Ric Flair, Tully Blanchard, and Arn Anderson vs. Barry Windham, Lex Luger, and Sting – NWA Main Event – 4/3/88

Join the Dirty Dawg when he’s joined on the podcast with the Black Cat from the Old School Wrestling Podcast for the first time ever…Main Event Wrestling Podcast!

 

The Cat and the Dawg review a match from NWA Main Event on April 3rd, 1988 where World Heavyweight Champion Ric Flair, Tully Blanchard, and Arn Anderson fought World Tag Team Champions Barry Windham and Lex Luger, and Sting! The guys also discussed Hulk Hogan and the Wrestling Boot Trash Can Band’s “Leader of the Gang,” differences between NWA and WWF, and where in history Sting, Luger, and Windham were members of the Horsemen!

 

 

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Death of WCW Part 1

Join Mr. Beverly Hills and the Dirty Dawg Darsie of Main Event Status Radio as they find their “new office” in the CNN Towers as they start of the Death of WCW series by reviewing chapter one by RD Reynolds and Bryan Alvarez, the 1988-1996 years!

Some of the things the dudes talked about was how WCW tried to rewrite history and tie themselves to the National Wrestling Association and the National Wrestling Alliance, the Jim Herd days, what Kip Frey did to try to turn WCW around, the start of the Monday Night Wars, bringing in your buddies with Hulk Hogan, Ole Anderson, and Dusty Rhodes, and so much more!


Death of WCW Part 1

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WCW Halloween Havoc 1993 Review

WCW Halloween Havoc 1993 Recap – An Minnesotan Review

By Eric Darsie

Sunday, October 24th, 1993 – Lakefront Arena – New Orleans, Louisiana – One of the most famous pay-per-views World Championship Wrestling put on every October, Halloween Havoc was a October favorite of mine to rent from the video rental store when I was growing up. A personal favorite of mine had to be the 1993 Halloween Havoc, main evented by WCW Champion Big Van Vader facing Cactus Jack in a “Spin the Wheel, Make the Deal” Texas Death match. A match that always influenced me on wanting to rent this in the mid-90s.

Let’s get into the review!

The show opens up with a video package of some kids out trick-or-treating, advertising for Halloween Havoc. The kids argue over what’s good or not for which house to go to for candy. I never remember arguing with my friends when I went out for candy on Halloween night. They walked up to a scary looking mansion and the gate behind them closed. One kid said that it looks haunted and why not go home to watch the pay-per-view? When they rang a bell for the house, Tony Schiavone answered the door. They asked him why he wasn’t at the pay-per-view, and he was answering their questions creepy. I love it! Schiavone was trying to creep the children out, hyping up the Cactus Jack versus Vader main event match! The kids weren’t scared or impressed with the main event match, so Tony told them to watch what he could do, and took off his mask and revealed that he’s a monster!

After that, we go live to the Lakefront Arena in New Orleans and pyro went off and Eric Bischoff welcomes us to the show as the host of the pay-per-view! After Bischoff welcomes us to the show, he sent us down to ringside and Tony Schiavone and Jesse Ventura welcomed us to the show as well, and hyped up the main event match with Vader and Cactus Jack.

Harlem Heat and the Equalizer versus Ice Train, Charlie Norris, and the Shockmaster – 20 minute time limit

One thing that I was surprised that I didn’t remember was the original names Harlem Heat came in as, Kane and Kole. I prefer their real names over their gimmick names, Stevie Ray and Booker T.

Charlie Norris’ gimmick is a Native American. Good, since when I first saw his name on the marquee, I thought he may have been a Chuck Norris rip-off. Thank goodness that I was wrong!

Ice Train and Booker T. started the match. I guess Booker’s name back than was Kole, so I figured out which Harlem Heat played who for their gimmick names.

Both Booker and Ice Train tried to out power one another and Ice Train got the early advantage because he’s ripped compared to Booker. Sorry Kole, you aren’t the body builder Ice Train is.

Norris and Stevie Ray got into the ring with one another and the few spots they did with one another got the fans into the match. The Shockmaster got tagged in with Norris had the upper hand and the fans popped, since the Shockmaster was a former WWF superstar.

Later in the match, the Equalizer entered the match for the first time against the Ice Train. Man, that skullet that man was sporting was great! Besides that, I never heard of the Equalizer before. I guess I can Wikipedia him later when I have time to figure out who he is.

One move I was impressed with was the closeline that the Equalizer hit onto Charlie Norris out of the corner. It reminded me a lot of John “Bradshaw” Layfield’s Closeline from Hell!

The finish of the match came when the Shockmaster slapped on the massive bear hug onto one of the guys from Harlem Heat and connected with the splash, along with the three count! A combination I don’t recall seeing before and a combination that I enjoy seeing from a bigger guy.

Winners: the Shockmaster, Ice Train, and Charlie Norris

Rating: ¾* – I have to say a good opener for the card, if it was anywhere other than the opening match, I don’t think the fans would of gotten into it as they did. The guys worked hard for what they put on, I have to say not the greatest match I’ve seen, and not the best six-man tag match I’ve seen either, but for 1993 standards, I won’t complain.

After the match, the six wrestlers kept brawling with one another, which caused a pop from the crowd, and something I enjoyed, because it helped get me into the rest of the card.

We got sent backstage when Eric Bischoff interviewed Terry Taylor, who will be a referee later in the night, and Bischoff told the fans that Taylor will be the second referee for the Rick Rude versus Ric Flair match later on. Taylor said that he’s made a lot of bad decisions before in his life and he will make the right decision as the ref of the Rude vs. Flair match.

Paul Orndorff (with the Assassin) vs. Ricky Steamboat – 20 minute time limit

Knowing what kind of competitors these two guys are, I am surprised this wasn’t the first match, since they can easily start the card off on the right foot and get the crowd in a good mood. Let’s see how this match turns out.

When the opening bell sounded, Mr. Wonderful attacked Steamboat since he had his back turned and was waving at the fans. A great way to keep whatever heel heat Orndorff had on him during this time. That’s one thing I appreciate about the beginning of this match, the heel took an early advantage of the babyface when the opportunity was given.

Jesse Ventura even called Steamboat out on that, the Dragon shouldn’t of been playing to the fans and been giving Mr. Wonderful the attention he deserves. That’s one thing I enjoy about Jesse, giving us some wisdom, one proverb at a time.

Within a few minutes of having the advantage, Orndorff took the beating he was dishing out on Steamboat to the outside, even bodyslamming him on the wooden ramp. Something that I feel brings this match up, even though this match has been one-sided, giving Paul Orndorff the early advantage and grappling the Dragon in any place around the ring.

Shortly after they brought the brawl back inside the ring, Steamboat gained the advantage with an awesome looking arm hook. Both men ran to opposite sides of the ring and when they came back, Steamboat jumped into the air and hooked Orndorff’s arm, making both men go flying into the air, seemingly bringing Mr. Wonderful’s arm out of socket. The Dragon took a few minutes working on Orndorff’s arm, weakening it for later in the match.

A spot in the match I enjoyed was when Ricky Steamboat was working on Paul Orndorff’s fingers and Ventura was calling the Dragon out on it. “The Body” was questioning why the Dragon had to do something dirty and cheap like that to gain an advantage on someone who he already had the advantage on anyway.

Mr. Wonderful tried to rolled out of the ring to get distance with him and the Dragon and Steamboat followed and brought the damage to the Dragon.   Once too many times the Dragon left Orndorff alone and Mr. Wonderful got a second wind and gained the upper hand on the Dragon, firing up against him and sent him over the steal railing and into the crowd.

Turning point of the match had to be when both men ran to the ropes and tried to hit a flying cross body on one another and both men laid around, hurt. Both men tried to roll one another up with pin attempts, only to each other kicking out (or for Orndorff, the ref caught him holding onto the ropes and the ref kicking his hands off of the ropes, which always brings a smile to my face).

The ending of the match came when Steamboat was on the outside of the ring and the Assassin put a foreign object in his mask and headbutted the Dragon, causing him to be knocked out and being counted out.

Winner: Mr. Wonderful Paul Orndorff

Rating: *** 1/3* — To my surprise, the crowd was into this match, which made it better in my eyes, and both men were able to keep my interest high during the whole match. I don’t think there was any low point during the match, even when both men had the advance and was beating down their opponent for what seemed to be minutes on end. They mixed it up from grappling inside the squared circle and brawling on the outside by the fans, which made this match worth while. If you want to see a well-worked match, seek this match out. One of the best technical matches I’ve seen in a very long time.

Before the next match, Tony Schiavone and Jesse Ventura wanted to talk about the Big Gold Belt. That belt is recognized as a World Heavyweight title, and it’ll be recognized as the WCW International World Heavyweight Championship by the WCW International Board, or something like that.

WCW World Television Championship: Davey Boy Smith versus Lord Steven Regal (champion – with Sir William) – 15 minute time limit

Jesse mentioned during the British Bulldog’s entrances that there’s a little girl in Minnesota (he name dropped her, but I didn’t catch her name) that loves Davey Boy Smith. Ventura put over that his fandom goes all the way to Minnesota, putting over the Bulldog.

Thinking of it, the WCW Television title has to be one of my favorite titles because it was based upon a championship being defended every television show. The NWA and WCW for the longest time always put great, technical wrestlers as the Television Champion, knowing that they have to defend the title at every show. Regal was a great choice during this time frame for WCW.

For the first few minutes of the match, both guys were showing one another up with counters and cartwheels (yes, both the British Bulldog and William Regal did cartwheels) and I popped for them, not knowing that both men can do one, and do one well. Great work, gentlemen.

After showing the fans live and on pay-per-view, both men started to chain-wrestle one another, and I enjoyed that, coming off that awesome Orndorff vs. Steamboat match in the previous match. Man, I forgot how great 1993 WCW wrestling actually was. They had a lot of great wrestlers back during this time.

An awesome spot I loved during the match that showed off Davey Boy’s strength was when Smith put Regal in the Surfboard submission, putting Lord Steven up in the air with the Bulldog’s leg and arm strength. A move that I feel like isn’t as well appreciated that it ought to be.

Around the ten minute mark, Regal had Smith in an unusual submission hold, wearing out the Bulldog, who’s been down on the mat for a few minutes, with Regal working holds on the Bulldog, keeping him on a short leash.

When there was a minute to go, the Bulldog finally gained an upper hand on the champion, trying to defeat the champion before the time limit expired. Right when there was ten seconds left of the match, the Bulldog nailed the piledriver on Regal and went for the cover, and got to the count of two before the time limit expired.

Winner: Time-limit draw – Steven Regal retains the WCW Television title

Rating: * – Wasn’t a show-stealing performance out of William Regal but he defiantly got a good match out of the British Bulldog. I felt like this brought the fans down in the arena, even though they were still into the match, but wasn’t like the match prior. If Regal wasn’t in the match, I feel like this match wouldn’t of been as good as it was and I feel like Regal carried that match for the whole thing. I know during William Regal’s WCW TV title run, he often would do time-limit draws, but often be one of the best matches of the night, if not the best match. He defiantly did a great job carrying the Bulldog through this match, but in my eyes, wasn’t a show-stealing performance.

Oh yeah, Michael Buffer was our ring announcer for the match. A nice touch by WCW but an expense that wasn’t needed. At least WCW tried to differentiate themselves from the WWE and using Michael Buffer for title matches and main events for pay-per-views were one great way to do that.

After the match, we were sent to Eric Bischoff at the stage and the WCW World Heavyweight Champion Vader, along with his manager Harley Race, came out to “Spin the Wheel and Make the Deal” for his main event match against Cactus Jack. Race says something on the mic, which I couldn’t understand, and Vader spun the wheel, and it laded on the Texas Death Match stipulation. After that, we were sent back to the ring and to Tony Schiavone and Jesse Ventura.

WCW United States Championship Match: “Stunning” Steve Austin versus “the Natural” Dustin Rhodes

When Steve Austin came out, the camera panned to a sign saying that he’ll be the wrestler of the 90’s.   I have to agree with that sign; Steve Austin did become the wrestler of the 1990’s, but not for WCW, but for their competition.

Something that surprised me was when the United States Champion’s theme hit and Dustin Rhodes came down, he got a good response from the crowd. It made me smile that he got a good pop from the crowd. In addition to that, it also makes me smile knowing that I’m about to see two future WWE stars that’ll be main eventers (or close to it) in about four years after this match.

This match started out pretty slow, both men sizing one another up and not trying to make the wrong move right away. Defiantly a great way to differentiate from previous matches on the card. After typing this, Jesse Ventura even mentions the same thing at the announcer’s table. I’m happy I’m not the only one to observe that.

Something that both announcers mentioned at the table was Steve Austin and Dustin Rhodes have been tag teaming for the better part of the last year, and Ventura and Schiavone wondered if both men would have the endurance to compete in this singles match, since both men aren’t able to tag their partner out when they get winded. To me, what those two men did is gold, giving us history of both men who are in the squared-circle entertaining us.

Both guys are wrestling a slow match, using a lot of submission holds, wearing one another down. Like said, a great way to make their match different from other matches on the card and other matches that will follow before the show is over.

Towards the end of the match, Rhodes and Austin started to quicken the pace of their match, which caused the fans to get more into the match. Rhodes went for the bulldog he’s known for and Austin side stepped him and threw him to the top rope, crotching him up there, giving Austin the opportunity to gain the upper hand.

The finish of the match came when Austin used the ropes to pin Rhodes, but when the referee counted the three, he saw Austin’s feet were up on the ropes, so he called off the three count, which caused Austin to find the belt, thinking he won, but Rhodes came up behind his challenger and rolled him up for the victory.

Winner: Dustin Rhodes, retaining the United States title

Rating: * – It was a good match but the pacing was really slow and I feel like both men did nothing during the slow part of the match. The match was most interesting when they brought up the pace at the end. If they kept the match up like that, I feel like the match would have been better. To my surprise, the fans were into the match more than I was, which is a good thing, I suppose.

After the bell, Steve Austin found the United States Championship and stunned him with the belt. With the belt shot, Dustin Rhodes was busted wide open over the forehead, and Stunning Steve walks off with the belt, even though he lost the match.

Ventura and Schiavone show us a video package from WCW Saturday Night between the next match, where the Nasty Boys fought Marcus Bagwell and 2 Cold Scorpio. Sags had the victory but picked up Bagwell, and because of that mistake, their opponents were able to pick up the upset and became the WCW Tag Team Champions.

WCW World Tag Team Championship: the Nasty Boys (Brian Knob and Jerry Sags – with Missy Hyatt) versus Marcus Bagwell and 2 Cold Scorpio (champions – with Teddy Long)

It makes me happy that Flash Funk and Buff Daddy were a tag team in the early 90s in World Championship Wrestling and were the World Tag Team Champions. Besides that, Michael Buffer introduced them with the greatest Smackdown General Manager, Teddy Long, what could be better for this newly crowned Tag Team Champs?

Right away the four men started out brawling inside the ring and the challengers got knocked out of the ring, and the fans popped when Buff Daddy laid a huge kiss on Missy Hyatt. I’m sorry Missy; I hope you got paid extra for that kiss.

Like the United States title match prior, this tag match is pretty slow for pacing wise. Both teams haven’t been doing anything in particular that I feel like is worth reviewing. Thinking of it, I mentioned that how great 1993 WCW wrestling was, well, that was before this match happened. Wow, I can’t believe WCW also had superstars who weren’t that great and had them face off against each other on pay-per-view.

One positive thing about the match has to be when the Nasty Boys singled out Marcus Bagwell and kept him from tagging Scorpio in. The challengers laid a great beating on Bagwell, enough that the fans were getting tired during the match. Long did a good job as a manager to get the front row into the match.

The finish of the match came (for me, not soon enough) when the managers were distracting the referee and Buff Daddy came over after Long was knocked down to give Missy and Sags a double head butt. After that, the ref was questioning Buff, giving Sags the opportunity to hit Scorpio over the head with his boot when Scorpio was covering Knobs after hitting him with the 450 Splash.

Winners: the Nasty Boys, winning the WCW World Tag Team straps

Rating: 1/10th* – I feel like that’s generous, too. That match was long, boring, and slow, and the four guys didn’t do anything. If you watch the pay-per-view, fast forward this match, this match isn’t worth your time.

After the replay of what happened at the end of the match, we go backstage with Eric Bischoff, who’s standing with Sid Vicious and Col. Rob Parker, trying to interview both men. Bischoff said that everyone’s talking about Sid and Sting, and they’re also talking about their match. Sid said that he’d take Sting’s soul because he’s the master and rule of the world. Oh, okay Sid, if you insist.

Sid Vicious versus Sting

Tony Schiavone told us at home that Sid was the one who issued the challenge, wanting to show the world that he’s the franchise of WCW, not the “Man Called Sting.” At least these two have a reason why they’re facing one another and weren’t thrown in the ring together just for giggles and all.

Once the bell sounded, the competitors started their grappling match at a fast pace, which the fans live happy and got them into the match, which I have to agree with those fans back in 1993. With how the last two matches went, this pacing is something that I appreciate. Knowing that Sid Vicious can’t wrestle that great, either, I hope Sting can bring a good match out of him.

Within a few short minutes into the match, Sid Vicious chokeslammed Sting, like he said he was going to do in the interview before the match. Something that Schiavone questioned, as did I when he was doing it, was he taunted the crowd after the chokeslam, where he could of scored the victory if he went for the pin attempt. I guess Sid was showing us his intelligence.

After every high impact move he hits Sting with, Vicious taunts the crowd. A great heel move but something I question, if Sid said he was going to defeat Sting, why is he taking time to taunt the crowd when he has the opportunity to pin his opponent?

To my surprise, when Sid had Sting outside of the ring and by the ramp way, he grabbed a chair and nailed Sting in the back with it. The referee saw the chair shot and didn’t call for the bell. What the heck ref, was this match a “no disqualification” match? I don’t remember ever hearing that about the match. Call what you see ref!

Whenever the Stinger got the upper hand and a second breath, the fans jumped out of their seats and got into the match. When Sid had the upper hand, the fans didn’t care too much about the match. Poor Sid, maybe in a few months you can get better heat, maybe.

The end of the match saw when Col. Parker tripped Sid up on accident, thinking he tripped Sting, and held his foot down when Sting was covering him for the pin victory. The cameraman caught it on film and the announcers were calling him out on it. Lucky for Sid, he was able to kick out, and when he did, he tapped Parker on the shoulder, scolding him for holding his foot. Once Sid stood up after chewing out Parker, Sting ran up and rolled him up for the win.

Winner: The Man Called Sting

Raiting: * 9/10th* – Coming after the previous two matches and this match being pretty short itself, I think it helped out better than it probably should. Sid didn’t do too much when he had the upper hand, besides hit one or two big moves, taunt the crowd, letting his manager attack Sting behind the ref’s back, and go back and hit Sting with another move. When Sting had the advantage, he quicken the pace, got the fans into the match, and made Sid work for his money. A good Sid Vicious match, thanks to Sting on bringing that out of him.

The fans seemed super excited about Sting winning and Col. Parker screwing over Sid. The fans in the first few rows even jumped to their feet, hoping that Sid would chokeslam Col. Parker. Sadly enough, Sid just walked off and Parker followed a few steps behind.

After replays of the Sid versus Sting match, we go backstage to Big Van Vader’s locker room where he’s warming up with Harley Race. Vader tried to quicken his strikes and we see a shot of Cactus Jack, and Jack was sitting and doing the traditional Mankind sitting, swaying back-and-forth.

WCW International World Heavyweight Championship: “The Nature Boy” Ric Flair (with Fifi) versus “Ravishing” Rick Rude (champion)

One of my favorite songs in professional wrestling has to be Rick Rude’s during this time. I wish I owned the WCW theme “Slam Jam” album for I can have a copy of that song and jam out to “Simply Ravishing” when I’m down or at work.   Once he got to the ring, Rude grabbed a mic and told all the fans to shut up and feast their eyes on his body and belt. Rude played a great heel!

When Michael Buffer was introducing Ric Flair, some pyro went off up in the rafters. Ventura asked why was pyro going off for the challenger. That’s a good question Governor, since the champion didn’t get any kind of pyro when Buffer introduced him.

Once the bell sounded, Fifi distracted Rude and Flair jumped at the chance of gaining the early advantage. Chops in the corner of the ring, standing vertical suplex, Irish whips into each corner to follow with chops and fists, Flair tried to soften the challenger to weaken him.

Rude got a quick advantage but ran up to the top rope and tried to hit a knee drop, which the challenger moved, and grabbed the champion and slapped on the figure four leg lock, within the “first five minutes of the match” Ventura exclaimed, weakening Rude and working on the wheels of the World Champion.

After grabbing the ropes and being released of the hold, Rude wasn’t able to get back to his feet, giving Flair a change to drag Rude to the ropes and wrap one of his legs around the ring post on the outside of the ring. Ventura questioned why Terry Taylor, who was the outside referee, wasn’t doing anything to stop Flair on gaining the outside advantage.

Shortly after Flair got back into the ring, he slapped on a toehold kind of a submission, weakening Rude more and more. When Flair tried it again, Rude threw him outside of the ring. Flair tried to hit Rude with a sunset flip, Rude sat down on him and grabbed the ropes for extra leverage for the pin, and Taylor unhooked Rude’s fingers, and Ventura was complaining about Taylor stepping in there but not earlier when he called him out on it.

Rude gained the advantage when the brawl went outside of the ring. Rude used the guardrail by the fans, giving the fans a up-close view of Flair, and trying to bust the challenger wide open. After that, they went back in the ring and Rude used some rest holds, trying to make Flair submit, along with coming off the top rope and a fist, trying to beat Flair down for the three-count or to submit.

 

A beautiful move Rude executed on Flair was when Flair was on the stage and Rude suplexed him back into the ring. When Flair got back up, Rude was waiting for him on the top rope, jumping off the top again with a flying fist to the top of Flair’s head. Rude tried, twice, with a three-count, but Flair kept kicking out at two.

One thing that made me smile was when Rude jumped off the top rope, Flair moved out of the way and was able to Rude’s finisher, the Rude Awakening, on him. Sadly enough, Flair was only able to get a two-count on him.

Another thing that makes me smile about this match is that’s it’s a pretty quick paced match. Both men can put on a great match and both match can wrestle. I feel like both made this match better.

The ending of the match came when referees were knocked out by two different ref bumps, the first ref went outside of the ring and Taylor stayed inside of the ring. Rude went into his tights and pulled out a roll of tape for some taped knuckles and Flair hit him, causing the taped knuckles to go flying onto the mat. Flair went and grabbed them, put them on, laid out Rude with the taped fist, and covered him. Taylor, still in the ring, started to count and before he counted the three, the original ref stopped him, telling him that he saw Flair use the taped fist. The original ref got into Flair’s face about it, than called for the bell and disqualification.

Winner: Rick Rude by disqualification and still the International World Heavyweight Champion

Rating: **** and ½* — I feel like these two men could have a lot of great matches against one another because both men can wrestle at any kind of pace and could have one hell of a technical wrestling match. This whole match went almost twenty minutes and was pretty fast for pacing, other than a few rest holds, but my interest was in the match the whole time. The ending was great, Rude trying to use the taped knuckles, only to have them used right back on him, causing him to retain the championship because the original referee saw Flair use them. I guess they fought at Fall Brawl, I may have to go back and watch that match to see how it holds up against this match. This match was better than I imagined, defiantly worth while going out to see.

Tony and Jesse went over the rules of the Texas Death Match. Here are the rules they went over:

[1] No disqualification

[2] Falls don’t count

[3] :30 rest between falls

[4] Falls anyplace in the building

[5] Match continues until one man can’t get to his feet before the 10 count

So, in other words, it’s a Falls Count Anywhere match and a Last Man Standing match, rolled into one. Once you score a pinfall, the opponent has the rest period to recuperate. After the rest period, if the opponent who took the fall can’t get up to the referee’s count of ten, he officially looses.

Spin the Wheel, Make the Deal match – Texas Death Match: WCW World Heavyweight Champion Vader (with Harley Race) versus Cactus Jack

It saddens me that this match wasn’t for the WCW title. I feel like this match would’ve been a little bit better if the title was on the line. I guess with them having two World Champions, they really don’t need both titles to be on the line each supercard that they have.

The match started when Cactus Jack was walking down the ramp and Vader met him before Jack got into the ring. The bell sounded and the match is officially underway!

Another smile came upon my face when Jack had Vader up against the guardrail and Jack grabbed a fan’s camera and used it as a weapon against Vader. If that camera took a picture upon impact, that would be a picture worth keeping. Cactus grabbed a chair and nailed it against Vader’s head.

Once they got into the ring, Vader gained the advantage, striking Jack in the body and in the head, softening him up, giving him a beating of his life.

Two bumps that I felt were when Cactus Jack suplexed Vader from the ring onto the wooden ramp and when Jack gave Vader a back suplex on the ramp. A few seconds after the back suplex, Race came up with a chair to use on Jack, and Jack grabbed it, used it on Race, than used it on Vader.

Cactus Jack scored the first fall when he ran and closelined Vader and got the three count. Vader got a thirty second rest period before the referee started to give him the ten count. Cactus Jack grabbed a cactus from the stage (a wooden cactus) and used that on Vader. Vader fell off the ramp, so Cactus hit the famous flying elbow and scored another fall.

Vader used the stage after the second thirty second rest period to get up during the referees ten count. By the time the match continued, both men were wearing a crimson mask, showing the world that their hatred was “real.”

The third fall came when Vader hit Cactus Jack with a moonsault. Tony Schiavone was surprised when Jack was able to get up to his feet after the rest period and before the referee was able to count to ten. Good job Cactus Jack, you can win this one!

A ugly spot came when Vader hit the DDT on Cactus Jack upon the stage. The referee called for some EMTs to come and check on Jack. Vader pushed everyone out of the way, because he wanted to cover Cactus and gained the fall. The rest period kicked in and Cactus got up before the rest period ended.

Jack hit the DDT on Vader and landed himself on the chair. Race had a electric prodder and hit Jack in the leg with it, causing him to fall back down. Because both men were down when the rest period started, the referee was counting both men down. Vader got up before the referee got up to ten, so he won the match. I would of thought that since Cactus was up before the rest period finished, the ref wouldn’t of had to start the ten count. So the finish of the match was a little bit screwy.

Winner: Vader

Rating: **** — I feel like this match lived up to what was built up during the pay-per-view, and that was an all-out brawl. Both men were bleeding pretty hard and both men took a hard beating. Something that I remember from watching this on VHS about twenty years ago. I feel like the finish hurt the match a little, since Cactus was up when the rest period ended, so I don’t know why referee Nick Patrick started his ten count. Besides the finish, this match was defiantly worth the watch almost twenty years later and still holds up, in my opinion. Looking at another review, I guess the fall came when Vader pinned Cactus after the DDT. I guess that’s how the referee kept counting after the rest period. I’m happy I checked since I was confused there on the decisive fall.

 

Pay-Per-View Rating: *** and ½* — So, all in all, I feel like this pay-per-view was better than I could ever imagine it to be. Only a few matches in the middle of the card where I felt brought down show, but it was only two matches and the beginning and the ending series of matches brought it back up as a whole.

If you have three full hours to sit down and watch an old show, this one is worthwhile seeking. If not, the Ric Flair versus Rick Rude and the Cactus Jack versus Vader matches are definitely worthwhile seeing if you don’t want to sit down and watch the full show.

I don’t know how World Championship Wrestling could top this show in 1993, besides Starrcade. I am looking forward to watching more WCW shows from this time frame to see if other shows are as good as this. WCW had a lot of great wrestlers during this time that could work with anyone and everyone. I don’t know how they screwed up with the roster they had.

WCW Starrcade 1993

WCW Starracde 1993 Review

28_Ric-Flair-Starrcade-93_articleMonday, December 27th, 1993 – Independence Arena – Charlotte, North Carolina – A show that I used to rent a lot when I was younger, I wanted to review was this very show, World Championship Wrestling’s Starrcade 1993!  Starrcade 1993 was tenth anniversary of WCW’s WrestleMania and what better way than put the biggest star in the main event in his home town?  Let’s get into the tape!

A piano music track plays when the pay-per-view opens, showing up the history of Ric Flair, the challenger in the main event of the card. Then we see the WCW Champion, Vader, with some heavy metal rifts. Pyro goes off and our announcers welcomes us to the show, Tony Schiavone and Jesse Ventura! To my surprise, “the Body” Ventura’s in a suit! Looking pretty good for the future Minnesota Governor!

Tony and Jesse show us a video of Vader and his manager Harley Race making it early to the arena to train. Vader’s is in a awesome leather jacket and sweat pants and Race is in a suit. I guess it’s a good thing McMahon wasn’t booking WCW in 1993, if so, Vader may have been fired for being the World Heavyweight Champion and not wearing a suit.

When the show opened, Ric Flair hasn’t arrived at the arena. “Mean” Gene Okerlund was sent to “the Nature Boy”’s home to get him (pretty much) and Flair was telling his family “goodbye’s” with a side of hugs and kisses. A babyface Flair is always a great thing in my eyes.

The main event sees Ric Flair putting his career on the line for Vader’s WCW World Heavyweight Championship. Okerlund put that over with Flair on their limo ride over and Flair’s pretty calm, telling “Mean” Gene that he knew what he was getting into when he signed the contract for the card.

2 Cold Scorpio & Marcus Bagwell (with Teddy Long) versus Pretty Wonderful (Paul Orndorff & Paul Roma) (with the Assassin)

After Scorpio and Bagwell got into the ring with Teddy Long, Long was given the 1993 WCW manager of the Year award. Great work, playa, I’m hoping you’ll get the 2012 WWE General Manager’s Assistant award.

When Pretty Wonderful entered the ring, the four men started to brawl, not starting the match until referee Nick Patrick can gain control of the competitors.

One thing I appreciate about the two teams in this match is, each guy has matching attire to his tag partner. Scorpio and Bagwell are wearing bright orange and black full tights and Pretty Wonderful are wearing black trunks with words written in red on the back. Matching team attires are always a must in tag team competition!

The crowd seemed pretty into Orndorff and Roma, chanting “Paula!” at Roma, I’m assuming to give him a hard time for having a girl’s first name. Reading his body language whenever the crowd chant it, I can’t blame him for hating his name.

Off and on the crowd’s pretty quiet for this match and at times they’re into the match. More times than not they’re quiet. I have to say not the greatest way to open the card this Monday night before 1994.

The end of the match seen Teddy Long distracting Nick Patrick, allowing the Assassin to put something in his mask, headbutting Scorpio, and Mr. Wonderful picking up the pinfall!

Winners: Pretty Wonderful with a wonderful victory!

We go back to the limo ride with Okerlund and Flair seems un-Flair like they put over that this very December night in 1993 could be the last time we see “the Nature Boy” in a professional wrestling match. I have a feeling that this might be Ric Flair’s last match (of course, adding in scarcasm with that sentence).

Awesome Kong (with King Kong) versus the Shockmaster

A big man versus another big man match, which means we’ll see a lot of high-flying and a lot of techincal wrestling for this match! Yes!

When the Shockmaster got in the ring, King Kong and Awesome Kong attacked the Shockmaster. A few minutes passed and Randy Anderson gained control of the match and forced the one-on-one rules. Thanks Randy Anderson!

The match was a short-match, around ninty seconds. Big body slam was how it ended.

Winner: the Shockmaster and the Natural Disasters for a huge earthquake happened after the body slam.

We go back and see Ric Flair and Gene Okerlund arrive at the arena and a faint “Wooooo!” from the fans. “Mean” Gene told Ric “good luck” with his main event match.

WCW World Television Championship match :: 15-minute time limit :: Ricky “the Dragon” Steamboat versus Lord Steven Regal (champion) (with Sir William)

I remembered that for most of his career, William Regal wrestled under the first name of Steven. Both first names sounds classy, especially how good of a wrestler Regal is, and how well he comes across, he’s a great heel.

Nick Patrick is back and shows the belt to Steamboat and Steamboat shows off the belt, and the fans cheer. Patrick grabs the title back and shows off the belt and the bell rings.

Ventura tells us that being the challenger in the time-limit championship match, he has to be the aggressor if he wants to capture the belt. Thanks Jesse for the proverb!

The match is very slow paced with a lot of holds. For a wrestling fan like I who’s a smark, I appreciate the technical wrestling and appreciate European chain wrestling. Story-telling at it’s finest whenever Steven Regal’s showing off his technical skills.

Ventura was mentioning that Steamboat needs to pick up the pace if he wants to win the match and capture the Television title from Regal. Can’t argue with “the Body” with that statement, you have two people to beat in the TV title bouts, the champion and the clock.

When Gary Michael Cappetta (the ring announcer) announced that there was three minutes left in the match, Steamboat started to pick the pace up, trying to ware Regal down more to capture the Television gold. Come on Steamboat!

After each minute, the fans get more into the match when Cappetta announces that another minute goes and the pace picks up in the ring. The crowd cheers when Steamboat flew off the top rope when Cappetta counts down the last ten-seconds. Sorry Ricky “the Dragon,” you didn’t win the gold on this December night.

Winner: the time limit yet the smarks are the real winners.

Schiavone and Ventura talks more about the WCW Title main event and Tony tells Jesse that he’s concerned for Flair, that he might retire tonight. Ventura mentions that retirement isn’t as bad as people think it is, heck, Ventura mentioned, look at him, he became a successful color-commentator, Flair can strive to be like Jesse after he lost to Vader.

Tex Slazenger & Shanghai Pierce versus Cactus Jack & Maxx Payne

I just relized, Tex Slazenger would finish 1990’s in the WWE as Mideon! I never knew Mideon wrestled in WCW, especially when Mick Foley was there in the early ’90’s!

Schiavone and Ventura tells us a 1993 history lesson where on a Saturday Night taping in April, Vader put Cactus Jack out of action and Ventura helped Jack onto a streacher and, according to Schiavone and Ventura, no one thought he’d come back. Vader must of put a huge beating down on Cactus for the announcers to think that.

For the size of the guys in the match, I’m not surprised that the crowd isn’t into the match, unless Cactus does his signature moves. Along with that, I’m not surprised these four men aren’t any good in the techical skills, but that’s okay, right? Everyone has to wrestle a different kind of story, but the only thing bad about this match is, the crowd seems to not care for the match.

The match ends when Cactus hit the double arm DDT for the win.

Winners: Cactus Jack and Maxx Payne! I suppose as well as Cactus’ cacti ights.

“Mean” Gene Okerlund welcomed Kyle Petty, a NASCAR driver back in ’93, and interviewed him on the “Mean Gene” position. Okerlund asked him about retirement because Petty’s father retired recently. Petty said that it’s a shame if someone has to retire at the top of their game and hopes that Flair doesn’t have to retire during his prime.

WCW United States Championship match :: Two-Out-of-Three Falls match :: “Stunning” Steve Austin (with Col. Robert Parker) versus “the Natural” Dustin Rhodes (champion)

I watched the WWE Fully Loaded 1998 pay-per-view last weekend and the WWE Intercontinental title was also in a two-out-of-three falls and both Triple H and the Rock went to the full time limit. I hope, for a second weekend, I don’t see another draw (especially when we seen a draw already on this very card).

Both Rhodes and Austin do a lot of ground-chain wrestling, which is great to see. I wish the fans at the arena in 1993 and fans in 2012 would appreciate seeing chain wrestling, as well as technical wrestling. Wrestlers nowadays aren’t anything like they were during this time period.

A funny conversation that Ventura and Schiavone were discussing Parker’s cigars. Ventura questioned Schiavone, wondering why Col. Parker’s cigars are never lit when he’s ringside and having one in his mouth. They talked some politics, which doesn’t surprise me coming from one of my Governors.

Rhodes had a taped right fist for the matched and the announcers kept mentioning it and Ventura, as usual, questions why Rhodes has to have a taped fist. I think that’s a conspiracy Jesse!

Austin went for an easy cover, not hooking a leg or anything, and got a two count. Ventura mentioned that if he would of hooked a leg or the head or a half nelson, he would of picked up the first fall. I can see Ventura’s logic, if he would of hooked something, he’d have a better chance of scoring a fall, but not necessary that fall.

Col. Parker jumped up on the apron to distract Rhodes and Rhodes threw Austin into him, giving Austin the first fall. How? During this time in WCW, if you tossed someone outside the ring, that’s a disqualification.

Austin – 1

Rhodes – 0

Those two men brawled outside the ring and Rhodes left Austin in a pool of beaten mess. Rhodes threw him into the ring to start the second fall and when this happened, the lights went out and the crew had to pull out some spot lights for the match. During this time, Austin’s been busted wide open.

Austin was being pumpled in the corner and pushed Rhodes off and covered him, grabbed the tights, and picked up the second fall.

Austin – 2

Rhodes – 0

The announcers were surprised that Austin won two straight falls.

Winner: Steve Austin and the disqualification rule that WCW had in place. Thanks!

The British Bulldog was suppose to be Rick Rude’s challenger for the WCW International title but couldn’t compete, so the Boss was bumped into the Bulldog’s spot. I find that funny cause of the whole UFC 151 situation that went down recently. I guess Dana White didn’t watch much of WCW in 1993, or he didn’t take any notes.

WCW International Heavyweight Championship match :: the Boss versus Rick Rude (champion)

When the Boss was coming out, Schiavone said, “He’s one big guy.”

“With one big stick!” Ventura mentioned. That made me laugh, thinking of how dirty that comment is that Jesse “the Body” uttered.

Rick Rude did his pre-match pose down and before he posed, he grabbed the mic and told the fans that he’s the “Undisputed World Heavyweight Champion!” To be honest, I would love if he, in his prime, could face Chris Jericho during his prime. They would have had great promos with one another and would have had great matches too.

A fun fact: the Boss in WCW did the same character the Big Bossman played in the WWF. Oh wait, the Boss is the Big Bossman! Go Bossman! Win the WCW International title!

An odd note I picked up on for this match: the Boss was portrayed to be the babyface and wore black for this match and Rude is the heel and has the colorful tights.

Ventura mentioned Rick Rude’s history before wrestling, being a tough man bouncer in bars in Robbinsdale, Minnesota, before becoming pro. He also is undefeated, to what Jesse knows, at arm wrestling, and that’s a tough thing to do in arm wrestling in Minnesota bars.

Boss is one of the better big men wrestlers and Rick Rude is known for putting on great matches with guys who aren’t the greatest wrestlers, yet this match isn’t the best. It could be the quiet crowd, but I feel like the Boss and Rude don’t have any chemistry together in the squared circle.

Both the champion and challenger got into the center of the ring and the challenger locked in a bear hug. Rude got out of the hug by biting the Boss’s nose. Minnesotans always fight dirty!

After a mistake by the Boss and a sunset flip, Rude retains the title after scoring the pin!

Winner: Ravishing Rick Rude and the whole state of Minnesota!

He’s simply ravishing with that victory!

World Tag Team Championship Match :: Sting and Road Warrior Hawk versus the Nasty Boys (champions – Missy Hyatt)

When Sting and Hawk came out, Ventura and Schiavone put over odd team, saying that the only way they’ll lose is if they defeat themselves.

After the bell rang, the Nasty Boys were taunting the fans and the crowd was booing and Schiavone got after the champions, and Ventura got after Tony, asking him if he expected anything different.  One thing I love about watching old tapes, having Jesse Ventura on color commentary, since he called it the way I often see it whenever I watch the old tapes.

For the start of the match, both teams kept the pace pretty slow.  Knowing the Nasty Boys and knowing Hawk, those three men are brawlers and their fights don’t last too long, so milking the crowd for as long as they can, I have to give them props.

Several minutes into the match, the crowd didn’t seem too interested into what the four competitors were doing in the ring.  To be honest, I really can’t blame them.  This being the seventh match in, the crowd didn’t seem to care much on what’s going on.  Maybe bad placement for the match?  I believe so.

The crowd seemed to get into the match when on the floor; Missy Hyatt smacked Hawk with her whip.  Ventura and Schiavone seem to get excited when she used it, as with the fans.

When Knobs had Hawk in a rest hold and Hawk slapped the man, trying to get the fans to cheer him into countering the hold, no one cared.  Wow, was the crowd that burnt out, or did they simply not care for the match?

A spot that got the fans into the match was when the Nasty Boys, along with the beautiful Missy Hyatt, tried to walk out and get a count-out loss, but the challengers ran out and brought them back to the ring.  Smart thinking on both teams.  If I were a wrestler, that’s how I try ending each match, if I can’t lose the title by being counted out, why not get counted out?

Each time I hear Gary Cappetta tell us how much time we have left for the time-limit title match, I couldn’t wait for the match to end, since I started to battle sleep half-way through this match.  I’m sorry, but these four men didn’t and couldn’t make me care for this match.

The match ended in a disqualification, meaning that the Nasty Boys retained the titles!  Thank you whoever had time limits in WCW back then, since this match was hard to keep paying attention during!

WCW World Heavyweight Championship :: Vader (champion – with Harley Race) versus Ric Flair

Vader came out first, which I found to be odd, but this being Ric Flair’s home town, I can handle the challenger coming out second.  After Vader and Race came to the ring, Vader walked over to Ventura and barked at him to get comfortable, since he’s about to give the challenger the beating of his lifetime!

When the challenger came to the ring, the crowd all jumped to their feet and remained on their feet during the introductions by Michael Buffer.

For the match, Vader put his championship up on the line if Ric Flair put his career on the line.  During this time, career stipulations were rarely done, so this seemed legit.

The first few minutes of the match were pretty slow, doing a slow build for the finish of the match.  Flair had Vader chase him around the outside the ring, which the crowd ate up.  Once both men got into the ring, Vader got the upper-hand on Flair, making sure the fans were sitting on the edge of their seats.

One thing I love about Vader during this time was whenever he had the advantage, he’d yell at the fans.  At Starrcade 1993, he often yell at the fans, asking them, “Who’s the man?”  Yes Vader, walking into Starrcade, you’re the man!

A mistake that the champion took that got the fans to cheer was when Vader stood on the bottom rope and tried to splash the challenger.  A bad landing for the champion when Ric Flair rolled out of the way, causing Vader to eat canvas, to the cheers of the hometown crowd.

Within moments, Vader got the upper hand again and when Vader had Flair on his shoulder, the champion yelled at the crowd, “Huh?,” waiting for them to boo him out of the building.

When Cappetta announced that 15 minutes of this 45 minute match passed, it surprised me how well these two men paced this match better than the World Tag title match just before this.  It didn’t feel like 15 minutes and I wished this match could have gone longer.

The end of the match saw when Race tried to interfere by jumping off the top rope onto Flair, but Flair rolled out of the way and hit his own man, Vader.  Randy Anderson, the ref for the match, kicked him out of the ring and moments later, Flair rolled Vader up and scored the pinfall victory!

Winner: Ric Flair, the new World Heavyweight Champion!

tumblr_m98kkzO4rl1ql0k28o1_500Dave Meltzer said on January 3rd, 1994 edition of the Wrestling Observer Newsletter (can be found here) that “Ric Flair’s 11th (or 10th, or 12th, depending on what you consider a world title and what you’re willing to accept and ignore when it comes to wrestling history) world title victory was easily the most memorable of all his title wins, and created a unique emotional moment almost foreign to American wrestling.

In what was easily the best job of build-up for a single match in the five-year history of WCW, Starrcade ’93, by virtue of a horrible situation that took place two months earlier in England, was switched from the planned Vader losing the WCW title to Sid Vicious, to Vader losing the title to Flair in a match where Flair put his career on the line.”

Meltzer also gave this match a four-and-three-quarter-star rating, which I cannot argue with.  I also wrote about this match at CamelClutchBlog[dot]Com (which can be found here).  A great match, but not so much for a whole show.  So if you can find the match (which shouldn’t be too hard to find), go out of your way and watch it if you hadn’t seen it before.  If you have a few hours and wanted to spend watching some old school wrestling, take time and watch it.

January 21st 1989 World Championship Wrestling Saturday Night

1/21/89 NWA Saturday Night

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Was this one a tough one to put together or what?! The 1989 Saturday Night set that I own does not include the January 21st edition. After learning about the events of Saturday Night in 1989, I knew that I couldn’t just simply skip this episode as it is arguably the most important of the entire year. So I set out in finding at least the main event from the show. After some creative googling, I was able to scour the many reaches of internet video hosting sites and find the show on Myspace video, of all places. I will give the quick and dirty results for those of you who are wishing to be completists and follow the exploits of my main man Randy Hogan through the whole year.

Michael Hayes over Russian Assassin #2 in 6:34

Butch Reed (W/ JJ Dillon) over George South in 2:16

Mike Rotunda and Kevin Sullivan over Randy Hogan in Gene Miller in 4:09

What I could find begins with Ross and Schiavonne going over the night, including Michael Hayes taking on one of Paul Jones’ Russian Assassins, the debut of Butch Reed with JJ Dillon and the big tag team match between the Horsemen and Gilbert and his partner.

They are quickly joined by Eddie Gilbert to hype up the tag match later in the hour. Gilbert is only on for about 30 seconds, but does a fairly good (if not slightly overblown) job of being excited about his partner and lays in a good line about everyone calling their neighbors and telling them to turn on TBS if they aren’t already watching.

My clip now jumps to later in the show to the second Eddie Gilbert promo of the night. In this one, they show the beatdown of Gilbert that led to this match. Another short one as Eddie goes on to quote Flair’s famous line of “To be the man, you gotta beat the man” and goes on to say that his partner would be able to beat all three of them with one man tied behind his back. Then my clip goes to the match.

EDDIE GILBERT and MR. X vs. BARRY WINDHAM (US Champion) and RIC FLAIR (World Champion)

Coming back from the commercial, the three named participants are already in the ring awaiting the arrival of Gilbert’s mystery man. The theme made most famous by the 1990s Chicago Bulls plays and the mystery partner arrives, to be RICKY STEAMBOAT!! The announcers lose their stuffing as Steamboat comes out grinning and is visibly pumped for the match. The Horsemen are totally incredulous and don’t know what hit them.

Steamboat starts and is a house of fire, looking great with arm drags and shoulder tackles that chase Windham to the outside to regroup with Flair and Dillon. Flair comes in next, and Ricky is getting the best of him with chops, culminating with a big military press slam that sends Flair outside to regroup this time. This is such awesome booking. Steamboat is taking everything. Although Flair gets a few shots in here and there, Steamboat always gets the upper hand, even taking on both champions at once. Gilbert comes in against Flair and even he gains the upper hand with punches and a flying head scissors that sends Flair flopping into the corner for Windham. Windham finally gets the advantage with a huge back suplex to take over on Gilbert. However, they can keep Hot Stuff down for long, and he gets Flair locked in his own figure four leglock! Flair is able to escape and tags in Windham, who again takes over for a small glimpse. Despite brief respites, such as an awesome flying clothesline from Gilbert, the Horsemen are able to hold the heat for an extended amount of time. Steamboat is chomping at the bit to get in and take over on the champs. Flair is really taking over on Gilbert, who is doing a fantastic job of being the face in peril here. At around the 15:00 minute mark, Steamboat comes in totally on fire with a flying shoulderblock and other attacks on Flair. After getting the best of both Horsemen for about a minute, Steamboat finishes Flair off with a press slam and flying crossbody! The champion has been defeated!

Winner, 15:35: EDDIE GILBERT and RICKY STEAMBOAT (Flying Crossbody) **** This was awesome. A great match. Everybody looked fantastic in this match, especially Flair and Stemboat. A perfect job of making the fans want more from those two.

After the match, Steamboat and Gilbert get on the mic. They watch the tape of the match. Gibert is a little too high off the match invoking the Man Who Shot Liberty Valance and just slurring his way through his portion, but Dragon nails his part. He is subdued as normal, but comes across great when saying that he will take Flair’s title and do what he has yet to do in his career: win a world championship.

Flair and the Horsemen come out and Flair is in full Wildman mode which is great. Dillon writes off the match as being unprepared and as something will never go down in the record books.

Even without seeing the main event, I know that I can mark this down as a great one. When the whole show went an hour and this one match with the promos was almost 30, it was a one match show at its core. Steamboat looked great, Flair was a chicken shit, and Gilbert looked like someone who could be beaten and come back unharmed. Great all around

MVP: Steamboat. There is a lot of pressure that comes with making a huge debut like this, but he was great in all facets.

LVP: None. I’m sure I could’ve found one in the other parts, but everything in this portion was good.

Best Promo: There are a lot to choose from, but I’m going to go with Steamboat again, coming off the match. He came across great in this one.

Worst Promo: Although none were bad per se, I’ll say the first Gilbert promo for being a little too child-like, almost to a Duggan-esque level.

Fashion Statement of the Night: Gilbert was wearing a coral-pink sweatshirt that I believe was from Daytona Beach or a place such as that. Only a real man could pull this one off.

Hey! It’s 1989!: Since we only have a few more weeks of it this year, it’s Tony Schiavonne’s moustache. A work of art, that is.

That’s Racist: Is it a judo chop Jim? Karate? Maybe Kung-Fu? Aww, it’s all the same, right?

January 14th, 1989 World Championship Wrestling Saturday Night

1/14/89 World Championship Wrestling Saturday Night

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Barry Windham w/ James J Dillon vs. “Hot Stuff” Eddie Gilbert

Gilbert gets in Windham’s face. Windham takes over with punches and a suplex. Gilbert comes back with a really cool flying clothesline. Both of these guys are looking really good here at the beginning of 89. Windham takes back over, featuring a really nice headlock takeover. The crowd is super hot for this. Windham is hammering Gilbert with right hands and Gilbert is doing is goofy drunk selling, which I’m not a fan of. Ric Flair is out to look on with Dillon. Ross is just awesome, selling the fact that Flair is concerned over Gilbert taking the title from Windham. This match is a lot of back and forth punching, with Windham on the offensive, but Hot Stuff not giving up. At about 7:00 minutes, Windham throws Gilbert outside and appears to take over, but Gilbert fights back and has a short shine in the ring with a two-count off of an elbow drop. Windham is really good here in my opinion, everything he does is right on point, from the suplexes, to his heel demeanors when arguing with referee Teddy Long. Windham bites Gilbert, before setting Eddie up for his finisher, the superplex. Gilbert initially fights off, but Barry hits the move. However, he eschews the pin in favor of beating on Eddie some more. After Barry misses a knee drop, Gilbert hooks in a figure four leg lock, but can’t finish it, nicely selling the exhaustion.  At the 12 minute mark, Flair can’t take anymore and enters the ring, causing a disqualification.

Winner: 13:00, EDDIE GILBERT (Disqualification) *** Very nice match, Windham looked good and so did Gilbert in this one

After the bell, the horsemen take over. Double-teaming on Gilbert in the ring with clotheslines and knee drops. After, JJ cuts a very nice promo, that while short, serves its purpose. He states that the reason for this was Gilbert being annoying and taking TV time, and now his name can be added to all the rest of the people the Horsemen have taken out.

Next is a Dusty Rhodes promo. He is a little all around the map here, as usual. He says he is the NWA and professional wrestling and gets around to saying that he is coming for Barry Windham because his paycheck comes every Wednesday (?) and he needs the US title. He also gets a slight dig in by saying that the 4 Horsemen are now, “Only two, only two” as Anderson and Blanchard had recently left for the WWF at the time.

Michael PS Hayes vs. Paul Lee

Hayes does a lot of strutting and dancing before the match and by the time of the lockup, is nearly out of breath. Lee is quite the character. His skin is nearly transparent and his bleached hair just adds to it. Steven Casey, from the metroplex, is out to watch the match. This match is obviously all Hayes here, doing what he wants. I like how Hayes is playing the character of being happy and a fan favorite, but very close to being unhinged and letting his heel form shine through. After no-selling a couple of Lee shots, Hayes hits the DDT for the W.

Winner: 4:00, MICHAEL HAYES (DDT) * Hayes relied way too much on a headlock in what should have been a showcase for him

Next is an interview with Hayes and his new tag team partner, the Junkyard Dog. JYD starts out very incomprehensibly talking about bones and that they’re going after the US tag titles held by “The Devil” and Steve Dr. Death Williams. Hayes takes over, and does a really nice job. My favorite line being, “Heaven don’t want us and Hell is afraid we’ll take over!” Hayes nicely got over the fact they’re coming after the Varsity Club and that even though Williams is a machine, machines can break and can’t adapt, so Hayes and JYD are coming after them. Weirdly though, he finishes by quoting “Bad to the Bone.” Strange.

Kevin Sullivan and Dr. Death vs. Randy Hogan and Mike Collins

I don’t like Kevin Sullivan. I hate his look, his terrible haircut (shaved sides mullet) and his association with the Varsity Club. Why is he even with these guys? The Varsity Club is in total control of this one. It’s a definite showcase for Dr. Death, as he throws around these guys left and right. Randy Hogan, obviously named for his blonde horseshoe haircut and handlebar moustache, looks like the Huckster from 1996 WWF, but despite his terrible look, does a good job selling Dr. Death’s moves. Sullivan takes over on “Mark Collins”, as JR calls him. Oops. Williams gets back in and finishes Collins off with the Oklahoma Stampede for the pin fall and squirts him with his water bottle before leaving the ring.

Winners: 4:00 KEVIN SULLIVAN AND DR. DEATH (Oklahoma Stampede) *1/4

After the match, the Varsity Club joins JR at the interview station. Sullivan speaks on 1989 being the year of the Varsity Club. He addresses the Road Warriors and states that they’re coming for them. Mike Rotunda gets on the mic and calls Rick Steiner a “kleptomaniac moron” and says Steiner stole his TV championship. He says he is a thief and doesn’t even know it and is going to get back what’s his. During the promo, Dr. Death kept walking in front of the camera like he wasn’t sure where he was or who was talking. What’s the deal there?

The Road Warriors w/ Paul Ellering vs. Dale Laparouse and Mike Jackson

The warriors come out hot, with Hawk getting Laparouse right away with a nice dropkick. After one shot from Animal, doomsday device and it’s over.

Winners: 1:00, THE ROAD WARRIORS (Doomsday Device) NR (too short)

After, the Road Warriors, the world tag team champions get an interview. Animal and Hawk address the Varsity Club and say they will snack on Sullivan, dine on Doc and do away with the challengers. Animal says he’s bringing in Tenryu from Japan for the 6 man championships. An ok promo on the whole, with LOD getting over their disdain for Sullivan and Death.

Next is another promo from the Horsemen, or what’s left of them. Windham and Flair both downplay their actions from earlier. Flair is awesome as usual, talking about how 1989 is the year of the Horsemen. Eddie Gilbert comes out and challenges the Horsemen to a match next week to a match with him and his partner. After some cajoling, Dillon commits to a match for the next week with Gilbert and anyone except Lex Luger. After Gilbert leaves, Flair gives respect to Gilbert for challenging them and being a man. This is something I always loved about Flair; he always gives it up to his opponents. Remember, if you call him a nobody and beat them, all you did was beat a nobody. Flair is a pro at that.

The Original Midnight Express vs. Trent Knight and Bob Emory

Dennis Condrey might be my favorite wrestler. He looks old; he’s got a gut, a mullet and wears the bandana wherever he goes. He’s just an old shitkicker and that’s what I love about him. The OMx control this match from pretty much beginning to end while Dangerously mugs, shouts and laughs at the camera for most of the match. I don’t like that the OMx don’t wear matching attire, they don’t look like a team to me. Dangerously:  “You know who gave Dennis Condrey the nickname Loverboy? Jim Cornette’s mama. She had personal experience.” The Express finish it up with a combo of Condrey lifting up Randy Rose and slamming him down in a leg drop onto Knight for the victory. Paul E. calls this the Human Coughdrop. This was alright. As much as I love Condrey, he’s a little past his prime and Rose just doesn’t have a spot in this feud.

Winners: 4:00, THE ORIGINAL MIDNIGHT EXPRESS (Human Coughdrop) *1/2

After the match, Paul E. shows some footage of him hitting Cornette with the phone. He cuts a promo on Cornette, saying that he’s going to run him out of the NWA. “You think it’s over when I leave, I think it’s over when I spit on your career’s grave.” Some nice work there

Larry Zybysko and Al Perez w/ Gary Hart vs. George South and Curtis Thompson

Zybysko is the Western States Champion at the time. Abdullah the Butcher humorously keeps trying to come out and get involved, which I love. Perez is good and I don’t think he ever reached his full potential. George South looks like someone you’d meet at a truck stop or county fair. Perez finishes it off with the “Al-i-copter” airplane spin for the win.

Winners: 3:00. AL PEREZ AND LARRY ZYBYSKO (Al-i-copter) *3/4

After the match, Gary Hart is at the interview station for a promo. The story is that Hart won’t have his guys face Flair for the title because of his association with Flair and Dillon. Now he says that is off the table. This is all to set up a title match at a house show in Florida that is coming up. After that Zbysko says he’s going to be the champ in 1989. We’ll sure see about that.

Dick Murdoch vs. Eddie Sweat

Eddie Sweat, what a name. I wonder how he got that name. JR spends the first part of the match talking about Murdoch’s son who plays for the South Lake Carroll Dragons high school football team, who just went undefeated for 1989. Murdoch is just beating on the sweaty one, pulling up Eddie multiple times before finishing him with a terrible brainbuster.

Winner: 3:00, DICK MURDOCH (Brainbuster) ¾ *

Now, Ric Flair is with Missy Hyatt. Hyatt calls Ric sexier than Don Johnson and Sylvester Stallone combined. They talk about Flair’s match with Luger at Starrcade that just recently happened. Flair calls Luger the golden Adonis, but because he is not Ric Flair he will not face him ever again for the title. Flair was awesome here, in total Nature Boy mode.

Midnight Express vs. Keith Steinborn and Gary Royal

The Express start out hot with Keirn hitting sine fancy kicks and good-looking double-team moves. Bobby hits a real good-looking elbow drop on one of the jobbers. Keirn is a little off, missing slightly on a couple moves. Eaton comes back in and hits the Veg-o-matic to close the match.

Winner: 2:00, THE MIDNIGHT EXPRESS (Veg-o-matic) **

Cornette on for an interview. The story he’s telling is that these three are problem children, doing what they want. Cornette was very good here “The game ain’t over til I win.” Gold.

Main Event: Rick Steiner (World TV Champion) vs. Mike Rotunda w/ Kevin Sullivan

As both wrestlers come out, Steiner taunts Rotunda with his newly won TV title. Steiner then goes out and parties with the definition of 1989 (steps cut in hair, pseudo racquetball sunglasses, starter sweatsuit), before getting in the ring to square off. Rotunda starts off with the heat with a huge clothesline before Steiner comes back by throwing Mike out. Steiner caps off the shine by barking at Rotunda, of course. I have never been a huge fan of Rick Steiner; his character to me has always been something close to awful. But I do think that he looks awesome here. He might not be the best wrestler, but the crowd is super into him and that helps overcome that Rotunda is generally boring as usual. Oh gosh, now Steiner is talking to “Alex” aka a face painted on his hand. This is what I’m talking about. Rotunda throws a really nice dropkick at Steiner before slowing it down with some clubbing shots. Sullivan throws a “block of wood” “used for something” according Schiavonne, at Steiner to keep the edge. The crowd is so hot for this it’s crazy. Rotunda goes up-top, but is thrown off by Steiner before getting hit by a shoulder block. Sullivan starts to get involved, chops to the throat of Steiner. At the 9:00 mark, Dr. Death comes out and attacks Steiner to get the DQ.

Winner: 9:00 by DQ RICK STEINER *** It was a very good match, but all of that leading up to a junk finish just isn’t worth it for me.

The beat down is all three of the Varsity Club hitting a stuff piledriver on Steiner and leaving him lay. Sullivan tries to steal Steiner’s dog that he brings with him but is stopped by JYD and Hayes.

Lex Luger and Sting vs. Agent Steele and Bob Holiday

Another squash tag match, here at the end of the show. Steele (a masked man wearing yellow pants with red zigzags on them) and Holiday are on the receiving end of a lot of punishment, especially Luger, who is showing his frustration over Flair’s decision. Luger and Sting are still, even in ’89, a little rough around the edges, and Steele and Holiday aren’t quite good enough to pull out anything from Luger and Sting. In a vacuum, Luger and Sting are wrestling like heels; the jobbers don’t cheat or get an advantage in any way. Sting hits the splash, then locks in the Scorpion Deathlock for the victory

Winners: 5:00, LEX LUGER AND STING (Scorpion Deathlock) *1/4

Luger and Sting meet with Ross. Luger talks on Flair’s ruling. He says that the two best matches from 1988 were July 10th at the Great American Bash and in December at Starrcade. He wants to replicate that with Flair in 1989. He throws it to Sting, who cuts an awful promo on Butch Reed while walking around and saying something about a dog-eat-dog world. A rough ending to the show.

Overall, a pretty good show. The two real matches were good enough to pull up the jobber matches and we got some good promos from Paul E, Cornette, and the Road Warriors.

MVP: Cornette. His promo was awesome and he did some good work during the Midnights’ squash.

LVP: Mike Jackson. The Thriller got clotheslined out of the ring before the bell sounded and didn’t enter again. A nice $30 day for Mr. Jackson

Best Promo: Cornette, as said, very nicely done, building up the upcoming feud ender with the Original Midnights.

Worst Promo: Sting. “Yeah, I know who he is. I know something else. 1988 vs. 1989, it’s a dog-eat dog world Rossy and I’m one who realizes that more than anyone (inaudible as walking away)

Fashion Statement of the night:  Agent Steele. Black mask, yellow tights, red zigzags. Nuff said.

Hey, it’s 1989!: The aforementioned fan in the Alabama sweatsuit with the clear plastic glasses and steps in his hair.

That’s Racist (or homophobic): Nothing too much tonight, but there’s going to be some goodness  (or badness) coming up in the next few weeks.