Sunday, June 13, 2021

Crocket Cup '85: Midnight Express vs. British Bulldogs

by Mike Rickard

Mid-Atlantic Gateway Contributor 


Quarter Final Round Match #2
(Tournament Match #42)

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 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. 

Round four’s first match saw the Rock-n-Roll Express (Ricky Morton and Robert Gibson) defeat the double-tough team of the Minnesota Wrecking Crew (Ole and Arn Anderson). Now, the Midnight Express (one of the top-seeded teams) take on the British Bulldogs in what should be a fantastic encounter. 

Tony Schiavone is backstage with the Midnight Express (“Beautiful” Bobby Eaton and “Loverboy” Dennis Condrey) along with manager Jim Cornette. “The Louisville Lip” asks Tony what dime store he got his suit at. Before Tony can respond, Stan Hansen comes rolling in and he doesn’t look happy. Stan shouts “Somebody said I had a phone call and I went to the front office only to find out I was lied to. This ain’t one of your tricks is it Cornette?” Cornette looks mortified and says “Don’t know what you’re talking about Stan but if I had to guess, I’d say it was the Dynamite Kid” Hansen storms off as Schiavone looks confused. Cornette tells Tony “Speaking of reach out and touch someone, those British bozos are never going to know what hit them tonight after ‘Beautiful’ Bobby and ‘Loverboy’ Dennis get their hands on them.” Tony points out that Davey Boy Smith and the Dynamite Kid are one of the top-ranked teams in the world to which “The Louisville Lip” replies, “Tony, why should anyone listen to you? You’re so stupid I hear it takes you an hour-and-a-half to watch 60 Minutes.” Cornette walks off with the Midnight Express as Tony sends things to Johnny Weaver. 

Just outside the babyface locker room, Johnny Weaver is interviewing the British Bulldogs (Davey Boy Smith and the Dynamite Kid).  Johnny Weaver welcomes the Bulldogs to the Superdome and asks them what they think about making it to round four of the tournament. Dynamite says it’s great to finally be here. The American fans have been big supporters from the start and they’ve made them feel right at home. They’re sure the fans in the Superdome will be no different. Johnny Weaver turns the microphone over to Davey Boy Smith. Smith says it’s taken them a long time to make their way to the United States and they feel they’ve finally established themselves as one of the top contenders for the world tag team championship. Making it to round four of the tournament makes them feel like they’ve arrived, but they know they’ve got two tough opponents ahead of them.  

The Midnight Express (“Beautiful” Bobby Eaton and “Loverboy” Dennis Condrey) with Jim Cornette vs. the British Bulldogs (Davey Boy Smith and the Dynamite Kid)
The Midnight Express’ entrance music plays as the fans boo before the team even gets out. Jim Cornette leads the team into the ring and grabs the microphone, telling the fans in the Superdome that his team needs no introduction. The boos are deafening now.  “Rule Britannia” plays as the British Bulldogs enter the arena and the fans cheer them on. Davey Boy and Dynamite slap some fans’ hands as they dive into the ring, ready to fight. WWF referee Joey Marella will be officiating this one and he does the routine pre-match inspection.

Davey Boy starts off against Dennis Condrey. Condrey starts off with a Greco-Roman thumb to the eye then slugs Smith in the choppers. Irish whip sends Smith into the ropes and “Loverboy” Dennis elbows him in the chest, knocking him down. Condrey drops an elbow, but Smith rolls out of the way. Smith gets up and slams Condrey to the mat. David Crockett says all four men are speedsters as Bob Caudle adds, “This is going to be a great match for the fans” Smith rams Condrey’s head into the Bulldogs’ corner turnbuckle and tags in Dynamite who quickly climbs the top rope and hits a flying bodypress on Condrey. Cover for a two count. Condrey rolls out of the ring as the Midnights regroup with Jim Cornette. David Crockett says the Midnight Express weren’t expecting things to heat up this fast. No they weren’t Bob Caudle adds. The British Bulldogs are a team that can defeat you in the blink of an eye. 

After some stalling, Condrey gets back into the ring. He goes to slug Dynamite, but the Kid blocks the punch and hits him with a forearm uppercut, stunning him. Dynamite whips Condrey into the ropes and hits a back body-drop. Dynamite wastes no time and drops a knee across Dennis’ head. He then picks him up and hits a snap suplex. Cover on Condrey as Eaton comes in to make the save, dropping an elbow on Dynamite. Davey Boy runs in and starts dishing out lefts and rights to Eaton. Condrey knees Davey Boy in the back as the Midnight Express unload with punches. However, Davey Boy isn’t having it and he fights back, delivering a double nogging knocker to the team and sending them down to the mat. Joey Marella orders Davey Boy back to his corner as Dynamite whips Condrey into the ropes and knocks him down with a shoulderblock. Dynamite bounces off the ropes but Jim Cornette grabs his foot. Marella missed it, possibly because Dynamite didn’t get tripped up. Dynamite rolls outside the ring and starts chasing Cornette around the ring as the fans cheer him on. David Crockett says he’d love to see Dynamite get his hands on Cornette. Bob Caudle adds that he thinks every fan in the arena would like that too.

Dynamite chases Jim Cornette into the ring as “Loverboy” Dennis kicks him, but Davey Boy catches his foot and spins him around, delivering a beautiful atomic drop that sends Condrey right into Eaton, knocking “Beautiful” Bobby off the mat apron. Cornette runs over to check on Eaton and as Bobby gets up, Cornette hugs him, drawing boos from the fans. 

The Dynamite Kid tags in Davey Boy Smith as the Bulldogs stand tall, taunting the Midnight Express and daring them to get back in the ring. Finally, Condrey gets in the ring. Collar and elbow tie-up. Side headlock on Condrey who bounces off the ropes and escapes, bouncing off the ropes only for Smith to catch him with a shoulderblock, knocking Dennis down. Dennis bounces off the ropes again, but this time Smith catches him with a military press slam in an incredible display of strength. Condrey is on rubber-leg street as Smith catapults him into the corner. Lateral press on Condrey as Eaton runs in to break up the pin. Smith tags in Dynamite who whips Condrey into the heels’ corner. Condrey eagerly tags in “Beautiful Bobby.” Dynamite hits a big arm-drag takedown on Eaton. Front facelock by Dynamite as Bob Caudle says Dynamite Kid is a powerful wrestler and Eaton needs to get out of the facelock. Eaton goes up against the ropes and tries to throw Dynamite into the ropes, but he isn’t budging. Jim Cornette gets up on the mat apron and begins arguing with Joey Marella. David Crockett says Jim Cornette’s getting as much time in the ring as Eaton and Condrey. Distracted momentarily by the Jim Cornette sideshow, Dynamite pauses for a moment, allowing Eaton to throw him into the ropes. Dennis Condrey trips Dynamite then pulls him out of the ring. Condrey slams Dynamite’s head into the steel post then gives him a neckbreaker on the cement. Davey Boy runs over and chases Condrey off as Eaton points to Davey Boy. Joey Marella walks over and tells Davey Boy to get back to his corner as Condrey stands back on the mat apron, raising his arms. Davey Boy reluctantly goes back to his corner as Joey Marella makes sure he does. In the meantime, Condrey jumps outside the ring and rolls Dynamite back in. Eaton and Condrey drop the boots on Dynamite’s head until the referee finally turns around and asks Condrey if he made the tag. Condrey is nodding his head as the fans boo and make some not-so-family-friendly remarks about the Midnights. David Crockett tells Bob he can’t believe this referee is letting the Midnights get away with this. Where’s Tommy Young when you need him? Bob reminds David that the referees are randomly selected from a pool of all the promotions that have sent talent. Condrey and Eaton pick Dynamite up for a double suplex, dropping him down to the mat. Condrey covers Dynamite but the Bulldog gets his leg on the rope. Condrey drops an elbow on the leg then covers Dynamite again. 1, 2—kickout at 2-and-a-half. 

Tag to Eaton who comes in and starts stomping Dynamite in the heels’ corner. Joey Marella starts a five-count as Eaton argues with him. Things are getting heated, so much that Marella doesn’t see Condrey come in and drape Dynamite’s neck across the rope, pressing his knee down to impede the airflow. Condrey slithers back to his corner and raises his arms as Marella turns around. Nothing to see here as far as Condrey is concerned. Of course, the fans have seen everything and they’re ready to riot. Eaton sees Dynamite’s neck across the bottom rope and decides to give his knee a rest. Joey Marella starts a five-count and Eaton stands up. Eaton takes Dynamite and slams him to the mat. “Beautiful” Bobby drags the Dynamite Kid towards the neutral corner and begins climbing the top rope. Eaton makes his way to the top rope and goes for the Alabama Jam, but somehow, Dynamite rolls out of the way. Both men are down and David Crockett wonders if Dynamite can even move. The fans cheer Dynamite on as he slowly comes to life. Dynamite crawls towards Davey Boy as Jim Cornette bangs the mat apron with his tennis racket, trying to rally “Beautiful” Bobby. Dynamite inches closer as Bobby gets to one knee. Eaton shakes the cobwebs out and gets to his feet as Dynamite moves ever so closer. Davey Boy has his arm out, holding onto the tag rope. Eaton grabs Dynamite’s leg and goes to pull him back, but Dynamite kicks him with the other leg. Eaton tries again only for Dynamite to kick him again, knocking him down. Eaton goes to grab Dynamite’s leg again, but he’s not there as the Dynamite Kid makes it to the Bulldogs’ corner!

Hot tag to Davey Boy Smith who is a house afire. Eaton swings at Smith who blocks the punch and floors him with a right hand. Condrey runs in and Smith headbutts him down to the mat. Smith whips Eaton into the ropes and hits a big back body-drop. Condrey takes a swing at Smith, but the Bulldog blocks him and slugs him with a big right hand. The fans are cheering as Davey Boy is cleaning house. Referee Joey Marella orders Condrey back to his corner and as he does, Jim Cornette throws the tennis racket to Bobby Eaton but Smith intercepts it! Davey Boy looks to the fans and it appears he’s going to use the racket. Instead, he throws it down to the mat and headbutts Eaton. Smith picks up Eaton and delivers a running powerslam, covering him in the center of the ring. Joey Marella is out of position as he has finally got Condrey back in his corner. Jim Cornette gets up on the mat apron as Smith has “Beautiful” Bobby down for the count. Davey Boy gets up and goes after Cornette as the referee starts arguing with Cornette and Cornette conveniently argues with Marella while “Loverboy” Dennis grabs the tennis racket and clobbers Davey Boy in the back of the head. Condrey throws the racket out of the ring. It’s time for the old switcheroo as Condrey places Eaton on top of Smith. The referee turns around and makes the three-count as Condrey intercepts a seriously beat-up Dynamite Kid, preventing him from breaking up the pin.

Winners: The Midnight Express

David Crockett protests that Jim Cornette and the Midnight Express have stolen another win. The fans are booing the Midnights and things could be dicey for Cornette and Company getting back to the dressing room. Bob Caudle tells David Crockett he’s got word that something is going on in the backstage area. Bob sends it to the back. Tony Schiavone leads a camera crew to where Stan Hansen is down on the floor clutching his leg. Hansen is shouting and swearing. Bruiser Brody storms in to check on his fallen partner. Tony Schiavone steps in and asks what’s happened. “What does it look like happened, you idiot!” Hansen shouts “Someone jumped me outside the dressing room and hit me with this!” The “Bad Man from Borger” holds up a tire iron. NWA President Jim Crockett Jr. is on the scene. Tony Schiavone asks him what this means for the next match. The NWA President says at this point, he doesn’t know. 

Join us next time as Bruiser Brody and Stan Hansen take on the Oklahoma Cowboys (or will they?) Which team will advance to round five in the quest for tag team glory and some serious cash? 

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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

Fourth Round: Match 2 (Tournament Match #42)
     Midnight Express vs. British Bulldogs

[ 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