Yeah, I’m not really recapping RAW or Smackdown! so much these days… Actually, a far more accurate way of putting that might be “I’m averaging 55 hours per week at work, make time to watch RAW, and don’t bother with Smackdown!”
The date is June 14, 1989. LT. GEN. CARL STINER opens the show live from Fort Bragg, North Carolina, thanking the NWA for saluting the flag.
TONIGHT: A top 10 showdown – as Terry Funk (#10) challenges Ricky Steamboat (#1) in hopes of moving up to get the shot at Ric Flair he was denied. Who will become the newest Freebird? This, and the culmination of the tag-team tournament to find new champions at Clash Of The Champions VII: Guts And Glory!
Our hosts are JIM ROSS and BOB CAUDLE. They go over what the opening package told us just moments ago – but Ross adds that we’ll be hearing from Flair for the first time since May 7th.
MILITARY DUDES sing the national anthem…and not in synch. Yeesh.
Some NWA wrestlers practice Leadership Skills earlier today. SCOTT STEINER rappels a wall. RANGER ROSS does the zip line, and so does MISSY HYATT. No GI Bro?
DYNAMIC DUDES (with lime green hats and banana yellow Frisbees) vs. THE FABULOUS FREEBIRDS (with Terry Gordy) (in a tag-team titles semi-finals match)
Jimmy Garvin is the newest Freebird, and the crowd boos them out of the building. Gordy decides to take a seat for this one – and the Dudes attack before the bell. Ace and Douglas hit double atomic drops, and double belly to back suplexes. Ace hits a sunset flip on Garvin while Douglas clotheslines Hayes. Winner of this match gets a shot at the vacant titles later. Hayes misses a dropkick and falls flat on his ass. Ace hiptosses him, and then hiptosses Garvin when he tags in. Douglas and Ace start taggin in and out quickly with Ace hitting an elbow to the arm from the top on Garvin. Double team hiptoss – but Garvin comes back with a spear on Douglas, and the Freebirds stomp away in a group. Later: The debut of the Ding Dongs. Yes, yes, yes!!!!! I love this Clash! Douglas gives Hayes a sunset flip for 2. Ace comes in, claps a whole lot, and Hayes chops the shit out of him. Ace does duck a punch that winds up clocking Garvin by mistake, and then following up with one of his own for a 2. Ace tries a crossbody, but misses, and Garvin quickly enters to stomp away. Hotshot face first onto the ropes gets a 2. Garvin tries a scoop slam resulting in another 2. Ace rolls outside, and Hayes is all over him, chopping away and Ace gets thrown face first into the guardrail. Ace slowly climbs back to the apron…and gets dropkicked off, and back to the floor. Douglas heads over to talk Ace back into the ring, which is a mistake, because Garvin simply tackles him. Ace does manage to tag out, and Douglas is a house of fire, backdropping everyone in sight. Double noggin knocker, sunset flip on Garvin, 1, 2, Hayes breaks it up! The Dudes each grab a Bird, and drive them face first to the ‘buckle over and over while the crowd chants along! Double dropkick on Hayes sends him out. Double backdrop on Garvin! Hayes comes back in, and drops Ace out of the ring. Ace re-enters and throws Hayes out just as quickly. The referee tries to maintain over, and chases Ace back to the corner while Douglas rolls up Garvin. No count. Hayes slips back in, delivers a jumping DDT that kills Shane, and one 3 count later sends the Freebirds to the tag-team championship finals. (7:04) **
THE TERRORIST vs. RANGER ROSS
Let’s see, we’re on an army base on the 214th birthday of the army – with Ranger Ross, a Real American Hero taking on a self-admitted terrorist. I DARE the NWA to put Terrorist over. Terrorist attacks Ross from behind before the bell, and takes him down with a back elbow. Using the terrorist jacket, he chokes out Ross – but Ross comes back with a flying shoulderblock to a HUGE pop. Ross hits a dropkick, slams the Terrorist, and drops an elbow for 2! Flying clothesline, and Ross looks winded. Good lord. Heart punch, palm shot to the face, and a Combat Kick gets the win. (1:24) DUD Post-match, the Terrorist blows up the building.
Let’s take an exciting look at the Road Warriors. Iron Man plays and we get some clips. Yup.
JIM ROSS kisses up the army some more – and introduces GARY HART and THE GREAT MUTA. This is a martial arts exhibit, and to help, TRENT KNIGHT and MIKE JUSTICE are on hand. However, Hart says there will be no demonstration because his opponents are no competition. He wants a Ricky Steamboat, or a Sting, or an Eddie Gilbert, and NOT gaijins. He then defends Muta’s decision to blow mist in Missy Hyatt’s face, because in America, all men hide behind their women. EDDIE GILBERT charges the ring, with a fireball in his hands!!! He throws…and hits Knight by mistake! Muta beats it out of town, while Gilbert stops to tend to Knight.
GEORGE SOUTH and COUGAR JAY vs. THE DING-DONGS
From Belleville, USA – meet THE DING-DONGS!!!!!! They are dressed like a couple of large orange luge competitors – and are covered from head to toe in bells. This is like the GREATEST GIMMICK EVER! I don’t hear an opening bell, but it doesn’t matter because Ding Dong #2 is forever ringing one in the corner while #1 works a headlock on Jay. A sunset flip gets 2. Jay fires back with some punches, and tags in George who gets hiptossed. Slingshot dropkick from #2 connects, and he rolls around, trading holds with George. They go into the criss-cross, and #1 comes in to help with a double team hiptoss! The fans are just mercilessly booing this new fan favorite team out of the building. Thesz Press from #1 gets a 2. Scoop slam on George, #2 comes in, and hits a splash for 2! He dropkicks George, hiptosses him, and works an armbar. Bells are lying all over the mat since they’re falling off the costume. George hits a scoop slam, but misses a kneedrop, and takes a spinebuster! #2 hits an elbowdrop, #1 hits a kneedrop off the top, and we’ve got some winners! (3:25) 3/4* JR: “That was terrible!”
US REP. CHARLIE ROSE salutes our soldiers! Thanks Chuck!
THE MIDNIGHT EXPRESS (with James E. Cornette) vs. THE SAMOAN SWAT TEAM (with Paul E. Dangerously) (in a tag-team titles semi-finals match)
Dangerously introduces the next tag-team champions of the world – Samu and Fatu. He reminds us he’s already put Cornette in the hospital, so Cornette wallops him with the tennis racket and all hell breaks loose. Everyone throws haymakers, before we’re left with Fatu and Lane. Lane hits a drop toe hold, and Eaton drops an elbow. Lane kicks at Fatu’s midsection, and the Express use a double elbow to take him down. Everyone hits the ring again, and again everyone winds up throwing punches. Eaton hits a neckbreaker Samu, and the Express hammer away. Eaton hits a bulldog on Samu, and walks straight into a superkick from Fatu. The Samoans double team Eaton with a press slam, and Fatu takes him down with a huge clothesline. Double Samoan punches rock Eaton, and send him out. Fatu follows, and suplexes him on the mat. Dangerously’s on the Zack Morris Early 90’s Trademark Portable Phone – yakking it up with someone. Eaton heads back in, and Samu drives him to the mat, via the hair. Legdrop hits the target, and in comes Fatu. The double teaming continues, but Fatu misses a blind charge, and hits the post shoulder first. Bobby gets the tag – and in comes Lane. He kicks at Fatu, and a Russian legsweep takes him down for 2. Samu makes the save, but Bobby’s all over him to keep him away. In the melee, the ref gets bumped and THE ROAD WARRIORS hit the ring! They slam Fatu off the top – the ref wakes up, and Eaton scores the pinfall!!! (6:06) *1/2
JIM ROSS spends a couple of moments hyping the finals of the tag-team tournament that will be coming up later tonight, and promises a provocative interview with Ric Flair later on – perhaps the most interesting of his career. But first…
Let’s go back to May 7th, when Ric Flair defeated Ricky Steamboat to win the NWA World Title. Terry Funk, one of the judges at ringside for the match, entered the ring during Flair’s celebration and challenged him to a match for the belt. Flair, feeling that Funk was well into retirement politely declined, and attempted to give a victory speech. However, Funk kept on – and started talking about how he was only joking, before offering his hand. Flair took it, and got walloped. Funk went INSANE, beating the crap out of Flair, slapping Flair in the face, and then piledriving him through the judges table – breaking Flair’s neck.
Ross compares the heat in the Flair/Funk confrontation with the heat in the building, and hypes a few more matches for tonight – plus at The Great American Bash…
Triple Crown, King Of The Hill, Double Ring Battle Royale! Sound confusing? Well, there’s two rings. 30 men start in Ring #1 – and as they’re eliminated, they move to Ring #2. Once eliminated from the second, the winner of Ring #1 faces the winner of Ring #2. Winner gets money, and lots of it.
TERRY GORDY vs. STEVE WILLIAMS
Williams rushes the ring, ambushing Gordy, and nails him with the 3 point stance football tackle. Gordy comes back with a clothesline to block another tackle attempt. Irish whip – and a clothesline in the corner. Boot to the midsection, and Gordy lays in the rights. The Doc fights back, and they trade punches. Williams gets the advantage, and Gordy sells as only he can sell! An uppercut drops Gordy, and he follows with a headbutt for good measure. Gordy applies a bearhug, and turns it into a belly to back! Ross promises “Norman”. Woohoo! More gimmicky goodness! Gordy works a headlock, lets go, and slams the big man. It’s no sold, and Williams hits a couple of his own powerslams – and does his version of hulking up…The Raindance! They brawl to the floor, and Gordy gets in RIGHT before a count-out. He misses a clothesline, but Doc doesn’t miss a crossbody, getting 2. Williams hits a dropkick, and Gordy bails. Back in, and Williams hits a forearm that knocks Gordy right back out. Gordy starts to take off, having had enough, but Williams follows. They brawl up the aisle, and you can guess what happens from here. LAME count-out. (6:31) * The fans break into a loud “BULLSHIT” chant, so the NWA cuts to the commercial break quickly.
MIKE JUSTICE vs. NORMAN THE LUNATIC (with Theodore R. Long)
Picture Eugene Dinsmore. Add 200 pounds. Put him in hospital clothes. There’s Norman. Long carries a set of keys that keeps Norman under control, because the idea being the keys represent the rubber room Norman will be sent back to if he gets too out of control. Clothesline for Justice to start, and we’re followed by a headbutt. He throws Justice to the corner, hits an avalanche, and gets the win! (0:46) DUD A TEAM OF DOCTORS rush the ring to help safely get Norman out before he can do any further damage to his opponent while Long waves the keys in his face. Norman switches from looking like he’s going to kill everyone in sight, and trying to maintain his self-control. From there, he willingly gets strapped down to the gurney, and wheeled out. This was an UNBELIEVABLY unfair induction to Wrestlecrap – because if they took half the ideas they had for this gimmick and applied it to someone like Kane, the WWE would be making millions right now. Brilliant idea, just used during the wrong era.
JIM ROSS gets in a word with the Freebirds. Garvin promises to lay down some new rules and regulations – and doesn’t believe there’s a single tag-team in the country that can touch Garvin, Hayes, and Gordy. Gordy informs Steve Williams that he’s the Big Daddy.
To the tune of “Oh Yeah” by Yello – coming soon, Flyin’ Brian Pillman! Just that alone makes perhaps the FUNNIEST attempt to get a serious wrestler over I’ve ever seen. All I can see right now is “Duff Man”.
KEVIN SULLIVAN and MIKE ROTUNDA vs. THE STEINER BROTHERS (with Missy Hyatt) (in an Australian tag-team match)
No, I have no idea what Australian rules are. The fans start barking right away, and yes, believe it or not, at one time Rick Steiner was perhaps the biggest babyface in the company. I have a REALLY hard time picturing it as well. Scott hits a clothesline on Sullivan, and pounds away. Rotunda tries to come in, but Rick’s on him like white on rice – and he isn’t doing anything here. Scott powerslams Sullivan, and he’s had enough so he tags out to Rotunda. Rotunda wants Rick of course, and Scott complies with that. Rotunda clotheslines Rick, but Rick comes back with a backdrop and clothesline of his own to a huge pop. Sullivan sneaks in, but Scott beats him up. Rotunda, in the melee, rolls up Rick with a handful of tights for 2. Captain Mike hits a belly to belly, applies a headlock, and tags in Sullivan. Rick fires back with a clothesline for Sullivan, and runs around the ring. Rick, just to screw with Sullivan, gets down on all fours and begs him to attack. He does, and Rick beats not only him up, but takes the time to attack Rotunda on the apron. Rotunda wants another piece, and tags back in. Rick slaps on a headlock, drags him back to the corner, and turns to Scott. Scott hits a crossbody getting 2. A vertical suplex attempt is blocked by the ropes – and when Rick tries to help, the referee chases him away, and the heels dump Scott to the outside, with his back hitting the announce table. Sullivan throws the ringsteps at Scott and sends him back in. In the ring, Sullivan hits a big boot and goes back to Rotunda. Beautiful dropkick hits the mark, and Sullivan comes back in. Sullivan serves to annoy Rick, so ignoring the referee he comes in and attacks Sullivan. The ref chases him away, and Rotunda hits a double arm suplex behind his back for 2. Front facelock on Scott is applied, but Scott fights to his corner and makes the tag…but the referee misses it because he’s busy being yelled at by Sullivan, and Rick has to stay put. Scott hits a dropkick to get rid of Rotunda, and makes another tag which is seen. 10-punch count-a-long for Rotunda, and Sullivan gets his punishment as well. Double team clothesline from the Steiners to Rotunda, so Sullivan grabs Bob Caudle’s chair. Scott attempts a big splash on Rotunda, but he gets the knees up, and suplexes Scott onto Caudle’s chair! Cover, 1, 2, 3! (8:35) ***1/4
JIM CORNETTE tells JIM ROSS that the Express have never asked for any help, but they’ll certainly accept the Road Warriors aid from earlier. Cornette suggests the Freebirds and Express are the most legendary tag-teams in history – and yet they’ve never met. His only guarantee: no interference by the extra Freebird, and he’ll be ringside to make sure that doesn’t happen.
North Carolina Governor JIM MARTIN discusses the birth of the army – and brags about Bragg. He also thanks TBS for choosing Fort Bragg as the host of their celebration.
BILL IRWIN vs. STING (with some kids) (for the WCW television title)
Bill cracks his whip before the match a whole lot, but the referee gets into a tugging match to take it away, and Sting takes advantage with a crossbody. Dropkick – the crowd is pumped! Sting boots Irwin in the midsection, but he comes back with a knee to the midsection and gives Sting a hot shot. Sting is tossed neck first into the ropes, and nailed with a back elbow. Sting comes back with a boot to the face, a boot to the midsection, and a double knee to the face. Back rake, a vertical suplex, 2 count! Irwin tries to fight back with a knee to the midsection, but Sting rakes the eyes, misses a Stinger Splash, and a crossbody is turned into a spinebuster!! Irwin celebrates, holding the bullwhip high above his head…and gets nailed with a Stinger Splash, giving Sting the win. (3:31) 1/2*
Here’s an introduction to Scott “Gator” Hall from Florida. Various clips of him wrestling, as well as poking at alligators with big sticks. The blonde hair and pornstache scare me to no end.
JIM ROSS is outside RIC FLAIR’s home to talk with the WCW champion. He wonders if Flair is going to wrestle again, and when. Flair welcomes him into the home, of course wearing sunglasses. Flair says he’s going to the hospital twice a day for therapy and traction. His lawyers and accountants are trying to help him find life after wrestling, though financially there’s no worry – he’s set for 2 lifetimes. His left arm is numb, and he’s got a pinched nerve in his neck thanks to a cracked vertebrae, but he’s feeling alright. He says this is harder than the airplane crash, because after the crash he knew he’d be fine and make it back, whereas this time he’s not so sure. For a guy that’s as active as he is, he finds it hard to be on the sidelines after 8 years on top, and it’s even more difficult to even watch the shows. Ross mentions the NWA waived their 30-day defense clause for the belt because it was their own judge who caused Flair’s injury. They are giving him an additional 30-days to compete, and if he can’t at that time his title will be stripped. Flair promises to put in his all over the next few weeks to get back into ring-shape, but says if he’s not, he will not wrestle because he won’t give someone the satisfaction of taking the belt from him at 75%. To Terry Funk, he won’t give him the time of day until he’s 100%, but suggests that he not sleep at night – because be it 30 days or 365 days, Flair will eventually show up at his door.
THE FABULOUS FREEBIRDS (with Terry Gordy) vs. THE MIDNIGHT EXPRESS (with James E. Cornette) (for the NWA world tag team titles)
Before the match even starts, PAUL E. DANGEROUSLY attacks Cornette from behind with the tennis racket, and pounds him into the ground. A close up reveals the racket was loaded with a horse shoe and a bunch of other heavy metal objects. THE DYNAMIC DUDES come down to help Cornette to the back. Hayes applies a headlock to Lane to start – but gets hiptossed and slammed. Hayes keeps coming, and keeps getting hiptossed. Hayes dives to the apron and tags in Garvin. Eaton comes in as Lane gives Garvin a drop toe hold – and Eaton drops an elbow for 2. JR plugs the WCW Hotline (1-900-909-9900) while Lane gives Garvin a superkick to the midsection. Eaton comes in with a lateral press for 2. Garvin yells at the fans to “SHUT YOUR HOLES!” and that just fires them right up. Eaton tries to work a headlock, but Garvin drives a knee into the midsection and slams him. Hayes dumps Eaton, and follows to deliver a few punches out of the ring. Back in, Hayes dumps Eaton on the otherside, sending him into the guardrail this time. Eaton slowly gets ack in, allowing Hayes to drop him, and Garvin to launch him face first into the guardrail. Lane helps his partner back in, but Hayes only lays in more shots, before hitting a double elbow with help from Garvin. Garvin takes over with a headlock, but Eaton fights out and slams Garvin face first into the ringpost. Lane finally tags in, but misses an elbowsmash in the corner allowing Garvin to tag out. Hayes comes in, and Lane DDTs him hard! Eaton and Garvin come in, and Eaton is a house of fire – hitting them with the double noggin knocker! Together, they take over the ring – so Gordy hops on the apron, but they dispose of him too! Garvin takes a double backdrop, getting 2! Lane does the 10-punch count-a-long in the corner on Hayes, and with the ref watching that Gordy comes in and powerbombs Eaton!!! The ref turns, sees Garvin on top, 1, 2, 3! (9:08) ** Ignore the timekeeper at ringside, he’s WAY off. And with that, the Garvin version of the Freebirds enjoy their first tag-team titles.
TERRY FUNK vs. RICKY STEAMBOAT
Steamboat’s family is at ringside, as usual. Funk and Steamboat fight over what appears to be a hug, and the referee breaks it up. Funk lays in a series of hard chops, so Steamboat fires back with even harder ones! Funk slaps Steamboat like a bitch, so Steamboat does him one better and bitchslaps him about a dozen times before Funk bails. Crazy crowd heat for this one. Funk takes Steamboat down with a series of shoulderblocks, but a massive chop takes Funk down – and 2 dropkicks send him outside. Funk sits on the floor, looking mighty pissed off. Funk comes back in and lays in his lefts, and tosses Steamboat out. Funk follows with a running elbow smash to Steamboat’s back, but Steamboat isn’t phased and chops the crap out of him. A whip sends Funk into the guardrail, and Steamboat quickly rolls him back in. Funk takes Steamboat down with a double leg pickup, and sits on Steamboat hammering away. Twisting neckbreaker is good – and he follows with something insanely cool – a splash while Steamboat is sitting up, crunching him forwards. That gets 2. Steamboat stands and tries some more chops, but Funk boots him in the face and delivers a roundhouse. Funk karate chops at the back of Steamer’s head, but Steamboat is never done and whips Funk to the corner, and he falls out. Funk slowly stands while Steamboat crawls to the top…and he waits. Funk stumbles around the ringside, and Steamboat waits until he’s in the perfect spot – and dives with the chop from the top! Funk is picked up by Steamboat, and carried around the ring on his shoulders, before slamming him onto the ringside mat. Funk gets back in, but Steamboat dumps him outside again! Funk comes back again, and this time gives Steamboat a big boot to the face. He chops at Steamboat which takes him down. Piledriver is set…and HITS on target!!! 1, 2, Steamboat kicks out!!! Steamboat comes back with some of the HARDEST hitting chops I’ve ever heard – before whipping Funk…into the ref. Funk throws Steamboat into the turnbuckle sternum first, and over the top. The ref remains out cold. On the floor, Funk hits a running piledriver! Funk rolls back into the ring to wake up the ref, pointing out that Steamboat is dead. However, Steamboat does manage to crawl back to the apron, so Funk suplexes him into the ring, and demands the ref count. The ref is still woozy though, and only counts a slow 2. Funk covers again…and again only gets 2. Funk’s getting downright pissed, hammers in his lefts, drags Steamboat to the corner, and tries a splash from the top which is blocked by the knees! Steamboat comes back with a whip to the corner, and delivers a punch to the midsection! Funk falls, so Steamboat yanks him right up, and forces a gutbuster on him! From the top he delivers a chop and follows with a rear enzuigiri! Funk’s had enough, and grabs a ringside microphone to LEVEL Steamboat! That’s a DQ. (12:40) **** LEX LUGER comes running down to ringside while Funk’s delivering a beatdown on Steamboat, so Funk bails.
Luger asks for a microphone and says that he might have a problem with his arrogance. He might have too much ego. He says he has no such problems, only a lot of pride – and helps Steamboat to his feet…before clotheslining him out of his boots!!!! Luger grabs a chair from ringside while Ricky is begging for his life. Luger drives a shot into Steamboat’s back anyway and puts him in the Rack!!!!! The fans are losing it while Luger poses in the ring. “There lays your #1 contender!” And with that, he slams down the mic and takes off. STING comes down now to help out Steamboat as we take a commercial break.
JIM ROSS on behalf of WCW presents a cake to the army. LT. GEN. CARL W. STINER accepts the cake, and thanks WCW for picking Fort Bragg as the place to hold Clash VII. In exchange, Stiner gives WCW an honorary award of some sort. The troops sing happy birthday to the army.
JR runs over to stand with BOB CAUDLE as they recap what we just saw – however without the detail I’ve provided over the past 8 pages. Amateurs. And with that, we close up shop for another night, taking one final look at Luger’s heel turn.
Australian tag match is a Gordon Solie term for what we consider a traditional tag match, with the partner at ringside holding the ropes. I think it dates back to the Kangaroos in the 60's, but it was a traditional Solie'ism.
Just wanted to say that I like the reposting of older columns on slash. I liked this column a lot. Many people have tried to come up with formulas to analyze a guy’s workrate. Most have given up. I am also a numbers guy.