Saturday, May 09, 2020

Crockett Cup '85: Fantasy Wrestling Tournament Coming Soon

by Mike Rickard
Mid-Atlantic Gateway Contributor

It’s time to take a look at one of wrestling’s biggest events from the mid-80s and see what they might have been like with a few historical alterations.

What if Jim Crockett Promotions hosted its tag team tournament the Crockett Cup in 1985 and included teams from promotions outside the National Wrestling Alliance (“NWA”)? First, let’s take a look at the tournament itself.

The Crockett Cup Begins
In 1986 Jim Crockett Promotions began one of its most interest concepts, the Jim Crockett Sr. Memorial Cup Tag Team Tournament (aka “The Crockett Cup”). As you likely remember, the tournament saw 24 teams competing for a kayfabe prize of one million dollars and a trophy. The tournament featured competitors from a number of National Wrestling Alliance territories and the finals saw the Road Warriors defeat Magnum T.A. and Ronnie Garvin.
The tournament saw some big names from around the world including stars from Jim Crockett Promotions, All Japan Pro Wrestling, the Universal Wrestling Federation, Central States Wrestling, and Continental Wrestling Association. It was a great experience for the fans who got to see some of the biggest names in tag team wrestling competing during the era sometimes referred to as “The Second Golden Age of Tag Team Wrestling.”

A Twist in Time
However, what if Jim Crockett decided to hold the tournament a year earlier and invited teams from every promotion to work the event? This would include the American Wrestling Association (AWA), New Japan Pro Wrestling, and even the World Wrestling Federation (WWF). Granted, the WWF would never work alongside its competitors under normal circumstances but there are several hypotheticals where it might happen. We’ll skip the plausible ones like Vince McMahon is hit by a bus and someone else takes control of the WWF. Instead, what if WrestleMania isn’t the smash success McMahon counted on and while he’s not in the poorhouse, he’s not in the catbird seat he envisioned. McMahon, who history has shown is good at showing remorse (recall how he tried to bury Joe Weider with his World Bodybuilding Federation but quickly got back in his good graces) convinces everyone he’s sorry for his aggressive business practices and when promoters realize how much money this event could make, they let bygones be bygones for the almighty dollar.     In the end, you can spin the circumstances leading to this momentous event any way you see fit (and if you’d like, email the Gateway about how you see the event happening).

One other important note, this tournament is completely kayfabe as any fan worth his salt knows it’s rare when two promoters, let alone a group like our assemblage try to hammer out who wins and who loses (can you say Pro Wrestling USA boys and girls?). As the saying goes, let the best man win (or here, the best tag team).

Now that we’ve got the preliminaries over, which teams will compete for the $1,000,000 prize and the prestigious Crockett Cup trophy? Let’s take a look at the teams, comprising some of the best duos from April 1985.

Championship Wrestling from Florida
Rick Rude and Jesse Barr 
Mark and Jay Youngblood
Blackjack Mulligan and Wahoo McDaniel
Mike Graham and B. Brian Blair

New Japan Pro Wrestling
Tatsumi Fujinami and Kengo Kimura
Antonio Inoki and Seiji Sakaguchi

All Japan Pro Wrestling
Bruiser Brody and Stan Hansen
Genichiro Tenryu and Jumbo Tsuruta
Dory Funk Jr. and Terry Funk

Jim Crockett Promotions
The Russians
Ole and Arn Anderson
Dusty Rhodes and Mystery Partner
The Barbarian and Superstar Billy Graham
Jimmy Valiant and Bugsy McGraw
Bret and Buzz Sawyer
The Oklahoma Cowboys: no one knows who these masked men are other than Jim Crockett has sanctioned their entry into the event.
Buzz Tyler and Pistol Pez Whatley
Manny Fernandez and Thunderbolt Patterson
Tully Blanchard and Abdullah the Butcher
Johnny Weaver and Sam Houston
The Rock-n-Roll RPMs

Central States
“Bulldog” Bob Brown and Marty Jannetty
The Batten Twins
American Starship

Lutte International
Raymond Rougeau and Jacques Rougeau Jr.

Pacific Northwest
Mega Maharishi and Kendo Nagasaki

Mid-South Wrestling
The Rock-n-Roll Express 
Ted DiBiase and Steve Williams

American Wrestling Association
The Road Warriors
The Fabulous Freebirds
Nick Bockwinkel and Mr. Saito
Larry Hennig and Crusher Blackwell
Greg Gagne and Jim Brunzell

Championship Wrestling Association
The PYT Express (Norvell Austin and Koko Ware)
The Fabulous Ones
Jerry Lawler and Bill Dundee
Randy Savage and Lanny Poffo

World Class Championship Wrestling
The Fantastics
The Midnight Express (Condrey and Eaton)
Kevin and Mike Von Erich
Gino Hernandez and Chris Adams

The World Wrestling Federation
The Iron Sheik and Nikolai Volkoff
Barry Windham and Mike Rotunda
The British Bulldogs
Jimmy Snuka and Ricky Steamboat
The Hart Foundation
Roddy Piper and Cowboy Bob Orton Jr.

World Wrestling Council
Luke Williams and Butch Miller

Join us next time as we look at the top sixteen seeded teams (who receive a first-round bye), the brackets for the first round, as well as the venues and much more.

Special thanks to everyone at the Mid-Atlantic Gateway for hosting this and giving me the chance to share this with my fellow wrestling fans.

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Mike Rickard is the author of "Wrestling's Greatest Moments", as well as the autobiographical "Laughing All the Way to the Bank (Robbery): How An Attorney Survived Prison" and the novel "Flunky: Pawns and  Kings." His website is located at