Written By: Matt Peddycord
NWA The Great American Bash Tour 1986
July 5, 1986 & July 26, 1986
This is just a 2-hour tour highlights tape. I believe the only match in full is the Flair/Rhodes world title match from 7/26.
Your hosts are David Crockett and Tony Schiavone.
– Jimmy Valiant vs. Shaska Whatley (w/Paul Jones) – Hair vs. Hair Match (7/5 – Charlotte, NC, Memorial Stadium)
Shaska is Pez Whatley, but evil and a part of the Paul Jones Army. Man, this Valiant/Jones Army feud has been going on for over a year now. Whatley turned on Valiant and all THE GOOD WHITE PEOPLE OF EARTH after he was called a “black”. [white trash stereotype] Darn those colored people with their thin skin and thick skulls! [/white trash stereotype] He retaliates by cutting off a long lock of his nappy beard, hence the hair vs. hair match. If you’ve never seen Pez, think of Mid-South era Junkyard Dog with a slightly thicker afro. Not much wrestling involved here. Shaska beats up Valiant until he blades. Valiant fights out of a chinlock, but Jones pokes him in the face with the riding crop. Another extended beatdown on Valiant with Jones getting involved every now and then. Valiant starts to SHAKE IT LOOSE, but a headbutt from a black guy (oops, didn’t mean to offend!) will put any white man down. That gets two. A straight right plus an arrogant cover gets another two for Shaska. Another headbutt levels Valiant, but Whatley gets too cocky and misses the big elbow drop. Valiant hulks up, nails Jones, and hooks on the SLEEPER. Uhh, ref Earl Hebner gets bumped, but Tony and David don’t seem too concerned. Meanwhile, Baron Von Raschke runs in and breaks up the hold with his loaded black glove. Then he puts it on to possibly apply the CLAW to Valiant, but Manny Fernandez runs in and takes out Raschke. Now Valiant has the glove, and KO’s Shaska for 1-2-3. (13:00) Whatley gets his head shaved and now he looks like Bad News Brown! Those blacks – they all look alike! I hope you all know I’m kidding with these comments. It’s just so funny to me because I cannot imagine this stuff getting over in today’s world. ½*
– Jimmy Valiant (w/Manny Fernandez) vs. Paul Jones (w/Baron Von Raschke) – Hair vs. Hair Match (7/26 – Greensboro, NC, Greensboro Coliseum)
Paul Jones is DETERMINED to cut Valiant’s hair off, so he signs a matc to meet Valiant himself since nobody in his army can seem to pull it off. Jones brings a Abdullah the Butcher spike into the match, but Valiant gets it away from him and uses it on Jones. Raschke throws in the black glove to Jones, but Valiant has a loaded glove of his own and KO’s Jones. Manny and Raschke get into it, which prevents the count so Shaska sneaks in and blasts Valiant with a chair. Ref turns around and counts 1-2-3. (1:30 shown) Valiant takes it like a man and consciously gets his head shaved. Another lame *dash* o match. CRAP
– NWA National Champion Tully Blanchard (w/JJ Dillon) vs. Ronnie Garvin (w/Wahoo McDaniel) – Taped Fist Match (7/26, Greensboro, NC, Greensboro Coliseum)
I believe this is non-title. Blanchard and Dillon had hurt Garvin’s hand to the point he couldn’t wrestle without medical tape. In order to even the odds a bit, Blanchard gets his hands all taped up too and we’re going to have a fight. Ten three-minute rounds with thirty-second rest periods. Blanchard charges at Garvin before the bell and immediately gets KO’ed. Garvin controls the entire first round and nails Blanchard after the bell. The same happens in round two. In round three, Blanchard yanks Garvin into the corner and then starts to stomp away. Blanchard keeps up the pounding, which leads to a double-KO. Blanchard tries to sucker Garvin out to the floor, but Wahoo is there to put a stop to it and atomic drop Blanchard into a right hand by Garvin. Back in, Garvin regains control with right hands. JJ causes some mayhem as he throws water in Wahoo’s face and quickly hands Blanchard some brass knux. Garvin chases JJ around back over to Wahoo, who sends JJ into the ringpost. Back in the ring, Blanchard LEVELS Garvin with the knux and gets the ten-count for the win. (12:00 shown) What can I say, Blanchard is awesome. But this was just a boxing match, so I can’t really rate it. Fairly entertaining one though.
– The Road Warriors (w/Paul Ellering) vs. Ivan & Nikita Koloff – Russian Chain Match (7/5 – Charlotte, NC, Memorial Stadium)
Simple setup to this match: the Road Warriors hate Russians. Animal is chained up with Ivan, Hawk is chained up with Nikita. Typical chain match with everybody getting whipped, choked and beat on with chains. The Road Warriors pick up the win after Ellering shoves Ivan off the top as Animals covers for the pin. (6:00 shown) I’ve definitely seen better chain matches, but this was still pretty brutal stuff. *½
– The Rock n Roll Express vs. Ole & Arn Anderson – (7/26, Greensboro, NC, Greensboro Coliseum)
Finally! An actual wrestling match with actual wrestling! Winner gets an NWA tag titles shot against the Midnight Express. In case you’re wondering, this is during Arn’s first NWA TV title reign. Ole tries to bring Gibson into his corner to start, but Gibson slips away. Arn tags in and the MWC get sent out to the floor with dropkicks. Back in, Arn wants Morton and lets him know immediately that he’ll be going after the nose. You see, Flair and the Andersons shattered Ricky Morton’s nose a while back in one of those classic ‘80s moments. Arn can’t seem to get at Morton’s nose and tries to break him down instead with shoulderblocks to the gut. He whips Morton into the ropes, but he slides underneath Arn and trips him up so he’ll land on his nose. Morton follows up with a face plant and Arn rolls out to the floor. Ole tags in and manages to power Morton into his corner, but the guy slips away out to the floor. We JIP to about the 13-minute mark where Gibson makes a hot tag to Morton. He goes SLAM CRAZY, but Ole stop shim with a shoulderblock and a STOMP on the nose. While the ref is with Gibson and Ole, Arn pulls Morton out for an open shot right on the nose. NOSE PSYCHOLOGY~! Back in again, Ole grinds away on the nose and boy does that draw some heat. Arn tags in and dumps out Morton. Ole follows him out and pulls back on the nose with a camera strap! Back in once more, the Andersons deliver the FLYING KNEE DROP to Morton’s shoulder. Instead of making the cover, Ole wants to make Morton submit with that leveraged ARMBAR of his. WILL MORTON GIVE UP? No! Morton pounds away on Ole’s formerly broken leg, but Arn gets the blind tag. He cuts off Morton’s path to Gibson and drops the knee for 1-2-NO! Two minutes left in the time limit. Morton blocks a turnbuckle smash and gives one to Arn instead. He comes off the top for a flying crossbody for 1-2-NO! Ole breaks it up. Morton fights out of the corner at one minute left and then avoids a corner charge to make the HOT TAG TO GIBSON! Double-Noggin Knocker to the Andersons! SLEEPER is applied, but Arn won’t give it up as the 20-minute time limit expires. (13:30 shown) The RNRX must have gotten the upper hand somewhere within the next month because they regain the belts from the MX by mid-August. Classic stuff, and I’d love to see this in its entirety. ***¼
– Nikita Koloff (w/Ivan Koloff) vs. Magnum TA – Match #4 in the Best of Seven series for the vacant NWA U.S. title (7/26, Greensboro, NC, Greensboro Coliseum)
REPRIMAND THIS! Back in May, Magnum was stripped of the US belt for clotheslining NWA president Bob Geigel. The reason behind why he clotheslined Geigel? Well, Nikita insulted Magnum’s momma during the big contract signing for their match. A fight broke out and Geigel wanted to “publically reprimand” Magnum for conduct unbecoming of a champion. A pretty ridiculous thing to do on Geigel’s part if you ask me considering how much crap their world champion Ric Flair had done to people over the last year. Anywho, the belt became vacant and a best-of-seven series between Magnum and Nikita was set. Right now, Nikita is up three matches to none, so it’s a must-win night for Magnum. Koloff controls to start with a headlock, but Magnum powers out of it, which draws tremendous heat. Nikita backs Magnum into the corner to escape a keylock and buries his shoulder to the gut. Nikita takes over with a hotshot and a back elbow. Backbreaker gets two. Slam gets another two. Nikita follows up by dumping Magnum out to the floor from one side of the ring to the other. After the third toss, Magnum shoots back in with a sunset flip for 1-2-3! (7:50 shown) Tons of heat there. Surely that was edited because that finish was so random and anti-climatic. **½
– Dusty Rhodes, Magnum TA & Baby Doll vs. The Midnight Express & Jim Cornette (w/Big Bubba Rogers) –Cage Match (7/5, Charlotte, NC, Memorial Stadium)
The Midnight Express were coming close to the end of their first reign as the NWA tag champs at this point. Cornette did something terrible to Baby Doll, so she wants REVENGE! Cornette looks like he received Andy Kaufman’s tights in his will. The Midnights try to sucker Baby Doll into thinking Cornette is going to start, but Eaton runs at her and gets caught with an armdrag. Magnum comes in to meet Eaton. Bobby fires away, but Magnum takes over with a press slam and becomes a house-o-fire on the heels. We JIP to Cornette missing an elbow drop on Magnum to make the hot tag to Baby Doll? No! Dusty comes in and helps out with Bionic Elbows. It’s only temporary though as Magnum goes back to being face-in-peril. Eaton sends him into the cage and that’s a for sure blade job. Next up, Eaton climbs up and comes OFF THE CAGE with a single-sledge! Condrey tags in and covers for two. More face-in-peril stuff with nothing really happening of note. That is until Eaton tries another off the cage move and Magnum nails him on the way down! A sunset flip from Magnum causes a pier-six brawl. Cornette nearly runs into a Bionic Elbow, but then turns around into a right hand from Baby Doll for the 1-2-3. (6:40 shown) Dusty gets massacred down on the floor by Big Bubba and the MX while Magnum and Baby Doll are locked inside the cage. So THAT’S why they feud in the WWF. Kind of bland, but kudos go out to Eaton and Magnum for at least trying to work hard. **
– NWA World Champion Ric Flair vs. Dusty Rhodes – Cage Match (7/26, Greensboro, NC, Greensboro Coliseum)
Flair has gone through Road Warrior Hawk, Ricky Morton, Robert Gibson, Ron Garvin, Wahoo McDaniel, Magnum TA and Nikita Koloff during the Great American Bash tour and regained the title during all of those defenses – now he’s got to face Dusty with only a week left to go in the tour. Lots of cool little mind games being played in the early going by the masters. They lock up and Flair backs Rhodes in the corner, but he comes out peppering the champ with rights and a Bionic Elbow puts Flair down. Flair tries to toss Dusty into the cage, but it’s way too early for that and Dusty blocks with his foot. Flair whips out of an armbar, but Rhodes comes out with a hiptoss. They trade chops and Flair retreats to a corner. Flair goes low and chops away, but then Dusty reverses a corner whip and press slams (kind of) Flair to the mat. While Dusty is pounding away in the corner, ref Tommy Young tries to get Dusty out of the corner by blocking one of his punches so Flair seizes the moment and sneaks in a low blow. Dusty quickly comes back with a sleeper. It seems too early for that, but he’s just weakening Flair down for the BIG DUSTY ELBOW DROP! Cover, 1-2-NO! Flair goes low again to take control. Dusty meets the cage and he’s busted open just like that, followed by some old school cheese-grating cage action. Now that Flair has him hurt, he goes after Dusty’s ankle that he and the Andersons injured last year to set up their Starrcade ’85 REVENGE match. That leads to the FIGURE-FOUR in the middle of the ring. Back then, it still had huge credibility to win matches – but this time, Dusty turns it over and rolls into the ropes for the break. Rolling Knee Drop gets 1-2-NO! Flair sets Dusty up against the ropes and charges, but Dusty explodes off the ropes (or at least as quickly as Dusty can) with a Lariat! Cover, 1-2-NO! Flair’s foot was on the bottom rope. Flair chops, but it has no effect so he tries to climb out of the cage. Dusty stops that and bashes his head into the rim of the cage to bring him back down. Flair cowers away into the opposite corner to sucker Dusty in, but it doesn’t work and Flair goes face-first to the cage. Now both guys are busted open. Cheese-grating action follows. You know, I don’t think it’s a surprise that I hate David Crockett’s commentary along with most everyone else, but I think I kind of realize what he tries to do with his commentary. I believe at least in his mind that he’s trying to tell the story with as much suspense as possible. Almost like he’s telling a campfire ghost story, because he starts out really quiet and then HE GETS LOUDER and you’re supposed to get more excited about what’s happening. Maybe it works with cub scouts, but it doesn’t work with wrestling fans. But yeah, suspense. He’s terrible, but at least I think I’ve figured out whatever it is he thinks he’s doing. Flair tries to climb out again, but Dusty is there to bash his head some more into the cage. Flair gets crotched on the top rope and then receives more cheese-grating on the forehead. Dusty misses a punch on Flair up against the cage and hits the cage instead. Face miscommunication? Like an IDIOT, Flair heads up top and of course gets slammed down to set up the Dusty Rhodes Figure Four. Flair makes the ropes and then gets chopped like crazy from Big Dust, which leads to the Flair Flop. Dusty gets a backslide for 1-2-NO! Lariat and a BIG DUSTY ELBOW DROP gets 1-2-NO! D’oh! Flair tries to escape a third time, but then he kicks Dusty away and comes off with a flying crossbody ala Starrcade ’83 for 1-2-NO! Flair attempts to toss Dusty into the cage, but Flair goes instead for 1-2-NO! BIG DUSTY ELBOW DROP misses, but Flair goes for a slam and Dusty counters with a small package for 1-2-3! (22:00) Of course, Dusty would lose the belt back to Flair in a week or so like he always does. I think his longest NWA world title reign was like two months if I’m not mistaken. Good back-and-forth old school cage match from these two. This is on the Dusty Rhodes 3-disc set AND the Bloodbath cage match 2-disc set if you’re interested. ***
Final Thoughts: The first half doesn’t hold up well, but the second half has some really good action. If you can’t find this tape (like me), there’s always YouTube. I’ll go with thumbs in the middle for the Great American Bash ’86 Highlights Tour tape or GAB86HTT for short. It’s worth the watch, but it’s not required viewing.
31-year old currently living in Syracuse, New York. Longtime fan of the New York Mets, Chicago Bulls and Minnesota Vikings. Avid fan of professional wrestling and write reviews/articles on the product. Usually focusing on the old school wrestling.