Throughout the history of pro wrestling bookers and promoters have always tried to come up with new, creative and innovative ideas to generate interest in their product. Some ideas have not only succeeded…but flourished. Others were DOA from the get go. Then there are those ideas which initially were innovative…but for various reasons….faded away. Those are the focus of this latest series of posts titled ‘Great Ideas That Didn’t Last’.
Today’s piece looks at one of those initially great ideas that soon faded away…the Jim Crockett Sr. Memorial Tag Team Tournament aka The Crockett Cup. The two day tag tournament lasted for three years from 1986 to 1988 and was the brainchild of promoter Jim Crockett Jr.
The tournament itself…of course…was named after Jim Crockett Jr.s deceased father…fellow promoter “Big Jim” Crockett Sr. The tournament was in two parts..the day and evening in the month of April and consisted of 24 tag teams under the National Wrestling Alliance’s (NWA) umbrella.
The prize for winning the tourney…was the Crockett Cup trophy and a check for one million dollars. Of course, considering the rather shaky financial climate of Jim Crockett Promotions in the late 80’s….that million dollar check wasn’t real. It was just used to make the event seem like a big deal. And initially it was….
The first event, in 1986, took place at the Superdome in New Orleans, Louisiana and had decent crowds totaling close to 20,000 altogether. It featured such legendary tag teams like the Rock N Roll Express, The Fabulous Ones, The Sheepherders and The Russians. In the end though, it was only fitting that arguably one if not the greatest tag team in history…Hawk and Animal of The Road Warriors win the inaugural Crockett Cup.
The 2nd annual event took place in 1987 at the Baltimore Arena in Baltimore, Maryland. The two day tournament again did solid numbers with a total crowd attendance of over 21,000. The field consisted of great teams like the defending champs the Road Warriors…The Midnight Express and Rick Rude and Manny Fernandez. The winners this time around were the make shift tag team of the Superpowers (Dusty Rhodes and Nikita Koloff) The team formed after the tragic car accident that ended the career of Magnum TA.
The 3rd and final Crockett Cup was again a two day affair…this time…hosting the event was both the Greenville Memorial Auditorium in Greenville, South Carolina and the Greensboro Coliseum in Greensboro, North Carolina. The attendance for the two day tourney was roughly 11,000. The list of teams involved were still impressive including Arn Anderson and Tully Blanchard, the Fantastics, the Varsity Club and the Powers of Pain. The last winners of the cup were two of the NWA/WCW’s brightest young stars…Lex Luger and Sting.
Of course, sometimes with many great ideas…the Crockett Cup tournament would come to an end once Jim Crockett Jr. sold off his assets to Ted Turner and JCP became WCW. Who knows if the tournament had a long shelf life if Crockett Jr. remained in power? The importance of tag team wrestling started to fade out in the mid 90’s with Eric Bischoff and Vince McMahon at the helms. What I do know is the Crockett Cup accentuated the great tag teams of that era.
I would be remiss in not mentioning that during these 3 years of tournaments…Nature Boy Ric Flair successfully defended his World heavyweight title against Rhodes, Barry Windham and Nikita Koloff respectively. Good times indeed…