Rock Star Gary reflects on NWA Clash of the Champions IV: Season’s Beatings

Live from Chattanooga, TN

Airdate: December 7, 1988

Attendance:  unknown

Hosted by Jim Ross & Bob Caudle

This is the first supercard under the Turner umbrella as Ted Turner officially purchased Jim Crockett Promotions on 11/2.

Match 1 (US tag team title tournament final): The Fantastics versus “Hot Stuff” Eddie Gilbert & Ron Simmons


  • Wait a minute! I thought the Midnight Express were the US tag team champions. Upon defeating the Horsemen for the World tag team titles, the Midnight Express relinquished the US tag titles.
  • If you were expecting the Sheepherders, take a look at this.
  • After delivering a pair of dropkicks to Simmons, Fulton tried a cross body block but received a backbreaker instead.
  • Simmons then followed with a military press slam.
  • Jason Hervey from The Wonder Years was shown in the crowd. Where’s Missy? Oh, she was still married to Eddie Gilbert at this point in time.
  • Nonetheless, Rogers tagged in and gave Simmons a dropkick.
  • Gilbert tagged in, gave Rogers a hip toss, but missed an elbow drop.
  • He then tried a slam, but Fulton countered with an inside cradle for 2.
  • Simmons tagged in and applied a hammerlock; however, Fulton used momentum to send him between the ropes to the concrete floor.
  • Upon Simmons’ return to the ring, Fulton hooked an inside cradle on him for 2.
  • Rogers tagged in, but Simmons rolled him up for 2.
  • After a leap frog, Rogers gave Simmons a dropkick.
  • He then mounted the top turnbuckle but missed a flying elbow drop.
  • Simmons then gave Rogers a three-point stance shoulder block sending Rogers airborne toward the ropes.
  • Gilbert tagged in, but Rogers rolled him up for 2.
  • Gilbert came back with a half nelson for 2.
  • Next, Fulton tagged in and gave Gilbert a dropkick.
  • Afterward, Simmons tagged in and rolled up Fulton for 2.
  • He then gave Fulton a cross-corner whip but came up empty on his follow-through.
  • Simmons came back with a back drop but missed an elbow drop.
  • He then delivered a back elbow and tagged in Gilbert who delivered a swinging neckbreaker for 2.
  • Gilbert then gave Rogers a vertical suplex for another 2.
  • Rogers came back with a vertical suplex of his own.
  • As Simmons tagged in, he slammed Fulton but missed another elbow drop.
  • Fulton then gave him a leg drop for 2.
  • Rogers tagged in and gave Simmons a knee lift for another 2.
  • After a back elbow, Rogers used a somersault rollup to get a third 2-count.
  • After a series of avalanches in the corner by Simmons, Gilbert tagged in and gave Rogers an atomic drop.
  • He then gave Rogers a belly-to-back suplex for 2.
  • Simmons tagged in, gave Rogers a cross-corner whip, but came up empty again on his follow-through.
  • Fulton tagged in, mounted the top turnbuckle, and attempted a cross body block.
  • At the twenty-minute mark, Simmons countered with a powerslam.
  • Gilbert tagged in, rolled up Fulton, and got 2; however, Fulton’s kick-out sent Gilbert to the apron.
  • Rogers tagged in, briefly brawled with Gilbert still on the apron, and gave him a forearm smash that caused Gilbert to eat the steel railing. It must have tasted like the Jive turkey burger at Urban Stack.
  • Regardless, Fulton tagged in and gave Gilbert a single-arm DDT.
  • As Rogers came in, he mounted the second turnbuckle and lowered the boom to Gilbert.
  • With five minutes remaining, Fulton gave Gilbert an Anderson slam but missed a diving head butt.
  • Rogers then tried to ram Gilbert shoulder-first into the top turnbuckle, but Gilbert ducked sending Rogers head-first instead.
  • With two minutes remaining, Gilbert gave Fulton a stungun.
  • After several reversals of a cross-corner whip, Gilbert came up empty on his follow-through and struck his shoulder into the ring post.
  • Fulton then rolled him up for the pin.

Rating: ***1/2

Summary:  OK, so did Gilbert make the Fantastics look good or did the Fantastics make Gilbert look good? Either way, it’s a great match that you should seek out.

Starrcade ’88: True Gritt will be live on PPV on Monday, December 26 at 7pm ET. Call your cable operator now!

Tony Schiavone and the “Total Package” Lex Luger are in the booth as Luger bungles his lines.

Prior to the next match, Rotunda calls Rick Steiner “stupid” while Sullivan calls him “dumb.” I bet Bo Schembechler begs to differ with them.

Match 2: “Dr. Death” Steve Williams (w/ Kevin Sullivan) versus the Italian Stallion


  • Wait a minute! Williams joined the Varsity Club? Yep, when he returned from Japan.
  • After giving Williams a hip toss, Stallion delivered a dropkick sending Williams between the ropes to the concrete floor.
  • Upon his return, Williams gave Stallion a cross-corner whip but ate a clothesline.
  • Williams came back by countering a hammerlock into a Samoan drop.
  • After a slam, Williams missed an elbow drop.
  • Stallion then delivered an elbow drop and got 2.
  • Despite being trapped in a key lock, Williams held the top rope to try to pin Stallion. That was until referee Teddy Long caught him.
  • After Stallion gave Williams a cross body block for 2, Williams’ kick-out sent Stallion between the ropes to the concrete floor.
  • Upon making Stallion taste the mat, Williams tossed him out to the concrete floor.
  • While Williams distracted Long, Sullivan nailed Stallion.
  • Williams then joined and rammed Stallion back-first into the apron twice.
  • He then brought Stallion in via delayed vertical suplex, floated over, and got 2.
  • Next, he hooked a sleeper yet converted to a reverse chin lock.
  • When Stallion escaped, he delivered a clothesline but missed an elbow drop.
  • After a shoulder block, Williams delivered an enziguri and rolled up Stallion for 2.
  • He then gave Stallion a knee to the midsection spilling him again to the concrete floor.
  • When Williams distracted Long again, Sullivan hammered Stallion again. He must owe Sullivan money.
  • Nevertheless, Williams then leaped from the apron and gave Stallion a double axe handle.
  • Back in the ring, Stallion gave Williams the ten-punch count-along, but Williams countered with an inverted atomic drop.
  • After an elbow drop, Williams got 2.
  • Upon slamming Stallion, Williams mounted the top turnbuckle but missed a splash.
  • Stallion then delivered a dropkick and followed with a powerslam.
  • He then tried a cross body block, but Williams caught him.
  • Williams then delivered the Oklahoma Stampede and got the pin.

Rating: *1/2

Summary: Showcase match for the freshly heel-turned Williams. He should have dominated Stallion rather than wrestling him for fifteen minutes.

After a commercial break, Magnum T.A. reports that although Nikita Koloff quit the promotion, the Junkyard Dog returns to the NWA!  This time, it’s to help Ivan Koloff destroy the Russian Assassins and Paul Jones. I don’t believe that’s the legitimate reason, but I digress. In fact, should Ivan and JYD win the tag match at Starrcade ’88, the Assassins must unmask and Jones must retire. Good luck fulfilling that stipulation.

Promo for Starrcade ’88: True Gritt on 12/26 only on PPV:

  1. “Nature Boy” Ric Flair defends the World title in a no-DQ match against Luger.
  2. The “American Dream” Dusty Rhodes & Sting square off against the Road Warriors.
  3. Barry Windham defends the US title against Bam Bam Bigelow.

Match 3: The “Russian Bear” Ivan Koloff versus “#1” Paul Jones


  • To make the match “fair,” Ivan will have his left arm tied behind his back.
  • After a single-arm test of strength, Ivan delivered a head butt sending Jones to the mat.
  • He then tried to kick Jones, but Jones caught the leg and hammered it.
  • Upon nailing Ivan with a right hand, Jones delivered an elbow drop.
  • After a knee drop, Jones took the rope used to tie Ivan’s arm and choked him with it.
  • When Ivan sought refuge outside the ring, Jones joined and rammed him shoulder-first into the ring post.
  • Next, he rammed Ivan face-first into the ring post.
  • Back in the ring, Ivan came off the ropes and nailed Jones with his free arm.
  • As Jones sought refuge outside the ring, he removed a foreign object from his tights.
  • After nailing Ivan with it, Jones put the boots to him.
  • Again, Ivan nailed Jones sending him to the concrete floor.
  • And, once again, Jones pulled out the foreign object. However, Ivan blocked it sending the object down to the mat.
  • Ivan then nailed Jones with it and got the pin.

Rating: DUD

Summary:  I think these old geezers could have settled their difference over gin rummy instead of this garbage.

After the match, the Russian Assassins hit the ring to attack Koloff. Shortly after Russian Assassin #1 mounts the second turnbuckle and delivers a knee drop, JYD runs in with his chain to scatter Jones’ men.

Upon completion of a commercial break, Luger and Schiavone preview the next match.

Prior to the next match, Magnum interviews former Varsity Club member Rick Steiner who mentions his “friend”/hand puppet Alex. Steiner’s ready to beat Rotunda for the World TV title at Starrcade.

Match 4: The “American Dream” Dusty Rhodes versus NWA World tag team champion Road Warrior Animal


  • Winner of this match gains control of the World six-man tag titles.
  • Wait a minute! These guys used to be partners. What happened?
  • Wait another minute! The Road Warriors defeated the Midnight Express for the World tag team titles (aired 11/19, taped 10/29)? I’d previously forgotten about that detail.
  • Due to the attack by the Road Warriors, Rhodes only had his left eye available as his right one was taped.
  • As Rhodes hit the ring, he gave Ellering a bionic elbow and received a big roar from the Chattanooga faithful.
  • He then gave Animal a clothesline but missed an elbow drop.
  • After a successful elbow drop, Animal gave Rhodes a cross-corner whip but came up empty on his follow-through.
  • Rhodes then rammed Animal’s left leg against the ring post three times.
  • Back in the ring, as Rhodes applied a figure-four leg lock, he knocked referee Tommy Young down to the concrete floor.
  • With Young OUT COLD, Ellering entered the ring and nailed Rhodes to break the hold.
  • As Animal tried to remove the patch from Rhodes’ eye, he received a shot down near Dalton, GA.
  • When Rhodes tried to give Animal a taste of his own medicine, Hawk ran in, mounted the second turnbuckle, and nailed Rhodes.
  • Before the Road Warriors could complete decimate Rhodes, Sting came to Rhodes’ rescue.
  • Upon returning to the ring, Rhodes brought a plastic chair with him and repeatedly nailed Animal in the leg with it.
  • Young then called for the bell disqualifying Rhodes “due to his use of the chair.”
  • As a result, the Road Warriors maintain their ownership of the World Six-Man tag team titles and would add Genichiro Tenryu to the mix.

Rating: *

Summary:  This is just a preview of what will happen at Starrcade between these four guys. Let’s move along.

After a commercial break, Luger removes his jacket yet somehow keeps his composure. Take it easy, Lex. Starrcade’s not for another nineteen days.

Match 5: The Midnight Express (w/ Jim Cornette) versus NWA World champion “Nature Boy” Ric Flair & NWA US champion Barry Windham (w/ JJ Dillon)


  • The anonymous ring announcer must be one of Flair’s drinking buddies as he touts him much more than everybody else on this show. Kamikazes, anyone?
  • Flair hot-dogged a bit too much for Eaton’s liking, so he slapped the taste out of Flair’s mouth.
  • After giving Flair a cross-corner whip, Eaton delivered a back drop.
  • Another cross-corner whip by Eaton resulted in a Flair flip. Flair then maintained his balance on the apron only to get nailed by Lane.
  • Speaking of Lane, he tagged in and delivered a savate kick to Flair.
  • He then baited Flair with his left leg and delivered an enziguri with his right. Clever!
  • Windham tagged in but ate a dropkick from Lane.
  • He then slammed Lane, mounted the top turnbuckle, but missed the big elbow.
  • After receiving a dropkick followed by another savate kick from Lane, Windham flew backward over the top rope to the concrete floor.
  • While Eaton distracted referee Tommy Young, Lane rammed Windham face-first into the apron.
  • Eaton even got a cheap shot in thrilling the Chattanooga faithful in the process.
  • Lane then brought Windham into the ring the hard way.
  • After a leap frog by Flair, Eaton countered a hip toss with one of his own.
  • Upon hip-tossing Windham, he then slammed both Flair and Windham.
  • Eaton then ducked a double-clothesline and delivered one to Flair and Windham.
  • Upon tagging in, Lane gave Flair a drop toehold and then applied the figure-four leg lock.
  • Eaton then headed Windham off at the pass and applied the figure-four to him.
  • After Flair tossed Lane between the ropes to the concrete floor, Lane hopped over the top rope and delivered a back elbow for 2.
  • A third savate kick by Lane put Flair down on the mat.
  • According to Ross, the Midnight Express will face the original Midnight Express with Paul E. Dangerously at Starrcade.
  • As Flair delivered a back elbow to Lane, Dangerously cut a promo on Cornette’s Midnight Express in split-screen.
  • Meanwhile, Windham delivered a powerslam to Lane for 2.
  • He then attempted a knee drop but missed.
  • Flair tagged in, mounted the top turnbuckle, but got caught and slammed down to the mat.
  • Next, Eaton tagged in and gave Flair the ten-punch count-along.
  • He then gave Flair a cross-corner whip which resulted in Flair Flip #2. Again, Flair maintained his balance on the apron, mounted the top turnbuckle, leaped, but ate a shot to the midsection on the way down.
  • Eaton then delivered a swinging neckbreaker.
  • The Midnight Express then gave Flair a double pancake that got only 2 thanks to Flair’s foot on the bottom rope.
  • Eaton then rolled up Flair for 2, but Windham nailed Eaton from behind.
  • Windham tagged in and gave Eaton an inverted atomic drop.
  • He then nailed Eaton sending him between the ropes to the concrete floor.
  • Afterward, he brought Eaton back into the ring via a delayed vertical suplex.
  • Upon delivering another powerslam, Windham tagged in Flair who gave Eaton a knee drop.
  • Flair then nailed Eaton sending him to the concrete floor again.
  • While Flair occupied Young’s attention, Windham guillotined Eaton using the steel railing.
  • Flair then leaped from the apron and delivered a double axe handle.
  • Windham tagged in and delivered a lariat to Eaton for 1.
  • After a gutwrench suplex, Windham delivered a knee drop to Eaton.
  • He then applied a sleeper, but Eaton hip-tossed out of it.
  • Upon getting bonked on the nose, a Flair flop occurred.
  • Hot tag Lane.
  • After backdropping both Windham and Flair, he gave them a double noggin knocker.
  • Eaton tagged in as the Midnight Express delivered the double goozle to Windham.
  • Flair came in but received a savate kick from Lane sending him over the top rope to the concrete floor.
  • In the meantime, Eaton mounted the top turnbuckle and hit the Alabama Jam on Windham.
  • Having removed his loafer, Dillon got up on the apron, but Lane nailed him.
  • As Dillon and Cornette tangled at ringside, Flair nailed Eaton with the loafer.
  • After Flair placed Windham atop Eaton, Young counted the pin.

Rating: ****

Summary:  Awesome tag match that keeps you on the edge of your seat awaiting what happens next. Seek out this main event STAT.

Don’t forget to order Starrcade for Christmas this year! It may not be a new bicycle, but it’s better than a lump of coal.

After a commercial break, Schiavone interviews Cornette.

Ross and Caudle then revisit the highlights from the US tag title match and the Rhodes/Animal match.

Schiavone and Luger then revisit highlights from the main event. Luger states that he is ready for his no-DQ encounter for the NWA World title at Starrcade.

Conclusion:  With a great opener as well as a great main event, I wholeheartedly recommend this show to all wrestling fans. While the WWF tries to cover up its weakness in wrestling quality with pizzazz, the NWA delivers impactful and enjoyable wrestling action from beginning to end.

See you for AWA SuperClash III!

Rating: 4.50

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