Open: Tony Schiavone & Magnum T.A. are in the arena to discuss the card. They explain that Terry Gordy and ‘Dr. Death’ Steve Williams are already in the semi-finals of tonight’s tag team tournament after defeating The Steiner Brothers at Clash of the Champions. There will 3 more quarterfinal matches to kick off the show, and NWA Tag Team Champions will be crowned by the end of the night.
Backstage: Eric Bischoff is joined by Bill Watts. Bischoff asks Watts to explain the rules for the night. In the NWA Tag Team Championship tournament, the new top rope rule does not apply but it will in the World Heavyweight Championship match.
Match #1 – NWA World Tag Team Championship Tournament Quarterfinals: Nikita Koloff & Ricky ‘The Dragon’ Steamboat vs. Jushin Thunder Liger & ‘Flyin’ Brian Pillman
Pillman and Koloff to start. They measure each other and lock up. Koloff tries to get position but he’s shaken off. Collar and elbow tie up, Pillman with a side headlock, Koloff lifts him off. Another lock up, Pillman again with the headlock, Koloff sends him for the ride and hits a shoulder tackle. Test of strength, but Pillman grabs a drop toe hold, turning it into a front face lock. Koloff up to his feet, he lifts Flyin Brian and sets him on the top turnbuckle. Pillman leaps off, hits a drop kick, he climbs up for some rights but Koloff lifts him off with an inverted atomic drop.
Koloff charges, Pillman moves and schoolboys him for two. Liger is tagged in and he goes to work on Koloff’s wrist. Quick exchange and Pillman hits an axe handle. They switch it up again, Liger with a wrist lock. Another quick tag and they tear away at the shoulder. Yet another exchange, Liger takes his shoulder to the turnbuckle and tags again. Another tag, they hit the ropes and Liger can’t tackle the big man down. He slides through Koloff’s legs, hits a drop kick and is now able to follow through with the shoulder block. Pillman is back in, they hit the ropes and Koloff catches him with a shoulder block. Steamboat is tagged in, he takes out Pillman, snapmares Liger into the ring and bashes his opponents heads together.
Pillman rolls out, Steamboat whips Liger to the ropes and Jushin bails out. Pillman is back to the wring, quick drop toe hold and an arm bar submission by The Dragon. Back to a vertical base, wristlock by Steamboat, they hit the ropes, multiple leap frogs until Steamboat catches Pillman in the air. Inverted atomic drop, clothesline and an armdrag by Steamboat. He goes back to the arm, holds a wristlock, broken by Pillman’s standing clothesline. Tag is made to Liger and they double drop kick Steamboat. The ref is late to get over for the count, Steamboat kicks out, single leg pick up by The Dragon. They hit the ropes, a shoulder block by Steamboat earns two. Koloff is tagged back in and he lifts Liger for a scoop slam.
Liger is whipped to the ropes and is kneed in the gut. He falls toward Pillman and makes the legal tag. Collar and elbow, Koloff with a side headlock and a tag. Side headlock takeover by Steamboat and he holds the headlock. Back to vertical, shots to the midsection and they hit the ropes – back body drop and an elbow drop by Flyin Brian. Pillman with a drop kick and a two count. Side headlock takeover by Pillman and now roles are reversed. Up to their feet and Liger is tagged in. Quick karate kicks and a scoop slam by Liger. He goes for the top rope and lands a moonsault for a very close count. A gut wrench into a piledriver by Liger and Steamboat somehow gets the left shoulder up.
Snapmare and a rolling senton by the Japanese star and he still can’t get three. Up to their feet and Steamboat manages a belly to back suplex and a tag to Koloff. Liger is sent for the ride and a big boot is followed by three elbows, Liger kicks out. Reverse chinlock by Koloff. Liger works up to his feet, elbows to the midsection to break the hold, he hits the ropes but runs into a knee. Steamboat is back in, he lifts Liger for a backbreaker. The Dragon hangs on for a few more, then hits a power slam. Pillman interrupts the count and Koloff is tagged back in, Liger on the receiving end of a double elbow and he kicks out. Reverse chinlock by the Russian, the ref drop checks the arm. Liger fights his way to his feet and reaches for Pillman. Koloff throws Liger aside before a tag can be made.
Tag is made to Steamboat who comes off the 2nd rope with a right, but he can’t roll up for three. Steamboat sends Liger, Jushin stops short and boots The Dragon in the face and tags in Pillman. Flyin Brian with some chops and a back body drop. He drop kicks Koloff off the apron and scoop slams Steamboat for two. Side headlock on the mat by Pillman. The Dragon tries rolling him over unsuccessfully. Up to their feet, Liger is tagged back in. Pillman holds Steamboat in place for a drop kick. Athletic crossbody by Liger. Steamboat fights back and tags in his partner. Koloff is met with several martial arts strikes. They hit the ropes and Koloff gets momentum with shoulder blocks, following it with a scoop slam. Koloff poses for the crowd and Pillman comes in to drop kick him from behind.
Flyin Brian is tagged in legally and sends Koloff to the turnbuckle. Big drop kicks by Pillman, he hooks the leg for two. Flyin Brian is caught in the air off a cross body, and Liger assists them to the ground with a drop kick. Koloff tosses Pillman over the top rope and he hangs onto the rope, from the apron a springboard clothesline. He heads to the top rope for another high risk move and lands a missile drop kick. Steamboat rushes in for the save and he’s drop kicked through the middle rope. Koloff kicks out at two and a half. Chops in the corner, Koloff reverses the Irish whip and he runs into a big boot and knee. Pillman tries a sleeper from the 2nd turnbuckle but he simply knocks Koloff to his knees. He gets back up and latches it in, Koloff up to his feet quickly but Pillman holds on tight.
Steamboat is back up to the apron, Koloff breaks the hold with a chin buster. Both men are slow to get to their partners, and they both make the tag. Enziguri by Liger and Steamboat has to kick out. Steamboat sent for the ride, Liger goes for a dropkick but The Dragon hangs on to the ropes. A quick cover is made and Jushin kicks out. Up quickly, they hit the ropes, Liger counters a hip toss into a backslide for two. Side headlock by Liger, a blind tag is made to Pillman and Steamboat is surprised by a flying crossbody. Side headlock takeover by Brian, both men jockey for pinning positions on the mat. Steamboat hooks the arms for a backslide and gets two.
Steamboat with a side headlock, he reaches out for a tag and Pillman stops it with a belly to back suplex. Both men are down and the ref starts his count. Pillman is the first one up, he heads for the top rope, and he’s knocked down as Steamboat stumbles and hits the ropes. Liger and Koloff both rush to the middle of the ring, Koloff beating him down. Pillman gets back to a standing position on the top rope, he lands a flying crossbody from the top turnbuckle but Steamboat uses the momentum to roll him up on the other side.
Winners: Nikita Koloff & Ricky ‘The Dragon’ Steamboat (Steamboat/Roll-Up)
- EA’s Take: Despite Koloff working babyface for months now as part of the team facing off against The Dangerous Alliance, the fans weren’t having it with more boos than cheers each time he entered the ring. Solid bout to start the show off, you had to figure your two light heavyweights wouldn’t advance here. As for the concept, don’t even get me started on adding yet ANOTHER pair of tag titles to the mix.
Backstage: Eric Bischoff is standing by with The Steiner Brothers. It must be frustrating for them to be here as spectators instead of competitors. Scott cites great athletes like Muhammad Ali and Harley Race, and notes that as great as they were they weren’t undefeated, and they always came back better. Rick has never been scared of anything, and their score with Gordy and Williams will be revisited.
Match #2 – NWA World Tag Team Championship Tournament Quarterfinals: The Fabulous Freebirds (Michael ‘P.S.’ Hayes & Jimmy ‘Jam’ Garvin) vs. Hiroshi Hase & Shinya Hashimoto
Hayes and Hase start things off, and Michael entertains the fans with a moonwalk. Collar and elbow tie up, Hase grabs the arm and takes the Freebird over, Hayes quickly boots him away. Another tie up, side headlock by Hase, Hayes counters the takeover with a headscissor. Hase tries to bridge out of it, and his head is held to the mat. The hold is finally broken and they regroup. Hase goes for a single leg pick up, countered by Hayes and they fight for mat positioning. Hayes grabs the armbar and Garvin is tagged in.
Jimmy Jam muscles into the corner but now Hashimoto is tagged in. Collar and elbow, Garvin grabs the headlock and moves into a hammerlock. A drop toe hold breaks it for Hashimoto. Collar and elbow, side headlock takeover by Hashimoto. Back to their feet, Hashimoto rips Garvin down by the hair, holds the armbar and tags in Hase who goes right for the top rope. Elbow from the top by Hase and he grabs a wristlock. Garvin breaks it with a back heel trip. Hase bluffs at a test of strength and kicks Garvin in the gut, right hands a front face lock by Hase who tags in Hashimoto. Garvin is held in place for a vicious martial arts kick to the ribs. Garvin eats a couple more followed by a scoop slam, a lateral press gets two.
They tangle up and Garvin is able to get to his corner and make the tag. Hayes with some rights, goes for the wristlock and hits the tricep with forearms. Hayes gets an armbar but it’s broken with a shot to the neck. Blatant choke is broken on the ropes. Hayes is sent for the ride and a big back elbow. Hashimoto tags in Hase who lifts Hayes for scoop slam before landing on him with a somersault and a two count. Gut wrench into a gut buster by Hase. Shot to the midsection by Hase followed by some chops. The big man is tagged back in and he hits a superkick followed by more martial arts kicks. Hayes is dropped by a roundhouse kick followed by a spinning heel kick. Garvin rushes in to save the count. A fallaway slam is held onto with a bridge and Hayes must kick out.
Hashimoto grabs a reverse chin lock as the crowd encourages the Birds. Forearm to the chest by Hashimoto and Hase is tagged back in. They double up on Hayes with kicks, Garvin rushes in protest and he’s redirected by the ref. The Japanese team takes advantage, going to work on Hayes. Hayes reverses the Irish whip and throws his partners into one another. Hayes ducks a double clothesline off the ropes and he knocks both opponents down with left jabs. Garvin is tagged in and he clubs both opponents with forearms and scoop slams. He follows it up with clotheslines. Hayes gets back in on the action as all four men go at it, the fans chanting for the DDT. The ref gets Hayes back to his corner allowing for a double team on Garvin. Hashimoto catches him with a big kick allowing Hase to use a Northern Light suplex. Hayes is prevented from making the save and the team from Japan advances.
Winners: Hiroshi Hase & Shinya Hashimoto (Hase/Northern Lights Suplex)
- EA’s Take: Some more crossover action with New Japan’s roster. I expected WCW to legitimize the Japanese team with an advancement in the tournament, but I’m surprised The Freebirds were the ones to do the job here. It does give Hase & Hashimoto a bit of a “resume” in a sense, for the fans in America unfamiliar with them. “Well, they did beat The Freebirds.”