Clash of the Champions Count-Up – #5: Someone Hit Me With A Blunt Instrument.

Clash of the Champions 5: St. Valentine’s Day Massacre
Date: February 15, 1989
Location: CSU Convocation Center, Cleveland, Ohio
Attendance: 5,000
Commentators: Jim Ross, Magnum TA

I was going to do a WCW Saturday Night but it was partially cut off so I took it off my list and you get this instead. This is a buildup show to Chi-Town Rumble which means that other than the world title match, there isn’t much to build up to. The main event is for the six man titles, which actually did exist. There’s probably a reason you’re not familiar with them though. Let’s get to it.

Steamboat is ready for tonight.

Magnum and Jim talk about the US Tag Title match, which is under Freebird Rules. The main event is Sting/JYD/Michael Hayes vs. the LOD/Tenryu for the six man titles.

Midnight Express vs. Russian Assassins

We hear the director tell the announcer to talk. The Russians combine to weigh 288lbs. I don’t think that’s correct. If nothing else we get to hear the Express’ music which is still awesome. Lane starts with let’s say #1. One of them is Jack Victory and the other is Angel of Death. JR says that Russian #1 weighs 330lbs, kind of disproving the combined 288. Lane fires off his kicks and it’s quickly off to Bobby for some arm work.

And here’s a random kid in the crowd wearing sunglasses. The cameramen in this era had some odd tendencies to jump around like that. Off to Lane vs. #2 and we look at more fans. Bobby is already back in and they’re tagging very fast. Lane is back in and we get an inset promo from Paul E about the Midnight Express vs. Midnight Express match on Monday at the PPV.

Bobby escapes the heel corner and Paul jumps in on commentary. Well in theory he does as JR introduced him but there’s no Dangerously. Cornette and the Russian manager Paul Jones almost get into a fight. Ok now Dangerously is here. He talks about his game plan which is to speed things up. Cornette BLASTS an Assassin with the tennis racket and dances a bit.

Lane beats up #2 and the Assassins hit the floor for a powwow. They switch on the floor because they’re Russians and therefore evil. Lane is playing Ricky Morton here which is ironic if nothing else. Off to a bearhug by let’s say #1. #2 comes in and hooks a snap suplex and a bearhug of his own. Why is that such a Russian move? The Assassin looks like he’s resting his head on Lane’s chest.

Stan escapes and misses something that looked like a front flip attack into the corner. Cross body gets one on the Assassin. The other one comes in as Lane stays on defense. A Russian misses something and everything breaks down. There’s the tag to Eaton and he manages to hit the Rocket Launcher for the pin on we’ll say #2.

Rating: D+. Long and not all that good. The Midnigts were awesome but this wasn’t their best year. The match was a bit longer than they needed, but this is a two and a half hour show so they needed to fill in the time somehow. That would become very evil in the next match. Be afraid as well as warned.

Ricky Steamboat says he’s back in the NWA to fight for America and the family way against bad stuff like drugs. O…..k. He’s having a tuneup match tonight. We get a clip from a Flair vs. Steamboat brawl. Steamboat wins and rips Flair’s clothes off.

Steven Casey vs. Butch Reed

Casey is an NWA career jobber that never did anything. Reed appears to be popular here but I don’t remember him ever being a face. Casey takes over to start with some speed stuff and hooks an armbar. While he does let it go a bit, he goes back to it over and over again. After about two minutes it’s broken and let’s look at the crowd. Reed stalls and here’s another fan. Then Reed stalls again. Now Reed works on the arm to mix things up a bit.

Casey is undefeated. Good for him. Now he reverses into an armbar of his own. This is looking like a LONG one people. Reed fights up, gets punched down, and it’s an armbar again. Butch goes to the floor and now it’s time for a test of strength. Casey, a blonde idiot, accepts the challenge against a guy who was billed as one of the strongest in the NWA. Casey goes down but eventually counters into, you guessed it, the armbar.

Ok this is something I talk about a lot but usually the opposite. There are a lot of people that work on limbs because it’s a very basic psychology move. The key thing though is that interesting guys mix up their attacks. Casey, a guy that had about two matches in his televised career that people can find, both of which are loses to bigger names on COTCs, is doing the same thing over and over again and it’s REALLY boring. It’s so simple yet a lot of people don’t get it.

Reed pounds him down and here’s a chinlock for some excitement. Casey gets up (finally) and tries to speed things up but he gets sent to the floor to slow things down again. A dropkick by Casey misses so let’s look at the fans again….AND BACK TO THE CHINLOCK. Reed puts a foot on the rope (the bottom one) but it doesn’t really add anything here. This is supposed to be building up Reed for Sting at the PPV. I really don’t want to see that match now so that’s a failure so far.

Casey fights back and even his punches in the corner are boring. A monkey flip puts Reed down and there are a pair of dropkicks. Reed grabs a gorilla press and again he slows things down. Dude, JUST GET IT OVER WITH ALREADY. And then he finally does with a top rope shoulder block for the pin at SEVENTEEN AND A HALF MINUTES. I’ve seen world title matches at Wrestlemania that didn’t go that long!

Rating: S. Seventeen and a half minutes for what can only be called a squash. Seriously, that’s what this was. Casey was a jobber (arguably to the stars) and he got almost twenty minutes to get beaten up by Reed. You know, other than those times where he unleashed the power of the armbar. Just awful and let this be a lesson to you: just because a match goes long, it does NOT mean it was good.

Here’s Flair and the army of women. He talks about how he’ll keep the title because he’s the champ and gets whatever he wants. Flair is in a fur coat and has the girls show off a bit. It’s the best thing going today don’t you know. He calls out Steamboat (sign of the times: you can barely understand him because the equipment isn’t that great) and here he is. Flair shows off the women and makes fun of Steamboat for being with the same woman every night.

Steamboat says he despises everything that Flair stands for and how he represents the NWA. Flair brags about all of his stuff like his suit and coat. Flair says go home and help the wife with the dishes and it’s on. Steamboat rips the clothes off again as Bob Caudle just kind of stands around. Why does Flair always wind up in just his underwear? Is it a running rib that I just don’t get? This eats up a few minutes. Hiro Matsuda, Flair’s manager, helps but Steamboat fights them off and they brawl into the crowd. Man those are loud chops. Steamboat wins and puts on Flair’s suit.

Lex Luger vs. The Blackmailer

It’s Jack Victory in another mask. Luger gets a US Title shot at the PPV and get it for the second time. That isn’t his huge 19 month reign though. He would lose the belt and win it back 15 days later. Can you tell I’m trying to fill space before we get to this? Is the Blackmailer really the best name they can come up with? Doesn’t he need to have blackmail on someone for that whole idea to work? Luger throws him around with raw power to start and here’s a fan. Seriously, what is the deal with that?

They exchange headlocks and Lex looks bored. A shoulder puts Blackmailer on the floor. Matsuda is here as well to try to scout Luger or something. Belly to belly takes down Luger but he pops right back up. For a change of pace, here’s a headlock on the mat. Powerslam puts Blackmailer down. This is just DRAGGING. Back to the headlock instead of a cover or going for a finish.

Lex gets clotheslined to the floor and this is done. I don’t mean it’s a DQ but this is just not going to recover and the show is officially done. There’s nothing left they can do to get a show out of it worth anything. Naturally, we have almost an hour to go. Blackmailer stomps him off the apron and MY GOODNESS JUST GET TO THE ENDING ALREADY!!! A sunset flip for Lex gets two and Blackmailer beats him down again.

Time for MORE CHINLOCKS. I know Victory has already had a nearly 15 minute tag match and now this but hey, MAYBE YOU SHOULD HAVE GOTTEN SOMEONE ELSE TO BE IN THIS MATCH. Lex finally fights out of it with a suplex and Hulks Up. After hitting basic power stuff, Barry Windham’s (the US Champion) superplex gets the pin.

Rating: F. I just got done watching my Cowboys lose to the Giants and now I get to see this? This was another thirteen minutes of this show that just will not go away and die like it needs to do. There’s just nothing here at all and the show should have ended a few hours ago, but here it is, still going.

Rick Steiner, who is a bit crazy and TV Champion, talks about his rematch with Rotundo at the PPV. Alex, a face drawn on his hand, will have his back.

US Tag Titles: Varsity Club vs. Fantastics

Williams and Sullivan are the champions but Rotundo is taking Sullivan’s place because he can. I’ve always liked the Fantastics so maybe this can get things going a tiny bit. Rotundo vs. Rodgers to start us off. And now let’s stall a lot. Here are more fans for those of you watching for them. Rotundo rides him on the mat for awhile and we hear that the Varsity Club wants to win by submission. Ok then.

Rodgers grabs a headlock and a clothesline gets two. Off to Williams who as I’ve explained is kind of the Brock Lesnar of his day. The Fantastics double team him with a double dropkick until it’s off to just Fulton. Williams easily takes him to the mat and hooks a chinlock, the move of the night. Rick Steiner in an inset interview says that he’ll be ready for Rotundo in Chicago. Steiner would lose the title, but he’d start a little tag team to fill in his time after that.

Back to….the fans. Rotundo is back in…and never mind he’s back out again. Rodgers’ dropkick is no sold and Williams mauls him a bit. Fulton pounds on Rotundo in the corner a bit but Williams shoves him to the floor. We get the classic referee misses the tag spot so Williams can keep beating on him even more. Williams does his always awesome gorilla press spot, where he lifts Fulton up a bunch of times in a row.

Oklahoma Stampede, Williams’ running powerslam out of the corner, is blocked and there’s the hot tag to Rodgers. He hits a middle rope fist and Williams is in a little bit of trouble. Everything breaks down and Fulton comes back in illegally. Rodgers hits a top rope cross body but Rotundo gets in a shot to the back of Rodgers for the cheating pin.

Rating: D. This was BY FAR the best match of the night so far and even it was pretty bad. The Fantastics were in over their heads will Williams who was just a machine at this point. The Club was almost done at this point but they were still a pretty solid force. Anyway though, not much here, although way better than anything else on the show up to this point.

Bob Bradley vs. Ricky Steamboat

Bradley is only somewhat known as Battle Kat from WWF. He was a weird flying guy but really bad and in a mask that would make a six year old’s work look great by comparison. Ricky’s wife and kid are here with him so I wonder how it’ll go. Steamboat knocks him to the floor with his chops and punches but Bradley gets a few slams to take over. The fans want Flair.

Bradley goes to the floor and gets in some more shots. This is going NOWHERE at all. Bradley is nothing new at all and is as generic as they come. He goes into the middle buckle and it’s off to the armbar. Here’s a not very good looking blonde in the crowd. She has nothing to do with this but we see her anyway. After a bunch of armbars, Bradley misses a top rope splash and the top rope cross body ends this.

Rating: D. Another dull match that was just another squash but at least this one was only a few minutes long as opposed to going on forever. Flair of course would win the title from Flair on Monday, but would only hold the belt for about two and a half months. That’s often forgotten: he barely had the title for long at all before Flair got it back.

Rip Morgan vs. Rick Steiner

Steiner is the TV Champion but this is non-title. Morgan’s thing is he’s from New Zealand and he used to work for the Sheepherders. Both guys are insane so this is going to be, uh, different. Rotundo says he was embarrassed by Steiner but he’ll get the title back on Monday. That’s true. Morgan pounds away to start but Steiner drills him to take over. And now let’s stall.

Morgan takes his time getting back inside the ring and fires off some knees in the corner. They ram heads and Rick loses some more. A powerslam by Steiner gets two. JR tells us AGAIN that this company has been around since 1905 and we wrestle here. First of all, it was 1948. Second of all, WHAT ELSE WOULD THIS BE??? THE COMPANY IS THE NATIONAL WRESTLING ALLIANCE. WERE YOU EXPECTING A BOWLING TOURNAMENT??? Morgan hooks a chinlock but misses a splash. Steiner fights back with basic stuff and the belly to belly ends this.

Rating: D. I know I’ve used that a lot, but my goodness this has been horrible. This show has just gone on and on and on. This was the shortest match of the night, running only about 5 minutes, but it was still another dull match that doesn’t make me want to see the matches on Monday or anything like that. At least it’s over soon.

The Six Man Title challengers are very fired up and all of them (two of them former Mid-South guys) say they’ll win. They go into a caged area and Kevin Sullivan pops up to lock them in.

Since they’re still caged in and no one in Cleveland have bolt cutters, here are the replacements.

Six Man Tag Titles: Road Warriors/Genichiro Tenryu vs. Varsity Club

Yep it’s a bait and switch main event. Big brawl to start and for some reason they’re on a wide shot. Oh ok so it’s we can watch the original challengers try to get out of the caged stairs. Everyone in this is a heel. Well in theory that is. No one knows Tenryu and and the Warriors are still popular anyway. Tenryu gets beaten down for a bit and it’s off to Williams vs. Hawk.

We’re literally on our 5th shot of the three guys trying to get out. Oh hey they did. Animal gets his arm worked on for a long time as the other three (Hayes/JYD/Sting if you’ve forgotten) aren’t here yet. Hawk’s tag isn’t seen and I have no idea if they’re good guys or bad guys. The original challengers FINALLY get here and it’s thrown out.

Rating: F. No point, no thought, no caring from me.

A huge brawl ends the show.

Overall Rating: F. This show ran two and a half hours. You could pretty easily have fit everything into about 40% of that and it would have been fine. I’ve watched about 30 Clashes now and this is BY FAR the worst one. There’s no point in most of this and these matches didn’t make me want to watch Chi-Town Rumble at all. It was a good show too, which makes this show all the worse. Absolutely horrible show and I need a stiff drink.

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