Live from Fort Bragg in Fayetteville, NC
Airdate: June 14, 1989
Attendance: dehydrated, perspiring Army soldiers (no A/C)
Hosted by Jim Ross & Bob Caudle
Ten-hut! Reading this reflection brings purpose, direction, and spirit to your miserable life. Drop and give me twenty!
To open the program, Lt. General Carl Stiner thanks WCW for entertaining the troops on the 214th birthday of the US Army.
The 82nd Airborne choir sings the national anthem with some assistance from some very patriotic soldiers. This is a wild crowd!
We then see WCW wrestlers trying to repel the wall including Scott Steiner. Both Ranger Ross and Missy Hyatt are shown performing the “slide for life.” Allegedly, this is the only way WCW could show how wet Missy could get. Ahem.
Match 1 (semifinal for the World tag team title tournament): The Fabulous Freebirds (w/ Terry “Bam Bam” Gordy) versus the Dynamic Dudes
- The newest Freebird—Jimmy Garvin—returned to the NWA sans Precious. Yeah, I’d boo him too just for that.
- As the Dudes gave the Freebirds stereo atomic drops, the Freebirds ran into one another.
- The Dudes then followed with stereo belly-to-back suplexes.
- Following that, Ace mounted the top turnbuckle and gave Hayes a sunset flip, but referee Tommy Young couldn’t make a count with all four men in the ring.
- Ace then gave Hayes an Irish whip and evaded Hayes on a punt.
- After an exchange of tags, Ace mounted the top turnbuckle and lowered the boom on Garvin.
- Douglas tagged in as the Dudes gave Garvin a double back elbow followed by a double elbow drop.
- After Hayes missed a couple of haymakers, Douglas gave him a sunset flip for 2.
- Shortly after, Ace missed a cross body block as Garvin tagged in.
- Garvin then guillotined Ace using the top rope for 2.
- After a slam, Garvin got another 2 and tossed Ace outside the ring.
- While Douglas distracted Young, Hayes made Ace taste the steel railing. It must have tasted like the Spark Plug at Mac’s Speed Shop.
- Back in the ring, a mid-ring collision between Garvin and Ace led to the hot tag.
- Douglas then gave each Freebird a back drop and a double noggin knocker. For those of you who only know Douglas from his ECW days, seeing him portray a straight-up babyface is something to behold.
- Nonetheless, Garvin reversed a cross-corner whip, missed a clothesline, and succumbed to a sunset flip for only 2 thanks to a save by Hayes.
- All four men were in the ring.
- The Dudes then gave Hayes a double dropkick.
- After a double back drop of Garvin, Douglas rolled him up, but Hayes delivered a DDT while Ace distracted Young. SNEAKY!
- The Freebirds advanced to the finals.
Summary: Tag formula worked well here as the Freebirds stole this one.
Ad for the WCW hotline aired.
Match 2: Ranger Ross versus the Terrorist
- OK, where’s the Department of Homeland Security when you need them? Someone let a terrorist into the arena! Actually, like the early portion of the WCW hotline ad, Jack Victory’s involved.
- As the Ft. Bragg faithful chanted “Ranger,” the Terrorist attacked Ranger Ross. Um.
- While the Terrorist gave Ranger Ross a back elbow, Jim Ross clamored for a Coors Light. Poor Jimbo.
- Ranger Ross came back with a flying forearm followed by a hip toss and dropkick.
- After a slam, he delivered an elbow drop for 2.
- Upon giving the Terrorist a lariat, he then hit the Terrorist in the midsection.
- Afterward, he leap-frogged the Terrorist and nailed him with the Combat kick.
Summary: Showcase match for the troops.
“World Premiere Video” of the Road Warriors aired to a knock-off version of Black Sabbath’s “Iron Man.”
Next, Ross is in the ring to introduce a “dragonshy” demonstration by the Great Muta seconded by Gary Hart. This is not to be confused with another Dragonshy you might know. Unfortunately for these guys, Trent Knight and Mike Justice are Muta’s victims, yet Hart claims they’re not worthy competition and called them “gaijin.” Psst, Gary, Muta’s the foreigner here.
Regardless, Ross berates Hart for Muta’s misting of Hyatt on World Championship Wrestling. I refuse to get carried away with foreign liquids landing on Missy’s face. Ahem. In any event, Gilbert hits the ring and attempts to throw a fireball at Muta but hits Knight instead. Not THAT kind of fireball!
That’s more like it.
Match 3: The Ding Dongs versus George South & Cougar Jay
- Just when you thought Jim Herd was a good executive vice-president, he gave us these bozos.
- Must I watch this?
- For those unaware, the Ding Dongs were portrayed by Greg Evans and Richard Sartain–not exactly household names in the wrestling business.
- As #2 rang a bell in the corner, #1 rang Cougar Jay’s bell. I’m dying here, folks.
- #1 then attempted a sunset flip in the corner and botched it terribly. Go figure.
- If Paul Heyman was booking, 911 would come out, chokeslam all four men, and the crowd would love it.
- #2 tagged in as a criss-cross with South occurred. Unremarkably, it ended with a double hip toss by the Ding Dongs. Cougar Jay came in and took the same medicine.
- #1 then gave South a Thesz press but only got 2. Allegedly, Lou Thesz had a touch of acid reflux after he saw that.
- After a slam by #1, #2 tagged in while the Ding Dongs double-teamed South for 2.
- It’s a miracle! #1 rang the bell so hard it fell to the floor. The Ft. Bragg faithful guffawed at him mercilessly.
- South came back with a slam of #2 but missed a knee drop.
- After a modified belly-to-belly suplex by #2, he mounted the second turnbuckle and hit a flying elbow drop. Meanwhile, #1 mounted the top turnbuckle of the adjacent corner and delivered a knee drop to South.
- Thank goodness, it’s over.
Summary: Worthless C-R-A-P. I hope I never see the Ding Dongs again. I believe Ross and Caudle concur.
Charlie Rose, then-Congressman (D-NC), wishes the US Army a happy birthday. Backed by the tobacco farmers, Rose’s tenure in the House of Representatives lasted from 1973 to 1997. Betcha didn’t think you’d learn something reading this reflection, did you?
Match 4 (semifinal for the World tag team title tournament): The Midnight Express (w/ Jim Cornette) versus the Samoan SWAT Team (w/ Paul E. Dangerously)
- Winner will advance to the finals against the Freebirds.
- As Cornette attempted to introduce his team, a fan got up on the apron to interrupt the show. I’m certain his drill sergeant had some words with him later that evening.
- Oh, Lord. Dangerously’s dressed like Sonny Crockett from Miami Vice. The bigger question is: Is Missy one of his informants?
- After Dangerously introduced his team, he threatened Cornette who almost nailed him with the tennis racquet.
- Once the dust cleared from the opening mêlée, the Midnight Express gave Fatu their drop toehold/elbow drop maneuver.
- Eaton tagged in as the Midnight Express gave Fatu a double back elbow.
- After Eaton gave Fatu a shot to the midsection, he followed with a swinging neckbreaker.
- As Lane tagged in, the Midnight Express gave Fatu a double guillotine using the top rope.
- Eaton returned and gave Fatu a bulldog.
- While Lane distracted referee Tommy Young, the SST gave Eaton a double face plant.
- Eaton then tried to counter a hip toss from Fatu but ate a clothesline instead.
- Samu tagged in and chopped Eaton sending him through the ropes to the floor.
- When Lane distracted Young again, Fatu joined and gave Eaton a vertical suplex on the floor.
- Back in the ring, Samu gave Eaton another face plant followed by a leg drop for 2.
- Fatu tagged in, gave Eaton a cross-corner whip, but came up empty on his follow-through.
- Lane tagged in and gave Fatu a flying forearm.
- Next, he leaped over Fatu and delivered a side Russian leg sweep for only 2 thanks to a save by Samu.
- With all four men in the ring, Lane gave Fatu a cross-corner whip but ate foot on his follow-through.
- In the meantime, Young got knocked down.
- Suddenly, to a raucous pop, the Road Warriors hit the ring, tossed Samu off the top rope, and gave him a double clothesline.
- Afterward, Lane made the cover and pinned Samu.
- The Midnight Express advanced.
Summary: More angle than match as the Road Warriors avenged their loss in the quarterfinals at the hands of the SST.
After a commercial break, we revisit WrestleWar ’89 when Funk attacked Flair after the title match. We then get a feature about a “Triple Crown King of the Hill Double Ring Battle Royale” at the Great American Bash. Say that five times fast!
Match 5 (Battle of the Bulls): Terry “Bam Bam” Gordy versus Steve “Dr. Death” Williams
- Apparently, Williams made a face turn when Gordy nailed him in Japan with a 2×4.
- As Gordy made his entrance, Williams hit the ring and the brawl was ON.
- After a tackle, Williams put Gordy down with a shoulder block. I’m sure Ross loved it as well as his Coors Light.
- Williams then gave Gordy a cross-corner whip but ate a clothesline on his follow-through.
- Gordy then gave Williams a cross-corner whip followed by a corner clothesline.
- Shortly after, he delivered a belly-to-back suplex as Ross again clamored for Coors Light. What time is it, Jimbo?
- While Ross shilled the hotline, Gordy and Williams traded slams.
- After a second slam by Williams, Gordy sought refuge outside the ring. Perhaps he was after Ross’ beer.
- Back in the ring, Williams hit a cross body block for 2.
- He then gave Gordy a dropkick sending him between the ropes to the floor.
- Williams then reversed a cross-corner whip and nailed Gordy with a forearm sending him to the floor again.
- He then joined and nailed Gordy as the brawl continued in the aisle.
- Referee Nick Patrick counted both men out.
Summary: While the action was good, the finish was bull-oney.
After the match, Williams encouraged the troops while they chanted “BULLSHIT” over that finish. How appropriate.
Match 6: Norman the Lunatic (w/ Teddy Long) versus Mike Justice
- This was Norman’s NWA début. I see that Long gained employment since WrestleWar ’89.
- For those unaware, Norman the Lunatic was portrayed by Mike Shaw.
- At the onset, Norman delivered a clothesline.
- He then gave Justice a cross-corner whip followed by an avalanche.
- Norman won.
Summary: Showcase match for the new curtain-jerker.
After the match, Long enters the ring and shakes keys at Norman to control him. Medical personnel (in white coats) come down the aisle with a stretcher, strap Norman to it, and wheel him backstage.
Ad #2 for the GAB battle royal.
After a commercial break, Ross interviews the Freebirds. While Garvin claims there will be new “rules and regulations,” a paper cup nails Hayes in the back. Gordy then cuts a promo on Williams.
Vignette for the incoming Brian Pillman.
Match 7: Rick & Scott Steiner (w/ Missy Hyatt) versus the Varsity Club
- Big ovation for the Steiners from the Fayetteville faithful. Obviously, the Army likes their hosses.
- As the match began, Scott delivered a Steinerline to Sullivan.
- After a leap frog, Scott gave Sullivan a powerslam.
- Rick tagged in and gave Rotunda a hip toss followed by a Steinerline.
- As Sullivan came in, Scott gave him one too.
- Rotunda then countered a side head lock with a belly-to-back suplex.
- Sullivan tagged in, gave Rick a cross-corner whip, but ate another Steinerline.
- Scott tagged in and hit a cross body block on Rotunda for 2.
- While Rick distracted referee Nick Patrick, the Varsity Club dumped Scott over the top rope to the floor. SNEAKY!
- Sullivan then joined and made Scott HIT THE POLE.
- According to Ross, Scott landed on the ringside table causing his back to be BUSTED OPEN.
- Meanwhile, Sullivan tossed the steps at Scott. How dastardly!
- Back in the ring, Scott reversed a cross-corner whip but ate boot on his follow-through.
- Rotunda then gave Scott a SWEET dropkick. He got some elevation on that one.
- After a butterfly suplex to Scott, Rotunda got 2.
- He then gave Scott a clothesline that drew an “ooh” from the Fayetteville faithful.
- After a false tag occurred, Rotunda gave Scott an Irish whip but missed a dropkick.
- Hot tag Rick.
- He then gave both Varsity Club members the ten-punch count-along.
- The Steiners then delivered a double Steinerline to Rotunda.
- When Sullivan brought a chair into the ring, Rick dropkicked him down to the floor.
- After a slam, Scott attempted a splash but hit knees.
- With the chair still in the ring, Rotunda gave Scott a vertical suplex onto it. OUCH!
- As you would expect, the pin was academic as the Varsity Club won.
Summary: I like that the nasty bump by Scott figured into the finish here. Bigger things are on the horizon for the Steiners.
After a commercial break, Ross interviews Cornette.
Jim Martin, then-Governor (R-NC), thanks TBS for choosing Fort Bragg for tonight’s event. Trivia for those who play: Martin is the only Republican governor to serve two full terms in NC. Knowledge is power.
Match 8 for the NWA World TV title: Sting (champion) versus “Wild” Bill Irwin
- As Sting made his entrance, a group of small kids joined him as the Fayetteville faithful rose to their feet.
- Before Sting could enter the ring, Irwin cracked his bull whip at him several times.
- When referee Tommy Young wrested it away, Sting took Irwin down with a face plant.
- According to Ross, Luger was supposed to provide color commentary for this match but refused. Hmmm…
- In the meantime, Irwin gave Sting a cross-corner whip followed by a knee to the midsection.
- He then guillotined Sting using the top rope.
- After receiving a back elbow, Sting came back and rang Irwin’s bell. Please, no more Ding Dong references.
- He then gave Irwin a vertical suplex for a 1-count.
- As the Fayetteville faithful chanted “Sting,” Irwin planted another knee to Sting’s midsection.
- Upon giving Irwin a cross-corner whip, Sting attempted the Stinger Splash but came up empty.
- Sting then mounted the second turnbuckle, attempted a cross body block, but received a Dominator instead.
- As Irwin celebrated by grabbing his whip, Sting got up and gave him a Stinger Splash to his back.
- With a rollup, Sting retained.
Summary: Showcase match for Sting.
Vignette for Scott “Gator” Hall. Despite his time in the AWA, he was paying his dues here in WCW.
After a commercial break, a pre-recorded interview airs between Ross and World champion “Nature Boy” Ric Flair at Flair’s home in Charlotte, NC. As Ross entered the home, Flair greeted him wearing both a Los Angeles Lakers sweater and a neck brace. Acknowledging that he underwent traction therapy twice a day, Flair contemplated possible retirement.
Ross then mentioned that the NWA waived their 30-day clause regarding defending the title. Afterward, Flair stated he will make an announcement on 7/1 about his future yet warns Funk about coming back for revenge. Those are tough words, Nature Boy. Will you back them up at the Great American Bash?
Ad#3 for the GAB battle royal.
Match 9 (final for the World tag team title tournament): The Midnight Express (w/ Jim Cornette) versus the Fabulous Freebirds (w/ Terry Gordy)
- Wow! The heat in the building must be unbearable because most of the crowd opposite the hard camera dispersed.
- As the Express made their entrance, Dangerously attacked Cornette from behind with his own tennis racquet. The scoundrel!
- According to Ross, Cornette was OUT COLD. When Lane removed the cover of Dangerously’s racquet, a steel horseshoe was taped to it. In good faith, the Dynamic Dudes came out to remove Cornette from ringside.
- After a hip toss, Lane slammed Hayes.
- In what must be a 2-for-1 special tonight, the Express gave Garvin their drop toehold/elbow drop combo. Who had that in their betting pool?
- Lane tagged in and gave Garvin an Eaton-assisted enziguri.
- After a savate kick by Lane, the Express gave Garvin a double back elbow for 2.
- Garvin came back with a knee to Eaton’s midsection and slammed him twice.
- Hayes tagged in and tossed Eaton outside each side of the ring while antagonizing the Fayetteville faithful.
- Back in the ring, Hayes gave Eaton a back elbow that looked like it bonked his nose. OUCH!
- With Eaton on the apron, Garvin launched him causing Eaton to eat the steel railing. It must have tasted like the Shotgun Betty Chicken at the Carolina Ale House.
- Back in the ring, the Freebirds gave Eaton a double back elbow.
- Lane tagged in and gave Garvin a series of kicks.
- After giving Garvin a cross-corner whip, Lane came up empty on his follow-through.
- Hayes tagged in, attempted a back drop, but Lane countered with a DDT. Hey! That’s Hayes’ move!
- Eaton tagged in and gave the Freebirds a double noggin knocker.
- After Lane disposed of Hayes outside the ring, the Express gave Garvin a double back drop.
- Upon giving the returning Hayes a cross-corner whip, Eaton reversed a cross-corner whip by Lane who gave Hayes a flying forearm.
- Gordy got up on the apron, but Eaton nailed him.
- With Garvin on the apron, the Express returned him to the ring the hard way.
- They then gave him the flapjack for 2.
- All four men were in the ring.
- While referee Tommy Young was distracted by Lane’s giving Hayes the ten-punch count-along, Gordy entered the ring and gave Eaton a powerbomb.
- Garvin then pinned Eaton with a handful of tights.
- WE HAVE NEW CHAMPIONS!
Summary: Telegraphed finish once Cornette was unceremoniously removed from the match.
Match 10: Ricky “The Dragon” Steamboat versus Terry Funk
- According to the WCW top 10, Steamboat was ranked #1 while Funk was ranked #10 mainly because of his piledriver to Flair at the PPV.
- After chopping Funk down to the mat, Steamboat delivered a dropkick.
- A second dropkick sent Funk between the ropes to the floor.
- Upon Funk’s return, he tossed Steamboat outside the ring.
- He then joined and elbowed Steamboat in the back.
- Steamboat came back and whipped Funk back-first into the steel railing.
- Back in the ring, Funk gave Steamboat a hangman’s neckbreaker followed by a splash to the back of Steamboat’s neck for 2.
- Steamboat came back again and gave Funk a cross-corner whip which resulted in a Funk flip to the floor.
- He then mounted the top turnbuckle and delivered a chop to Funk’s head on the floor.
- Next, he carried Funk all the way around the ring and slammed him on the floor.
- When Funk returned to the ring, Steamboat tossed him over the top rope to the floor. Referee Nick Patrick didn’t call for the DQ.
- Upon Funk’s return, Steamboat gave him a cross-corner whip but ate boot on his follow-through.
- Funk then gave Steamboat a back elbow followed by a piledriver.
- STICK A FORK IN HIM! HE’S DONE!
- After getting reversed on a cross-corner whip back into the original corner, Steamboat SQUISHED Patrick in the corner.
- Funk then gave Steamboat another cross-corner whip that sent him sailing over the top turnbuckle to the floor.
- Patrick was OUT COLD.
- Funk then joined Steamboat on the floor and delivered another piledriver.
- GET OUT THE SPATULA!
- Somehow, Steamboat returned to the apron only to be suplexed in by Funk.
- Funk pulled a woozy Patrick over to count, but Patrick could only reach 2 before Steamboat kicked out.
- Funk then mounted the top turnbuckle, attempted a splash, but hit knees.
- After giving Funk a pair of shots to the midsection, Steamboat delivered a gutbuster.
- He then mounted the top turnbuckle and delivered a chop.
- Afterward, he gave Funk an enziguri that sent him between the ropes onto the broadcast table.
- Grabbing the microphone from the table, he nailed Steamboat with it.
- Patrick called for the DQ.
Summary: Extremely hot match with a crappy finish. Give me more mustard! Dammit!
After the match, Funk retrieves the microphone to further annihilate Steamboat, but Luger runs in with a chair. Smartly, Funk leaves. Luger then grabs the microphone as the Fayetteville faithful chants his name. After claiming to have too much pride, he helps Steamboat up but clotheslines him back down. WE HAVE A HEEL TURN!
Upon removing his shirt, Luger grabs a chair and WALLOPS Steamboat in the back with it. Next, he puts Steamboat in the Torture Rack as Ross practically spits up his Coors Light. To punctuate the heel turn, Luger grabs the microphone again and informs us “there lays your number one contender.” Finally, Sting comes to the ring to rescue Steamboat.
Before going off the air, we get the replay of the heel turn.
Conclusion: With a hot main event along with a hot angle at the end, it’s difficult not to recommend this show. So I’d advise only to check out that main event/angle so that you don’t swear off pro wrestling forever due to the Ding Dongs and Norman the Lunatic. Also, this is a very military-themed show, so be prepared to watch a bunch of soldiers saying “Hi, Mom!” C’mon, 1989, what else ya’ got?
See you for NWA Great American Bash ‘89! Can’t wait!