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, 17 June 2021

EVENT REVIEW: WCW Clash of the Champions X - Texas Shoot Out

WCW Clash of the Champions X - Texas Shoot Out
February 6, 1990
Memorial Coliseum, Corpus Christi, Texas

Long time Retro Pro Wrestling readers will probably be aware that we haven’t exactly gone about writing WCW reviews in any kind of logical fashion.

After throwing in a random 1992 review written years before this blog existed, the regular WCW coverage started with the 1996 PPVs because I had an urge to relive the formation of the New World Order.

It was only after I then worked all the way through to WCW Greed that I then went back and started from the beginning with NWA Starrcade 1983.

The same goes for Clash of the Champions. I reviewed the first Clash of the Champions (featuring a good Sting vs. Ric Flair match) ages ago and haven’t bothered with the series since.

Today that changes.

From now on, we’ll cover the first five years of 1990s WCW in chronological order, following the storylines between Clash shows and PPVs.

At some point when I’m in the mood, we‘ll go back and look at the 1988 - 1989 Clash shows,  but for now, let’s dive into Clash of the Champions 10: Texas Shoot Out






Welcome to the Shoot Out Saloon 

WCW Clash of the Champions X - Jim Cornette and Jim Ross
We started tonight’s event with the kind of opening video that could only have come from the early 90s.

It took the form of a Western-themed video game in which pictures of various wrestlers would pop up in and around buildings with names like ‘The Shoot Out Saloon.’

As soon as the pictures popped up, the wrestlers would promptly get shot in the head and fall down.

It was weird, wonderful, hilarious and terrible all at the same time.

Live in the arena, Jim Ross welcomed us to the Texas Shoot Out before introducing us to his broadcast colleague, the one and only James E. Cornette.

Ross then proceeded to run down tonight’s card, but he was talking so quickly that it was impossible to follow anything that he was saying.

Fortunately, Cornette spoke a little more slowly as he shilled the opportunity to talk to Sting on the WCW hotline later that evening.

What a Rush!

WCW Clash of the Champions X - The Road Warriors faced The Skyscrapers
From there, Ross and Cornette sent us down to ringside where a tuxedo-clad Terry Funk told us that he was now called ‘Tuxedo Terry.’

Funk said nothing of note here. His job seemed mainly to shout out various wild-west themed phrases to hype up the crowd. It was entertaining, sure, but probably unnecessary.

I’m also going to assume that Funk was injured or just didn’t want to wrestle here because only WCW would book a Texas-themed show and have proud Texan Terry Funk reduced to a bit-part commentator.

Anyway, once Funk had finished shouting about nothing, he sent it to the back where the much-more subdued Gordon Sollie interviewed The Road Warriors.

The two gave us their typical shouty promo in which they promised to capture the tag team titles.

Although I could be wrong (especially after skipping two years of Clash shows), this was the first event I ever recalling hearing Hawk utter his famous ‘What a rush!’ line. 

The Samoan Savage (w/ Sir Oliver Humperdink) vs. Dr. Death Steve Williams 

WCW Clash of the Champions X - The Samoan Savage faced Dr. Death
The Samoan Savage
vs. Dr. Death - doesn’t it just sound like one of those made up matches you’d see featured when a sitcom needs to feature pro wrestling as part of its storyline?

Fortunately, WCW made sure that you didn’t have to watch a sitcom if you wanted a good wrestling-related laugh. They provided their own in the form of a pre-match vignette entitled ‘Dr. Death: Prescription for Punishment’ which may just be the greatest thing you’ve ever seen in your life.

It featured Dr. Death as an actual doctor, or rather a paramedic who burst out of an ambulance wearing his wrestling trunks and some kind of vaguely medical-looking shirt.

After yelling about rescuing somebody, the good doctor stormed off and stormed back carrying some random dude on his shoulders. After throwing the unfortunately unconscious randomer into the back of the ambulance, Williams proceeded to give him the worst CPR you’ve ever seen.

When that unsurprisingly failed to revive the hapless soul, Williams yelled ‘ QUICK! TO THE HOSPITAL!’ and the ambulance drove off with Dr. Death hilariously pressing his face against the glass window.

It was just so bizarre.

Were we to believe that Dr. Death was an actual doctor now? 

If so, why was he doing the job of a paramedic?

More importantly, what medical service in the world would allow their staff to run around in their underpants?

More importantly than even that, why would any patient in the world want to be treated by a man named Dr. Death who -if the title of this thing was to be believed- could only prescribe punishment?

I spent so much time pondering all these questions that I paid hardly any attention to the match which, to be fair, wasn’t all that interesting anyway.

The most interesting thing to happen was that Woman came down to ringside, took a seat, and looked absolutely beautiful.

In the end, Williams beat The Samoan Savage with a backslide.

Thank goodness it wasn’t something more serious so that he didn’t have to try and revive him with more crappy CPR.
Your Winner: Dr. Death

The hilarity continued next with a video promoting Wrestle War ‘90: Wild Thing.

I almost called it a rap video before I realized that would be insulting to the rap genre. What it was, was clips of various wrestlers set to an 8-bit beat while a guy would spit out fierce rhymes like:

‘The Steiners,
They’re brothers,
They wrestle as one...
...but they do not scare
The brothers Ander-son”

I’ve a feeling that when I wrap up this review later in going to recommend watching not for any of the actual matches but simply for all these insane videos.

Sting is Out of the Horsemen

WCW Clash of the Champions X - Ole Anderson kicked Sting out of the Four Horsemen
After teaming with Ric Flair in the main event of Halloween Havoc ‘89 and then seemingly earning his respect by beating him in a singles match at Starrcade ‘89, Sting had officially been a member of The Four Horsemen for all of about six weeks.

Tonight, he came to the ring with the Nature Boy and The Brothers Ander-Son. Ostensibly, they were out for an interview with their former rival Terry Funk, but it turned out it was all a rouse so that Ole Anderson could kick Sting out of the group for having the audacity to challenge Flair for the title at Wrestle War. 

To the surprise of nobody, this led to the Horsemen turning heel again by doing a number on Sting.

The Mod Squad (Spike & Basher) vs. Flyin’ Brian Pillman & The Z-Man

WCW Clash of the Champions X -  The Mod Squad
Just when you thought you’d heard of all the wrestlers who could have possibly mattered, along come The Mod Squad to prove that there’s always going to be a couple of guys who fly under your radar.

To give them credit, Spike and Basher looked to be a competent tag team who performed well as they took the fight to Flyin’ Brian and The Z-Man, but it was pretty clear from their unremarkable appearance and lack of fanfare that their only job was to get the babyfaces over.

To be fair, they did their job well. 

This was an enjoyable (if forgettable) little tag team match with a predictable win for the good guys.
Your Winners: Flyin’ Brian and The Z-Man

Moving on quickly...

Cactus Jack Manson vs. Mil Mascaras

WCW Clash of the Champions X -  Cactus Jack Manson faced Mil Mascaras
Our old friend GMC referred to Cactus as Captain Jack Manson, which is probably why Cactus later chased after him and then ended up tripping backwards over a chair in a funny spot.

The actual match was good but, much like the Mod Squad earlier, it was fairly apparent that Manson was there mainly to make  Mil Mascaras look good.

He did that pretty well, counting the Mexican legend’s abundance of headscissor take downs with some wild brawling in a short but entertaining match.

Update: It was only after I finished this review that I was reminded that Foley had spoken about this match in his first book, where he discussed how awful and egotistical Mascaras was, leading to Mick doing his big "flying off the apron" spot to ensure he came away from the match more over than the luchadore legend.

Anyway...



After a few enjoyable minutes, Mascaras kicked his opponent off the apron onto the concrete floor then finished him up with a sweet flying splash for the cover, the count, and the fall.
Your Winner: Mil Mascaras

Returning from a commercial break, Cactus staggered into the crowd and headed towards 'The Tough Guys' - a band who had been playing during the ads. 

For seemingly no reason, the future WWF Champion targetted drummer 'Wilde Wolfe' (JT Southern), who for some reason was wearing the exact outfit that Brutus Beefcake is wearing in his Wikipedia page picture.

The two started brawling until cameras cut to the back, where the ever-gorgeous Missy Hyatt insisted that we tune in to see her co-hosting a show with Jim Ross.

Norman Wants Hot Dogs

Elsewhere, Gordon Sollie had to explain to Norman The Lunatic that the Falls Count Anywhere stipulation added to his match with Kevin Sullivan meant anywhere in the arena, not just in the ring.

Clutching a teddy bear and beaming from ear to ear, the big man got very excited about the prospect of taking Sullivan up to the hot dog stand and grabbing a few hot dogs after pinning his arch-nemesis.

Falls Count Anywhere
Kevin Sullivan vs. Norman The Lunatic

WCW Clash of the Champions X -  Norman vs. Kevin Sullivan - Falls Count Anywhere
Before Norman made his entrance, we got a vignette of him visiting a petting zoo and talking to a pig as though it were Kevin Sullivan.

Seriously. WTF was I watching here?

Falls counted anywhere in the building, so of course, the two spent 90% of the match brawling in and around the ring before finally making their way backstage for the oh-so-wacky finish.

Sullivan hid in the women's bathroom, which was a big no-no for Norman. The big friendly lunatic at first refused to go in, but when the last remaining lady ran out of there, he stormed in and closed the door behind him.

Cue lots of crashing and banging before Sullivan stepped out of the door and collapsed on the floor, followed by Norman, with Nick Patrick raising his hand in victory.

Although it was a silly finish, most of the actual brawling up to that point was a lot of fun.
Your Winner: Norman the Lunatic 

After the break, we got a live “Funk’s Grill” with The Total Package Lex Luger.

It was very confusing.

Funk had been a babyface back at Starrcade ‘89, had come across as a babyface in the earlier Sting/Horsemen bit, and even started this segment with a babyface-like apology for the heinous beat down of Sting at the hands of Flair and Anderson.

WCW Clash of the Champions X -  Terry Funk interviews Lex Luger
Then, from out of nowhere and for seemingly no reason whatsoever, Funk turned on the crowd and started calling them morons.

After ripping on the WCW roster for not having the guts to help him fight off the Horsemen, Funk turned his attention to a man he claimed would help him, but apparently didn’t.

That man was Lex Luger, who spent the majority of his promo time talking about Sting before finally deciding to list off his “allocades” (he meant accolades, presumedly).

Before Luger could get very far with putting himself over, however, Funk snatched the microphone from him and inexplicably began yelling “BUT I’M A COMMENTATOR! I’M A COMMENTATOR!” as if replying to an unreasonable request from Luger that The Total Package hadn’t actually made.

The US Champion then began to talk about his upcoming title defence, but Funk clearly got word in his ear that the segment had to be wrapped up, and that was pretty much that.

This isn’t the first time I’ve said this in this review, but WTF did I just watch? 

The New Skyscrapers (Dangerous Dan Spivey & Mean Mark Callous w/ Theodore Long) The Road Warriors (Hawk & Animal w/ Precious Paul Ellering)

WCW Clash of the Champions X -  Teddy Long led The Skyscrapers into battle
Sid was out injured, so Theodore Long had replaced him with some gangly ginger fella called Mean Mark.

Prior to the bell, we got promos from both teams. Teddy Long put over his men as the most dominant tag team in pro wrestling before we got a video package of Hawk and Animal randomly destroying some cars with sledgehammers and a pneumatic drill to prove how tough they were.

Hawk then promised that he and Animal then promised to topple The Skyscrapers and that's pretty much what they did in this rather non-descript big man match.

After a few minutes of passable action, The Road Warriors hit a Doomsday Device but then the referee seemed to vanish in thin air so The Skyscrapers beat them down for the no-contest.
No Contest

After a quick commercial break, it was onto the next match.

Mask vs. Title Match
NWA World Tag Team Champions The Steiner Brothers (Rick Steiner & Scott Steiner) vs. Doom (Butch Reed & Ron Simmons)

WCW Clash of the Champions X -  Doomed faced The Steiners in a Mask vs. Title match
Before the bell, we got more pre-recorded comments from both teams. Butch Reed cut a terrible promo for Doom in which he promised they would drop a bomb on The Steiners while Scott Steiner literally said nothing more than “Doom! Get Ready!

The actual match was decent enough, with a hot crowd and some good but not great action.

Towards the finish, Rick Steiner ripped Reed’s mask off, put it over his own head and then made the pin.
Your Winners and still tag team champions: The Steiner Brothers 

Afterwards, Ron Simmons made a big deal about finally taking his mask off.

The Horsemen Ride 

Before our main event, we got a backstage interview in which Ric Flair and The Andersons talked to Gordon Sollie.

Naturally, they said nothing about their upcoming match other than Flair off-handedly mentioning that they had one.

Instead, the whole focus was on The Horsemen’s issues with Sting.

It was compelling stuff, sure, but it would have been nice for them to acknowledge their upcoming match.

Cage Match
J-Tex Corporation (Buzz Sawyer, The Dragonmaster, and The Great Muta) vs. The Four Horsemen (NWA World Heavyweight Champion Ric Flair, Ole Anderson, and Arn Anderson)

WCW Clash of the Champions X -  Ric Flair and The Four Horsemen
The crowds hated The Horsemen for turning on Sting, which made Buzz Sawyer, The Great Muta, and The Dragonmaster the default babyfaces.

Not that the crowds were actually rooting for them or anything.

They spent the entire match chanting for Sting and when the popular fan favourite did show up, they went crazy.

Before Sting could get his hands on Flair, he was pulled away by a referee, Wahoo McDaniel, Tom Zenk, and Brian Pillman.

He later tried again, this time landing awkwardly as he jumped down from the cage and limping away with an injury that would take him out for months.

The actual match was nothing. It served no purpose other than to build tension between Sting and Flair.

It mattered so little that at one point, Buzz Sawyer hit a flying leap off the top of the cage (a move that wasn’t so commonplace in those days) and the crowd didn’t bat an eyelid.

Then, Ole Anderson pinned Sawyer but the crowds didn’t break from their ‘We Want Sting!’ chant to even acknowledge that the match was over.

Honestly, I think all six men could have sat in the ring on their asses playing cards in the nude and the audience wouldn’t have noticed.
Your Winners: The Four Horsemen 

Afterwards, Flair charged after an injured Sting and the two brawled as the credits rolled.









If you’re looking for exciting pro wrestling action, don’t come anywhere near this show.

Ok, some of the matches weren’t awful, but there was nothing that you’d class as ‘must see’ and the main event may as well have not happened at all.

If you’re looking for one of the most hilarious, confusing, cheesy, and baffling shows of all time, then Clash of the Champions 10 is for you.

From Dr. Death’s ambulance skit to Terry Funk’s inexplicable heel turn and the all kinds of insanity in between, this was one of those “so bad it’s good” shows that was ridiculously entertaining for all the wrong reasons.



Other 1990 pro wrestling reviews: 
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Thursday, 10 June 2021

PPV REVIEW: WWF Wrestlemania X8

WWE / WWF Wrestlemania 18 - Event poster
March 17, 2002
Toronto SkyDome, Toronto, Ontario, Canada

The event poster for Wrestlemania 18 declares the event to be "The Best Ever." 

Or maybe that hyperbolic tag line simply refers to the Icon vs. Icon match between Hulk Hogan and The Rock. 

If it's the former, then it's perhaps fair to say that this was one event that didn't necessarily live up to the hype. 

As we'll discuss later in this Wrestlemania X8 review, the event was good, but rarely comes up in conversations regarding the greatest 'Mania of all time. 

If it's the latter, then it may also be fair to say that the poster has a good point.

Nigh on 20 years later, Rock vs. Hogan remains an iconic match that is still talked about and revered to this day. 

Was it an all-time classic technical masterpiece? No, of course, but then...well..why don't we quit this intro right here and dive into the review?







Make Me a Superstar 

We began tonight’s show with a cold open, going straight to a live performance by Saliva of the Wrestlemania theme, Superstar.


I won’t lie, I do enjoy some of Saliva’s songs. Though they might have been lumped into the whole nu-metal thing, they do have a good energy about them that still gets my blood pumping but sadly most of that energy was completely lost in the vast space of the Toronto Skydome.

Though I’m sure they performed the best they could (all with shots of tonight’s superstars playing out on a screen behind them), the atmosphere just wasn’t there for this one.

When the band had finished playing, we got the usual Wrestlemania opening video emphasizing the historic nature of the event.

As we got shots of classic moments like the Shawn Michaels zip line entrance from Wrestlemania 12, Ultimate Warrior charging to the ring at Wrestlemania 6, and Hulk Hogan body slamming 8,000 lbs Andre The Giant in front of 35 million people at Wrestlemania 3, the likes of Undertaker, Ric Flair, and Hogan himself all told us that this was an event at least on par with -if not superior to- the Super Bowl.

Crowd shots followed, both live in the arena and back in WWF New York as Jim Ross and Jerry 'The King' Lawler welcomed us to what he called a ‘global phenomenon.’

Ladies and gentlemen, Wrestlemania X8 was underway.

World Wrestling Federation Intercontinental Championship 
WWF Intercontinental Champion William Regal vs. Rob Van Dam 

WWE / WWF Wrestlemania 18 - William Regal begs off from RVD
Up first, Rob Van Dam made his Wrestlemania debut in a decent effort against defending Intercontinental Champion William Regal.

There’s a part of me that feels bad that RVD was one of the most popular stars during the Invasion yet had been swiftly bumped back down to the midcard rather than being given a more prominent role, and yet another part of me that’s just glad we got to see The Whole F’N Show do his thing on the big stage.

Of course, it helped that he had a credible opponent here.

Regal was as good as he always was and together the two opened the show not with a scorcher exactly, but with a fun little match which served its purpose well.

In the end, Regal went to use his patented brass knuckles on the challenger only for referee Brian Hebner to wrest them from him.

The distraction allowed Van Dam to deck his opponent and polish him off with the Five Star Frog Splash.
Your Winner and new Intercontinental Champion: Rob Van Dam

WWE / WWF Wrestlemania 18 - Christian makes fun of Diamond Dallas Page
Backstage, we were taken back to Raw, where Diamond Dallas Page had helped Christian beat Billy Gunn, only for the former tag team champion to turn on DDP.

That set us up with a match for tonight, but only after Christian got done bragging to Lillian Garcia about using Page to get back on winning form and then dumping him.

Ensuring he’d get a heel reaction tonight, Christian also bragged about ditching Toronto and moving to Florida as soon as he could.

World Wrestling Federation European Championship 
WWF European Champion Diamond Dallas Page vs. Christian

You have to admire Diamond Dallas Page. He first appeared at a Wrestlemania in this very arena driving Rhythm & Blues to the ring in his pink Cadillac. 
 
Years later, the ever-positive performer had gone from chauffeur to champion and was now defending a title on The Grandest Stage of Them All.

As a side note, I always wonder why the story WWE pushes is that Page drove Honky Tonk Man to the ring when it was Honky and Greg Valentine.

Anyway, for his part, Christian had Howard Finkel introduce him as ‘now hailing from Tampa, Florida’ to further raise the ire of his hometown audience.

The match itself was OK. Not great, sure, and certainly not a Wrestlemania classic by any stretch, but certainly the kind of thing you’d enjoy watching to kill time on Raw, with a couple of close near falls making for a pretty exciting finish.

Speaking of which, Page blasted his challenger with the Diamond Cutter to retain the title.
Your Winner and Still European Champion: Diamond Dallas Page

Post-match, DDP congratulated Christian on not losing his temper in front of 67,000 people and the ‘gazillions’ watching at home. 

Naturally, that spurrred the Canadian on to have a temper tantrum of epic proportions.

Page then left through the crowd to bask in their adulation.

Finally, The Rock Has Come Back... To Toronto!  

WWE / WWF Wrestlemania X8 -  The Rock makes Coach say his prayers
Backstage, The Rock was on fine form as he told Jonathan Coachman that he couldn’t wait for Hulkamania to run wild on him.

Turning his attention to Coach, Rock asked the interviewer whether he’d taken vitamins and said his prayers then lambasted him for not checking in with The Almighty.

Shocked by Coach’s lack of prayers, Rock forced him onto his knees to pray and was even more flabbergasted when Coach's prayer started with the words “What up, G?

Kicking Coach aside, Rock returned his attentions to Hogan and built up tonight’s match like only The Great One could.

The Coachman stuff was incredibly funny, the rest of the promo was just incredible.

World Wrestling Federation Hardcore Championship 
WWF Hardcore Champion Maven vs. Goldust

This wasn’t much of a match.

Sure, it started off well enough with your usual trash can shots (trash cans painted gold, obviously) and mindless brawling. 

Then, about two minutes in, both men nailed each other with trash can lids. Seizing the opportunity, Spike Dudley ran down and pinned Maven to become the new champion and that was that.
Your Winner and New Hardcore Champion: Spike Dudley

A second later, Crash Holly came running down and he and Goldust both chased the new champion off through the crowd.

It was all over in about three minutes.

Story Time With Drowning Pool

WWE / WWF Wrestlemania X8 -  Drowning Pool performed
Up next, we were informed that ‘red hot rock band’ Drowning Pool were going to tell us the story of the rivalry between Chris Jericho and Triple H.

Of course, they didn’t tell us why such story. Instead, they played their song Tear Away while clips of The Game, The Undisputed Champion, and Stephanie McMahon played out on the screen behind him.

Again, this was a decent song and a decent performance, but it was simply lost in the vastness of the Skydome.

It was such an ill-placed idea that when singer Dave Williams implored the crowd to scream, he was met by what sounded like total silence.

Of course, the sad thing here is that Williams would pass away due to heart failure just five months after this event.

The Hurricane is Your New Hardcore Champion

On a brighter note, we next went backstage where Spike Dudley and Crash Holly continued to brawl over the Hardcore title.

Al Snow put in a cameo, driving a golf truck with Teddy Long as a passenger and ploughing it straight into a stack of cardboard boxes in a pretty funny moment.

Spike managed to escape, but seconds later was KO’d by The Hurricane who made the pin and became the new champion.

Kurt Angle vs. Kane

WWE / WWF Wrestlemania X8 -  Kane vs. Kurt Angle
Before the bell, Kurt Angle took to the microphone to get some heat by ragging on the Canadian Figure Skating couple of Jamie SalĂ© and David Pelletier after the two had been involved in a scandal at that year’s Winter Olympics.

He then went on to face Kane in a match that was decent but very unremarkable.

OK, so Kane was a spectacle and a competent performer, but this felt like a waste of someone with Angle’s talent and star power and felt very much like it had been thrown together just to ensure the two would have a ‘Mania match.

The actual action was OK, but I doubt this was a match anyone other than those involved really cared about.
Your Winner: Kurt Angle 

Out in the back, Hurricane ran away to avoid anyone fighting him for the hardcore title.

Unfortunately for the World Wrestling Federation’s resident super hero, he ran straight into the women’s changing room and had to hide behind a screen when The Godfather’s hos came in.

When one such lady of the night removed her top, Hurricane raised a broom which made his silhouette look like he had a huge, odd-shaped erection.

At that point, The Godfather himself showed up and chased off The Hurricane.

This was nowhere near as funny as it was meant to be.

‘Taker Wants Flair...’Taker Gets Flair

Up next, we were shown a video that highlighted the rivalry between The Undertaker and Nature Boy Ric Flair.

Flair had interfered in ‘Taker’s match back at No Way Out 2002, prompting The Phenom to challenge him to a match.

When the WWF co-owner had refused a match, ‘Taker had beaten up Arn Anderson and David Flair to get Nature Boy to finally step in the ring.

As a result, Nature Boy had temporarily relinquished all authority, leading to Vince McMahon making the match a No DQ.

No Disqualification 
The Undertaker vs. Nature Boy Ric Flair 

WWE / WWF Wrestlemania X8 - The Undertaker went 10-0 against Ric Flair
Competing in his first ‘Mania match since Wrestlemania 8, The Nature Boy went at it with The Dead Man in a wild, bloody, and brilliant brawl.

Two thirds of the match saw Undertaker battering Flair from pillar to post and backing again, busting his opponent up and prompting JR to pay tribute to Gordon Sollie by referencing the proverbial crimson mask.

In the last third, Flair made a valiant comeback and even managed to get his nemesis into the Figure Four, only for ‘Taker to slap a hand around Naitch’s throat and muscle out.

Moments later, Arn Anderson put in a cameo with a crowd-popping spine buster but even that wasn’t enough to lay The Dead Man to rest.

‘Taker battled back, hit Flair with the Tombstone piledriver and went 10-0 at Wrestlemania.
Your Winner: The Undertaker

Post match, ‘Taker took out Little Naitch Charles Robinson too.

Booker T Went to a Highly Educated University 

WWE / WWF Wrestlemania X8 - Michael Cole interviews Booker T
Out in the back, Michael Cole reminded Booker T that Edge had not only taken an endorsement deal that Booker believed was his, but had also questioned the former Harlem Heat member’s intellect.

I’m a highly intelligent man. I got glasses don’t I?,” scoffed the five time, five time, five time WCW champion with a seriousness that was pretty funny.

Proving just how smart he was, Booker boasted about how good he’d done on his thesis about Einstein’s theory of relatives.

Now can you dig that, sucka?

Booker T vs. Edge 

Much was made of Edge being in the crowd back at Wrestlemania 6 and this being his big homecoming, so it’s a shame that the actual match was fairly disappointing.

That’s not to say that they didn’t try. Both men worked hard and even did something different by making this the first match on the show that didn’t start with one wrestler attacking the other before the bell.

It was fine, and even had a hot little finish in which Edge did his own Edge-a-Roonie and went through a series of reversals before hitting the Edgecution for the win, but it also felt very flat.
Your Winner: Edge 

Backstage, Mighty Molly betrayed Hurricane by knocking him out with a frying pan to become the third hardcore champion of the evening.

That was followed by a video for the upcoming Steve Austin vs. Scott Hall match.

Stone Cold Steve Austin vs. Scott Hall (w/ Kevin Nash)

WWE / WWF Wrestlemania 18 -  Kevin Nash accompanies Scott Hall for his match with Steve Austin
This would be the first time since Wrestlemania 13 that Austin had appeared on a Wrestlemania card but wasn’t in the main event.

Meanwhile, this was Scott Hall’s first Wrestlemania match since he defeated Jeff Jarrett Wrestlemania 11.

The match was fun for what it was.

Going back to the same formula as almost every match on the card, Austin attacked before the bell because you know, why bother doing anything different.

From there, things descended into what was pretty much a handicap match, with Kevin Nash continually running interference until a gaggle of referees made him leave.

Nash’s appearance, though it made complete sense, seemed out of place. He wore his full wrestling attire and made the whole thing look like when you’re playing a wrestling video game and choose your own manager.

That left us open to some more brawling until Austin hit the stunner and Hall flew a good five feet in the air.

It was a glorious end to a match that had been entertaining without being exceptional.

Indeed, while this was a far cry from Austin’s usual main event level match, it was still good for what it was.
Your Winner: Stone Cold Steve Austin 

Post match, Austin had himself a beer bash as if to get over the fact that his ‘Mania match mattered so little this year.

Welcome to Axxess

Up next, we were shown highlights from the WWF Axxess event.

The weirdest part was that the thought crossed somebody’s mind that what the event needed was a statue of Stacy Kiebler’s legs and ass that fans could touch and have their photo taken with.

The best part, however, was Booker T being mad about not being included in a video game that was released before he joined the company and then choosing to play as Krispin Wah and delighting in whooping some little kid’s butt.

Get the Tables!

Hey, you know what this Wrestlemania really needs?

More nu-metal!

As we got ready for the four team title match, Saliva came out to sing The Dudley Boyz theme from Forceable Entry while Stacy danced with the singer and Bubba Ray and D’Von rocked out.

It was a decent performance and all, but I couldn’t help but chuckle at the idea of a band singing a really angry song about a piece of furniture.

World Wrestling Federation World Tag Team Championship Four-Team Elimination Match
WWF Tag Team Champions Billy & Chuck vs. The Dudley Boyz (Bubba Ray & D’Von Dudley w/ Stacy Kiebler) vs. The APA (Farooq & Bradshaw) vs. The Hardy Boyz (Matt & Jeff Hardy)

WWE / WWF Wrestlemania 18 -  Stacy Keibler dances with Saliva
Billy
& Chuck had been enjoying a sizeable push as of late which sort of took the element of unpredictability out of what was otherwise a decent tag team match.

Farooq and Bradshaw got eliminated early on as they almost always did in these situations, and from there the match started to get better the longer it went on.

Things really hit a climax when Billy Gunn pushed D’Von off the top rope through a table. In the ring, Matt and Jeff Hardy took out Bubba Ray with a Twist of Fate/Swanton Bomb combo.

That led us to a fun -if short- announcers change between the reigning champions and their remaining challengers, culminating in Billy clocking Jeff with a title belt so that Chuck Palumbo could cover him for the predictable three count.
Your Winners and Still Tag Team Champions: Billy & Chuck

Post-match, the champions stood over Stacy Kiebler as she checked on a destroyed D’Von Dudley.

Hogan Needs to Face The Rock on His Own

WWE / WWF Wrestlemania X8 -  Hulk Hogan tells Hall and Nash to stay out of his match
Backstage, Hall complained to Nash that his loss to Austin had been a fluke. Nash agreed and promised that the two of them would take out The Rock when The Great One faced Hulk Hogan next.

As if on cue, Hollywood himself then turned up and insisted that he had to face The Rock on his own and beat him up in exactly the same way that he had beaten up Rocky Balboa in Rocky 3.

The Outsiders agreed, but when Hogan left, Nash insisted that he and Hall would still make their presence felt.

Elsewhere in the building, Christian slammed a door in Molly Holly’s face and became our new Hardcore Champion.

Hollywood Hulk Hogan vs. The Rock

WWE / WWF Wrestlemania X8 - The Rock and Hulk Hogan face off
Given that I’d stopped watching wrestling altogether back in 2002, I’d never actually seen this match until now.

Of course, I’ve read about it hundreds of times, but even that couldn’t stop this long-time fan from getting chills as Hogan and Austin came nose to nose in the center of the ring.

The crowds were firmly behind Hulk, and that seemed at first to not only surprise Hulk Hogan the wrestler but also to genuinely delight Terry Bollea the man.

The actual in-ring action may not have been a technical masterpiece but was an absolute joy to watch because of the insane ovation that Rock and Hogan receive for every single move.

After an incredible performance that was more about the experience than moves, The Great One pinned the Immortal One but only after three Rock Bottoms and a People’s Elbow.
Your Winner: The Rock. 

Afterwards, a gracious Hogan shook The Rock’s hand, but this brought out Hall & Nash. 

The duo attacked their former leader, only for Rock to turn to ring and aid his one-time nemesis in seeing off The Outsiders.

Bringing this segment to a close, Rock urged Hogan to do his famous post-match pose down routine. The Hulkster obliged, and this fan sat watching the whole thing with the kind of beaming smile the Cheshire Cat would be proud of.

I watch a lot of wrestling to keep this blog going week after week, but moments like Hogan vs. Rock at Wrestlemania 18 remind me why I love it.

Setting Records

After a brief clip of The Big Show hoisting some young fan onto his arm over at WWF New York, Howard Finkel told us that Wrestlemania X8 had set a new Toronto Skydome record of 68,237.

Nice.

World Wrestling Federation Women’s Championship Triple Threat Match
WWF Women’s Champion Jazz vs. Lita vs. Trish Stratus 

Jazz may have been the champion, but she was easily the least over of the three women in this short women’s championship match, especially when Trish Stratus came out doing a whole Canadian Patriot deal.

So it was a surprise to see her retain her title after a few minutes of solid but forgettable action.
Your Winner and Still Women’s Champion: Jazz

Out in the parking lot, Maven caught Christian with the same roll-up that would later prove to be the only move anyone fighting for the 24/7 championship would be capable of doing.

He got the three count and escaped with the same title he had started the night with.

Undisputed Championship 
Undisputed Champion Chris Jericho (w/ Stephanie McMahon) vs. Triple H

WWE / WWF Wrestlemania 18 - Chris Jericho & Stephanie McMahon
HHH came down to Drowning Pool playing their version of his theme music from Forceable Entry.

It wasn’t the greatest song in the world, but at least Dave Williams remembered the lyrics much better than Lemmy had the year before at Wrestlemania 17.

The actual match was much better then I’ve seen people give it credit for, but I absolutely get that trying to stay invested in this one after a long three-plus hour show was not easy task.

The story was basically Jericho going after The Game’s leg and Hunter continually fighting back until landing the Pedigree for the predictable ending.

As obvious as the outcome might have been, most of the actual action here was solid.
Your Winner and new Undisputed Champion: Triple H

Post-match, the new champion posed with his titles before we cut to an excellent video package recapping all of the highlights from the 18th edition of Wrestlemania.









Wrestlemania X8 is never going to go down as one of the greatest ‘Manias of all time.

Most of the action never got past being “decent” and the show suffered from a weird booking trend in which eight out of the 11 matches on the card started in exactly the same way:

With the first person to make their entrance attacking their opponent prior to the bell.

Still, that aside, there were a few stand out moments.

The Undertaker vs. Ric Flair was a good match and Rock vs. Hogan was on a whole different level.

Much like Hogan’s last ‘Mania match in the same venue, this wasn’t so much about pure wrestling moves, it was about the spectacle, the crowd participation and the overall joy of seeing two larger than life characters collide.

Though Hogan technically lost, he was undeniably the star of the match. So,  it was entirely fitting that a man who’s name had long been synonymous with the World Wrestling Federation, and whose stardom was largely responsible for Wrestlemania’s early success, should be the same man to take the spotlight in the last Wrestlemania before the WWF became WWE.



Thursday, 3 June 2021

PPV REVIEW: NWA/WCW Starrcade 1989 - Future Shock

WCW Starrcade 1989 - Future Shock Event Poster
December 13, 1989
The Omni in Atlanta, Georgia

Starrcade 1989: Future was the last PPV of the 80s and the first professional wrestling show this fan ever owned on VHS.

Today we’ll be reviewing the Network version simply because I don’t own a VHS player anymore, but I mention this because I remember getting the video as a kid and being tremendously bored by it.

The concept deviated from the normal pro wrestling card featuring blow-offs to feuds and title matches. Instead, it featured two round-robin tournaments to crown both the Wrestler of the ‘90s and the Tag Team of the 90s.

Essentially, every singles star in the tournament would wrestle every other singles star and every tag team would wrestle every other tag team to score points.

At the end of the night, whoever had the most points would win.

It sounds like an interesting idea, but even just writing this introduction I can’t help but feel as though this would be the sort of thing best spaced out over several weeks rather than crammed into one show where the repetition of seeing the same wrestlers over and over again would get very dull very quickly.

Still, it’s been the better part of two decades since I last watched Starrcade ‘89, so maybe it wasn’t as bad as I remember.

Let’s head down to the Omni in Atlanta to find out, shall we?






Please Stand for the National Anthem 

WCW Starrcade 1989 - Garry Michael Capetta
Our show tonight began with a quick opening video highlighting the competitors in our two iron man tournaments.

In the singles tournament, Sting, Lex Luger, Ric Flair, and The Great Muta would be competing for glory while The Road Warriors, Doom, The Skyscrapers, and The Steiner Brothers would be looking to stake their claim as being the tag team of the 90s.

The video was done in futuristic style because, you know, this was FUTURE SHOCK!

Live in the arena, Garry Michael Capetta welcomed us to the show before asking us to rise for the playing of the American National Anthem.

A military brass band did the honors in fine form while other suitably attired military personnel held the US flag aloft.

WCW Starrcade 1989 - Jim Cornette, Jim Ross, and Terry Funk called the action
Breaking Down the Action

With that over, Jim Ross tried his best to get us excited about what was to come and introduced us to Terry Funk and Jim Cornette.

Funk was apparently here to analyze the action in the singles tournament, while Jim Cornette was there to talk about the tag team as.

Funk let us know that each match had a 15-minute time limit meaning that the wrestlers would be wise to try and get pins thick and fast while Cornette focussed on the points system:
  • 20 points for a win via pinfall or submission
  • 15 points for a win via count-out
  • 10 points for a win via DQ
  • 5 points for a draw.

Honestly, we haven’t even gotten to the first match yet and this already seems needlessly complicated.

Let’s Meet the Contestants 

WCW Starrcade 1989 - The Road Warriors with Paul Ellering
Before we went any further, all four teams in the tag team tournament stood on the stage to be introduced.

Despite there being some particularly strong rivalries, especially between Doom and The Steiner Brothers, the teams were happy to just stand next to each other for this over-the-top introduction, complete with pyro.

Of note here is the fact that it became clear that nobody had bothered to tell the guys doing the opening video that The Skyscrapers were no longer in this thing.

Jim Ross told us that they’d explain *exactly* why Sid and Dan Spivey had been replaced, to which Jim Cornette helpfully elaborated by saying that it was due to -and I quote- “an unexpected happening.”

Well, that clears that up then.

They had been replaced by The Wild Samoans instead.

Tag team Match 1
Doom (w/ Woman & Nitron) vs. WCW World Tag Team Champions The Steiner Brothers (Rick & Scott Steiner)

WCW Starrcade 1989 - Woman w/ Nitron
True story: 

When I was a kid watching this video in the early 90s, I was convinced that Nitron was Kevin Nash.

It’s only now that I look back and realize that Woman’s bodyguard looks nothing like Big Sexy. 

Turns out it was actually Tyler Mane, who not only later teamed with Nash (as Vinnie Vegas) but is now best known as an actor who played Michael Myers' in Rob Zombie's Halloween remakes. 

He was a big fella though, and got involved multiple times in a strong opening contest that went right down to the wire.

Scott Steiner spent most of the match getting beat up by Nitron and the mysterious masked duo of Ron Simmons and the late Butch Reed, only for Rick Steiner to get back into things at the last minute and narrowly pick up a win via count-out.

This was a much more exciting match than I remember it being and was a good start to the show.
Your Winners Via Countout (earning 15 points): The Steiner Brothers

WCW Starrcade 1989 - The Great Muta w/ Garry Hart
Up next, Garry Michael Capetta introduced us to our four singles wrestlers.

They were: 

World Television Champion The Great Muta (with Garry Hart).

The man voted ‘most popular wrestler of the year’ Sting.

United States Champion Lex Luger.

World Heavyweight Champion Nature Boy Ric Flair.

Singles Match 1
Sting vs. WCW United States Champion Lex Luger

WCW Starrcade 1989 - Sting puts a hurting on Lex Luger
This was another decent effort with both men smashing the crap out of each other all the way to the final moments.

With about 20 seconds left on the clock, Luger got the pinfall by grabbing onto the ropes for leverage.

It was a disappointing end to an otherwise solid encounter.
Your Winner by pinfall (earning 20 points): Lex Luger 

Moving on...

Tag Team Match 2 
Doom (w/ Woman & Nitron) vs. The Road Warriors (Hawk & Animal w/ Precious Paul Ellering)

This wasn’t the greatest match on the card.

Sure, it started off pretty hot, with both teams demonstrating how powerful they were and showing that in terms of strength alone, they were fairly evenly matched.

That made from some fun spots in the early going, but then it kind of just fell into something that wasn’t bad, but just wasn’t very interesting.

In the end, one of the Doom
Boys looked to piledrive Animal only for Hawk to come off the top rope with the match-winning clothesline.
Your Winners (earning 20 points): The Road Warriors 

Woman was furious.

Singles Tournament Match 2
NWA World Heavyweight Champion Ric Flair (w/ Ole & Arn Anderson) vs. NWA TV Champion The Great Muta (w/ Garry Hart)

WCW Starrcade 1989 - Ric Flair locks the Figure Four on Great Muta
Honestly, one of my all-time favorite things about WCW was hearing Garry Michael Capetta introduce ‘The Pearl of the Orient’ The Great Muta.

Before the two locked up, we got a shot of Norman The Lunatic (Mike Shaw) dressed up as Santa Claus. He didn’t do anything except for wave at the camera, but I thought I’d mention it anyway.

The actual match was incredibly frustrating.

It started off in fine form with Muta using his speed to get the better of the Nature Boy.

Things were looking good, and if it had gone on it could have easily been a Match of the Night contender.

Instead, Buzz Sawyer and The Dragon Master ran down for a brawl with The Andersons.  

Amidst the resulting fracas, Muta lept off the top with a beautiful moonsault but got a face full of knees.

Flair then rolled him up and this one was done in about five minutes which was very disappointing when you think how good it could have been if it’d been given time.
Your Winner (earning 20 points): Ric Flair

Somewhere in the arena, a lady added Flair’s points to the scoreboard.

Tag Tournament Match 3
WCW Tag Team Champions The Steiner Brothers (Rick & Scott Steiner) vs. The Road Warriors (Hawk & Animal w/ Precious Paul Ellering)

WCW Starrcade 1989 - Hawk and Animal confer in the corner
It’s the irresistible force meeting the immovable object,” said Jim Ross as this one got underway.

I think it’s the insensible force meeting the illiterate object,” quipped Jim Cornette.

Honestly, it was funnier than I’m making it sound.

The match was OK, but the crowd didn’t really want to cheer or boo one team over the other so what you got was essentially a bunch of moves played out to near silence.

In the end, they did the whole German Suplex double-pin deal with Animal suplexing Scott but Steiner lifting his arm at the last second to score the 20
points.
Your Winners: The Steiner Brothers (earning 20 points)

Honestly, only on a show like this could a match between the two hottest teams of the time be so disappointing.

Singles Tournament Match 3
NWA TV Champion The Great Muta vs. Sting

This was certainly one of the best matches on the card up to this point but, to be honest, the bar hadn’t exactly been set very high.


Both men worked hard and wrestled extremely well, but with an apathetic crowd it didn’t quite come across as the epic encounter it could have been.

After a solid effort, Sting picked up his first points of the tournament courtesy of a top rope suplex.
Your Winner: Sting (earning 20 points)

Offering a respite from the action, JR, Cornette, and Funk analyzed the scores so far, with the latter two offering their picks for the winners.

In singles action, we had a three-way tie with everyone but Muta on 20 points and Funk predicting a tournament win for Luger, while the tag team competition saw Cornette’s pick of the Steiners ahead of the Road Warriors by 15 points, Doom on zero, and The Wild Samoans yet to compete.

Tag Team Match 4
Doom (w/ Woman & Nitron) vs. The Wild Samoans (Fatu & The Samoan Savage w/ Sir Oliver Humperdink)

After a lackluster show, I didn’t expect that I’d get into this one as much as I’d did but it turned out to be a reasonably good heel vs. heel tag team match with some solid action.

OK, so it ended when Fatu and Butch Reed knocked noggins and Oliver Humperdink pushed his man on top of a fallen Reed which was a little underwhelming, but that aside this wasn’t bad at all.
Your Winners: The Wild Samoans  

Up next, a rematch from Starrcade 1988.

Singles Match 4
NWA US Champion Lex Luger vs. NWA World Heavyweight Champion Ric Flair 

WCW Starrcade 1989 - US Champion Lex Luger prepares for battle
This was an excellent match that was almost as good as their aforementioned clash at the previous year’s Starrcade.

The only problem was that Flair and Luger spent the first half of the match clearly pacing themselves with armbars and chin locks galore, making it pretty obvious that they were working their way to a time-limit draw.

Fortunately, things picked up in the second half as the two stars gave us a quality match which got the crowd fully invested for the first time all evening.

Even if the eventual draw was inevitable, the actual match was golden.
Time Limit Draw (Flair and Luger both earn 5 points)

01.45.32 - SCOREBOARD 

A ‘tween-match look at the scoreboard revealed that Sting was still in with a chance of winning the whole contest but The Great Muta now stood no chance.

Tag Team Match 5
WCW Tag Team Champions The Steiner Brothers (Rick & Scott Steiner) vs. The Wild Samoans (Fatu & The Samoan Savage w/ Sir Oliver Humperdink)

WCW Starrcade 1989 - Fatu & The Samoan Savage faced The Steiner Brothers
Coming down to the ring for their next match, Rick and Scott randomly plucked two kids out of the crowd to hold their titles.

By this point in the card, the crowd had finally seemed to wake up and get involved, but sadly the wrestlers weren’t all that eager to do anything out of the ordinary.

This was a passable, by-the-numbers tag team match with the Samoans cutting off Scotty Steiner from his brother until Rick finally had enough and stormed in to clean house.

During the match-ending mele, a battered Scott threw his opponent over the top rope and got disqualified, a disappointing end to an underwhelming match.
Your Winners via Disqualification (earning 10 points): The Steiner Brothers 

If Rick and Scott were to win the tourney, they now needed Hawk and Animal to either lose or win by DQ.

Singles Match 5
NWA TV Champion The Great Muta vs. NWA US Champion Lex Luger 

WCW Starrcade 1989 - The Great Muta vs. Lex Luger
After getting his legs destroyed by Flair in his last match, Luger hobbled to the ring and sold the leg like a trooper.

Naturally, that meant an easy target for Muta, who by this point had but one little scrap of his trademark face paint remaining, barely clinging on to his cheek.

What we got then, was 14 minutes of Luger essentially taking the babyface role and making the occasional brief comeback in between many periods of Muta working over his leg.

It was a logical story and made perfect sense, but it didn’t exactly make for compelling viewing.

In the end, with one minute remaining, Muta cut off Luger’s final comeback by blowing mist in his face and getting disqualified.

If they were going with that as the finish there was probably no need to give us fourteen minutes of leg locks.
Your Winner via Disqualification (earning 10 points): Lex Luger 

Up next, the finals of the tag team tournament.

Tag Team Tournament Final
The New Wild Samoans vs. The Legion of Doom

With it all on the line, the tag team tournament ended not with a bang but with a whimper.

This was a rather unremarkable match in which nothing much happened until Hawk battered one of the Samoans with a top rope clothesline.

If you never see this match in your life, you won’t be missing much.
Your Winners: The Road Warriors

The Road Warriors were now your Iron Men in the tag team division and had won the whole tournament. Not that they got much of a celebration outside a brief moment of congratulations from Rick and Scott.

Singles Tournament Final 
NWA World Heavyweight Champion Ric Flair vs. Sting

WCW Starrcade 1989 - Sting vs. Ric Flair
Having faced each other in a good match at Clash of the Champions I, Flair and Sting had later been allies and even teamed up in the main event of Halloween Havoc 1989.

Tonight, they put on another good match in which babyface Flair reverted to his natural heel role.

I’ll be honest, I’d mentally checked out of this show some time ago but Sting and Flair were so good together that they sucked me right back in with a solid main event that made the crowd come alive in a way that they hadn’t all night.

After a good seesaw battle, Sting pulled out a roll-up victory on the world heavyweight champion.
Your Winner: Sting

Sting’s win meant he had won the whole tournament and he got a better celebration than the Road Warriors, with fireworks erupting as Flair’s allies The Anderson’s congratulated him.

They Are Iron Men

WCW Starrcade 1989 - The Road Warriors won the tag team tournament
Fittingly for a team who had used Black Sabbath’s Iron Man as their theme for so long, Hawk and Animal finished the show by giving an interview to Gordon Sollie about their win in the Iron Team tournament.

Boasting about being the Iron Men, Hawk and Animal declared that they’d gone out and won not only for themselves but, of course, for the Atlanta fans.

Sollie then promised us a word with singles Iron Man winner, Sting, but the Stinger took so long getting up to the stage that the credits started to roll.

As such, we got the weird production tail of credits and music playing while we heard Hawk stalling for time by talking about how much more effort they put in than your standard football player.

Sting and Flair then finally made it to the stage, but by this point, the whole thing was such a mess that it was almost impossible to hear what either of them had to say.








OK, I’ll admit it, Starrcade 1989: Future Shock was a better event than I remembered it being.

I remember being completely bored by every single match and not enjoying it one bit, but that wasn’t the case here.

Though there were a lot of underwhelming matches on the card, and though the repetition of seeing the same wrestlers over and over again did get tiresome, there were a few decent matches on this card.

Granted, none of them had stood the test of time as all-out classics, but Sting vs. Flair was at least a good performance that’s worth tracking down. 

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.