Wrestler of the Day – October 1: Hawk

Today we’re going to look at a bird man other than Koko B. Ware: Hawk.

I’ll be skipping LOD tag matches for this one, meaning expect some big gaps.

Hawk got his start in 1983 but as far as I know, he didn’t have any singles matches until several years into his career. We’ll start things off at Great American Bash 1987 and yes, I’m considering matches where he and Hawk are on the same team with other people to not be Road Warriors matches. If not, this would be about three matches.

Dusty Rhodes/Road Warriors/Nikita Koloff/Paul Ellering vs. Four Horsemen/JJ Dillon

The Horsemen in this case are Flair, Anderson, Blanchard, Luger and JJ Dillon. Flair’s music is epic as they crank the music WAY up. This is the Atlanta main event and it’s the debut of WarGames. For those of you uninitiated, WarGames is the mother of all gimmick matches. You have two teams of five and each team sends in a member. Those two fight for five minutes and there’s a coin toss.

The winning team gets to send in the third man to have a 2-1 advantage. That lasts two minutes and then the team that lost the toss gets to send in its second man to tie it at 2-2. That lasts two minutes then the team that won the toss sends in its third man. You alternate like that every two minutes until it’s 5-5 and then it’s first submission. No pins allowed.

Arn and Dusty start us off and remember this can’t end until all ten are in. There are two rings side by side with one huge cage over them if I didn’t mention that. They feel each other out a lot as they’re not entirely sure what to do here. Dusty walks on the second rope and then swings across the top of the cage to kick him in the ribs. Now they’re going and Dusty pounds away including a low blow which is perfectly legal.

There’s a DDT by Dusty and the crowd is red hot. Arn is cut open about two and a half minutes in so Dusty rakes it across the cage wall. Everyone hates everyone on the other team so this is a huge blood feud all around. Dusty sends him into the cage and has dominated the entire time. After a quick comeback by Arn Dusty gets his bad Figure Four on and then lets go of it because….well just because I guess.

The Horsemen win the toss (the faces literally never won the thing) and it’s Tully in next. The Horsemen beat him down but Dusty is booking so he knocks them both down with elbows. And scratch that as Tully gets in a knee shot and the double teaming begins. Tully puts on a Figure Four as they work over the knee. The clock seems to skip ahead a bit (no sign of clipping though) and Animal comes in to tie it up.

He starts launching Horsemen everywhere and sets Tully up for a slingshot which he rams three straight times. Shoulder block takes Tully down and Dusty destroys Anderson. I think Blanchard is busted and he gets double teamed a bit. Anderson looks dead. Animal is like screw that and rams him into the cage a few times. Flair is in to make it 3-2 and chops at Animal which doesn’t work. The number catch up with him as Anderson is back up quickly.

Sorry for a lot of play by play here but it’s the only thing you can do in matches like this one. Animal is busted. Dusty tries to fight back but he’s almost on his own. The fans are so loud that you can’t hear Tony and Jim. Dusty is bleeding and here comes Nikita. Flair grabs him as he comes in but the power of RUSSIA breaks up the Horsemen. The double ring thing here is very nice as they have room to move around. Animal sends Flair into the cage and he’s bleeding now. Dusty is gushing blood.

Nikita and Dusty work on the knee of Anderson but Nikita goes to get Tully stuck between the two rings and hits him between the ropes in a slingshot thing. Flair begs off Nikita and that doesn’t end well for the champ. A double dropkick puts Anderson down and here’s Lex. This is literally non-stop. Powerslam plants Koloff and Lex is dominating. There’s a spike piledriver to Nikita and then a second one just to kill him deader than dead. The Horsemen are in control but they’re starting to fall from exhaustion and blood loss.

Here’s Hawk and the fans erupt all over again. He destroys everything in sight and if you’re not bleeding already you will be now. Nikita’s neck is messed up and he can barely stand. JR is in Heaven with this much carnage. Flair gets a Figure Four on Dusty but it doesn’t count yet. The Horsemen only have JJ Dillon left and he’s a manger. He goes after Hawk and that’s just dumb.

Flair saves JJ’s life and they’re getting tired. Flair is bleeding a ton as if you expected anything else. JJ is taking a beating but Animal is getting triple teamed. Here’s Ellering to get us all tied up and now the match can end. Ellering has an LOD spiked pad on his arm. Dillon is bleeding BAD so Ellering JAMS THE SPIKE INTO HIS EYE. The LOD circles in on Dillon as the rest of the team runs interference. The Warriors spear his head into the cage and load up the Doomsday Device. JJ lands on his shoulder, legitimately hurting it. With Animal running interference, Hawk beats him half to death until he gives up to finally end this.

Rating: A+. This runs 26 minutes and there is literally no stopping in the whole thing. There isn’t some period where they chill because they’ve done enough. This is about brutality and violence and it works very well. There’s a ton of blood and JJ looks like he fell out of a building (for some reason in wrestling attire) at the end of it. It’s well worth seeing and still works today. Great match.

On to a rare singles match with Hawk challenging for the World Title at Bunkhouse Stampede.

NWA World Title: Ric Flair vs. Hawk

Ok, Hawk coming out to Ozzy and Iron Man….is one of the coolest things I’ve ever seen. It’s PERFECT for that team and worked really well. Flair is of course Flair and since it’s early 88, this should be good because he’s in it. People like talking about Shawn having great matches in the mid 90s, but Flair in the late 80s was able to take guys like Hawk and get good matches out of him. Let’s see if that’s the case here.

Wow it’s awesome seeing Dillon with Flair. Dang the Big Gold Belt looks right on Flair. At the same time though, Hawk fighting for the world title? Really? Naturally, Flair can’t hurt him. Hawk…really can’t do much. That’s the only way to put it. He can’t do much. For the most part this is just Flair bumping like a mad man for Hawk to make him look believable. Ah and there’s a bearhug. At least that’s something you would expect. This has been ALL Hawk.

Ross says some of Flair’s chops are karate or judo chops. There’s something amusing about that. Hawk kicks him in the face which looked painful. He no sells an eye rake. Seriously? No selling an eye rake? Flair goes to his old standby, a low blow, to break things up. Why not use what works? They talk about how great Flair is. Isn’t that the truth? He’s fighting HAWK and we’re getting an ok match out of it. Let that sink in a bit.

Hawk hits his one offensive move, the neckbreaker, to pull things to even for a few seconds. Flair goes for the knee and hooks the Figure Four as we’re in pure 80s Flair formula. Think about it: how many times have you seen Flair do the following match? Flair gets beaten down by the face for awhile, Flair gets a shot, usually cheating, to take over, Flair does general offense before circling in on the knee, Figure Four, Figure Four is reversed, face makes the comeback, face is seconds away from his finisher, something goes wrong, Flair puts his feet on the ropes for the pin, or there’s a DQ.

See what I mean? It happens all the time and that for the most part is the Flair Formula. The thing is, while he did it so many times, he had VERY good matches because of it. He gets slammed off the top since it’s a Flair match, and here comes Hawk. And down goes the referee. Hawk clotheslines Flair over the ropes, which I’d bet is a DQ later on.

Hawk has been spent for about 10 minutes now. Hawk gets a top rope suplex and there’s STILL no referee. JJ pops him with a chair for no reaction at the 20 minute mark. Flair hits him with it and Hawk kicks out of that as the referee is finally back up. Flair hits him with the chair again for the cheap DQ. He gets beaten up again after the match.

Rating: C-. To say Flair carried this is an understatement. Hawk was nothing but a placeholder here as Flair did his thing out there. It came off ok but ONLY due to Flair. He plugged Hawk into his formula and sold like the master that he is out there. By FAR and away the best match of the night so far.

Here’s a six man from the first Clash of the Champions.

Road Warriors/Dusty Rhodes vs. Powers of Pain/Ivan Koloff

Koloff and the Powers of Pain are the Six Man Tag Team Champions but the titles aren’t on the line here. This is a barbed wire street fight. Animal (teaming with his regular partner Hawk and Dusty) had his face injured by the Powers (Warlord and Barbarian) and Koloff while doing a weightlifting demonstration so tonight is about revenge. The barbed wire is around the ropes and while it’s not the at the level you might expect today, this was a BIG deal back in 1988.

The heels finally crawl under the ropes but Animal chases Warlord out to the floor to send him into the post. Most of the guys stay clear of the barbed wire and fight in the middle of the ring. Ivan and Dusty send each other into the wire and draw blood but Dusty comes back with right hands to Warlord and a big DDT to Barbarian. Hawk comes off the top with a right hand that mostly misses Warlord before Dusty kicks Barbarian to the floor. Animal powerslams Warlord and Barbarian’s top rope headbutt hits his partner by mistake, giving Animal the pin and revenge.

Rating: D+. The match wasn’t much to see but the barbed wire was a nice touch, even though it wasn’t used all that much. It probably is better that they kept this match short and energetic as none of the six guys were known for their stamina. The Powers of Pain would jump to the WWF less than two months later so this was the blowoff to the feud.

Here’s a one off match that needs a long explanation. From Great American Bash 1988.

Road Warriors/Ronnie Garvin/Jimmy Garvin/Steve Williams vs. Kevin Sullivan/Mike Rotundo/Russian Assassin/Ivan Koloff/Al Perez

This is the Tower of Doom match. Sooo…..how in the world do I go about explaining this one? This was a one off concept (thank goodness) that is kind of like WarGames meets Doomsday Cage (Uncensored 96) meets Triple Cage (Slamboree 2000). You have three cages: one is a taller version of a regular cage. Above that you have a smaller cage and above that you have a cage that at most two people could fit in at once.

The idea here is every two minutes, each team sends in a man. Now the logical thing would be to put them in at the bottom, but instead they’re starting at the top via huge extended ladders. The idea is you have to climb down the cage and out the door. The catch is that Jimmy Garvin’s chick Precious is in the bottom cage and has the keys.

The entire point to this match is that Sullivan wants Precious who keeps turning him down. I’m not sure if it’s been introduced yet or not, but there was something about papers he had that she didn’t want being seen and he called her Patti as if he had known her before so maybe they were married before or something but the whole insane story was dropped with no explanation after Garvin got hurt and Precious, his real wife, left wrestling. That’s wrestling for you though.

The rest of the people aren’t there for any particular reason. The Varsity Club and the Road Warriors were feuding I think but they were more there as heavies. Williams would join the Club soon after this and end that run. Ronnie is there because he’s part of Garvin’s family. They stand around forever to wait on everything to be secured.

Ivan Koloff vs. Ronnie Garvin to start in a clash of former world champions. Keep in mind they’re up there by the lights so the fans can’t see a thing. Rotunda is up there already (not in the cage but waiting outside of it) along with Williams to go in next. There’s no room for anyone to do anything up there so it’s really boring to start. After two minutes the trap door will open but it’s only for ten seconds so there’s a chance of having a 2-1 situation.

Garvin and Koloff chop each other a lot and the cage shakes. I’m scared of heights so this is terrifying for me. We randomly cut to a not very hot chick in the crowd as the horn goes off for the two minute interval. The door is open for like 40 seconds as Garvin goes through and there’s some powder thrown. Ok so Garvin is in the second cage by himself and has to wait there now. Williams is getting beaten down 2-1 and Animal and I think that’s Perez who are coming in next.

Williams fights both guys off as the cage keeps shaking. I need some Tums. The horn goes off and Garvin gets down to the regular cage, Williams and Koloff get into the middle cage and it’s Animal vs. Rotundo and Perez on top. Precious lets Garvin out so it’s officially 1-0 Team Garvin but 3-2 in the cage itself. Hawk and the Assassin are up next but not quite yet. Animal takes over on the heels and the fans actually get into it.

Koloff gets beaten down also and there’s the horn. Perez makes it to the middle cage as does Animal. No one makes it to the bottom cage so it’s Animal, Koloff, Williams and Perez in the middle while Rotundo, Hawk and the Assassin are up top. Jimmy Garvin and Sullivan who are more or less the captains are left. Williams slams Koloff and JR is practically in the cage to suck him off for it.

Another horn goes off and it’s Perez and Animal in the bottom cage, Koloff, Hawk, Assassin and Williams in the middle and Rotundo, Jimmy and Sullivan up top. Now remember that just because all 10 are in, it doesn’t mean the horn thing ends because the trap doors aren’t staying open. Animal escapes to the floor and Williams puts Koloff in a Figure Four. Ross is saying how intense and insane it is and while it’s overkill, this is still pretty nuts.

There’s a horn and Rotundo finally makes it out of the top. Assassin makes it to the floor as is Koloff. Perez makes it out to the floor. Hawk comes down to the bottom and is in a handicap with the Russians. Ok so the Russians and Road Warriors are feuding. That’s why they’re in this. Hawk takes them both down with a clothesline while Garvin and Sullivan fight up top. Williams vs. Rotundo is going on in the middle. I’ll give them this: they’re staying on a wide shot at least some of the time and you can see most of everything which is a nice touch.

Precious is still in the bottom cage remember. Hawk escapes, but that leaves it 4-2 (Jimmy/Williams vs. Russians/Sullivan/Rotundo). Williams makes it to the final cage but Garvin and Sullivan don’t care about moving but eventually go down. Williams and the Russians escape so we’re left with Rotundo/Sullivan vs. Jimmy Garvin, who thankfully isn’t in those small white trunks anymore.

The horn goes off and Rotundo gets out of the entire cage while Garvin vs. Sullivan are left in the middle. A big brawl breaks out on the floor with the other 8 guys because Garvin vs. Sullivan is pretty boring without Precious involved. Garvin works on the leg a bit and then they slug it out. The horn goes off and they both go down to the bottom and Sullivan goes right for Precious who kicks him away for Jimmy to save her. Garvin works on the knee some more and hits his brainbuster finisher but can’t get the door unlocked. Sullivan gets up and shoves Garvin out to give Team Jimmy the win.

Rating: D. The match is a total mess, but by comparison to something like the Doomsday Cage Match, this is a masterpiece. It makes almost no sense but at least once you get into the match you can follow it. There’s one really stupid part which we’ll get to here in just a second if you haven’t figured it out already. It should have been WarGames, but this isn’t a total disaster I guess.

Now we get to the big problem: since Garvin was thrown out, Precious is locked inside with the man that wants to either rape and/or murder her. Yeah they didn’t really think that one all the way through did they? Sullivan drops to his hands and knees and crawls over to her as Jimmy and Hawk try to climb up the ladders for the rescue. Sullivan gets her jacket off and pulls a rope or chain out of his trunks and chokes away until Hawk FINALLY comes in to half kill Sullivan with a clothesline. Garvin gets Precious out as you have to wonder why in the world the Garvins EVER agreed to let her be in there in the first place.

Oh and one other thing about it that makes it more bearable than the Doomsday match: YOU COULD SEE IT. They were in the middle of the arena and it was well lit. Why that was such a stretch for 96 is beyond me.

Back in the day there were Six Man Tag Team Titles. Here they are on the line at Clash of the Champions V.

Six Man Tag Team Titles: Genichiro Tenryu/Road Warriors vs. Sting/Michael Hayes/Junkyard Dog

The challengers are still locked in a cage and since there are apparently no bolt cutters in the building, the Varsity Club hits the ring to take their spot. There’s actually a story here as the Varsity Club will be facing the Road Warriors for the Warriors’ World Tag Team Titles at the PPV.

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

A big brawl gets us started with Williams running Tenryu over with a clothesline but walking into a big boot. The Warriors and Tenryu are supposed to be heels here but the fans just won’t stop cheering Hawk and Animal. Tenryu knocks Rotunda into the corner as the cage door in the back still can’t be opened.

Williams gets run over by a clothesline from Hawk as some bolt cutters are FINALLY brought in to open the door. Animal gets caught in the corner and the Club works on his arm before throwing Animal over the top and out to the floor. Back in and Animal rams heads with Sullivan but the referee misses the hot tag to Hawk. Not that it matters as Sting, Hayes and JYD run in for the double DQ and a big brawl.

Rating: D. The match was barely anything at all as we were just waiting for the big run-in. The Road Warriors were practically faces at this point and were wrestling as such. Tenryu was really just a warm body teaming with them, but again it didn’t really matter as the NWA realized the Six Man Titles were worthless and dropped them almost immediately after this.

We need more WarGames. From Great American Bash 1989, one of the best shows ever.

WarGames: Freebirds/Samoan Swat Team vs. Road Warriors/Midnight Express/Steve Williams

In case you don’t know the rules: two guys start for five minutes and then we have a coin toss (the heels will win) and the winning team gets to send in another man for a two on one advantage. This lasts for two minutes until the losing team gets to tie it up at two. After two minutes the winning team goes up three to two. You alternate every two minutes until everyone is in there and when everyone is in there, it’s first submission wins it. No pins.

Eaton vs. Garvin starts us off. Williams is still in his Hogan attire here which makes me laugh. As JR puts it, it’s Beautiful vs. Gorgeous in WarGames which got a chuckle out of me. Garvin controls early but it’s not like it means anything. The Freebirds beat the Express in a tournament final to win the world tag titles so there’s your explanation for this part of the feud. This is more or less back and forth with nothing really to report on.

Dangerously, the Samoans’ manager, says that Hayes will be next about 10 times. Eaton controls for the most part and works on the back of the mullet-tastic Garvin before throwing on a Boston Crab. After Dangerously shouts about Hayes being in next, Terry Gordy comes in next. That’s another great example of a great heel manager. He didn’t accomplish anything but he lied BECAUSE HE COULD. So simple yet so effective.

Gordy comes in and it goes badly for Eaton to put it mildly. Garvin has a glove and tape or something or his hand so this is mainly punching and stomping. He eats a lot of cage too as Garvin is mostly fine. Apparently Eaton failed in his mission to hurt him. Williams comes in to even things up and in one of the most mind blowing spot I’ve ever seen, he picks up Gordy, who is probably 290 at the least, and gorilla presses him EIGHT times into the cage. Just insane.

After some more choking the heels get us back to about even for Samu to come in as Eaton is more or less dead. Double fishhook on him by Garvin which is painful looking. Everyone is in one ring and they need to spread it out a bit. Eacon somehow gets back up and holds the heels off a bit until Animal ties it up again. Again they’re all in the same ring and it’s WAY too crowded in there.

Ah there we go as he and Samu head to the other ring. Much better. They hate each other because of a big beatdown the Samoans gave the Road Warriors and then they beat up Ellering, the Road Warriors’ manager. The Warriors cost the Samoans a spot in the finals of the tag tournament, which brings us here. Animal just destroys everyone as Fatu will be in next.

All six in the same ring still and it’s just stupid. There’s (Rikishi) Fatu to make it 4-3. The Samoans beat down Animal as Williams and Gordy are in the other ring now to space things out a bit. Eaton and Garvin are still fighting and here comes Stan Lane to even it up at four apiece again. That leaves Hayes and Hawk as the last two. The Samoans eat metal as Lane cleans house.

Dangerously to Hayes: Ok so when you go in you go over here. Hayes: I GOTTA GO IN???” Dangerously: There’s no one left! Hayes: Dang . Funny stuff. There are 9 people in the match and 9 are in the same ring. Hayes DDTs everyone to take out the faces and then goes off into the other ring to taunt Hawk. The fans want Hawk with one minute left. Hayes drops Eaton with a hard left and here’s the bird man.

Now it’s first submission wins. Hawk cleans house as it is on in a big way. The faces are dominating here as was the custom in WarGames once everyone got in. Dangerously tries to force the phone through the cage and turns around to see a referee with his arms folded looking at him. I need some wawa music there.

Mainly just punching now with nothing of note as far as flow or anything but that’s a good thing here as there isn’t supposed to be anything remotely resembling order. Look at the first name of the match: WAR. Doomsday Device on Gordy is blocked so Hawk kills Garvin with a clothesline and works on his neck, throwing on a hangman (Hawk grabs Garvin for a reverse neckbreaker and lifts him onto his back in a neck crank/choke) which gets the submission to end it.

Rating: B+. Very solid battle in there which was exactly what this was supposed to be. It’s not a classic or one of the best ever but this was quite good for the point of blowing this feud completely off and have all the feuds in there at once. This was effective for what it was supposed to be and the match was as fun as ever. Good match.

Hawk would head to the WWF in early 1990, but it’s not that easy to find anything other than tag matches. There are only two that I know of that isn’t a Royal Rumble. From Survivor Series 1990.

The Warriors vs. The Perfect Team

Ultimate Warrior, Texas Tornado, Legion of Doom

Mr. Perfect, Demolition

I guess this team isn’t as Ultimate as last year. This is the three man version of Demolition. Perfect is feuding with Tornado (Kerry Von Erich, the IC Champion) and the LOD is feuding with Demolition after the LOD cost them the titles. Warrior, the world champion, is there because he has nothing else to do. His team is in the back before the match and says they’ll win. Actually the name Warriors is appropriate as you have the Ultimate Warrior, the Modern Day Warrior (Von Erich’s nickname in WCCW) and the Road Warriors (the LOD’s NWA name).

I’ll never get why the LOD and Demolition never had a big proper match. They fought on house shows but that’s about it. Perfect immediately goes to the apron and lets part of Demolition start. It’s Animal vs. Smash first and they fight immediately with Animal taking him to the mat. Animal throws him into Hawk for a right hand and the other Warriors get in a shot as well.

Smash comes back with a powerslam for two and it’s off to Perfect. That doesn’t last long so here’s Smash again, and he walks right into a powerslam. Everything breaks down and the Warriors clear the ring. Tornado comes in to face Smash who is taking a beating in this so far. Off to Ax who has much better luck for about ten seconds. There’s the Claw from Tornado but for some reason Warrior gets the tag and hits a series of awkward looking shoulder blocks before finishing Ax with the splash.

Crush immediately comes in to jump Warrior and take over. Smash comes in to slam Warrior and Crush drops a top rope knee for two. Perfect is freaking out in his trademark over the top style. Warrior gets up a boot in the corner and clotheslines Crush down. Off to Hawk who always looks like he could murder someone in the ring. Perfect tries him out and is immediately slammed down.

Hawk counters a reversal to send Perfect into the corner but Bird Man’s shoulder goes into the post HARD to give the evil ones the advantage. Demolition pounds away on him but Hawk punches right back. A big flying shoulder puts Smash down and Hawk doesn’t tag when he has the chance. The top rope clothesline kills Smash and everything breaks down. Hawk kicks the referee and somehow this disqualifies Hawk, Animal, Smash and Crush. We’re down to Perfect vs. Warrior/Tornado.

It’s going to be Warrior starting the handicap match but Perfect wants Tornado instead. Perfect immediately jumps him and is clotheslined out almost immediately after the jumping. Warrior bangs Perfect’s head into Heenan’s and sends Bobby into the front row. Tornado charges at Perfect and slams into the post to give Perfect the advantage for a bit. A buckle gets exposed somewhere in there and after Tornado’s face goes into it, the Perfectplex makes it one on one.

Perfect tries the Plex again on Warrior which doesn’t work at all. Instead he hammers Warrior down and hits a great looking dropkick for two. Having Perfect run things out there for as long as possible is the best idea they’ve got. Warrior starts grabbing the ropes and shrugging off all the offense from Perfect. A shoulder block and the splash get the final pin.

Rating: D. This was probably the worst Survivor Series match so far in the four years they’ve been running this show. Not only was the match lopsided from the start, but half of the people in it were gone seven minutes in. Perfect never had a chance and Warrior had no reason to be in this match at all.

And the other from Survivor Series 1991.

Legion of Doom/Big Boss Man vs. IRS/Natural Disasters

This is your main event people. Let that sink in for a minute. The LOD are the tag champions and IRS and Boss Man are having a worthless midcard feud. Boss Man and IRS start things off with the tax dude (if you need help figuring out who that is you’re beyond my help) getting thrown all over the place. Off to Animal vs. Earthquake which fires the crowd up a bit.

They collide and Animal’s cross body is caught in a backbreaker in an impressive display of strength from Quake. Back to IRS to face Hawk with the latter working on the arm. Typhoon gets the tag, only to have IRS thrown at him by Hawk. Off to Earthquake who carries Hawk to the heel corner. IRS and Boss Man come in again and it’s a briefcase shot to Boss Man’s head for the elimination.

It’s Typhoon vs. Animal now and the Disasters double team Animal in the corner. Quake suplexes him down as Monsoon talks about Bobo Brazil. IRS hits a top rope right hand for two and Typhoon puts on a bearhug. Animal escapes and hits a clothesline before tagging in Hawk. IRS misses a briefcase shot to the head and hits Typhoon by mistake, giving Hawk the easy pin.

Quake wants to fight IRS now but walks off with Typhoon instead, making it the LOD vs. IRS. Hawk powerslams IRS down but a charge goes shoulder first into the post. Hawk gets sent face first into the steps as we continue to fill time by having IRS look like he has a chance. We hit the chinlock as the announcers talk about Thanksgiving dinner. Not hot tag brings in Animal who cleans whatever is left in the house. IRS tries to walk out but runs into Boss Man in the aisle. Hawk hits a top rope clothesline for the win.

Rating: D+. We go from Hogan vs. Andre II to this in five years? That should give you a good idea as to what you’ve got going on with this show. The match was nothing and there was no reason to get excited about it, because the whole reason the match was happening had been postponed to Tuesday. In Texas.

After leaving the WWF and going insane, Hawk would pop up in ECW for a few matches, including this one on ECW TV on March 8, 1993.

Pitbull vs. Hawk

Pitbull (Gary Wolfe) has Jason in his corner. A loud LOD chant gets things going and Hawk starts by running him over with a shoulder block. There’s a gutwrench suplex and fist drop for two on Pitbull. Hawk gets nailed by a kick to the head but runs Pitbull over with a clothesline. Another clothesline from the top rope is enough to finish squashing Pitbull.

It was back to WCW at this point but only as Hawk instead of part of the Road Warriors. Here’s one of his first matches back at Clash of the Champions XXIV.

Rick Rude/Equalizer vs. Dustin Rhodes/???

Rude and Dustin are still fighting over the vacant title. The Equalizer is a big guy without much of a gimmick who would later be Kevin Sullivan’s dyslexic brother Evad. Dustin had been promising a mystery partner who would be driving the car that Tony and Jesse were talking about earlier tonight. The car comes in and Road Warrior Animal gets out. Rude says hang on because he knew Animal would be the partner. As he talks, Hawk gets on the apron behind them and Animal says THAT’S the partner.

Rude and Hawk get things going with Rick being LAUNCHED across the ring. Hawk wants a test of strength but Rude is very cautious. Rude is easily taken down by Hawk’s grip and it’s off to the Neutralizer, only to have Hawk dropkick him out to the floor. Back in and Hawk runs into a boot in the corner before it’s back to Rude for a camel clutch. Hawk just stands up and lifts Rude onto his shoulders so Dustin can come in with the clothesline for a Doomsday Device. A huge backdrop puts Rick down but Rude explodes out of the corner with a clothesline.

Dustin gets dropped by a top rope shot to the head and it’s back to Equalizer so Rude can choke from the floor. Back to Rude for some shots to the throat but Equalizer accidentally clotheslines his partner down. A tag brings in Hawk but the referee didn’t see it. Hawk doesn’t seem to mind as everything breaks down as Hawk cleans house. Equalizer picks up Dustin for a slam but Hawk knocks them down to give Rhodes the pin.

Rating: D. This was pretty lame stuff with neither team being all that interesting. I’m not sure why you would want to have just one Road Warrior in there but that would be done quite often during this run. Dustin and Rude had been feuding over that vacant title for months now and the story was long past uninteresting. This was the worst match on a Clash in a good while.

Somehow that was enough for a World Title match at Clash of the Champions XXV.

WCW International World Heavyweight Title: Rick Rude vs. Hawk

Rude is of course defending. They stare each other down to start and Hawk shoves the champion into the corner. He does it a second time and that’s the only contact in the first minute and a half. Rick doesn’t want to try a test of strength as the stalling has almost hit three minutes now.

Rude finally hammers away to take over and goes after Hawk’s back with heavy forearms. He steps on Hawk’s hand and hits him in the throat but Hawk just glares at him. A backdrop and slam have the champion’s back in trouble and Hawk whips him across the ring. Rude grabs a backbreaker and goes up top, only to dive into Hawk’s boots. A clothesline puts Rude on the floor and Hawk follows him out where they brawl to a double countout.

Rating: D-. This was a waste of time as they stood around for three minutes, did about two minutes of punching and then had a double countout. It’s not interesting, it doesn’t make Rude look weak, Hawk does get anything out of it, and the whole thing feels like they had no idea what to do here and threw out whatever came to mind.

Hawk would be in the Battlebowl competition at the Battlebowl pay per view.

Hawk/Rip Rogers vs. Davey Boy Smith/Kole

Kole is Booker T and Rogers is basically the guy that made OVW mean something. He gets beaten up on the ramp by all three guys as no one liked him and he was a jobber. This basically starts off as Hawk vs. both guys as Davey starts for his team. They make sure we know they’re friends and here we go. They do a bunch of clean breaks and really don’t do much at all.

Test of strength is a standoff and Booker more or less demands a tag. Rogers has a fight with his jacket on the ramp as Booker comes in. I love the face Bulldog saying hey Hawk, I know you’re my friend but I’m going to let this other guy come in and beat on you for no apparent reason. Smith cheers for Hawk as he fights back. Booker with the Spinarooni about 5 years before that had a name.

Rogers finally gets up and Booker smacks him down. Yet again there’s a mini story here but the match isn’t much. You know Rogers’ team is going to win here so why even bother with the false pretense? We hit the chinlock as Smith cheers on Hawk again. And just as I expected, Hawk picks up Rogers and throws him at Booker who can’t kick out for the pin. This would be like Santino getting there.

Rating: D. It’s another comedy match with nothing at all happening as Hawk and Smith wouldn’t fight each other and Rogers was in the match all of 9 seconds. This show just needs to end now as this was just another 8 minute match with a stupid ending. At least it was just 8 minutes I guess.

Time for a “dream team” to get a Tag Team Title shot at Starrcade 1993.

Tag Titles: Sting/Hawk vs. Nasty Boys

The Nasties (Brian Knobs and Jerry Sags) are the champions and this was initially going to be Ricky Steamboat/Ric Flair, but again the card had to be changed due to the Sid issue. The champions also have Missy Hyatt as their manager here. Hawk and Sting stand in the ring while the champions stall on the outside. We stall a lot before we get going with Sting vs. Knobs. Actually scratch the get going part as Brian stalls even more. They finally lock up with Sting armdragging him down, leading to more stalling.

Sting shrugs off a ram into the corner and drops an elbow before knocking Jerry out to the floor as well. Hawk comes in and picks up Sting, throwing him over the top and out to the floor onto the Nasties. Now it’s legally off to Hawk vs. Jerry with Hawk growling Jerry down. Jerry pounds him in the corner but Hawk will have none of it and chops Sags down. Off to Knobs but the Nasties bail to the floor again. Back in and Hawk pounds on Jerry before hitting a running shoulder, sending Jerry back to the floor again. This is more dull stuff so far.

Back in and Hawk hits an enziguri of all things and it’s off to Sting for a suplex. The challengers start working on the arm as it seems we’re in for a long match tonight. Sting cranks on an armbar before it’s back to Hawk, only to have him miss a charge into the corner and slam his shoulder into the post. Jerry blasts him in the back with a chair which doesn’t draw a DQ for no apparent reason. Missy gets in a slap as well before it’s back in to work on Hawk’s arm (wing?) for a bit.

After a leg drop gets two for Knobs it’s off to an armbar. Now Sags comes in for a cross armbreaker but Hawk pretty easily turns it over. Knobs hooks a Fujiwara Armbar as the match continues to drag along. Hawk fights up and knocks down both champions before making the hot tag to Sting. Another double clothesline puts the Nasties down as we hit fifteen minutes into the match. We get down to Sting vs. Knobs but Jerry tries to interfere, only to hit his partner by mistake.

The Nasties try to walk out but Sting and Hawk send them back inside. Well that was rather pointless. Sting tries a top rope splash but hits Knobs’ knees. Knobs tries a middle rope legdrop but just lands on Sting instead in a painful looking move. Sting is sent to the floor and clotheslined down by Sags as this match is getting FAR more time than it has any right to have. Back in and Jerry hooks an abdominal stretch until Hawk makes the save. Now, for a change of pace, Knobs comes in with an abdominal stretch of his own as we hit twenty minutes out of the thirty minute time limit.

Sting finally fights out but Sags breaks up a hot tag attempt to Hawk. Sags struggles to pick him up for a pumphandle slam and Brian puts on a lame rear chinlock. Hawk finally comes in and breaks it up out of boredom. Off to yet another abdominal stretch but Sting reverses with five minutes left. Sags breaks up another hot tag and Knobs hits a middle rope splash.

A middle rope elbow connects as well, but the second attempt at a splash hits Sting’s boot. Hawk finally comes in to break up the Nasties’ finisher and there’s the hot tag. Hawk cleans house as everything breaks down. Sting hits the Stinger Splash on Brian and rolls him up for two before putting Knobs on his shoulders for a Doomsday Device, only to have Missy Hyatt break up the pin for the DQ.

Rating: F. We sat through half an hour for that lame of an ending? This was WAY too long with way too much laying around as the Nasties were simply not capable of surviving a half hour long match. Sting and Hawk weren’t the best choice for challengers either but the fans reacted well to them at first. This didn’t work at all for the most part.

And now, Hawk as a singles guy. From Slamboree 1995.

Meng vs. Hawk

There was zero transition here by the way. Penzer says he believes Meng is accompanied by Robert Parker. Never heard that before. Bischoff really needs to stop those long pauses in his talking. Heenan says this man is just a machine. Ok then. Hawk gets a freaking ROAR. Eric: “Here you’re getting a match that would be a main event match anyplace in the world.” WOW. Meng is dominating in this MAIN EVENT MATCH.

Hawk of course no sells a piledriver because that’s what he does. This has been pretty much all Meng at this point. Screw it I’m tired of being completely wrong on this timing thing. I love this sequence. Meng keeps using this complicated sequence of kicks and Hawk just hits him. There’s something awesome about that. Both guys are on the floor and I think I know what’s coming. Eric thinks it’s a Chicago Street Fight. Who cares if we’re in Florida? Yep I’m right: double count out.

Rating: F+. And that’s just because of that hitting sequence. This was really weak and apparently there’s bad blood now. Good to know I guess. Who thought it was a good idea to continue giving Hawk singles matches? I never got that and I don’t think WCW can explain it either. There are some teams that just belong together and the Road Warriors fits that description.

Here’s one of the most bizarre choices for a match I’ve ever seen. From Halloween Havoc 1995.

Kurasawa vs. Hawk

This was an odd choice. On Clash of the Champions, Kurasawa broke Hawk’s arm and this is the rematch. No one got this feud or why Hawk was wrestling singles matches or who in the world Kurasawa was other than a good filmmaker. Hawk jumps him like you would expect him to as we get going. Hawk gets his one wrestling move, the neckbreaker.

Crowd is into Hawk if nothing else. He even busts out a powerbomb and a gutwrench suplex. Total dominance here. Parker interferes so Kurasawa can take over. He misses a top rope elbow and Hawk takes over again. He was in trouble for MAYBE 4 seconds. Big old clothesline puts the heel on the floor.

On the floor Hawk is rammed into the post, taken into the ring, Kurasawa hits two Samoan Drops and puts his feet on the ropes for the pin. I have been reviewing shows for over a year now and I have NEVER seen a match that made less sense. This was never mentioned again. Hawk destroyed him until that ending. No sense at all.

Rating: WTF. I have nothing else to say for that. Hawk looked like he was beating up a jobber and he loses? No rating again but dude, what the heck were they thinking here? Why did Hawk have a singles match here anyway? WCW continues to boggle the mind and somehow it would get even worse. Kurasawa never did anything and only had a few more matches.

One last Battlebowl concept from Slamboree 1996.

Battlebowl First Round: Animal/Booker T vs. Hawk/Lex Luger

Love that Iron Man music. Dusty is excited. This was one of his bright ideas. Wow a tag team is fighting each other. What are the odds of that??? Luger is a face now in case you’re keeping track. If you are, I feel very sorry for you. Tony suggests 100 million people are watching this PPV broadcast and are listening in English. That’s most amusing.

Ok so the first round has 8 matches and then there’s ANOTHER round of tag matches. The winners of the second round of matches go to the battle royal. Ok then. Luger and Animal start us off. The commentary is somehow stupider than usual. Luger is a tag champion here along with Sting. Hawk hasn’t come in yet. Booker hits a Spinarooni which has no official name yet. Luger is TV Champion here too. Hawk and Luger get into it and we have the massive brawl, leading to a double countout. Hawk was never in the match.

Rating: D-. For these matches, I’m starting at a D rather than a C like I usually do. This was quick and boring if nothing else, but it gives me a very bad feeling about the rest of the show. You can also tell that they’re not even trying to hide the fact that these matches are scripted. At least try to make it look fake.

We’ll wrap it up with one more match in the WWF. Hawk would be one of four warm bodies that accompanied Steve Austin as he fought all of Canada at In Your House XVI.

Hart Foundation vs. Goldust/Legion of Doom/Ken Shamrock/Steve Austin

Most of the Americans are booed, but Austin is treated like a bunch of ants at a picnic. The Hart Foundation’s entrance on the other hand is a sight to behold, with each member getting a louder and louder ovation until Owen’s music stops. Bret’s reception is louder than everyone else’s and that’s before his music even comes on. The Harts are a unit, all clad in leather jackets and looking like they’re ready for war.

The match starts with the only possible combination of Austin vs. Bret. They slug it out with Bret taking over and pounding Austin down into the corner to send the crowd even further into a frenzy. Austin comes back with right hands and might as well be pummeling Santa Claus. Bret hits a headbutt and clothesline before raking Steve’s eyes across the top rope. Austin kicks Bret low to slow him down and stomps on him in the corner before slapping on the Million Dollar Dream. Hart climbs the ropes for a rollup for two, which is the same way he beat Austin at Survivor Series.

Bret drags Austin to the corner for a tag off to the raw power of Jim the Anvil Neidhart. Austin takes him down with a Thesz Press and right hands before bringing in Shamrock to easily kick Neidhart down. Pillman comes in to break up an ankle lock attempt so Shamrock takes Neidhart down with ease again. Brian comes in legally now to bite Shamrock’s face and fire off chops in the corner. A backbreaker puts Shamrock down again so Pillman grabs his hand and slaps the mat, claiming a submission victory in a funny bit.

Ken comes back with a nice belly to belly suplex and it’s off to Goldust vs. Owen. Goldust scores with a backdrop but Owen comes right back with an enziguri to take over again. The fans are all over Austin here, even though it’s Hawk in to beat Owen up. A top rope splash gets two but Hawk misses a dropkick, allowing Owen to put on a Sharpshooter. Anvil makes the save, only to have Bulldog come in with the delayed vertical suplex and the powerslam but Goldust makes a save.

Bret comes back in (crowd erupts) to face Animal and gets up a knee in the corner to slow Animal down. Off to Goldust who is immediately tied up in the Tree of Woe and quintuple teamed, drawing in the rest of the Americans for the save. Owen comes in legally but misses a charge into the post, allowing for the tag off to Animal. Owen is fine with that and hits an enziguri followed by a missile dropkick to fire up the crowd even more. Animal will have none of that and counters a hurricanrana into a powerbomb.

The Doomsday Device hits Owen but Anvil makes the save, drawing in all ten guys for a huge brawl. In the melee, Austin wraps Owen’s knee around the post and hits it with a chair before beating up Bret and Owen’s brother Bruce, who is sitting with the rest of the Hart Family in the crowd. Things calm down with Anvil vs. Austin as medics come out to check on Owen. Neidhart sends Austin into the corner for a big beating and Owen is being taken to the back.

Pillman comes in but gets dragged over to the American corner and taken down by a Stunner. Bret makes the save by wrapping Austin’s leg around the post and blasting it with a fire extinguisher. He throws on the Figure Four around the post until Hawk makes the save but the damage has been done to the leg. Austin is able to tag in Hawk but Bulldog crotches Hawk on the top rope to take him down again. Austin limps to the back again, leaving us with just four guys per team in the match.

Neidhart and Animal have a test of strength with Jim taking over and driving Animal into the Hart corner for a tag off to Bret. The original Hart Foundation (Bret and Neidhart) take over on Animal to give the crowd a nostalgia pop. Shamrock comes in again and grabs Bret’s leg but just stands there, allowing Pillman to sneak in with a clothesline. Shamrock grabs the leg again but Bret gives him a stern lecture from the mat, which actually makes Ken let him up. I wish I could make that up.

Bret sends Shamrock to the floor where Pillman throws him over the French announce table. Back inside and it’s Bulldog slugging Shamrock down in the corner to send the crowd right back into a frenzy. Ken hits him low, allowing Goldust to come in with a bulldog to the Bulldog, but Pillman breaks up the Curtain Call. Goldust goes up but gets crotched, allowing Bulldog to superplex him down.

Austin stumbles back out to the ring and it’s a double tag to bring in Bret vs. Stone Cold. Bret is sent chest first into the buckle and suplexed down for two, only to come back with a DDT. A backbreaker and the middle rope elbow are good for two and it’s off to a sleeper hold. Austin jawbreaks his way to freedom but has to have Animal save him from the Sharpshooter.

Now it’s Austin putting Bret in the Sharpshooter but Owen comes back out for the save. Owen comes in legally but gets clotheslined out to the floor and stomped against the barricade. Austin goes after the other Hart Brothers at ringside but Bret makes the save and sends Austin back inside so Owen can roll him up for the pin, sending the roof into orbit.

Rating: A+. Do I really need to explain this one? Not only is it a great match with everyone working very hard, but it’s a great story and the perfect way to blow off the feud. Austin could have been in there with any four guys, but the match ended perfectly and gave Owen a big rub in the process. Excellent match and the best multi-man tag match of all time.

As mentioned, Hawk was a part of a tag team that just did not work on its own. There’s nothing wrong with that as the LOD is the most dominant tag team ever and never quite worked as singles guys. Hawk basically wrestled as half of the team in his singles matches, which to be fair is all anyone wanted him to do. Well, other than be in the Legion of Doom. I was a huge fan of the team as a kid but man do some of these singles matches fall apart when he’s on his own.

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