Today In History 9/10: TNA Has Their Biggest PPV, Midnight Express Win NWA Tag Titlles

* 27 years ago in 1988, Jim Crockett Promotions ran a very famous house show at the Civic Center in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. With kids tickets being just $1 each, they drew 6,532 fans.

Turner Broadcasting was in the process of buying out the Crockett family at this point and were interviewing both the talent and office staff. Everyone was told these interviews would be confidential, so Tully Blanchard opened up about what he felt the problems with the company were, and especially the booking of Dusty Rhodes. You can probably guess what happened next: Tully's comments got back to Dusty, who wasn't happy about it. Tully was one half of the NWA World Tag team Champions with Arn Anderson, and they both got fed up, giving their notices effective immediately. As far as the belts went, they could drop them right away or nt at all. Right away was September 110, 1988 in Philly.

Anderson and Blanchard (along with their manager, J.J. Dillon) had just started feuding with the NWA United States Tag Team Champions, Midnight Express (Bobby Eaton and Stan Lane) as well as their manager, Jim Cornette. It started as a heel vs. heel feud, but once the feud became about more than just the belts, it was clear who were the babyfaces. The Four Horsemen jumped Eaton in the locker room during a Lane singles match, leading to a rarity: Eaton not only cutting a promo, but a fired up babyface promo! They hadn't quite "officially" turned, but there were as good as turned in much of the country, especially the cities where fans had already started turning Philadelphia.

With no notice, there were no television cameras at the Civic Center to shoot the Midnight Express winning the titles and becoming the first ever double champions. One enterprising fan snuck in a camcorder, but the match isn't online. It's an excellent match, one that makes you wish the feud wasn't cut off so early (and not only was the work great, but the first few matches drew well). It's notable for how the fans reacted: After way too many screwjob finishes, there was always a reluctance to buy into a title change finish in JCP back then. In this case, that meant the fans' pop didn't actually peak with the finish. Instead, the fans, realizing that the finish wasn't going to be overturned, got louder and louder as the Midnight Express walked to the locker room.

As seen in the above video, the next weekend on TV, they showed off their new hardware and Cornette was so happy he tried to kiss interview David Crockett.

While, as noted, the Midnights were, for all intents and purposes, babyfaces, it wasn't quite "official" until they lost the belts to the Road Warriors on October 29th in New Orleans, Louisiana at the UNO Lakefront Arena. That was set up as a double turn with the Road Warriors also turning heel in the process by running Bobby Eaton into the ring post. Let's just say that didn't work as well as the Midnights' babyface turn. Worse, the Midnights had already vacated the United States Tag Team Titles, so they ended this whole exercise with zero titles after just having held two at the same time.

Anderson and Blanchard went to the WWF, of course, where Bobby Heenan managed them as the Brainbusters. After a feud with The Rockers where they put on some of the best WWF house show matches of the era, they "proved themselves" by doing jobs to the Bushwhackers around the horn.

They ended up feuding with Demolition and defeating them for the WWF Tag Team Championship. They left the company after dropping the titles back so they could go to what had become WCW...but someone leaked the results of a drug test Blanchard failed, testing positive for cocaine. WCW head Jim Herd not only pulled Blanchard's offer, but cut Anderson's pay because he was "devalued" without his partner.

* 12 years ago in 2003, TNA had what was technically the most bought pay-per-view show in company history. They were still running weekly PPVs and nothing else, but Labor Day two days earlier, they didn't run an original, live show that week. Instead, they did a special compilation show that they charged one cent for as a gimmick. The show focused on TNA's best and most memorable matches in 2003 up to that point, including Sting's debut. The Icon teamed with Jeff Jarrett to defeat A.J. Styles and Sean Waltman. Sting had agreed to the booking as a favor to Jerry Jarrett (who was still very much part of the company), the first promoter to give him a shot when he broke into the business in 1985.


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