Rock Star Gary reflects on NWA Clash of the Champions III: Fall Brawl

Live from Albany, GA

Airdate: September 7, 1988

Attendance:  3,700

Hosted by Tony Schiavone, “Nature Boy” Ric Flair, Jim Ross, & Bob Caudle

Prior to the first match, Tony acknowledges that the “Total Package” Lex Luger is Flair’s toughest test to date. Methinks Rhodes did NOT write that line for him.

Match 1 for the NWA World TV title: Mike Rotunda (champion w/ Kevin Sullivan) versus Brad Armstrong


  • Armstrong reversed a cross-corner whip, but Rotunda leaped to the second turnbuckle and hit a cross body block.
  • To counter, Armstrong used momentum to land on top and got 2.
  • After giving Rotunda a hip toss, Armstrong followed with a dropkick for another 2 causing Rotunda to seek refuge outside the ring.
  • Shortly after, Armstrong hit a cross body block for yet another 2.
  • Upon giving Armstrong a knee to the midsection, Rotunda guillotined him using the top rope.
  • He then tossed Armstrong outside the ring. While he distracted referee Tommy Young, Sullivan made Armstrong taste the steel railing. It must have tasted like the Hogzilla at Billy Boy’s.
  • As Rotunda continued to distract Young, Sullivan made Armstrong eat a knuckle sandwich.
  • Rotunda then joined Armstrong on the concrete floor and rammed him face-first into the apron.
  • He then brought Armstrong back into the ring via vertical suplex for 2.
  • Next, he hooked a rope-assisted reverse chin lock until Young caught him.
  • To counter a shoulder block, Rotunda hit a clothesline and followed with an elbow drop for 2.
  • He then gave Armstrong a backbreaker for another 2.
  • Once again, Rotunda tossed Armstrong down to the concrete floor where Sullivan put the boots to him.
  • When Armstrong re-entered the ring via sunset flip, Sullivan tried to maintain Rotunda’s balance. Young kicked his arm causing Rotunda to fall back, so Armstrong got 2.
  • After a back elbow, Rotunda delivered a leg drop for 2.
  • In support of Armstrong, Williams came to ringside and brought the Albany faithful to a frenzy.
  • Armstrong then hooked an inside cradle but only got 2.
  • Three minutes remained in the match.
  • As Rotunda gave Armstrong an airplane spin, both wrestlers became dizzy. Nonetheless, he got 2.
  • After a gutwrench suplex, Rotunda got another 2.
  • Rotunda then hooked an inside cradle for yet another 2.
  • With 1 minute remaining, Rotunda nailed Armstrong for almost 3.
  • He then tried a bottom-rope-assisted pin but only got 2.
  • Upon delivering a clothesline, Rotunda couldn’t pin him.
  • After several 2-counts, the time limit expired.
  • Rotunda retained.

Rating: ***1/2

Summary:  Exciting match with a hot crowd and a great start to the show. Truly, the time-limit draw has its purpose on a wrestling card as its function is to take a hopeful contender and shine him up.

After the match, Williams assisted the exhausted Armstrong backstage.

According to Ross, Jimmy Garvin “broke” his leg thanks to Sullivan and Rotunda (aired 9/3, taped 8/31). Regrettably, this was also Precious’ last wrestling appearance until 1992.

Match 2: “Dr. Death” Steve Williams & the “Russian Nightmare” Nikita Koloff versus the Sheepherders (w/ Rip Morgan)


  • As the match began, the Albany faithful chanted “USA.”
  • After Williams took down Luke with a shoulder block, Butch came in and suffered the same fate.
  • Shortly after, Nikita reversed a cross-corner whip, applied the brakes before coming up empty, and then nailed Butch.
  • Upon slamming each Sheepherder, Nikita gave them a double noggin knocker.
  • Williams tagged in, mounted the second rope, and lowered the boom onto Luke.
  • Afterward, Williams hit Luke with a clothesline sending him between the ropes down to the concrete floor.
  • He then brought him back in with a vertical suplex, mounted the top turnbuckle, and hit a flying body press for only 2 thanks to a save by Butch.
  • After Nikita reversed an Irish whip from Luke, he delivered a dropkick. OK, in what universe does Williams takes high risks and Nikita hits dropkicks? I’m confused.
  • Regardless, Williams tagged in and rammed Luke’s shoulder into the top turnbuckle.
  • He then charged but came up empty.
  • Butch tagged in, delivered a flying back elbow to Williams, and got 2.
  • Luke tagged in, hit a knee drop, and got another 2.
  • Butch tagged back in and gave Williams a knee to the midsection for yet another 2.
  • As Luke held Williams, Butch tried to kick him but nailed Luke instead.
  • Nikita tagged in, gave Butch a cross-corner whip, and delivered a back elbow.
  • Next, he gave Butch the ten-punch count-along.
  • To stop the babyface momentum, Morgan tripped Nikita coming off the ropes behind referee Tommy Young’s back.
  • As Luke booted Nikita in the ribs sending him to the concrete floor, Butch made Nikita taste the steel railing. It must have tasted like Papa Mike’s Baked Macaroni at Villa Garganos.
  • While Luke distracted both Young and Williams, Butch rammed Nikita shoulder-first into the ring post.
  • Back in the ring, Luke slammed Nikita, mounted the second turnbuckle, and hit a diving head butt for 2.
  • As the Albany faithful chanted “Ni-ki-ta,” Luke gave him a knee drop for another 2.
  • While Williams distracted Young, the Sheepherders delivered a double clothesline to Nikita.
  • Luke then applied a sleeper, but Nikita escaped.
  • After ducking a clothesline, Nikita came back by nailing Luke sending him over the top rope to the floor.
  • As Morgan distracted Williams, Nikita made it to his corner but couldn’t tag out. SNEAKY!
  • After a slam, Luke mounted the top turnbuckle but missed a diving head butt.
  • Hot tag Williams.
  • Upon giving the Sheepherders a double noggin knocker, Williams rammed Luke into an incoming Morgan.
  • Afterward, he tried to give Luke a military press slam, but Butch chop-blocked him. <whistle> Penalty. 15 yards. Still third down.
  • Nikita tagged in, gave Butch the Russian sickle, and got the pin. That was sudden.

Rating: ***1/2

Summary: Hot tag team match that kept the Albany faithful on the edge of its seat. I would also recommend this match to those who only recall the Sheepherders as the Bushwhackers.

Match 3: The “American Dream” Dusty Rhodes versus Kevin Sullivan (w/ Gary Hart)


  • Before Sullivan became the Taskmaster, he was the Gamesmaster.
  • At the onset, Sullivan gave Rhodes a cross-corner whip followed by a clothesline; however, Rhodes no-sold it and delivered the bionic elbow.
  • After tossing Sullivan outside the ring, Rhodes followed and rammed him face-first into the broadcast table several times.
  • Hart tried to stop Rhodes but got nailed as well.
  • Rhodes then rammed Sullivan into Hart.
  • Back in the ring, Rhodes reversed a cross-corner whip and hit Sullivan with a back elbow.
  • After Rhodes delivered a series of bionic elbows, Sullivan retaliated with a shot to the throat as referee Tommy Young tried to separate them in the corner.
  • As the brawl continued to the concrete floor, Sullivan made Rhodes taste the steel railing. It must have tasted like the Southpaw from Austin’s Firegrill and Oyster Bar.
  • While Sullivan distracted Young, Hart nailed Rhodes with his loafer.
  • He then distracted Young so that Sullivan could choke Rhodes with a spike.
  • Upon nailing Rhodes in the chest with it, Sullivan got 1.
  • Again, Hart distracted Young, but Rhodes took advantage and nailed Sullivan down near Valdosta.
  • After the flip, flop, and fly, Rhodes delivered another bionic elbow.
  • He then procured the spike from Sullivan, nailed him in the head, but Hart broke up the pin.
  • As Rhodes sauntered after Hart, Al Perez came to the ring and nailed Rhodes in the back with a dog collar chain.
  • In the most idiotic piece of booking, Perez and Sullivan tried to clothesline Rhodes with the chain. But Rhodes dove upon the chain ramming them together. He then hooked HART in an inside cradle, and Young counted the pin.
  • Oh, brother.








Rating: *1/2

Summary:  Whatever drugs Rhodes was on during this period, could someone please pass some in my direction? It had to be more than just the Miller Lite talking at this point.

Former San Francisco 49er offensive lineman John Ayers joins Tony and Flair and discusses being part of a big game. According to Tony, Ayers will be a special guest referee in an upcoming Flair-Luger title match. In the meantime, Flair takes exception and vehemently informs Ayers of his credentials.

Match 4 (Russian chain): The “Russian Bear” Ivan Koloff (w/ Paul Jones & the Russian Assassin) versus Ricky Morton


  • Morton came to the ring wearing the exact same David Lee Roth concert t-shirt as Armstrong did earlier.
  • After giving Morton a shot to the throat with the chain, Ivan tried again but got crotched. OUCH!
  • Shortly after, Ivan tried to win the match, but only touched two corners.
  • Next, he tossed Morton down to the concrete floor then pulled the chain ramming Morton midsection-first into the apron.
  • On the other hand, Morton won a tug-o-war with the chain clotheslining Ivan with the top rope.
  • Ivan came back and touched another pair of corners before Morton stopped him.
  • He then mounted the second turnbuckle and nailed Morton with a double axe handle plus the chain.
  • Following that, he mounted the top turnbuckle, but Morton pulled him down to the mat.
  • Ivan then hanged Morton using the chain and touched three corners before Morton tripped him.
  • Again Ivan mounted the top turnbuckle, but as he leaped, Morton nailed him.
  • He then touched three corners before Jones aided Ivan with his riding crop.
  • As Ivan lost his grip on the riding crop, Morton touched the fourth corner to win the match.

Rating: *

Summary:  Please tell me this had a point to it because it stunk up The Albany Civic Center.

After the match, the Russian Assassin tosses Morton like a rag doll over the top rope to the concrete floor. Meanwhile, Ivan and Jones argue in the ring until Ivan nails Jones. A-HA! In retaliation, the Russian Assassin nails Ivan from behind. Suddenly, another Russian Assassin (Jack Victory, who is neither Russian nor an assassin) joins the fray as they, along with Jones, put the boots to Ivan.

Next, they clothesline Ivan with the chain. While one holds Ivan against the second rope, the other delivers a running guillotine. That’s Ivan’s move! How insulting! They then knock Ivan into the middle of 1990 with a shot from the chain. As the crowd chants “Ni-ki-ta,” Ivan is BUSTED OPEN! Before a commercial break interrupts the chaos, they hang Ivan using the chain.

At ringside, Ross interviews the impartial Ayers.

Match 5 for the NWA US title: Barry Windham (champion w/ JJ Dillon) versus Sting


  • Speaking of Ayers, he joined the broadcast table for this match.
  • After a shoulder block, Sting delivered a pair of dropkicks sending Windham between the ropes to the concrete floor.
  • Back in the ring, Windham countered a side headlock with a belly-to-back suplex, but Sting no-sold it.
  • Another pair of dropkicks by Sting returned Windham to the concrete floor.
  • Upon his return, Windham tried to give Sting the ten-punch count-along, but Sting countered with an inverted atomic drop.
  • After delivering a back drop, Sting gave Windham the ten-punch count-along that resulted in a Windham flop.
  • He then gave Windham a pair of face plants.
  • Upon slamming Windham, Sting missed an elbow drop.
  • Windham then tossed Sting outside the ring, joined him, and nailed him.
  • Next, he leaped from the apron and hit Sting with a forearm.
  • Following that, he slammed Sting on the concrete floor. How dastardly!
  • With Sting on the apron, Windham brought him using a vertical suplex then trash-talked Ayers. He must be a Cowboys fan.
  • Anyway, Sting came back with a sunset flip but only got 1.
  • Windham then delivered a powerslam followed by a knee drop for 2.
  • When Windham tried another slam, Sting hooked an inside cradle for 2.
  • He then gave Sting a cross-corner whip but came up empty on his follow-through.
  • Since Windham was hung out to dry on the top rope, Sting pushed him over.
  • He then followed and rammed Windham face-first into the ring post.
  • Next, he rammed Windham into an adjacent ring post.
  • As you would expect, Windham was BUSTED OPEN!
  • But Sting wasn’t finished as he rammed Windham face-first into Ross’ monitor.
  • Back in the ring, Sting needed a nutritional supplement so he bit Windham’s head. Tastes like chicken.
  • After a dropkick, Sting hooked a sleeper, but Windham used a knee crusher to counter.
  • He then hooked a rope- and Dillon-assisted figure-four leg lock, but Young caught Dillon.
  • Afterward, he delivered another belly-to-back suplex.
  • Conversely, Sting came back with a vertical suplex.
  • Windham recovered quickly and applied the claw to the pectoral muscle.
  • To counter, Sting used momentum to send Windham between the ropes to the concrete floor.
  • He then brought Windham in the hard way and gave him a back drop.
  • After a pair of elbow drops, Sting delivered a hip toss.
  • Windham then attempted a lariat, but Sting ducked. In the process, Windham nailed Young sending him down to the concrete floor and knocking him OUT COLD.
  • Sting then gave Windham a cross-corner whip and hit the Stinger Splash.
  • While he applied the Scorpion death lock, Dillon came into the ring with a chair.
  • When Sting nailed him, Dillon’s Tic-Tac flew into the crowd! Anybody need a mint?
  • Nevertheless, Windham then grabbed the chair and WALLOPED Sting with it.
  • As Young returned to consciousness and attempted to count the nefarious pin, Ayers climbed into the ring to inform Young of the previous shenanigans.
  • Immediately, Young awarded the match by DQ to Sting. BOOOOOOOOOOOOO!

Rating: **1/2

Summary:  While entertaining, this match lacked the exclamation point to achieve a higher rating. In other words, that finish stunk to high heaven. I understand the mountain to climb that is Sting’s ascension to greatness, but a cheap DQ doesn’t help him.

After the match, Dillon gets in Ayers’ face as a Sting dropkick prevents any further Windham shenanigans. Ayers then lifts Dillon to put him in his place. Unfortunately in 1995, Ayers died from liver cancer.

After a commercial break, Flair runs down Ayers and Luger as only he can.

Conclusion:  Unless you’re a fan of the 49ers, this show holds ZERO historical value. In addition, while I like the idea of putting Windham, as US champion, in the main event, that decision makes no sense. On another note, the opening two matches were really good so check them out.

See you for WWF Saturday Night’s Main Event XVII!

Rating: 5.40

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