Friday, June 12, 2020

Crockett Cup '85 Rolls On with Matches 5 and 6


Catching up? Here is the background info:
Tournament Announcement
Seedings and First Round Pairings

Updated brackets going into tonight's matches.
[Links to previous matches at the bottom of this post.]

THIS WEEK'S MATCHES (begin below)
Barbarian/Graham (w/ Paul Jones) vs. Hart Foundation (w/ Jimmy Hart)
High Flyers (Brunzell/Gagne) vs. Randy Savage and Lanny Poffo 
The 1985 Jim Crockett Sr. Memorial Tag Team Tournament is ready to begin. Wait, did you just say 1985? 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.

First Round Rules: Here are the rules for the first-round matches. A pool of referees from the NWA, AWA, and WWF have been appointed for the tournament and randomly selected for each match. 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 are being held over two nights, with the first eight matches taking place at the Baltimore Civic Center on Thursday April 11. Bob Caudle and David Crockett are calling the matches tonight. 
The first two matches saw Blackjack Mulligan and Wahoo McDaniel defeat Larry “The Ax” Hennig and “Crusher” Jerry Blackwell while Mega Maharishi and Kendo Nagasaki stole a win from Buzz Tyler and “Pistol” Pez Whatley. Matches three and four saw the WWF’s U.S. Express (Barry Windham and Mike Rotunda) defeated the AWA’s Nick Bockwinkel and Mr. Saito while New Japan Pro Wrestling’s Antonio Inoki and Seiji Sakaguchi defeated Montreal’s Raymond and Jacques Jr.  Rougeau. The next two matches should be just as good as the top teams from around the world compete for more than just bragging rights—they compete for the prestigious Jim Crockett Sr. Memorial Trophy and a cool one million dollars.

Tony Schiavone is backstage with the team of Randy “Macho Man” Savage and Lanny Poffo (joined by manager and father, Angelo Poffo). Tony interviews the brother team about their match against former AWA World Tag Team Champions Greg Gagne and Jim Brunzell. Angelo Poffo steps in and tells Schiavone that Poffo-mania has come from the center of the wrestling universe to this backwater territory in order to prove its dominance (Angelo may not make it out of the parking lot tonight after that crack). Randy Savage steps in telling Tony that the High Flyers are going to get shot down once they step into the danger zone with him and his brother. Randy says he hated working in Mid-Atlantic back in the 70s and he hates being back. Lanny, who is wearing a suit of armor, states Gagne and Brunzell were once a mighty team, but they’ll fall tonight thanks to Angelo’s scheme. Lanny Poffo seems to like his quip as the action returns to Bob Caudle and David Crockett at the announcer’s table.

5.  The Barbarian and Superstar Billy Graham with “Number One” Paul Jones vs. the Hart Foundation (Bret “The Hitman” Hart and Jim “The Anvil” Neidhart) with Jimmy “Mouth of the South” Hart: It’s a battle of two heel teams and the fans aren’t sure who to cheer before deciding to go with the home team, getting behind the Barbarian and Superstar Billy Graham. Bret Hart starts against Superstar Graham. Collar and elbow tie-up. The former WWWF Champion shows off his strength advantage, powering Hart into the corner. Hart looks a bit dazed and Graham moves in, only to get kicked in the gut. Headlock on Graham who escapes by whipping “The Hitman” into the ropes, knocking Bret down with a shoulderblock. Hart tags in Neidhart whose strength is more evenly matched.

Neidhart challenges Graham to shoulderblock him so the karate master bounces off the ropes and hits “The Anvil,” who lives up to his name. Graham tells Neidhart to try and he does the same with little results. Graham wants one more try and Neidhart gestures to try again. Graham bounces off the ropes again, but this time Neidhart applies a double-leg takedown. Neidhart starts stomping Graham as he laughs at his opponent’s blunder. Bodyslam by Neidhart onto Graham. Tag to Hart who performs a knee twist on the Superstar. Graham winces in pain as Hart places his leg on the bottom rope and drops a knee onto Graham’s leg. Memphis referee Jerry Calhoun steps in and starts counting as Hart steps on Graham’s chest, holding the top rope for leverage. Hart turns to Calhoun as Graham uses the ropes to get up, propping himself up against the ropes. Hart yells at Calhoun who tells him he’ll disqualify him if he doesn’t back off. Neidhart starts yelling too as Calhoun turns towards him. Hart steps in towards Graham and the Superstar plants a karate chop right to the throat. Hart crumbles to the mat and is flopping like a fish out of water. Bob Caudle notes that’s an automatic disqualification, but the referee was distracted by Hart’s partner.

Graham limps towards his corner, walking off the damage to his leg and tags in the Barbarian. Hart is still dazed as the Barbarian kicks him. Paul Jones encourages his men but it’s difficult to be heard with Jimmy Hart’s megaphone amplifying the already-considerable vocal power of “The Mouth of the South.”  The Barbarian lifts “The Hitman” up and slams him down hard to the mat. Using his incredible strength, the Barbarian picks Hart up and places him in a bearhug. Bob Caudle explains this move could wear Hart down quickly, regardless of his conditioning. Hart’s arms are free though and he has not qualms about raking the Barbarian’s eyes, forcing a break. However, this angers the Barbarian and he headbutts Hart down to the mat before choking him. Referee Jerry Calhoun starts the count and Barbarian breaks at four only to pause and start choking him again. Barbarian lifts Hart and whips him into the ropes. Somehow, Hart manages to hang on to the rope, avoiding a running big boot. Hart stumbles into the neutral corner as the Barbarian charges in only to get a raised boot from Hart. “The Hitman” gets up to the second rope and drops an elbow on the Barbarian, knocking him back. David Crockett can’t believe how quickly Hart has recovered as “The Hitman” slugs the Barbarian. Hart’s a house afire as he whips the big man into the ropes and catches him with a back body-drop. Bob Caudle says manager Paul Jones is looking concerned. Superstar Billy Graham decides to lend a hand, but “The Anvil” is ready, running in.

Things are heating up as all four men are in the ring slugging it out. Jerry Calhoun is trying to restore order as the pier-six brawl continues. Paul Jones gets up on the mat apron, as Bob Caudle speculates Jones may be trying to shout instructions over Hart’s megaphone-powered voice. All he does is draw the attention of referee Jerry Calhoun who Jones begins arguing with. Jimmy Hart tosses the megaphone to Neidhart, who clobbers Graham in the back of the head. The Barbarian turns around and goes after Neidhart, allowing Bret Hart to chop block the Barbarian. Neidhart grabs the Barbarian in a bear hug as Bret Hart bounces off the ropes and hits the clothesline—Hart Attack! Jimmy Hart yells for the referee while Paul Jones chases after “The Mouth of the South.” Calhoun turns around and makes the count and it’s over.

Winners: The Hart Foundation 
Jimmy Hart runs into the ring and congratulates his men as they bask in their first-round triumph.  

6. The High Flyers (“Jumping” Jim Brunzell and Greg Gagne) vs. Randy “Macho Man” Savage and Lanny Poffo: The action gets underway as Mid-South Championship Wrestling referee Carl Fergie signals for the bell. It’s Jim Brunzell locking up with “The Macho Man” as David Crockett says the Mid-Atlantic fans remember “Jumping” Jim from his run as Mid-Atlantic Championship Wrestling. Bob Caudle says Savage and Lanny are just one of several brother teams in the tournament including the legendary Terry and Dory Funk Jr., who each held the NWA World Heavyweight Championship.

Brunzell extends his hand before the match and Savage slaps Brunzell in the face. “Jumping” Jim responds with a slap of his own that knocks Savage on his back. As “The Macho Man” gets to his feet, Brunzell hits a beautiful dropkick and covers Savage. 1,2, Savage is close enough to the ropes that he gets his foot on the rope at the last second. Bob Caudle says this one could have ended right there if Brunzell had Savage in the corner of the ring.

Still dazed, Savage is helpless as Brunzell whips him hard into the babyface corner. Tag to Greg Gagne who locks up one of Savage’s arms. Tag to Brunzell who comes off the second rope, targeting Savage’s arm. Armlock as Brunzell turns it into a hammerlock, taking Randy down to the mat. “The Macho Man” is doing his best to escape, but can’t seem to get the right leverage. Finally, he manages to get his leg on a ring rope, forcing the break. “Jumping” Jim moves in to reapply the hold but Savage stops him with an eyerake, earning an admonition from the referee. Kick to the gut followed by a snapmare as Savage shakes his arm around. Incredible recuperative powers as Savage whips Brunzell towards his corner. However, Brunzell reverses and sends Savage towards the heel corner, nearly sending Savage into his brother. Brunzell makes the tag to Gagne as Poffo comes in.

Poffo goes for a collar-and-elbow tie-up only to hit a thumb to the eye. Punch knocks Brunzell into a neutral corner. Poffo motions for the clean break then knees Gagne in the midsection. Snapmare on Gagne as Poffo drops a knee across Greg’s face. Poffo shows off with a cartwheel before stomping Gagne in the head. David Crockett says the fans don’t know what to think of Lanny’s performance. Bob gently reminds Crockett that Lanny and Randy wrestled back in the area back in the 1970s. Bob says Greg Gagne isn’t a big fan as Poffo throws Gagne through the ropes. Gagne tries to come in and Poffo kicks him in the head, earning a warning from the referee. Poffo lets Gagne in and slams him into the corner. Poffo climbs to the top rope and hits a moonsault, covering Gagne. However, Brunzell breaks up the count.

Poffo whips Gagne into the ropes and as he bounces off the ropes, “The Macho Man” knees him in the back, sending Gagne to the mat. Poffo tags in his big brother who effortlessly hops over the top rope.  Savage slugs Gagne with a big right then slams him in his corner. Savage picks up Gagne and drops his neck onto the top rope. Savage climbs to the top rope with ease and delivers a flying axe handle to Greg just as he’s getting to one knee. Randy grabs Gagne’s head and slams it into the heel corner’s top turnbuckle.

Bob Caudle is impressed with Gagne’s resiliency as he’s been taking a beating for ten minutes. Tag to Lanny as the fast tags are taking their toll on Gagne, who can’t seem to catch a break. Lanny dropkicks Gagne, weakening the second-generation wrestler further. Lanny lifts Greg up for an atomic kneedrop, but unbeknownst to him (or perhaps simply a case of arrogantly not caring, he’s close to the babyface corner and Jim Brunzell makes the blind tag. “Jumping” Jim hits one of his legendary high-elevation dropkicks on Poffo, knocking him senseless. Savage runs in and gets dropkicked as well. Cover on Lanny Poffo as Carl Fergie makes the three-count and Gagne trips Savage in his last-ditch effort to break up the pin.

Winners: The High Flyers

After the match, Lanny Poffo awakens at King Arthur’s Court—that is until Papa Poffo throws a bucket of water on him and he wakes up in the dressing room. Angelo tells his sons they’d better get while the getting’s good as the Mid-Atlantic wrestlers are giving them the ‘ol hairy eyeball after their “backwater territory” comments. 

The 1985 Crockett Cup Continues 
Six matches in with twelve more remaining in round one. Join us next time as World Class Championship Wrestling’s Kevin and Mike Von Erich battle Mid-Atlantic villains Tully Blanchard and Abdullah the Butcher while Japan’s Genichiro Tenryu and Jumbo Tsuruta take on the WWF’s British Bulldogs (Davey Boy Smith and the Dynamite Kid).

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Tournament Announcement
Seedings and First Round Pairings Announced 
First Round: Matches 1 & 2
    Hennig/Blackwell vs. Mulligan/McDaniel
    Tyler/Whatley vs. Maharishi/Nagasaki
First Round: Matches 3 & 4
    Windham/Rotunda vs. Bockwinkel/Saito
    Rougeaus vs. Inoki/Sakaguchi
First Round: Matches 5 &6
    Barbarian/Graham vs. Hart Foundation (Hart/Neidhart)
    High Flyers (Brunzell/Gagne) vs. Savage/Poffo