Mega Powers Running Wild!

The legendary 'Macho man' Randy Savage teams up with 'The Immortal' Hulk Hogan to take on Ted Dibiase and Andre The Giant in the first ever WWF Summerslam!

Shawn Micahels vs. Mankind

The Heartbreak Kid defends the WWF Championship against Mankind in a thrilling main event at WWF In Your House: Mind Games.

The Birth of the nWo

From Hulk Hogan's shocking turn at WCW Bash at the Beach 1996 to the addition of Ted Dibiase, THe Giant Syxx and more, relive the very beginning of the New World Order.

Austin 3:16 Says I Just Kicked Your Ass

It's one of the most famous promos of all time; Stone Cold Steve Austin wins the 1996 King of The Ring and serves notice on all the WWF superstars. Check it out in our complete review

Wrestlemania 12 Review

The boyhood dream comes true as Shawn Michaels battles champion Bret 'The Hitman' Hart in a classic 1-hour iron man match. Plus, Diesel vs. Undertaker and more.

WCW Fall Brawl 1996 Review

Was Sting in cahoots with the New World Order? Would Lex Luger be able to get along with the Four Horsemen as they faced the nWo in War Games? Find out in this review

Thursday, 29 April 2021

PPV REVIEW: WCW / NWA The Great American Bash 1989 - The Glory Days

WCW / NWA Great American Bash 1989 - The Glory Days
July 23, 1989 
Baltimore Arena, Baltimore, Maryland.

By 1989, The Great American Bash had been an NWA staple for a number of years, but tonight's was the first such event to be promoted by World Championship Wrestling.

It was also the first NWA/WCW event that actually looked like a WCW event, featuring the brand's trademark blue and yellow ropes and an improved production quality which set the event apart from the usually dark and gritty setting of your average National Wrestling Alliance show. 

Would the show also feature the questionable booking, bad gimmicks and other Wrestlecap-worthy WCWisms that the company would also be known for?

Or would The Glory Days prove that World Championship Wrestling could indeed produce an excellent night of professional wrestling?

Let's head down to Baltimore, Maryland to find out.

Wrestling is Not Peaceful

Tonight’s show opened with a comically bad introduction which basically told us that while Baltimore, Maryland was peaceful, the action of World Championship Wrestling was anything but.

Then, after a welcome from our announcers Jim Ross and Bob Caudle, it was onto our opening match.

Triple Crown King of The Hill Battle Royal Finals
Ft. Dr Death Steve Williams, Rick Steiner, Scott Steiner, Mike Rotunda, Sid Vicious, Dangerous Dan Spivey, Scott Hall, Brian Pillman and more.

WCW / NWA Great American Bash 1989 - Sid Vicious
Tonight’s match began with all of the combatants carrying their own crown to the ring. The match was billed as the ‘Triple Crown’ finals but really it was like 14 crowns.

Neither Ross nor Caudle cared to explain what the Triple Crown actually was, but they did at least tell us that the King of the Hill finals was thus called because every man in here had previously won a battle royal and now would compete in a kind of ‘ champion of champions’ final battle royal, and not because it had anything to do with propane.

The match itself wasn’t very interesting except for the fact that it marked the first PPV appearance of many major stars of the 1990s like Ron Simmons, Brian Pillman, Sid Vicious, and Scott Hall.

After ten minutes or so, Sid Vicious was the last man standing in the first ring and his Skyscrapers partner Dan Spivey was the only man still standing in the second ring.

WCW / NWA Great American Bash 1989 - Teddy 'Peanut Head' Long, Playa
This was supposed to mean that the two faced each other in a singles match, but instead Teddy Long appeared and said that wasn’t going to happen. The two were going to share the $50,000 prize money.
Your Winners: The Skyscrapers

Backstage, Teddy Long sweated profusely as he told Gordon Sollie everything he’d just said in the ring about The Skyscrapers sharing the prize. 

He then promised that Sid and Spivey would take on all comers in tag team matches.

You can write your own joke about that one, playa.

Wild Bill Irwin vs. Flyin’ Brian Pillman

It took less than 90 seconds for Jim Ross to start telling us about Pillman’s football career.

WCW / NWA Great American Bash 1989 - Brian Pillman vs. Wild Bill Irwin
Fortunately, Caudle was there to get him talking about wrestling again in what proved to be a fun contest.

This was pretty much textbook stuff. Energetic babyface Pillman flew around looking impressive in the early going, then he got beat up by the big, burley heel Bill Irwin for a bit before making his big comeback and flying off the top rope with a match-winning crossbody.

It was basic stuff, but it worked and was enjoyable.
Your Winner: Brian Pillman

Out in the back, Paul E. Dangerously gave a compelling interview to Gordon Sollie about his upcoming tuxedo match with Jim Cornette.

In a great call back, Dangerously told us that he had been a photographer at Starrcade ‘86 and had seen Cornette fall from the scaffold and destroy his knee.

Tonight, Paul didn’t care about winning the match. He only cared about attacking that same knee and taking Cornette out of commission once and for all.

Dynamic Dudes (Shane Douglas & Johnny Ace) vs. The Skyscrapers (Sid Vicious & Dangerous Dan Spivey w/ Theodore Long)

WCW / NWA Great American Bash 1989 - The Dynamic Dudes With a Really Unimpressed Fan
Making their way to the ring from "The City of Sunshine,” Shane Douglas and Johnny Ace plucked some chubby young kid in a Ghostbusters t-shirt out of the crowd and tried to play frisbee with him, but the kid clearly looked like he was hating every moment of it. It was -you have to believe me- hysterically funny.

Then, before the match began, Jim Ross decided to take a shot at the WWF by saying that despite Sid & Spivey being big dudes, they were also athletic and didn’t need to rely on gimmicks like ‘snakes or pets' because they were real wrestlers.

Remember that, we'll come back to it later. 

The match itself wasn’t anything to laugh about though.

It was several different kinds of bad. Sloppy, mistimed and making the Dynamic Dudes look like it was their first day of wrestling school, this was painful to watch.

The only good thing about was how insanely over Sid Vicious was. The crowd loved him. Just him though, not The Skyscrapers team. Every time Dangerous Dan Spivey got in the ring the crowds chanted ‘We Want Sid! We want Sid!”

And these guys were supposed to be the heels.

In the end, Spivey dropped Johnny Ace on his head with an awful half-assed powerbomb and won the match for his team.
Your Winners: The Skyscrapers

Backstage, Jim Cornette offered an impassioned response to Paul E.’s earlier promo, insisting that he didn’t care if Dangerously did break his legs -he would crawl on his hands and knees to land a fist upside Dangerously’s head.

This was excellent stuff from Cornette.

Managers Tuxedo Match
Paul E. Dangerously vs. Jim Cornette

WCW / NWA Great American Bash 1989 - Jim Cornette talks to Gordon Sollie
Cornette and Dangerously were great managers and amazing talkers, but they weren’t wrestlers and had no need to compete in a match like this.

Remarkably, it wasn’t as sloppy as the Skyscrapers/Dynamic Dudes match, but that’s only because they didn’t do anything apart from punch one another and occasionally choke each other out with their cummerbunds.

It wasn’t awfully bad or anything, but it wasn’t very entertaining and would have been much better if both men had just been given microphones and allowed to argue for a while.

To the surprise of no one, babyface Jim Cornette stripped Paul E. down to his blue undies and sent him scurrying off to the back.
Your Winner: Jim Cornette

Backstage, Garry Hart told Gordon Sollie that The Great Muta was busy meditating so that he could ‘channel the mystical powers of the Orient into his being’ to help him defeat Sting for the TV title.

They was coming up soon, but first, this: 

Texas Tornado Tag Team Match
The Varsity Club (Games Master Kevin Sullivan & Captain Mike Rotunda) vs. The Steiner Brothers (Rick & Scott Steiner w/ Missy Hyatt)

WCW / NWA Great American Bash 1989 - The Steiner Brothers beat The Varsity Club
Yes, Mike Rotunda had been promoted to captain since the last time we saw him at Chi-Town Rumble. It wouldn’t be too long before we’d see him become a fully-fledged sailboat captain.

Meanwhile, Rick Steiner had begun coming to the ring with an actual dog. Also, he and his brother Scott were now accompanied by Missy Hyatt who, Pete be honest, was a beautiful woman.

This match was actually a lot of fun, but was sadly too short for this writer’s tastes.

The ‘Texas Tornado’ rules meant that the winner would get to take Kerry Von Erich home.

No, that’s not true. They meant that all four men would compete at the same time in an anything goes brawl which gave Rick Steiner and Kevin Sullivan the opportunity to throw tables and chairs at each other with delightful abandon.

Sadly, it all ended much too soon when Scott Steiner came off the ropes with a flying clothesline and both he and Rick covered Sullivan for the win.
Your Winners: The Steiner Brothers

WCW / NWA Great American Bash 1989 - Sting gives a promo
Out in the back, Sting gave a short interview to Gordon Sollie in which he claimed he was too pumped up to sit still, let alone talk.

The Stinger was joined by Hot Stuff Eddie Gilbert who was still at loggerheads Garry Hart since they had clashed back at WrestleWar ‘89.

National Wrestling Alliance World Television Championship
NWA World TV Champion Sting (w/ Hot Stuff Eddie Gilbert) vs. The Great Muta (w/ Garry Muta)

Easily the best thing on the card up to this point, this was a tremendous, fast-paced and exciting match hampered only by the finish.

After an excellent battle, Muta went to spray mist in the champion’s face, only to get referee Nick Patrick instead.

Patrick rolled to the outside, selling the mist like it had been a fireball.

Sting then lifted Muta and dropped him with a suplex. Both men had their shoulders down but Muta got his up before the referee had counted three and Sting may or may not have had his up.

Patrick and stand-in official Tommy Young then debated who had actually won the match while Muta and Garry Hart escaped with the actual title.
Your Winner: Who Knows?

As Tommy Young explained to Sting what had happened, the crowd greeted the finish with a very loud ‘BULLS**T’ chant.

WCW / NWA Great American Bash 1989 - Lex Luger gave a baffling promo which made no sense
The Total Package Speaks

Backstage with Sollie, United States Champion Lex Luger gave a confident yet confusing interview about his upcoming match with Ricky Steamboat.

Luger flubbed things so badly that Sollie basically had to translate for him afterwards, telling us that what Luger had been trying (but ultimately failing) to say, was that he would refuse to defend the title unless the No Disqualification rule attached to the match was scrapped.

I think. That was very confusing.

National Wrestling Alliance United States Championship
NWA United States Champion The Total Package Lex Luger vs. Ricky ‘The Dragon’ Steamboat

WCW / NWA Great American Bash 1989 - Ricky Steamboat carried a dragon to the ring minutes after Jim Ross called pet gimmicks stupid
Remember earlier, when Jim Ross had mocked the World Wrestling Federation for using ‘snakes’ and other pets?

Remember how he had insisted that the National Wrestling Alliance stars were real wrestlers who didn’t need to resort to such cheap gimmicks?

Yeah, well this match started with Ricky Steamboat being carried on a platform like Macho King and Queen Sherri at Wrestlemania 7

In his hands, he carried a huge Komodo Dragon that wore a studded leather jacket. Steamboat raised the enormous reptile in the air and pointed it at the crowd.

Ross, naturally, said nothing.

Steamboat then got in the ring with his wife and son and the crowd, who had been on the side of the heels for most of the evening, booed loudly and started chanting for Luger.

That was pretty funny.

All jokes aside, this was a terrific match that has got to be up there as one of the best Lex Luger matches you’re ever going to see.

Though it could have perhaps gone a little longer, the fact that it was kept to a reasonable length helped to ensure it didn’t drag on and remained solid from start to finish.

Before things kicked off, Steamboat had agreed to waive the No DQ rule, so naturally he got disqualified when he lost his cool and started beating up Luger with a chair.
Your Winner via DQ: Ricky Steamboat

Afterwards, Steamboat continued to attack Luger with the chair and chased him all the way to the back with it.

Cocaine is One Hell of a Drug

WCW / NWA Great American Bash 1989 -  Flying Steve Williams
As the cage was set into place for our upcoming War Games match, we got backstage promos from the two teams competing in that match.

First, The Fabulous Freebirds shouted REALLY LOUDLY and excitedly while their partners The Samoan Swat Team rubbed on one another and bit each other’s fingers.

Though they said nothing beyond the standard ‘we’re the best and we’re going to beat up the other team.’ This was a very enjoyable promo just because of how wild and over the top it was.

I’m obviously not saying everyone was coked-up to the eyeballs back in the 1980s, but you know, I’m also not saying that they weren’t, either.

Offering a retort, the babyface promo started with The Midnight Express before Dr. Death Steve Williams -you know, the big, tough, ass-kicking bad ass?- came flying into view with a big shit-eating grin on his face and his arms outstretched pretending that he could fly like Superman.

I honestly can’t tell you how funny that was, or why it should be that I haven’t laughed this much watching a pro wrestling show ever.

Anyway, Dr Death introduced their partners, The Road Warrriors, and again nothing of note beyond ‘we’re gonna kick your ass’ was said, but it was so gloriously angry and over the top that you couldn’t help but enjoy it.

In between those two promos, Jim Ross told us that the heel team had won the coin toss and would thus get the advantage going into War Games. 

What a shock.

War Games
NWA World Tag Team Champions The Fabulous Freebirds (Michael ‘P.S’ Hayes, Jimmy Garvin, and Terry ‘Bam Bam’ Gordy) & The Wild Samoans (Samu & Fatu w/ Paul E. Dangerously) vs. The Midnight Express (Sweet Stan Lane & Beautiful Bobby Eaton w/ Jim Cornette), The Road Warriors (Hawk & Animal w/ Paul Ellering) and Dr Death Steve Williams

WCW / NWA Great American Bash 1989 -  Fabulous Freebirds and Samoan Swat Team
The Road Warriors were bad asses, so they came to the ring on Harley Davidsons, but apparently, they weren’t bad ass enough to ride their own bikes. Instead, two other dudes actually drove them while Hawk and Animal sat on the back.


As for the match itself... While this writer isn’t as big a fan of the War Games concept as many other long-fine fans, even I have to admit that this was a solid, intense, and hard-hitting brawl.

At no point during the match did you ever forget that these two sides absolutely hated each other and wanted to tear each other limb from limb, adding a violent urgency to the match that was both refreshing and compelling.

After a good effort, Hawk got Jimmy Garvin up in a hangman for the match-winning submission.
Your Winers: The Road Warrriors, The Midnight Express, and Steve Williams

WCW / NWA Great American Bash 1989 -  Gordon Sollie speaks to Nature Boy Ric Flair
Prior to our main event, World Heavyweight Champion Nature Boy Ric Flair was in a sombre mood as he spoke to Gordon Sollie about how Funk had injured him and almost ended his career.

Tonight, Flair said that while he may not be 100% physically, mentally and emotionally he was 120% and was still going to beat Funk.

National Wrestling Alliance World Heavyweight Championship
NWA World Heavyweight Champion Nature Boy Ric Flair vs. Terry Funk (w/ Garry Hart)

This was another excellent match.

Challenger Funk made his way to the ring with a full police escort while the babyface champion came out smiling from ear to ear with a bevvy of beautiful women on each arm.

Once they locked up, the match proved to be every bit as good as you might hope it would be, if not better.

A wild, bloody brawl in which the hatred between both men was very much evident, this was utterly captivating from start to finish.

Speaking of the finish, that came about with a simple inside cradle which gave Flair the win. It came from nowhere but only added to what had been a very exciting match.
Your Winner and Still NWA World Heavyweight Champion: Ric Flair

WCW / NWA Great American Bash 1989 -  Ric Flair covered in blood and Muta mist
Afterwards, The Great Muta ran out and sprayed mist in the face of the Nature Boy and then joined Funk in an attack.

As the two beat down on the champ, the crowd chanted for Sting. Happy to oblige them, The Stinger came to Flair’s rescue and what we got next was another wild brawl which went all over the arena and was every bit as exciting as the match itself.

Finally, having seen off their rivals, Sting stood by Flair as the champ cut an impassioned promo promising that his feud Funk was not over.

As the show came to a close, Jim Ross told us that the TV title was being held up due to the dumb finish of the Sting/Muta match.

The dumb finish aside, that Sting/Muta contest was still very good indeed.

In fact, everything from the Texas Tornado tag team match onwards got progressively better throughout the show, culminating in a fantastic and bloody main event showdown between Funk and Flair.

Skip the battle royal, watch the Dudes/Skyscrapers match only for the hilarity of that kid who didn’t want to be there and to see how over Sid was, and what you’ve got left is a very good show indeed, and certainly one of the NWA/WCW’s best efforts.

Thursday, 22 April 2021

PPV REVIEW: WCW / NWA Chi-Town Rumble 1989

NWA Chi-Town Rumble 1989 - Event Poster
February 20, 1989 
UIC Pavilion in Chicago, Illinois

The 1989 Chi-Town Rumble was the only such NWA event with this name, yet just because it was a one-off doesn't mean it wasn't important.

After all, when people talk about Nature Boy Ric Flair's greatest opponents, Ricky 'The Dragon' Steamboat's name inevitably comes close to the top -if not right at the very top- of that list.

The reason for that is simple:

The two had some incredible matches together, the first of which took place right here on this very card.

Steamboat had not long since returned to the NWA after a several-year stint in the World Wrestling Federation, and immediately made Flair his target.

Still, we'll get to all that later.  

For now, let's head to Chicago, Illinois for the first, last, and only, NWA Chi-Town Rumble. 

It’s a Cold and Snowy Night In Chicago

NWA Chi-Town Rumble 1989 - Jim Ross & Magnum TA
We began tonight’s proceedings with a relatively simple introduction, featuring clips of the NWA’s star performers doing their thing presented in a wonderfully 80s format.

Coming live to an arena that was presented more like the kind of major wrestling shows we’d get in the 90s rather than the dark, dingy and cluttered 80s events, our announcers Jim Ross and Magnum TA then welcomed us to a cold and snowy night in Chicago for the Chi-Town Rumble.

The duo ran down every match on tonight’s card before sending us to a second video package showing us what to expect from the show.

This wasn’t a recap of the main feuds or storylines. It featured nothing that might make you get emotionally invested in what you were about to watch. Rather, it served as a highlight reel, showcasing tonight’s performers slamming and bumping around the ring interspersed with multiple shots of Road Warrior Hawk poking his tongue out.

It was OK for what it was, but let’s be honest, it can’t have accomplished much. Fans had already bought the show. They already had some idea of what to expect.

Anyway, when it was over, Ross and Magnum sent us backstage for our first promo of the evening.

It’s Showtime!

NWA Chi-Town Rumble 1989 - Michael 'P.S' Hayes gave an insane promo to Bob Caudle
Out in the back, Bob Caudle asked Michael P.S Hayes about his upcoming match against The Russian Assassin.

Hayes had apparently decided that he didn’t want to talk about that. In fact, he didn’t want to talk much at all. He much preferred to yell, REALLY LOUDLY AND EXCITEDLY, about the show’s upcoming title matches, none of which he was involved in.

He then wrapped things up with a very basic ‘oh and of course I’m gonna kick this guy’s butt’ kind of message before shouting some more about it being showtime and making his way to the ring.

Well, alright then.

Michael P.S Hayes vs. The Russian Assassin (w/ Paul Jones)

NWA Chi-Town Rumble 1989 - Paul Jones with The Russian Assassin
Michael Hayes has red, white, and blue literally running through his veins,” said JR.

I’m not sure, but I think that’s maybe something Hayes might want to see a doctor about.

The match itself was a slow, simple affair which may not be all that appealing when viewed through the filter of modern pro wrestling, but which kept the fans suitably entertained and remains a decent watch if you view in the context of the period.

After trading the advantage several times, The Russian Assassin shot Michael Hayes into the ropes only for the Freebird to plant him with a sweet DDT for the one, the two, and the three.
Your Winner: Michael P.S Hayes

Post match, Hayes did a lap of the ring, hi-fiving fans as Bad Street USA blared through the PA.

He’s a Family Man

NWA Chi-Town Rumble 1989 - Ricky 'The Dragon' Steamboat was a family man
One of my favourite moments on the WCW Slam Jam album is the track about what a great guy Ricky Steamboat was because he didn’t cheat on his wife.

Tonight, he played up that Family Man gimmick as he gave an interview to Bob Caudle with his wife and child by his side.

To be fair, the family man thing worked to establish how different he was from the limousine-riding, jet-flying playboy that was his arch-rival Nature Boy Ric Flair, but it did little to help his promo ability.

The dragon stumbled his way through a monotone promo that was so dull I’ve forgotten anything he said even though I only just watched it. What’s more, he was upstaged by his infant son who kept grabbing Caudle’s microphone and bringing it to his face. It was so funny that I don’t know how anyone in the promo kept a straight face.

Sting vs. Hacksaw Butch Reed (w/ Hiro Matsuda)

NWA Chi-Town Rumble 1989 - Sting vs. Butch Reed
Sting started his career as a tag team wrestler,”
said Jim Ross. “But it’s fair to say he has far surpassed his partners by now.”

Man, talk about the ultimate burn.

This match won’t be included in any Best of Sting compilations, but it was still good for what it was - a lengthy battle in which Butch Reed was forced to use dastardly heel tactics to compete with the strength, speed, and agility of Sting.

Those heel tactics clearly didn’t endear Reed to referee Teddy Long.

After admonishing Hacksaw several times throughout this reasonably entertaining contest, Long refused to break Sting’s pin attempt when Reed grabbed the ropes.

Instead, he moved Reed’s hand off the rope, counted the fall, and that was that.
Your Winner: Sting

Afterward, the two continued to brawl. This was not over yet.

Paul E. Dangerously is Smart

NWA Chi-Town Rumble 1989 - Paul E. Dangerously with The Original Midnight Express
Backstage, Paul E. Dangerously told Bob Caudle that he’d sent Dennis Condrey on vacation and temporarily replaced him with Jack Victory.

This meant that Jim Cornette’s Midnight Express would be going up against someone they knew nothing about, giving Heyman’s original Midnights a greater chance of victory.

Offering a retort, Jim Cornette and his team insisted that they would still emerge victorious. 

Both managers were, as always, great.

Losing Team Must Leave the NWA
The Original Midnight Express (Randy Rose, Jack Victory, and Paul E. Dangerously) vs. The Midnight Express (Stan Lane, Bobby Eaton, and Jim Cornette)

Cornette and Dangerously may have been great managers but they were not good wrestlers, and I doubt this match would have been any worse without the two of them flailing about the place.

Although Cornette’s Midnights had been part of many really good matches, this sadly wasn’t one of them.

Not out right terrible or anything but just kind of there.

To the shock of no one at all, Cornette, Stan Lane, and Bobby Eaton won, sending the other team packing.
Your Winners: The Midnight Express

NWA Chi-Town Rumble 1989 - Ric Flair cuts a promo on his opponent, Ricky Steamboat
Out in the back, Ric Flair styled and profiled his way through a compelling promo about how he was going to beat Ricky Steamboat later. 


All the while, Flair’s manager Hiro Matsuda looked on.

National Wrestling Alliance World Television Championship
NWA TV Champion Rick Steiner (w/ Scott Steiner) vs. Mike Rotunda

This was not all that good.

Notable for being the first PPV of appearance of Scott Steiner it was largely a lifeless affair between the former Varsity Club team mates and college athletes.

Things did get interesting towards the end, but it’s hard to say whether that’s a good thing or not.

Rick Steiner was in control until Kevin Sullivan came down and insinuated that it would be awful if anything were to happen to Steiner’s dog.

That confused and distracted the Dog Faced Gremlin, but not enough for Rotunda to get the win. Instead, the match continued with the champion regaining control, putting a sleeper hold on Rotunda and dropping to the mat.

Being the simpleton he was portrayed to be, Steiner lay flat back on the mat while holding Rotunda on top of him. Noticing that the champion’s shoulders were technically on the mat, Teddy Long counted to three and Mike Rotunda regained the title he’d just lost back at Starrcade ‘88.
Your Winner and new TV Champion: Mike Rotunda

Naturally, the beffudled Steiner Brothers protested the decision while Rotunda’s Varsity Club team mates Kevin Sullivan and Steve Williams helped him high tail out of there.

The Road Warriors are On Their Way

Out in the back, World Tag Team Champions The Road Warriors and Paul Ellering told Bob Caudle they they were going to destroy the Varsity Club in a typically SHOUTY BIG MAN promo.

National Wrestling Alliance United States Championship
NWA US Champion Barry Windham (w/ Hiro Matsuda) vs. Lex Luger

NWA Chi-Town Rumble 1989 - Barry Windham prepares to Superplex Lex Luger
This was a much better match, not so much for any of the actual action but because it told a sensible story and had a hot crowd.

At first, this was just a typical battle of the big men before Barry Windham went to punch Lex Luger outside the ring. Luger moved and Windham struck the ring post, doing major damage to the hand he used for his patented claw.

From there, the champion’s every effort was thwarted by his own injury.

The only dumb point was the finish. It was one of those German suplex deals were both men have their shoulders to the mat and one lifts theirs up first. In this case, it was Luger, earning himself a new title shot.

There was nothing especially wrong with that, but it came from out of nowhere and was far too similar to the ending of the last match for this fan’s liking.
Your Winner and New US Champion: Lex Luger

NWA Chi-Town Rumble 1989 - Mike Rotunda is angry about being the TV champion
Out in the back, Mike Rotunda gave an intense interview to Bob Caudle.

The WWE Network name for this segment tells us that Rotunda celebrated his victory.

Really, the future tax man just seemed annoyed that Rick Steiner would even dare to exist, let alone hold the TV title for a few months.

Speaking of titles, after a few words from Ross and Magnum TA, it was back to ringside for our next match.

National Wrestling Alliance World Tag Team Championship
NWA Tag Team Champions The Road Warriors (w/ Paul Ellering) vs. The Varsity Club (Kevin Sullivan & Dr. Death Steve Williams)

NWA Chi-Town Rumble 1989 - Kevin Sullivan hurts Road Warrior Animal
If you like your wrestling matches to have non-straight-forward finishes, this was clearly the show for you.

After several minutes of reasonable match that was everything you’d probably expect it to be, Dr Death pinned Animal while Hawk came off the ropes and drilled Sullivan with a flying clothesline and pinned him.

With a member of each team making the cover, the referee counted to three so both teams thought they’d won. Ultimately, the ref gave the match to Hawk and Animal.

It was a dumb way to end the match.
Your Winners and still Tag Team Champions: The Road Warriors

NWA Chi-Town Rumble 1989 - Bob Caudle interviews a banged up Lex Luger
Backstage, a somber and beat-up Lex Luger talked about how badly he and Barry Windham had hurt one another in the last match.

Finally, a video reminded us of the time Ricky Steamboat had returned to the NWA after a spell in the WWF.

Having done so, The Dragon set about upstaging Ric Flair on TV and then stripped him down to his undies and beaten him up a week later.

The two would meet next.

National Wrestling Alliance World Heavyweight Championship
NWA World Heavyweight Champion Ric Flair (w/ Hiro Matsuda) vs. Ricky ‘The Dragon’ Steamboat.

NWA Chi-Town Rumble 1989 - Ricky Steamboat wins the World Heavyweight Championship
For what it’s worth, this was Steamboat’s first PPV appearance since Wrestlemania 4 and his first appearance on a major NWA event since we last saw him at Starrcade 1984.

Tonight, he wrestled Ric Flair in a compelling match that was every bit as good as you might have heard.

Though perhaps the weakest of their three performances from 1989, Steamboat/Flair 1 was still a tremendous match from start to finish, telling the story of The Dragon out-wrestling Flair but the defending champion always finding a way to get even.

After lots of exciting back-and-forth action, countless gripping near falls and an unnecessary ref bump, Flair went for his second figure four of the match only for Steamboat to roll him up and win the big gold belt.
Your Winner and new NWA World Heavyweight Champion: Ricky Steamboat

After a brief in-ring celebration, The Dragon made his way backstage where the other babyfaces doused him in champagne while he tried to cut a promo.

It was pretty funny that Steamboat was pretty charismatic when the promo started but then when he got champagne poured on him it was like it stung his eyes. He could barely open them and struggled to speak as he got the point across that he was going to offer Flair a rematch for the gold.

And that, ladies and gentlemen, was the first and only Chi-Town Rumble, a show that started well, started to get dull, and then picked up with that awesome Steamboat/Flair match.

Honestly, most of the card isn’t worth watching, but put this on and skip ahead to that main event for some truly classic pro wrestling.

Other 1989 pro wrestling events:
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Thursday, 15 April 2021

PPV REVIEW: WWF Vengeance 2001

WWE / WWF Vengeance 2001 - Event poster
December 9, 2001
San Diego Sports Arena, San Diego, California.

WWF Vengeance 2001 was the first World Wrestling Federation Pay Per View to take place in the aftermath of The Invasion storyline.

If you recall, the whole thing had ended with Team WWF emerging triumphant in a Winner-Takes-All elimination match at Survivor Series 2001.

The following night on Raw, Ric Flair styled, profiled, and walked that ailse en route to the ring. There, he declared that he had purchased Shane and Stephanie McMahon's shares in the WWF, which had not only given the McMahon kids the money they needed to fun their hostile takeover event, but more importantly meant that The Nature Boy was now a co-owner of the WWF alongside Vince McMahon.

That created an immediate rivalry between the two as they tried to deal with the fall out of the Invasion. 

That, of course, meant unifying the WWF and WCW titles to create one undisputed champion. 

It isn't a spoiler to say that we all know who won. After all, the first undisputed champion would spend pretty much the rest of his career bragging about his accomplishments on a night which would ensure that things would never evvvvvvvvvvvvvver be the same...


With that being said, let's down to San Diego for Vengeance 2001.

Four Men. Three Matches. Two Titles. One Undisputed Champion

WWE / WWF Vengeance 2001 - Jim Ross & Jerry 'The King' Lawler called the event
Remember that awesome Freddie Fellini movie from Summerslam 2000? The mysterious film director was at it again for tonight’s show with a quirky opening video that seemed like something you’d get if you fed David Lynch a bunch of happy films.

As many opening videos did around this time, the Vengeance video featured an elderly Classy Freddy Blassie wandering around an abandoned warehouse. This time, he sat in a chair watching the champions of yesteryear while dancers danced, clowns clowned and Grieg’s In the Hall of the Mountain King played.

All of this led to Blassie getting up and dancing with the dancers which was, naturally, the perfect way to hype up the serious importance of tonight’s show.

From there, it was pyro and crowd shots galore as Jim Ross and Jerry Lawler welcomed us to Vengeance.

‘Mr. McMahon Discusses Joining His Own Club’

WWE / WWF Vengeance 2001 - Vince McMahon opened the show
‘Mr. McMahon Discusses Joining His Own Club’
- that’s what this segment is called on WWE Network and it makes me laugh a lot because it’s just such a polite way of saying ‘Vince McMahon came to the ring and talked about having his face rammed into Rikishi’s ass’ which is what actually happened.

The Vince McMahon Kiss My Ass Club had been launched the night after Survivor Series 2001 when Vince made William Regal pucker up to get his job back.

The dumb storyline -which often threatened to overshadow the build to the title unification matches- culminated in Vince being required to kiss The Rock’s ass, only for The Great One to make Vince basically smooch his cousin’s bumhole.

If you missed all that, you needn’t have worried - Vince started tonight’s show by telling us all about it before turning on the crowd to remind them “he who laughs last, laughs loudest”

This brought out Vince’s rival Nature Boy Ric Flair for his first WWF PPV appearance since the 1993 Royal Rumble.

Flair didn’t have much to say, his basic role was to pop the crowd and move things along by introducing our opening contest.

WWF European Champion Christian & Test vs. Scotty 2 Hotty & Albert

WWE / WWF Vengeance 2001 - Christian reaches for the tag
This all started when Test had beaten up Scotty 2 Hotty back at Survivor Series to get a shot in the immunity battle royal which, if you recall, he won.

The feud had then brought in Test’s ‘last men standing from The Alliance’ colleague Christian while Scotty had formed a random alliance of his own with the ‘Hip Hop Hippo’ Albert.

Not once in this whole feud was any mention made of the fact that Test and Albert used to team up.

Anyway, the match was...OK.

It certainly wasn’t bad and nobody did anything that could be classed as outright offensive, but it just wasn’t that interesting and failed to capture the attention.

After a reasonable yet uninspired effort, Albert destroyed Christian with the Baldo Bomb to win the match which didn’t bode well for the European Champion’s prospects.
Your Winners: Scotty 2 Hotty & Albert

WWE / WWF Vengeance 2001 - WIlliam Regal talks to Coach about The Power of the Punch
Backstage, William Regal gave a strong interview to Jonathan Coachman in which he claimed that as excellent an athlete as Edge was, he’d never before incurred the wrath of someone with Regal’s experience.

This was a good performance from the Blackpool native, being much more Bad Ass Regal than Comic Foil Regal.

World Wrestling Federation Intercontinental Championship
WWF Intercontinental Champion Edge vs. William Regal

Regal continued to prove his worth as a performer in a strong match against Edge that was met with an unusually quiet reception from the live crowd.

The story was simple:

The aggressive veteran getting the upper hand on the young champion but growing increasingly more frustrated -and thus resorting to more and more dirty, underhand tactics- when his efforts proved too little to win the match.

Eventually, Regal’s desperation saw him reach for a pair of brass knuckles only for an exhausted yet determined Intercontinental champion to pull one last spear out of his arsenal and win the contest.
Your Winner and Still Intercontinental Champion: Edge

WWE / WWF Vengeance 2001 - Kurt Angle confronts Ric Flair
Backstage, we got a little comedy courtesy of Olympic Gold Medalist Kurt Angle and new WWF co-owner Nature Boy Ric Flair.

Angle interrupted Flair’s phone call to let him know that tonight, he was going to do what Flair never had:

Become the Undisputed Champion.

“Well that’s awesome,” said Flair. “You’ve certainly got the skills to do it.”

Expecting an argument but not getting one, Kurt continued to try and antagonise Flair with his insistence that he was the man for the job tonight. The more Flair agreed with him, the more frustrated our Olympic Hero got.

I’m never too good at describing the humor in these moments, but trust me, it was comical.

Meanwhile, across the way, Matt Hardy tried to sweeten up his girlfriend Lita so that she’d be on his side in her role as special referee when Matt met Jeff Hardy to settle their recent differences.

Much to Matt’s chagrin, Lita said that she was always on his side as his girlfriend, she would call things right down the middle in tonight’s match.

Matt Hardy vs. Jeff Hardy

Special guest referee: Lita
WWE / WWF Vengeance 2001 - Matt Hardy confronts Lita

This had all started at Survivor Series when Jeff decided to dive off the top of a steel cage and crash through a table rather than win the match for his team.

Matt accused Jeff of being selfish and putting his love of taking risks before helping his team to victory. He had a point of course, but since the elder Hardy was being a bit of a d**k about the whole thing (as he had about other things such as ogling other members of the female roster), he had been cast in the role of heel.

Tonight, he continued his slow turn into a fully-fledged baddie in a match that he pretty much dominated from start to finish.

It was a weird one because although it wasn’t technically bad or anything, it still played out in front of a quiet crowd who were more into Lita than anything the two brothers were doing.

Besides, when you watch a Jeff Hardy match your kind of want to see him jumping around the place and at least breaking out a few fun spots. Outside of his match-winning Swanton bomb, however, there was none of that.

This was mostly just Matt beating up his brother and Jeff occasionally getting the briefest of comebacks before finally making the aforementioned swanton.

He made the cover, Matt got his foot on the ropes but Jeff pulled it off before Lita could see it and won the match.
Your Winner: Jeff Hardy

Afterwards, Matt protested his loss and, again, was completely justified in his complaint.

Trish Smells What The Rock is Cookin’

WWE / WWF Vengeance 2001 - Trish Stratus is smitten with The Rock
WWF Women’s Champion Trish Stratus had become a little infatuated with The Rock after The People’s Champion had saved her from joining the Vince McMahon Kiss My Ass Club and then snogged her face off backstage on either Raw or Smackdown (I forget which).

Tonight, she let herself into The Rock’s dressing room to give him a peck on the cheek for luck in his match tonight.

Before she left, Rocky told her that while he was completely focussed on that match, after it was done Trish would have plenty of time to smell what The Rock was cooking, which I think was a fairly gross way of saying he was going to shag her.

World Wrestling Federation World Tag Team Championship
WWF Tag Team Champions The Dudleyz (Bubba Ray & D’Von Dudley w/ Stacy Kiebler) vs. The Big Show & Kane

WWE / WWF Vengeance 2001 - The Dudley Boyz
This certainly wasn’t awful or anything, and you could tell all four men were at least trying hard, but this tag team title match just wasn’t all that interesting.

Sure, there were a few notable moments. Big Show pulled Stacy’s pants down and smacked her bum because this was a different time in history when you could get away with that sort of thing.

Kane tried playing face-in-peril which, as a huge monster character, was just unbelievable, and then he and Big Show had a bit of a falling out because they weren’t as well gelled as a team as The Dudleyz and kept accidentally hitting each other.

In the end, Bubba Ray & D’Von nailed Show with a 3D onto an exposed turnbuckle to win the match.
Your Winners and Still Tag Team Champions: The Dudley Boyz

Out in the back, Lita tried to convince Matt Hardy that she hadn’t seen his foot on the rope. An irate Hardy was having none of it and simply packed his bags and left.

World Wrestling Federation Hardcore Championship
WWF Hardcore Champion Rob Van Dam vs. The Undertaker

Though the hardcore title was well below the stature of both competitors at this stage, Rob Van Dam has held the belt for pretty much the entire Invasion storyline, so they had to at least do something with it.

Meanwhile, The Undertaker had now completed his transformation into a heel after feeling annoyed that Vince McMahon didn’t trust him enough to let him know that Kurt Angle was actually working as a mole when he switched to The Alliance.

Complaining about disrespect, ‘Taker felt so slighted that he decided the best thing to do would be to ram Jim Ross’ face in McMahon’s ass, then get his haircut and start beating up RVD.

Tonight, the American Bad Ass and The Whole F’N Show had the best match on the card up to this point by a large margin.

This was the first time all night that the crowd actually came alive, and who can blame them? They were watching a match that was captivating, enthralling, and peppered with enough big spots to get those loud *Holy s**t* chants going.

Speaking of which, the whole thing came to ahead when ‘Taker chokeslamed the champion off the stage through some tables to capture his first hardcore title.
Your Winner and New Hardcore Champion: The Undertaker

WWE / WWF Vengeance 2001 - Chris Jericho confronts Ric Flair
Back in Ric Flair‘s office, Chris Jericho confronted Nature Boy Ric Flair. 

Not unlike Kurt Angle earlier, Jericho insisted that Flair didn’t believe Jericho could get the job done tonight.

This time, Flair couldn’t really deny that, instead simply stating that if Jericho could do it, then more power to him. 

Whoever won the gold, Flair would walk the isle tomorrow night on Raw and award them the Undisputed Championship.

World Wrestling Federation Women’s Championship
WWF Women’s Champion Trish Stratus vs. Jacqueline

WWE / WWF Vengeance 2001 - Trish Stratus
Though Trish would go on to be a competent and successful wrestler, she seemed very much over her head while locking up with the more experienced Jacqueline, making several mistakes that made the whole thing come off a little sloppy.

Of course, you can hardly blame her when she and Jacquie were trying to have an actual wrestling match and all the fans cared about was puppies.

Even Jerry Lawler, whose job it was to help get this stuff over, could only fixate on the colour of Trish’s bra.

After a minute or so of not very much, Trish hit her patented Bulldog to retain her title.
Your Winner and Still Women’s Champion: Trish Stratus

Prior to our main events, we were taken back to Smackdown and the moment The Rock burried Vince’s face in Rikishi’s ass.

Live from WWF New York, ‘Kishi joked about his concern that he might have to have McMahon’s ass surgically removed from his ass before telling us that he was now back and ready to back that ass up.

This was followed by a recap video of tonight’s undisputed championship matches set to the WWF Vengeance 2001 theme song, Sinner by Drowning Pool.

World Wrestling Federation Championship
WWF Champion Stone Cold Steve Austin vs. Kurt Angle

WWE / WWF Vengeance 2001 - Steve Austin vs. Kurt Angle
Interestingly, Stone Cold Steve Austin came out to his classic Glass Shatters theme after months of using themes by Disturbed, firmly establishing the fact that his heel run was officially over.

His theme music wasn’t the only thing Austin brought back tonight. His older ring style also made a comeback...well, at least kind of.

This was the first time in perhaps years that we’d seen Austin having an actual wrestling match on PPV rather than the usual brawl up and down the isle and around ringside.

The champion even borrowed Angle’s own rolling German suplex move and hit him with five of the things in quick succession. Suplex city, bitch indeed.

Of course, Angle was no slouch either. The Olympic Gold Medalist worked hard here, but despite all that, this one fell short of their previous matches such as the one at Unforgiven 2001.
Your Winner and Still WWF Champion: Stone Cold Steve Austin

Because we couldn’t just go from one match to the next for some reason, this historic occasion was interrupted by a backstage skit in which Test hit on his former manager Trish Stratus, only for the women’s champion to send him packing.

World Championship
World Champion The Rock vs. Chris Jericho

WWE / WWF Vengeance 2001 - Chris Jericho beat The Rock for the World Championship
Now this was more like the kind of WWF main event this writer was expecting; a compelling battle between two arch rivals with the intensity turned all the way up to 11.

While it wasn’t quite as good as their awesome outing at No Mercy 2001, it was still a damn fine match in which Jericho looked strong against The Rock.

Ok, so he was still a heel and acted accordingly, and ok, so he won the match after hitting Rock with a low blow after the champion was distracted by Vince McMahon interference, but this wasn’t a case of Y2J getting whooped every which way til Sunday then fluking a victory.

Prior to the cheating, Jericho actually looked like he belonged as he took one step closer to immortality.
Your Winner and New World Champion: Chris Jericho

Jericho had no time to celebrate, or even rest for that matter, as Austin charged the ring and immediately went after him.

The WWF Champion was then taken out with a chair courtesy of Angle before Rock returned to the ring and planted Chris Jericho with a rock bottom.

Thus, our final match of the evening began with both men lying on their backs, sucking air.

Undisputed Championship Match
WWF Champion Stone Cold Steve Austin vs. World Champion Chris Jericho

This was another decent match. Not as good as Jericho’s outing with The Rock, but passable as a main event and marred only by the fact that the crowd were obviously waiting for a run-in from a returning Triple H and that was never going to happen.

It wasn’t completely ludicrous to expect The Game to put in a cameo. His face was all over the advertisements for tonight while sledgehammers -his weapon of choice- were a prominent part of the show’s motif.

Alas, it wasn’t Hunter who was returning tonight but Booker T.

After failing to get his job back on a recent episode of Raw, the former Alliance member ran through the crowd and blasted his one-time leader in the head with a title belt. Then, Jericho made the cover. Earl Hebner made the count, and that was that.
Your Winner and New Undisputed Champion: Chris Jericho

Ladies and gentlemen, Chris Jericho had just beaten The Rock and Steve Austin in the same night. He would spend the rest of his career bragging about it.

Understandably, Vengeance 2001 is remembered more for its historical significance regarding the Undisputed Championship than it is for its in ring quality, but that’s not to say that this wasn’t a good show.

The opener was fun, Regal/Edge was solid, and Rock/Jericho was a riot.

Match of the night goes to Undertaker/RVD, a really enjoyable bout that is definitely worth watching at least once.

Thursday, 8 April 2021

PPV REVIEW: WCW Starrcade 1988 - True Gritt

WCW / NWA Starrcade 1988 - True Gritt - Event Poster
December 26, 1988 
Norfolk Scope, Norfolk, Virginia

It had been five long years since Ric Flair had defeated Harley Race in the main event of the first ever Starccade back in 1983. 

That event had been historically important for being the first ever Starrcade event, but this, Starrcade 1988: True Gritt was equally as important for being the first Starrcade promoted under the WCW banner.

Once again, Flair was in the main event competing for the title (as he had been for all of the previous installments) only this time, his opponent was The Total Package Lex Luger.

Flair and Luger had a number of memorable matches during the late 80s/early 90s, but this, this match here tonight, is widely regarded as the best of the bunch. 

With that being said then, let's not waste any more time as we head down to Norfolk, Virginia for a little True Gritt.

Welcome to Starrcade: True Gritt

WCW / NWA Starrcade 1988 - True Gritt - Tony Schiavone & Magnum TA - The Mustache Men Ride Again!
We began tonight’s event with a typically 80s-style introduction featuring clips of tonight’s stars with sound bites of various wrestlers talking about their big feuds.

Ric Flair, for example, wanted Lex Luger to shut his mouth here tonight at Starrcade...Wooo!

We then went live to the arena where fans were hyped to see the National Wrestling Alliance even though this was technically now a World Championship Wrestling show.

Tony ‘The Mustache’ Schiavone then welcomed us to the show and introduced his broadcast partner for the evening, Magnum T.A.

Magnum talked about how happy he was to be part of the event even though he couldn’t compete while Tony reminded us that ‘all five NWA titles’ would be decided on the show.

From there, we went to commentators Jim Ross and Bob Caudle who were, to quote Ross, ‘pumped’ for the action.

National Wrestling Alliance United States Tag Team Championship
NWA US Tag Team Champions The Fantastics (Tommy Rogers & Bobby Fulton) vs. The ‘Games Master’ Kevin Sullivan & Dr. Death Steve Williams

WCW / NWA Starrcade 1988 - True Gritt - Kevin Sullivan & Dr. Death vs. The Fantastics
Built as a battle of speed (The Fantastics) versus power (Steve Williams & Kevin Sullivan), this lengthy tag team match started well, with Tommy Rogers and Bobby Fulton having the full support of the crowd behind them.

The longer it went on though (and it did go on for ages), the more it started to drag and the more this fan in particular started to lose interest.

Sullivan snd Williams cut Rogers off from his corner and worked him over for a while until the inevitable hot tag that saw the crowds come alive.

Admittedly, this was the most exciting part of the match, though unfortunately for The Fantastics, a spirited comeback wasn’t enough.

Sullivan and Williams overpowered their opponents and, when Williams made the cover, referee Teddy Long awardees them the match despite Rogers kicking out at the last possible moment.
Your Winners and new United States Tag Team Champions: Steve Williams & Kevin Sullivan

Post match, the obligatory match recap went down before Schiavone and Magnum T.A ran down the rest of tonight’s card.

The Original Midnight Express (Dennis Condrey & Randy Rose w/ Paul E. Dangerously) vs. The Midnight Express (Sweet Stan Lane & Beautiful Bobby Eaton w/ Jim Cornette)

WCW / NWA Starrcade 1988 - True Gritt - Jim Cornette
For those keeping track at home, this was the first appearance of Paul E. Dangerously on an NWA/WCW PPV.

The future ECW leader has arrived in the NWA with the original Midnight Express of Loverboy Dennis Condrey and Ravishing Randy Rose, immediately going after the then-current version of the team in Sweet Stan Lane, Beautiful Bobby Eaton and their manager, Jim Cornette.

That had basically turned Cornette’s side into babyfaces who were out tonight to prove that they were the better incarnation of the Midnight Express.

This was a solid and entertaining match though again it was very long. That may not be a bad thing in itself, but you do have to wonder who was sat backstage saying ‘you know what we need immediately after a long, 20-minute tag match? Another long, 20-minute tag match!’

To be fair, this was the better of the two, with the outside shenanigans of Jim Cornette (who had grown an all-new sense of confidence and bravado since turning face) and Paul E. adding to the fun.

Sweet Stan and Beautiful Bobby dominated the first portion of the match until Eaton got beaten up by the original Midnights for a while.

This continued for ages until finally, Dennis Condrey blasted his rival over the head with Dangerously’s epic 80’s cellphone and made the cover.

Teddy Long saw the phone and decided he was having none of it.

In the resulting argument, Lane and Eaton got the better of their rivals and won the match.
Your Winners: The Midnight Express (Jim Cornette’s version)

Afterwards, Condrey, Rose, and Dangerously beat up on their enemies until Eaton recovered and started swinging Cornette’s tennis racket like he was Pete Sampras.

The Varsity Club Celebrate

Backstage, The Varsity Club gloated to Magnum TA about how they’d traded a ‘moron’ like Rick Steiner for the superior Dr. Death Steve Williams and this has led them to gold tonight.

Williams and Sullivan boasted about their big win earlier before Mike Rotunda promised to finish off Steiner once and for all when they met for the TV title later on in the broadcast.

The Russian Assassins (Russian Assassin #1 & Russian Assassin #2 w/ Paul Jones) vs. Ivan Koloff & The Junkyard Dog

WCW / NWA Starrcade 1988 - True Gritt - Teddy Long checks over The Russian Assassins
If the Assassins lose, they must unmask and Paul Jones must retire.

Though the crowd were clearly into Junkyard Dog and the somewhat recently turned Ivan Koloff, there’s no escaping the fact that this was easily the worst match on the card so far.

OK, so it wasn’t awful or anything, but it was sloppy in parts and fairly uninspiring.

The end came when JYD hit one of the Assassins with an atomic drop. The masked man wandered right into a Russian Sickle from Koloff and was covered for the pin, but Paul Jones slipped an International Object inside the other Assassin’s mask. The man with the loaded mask then broke up the cover by head butting the back of Koloff’s noggin and that was that.
Your Winners: The Assassins

As a shark cage was slowly lowered in readiness for our next contest, Jim Ross and Bob Caudle recapped all the action thus far.

National Wrestling Alliance World Television Championship
NWA World Television Champion Mike Rotunda (w/ Kevin Sullivan) vs. Rick Steiner

WCW / NWA Starrcade 1988 - True Gritt - Mike Rotunda vs. Rick Steiner
Kevin Sullivan must be suspended in a shark cage

Mike Rotunda had held the TV title most of 1988, capturing the gold way back in January of that year, but tonight his reign would come to an end after a long and reasonably good match with his former friend turned down, Rick Steiner.

Early on, announcer Jim Ross suggested that the best way for Rotunda to win was to take advantage of Steiner’s less than stellar intellect and confuse him. Although Rotunda chose not to take such an approach, confusion would play a role in the finish.

Steiner planted his opponent with a suplex only for Dr. Death (who had appeared at ringside) to ring the bell, confusing both Steiner and Rotunda.

Referee Tommy Young came out to confer with Teddy Long about what had actually happened, and in the resulting confusion, Steiner got the better of his nemesis and pinned him to bring his year-long reign to a close.

There will no doubt be people watching today who dislike this match, but I think as long as you don’t watch it through the filter of the modern product, it was a good effort.
Your Winner and new NWA World Television Champion: Rick Steiner

After more post-match analysis from Magnum and Tony, it was onto our next title match.

National Wrestling Alliance United States Championship
NWA US Champion Barry Windham (w/ James J. Dillon) vs. Bam Bam Bigelow (w/ Sir Oliver Humperdink)

WCW / NWA Starrcade 1988 - True Gritt - Bam Bam Bigelow faced Barry Windham
After the amateur influence of our previous match we got a change of pace next as Bam Bam Bigelow took on Barry Windham in a battle of the big men.

Make no mistake about it though, this was more than your average power battle. It was a hot match with a lovely crowd and two men who were more agile and talented than their large stature would have you believe.

Bigelow was excellent here as the fan favourite, but reigning champion Windham was no slouch either. Together, they worked hard to deliver a great match that was made all the more special thanks to Jim Ross’ emotionally-charged commentary.

After over 15 minutes, both men toppled to the outside and the match was declared over when Windham was the only man to beat the ten count.
Your Winner via count out and still US Champion: Barry Windham

Ok, so it was a disappointing finish, but everything before that was good stuff indeed.

Every Dog Has His Day

Out in the back, Rick Steiner played up his ‘I’m a bit slow’ gimmick in an interview with Magnum TA.

Every dog has his day, said Steiner, and today was the day for the Dog Faced Gremlin.

National Wrestling Alliance World Tag Team Championship
NWA Tag Team Champions The Road Warriors (Road Warrior Hawk & Road Warrior Animal w/ Paul Ellering) vs. Sting & Dusty Rhodes

WCW / NWA Starrcade 1988 - True Gritt - Road Warrior Animal breaks Dusty Rhodes' face
The Road Warriors
were technically playing the roles of heels here after attacking both Dusty Rhodes and Sting on WCW programming but it wasn’t really all that effective as they still had an audible fan base in the crowd.

The match was intense and as hard-hitting as you might expect any match involving Hawk & Animal to be, but it wasn’t anything special.

If you’re a fan of the Road Warriors and their demolish-everything approach to pro wrestling then you’ll probably like this one, otherwise you’re not going to miss much here.

The end came when Sting had Animal pinned only for Paul Ellering to break up the fall, leading to a disqualification.
Your Winners via DQ: Sting & Dusty Rhodes (Road Warriors retain)

Finally, after a few more words from Schiavone and Magnum T.A, it was onto our main event.

National Wrestling Alliance World Heavyweight Championship
NWA World Heavyweight Champion Ric Flair (w/ James J. Dillon) vs. Lex Luger

WCW / NWA Starrcade 1988 - True Gritt - Ric Flair and JJ Dillon
If Ric Flair gets disqualified he loss the title

If you’d told me once upon a time ago that I’d happily sit through a 30 minute Lex Luger match and actually enjoy it, I would have called you crazy. Yet here we are, 30 minutes after the opening bell rung on the Starrcade ‘88 main event and I have to admit, I enjoyed every moment of it.

Sure, you could argue that this was basically every Ric Flair main event you’ve ever seen, and you’d have a valid point, but this was still good enough to be completely enthralling and was made all the more impressive that there was nary a rest hold in sight.

After coming incredibly close to capturing the gold on numerous occasions, Lex Luger’s legs gave out from under him (the result of much Flair offence). The champ landed on top of the challenger and , using the ropes for leverage, scored the cover, the count, and the fall.
Your Winner and Still World Heavyweight Champion: Ric Flair

Afterwards, Luger argued with Tommy Young about Flair having his foot on the ropes but the official insisted that since he hadn’t seen it, there was little he could do about it.

Lex Luger is Done

Finally, we went backstage where Ric Flair gave an impassioned interview to Magnum T.A in which he claimed that Lex Luger was done and wouldn’t get another title shot. This would obviously prove to be nonsense, as The Total Package would be challenging Flair for years to come.

All that was left then was for the announcers to recap tonight’s action and put over a then-unnamed pay per view that was set to take place in February 1989.

That PPV would turn out to be the Chi-Town Rumble ‘89 which we’ll review in a few weeks here on Retro Pro Wrestling.

Starrcade ‘88: True Gritt was a pay per view which ran just shy of three hours and yet featured just seven matches, meaning each one got significant time.

Each one was different in its own right and each one had something to enjoy about it, with only the Road Warriors vs. Sting & Dusty Rhodes match failing to impress this fan.

Highlight of the night went to Flair and Luger, though if you like old school pro wrestling you should find much to enjoy about this one.

Retro Pro Wrestling

New reviews of classic WWF/WWE events recalling every moment from Wrestlemania 1 - 30. You'll also find reviews of WCW, ECW, TNA and the occasional indie event, along with a look at old school magazines, merchandise and more.