Hello 6:05 fans. Back again for the second installment of ‘Return To 6:05’ after a bit of a pause for station identification, holiday programming and general life craziness. Today we are talking about the NWA World Championship Wrestling show dated November 9th, 1985.
The show kicks off with Superstar Billy Graham in the middle of the ring, draped in a pink and blue head wrap, shouting on the mic about how “There is no contract!” and “You ain’t nothin’ but a low-life weasel!”. I love the way these shows opened up in the middle of some out of context brawl or rant. Anyway, the mystery is solved when #1 Paul Jones ran out in a full suit and slaps his cane to the ring mat, then the show cuts ahead to the always-great NWA theme.
We join Tony Schiavone and David Crockett in the studio, who are interrupted by Arn Anderson, coming out with Dusty Rhodes’ TV title. If you remember, due to Dusty’s Rhodes’ ankle injury he was unable to defend the belt within 30 days, so it is about to be up for grabs as part of a tournament. Arn contends that the belt is his since he currently has physical possession. We all know the rule: “Possession is 9/10 of the law”, so I can’t really argue with that sound logic. Ole comes out to join him and let the world (and all contenders) know that he is going to be there at the tournament to get Arn’s back.
The Ragin’ bull Manny Fernandez vs Vernon Deaton is up next. This was the normal mid-carder vs jobber type of match, designed to get Manny over. Manny hit a really cool jumping knee early on. He spent most of the match working Vernon’s arm. David Crockett, always erudite, says “He knows how to wrestle, and he knows how to fight”. Schiavone one-upped Crocket when he talked about Manny’s Flying Burrito finisher, by saying “There’s nowhere that he can’t land that burrito on.” Well, as expected, Manny hit Vernon with his Burrito then dropped a knee off the second rope to Deaton’s head for the pin.
Terry Taylor is interviewed next, saying he’ll defend his Heavyweight title at The Gathering, but he’s not going to let the cat out of the bag as to who his opponent is going to be. I’ll be waiting with baited breath and biting my fingernails until we find out just who this mystery opponent is.
Next up is Ole & Arn Anderson vs what I can only assume are two of the finest opponents in the history of the business, Keith Freeze and Jim Blackland. Freeze and Blackland, if I had to guess, probably tip the scales at a combined weight of about 220 pounds of pure man. Arn takes a moment to introduce Blackland to the canvas, as he grinds his face across it before scooping him up, dropping the point of the knee, then just when you think the pin is going to end this epic battle, Arn snatches him by his mullet and treats him like a red-headed step child (literally). Arn bends his arm in a way that you would expect only a plastic doll could be bent without popping out of socket. He saves a bit of scrap for Ole, who continues the abuse, stretching Blackland and stomping his face before Ole brings him to his corner to make him tag his partner in. I’m not sure Breeze was excited to come in, as Ole & Arn beat the living shit out of him for a few seconds before delivering a Gourd buster to Freeze and finally put him out of his misery.
Tully and BabyDoll are interviewed next, and Tully cuts a quick promo on the idiot in the crowd trying to drop durty werdz on the TV. They show a clip from last week where David Crockett got super pervy after Magnum TA assaulted Baby Doll by forcing his tongue down Baby Doll’s mouth. Tully says he’ll make Magnum pay in a steal cage at Starrcade, with Tully’s US Heavyweight championship on the line.
Ivan and Nikita Koloff with Khrusher Khrushchev are up next vs the team of Jimmy Langston, Kent Glover and Larry Clark, who look like they are being sent to their deaths. The unlucky Clark starts off the match for his team against Khrushchev, who looks ready to inflict pain. Clark actually gets a fleeting moment of offense to start, which is surprising considering from the looks of him I expected this to be 100% the Russians. This doesn’t last long as Clark attempts a cross-body that end with Khrushchev catching him and slamming him down. The rest of Clark’s portion of the match was spent by him getting mauled by all 3 of his opponents, who utilize quick tags. An eager unnamed opponent tags himself in, but he quickly regrets his decision. About 460 quick tags in the Russians’ corner in about a minute with more pounding, until he manages to get back to his corner to tag in his partner, who again gets no name dropped as he is just food for the Russians. He gets zero offense just like the last guy and eventually Nikita takes his head clean off with a giant clothesline.
Rock N Roll Express is up against Jim and Mac Jeffers as things roll along. The Jeffers’ sell well for RNR, taking arm drags like they were delivered with the force of 3 men, and even get in a couple of reversals when they tie each other up. Of course, RNR has such good tag chemistry that they are able to string together their moves. Mac Jeffers makes it to the ropes to tag Jim in, but Robert Gibson exchanges the headlock he had on Mac and places it on Jim, then drags Jim over to Ricky Morton, who drops, twists, thumps and crushes Jim Jeffers. Ricky tags in Robert, who jumps over the ropes to drop onto Jim before tagging Ricky Morton back in to continue to work his arm. Jeffers gets a few seconds of offense, the Morton tags in Gibson to continue ruining Jeffers’ arm forever. Mac is tagged in and again he is just no match for the in ring continuity of RNR, who set up the flying dropkick off the rope to put Jeffers out of his misery.
We now cut to a Starrcade update with Tony Schiavone and I couldn’t be more excited. Announced so far:
– Vacant Mid-Atlantic Heavyweight title match: Khrusher Khrushchev vs Sam Houston
– Mexican Death Match with Manny Fernandez taking on Abdullah The Butcher with #1 Paul Jones in his corner fighting for “that beautiful sombrero of Manny Fernandez”
– Battle Of The Bull Rope: Cowboy Ron Bass vs Black Bart, with the stip that *if* Bass wins he gets a 5 minute bull rope match with one James J Dillon
– National Tag Team Match: Ole and Arn Anderson take on Chief Wahoo McDaniels and David Crockett fave Billy Jack Haynes
– Ivan and Nikita defending their tag belts against the Rock N Roll Express
– I Quit Match in a cage: US Heavyweight Champion Tully Blanchard with Baby Doll vs Magnum TA
Jim Crocket is then brought in to announce FOUR MORE great matches:
– Terry Taylor defends his National Heavyweight Championship title against Nature Boy Buddy Landel
– Midnight Express w/Cornetter vs Jimmy Valiant & Miss Atlanta Lively in an Atlanta Street Fight
– Special Challenge Match: Superstar Billy Graham vs The “Ball Bearinan” (“Barbarian” as pronounced by Crockett) with #1 Paul Jones in his corner. Not just a match, but also a $10,000 arm wrestling challenge before the match.
Before we get announcement for the 10th match on the Starrcade card, we cut to a “very special announcement” video package (as if the previous announcements weren’t special enough). Dusty is shown putting on a Figure Four on his opponent and there is an announcement that Dusty has been given the clean bill of health and will meet Ric Flair at Starrcade. We get a Horsemen run-in but Magnum & friends are here to help out ol’ Dusty.
Thunderfoot vs Billy Jack Haynes is up next. Commentary points out that one of Thunderfoot’s boots is suspect and has been speculated is loaded, while Crockett says that it has been speculated that Billy Jack’s bones are made of metal, so it seems to me they should be even. Thunderfoot is knocked out of the ring and Billy Jack tells JJ Dillon to give Thuderfoot a kiss and send him back in. Nice armdrags and quickness from Billy Jack, who takes an arm bar on Thunderfoot and holds on to it for a while, dropping his knee on the arm for good measure. Crockett tells us about Billy Jack’s “oak arms” while salivating over him again. A member of the audience tells Billy Jack to “break his arm off and hit ‘im with it”. Distraction on the ref by Thunderfoot gives JJ the opportunity to choke Billy Jack on the ropes and Thunderfoot tries to try to steal a pin. JJ helps Thunderfoot get some leverage on a stretch. A pop-up of a live interview with Manny Fernandez takes up a portion of the screen for some weird reason, but it of course pays off in a moment. The crowd is all behind Billy Jack, even with Thunderfoot getting the majority of the offense. The crowd cheering seemed to do the trick as Billy Jack swings momentum with chops to the chest and neck, then diving off the rope to drop a knee to set up a finish. The dastardly JJ Dillon gets another distraction on the ref and Billy Jack grabs the ref to tell him he’s trying to pin Thunderfoot. While the ref is still distracted, Thunderfoot begins stomping his foot to load up the boot in an overly exaggerated manner, then Manny, sick of the cheating, runs over to the tell ref all about it. While Thunderfoot and JJ are arguing with the ref and Manny, Billy Jack slips in for a roll up pin.
After the match, Schiavone interviews Manny and Billy Jack, Ragin’ Bull telling the audience that he won’t let his friend get hurt, and even says that he bets that he and Billy Jack will make an “awesome twosome”. Billy Jack gives a shoutout to his dad, who is in a nursing home with a newly broken hip, and gives Oregon a shoutout as well. He then says he and Wahoo will take out the Andersons at the Gathering for what they did to Dusty.
Tony tells us all about the letters they’ve received for Dusty and the American Dream rolls out onto the set. He hypes up Starrcade and his fight against Ric Flair and HOLY SHIT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! HARD TIMES!!!!!!!!!!!!! I can’t believe we’re getting Hard Times!!!! One of the greatest promos in the history of the business, baby! “You’ve been replaced by a computer, baby!” This is the second time he cut a version of the promo that I know of, as the first I remember was the Mid-Atlantic Wrestling version from about 10 days prior, but it still feels good to hear it. It is the Sunday edit, “if you weeeeeeeel”, a bit shorter but no less amazing to hear again.
Poor Ron Garvin and Paul Garner having to follow that, but we’re back into wrestling action. Ron Garvin did fine, work the early strong style, slapping the bejeezus out of Garner, despite being much smaller than his opponent. He stretched him, chopped him, stretched him in a chicken wing, rag dolled him, and even out amateur wrestled him. Garvin double foot stomped Garner’s rib cage then drove his knee into his throat and chest. He continued to tie him up and it makes me wonder what he would have been like in the modern era if he debuted considering how much current product is influenced by MMA. At one point, Garvin tied both of Garner’s arms behind his back with his leg, had a knee on his neck and was punching a defenseless opponent to the dome. Crockett asks what Garner did to Garvin to deserve this kind of abuse. Garvin finally Kos Garner with his “hands of stone” and grabbed a pin.
The Russians are interviewed next and Nikita said something unintelligible about a cup (The Crockett Cup of course) and they pass the mic to Khrusher, who sounds about as Russian as most Minnesotans do. Ivan talks about PWI and says they recognize them as one of the best teams in the world and Tony cuts them off mercifully.
We cut to an interview with a fired up David Crocket interviewing an even more fired up Boogie Woogie Man Jimmy Valliant, with Big Mama by his side. He thanks Big Mama for finding Miss Atlanta Lively and making his dreams a reality. He then talks about stripping off the clothes of the Midnight Express (I think that’s what cocaine told him to say). Miss Atlanta Lively strolls out to join the bunch (a blatantly obvious guy in drag, but shhhh, I won’t spoil anything for you if you don’t already know how this story ends). My, oh my, was this a look. Crockett couldn’t remove the smile that was plastered on his face if his life depended on it. The interview ended with a 3-way kiss with Valliant, Miss Atlanta Lively and Big Mama. NWA was way more progressive than I gave them credit for.
The Barbarian destroyed, I mean faced off with, Gerald Finley next. He smashed him with thudding blows, bit him like his name was Evander Holyfield, tossed him out of the ring like garbage, threw him back in the ring, powerslammed him and finally killed him with a flying headbutt off the top rope for the 1-2-3.
Arn and Ole Anderson are interviewed by Shiavone next, talking about the Starrcade: The Gathering show. Arn let Dusty know that he and Ole have Ric’s back in the match and aren’t afraid to interfere to prove it. Ole goes one further. He says if they’re willing to break Dusty’s leg for free, jump Magnum TA just for the fun of it, break Sam Houston’s arm just because they like to hear bones crack, then what would give him the impression they are going to sit by idly and not get involved in the match?
Tully Blanchard vs Joe Malcolm was on the docket next. It was short and sweet, Tully landing a knee to Malcolm’s back early, then choked him on the ropes and tossed him out. Malcom attempting to climb back in was met with a big knee to the head then Tully dragged Malcom back in the ring and delivered a slingshot standing suplex to bounce Malcolm off the ropes and secure the win.
#1 Paul Jones came out to talk to Tony Schiavone next, cutting a promo on Superstar for breaking the “Ball Bearian’s” hand with a chair. They show a clip of the promo that Superstar was cutting at the beginning of the show and said he threw “every book in the name” at him. They are really getting their money out of that clip, as we’ve seen 3 versions of it by now, every time seeing a tiny bit more or an alternate shot or two. Jones screams that Superstar would “hurt his own mama for money” and then said he would “do anything for an earring”. Anything? He left screaming in a fit of rage. Why so angry, bro?
Terry Taylor takes on Amos Moses focusing on his arm at the beginning. He does arm drags on him, arm locks, tries to work his arm socket by twisting it and even scoops him up and drops him on the arm. I miss this type of simple storytelling, where they actually make this important. A guy in the crowd shouts “Ask him, ref! I think he said yes” to the crowd’s delight. Tony and David wish Mr. & Mrs. William Dawson of Octavia, New York well on their 69th wedding anniversary and Terry Taylor delivered an anniversary present in the form of a superplex. Happy Anniversary, Dawsons!
Rock N Roll Express are interviewed by Tony to close the program, Robert and Ricky telling the Russians that when it is two on two in a cage, there’s no way the Russians will step out of the ring as champions. And new!!!! “Rock N Roll never dies. Rock N Roll is forever, baby! Woooo!”
All in all, this was a super fun 78 minutes of TV that is a joy to sit through again. I look forward to many more of these. In fact, announcing this here, but join us moving forward on Saturdays at 6:05 Central Correct Time for more of these reviews. As Schiavone closes out with on this episode, “See you next week on World Championship Wrestling.”