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WCW Clash of the Champions V: St. Valentine's Massacre

by Scrooge McSuck

- Times are-a-changin' for the WCW, as the roster seems to be doing a massive, but gradual turnover from the same time the previous year, although this show won't exactly be the greatest example of highlighting that topic. WCW was starting to bring in some fresh faces, and this show we'll see a couple of the latest wrestlers to debut on Superstation TBS.

- We're "live" from the Cleveland Convention Center in Cleveland, OH, and televised on February 15th, 1989, only a few days away from the next big WCW PPV, Chi-Town Rumble, which is scheduled to be headlined by a World Title match between Ric Flair and his old nemesis and new arrival, Ricky "The Dragon" Steamboat. Unlike the previous batch of Clashes, this one is, in a few words, not too impressive, and seems more like a warm-up show like The Main Event or Saturday Night rather than a supercard extravaganza.

- The Midnight Express (w/ Jim Cornette) vs. The Russian Assassins (w/ Paul Jones):
(Beautiful Bobby & Sweet Stan vs. Russian Assassin #1 & #2)
So much for hoping to see a good Midnight Express match. The Assassins are Jack Victory and the Angel of Death, as mentioned in previous reviews. The Midnights are scheduled to face the Original Midnight Express in a Loser Leaves Town Match at the Chi-Town Rumble, so the outcome here shouldn't be a surprise. We join the match slightly in progress, with Lane in the ring with Assassin #1. Assassin stomps away on Lane in the corner. Irish whip, and a sloppy double... something by the Assassins. Assassin #2 tags in and knocks Lane out of the ring. Back inside, and the Assassins continue to bring the pain, and Assassin #1 catches him in a bearhug. Lane ear smacks his way free, but is knocked to the canvas. Assassin #2 tags in takes Lane over with a suplex for a two count, then applies a bearhug. Sounds like Jim Ross is on commentary with Magnum T.A., and Paul E. Dangerously is there always to hype up the PPV. Lane escapes with a belly-to-belly suplex, but gets caught in the corner again. Asssassin #1 tags in and does more nothing and goes back to the bearhug. Lane fights free again, but misses a whatever kind of a charge into the corner. Assassin #1 with a slam, and Assassin #2 tags in to drop an elbow for a two count. Irish whip, and Lane comes off the ropes with a cross body. Assassin #1 tags in again and drops an elbow for another two count. Assassin #1 with a slam, then he turns Lane over with a boston crab, but FALLS OVER doing it. Eaton comes in to break the hold, even though it looked like shit. Irish whip to the corner, and the Assassins blow a double team move. Eaton gets the hot tag (finally), and unloads on both Fake Russians, and takes him down with a double bulldog. Lane comes back in and superkicks Assassin #2, while Assassin #1 dumps Eaton over the top rope. Heel miscommunication occurs and Lane launches Eaton off the top rope for a splash, and the three count is academic at a clipped 6:41. 1/2* Really dull, even for a match that was clipped by about half it's time. Not an impressive victory at all for the Midnights, and the Assassins just really sucked in there. How do you blow a Boston crab? Seriously.

- Steve Casey vs. "Hacksaw" Butch Reed:
Hey, Butch Reed is no longer blonde, after a run in the WWF where he was billed as "The Natural." Oh, what wonder creative decisions made by the WWF, even in the mid '80s. I have no clue who Casey is, so don't bother asking me. Reed is scheduled to face STING at the PPV, which seems a little odd considering Sting's placement on the card for previous shows. We're Joined in Progress here, too, and that's sweet, considering the match in full goes nearly 20-minutes! We join in with Reed bringing Casey into the ring with a suplex for a two count. Casey with a series of rights to the midsection. Irish whip, and Casey misses a dropkick, and the crowd actually pops for it. Reed slams Casey face-first into the canvas, then rakes the eyes. Reed quickly grabs Casey from behind and applies a chinlock. Casey's only identifiable feature is a porn-stache. Casey uses his momentum to throw Reed into the corner. Casey with mounted punches in the corner, followed by a hip toss. Casey with a monkey flip, followed by a several dropkicks. Reed catches him in a cross body attempt, then press slams him without much trouble. Reed heads to the top rope, and he nails a shoulder tackle for the three count at 4:14. 3/4* If this was just a four minute squash, then it was all right, but clipped it down to almost nothing shows how much they thought of this match for the inclussion of the VHS release.

- We get a rare non-wrestling match segment included on these clipped down versions of the Clash, with Ric Flair coming to the ring with his entourage and NEW manager Hiro Matsuda. Watch the Horsemen DVD and you'll hear all about that. The Horsemen is no more, and we now have the Yamazaki Corporation, or whatever. Anyway, Flair runs down Steamboat, Steamboat hits the ring to offer his own words of violence, and it's ON, with Flair being stripped down to his underwear, because nothing screams heterosexual like a man ripping another man's clothes off. Steamboat ends up taking the brawl into the crowd, and the fans are eating it up like pudding with a spoon. So far, the best part of this show is a few minutes of brawling between Steamboat and Flair. Are you surprised?

- "Total Package" Lex Luger vs. The Blackmailer (w/ Hiro Matsuda):
The Blackmailer is a generic masked "assassin", and yes, that's a nod to Jack Victory, who's doing double duty on this show for whatever reason. Seriously, the guy just wrestled an extended match to open the show, and this is only the third match on the card! Luger is scheduled to challenge Barry Windham for the U.S. Title, so yes, the warm-ups continue. It's always nice to know that once someone fails to win the World Title, they are immediately shifted into a feud for the lesser belts. Lockup to start, and Luger shoves him down. Obvious clip job, but there's nothing going on, so it doesn't matter. Blackmailer rakes the eyes and hammers away. Irish whip is reversed, and Luger takes him over with a powerslam. Luger with a headlock and takeover. Irish whip, and Luger with a press slam, but he goes over the top rope on a clothesline attempt. Blackmailer hangs Luger up across the top rope, keeping him outside the ring. Blackmailer continues to control with choking and punches. Luger with a sunset flip back into the ring for a two count. Blackmailer rakes the eyes and stomps away on Luger in the corner, then follows it with more choking. BORING. Blackmailer with a snapmare for a two count, then slaps on a chinlock. Victory, I mean the Blackmailer, is clearly sucking wind, judging by how heavy he's breathing. Blackmailer tries a suplex, but Luger blocks it and takes Blackmailer over with his own. Blackmailer is up first and hammers away some more. Luger starts no-selling, and he choke lifts the Assassin and puts him down with an elbow. Irish whip, and Luger with a clothesline. Luger sets the Assassin Mailer up on the top rope, and takes him over with a super-plex, probably in a way to send Barry Windham a message. That gets the three count at 8:21, clipped down a few minutes. DUD Unlike the WWF, a squash match in NWA seemed to be about 6-7 minutes too long and give the scrub too much offense, but I guess in this case, the Blackmailer was "hired" by Windham and company to take out Luger, but it failed.

- NWA U.S. Tag Team Championship Match:
Steve Williams & Mike Rotundo (w/ Kevin Sullivan) vs. The Fantastics:

Hey, you're probably wondering where Kevin Sullivan is? After all, Sullivan and Williams defeated the Fantastics for these titles at Starrcade. Well, I guess the Varsity Club decided to adopt the Freebird Rule, as Rotundo has been officially cleared to defend the titles with Williams on behalf of Sullivan. Rotundo is scheduled for a rematch for the TV Title at Chi-Town Rumble, so this match just comes across as an odd choice considering the structure of the entire card. Is it me, or does it seem like the Fantastics are featured on EVERY damn show? Not that I don't like them, but I don't like them that much. Fulton feels up a pre-teen girl during the entrances. Rogers and Rotundo start, but not without some stalling. Lockup, and Rotundo with a fireman carry takeover. Rotundo with a waistlock takedown, then some mouthing off and a shove. Jim Ross compares Rotundo to a middle school bully, but without the sarcasm. Lockup, and Rogers with an arm drag. We get constant shots of the crowd in between the stalling, and that's more annoying than anything. Rogers grabs a headlock. Irish whip, and Rogers comes off the ropes with a clothesline for a two count. Rotundo with a headlock, and Williams tags in to pound away in the corner. Whip across the ring, and a double clothesline sees Williams give Rogers the full brunt of the blow. Williams misses an elbow drop, and Fulton tags in for a double dropkick. Lockup, and Williams with a headlock, followed by a shoulder tackle. Irish whip, and Williams TRIPS, so he sweeps the legs and grabs a headlock to salvage the botch. Inset promo from Rick Steiner, and in the background, we see Williams dive out of the ring, missing something. Back inside, and Fulton hammers away. Williams quickly throws him down by the waist, and Rotundo tags back in to take control. Irish whip, and Fulton with a sunset flip for a two count. Rotundo takes him to the corner, and Williams comes in but gets caught with a cross body for a two count.

Rogers tags in, and hits Williams with a dropkick. Lockup, and Rogers grabs a headlock. Williams takes it to the corner and flips Rogers up high with a back drop. Rotundo tags in, and nails Rogers square on the jaw with an elbow. Rogers mounts a mild comeback and bars the arm, then tags in Fulton, who comes off the ropes with a running knee lift for a two count. Whip to the corner, and Fulton with mounted punches. Williams breaks that up, knocking Fulton to the outside. Williams slams Fulton across the security rail while referee Teddy Long is distracted. Back in the ring, and Rotundo thumbs Fulton in the neck. Fulton, in that one shot, might rival George Wells from Wrestlemania 2 for most disgusting close up of a wrestlers mouth. Irish whip, and Rotundo with a dropkick. Williams tags in, and comes off the top with a double axehandle for a two count. Williams with an armbar, but Fulton escapes with an arm drag. Rotundo tags in to cut off the tag, and puts Fulton down with an atomic drop. Rotundo with an elbow drop followed by a leg drop for a two count. Rotundo with a scoop slam, but a splash meets the knees of Fulton. Williams tags in and prevents the tag, then drops Fulton across the top rope and slams him by the hair again. Irish whip, and Williams with a press slam. Williams sets up in the corner and clips the knee on a charge. Whip to the corner, and he scoops Fulton up for the Stampede, but Fulton falls on top. Rogers gets the hot tag and hammers away, Whip is reversed, but Rogers comes off the ropes with a forearm. Rogers gets tripped by Rotundo, but Williams misses an elbow drop. Rogers gets tossed out of the ring by Rotundo. Fulton fights both men off and Rogers comes off the top onto Williams. Rotundo stomps on the back of Rogers head from the middle rope, and Williams covers for the three count at 13:25. **1/2 Perfectly acceptable wrestling, to steal a phrase from another certain reviewer. The first few minutes were really slow and boring, but it picked up nicely, and the heel control section of the match was pretty entertaining. My only real complaint is the sloppy nature of how the final minute or so went down, especially from Tommy Rogers part. It just seemed like he was blowing everything.

- Ricky "The Dragon" Steamboat (w/ Wife & Son) vs. Bob Bradley:
Okay, we're REALLY hitting the syndicated weekend show squash match levels now. I can't honestly think of a time, ever, where Bob Bradley wasn't a scrub, except for maybe a one week push as the replacement of Brady Boone as Battle Kat. As mentioned earlier, Steamboat is scheduled to challenge Ric Flair for the World Heavyweight Title at Chi-Town Rumble. Bradley talks trash and we get some shoving. Steamboat quickly hits an atomic drop and unloads with rights and a big chop, sending Bradley out of the ring. Back inside, and Bradley takes him over with a hip toss. Lockup again, and this time Bradley with a slam, as a "We Want Flair" chant starts. Bradley with an arm drag, and Steamboat returns the favor. Steamboat with a series of slams and a few more arm drags, sending Bradley out of the ring, again. Steamboat heads out, and Bradley works him over. Back inside, and Bradley with a rake of the eyes and a scoop slam. Irish whip, and Bradley with a back elbow. Bradley with yet another slam, followed by a clothesline. Irish whip to the corner, and Bradley flips over, missing a charge. Steamboat with a deep arm drag, into the armbar. Irish whip, and Steamboat with a back drop, followed by another arm drag. Irish whip, and Dragon with more arm drags, and back to the armbar. Irish whip, and Steamboat with a shoulder block. Criss-cross sequence, and Bradley catches Dragon with a chop. Irish whip, and Bradley with a sidewalk slam. Bradley heads to the top rope, but he misses a headbutt. Irish whip, and Steamboat with a double chop. Steamboat to the top rope, and he hits a chop to the top of the head. Steamboat heads up once more, and the cross body finishes Bradley at 6:25. 1/2* Just another extended squash, and not a very impressive one, other than for Steamboat showcasing about 47 arm drags. I've never been a fan of watching Steamboat squashes to begin with. Surprised he isn't using The Alan Parsons Project's "Sirius" as his music, but that's the weird logic of the NWA

- Rick Steiner vs. Rip Morgan:
Seriously, these squashes are starting to get really old. Steiner is the reigning Television Champion, and he's due to defend the title against the man he defeated for it, Mike Rotundo, at Chi-Town Rumble. My only knowledge of Morgan is his time spent as a lackey for the Sheepherders, and forming the New Zealand Militia with Jack Victory later in the year. Yes, that's THREE Jack Victory references in one review, amazing, I know. Morgan seems to be imitating Jim Duggan and the Bushwhackers at the same time. Steiner quickly grabs the leg and bites. Inset promo from Mike Rotundo. Lockup, and Morgan hammers away. Irish whip is reversed, and Steiner with a clothesline, sending Morgan out of the ring. Lockup into the corner, and Morgan with a few knees to the midsection. Steiner shrugs it all off, ramming his own head into the buckle, because he's kind of crazy. Irish whip, and Morgan with a shoulder block. Steiner catches him coming off the ropes with a powerslam and barks. Lockup into the corner, and Steiner hammers away with rights. Whip to the corner, and Steiner runs into a boot from Morgan. Morgan pounds away some more. Irish whip, and he comes off the ropes with a diving elbow for a one count, then grabs a chinlock. Morgan with a slam, but he misses a splash from the middle rope. Steiner with a short clothesline, followed by a series of rights. Steiner with a slam, but he misses an elbow. Irish whip, and Steiner takes Morgan over with a belly-to-belly suplex for the three count at 4:43. DUD Really boring... someone tosses a cup in the ring, and Steiner picks it up and takes a sip. Okay, 1/4*, just for that, even if it was probably staged. Really not an impressive "squash."

- Bob Caudle is backstage with the threesome of Sting, Michael P.S. Hayes, and the Junkyard Dog. They're getting ready for a match against the 6-Man Tag Team Champions, but suddenly they get locked in some sort of hallway behind a fence at the hands of Kevin Sullivan, which leads us into...

- NWA 6-Man Tag Team Championship Match:
The Road Warriors & Genichiro Tenryu (w/ Paul Ellering) vs. Kevin Sullivan, Mike Rotundo, Steve Williams:

Yes, interesting to say the least. From what I've heard, the only reason there's a 6-Man Tag Title was a way to give the Road Warriors a championship without giving them the real championship, but as we all know, they finally won the World Tag Titles in October of '88 from the Midnight Express. Animal beat Dusty Rhodes on the 4th Clash to claim ownership to the 6-Man Titles, and out of all the options, they picked Tenryu? Sorry, I know he's a legend in Japan, but who in the United States knew who he was? Oh, and the Varsity Club is making an impromptu replacement for Sting, JYD, and Hayes, for the obvious reasons. The Road Warriors had suddenly turned face again since Starrcade, probably because NO ONE would boo them. They're set to face the Varsity Club at the Chi-Town Rumble in a World Title defense.

The Varsity Club hit the ring and send the champions to the outside. The champions gain their compsure and return the favor, clearing the ring of the Varsity Club. The crowd with a mighty "LOD" chant. Sullivan hammers on Animal in the corner, but a clothesline has no effect. Animal floors him with a clothesline, then gives one to Rotundo and Williams for good measure. Hawk tags in and hammers on everything that moves. Irish whip, and Hawk with a diving tackle on Sullivan. Tenryu tags in and chops away until Rotundo tags in. Lockup, and Rotundo hammers away. Irish whip is reversed, and Tenryu with a chop and dropkick. Williams tags in and Tenryu nails him with an enziguri. Hawk tags in and charges to the corner with a clothesline. We constantly show backstage, with Doug Dillinger trying to unlock the fence to free up Sting and Company. Back in the ring, and nothing is going on. Animal and Williams lockup into the corner, and Rotundo tags in to help double team him. Rotundo tosses Animal out of the ring and rams him shoulder first into the post, then rams it across the security rail. Sullivan tags in and works the arm of Animal, then tosses him over the top rope, behind the referee's back. Williams stomps away on the arm of Animal and rams him into the post again. Sullivan works the arm and grabs a headlock. Irish whip, and a collision puts both men down. Hawk tags in, but the referee didn't see it. Triple teaming on Animal, and suddenly Sting, Hayes, and JYD hit the ring, and everyone is fighting everyone until the bell rings for a Double Disqualification at 5:51. Nice of Animal to no-sell a Dr. Death powerbomb (or maybe piledriver, the camera panned too far away). Sting takes Sullivan out into the crowd and bashes him with a chair among the most notable happenings. 1/2* I would say a totally worthless match, but it does help give some heat to the match between the Road Warriors and Varsity Club at Chi-Town Rumble.

Final Thoughts: If this were a normal early afternoon syndicated program, I could forgive the heavy emphasis on warm-up matches with extended squashes for most of the top of the card talent. But this was Clash of the Champions, and when the only titles defended are the two worthless tag titles, it kind of defeats the purpose of the special. Outside of a decent match for the US Tag Titles and the Flair/Steamboat brawl that left Flair pants-less, a total waste of time to sit through. Strongest recommendation to avoid.

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