Saturday, June 05, 2021

Crockett Cup '85: The Quarter Finals Begin!

by Mike Rickard

Mid-Atlantic Gateway Contributor 


Quarter Final Round Match #1
(Tournament Match #41)


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 32 teams competing to advance to round two with 16 teams making it in. Round two followed as these 16 teams battled the 16 top-seeded tag teams that received a first-round bye. Round three continued with the remaining 16 teams slugging it out with eight making their way to round four. As round four begins, let’s take a look at what to expect with “The Elite Eight.”

Fourth Round Rules:
Here are the rules for the round four 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 fourth-round matches have a sixty-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 fourth-round matches are being held at the Superdome in New Orleans, Louisiana. The four matches will take place on Friday April 26. Your commentators for the matches are Bob Caudle and David Crockett, but as always, you never know when a special guest will show up. 

Pre-Match Interviews
Tony Schiavone is backstage with Ricky Morton and Robert Gibson of the Rock-n-Roll Express. Robert Gibson says it’s great to be here in front of all the beautiful fans in the Superdome. He knows there are fans from around the world who have traveled to be here and he thanks them for all their support. Ricky howls as he says “You got that right! We’ve done a lot of things in our life Tony Schiavone and the things that we like, we’ve done it twice, baby. So far we’ve won two matches and we’re ready to win again with the help of the fans. The Andersons are tough, but they don’t have the fans. Rock-n-roll is here to stay, baby. It’s always gonna be here and it’s always gonna be in your dreams! So when you wake up tomorrow and realize it’s over, Arn and Ole, you’ll know why rock and roll will never die!” 

Johnny Weaver is backstage with the Minnesota Wrecking Crew (Arn and Ole Anderson). Johnny welcomes the fans to round four and introduces the Minnesota Wrecking Crew. Ole Anderson grabs the microphone from “The Dean of Professional Wrestling” telling him when you hear the name Anderson, you recognize greatness. The Minnesota Wrecking Crew has been breaking bones and winning championships for two decades and now, they’re just three matches away from continuing the tradition by securing the Crockett Cup trophy and one million dollars. Arn Anderson tells Johnny that the Rock-n-Roll Express have to be the luckiest team in the tournament. Tonight, their luck ends as they get a hard, cold introduction to reality—the reality that the Minnesota Wrecking Crew are the toughest team in the world and the baddest team in the world. The girls might scream and howl for you now, but they won’t by the time tonight’s match is over. If Morton and Gibson are lucky, a broken nose will be the least of their worries.

The Rock-n-Roll Express (Ricky Morton and Robert Gibson)
vs. the Minnesota Wrecking Crew (Ole and Arn Anderson)

Ole and Arn Anderson walk out to the ring to heavy boos. Music plays as the fans erupt into cheers. “That’s the Rock-n-Roll Express’ entrance theme ‘Rock and Roll All Night’ by Queen” David Crockett tells Bob Caudle as Bob gently points out it’s actually ELO’s “Rock and Roll is King.” David moves right on and says the fans love this team. Robert Gibson and Ricky Morton slap the fans’ hands, high-five others, and dish out a few hugs as they slowly make their way to the ring. Arn and Ole are all business and give the team the hairy eyeball as they wait for them to enter the ring.

Tommy Young is your referee for this match-up. Young performs the usual cursory pre-match inspection on both teams then calls for the match to begin as Robert Gibson starts off against Ole Anderson. Both competitors circle around the ring stepping close but taking their time until they finally lock up in a collar-and-elbow tie-up. Ole grabs Gibson in a headlock, but Gibson begins to escape with top wrist lock only for Anderson to grab his hair and pull him down to the mat, managing to do so without Young seeing the underhanded move. David Crockett says Ole is already breaking the rules and Bob Caudle adds it’s to be expected anytime you step into the ring with the Minnesota Wrecking Crew. “The Rock” continues to apply pressure with the headlock, but Gibson gets to his feet and whips Ole into the ropes. Anderson goes for a shoulderblock, but Gibson rolls out of the way, bounces off the opposite ropes and dropkicks a surprised Anderson. Arm drag by Gibson as Ole charges him and “The Rock” goes into the babyfaces’ corner as Gibson applies an arm bar, tagging in Morton. Ricky comes off the second rope with an elbow to Ole’s arm. Ricky follows up with a leg drop on Ole’s arm. David Crockett points out the Rock-and-Roll Express are taking a page out of the Andersons’ playbook and targeting a particular body part, in this case Ole’s right arm. 

Five minutes in as Ricky applies a wristlock then turns it into an armbar, keeping the pressure on Ole’s arm. Tag to Robert who jumps off the second rope with a forearm smash to Ole’s exposed arm. Ole swings wildly but Gibson avoids the punch, instead putting more pressure on the arm and taking Anderson down to the mat. However, Ole finds a way to reach the ropes, forcing a break. Gibson goes to apply the armbar again, but Anderson catches him in the face with a heel hand (no pun intended). Another heel strike to the face stuns Gibson as Young admonishes Anderson, but Ole reminds the referee he’s using an open-hand strike. However, Ole apparently wants to keep his heel union card in good standing so he rubs Gibson’s face along the top rope as Young warns Anderson. David Crockett notes “The Rock” doesn’t have to employ tactics like that, but he seems to thrive on them. 

Gibson is wandering around the ring clutching his face so Ole decides to guide him, whipping him into the heel corner. Ole strikes up a quick conversation with Tommy Young, distracting the referee while Arn uses the top rope to clothesline Gibson’s neck. Gibson goes down as Ole comes in and tags in the newest member of the legendary Minnesota Wrecking Crew. Both Andersons take a few shots on Gibson, double-teaming him before stopping at the referee’s four-count. Robert fires off a weak punch, but Arn shrugs it off, bodyslamming Gibson down to the mat. Arn applies an armbar to Gibson’s right arm, cranking away on the arm as Gibson struggles to escape. Arn releases the arm bar then stomps on the right arm. Gibson fires off a right hand then grabs his fist. Arn rakes the eyes then bodyslams Gibson, putting his right arm behind his back. Bob Caudle reminds David “We’ve seen this time and time again with the Minnesota Wrecking Crew. They’ll pick a limb and dismantle it throughout the match.” David Crockett adds that this can lead to a dangerous situation because even if the Rock-n-Roll Express win the match, they could enter the next round with an injury.” Arn drags Gibson to he heel corner and slams his head into the turnbuckle. Ole grabs Gibson’s right arm and slams it into the top of the ring post. Gibson grabs his arm as he falls to the mat. Tag to Ole who stomps on Gibson’s right arm. Gibson uses the ropes to get to his feet and as he does, Anderson delivers a brutal knee lift, knocking Gibson back down. Ten minutes in as Ricky Morton is rallying the fans who begin chanting “Let’s go Robert, let’s go!” Bob Caudle says that this young team has become an instant favorite with the fans. David says the last time he saw the fans warm up to a team like this was when Ricky Steamboat and Jay Youngblood competed. Ole covers Robert, but Gibson kicks out at two. Ole picks up Gibson and whips him into the ropes. However, Gibson comes off with a high-cross bodyblock. Cover on Ole, but Anderson easily kicks out at two. Anderson is fuming and drops an elbow on Gibson, but nobody’s home. Gibson drops an elbow and catches Ole in the chest. The two wrestlers get to their feet as Ole punches Robert, but Robert counters by kicking Ole in the hamstring. Robert kicks Ole in the hamstring again and “The Rock” goes down. Gibson drops an elbow to the same leg then whips Ole into the Rock-n-Roll’s corner. The fans cheer as Robert tags in Ricky and the fans begin chanting “Rock and Roll! Rock and Roll!” Robert holds Ole’s leg and Morton hops over the top rope, dropping a knee onto it. Morton applies a figure-four leglock and he has the hold locked in fairly close to the center of the ring. Arn comes in as David Crockett points out that he doesn’t seem confident Ole can hold out. However, Robert Gibson in and clobbers Arn with a big right hand as he locks “Double A” in a figure-four leglock. The ring announcer notes fifteen minutes have elapsed. Ole is in trouble and can’t seem to reach the ropes, but Tommy Young focuses on Gibson and Arn, who are not the legal men. Young untangles Gibson’s legs, freeing Arn and ordering both men back to their corners. Gibson begins arguing with Young and as he does, Arn drops an elbow on Ricky Morton. Arn throws Morton out of the ring as Ole gets up and shakes off the effects of the figure four. Ole rolls out of the ring gingerly and bodyslams Morton on the floor.

Tommy Young turns around as Ole slides into the ring and tags in Arn. Morton slowly gets up to his feet and staggers over to the mat apron. Arn walks over and stomps Ricky in the head, with Tommy Young ordering him back to his corner. Ole goes towards Morton as he’s now on the mat apron but Young orders him back so Morton can get back in the ring. Arn sees his opportunity and knees Morton in the gut, knocking him off the mat apron. Robert Gibson has had enough and he enters the ring, with Ole pointing to him as Tommy Young’s attention is diverted again from the Andersons. David Crockett says you need two referees whenever the Andersons wrestle. Arn hits the floor and helps Ricky up, ramming his head into the steel post. Morton goes down hard as Arn races back to the heel team’s corner. 

Tommy Young turns around finally as the fans are screaming and shouting at the tragedy playing out before their eyes. The referee begins a ten count on Morton, who appears busted open. He’s moving slowly and as the referee reaches the 7, 8, Ole rolls outside and breaks the count, throwing Morton into the ring. David Crockett wonders if Ricky Morton could have answered the ten-count. Bob Caudle suggests the Andersons may want to punish the Rock-and-Roll Express and send a message to the rest of the teams in the tournament. The ring announcer notes twenty minutes have elapsed, with forty minutes remaining. Ole picks up Morton and whips him towards Arn, who has a knee extended. Morton’s head bounces off the knee as he falls to the mat. Arn drops a knee across Morton’s head then drapes him up against the ropes, slugging away. Tag to Ole who whips Morton into the ropes and elbows him in the chest. Cover on Morton but Ricky kicks out at two. Ole slugs Morton in the face before picking him up and hitting a snapmare that sends him into the heel corner. Ole stomps Morton in the head as he tags in Arn. Arn slugs Ricky in the corner as Young starts a five-count. Ole grabs Morton’s left arm and bounces it off the top rope. Arn then applies an armbar on the same arm, driving his opponent down to the mat. Anderson releases the hold then stomps on the same arm before bodyslamming him with Morton’s left arm bearing all the weight of the slam. Twenty-five minutes have elapsed with thirty-five minutes remaining. Arn then whips Morton into the ropes but Morton counters a back body drop with a Sunset Flip. Anderson kicks out at two. Morton fires off a punch to Arn’s breadbasket as both men get up. Arn is on his feet first and slugs at Ricky, but Morton blocks the punch and fires off one of his own, knocking Arn back. Ricky goes for the tag, but Ole jumps in, tripping him up. Robert Gibson runs in and starts punching away at Ole while Arn gets peppered with rights from Ricky. However, Tommy Young orders Robert back to his corner as David Crockett protests. Ricky gets to his feet and begins to stagger towards the babyface corner only for Ole to knee him in the back, sending him through the ropes. Arn catches his breath while Ole returns to the heel corner, minding his own business as far as Tommy Young is concerned. 

Arn rolls out of the ring and grabs Morton, ramming his head into the mat apron. Morton’s face is a crimson mask as Anderson rams Morton again before throwing him into the ring. “Double A” covers Ricky but Robert runs in and pulls Anderson off, with Bob Caudle saying he doesn’t know if Morton had enough energy left to kick out. David notes it’s a good thing that the rules for tag team wrestling have changed from the days when teams only had one save. Arn gets up and whips Morton into the neutral corner, charging in. However, Ricky finds a way to lift his feet and Arn staggers backwards. Ricky is slow to move though and Anderson isn’t much better. Robert is ready to make the hot tag but Bob Caudle wonders if he can make it. David Crockett cheers for Ricky to make the tag. Arn swings at Ricky, but Morton blocks the punch. Morton slugs Arn again and again. Ole Anderson runs in, but Tommy Young goes to stop him. Ricky dives towards Robert and finally makes the tag, collapsing in the babyface corner. Robert comes in, a house afire as he slugs Arn Anderson. Robert rams Arn’s head into a turnbuckle as Tommy Young comes over and orders Gibson back to the babyface corner as he didn’t make the tag. Bob Caudle tells David the referee’s back was turned so he didn’t see the tag. The fans are booing as Arn goes to bodyslam Ricky, but Ricky counters with a small package. 1, 2… Arn kicks out. Arn gets up and whips Ricky into the ropes, going for a clothesline, but Ricky summons up one last burst of strength and dives between Anderson’s legs, racing into the babyface corner. Hot tag to Ricky and this time Young recognizes the tag. Gibson punches Arn, knocking him against the ropes as Ole runs in, only to catch a right hand from Gibson. Robert takes both Andersons and delivers a double nogging knocker, as both men fall to the ground. Fist-drop on Arn and as Ole gets up, Gibson surprises him with a dropkick, knocking him down. Arn hits Gibson in the back with a double axe-handle then goes to suplex him, but Gibson blocks the move by locking his leg around Anderson’s leg, then reverses it with his own suplex. Front facelock on a stunned Arn as Gibson makes the tag. Bob Caudle says he’s not sure if Arn saw the tag. Arn punches Gibson as Ricky climbs to the top rope, with Arn’s back turned to Morton. Robert ducks a punch from Arn and dives out of the way as Ricky hits a missile dropkick on Arn. Tommy Rich goes to make the count as Ricky covers Arn. Ole runs in by Robert is ready and dropkicks him back into the heel corner. 1,2,3! David Crockett jumps up and down as he shouts, “The Rock and Roll Express have done it!” 

Winners: The Rock-n-Roll Express. 

Tommy Young raises Morton and Gibson’s hands in victory as Ole goes to find a chair. The Rock-n-Roll Express roll out of the ring and celebrate with the fans as Ole smashes the chair on the mat apron.
Join us next time as Jim Cornette’s Midnight Express (“Beautiful” Bobby Eaton and “Loverboy” Dennis Condrey) take on the British Bulldogs (Davey Boy Smith and the Dynamite Kid)! Which team will advance to round five in the quest for tag team glory and some serious cash?

* * * * * * * * * * * *


Original Tournament Announcement (May 2020)

Seedings and First Round Pairings Announced

[ Preview ] [ Brackets ]

Fourth Round: Match 1 (Tournament Match #41)
The Rock & Roll Express vs. Ole and Arn Anderson

[ Scouting Report ] [ Brackets ]

Third Round: Match 1 (Tournament Match #33)
     The Rock & Roll Express vs. The Russians
Third Round: Match 2 (Tournament Match #34)
     Ole & Arn Anderson vs. Antonio Inoki and Seiji Sakaguchi
Third Round: Match 3 (Tournament Match #35)
     Midnight Express vs. High Flyers
Third Round: Match 4 (Tournament Match #36)
     Kevin and Mike Von Erich vs. The British Bulldogs
Third Round: Match 5 (Tournament Match #37)
     Road Warriors vs. Brody and Hansen
Third Round: Match 6 (Tournament Match #38)
     Funk Brothers vs. Oklahoma Cowboys
Third Round: match #7 (Tournament Match #39)
    Texas Outlaws vs. Iron Sheik/Nikolai Volkoff
Third Round: match #8 (Tournament Match #40)

    Fantastics vs. Freebirds

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
Second Round: Matches 7 & 8 (Tournament 23 & 24) 
    Rude/Barr (with Percy Pringle III) vs. Kevin and Mike Von Erich
    Fujinami/Kimura vs. British Bulldogs
Second Round: Matches 9 & 10 (Tournament 25 & 26)
    Brody/Hansen vs. Williams/DiBiase
    Road Warriros vs. Lawler/Dundee
Second Round: Matches 11 & 12 (Tournament 27 & 28)
    Piper & Orton vs. The Oklahoma Cowboys
    The Funk Brothers vs. The Younglood Brothers
Second Round: Matches 13 & 14 (Tournament 29 & 30)
    Rhodes/Murdoch vs. Adams/Hernandez
    Sheik/Volkoff vs. Steamboat/Snuka
Second Round: Matches 15 & 16 (Tournament 31 & 32)
    Fantastics vs. Fabulous Ones
    Sheepherders vs. Freebirds


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