Rock Star Gary reflects on NWA Chi-Town Rumble ’89

NWA Chi-Town Rumble

Live from Chicago, IL

Airdate: February 20, 1989

Attendance:  7,500 (5,500 paid)

Hosted by Jim Ross & Magnum T.A.

Can the NWA keep up with the WWF and give us a great show?

After Ross and Magnum preview tonight’s card, highlights of recent NWA action is shown.

Backstage, Bob Caudle interviews a fired-up Hayes.

Match 1: Michael P.S. Hayes versus Russian Assassin #1 (w/ Paul Jones)


  • Interestingly, having spent quite a bit of time in Atlanta, I never noticed where Badstreet USA was, but it must have intersected a street named Peachtree at some point.
  • After a hip toss by Russian Assassin #1, he tried to give Hayes an atomic drop. Hayes, however, blocked it and clotheslined Russian Assassin #1 down to the mat.
  • Upon hopping to the second turnbuckle to incite the Chicago faithful, Hayes delivered a fist drop. He then ventured to an adjacent second turnbuckle and repeated the move earning a 1-count.
  • After a back elbow, Hayes performed his patented strut but without the moonwalk. I feel ripped off.
  • As Russian Assassin #1 missed a haymaker, Hayes successfully hooked a sunset flip for 2.
  • Russian Assassin #1 came back and tossed Hayes outside the ring, but Hayes returned immediately and nailed him.
  • While Hayes came off the ropes, Russian Assassin #1 delivered a knee to the midsection.
  • After giving Hayes an elbow smash to the head, Russian Assassin #1 delivered the Russian sickle and got 2. After all, he wasn’t Nikita Koloff.
  • As the Chicago faithful chanted “U-S-A,” Hayes tried a cross body block and got another 1-count.
  • Immediately, Russian Assassin #1 responded with Russian sickle #2 for two.
  • Shortly after, he gave Hayes a cross-corner whip followed by another knee to the midsection.
  • Hayes then reversed a cross-corner whip and delivered a corner clothesline.
  • While Russian Assassin #1 distracted the anonymous referee, Jones nailed Hayes. SNEAKY!
  • Hayes came back and gave Russian Assassin #1 the ten-top-turnbuckle count-along.
  • He then attempted a bulldog, but Russian Assassin #1 shrugged him off.
  • Upon blocking a vertical suplex, Hayes delivered one of his own but missed an elbow drop.
  • After Russian Assassin #1 gave Hayes a cross-corner whip, he came up empty on his follow-through.
  • At the fifteen-minute mark, Hayes gave Russian Assassin #1 the ten-punch count-along.
  • When Russian Assassin gave Hayes an Irish whip, Hayes came off the ropes and delivered a DDT.
  • 1-2-3.
  • Hayes won.

Rating: **1/2

Summary:  Hayes did his job by firing up the Chicago faithful, yet the outcome of this match was never in doubt.

Backstage, Caudle interviews Steamboat with his then-wife Bonnie and son Richie. Steamboat believes that his time has come.

Match 2: Sting versus “Hacksaw” Butch Reed (w/ Hiro Matsuda)


  • After Reed missed a haymaker, Sting gave him an atomic drop.
  • Sting then used two leap frogs along with momentum to take down Reed.
  • Following a pair of dropkicks by Sting, Reed sought refuge outside the ring.
  • After a leap frog by Reed, Sting gave him a backslide for 2.
  • Once again, Reed sought refuge and advice from Matsuda outside the ring.
  • Upon his return, Reed gave Sting a cross-corner whip but came up empty on his follow-through.
  • Behind the back of referee Teddy Long, Sting bit Reed’s hand.
  • Reed then tossed Sting down to the floor.
  • When Sting got up on the apron, Reed guillotined him using the top rope.
  • As Sting returned to the ring, Reed guillotined him using the top rope again.
  • He then mounted the second turnbuckle and nailed Sting with a double axe handle for 2.
  • At the ten-minute mark, Reed delivered a fist drop.
  • While Reed distracted Long, Matsuda gave Sting the business.
  • Reed then used a rope-assisted rear chin lock to generate heat. Well, it IS cold in Chicago in February.
  • Nonetheless, Sting came back, slammed Reed, mounted the second turnbuckle, but hit knees when attempting the Vader bomb.
  • Reed then missed a flying clothesline and landed on the floor.
  • To return Reed to the ring, Sting suplexed him from the apron.
  • After a 2-count, Reed tossed Sting outside the ring.
  • As a snap mare brought Sting back in, Reed gave him a swinging neckbreaker for 2.
  • To counter a reverse chin lock, Sting delivered a jaw breaker.
  • After Reed missed a pair of clotheslines, Sting nailed him with one.
  • Upon giving Reed a back drop, Sting followed with an elbow drop.
  • While Reed tossed Sting outside the ring, Sting came back with a sunset flip, but Reed sat down to counter. He then hooked the second rope for leverage, but Long caught him.
  • Sting then completed the sunset flip and got the pin.

Rating: ***

Summary: Those lessons while wrestling Flair have paid off for Sting as his matches have good flow. In addition, his comebacks are timely, and he earned a good win over a veteran heel.

After the match, Reed and Sting brawl until Sting knocks Reed through the ropes to the floor.

Backstage, Caudle interviews Dangerously with Randy Rose and…Jack Victory? Where’s Dennis Condrey? According to Dangerously, he’s still in Aspen, CO. In actuality, Condrey took the money and ran off to Continental.

After the heels make their entrance, Caudle interviews Cornette with Lane and Eaton. Cornette’s not happy about the curveball, but he’ll hit it better than Cerrano.

Match 3 (loser leaves town six-man): The Midnight Express (w/ Jim Cornette) versus the Original Midnight Express (w/ Paul E. Dangerously)


  • Aha! Now we know why Russian Assassin #2 wasn’t in his partner’s corner earlier tonight.
  • Question for the masses: if Victory loses the fall, will Russian Assassin #1 hit the ring and turn on him?
  • After a slam by Rose to Lane, he mounted the top turnbuckle. Lane caught and slammed him down to the mat.
  • He then clotheslined Rose over the top rope to the floor.
  • Victory tagged in but fell victim to the tandem drop toehold/elbow drop. An elbow drop by Cornette finished off the triple-team.
  • Lane tagged in and gave Victory a back elbow.
  • Shortly after, Cornette tagged in and nailed Rose.
  • Rose then held Lane so Dangerously could hit him, but Lane switched so Dangerously walloped his partner instead.
  • As Dangerously profusely apologized to Rose, Lane rolled up Rose for 1.
  • After Eaton knocked Rose outside the ring, Rose grabbed Eaton and launched him into the steel railing. OUCH!
  • Back in the ring, Rose slammed Eaton and tagged in Dangerously.
  • Upon receiving a few stomps from Dangerously, Eaton nailed him causing the man in pink and white to scurry back to his corner to tag out.
  • Cornette tagged in and challenged Dangerously to tag back in.
  • Rose slammed him and tagged in Dangerously.
  • Upon nailing Cornette, Dangerously got 2 with a powerful kick-out from Cornette. I wonder if his Italian beef sandwich from earlier had protein powder in it.
  • While Dangerously showboated, Cornette returned to his feet, spun Dangerously around, and nailed him.
  • Rose tagged in and clotheslined Cornette.
  • Victory tagged in, gave Cornette a few shots, but received a bulldog from Eaton.
  • Lane tagged in and delivered a dropkick to Victory.
  • Rose tagged in, slammed Lane, and got 2.
  • After a clothesline, Rose kicked Lane to the floor.
  • While Eaton distracted referee Tommy Young, Victory leaped from the apron and gave Lane a double axe handle. He then rammed Lane face-first into the floor mat.
  • As Victory distracted Young, Rose mounted the second turnbuckle and nailed Lane on the floor.
  • Back in the ring, Rose delivered a sidewalk slam to Lane and got 2.
  • Rose then attempted a piledriver but received a back drop instead.
  • Victory tagged in and gave Victory a belly-to-back suplex.
  • Shortly after, Victory gave Lane a cross-corner whip but ate boot on his follow-through.
  • Eaton tagged in and gave Victory a back drop.
  • After a slam, Eaton mounted the top turnbuckle and hit a missile dropkick.
  • He then forced the tag to Dangerously, nailed him, and tagged in Cornette to a HUGE response from the Chicago faithful.
  • He then gave Dangerously a clothesline, but Rose made the save.
  • Sans managers, all four wrestlers were in the ring.
  • After Rose slammed Lane, he mounted the top turnbuckle but missed a splash.
  • Lane then attempted a cover but only got 2 thanks to a save by Victory.
  • Rose and Victory then gave Eaton a double back elbow.
  • After Rose and Victory rammed into one another, Lane and Eaton gave Rose the double flapjack.
  • 1-2-3!
  • Rose must leave the NWA!

Rating: ****

Summary:  Putting Victory into Condrey’s spot did not take away from the story of this match. It was exciting and action-packed. Kudos to those involved.

Backstage, Caudle interviews Flair with Matsuda. As you would expect, he runs down Steamboat and claims he’ll retain his title later. Is that so?

Match 4 for the NWA World TV title: Rick Steiner (champion w/ Scott Steiner) versus Mike Rotunda


  • After some mat wrestling, Rick reversed an Irish whip, prepped for a Steinerline, but Rotunda sought refuge outside the ring.
  • Back in the ring, Rotunda tried a hip toss, but Rick countered with one of his own.
  • He then mowed down Rotunda with a Steinerline that only got 2 thanks to Rotunda’s foot on the bottom rope.
  • Rotunda then hooked a rope-assisted abdominal stretch until referee Teddy Long caught him.
  • Shortly after, Rick reversed a cross-corner whip, but Rotunda leaped to the second turnbuckle and hit a cross body block. Shockingly, Rick reversed momentum and got 2.
  • After a back drop, Rick got another 2.
  • Rick then slammed Rotunda, mounted the top turnbuckle, but missed a splash.
  • Upon tossing Rick outside the ring, Rotunda joined and rammed him head-first into the ring post.
  • Rick was BUSTED OPEN!
  • Back in the ring, Rick delivered a powerslam for 2.
  • Suddenly, Kevin Sullivan got on the microphone and threatened bodily harm to Rick’s dog.
  • After Rick was confused about what to do about his dog, Rotunda gave him a belly-to-back suplex for 2 but missed a dropkick.
  • Rick came back with the ten-punch count-along, applied a sleeper, but fell back-first to the mat.
  • 1-2-3.

Rating: *1/2

Summary:  Very slow match that used Rick’s intellectual level as an angle.

Backstage, Caudle interviews the Road Warriors with Ellering. I wonder if the NWA will screw over the Chicago crowd by jobbing the Warriors again. I wouldn’t double-cross these guys.

Match 5 for the NWA US title: Barry Windham (champion w/ Hiro Matsuda) versus the “Total Package” Lex Luger


  • After a leap frog, Luger applied a sleeper, but Windham countered with a belly-to-back suplex.
  • As you might expect, Luger no-sold it. Sigh.
  • Upon giving Windham an atomic drop, Luger gorilla-press-slammed him.
  • While Windham gave Luger a cross-corner whip, Luger held Windham’s arm and gave him a shot to the midsection.
  • Luger then attempted the ten-punch count-along, but Windham countered with an inverted atomic drop.
  • Amazingly, Luger blocked it and leveled Windham with a clothesline.
  • He then reversed an Irish whip and gave Windham a back drop for 2.
  • After a powerslam, Luger mounted the top turnbuckle, but missed a flying shoulder block.
  • Luger fell outside the ring so Windham leaped from the apron and delivered a forearm smash.
  • He then rammed Luger face-first into a ringside table and the apron.
  • Luger was BUSTED OPEN!
  • With Luger on the apron, Windham returned him to the ring via a vertical suplex.
  • As Ross termed this a battle between offensive tackle and wide receiver, Windham delivered a lariat that spilled Luger to the floor.
  • Windham followed Luger and made him taste the steel railing. It must have tasted like the Jumbo Gumbo at Buddy Guy’s Legends.
  • When Luger pulled himself up, he leaned against the ring post. Windham sought to nail Luger but HIT THE POLE instead.
  • Back in the ring, Windham nailed Luger but hurt his hand further in doing so.
  • Windham’s hand was BUSTED OPEN!
  • Even so, Windham applied the claw, but the pain overcame him so he released the hold.
  • After a powerslam, Windham got 2.
  • He then placed Luger up on the top turnbuckle, joined him, and hit the superplex.
  • After an elbow drop, Windham almost got 3.
  • He then gave Luger a belly-to-back suplex, forgot the bridge, and pinned himself. Luger raised his shoulder at 2.

Rating: ***1/2

Summary:  Good chemistry between the former CWF stars. The psychology of Windham’s “broken” hand played well into the match as well.

After the match, Windham takes exception to Luger’s triumph and gives him a piledriver on the US title belt. What a sore loser! He then nails Luger with the belt before leaving.

Backstage, Caudle interviews the NEW World TV champion Rotunda. About as interesting as you’d expect.

Match 6 for the NWA World tag team titles: The Road Warriors (champions w/ “Precious” Paul Ellering) versus US tag team champions the Varsity Club


  • Sullivan gave Animal a cross-corner whip followed by a clothesline. Animal promptly no-sold it and clotheslined Sullivan down to the mat.
  • He then gave Sullivan a cross-corner whip but ate boot on his follow-through.
  • Sullivan then mounted the top turnbuckle, leaped, but got caught and powerslammed for 2.
  • Williams tagged in as the Chicago faithful chanted “LOD” for their hometown heroes.
  • Animal then reversed an Irish whip and delivered a powerslam to Williams.
  • Hawk tagged in as Williams sought refuge outside the ring.
  • When Williams returned, he gave Hawk a military press slam but missed an elbow drop.
  • After Hawk leveled Williams with a clothesline, the Road Warriors knocked the bejeezus out of Williams with a double clothesline for 2.
  • While Sullivan tagged in, Hawk distracted referee Teddy Long. In the meantime, Sullivan tossed Animal over the top rope to the floor. How dastardly!
  • He then joined Animal and nailed him in the shoulder with a steel chair.
  • Next, he leaped from the apron and gave Animal a double axe handle.
  • Back in the ring, Williams gave Animal a single-leg dropkick for 2.
  • Sullivan tagged in and gave Animal a double stomp to the midsection.
  • Williams returned and gave Animal a hammerlock slam. Somewhere between Worcester, MA and South Bend, IN, Arn Anderson allegedly was miffed at the gimmick infringement.
  • Regardless, Williams gave Animal a cross-corner whip but came up empty on his follow-through.
  • Shortly after, Williams mounted (and stumbled over) the second turnbuckle, and delivered a double axe handle to Animal’s shoulder.
  • Animal then attempted a comeback, but both men clotheslined one another down to the mat.
  • Hot tag Hawk.
  • After a powerslam, Hawk delivered a fist drop to Sullivan then clotheslined Williams out of his boots.
  • Upon giving Sullivan a flying shoulder block, Hawk only got 2 thanks to a save by Williams.
  • All four men were in the ring.
  • As the Road Warriors attempted the Doomsday Device, Williams undercut Animal’s legs.
  • From the top turnbuckle, Hawk hit Sullivan with a flying clothesline.
  • As Hawk pinned Sullivan, Williams attempted to pin Animal.
  • Who won?
  • According to Long, the Road Warriors retained.

Rating: ***1/2

Summary:   Though not technically crisp, this was an exciting big man tag match. The NWA certainly tried to screw over the Road Warriors again but to no avail.

In the locker room, Caudle interviews the NEW US champion Luger whose head is bandaged and his neck is “jammed.” No, not like that.

We then see highlights of the Flair/Windham-Steamboat/Gilbert match from 1/21. Next, we revisit Clash V and the brawl between Flair and Steamboat.

Match 8 for the NWA World title: “Nature Boy” Ric Flair (champion w/ Hiro Matsuda) versus Ricky “The Dragon” Steamboat


  • When Flair made his entrance, an attractive blonde gave him a rose bouquet in exchange for a kiss.
  • After a shoulder block, Steamboat got a quick 2-count right off the bat.
  • He then hooked a rollup and got another 2.
  • Flair then sought refuge outside the ring as Brad Muster of the Chicago Bears looked on.
  • Upon Flair’s return, Steamboat gave him a cross-corner whip followed by a back drop.
  • After a chop by Flair, Steamboat chopped Flair down to the mat.
  • He then gave Flair a dropkick and almost pinned him off a side head lock.
  • Next, he reversed a cross-corner whip and chopped Flair almost in two.
  • Do we have a new champion?
  • 1-2-NO!
  • Again, Flair sought refuge outside the ring.
  • After a leap frog, Steamboat chopped Flair so hard that he fell between the ropes to the floor.
  • When Flair returned, Steamboat gave him a hip toss followed by a flying headscissors and a dropkick.
  • Upon receiving a back elbow from Flair, Steamboat chopped him over the top rope to the floor.
  • Flair then dragged Steamboat under the bottom rope and made him taste the steel railing. It must have tasted like the Feature Burger at the Green Door Tavern.
  • Steamboat must have still been hungry so Flair made him eat some more. Waiter, please give the reptilian man the Kentucky Truck Stop Pork Chop.
  • Back in the ring, Flair gave Steamboat a knee drop for a series of 2-counts.
  • After hooking a butterfly suplex, Flair got a 1-count.
  • Steamboat came back and gave Flair a cross-corner whip which resulted in a Flair flip.
  • Flair ran across to the adjacent turnbuckle, mounted the top of it, and hit a flying body press.
  • Steamboat, however, used momentum to land on top and got 2.
  • He then attempted the ten-punch count-along, but Flair countered with an inverted atomic drop.
  • Flair then applied a rope-assisted figure-four leg lock as the Chicago faithful chanted “Steam-boat.”
  • After getting a series of 2-counts, referee Tommy Young caught Flair using the ropes and broke the hold.
  • As Steamboat missed a chop, Flair hit a cross body block that sent both wrestlers flying over the top rope to the floor.
  • Flair then rammed Steamboat shoulder-first into the ring post.
  • With Steamboat on the apron, Flair brought him in with a vertical suplex.
  • Will Flair retain the title here?
  • 1-2-NO!
  • After another pair of 2-counts, Flair gave Steamboat a belly-to-back suplex for another 2.
  • He then gave Steamboat a backbreaker, attempted a pin with his feet on the ropes, and got yet another 2.
  • While Flair told a Chicago fat boy to shut his mouth, Steamboat rolled him up for 2.
  • Flair then gave Steamboat a cross-corner whip, but Steamboat jumped to the second turnbuckle, leaped, but hit nothing but air.
  • On the other hand, Steamboat came back and hooked a gutwrench suplex for only 2 because Flair put his foot on the bottom rope.
  • Flair then attempted a hip toss, but Steamboat countered with a backslide.
  • Can Steamboat repeat what Kerry Von Erich accomplished in 1984?
  • 1-2-NO!
  • After Flair gave Steamboat another cross-corner whip, Steamboat clotheslined him putting both men down on the mat.
  • After hitting a flying chop, Steamboat mounted the top turnbuckle and hit another flying chop.
  • Again, Steamboat mounted the top turnbuckle, hit a flying body press, but knocked down Young along with Flair.
  • Young was OUT COLD.
  • As Steamboat tried to assist Young to his feet, Flair rolled him up, hooked the tights, but could only earn a false pin.
  • Seeing that Young was still down, Flair tossed Steamboat over the top rope. SNEAKY!
  • But Steamboat only landed on the apron, so he mounted the top turnbuckle again.
  • Once again, he came up empty as Flair eluded him.
  • Smelling blood, Flair attempted to hook the figure-four leg lock once again.
  • However, Steamboat countered with an inside cradle.
  • Referee Teddy Long entered the ring to take over for Young.
  • He counted 1-2-3!

Rating: *****

Summary:  Wow! Wow! And wow! What an amazing ride Flair and Steamboat took us on as they left everything they had out there on the mat.

Back in the locker room, Caudle interviews the NEW HEAVYWEIGHT CHAMPION OF THE WORLD. While Steamboat tries to talk, the babyfaces shower him in champagne. Goggles would have been good for Steamboat to keep the bubbly out of his eyes.

Conclusion:  On paper, this looked to be a one-match show, but with three title changes and four extremely good matches, this show is a must-see. To top it off, the historical significance of this show is off the charts with the Flair-Steamboat match included. Get…all…this!

See you for WWF Saturday Night’s Main Event XX!

Rating: 1.50

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