Throwback Thursday: NWA World Class Championship Wrestling (May 12, 1984), As Seen on WWE Network and Peacock

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This week Throwback Thursday begins its two-week celebration of the 40th anniversary of the historic David Von Erich Memorial Parade of Champions event by reexamining the first of two Parade of Champions themed editions of NWA World Class Championship Wrestling, as seen on the WWE Network and Peacock, that aired 40 years ago this month!

 

The inaugural David Von Erich Memorial Parade of Champions event was, and remains to be, one of the biggest and most important events in the modern and post-modern history of professional wrestling.

Though the Parade of Champions event became synonymous with World Class Championship Wrestling (WCCW) and, sadly, to the tragedy of the Von Erich family, the event had a long, unique history that predated World Class Championship Wrestling.

Prior to May 6, 1984, the Dallas territory (Big Time Wrestling and Southwest Wrestling before that) had seen no less than seven Parade of Champions events (including the Superbowl of Wrestling) between 1961 and 1976.

Held in a variety of locations, including the Dallas Sportatorium, Dallas Municipal Auditorium, San Antonio Municipal Auditorium, and Texas Stadium, the events were the Starrcade of their time.

These early events highlighted the spirit of cooperation among the National Wrestling Alliance (NWA) and friendly non-member promotions. Stars like Ray Gunkel, Andre the Giant, Johnny Weaver, “Cowboy” Bill Watts, the Funks, Billy Red Lyons, Stan Stasiak, Nick Bockwinkel, Rocky Johnson, and Bob Orton, Jr., littered the cards throughout the years while Dallas mainstays (such as Dory Dixon, Fritz Von Erich, or Dory Funk, Jr.) headlined against the NWA World Heavyweight Champion of the day.

By May 1984 it had been eight years since the last Parade of Champions event. In fact, following the June 5, 1976, Superbowl of Wrestling card, the Dallas territory ran Texas Stadium only once—for the Fritz Von Erich Retirement Show on June 4, 1982, which drew less than 6,900 fans.

For an event the magnitude of David Von Erich’s christening as NWA World Champion, nothing short of Texas Stadium would do. When David tragically passed away on February 10, 1984, however, no other site but Texas Stadium could house the tremendous outpouring of support for grief stricken Von Erich family.

The inaugural David Von Memorial Parade of Champions event shattered all prior Dallas wrestling records and was, easily, the most attended event, to that point, in the history of pro wrestling in the state of Texas.

Though World Class floated a number in excess of 50,000 for the David Von Erich Memorial Parade of Champions card, the reality is just as impressive. All told, a stunning 32,123 fans paid to see Kerry Von Erich dethrone NWA World Champion Ric Flair to honor the memory of Kerry’s late brother David.

The 32,123 attendance figure was the highest non-World Wrestling Federation (WWF) number since the June 30, 1961, “Match of the Century”. On that night over 38,000 fans filled Chicago’s famed Comiskey Park to witness “Nature Boy” Buddy Rogers dethrone Pat O’Conner for the NWA World title.

As of May 6, 1984, the all-time domestic pro wrestling attendance record still belonged to the July 30, 1935, Ed Don George/Danno O’Mahoney World title unification bout in Boston, Massachusetts. Between 40,000 and 45,000 fans (depending on the source) filled Braves Field to watch Danno O’Mahoney best Ed Don George by count-out to become pro wrestling’s first Undisputed World Heavyweight Champion in two decades.

While World Class would continue to run Texas Stadium and the Cotton Bowl (where 30,214 would attend a card on October 6, 1985) well after the mammoth success of the May 6, 1984, event, they would never again reach the heights they soared to on that majestic afternoon.

The Parade of Champions event made World Class the talk of the wrestling world, helping to establish the promotion, and the Von Erichs, as potential “national” players moving forward.

Another topic of note for May 6, 1984, is the weather. Dallas was in the midst of a two-day heat wave, with record-setting temperatures on both May 5 & 6, 1984.

On May 5, 1984, Dallas hit a record 99°F (which has yet to matched or surpassed) while May 6, 1984, hit a record-setting 96°F, a record that stood until 1998 (99°F).

May 6, 1984, was one of only ten May 6 dates in the recorded history of Dallas, Texas (dating back to at least 1902, when official records began) to see 90-plus degree heat.

 

 

The top story in World Class the week this edition of NWA World Class Championship Wrestling aired was the inaugural David Von Erich Memorial Parade of Champions event at Texas Stadium.

At the event Kerry Von Erich defeated Ric Flair for the NWA World Heavyweight title, in memory of his late brother David; Mike, Kevin, & Fritz Von Erich defeated the Freebirds for the World Six-Man tag titles; “Iceman” King Parsons & Buck Zumhofe defeated the Super Destroyers for the American Tag titles; and Chris Adams & Sunshine got a measure of revenge against Jimmy Garvin & Precious.

Now let’s head on over to the WWE Network on Peacock, hit ‘play’, and see how well this David Von Erich Memorial Parade of Champions edition of NWA World Class Championship Wrestling holds up in 2024!

Edits, though glaring, are not an issue for this edition of NWA WCCW on the WWE Network and Peacock. The opening song, “Heaven Needed A Champion”, performed by twelve-year-old Jill Floyd, has been removed. Other musical performances, including a David Von Erich tribute video, and promotional material has also been excised. While there is a minor bit of tape distortion it in no way hinders the enjoyment of the program in the least.

Context, meanwhile, is great, with nearly every prior edition of NWA WCCW, dating back to January 2, 1982, available for you to enjoy right now on the WWE Network and Peacock.

 

NWA World Class Championship Wrestling #125 (WATCH)
Date: May 12, 1984 (TAPED: May 6, 1984; David Von Erich Memorial Parade of Champions) – Location: Texas Stadium, Irving , Texas
Attendance: 32,132 – TV Ratings: N/A
Commentators: Marc Lowrance – Interviews: Marc Lowrance

IN POP CULTURE:
Number One Song: “Hello” (Lionel Richie)
Number One Album: Footloose: Original Soundtrack of the Paramount Motion Picture
Number One on Television: V: The Final Battle – Part III (NBC) (Jane Badler, Michael Durrell, Robert Englund, Faye Grant, Richard Hurd, & Thomas Hill)
Number One Film in Theaters: The Natural (Robert Redford, Robert Duvall, Glenn Close, Kim Basinger, & Wilford Brimley)
U.S. President & Vice President: Ronald Reagan & George H.W. Bush

CHAMPIONS AT THE TIME:
NWA World Heavyweight Champion: “Modern Day Warrior” Kerry Von Erich (May 6, 1984, NWA WCCW David Von Erich Memorial Parade of Champions, from “Nature Boy” Ric Flair)
NWA American Heavyweight Champion: “Gorgeous” Jimmy Garvin (April 1984, from “Gentleman” Chris Adams; where and when this title change occurred is currently unknown; this may have been a “phantom” title switch)
NWA Texas Heavyweight Champion: VACANT (Championship was vacated following the death of titleholder David Von Erich in Tokyo, Japan on February 10, 1984)
NWA American Tag Team Champions: “Iceman” King Parsons & “Rock ‘N’ Roll” Buck Zumhofe (May 6, 1984, NWA WCCW David Von Erich Memorial Parade of Champions, from the Super Destroyers (Super Destroyer #1 & Super Destroyer #2))
NWA World Six-Man Tag Team Champions (TEXAS): The Von Erichs (Kevin, Mike & Fritz) (May 6, 1984, NWA WCCW David Von Erich Memorial Parade of Champions, defeated the Fabulous Freebirds (Michael “P.S.” Hayes, Terry “Bam Bam” Gordy, & Buddy Roberts; this was a “Bad Street” rules match; following the match Fritz Von Erich reentered retirement, passing his third of the trophy to son Kerry)
WCCW Television Champion: Killer Khan (May 7, 1984, Fort Worth, Texas; Killer Khan wrestled in place of the injured Kelly Kiniski, the TV Champion at that time and, upon defeating Johnny Mantell was awarded the TV title)
NWA Texas Brass Knuckles Champion: “Gentleman” Chris Adams (September 1983, location unknown, from Terry “Bam Bam” Gordy)

 

 

Following the standard NWA WCCW open of the era we head inside Texas Stadium where Marc Lowrance welcomes us to the show.

Calling it the “greatest card the world has ever known”, Marc Lowrance hypes debut of the Freebirds’ “Bad Street U.S.A.” music video and gives us a rundown of the three Texas Stadium matches we can expect to see this week.

 

As Marc Lowrance finishes the introduction, and we head to the first Peacock ad-break of the hour, we get a brief “Bad Street U.S.A.” hype video from the Fabulous Freebirds.

 

We come back from break to see Junkyard make his way to the ring where Missing Link & Skandor Akbar await. The two nearly come to blows on the floor before both men enter the ring for the standard ring introductions.

 

—Singles Match (2:12)
Missing Link w/Skandor Akbar vs. Junkyard Dog

This was a rare appearance for Junkyard Dog in the Dallas area, and only his third overall in 1984.

This is a fun little TV opener. After the introductions Missing Link attempts to ambush JYD but JYD is ready for it. Link is sent to the floor where he flings a ringside chair into the ring.

The referee catches the chair before JYD crowns Link with it in the center of the ring! Link regroups with Akbar on the floor before returning to the ring.

JYD controls Link, proving that JYD’s head is the hardest of them all, until JYD misses a body splash in the corner and knocks himself loopy on the top turnbuckle.

Link attempts a rally but misses a diving headbutt from the second rope. JYD lands a shot that drops Link for a near-fall that’s broken up by Akbar standing on the ring apron.

Dog goes after Akbar only to have Link waylay Dog from behind. A moment later Link is on the second rope, delivering his diving headbutt. Link covers JYD, as Akbar holds JYD’s feet for good measure, for the pinfall win at 3:11.

WINNER is Junkyard Dog (Disqualification via reverse decision, 3:11)

 

Following the match Akbar and Missing Link celebrate their win as we hear the ring introductions. Suddenly referee Bronco Lubich hits the ring to inform the original referee of Akbar’s cheating.

As the decision is overturned, giving JYD the win via DQ, JYD sends Link to the floor. Link goes ape at ringside, slamming his head into the wooden ring steps as the crowd goes wild.

We then head to the next Peacock ad-break with a replay of Akbar helping Link steal the three-count.

 

—NWA American Tag Team Championship – “Tag Team Grudge Match” (8:45)
Rock ‘N’ Soul (“Iceman” King Parsons & “Rock ‘N’ Roll” Buck Zumhofe) vs. The Super Destroyers (Super Destroyer #1 & Super Destroyer #2)(c) w/Skandor Akbar

Though this one isn’t as good as the Tag title match at the Christmas Star Wars ’83 card, where Parsons & Brian Adias dethroned the Super Ds, this is still a helluva fun match.

Zumhofe & Parsons have the advantage on the Super Ds for the first six minutes of this match, easily turning the Super Ds offense against them.

Soon enough, though, Super D #2 (Bill Irwin) tags in Super D #1 (the late Scott Irwin) and Super D #1 clobbers Zumhofe from behind, finally turning the match in the Champions favor.

The crowd rallies behind Zumhofe as the Super Ds open up on a game Zumhofe. The Super Ds, using quick tags and double-team maneuvers, work over Zumhofe until Zumhofe evades a dropkick and rolls to the corner to make the hot tag to Parsons!

“Iceman” is a house of fire as he enters, fighting off both Super Ds as the match suddenly breaks down with all four men in the ring. After a double sunset flip near-fall Zumhofe is sent to the floor, enabling a two-on-one on Parsons.

“Iceman” takes a beating before ducking a double clothesline. As Parsons come off the ropes, though, Zumhofe trips one of the Super D, holding his foot as “Iceman” lands the thumping hip attack for the 1-2-3 at 8:38 to end the Super D’s second (of an eventual four) American Tag title reign at 97-days.

WINNERS and NEW NWA American Tag Team Champions, Rock ‘N’ Soul (“Iceman” King Parsons & “Rock ‘N’ Roll” Buck Zumhofe) (Pin, 8:38)

 

After the match the new Champions celebrate their win and quickly head to higher ground as we head to the next Peacock ad-break hyping the debut of the Freebirds “Bad Street U.S.A.” music video next.

 

Coming out of the break Marc Lowrance hypes next week’s card, which includes the Kerry Von Erich/Ric Flair NWA World title showdown the 32,000 in Texas Stadium had paid to see.

 

Marc Lowrance then sets up and tosses to (19:49) the debut of the incredible “Bad Street U.S.A.” music video from the Fabulous Freebirds.

Words simply do not do this video justice. If you’ve never had the pleasure, you need to stop everything you’re doing (and yes, that includes driving) to seek this treasure of rock & camp out right now.

The video is followed by the next Peacock ad-break.

 

We return from break with the Freebirds and Von Erichs already at ringside. The footage omits the Freebirds entrance, which was first, and the Von Erichs, whose entrance music (ZZ Top’s “La Grange”) had to be removed for obvious reasons.

As the Von Erichs enter the ring all hell breaks loose! Fritz goes after Micheal Hayes as Kevin and Mike dispose of Terry Gordy and Buddy Roberts. Chairs go flying, with one hitting Kevin in the hand, opening up a serious cut on Kevin’s left index finger.

Referee David Manning has seen enough. Grabbing the microphone Manning says that while there are “no rules” in this match the tag rule will be enforced. Only two men will be allowed in the ring at any one time, “no six man” brawling.

 

—NWA World Six-Man Tag Team Championship – “Bad Street Rules” (24:26)
The Von Erichs (Kevin, Mike, & Fritz) vs. The Fabulous Freebirds (Michael “P.S.” Hayes, Terry “Bam Bam” Gordy, & Buddy Roberts)

This match, while not as great as the July 4, 1984, showdown, is an instant classic that remains one of the greatest single matches in the history of World Class Championship Wrestling.

This match marked Fritz Von Erich’s first match since his retirement bout, also at Texas Stadium, on June 4, 1982, which saw Fritz defeat King Kong Bundy for the American Heavyweight title in a “falls count anywhere” match.

If the Von Erichs won, with Fritz only wrestling this one final time, the titles would not be held up. Instead, Kerry Von Erich would take Fritz’s third of the titles with brothers Kevin and Mike.

Kevin starts out with Buddy, but it doesn’t take long for Hayes and Gordy to get involved. The Von Erichs regain the upper hand as Mike Von Erich tags in to work over Buddy’s leg. Buddy goes to Mike’s eyes and makes the tag to Hayes, who promptly misses a splash from the second rope.

Mike tags in Fritz who takes the measure of Hayes as Kevin fights off Gordy and Roberts. With the other Freebirds neutralized Fritz whips Hayes in the backside with his belt, or “woodshed city”, as Lowrance calls it.

Hayes sells his whipping, to the delight of Texas Stadium, as the match slows down. As Kevin and Gordy lock up, Kevin takes a low knee that turns the tide in the Freebirds favor.

Gordy takes the fight to Kevin until Fritz Von Erich rushes over to wallop Gordy. Gordy goes back on the attack but Kevin rallies. On the mat Kevin attempts to cinch in the Iron Claw but Gordy stops Kevin, mounting Kevin and peppering Kevin with stiff shots.

Hayes tags in and, boot in hand, beats the bejabbers out of Kevin. The Freebirds take the fight to Kevin until Roberts telegraphs a back body drop. Kevin flips over Buddy and makes the hot tag to Fritz!

Fritz enters the ring and goes after Roberts as all six men enter the match. Fritz cinches in the Iron Claw on the illegal Michael Hayes and the crowd explodes! Buddy comes off the ropes to break it up but Fritz catches him with his open hand, trapping both Hayes & Roberts in the dreaded Iron Claw.

Kevin is sent to the floor as Gordy blasts Fritz with a cowboy boot. Mike pairs off with Hayes as Gordy continues to blast Fritz with the boot. But Fritz and Mike rally, sending Hayes and Gordy into one another out of the corner.

Moments later Mike Von Erich and Buddy Roberts collide. As Buddy stumbles he turns, walking into a flying body press from Kevin Von Erich for the 1-2-3 at 6:49 to win the World Six-Man titles for the second time (of an eventual six), ending the Freebirds third (of an eventual five) World Six-Man Tag Team title reign at 118 days.

WINNERS and NEW NWA World Six-Man Tag Team Champions, The Von Erichs (Kevin, Mike, Fritz) (Pin, 6:49)

 

Following the match the Von Erichs celebrate as the fans go wild. But, as the celebration begins, an unknown wrestler (Killer Khan) rushes the ring to attack the Von Erichs.

Lowrance calls Khan “the biggest Oriental” he’s “ever laid eyes on”. The brawl carries on until Kerry Von Erich hits the ring to make the save.

 

Slowly but surely, after a few more boot shots, the fight winds down with the bloodied, defeated Freebirds walking to the back. In the ring the victorious Von Erichs celebrate their win as Lowrance tosses to our final Peacock ad-break.

 

 

After the break we head into the locker room of Texas Stadium where Marc Lowrance announces that Kerry Von Erich won the NWA Worlds Heavyweight title from Ric Flair in the second half of the Parade of Champions card at Texas Stadium.

Lowrance hypes footage of that match airing next week before wrapping the card and tossing to the credits to bring this week’s exciting, historic edition of NWA World Class Championship Wrestling to a close!

 

Final Thoughts

This is an incredible and historic edition of NWA World Class Championship Wrestling!

Though action delivers what we’ve come to expect from World Class the star of the hour is, by far, the “Bad Street” war for the World Six-Man titles.

Even forty years later the passion and anticipation from the Dallas faithful streams out of the screen, all but carrying the Von Erichs through their match.

If you haven’t seen this first (of two) inaugural David Von Erich Memorial Parade of Champions themed edition of NWA World Class Championship Wrestling, or it’s been a while, it’s well worth your time! Who knows, you may end up liking it, and that’s never a bad thing!

Already subscribed to the WWE Network on Peacock? Then you can relive this classic David Von Erich Memorial Parade of Champions edition of NWA World Class Championship Wrestling right now or experience it for the very first time! As always, let us know what you think in the comments section below!

For pre-WNN editions of Throwback Thursday, click here!

 

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