Tuesday, October 05, 2021

Crockett Cup '85 Semi-Final #2: Freebirds vs. Oklahoma Cowboys

by Mike Rickard

Mid-Atlantic Gateway Contributor 


The Feeebirds vs. The Oklahoma Cowboys

Semi-Final Match #2
(Tournament Match #46)

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 (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. 

The Rock-n-Roll Express (Robert Gibson and Ricky Morton) defeated Jim Cornette’s Midnight Express (“Beautiful” Bobby Eaton and “Loverboy” Dennis Condrey) in the first match of round five and now it’s time to see who will face the Rock-n-Roll Express in the finals. The mystery team known as the Oklahoma Cowboys (Tex and Roy) are scheduled to face the Fabulous Freebirds.

Pre-Match Interviews
Bob Caudle tells David Crockett that Johnny Weaver is ready to interview the Oklahoma Cowboys. However, when the camera gets backstage, the Cowboys are nowhere to be seen. Instead, Paul Ellering and Road Warrior Hawk are backstage with Johnny Weaver. Ellering states NWA President Jim Crockett Jr. hasn’t done anything with the information he’s brought him so he’s going to handle things himself.  Johnny Weaver says that Mr. Crockett has already made it known that if anything happens to disrupt the tournament, the Road Warriors will be fined $250,000 and barred from the National Wrestling Alliance for one year. Ellering says his men are going to do what they have to do to get revenge on the team of Bruiser Brody and Stan Hansen for injuring Animal, but that will happen down the road. Tonight, they’re going to prove the Oklahoma Cowboys set them up for the attack on Stan Hansen—even if they have to beat it out of Tex and Roy. 

Tony Schiavone is backstage with the Fabulous Freebirds. Michael Hayes says it looks like people are finally start to understand what Badstreet is all about. The further you go down the block, the badder things get. They just beat up those two Texas Outlaws and now they’re ready to teach the Oklahoma Plowboys a lesson. Tony points out the Freebirds’ Buddy Roberts used a metal water pitcher to win the match. Roberts says Dusty Rhodes looked thirsty so he offered him a drink. Hayes looks at Gordy and asks “’Bam Bam’ you know only two things come out of Oklahoma, right?” Gordy laughs and Schiavone says he doesn’t like where this is going. Hayes laughs and says when the Freebirds are done with this tournament, there’s a lot people won’t be liking.

The Oklahoma Cowboys come out to mostly boos. David Crockett points out that Tex and Roy keep looking over their shoulders. Bob Caudle says both men have made some dangerous enemies. David wonders if this will affect the Cowboys’ ability to focus on the match at hand. The song “Freebird” plays as David Crockett tells Bob Caudle it’s one of his favorite songs from the 1960s. Bob tells David there were many great songs from the 60s, but “Freebird” was released as a single in 1974. The crowd boos as Hayes, Gordy, and Roberts trot out to the ring. David Crockett says the Freebirds didn’t win over any fans with the way they beat the Texas Outlaws in round four. Bob adds, “That’s right David and this is going to be a real battle of the bullies.”

The Oklahoma Cowboys (Tex and Roy) vs. The Fabulous Freebirds (Michael “P.S.” Hayes and Terry “Bam Bam” Gordy) with Buddy Roberts
Bob Caudle reminds the fans that thanks to the Freebird Rule, any two Freebirds can wrestle in this match and here it will be Hayes and Gordy taking on the Cowboys. Hayes starts off against Tex. World Class Championship Wrestling referee David Manning will be officiating this match. Manning advises both teams on the rules then signals for the bell. 

Michael Hayes starts off against Tex. Collar and elbow tie-up as both men vie for control. Tex manages to back Hayes up against the ropes. Referee Manning signals for a clean break and Tex gives it to Hayes. The two men lock up again with Rex again backing Hayes up against the ring ropes. Manning signals for a clean break but Tex goes to drop a forearm across Hayes’ chest. However, Hayes gets out of the way and as Tex’ forearm bounces off the ropes, Hayes grabs his opponent in a side headlock. Hayes applies the pressure and keeps the hold locked in for a minute before Tex is able to bounce off the ropes and escape. Hayes catches Tex off the ropes with a shoulderblock, knocking him down to the mat. Hayes drops an elbow on Tex then picks him up, bodyslamming him. Hayes picks up Tex and whips him into the ‘Birds’ corner where Terry Gordy is waiting with an outstretched boot. Tag to “Bam Bam” as the ‘Birds whip Tex into the ropes, delivering a double elbow to Tex’ chest. Tex falls to the mat as Gordy covers him for a two count. Gordy goes for a front facelock but Tex fires off a big left. Gordy responds with a right hand, knocking Tex into a neutral corner. Gordy whips Tex into the Freebirds’ corner and tags in Hayes. David Crockett says in just five minutes the Freebirds have isolated Tex and look to be on their way to a quick win. Bob Caudle says the Cowboys may be distracted by the threat hanging over their head. David says that Ellering and Hawk’s threat is like the Sword of Damascus. Bob Caudle points out that David’s allusion is particularly apt, but that he’s probably thinking of the Sword of Damocles. David looks at Bob and asks, “Gosh, Bob is there anything you don’t know?” David observes that the Freebirds’ teamwork is amazing. Gordy tags Hayes. Gordy grabs Tex by the arms as Hayes jumps off the second rope with an elbow knocking Tex down. Cover on Tex but he’s close to the ropes and puts his foot on the rope, forcing a break to the count. 

Hayes goes to whip Tex into the ropes but Tex reverses! Tex goes for a hip toss, but Hayes blocks it and reverses with a hip toss of his own. Hayes does the Moonwalk as some of the fans cheer. David Crockett says the Freebirds’ philosophy rubs people the wrong way, but they don’t mind seeing them beat down the Cowboys. Tex charges at Hayes but Hayes delivers an arm drag takedown. Hayes goes back to the side headlock as Tex fights to get to his feet. David points out Tex seems frantic now. Tex is in the side headlock, but he forces his way into the Cowboys’ corner. Tag to Roy. Roy comes in, ready to deliver an axe-handle, but “P.S.” mule kicks him and starts throwing punches. Knee to the back by Tex sends Hayes through the ropes onto the floor. Tex gets back to his corner as Roy goes out and gives a complimentary back adjustment to Hayes by bodyslamming him on the concrete. Buddy Roberts comes over but doesn’t do anything. Bob Caudle says Buddy would love to interfere but he doesn’t want to see him and his fellow Freebirds knocked out of the tournament on a disqualification. Roy whips Hayes into the ring and tags in Tex. Both men grab one of Hayes’ arms and sling him into their corner. Tag to Roy. Roy picks up Hayes and drops his back across Tex’ knee. Cover on Hayes but Roy only gets a two count. Roy picks up Hayes and rams his head into the top turnbuckle. Tag to Tex who comes off the second rope with an elbow to Hayes’ head as Roy restrains the Freebird. Tex grabs Hayes’ right leg and drops an elbow on it. Tex places Hayes’ leg on the bottom rope and drops a knee on it. Tex pulls Hayes into the center of the ring and drops an elbow onto Hayes’ right knee. Kneebar by Tex on Hayes. Hayes manages to reach the ropes, forcing a break. Tex stomps at Hayes’ right knee then lifts him up, delivering a shin-breaker. Hayes holds onto the top rope to try and gain his balance but Tex clips him in the right knee, sending Hayes down to the mat. Terry Gordy has enough and comes in slugging away at Tex. The referee grabs Gordy and orders him to his corner, but the big man isn’t going anywhere.

While Manning contends with Gordy, Tex holds Hayes’ right leg and Roy drops an elbow onto it from the second rope. Tag to Roy, who goes to work twisting Freebird Hayes’ right leg. Hayes flails away with punches but can’t connect with Roy. Roy picks up Hayes and delivers a vertical suplex. Cover by Roy, but Gordy runs in to break up the pin. Referee David Manning watches as Gordy goes back to his corner. Roy drags Hayes by the bum leg and tags in Tex. Tex delivers an under-hook suplex to Hayes and goes for the cover again. Gordy comes in but Roy is there to beat him to the punch. Actually, more like get punched as “Bam Bam” clobbers him with a big right hand. Manning argues with Gordy and Roy and as he does, Buddy Roberts gets on the mat apron, yelling at Tex. Tex swings at Roberts, but Buddy blocks the punch and connects, knocking Tex down. David Crockett says he’s heard of the twelfth man in football and the Freebirds have the third man. Seeing his opportunity, a dazed Michael Hayes crawls towards the center of the ring. The referee tells Roy to get back in his corner as Gordy sees Hayes trying to make the tag. Gordy gets back to his corner and watches as David Manning forces Roy back into his corner. Tex gets to his feet and dives after Hayes, but Gordy has pulled Hayes back to the Freebirds’ corner. Bob Caudle admires the clever tactics by Gordy. He says that when teams have been together as long as the Freebirds have, it’s almost like they have telepathy. Manning turns around as Hayes tags in “Bam Bam” and the crowd erupts in cheers. 

Tex is on his hands and knees begging for mercy. Gordy kicks him in the gut then lifts him up with a big scoop slam. Gordy bounces off the ropes and drops an elbow on Tex. Cover but he only gets a two count. Gordy delivers a swinging neckbreaker to Tex and covers him again. This time, Roy runs in and makes the save. Gordy gets up and whips Roy into a neutral corner. Michael Hayes is back on his feet and Gordy makes the tag. The Freebirds whip Tex into the ropes and Hayes delivers a back body drop and Gordy catches Tex, going for a reverse piledriver. However, Roy clips Gordy in the knee and Gordy and Tex go down. Hayes is still nursing his weakened right leg but grabs Roy. It’s an all-out brawl now as all four wrestlers are looking for the edge while David Manning struggles to restore order. “Bam Bam” is unloading with forearm smashes across the chest of Tex. On the other side of the ring, Hayes has Roy in the corner and he’s slugging away. The fans begin screaming as David Crockett asks what’s going on. Bob Caudle points out that Paul Ellering and Road Warrior Hawk are on their way to the ring and neither man looks happy. The Oklahoma Cowboys don’t see either man as they’re too busy fighting the ‘Birds. Buddy Roberts doesn’t know what to make of the situation so he grabs a chair. Hawk comes close to Buddy who swings the chair, only for Hawk to get out of the way and Roberts smashes the chair into the ring post instead. Hawk slugs Roberts then rams his head into the mat apron. “Bam Bam” sees this and goes out after Hawk. The two brawl as Paul Ellering says something and points to the Cowboys. Gordy isn’t listening and continues fighting with Hawk. Ellering grabs the chair and smashes it over Gordy’s back. Hawk rams Gordy’s head into the steel post. The Road Warrior sees Tex and points his finger at him. The fans cheer as a number of preliminary wrestlers run out. Rocky Kernodle, the Italian Stallion, Joel Deaton, and Ben Alexander try to restrain Hawk and Ellering but they aren’t having an easy go of it. Back in the ring, Tex blindsides Hayes, clipping him in his weakened leg. Tex locks in the Indian Deathlock as Gordy fights through the preliminary wrestlers to get back into the ring. As he does, Roy stomps him in the head. The referee checks on Hayes who seems passed out and the with Hayes’ shoulders down, the referee counts 1-2-3 as the Cowboys score a controversial win. 

Winners: The Oklahoma Cowboys 

Terry Gordy stumbles into the ring and goes after Tex. Roy runs over and clobbers Gordy with a knee that knocks him back out of the ring, but Road Warrior Hawk reaches into the ring and grabs Roy’s mask. More wrestlers are running in as the Cowboys look for an exit. David Crockett points out it looks like Ricky Steamboat, Jimmy Valiant, Bugsy McGraw, and Jimmy Snuka are here. Hawk continues pulling at Roy and nearly has him out of the ring. However, Roy’s mask comes off and Hawk gives a shocked look as do all the fans. It’s one of the Brisco Brothers! The Cowboys use their window of opportunity and slide out of the ring, running for their lives as the wrestlers restrain Ellering and Hawk. Gordy checks on Hayes as Roberts staggers into the ring. 

Round five is over but what will happen in the finals as the Rock-n-Roll Express face the Oklahoma Cowboys? Be sure to join us next time for the fateful finale.

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


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
Fifth Round: Match 2 (Tournament Match #46)
  The Fabulous Freebirds vs. The Oklahoma Cowboys

[ 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