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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

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

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, 31 December 2020

PPV REVIEW: NWA Starrcade 87 - Chi-Town Heat

NWA Starrcade 1987 - Event poster
November 26, 1987
IC Pavilion, Chicago, Illinois

Despite being pro wrestling's premier event a good two years before Wrestlemania, Starrcade didn't actually make it's way until PPV until this, the 1987 event.

Not only was Starrcade '87 the first NWA PPV, it was also the first Starrcade to emanate from a single venue since Greensboro exclusively hosted the 1984 event.

Yet as interesting as those two 'firsts' happen to be, neither happened to be as historically significant as another first:
This was the first NWA Starrcade to take place since Jim Crockett promotions bought out the original Universal Wrestling Federation.

That was a big deal, because in buying the UWF, the brand brought across a number of big name stars, including the future face of the company, a man called Sting.

Of course, even with the lure of PPV and major stars, Starrcade 1987 would be a failure from a financial standpoint as Vince McMahon promoted the first annual Survivor Series on the same night just to stick to it to the NWA.

Still, that didn't mean that the show couldn't deliver from a creative and in-ring standpoint.

Here's what went down when the National Wrestling Alliance turned up the Chi-Town Heat.







Welcome to Starrcade

NWA Starrcade 1987 - Jim Ross & Tony Schiavone called the event
First things first, tonight’s show marks the first PPV to feature the one and only Jim Ross on commentary.

Years before the two would serve as the lead announcers for rival brands at during the Monday Night Wars (and certainly years before things came full circle with them reunited under the AEW banner), JR joined forces with Tony Schiavone to welcome us to tonight’s event and call the action.:
The two talked about the nights five title matches before we went to the ring for yet more NWA PPV debuts.

Six-Man Tag Team Match Rick Steiner, ‘Hot Stuff’ Eddie Gilbert and Larry Zybysko (w/ Baby Doll) vs. Sting, Michael P.S Hayes, and ‘Gorgeous’ Jimmy Garvin (w/ Precious)

NWA Starrcade 1987 - A Man Called Sting
Yep, only Jimmy Garvin, Precious and Baby Doll had appeared at Starrcade before, making this the first time we’d seen Sting, Michael Hayes, Eddie Gilbert, Larry Zybysko, and Rick Steiner on a major NWA show. Also, you know what I miss? Sting‘a bad ass rat tail.

Anyway, all that aside, this was probably the best opening match on a Starrcade show so far.

Whereas most Starrcde openingbouts upto this point had been heavy on the weardown holds and submissions, this was pretty much non-stop action from the moment the bell rang to the moment the whole thing was ruled a draw due to the time-limit expiring. A great match given the standards of the time, this was a lot of fun.
Time Limit Draw


NWA Starrcade 1987 - Missy Hyatt said she was there to do interviews but never appeared again
After some post-match analysis from Ross and Schiavone, we went backstage where Missy Hyatt told us that she was standing by ready to interview the stars of tonight’s show.

Missy was lying though. We neither see nor hear from her for the rest of the event.

Universal Wrestling Federation Championship
UWF Champion Dr. Death Steve Williams vs. NWA Western States Herritage Champion Barry Windham

In the mid-1980s Bill Watts tried to take his Mid-South Wrestling promotion national by rebranding it as the Universal Wrestling Federation. This failed, and the company was sold to Jim Crockett Promotions who decided to keep the UWF title.

Here, Dr. Death Steve Williams defended that title against his buddy Barry Windham in a match that the crowd absolutely hated but which this writer thought was a decent face vs. face match.

Ignoring the obvious disdain and loud ‘boring’ chants coming from the audience, the two looked as if they were genuinely trying to out-wrestle one another. Not hurt each other. Not even necessarily beat each other, just out-wrestle each other.

While it wasn’t poor, the crowd took a dump all over it only popped once, when Steve Williams tried a leapfrog but went bollocks-first into Barry Windham’s head.

Ever the good sport, Windham gave his friend time to recover, but Williams didn’t repay the favour. When Barry got knocked to the outside, he climbed back in the ring but got immediately rolled up and pinned by the champion.
Your Winner and Still UWF Champion: Steve Williams

Up next, a maybe that has been universally derided over the years

Skywalkers MatchNWA United States Tag Team Champions The Midnight Express (Beautiful Bobby Eaton & Sweet Stan Lane w/ Jim Cornette and Big Bubba Rogers) vs. The Rock & Roll Express (Ricky Morton & Robert Gibson)

NWA Starrcade 1987 - The Midnight Express faced The Rock 'n' Roll Express in a scaffold match
The biggest criticism people seem to have of this scaffold match is that The Midnight Express and The Rock ‘n’ Roll Express were capable of having great wrestling matches but sticking them
on a narrow platform twenty feet in the air removed that capability and forced them to do very little.

That’s a fair argument, but you have to wonder if those who criticise this match have seen the atrocity that was the Starrcade ‘86 scaffold match between The Midnights and The Road Warriors.

Compared to that match, this match was a five-star classic.

OK, so it would have still been infinitely better if they’d just been allowed to wrestle, and OK, a scaffold match really was the worst idea of all time, but this was still more exciting than the 1986 version thanks to some Big Bubba Rogers interference, the use of Jim Cornette’s tennis racket, and the overwhelming popularity of Ricky Morton & Robert Gibson.

Naturally, the good guys won after Bobby Eaton and Stan Lane hung on the underside of the platform and took very careful bumps to the canvas.

The crowd didn’t care about that. They didn’t care how little action there’d been. They loved Ricky & Robert and went crazy for them.
Your Winners: The Rock ‘n’ Roll Express

Afterwards, Big Bubba Rogers climbed up the platform and challenged Ricky Morton to a fight. Hilariously, Morton smacked Rogers in the balls and ran off.

I’m still laughing at that just thinking about it.

A (Really Long) Word With Gorgeous Jimmy

NWA Starrcade 1987 - Jimmy Garvin (w/ Precious)
Out in the back, Bob Caudle stood by for an interview with Gorgeous Jimmy Garvin and Michael P.S Hayes, who weren’t officially wrestling as The Fabulous Freebirds at this point.

With Precious by his side, Garvin did all the talking for his team, and man did he talk.

This was a really long, but really enjoyable promo in which he ran down most of the card and spoke in depth (and I mean in *serious* depth) about the matches that mattered most to him.

First, he warned us that he and Hayes would be challenging the winners of the upcoming Road Warriors/Horsemen clash for the tag team titles. Then he turned his attention to his kayfabe brother Ronnie Garvin, who would be defending the World Heavyweight Championship against Nature Boy Ric Flair later on in the show.

After turning face by saving Ronnie from an attack by Jim Cornette and The Midnight Express, Jimmy was all about his brother retaining the gold tonight.

Dr. Death - The Wrestling Machine

This was followed by Caudle interviewing Steve Williams. Far less entertaining than Garvin, the UWF stumbled his way through a shouty, clumsy promo in which he told us that he was the Wrestling Machine of the Year, as if somebody had given him an award.

After putting over Barry Windham, Williams then told us he was the Wrestling Machine of the World, which I suppose made a little bit more sense.

Finally, the Wrestling Machine of the Year of the World promised to defend his UWF title forever. Unbeknownst to him, the belt would be deactivated a few weeks later.

World Television Championship Title Unification MatchUWF World Television Champion Terry Taylor (w/ Hot Stuff Eddie Gilbert) vs. NWA Television Nikita Koloff

NWA Starrcade 1987 - Nikita Koloff battled Terry Taylor in a TV title unification match
There was a point early in this match when your reviewer was tempted to write this whole thing off as one long arm bar.

Thankfully, I stuck with it, because as soon as Terry Taylor took control of the match it got better and better, giving us some of the best professional wrestling seen on a Starrcade show so far.

There will be some critics who say that this nigh-on 20 minute match went too long, but that’s not the case here. The first half dragged, sure, but the second half was wonderful.

To the surprise of no one, fan-favourite and NWA star Nikita Koloff defeated the villainous UWF TV champion Taylor to win the match and unify the gold.
Your Winner and Unified TV champion: Nikita Koloff
Moving swiftly on...

National Wrestling Alliance World Tag Team Championship NWA Tag Team Champions Arn Anderson & Tully Blanchard (w/ James J. Dillon) vs. The Road Warriors (Road Warrior Hawk & Road Warrior Animal w/ Paul Ellering)

NWA Starrcade 1987 - The Road Warriors faced Arn Anderson and Tully Blanchard for the tag team titles
Take a red hot crowd, the pure spectacle of a dominant power team like The Road Warriors and the talent of two performers like Arn Anderson and Tully Blanchard, and what you’ve got is a recipe for an excellent tag team match.

Pure fun from start to finish, this one was at its best when Anderson and Blanchard were selling for their challengers, not just selling but really making Hawk and Animal look like the scariest, baddest dudes in all of pro wrestling.

That said, it was still pretty entertaining even when the champions were in charge.
In fact, the only disappointing aspect was the finish.

Blanchard knocked referee Tommy Young to the outside. The LOD hurled Anderson over the top rope and hit Blanchard with the Doomsday Device. Earl Hebner ran in and counted the pin, but Young argues that he’d seen Anderson get thrown over the ropes and since that was naughty, he was giving the win to the champs.
Your Winners via DQ and Still Tag Team Champions: Arn Anderson & Tully Blanchard

Backstage, Jack Gregory and Magnum T.A. ran down tonight’s card before sending it to Bob Caudle for some interviews.
NWA Starrcade 1987 - Jack Gregory interviews Magnum TA

First up, Nikita Two Belts put over Terry Taylor before boasting about how good it made his heart feel to be the unified TV champion. Next on Koloff’s list of goals was to become our new TV champion.

Then, James J. Dillon admitted that whilst he was glad Arn & Tully we’re still the champs and he had been helping Flair train for his title match, he had mostly been focusing on Lex Luger facing Dusty Rhodes for the US title.

Both promos were pretty effective in their own way, even if Nikita’s was the more entertaining of the two.

Steel Cage Match for the National Wrestling Alliance United States Championship NWA US Champion Lex Luger (w/ J.J. Dillon) vs. Dusty Rhodes

If Dusty Rhodes loses, he can’t wrestle in the US again for 90 days

My goodness, this was insanely boring.


NWA Starrcade 1987 - Dusty Rhodes faced Lex Luger in a really boring cage match
Early on, Dusty Rhodes decided that the best way to really sell the violence and intensity of a steel cage match was to stand in the middle of the ring holding Luger in an arm bar for eight thousand hours.

Luger then made a comeback and decided that since the arm bar had worked so well on him, he was going to use it too.

Dusty bladed because of course he did, but to be honest I’m not even sure how it happened. The whole match was so deathly dull that I sort of passed out and missed that.

Rhodes won the title, but I’m honestly not sure why everybody sung the guy’s praises so much. We’re now on the fourth Starrcade show and I’ve still yet to see him do anything entertaining.
Your Winner and NEW US Champion: Dusty Rhodes
And finally, ladies and gentlemen, your main event of the evening.

Steel Cage Match for the National Wrestling Alliance World Heavyweight Championship NWA World Heavyweight Champion Ronnie Garvin vs. Nature Boy Ric Flair

NWA Starrcade 1987 - Ric flair taunts World Champion Ronnie Garvin with a WOOOO!
Ronnie Garvin’s brief 1987 run with the NWA World Heavyweight Championship has been universally panned over the years. Even on the night, the Chicago crowd loudly booed the babyface champion’s offence and greeted him with loud ‘GARVIN SUCKS’ chants.

But Garvin didn’t suck. At least not on this night.

He and Flair went at it in what was easily the best Starrcade main event since Flair was last in the challenger role back at the inaugural event in 1983.

It was an intense fight with Flair at his best -as he always was- when getting his ass kicked. Even then, the crowd wanted him to win and went nuts when he finally wrapped up Garvin and pinned him.
Your Winner and NEW World Heavyweight Champion: Ric Flair

Afterwards, Flair celebrated with his title before Schiavone and Ross closed the show and sent us to a highlights package.






On the whole, Starrcade 86 was a good show. Sure, the Rhodes/Luger thing was enough to put anyone to sleep, and not every match was a classic, but the TV, tag team, and world title matches were very enjoyable and worth watching. For this fan, the best thing about this show was that it finally felt like it had all the NWA/WCW stars that are so synonymous with the brand. As well as Flair, we saw Sting, Luger, The Road Warriors, Rick Steiner, The Freebirds, all the classic stars. In other words, this is a good one to watch.





Other WCW Starrcade reviews:
Other 1987 events:
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