Written By: Matt Peddycord
NWA Clash of the Champions VII: Guts AND Glory
June 14, 1989
Fort Bragg, NC
Ritz-Epps Fitness Center
Your hosts are JR & Grandpa Bob Caudle! Oh the stories he could tell.
Earlier today, the NWA wrestlers hang out and do army stuff at Fort Bragg, like climbing walls!
The Dynamic Dudes vs. The Freebirds (w/Terry Gordy) – NWA World Tag Team Titles Semi-Finals
This was Jimmy Garvin’s debut as a heel Freebird. Man, this crowd is hot and it’s just the kind of crowd the NWA would want unlike silly Philly because they’re cheering the Dudes and booing the Birds. In case you’ve forgotten, the NWA world tag belts became vacant after all the tomfoolery that went down at WrestleWar with the Varsity Club, so the NWA decided it was best to strip them of the belts and start up a tournament that would wrap up at the next Clash. This is that next Clash. The Birds attack first, but the Dudes work in their tandem offense to send the Birds flying away. Did you see what I did there? That was such good writing. The Dudes are undefeated on TV by the way, which becomes important later. Once it breaks down in a regular match, Ace controls both Freebirds with armbars. Garvin goes low on Douglas and tags out. After some Hayes stomping and strutting, a desperation sunset flip gets two. Tag to Ace, he gets kicked down south and chopped down. Heel miscommunication occurs, and that gets two for Ace. He whiffs on a crossbody though, and Hayes tags Garvin to cut off the tag. Hotshot gets two. Slam gets another two. Garvin dumps out Ace to Hayes for some guardrail action. Suddenly, the crowd starts to turn on the Dudes! When Ace finally gets back in the ring, we get a double-KO spot. HOT TAG TO DOUGLAS! Double-Noggin Knocker! Rollup on Garvin gets two, and then it explodes into a pier-six. DOUBLE DROPKICK puts Hayes out on the floor. Douglas gets another rollup on Garvin, but Hayes shoots back in the ring and saves Garvin with the DDT! Garvin covers, 1-2-3. (7:05) Play us some Lynyrd Skynyrd, it’s OVER. A match that set the precedent for the Freebirds for the next three years until they finally dry up and go away. The crowd was EXPLOSIVE though. **¼
Ranger Ross vs. The Terrorist
Ha-HA! Foreshadowing. This terrorist fellow is Jack Victory. I’m betting this is the loudest and warmest reaction Ross ever received during both his WCW runs. Terrorist gets in some jobber offense, but Ross comes back with the COMBAT KICK for the win. (1:25) Mission accomplished. CRAP
The Road Warriors’ “Iron Man” video plays. They beat people up, SON!
Great Muta prepares for an exhibition against a couple jobbers in Trent Knight and Mike Justice, but Gary Hart speaks for Muta and says these two “gaijins” (which is the Japanese word for foreigners) aren’t competition. Muta wants Steamboat, or Sting, or umm, Eddie Gilbert? Ok, Eddie Gilbert it is. He wants some revenge anyway for when Muta sprayed the GREEN MIST~! in Missy’s face. Gilbert runs out and tries to throw a fireball at Muta, but Trent Knight gets pulled in the way! BURNNNNNN.
The Ding Dongs vs. Cougar Jay & George South
Wrestlecrap, here we come. The Ding Dongs was one of Jim Herd’s bright ideas. First of all, they were supposed to be a team with hunchbacks and since they had hunchbacks, they couldn’t be pinned. You know, a pair of Quasimodos could’ve been some pretty sympathy-drawing babyfaces. When this stupid idea got to Ole, he said they could be beaten in ten seconds flat with a spinning toe hold. So that idea got canned, but Herd still wanted to form a tag team that used bells for some odd reason. Thus, we have the Ding Dongs dressed up in orange body suits, bells wrapped around their wrists and ankles, and a bell to ring in their corner. The poor saps are Jim Evans and Richard Sartain, both who have worked in the Georgia territory. Even this drunken Army crowd is like, “What the EFF!” Just a god awful match. They deliver some tandem offense to George South and finish him off with a flying elbow drop/flying knee drop combo for the win. (3:36) As you might expect, little bells are EVERYWHERE in the ring. You’d think Jim Herd would scrap this idea too after tonight, but nope. The Ding Dongs would remain as a team for the next couple months, but as a jobber team instead. Awful, awful stuff. CRAP
From the House of Representatives, North Carolina’s Charlie Rose stops by to congratulate the Army’s 214th B-Day. It’s also Flag Day!
The Midnight Express (w/Jim Cornette) vs. The Samoan Swat Team (w/Paul E. Dangerously) – NWA World Tag Team Championship Tournament Semi-Finals
Some drunk idiot fan gets in the ring during the Midnights introductions. These two teams had a 20-minute long match at the last Clash with the SST coming out on the winning end. Could Paul E look anymore like Don Johnson here? Eaton and Samu battle on the floor while Lane and Fatu go at it in the ring. Once we get a regular tag match going, Eaton tags in for the drop toehold/elbow drop combo. Swinging Neckbreaker by Bobby leads to a leapfrog backbreaker. Eaton hits a face plant and he goes for another one on Fatu, but Samu stops it with a thrust kick. Samu tags and Eaton gets dumped for a suplex on the floor. Back in, Samu hits a jumping legdrop for 1-2-NO! Fatu tags, but misses a charge in the corner. Tag to Lane, he hits a five-arm and a SWEET Russian legsweep for 1-2-NO! Eaton and Samu brawl to the floor while the ref gets knocked down. Meanwhile, Lane charges into a foot and Fatu heads up top for the FLYING SPLASH, but the Road Warriors hit the ring for some revenge on the SST for screwing them over in the first round. Animal slams Fatu from the top and a double-clothesline connects. The Road Warriors exit stage right as Lane covers and the ref crawls back in the ring for 1-2-3! (6:22) So the finals will be the Midnights vs. the Freebirds. This was a much better match than their Clash VI match. Much more fun. ***
Terry Gordy vs. “Dr. Death” Steve Williams
The Miracle-Violence Connection EXPLODES! So Doc has already stopped hanging out with Sullivan and Rotunda to feud with the Freebirds. Doc starts off quickly on Gordy, but then Gordy stops him dead in his tracks with a clothesline off a charge. Doc comes back with a BARRAGE of punches. Gordy escapes a front facelock into a back suplex. He hits the chinlock, but Doc escapes and delivers a pair of slams. They go to the floor and brawl around the ring. Back in, Doc hits a crossbody for two. Doc knocks Gordy to the floor a couple times with a dropkick and a five-arm and finally just goes after Gordy for the double-countout. (6:35) Crowd chants “bullspit” as Doc gets all hyped up in the ring. **
Norman the Lunatic (w/Teddy Long) vs. Mike Justice
Good thing that fireball didn’t hit Justice, he’s got a match tonight! See, Norman is a fat lunatic who comes out of a mental hospital every now and then to wrestle. An Avalanche gets the 1-2-3. (0:46) Teddy threatens Norman with keys to the rubber room if he doesn’t obey. CRAP
A Flyin’ Brian Pillman promo video set to Yello’s “Oh Yeah”. You know, from Ferris Bueller and Teen Wolf? Sounds like the song was an influence for the music played on Nickelodeon’s Doug. Yes, I am a ’90s kid.
Mike Rotunda & Kevin Sullivan vs. Rick & Scott Steiner (w/Missy Hyatt)
This would be one of the very first matches for the Steiners as a team. Definitely their first major match. Scott starts off quickly all over Sullivan, which results in a four-man brawl. Sullivan takes a powerslam from Scott and then HAS to tag out. Rick wants in and the crowd wants Rick, so he tags. JR thanks all the NWA fans in Stamford, Connecticut for watching this telecast. Rick delivers a Steinerline and grabs a headlock, but Rotunda takes him over with a nice back suplex. Sullivan tags in and eats a Steinerline. He tries to corner Steiner, but Rick punches his way out. Scott and Rotunda both tag. Steiner wants a suplex, but Sullivan draws Rick in so he and Rotunda can deliver a double-team suplex and send Scott out to the floor onto a table! SICK!! Sullivan goes out and throws some wooden steps at him as though he hasn’t done enough. Back in, the VC trade tags while keeping Scott pounded and grounded on their half of the ring. Rick comes in to cause more harm than he’s helping while Rotunda gives Scott a Double-Arm Suplex for 1-2-NO! False tag spot occurs, but Scott quickly gets the hot tag anyway. Rick fights off both guys and during the chaos, Sullivan tosses Bob Caudle’s chair in the ring. While Rick is beating the heck out of Sullivan while maintaining the ref’s attention, Rotunda gives Scott a suplex on the chair. Rotunda gets rid of the chair, calls the ref to get back in the ring, and gets the 1-2-3. (8:37) On par with their Great American Bash match. Crazy, balls-to-the-wall stuff for the time. ***
Governor Jim Martin from North Carolina thanks all the armies for what they do, whatever that is they do.
NWA World Television Champion Sting vs. “Wild” Bill Irwin
Irwin is The Goon fellow you saw on the Raw 15th anniversary show. He tries to scare Sting with his whip because he’s “wild”, so Sting beats the crap out of him with all of his usual awesome offensive moves. Irwin thinks he’s beat Sting by catching him off the Stinger Splash and slamming him down, but Sting pops right back up and gets the Stinger Splash after all for the 1-2-3. (3:32) They really seemed to book Sting during his TV title reign much like Goldberg nine years later. Get him in, get him out, and leave the crowd begging for more. ½*
Scott “Gator” Hall promo vid. He looks so SCARED of those gators.
Jim Ross heads over to Ric Flair’s house to see how he’s doing since he received a PILEDRIVER ON A TABLE thanks to Terry Funk on May 7 in Nashville for a Barbara Walters sit-down type interview. Ric’s a Lakers fan! Anyways, Flair’s rehabbing like crazy and will make an announcement on whether he’ll ever wrestle again on July 1. Oh, I hope he comes back! He also tells Funk that if he’s watching, that he better sleep with one eye open, because he will get his revenge.
The Freebirds (w/Terry Gordy) vs. The Midnight Express (w/Jim Cornette) – NWA World Tag Team Championship Tournament Finals
As Cornette walks around ringside during his entrance, Paul E runs in out of nowhere and BLASTS him in the back of the head with a horse shoe filled tennis racket! Cornette is down and out! Can the Midnight Express regain the tag belts without him? FIND OUT WHEN WE COME BACK! Oh, there’s no commercial break. Sorry. Sounded good though, didn’t it? Anyhow, the Dynamic Dudes, who were Cornette protégés, take the KO’ed Cornette to the back to safety. Hayes and Lane start the match. Lots of armdrags from Lane causes Garvin to tag. He receives the drop toehold/elbow drop combo for two. Lane delivers an enziguri and a savate kick before tagging Eaton back in for a double back elbow for two. Garvin finally has enough of this crowd and the Freebirds work them into an angry frenzy. Very few can work a crowd quite like the Freebirds. That kills about a minute. Garvin gets in a knee on Eaton and he becomes our face-in-peril. Eaton takes the chest-first guardrail bump. Back in, they pound on the chest real good. CHEST PSYCHOLOGY~! Garvin ends that with a chinlock, but the crowd wakes Eaton up. Eaton blocks a turnbuckle smash and gives one to Garvin instead. HOT TAG TO LANE! He misses an elbow in the corner, but then surprises Hayes with a DDT. Garvin and Eaton both tag. Double Noggin Knocker on the Freebirds! Five arm from Lane puts Hayes on the floor, Gordy gets nailed off the apron, which leaves Garvin all alone for a FLAPJACK! Cover, 1-2-NO! Gordy messes with the ref Tommy Young. While Young tries to get Lane out of the ring, Gordy sneaks in and POWERBOMBS (!!) Eaton. Young sees Garvin on top of Eaton for the 1-2-3. (9:11) That’s ROBBERY. This also sets up the Wargames match at the Great American Bash. Decent enough. **½
Ricky Steamboat vs. Terry Funk – #1 Contenders Match for the NWA World Heavyweight Title
When Funk was pissed that Flair didn’t consider him a top ten challenger to the NWA gold after Flair won it back on May 7, Funk went crazy and gave him a PILEDRIVER ON A TABLE. Now Funk is trying to defeat the former champion to become the #1 contender to the world title and face off against Flair at the Bash, while Steamboat looks to face Flair again and regain the belt. Don’t forget that Luger has a sour attitude about this whole ordeal. Can’t really blame the guy considering he’s the NWA US champion who is always considered the #1 contender to the world title. That was the entire reason why Luger wanted the US belt in the first place. He wanted another world title shot, and now Steamboat and Funk walk right into the company and find themselves fighting over a #1 contenders spot. Just a fantastic story. Stiff tie-up to start. They wind up trading some sick chops and then come to a standoff. More chops from the Steamer put Funk on the floor. Back in, Steamboat delivers a big double-chop and a pair of dropkicks puts Funk back on the floor. Funk comes back with right hands and tosses Steamboat on the floor. Funk drops an elbow, but Steamboat fights back with MORE chops and then throws Funk into the guardrail. Back in, Funk mounts Steamboat for some left hands. Reverse neckbreaker gets two. Steamboat unloads the chops and then Funk flips out of the corner and lands back out on the floor. Steamboat follows him out with a FLYING JUDO CHOP! He lifts Funk up and walks him all the way around the ring for a good old fashioned slam. They get back in the ring and then Steamboat picks Funk up and SLAMS him from the inside out! HOLY CRAP! Why was that not a DQ? Steamboat does a Tommy Dreamer pose. STEAMBOAT’S HARDCORE! Funk gets back in and lifts up his boot to block a corner charge. Back elbow sets up a PILEDRIVER. Cover, 1-2-NO! Steamboat collides with ref Nick Patrick, and then Steamboat gets dumped out for a RUNNING PILEDRIVER on the floor. Funk wakes the ref up and gives Steamboat a suplex back in for 1-2-NO!! Funk tries again for 1-2-NO! He comes off the top for a splash, but Steamboat lifts up the knees! Steamboat mounts a comeback with a gutshot and then gets some WrestleMania 3-like airtime on another Flying Judo Chop. Enziguri puts Funk on the floor. Funk grabs a microphone and hits Steamboat in the face with it for the DQ. (12:52) Funk looks to do more damage, but Lex Luger runs in with a steel chair for the save! Funk retreats, and Luger is on the MIC! He says he doesn’t have an ego problem, he just has a lot of pride. He then helps Steamboat up and then WHAMS him with a short-arm clothesline. Luger rips his shirt off and nails Steamboat in the back with a chair! Poor Steamboat. It’s TORTURE RACK time! Luger poses and says, “There lays your number one contender.” Awesome, awesome heel turn. Sting, one of Lex’s good friends, comes down to console Steamboat after what just happened. Such an intense match. A crowd this hot could have adrenalized pretty much anybody to a good match that had the skills. ****
Jim Ross and Lt. General Steiner celebrate the 214th anniversary of the Army with sheet cake! Then, some Army choir boys sing “God Bless the USA”. You know, that cheesy patriotic ’80s song. Cool for those in Fort Bragg, not so much for anybody else.
Final Thoughts: Too many matches on this card kept everything from really taking off. It was entertaining, the crowd was HOT, but nothing was given enough time because there was so much to do in two hours. Check out the Steamboat-Funk match on YouTube if nothing else. Plus, there’s the WrestleCrap stuff with Norman and the Ding Dongs that you have got to see if you enjoy bad gimmicks. I’m going with thumbs in the middle. The whole Clash isn’t recommended, but there is some good here.