Tuesday, September 28, 2021

Crockett Cup '85: The Semi-Finals Begin with a Timeless Match-Up

by Mike Rickard

Mid-Atlantic Gateway Contributor 


Rock-n-Roll Express vs. The Midnight Express

Semi-Final Match #1
(Tournament Match #45)

 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. Round four saw things heat up further as eight teams battled to determine “The Final Four.” Now, four teams remain as things get even closer to the final round where $1,000,000 and the prestigious Jim Crockett Sr. Memorial Cup Trophy awaits. 

Fifth Round Rules: Here are the rules for the round five 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 fifth-round matches have a sixty-minute time limit and are sanctioned under NWA rules i.e., 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 fifth-round matches and the finals are being held at the Greensboro Coliseum Complex in Greensboro, North Carolina. The fifth-round matches will take place on Saturday April 27 and the final match on Sunday April 28. 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 interviews the Rock-n-Roll Express outside the babyface locker room. Robert Gibson tells Tony he wants to thank the fans for the great reception they’ve given them and they’re looking to live up to their expectations. Tonight they’re facing a team that they’re no strangers to—the Midnight Express. Unlike their previous opponents, the Rock-n-Roll Express know all of Jim Cornette’s tricks and they’re ready. Ricky Morton adds, “That’s right baby. Jim Cornette better watch out because that no-good sissy mamma’s boy is going to be spitting out teeth if he tries sticking his nose in our match. Ricky says he’s not going to hoot or holler because the fans have learned the Rock-n-Roll say what they mean and mean what they say. He and Robert know the Midnights are tough, but they’ve got the fans on their side and a 425-pound double dropkick that can end a match in the blink of an eye. Rock-n-roll is here to stay and rock-n-roll will never die. 

Johnny Weaver is interviewing Jim Cornette and the Midnight Express (“Beautiful” Bobby Eaton and “Loverboy” Dennis Condrey). Cornette says cream rises to the top which is why the Midnight Express have made it to the semi-finals. Paul Ellering shows up and he tells Cornette he has something important to say. He says people have been accusing him and the Road Warriors of taking out Stan Hansen. “Precious” Paul says that Hawk and Animal will take care of Hansen and Brody face-to-face and that someone else took out Hansen—someone with something to gain. Jim Cornette and the Express look on as Ellering says he’s got more to say but he’ll be back after the first semi-final match. 

Cornette looks at Johnny and says, “Precious” Paul is out playing Columbo but if he interrupts the Midnight Express’ interview again, he’s going to look like Ironsides. Cornette says there’s a lot of sore losers out there and the latest will be the Rock-n-Roll Express after “Beautiful” Bobby and “Loverboy” Dennis get through with them. Cornette tells Jimmy Cornette to have those million dollars ready because he’s bringing it home to Mama Cornette for some pin money. She’s going to tell him “You done a good job son” and congratulate the Midnight Express on their latest win. 

The Rock-n-Roll Express (Ricky Morton and Robert Gibson) vs. The Midnight Express (“Beautiful” Bobby Eaton and “Loverboy” Dennis Condrey) with Jim Cornette

Jim Cornette grabs the microphone from the ring announcer and announces that this is the battle between the real express, the Midnight Express and the fake express—the Rock-n-Roll Express. Prepare to see the phonies get what’s coming to them. “Rock-and-Roll All Night” plays as Ricky Morton and Robert Gibson slowly walk through the crowd, hugging female fans and high-fiving male fans. Bob Caudle says the Rock-n-Roll Express have become the crowd’s favorites. David Crockett speculates what would happen if the Express ever came to the Mid-Atlantic area. Mid-South Wrestling referee Carl Fergie checks both teams for signs of any irregularities. David Crockett says Fergie should check Cornette’s tennis racket as there’s something fishy about it. He says it’s definitely wouldn’t pass muster at the U.S. Open. 

The bout starts off with Robert Gibson and Bobby Eaton circling each other in the ring. After several feints, they lock up in a collar-and-elbow tie-up. Both men scramble for control until Gibson gains control with a big right hand. Fergie warns Gibson about the closed fist and Gibson puts Eaton in a headlock. Snapmare by Gibson takes both men to the mat as Gibson continues with the headlock. Eaton goes for a cradle as Fergie counts to one, but Gibson quickly gets back in control. Eaton struggles to escape and gets to his feet, whipping Gibson into the ropes. Gibson comes off and knocks Eaton down with a shoulderblock. Dennis Condrey runs in and Gibson sends him into the Rock-n-Roll Express corner with a hip toss. Ricky Morton slugs Condrey as he gets up. Both Eaton and Condrey get to their feet only to get knocked down as Gibson and Morton deliver two perfectly-timed dropkicks. The Midnight Express roll out of the ring and go for a group conference with Jim Cornette. Cornette pats them on the back and hugs them as the fans boo the heels and their manager mercilessly. 

Robert Gibson lowers the second rope and motions for the Midnights to get into the ring. Carl Fergie starts a ten-count and Eaton gets in at eight. Eaton tags in Condrey who goes to lock up with Gibson but finds himself in a headlock. Gibson drags “Loverboy” Dennis to the babyface corner, tagging in Morton. Gibson restrains Condrey’s arms as Morton slugs Dennis right in the mush. Fergie warns Ricky as David Crockett points out the Rock-n-Roll Express are starting off aggressively. Bob Caudle says that’s understandable but with a million dollars at stake, you don’t want to be going home on a disqualification loss. Bodyslam by Morton sends Condrey crashing down into the mat. Morton drops an elbow on Condrey then applies a side headlock. Condrey gets his leg to the ropes, forcing a break. The ring announcer states five minutes have elapsed in the match with 55 minutes remaining. 

Condrey is getting to his feet as Morton moves in towards him. Condrey catches Ricky with a punch to the breadbasket. Condrey gets to his feet and rakes Morton in the eyes before whipping him into the ropes. Condrey delivers an elbowsmash to Morton’s chest, knocking him down. Condrey drops a knee across Morton’s head. Condrey bounces off the ropes and drops an elbow but no one is home. Wasting no time, Morton applies a side headlock to Dennis, tightening the hold as Condrey seems helpless to escape. The only thing he can seem to do is to try and reach the heel corner. 

Condrey tries to make the tag as Bobby Eaton extends his hand only for Morton to kick it. Eaton rubs his hand then sticks it out again, only for Morton to kick it again! Eaton is getting upset and Condrey is getting nowhere. Eaton holds out his hand again, only to get kicked a third time. David Crockett laughs at the spectacle and Bob Caudle adds that if Morton and Gibson can keep their opponents flustered, they’re well on their way to a victory. He has enough and runs in, only for Ricky to grab him into a head scissors while he has Condrey in the headlock. Morton rolls both men to the mat, knocking them senseless. The Midnight Express slam their fists into the mat as Jim Cornette slams his tennis racket onto the mat apron. 

The Midnights get into the ring as Ricky tags in Robert. Robert grabs Condrey in a headlock, but doesn’t have a strong enough grip and Condrey whips him into the ropes. Eaton knees Gibson in the back as he bounces off the ropes and Gibson goes down. Condrey drops an elbow on Gibson then tags in Eaton. “Loverboy” Dennis chokes Gibson while Eaton kicks Robert in the head. Jim Cornette gets up on the mat apron and argues with referee Carl Fergie. Meanwhile, the Midnights lift Gibson up and drop his neck over the top rope. Ricky Morton has seen enough and runs in as Cornette alerts the referee. Fergie sends an angry Morton back to his corner as Cornette hands the tennis racket to Condrey and Dennis slams the handle into Gibson’s gut. Bobby Eaton then climbs to the top rope and delivers a flying elbowsmash on Gibson. Cover on Gibson as Fergie turns around and leaps to the mat apron 1,2, …Gibson kicks out. 

Eaton begins choking Gibson as Fergie starts a five-count. Eaton breaks at four. Legdrop across the neck by Eaton as Gibson writhes on the mat, clutching at his throat. Eaton picks up Gibson and rams his head into the heel corner’s top turnbuckle. Tag to Condrey as both members of the Midnight Express unload on Gibson with lefts and rights. Carl Fergie gets in and starts another five-count. David Crockett says the referee needs to break things up. Who appointed this guy as referee? Bob reminds David that his brother selected a pool of referees from the various territories participating in the tournament and that Carl Fergie was randomly selected. David says he's going to talk to his mom about that. 

Ten minutes have passed in the first match of the semi-finals. Back in the ring, Eaton holds Gibson as Condrey bounces off the ropes with a clothesline. However, no one is home as Gibson manages to slip out and Eaton goes down! Gibson rolls into his corner and makes the tag to Ricky Morton. Ricky runs in and dropkicks Condrey, knocking him back into a neutral corner. Condrey charges out only for Ricky to deliver a beautiful arm drag takedown. Condrey gets a second arm-drag takedown as Morton locks in an armbar. However, “Loverboy” Dennis rakes the eyes, forcing Morton to break. Condrey slugs Morton as Ricky tries to get his bearings. Condrey punches Morton again as Carl Fergie moves in, admonishing Condrey on his pugilism. Condrey ignore the referee and throws a big right hand but Morton blocks it and knocks Condrey down with a punch of his own. Ricky bounces off the ropes and drops a knee to Condrey’s head then locks in the figure four leglock. Condrey is in trouble as Ricky has the hold locked in the center of the ring. Condrey is fighting to get to the ropes as Morton continues applying the pressure. Finally, Bobby Eaton runs in and stomps Ricky in the head. 

The referee tells Eaton to get back in his corner while Ricky bounces off the ropes. Jim Cornette trips Morton with the racket and Robert Gibson chases after Cornette. Meanwhile, Eaton is still arguing with the referee so Dennis Condrey hears opportunity knocking and he throws Morton over the top rope, an automatic disqualification had the referee seen it. Robert Gibson gives up on chasing Cornette and gets in the ring, shouting at Carl Fergie as he points to Condrey. The referee asks Condrey is he threw Morton over the top rope and he shakes his head, with Dennis pointing to the middle rope. Gibson continues arguing as Bobby Eaton slides outside the ring, grabbing a steel chair and cracking it over Morton’s back. Morton slowly gets to his feet and Eaton shoves the chair into Morton’s stomach, sending him back to the floor. Jim Cornette directs traffic as Eaton throws Morton into the ring. 

The announcer reveals 15 minutes have elapsed so far, with 45 minutes remaining. David Crockett says he’s never seen the Rock-and-Roll Express in such bad shape before. Bob Caudle asks, “what about their last match against the Minnesota Wrecking Crew?” David shouts that the Midnight Express have taken cheating to a new level and it’s going to take a miracle for Ricky and Robert to win the bout. The fans are chanting “Rock and Roll, Rock and Roll” as Condrey grabs Morton by the hair and throws him into a turnbuckle. Bodyslam by Condrey and a cover, but Morton kicks out at two. Condrey starts choking Morton, breaking at the four count. Stomp to the head by Condrey as he lifts Morton up then whips him into the heel corner. Tag to Eaton. “Beautiful” Bobby whips Morton into the ropes and goes for a back body drop. However, Morton finds the wherewithal to boot Eaton in the head. Both men go down in the center of the ring. Eaton pulls himself up by the ropes and bounces off the ropes with an elbowdrop but Ricky rolls out of the way. Another elbowdrop misses as Ricky rolls out of the way again. Ricky dives to his corner and makes the hot tag as Robert Gibson comes in.

Robert Gibson whips Eaton into the ropes and hits a big back body drop. Gibson whips Eaton into a neutral corner and charges in, hitting a monkey flip on “Beautiful” Bobby. Gibson continues bouncing Bobby around the ring, this time throwing him into the ropes and going for a Victory Roll. 1, 2…no, Dennis Condrey breaks the pin with an elbow drop on Gibson. Condrey rolls out of the ring as Jim Cornette yells something at a dazed Ricky Morton, who is barely standing in his corner. Morton takes the bait and starts jawing with Cornette. Condrey runs over and hits Morton with a double axe handle from behind.

Back in the ring, Gibson and Eaton are trading punches now as things have broken down. Gibson has Eaton in the corner and climbs the first rope, battering Eaton with punches as the crowd counts after every punch. Dennis Condrey comes back into the ring and knees Gibson in the back before getting back into his corner. Condrey watches as Jim Cornette diverts the referee’s attention. Condrey sneaks back into the ring and drops a forearm on Gibson’s back while Eaton clears out the cobwebs. 

20 minutes have elapsed as the action continues. Ricky Morton tries to get back into the ring but he’s moving slowly. Jim Cornette screams at Carl Fergie as Dennis Condrey reaches into his boot and produces a chain, wrapping it around his right arm. The Midnights whip Robert Gibson into the ropes as David Crockett shouts that Dennis Condrey has a chain. Gibson comes off the ropes and ducks under Eaton and Condrey’s clothesline attempt. Undaunted, the Midnights bounce off the opposite ropes. However, Ricky Morton grabs Condrey’s leg from outside the ring, tripping him up. In the meantime, Gibson bounces off the opposite ropes and hits a Lou Thesz Press on Bobby Eaton, covering him for the 1-2-3 as Morton grabs Condrey’s leg, preventing him from making the save.  

Winners: The Rock-n-Roll Express (Gibson and Morton advance to the finals!)

Round five’s first match is over and now one match remains to determine which other team will advance to the finals. Join us next time as The Oklahoma Cowboys (Tex and Roy) take on The Fabulous Freebirds.

Backstage, Johnny Weaver is with NWA President Jim Crockett Jr. and “Precious” Paul Ellering. Ellering says he’s been digging around and he discovered something interesting about the attack on Hansen. Ellering brings in “Handsome” Jimmy, “The Boogie Woogie Man.” Ellering says Valiant has something interesting to say about the Wall Street Journal that was supposedly found next to Stan Hansen. 

Valiant comes in and says he saw the newspaper on the ground and picked it up because he wanted to read the funnies. Imagine his surprise when he learned The Wall Street Journal has no comic strips. Ellering tells Valiant to quit clowning around and tell Crockett what he saw. “The Boy from New York City” tells Ellering to watch his step or he’ll get a fat lip. Valiant tells Ellering and Crockett that he saw a masked wrestler drop the newspaper and run off before Valiant could tell him he’d dropped his paper.

Ellering asks Crockett if anyone found a newspaper near Hansen when he was attacked. Crockett says no. Ellering points out that the Oklahoma Cowboys claimed there was a Wall Street Journal found and says how would they know? Jim Crockett raises his eyebrow. Ellering warns Crockett he’d better look into this or he’s going to have some serious problems on his hands. 

They mystery behind the insidious attack on Stan Hansen continues but all eyes will be on round five’s second match as the fans will learn whether it’s the Oklahoma Cowboys or the Fabulous Freebirds advancing to the finals!

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


Original Tournament Announcement (May 2020)

Seedings and First Round Pairings Announced

[ Brackets ]

 Fifth Round: Match 1 (Tournament Match #45)
  Rock-n-Roll Express vs. Midnight Express


[ 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
Fourth Round: Match 3 (Tournament Match #43)
    Brody/Hansen vs. The Oklahoma Cowboys
Fourth Round: Match 4 (Tournament Match #44)
    Rhodes & Murdoch vs. The Fabulous Freebirds

[ 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