The SmarK Rant for Clash of the Champions I Turns out I haven’t actually done this show since 98ish, and that’s just ridiculous. So everyone should know the deal with this by now, as Jim Crockett decided to run a free TV special to fuck with Wrestlemania IV, and it worked spectacularly well, tanking the buyrate and making a star out of Sting. My wrestling friends in school were PUMPED about this show back in the day and we were crushed to find out that it was on TBS and thus we couldn’t see it on TV here in Canada. Also, thank god this is the original TV version and not the home video one. Live from Greensboro, NC Your hosts are Jim Ross, Tony Schiavone & Bob Caudle World TV title: Mike Rotundo v. Jimmy Garvin This is under amateur rules, which is a weird way to kick off a big show. A one-count wins and there’s rounds. Rotundo goes for a single-leg and pulls the tights to do so, but Garvin takes him down with a slam and Rotundo bails. Interesting tension here in that any cover basically ends it. Garvin works on a facelock and they threaten to exchange fisticuffs, but Teddy Long breaks them up. Rotundo gets a clothesline and goes for the cover, but Garvin rolls to his stomach as the round expires. Second round and Rotundo attacks and goes up (like they do in amateur wrestling), which allows Garvin to slam him off. Garvin with the brainbuster, but he goes after Kevin Sullivan and Rotundo rolls him up for the pin at 6:45 to retain. And then Precious kicks some serious ass, laying out Rick Steiner with a 2×4 and choking Sullivan down with a coat hanger. Nothing much to this. *1/2 Steve Williams returns from Japan to offer his support for Dusty Rhodes and challenge Ric Flair. So, uh, Dr. Death with a live mic, bad idea. US tag team titles: The Midnight Express v. The Fantastics Oh man, “Chase” has been expunged from the Midnights’ entrance! That’s criminal. Big brawl to start and Fulton goes crazy with a chair, taking out Eaton on the floor and then chasing the Express into another brawl outside. This time the Express gets the best of it, as Lane lays Fulton out with a chair and even Cornette is throwing shit around. JR notes that they’re not here “to listen to rock n roll music and look good”. Clearly. In the ring, the Fantastics toss them around, but finally the Express gets their shit together and takes out Rogers with a Total Elimination. That’s more like it. Superkick from Lane and Cornette blatantly holds up a table, as Eaton sends Rogers into it behind the ref’s back. Now THAT’S some spectacular cheating. Eaton with a powerslam and flying elbow and they pound on Rogers in the corner. Demolition-style flying knee from Eaton as the crowd is going batshit. I love that they don’t just do the standard “punch and kick in the corner” stuff for the heel offense here, it’s crazy double-teams and non-stop action. Lane tosses Rogers after a hope spot and Eaton slams him on the table, and he’s still moving so Eaton bulldogs him on the table as well. Back in, more awesome double-teaming, but Rogers lunges over for the hot tag…which the ref doesn’t see. And then Cornette leaps in and starts hitting him with the tennis racket to boot. He hits the wrong guy, however, and the Fantastics hit Eaton with the Rocket Launcher for the pin and the titles at 10:20? Nope, as in fact the ref had been thrown over the top rope and thus it’s a Dusty Finish instead. Crappy finish, but it at least built to the Fantastics winning the belts for real soon after. This was just crazy action from start to finish. ****1/4 Meanwhile, Jim Cornette does a comedy routine with Eddie Haskell. Gary Hart introduces us to Vince Russo’s twin brother Al Perez, who wants Dusty’s US title. Notice how the babyfaces make sure to support Dusty and the heels challenge Dusty? And now the top 10 seeds for the Crockett Cup, many of which ended up not happening due to re-booking stuff: 10. Ivan Koloff & Dick Murdoch 9. Sting & Ron Garvin 8. Varsity Club 7. Fantastics 6. Windham & Luger 5. Powers of Pain 4. Midnight Express 3. Road Warriors 2. Nikita & Dusty 1. Arn Anderson & Tully Blanchard Chicago Street Fight: Dusty Rhodes & The Road Warriors v. The Powers of Pain & Ivan Koloff The ropes are wrapped in barbed wire just for fun. Animal is wearing a hockey mask due to having a weight dropped on his face, so he’s rather upset. The babyfaces beat on the Powers and of course Dusty is the first one to bleed. The poor ref just stands around outside waiting for a pinfall, and Animal quickly finishes Barbarian with a powerslam. Just a big messy brawl, nothing to it. ½* Nikita Koloff is back and he’s high on SPORTS, not drugs. Also, Dusty Rhodes is his friend. NWA World tag team titles: Tully Blanchard & Arn Anderson v. Barry Windham & Lex Luger The Horsemen had been champions forever and teaming up Windham & Luger was the nuclear option to deal with the problem once and for all. It not only made it sweeter for fans when they succeeded, but made the Horsemen seems all the more terrible when they outsmarted everyone and got the belts back again. Ah, those were the days. Farewell to Luger’s music, by the way. Luger overpowers Tully to start, and clotheslines both champions. Powerslam for Tully and he racks him, but Arn kicks him in the knee and quickly goes to work on it. The Horsemen switch off on the knee, but Barry gets a quick tag and cleans house. Lariat for Tully and he drops the knee, and his own powerslam gets two. Sleeper and Tully rolls out to escape, but Barry just hangs on. Tully tries going up and gets slammed off, and Windham follows with an abdominal stretch, leaving him open for a DDT from AA. That gets two. The crowd is just insane for the faces, popping for everything. Spinebuster gets two and Arn does the knucklelock spot and lands on Windham’s knees, but brings Tully back in as he pounds away for two. Windham comes back with a bodypress for two and they collide, setting up the pinfall reversal spot. Windham reverses the bridge into a gutwrench suplex, but Anderson cuts off the tag and works on the arm. Windham fights out of it, but Arn takes him down again, and they butt heads. Back to Tully for the slingshot suplex, but that only gets two. Arn can’t cut off another tag, and Luger is HERE. Clotheslines for everyone and the crowd is just going crazy as Luger is no-selling everything. Tully trips him up, but Luger comes right back with a powerslam for Arn and it’s BONZO GONZO. JJ grabs a chair, but Luger rams Arn into it and the pop redefines the term “blowing the roof off the joint at 9:34, ****1/4 Not only some of the loudest sustained heat for any match you’ll ever hear, but one of the fasted-paced tag team matches you’ll ever see, as they just packed everything but the kitchen sink into a 10-minute match and threw it all there. Also highly recommended is the rematch where Windham turned on Luger and ripped the hearts out of fans everywhere: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JVk0NgwtwLI NWA World title: Ric Flair v. Sting So this is Sting’s first big shot at the title, with a 45-minute TV time limit and a panel of judges to make sure there’s a winner. Including Jason Hervey and Eddie Haskell, so you know they mean business. Sting grabs the headlock to start and powers Flair down off a wristlock. They do the test of strength and Flair opts to chop out of it, but Sting no-sells it and hiptosses him out of the ring. Back in, Sting controls with a hammerlock and they criss-cross into a press-slam from Sting. Sting takes him down with a flying headscissors into the hiptoss, and back to the headlock again. Flair fights up and hiptosses out of it, but Sting counters and goes right back to it again. Flair fights up and Sting hiptosses him and tries another dropkick, but Flair dodges him. Sting gets tossed but pops right back in and fires away in the corner, then right back to the headlock again. Flair chops out of it and they slug it out in the corner, and Sting gets another press slam, into the bearhug. Flair makes it to the corner to escape and Sting tries to follow with the Stinger splash, but misses and hits his arm on the post. Flair is all over him, tossing him and running him into the railing. Back in, Flair throws the chops and Sting goes down, so Flair hammers on the back. Kneedrop times two and Flair rips at the face just to be a bastard. He rakes the face on the ropes and fires more chops in the corner, and Sting ends up on the floor again. Flair sends him into the railing again and they head back in so Flair can chop him again. Sting gets fired up, though, and slugs Flair right out of the ring, but charges at Flair and hits the post. So the arm is hurt again and Flair goes to town back in the ring, but Sting pops up and slugs away in the corner. Clothesline gets two. Flair tries to make a run for it, but Sting suplexes him back in and into the Scorpion Deathlock. Flair quickly makes the ropes, so Sting takes Flair to the corner again and shrugs off a chop. He slugs Flair down for two, but Ric is in the ropes again. Sting hiptosses him and tries a clothesline, but Flair moves and Sting hits the floor again. Flair takes a breather, but Sting comes in with a high cross for two. Flair catches him with the kneecrusher, however, and starts pounding on the knee. Another kneecrusher and Sting bails to the floor. Back in, Flair pounds on the knee again and adds a backdrop suplex, and now we go to school! Flair uses the ropes to assist as usual, but Sting powers into the reversal. Flair is up first, however, and goes after the knee again, then sets up on the apron for a suplex. Crowd freaks out, but Sting suplexes him back in instead, only to miss a big splash. They fight for the abdominal stretch and Sting wins that, but Flair hiptosses out. Flair chops him down and goes up, but Sting slams him off for two. He pulls Flair into the corner and posts him, then gets his own figure-four. Flair escapes, so Sting stomps on the knee again and yanks him out of the corner to work on the leg again. Flair Flip and he hits the floor, but Sting follows and beats on him. Flair tries a sunset flip back in, but Sting slugs him down and rakes Flair’s face on the ropes. Sting fires away in the corner, then no-sells Flair’s atomic drop and clotheslines him for two. Stinger splash misses and Sting hits the floor in dramatic fashion. Back in, they slug it out and Flair goes down, but comes back with a sleeper, so Sting rams him into the turnbuckle to break. Flair tosses him in desperation, but Sting comes back in with a sunset flip, which Flair blocks for two. Young kicks him out of the ropes and Sting gets two. Flair begs off and Sting whips him out, but Flair comes in with a high cross, reversed by Sting for two. Sting no-sells all of Flair’s offense now, hammering him in the corner to set up the Stinger splash. Scorpion Deathlock with time running out, but Flair hangs on until the time limit at 45:00. The decision: Two judges for Flair, two for Sting, one for a draw. Silly booking aside, I definitely gave this one short shrift on the original rant, as the full match flows much better and you can see the storyline of young and hungry Sting fighting for his life but not knowing how to finish. Definitely a modern classic. ****1/2 The Pulse Are you KIDDING me? This is the one of the best wrestling shows in HISTORY, full stop, with three **** matches in a two-hour span. Yet another reason to justify the $10 for the Network.