Crockett Cup 1987 – Flair vs. Windham in 1987. This Works.

Crockett Cup 1987
Date: April 10, 1987/April 11, 1987
Location: Baltimore Arena, Baltimore, Maryland
Attendance: 9,300/13,000
Commentator: Tony Schiavone

Back to the Crockett Cup and the annoying tag team tournament format. This year there are still 24 teams and it’s the same format. We also have Ole Anderson vs. Big Bubba in a last man standing cage match and Flair vs. Windham for the title which should be awesome given how good Windham was in 87. Hopefully we actually have commentary here. Let’s get to it.

This is the home video so a lot of it is going to be clipped. There might be some full versions out here but I’m not going to look for it. The VAST majority of this is clipped with most of the first round not existing. Believe me, it’s nothing to see.

It’s the same format as last year, where 16 teams compete for 8 spots in the second round against 8 teams that already have spots in the second round. The team in parentheses is the team that the winner of the previous match will face.

Bob Armstrong/Brad Armstrong
Arn Anderson/Kevin Sullivan
(Ivan Koloff/Vladimir Petrov)

MOD Squad
Wahoo McDaniel/Baron Von Raschke
(Lex Luger/Tully Blanchard)

Denny Brown/Chris Champion
Bill Mulkey/Randy Mulkey
(Giant Baba/Isao Takagi)

Steve Keirn/George South
Mike Graham/Nelson Royal
(Rock N Roll Express)

Lazer Tron/Jimmy Valiant
Teijho Khan/Shaska Whatley
(Road Warriors)

Italian Stallion/Ricky Lee Jones
Jimmy Garvin/Ronnie Garvin
(Midnight Express)

Bobby Jaggers/Rocky King
Thunderfoots
(Manny Fernandez/Rick Rude)

Barbarian/Bill Dundee
Tim Horner/Mike Rotunda
(Dusty Rhodes/Nikita Koloff)

Thank goodness so much of this is clipped. There are only two first round matches on the tape. I know it’s not complete, but it’s not like these matches mean anything or are worth seeing.

This tape actually has a host: Tony Schiavone. He introduces the concept: 24 teams, one million dollars to the winner. He tries to say these are the best teams in the world. Take a look at those brackets Tony.

Crockett Cup First Round: Bill Dundee/Barbarian vs. Tim Horner/Mike Rotunda

This is joined in progress as Barbarian sends Rotunda into the railing. A big boot puts the very young looking Rotunda down and it’s off to a chinlock. Rotunda gets up and a double clothesline puts them both down. Barbarian misses a top rope clothesline and it’s off to Horner. He cleans house until Dundee hits him with a foreign object and Barbarian gets the pin. This was really short and about five and a half minutes were clipped.

Crockett Cup First Round: Jimmy Valiant/Lazer Tron vs. Shaska Whatley/Teijho Khan

Tron is Hector Guerrero in a mask. Clipped to him working on Khan with a dropkick and it’s off to Whatley. The ring is cleared so Tron and Valiant dance a bit. The heels collide as they look like idiots. Valiant comes in and the fun part goes away quickly. Valiant vibrates on the mat as he’s beaten down and Whatley dances some more. Back to Tron who cleans house but the other guys brawl as he’s covering Whatley. Whatley charges at Tron and Khan pulls the top rope down so his partner goes crashing, but it’s a DQ win for them as the referee thinks it was intentional. Only a minute clipped here but not enough to grade.

That’s it for round one so here are the updated brackets.

Ivan Koloff/Vladimir Petrov
Brad Armstrong/Bob Armstrong

MOD Squad
Lex Luger/Tully Blanchard

Giant Baba/Isao Tagaki
Denny Brown/Chris Champion

BYE
Rock N Roll Express

Road Warriors
Teijho Khan/Shaska Whatley

Ronnie Garvin/Jimmy Garvin
Midnight Express

Manny Fernandez/Rick Rude
Thunderfoots

Barbarian/Bill Dundee
Dusty Rhodes/Ivan Koloff

The BYE is from a time limit draw. Why would anyone want to know that?

Crockett Cup Second Round: Ivan Koloff/Vladimir Petrov vs. Brad Armstrong/Bob Armstrong

The Armstrongs are father and son. Petrov is an American Russian that was brought in to replace Nikita who left the team. He is however, a roided up freak so the look is good. Joined in progress again with Bob, the old man, getting beaten down. Petrov hooks a bearhug and it’s back to Ivan. He and Bob collide and it’s hot tag to Brad. A cross body gets two and things break down. Petrov uses the chain and it’s a DQ. This was about two minutes shown of four.

Crockett Cup Second Round: Jimmy Garvin/Ronnie Garvin vs. Midnight Express

Eaton/Lane here and we see the opening! The Garvins clean house early and we have a tug of war over Cornette. Cornette panicking in the corner is great stuff. Clipped to Bobby in control of Jimmy and it’s off to Stan for some karate. This is the five minute mark as Eaton hooks a chinlock.

The match isn’t much longer so I don’t get why the clipping happens. Hot tag brings in Ronnie who uses his hard fists to take over. A big right hand puts Bobby on the apron but as he tries a piledriver on the floor, Cornette pops him with the tennis racket which gets the countout. About half of it was clipped and it was like two halves of two different matches so no rating.

Ricky Morton is injured so there’s no Rock N Roll Express match tonight. That means that Baba and Tagaki are in the semi-finals (fourth round) after wrestling once. Remember that the Rock N Roll Express would have had a second round bye due to the draw in round one. Brackets coming before round three.

Ole Anderson vs. Big Bubba Rogers

This is the main event of the first night, meaning the rest of the second round isn’t going to be mentioned. Bubba is really fat here and Ole is….uh…..old. They “brawl” (read as hold each others’ hair and occasionally punch) for awhile as I think Ole is the face here. The fans chant boring. See, this is an NWA stronghold and the NWA fans could rival ECW fans for most excitable fans. For these guys to say something is boring, it has to be HORRIBLE.

Bubba slams him into the cage and this needs to end quickly. Ole is busted and you have to win this match like a last man standing match instead of by pin. Bubba chokes away and I have no idea why this match is taking place. It’s not like Tony or anyone else tells you so I guess they expect us to know. You know, because no one will ever watch a tape after a few weeks anyway right? I mean, it’s not like this preservation of a story will hold on right? Bubba misses a top rope splash and a piledriver (more like a faceplant) ends this.

Rating: F. Oh just….no. There’s nothing to say here as the match was between an old guy and a fat guy and it was somehow even worst than it sounded. This got about five minutes shown while the whole thing ran about seven. I have no idea how much worse it could be with the other two minutes on there, but my goodness it couldn’t have been that much.

Now this tape runs about two hours and we’re just over twenty minutes in. For the next thirty five minutes, we’re going to show three Magnum TA matches. As in the guy that is retired at this point and isn’t here for any particular reason. The NWA was a little nuts at times. Magnum says this is a big night for him. Why? I have no idea.

US Title: Magnum TA vs. Wahoo McDaniel

McDaniel is very old but is US Champion here. It’s in a cage and is the real push for Magnum to the solid midcard spot he held until he retired. From March of 85 if you’re curious. Tony puts over the belly to belly as being really sudden and Wahoo kicks him low. Magnum fires off that great right hand of his but gets rammed into the cage. Magnum is like BRING IT ON and takes Wahoo down for two and an eruption from the crowd. A dropkick gets two.

They chop it out and Wahoo isn’t going to lose something like that. Wahoo goes into the cage again and just collapses this time. A headbutt puts Wahoo down and David Crockett, the other commentator, is getting on my nerves. Wahoo sends him into the cage again and a chop gets two. The mat isn’t a regular mat but is a bunch of blue gym mats shoved together. You can see the lines between them.

Magnum kicks him in the chest to take him down as the momentum doesn’t last long for Wahoo at all. He does manage to get a small package for two but Magnum is back up and punching away again. Wahoo tries to escape (I guess you can win that way) and Magnum suplexes him off the top for two. Wahoo, the old school lunkhead that he is, charges off the ropes a few times into Magnum which lets Magnum snap off his belly to belly suplex finisher for the US Title.

Rating: C-. Not bad here and it’s so nice to see a full match here. Magnum was so awesome and this was the moment that launched him up the card. His real classic would be later that year (and later on the tape) against Tully in a cage. Wahoo was just old at this point but this is how you go out: you lay down for a young guy clean and give your title up to him. Perfect example of that and good to see Magnum get the title that he should have had.

US Title: Kamala vs. Magnum TA

This is from the Great American Bash 1985. Kamala recently had his foot/leg amputated so the timing is appropriate. Kamala jumps him before the bell and it’s on. Magnum fires off a cross body and hammers away on the big man. You know Kamala never did much other than get beaten up. I never remember him winning anything of note and he’s usually just around because he’s big.

Kamala wants a test of strength but Magnum is a lot smarter than that, popping him in the jaw instead. Magnum gets knocked down by a chop and kick as Kamala takes over for token reasons. A choke somehow counts as a cover and gets two. Kamala grabs Magnum’s chest in a weird claw move then splashes him twice. Magnum is on his stomach so it doesn’t count. That’s an old standard for moon belly man. Back to the claw which wastes more time. Magnum makes his comeback and gets an easy slam. Kamala walks into the belly to belly and we’re done.

Rating: D. Kamala as usual isn’t interesting. He was supposed to be this savage and all that but it just didn’t work at all. He did his thing and that thing never was all that interesting. This is the definition of a house show match and the whole idea was to set up a quick match for Magnum to look good in. This was pretty weak.

The next match is clipped on the tape but I’m copying and pasting the full one.

US Title: Tully Blanchard vs. Magnum TA

OH YES!!! In short, forget everything else in the history of Starrcade. THIS is the greatest match in the history of the show, period and end of story and argument. Ok, so more or less, this is the idea: culture clash. Tully is considered the wrestler’s wrestler. He’s the epitome of the rich guy that is a total jerk to everyone but no one can beat him.

Magnum is from the South, rides on a Harley, drinks beer instead of champagne and is a fighter known for two things: a great right hand, and the sickest belly to belly this side of Brock Lesnar. For months upon months these two had gone after each other but there had never been the definitive match. Everyone knew that would come on Thanksgiving night and here we are. The build for this is off the charts.

It’s also in a cage and an I Quit match. Hmm. A match between a guy considered to be the top technical man in wrestling and a pure redneck where you win by submission. Just goes to show you that even the best angles such as Hart and Austin aren’t always original. Also, this is a more violent match so there you are.

Magnum is introduced as the vastly popular Magnum TA. That’s an understatement. Hey they hit the lights so we can see! The fans pop like crazy over a single punch. They help this match a lot as they’ve watch this build for about a year or so and are drooling for the end. They slug it out to start and I’m glad there’s no commentary here as it’s not needed. And of course there goes Bob Caudle.

The people here are popping for every single thing so they can more or less do whatever they like. This is a match where it’s all brawling and that’s all it should be. Tully is bleeding from the face and the arm which is something you hardly ever see but it’s working for me. Magnum, being smart, goes for the arm. Magnum is bleeding too.

The microphone they have to say they give up into is finally brought into play and we get the famous sequence as Tully screams at him to say it but when he says no Tully blasts him with the microphone. So simple yet so effective. They do it again and Magnum is in big trouble. He dodges an elbow drop and the fans EXPLODE. You would think he just won the freaking title. Tully won’t give up either.

The mic use is what I like about this as it makes perfect sense to have that in the ring with them rather than the insane things you get in Hell in a Cell matches. With both guys on their knees they just start throwing bombs at each other. Tully is getting very frustrated and loses his cool. Hmm where have I seen this before?

Baby Doll, Tully’s manager, throws a wooden chair in and it gets broken up. Tully uses a piece to drive into the head of Magnum but it doesn’t work. Magnum gets the spike and DRIVES IT INTO TULLY’S EYE FOR THE SUBMISSION. Tully screaming in pain after it’s over makes this whole thing even better.

Rating: A+. Just an epic fight here with tons of blood and straight up violence. THIS is how you blow off a feud. Go find this match. It’s on the Essential Starrcade and shouldn’t be hard to fine online. Go watch it as it’s an absolute classic.

Magnum picks Dusty/Nikita to win. Dusty is booking this show so I’d call that a smart pick.

Here are the updated brackets:

Bob Armstrong/Brad Armstrong
Lex Luger/Tully Blanchard

Giant Baba/Isao Tagaki
BYE

Road Warriors
Midnight Express

Manny Fernandez/Rick Rude
Dusty Rhodes/Nikita Koloff

Crockett Cup Quarterfinals: Midnight Express vs. Road Warriors

The Warriors won last year and beat Khan/Whatley to get here. Clipped to Animal avoiding a clothesline from Eaton and running over Lane with an elbow. Off to Hawk who clubs away. A middle rope clothesline by Hawk takes down Lane but it knocks him into his own corner, allowing the tag to Eaton. The Midnights cheat as much as is humanly possible and Cornette cheers them on. A tennis racket shot to Hawk slows him down even more as we hear the ten minute announcement.

Lane hits a superkick for two. By superkick I mean he kicks him in the ribs/chest but Shawn wasn’t around yet and Chris Adams was just a territory guy. Hawk gets a shot in to the ribs but that doesn’t get him anywhere. A second shot is enough to bring in Animal and a dropkick gets two for him. The Warriors take over and a shoulder puts Eaton down but the managers come in. The Warriors get disqualified and the Midnights are in the semi-finals.

Rating: C. This was one of the better tournament matches so far and was cut roughly in half. Not much to see here but these two always have some passable chemistry together with the Midnights cheating as much as they can to slow down the unstoppable Warriors. Fun match but ENOUGH WITH THE WEAK FINISHES. Rude would be out of the company by the end of the month and in WWF by the summer.

Crockett Cup Quarterfinals: Super Powers vs. Manny Fernandez/Rick Rude

Rude and Fernandez are tag champions. Clipped (duh) to Dusty hammering on Manny and trying to fire the crowd up. Manny takes over and chokes away on Dusty while Nikita comes in to try to help out. He’s in a neck brace which would cost him the US Title soon to a young guy named Luger. An elbow gets two. Off to Rude who was flamboyant even back in the day.

Rude’s top rope fist gets two. Manny comes back in and Dusty hammers away on the Raging Bull until we’re into a chinlock. Yeah Dusty needs a rest already. Raise your hand if you’re surprised. Dusty comes back with a clothesline and everything breaks down. He rolls through something like a cross body and the tag champions are out to Dusty and Nikita after winning a single match.

Rating: D-. Yeah expect Dusty and Nikita to do really well in this. Dusty had a habit of pushing himself really strong and insisting he was what the fans wanted to see. He also had a habit of booking the company into the ground and causing Crockett to go out of business, but hey, Dusty was the US Champion baby! About five minutes were clipped here if you were curious.

Crockett Cup Quarterfinals: Lex Luger/Tully Blanchard vs. Bob Armstrong/Brad Armstrong

Clipped to Brad making what looks to be a comeback on Blanchard. Tully throws him over the top which should be a DQ but the referee doesn’t see it. The Horsemen take over on Brad as he reaches for a hot tag from the nearly 50 year old man. This would be the guy who would get a tag title shot twenty years later in TNA. This has been going 15 minutes now according to Penzer. Off to Lex who beats on Brad a bit more. Brad grabs a backslide for two and an eruption at the thought of the Horsemen going down. Hot tag to Bob who cleans house. Everything breaks down and JJ helps Tully take down Bob for the pin.

Rating: B-. The full version was about 17 minutes and we saw 5. This could have been a good match too as the 30% or so that we saw here were good. Brad was pretty awesome as he was very steady in his offense. The Horsemen were going on to the finals of this thing (which isn’t a spoiler as I’ll explain in a bit) and Brad would go on to total mediocrity which is a shame.

Crockett Cup Semi-Finals: Super Powers vs. Midnight Express

We start at the five minute mark and Dusty beating up another team. Lane vs. Nikita now with the non-Russian (as in Nikita. He was born in Minnesota) working the arm until Eaton cheats to break it up. Nikita gets worked over and Cornette yells about Dusty a lot. A long chinlock eats up some time but working on Nikita’s neck makes sense. The racket is brought in again but the referee is with Dusty. A big shoulder puts Eaton down for two and everyting breaks down again. Heel miscommunication (they didn’t collide but that’s a minor detail) allows Nikita to hit the Sickle on Eaton for the pin.

Rating: D. Another weak match here in a string of them. Dusty was just bad at this point but there was no way around it, much like Dusty. There isn’t much else to say here as Nikita was in a chinlock for a long part of that match. He’s more popular than Dusty though so at least the fans were more into it.

Since the NWA didn’t think the Horsemen vs. the Japanese team was worth showing, the second semi-final isn’t included. It’s Horsemen vs. Super Powers.

NWA World Title: Barry Windham vs. Ric Flair

We’re clipped to about ten minutes in as Windham is fighting back. Flair avoids something by grabbing the ropes and the Figure Four is on. He gets caught cheating so the referee and Flair get into it a bit. A big jumping lariat puts Flair down and at least Windham has the courtesy to limp. Windham’s tights have the same lightning bolt that Don Muraco had around this time. Flair knocks him to the floor and Windham crashes into the railing.

Back in Windham gets a sunset flip for two and a backslide gets the same. Flair bails a bit and then they slug it out at the fifteen minute mark. A suplex puts Flair down but a top rope elbow misses to put both guys down. Flair grabs a sleeper which lasts about two seconds. Windham takes over on the floor and they exchange control inside. They head to the floor again which doesn’t last long.

Back in Windham grabs a sleeper to fill in some time. Flair goes up but Windham gets up. Instead of jumping, Flair stands on the buckle and waits for Windham to slam him off. You know what Ric, you deserved that one. Now Barry hooks a Figure Four which goes nowhere. A powerslam gets two and Barry pounds away. Flair hits a cross body and they tumble to the floor. Back in a flying boot by Barry gets….the pin??? Oh wait Flair had the ropes.

Windham goes off on Flair with suplexes and power moves but he can’t keep Flair down. We’re at the 25 minute mark and Flair is reeling. The crowd is starting to really get into it here after being into it the whole match so far. Barry gets a backslide for two and rolls through a belly to back (impressive looking). He rolls Flair up but Flair keeps rolling and grabs the trunks for the pin.

Rating: A-. This had about ten minutes cut off and the rest of it could have made it better. The going to the floor time and time again hurt it and Tony wasn’t ready to call a match like this yet. These two had great match after great match and this was their usual solid match. It’s fifteen minutes of near falls and even a false finish so it’s hard to argue. Good stuff indeed.

Crockett Cup Finals: Super Powers vs. Lex Luger/Tully Blanchard

Dusty brings out Magnum to be in his corner. Gee, I wonder who will win this now. Luger isn’t a full Horseman yet but it was coming very soon. Clipped to Koloff taking Tully’s head off with a clothesline. Another clothesline puts them both on the floor where JJ steals the neck brace. Nikita is in trouble at the 10 minute mark. Lex works on the neck and it’s off to Tully.

I don’t know why they’re wasting our time like this. Everyone knows Dusty is coming in soon and will elbow everything in sight for the big “emotional” win. Nikita takes a LONG beating which eats up the majority of the match that we’re seeing here. Tully throws on a chinlock which at least works on the neck. After a front faceblock by Lex, Tully throws him over the top to draw in the fat Texan for a protest.

Nikita catches Tully coming off the top with a lariat and it’s hot tag Dusty. He fires off about 10 elbows to the head to take over and we’re rapidly running out of time. He misses a charge and Tully misses a shot to the head with JJ’s shoe. Blanchard sets to piledrive Nikita but Dusty comes off the top and OH THE HUMANITY!!! He crushes Tully with a cross body for the pin and the tournament win.

Rating: D+. We saw about 8 minutes out of 17 and this was nothing to see. The problem was that Nikita had to play hurt and while Dusty was great at a comeback and firing up a crowd, there was no reason for his team to win this. This wasn’t aired anywhere but they could easily just give it to someone else to build them up, but Dusty needed this win right?

There’s a trophy presentation to end the show.

Overall Rating: C-. With two matches like Windham vs. Flair and Magnum vs. Tully, you can’t really say it’s anything but good. Now as for the rest of it, there isn’t much at all to praise. This is only a two hour tape though so when you have about 25 minutes dedicated to that, it’s hard to complain. The tournament though…..yeah it still sucks. The Japanese team, one of the final four, isn’t even on here nor are they mentioned. What’s up with that? I mean….why did they have three Magnum matches on there? I don’t get the NWA at times, but when their matches were good, they were REALLY good.

 

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