Written By: Matt Peddycord
NWA Clash of the Champions II: Miami Mayhem
June 8, 1988
James L. Knight Center
Talk about a drop from the original, CotC 2 doesn’t even have an NWA World title match OR a multi-million dollar wrestling company to compete against in this timeslot. Basically from this show forward, the Clash was used to further a major feud (or feuds) before a big blowoff match. Which feud (or feuds) am I talking about? Let’s find out!
Your hosts are Tony Schiavone and Bob Caudle!
NWA U.S. Heavyweight Champion Barry Windham (w/JJ Dillon) vs. Brad Armstrong
Okay, so if you’re looking at the first and second Clash shows side by side and you’re wondering what the eff Barry Windham is doing with JJ Dillon in his corner, well let me tell you what went down in that short span of time which will bring us to June 8th, 1988. We last left Barry Windham and Lex Luger as the new NWA World tag team champions at the end of March. They had taken Anderson and Blanchard’s belts away from them and with Sting hot on Flair’s trail and no fourth Horsemen, (unless you count Dillon, but how can you really?) it looked like the Horsemen just might lose their stroke around the NWA for a little while. Just when things were looking great for the good guys, Windham pulls a big swerve on everyone by turning on Luger and costing them both the tag titles in a rematch against Anderson and Blanchard. The Horsemen had once again reclaimed the tag team throne after losing the titles only 3½ weeks earlier at the Clash. Not only was this win imperative to the Horsemen, but the Windham heel-turn was as well because Barry Windham was instantly added to the illustrious fold as the newest member of the Four Horsemen. Enter Dusty Rhodes: the big, huge, fat thorn that has been in the Four Horsemen’s side since the beginning. He had been the NWA U.S. Champion since Starrcade where he won the title from Lex Luger (who was a member of the Four Horsemen at the time, but was kicked out because he blamed JJ Dillon for his loss). For reasons I’m not sure of and can’t seem to find even on the ‘net, Dusty had beaten up Jim Crockett Jr. with a BASEBALL BAT. The major problem with that is, Crockett was the NWA President and decided to strip Dusty of the NWA US title because he was the president and felt that that was necessary punishment. Dusty would never win a major title ever again. Because there was now no US champion, a title tournament was formed and Barry Windham defeated a less-steroided, more-hairy (by hairy, I just meant that he had some hair on his head) Nikita Koloff in the finals. I think the cliché that applies would be, “a shell of his former self” when you consider Nikita Koloff in 1988. Anyways, Barry’s accomplishment meant that the Four Horsemen had their hands on all the major belts in the NWA and we’re back on top and just as solid as they had ever been, if not more so with the great addition of Barry Windham to the group. To show off his real heelish change, Windham began to wear a black glove much like his father Blackjack Mulligan did and used the clawhold as his new finisher. As far as Brad Armstrong goes, he came to the NWA as part of the UWF acquisition along with his tag partner Tim Horner, but never really did much in the NWA. He was mainly that babyface you could always depend on for a good glorified squash. One memory that comes to mind was during Flair’s short title reigns in 1996 where he go up against Brad Armstrong on WCW Pro and you knew it would be good even if in the end you knew there was no chance Armstrong would actually win the Big Gold belt. Well actually, that’s exactly what this match is like to be honest with you. As a matter of fact, let’s go ahead and get this thing started. Armstrong uses that arm strength and slams Windham to escape an armbar. Windham bails, but comes back in and gets taken down into a headlock. He reverses it on Armstrong into a head scissors, but Armstrong makes the ropes. Windham decides to stall out on the floor again to eat up some time. Back in, they do the same headlock sequence. Out of a tie-up, Armstrong backs Windham into the corner but then gets his jaw jacked with his gloved right hand. Windham nails him hard again, but then misses a fist drop off the ropes. Windham takes another breather out on the floor to try and slow down the momentum (which Tony mentions his Horsemen psychology, so you people give Tony some credit!). Windham gets back in and Armstrong grabs another headlock. Armstrong walks up the ropes a couple times to get Windham down in the headlock, which will become important later. Windham finally stands up and backs Armstrong up against the ropes and catches Armstrong in the gut. Armstrong catches Windham with a shoulderblock and then slams him down to reapply the headlock. Windham stands up, so Armstrong tries to walk up the ropes again, but Windham counters with a back suplex. Windham hits a powerslam for two. He applies a figure-four with no real setup and does a little cheating along with JJ Dillon. Ref Teddy Long finally catches Windham in the act and makes him break the hold. With Armstrong hardly able to stand, it makes a piece of cake to toss him out to the floor. Windham follows him out and drops Armstrong chest-first across the guardrail. Haha, JJ Dillon gives Windham the thumbs up and a BIG smile. Armstrong makes it up the apron and gets yanked back in the ring for a top-rope elbow drop, but Armstrong moves out of the way. HERE COMES ARMSTRONG! Armstrong delivers a dropkick and a knee-lift to set up a FLYING BODYPRESS for 1-2-NO! Armstrong tries it again, but this time Windham rolls through it into the CLAWHOLD! Armstrong goes down for the pin. (13:58) Like I said before, it’s a fun glorified squash. **¼
NWA U.S. Tag Team Champions The Fantastics vs. The Sheepherders (w/Rip Morgan)
Would you look at that? Here’s ANOTHER Mid-South feud brought into the NWA. If you don’t know who the Sheepherders are, they’re crazy New Zealanders who love to fight. You might know them best as the tag-team comedy act known as the Bushwhackers from the WWF. Rip Morgan is their buddy who agrees to be the New Zealand flag-bearer. In today’s standards would seem commonplace, they cut to the BACK before the match gets started because Jim Ross is standing out there waiting for Lex Luger’s limo to arrive. He’s got a World title match at the Great American Bash, you know. Luger makes one step out of the car and gets MASSACRED by the Four Horsemen! JR just stands there and in his best Opie Taylor impression, “Hey c’mon you guys! Stop it!” They really put the pounding on Luger’s neck there. We come back to the ring and evidently, the crowd saw what happened on a big screen because they’re all cheering. The Sheepherders control Rogers to start until he hits a crossbody on Luke for two and tags in Fulton. He comes in and sends Luke to the outside with a dropkick. Back in, Luke takes over on Fulton to regain the advantage for his team. They trade tags while taking apart Fulton. The champs hardly look like champs here, as they haven’t dished out hardly any offense. Fulton finally gets in a dropkick on Luke, which leads to a brawl out on the floor. Rip Morgan comes by and has some miscommunication problems with Luke. Wait, where’s the New Zealand flag? DOUBLE-NOGGIN KNOCKER by Fulton! Back in, Luke baits Fulton into the corner and nails him to take back control. Fulton slips out of a slam and applies a sleeper, but Butch quickly breaks that up. Rogers gets a tag out of that and hits an elbow drop off the ropes for two. Luke screws up a crucifix, but then headbutts Rogers down and tags in Butch. He stomps away on Rogers and gets two. He tries a backdrop, but Tommy lands on his feet and goes crazy on the Sheepherders. They go out on the floor to regroup. Back in, it’s back to Rogers and Butch. Rogers punches out of a rear chinlock, but Luke comes in and hammers him down and gets a tag. He comes in and hooks on an abdominal stretch. Rogers is able to hiptoss out of it, but gets his path to Fulton cut off by Luke. Rogers reverses a cross-corner whip, but then runs into a knee from Butch for two. Luke holds Rogers from the apron, but Rogers ducks and Luke gets nailed by Butch. Rogers rolls past the Sheepherders and makes the HOT TAG TO FULTON! Fulton mounts Butch and punches on him, but Luke breaks it up and gets a tag. The Sheepherders begin to just plain dominate Fulton. This is kind of weird booking in my opinion. Double-KO spot goes nowhere until Fulton hits a crossbody block on BOTH guys in the same move! For some reason, Teddy Long allows Tommy Rogers to earn a pinfall on both Sheepherders, which shouldn’t even be allowed for Bobby Fulton since only Luke was the legal man. It’s kind of a cool spot if you throw out the rule book. The Sheepherders bail again, but once order is restored, it’s down to Rogers and Luke. While Teddy Long is busy with Morgan, Butch yanks down the top rope to send Rogers out to the floor. Rogers gets brutalized out on the floor: he gets tossed into the guardrail, nailed in the back with one of the US tag belts, AND jabbed in the back with a non-folding chair! Rogers finally rolls back in as Luke covers him, but he’s in the ropes. Luke hits a backdrop for two, but then Butch inadvertently hits Luke. Rogers STILL doesn’t make a tag and gets cornered. The Sheepherders work over on his back some more, but then Rogers fights back with a clothesline out of the corner. Nope, Rogers still doesn’t make the tag. Butch BURIES his knee into Rogers gut in a very sick spot, as Rogers nearly lands on his head for 1-2-NO! In comes Luke for another rear chinlock. Rogers breaks free, but can’t tag. Another miscommunication spot, as Luke runs face-first into a chair held up by Butch! Fulton FINALLY gets the tag and promptly pins Luke with a rollup to retain the belts by the SKIN of their teeth. (17:07) Wild match, but the booking didn’t make very much sense. The Fantastics might’ve controlled about ninety seconds of that whole match, and they were the champions. ***
Ronnie & Jimmy Garvin (w/Precious) vs. Rick Steiner & Mike Rotunda
There’s a lot going on here. Steve Williams (Dr. Death is still a face here, and isn’t a member of the Varsity Club) has replaced Bob Caudle in this match for color commentary. Kevin Sullivan is stuck inside a cage because he wants Precious. Hey, that’s another man’s wife Kevin! There’s a big brawl to start with the Garvins in complete control. Once things settle down, the Garvins work on Steiner for a bit. The whole time, Sullivan is motioning for Precious to come over to the cage. Rotunda finally gets a tag and gives Jimmy a fireman’s carry takeover. Ronnie tags in and gets dominated by the heels with an armbar. This goes on for about five minutes until Garvin finally punches Steiner away and falls back to tag in Jimmy. He hooks on a front facelock and then tags in Ronnie for a quick rollup for two. Ronnie gets another rollup for two, but can’t prevent Steiner from tagging in Rotunda. Ronnie gets a sunset flip on Rotunda for two, but then Rotunda comes back with a backdrop and a jumping legdrop. Steiner gets a tag, but I guess it’s not important because the cameras are focused on Precious for the next twenty seconds. Steiner dumps Ronnie for Rotunda to take him over to the cage and let Sullivan get in some licks. Back in, Ronnie fights back with headbutts and chops and then makes the tag to Jimmy. Ronnie and Rotunda brawl out to the floor while in the ring, Jimmy rolls up Steiner for a three-count. (13:16) Meanwhile, Precious unlocks Sullivan out of the cage! Sullivan chokes her down onto the apron, which makes Dr. Death leave the broadcast table to stop him. Williams picks her up to take her away to safety, but she doesn’t want his help! She shoves Jimmy Garvin around and storms off to the back. This was supposed to lead to Precious being a part of the Varsity Club, but nothing ever happened. It was one of those matches where the angle surrounding it swallowed itself. **
Nikita Koloff vs. Al Perez (w/Gary Hart)
Apparently, these two had been feuding for the last several months. They fight over a tie-up to start until Perez grabs an armwringer. Nikita fights back and hooks on an armbar. Perez comes out of it, but then misses an elbow drop. Nikita goes back to the arm, but then he misses a charge in the corner. Perez kicks Nikita out to ringside for Gary Hart to smash his face on a table. Perez comes out and backs Nikita hard into the apron and then heads back into the ring. Hart gets in another shot to warrant a chase by Nikita, but Perez puts a stop to that and slams Koloff on the concrete floor. Nikita falls on top of Perez during a suplex attempt back in the ring, but only gets two. Perez applies a chinlock for a good little while, but Nikita powers out with an electric chair drop. AWESOME! Perez gets right back on top by working on the back and then tosses Koloff out to ringside. Nikita tries a sunset flip back in, but Perez blocks it and back pedals to the ring ropes on the other side of the ring to keep from falling. Nikita blocks a suplex and returns the favor. HERE COMES NIKITA! He fires away on Perez and drills him with a running shoulderblock. The ten-count corner punches lead to a back elbow that sends Perez up and over the top rope to the floor. Gary Hart hops up on the apron and points for Nikita to turn around as LARRY ZBYSZKO runs in to nail Nikita! He ducks and nails Larry Z with the SICKLE! Ring that bell! Perez is SO disqualified! (11:51) By the way, Larry Z and Al Perez were a tag team at the time. The numbers game takes over and Koloff gets beaten down pretty badly. The match was better the second time I watched it. **¼
NWA World Tag Team Champions Arn Anderson & Tully Blanchard (w/JJ Dillon) vs. Sting & Dusty Rhodes
Sting takes a backseat to Luger here, as he’s sent down to tag-team status instead of taking on Flair at the Bash. Don’t worry, he’ll get his chance. Sting no-sells some takedowns by Arn with kip-ups to start, but then Arn fires back and then takes Sting out to the floor. Arn unwisely tries to clothesline Sting up against the ringpost, but of course Sting ducks and Arn hits steel. Back in, Sting goes right to the arm, so Arn rakes Sting’s face to escape a wristlock and tags in Tully. It’s THAT simple. He comes in and takes a hiptoss/headscissors from the Stinger. Tag to Dusty! Man, Florida REALLY loves this guy. He’s all fists and elbows for Tully, which shouldn’t be a surprise. Dusty puts on the Figure-Four, but Dillon gets up on the apron for Arn to run in and break it up. Now that the Horsemen have Dusty hurt, they tag in and out and stay on top of him. Blanchard tries a suplex, but Dusty blocks it. Tully flips out of Dusty’s suplex attempt, but then gets knocked down with a clothesline. Dusty hits a standing dropkick and tags in Sting. Sting delivers a press slam and then connects with a Stinger Splash! Sting wants the SCORPION DEATHLOCK, but Arn comes in to stop him. Tully nails Sting from behind and then knocks him out to ringside for Arn to hotshot him on the guardrail! Arn tags in as Blanchard tosses Sting back in the ring. Arn tries the pump splash, but he hits knees instead of Sting’s abdomen. Sting gets within five feet of Dusty when Tully runs into cut off the tag. Arn comes in and tags Tully immediately. He can’t suplex Sting, so Tully leaps off the top for a sunset flip. Sting won’t fall down, so Arn clotheslines him to MAKE him go down for 1-2-NO! Sting starts to fire back, so Tully yanks him out to the floor. While Tully is with the ref, Arn gives Sting a DDT on the concrete! Dillon tosses Sting back in and Tully covers for 1-2-NO! Sting trades blows with Arn and then gets a backslide for 1-2-NO! Tully tags and stops Sting again from tagging in Dusty. Sting reverses a whip and hotshots Tully. Arn gets a tag and so does Dusty! He’s got elbows for everybody! DDT to Arn! Dusty hits the big elbow off the ropes, but Tully breaks it up at one. Sting comes in to stop Tully and shoves the referee aside. Uh-oh. Teddy Long gets tossed by Dusty as well. (11:02) Just as I say that, Barry Windham runs down and delivers a top-rope double-sledge to Dusty, then he puts Dusty in the CLAWHOLD! I guess the champs win by DQ, because Teddy Long called for the bell before Windham came in the ring. It’s hard to tell since I’ve seen people say it was a double-DQ as well. This was pretty good stuff by the Horsemen, as they attempted to teach Sting a thing or two about good tag team wrestling. **½
Final Thoughts: It’s one of those shows where nothing was downright bad, but nothing was must-see either. While not the best example, if you want to see the Bushwhackers when they were still taken somewhat seriously, this is one of those shows. Thumbs in the middle for the Clash #2.