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!

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