Monday, July 06, 2015

The First Great American Bash (1985)

Thirty years ago today, July 6, 1985, Jim Crockett Promotions presented the first Great American Bash event in front of a reported 27,000 fans at Memorial Stadium in Charlotte, North Carolina.

In the main event of the huge stadium show, Ric Flair defended the NWA world heavyweight championship against Nikita Koloff in what was called "The Freedom Challenge." David Crockett, who had been hit a few weeks earlier by Nikita Koloff's vicious "Russian cycle" clothesline during an interview, was assigned as the special referee.

Included here is some memorabilia from the event including a ticket stub and program cover. These original programs for this particular event are pretty hard to come by. Like all of the special event programs produced by the company in those years, the program was printed in full color on high quality medium-stock glossy paper.

The Japanese press covered the event and provided some great images from the matches and a few behind-the-scenes as well. We've included several of those pages here:

Ric Flair vs. Nikita Koloff (Click to enlarge.)

More Japanese wrestling magazine coverage and event results after the jump.....

1985 Bash Coverage Continued

Road Warriors vs. The Russians (Click to enlarge.)

Magnum vs. Kamala, Dusty vs. Tully (Click to enlarge.)

Here are the complete results from the 1985 Bash, from "The History of the WWE" website.

Great American Bash 85 - Charlotte, NC - Memorial Stadium - July 6, 1985 (27,000)

Featured an hour-long concert by David Allen Coe; during the concert, NWA World Champion Ric Flair, Dusty Rhodes, Jimmy Valiant, and NWA US Champion Magnum TA briefly joined Coe on stage, with Valiant helping out on vocals.

Ron Bass fought Buddy Landell (w/ JJ Dillon) to a 20-minute time-limit draw; after the bout, Bass applied the claw to Dillon until Landell pulled him from the ring

NWA National Tag Team Champions Ole & Arn Anderson defeated Buzz Sawyer & Dick Slater when Ole pinned Sawyer with an elbow drop to the back of the head behind the referee's back as Sawyer had Arn covered following a flying forearm

Manny Fernandez, Sam Houston, & Buzz Tyler defeated Superstar Billy Graham, the Barbarian, & Abdullah the Butcher when Houston pinned Graham with a small package

Jimmy Valiant (w/ Buzz Tyler) pinned Paul Jones (w/ Abdullah the Butcher) in a dog collar chain match with the elbow drop after Jones accidentally hit an interfering Abdullah with the chain; after the bout, Abdullah attacked Valiant until Tyler cleared the ring with a chair

AWA Tag Team Champions the Road Warriors (w/ Paul Ellering) fought NWA Tag Team Champions Krusher Khruschev & Ivan Koloff to a double disqualification after Kruschev hit Road Warrior Animal with a steel chair as Animal attempted to powerslam Koloff off the top, with the Road Warriors then using the weapon on Kruschev & Koloff; after the bout, the two teams continued to brawl until the Road Warriors cleared the ring

NWA US Champion Magnum TA defeated Kamala (w/ Skandar Akbar) via disqualification at around the 6:45 mark when Akbar broke the cover after the champion hit a bodyslam after Kamala missed a charge in the corner; after the bout, Kamala accidentally hit Akbar, with Magnum then dropping Kamala with the belly to belly suplex

NWA World Champion Ric Flair pinned Nikita Koloff (w/ NWA Tag Team Champion Ivan Koloff) when Flair held onto the top rope as Nikita tried to slam him into the ring, with Flair landing on top for the win; David Crockett was the guest referee for the match; after the bout, Nikita and Ivan double teamed Flair as the ring announcer asked the fans to stay clear of the ring; moments later, Nikita hit a Russian Sickle off the middle turnbuckle as Ivan held Flair up in the air; Sam Houston and other wrestlers tried to make the save but were beaten down as well; Nikita then knocked a bloody Flair to the floor with another Russian Sickle

Dusty Rhodes pinned NWA TV Champion Tully Blanchard (w/ Baby Doll) in a non-sanctioned steel cage match to win the title at 11:30 with a piledriver; after the bout, Magnum TA, Manny Fernandez, and several other wrestlers came out to congratulate the new champion; due to pre-match stipulations, Rhodes won Baby Doll for 30 days

Ticket stub image and Japan magazine coverage courtesy the collection of Brian Rogers.