EVENT REVIEW: NWA Clash of the Champions II - Miami Mayhem

NWA Clash of the Champions II Review - event poster

June 8, 1988
James L. Knight Center, Miami, Florida

After proving himself a force to be reckoned with in a star-making performance against Ric Flair at the second event, Sting was heading into NWA Clash of the Champions II looking to truly cement his status as a bona fide main eventer.

To achieve that aim, the face-painted hero was set to team with The American Dream Dusty Rhodes to challenge the exceptional Four Horsemen duo of Arn Anderson & Tully Blanchard for the tag team titles. 

Elsewhere on this show, we had the build to Flair and Luger, Kevin Sullivan in a cage, and more. 

Without further ado, let's get on with it.

Let the Miami Mayhem Begin 

Our show opened with a few brief shots of tonight’s featured performers before cutting to Jim Ross, who was standing by in a parking lot.
NWA Clash of the Champions II Review - title graphic


In an attempt to put over the importance and prestige of tonight’s event, Ross showed us various promoters and VIPs clambering out of limousines.

Now, I’m not saying that’s a terrible thing in itself, and I get that showing important people makes the event are important, but none of the so-called “dignitaries” were anyone that any casual fan would’ve heard of.

Besides, stuffy middle-aged dudes walking slowly in tuxedos isn’t exactly the best way to start a show that had promised us MAYHEM.

Anyway, this led us into another video, this time a really cool display of all the title belts because this was, of course, Clash of the Champions. (or, as my autocorrect inexplicably wanted to call it, Clash of the Harpoons).
NWA Clash of the Champions II - Tony Schiavone & Bob Caudle


Cutting live to the arena, Tony Schiavone and his glorious 80s mustache welcomed us to tonight’s show before he co-host Bob Caudle ran down the highlights we could expect to see on tonight’s show, starring with this:

National Wrestling Alliance United States Championship
NWA US Champion Barry Windham (w/ James J. Dillon) Brad Armstrong 

Having recently aligned with The Four Horsemen, US champion Barry Windham proved himself to be a natural heel in this very enjoyable opening contest, taking advantage of the assist from Horsemen manager J.J Dillon at every available opportunity.
NWA Clash of the Champions II - Brian Armstrong


Meanwhile, Brad Armstrong played the role of the upstanding and courageous babyface with plenty of gusto, resulting in an old-school clash of good and evil that was a lot of fun to watch.

Unfortunately for Brad, this was never going to be his night. After a great effort, he succumbed to Windham’s dreaded Claw and was pinned.
Your Winner and Still US Champion: Barry Windham

Following a quick commercial break, The Rock ‘n’ Roll Express returned to the NWA for a brief ringside interview with Bob Caudle. 
It was an auspicious return for the legendary tag team. 

First, Robert Gibson tripped on his way out and almost fell flat on his backside. Then, the two began cutting a promo with their backs to the camera, and someone had to physically guide Ricky Morton to turn around.
NWA / WCW Clash of the Champions 2 - Bob Caudle interviews The Rock 'n' Roll Express

After that somewhat awkward start, the team were back on fine form, promising that no titles -tag or otherwise- would be safe now that Ricky and Robert were back in town.

All Aboard the Blackhawk

Up next, we went to pre-recorded footage of a yacht.

Not just any yacht, of course, but The Blackhawk, which was apparently owned by the same company that owned the Chicago Blackhawks.
NWA / WCW Clash of the Champions 2 - Contract signing for the World Heavyweight title


Tony Schiavone told us that said owners were on board, along with an extensive list of promoters, Ric Flair and his Horsemen, and the man who would challenge Flair for his World Heavyweight Championship at The Great American Bash, Lex Luger.

Before we saw anyone familiar, however, we got Tony Schiavone talking about how impressive the yacht was as the cameras forced us to look at this thing from every possible conceivable angle. 

This included a solid minute or two in which we watched steps being added to the yacht, a sight so monumentally tedious you have to question why on earth anyone thought it would make a great addition to a pro wrestling show.

Once inside the yacht, the contract signing was an equally uneventful affair. 

Both men put their names on the paper and talked about the importance of the match without really confronting each other, and that was it.

Back at the arena, the rest of the Four Horsemen arrived in a limousine just in time for an interview with Jim Ross.
NWA Clash of the Champions 2 review - Ric Flair and The Four Horsemen


Speaking on behalf of his team, the Horsemen boss put over Arn Anderson and Tully Blanchard, who would be competing tonight, and then warned Lex Luger that he’d better show up for his title shot in Baltimore.

The Flair promo was naturally decent, but I don’t know anyone who would put on a wrestling show to hear Tony Schiavone putting over a yacht. It was a boring segment that could have easily been passed.

From there, we saw the introductions for our next contest, but before the action could begin, it was back to the parking lot area, where Lex Luger arrived and was promptly ambushed by the dastardly Horsemen.

National Wrestling Alliance United States Tag Team Championship
NWA US Tag Team Champions The Fantastics (Bobby Fulton & Tommy Rogers) vs. The Sheepherders (Luke Williams & Butch Miller w/ Rip Morgan) 

With the show finally back in the ring, The Fantastics and The Sheepherders went at it in a wild and chaotic brawl for the better part of 20 minutes.
NWA Clash of the Champions 2 review - US Tag Team Champions The Fantastics


The crowd ate up every strike and counter-strike, every hole and every counter hold with a fevered frenzy that only made it more exciting.

They fought between the ropes, outside the ropes, and all around the ring, never once slowing the pace despite time ticking on.

Following a tremendously fun match, The Fantastics retained their gold thanks to a roll-up by Tommy Rogers.
Your Winners and Still US Tag Team Champions: The Fantastics 

After the break, a dapper Dr. Death Steve Williams fumbled his way through an awkward promo in which he was supposed to put over Lex Luger and discuss Luger’s vicious assault at the hands of the Four Horsemen, but instead spent most of his time saying “I don’t know” and getting tongue-tied.
NWA Clash of the Champions II - Tony Schiavone interviews Dr. Death Steve Williams

This didn’t bode well for Williams, who was set to join Schiavone and Caudle on commentary for our next match. 

Both teams made their way to the ring, but before we could kick things off, it was back to the parking lot, where Jim Ross showed us a recap of The Horsemen’s attack. 

The Varsity Club (NWA TV Champion Mike Rotunda & Rick Steiner w/ ‘The Gamesmaster’ Kevin Sullivan) vs. The Garvins (Gorgeous Jimmy Garvin & Ron Garvin w/ Precious)

Kevin Sullivan Must Be Locked in a Cage

Not only was 'The Gamesmaster' Kevin Sullivan trapped in a cage for the duration of this match, but Jimmy Garvin’s valet, Precious, held the key.
NWA Clash of the Champions II - The Gamesmaster Kevin Sullivan


Sullivan spent the duration of the contest trying to lure Precious to him, holding aloft a mysterious piece of paper which he seemed ready to trade for his freedom.

Precious ummed-and-ahhed on the outside for the majority of the contest while, inside their ring, her boys Jimmy and Ron Garvin took on Rick Steiner and Mike Rotunda in a decent but unspectacular match.

The Varsity Club remained in control for most of this one, and though the action itself wasn’t bad, it was clearly only meant to be a backdrop for the saga between Precious and Sullivan.

Eventually, the former decided to try and get that piece of paper, but her plan backfired horribly. As soon as Sullivan was free, he pinned her up against the ring apron and began to throttle her until Steve Williams (who had so far done a piss-poor job on commentary) came to her aid.

Dr. Death lamped The Gamesmaster, then scooped Precious up like he was the valiant hero and she were the damsel in distress, even though it seemed like the only thing distressing her was being held aloft by Williams.
NWA Clash of the Champions II - Referee Teddy Long warns Rick Steiner about pulling hair


At that point, her man Jimmy Garvin returned from an outside-the-ring brawl that we’d missed entirely since the cameras were 100% focused on previous.

Rather than jumping into the Gorgeous ones arms, however, Precious shoved him out of the way and stormed off.

Referee Teddy Long then inexplicably raised Jimmy’s hand aloft, declaring him and Ron the winners.

Apparently, amidst all the chaos, we’d missed some kind of ending to this match.
Your Winners: Jimmy & Ron Garvin 

Returning from the commercial break, Tony Schiavone and Bob Caudle hyped the upcoming Great American Bash tour. 

This included showing us a clip of The Powers of Pain attacking and beating up The Road Warriors leading to their Bash match, and showing us the very detailed blueprints for the upcoming Tower of Doom cage match.
NWA Clash of the Champions II Review - Blueprints for the Tower of Doom cage match


Somewhat comically, Schiavone and Caudle revealed that Kevin Sullivan (the match’s credited inventor) had also revealed an “original parchment” of the Tower of Doom plans and held aloft a piece of paper with a sketch of three bamboo huts on top of one another.
NWA Clash of the Champions II Review - Original design for the Tower of Doom


I wonder if that parchment still exists - I’d willingly pay at least $20 for it

Al Perez (w/ Gary Hart) vs. Nikita Koloff

Al Perez and Nikita Koloff had been at loggerheads for a while and looked to settle the score in a match which constantly threatened to become an above-average affair yet never quite made it.
NWA Clash of the Champions 2 Review - Al Perez & Gary Hart


Looking somewhat worn out, Nikita was clearly the crowd favorite here as he and Perez duked it out in a simple-yet-effective good guy versus bad guy story that clearly hit the right note with the loud and excited Miami crowd.

In the end, Perez’s stablemate, Larry Zybysko ran to the ring. Koloff immediately took him out,  but his mere appearance was enough to have the referee calling for the bell.
Your Winner via DQ: Nikita Koloff

Post match, Al Perez, Larry Zybysko, and their manager Garry Hart all did a number on Nikita, leaving the reformed Russian Nightmare for dead in the middle of the ring.

Finally, after one last commercial break, it was time for our main event.

National Wrestling Alliance World Tag Team Championship 
NWA World Tag Team Champions The Four Horsemen (‘The Enforcer’ Arn Anderson & Tully Blanchard w/ James J. Dillon) vs. Sting & Dusty Rhodes 

Before we wrap this one up, shout out to the girl in the front row who had been holding up various signs declaring which wrestlers got her motor running.

Here, Sting made the girl’s heart sing, though earlier she’d been all about Nikita Koloff (not just a hunk, but a SUPER HUNK, according to our gal) and other wrestlers.
NWA Clash of the Champions 2 Review - Main event madness


That aside, this was a strong main event, even if it did feel a little on the short side. 

Both teams started strong, trading holds and counterholds in an attempt to gain the advantage, but it wasn’t until James J. Dillon got involved that the champions managed to truly turn things in their favor.

 Not that they were able to keep up the momentum.

Sting and Dusty Rhodes battled back and the action got heated, but before the match could really evolve, Barry Windham and Ric Flair ran in for the DQ.

What we saw was good stuff here, I just wish we’d seen more of it.
Your Winners via DQ: Sting & Dusty Rhodes (Anderson & Blanchard retain)

Post-match, The Horsemen continued to attack, a besuited Barry Windham knocking Dusty out with The Claw on the outside while Flair and the tag champs decimated Sting inside the ring.

Then, after a commercial break, all the action was over and we were left with closing comments from Schiavone, Caudle, and Jim Ross, the latter of whom promised he was on his way to the hospital as the second Clash of the Champions came to an end.

Much like the second installments of many long-running pro wrestling events, Clash of the Champions II lacked both the historical significance of the first installment and the legendary matches of later episodes, but that by no means makes it a bad show.

Most of the matches were at least enjoyable, with only Koloff/Perez falling short of expectations, and although the stuff on the yacht didn’t work for this reviewer, the company certainly did a stellar job of building this show around The Four Horsemen and their biggest rivals.

Other Clash of the Champions Reviews:  
Other 1988 pro wrestling events:
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