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

Live from Columbia, SC

Airdate: September 12, 1989

Attendance: 2,600

Hosted by Jim Ross & Jim Cornette

Put Flair, Funk, Sting, Muta, and Gary Hart in the main event, and let’s see if it’s a masterpiece or a cafeteria special. Read on!

To begin the program, we revisit GAB ’89 when Terry Funk and Muta double-teamed Flair until Sting saved him. The bar for this show has been set very high with that intro.

Backstage, Gordon Solie interviews Gary Hart who states there are ZERO problems with his “camp.” That’s until someone puts a cherry bomb in the camp fire, Gary.

Match 1: The Samoan SWAT team (w/ Paul E. Dangerously) versus the Road Warriors (w/ “Precious” Paul Ellering)

Highlights:

  • Fatu reversed an Irish whip and gave Animal a thrust kick.
  • Animal then reversed an Irish whip and gave Fatu a powerslam.
  • He then followed with a clothesline to an incoming Samu.
  • After an exchange of tags, Hawk reversed an Irish whip, but Samu sought refuge outside the ring.
  • Animal then ambushed him on the floor.
  • Upon Samu’s return, Hawk gave him a big boot.
  • He then slammed Samu and delivered a fist drop for 2.
  • Next, he followed with a standing dropkick.
  • Shortly after, he gave Fatu a clothesline for 2.
  • He then gave Fatu a cross-corner whip but came up empty on his follow-through.
  • In fact, he fell out of the ring!
  • While Fatu and Animal distracted referee Nick Patrick, Samu rammed Hawk face-first into the apron.
  • Samu then crotched Hawk on the steel railing. Methinks Missy Hyatt won’t be happy about that one.
  • Back in the ring, Fatu gave Hawk a powerslam for 2.
  • He then applied a bear hug until a false tag occurred.
  • Shortly after, Fatu tagged in and mounted the top turnbuckle. The SST then gave Hawk a backbreaker/forearm smash combo for another 2.
  • Fatu then remounted the top turnbuckle, leaped, but ate boot.
  • Hot tag Animal.
  • He then gave Samu a back elbow followed by a flying shoulder block.
  • As he tried to make a cover, Fatu made the save.
  • All four men were in the ring.
  • Outside the ring, Fatu made Hawk HIT THE POLE!
  • After Dangerously tossed his cell phone to Fatu, Hawk re-entered the ring and knocked the phone out of Fatu’s hand.
  • Ellering then retrieved the phone and tossed it to Hawk.
  • As you‘d expect, Hawk then WALLOPED Fatu with it.
  • He then mounted the top turnbuckle as the Road Warriors gave Fatu the Doomsday Device.
  • 1-2-3.
  • The Road Warriors won.

Rating: **1/2

Summary: Somehow Patrick didn’t see Hawk’s improper use of dialing someone person-to-person. Perhaps he needed a side job with AT&T.

After the match, Ellering DEMOLISHES the phone to smithereens.

NOT those smithereens, but nonetheless it’s a good tune. The SST then expresses its dissatisfaction with Dangerously. Do I smell a managerial change?

During the commercial break, an ad for Halloween Havoc aired. It will be live on PPV come 10/28.

Match 2: Z-Man versus Cuban Assassin

Highlights:

  • Making his NWA début, Tom Zenk portrayed Z-Man.
  • Fortunately, he wasn’t portraying this guy.
  • Upon giving Cuban Assassin a hip toss, Z-Man followed with a dropkick.
  • A second dropkick sent Cuban Assassin between the ropes to the floor.
  • After a leap frog, Z-Man delivered a third dropkick and followed with a sunset flip for 2.
  • Cuban Assassin came back with a slam, mounted the second turnbuckle, but missed a diving head butt.
  • Z-Man then gave him a cross-corner whip but ate a back elbow on his follow-through.
  • After Cuban Assassin gave Z-Man a cross-corner whip, the latter leaped to the second turnbuckle.
  • Upon leaping over Cuban Assassin, Z-Man hooked a sleeper.
  • Z-Man won.

Rating: *1/2

Summary: Showcase match for Z-Man. Possible pot-shot at Beefcake, perhaps?

After a commercial break, South Carolina Carroll Campbell declared today to be “Ric Flair Day.” In case you’re wondering, Campbell helped to lure BMW to build a plant in Greer, SC. Get your I8 with a side of grits. Woohoo

Match 3: Sid Vicious (w/ Teddy Long & Dan Spivey) versus Ranger Ross

Highlights:

  • I don’t like Ross’ chances here.
  • Before the match began, Sid clotheslined Ross over the top rope to the floor.
  • He then leaped from the apron and delivered a double axe handle to Ross’ back.
  • Next, he guillotined Ross using the steel railing. OUCH!
  • Upon tossing Ross back into the ring, Sid stood on the apron to gather advice from Long and Spivey.
  • Seeing that Sid was distracted, Ross gave Sid a Combat kick.
  • Sid came back with a DDT followed by a helicopter slam.
  • He then finished Ross with a powerbomb.

Rating: ½*

Summary: Showcase match for Sid.

After the match, Ross predicts that Sid will be “World champion someday.” He’s quite the prognosticator. I bet he predicted the Sooners would beat Auburn in the Sugar Bowl this year.

We then get a “feature” involving Missy Hyatt and Robin Green. Without any doubt, I would compare the beating Ranger Ross took against Sid to what Green did to her American Express card during that shopping spree.

Backstage, Solie interviews the Freebirds. While Garvin is in limburger mode, Hayes demands respect.

Ad #2 for Halloween Havoc aired.

Match 4 for the NWA World tag team titles: The Fabulous Freebirds (champions) versus Rick & Scott Steiner (w/ Missy Hyatt & Robin Green)

Highlights:

  • After Scott gave Hayes a cross-corner whip, he ate a left hook on his follow-through.
  • Hayes then mounted the top turnbuckle and hit a cross body block.
  • On the other hand, Scott used momentum to land on top for 2.
  • After delivering Steinerlines to both Freebirds, Scott gave Garvin a hip toss.
  • Upon reversing a cross-corner whip, he executed a German release suplex to Garvin.
  • Next, he applied a single-leg crab and tagged in Rick.
  • After a leap frog, Rick caught Garvin with a Steinerline.
  • Since he didn’t want Hayes to feel left out, he gave Hayes one as well. Fair is fair, right?
  • After leap-frogging Rick, Hayes received a powerslam.
  • Garvin then mounted the top turnbuckle, got caught, and received a powerslam too. Someone put Rick Steiner on Jeopardy because he’s a master of the daily double.
  • Since he’s in a giving mood, Rick gave Hayes the ten-punch count-along, a cross-corner whip, and another Steinerline.
  • He then reversed a cross-corner whip and gave Hayes an avalanche.
  • After another cross-corner whip, Rick gave Hayes an overhead belly-to-belly suplex. Impressive!
  • He then charged at Hayes in the corner but came up empty.
  • Garvin tagged in as the Freebirds gave Rick a Hayes-assisted Garvin back elbow.
  • He then delivered a DDT but only got 2 thanks to a save by Scott.
  • Hayes tagged in and tossed Rick outside the ring.
  • He then made Rick taste the steel railing. It must have tasted like the Ray Caci meatball hoagie at the Thirsty Fellow.
  • When Rick re-entered the ring, Hayes clotheslined him resulting in a 360° sell. Woohoo!
  • That got 2.
  • Garvin tagged in, kicked Rick, and got another 2.
  • Rick then blocked a vertical suplex and delivered a slingshot suplex. Somewhere between Minneapolis and Los Angeles, Tully Blanchard allegedly nodded his approval.
  • Hot tag Scott.
  • Amazingly, Scott then gave Hayes and Garvin consecutive Frankensteiners. Wow!
  • After a powerslam, Scott only got 2 thanks to a save by Garvin.
  • While Garvin and Rick fought outside the ring, Scott came off the ropes but was tripped by someone.
  • Hayes then delivered the DDT for the pin.
  • The Freebirds retained.

Rating: ***1/2

Summary: Intriguing finish to a good match. I look forward to seeing an upcoming rematch. The 64,000 question is: Who tripped Scott?

Match 5: Brian Pillman versus Norman the Lunatic (w/ Teddy Long)

Highlights:

  • While Norman brought Long with him to the ring, Pillman brought a cheerleading squad.
  • Not THAT squad!
  • Regardless, Norman jealously attacked Pillman before the bell but ate a dropkick.
  • When PIllman couldn’t slam him, he gave Norman another dropkick.
  • He then gave Norman a vertical suplex, went to the apron, and delivered a springboard clothesline. Sweet!
  • When Norman sought refuge outside the ring, Pillman mounted the top turnbuckle and hit a cross body block.
  • Long then got up on the apron, but Pillman stole his key.
  • That allowed Norman to deliver an avalanche dislodging said key.
  • He then face-planted Pillman and gave him a sternum-first bump in the corner.
  • Next, he mounted the second turnbuckle and hit a splash for 2.
  • As Pillman sought refuge outside the ring, Norman joined him.
  • He then leaned Pillman against the ring post and SQUISHED him.
  • GET OUT THE SPATULA!
  • He made another attempt, but Pillman evaded him causing Norman to HIT THE POLE.
  • Upon tossing Norman back into the ring, PIllman remounted the top turnbuckle and hit a missile dropkick.
  • Pillman then delivered a slam followed by a back drop.
  • Afterward, Norman reversed a cross-corner whip, but PIllman leaped to the second turnbuckle.
  • He then gave Norman a cross body block, but Norman caught and powerslammed him for 2.
  • After a clothesline, Norman got another 2.
  • Out of nowhere, Pillman then hooked a crucifix for the pin.

Rating: **1/2

Summary: Pillman brought the goods here, but I’m no fan of Norman so your mileage may vary.

After the match, Long berates Norman.

Backstage, Solie interviews Hart again. Hart decrees that Funk IS in the building. But where’s Elvis?

Thanks for the clarification, Colonel.

Match 6: “Captain” Mike Rotunda versus “Dr. Death” Steve Williams

Highlights:

  • While Ross shilled the hotline, Williams reversed an Irish whip and delivered a clothesline.
  • After military-pressing Rotunda five times, Williams slammed him. That’s medal-worthy!
  • Upon hitting a three-point stance tackle, Williams tried again but ate a clothesline.
  • After tossing Williams outside the ring, Rotunda guillotined him using the top rope.
  • While the Columbia faithful chanted “Syracuse sucks,” Rotunda applied a rope-assisted abdominal stretch until referee Tommy Young caught him. SNEAKY!
  • In a fascinating twist, Williams attempted a sunset flip, ate a couple of knuckle sandwiches, but took Rotunda down for 2.
  • Rotunda responded with a high knee followed by an elbow drop for another 2.
  • He then hooked a rope-assisted rear chinlock, but Young caught him again. Tsk-tsk.
  • Williams then countered with a jawbreaker to escape but missed an elbow drop.
  • With both wrestlers in the corner, Rotunda used a foreign object from his knee pad to nail Williams.
  • After a pair of slams, Rotunda mounted the top turnbuckle but got caught and slammed down to the mat.
  • Williams then gave Rotunda the ten-punch count-along.
  • Upon delivering a cross-corner whip, he came up empty on his follow-through.
  • Rotunda then attempted a clothesline, but Williams ducked sending Rotunda over the top rope to the floor.
  • When Rotunda returned to the apron, Williams scooped him up for a slam.
  • Rotunda tried to hold the top rope, but Young kicked his arm.
  • Rotunda then fell on top of Williams, but the latter used momentum to roll through for the pin.

Rating: **1/2

Summary: Great use of counter-wrestling to finish the match.

Afterward, Rotunda clotheslines Williams sending him between the ropes to the floor. He then joins and makes Williams taste the steel railing. It must taste like the Wadmalaw burger at Pawley’s Front Porch.

Backstage, Solie interviews Luger. Other than his speaking in third-person, this was a generic Luger promo.

Ad #3 for Halloween Havoc. Have you contacted your cable provider yet?

Match 7 for the NWA US title: The “Total Package” Lex Luger (champion) versus “Wildfire” Tommy Rich

Highlights:

  • Talk about your contrast in wrestlers. While Luger’s body was sculpted and ripped, Rich didn’t have an ounce of muscle tone whatsoever.
  • After giving Luger a cross-corner whip, Rich followed with a back drop.
  • He then slammed Luger and gave him an arm drag.
  • According to Ross, Funk was in the building but was injured a few days ago requiring surgery. Do you smell something?
  • At any rate, after a leap frog, Luger missed a pair of clotheslines and ate a right hand.
  • Rich then hit a cross body block for 2.
  • As Luger gave Rich a cross-corner whip, he came up empty on his follow-through.
  • Upon rolling up Luger, Rich got 2.
  • Immediately, he hooked an inside cradle for another 2.
  • Unexpectedly, Ross gave a shout-out to boxer Mike Tyson.
  • Rich then reversed a cross-corner whip, gave Luger another back drop, but missed a dropkick.
  • Luger responded with a powerslam for 2.
  • Upon working on Rich’s back, Luger got another 2.
  • Next, he tossed Rich to the apron.
  • Rich then re-entered the ring via sunset flip and got 2.
  • Luger attempted to retaliate with a clothesline, but Rich ducked sending Luger over the top rope to the floor.
  • With Luger on the apron, Rich attempted to suplex him back inside; however, Luger blocked and landed atop Rich for 2. In the process, Rich caused Luger to land on his head. OUCH!
  • Luger then delivered a sidewalk slam almost getting 3.
  • After another powerslam, Luger, to a babyface reaction, attempted the Torture Rack.
  • Rich escaped but couldn’t roll up Luger off the ropes.
  • Luger then placed Rich atop the top turnbuckle and delivered a superplex for 2. Someone’s been learning from his matches with Flair.
  • He then mounted the top turnbuckle but missed a splash.
  • Rich came back with a pair of back elbows, mounted the second turnbuckle, and delivered a fist drop.
  • Do we have a new champion?
  • 1-2-NO!
  • He then hit a Thesz press but only got 2 as Luger put his foot on the bottom rope.
  • When Luger sought refuge outside the ring, Rich joined and nailed Luger.
  • As Luger leaned against the Coors Light ring post, Rich HIT THE POLE!
  • With Luger on the apron, Rich applied a sleeper, but Luger countered with a guillotine using the top rope.
  • 1-2-3.
  • Luger retained.

Rating: ****

Summary: This was MUCH better than I expected it to be. The only issue I had with the match was that Luger could have used more heel tactics to get his character over with the Columbia faithful.

After the match, Rich attacks Luger in the aisle, but Luger backs off.

Backstage, and for the THIRD time, Solie interviews Hart who has a “certified letter” from a doctor in Shreveport, LA. We then see a pre-recorded promo from Funk from the hospital. Funk attributes his infected arm to Flair with the branding iron. He then vows to “get Ric Flair. Damn it!”

After a commercial break, Solie interviews Flair and Sting backstage.

Match 8: NWA World Champion “Nature Boy” Ric Flair & Sting versus “Dirty” Dick Slater & NWA World TV Champion the Great Muta (w/ Gary Hart)

Highlights:

  • Wearing a cast on his left arm, Slater substituted for Funk.
  • Wait a minute! When did Muta become TV champion? Back on 9/3, Muta beat Sting to win the vacant title in the Omni in Atlanta, GA.
  • After Muta spewed red mist into the air, Sting beat his chest like Tarzan. Now THERE’S a role he could have played in Hollywood.
  • Ross mentioned how dangerous the yellow mist was compared to the red. Foreshadowing, perhaps?
  • He then reversed a cross-corner whip and delivered a back drop.
  • Flair tagged in and had the Columbia faithful in his back pocket.
  • Slater tagged in, but Flair overtook him with chops and rights.
  • With Slater sprawled atop the top turnbuckle, Flair punted him twice.
  • Slater then gave Flair a cross-corner whip resulting in a Flair flip.
  • Flair then landed on the apron and chopped Muta in the adjacent corner.
  • Next, he mounted the top turnbuckle and gave Slater a flying elbow smash.
  • When Slater sought refuge outside the ring, Flair turned toward Muta only to receive a savate kick. SNEAKY!
  • With Flair on the floor, Muta delivered a plancha.
  • Sting then leaped over the top rope to clothesline Muta.
  • All four men were outside the ring.
  • As Sting guillotined Slater using the steel railing, Flair fed the steel railing to Muta. It must have tasted like the Game Clucker at Grill Mark’s.
  • When Sting gave Slater another guillotine, Flair made Muta taste it again. Waiter, could you give the red-faced wrestler an Old Mark Donald too please?
  • Interestingly, Hart had Funk’s branding iron in his team’s corner.
  • Sting tagged in, mounted the second turnbuckle, and lowered the boom to Slater.
  • Cornette then professed that Sting would be a World champion someday. I wonder if these guys predicted the earthquake during the World Series that year.
  • Sting then gave Slater a snap suplex for 2.
  • When Sting got caught in the heel corner, he fought tooth and nail to escape and gave Muta a gorilla press slam.
  • Flair tagged in and gave Muta a belly-to-back suplex.
  • Following a knee drop, Flair received a cross-corner whip followed by a handspring elbow from Muta. That resulted in a Flair flop.
  • Slater tagged in and gave Flair a swinging neckbreaker.
  • Muta tagged in and gave Flair another savate kick.
  • After Muta tossed Flair outside the ring, Slater leaped from the apron to deliver a forearm smash.
  • He then made Flair taste the steel railing. Um, waiter, could you give the platinum blond wrestler a Snow Bird?
  • Back in the ring, Muta gave Flair a flashing elbow.
  • Flair then countered a trapezius hold with an inverted atomic drop.
  • Hot tag Sting.
  • He then slammed Slater and nailed Muta.
  • Muta tagged in but received another gorilla press slam from Sting.
  • All four men were in the ring.
  • Flair then dragged Slater outside the ring and made him taste the steel railing again. Bartender, could you pour the wild-haired redneck a Morrison (Jager & root beer) for me please?
  • Meanwhile, in the ring, Sting gave Muta a Stinger splash.
  • He then applied the Scorpion death lock until Hart came into the ring to nail Sting with a roll of quarters. In the meantime, referee Tommy Young was occupied with Flair and Slater.
  • After Muta rolled Sting over, he only got 2.
  • He then gave Sting a powerbomb and got another 2.
  • Slater tagged in and guillotined Sting using the bottom rope.
  • With Sting outside the ring, Slater joined and slammed him.
  • Muta then whipped Sting back-first into the steel railing.
  • Upon Sting’s return to the ring, Slater hooked a sleeper, but Sting gave him a jawbreaker to counter.
  • After a shoulder block by Sting, both wrestlers fell to the mat.
  • Slater then attempted a piledriver, but Sting countered with a back drop.
  • Hot tag Flair.
  • Once again, all four wrestlers were in the ring.
  • Sting then gave Muta a standing dropkick.
  • With Muta on the apron, Sting gave him a standing choke. Muta responded with yellow mist blinding him. Aha!
  • After Flair gave Muta a belly-to-back suplex, he attempted to hook a figure-four leg lock, but Slater made the save by nailing Flair with the cast.
  • As Slater nailed Young, Flair was BUSTED OPEN!
  • Suddenly, Funk came to the ring and placed a plastic bag on Flair’s head. Holy Cow!
  • Thanks for the sentiment, Harry, but let’s focus on the match.
  • With Flair passed out on one side of the ring, Muta and Slater nailed Sting in the leg with the branding iron. How dastardly!
  • According to Ross, Young disqualified Slater and Muta.

Rating: ****

Summary: Wild crazy ending to an awesome tag match with incredible heat.

After a commercial break, Pillman and Sting along with Doug Dillinger check on Flair. The trainer then bandages Flair’s head as Ross and Cornette explain that Flair received CPR during the break. Kids do NOT try this at home.

Conclusion: Absolutely amazing show with two great matches at the end make this an absolute must-see for wrestling fans. While the plastic bag incident wouldn’t fly with today’s wrestling audience, it showed how much disdain Funk had for Flair. I’m ready for more 1989 NWA. How about you?

See you for NWA Halloween Havoc ‘89!

Rating: 3.80

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