chasing Jones around the ring as Jones is already begging for mercy. Valiant is choking Jones with a rope and he ties him the neck to the top rope so Jones can’t run. Valiant takes his jacket off and hits big rights on Paul Jones. Valiant takes the flower off Jones’ tux and stuffs it down his mouth. Valiant tearing at Jones’ tuxedo now as Jones is still tied to the ropes. Valiant gets Jones stripped down to his underwear and the crowd is loving it. Jones finally gets the rope off his neck and hits Valiant from behind with a kick. Valiant is down and Jones scores with multiple knees, but Valiant fires up. He hits the ropes and nails Jones with a big right hand. Jones whipped off the ropes and Valiant with a sleeper onto a bloodied Jones. As the ref checks Jones’ arm, Kareem Muhammed gets on the apron. The ref’s over to get him down. Valiant nails Kareem on the apron, but he knocks the ref down in the process. Kareem’s in the ring now and both Valiant and The Assassin beat him down. JJ Dillon hits the ring, drilling Valiant with a foreign object and putting Jones on top of him. The ref crawls over, counts to 3 and Jones gets the victory.
Winner: Paul Jones (Foreign Object)
- After The Bell: The Assassin #1 is checking on Valiant, who is still out from whatever JJ Dillon hit him with.
- EA’s Take: I’m not sure why JJ Dillon had to hit Jimmy Valiant behind the referee’s back in an anything goes match. Regardless, Jimmy Valiant is way over still as ‘Charlie Brown’ is no more and despite the fact it’s another loss in a Loser Leaves Town match, I can assure you Valiant’s not “leaving town” for the second time. Other than that there’s nothing really special about this match, Jones remaining the hottest heel on the card to this point.
Backstage: Tony Schiavone interviews NWA World Champion Ric Flair backstage, who is ready to retain against Dusty Rhodes later tonight.
Match #7 for the NWA Mid-Atlantic Heavyweight Championship: Dick Slater vs. NWA Mid-Atlantic Heavyweight Champion & NWA Mid-Atlantic Tag Team Champion ‘Cowboy’ Ron Bass w/James J. Dillon
They lock-up and Bass backs Slater into the ropes, connecting with a right. Slater counters back with chops, whips Bass off the ropes and nails a back elbow for a knockdown. Slater hops outside after JJ Dillon, but Dillon slides into the ring behind Bass and escapes outside. Slater gets back in as Bass has a strategy session with Dillon. They tie-up again, Bass sending Slater to the ropes who drops down and outside after Dillon again. He chases Dillon around the ring, Dillon sliding inside and as Slater comes in after him, Bass hits him with a boot. Slater quickly rolls to the outside to get away and promptly tells Ron Bass to kiss his backside. Slater gets inside and he tells Bass to bring it on in the corner. Bass charges, but Slater moves and grabs a side headlock takedown. Bass tries to roll him over for a pin to no avail and Slater maintains the headlock.
Back to their feet as Bass sends Slater off the ropes and hits a back elbow. He goes for an elbow drop on Slater, but Slater rolls out of the way. Both men up and Slater with a headbutt into another side headlock take down. Bass rolls Slater over for 2, but Slater rolls back into the headlock. They’re up and Bass with a rake of the eyes. Bass misses a right hand, Slater countering with an atomic drop and he feigns going after Dillon again. Back inside, Slater with headbutts to Bass who’s on the apron. Slater snapmares Bass into the ring and goes for a boot, but the ref grabs Slater’s leg and stops him which allows Bass to take advantage with a rake of the eyes. Bass connecting with an elbow and a knee lift following up by ramming Slater’s head into the turnbuckle.
Slater gets trapped in the ropes, half of his body inside and half out on the apron. Bass uses Slater like a teeter totter with big rights. JJ Dillon manages to get a cheap shot in while Bass distracts the ref. Slater’s out of the ropes now and Bass connects with a vertical suplex for a 2 count. Bass with a running bulldog, but he doesn’t go for a pin and Slater starts to recover. Slater with big punches, he knocks Bass down with a right and gets a count of 2. Bass is able to get back up and he goes for the eyes again, then sends Slater to the outside. Dillon takes advantage and he works Slater over with boots before throwing him back inside.
Bass with big shots on a groggy Slater in the corner. Slater is starting to feel the crowd and he eventually counters, throwing Bass into the corner and going to town. The ref tries pulling Slater out, but he gets shoved out of the way. Bass misses a right and Slater hits a belly to back suplex and goes for the cover. JJ Dillon is in and he kicks Slater, but it does no good. Body slam on Dillon followed by a right hand sends him back outside. Bass is up now, but Slater body slams him and follows with a leg drop. Slater covers and the ref rolls back in and stops the bout. Slater believes he has won, but the ref raises Ron Bass’ hand as Slater has been disqualified.
Winner and STILL NWA Mid-Atlantic Heavyweight Champion: ‘Cowboy’ Ron Bass (Disqualification)
- After The Bell: Slater is incensed and he starts the beat down on Ron Bass and JJ Dillon, clearing the ring of both. He raises his hands and the crowd loves it.
- EA’s Take: The DQ allows Bass to keep his title, while making Slater look good. I have never been a fan of having DQ finishes at big events though and always thought the big event should be the finale of a feud, not its continuation. This will come into play later on as well. Not much wrestling and it was basically another fist fight that allowed Slater to get a little measure of revenge against one-half of The Long Riders along with Black Bart. Gone are the days of Slater being a heel, a new direction since his now-former tag partner Bob Orton has departed for the WWF.
In The Arena: Next is the Star Spangled Banner to set-up the big tag match between the Russians and the Americans. The crowd chants “U-S-A” as Ole and Larson make their way to the ring. Next is the Russian anthem and they make their way to the ring to a chorus of boos.
Match #8 is a Tag Team Grudge Match: Ivan & Nikita Koloff vs. Ole Anderson & Keith Larson w/Don Kernodle
Larson and Ole talk in their corner and decide to charge the Koloff’s right off the bat. Ole clears Nikita out as Larson works over Ivan. Back body drop on Ivan and Larson jumps on top with right hands. The ref counts 2 before realizing Larson doesn’t care about the cover as he pummels away at Ivan. Big rights on Ivan, he’s sent off the ropes and Larson hits a dropkick. Larson and Ole begin to volley Ivan back and forth with punches and elbows before Ivan hits the mat. Larson sending Ivan into Ole’s boot, he then applies a wristlock and tags Ole in. Big strike to Ivan and Ole with a wristlock now. He tags Larson who climbs to the second rope and hits an elbow before going back to the wristlock. Another tag to Ole who goes into a wristlock and takes Ivan to the canvas. Tag to Larson again, who hits a big knee onto Ivan’s arm and then back to the wristlock.
Yet another tag to Ole, who hammer locks Ivan’s arm behind him and then body slams him on it. Larson tagging in, Ole holds Ivan open for a big right by Larson. Larson still working the arm with elbow drops, then a tag to Ole. Ole into an arm bar and they keep the pressure on Ivan’s arm. Ole drags Ivan to the corner and tags Larson in, sticking to the game plan of working Ivan’s arm. Ivan is finally able to whip Larson off and go for a hip toss, but Larson counters with one of his own and gets a 2 count. Back to the arm and a tag to Ole. Ivan off the ropes gets hit with a double team back elbow for a count of 2. Ole’s got Ivan in the corner now, he wraps Ivan’s arm behind his back and tosses him shoulder first into the ring post.
Larson back in with rights and then back to the arm. The wristlock brings Ivan to his knees and he just can’t get out of the gates. Larson switching to a hammer lock and connecting with knees to the arm. Back up and Ivan grabs the hair, backing Larson into the corner. Larson counters an irish whip to the opposite corner and follows Ivan in, only to run into a counter-knee. Larson is down and Ivan climbs to the top, but Larson meets him and slams him down to the mat off the top for a 2 count. Tag to Ole who comes in with punches to the shoulder and back to the trusty wristlock. Larson in, still keeping on Ivan’s left arm. Nikita keeps trying to sneak into the ring, but the crowd gets louder every time he does which thwarts his efforts. Ole back in gets Ivan in the corner, wrapping the arm around the ropes and hitting forearms. Ivan turns the tide by raking the eyes and he’s finally able to tag Nikita. Ole tries to fight off Nikita, but he’s no match for the big Russian.
Big shoulders to the gut by Nikita in the corner, a big irish whip to the other corner followed up by more massive shots with the shoulder. Ole tries fighting out, but Nikita is too strong. He whips Ole to the ropes and catches him in a massive bear hug. Ole with right hands, but he’s unable to escape the strong grip of Nikita. Larson unintentionally distracts the referee, allowing Ivan to climb to the top and smash Ole with a double axe handle while still in Nikita’s grasp. The ref raises Ole’s arm and he begins to show signs of life. Clubbing blows by Ole and he’s finally able to get out, but Nikita tags Ivan and they prevent Ole from tagging out. Ole is sent off the ropes and Ivan knocks him down with a back elbow. Ivan with boots and he picks up Ole for a body slam for a count of 2. Ivan goes for an elbow drop, but Ole rolls away. Ivan tags Nikita and they again stop Ole from making a tag. Ole with a couple shots to the stomach, but Nikita goes back into a bear hug. Ole’s fading until he hears the “U-S-A” chants and fights out. Ole with a headbutt and both men crawl towards their corners.
Ole gets the tag and Larson is in with rights to both Koloff’s followed by a noggin knocker. Larson sends Nikita off the ropes and connects with a back elbow. Into the ropes again, Larson attempts a dropkick but Nikita hangs onto the ropes. Larson into the ropes now and Nikita takes him down with a choke. Tag to Ivan who drops Larson throat first across the top rope. Ivan attempts a body slam only to be countered by Larson with a small package for a 2 count before being broken up by Nikita. All four men are in now and Ole knocks Nikita to the outside. While the ref is arguing with Ole and Larson is in control of Ivan, Nikita makes his way around to Don Kernodle who’s on crutches and attacks him. Ole’s out after him and he makes him pay with rights and boots. During the fracas, Ivan grabs an object from the outside and drills Larson in the head. Ivan makes the cover and secures victory for the Russians.
Winners: Ivan & Nikita Koloff (Foreign Object)
- Afte The Bell: The Koloffs attempt to hit a double team move on Larson using the chain again, but Don Kernodle is in. Kernodle uses one of his crutches and he’s able to get multiple shots on the Russians before clearing the ring.
- EA’s Take: Pretty good tag team match that the crowd was hot for. I could have done with a little more variety when Ole and Larson were working on Ivan’s arm and there were also a lot of quick tags just to go back into a wristlock. Old school tag wrestling at its finest, but it was to the point of being too much. I think most are familiar with Ivan, the former WWWF Champion, but Nikita seems to be pretty green at this point. Ole has long-since been on his own now after the Minnesota Wrecking Crew disbanded in 1981 and he’s yet to be paired with a newcomer named Arn. That makes it a little strange seeing him work baby, since my only memories of him were always with Double-A. As for Keith Larson, to be frank I know nothing of the man and I’m really unsure why he’d be put into a seemingly good spot as Ole’s partner.
Match #9 for the NWA World Television Championship & $10,000: Ricky Steamboat vs. NWA World Television Champion Tully Blanchard w/James J. Dillon
If Tully gets disqualified or counted out, he will lose the championship. Tully sticks out a hand to shake with Steamboat, but he knows better and slaps it away. They lock up and Tully backs Steamboat to the ropes and hits right hands. Steamboat fires back and they exchange blows before Steamboat takes control and knocks Tully down with a succession of rights. Tully tries getting out of the ring, but Steamboat grabs him for a snapmare followed by a jumping chop. Tully to the apron again and again Steamboat gets ahold of him for a suplex back into the ring and another jumping chop for a 2 count. Steamboat grounds Tully with a rear chin lock. Tully to his feet tries to roll Steamboat out of it, but he hangs on.
Tully to the ropes to break the hold tries for an elbow drop, but Steamboat moves. Steamboat hits a big kneelift and that really stunned Tully. Both men to their feet and Steamboat is favoring his ribs. Tully scores with big rights to the injured ribs of Steamboat then a front backbreaker. Tully really working over the ribs now with kicks and an irish whip into a low back elbow. Using the second rope for leverage, Tully driving the knee to the midsection followed by more boots. Tully’s feeling good and he struts to the dismay of the crowd. Tully with a pickup, drives Steamboat into the turnbuckle. Steamboat finally fights back with a kick to the head and a headbutt. And elbow and backhand chops from Steamboat drop Tully to the mat, allowing Steamboat to follow with knees to the back of the head for a count of 2. Steamboat back to the rear chin lock, but Tully is eventually able to get to the ropes and get out with a shot to the ribs. Tully hits some kicks to the breadbasket from the apron and follows up with a nice belly to back suplex. Punch to the kidneys and a cover only gets a 1 count for Tully.
Steamboat is able to go back to the rear chin lock, but Tully swiftly into the ropes to force the break. Tully tries to beg off of Steamboat a little to no avail. Tully dancing around Steamboat as he favors the ribs. Tully eggs Steamboat on by spitting in his face and taunting him. They finally lock up, Tully is sent into the ropes, two leapfrogs by Steamboat and he hits a beautiful powerslam for 2. Steamboat is fired up now, driving Tully’s head into the turnbuckle and hitting a double chop for another 2. Steamboat gets Tully into the corner, climbs the second rope and works him over with punches. Tully’s been split open now. Big clubbing blow from Steamboat and yet another 2 count. Steamboat stooping to Tully’s level and now spitting in his face. Tully in the corner on the receiving end of Steamboat chops, he follows with a swinging neckbreaker and gets 2 again. Steamboat uses Tully’s own move against him, hitting the slingshot suplex for a count of 2. Steamboat with a dropkick is again only able to get 2. Backhand chop sends Tully to the apron and hits more punches.
Steamboat backs off for a second, allowing Tully to reach into his tights and pull out a pair of knucks. Tully misses and Steamboat hits a belly to back suplex from the apron into the ring. However, Tully connects with the knucks mid-move and now both men are down. The ref gets to an 8 count before Tully gets up and hits a running cross body for 2. Tully in control now hits a couple shots and props Steamboat up on the turnbuckle. Tully goes for a superplex, but Steamboat pushes him off and hits a top rope splash for a count of 2. Steamboat whips Tully, but is reversed. Steamboat off the ropes with a sunset flip, but he can’t get Tully over. As the ref is looking to see if Steamboat’s shoulders are down, Tully reaches into his tights again and connects to the face of Steamboat, covers and finally gets 3 to retain.
Winner and STILL NWA World Television Champion Tully Blanchard (Foreign Object)
- EA’s Take: Excellent bout between two men who are undoubtedly great at their craft. I’ve always been of the opinion that Tully Blanchard is one of the best wrestling villains in history, but his career before The Four Horsemen is usually overshadowed by those glory years. The posturing in the middle of the match looked as if they were lost for a minute so I’m not sure what quite happened there, but I should know better than to question what these two were doing. Tully comes out of this match looking very resilient and Steamboat can claim he was robbed, however we now know that Ricky was out the door and the feud came to an abrupt end with Blanchard never getting his comeuppance.
Match #10 for the NWA United States Championship: ‘Superstar’ Billy Graham vs. NWA United States Champion ‘Chief’ Wahoo McDaniel
The bell rings and Graham wants a test of strength. They lock knuckles and Graham gets an early advantage with his power before Wahoo turns it into a hammer lock. Graham grabs the hair and throws Wahoo to the mat. Quick lockup and Wahoo powers Graham off of him. Another lockup and this time Graham powers Wahoo off. Lockup again and Graham backs Wahoo into the corner. Wahoo gets out with thumbs to the eyes follows by chops and punches. Wahoo with a hard irish whip into the other corner. Wahoo goes to whip Graham to another corner, but Graham counters and locks on a full nelson. Wahoo is able to get to the ropes to break the hold, but Graham staying on the offense by whipping Wahoo into the ropes and connecting with a throat chop. Wahoo is down and Graham locks the full nelson on once again, going into a cover for a 2 count. Both men up and Wahoo whipped off the ropes into a back elbow by Graham, followed by an elbow drop for another count of 2. Wahoo is able to score with a couple quick shots, Graham goes for a side head lock but is whipped into the ropes and Graham with a shoulder knockdown on Wahoo. Graham hits the ropes, but runs right into a knife-edge chop and Wahoo covers for a 3 count.
Winner and still NWA United States Champion “Chief” Wahoo McDaniel (Knife-Edge Chop)
- EA’s Take: It’s all about name value here as both of these gentlemen are past their prime at this point. Billy Graham is in his karate phase, which never really worked the way he had hoped and quite honestly, was too drastic of a change for him that never really made any sense. People loved him for his over-the-top personality and the gimmick change completely took away all of that. Having him lose on a knife-edge chop is a little odd as well, I’m not sure if they were going for irony or what. I mean, I know Wahoo McDaniel is a legend, but seriously? A knife-edge chop?
Video: A clip of the finish to last year’s main event is shown where Ric Flair defeated Harley Race to win the NWA World Heavyweight Championship inside a steel cage.
Backstage: Tony Schaivone is backstage with the three judges for the main event. Kyle Petty, ‘Smokin’ Joe Frazier & Duke Keamuka. If the match goes the 60 -minute time limit, they will decide the winner. Joe Frazier will also be the special guest referee.
Match #11 for the NWA World Heavyweight Championship & $1 Million: ‘The American Dream’ Dusty Rhodes vs. NWA World Heavyweight Champion ‘Nature Boy’ Ric Flair w/Special Referee ‘Smokin’ Joe Frazier
They go face to face as Special Referee Frazier gives the instructions. Rhodes hits the ropes and catches Flair with an elbow, goes for a side headlock, but Flair reaches the ropes for a break. Flair to the patented chops, Rhodes gets the best of an exchange with strikes hits another elbow, but Flair retorts with a knee drop and gets a count of 2. Flair goes back to the well and Dusty sees it coming, uses the Figure Four against Flair and we get a rope break. The Dream working over the leg, Flair comes back attacking the forehead of Dusty with malicious intent, goes for a knee, but Rhodes turns the tide with a press slam and Flair falls out of the ring. Rhodes with a suplex back in from the apron. Flair goes up top and what do you know, Rhodes catches him and sends him crashing down. During a brawl outside the ring, Rhodes is sent face first into the ring post that splits him open. They get back inside and Flair is pummeling away at the cut, as Frazier tries to get between the two. Frazier is finally successful and he checks the cut on Rhodes, then stops the match in favor of Ric Flair. Rhodes can’t believe it and begins to go for Frazier, but other wrestlers from the back are there to hold him off.
Winner and STILL NWA World Heavyweight Champion: Ric Flair (Referee Stoppage)
- EA’s Take: Decent main event, but the pair would have better much matches in store for them. Fans didn’t like Dusty getting screwed, justifiably so. However, it did seem like Flair still had a good amount of people for him in the crowd, being in North Carolina after all. This is the first time we see the celebrity factor added into the battle between the NWA and the WWF, at least on closed circuit or pay-per-view. Now, I’m not sure if it was an original idea from NWA to include Joe Frazier or if perhaps they had caught wind of the WWF’s plans for the upcoming WrestleMania, but it’s always a good decision. Especially when it’s such a high-profile sports star, they seem to “get it” more-so than your Hollywood celebs. I mentioned earlier how I didn’t care for screwy stuff at big events and felt that it should be the conclusion of a feud. This obviously won’t be the case with these two, but you have to be okay with it based off of the fact it leads to the formation of arguably the best faction in wrestling history.
EA’s Finisher: With Vince McMahon’s inaugural WrestleMania a mere four months away, the affects of the WWF’s massive push for the event are seen tonight. Piper? Gone. Valentine? North bound. Bob Orton? Sayonara. Steamboat? About to tell the NWA, “Deuces”. You’ve still got your backbones in Flair and Dusty, but with the business about to change forever, the NWA will have to cultivate and find new talent. In a sense, that’s basically what they would end up doing for the WWF through the sale to Ted Turner and beyond. The positives of the evening? The production value has stepped up, the mindless fan interviews have been scrapped and there were no bad tech issues like the first go-around. Additionally, despite the loss of talent, the NWA has always been the place for better wrestling over the WWF. If you’re a fan of workrate, you’ll likely always prefer the older NWA events to anything produced by McMahon.
Top Three To Watch
1 – Ricky Steamboat vs. Tully Blanchard
2 – Ric Flair vs. Dusty Rhodes
3 – Mike Graham vs. Jesse Barr