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
Attitude Of Aggression #275- The Big Four Project Chapter 3: Royal Rumble ’88 & WrestleMania IV
The Attitude Of Aggression returns for Chapter 3 of The Big Four Project, a chronological analysis, review, and discussion about WWE’s Big Four PPVs/ Premium Live Events. On this Episode, Dave welcomes back the one and only PC Tunney to discuss two more immensely important events in pro wrestling history, the inaugural Royal Rumble and WrestleMania IV. The 1988 Royal Rumble was different than any other Rumble in history and not just because it was the first. Dave and Tunney break down the fascinating history of the first installment of an event that would evolve into an annual favorite for many in the WWE Universe. From there, the guys recap the surreal events that led to the end of Hulk Hogan’s 4-year reign as WWF Champion and set the stage for, arguably, the most important tournament in WWE History at WrestleMania IV. Macho Madness reached new heights that night. But was Savage the first choice of Vince McMahon to emerge from Atlantic City with the gold that night? We have the whole story for you here on Chapter 3 of The Big Four Project!
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Chairshot Classics: What I Watched #15 – AAW Defining Moment 2018
Harry covers a show that helped to continue Sami Callihan’s 2018 infamy. AAW Defining Moment should be a fun trip down memory lane!
Apologies for the slight delay getting to this but it’s Harry here once again. And for as verbose as I can be at times, I don’t feel the need to waste any time getting to this one. This is the second part of the double shot for AAW on ‘All In’ weekend in Chicago.
The WayBack Machine takes us to August 31st, 2018 as we once again arrive at the Logan Square Auditorium (and oh boy does that become important later) for AAW’s Defining Moment 2018.
What I Watched #15
AAW Defining Moment 2018
Logan Square Auditorium in Chicago, IL
Runtime: 3:18:22 (HighSpotsWrestlingNetwork)
Commentary By: Tyler Volz (PBP) and Marty DeRosa (Color)
- Match 1: Curt Stallion/Jake Something def. Ace Romero/Colt Cabana, Something pins Cabana @ 8:41
- Match 2: Shane Strickland pins Darby Allin, top-rope Swerve Stomp @ 13:30
- Match 3: Jessicka Havoc def. Palmer Cruise/Steve Manders, pinning Cruise with a Chokeslam @ 2:52
- Match 4: OI4K (Dave/Jake Crist) def. Ace Austin/Brian Cage, Dave pins Austin @ 5:55
- Match 5: AAW Heritage Title- Trevor Lee © pins DJ Z (Shiima Xion), roll-through on CBB with tights @ 13:30
- Match 6: AR Fox/Myron Reed def. Bandido/Flamita, double cover @ 15:42
- Match 7: Maxwell Jacob Friedman taps Marko Stunt, Salt of the Earth @ 10:41
- Match 8: Sami Callihan pins Jimmy Jacobs, Cactus Driver on a bridged guardrail @ 17:52
- Match 9: AAW Tag Titles- Eddie Kingston/Jeff Cobb © def. Davey Vega/Mat Fitchett, Cobb pins Fitchett @ 14:19
- Match 10: AAW Heavyweight Title- Brody King pins ACH ©, All Seeing Eye (Whiplash) @ 22:46
Curt Stallion/Jake Something vs. Ace Romero/Colt Cabana
*The match was decent but nothing special. A pretty big win for Something at the end with the three count over Cabana, who has a storied past in Chicago and was one of the biggest names in independent wrestling. That said, I personally don’t love the flukish nature that Something pins Cabana, as I think Something could have used a defining pinfall to really give him a rub going forward.
Cabana usually makes for a fun watch and I’ve grown to enjoy Ace Romero the more I see him (he especially stands out for Limitless, which I hope to get to one day soon). Jake Something is a huge star in the making and you can see it even early in the run of AAW that he has. Stallion is what Stallion is. Solid opener, but nothing you’ll remember post show. (**½)
Darby Allin vs. Shane Strickland
*Showstealer, plain and simple. Strickland had been with AAW for a while but to the best of my memory, it was more often in a tag team with Keith Lee (funny how that works out with 2022 eyes on it, as Swerve and Keith are the current AEW tag champions at the time of writing). I do believe this is only Darby’s second match in AAW (the prior being a five-ish minute loss to Brody King). Both guys are huge names now and with efforts like this, it’s easy to see how. Darby tries to keep pace with Swerve and is able to do so for a good portion of the contest until Swerve finds that next gear down the stretch and puts Allin down with the Swerve Stomp to a massive (deserved) ovation from the crowd. (****)
Jessicka Havok vs. Palmer Cruise/Steve Manders
*I dislike handicap matches in general. However, unlike certain other writers for this site, I don’t mind intergender wrestling. But the suspension of disbelief gets lost here when you have two dudes the size of Cruise and Manders struggling with Jessicka Havok, who should realistically not being coming in at 100% after taking the Ganso Bomb from Brody King through the chairs the night before. I won’t rate the match due to the Larry Csonka (RIP) Rule of not rating anything shorter than three minutes, but I’m calling this a miss regardless. (X)
OI4K (Dave/Jake Crist) vs. Ace Austin/Brian Cage
*The Brothers Crist come out to ringside to stand next to Havok after said match and call out Brody King and Jimmy Jacobs. They get one of those two men as Jacobs makes his way out, but informs Dave and Jake that neither he nor Brody will be facing them due to having prior obligations, but he did find the perfect opponents for OI4K. As for the opponent, Cage does make for a good size fill-in for Brody King. Ace Austin is a OI4K trainee that hadn’t quite made a name for himself at the time but has since turned into a pretty good wrestler, having just competed for NJPW in Best of the Super Jr’s as well as being Impact Wrestling’s X Division champion for a while.
The match itself was not memorable at all. I will admit to typing this review on a bit of a delay and other than the finish (a Tiger Driver ‘98 by Dave to Austin), I don’t remember anything that happened during the course of the contest. Not the best impression for these four men to leave. (**)
AAW Heritage Title- Trevor Lee © vs. DJ Z
*I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again…I like DJ Z. I liked him more under his previous identity, but this was him using the Impact Wrestling name for more notoriety with the casual fan. That being said, despite DJZ winning a three way relatively quickly the night before while Trevor was in a war with Ace Romero, I never felt the title was in jeopardy here. For as much as I like DJZ’s run with AAW, this misfortune of his injury just so happened to coincide with Trevor Lee becoming one of the hottest acts on the undercard and there wasn’t anything in the build up to the rematch (despite some good promo work from Z) that made me think that the strap was switching here.
As for the match itself, they have really good chemistry together and that isn’t a surprise given how many of the same promotions they were working for at the time as well as their history in AAW up to this point. I do think this match does a nice job of setting the stage for a return match as it is DJZ’s offensive attack at the end of the contest that gets reversed into the cradle (with a handful of tights) for the finish. The nature of the victory leads me to believe that the story with these two isn’t over quite yet. (***½)
AR Fox/Myron Reed vs. Bandido/Flamita
*This was similar to the main event the night before, but didn’t have the same crowd investment that match did. Bandido and Flamita once again shine here and it is easy to see why they become semi-regulars in AAW after this weekend. AR Fox and Myron Reed (Team Firefox, as they were referred to by Sarah Shockey) get a massive victory with a double pinfall following stereo 450 splashes. This sets up Fox and Reed for a title match against the winners of WRSTLING vs. Besties later in the night, but honestly, I think that Bandido/Flamita was the better pairing to have go forward to a title shot. Firefox had previously unsuccessfully challenged for the tag belts and if I’m being fully honest, I prefer AR Fox as a singles wrestler over being in a tag team. Good match, but I think the wrong team wins. (***½)
Maxwell Jacob Friedman vs. Marko Stunt
*Marko had just made a name for himself at GCW’s Lost in New York (a show I have watched) and this was a way for him to break out back in his Midwest home. MJF has been on a hot streak point up to this point (believe he is the current CZW Heavyweight champion, though I don’t think he ever actually defends that title) and MJF would make himself a known commodity the next night opening the ‘All In’ PPV against Matt Cross (in a losing effort)
Easy story to tell with MJF taking the much smaller Stunt lightly and Marko making him pay for it. It is unfortunate that more people didn’t get to see what Stunt is capable of, because his run in the indie scene before he went to AEW was quite special to watch due to his ability to connect with a crowd (no different here). The finish sees MJF take advantage of the arm work that he did early in match and after Marko escapes a fujiwara armbar, MJF is able to catch Marko in ‘Salt of the Earth’, a wakigatame (Marko on stomach as MJF applies a cross-armbreaker) for the the tapout. Very good work and Marko does really well for himself in his debut with another high end US Independent. (***)
Jimmy Jacobs vs. Sami Callihan
*Ooooh, boy. A lot to unwrap with this one. Let’s get the match first, because the drama that it creates leads to the fallout that has to be discussed. It is honestly a pretty standard Sami brawl for the time frame. PWG used to have what was known as the “Sami Sprint”…by which it would be Callihan vs. Opponent and the match would run anywhere from 10 to 15 minutes of hard hitting back and forth action with little in terms of a cohesive story or selling. Pretty much a ‘can you top this?’ kind of situation. This feels like that in a sense because the match features both Sami and Jimmy going into their well of tricks (the crowd brawling, the spike, the guardrail that gets used in the finish) while maintaining the crowd reaction from the prior night’s tag match. Fittingly, the finish is visually impressive as Callihan hits the ‘Cactus Driver’ (pulling piledriver) on a guardrail bridged across two metal folding chairs to secure the three count. (***½)
The bigger story coming out of this is that this match almost costs AAW the Logan Square Auditorium and almost ends even more disastrously personally for Callihan. At one point, Callihan and Jacobs are brawling over by the stage in the venue (traditionally used for concerts) where Callihan buries Jacobs under a portion of the stage. Callihan then starts winging metal sitting chairs (not the standard folding ones you see in most companies because the four legged dinner table type chairs) at Jacobs. A voice comes over the house mic telling Callihan to stop, causing a loud visceral boo from the crowd. Callihan more or less tells said voice to “fuck himself” and hurls more chairs at Jacobs.
At first, I thought it was Danny Daniels telling Callihan to stop, but it turns out it was actually building management. This becomes important when after the three count goes down, building security surrounds the ring to escort Callihan out of the building as they were pissed at Sami for throwing chairs that the venue used for other events. As I’ve heard the story, Callihan thinks this is part of a storyline and begins to push the security guys until one of them shows Callihan that he is carrying a real pistol and will use it if necessary. Things break down from there with the rest of OI4K getting involved and eventually Sami is escorted to the back (and presumably out of the building).
How much of this is real? How much of this is scripted? How much of this was sensationalized for additional attention? I don’t have the answers for those questions. I do know that cooler heads would prevail and AAW was able to continue running at LSA, however I feel the truth lies somewhere in the middle. It may have been a planned altercation to play off the recklessness of Callihan. It may have been a real reaction from the building to what they perceived as damage to personal property. The old axiom in wrestling is “believe none of what you hear and half of what you see”. Overall, it makes for a great story with a relatively happy ending all considered. But man does it take the wind of the crowd for quite a while. And I will have to check out the follow up AAW shows to see what the fallout truly is.
AAW Tag Titles- Eddie Kingston/Jeff Cobb © vs. Davey Vega/Mat Fitchett
*Trevor Lee’s promo before the match is not one I can do justice. I recommend the show in general, but Trevor’s asshole smarmy heel persona in AAW (Impact Superstar Trevor Lee) is one of the best things going in the company.
Match is good but you’d have to expect that from the four men involved. Kingston and Cobb work surprisingly well as a team and despite being on separate pages for most of the bout, Vega and Fitchett do link up for a few double teams (corner enzuigiri/Kippou kick combo being standout among them) to continue to prove why they are one of the best tag teams in pro wrestling (still are to this day, though not known as the Besties in the World anymore). The finish sees the final stab from Vega to Fitchett as Vega chooses to take Scarlett to the back after she gets knocked off the apron, leaving Fitchett alone to take a one-two combo of the Backfist to the Future from Kingston that staggers him into a Tour of the Islands from Cobb to finish the contest. The ring work is on point, the story is very well told and you can hear the disappointment from the crowd when Vega chooses the hussy over his long-time tag partner. (****)
AAW Heavyweight Title- ACH © vs. Brody King
*Unfortunately, something gets lost during the course of this contest through no direct fault of the participants. As I understand it, Brody King got concussed relatively early in the bout. Credit to ACH for keeping things together as well as he did, but I would be curious to see what they are capable of with both competitors at 100% capacity for the full duration of the match.
As for the match, it does tell a pretty good story. ACH comes in still pretty beat up from the match with Jeff Cobb the night before. However, ACH lets his pride (or perhaps his ego) get the better of him as he once again tries to hang step for step, strike for strike and move for move with a man much bigger than he is. It ends up coming back to bite him at the end as a distraction from Jimmy Jacobs allows Brody King to take a distracted ACH up into the All Seeing Eye (fireman’s carry into a Michinoku Driver) for the three count to crown a new champion. Slightly cheap on the distraction ending but does help get Jimmy some of the heat he lost earlier in the evening back after dropping the contest to Callihan. (***½)
THE FINAL REACTION
Overall, a better show then the day before but not without a couple flaws. Obviously, the big story to come out of this show would be the fact that AAW almost lost Logan Square Auditorium due to the issues in the Callihan-Jacobs match. Thankfully, those would be resolved and to my knowledge, AAW is still running there. But it gets awfully hairy there for a few.
The highs: two four star matches on this show and they come in completely different type contests. Eddie Kingston continues his march of dominance in AAW and cuts one hell of a promo at the end of the show to run down how ACH let him down by losing the title. Marko Stunt has a fun debut and quickly gets the crowd behind him. The lows: that handicap match helped no one and the tag match that followed wasn’t much better. The main event isn’t what it could have been either, but that’s a case of shit happens with the early concussion to King. I will also say that I thought Sarah Shockey did a better job on color commentary yesterday then Marty DeRosa does here.
We’ll call it an 8 overall. As I said, it is a better top to bottom show then Destination Chicago is. And while high on the guest stars (for obvious reasons), you also get a really good look at what the overall AAW roster is all about too. I look forward to coming back to AAW down the road (ironically, upcoming shows are a double shot as well for the ‘Jim Lynam Memorial’ tournament), but I do want to mix in some other odds and ends before I do so.
Best Match/Moment: Shane Strickland vs. Darby Allin
Worst Match/Moment: The Havok handicap. Especially when you consider what Steve Manders would come to mean for AAW, it’s a really inauspicious debut.
Overall Show Score: 8/10
MVP: Eddie Kingston. The key part of a match that tied for best match of the night honors and absolutely shows why he is viewed the way he is when it comes to talking with an amazing promo to close out the show.
So, where does ‘What I Watched’ go from here? I go on vacation in about a week’s time and will be gone for most of August. I spoke to Andrew and what I hope to do is reformat the ‘All In’ report that I did to the new style so you guys have something to tide you over. As for where I go when I get back from vacation…well, the Peacock WWE Network watch-through that I am working on has reached a show that I’m not sure I’ve ever seen (and if I have, it has been quite a while). Therefore, ‘What I Watched’ #16 will be ECW’s Guilty as Charged 1999 to set the tone for a year where all hell breaks loose in two of the three major promotions. Hopefully, you guys enjoy the ‘All In’ redo to hold you over and I’ll be back later in August with Guilty as Charged. I appreciate everyone who has been checking these out and if you’ve missed any, feel free to click on my name at the top of the article to check out my archive. Thanks for reading.
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