Wednesday 22 December 2021

WCW Starrcade 1988 Review!


Hello and welcome to another edition of Seanomaniac Wrestling Reviews, the only wrestling review series on the internet that is still wondering where is Elias? It’s time for WCW Starrcade 1988: True Gritt! What a PPV tagline right? Well we have all been talking about the big one, the night where WCW puts everything on the line. Headlined by Lex Luger challenging Ric Flair for the WCW World Heavyweight Championship, we also have The Midnight Express taking on The Original Midnight Express, The Fantastics defend their tag team championships against The Varsity Club, Rick Steiner goes after Mike Rotunda and Ivan Koloff continues his feud with Paul Jones and his Russian Assassins.


(NWA United States Tag Team Championship Match) The Fantastics © vs Kevin Sullivan & Dr. Death Steve Williams

Turning Williams heel will never make sense to me but whatever WCW you do you. The Fantastics were going to face The Sheepherders to recapture that magic from their feud years earlier but The Sheepherders are now The Bushwhackers in the WWF so sucks for them. Sullivan’s feud with Precious seems to be long forgotten too, not too sure what happened there but disappointing for sure. Covering up Williams’ massive body with a singlet is just foolish but this should be decent if Williams throws around Rogers for five to ten minutes.


Sullivan and Fulton start, chops from Sullivan. Clubbing blows and an Irish whip, Fulton kicks off Sullivan and lands a diving Lou Thesz press for two. Lock-up and Sullivan sends Fulton to the corner but Fulton fights back, massive right to the head and in comes Rogers. Back body-drop, tag to Fulton. Right hand and side headlock from Fulton, Sullivan backs into Doc. Williams and Rogers trade arm-bars before Rogers lures in Williams. Fulton works the arm, Fulton sends Williams to the buckle. Williams reverses but misses the corner attack, double monkey flip from the champions. Williams dodges a monkey flip and military presses Fulton to the mat. Massive clothesline from Williams, Fulton takes a breather. The champions land a dropkick on Williams before Williams drops Fulton with a belly to back suplex.


Fulton tags Rogers, dropkick does not work on Williams. Double clothesline almost beheads Rogers, Sullivan misses a clothesline and ends up on the floor. Shoulder block from Rogers, dropkick too. Sullivan begs for mercy, they lock-up and Rogers is cornered. Noggin-knocker on Williams, double gut-shot to Sullivan. Williams eats a back body-drop, Williams shakes it off and wipes out Rogers. Sullivan lands a cheap-shot on Rogers, Williams stomps all over Rogers. Delayed vertical suplex from Williams for two, Sullivan attacks Fulton which allows Williams to drill Rogers. Small package from Rogers for two, flying crossbody for two. Sullivan can only watch as Rogers tags in Fulton who eats the knee of Williams who tags in officially.


Right hand from Williams staggers Fulton, bearhug from Williams. Williams has to break the hold as Fulton thumbs the eye, in comes Rogers against Sullivan. Rogers runs into the foot of Sullivan, Sullivan is knocked off the top rope by Rogers. Sullivan blocks the splash with two boots to the ribs, tag to Williams. Short-arm clothesline, Sullivan comes in and lands a clothesline on Rogers but Fulton breaks it up. Rear chin-lock from Sullivan, Rogers breaks free but eats a knee to the gut. In comes Williams and drops a leg on the neck of Rogers, drop onto the top rope from Williams. Headbutt for good measure, two for Williams. Rear chin-lock from Williams, Rogers comes up and battles back against Williams. Dropkick on Williams but Williams tags in Sullivan who double-stomps on Rogers.


Two for Sullivan, Rogers blocks the suplex and drills Sullivan. Fulton wants in bad, Fulton gets the tag and kicks Williams in the face. Back body-drop on Williams, the match is breaking down. Right hands stagger Williams, ten punches in the corner. Fulton dodges the inverted atomic drop, clothesline from Fulton. Rogers comes in for a sleeper, Williams counters a Thesz press for a hot-shot/stun-gun and this match is over as Williams pins Fulton.


Decent tag team match, I am an easy man to please and what I want is Steve Williams uses his size to slaughter people. For whatever reason, Williams is hardly dropping people like flies, no idea why they won’t let Williams kill people but certainly what I wanted to see in this match. Fantastics weren’t as over as you would think here, crowd was not as kind to them as before which they needed to carry this match. Sadly, it was alright at the end of the day.


Winners: Steve Williams & Kevin Sullivan over The Fantastics via Hot-Shot!


Original Midnight Express W/ Paul E. Dangerously vs The Midnight Express W/ Jim Cornette

Randy Rose and Dennis Condrey came in from The AWA and battered The Midnight Express, Cornette was left bloody by the attacks of Paul E. The match starts hot with Lane & Eaton tearing apart Rose & Condrey. Lane and Condrey start officially, Condrey gets smacked to the floor and Cornette delivers the racket shot to the back. Paul E. is furious, Condrey backs Lane into the corner. Shoulder thrusts and a right hand before Lane answers with an inverted atomic drop. In comes Rose, Rose eats a drop toehold and an elbow drop. Eaton lands a back elbow, measured right hand sends Rose to the floor before Cornette lands another racket shot to the back. Rose is rocked on the ropes by Eaton who winds up for a massive boot. Lane sends Rose into the ring-post, Rose begs for mercy.


Tag to Lane, kicks and side headlock from Lane. Shoulder block from Lane, flying crossbody for two. Condrey goes for a handshake and is kicked hard in the ribs, tag to Eaton with Condrey clubbing Eaton. Condrey continues slugging away at Eaton, Eaton sends Condrey into the buckle. Elbow drop from Eaton, right hand to Rose. Lane smashes Condrey and is tagged in, spinning sole butt into a rear chin-lock from Lane. Lane tags in Eaton who lands a massive bulldog, Condrey tags in Rose. Rose fights back at Lane who tagged in, monkey flip is blocked by Lane. Throat thrust from Lane, right hands from Eaton. Tag to Lane, leapfrog crossbody from Lane for not even one as Rose puts his foot on the ropes.  Elbow from Eaton, Eaton whips Rose to the corner but misses his attack. Eaton hits the buckle hard, Condrey stomps away on Eaton. Rose atomic drops Eaton on the floor, Condrey lands an elbow with Rose. Double team elbow into the face of Eaton, Rose gets in a cheap shot and a middle rope clothesline onto Eaton. Condrey lands a short-arm clothesline, knees to the ribs of Eaton with Dangerously landing a shot on Eaton.


Condrey tries a back body-drop but Eaton lands an amazing neck-breaker with Rose coming in and cleaning up the scraps. Front chancery from Rose, Condrey comes in to stop Eaton making the tag. Condrey displays great viciousness as he knees Eaton over and over, cheap-shot from Lane. Lane snaps and attacks Condrey, Rose comes in for a middle rope clothesline. Condrey chokes Eaton from the apron, Rose drops his weight on the neck of Eaton. Eaton is sent to the floor, stomps from Condrey who is tagged in by Rose. Condrey keeps working the ribs, powerslam into The Rocket Launcher but Rose misses the splash.


In comes Lane who kicks everyone in sight, noggin-knocker and Lane is feeling it now. Double kicks and an enzuigiri to the back of the head. Eaton and Condrey are brawling, Dangerously cracks Lane in the head with the phone. Cornette decks Dangerously, referee Teddy Long does not count the three as he sees the phone. High and low combination from Eaton & Lane, The Midnight Express win this match but The Original Express attack Stan Lane and Jim Cornette after the bell. Bobby Eaton saves the day but the damage is done!


Good tag team wrestling match here, night and day difference between this match and the first tag team match. Loved Condrey’s attacks on Eaton, you could feel the hatred and the attacks were so simple, repeated stomps and knees to the ribs. Condrey knew what he was doing in this match and it was great stuff, finish is a little wonky for my tastes but nonetheless, it leaves it open to rematches and I am all for that.


Winners: The Midnight Express over The Original Midnight Express via High & Low Combination!


Junkyard Dog & Ivan Koloff vs The Russian Assassins W/ Paul Jones

If Ivan Koloff & Junkyard Dog win, the Assassins must unmask and Paul Jones must retire so this is high stakes right here. Originally, we were meant to have The Koloffs reunite to take down The Russian Assassins but it was not meant to be, I have a few concerns about this one because I don’t think The Assassins are going to be able to hide the weaknesses of the two men in the ring across from them.


JYD and Assassin 1 fight it out, JYD sends Assassin 1 into the buckle. Clothesline by JYD for two, JYD drills Assassin 1 with a big right hand to the floor. Two for JYD as Paul Jones continues to save his team, headbutt from JYD. Koloff is tagged in, elbows and stomps. Choking from Koloff, Russian Hammer from Koloff. Clubbing blows, eye-rake from Assassin 2. Koloff comes back with a middle rope clothesline, Assassin 1 comes back into the match. Clubbing blows by Koloff, elbow too. Assassin 1 is caught with a sunset flip, Assassin 2 distracts the referee to stop the pin-fall. JYD comes in, double clothesline. Snap-mare but JYD misses the falling headbutt.


Assassin 1 rakes the eyes and goes to work, side headlock and tag to Assassin 2 who decks JYD with a right hand. Koloff is distracted, Assassin 2 axe handles Assassin 1 by mistake. Assassin 2 comes in and drills JYD with big right hands in the corner. Russian Missile misses with JYD dodges, JYD tags in Koloff who hammers everyone. The Assassins collide in the middle of the ring, brawling in the ring now. Russian Sickle wipes out Assassin 2, Assassin 1 has something put in his mask by Paul Jones, Assassin 1 cracks Koloff with a headbutt and they steal the win.


Well that was as bad as I thought it was, nothing redeeming about this match. I don’t see the benefit of Ivan Koloff at this stage in his career, I think its time to call it a day. The Assassins winning is surprising as I have no idea where this feud/gimmick goes from here but I guess time will tell but yeah, this match is as bad as it looks on paper.


Winners: The Russian Assassins over Ivan Koloff & JYD via Headbutt!


(NWA Television Championship Match) Mike Rotunda © vs Rick Steiner

The Varsity Club was Sullivan, Rotunda and Steiner before Steiner grew disgusted by the tactics of Sullivan and Rotunda and was replaced with Steve Williams. Steiner looks to capture the championship that Rotunda has carried for almost a year, I have no idea how but they were fond of Rotunda or something. Kevin Sullivan is in a cage above the ring, Steiner out-powers Rotunda to begin the match. Rotunda claims Steiner used the singlet which Steiner denies. Side headlock from Steiner, shoulder block from Steiner and Steiner lands a massive clothesline for two. Rotunda powders to the floor, we are back in the ring.


Side headlock from Steiner, Rotunda drop toeholds Steiner but Steiner counters into a hammerlock. Rotunda counters for a side headlock, Steiner pulls the hair into a leg-scissors. Belly to belly suplex from Rotunda, Steiner dodges the elbow drop. Steiner tries a headlock but Rotunda holds onto the hair for a leg-scissors, we reset with the fans chanting things at Rotunda which leads to Rotunda stalling. Incredible as if the man could not bother me anymore, lock-up with a side headlock from Steiner. Clothesline from Steiner but Rotunda hurls Steiner to the floor, Steiner is elbowed upon re-entering the ring. Vicious kicks from Rotunda who is wearing down Steiner, Steiner is battling back but Rotunda clamps on a reverse chin-lock.


Rotunda and Steiner brawl with one another, massive elbow from Rotunda. Rear chin-lock, Steiner fights his way out of the hold but The Write-Off almost destroys Steiner. Irish whip by Rotunda, Steiner counters with a sunset flip. Rotunda kicks the head of Steiner, Rotunda misses a dropkick. Rotunda gets caught in a small package for two, Rotunda whips Steiner but Steiner reverses for a Steiner-line! Rotunda is begging for mercy, ten punches in the corner as Dr. Death comes to ringside. Back body-drop, powerslam for two. Belly to belly suplex with Steiner celebrating but it was Williams who rang the bell, Sullivan is being lowered with the referee believing that this was a time-limit draw. Referee Tommy Young comes down and tells original referee Teddy Long what has happened.


This match is going to continue which sickens Sullivan, Steiner is locked in a side headlock and Steiner shoves off Rotunda who cracks into Kevin Sullivan with Sullivan falling to the floor and Steiner climbing on top of Rotunda for the win, Rick Steiner is your NWA Television Champion!


Please stop Rotunda matches going over 8 minutes, I can tolerate him for 8 minutes I feel but I am not watching another match with that man going anywhere near 15 minutes or 20 minutes. Rotunda might be the most boring wrestler in the world for me, he is a total bore in there and makes me sleepy every time. However, big moment for Steiner who has a lot of potential if they protect him and let him be an explosive mad man who clotheslines the shit out of people.


Winner: Rick Steiner over Mike Rotunda via Clashing of Heads!


(NWA United States Heavyweight Championship Match) Barry Windham © W/ JJ Dillon vs Bam Bam Bigelow W/ Oliver Humperdink

They lock-up, clean break. Bigelow shoves down Windham, Windham is not happy with this development. Windham backs Bigelow to the corner, three massive rights before Bigelow picks up Windham for a gut-buster variation. Windham powders, Dillon looks on concerned as Windham slowly re-enters the ring. Bigelow is dropped on his head with a belly to back suplex by Bigelow no-sells that weak-ass shit. Dillon talks more strategy with Windham, shoulder block from Bigelow. Windham continues looking for mercy, looking for a test of strength here which may not be too wise before Windham rakes the eyes and mouth of Bigelow. The right hands are not staggering Bigelow, Windham is begging for mercy. Military press slam to the mat, Bigelow is begging Windham to get to his feet.


Windham stalls again, Bigelow backs Windham to the corner. Ten punches in the corner, Windham is rocked. Dropkick to the floor, big kick from Bigelow and Bigelow lands a massive suplex for two. Reverse chin-lock, Windham escapes and fights back. Bigelow is sent to the floor and clutches his knee, JR talks about the knee surgery that Bigelow has had in the past. Great stuff from JR telling us why this could be a bad omen for Bigelow, Bigelow knocks down Windham for a slingshot splash. Two for Bigelow, military press slam and Bigelow climbs high. Bigelow misses his atomic splash as JR calls it, Windham is up to his feet. Windham calls for the end, right hands from Windham. Flying Lariat from Windham who is all sorts of fired up, belly to back suplex from Windham.


Windham could be thinking Claw, Bigelow is dragged to his feet as Windham lands ten punches in the corner. Dropkick from Windham and Bigelow spills to the floor, Windham gives chase. Bigelow meets the ring-post, Windham calls for The Claw. Irish whip and The Claw is applied to the head of Bigelow, Bigelow fades but makes it to the corner. Dillon calls for The Claw again, scoop slam from Windham. Windham climbs high, the elbow drop misses as Bigelow comes back to life. Right hands from Bigelow, Irish whip and both men spill to the floor as Windham crossbodies Bigelow to the floor. Bigelow atomic drops Windham, Bigelow tries a clothesline but misses Windham and hits the ring-post and gets counted out.


Lame finish, really lame finish. You cannot do much worse than this, I thought it would be interesting but I think Windham got the short end of the stick here, would have liked to see Windham vs Sting too. Nothing impressive about this one and that sucks that they didn’t have something special for Windham’s match at Starrcade.


Winner: Barry Windham over Bam Bam Bigelow via Coount-Out!


(NWA World Tag Team Championship Match) The Road Warriors © W/ Paul Ellering vs Sting & Dusty Rhodes

The Road Warriors turned heel and won the championships from The Midnight Express to set up this match with starts hot with brawling, the babyfaces get the upper hand though as Sting dropkicks Hawk and Rhodes clubs down Animal. Do the fans want to boo the champions? Not really, Animal and Sting to start. Lock-up, Animal punches Sting and lands a shoulder block before Sting dropkicks Animal to the floor. Sting works the arm and tags in Rhodes who chokes Animal. Animal’s eye remains in tact but they need to talk strategy, Hawk decides to come into the match. Hawk walks Rhodes to the corner, right hand from Hawk but Rhodes comes back with elbows. Arm-wrench from Rhodes who tags in Sting.


Sting bites the hand of Hawk, eye-rake from Hawk. Right hands from Hawk, stomps in the corner. Rights and lefts from Hawk, Sting fires back with a massive right. Rights and lefts by Sting, powerslam from Sting. Sting is in with Animal now, military press slam from Animal. Sting is dropped onto the rope but no-sells it, clothesline after clothesline by Sting. Sting dives onto Animal at ringside, tag to Rhodes. Chops and elbows by Rhodes, Rhodes goes after the leg of Animal. Hawk tags in to save his partner, Rhodes knocks down Hawk looking for a figure four but Animal elbows Rhodes who goes down hard. Hawk attacks Rhodes on the floor. Dropkick from Hawk for two, Hawk claws at the eye of Rhodes.


Right hands from Hawk, Rhodes is shaking it off. Rhodes dropkicks Hawk but Animal is in seconds later biting the head of Rhodes. Neck-crank from Animal, Hawk comes in and chops Rhodes too. Irish whip and a sleeper from Hawk, Rhodes escapes and tags in Stinger. Bulldog to Animal, Animal sends Sting to the buckle but Sting leaps over and lands a dropkick, Stinger Splash on Animal. Scorpion Death-Lock, Hawk comes in and kicks Sting before tossing Sting over the top rope. The Road Warriors attack Rhodes, Rhodes low-blows Animal while Sting lands a diving crossbody on Animal! 1…2… Ellering attacks the referee and our babyfaces win by DQ!


How many times am I going to have to watch Sting come close to winning a championship, Sting needs a big win soon because I don’t know how many times I can watch The Stinger come close to the gold. As for the match itself, it was ok nothing special as I watched the action unfold. Hawk and Animal can be a lot of fun to watch but that Rhodes face-in-peril segment was very tame for the biggest show of the year. DQ finish in a big championship match and a count-out finish in the other big championship match, really not a good night for WCW so far.


Winners: Sting & Dusty Rhodes over The Road Warriors via DQ!


(NWA World Heavyweight Championship Match) Ric Flair © W/ JJ Dillon vs Lex Luger

Luger had come close at The Clash of The Champions but the athletic commission had stopped Luger’s dream due to excessive blood loss which in a promotion like this is absolutely ridiculous but that was this company during this era. Anyways, Sting is the chosen one for WCW but we have Luger vs Flair in the main event so how will Luger do in his second chance against Flair. We start off with a whole lot of talking from The Nature Boy, Luger remains calm and keeps charging forward. Luger and Flair trade headlocks, Luger clotheslines Flair to the floor and poses for all the fans in attendance. Flair takes a breather, Dillon talks strategy with the champion who takes a long walk as Luger wants to get it on. Lock-up with Luger countering the hammerlock before Flair hugs the ropes, Luger shoves off Flair. Flair talks more trash, Luger says bring it on. Side headlock from Luger, shoulder block from the challenger.


Flair lures in Luger, chops and a shoulder block before Luger catches Flair for a powerslam. Luger poses with Flair going to the apron, Irish whip and a military press slam from Luger. Flair places a foot on the ropes, Flair screams Oh God as he writhes in pain. Flair begs for mercy, arm-wrench from Luger. Flair escapes and chops, Luger shakes it off with Flair powdering to the floor. Flair continues begging, boots from Flair. Chop-time, Flair shakes it off and Flair hits the ring-post shoulder-first. Hammerlock with knees from the challenger, shoulder blocks from Luger. Hip-toss from Luger, Flair is begging off in the corner again. Eye-poke from Flair, Luger has been stopped for the first time in this match. Right hand to the nose, chops from Flair that fire up Luger. Luger marches down Flair with Flair powdering again.


Hammerlock on the outside, Flair meets the ring-post shoulder-first. Flair continues to beg for mercy while Luger continues marching forward. Arm-wrench from Luger, Flair walks Luger to the ropes. Clean break from Luger, Flair works the liver. Side headlock from Flair, shoulder block from Flair. Drop-down and leapfrogs before Luger lands a clothesline for a close two. Vertical suplex for two, the challenger is pressing hard. Luger misses an elbow drop, Flair kicks the ribs of Luger. Forearm to the head, Luger is on the defensive now. Luger is hurled to the floor by Flair, Flair bounces the face of Luger off the guardrail. Chops and a right hand to the nose, Flair lands a massive boot to the ribs.


Knee-drop from Flair, chops from The Nature Boy. Snap-mare and double stomp from The Nature Boy. Flair chops and chops, Luger marches forward. Flair tries chopping again, Luger tees off with right hands from his good arm. Side headlock from Flair, shoulder block but Luger fights back with a sleeper. Flair counters for a belly to back suplex, both men are down. Luger counters the figure four for a small package, two for Luger. Flair chops and snap-mares Luger, Flair goes high but of course, Luger is too fast for Flair. Luger wants a superplex, absolutely devastating for a close two. Luger decides it is time for the figure four, Flair is screaming out in pain. Diving crossbody from Luger but Dillon had the referee distracted, Flair fights back on his knees. Hip-toss is blocked, Luger counters for the backslide. Another close two for Luger, Luger is irate. Ten punches from Luger, Luger is on fire. Irish whip with a Flair Flip, Flair is on the apron.


Suplex into the ring, two for Luger. Flair chops back and asks for more, Luger whips Flair and lands a massive military press slam. Powerslam from Luger who calls for The Rack, Dillon is choked on the apron. Flair rolls away from danger, Luger is tripped and while Dillon is with the referee, Luger is waffled with the steel chair on his knees. Referee Tommy Young has no idea, Flair limps around the ring and goes for the kill. Flair works the leg, dropping all his weight on the left leg of Luger. Chop-block from Flair, Flair continues working that leg of Luger. Knee drop on the leg, Figure Four Leg-Lock in the middle of the ring. Luger powers up and turns Flair on the other side. Luger reverses the pressure with Flair relinquishing the hold, who will capitalize?


Luger cannot stand, Dillon cheers on Flair. Another stomp to the challenger’s leg, snap-mare with another knee drop to the leg. Flair climbs high to the top rope, Luger hobbles over and yanks Flair into the middle of the ring. Flair is shocked as Luger comes forward again, Irish whip and military press slam. Flair throws Luger to the outside, shoulder block from the apron by Luger and Luger tries a sunset flip for two. Flair tries a forearm, Luger shakes it off. Ten punches from Luger, Irish whip to the opposite buckle and clothesline for two. Powerslam by Luger and Luger calls for The Rack, Torture Rack in the middle of the ring. Luger’s leg buckle and collapses with Flair falling on top and uses the ropes for the leverage to survive.


Luger and Flair have a great match on this night, similar to their match at The Clash without the flat finish, Luger’s selling was great here when the leg was attacked, really put over how dangerous things were for The Total Package, Flair leads Luger through his classic match formula making Luger look amazing at every turn. Enjoyed the use of the chair, the crowd really bought into this more than the usual Flair working of the knee story, really good stuff there. I like the finish, I thought it was tough to beat Luger here. I understand that Sting is their boy but their booking is so atrocious for Sting in my opinion at this stage that putting the title on Luger for a few months would not have been the worst thing in the world. Especially when you know that a certain Dragon will be returning to WCW very shortly and that championship will be changing hands but the last 2 matches I have seen between these two might be the best two of Luger’s career and say what you want about Lex Luger but with the right opponent, The Total Package can be a lot of fun to watch.


Winner: Ric Flair over Lex Luger via Feet On The Ropes!


That was WCW’s Starrcade 1988, a largely disappointing show from WCW. Booking has been questionable at best and the exodus of talent has greatly hurt the company, losing half of The Horsemen but also mid-card acts and tag teams have left the company in a difficult situation heading into 1989. Luger is clearly not the man to dethrone Ric Flair, why we bypassed a possible Luger vs Windham confrontation considering their history as tag team partners and champions is a little strange to me, we also have Sting who has challenged for every major championship in the company and has failed to capture any due to nefarious methods used by his opponents. I am a fan of Sting and it’s easy to see why Sting could be the next big thing in the company but Sting has to beat someone and has to do it quickly because I can’t sit through another match with Sting not capturing the gold. Some matches are delivering, Flair is delivering and Windham with the right opponent can deliver but not a whole lot else to be excited for, Steve Williams is doing nothing that made me love him in AJPW, he’s not throwing around the lighter Fantastics, he’s not crushing people so that opening tag match was a bit of a tough watch. The Midnight Express match delivers, great tag team wrestling and that’s why I love The Midnight Express. The Paul Jones vs Ivan Koloff stuff is awful, worse than The Jimmy Valiant stuff and that’s saying something, I never want to see Mike Rotunda again that man has robbed me of so many minutes of my life that I cannot get back, I am begging for someone to explain to me what was the upside of Rotunda because he bores me inside of the ring. Another DQ for Sting in a championship match, I am over it and I just want them to strap the rocket to Sting now, I have suffered enough thanks very much while the main event is arguably Luger’s finest hour but it confirms that Luger will not be world champion so where does Luger go from here? A two match show for me with The Midnight Express and Flair being the stars, thanks for reading and remember: there’s always another night!

Monday 20 December 2021

NWA Clash of The Champions IV: Season's Beatings Review!


Hello and welcome to another edition of Seanomaniac Wrestling Reviews, the only wrestling review series on the internet that cycles through more gimmicks than Ed Leslie! Clash of The Champions IV: Seasons Beatings! Well, things have changed and not for the better as WCW continues to survive through turmoil. No Sting on this card, no more Horsemen but we do have Flair & Windham and they ae going up against The Midnight Express! Where is Luger? Who is Dusty Rhodes facing? Animal of course because The Road Warriors are heel now which I am sure was easy to convince the fans on that one Dream. Looking up and down this card, I am not super thrilled at the prospect of reviewing it but I must so let’s keep a positive mind and have a look at this event!


(NWA United States Tag Team Championship Match) Ron Simmons & Eddie Gilbert vs The Fantastics

Vacant championships as The Midnight Express moved up the card to be tag team champions defeating Tully Blanchard and Arn Anderson. Exciting to see Ron Simmons starting out, Simmons and Fulton to start out. Simmons shakes down Fulton, Fulton uses his speed which Simmons respects before a shoulder block does nothing for Fulton. Simmons lands another shoulder block, Fulton slides through the legs and lands two dropkicks. Fulton runs into a back-breaker, crowd is big into Simmons too. Military press slam on Fulton, Fulton scrambles to the ropes. Simmons says you want a test of strength? Fulton lands an arm-drag with a dropkick from a now legal Rogers. Simmons is caught in a side headlock, tag to Gilbert.


Rogers escapes the corner, Gilbert looks to take the ankle of Rogers but Rogers is too fast. Side headlock from Gilbert, hip-toss from Gilbert but Rogers dodges the elbow drop for two. Arm-drag from Rogers, tag to Fulton. Sunset flip from Gilbert, Gilbert struts around. Fulton dodges the hip-toss, strutting from Fulton. Fireman’s carry by Gilbert, hip-toss from Fulton. Side headlock from Fulton, Gilbert reverses with a head-scissors. Fulton and Gilbert are getting heated in there, it seems to be a little heated. Hammerlock from Gilbert, tag to Simmons who wrenches the arm. Rogers and Simmons trade control with slams and dropkicks, Rogers misses a top rope elbow drop before Simmons lands a massive shoulder block. Tag to Gilbert, Gilbert works the arm. Rogers rolls-up Gilbert for two, Gilbert sweeps the legs of Rogers. Hammerlock from Gilbert, Fulton comes in and works the arm of Gilbert.


Fulton continues to work the arm until Gilbert makes it to Simmons who comes in with a roll-up for two, Simmons grabs a front chancery. Simmons backs Fulton to the corner, Irish whip to the opposite buckle and Fulton dodges with Simmons hitting his shoulder hard on the buckle. Rogers comes in and works the arm, Fulton comes in and stomps on the arm. Short-arm scissors from Fulton, tag to Rogers who lands a slingshot stomp. Simmons whips off Rogers and lands a back body drop but Simmons misses the elbow drop, Rogers lands an arm-drag and works the arm. Short-arm scissors, Simmons escapes and lands a big elbow. Tag to Gilbert who lands a neck-breaker for two, vertical suplex for two.


Rogers suplexes Gilbert who lowered his head off an Irish whip, Gilbert tags in Simmons who slams Fulton. Simmons misses an elbow drop and eats a leg drop, two for Fulton. Fulton clamps on a reverse chin-lock, tag to Rogers who lands a massive knee-lift. Elbow to the face of Simmons for two, Simmons runs Rogers to the corner, shoulder thrusts and a tag to Gilbert. Stomp to the knee, atomic drop and knee drop to the spine from Gilbert. Belly to back suplex from Gilbert for two, Simmons comes in and so does Fulton which leads to a powerslam from Simmons. Gilbert goes for an O’Connor roll on Fulton but Fulton shoves Gilbert into the ring-post, Rogers kicks Gilbert to the floor. Gilbert is in a bad way, the arm is weak now. Rogers drop toeholds Gilbert and knee drops Gilbert’s injured arm over and over.


Single arm DDT and hammerlock snap-back from Fulton, Gilbert is in serious pain. Tag to Rogers, Rogers drops all his weight on the arm. Gilbert is in trouble now, arm-breaker from Rogers. Fulton comes in and slaps on an arm-bar, Gilbert is whipped into a hip-toss followed by a short-arm scissors. Gilbert tries getting back into the match but Fulton cuts him off, hammerlock scoop slam. Falling headbutt from Fulton misses, Gilbert cannot escape just yet. Hip-toss but Fulton tags Rogers who works the arm some more. Crowd comes alive for Gilbert, they want that comeback. Gilbert backs Rogers to the corner, elbow to the ribs from Gilbert. Rogers stops the tag with an arm-bar, Fulton kicks Gilbert to the floor. Irish whip and Gilbert hot-shots Fulton, right hands by Gilbert. Whip to the buckle, Gilbert hits his shoulder off the ring-post and Fulton rolls-up Gilbert.


Far too long for my liking, not a comfortable situation where you have 2 babyface teams going at it unless the plan is to turn one, the match doesn’t really have a flow for the first part until Gilbert starts selling the arm and The Fantastics start working the arm. We never see Simmons again once the actual business of the match goes down so yeah, not a big fan of this opening match. Could have shaved off about 15 minutes of this, can’t believe this went 27 minutes!


Winners: The Fantastics over Simmons & Gilbert via Roll-Up!


The Italian Stallion vs Dr. Death Steve Williams W/ Kevin Sullivan

So, Dr. Death one of the hot babyface prospects from The UWF is now a heel member of The Barsity Club, wrestling in a singlet that covers up his amazing physique. Probably not what I would have done but then again, I was not the booker. So Williams is battling The Italian Stallion who has been a jobber any time that I have seen him, Williams out-wrestles Stallion before Stallion lands a big dropkick which makes Williams rethink his attacks. Williams gabs the arm but Stallion reverses, arm-wrenches from Stallion. Williams counters and works the leg, Williams start clubbing down on Stallion. Stallion explodes out of the corner with a clothesline, Williams picks up Stallion and slams him to the mat. Scoop slam but Stallion dodges the elbow drop, leg drop from Stallion for two.


Williams ties up Stallion and uses the ropes for leverage, flying crossbody from Stallion but Stallion gets a two and is sent to the floor. Williams goes to work, Stallion meets the buckle hard as Williams rubs his face into the mat. Williams sends Stallion to the floor, Sullivan stabs Stallions with something while the referee is with Williams. Stallion tries getting back into the ring but Williams kicks him down, Stallion is sent into the guardrail. Float-over suplex from Williams, Stallion fires back with right hands before Williams knees Stallion in the ribs. Irish whip and a sleeper, Stallion fires up but Williams uses the hair to bring down Stallion. Stallion fires up and nails a left-arm clothesline but misses an elbow drop. Enzuigiri and schoolboy for two, Williams goes after the ankle. Stallion is sent to the floor but fights back in the ring, ten punches in the corner.


Front chancery from Williams, Stallion looks spent. Williams goes around to the back, Stallion runs Williams into the corner. Williams climbs high after a scoop slam, Stallion dodges the splash. Stallion is on fire now, right hands to the face. Dropkick from Stallion, powerslam from Stallion. Williams reverses the Irish whip, Stallion tries the flying crossbody but gets caught in The Oklahoma Stampede for the win.


This has to be a rib? A 15-minute match between Dr. Death and The Italian Stallion? This is was a joke, Williams should have killed Stallion in 2 minutes.


Winner: Dr. Death Steve Williams over Italian Stallion via Oklahoma Stampede!


Ivan Koloff vs Paul Jones

Babyface Ivan taking on Jones, Ivan Koloff was kicked out of the army by Paul Jones. Ivan has one arm behind his back, this was meant to lead to Ivan and Nikita Koloff reuniting and having a match at Starrcade but Nikita’s wife was ill so Nikita left the company to take care of his wife during that time so we have Junkyard Dog joining with Ivan against The Russian Assassins.


Koloff dominates with one arm before Paul Jones uses an object to take control, knee drops and throws to the buckle follow. Koloff comes back with his right hands, Jones powders. Jones stabs Koloff in the throat with the weapon, Koloff takes the object from Jones and cracks him with the object for the win, The Russian Assassins attack Koloff before JYD makes the save. Seen it before done better with Jimmy Valiant, hard pass on this.


Winner: Ivan Koloff over Paul Jones via Object To The Head!


6-Man Championship Match) Animal W/ Paul Ellering vs Dusty Rhodes

Dusty Rhodes decided to turn The Road Warriors after The Powers of Pain left the territory so it would be Dusty Rhodes teaming up with the rising star Sting to take on The Road Warriors but on this night, it would be Rhodes vs Animal for the 6-Man championships held by The Road Warriors and Rhodes. Rhodes comes down with his eye taped, Rhodes has been stabbed in the eye with the spikes of The Road Warriors which led to Rhodes being fired as booker which made things much more interesting. Rhodes charges the ring and takes out Paul and Animal at first with elbows before missing his own elbow, Animal takes over briefly before Rhodes works the knee of Animal. Animal’s leg meets the ring-post over and over, figure four by Rhodes.


Rhodes wiped out the referee for some reason, no idea about that. Paul eye-rakes Rhodes which allows Animal batter Rhodes. Low blow by Rhodes and Rhodes rips at the face of Animal, Hawk is here to help Animal. Sting comes down to the ring, we have a brawl on our hands. Rhodes uses a chair on the leg of Animal, the chair falls apart as Team Sting & Rhodes stand tall.


Just an angle to lead up the Starrcade match, hopefully that is something fun.


Winner: Animal over Dusty Rhodes via DQ?


The Midnight Express W/ Jim Cornette vs Ric Flair & Barry Windham W/ JJ Dillon

The best tag team in the territory versus the big two in Flair and Windham, Arn Anderson and Tully Blanchard had left the NWA following their loss to The Midnight Express in September. So, we have what is left of The Horsemen taking on the premier tag team in The NWA at the time. Everyone in this match is a stud in that ring and I expect nothing but absolute madness in this one. Ric Flair to start with Bobby Eaton, this should be excellent. Flair struts around the ring, trying to throw off Eaton. Clean break and Eaton slaps the taste out of the mouth of Flair. Windham tries intimidating Eaton, it does not work with Eaton styling and profiling as this match starts. Flair says alright you son of a gun let’s do this.


Windham hypes up Flair, they lock-up. Flair chops away at Eaton, Eaton throws those fantastic rights. Irish whip and back body drop, Windham does not help Flair. Right hands by Eaton, Flair flip into Lane. Tag to Lane who lands a superkick, Flair catches the leg of Lane and a tag to Windham. Enzuigiri from Lane to Flair, Windham eats a dropkick from Lane. Windham sends Lane to the corner, massive rights from Windham. Scoop slam, Windham climbs high but misses the elbow drop. Dropkick and superkick to the floor from Lane, Windham meets the ring apron and the right hand from Eaton. Windham begs for mercy from Eaton, Windham tags in Flair. Side headlock from Eaton, hip-toss from Eaton on both Horsemen. Scoop slams on both men, low shot from Flair. Eaton nails a double clothesline on both, Flair powders to the floor.


Lane comes in and applies a figure four on Flair, Eaton does the same on Windham. Crowd is going nuts at this stage, Cornette keeps away Dillon but Flair goes low on Lane. Lane comes back in with an elbow for two, Flair goes low with a right again. Chops from Flair, kicks from Lane. Tag to Eaton, Flair is begging for mercy from Eaton. Knee from Flair, measured right to the face of Eaton. Flair and Eaton brawl, Eaton wins the brawl and tags in Lane. Shoulder block from Lane, elbow from Flair. Tag to Windham, powerslam for two. Tag to Flair, chops in the corner. Snap-mare and Flair goes high, Lane yanks Flair off the top rope. Lane tags in Eaton who tees off, ten punches in the corner. Flair flip to the corner, Flair runs up the buckle but eats a fist and a neck-breaker from Eaton. Double flapjack from The Midnight Express, two for Eaton as Flair puts his foot on the ropes.


Flair goes low with a gut-shot, Eaton rolls up Flair with an O’Connor roll, Windham elbows Eaton in the back of the head. Windham is legal now, inverted atomic drop from Windham. Measured right hand from Windham, Lane checks on Eaton. Irish whip and powerslam from Windham, tag to Flair.  Knee-drop and some slaps from The Nature Boy, Eaton is tossed to the floor while Windham drops Eaton on the guardrail. Flair chops Eaton hard on the floor, Flair drags Eaton into the ring. Chops on the apron, tag to Windham. Flying Lariat from Windham for a close two, gut-wrench suplex from Windham. Knee drop and a sleeper from Windham, Windham breaks the hold to maintain control. Tag to Flair, Flair eats a right hand but chops down Eaton.


Not for long though, Eaton lands a massive right. Eaton cracks the nose of Flair who goes down, tag to Windham. Lane tags in, thrust-kicks to everyone in sight. Back body-drop to Windham, same for Flair. Noggin-knocker, tag to Lane. Clothesline/Leg-sweep combination on Windham, Lane superkicks Flair to the floor. Alabama Jam on Windham, Flair cracks Eaton with his shoe and Windham is thrown on top. The Horsemen or what’s left of them pick up the win.


What a fantastic match from these two, fantastic tag team wrestling match from four amazing wrestlers, Flair and Windham do a great job of making Lane and Eaton look legit, loved the finish because it made me absolutely livid, I wanted a clear winner in this match and the use of the shoe is just the icing on the cake. Tremendous promo from Cornette after the match, completely puts over everyone and they deserve it, I cannot praise this match enough it was simply awesome.


Winners: Ric Flair & Barry Windham over The Midnight Express via Shoe To The Head!


That was WCW’s Clash of The Champions IV, a one match show if I have ever seen one but my god, was it a great one match. The tag team match that opens the show goes far too long, not enough going on to keep me interested but I don’t think it’s the fault of the wrestlers, it was a poor decision to leave them out there that long. Dusty Rhodes vs Animal was a setup for the match coming at Starrcade, Dr. Death had an awful match. Cannot believe he went that long with Stallion, baffles me and of course, Ivan Koloff and Paul Jones is awful too. The Main event kicks all sorts of ass and is a fantastic match, you should watch it because it is tremendous. I want to see Bobby Eaton going for the World Championship, it was brilliant. Kudos to all four men, tremendous stuff. Watch for the one match, skip everything else. Thanks for reading and remember: there’s always another night!


Sunday 19 December 2021

NWA Clash of The Champions III: Fall Brawl Review!


Hello and welcome to another edition of Seanomaniac Wrestling Reviews, the only wrestling review series on the internet that carries more hatred than The IWC’s attacks on Tay Conti! It’s Clash of The Champions III with a main event that has immediately captured my attention: that being Sting vs Barry Windham for the NWA United States Heavyweight Championship! Two rising stars in the company in a main event vying for the championship should be great fun! Meanwhile we also have Brad Armstrong challenging Mike Rotunda for the NWA Television Championship and some odd matches to round out the card. Where are Arn & Tully? Where is Ron Garvin for his feud with Dusty? Well, there’s some news there that we will get to later.


(NWA Television Championship Match) Mike Rotunda © W/ Kevin Sullivan vs Brad Armstrong

So Rotunda continues his reign that does not interest me in the slightest but Rotunda and The Varsity Club do have some heat to them, Rotunda lands a belly to back suplex and a fireman’s carry before Armstrong almost steals the win reversing a diving crossbody. Rotunda is very cautious, crowd seems hot on this night. Rotunda works the ribs, uppercuts for good measure. Armstrong lands a hip-toss and a dropkick for two, Rotunda powders for the second time. Side headlock takedown by Armstrong, Rotunda uses the tights to reverse the hold and uses the ropes too but Armstrong continues to maintain the hold. Shove-off, Armstrong lands a flying crossbody for a close two. Rotunda stalls, Armstrong holds onto the headlock. Rotunda tries running away but nope not going to work as Armstrong works the arm.


Rotunda looks to take the back, they are in the corner. Rotunda’s attacks backfire with Armstrong working the arm once more, Rotunda grabs the hair. Right hand by Armstrong, shove-off again. Knee to the ribs from Rotunda, Rotunda drops Armstrong on the top rope. Sullivan smashes Armstrong into the guardrail. Rotunda distracts the referee, Sullivan continues to attack Armstrong. Suplex from the apron into the ring from Rotunda, delayed cover for two. Rotunda is not happy but it’s his own fault for stalling, rear chin-lock from Rotunda. Rotunda works Armstrong with kicks to the back, another chin-lock before Rotunda pulls the hair to get him into position. Armstrong fight out before Rotunda lands The Write-Off! Elbow drop from Rotunda for two, crowd wants Armstrong to capture the gold. Rotunda rakes the eyes and lands a back-breaker for two.


Armstrong is tossed to the floor again, Sullivan gets his attacks in behind the referee’s back. Sunset flip from Armstrong for two, Tommy Young argues with Sullivan. Elbow and leg-drop from Rotunda, Dr. Death Steve Williams is here at ringside for Armstrong. Crowd is going bananas, small package for two. Rotunda slaps on the chin-lock again, fuck me if he keeps going back to this I am going to cry. Armstrong shoves Rotunda to the corner, rights and lefts. Rotunda whips Armstrong, airplane spin on Armstrong. Cover for two, gut-wrench suplex for two. Small package by Rotunda for two again, right hand floors Armstrong for two. Rotunda tries cradling Armstrong with the ropes for leverage. Clothesline by Rotunda for two, Rotunda tries getting the pins but he cannot pin Armstrong.


Rotunda continues to bore me inside of that ring, the chin-lock master ladies and gentlemen. Moral victory my ass, Rotunda has failed to impress me every time inside of that ring and having watched The New Generation Era, things ae not going to get any better. Armstrong is a great hand in that ring, can have exciting matches and make people look good but a twenty-minute draw ain’t my cup of tea when it’s with Mike Rotunda.


Time-Limit Draw!


Nikita Koloff & Dr. Death Steve Williams vs The Sheepherders W/ Rip Morgan

Well this is going to be snug I can tell you that much, the makeshift babyface tag team might struggle against the tag team veterans. Williams and Luke start, eye-rake from Luke. The Sheepherders try to batter Williams who comes out swinging, Sheepherders don’t want that fair fight against their opponents. Side headlock from Williams, shoulder block floors Luke. Luke fights his way out with punches and a shoulder block before Williams tackles everyone down. Butch and Koloff are going to throw down now, maybe I am not sure as Koloff poses and scares The Sheepherders. Eye rake from Butch, rights and lefts from Butch but Nikita counters and slams both Sheepherders. Noggin-knockers, Butch regroups and goes low, Nikita is double-teamed now. Nikita starts firing up on Luke, tag to Williams.


Middle rope axe handle, arm-bar. Luke uses the tights to shove off Williams but Williams clotheslines Luke and suplexes Luke into the ring. Diving crossbody from Williams for two, tag to Nikita who smashes the arm of Luke. Luke brawls back into it but Nikita works the arm more and more, in comes Williams. Arm-drag into an arm-bar, tag to Nikita. Arm-bar from Nikita, eye-rake from Luke. Nikita turns the tide and drops down, dropkick and arm-drag from Nikita. Tag to Williams and whip to the corner, Williams spears the corner shoulder-first as Luke dodges. Butch comes in and clubs down Williams, Sheepherders beat down Williams who begins to shake off the attacks. Butch lands a blow to the back of the head, Butch lands a knee to the gut for two.


Butch smashes Luke with a knee by mistake, in comes Nikita. Elbow from Nikita, ten punches in the corner. Rip Morgan attacks Nikita behind the referee’s back, Luke lands a scoop slam and a middle rope headbutt. Two for Luke, Butch chokes Nikita from the apron. Snap-mare with a knee-drop, Butch cuts off Nikita who cannot make it to Williams. Double clothesline by The Sheepherders, two for Butch. Nikita looks to fight back but Luke chokes the life out of Nikita. Sleeper from Luke, Williams fires up the crowd. Luke continues the attacks, Nikita ducks the clothesline and lands a right hand to stop Luke. Morgan distracts Williams, Nikita goes to tag but nobody is there. Luke lands a scoop slam on Nikita, top rope splash misses.


Nikita tags in Williams, rights and lefts. Morgan is taking down too, military press slam is blocked as Butch chop-blocks Williams. Tag to Nikita who lands The Russian Sickle and this match is over!


So, Nikita gets worked over for an eternity and makes the hot-tag to Williams who gets one chop-block and decides fuck it let me tag in Nikita who has taken quite the ass-kicking and remarkably, Nikita lands The Russian Sickle to end the match. What the fuck? Apart from that, decent tag match that isn’t up to the high standards of Express, Fantastics and Horsemen but until the ending it is quite fun.


Winners: Nikita Koloff & Steve Williams over The Sheepherders via Russian Sickle!


Dusty Rhodes vs Kevin Sullivan W/ Gary Hart

These two had a great feud in the early 80s but this is 1988 and they are feuding because who knows why? Sullivan is tossed to the floor and brutalized by Rhodes, Gary Hart suffers too before they step back into the ring. Elbows by Rhodes before Sullivans shakes off Rhodes. Gary Hart stabs Rhodes with his show, there is no DQ so why be discreet? Sullivan stabs Rhodes with an object and slaps on a sleeper. Low blow from Rhodes, Rhodes floats and stings before knocking down Sullivan. Sullivan thumbs the eye, Gary Hart is on the apron. Rhodes stabs Sullivan with the spike, Gary Hart decides to fight. Rhodes stalks Gary Hart, Al Perez is here with a chain. Rhodes dives on the chain and Sullivan collides with Perez before Rhodes small packages Gary Hart for the win.


You thought I was making that up right? Nope, Rhodes pinned Gary Hart to win. As if this card wasn’t already a bizarre one, we have finishes like this.


Winner: Dusty Rhodes over Kevin Sullivan via Small Package!


(Russian Chain Match) Ivan Koloff W/ Paul Jones vs Ricky Morton

What is this match? Where did it come from? Why? You have to touch all four corners to win so it is more like an Indian Strap match. Where is Robert Gibson? Fired apparently, Koloff clubs down Morton. Irish whip and a throat thrust, Morton is down. Ivan chokes Morton with the chain. It’s plodding along nicely with Morton stopping Ivan from touching the corners by going to the floor, using his quickness etc. Ivan kicks Morton and chokes with the chain some more! Morton gets in some attacks before Ivan lands a middle rope axe handle. Ivan climbs to the top, Morton yanks Ivan off the top rope. Ivan chokes Morton on his back with the chain, Morton flips over and lands a right hand. Snap-mare and whips with the chain, Morton is in serious trouble. Ivan starts touching the corners, Ivan reaches 3 corners. Morton grabs onto the leg of Ivan who falls to the mat.


Morton tees off with right hands, right hand after right hand and a choke with the chain. Whips with the chains, Ivan comes back before Morton lands more attacks. Boot by Ivan, Ivan decides to come off the top rope and gets caught with the chain in the face. They struggle and struggle before Morton finally touches the buckle. Paul Jones is irate at Ivan Koloff, The Russian Assassin attacks Morton as Paul Jones berates Ivan Koloff. Ivan smashes Paul Jones before The Assassins save Jones.


Awful match, nobody needed that to go nine minutes, at least 8 minutes too long!


Winner: Ricky Morton over Ivan Koloff!


(NWA United States Championship Match) Barry Windham © W/ JJ Dillon vs Sting

I thought this would be a possible match at Starrcade considering how both men were on the rise and the matches would deliver but I am wrong on that one as here we have these two meeting in the main event. Crowd has been hot all night, can they continue to be at this level for the main event? Windham and Sting circle one another, Windham has no time for Sting’s scream. Arm-drags by Sting, Windham is not happy. Windham is in the face of Sting, lots of trash-talking. Clean break from Sting before Windham lands a massive right, side headlock from the champion. Shoulder block, drop-downs and leap-frogs from Sting before a shoulder block and a dropkick from the challenger. Windham is on the floor, Windham tries again and ends up on the floor again after two dropkicks.


Test of strength with Windham going low with kicks and a right hand to the jaw, right hands from Windham. Sting counters with an inverted atomic drop, Irish whip and a back body-drop. Windham begs for mercy, they brawl on the floor after Sting misses an elbow. Windham rakes the eyes, apron axe handle and scoop slam on the floor. Suplex into the ring from Windham, Sting fires back but Windham rakes the eyes. Sunset flip from Sting before Windham cracks him with his legs, knee to the face from Windham. Irish whip and powerslam from Windham, knee-drop for two. Small package from Sting for two, Windham goes back to take control. Windham misses a corner splash, Sting sends Windham to the floor. Sting sends Windham into the ring-post, Sting bites the head of the champion.


Back-rake from Sting, dropkick from the challenger. Cover but the ropes save Windham, Irish whip and a sleeper from Sting. Windham fights furiously to escape but Sting holds on, it takes a shin-breaker to break the hold. Windham starts attacking the knee of Sting, Sting’s leg is taken out multiple times. Windham stomps all over Sting, figure four from Windham. Windham uses the ropes and Dillon for leverage, Windham isn’t happy to break the hold after being caught by Tommy Young. Belly to back suplex from Windham, right hands from Sting. Windham is rocked, Sting wants a suplex and it connects but Sting’s leg gives away with Windham looking for The Claw. Looks more like a titty twister with Windham not using the claw on the head of Sting.


Getting Indiana Jones’ vibes here with Windham attempting to rip out the heart of Sting, Sting begins firing up. Windham is sent to the floor, back body-drop and elbow drops from Sting. Hip-toss across the ring, Irish whip is reversed by Windham who knocks down the referee with a clothesline, Sting comes in and lands right hands. Whip to the buckle, Stinger Splash and The Scorpion Death-lock! Dillon has a chair but Sting sees that coming and knocks down Dillon, Windham has the chair and waffles Sting. The famous football player declares Sting the winner by DQ with Dillon losing his mind before John Ayers saves the day.


What a disappointing finish but hey, that’s the company at the time. Windham and Sting have solid chemistry with one another, Sting’s rise is certainly a fun watch with each and every match, the crowd reaction continues growing but Luger is possible too, we don’t know what way things are going to go but that finish is just so flat, I felt I have seen it so much over the course of 1988. Sting needs a championship or something around his waist to keep him hot, Windham needs that big match too. Maybe it could be with one another but I need a definitive winner!


Winner: Sting over Barry Windham via DQ!


That was WCW’s Clash of The Champions III: Fall Brawl, a largely disappointing show from Jim Crockett Promotions, I don’t know how to feel about the direction of the company at this point. So I said earlier in the piece about The Horsemen, Ron Garvin etc. Well they are either gone or in the process of leaving, pay disputes and bad booking have seen a core member of roster members leave the company. The Powers of Pain and Terry Taylor are in the WWF, seeing that they weren’t going to be booked well and didn’t want to have to have Scaffold matches while a pay dispute will see Arn Anderson and Tully Blanchard leave three days after this event after dropping the titles to The Midnight Express. The dusty-finishes are taking their toll, I don’t know if I can stomach another card where either Luger, Sting or Steve Williams don’t pull off the big win. How many more times can you make me invest and put down my money without a pay-off? It feels like groundhog day and I just don’t know if I can commit to that without losing my mind. 1988 is a rough year for the promotion but we have 2 more shows to get through so let’s see what they have in store. Final thought: not worth watching at the end of the day, two matches on the card feel like placeholders because plans have fallen apart, the opening match with Rotunda = No thanks Tom Hanks! And the main event is fun if you can suffer through another non-finish but I think I am losing my will to live here so not for me! Thanks for reading and remember: there’s always another night!

NWA The Great American Bash 1988, July 16th Tour Review!


Hello and welcome to another edition of Seanomaniac Wrestling Reviews, the only wrestling review series on the internet that puts people to sleep quicker than a Great Khali match! This time we are looking at a Great American Bash tour show that took place after the PPV featuring a big War Games main event which should be a lot of fun, we also have a ton of irrelevant matches that judging by the looks of the “talent” on display, I am going to enjoy not very much at all. We also have continuation of the major feuds from the bash like Jimmy Garvin continuing his battle against The Varsity Club, The Midnight Express vs The Fantastics and The Horsemen vs Dusty Rhodes & Co.


Bugsy McGraw & Tim Horner vs Rip Morgan & Larry Zbyszko

Larry Zbyszko is kind of an enigma to me because while taking part in one of the biggest feuds of all-time with Bruno Sammartino, everything else he does feels like a footnote whether it be AWA or NWA. So, Zbyszko came in with some momentum picking up a win over Barry Windham and here he is now in an opening match with Bugsy McGraw who I haven’t seen in about 3 years and Tim Horner who I haven’t seen in a year or two teaming with Rip Morgan who was the flag-bearer/manager for The Sheepherders.


Zbyszko and Bugsy start, scoop slam by Zbyszko but multiple elbow drops miss, scoop slam by Bugsy. They lock-up, we go to the corner. Side headlock from Bugsy, Zbyszko cannot escape the headlock. Tag to Horner who takes over with the headlock, shoulder blocks to Zbyszko. Sunset flip for two, Zbyszko claims Horner was pulling the tights. Morgan comes in, knee and clubbing blows to the back of Horner. Snap-mare into a rear chin-lock, Bugsy fires up the crowd as Morgan whips Horner. Horner ducks two clotheslines and floats over the back before nailing a dropkick, arm-wrench from Horner. Bugsy comes in and pulls Morgan down by the hair, cover for two. Morgan backs up for a breather, eye rake from Morgan who delivers some big elbows.


Zbyszko nails a spinning kick and a right hand, scoop slam for two. Front chancery from Zbyszko, Morgan distracts the referee so Teddy Long doesn’t see the tag to Horner. Team Zbyszko rough up Bugsy in the corner, clothesline by Morgan. Bugsy dodges the falling headbutt, Irish whip but Bugsy ducks his head off an Irish whip and Morgan kicks it as hard as possible. In comes Zbyszko again, Horner clotheslines Zbyszko from the apron but Bugsy misses the elbow drop. Morgan comes in with the boot and clubbing blows before biting the head of Bugsy, choking clothesline from Morgan for two.


Boot to the head, Zbyszko rakes the eyes and attacks Bugsy but misses with the dropkick. Bugsy crawls and crawls, tag to Horner who comes in with punches flying. Right hands to Morgan and Zbyszko, noggin-knocker from Horner. Scoop slam to Morgan, two for Horner. Zbyszko kicks Horner, Morgan misses a clothesline and Horner pins Morgan off of a flying crossbody.


Vanilla match inoffensive and bland in every way possible, the quintessential opening match from this era. Dare I say Larry Zbyszko deserves better? Not sure, looking forward to seeing what he can do in The Dangerous Alliance when we get there!


Winners: Team Horner over Team Zbyszko via Flying Crossbody!


Ron Garvin W/ Gary Hart vs The Italian Stallion

Dickhead Garvin is large and in charge after knocking out Dusty Rhodes a few nights before, shoulder block from Garvin who leap-frogs Stallion and claims to have blown-out his ankle. Stallion looks and gets caught by the right hand of Ron Garvin who knocks him out in 45 seconds. Great way to get over Ronnie Garvin and Gary Hart can talk people into the building so that makes up for the big flaw of Garvin’s game.


Winner: Ron Garvin over Italian Stallion via Right Hand!


Dick Murdoch vs Gary Royal


Well I know Dick Murdoch but who is Gary Royal? Why are these two wrestling? Murdoch choke Royal, clean break. Side headlock by Royal, Royal wrenches the shit out of the headlock. Murdoch tries countering but Royal holds on tight, Murdoch tries a few cradles but Royal is in firm control. Side headlock takedown from Murdoch, we go to the corner. Elbow to the head from Murdoch, beautiful elbows to the head. Right hand to the nose, Royal fires up with dropkicks. Murdoch powders, knee to the gut from Murdoch. Elbows on the ring apron before Royal meets the scaffold. Royal reverses a scoop slam into a roll-up for two. Murdoch stomps the shit out of him, elbow to the face from Murdoch. Murdoch calls for the finish, sheer-drop Brain-buster.


Another squash that goes a little too long for my liking, not sure why there are so many squashes on the card but it does its job so why not I guess? Not entertaining but not offensive so far.


Winner: Dick Murdoch over Gary Royal via Brain-buster!


Gorgeous Jimmy Garvin W/ Precious vs Rick Steiner


We start with a clothesline and stomps, Steiner rakes the face. Garvin is choked with the ropes, right hands from Steiner. Whip to the buckle, Garvin dodges and fires up with right hands to Steiner. Crowd goes nuts as Sullivan appears, Garvin fights off Sullivan. Small package from Garvin back in the ring and it’s over!


Christ is this the nice of the squashes? What in God’s name is going on with this card? Steiner pinned like that? Damn NWA, that’s cold!


Winner: Jimmy Garvin over Rick Steiner via Small Package!


The Rock “N” Roll Express vs The Sheepherders W/ Rip Morgan

Lots of stalling before we start, dropkicks are on the menu for the sheepherders. They powder and regroup, Butch and Gibson start the match properly with Luke coming in to rough up the ribs of Gibson. Gibson ducks and ducks before trying a sunset flip, two for Gibson. Luke lands a massive knee to the ribs, Luke climbs high. Middle rope splash misses, knee-lift from Gibson which Luke tries to break up. Butch stomps Luke and Rock “N” Roll land dropkicks while Morgan clotheslines his team by mistake. Morton and Luke wrestle with Luke tossing Morton into the buckle, Butch comes in and beats down Morton. Morton slides through the legs and slams Butch and Luke. Noggin-knocker, Gibson and Luke reset. Luke eats a crossbody as Morgan battles Morton, Butch comes in and waffles Gibson with the flag.


Luke drives knees into the spine of Gibson, Morton tries helping but cannot do much as Gibson tastes the flag across his spine. Gibson fights back upon re-entering the ring, we have cheap-shots from the apron by Butch though which allow Luke to choke Gibson. Gibson starts swinging at everything but Luke grabs on a rear chin-lock. Butch is in, Gibson catches Butch with a huge kick to the face. Luke tags in but Gibson battles back, Luke goes to the ribs. Snap-mare back into the rear chin-lock, Gibson lands a double crossbody before tagging in Morton who steps in with a kick. The Sheepherders collide with Morgan being wiped out too, Butch stops Morton’s roll-up attempt.


Morton is tossed to the floor, Butch tees off on the outside with Morton watching his back for Morgan. Gibson and Luke brawl in the ring as Morton is sent into the ring-post. Gibson gets wiped out with a knee to the back courtesy of Butch, Luke can hold Gibson for the attacks of Butch. Double gut-buster from The Sheepherders, Gibson pulls Butch into Luke who spills to the floor and Morton lands the diving crossbody on Luke for the win.


Good tag team match, good heels in Sheepherders and great babyfaces in Ricky Morton and Robert Gibson, they work over Gibson well during the match, crowd is hot for the hot-tag and a lot of the spots were fun and got the crowd going which was nice to see. A definite change of pace from the previous matches, happy to see some wrasslin’ on my card.


Winners: Rock “N” Roll Express over The Sheepherders via Diving Crossbody!


Al Perez W/ Gary Hart vs Brad Armstrong

This should have some fine wrestling, Perez and Armstrong lock-up and we get a clean break. More clean breaks, Armstrong has the arm. Perez cannot shake Armstrong, Perez wants to crack Armstrong with his fist but decides not to. Despite monkey flipping Armstrong, Perez cannot break the hold. Perez backs Armstrong to the corner and here we go, gut shots from Perez. Forearms to the face, Armstrong stops the Irish whip and continues working the arm. Wrenching and shoulder blocks from Armstrong, Perez has been second best this entire stretch. Perez goes to the ropes, side headlock from Armstrong. Perez manages to escape but misses the elbow drop and ends up back in the arm-bar.


Knees to the arms from Armstrong, Perez backs him to the corner. Armstrong shoves down Perez and chases Hart, Perez lands an apron axe handle. Scoop slam on the concrete, stomps for good measure too. Hart rams Armstrong into the scaffold, few stomps too because why not am I right? Perez rams Armstrong into the ring apron, clubbing blows to the spine too. Elbows to the spine and a massive crucifix powerbomb spinning manoeuvre from Perez with a little knee-drop for two. Rear chin-lock from Perez, Armstrong fires up but Perez maintains control with a camel clutch after some elbows. Armstrong escapes and lands a knee-lift, Perez is staggered.


Perez eats gut shots from Armstrong, whip to the opposite buckle and Perez dodges Armstrong’s attacks. Irish whip, Perez ducks and Armstrong goes for the backslide. Small package for two, Perez hurls Armstrong to the floor. Armstrong lures in Perez and slams him on the floor, gut shot from Armstrong. Standing dropkick which sends Perez crashing to the floor, Armstrong tries a suplex into the ring but Hart trips up Armstrong and holds down his leg so Perez can take the win.


Well I thought this would be the wrestling match of the night from how it started with the working of the arm and all that but no, it was a standard affair and the finish is nice, I just wish I cared more about the action that was in the ring, not really entertaining for me.


Winner: Al Perez over Brad Armstrong via Gary Hart’s Help!


The Fantastics vs The Midnight Express W/ Jim Cornette

So this is a Bunkhouse match, a handicap one at that where anything goes. Fulton and Eaton to start, they lock-up with Eaton landing a massive right. Eaton celebrates before Fulton lands his own right. Eaton lands an elbow and a right hand, hip to the side of the head. Shoulder block from Eaton, back body-drop from Fulton who lands a right and Rogers gets in on the action too. Everyone begins brawling with Cornette defending himself with a chair, Cornette scrambles when Rogers takes the chair. The Fantastics strut all around the ring, Eaton and Fulton are fighting again. Right hands from Eaton, Eaton grabs a chair. Fulton atomic drops Eaton onto the chair and cracks with the chair too.


Eaton is down on the floor, Rogers chases Cornette. Eaton is decimated with the chair, not sure why Tommy Young is trying to police this match when there are no rules as Schiavone stated at the start of the match. Eaton is cracked I want to say at least 12 times with the chair. Lane and Cornette are irate, telling Eaton to get back in there like a man. Lane and Rogers will wrestle now, Rogers calls Cornette a chicken, Lane lands his thrust kick and throat thrust. Rogers skins the cat and dropkicks Lane multiple times. Fulton cracks Cornette but Lane and Eaton take out Rogers with an enzuigiri to the back of the head. Cornette throws a chair on Rogers’ head, Eaton grabs the chair and works the ribs.


Cornette gets in on the action with an elbow drop to the floor, Rogers is being choked with a camera cable as the referee deals with Fulton in again, a match that is meant to have no rules. Massive Lariat from Lane, Cornette comes in and lands a fist drop and elbow drop. Cornette picks up Rogers who fires up but Eaton lands a right hand to the face. Eaton stabs Rogers with some object in the throat twice, atomic drop into a back-breaker from Eaton. Scoop slam from Eaton, in comes Cornette with his wrist-tape. Another fist drop, Cornette needs a hand from Eaton to slam Rogers. Russian leg-sweep from Lane, Eaton climbs high for The Rocket Launcher. It connects beautifully, Cornette wants to pin Rogers which leads to some argument with Eaton.


Rogers kicks out and tags Fulton because Cornette was a colossal ass, Fulton comes in and wreaks havoc with a back body-drop. Cornette has powder and blinds Eaton by mistake, Rogers slams Cornette as Fulton takes out The Midnight Express and we have a double clothesline for the win with Cornette whipped like a dog by The Fantastics.


Fun match, entertaining and Cornette as an overconfident fool who causes his team to lose is classic wrestling perfection, such a fun match between these two. There might be hope for this card just yet, their previous match was not very good but I hold out for more classics between these two teams.


Winners: The Fantastics over The Midnight Express via Double Clothesline!


(NWA Television Championship Match) Mike Rotunda © vs Sting

Sullivan and Steiner are at ringside, no idea how this championship is still around the waist of Rotunda, I think he is the least interesting of The Varsity Club members but I guess the TV title was not all that important at the time. Sting leap-frogs Rotunda and dropkicks all three members, noggin-knockers but the referee does not call a DQ as Steiner and Sullivan rushed the ring. How lenient of him, side headlock from Sting. Shove-off from Rotunda who eats a shoulder block, hip-toss and scoop slam by Sting. Rotunda re-thinks his strategy, lock-up with Rotunda backing into the corner.


Boot misses for Rotunda, massive right hand from Sting. Leg-drop to the groin, Steiner is less than pleased about this. Rotunda lures in Sting and works the leg, enzuigiri from Sting. Rotunda takes another breather, asking for a time-out. Steiner distracts Sting but nothing comes of it, what is with this stalling? Side headlock again, Rotunda shoves off Sting. Steiner trips up Sting, Rotunda takes control. Sting is hurled to the floor, Sullivan uses a weapon to decimate Sting. Steiner does nothing but Rotunda continues dishing out punishment. Irish whip into an elbow, snap-mare into an elbow drop for two. Rear chin-lock from Rotunda, Sting escapes but Rotunda cuts off Sting. Rear chin-lock again from Rotunda, Steiner talks trash from ringside.


Right hand and a scoop slam from Rotunda, Rotunda climbs high. Rotunda hesitates so Sting capitalizes, right hands stagger Rotunda who is thrown to the other ring, Sting runs the ropes and dives into the other ring. Stomps and ten punches from The Stinger, Stinger Splash and Scorpion Death-Lock but Steiner and Sullivan come in, Sting escapes the beatdown but is not a champion.


Sting is red-hot, Rotunda bores me in the ring and we have a very boring match as a result, I don’t know why Rotunda has the championship especially when we had the likes of Blanchard, Anderson, Rhodes and Koloff. It’s quite the drop-off but it is what it is, this match blows and Sting deserves better.


Winner: Sting over Mike Rotunda via DQ!


(Scaffold Match) The Road Warriors W/ Paul Ellering vs The Power of Pains W/ Paul Jones

The best part of this is that the actual Powers of Pain had left for the WWF so The Russian Assassin and Ivan Koloff are portrayed as being the group the whole time. Now, I think the scaffold match is a spectacle and one of these was enough for me so imagine my thrill at seeing my 3rd one. These matches are a mess, limited action and limited space and I am just over the concept at this point. Club, club, club, punch, punch, punch. Nothing going on whatsoever and Animal manages to push off Koloff, Hawk manages to kick off The Russian Assassin and its over. The match was garbage, not a fan of this match at all.


Winners: The Road Warriors!


(WarGames Match) The Four Horseman (Ric Flair/Tully Blanchard/Arn Anderson/Barry Windham) vs Dusty Rhodes/Lex Luger/Dr. Death Steve Williams/Nikita Koloff

So how does this work? Two cages and two teams, two men start with team members entering at timed intervals until all members are in the ring. Once all members are in the ring, the match can end by submission, surrender or someone being knocked unconscious. There have been legendary WarGames’ matches and I hope this may be one of the occasions. Who is going to start for each team? Well Rhodes decides he wants to be the man while Arn Anderson steps up for his team. The bell rings and we are underway, Anderson wants Rhodes to come to him. Rhodes tentatively crosses over, both men start brawling with Rhodes landing elbows to start. Anderson begs for mercy, Anderson tries a sunset flip but Rhodes lands a right hand. DDT from Rhodes, Anderson is getting whooped here.


Anderson backs off, Anderson is sent flying into the cage. Rhodes smashes Anderson off the cage wall again and again, The Horsemen shout words of encouragement but it is not going to help I don’t think. Rhodes comes in to lift up Anderson with Anderson landing a massive kick to the thigh, Anderson goes to work like only an Anderson can with repeated attacks to the leg. Anderson is using something to choke and stab Rhodes, Rhodes is a bloody mess. WarGames lifts up to the hype, low blow from Rhodes. Anderson comes off the middle rope and eats a right-hand, Rhodes wrenches and applies the figure four. Barry Windham enters, Rhodes wants to kill Windham. Understandable and Dream knocks down Windham & Anderson.


Crowd is like molten lava at this point, Anderson attacks Dream from behind. Rhodes is in trouble now, Windham tees off with right hands and calls for The Claw. Claw from Windham, Rhodes is in deep trouble. One minute before someone can help, Dr. Death comes in and tees off on The Horsemen. Double clothesline to a monster pop, Williams chop-blocks both Windham and Anderson time and time again. Anderson begs for mercy from Williams, Windham is with Rhodes. Williams mounts Anderson and explodes with right hands, Windham tastes the cage. Williams blocks the cage and Anderson tastes the cage again as Ric Flair watches on from ringside. Anderson goes low with a headbutt, Williams dodges a knee-drop.


Ric Flair comes in, a shock that the last man will be Tully. Flair chops Williams who no-sells that, chop after chop has no effect. Williams stalks Flair, low-blow from The Nature Boy. Williams meets the cage, Windham and Anderson double-team Rhodes. Williams is bleeding now, Anderson helps Flair punish Williams. Vicious DDT from Anderson, Rhodes is bleeding everywhere. Flair spits on Luger, taunting The Total Package. Luger comes in and clotheslines Windham, Flair is panicking now. Flying clothesline to Flair and Windham, powerslam to Flair. Powerslam to Windham, Torture Rack on Flair. Massive low blow from Windham, Flair and Windham wear down Luger who shakes it off. Flair tries to send Luger into the cage but Luger blocks and lands ten punches in the corner. Final man in for The Horsemen, here comes Tully with a chair who waffles Luger. Tully targets the knee but Luger fights it off, Flair lands right hands to Package.


Rhodes continues to attack Windham, knee-drop from Flair to Luger. Nikita comes in and cleans house, I made a mistake about Tully being the last man as I think we are going to have JJ Dillon and Paul Ellering wrestle in this one. Nikita locks Flair in the figure four, Nikita continues to show great power as Flair begs for mercy. Heated contest for sure, lots of low blows going on now. It’s dick-punch city, Dillon comes in looking as white as a ghost but Dillon gets to work helping his team before Nikita grabs the hapless manager and batters him over and over. Williams kicks Flair, this could be a fun match to see one day. Meanwhile, Rhodes is always looking for Windham to torture him. More low blows as in comes Ellering, Ellering is fighting off The Horsemen as Williams chokes Dillon.


Tully wants to make Ellering tap but Rhodes is here fighting everyone in sight, lots of pairing off now. Dillon and Ellering are alone, this could spell disaster for either team. Irish whip but Ellering dodges the dropkick, atomic drop and Rhodes applies the figure four with the ropes for the leverage and win.


A little anticlimactic with the finish but I suspected some sort of finish like that once I saw the managers were taking part in the match. I loved the start, brutally at its finest and despite my feelings about Rhodes vs Windham at their previous match, their hatred for one another comes through in full effect here which is tremendous for the setting and the match. Good to see Williams in there too, most talent from the UWF acquisition were not doing too well so at least their champion is being positioned as a big deal. Rhodes getting the win instead of Luger irks me a little, I think Luger deserved the win considering the tour and PPV was based around Luger vs Flair but then again, Rhodes is the booker man jack and the booker man is going over! All in all, it lived up to the hype with a finish that sends the fans home happy.


Winner: Team Rhodes over Team Horsemen via Surrender!


This was The Great American Bash’s July 16th tour show and it was mostly uneventful if I am honest, you could take at least 3 to 4 of the matches off this card because they meant nothing to me. 3 to 4 squashes in first half an hour was a little intense, I thought Steiner deserved better in his feud with Garvin, thought there would have been more to that but I guess it was not meant to be while The Fantastics vs The Midnight Express is a great tag team wrestling as is The Rock “N” Roll Express vs The Sheepherders so if you are a tag team wrestling fan, there are matches that deliver on this card. The Scaffold match is what it is, I could die happily never watching another one. Finally, the main event is a bloody spectacle with violence and intensity to it, the finish leaves a lot to be desired but it wasn’t a PPV so I guess I will let it slide. If you like good tag team wrestling, seek this out otherwise I would give it a pass! Thanks for reading and remember: there’s always another night!