By Ervin Griffin, Jr. and Matt Benaka
Part 10: 13 days
After laying out the Road Warriors on national television (I know it was 4 VS. 2 but that was an awesome sight!!! I mean, there was a time that 4 VS. 2 would've meant that the four was OUTNUMBERED when the two were the Road Warriors), Flair embarked on a title series during the Great American Bash tour in 1986. Flair signed to meet the top contenders to the NWA World Title at every night of the Bash during the month of July. This list of challengers included Road Warrior Hawk, Road Warrior Animal, Nikita Koloff, Magnum TA, Dusty Rhodes (twice), Ron Garvin, Wahoo McDaniel, Robert Gibson and Rick Morton.
Flair survived with his NWA Title intact until the 12th Bash in Greensboro, NC. That night, he met Dusty Rhodes in a steel cage match for the belt. Two significant points here is that this was the third time during the Bash that Flair and Rhodes met one on one and this would be the second time in NWA history that the NWA World title would change hands in a cage!! I say that because on that night, Dusty Rhodes defeated Ric Flair to win his third (and final) NWA World Championship. Rhodes would only hold the belt for two weeks after that as Ric Flair regained the title on August 9, 1986 in St. Louis, MI (not too far from where Flair won his first NWA title from Rhodes five years before). This change had a story to it however as, two nights before, Flair and Tully Blanchard had injured Dusty's left leg and knee severly in Kansas City, MI (the site of Flair's first title win against Rhodes).
Flair would escape the summer with the NWA title intact save the two weeks he lost it. But, in October, a familiar foe would resurface. A foe that came so close in not only winning the NWA title but in ending Flair's career in 1985. See below for the name of the next chapter.
Next: Nikita Koloff
If you have a question, comments, criticism, or just want to talk pro wrestling, e-mail me at email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org
Ervin Griffin Jr. is Solie's resident historian and also contributes to the Ringside Insider on a regular basis. Many of his previous articles are available in the
The preview program was kind of weird because the sound track was out of synch.
Live from Worcester, Massachucetts. WCW Slamboree is on the air.
The announcers are making a big deal out of the preparations for the arrival of Vince McMahon, should he choose to accept Eric Biscoff's challenge to a match.
Fit Finley vs. Chris Benoit - TV Title match - the two get into a shoving match to start the contest. Actually they are fairly evenly matched in experience and ability. Finley was a Carnival wrestler in Ireland and England which means he is used to accepting challenges from any and all comers. The opening moments are largely a stalemate. Both guys are double-tough and very aggressive wrestlers. Benoit tries for an early pin off of a hip toss but it is way too soon. Benoit's tilt-a-whirl back breaker gives him his first opening but Finley comes roaring back. This is a very high-impact match. The fight goes out to the floor where Finley takes control with authority. Benoit is on the receiving end of a scoop slam on the concrete. Finley follows up with a standing clothesline. Back in the ring Finley delivers a full two-footed stomp on his opponent then slaps on a camel clutch. Benoit powers out and drops Finley on his back. The Champ recovers quickly and almost executes a successful backslide pinfall. Benoit is up and chopping away until Finley puts a finger in his eye. Finley rests with a reverse chinlock. He unhands his opponent to deliver an elbow to the top of his head and then grabs the hold again. Once more he drops th elbow then kicks him in the back. He rolls Benoit to the apron and jacks his jaw on the edge. Outside the ring again, Finley tries to use a chair but Benoit blocks it and delivers a chair shot of his own. Benoit is up in a flash and dives off the apron but meets the chair head first. Back in the ring, Finley is firmly in the driver's seat again. He drops an elbow on Benoit's kidney then stomps on it. The reverse chinlock is slapped on again. Benoit gets to his feet and is flung to the corner where Finley rushes in and strikes the pole. Benoit comes back with a series of three German suplexes. He goes for the Crossface but Finley is in the ropes. He downs the champ again and goes to the top. Uh oh - here comes Booker T. Benoit is distracted and blindsided. Back in the ring, Benoit executes a suprise inside cradle but fails to get the pin. Finley is still stronger and in a flash has Benoit positioned for the Tombstone. It's all over. Finley retains the title.
A look in the back at Chris Jericho with the online crew reveals that the sound is still out of synch.
Lex Luger vs. Brian Adams (w/Vincent) - Adams attacks before the bell but gets ejected from the ring by Lugers come back. Luger goes out after him and steps up his assault. Adams is reeling right off the bat until he pokes Luger in the eye. Luger comes right back but Vincent gets involved and distracts him momentarily, which allows Adams a respite. Back in the ring, Adams is still in trouble but here comes Vincent again onto the apron. The distracted Total Package falls victem to a pile driver but can't be pinned so quickly. The fight goes to the outside again and this time Adams holds the cards. He delivers some heavy shots then takes it back inside. Adams puts the boots to his opponent and then drops a series of big legs. Luger finally gets back to his feet and kicks Adams as he ducks his head. Vincent tries to distract Luger again but the Package knock him off the apron and then puts Adams into the Rack to win.
Saturn is shown in the back and says there will be no gauntlet match tonight. He has decided to let Raven fight his own battle and declares himself to be on his own from now on. Interesting...
It's time for the Cruiserweight Battle Royal to determine the contender for Chris Jericho's Title later tonight. Jericho interrupts the introductions to say that he will make the announcements himself. The participants include, Cyclope, Super Calo, Juventud Guerrero, Chavo Guerrero, Psychosis, Silver King, Johnny Swinger, Villano IV, El Dandy, Marty Jannetty, El Grio, Kidman and Lenny Lane.
This is hard to call of course so I will just try to tell you who is eliminated. First out of the ring is Even Courageous (whose name I missed in the paragraph above). Next out is Johnny Swinger. Super Calo is drop kicked off the top and eliminated by Juventud. Silver King is out next. El Grio takes a spectacular dive over the top rope to the floor and is out. Jannetty goes out. Dameon (another one I missed at the beginning) eliminates somebody then is tossed out by Juvey. El Dandy is eliminated by Chavo. Kidman is taking a lot of grief from Chavo but manages to lever him out and eliminates Guerrero. Juvey tosses Psychosis out leaving Juvey and Cyclope. Suddenly Juvey eliminates himself! What the hell..? Cyclope unmasks and it is Dean Malenko!!
The Cruiserweight Title match is on almost immediately as Jericho hits the ring. The action is fast and furious as the match goes outside then goes back into the ring. Juvey is cheering Malenko on at ringside. For his part, Malenko is a house afire until Jericho springboards him onto the top rope. Jericho seems momentarily confused then attacks with authority. He has the drop on Malenko now and is relentless but can't seem to put his opponent away. Malenko comes back and blocks a Lion Tamer attempt with a leg submission hold of his own - but Jericho in in the ropes. Now the match is see-sawing. They are toe-to-toe in the center of the ring. They separate then struggle for position on the top turnbuckle and Malenko gets a fireman's carry to a back-breaker off the top. He slaps on the Texas Cloverleaf. Jericho is fighting it and crawling towards the ropes but Malenko drags him back to the center of the ring and forces him to submit. Malenko is the new Cruiserweight Champion!!
In the back we see a white limosine pull up and park outside the parking lot.
Diamond Dallas Page vs. Raven (w/the riot squad) - Bowery Death Match in an enclosed Cage - there are trash cans hanging inside the cage. DDP comes on very aggressive from the get-go. Raven takes it then flings his opponent head first into one of the trash cans. We can see that the cans are stuffedwith weapons. Theres a chair, a fire extinquisher, pots and pans and other items. There is also a VCR and a bullrope. Ravebn is distracted unloading all this plunder and gets blindsided by DDP. He ties a noose in the bullrope and loops it over Raven's head. After flinging his carcass around some he hangs Raven up from the top of the cage then drops him. The referee starts a ten count but Raven is up at seven. DDP brains him with the VCR as the crowd chants "ECDub!!" Raven comes back and downs DDP. Both are down for a bit then Raven gets up and uses a trash can on his opponent. He waits with a cookie sheet in hand for DDP to rise so he can hit him repeatedly with it. Next he sets up a chair but his distraction allows DDP to recover and strike back. In the scuffle, the referee is smashed into the corner by both wrestlers. Here comes flock members with bolt cutters. They elbow their way past the riot squad and cut off the chain that locks the door. Hammer appears from under the ring with a stop sign and lays waste to the flock. He handcuffs Reese to the guardrail before being pursueded to leave. Now two of the riot guys are in the ring and unmasking to reveal Kidman and Horace Boulder! Kidman gets Diamond Cut, Horace is ejected then Raven Diamond Cuts Page! He puts on his DDT then gets ready to use a chair but DDP recovers. They struggle again and this time it is Page who gets his finisher. The recovered referee counts to ten and DDP is the winner. Outside the ring a member of the Riot Squad goes around handcuffing the Flock members to the cage then attacks Raven and cuffs him as well. In fact he uses two sets of cuffs to set Raven up spreadeagle. He threatens Raven with a chair then takes off his helmet. It's Mortis!! He then unmasks and reveals himself to be the vendor who attacked Raven a while back!!
We look outside to see that the mysterious limo has moved. The announcers are hinting that it is Vince McMahon or someone else from the WWF. We see that security personnel are carrying flyers with pictures of Vince and DX members.
Ultimo Dragon vs Eddie Guerrero (w/Chavo, Jr.) - this match will determine whether Chavo must continue to be a stooge for his uncle. Aside from the angle considerations this should be an excellent match. It is very fast paced from the get-go and pretty even. Dragion's first attempt at his kicking machine combination is ducked by the wily Guerrero. They go at it furiously then Dragon tries again and succeeds in putting his opponent down. So far this has ben largely a scientific match. Slowly Guerrero is pulling ahead and slowing the pace down as he does so. The fight goes to the outside and the Dragon is flung into the guardrail. Eddie uses a TV cable to choke his opponent. Chavo is there to break it up and they have words. Back in the ring the two combatants struggle for position on the top turnbuckle. Eddie loses the contest and lands straddling the top rope. Back on the mat, the Dragon uses a crucifix to get a back drop then throws a moonsault that connects. But Eddie is back with a Tornado DDT (Chavo's finisher) but can't get the pin. They struggle again and the Dragon gets a Dragon sleeper -but somehow Eddie reverses it. He tries to use the ropes for leverage but Chavo throws his legs off. They are arguing as Dragon tries to hit Eddie from behind. He gets Chavo instead and the is distracted and pinned by Eddie. Afterward the Guerreros argue then Chavo snaps and attacks the Dragon. Eddie pulls him off and makes his nephew come to heel.
Saturn vs. Goldberg - US Title match - apparently Saturn has gotten his way so this is a singles match. Saturn tries to tie up the Champ but is thrown off. He comes back with a more aggressive attack but that is ineffective as well. Goldberg shrugs him off and then gorilla presses him. Saturn rolls out of the ring to regroup. Goldberg tries to reach out for him but gets suckered and Saturn is in control for the first time until he makes the mistake of slapping his opponent. Goldberg unleashes his fury and Saturn is in trouble. Saturn goes out again and Goldberg follows him out. The ringside area is Saturn's neighborhood and he manages to assume control again. Back in the ring he applies a sleeper but is having trouble holding Goldberg. He is thrown off by sheer power but comes back with a swinging neck breaker. This is definitely Goldberg's greatest test yet as Saturn re-applies the sleeper. Goldberg struggles free again so Saturn beats on him some more then sets up a chair. He springs off the chair but Goldberg spears him in mid-air! The Jackhammer proves lethal for Saturn.
Michael Buffer announces the next match.
Eric Bischoff is introduced as the first participant - apparently they plan to go through with the Bischoff/McMahon farce. Buffer then introduces Vince McMahon but no one appears. Buffer re-introduces McMahon who still doesn't appear (like we knew he wouldn't). Bischoff says that Vince will have to be counted out and invites the crowd to join him in the count. They comply and Eric has his hand raised. Well, that was pretty stupid...
Buffer remains in the ring to introduce the next match.
Bret Hart vs Randy Savage - Buffer can't seem to get Hart's last name out for some reason during his intro. He then brings Piper down as the special referee for this match. Hart lingers out on the floor after the bell rings so Piper goes out and tosses him in. After the initial flurry, Hart takes the advantage but then uis forced out of the corner by Piper. Thus distracted, Hart is blindsided by Savage and the tables turn. Now Piper is trying to restrain Savage's brutality. Hart comes back and re-assumes control. He starts attacking the legs of his opponent, obviously setting up for the Sharpshooter. The match goes out to the floor where Hart tries to use the ringsteps but misses his target. This give Savage his opening and he comes back strong. They brawl out into the crowd with Piper following in their wake.
They eventually make their way back to the ring where Hart steps up his assault. He continues to work on Savage's bad leg. Tony tells us that Scott Hall has arrived in the arena. Meanwhile Savage is in real trouble now. Piper is staying out of it for the most part. Hart gets a pile driver and goes for a cavelier cover that fails. He executes a DDT then pauses to jaw with the fans at ringside. Back on the attack, he stands Savage up in the corner and puts the boots to his gut. He executes the backbreaker over the knee then goes for his elbow off the second rope and misses. Savage comes back despite being half crippled. He climbs the corner and delivers the big elbow but can't follow up fast enough. He has injured himself in the leap. Hart slaps on the Sharpshooter as Liz shows up at ringside. Somehow Savage reverses the move and applies it himself! Liz is in the ring and accosting Piper. Hart escapes and shoves Piper from behind then he has a weapon in his hand. He cheapshots Savage then hits Piper with the weapon. He turns to Savage who struggles with him and gets possesion of the object. But then Hollywood Hogan appears at ringside and attacks Savage's bad leg. Hart slaps on the Sharpshooter again and makes Savage submit.
The Outsiders (w/Dusty Rhodes) vs. Sting/Giant - sure enough Scott Hall makes his appearance after an absence of several months. Hall takes his survey and is pleased with the results. The Giant enters alone to nWo theme music then Sting is introduced to his own funereal air. Hall throws his toothpick in Sting's face who returns, strangely, with the Wolf Pack (DX) hand gesture. They lock up and Hall wins the first struggle with a chokeslam. Hall turns to taunt the Giant and gets blindsided by Sting. Two Stinger splashes later and Sting tries to set the Scorpion but Nash breaks that up. Giant comes in and ejects Nash. Sting creams Hall then tags in the Giant. Hall back pedals and then tags in his partner. The two big guys face off. Nash gets the inmmediate advantage and goes for the powerbomb but the Giant powers out of it. Nash returns to the attack and the trade clotheslines in their respective corners. The Giant backs Nash into a corner and squashes him three times. Nash is out on the mat but the Giant is showing some typical nWo arrogance and not going for the pin. Sting tags in and is suckered into the corner. He gets free and goes for a flying body tackle but gets caught in mid-air by Hall and slammed, fall away style. Hall continues his assault only stopping from time to time to taunt the Giant. Nash is in now and they double team the Stinger. They are exchanging regularly and taking it too the former World Champ. Nash is in a applies a bear hug for several moments until Nash staggers back and puts Sting in range for a tag. The Giant comes in and attacks Nash unawares. Sting falls out of the ring as the Giant pounds Nash down. He drops a Hogan-style leg drop. He fails at the pin attempt so then he climbs to the top and leaps...and misses. The Giant is down and Nash is going for the Powerbomb as Dusty distracts the referee. Suddenly Scott Hall comes in with a Title belt and brains Nash!!! Giant pins him and the Titles have changed hands. Hall and the Giant embrace then the Giant tells Sting to make his choice. We cut to a promo for the next PPV.
And that is it. As the promo ends it becomes clear that the PPV is over. There were a few surprises. Finley retaining his title. Malenko's appearance and Hall's defection (although the latter two were the subject of Internet rumors all week). All in all not a bad show. The McMahon/Bischoff thing was just stupid though. Eric should have left that one where it was...
At least that's the way I see it...
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