Written By: Matt Peddycord
NWA WrestleWar 1990: Wild Thing
February 25, 1990
The current NWA Champs were as follows:
World Champion: Ric Flair (5/7/1989)
U.S. Champion: Lex Luger (5/22/1989)
World Tag Team Champions: Rick & Scott Steiner (11/1/1989)
U.S. Tag Team Champions: Brian Pillman & Tom Zenk (2/12/1990)
World Television Champion: Arn Anderson (1/2/1990)
We can’t forget the two matches cut from my Turner Home Entertainment video. Credit goes to ProWrestlingHistory.com!
Kevin Sullivan & Buzz Sawyer defeated The Dynamic Dudes (10:15) when Sawyer pinned Johnny Ace.
Norman the Lunatic pinned Cactus Jack (9:33).
Your hosts are Jim-bo-diddly Ross & Terry Funk! I didn’t make that up, Terry did. It was just too ridiculous not to mention.
The Midnight Express (w/Jim Cornette) vs. The Rock N Roll Express
The Midnights had recently turned on the Dynamic Dudes in an attempt to get the Dudes over as a popular babyface team, but it ended up giving the Midnight Express just the positive reaction they needed after a lackluster year in 1989. After the Rock N Roll Express had retreated back to Memphis in 1989, Ricky Morton & Robert Gibson returned to the NWA and rekindled their old feud with the Midnight Express at just the right time. By the way, there’s a guy in the front row with a “We have Herd enough” sign. Gibson starts off with Lane trading armdrags. Gibson nails Lane with a shoulderblock and Lane protests to the ref about a closed fist. Dramatics like that is just forgotten nowadays. They run the ropes for a bit until Lane telegraphs a monkey flip and pays for it with a fist drop. Lane takes a breather down on the floor and then the referee Nick Patrick starts arguing with Cornette! Cornette throws off his jacket and wants to fight, so Patrick pulls out his tucked-in shirt and wants to throw down. Of course it doesn’t happen and the action settles down, but the crowd goes crazy for it. Morton gets a tag. He flips out of a slam and then atomic drops Lane into Eaton to send them both flying all over the place. Lane actually SHOVES Eaton down, but Cornette smoothes it over with Lane. See, in 2007, Lane would probably walk out on Eaton and we’d have a six-month feud that goes nowhere. Back in, Lane punches Morton down and tags in Eaton for the first time. Immediately, Eaton runs into a pair of armdrags. They do the test-of-strength spot where Morton climbs up Eaton’s body and jumps off his shoulders into Lane. Awesome. Cornette grabs Morton’s ankle as he comes off the ropes, which causes Morton to give chase and trip Cornette into the ring. Morton gives the Midnights a DOUBLE-NOGGIN KNOCKER followed by a right hand for Cornette. Gibson tags in and Eaton takes a double-backdrop while Lane receives a double-clothesline and then Eaton takes a clothesline out to the floor. Back in, Lane gets a tag and then gets tagged with a double-back elbow. Morton and Lane go to the floor. Morton blocks a post-smash and returns the favor to Lane. Eaton tags and they end up falling out to the floor, so Lane comes by and slams Morton down on the floor. Eaton rolls back in to try and get the countout win, but Gibson helps Morton back in the ring. Eaton delivers his own style backbreaker (which I LOVE!) and then tags Lane and follows up with the double-team leapfrog backbreaker. Lane hits some savate kicks and tags Eaton for the drop-toehold/elbow drop combination for two. Eaton hits a nice-looking twisty suplex on Morton for two. Lane tags in for a powerslam that gets two as Gibson makes the save. Lane nails Gibson off the apron to bring him in and distract the ref so that Eaton can drop Morton chest-first on the guardrail. Eaton even tries to smash Morton’s face into the ringpost, but Morton blocks and sends Eaton instead. Back in the ring, Morton gets a desperation sunset flip, but the ref is busy with Cornette. Gibson comes in for another save, but it just means more punishment for Morton. Morton slips out of another slam and rolls up Lane off the ropes, but Eaton gets a blind tag and surprises Morton with a swinging neckbreaker! Morton attempts a comeback, but Eaton ends up tossing him into the corner to slow him down. Eaton talks some junk and then gives Morton an short-armbreaker before applying a hammerlock on the mat. Morton fights up and elbows out, but Lane gets another blind tag and catches Morton with a double-throat thrust. Lane stomps him on the mat. Morton punches back, so Lane tags out. Eaton sets up Morton for a flying elbow drop and it connects! Eaton covers for 1-2-NO! Lane tags in and applies an armbar after Cornette pokes Morton with his racket handle into the already injured arm. Morton actually armdrags out of it and Eaton tags in again to reapply the hammerlock on the mat. Morton elbows out again, but then they run into each other. Lane gets a tag and catches Morton with a side slam. Eaton tags for the ROCKET LAUNCHER to put Morton away, but Morton gets the knees up on Eaton! Hot tag to Gibson! He goes crazy on the Midnights and gets a Jack Brisco rollup out of the corner on Eaton, but Lane saves at two. Now all four-men are in the ring. Gibson comes off the ropes, but Cornette nails him in the back with the racket. Eaton covers for 1-2-NO! The Midnights go for the kill on Gibson with the DOUBLE-FLAPJACK, but Morton breaks it up and Gibson cradles Lane for the 1-2-3! (23:25) The usual great stuff from these two teams. The storytelling was great too, with the RNR dominating the Midnights at the beginning because of their familiarities. ****
The New Skyscrapers (w/Teddy Long) vs. The Road Warriors (w/Paul Ellering) – Chicago Street Fight
So Sid was injured in November and “Mean” Mark Callous (better known as the Undertaker) was brought in as his replacement. Now Dan Spivey has suddenly left the NWA and we’re left with “Mean” Mark Callous and a masked Mike Enos on loan from the AWA (which was basically dead at this point anyway) as a last minute replacement, completely changing the entire feud around and channeling the Road Warriors’ hatred on two guys who had nothing to do with the original feud. By the way, Teddy Long has a big surprise for us! This is basically a big huge brawl with Callous pairing off with Animal and the masked Skyscraper trading punches with Hawk. About a minute into this, Long’s surprise shows up. It’s Doom dressed up in tuxedos! The finish comes when Hawk backdrops Callous out to the floor, leaving the masked Skyscraper all alone for the DOOMSDAY DEVICE! (4:57) If you can’t already tell, this is the end for the Skyscrapers. After the match, Teddy gets tossed out on top of Doom to cause another big huge brawl. ½*
NWA U.S. Tag Team Champions Brian Pillman & Tom Zenk vs. The Freebirds
Wow, the Freebirds are definitely in Poison-mode tonight with all the mascara and everything. This is a tournament finals rematch for the recently revived US tag titles. Pillman/Zenk clear the ring of the ‘Birds to start, which calls for a bunch of stalling. Pillman and Hayes finally make contact two minutes after the bell. Hayes gets nailed with clotheslines and retreats back to Garvin. Zenk and Garvin go at it for a while. Pillman tags in and grabs a headlock, but then gets shoved off into the ropes and delivers a crucifix for two. Hayes tags in and gets his head smashed into the buckle, but then elbows out of the corner. Pillman comes back with a flying crossbody for two. Sunset flip from Pillman gets another two. Pillman and Zenk trade tags working on the ‘Birds arms for a while. Pillman makes a mistake and nearly gets put away with a sleeper hold from Hayes. JR & Funk do a great job of putting over the sleeper as a SCARY-dangerous hold. Pillman fights up, but then runs into the famous left jab from Hayes. That leads to a flying crossbody, but Pillman rolls through for two. Garvin tags in for a double-back elbow that gets two. Pillman mounts a comeback but ducks low off a whip and pays for it. Double-KO spot follows and Pillman manages to tag Zenk. Zenk has dropkicks for the Freebirds and then delivers the ten-count corner punch before applying the Z-LOCK (sleeper hold) on Hayes. Pillman comes in to nail Garvin, but the ref backs him away and Zenk gets decked from behind to break up the hold. Hayes covers for two, then dumps Zenk out to the floor. Hayes follows Zenk out and sends him into the ringpost. Back in, the Freebirds work a reverse chinlock. Zenk finally fights out and hits a powerslam on Hayes, but then he misses an elbow drop. Back to the chinlock we go. Zenk comes out of it again, but runs into a knee in the corner. Hayes heads up top and they blow a slam to the mat. Garvin tags in and grabs a neck vice. Pillman gets drawn in to cause the illegal switch as Hayes comes off the top with a double-ax handle for two. Hayes follows up with the Bulldog for 1-2-NO! Hayes grabs the chinlock again, but Zenk fights out with the DDT. Hot tag to Pillman! He goes dropkick-crazy on the ‘Birds. Pier-six brawl erupts and Hayes wants to KO Pillman with the US tag belt, but Zenk makes the save. Garvin nailed Zenk and calls for the DDT, but Pillman comes off the top instead with a Flying Crossbody for the 1-2-3 to retain the titles. (24:10) This was way too long for what the Freebirds are capable of doing, which is mostly chinlocks. **
NWA World Tag Team Champions Rick & Scott Steiner vs. Ole & Arn Anderson
This is all about Sting’s revenge, which I’ll get to later in the main event. The Andersons get OWNED to start. Once the action settles down, Arn tries to sucker Scott into his corner. Scott doesn’t take the bait and atomic drops Arn into Rick’s boot. Arn slips out of the ring to kill the Steiners momentum. Ole tags in, but gets cornered by Rick. That only pisses him off. It turns into a pier-six brawl with the Steiners clearing the ring. Back in, Arn tags in and gets stuck in a headlock. Arn escapes, but Rick catches him in a powerslam for two. Arn plays some head games with Rick and snapmares him down before he heads up top. Rick pops up and looks to nail Arn, but Arn thinks better of it and crawls down from the top to rethink his strategy. Back in, Ole grabs a headlock, but then gets in trouble and tags out. Scott gives Arn an inverted atomic drop and then applies the figure-four! Ole runs in for the save, but Rick nails him real good. Scott breaks the hold and Ole comes in again. Scott manages to power Ole over in a belly-to-belly throw for two. Rick tags in and teases a kick to the groin area, but the ref stops him and allows Ole to slide over to the corner. Ole wisely locks up with Rick and places him in the Anderson corner before tagging in Arn. Arn wants a suplex, but Rick reverses into one of his own. Ole gets another tag and Rick NO-SELLS a turnbuckle smash. The Andersons trade tags and try and keep Rick in their corner, but Rick breaks loose and tags in Scott. Arn and Scott go to the floor while Funk talks about taking a dog out behind a barn and shooting it. Scott goes for a clothesline up against the ringpost, but Arn ducks and lets muscle meet steel. That’s just the opening the Andersons need as they go to work pounding away on the arm. Back in, Ole applies the armbar. Arn tags in for the hammerlock slam and then reapplies the armbar. Arn goes for the pump splash, but of course he hits knees. Scott hits the FRANKENSTEINER out of literally nowhere to set up the hot tag to Rick. He’s got Steinerlines for everybody, but he’s outnumbered with Scott still out of it. The Andersons whip Rick into the ropes, but they both telegraph a backdrop. Rick kicks Arn away and cradles up Ole for the 1-2-3. (16:03) Post-match, the Andersons dump Rick and then attempt to break Scott’s arm in totally awesome heel fashion. A very good match as you might expect, but you could tell Ole wasn’t at his peak. That only makes me wonder how good this could’ve been if we had the ’85 Ole/Arn combination here. ***
NWA World Champion Ric Flair (w/Woman) vs. NWA U.S. Champion Lex Luger
The original plan was to have the Flair/Sting blowoff match while Sting was red hot after pinning Flair at Starrcade. That brings us to the Clash X 2½ weeks prior to this show. Flair and the Andersons had kicked Sting out of the Horsemen earlier in the night and left him for dead in the ring because he signed a contract for a title match with Flair. Later on in the show, Flair and the Andersons were scheduled to take on the J-Tex Corporation (Great Muta, Buzz Sawyer and the Dragon Master a.k.a. Mr. Sakurada) in a cage match. Sting thought it would be a good idea to get his revenge on Flair while he was stuck in a cage, but he ends up severing a tendon in his knee in the process and puts himself out of action for several months. Naturally, the US champion is billed as the #1 contender to the NWA World title, so In order to keep the injury as kayfabed as possible, they had to quickly turn Luger face because Luger and Sting used to be great friends and Luger never felt he got the rematch he deserved after Starrcade ’88. The Steiners also jumped on the bandwagon, which is what I meant when I said that they were all about getting revenge for Sting. This major disruption on the company caused a big US title match between Lex Luger and Dr. Death to be cancelled. Once that happened, Dr. Death left the NWA and had a very successful run in Japan for the next two years. As for Woman being in Flair’s corner, she ended up dumping Doom shortly after Starrcade because of their losing ways and got with the champ. Woo. This is the only match that’s edited- mainly because it goes nearly forty minutes. It cuts immediately to around the ten-minute mark as Luger pounds on Flair in the corner. Luger goes for a clothesline, but Flair avoids and lets Luger fall out to the floor. Flair follows him out and drives Luger into the guardrail. Flair gets back in the ring, but only to nail Luger off the apron several times. Flair finally lets him in and delivers the rolling knee drop. Make it two times for 1-2-NO! Luger gets to his feet and fires back, but then he misses a corner charge. Like the great heel he is, Flair drops Luger nears the ropes to use them for leverage and applies a hammerlock to capitalize on Luger’s miscue. He releases the hold to tell the crowd to shut up and then changes over to a keylock. Luger escapes and comes back with a clothesline, but Flair goes to the eyes. Woman gets involved behind the ref’s back with an eye-gouge. Flair reverts back to the keylock for a bit and then connects with the rolling knee drop on the arm. He goes for the cover with his feet on the ropes for a few nearfalls. Flair cranks on Luger’s arm in the corner, but then Luger gets all pissed and CHOKES Flair to the opposite corner! Luger whips Flair across for a Flair Flip and Flair falls out to the floor. Luger takes him to the guardrail and starts to NO-SELL some chops. Back in, Flair gets caught in a sleeper, but he drapes his foot on the bottom rope for the break. Luger grabs another sleeper, but Flair counters with a belly-to-back suplex. Flair heads over to the apron and tries to suplex Luger out to the floor, but he reverses Flair back in the ring. Luger goes after the legs and posts Flair’s knee. He attempts a figure-four, but he can not do it at all. Flair goes to the eyes again, but Luger catches Flair with a powerslam for 1-2-NO! Crowd thought it was over too. Luger NO-SELLS more chops and the running forearm. Flair decides to roll out to the floor, but Luger gives chase and gets thumbed in the eye to turn the tide. Back in, Luger blocks a hiptoss and gets a backslide for 1-2-NO! Luger sets up for the ten-count corner punch, but Flair fights out and counters with an inverted atomic drop. Flair heads up top and uncharacteristically (for heel Flair) hits a flying single-sledge. He connects with ANOTHER one and covers for 1-2-NO! Flair delivers a butterfly suplex for another near-fall. Flair mounts Luger for a sleeper. His arm drops once, twice, but not three times! Luger looks to be mounting a comeback, so Flair shoves him into the corner and rolls him up for 1-2-NO! Desperation clothesline from Luger gets 1-2-NO! Now it’s time for Flair to work on the leg. He delivers a pair of shin breakers, drapes the knee across the rope and sits down on it, and then hooks on the FIGURE-FOUR. He cheats like a mother trucker and grabs the TOP rope too, but Luger won’t give it up. Here comes Sting on crutches! Luger gets a second wind when he sees Sting and turns the FIGURE-FOUR over into the ropes. Sting slaps Luger around to get him all motivated. Flair chops away, but Luger doesn’t feel a thing. They go to the floor, but Luger NO-SELLS a whip into the guardrail. Back in, Luger delivers a military press slam. Flair goes to the eyes and heads up top, but Luger slams him down. Luger connects with a bunch of clotheslines and knocks him out to the floor. Luger gives Flair a suplex back in from the apron for 1-2-NO! Luger hits a powerslam for 1-2-NO! Woman slaps him from the floor, so Luger grabs after Woman and the ref gets in the way of a high knee from Flair. Luger scares Flair into the corner for another ten-count corner punch and then whips him across for another Flair Flip. He runs down the apron and leaps off the top, but Luger catches him with a clothesline on the way down. Luger covers, but of course the ref is still down. Luger sets up for the superplex and delivers, but covers again for some reason. That cues Arn & Ole to run in, but Luger takes them out very easily. Luger lifts Flair up in the TORTURE RACK, but he lets Flair go as Arn & Ole attack Sting. He goes out after them, but it’s all a trap as Ole & Arn beat on Luger and hold him down on the floor long enough to be counted out. (38:08/29:15 shown) Ref Nick Patrick was heading over to see if Flair was submitting and everything, but Luger gave up the title win to save his friend and solidify his face turn. The Three Horsemen deliver a big beatdown afterwards, but the Steiners run in for the save. What a money-making six-man tag that would’ve been. Not quite as good as their mind-blowing Starrcade ’88 match, but still really good. I don’t like seeing the main event end in a countout, but you take what you can get. ***¾
Final Thoughts: After the ridiculous Iron Man/Iron Team concept from Starrcade, this card is more than welcome. The Rock n Roll Express are back and we get another great Flair/Luger match. The Steiners/Andersons match is good to see if you’re an Andersons fan. If not, you might not appreciate it quite as much since the Steiners were somewhat limited here. All the same, thumbs up for WrestleWar ’90.