Back again with some quick thoughts on recent shows I’ve watched. This time two old Clash specials are in the spotlight.
Clash of the Champions #4 – 12/7/88
1) Eddie Gilbert & Ron Simmons vs. The Fantastics – 6
2) Steve “Dr. Death” Williams vs. The Italian Stallion – 4
3) Paul Jones vs. Ivan Koloff – 2
4) Dusty Rhodes vs. Road Warrior Animal – 3
5) Ric Flair & Barry Windham vs. The Midnight Express – 7
Opening tag bout was a real pleasant surprise. Simmons, in his first match on a major national broadcast, looked good but still a bit green. It was quite obvious that he was teamed with Eddie just so he could learn. Of all the Eddie Gilbert stuff I’ve seen over the years, this probably has to be one of his finer efforts. The story was that he went into the match with a bad arm and injured it severely during the course of the bout after taking a shot to the guardrail. Fantastics were, for lack of a better term, fantastic in their working over of Gilbert’s arm. Gilbert was equally as good at the selling aspect, probably some of the best I’ve seen in a while. Doc’s match against the Stallion was decent, although it felt more like a showcase of Doc’s talents than anything. I’ve never seen Stallion win a match, ever. It went a bit too long for my tastes, could’ve easily hacked off about five minutes and still got the message through that Doc was one bad-ass SOB. When was the last time a match that featured a wrestler fighting a manager with one arm tied behind his back was good? As my fiancee put it, Jones looks like a “Dan Severn rip-off” and, to be honest, I have to agree, at least facially. Koloff was near the end of his career here but still threw a mean punch. Jones did the typical heel manager stuff, working over the arm that was tied behind Koloff’s back and just running scared. Post-match featured an run-in from the Russian Assassins and then JYD coming in to help Koloff. Rhodes and Animal was short, maybe three minutes but I’m terrible a gauging time. Apparently the winner of the match would gain control of the Six-Man Tag Titles. This was shortly after Dusty got a spike rammed in his eye on a national TV episode and he had said eye bandaged with a patch over it. Wildness quickly ensued after a ref bump with Hawk running in and then Sting making the save for Dusty. Thing I enjoyed the most out of the match was Dusty breaking the chair over Animal’s leg. Main event was the epitome of 80’s NWA tag team wrestling. Hot crowd, back and forth action, etc. Just everything that you would expect from this style of match. Both teams were absolutely on top of their game and it showed. Eaton had more energy than I’ve ever seen and I clearly remember him decking Flair with a hard punch that would probably KO King Hippo from Punch Out. I also liked the fact that we had Cornette in one corner and J.J. Dillon in the other. Unfortunately, they didn’t get into any skirmishes at ringside. Supposedly for the finish Flair hit Eaton with a shoe but I never saw this mysterious object that Flair was to have had. Overall, a good show with two recommendable matches. Skip the Paul Jones and Dr. Death matches.
Clash of the Champions #5 – 2/15/89
1) The Midnight Express vs. The Russian Assassins – 5
2) Butch Reed vs. Steve Casey – 3
3) Lex Luger vs. The Blackmailer – 3
4) The Fantastics vs. Steve “Dr. Death” Williams & Mike Rotunda – 4
5) Ricky Steamboat vs. Bob Bradley – 5
6) Rick Steiner vs. Rip Morgan – 3
7) The Road Warriors & Genichiro Tenryu vs. Kevin Sullivan, Mike Rotunda, & Dr. Death – 2
This was the go-home Clash episode for the Chi-Town Rumble pay-per-view. Opener seemed like a disjointed mess on occasion. A lot of it seemed to center around Jim Cornette and Paul Jones going after each other. How is J.R. able to tell the Russians apart? This was your usual Midnight Express match, which really isn’t a bad thing. Not sure who this Steve Casey fellow is but I give him props for hanging with Butch Reed for nearly 20 minutes. Crowd was bored after about 10 minutes and I think it could have easily ended there. Promo time with Flair and Steamboat was really good. Flair came out with no less than five women and called out Steamboat. Good stuff here with it breaking down into a huge fight where Flair’s clothes got stripped off of him and he bailed. Blackmailer is one of the most generic job guys ever. All black, with maybe some silver on the outfit here and there, and a black mask. Probably would have fit in well with the mysterious knights from Survivor Series ’93. Luger destroys the poor sap and polished him off with a vertical suplex while J.R. goes apeshit selling the fact that Luger used Barry Windham’s move to win a match. The second of the three tag matches was for the U.S. Tag Team Titles and really didn’t have a big title match feel. Ring announcer botched the names of the Fantastics calling them “Tommy Fulton” and “Bobby Rogers”. Fantastics looked good like they normally do but Doc and Mike were saving themselves, probably because they were going to wrestle in the main as well. Does anyone know if there is a best of Bob Bradley floating around anywhere? If so, I’d like to see it because this guy’s selling was amazing. So good, in fact, that it knocked the match up a point. Steamboat carried the match on offense and obviously went over to give him momentum into the PPV. Steiner and Morgan should’ve been on Main Event or one of the B-level shows because it was nowhere near a Clash caliber match. Main event was supposed to be Road Warriors and Tenryu against Sting, JYD, and Michael Hayes but that evil taskmaster Kevin Sullivan locked them in a stairway and along with Doc and Mike took their spot in the match. Match quickly became a big mess, much like the hotel room Hawk trashed later that night in a drug-induced rage. Once Sting and his buddies were unlocked from the stairway, they hauled ass to the ring and cleaned house. Not a great Clash by any means but it set up the PPV well.