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WCW Clash of the Champions VII: Guts & Glory

by Scrooge McSuck

- If the special title for this Clash wasn't a give away yet, this is a very special production, celebrating the United States military and interviewing a bunch of people I don't care to pay enough atteniton to. Not that I'm not patriotic... well, okay, I'm not very patriotic, but I'm not sitting through this show for a bunch of interviews with people serving the United States military. I'm not sure if you could call something so awful memorable, but this Clash features one of the more memorable debuts from the time. WCW was quickly morphing into a WWF Clone, phasing out wrestling and no-nonsense personalities, and instead, started showcasing wrestlers with over-the-top gimmicks in order to market towards children rather than focusing on their wrestling ability.

- We're live from the Ritz-Epps Fitness Center in Fort Bragg, NC, broadcast on Superstation TBS on June 14th, 1989. Jim Ross and Bob Caudle are calling the action, unless otherwise noted. We're about a month away from the next PPV, the Great American Bash.

NWA World Tag Team Championship; Semi-Finals Tournament Match:
The Dynamic Dudes vs. The Fabulous Freebirds (w/ Terry Gordy):

(Shane Douglas & Johnny Ace vs. Michael "P.S." Hayes & Jimmy Garvin)
After looking through the list of teams competing in this tournament, I can whole heartedly understand why the NWA decided to abandon the U.S. Tag Titles, as well as the 6-Man Tag Titles, of course. The Freebirds, Hayes and Gordy version, bested the Road Warriors, while the Dudes got the lucky draw of Jack Victory and Rip Morgan. Garvin is making his "surprise" return here, after about a 9-month hiatus recovering from a knee injury at the hands of the Varsity Club. The Dudes come to the ring with a bunch of stupid kids and carrying novelty flying discs. They're from "The City of Sunshine", but that seems a little vague to me. The Freebirds jump the Dudes from behind, but are quickly sent to the canvas with atomic drops and back suplexes. Ace seems to forget the spot, as their simultanious pin attempts is blown while Ace plays to the crowd too much. Hayes puts a boot to Ace and clobbers away. Irish whip is reversed, and Ace takes Hayes over with an arm drag. Garvin tags in, and gets taken over as well. Douglas tags in and works the arm, too. It's like watching a really lazy Rockers match when watching the Dudes. Double hip toss and elbow drop by the Dudes, but no kip up? I feel cheated! Garvin takes Douglas down, chokes, and Hayes stomps away, making the Freebirds my favorite wrestlers at this point in history. Irish whip, and Douglas comes off the ropes with a sunset flip for a two count. We get heel miscommunication, but Ace ends up missing a cross body. Garvin drops him throat first across the top rope and covers for a two count. Garvin with a slam for another two count. Ace gets dumped out of the ring, and Hayes quickly goes to work him over. Hayes teases some high flying action, but chickens out. Back in the ring, and Garvin slaps on a headlock. Irish whip, and a collision puts both men down. Douglas gets the Mild Tag and hammers away on Garvin. Irish whip and a back drop, then a back drop to Hayes. Double noggin' knocker! Whip to the corner is reversed, but Douglas rolls Garvin up for a two count. Ace and Hayes go at it in the corner, and a double dropkick sends Hayes out of the ring. Hayes returns to dump Ace out of the ring, and then Ace does it to Hayes. Irish whip is reversed, and Douglas rolls Garvin up, but Hayes plants the bastard with a DDT, and Garvin covers for three at 7:06. * Pretty bad for the most part, thanks to sloppy, uncoordinated work from the Dudes, specifically Johnny Ace. It's like watching a retard trying to hump a door knob. I was generous with the rating because the Freebirds won, and Douglas ate canvas impressively.

Ranger Ross vs. The Terrorist:

Are you KIDDING me?! I'm disappointed that the WCW board of executives didn't have the Terrorist or a bunch of Terrorists fighting the Birds of War or something, complete with pre-match rap. Anyone that gets that reference earns cool points with me, as if that means anything. The Terrorist is, you guessed it, Jack Victory. Dean Malenko might be the Man of 1,000 Holds, but Jack Victory is the Man of 1,000 Generic Masks. Whenever I hear Ranger Ross, I just think of Full House, when Joey gets his own children's show as "Ranger Joey", complete with horrifyingly bad theme music. The Terrorist attacks from behind while Jim Ross shills Domino's Pizza and Coors Light. Irish whip, and Ross comes off the ropes with a diving forearm. Ross with a hip toss, followed by a dropkick. Ross with a slam, followed by an elbow drop for a two count. Irish whip, and Ross with a diving clothesline. Ross with his "martial arts" offense, followed by a reverse crescent kick, and that's enough for the three count at 1:27. 1/4* Because the crowd seemed to really dig Ross, who happened to be a former Marine. Just a quick squash. Thankfully quick.

- We get a hype video for the Road Warriors, set to the tune of their rip-off theme music inspired heavily by Black Sabbath's Iron Man. It's basically the same 13 notes repeated over and over in slow motion. No idea why this is on here.

- The Great Muta and Gary Hart are in the ring for whatever reason, with a couple of scrubs. Eddie Gilbert comes out to offer a real challenge to Muta, and the end result has one of the scrubs take a fireball to the face. The true highlight of the match is Hart dropping the word "Gaijin", which I'm sure went over the heads of 99.8% of the wrestling audience at the time.

The Ding Dongs vs. George South & Cougar Jay:

Yes, it's the debut of the Ding Dongs. For those who are unfamiliar, the Dongs (an appropriate name to shorten theirs with) was a brain fart from Jim Herd, who thought a team of Hunchbacks would get over, because they would never lose. Someone actually thought that was stupid. Instead of hunchbags, they have BELLS tied to their body, and have a giant bell in the corner, which they ring over and over to get the crowd excited. Sadly, no one thought this was stupid enough of a concept to stop it from going forward with. I couldn't make it out, buy were they announced from "Bellville, USA"? Jim Ross: I guess we can call this one Ding and the other one Dong. Headlock, and Ding Dong #1 with an ear smack. Dong #2 is ringing the bell the whole time, while Dong #1 fucks up a sunset flip! The crowd is already boo'ing this nonsense. Cougar Jay hammers away, but South gets caught in the corner and the Dongs work the arm. South with a headlock and takeover, but Dong #7 escapes with a head scissors. Criss-cross sequence, and the Dongs with a double hip toss on both men. Dong comes off the ropes with a Lou Thesz press for a two count. Dong with a slam, and Ding comes in with a weird splash for a two count. Arm drag and armbar applied by Dong. Irish whip, and Dong with a dropkick, followed by an arm drag. South with a slam, but he misses a knee drop. Dong with a sloppy belly-to-belly suplex. Dong with a middle rope elbow drop (he fell of the ropes, by the way), and Ding with a splash for the three count at 3:36. The crowd does not approve. DUD Total shit. Were these a couple of rookies? They just seemed totally lost in the ring, blowing simple stuff all match long. I thought Jackie Gayda's match was sloppy. Sadly, the Dongs would remain for a few weeks, before being destroyed and unmasked by a vicious new tag team.

NWA World Tag Team Championship; Semi-Finals Tournament Match:
The Midnight Express (w/ Jim Cornette) vs. The Samoan Swat Team (w/ Paul E. Dangerously):

(Beautiful Bobby & Sweet Stan vs. Samu & Fatu) The SST beat the team of Ranger Ross and Ron Simmons, while the Midnights beat the truely deserving team of Butch Reed and the Raider. Seriously how did the NWA Tag Division thin out so badly in less than a year? The SST come to the ring to the song from Halloween, or should I say the theme that plays when Michael Myers is hanging around. Which was a better team, the SST/Headshrinkers or the Islanders? I guess it doesn't matter, since they're all probably related. Paul E. looks like Don Johnson after letting himself go, getting a bad haircut, and lost his hair. Cornette goes for Paul E. while the two teams brawl. Samu goes flying over the top rope, while Lane takes it to Fatu. Irish whip, and it's a drop toe hold and elbow drop combination. Double back elbow from the Midnights. Eaton pounds away on Fatu and takes him down with a swinging neck breaker. Lane tags in for a leap frog splash across the back of Fatu. Eaton with a bulldog takeover. He calls for it once more, but Samu comes in and tags him with a reverse crescent kick. Irish whip, and Fatu with a short clothesline for a two count. Samu tags in and quickly knocks Eaton out of the ring with a chop. Fatu greets Eaton with a suplex on the arena floor. At this point though, the NWA coul afford floor mats, but I still liked the exposed concrete look. Seemed less produced. Back in the ring, and Samu yanks the hair to slam Eaton's face to the canvas, then drops a leg for a two count. Fatu tags in, and it's double team action in the corner. Whip to the corner, and Fatu hits the post on a charge attempt. Lane gets the hot tag, and nails Fatu with a series of kicks and forearms. Irish whip is reversed, and Lane takes him down with a Russian leg sweep for a two count. Everyone's in the ring for some brawlin'. Lane sends Fatu to the corner, but eats foot on a charge. Fatu heads to the top, but the Road Warriors come in and take Fatu out with a clothesline. Lane covers, and we get a three count at 6:10, although the Midnights winning seemed to play second fiddle to a developing angle between the Road Warriors and SST. * The Midnights could go, but they need to be the heels controlling the action rather than the faces-in-peril to make a match interesting.

"Dr. Death" Steve Williams vs. Terry "Bam Bam" Gordy:

This could be an entertaining match, but it's WCW, so you know it's not going to be 20-minutes of them stiffing the shit out of each other and using each other as weights to throw around the ring. Williams hits the ring during introductions and they slug it out. Williams has apparently turned face since we last saw him at Wrestle War '89. Whip to the corner, and Gordy catches him coming with a clothesline. Whip to the corner, and Gordy follows in with another clothesline. Jim Ross informs us of a situtation happening over in Japan where Kevin Sullivan paid off Terry Gordy to put a hurting on Dr. Death. They take it to the corner for a slugfest while Jim Ross spouts about Mid-South and UWF, talking about the history between the two. Williams pounds away in the corner. Williams with a headbutt, and Gordy retaliates by grabbing a waist-lock, then takes him over with a back suplex. Ross and Caudle constantly mention the temperature in the arena. Gordy with a snapmare, then slaps on a chinlock. Gordy with a slam, but Williams escapes a second attempt and slams Gordy a couple of times. Gordy rolls out of the ring, but Williams follows out, and we get another slugfest. Back in the ring, and Williams comes off the ropes with a cross body for a two count. Irish whip, and Williams sends Gordy out of the ring with a dropkick. Gordy takes the eyes, but gets nailed with a stiff forearm, being knocked out of the ring once more. Williams follows out again and they brawl up the aisle for a Double Count-Out at 6:35. 1/2* Nothing much here, which is incredibly disappointing. It was mostly punch and stall. Crowd chants bullshit for the finish.

Norman "The Lunatic" (w/ Teddy Long) vs. Mike Justice:

Justice was one of the scrubs from earlier. It must be REALLY hot there, because Justice looks like he's spent an hour in the sauna. Yes, the screen graphic and introductions are for Norman The Lunatic. I thought that was one of those myths a certain website started. You know, the one that claimed the Turkey Hunt was the final AWA match, among other stuff and that Dave Sullivan was called "Evad" because of his dyslexia gimmick. Norman is the late Mike Shaw, best known as Bastion Booger, despite a successful career under the name Mahkan Singh, most notably in Stampede. Norman pounds away on Justice. Irish whip, and he hits a clothesline. Norman with more pounding, followed by an avalanche in the corner. Norman falls on top for a three count at the 47-second mark. Norman keeps attacking until Long dangles the keys in front of Norman. Afterwards, Norman gets stretchered out by the people in white coats. DUD Squash match.

- We get a hype video for a new, young and up-coming star in the form of Flyin' Brian Pillman. The video is set to the god awful "Oh Yeah" song by Yello. You know, the day-ba-pa song. Again, if ANYONE gets that reference, even more cool points than earlier for the Birds of War.

The Steiner Brothers (w/ Missy Hyatt) vs. The Varsity Club:
(Rick & Scott Steiner vs. Captain Mike Rotunda & Kevin Sullivan)

Why is Rotunda being called "Captain Mike Rotunda" all of a sudden? This might be the first time that Rick and Scott were teaming togehter, or at least first time not wrestling scrubs. Missy Hyatt looks somewhat attractive when not dressing up like a whore. I guess she was WCW's answer to Miss Elizabeth, minus the class. Scott and Sullivan start with a lockup. Sullivan pounds away, but Scott sends him to the buckle, and nails him with a clothesline. Rotunda and Rick get involved in the match, but the Steiners clear the ring soon after. Sullivan with a headlock on Scott, followed by a shoulder block. Scott catches Sullivan coming off the ropes with a powerslam. Rotunda tags in, as does Rick. Lockup, and Rick slaps on a headlock. Irish whip, and Rotunda with a shoulder block. Rick takes him over with a hip toss, then nails a stiff clothesline. Scott comes in and gives Sullivan a crappy clothesline. Rick slaps on a headlock, but Rotunda takes him over into a pin attempt, getting a two count. Rotunda escapes with an awesome looking back suplex. Sullivan tags in and whips Rick to the corner, but Rick comes charging out with a clothesline. Rick taunts from his knees, and he still looks bigger than Kevin the Dwarf. Jim Ross pimps Death Wish 2, airing immediately after Clash VII. Rotunda tags back in, but he's reluctant. Lockup, and Rick with a headlock. Scott tags in and gets rammed to the buckle. Irish whip, and Scott with a cross body for a two count. Scott goes for a suplex, but Rotunda blocks and throws Scott over the top rope while the referee has his back turned. Sullivan rams Scott into the ring post, then chucks the ring steps at him! Back in the ring, and Sullivan works Scott over some more. Whip to the corner is reversed, but Scott eats boot on a charge attempt. Rotunda tags in and connects with a dropkick. Sullivan tags in and pounds away. Rotunda is back in, and takes Scott over with a double-arm suplex for a two count. Irish whip, and Rotunda misses a clothesline, but nails Scott while going for it again. Rotunda slaps on a front facelock, and we see Scott has a pretty bad bruise on his back from the spot earlier. The Club double team Scott while Rick argues he made a tag. Irish whip, and Rotunda misses a dropkick. Rick gets the hot tag, and hammers away on Rotunda and Sullivan in the same corner. Irish whip, and a double clothesline from the Steiners. Rick with a dropkick on Sullivan, and Scott with a slam to Rotunda. Scott meets the knees on a splash attempt, and Rotunda takes him over with a suplex onto a steel chair, and that gets the three count at 8:34. *** Good match, and Scott seemed surprisingly crisp for the most part, despite being pretty green at this point. Sullivan was his usual self, but everyone else seemed to be bringing it here. Pretty hot finish, too.

NWA Television Championship Match:
Sting vs. Wild Bill Irwin:

I find it odd that we're about halfway through the year in terms of these NWA/WCW reviews, and in all of them, Sting is an after-thought, or wrestling glorified scrubs while defending the Television Title. Oh well, at least he would end the year on a high note, I guess. Irwin is a generic cowboy who later started dressing up as a hockey player. Sting charges the ring and quickly takes Irwin down with a bulldog. Sting with a dropkick, sending Irwin into the corner. Irwin fights back with clubbing blows. Whip to the corner, and he follows in with a knee to the midsection. Irwin drops Sting throat-first across the top rope. Irish whip, and Irwin with a back elbow. Irish whip, and Sting puts Irwin on his butt following a boot to the face. Sting hammers away and rakes the back, then takes Irwin over with a suplex. Irwin fights back with shots to the throat. Irish whip, and Irwin with a knee. Sting rakes the eyes and pounds away some more. Whip to the corner, and Sting misses a splash, but he catches the ropes and goes for a body press. Irwin catches him though, powers him up, and slams him down hard for the high spot of the match. Irwin stalls while going to grab his bull whip. Sting surprises Irwin in the corner with a splash and rolls him up for the three count at 3:31. 1/4* For the one spot, which may or may not have been blown, but covered up well enough so no one would notice.

- Jim Ross takes a visit to Ric Flair's house for a special interview. For those who forgot, Flair was injured at the hands on Terry Funk at Wrestle War '89, when after winning the World Title from Steamboat, Flair denied Funk a World Title match, because he was out of shape and a non-contender. Funk responded by kicking Flair's ass and piledriving him on top of a table. Thanks to this, we now have RANKINGS! Steamboat is #1, Terry Funk is #10, and Lex Luger is mad at his position, and that's been mentioned a lot tonight. Hmmm...

NWA World Tag Team Championship; Tournament Finals Match:
The Midnight Express (w/ Jim Cornette) vs. The Fabulous Freebirds (w/ Terry Gordy):

(Beautiful Bobby & Sweet Stan vs. Michael "P.S." Hayes & Jimmy Garvin)
There sure are a lot of matches being featured on this show, thanks to everything being short, and the inclusion of two squash matches to showcase new "talent." Paul E. attacks Cornette from behind with a tennis racket while the Midnights make their entrance, and Cornette is knocked out. We look inside the racket, and there's a horse shoe and chain taped up inside it. For some reason, the Dynamic Duds come to the ring area to check on Cornette. Hayes and Lane start out after all that goes down. Hayes grabs a headlock. Irish whip, and Lane with a hip toss, followed by a slam and a series of arm drags. Garvin tags in, and the Midnights give him the toe hold and elbow spot for a quick two count. Lockup into the corner, and Eaton holds Garvin in place for a Lane enziguri. Irish whip, and the Midnights with a double elbow for another two count. The Freebirds play to the crowd, and everyone looks really sweaty, so the heat has to be intense there. This goes on for quite a while. Eaton grabs a headlock on Garvin, but runs into a knee. Garvin with a series of knees and a pair of slams on Eaton, and Hayes tags in to quickly dump Eaton out of the ring. Back inside, and Hayes with some choking. Jim Ross hypes the debut of the Power Hour, June 21st on TBS. Irish whip, and Hayes with a back elbow, then some struttin'. Garvin pulls Eaton off the apron, face-first into the security rail. Back inside, and Hayes whips Eaton to the corner. Irish whip, and the Freebirds with a double elbow. Garvin with a snapmare, then applies a chinlock. Eaton mounts a comeback, hammering away on Garvin. Lane gets the tag in and kicks away in the corner. Whip across the ring, but Lane misses an elbow. Hayes tags in, and gets caught by Lane with a DDT. Eaton tags back in and pounds away on both men. Double noggin' knocker! Lane sends Hayes out of the ring with a dropkick. Irish whip and a double back drop to Garvin. Hayes gets whipped to the corner, and Eaton whips Lane into him, knocking Hayes out of the ring. Irish whip and Flapjack to Garvin. Hayes and Lane brawl in the corner and the referee blows the spot. He finally gets up to attend to that situation,, while Gordy climbs in the ring and plants Eaton with a powerbomb, allowing Garvin to make the cover for the three count and World Tag Titles at 9:11. *1/2 Not much here in terms of quality, but at least it was slightly better than both Semi-Finals matches, I guess. Seriously, the Midnight Express as babyfaces doesn't work when the heels controlling the match are teams like the Samoans and the Freebirds V2.

Ricky "The Dragon" Steamboat vs. Terry Funk:

This is a Top Ten Rankings Match, because Steamboat is still the recognized #1 Contender while Terry Funk somehow managed to squeak in with the #10 ranking. As much as rankings seems like an interesting idea, there's absolutely no logic in it, no matter what sport, real or fake. Seriously, Funk will challenge for the title in one month. Did Steamboat ever get a rematch? Who did Funk beat to climb TEN SPOTS to deserve the #1 contenders rank? And then what about the U.S. and TV Titles? Did they have rankings too? What if the #1 contender to the US Title wanted to challenge the TV Title? Did rankings carry over if you challenge for a lesser title than you are qualified for? Sadly, the Tag Team division would soon introduce weekly top 10 rankings too, because it makes no sense, and I don't think they even had 10 teams at the time the rankings were introduced. Oh well, it's all 20 years ago, so I can't complain too much... right?

Lockup to start, and the referee forces a break. Lockup #2, and Funk with a series of chops in the corner. Steamboat returns the favor with his own brand. Lockup, and we get a slap fight, won by Steamboat, and he beats Funk into the corner and out of the ring. Funk slaps on a headlock then puts Steamboat down with a pair of shoulder blocks. Steamboat nails Funk with a double chop, followed by several dropkicks, sending Funk back out of the ring. Back in the ring, and Funk unloads with a series of right jabs, then tosses Steamboat out of the ring. Funk follows soon after, and drops an elbow across the back of the head. Steamboat with chops, then tosses Funk into the security railing. Back in the ring, and Funk takes Steamboat down and pounds away with lefts, followed by a rake of the eyes. Funk with a neck breaker, followed by a splash across the shoulders for a two count. Irish whip, and Funk boots Steamboat in the chest, then floors him with a roundhouse left. They exchange blows again. Whip to the corner, and Funk flips himself out of the ring, a la Flair, but less comical, I guess. Steamboat heads to the top rope, then comes crashing down with a chop across the top of the head of Funk. Steamboat scoops Funk up and walks him around the ring area before power-slamming him on the floor. Back in the ring, and Steamboat slams Funk over the top rope! Where's the Disqualification, Nick Patrick? Whip to the corner, and Steamboat eats boot on a charge attempt. Irish whip, and Funk with a running elbow, followed by a piledriver. That's only enough for a two count, though. Steamboat fights back with some disgusting to listen to chops. We get a ref' bump, and Steamboat takes the Sgt. Slaughter corner bump. Funk heads out after him and connects with another piledriver. Funk brings Steamboat back in the ring with a suplex, but that only gets a two count. Funk covers again for another two count. Funk pounds away on Steamboat with short lefts. Funk heads to the top rope, but a splash meets the knees of the Dragon. Irish whip, and Steamboat with a blow to the midsection. Irish whip, and Steamboat does it one more time, then connects with a stomach buster. Steamboat heads to the top rope, and he comes off with another chop to the top of the head, then sends Funk out of the ring with an enziguri. Funk grabs the microphone and bashes Steamboat with it, drawing the Disqualification at 13:52. Funk continues to pound away on Steamboat after the match until Luger hits the ring. Then, in the first of MANY, Luger turns heel and lays a beating in on Steamboat. All because he was ranked the #2 Contender behind Steamboat? I guess it's a better excuse than, say, doing it "for the people." Jim Ross calling Luger an egomaniac can't be too far from his true opinion on the lad. *** Good match, but I'm somewhat disappointed, as I was expecting more, I guess. Just seemed a little too slow and plodding to keep my interest peaked. I liked the fact Steamboat went to work on Funk's middle after knee'ing him on the splash attempt, something I've rarely seen in the thousands of matches featuring the spot. Luger's heel turn was pretty random, but if you look at the roster, the only heels in the company at main event status were... um... Funk? I guess Great Muta, too, in a stretch of things.

Final Thoughts: I found it very hard to try and sit through this entire show. There were a couple of good matches, but the bad far out-weighed the good, with a horrible conclussion to a pathetic tournament, squash matches to introduce new, cartoony characters more suitable for the WWF, and a whole lot of filler. Seriously, the best they could do with Sting here was a 3-minute title defense against Bill friggin' Irwin? I can easily say this show is not worth checking out, unless you have a sick fascination with the Ding Dongs or something.

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