As Magnum TA was able to survive his near death encounter the plans for the NWA's next big event was still ago. Current booker at the time, Dusty Rhodes, was able to keep Magnum TA on track to face against current NWA World Heavyweight champion at the time, Ric Flair. Nikita Koloff was still set to face Ronnie Garvin in a street fight. When Starrcade 1986 came, Nikita Koloff defeated Ronnie Garvin in their street fight and retained his NWA United States Championship. The main event of Starrcade 1986, saw the young 27 year old Magnum TA, the personification of the "working man" taking on NWA World Heavyweight Champion, Ric Flair. The Match went on for 60-minutes straight eventually ending with a time limit draw. Flair was able to retain his NWA World Heavyweight Championship and Magnum TA was showcased as being able to hang with the World Champion elevating him quickly from Midcard status to a bonafide main eventer.
WrestleMania III was proving to be the WWF's best pay-per-view event ever. They had long running storylines finally culminating at the WrestleMania in the Pontiac Silverdome. The longest running story being the heated rivalry between heel Intercontinental Champion, "Macho Man" Randy Savage, and his rival Ricky "The Dragon" Steamboat. The feud began all the way back on October 28th's edition of WWF Superstars of Wrestling when Randy Savage beat Steamboat by count out after delivering a double axe handle off the top rope onto the steel barricade. "Injuring" Steamboat's throat and taking him out for the rest of year. In what would be known as one of the greatest WrestleMania matches of all time. Steamboat would defeat Savage in a 'five star classic'.
Wrestling biggest storyline leading into WrestleMania III, was the heated feud between WWF Champion, Hulk Hogan, and newly turned heel Andre the Giant. The bout was set to take place, and was set to test Hogan's strength against the "undefeated" and "immovable" Andre the Giant. In what would become one of the most iconic WrestleMania moments. The climax of the match saw Hogan body slamming the over 500lbs. Andre the Giant, delivering his signature leg drop finisher for the win. The event at the time was one the most profitable and successful sporting events. With $1.6 million made in ticket sales alone for the 78,000 in attendance, and the $10.3 million made in pay-per-view sales.
Jim Crockett Promotions' and NWA presents its inaugural pay-per-view event, Starrcade 1987, at the UIC Pavillion in Chicago, Illinois. The pay-per-view debut of JCP's flagship annual Starrcade event is sabotaged, however, when Vince McMahon creates a new WWF PPV event, the Survivor Series, and deliberately schedules its inaugural edition against Starrcade. McMahon then coerces cable companies into dropping Starrcade in favor of the Survivor Series by refusing to allow them to air future WWF PPV events if they aired Starrcade instead of his event; as a result, only a few cable companies chose to air Starrcade as most choose to air the Survivor Series instead. However, Starrcade is still able to out draw the newly built Survivor Series card. As Starrcade and it's card had been built towards since the beginning of the year and more buzz and draw surrounding the event. Along with the variety of matches counter to McMahon's five-vs-five team math card.
Magnum vs. Flair
With Magnum TA's draw against Ric Flair and talent showcasing in last years Starrcade it elevated him to main event status. He was the next wrestler in line to become NWA World Heavyweight Champion. At the beginning of 1987 he would begin his feud with Ric Flair and his fellow stable members, the Four Horsemen. On April 10-11th Magnum TA gained a large boost in standing in the company as well with further overness with the crowd. After he won the second annual NWA Crockett Cup Memorial Tag Team Tournament in Baltimore, Maryland. After teaming with Dusty Rhodes, as the team of the 'People's Champions', and beating the Four Horsemen tag team of Lex Luger and Tully Blanchard.
Magnum and Dusty would continue to team up and feud with various members of the Four Horsemen. Along the way the Road Warriors Animal and Hawk would be involved in their feud. The first ever inaugural WarGames match is held by Jim Crockett Promotions in Atlanta, Georgia during the Great American Bash tour. On July 4th it was Magnum TA, Dusty Rhodes, Road Warriors Animal, Hawk, and Paul Ellering taking on the Four Horsemen: Ric Flair, Tully Blanchard, Lex Luger, Arn Anderson, and JJ Dillon. The match would see Magnum TA pinning Tully Blanchard after executing a top rope Belly-to-back-suplex.
TA's feud with the Four Horsemen culminated at Starrcade 1987. Where again he faced off against Ric Flair for his world championship. After a grueling twenty minute cage match and intereference from Horsemen Magnum TA was finally able to secure the NWA World Heavyweight Championship. After a belly to belly suplex to Ric Flair into the side of the steel cage. Securing him the NWA World Heavyweight Championship and top guy of the NWA.
Rest of the Business
In the early months of February New Japan Pro Wrestling (NJPW) began to contact and tried to bring back the mass flood of talent who'd left NJPW in 1984. Such Japanese talents included: Masa Saito, Kuniaki Kobayashi, Super Strong Machine, Hiro Saito, and the leader of the defectors Riki Chōshū. However Chōshū and his group turned down all offers to return to NJPW and chose to stay with rival promotion, All Japan Pro Wrestling (AJPW). Chōshū and his group eventually turned the attempted contract offerings into a storyline. As Chōshū and his group became a heel stable of wrestlers contracted by NJPW to takeover AJPW. The group would be known as the Nippon's Jubiliant Puroresu Warriors, acronymic to NJPW. A play and dig on their former promotion.