Rock Star Gary reflects on NWA Clash Of the Champions V: St. Valentine’s Massacre

Live from Cleveland, OH

Airdate: February 15, 1989

Attendance:  5,000

Hosted by Jim Ross & Magnum T.A.

Are you ready to hype Chi-Town Rumble? Well, Ross and Magnum are as they detail what tonight’s show contains and add the spice of NWA World Champion “Nature Boy” Ric Flair and #1 contender Ricky “The Dragon” Steamboat being here. This episode has to be awesome, right?

By the way, Clash V is sponsored by Coors Light. Why, you ask? Because in order to survive in Cleveland, one must drink plenty of Rocky Mountain beer.  Uh huh.

Match 1: The Midnight Express (w/ Jim Cornette) versus the Russian Assassins (w/ Paul Jones)

Highlights:

  • As the Cleveland faithful chanted “U-S-A,” Lane delivered a series of kicks to #1.
  • Eaton tagged in but received a slam from #1.
  • #2 tagged in but missed an elbow drop.
  • As Lane tagged in, he clotheslined #2 down to the mat.
  • #2 then fell victim to the Midnight Express’ patented drop toehold-elbow drop combo. At least he didn’t lose a fly ball in the lights.
  • While Paul E. Dangerously offered some unique commentary, Jones wanted a piece of Cornette, but Lane defended his manager by annihilating Jones for him. Annihilating Jones from the promotion sounds even better to me.
  • After the Midnight Express gave #2 a double back elbow, they rammed #1 into him.
  • When #1 got thrown out by Lane, Cornette WALLOPED him in the back with the racquet.
  • While Dangerously swore to rid the wrestling universe of Cornette at Chi-Town Rumble, the Russian Assassins made an illegal switch. Good luck with that, Uncle Paulie!
  • Russian Assassin #2 then gave Lane an elbow smash that sent him to the floor to regroup.
  • Afterward, #1 applied a bear hug to Lane until Lane rang his bell to escape.
  • #2 tagged in and gave Lane a snap suplex for 2.
  • He then applied his own bear hug; however, when Lane pushed his arms inside, he was able to throw #2 off.
  • While Eaton distracted referee Tommy Young, the Russian Assassins gave Lane the business.
  • #1 tagged in and got 2 on Lane.
  • He then applied yet another bear hug as the Cleveland faithful became xenophobic, er, I mean patriotic again.
  • Lane made a comeback with a cross-corner whip but came up empty on his follow-through.
  • After #1 slammed Lane, #2 delivered a forearm smash for 2.
  • Lane attempted a cross body block but only got 1.
  • #1 tagged in and gave Lane an elbow drop for 2.
  • Upon slamming Lane again, #1 applied a rope-assisted single leg crab until Eaton made the save.
  • The Russian Assassins then attempted the Russian missile but came up empty.
  • Hot tag Eaton.
  • After giving the Russian Assassins a double noggin knocker, Eaton delivered a double bulldog.
  • All four men were in the ring.
  • While Lane occupied Young’s attention, #1 tossed Eaton over the top rope to the floor.
  • Supposedly, the Midnight Express finished off the Russian Assassins with the Rocket Launcher, but the ending was cut off by a promo for Chi-Town Rumble and a commercial break. Thanks, WWE Network!

Rating: *1/2

Summary:  Showcase match for Cornette’s Midnight Express.

After a commercial break, Bob Caudle interviews Steamboat with his 19-month-old son Richie. We then revisit World Championship Wrestling from 2/4 when Steamboat gave Flair a gorilla press slam and ripped his $100 shirt off.

Match 2: “Hacksaw” Butch Reed versus Steve Casey

Highlights:

  • Steve who?
  • After a leap frog, Casey delivered a dropkick.
  • As he gave Reed a leg drop to the arm, a couple shared a kiss to honor St. Valentine’s Day. Aw.
  • Casey then reversed a cross-corner whip and delivered an arm drag.
  • According to Ross, Casey’s record was unblemished at this point in his NWA career. Yeah, his brief TV record. Not surprisingly, he lost a few matches along the house show circuit.
  • Casey then gave Reed the ten-knee-to-the-arm count-along, but I couldn’t hear anyone counting.
  • Reed then sought refuge outside the ring to regroup and incite some hostility from the Cleveland faithful. He should have just said that the Steelers were better than the Browns, and a riot would have broken out.
  • Back in the ring, Reed won a test of strength as the pace of this match remained drastically low.
  • He then tossed Casey down to the floor. It should be noted that this was the first NWA supershow to have mats around the ring.
  • Next, as Casey got up on the apron, Reed guillotined him using the top rope.
  • When Reed came off the ropes, he nailed Casey with a forearm smash.
  • As Casey charged, Reed used momentum to toss Casey back down to the floor.
  • Reed then brought Casey back into the ring via a vertical suplex for 2.
  • Casey then attempted a dropkick but missed.
  • Desperately trying to generate heat, Reed applied a rope-assisted rear chin lock.
  • Does anyone else want popcorn?
  • After an eternity, Casey used momentum to break the hold and send Reed face-first into the top turnbuckle.
  • He then gave Reed the ten-punch count-along, and the Cleveland faithful actually obliged.
  • After a hip toss, Casey delivered a monkey flip followed by a pair of dropkicks.
  • He then attempted a cross body block, but Reed caught and military-press-slammed him.
  • Reed then mounted the top turnbuckle and hit a flying shoulder block.
  • 1-2-3.

Rating: *

Summary: Way too long for what became a showcase match for Reed. According to Ross, he’ll face Sting at Chi-Town Rumble. He’d better up his game for that match.

After a commercial break, Flair comes to the ring with Hiro Matsuda and an entourage.

No, not that one.  This one has long legs and wears evening gowns. Wait a minute! What happened to JJ Dillon? Oops. He took his credentials to the WWF to work behind the scenes. Regardless, Flair, wearing a mink coat, flaunts his lavish lifestyle and calls out Steamboat.

When Steamboat enters the ring, Flair taunts his family-man lifestyle while gloating. In rebuttal, Steamboat calls out Flair for being materialistic. When Flair tells him to “help the Mrs. with the dishes,” Steamboat nails him. As they fight, Steamboat tears Flair’s “$1500” suit jacket right off him then hits Matsuda. Next, he rips both the shirt and pants off Flair. Following that, he gives Flair a gorilla press slam followed by a back drop. To highlight the segment, he mounts the top turnbuckle, hits the flying body press, and the Cleveland faithful want to award him the title right then and there.

Taking exception, Matsuda joins Flair to double-team Steamboat. When Steamboat makes a comeback, he gives Flair a cross-corner whip that results in a Flair flip to the floor. He then follows Flair as they brawl into the crowd. After Flair heads for higher ground, Steamboat returns to the ring and puts on Flair’s clothes and sunglasses. He then tosses the tattered clothes into the crowd. Wow! What a hot segment!

Match 3: The “Total Package” Lex Luger versus the Blackmailer (w/ Hiro Matsuda)

Highlights:

  • For those unaware, the Blackmailer was portrayed by Jack Victory after a shower and costume change. Makeup!
  • After Blackmailer failed to win a top wristlock battle, Ross noted how much the Blackmailer would enjoy a “victory” here. HA!
  • Luger then gave Blackmailer a shoulder block that sent him down to the floor.
  • As Luger hooked a side head lock, the Blackmailer countered with a belly-to-back suplex. As you would expect, Luger no-sold it.
  • He then reversed a cross-corner whip and delivered a back drop.
  • Next, he reversed an Irish whip and gave the Blackmailer a powerslam.
  • After a gorilla press slam, Luger attempted a clothesline, but the Blackmailer ducked sending Luger over the top rope to the floor.
  • Luger then used a sunset flip to re-enter the ring and got 2.
  • While Matsuda distracted referee Tommy Young, the Blackmailer choked Luger and attempted a pin. Luger then kicked out at 2 with AUTHORITY!
  • In case you forgot, Luger was WRESTLING here according to Ross. I guess the competition is just a circus by comparison.
  • Upon receiving a knee to the midsection, Luger blocked a vertical suplex and delivered one of his own.
  • It’s Lex-up time!
  • After a back elbow, Luger delivered a clothesline.
  • He then placed the Blackmailer on the top turnbuckle and gave him a superplex.
  • 1-2-3.

Rating: **

Summary:  Showcase match for Luger who used Barry Windham’s move in anticipation of their US title match on Monday night.

After a commercial break, Bob Caudle interviews World TV champion Rick Steiner with some assistance from Michael P.S. Hayes and Alex.

Match 4 for the US tag team titles: The Varsity Club (champions w/ Kevin Sullivan) versus the Fantastics

Highlights:

  • Yes, ladies and gentlemen, the Varsity Club implemented the Freebird rule for this match.
  • Oops, not that Freebird. This one.
  • After a leap frog by Rotunda, Rogers clotheslined him for 2.
  • Williams tagged in and gave Rogers a cross-corner whip followed by a clothesline.
  • He then missed an elbow drop.
  • Fulton tagged in as the Fantastics gave Williams a double dropkick.
  • While Rick Steiner babbled in split-screen, Fulton used momentum to send Williams between the ropes to the floor.
  • Shortly after, Fulton gave Rotunda a sunset flip and got 2.
  • Williams tagged in, missed a clothesline, but fell victim to a cross body block for 2.
  • Rogers tagged in and gave Williams a dropkick.
  • Williams came back with a cross-corner whip along with a back drop where Rogers fell awkwardly.
  • Rotunda tagged in and gave Rogers a back elbow.
  • When Fulton tagged in, the Fantastics gave Rotunda a shot to the midsection followed by a knee lift for 2.
  • After a cross corner whip, Fulton gave Rotunda the ten-punch count-along.
  • Williams then came over and nailed Fulton sending him crashing to the floor.
  • While Rogers distracted referee Teddy Long, Williams guillotined Fulton using the steel railing.
  • Upon Fulton’s return, Rotunda delivered a dropkick.
  • Williams tagged in, mounted the top turnbuckle, and lowered the boom on Fulton for 2.
  • As Rotunda tagged in, he gave Fulton an atomic drop and an elbow drop.
  • Following a leg drop, Rotunda got another 2.
  • Upon slamming Fulton, Rotunda attempted a splash but hit knees.
  • Williams tagged in while Rogers distracted Long again. This time, Williams guillotined Fulton using the top rope.
  • He then gave Fulton a multiple-press slam followed by a four-point stance shoulder tackle.
  • After a cross-corner whip, Williams attempted the Oklahoma Stampede, but Fulton blocked, used momentum, and landed on top for 2.
  • Hot tag Rogers.
  • Upon being reversed on an Irish whip, Rogers leaped to the second turnbuckle and delivered a fist drop to Williams.
  • As Rotunda tripped Rogers from outside the ring, Williams missed another elbow drop.
  • All four men were in the ring.
  • While Long was detained trying to return Fulton to his corner, Rogers hit a flying body press on Williams earning a false pin.
  • Rotunda then leaped to the second turnbuckle, gave Rogers a knee to the back, and put Williams on top for the pin.
  • The Varsity Club retained.

Rating: ***

Summary:  The champs are ready for their test against the Road Warriors.

Match 5: Ricky “The Dragon” Steamboat versus Bob “The Cat” Bradley

Highlights:

  • Steamboat’s wife Bonnie with son Richie accompanied him to the ring.
  • After Bradley missed a haymaker, Steamboat gave him an atomic drop.
  • While the Cleveland faithful chanted “We Want Flair,” Bradley gave Steamboat a hip toss followed by a slam. Methinks the Cleveland faithful liked the playboy rather than the squeaky-clean family man.
  • Steamboat came back with a pair of hip tosses along with a pair of slams.
  • Upon receiving a pair of arm drags, Bradley sought refuge outside the ring.
  • Steamboat then brought him in the hard way.
  • While Bradley was out on the floor, he pulled Steamboat out and slammed him.
  • He then made Steamboat taste the steel railing. It must have tasted like the Bo-man’s steak and cheese at the Winking Lizard Tavern.
  • Back in the ring, Bradley delivered a slam followed by a back elbow.
  • After another slam, Bradley gave Steamboat a clothesline.
  • He then delivered a cross-corner whip but came up empty with a flip on his follow-through.
  • After a pair of leap frogs, Bradley chopped Steamboat down to the mat.
  • He then gave Steamboat a sidewalk slam. From the strip club, Kevin Nash was supposedly overheard saying “That’s a good move!”
  • Nonetheless, he mounted the top turnbuckle but missed a splash.
  • Steamboat came back with a chop, mounted the top turnbuckle, and delivered a chop to the head.
  • Again, he mounted the top turnbuckle, hit the flying body press, and got the pin.

Rating: *

Summary:  Showcase match for Steamboat who is primed and ready for Monday night.

Match 6 (non-title): NWA World TV champion The “Dog-faced Gremlin” Rick Steiner versus Rip Morgan

Highlights:

  • So the Sheepherders bolted to the WWF but left this guy behind?
  • After Morgan performed his pre-match routine, Steiner bit his leg. Yummy!
  • In split-screen, Rotunda ran down Steiner and vowed to regain the TV title at the PPV.
  • Meanwhile, Steiner reversed an Irish whip and gave Morgan a Steinerline.
  • Shortly after, Steiner delivered a powerslam for 2.
  • He then gave Morgan a cross-corner whip but ate boot on his follow-through.
  • After a slam, Morgan mounted the second turnbuckle but missed a splash.
  • Steiner came back with another Steinerline and a slam but missed an elbow drop.
  • Morgan then gave Steiner a bear hug, but Steiner countered with a belly-to-belly suplex.
  • 1-2-3.

Rating: *

Summary:  Showcase match for the TV champ.

Backstage, Caudle interviews Sting, Junkyard Dog, and Hayes. Sting’s so fired up that he can barely string a sentence together. In the meantime, Hayes “knows how to beat (the Road Warriors) and (is) fixin’ to do that.” While the supposedly highly-caffeinated babyfaces return to the dressing room for a strategy session, Sullivan, with an evil look on his face, locks them in their dressing room. How dastardly!

Match 7 for the WCW World six-man tag titles: The Road Warriors & Tenryu (champions w/ “Precious” Paul Ellering) versus Michael P.S. Hayes, Junkyard Dog, & Sting

Highlights:

  • As the champions made their entrance, Security director Doug Dillinger tried to unlock the gate that detained the challengers.
  • All of a sudden, the Varsity Club hit the ring to brawl with the Road Warriors and Tenryu.
  • So the Varsity Club stole their shot at the title to replace the babyfaces stuck in the dressing room.
  • At the same time, Sullivan gave Animal a cross-corner whip followed by a clothesline; however, Animal no-sold it and clotheslined Sullivan down to the mat.
  • He then gave the same medicine to an incoming Williams and Rotunda.
  • Hawk tagged in and gave Sullivan a flying shoulder block.
  • Rotunda and Tenryu both tagged in as Tenryu reversed an Irish whip and chopped Rotunda down to the mat.
  • Williams tagged in but ate an enziguri from Tenryu.
  • As Hawk tagged in, he gave Williams a corner clothesline.
  • Concurrently, Dillinger found a set of bolt cutters and freed the babyfaces. To the lumber yard!
  • After Rotunda tossed Animal outside the ring, he joined and rammed him shoulder-first into the ring post.
  • While Hawk distracted referee Tommy Young, Sullivan tossed Animal over the top rope to the floor. SNEAKY!
  • After putting the boots to Animal, Williams rammed him shoulder-first into the ring post again.
  • Back in the ring, a mid-ring collision put both Animal and Sullivan down on the mat.
  • Williams distracted Young again causing a false tag to occur.
  • As the Varsity Club gave Animal a spike piledriver, the babyfaces raced to the ring.
  • Chaos ensued as Young called for the bell to throw the match out.

Rating: *

Summary:  Bait-and-switch in the main event? Seriously?

After the match, Sting gives Sullivan an atomic drop on the floor then nails him with a chair.

After a commercial break, the chaos continues while Ross and Magnum shill the PPV.

Conclusion:  With the exception of the Flair-Steamboat segment, this show is worth very little to today’s wrestling fan. On the other hand, the PPV was shilled tremendously and hooked me for my next reflection. So check out the Flair-Steamboat segment and forget the rest of the show.

See you for NWA Chi-Town Rumble!

Rating: 4.60

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