Written By: Matt Peddycord
NWA Clash of the Champions VIII: Fall Brawl
September 12, 1989
USC Carolina Coliseum
Your hosts are JR and Corny!
Before we get to the ring, Gordon Solie interviews Gary Hart. Apparently, there’s been some rumored problems in Hart’s J-Tex Corporation, but Hart denies all allegations and promises there will be a big surprise tonight. I love surprises!
The Road Warriors (w/Paul Ellering) vs. The Samoan Swat Team (w/Paul E. Dangerously)
We’ve got ourselves another FREAKIN hot Clash crowd. These four have been feuding since before the last Clash where the Samoans cost the Road Warriors their chance to regain the tag titles. Fatu delivers a superkick and then takes a powerslam. The Samoans regroup and we’ve got Samu vs. Hawk. Hawk hits the fist drop for two. Fatu gets dominated for a bit while JR and Corny talk about, well, how dominant LOD have been over the years. Hawk runs shoulder-first into the ringpost to become our warrior-in-peril. The Samoans take over as the crowd shrieks at everything Fatu does off the top rope to Hawk. Fatu tries for the FLYING SPLASH, but Hawk gets his foot up to block. HOT TAG TO ANIMAL! He covers Fatu off a jumping shoulderblock, but Samu breaks it up and posts Hawk. Fatu wants to smash Paul E’s phone over Animal’s head, but Hawk breaks it up. He grabs the phone, nails Fatu and then finishes him off with the DOOMSDAY DEVICE! (6:46) Nothing too awesome, but a lot of fun. The SST didn’t give LOD enough trouble and it was just too short. It definitely got the crowd going though. After the match, Ellering smashes the phone and the SST let Paul E know they are PISSED that they lost.**½
Tom Zenk vs. The Cuban Assassin
This would be the Z-Man’s NWA debut match after spending a lot of his post-WWF days in the AWA. Lots of dropkicks and armdrags in this one. Cuban Assassin gets in some jobber offense, but Zenk ducks a clothesline and hooks on the Z-LOCK (sleeper hold) for the submission win. (3:36) Good debut filled with Zenk’s flashy offense. *
It’s time for “The World According to Theodore R. Long” segment. Weird stuff. Antagonist Theodore Long is doing a radio show and hypes some future house show matches. HOLLA! HOLLA! HOLLA!
We take a look at Brian Pillman. He’s undefeated because he can fly!
South Carolina Governor Carroll Campbell makes September 12 “Ric Flair Day”. You see what happens to babyface Flair? He doesn’t get laid, but he get days named after him in his honor! WOO!
Ranger Ross vs. Sid Vicious (w/Theodore R. Long & Dan Spivey)
Sid is the man who rules the world. Ross takes a snake eyes on the guardrail, a running DDT, the helicopter slam, followed by the POWERBOMB. (1:08) Ranger who? JR predicts Sid as a future world champion. ½*
Missy Hyatt and Robin Green/Woman/Nancy Sullivan/Nancy Benoit go shopping for the Clash party with Rick Steiner’s money! Did they go grocery shopping too?
Interview with the NWA World Tag Team Champions The Freebirds: Hayes says the stinkin’ Steiners are the biggest stinkin’ challenge of their stinkin’ lives, but they’re going to stinkin’ win just like they always stinkin’ do!
NWA World Tag Team Champions The Freebirds vs. Rick & Scott Steiner (w/Missy Hyatt & Robin Green)
Hayes works the crowd early on as only he can do. Once he finally hooks up with Scott, he takes a pair of armdrags. Hayes sneaks in the left jab off a corner charge and tries a flying crossbody, but Scott rolls through for two. Scott has Steinerlines for both ‘Birds to send them out to regroup. Back in, Garvin tags and gets caught in an armbar. Garvin fights up and buries some knees in the corner, but Scott reverses a corner whip and elevates Garvin with a release German. Awesome. Rick tags in for some Steinerlines and scares the ‘Birds back out to ringside. Back in again, Rick corners Hayes for the ten-count punch. They screw up the missed corner charge for Rick, so Rick whips Hayes across and delivers the release belly-to-belly suplex. They try it again and this time, Rick misses the charge. Garvin tags in and dumps Rick out to Hayes for some guardrail action. Back in, a Hayes clothesline gets 1-2-NO! Garvin hits his running knee to the head off the ropes for another two. Rick powers out of a chinlock and then counters a DDT with a slingshot suplex. HOT TAG TO SCOTT! FRANKENSTEINER for Hayes! STANDING FRANKENSTEINER for Garvin! Double-Steinerline! He hits a powerslam on Hayes for 1-2-NO! Garvin saves, and we’ve got a pier-six brawl on our hands. Hayes shoves Scott off a headlock and Scott gets tripped up into the DDT for 1-2-3. (10:27) The camera shot completely misses what happened to Scott, but that was apparently on purpose because JR and Corny both wonder whether it was Missy or Robin that’s trippin’. Just so you know, it was Robin. What a scorpion woman. She takes Rick’s American Express and then costs him the tag titles. Great match though, and definitely one of the stronger efforts wrestling-wise during the Freebirds’ title run. ***¼
Brian Pillman vs. Norman the Lunatic (w/Theodore R. Long)
Pillman was getting SO over at this point. Norman attacks before the bell because he’s CRAZY. Pillman comes back with a suplex and Air Pillman. Nothing more than a setup move back then. Much like the superkick and Shawn Michaels back in ’92. Pillman makes the mistake of grabbing the key (don’t ask) and that fires Norman up. A splash off the middle rope gets 1-2-NO! They go to the floor where Norman avalanches Pillman into the ringpost! He tries again, but Pillman moves out of the way. Back in, Pillman hits the Missile Dropkick. Not only that, but a slam and a back drop! Pillman tries a crossbody out of the corner, but Norman catches him and slams him down. Cover, 1-2-NO! Clothesline gets two, but Pillman ducks a second one and pins Norman with the crucifix. (3:38) Major props to Norman for bumping around like that for Pillman. **¼
Another Gordon Solie interview with Gary Hart: Solie heard a rumor concerning Terry Funk, but Gary Hart says Funk is in the building and to leave him the heck alone! Gordon’s such a busy body.
“Dr. Death” Steve Williams vs. Mike Rotunda
This is pretty much it for the Varsity Club breakdown feud. Doc gets in five reps on the press slam. He gets in a shoulder tackle, but Rotunda cuts Doc off with a clothesline. Rotunda dumps Williams and punches away on him to try for the countout win. Back in, Rotunda grabs an ab stretch near the ropes and cheats like crazy. Doc comes back with a sunset flip and will not let some punches stop him from getting Rotunda over for 1-2-NO! A high knee puts Rotunda back in the driver’s seat. He follows up with an elbow drop for two. Rotunda applies a chinlock and uses the ropes illegally because that’s his thing. Doc finally brings Rotunda away from the ropes and escapes the hold with a jawbreaker. Rotunda grabs a headlock and allows himself to get backed into the corner so he can sneak out a foreign object out of his knee pad to poke Doc in the eyes. You just don’t see those kind of heel tactics anymore. Rotunda was just such a freakin’ awesome old school wrestler. Doc’s vision is impaired now, but he still stops Rotunda from coming off the top rope with a slam that sends him across the ring. They both miss a charge, but Rotunda’s causes him to fly out to the floor. Back in, Doc wants the OKLAHOMA STAMPEDE and Rotunda grabs the ropes to avoid all of that. Ref Tommy Young kicks Rotunda’s arm off the ropes and Doc falls back but rolls over on top of Rotunda for 1-2-3. (7:04) Rotunda attacks after the bell, but Doc NO-SELLS and hulks up. The JAPANESE FIGHTING SPIRIT~! Is running through his veins! ***½
Interview with NWA U.S. Champion Lex Luger: He’s got nothing to say about Tommy Rich, and two minutes to talk about himself.
NWA U.S. Heavyweight Champion Lex Luger vs. Tommy Rich
Rich had been on sort of a role since his return to the NWA a few months back, which explains the US title match. As for Lex, he was enjoying his peak as a ring general, as he was definitely hitting his peak as a performer. Rich starts off strong with Luger using armdrags and headlocks while Cornette runs through his NWA accolades. Wildfire speeds things up and tries to get a surprise win on Luger with a rollup out of the corner and a small package. JR mentions that he knows Mike Tyson and Don King are watching this show because they’re BIG fans of the NWA. Hmm. Tommy finally makes a mistake once he whiffs on a dropkick and Luger capitalizes with a powerslam. Luger pounds on the lower back and makes that his gameplan. Rich comes back with a sunset flip from the apron and then avoids a clothesline and causes Luger to fly out to the floor. Rich tries to suplex Luger back in, but he botches it BADLY and causes Luger to fall right on the top of his head. Surprisingly, Luger lands on top for a two-count. Cocky side slam gets another two. Powerslam from Lex sets up the TORTURE RACK, but Rich slips away. He wants a roll up off the ropes, but Luger elbows him back and delivers a superplex. Luger takes his time, then covers for 1-2-NO! Luger tries a flying splash, but there’s no water in the pool! Wildfire goes wilder than a California forest fire on poor Lexy with a back elbow and a fist drop from the middle rope for 1-2-NO! Since that won’t do it, Rich goes for it all with the THESZ PRESS for 1-2-NO! Luger got his foot on the bottom rope. Rich applies a sleeper on Luger while he’s on the apron, so Luger drops down and snaps Rich back on the top rope for 1-2-3. (10:36) Not a good finish at all, but they told a great story and made you feel like Rich actually had a chance at beating Luger. Rich and Luger fight to the back to make you think there’s going to be more to this feud, but there’s not. ***
ANOTHER Gordon Solie interview with Gary Hart: Man, Gordon will just not leave him alone! Turns out Funk isn’t cleared to wrestle thanks to Flair beating him in the arm with his own branding iron. He could’ve lost his arm! Actually, Funk had broken his forearm in a match with Sting a couple weeks back and Slater had been subbing for him at the house shows. Funk cuts a pre-taped promo from the hospital and says he WILL be at the Clash to get his revenge.
Ric Flair & Sting vs. The Great Muta & “Dirty” Dick Slater (w/Gary Hart)
Somebody needs to make a Dick Slater music vid with “Ridin’ Dirty” as the song. That would be the best. Slater’s got an arm cast on because of a recent Flair branding iron beating. Sting and Muta kick things off. Muta had just defeated Sting for the TV belt a week before this show, by the way. JR mentions the red and green mists, but then talks about the YELLOW MIST~! which is the most deadly of all of the Muta mists. Luckily, we haven’t seen that in the US yet though. Haha, foreshadowing. It’s funny to watch Sting and Flair giving each other high fives and being all powsy-wowsy. Especially when you know how many times Flair will stab Sting in the back over the next ten years. Muta tries to escape an armbar as much as he can, but Sting never lets go. Flair tags in as JR mentions that is the first one-on-one sanctioned televised encounter between these two men. He twists on Muta’s arm a bit, but he breaks free and tags in Slater. The crowd is so hot, you can barely hear Slater’s usual loud breathing while Flair chops and kicks the crap out of him in the corner. Slater battles back and sends Flair in for the Flair Corner Flip. He runs down the apron, chops Muta, and comes off the top for an elbow. WOO! Muta roundhouse kicks Flair out and nails him with a pescado. Then Sting nails Muta with a pescado and we’ve got all four men on the floor brawling like there’s no tomorrow. Gary Hart and his boys regroup while Sting and Flair high-five some more in the ring. Uh oh, Gary Hart has the branding iron at ringside! Back in, Sting tags in and goes after Slater’s hurt arm. Sting hits a suplex for two. Slater then backs Sting into his corner, but Sting fights out and press slams Muta! Tag to Flair, who gives Muta a back suplex. Rolling Knee Drop follows, but Muta goes to the eyes and hits the Handspring Elbow. Flair and Slater get into a slugfest, but then Flair ducks low and Slater catches him with the Swinging Neckbreaker. Muta comes in and dumps Flair out to Slater for some guardrail action. Back in, Muta delivers the power drive elbow drop and hooks on the Oriental Nerve Hold, but Flair escapes with an atomic drop. HOT TAG TO STING! He gives Muta another press slam while Slater and Flair brawl on the floor. Stinger Splash connects, but what about the SCORPION DEATHLOCK? Whoa, Gary Hart is in the ring! He decks Sting with a roll of quarters! Order is restored, and Muta covers for 1-2-NO! Muta gives Sting a powerbomb with a bridge for 1-2-NO! Slater tags in and catapults Sting throat-first into the bottom rope. He slams Sting on the floor and then lets Muta toss him into the guardrail, which brings Flair over to put a stop to it. Back in, Sting drops out of a sleeper with a jawbreaker, but then runs into a double-KO spot. Sting backdrops out of a PILEDRIVER and we’ve got a HOT TAG TO FLAIR! He goes CRAZY on the heels and we’ve got another pier-six. Meanwhile, Muta sprays Sting in the face with the YELLOW MIST~! Sting is done and rolls out to the floor. Muta gets caught in a back suplex, followed by the FIGURE-FOUR. But Ric, Slater is right there. He nails Flair with the cast and busts him open. Ref Tommy Young gets dumped and that’ll cost the J-Tex crew the match. During the double-teaming, Terry Funk shows up in the ring and places a plastic bag over Flair’s head! JR~ “Flair won’t be able to breathe!” (19:16) Because of the nature of the incident, the footage of Funk basically smothering Flair with a plastic bag would never be replayed on TV ever again thanks to the TBS censors. However, since Vince has those “Do Not Try This At Home” videos that air before any of his wrestling media is played, you can now check out Flair being smothered on the Ultimate Flair Collection DVD in excellent quality! Sting takes a branding iron shot to the ankle while Flair lies passed out on the floor. Another wild and crazy main event brawl on the Clash. ****¼
Final Thoughts: A much better Clash this time around. Less matches and a good amount of time for the matches that people came to see. Everybody was feeling it on this show and the result was four ***+ matches in return. Thumbs up for Clash VIII.