NWA Superstars on the Superstation (2.2.86) review
Taped February 2, 1986. Air date: February 7, 1986.
We’re in Atlanta, Georgia at the Omni. Hosts are Tony Schiavone & David Crockett. 10,000 fans in attendance for this one. This was a big, televised event for NWA/Mid Atlantic, and they tried to replicate the WWF’s use of celebrities to drive interest in the product. It popped a 3.2 rating, airing on TBS, hence the title of the show.
Magnum TA and Linda Curry welcome us to the show. Sadly, Terry isn’t wrestling tonight. The gimmick for this show was the fans writing in to vote for the matches. Taboo Tuesday came early! Tony is the colour guy on this show, which means the PBP stinks because Crockett is useless. Constant jabbering.
NWA World Tag Team Championship
Rock N’ Roll Express (c) vs. Midnight Express
RNR won the belts at Starrcade by beating the Russians.
The high-pitched pop for the champs is incredible. They must have drawn a bunch of extra women for the Rock N’ Roll Express. Although, it’s hard to see why in retrospect. They’re just not very attractive men. They were a great babyface tag team though, and they’re in there with a motivated Bobby Eaton. You can’t go wrong. Eaton is the absolute master of being better than his opponent but making them look better instead. Eaton was the Bret Hart of the south and he never got his dues.
Eaton takes a couple of huge bumps out on the floor to get the match over. Dennis Condrey is content to just follow. I’m perhaps selling Condrey short as he does a fine job of taking the shine and selling his leg. The match is a prime example that you don’t need to rigidly follow formula, as the RNR have a huge chunk of the match and it’s brilliantly paced. Gibson plays Ricky Morton. I’m starting to think all of the early RNR matches had Gibson taking heat. While Condrey’s offence is a bunch of chinlocks, which contribute to this being a less good match, Eaton is electric.
The Rocket Launcher misses and Morton hot tags in and Eaton is the master of being in the right place to look stupid. The ref? Pee Wee Anderson? Less so. He gets bumped. Cornette gets dragged in there. Morton takes too long to hit him and gets bonked in the back of the head with the tennis racket. Pee Wee recovers and Morton is still out cold. The Midnight’s win the belts! This was the only time this combination won the titles. ***½. I liked this but Dennis Condrey just kills the match in the middle with a long chinlock. Get rid of that and have the Midnights cheating more and this flies up the ratings.
Sidenote: Dennis Condrey continued to tag with Bobby Eaton until early 1987 when Stan Lane took over in the Midnight Express team. That’s the team I have more fondness for but both incarnations are carried by Jim Cornette’s words and Bobby Eaton’s actions. The third guy is borderline irrelevant.
Ivan & Nikita Koloff vs. Road Warriors
This is another ‘dream match’ voted for by the fans. Hey, I’ve seen this before and it wasn’t good. Maybe you should have voted for something else?
The trouble with Nikita Koloff is that’s he’s a big monster heel and he can’t be a big monster heel against the Road Warriors. So, you’ve got three big jacked up dudes who don’t want to back down and Ivan Koloff here to hold it all together. Ivan tries his best but the Roadies don’t look interested. Baron von Raschke strolls down for a closer look. Are we setting up Russians & Baron von Raschke vs. Road Warriors & Paul Ellering here? I look at Paul Ellering matches in 1986 and yes, that’s exactly what we’re setting up. What a bizarre decision. Hawk is isolated all match but isn’t interested in selling so von Raschke jumps in there and starts pounding on him. Wow, this sucked. Nobody cares. The Road Warriors were a fantastically explosive tag team and they did nothing here.
Ivan even blades after the match to get his own chain over. Why couldn’t Hawk blade? Jesus.
Magnum TA chats to NASCAR driver Benny Parsons. He’s over 40 at this point and looks older. “It’d be a great thrill to be in a car going 200mph” – Magnum TA. Yikes. Magnum segues to his ‘best friend’ Dusty Rhodes. This leads to VT of Dusty Rhodes hanging out on the set of “Stagecoach” (no, not that one), a remake from Willie Nelson.
So yeah, Willie is out here bemoaning the decline of Westerns in the 80s and Dusty is all “yeah, daddy, like Bonanza”. He’s literally remaking a John Ford film, I imagine he’s aiming a little higher than Bonanza. This whole thing is a marked contrast to the way WWF used celebrities to make the product seem bigger, while this is just Dusty having a chat with Willie Nelson. Willie waxing lyrical about life and quoting his own songs.
NWA National Championship
Dusty Rhodes (c) vs. Tully Blanchard
Did someone vote for this? Really? Dusty picked this belt up after Buddy Landel bailed on the promotion.
Dusty has stolen Baby Doll from Tully, so Blanchard has gone and got JJ Dillon to manage him. The Four Horsemen gimmick is now officially in play. It’s no longer a loose association of heels. They’re thick as thieves.
The Horsemen broke Dusty’s leg, so naturally he works Tully’s leg over. “Another leg to add to the trophy case” says an increasingly dumb David Crockett. Dusty injures his own leg working Tully’s leg and we get all the same leglocks the other way.
If you like leglocks, boy do I have a match for you! They run shenanigans with Dillon distracting to prevent several clear Dusty wins. Rhodes is quite happy to get visual pins and take horrible bumps. His bump out to the floor is one of the laziest you’ll ever see. They run a couple of really obvious ‘foot on the ropes’ false finishes with Dusty again ‘robbed’ of a clean win. This would all be fine if Blanchard was winning this, but he isn’t. Instead, it meanders to a time limit draw where the bell saves Tully from tapping out. It isn’t like Blanchard was the champion! 20 minutes of Dusty making himself look awesome at Tully’s expense. It wasn’t abysmal but the booking process of Dusty Rhodes was always suspect when it came to his matches.
Magnum gets to his latest interview; the boss, Jim Crockett Jr. The Great American Bash and the Bunkhouse Stampede get a shout-out. For 1986, the Crockett Cup will be introduced. Named after Jim Crockett Senior. We get Bob Johnson from the Superdome to tell us why this prestigious event should take place at the Superdome. Just say it’s going to be at the Superdome? We switch back to Tony who interviews Gaylord Perry, former San Francisco Giants (among others) pitcher. He looks ancient but only retired in 1983. Perry died of COVID in 2022.
NWA World Championship
Ric Flair (c) vs. Ron Garvin
Garvin has at least stopped running around in drag at this point in his career and has graduated to NWA title shots while they build up Magnum TA to win the belt. That…didn’t pan out. Garvin’s strength is his stand-up. He has great chops and legendarily hard hands. So, they just chop the bejesus out of each other. I never realised how old Ronnie Garvin was at this point. He’s 40 here. This is the 1980s, so I assumed he just looked older than he was. Flair does his usual bang-up job of making Garvin look like a star. They visit a few things from other Flair title defences, including the backslide that Kerry Von Erich beat him with. Flair just leisurely kicks out this time. He’s backslide proofed himself. We get in close on the shots and you can see Garvin is slapping the shit out of Flair on the strikes. They get into an unreal hot sequence down the stretch with Garvin getting lots of near falls. Garvin gets two visual pins with Tommy Young taking a ref bump.
Flair then gets a pin with Garvin’s foot on the rope and Tommy doesn’t see it! Flair retains and Garvin logically gets another shot down the line. ***¾
Two really good matches and two less good matches in between. It’s a shit sandwich but the bread is tasty. This would serve as a pre-cursor to Clash of the Champions, a TV special designed to run against the WWF’s PPVs. I enjoyed this. It was a solid 90 minutes of wrestling. Arguably the closest Crockett had come to copying the WWF’s successful format to this point. The show is driven by showcasing the stars of the promotion; Rock N’ Rolls, Roadies, Dusty, Flair and the result is, almost, all killer no filler. It’s a shame the Road Warriors half assed their match and the Dusty-Tully match went so gosh darn long. Otherwise, a good time. Any show from this era that has two, honest to goodness, recommended matches on it is ok by me.