The SmarK Retro Repost – Crocket Cup ’87

– So anyway, I was basically playing “pick a tape at random” tonight until I found something without a rant, and I happened to grab the tape with Clash 16 / Crockett Cup 87 / Superbrawl II / Wrestling Classic on the first shot. And since there’s no Crockett Cup 87 rant yet, that’s our lucky winner!

– High Concept here: The Crockett Cup was a two-night, non-televised tournament consisting of about a billion tag teams from every NWA-affiliated territory out there, with the winner getting $1,000,000. The 8 top teams were seeded 1-8 and given a first round bye, and the rest of the riff-raff competed in first-round matches to find opponents for them. Outside of the name teams, it was generally high-quality competition like Mark Starr & Chris Champion or Tim Horner & Pez Whatley or whatever. You get the idea. The inaugural year saw the Road Warriors beating Ronnie Garvin & Magnum TA in the finals. In my younger days I probably could have rattled off the top 8 seeds without checking the supercards page, but 1987 was a long time ago, so I check the ranter’s best friend and come up with

1. Rick Rude & Manny Fernandez 2. Dusty Rhodes & Nikita Koloff 3. The Road Warriors 4. The Midnight Express 5. Giant Baba & Isao Takagi 6. The Rock N Roll Express 7. Ivan Koloff & Vladimir Petrov 8. Tully Blanchard & Lex Luger

– Ricky Morton had been injured for a while leading up to this, so that was a pretty clear case of false advertising. One shudders to think how the Rock n Roll Express v. Baba & Takagi would have turned out otherwise, though.

– Taped from Baltimore, MD

– Your host is Tony Schiavone.

– Konga the Barbarian & Bill Dundee v. Mike Rotunda & Tim Horner. This would be one of those excitement-filled preliminary bouts. Sadly, the Mulkey Brothers’ only Crockett Cup appearance is not included on this tape, as they bow out in the first round to Denny Brown & Chris Champion. I guess Mulkeymania just didn’t sell tapes. Anyway, we pick things up here with Mike being hammered on the outside by the heels. Back in, Barbarian hits the KICK OF FEAR for two. Earl Hebner with hair may not be the funniest thing on this tape, but I’d feel terrible if I failed to mention it. Barbarian goes upstairs and misses the flying headbutt. Hot tag Horner, who bodypresses Barbarian for two. Dundee nails him with a chain for the pin, however. 3:01 aired. ¼* Dundee and Barbarian would get squashed by the bookerman and his Russian buddy in the next round.

– Jimmy Valient & Lazer-Tron v. Teijho Khan & Shaska Whatley. No, I don’t know whatever happened to Teijho Khan, so don’t even bother e-mailing me. Lazer-Tron is Hector “Gobbledygooker” Guerrero, thus showing that the WWF doesn’t have a monopoly on finding stupid gimmicks for the poor guy. Khan quickly takes over on Valient, causing him to dislocate a hip and yell at the young whippersnappers in the heel corner. Hot tag Lazer-Tron, usual babyface house of fire stuff follows. Lariat puts Shaska down, but an accidental over-the-top results in a cheap DQ win for the heels. Good lord, who booked that? Oh wait, of course DUD, 3:07 aired.

Second Round:

– Bob & Brad Armstrong v. Ivan Koloff & Vladimir Petrov. If you think Scott Steiner is scary-looking, you should see ol’ Vladimir. And no, I don’t know whatever happened to him, so don’t even bother e-mailing me. We jump right to the hot tag to Brad, dropkicks abound. Petrov uses the Russian chain for the DQ. ANOTHER cheap DQ finish? DUD, 1:51 aired.

– Ronnie & Jimmy Garvin v. The Midnight Express. This is, astonishingly enough, the first-ever match featuring the Lane & Eaton version of the Midnights. Dennis who? Huge brawl to start, as the Garvins chase the Express away with Cornette’s tennis racket. Stan Lane is sporting that Ross-and-Chandler-in-the-Thanksgiving-episode Don Johnson stubble here. Match is clipped to Jimmy taking a shitkicking. Eaton does some chinlocking. Hot tag Ronnie, and he loads up the Hands of Stone. Eaton bails, and when Ron chases, Cornette blasts him with the tennis racket for the countout. For god’s sake, is Dusty trying out every cheap finish in the book tonight? About 3:45 aired. *

– Steel cage match: Big Bubba Rogers v. Ole Anderson. You know it’s a Dusty Rhodes show when BIG FREAKIN BUBBA ROGERS gets a cage match with Ole Anderson. For some further retarded reason, this is Texas Death rules. Punch, punch, choke, Ole gets a piledriver for the win. 5:11 aired, but what there was, was awful. DUD Leave it to Dusty to end the evening with a slam-bang main event like that one.

– For those keeping track, this would be the end of the first night.

– Now for no terribly important reason, let’s go back and take a special look at some very special Magnum TA matches.

– US title cage match: Wahoo McDaniel v. Magnum TA. This was Wahoo’s last big run in the major promotions before he went from “Wahoo” to “Wha? Who?” He had just turned Evil Native American, much like Tatanka did in 1994, and oddly enough it did just about as much for his upward mobility. I’m not sure if Wahoo also disappointed Native Americans all over the world, but logic would dictate that he did. Wahoo works a headlock, but Magnum mounts the comeback and gets chopped down. Oh, GOODIE, it’s David Crockett on color commentary for a Dusty Rhodes-booked show. Now THAT would be an interesting commentary team – Tony Schiavone, David Crockett and Dusty Rhodes.

David: HE’S DOWN! HE’S DOWN! GOOD ELBOW! KICK HIM, KICK HIM LIKE A DOG! TONY! TONY! TONY!

Dusty: CLUBBERIN, THEY BE CLUBBERIN, TONY! TONY! TONY!

– I think that my life would complete upon hearing such an exchange and I would be forced to retire from ranting due to an attack of surrealness. Anyway, back to the match, as Magnum goes after the arm and a standing dropkick gets two. Wahoo gets an inside cradle for two. Magnum sends him to the cage and hits a Dibiase fistdrop, while David Crockett basically cheers him on. What a mark. No wonder his brother had to sell to Turner. Wahoo comes back and rams Magnum to the cage out of nowhere and chops him for two. Elbowdrop gets two. Small package gets two. Speaking of small packages, I would be remiss in not mentioning the most pathetic website I’ve seen in a while, 1ringrats.com, featuring a group of cyber-skanks swapping notes on the relative bedroom skills of various wrestlers. Now, I’m all for cheap backstage gossip, but lets these poor guys have SOME privacy, I mean, GEEZ. Magnum starts no-selling and comes back. A low headbutt cuts that one off. Magnum comes back again, stopping an escape attempt with a super backdrop suplex for two. Wahoo hits two elbows for two, then comes off the ropes for a simple shoulderblock, and tries it again like an idiot. Why is he an idiot? Because Magnum’s finisher was a belly-to-belly suplex, and that’s exactly what Wahoo walks right into, as Magnum gets the pin and his first US title at 10:40, drawing a MOSTER pop. Match was pretty good for something featuring a senior citizen. **1/2

– US title: Magnum TA v. Kamala. This is from the stadium show that highlighted Great American Bash 85, the one with Ric Flair v. Hawk as the main event unless I’m losing my mind. It might have been Flair v. Koloff, for that matter. Anyway, Magnum gets a quick bodyblock and Kamala bails. Back in, Magnum keeps up the punishment, but gets dropped on the top rope. Kamala runs through his state of the art offense, from punches to choking to the dreaded TITTY TWISTER OF DOOM, which doubles as a so-called submission move. I know I’d tap if someone made me a member of the PTA for like 3 minutes. A couple of big fat splashes get two, but Magnum is on his stomach and Kamala is dumb so it’s no count. Magnum fights back, slams Kamala, and hits the belly-to-belly for the pin at 6:42. Next. ¾*

– US title, cage match, “I Quit”: Tully Blanchard v. Magnum TA. This is of course the famous match from Starrcade ’85. Magnum fires away to start, but Tully takes him down with a single-leg and they do the male equivalent of catfighting on the mat just because they hate each other that much. Tully headbutts him on the mat to gain the advantage, and a slugfest erupts, won by Magnum. Tully eats cage, but goes low to escape and reciprocates on Magnum, who blades. He powers out of a chinlock in a great visual, and presses Tully onto the top rope. We cut about 5 minutes out of the middle, as both guys are bleeding and generally smashing the microphone into each other’s head. Tully won’t quit, so they start choking each other with the microphone cord in one of those weird, uncomfortable moments of base depravity. They slug it out on their knees, but Magnum grabs the mike and nearly smashes it down Tully’s throat. Tully retreats to the corner and gets pummelled by Magnum, but reverses to an atomic drop. Tully absolutely kills Magnum with the mike, and Baby Doll throws him a balsa-wood chair, which shatters upon hitting the mat. Tully tries to stab Magnum in the face with a piece of it, like something out of an action movie, but he powers out. Magnum grabs it first, jams it into Tully’s eye, and THAT’S obviously enough to get the “I Quit” and the US title. Gloriously sick and depraved match to end a big feud. 9:18 aired, the original was about 17:00 and is an easy *****.

– Back to the tournament

– Quarter-final: The Midnight Express v. The Road Warriors. The Warriors beat Shaska Whatley & Teijho Khan to get here, on the off-chance you care. Both Express members get bombarded by Animal and bail. Jim revives Stan Lane with talk of the million dollar prize. He heads back in, and immediately gets blitzed by Hawk. Some well-timed shenanigans turn the tide, however. Hawk gets worked over and tossed over the top for good measure. Back in, Sweet Stan Music gets two, and the kickout puts him on the floor. Bobby misses a blind charge, hot tag Animal. No ref, as he’s busy with the 14 people at ringside. Cornette comes in and tosses a fireball at Animal, but Paul Ellering successfully pulls Cornette back in time to stop it from hitting. Ellering grabs the tennis racket, goes nuts on everyone, and it’s ANOTHER cheap finish, in this case a DQ, to send the Midnights to the semi-finals. 5:53 aired. **1/4 The crowd is not in the least impressed with that finish.

– Quarter-final: Rick Rude & Manny Fernandez v. Dusty Rhodes & Nikita Koloff. Rude & Fernandez were the tag champs at this point, and beat a couple of jobbers to get here. Rhodes & Koloff beat Dundee & Barbarian. We pick things up 5:00 in, as Manny is working on Dusty. Rude hits the flying fistdrop for two. Dusty escapes a Fernandez chinlock and a pier-six erupts, with Dusty rolling through a bodypress for the pin. 5:30 aired. ½* Nice to see Big Dust putting himself over the tag champs in the QUARTER-FINALS.

– Quarter-final: Bob & Brad Armstrong v. Tully Blanchard & Lex Luger. For some reason, the involvement of Giant Baba & Isao Takagi in the tournament has been erased, as they’re never mentioned, despite making it to the semi-finals. Brad surprises Tully with a dropkick for two, but Tully puts him over the top with the ref occupied. The Horsemen take turns teeing off on him, and back in for a backdrop suplex that gets two. Luger hits an elbow for two. Suplex gets two. Tully come in, but Brad backslides him for two. Atomic drop sends Tully colliding into Lex, and Bob gets the hot tag. He’s taking care of business, but gets tripped by JJ and double-clotheslined for the pin. Lame ending. 4:30 aired, but the match was pretty good from the looks of things. **1/2

– (Note: The Rock N Roll Express forfeited their slot, so after beating Denny Brown & Chris Champion in the second round, Baba & Takagi got a free pass to the semi-finals)

– Semi-final #1: Dusty Rhodes & Nikita Koloff v. The Midnight Express. Dusty cleans house on Eaton as we’re joined in progress at 5:00. The Express regroups, but Koloff overpowers Lane. A shot to Nikita’s long-injured neck turns THAT situation around. Stan hits a neckbreaker and legdrop, and the Express work him over in the corner. Long chinlock follows. Lane hotshots him and Eaton chokes him out with the tennis racket, but Koloff gets a quick shoulderblock and hits the Russian Sickle out of nowhere for the pin on Eaton. 6:35 aired. The Express could probably get *** out of a pair of dead bodies, but since Dusty & Nikita were worse than that, it’s *1/2 Cornette throws a tantrum.

– (Note: You’ll have to use your imagination and picture Tully Blanchard & Lex Luger beating Giant Baba & Isao Takagi in the other semi-final, because it’s not on the tape)

– NWA World title: Ric Flair v. Barry Windham. Oh yeah, forgot to mention, the featured event of the second night is Ric Flair v. Barry Windham. They snip the first ten minutes or so, and pick things up as Windham misses a dropkick and falls prey to the figure-four. Flair, ever the gentlemen, talks shit while using the ropes for leverage. Windham escapes and explodes out of the corner with a lariat. Flair goes low and knocks him out of the ring. Now THAT’S a lethal ballshot. Tommy Young prevents a piledriver on the concrete (which Tony notes would be an automatic DQ for some reason) and Flair chops Windham nearly over the railing. Barry sunset flips back into the ring for two. Backslide gets two. Flair regroups. They slug it out and Windham KO’s him for two. Flair bails again, but Barry grabs him and suplexes him in for two. Barry goes up and misses something off the top. Flair goes for the figure-four, but Barry reverses for two. Flair grabs a sleeper, but Windham casually rams him chin-first into the corner. He tosses Flair and rams him into a few different railings around ringside. I’m reminded of Al Bundy giving Kelly’s boyfriends a tour of the house. He goes for a piledriver on Flair, but it’s reversed. Back in, Flair goes up with a bodypress, which is reversed for two. Flair Flip, and he hits the floor. Windham chases, but Flair was just faking him out and lowblows him so hard I’m surprised his nuts didn’t pop into his cheeks like in Hot Shots Part Deux. After allowing Barry some suitably dramatic time for selling that one, Flair tries to suplex him back in, but Windham reverses to a sleeper. Flair attempts to use the same escape Windham did a few minutes ago, but Barry simply releases the hold and allows Flair’s own momentum to carry him headfirst into the turnbuckle. Back to the sleeper, which gets a two-count. Barry drags him away from the ropes, but a splash hits the knees. Flair chops him down and goes to the top, but SHOCKINGLY gets slammed off. Windham does his own figure-four, getting a two-count. Powerslam gets two. Flair blocks another figure-four, and they both tumble to the floor on a bodypress attempt. Windham no-sells a shot to the post and bounces back in with a missile dropkick that gets the pin! Ah, but Flair’s foot was on the ropes, sez Tommy Young. Oops. Windham, to his credit, doesn’t bitch, but absolutely rips Flair’s head off with a lariat, and this time Young sees the foot on the ropes. Floatover suplex gets two. Figure-four by Windham is again escaped by Flair, and they do the Pinfall Reversal Sequence, which if you’ve seen enough Flair matches you can probably recite by now. Windham alley-oops out of a suplex and gets a rollup for a VERY hot two-count, but Flair grabs the tights and reverses for the pin at 15:22 (aired, 26:00 total). I don’t how much better this match could have been with the first 10 minutes intact, but it’s certainly a scary thought. ****3/4

– Tournament final: Dusty Rhodes & Nikita Koloff v. Tully Blanchard & Lex Luger. Magnum TA hobbles out to be in Dusty’s corner, as if there was already any shadow of a doubt who was gonna win. We pick things up as Koloff clotheslines Tully to the floor, but JJ clocks Nikita and steals the neck brace. This is the 10:00 mark, according to the announcer. Back in, Luger works on the neck. Tully gets two. Hotshot gets two for Luger. Standing clothesline gets two. Tully drops an elbow off the 2nd rope for two. Dusty is escorted out, allowing a heel beatdown in the corner. Dillon uses the HUSHPUPPY OF DEATH on Koloff for good measure. Tully does the slingshot under the ropes for two, but Koloff blocks a flying elbow, hot tag Dusty. It’s an ELBOW SALE, everything must go, elbows for everyone. He misses a charge and hits the floor, however. Tully, that scoundrel, tries to piledrive Nikita, but Dusty hits a bodypress for the pin at 17:25. Hey, Dusty gets the winning pin, how about that? **1/2

The Bottom Line: Some wonder how Dusty Rhodes could single-handedly flush the greatest talent pool and the hottest fanbase down the toilet in a few short years. Given the finishes of these matches and The Dusty Show, Starring Dusty and Dusty’s Friends, I think the question is how could he NOT?

While the tournament is worthless, any tape that features Magnum v. Tully and Flair v. Windham is an instant thumbs up from yours truly.

Recommended show. Doubt you can find it anywhere, though.