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

Showing posts with label Bobby Eaton. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Bobby Eaton. Show all posts

Thursday, 13 January 2022

EVENT REVIEW: WCW Clash of the Champions XIII - Thanksgiving Thunder

WCW Clash of the Champions 13 Review - Thanksgiving Thunder
November 20th, 1990 
Jacksonville Memorial Coliseum, Jacksonville, Florida. 

Clash of the Champions 13 - Thanksgiving Thunder saw World Championship Wrestling at weird time.

After rising to the height of popularity, Sting had finally captured the World Heavyweight Championship, only to find himself lacking any serious, credible challengers outside of the man he beat for the title, Nature Boy Ric Flair.

Instead of actually creating any serious, credible challengers, the WCW braintrust created The Black Scorpion, supposedly a dark and mysterious figure from Sting's past (with it being hinted that it might be his former partner, The Ultimate Warrior), but who was really just a goof in a mask who did stage magic and made ominous threats over the PA system.

The gimmick -and, indeed, the whole story line- clearly didn't work, but, as we'll see tonight, WCW were not ones to give up on a bad idea.






Here's what went down when Clash of the Champions XIII - Thanksgiving Thunder came to us live from Jacksonville, Florida.

Thanksgiving Thunder

WCW Clash of the Champions 13 Review - Jim Ross and Paul Heyman called the event

We began tonight’s show with a basic intro featuring clips of WCW’s stars beating the hell out of each other, all framed in log tuning bolts...get it, because thunder?

Anyway, we then went live to the arena where Jim Ross and Paul E. Dangerously put over the stipulations for tonight’s main event.

Not only was a tag team title shot on the line, but if Butch Reed won, then Teddy Long would get Ric Flair’s limo and yacht whereas if Nature Boy won, Long would have to be his chauffeur for the day.

Hmm.

Moving on, Dangerously ranted and raved about how we could talk to Lex Luger on the WCW Hotline before JR sent it to Garry Michael Capetta for our opening contest.

The Fabulous Freebirds (Michael ‘P.S’ Hayes & Jimmy ‘Jam’ Garvin w/ Little Richard Marley) vs. The Wild Eyed Southern Boys (Tracy Smothers & Steve Armstrong)

WCW Clash of the Champions 13 Review - Bobby Eaton and The Fabulous Freebirds
I often write these reviews months in advance, and right now it feels both fitting and incredibly sad that, less than 24 hours after learning of “Beautiful” Bobby Eaton’s passing, the first wrestling match I sat down to review looked to set to feature the Midnight Express legend.

This was all set to be a six-man, featuring Bobby teaming with Michael Hayes and Jimmy Garvin to face Tracy Smothers, Steve Armstrong, and El Gigante.

Alas, the Freebirds shot themselves in the foot before the match could start by grabbing the microphone and taking credit for El Gigante’s alleged disappearance.

The referee then declared that since Hayes had owned up to some shady doings, this would now be a regular tag match and Eaton had to go to the back. 

These two teams had a great match back at Clash of the Champions XI, and this looked like it was going to be on par with that.

Unfortunately, it was a much shorter bout than their last effort, and after about 6 short minutes of exciting tag team action, Little Richard Marley tripped up Tracy Smothers, allowing Hayes to hit the match-winning DDT.
Your Winners: The Fabulous Freebirds

WCW Clash of the Champions 13 Review - Sting and Tony Schiavone
Out in the arena, Tony Schiavone interviewed Sting

The World Heavyweight champion didn’t have much to say. He simply bounced up and down a lot and confirmed that he was fighting Black Scorpion again tonight.

He didn’t get to elaborate as he was interrupted by Ole Anderson’s Black Scorpion voice echoing through the PA.

Scorpion likewise said nothing that actually meant anything, it was simply a case of “listen to how spooky snd scary I am.”

To his credit, he did promise to show off some of his black magic. I’m telling you now, if that magic ends up being half as hilariously bad as his stunt at Halloween Havoc 90, I can’t wait for it.

Nature Boy Buddy Landel vs. Flyin’ Brian Pillman

This rematch from Great American Bash 1990 was a pretty good effort which saw Buddy Landell using all the devious heel tactics he could to counter Brian Pillman’s high-flying offence.

Of course, Pillman was the real star here.

He looked incredibly impressive and so it came as no surprise when he came off the top rope with a flying crossbody and won the match.
Your Winner: Brian Pillman

WCW Clash of the Champions 13 Review - Starrcade 1990 commercial
After another reminder that we could speak to Lex Luger on the WCW hotline, we next got a promo for Starrcade ‘90: Colission Course.

The video told us that Sting would face The Black Scorpion, which was news to me as I thought the earlier promo meant that said match was happening tonight.

It also promised us a universal tag team attraction featuring the best tag teams “from across the cosmos.” 

I won’t lie, that tag team thing actually looked pretty cool.

The Big Cat vs. ‘The Candy Man’ Brad Armstrong

WCW Clash of the Champions 13 Review - The Big Cat
No, this wasn’t Ernie Ladd. It was a young Curtis ‘Mr.’ Hughes in an early gimmick.

As he made his way to the ring for his I first appearance at a big WCW event, we got some pre-recorded comments from Cat in which he promised he was here to beat everyone up and that he had his sights firmly set on Lex Luger.

Before he could get to The Total Package, however, Cat first had to dispose of ‘The Candy Man’ Brad Armstrong who’s gimmick was...

...I don’t know, that he really liked candy or something?

Whatever he was supposed to be, Armstrong was really just there to serve as a warm body for Big Cat to throw around, which he did so in impressive fashion.

Indeed, watching this charismatic, well-built dude look like a star in the making here, it’s almost impossible to believe that he’s the same guy I just wrote about a few weeks ago as having an awful match with Sal Bellomo at ECW The Night the Line Was Crossed.

Anyway, Cat, trying to get Luger’s attention, lifted Armstrong up in the torture rack, and even though The Candy Man didn’t give up, the referee took mercy on him and stopped the match.
Your Winner: Big Cat 

Before the commercial, we got a word from Dick The Bruiser.

Sounding like he smoked 60 cigarettes a day, The Bruiser told us that he was known throughout the land as the toughest wrestler and the toughest referee in the world. As such, he was able to guarantee us a winner when he officiated the main event of Starrcade.

‘Prime Time’ Brian Lee vs. The Z-Man

WCW Clash of the Champions 13 Review - Prime Time Brian Lee
As The Z-Man made his way to the ring, Jim Ross told us that he was one of the more popular wrestlers in WCW and the crowd response seemed to back that claim up.

That was surprising as on previous shows that I’ve reviewed he was mainly used as cannon fodder for other wrestlers.

His opponent tonight was future Summerslam ‘94 headliner ‘Prime Time’ Brian Lee, making his WCW debut.

The match was decent for what it was, and even though all of these Clash matches were usually short to fit around commercials, Z-Man and Lee made the best out of the time allotted to them.

Of course, I’m not saying that this was a classic or anything, but it was perfectly acceptable for an undercard bout on a TV

Z-Man won, which was a rarity.
Your Winner: The Z-Man

WCW Clash of the Champions 13 Review - Tony Schiavone interviews Alexandra York and Michael Wallstreet
After the break, we went live to Tony Schiavone who was standing by with Michael Wallstreet and Alexandra York.

Wallstreet scalded Schiavone for calling him Mike Rotunda and revealed that he had legally changed his name to Michael Wallstreet after inheriting a large sum of money.

He then introduced us to his administrative assistant, Alexandra York, making this Terri Runnel’s first appearance on a big event.

York showed us a computer print out of a strategy she had compiled for Wallstreet using data on his upcoming opponent, The Starblazer.

According to Ms. York, as long as her man followed it to the letter, he would have no problem winning his match.

The Starblazer vs. Michael Wallstreet (w/ Alexandra York)

WCW Clash of the Champions 13 Review - The Starblazer
If you’re anything like me and had no idea who the heck The Starblazer was, it was apparently ‘White Lightning’ Tim Horner in a generic luchadore costume.

York’s strategy for Wallstreet seemed to work as he basically mauled his opponent, but the crowds were silent except for a small but noticeable ‘boring’ chant.

To be honest, you can’t blame them for that. While this wasn’t terrible either, it was lifeless and as formulaic as Starblazer’s attire.

The end came when Starblazer botched whatever move he was going for and ended up just deliberately laying down so that his opponent could put him in a Boston crab.

The former Captain Mike followed that up with a Samoan Drop he called the Wallstreet Crash and put his opponent, the crowd, and this writer out of our collective misery.
Your Winner: Michael Wallstreet 

Up next, Gordon Sollie shilled WCW’s magazine, The Wrestling Wrap-Up which led us into our top ten rankings for both the tag team division and singles competition.

The tag division seemed like a stretch as the bottom three were all make-shift teams featuring guys who had maybe only tagged together on a handful of occasions, while the singles rankings featured US champion Stan Hansen in the top spot, making him one step away from world champion Sting.

We then had Jim Ross tell us that the upcoming tag team tournament was in honour of the late, great Pat O’ Conner, would feature teams from all over the world and would be held at Starrcade.

That led us to our next match, where two teams would duke it out for the right to represent Africa in the tournament.

Pat O’ Conner International Tag Team Tournament African Qualifier
Sgt. Krueger & Col. Deklerk vs. Kalua & The Botswana Beast

Yet more names that I had to Google here.

Col. Deklerk was Ted ‘Flyboy Rocco Rock’ Petty while opinion seems to be divided as to whether Matt Borne or Ray Apollo played Sgt. Krueger.

One things for sure though, none of them were African.

Meanwhile, all signs point to Kalua being Larry ‘Thunderbolt’ Hamilton and the Botswana Beast being played by Bill Tabb, which doesn’t really help here as I’m not familiar with either of them but I’m pretty sure neither of them were African either.

Anyway, this was interesting because it started well enough with some nice wrestling between Kalua and Deklerk, but then The Botswana Beast tagged in and proved that outside of throwing a huge -and admittedly impressive- flying clothesline, he was a pretty terrible and awkward wrestler.

The rest of the match just completely fell apart, with all four men looking lost and having no idea what to do.

Deklerk and Krueger won when referee Randy Anderson shuffled awkwardly into position so that he couldn’t see them doing a double team move and then counted the fall.

I don’t say this often, but that was really, really bad.
Your Winners: Sgt. Krueger & Col. Deklerk

After the match, we went to a pre-recorded bit where legendary promoter Sam Muchnik invited all the wrestling fans to join him at Starrcade for the tag team tournament.

Muchnik was clearly reading from a script and didn’t care about this at all. I doubt anybody bought a ticket or PPV stream on the back of this.

Hansen and Luger Hate Each Other

WCW Clash of the Champions 13 Review - The Big Cat Confronts Lex Luger
Up next, we looked back at Clash of the Champions 12 when Stan Hansen attacked Lex Luger before going on to beat him for the US title at Halloween Havoc.

Weirdly, this didn’t set up a rematch between the two tonight but instead the announcers went on to tell us that Paul E. Dangerously had found some dude called The Motor City Mad Man who was going to fight Luger instead.

Before that match, Luger was about to talk about his various feuds when Big Cat approached him, only to get punched in the face and left seething.

The Motor City Mad Man vs. Lex Luger 

Yet another guy I’d never heard of, The Motor City Mad Man was Mike Moore who apparently was in a tag team called The Motor City Mad Men managed by Dangerously in the 80s.

Before his predictable loss to Luger, The Mad Man had to wait while Big Cat attacked the Total Package.

The referees eventually broke that up, and what we got was a pretty poor match that was saved only by Luger’s popularity.

After a few minutes of sloppy action, the former US champion put his opponent away with a clothesline.
Your Winner: Lex Luger 

After another Starrcade promo, Tony Schiavone interviewed Nick Patrick. Patrick informed us that The Steiner Brothers had been told off for trying to end the careers of The Nasty Boys.

So that was happening.

The Renegade Warriors (Chris & Mark Youngblood) vs. The Nasty Boys (Brian Knobbs & Jerry Sags)

WCW Clash of the Champions 13 Review - The Renegade Warriors
For what it was, this was a good match. The Nasty Boys had looked very impressive in their short 1990 run in WCW and although they’d be in the WWF for a run as cartoon characters very soon, they looked just as impressive here.

Meanwhile, The Renegade Warriors also brought their A-game and were starting to get over -to a degree- with the live crowd.

Those factors led to a fun match which ended when The Steiners ran in to attack Brian Knobbs and Jerry Sags.
Your Winners via Disqualification: The Nasty Boys 

Afterwards, The Nasties simply ran off. 

Vader is Back...Kinda 

Big Van Vader had debuted back at The Great American Bash and then hadn’t been seen -at least not on Clash shows or PPV- since.

A graphic told us that he was back, but that was literally it. There was no promo or hype video and he wasn’t shown again on this show unless it was in a bit that got cut out of the Network version.

The Nightstalker vs. Sid Vicious 

WCW Clash of the Champions 13 Review - Sid Vicious
The Night Stalker
was Bryan “Adam Bomb” Clarke carrying a ridiculous, oversized toy ax.

Sid Vicious was, well he was The Master of the World and a man who could never truly be a heel because the fans always loved him.

As the Four Horsemen representative made his way to the ring, we got some pre-recorded comments in which he promised to come after Sting as soon as he got done with The Night Stalker.

The match wasn’t terrible, but it wasn’t great either.

The two behemoths tried a test of strength, then Night Stalker put Sid in a bear hug, then he did this really weird thing where he put him in the ropes and just lay his hands on Sid’s side like he was some kind of faith healer.

That was about the whole match. Big Cat came down for seemingly no reason and Night Stalker just had to stand around awkwardly waiting while Sid took care of him.

The Horseman then used Stalker’s own ridiculous axe toy against him to win the match.

Why didn’t he get DQ’d for using an international object? Because for the second time tonight, Randy Anderson had to awkwardly position himself so that he couldn’t see it, this time by taking a short nap in the corner despite not being touched.
Your Winner: Sid 

Post match, Stalker and Cat got their asses handed to them by The Ruler of The World.

That was a very clumsy and poorly executed finish.

El Gigante is Here After All

WCW Clash of the Champions 13 Review - El Gigante and The Southern Boys
Up next, The Fabulous Free Birds bragged about sending El Gigante packing back to Argentina, but then The Southern Boys turned up with street clothes wearing giant in tow.

I read somewhere that the reason Gigante hadn’t been in the match was that he missed his flight, but he’d clearly caught a later one and managed to make it for this nothing segment.

I wouldn’t have bothered.

With that over, Missy Hyatt reminded us to watch her and Jim Ross call a match between Arn Anderson and Terry Taylor on Main Event.

A recap of the Steiners attacking The Nasty Bots followed, after which we got to see Rick & Scott in action.

Magnum Force vs. NWA United States Tag Team Champions The Steiner Brothers (Rick & Scott Steiner)

You know, I’ve been watching pro wrestling since 1992 and I’ve been writing these reviews for almost ten years now and yet never before have I ever had to Google “who the f**k are these guys?” more than I have with Clash of the Champions 13.

Truth is, even after Google I still don’t know who Magnum Force are as the consensus seems to be that the original Force had been replaced by two other wrestlers and nobody can quite agree what their names are

Not that it really mattered.

Magnum Force were clearly jobbers and were easily disposed of in a quick match that was barely worth watching.
Your Winners: The Steiner Brothers 

Post match, The Nasties ran in but quickly got sent packing out of the arena, out of WCW, and into the waiting arms of Titan Sports.

A Word With The Horsemen

Up next, Ric Flair reminded Doom that they would have to walk that aisle as he, Tony Schiavone and Arn Anderson went over the stipulations for our main event.

As they did so, stagehands could be seen setting up some contraption for more of The Black Scorpion’s cheap stage magic.

Flair was as good as he ever was in this promo, but to be honest, this Clash show has been such a clusterf**k to write about that it’s hard to maintain interest at this point.

The Black Scorpion is a Magician 

Up next, Sting came out to tell Paul E. Dangerously that he was ready to come face to face with The Black Scorpion, but instead The Scorpion dragged a plant out of the crowd, made his head rotate 360 using a magic box, then turned him into a tiger.

For his final act, Scorpion made himself disappear.

This was all supposed to be  evidence of the Black Scorpion’s super powers, but it was nothing you couldn’t see watching any stage magician in the land.

It was also made worse by the fact that Paul Heyman and Sting both started shouting over what was very clearly some pre-recorded audio of Ole Anderson doing his Scorpion voice.

Silly.

WCW Tag Team Champion Butch Reed (w/ Teddy Long and Ron Simmons) vs. Nature Boy Ric Flair (w/ TV Champion Arn Anderson)

WCW Clash of the Champions 13 Review - Teddy Long picks Butch Reed to face Ric Flair
The deal here was that we didn’t know which two men would represent their teams and it was to be decided by a coin toss.

Except it wasn’t. At least not entirely. 

Doom called Heads, but then Nick Patrick simply asked Teddy Long who was going to represent them and he picked Butch Reed. 

Surely he could have done that without a coin toss?

Flair and Anderson’s coin toss was a little more like how it’s supposed to be done. Flair also called heads, heads it was, and thus he got to wrestle.

With that done, Jim Ross reminded us of what was at stake.

If The Horsemen won, they would get a tag team title shot at Starrcade and Teddy Long would have to be their chauffeur for the day.

If Doom won, there was to be no Starrcade match and Long would get both Ric Flair’s 65ft yacht and his limo. 

Unsurprisingly, this was the best match on the card by a country mile and was the first time all night that the crowd really came to life.

OK, so it wasn’t Flair’s greatest match ever, but given the caliber of his work, that’s hardly a criticism.

This was still very, very good and made sitting through all the crap that went before it very much worth it.

At one point, Reed looked to have the match won thanks to an awesome top rope shoulder tackle, but Long was arguing with Patrick on the outside so there was nobody to make the count.

Then Ron Simmons took out Flair and again, Reed could have won, but this time Arn Anderson hit him with a chair.

Flair got the cover, Anderson threw Patrick in the ring and that was that.
Your Winner: Ric Flair

The Horsemen and Doom now had a date with destiny at Starrcade.







You know, I’ve been enjoying watching all of these old WCW shows simply because I never got to see them as a kid due to the company’s non-existent TV exposure here in the UK.
Even when the matches have been poor, nostalgia has kept me invested, but not with this one.

Clash of the Champions XIII was a chore to watch.

Sure, a couple of the undercard matches were decent, but they weren’t enough to make up for the number of squash matches featuring no mark jobbers and that abysmal “none of us are actually African” African qualifying match.

Still, the main event was fantastic. If you’re even mildly curious, enjoy the opening Freebirds/Southern Boys match then skip out all of the other crap until you get to the awesome Flair/Reed match.

Thursday, 14 January 2021

PPV REVIEW: NWA Bunkhouse Stampede 1988

NWA Bunkhouse Stampede 1988 Event Review - Event Poster
January 24, 1988,
Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum, Uniondale, New York

Dusty Rhodes has an interesting reputation as a booker and a creative force in the world of professional wrestling.

On the one hand, he created War Games and came up with concepts like the Lethal Lottery which, you have to admit, was at least interesting.

On the other hand, he's the guy who thought The Shockmaster was a good idea, had a tendency to vanity-book himself into high profiles spots, and gave name to the much over-used Dusty Finish. 

The American Dream also came up with this:

The Bunkhouse Stampede:

A "street fight" style battle royal where the wrestlers wore "bunkhouse gear" (jeans, t-shirts, and boots, basically) and could use weapons to beat up their opponents with.

Over the course of several weeks, several bunkhouse stampede matches were held, with the winners all converging on Uniondale, New York to compete in tonight's final.

Of course, having created the concept, Dusty had won every single one of the past three Bunkhouse Stampede finals.

Would he win this one?

More importantly, would this be a War Games or a Shockmaster deal?







Let's go to New York to find out.

Welcome to the Bunkhouse Stampede Finals

NWA Bunkhouse Stampede 1988 Event Review - Jim Ross & Bob Caudle called the action
There was no fancy intro video for tonight’s show. Instead, the most basic of introductory graphics faded to the arrival of NWA Television Champion Nikita Koloff making his way to the ring.

The show then cut to our announcers for the evening, Bob Caudle and Jim Ross. The duo ran down tonight’s card before sending it to our ring announcer for the evening, the man with the most rockin’ 80s moustache-and-mullet combo in history, Tony Schiavone.

National Wrestling Alliance World Television Championship
NWA TV Champion Nikita Koloff vs. NWA US Tag Team Champion Beautiful Bobby Eaton (w/ Jim Cornette)

NWA Bunkhouse Stampede 1988 Event Review - Jim Cornette cheered on Bobby Eaton in a TV title match against Nikita Koloff
This could have been a great match if it didn’t start getting really stupid towards the finish.

The majority of the contest saw Bobby Eaton grind the champion into the mat and try and force him to submit to a standard armbar while Jim Cornette trash-talked The Russian Nightmare from a safe distance on the outside.

It was mostly fun in an old-school kind of way, but as the clock began counting down, you couldn’t help but feel as though Eaton was a bit of a dumb ass for not trying a different strategy to win.

Despite the fact that Koloff hadn’t submitted for the first 15 minutes of the match, the challenger continued to use the same hold for the last five when anyone with any common sense might have tried more desperate and decisive measures to capture the title.

Instead, he kept doing the same thing until Koloff made a last-minute comeback and battered his rival from pillar to post until the time ran out.
Time-Limit Draw

Afterwards, Eaton‘s partner, Sweet Stan Lane, came down to help him beat up Koloff while Cornette held back the referee.

Universal Wrestling Federation Western States Heritage Championship
UWF Western States Heritage Champion Barry Windham vs. Larry Zybysko (w/ Baby Doll)

NWA Bunkhouse Stampede 1988 Event Review - Larry Zybysko and Barry Windham battled for the UWF Western States Herritage Championship
This was a lot of fun.

Barry Windham and Larry Zybysko played their parts well, creating a feeling that they really hated each other which helped make every move and every blow more meaningful.

The action itself was solid. The duo battled inside and outside of the ring with an intensity and urgency that the earlier match had lacked and which made the whole thing that much more enjoyable.

After the better part of 20 minutes, the referee took a tumble, allowing Zybysko to knock Windham out with Baby Doll’s shoe.

One three count later and Zybysko was the new champion.
Your Winner and New UWF Western States Heritage Champion: Larry Zybysko

Not only was Larry our new champion, but he was also our last champion. The Living Legend would hold on to the gold until he left for the AWA the following year, leaving the Western States Heritage Championship to fade away, practically unnoticed.

National Wrestling Alliance World Heavyweight Championship
NWA World Heavyweight Champion Nature Boy Ric Flair (w/ J.J. Dillon) vs. Road Warrior Hawk (w/ Paul Ellering)

NWA Bunkhouse Stampede 1988 Event Review - Ric Flair looks concerned as he defends the NWA world title against Road Warrior Hawk
This was a decent match that suffered due to the fact that you never really believed that Road Warrior Hawk had any chance of winning the title.

Since the outcome was something of a foregone conclusion, it was hard to get invested in the match.

Still, to be fair to them, both men did at least put a fair amount of effort in, trading the advantage several times as Ric Flair pit his wits and cunning against Hawk’s brute power.

The end came when Flair blasted Hawk with a chair right in front of the referee.
Your Winner via DQ: Road Warrior Hawk (Ric Flair retains the title)

As the ring crew set up the cage for our main event, Jim Ross and Bob Caudle ran through the show credits and reminded us how you win the bunkhouse stampede match

Throw your opponent over the top of the cage or through the door.

Right on, let’s do this:

Bunkhouse Stampede Final
NWA US Champion Dusty Rhodes vs. NWA Tag Team Champion Tully Blanchard vs. Ivan Koloff vs. The Warlord vs. NWA Tag Team Champion Arn Anderson vs. Lex Luger vs. The Barbarian vs. Road Warrior Animal

NWA Bunkhouse Stampede 1988 Event Review - Paul Ellering leads Road Warrior Animal into battle in the Bunkhouse Stampede cage match battle royal
Yes, you read those rules right. This was basically a battle royal cage match in which you had to throw people out of the cage to lose.

It was a dumb concept because there was really no way to make it look believable. If you wanted to throw your opponent over the top of the cage, he first had to voluntarily climb to the top which, of course, he had no incentive to do.

It didn’t help either that the action wasn’t that interesting. It was one of those ‘come as you are’ affairs that Dusty Rhodes loved so much when everybody would dress in jeans, cowboy boots and sleeveless t-shirts, presumedly to add a sense of realism to the whole thing.

That was about the only thing worth mentioning here. The whole thing was just one big slow, sluggish, and bloody brawl. If you like that kind of thing then sure, then you might enjoy this match, but I doubt it.

After what felt like forever, Dusty Rhodes sent The Barbarian crashing over the top of the cage and won the Bunkhouse Stampede final for a third time.

Honestly, anyone would think he was booking the whole thing or something.
Your Winner: Dusty Rhodes

Post-match, Dusty celebrated with his cheque for ‘half a million dollars’ and an enormous boot that I assume was the Bunkhouse Stampede trophy.







Bunkhouse Stampede 1988 was not a show anybody should be in a hurry to track down.

Though this writer enjoyed the opening two matches, the fact that Bobby Eaton spent the better part of 20 minutes holding Nikita Koloff in the same hold means that the whole thing has more than its fair share of critics.

Likewise, the Zybysko/Windham bout wasn’t to everyone’s tastes, but personally, I enjoyed it much more than the underwhelming world heavyweight championship match and the bland and bizarre bunkhouse cage match.



Other 1988 events:
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Thursday, 2 April 2020

EVENT REVIEW: Smoky Mountain Wrestling - Bluegrass Brawl 1993

Smoky Mountain Wrestling - Blue Grass Brawl 1993
April 2nd, 1993
Pikesville College Gym, Pikeville, Kentucky

Confession time: Your writer has been a fan of professional wrestling for over 25 years and yet never once sat down to watch a Smoky Mountain Wrestling show. 

Sure, the promotion had always been on my radar.

Founded by Jim Cornette in 1991, the southern promotion served as the launchpad for a number of 1990s stars, with everyone from Chris Jericho and Lance Storm to Tammy 'Sunny' Sytch, Al Snow, Kane, Road Dogg and D'Lo Brown -among many others- all enjoying runs with the company early in their career.

Still, despite knowing all this, it wasn't until I discovered a bunch of their old shows on YouTube that I finally got to watch any of it.






Join me then, as I head to Pikeville, Kentucky in the year 1993 to watch my first Smoky Mountain Wrestling show.

Please Stand for 'My Old Kentucky Home'

You know how wrestling companies will occasionally have the national anthem performed at the start of the show to add some gravitas and sense of importance to the occasion?

Smoky Mountain Wrestling -Lance Russel and Les Thatcher hosted the eventYeah, well, Smoky Mountain Wrestling didn't do that, instead asking the crowd to stand for a recording of anti-slavery anthem and official Kentucky State Song, My Old Kentucky Home.

With that out of the way, Les Thatcher told us it was time to 'kick open the doors' on Bluegrass Brawl.

Standing center ring with his colleague, Lance Russel, Thatcher handed things over to Russel who gushed about being invited to participate in tonight's main event.

Running down tonight's card, Russel continually referred to the show as 'Bluegrass Ball.'

You have to forgive him, though, this guy was VERY EXCITED about being there.

Rob Morgan vs. The Mongolian Stomper

If you think Shane McMahon's punches look weak, I dare you to watch this match. Compared to Rob Morgan's offense, everything Shane O' Mac does looks stiff as hell.

Seriously. Morgan attacked The Mongolian Stomper as he climbed through the ropes, beating him with punches to the gut and clobbering forearms to the back.

Not a single thing he did looked like it would hurt in the slightest, so it was no surprise The Stomper turned around and beat the living daylights out of his terrible opponent.

Poor, feeble Morgan didn't stand a chance. The Stomper threw him to the outside, beat his ass there, then took him back to the ring and knocked him out with the cobra clutch.

After those first few seconds of horrible punches, Morgan didn't get in another lick of offense in this short and forgettable nothing match.
Your Winner: The Mongolian Stomper

Smoky Mountain Wrestling - Prime Time Brian Lee is interviewed before his match
Out in the back, Prime Time Brian Lee stood around looking completely different than you may remember him if you only know him from his WWF run as Chainz and onwards.

Anyway, Lee told interviewer Brian Matthews that he was ready for his Russian Roulette match with the dastardly Kevin Sullivan and that, tonight, Sullivan was about to get a taste of his own medicine.

Roll the dice...Make the Erm...Deal

About six months earlier, World Championship Wrestling had famously done their big 'Spin the Wheel, Make the Deal' gimmick in which the stipulation for a match between Jake 'The Snake' Roberts and Sting would be decided by the spin of a roulette wheel.

Here, Smoky Mountain Wrestling were set to do the exact same thing for 'Russian Roulette' grudge match between arch-rivals 'Prime Time' Brian Lee and Kevin Sullivan.

The only difference, of course, was that SMW didn't have nearly the same budget as WCW.

So, instead of a fancy roulette wheel, they simply rolled dice in the middle of the ring to determine what kind of match Lee and Sullivan would have.

According to Lance Russell, each number of the dice was linked to a different type of match.

1: A 'Prince of Darkness' (blindfold) match
2: A Stretcher match
3: A Handicap match in which Lee would have to face Sullivan & The Nightstalker
4: A 'Ring of Fire' (inferno) match
5: A 'Singapore Spike' match in which four boxes would be attached to the corners of the ring. One box contained a Singapore spike which could be used by whoever found it.
6: Brian Lee's choice

Lee rolled the dice and, naturally, it landed on six. At least, it did if you take SMW's word for it. The cameras never actually showed you a close up of the dice.

After all that, Lee opted for a Singapore spike match despite the fact he could have had *literally* any match he wanted.

Tim Horner is Ready for The Nightstalker

Smoky Mountain Wrestling - White Lightning Tim Horner is interviewed before his match
Out in the back, 'White Lightning' Tim Horner had some harsh words for his opponent, The Nightstalker.

The two had been at war since getting involved in the Lee/Sullivan rivalry, with Horner helping out Brian Lee and Nightstalker serving as Sullivan's muscle.

Horner vowed to take care of his opponent in their upcoming match, then revealed that both of them would be handcuffed to different corners of the ring during the Lee/Sullivan.

"This means I might not be able to get at you, but I can definitely keep an eye on you," said Horner. It was the least menacing thing any wrestler had ever said in a promo.

Yep, you better watch out, Nightstalker. If you're not careful, Tim Horner is going to LOOK AT YOU.

'White Lightning' Tim Horner vs. The Nightstalker

Smoky Mountain Wrestling - White Lightning Tim Horner faces Night Stalker (Adam Bomb)
Yep, before he went to Three Mile Island to get tangled up in a nuclear disaster, Bryan Clarke was a man who stalked the night...or stalked by night, or something.

Here, the big man displayed plenty of charisma and a reasonable amount of athleticism as he locked up with Horner in what turned out to be a pretty fun match.

OK, so this was far from a five-star classic, but the crowd were solidly into this one and as a result, every single move, no matter how basic, seemed like a very, very big deal.

After taking a pounding at the hands of his larger opponent, babyface Horner had the crowds solidly behind him as he mounted a comeback, eventually leaping onto Nightstalker's back and slapping on a sleeper hold.

With nowhere to go, 'Stalker headed for the ropes and dumped his opponent over the top to the outside.

Since throwing your opponent over the top was illegal here in SMW, that gave the win to White Lighting.
Your Winner via Disqualification: Tim Horner

Smoky Mountain Wrestling - Kevin Sullivan is interviewed before his match
Backstage, Brian Matthews stood by with a man he called 'Evil Kevin Sullivan.'

'I'm not evil,' claimed Sullivan, 'I'm just misunderstood.'

Despite his protest, Sullivan then cut a fun promo in which he insisted his upcoming Singapore spike match would be just as much fun as the time he went around clubbing baby seals.

Honestly.

Singapore Spike Match
Kevin Sullivan (w/ The Nightstalker) vs. 'Prime Time' Brian Lee (w/ Tim Horner)

Before the bell, the ring announcer reminded us of the rules:

Four boxes were placed on the corners of the ring, one containing a spike, the other three containing 'nothing but air.' The object was to find the spike and beat up your opponent with it.

Instead of running straight for the corners, both men instead laid into one another with a flurry of rights and lefts, building up what turned out to be a very enjoyable brawl.

We had steel chairs, we had Sullivan whacking Lee with a random sandbag, and we even had a hammer come into play.

Unfortunately, the one thing we didn't have was a solid ending.

Somehow, The Nightstalker ended up with the spike and gave it to Sullivan. The spike got dropped, 'Stalker picked it up again and this time refused to give it to his man.

The distraction allowed Horner to pull down Sullivan's tights and get the three count thanks to a roll-up.

Yes, this hotly-anticipated blood feud came to an end with a roll-up.
Your Winner: Tim Horner

Afterward, Sullivan got into it with The Nightstalker. It would have been more dramatic had there not been a problem with the handcuffs used on The Nightstalker.

For some reason, they couldn't get him free so they literally had to take down the second turnbuckle to free him. When he finally got free, 'Stalker saw off Sullivan, effectively turning babyface in the process.

Tracy Smothers is From the South

Smoky Mountain Wrestling - Tracy Smothers is interviewed before his match
With the ring left in shambles, we next went backstage where Brian Matthews stood by for an interview with 'Wild-Eyed Southern Boy' Tracy Smothers.

A fired-up Smothers wasted no time laying into his opponent Dirty White Boy. The two would face later in a chain match for the world title in front of what Smothers over-optimistically called 'millions of people.'

Despite forgetting his lines a couple of times, the Wild-Eyed one did cut a mostly compelling promo as he promised to get revenge on White Boy for costing him the TV title and $5,000, and for doing something unsavory to his rebel flag.

This last heinous deed was a particularly sore point for Smothers because he took great pride in being a southerner from the south who liked southern things, and if you didn't know that already, the southern wrestler did at least take the time to tell you all about how southern he was in every other sentence.

Take my Chain...

Smoky Mountain Wrestling - Ron Wright presents his famous chain to Dirty White Boy
Out at ringside, Dutch Mantell thrust a microphone in the face of a wheelchair-bound Ron Wright, a Tennessee legend who had enjoyed runs in promotions like the NWA and Mid-Atlantic.

With the world champion Dirty White Boy standing by, Wright lifted a big heavy chain from what was literally a plastic bag you'd get from the grocery store.

Telling us all about how he'd kept this chain in great condition ever since he'd been bound to a wheelchair, the retired star made out like this chain was his most prized possession, which makes you wonder why he kept it in a dirty plastic bag.

Anyway, the whole point of this was that Wright was now gifting this chain to Dirty White Boy in a weird and trashy passing-of-the-torch ceremony.

'I Won't Bring Shame to the Chain'

Smoky Mountain Wrestling - Just Dirty White Boy with a deadly weapon
Up next, we cut to a pre-recorded promo in which Dirty White Boy pretended to be in New York City even though he was clearly in some random park in Tennessee.

The Smoky Mountain Heavyweight Champion gave smothers a verbal beat down, promising that he wouldn't 'bring shame to the chain' given to him by Ron Wright, but would instead use the chain to beat Smothers' brains out.

After taking some time to insult all the people of the Smoky Mountain region,  White Boy then proceeded to take the chain and whack it into a bag of flour, a pineapple, a melon and a bottle of beer, all of which were supposed to represent his opponent in some way.

Finally, after a brief catch-up with our announce team, it was on to the match itself.

Tennesee Chain Match for the Smoky Mountain Wrestling Heavyweight Championship
SMW Heavyweight Champion Dirty White Boy (w/ Ron Wright) vs. Tracy Smothers

I'll be honest with you, I wasn't expecting much from this, but man was I ever wrong.

Smoky Mountain Wrestling - Dirty White Boy faced Tracy Smothers in a Strap match
Basically, this was your standard strap match with a really long chain in place of a leather strap, Smothers and Dirty White Boy were absolutely compelling as they engaged in a bloody, old-school brawl.

The challenger took the advantage early on, beating the champion from pillar to post and back again, all to the delight of the Tennesee faithful. Eventually, however, Dirty White Boy regained the upper hand, beating his rival to a bloody pulp and ramming the chain violently into the gash on Smother's forehead.

From there, we got a good, solid championship match that kept the crowd fully invested from start to finish.

After a really entertaining brawl, the match ended the same way that just about every strap match ever ended:

The heel took charge and touched the first three corners, dragging the face behind him. The face, naturally touched all three corners too, then beat his opponent to the fourth 'buckle, winning the match -and the title- in the process.

If that sounds familiar to you, it's because it was the exact same ending that Stone Cold Steve Austin and Savio Vega would eventually use three years later in their match at In Your House 8: Beware of Dog.
Your Winner and NEW SMW Champion: Tracy Smothers

After celebrating with the crowd, the new champion made his way backstage where he was interviewed by Lance Russel, who called the preceding contest the best match he'd seen in his life.

Smothers was inclined to agree and spent the next two minutes rambling on about how it was the greatest match of his life. Before he could say anything else, however, Dirty White Boy showed up, knocked him down with a block of wood and kicked him square in the bollocks.

Personally, I don't know what White Boy was so mad about.

After all, he had a lucrative career in plumbing waiting for him.

Fighting Words

Prior to our three-team, nine-man street fight main event, we got backstage promos from each team.

Smoky Mountain Wrestling - Blue Grass Brawl 93 - The Stud Stable
First up, The Stud Stable of Robert Fuller, Jimmy Golden, and Dutch Mantell cut a wild and intense southern heel promo in which they typically vowed to destroy their opponents.

Next, we heard from 'The Enforcer' An Anderson and his partners, Robert Gibson, Ricky Morton, and Ricky Morton's amazing mullet.

Anderson cut a ridiculous promo in which he likened the beatdown he was going to give his opponents to the feeling you get when you go without underwear or get a DUI and crash your car.

Apparently, those two things feel exactly the same as getting beaten up by The Enforcer.

I know Anderson is a legend and one of the greatest solid wrestlers of all time, but this promo was all kinds of stupid.

Finally, Jim Cornette and The Heavenly Bodies cut the most compelling promo of all, insisting that the Smoky Mountain tag team champions had never lost a street fight yet and weren't about to start today.

All the while, their partner, Beautiful Bobby Eaton stood in the background looking like he'd just randomly walked on set and didn't know why he was there.

Three-Team Street Fight
The Stud Stable (Robert Fuller, Jimmy Golden & Dutch Mantell) vs. The Rock & Roll Express (Ricky Morton & Robert Gibson) & Arn Anderson vs. SMW Tag Team Champions The Heavenly Bodies (Stan Lane & Tom Pritchard) & Beautiful Bobby Eaton w/ Jim Cornette

Smoky Mountain Wrestling - Blue Grass Brawl 93 - Arn Anderson and The Rock 'n' Roll Express
A wild, out-of-control ECW-style garbage brawl which took place a full year before ECW officially became extreme, this looked like it was a lot of fun for the live crowd.

Unfortunately, any enjoyment didn't really translate when you watch this back on video.

With all nine-men competing at once, it was necessary to show the majority of the bout from the hard camera, which made it really hard to focus on anything at all. Instead, you just kind of sat back and looked at the screen as the combatants battered each other with trashcans, straps, and even a tyre.

At one point, Tom Pritchard got busted open. Admittedly, the resulting crimson mask looked pretty impressive, but the actual act of him getting his head caved in was lost amidst the rest of the carnage, severely limiting its impact.

At another point, Bobby Eaton's pants fell down. It was legitimately the most exciting thing in the match.

Eventually, The Stud Stable got taken out before Arn Anderson came in with a fire extinguisher. In the resulting mele, Tom Pritchard scaled the ropes and came down with a flying knee. True to their earlier word, The Heavenly Bodies ensured their run of success in street fights remained unbroken.
Your Winners: The Heavenly Bodies & Bobby Eaton

Afterward, the winning team were interviewed in the back by Brian Matthews, with Jim Cornette promising that The Heavenly Bodies would reign supreme over SMW for a long time to come.







You know, it's interesting. I've been a wrestling fan for over 25 years and yet this is the first time I've ever sat down to watch a Smoky Mountain Wrestling show. On the whole, I have to say that I did genuinely enjoy it. 

OK, so it wasn't a classic, but it was far from the worst wrestling show ever produced and gave us some genuinely enjoyable wrestling in the form of Smothers vs. Dirty White Boy and even Nightstalker vs. Tim Horner.

Seriously, who knew Adam Bomb was so good at working a crowd?

Though the main event did disappoint in this fan's eyes, I will say that Bluegrass Brawl '93 did at least get me intrigued enough to check out more SMW shows.




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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.