Starrcade 1986: I Miss Magnum

Starrcade 1986
Date: November 27, 1986
Location: Greensboro Coliseum, Greensboro, North Carolina/The Omni, Atlanta, Georgia
Attendance: 16,000/14,000
Commentators: Tony Schiavone, Rick Stewart, Bob Caudle, Johnny Weaver

Much like last year, this show had a subtitle: Night of the Skywalkers. In this case it was because of a tag team scaffold match, meaning a scaffold was hung up above the ring and the team to knock their opponents to the mat below would win. Also we have the Andersons challenging the Rock and Roll Express in a cage for the world tag team titles. Let’s get to it.

Jimmy Garvin vs. Brad Armstrong

Garvin is billed as Gorgeous Jimmy here and comes out to Sharp Dressed Man by ZZ Top. He also has a good looking blonde named Precious with him. The first match here is in Atlanta and we’ll be alternating back and forth. Schiavone and Stewart are the commentators here in Atlanta as well. They fight up against the ropes to start before heading into the corner with neither guy being able to get an advantage.

They go to the mat with neither guy being able to get any extended advantage. Back up and they fight over a top wristlock until Brad finally takes over with an armbar. Off to a headlock instead but Jimmy rolls Brad up for two. Now Jimmy grabs an armbar of his own but they roll into the ropes. Garvin grabs a leg lock and bends the knee back, only to have Armstrong reach his arm around into a chinlock to escape.

Off to an armbar by Brad and Jimmy taps, but that wouldn’t mean anything in American wrestling for about seven years. Garvin counters into a headscissors as the back and forth mat work continues. Armstrong nips out of it and puts on another headlock, only to be countered into another headscissors. By this point you should be able to figure out what happens next on your own: Armstrong counters into a headlock.

Garvin tries to pick Armstrong up to slam him down, only to be dragged into another headlock to keep the match at a very slow clip. Back up and Jimmy suplexes out of the hold but can’t immediately follow up. Armstrong gets sent out to the floor where Precious talks trash as we have three minutes left in the time limit. Back in and Garvin gets two after dropping Armstrong throat first onto the top rope.

A backbreaker gets the same and Jimmy is getting frustrated. They start running the ropes, only to crack heads and put both guys down again. Back up and Brad charges into a knee in the corner but even that only gets two. They trade rollups but Garvin puts on a chinlock of all things with fifteen seconds to go. He releases the hold and goes up, only to miss a top rope splash as the bell rings for the time limit draw.

Rating: D+. This was one of those matches where you could see the time limit draw coming a mile away. As is the Starrcade custom, the good guy can’t win the opener and the opener is pretty dull stuff. Why they’re so afraid to allow a good match to open the show is beyond me, but this was nothing of note at all. Neither guy would ever do much of note either.

Post match Garvin tries to jump Armstrong, only to get knocked to the floor by some right hands.

Hector Guerrero/Baron Von Raschke vs. Shaska Whatley/Barbarian

Whatley and Barbarian are members of Paul Jones’ Army while Guerrero and Raschke are kind of an oddball tag team. It’s a big brawl to start with the Baron pairing off with Whatley as Hector sends Barbarian out to the floor. Hector and Shaska start things off with Guerrero hitting some fast paced offense for early control. It’s off to Barbarian though to drop Hector throat first across the top rope, stopping his momentum cold.

Barbarian misses a running boot into the corner though and falls to the floor, allowing Hector to hit a BIG dive, taking out both Barbarian and Baron. That was a very big deal back then and still looks good even today. Whatley comes out to beat on Hector before throwing him inside for a gorilla press slam by Barbarian. A double backdrop puts Hector down for two and Whatley breaks up a potential hot tag to Baron.

Back to Barbarian for another near fall off a big boot followed by a backbreaker. Whatley sends him into the ropes and Hector spits right in his face, which is somehow enough for the hot tag off to the Baron. Raschke puts his Claw Hold on Shaska as everything breaks down. Barbarian breaks up the hold but gets pummeled in the corner by Hector. In the melee, Shaska misses a charge into the corner and Baron drops an elbow for the pin.

Rating: C. Just a basic tag match here which was fine for the most part. There was talk of a grudge coming in but there was not actual explanation given of what the feud was over or how everyone was involved. Baron seemed much more angry than Hector but that’s normal for the both of them. Nothing bad here but it’s just a tag match.

Post match Baron gets beaten down until Hector makes the save.

US Tag Titles: Krusher Khrushchev/Ivan Koloff vs. Kansas Jayhawks

The Jayhawks are Bobby Jaggers and Dutch Mantell, the latter of which would eventually join the WWE under a variety of names, including Zeb Colter. This is a rematch of a tournament final where the Russians won the belts and there are no disqualifications. Dutch and Ivan start things off but it’s quickly off to Jaggers to pound away on the older Russian. Ivan actually busts out a rollup for two but it’s quickly back to Dutch to work on the arm.

Krusher gets a tag in and it’s time for some stalling. Mantell pounds away on the forehead and the Jayhawks choke away in the corner before it’s off to Jaggers again. That goes nowhere so here’s Dutch again, but those sneaky Russians trick him into some double teaming. The power of AMERICA saves him from the Russians though and Dutch fights both guys off with relative ease. Ivan sends Dutch to the floor though and into the barricade to shift control.

Off to Krusher for some double teaming, but Dutch fights back with a double clothesline and there’s the hot tag to Jaggers. Some AMERICAN right hands have the Russians in trouble and a clothesline gets two on Ivan. Everything breaks down but there’s nothing the referee can do because it’s no disqualification. Ivan goes up top but gets hit by Dutch’s whip to bring him down. Krusher is sent to the floor but sneaks back up onto the apron to hit Jaggers in the back of the head with the chain, allowing Ivan to get the easy pin to retain the titles.

Rating: C. Another basic tag match here but it was at a slightly faster pace, making it a more entertaining match for the most part. The Russians continue to be a perfectly fine midcard heel act as the Cold War was still going on at this point. The Jayhawks never did much of anything as a team and would fade into obscurity pretty soon after the start of the new year.

Rick Rude vs. Wahoo McDaniel

Rude is a newcomer and not very polished in the ring but he would get WAY better. This is an Indian strap match, meaning they’re tied at the wrist and you have to drag your opponent around the ring and touch all four buckles to win. If your opponent breaks your momentum though, you have to start again. Rude spends too much time posing so Wahoo whips him with the strap. Wahoo scares Rude’s manager Paul Jones off and we’re ready to go. This is the third of four Starrcades where a match featured people being tied together. It’s a popular idea for some reason.

Wahoo immediately takes him down by the rope and Rude runs to the floor. That gets him nowhere as Wahoo pulls him right back inside with a casual tug. Rude sends him into the corner and wraps the strap around his fist to pound away on Wahoo. With McDaniel down, Rude ties Wahoo’s hands together with the rope and touches two buckles, only to have Wahoo grab the rope with his feet. Wahoo chokes away in the corner with the strap and now it’s Rude in trouble.

In a smart move, Wahoo grabs both of Rude’s hands and drags him around the ring while touching the buckles with his head. He gets three buckles but Rude kicks him down to break the streak. Rude goes up top for some reason, only to be pulled down with ease by the much stronger Wahoo. McDaniel crawls around and gets to the third buckle, only to have Rude knock him into the fourth for the surprising win.

Rating: D. Nothing to see here at all as is the case with most of the four corners variety of these matches. At the end of the day, the ending is almost always the same with only some mild alterations and this was no different. Wahoo wouldn’t be around much longer while Rude would be in the WWF by July.

Post match Rude and Jones beat Wahoo down until Hector Guerrero and Von Raschke make the save.

Central States Title: Sam Houston vs. Bill Dundee

This is another regional title from Kansas/Missouri with Houston defending. Dundee is from Australia and was a Memphis mainstay for years. Houston only won the belt about two weeks before this, beating Dundee in a tournament final. Again, why not have the tournament final here? Sam takes over with an armbar to start, only to be thrown to the mat by Dundee. They trade headlocks and rollups on the mat with Dundee finally getting control.

Back up and Houston takes him down with a flying headscissors to over on the mat. Now a dropkick puts Dundee down but he comes back with a classic hair pull to take the champion to the mat. Sam grabs a headlock of his own and a rollup out of the corner for two. In a scary sounding spot, Dundee pulls Sam out of the floor and onto the announce table to really take over for a change.

Scratch that again as Dundee goes out to get him, only to be dropped onto the barricade to keep Houston in control. Back in and Sam pounds away but charges into a boot in the corner. A top rope punch to Houston on the mat gets a close two for Bill and it’s off to another chinlock. That gets Dundee nowhere so here’s a Boston Crab instead. A top rope shot to Houston’s head gets two and it’s off to a front facelock.

Sam fights up and elbows Dundee down before dropping a pair of knees. Only the first one hits though so Bill goes after the knee. He puts on a spinning toe hold but Sam kicks out of it, losing his boot in the process. Dundee crashes into the referee and blasts Sam with his own boot, but gets caught and disqualified. For what? The boot is legal on Sam’s foot but not when it’s off of Sam’s foot?

Rating: C-. Not a terrible match or anything here but it never went anywhere. Houston just wasn’t that interesting to watch most of the time, primarily due to being such a small guy. Dundee was much better down in Memphis and never quite clicked on the big stage for some reason. Not a bad match but just kind of there for the most part.

Dundee beats on Houston with the boot post match. He would win the title in early January.

Jimmy Valiant vs. Paul Jones

Remember when these two were fighting at Starrcade 1984? This is a hair vs. hair match with Valiant putting up his female companion (that’s the best way to describe her) Big Mama’s hair against Jones’. This isn’t their first hair match either as I think they wound up having three in total. Jones’ main guy Manny Fernandez is going to be locked in a small cage above the ring to prevent interference. It takes a small army of wrestlers to get Fernandez inside the cage.

Valiant pounds away on a terrified Jones to start and Paul just tries to hide. Jones sticks his chest out to be scratched by Valiant, who is in orange and black striped tights for some reason. Paul pulls out a foreign object to pound away at Valiant for two. Jimmy fights up and kicks Jones in the leg before being knocked back down again. Paul tries the Indian Deathlock but Valiant fights up and pounds Jones down before locking in the sleeper. Jones tries the foreign object again but Valiant takes it away and knocks Jones out for the pin.

Rating: D-. This was pretty terrible and I have no idea why this feud went on for so many years. Valiant was a popular guy but nothing more than a glorified comedy act while Jones might be the most worthless manager of all time. When you have two stipulation matches in three years with no break in the feud, that’s way too much interaction between the same two people.

Post match Valiant cuts the hair but Manny Fernandez gets out of the cage, allowing he and Rick Rude to lay out Valiant. They hit a double DDT onto a chair and leave with their humiliated manager.

Ron Garvin vs. Big Bubba Rogers

Garvin is Mid-Atlantic Champion but this is non-title. It’s also a street fight and Bubba, a 400lb monster who can move very quickly and is dressed as a gangster for lack of a better term, has Jim Cornette as his manager. You can only win by pinfall or knocking someone down for a ten count. Why not just cover them for three instead of waiting the extra seven seconds? Falls count anywhere also. Oh and this is a Louisville (Cornette’s hometown) street fight in Atlanta.

Garvin gets in some quick right hands to stagger Bubba so the big man asks for a test of strength. Ron agrees but sucker punches Bubba down in a smart bit. Garvin is in street clothes here which works for a street fight. Back in and Bubba throws Garvin onto the announce table and out to the floor as we pause again. While out there, Garvin picks up a drink and throws it in Bubba’s face to get an advantage. He goes NUTS on Bubba, pounding him out to the floor with rights and lefts.

Back in and Garvin chokes away but Cornette slipped Bubba something and a shot to Ron’s head changes control again. Bubba punches him down a few times for a couple of four counts but Ron comes back with more punches. Garvin pulls out a rope of some kind and ties Bubba’s leg down with it before choking away. Bubba comes back with some right hands of his own and slaps on a bearhug like any good monster would.

Garvin doesn’t appear to be in pain at all and headbutts his way out of the hold. A BIG right hand puts Rogers on the floor and he’s almost out cold. Back in for, of course, more punching from Garvin. Bubba is knocked to the floor where he gains control by the power of fat, but as they go back in Ron slams him down off the top rope.

The referee is crushed (as has happened A LOT tonight) and Ron piledrives Bubba down, only to have Cornette blast him with the tennis racket. The referee gets up and counts both guys out to ten, but there has to be a winner. It’s the first man to his feet gets the win apparently, and with Bubba distracting the referee, Cornette nails Ron in the knee with the racket to give Bubba the easy win.

Rating: D+. This didn’t do it for me. Garvin throws a decent punch, but other than that there was nothing to see here from either guy. It wasn’t terrible or anything but I need more than eleven minutes of punching and a screwy finish with Cornette hitting Ron in the knee with a tennis racket. Not much to see here.

TV Title: Tully Blanchard vs. Dusty Rhodes

This is a first blood match as the gimmicks continue. Tully is challenging and has JJ Dillon with him here. The referee stops JJ from putting either protective gear and Vaseline on Tully’s head. Instead Dusty elbows Dillon in the head to bust him open. That’s quite the message. Tully misses a knee in the corner to start and they circle each other a bit. Both guys go after the others’ head but no contact is actually made.

They circle each other even more until Dusty hits a headbutt to put Tully down. As expected the referee checks both guys because using a headbutt in a first blood match is a stupid idea. Rhodes pounds at the ribs in the corner before hitting the Bionic Elbow to the head. Dusty lays down on the leg, because leaving your head exposed like that could NEVER backfire on him at all. Blanchard rolls to the floor and we stall again.

Back in and Tully drops an elbow and rakes at Dusty’s head only to have Rhodes come back and drop a knee. The referee goes down (AGAIN) and JJ throws in his signature shoe. Rhodes throws it away and elbows Tully in the head. A bunch of right hands bust open Blanchard’s head but there’s no referee. Tully is knocked down, allowing JJ to rub Vaseline on the cut to stop the bleeding. He also hands Dusty a roll of coins to knock Dusty out cold and bust him open for the title.

Rating: D-. This was about seven minutes of stalling and covering heads before the overdone ending. The referee bumps are getting really old at this point as there have been what, five or six so far on this show? Dusty continues to not have much in the ring aside from one good match with Flair last year. This was very little to see due to all of the stalling.

Midnight Express vs. Road Warriors

This is the scaffold match, meaning there’s a scaffold about fifteen feet above the ring and you have to knock your opponents off to win. The Express is Bobby Eaton and Dennis Condrey and they have Cornette and Bubba with them. On the other hand we have Hawk and Animal, the Road Warriors. These two were BEASTS who were basically indestructable and insanely popular.

Condrey thinks about going up to face the Warriors but climbs back down because he’s not that crazy. Cornette, who is legitimately terrified of heights, goes on a rant about how this isn’t civilized. Dennis and Bobby finally get up top and the punishment begins. The scaffold is maybe three feet wide and there are no railings on it at all so they can barely move up there. There are some railings at either end so at least there’s some safety up there.

The Express throws powder in the Warriors’ eyes to blind them which is pretty terrifying this high up. Hawk’s legs go over the edge but he crawls back up. Animal is laying down with one leg dangling over and Bobby winds up hanging from said leg. He manages to swing back over to the structure and climb back up as this continues. Condrey is cut open and tries to climb down the ladder but he gets rammed into the scaffold for his efforts by Hawk.

Condrey and Hawk get under the scaffold and kick at each other with Condrey trying to monkey bar away. Animal and Bobby join them and a few moments later the Express get kicked down, giving the Road Warriors the win. As someone who is scared of heights, my stomach can now calm down.

Rating: D+. This is a hard one to grade as it’s hard to criticize them for moving around so slowly given the fear of potential death involved. There’s only so much you can do that high in the air with no safety rails and they did as much as they could have. The Road Warriors would move on to feuding with the Horsemen soon after this.

Post match we get the famous part of the match as Cornette goes up top and runs into Animal. Cornette tries to climb down and winds up hanging from the bottom of the scaffold. He drops down…and Bubba isn’t there to catch him. Jim lands on his legs and basically destroys both of them, causing him problems for the rest of his life. Cornette tries to shout to Bubba to carry him to the back because his legs don’t work but his legs are so destroyed that he can’t get his point across. Animal later said in interviews that it was the funniest thing he’s ever seen.

World Tag Titles: Arn Anderson/Ole Anderson vs. Rock N Roll Express

The Express is defending and this is inside a cage. You win by pinfall here and have to tag in and out so it’s Robert Gibson vs. Ole to start, but everything breaks down in just a few seconds. Arn winds up in there with Robert and Gibson rams his head into the cage a few times to send Arn over for a tag. Off to Ricky vs. Ole but Ole gets kicked in the face, sending it back to Arn.

Things slow down a bit with Arn being afraid to go after Ricky again. Morton grabs the arm and it’s off to Robert for some arm work. He misses a running knee in the corner though and Arn goes after the leg. Ole comes in to cannonball down onto the leg before it’s back to Arn. Robert kicks him into the cage to counter a figure four, but Ole breaks up the hot tag to Ricky.

Back to Arn again as the leg work continues. It’s odd to see the Andersons working on a leg instead of an arm but it’s a limb nonetheless. Robert FINALLY hits an enziguri for the hot tag off to Morton, but Ole immediately sends him into the cage to stop him cold. Now we get to the arm work and things instantly feel better. Arn comes in to stomp Morton down and it’s back to Ole to whip Ricky shoulder first into the corner.

Off to an armbar as Ricky appears to be busted open. There’s the hammerlock slam from Arn but he makes the eternal mistake of going up top. Much like Flair, Arn has almost never been able to hit his shot off the top and it’s the same here. Morton punches him on the way down but Ole breaks up the tag yet again. A shoulder breaker gets two and Arn wraps the bar arm around the top rope. Ricky comes back with a clothesline and both guys are down.

Ole gets the tag and kicks Ricky in the arm to keep him down as the torment continues. Off to another armbar but Ricky gets in a shot to the ribs and several the head to come back. Arn takes Morton down yet again to prevent a tag before hitting the yet to be named spinebuster for two. Ole comes off the top for a knee into the arm and cranks on another armbar. Ricky is in big trouble here.

Back up and Ole collides with Ricky while running the ropes to put both guys down. Arn breaks up the tag (I’m having deja vu from typing that so many times) but Ricky headbutts him down and…..gets jumped by Ole. Out of nowhere Ricky grabs a small package for two as everything breaks down. Ole picks up Ricky for a slam but Robert dropkicks Ricky’s back and knocks him down onto Ole for the pin to retain out of nowhere.

Rating: B+. I really liked the curve ball they threw us in here by not having the hot tag which the standard tag team formula would suggest there would be. This was Playing Ricky Morton as I mentioned in last year’s show and it was done to perfection. He could take a beating like no one else could and the fans totally bought into it every time. Really good old school tag team match here.

We get a highlight reel of Magnum TA who had to retire at age 27.

NWA World Title: Ric Flair vs. Nikita Koloff

Koloff is US Champion coming in. The problem here again is that there’s no real reason for these two to be fighting but it’s all the NWA could do given the circumstances. The referee explains the rules to both guys and with a WOO from Flair we’re ready to go. Koloff easily shoves Flair down to start which doesn’t seem to surprise him. Nikita flexes at him and the champion heads to the floor to think this over. Back in and Nikita twists Flair’s hand around, sending Flair into chop move. Nikita just stares at Ric so the champ bails again.

Back in and Ric can’t hiptoss him, but Nikita can throw Flair around with ease. Flair is LAUNCHED across the ring in a few slams and it’s all Nikita so far. Off to a bearhug and Koloff leans forward with it for a few near falls. Flair pokes him in the eye to escape and hits a quick vertical suplex with no effect at all. Ric bails to the floor to think again before walking into a headlock. Flair goes to the eyes again and ducks the Russian Sickle, sending Nikita out to the floor, injuring his knee in the process.

They go back inside and Flair chop blocks the knee out as Ric is in his element. There’s the Figure Four and Flair grabs the rope for good measure. Nikita turns the hold over into the ropes for the break so Flair starts chopping away in the corner. Since Koloff’s upper body looks like he’s carved out of granite, those have almost no effect whatsoever. Flair instead sends him to the floor as the match slows down a bit.

The champion throws him back inside for a belly to back suplex before just pounding away at Nikita’s bald head. All the punches seem to do though is just wake Nikita up and he whips Flair into the corner and out to the floor. Flair is sent into the post and comes up bloody as is his custom. They head back in and Nikita hits a flying shoulder tackle and, say it with me, the referee gets knocked down.

The Russian Sickle hits but there’s no referee. Flair knees Nikita in the back and a second referee comes in for a two count, only to get nailed by the Russian Sickle. Two referee bumps in one match? I think we get the point already people. The first referee comes back in but gets shoved down and that’s finally the DQ.

Rating: B-. Eh that wasn’t bad. Seriously that’s about all there is to say here. Flair did this same match hundreds of times and here it happened to be against Nikita Koloff and end in a disqualification. At the end of the day, there was no feud here and they were doing the best they could. It’s certainly a good match and not at all something you’ll be bored out of your mind watching, but it pretty much comes and goes, like a lot of stuff tonight.

Post match a bunch of guys come out but no one can keep Nikita off Flair. They brawl for a good three minutes until Flair is dragged to the back to end the show.

Overall Rating: D+. Well they tried. At the end of the day though there was only one match that mattered on this show and it was ended as soon as Magnum wrapped his car around that tree. There was no way they were going to change the title here, even if it was likely the right move given the circumstances. It’s not the worst show ever, but there’s nothing on here that you might want to see aside from the cage match. Check out last year’s show again instead.

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3 comments

  1. John says:

    The Network version of this is FOUR HOURS LONG

    klunderbunker Reply:

    That was standard back in the day.

  2. Javier Torres says:

    If I remember correct the valiant Jones feud started around 1984.when the assassins cut his beard off.