Hello and welcome to another edition of Seanomaniac Wrestling Reviews, the only wrestling review series on the internet that is more annoying than a wrestling company stan! It’s time for WCW’s Chi-Town Rumble 1989, a PPV that most know because of the main event, the first PPV encounter between Ricky The Dragon Steamboat and Ric Flair, a classic in the minds of those who have seen it and I cannot wait to experience it for the first time. Rarely has there been a match rated highly which I haven’t fallen in love with also but can Flair’s formula pull out another classic? We also have Lex Luger taking on Barry Windham for the US Heavyweight Championship, a feud that would have seemed more natural considering their history as tag team champions but alas, Luger challenged Flair for the championship, failed to capture the gold and looks to rebound against Windham when the iron is no longer hot. Meanwhile, we have The Varsity Club all over this card so you know I am thrilled as Sullivan and Williams challenge The Road Warriors for the tag team championships while Rotunda looks to regain his TV Championship from Rick Steiner. 1989 WCW is not looking attractive but the company may just go on to surprise me, I am cautiously optimistic so let’s see where we go from here!
Michael P.S Hayes vs Russian Assassin I W/ Paul Jones
For someone as colourful as Hayes, his tights are always plain which is always surprise for me considering his charisma. Paul Jones is still here with his Russian Assassin, I think the heat was long gone at this point. Maybe bring back Jimmy Valiant? Joking but this seems a little odd as the opening match, a little random. Also I must say after losing Schiavone and having to listen to JR and Magnum T.A. is quite the change for me.
Assassin I has the headlock, Hayes escapes and lands a big right hand. Side headlock, Assassin I pulls the hair behind the referee’s back. Shoulder block from Hayes but Assassin lands the hip-toss. Hayes kicks him away and lands a clothesline, middle rope punch. Make it two for a two-count, Hayes works the arm. Elbow from Hayes who struts and works the arm some more, Assassin fights his way back in and dumps Hayes to the floor but Hayes lands a big right hand and continues working the arm.
Assassin I manages to take down Hayes with a massive knee, right hand from Assassin I. Eye-rake from Assassin I, stomps in the corner. Choke-hold from Assassin I, Hayes has his faced raked across the top rope. Russian Sickle for two, Assassin I slaps on a reverse chin-lock with Hayes firing up who are chanting USA! USA! USA! Hayes begins to land elbows and a shoulder block before a flying crossbody, Assassin I lands a massive clothesline for two. Reverse chin-lock from Assassin I, Hayes battles back but Assassin is in control. Knees to the ribs, whip to the buckle is reversed as Hayes lands a clothesline but Assassin I fires back with a massive shot to the ribs.
Hayes is bounced off the buckle, Jones gets in a cheap-shot on Hayes and Assassin I covers for a two. Hayes blocks the buckle, right hands from Hayes who smashes Assassin I off the buckle. Running bulldog is blocked as Hayes is launched into the air, Assassin I wants the suplex but Hayes counters with a suplex of his own. Hayes is sent to the buckle but Assassin charges in, big miss as Hayes dodges. Right hands from Hayes, ten punches in the corner. Chop from Hayes, eye-rake from Assassin I who whips Hayes off the ropes. Assassin I ducks his head and Hayes lands the DDT for the win.
A long match for sure, Hayes is a popular wrestler who works best on the mic or in tag-team settings, Hayes does not have enough here to suck me not the match but then again, The Assassins have done nothing to make me care anytime I have ever seen them inside of that ring. Not the worst opening match I have ever seen but not super entertaining either.
Winner: Michael P.S. Hayes over Russian Assassin I via DDT!
Sting vs Hacksaw Butch Reed W/ Hiro Matsuda
Sting and Reed talk trash, big atomic drop from Sting. Why are they wrestling? No clue, a nothing feud for your next big star? Reed complains and stalls which seems to be his thing now that Larry Zbyszko is not on the card, they lock-up and go around the ring before Reed misses a punch and asks for a breather before Sting could deck him. Another lock-up and side headlock by Reed, shoulder block with neither man going down. Arm-drag and dropkicks by Sting, Reed is on the floor. More stalling and we eventually resume, Reed pulls the hair but Sting holds onto the side headlock. Shoulder blocks and an arm-drag into an arm-bar. Reed finally gets into the match with big right hands, whip to the buckle but Sting dodges the elbow and works the arm.
Shoulder blocks and Reed side-steps Sting and sends Sting to the floor, Reed hot-shots Sting who falls to the floor. Reed is on the middle rope, middle rope axe handle for two. Right hands from Reed, fist drop. Matsuda chokes Sting for quite some time with Reed distracting the referee, reverse chin-lock from Reed. They use the chin-lock for ages, leverage with ropes and more. Reed misses a clothesline and ends up on the floor, Sting suplexes Reed into the ring for two. Reed sends Sting to the floor before snap-maring The Stinger and applying another chin-lock. After much struggling, a jaw-breaker. Clothesline from Sting, back body drop by Sting. Elbow drop, Sting want the sunset flip but Reed blocks and uses the ropes, referee Teddy Long stops that and Sting sunset flips Reed for the win.
This was rough, Hacksaw Butch Reed had some great matches in Mid-South but he is stinking up the ring now with the same formula we saw with the jobber in the last Clash, he almost replicates the match to perfection here with Sting. I haven’t seen anything that impresses me about Reed and I am continuously baffled by Sting’s booking post-Clash match with Flair. How is this man not a champion or in some high-profile angle? I simply don’t understand what is going on here in this company.
Winner: Sting over Butch Reed via Sunset Flip!
The Original Midnight Express & Paul E. Dangerously vs The Midngiht Express & Jim Cornette
Whoever is pinned in the match will have to leave the company, the beautiful thing about this is that The Original Midnight Express are not even here because Dennis Condrey is not here, we have Randy Rose and Jack Victory. Jack Victory is wearing his Blackmailer tights which is a nice touch but yeah, all the heat to this one has been lost in my eyes so at least we had a pretty Starrcade match before things went to shit.
They try to say Victory is a big surprise and it is going to mess with The Midnight Express but yeah, I don’t care. Rose and Lane are wearing red which is just dumb. Drop toehold by Lane, Rose eats a shoulder block with Rose recalculating. Side headlock from Lane, Rose hammers away with clubbing blows. Scoop slam by Rose, Rose climbs high. Lane is too fast and yanks Rose off the top rope. Clothesline to the floor, Victory eats a drop toehold and elbows from Eaton and Cornette. Eaton and Lane tag, slingshot elbow from Lane who does his shuffle. Victory meets the boot of Eaton and Cornette, Eaton is distracted by Dangerously who is jaw-jacking with everyone.
Rose comes in and eats right hands from Eaton, Cornette peppers Rose. Tag to Lane who lands his kicks, double stomp to the face. Rose goes low with a right hand, Rose is hit by Dangerously by mistake. Lane schoolboys for two, Dangerously continues getting heat which is good to see. Eaton is tagged in, massive rights from Eaton. Rose sends Eaton into the guardrail, Rose takes advantage. Scoop slam from Rose, Dangerously is in and lands massive stomps to Eaton. Eaton begins firing up, Rose is tagged into the match. Cornette wants Dangerously, Rose attacks Cornette from behind. Scoop slam by Rose, in comes Dangerously who stomps Cornette. Cornette is decked by Dangerously for two, Cornette fights back before Dangerously rakes the eyes.
Cornette meets the buckle, right hand to the gut from Dangrously. Cornette lands two massive rights before Rose decks Cornette with a clothesline, tag to Victory. Right hands to the head of Cornette, Eaton comes in for the bulldog. Lane comes in and kicks Victory, Dangerously kicks Lane in the back so Victory takes advantage. Kick to the spine, in comes Rose who lands a massive scoop slam for two. Rose lands a massive clothesline, kick to the floor. Rose lands an axe handle to the floor, Lane back-drops Rose but Victory is tagged in and stomps away on Lane. Cornette fires up the crowd, Victory rakes the face of Lane.
Big belly to back suplex, Rose covers for two. Eaton gets in for that hot-tag and slaughters Victory, Dangerously is dragged into the ring and Cornette is legal now. Massive right hands from Cornette with Dangerously bumping all over, Irish whip and a left clothesline from Cornette for two. Rose comes in for an illegal tag to the head, Cornette tags in Lane and the match breaks down. Rose slams Lane, Rose misses a splash and Lane covers, Victory saves the match for his team. Everyone is brawling with Dangerously throwing Cornette to the floor, the heels are taking control. Eaton eats a double elbow, another whip with Eaton and Victory smashing into one another. Cornette takes out Dangerously, double flapjack on Rose for the win.
Rose has to leave the NWA, this was quite good compared to everything else I had to watch, the crowd wanted to see Cornette and Dangerously and when it happened, they reacted big to it so kudos to them delivering on that promise. The bait and switch takes everything away from the match for me though, the draw was The Original Midnight Express vs The Midnight Express, you can’t stick someone else in there and salvage it.
Winners: Midnight Express over Original Midnight Express via Flapjack!
(NWA Television Championship Match) Rick Steiner © W/ Scott Steiner vs Mike Rotunda W/ Kevin Sullivan
The Varsity Club still try to mess with former member Steiner, Rotunda is noted for boring me to death every time he steps in the ring so his reign as NWA Television Champion for almost a year baffles me. A few fireman’s carries here and there but we continue to have a stalemate. Rotunda takes down Steiner, Steiner sends Rotunda to the floor. Rotunda continues stalling before landing a massive right, uppercuts from Rotunda. Irish whip and Rotunda bails again, side headlock from Steiner. Rotunda uses the hair but eats a shoulder block, hip-toss from Steiner and a lethal clothesline. Rotunda sends Steiner to the ropes, clean break? Yes which is a surprise, Rotunda asks for a handshake. Side headlock from Rotunda, abdominal stretch with the ropes for leverage. Steiner reverses the hold and Rotunda powders again, they stall and stall before Rotunda lands a big right and climbs high.
Rotunda tries a diving crossbody with Steiner rolling through for a close two, front chancery from the champion. Rotunda takes the back and Rotunda starts throwing forearms, shoulder blocks before Steiner sends Rotunda into the ropes with his legs. Right hands by Steiner, back body drop by Steiner for two. Steiner goes high and misses a top rope splash, Rotunda takes Steiner to the floor and smashes Steiner into the ring-post. Massive rib kicks from Rotunda, powerslam from Steiner in the ring. Steiner gets two because he is a moron who wanted to woof. Sullivan grabs the microphone and implies he is going to go after the dog, Steiner is completely distracted. Scott Steiner is on the apron, Scott Steiner does not check on the dog.
Rotunda lands a massive belly to back suplex on Steiner, Steiner battles back and batters Rotunda. Irish whip and a sleeper from Steiner, Rotunda is shoved into the turnbuckle and Steiner applies a massive sleeper. Steiner chokes out Rotunda but Rotunda wins the match because Steiner’s shoulders were down.
Who the fuck thought that would be a good finish? Steiner looks like an absolute moron, I have seen this finish done many times but this was easily the worst version of it, how did Steiner think that Rotunda was being pinned when he was on top of him? Also why didn’t Scott Steiner go check on Spike? Why did Sullivan distracting Rick Steiner not factor in the match? Why do I have to watch Rotunda wrestle? It’s just all around garbage!
Winner: Mike Rotunda over Rick Steiner!
(NWA United States Championship Match) Barry Windham © W/ Hiro Matsuda vs Lex Luger
Windham and Luger were tag team partners, Luger had quit The Horsemen and they wanted a new member. Enter Barry Windham who shocked the wrestling world by turning on Luger and becoming The United States Champion, defeating the likes of Bam Bam Bigelow, Sting and Dusty Rhodes. The big match between Luger and Windham did not come as Luger went after Flair but now, they are going to settle their differences.
Luger out-wrestles Windham to begin, shoulder blocks and a sleeper before Windham nails a belly to back suplex but Luger pops right back up, the challenger is more determined than ever before. Atomic drop from Luger and a military press slam to Windham. Eye-rake from Windham, Luger sends Windham to the buckle. Ten punches is blocked, atomic drop is blocked. Clothesline by Luger for two, Windham shoots low with a right hand. Back body-drop from Luger, two for the challenger. Powerslam from Luger, Luger climbs to the top rope. Windham dodges the flying shoulder tackle, Luger spills out to the floor. Windham is confident now, Luger is in trouble now. Windham smashes Luger into the ring apron and the guardrail.
Suplex into the ring from Windham, Windham begins to work the eye of Luger who is bleeding from said eye. Irish whip and Flying Lariat from Windham, Windham tries his clothesline on the floor and Luger ducks, Windham smashes his hand off the ring-post. Windham’s number one weapon has been taken from him, Windham collapses in pain after a right hand to the face of Luger. Luger kicks back at Windham, Windham continues to wince after each punch. Windham decides to apply The Claw, Windham cannot put away Luger as his hand is damaged. Luger is still smashed around the ring, powerslam from the champion for two. Right hands from Windham, Windham wants the superplex. Another right hand followed by selling from Windham, massive superplex from Windham. Elbow drop from Windham for a close two, crowd thought it was over there! Belly to back suplex with a bridge, Luger becomes champion as Luger has his shoulders up while Windham did not, Windham gets his heat back with a piledriver on the championship.
Well I felt this was over before it really got going, I wanted to see where it was going to go with the hand injury and how they would play around with it but it never comes, Windham sells it greatly but it never factors in again after the initial Claw spot. Windham dominates and goes for the suplex which ends up costing him, not high on my great finishes lists to begin with but especially low on my list when I saw a finish like this already on the same card! What are they thinking? Could they not have had something decisive? This is how Luger rebounds from the feud with Flair? Come on, this is a joke.
Winner: Lex Luger over Barry Windham!
(NWA World Tag Team Championship Match) The Road Warriors © W/ Paul Ellering vs The Varsity Club
Well this is going to be stiff which means it just might be fun to watch, Sullivan chops Animal and the clothesline does not work, clothesline from Animal. Boot by Sullivan, Sullivan goes high and Animal counters the crossbody for a powerslam. Animal misses an elbow drop, Sullivan tags in Williams. Shoving contest, Williams has a side headlock and shoulder blocks Animal who does not go down. Boot and Irish whip after right hands, Animal reverses and lands a powerslam. Tag to Hawk, Williams rolls to the floor. Williams military presses Hawk, Hawk comes up with a clothesline. Williams is sandwiched from a clothesline by both champions, two for Animal. In comes Sullivan, Animal is attacked by Williams at the apron.
Sullivan dumps Animal to the floor, Sullivan cracks Animal with a chair. Sullivan and Williams take turns beating Animal and his arm. Tag to Williams who drops an elbow on Animal, Williams stomps the arm over and over. Hammerlock scoop slam by Williams, Williams misses a corner charge but Sullivan works the arm some more. In comes Williams who lands a diving axe handle, arm-breakers from Williams. Animal smashes his way back at Williams, in comes Hawk. Powerslam from Hawk with a fist-drop, clothesline to Williams. Flying shoulder tackle, Hawk and Williams roll to the floor. Animal and Sullivan collide in the ring, Williams stops The Doomsday Device but Hawk lands his Diving Clothesline on Sullivan for the win while Williams pins Animal but Williams and Animal are not legal so The Road Warriors retain.
Well it was fast and furious which was a lot of fun but the finish continues to be odd like the majority of the finishes on this card, just all around baffling at times. Sullivan was clearly the weak link so Williams could have done whatever but you still could have had Sullivan take the clean pin and not that cluster that we saw here, absolutely ridiculous.
Winners: Road Warriors over The Varsity Club via Diving Clothesline!
(NWA World Heavyweight Championship Match) Ric Flair © W/ Hiro Matsuda vs Ricky The Dragon Steamboat
This is going to be good, so good and I cannot wait. Shoulder block by Steamboat, cover for two. Flair says he grabbed the hair, they lock-up with Flair eating another shoulder block. Flair wanted the drop-down, Steamboat grabs the side headlock. Steamboat flips out of the belly to back and O’Connor rolls Flair for a close two. Flair is taking a breather on the outside, Flair locks up with Steamboat and sends him to the corner. Clean break does not happen as Flair works the rib and chops at Steamboat who chops back. Whip to the buckle and a back body-drop, Flair begs for mercy. Flair grabs the hair, Steamboat eats a chop but Steamboat floors Flair with a chop. Side headlock from Flair, hammerlock transition.
Steamboat escapes and continues to out-fox Flair with a dropkick for a close two, side headlock from Steamboat. Steamboat continues to squeeze down with Flair trying to secure victory by rolling over but Steamboat is in firm control. Flair pulls the hair, Steamboat is in the corner. Elbow shots and chops by both, double chop by Steamboat for two. Flair powders, Flair is not a happy man with these developments. Lock-up and side headlock by Steamboat, Flair works the ribs with elbows and begins chopping away. Shoulder block by Flair, leapfrogs and a double chop from Steamboat. Steamboat teases a dive to the floor, Flair is furious with how Steamboat continues to out-smart him.
They lock-up, Flair chops Steamboat again but Steamboat leapfrogs Flair. Hip-toss and head-scissors with a dropkick into a side headlock from Steamboat. Flair grabs the hair and chops back, Steamboat battles back. Shoulder block and Flair manages to stop Steamboat with an elbow, Steamboat battles back into the match with a massive chop to the floor. Flair is slow to get back to the ring, Flair lures in Steamboat and drags him to the floor. Chops from Flair, Flair wants to harm Steamboat. Steamboat meets the guardrail, Flair lands an elbow to the nose of the challenger. Snap-mare into a knee drop for two, double arm suplex for two. Chops by Flair, right hand to the nose. Flair clubs at Steamboat, Steamboat begins to chop back. Flair flip to the apron, diving crossbody for two but Steamboat rolls through for a close two.
Flair backs off, trip and a Figure Four from Flair, Flair uses the ropes for leverage. Flair has to break the hold after being caught, Steamboat is in immense pain though. Flair stomps all over the knee of Steamboat, Steamboat continues to chop back at The Nature Boy. An exchange of blows, Steamboat continues battling back into the match. Flair crossbodies Steamboat to the floor, both men are down and hurt. Steamboat is sent into the ring-post, suplex in the ring by Flair for two. Belly to back suplex for two, back-breaker from Flair for two. Flair uses the ropes but even then, Steamboat continues to kick out! Schoolboy by the challenger for two, whip to the buckle and Steamboat tries a crossbody but Flair ducks, Flair is in firm control.
Side headlock takedown with Steamboat reversing and bridging up, double arm suplex for two as Flair places his foot on the ropes. Flair battles back on his knees, hip-toss is blocked as Steamboat looks for the backslide. 1..2.. Flair kicks out! Chops by both men, shots to the ribs from Steamboat. Flair whips Steamboat to the corner, Steamboat explodes out of the corner with a clothesline. Flying shoulder tackle by Steamboat, diving judo chop from Steamboat. Diving Crossbody connects but the referee is wiped out with Flair, Flair pulls the referee into the crossbody. Flair cradles Steamboat but there is no referee, Flair rakes the eyes and tries throwing Steamboat over the top. Steamboat misses his flying crossbody, Flair goes for the figure four but Steamboat counters for the small package! 1…2..3! Steamboat is your new champion!
Hot crowd and hot action inside of that ring, Flair and Steamboat have fantastic chemistry with one another and I love the urgency Steamboat brings to this, looking for the win within seconds of the bell ringing, they work with one another in some really nice sequences and Steamboat continues to shine with Flair being his awesome self throughout, finish is a welcome change because the Dusty-Finish was killing me at this point but no, Steamboat captures Flair and the crowd goes nuts, really easy to watch and fun wrestling match, an absolute classic and there is so much more to come from these two and I cannot wait to see it, it’s that good! Energy and emotion all through this one, Steamboat is a great sympathetic babyface who you cannot help but root for, it’s just great wrestling with no wasted motion.
Winner: Ricky The Dragon Steamboat over Ric Flair via Small Package!
That was WCW’s Chi-Town Rumble 1989, a mixed bag PPV from WCW. We kick things off weak with Hayes and Assassin I, Hayes is a great mouthpiece but needs a Gordy in there with him to really have that great match while The Assassins I would lump in with Ivan Koloff at this point, I don’t really want to see them anywhere near my screen. The Midnight Express match is good, just all drama has been stripped away without The Original Midnight Express actually being there, the hook of the whole feud and you have a piece missing, you cannot just stick Jack Victory in there and call it a day. Butch Reed and Sting serves no purpose in my eyes, Reed coming in and losing doesn’t help him while Sting beating Reed after 15 boring minutes does nothing for him either, just a shit-show all around. Rick Steiner vs Mike Rotunda is tragic because I never want to see Rotunda wrestle again and here, he wins and defeats Steiner in a way that makes Steiner look like the dumbest person on the planet, not a fan of those kind of finishes to begin with but this variation is one of the worse I have ever seen. To top it off, we see another variation of this finish is Luger’s bounce back match from challenging Flair, in a match that should be full of heat and drama, we have a lame finish that sours the big moment for me. Windham’s selling of the hand and the piledriver are great though, shame we probably won’t see a conclusion to the feud. The tag team championship match has another wonky finish that makes me angry, I am not sure why we have to have all these weird finishes on one card but then comes the main event and it’s quality from beginning to end. However, one match does not make a great PPV so that’s why it’s quite a mixed bag for me, seek out the Steamboat vs Flair match but everything else you could give a miss to, thanks for reading and remember: there’s always another night!