The SmarK Rant For’s “Best Of The Midnight Express Volume 3”


The SmarK Rant for’s Best of the Midnight Express Volume 3

– Before you ask, no, I didn’t review volumes 1 and 2 and forget to post them, this is the one that was sent to me. This is basically a compilation of NWA TV stuff from 86-87.

– Clips of a Rock N Roll squash start us out, as Cornette is managing the unlucky jobbers while they get killed. Double dropkick finishes in short order, and the Midnights attack them afterwards. Geez, that was so obvious that even Robert Gibson should have been smart enough to figure it out.

– Jim and the MX cut a promo celebrating their title win over the RNR. The Rock N Roll Express is DONE, finished, over with and a lost cause.

– Clips of the Midnights winning the belts, which sets up another Cornette celebratory promo. The crowd might as well be yelling “Abraham Lincoln” instead of “Rock N Roll” because they’re past history.

– Another promo from Cornette as Condrey & Eaton show their promo skills by standing there and keeping their mouths shut. A rare TV appearance by Jim Crockett sees Cornette fined $5000 for interfering in the title match. That’s nothing to Mama Cornette, so he writes it off as a good investment.

– Another promo sees Crockett wanting to know where the money is, and he threatens to have the tennis racket barred from ringside if Cornette doesn’t pay up.

– The Midnight Express show off their belts and squash a very young Pat Tanaka & Italian Stallion. Tanaka’s one of those guys who seemingly came into the sport fully formed in the 80s and barely altered his entire moveset until his retirement. That of course can be both good and bad. Bobby is wearing his rarely-seen Honky Tonk Man tights, and this is nothing special as MX squashes go. Rocket Launcher ends it.

– The Midnight Express v. Sam Houston & Nelson Royal. Only quality jobbers for the Express. Eaton slugs on Royal, but he fires back and the faces pinball Bobby in the corner. Condrey comes in and gets backdropped and kneed, and Houston gives it a go. Back elbow gets nothing, since Houston is the designated uber-jobber who tags in and immediately gets pounded. He comes back on Condrey with a dropkick, but Eaton cheapshots him and takes over. Flying headscissors by Houston puts Eaton down again, however. Man, I can’t believe the Express is actually giving that much offense to these guys. He tries it again, however, and proves to be dumb for doing so, as he lands on his head. Condrey hits him with a backbreaker and a butterfly suplex for two. Condrey whips Eaton into him with a back elbow for two. That’s a neat little touch that you don’t see. Houston makes a hot tag to Royal, and he’s a senior afire! The ABDOMINAL STRETCH OF DOOM looks to finish Condrey, but Eaton nails him with the verboten tennis racket, drawing a DQ at 4:56. Wow. This leads to Houston getting MURDERED until the RNR make the save. Pretty decent little match. **

– Cornette and the Express cut a promo from an empty arena, hyping the Skywalkers match. Cornette directs them up the scaffold, as both protest, but Cornette notes that it’s just a “tiny scaffold”. The thing is of course a legitimate 30 or 40 feet high and scary as hell.

– The Midnight Express are no longer champions, so they get B-level jobbers again and finish them off without incident. After the match, however, Barry Windham taunts them with the US tag titles, and “Miss Atlanta Lively” lays them all out. She looks suspiciously like Ronnie Garvin in drag, in one of the lower points of his career. He would actually revive the character in 1987 when Jimmy Garvin lost a match to Ric Flair and thus gave Ric one night on Space Mountain with Precious. Flair and JJ Dillon showed up, and found Ron instead of Precious.

– US tag team title: The Midnight Express v. The Fabulous Freebirds. From a 1987 stadium show, and the Freebirds in this case are Michael Hayes and Buddy Roberts. I was hoping for Gordy and Roberts, truth be told. Hayes overpowers Eaton to start and they stall. Criss-cross and Eaton gets the worst of it, and we take a commercial break. We return with the Freebirds working Lane’s arm over and a funny spot with Roberts pulling Lane in circles by the wrist, until he accidentally collides with Eaton. This prompts an argument between the Midnights, but they pull it together and Roberts grabs a headlock on Lane. Eaton comes in and Roberts gives him a neckbreaker for two. Hayes comes in, but gets tripped up by Cornette and he’s YOUR mullet-in-peril. That ends quickly as Roberts comes in seconds later and cleans house. Bulldog gets two. It’s BONZO GONZO and a well-placed tennis racket finishes Roberts at 5:36. Nothing special. ¾* Terry Gordy explains the cheating to the ref, and the decision is reversed, which is pretty meaningless.

– Cornette entertains Tony Schiavone with tales of patriotism in his family (such as his uncle Ulysses Cornette), and introduces the Midnights.

– The Midnight Express v. George South & Cougar Jay. Another squash. Eaton does an approximation of the Angle Slam at one point, and the Flapjack is the finisher du jour.

– Cornette and his patriotic fervor is back to bug Tony again, as America now has a hero: Him. Cornette insults hippies and gays and notes that any father would be proud to have Stan Lane pick up his daughter and take her for a date in his Cobra. This all somehow segues into another introduction of the MX for another squash.

– Another squash in a series of ‘em. Collect them all! Bobby uses a spinebuster off the second rope for the pin.

– US title match: Dusty Rhodes v. Bobby Eaton. Eaton hides in the corner to start, but slugs him down. They head out, and Eaton meets the post and gets hiptossed on the floor. Cornette gives him some moral encouragement and sends him on his way back in. David Crockett, master of the retarded statement, calls this a “dream match”. Dusty works on the arm and slugs him down with a Flip Flop and Fly, and then suddenly switches to the leg. Eaton escapes this dire predicament and uses the tennis racket to send Dusty flying out of the ring, like someone showed him a Diet Coke, but without the screams of fear. Dusty comes back, so Bobby rams a chair into his leg and we take a commercial break. Back in, another shot with the racket to the knee (behind Tommy Young’s back) puts Rhodes down and Eaton stays on the leg. Stardust comes back with a DDT on the floor, but Eaton kind of shakes it off and pokes him in the eye. Back in, Eaton keeps working on the knee and alternating with shots to the head, but Rhodes suplexes him. The bionic elbowdrop misses, and Eaton gets two. Bobby goes to the stepover toehold, allowing Dusty time to do his specialty: Laying on the mat and yelling in pain. Dusty fights back and pounds away in the corner, hitting the rarely-seen American Dream Dropkick, but they collide and both are deader than this match. Cornette distracts the ref, but that allows Dusty to slug Eaton down with a stolen international object for the pin at 7:41. The ref sees it and reverses the decision. That was just bad all around. *1/4

– An INFURIATED Cornette mourns his stomped glasses and rants about Dusty while Stan consoles him. He’s gonna get Dusty if he has to go to a sporting goods store and buy a bow-and-arrow!

– Another Midnights squash, as they beat up on Curtis Thompson, the guy who would gain his 15 minutes in 1991 as Firebreaker Chip. Apparently he was still in training with the WCW Special Forces at that point. A Flapjack kills Bob Riddle dead for the finish.

– Cornette rants about the Fantastics after getting 10 lashes with a belt in a previous angle. Apparently they’re gonna be wishing for giving birth to a flaming 22-pound porcupine when the MX is done with them.

– US tag team title match: The Midnight Express v. The Fantastics. This is ULTRA-rare, and a match I haven’t seen in full since 1988. It’s from WCW Worldwide, a rematch from the first Clash of Champions. Lane pounds on Fulton to start, but eats an elbow. Fulton overpowers him and they work the mat for a bit. Good stuff, as they reverse out of a hammerlock until Lane makes the ropes. We take a commercial break and return with some fancy double-teaming by the Fantastics. Rogers and Lane criss-cross, and Rogers keeps on the arm. Eaton comes in and gets more of the same. Another criss-cross sees Rogers landing on his feet from a backdrop and hitting everyone with dropkicks, which causes the champs to regroup. Back in, Eaton thinks it over and grabs a headlock, slowing it down. He overpowers Rogers, but gets hiptossed on a criss-cross, and Rogers gets a flying headscissors to take Eaton down again. Fulton stresses the ease of controlling things by running in and literally walking over Eaton. Funny stuff. We take another break and return with Stan on the floor via Fulton. Back in, Rogers keeps working on the leg, but it backfires when Stan pops up and hits him in the face with an enzuigiri. Eaton charges in to take advantage, but Rogers takes him down in a toehold and the Fans work him over in the corner. Eaton goes to the eyes, always a winner, and tosses Fulton to take over. However, he made his move too soon, and Fulton sends him into the post and pounds Stan off the apron. Rogers finishes the beating on Eaton with a dropkick on the floor, and the Express needs a time-out again. Back in, Eaton goes for the direct approach and kicks Fulton in the face, and slingshots him into the corner, but tries it a second time and gets caught with a springboard elbow for two. Well, so much for that strategy. Fulton hiptosses him and hits a rana, as we take another break and the Midnights regroup again. We’re back and Rogers FINALLY makes the fatal error, going for a flying headscissors in the MX corner, and BLAMMO, he’s YOUR face in peril. Stan schools him with kicks and hits a double-chop to the throat, and double-teaming follows. Bobby gets two. He works on the arm with a hammerlock, but Rogers escapes and walks into another kick to the face. Stan spinkicks him and whips him around, but misses a charge. Rogers can’t make the tag, and the beating continues as Eaton chokes him out and Cornette badgers him into submission. That’s cruel and unusual punishment if I’ve ever seen it. Eaton gets two from the verbal abuse. They cover Rogers right in his own corner, just to rub it in. Stan gets a legsweep for two. Rogers gets a crucifix for two, as we take another break. We return with Eaton holding the hammerlock, smartly taking his time. Rogers dropkicks him, but again can’t make the tag. Eaton charges and misses, and now we get the hot tag to Fulton. He nails everyone with rights, but turns his back like a moron and gets sent flying into the railing. That gets two for Eaton, as we begin the REAL face-in-peril stage. This would the Rock N Roll Express Extended Formula match. Lane gets a neckbreaker and an elbow for two. Nice touch: Stan hooks both arms and grapevines the leg with his own legs in order to get maximum effect on the cover. I love little touches like that. Fulton bails, and Cornette wallops him with the tennis racket to show him who’s boss. The ref wants to stop the match, but the Express keeps it up, as Lane works a cover for a few two-counts. Lane tosses him around by the hair and hits a vicious spinkick to the gut, and we take another break. We’re back and Eaton gets two on the increasingly battered Fulton. Flying elbow gets two. Lane batters him in the corner, but he won’t go down. The ref is getting really insistent about stopping the match now, but Rogers won’t let him and Eaton won’t let up. Lane just kicks him in the head at will, but he won’t stay down. The ref calls it off, but Rogers begs and pleads not to stop it. Fulton even clings to his leg in desperation. Lane gets a deadly enzuigiri and Eaton beats him to within an inch of his life, but Lane gets ushered out, and Rogers hits Eaton with a missile dropkick, and we have NEW champions at 23:08. A truly amazing piece of tag team wrestling, as Fulton went out and sold like his life depended on it. ****3/4

– Jim Crockett announces the rematch for Great American Bash ’88, prompting Cornette to pester him.

– The Midnights squash another pair of jobbers.

– We do the old straightjacket angle, as the Fantastics demonstrate the proper use of the jacket in preparation for the Bash PPV, and once Fulton is firmly locked into the jacket by his own partner, you can guess what happens next. Always a classic.

– Another Cornette promo hyping the match, as he’s a mite upset about being locked into a straightjacket.

– Squashorama continues as the MX have regained the belts and finish with the Flapjack.

– Another squash, as the build towards the Midnights-Horsemen feud is beginning.

– A somewhat lengthy squash from the main program, as they beat on two fat guys.

– We’re into 1989 now, as the Express are babyfaces and Cornette’s target is the Samoan Swat Team. This was a pretty dark period for the team.

– We finish with the Express beating Butch Reed and a masked guy (not Ron Simmons).

The Bottom Line:

A pretty disappointing and unexceptional tape, to tell the truth. The Fantastics match is awesome, but I don’t know if it’s worth sitting through 2 hours of repetitive TV squashes to get there. There’s a couple of better Midnight Express tapes available at, and I’d suggest checking them out instead, unless you REALLY need the Fantastics title change (which I did).

Recommendation to avoid.