Friday, July 03, 2020

Crockett Cup '85 Continues: Matches 9 and 10


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.]

Mike Graham/Brian Blair vs. Ted DiBiase/Steve Williams
Jimmy Valiant/Bugsy McGraw vs. Jerry Lawler/Bill Dundee

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. The first eight matches took place at the Baltimore Civic Center on Thursday April 11. Bob Caudle and David Crockett are calling the matches tonight. The remaining eight matches in round one take place at the Norfolk Scope on Friday April 12.

Match seven saw Kevin and Mike Von Erich defeat Tully Blanchard and Abdullah the Butcher. Unfortunately for Mike Von Erich, a post-match attack by Tully and Abdullah may keep him out of the tournament. Match eight featured an action-packed encounter between the WWF’s British Bulldogs and All Japan Pro Wrestling’s Genichiro Tenryu and Jumbo Tsuruta with the Bulldogs prevailing.

As we head into the last eight matches of round one, keep in mind that these all-star teams are battling for more than just bragging rights—they’re competing for the prestigious Jim Crockett Sr. Memorial Trophy and a cool one million dollars.

Tony Schiavone is backstage with one of tonight’s teams—Jimmy “Boogie Woogie Man” Valiant and Bugsy McGraw. McGraw is flapping his arms like a bird and moving in circles while “Handsome” Jimmy high-fives Tony Schiavone. Schiavone asks Jimmy about his and Bugsy’s big match tonight. Valiant tells Tony he’s tangled with Lawler and Dundee before and they’re a tough team, but him and his brother Bugsy have the people behind them and nothing can stop the power of the people. Jimmy kisses Schiavone and tells him he loves him before him and Bugsy take off. Luckily, Valiant isn’t wearing lipstick or Tony might have some explaining to do to Lois when he gets home.

Mike Graham and B. Brian Blair vs. Ted DiBiase and Steve “Doctor Death” Williams:
Bob Caudle welcomes special guest commentator Gordon Solie to the announce booth. “The Dean of Wrestling Announcers” says it’s an honor to be part of such a prestigious tournament and that Jim Crockett Jr. has assembled the crème de la crème of the wrestling community. World Class Championship Wrestling referee David Manning performs the pre-match preliminaries then calls for the bell. The match begins with second-generation grapplers Ted DiBiase and Mike Graham locking up. Graham applies the headlock but DiBiase gets to the ropes, with Graham giving him a clean break. DiBiase offers his hand to Graham who shakes it only to get a kick in the gut followed by a punch. Graham punches back then hits a fireman’s carry, taking DiBiase down to the mat and applying a front facelock on the mat. DiBiase escapes and goes for a waist lock, but Graham reverses it and takes DiBiase down to the mat, rubbing his face into the mat for good measure. DiBiase slams his hands on the mat and tags in “Doctor Death” while Graham tags in B. Brian Blair. Williams invites Blair to try a test of strength but Blair is no dummy and when Williams raises his hands, Blair kicks him in the gut. Irish whip sends Williams into the ropes and Blair hits a dropkick, knocking Williams down. Arm bar on Williams as Blair tags in Graham. Graham and Blair whip Williams into the ropes and land a double elbow on him. Graham goes to work on Williams’s knee as Mike knees Williams’s knee. David Crockett tells Bob Caudle Graham is twisting Williams’s leg like a pretzel. “Doctor Death” goes for the hair to try and stop Graham, but Graham is keeping out of the way. Bob Caudle reminds David the best way to deal with a big strong man like Williams is to take him off his feet. Gordon adds that he’s seen Graham in plenty of matches and his amateur wrestling skills coupled with his professional wrestling game make him a master of the game of human chess. Graham continues the pressure on Williams’s leg as “Doctor Death” reaches for the ropes, forcing a break. Graham obliges then pulls Williams by his leg back into the center of the ring and drives his knee into Williams’s knee. Graham applies the figure four leglock with incredible speed as Bob Caudle wonders if it’s too early in the match. Gordon agrees but he points out that Graham does have it in the center of the ring. Mike has the move locked in tight as Solie points out the stress being inflicted on the various tendons and ligaments. David Crockett pulls out a pocket dictionary and begins looking up some of the words for future reference. “He’s got it locked in tight! Doctor Death is in trouble!” David Crockett adds.

However, David has spoken too soon as Ted DiBiase comes in and drops an elbow on Graham, forcing him to release the hold. B Brian Blair comes in and starts trading punches with DiBiase. David Manning tells DiBiase and Blair to get back to their corners and on his way back, DiBiase sees an opportune moment and drops a forearm smash to Graham’s back as he’s trying to reapply the figure four on Williams. Blair protests, naturally causing the referee to turn his attention to Blair instead of the heels. DiBiase throws Graham through the ropes where he lands outside the ring. Williams tags in DiBiase who goes outside the ring and rams Graham’s head into the mat apron before throwing him back into the ring. Ted bodyslams Graham then tags in “Doctor Death.” DiBiase and Williams whip Mike into the ropes and hit a double shoulder tackle. Gordon Solie tells Bob and David that Graham has incredible stamina, but even he has his limits. DiBiase whips Graham into the heel corner. Tag in to Williams who headbutts Graham, who is in the heel corner. Another tag to DiBiase.

Williams holds Graham as DiBiase comes off the second rope with an elbow to Graham’s head. Snapmare into a reverse chinlock. DiBiase is applying the pressure and weakening Graham down further. DiBiase whips Graham into the ropes and goes for a back body-drop but Graham counters and hits a Sunset Flip, getting a two count. DiBiase is furious and drops a fist on Graham, but Graham gets out of the way. DiBiase is getting flustered and goes to pick Graham up for a bodyslam, but Graham counters into a small package near the ropes. However, DiBiase grabs the ropes and gets enough leverage to reverse the small package, utilizing a handful of tights for the insurance policy.

Winners: Ted DiBiase and Steve “Doctor Death” Williams

Jimmy “Boogie Woogie Man” Valiant and Bugsy McGraw vs. Jerry “The King” Lawler and “Superstar” Bill Dundee: 
Jerry “The King” Lawler and “Superstar” Bill Dundee get a polite reception from the fans. The Manhattan Transfer’s “Boy from New York City” plays as the fans go crazy, knowing what’s next. It takes several minutes before the match can get underway as the wildly popular “Handsome” Jimmy slaps hands and hugs the fans at ringside while Bugsy is dancing around the ring, complete with aviator googles and a camouflage doo-rag. Gordon Solie points out that “The King” and the Superstar are watching with what appears to be mild amusement but after five minutes, their amusement appears to have turned to impatient anger. Bob Caudle tells Solie he believes he called it as Lawler and Dundee head out of the ring and start brawling with Valiant and McGraw. Bad move as Jimmy and Bugsy take offense to having their quality time with their fans interrupted. McGraw rams Dundee’s head into the mat apron while “The Boogie Woogie Man” rams Lawler’s head into the steel post. Valiant and Lawler have had their battles back in the Memphis territory and they’re picking right back where they left things.

Lawler is down on the floor while Valiant and McGraw throw Dundee into the ring. Both men whip “The Superstar” into the ropes and hit a double elbow. Referee Tommy Young tells one of them to get to their corner and Bugsy exits the ring while he’s slapping his chest. “Handsome Jimmy” claps his hands and dances a bit before dropping an elbow on Dundee. David Crockett tells Bob Caudle he read in a Pro Wrestling Illustrated scouting report that Valiant has a calcium deposit in his elbow that makes it more effective. Caudle tells him he’s going to have a long talk with Bill Apter about that one as the match continues. Valiant throws Dundee into the babyface corner where Bugsy introduces his boot to Dundee’s head. Dundee falls to the mat as Valiant tags him in. Bugsy digs deep into his arsenal and begins stomping Dundee. He picks him up and rams his head into the neutral corner. Dundee fires off some punches, sending McGraw back. Jerry Lawler is waiting to make the tag and he’s busted open.

McGraw and Dundee are slugging it out in the center of the ring as Tommy Young warns them to lay off the punches. Dundee hits an elbow on McGraw, stunning him, then hits a beautiful dropkick that sends Bugsy towards Lawler. Tag to “The King” who unloads with some punches on McGraw with Tommy Young admonishing Lawler for the fisticuffs. Bodyslam by Lawler on Bugsy. “Handsome” Jimmy decides to lend a hand and comes in without a tag, raking Lawler’s eyes. Dundee comes in and starts brawling with Valiant. Bob Caudle tells David Tommy Young is one of the NWA’s best referees and even he is having trouble controlling these two teams. Young does his best to separate Valiant and Dundee while they’re doing their best to clobber each other. Meanwhile, Lawler reaches into his tights and pulls out a small chain and slugs McGraw, who falls back down to the mat. Lawler tucks the chain away and covers Bugsy, yelling for Young to make the count. The fans are booing, but Tommy has no idea what happened and leaps to the mat, making the count 1-2-3. Bob Caudle says it looks like some wrestlers are willing to cut corners for that one-million-dollar prize. Gordon Solie says this tournament is going to show many wrestlers’ true nature. Gordon thanks Bob and David for letting him sit in on the commentary.

Winners: Jerry “The King” Lawler and “Superstar” Bill Dundee
Lawler and Dundee make their way back to the dressing room as the fans boo them. Back in the ring, “The Boogie Woogie Man” checks on his tag team partner.

Ten matches in with six more remaining in round one. Join us next time as the WWF’s “Rowdy” Roddy Piper and “Cowboy” Bob Orton Jr. take on hometown heroes Manny Fernandez and Thunderbolt Patterson while another Mid-Atlantic Championship Wrestling team, the Rock-n-Roll RPM’s (Mike Davis and Tommy Lane) battle Florida Championship Wrestling’s Mark and Jay Youngblood. 

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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: Matches 7 & 8:
    The Von Erich vs. Blanchard/Abdullah the Butcher
    Tenryu/Tsuruta vs. The British Bulldogs
First Round: Matches 9 & 10:
    Graham/Blair vs. DiBiase/Williams
    Valiant/McGraw vs. Lawler/Dundee