- I hate introductions that give things away, but a lot of people consider this one of, if not the, best Pay-Per-Views ever produced by either the WWF or WCW. While that's a pretty big statement to make, let's just think about how the card came about. Terry Funk was awarded a title match despite not being a contender, Lex Luger magically turned heel for the first of many times in terms of stupid reasons, and Sting was thrown into a feud with the Great Muta, just because. Oh, and WarGames is dusted off for the first time... without the Horsemen involved.
- Live, from the Baltimore Arena in Baltimore, MD. Originally broadcasted on July 23rd, 1989, with Jim Ross and Bob Caudle calling the action, unless otherwise noted. I should note this is the Turner Home Entertainment version, so a lot of the undercard stuff is butchered beyond belief, although that's a good thing considering what the undercard consists of.
We go a couple of minutes without any eliminations. I can only assume we'll get a lot of rapid eliminations. Ranger Ross is tossed first, at the hands of Simmons. Ron Simmons goes next, and they fight it out in Ring 2. Simmons kills Ross with a series of clotheslines, but gets knocked down with a reverse crescent kick. Simmons gets tossed at 3:40 by Ross. Scott Hall is tossed into the second ring, as is Terry Gordy. Dr. Death tosses Bill Irwin into the second ring. We take a clip job, and Dan Spivey powerbombs Ranger Ross a couple of times. It seems like EVERYONE gets tossed into the second ring at once, leaving Pillman with SID. Ranger Ross is tossed at 5:02 by Spivey. Sid kills Pillman with a clothesline. Gordy, Gilbert, Rick and Scott Steiner are all out in a matter of seconds. Pillman misses a cross body and lands in the second ring, giving Sid Vicious the title of "Ring 1 Winner." Meanwhile, Dr. Death tosses Bill Irwin at 7:15. Spivey and Rotunda dump Pillman at 7:30. Williams has happy feet as he's left to do battle with Rotunda and Spivey. The former tag champs go at it, and Williams plants Rotunda with a powerslam. Irish whip is reversed, and Rotunda goes flying after missing a clothesline, leaving Spivey and Dr. Death. Whip to the corner, and Williams in with a clothesline. Williams tries to clothesline Spivey out, but it doesn't work. Williams gets tripped up by Rotunda, and Spivey tosses him at 8:19, so it's Skyscraper vs. Skyscraper... no wait, Teddy Long calls a truce between the two, and they share the winnings, so we don't get a conclussion to the match. Whatever. Not the worst battle royal, or at least not from what we've seen.
Oh, hey, Steamboat is FINALLY using Sirius for his entrance music. About friggin' time. Oh, and he's carried to the ring with a "Komodo" Dragon. This is supposed to be No Disqualification, but Luger whines his way into Steamboat agreeing to wave the stipulation of the match. Lockup to start, and Luger shoves Steamboat to the corner. Steamboat avoids a cheap shot and rolls Luger up for a quick two count. Irish whip, and Steamboat with a cradle for another two count. Steamboat with a single leg trip, and a float over pin attempt for another two count. Steamboat with a series of chops, followed by a back drop, forcing Luger out of the ring. Steamboat follows, and continues to chop the shit off his chest. Steamboat ducks a clothesline, and connects with an atomic drop. Back in the ring, and Luger catches Steamboat through the ropes with a knee lift. Luger with a sledge across the back, followed by a short clothesline. Steamboat fights back with chops, then rams Luger into the security rail. Steamboat heads to the top rope, but gets caught coming off with a fist to the midsection. Luger scoops him up and connects with a back breaker. Luger continues clubbing away across the back of Steamboat. Irish whip, and Luger with a press slam, followed by a pair of elbows across the back for a two count. Luger argues with the referee, and Steamboat rolls him up for a two count. Luger with a trio of clotheslines, but Steamboat keeps getting up... but then topples like a bowling pin after the third one. Luger drops him throat-first across the top rope, but Steamboat fights back again with chops. Luger takes advantage of referee interference to cheap shot the challenger, then takes him over with a powerslam for a two count. Irish whip, and Steamboat comes off the ropes with a cross body for a two count. Luger with an inverted atomic drop. Irish whip, and Steamboat surprises him with a swinging neck breaker. Steamboat goes for a slam, but Luger rolls through, then Luger misses a clothesline, and goes flying over the top rope. Steamboat pounds away on Luger with chops to the forehead. He tries to slam Luger into the ring, but crumbles under the weight, and Luger falls on top for a two count. Whip to the corner, but Steamboat runs into a boot from the Champion. Luger heads to the top rope, but Steamboat chops him and slams him off. Steamboat with chops and a standing dropkick. Steamboat heads to the top rope, and comes off with a big chop to the top of the head for a two count. Steamboat charges, but Luger back drops him from one ring into the other, which normally would be a DQ, I thought. Luger follows into the other ring, but then decides to head outside and grab a steel chair. Steamboat sweeps the legs from under Luger, then sling shots him into the corner, with chair still in hand. Steamboat grabs the chair, tosses the referee, and plays whack-a-champ with the belt, drawing a Disqualification at 10:27. Steamboat tosses the referee out of the ring, and bashes Luger across the back with the chair. Irish whip, and a chair shot to the solar plexus is added for good measure. Steamboat follows Luger out of the ring, swinging the chair like a maniac. **** Outside of the predictable finish thanks to the last minute change in the rules, probably the best and most exciting match I have ever seen come out of Luger, and while I'm sure a lot of people will credit this to Steamboat, Luger COULD go, so it wasn't like whoever he wrestled had to pull off a miracle, they just had to extort his strengths (short, offense filled matches) rather than his weaknesses (30-minute resthold filled matches with Luger dominating the whole thing).
Jimmy Garvin and Bobby Eaton elect to start the match. They lockup and Eaton wins the initial slugfest. Lockup into the corner, and Garvin with a series of knees to the midsection. Whip to the corner, and Eaton surprises Garvin with a swinging neck breaker. Eaton misses an elbow drop, and Garvin goes to work with rights and a slam. Irish whip is reversed, and Eaton sends him to the corner with an atomic drop. Garvin boots him on a charge attempt and drops a knee across the back of the head. Garvin tosses Eaton into the cage, and the SST/Freebirds team takes liberties from the outside on him. Garvin stomps away on his face, and surprisingly, Eaton hasn't bladed yet. Eaton sends Garvin to the corner and slaps the taste out of his mouth. Eaton uses the roof for leverage to boot Garvin in the chest, then takes him over with a hip toss. Eaton with a snapmare. Irish whip, and Garvin comes off the ropes with a forearm, followed by some stomps to the back of the head. Garvin chokes while Michael Hayes does trash talking from outside the cage. Eaton mounts a comeback, then slams Garvin across his knee a couple of times. Eaton with a slam, then traps Garvin in a Boston crab.
Terry Gordy is in next, since the heels SURPRISINGLY won the coin toss. Gordy pounds away on Eaton, then tosses him into the cage. Gordy with a slam, and Garvin drops an elbow, then the two toss Eaton across both top ropes into the first ring. Garvin hammers away with rights. Irish whip, and Freebirds V2.5 with a double back elbow. Gordy pounds away while Garvin does some choking. We get heel miscommunication, but the Freebirds toss Eaton into the cage once again. It's countdown time...
Steve Williams comes in next and slugs it out with Gordy. Garvin tries to help out, but Williams nails them both with a clothesline. Williams and Gordy take it to the second ring, with Gordy in control. Irish whip is reversed, and Williams press slams Gordy up into the roog a few times before finally slamming him. In ring #1, Eaton is having his way with Garvin, and they make it into the second ring, as well. Garvin chokes Eaton out in between the two rings. Gordy sends Williams to the corner, and follows in with a clothesline, then mounts him for some clubbering. Whip to the corner, and Williams comes charging out with a clothesline. Eaton and Garvin continue slugging it out in no man's land.
SST Samu is next in, and he nails Williams with a spinning heel kick, followed by a headbutt. Samu with headbutts on Williams, and Gordy takes him down with an awesome back suplex. Garvin is working on Eaton again, fish-hooking him the whole time. Williams starts no-selling and slugs away on Williams. Irish whip, and Williams with a shoulder tackle. Samu and Garvin double team Eaton, then Samu takes Williams out with a clothesline. Samu and Gordy with a double suplex on Williams. Eaton comes over and slugs away on all three opponents, then helps Williams back to his feet to help fight off their attacjs. Williams rams Gordy and Samu together as the new countdown begins...
Road Warrior Animal comes in, and the crowd goes NUTS. He hammers away on Samu and tosses him into the other ring, then nails Gordy with a series of clotheslines. Animal heads to the first ring to battle it out with Samu, and nearly booys his head off. Animal tosses him into the second ring, and nails a diving shoulder tackle across both top ropes. Animal with a clothesline to Garvin, and adds another to Gordy for good measure. Williams and Animal with a double clothesline to Samu. Gordy is back up and puts Williams down with his own clothesline. Animal puts Gordy back down with another clothesline. Garvin hammers away on Williams while Animal and Eaton work over Samu. Eaton with a bulldog on Samu.
SST Fatu is the fourth man in for the heels, and quickly pounds away on Animal. Samu comes over to help, and they double headbutt Animal and choke him out. Irish whip, and a double clothesline from the SST, followed by a wish bone and a double headbutt. Garvin is still paired off with Eaton, just beating him down in the corner. Gordy has Williams trapped in a choke hold in the first ring, but Williams escapes with a back suplex. Garvin mounts Eaton in the corner with a series of lefts, followed by some eye raking. Eaton with some kidney blows and a headbutt to put Garvin down on the canvas.
Stan Lane comes in and is ambushed by Fatu and Garvin. He sends both into the cage, as well as Gordy. Samu comes in and gets the same treatment. Lane rams Fatu into the cage again, then pounds away with rights. Everyone is assembled in the first ring, and at ringside, Hayes is upset about being the next man in. Lane catches Samu coming off the ropes with a heel kick. Fatu is whipped to the corner, and is nailed with clotheslines from both Animal and Dr. Death. The Midnights double team Garvin, and Eaton again uses the roof for some leverage manuevers. The Midnights slam Garvin's head into the roog, while the SST work on Animal.
Michael "P.S." Hayes is the last man in for his team, and he nails Lane with a DDT. Then he nails Williams with the DDT. Then Animal with the DDT. Then Eaton with the DDT. That's definitely how to make an impact. Hayes goes into a ring by himself and struts to taunt Hawk. "We Want Hawk" chant as the heels punch and kick on the fallen babyfaces. The SST work Animal over in the corner. Lane with a heel kick to the midsection of Hayes. Gordy whips Williams to the ropes and nails him with a clothesline. Hayes pounds away on Eaton while Gordy chokes Williams and Garvin chokes Lane.
Road Warrior Hawk is last in, and THE MATCH BEYOND begins! Hawk comes in with a double clothesline from the top on the SST, then clothesline Hayes. Hawk with a violent vlurry of rights and chops on Gordy, followed by a double team clothesline. Hawk press slams Garvin into the corner turnbuckle, while Lane pounds Gordy. Eaton plants Hayes with a DDT, then does the same to Samu. Hawk launches himself from one ring to the other into Gordy and Fatu. Eaton hammers away on Hayes, then sends him into the cage. Hawk pounds away on Gordy. Paul E. tries passing his cellphone into the cage, but it's too big to fit through the mesh. Eaton gets tossed over into another ring, while Hawk pounds the crap out of Fatu. Hawk goes to work on Garvin, and nails him with a clothesline from the top rope. Hawk connects with a vicious neck breaker, then applies a HANGMAN'S NECKBREAKER, and that just looks painful. Garvin quickly submits and it's over at 22:20. Now that's a submission move that needs to make a comeback. Oh, Animal gets left in the cage by himself, and gets worked over by the SST and Freebirds, just because they can. ***1/2 Not the greatest Wargames match ever, but it was a fun brawl, and the crowd seemed to be into it, especially whenever the Road Warriors got involved. Also got to give props for one brutal ending. I know it's twenty years ago, but that move still looks painful as all hell to me.
Flair tosses Funk back into the ring, and puts the boots to him. Flair measures him up and puts him down with a running forearm for a two count. Flair takes Funk down with a back suplex, then slaps the Figure-Four on, but Funk is a little too close to the ropes. Hart passes on a weapon to Funk, who uses it to bash Flair across the top of the head. Funk takes it to the corner, and pounds away on Flair's wound. Blade Jobs = Buys! Funk connects with a piledriver, but Flair manages to get a foot on the ropes to break the count. Funk drives his knee into the neck of Flair and starts grinding away. He heads out of the ring and starts taking apart the protective mats on the arena floor. Funk pulls Flair out of the ring and chokes him with his wrist tape. Tommy Young physically tries to restrain Funk, but to no avail. Funk goes for a piledriver, but Flair blocks and counters with a back drop. Funk climbs up on the apron, then comes off with a blow to the neck. Back in the ring, and Funk puts Flair down with a swinging neck breaker. Funk chooses not to cover, and instead executes another neck breaker. Funk with some trash talking, and then hits him with a third neck breaker. Funk wants Flair to say he quits, but I'm sure that's not a stipulation for this match. Funk hammers away on the cut and rams Flair to the corner. Flair grabs the branding iron and bashes Funk with it behind the referee's back, knocking him out of the ring in the process. Flair follows him out and rams Funk into the post. Funk is wearing the crimson mask now, too. Flair takes it back into the ring and mounts Funk for some punches in the corner. Funk's blade job is a bit more grotesque than Flair's, I would say. Flair continues to pound away on the cut, but misses a running high knee in the corner. Funk quickly goes to the Spinning toe hold, but Flair grabs the leg. Flair goes for the Figure-Four, but Funk cradles him for a two count. Flair counters THAT, and his cradle gets the three count at 15:57, retaining the Champonship. After the match, Great Muta shoots GREEN mist in the eyes of Flair, and along with Funk, puts a beating in on Flair until Sting of all people comes and makes the save for the Nature Boy. **** Great match. The crowd was into every second, Funk working over the neck and being more concerned with hurting Flair than going for the kill until the very end was obvious to even the most casual of fans, and Flair just out for revenge set the stage perfectly. This feud is far from over though, despite a mostly-clean finish that saw the babyface champion retain his title.
Final Thoughts: Okay, so maybe this was one of the best PPV's ever. After the first 30-minutes of non-stop crap, the show settles into a nice rhythm, with the last five matches all breaking at least 3-stars (or a very enjoyable match, in layman's terms) as well as the most enjoyable match I've ever seen between two non-wrestlers in the form of Cornette and Dangerously's Tuxedo Match. While nothing on this show is a classic must see, the fact all of the main programs delivered with exceptional results earns this PPV a very sold recommendation to track down. Just skip over the undercard crap, though. It really was boring.