The war between NWA World Heavyweight Champion Ric Flair and Terry Funk heats up at The Great American Bash 1989! The WWF ‘s grasp of the mainstream attention remains, where WCW continues quietly bringing in foreign and young talent alike, while keeping themselves going with legends like Flair and the Funker. Turner’s organization has yet to get too silly, which we’ll see in the coming years, but this card has a load of names so let’s get to it!
Match #1 is a Two-Ring King Of The Hill Battle Royal: ‘Hot Stuff’ Eddie Gilbert, Terry Gordy, Scott Hall, ‘Wild’ Bill Irwin, ‘Flyin’ Brian Pillman, Ranger Ross, Sid Vicious, Mike Rotunda, Ron Simmons, Rick Steiner, Scott Steiner, Dan Spivey, ‘Dr. Death’ Steve Williams & ‘Gamesmaster’ Kevin Sullivan
RULES: All participants begin in ring #1. You may only eliminate your opponent in this round by throwing them over the top rope and into ring 2. This ring becomes a traditional battle royal in which any top rope is in play for elimination. The winners of ring 1 and ring 2 will have a match for $50,000. Sid Vicious and Brian Pillman are the final remaining participants in ring #1. The out-sized Pillman attempts a cross body, but Vicious ducks and Flyin’ Brian leaps over the top rope. Sid is the winner of ring #1.
Dan Spivey, Steve Williams and Mike Rotunda are the final participants in ring #2. Williams is fired up and wants to take on both heels. He whips Rotunda to the ropes for a power slam. Williams pulls his opponent up and Rotunda reverses a 2nd whip to the ropes. He tries to clothesline Williams over but misses and tumbles to the floor and is eliminated. Spivey wastes no time to capitalize on Williams, but Dr. Death reverses his Irish whip and hits him with a clothesline. Williams can’t seem to knock the big man over the top rope though.
There is a shoulder tackle from Williams, but on his 2nd attempt he is tripped by Rotunda who is standing on the floor. When Williams gets up, he’s distracted by Rotunda and is hit from behind. Steve Williams is eliminated and Dan Spivey wins ring #2. Outside of the ring, Teddy Long comes down with a microphone in hand explaining that he’s not stupid enough to let his tag-team partners fight. They will split the $50,000
Winners: Sid Vicious & Dan Spivey
- EA’s Take: So this is a pretty unusual way to start the show, seeing as only a couple of guys in this match aren’t pulling double-duty tonight. It featured a cluster of eliminations in a quick timeframe, but hey, a hearty welcome to a steroid-bound, mustachioed version of Scott Hall! This was also the pay-per-view debut for Pillman, Simmons and Scott Steiner (in-ring).
Match #2: ‘Flyin’ Brian Pillman vs. ‘Wild’ Bill Irwin
Irwin wastes no time in attacking Pillman into the corner. He sends him with an Irish whip to the opposite corner, but Pillman uses the turnbuckle and leaps over his head. Pillman delivers a hip toss and follows it with a drop kick. He grabs Irwin with a side headlock and uses the turnbuckles for momentum to whip his opponent down to the mat. Irwin tries to reverse and roll him over for a pin, but Pillman hangs on to the lock and gets him back into position. The two men work to their feet and power to the corner.
Irwin delivers a few forearm shots. He whips Pillman to the opposite corner, but again Pillman lifts himself up from the middle turnbuckle and catches Irwin’s head. Irwin is flung out of the ring to the floor with a head scissor take down. When Irwin tries to stand up, he is hit by Pillman’s baseball slide. Irwin returns to the ring, and Pillman executes a few hip tosses and keeps him down on the mat with an arm bar submission. They work back to their feet, they run the ropes but it’s Irwin who regains control with a hiptoss. He tries to follow it with an elbow but Pillman moves.
Pillman is back to his feet and uses an arm drag and another arm bar submission. Irwin works his way back up once again and breaks the hold. They run the ropes, but he is hit by Pillman’s cross body tackle and it’s followed by another armdrag/armbar combo. Once the hold is broken, they run again. Pillman leaps over Irwin the first time but is caught by a side slam the second. Irwin follows it up with a vertical suplex and he taunts Pillman. Irwin throws Pillman through the middle rope taunting his desire to “fly”. Back to the apron for Pillman, and he’s met with Irwin’s forearm.
Irwin continues to bully Pillman. He slams Pillman into the turnbuckle, and follows it with a snapmare take down and into a reverse chin lock. The crowd begins clapping for Pillman who is struggling while trapped in the chin lock. Pillman works to his feet, but Pillman delivers shots to the side. Pillman comes back with shots of his own, but the momentum is stopped when he’s kicked on an attempted back body drop. Irwin delivers a vicious clothesline and gets a near fall.
He ties Pillman up on the middle rope, and Irwin lands a massive knee to his back. Irwin chokes Pillman on the rope until the referee gets him off. Pillman is once again thrown through the middle rope and Irwin continues to vocalize. Pillman comes back into the ring, dazed, and Irwin puts him right across the middle rope again. Irwin attempts another running knee to Pillman’s back but Pillman moves and Irwin bounces off the rope. Flyin’ Brian lands two drop kicks, and he whips Irwin to the ropes for a flying clothes line and a big splash.
Pillman covers for 2. Pillman chops Irwin to the mat and heads for the top rope. He misses a flying drop kick and lands on his back. Irwin stomps Pillman’s head and pulls him back to his feet. Side salto suplex by Irwin who only gets a two count. He pulls Pillman back up and throws him from ring #1 to ring #2. The referee stops Irwin from following him and Irwin begins to argue. Pillman gets up on the top rope of ring #2 and lands a flying cross body into ring #1 which is good enough for the pin.
Winner: ‘Flyin’ Brian Pillman (Top Rope Crossbody)
- Off The Top: Here’s a great example of how WCW is upping the athleticism and youth on its roster, as Pillman really shines here. Coming out of Stampede Wrestling and a product of the famous Hart Family, this former Cincinnati Bengal brought something to WCW that we’ve really only seen out of Muta to this point. ‘Flyin’ Brian will always be remembered for his ‘Loose Cannon’ persona much later on, bu this version of Pillman was a pioneer. His “Goon” of an opponent is the veteran from Mid-South and WCCW, Bill Irwin, who only saw his real success in those promotions. If you didn’t get my Goon reference, spoiler alert; he ends up being The Goon.
Backstage: Paul E. Dangerously explains that he saw Jim Cornette fall off the scaffold in 1986 and he plans to target the knee.
Match #3: The Skyscrapers (Sid Vicious & Dan Spivey) w/Teddy Long vs. The Dynamic Dudes (Johnny Ace & Shane Douglas)
Spivey and Ace start the match. They lock up and Spivey takes several shots to the midsection. Johnny Ace hits him with a dropkick off the ropes, but Spivey is unaffected. Spivey delivers huge forearm shots and follows it with a clothesline. Ace tries to run at him, but he’s powered down by Spivey’s shoulder block. Ace is back to his feet, and he baseball slides under Spivey. Douglas comes into the ring untagged and they hit Spivey with a double drop kick. This is followed by a double Irish whip and a double monkey flip.
Douglas whips his partner into Spivey, but when he himself runs at him for a clothesline he is knocked down by Spivey’s big boot. Douglas ducks a clothesline when he is whipped to the rope. He spins over Spivey’s back while Ace heads for the top rope. Johnny hits a cross body as Douglas trips him from behind. The Dudes get a 1 count. They slow it down, and it’s still Ace and Spivey. They lock up, Spivey delivers straight lefts, Irish whips him to the corner and hits a clothesline. Vicious is tagged in and he delivers a double axe handle before a huge chop. Ace can’t fight back and Spivey is tagged back in.
Another huge clothesline delivered to Ace followed by a body slam. Ace moves on Spivey’s elbow and Douglas is tagged in. Douglas tries his best to go on the offense, but they run the ropes and he is caught with a side slam. The crowd chants “We Want Sid!”. Spivey lifts Douglas up for a powerbomb. Douglas is pulled back up, whipped to the ropes and is knocked out of the ring with a big boot. Teddy Long takes some liberties. Douglas is hit with a vertical suplex to re-enter the ring. Spivey gets a 2 count and Sid is tagged back in. The crowd pops for him.
Vicious delivers a big clothesline and soaks up the fans’ cheering. He chokes Douglas into the corner and knocks him down with an Irish whip. Vicious holds Douglas down on the mat, squeezing his lower back. He tags Spivey back in and the crowd boos. Side slam by the big Dan Spivey. Douglas attempts a cross body but he’s caught and put into a back breaker. Spivey goes to the top rope but misses a diving head but. Douglas escapes Spivey and a tag is made to Ace who goes to work with kicks to the midsection.
Johnny hits a flying clothesline from the top. He goes for the pin, but Vicious breaks it up. Douglas attacks Vicious, but Sid rakes the eyes and tosses him out to the apron. The Skyscrapers stand in opposite corners as Ace gets up to his feet slowly. They go for a double clothesline, but Ace ducks and the big men hit each other. The Dudes double drop kick Vicious and hit Spivey with a double hip toss. The ref demands Douglas leave the ring and while he’s distracted, Vicious pulls Ace to the mat hair first when he is set up for Spivey’s powerbomb. The ref turns back around and Spivey goes for another powerbomb. It’s very sloppy but it’s enough for the win.
Winners: The Skyscrapers (Spivey/Powerbomb)
- EA’s Take: It’s still really early in his career, but the crowd was infatuated with Sid, likely for his unique size and look. He looked like a monster, but he wasn’t really involved much in the match and it seemed to disappoint the crowd. Unfortunately, he was only two years into the business after a chance encounter with Randy Savage and Lanny Poffo, so he was probably being protected here, which was the whole point of putting The Skyscrapers together.
Backstage: Jim Cornette explains that he doesn’t care if Dangerously breaks his leg, he’ll crawl and keep fighting. He accuses Dangerously of stealing all the tricks of his trade.
Match #4 is a Tuxedo Match: Paul E. Dangerously vs. Jim Cornette
Enormous pop for Jim Cornette’s entrance – better than any wrestler so far in the show. Cornette clocks Dangerously in the face and rips off his coat. Dangerously throws a powder substance in Cornette’s face and uses his phone to beat Jim’s knee. Cornette has lost his jacket. Paul E. with a right hand and delivers stomps to the bad knee. Paul E. wraps Cornette’s leg around the middle rope to apply more pressure before Cornette slaps him off. Paul E. uses his cumber bun to choke Cornette.
Jimmy delivers a low blow to break it up. He chokes Dangerously with his own cumber bun. Paul E. breaks it up in the corner. Cornette tries a kick as he’s struggling to stand and Paul E. spits in his direction. Cornette rolls out to the floor and Dangerously continues to strike the knee. Cornette is rammed shoulder first into the post and Dangerously rolls into the ring and taunts confidently. Cornette rolls back into the ring, but Paul E. slaps him down to the mat. Paul E goes for an elbow but Cornette rolls out of the way.
Paul E uses straight rights to Cornette, but Jim gets a burst of adrenaline and turns the momentum on him. Dangerously is pounded down to the mat with a series of right hands and he strips Dangerously of his shirt. Dangerously is whipped into the ropes, and the two men collide in a ridiculous shoulder tackle attempt. Dangerously appears to get more powder in his hand to throw at Cornette. Instead Jim kicks his hand and the plan backfires. Cornette rips off the pants and Dangerously sprints back to the locker room.
Winner: Jim Cornette
- EA’s Take: I know Bra & Panties matches were popular during the Attitude Era, but the concept of two un-athletic dudes ripping each other’s clothes off is a strange draw in my book! Especially when Bob Caudle is saying things like, “OK, let’s see some clothes come off!”. Whatever melts your butter, Bob.
Backstage: Gary Hart is backstage explaining that the Great Muta isn’t doing an interview so he is not distracted. He reminds Sting that Muta is undefeated.
Match #5 is a Texas Tornado Match: The Varsity Club (Mike Rotunda & ‘Gamesmaster’ Kevin Sullivan) vs. The Steiner Brothers (Rick and Scott) w/Missy Hyatt
The teams waste no time to get the action rolling. Rick and Sullivan head for the floor while Scott hits a back body drop and clothesline. Rick is hit with a chair but it doesn’t effect him. He turns the table and hits Sullivan with it. The two continue to trade blows and Rick is hit with an atomic drop on the gate. Rick and Sullivan bash each other with a table while Rotunda gets a nearfall in the ring. Rick and Sullivan continue their back and forth shots while Scott has turned the momentum.
Scott with 10 punches to the head of Rotunda before launching him across the ring with a hip toss. Rick is rolled back in the ring as Scott is tossed to the floor. The Varsity Club take advantage of the 2:1 with a clothesline to Rick. Rotunda holds Rick for Sullivan but Scott is back in the ring so Rotunda redirects his attention. Sullivan hits Steiner with a clothesline off the middle turn buckle while Scott reverses Rotunda’s attempt to run his head into the far turnbuckle. Rick fights back against Sullivan and hits him with a belly to belly suplex. At the same time, Scott lifts Rotunda up and hangs him upside down at the far turnbuckle and delivers kicks to the midsection.
Rick hits Sullivan with a power slam and manages a 2 count. On the other side of the ring, Scott rolls Rotunda up into a small package and he also gets 2. Rick stands on the middle turnbuckle to deliver rights to Sullivan but he’s tossed over the top rope. Rotunda has also turned momentum and hits Scott with a snap suplex. Sullivan stomps Rick’s face from the apron while Rotunda holds Scott in place until he and Sullivan can deliver a double clothesline. The Club gets a 2 count. Sullivan attempts a back body drop which Rick tries to reverse into a sunset flip. When he can’t Rick uses his head for a low blow.
Rick hits Sullivan with a Steiner-line but Rotunda ties him up after. Scott Steiner sneaks behind Rotunda for a small package and a 2 count. Rick Steiner is tossed through the middle ropes by Sullivan. The Varsity Club hits Scott with a double back body drop. Rick Steiner rolls back into the ring with a chair but Sullivan steals it and hits him on the head with it while Rotunda tosses Scott out of the ring. The Club whip Rick to the ropes for a double clothes line. Rick ducks and Scott is on the apron and he pulls down the rope.
Rotunda tumbles over the top rope but Sullivan hits Rick with a clothesline on the way back. Sullivan pulls up Rick for a body slam, but Scott is on the top rope and he lands a crossbody. With both Steiners on top of him, Sullivan can’t kick out.
Winners: The Steiner Brothers (Scott/Top Rope Crossbody)
- EA’s Take: It was pretty cool to see the start of one of the greatest tag teams to ever step into the ring, The Steiners. Scotty had been working previously, but only was in his 4th year as a pro by the time he hit WCW, starting off in some singles matches before pairing up with Rick. You could see early on, despite the fact that he did a lot of work with a guy who could help him along (Rotunda), Scott had a lot of potential.
Match #6 for the NWA World Television Championship: NWA World Television Champion Sting w/’Hot Stuff’ Eddie Gilbert vs. The Great Muta w/Gary Hart
The two men are in opposite rings and Sting does a flying plancha from ring 1 into ring 2. Stings rolls out to the floor to enter ring 1, where their match is supposed to take place. While he does this, Muta heads for the top rope to greet him with a judo chop. Another chop from Muta and he whips Sting to the turnbuckle and delivers a power elbow. A backbreaker from Muta, but Sting moves on the follow up moonsault. Muta misses a spinning kick, but hits Sting with his follow up kicks and Sting tumbles to the floor.
A flying crossbody over the top rope to Sting by Muta. Sting gets back up to the apron and meets Muta with a kick to the midsection and a clothesline. Sting goes for the top rope, lands a flying clothesline and gets a 2 count. Sting delivers a standing drop kick and Muta rolls out to the floor. Sting leaps over the top rope to the floor, but Muta isn’t there and Sting lands on his feet. Some rights from Sting before Muta rolls back into the ring. A body slam from Sting but he can only get a 1 count. Muta reverses a vertical suplex and applies an oriental sleeper hold on Sting.
Sting works out of it, but he’s still caught in a reverse chin lock. Sting gets to the ropes, but Muta stays right on him. Sting reverses a whip to the ropes and hits Muta with a military press. The Great Muta moves on Sting’s elbow attempt. Instead, Muta lands one of his own and he goes into a seated reverse chin lock with his knee on Sting’s spine. Sting strengths his way to his feet but Muta moves the hold into an abdominal stretch. Eddie Gilbert tells the ref that Muta is using the ropes for leverage. Muta rolls him down to the mat and gets a 2 count.
Muta hits an elbow to Sting’s neck and dumps him to the floor but the Stinger is immediately back into the ring ready to fight. Muta slows the momentum by getting his fingers in Sting’s eyes. Kicks to the midsection by Muta He attempts another Irish whip/elbow combination but Sting moves. Sting with tons of energy hits a series of clotheslines and completes it with a bulldog. Another standing dropkick by Sting and Muta rolls to the outside temporarily. They run the ropes. Muta attempts to spray his red substance into Sting’s face.
Sting ducks and it instead hits referee Nick Patrick. Sting grabs Muta, but Muta moves on the Stinger Splash. Snapmare take down by Muta who lands his moonsault. Referee Tommy Young is down to replace Patrick, but the delay results in only a 2 count. Sting ducks a kick and catches Muta in belly to back suplex. Sting gets the 3 count and ends Muta’s undefeated streak. Gary Hart is questioning whether or not Sting had his shoulders down as well. The referees consult and Hart gives Muta the belt. The two head back to the locker room with it as the confused crowd chants “Bullshit”.
Winner and STILL NWA World Television Champion: Sting (Bridging Back Suplex)
- EA’s Take: Don’t mind my Sting bias, but this was really a great match. The Stinger is clearly a big part of the company’s future, but they really did him a disservice in the last two pay-per-views. This was a nice change after the previous 6 minute match with Butch Reed (which I swear featured 3 minutes of reverse chin locks) and the 2 minute match with The Iron Sheik. This was a nice showcase for the young Sting, who got to show he could go with someone other than Flair. The highly skilled Muta posed a different kind of challenge that fans here in the States had yet to see Sting face.
Backstage: Lex Luger demands that this match not be no DQ, or there won’t be a match.
Match #7 is No Disqualification for the NWA United States Championship: NWA United States Champion Lex Luger vs. Ricky ‘The Dragon’ Steamboat
The ring announcer verifies that this is a no-DQ match. Luger protests and demands Steamboat waive it or he will not get a chance at the belt, giving him 30 seconds. Steamboat obliges reluctantly. The two tie up aggressively and Luger shoves him off twice. The third tie up and Luger tries to take a cheap shot. Steamboat ducks the attempt and rolls up Luger for a 1 count. Back to their feet, they run the ropes Steamboat reverses a back body drop with an inside cradle. Steamboat hits Luger with 2 drop kicks and follows it up with some vicious chops.
Irish whip to the corner and Steamboat lands a back body drop. He chops Luger to the ground and Lex tries to escape to the floor. Steamboat gives chase and continues his chops and hits Luger with an atomic drop. Back on the apron, Luger slows the momentum with a knee with the midsection. Luger kicks Steamboat back out to the floor, follows him and delivers an axe handle followed by a clothesline. Steamboat fights back as they circle the ring. Steamboat hits Luger’s head off the commissioner’s table and rolls Lex back in. Steamboat attempts to come off the top, but Luger punches him in the stomach. Luger follows it with a side back breaker.
The Total Package works over Steamboats back with big fists. Luger with straight rights to Steamboat’s face before throwing him over with a military press. Luger continues to work on the back, this time with knees. Lateral press by Luger but he can only get 2. Luger argues with the referee, and Steamboat rolls him over for a surprise pin. Luger comes back with a few tough clotheslines and Steamboat fights to stay up but cannot. Luger pursues Steamboat and hot shots him off the top rope. Steamboat tries fight back with more chops. Referee Tommy Young stops Steamboat’s hand when Luger hits the corner and the Package takes a cheapshot while he’s tied up.
Powerslam by Luger and he gets a 2 count. Steamboat ducks Luger’s clothesline and delivers a cross body but cannot get 3. Luger lifts Steamboat for an inverted atomic drop and then taunts the first row of fans. Steamboat reverses an attempted back body drop with a swinging neck breaker. Steamboat lifts Luger up, but Lex lands on his feet behind him. He runs at Steamboat who hits the mat and Luger tumbles over the top rope to the floor. Back on the apron, Steamboat delivers straight rights to a frazzled Luger.
Steamboat pounds Luger’s chest. He attempts to lift Luger back into the ring with a power slam but Luger falls on top of him and gets a count of 2 and a half. Irish Whip by Luger but Steamboat jumps to the middle rope. He leapfrogs over Luger, but Lex gets his boot up to prevent Steamboat from attacking. Luger heads for the top rope, but Steamboat is up to his feet and delivers a military press. Luger works his way to his feet and Steamboat lands a big chop from the top rope. He covers him and gets a near fall. Luger pulls himself up.
Steamboat goes in for a clothesline but instead Luger hits a back body drop from ring 2 into ring 1. Luger follows him into ring 1, but he goes to the floor and finds a chair. The referee tries to stop him but can’t and he’s thrown out of the way. Steamboat grabs Luger by the legs and whips him into the turnbuckle which uses the chair against him. Referee Tommy Young comes back seeing Steamboat attempting to use the chair on Luger and demands that he doesn’t. Steamboat lightly shoves him out of the way which earns him a DQ.
Winner and STILL NWA United States Champion: Lex Luger (Disqualification)
- After The Bell: To the fans’ delight, Steamboat attacks Luger with the chair, eventually chasing him all the way up the entryway.
- EA’s Take: There was no way the match wasn’t going to end in a DQ after a big stink was made about it by Luger, so the obviousness of the finish hurt a little. This means no matter what, Luger was keeping the belt. I was incorrect on how I thought it would play out, as I just thought Luger would do something cheap, Steamboat would win and that’s how he’d keep it. It was surprising to see Steamboat, who is carrying the squeaky clean image, be the one who not only earned the DQ, but aggressively pursued Luger after. It did really pop the people though!
Match #8 is the War Games: The Road Warriors (Hawk & Animal), The Midnight Express (Bobby Eaton & Stan Lane) & ‘Dr. Death’ Steve Williams w/Paul Ellering & Jim Cornette vs. The Fabulous Freebirds (‘Gorgeous’ Jimmy Garvin, Michael ‘P.S.’ Hayes & Terry Gordy) & The Samoan Swat Team (Samu & Fatu) w/Paul E. Dangerously
Jimmy Garvin and Bobby Eaton will start the preliminary 5 minute round. The two lock up and exchange rights. In the corner, Garvin delivers knees, but Eaton fights back. They exchange Irish whips and Eaton hits a neckbreaker. He misses an elbow drop and Garvin takes over. Body slam by Garvin. The two run the ropes and Eaton catches him with an atomic drop. More back and forth offense before Garvin tosses Eaton face first into the cage. Terry Gordy pulls on Eaton’s hair from outside of the cage while Garvin stomps.
On their feet, Eaton reverses an attempt to hit his head on the turn buckle. He slaps Garvin and delivers a snap mare. He throws Garvin to the ropes but Jimmy outstrengths him on the shoulder tackle. Garvin holds Eaton on the rope in a reverse chin lock while Michael Hayes taunts him from the outside. Garvin hammers Eaton’s head. Eaton rakes the eyes and delivers a backbreaker on Garvin. A couple rights from Eaton and another back breaker. Eaton has the upper hand with a body slam as Garvin’s team is about to send another member in. Eaton locks in a Boston Crab and the bell rings.
Terry Gordy rushes the ring and takes Eaton down with a right. Gordy throws Eaton into the cage and the teammates take advantage of the double team. Eaton is completely incapacitated and is on the receiving end of a double elbow. The two Freebirds just mercilessly punch and stomp Eaton down on the mat. Garvin holds Eaton upright but Bobby ducks a punch and Jimmy is clocked. The 2 on 1 is too much though and Eaton is again double teamed into the cage. The bell rings and Steve Williams enters and heads right up the turnbuckles. He’s met quickly by the Freebirds. They brawl before Williams clotheslines both of them.
Gordy and Williams enter the other ring and Williams does reps with him in a military press. Garvin chokes Eaton between the rings and Gordy hits Williams with a clothesline. Eaton and Gordy exchange rights and Williams comes back with a clothesline of his own on Gordy. The clock counts down and Samu is the next to enter the ring. He immediately goes after Williams with an impressive karate kick. His teammates join in on the stomping. Samu and Gordy take turns elbowing Williams on the back as Garvin rips at Eaton’s face. A head butt from Samu on Eaton who is being held by Garvin. A double snap suplex is delivered on Williams as time is running down.
Animal is the next to enter the ring. The crowd is loving it and he immedaitely goes after Samu. He tosses Samu out of the ring and delivers two clotheslines to Gordy. Animal follows Samu into ring #2 and he delivers a series of rights. He throws Samu back into the other ring and follows him with a diving shoulder tackle. Eaton helps Animal deliver a vicious clothesline on Garvin. He does the same for Williams’ sake. Michael Hayes is outside of the ring instructing Fatu to “kill” when he gets in there. Animal holds Samu for Eaton and vice versa. The clock counts down and here comes Fatu.
He goes right after Animal and both Samoans head butt him in the corner. The Samoans double clothesline animal and stretch his hamstrings on the mat. Animal is getting stomped on the mat and the crowd is screaming for Hawk. Gordy holds Williams in a choke over the ropes, but Williams reverses it into a side slam. Garvin rakes at Eaton’s face, but Eaton fights back with punches to the kidneys and a head butt. The clock is counting and here comes Stan Lane. Lane comes in on fire, and slams all 4 of his opponents head first into the cage. This helps his teammates get the upper hand and the 8 men brawl. Michael Hayes realizes he has to go next and he sounds disappointed. Williams and Animal take turns with clotheslines on Fatu. Eaton uses the cage to swing and take a kick at Gordy.
The Samoans gang up on Animal until Eaton breaks it up. The countdown is on and Michael Hayes enters the ring. Hayes goes around and lands his DDT on several of his worn down opponents. He goes to the other ring to strut. He taunts Hawk before stomping on Animal more. The crowd chants “We Want Hawk!”. A few wide shots as the team of heels is in control. Stan Lane is able to reverse Hayes’ momentum with a spinning kick to the mid section and follows it by bashing his head off the turn buckle. Terry Gordy snaps Williams’ head back with a clothesline.
The countdown is on and here comes Hawk. He goes right to the top turn buckle and double clotheslines the Samoans. He hits a clothesline on Michael Hayes and heads for the other ring. He beats on Terry Gordy on the ropes, whips him to the opposite rope and Williams helps Hawk lay him out. He lifts Garvin over his head and hot shots him on the top turn buckle. In the other ring, Eaton hits a DDT on Michael Hayes. He follows it with a DDT on Samu. Hawk dives into the opposite ring with a shoulder block.
Eaton drives Hayes head first into the cage. Samu tries to get Dangerously’s phone but it won’t fit through the cage. Action happening all over with the babyface team in control. Michael Hayes is thrown into the cage again by Eaton while Hawk works on Garvin in the corner. Animal is alone in the ring with Gordy until Hawk joins him and they call for the Doomsday Device. Jimmy Garvin rushes over to break it up. Instead, Hawk hits Garvin with a flying clothesline. Animal hits shots on Gordy and the two work over and into ring 2. Hawk delivers a neck breaker on Garvin and then puts him in the hangman’s neck breaker. Garvin can’t take it and he gives up.
Winners: The Road Warriors, The Midnight Express & ‘Dr. Death’ Steve Williams (Hawk/Hangman’s Neckbreaker)
- EA’s Take: I know I’m not alone in saying that the War Games concept might be the coolest thing NWA/WCW ever did and I always found myself enjoying them, no matter how much of a Gong Show they could turn out to be. The people are really clamoring for Hawk here, which is why I think he could have been a big star on his own had he A: wanted to be and B: had his head on straight. A lot of great foils here as well, one who really stood out to me was Terry Gordy.
Backstage: Ric Flair gives an uncharacteristically quiet interview and they discuss the condition of his neck. Funk injured Flair’s neck and they discuss the fact that he hasn’t even had a warm up match before going back out there. Flair says he requested matches, but they were not granted. Nonetheless, he feels ready.
Match #9 for the NWA World Heavyweight Championship: NWA World Heavyweight Champion ‘Nature Boy’ Ric Flair vs. Terry Funk w/Gary Hart
Funk and Flair start by brawling on the outside. Flair gets the upper-hand and struts in the ring. Funk is frustrated and he pulls at the railing. Funk is distracted by a fan and Flair jumps off the apron with an axe handle. Back into the ring for Flair as Funk whips a chair in the ring. Flair backs the ref off and the two men finally tie up in the ring. Funk takes control with physical chops, but Flair returns the favor and chops him over the top rope and to the Flair. The champ delivers another axehandle from the apron. Funk lures him in and runs Flair into the ring post.
Funk is up on the apron kicking Flair in the face. Flair holds onto Funk’s foot; Funk punches him off. Funk is in the ring, and Flair is on the apron. Funk slaps Flair’s around before delivering a vertical suplex back into the ring. There is a 2 count. Funk cannot get Flair up for a follow up suplex. He holds Flair temporarily in a front face lock, but Flair rolls out to the floor. Back to the apron for Flair, and Funk delivers shots to the back of the neck. Flair fights back and sets up for a suplex to the floor. He gets Funk over but it’s sloppy.
The two exchange hard chops on the outside. Funk tries to roll back into the ring but Flair doesn’t let him. More chops before Funk rakes the eyes of Flair. They rolls back into the ring. Funk sets up for a DDT, but Flair lifts him for a back body drop outside of the ring. Flair gives chase and delivers a snapmare take down on the outside. Flair works over the neck of Terry Funk as Gary Hart looks on. They roll back into the ring and Flair is relentless on Funk’s neck. He drops a big knee on the back of Funk’s neck twice. Flair rolls him over for a lateral press but he can only get 2.
Flair lifts Funk and delivers a pile driver of his own. The crowd cheers as Flair does it again. Terry Funk falls backward out of the ring and crawls down the entry way. Flair gives chase and twists Funk’s neck once again. Flair rolls Funk back into the ring and slaps him in the face. Funk tries to fight back but the Nature Boy delivers a huge forearm. A belly to back suplex from the champ and he looks for the figure four. Flair locks it in. Gary Hart throws a branding iron into the ring and then gets the refs attention.
The ref doesn’t see the foreign object and Funk breaks the hold with its use. Flair is reeling and bleeding. Funk delivers a series a lefts to Flair’s head and sets up for a pile driver. He executes it and goes for the pin but Flair’s foot is on the rope. Funk goes to the floor and lifts the pad to expose the concrete. Funk unrolls the tape from his wrist and chokes Flair on the apron. He shoves Tommy Young away from him and sets up for the pile driver on the concrete. Flair reverses it into a back body drop. They’re both slow to get up and Funk is the first to return to the offense.
They roll back into the ring and Funk swings Flair over for several neck breakers. Funk yells for Flair to “SAY IT”. Funk pulls Flair up to his knees and hits him with more lefts. At the turnbuckle, Funk tries to use the branding iron again but Flair grabs it and hammers it on his head. Funk tumbles out to the floor and Flair slowly gives chase. Funk is rammed face first into the post before Flair pulls him back into the ring. Flair gets up on the middle turnbuckle to deliver a ton of rights and now Funk is bleeding. Funk falls backwards onto the mat and Flair stays on him.
More rights and elbows from the champ. Flair tries a big knee in the corner but Funk moves. Funk moves in for his spinning toe hold. Flair reverses it and pulls Funk down to the mat for the figure four. Funk reverses that maneuver into an inside cradle, but Flair pulls another reversal and pins Funk with an inside cradle of his own.
Winner and STILL NWA World Heavyweight Champion: ‘Nature Boy’ Ric Flair (Inside Cradle)
- After The Bell: The Great Muta runs into the ring and blinds Flair with a spray to the eyes. Muta attacks Flair and holds him for Funk. Funk goes for a pile driver on a chair and it’s temporarily broken up by Doug Dellinger. Sting rushes the ring to save Flair. They attempt to double team Sting, but Flair is back to his feet and they each choose a dance partner. Sting and Flair clear the ring. It seems like it’s over but Funk and Muta throw a chair into the ring and the 4 brawl in the entryway. Jim Ross attempts to give final thoughts but they’re not done yet, brawling behind them. Flair has the branding iron and Muta takes a beating with it.
- EA’s Take: This sort of match makes you realize that Flair was quite adaptable. Terry Funk is a hardcore legend and this featured a lot of unconventional brawling, but Flair stood toe-to-toe. The Muta run-in was confusing at first, but when Sting got involved, the 4-man brawl made for a particularly fun ending to the show. Plus, Funk and Flair are just getting started and will continue battling into the late-fall.
EA’s Finisher: As we get closer to wrapping up 1989, this may be the promotion’s best show yet. The production quality was SO much better (thanks Billionaire Ted!), there really wasn’t a dull match and they did some unconventional things not yet seen in what was a seemingly more conservative company. I did take notice that Ricky Steamboat was the only babyface to lose (you could argue that the Dynamic Dudes also qualify, but the crowd was loudest for Sid in that match and gave a satisfied pop when the Skyscrapers won). WWF continues to have the larger-than-life characters, but it does seem that the better ring work still resides in WCW/NWA.
Top Three To Watch
1 – Sting vs. The Great Muta
2 – Ric Flair vs. Terry Funk
3 – The Steiners vs. The Varsity Club
Chairshot Classics: NXT TakeOver Toronto (2016)
On the eve of NXT TakeOver: War Games II, we look back at a previous November TakeOver event with TakeOver: Toronto
Open: “Toronto, the birthplace and proving ground for some of the greatest Superstars from the ‘Great White North’. For over three decades, the host of some of the most memorable moments in WWE history. Now, it’s NXT’s turn to takeover Toronto.”
Match #1: ‘The Glorious’ Bobby Roode vs. ‘The Perfect 10’ Tye Dillinger
We have a staredown at the bell, Roode slowly starts to circle Tye and he starts to strike a ‘Glorious’ pose. Dillinger strikes with left hands, Bobby goes to a side headlock, quickly gets pushed off to the ropes, scores with a shoulder knockdown, then goes back to the ropes. The Perfect 10 catches him with a back elbow and clotheslines him to the outside, throws him back in, clotheslines him back out the other side, then steps out and fires away with stinging chops. The Glorious One sneaks in a right hand to stop the onslaught, irish whip into the barricade is reversed, Tye elevates him with a back body drop off the rebound and Roode smacks off the floor.
Dillinger sends him into the ring and Bobby tries to beg him off, The Perfect 10 mocks him and stomps away at the fingers, flashes a ’10’ in his face, avoids a chops and scores with one of his own. He puts The Glorious One in the corner, climbs to the 2nd rope and lets go with stiff lefts, irish whip to the ropes is reversed, Roode ducks down for a back body drop, Dillinger catches him with a kick, charges and gets deposited over the top to the outside. The Glorious One slides out the opposite side, clobbers Tye with a forearm from behind, drops him chest-first across the top of the barricade, then drapes him across the apron. Bobby comes down with a clubbing shot to the sternum, drives him down into the apron, pushes him in and chokes him in the corner with the bottom of his boot.
Roode with heavy knife-edge chops, shoots The Perfect 10 hard into the turnbuckles, follows in with a clothesline, then heads to the 2nd rope for a shot across the back of the neck. The Glorious One is supremely confident now, hooks Dillinger for a neckbreaker, Tye surprises him with a backslide and gets a count of 2. He starts to build some momentum with chops, irish whip to the corner is reversed, The Perfect 10 hits the turnbuckles hard and Roode follows with a neckbreaker for a 2 count. He drops a knee across the chest, rakes his bootlaces across the eyes and starts toying with Tye as he pummels him.
Roode puts him in the corner and goes to the 2nd rope to right down punches, gets a little to confident and The Perfect 10 powers him out into an inverted atomic drop. Dillinger gets a rush of adrenaline and battles to his feet, irish whip to the ropes is reversed, Tye ducks a clothesline and scores with multiple flying forearms. He delivers a knee lift, flattens Roode with a clothesline, stomps away in the corner and then exposes the knee for the Tye Breaker. The Glorious One sees it coming, rolls outside and starts walking to the back, Dillinger goes out in pursuit, throws him back in the ring and slides in, Bobby catches him with a spinebuster and nearly puts it away.
He props Tye on the top turnbuckle and sets for a superplex, plants The Perfect 10, rolls into a cover and only gains a near fall. The Glorious One starts to look puzzled, stands over Tye and flashes a ’10’, then exposes his knee and tries for a Tye Breaker of his own. Dillinger slips out of it and looks for a superkick, Roode ducks it, goes to a schoolboy, puts his feet on the ropes, but the official sees it and stops at 2. Bobby can’t believe it and argues with the referee, The Perfect 10 surprises him with a schoolboy for a near fall, both guys up quick, he connects with the superkick, but still can’t finish it.
Both guys stagger to their feet and exchange fists, The Perfect 10 gets the better of it, powers Roode up for the Tye Breaker, The Glorious One escaping and hooks him for the Glorious Drop. Tye avoids it, Bobby attempts a sunset flip, The Perfect 10 rolls through it, slaps on the Sharpshooter, but Roode is able to crawl to the ropes. Tye stumbles back up, tries to pick The Glorious One to his feet, gets caught in a small package for a 2 count, counters to one of his own off the kick-out, but still only gets 2. Roode staggers to the corner and Dillinger comes charging in, The Glorious One side-steps out of the way, drives him shoulder-first into the steel post, spikes him with the Glorious Drop and that’s all she wrote.
Winner: ‘The Glorious’ Bobby Roode (Glorious Drop)
- EA’s Take: I think about what it must be like to be Bobby Roode walking into the arena, to a packed house and a massive pop compared to his previous situation in TNA. I have made my feelings on Dillinger clear before, the man is a future champion and I stand by that. This was the best way to start this event off. The match was well paced and the two men worked together wonderfully. The crowd was high energy which only heightened the already great match’s intensity. Roode getting the win makes sense. He is set to advance into the title picture imminently. My boy Tye however, got to show what he could do and look as good as you can in a loss. Good luck to the rest of the card because these two just set an epic tone to start the night.
Match #2 – Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic Finals with Paul Ellering Suspended Above The Ring In A Shark Cage: The Authors Of Pain (Rezar & Akam) w/Paul Ellering vs. TM61 (Shane Thorne & Nick Miller)
The cage lowers, Ellering holds a quick conference with The Authors, the official locks him inside and it is raised above the squared circle. Akam & Miller to kickoff the action, Akam immediately drives Miller into the corner at the bell, shoots him across, Miller puts on the brakes and fires back with forearms. Akam blocks a whip and sends him to the ropes, Thorne tags in on the way through, delivers a big boot to send Akam to the outside, Rezar hits the ring and runs into a double dropkick. TM61 clothesline him to the outside, Thorne spills to the outside, Miller builds a head of steam and flies over the top with a somersault plancha onto Akam.
Rezar looks up at the support structure for the shark cage, powers Thorne onto his shoulders and starts to climb up with some devious plans in mind. Shane kicks him away, climbs to the top of the structure, jumps off with a somersault and takes out The Authors Of Pain. He throws Akam back in the ring and climbs onto the apron, Miller slides inside, the official tells Miller he’s not legal and works to get him back to the corner, Rezar taking the opening to sweep the legs of Shane on the apron. He climbs up to the apron and tags in, sends Thorne into the squared circle and covers for 2, bludgeons him with big right hands and stomps, then rips away at the face. Akam tags in and comes off the 2nd rope with a combination stop/side slam for a count of 2, Akam hammers Shane with heavy shots, hooks the leg and gains another 2 count.
He looks to ground Shane now with a rear chinlock, Thorne works his way to a standing position, Akam launches him across the ring, lateral press and another near fall. He measures Thorne in the corner and rushes in, Shane side-steps out of harm’s way, Rezar gets the tag and knocks Miller off the apron, picks Thorne up and gets surprised by a dropkick. Miller pulls himself back to the apron and tags in, cracks Rezar with forearms, slams Akam coming in, delivers a corner clothesline to Rezar, then hits an exploder suplex on Akam. He plants Rezar with a back suplex, smashes them both with basement flying forearms, goes to the top turnbuckle and executes a moonsault, but can’t finish it. Akam & Thorne get back involved and every pairs off in opposite corners, TM61 with in-sync punches from the 2nd rope, The Authors look to counters into the Clink Powerbomb, but Thorne & Miller reverse with hurricanranas.
Shane gets a tag, TM61 plant Rezar with Thunder Valley, Thorne hooks the leg, but Akam is there to make the save. Miller dumps him to the outside, slingshots over the top with a crossbody, Thorne follows with a somersault plancha, the official takes in the chaos and Ellering drops a chain into the ring from above. Rezar wraps it around his fist, tries to clock Thorne climbing up to the apron, Shane blocks it, the chain flies into the crowd and he rolls Rezar up for a near fall. He pops back to his feet, Rezar delivers a spinebuster, tag to Akam, they take out Miller on the apron and deliver The Last Chapter for the win.
Winners: The Authors Of Pain (Akam/The Last Chapter)
- After The Bell: The cage lowers and Ellering is freed to raise his guys’ hands. NXT General Manager William Regal & Triple H come down to the ring along with Dustin Rhodes, presenting The Authors with the Dusty Cup and posing for a photo-op.
- EA’s Take: I called AOP to win this tourney before it began. It just made too much sense as hard as they have been pushed. The way the match was completed fits into the idea that Ellering always is involved in some way. TM61 kept the pace of the match where it needed to be. It was bogged down in spots, but not so much so that it made the match plodding. Both teams should look to be competing in the title picture in the aftermath of this event. Also, I hope no one got hit by that chain that went into the crowd….jeez!
Match #3 – 2 out of 3 Falls for the NXT Tag Team Championships: #DIY (Johnny Gargano & Tommaso Ciampa) vs. NXT Tag Team Champions The Revival (Scott Dawson & Dash Wilder)
Gargano & Dawson to begin, Dawson with an arm drag off the opening lock-up, Johnny with a headscissors to escape, scores with an arm drag of his own and Dawson returns the favor with the headscissors. Quick pace to start, Johnny Wrestling with an early 2 count off of a roll-up, Dawson collects himself, they tie-up again and Dawson backs Gargano into the corner. No clean break and he goes to the breadbasket with a fist, snapmares Johnny over, hits the ropes for a shoulder knockdown, goes back in, puts on the brakes and sends Gargano to the ropes instead.
Ciampa gets a tag, Johnny Wrestling catches Dawson with an inverted atomic drop, Tommaso follows with a running forearm, connects with one for Dash stepping in, DIY then scoring with in-sync dropkicks. The Psycho Killer covers for a count of 2, goes to a wristlock, Dawson rakes the eyes to break it, brings Wilder in and he clubs Ciampa down to the canvas. He tries to drive Tommaso head-first into the top turnbuckle, The Psycho Killer blocks it, returns the favor, irish whip across is reversed into a knee, Dash tagging out. Dawson delivers a body slam and brings back Dash, drops him into a leg drop on Ciampa for a 2 count, Wilder grabs a side headlock, looks for a running bulldog and gets pushed away into the opposite corner.
Both guys crawl to tags, Gargano slingshots in with a kick to Dawson, levels him with a clothesline, ducks a shot from Wilder and tosses him with an overhead belly-to-belly. He lines The Revival up in opposite corners and charges in with running chops, pulls Dash out for a running bulldog and clotheslines Dawson in the process, plants him with a leaping neckbreaker and almost gets 3. Johnny Wrestling charges Dawson in the corner, gets elevated over the top, Wilder makes a tag, Gargano lands on his feet on the apron and Dawson clocks him with a right hand. He hits the ropes to build a head of steam, Johnny looks to slingshot back in with a spear, Dawson counters into the Shatter Machine and Wilder covers for the fall.
First Fall: The Revival
Gargano staggers to his feet, Wilder tries to attack him from behind, gets surprised by a roll-up for a near fall, but Johnny can’t capitalize. Dawson tags in and ties Johnny up in the ropes for heavy shots, Wilder clotheslines him back into the ring behind the ref’s back, Dawson follows with a slingshot suplex and again gets a count of 2. Dawson shoves him into the corner, Dash tags in and the champions pound him with clubbing shots, Wilder with some words for the crowd, then Dawson re-enters the match. Dash sends Gargano to the ropes for a drop toe hold, Dawson follows with an elbow drop for a 2 count, then looks to ground Johnny Wrestling with a body scissors. Gargano works to a vertical base, Dawson switches into a Gory special, Johnny slips out of it, takes a shot at Dash on the apron, but gets clocked by Dawson.
Wilder steps in, Gargano charges, grabs Dash for a tornado DDT, kicks Dawson in the process, crawls to his corner and reaches for the tag. Dash grabs Ciampa from the outside and then slides in the ring, the official is distracted as Gargano tags out, the ref doesn’t allow it and The Revival double team Johnny in the corner. Tommaso has had enough and chases Dawson around the ring, the official cuts him off as they slide back in, the champions hit Gargano with a Hart Attack, Dawson covers and nearly finishes it. Wilder re-enters the match and props Johnny on the top turnbuckle for a super back suplex, Johnny Wrestling switches the weight in mid-air, lands on top and gets 2. Dash tags out and Dawson quickly tries to prevent Gargano from reaching his corner, Johnny clocks him with an enzuigiri, leaps and finally tags out.
The Psycho Killer hits the ring off the top with a dropkick, crushes Dawson in the corner with a running knee, then drops him with back elbows. Dawson ducks under one and shoots him to the corner, rushes in and meets a boot to the chin, Tommaso runs out with a Famouser, covers and only gets a count of 2. Wilder rolls into the ring and gets dumped back outside just as quick, Dawson takes the opening for a roll-up from behind, Ciampa rolls through it, delivers rolling german suplexes, scores with the Running Knee for a near fall. He calls for Gargano to climb back on the apron, Dawson clobbers him from behind, pulls Johnny into the ring and The Revival set for a spike piledriver.
Ciampa knocks Wilder off the top turnbuckle, Johnny blocks the piledriver, Tommaso comes off the top with a crossbody, but still can’t find a 3 count. Dash slides in again and Ciampa cracks him with a high knee, the referee forces Wilder back to the apron, #DIY lineup for the Combination Superkick/Running Knee to Dawson and Tommaso covers to tie it up.
Second Fall: #DIY
Dawson rolls to his corner and tags out, Dash steps in, has some words for Ciampa and they trade-off shots. The Psycho Killer gets the better of it and measures for a discus clothesline, Dawson makes a blind tag, sneaks into the ring and ducks it, but Ciampa picks the arm and goes into the Bridging Fujiwara Armbar. Dawson reverses into a roll-up for a 2 count, Gargano makes a blind tag, decks Dawson with an enzuigiri from the apron, Tommaso following up with a rope-assisted reverse STO. He looks to dive outside onto Dash and gets surprised by an uppercut, Wilder charges around ringside after Gargano, Johnny laying him out with a kick from the apron. He slingshots into the ring and spikes Dawson with a DDT, stacks him up for a count of 2, then looks around wondering what to do next.
Dawson rolls out to the apron, Johnny hooks him for a suplex back inside, Dawson slips out of it, waistlock by Gargano and he pushes him towards the ropes for a roll-up. Dash hangs onto Dawson from the outside to block it, tags himself in, Gargano battles them both off, looks for a tornado DDT on Wilder, but gets thrown off. The champions plant him with a combination clothesline/german suplex, Dawson hooks both legs, but The Psycho Killer just barely breaks it up before 3. Dawson drives Ciampa shoulder-first into the ring post, goes back to the apron to tag in, then trades shots with Gargano. Johnny gets the upper-hand, Dawson ducks a shot for a backslide, Gargano counters out, kicks Dash in the process of rolling up Dawson with a small package and almost steals it.
Wilder goes to the timekeeper’s area and grabs one of the titles, slides back into the ring, Ciampa meets him with a clothesline and they both fall over the top to the floor. The official is distracted, Dawson grabs the championship, blocks a Gargano kick with it and then slaps on an inverted figure four. Johnny Wrestling struggles to hold on, scratches and claws his way to the bottom rope and forces the break, but the damage has been done. Wilder calls for a tag and gets it, they mock #DIY and go for their combination finisher, Gargano ducks it, Dawson gets clocked by a superkick, #DIY hit Wilder with a Shatter Machine, but Dawson is able to stop the count before a finish.
Ciampa tries to roll back inside and the ref forces him back to the corner, Dawson switches out without making a tag, surprises Gargano with a roll-up, the official turns around and counts to 2, but notices it’s not the legal man in the ring. Wilder rams Tommaso into the ring post on the outside, Johnny deposits Dawson through the ropes with a superkick, Dash slides in from behind and takes Gargano out at the knees. He sets for the inverted figure four, Gargano counters into a small package for 2, they exchange roll-ups for near falls, Johnny finally hooks on the Garga-No-Escape, Ciampa cuts off Dawson and slaps on the Bridging Fujiwara Armbar, Wilder tapping out.
Winners and NEW NXT Tag Team Champions: #DIY
- EA’s Take: Is it just me or did this whole feud get undersold and was not well built up? I picked The Revival to win this one mainly because I am so used to seeing them win at these TakeOver events. I am glad to have been wrong. #DIY looked great, as did The Revival. There were a couple of sloppy moments, but they were few and far enough between and the match was still quite good. #DIY I am sure will be seeing The Authors of Pain very soon. As for their counterparts, RAW’s Tag Team Division has become quite stale and to steal a quote from my editor, could use a “Revival”.
Chairshot Classics: WCW Starrcade ’93 – It’s All On The Line!
Our weekly WCW Chairshot Classics series continues with Starrcade ’93!
Open: A sentimental video package plays featuring pictures and videos of Ric Flair’s life and career as he’s putting it all on the line tonight against Big Van Vader.
Video: Vader arrives with Harley Race at 2:00pm, Race tells him to keep his focus as they enter the arena for a pre-show workout. In a separate video, ‘Mean’ Gene Okerlund has gone to Ric Flair’s home as he’s prepared to leave for the event. He says goodbye and hugs his children. Gene talks to Flair as he explains the kids are worried about tonight. They get in the limo, Flair knew what he was doing when he signed the contract, but he has a lot to prove.
Match #1: Pretty Wonderful (‘Pretty’ Paul Roma & ‘Mr. Wonderful’ Paul Orndorff) w/The Assassin vs. 2 Cold Scorpio & Marcus Alexander Bagwell w/Teddy Long
Teddy Long is presented with a plaque naming him the 1993 Manager of the Year prematch, voted for by fans using the WCW Hotline. They waste no time to have an all out brawl. Scorpio and Bagwell throw their oppenents into one another. They dropkick Roma out of the ring and hit Orndorff with a double hiptoss. Bagwell lifts Scorpio for an assisted pele kick on Wonderful. He tries a quick pin but Nick Patrick wants order. The babyfaces hold the ring and they finally head to their corners as the crowd taunts Orndorff. Bagwell and Roma start the action.
Roma is hesitant to lock up. Roma throws a kick to the gut and Paul with some high impact blows. To the ropes, Bagwell ducks and hits a crossbody. Arm drag into an armbar by Bagwell as Roma complains he pulled his hair. Bagwell with leverage on the wrist and he tags his partner. Scorpio with some quick forearms as he works over the damaged arm. Scorpio grabs a wristlock and dives over the top rope to slingshot Roma. Back to the wristlock and it’s a quick tag to Bagwell. He goes to the hammerlock and drives Roma shoulder first into the corner. Snapmare by Bagwell and a leg drop across the shoulder. Bagwell continues to hammer but it’s Roma with a desperation scoop slam. He’s able to tag in Orndorff but Bagwell greets him with an armdrag.
Tag is made to Scorpio who hits a double ax handle. He holds the wrist and drives him with headbutts. Orndorff goes to the eyes to break it and hits a European uppercut before booting Scorpio to the ramp. Front face lock, he tries a suplex but Scorpio lands on his feet. The Cold Man tries a victory roll but Orndorff holds the ropes. Scopio flips back and lands a hip toss. He climbs to Orndorff’s shoulders and takes him down with a head scissor. He holds Orndorff down with a modified head scissor submission. Tag is made to Bagwell who comes in with a big splash that earns a two count. Back to the wrist but Orndorff reverses with a drop toe hold.
A tag is made to Roma but he gets the drop toe hold as well. To the ropes they go, Bagwell catches Roma’s boot, taunts him and hits an atomic drop. Arm drag by Bagwell and he holds the arm. He twists the wrist and tags in Scorpio. An impressive sequence while hitting the ropes that ends with a hiptoss by Bagwell and a splash by Scorpio. He makes the cover and Roma kicks out. Scorpio pounds on Roma’s head and knees him in the forehead. Modified hammerlock drop by Scorpio and Bagwell is tagged back in. Roma reverses the wristlock and tags in Wonderful. European uppercuts and some kicks to the ribs for Bagwell. Orndorff drives his face into the canvass and elbows the back of Bagwell’s head.
A scoop slam and another driving elbow by Orndorff who appears to have a lot of energy. He sends him for the ride, but Bagwell ducks and hooks in a sleeper. The partners rush into the ring, Patrick backs off Scorpio allowing a cheapshot from the top by Roma. Back breakers by Roma while Scorpio protests that there was no tag. Pretty Paul elevates with an elbow and Bagwell kicks out. He tags in Orndorff and they each take liberties. Belly to back suplex by Mr. Wonderful and Scorpio is still incensed. Quick tag is made to Roma who snaps Bagwell to the mat. He sends Bagwell for a power slam but he pulls off the cover and heads for the top rope. He tries the big splash but Bagwell moves. Orndorff is tagged first but he misses the elbow, so here comes 2 Cold.
He beats Orndorff down with rights and sends him to the ropes for a leaping forearm. Roma rushes to help but he’s drop kicked to the floor. Scorpio with a snap suplex on Orndorff and he heads to the top rope. Roma tries to pull him off the turnbuckle but Bagwell saves the day. Orndorff staggers to his feet and he’s hit with a double ax on the top of the head. Spinning karate kick by Scorpio. The Assassin climbs onto the apron and he’s decked by The Cold Man.Snapmare by Scorpio on Orndorff and he measures Wonderful while The Assassin puts something into his mask. Scorpio charges Orndorff, he’s lifted up and Assassin delivers a headbutt. Orndorff falls on top of Scorpio to pick up the win.
Winners: Pretty Wonderful (Orndorff/Outside Interference)
- EA’s Take: I’ve expressed how much I liked this pairing of Scorpio and Bagwell on several of these now and how I was surprised that they never rose higher together, so I did a little research. They were the 1992 Tag Team Of The Year, very popular with the fans, but apparently developed some confusing heat with one another that started on a plane ride. Strangely, it has escalated in recent years as they’ve replied to one another on the shoot interview scene. If you ever watch the clips, I think Scorpio has been watching a few too many New Jack shoots, personally.
Video: ‘Mean’ Gene and Ric Flair continue their limo ride to the arena, quietly discussing everything that’s on the line tonight. Flair is appreciative of Gene’s friendship whether he wins or loses. Gene reflects on all the memories he’s made for himself and all the fans over the years. Flair tells a story of a fan who approached him, asking who will be the one to “Wooo” if he loses. He told him he will be the only one to do that and he’s not going anywhere.
Match #2: The Shockmaster vs. Awesome Kong w/King Kong
The Kongs ambush Shockmaster and send him for a double clothesline. They hold him in place for a splash in the corner. Awesome hits a splash on the mat while the ref gets King out of there. Kong with rights and forearms, Irish whip but Shockmaster gets the big boot up. He charges him with a clothesline and then sends him for a flying body press. King Kong is on the apron Shockmaster knocks him off. He lifts Awesome Kong for a body slam and he picks up the quick win.
Winner: The Shockmaster (Body Slam)
- EA’s Take: This match wouldn’t have thrilled me even if it was on WCW Saturday Night let alone Starrcade, but they’re trying to maintain a dominant big man, so it is what it is. Honestly, The Shockmaster should have died the night he fell through that damn wall.
Backstage: Flair’s limo has arrived at the arena, surrounded by police. Gene shakes his hand and sends him on his way.
Match #3 for the WCW World Television Championship: WCW World Television Champion Lord Steven Regal w/Sir William vs. Ricky ‘The Dragon’ Steamboat
Steamboat grabs the belt and holds it up to an ovation. Steamboat corners Regal and the ref tells him to back off. Regal doesn’t want to be touched and stays in the corner. Steamboat charges with a single leg pick up and Regal lectures the ref to get him away so he can take his time. Finally a collar and elbow, Regal gets position on the ropes but they keep going. Steamboat drops to a knee but he pushes the champ’s chin, Regal backs to the ropes and it has to be broken. Steamboat charges right back in and Regal retreats again to the corner.
Now it’s Steamboat stalling as he appears to favor his arm. Single leg by Regal, he steps on the bicep and takes a wristlock. Steamboat flips to his feet but Regal works him back to the mat. Steamboat up again and he reverses it. Regal somersaults and regains control. Steamboat says touché and flips out of it and whips Regal down hard. Hammerlock into a side headlock by Regal, to the ropes they go, they each block hip tosses and Steamboat takes him down with a double leg and flips over to bridge for a pin. Regal kicks out, but Steamboat is quick with the hiptoss. Regal reels back to slow it down. Collar and elbow, side headlock take down by Steamboat and Regal is forced to keep getting his shoulders up.
To the ropes they criss cross. Steamboat counters Regal’s pick up and flips the champ on his back. Regal is quick to move to an ankle lock. Steamboat climbs up but Regal kicks him in the ribs and holds onto the ankle. Steamboat puts his boot to Regal’s head and stands up for an enzigure. Scoop slam by The Dragon and he heads for the top. He flies with a big karate chop and Regal must kick out at two. Steamboat hooks on an armbar and maneuvers for leverage. The champ works to his feet and they hit the ropes. Shoulder block by Steamboat and he goes back to the arm. Regal leaps up to his feet, lifts Steamboat with a fireman’s carry but the challenger escapes. He grabs a wristlock as there are 5 minutes left in the 15 minute time limit.
He muscles Regal to his back and the champ must keep his shoulders up. William tells the fans to shutup as “USA” chants start. Steamboat drives the knee into Regal’s tricep. He cranks back on the wrist but Regal doesn’t submit. Steamboat flips over with a modified hammerlock. He tries moving into some roll ups but can’t get 3. Regal tries bridging out of a head scissor submission. Back to their feet, Regal clubs with high impact forearms and then turns Steamboat around for a European uppercut. More from the champ, but Steamboat gets some adrenaline and chops Regal out of the ring. Sir William approaches him with the umbrella but Steamboat turns around and catches him in the act.
He pursues William and chases him around the ring, baiting him into a Regal dropkick. Steamboat is rolled back into the ring, Irish whip, Steamboat tries leapfrogging Regal but is pulled face first on the mat. Regal applies a reverse chin lock and chops Steamboat. Steamboat reverses an Irish whip but Regal comes back with an elbow. Steamboat with a desperation arm drag and hits another one. Regal grabs a head scissor but Steamboat somersaults into a cover. Regal bridges out of it, he hooks the arms but Steamboat fights out. Butterfly suplex by Steamboat and Regal kicks out. The champ bails out to the floor but Steamboat catches him. He knocks William and Regal’s heads together and rolls Lord Steven back in.
He heads up to the apron but William holds his boot. Steamboat kicks him into the post and slingshots Regal across the top rope. He tries a flying cross body but Regal moves. Both men are slow to get up at the 10 second mark. Steamboat ducks a right and scores with a German suplex but he’s out of time. Regal retains the title on a draw.
Winner: Time Limit Draw
- EA’s Take: It’s all about subtleties with Regal and it’s the little things like cowering out of the way to waste time at the beginning of a time limit match. Lots of great mat work in this one, if I were booking I would set up a rematch with a no time limit stipulation because this one was just a clinic.
Match #4: Cactus Jack & Maxx Payne vs. Tex Slazenger & Shangai Pierce
It’ll be Payne and Pierce to get the action rolling. Collar and elbow tie up and there is a quick break. They lock up again, Pierce with a side headlock, to the ropes and neither moves on a shoulder block. Pierce boots the gut, they hit the ropes and Pierce takes him down. Payne reevaluates. Payne with a boot this time and to the ropes again, this time Payne with the shoulder block. He scoop slams Pierce and he backs to his corner. Here comes Slazenger… and here comes Jack. Collar and elbow, Slazenger with position in the corner and he lays in a few rights. They lock up, Jack blocks a right and sends Slazenger down with shots to the jaw.
Jack drives him into the turnbuckle but Slazenger comes back with an elbow. He goes to the eyes and sends him for an Irish whip. Jack gets his boot up and comes back with a few strikes. Tag is made to Payne as Jack grabs the wrist. Elbow from Payne and he grabs the wristlock and makes a quick tag back. Jack yanks him down by the arm, goes for a cover and Pierce has to make the save. Jack decks him on the apron while Payne takes care of Slazenger. Double team clothesline by Payne and Jack. Pierce tries pulling his partner out but Jack won’t have it. Tag is made to Payne, Irish whip but Slazenger moves and comes back with a bulldog.
Slazenger is up first, boots Payne in the head and tags in Pierce. Clubbing forearm and to the ropes they go. Payne comes in with a sunset flip and gets two. Payne ducks a right and hits Pierce with a belly to back suplex. Payne makes a tag and Jack goes to work with rights and a headbutt. Slazenger comes in to save his partner and Payne takes exception. Jack clotheslines Pierce over the top rope and falls to the apron himself. Slazenger confronts him and instead he’s slingshot to the floor. Payne lifts Jack with a backbody drop outside to fall on top of Slazenger. Back in the ring, Pierce blindsides Payne. He heads to the top, tries a double ax handle but Payne cuts him off. He pulls him down with an armbar submission but Slazenger makes the save.
Payne ducks a double clothesline and hits both opponents with one instead. Tag is made to Jack and he’s immediately ambushed by the Texans. Slazenger holds Jack in place, Jack ducks and Tex is clotheslined to the outside by his own partner. Pierce glances over to check on his fallen partner, he turns around and walks right into a double-arm DDT.
Winners: Cactus Jack & Maxx Payne (Jack/Double-Arm DDT)
- EA’s Take: This match had really poor flow for which I don’t blame Jack, he brought the most sense to it all. While it seemed like a creative idea, that assisted back body drop by Payne couldn’t have been much sloppier unless Foley fell square on his head on the apron. Cactus Jack has a funny spot on this roster. He’s popular with the fans, he’s not main event, but he’s certainly not undercard. He’s not the most technical guy in the world, but he can give you a good match. Lord knows he’s willing to put his body on the line. It seems like they either have something specific that is really great like working with Vader or otherwise they don’t quite know what to do with him. They know they definitely want him on the show, so he’s thrown into debacles like this.