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 wcw. Show all posts
Showing posts with label wcw. Show all posts

Thursday, 17 June 2021

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

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

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

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

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

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

Today that changes.

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

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

Welcome to the Shoot Out Saloon 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What a Rush!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

It was just so bizarre.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sting is Out of the Horsemen

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

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

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

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

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

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

To be fair, they did their job well. 

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

Moving on quickly...

Cactus Jack Manson vs. Mil Mascaras

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

Norman Wants Hot Dogs

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

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

Falls Count Anywhere
Kevin Sullivan vs. Norman The Lunatic

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

Seriously. WTF was I watching here?

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

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

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

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

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

It was very confusing.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Horsemen Ride 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Other 1990 pro wrestling reviews: 
Other Clash of the Champions Reviews:

Be the first to catch the latest Retro Pro Wrestling reviews by following on Facebook or Twitter @RetroPWrestling. 

Thursday, 3 June 2021

PPV REVIEW: NWA/WCW Starrcade 1989 - Future Shock

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Please Stand for the National Anthem 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Let’s Meet the Contestants 

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

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

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

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

Well, that clears that up then.

They had been replaced by The Wild Samoans instead.

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

WCW Starrcade 1989 - Woman w/ Nitron
True story: 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

They were: 

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

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

United States Champion Lex Luger.

World Heavyweight Champion Nature Boy Ric Flair.

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

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

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

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

Moving on...

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

This wasn’t the greatest match on the card.

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

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

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

Woman was furious.

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

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

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

The actual match was incredibly frustrating.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Up next, a rematch from Starrcade 1988.

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

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

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

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

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

01.45.32 - SCOREBOARD 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Up next, the finals of the tag team tournament.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

They Are Iron Men

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thursday, 20 May 2021

PPV REVIEW: WCW Halloween Havoc 1989 - Settling The Score

WCW Halloween Havoc 1989 - Event Poster
October 28, 1989 
Philadelphia Civic Center,  Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

WCW Halloween Havoc 1989 was the first such event of that name, kicking off an October tradition that would remain with World Championship Wrestling for the duration of the next 11 years. 

In that time, the event became perhaps better-known for the company's unabashed Halloween-themed goofiness as for anything that actually took place in the ring. 

Sure, it gave us as much crap (Chamber of Horrors, I'm looking at you) as it did pure gold (Hello, Mysterio vs. Guerrero), but when most people think of Halloween Havoc, they think of the giant pumpkin and graveyard set, Eric Bischoff dressed as a vampire, or Tony Schiavone being a bit creepy

Yes, over the next decade, it would become abundantly obvious that WCW loved Halloween and that, in turn, made this fan (and no doubt many others), love Halloween Havoc. 

Before we got to any of that though, there was this - the first ever Halloween Havoc which sadly did not feature that epic pumpkin.

Still, despite the lack of over-sized seasonal fruits, let's head down to Philadelphia and review the show any way, shall we? 

Spooky Times

WCW Halloween Havoc 1989 - Spooky graphics for the main event
Tonight’s opening video wasn’t one of the longest in professional wrestling history but it was one of the most joyfully corny ones and perfectly encapsulated all that Halloween Havoc cheese we mentioned earlier.

As a ‘spooky’ theme that sounded like something off a Sega Master System game chunnered away, we zoomed in on four animated graves of Sting, Ric Flair, The Great Muta, and Terry Funk.

As if that wasn’t enough to scare you out of your wits, the ‘ghosts’ of those four men rose from their graves.

OK, so it sounds crap, and by today’s standards it was, but there was something so innocently naff about it that this fan couldn’t help but smile.

WCW Halloween Havoc 1989 - Chris Cruise made his WCW debut here
And, if you’re wondering why it was those four men in particular that were rising from the dead, it was because they’d been involved in a huge brawl at the end of The Great American Bash and were set to settle the score here tonight.

After that fun little intro, we went live to the arena where Mike Rotunda and Tom Zenk were stood around in the ring while announcers Jim Ross and Bob Caudle welcomed us to Halloween Havoc.

After a brief bit of patter, the pair sent it up to their other colleagues, Gordon Sollie and Chris Cruise, the latter making his debut appearance in any NWA/WCW PPV.

Neither man said anything particularly interesting other than telling us which wrestlers

Captain Mike Rotunda vs. ‘The Z-Man’

WCW Halloween Havoc 1989 - 'The Z-Man' Tom Zenk faced Captain Mike
Finally, after hanging around in the ring for nearly three minutes, Captain Mike and Tom Zenk were able to get their match underway.

Of course, Zenk -also making his WCW PPV debut- wasn’t actually called Tom
Zenk here. He was simply ‘The Z-Man.’

The actual match was pretty decent. Nothing fancy or overly dramatic, sure, but a competent match between two guys who just looked like they wanted to beat the other one in a wrestling match.

It was well done, with Ross telling us the story that Z-Man hadn’t really been tested since arriving in the NWA and thus the devious Rotunda (who took charge for large chunks of the bout) was his first big challenge.

Fortunately for the man of Z, he prevailed, getting the better of Rotunda at the end of a 13+ minute match.
Your Winner: The Z-Man

Out in the back, WWF Legend Bruno Sammartino told spoke to Chris Cruise about his role as the special guest referee in tonight’s Thunderdome main event.

The interview was mainly here to put over how intense that main event was going to be and, to that end, it was an effective it not necessary exciting promo.

Six Man Tag Team Match
Dr. Death Steve Williams and The Midnight Express (Sweet Stan Lane & Beautiful Bobby Eaton w/ Jim Cornette) vs. The Samoan Swat Team (Fatu, Samu, and The Samoan Savage w/ Sir Oliver Humperdink)

WCW Halloween Havoc 1989 -  The Samoan Swat Team
In case you’re wondering, The Samoan Savage was Tama/The Tonga Kid who Retro Pro Wrestling readers will have last met as part of The Islanders all the way back at the 1988 Royal Rumble.

Speaking of The Samoans, they made their entrance doing an awesome fire dance ritual thing which was actually the best part of this entire 20 minute match.

Once they got the ring, both teams kind of just wandered around for a while without doing very much before having a good old-fashioned stare down on the outside of the ring.

It was the better part of four minutes before any two wrestlers actually touched each other, and even then there was more random stalling.

Eventually, things settled down and developed into an ok match that wasn’t horrible but wasn’t terribly exciting either.

About ten minutes longer than it needed to be, this one came to an end when Jim Cornette got up on the apron and waffled The Big Kahuna Sir Oliver Humperdink with his tennis racket.

Tama then pushed Sweet Stan Lane into Cornette, knocking the manager to the floor and the manager to the mat where he was promptly pinned.
Your Winners: The Samoan Swat Team

WCW Halloween Havoc 1989 -  Terry Funk looked ripped AF
Backstage, Gordon Sollie interviewed Terry Funk as well as The Great Muta’s manager Garry Hart about tonight’s Thunderdome cage match.

No joke, Terry Funk look more ripped than this long-time fan has ever seen him before.

Flexing his six pack, The Funkster talked about starting a new dance craze in Philadelphia called the 10,000 Watt Boogie, all while Garry Hart stood around looking completely confused.

The Cuban Assassin vs. ‘Wildfire’ Tommy Rich

The WWE Network dubbed over Tommy Rich’s theme music with what sounds like something that was rejected as the theme to a daytime TV soap.

He started the match in charge, continually taking down The Cuban Assasin and locking him in an arm bar before the Assasin took over and decided he was also going to focus on his opponent's arm.

Again, it wasn’t awful or anything, but it was like watching a throw-away match from WCW Saturday Night rather than a PPV calibre contest.

At one point, they did the spot where The Cuban Assasin went for a piledriver but Rich reversed it into a back body drop. Though basic, that move almost always gets at least a mild pop but here it was met with absolute silence.

Eventually, after ten minutes or so, Rich scored the win with a Lou Thesz press which is probably the only time anyone that wasn’t Thesz himself used that move as a finisher.
Your Winner: Tommy Rich

Backstage, The Fabulous Freebirds shouted a lot to Gordon Sollie about how they were going to destroy The Dynamic Dudes.

National Wrestling Alliance World Tag Team Championship
NWA World Tag Team Champions The Fabulous Freebirds (Michael ‘P.S’ Hayes & Jimmy ‘Jam’ Garvin vs. The Dynamic Dudes (Shane Douglas & Johnny Ace w/ Jim Cornette )

WCW Halloween Havoc 1989 -  Shane Douglas puts a hurting on Jimmy 'Jam' Garvin
The Dynamic Dudes
were the babyfaces here but the Philadelphia crowd were having none of that and loudly booed them at every opportunity.

Maybe that was because they’d seen their awful match against The Skyscrapers at The Great American Bash ‘89, maybe it was because they just hated their cheesy gimmick or maybe it was simply because they loved The Fabulous Freebirds.

Either way, watching Johnny Ace & Shane Douglas got the largest heel reaction of the night was far more entertaining than anything either team could have done in the ring.

Not that the match was bad or anything, it was pretty much as good as you were going to get from these two teams, but it was always going to be better known for the ‘bizarro world’ reactions than anything else.

In the end, Johnny & Shane picked up Jimmy Garvin but he landed on top of one of them to get the cover, the count, and the fall.
Your Winners and Still World Tag Team Champions: The Fabulous Free Birds

Out in the back, The Steiner Brothers gave a messy interview to Chris Cruise about their upcoming match with the debuting team of Doom.

Rick Steiner’s childlike hyperactivity was, of course, left over from his way previous ‘not the sharpest tool in the box’ gimmick whereas Scott Steiner was just...well, he was Scott Steiner.

The Steiner Brothers (Rick & Scott Steiner) vs. Doom (Doom 1 & Doom 2 w/ Woman)

WCW Halloween Havoc 1989 -  Woman led Doom into battle against The Steiner Brothers
Although I think most people probably know this by now, Doom were Ron Simmons and the late Butch Reed.

Tonight, as they stepped out onto the stage, Garry Michael Capetta called them The Tag Team Combination of Doom and I honestly think that’s an even cooler name for them.

The match itself was pretty good too. I’m not going to lie to you, dear readers, but I am partial to a bit of old school Steiner Brothers, and though this wasn’t the best match you’ll ever see them in, it was a decent effort all the same.

Not too surprisingly, Woman’s new team picked up the victory when Woman slipped one of her men an International Object which he stuck up his mask and head butted Rick with.
Your Winners: Doom

WCW Halloween Havoc 1989 -  Gordon Sollie interviewed Lex Luger about his match with Brian Pillman
Continuing the simple match-promo-match formula, Lex Luger was featured next, telling Gordon Sollie about his upcoming US title defence against Brian Pillman.

Proving that he was always at his best as a heel, Luger claimed that Pillman didn’t have what it took to compete in high profile matches.

When asked how many times he’d been champion, Luger merely replied that he would continue to hold the gold for as long as he wanted.

He’s been champion more than once, proving he can be beat” said Sollie as The Total Package walked off, meaning either Luger had flubbed his lines and there was a point they were supposed to make, or just that Sollie was feeling particularly sassy that day.

National Wrestling Alliance United States Championship
NWA US Champion Lex Luger vs. Flyin’ Brian Pillman

WCW Halloween Havoc 1989 -  Lex Luger and Brian Pillman stole the show
The two hadn’t even locked up before Jim Ross started talking about each man’s respective football careers

To be fair, this one time when it at least kind of made sense, as Pillman came down to the ring with a harem of football cheerleaders in tow.

Once they finally did lock up, this turned into a surprisingly good match with great energy and a hot Philly crowd who cheered Luger every bit as much as they did Flyin’ Brian.

The best match on the card up to that point, this was a solid outing that saw Luger almost decapitate Pillman with a stun gun on the ropes for the win.
Your Winner and Still US Champion: Lex Luger

Out in the back, Hawk and Animal told Chris Cruise that they’d been underdogs their whole lives which I somehow doubt was true.

In a typically shouty promo, the two promised to topple The Skyscrapers in our upcoming match.

The Skyscrapers (Sid Vicious & Dangerous Dan Spivey w/ Teddy Long) vs. The Road Warriors (Hawk & Animal w/ Paul Ellering)

WCW Halloween Havoc 1989 -  The Skyscrapers faced The Road Warriors
Though there were a couple of dodgy spots here and there, this was nevertheless a good big man match in which big Sid clearly shone as a main-event-star-in-waiting.

Things came to an end when The Skyscrapers used a giant key that Teddy Long had been carrying with him for unknown reasons and beat up their opponents with it.

Before that it was a very good showing.

Your Winners via Disqualification: The Road Warriors

Out in the back, Chris Cruise caught up with Sting, Ric Flair, and Ole Anderson for their thoughts about tonight’s main event.

While Ole promised not to throw the towel in for his team, an over excited Flair JUST....SHOUTED...WORDS...LIKE THUNDERDOME...YES! And Sting confirmed that it was indeed Halloween and it was going to be HAMMOCK!

He probably meant Havoc though, right?

Thunderdome Cage Match
National Wrestling Alliance World Television Champion The Great Muta & Terry Funk (w/ Garry Hart) vs. National Wrestling Alliance World Heavyweight Champion Nature Boy Ric Flair & Sting (w/ Ole Anderson)

Special Guest Referee: Bruno Sammartino

WCW Halloween Havoc 1989 -  Ric Flair teamed with Sting to face The Great Muta and Terry Funk
I wanted so much to like this match, I really did.

Flair, Sting, Muta and Funk, four legends and awesome workers, one unique cage match concept. It could have been epic.

Sadly it was too convoluted and nothing that happened made no sense.

The Thunderdome cage match was basically a huge cage that, not unlike the Hell in a Cell structure we all know today, went all the way around the outside of the ring rather than around the apron like normal wrestling cages.

The top of the cage curved inwards so that nobody could escape that way and if they tried they would get electrocuted because we were told the top of the cage was electrified.

Not that any of the wrestlers needed to bother climbing out of the cage anyway, as to win, one of the ‘Terminators’ (Anderson and Hart) had to throw the towel in for their team.

Oh, and there was all kinds of decorations around the cage-like trees and Halloween masks and a hangman’s noose that they’d take turns swinging on like it was a Tarzan rope.

So far, so interesting, right?

But it all started to feel off right from the beginning.

Remember, this was a match between people who hated each other so much that they’d been unable to stop brawling at the last PPV and couldn’t be separated.

Tonight, however, all four men came to the ring and happily waited patiently without touching each other while the cage was lowered and put into place.

Then, one of the decorations at the top of the cage immediately caught fire but this was OK because it played into the whole ‘the cage is electric’ real.

Amazingly, The Great Muta sprinted up to the top of the cage and put the fire out with his green mist.

It was legitimately the coolest moment in the entire match.

Things then got underway properly and gave us some decent action but I found myself distracted by the fact that the competitors started randomly climbing the cage.

It wasn’t even as though they were trying to escape because they wanted to get away from their opponents or anything like that. It seemed simply a case of “well this cage is here abs it’s got some cool stuff on it, we better use it.”

Ok, so it was silly but you could sort of understand them wanting to make the most of the gimmick, but what was really dumb was the whole electric cage thing.

At one point, Muta got two-thirds of the way up the cage and acted like he’d been shocked but then later he was hanging right off the top seemingly impervious to all that deadly electricity.

Lack of consistency aside, I will say that the finish was pretty cool.

Flair put Funk in the figure four while Sting lept off the top with a couple of splashes onto the Funkster.

Meanwhile, Muta went to swipe at Sammartino, but Big Bruno planted the Japanese star with a big right. Garry Hart got on the apron to protest but Ole Anderson tackled him abs Hart’s towel flew into the ring, ending the match.
Your Winners: Sting and Ric Flair

Again, there was some decent action in this match, it was just dragged down by making no sense at all.

Perhaps the best thing you could say about Halloween Havoc 1989 is that it was underwhelming.

The main event had so much promise but was nowhere near as good as it could have been. Meanwhile, most of the undercard could be described as “OK” at best, with only Luger/Pillman really standing out as a compelling bout.

Watch for the novelty of seeing the first Halloween Havoc show, but don’t expect to be blown away by the wrestling.

Thursday, 29 April 2021

PPV REVIEW: WCW / NWA The Great American Bash 1989 - The Glory Days

WCW / NWA Great American Bash 1989 - The Glory Days
July 23, 1989 
Baltimore Arena, Baltimore, Maryland.

By 1989, The Great American Bash had been an NWA staple for a number of years, but tonight's was the first such event to be promoted by World Championship Wrestling.

It was also the first NWA/WCW event that actually looked like a WCW event, featuring the brand's trademark blue and yellow ropes and an improved production quality which set the event apart from the usually dark and gritty setting of your average National Wrestling Alliance show. 

Would the show also feature the questionable booking, bad gimmicks and other Wrestlecap-worthy WCWisms that the company would also be known for?

Or would The Glory Days prove that World Championship Wrestling could indeed produce an excellent night of professional wrestling?

Let's head down to Baltimore, Maryland to find out.

Wrestling is Not Peaceful

Tonight’s show opened with a comically bad introduction which basically told us that while Baltimore, Maryland was peaceful, the action of World Championship Wrestling was anything but.

Then, after a welcome from our announcers Jim Ross and Bob Caudle, it was onto our opening match.

Triple Crown King of The Hill Battle Royal Finals
Ft. Dr Death Steve Williams, Rick Steiner, Scott Steiner, Mike Rotunda, Sid Vicious, Dangerous Dan Spivey, Scott Hall, Brian Pillman and more.

WCW / NWA Great American Bash 1989 - Sid Vicious
Tonight’s match began with all of the combatants carrying their own crown to the ring. The match was billed as the ‘Triple Crown’ finals but really it was like 14 crowns.

Neither Ross nor Caudle cared to explain what the Triple Crown actually was, but they did at least tell us that the King of the Hill finals was thus called because every man in here had previously won a battle royal and now would compete in a kind of ‘ champion of champions’ final battle royal, and not because it had anything to do with propane.

The match itself wasn’t very interesting except for the fact that it marked the first PPV appearance of many major stars of the 1990s like Ron Simmons, Brian Pillman, Sid Vicious, and Scott Hall.

After ten minutes or so, Sid Vicious was the last man standing in the first ring and his Skyscrapers partner Dan Spivey was the only man still standing in the second ring.

WCW / NWA Great American Bash 1989 - Teddy 'Peanut Head' Long, Playa
This was supposed to mean that the two faced each other in a singles match, but instead Teddy Long appeared and said that wasn’t going to happen. The two were going to share the $50,000 prize money.
Your Winners: The Skyscrapers

Backstage, Teddy Long sweated profusely as he told Gordon Sollie everything he’d just said in the ring about The Skyscrapers sharing the prize. 

He then promised that Sid and Spivey would take on all comers in tag team matches.

You can write your own joke about that one, playa.

Wild Bill Irwin vs. Flyin’ Brian Pillman

It took less than 90 seconds for Jim Ross to start telling us about Pillman’s football career.

WCW / NWA Great American Bash 1989 - Brian Pillman vs. Wild Bill Irwin
Fortunately, Caudle was there to get him talking about wrestling again in what proved to be a fun contest.

This was pretty much textbook stuff. Energetic babyface Pillman flew around looking impressive in the early going, then he got beat up by the big, burley heel Bill Irwin for a bit before making his big comeback and flying off the top rope with a match-winning crossbody.

It was basic stuff, but it worked and was enjoyable.
Your Winner: Brian Pillman

Out in the back, Paul E. Dangerously gave a compelling interview to Gordon Sollie about his upcoming tuxedo match with Jim Cornette.

In a great call back, Dangerously told us that he had been a photographer at Starrcade ‘86 and had seen Cornette fall from the scaffold and destroy his knee.

Tonight, Paul didn’t care about winning the match. He only cared about attacking that same knee and taking Cornette out of commission once and for all.

Dynamic Dudes (Shane Douglas & Johnny Ace) vs. The Skyscrapers (Sid Vicious & Dangerous Dan Spivey w/ Theodore Long)

WCW / NWA Great American Bash 1989 - The Dynamic Dudes With a Really Unimpressed Fan
Making their way to the ring from "The City of Sunshine,” Shane Douglas and Johnny Ace plucked some chubby young kid in a Ghostbusters t-shirt out of the crowd and tried to play frisbee with him, but the kid clearly looked like he was hating every moment of it. It was -you have to believe me- hysterically funny.

Then, before the match began, Jim Ross decided to take a shot at the WWF by saying that despite Sid & Spivey being big dudes, they were also athletic and didn’t need to rely on gimmicks like ‘snakes or pets' because they were real wrestlers.

Remember that, we'll come back to it later. 

The match itself wasn’t anything to laugh about though.

It was several different kinds of bad. Sloppy, mistimed and making the Dynamic Dudes look like it was their first day of wrestling school, this was painful to watch.

The only good thing about was how insanely over Sid Vicious was. The crowd loved him. Just him though, not The Skyscrapers team. Every time Dangerous Dan Spivey got in the ring the crowds chanted ‘We Want Sid! We want Sid!”

And these guys were supposed to be the heels.

In the end, Spivey dropped Johnny Ace on his head with an awful half-assed powerbomb and won the match for his team.
Your Winners: The Skyscrapers

Backstage, Jim Cornette offered an impassioned response to Paul E.’s earlier promo, insisting that he didn’t care if Dangerously did break his legs -he would crawl on his hands and knees to land a fist upside Dangerously’s head.

This was excellent stuff from Cornette.

Managers Tuxedo Match
Paul E. Dangerously vs. Jim Cornette

WCW / NWA Great American Bash 1989 - Jim Cornette talks to Gordon Sollie
Cornette and Dangerously were great managers and amazing talkers, but they weren’t wrestlers and had no need to compete in a match like this.

Remarkably, it wasn’t as sloppy as the Skyscrapers/Dynamic Dudes match, but that’s only because they didn’t do anything apart from punch one another and occasionally choke each other out with their cummerbunds.

It wasn’t awfully bad or anything, but it wasn’t very entertaining and would have been much better if both men had just been given microphones and allowed to argue for a while.

To the surprise of no one, babyface Jim Cornette stripped Paul E. down to his blue undies and sent him scurrying off to the back.
Your Winner: Jim Cornette

Backstage, Garry Hart told Gordon Sollie that The Great Muta was busy meditating so that he could ‘channel the mystical powers of the Orient into his being’ to help him defeat Sting for the TV title.

They was coming up soon, but first, this: 

Texas Tornado Tag Team Match
The Varsity Club (Games Master Kevin Sullivan & Captain Mike Rotunda) vs. The Steiner Brothers (Rick & Scott Steiner w/ Missy Hyatt)

WCW / NWA Great American Bash 1989 - The Steiner Brothers beat The Varsity Club
Yes, Mike Rotunda had been promoted to captain since the last time we saw him at Chi-Town Rumble. It wouldn’t be too long before we’d see him become a fully-fledged sailboat captain.

Meanwhile, Rick Steiner had begun coming to the ring with an actual dog. Also, he and his brother Scott were now accompanied by Missy Hyatt who, Pete be honest, was a beautiful woman.

This match was actually a lot of fun, but was sadly too short for this writer’s tastes.

The ‘Texas Tornado’ rules meant that the winner would get to take Kerry Von Erich home.

No, that’s not true. They meant that all four men would compete at the same time in an anything goes brawl which gave Rick Steiner and Kevin Sullivan the opportunity to throw tables and chairs at each other with delightful abandon.

Sadly, it all ended much too soon when Scott Steiner came off the ropes with a flying clothesline and both he and Rick covered Sullivan for the win.
Your Winners: The Steiner Brothers

WCW / NWA Great American Bash 1989 - Sting gives a promo
Out in the back, Sting gave a short interview to Gordon Sollie in which he claimed he was too pumped up to sit still, let alone talk.

The Stinger was joined by Hot Stuff Eddie Gilbert who was still at loggerheads Garry Hart since they had clashed back at WrestleWar ‘89.

National Wrestling Alliance World Television Championship
NWA World TV Champion Sting (w/ Hot Stuff Eddie Gilbert) vs. The Great Muta (w/ Garry Muta)

Easily the best thing on the card up to this point, this was a tremendous, fast-paced and exciting match hampered only by the finish.

After an excellent battle, Muta went to spray mist in the champion’s face, only to get referee Nick Patrick instead.

Patrick rolled to the outside, selling the mist like it had been a fireball.

Sting then lifted Muta and dropped him with a suplex. Both men had their shoulders down but Muta got his up before the referee had counted three and Sting may or may not have had his up.

Patrick and stand-in official Tommy Young then debated who had actually won the match while Muta and Garry Hart escaped with the actual title.
Your Winner: Who Knows?

As Tommy Young explained to Sting what had happened, the crowd greeted the finish with a very loud ‘BULLS**T’ chant.

WCW / NWA Great American Bash 1989 - Lex Luger gave a baffling promo which made no sense
The Total Package Speaks

Backstage with Sollie, United States Champion Lex Luger gave a confident yet confusing interview about his upcoming match with Ricky Steamboat.

Luger flubbed things so badly that Sollie basically had to translate for him afterwards, telling us that what Luger had been trying (but ultimately failing) to say, was that he would refuse to defend the title unless the No Disqualification rule attached to the match was scrapped.

I think. That was very confusing.

National Wrestling Alliance United States Championship
NWA United States Champion The Total Package Lex Luger vs. Ricky ‘The Dragon’ Steamboat

WCW / NWA Great American Bash 1989 - Ricky Steamboat carried a dragon to the ring minutes after Jim Ross called pet gimmicks stupid
Remember earlier, when Jim Ross had mocked the World Wrestling Federation for using ‘snakes’ and other pets?

Remember how he had insisted that the National Wrestling Alliance stars were real wrestlers who didn’t need to resort to such cheap gimmicks?

Yeah, well this match started with Ricky Steamboat being carried on a platform like Macho King and Queen Sherri at Wrestlemania 7

In his hands, he carried a huge Komodo Dragon that wore a studded leather jacket. Steamboat raised the enormous reptile in the air and pointed it at the crowd.

Ross, naturally, said nothing.

Steamboat then got in the ring with his wife and son and the crowd, who had been on the side of the heels for most of the evening, booed loudly and started chanting for Luger.

That was pretty funny.

All jokes aside, this was a terrific match that has got to be up there as one of the best Lex Luger matches you’re ever going to see.

Though it could have perhaps gone a little longer, the fact that it was kept to a reasonable length helped to ensure it didn’t drag on and remained solid from start to finish.

Before things kicked off, Steamboat had agreed to waive the No DQ rule, so naturally he got disqualified when he lost his cool and started beating up Luger with a chair.
Your Winner via DQ: Ricky Steamboat

Afterwards, Steamboat continued to attack Luger with the chair and chased him all the way to the back with it.

Cocaine is One Hell of a Drug

WCW / NWA Great American Bash 1989 -  Flying Steve Williams
As the cage was set into place for our upcoming War Games match, we got backstage promos from the two teams competing in that match.

First, The Fabulous Freebirds shouted REALLY LOUDLY and excitedly while their partners The Samoan Swat Team rubbed on one another and bit each other’s fingers.

Though they said nothing beyond the standard ‘we’re the best and we’re going to beat up the other team.’ This was a very enjoyable promo just because of how wild and over the top it was.

I’m obviously not saying everyone was coked-up to the eyeballs back in the 1980s, but you know, I’m also not saying that they weren’t, either.

Offering a retort, the babyface promo started with The Midnight Express before Dr. Death Steve Williams -you know, the big, tough, ass-kicking bad ass?- came flying into view with a big shit-eating grin on his face and his arms outstretched pretending that he could fly like Superman.

I honestly can’t tell you how funny that was, or why it should be that I haven’t laughed this much watching a pro wrestling show ever.

Anyway, Dr Death introduced their partners, The Road Warrriors, and again nothing of note beyond ‘we’re gonna kick your ass’ was said, but it was so gloriously angry and over the top that you couldn’t help but enjoy it.

In between those two promos, Jim Ross told us that the heel team had won the coin toss and would thus get the advantage going into War Games. 

What a shock.

War Games
NWA World Tag Team Champions The Fabulous Freebirds (Michael ‘P.S’ Hayes, Jimmy Garvin, and Terry ‘Bam Bam’ Gordy) & The Wild Samoans (Samu & Fatu w/ Paul E. Dangerously) vs. The Midnight Express (Sweet Stan Lane & Beautiful Bobby Eaton w/ Jim Cornette), The Road Warriors (Hawk & Animal w/ Paul Ellering) and Dr Death Steve Williams

WCW / NWA Great American Bash 1989 -  Fabulous Freebirds and Samoan Swat Team
The Road Warriors were bad asses, so they came to the ring on Harley Davidsons, but apparently, they weren’t bad ass enough to ride their own bikes. Instead, two other dudes actually drove them while Hawk and Animal sat on the back.


As for the match itself... While this writer isn’t as big a fan of the War Games concept as many other long-fine fans, even I have to admit that this was a solid, intense, and hard-hitting brawl.

At no point during the match did you ever forget that these two sides absolutely hated each other and wanted to tear each other limb from limb, adding a violent urgency to the match that was both refreshing and compelling.

After a good effort, Hawk got Jimmy Garvin up in a hangman for the match-winning submission.
Your Winers: The Road Warrriors, The Midnight Express, and Steve Williams

WCW / NWA Great American Bash 1989 -  Gordon Sollie speaks to Nature Boy Ric Flair
Prior to our main event, World Heavyweight Champion Nature Boy Ric Flair was in a sombre mood as he spoke to Gordon Sollie about how Funk had injured him and almost ended his career.

Tonight, Flair said that while he may not be 100% physically, mentally and emotionally he was 120% and was still going to beat Funk.

National Wrestling Alliance World Heavyweight Championship
NWA World Heavyweight Champion Nature Boy Ric Flair vs. Terry Funk (w/ Garry Hart)

This was another excellent match.

Challenger Funk made his way to the ring with a full police escort while the babyface champion came out smiling from ear to ear with a bevvy of beautiful women on each arm.

Once they locked up, the match proved to be every bit as good as you might hope it would be, if not better.

A wild, bloody brawl in which the hatred between both men was very much evident, this was utterly captivating from start to finish.

Speaking of the finish, that came about with a simple inside cradle which gave Flair the win. It came from nowhere but only added to what had been a very exciting match.
Your Winner and Still NWA World Heavyweight Champion: Ric Flair

WCW / NWA Great American Bash 1989 -  Ric Flair covered in blood and Muta mist
Afterwards, The Great Muta ran out and sprayed mist in the face of the Nature Boy and then joined Funk in an attack.

As the two beat down on the champ, the crowd chanted for Sting. Happy to oblige them, The Stinger came to Flair’s rescue and what we got next was another wild brawl which went all over the arena and was every bit as exciting as the match itself.

Finally, having seen off their rivals, Sting stood by Flair as the champ cut an impassioned promo promising that his feud Funk was not over.

As the show came to a close, Jim Ross told us that the TV title was being held up due to the dumb finish of the Sting/Muta match.

The dumb finish aside, that Sting/Muta contest was still very good indeed.

In fact, everything from the Texas Tornado tag team match onwards got progressively better throughout the show, culminating in a fantastic and bloody main event showdown between Funk and Flair.

Skip the battle royal, watch the Dudes/Skyscrapers match only for the hilarity of that kid who didn’t want to be there and to see how over Sid was, and what you’ve got left is a very good show indeed, and certainly one of the NWA/WCW’s best efforts.

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.