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 Larry Zybysko. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Larry Zybysko. Show all posts

Monday, 13 June 2022

EVENT REVIEW: WCW Clash of the Champions XVI - Fall Brawl '91

WCW Clash of the Champions XV - Event Logo

September 5, 1991 
Augusta-Richmond County Civic Center, Augusta, Georgia

WCW Clash of the Champions XVI - Fall Brawl '91 was not only the last of the four Clash events with the Fall Brawl subtitle (I haven't reviewed the other three yet), but it was also the last Clash event to have any subtitle at all.

After this, all Clash shows outside of the 20th-anniversary event would be given a number only, while the Fall Brawl name would eventually return in 1993 for the company's fall PPV. 

Tonight's event would see the finals of a tag team title tournament to find new champions after the previous titleholders, The Steiner Brothers, were forced to vacate the titles due to an injury to Scott Steiner. 


Scott's brother, Rick, had managed to make it to the finals with a temporary partner in 'World's Strongest Man' Bill Kazmaier, but would the new duo be able to replicate The Dog Faced Gremlin's success with his brother, or would the relatively new team of The Enforcers (Arn Anderson & Barry Windham) prevail?

Let's head down to Augusta, Georgia, to find out. 








Welcome to Fall Brawl

Our show tonight began with an opening video which was decent by WCW standards.

WCW Clash of the Champions XV - Tony Schiavone and Jim Ross called all the action



The video highlighted some of the main matches including a battle royal, the finals of the tag team tournament and an appearance from world champion Lex Luger.

If you somehow missed that, don’t worry because as Jim Ross and Tony Schiavone opened the show, they ran down the card once again.

The now-current AEW announcers then sent it to their colleagues Eric Bischoff, Paul E. Dangerously, and Missy Hyatt, who aimed to get us excited by telling us that Missy would be interviewing the world champion while Dangerously would be speaking to his upcoming challenger Ron Simmons later on in the show.

WCW Clash of the Champions XV - Eric Bischoff with Paul E. Dangerously & Missy Hyatt



I might have missed something, but they really made it sound like that match was happening tonight. I was a good solid hour into this show before I realised Simmons vs. Luger wasn’t until Halloween Havoc and had to come back to rewrite this part of the review.

With all that done, it was on to our opening contest.

Georgia Brawl Battle Royal

Featuring: The Z-Man, Thomas Rich, Beautiful Bobby Eaton, Ranger Ross, Tracy Smothers, The Incredible Oz, Rapmaster PN News, Sgt. Buddy Lee Parker, Stunning Steve Austin (w/ Lady Blossom), The Natural Dustin Rhodes, Terrance Taylor, Big Josh, Barry Windham, One Man Gang, El Gigante

WCW Clash of the Champions XV - Battle Royal



As early 90s mid-card battle royals go, this one wasn’t bad.

The match went the better part of five minutes before a single-elimination, at which point Big Josh impressed everybody by skinning the cat and bringing Terrance Taylor out with a head scissors.

Unfortunately, Josh couldn’t hang on and also crashed to the floor. Somehow, Ranger Ross got caught up in it all and was eliminated too.

The eliminations started coming thick and fast then until it was down to Oz, One Man Gang, El Gigante, and Dustin Rhodes.

Just when you got worried that Dusty’s son was going to win in the same the way he’d won every Clash and PPV match since January, Oz dumped him on the outside.

El Gigante then clotheslined both Oz and One Man Gang but was so ineffective that Nash visibly had to jump over the top rope and eliminate himself.
Your Winner: El Gigante

Honestly, I have no problem with that outcome. George Gonzales may not have been a very good wrestler, but it’s totally believable to have the biggest man in a battle royal win the whole thing.

After a quick plug for the WCW Hotline, it was back to the action.

Light Heavyweight Championship Tournament Semi-Final
Badstreet vs. Flyin’ Brian Pillman


Badstreet came down with The Fabulous Freebirds but they got sent to the back before the match began.

Meanwhile, Flyin’ Brian had been reinstated after the whole Yellow Dog thing went nowhere.

WCW Clash of the Champions XV - Brian Pillman vs. Badstreet



The two men were given a decent amount of time to show what they could do and absolutely made the most of it, giving us a fast-paced match with a few exciting big spots and a couple of ugly ones too.

At one point, Badstreet suplexed Pillman to the outside, but Brian either tried to reverse into a neck breaker or just didn’t take the bump properly because it looked like he almost snapped his opponent’s neck off on the way down.

Later, Flyin’ Brian dove at Badstreet on the outside but overshot me crashed face first into the guard rail.

Not long after, Pillman won this enjoyable match with a sweet crossbody from the top.
Your Winner: Brian Pillman (advances to the finals)

Before the break, the announcers ran down the WCW Top 10 rankings which put Beautiful Bobby at number ten, but placed tonight’s world title contender Ron Simmons at number two behind US champion Sting.

Speaking of the Stinger, the champ would be in action next.

United States Champion Sting vs. Johnny B. Badd (w/ Theodore Long)

WCW Clash of the Champions XV - Sting vs. Johnny B. Badd



Sting had been receiving some mystery gifts as of late, including one that was Abdullah The Butcher and his massive man boobs who came to attack the US champ.

Looking to forget about all that for now, Sting locked up with Johnny B. Badd in a match that was far more entertaining than some other reviewers have given it credit for.

What I liked about this was that, despite being the heel, Badd didn’t resort to shady tactics here.

He simply held his own against Sting and gave a fine account of himself, at least until a mystery package appeared at the entranceway.

At that point, both men just stopped and looked at it before agreeing to continue, at which point Sting immediately scored the win with a roll-up.
Your Winner: Sting

I don’t understand why the US title couldn’t have been on the line if Badd was going to be made to look so strong and Sting was going to win anyway.

It didn’t matter because as soon as the bell rang, Cactus Jack burst out of the package and attacked Sting before throwing him to the outside and hitting him with a wicked top rope elbow.

WCW being WCW, the cameraman missed the shot of Jack bursting from the package.

Light Heavyweight Title Tournament Semi-Final 2
Mike Graham vs. Richard Morton (w/ Alexandra York)

Wow, Mike Graham. WCW had really gone out of their way to bring in some major names for this tournament.


I actually have no problem with Graham, but Richard Morton was overwhelmingly boring as a heel.

His match at Great American Bash ‘91 with his former partner Robert Gibson was one of the most tedious things I’ve ever witnessed, and this sadly wasn’t much better.

This wasn’t awful of anything, it was just completely void of heat or even anything marginally exciting.

Much as I did with the aforementioned Gibson match, I completely zoned out here and almost missed Morton getting the roll-up for the three count.
Your Winner: Richard Morton

After a commercial break, Jim Ross shilled WCW magazine before showing us Bill Kazmaier in the Guinness Book of Records:

WCW Clash of the Champions XV - Big Bad Bill Kazmaier


Kazmaier was set to attempt a new world record here tonight and came down to the ring with a bunch of ring crew workers carrying a huge inflatable globe to make sure that everybody knew he was ‘The Strongest Man in the World.’

Big Bill then bent a steel bar around his head but was immediately attacked by his upcoming opponents Arn Anderson and Larry Zybysko.

That was, well...it happened I suppose.

Non-Title Match
WCW United States Tag Team Champions The Fabulous Freebirds (Michael ‘P.S’ Hayes & Jimmy Jam Garvin vs. The Patriots (Todd Champion & Firebreaker Chip)

Ah yes, here we have Todd Champion and Firebreaker Chip representing ‘ WCW Special Forces’ and hailing from the super-specific location of “USA.”

I love the idea of WCW Special Forces, that all these star wrestlers had side gigs saving and protecting the United States, though I do wonder who else they had working for them.

El Gigante rescuing cats who got stuck in trees?

Sting working double duty as a policeman?

Maybe that time Dr: Death Steve Williams rode around in an ambulance back at Clash of the Champions X wasn’t a dumb skit after all but an honest-to-goodness look at his work as a member of WCW Special Forces?

Anyway, here Champion and Chip locked up with The Fabulous Freebirds in a match that wasn’t very good but which nonetheless popped the live audience.

Hayes & Garvin won, which would have been fine except this was a non-title match and the two teams were already being advertised as facing each other again for the titles in a few days time.

This left me with some questions:

1: Again, if you’re going to have the champions win, why not make it a title match?

2: If you’re going to have The Patriots lose, why should anybody believe they were worthy of a title shot literally days after this?

3: If you were going to have the babyfaces win the titles so soon after, why not just do it here to make both the win and this event seem like a bigger deal?

I don’t know the answer to any of those questions, I just know I’m happy to see The Fabulous Freebirds fighting anybody other than The Young Pistols.
Your Winners: The Fabulous Freebirds

After the break, Paul E. interviewed Cactus Jack in the middle of the ring.

WCW Clash of the Champions XV - Paul E. interviews Cactus Jack



Just as Cactus was telling us that Sting’s career was over, a large box identical to the one he’d bust out of earlier was wheeled out towards the ring.

Assuming it was his “business partner” Abdullah The Butcher coming to greet him, The mad man from Truth or Consequences went over to give him a hug, only for Sting to burst out of the box and attack.

This led to a wild and hugely enjoyable brawl.

I’d assumed this set the stage for their now-famous street fight, but apparently, we still had nearly a full year to go before we’d see that one.

Ron Simmons Used to Play Football

Did you know that Ron Simmons’ jersey was retired at Florida State?

What a silly question, of course you did. How could you not?

Jim Ross mentioned it literally every single time Simmons wrestled for the rest of his career.

Anyway, before Simmons came out to compete, we saw a video clip of the actual retirement ceremony followed by a word from his former coach in which he said it didn’t surprise him to see Big Ron competing for the world championship in wrestling.

Ron Simmons vs. The Diamond Studd

Of course, Simmons wasn’t competing for the world championship, at least not yet anyway.

Instead, he was facing The Diamond Studd who was apparently no longer with DDP and who came out yelling “I’m the Bad Guy!” to the camera.

You know, I’d always heard how The Studd Character was the blueprint for Razor Ramon, but it wasn’t until I started watching these early 90s WCW shows that I realise how much of the Razor character Scott Hall already had down before he went to the land of Titan Sports.

His match here with the man whose jersey was retired at Florida State Was decent enough, but it didn’t last long and saw Simmons treat Studd like a jobber, steamrolling over his opponent in about two minutes.

I get that Simmons needed to look strong heading into his clash with Luger, but it’s disappointing that this match wasn’t more competitive.
Your Winner: Ron Simmons

As advertised at the start of the show, the post-match gave us Paul E.‘s promised interview with our man Ron.

WCW Clash of the Champions XV - Ron Simmons cuts a promo on Lex Luger



Simmons cut a decent babyface promo talking about making dreams come true and how any one of us could make our dreams a reality just like he had.

He then turned his attention to Luger’s entourage of mentor Harley Race and Mr. Hughes.

Ron called the two men out and said he was happy to give them what for, but when Race and Hughes did come out, he changed his mind, claiming that he was tired of looking at them and was going to go and find The Total Package.

Way to backtrack, Big Ron.

Terrance Taylor (w/ Alexandra York) vs. Heavy Metal

WCW Clash of the Champions XV - Van Hammer



This was Van Hammer’s WCW debut. 

He demolished Terrance Taylor and squashed him in under forty seconds. It wasn’t much to write home about which, as you can imagine, makes my job difficult as a guy who literally writes about wrestling.

Instead, I’ll mention that I only just learned today that some people thought Van Hammer was a repackaged Ultimate Warrior due to the fact that the two looked vaguely -and I mean really vaguely- similar.

WCW had apparently done nothing to discourage that and even had Hammer acting all wild and shaking the ring ropes ala the late Mr. Hellwig.

Of course, Hammer wasn’t Warrior, he was a big, tall muscular guy who, as he made his way out, pointed a Flying V guitar at some clearly visible pyro rigs which exploded when pointed at.

I assume we were supposed to believe Hammer was shooting fire out of his guitar or something, but when you could see the pyro all laid out and ready to go, it kind of ruined the illusion.

Anyway, Hammer seemed to have the look and a tremendous presence about him, but sadly not much else.
Your Winner: Van Hammer

Out in the locker room, Missy Hyatt looked forward to getting an interview with Lex Luger, but before she could, Ron Simmons ever-so-politely knocked on Luger’s dressing room door and then walked in wanting to confront the champion.

Luger was in no mood to talk and shoved Simmons out, closing the door behind him.

Making sure that none of us could possibly forget that he used to play football, Ron got down in a three-point stance and then barged into the room.

He was immediately followed by a gaggle of babyfaces who were to break it up.

There was no need for him to barge in when he could just as easily have walked through the door again, but I guess that doesn’t make for very exciting TV.

World Championship Wrestling World Television Champion
WCW TV Champion Stunning Steve Austin (w/ Lady Blossom) vs. The Z-Man.

WCW Clash of the Champions XV - Stunning Steve Austin w/ Lady Blossom



After a few lacklustre contests, things finally picked up with a decent effort between reigning champion Stunning Steve Austin and his challenger, The Z-Man.

Though not the best match in the world, the emphasis on actual solid mat wrestling and well-put-together spots made this one of the better matches on the card.

After a good showing from both men, Lady Blossom slipped her man some brass knuckles which he used to retain the title.
Your Winner and Still TV Champion: Stunning Steve Austin

Up next, we were supposed to get the contract signing between Lex Luger and Ron Simmons but apparently, Luger wasn’t quite ready.

WCW Clash of the Champions XV - Lex Luger and Harley Race



That was convenient really, as it gave WCW an opportunity to roll some footage of Simmons being a super babyface by giving a motivational speech to The Boys Club of Atlanta then taking two school busses full of kids to see him wrestle at the Omni.

When Luger was finally ready, he offered Simmons a job as his limo driver after beating him at the PPV.

I’m not saying that was racist, but I do wonder if that same line would’ve been used if Simmons weren’t a black man, especially since the only other time the “limo driver” angle had been used in recent years was when Ron’s former manager Teddy Long had to be Ric Flair’s limo driver if Doom lost to The Four Horsemen.

Anyway, Ron didn’t take too kindly to that so attacked Luger who then ran away and sped off in a limo.

World Championship Wrestling World Tag Team Championship Tournament Final
Rick Steiner & Bill Kazmier vs. The Enforcers (Arn Anderson & Larry Zybysko)

WCW Clash of the Champions XV - WCW World Tag Team Championship



This was a decent match which, like a lot of Clash contests, didn’t really last very long.

With Kazmier still hurting from the earlier attack, Rick Steiner tried to pick up the slack for his team only to find himself double-teamed and beaten down by The Enforcers.

Predictably, Kazmier finally made the hot tag. Well, I say ‘hot,’ nobody seemed to care so it was more like a slightly lukewarm tag.

He tribes to overpower the dastardly heels but his ribs gave out Zybysko and Anderson quickly overcame him to become our new tag champs.
Your Winners and New WCW World Tag Team Champions: The Enforcers

Post match; the show closed with a compelling promo as The Enforcers boasted that “two plain old wrestlers” had overcome The World’s Strongest Man and a college graduate.

WCW Clash of the Champions XV - Jim Ross and Tony Schiavone interview Arn Anderson and Larry Zybysko



This was a strong way to end a rather mixed bag of a show.








Clash of the Champions shows were rarely known for being excellent, but this one did at least try.

After kicking off with an inoffensive battle royal, the Pillman/Badstreet and Sting/Badd matches were both high quality, but the show pretty much fell off a cliff somewhere around the hour mark and didn’t really get it together again until the end promo from Anderson & Zybysko.

Not that it mattered, this one was clearly designed to get Ron Simmons over. Indeed, if this was a modern day show, fans would accuse WCW of “shoving him down our throats” (a phrase which always seems to overlook the fact that nobody forces us to watch pro wrestling and we can always just turn it off if we’re not enjoying it) as Simmons himself and his upcoming title match were the real focal point.

We’d see Ron -along with the contractually-obliged mention of his jersey being retired at Florida State- at Halloween Havoc ‘91.




Other 1991 pro wrestling reviews: 

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Monday, 21 March 2022

PPV REVIEW: WCW Wrestlewar 1991

February 24, 1991
Arizona Veterans Memorial Coliseum, Phoenix, Arizona

You have to give World Championship Wrestling credit where it’s due. For all the company got wrong during their time, they did a fantastic job in generating interest around the War Games match at WrestleWar 1991.

At least they did for this writer.

In my recent Clash of the Champions 14 review, I talked about how the whole event was essentially one long promotional vehicle to advertise WrestleWar.

I must admit, it worked on me.

By the time I’d finished watching Clash 14, I was more eager to watch this show than any other wrestling event I’ve seen in ages.

Without further ado then, forgive me if I cut this intro short and get right down to Phoenix, Arizona to see if WrestleWar ‘91 was an event worthy of the hype.





It's Time for WrestleWar

Our show tonight began with an ariel camera granting us some beautiful and dramatic shots of the Arizona mountains as a Tony Schiavone voice-over told us that the state would play host to WrestleWar, an event Schiavone actually made it to sound like a legitimately huge deal.



I mean it, I know it’s fun to rag on Mr. Greatest Night in the History of Our Sport and his propensity for hyperbole at the height of the Monday Night Wars, but Schiavone sounded truly genuine here.

That, combined with those fantastic ariel shots made this a really good PPV opener. That itself was surprising because most of WCW’s PPV openers sucked.

Anyway, cutting live to the arena, Schiavone repeated himself about how important tonight was, only this time he was on camera.

The current AEW announcer then hyped the War Games match before running down the rest of the card and, honestly, at this point in our review, I’m genuinely excited about what’s to come.

With his run down complete, Big Tony passed over to our announce team, Jim Ross and Dusty Rhodes.

[side note, I’ve been doing this for so long now that every time I write ‘Jim Ross,’ I automatically start to write ‘and Jerry “The King” Lawler’ right after it.]

JR and King The American Dream also expressed their enthusiasm for War Games and with that, it was onto our opening contest.

World Championship Wrestling Six-Man Tag Team Championship
WCW Six-Man Champions Ricky Morton, ‘Wildfire’ Tommy Rich, and The Junkyard Dog vs. The Big Cat and State Patrol (Sgt. Buddy Lee Parker & Lt. James Earl Wright)

At first, all of my enthusiasm for WrestleWar ‘91 went right out of the window.

Even with big stars like Ricky Morton and The Junkyard Dog involved, this just didn’t seem like something I was going to care about at all.


Not even the fact that this was for the short-lived six-man title did it any favours, as the champions didn’t even have a single title belt between them which made it feel like any other match.

Then, things finally got underway and I was pleasantly surprised.

Don’t get me wrong, this wasn’t a bad burner or anything and I’m never going to suggest that you go out of your way just to watch it, but it was a perfectly serviceable opener in which all six men turned up to work.

The result of their cumulative efforts gave us a bout which did its job, entertained and kept things more interesting than it possibly had any right to.

After a decent 10+ minutes action, things broke down into a free-for-all and, in the midst of the chaos, Morton snatched a pinfall to help his team retain their WCW Invisible Title.
Your Winners and Still Six-Man Champions: Ricky Morton, Tommy Rich, and JY

Somewhere out in the arena, Tony Schiavone congratulated Alexandra York on the recent success of The York Foundation.



Having joined York’s enterprise back at Clash of the Champions 14, Terry Taylor stood behind the future Marlena as she boasted about her successful company and her plans to recruit more wrestlers.

With the mic then pointed at him, Taylor put himself over with a decent promo which proved that his time in the York Foundation was the most interesting Terry Taylor would ever be in his whole career.

Wrapping things up, Terri told us that she predicted a win for her man against Tom Zenk in less than 15 minutes and 28 seconds before Other Terry added his own one-word prediction: 

Pain

Brad Armstrong vs. Beautiful Bobby Eaton

As Brad Armstrong made his way to the ring, JR told us that the grappler had a younger brother currently fighting in Operation Desert Storm.



Hmm, wonder whatever happened to that kid?

Meanwhile, Bobby Eaton was billed -as always- as hailing from The Dark Side, something which always amused because it seemed so at odds with the rest of his character.

The two immediately went at it in a flurry of fast-paced, back-and-forth offence that made you believe this was going to turn into one hell of a match.

Before long, however, the babyface Armstrong slapped an armbar on his opponent, followed it up with another armbar, and then, just to spice things up, went right back to the original armbar.

For this writer, it felt like the match went from super exciting to mind-numbingly tedious in the snap of a second.

Things didn’t look like they were going to get any better when Eaton turned things around and applied a chinlock.

Thankfully, things did pick up again and we got a spirited build to the finish that resulted in Eaton picking up the win courtesy of the Alabama Jam.

The beginning and end of this match were good, but that middle but made me totally tune out and I could never get back into it.
Your Winner: Beautiful Bobby Eaton



After a quick commercial for our next PPV meeting with WCW, Superbrawl, Ross and Rhodes put over the upcoming WCW/NJPW Supershow and an upcoming exhibition match which was designed to promote that show.

Miss A & Miki Handa v. Mami Kitamura & Itsuki Yamasak

The four women involved in this match were met with near silence as they walked to the ring, the only sound being Dusty making fun of his inability to pronounce their names and then commenting on how good they looked in their outfits.



It’s to each of their credits though that they very quickly won over the crows and had JR and Dream taking them very seriously thanks to a stellar-performance in the ring.

Seriously, this was a strong match that turned an apathetic crowd into ardent supporters of the four wrestlers involved and was a compelling watch from start to finish.

After a tremendous effort, Miss A rolled up Itsuki Yamasak to score the fall.
Your Winners: Miss A & Miki Handa



Elsewhere in the arena, Missy Hyatt announced that she was going to be the first woman to ever conduct an interview from inside the men’s locker room, an achievement that she first claimed was a stand for women’s equality but later admitted was just a chance to find a “babe.”

Nature Boy Buddy Landell vs. The Natural Dustin Rhodes

The last time we saw Dustin Rhodes here on Retro Pro Wrestling, he was teaming with his daddy back at the 1991 Royal Rumble

Here, he and Buddy Landell had the worst match on the card so far.

There was nothing technically wrong with it, it was just incredibly bland.



Though the two did have parts of the small crowd on their side for most of the match, it was a very uninspired affair that felt more like they were there to fill time than to genuinely entertain.

After a few minutes of mediocre action, Dustin picked up the predictable win.
Your Winner: Dusty Rhodes


Backstage, Missy Hyatt got all excited about finding herself a babe as she became the first woman interviewer to go inside a women’s lockeroom.

Her excitement soon dwindled when all she found was Stan Hansen in his undies who spat tobacco at her and yelled at her to leave.

Out in the arena, Tony Schiavone found Missy’s misfortune hilarious, but the whole thing was kind of stupid.

The Royal Family (Jack Victory & Rip Morgan) vs. The Young Pistols (Tracy Smothers & Steve Armstrong)

Jack Victory and Rip Morgan were supposed to be a Royal Family, but came out in medieval garments that made them look like old-worldly servants while medieval flute music played as their theme.



Maybe they really were royalty, albeit royalty with access to a Delorean which accidentally took them back a thousand years.

Meanwhile, Tracy Smothers and Steve Armstrong had dropped the ‘Wild-Eyed Southern Boys’ name and become The Young Pistols, no doubt in an attempt to get rid of the whole confederate flag gimmick they’d been working in the past.

After the opening moments of exciting action, the arena lights went out, prompting the two teams to spend a few minutes wrestling under a spotlight.

If you want to know the truth, it actually looked pretty cool.

The actual match was cool too.

The Young Pistols put their speed and agility against The Royal Family’s brute power to give us a bout which, though certainly not spectacular, was very entertaining with nary a dull moment in sight.

The heels dominated for much of the contest, but at the final moment, the good guys reversed Victory & Morgan’s double face buster attempt to score the win.
Your Winners: The Young Pistols

Out somewhere in the arena, Diamond Dallas Page made his PPV debut in an interview with Tony Schiavone.



In a compelling promo, Page put his gift of the gab to work in putting over The Fabulous Freebirds and how they were going to”drop Doom like a bad habit” when the two teams met in the ring.

The future Hall of Famer then turned his attentions to Doom's manager, Teddy Long, and began ranting about how the opposition’s manager had a peanut head.

Naturally, this brought out Long, who told off Page and promised that Doom would reign supreme later tonight.

This was a pretty damn good segment.

It’s interesting that Long and DDP were such strong characters that neither Doom nor The Fabulous Freebirds needed to be in a segment that was supposed to be about them.

No Disqualification Match
Terry Taylor (w/ Alexandra York) vs. The Z-Man

Despite being a babyface, The Z-Man got almost as many boos as Terry Taylor as the two made their way out for a No Disqualification match that failed to take advantage of such a stipulation in anyway.

Look, I like Tom Zenk. Even though there are plenty of people who will tell you that Z-Man was a goof who deserved to be booed, I think he had a certain role to play and played it well.

Likewise, Terry Taylor was a genuinely interesting character for the first (and perhaps only) time in his career as he took on the role of ‘The Computerised Man of the 90s.’

I’d even fairly enjoyed their outing together at Clash 14, but this felt like a wasted opportunity.

The only reason for the No DQ rule was that both men had beaten the other via disqualification in previous outings so now they were going to settle the score once and for all.



It was a good concept for a match that was ruined by the fact that -other than a split second where Taylor choked his opponent with a cable ok the outside- nothing happened to make this unlike any other generic singles match.

That’s not to say it was a bad match. It wasn’t all that interesting, but it wasn’t terrible or anything, but it just seems a shame to promote a no DQ match and not take advantage of the opportunity to do something different.

Still, this was WCW in the 90s, so I shouldn’t be too surprised, nor should I be surprised that the company would give Alexandra York a computer that didn’t turn on and then give us multiple shots which clearly showed her typing into a computer that wasn’t switched on.

It was kind of dumb, but it did give me the opportunity to say something interesting about this otherwise run-of-the-mill match, as did the appearance of Nikita Koloff.

Koloff had last been seen on PPV two years ago at Wrestlewar '89, but tonight he was in the crowd with The Great Muta and Hiro Matsuda, both of whom were in town to promote the WCW/NJPW super show.

Back to our match, after a competent but boring match, Z-Man looked to have the victory only for Ms. York to distract the official.

The referee (who JR liked to tell us was a rookie at every opportunity) refused to stop arguing with York, even when Z-Man told him that he needed him to count the fall.

The ref refused, instead focussing his efforts purely on The York Foundation leader, but the second Taylor rolled up his opponent with a handful of tights, you can bet your sweet ass that the ref was right there to count the fall.

It was a dumb end to a dumb match between two decent performers who probably deserved better.
Your Winner: Terry Taylor

After the match, Ross and Rhodes hyped an upcoming appearance by El Gigante on Paul E. Dangerously’s Danger Zone interview segment.

“I tell ya, I’ve seen El Gigante training. I’ve seen him running, I’ve seen him hiding!” Exclaimed Dusty, who apparently didn’t seem to realise that telling fans that a babyface had been “running and hiding” was probably not a good idea.

Let’s Get Racist!

Speaking of things that weren’t a good idea, Dangerously then made his way to the ring and immediately began a racist tirade against illegal immigrants and Latin people in general.


El Gigante then sauntered to the ring, where the goal was for Heyman to put over the big man as the special referee for an upcoming cage match between Sting and Ric Flair.

Instead, the future WCW boss simply amplified the racism before Gigante had enough and destroyed Dangerously with a body slam.

I get that this was of it’s time and everything, but this segment really didn’t age well and I doubt was all that well-received at the time.

Let’s Promote the Japan Show!

If Clash of the Champions XIV had been one long promotional vehicle for tonight’s show, WrestleWar ‘91 was itself shaping up to be a promotional vehicle for the big. NJPW/WCW crossover.



Up next, Schiavone told us us that WCW’s “Rolling Thunder ‘91 Tour” would be working its way to Tokyo Egg Dome where Sting would face The Great Muta.

As the former TV champion stood by, Hiro Matsuda told Schiavone that he (Muta) would beat Sting.

It wasn’t much of a promo and, to be honest, didn’t really get me very excited about watching the big Egg Dome show.

Maybe this next match would:

Stan ‘The Lariat’ Hansen vs. Big Van Vader

This match was awesome.

Unlike anything else in WCW (or the WWF for that matter), the bout saw Hansen and Vader throw wrestling protocol right out of the window and just absolutely beat the living shit out of one another.


They brawled around the ring, they took it to the outside and threw chairs at one another, Vader dropped Hansen on the guard rail before Big Stan threw Big Van into the ring steps, then the whole thing went back in the ring again.

At some point, however, the ending did become predictable. Things were so out of control that it seemed like only a matter of time before referee Randy “Pee Wee” Anderson called for the double DQ finish.

The ending was inevitable, but that didn’t detract away from what was a great match that this fan would have happily seen go a lot longer.
Double DQ

Thankfully, we did get more from these two as Vader went to the top and destroyed Hansen with an impressive top rope clothesline before Hansen battled back and choked Vader with his bull rope.

The two brawled all the way to the back and that was that.

Before the next match, JR told us that we were going to hear more about Superbrawl. When he said “more,” he meant “the exact same graphic as we saw before.”

Ross and The Dream then hyped up our next match, which would be the last appearance of the old-school NWA US title as WCW struck out as its own separate entity and swapped to its own titles.

World Championship Wrestling United States Championship
WCW US Champion Lex Luger vs. Dangerous Dan Spivey.

Autocorrect keeps changing the name to Dangerous Dan Spicy and I can’t stop chuckling at that.

Spicy or not, the challenger and his opponent exceeded expectations here with a fine match that got more compelling as it went on.



In the opening moments, it looked as though this was going to descend into a lackluster big man power match, but before long both men picked up the slack and found their groove to deliver a genuinely riveting performance.

Spicy Spivey dominated, for the most part, hitting Luger with big-time moves like a tombstone piledriver and a top rope elbow which, while it wasn’t exactly Savage-like, still looked impressive for a man of his size.

Every time, the champion dramatically kicked out and eventually battled his way back, ultimately retaining his title after an exciting finish which saw Spivey throw him off the top rope only for The Total Package to reverse the subsequent pin attempt for the fall.
Your Winner and Still US Champion: Lex Luger

Post-match, Luger made his way over to Tony Schiavone, Grizzly Smith, and Nikita Koloff, the latter of whom was supposed to present the new US title belt to the champion.


Instead, Koloff smacked Lex in the face with the belt and proceeded to cut a scathing promo.

In it, he lambasted the WCW Championship Committee for telling him that, since he had been retired for two years, he had no rights to claim a title shot and would thus have to prove he was worthy.

Attacking Luger, said Koloff, was his way of proving that he meant business, and dethroning the man who beat him for the US title back in 1987 would ultimately show the WCW Powers That Be that he was indeed worthy of holding gold.

That was great.

World Championship Wrestling World Tag Team Championship
WCW World Tag Team Champions Doom (Ron Simmons & ‘Hacksaw’ Butch Reed w/ Teddy Long) vs. The Fabulous Freebirds (Michael ‘P.S’ Hayes & Jimmy ‘Jam’ Garvin w/ Diamond Dallas Page, The Diamond Dollls and Big Daddy Dink)

Flanked by two beautiful ‘Diamond Dolls,’ the charismatic Diamond Dallas Page rocked and rolled, strutted and strolled down to the ringside while his team, Michael ‘P.S’ Hayes & Jimmy ‘Jam’ Garvin both struggled to get any attention on them.



Once in the ring, Page took to the microphone and, in the most long-winded fashion ever, announced that he was stepping back from being ringside with the Free Birds, and that he would be replaced by the group’s new road manager, Big Daddy Dink (Oliver Humperdink).

To be honest, this was a good thing.

The larger-than-life DDP didn’t so much ooze charisma here as he did spray it like a ruptured fountain, The problem was that he didn’t yet have the mic skills to backup his overwhelming personality, so the whole thing started to get very annoying.

Seriously, every third phrase out of his mouth was “GOOD GAWD” and you ended up hating it more and more every time he said it.

The result of all this was that The Free Birds, you know, the guys actually wrestling the match, were completely overshadowed by their manager, a manager who wasn’t yet skilled enough to warrant all of the attention.

It was not a good start.

Fortunately, things got much better once Doom hit the ring and proceeded to have a good but largely forgettable match with Hayes and Garvin.

After a somewhat short encounter, Reed pulled out an international object and went to take out Hayes, but the future Doc Hendrix ducked and Simmons bore the brunt of his own partner’s attack.

As Hayes fell to the mat, Garvin -who had himself been knocked silly- was shoved onto Simmons by Humperdink.

One three count later, The Free Birds had fluked their way to a title win.
Your Winners and New WCW Tag Team Champions: The Fabulous Freebirds

As Page returned to celebrate The Freebirds big win, Butch Reed and Teddy Long turned on Ron Simmons, starting the letter’s singles face run.

Meanwhile, Hayes & Garvin had already lost the titles to The Steiners in a pre-taped match that had been recorded six days prior but wouldn’t air for another few weeks, making them the only team to have technically had a negative title reign

Up next, Jim Ross promised us ‘more’ about Superbrawl, but of course, it wasn’t more at all, it was the exact same clip of the event’s logo and date that we’d already seen twice.

From there, Ross and Dusty interviewed some kid who had won a sweepstakes competition.

JR asked the youngster who his favourite team in the War Games match was. The poor kid either misheard or misunderstood, because he answered with ‘Doom,’ all while looking bummed out about Reed & Long’s earlier betrayal.

“Well, I don’t think they’re going to be a team any more!” quipped JR, throwing gasoline onto the bonfire of misery this poor, nervous kid was already experiencing.

The duo then showed us a clip of Brian Pillman being destroyed by The Four Horsemen, putting a question over Pillman’s head about his health. Finally, they reminded us that Arn Anderson was out of the match due to injury and would be replaced by Larry Zybysko.

Let the War Games Begin!

As the arena went dark, dramatic music played, and bright colored lights flashed over a cage that was lowered to the ring while blazing with fireworks.

It was, honestly, pretty awesome.

Tony Schiavone then reminded us all of the War Games match before finally, it was back to the action.

War Games
WCW World Heavyweight Champion Nature Boy Ric Flair, Sid Vicious, Barry Windham, and Larry Zybysko (w/ Arn Anderson) vs. Sting, Flyin’ Bryan and The Steiner Brothers (Rick & Scott Steiner)

This match was incredible.


As Barry Windham stepped into the ring for his team, Ross and Rhodes speculated about how unwise it would be for Pillman to start the match given his recent injury.

Naturally, Pillman then broke away from the pack and leapt into the ring before his teammates had a chance to stop him, all in the name of getting revenge for the Horsemen’s attack.

And man, did he get his revenge.

For the next five minutes, Flyin’ Brian destroyed Barry Windham, flying around the ring with a barrage of attacks and grating his foe’s face against the cage until he bled.

It looked tremendous.

A coin toss was then held to determine which team would get the two-man advantage and, as if it wasn’t obvious, it fell in favour of the heels.

Flair then entered next, followed by Sting, Larry Zybysko, Rick Steiner, Sid Vicious, and, finally, Scott Steiner.

All the while, the two teams waged war on each other in a manner most awesome.

At one point, the faces all put the heels in figure four leg locks at the same time in one of the main highlights of the match.

Later, Pillman and Sid found themselves alone in one of the two rings.

Big Sid lifted Brian up for his signature powerbomb, but there wasn’t room. As such, Pillman’s legs struck the cage roof and he landed head-first on the match.

Sid quite visibly checked that Pillman was ok before picking him up for a second devastating (though thankfully not life-threatening promo).

At that point, Brian’s buddy, El Gigante ran to the ring and declared that his fallen friend was in no fit state to continue.

Referee Nick Patrick agreed and called off the match, giving the win to The Horsemen.
Your Winners: The Four Horsemen

As Gigante carried a lifeless Pillman out of the arena, the Horsemen celebrated having emerged victorious in one of the best matches of that year, if not that decade.

Finally, Patrick told JR and Dream that he stood by his decision as he didn’t want to be responsible for Pillman getting hurt.

Then, all was left was for our announcers to recap some of the night’s highlights and, with that, Wrestle War ‘91 was over.






I started this review asking whether Wrestle War 1991 was capable of living up to the hype.

Having watched the whole thing, I can not categorically say yes, yes it was.

Though not every match was perfect, there was a lot of good to great stuff here leading up to a phenomenal War Games match that would end up going down as a classic.



Thursday, 1 April 2021

EVENT REVIEW: NWA The Great American Bash 1988 - Greensboro

NWA Great American Bash 1988 - Greensboro Tour Review
July 16, 1988 
Greensboro Coliseum, Greensboro, North Carolina

What we're about to review today isn't the 1988 Great American Bash PPV event that featured Luger vs. Flair for the title.

Rather, it's an event recorded from The Great American Bash tour that was filmed and uploaded in its original form onto the WWE Network, meaning no announcers, no exciting opening video packages, just raw footage of the matches as they took place.

If you want to read about the PPV, you'll find that Great American Bash 1988 review here.

Otherwise, let's head down to Greensboro for a night of NWA action.






Rip Morgan & NWA Western States Heritage Champion Larry Zybysko vs. Bugsy McGraw & White Lightning Tim Horner

NWA Great American Bash 1988 - Greensboro Tour Review - Larry Zybysko
No fancy intros or special introductions for what is essentially a recording of a house show.

Instead, we got a cold open with Bugsy McGraw and future Smoky Mountain Wrestling star ‘White Lightning’ Tim Horner making their way to the ring.

There, they were met by Western States Heritage Champion Larry Zybysko and Rip Morgan, the latter of whom broke out the traditional New Zealand Haka while McGraw bounced around the ring like a loon.

To be honest, yours truly didn’t have high hopes for this match but it turned out to be a great deal of fun.

Teddy Long was our referee and he apparently enjoyed himself so much that he’d become a life long fan of tag team matches.

Not that you could blame him.

All four men worked hard to deliver a short, explosive opening contest which ended after Tim Horner finally got the hot tag from McGraw and cleaned house.

Lightning by name, Lightning by nature, Horner scored a flash pinfall over Morgan in seven minutes ten seconds, the official time given to us by a young, moustachioed ring announcer by the name of Tony Schiavone.
Your Winners: Bugsy McGraw & Tim Horner

With two rings set up for our main event War Games match, Ronnie Garvin demanded that his next match take place in the ring other than the one officially designated to him.

There was no reason for it, but Garvin had just turned heel a week earlier at the actual Great American Bash ‘88 PPV so this was a good way to show fans that he was now a Grade A d**k.

Ron Garvin (w/ Garry Hart) vs. The Italian Stallion

NWA Great American Bash 1988 - Greensboro Tour Review - Rugged Ronnie Garvin
For further d**kishness, Garvin demanded that he be announced as a former world champion and then feigned an ankle injury in the first ten seconds of the match.

Of course, this was just to lure in The Italian Stallion so that he could punch him out with his famous ‘Hands of Stone’ before sitting on The Stallion’s chest and beating him in what Schiavone told us was 35 seconds.
Your Winner: Ronnie Garvin

Post-match, Garry Hart lambasted the crowd for daring to boo his man and called them hypocrites.

Dick Murdoch vs. Gary Royal

NWA Great American Bash 1988 - Greensboro Tour Review - Dick Murdoch
There will be modern-day fans who dislike this match for being little more than forearm shots and a headlock, but personally this long-time wrestling fan enjoyed it immensely.

After letting Gary Royal put him in a headlock for the first minute of the match, Dirty Dick Murdoch soon gained the advantage and simply bullied his opponent for the next five minutes.

He threw him in the corner and hit him with forearms, argued with Teddy Long (the only official for all three matches so far), took Royal to the outside and did the same again.

The action was slow and methodical but it really presented Murdoch as a brute and a bully and was far more entertaining than some folks would give it credit for.

At the end of six minutes and 59 seconds (thanks, Tony), Murdoch dropped Royal on his noggin and pinned him with a wicked sh*t-eating grin on his face.
Your Winner: Dick Murdoch

Moving on

Non-Title Match
NWA Florida State Champion Rick Steiner vs. Gorgeous Jimmy Garvin (w/ Precious)

NWA Great American Bash 1988 - Greensboro Tour Review - Jimmy Garvin & Precious
I’m not saying pro wrestling isn’t legit or anything, but it certainly seemed like Tony Schiavone was making up the match times as he went along.

He called this one in five minutes, twenty-five seconds even though it lasted less than three.

Rick Steiner attacked from the opening bell, Ronnie Garvin made a comeback. Kevin Sullivan came down to help his Varsity Club teammate, Garvin saw him off and got a pin from out of nowhere.

It was barely even a match.
Your Winner: Jimmy Garvin

Can you believe that was our fourth match on this card and we’re barely past 25 minutes?

The New Zealand Sheepherders (Luke Williams & Butch Miller w/ Rip Morgan) vs. The Rock & Roll Express (Ricky Morton & Robert Gibson

NWA Great American Bash 1988 - Greensboro Tour Review - New Zealand Sheepherders vs. Rock 'n' Roll Express
Unfortunately, we didn’t get another Haka from the New Zealanders which would have been cool. Instead, we got them pointing at the New Zealand flag a lot and calling the Americans scum bags before Ricky Morton invited them to kiss some Rock & Roll ass.

With the pre-match banter out of the way, both teams engaged in what was easily the best -and the longest- match on the card so far.

Ok, so it wasn’t nearly as long as Tony Schiavone made it out to be (I’m starting to wonder if Schiavone’s watch was dodgy), but it was still a good 14 minutes of old-school tag team action that had the crowds roaring at every possible turn.

Ricky Morton & Robert Gibson were -as usual- insanely over with the NWA audience while Luke & Butch were reviled in equal measure.

That meant that everything they did got a huge ovation, all of which made for seriously engaging viewing.

After battling against the odds (with Rip Morgan running plenty of blatant interference), the Rock & Roll Express picked up the predictable, but nonetheless satisfying, victory.
Your Winners: The Rock ‘n’ Roll Express

Up next, Garry Hart led another man into battle.

Al Perez (w/ Garry Hart) vs. Brad Armstrong

NWA Great American Bash 1988 - Al Perez vs. Brad Armstrong
You know, I’ve never noticed before how much Al Perez looks like he could have been Seth Rollins’ older brother.

Here, he took on Road Dogg’s actual brother Brad Armstrong In a weird match that was clearly designed to give the fans a breather after the excitement of the Sheepherders/R&R Express match.

Things went incredibly quiet as Armstrong took control in the early going, even though his simple approach of working over Perez’s arm was effective.

Outside shenanigans courtesy of Mr. Hart later turned the tables and put Perez in control, at which point the fans really came alive for the first time in the match.

After more decent yet unspectacular action, Hart grabbed Armstrong’s leg on a suplex attempt allowing Perez to fall ontop of just opponent for the Uno, dos,tres.

Bunkhouse Handicap Match
NWA United States Tag Team Champions The Midnight Express (Beautiful Bobby Eaton, Sweet Stan Lane and Jim Cornette) vs. The Fantastics (Bobby Fulton & Tommy Rogers)

NWA Great American Bash 1988 -Jim Cornette
Anything goes according to our man Schiavone, but referee Tommy Young makes both teams go to their corner and enforces tags because logic.

The Fantastics wanted Jim Cornette to start the match but, naturally, the cowardly manager was having none of it.

What followed was a fun match with a hot crowd and a simple story that added a touch of humour to an otherwise basic tag match.

When they were getting their butts kicked, The Midnight Express continually reached to their partner Jim Cornette hoping that he’d tag in, but he flat out refused. This irritated Sweet Stan Lane and Beautiful Bobby Eaton so much that they threatened to punch him.

Naturally, James E. then wanted to tag in when his men were in control and even wanted to score the match-winning pin despite Beautiful Bobby having it all taken care of.

This ended up costing the Midnights the match as the Fantastics kicked out, fought back, and, when Cornette accidentally threw powder in Bobby’s face, they beat him up and won the match.
Your Winners: The Fantastics

This fan honestly expected Sweet Stan and Beautiful Bobby to turn on Cornette after the match, but no such luck.

National Wrestling Alliance World Television Championship
NWA World Television Champion Mike Rotunda (w/ Rick Steiner and ‘Games Master’ Kevin Sullivan) vs. Sting

NWA Great American Bash 1988 - Mike Rotunda vs. Sting
Sting
was easily the most popular dude on the roster so far on this show and was also the only guy to get actual entrance music.

Unfortunately, that popularity alone wasn’t to secure him a title victory despite putting on a valiant effort against Mike Rotunda.

Early in the match, Rotunda’s team mates Rick Steiner and Kevin Sullivan got involved but Sting whooped their butts so referee Tommy Young let it slide.

Then, after a decent match, they got involved again only this time Young had decided that enough was quite clearly enough and threw the match out.
Your Winner via DQ: Sting (Mike Rotunda retains)

Post-match, Rotunda and Steiner began pushing and shoving one another until Kevin Sullivan broke them up.

Skywalker Match
The Russian Assassin & Ivan Koloff (w/ Paul Jones) vs. The Road Warriors (Road Warrior Hawk & Road Warrior Animal w/ Paul Ellering)

NWA Great American Bash 1988 - Scaffold match
Skywalker match = scaffold match.

We were getting into main event territory now which meant that everyone got music, but if you were expecting a bit of Iron Man for The Road Warriors you’d be disappointed. Generic Rock Theme #1234 was the order of the day here, at least on the Network.

As far as match quality goes, this was certainly one of the better scaffold matches the NWA had presented.

It was certainly better than the Road Warriors outing against The Midnight Express back at Starrcade 1986 and better than the second scaffold match we saw back at Starrcade 1987 between the Midnights and The Rock & Roll Express.

This was mostly thanks to the efforts of Ivan Koloff, who had no problem tripping himself up on the platform and pretending to almost lose his balance umpteen times. It was a masterful  job that saved this from being just another ‘dudes stay on the edges of the platform where it’s safe and punch each other until eventually dropping to the ring.’

To be fair, that’s precisely what Road Warrior Hawk and The Russian Assassin did, but at least Koloff made things interesting in his pairing with Animal.

Alas, making things interesting wasn’t enough to win the match.

He and the Assassin both took unremarkable bumps back to the canvas to lose the match.
Your Winners: The Road Warriors

Afterwards, Hawk, Animal, and Paul Ellering all beat up on Paul Jones

War Games
The Four Horsemen (NWA World Heavyweight Champion Nature Boy Ric Flair, Barry Windham, NWA World Tag Team Champions Arn Anderson & Tully Blanchard, and James J. Dillon) vs. Lex Luger, Dusty Rhodes, Paul Ellering, Dr. Death Steve Williams, and Nikita Koloff

This was a solid match well worthy of main event status and, despite getting pretty chaotic once the ring filled up, remained compelling from start to finish.

Dusty Rhodes and Arn Anderson kicked things off and both bladed within about two minutes because of course, why wouldn’t they?

From there, more bodies entered at regular intervals to create a wildly entertaining brawl that raged on all the way through to The Match Beyond where Rhodes finally put James J. Dillon in  a figure four to win the match.
Your Winners: Dusty Rhodes, Lex Luger, Nikita Koloff, Steve Williams, and Paul Ellering

Post-match, the triumphant heels walked off into the sunset while the Four Horsemen checked on their fallen comrade.







For the most part, the Greensboro stop on the Great American Bash 1988 tour was better than it perhaps looks on paper. While only a few bouts really stood out as anything special (Sheepherders vs. Rock & Roll Express, Fantastics vs. Midnights and the main event War Games match), everything else was at least decent enough to make watching this show an enjoyable experience.

Personally, I would have liked WWE to have brought in some guys to record a commentary track in order to enhance the overall presentation of this event, but that’s a small niggle that takes nothing away from what was generally an OK show all-round.



Other 1988 events:
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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.