The SK Retro Rant for Clash of the Champions IX: New York Knockout! – Tony Hawk Pro Skater 2 is my BITCH! Okay, so I’ve only gotten the bronze in the Bullring level, but there was a few hours there when I didn’t think I’d even clear the Philly level, so I’ll take what I can get. (Later on I would play the game over and over and generally clear the whole thing in an hour or so. Tony Hawk really needs to just do a damn reboot of the series on the next gen systems and stop trying to make the shitty peripherals a thing.) – Quick terminology bit for anyone else besides the person who e-mailed me last night about this: When I say “blind charge”, it’s my little bit of shorthand for one person standing in the corner and the other guy running in like a maniac. I call it “blind” because the guy doing the charging is never really paying attention and misses whatever he was attempting 99.9% of the time. – Live from Troy, NY – Your hosts are Jim Ross & Gordon Solie. – Opening match: The Freebirds v. The Road Warriors. This is non-title and the ‘Birds don’t have the belts with them. At the same time, Ross hypes a title defense against the Steiners on the edition of World Championship Wrestling upcoming that week. You do the math. (I was told there wouldn’t be math!) Mucho stalling to start from the Freebirds, as the Warriors toy with them off and on. Freebirds cheat and get a quick advantage on Animal, but Hawk flips out and decks the ref for the lame DQ at 5:19. This was nothing. ½* – Bill Apter gives Sting the “Most Popular” award for 1989, and Flair the “Wrestler of the Decade” one. Flair beat Hogan in a rigged vote by the “fans” to win the honor. Shockingly, no one runs out and smashes the trophies. – Doom v. Tommy Rich & Eddie Gilbert. Capetta rips off my gag, introducing them as the “TAG TEAM COMBINATION OF DOOM!” Oh, wait, I guess he’s not being sarcastic. Gilbert and Rich manage to hold off Doom with armbars, but Doom quickly comes back and hits a double-team clothesline on Rich for the pin at 5:12. Pretty much a squash. * – Jim Cornette interviews the Steiner Brothers, and Scott officially names his finisher: The Frankensteiner. (Still one of the greatest moves and names of all time. Talk about hitting a home run on all fronts.) – The Dynamic Dudes v. The Midnight Express. Speaking of Cornette, over the course of 1989 he gradually grew apart from the Midnight Express and began mentoring the Dynamic Dumbasses, thus annoying the Midnights so much that they fell into a losing streak as a result. So they signed a match with the Dudes behind Cornette’s back, and thus Cornette is in a neutral corner. (Much like Liz at Wrestlemania V, but without the disturbing implied domestic abuse.) Eaton and Douglas start and Shane makes with the armdrags. Gotta think Shane is upset at having Johnny be his boss now. (What, Johnny Ace works at Target, too?) Shane fights off a standard Express double-team, but Lane takes him down and works the arm. But Cornette suddenly jumps up and tells the ref about Lane’s hair-pulling tactics. Ace comes in and blocks Lane’s enzuigiri attempt, thanks to Cornette’s coaching, see? He hits a pair of dropkicks, and the same for Eaton. Eaton bails and Shane hits the DORKY SURFER OUTTA CONTROL PLANCHA. Nice. Back in, the Dudes continue working the armdrags. Bobby simply punches Shane in the mouth to counter (drawing a huge face pop) and tries a superplex, but Shane escapes and rolls him up for two. Cross body gets two. Ace comes in and Eaton can’t get the advantage on him, either. Finally, a cheapshot from Lane turns the tide, and the crowd pops HUGE. Russian legsweep sets up the Rocket Launcher, but again the Dudes counter. Shane comes in on fire, as a weird suplex on Eaton gets two, but Eaton finds a chain. Cornette comes in to even things up, grabbing the chain from him and tossing it into the crowd. Shane goes for the kill…and Cornette waffles him with the tennis racket, drawing a monster pop from the crowd. Eaton gets the pin at 8:35, thus killing the Dudes’ WCW push once and for all, as the Express is reunited and rejuvenated. **3/4 (I popped so HUGE when I first saw this.) – Steve Williams v. The Super Destroyer. Using cost-effective booking, the Destroyer would be used later in the night. He’s just a huge masked jobber, although one you’ve probably seen recently, albeit not in any wrestling promotion. The answer in the next match. Williams crushes him with the Oklahoma Stampede powerslam at 1:40. DUD – The Steiners v. The Skyscrapers. Rick makes a late entrance, after giving away some popcorn in the audience. Rick hits a release german suplex on Spivey to start, and a Steinerline sends him flying. Spivey comes back with a vicious looking tombstone for two. Scott comes in and hits a Frankensteiner on Spivey out of nowhere, then hits Sid with a fallaway slam as he charges. Interesting side-effect of that move: Scott’s head came down too hard on Sid’s chest and punctured his lung, putting him out of action for months and screwing up the NWA’s booking plans for a lot of things. As a result, they needed a replacement, so they brought in a big goof from Memphis called Master of Pain who had been bugging them for a job for weeks. He wrestled under a variation of his real name, and the newest Skyscraper was “Mean” Mark Callous. I’m sure you know what became of him after that. Anyway, back to this match: Sid tags in and misses a blind charge, but the Skyscrapers manage to gain control of Scott anyway. Spivey hits a tilt-a-whirl slam and big boot. Scott comes back with a vertical suplex and Steinerline, and makes the hot tag to Rick. Steiners put Sid out, and Rick hits a belly-to-belly on Spivey as Doom runs in for the DQ at 5:02. Amazingly, Scott catches Simmons with a Frankensteiner in mid-run from an impossible angle. WHAT THE HELL HAPPENED TO HIM? Woman’s new bodyguard, Nitron, debuts and joins in the brawl. Nitron was the guy who was Super Destroyer in the last match. So what, you say? Well, Nitron’s real name is Tyler Mane, and he’s the guy who played Sabretooth in the X-Men movie. So there you go. ** (He’s also from RIGHT HERE in Saskatoon! I believe him and Kim Coates are the only semi-famous people from this city at the moment.) – US title match: Lex Luger v. Brian Pillman. Long tie-up sequence to start. Crowd chants for Luger, so he tells them to shut up. That’ll learn ‘em. Pillman gets two dropkicks and Luger bails. Back in, Luger punishes him with rights, but Pillman uses his speed to escape. Luger bails again to regroup, and overpowers Pillman. Pillman retaliates with some CANADIAN VIOLENCE, and Luger tosses him. Pillman hangs out and skins-the-cat back in, then nails a spinkick. Luger retreats again, completely negating those face pops he was getting. Pillman goes up and hits a missile dropkick for two, and some more chops. He rams Luger’s arm into the post and they brawl outside. Back in, Pillman works the arm. Luger comes back with a backdrop suplex and a running kick to the head. Two points! Long press slam is followed by a Warrior gorilla press. Two big elbows, but Pillman fights back. Luger dumps him, and slams him on the floor. He suplexes him back in for two. Pillman suddenly gets a cradle for two, but Luger powerslams him to set up the Rack. He takes too long posing, and Pillman cradles him again. A vicious slugfest ends in Pillman’s favor (and not just the usual WWF “I block your punch, you don’t block mine” type one either – this was a pretty even fight) and he comes back. Backdrop sets up a flying bodypress, but the ref is bumped in the process. Rollup, no ref. Luger bails, grabs a chair, and absolutely destroys Pillman with a chairshot for the pin at 12:53. Great match. **** Sting saves Pillman from further punishment. Man, hindsight being 20/20, they should have put the title on Pillman before pushing Luger to the top again. – “I Quit” Match: Ric Flair v. Terry Funk. Loser must retire here. BWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAH! A Flair chop sends Funk over the top. Back in, more chops. No one ever said Funk couldn’t take it LIKE A MAN, that’s for sure. Funk bails and Flair follows, continuing the chops. Into the ring, Funk goes to the eyes and kicks him like an egg-sucking dog. Flair comes back with a chop, but Funk sucks it up and tosses Flair. He pounds him on the railing, then nails him with the mike. Flair chops back, and back in we go. Funk pounds away, but gets atomic-dropped. Flair puts his head down and takes a neckbreaker, thus playing off the injury Funk gave him to set up this whole feud. They fight outside. Funk runs back in, but Flair pulls him out and keeps punishing him with those chops. He tries to choke Terry into submission back in the ring, but Gary hart distracts him and Funk comes back. Another neckbreaker sets up a weak-looking piledriver (after Funk offers Flair a chance to say “I Quit” first). Funk always use that lame Memphis piledriver where they overcompensate for injury and just kinda fall back. I hate that one. I was just watching the Best of Dynamite Kid compilation from RF Video tonight, and he absolutely killed Tiger Mask with that inverted cradle piledriver that Jerry Lynn won the title with at the PPV. Now THAT’S how to piledrive someone. Now where was I…oh, yeah, Flair won’t quit, so Funk drops a leg and tries again. Funk tosses him out and piledrives him on the floor, still no quit in Flair. Funk slams him on a table at ringside, but Flair fights back. He rams Funk into the table, then sends Funk sliding over the table and back to the floor. Flair kills Gary Hart for good measure, then crotches Funk on the railing. Back in, Flair goes to the kneedrop and atomic drop, then Jim Ross nearly has an orgasm as Flair starts to work on the leg. He does a wicked awesome sequence where he alternates chopping Funk and kicking him in the leg, leaving the poor guy to run away in pain and confusion. Flair tackles him on the floor and gives him a kneebreaker on the floor. High suplex back into the ring, and it’s figure-four time. Funk fights it off and retreats, but Flair suplexes him over the top and to the apron, then hits some absolutely surgical chops. Funk is done, and Flair slaps on the figure-four and holds on for a good two minutes until Funk says “I quit” at 18:33. Funk and Flair shake hands, then Hart punks out Funk. Muta joins the attack, taking out Flair, and Sting makes the save. Lex Luger then nails everyone with a chair to set up the disastrous Iron Man tournament at Starrcade 89. The match here, though, was an awesomely intense and violent brawl, unmatched by almost any brawl done by Flair. ***** The Bottom Line: Hey, it’s Clash IX. This show has a reputation for a reason, and it’s because of two great matches and a killer Midnight Express heel turn. As an overall show, it’s kinda weak, but that’s picking nits. Strongly recommended.