Friday, January 13, 2017

Saturday TV: Tully beats Dusty for the National Championship

World Wide Wrestling 3/15/86 - Complete Show

This is one of my favorite World Wide shows of that era for a number of reasons, mostly having to do with the main event and the interview that followed.

The main event of Dusty Rhodes (with Babydoll) defending the National Heavyweight Championship against Tully Blanchard (with James J. Dillon) was actually not taped at the same time as the rest of the show. It took place a week earlier as a special match that followed a normal Mid-Atlantic/World Wide TV taping in Spartanburg, SC and was the main event of that local show, but not a part of the those TV tapings.

They had Ric Flair come out and do color commentary with Tony Schiavone and David Crockett which foreshadowed Flair's involvement in the finish. The crowd was insanely hot for this match, and the audio level of the commentary is such that the crowd pops often times drown out the commentators.

The finish is perfectly executed, and the after match where the Horsemen are holding Baby Doll for Flair to jump on her from the top rope is one of the craziest, most heated moments you will ever see. This was during a wonderful era where a lot of people still believed, and they were totally buying into this. And even if you knew better, it was easy to suspend your disbelief and get totally caught up in what was happening. This was also before the time where men typically got physical with women on TV wrestling, and so it made the prospects of Flair actually jumping on Baby Doll from the top rope more shocking.

The real payoff is the interview that follows the match, where host David Crockett is at his (wonderful) obnoxious best losing his mind with Tully Blanchard and Tully just totally puts him in his place, followed by a funny jab from J.J. Dillon, too. An absolute, not-to-be-missed classic.

Also on this show, tremendous promos from Ivan and Nikita Koloff and Magnum T.A. as that feud was just getting rolling, setting the stage for the eventual best-of-7 series between Nikita and Magnum that was still four months away.

What a great era to be a wrestling fan.