Rock Star Gary reflects on NWA Clash of the Champions IX: New York Knockout

Live from Troy, NY

Airdate: November 15, 1989

Attendance:  4,000

Hosted by Jim Ross & Gordon Solie

New York Knockout? Are we referring to these bunch of termagants? Seriously, Flair and Funk battle in an “I Quit” match to settle their feud. Also, the Midnight Express square off against the Dynamic Dudes. In a rematch, Pillman seeks to dethrone Luger for the US title. If that’s not enough, the Steiners face the Skyscrapers. What are you waiting for? Read on!

Funk opens the program by informing Flair that he “doesn’t want his belt…money…or family.” Instead, he wants Flair’s pride.

Not to be outdone, Flair rebuts with “pride, integrity, and guts.”

Match 1 (non-title): NWA World tag team champions the Fabulous Freebirds versus the Road Warriors (w/ “Precious” Paul Ellering)

Highlights:

  • Wait a minute! Why didn’t the champs wear their belts to the ring? That was due to their loss to the Steiners (aired 11/18, taped 11/1).
  • Instead of receiving a clothesline from Hawk, Hayes escaped the ring. However, Animal grabbed and tossed him back into the ring.
  • Hawk then gave Hayes a big boot and the incoming Garvin a clothesline.
  • As the Troy faithful chanted “Freebirds suck,” Hawk gave Hayes a military press slam followed by a flying shoulder block.
  • Garvin tagged in but received a dropkick from Hawk.
  • Animal tagged in as the Road Warriors delivered a double back elbow to Garvin.
  • Trying to make a comeback, Garvin gave Animal a vertical suplex which the latter no-sold.
  • Animal then demolished Garvin with a clothesline.
  • While the Troy faithful chanted “L-O-D,” Hayes gave Animal a back elbow which the latter also no-sold. Reminds me of a Bon Jovi tune.
  • Nonetheless, Animal then gave Hayes a flying shoulder block and tagged in Hawk.
  • Shortly after, Animal gave Garvin a cross-corner whip but came up empty on his follow-through.
  • Hayes tagged in and tossed Animal between the ropes to the floor.
  • While Hawk distracted referee Tommy Young, the Freebirds double-teamed Animal.
  • As Young prevented Hawk from getting involved, the Freebirds tossed Animal over the top rope to the floor. Hawk took exception and physically removed Young from the situation.
  • Young then called for the bell as Hawk gave the Freebirds a double noggin knocker.
  • The Freebirds won by DQ.

Rating: **1/2

Summary:  Certainly a match to excite the Troy faithful.

After the match, Hawk manhandles both Freebirds by himself. When Animal re-enters the ring, the Road Warriors give Hayes a double clothesline.

At ringside, Ross interviews Funk with Hart. While Funk states that he’s not a quitter, Hart warns him not to embarrass Texas tonight. Funk responds by wanting to do this alone. I smell foreshadowing.

Prior to the commercial break, a promo for Starrcade ’89: Future Shock was shown. It will air live on PPV on 12/13.

Afterward, Ross introduces Pro Wrestling Illustrated’s Bill Apter who bestows the “Most Popular Wrestler” award to Sting in the form of a huge trophy. Next, Apter bestows the “Wrestler of the Decade” award to Flair. According to Apter’s book, because the WWF had its own magazine, PWI got involved with the NWA to boost both companies. Nevertheless, Flair receives a huge trophy as well.

After a commercial break, Woman cuts a pre-recorded promo and warns Rick Steiner about a “large surprise” for him. I wonder if it will have a big bow on it.

Match 2: Doom (w/ Woman) versus “Wildfire” Tommy Rich & “Hot Stuff” Eddie Gilbert

Highlights:

  • I wonder if any bookie gave Rich & Gilbert a chance to win this match.
  • Regardless, Gilbert hooked a side headlock on Simmons but got tossed aside.
  • As Simmons flexed for the Troy faithful, Gilbert rolled him up but couldn’t secure a 1-count.
  • He then face-planted Simmons and strutted.
  • Rich tagged in, mounted the second turnbuckle, and lowered the boom on Simmons.
  • When Reed tagged in, he leap-frogged Rich and attempted a hip toss.
  • However, Rich reversed it and countered with one of his own.
  • Gilbert tagged in, leap-frogged Reed, but received a sidewalk slam.
  • Reed then delivered a vertical suplex as Simmons tagged in.
  • Uniquely, Simmons then used his head rather than his knee to give Gilbert a gutbuster.
  • Reed tagged in and put a knee into Gilbert’s midsection.
  • Next, he gave Gilbert a swinging neckbreaker for 2.
  • After Rich tagged in, he gave Reed an elbow smash followed by a shot to the midsection.
  • Upon giving Reed a back drop, all four men were in the ring.
  • While Gilbert occupied the anonymous referee’s attention, Reed hoisted Rich up.
  • Simmons then mounted the second turnbuckle and clotheslined Rich.
  • 1-2-3.
  • Doom won.

Rating: *1/2

Summary: Showcase match for Doom.

After a commercial break, Cornette hosts a live edition of the Louisville Slugger, and his guests are the Steiners. When Cornette questions Scott about his use of the huracanrana (not named), Rick calls it the “Frankensteiner.” While Rick refers to Sid as “Herman Munster,” Scott is ready for the Skyscrapers tonight. Regarding Doom and Woman, Scott states that Woman “ain’t no lady.” Yikes!

Match 3: The Midnight Express versus the Dynamic Dudes

Highlights:

  • Cornette was in a neutral corner for this match.
  • After Eaton failed to win over Cornette for the Midnight Express’ corner, Douglas attempted an abdominal stretch on him.
  • Eaton escaped but succumbed to an arm drag.
  • Lane tagged in, but Douglas hip-tossed him and dropkicked Eaton.
  • While Eaton distracted referee Nick Patrick, Lane pulled Douglas down by the hair.
  • Cornette got up on the apron to object to these shenanigans to no avail.
  • As Ace distracted Patrick, Douglas rolled up Lane but only got 2.
  • Ace tagged in, caught Lane’s foot, and evaded his enziguri attempt.
  • He then reversed an Irish whip and delivered a pair of dropkicks to Lane.
  • Upon receiving a slam, Lane tagged out to Eaton.
  • After a leap frog, Ace delivered a pair of dropkicks to Eaton.
  • He then gave Eaton a baseball slide sending him to the floor.
  • With Ace’s assistance, Douglas gave Eaton a plancha. Wow!
  • Back in the ring, Lane tagged in and gave Douglas a belly-to-back suplex.
  • Shortly after, Eaton placed Douglas atop the top turnbuckle and attempted a superplex.
  • Douglas escaped and rolled up Eaton for 2.
  • He then leaped to the second turnbuckle, hit a cross body block, and got another 2.
  • Shortly after, Ace blocked a hip toss from Eaton and gave him one instead.
  • He then followed with a monkey flip.
  • When he attempted a flying headscissors, Douglas occupied Patrick’s attention. In the meantime, Lane nailed Ace to a raucous ovation.
  • Lane tagged in and gave Ace a series of kicks in the corner.
  • Next, he delivered a side Russian leg sweep.
  • As Eaton tagged in and mounted the top turnbuckle, the Midnight Express attempted the Rocket Launcher, but Ace raised his knees.
  • Lukewarm tag to Douglas.
  • Upon giving Eaton a back drop, Douglas delivered a Samoan drop for only 2 thanks to a save by Lane.
  • All four men were in the ring.
  • Having procured a chain, Eaton received a back drop from Douglas.
  • With Patrick occupied with Ace and Lane, Cornette entered the ring to instruct Eaton to nail Douglas with it.
  • On the other hand, when Cornette instructed Douglas to get Eaton, he WALLOPED Douglas in the back with the racquet. The Troy faithful ERUPTED!
  • 1-2-3.
  • Midnight Express won.

Rating: ****

Summary:  Great story as Cornette’s allegiance lied solely with his original team. If they had pulled that stunt with another babyface team, it would have been a great heel turn, but since the crowds had grown apathetic toward the Dudes, the Troy faithful cheered the angle with mustard.

Match 4: “Dr. Death” Steve Williams versus Super Destroyer

Highlights:

  • For those unaware, Super Destroyer was portrayed by everyone’s favorite wrestler—Jack Victory!
  • As Williams made his entrance, Santa Claus came to the ring. Ross revealed his identity as Norman the Lunatic. I guess it wasn’t that secret.
  • Upon receiving a shoulder block, Super Destroyer tossed Williams between the ropes to the floor.
  • When Williams returned, he gave Super Destroyer a quadruple-military press slam.
  • Next, he clotheslined Super Destroyer sending him between the ropes to the floor.
  • Back in the ring, Williams gave Super Destroyer a cross corner whip followed by the Oklahoma Stampede.
  • 1-2-3.
  • Williams won.

Rating: DUD

Summary:  Showcase match for Williams.

After the match, Norman enters the ring and gives Williams a tiny teddy bear as a gift and a hug.

Match 5: Rick & Scott Steiner versus the Skyscrapers (w/ Teddy Long)

Highlights:

  • Scott came to the ring alone as Rick gave away free popcorn. Hey, Rick! The previous match was the popcorn match. Not this one. Get it straight!
  • Despite Spivey’s best efforts, Rick gave him a German release suplex.
  • He then gave Spivey a Steinerline sending him over the top rope to the floor.
  • Back in the ring, Spivey gave Rick a tombstone but only got 2 thanks to a save by Scott.
  • Scott tagged in and gave Spivey a Frankensteiner.
  • Sid came in and received a fallaway slam from Scott. As a result, Sid supposedly broke a rib and punctured one of his lungs. Could this mark the implosion of the Skyscrapers?
  • Upon giving Scott a cross-corner whip, Sid came up empty on his follow-through.
  • Spivey tagged in, and the Skyscrapers gave Scott a dropkick/clothesline combo that resulted in a 360° sell. Wow!
  • Spivey then gave Scott a tilt-a-whirl slam followed by a big boot.
  • Scott then blocked a vertical suplex and delivered one of his own.
  • He then gave Spivey a Steinerline and tagged in Rick.
  • Upon giving Spivey a Steinerline, Rick delivered a powerslam.
  • When Sid came in, the Steiners gave him a double clothesline sending him between the ropes to the floor.
  • As Doom came to the ring, Scott gave one of them a Frankensteiner.
  • Rick then gave Spivey a belly-to-belly suplex as Young called for the bell.

Rating: ***

Summary:  Yet again, the Skyscrapers don’t lay down, but the feud between the Steiners and Doom is heating up.

After the match, Rick clotheslines one of the members of Doom so Woman nails him with her high-heeled shoe. Before Rick can get his revenge on Woman, an unknown giant comes into the ring. Meanwhile, Doom and the Skyscrapers give Rick a spike piledriver. As the unknown giant takes Woman back to the locker room, the Road Warriors hit the ring to even the odds. To finish the segment, a six-way brawl breaks out as the Troy faithful ERUPTS again.

For those unaware, the unknown giant is Tyler Mane. If the name sounds familiar, it should. If you are a horror movie fan, he portrays Michael Myers in Rob Zombie’s Halloween movies. And, if you are a comic book fan, he portrays Sabretooth in the X-Men movies.

After a commercial break, Ross interviews both the Steiners and Road Warriors. They’re ready for Doom and the Skyscrapers at Starrcade.

Match 6 for the NWA US title: The “Total Package” Lex Luger (champion) versus Brian Pillman

Highlights:

  • Pillman must be taking this title shot seriously because he didn’t have a cheerleading squad with him. Although I wouldn’t have put it past TBS to bring this guy out instead.
  • According to Ross, Starrcade will have both a single and tag team iron man tournament.
  • Sorry, Robert, not until 2008.
  • After two leap frogs, Pillman gave Luger a dropkick.
  • Upon receiving a second dropkick, Luger sought refuge outside the ring.
  • Luger then gave Pillman a cross-corner whip, but Pillman floated over and delivered a knee lift.
  • Pillman then attempted a clothesline but Luger ducked.
  • When Pillman sailed over the top rope, he caught himself and skinned the cat back into the ring.
  • After giving Pillman another cross-corner whip, Luger ate knees on his follow-through.
  • Pillman then mounted the top turnbuckle and delivered a missile dropkick for 2.
  • Upon yanking Luger’s arm on the top rope, Pillman rammed it into the ring post and the steel railing.
  • Back in the ring, Luger gave Pillman a third cross-corner whip that resulted in a sternum-first bump.
  • Luger then followed with a belly-to-back suplex.
  • After a gorilla press slam, Luger military-pressed Pillman and dropped him like a bad habit.
  • Upon giving Pillman a pair of elbow drops, Luger used momentum to toss Pillman between the ropes to the floor.
  • Luger then joined and gave Pillman a double axe handle.
  • After slamming Pillman on the floor, Luger used a vertical suplex to return Pillman to the ring. That got 2.
  • Pillman then surprised Luger with a rollup for 2.
  • Upon receiving a powerslam, Pillman rolled up Luger for another 2.
  • Luger then reversed an Irish whip, missed a clothesline, but ate one himself.
  • Pillman then gave Luger a cross-corner whip followed by a back drop.
  • Next, he mounted the top turnbuckle, hit a flying body press, but knocked down referee Nick Patrick in doing so.
  • Due to Patrick’s being OUT COLD, a pair of false pins occurred.
  • After receiving a dropkick, Luger went outside the ring.
  • He then took ring announcer Gary Michael Cappetta’s chair and WALLOPED Pillman into the middle of 1991.
  • 1-2-3.
  • Luger retained.

Rating: ****

Summary:  Much better heel work from Luger as he found a nefarious way to keep his title.

After the match, Luger brings the chair back into the ring, throws down Patrick, and nails PIllman in the back with the chair. He then applies the Torture Rack until Sting comes to Pillman’s aid. Having taken the microphone, Luger challenges Sting who rebuts by calling Luger “an arrogant snothead” and slapping him. Drooling over the impending dream match, the Troy faithful ERUPTS until Luger backs away. As Luger walks down the aisle, Sting nails him. Add another ½* for the excellent post-match angle.

Prior to the main event, a pre-recorded promo by Flair aired. He emphasized how humiliating yet final the “I Quit” stipulation was. Just ask Tully Blanchard.

Match 7 (non-title I Quit): NWA World Champion “Nature Boy” Ric Flair versus Terry Funk (w/ Gary Hart)

Highlights:

  • With a quartet of women in evening gowns, Flair made his entrance.
  • Solie believed that if Flair lost, he would abdicate the title. If true, that would make front-page news.
  • Before the match began, Funk got on the wired microphone and asked Flair to quit to no avail.
  • After Funk missed a chop, Flair chopped him over the top rope to the floor.
  • Upon Funk’s return, Flair gave him consecutive cross-corner whips followed by a chop.
  • Funk then sought refuge outside the ring, but Flair leaped from the apron and delivered a double axe handle.
  • Shortly after, Funk tossed Flair outside the ring, joined, and made him taste the steel railing. It must have tasted like the Chow-Chow at Dinosaur BBQ.
  • Funk then grabbed the wireless microphone and nailed Flair with it.
  • Back in the ring, Funk hammered Flair in the corner while begging for the microphone.
  • When Flair refused to quit, he gave Funk an inverted atomic drop.
  • Funk retaliated with a swinging neckbreaker. Nice nod to Flair’s injury earlier in the year.
  • A series of chops by Flair sent Funk between the ropes to the floor.
  • Flair then joined and made Funk taste the steel railing twice. Waiter, could you give the ornery Texan the diablo Cajun chicken with a Dinosaur ape hanger please?
  • Back in the ring, Flair asked Funk to quit but was unsuccessful.
  • When Flair turned his attention to Hart, Funk nailed him from behind.
  • He then gave Flair another swinging neckbreaker.
  • “You remember your neck, Flair? Don’t you want to quit before I hurt you?” asked Funk.
  • Before Funk piledrove him, Flair refused to quit.
  • Funk then delivered the piledriver, but Flair refused again.
  • Afterward, Funk gave Flair a standing leg drop and rammed the back of his head into the mat.
  • He then tossed Flair outside the ring, joined, and delivered a piledriver on the concrete floor.
  • GET OUT THE SPATULA!
  • While Ross and Solie contemplated the end of Flair’s career, Funk hammered Flair with the wireless microphone.
  • Upon giving Flair a pair of elbow smashes, Funk tossed Flair outside the ring again.
  • He then slammed Flair on a ringside table.
  • Funk then positioned the table, but Flair rammed Funk face-first into it.
  • After Flair repositioned the table, he jumped on Funk’s back.
  • He then chopped Funk and sent him sailing across the table into a steel chair. It resembled a horizontal high striker but without the bell ringing at the top.
  • When Hart attempted to protect Funk from the riled-up Troy faithful, Flair grabbed him and gave him an elbow smash.
  • Flair then crotched Funk on the steel railing and chopped the hide off Funk’s chest.
  • Back in the ring, Flair gave Funk a knee drop to the head followed by another inverted atomic drop.
  • After working on Funk’s left leg, Flair unleashed a series of chops.
  • Funk then sought refuge outside the ring, but Flair followed and jumped on his back again.
  • He then carried Funk back to the ring and gave him a knee crusher.
  • With Funk on the apron, Flair used a vertical suplex to return him to the ring.
  • Flair then attempted the figure-four leg lock, but Funk raked his eyes.
  • Upon sending Flair to the apron, Funk tried to suplex him back in, but Flair blocked and suplexed him on the HARD apron. OUCH!
  • Flair then rammed Funk’s knee into the apron.
  • He then applied the figure-four leg lock.
  • Will Funk quit?
  • “No, never!” quipped Funk.
  • As Flair cinched the hold tighter, Funk complained about his leg breaking.
  • “Yes, I quit” proclaimed Funk.
  • Flair won.

Rating: *****

Summary:  Brutal battle that cemented a great feud between Flair and Funk.

After the match, an irate Hart enters the ring and throws his jacket down in disgust. Funk then gets on the wireless microphone and shakes Flair’s hand like a gentleman. Hart then nails Funk, but Flair nails him in Funk’s defense. Suddenly, Muta and the Dragon Master (Kendo Nagasaki) come to the ring to double-team Flair.

Sting then hits the ring to assist Flair and gives the Dragon Master a Stinger splash. Flair comes back by giving Muta a belly-to-back suplex as Sting applies the Scorpion death lock to Dragon Master. Flair then hooks the figure-four leg lock on Muta as Luger comes to the ring. When Luger brings a chair with him, he OBLITERATES Sting in the back with it. Next, Flair brawls with Luger until Muta nails Flair in the back with the chair.

While Sting is OUT COLD due to the chair shot, Hart hits Funk in his injured leg with the branding iron. As the heels exit the ring, the babyfaces lie on the mat battered and bruised. Luger then goes to the area where the trophies are stationed and smashes them with the steel chair. How dastardly! Add another ½* for the incredible post-match chaos.

Conclusion:  Phenomenal show that completed the Funk-Flair feud and included several great matches. In turn, it also set the table for Starrcade ’89. Without any doubt, I cannot recommend this show any higher. Well done, WCW!

See you for WWF Survivor Series ‘89!

Rating: 4.90

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