Sunday, October 31, 2021

Crockett Cup '85 Finale: Briscos vs. Rock & Roll Express (Final Falls)

by Mike Rickard

Mid-Atlantic Gateway Contributor 


Rock-n-Roll Express
vs. Jack & Jerry Brisco (Oklahoma Cowboys)

Tournament Final - 2 of 3 Falls
(Tournament Match #47 - Second and Third Falls)

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, two teams remain as only one team will walk away with $1,000,000 and the prestigious Jim Crockett Sr. Memorial Cup Trophy awaits. 

Sixth Round Rules: Here are the rules for the round six of our tournament. While a pool of referees from the NWA, AWA, and WWF were appointed for the tournament’s first five rounds, things are going to be different this time around due to the wild finish to round five’s second match between the Fabulous Freebirds (Michael “P.S.” Hayes and Terry “Bam Bam” Gordy) and the Oklahoma Cowboys. There, Road Warrior Hawk and “Precious” Paul Ellering attempted to attack the Cowboys, with Hawk unmasking Roy as Jerry Brisco.

The final match is taking place at the Greensboro Coliseum Complex in Greensboro, North Carolina on Sunday April 28. The Briscos won the first fall in the finals under suspicious circumstances and now, they’re one fall away from winning it all. In case you missed the special rules for the finals, this match is two-out-of-three falls with no time limit. The only way to win a fall is by pinfall or submission. Andre the Giant serves as special ringside enforcer but he has no authority to officiate in the match or tell the referee if he sees any chicanery.

FIRST FALL (Catch up if you missed it!)

Ricky Morton starts things out for the second fall as Robert Gibson is still smarting from getting crotched on the top rope. Jack Brisco starts off and is smiling, rubbing his hands. He invites Ricky for a test of strength and Ricky moves in, only to kick Brisco in the gut. Ricky unloads with lefts and rights, David Crockett says Ricky looking to pay Brisco back for what happened to Robert Gibson in the first fall—and who can blame him? Bob Caudle points out Ricky Morton better not let his quest for revenge cloud his judgment or he could end up losing the match and the tournament due to a rash mistake. 

Harley Race warns Morton about the punches as Morton shifts gears on rams Jack Brisco’s head into the turnbuckle. Robert Gibson is slowly getting to his feet in the babyface corner. Jerry Brisco tries to enter the ring but Harley Race warns him off. Bob Caudle says this is a no disqualification match but it’s not a Texas Tornado Match and Race seems intent on maintaining the rules of a tag team match. David Crockett scoffs and says he doesn’t know what to think after the first fall. Bob Caudle asks David how he’d like to referee a high-stakes match. David days that will never happen as he likes calling the matches, not officiating them. Flying head-scissors by Morton sends Brisco down and Jack gets knocked down again after Morton dropkicks him. Cover on Brisco for a two count. Jack rakes the eyes, following up with a forearm then a big right hand. Jack whips Morton into the Briscos’ corner but Ricky slugs Jerry, knocking him back. Jack charges in but Ricky leap frogs over him and Jack crashes into the corner. Monkey flip by Ricky followed by an elbow drop to Jack’s left leg. Ricky drops another elbow on Jack’s leg then goes for the figure four leglock! Jerry runs in and breaks it up with a stomp to Ricky’s head. 

Robert Gibson is back in the game and runs in dropkicking Jerry Brisco. Robert takes Jerry and whips him head first into the cage. Ricky Morton goes to reapply the figure four leglock but Jack Brisco rolls him up for a small package. However, Harley Race is ordering Jerry and Robert back to their respective corners. Jerry Brisco is busted open! Jack Brisco gets up and starts yelling at Harley Race. Ricky Morton takes advantage of the distraction and whips Jack into the Rock-and-Roll Express’ corner. Robert has a boot reserved for Brisco’s head as Morton introduces Jack’s head to the flat of Gibson’s boot. Tag to Robert as they whip Jack into the ropes and catch him with a double elbow smash. Cover on Jack but he kicks out at two. Robert slams Jack to the mat. Jack throws a punch but Robert blocks it and fires off a punch of his own, knocking Jack down. Robert takes Jack and whips him into the cage. David Crockett says if the Briscos thought they were in for an easy win, they’re wrong. Ricky and Robert are taking it to them! Jack is bleeding now as Gibson whips Brisco into the R&R’s corner. Tag to Ricky who slugs Jack while Robert restrains him. Snapmare as Ricky slows things down for a moment before whipping Jack into the ropes again. High cross body-block by Morton by Jack somehow dives out of the way. Brisco grabs Morton’s hair and rams his head into the Brisco’s top turnbuckle. 

Jerry and Jack deliver a double suplex to Ricky. Jack tag Jerry and the Briscos whip Ricky into the ropes. Double back-body drop by the Briscos. Jerry covers Ricky but Morton kicks out at two. Jerry yells at referee Harley Race about the speed of the count but Race dismisses his complaint. Jerry gets into Race’s face as David Crockett says it looks like Harley is ready for an altercation. Morton rolls up Jerry while he’s arguing with the referee but Brisco kicks out. Brisco drops a knee on Morton’s head and tags his brother in. Jack kneelifts Morton then picks him up, whipping him into the corner. Series of forearm shots to Morton. Morton is dazed as Jack continues with the forearm shots. David Crockett says the Briscos are probably counting their million-dollar prize by now. Jack whips Ricky into the ropes near the Rock-and-Roll Express’ corner and Gibson capitalizes. Blind tag by Gibson as Jack hits another forearm on Ricky. The Briscos haven’t seen the tag but Harley Race has. Jerry comes in and picks Ricky up for some sort of double-team maneuver. However, Robert dropkicks Jack in the back, sending him into Jerry. Ricky drops down to the mat as Gibson hits a victory roll on Jack, holding him down for the 1-2-3 as Ricky keeps Jerry from making the save. 

Fall Two Winners: The Rock and Roll Express (45 minutes and 23 seconds)

Jerry Brisco kicks Ricky in the head. The Briscos run after Gibson and throw him head first into the steel cage. Ricky runs at them and gets the same treatment as Race orders one of the Briscos back to their corner. Jack is slow to move so Race shoves him down to the mat. Jack gets into his corner; Jerry picks up Ricky and slams him down to the mat. Brisco twists Gibson’s right leg then drops an elbow onto it. Another elbow drop to the leg as Brisco follows up by placing Gibson’s right leg on the bottom rope. Gerry drops a knee but Gibson somehow gets out of the way! Robert Gibson rolls out of the way as Jerry Brisco drops an elbow this time. David Crockett wonders if Jerry is starting to panic. Bob says Jerry is a seasoned veteran but Brisco might end up choking on that million-dollar prize. David says that sounds familiar but he can’t place it. Gibson surprises Brisco with a single leg takedown, even as Gibson is favoring his right leg. The ring has been cut off now as Gibson hip tosses Jerry into the Rock-and-Roll’s corner. Tag to Ricky who drops an elbow onto Jerry’s right leg. Jerry catches Ricky with a thumb to the eye when he goes for the figure four leglock. Jerry rams Ricky’s head into the turnbuckle in a neutral corner then follows up with a kneelift right to the face. Morton goes down as Brisco covers him for a two-and-a-half count. Morton is bleeding even more now as Brisco picks him up for a suplex but Morton flips over him, rolling him up for a two-count. Brisco kicks Morton but Morton catches his foot and spins him around for an atomic drop. The fans are on their feet as Ricky kicks Brisco in the hamstring, knocking him down.

Nearly an hour has elapsed in the match and all four men look like they’ve been through a meat grinder. Ricky locks in the figure four leglock on Jerry Brisco as the crowd cheers. David Crockett says the roof is almost shaking.  Jack staggers over to break things up, but Robert Gibson is already in the ring and he beats Brisco to the punch. Brisco rakes the eyes and whips Gibson into the ropes. Both men collide, hitting each other’s heads as they fall to the mat. Bob Caudle says they look like they might be out cold. Harley Race ignores them and focuses on Ricky and Jerry. Morton is bleeding heavily as Brisco fights to flip him over. However, he can’t so far. Morton continues the hold but he seems to be fading himself. David Crockett says Ricky has lost so much blood that it’s a miracle he’s still conscious. Morton falls on his back as Race counts to two, but Morton gets his shoulders up in the nick of time. Jerry is writhing in pain now as Robert and Jack are out cold. Jerry watches as Ricky’s shoulders slump to the mat and Race counts 1… Jerry gives up! 

Fall Three Winners: The Rock and Roll Express (One hour and two minutes).

1985 Crockett Cup Winners: The Rock and Roll Express (Ricky Morton and Robert Gibson)
The Rock-n-Roll Express celebrate their huge win. Harley Race raises their hands in victory as Andre the Giant comes into the ring. The cage is packed as babyface after babyface enter the ring. There’s Ricky Steamboat and Jimmy Snuka, the British Bulldogs, Jimmy Valiant and Bugsy McGraw, the Texas Outlaws, and many more. The babyface wrestlers lift Morton and Gibson on their shoulders. Andre the Giant has a bottle of champagne and pours it over the Rock-n-Roll Express. 

Bob Caudle says what a long road it’s been to the finals. It’s been a magnificent experience calling this tournament alongside you David. David thanks Bob and says "Spanning the globe to bring you the constant variety of sport…the thrill of victory…and the agony of defeat…the human drama of athletic competition…This was the 1985 Jim Crockett Sr. Memorial Cup Tag Team Tournament.”

Bob Caudle tells David that sounds vaguely familiar. “Don’t stop me Bob, I’m on a roll!” David says as he tells Bob he’s written something else that sums up those who came up short. 

“Without training, they lacked knowledge.
Without knowledge, they lacked confidence.
Without confidence, they lacked victory.”

Bob Caudle tells David he’s heard it all now as not only has David appropriated the introduction to ABC’s Wide World of Sports but he’s pilfered a quote from Julius Caesar. David says it’s time to head to the ring. 

The babyfaces step aside as Mama Crockett and NWA President Jim Crockett Jr. enter the cage with the Crockett Cup trophy and an over-sized check for one million dollars (just don’t pull an Austin Idol with it). The Rock-and-Roll Express hold the trophy up high as the fans cheer them on for their hard-fought win.

Meanwhile, the Brisco Brothers have staggered out of the ring, catching a number of dirty looks from the wrestlers in the ring. Jack is groggy and Jerry is limping as they look around panic-stricken. David Crockett says Bruiser Brody and Stan Hansen are making their way to the ring. Bob Caudle adds they’re not the only ones. Road Warrior Hawk and “Precious” Paul Ellering are on their way to the ring too. The Briscos panic and look around. Jack and Jerry run to the back as a cameraman follows them. A teenage fan runs up to the Briscos and tells them their cab is waiting.

The Briscos run for their lives and jump into a cab as their pursuers watch the cab driving off. Jack looks at Jerry and says “That was too close for comfort. Get us out of here cabbie.” The doors lock and Jack and Jerry look through the plastic protective barrier as Ole Anderson turns around and says “First, me and some friends want to talk with you about that Georgia Championship Wrestling stock.” 

* * * * *

Special Thanks to Dick Bourne for letting me post the tournament at the Mid-Atlantic Gateway. It’s been a tremendous privilege and an honor to be able to write for a wrestling site that helps preserve the memories of a promotion I still consider the greatest wrestling promotion from the 70s and 80s and arguably, of all time. 

I’d also like to acknowledge Todd Stutts who figured out the Oklahoma Cowboys identities in March 2021! Nice detective work Todd! 

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


[ Brackets ]

Sixth Round Match (Tournament Match #47)
     Rock-n-Roll Express vs. Oklahoma Cowboys (Briscos)
     First Fall  |  Second and Third Falls


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 ]

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

Original Tournament Announcement (May 2020)
Seedings and First Round Pairings Announced