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WCW Clash of the Champions IX: New York Knockoute

by Scrooge McSuck

- We're a few weeks removed from the inaugural Halloween Havoc, where not much happened in terms of feud blow-offs. Instead, this edition of the Clash will feature some angle developments you'd usually see on PPV, making me question the point of having the Halloween Havoc PPV in the first place?

- Television on November 15th, 1989, from the Houston Field House in Troy, NY. THAT's a location I've never heard of before, I can gurantee that. Seems weird for the NWA/WCW to produce a show from New York, which always seemed to be the home of the World Wrestling Federation, but I guess while the WWF was running in MSG, WCW was running in a building that held like 2,000 people. We have Jim Ross and Gordon Solie calling the action.

- The Fabulous Freebirds vs. The Road Warriors (w/ Paul Ellering):

(Michael "P.S." Hayes & Jimmy Garvin vs. Hawk & Animal)
The Freebirds are introduced as the Champions, but they don't have the belts and this isn't for the titles. The Freebirds had already lost the titles at a T.V. taping to the Steiner Brothers, so they get to play imaginary champions. The same happened to them in 1991, but in a far more embarrassing way. We'll cover that one in due time, though. Hayes grabs a headlock on Hawk, then runs to the outside. Animal surprises him from behind and press slams him back into the ring, where Hayes is greeted by a boot from Hawk, and Garvin runs in to take a clothesline. Loud "Freebirds Suck" chant, so I guess New York hates them, at least. Back in the ring, and Hawk press slams Hayes. Irish whip, and Hawk connects with a diving shoulder tackle. Hayes sends Hawk into his corner, but Hawk fights his way out. Irish whip, and Hawk with a dropkick on Garvin. Irish whip, and a double elbow from the LOD. Lockup, and Garvin pounds away on Animal, then takes him over with a suplex. Animal no-sells and takes Garvin out with a clothesline. Hayes tags back in and clubs the back of Animal. Irish whip, and Animal connects with a clothesline. Irish whip, and Animal with his diving shoulder tackle. Hawk tags in, and he works the arm with a wristlock. Jim Ross hypes the title match with the Steiners THIS Saturday Night at 6 o'clock on TBS. Animal tags in but misses a charge to the corner. Hayes tags in and quickly dumps Animal out of the ring. Garvin tags in for some double team pounding. Hawk tries to help, but the referee shows him out allowing the Freebirds more double teaming. Hawk tosses the referee and pounds both Freebirds as the bell sounds at 5:18, giving the Freebirds the match by Disqualification. Double clotheslines for everyone from the Road Warriors! *1/2 Not much here, but it wasn't a total waste of 5-minutes, I guess.

- Jim Ross leaves the broadcast position to interview Terry Funk, the challenger to the World Champion in tonight's I Quit Match. He doesn't want Flair's belt, he just wants his humility. Whatever. Wait, wasn't this a "Retirement" Match too? It's 2011, and Funk has retired about 67 times at this point.

- Jim Ross also interviews Bill Apter, who presents Sting and Ric Flair with various PWI Awards. Someone smell rigged?

Eddie Gilbert & Tommy Rich vs. Doom (w/ Woman):

We get a pre-match promo from Woman, who's showing a lot of cleavage for 1989. Doom, once again, is Ron Simmons and Butch Reed under masks. I'll assign Simmons as #1 and Reed as #2 to try and eliminate any confusion. I'm surprised Gilbert and Rich weren't dubbed something ridiculous, like "Hot Fire" or "Wild Stuff" (a play on both their nicknames, Hot Stuff and Wildfire, of course). Doom had debuted at Halloween Havoc, defeating the Steiners in controversial fashion, so here's their first chance to really show how dominating they can be. Doom #1 starts with Gilbert. Lockup, and Gilbert gets shoved down. Lockup, and Gilbert slaps on a headlock, but Doom #1 throws him across the ring to escape. Doom #1 shows off his physique, and Gilbert rolls him up for no count, then slams him face first into the canvas. Gilbert slaps on a wristlock, and Rich comes off the ropes with a double axehandle. Doom #2 tags in and gets taken over with an arm drag. Irish whip, and Rich takes Doom #2 over with a hip toss. Rich with a headlock, and Gilbert tags back in. Irish whip, and Doom #2 catches him coming off the ropes with a side suplex, then follows it up with a high vertical suplex (with classic call from Solie. You know, the "su-play" pronunciation). Doom #1 tags in and pounds away on Gilbert. Doom #2 tags in and nails Gilbert in the ribs with a running high knee. Doom #2 with a swinging neck breaker, but that only gets a two count. Rich gets the wild tag and hammers away on Doom #2. Irish whip, and Rich with a bionic elbow. Irish whip, and Rich with a back drop. Doom #1 and Gilbert come in for some brawling. Irish whip, and Doom catches Rich with a Hart Attack like manuever for the three count at 5:16. 1/2* Really boring and didn't really showcase Doom as much of a threat. I do love the Hart Attack though, so that always is worth a few points.

The Dynamic Dudes vs. The Midnight Express:

(Shane Douglas & Johnny Ace vs. Beautiful Bobby & Sweet Stan)
Jim Cornette will be in a neutral corner for this match, and unlike with Elizabeth at Wrestlemania V, he DOES come into effect within the matches purpose. Cornette, the long-time manager of the Midnight Express, had been mentoring the Dudes on the side, and over time, started managing and focusing his attention on them rather than the Midnights. The Midnights, of course, didn't like this, so they signed this match under his nose, and now Cornette is watching his two teams going against each other for his love. Dudes offer handshakes, but the Express don't want any of that. I wouldn't shake hands with a guy wearing hot pink and white trunks, either. Eaton and Douglas lockup into the corner, and we get a clean break. Eaton with a side headlock. Douglas with an abomdinal stretch, then they trade armbars. Douglas takes Eaton over with a crappy arm drag, then goes back to the arm. Lane tags in and gets taken over with a hip toss. Douglas sends Eaton out of the ring with a dropkick, then goes to the armbar on Lane. Criss-cross sequence, and Lane with a drop toe hold. Douglas escapes a headlock to go back to the armbar. Lane yanks the hair to take Douglas down and works the arm, as well. Douglas counters with a drop toe hold, then applies a wristlock. Lane pulls the hair again, and goes to the armbar. Cornette rats Lane out, allowing Douglas to roll Lane up for a two count. Shoving match won by Douglas. Johnny Ace tags in and avoids an enziguri from Lane. Lockup into the ropes, and Lane pounds away. Irish whip is reversed, and Ace connects with a pair of dropkicks, followed by a scoop slam. Eaton tags in and slaps on a headlock. Irish whip, and Eaton with a shoulder block. Criss-cross sequence, and Ace with dropkicks to Eaton, followed by a baseball slide to send Eaton out of the ring.

Douglas surprises Eaton with a suicide dive, then skins the cat back into the ring. That might be the only babyface pop I've ever heard for the Dynamic Dudes. Lane tags back in and Douglas quickly applies a side headlock. Lane counters with a belly-to-back suplex, but misses an elbow drop. Douglas takes Lane over, then goes to the armbar. Eaton tags in and falls victim to the same pattern. Eaton takes it to the ropes and slaps the taste out of Douglas. Eaton sets him up on the top rope, but Douglas counters the super-plex and rolls Eaton up for a two count. Douglas with a cross body from the middle rope for another two count. Lockup, and Lane tags in to pound away on Douglas. Ace tags in and puts the boots to Lane, but Lane boots him back and tags Eaton in, who hammers away on Ace. Eaton tries a hip toss, but Ace blocks, and takes Eaton over instead. Ace with a monkey flip from out of the corner, but Lane takes his head off while attempting a head scissors. Lane tags in and puts the boots to Ace. Lane with a snapmare, followed by a Russian leg sweep. Eaton tags in, but the Rocket Launcher is greeted with a pair of knees. Douglas tags in and pounds away on both Midnights. Irish whip and a back drop on Eaton. Douglas with an early version of the Olympic Slam, but that only gets two. Cornette comes into the ring and smacks Douglas with the tennis racket, and Eaton covers for the three count at 9:24 to the biggest babyface pop of the night. This was supposed to turn the Midnight Express heel, by the way. Goes to show how much everyone hates the Dudes. *** Very well put together match. The Midnights showed the fire burning inside them to unleash their heel tactics while still attempting to be a nuetral team, while the Dudes managed to counter all of their signature moves and coming within inches of winning the match until Cornette betrayed them.

"Dr. Death" Steve Williams vs. The Super Destroyer:

Yes, another masked Jobber, and yes, it's Jack Victory once again. His huge white-man ass gives it away every time. This is, what, the fourth time he's been on a Clash in 1989 under a mask? Before the match, Norman "The Lunatic" comes to ringside dressed like Santa Claus. Super Destroyer attacks Dr. Death from behind and pounds away, then takes him down with a shitty clothesline. Irish whip is reversed, and Williams with a shoulder tackle. Destroyer side steps another, sending Williams out of the ring. Back inside, and Williams pounds away with rights. Irish whip, and Williams with a military press slam, followed by a clothesline that sends the Destroyer onto the announcers table. Ross reminds us that Dr. Death was attacked by the Skyscrapers last week after Williams gave Norman a teddy bear. Back in the ring and Williams connects with the Oklahoma Stampede for the three count at 1:39. After the match, Norman presents Williams with a little teddy bear and they hug. Aww... I won't bother assigning a rating. Just a squash match. I do love Williams' powerslam, though.

The Steiner Brothers vs. The Skyscrapers (w/ Theodore R. Long):

(Rick & Scott Steiner vs. Sid Vicious & Dan Spivey)
This has slobber-knocker written all over it. Rick comes in through the crowd with popcorn in arms... okay? Jim Ross continues to hype the World Tag Title Match between the Steiners and Freebirds. Spivey and Rick start wth a lockup, and yes, Spivey hammers away. Irish whip, and Rick takes him over with a release belly-to-back suplex, then knocks him over the top rope with the Steinerline. Back in the ring, and Spivey catches Rick in his arms and connects with the tombstone piledriver for a two count, broken up by Scott. Irish whip, and Rick drops an elbow across the back of the head, then floors him with a clothesline. Scott tags in and connects with the frankensteiner, then a fall-away powerslam on Sid! Holy shit, how is he capable of doing this stuff? That MIGHT be the spot where Sid punctured his lung. He seems to be breathing really abnormally the rest of the match after this. Sid tags in for the first time, but he wants to talk strategy, first. Lockup, and Scott applies a wristlock. Sid misses a charge to the corne, then quickly tags in Spivey, who over-powers Scott, then boots him in the face. Scott blocks a suplex attempt then takes Spivey over with his own, then nails a Steinerline. Rick tags in and they slug it out. Irish whip, and Rick with a Steinerline. Irish whip, and Rick with a powerslam. Sid tags in and gets clotheslined out of the ring. Doom hits the ring and Scott takes one over with a Frankensteiner. Rick with a belly-to-belly suplex on Spivey, and the bell finally rings at 5:08, giving the Steiners the win by Disqualification. The Skyscrapers and Doom beat down the Steiners, and Woman's new bodybuard, eventually known as Nitron, makes his debut to help them out. Nitron would become more famous as Michael Myers in the new Halloween movies, and I'm sure he was in one of the X-Men movies, too. Oh, the Road Warriors hit the ring for some super duper brawling. * I was impressed by Scott's offensive abilities, but he nearly killed Sid with a dangerous and unnecessary spot like that. Sid would miss a few months, forcing his replacement in the Skyscrapers with "Mean" Mark Callous, who I'm sure everyone knows as the Undertaker. At this point, though, he was known as The Master of Pain and he really sucked.

NWA United States Championship Match:
"The Total Package" Lex Luger vs. Flyin' Brian:

Hey, it's a rematch from Halloween Havoc, where Luger retained the title with a clean victory over Pillman. No idea then why they're having a rematch. I guess to put on a good match or something. Lockup to start, and we get a clean break from Luger. Lockup #2 goes into the corner, and this time the break seems a little more rough from Pillman. Luger with a knee to the midsection, followed by an elbow across the back of the neck. Irish whip is reversed, and Luger puts Pillman down with a shoulder block. Criss-cross sequence ends with a pair of dropkicks from Pillman, sending Luger out of the ring for a breather. Back in the ring, and Luger takes Pillman to the corner and unloads with a series of rights. Whip to the corner, and Pillman avoids a charge. They seem to blow something, as Luger rolls back out of the ring. Back inside, and Luger maintains a distance from Pillman. Lockup into the corner, and Luger takes a cheap shot on Pillman. Pillman retaliates with chops. Luger avoids a back suplex and a roll up attempt, but Pillman slides back into the ring and nails Luger with a spinning heel kick. Lockup to the corner, and Luger drives a knee to the solar plexus. Whip to the corner, and Luger runs into a pair of feet. Pillman heads to the top rope and connects with a missile dropkick for a two count. Pillman with chops, then wraps the arm of Luger around the top rope and jerks the arm across. Pillman takes Luger down and wraps the arm around the exposed ring post. Pillman pulls Luger out of the ring and rams the left arm into the security rail over and over. Back in the ring, and Pillman applies a wristlock, then turns it into an armbar. Luger takes it to the corner and unloads with rights. Whip to the corner for a chest-first bump and Luger takes Pillman down with a back suplex. Irish whip, and Luger with the press slam, so I guess his arm can't be hurting too badly, or maybe he just forgot how to sell. Luger goes for the press slam again, then releases behind his back.

Luger seems too concerned with showing off, but manages to drop a pair of elbows. Pillman fights back to his feet, but Luger throws him out of the ring thanks to a handful of tights. Luger follows and nails Pillman with a running axehandle, then plants him on the arena floor with a slam. Luger pounds away on Pillman, then brings him back into the ring with a suplex for a two count. Pillman surprises Luger with a school boy for a two count of his own. Irish whip, and Luger takes Pillman over with a powerslam. He calls for the end, but Pillman school boys him again for a two count. Pillman fights back with chops and slaps against Lugers roundhouse rights. Irish whip, and Pillman connects with a flying clothesline. Whip to the corner, and Pillman with a back drop. Pillman heads to the top rope, and a cross body takes out both Luger and referee Nick Patrick. Pillman goes to check on the referee, allowing Luger to attack from behind. Irish whip, and Pillman counters a slam with a roll-up, but the referee is down. Pillman with a dropkick, sending Luger out of the ring. Luger grabs a chair, then bashes Pillman across the head with it. Luger crawls back in the ring and covers for the three count at 12:03. I guess it did make sense for Luger's character to do a rematch. Luger grabs the chair again and smacks it across the back of Pillman a couple of times. Luger slaps on the Torture Rack, and finally the save is made by the Man Called Sting, who's in dress clothes and still has his make-up done up. Luger gets on the microphone and calls Sting out, and Sting responds with calling Luger an arrogant snot-head. Oh well. *** Didn't like it as much as the Havoc match, but Luger taking a distant approach towards Pillman, then resorting to cheating when Pillman had him beat several times plays well to develope his character, while giving Pillman credibility in losing efforts.

Non-Title; I Quit Match:
"Nature Boy" Ric Flair vs. Terry Funk (w/ Gary Hart):

I'm pretty sure this match made the cut on the first DVD that WWE released on Ric Flair. Ric Flair is the World Heavyweight Champion, but this is Non-Title, because it's not about championships, it's about pride. Funk gets on the microphone before the match and gives Flair a chance to quit before the match gets underway, but Flair isn't going to accept that offer. Lockup into the corner, and we get a clean break. Lockup #2 and Flair avoids a chop, then chops Funk over the top rope, to the floor. Back in the ring, and they lockup into the corner, where Flair unloads with chops. Whip to the corner, then back again, and Flair puts Funk out of the ring with another chop. Flair comes off the apron with an axehandle, then chops some more. Back in the ring, then back out for Funk. Lockup, and Funk slaps on a headlock, followed by a shoulder. Flair sweeps the leg from under Funk and starts choking away. Funk escapes and hammers on Flair with lefts, then stomps the back of the head from the apron. Funk with chops and a headbutt. Funk drags Flair back in the ring and they exchange blows. Funk tosses Flair back out of the ring, and rams him into the security rail. Funk unloads with a series of roundhouse lefts, then grabs the microphone and beats Flair over the head with it. Flair fights back with stinging chops, and the action goes back into the ring. Funk continues to control with lefts, then mounts Flair in the corner for more punches, then shoves the microphone in Flair's face. Flair refuses to respond, so Funk continues to pound away. Flair eventually escapes, putting Funk down with an inverted atomic drop. Irish whip, and Funk catches Flair off guard with a swinging neck breaker. Funk slaps Flair around, so Flair responds with choking. Flair with a knee to the midsection, followed by chops. Flair sends Funk out of the ring, then throws Funk into a chair. Flair with more chops, then sends Funk into the security rail. Flair keeps pulling Funk in and unloads with chops. Funk tries running back in the ring, but Flair pulls him back and rams him into the railing once again. Flair takes a shot at Gary Hart on his pass around the ring, then finally we head back in the ring, with Flair standing tall and in control. Flair grabs the microphone and slaps Funk around, then chokes him. Hart distracts Flair, allowing Funk to nail him from behind. Funk connects with another swinging neck breaker, then talks trash to Flair while pounding away on the back of the neck.

Funk asks him to quit while having him in position for a piledriver. Flair refuses, so Funk pounds the kidneys. Flair struggles to escape, but Funk manages to get him up and plant him with the piledriver. Tommy Young asks Flair to quit, but it's a no-go. Funk drops a leg across the neck of Flair, then slams his head into the canvas in an attempt to get him to quit. Flair refuses again, so Funk throws him out of the ring. Funk drags Flair up the aisle and connects with another piledriver, but Flair still won't give up. Funk grabs the microphone and bashes Flair with it some more. Back in the ring, and Funk continues to pound away on the neck of Flair. Funk tosses Flair out of the ring again, and slams him on top of the announcers table. Flair with some desperation chops, then rams Funk into the table that Funk had propped up against the ring. Flair moves the table and jumps on the back of Funk, then throws him onto the table, spilling into the security rail in the process. Flair manhandles Gary Hart and throws him aside, then goes back to work on Funk. Flair crotches Funk across the security rail, then knocks him off with a chop. Back in the ring, and Flair drops a signature knee across the forehead. Flair with an inverted atomic drop, then drops with all his force across the left knee of Funk. Flair boots the knee of Funk and chops him down in between. Funk finally goes down after taking a flurry of blows. Flair paces around his fallen opponent, and the action spills outside again, where Flair tackles Funk in the aisle and connects with an atomic drop, with all the preasure going to the weakened knee. Flair brings Funk into the ring with a suplex, then jerks the hamstring in Funk's left leg. Flair goes for the Figure-Four, but Funk blocks it and rakes the eyes to escape. Funk tosses Flair to the apron, but Flair brings Funk over with a suplex, then rams the leg across the side of the ring. Back in, and Flair sweeps the leg from under Funk and slaps the Figure-Four on in the center of the ring. Funk says no, so Flair keeps adding preasure to the hold until Funk FINALLY says "I Quit" at 18:36. One of the few times I've ever heard the person actually say "I Quit" to end the I quit match, without it being under a nonsense booking gimmick. After the match, Flair demands Funk shake his hand, and Gary Hart tries to stop it, but Funk gives him the handshake he promised. Hart nails Funk, so Flair nails Hart and beats on him in the corner until the Great Muta hits the ring, as well as The Dragon Master (who?). Sting attempts to make another save, but Lex Luger hits the ring now and Sting and Flair both get laid out. It's like an episode of Nitro circa 1997-2000, except Sting is in his prime, and Flair was technically just past it. Anyway... ****1/2 One of the best fights I've seen under the gimmicked circumstances, but I just couldn't go the full monty because of Funk's cartoony sell jobs at times that made me go "so that's where Shawn Michaels learned that from." I love the fact, though, that the promised "I Quit" actually happened, unlike every other case in the history of WWE where the I Quit was done under circumstances where the person willingly forfeited the match, was pre-recorded saying it, or just mumbled nonsense. Great way to end a feud, and I think this was one of, if not the last match for Funk during this run with WCW.

Final Thoughts: It's hard to argue against a show featuring one of the best matches of the year as well as a handful of other high quality matches, Even the stuff that didn't get impressive star ratings wasn't bad, such as all the undercard tag matches and Dr. Death's squash, and nothing felt like a chore to sit through. Probably one of the best Clash of the Champions ever, and well worth a look if you come across a copy.

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