NWA World Championship Wrestling (9.26.87)
September 26, 1987
I was absolutely convinced the Flair-R. Garvin title match from September 1987 was on YouTube and it was the entire show. However, it seems to have disappeared, so instead we’ll watch NWA’s TV from the day after the Flair-Garvin match in Detroit for the NWA title.
Tony Schiavone welcomes us to the TV.
Rock n’ Roll Express vs. Tommy Angel & Mike Force
Well, this is the kind of thing I deliberately wasn’t watching these TV blocks for. We’re in one of those tiny TV studio sets with various flags hanging. I see the Israel flag has made it. Let’s not get into that discourse. This is a squash and nothing happens. Morton pins Mike Force with a crossbody. Who the fuck is Mike Force? Who’d he ever beat?
We go from there to VT of Morton vs. Tully Blanchard. That’s considerably better. They clash heads and Morton just about beats the ten count. Double A promptly blindsides him. Robert Gibson fails to notice and no save is forthcoming. Maybe he was taking a shit. This is leading to a lumberjack match with belts because Tully dished out a belt thrashing. Put the belts on the line Ricky, you coward!
Bugsy McGraw vs. Gladiator #1
Gladiator (#1!) is Gary Royal under a hood. Bugsy does a bunch of ‘character’ stuff. Like dancing in a circle and pretending shots to the head don’t hurt. I’m more interested in referee Teddy Long. Did that guy EVER have hair? Bugsy wins with a splash in short order. Gladiator #1 helpfully shuffling into position for it.
How did this guy ever get over? He looks like a maths teacher.
Sheepherders vs. Cougar Jay & Rocky King
Without a hint of sarcasm Tony calls the Sheepherders “one of the best tag teams in the world”. Don’t be fooled into thinking the Sheepherders were “good” and the Bushwhackers were “bad”. They’re just shit, they’ve always been shit.
In the background here is Johnny Ace. He’s in his debut year as a wrestler. He’s from California but is pretending to be a Kiwi to try and get over. He’s dubbed an “ex-Yank” as the Sheepherders ramble.
Warlord vs. Alan Martin
Warlord, joined by steroids, is about a year into his career. He would never really advance beyond the powerhouse style he has here. He’s managed by Paul Jones in a black cowboy hat. It doesn’t help. Warlord finishes with a powerslam in short order.
NWA US Tag Team Championship
Midnight Express (c) vs. Nikita Koloff & Barry Windham
This is a proper match from an actual venue, not a TV studio. Koloff takes a beating as Cornette accuses him of drinking too much vodka and falling over. Koloff has learned to take heat since turning face and tagging with Dusty Rhodes. He’s not bad at it, but he probably shouldn’t be in that spot. Windham gets a hot tag and boy, howdy, is he a house on fire in there. He gets a suplex but Arn Anderson hits him with a chair and the MXP retain. Those pesky Horsemen just get everywhere don’t they? **½
Video Control takes us back into the studio where Dusty Rhodes cuts a promo about the Four Horsemen. He’s learned the patented “Weaverlock” from Johnny Weaver and he’s going to slap it on Lex Luger. (It’s a sleeper). Dusty promises to get “funky like a monkey”. Great promo, shame he was such a terrible wrestler. Paul Jones gets an interview where he rants about the power of the Warlord.
Kevin Sullivan vs. Larry Stephens
What the fuck? Where’s my title match Tony? I knew they’d clip it but this is insane. Who gives a shit about Larry Stephens? Tony tells us Arn Anderson and Tully Blanchard also have matches on this show. What are they doing? Wrestling TV in the 1980s was fucking awful. Sullivan wins in yet another squash and takes his TV time to ramble about other babyface promos. They all sound like good promos. “There’s no money when you see me”. Hey, you got that right Kev, mate! There’s no money in midgets.
Arn Anderson vs. Art Pritts
Oh, come on now. 10 minutes left on the show. Two matches to go before we finally go to Detroit and the Flair-Garvin match. Arn wins this with a Gourdbuster after about 30 seconds. Fair play, Arn, gets on with it.
Tully Blanchard vs. The Menace
I don’t know who the Menace is and I don’t care. He’s really bad, I can tell you that much. Bring back Art Pritts. Slingshot suplex finishes in under a minute.
Post Match: Jim Crockett Jr comes out to book Tully one on one with the Underta….I mean, he’s in a lumberjack match with belts against Ricky Morton. Tully goes off on an insane promo where he yells at Crockett to be a lumberjack. Bring a belt! I’ll throw Ricky Morton right in your lap!
Mike Rotunda vs. Dave Spearman
Come on now. There’s five minutes left in the show. The NWA title match still to go. Enough with the jobber matches! Spearman loses to an airplane spin. Pointless. Let’s go.
NWA World Championship
Ric Flair (c) vs. Ronnie Garvin
FINALLY! JIP with a bloodied Flair getting the Garvin Stomp. The obvious route to go here is the chops. Both of them throw killer chops. So, they do that. They could do it more if they were shooting for epic. The difference between wrestling now and back in 1987, was back in ‘87 they were having to work every day. You couldn’t leave it all in the ring every night. Garvin gets a sunset flip off the buckles and picks up his only NWA world title. The crowd loses its shit because it was a genuine shock.
There’s not enough of the main event to rate it, sadly, but it was one hell of a pop for Garvin winning. You can understand why. Flair had held the belt (with the exception of short reigns for Dusty and Kerry von Erich) since he bested Harley Race at Starrcade ‘83. Like with Hogan in the WWF, the name Flair was synonymous with the NWA title. He was the champion. The rest of the show is total dogshit. I really struggle with wrestling TV shows (SNME aside) before the Attitude Era changed what those TV shows meant. I don’t see anything wrong with a squash to get someone over but a whole show full of boring, pointless squashes by established talent is just a waste of everyone’s time. They should have showed Flair-Garvin in full here instead of just the finish. It looked pretty heated. Naturally, Garvin only won so Flair could win the belt back at Starrcade but hey, he can say he was the world champion when that meant something.