Sorry for bumping but this thread is a terrific read and makes for interesting comparison with the recent Midcarder thread.
Having watched a ton more JCP since the original conversation happened, I think as a promotion they had less clearly defined strata than the WWF. For example, we think of Paul Jones's army mostly being at JTTS level and the feud with Valiant being lower card fodder.
But in 86 and even 87 before Nikita turned, The Boogey Woogey Man was arguably number 3 face behind Dusty and Magnum. Seriously, who else did they have?
Let's look at the Bash series:
Flair title defense: Dusty Rhodes, Magnum T.A., Wahoo McDaniel, Ron Garvin, Ricky Morton, Robert Gibson, Road Warrior Hawk, Road Warrior Animal and Nikita Koloff (heel).
Midnight Express matches: Rock'n'Roll Express, Dusty Rhodes & Magnum TA, The Road Warriors
Many of these matches were six-person with Baby Doll on one side and Corny on the other.
Tully & Ole & Arn's various matches:
Dusty Rhodes & Road Warriors - against the Andersons & Tully (on last after Flair-Magnum)
Dusty Rhodes & Road Warrior Animal - against the Andersons (cage on last after Flair-Hawk)
Dusty Rhodes & Road Warrior Hawk - against the Andersons (cage on last after Flair-Animal)
Rock'n'Roll Express - against the Andersons
Magnum TA - against Arn
Ron Garvin - a major taped fist feud through the Bash against Tully... lots of matches
Wahoo McDaniel - strap match with Arn
Wahoo McDaniel - National Title against Tully
Sam Houston & Nelson Royal - Andersons
Don Kernodle & Italian Stallion - Andersons
Hector Guerrero - lower card against Ole
Because JCP had such a deep roster, on occasion guys like the Andersons would get stuck with
Houston & Royal & Kernodle & Stallion & Guerrero types, especially in a city where perhaps their Bash matches had run before. But those were the exceptions.
Nikita's various matches:
Magnum TA - this was the start of the Best of 7
Flair - heel challenge on a card that didn't draw flies in Memphis despite being loaded
Road Warriors - with Ivan in a double chain match
Road Warriors - with Ivan in a cage
Road Warriors - with Krusher
Road Warriors & Magnum - with the rest of the Russians in a cage
Road Warriors & Dusty - with the rest of the Russians in a cage
Road Warriors & Wahoo - with the rest of the Russians in a cage
Ron Garvin & Manny Fernandez - with Ivan in a Texas Tornado match
Mostly opposite Maggy or the Roadies in various configurations. The oddball match against Garvin & Manny was on a card where the Roadies teamed with Dusty against the Horsemen, while Flair defended against Maggy in Maggy's home town of Norfolk. Sometimes your normal dance partners are occupied.
Anyway, those were the top Heels of the promotion: Flair, Midnight Express, The Rest of the Horsemen, Nikita (with the other Russians as tag alongs). Their standard opponents:
You could tier a card like this:
World Title: Dusty vs Flair
Best of 7 for US Title: Maggy vs Nikita
Rock'n'Roll Express vs Midnight Express (with for the WTT or in a six with Baby Doll & Corny)
Double Chain: Road Warriors vs Russians (Ivan & Krusher since Nikita was occupied)
Taped Fist: Garvin vs Tully
Indian Strap: Wahoo vs Jimmy Garvin (which was Wahoo's feud at the time)
Then you'd get into the bottom of the card such as Boogie's feud with Paul Jones' Army.
And those were all actual feuds / storylines at the time, including Boogie's. That was part of the strength of Dusty: there were reasons for all of those being on the card. Then there were secondary feuds even among those guys: Dusty & Maggie against the MX, everyone against Flair, Andersons vs R'n'R, etc. Even goofy Boogie had a focused feud.
Anyway, Boogie was below Dusty, Maggie, the R'n'R, the Roadies, Ron Garvin and Wahoo. He just has a focused feud.
I think ultimately JCP were thin in the middle. It's like there is no equivalent of a Tito or even Jim Duggan -- if there is, Valiant is probably it and he wrestles guys like Shaska Whatley.
Not really. You had Wahoo working his "regular feud" with Garvin, but also able to move up into bigger matches including challenging for the World Title. Same thing with Ron Garvin. And if you watched TV at the time, week in and week out, Garvin-Tully was a pushed feud/storyline. Every bit as much as any WWF pushed mid-card feud.
There's a huge gulf between the main and semi-main and the rest of the card in JCP.
Well, considering the main/semi-main went Four Matches Deep when not slapped together (Dusty match, Maggie match, R'n'R match, Roadies match), the cards were loaded.
Don't believe me?
When JCP went focused into expanded into Los Angeles in 1986, this was the card they gave to fans like me:
JCP @ Inglewood, CA - Great Western Forum - August 28, 1986 (10,000)
Debut at the venue
Hector Guerrero defeated the Barbarian
Jimmy Valiant defeated Shaska Whatley
Wahoo McDaniel defeated NWA National Heavyweight Champion Tully Blanchard to win the title
Dick Murdoch defeated NWA TV Champion Arn Anderson
The Road Warriors defeated Ivan Koloff & Krusher Kruschev
Magnum TA fought NWA US Champion Nikita Koloff to a no contest
NWA Tag Team Champions Ricky Morton & Robert Gibson defeated Bobby Eaton & Dennis Condrey
NWA World Champion Ric Flair defeated Dusty Rhodes via disqualification
I never went to a WWF card in the 80s that was a loaded up as that one. Second match had a focused feud: Boogie vs Jones. "Mid card" had the Horsemen in singles, against Wahoo who had been pushed all year and the newly arriving Murdoch getting a pushed post-Bash as a player at that level. Then four big matches. In a sense, we got a Best of the Bash on the card, with the exception of Wahoo stepping in for Ron Garvin to face Tully... and they gave us a title change.
Post Starcade card?
JCP @ Inglewood, CA - Great Western Forum - January 29, 1987 (4,750)
Todd Champion defeated Teijo Khan
Big Bubba defeated Ron Garvin in a Louisville streetfight
Dusty Rhodes defeated NWA TV Champion Tully Blanchard (w/ JJ Dillon) via disqualification at around the 9-minute mark after NWA US Tag Team Champion Barry Windham came out to counter the interference of Arn Anderson, with all four men then brawling in the ring and Windham counting a pinfall for Rhodes; after the match, Rhodes was bloodied with a shoe until Windham made the save
Barry Windham fought Arn Anderson to a no contest
NWA Tag Team Champions Rick Rude & Manny Fernandez defeated Dick Murdoch & Baron Von Raschke
NWA US Champion Nikita Koloff defeated NWA World Champion Ric Flair via disqualification
The Road Warriors (w/ Paul Ellering) defeated Bobby Eaton & Dennis Condrey (w/ Jim Cornette & Big Bubba) in a scaffold match at around the 7-minute mark
Not entirely sure why we didn't get the R'nR challenging Rude & Raging... draw a blank. Anyway, you've got:
* Bubba vs Garvin in a Starcade rematch as the second match on the card
* Dusty vs Tully in a Starcade rematch as the 3rd match on the card
* Arn facing the newly arriving and getting-a-big-push Barry next
* WTT defense, though admittedly slapped together
* World Title Starcade rematch
* Starcade Scaffold rematch
Ummm... I'd like to find the WWF cards in Los Angeles in 1986-89 that were loaded up like this.
Anyway, by this time, Barry came in to be yet another challenger to Flair, while Nikita was as well.
If there was a problem with JCP it's that they had a bit too much talent when putting together "everyone's on the card" shows. The WWF, with their split crews, tended to have Hogan Match + #2 Match + Everyone Else cards, which on non-Hogan cards tended to be IC/WTT Match + #2 Drawing Feuding Match + Everyone Else.