Sunday 2 January 2022

WCW Wrestle War 1989 Review!


Hello and welcome to another edition of Seanomaniac Wrestling Reviews, the only wrestling review series on the internet that falls back on old habits more than WWE giving Lesnar the championship again! It’s WCW Wrestle War 1989 and what an absolute bizarre card this is for me to look at! We have Sting vs The Iron Sheik? Sheik in 1989? Vs Sting? What? We also have some new gimmicks and more jobber matches it seems here, Michael Hayes takes on Lex Luger and the main event is a tag team match? What is going on with WCW in 1989? God only knows but I will do my best and see what I come up with it so sit back and relax and let’s watch WCW Wrestle War 1989!


Doug Gilbert vs The Great Muta W/ Gary Hart

The Pearl of The Orient, Keiji Mutoh aka The Great Muta making his PPV debut for WCW. If you are unfamiliar with Muta’s Japan work, I don’t know what to tell you because this run in 89 is the reason so many Americans still knew Muta outside of Japan. Muta lands a massive spinning sole butt and sends Gilbert into the ring-post. Thrust to the face, Gilbert lands a high crossbody and clothesline with Muta powdering to the floor. Gary Hart talks strategy with Muta, Muta rakes the eyes twice. Snap-mare into the flashing elbow drop, handspring elbow from Muta. Shoulder-claw from Muta, Gilbert lands a shoulder block and slams the face of Muta into the mat. Eye-rake from Muta, back-breaker but Muta misses the moonsault. Muta lands on his feet though and dropkicks Gilbert to the floor, plancha to the floor from Muta. Second back-breaker and Moonsault for the win.


Lovely squash match with Muta looking like an absolute star inside of that ring, cannot wait to see where Muta goes from here in The NWA/WCW. A true sensation for sure here in WCW.


Winner: The Great Muta over Doug Gilbert via Moonsault!


Butch Reed vs Ranger Ross

Ranger Ross seems like a black Sgt. Slaughter while Reed bores me to tears in WCW in 1989. They try shoulder blocks and leapfrogs before Ross lands a hip-toss, Reed asks for a breather but is yanked out of the corner. Side headlock takedown from Ross, Ross sends Reed to the corner but Reed explodes out with a big clothesline. Reed stomps on the face of Ross, they talk about Teddy Long but don’t shoot him on camera for quite some time. Teddy Long is scouting talent as Reed punishes Ross, Ross fights back with big rights. Reed knees Ross in the chest. Scoop slam and elbow drops from Reed, reverse chin-lock from Reed. Reed holds onto forever before Ross comes back and trips up Reed, Irish whip and a shot to the ribs.


Shot to the head, dropkick on Reed. Make it two with Reed tumbling to the floor, Ross attacks and throws in Reed. Ross tries re-entering the ring but Reed kicks him in the head, suplex into the ring from Reed. Reed calls for his finish, Diving Shoulder Block for the win.


Mercifully, much shorter than the other Reed matches I have watched, his chin-locks go on for far too long but yeah, I enjoyed Reed in Mid-South but here in WCW, it’s just not clicking for me.


Winner: Butch Reed over Ranger Ross via Diving Shoulder Block!


(Bull Rope Match) Dick Murdoch vs Bob Orton

What am I watching? Murdoch vs Orton in 1989? Incredible, Murdoch seems dressed for a massive brawl while Orton is in his trunks. Murdoch shortens the rope luring in Orton, Orton is far more hesitant. Murdoch lands massive right hands, Orton ducks the bell and kicks back with elbows and knees. Orton goes to the floor and attacks the arm of Murdoch, Murdoch drills right hands on Orton. Orton is yanked into the ring-post, Murdoch waffles Orton with the bell but Orton battles back into the match with massive elbows. Bell across the back from Orton, Orton continues to stomp on the head of Murdoch for a two-count.


Low shot to the gut from Murdoch, Orton is not in good shape right now. Murdoch continues to land big right hands to the gut. Murdoch takes off his boot and cracks Orton in the head with the boot. Orton staggers to the corner, massive right hands from the boot on his hand. Two for Murdoch, the referee takes the boot. Orton lands big right hands, Orton climbs high but Murdoch yanks him down and Murdoch ties up Orton and elbow drops him for the win.


Not as offensive as I thought it would be, Murdoch is quite popular with the fans and the brawling works for the match type. Was over before it hurt my feelings but I really don’t see how both of these men are in the company at the time but then again, the theme of the company at the time was the booker was booking people who drew money 10 or 15 years before so they thought they could do the same all these years later.


Winner: Dick Murdoch over Bob Orton via Elbow Drop!


The Samoan Swat Team W/ Paul E. Dangerously vs The Dynamic Dudes

Samu and Fatu I have all the faith in the world in, why? Because they are massive Samoans and no matter the situation, Samoans always deliver in the ring. Their opponents? Johnny Ace who is quite fun to watch at times in AJPW but most fondly remembered for being a terrible Talent Relations officer for the WWE and Shane Douglas who was The Franchise in ECW. The neon tights, the skateboarding, the surfing. How they thought they would be popular, I have no idea.


Ace and Fatu start, Ace comes in with big scoop slams and more. Tag to Douglas, Douglas is whipped by Fatu but drops-down and lands a dropkick. Samu tags into the match, boots and clubbing blows by Samu. Irish whip but Douglas ducks, ugly victory roll by Douglas. Tag to Ace, diving axe handle and tag to Douglas. More quick tags, boot to the arm of Samu. Samu brings Ace to the heels’ corner, superkick from Fatu. Love it, Fatu kicks Ace low. Ace tries a hip-toss but Fatu lands a clothesline, tag to Samu. Ace is battered by The Samoans, Samu lands a roundhouse kick with Douglas trying to fire up his partner. Reverse chin-lock from Samu, diving axe handle from Fatu. Headbutt by Fatu, Ace back-drops Fatu but misses a dropkick which allows Fatu to recover.


Samu is in, Samu nails Fatu by mistake as Ace ducks. Double headbutt by The Samoans, Ace ducks a clothesline but runs into a powerslam for two. Samu is in, double eye-rake with Douglas complaining like a mad man on the apron. Douglas is with the referee as we have a wish-bone split. Leg-drop from Samu for two, Ace escapes the chin-lock and slams Samu into the mat. Samu whips Ace, Ace leapfrogs but gets caught in a Boston crab. Dangerously wants some extra heat, it works well with Ace coming back with a monkey flip for Samu. Douglas gets the tag, dropkicks all around. Samu almost decapitates Douglas with a clothesline, Fatu lands the Top Rope Splash with Ace saving his team. Dangerously is irate, Fatu picks up Douglas but Ace dropkicks Douglas onto Fatu and The Dynamic Dudes pick up the win.


Say what you want about the awful gimmick, the crowd loves that finish with tag team wrestling being alive and well in 1989 but this is a far cry from The Rock “N” Roll Express vs The Andersons. Nonetheless, The Samoans are fantastic here with big bumps all around with some sweet looking superkicks and clotheslines. Ace being babyface in peril was a little strange considering his size compared to Douglas, I probably would have changed it around but that’s just me.


Winners: Dynamic Dudes over Samoan Swat Team via Dropkick!


(NWA United States Championship Match) Lex Luger © vs Michael P.S. Hayes

Hayes turned heel and attacked Luger with brass-knuckles, Luger wants revenge for the betrayal of Hayes. Side headlock from Hayes after much stalling, high crossbody for two. Hayes wants a faster count, rough looking Russian leg-sweep for one. Luger slaps Hayes twice, this is moving slow enough before they start brawling. Back body-drop from Luger, Hayes powders. More stalling before Hayes bangs the head of Luger off the turnbuckles. Flying clothesline from Hayes, Luger blocks the DDT. Lots of stalling before Luger works the arm. Side headlock from Hayes, sunset flip is blocked by Luger. Arm-drag into the arm-bar, Hayes throws rights but they have no effect. Back-breaker by Luger for two, more working the arm from Luger. Hayes comes back with a massive corner clothesline but Luger no-sells that shit.


Ten punches in the corner, inverted atomic drop does not work but Luger’s crossbody misses and Luger falls to the floor. Hayes attacks Luger on the floor, suplex into the ring for two. Hayes slaps on a sleeper but Luger fights out, massive left and bulldog by Hayes for a close two. Luger is hurled to the floor, Matsuda sends Luger into the guardrail. Scoop slam by Hayes and a big elbow drop for two. Another chin-lock, Luger fights out and blocks being rammed into the buckle. Hayes meets the buckle multiple times before a thumb to the eye from the challenger, bulldog is blocked as Luger shoves off the challenger. Gut shots from Luger, ten punches and a hip-toss. Clothesline for two, military press slam.


Luger whips Hayes again and lands another military press slam, Luger calls for it one more time. Another whip and Luger sends Hayes down with another military press slam. Luger calls for The Rack, Hayes counters though and lands his DDT in the middle of the ring. Luger is up and Hayes is sent into the referee but Terry Gordy is here and he pushes Hayes onto Luger! Hayes is your winner!


Well if you asked me to predict the winner, there is no way I would have said Hayes but my goodness, it happened. The match is decent at best, Luger is over but Hayes stalls like a pantomime villain here, it just goes on and on. I’d rather see hoss Gordy take on Luger which would be a lot of fun and hard-hitting but reuniting The Freebirds is an interesting one. Curious to see where it goes considering by this stage, Gordy was already making waves in AJPW and would capture The Triple Crown Championship at one point. Disappointed to see Luger’s reign end so quickly, what was the point?


Winner: Michael P.S. Hayes over Lex Luger thanks to Gordy’s Push!


(NWA Television Championship Match) Sting © vs The Iron Sheik

How many times was I complaining about them not putting the belt on Sting? Finally, my prayers were answered! They heard me and now he will face Iron Sheik…. Sheik jumps Sting from behind, chops and jaw-jacking from Sheik. Sting starts shaking those attacks off, Sting fires up and lands massive rights and chokes Sheik with his head-garb. Clothesline from Sting, more choking. Sting lands The Stinger Splash and a Scorpion Death-Lock for the win. Wow, amazing.


Winner: Sting over The Iron Sheik via Scorpion Death-Lock!


(NWA World Heavyweight Championship Match) Ricky The Dragon Steamboat © vs Ric Flair

The finale of the trilogy, Steamboat had put away Flair twice but both times there was controversy as Steamboat defeated Flair for the first time with a second referee counting the pin while at their second encounter as Clash VI, Flair’s foot was under the ropes. We have three judges at ringside in the case of a draw, Lou Thesz, Pat O’Connor and Terry Funk. Lots of prestige at ringside and the match just feels big.


They lock-up, clean break. Arm-drag from Steamboat, Flair struts around not showing that anything is phasing him here. Flair complains about a hair-pull, side headlock by Flair. Shoulder block but Steamboat comes back with a hip-toss. Arm-drags before they start slapping one another, Flair begs off before we go right back at it in the ring. Flair sends Steamboat to the corner, chops in the corner. Steamboat is rocked, right hand from Flair with Steamboat chopping backs. Crowd is popping big for the chops, those are loud. Irish whip and back body drop from Steamboat, Flair falls to the floor. Back in the ring, they battle for the top wrist-lock. Steamboat is the stronger of the two, knees and arm-bar from Steamboat. Shoulder block into the arm-drag and a transition into an arm-bar.


Steamboat continues working the arm with Flair chopping back at the champion, Steamboat has to let go of the hold. Slide through from Steamboat, trip into the hammerlock again, Flair uses the hair to bring Steamboat to the corner. Forearm to the head from the challenger, make it two.  Steamboat goes down after the third, big chop to the chest of the champion. Steamboat is not down though, Flair works the ribs with massive rights and some clubbing blows. Steamboat chops back, Flair flops down. Steamboat goes after that arm again, Flair scoops up Steamboat to stop the arm-bar. Steamboat is on the top rope, Steamboat hip-tosses and dropkicks Flair to the floor.


Flair re-enters the ring but Steamboat works the arm again, Steamboat is trying to set-up the chicken-wing. Flair eats another shoulder block but Flair lands a hip-toss to cut that off, Steamboat dodges the elbow drop and applies the arm-drag into the arm-bar. Flair chops up Steamboat, big right hands to the face. Chops from Steamboat, Flair tackles Steamboat and tosses the champion to the floor. Steamboat fires right back up and lands ten punches, Irish whip and Flair flip to the corner. Steamboat drills the challenger with a right hand, shoulder block to the challenger before Flair sends Steamboat to the floor. Flair stomps on the head of Steamboat, The Dragon is chopped into the front row.


Steamboat chops back at ringside, Flair is running from the champion. Diving chop from Steamboat, Flair meets the buckle and flips before a massive chop from Steamboat. Snap-mare into the arm-bar, Flair fights out and Steamboat misses the high crossbody. Flair lands an elbow to the head, Flair yanks Steamboat into the ring.  Knee-drop to the head, big chop from the challenger. Flair continues to deck Steamboat, knee to the throat from Flair. Flair lands a double-arm suplex for two, chops from Flair. Flair misses a chop but stun-guns Steamboat, Steamboat is saved by the ropes. Steamboat chops back at Flair, Flair drags down Steamboat. Suplex on the floor from Flair, Steamboat reverses the suplex with an O’Connor roll for a close two.


Flair crossbodies Steamboat to the floor, what’s going to happen here? Referee Tommy Young begins counting, Flair climbs high. Steamboat yanks Flair down, chops and ten punches from The Dragon. Irish whip and back body-drop, Flair begs for mercy with the Dragon firing all the way up in this match. Low boot with a belly to back is blocked as Steamboat schoolboys for two, Flair wants a suplex but Steamboat blocks and places Flair on the top rope. Superplex from Steamboat, Flair blocks the chicken-wing by holding onto the ropes. Flair meets the buckle face-first, Diving Judo Chop to the head. Flair avoids the crossbody by crotching Steamboat who tumbles to the floor.


Steamboat clutches his knee, Flair sees this development. Suplex into the ring by the challenger, Flair pulls at that leg. Figure Four Leg-Lock! Steamboat survives by reaching the ropes but Steamboat is weakened now, Flair smashes the knee of The Dragon. They are brawling, Steamboat lands a massive enzuigiri with Steamboat selling masterfully. Scoop slam attempt with Flair countering with the small package for the win!


We are not done yet, Terry Funk interrupts the victory celebration for Ric Flair which is quite a twist. Flair says Terry Funk has been away in Hollywood, Flair talks about the likes of Sting and Lex Luger, Terry Funk is insulted by this turn of events. Funk sucker-punches Flair and delivers one of the best post-match beat-downs you will see as Funk batters the life out of Flair. Flair drags him to the table and picks up Flair for a Pile-Driver on the table.


Incredible match, the chemistry between these two is amazing. Steamboat and Flair wrestle a fantastic pace, everything feels like a struggle. From the first chop to the shoulder blocks, these are mere basic manoeuvres but it is tremendous to watch. What I also enjoy is that Flair brings out a more vicious side, the suplex on the floor and the yanking of the leg screams a more vicious side of Flair which I am all for, Steamboat got the better of Flair twice and it’s eating away at The Nature Boy. The spots are clean, the crowd reacts to everything they are doing, it’s just a whole lotta fun to watch and I would encourage anyone to track down these matches because they are just a great watch. The aftermath is great too, nice angle with a massive hook for the next broadcast.


Winner: Ric Flair over Ricky Steamboat via Small Package!


(NWA World Tag Team Championship Match) The Varsity Club © vs The Road Warriors

The Road Warriors were screwed by crooked referee Teddy Long at Clash VI, this is basically a brawl. Nikita Koloff is the referee to keep order, The Road Warriors clear house to start off the match. Freebird rule in effect here, maybe I can tolerate Rotunda when he is getting battered by Animal & Hawk. Sullivan is told get to the back by Koloff, Sullivan sulks off. Animal decks Williams with a shoulder block and a clothesline, Williams battles back with both men in the corner. Rotunda coms in and dives into a powerslam, clothesline with Williams saving Rotunda. Hawk and Williams are in, left jabs by Williams. Hawk eats a slam but dodges the elbow drop, scoop slam by Hawk with a fist drop. Williams is on the floor, apron clothesline by Hawk. Williams ducks the clothesline and Hawk nails the ring-post, Rotunda sends Hawk’s shoulder into the ring-post. The match breaks down, Rotunda is sent to the floor. Williams eats a double clothesline, Doomsday Device for Williams but Danny Spivey and Kevin Sullivan attack Koloff.


Fun while it lasted but I would like a longer contest, maybe we will get some 6-man tag matches going forward, who knows?


Winners: Road Warriors over Varsity Club via DQ!


(NWA United States Tag Team Championship Match) Rick Steiner & Eddie Gilbert © W/ Missy Hyatt vs The Varsity Club

The First Family consists of Steiner and Gilbert, Steiner had lost the television championship to Mike Rotunda in a stupid way but the feud continues, Danny Spivey is massive but from what I remember awful in the ring. Didn’t know that Spivey was in The Varsity Club before The Skyscrapers but you learn something new every day, this match starts with a brawl. Gilbert and Sullivan brawl in the ring, Steiner’s shoulder is destroyed by Spivey who sends him into the ring-post and delivers a shoulder-breaker. Gilbert fires up with big right hands on Sullivan, Sullivan blocks Gilbert with a boot. Gilbert checks on Steiner, Gilbert is prepared to go it alone for now.


Gilbert punches Spivey but it has little effect, Gilbert protects his partner before Sullivan attacks Steiner again. Gilbert meets the buckle hard, Sullivan mocks Gilbert who cannot tag out of the match. Steiner is on the apron, Spivey comes in and axe handles Gilbert. Irish whip and a sidewalk slam for two, another slam from Spivey. Tag to Sullivan who slaps Gilbert but Gilbert makes the tag behind the referee’s back. Steiner clotheslines Sullivan anyways, Gilbert pins Sullivan. The heels get their heat back after the match.


Why as the main event? Who was this for? Why not end on the angle of Funk attacking Flair? So many questions but hey, it’s this company in 1989!


Winners: The First Family over The Varsity Club via Steinerline!


WCW’s WrestleWar 1989 is an interesting PPV for sure, the company is moving forward in interesting ways with Funk heading towards a match with Flair which will be a great feud to recap but also Flair as a fully-fledged babyface with all Horsemen no longer in the company, there are exciting new stars like Rick Steiner, Sting and Muta but also a mix of much older talent like Sheik and Bob Orton. This PPV kicks off positively with a Muta squash, Muta is going to be a big deal in 1989 and I am all for that. I am also a fan of brief Butch Reed matches which is what we get in the second match. Sting squashes Sheik, two big title matches that ended in under 7 minutes is not exactly quality viewing but I will be kind and say I wasn’t bored by these matches. Hayes vs Luger drags, the finish is interesting because I have no idea what they want to do with Luger yet its clear there are not many wrestlers more popular than him there while we also have the excellent conclusion to Flair vs Steamboat. Up and down like many PPVs, no surprise there but just how bizarre things get is what catches me about WCW. Luger beating Windham and bouncing back from the loss to Flair seems wasted now, lots of feuds seem to be months long while a big star like Sting still has nothing to sink his teeth into and people are jumping ship left, right and centre. This is mostly a one match show and no surprise it is Flair vs Steamboat, check it out and skip the rest! Thanks for reading and remember: there’s always another night!


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