On This Day: June 2, 1988 – Clash of the Champions #2: Dusty and Sting vs. The Horsemen

Clash of the Champions 2: Miami Mayhem
Date: June 8, 1988
Location: James L. Knight Center, Miami, Florida
Attendance: 2,400
Commentators: Bob Caudle, Tony Schiavone

It’s the second show in this series and the main event, while still a big match, isn’t quite Sting vs. Flair for the title. Instead Sting and Dusty are teaming up to take on Arn and Tully for the tag titles. They really didn’t know what they were doing yet with this stuff so it’s kind of hard to know what to expect. We’re building to Bash 88 here so there’s that to look forward to. Let’s get to it.

Various people are here, namely being “celebrities” that aren’t really celebrities.

Ah let’s make sure to talk about the NWA promoters because the NWA actually thinks that either they mean something or that anyone other than them cares.

It’s going to be really hard to take Tony seriously with that porn stache. He and Bob run down the card.

US Title: Barry Windham vs. Brad Armstrong

Barry is champion here of course and would hold the title for about 9 months and is a Horseman here. Feeling out process to start as we look at a random sign in the audience instead of an armdrag by Brad. Now let’s look at Dillon in the middle of a move. Are these guys following the TNA playbook for camera cuts? Brad gets a slam and Barry chills on the floor a bit.

Headlock takeover by Brad as we hit the mat. After a solid sequence on the mat, Barry heads into the corner to hide as this is taking its sweet time. Windham starts using his power but can’t hit a big elbow. Crowd is red hot here. Off to the headlock to waste some time and QUIT CUTTING TO THE FREAKING CROWD!!! It’s like this show has ADD or something.

Big slam hits as this is almost all Armstrong. Off to another chinlock as they keep getting going and then stopping which is rather annoying. Windham gets out of the way and the Horseman takes over. Powerslam gets two. Figure four goes on because when you have a monster like Windham, the right thing is to have him use a submission hold on a body part he hasn’t touched all match. This is what we mean by bad psychology.

You know Teddy, if you actually watched the wrestlers you might see something happen. I guess he looks at Dillon’s hair and gets jealous or something. This hold goes on longer than should be humanly possible but that’s wrestling for you I guess. This hold has been on for over two minutes now. Windham is either really bad at this hold or Armstrong has legs of steel.

JJ tries to cheat for about the tenth time so the referee finally breaks it. Slam sets up Barry to go up top, only to miss a big elbow. Brad fires off and the fans are loving this. Top rope cross body gets two. Brad tries a second one but Barry rolls through it and grabs the Claw, his EVIL finisher, for the pin. That was a pretty sweet ending actually.

Rating: C+. Not bad here overall with the fans making this a lot better. The figure four in the middle kills it but the times where they were moving out there were really good. The ending helped it a lot as they needed a good ending to carry it through. Not a great match or anything but Armstrong rarely was bad and this was no exception.

Now it’s time for the show to grind to a screeching halt as we plug a sitcom about wrestling with a football player that will air this fall. It’s called Learning the Ropes which is about a teacher that moonlights as a wrestler and the NWA guys were on the show also. Now here are some of the issues: first of all the football player playing the main character stood about 6’7 and had a dark complexion (white, but with darker skin). He was played by the nearly pale and 6’1 Dr. Death Steve Williams for his matches as he wrestled in a mask as a jobber to the stars. Somehow, this lasted a whole season. The 80s never stop amazing me.

Anyway we’re told that the wrestlers are great athletes and how some of them are better athletes than the football players. We get a clip of the show which is more like a promo for it than a clip. This couldn’t be more 80s if they tried. Naturally this needs to be shown for so much time on Clash of the Champions right?

The Rock N Roll Express return to the company and will be at the Bash. They say they’re awesome.

We see Luger and Flair signing their contract for the title match on a yacht. There are a bunch of NWA guys in there and a bunch of business people that own the Chicago Blackhawks apparently. The NWA never quite got the idea of TV did they? The signing is nothing and they both say nothing of note. Total waste of time here.

The Horsemen arrive, 40 minutes into the show. Granted we’re just told this because we don’t need to see it right?

Back and the Horsemen haven’t arrived yet. Oh ok the Horsemen are but Flair is just getting here. THEN WHY ARE THEY ALL IN FLAIR’S LIMO??? Geez people figure out the basic stuff here. Flair says the Horsemen will keep the titles tonight.

US Tag Titles: Sheepherders vs. Fantastics

The Fantastics are champions here and are Bobby Fulton and Tommy Rogers. The Sheepherders would soon jump to the WWF and change their names to the Bushwhackers. Here though they’re insane heels and rather brutal. They have a flag bearer named Rip Morgan. Luger is just getting here so let’s cut to that before the match starts. The Horsemen jump him and annihilate him, ramming his head into the car and busting him open, which would play a big role in their title match.

Oh hey it’s time for the match. So were the wrestlers just chilling there? I’d bet on a tiddlywinks tournament. Rogers and Butch start us off. Off to Luke almost immediately who gets cross bodied for two. Off to Fulton and the beating begins. We get a weird moment where the Sheepherders can’t figure out who is legal so Fulton just stands there. Out to the floor and everything breaks down. Morgan gets a flag shot in so Fulton drills him.

Fulton vs. Luke in the ring now and Luke takes him down. In theory that is because the camera cut to the crowd to show us that there are in fact people still in the building. Rogers and Luke botch something completely and make what I think was supposed to be a crucifix almost a rollup. Rogers flips through a backdrop and lands on his feet. Everything breaks down again and the Fantastics clear the ring.

Butch vs. Rogers now with Butch taking over. It’s so weird to see him as an evil guy. Off to the chinlock which doesn’t last long. We hit an abdominal stretch as the Sheepherders cheat a lot. Rogers runs into a knee for two. The official time is all over the place as they go from start to five minutes in about four and from five to ten in about three. Fulton comes in and gets stomped down IMMEDIATELY.

Luke hammers away on Fulton as this has been one extreme to the other which is kind of a weird thing to see. Fulton fires back and takes Luke down a few times and knocks Butch down as well but it’s not enough for a tag yet. Here’s another weird part of the match as Fulton takes both Sheepherders down with a cross body and covers both guys. Rogers comes back in and covers both at once again with the referee seeming all cool with it. Both of the Fantastics keep covering both Sheepherders and everyone is cool with this. Weird indeed.

The Sheepherders bail for a bit as this has been more or less a mess. We get an actual tag by the Fantastics and Rogers works on Luke’s arm. Rogers gets knocked to the floor and might have hit his head. Butch throws him into the railing and Tommy takes a belt shot to the back. Where in the world is the referee during all this? After about 12 minutes of wrestling we’re told we’re 15 minutes in.

Chair to the back of Rogers with the referee like a foot away is missed as Rogers has been on the floor for like two minutes now. Back in and there’s STILL no referee for the cover. Heel miscommunication sees Butch hit Luke with a middle rope double axe handle. That goes nowhere because the Sheepherders won’t sell anything. Rogers gets a clothesline and that gets him nowhere at all AGAIN. Rogers rams their heads together and it’s off to Fulton. A rollup to Luke gets the pin that Butch probably broke it up anyway because they needed to end this I guess.

Rating: D. This was weird to say the least. They seemed rather confused out there and the Sheepherders wouldn’t sell a single thing. This would have been far better if they cut this down by about ten minutes but they have to have about 15 minutes a match in the NWA in this era. Not a good match at all which is rare for the Fantastics who I’m a fan of.

Dr. Death sits in on commentary for the next match. He rambles about Luger being awesome and sounds drunk.

Ronnie Garvin/Jimmy Garvin vs. Mike Rotundo/Rick Steiner

It’s Varsity Club time and the Gamesmaster Kevin Sullivan will be in a cage at ringside. There’s a big ordeal going on with the Garvin’s manager Precious and Sullivan which was never really resolved but was getting rather weird indeed. Just a grudge match here. Oh and Rotundo/a is the TV Champion. Steiner is the Florida champion which means nothing. He’s also a clueless putz.

Once again before the match we stop to talk about Luger and cut to Ross because that’s the guy we go to for a big moment I guess. And let’s just reair the thing because no one wants to see this tag match right? Back from a break and it’s a huge brawl. The Garvins hit a double sleeper on both guys before they get sent to the floor. The Varsity guys that is. Sullivan keeps looking at Precious and has something in his coat for her. They’re papers apparently. From what I understand this was supposed to result in an abortion storyline and that was WAY too hardcore for the 80s so it was dropped.

Ronnie gets two on Rick in the ring. Jimmy gets a hammerlock on Rick as we talk about Luger even more. There’s talk of the Tower of Doom which was one of if not the biggest mess you’ll ever see. Sullivan keeps pulling out papers that he wants to show Precious who keeps staring her down and she agrees to something or other. Oh and there’s a tag match going on too.

She has the key to the cage apparently. Rotundo works on Ronnie’s arm as Williams says he’s going to wrestle Rotundo later. Jimmy keeps running off to fight Sullivan even though he’s in a cage. The Varsity guys keep working on Ronnie’s arm as the match means nothing at all. Jimmy finally comes in and beats on Rick for a bit but that might be too interesting so let’s go with a front facelock for awhile.

This is an incredibly boring match as just like almost every match so far tonight they’ve been given way too much time. This is a two hour show and there are five matches. Since there are very few entrances and more or less no long term promos, there’s way too much time in these matches. Ronnie rolls up Rick for two. Off to Rotundo and since Garvin is the worst former world champion ever, Rotundo takes over with relative ease.

The Varsity Club works over Ron as we see Sullivan with the paper again. This needs to end and it needs to end very soon. The tag rope is used to choke Ron and he gets sent to the floor. Everything breaks down again and it’s Rick vs. Jimmy in the ring. Precious goes over to Sullivan who steals the key. Jimmy hits a brainbuster to win over Rick and Precious goes for the papers. Sullivan goes after her and Steve Williams makes the save.

Rating: D. Another match that is boring and way too long, although to be fair with the story being Precious and Sullivan there’s only so much that they can do. Not an interesting match as if you’re going to have a match as a backdrop for a story, don’t have the match be nearly 15 minutes long. Didn’t work at all.

Post match Precious pushes Jimmy away and leaves on her own. To say this was a mess was an understatement.

Road Warriors vs. Powers of Pain in a scaffold match is announced. This would never happen as the Powers jumped to the WWF because they didn’t want to have a scaffold match due to fear of that pesky death thing.

We talk about the Tower of Doom now because we need to waste more time I guess.

Al Perez vs. Nikita Koloff

Koloff you’ve probably heard of. Perez is a heel that is of no consequence for the most part. This is a challenge/grudge match or something like that. They stare each other down for awhile and Nikita shoves him around a lot. Nikita dominates here in one of the least interesting matches I’ve ever seen. The announcers just talk about the Horsemen to fill in time.

Gary Hart, Perez’s manager, interferes and Perez takes over for a bit. This is one of those matches that just keeps going and going with no one caring in the slightest. Hart interferes again and this keeps staying in first gear at best. After Nikita stays on the floor for a bit we hit the chinlock back in the ring. Camel clutch goes on and Koloff gets an electric chair drop to escape.

Koloff is knocked to the floor again because we haven’t been out there long enough in this never ending match yet right? Perez can’t suplex him so Nikita gets one of his own. Nikita makes his comeback and hammers away in the corner before he sends Perez to the floor. And here’s Larry Zbyszko to run in for the DQ and triple beatdown.

Rating: F. End this show already. Another boring match here with a stupid ending that was given about 8 minutes too long which makes the wrestling really boring in the process. This feud of course went nowhere and no one cared, but that’s the NWA for you. No wonder they went out of business.

World Tag Titles: Tully Blanchard/Arn Anderson vs. Sting/Dusty Rhodes

No entrance for the champions. Sting and Arn to start with Sting frustrating him badly. Sting works on the arm as we praise Dusty for no apparent reason. Off to Tully and Sting abuses him a bit too. Dusty, the STAR here I guess, comes in and beats on Tully a bit also. Tully does his usual great selling and it’s time for a figure four by Dusty who of course butchers the thing.

Arn gets a shot in and the Horsemen take over. Clothesline takes Tully down. Oh wait he’s from Texas so it’s a lariat. Off to Sting who cleans a few rooms. He tries the Scorpion on Blanchard but the Horsemen fight him off and send him into the post on the floor. Arn misses a Vader Bomb but Tully stops the tag.

Time to work on the arm which is pure Horsemen to put it mildly. Arn DDTs him on the floor which should kill Sting but JJ throws him back in. Nice guy that JJ. In an unintentionally funny spot, a DDT on the floor gets a one count. That’s just amusing. Backslide gets two for Sting and it’s a collision with him and Tully. Tag off to Dusty and everything breaks down. Dusty shoves the referee and the whole thing is thrown out as Windham, Rhodes’ future opponent, runs in to put the Claw on Dusty. The Horsemen beat down everyone and stand tall to end the show.

Rating: D+. This was just there and another thrown out ending makes my eyes roll a lot. Sting wouldn’t do much for the rest of the year and Dusty would of course get a title somehow. Flair would hold the title forever and this whole feud with Luger would drag on for years with Luger never getting the pin over Flair. Almost a token main event here which isn’t a good thing at all.

Overall Rating: D-. Oh jeez this got bad in a hurry. The last hour is just mind numbingly uninteresting. Nothing really happens here and there are no long term implications of anything really. The Bash had nothing of note happening on it either as the champions were all the same by Starrcade. Weak show and a bad followup to the great first edition of this. The same problem runs through this whole show: WAY too long matches because the NWA thought long meant good, which was rarely the case.

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