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
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Chairshot Classics: NWA-TNA Episode 12 – Best of the X-Division
This recap is going to be a little different from the usual. Since, at the time this episode was done, TNA was still looking for new investors after Health South withdrew its financial backing of the program, the decision was made to do a clip show of the X-Division for Week 12 to fill the timeslot. This was September 4, 2002, Week 13 wouldn’t air until the 18th due to being preempted by remembrance of the 9/11 attacks, which had happened the year before. So, let’s see what’s going on.
We start off with a RARE Lo-Ki interview with Goldilocks. Lo-Ki says there’s no bigger opportunity than this and that opportunities like him don’t get many shots like this on a national level. We also get some fan interviews stating that they keep coming back for the X-Division matches. A lot of TNA stars like Kid Kash, Ron Killings, Monte Brown, and the Flying Elvises sing the praises of the X-Division and how great it is that anyone can compete in it, despite the fact that the division is pretty much made up of cruiserweight size guys.
Jeremy Borash and Goldylocks, who seems to be in a very good mood, probably because Borash isn’t being a jerk to her. Borash and Goldy discuss how great the X-Division has been and how you never know what to expect. We get the explanation about how the X-Division is open to all kinds of athletes regardless of size or wrestling style. Again, I will point out that except for Sonny Siaki, all of the athletes in the X-Division fall into the Cruiserweight category. Also, Siaki had BARELY competed in the X-Division, at least as far as this episode.
ANYWAY, let’s take a look at the matches TNA has dubbed the best of the X-Division.
The Flying Elvises vs Lo-Ki, AJ Styles, and Jerry Lynn
Comment: I remember being very impressed with this match. It seemed like a good opening match for TNA. These six men are easily the best of the X-Division as they actually WRESTLE and do the high-flying stuff. Sonny Siaki stands out here, not only due to his skills, but because he’s easily the tallest and largest man in the match. This was such a good match that the fact that Styles took the pin doesn’t really seem to matter.
In the backstage interview, Estrada talks about how much pressure they were under because they were the first match. Yang says that his favorites to watch were Amazing Red, Lo-Ki, and AJ Styles. We also learn that Styles and Yang are great friends and started out together, which is a nice tidbit. Estrada talks again about paying their dues and working hard and wanting some changes. Yang talks about his WCW run and how he never felt like he’d be an impact player and that it feel different in TNA.
Tenay talks about how the Elvises were the first winners of TNA but that they’ve had communication issues and issues with Siaki’s ego, which prompts a clip of Siaki saying that he’s the best of the X-Division.
Borash and Goldy talk about the Elvises and Borash comments about Siaki thinking Goldy is sweet on him, to which Goldy says ‘Only in his own mind.’
With that settled, we are turning our attention to Lo-Ki, Styles, and Lynn who, along with Psichosis, competed to be the first X-Division Champion.
Double Elimination Round Robin Match For the X-Division Championship: AJ Styles vs Psichosis vs Lo-Ki vs Jerry Lynn.
Comment: This match is, for me, still the best match, not just X-Division, but overall match that TNA has put on so far. That said, I still think they should’ve had a tournament to decide who would compete for the title and brought it down to Jerry Lynn vs AJ Styles because it felt like Lo-Ki and Psichosis were just there to take the pins, especially Psichosis.
Borash and Goldy discuss Styles and Lynn getting the Tag Team Championship and the issues the two men have had with each other during the show’s run so far.
NWA Tag Team Championship: Jerry Lynn and AJ Style vs Slash and Tempest (with James Mitchell).
Comment: First of all, I’m annoyed that they didn’t show us the Tag Team Championship Final between the Rainbow Express and Lynn/Styles, which is what it looked like they were going to show.
Anyway, I still think this was a pretty good match. Slash and Tempest, like many guys in TNA weren’t totally ready for prime time, but still did a really great job of keeping up with Lynn and Styles.
As I’m watching this, a scroll is going across the screen, announcing that TNA will be back in two weeks, so the partnership with Panda Energy must’ve happened pretty quickly.
Watching this back, I’m not totally buying Jerry Lynn’s excuse about Styles playing mind games and pulling ribs as the reason he turned on him. Lynn is clearly not happy about Styles tagging himself in the get the pinfall. Why not just stick with that instead of ret-conning it to make Lynn more sympathetic instead of a veteran being mad about a kid showing him up?
Borash and Goldy continue their discussion about the issues between Lynn and Styles, which has been the central story of the X-Division and how it was all about respect.
NWA World Tag Team Match: The Flying Elvises vs Jerry Lynn and AJ Styles.
Comment: This was another really great match from these teams. The five guys in this segment are the core of the fledgling X-Division because they consistently put on great matches together, though the Elvises tend to stumble when they work with other teams. I still don’t know who did the blade job on Lynn, but they overdid it for that little bump on the guardrail.
After this match, we get a clip of the Styles/Lynn backstage fight and them trying to work things out so that they can function as tag partners. I find it interesting that for all Lynn’s talk about respect, he goes out of his way to disrespect Styles and what Styles has done in his, then, short career. I guess no one told Lynn that the best way to get respect is to give it in return and that he should earn Styles’ respect instead of demanding it after jumping him from behind and beating him up. I guess this is why they had Lynn come up with the excuse of mind games and ribbing to justify him being the babyface despite being a jerk.
We see Styles and Lynn seeming to want to work things out and have the kinks ironed out, but that didn’t even last the one show.
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Chairshot Classics: WWE Survivor Series 2015
With all signs pointing to The Brothers Of Destruction teaming up at WWE’s Crown Jewel on November 2nd, today we’re looking back at another time The Undertaker partnered up with his brother Kane, Survivor Series 2015! It was a celebration of 25 years of ‘The Deadman’ on this evening, but The Wyatt Family looked to spoil the party. Could ‘The New Face Of Fear’ defeat The Brothers Of Destruction and take his place as WWE’s newest evil?
Kickoff Show Match – Traditional Survivor Series Elimination Match: The Miz, Bo Dallas, Stardust & The Ascension (Konnor & Viktor) vs. Neville, The Dudley Boyz (Bubba Ray & D-Von), Titus O’Neil & Goldust
- Gold & Stardust will kickoff the action, Stardust tries a boot, Goldust catches the foot and they slug it out, The Cosmic One falling back into his corner and tagging out. Viktor hits the ring, charges right into a powerslam, Goldust with the cover and he scores an early elimination. Viktor has been eliminated.
- Konnor steps in and has words for The Bizarre One, Titus calling for the tag and he gets it. Collar & elbow lock-up, Konnor backs O’Neil into the corner, doesn’t break clean and hammers away with right hands before celebrating prematurely, Titus turning the tables and unleashing a series of his won. Konnor reverses a whip across, charges in, O’Neil hops up and over and delivers a slam, following with a leg drop before tagging out. D-Von enters the match, connects with a couple of rights and brings in his brother, Bubba hitting a slam and calling D-Von to the top, hitting the Wazzup Headbutt. Bubba gives the orders for tables, Stardust and Miz charge the ring, only to get clotheslined to the outside. The Man That Gravity Forgot comes in, sees Dallas running in and elevates him out to the floor, hits the ropes and flies to the outside with a moonsault plancha as we go to a break….Konnor whips Bubba into the ropes for a back body drop when we come back, drops a big elbow and covers for 1. Bubba ducks a right hand and plants Konnor with a uranage out of nowhere, hooks the leg and gets a sneaky 3 count. Konnor has been eliminated.
- Stardust rushes the ring and runs into a hiptoss, D-Von tags in and takes a knee to the breadbasket, The Cosmic One tagging out and Miz pummels D-Von in the corner. Bo tags and does more of the same, quickly tags out and Stardust rips at D-Von’s face. The A-Lister re-enters the match, snapmares D-Von over and hits the ropes for a running boot that gets a count of 2. He goes to a front facelock, D-Von battles to his feet, Miz with a kneelift, hits the ropes and D-Von plants him with a spinebuster. Stardust gets a tag, climbs to the top for a double axe handle and catches a right hand to the midsection on the way down. D-Von crawls to a tag, The Man That Gravity Forgot spingboards into the ring over Stardust, takes down Dallas and Miz on the apron, then connects with a flurry of kicks to The Cosmic One. Neville scores with an enzuigiri, shoots him in for a back body drop and Stardust with a kick to the chest. He charges Neville in the corner, The Man That Gravity Forgot side-steps it, Bo makes a blind tag and plants him with the Running Bo-Dog, Miz with a blind tag, follows with the Skull Crushing Finale and finishes Neville off. Neville has been eliminated.
- The A-Lister runs his mouth at The Dudleys on the apron, Goldust slides in from behind with a schoolboy and gets the 1-2-3. The Miz has been eliminated.
- Miz can’t believe it and argues with the referees on his way out, Goldust is distracted and Stardust takes advantage as we go to another break….Bo has Goldust on the floor when we return, rolls him back inside and covers for a 2 count before going to a rear chinlock. The Bizarre One finds his footing, breaks the hold and hits the ropes, running into a dropkick by Dallas for another count of 2. Stardust tags, clobbers away at Goldust on the apron, feigns going for a table and changes his mind, stomping away at his brother in the ring. The Cosmic One grabs a crossface chickenwing, pulls Goldust up for a suplex, The Bizarre One counters to a small package for a count of 2, but gets immediately laid out by a clothesline. Stardust with some early celebration, Goldust takes advantage with a schoolboy for 2, The Cosmic One angrily pounding away and bringing Dallas back in. The Inspirational One continues the onslaught, levels Goldust with a short-arm clothesline for a near fall, then goes back to the rear chinlock to wear him out. Bo slams him to the mat trying to get to his feet, Stardust tags and they split The Bizarre One with a wishbone, then drops The Dudleys & Titus off the apron. The Cosmic One runs at Goldust in the corner, meets a boot to the midsection and The Bizarre One plants him with a sunset flip bomb. Bo gets the tag as Goldust reaches Titus, O’Neil with a shoulder to Dallas, squashes Stardust in the corner, then clotheslines Bo and shoots him in for a back body drop. The Inspirational One sees it coming and hits a kick, but gets dropped by a big boot, Titus turning around and catching Stardust coming off the top into multiple backbreakers. O’Neil stacks them in the corner, squashes them both and Goldust & Bubba enter the ring with synchronized Dusty tributes, Clash Of The Titus to Bo and we’re down to 4 on 1. Bo Dallas has been eliminated.
- Stardust realizes he’s all by himself, drops off the apron and tries to take a walk. O’Neil goes out to meet him, Goldust comes up from behind and catches a back elbow, The Cosmic One tries to run away, slides in the ring and runs into a 3D to finish it.
Winners & Sole Survivors: The Dudley Boyz, Titus O’Neil & Goldust
- EA’s Take: I think Renee Young is overblowing just how ‘good’ this match really was. To me it was just an appetizer, a time-filler, something to get the people in the arena a little more hyped up for the main show. The match was not bad by any means, but it was merely a bunch of thrown-together parts and the only significance was the return of Goldust.
Open: Everyone rises to their feet in the arena, as Lilian Garcia is in the ring to sing our National Anthem.
Video: “Once in a generation there comes a phenom. An individual not measured in seconds, days, weeks or even years, but by the legacy he’s built. A presence that’s risen above all challenges and gone head-first into the unknown. But, when a Phenom joins a Demon from the depths of Hell, only time will tell us what the future will bring.” Tonight marks the 25 year anniversary of The Undertaker in WWE, as he and his brother, Kane, look to cement their spot as the keepers of the darkness over The Wyatt Family. A change is coming, as tonight we crown a brand new WWE World Heavyweight Champion. “History is written, by the survivors.”
Match #1 – WWE Title Tournament Semi-Finals: Roman Reigns vs. WWE United States Champion Alberto Del Rio w/Zeb Colter
Collar & elbow tie-up to start, Alberto backs Roman into the corner and they break clean. Another lock-up, Reigns with a side headlock, Del Rio pushes him off into the ropes and gets knocked down by a shoulder, re-thinking his strategy. The champion with a leg kick, backs Reigns into the corner for more to the ribs, then fires off right hands from the 2nd rope. Roman powers out of the corner with Alberto on his shoulder, flipping him to the mat, Del Rio coming right back by pulling Reigns to the outside. The Big Dog drags Alberto out by the foot, looks to drive him into the barricade, Del Rio counters and Roman is sent into the wall, then rolled back inside.
Alberto comes off the top with an overhand chop for a count of 2, Roman reversing a whip into the corner, climbs to the 2nd rope with right hands, Del Rio pushes him off, charges in and gets planted by a tilt-a-whirl powerslam for 2. Roman drives the champion into the top turnbuckle, whips him hard into the corner, charges in and gets elevated to the apron, Alberto hanging him across the top rope and dropping him to the floor with an enzuigiri. Del Rio heads out and rams Reigns into the steel steps as Triple H watches from the back. Back in the arena, El Patron tosses Roman inside, heads up top for another overhand chop and goes to a rear chinlock.
The Big Dog battle to a standing position, whips Del Rio into the corner, rushes in and misses, hitting the ring post shoulder-first. The champion keeps the pressure on with kicks and right hands, charges for a running dropkick, Roman avoids it and Alberto flies through the ropes to the outside. Reigns rolls outside, catches Del Rio climbing up the apron with the Drive-By, bashes his head off the apron and announce desk, then rolls him back in the ring. Alberto tries a clothesline, Reigns ducks it and connects with one of his own, then clobbers the champion in the corner with a flurry more before hitting the ropes for a big boot. The Big Dog calls for the Superman Punch, El Patron ducks out of the way and scores with a Backstabber, makes the cover and gets a near fall.
Del Rio goes back to kicks in the corner, spikes Roman with a DDT for another count of 2, arguing with the ref about the count. The champion sets his sights on a superkick, The Big Dog ducks out of the way, plants Alberto with a Samoan Drop and gets 2. Reigns props Del Rio on the top turnbuckle, attempts a superplex, Alberto with headbutts, gets Reigns in the tree of woe and tries the double stomp. Roman avoids it, Del Rio’s knee buckles on the landing, Reigns coming back with a Superman Punch and positioning himself for the Spear, Alberto countering with a superkick for a near fall.
The champion thinks it’s time for the Cross Armbreaker, Reigns counters into a schoolboy powerbomb, Alberto kicking out at 2. Both men struggle to get to their feet, Alberto grabbing a Cross Armbreaker out of nowhere on the canvas, Reigns powers Del Rio up to a vertical base, but the champion hanging onto the hold in the ropes. The referee finally forces the break, El Patron heads to the top, jumps over Roman who’s getting to his feet, turns around and takes a Spear, Reigns covering to advance.
Winner: Roman Reigns (Spear)
- EA’s Take: Del Rio clearly still hasn’t quite gotten his footing back yet, there were some mix-ups at the beginning of the match that were glaring, things were a bit choppy for a bit there. They were able to turn it around towards the end of the match, but I’ve had Roman as a lock for the finals since the tournament was announced. Nothing surprising here in a match that was similar to a Raw main event.
Backstage: Jojo brings in Roman Reigns for some words, Dean Ambrose coming right in and congratulating his friend on the victory. Roman tells Dean that all he has to do is win and it’ll be them for the title, Ambrose walking away. The Big Dog tells Jojo that once Dean’s done, it will be best friends fighting for the championship. Kevin Owens comes in to remind Roman that he’s not eliminated yet, telling Reigns he’s been close before and tonight, he’s the guy that will stop him. KO walks off, Reigns stating that Owens is about to get his ass whooped.
Match #2 – WWE Title Tournament Semi-Finals: Dean Ambrose vs. WWE Intercontinental Champion Kevin Owens
Ambrose with a hammerlock to start, switches to a side headlock, Owens fighting out and grabbing one of his own. The Lunatic Fringe pushes KO into the ropes and gets dropped by a shoulder knockdown, Owens back into the ropes and Dean with multiple armdrags. The champion reverses whip into the ropes, Ambrose with a schoolboy for a quick 1, gets a waistlock and Owens with a back elbow, using a schoolboy for a quick 1 of his own. KO with shoulders to the midsection in the corner, shoots Dean across and charges in, The Lunatic Fringe hops up and over, hits the ropes and takes Owens down with a forearm.
He rakes KO’s face on the top rope, clotheslines him to the outside and flies with a slingshot crossbody to the floor. Ambrose sends the champion back inside, charges him in the corner with a forearm, follows with a running bulldog and covers for 1. The Lunatic Fringe heading upstairs, Owens hits the ropes and crotches Dean, dropping him to the mat with right hands and scoring with the Cannonball that gets 1. The Prize Fighter utilizes a rear chinlock, Ambrose gains a vertical base and breaks the hold with jabs and chops, Owens countering a whip into the corner and Dean goes in sternum-first.
The champion plants Dean with a torture rack neckbreaker for a 2 count, hits the ropes for a running senton and gets another count of 2. He chokes Ambrose on the middle rope, levels him with a short-arm clothesline, fires away with heavy rights, sends Dean into the ropes for a back elbow and gets another near fall. KO back to the rear chinlock, again Triple H is watching from the back as The Lunatic Fringe fights to his feet. Owens catches him in a sleeper, Dean counters to a back suplex, then avoids a running senton, hits the ropes and they double down off a double clothesline. The Lunatic Fringe tries Dirty Deeds, KO blocks it, they exchange right hands, Ambrose hits the ropes and Owens hangs him on the top rope.
He splits Dean with a gutbuster, heads up top for a moonsault and misses, The Lunatic Fringe scaling the corner to follow with a diving elbow drop and a near fall. Ambrose props Owens on the top turnbuckle, hooks for a superplex, KO blocks it and drops Dean back to the mat. The Lunatic Fringe fires back up to attempt a superplex, the champion counters and powers him into a 2nd rope fisherman’s buster, but still can’t get a 3 count. Owens yells at Dean to stay down, sends him into the ropes for a Pop-Up Powerbomb, Ambrose rebounds off the middle rope and scores with the Lunatic Lariat, KO rolling to the outside.
Ambrose flies through the ropes with a suicide dive, tosses the champion in, Owens rolls out the other side and Dean tries another suicide dive, but gets caught. KO drops The Lunatic Fringe on the announce table, tosses him back in for a Pop-Up Powerbomb, Dean avoids it and lands on his feet turning around into a superkick. Ambrose rebounds off the ropes for another Lunatic Lariat, walks into another superkick, the champion attempts the Pop-Up Powerbomb again, Dean counters with a hurricanrana, then spikes Owens with Dirty Deeds to head to the finals.
Winner: Dean Ambrose (Dirty Deeds)
- EA’s Take: A better match, a lot cleaner than our first semi-final. I had a hard time believing Ambrose wouldn’t win this, but figured the odds were greater than that of Reigns, so it definitely helped make the match more interesting. I’m hoping for something more interesting to happen in the main event, as everything thus far has been expected.
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Chairshot Classics: WCW Halloween Havoc ’92 – Spin The Wheel, Make The Deal
Open: Tony Schiavone & Bruno Sammartino introduce the show, specifically talking about the “Spin the Wheel – Make the Deal” match between Sting and Jake ‘The Snake’ Roberts. WCW World Heavyweight Champion Ron Simmons must be cautious of The Barbarian, and there has been some conflict between Dustin Rhodes and Barry Windham. Missy Hyatt is backstage to figure out whether or not Rick Rude has decided who his choice of guest referee will be for the NWA World Heavyweight Championship match. She has no information at this time and sends it off to the commentary team.
Match #1: Arn Anderson, ‘Beautiful’ Bobby Eaton & Michael ‘P.S.’ Hayes vs. ‘Z-Man’ Tom Zenk, Johnny Gunn & Shane Douglas
Anderson and Gunn get us going. Collar and elbow tie up, Anderson with position, the veteran with some condescension before beating the young kid down. Irish whip, Gunn puts on the breaks and lands a drop kick. Anderson gets a knee to the midsection after a distraction by his teammate, he goes to the top but the Z-Man takes care of him with a drop kick of his own. Anderson’s team regroups on the floor, Double A comes back to the ring. Collar and elbow, Gunn with a wristlock and a tag to Z-Man. Zenk with an elbow and he grabs the wrist. Anderson with a drop toe hold and he tags in Eaton.
Beautiful Bobby with some rights. Zenk reverses the Irish whip and Eaton digs his heels in giving Z-man a shot. They hit the ropes and Zenk executes a high elevation back body drop. He follows it with a drop kick back to Eaton’s corner and Michael Hayes is tagged in to a big pop. Hayes with a side headlock, Z-Man forces him on the ropes, they run and Zenk delivers a hip toss. Hayes slows it down. Collar and elbow tie p and Zenk makes a quick tag to Douglas. Shane twists the wrist, they hit the ropes and Shane is quick with an arm drag. He hangs on with an arm bar until Hayes gets a knee to the gut and tags in Eaton. Shane greets him with an arm drag and he locks in.
Bobby gets position with a vertical base, he moves to the corner for a break but takes some liberties. Douglas reverses the Irish whip and elevates with the back body drop. Headscissor takedown by Shane followed with a single leg takedown. A tag is made to Zenk and he goes right to work on Bobby’s leg. Eaton is able to crawl his way to his corner and tag in The Enforcer. Arn with a forearm and a side headlock, they hit the ropes, Double A gets a shoulder tackle but he’s caught in a sleeper hold on the comeback. Anderson escapes it with a belly to back suplex. Hayes is tagged in and he hits a quick elbow, followed with a fist to the face before grabbing a reverse chin lock. Z-Man fights out with elbows to the gut, he hits the ropes but Hayes catches him with a kick.
Swinging neckbreaker by Hayes and he gets two. Eaton is tagged back in, Z-Man trying to fight him off. Z-Man lifts Eaton for an atomic drop, unaware Eaton tagged in Anderson. Eaton reverses the Irish whip, Z-Man ducks his clothesline but runs into the elbow of the legal man. Anderson with a lateral press and he gets two. Anderson feeds Z-Man to the corner and he tags in Michael Hayes. The Freebird locks in a modified camel clutch, he breaks it, goes for a vertical suplex but it’s reversed. Hayes tags Anderson while Zenk tags Douglas. Shane goes to work on all of his opponents. A front face lock is placed on Anderson, and Eaton cheap shots him at the knees.
Double A goes to work on the leg that was clipped, Eaton is tagged in and he enters with some flying knee to knee contact. Beautiful Bobby locks in the figure four and he gets some help from Michael Hayes. Douglas tries to roll it over and Eaton smartly tags in Anderson. Arn sends him for an Irish whip, he comes off the ropes and catches Double A with an atomic drop but both men knock heads and they’re down. Anderson crawls and tags in Hayes but Douglas is able to tag is Gunn right after. Johnny sends Hayes for the ride and a back body drop, he’s rushed by Eaton who gets a scoop slam and a melee breaks out. While all six competitors brawl, Johnny Gunn hits a Lou Thesz Press on Michael Hayes and they pick up the win!
Winners: ‘Z-Man’ Tom Zenk, Johnny Gunn & Shane Douglas (Gunn/Lou Thesz Press)
- EA’s Take: This match felt like a collection of guys with nothing meaningful to do storyline-wise (which is basically the case), but they still delivered a perfectly fine opening bout. With three grizzled vets on the other side of the ring, I’m not sure who they’re trying to put over here, if anyone. No one on the winning team stood out, but I sincerely enjoyed the match all the same.
Backstage: Missy Hyatt is still outside Rick Rude’s locker room. She can’t get in, but here comes Harley Race. The former World Champion is just here to watch a championship match and he won’t let Hyatt into the locker room.
Match #2: Ricky ‘The Dragon’ Steamboat vs. ‘Flyin’ Brian Pillman
Collar and elbow tie up, Pillman gets position and chops away. Steamboat retaliates with a chop of his own, they hit the ropes and Ricky takes Pillman down with a shoulder block. He tries another and gets a two count. Pillman tries flipping Steamboat over the top rope but The Dragon hangs on and grabs a victory roll for two. Off the kickout, Steamboat hits the turnbuckle and Pillman scoop slams him. Pillman taunts and Steamboat plays possum, baiting him into an arm bar. Pillman up to a vertical base, they hit the ropes, Steamboat with a shoulder tackle and a hip toss. Deep arm drag by The Dragon and he hangs on.
Steamboat moves to the wrist and he puts a lot of power on it. Pillman reverses with a drop toe hold, he can’t grab the chin lock and Steamboat reverses back into the hammerlock. Steamboat with knees to the kidneys, they’re up to vertical. Pillman fights back with forearms and Steamboat retaliates with chops and a back body drop. Scoop slam by Steamboat, but he’s met with a slow blow, an eye rake and a clothesline. Pillman hangs Steamboat on the ropes and throws him back. Steamboat is sent for the ride, he leap frogs Pillman and catches him in a choke on the comeback. Pillman meets the turnbuckle, Steamboat tries to send him for the ride but Brian drops down. The ref backs Steamboat off and Flyin Brian takes a cheap shot.
Brian rubs Steamboat’s face into the canvass. Steamboat fights back with some chops and sends Pillman into the turnbuckle. They run the ropes and Pillman counters with a head scissor take down. Pillman takes Steamboat to the middle rope, he sends The Dragon for the ride and he counters into a back slide and a two count. Pillman quickly hammers Steamboat’s head into the canvass and chokes him out. Ref breaks it up. Pillman sets Steamboat on the top turn buckle and slaps him in the face. He sets up for a superplex, Steamboat blocks it and throws Pillman to the canvass. Steamboat comes off the turnbuckle but he runs into a drop kick by Flyin Brian.
Pillman says its over, Steamboat gets his shoulder up on multiple covers. Brian checks in with the ref and is victim of a belly to back suplex. The ref starts his 10 count, Steamboat is up first, Pillman reverses the whip to the ropes and catches The Dragon in a sleeper. Steamboat drives into the corner, Pillman hangs on, but not the second time. From the apron, Pillman snaps Steamboat’s neck off the top rope. He climbs the turnbuckles, Steamboat catches him with a gorilla press. Steamboat is fired up, Pillman escapes to the floor. Ricky gives chase and chops him on the outside. Pillman is rolled back in, Brian regains the advantage with a knee to the face and some chops.
Steamboat is sent into the turnbuckle, The Dragon fights back with chops. Steamboat tries to grab him, again Brian rolls to the floor but he’s followed again. Irish whip by Steamboat and he runs into a knee. Pillman with a cross body press from the 2nd rope and he gets a two count. Standing switch into a back breaker by Steamboat who heads for the top rope. A big sunset flip earns him two. Pillman counters the pin, but The Dragon flips him back and he picks up the 3 count.
Winner: Ricky ‘The Dragon’ Steamboat (Roll-Up)
- EA’s Take: This was exactly what you would expect, Pillman is showing some heel behavior. He’s also taken quite a few losses, albeit to legitimate opponents, you’d hate to see his talent get buried. Unfortunately, this is kind of his road until a partnership that wasn’t fondly remembered until years after Pillman’s early passing.