Wrestle War ’89

(All screen captures are the property of World Wrestling Entertainment)

Wrestle War

May 7, 1989

Nashville Municipal Auditorium

Nashville, Tennessee

WCW added another PPV to their line-up to match the WWF’s growing repertoire. They called it WrestleWar, but oddly enough there isn’t a War Games match on this show. However, there will be one at The Great American Bash. I feel like they got that a bit backward. WrestleWar would remain part of the PPV rotation until 1992, and future installments do feature War Games.

The primary storyline for this show is the continued feud between Ric Flair and Ricky Steamboat. There was some controversy over a second ref counting the fall in their first match, so the two men had a rematch at Clash of the Champions. Steamboat won the match, but Flair’s foot was under the rope. A rematch was set for WrestleWar, with the stipulation that it would be Flair’s last title shot against Steamboat. This time, there would be three judges present to declare a winner in the case of a draw or controversy.

The show opens with some generic country music as they show still photos of the participants for the event. There are shots of various WCW wrestlers, such as Sting, Flair, Steamboat, and the Oak Ridge Boys. Wait, hold on a second. The Oak Ridge Boys?? Oh, they’re going to be performing at the show. (They performed the national anthem and also did a small performance of their music, but the second performance was cut from the network version.) Jim Ross and Bob Caudle welcome everyone to the show. They talk about the matches for the night, and Caudle says that championships will change hands. He could have given everyone a spoiler alert!!

Gary Cappetta introduces The Oak Ridge Boys to sing the national anthem. There is a little audio feedback to start, but it is quickly resolved. Their rendition of the song starts pretty well, but it’s taken to another level when the bass singer joins the harmony. It was so beautiful that it almost brought a tear to my eye.

Jim Ross then informs everyone that the hair vs. hair stipulation for the U.S. Tag Title Match has been dropped. NWA officials told Eddie Gilbert and Kevin Sullivan to settle that on their own time. It seems odd to me that they would advertise it in the first place if they were going to drop it. I’m guessing that both men got cold feet about shaving their heads. Jim then runs down the rest of the card, while they show graphics for each match.

The Great Muta (w/ Gary Hart) vs. Doug Gilbert (w/ Eddie Gilbert)

The Great Muta is a legend in Japan and this is his first appearance on WCW PPV. Gary Hart brought him in as his new wrestler and WCW promoted Muta as being the son of The Great Kabuki, whom Hart used to manage. Muta isn’t Kabuki’s son and the storyline would be dropped shortly. WCW would use this same tactic years later when they claimed The Giant was Andre’s son. Poor Doug Gilbert gets the jobber entrance for this match. Doug is the brother of Eddie Gilbert and he’s infamous for once accusing Jerry Lawler of rape on live TV. Thankfully, he doesn’t cut any crazy promos here. The sound of thunder signals the entrance of Muta, who comes to the ring to stereotypical Asian music. Jim Ross says that this match was originally supposed to be JYD vs. Muta, but it was changed due to circumstances beyond their control.

Muta meditates for a moment, so Doug tries to attack. Muta kicks him over and then sprays green mist into the air. Muta then hits a back kick and tosses Gilbert to the floor before ramming him into the post. Doug rolls back into the ring and Muta chops him, but he misses a kick. Gilbert takes advantage by hitting a cross body and a clothesline, so Muta bails outside to regroup. He re-enters the ring and they lock-up, but Muta rakes the eyes a couple of times. He even makes sure to dip his fingers into his mouth to get some of the mist on them and then rubs it in Gilbert’s eyes. That is great attention to detail. Muta hits a snap mare and a snap elbow before whipping Doug to the corner. Then, he hits a handspring elbow and locks in a nerve hold. Gilbert fights back and hits a shoulder block. Muta makes the mistake of ducking for a back drop, so Doug hits a facebuster. However, Muta rakes the eyes again and hits a backbreaker. Eddie Gilbert has had enough of watching his brother in trouble, so he makes his way to ringside. Muta goes for a moonsault and Gilbert moves, but Muta lands on his feet. He then dropkicks Doug out of the ring and hits a slingshot cross body to the outside. He rolls Gilbert back into the ring and hits a backbreaker before hitting a moonsault off the top for the win.

This wasn’t too bad for an opening match. Muta is always a joy to watch and they kept a good pace for the match. I’m pretty sure this was better than the JYD/Muta match that we would have gotten.

Winner: The Great Muta

Muta looks like he’s about to attack Doug again, so Eddie gets into the ring and stares him down. Muta backs off and spits red mist into the air, as he’s announced as the winner. Bob Caudle is mystified (sorry about the pun) by the fact that Muta has multiple types of mists.

Lance Russell is backstage with Ric Flair. He says that Ric will be going for the world title for what many people say is the final time. He then asks how the extra pressure affects Ric. Flair says that he has to style and profile like never before. He goes on record as saying that Steamboat is the greatest wrestler on the face of the Earth, but today he’s gotta beat Ric Flair one more time. He then offers to kiss Steamboat’s boots if he can do it. Then, Ric says that to be the man you’ve gotta beat the man, and he’s the man. He finishes by saying, “Steamboat, you’re mine!”

Butch Reed vs. Ranger Ross

Butch Reed makes his way to the ring to what sounds like disco music. He poses for a moment and kisses his biceps. Ranger Ross comes out next to the Army theme song. He’s led by a color guard escort and is carrying an American flag. Jim Ross (no relation) tells everyone about Ranger Ross’ military background, which includes a commendation from Ronald Reagan. Ross removes his entrance gear and swivels his hips at Reed to taunt him.

The two men lock-up a couple of times and Ross hits a headlock takeover. Reed reverses the attack and sends him to the ropes for a leapfrog spot, but Ross reverses a hip toss attempt into one of his own. He then pulls Reed out of the corner and lets him drop before hitting another headlock takeover. Ross locks in a long headlock, while Jim Ross tells us about Reed’s background as a rodeo steer wrestler. J.R. says that there’s no pun intended. I’m pretty sure that wasn’t a pun to begin with. Reed fights Ross into a corner, but Ross reverses a whip. However, Reed answers back with a clothesline out of the corner. Teddy Long then shows up at ringside and is taking notes. Long was fired as a referee for costing the Road Warriors the tag titles with a fast count. Teddy makes sure to show the camera that he has a visitor pass. Meanwhile, Reed hits a swinging neckbreaker for a 2 count. Ross fights back, but he makes the mistake of ducking for a back drop and Reed kicks him. Butch then slams him and hits a couple of elbow drops for another 2 before going to a headlock. He keeps placing a foot on the ropes for leverage, but it doesn’t look very effective. Reed isn’t very good at these leverage spots. The ref checks Ross’ arm and he starts to fight back until Reed pulls him down by the tights. The ref then catches Butch cheating and makes him break the hold, so he resorts to stomping Ross. Ranger Ross leapfrogs and ducks under Reed’s attack before somewhat botching a hip toss. He then punches and dropkicks Reed out of the ring and leaps over the ropes. He doesn’t do a move. He simply lands and then punches Butch. He throws Reed back inside, but Butch kicks him in the head as he tries to re-enter the ring. Then, Reed suplexes him inside and hits a flying shoulder block off the top for the win.

This was a very basic match. It’s obvious that Ranger Ross is incredibly green. It was sloppy and slow. It feels like this match served as a backdrop for Teddy Long’s current storyline. It’s also foreshadowing for a new tag team that Long will soon debut.

Winner: Butch Reed

Next, Lance Russell is backstage with Lex Luger. Lance calls Michael Hayes unpredictable and asks Luger if he’s prepared for all the things Hayes has done in the past. Huh?? Why would Lex be prepared for the past? He’s not a time traveler. Luger calls this a showcase event and says it’s what makes a competitive athlete tick. He tells Hayes that it’s put up or shut up time and says that Hayes hasn’t shown him he can win on his own. This is Hayes opportunity to show he’s got what it takes. Luger says that the U.S. Title means more to him than anything in the world and it means a lot to the fans. He doesn’t think Hayes has what it takes. He then finishes by saying his blood and adrenaline are pumping and he’s going to walk out the U.S. Champion.

Bull-Rope Match: Dick Murdoch vs. Bob Orton (w/ Gary Hart)

When I first looked at this card, I thought this was a special legends match. Apparently, WCW actually brought both men back for regular work. They both seem out of place even in 1989 WCW. Both men are already in the ring and Murdoch is introduced as “Captain Redneck”. That sounds like an amazing cartoon character. Dick is dressed in his street clothes, but Orton opted to dress in his usual ring gear. The two men are then tied to each end of a bull-rope, with a cowbell in the middle. I hope no one has a fever.

The two of them get into a small tug-of-war until Murdoch pulls Orton into the corner. He tries to hit him with the cowbell, but Bob moves. Murdoch then wraps the rope around his hand and starts punching Orton, but Bob ducks and punches Dick down to the mat. Oh, I just realized that sounded bad. Orton drags him into the corner and tries to ram his arm into the post, but Murdoch pulls him to the floor. He drags Bob into the post and back into the ring before whipping him with the rope. Orton fights back with an elbow and then hits Murdoch in the back with the cowbell. He even starts hitting him in the head and stomps on him, but it only gets a 2 count. Murdoch fights back and removes his boot before hitting Orton in the head with it. He even places the boot on his hand like a glove and punches him. Then, he whips him in and nails him with the heel of the boot, but also only gets a 2 count. Orton takes control and goes to the top, but Murdoch “jerks him off”, as Jim Ross puts it. Murdoch manages to hogtie Orton and drops a couple of elbows before pinning him for a 3 count.

This match had some entertaining moments, but it was an anachronism in 1989. It felt like it belonged in 1985, at most. Thankfully, it was kept short, but there is still some post-match antics to come.

Winner: Dick Murdoch

Gary Hart attacks Murdoch after the bell, but Dick tries to fight back. Orton hits him with the cowbell and beats him down while Hart holds back the ref. Then, Bob wraps the rope around Murdoch’s throat and hangs him over the top rope. Officials come out to save him, but Orton fights them off and continues the hanging. Finally, officials are able to drag Orton away, so he poses to boos from the crowd.

Lance Russell is with Michael Hayes, but Jim Ross accidentally calls him Bob Caudle. This had to be confusing to Bob since he was sitting next to Ross. Lance talks about Hayes claiming he can win on his own, but Hayes laughs. Michael says that Luger has the audacity to say that Hayes ain’t got what it takes. He says it’s too late now because in a matter of moments, Luger will find out what he’s got and what he’s going to take. He claims he’s going to squelch all the “skeptism” and the media that say he can’t do it on his own. There won’t be any Terry Gordy or Buddy Roberts. He then tells Luger that if it weren’t for people like him, there wouldn’t be people like Hayes.

The Dynamic Dudes vs. The Samoan SWAT Team (w/ Paul E. Dangerously)

Paul E. lost his team at the last PPV, but he has a new one. He brought in the Samoans, Fatu and Samu, who are doing a slightly less offensive Samoan Savage gimmick than their later WWF one. Dangerously gets a mic and introduces himself and his team to the crowd. The Samoans are facing the team of the Dynamic Dudes, which consist of ol’ John Laryngitis himself, Johnny Ace, and Shane Douglas. They run down to the ring with skateboards in their hands, but they never ride them. They run so fast that the sound guy almost ends their music too quickly. Before the match starts, Bob Caudle makes the highly racist comment that the Samoans should be in a cage with an animal trainer.

Johnny and Fatu start the match. They lock-up to a stalemate, as a “Paul E. sucks” chant begins. Fatu clubs Ace and whips him to the ropes, but Johnny ducks a clothesline and hits a facebuster. He then slams both Samoans and tags Shane. Fatu goes for a drop down spot, but Shane fakes him out. Fatu doesn’t see this, but Paul E. tries to warn him. Shane hits a dropkick, so Fatu tags Samu. He kicks and chops Shane to the mat, but Douglas ducks a clothesline and hits a victory roll. For some reason, he tags Johnny instead of making a pin. The Dudes then use quick tags to take control of the match until Samu finally tags Fatu. He hits Johnny with a thrust kick and the Samoans start doing their own double teaming. Johnny keeps trying to fight back, but the Samoans use a ref distraction to double team him. Fatu maintains control, while Paul E. is seen having a conversation on his phone. Johnny is in trouble for a while. Even a back drop isn’t enough to regain control. Samu even punches Fatu by mistake, but it’s still not enough for Johnny to get a tag. The Samoans hit a double headbutt and Fatu hits a powerslam, but he only gets a 2 count. Fatu intimidates the ref, which almost allows Johnny to tag, but Samu punches Shane off the apron. The Samoans then use some more ref distractions to their advantage, but they only get another 2 count and Paul E. complains to the ref. Samu keeps Johnny down with a nerve hold and a reversal into a Boston Crab. Dangerously takes the opportunity to grab a mic and tell Johnny that he’s as useless as a woman from Nashville. Apparently, this is enough to fire up Johnny and he finally makes a tag. Shane comes in with a flurry of dropkicks and leapfrogs Samu, but Samu answers back with a clothesline. Fatu then hits a flying splash and makes a cover, but Johnny breaks up the pin at the last second. The ref tries to regain control and Fatu lifts Shane for a powerslam, but Johnny hits a missile dropkick that pushes Shane on top of Fatu for the 3 count.

This was a fairly decent match. It had a good finish, but it dragged at times. I think Johnny took the beating for a little too long before the hot tag. Heyman was his usual entertaining self, so that brought the match up a notch.

Winners: The Dynamic Dudes

Then, Lance Russell interviews the judges for the main event. He introduces Lou Thesz, Pat O’Connor, and Terry Funk. Lance asks Lou how he’s going to judge. Lou answers that he will watch carefully for takedowns and basic wrestling knowledge. He then talks about Flair and Steamboat’s track record in long matches and says they may have to make a decision. Lance then asks Pat how he sees the role of judges. Pat says it’s an important role because they have to call the shots on who is moving better and is more conditioned. Finally, Lance asks Terry Funk how the judges will affect Flair and Steamboat’s strategy. Funk says it will make for an offensive match and the pace will be quicker, but that might lead to mistakes. Lance then thanks the men and tells them he doesn’t envy their job.

NWA U.S. Title Match: Michael Hayes (w/ Hiro Matsuda) vs. Lex Luger (c)

Luger defeated Windham for the title at the last PPV. Their feud didn’t end there. Barry enlisted the help of his brother Kendall, so Luger needed a partner. He chose Michael Hayes—who proceeded to turn on him. Poor Lex, no one wants to be his friend. Hayes joined Windham in Hiro Matsuda’s stable of wrestlers, which is now known as The Yamazaki Corporation. Hayes comes out first and his music is so loud that Cappetta has to yell his introduction over it. Matsuda is with Hayes, which causes Ross to immediately bring up Hayes claiming he could win on his own. Michael gets a little bit of pyro when he poses on the turnbuckles. Luger is out next, but he doesn’t get pyro. Instead, he gets a security escort that jog to the ring with him. He also has a great new theme song. Luger gets a great reaction, so Hayes poses again and the fans boo him.

Luger tries to lock-up, but Hayes backs away so he can strut. They do lock-up and back into a corner, but referee Nick Patrick tries to block Luger from punching him. They wrestle back and forth and Hayes keeps going to a side headlock. Luger shoves him into the ropes and goes for a press slam, but Hayes sloppily reverses it into a Russian leg sweep. Jim Ross then points out that Teddy Long is at ringside again and is taking notes. Luger slaps Hayes around a couple of times and hits a back drop. He flexes in Michael’s face, so Hayes bails outside. He re-enters the ring and rams Luger into the turnbuckles before hitting a clothesline and going for a DDT. Luger blocks his attempt—by throwing himself onto the mat?? That was an odd counter. Hayes is so confused by it that he bails outside again. The two of them wrestle back and forth some more and Luger keeps going back to an armbar. He even does an arm wringer, with a nice loud yell, but Hayes fights him into the corner and hits a cheap shot. Hayes then hits a corner clothesline, but Luger no-sells it and hits 7 punches in the corner. Michael tries to turn it into an inverted atomic drop, but Luger blocks it. He then attempts a running clothesline, but Hayes ducks and Luger falls out of the ring. Hayes sends him into the post and then suplexes him into the ring for a 2 count. Luger tries to fight out of a headlock, but Hayes punches him and hits a bulldog for a couple of 2 counts. He then sends Luger outside and distracts the ref so that Matsuda can attack. Jim Ross rightfully calls him out for not trying to do it on his own. Hayes brings him back in and slams him before going back to another headlock. The ref checks Lex’s arm, but he fights back. Hayes tries to ram him into the turnbuckles, but Luger reverses it. Hayes then attempts a bulldog, but Luger shoves him away. Lex hits 5 punches in the corner followed by a hip toss and a clothesline, but he only gets a 2. Then, he press slams Hayes three times and goes for the Torture Rack, but Hayes counters into a DDT. Both men end up colliding with each other and the ref goes down. Hayes is left dazed on the ropes, so Terry Gordy runs to the ring and pushes Hayes on top of Luger for the 3 count. Luger kept trying to put his foot on the ropes, but Gordy pushed it away.

This was a decent match, but it was slow at times. The ending was kind of weak, but I get the story they were trying to tell.

Winner: Michael Hayes (New champion)

Lance Russell is backstage with TV Champion, Sting. I swear that Lance calls him “honey” within the first few seconds. Sting says that he can’t wait for his match. Every time he sees the lights, camera, and the fans with their faces painted and acting weird, “WOW!” He tells the Iron Sheik that he’s going to love this match as much as Sting does. He then yells and tells Lance, “Later!”

NWA TV Title Match: Sting (c) vs. The Iron Sheik (w/ Rip Morgan)

Sting recently won the TV Title from Mike Rotunda. For some reason, WCW decided to bring in the Iron Sheik to face Sting. He is way past his prime, but I guess they wanted to build Sting by having him beat a former WWF champion. A bunch of kids run out of the entryway, with their faces painted like Sting. Some of them are carrying signs. They lead Sting to the ring and Sting has a great new theme song. At least, I assume it’s new. It might be that WWE finally sprung for the music rights for this show. Sting gets into the ring and I notice that he’s dyed his rat-tail black for this match. Sheik is already in the ring and he yells at Cappetta to announce him as a former world champion.

Morgan attacks Sting while the ref is distracted, so Sheik hits Sting with his flag pole. He then chokes Sting with his sash and starts punching him. However, Sting begins no-selling the punches. He pulls off Sheik’s robe and chokes him with it before giving the crowd a war cry. Jim Ross quips, “What’s good for the Sheik is good for the gander, or something.” Sheik fights Sting into a corner and chops him before hitting a gut-wrench suplex for a 2 count. He then hits a clothesline and tries to choke Sting, but Sting whips him into the corner and hits the Stinger Splash. He then locks in the Scorpion Deathlock and Sheik submits.

This was basically a squash match. They are starting the hard push to make Sting into the next big star and this was simply to make him look strong.

Winner: Sting

Next, Lance interviews World Champion, Ricky Steamboat. Lance asks him for his final thoughts. Ricky says it’s his most important match. Being champion for the last few weeks have shown him that there are other contenders and that’s why it’s Flair’s last chance. He brings up the fact that there are three ex-champions as judges in case of controversy. He then calls Flair the greatest of all champions and says he will tip his hat no matter who wins. He finishes by telling Flair to have no excuses and tells Ric that he will see him in the squared circle.

NWA World Title Match: Ric Flair vs. Ricky Steamboat (c)

Why is this match going on early? This should be the main event! I don’t understand this at all. Ric comes out first and he’s surrounded by women. Jim Ross says there are 40 of them. It was awfully nice of Flair to invite all of his ex-wives. Steamboat comes out next with his wife and little Richie, who is riding a small pony. He lifts Richie off of the horse and it appears that the baby is dressed in Honky Tonk Man cosplay. Cappetta introduces both men and says that the judges will make a decision in the event of a draw.

The two of them wrestle back and forth, with Steamboat hitting a couple of arm drags, but it soon devolves into a slap-fest. That slap-fest soon turns into a chop-fest and the two of them chop each other almost around the entire ring. Flair rolls to the outside to get a breather and Caudle mentions that Steamboat is the only man to ever make Flair submit. The two of them then get locked in a struggle for a standing wristlock, which Steamboat turns into an armbar. Flair keeps trying to fight back and reverse, but Steamboat keeps going back to Ric’s arm. Flair fights him into a corner and hits a cheap shot, but this leads to another chop and punch-fest and Flair ends up flopping to the mat. Steamboat goes back to the arm and Jim Ross brings up the point that Steamboat is setting him up for the double chicken wing. That’s great ring psychology. Flair lifts Steamboat up and places him on the top turnbuckle. The ref calls for a break, but Flair rests his head for a moment in a spot that makes for an unfortunate visual. Steamboat ends up diving over him and hitting a dropkick that sends Flair over the ropes. Ricky tries to come off the top, but Tommy Young stops him. Flair comes back in, but he gets trapped in another armbar. Flair tries to fight back, but Steamboat stays on the arm. Ric manages to fight him into a corner and they chop each other around the ring again. Flair even tries throwing Steamboat out of the ring, but he immediately gets back in and hits 10 punches in the corner. He then whips Flair into the corner for his signature bump and Ric ends up in the Tree of Woe position. Steamboat punches and shoulder blocks him, but Flair sends Steamboat over the top rope. Young and the judges both say that it wasn’t intentional. Ric fights him on the floor and tries to grab a chair, but Young admonishes him. The two men get into another chop-fest that Steamboat wins, so Flair heads back into the ring. They fight back and forth and Steamboat tries to go back to the arm, but Flair sends him outside again. He then slingshots Steamboat back in and hits a knee drop followed by a back suplex for a 2 count. Flair senses that Ricky is tired and attempts some rapid-fire pins for more 2 counts. He then tries a double-arm suplex and an elbow drop. When neither work, Flair argues with Tommy Young. Steamboat attempts a body press, but Flair turns it into a hot-shot and chokes him with his shin. He then pulls Steamboat to the outside and suplexes him on the floor. Steamboat is slow to get up, but Ric breaks the count and pulls him onto the apron. He attempts a suplex, but Ricky falls behind him and rolls him up for 2. Flair then hits a running cross body that sends both men over the rope. Ric rolls him back inside and goes to the top rope, but that goes about as well as you’d expect. Flair begs off and lures him in, but it’s not effective. Steamboat then attempts the double chicken wing, but Flair hooks the ropes. Then, he hits a flying chop and goes for a second. However, Flair bounces into the ropes and sends Steamboat falling to the floor, where he whacks his knee. Flair suplexes him into the ring and locks in the Figure Four for a while, but Steamboat won’t give up. Ricky finally makes the ropes and Flair continues the attack on his leg. They trade chops and clubs to the leg and Steamboat manages to hit an enziguri. He then goes for a slam, but his leg buckles and Flair rolls him up for the win. Steamboat shakes Flair’s hand and raises his arm in victory after the match has ended.

This was another amazing match between these two. I’m not sure they’re capable of having a bad one. I liked the story they told throughout. Sadly, this would be the last match between them for a while.

Winner: Ric Flair (New champion)

Jim Ross enters the ring to interview Flair. He congratulates Ric and gives credit to Steamboat. Flair says that Steamboat is the greatest champion that he’s faced. Terry Funk then interrupts to congratulate him and cuts off Ross before he can continue. Terry tells Flair that he would have voted for him if it had gone to a draw. Ross tries to ask another question, but Funk interrupts again to ask Flair for a title shot. Flair says he’s honored, but Funk has been inactive for a while. Funk asks Flair if he’s saying he’s not a contender. Flair says that Funk has been in Hollywood and he’s not even in the top ten rankings. Funk then laughs and says he was just joking about wanting a title shot. He reaches out to shake Ric’s hand—and then sucker punches him. He stomps and punches Flair to the floor and over the guardrail. Then, he takes Flair over to a table and rams his head into it before climbing on top. Funk then lifts Flair and hits a piledriver onto the table. It doesn’t break and Terry slides off to the floor, which makes him angrier. Funk dumps the table on top of Flair and then hits Ric in the head with a chair. Terry then yells at the fans and even yells at Jim Ross. He tells him to look at the “horse-toothed, banana-nose jerk”. This segment essentially turned Ric Flair babyface for the first time in years. It did a great job of building Flair’s next feud. I look forward to this one.

Joe Pedicino is backstage with Nikita Koloff, who will be the referee for the next match. Nikita has finally grown some hair! Joe says that no matter what sport, the officials seem to be on the hot-seat. He says that Koloff will be the referee in a match between men who intimidate officials. Nikita responds that he’s been in the ring with all of the men and none of them will intimidate him. He’s speaking in the most ridiculous fake Russian accent ever and I love it. He says he will not be intimidated and he will be impartial. He will referee to the best of his ability. Then, he says that he can hear them calling him to the ring.

NWA World Tag Team Title Match: The Road Warriors (w/ Paul Ellering) vs. The Varsity Club (c) (w/ Kevin Sullivan)

As I mentioned earlier, Teddy Long cost the Road Warriors their titles with a fast count. The team of Mike Rotunda & Steve Williams beat them for those titles, so this rematch was set up for this PPV. Nikita Koloff was appointed as ref to avoid another controversial finish. Rotunda & Williams are already in the ring and they’re surrounded by cheerleaders who dance to their theme. The Road Warriors come out next to a knock-off of “Iron Man” by Black Sabbath. They run to the ring and immediately attack the Varsity Club.

All four men get into a brawl. Hawk clotheslines Williams, while Animal hits Rotunda with a big boot. The Varsity Club bail outside for a breather and then Animal and Williams officially start the match. Williams backs Animal into a corner and tries for a punch, but Nikita stops him. Sullivan complains, so Koloff orders him to leave ringside. Animal then hits a shoulder tackle and a clothesline, but Williams gets a foot up on a charge. They fight in the corner and Koloff forces a clean break before threatening to DQ Williams. Rotunda then tags into the match and does a drop down/leapfrog spot before dropkicking Animal. Next, he attempts a cross body, but Animal catches him and hits a powerslam. Animal attempts a cover, but he gets distracted by Williams trying to enter the ring. Hawk and Williams tag into the match and Williams slams Hawk, but he misses an elbow. Hawk hits a fist drop, so Williams rolls outside. However, Hawk follows him and hits a clothesline off the apron. Hawk attempts another clothesline, but Williams ducks and Hawk hits the post hard. Rotunda comes out to the floor and rams Hawk into the post. He also twists Hawk’s arm around the guardrail. They fight back into the ring and both men go down to a double clothesline. Hawk manages to tag Animal, who hits an atomic drop and a dropkick. Rotunda tags into the match and Animal hits him with a shoulder block. Then, all four men get into the ring and Rotunda flies out of the ring on a missed clothesline. The Road Warriors then hit the Doomsday Device, but Kevin Sullivan reappears with new Varsity Club member, Dan Spivey. They attack Nikita and pull him out of the ring. All four men keep fighting until Koloff calls for the bell and disqualifies the Varsity Club.

I’m not sure why this match is higher on the card than Flair/Steamboat, especially when it was a short nothing match. The storyline stuff was perfectly fine, but the match itself wasn’t much of anything.

Winners: The Road Warriors (by DQ)

NWA U.S. Tag Team Title Match: Eddie Gilbert & Rick Steiner (c) (w/ Missy Hyatt) vs. The Varsity Club

Now that the Varsity Club has four members, they have gone after both sets of tag titles. Sullivan & Williams lost their U.S. Tag Team Titles to the team of Rick Steiner & Eddie Gilbert, but this time it’s Sullivan & Spivey who will try to regain them. Rick Steiner hasn’t started teaming with his brother Scott yet, but he did reunite with his mentor Eddie Gilbert to form The First Family with Gilbert’s girlfriend, Missy Hyatt. The two teams get into a shoving match during the introductions and all four men fight to the outside.

Spivey grabs Rick Steiner and rams him shoulder-first into the post a few times. He then hits a shoulderbreaker and leaves Rick laying. Meanwhile, Sullivan and Gilbert fight in the ring. Apparently, Rick Steiner is injured, hence the reason for this angle. Sullivan gets a foot up on a corner charge and tags Spivey, so Eddie rolls outside to check on Rick. Gilbert gets back into the ring and ducks and moves to get away from Spivey. It doesn’t work, as the much bigger Spivey punches him. Sullivan uses the opening to cheap shot Rick Steiner on the floor, so Eddie goes to check on him again. Spivey follows, but Gilbert fights him. Sadly, this opens the door for Sullivan to attack Steiner again. They fight back into the ring and Sullivan tags into the match. He beats on Eddie and even mocks him by dragging him to his empty corner. He holds Gilbert’s hand up for a tag, but Steiner is still on the floor. The Varsity Club then make frequent tags to keep up the attack on Gilbert and they toss him around the ring. Spivey hits a front dropkick and puts Eddie into an over-the-shoulder backbreaker, but Gilbert drops behind him. He can’t fight back, as the Varsity Club continue beating on him. Spivey then hits a side slam, but Steiner finally reaches the apron. Dan chokes Eddie on the ropes and taunts Steiner. He then hits Gilbert with a sidewalk slam and tags Sullivan, who slaps Gilbert around. Gilbert finally manages to duck under him and make a tag, but the ref didn’t see it. The ref becomes distracted by trying to get Spivey out of the ring, so Steiner rushes into the ring and hits a Steinerline. Gilbert then pins Sullivan for a 3 count.

This was another disappointing match after that great World Title match earlier. I get that Steiner was injured, so the match wasn’t going to be great, but it shouldn’t have gone on last. They did manage to tell a good story, but it wasn’t enough to make this great.

Winners: Rick Steiner & Eddie Gilbert

The Varsity Club immediately attack after the bell. They threaten Missy, so Eddie grabs a chair and chases them away.

Jim Ross then recaps the show, as officials check on Rick Steiner. Ross says that he’s been informed that Rotunda & Williams have been stripped of their tag team titles for their actions. He also talks about the situation between Funk and Flair, but he doesn’t have an update on Ric’s condition. They show a replay of Funk hitting the piledriver on the table and Ross talks about how Funk is crazy. Jim then thanks everyone for watching and says goodnight, as the show ends on a slide show of still photos.

Final thoughts:

This was a one-match show. Flair/Steamboat is the only reason to watch it. Everything else was either disappointing or decent, at best. Thankfully, the next WCW PPV is considered one of the best. Go watch Flair/Steamboat, but skip everything else on this show.

Thank you for reading. Be sure to check out the Facebook page for this blog by clicking here. You can like and follow. I would love to hear your feedback on the Facebook page. You can also send feedback to me on Twitter @PaulDMatthews78.

My next review will be another WCW show. I will be covering The Great American Bash ‘89.

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