Once again we are here on Saturday night at 6:05 for another “Return To 6:05”, this one being the very last episode of NWA Championship Wrestling of 1985, but it also has a huge double main event. As David Crockett and Tony Schiavone tell us, not only do we get to see Ole Anderson take on Magnum TA, but we also get Ric Flair vs Ronnie Garvin for the World Heavyweight Championship! We don’t normally get blessed by a Ric Flair championship match on these Saturday shows at all, much less against a Rugged One. Let’s jump in!
We start off with a very disheveled Dusty Rhodes being interviewed by Tony, talking about the matches tonight and saying “My main man, Maggie TA”. Legit tears of joy on my face. Dusty talked about the relationship he has with “the ladies”. He talked about how women say “my hair was combed with a weed eater” and said that in 2 weeks he’s debuting his new ‘do, the “Dusty Rhodes Grace Jones look-alike. It’s gonna be bad to the bone, Jack”. If I had to place bets, I’d say Dusty was referring to his tag team partner, Jack Daniels, who helped him write that promo.
Sam Houston vs Tony Zane
This match looked like a child vs a dinosaur facing off, Zane being the size of 2 Houstons. Zane packed the meat onto his frame (maybe fat is a more accurate description), while Houston was long and lanky, with essentially zero muscle bulk. With the exception of their blatant size discrepancy, it was obvious from the start where this was going. It felt more like wrestling school practice than a real match, a rudimentary paint-by-numbers performance by Houston, ending in a Bulldog to finish off Zane. Quick enough to be harmless.
Winner: Sam Houston
Tully is interviewed next by Tony, saying tonight is the last stampede, the last of the Bunkouse Stampede. He then proceeds to tell Magnum that he wants him in the ring, name dropping every arena in the US so he can get his US Heavyweight Championship belt back. He talks about the World Heavyweight Championship tournament next, saying not only is he going to win it, but when Magnum finally mans up to face him, he’ll have 2 belts, one for each shoulder.
Cornette came out next to talk to Tony. He screamed a lot, saying he wants those Tag Team Championship belts in his mama’s living room. He said that the only threat to the Rock N Roll Express are his boys, the Midnight Express, and one day they will have to face his team.
Midnight Express vs Mark Cooper & Josh Stroud (no relation)
Speaking of the Midnights, they absolutely crushed Cooper and Stroud, showing their flawless tag team abilities. They are so expert at team fluidity and continuity, always saying on top of their opponents, doing rapid fire tags and making sure they are close to their corner at all times.
Bobby even dropped an elbow on Cooper from the top rope to the outside. As Cornette mentioned, that elbow was dedicated to the Rock N Roll. Bobby dropped a flying knee on Cooper after he was brought back in the ring, and Dennis Condry tagged in to finish him off with a big clothesline and pinned him with the boot across Cooper’s throat.
Winners: Midnight Express
Arn Anderson vs George South
I love a good Arn Anderson match any day of the week and I also feel the same about a George South match, so this should be a fun one. Immediately Arn shows me why he was always one of my favorites, just attacking South with knees, pounds him profusely and Snapmaring him before focusing on South’s arm. South has always been one of my favorite jobbers, as he is so great at selling. The agony he displayed during the Hammerlock from Arn was fantastic, and the pain he exuded when Arm stomped on his arm was so convincing. South got a moment of offense on a Sunset Flip attempt, but Arn hit a Gourdbuster to finish South off. Hell of a fine squash.
Winner: Arn Anderson
Ric Flair is back and he is in his full regal robe mode, turned up to at least 8. The ladies in the audience screamed for him and he was happy to parade around for even more cheers. He then got to business, telling Ronnie Garvin that he can ask anyone and they will tell him that Flair is the greatest of them all, then left us with these parting words: “I’m so high on being Ric Flair each and every day of my life that I might just stick around for 20 years.”
Rocky King vs Mac Jeffers
I was surprised and a bit giddy to see this next one, which was a match between 2 (usually) jobbers. I’ve been saying for a while that Rocky King has the build and the skill level where if I was booking in the 1980s, I’d give him more shine instead of letting him always take the fall. Jeffers was always a solid worker, so I had hope for this one. Rocky snatched a Headlock early on, not letting go despite Mac’s efforts. Rocky bounced off the ropes, sprung with authority and looked great flying. He delivered several Dropkicks that looked good as well. Mac used the ropes to slow down Rocky for a moment, choking him, but Rocky didn’t stay down long, delivering a big Powerslam for a near fall. He got another pin attempt off of a Hip Toss. Rocky’s chops sounded like shotgun blasts off of Mac’s chest. Jeffers almost got a pin of his own after a big forearm, but Rocky kicked out and got a Powerslam to finish off Jeffers. A very impressive showing from Rocky, and I hope we get to see more matches like this from him in 1986.
Winner: Rocky King
Magnum TA was interviewed next, talking about his match tonight as well as the World Championship tournament plus “Slick” Ric Flair, saying Dusty will hunt him down and take his title from across his waist.
Black Bart vs Jim Jeffers
The other Jeffers, Jim, was up against one of my absolute favorites (sarcasm intended) in Black Bart. If you’re a regular reader of this column, you’ll know that Black Bart was involved in one of my least favorite matches of all time, against Ron Bass at Starrcade ’85. Going in to his matches, I really just hope to not be offended by how terrible it is. If I make it through the match saying that, then I consider it a success. Let’ see if this low bar can be exceeded tonight.
Jeffers tends to be a successful jobber in the sense that he usually makes people look good and sells well for them. In this match, I was surprised that Jeffers led most of the match, staying on top of Bart and getting the majority of the offense. It wasn’t until a couple of minutes in before Bart got any real offense and the majority of the work being executed in the match was from Jeffers. In the end, Bart did a Slingshot off the ropes and dropped a big leg, which finished Jeffers off. Not impressive, but not a terrible showing, so like I said before I consider this a success. Low bar exceeded.
Winner: Black Bart
Jim Cornette was up next to yell again about the Rock N Roll Express and how his boys will destroy them, but also to give Tony the gift of a tie with tennis rackets on it from his mama, who said that Tony was the only good thing about this show. By the end of the interview, Corny decided he liked the tie himself and walked off with it. What. A. Dick.
Magnum TA vs Ole Anderson (SuperStation Challenge Series)
While strangely placed in the card itself, this was effectively the semi-main event of the evening. I expect this one to be a lot of good ol’ fashion ass kicking. The second the bell rang, they tore into each other immediately. Ole wasn’t afraid to get dirty to win, yanking Magnum’s hair to ground him momentarily. Magnum had the heart of a champion, so he got back his fire quickly. Arn poked him in the eyes to make sure it was only for a moment. He then Crossfaced Magnum on the ropes and across the throat, breaking over and over right before the 5 count. Whatever anyone has ever said about Ole, we can all agree he is a nasty son of a bitch. Ole spent the next chunk of the match murdering Magnum’s arm like the grumpy bastard we all know. Magnum must have grown weary of getting his arm attacked because he went for Ole’s, but a rake to the eyes turned things around again. Someone in the audience screamed out “Give him a kiss, Ole!”, proving the ’80s were a progressive time.
Magnum finally got control of things long enough to slam Ole and try for a pin, then continued the payback on Ole’s arm. Magnum also got some good heat off of a series of punches, taking Ole off his feet, but Ole dropped down and tossed Magnum out of the ring as soon as he got the opportunity.
We are back from commercial, Ole now in charge fully, squeezing on Magnum’s head. Arn came out to give solidarity to his brother and Dusty evens things up by coming out to lend moral support to Magnum. Ole climbed to the top of the ropes to hit an Axehandle, but Magnum cut him off with a hit to the bread basket, leading to a near-fall. Ole delivered a Hulk Hogan leg to Magnum to get control again, then tries to get a Piledriver, but Magnum was just too strong. They went back and forth trading off on each other for quite some time, then Magnum decided it was time to drop the standing Double Leg Drop on Ole, which was a bad idea considering Ole was able to move out of the way just in time. A Headbutt from Magnum almost took both men out, Magnum just barely faring better from the exchange. Ole looked to have just a bit more in the tank as he got up to bring the pain a bit sooner.
We got a couple more near falls from both men before Magnum jumped off the ropes to hit Ole, but someone rang the bell at the 20 minute mark due to the time limit, and Ole was happy to duck out of the ring. He was stopped by Jim Crockett, who proclaimed that we must have a pinfall or submission to finish. We went to a commercial, which gave Ole a break before the match resumed. When the bell rang again, Ole got the advantage thanks to a trip by Arn from ringside, but Dusty wasn’t having any of it, clobbering Arn. When Ole went to check on Arn, Magnum took advantage and rolled Ole up for a pin. Hell of a match and I loved the clusterfuck finish, which further entrenched Dusty and Magnum in their feud with the Horsemen.
Winner: Magnum TA
Post-match, Arn was super pissed and got bleeped for his foul language. He was not happy that the very last match in the SuperStation Championship Challenge Series concluded with them not getting the win, but Jim Crockett let us know that due to overwhelming demand, the last matches in the series would actually be on February 7th, and you at home (yes you!) can decide who those matches will be against.
Ric Flair vs Ronnie Garvin
This match was effectively the main event of the evening, and to be honest I have no idea why we still have 2 after this, but I’m guessing it was to fool those at home that we may go to a Broadway. Garvin has been waiting to get his “Hands Of Stone” on Flair for some time, so tonight was his night. Ric was ready to go, as was Ronnie. Garvin got the advantage off of the lockup, hit Flair not once but twice with a Flying Headscissors. Flair reversed it once they were on the ground, but Garvin Hip-Tossed Flair and got Flair in an Armlock with his leg. Flair did his best to slow down Garvin’s momentum, but Garvin was so charged up. He proved he deserved to be in the same ring as Flair, holding his own and then some.
Garvin was using his head, literally, to keep Flair disoriented, and grabbed onto Flair’s back fat for control. Yes you read that last sentence correctly. Flair finally shifted Garvin long enough to throw him out of the ring, and the “Dirtiest Player In The Game” showed us why he earned that moniker. While the ref may not have liked it, Flair had 5 to break. Just as things were heating up, we go to commercial.
Back from commercial, Flair kept up momentum, laying into Garvin with all he had. Garvin whipped Flair up and over the ropes and crashing down to the concrete below. Garvin hit Flair with a Cross-Body Block and chopped the living Hell out of him. A thumb poke equalized Garvin, Flair dropping a knee afterward to try to get a pin. Garvin got a Sleeper on Flair, but Flair was able to get out of it and they started exchanging slaps to the face, Headbutts, Eye Rakes and Chokes. Things devolved so much that Garvin took to biting Flair’s face. Garvin looked like a madman by this point, nothing going to stop him. He Back Body Dropped Flair and almost got the pin, then got a Backslide that almost got Flair. Garvin introduced Flair to those hands of stone, but he was close enough to the ropes to not get pinned. Flair was in desperation mode, so he crotched Garvin on the ropes before he tossed the ref.
Dusty came running out and put a Figure Four on Flair, but that just prompted the Andersons, then King, Mac Jeffers, Sam Houston, pretty much the whole damn locker room to come running out. The Andersons were able to isolate Duty again and stomped his leg repeatedly. Since his leg had been previously broken by the Minnesota Wrecking Crew, it had a bulls-eye on it already. They wanted to make sure that Dusty did not walk into the Championship Series at 100%.
Winner: No Contest (DQ)
Post-match, Ole cut a promo on the Crocketts and said Flair would be champ as long as he wanted to be. Flair said that the Horsemen were the best and you just needed to live with it.
Italian Stallion vs Pablo Crenshaw
Like I said before, there is no reason that the last match shouldn’t have been the main event other than maybe the possibility of tricking the fans into thinking it would have gone the distance to the time limit, but here we are with The Italian Stallion and Pablo Crenshaw trying to follow Flair and Garvin. Like the Rocky King vs Mac Jeffers match earlier, this was basically a jobber vs jobber match. Italian Stallion was strong and threw Crenshaw around while commentary was busy ignoring the match and giving shoutouts and birthday greetings to fans at home. They also reminded fans at home to send in their picks for the final four SuperStation Challenge Series on February 7th. A quick Scoop Slam winded Crenshaw and allowed the Stallion enough time to pick up that win.
Winner: Italian Stallion
JJ Dillon joined Tony at the interview area next, reminding us how great 1985 was, but that he is looking forward to 1986 and he is ready to step up his game that much more, saying he has his eyes on some very special talent that he wants to push to the next level (wonder who they could be hehe).
Dusty came out next like a madman, saying there is not enough room for him and the Horsemen. Garvin and Magnum are still out there too, challenging Flair and the Andersons to a match right here and now. Dusty rearranges the interview area, throwing the podium and chasing after Flair and the Andersons since they didn’t come out to face them.
Tully Blanchard vs Kent Glover
You don’t need a crystal ball to see that Glover was going to get brutalized by Tully, who immediately stomped Glover’s knee and started working the leg. David Crockett was informed that there was something happening backstage so he ran off to check on it while Tony continued to commentate. It didn’t take much for Tully to finish things, a Slingshot Suplex putting the exclamation point on Glover.
Winner: Tully Blanchard
Tony informs us that David Crockett wasn’t back yet to speak on what was going on backstage, but we had to go, wishing us a Happy New Year and a glorious 1986 ahead. Based on what I can remember from seeing these shows as a kid, a glorious year is indeed ahead. Hope you continue to join me as we go down that path into the next year, and we will see you next week, same time, same channel, for another Return To 6:05.