Friday, May 15, 2020

Crockett Cup '85: First Round Matches and Byes Announced

by Mike Rickard
Mid-Atlantic Gateway Contributor

Don't miss the Tournament Announcement 

It’s time to take a look at one of wrestling’s biggest events from the mid-80s and see what it 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”) including the World Wrestling Federation (WWF), the American Wrestling Association (AWA), New Japan Pro Wrestling (NJPW), All Japan Pro Wrestling, and more? In this case, you’d have 48 of the greatest tag teams in the world battling in a winner take all tournament for $1,000,000 and the prestigious Jim Crockett Sr. Memorial Cup Trophy.

Last week we saw the 48 teams and now it’s time to see which teams will receive a first-round bye as well as the line-up for the first round.

Keeping with kayfabe, Pro Wrestling Illustrated’s team of editors have worked diligently to seed the best of the best (Note: The first-round byes are not seeded in terms of which team is better than the next. For example, Rick Rude and Jesse Barr’s ranking at number one does not mean they are considered superior to the other 15 teams.


  1. Rick Rude and Jesse Barr (their reign as NWA United States Tag Team Championship in Championship Wrestling from Florida has earned them a bye). 
  2. The Russians (Ivan Koloff and Nikita Koloff): The Russian team’s reign as NWA World Tag Team Champions (and Six-Man Champions) cement their spot here.
  3. Ole and Arn Anderson: This team’s high rankings in Mid-Atlantic Championship Wrestling’s tag team division makes them an easy pick for a bye. 
  4. The Oklahoma Cowboys (This masked duo is an unknown to everyone but Jim Crockett, Jr. who has sanctioned their entrance into the tournament and apparently pulled some strings to get them a first-round bye).
  5. The Rock-n-Roll Express (Ricky Morton and Robert Gibson): Mid-South Tag Team Champions Ricky and Robert are in the tail end of their last tag reign in Bill Watts’s highly competitive promotion. 
  6. The Road Warriors (Hawk and Animal): The AWA World Tag Team Champions might be ranked at number one if this was a traditionally seeded tournament. 
  7. The Fantastics (Tommy Rogers and Bobby Fulton): The Fantastics high rankings in World Class Championship Wrestling has earned them a bye.
  8. The Iron Sheik and Nikolai Volkoff: The current WWF Tag Team Champions just defeated Barry Windham and Mike Rotunda at WrestleMania and look to be dominant.
  9. The Fabulous Freebirds (Michael Hayes, Terry Gordy, and Buddy Roberts—the NWA is barring the team from invoking “Freebird Rule” which means the Freebirds will have to select two members for the second round and stick with their choice. However, their record of success including several top championships (and high ranking in the AWA) earn them a bye.
  10. Bruiser Brody and Stan Hansen: The dominant team of Brody and Hansen held All Japan Pro Wrestling’s Pacific Wrestling Federation World Tag Team Championship for over a year until Brody left All Japan in March 1985. 
  11. Tatsumi Fujinami and Kengo Kimura: This highly successful New Japan Pro Wrestling team are ranked high and one of the highest-ranked international teams in our tournament. 
  12. The PYT Express (Norvell Austin and Koko Ware): Memphis’ Continental Wrestling Association has seen the PYT battling the Fabulous Ones over the promotion’s Southern Tag Team Championship and their status as current champions is likely why they’re receiving a bye rather than the Fabulous Ones.
  13. Dory and Terry Funk: The only brothers to hold the NWA World Heavyweight Championship, Dory Funk Jr. and Terry Funk are also an accomplished and highly decorated tag team, hence their bye. 
  14. Dusty Rhodes and Mystery Partner: Some of the teams in the tournament are questioning why Dusty and his mystery partner get a bye, but their concerns will be dispelled when they see the team debut in round two.
  15. The Midnight Express (Bobby Eaton and Dennis Condrey): Current NWA American Tag Team Champions Bobby Eaton and Dennis Condrey are highly ranked, not just in World Class Championship Wrestling, but the entire NWA. 
  16. “Bulldog” Bob Brown and Marty Jannetty: Current NWA Central States Tag Team Champions Brown and Jannetty feature a classic team involving experience (Brown) and youth and have earned the final spot in the byes. 

First Round Rules: 
Here are the rules for the first-round matches. The first-round matches have a thirty-minute time limit and are sanctioned under NWA rules (throwing an opponent over the top rope is an automatic disqualification). The matches are one fall with a win obtained by a pinfall, submission, count-out, or disqualification.

The first-round matches will be held over two nights, with the first eight matches taking place at the Baltimore Civic Center on Thursday April 11. The final eight matches of round one will take place at the Norfolk Scope on Friday April 12. Let’s review the line-up for the first night of round one:

First Round Matches
Round One. Night One:
  1. Larry Hennig and Crusher Blackwell vs. Blackjack Mulligan and Wahoo McDaniel
  2. Buzz Tyler and Pistol Pez Whatley vs. Mega Maharishi and Kendo Nagasaki
  3. Barry Windham and Mike Rotunda vs. Nick Bockwinkel and Mr. Saito
  4. Raymond and Jacque Rougeau vs. Antonio Inoki and Seiji Sakaguchi
  5. The Barbarian and Superstar Billy Graham vs. the Hart Foundation (Bret “The Hitman” Hart and Jim “The Anvil” Neidhart)
  6. The High Flyers (“Jumping” Jim Brunzell and Greg Gagne) vs. “Macho Man” Randy Savage and Lanny Poffo.
  7. Kevin and Mike Von Erich vs. Tully Blanchard and Abdullah the Butcher
  8. Genichiro Tenryu and Jumbo Tsuruta vs. the British Bulldogs

Round One. Night Two:
  1. Mike Graham and B. Brian Blair vs. Ted DiBiase and Steve “Dr. Death” Williams
  2. Jimmy Valiant and Bugsy McGraw vs. Jerry “The King” Lawler and “Superstar” Bill Dundee
  3. “Rowdy” Roddy Piper and “Cowboy” Bob Orton Jr. vs. Manny Fernandez and Thunderbolt Patterson
  4. The Rock-n-Roll RPMs (Tommy Lane and Mike Davis) vs. Mark and Jay Youngblood
  5. The Dynamic Duo (Chris Adams and Gino Hernandez vs. American Starship (Starship Eagle and Starship Coyote)
  6. Brett and Buzz Sawyer vs. Jimmy “Superfly” Snuka and Ricky Steamboat
  7. The Batten Twins (Bart and Brad) vs. The Fabulous Ones (Stan Lane and Steve Keirn)
  8. Johnny Weaver and Sam Houston vs. The Sheepherders (Luke Williams and Butch Miller)

Join me next time as round one begins. With 32 teams fighting to advance to round two, you can bet there will be some fierce battles.

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Previous Posts in Crockett Cup '85 Tournament
Tournament Announcement