Turner has officially taken over! Starrcade ’88 is still under the NWA banner, however Jim Crockett Promotions couldn’t keep up the battle with Vince McMahon and the WWF. We’re now called World Championship Wrestling and this is the first pay-per-view under Ted Turner’s ownership. With Starrcade traditionally a Thanksgiving night event, we have now moved into December to avoid the head-to-head competition. With that being said, let’s dive in, shall we?
In The Arena: Tony Schiavone & Magnum TA welcome us to the show and run down our card for the evening, the send us down to ringside with Jim Ross & Bob Caudle for their thoughts before our opening contest.
Match #1 for the NWA United States Tag Team Championships: NWA United States Tag Team Champions The Fantastics (Bobby Fulton & Tommy Rogers) vs. Kevin Sullivan & ‘Dr. Death’ Steve Williams
The two teams clearly bring diverse styles. Sullivan and Fulton start the match. Sullivan powers Fulton to the corner with chops and punches. Sullivan whips Fulton, but Fulton comes back with a big boot and a near fall. They exchange shots but Fulton takes control. He lands a right to Sullivan and makes the tag to Rogers. Rogers delivers a back body drop, and the tag is returned to Fulton. Sullivan uses his strength to power Fulton toward the opposite corner so he can make the tag to Steve Williams.
The two slow down the tempo. Fulton grabs Williams with an arm bar and immediately tags Rogers back in. Williams tries to power out of it, but Rogers’ move set is too quick. Fulton is tagged back in. Williams reverses an Irish whip to the corner, but he misses Fulton with an attempted elbow to the head and he hits the corner hard. Their teammates rush the ring. Both members of the Fantastics take Williams over with a snap suplex. When the legal men are alone once again, Williams is able to deliver a military press to Fulton. Williams follows it up with a huge lariat and Fulton falls out to the floor. Once down there, Fulton rolls under Williams and delivers a dropkick.
Both Fantastics dropkick Williams after a run in, but Williams is easily able to recover with a quick belly to back suplex on Fulton. Williams misses an elbow drop and Rogers is tagged in. Rogers lands a drop kick but Williams is barely phased, he tags in Sullivan. The two double clothesline Rogers. Now on his on, Sullivan misses a clothesline and tumbles over the top rope. Once back in the ring, the two men tie up and Rogers puts on a side headlock. The two run the ropes and Rogers shows his agility by reversing a back body drop into a successful drop kick. Members of both teams are in the ring. Williams takes control driving heads into turnbuckles.
Sullivan comes back into the ring to take a cheap shot on Rogers. Williams and Fulton are the legal men in the ring and Williams is delivering stomps before getting backed off by the ref. Williams finally returns Fulton to the ring with a powerful vertical suplex but only gets a 2 count. Back to their feet, Fulton ducks an elbow and catches Williams off guard with a rollup. Williams is back in control and Sullivan rushes the ring for some more cheap shots. With no apparent legal tag, Sullivan is now the man in the ring for his team. A tag is made to Fulton and Williams. Williams delivers a knee to the face to Fulton and then catches him in a bear hug.
Fulton gets the crowd behind him as he tries to escape. He gives a thumb to Steve William’s eye and he makes a tag to Rogers. Sullivan rushes the ring after a tag and it’s now Rogers and Sullivan. Sullivan gets a knee up on his charging opponent but he is gorilla pressed from the top rope when he tries to follow it up. Now it’s Rogers’ turn to attempt a high risk move off the top rope but Sullivan gets his knees up. Tag is made back to Steve Williams who slowly pulls Rogers up. A quick clothesline from Williams as the crowd boos. Williams taunts Rogers and delivers more knees. Another tag is made to Sullivan.
Kevin whips him to the ropes and hits a clothesline but only gets a two count. The crowd is getting behind Rogers who is trapped in a headlock. Rogers fights back with a shoulder block, but he’s immediately taken back down to the mat and Williams is tagged back in. Dr Death drops him over the top rope and delivers a headbutt. Williams with a lateral press but he only gets a 2 count. Williams has Rogers trapped in a reverse chin lock on the mat. He fights his way to his feet and he breaks the hold. After a whip to the ropes he dropkicks Williams, but Dr Death is still quick to tag Sullivan back in and Kevin catches him before he can make a tag himself.
A body slam and stomps to the abdomen from Sullivan. A pinfall attempt but he only gets a two count. Rogers reverses Sullivan’s attempts at a vertical suplex and hits one of his own. Fulton is tagged in and hits Williams with a back body drop. Rogers squares up with Sullivan and Fulton hits Williams with punches at the turnbuckle as the crowd counts along. Williams tries to fight out but finds himself caught in a sleeper hold. Sullivan rushes the ring but Rogers catches him in a sleeper as well. Fulton attempts a Lou Thesz press but it backfires and he is thrown onto the ropes for a hot shot by Williams. A pin is made. He kicks out but it is a half second too late.
Winners and NEW NWA United States Tag Team Champions: Kevin Sullivan & ‘Dr. Death’ Steve Williams(Williams/Hot Shot)
- EA’s Take: Solid opening bout between two teams who definitely have contrasting styles. This is our first look at The Varsity Club (Sullivan & Williams) in tag action, although the faction had started back in February when Mike Rotunda & Rick Steiner were brought into JCP. Sullivan was a bit of an outlier for the group in terms of his character, retaining his dark persona as the figurehead for The VC. Behind the scenes, legitimate issues between The Fantastics and Sullivan would arise. ‘The Gamesmaster’ would take over the book for WCW, so he was in control which forced The Fantastics to depart in 1989. We won’t be seeing them again on pay-per-view as a tandem, but they would continue teaming on the independents and Smoky Mountain Wrestling.
In The Arena: Tony Schiavone & Magnum TA go over replays of the finish between The Fantastics & Williams/Sullivan, speak on our next match and what’s to come later.
Match #2: The Midnight Express (Bobby Eaton & Stan Lane) w/Jim Cornette vs. The Original Midnight Express (Dennis Condrey & Randy Rose) w/Paul E. Dangerously
Eaton and Lane clear the ring and Cornette cuts a quick promo on Dangerously (Paul Heyman). The four men start to brawl as Lane and Eaton welcome the Originals into the ring with some force. Lane and Condrey kick it off and Lane immediately knocks Condrey out of the ring where he meets a shot from the tennis racket. Dangerously has big issues with it. Condrey and Lane lock up. Condrey hits a shoulder to the midsection and hammers him Lane some punches at the turnbuckle. This is reversed when Sweet Stan carries him back to the center for an atomic drop.
Rose enters the ring for the Originals and Cornette is up taunting on the ring apron. A tag is made to Eaton and the Express deliver a double teamed elbow. Eaton is taking control and knocking Rose out to the floor where he is now attacked by Cornette’s tennis racket. Dangerously is ringing the bell in protest. Rose tries to re-enter the ring but Eaton knocks him right back out. On the outside, Sweet Stan throws him into the ring post and then back into the ring. Rose wants a timeout but he doesn’t get one. The two tie up and Lane is tagged back in. They run the ropes and Lane ends it with a cross body press.
A tag is made to Condrey but Lane is quick on the attack. A tag is made to Eaton, but he’s slow to get in the ring as Condrey appears to be coming to life. Eaton knocks him to the mat and heads for the top rope. Beautiful Bobby hits an elbow drop from the top rope. Eaton knocks down Rose at the apron and tags Lane back in. Lane delivers a spinning kick and snapmare take down before holding Condrey in a headlock submission. The hold is broken and they are back to their feet. Lane locks up again, but he makes another smart tag to Eaton who catches Condrey in the midsection before hitting a bulldog.
Mercifully, Rose is tagged in but Eaton and Lane are really doing well with these quick tags. Lane lands an elbow. Rose is fighting back to little avail and Eaton is tagged back in. So much quick work by the Express here. A whip to the ropes and an elbow by Eaton. Irish whip to the corner but Condrey moves and Rose is tagged back in. Eaton finds himself trapped at the turnbuckle and he is double teamed by his opponents until his partner and Cornette save him. Back in the ring, it’s Condrey and Rose’s turn to enjoy the quick tags and Eaton is feeling the pain. Bobby is pulled down to the floor and Rose hits him with an ax handle from the turnbuckle.
Dangerously takes a cheap shot at Eaton on the apron and Cornette chases him around the ring but does not catch him. Everyone is back in their appropriate corners and Eaton is caught in a headlock. Eaton is whipped to the ropes but reverses the momentum with a swinging neck breaker. He immediately looks for a tag, but Condrey is able to make his first. Rose with a vicious clothesline to Eaton. He makes a pin but only gets 2. Eaton is caught in Rose’s reverse headlock as he reaches for Stan’s tag. Rose lifts him for a pile driver but Eaton reverses the attempt with a back body drop.
However, Condrey is the first to be tagged in and he goes to work with knees on Eaton’s back and midsection. Lane rushes in without a tag but he’s redirected by the ref as the Originals keep on Eaton. Beautiful Bobby is choked on the ropes and then he’s hung by his legs from the 2nd rope. From the apron, Cornette pleads with him to get out of there. More double team work, but the Originals miss their “Rocket Launcher”. This opens up the hot tag made to Stan Lane who is delivering shots to both of his opponents much to the dismay of Dangerously. Lane with many impressive kicks. He attempts a pin as Eaton drives Rose out of the ring.
Dangerously breaks up the pin attempt by hitting Lane on the back of the head with his phone. Cornette rushes the ring! The crowd goes wild as Cornette takes a shot at Dangerously and proceeds to chase him out of the ring. Condrey tries to take advantage of the knocked out Lane by pinning him but referee Teddy Long spots the phone. Off the distraction, Lane and Eaton execute the Double Goozle and get the pinfall before it can be broken up by Rose.
Winners: The Midnight Express (Eaton/Double Goozle)
- After The Bell: All six men brawl and Cornette really takes a beating. Bobby Eaton is finally able to clear the ring out.
- EA’s Take: Pretty unusual circumstance here with Eaton, Lane & Cornette all playing babyfaces for the first time on PPV. They continue using heel tactics as well, something that’s still rare for a “good guy”. We get our first look at Paul E. Dangerously, the only guy in the world who could make Corny a loudly cheered personality. The Original Midnight Express is in fact the actual original combination. Rose & Condrey are long in the tooth at this point, but the combination that really put the name of the team on the map (Eaton & Condrey) has broken apart when Condrey essentially left JCP like a thief in the night in 1987 with no explanation. Personally, I always found Lane & Eaton to be the most entertaining incarnation of the duo. This is the last we’ll see of these four going at it as Condrey would again up and leave prior to Chi-Town Rumble in February of ’89.
Match #3: The Russian Assassins (#1 & #2) w/Paul Jones vs. Ivan Koloff & Junkyard Dog
JYD and #1 start the action and Dog immediately gets a near fall off of a small package. JYD throws #1 into the ring post and follows with a clothesline. There is an attempted pin but Paul Jones pulls his foot on the ropes. #2 is tagged in he’s immediately sent over the top rope by JYD. Koloff throws the opponent back into the ring for a pinfall but Jones once again pulls the foot to the ropes. Ivan Koloff is tagged in and he has all the offense against #2 which includes a small choke slam. #2 tries to fight back and works Koloff over in the corner. He attempts an Irish whip but Koloff gets his boot up.
Koloff hits a Russian Sickle but Assassin #1 breaks up a pin attempt and is tagged back. Koloff delivers an elbow. He reverses an attempted back body drop with a sunset flip but the referee is distracted. JYD is tagged back in and A1 is hit with an elbow followed by a snap mare take down. JYD is rattled when he misses a headbutt and both men are slow to get up. A1 is able to tag A2 and the two work back and forth for a minute. JYD is victim to an Irish whip with a successful boot by A1. A tag is made to A2 and they attempt their Russian Missile but JYD moves. Dog is looking for a tag and he gets it. Ivan takes on both Assassins and Paul Jones gets knocked off the apron.
The Assassins are whipped together in the center of the ring. After the collision, Ivan is able to land a trademark Sickle. As this is happening, Paul Jones is giving the other assassin a foreign object to put in his mask. Ivan’s pin attempt is broken up by a headbutt using the foreign object. The ref did not see the headbutt and cannot distinguish which Assassin is #1 or #2, thus who is legal, and a pin is made.
Winners: The Russian Assassins (Foreign Object)
- EA’s Take: Short, slow, plodding and boring. JYD is by far the best part of this match, but his best days are behind him and it’s only because he could still pop the crowd. Ivan’s well past his prime and he’s out the door less than a month later. Then, you’ve got The Russian Assassins that I don’t fully understand. For whatever reason, the Russian gimmick continues to be part of the go-to gimmicks, but The Cold War was nearing an end in the next couple of years. By this time, hatred towards the Russians was waning, as evidenced by face turns from Nikita & Ivan. We’ll get to see one of those Russian Assassins later on without his mask (Jack Victory), but the other (David Sheldon) is probably best known as the original Black Scorpion. So that shows you how well his career went.
Match #4 for the NWA World Television Championship: NWA World Television Champion Mike Rotunda w/Kevin Sullivan vs. Rick Steiner
There is a stipulation that Kevin Sullivan be locked in a cage suspended from the arena, much like Cornette was at a previous PPV. The two start with a shoving match that turns into a brutal punching match until Steiner knocks Rotunda out of the ring. Rotunda is slow back. The two lock up, Steiner reverses a wrist lock and follows it up with a fireman takedown. Another lockup and Steiner has some leverage. He holds Rotunda in a headlock. Try as he may, Rotunda isn’t quick to break it. They run the ropes and Steiner powers him down when they collide. The crowd barks as Rotunda rolls to the floor and tries to call for a timeout.
Sullivan glares on from the cage. Back in the ring, the two men lock up and Rotunda manages a drop toe hold. This doesn’t last long as Steiner offers a reversal back into a hammerlock. Rotunda breaks the hold and both men are back to their feet. Rotunda finally gets something going with a belly to belly suplex but he misses the follow up elbow drop. The two square each other up and Steiner works Rotunda to the corner. Rotunda fights back with a right hand. The two run the ropes and Steiner delivers a cross body. Both men are quickly up to regroup. The crowd is clearly behind Steiner and Rotunda wanders to the floor, bothered.
The two run the ropes and Rotunda sends Steiner through the middle rope to the floor. He follows him and hits a hot shot on the metal gate before pulling him back to the apron. Rotunda dropkicks him back out. As Steiner tries to return to the ring, he receives an elbow to the back of the head. Back in the ring, Rotunda is quick with a back body drop plus a flurry of of rights and kicks. Rotunda holds a relatively helpless Steiner in a headlock and he gets leverage from the ropes when the ref isn’t looking. The crowd reacts every time Teddy Long questions this, but Rotunda plays innocent. Long finally breaks it up.
Rotunda goes back on the attack. Steiner starts matching him, but Rotunda stays on offense with a big elbow. Rotunda only gets a 1 count and he immediately puts Steiner back in a chin lock. Steiner starts fighting back with some elbows but Rotunda stops him in his tracks with a huge clothesline after breaking the hold. Steiner is whipped to the ropes but he reverses Rotunda’s offensive attempts with a sunset flip. He only gets a 2 count. They run again and Rotunda misses a dropkick. The two lock up on their feet and Steiner almost catches him off guard with a small package. Steiner whips Rotunda to the ropes and hits a massive clothesline. The tides have turned and Steiner hits rights followed by a back body drop.
As this is going on, Steve Williams is in street clothes wandering slowly to the ring. Steiner hits a power slam and Rotunda barely kicks out at 2. Steiner hits a patented belly to belly suplex and the bell rings immediately. Steiner celebrates, but Teddy Long is saying no. Tommy Young is down to the ring to confer with Teddy Long. In the meantime, Sullivan is now out of the cage and down to the ring. Tommy Young says they need to continue the match. Rotunda makes the first move, but Steiner is able to whip him into Sullivan who is now standing on the apron. Steiner covers him with a lateral press for a 3 count. The crowd ERUPTS!
Winner and NEW NWA World Television Champion: Rick Steiner (Outside Interference)
- EA’s Take: The former partners do battle here in what I’d call another solid match as Steiner gets the big win. Strange finish too where the bell seemed to ring unprompted since they didn’t ever show ‘Dr. Death’ as the man ringing it. If you go to a movie and the ending sucks, it doesn’t matter what else happened because that’s the lasting impression you’re left with..even if the crowd exploded for the pinfall. This finish wasn’t quite to that level, but it hurts it in my book. Rick is set for a big push and the people are loving him since he broke away from The Varsity Club. It won’t last long on his own however, as Scott is coming in the beginning of 1989 to form without question one of the best tag teams of all-time. For Rotunda and The Varsity Club, their road will continue on after adding Dan Spivey, as well as the previously seen ‘Dr. Death’ to the group not long before this match.
In The Arena: Tony Schiavone & Magnum TA again go through the action of the previous match
Match #5 for the NWA United States Championship: NWA United States Champion Barry Windham w/James J. Dillon vs. Bam Bam Bigelow w/Oliver Humperdink
The two lock up twice and break up with hostility. On the third lock up, Bam throws Windham across the ring. They lock up again and Windham uses his leverage to get BBB to the corner. He delivers some rights, but upon a whip to the corner, Bigelow catches him over his shoulder and delivers a crazy gut buster over his shoulders. After a consultation with Dillon, Windham is back in the ring and squares up Bigelow. They reach for a test of strength but instead, Windham goes on the attack with some rights and kicks.
Windham delivers a side suplex but Bigelow is back to his feet immediately. He scares Windham back to the floor and the crowd is loving it. JJ Dillon looks flustered. Windham is very slowly back to the ring. They lock up, run the ropes and BBB hits a shoulder tackle as Windham begs for mercy. Upon next lockup, Windham rakes the face and delivers some rights that only appears to make Bigelow angry. BBB delivers a military press to the delight of the crowd. They lock up, and Bigelow goes for big rights at the turnbuckle and Windham falls on his face as the crowd cheers. Bigelow delivers a dropkick and Windham tumbles over the top rope.
Dillon wants a DQ but the refs having none of it. Back in the ring, Bigelow lands some more kicks to the midsection and follows it with an impressive vertical suplex. Lateral press for a 2 count. Bigelow applies a reverse chin lock and Windham struggles. Windham slowly fights back and throws Bigelow out to the floor and he lands on his knee. The commentators acknowledge problems Bigelow has had with his knee. Windham is on the floor with some rights and the two make their way back to the ring. From the apron, Bigelow is able to take Windham down and he leaps over for a splash but he only gets a two count.
Bigelow lifts Windham for another military press and he heads for the top rope. BBB attempts an atomic splash but misses. Windham pulls Bigelow to his feet and delivers some chops and rights. Windham then delivers a brutal lariat and taunts the crowd. Windham delivers a side suplex and goes up for some punches at the turnbuckle. He whips Bigelow to the ropes and lands and dropkick that knocks Bigelow to the floor. Bigelow is run into the ring post and rolled back in the ring. Windham applies his patented claw and he taunts the crowd. Bigelow fights his way back to his feet but to no avail. The Claw is broken by the ropes.
Windham picks up Bigelow for a body slam and he goes for an elbow drop but misses! Bigelow is back to his feet delivering rights! They run the ropes and both end up over the top rope and down to the floor. Bigelow delivers an atomic drop, but is then ran into the post. Windham rolls back into the ring. Despite Bigelow rolling right back into the ring, and no clear audio of the referee’s counting, apparently Bigelow was counted out.
Winner and STILL NWA United States Champion: Barry Windham (Count-Out)
- EA’s Take: I sound like a parrot with this one, but again, just solid and another confusing finish. I will say this though; it’s certainly true that time can help give someone perspective. Bam Bam Bigelow was such an underrated talent to the business. I allways liked the guy in real time, but never thought of him as the special talent he really was. Hardcore wrestling fans always acknowledge him for his agility given his size, but let’s parlay that onto the time when he broke in. Wrestling was starting to get slightly more creative during this time, but there weren’t many big men participating in the creativity. Therefore, The Beast From The East was special.
Backstage: Magnum TA is in the locker room with new NWA World Television Champion Rick Steiner, Rick saying that Mike Rotunda is a tough wrestler, but every dog has his day and today was his. He speaks about getting sick of being called stupid by Kevin Sullivan and dealing with his tricks.
Match #6 for the NWA World Tag Team Championships: NWA World Tag Team Champions The Road Warriors (Animal & Hawk) w/Paul Ellering vs. Sting & Dusty Rhodes
Upon the RW’s entrance to the ring, the four immediately start brawling. Rhodes and Sting clear the ring and the crowd loves it. The ring announcer gets to do his job and they finally settle down and start. It’s Animal and Sting. After a tie up, they run the ropes until Sting drop kicks Animal out of the ring. Back in, Sting holds a strong wrist lock and he tags in Rhodes. The Dream beats Animal down and to the outside of the ring once again. Slowly back to the ring, Animal tags Hawk. Rhodes and Hawk exchange blows. Dream tags Sting back in who holds Hawk in a wrist lock. Hawk battles out, and delivers a flurry of rights and kicks.
The two exchange more rights until the Stinger takes the upper hand. Sting whips him for a power slam and follows it up with an elbow drop. Once on their feet, he can’t prevent the tag made to Animal. Animal, immediately delivers a military press followed by a hot shot on the ropes. This doesn’t phase Sting as he comes back with some clotheslines and knocks Animal out to the floor. Sting climbs the ropes and takes a dive on Animal from that height. Back in the ring, a tag is made to Rhodes who immediately goes to work on Animal’s leg using the ring post as a weapon. Animal retreats to the ring and is able to make the tag to Hawk. All 4 men brawl in the ring once again. Hawk and Rhodes tumble out of the ring.
Hawk stomps on Rhodes until he finally stumbles back in. Now Animal is the legal man with Rhodes and he is right on him. Multiple rights, but it seems to be pumping Rhodes up and the Dream lands a dropkick. This kick knocks Hawk back into a tag with Animal who is starts working on Dusty. Animal holds him in a sleeper but Dusty does not give. Hawk comes back in with multiple chops. After a whip to the ropes, Dusty is caught in another sleeper but he’s able to break it with a chin breaker.
Hawk makes it to Animal but the hot tag is also made to Sting. He lands a Bulldog on Animal and follows it with a Stinger Splash in the corner. Sting is set up for the Scorpian Deathlock but Hawk breaks it up and throws Sting over the top rope. Rhodes is at the mercy of the RW double team but Sting is back up to the top rope. He lands a cross body from the top rope. Paul Ellering pulls the ref away from making the count and the bell rings.
Winners: Sting & Dusty Rhodes (Disqualification)
- EA’s Take: Boy, a lot has changed in the tag team division since the last Starrcade. The Midnight Express are babyfaces and The Road Warriors are heels, which we saw at Great American Bash. Their turn came at the hands of Dusty, violently jamming one of the spikes from their shoulder pads into his eye. This would also lead to Dusty’s firing with Turner execs being less than pleased that he booked the bloody spot. This is probably why Sting carried the action for his side. The match was different because the people didn’t fully want to boo The Road Warriors and Dusty even got some boos from the LOD fans. This match also left me wondering why Sting didn’t continue going after the World Title following his Clash of the Champions match with Flair. I know they went with the Luger turning on The Horsemen angle, but we’ll see why I think that was the wrong call next.
Match #7 for the NWA World Heavyweight Championship: Lex Luger vs. NWA World Heavyweight Champion Ric Flair w/James J. Dillon
Flair wastes no time to strut and mock Luger. The two lock up, but Flair holds onto the ropes. The two lock up again and move to the corner. Luger retaliates on Flair’s chops, but the next time Flair holds the ropes he is clotheslined over the top rope. Flair paces the floor. They lock up again and Luger reverses Flair’s hammerlock submission. Luger immediately takes Flair from a side headlock to a shoulder tackle. Flair teases a test of strength and instead takes some cheap shots. They run the ropes and Luger lands a power slam. This is followed up with a gorilla press. Flair retreats to the ropes.
Luger executes an armbar submission as Flair yelps. After a whip to the turn buckle, Flair tries a chop but Luger is fired up. Referee Tommy Young redirects Luger to the ring and Flair lures him into a kick to the midsection. The Package doesn’t take kindly to this and he whips Flair to the turnbuckle and then catches him in a hammerlock. Luger hits several shoulder tackles and a hip toss. Flair reverses the momentum by raking Luger’s eye. Flair attempts to take some offense with chops but Luger is fired up and he chases Flair outside of the ring. Tommy Young is on the floor convincing Luger to take Flair back to the ring.
Lex takes some shots on the ring post and then rolls him back into the ring. Luger holds an armbar submission on Flair as he tries to fight out of it. After running the ropes, the two exchange shoulder tackles, but Luger can only get a two count. From the apron, Luger executes a vertical suplex back into the ring. Flair kicks out at two. Luger attempts an elbow drop but Flair moves. Back to their feet and Flair is taking some offense. He throws Luger through the middle rope and follows him down. Flair bashes Luger on the guard rail and JR reminds the crowd that a DQ could cost Flair a championship.
Back in the ring, Tommy Young gets physical while lecturing Flair. Luger is back in the ring, but Flair hits a snapmare takedown and follows it with a knee to the head. Flair with double feet to Luger’s midsection. The Nature Boy hits several chops, but those chops seem to be waking Luger up. The Package fights back and he catches Naitch in a sleeper hold. Finally, Flair is able to reverse the hold with a side suplex. Flair starts the offense with a quick kick, a snapmare and an attempted figure four, but Luger immediately reverses it into a small package. The pin is unsuccessful, and Flair jumps back on the offense.
He lands another snapmare and heads for the top rope. Luger catches him before he can do anything and superplexes him from the top rope. Luger gives Flair a taste of his own medicine and holds him in the Figure Four leg lock. Tommy Young is forced to break the hold as Flair is on the ropes. Luger nails some rights but Tommy Young is inadvertently hit. Luger flies with a cross body from the top rope, but the count is slow due to the position of the struck ref. Flair hits a shot to the midsection, but after a run to the ropes, Luger gets Flair over for a 2 count on a backslide. Luger is up on the 2nd turnbuckle for the punches as the crowd counts to 10. Luger sends him to the other turnbuckle and Flair only partially flips on it.
The Total Package brings him back to the ring with a vertical suplex but Flair kicks out at 2. Back to his feet, Flair delivers some ineffective chops before getting caught in a gorilla press slam. This is followed with a power slam, and then Luger is distracted with JJ Dillon as Flair rolls out of the ring. Flair trips Luger onto his back and uses a chair on Luger’s knee. Flair comes back to the ring and goes to work on that knee. Flair mocks the referee as he delivers more shots to Luger’s leg. Finally, Flair goes for the Figure Four leg lock.
The crowd is behind Luger as he screams out. Luger flexes in position and tries to turn the maneuver on him. He breaks the hold and both men are slow to get up. Flair takes him over once again with a snapmare and gets Luger’s leg once again. Flair goes to the top rope, but Luger catches him with a gorilla press. Back to their feet, Flair throws Luger to the apron, but Lex is pursuing Flair on pure adrenaline. He whips Flair for another military press slam. Once up, Flair is able to throw Lex out temporarily. Returning to the apron, Luger hits his shoulder to the midsection and comes back in with a sunset flip for a 2 count.
Luger intimidates Flair and backs him into the corner. He punches Flair for a count of 10, delivers an Irish whip and a clothesline for another 2 count. Luger follows it up with a power slam and puts Flair up into the torture rack. As the hold is on, Luger’s leg buckles from under him and Flair falls on top of him. Flair uses the rope for extra leverage and scores the pinfall.
Winner and STILL NWA World Heavyweight Champion: Ric Flair (Torture Rack Counter)
- EA’s Take: PWI’s Feud Of The Year for 1988 is the main event of the NWA’s premier event and while I think Luger held his own again, just another decent match on this card. I must say, I was satisfied with Lex’s performances in the last two NWA main events, but of course some of that falls on Flair. I know the “Dirtiest Player in the Game” often had some trick up his sleeve, but the finish was odd on a night where there was just too much of that. There was no real explanation on how Luger’s knee randomly buckled and they could have told a better story/spent more time with Flair really working it over more than usual. This leads to Luger favoring it while using the Torture Rack and a better way to get into the counter that put it away. Lastly, why exactly does Luger NOT go over here? Is that not the point of the story, for the “good guy” to prevail on the biggest stage?
EA’s Finisher: While this show was certainly not bad by any means, it was just vanilla. I like vanilla, but not when it comes to my pro wrestling. It didn’t have any ridiculous gimmick matches and the talent on the card was pretty solid, but there’s that word again…just solid. Nothing standout whatsoever. The company seems to be coming apart already, The Horsemen are no more and they were really the backbone of JCP the past couple of years. Dusty’s on his way out and he was the heart of the company, plus all the other departures. WCW will be able to find new talent, but this is around the time they’d seemingly stop knowing how to build them or package them correctly. The WWF’s stranglehold on the business is in full effect now.
Top Three To Watch
1 – Bam Bam Bigelow vs. Barry Windham
2 – Lex Luger vs. Ric Flair
3 – Mike Rotunda vs. Rick Steiner
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Chairshot Classics: NWA-TNA Episode 12 – Best of the X-Division
This recap is going to be a little different from the usual. Since, at the time this episode was done, TNA was still looking for new investors after Health South withdrew its financial backing of the program, the decision was made to do a clip show of the X-Division for Week 12 to fill the timeslot. This was September 4, 2002, Week 13 wouldn’t air until the 18th due to being preempted by remembrance of the 9/11 attacks, which had happened the year before. So, let’s see what’s going on.
We start off with a RARE Lo-Ki interview with Goldilocks. Lo-Ki says there’s no bigger opportunity than this and that opportunities like him don’t get many shots like this on a national level. We also get some fan interviews stating that they keep coming back for the X-Division matches. A lot of TNA stars like Kid Kash, Ron Killings, Monte Brown, and the Flying Elvises sing the praises of the X-Division and how great it is that anyone can compete in it, despite the fact that the division is pretty much made up of cruiserweight size guys.
Jeremy Borash and Goldylocks, who seems to be in a very good mood, probably because Borash isn’t being a jerk to her. Borash and Goldy discuss how great the X-Division has been and how you never know what to expect. We get the explanation about how the X-Division is open to all kinds of athletes regardless of size or wrestling style. Again, I will point out that except for Sonny Siaki, all of the athletes in the X-Division fall into the Cruiserweight category. Also, Siaki had BARELY competed in the X-Division, at least as far as this episode.
ANYWAY, let’s take a look at the matches TNA has dubbed the best of the X-Division.
The Flying Elvises vs Lo-Ki, AJ Styles, and Jerry Lynn
Comment: I remember being very impressed with this match. It seemed like a good opening match for TNA. These six men are easily the best of the X-Division as they actually WRESTLE and do the high-flying stuff. Sonny Siaki stands out here, not only due to his skills, but because he’s easily the tallest and largest man in the match. This was such a good match that the fact that Styles took the pin doesn’t really seem to matter.
In the backstage interview, Estrada talks about how much pressure they were under because they were the first match. Yang says that his favorites to watch were Amazing Red, Lo-Ki, and AJ Styles. We also learn that Styles and Yang are great friends and started out together, which is a nice tidbit. Estrada talks again about paying their dues and working hard and wanting some changes. Yang talks about his WCW run and how he never felt like he’d be an impact player and that it feel different in TNA.
Tenay talks about how the Elvises were the first winners of TNA but that they’ve had communication issues and issues with Siaki’s ego, which prompts a clip of Siaki saying that he’s the best of the X-Division.
Borash and Goldy talk about the Elvises and Borash comments about Siaki thinking Goldy is sweet on him, to which Goldy says ‘Only in his own mind.’
With that settled, we are turning our attention to Lo-Ki, Styles, and Lynn who, along with Psichosis, competed to be the first X-Division Champion.
Double Elimination Round Robin Match For the X-Division Championship: AJ Styles vs Psichosis vs Lo-Ki vs Jerry Lynn.
Comment: This match is, for me, still the best match, not just X-Division, but overall match that TNA has put on so far. That said, I still think they should’ve had a tournament to decide who would compete for the title and brought it down to Jerry Lynn vs AJ Styles because it felt like Lo-Ki and Psichosis were just there to take the pins, especially Psichosis.
Borash and Goldy discuss Styles and Lynn getting the Tag Team Championship and the issues the two men have had with each other during the show’s run so far.
NWA Tag Team Championship: Jerry Lynn and AJ Style vs Slash and Tempest (with James Mitchell).
Comment: First of all, I’m annoyed that they didn’t show us the Tag Team Championship Final between the Rainbow Express and Lynn/Styles, which is what it looked like they were going to show.
Anyway, I still think this was a pretty good match. Slash and Tempest, like many guys in TNA weren’t totally ready for prime time, but still did a really great job of keeping up with Lynn and Styles.
As I’m watching this, a scroll is going across the screen, announcing that TNA will be back in two weeks, so the partnership with Panda Energy must’ve happened pretty quickly.
Watching this back, I’m not totally buying Jerry Lynn’s excuse about Styles playing mind games and pulling ribs as the reason he turned on him. Lynn is clearly not happy about Styles tagging himself in the get the pinfall. Why not just stick with that instead of ret-conning it to make Lynn more sympathetic instead of a veteran being mad about a kid showing him up?
Borash and Goldy continue their discussion about the issues between Lynn and Styles, which has been the central story of the X-Division and how it was all about respect.
NWA World Tag Team Match: The Flying Elvises vs Jerry Lynn and AJ Styles.
Comment: This was another really great match from these teams. The five guys in this segment are the core of the fledgling X-Division because they consistently put on great matches together, though the Elvises tend to stumble when they work with other teams. I still don’t know who did the blade job on Lynn, but they overdid it for that little bump on the guardrail.
After this match, we get a clip of the Styles/Lynn backstage fight and them trying to work things out so that they can function as tag partners. I find it interesting that for all Lynn’s talk about respect, he goes out of his way to disrespect Styles and what Styles has done in his, then, short career. I guess no one told Lynn that the best way to get respect is to give it in return and that he should earn Styles’ respect instead of demanding it after jumping him from behind and beating him up. I guess this is why they had Lynn come up with the excuse of mind games and ribbing to justify him being the babyface despite being a jerk.
We see Styles and Lynn seeming to want to work things out and have the kinks ironed out, but that didn’t even last the one show.
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Chairshot Classics: WWE Survivor Series 2015
With all signs pointing to The Brothers Of Destruction teaming up at WWE’s Crown Jewel on November 2nd, today we’re looking back at another time The Undertaker partnered up with his brother Kane, Survivor Series 2015! It was a celebration of 25 years of ‘The Deadman’ on this evening, but The Wyatt Family looked to spoil the party. Could ‘The New Face Of Fear’ defeat The Brothers Of Destruction and take his place as WWE’s newest evil?
Kickoff Show Match – Traditional Survivor Series Elimination Match: The Miz, Bo Dallas, Stardust & The Ascension (Konnor & Viktor) vs. Neville, The Dudley Boyz (Bubba Ray & D-Von), Titus O’Neil & Goldust
- Gold & Stardust will kickoff the action, Stardust tries a boot, Goldust catches the foot and they slug it out, The Cosmic One falling back into his corner and tagging out. Viktor hits the ring, charges right into a powerslam, Goldust with the cover and he scores an early elimination. Viktor has been eliminated.
- Konnor steps in and has words for The Bizarre One, Titus calling for the tag and he gets it. Collar & elbow lock-up, Konnor backs O’Neil into the corner, doesn’t break clean and hammers away with right hands before celebrating prematurely, Titus turning the tables and unleashing a series of his won. Konnor reverses a whip across, charges in, O’Neil hops up and over and delivers a slam, following with a leg drop before tagging out. D-Von enters the match, connects with a couple of rights and brings in his brother, Bubba hitting a slam and calling D-Von to the top, hitting the Wazzup Headbutt. Bubba gives the orders for tables, Stardust and Miz charge the ring, only to get clotheslined to the outside. The Man That Gravity Forgot comes in, sees Dallas running in and elevates him out to the floor, hits the ropes and flies to the outside with a moonsault plancha as we go to a break….Konnor whips Bubba into the ropes for a back body drop when we come back, drops a big elbow and covers for 1. Bubba ducks a right hand and plants Konnor with a uranage out of nowhere, hooks the leg and gets a sneaky 3 count. Konnor has been eliminated.
- Stardust rushes the ring and runs into a hiptoss, D-Von tags in and takes a knee to the breadbasket, The Cosmic One tagging out and Miz pummels D-Von in the corner. Bo tags and does more of the same, quickly tags out and Stardust rips at D-Von’s face. The A-Lister re-enters the match, snapmares D-Von over and hits the ropes for a running boot that gets a count of 2. He goes to a front facelock, D-Von battles to his feet, Miz with a kneelift, hits the ropes and D-Von plants him with a spinebuster. Stardust gets a tag, climbs to the top for a double axe handle and catches a right hand to the midsection on the way down. D-Von crawls to a tag, The Man That Gravity Forgot spingboards into the ring over Stardust, takes down Dallas and Miz on the apron, then connects with a flurry of kicks to The Cosmic One. Neville scores with an enzuigiri, shoots him in for a back body drop and Stardust with a kick to the chest. He charges Neville in the corner, The Man That Gravity Forgot side-steps it, Bo makes a blind tag and plants him with the Running Bo-Dog, Miz with a blind tag, follows with the Skull Crushing Finale and finishes Neville off. Neville has been eliminated.
- The A-Lister runs his mouth at The Dudleys on the apron, Goldust slides in from behind with a schoolboy and gets the 1-2-3. The Miz has been eliminated.
- Miz can’t believe it and argues with the referees on his way out, Goldust is distracted and Stardust takes advantage as we go to another break….Bo has Goldust on the floor when we return, rolls him back inside and covers for a 2 count before going to a rear chinlock. The Bizarre One finds his footing, breaks the hold and hits the ropes, running into a dropkick by Dallas for another count of 2. Stardust tags, clobbers away at Goldust on the apron, feigns going for a table and changes his mind, stomping away at his brother in the ring. The Cosmic One grabs a crossface chickenwing, pulls Goldust up for a suplex, The Bizarre One counters to a small package for a count of 2, but gets immediately laid out by a clothesline. Stardust with some early celebration, Goldust takes advantage with a schoolboy for 2, The Cosmic One angrily pounding away and bringing Dallas back in. The Inspirational One continues the onslaught, levels Goldust with a short-arm clothesline for a near fall, then goes back to the rear chinlock to wear him out. Bo slams him to the mat trying to get to his feet, Stardust tags and they split The Bizarre One with a wishbone, then drops The Dudleys & Titus off the apron. The Cosmic One runs at Goldust in the corner, meets a boot to the midsection and The Bizarre One plants him with a sunset flip bomb. Bo gets the tag as Goldust reaches Titus, O’Neil with a shoulder to Dallas, squashes Stardust in the corner, then clotheslines Bo and shoots him in for a back body drop. The Inspirational One sees it coming and hits a kick, but gets dropped by a big boot, Titus turning around and catching Stardust coming off the top into multiple backbreakers. O’Neil stacks them in the corner, squashes them both and Goldust & Bubba enter the ring with synchronized Dusty tributes, Clash Of The Titus to Bo and we’re down to 4 on 1. Bo Dallas has been eliminated.
- Stardust realizes he’s all by himself, drops off the apron and tries to take a walk. O’Neil goes out to meet him, Goldust comes up from behind and catches a back elbow, The Cosmic One tries to run away, slides in the ring and runs into a 3D to finish it.
Winners & Sole Survivors: The Dudley Boyz, Titus O’Neil & Goldust
- EA’s Take: I think Renee Young is overblowing just how ‘good’ this match really was. To me it was just an appetizer, a time-filler, something to get the people in the arena a little more hyped up for the main show. The match was not bad by any means, but it was merely a bunch of thrown-together parts and the only significance was the return of Goldust.
Open: Everyone rises to their feet in the arena, as Lilian Garcia is in the ring to sing our National Anthem.
Video: “Once in a generation there comes a phenom. An individual not measured in seconds, days, weeks or even years, but by the legacy he’s built. A presence that’s risen above all challenges and gone head-first into the unknown. But, when a Phenom joins a Demon from the depths of Hell, only time will tell us what the future will bring.” Tonight marks the 25 year anniversary of The Undertaker in WWE, as he and his brother, Kane, look to cement their spot as the keepers of the darkness over The Wyatt Family. A change is coming, as tonight we crown a brand new WWE World Heavyweight Champion. “History is written, by the survivors.”
Match #1 – WWE Title Tournament Semi-Finals: Roman Reigns vs. WWE United States Champion Alberto Del Rio w/Zeb Colter
Collar & elbow tie-up to start, Alberto backs Roman into the corner and they break clean. Another lock-up, Reigns with a side headlock, Del Rio pushes him off into the ropes and gets knocked down by a shoulder, re-thinking his strategy. The champion with a leg kick, backs Reigns into the corner for more to the ribs, then fires off right hands from the 2nd rope. Roman powers out of the corner with Alberto on his shoulder, flipping him to the mat, Del Rio coming right back by pulling Reigns to the outside. The Big Dog drags Alberto out by the foot, looks to drive him into the barricade, Del Rio counters and Roman is sent into the wall, then rolled back inside.
Alberto comes off the top with an overhand chop for a count of 2, Roman reversing a whip into the corner, climbs to the 2nd rope with right hands, Del Rio pushes him off, charges in and gets planted by a tilt-a-whirl powerslam for 2. Roman drives the champion into the top turnbuckle, whips him hard into the corner, charges in and gets elevated to the apron, Alberto hanging him across the top rope and dropping him to the floor with an enzuigiri. Del Rio heads out and rams Reigns into the steel steps as Triple H watches from the back. Back in the arena, El Patron tosses Roman inside, heads up top for another overhand chop and goes to a rear chinlock.
The Big Dog battle to a standing position, whips Del Rio into the corner, rushes in and misses, hitting the ring post shoulder-first. The champion keeps the pressure on with kicks and right hands, charges for a running dropkick, Roman avoids it and Alberto flies through the ropes to the outside. Reigns rolls outside, catches Del Rio climbing up the apron with the Drive-By, bashes his head off the apron and announce desk, then rolls him back in the ring. Alberto tries a clothesline, Reigns ducks it and connects with one of his own, then clobbers the champion in the corner with a flurry more before hitting the ropes for a big boot. The Big Dog calls for the Superman Punch, El Patron ducks out of the way and scores with a Backstabber, makes the cover and gets a near fall.
Del Rio goes back to kicks in the corner, spikes Roman with a DDT for another count of 2, arguing with the ref about the count. The champion sets his sights on a superkick, The Big Dog ducks out of the way, plants Alberto with a Samoan Drop and gets 2. Reigns props Del Rio on the top turnbuckle, attempts a superplex, Alberto with headbutts, gets Reigns in the tree of woe and tries the double stomp. Roman avoids it, Del Rio’s knee buckles on the landing, Reigns coming back with a Superman Punch and positioning himself for the Spear, Alberto countering with a superkick for a near fall.
The champion thinks it’s time for the Cross Armbreaker, Reigns counters into a schoolboy powerbomb, Alberto kicking out at 2. Both men struggle to get to their feet, Alberto grabbing a Cross Armbreaker out of nowhere on the canvas, Reigns powers Del Rio up to a vertical base, but the champion hanging onto the hold in the ropes. The referee finally forces the break, El Patron heads to the top, jumps over Roman who’s getting to his feet, turns around and takes a Spear, Reigns covering to advance.
Winner: Roman Reigns (Spear)
- EA’s Take: Del Rio clearly still hasn’t quite gotten his footing back yet, there were some mix-ups at the beginning of the match that were glaring, things were a bit choppy for a bit there. They were able to turn it around towards the end of the match, but I’ve had Roman as a lock for the finals since the tournament was announced. Nothing surprising here in a match that was similar to a Raw main event.
Backstage: Jojo brings in Roman Reigns for some words, Dean Ambrose coming right in and congratulating his friend on the victory. Roman tells Dean that all he has to do is win and it’ll be them for the title, Ambrose walking away. The Big Dog tells Jojo that once Dean’s done, it will be best friends fighting for the championship. Kevin Owens comes in to remind Roman that he’s not eliminated yet, telling Reigns he’s been close before and tonight, he’s the guy that will stop him. KO walks off, Reigns stating that Owens is about to get his ass whooped.
Match #2 – WWE Title Tournament Semi-Finals: Dean Ambrose vs. WWE Intercontinental Champion Kevin Owens
Ambrose with a hammerlock to start, switches to a side headlock, Owens fighting out and grabbing one of his own. The Lunatic Fringe pushes KO into the ropes and gets dropped by a shoulder knockdown, Owens back into the ropes and Dean with multiple armdrags. The champion reverses whip into the ropes, Ambrose with a schoolboy for a quick 1, gets a waistlock and Owens with a back elbow, using a schoolboy for a quick 1 of his own. KO with shoulders to the midsection in the corner, shoots Dean across and charges in, The Lunatic Fringe hops up and over, hits the ropes and takes Owens down with a forearm.
He rakes KO’s face on the top rope, clotheslines him to the outside and flies with a slingshot crossbody to the floor. Ambrose sends the champion back inside, charges him in the corner with a forearm, follows with a running bulldog and covers for 1. The Lunatic Fringe heading upstairs, Owens hits the ropes and crotches Dean, dropping him to the mat with right hands and scoring with the Cannonball that gets 1. The Prize Fighter utilizes a rear chinlock, Ambrose gains a vertical base and breaks the hold with jabs and chops, Owens countering a whip into the corner and Dean goes in sternum-first.
The champion plants Dean with a torture rack neckbreaker for a 2 count, hits the ropes for a running senton and gets another count of 2. He chokes Ambrose on the middle rope, levels him with a short-arm clothesline, fires away with heavy rights, sends Dean into the ropes for a back elbow and gets another near fall. KO back to the rear chinlock, again Triple H is watching from the back as The Lunatic Fringe fights to his feet. Owens catches him in a sleeper, Dean counters to a back suplex, then avoids a running senton, hits the ropes and they double down off a double clothesline. The Lunatic Fringe tries Dirty Deeds, KO blocks it, they exchange right hands, Ambrose hits the ropes and Owens hangs him on the top rope.
He splits Dean with a gutbuster, heads up top for a moonsault and misses, The Lunatic Fringe scaling the corner to follow with a diving elbow drop and a near fall. Ambrose props Owens on the top turnbuckle, hooks for a superplex, KO blocks it and drops Dean back to the mat. The Lunatic Fringe fires back up to attempt a superplex, the champion counters and powers him into a 2nd rope fisherman’s buster, but still can’t get a 3 count. Owens yells at Dean to stay down, sends him into the ropes for a Pop-Up Powerbomb, Ambrose rebounds off the middle rope and scores with the Lunatic Lariat, KO rolling to the outside.
Ambrose flies through the ropes with a suicide dive, tosses the champion in, Owens rolls out the other side and Dean tries another suicide dive, but gets caught. KO drops The Lunatic Fringe on the announce table, tosses him back in for a Pop-Up Powerbomb, Dean avoids it and lands on his feet turning around into a superkick. Ambrose rebounds off the ropes for another Lunatic Lariat, walks into another superkick, the champion attempts the Pop-Up Powerbomb again, Dean counters with a hurricanrana, then spikes Owens with Dirty Deeds to head to the finals.
Winner: Dean Ambrose (Dirty Deeds)
- EA’s Take: A better match, a lot cleaner than our first semi-final. I had a hard time believing Ambrose wouldn’t win this, but figured the odds were greater than that of Reigns, so it definitely helped make the match more interesting. I’m hoping for something more interesting to happen in the main event, as everything thus far has been expected.
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Chairshot Classics: WCW Halloween Havoc ’92 – Spin The Wheel, Make The Deal
Open: Tony Schiavone & Bruno Sammartino introduce the show, specifically talking about the “Spin the Wheel – Make the Deal” match between Sting and Jake ‘The Snake’ Roberts. WCW World Heavyweight Champion Ron Simmons must be cautious of The Barbarian, and there has been some conflict between Dustin Rhodes and Barry Windham. Missy Hyatt is backstage to figure out whether or not Rick Rude has decided who his choice of guest referee will be for the NWA World Heavyweight Championship match. She has no information at this time and sends it off to the commentary team.
Match #1: Arn Anderson, ‘Beautiful’ Bobby Eaton & Michael ‘P.S.’ Hayes vs. ‘Z-Man’ Tom Zenk, Johnny Gunn & Shane Douglas
Anderson and Gunn get us going. Collar and elbow tie up, Anderson with position, the veteran with some condescension before beating the young kid down. Irish whip, Gunn puts on the breaks and lands a drop kick. Anderson gets a knee to the midsection after a distraction by his teammate, he goes to the top but the Z-Man takes care of him with a drop kick of his own. Anderson’s team regroups on the floor, Double A comes back to the ring. Collar and elbow, Gunn with a wristlock and a tag to Z-Man. Zenk with an elbow and he grabs the wrist. Anderson with a drop toe hold and he tags in Eaton.
Beautiful Bobby with some rights. Zenk reverses the Irish whip and Eaton digs his heels in giving Z-man a shot. They hit the ropes and Zenk executes a high elevation back body drop. He follows it with a drop kick back to Eaton’s corner and Michael Hayes is tagged in to a big pop. Hayes with a side headlock, Z-Man forces him on the ropes, they run and Zenk delivers a hip toss. Hayes slows it down. Collar and elbow tie p and Zenk makes a quick tag to Douglas. Shane twists the wrist, they hit the ropes and Shane is quick with an arm drag. He hangs on with an arm bar until Hayes gets a knee to the gut and tags in Eaton. Shane greets him with an arm drag and he locks in.
Bobby gets position with a vertical base, he moves to the corner for a break but takes some liberties. Douglas reverses the Irish whip and elevates with the back body drop. Headscissor takedown by Shane followed with a single leg takedown. A tag is made to Zenk and he goes right to work on Bobby’s leg. Eaton is able to crawl his way to his corner and tag in The Enforcer. Arn with a forearm and a side headlock, they hit the ropes, Double A gets a shoulder tackle but he’s caught in a sleeper hold on the comeback. Anderson escapes it with a belly to back suplex. Hayes is tagged in and he hits a quick elbow, followed with a fist to the face before grabbing a reverse chin lock. Z-Man fights out with elbows to the gut, he hits the ropes but Hayes catches him with a kick.
Swinging neckbreaker by Hayes and he gets two. Eaton is tagged back in, Z-Man trying to fight him off. Z-Man lifts Eaton for an atomic drop, unaware Eaton tagged in Anderson. Eaton reverses the Irish whip, Z-Man ducks his clothesline but runs into the elbow of the legal man. Anderson with a lateral press and he gets two. Anderson feeds Z-Man to the corner and he tags in Michael Hayes. The Freebird locks in a modified camel clutch, he breaks it, goes for a vertical suplex but it’s reversed. Hayes tags Anderson while Zenk tags Douglas. Shane goes to work on all of his opponents. A front face lock is placed on Anderson, and Eaton cheap shots him at the knees.
Double A goes to work on the leg that was clipped, Eaton is tagged in and he enters with some flying knee to knee contact. Beautiful Bobby locks in the figure four and he gets some help from Michael Hayes. Douglas tries to roll it over and Eaton smartly tags in Anderson. Arn sends him for an Irish whip, he comes off the ropes and catches Double A with an atomic drop but both men knock heads and they’re down. Anderson crawls and tags in Hayes but Douglas is able to tag is Gunn right after. Johnny sends Hayes for the ride and a back body drop, he’s rushed by Eaton who gets a scoop slam and a melee breaks out. While all six competitors brawl, Johnny Gunn hits a Lou Thesz Press on Michael Hayes and they pick up the win!
Winners: ‘Z-Man’ Tom Zenk, Johnny Gunn & Shane Douglas (Gunn/Lou Thesz Press)
- EA’s Take: This match felt like a collection of guys with nothing meaningful to do storyline-wise (which is basically the case), but they still delivered a perfectly fine opening bout. With three grizzled vets on the other side of the ring, I’m not sure who they’re trying to put over here, if anyone. No one on the winning team stood out, but I sincerely enjoyed the match all the same.
Backstage: Missy Hyatt is still outside Rick Rude’s locker room. She can’t get in, but here comes Harley Race. The former World Champion is just here to watch a championship match and he won’t let Hyatt into the locker room.
Match #2: Ricky ‘The Dragon’ Steamboat vs. ‘Flyin’ Brian Pillman
Collar and elbow tie up, Pillman gets position and chops away. Steamboat retaliates with a chop of his own, they hit the ropes and Ricky takes Pillman down with a shoulder block. He tries another and gets a two count. Pillman tries flipping Steamboat over the top rope but The Dragon hangs on and grabs a victory roll for two. Off the kickout, Steamboat hits the turnbuckle and Pillman scoop slams him. Pillman taunts and Steamboat plays possum, baiting him into an arm bar. Pillman up to a vertical base, they hit the ropes, Steamboat with a shoulder tackle and a hip toss. Deep arm drag by The Dragon and he hangs on.
Steamboat moves to the wrist and he puts a lot of power on it. Pillman reverses with a drop toe hold, he can’t grab the chin lock and Steamboat reverses back into the hammerlock. Steamboat with knees to the kidneys, they’re up to vertical. Pillman fights back with forearms and Steamboat retaliates with chops and a back body drop. Scoop slam by Steamboat, but he’s met with a slow blow, an eye rake and a clothesline. Pillman hangs Steamboat on the ropes and throws him back. Steamboat is sent for the ride, he leap frogs Pillman and catches him in a choke on the comeback. Pillman meets the turnbuckle, Steamboat tries to send him for the ride but Brian drops down. The ref backs Steamboat off and Flyin Brian takes a cheap shot.
Brian rubs Steamboat’s face into the canvass. Steamboat fights back with some chops and sends Pillman into the turnbuckle. They run the ropes and Pillman counters with a head scissor take down. Pillman takes Steamboat to the middle rope, he sends The Dragon for the ride and he counters into a back slide and a two count. Pillman quickly hammers Steamboat’s head into the canvass and chokes him out. Ref breaks it up. Pillman sets Steamboat on the top turn buckle and slaps him in the face. He sets up for a superplex, Steamboat blocks it and throws Pillman to the canvass. Steamboat comes off the turnbuckle but he runs into a drop kick by Flyin Brian.
Pillman says its over, Steamboat gets his shoulder up on multiple covers. Brian checks in with the ref and is victim of a belly to back suplex. The ref starts his 10 count, Steamboat is up first, Pillman reverses the whip to the ropes and catches The Dragon in a sleeper. Steamboat drives into the corner, Pillman hangs on, but not the second time. From the apron, Pillman snaps Steamboat’s neck off the top rope. He climbs the turnbuckles, Steamboat catches him with a gorilla press. Steamboat is fired up, Pillman escapes to the floor. Ricky gives chase and chops him on the outside. Pillman is rolled back in, Brian regains the advantage with a knee to the face and some chops.
Steamboat is sent into the turnbuckle, The Dragon fights back with chops. Steamboat tries to grab him, again Brian rolls to the floor but he’s followed again. Irish whip by Steamboat and he runs into a knee. Pillman with a cross body press from the 2nd rope and he gets a two count. Standing switch into a back breaker by Steamboat who heads for the top rope. A big sunset flip earns him two. Pillman counters the pin, but The Dragon flips him back and he picks up the 3 count.
Winner: Ricky ‘The Dragon’ Steamboat (Roll-Up)
- EA’s Take: This was exactly what you would expect, Pillman is showing some heel behavior. He’s also taken quite a few losses, albeit to legitimate opponents, you’d hate to see his talent get buried. Unfortunately, this is kind of his road until a partnership that wasn’t fondly remembered until years after Pillman’s early passing.