Clash Countdown #5

The SK Retro Rant for NWA Clash of the Champions V: St. Valentine’s Massacre (So, uh, this is a pretty famous rant, although not for reasons that had anything to do with the show I was watching.)  – Ever have one of those weeks?   I had actually promised this rant and the next one last week, and was finishing this one on Friday night, when life interjected itself. The first kink in the hose of my existence was when Sean Shannon e-mailed me in the morning and basically resigned as my webmaster, transferring over all the rights to the Rantsylvania domain name to me and basically ending with “don’t write back, I won’t be able to read it”. (Of course THAT relationship ended up even further down the toilet when all was said and done.)  So that’s fine, Sean was suffering a lot of grief and personal problems and it was time for a change anyway, so I contacted Jeremy Botter about taking over for him. He was gung-ho to get started right away, and we had a good ICQ conversation where we planned some preliminary stuff while I worked on this rant. (ICQ?  I know these letters of the alphabet but now how they fit together.)  About 6:00 my time, I was getting ready to grab some dinner, and went into my kitchen, only to hear bells coming from the hallway. I figured they were testing the fire alarms again, so I peeked out my front door…and got a faceful of smoke. Oh, shit. I went onto the balcony to get a better look, and saw smoke pouring out of the main entrance to my apartment building and from the windows above. And about 12 other tenants yelling at me to get out. Well, that’s always a fun feeling. I ran back to my room and grabbed my wallet and keys (unfortunately not taking the time to change from sweats to something a little warmer) and my jacket, and hit the front door again…and this time I apparently walked right into the fire, which had now made it’s way from the basement to the second floor, eating it’s way up the wall in the process. (That was fucking TERRIFYING.  Seeing it in the movies doesn’t do the whoosh of flame in your face justice.)  Ironic moment: There’s a fire extinguisher right outside that front door, and we later returned to find it melted and mangled by the fire. I later found out that the brief exposure to the fire had in fact quite dramatically singed the front of my hair, which made for the most disgusting-smelling showers I’ve ever taken later on. Burnt hair is NOT pleasant, trust me. I headed back to my balcony again, and thankfully there’s a fire station about a block away from that apartment complex because the firemen were there and got me down with a ladder. However, I then had to endure watching my living room wall go up in flames and the fireman demolish my front room in order to put it out. My poor beleaguered couch was tossed out the front window like a failed effigy and came to it’s final smoldering rest on the ground below. I had a wooden lamp in the shape of an “S”, given to me by my dad years ago, and that made for good kindling too, I guess, along with the portion of my book collection that was sitting next to that main wall. (Given the benefit of hindsight I would have made sure to have a copy of Fahrenheit 451 in there, just for the irony.)  I called Rahim and Karim to pick me up, and after questions from the fire department was left to stand around in the sub-zero cold for almost an hour and watch my apartment burn. (Zen was at work and this was in the days before text messaging, so I ended up leaving him about 18 voice mails before he finally called back.)  I got interviewed by about 4 news stations and papers at once (if you’re in Edmonton, you may have seen me on the evening news. I don’t think they got my good side – I was understandably looking like shit that night). I didn’t even stick around long enough to watch them put the fire out, I couldn’t really take it. – We returned the next day to survey the damage, fearing the worst. The couch, as mentioned, was torched. Both the loveseats had been hosed down by the fire department and were also useless to me. The bulk of my CD collection, in a carousel by the wall, was for the most part baked, although all the good ones had been safely moved to my room months ago. (Although I lost both volumes of Use Your Illusion, which bummed me out considerably.)  My surround speakers didn’t even turn up until hours later, buried under a pile of rubble and melted into sludge. To call the living room a “disaster area” doesn’t do it justice, and once the pictures are developed  (Geez, might as well have a dinosaur chip it on a stone tablet like in Flintstones while you’re at it, grampa) I’m going to scan them and post them on Delphi (Could this BE any more dated?) to demonstrate how fun a day this was for me. To summarize, the wall was gone, destroyed by fire, although the door survived intact. The floor had been ripped apart by the fire department to get to the apartment below mine, and a wrong step on my part actually collapsed the remainder of it, leaving only the supports and a narrow walkway on either side of the room. (Yeah, that hurt, as I crotched myself on the support beam like Ric Flair on the top rope.  Thankfully it kept me from falling all the way to the floor of the apartment below me.)  The most amazing thing? Everything I had counted on losing – from the Playstation 1 & 2 / Dreamcast / N64 (Might as well just paint Call of Duty scenes on cave walls there, grampa) to the entire home theater setup – actually survived with minimal damage, aside from a disgusting smoke smell that permeated everything in the entire apartment. By the way, Febreze REALLY DOES WORK. Honest to god, they have my endorsement whenever they want it. Everything else in the apartment was untouched by the fire, because thankfully the damage had been contained to the living room. The last information on the fire has it pegged as arson, so if whoever did it is reading this, may I send out a hearty “fuck off and die” and hope something really nasty happens to you as a result, and we’ll leave it at that.  (As we recently found out on Place To Be podcast, it was in fact a run-in with Vince McMahon that I had forgotten about all these years, as he burned down the building in retribution for a bad rating given to a HHH match.)  – The owners of the building, Boardwalk, who I’ve tagged as the evil empire on many occasions for many good reasons, must have been exceptionally worried about the PR nightmare this was gonna cause, because they immediately offered a new apartment in any of their properties and reimbursement for the transfer fees with the cable, phone and power companies. So we picked a new place three blocks away that afternoon, and with a huge team effort on Sunday were moved in by that night. Thanks to Rahim, Karim, John, Bill, Andrew and everyone else who offered help that night. The new apartment is much larger, much nicer, and is on the ground floor, so that if it happens again, I can at least just slide out the window with a mininum of trouble. Just kidding. I think.  (So yeah, that relationship with Boardwalk reverted back to our previous antagonistic one after a couple of years, ending with them evicting me, and me leaving the apartment trashed on the way out as a final “fuck you” to them.)  – Addendum: I was feeling exceptionally lucky that night thanks to the minimal damage, so I bought an instant win ticket and $5 of lottery tickets. I won $10 on the scratch-and-win, and didn’t match a single number on the lottery. I don’t know what that means, and I don’t really care to think about it. – Live from Cleveland, OH – Your hosts are Jim Ross & Magnum T.A. – Opening match: The Russian Assassins v. The Midnight Express. Okay, let’s go over it again so you don’t have to ask the Rick: The Assassins are current Corino flunky Jack Victory (Highspot!) and the Angel of Death. And they were neither Russian nor Assassins. Talk amongst yourselves. Lane controls #1 with kicks, and the Express work on his arm. #2 comes in and gets killed with doubleteams. Eaton gets caught in theheel corner, so Lane beats up Paul Jones to break up the momentum. Pop quiz: Who was more useless as a manager, Jones or Gary Hart? (Gary Hart was at least a good booker.)  If you’ve never heard of either, that just reinforces my point. Jim Cornette adds a tennis racket shot to a Russian. Russians do the EVIL COMMUNIST SWITCHEROO OF DOOM and Lane plays face-in-peril. Totally dull bearhuggishness follows. That lasts forever (give or take 7 minutes) until Eaton gets the hot tag. Rocket Launcher finishes at 13:08. Extended squash for the Midnights, for whom 1989 was not exactly their banner year. *1/2 – Ricky Steamboat offers some words for Ric Flair, leading to their Chi-Town Rumble match a few days after this show. – Steve Casey v. “Hacksaw” Butch Reed. This is some high-quality stuff they’re booking to hype that PPV. Casey is a pretty ripped Stan Lane-ish type wrestler who just never clicked, despite endless pimping by the announcers. Perhaps his total lack of emotion and/or charisma had something to do with it. He gets a quick dropkick and armdrag to avoid Reed’s power. Armbar lasts a while, so the crack camera team cuts to a couple making out in the audience to amuse us. CALL THE RTC! Reed escapes and stalls. Then he works on the arm. Casey reverses and Reed stalls again. Reed was particularly good at that. The “crowd shots to ring shots” ratio for the camera work is going up by the second as the crew cuts to the crowd to make the match seem less boring. Test of strength doesn’t help the pace any. Reed cheats and hammers Casey. More stalling follows. Normally I’d insert some goofy bit in here to amuse myself, but all my “A” material is at the cleaners right now, so you’ll just have to suffer with me. You know, one thing I would like to point out: Bad wrestling I can abide, because at least there’s things to mock. But boring wrestling is 100 times worse, because you have to keep paying attention in case the pace actually picks up or something interesting happens. Truly great bad wrestling allows the viewer to blissfully tune out without missing anything. Casey makes the comeback, but gets clobbered and chinlocked, and THAT goes on for a while. Reed tosses Casey and stalls. This may be the most boring match ever. (Spoken like someone who hadn’t watched Steve Williams v. The Italian Stallion yet.)  Suplex gets two. Whoa! A near-fall! Casey misses a dropkick, and Reed goes back to the chinlock, redeeming himself somewhat by putting his feet on the ropes. Casey mounts the comeback with the enemy pummel and a dropkick, but Reed catches him with a press-slam and finishes with the flying shoulderblock at 17:34. THANK GOD IT’S OVER! Who the hell booked this to go 18 minutes? Dusty Rhodes is a lunatic, but at least he had the common sense he was born with. ½*  (Hey now, let’s not say anything we can’t take back.)  – Ric Flair and his entourage of escorts are out for a pre-PPV gloating session. Nothing out of the ordinary gets said – “I’ll keep the title against Steamboat, yada yada” – until Steamboat comes out to rebut. Flair’s a bad person, blah blah. Cue the brawl, as Steamboat destroys Flair and rips his clothes off, but Hiro Matsuda attacks and they beat him down. They brawl into the now-super-hot crowd until Flair retreats. Boring interview, GREAT brawl. – Lex Luger v. The Blackmailer. The Blackmailer is Jack Victory working double-duty under another mask. Hiro Matsuda is managing him in order to build interest for Luger’s match with Barry Windham at Chi-Town Rumble. Luger casually overpowers Mr. Mailer to start. Headlock sequence goes on a while. I retract my statement about the last match being the most boring ever. Luger misses a lariat and hits the floor. Blackmailer knocks him off a couple of time, but Luger sunset flips in. Blackmailer hits the chinlock. Can’t really blame Victory for being gassed after a 13-minute opener against the Midnights. Luger gets a suplex and comes back, no-selling all kinds of offense, then finishes with a superplex at 12:51. WHY WHY WHY did we need 13 minutes for this? ½*  (I’m guessing the Blackmailer had incriminating photos of someone?)  – US Tag Team title match: Steve Williams & Mike Rotunda v. The Fantastics. Cap’n Mike is subbing for Kevin Sullivan, thus pre-dating the Triad by 10 years. Hey, remember the Triad? Me neither. – Note: The above was the last paragraph I had typed before my apartment burned down. Thankfully I saved the document before going to check on the commotion. Carrying on… – Mucho stallo to start, as Ross ponders the possibility of a Varsity Club submission victory, as though anyone might actually care about such a thing. Slugfest between Doc and Fulton puts Fulton in the heel corner, but Rogers gets in and gets beaten up. Standard stuff here. Fulton comes in and takes a longer beating. Doc works in a four-rep press-slam, but Fulton blocks the Oklahoma Stampede. Hot tag Rogers, and he’s a house of fi…oh, wait, bad choice of metaphor this week. He’s REALLY ANGRY! There, that’s better. Rogers gets dumped, but comes off the top with a flying something on Williams. God, that was ugly. Rotundo nails him in the head and puts Doc on top for the pin at 13:22. The point of this completely eludes me, but it was an okay match. ** – Rick Steamboat v. Bob Bradley. Speaking of the point eluding me, this is the match they chose with less than a week to go before Rick’s big shot at Flair on PPV. Bradley had one notable stint playing Battle Kat in the WWF, but that’s about the limit of interesting things to say about him. (Well, now he’s dead, so there’s that.)  To show how over Steamboat was, the fans chant “We want Flair”. Steamboat hits a series of slams and Bradley bails. Bob comes back with a pair of slams and a lariat, but a blind charge misses and Steamboat goes to the arm. We Want Flair again. Bradley gets a chop off two leapfrogs, then a sideslam. Top rope move misses and Steamboat ends it with the usual at 6:23. Not half bad for a moronic choice of squash, but that’s not a ringing endorsement or anything. *1/2 – Rick Steiner v. Rip Morgan. What is this, NWA Main Event? Rick finishes quick with the belly-to-belly at 4:38, as I rapidly lose patience with this show. ½* – Kevin Sullivan locks Sting, JYD and Michael Hayes in a cage backstage, just to screw us out of the advertised main event of… – World Six-Man title: The Road Warriors & Tenryu v. Sting, JYD and Michael Hayes. Sting’s team is still locked in the back, so the Varsity Club hits the ring for an impromptu brawl that ends in a double DQ at 5:56. STUPID STUPID STUPID. The Bottom Line: The very definition of a throwaway show. No purpose, no real highlights, no good matches. Thank god it led to the greatest series of matches ever. Strong recommendation to avoid.  (Also strong recommendation to avoid having your apartment building burn down.)