Wednesday, June 24, 2020

Crockett Cup '85 Continues: Matches 7 and 8


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.]

The Von Erich vs. Blanchard/Abdullah the Butcher
Tenryu/Tsuruta vs. The British Bulldogs

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.

Matches So Far:  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) defeat 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. Match five saw the WWF’s Hart Foundation score a controversial win over Mid-Atlantic Championship Wrestling’s the Barbarian and Superstar Billy Graham. In match six, the AWA’s “High Flyers” (“Jumping” Jim Brunzell and Greg Gagne) defeated Memphis’ CWA promotion’s brother team of Randy “Macho Man” Savage and Lanny Poffo. The next two matches promise to be instant classic as they compete for more than just bragging rights—they compete for the prestigious Jim Crockett Sr. Memorial Trophy and a cool one million dollars. (Links to all previous matches at the bottom of this post.)

Tony Schiavone is backstage with the British Bulldogs, Davey Boy Smith and the Dynamite Kid. Schiavone says both wrestlers are two talented young men who have impressed fans wherever they wrestle. Dynamite says it’s wonderful to be here tonight and he hopes the fans will cheer them on. Davey Boy Smith tells Tony they’ve wrestled in Japan and they know some of the world’s best teams hail from there. They’re not going to take Genichiro Tenryu and Jumbo Tsuruta lightly.

Kevin and Mike Von Erich vs. Tully Blanchard and Abdullah the Butcher
It’s time for another brother duo as Kevin and Mike Von Erich clash with the odd pairing of Tully Blanchard and Abdullah the Butcher. Kevin and Tully start for their respective teams with Tully extending his hand. Kevin hesitates but shakes Blanchard’s hand. Collar and elbow tie-up. Blanchard gets the advantage and positions Kevin against the ropes, giving him a clean break. The two lock up again with Tully going for a waist lock as Kevin reverses it. The two are close to the corner and the referee orders a break, with Blanchard giving another clean break. David Crockett says he’s surprised by Blanchard’s unusual show of sportsmanship. Right now, it looks like a wrestling match Bob Caudle says as Blanchard applies a side headlock on Kevin. As Kevin seems to be getting out, Blanchard grabs a handful of Kevin’s long locks and pulls him to the mat. WWF referee Gilberto Roman warns Blanchard about the hair and he says it won’t happen again. Tully switches things up and knees Kevin in the gut as they go to lock up. Kevin fires off with a series of punches that knocks Blanchard into a neutral corner. Hip toss by Von Erich as Blanchard comes out and Kevin applies a front headlock on Tully on the mat. Tully slips out and applies a go-behind as Kevin tries to escape. Blanchard releases the hold and drops a knee on Kevin’s back. Tully picks up Kevin and slams him to the mat. Tully drops an elbow on the back of Kevin’s neck. Tully applies a front facelock and goes to wear Kevin down.

The fans start clapping and cheering Kevin. Bob Caudle notes the fans need no excuse to get behind the Von Erichs as they hate Blanchard and Abdullah. Tully continues the facelock until Kevin begins to rally. David Crockett tells Bob he’s never seen a wrestler work barefoot but Bob reminds him about Jimmy “Superfly” Snuka. David quickly changes the subject and marvels at Von Erich’s athleticism. Kevin is on his feet but Tully grabs him by the hair again, yanking him down to the mat.

Tag to Abdullah and Tully grabs Kevin’s arms while the Butcher unloads with some chops. Abdullah rakes his nails across Kevin’s back then takes his face and runs it down the ropes, with Bob Caudle saying that will inflict a lot of pain. Kevin grabs his face as Abdullah chops him then headbutts him down to the mat. The Butcher whips Kevin towards the heel corner where Tully is ready to tag.

Blanchard whips Kevin into the ropes and goes for a back body-drop, but Kevin manages to lift a knee, knocking Blanchard down. Kevin is on rubber-leg street though and stumbles backward into a neutral corner. Tully quickly regroups and picks Kevin up, going for a suplex, but Kevin blocks it. Tully tries it again, but Von Erich blocks it again then reverses it. Both men are down as Gilberto Roman begins counting both men. Kevin gets to his feet and tags in Mike as the fans cheer.

Mike runs in and grabs Tully, whipping him into the ropes and hitting a big back body-drop on Blanchard. Mike whips Tully into the babyface corner and he crashes hard. Kevin slugs Tully as the referee admonishes him for the fisticuffs. Mike rams Tully’s head into the turnbuckle and tags in Kevin. Kevin whips Tully into the ropes and applies the Von Erich Claw!
Kevin has the claw on Tully in the center of the ring. Bob Caudle says things are looking bad for Tully as he drops to one knee. David Crockett shouts “Here comes Abdullah!” as the Butcher drops a forearm across Kevin’s back. Mike runs in and slugs away at Abdullah. Tully is still woozy as he Kevin whips him into Abdullah, dazing the “Madman from the Sudan.” Tully is down on the mat as Kevin climbs to the top rope and hits a flying bodysplash, covering Blanchard for the 1-2-3. The Von Erichs advance to round two.

Winners: Kevin and Mike Von Erich

After the match, Abdullah and Tully decide to take out their frustrations by beating down the Von Erichs. Tully throws Kevin over the top rope with Von Erich crashing hard outside the ring. Abdullah begins brawling with Mike who is fighting back until Tully joins in, with the numbers game quickly catching up. The Butcher pulls out a fork and starts carving up Mike’s forehead and he’s busted open. Kevin tries to get in the ring but Tully stomps him in the head. The fans cheer as the Italian Stallion, Rocky King, and Mike Jackson run in for the save, but Tully and Abdullah beat them down before going back to slicing and dicing poor Mike. Finally, Kevin rolls in with a steel chair, causing the heels to take a powder. Bob Caudle says Mike is looking bad as a ringside physician comes in to check on him. David Crockett says Blanchard and Abdullah may have lost the match, but they may have taken Mike Von Erich out of the tournament.

Genichiro Tenryu and Jumbo Tsuruta vs. the British Bulldogs
It’s a huge match-up with two Japanese superstars battling two of England’s best. Davey Boy Smith starts off against Tsuruta. They go to lock up but Tsuruta shoves him into the corner, seemingly effortlessly. Smith goes at Jumbo but the Japanese legend slaps on a headlock. Smith gets out and applies his own headlock, with Caudle remarking that Smith is a powerful man for his size. Jumbo whips Smith into the ropes and goes for what may be a lariat, but Smith ducks under and bounces off the ropes, hitting a cross bodyblock on Jumbo, knocking him down. Tag to Dynamite as the British Bulldogs whip Jumbo into the ropes, hitting a double clothesline. Fast tag to Davey Boy who climbs to the top rope and hits a missile dropkick on Jumbo. Cover for a two count by Pacific Northwest referee Sandy Barr. Another tag to Dynamite who kicks Jumbo in the gut. Dynamite picks up the big man and slams him down hard. Elbow drop on Tsuruta followed by yet another tag. Bob Caudle says this team has speed and knows how to use it. Davey Boy headbutts Jumbo and David Crockett says it looks like Smith’s headbutts pack quite a punch. Suplex on Tsuruta followed by a cover for a two-count.

Yet another tag and this time Davey Boy hoists Dynamite into the air, dropping him on top of Tsuruta. Dynamite hits a legdrop and goes to the second rope. Diving headbutt, but there’s nobody home. Tag to Tenryu who has been waiting to get into the match. Big chop by Tenryu sends Dynamite back into the corner. Another one nearly sends him through the ropes. Bob Caudle remarks that these chops are legal and that both Japanese stars are known for their crushing chops. Genichiro applies a side headlock and quickly wears the Dynamite Kid down to the mat. The majority of the fans are cheering the Bulldogs, but a sizable minority are applauding Genichiro and Jumbo. The Dynamite Kid starts to get to his feet so Genichiro hits a side suplex on him, covering him for a two-count. Davey Boy is eager to tag in but Dynamite is nowhere close.

Genichiro applies a corkscrew neckbreaker on the Kid, adding to his woes. Things are looking bad for Dynamite as Tenryu goes for the diving back elbow drop. Bob Caudle says it’s curtains for the Bulldogs if he hits this, but incredibly, Dynamite gets out of the way. With what looks to be one last burst of energy, Dynamite whips Tenryu into the corner where Davey Boy Smith is waiting, standing on the top rope with his head pointing out into the ring. Tenryu collides with Smith’s head and stumbles back as Dynamite covers him. In an incredible stroke of bad luck, Jumbo trips on the bottom rope and is unable to break up the pin. 1-2-3 and the Bulldogs advance! Bob Caudle says if imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, Ole and Gene Anderson must be very flattered.

Winners: The British Bulldogs

Eight matches in with eight more remaining in round one. Join us next time as Florida Championship Wrestling’s Mike Graham and B. Brian Blair battle Mid-South Wrestling’s Ted DiBiase and Steve “Dr. Death” Williams and hometown heroes Jimmy Valiant and Bugsy McGraw take on two of Memphis CWA’s best—Jerry “The King” Lawler and “Superstar” Bill Dundee.

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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
First Round: Matchs 7 & 8:
    The Von Erich vs. Blanchard/Abdullah the Butcher
    Tenryu/Tsuruta vs. The British Bulldogs