Monday, September 14, 2020

Crockett Cup '85 2nd Round Continues: 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.]

(Second Round Matches #5 and #6):

- The Midnight Express with Jim Cornette vs. the Hart Foundation with Jimmy Hart.
- The PYT Express (Austin/Ware) vs. “The High Flyers” (Brunzell/Gagne).

The 1985 Jim Crockett Sr. Memorial Tag Team Tournament is underway. 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. 

The first round saw 16 teams competing to advance to round two with eight teams making it in. Now, these eight teams will battle the 16 top-seeded tag teams that received a first-round bye. As we saw in round one, some wrestlers are willing to bend or break the rules in order to get closer to the $1,000,000 prize so expect the unexpected as round two begins.

Second Round Rules: Here are the rules for the round two of our tournament. A pool of referees from the NWA, AWA, and WWF have been appointed for the tournament and randomly selected for each match. The second-round matches have a forty-five-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 second-round matches are being held over two nights. The first eight matches will take place took place at the Richmond Civic Center on Saturday April 13. Bob Caudle and David Crockett are calling the matches tonight. The remaining eight matches in round one take place at the Asheville Civic Center on Sunday April 14. Last time around, Arn and Ole Anderson defeated the U.S. Express (Barry Windham and Mike Rotunda) while Antonio Inoki and Seiji overcame Central States Wrestling’s Marty Jannetty and “Bulldog” Bob Brown. As round two continues, bear in mind that these titanic 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.

The next two matches in round two Jim Cornette’s Midnight Express (“Beautiful” Bobby Eaton and “Loverboy” Dennis Condrey) taking on Jimmy Hart’s Hart Foundation (Bret “The Hitman” Hart and Jim “The Anvil” Neidhart) and the PYT Express (Norvell Austin and Koko Ware) taking on “The High Flyers” (“Jumping” Jim Brunzell and Greg Gagne).

Backstage, Tony Schiavone is interviewing Jim Cornette and the Midnight Express. Cornette smiles as he looks at Schiavone and says “Hey Tony, I'm glad to see you back, especially after seeing your front.” Cornette says the Midnight Express should have received a first, second, and third-round bye because they’re the best team in this tournament. They’re not here for the money, but they won’t mind taking Mama Crockett’s million-dollar check. They’re here to prove there’s only one name that matters in tag team wrestling—the Midnight Express. Cornette says he knows Jimmy Hart from their days back in Memphis and that “The Mouth of the South” has his hands full trying to guide the Hart Foundation. Cornette says “The Hart Foundation are so dumb they couldn't make Kool-Aid because they couldn't figure out how to get 2 quarts of water into those little paper packets." Cornette promises a quick win for the Midnights and tells Tony to find some of that Goody’s Headache Powder Dusty Rhodes likes to hawk because Schivaone’s giving him a headache, just like he probably does to Mrs. Schiavone.
The Midnight Express (“Beautiful” Bobby Eaton and “Loverboy” Dennis Condrey) with Jim Cornette vs. the Hart Foundation (Bret “The Hitman” Hart and Jim “The Anvil” Neidhart) with Jimmy Hart.
The Hart Foundation are taking off their ring jackets when the Midnight’s Pearl Harbor them, with Dennis Condrey going after Jim Neidhart and Bobby Eaton taking on Bret Hart. The Midnights go to whip the Hart Foundation into each other, but the Harts reverse the move as Condrey and Eaton smash into each other. Bret Hart dropkicks Condrey through the ropes as Neidhart hits a double axe-handle to Eaton’s back. Jimmy Hart cackles through his megaphone while Jim Cornette waves his tennis racket. Bob Caudle says Cornette doesn’t look too happy. Neidhart drapes Eaton’s throat on the top rope and drives his forearm into the back of “Beautiful” Bobby’s neck, laughing as he chokes him. Referee Tommy Young starts counting as Neidhart yanks the top rope back and Eaton falls onto his back. 

Tag to Bret who comes in and bounces off the ropes, dropping a knee onto Eaton’s head. Hart spreads Eaton’s legs and hits legdrop in the lower mid-section. David Crockett says that looks awfully painful. Bret lifts Bobby up and Eaton rakes the eyes, firing off a big right hand that rocks Hart. Hart fires back with a right of his own. Knee to the gut by Eaton followed by another rake of the eyes. Eaton grabs a disoriented Hart and slams his head into “Loverboy” Dennis’s knee. Tag to Dennis who kicks Hart in the gut, then applies a side headlock. Dennis puts on the pressure but Hart starts to escape—that is until Condrey grabs his hair and yanks him down to the mat, continuing to apply the side headlock. Hart complains that Condrey yanked the hair but Dennis isn’t having it. Bob Caudle says Tommy Young is going to need some Excedrin after officiating this match. Bret shows his incredible technical skills by rolling into Condrey and suddenly, Condrey is writhing in pain as Hart has applied a wristlock. Condrey quickly grabs the ropes with his other hand, forcing a break of the hold as opposed to his wrist. Hart breaks the hold but gives Condrey a knee to the gut for his trouble followed by a snapmare, and going for a chinlock on “Loverboy” Dennis. However, Condrey shows he’s no slouch at the mat game either as he spins out of the move and applies an arm bar. Condrey whips Hart into the ropes and Bobby Eaton knees Hart in the back as he hits the ropes. Hart crumbles to the mat as Dennis picks him up for an underhook suplex, driving him down hard. Tag to Eaton who climbs the top rope and drops a knee across Hart’s head. Cover on Hart, but “The Hitman” kicks out at two. Eaton yells at Tommy Young, complaining about the slow count. Hart seizes the moment and rolls Eaton up, but Eaton kicks out at two. Eaton isn’t happy with Hart’s tactics and stomps him in the head. Tag to Dennis who picks up Hart and delivers a big backbreaker. Cover on Hart but “The Hitman” kicks out again. Condrey whips Hart towards the Midnight’s corner and the Midnight Express double-team Hart, unloading with punches. Bob Caudle says the Midnights have cut the ring in half and the Hart Foundation are in trouble. David Crockett says the Hart Foundation are a fairly new team while the Midnights have been around longer. Jim Neidhart sees enough and enters the ring, but Jim Cornette stooges him out, and referee Tommy Young moves to get Neidhart back in his corner. Meanwhile, Bobby Eaton chokes Hart with the tag rope while Condrey goes towards Neidhart, antagonizing him further. Jimmy Hart is screaming bloody murder into the megaphone as Jim Cornette waves his tennis racket at Jimmy Hart. 

Fifteen minutes into the match and Bret Hart looks to be one shade short of blue by the time Tommy Young finally turns around. Dennis tags in Eaton who whips Hart into the ropes and hits an elbow to Hart’s chest. Bobby picks Hart up for a suplex, but incredibly, Hart blocks it, locking his leg around Eaton’s. Bobby tries again and Hart blocks it again. This time, Hart reverses the suplex, as Eaton goes crashing down into the mat. Both men are down in the center of the ring. David Crockett says he doesn’t know where Hart found the energy for that. Bob Caudle agrees and says Hart has to find a way to make the tag. 

Both wrestlers begin crawling towards their respective corners as time seems to stand still. Neither grappler seems to have much gas left, but Eaton is moving just a little faster. Eaton makes the tag and Dennis runs in as Hart tries to dive towards Neidhart. However, Condrey grabs Hart’s leg at the last second and pulls him into the center of the ring. David Crockett says the Hart Foundation needs a miracle.
Right now, Bret isn’t getting it as “Loverboy” Condrey goes to dish out some more punishment, placing Hart in an abdominal stretch. Condrey applies the hold near the ropes while Jim Cornette fans him with the tennis racket. Condrey and Cornette share a good laugh, but don’t see Jim “The Anvil” come in and it costs Condrey as Neidhart slugs him with a big right. Neidhart whips Condrey into the ropes and clotheslines him, knocking him down. Tommy Young grabs Neidhart and orders him back to his corner, escorting him there. 

The ring announcer notes 20 minutes have elapsed, with 25 remaining. Meanwhile, Bret Hart is trying to crawl to his corner again, but “Beautiful” Bobby runs in and pulls Hart towards the heel corner while Tommy Young’s back is turned and he’s dealing with Neidhart. Eaton decides to improve his time management skills so he chokes Hart with the tag rope while Young is still arguing with Neidhart. Jimmy Hart is screaming into his megaphone, telling Young to turn around, but a belligerent Neidhart isn’t making things any easier for “The Hitman.” 

Dennis Condrey staggers over to the Midnight’s corner and tags in Bobby. Eaton bodyslams Hart then hits a legdrop on Bret. Cover on “The Hitman,” but Tommy Young is still jawing with Neidhart. Cornette gets on the mat apron and shouts at Young, who finally turns around and makes the count, but Hart kicks out at the last moment. Eaton whips Hart into the neutral corner and charges, but somehow Hart gets his knees up and Eaton crashes hard. David Crockett is befuddled as Hart climbs to the second rope and hits an elbow smash on Eaton, with Crockett shouting “How did he do that?” Bob tells David it looks like Hart has used up all his energy. Neither Hart or Eaton are moving. After a few seconds, Hart starts crawling towards his corner, then Eaton gets on his knees and begins crawling. Dennis Condrey runs in without making a tag and goes to grab Bret, but Tommy Young intercepts him and orders him back to his corner. In the meantime, Bret weakly makes the tag as Neidhart runs in. Regrettably for the Hart Foundation, Young hasn’t seen the tag and he orders Neidhart back in his corner. The fans are booing and starting to chant “Hitman!” “Hitman!” David Crockett says the Hart Foundation aren’t fan favorites, but the fans apparently hate them less than the Midnights.

Eaton grabs Hart and pulls him back to the center of the ring. Eaton drops an elbow on Hart, but Hart rolls out of the way. Eaton bounces off the ropes and drops a knee, but Hart gets out of the way again. Finally, “Beautiful” Bobby goes for a bodyslam, but Hart rolls him up for a small package, 1, 2, Dennis Condrey breaks up the pin with a stomp to Hart’s head. Jim Neidhart runs in and slugs Condrey, throwing him between the ropes and out of the ring. Neidhart then hits a backbreaker on Eaton before returning to his corner. 

25 minutes have elapsed and both Eaton and Hart are down on the mat again. Eaton crawls to the Midnight’s corner while Hart crawls towards his corner. Eaton makes it to the Midnight’s corner, but Condrey is just getting off the floor outside the ring, and Eaton looks confused. Bret finally makes it to the Hart Foundation corner and tags in “The Anvil” and this time, Tommy Young sees the tag.
Neidhart is fired up and wastes no time going after Eaton. Kick to the gut followed by an Irish whip. Big shoulder tackle knocks Eaton down. Neidhart bodyslams Eaton then hits a dropkick on him as David Crockett notes “The Anvil” is remarkably agile despite his nickname. Eaton gets up weakly and Neidhart clotheslines him. Cover as Dennis Condrey wastes no time coming in to make the save. Despite the beating he’s taken, Bret Hart staggers into the match to join the fray. David Crockett tells Bob he’s amazed at Bret’s fortitude, and he’s come a long way from when he saw him in Mid-Atlantic Championship Wrestling as a preliminary wrestler. Bob tells David he doesn’t know how to break this to him, but that wasn’t the same Bret Hart who’s in the ring now. David Crockett quickly moves on and praises the in-ring action as all four men are slugging it out. Bret is fighting “Loverboy” Dennis while Neidhart slugs it out with Eaton. Jim Cornette gets up on the mat apron and shouts at Tommy Young while Jimmy Hart paces around the ring then jumps up on the mat apron with his handy megaphone. Hart throws the megaphone to Bret Hart who goes to catch it, but takes his attention off Condrey, who clotheslines him from behind and catches the megaphone. Condrey bashes Neidhart in the back of the head with the megaphone then throws it out of the ring. Bobby Eaton climbs to the top rope and Dennis Condrey throws him off the top rope onto Neidhart as Bob Caudle says “That Rocket Launcher has got to be it for Neidhart.” Cover by Eaton as Condrey grabs Tommy Young and tells him to make the count. Jimmy Hart looks like he’s going to enter the ring, but Jim Cornette menaces him with the tennis racket and “The Mouth of the Hart’s” self-preservation instincts get the best of him. 1-2-3 and the Midnight Express have won a hard-fought (albeit it tainted) victory after nearly 30 minutes.

Winners: The Midnight Express

Bob Caudle says the Harts put in a solid effort, but experience won the day on this occasion. David Crockett says if the Hart Foundation gets some more experience, they could go far.

Memphis wrestling legend Lance Russell is backstage with the P.Y.T. Express and asks them about their opponents tonight. The famed announcer says the P.Y.T.’s received a first-round bye, but will that hurt their chances? Norvell asks Russell what kind of fool question that is. They’ve had time to rest and scout their opponents. They’re not the AWA Southern Tag Team Champions because of their looks—although he says they are handsome devils. Koko tells Lance the High-Flyers are going to get grounded faster than a People’s Express jet in a snowstorm.

The PYT Express (Norvell Austin and Koko Ware) vs. “The High Flyers” (“Jumping” Jim Brunzell and Greg Gagne).
World Class Championship Wrestling Rick Hazard is officiating this match. Greg Gagne starts off against Norvell Austin and Gagne offers to shake Norvell’s hand, only for the heel to slap him in the face. Norvell starts to laugh until Gagne punches him, knocking him down to the mat. David Crockett says he never understands why wrestlers try to get under their opponents’ skin like that. Bob Caudle replies that sometimes wrestlers think they can anger their opponent and force them to make mistakes. David says Austin looks like the one who made the mistake and Bob agrees. Norvell gets to his feet and charges Greg only to get hip-tossed for his trouble. Norvell charges again and gets hip-tossed a second time. Koko runs in and Greg dropkicks him, knocking him back into the heel corner. Gagne whips Austin into the ropes and lands a big back body-drop. Gagne is on fire and slaps a side headlock on Austin, dragging him over towards Brunzell. Tag to “Jumping” Jim who takes Austin and puts him in a headlock. Austin slips out and whips Brunzell into the ropes, going for a possible shoulder-block, but Brunzell leap-frogs over and comes back off the ropes with a cross body-block. Cover on Austin for about a two. Austin gets up and Brunzell is waiting, catching him with a big bodyslam. Austin complains to the referee that Brunzell grabbed his pants. Referee Rick Hazzard tells Austin everything looked fair and square.

Five minutes into the match. Brunzell locks up with Norvell in a collar-and-elbow tie-up. Norvell gets the upper hand and moves Brunzell into the corner where he unloads with a big forearm rather than giving him a clean break. Hazzard admonishes Austin who seems to ignore him, instead kicking Brunzell in the gut. The referee starts a five count and orders Norvell out of the corner. Austin whips Brunzell into the opposite corner and runs at him, hitting an elbow to the chest. Bodyslam by Norvell on the former Mid-Atlantic Heavyweight Champion followed by an elbow drop. Cover on Brunzell but he kicks out at two. Norvell picks up Brunzell and head butts him as Brunzell falls back down to the mat. Bob Caudle says it looks like the P.Y.T. Express are starting to gain momentum and they’ve managed to ground “The High Flyers.” Brunzell’s troubles continue as Austin throws him through the ropes towards the heel corner. Norvell doesn’t go out of the ring and is talking to the referee, keeping the referee distracted from Koko Ware, who takes Brunzell and rams his head into a ring post. Greg Gagne races over towards his tag partner, but the damage has been done. Koko gets up to his corner as Brunzell is slow to get up. David Crockett says “he’s busted wide open!” and blood is dripping from Brunzell’s forehead. Brunzell tries to get into the ring, but Austin stomps him in the head. Referee Rick Hazzard tries to get Austin to back off and as he does, Koko steps off the mat apron and goes after Brunzell, ramming his head into the mat apron. Koko then throws Brunzell into the ring where Austin drops an elbow and covers him. 1, 2,…Brunzell gets his leg on the rope.

It’s ten minutes into the match, and David Crockett says Brunzell looks like he’s been in a war. Tag to Koko as the P.Y.T. hit a double forearm smash on Brunzell’s back, knocking him down to the mat. Koko goes for a suplex, and for a moment, it looks like Brunzell will block the move. Koko headbutts Brunzell then lifts him up for a suplex. David Crockett says Koko is known for his devastating brainbuster, but he didn’t use it. That may have been a mistake. Koko covers Jim, but Gagne comes in for the save, stomping the once and future “Birdman” in the head. Koko doesn’t’ like this and starts to scuffle with Gagne, coming up short in the fisticuffs department and landing flat on his back. Elsewhere in the ring, Norvell Austin sees a chance to punish Brunzell while the referee is attending to Gagne and Ware. Austin bounces off the ropes and drops a big elbow. The only problem is that no one is home. Norvell lands hard and goes for another one, only for Brunzell to roll out of the way again. “Jumping” Jim shows off his remarkable agility as he rolls over to his corner, tagging in Gagne. Gagne comes in and continues slugging at Koko. Gagne whips him into the ropes and hits a back body-drop followed by a bodyslam. Dropkick by Gagne as David Crockett says things have quickly turned around for Gagne and Brunzell. Bob Caudle says you’re looking at a team that held the AWA World Tag Team Championship two times with their second reign going over two years. 

15 minutes into the match and Gagne whips Ware into the ropes, applying the famed Gagne sleeperhold. Gagne has the hold on in the center of the ring and there’s nowhere for Koko to go as he quickly sinks to one knee. Norvell Austin runs in, but Brunzell intercepts him, landing a dropkick that sends him over the top rope. Whether or not this would have been a disqualification is a moot point as the referee is checking on Koko. Brunzell goes out of the ring and slams Austin on the floor. Back in the ring, it’s nighty-night for Koko as he drifts off into dreamland, courtesy of Gagne’s sleeper. 

Winners: “The High Flyers” (Greg Gagne and “Jumping” Jim Brunzell)

The High Flyers celebrate while Austin gets back into the ring and seems to be motioning to the referee that he got knocked over the top rope. Rick Hazzard shrugs his shoulders as Norvell starts to shout at him. Hazzard wisely rolls out of the ring, avoiding any unwanted violence. 


Join us next time as round two of the tournament continues with Rick Rude and Jesse Barr battling Kevin and Mike Von Erich while Tatsumi Fujinami and Kengo Kimura take on the British Bulldogs (Davey Boy Smith and the Dynamite Kid).  Stay tuned wrestling fans as the quest for tag team immortality and some serious cash continues!


Tournament Announcement
Seedings and First Round Pairings Announced  

Second Round: Matches 1 & 2 (Tournament 17 & 18)

     Mulligan/McDaniel vs. The Russians
    Rock & Roll Express vs. Maharishi/Nagasaki
Second Round: Matches 3 & 4 (Tournament 19 & 20)
    Brown/Jannetty vs. Inoki & Sakaguchi
    Ole & Arn Anderson vs. Windham/Rotunda)
Second Round: Matches 5 & 6 (Tournament 21 & 22)

    Midnight Express vs. Hart Foundation
    PYT Express vs. High Flyers


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
First Round: Matches 11 & 12:
    Piper/Orton vs. Patterson/Fernandez
    Rock & Roll RPMs vs. Youngblood Brothers
First Round: Matches 13 and 14:
    Dynamic Duo (Gino & Chris) vs. American Starship
    Sawyer Bros. vs. Steamboat/Snuka
First Round: Matches 15 and 16
    Batten Twins vs. Fabulous Ones
    Weaver/Houston vs. Sheepherders