THE AUDIT: STARRCADE 1987 REVIEW

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This is Ian R. Singletary your resident I.R.S. man, returning in time for the holidays to Audit and review some more big events from years gone by. It’s that time of year here in the States. TURKEY TIME! Thanksgiving is right around the corner and that can only mean a few things.

1. I get to cook a 30 course meal for 10 hours.
2. Football all day and night.
3. I’ll reminisce about how much I miss the original Survivor Series tradition.
4. Us old school fans also remember the early years of Starrcade!

With all of that said, I’ll be reviewing some of the earlier WWF and NWA Thanksgiving events over the next couple of week. I’ve already had my Series ’87 review bumped up to the front of the site to get things rolling, so in the interest of fairness I’ll trade off here and review a Starrcade in this edition. And how ironic with the Thanksgiving holiday upon us that I select the FINAL NWA Starrcade to air on the traditional holiday, all thanks to one Vincent Kennedy McMahon. You can read all about the WWF vs. NWA war and what led to this being the final Starrcade on Thanksgiving by checking out a great article I strongly recommend written by Crazymax’s own, Cmax Jack, RIGHT HERE!

AND NOW…

THE NWA & JCP PROUDLY PRESENT….

STARRCADE ’87
“CHI-TOWN HEAT”
*** GLORY BOUND ***

Two sub-titles? Must be a double special PPV.

Full card listed below.

* NWA World Champion Ron Garvin vs. Ric Flair (Steel Cage)
* U.S. Champion Lex Luger vs. Dusty Rhodes (Steel Cage)
* NWA Tag Team Champions Arn Anderson & Tully Blanchard vs. The Road Warriors
* NWA TV Champion Nikita Koloff vs. UWF TV Champion Terry Taylor (Title Unification)
* U.S. Tag Team Champions The Midnight Express vs. The Rock & Roll Express (Scaffold Match)

* UWF Heavyweight Champion Steve “Dr. Death” Williams vs. Western States Heritage Champion Barry Windham
* Sting, Michael Hayes, Jimmy Garvin vs. Eddie Gilbert, Rick Steiner, Larry Zbyszko (6-Man Tag)

And now ladies and gentlemen, we travel back 30 years!

TO…..

It’s Thanksgiving, November 26, 1987 and Crockett moves the PPV version of the big event out of their homestead area of the Carolinas to the unusual choice of Chicago, IL and the UIC Pavilion. While there are two other towns running Starrcade matches on this evening (New Orleans and Greensboro) before showing this PPV via Closed Circuit TV, the matches from those events would never make air. Making the Chicago portion of Starrcade ’87 the place to be.

The show kicks off with your announcers JIM ROSS & TONY SCHIAVONE sitting at a desk far from ringside. They’re hardly on the air for a few seconds before they throw to ringside and a few bars of “BADSTREET, USA” begins to play as Sting and the future Freebirds 2.0 hit the ring. Their opponents are already waiting inside for a fast opening intro. One of my favorites, Tom Miller is the ring announcer.

(6-Man notes going in: Crockett had purchased the UWF from Bill Watts at the beginning of 1987, but refused to allow the talent there to look better than his home grown JCP talent which quickly hurt the brand. By this point in the year Crockett was completely phasing out the UWF, the syndicated show was all but done, and the titles were quickly becoming absorbed into the NWA. Sting had just recently turned face against his former partners Gilbert & Steiner in the UWF. Everyone else was just “big name” filler here. In fact, Michael Hayes had only returned to the NWA the month prior, and Zbyszko had only shown up with Baby Doll on NWA TV a couple of weeks before the PPV.)

Sting, Michael “P.S.” Hayes, “Gorgeous” Jimmy Garvin (w/ Precious)
vs.
“Hot Stuff” Eddie Gilbert, Rick Steiner, Larry Zbyszko (w/ Baby Doll)

As the match starts Ross explains Sting recently leaving Hot Stuff International. Apparently Sting hand picked Garvin as Hayes as his partners here, while Gilbert went and found Zbyszko to even the odds. Wouldn’t Sting have found ONE partner to combat Steiner and Gilbert? Sorry for trying to use logic.

Off to the match and it’s Steiner and Sting, former buddies to start off. Rick immediately catches Sting with a pair of Steinerlines, before they were called Steinerlines. Rick goes for a third one but Sting ducks out of the way and Steiner goes flying the the floor. STING WITH A FUCKING PLANCHA OVER THE TOP ROPE. Sting clears the top rope and comes flying out onto Steiner and the crowd is bat shit crazy early on. Only problem is the shitty camera man misses most of the dive. Fucking Crockett producers. Back inside it’s STING OFF THE TOP ROPE WITH A DROPKICK on Steiner! Then the future Freebirds catch Gilbert and Zbyszko coming in with dropkicks as well. And all 6 men pair off into separate corners. The heels get triple whipped into each other and all three of them are sent to the floor. The faces fire the crowd up as they’re finally filing in and filling the seats.

Garvin and Hayes have their way with Steiner as well, ending with Garvin landing a high backdrop on Rick. Steiner finally tags out to Larry Land. Now the faces have some fun with Zbyszko as well, and Larry takes some nice bumps before tagging in Hot Stuff. It’s more of the same as the faces work over Gilbert. STING FINALLY GETS HIS HANDS ON EDDIE! Gilbert wants a time out but it ain’t happening. Eddie manages to slip away and tag Steiner back in. Rick quickly finds himself on the wrong in of a Jimmy Garvin sunset flip for 2. Steiner powers Garvin back into the heel corner and the heels take control as Tom Miller announces 7 minutes gone.

The heels dominate Garvin the next several minutes. Steiner hits a nasty powerslam for a 2 count. Rick misses a charge into the corner, but tags in Zbyszko before Garvin can tag out. Larry locks in an abdominal stretch as Tom Miller announces 10 minutes gone. Almost as if it were a cue (wink) Garvin breaks the stretch and begins to fight back. HOT TAG TO STING. Sting unloads on all 3 heels, before the referee gets distracted by Steiner and Sting gets double teamed. Gilbert takes over on his one time friend and illegally tosses Sting over the top rope to the floor behind the referee Mike Figueroa’s back. That should be a DQ but the ref misses it. Back in the ring Gilbert covers for 2. Larry tags in and tries for a suplex, but Sting reverses. With 12 minutes gone, Steiner tags in to prevent Sting from tagging out.

Rick locks Sting in a sleeper but Sting uses momentum to drive Steiner face first into the top buckle for the break. Zbyszko tags in and gets whipped face first into the corner buckle. 2 MINUTES REMAIN!!!! Sting HOT TAG TO MICHAEL HAYES! This crowd is HOT!

Hayes & Gilbert are the legal men, but everyone enters the ring. The faces pair off with the heels in 3 corners and mount them for punching fun. Hayes lands a BULLDOG on Zbyszko that Larry takes on his forehead for an awesome bump. Hayes covers, Larry isn’t the legal man, but apparently that doesn’t matter. THE REFEREE COUNTS! 1———-2——-Larry’s foot is on the ropes! Hayes locks in a sleeper on Larry, but Gilbert comes off the top to break the hold. ONE MINUTE REMAINS!

Steiner tags in, BELLY TO BELLY on Hayes gets a 2 count. Gilbert now back in, back and forth with Hayes. Michael with a sunset flip. 1…………..2………DING DING DING DING DING DING DING. The time limit has elapsed!

End Result: A 15:00 Time Limit Draw

A STINGER SPLASH ON RICK STEINER just after the bell. This match is a draw as the fight continues on the floor. And this crowd really hates Zbyszko.

(Post Match Thoughts: While it was crazy noticeable that there were like 10 fucking people in the ENTIRE LOWER LEVEL of the arena facing the hard camera as the match got started, it was nice to see the arena filled by the middle of the match. I had forgotten how great of a bumper Zbyszko was until I saw this again. Jimmy Garvin came to work, he hadn’t yet allowed Michael Hayes to suck his work rate out of him. Give that another year or two. Sting was still VERY green, but it was evident he was getting over at the speed of light since his recent face turn. I didn’t really understand the point of doing a draw here but this was a good solid opening match. Would have been better if they had had someone go over, but as you’ll quickly see this won’t be the last questionably booked outcome on this card. Not by a long shot. Match was good but felt rushed. Would have liked to seen this go another 5 minutes. Not a great idea to kick off a PPV with a non-finish. Still an easy ***)

 

Missy Hyatt is backstage. Wish I was in her backstage. Hyatt just watched her hubby Hot Stuff compete. Missy has about 3 sentences and throws it back to ringside. Well that may be the most pointless “interview” segment of all time. And this is all we see from Missy for the rest of the night. Okay then. Welp, back to the ring.

 

(UWF Title Match notes going in: This here was being looked at as the battle of two of the top baby faces in the company. The fans were eager to watch two of there favorites go at it in a clean and scientific match up.)

UWF Heavyweight Championship Match

Steve “Dr. Death” Williams (c) vs. Barry Windham

It should be noted that Windham is the Western States Heritage Champion here. What does that mean? A whole lot of nothing. Just another of the many useless title belts floating around Crockett in the mid 80’s. Barry’s belt isn’t on the line here. They start off with Windham taking a HIGH hiptoss. Doc grabs Barry in a military press and reps him up and down over his head. Windham slides behind Doc to escape the press slam and hooks a rolling cradle for 2. Fun opening sequence.

The two men try their hands at mat wrestling, something Doc would have murdered Windham at in real life. Instead it’s pretty much a stalemate with both men rolling to the floor to break. Back in the ring it’s Doc with a BACKDROP DRIVER! But Windham basically no sells it and rolls onto his feet. Barry shows some impressive strength by lifting the dead weight Williams for a gut wrench suplex. Doc hooks a headlock, Windham counters with a back suplex but Williams never releases the hold. After a super hot first match, the crowd is dead here with a smattering of catcalls and guys shouting “boring”.

Dr. Death shoots Windham into the ropes and there’s all sorts of miscommunication here between the two. Ultimately this leads to Williams attempting a leapfrog but Windham running head first into Doc’s Deathballs. The crowd responds with a collective OHHHHH when Windham accidentally headbutts Williams in the nether region. Doc rolls around in pain while Windham looks concerned and allows him to recover. Ross points out Barry isn’t going in for the kill. Windham won’t allow the referee to count Doc down. What a true sportsman.

Williams is back to his feet. Five minutes now gone. Barry hooks a headlock but Doc escapes. Windham hits the ropes, picks up momentum, and he goes FLYING towards Doc. But Williams ducks and WINDHAM GOES FLYING OVER THE TOP ROPE TO THE FLOOR. A nasty bump. Windham is hurt but her crawls back into the ring. But unlike Windham, Doc takes immediate advantage. As soon as Barry can crawl through the ropes, Williams hooks an Oklahoma Roll and takes the shady victory after 6:50. The crowd makes little noise, surprised at the random and abrupt finish.

Winner: Dr. Death

(Post Match Thoughts: What the FUCK kind of finish was that??? And less than 7 minutes in? The match had barely got going and then it was over. So this match was supposed to plant the seeds for Dr. Death’s SUPPOSED eventual heel turn. Windham was the gentleman, allowing Williams to recover after the accidental low blow, but Williams took advantage of Barry’s injury when he bumped out to the floor. But nobody in the crowd “got it”. It seemed awkward and almost looked like a legit injury was affecting one of them. I sure as hell didn’t get it the first time I watched this back in like 1989 on VHS. It was just poorly done shit booking, and the announcers were clearly unaware of the selling points here. This was a super short match that had a quick beginning and a quicker ending, no substance in between. 1/4* if for nothing else Barry’s sweet bump to the floor. But still this was a nothing match from two of the top stars in the business at the time.)

 

(Scaffold Match notes going in: It was such a success the first time around that JCP decides to bring the Scaffold Match back the very next year. The Midnights return to the steel structure with new, but familiar, opponents. Long time rivals the R&R’s and the MX are no strangers to one another having spent years feuding. This is just another chapter in their storied rivalry. To win this match you must send both of your opponents crashing from the scaffold to the floor below.)

“SKYWALKERS II” SCAFFOLD MATCH

The Rock & Roll Express
vs.
The Midnight Express (w/ Cornette & Big Bubba)

The Midnights are the current U.S. Tag Team Champions, but this match is non-title. With Bubba back from the UWF he’s back to the full time bodyguard of Mr. Cornette. Problem is Bubba was just starting to get pretty good in the ring during his UWF run. He should probably go somewhere else that will appreciate him more. 🙂 So the first Skywalkser match at Starrcade ’86 featured the Road Warriors vs. The Midnight Express of Eaton and Condrey. This year it’s the R&R’s taking on the new Midnights of Eaton and Stan Lane. Bobby Eaton kisses Cornette goodbye as he ascends the steel structure. Gibson makes it to the top first for his team. As the Midnights get to the top of the Scaffold, BIG BUBBA ROGERS ATTACKS RICKY MORTON! Bubba has Ricky Morton in the ring and hits a NASTY BOSS MAN SLAM / BUBBA SPIKE. He killed Morton!!! Mwahahaha

Gibson is left on the scaffold to fight alone as he and Lane go at it. Eaton joins in as the MX double team Gibson while Morton lays in the ring. And now Bubba begins to climb the scaffold as well! Rogers makes it to the top rope, when MORTON STEALS THE TENNIS RACKET! Morton takes Cornette’s Tennis Racket and Ricky beats Bubba Rogers with the racket, knocking Rogers off the ropes and back into the ring.

Now Morton climbs the scaffold with the racket! Gibson is busted open as he’s paired with Lane. Morton beats on Eaton with the racket. Eaton throws powder into the eyes of Morton. The MX have the R&R’s in trouble. Lane holds Gibson while Eaton takes a cheap shot. They try the spot again but Gibson ducks. Eaton is SUPPOSED to hit Lane here, but everyone involved sort of half shits their pants and grab hold of the scaffold for balance.

Eaton and Morton take turns beating each other with the racket. Eaton gets busted open. Beautiful Bobby drops Morton with the racket and then goes after Gibson. Robert Gibson grabs a loose piece of the railing and cracks it over Eaton’s head. The tennis racket goes falling into the ring. Meanwhile, Morton and Lane go at it, with Stan hanging under the scaffold and clinging to the ladder.

Cornette with an awesome toss of the racket back up to Eaton who also makes an awesome catch. Eaton beats the crap out of Gibson with the racket, then Gibson retaliates with his own racket beating on Eaton. Morton climbs down to the under carriage of the scaffold on the ladder and forces Stan Lane to monkey bar his way under the scaffold to the middle of the ring. Lane loses his grip and takes a bump off the scaffold to the mat below. Lane sells his knee heavily from the bump.

Cornette checks on Lane, while Bobby has control of Gibson. Unfortunately, Morton comes to the aid of his partner and the R&R’s begin double teaming Bobby with the racket. Pushing him over the edge of the scaffold and eventually EATON FALLS TO THE MAT! The match is over after about 10:25.

Winners: The Rock & Rolls.

Following the match, an angry Cornette sends Big Bubba up onto the Scaffold to deal with Ricky Morton. With Gibson already off the scaffold it’s one on one with Bubba staring across the scaffold at Morton. As the two men meet in the center of the scaffold Bubba taunts Morton. Ricky looks a little worried but doesn’t back down. Finally Morton NUTCHECKS Big Bubba. I shit you not. Morton taps the balls of Rogers to drop the big man. What a hero. Morton then scurries down the scaffold and takes off with the monster Rogers looking like a bitch.

(Post Match Thoughts: For a scaffold match these guys did everything they could without attempting to die. Eaton and Gibson bladed in hopes to “enhance” the match but in this instance it felt unnecessary. The addition of the involvement of Bubba, the racket, the loose railing, and of course the bumps to the mat kept the match enjoyable for what it was. ***)

 

Bob Caudle interviews Michael Hayes, Jimmy Garvin, and Precious. Surprisingly, Hayes says nothing. It’s Garvin who controls this promo. Garvin says he and Hayes are looking for the World Tag Titles. Garvin gives a shout out to booker Dusty and his “brother” Ronnie Garvin and their matches later tonight.

Bob Caudle interviews Dr. Death. Doc says Windham had his chance in the match and failed to capitalize. Well the Doc capitalizes, just like his Sooners. A bunch of rambling follows. Makes no sense. Typical Doc promo.

 

(Notes Going In: This match is another step in the direction of Crockett absorbing the UWF into his NWA. The idea here is simply to unify two title belts and condense the insane amount of titles currently being held in the NWA.)

TELEVISION CHAMPIONSHIP UNIFICATION MATCH

NWA Television Champion – Nikita Koloff
vs.
UWF Television Champion – Terry Taylor (w/ Eddie Gilbert)

Referee here is Earl Hebner. Koloff starts off the match no selling everything. What else is new? Terry spend much of the first several minutes trying to fight his way out of wristlocks and armbars to no avail. Terry escapes a couple of times and takes a powder outside to talk with Hot Stuff, but reenters the ring and winds up right back in the same situation. I’ll give Koloff one thing here, he’s doing everything with a lot of energy and aggressiveness. Though he’s not doing a whole lot outside of holding Terry’s arm. Taylor finally has enough, and after talking with Gilbert yet again, Terry climbs back inside and shoves Koloff. Nikita SLAPS Taylor right back. BACKDROP on Terry gets a 2 count and Taylor once more rolls outside of the ring but Nikita drags him back in by the hair. Again Nikita goes on the offense, but he runs into a knee of Terry and Taylor with a quit roll up pin and uses the ropes for leverage but only gets a 2 count. Koloff right back on top with a hammerlock. TEN MINUTES gone and Koloff has dominated the entire match.

Terry continues chea heel tactics to try and gain some offense, but Nikita continues to no sell. Nikita drives Terry down with a chokeslam thingy. Nikita goes for the finish, but Taylor ducks and KOLOFF MISSES A RUSSIAN SICKLE and clotheslines the corner buckle. Nikita injures his shoulder and Taylor FINALLY goes to work. Terry immediately takes Koloff to the floor and works over his shoulder. Back inside it’s more shoulder work on Nikita. Gilbert even gets in a few good licks on the Russian. Kneedrop gets 2 for Terry but Koloff powers out. Taylor continues his work on the left arm. Koloff blocks a sunset flip attempt by drilling Terry with a right hand. Taylor tries a suplex, but Koloff reverses that as well. 15 MINUTES GONE in the match.

And Nikita starts his comeback by mounting Taylor with punches in the corner, but Terry counters out of it with an inverted atomic drop. Taylor argues with referee Hebner and Nikita sneaks in a school boy for a near fall. Terry back up and tries a piledriver, which Nikita also reverses into a backdrop. Koloff back on the offense and Taylor takes off. Nikita chases Terry around ringside and Taylor catches Koloff with a well placed knee as he tries to get back in the ring. Then Eddie Gilbert with a CHAIR to the back of the knee of Koloff! Earl Hebner misses the interference, and Taylor takes advantage by applying THE FIGURE FOUR on Nikita! Hebner counts Koloff’s shoulders down repeatedly for a count of 2. Finally, Taylor releases. Koloff hangs over by the ropes as Eddie Gilbert gets in some more cheap shots. Koloff pulls Eddie onto the apron. Taylor comes charging, but Nikita moves. TAYLOR NAILS GILBERT INSTEAD! Terry turns around right into a RUSSIAN SICKLE!!!!! 1……..2……….3. That’ll do it after about 17:36.

Winner: Nikita Koloff

(Post Match Thoughts: We’re less than 3 months away from the big TWIN REFEREES angle on NBC, but as you can see Earl Hebner hasn’t left the NWA yet. Nikita unifies the TV Title belts. I could have done without the first half of this match. The story of the first half was OK but it dragged out with Koloff holding the arm for simply way too long. Taylor tried several short comebacks early on and it looked like Koloff was LEGIT not having any of it. Once they got to telling the real story of the match things got much better. Nothing here was terrible though, just wish Nikita would have let Taylor do more in the early going. ***1/4) 

– Now we go backstage with Magnum TA & Jack Gregory for no real reason. Magnum puts over the insane dive Sting did early on the show. Unfortunately nobody at home got to see it because of shitty production and cameras not being where they should. Magnum talks up the upcoming titles matches. And now back to the ring.

(World Tag Title Match notes going in: These teams are no strangers to one another, having even been on opposing teams at the first ever WAR GAMES earlier in the year. This time it’d be a little different, the World Titles are on the line, but this was the Roadies “home coming”. Having always been billed as being from Chicago it seems like the Warriors are getting ready to dethrone the Horsemen here tonight. Arn & Tully have just won the belts from the Rock & Rolls back in September and don’t seem too eager to give up, but everything seems to be weighing in the Roadies favor here in their hometown.)

NWA WORLD TAG TEAM CHAMPIONSHIP MATCH

Arn Anderson & Tully Blanchard (c) (w/ JJ Dillon)
vs.
The Road Warriors (w/ Paul Ellering)

This match get hot in a hurry. Arn lays a shot into Hawk and climbs to the top rope. Hawk catches Arn on the top rope and grabs him off in a military press and walks to the middle of the ring before slamming Anderson to the mat. Arn quickly rolls to the outside to regroup with Tully & Dillon. Arn gives it another go with Hawk, hooking a headlock, but Hawk comes right out with a top wristlock that sends Anderson down and to the outside again. And now Tully will give it a go with Hawk. And right away Hawk clotheslines Tully out of his boots and Blanchard tries to bail. But Animal is waiting outside and presses Tully back into the ring!!! Awesome shit. Tully tries to run away and take a count out but Hawk catches up with him and feeds him to Animal in the ring.

Tully catches Animal with a shot and climbs to the top rope. Tully comes flying off the top, but ANIMAL CATCHES HIM WITH A POWERSLAM! Nice. And clotheslines for both Horsemen cause the champ to retreat yet again. Arn & Tully try a double team on Hawk in the corner, they double Irish whip him but Hawk comes bouncing out with a double clothesline on the champs and a 2 count on Tully. The Roadies continue to have their way with Tully and Arn. Animal press slams Arn. Hawk goes to press slam Tully, but ARN CLIPS HAWK’S KNEE!!! And NOW the champs go to work!

The Horsemen immediately attack the knee of Hawk. Tully is even able to sneak a cheap shot with a steel chair. Hawk repeatedly tries to fight back but can’t make the tag. Tully locks in the Figure Four on Hawk. Hawk won’t submit so Arn is tagged back in. Anderson locks in a double knuckle lock on Hawk but winds up catching a knee to the balls. Hawk hot tags Animal! Animal comes in on fire on Arn, but Tully trips him up from the floor. Hawk chases Tully into the ring and he bumps into referee Tommy Young causing the ref to take a bump to the floor.

Animal backdrops Arn Anderson over the top rope to the floor and the Roadies take it to Tully. Double clothesline on Blanchard!

DOOMS DAY DEVICE ON ARN ANDERSON!!!!!! WE’VE GOT A NEW REFEREE!!!

1…………2…………3!!!!!!!!!!

The Road Warriors have done it in a time of 13:26! The Roadies have won the fucking titles in their hometown. The crowd explodes! What a great feeling.

What a great match—Hold the fucking phone.

Tommy Young is back up in the ring. What’s he doing? AWWW HORSE SHIT.

Tommy Young saw Animal backdrop Arn over the top rope. He’s REVERSING THE DECISION.

Tomym Young disqualifies the Road Warriors. The Dusty finish. Who’s the booker again?

Winners: The Road Warriors

Winners: On a DQ, Arn & Tully

(Post Match Thoughts: Many people have stated that this choice booking killed the town of Chicago for the NWA for many years. I don’t have gate records in front of me to prove that but I sure wouldn’t be surprised. It’s like Dusty was just TRYING to piss off the locals with this booking. You put the hometown boys in a title match in their hometown. Not only do you not give them the belts, but you tease the fans by declaring them the winners before taking it away. Just WOW. Holy fuck balls. If you didn’t want the Roadies as champs, that’s fine, why not just book them in a different match? As for the match itself, it was good from beginning to end. A bit short for my taste but still good. The crap finish holds this back from getting a slightly better rating for me. Still ***1/4)

 

To the back with Magnum TA & Jack Gregory. We’ve got to fill some time while the cage is being put up so they discuss the screwy finish to the previous match. Nikita Koloff shows up to talk about being the unified TV Champ and still has his eyes on the World Title. James J. Dillon pops in next to talk about Arn & Tully retaining, Flair going for the World Title, and the next match involving Luger vs. Dusty. JJ and the Horsemen exude confidence tonight.

 

(US Championship Cage Match Notes Going In: You want notes? Dusty was the booker, bay-bay. That’s all you gots-ta know. Why a cage? Why not? If you will.)

U.S. Championship – Steel Cage Match

“Total Package” Lex Luger (c) (w/ JJ Dillon)
vs.
“The American Dream” Dusty Rhodes

An added stip here is if Dusty loses, he’s out of the bidness, fo’ 90 days, if you weeell. We’ve also got Mid-Atlantic wrestling legend Johnny Weaver acting as the keeper of the key for this match. Weaver will hold onto the key that unlocks the cage door, but there’s no roof on the cage so theoretically someone could just climb over. But whatever. Also, for some reason in recent weeks Dusty has booked himself to now be the master of Johnny Weaver’s old hold “the Weaverlock” (AKA the friggin’ sleeper hold). So you can best believe we’ll see that come into play. Ross and Schiavone sell the Weaver Lock early on in the match as if it were a DDT or an RKO, as if you could just hit a sleeper out of nowhere. But again, whatever.

Earl Hebner is the ref for this one. Lex tries to send Dusty into the cage early, but Rhodes blocks and catches Luger with a bionic elbow that Lex barely sells. Bet Dusty loved that, LOL. Dusty goes into the stick and move jab routine followed up by some flip, flop and fly action that finally drops Lex. Rhodes teases the Weaver Lock but Luger gets to the ropes. Luger drills Dusty with a tackle and Dusty jiggles all over the mat. Good God, it’s become apparent how much fatter Dusty has gotten at this point in his career. This is followed by another Weaver Lock teaser when Rhodes locks in the hold but Lex gets to the ropes quickly.

Luger makes a brief comeback but misses a big elbow drop and Dusty goes to an ARMBAR. A very boring armbar, followed by an equally ZzZzZz hammerlock. Lex finally escapes and takes over and shows off his vast arsenal of moves by delivering a series of “exciting” stomps. Luger sends big Dust into the cage and Rhodes finally gets to slice his forehead open. I’ll give it to Dusty, he waited much longer than I figured. Luger drops a big elbow for 2. Dusty fires back with a dropkick, kind of, but Luger is right up and Lex picks up Rhodes for a backbreaker. Lex scoops Rhodes up for the Torture Rack but stumbles into the corner and Dusty escapes. This eventually leads to a Luger armbar on Rhodes. A very loooonnnnggg armbar on Rhodes. Dusty’s blade job sucked tonight, BTW.

Rhodes finally decides to start no selling Luger, and Dusty makes the comeback with another flip, flop, fly, and quite possibly the shittiest DDT I’ve ever seen gets a 2 count. Luger gets up and misses a clothesline and DUSTY LOCKS ON THE #WeaverLockOuttaNowhere .  Meanwhile, JJ Dillon knocks out Johnny Weaver on the outside. The MANAGER knocks out the key keeper? Well don’t that beat fuck all.

Dillon grabs the key to the lock and goes to unlock the door. This draws the attention of Earl Hebner who comes over to argue with Dillon. Even though the CAMERA ONCE AGAIN COMPLETELY MISSES A PIVOTAL SPOT IN A MATCH, I CAN ONLY PRESUME LUGER RUNS HIMSELF INTO HEBNER, KNOCKING HEBNER DOWN AND ESCAPING THE #WeaverLockOuttaNowhere in the process.

Both guys are down, Dillon tosses a STEEEEEEL CHAIR into the ring. Lex goes to bend over to pick up the chair, but Dusty catches him with a second SHITTY DDT onto the chair. Rhodes steals the win after 16:22.

Winner: New Champion, Dusty Rhodes

(Post Match Thoughts: What were you expecting? The challenger was also the booker. I tolerated Dusty’s booking of himself throughout 1986 and some of 1987 but at this point he had just gotten out of hand and was in the worst shape of his life. The sad part is, he’d continue to put himself in positions he didn’t necessarily need to be in. Dusty would continue to align himself with the most over faces, feud with the top heels, and even eventually turn the Roadies heel for the sole purpose that he could feud with them because they were so over. The fact is, we’d have to deal with another year of this Dusty booking before Turner and company had enough and removed him of his duties.

As for this match. The first minute was fun, followed by about 14 minutes of NOTHING, followed by another minute or so of a good finish. This was pretty poor. The crowd heat and the decent finish helps a little but I could do without watching this ever again. *3/4)

 

(World Championship Match Notes Going In: Garvin took the title from Flair back in September, Ric gets his rematch in a cage here tonight. I’d go into more “insider” details here but we’ll get into that during the post match thoughts to refrain from causing any spoilers here for those who are reading about this show for the first time. Going into this match I was familiar with Garvin’s background in Knoxville and all points in between. I knew Ron was a very accomplished worker and we all know Flair’s abilities. As a young fan at the time Crockett told me Garvin was championship material and I bought what I was fed.)

NWA WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP – STEEL CAGE MATCH

“Hands of Stone” Ron Garvin (c)
vs.
“Nature Boy” Ric Flair (w/ JJ Dillon)

One thing to note here is during the introductions Flair is cheered far more than the baby face Garvin. Ron throws his customary towel into the crowd and some guy gives a high five to his buddy for catching the towel infested with Garvin’s DNA. And heeeere we go.

It’s a chop fest back and forth to start. A very STIFF chop best. DAY-UMN that’s some nasty chopping by Garvin especially. Ric does the Flair flop early and the crowd begins a LOUD “GARVIN SUCKS” chant. Nice. Ron catches Ric with a backdrop and works an armbar. Garvin drops Flair to deliver THE GARVIN STOMP! F-YEAH!

More chops from Garvin but FLAIR WITH A LOW BLOW right in front of referee Tommy Young but there’s NO DQ. Ric hits a kneedrop for a 2 count and begins to go to work on Garvin’s leg. The CROWD POPS LOUD for the Figure Four when it’s applied to Garvin. Flair uses the ropes for leverage but Garvin won’t quit. Ronnie eventually rolls over to reverse the hold, but Flair gets in the ropes to break the hold.

Ric goes back to Garvin’s knee. The crowd WOOOO’s with Flair. 10 minutes have elapsed. Garvin blocks going into the cage several times before he whips Flair face first into the cage a couple of times. Garvin grades Flair’s face against the cage and gnaws at Flair’s forehead as Ric is busted open. Both men fight to the top rope but Ron knocks Flair off. More nasty chops by Garvin. Flair gets back on the top rope but Garvin slams him off. NOW GARVIN APPLIES THE FIGURE FOUR.

Flair finally gets to the ropes and Tommy Young forces the break.. WHY?? There’s no DQ. The two men trade more chops as 15 minutes elapse in the time limit. Garvin goes to the top rope. High Cross Body by Garvin. 1……….2……… Flair kicks out!

Garvin counters a hiptoss with a backslide 1……2….. Flair out again!

Garvin chops the soul out of Flair’s body. Oof. Both men climb back to the top rope. They trade shots, Garvin with a head butt and Flair falls crotching himself on the top rope.

Garvin goes for the same move he won the title with. SUNSET FLIP OFF THE TOP ROPE! Flair drops down on top and grabs the ropes for leverage! 1…..2… Tommy Young catches Flair and makes him break! Garvin complete the sunset flip. 1……………2……… Flair kicks out!

Garvin mounta Flair in the corner for some punches but Ric drives Garvin backwards into Tommy Young!

THIRD STRAIGHT FUCKING MATCH WITH A REF BUMP, DUSTY. Second bump by Young. Ugh.

GARVIN CONNECTS WITH THE HAND OF STONE! FLAIR GOES DOWN! GARVIN COVERS. BUT THERE’S NO REFEREE!

Wait, Young sees the cover! 1…………..2…………………FLAIR KICKS OUT!

Garvin charges at Flair with a Thesz Press. Flair catches him and stagger backwards, bouncing Garvin head first into the cage! Down goes Ronnie! Flair covers 1…..2…..3!

Flair gets the win and the crowd loves it after 17:39 of stiff rasslin.

Winner: And newwww 5 Time, 5 Time, 5 Time, 5 Time, 5 Time Champion, Ric Flair

(Post Match Thoughts: So this story has been done to death but I have a different take than the propaganda that’s been spread in the dirt sheets and on the net over the past 30 years. The story goes… Flair had wanted to drop the belt to someone in order to regain it here on PPV. Story also goes that the problem was most of the faces that were being looked at for this spot refused because they felt they would look weak dropping the title back 2 months later here at Cade. Garvin had no issue with this and so he basically was handed the belt on a silver platter back in late September. I’ll go along with all of that. But here is where my opinion differs from the “know it alls” out there pushing their own agenda.

Many people crap all over Garvin’s “run” as champion, blaming him for the downfall of the NWA and the house gates, and everything else that was wrong with the company at this point. I think most of these people read a certain someone’s newsletter and have been brainwashed into repeating this as fact. I’m not saying Garvin should have been World Champion, but I am saying HE HELD THE BELT FOR TWO FRICKIN MONTHS. Cummon people. That doesn’t kill a company. Flair got it back here and that didn’t change anything business wise at this point. Garvin as champion was hardly the biggest problem with JCP at this moment, and even if it were you can only blame the BOOKER.

Another thing I have to crap on is the old newsletter story that none of the heels would work with Garvin while he was champ because they didn’t want to job to a guy that was jobbing the title back to Flair 60 days later. That too has been proven false. Garvin not only worked plenty of singles matches with the likes of Arn Anderson, Tully Blanchard, and Bubba Rogers, but he worked many tag matches as well as a headliner, and he defeated Ric Flair SEVERAL TIMES on the house shows during his 2 month reign as champion. Should Garvin have been champion? Maybe not. BUT he didn’t kill JCP. In my opinion, that again would be the booker. And you’re telling me Barry Windham would turn down a 2 month run as champion because that would somehow “HURT” him? GTFOH… Look it up.

Now to summarize this match quickly. Garvin dominated a good chunk of the match, which was probably good considering the crowd was cheering for Ric. But DAMN those chops. Woof. Nothing spectacular by the way of a wrestling match here, but these guys really laid it in and I have to respect that first and foremost. A good 100 chops thrown and every one of them were nasty. Flair worked Garvin’s leg, Ronnie just took it to Flair like it was a fight. I liked them using the Cade ’83 Flair/Race finish and the Flair/Von Erich Parade of Champions finish as teasers here. More false finishes with Garvin landing the sunset flip off the top and then dropping Ric with the KO punch. The only thing that stuck out to me was how Garvin just completely stopped selling his leg in the later part of the match. That, and the finish. Garvin hitting the cage looked real weak. Even still, ***1/2)

THE FINAL AUDIT

Nothing here was above 3 1/2 stars making the action range from yuck (Windham/Williams, Dusty/Luger) to slightly above average. The problem here was the booking more than the matches. Three ref bumps in 3 straight matches, the “Dusty” finish to the hometown Roadies, Dusty getting a belt he didn’t need, Flair losing the belt to win it right back just “because”, the 6-man going to a draw, the weird finish to Windham vs. Doc that went nowhere. Then you take two teams that could given you a 4 or 5 star match any day of the week but stick them on a scaffold. I don’t need Cody Rhodes scolding me for having my own opinion, but I have to question the booker here. I don’t know.

While some of the matches were decent, and several titles did change hands, this still really felt like a throw away, or stand alone show. Yes, titles changed hand but none of these matches led to anything beyond this show. Nothing was “must see”, though there were 3 or 4 decent matches I felt were fine to sit through. This show wasn’t great, it wasn’t the worst, it was just bland. It was just… “there”. This show breaks even with me. If you watch it I think you’ll find enough stuff to somewhat enjoy yourself. If you don’t watch it you won’t be missing much. On a scale of 1-10, I’m comfortable giving this a 5 or maybe a 5.5, which loosely falls in the D+/C- range for me. If this were a true tax return, it wouldn’t owe any money, but it wouldn’t be receiving a refund either. In one word I’m — Indifferent.

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