WCW Chi-Town Rumble 1989
by Scrooge McSuck
- I don't know how I'm doing it, but getting through all of these old WCW PPV's and Clashes is really enjoyable, even for the bad stuff. It may be for the fact all I've usually recapped is WWF stuff, and I've done so much of it I've kind of lost my fire for those, but having some "new" material to work with really helps trying to make my reviews more than just PBP for matches, but help give backstory to them, without repeating myself over and over again. Like, seriously, how many times can I describe why Hogan vs. Andre was important and or set up, for WrestleMania III? Or how much I dislike Shawn Michaels' show-boating style and not selling anything seriously at times?
- Speaking of taking things seriously... really, Chi-Town Rumble? Is that the best they could come up with? Anyway, we're "live" from the UIC Pavillion in Chicago, IL. Originally broadcasted on February 20th, 1989. That date reminds me that I reviewed a WWF card from Madison Square Garden from that same date, and boy did THAT show suck. Don't know why I mentioned it. We've got Jim Ross and Magnum T.A. calling the action, by the way.
- Michael P.S. Hayes vs. The Russian Assassin (w/ Paul Jones):
I'm sure the result here won't be much of a surprise. Hayes recently returned, but he's been going solo for the most part, despite being introduced as a Freebird. Yes, he does come out to Badstreet U.S.A., and that's probably going to be the highlight of this match. Judging by the body structure, this Assassin is Jack Victory. I love how every "Russian" is introduced with their weight in kilos. We immiediately clip to later in the match, with the Assassin raking Hayes across the ropes. Irish whip, and the Assassin with a clothesline for a two count. The crowd is dimmly lit, so I'm guessing the arena isn't at full capacity. Assassin grabs a chinlock, because we need to see the rest-holds in clipped down matches. Hayes escapes with elbows to the midsection, then comes off the ropes with a cross body for a two count. Assassin with another clothesline as we found out we're at the 10-minute mark. Back to the chinlock we go. Hayes fights free, but gets whiped to the buckle. Hayes reverses another whip, and follows in with a clothesline. Assassin kind of no-sells it, and puts Hayes down with a forearm to the lower back. Assassin chokes, then Jones gets a cheap shot in behind the referee's back. Hayes comes back, ramming the Assassin to the buckle, but the Assassin blocks a bulldog attempt. Jim Ross drops the word "methodical", which means "slow and boring." Assassin tries for a suplex, but Hayes blocks it and takes him over with his own. Hayes misses an elbow, and the Assassin goes back to pounding on him like ground beef. Whip to the corner, and Assassin misses a charge. Hayes with mounted punches in the corner. Assassin reverses a whip, but puts his head down, and Hayes plants him with the DDT for a three count at 7:47. 1/2* Just an extended warm-up match, and not a very good one. I can't imagine how boring this would be to sit through for double the amount of time. Thank you, Turner Home Entertainment.
- Sting vs. "Hacksaw" Butch Reed (w/ Hiro Matsuda):
I have no idea why we've got this pairing, or why Reed is managed by Matsuda. I think this is the first Sting match on all of these NWA/WCW shows I've reviewed where he wasn't challenging for a championship. Jim Ross throws it to an interview backstage, but we don't get one. Oh...kay. We get some shoving to start, and Sting quickly hits Reed with an atomic drop. They feel each other out, but nothing comes of it. Lockup, and no one gets the advantage. Jim Ross throws out "this is the NWA and we WRESTLE here" while hyping up Reed's ability. Lockup to the corner, and Sting avoids a cheap shot. We get a minor clip to Reed outside the ring discussing strategy with Matsuda. Reed comes in and quickly sends Sting to the buckle. Whip to the corner, and Reed misses a charge. Sting with a wristlock and some biting of the hand while he has his back to the referee. Well, Jim Ross keeps mentioning his soup-bone hands, so maybe Sting wants a nibble. Reed with a slam, but Sting rolls through and holds onto an armbar. Irish whip, and Reed side steps Sting, sending him through the ropes in the process. Back in the ring, and Reed chokes, then hangs Sting up across the top rope. Reed drops Sting across the top rope once again. Reed to the middle rope, and he comes off with a double axehandle for a two count. Reed pounds away with rights and chokes him across the bottom rope. Matsuda gets in some shots of his own. Reed with a snapmare, then chokes before going to a chinlock. Sting tries fighting back to his feet, but Reed yanks him down and keeps the chinlock applied. This chinlock spot just eats up a good 3-4 minutes, and I hit fast forward. Sting finally mounts a comeback, but meets the knees of Reed on a splash attempt. Irish whip, and Reed trips and rolls out of the ring trying for a clothesline. Sting brings Reed back in the ring with a suplex, but that only gets a two count. Reed uses the tights to leverage Sting out of the ring. Reed snapmares Sting back into the ring, then takes him down with a swinging neck breaker for a two count. Back to the chinlock. Sting fights back to his feet and escapes with a jaw buster. Irish whip, and Sting comes off the ropes with a clothesline. Irish whip and Sting with a back drop, followed by a jumping elbow drop. Sting chokes, and Reed rakes the eyes. Reed tosses Sting out of the ring and stomps him down. Sting with a shoulder to the midsection, and a sunset flip back in the ring. Reed uses the ropes for leverage, but Sting counters it, with a little help from the referee, for the three count at 15:54. After the match, Reed continues pounding away, but Sting sends him packing. * Incredibly long and boring match that was shortened by 5-minutes. Sting looked like he wasn't going at full potential, and Reed is, well, Reed. He was never good or entertaining to begin with.
- Loser Leaves Town; 6-Man Tag Team Match:
The Midnight Express & Jim Cornette vs. Randy Rose, Jack Victory, Paul E. Dangerously:
Hold the phone! No pun intended, by the way. What the hell is this? I thought it was supposed to be the Original Midnight Express. Well, good old NWA, in a situation that seemed to happen a lot to them, lost the services of Dennis Condrey with little notice before the show, so Victory gets to pull double duty again to fill his spot. The person that takes the fall is the one who leaves, so it should come as no surprise who's doing the job now. It's funny to think about how many last-minute booking decisions were made by WCW because of talent jumping ship or just outright walking right before a pay-off match on PPV. Cornette and Paul E. decked out to wrestle is a pretty hilarious site. Cornette wants some of Paul E. first. Lane and Rose start it out. Lockup, and Rose with a wristlock. Lane counters, and Rose counters back with a drop toe hold. Lockup, and Lane with a drop toe hold, then grabs a front facelock. Irish whip, and Lane with a shoulder block. Lane grabs a headlock, and Rose escapes with clubbing blows. Rose with a scoop slam, but he gets slammed off the top rope for his troubles. Lane with a clothesline, knocking Rose over the top rope, to the floor. Victory tags in and gets taken down by Lane, and Eaton and Cornette drop a couple of elbows on him. Irish whip, and Lane comes in with a reverse crescent kick, then rams Victory into the corner. Rose tags back in and locks up into the corner with Eaton. Eaton with a series of rights, then holds Rose open for Cornette to get a cheap shot in. Lane tags in and takes Rose over with a snapmare. Rose takes control and holds Lane in place, but Paul E. accidentally hits Rose. Lane rolls Rose up from behind for a two count. Lane grabs a headlock, and Eaton tags in to put the boots to Rose, knocking him back out of the ring. Rose pulls Eaton out of the ring, then slams him off the apron, onto the security rail. Back in the ring, and Rose with a scoop slam. Paul E. tags in and puts the boots to Eaton, then tags out to Rose once Eaton gets back to his feet. Cornette comes in again and still wants some of Dangerously, but we're going to have to wait on it.
Rose attacks Cornette from behind, and plants him with a slam. Paul E. gets the tag in, and he puts the boots to Cornette and covers for a two count. Cornette gets a shot to the midsection, but Paul E. rakes the eyes and sends him to the buckle. Cornette creeps up on Paul E., who's busy show-boating, and nails him with a series of rights. Rose tags in, and he takes Cornette down with a clothesline. Victory tags in, and pounds away with a series of rights, but Eaton comes in and takes Victory down with a bulldog. Lane gets the tag in, and sends Victory to the corner with a dropkick, followed by some karate kicks. Irish whip, and Paul E. takes a shot at Lane from the apron, and Victory puts him down with a knee to the back. Rose tags in, and connects with a powerslam for a two count. Irish whip, and Rose with a diving clothesline, knocking Lane out of the ring. Victory gets in some cheap shots on Lane while the referee is distracted. Rose heads to the second turnbuckle, and comes down on Lane with an axehandle. "Paul E. Sucks" chant from the Chicago crowd. Back in the ring, and Rose catches Lane coming off the ropes with a side slam for a two count. Rose goes for a piledriver, but Lane blocks and takes Rose over with a back drop. Victory tags back in and stomps away on Lane. Victory with a back suplex, and Rose tags in to cover for a two count before slapping on a chinlock. Rose taunts Lane and gets a kick to the midsection for it. Victory tags in and whips Lane to the corner, but eats boot on a charge attempt. Eaton gets the hot tag, and unloads on everyone. Irish whip, and Eaton with a back drop to Victory, followed by a slam. Eaton heads to the top rope, and connects with a missile dropkick. Eaton forcefully tags Paul E. in and drags him in the ring to a thunderous ovation. Eaton knocks Paul E. on his ass, and Cornette tags in and smacks the taste out of Paul E's mouth. Irish whip, and Cornette with a clothesline for a one count, broken up by Rose. Lane and Rose tag in, and Lane unloads on him with martial arts kicks. Rose with a slam on Lane, but he misses a splash. In the mean time, Cornette pounds away on Paul E. in the corner. Victory breaks up a pin attempt on Rose. Paul E. dumps Cornette out of the ring and jumps on the back of Lane, allowing Rose a cheap shot in. Double back elbow to Eaton from the Mew Original Midnight Express. Irish whip is reversed, and the heels get thrown into each other. Irish whip, and a flap jack on Rose from the midnights, and Lane covers for the three count at 15:50. *** Despite the bait-and-switch of the Original Midnight Express, a fun match for the most part, with some entertaining spots with the managers, which always seems to be a tricky factor in matches like these. The out-come was not a surprise, however, for the obvious reasons.
- Bob Caudle is backstage with Rick Steiner. He cuts one of his nonsensical promos and introduces us to his brother, Scott, back when he looked like he belonged to the human race. We're reminded of a bad car accident that Rick was involved in, which is supposed to explain his less than developed thought process and state of mind.
- NWA Television Championship Match:
Rick Steiner © (w/ Scott Steiner) vs. Mike Rotunda:
This may sound strange, but I find it a little weird that the babyface is giving a rematch to the person he defeated for the championship, especially when said win was at the biggest PPV of the year. Something just doesn't smell right, especially after that promo with him playing really stupid. Lockup, and Steiner takes Rotunda over with a headlock. Rotunda with a fireman carry, and Steiner retaliates with his own. Rotunda with a waistlock and a full nelson, but Steiner powers out, and we get a shoving match. Rotunda with a waistlock takedown, but Steiner counters, sending Rotunda out of the ring. We get a clip job, as we have Steiner applying a headlock. Steiner with a hip toss and a stiff clothesline. Another clip job it seems, with Rotunda offering a handshake. Steiner apparently has an imaginary friend in his hand named Alex. I sure as shit forgot about THAT. Rotunda with a headlock, then catches Steiner coming off the ropes in an abdominal stretch. Yes, he uses the ropes for leverage. Long forces a break, and Steiner counters, then takes Rotunda down into a pinning combination. Steiner hammers away on Rotunda with rights, forcing him back out of the ring. Back inside, and they lockup into the corner. Rotunda gives him a cheap shot, of course. Whip to the corner, and Rotunda comes off the ropes with a cross body, but Steiner rolls through for a two count. Steiner with a front facelock, and Rotunda quickly escapes and mounts Steiner with a chinlock, then clamps on the armbar, using body leverage to make it seem less boring. Steiner fights back to his feet and slaps on another headlock. Rotunda takes it to the ropes for a break and hammers away. Irish whip, and Rotunda with a shoulder block. Rotunda hits the ropes and gets tripped up by Steiner. Irish whip, and Steiner with a back drop for a two count. Steiner with a scoop slam, then heads to the top rope, and misses a splash. Rotunda dumps Steiner out of the ring and follows shortly after to ram Steiner into the ring post. Rotunda drags Steiner back into the ring, but gets caught coming off the ropes with a powerslam. Steiner stalls to bark before covering, and only gets a two count as a result of it. Kevin Sullivan comes to ringside and makes reference to Rick Steiner's dog, Spike. Rotunda takes advantage of Steiner's mental lapse and plants him with a belly-to-back suplex for a two count. Rotunda hammers away and sends him to the buckle. Irish whip, and Rotunda misses a dropkick. Steiner puts the boots to Rotunda and mounts him for some punching in the corner. Irish whip, and Steiner slaps on a sleeper hold. Steiner takes him down with a waistlock while keeping the hold applied, but Rotunda is positioned on top of him, and the referee counts three at 12:49, giving Rotunda the Television Title for the second time. Dr. Death and Sullivan help Rotunda back to the locker room, just for the sake of it, I guess. **1/2 Not exactly a match to set the world on fire. I can appreciate the more amatuer-ish style of wrestling, but it didn't feel like they were stringing anything together until the end, when Steiner's mental disorder came into play, and ultimately lost him the title.
- NWA United States Championship Match:
Barry Windham © (w/ Hiro Matsuda) vs. "Total Package" Lex Luger:
Remember me saying I love how when someone is finished in a failed attempt to win the World Title, they immediately get shot down the card to challenge for lesser belts? Well, here we go with Lex Luger. Even as a kid, I always thought of him as Lex Loser, because he never won the big matches. Goes to show you even the children knew better after a while when someone was ruined after so many failures. Lockup, and Luger shoves Windham to the corner. Windham grabs a headlock and takes Luger over, but Luger counters with a head scissors. Windham with another headlock and a shoulder block doesn't do much. Criss-cross sequence, and Luger slaps on a sleeper hold. Windham counters, and take sLuger down with a back suplex, but Luger pops up quickly, and connects with an atomic drop. Luger with a press slam, and Windham rolls out of the ring for a breather. Slight clip job, with Windham raking the eyes. Whip to the corner is reversed, and Luger nails him with a clothesline for a one count. Irish whip is reversed, and Luger with a back drop for a two count. Irish whip and a powerslam by Luger, but he misses a dive from the top rope, and rolls to the outside. Windham works Luger over, then brings him back in the ring with a suplex. Windham goes for the claw, but Luger rolls out of the way. Luger fights back with rights, but Windham regains control. Irish whip, and Windham comes off the ropes with a lariat, knocking Luger out of the ring in the process. Windham heads out as well, and rams Luger into the security rail. Windham charges and punches the ring post, hurting his hand in the process. Windham throws a right and crumbles to the ground, and his hand look pretty bad. I don't know if that's swelling or blood, and if it's the latter, I've never heard of blading the hand before. Windham applies the claw, but it's with the damaged hand, so Luger is able to fight off being put away. Luger comes back with rights, and Windham retaliates with boots and forearms. Irish whip, and Windham with a powerslam for a two count. Smart eye sees he never used his hand to grip onto Luger at any point during that. Windham rams Luger into his cowboy-style boots and continues to shrug off the pain from his right hand. Windham sets Luger up on the top rope, but keeps using the right hand to punish Luger. Windham takes him over with a super-plex, and that gets a nice babyface reaction. Windham drops an elbow, but Luger kicks out at two. Windham with a back suplex into a bridge, but Luger gets the shoulder up, and the referee counts Windham's shoulders down at 10:24, giving Luger his second United States Championship. Windham, the sportsman of the year, attacks after the bell and plants Luger with a piledriver onto the championship belt. *** Really good match, even if it did feature Luger. He pulled his weight enough, and Windham made it interesting by handicapping himself to try and add drama to the match. I wish the hand would've come into play for the final fall, but you can't always get what you want. Windham would take a few months off after his contract expired, and resurfaced in the WWF as "The Widowmaker" in the summer. The WWF had three Horsemen AND their manager and never did anything with them. How odd.
- World Tag Team Championship Match:
The Road Warriors © (w/ Paul Ellering) vs. Steve Williams & Kevin Sullivan:
The Varsity Club are the reigning U.S. Tag Team Champions, but their titles aren't on the line here. The Road Warriors are technically tweeners at this point, but the crowd loves them, so I consider them babyfaces. We quickly clip to Animal and Williams getting in a shoving match. Williams with a headlock, but a shoulder block does nothing. Williams pounds away with rights, but Animal catches him off the ropes with a powerslam. Hawk tags in, and Williams rolls out of the ring. Back in the ring, and Williams drives a knee to the midsection and press slams Hawk. Williams misses an elbow drop, and Hawk floors him with a clothesline. Animal tags in, and the LOD hit a double clothesline from opposite directions, but it only gets a two count. Sullivan tags in, and a lockup with Animal goes to the corner. Hawk comes in to help, but Sullivan dumps Animal over the top rope while the referee is ditracted. Sullivan follows out and bashes Animal with a chair, then comes off the apron with an axehandle. Williams snaps the arm of Animal across the top rope, then catches him coming off the ropes with a flying kick to the face for a two count. Williams stomps away on the left arm and slaps on an armbar. Animal slugs his way free, but Williams grapevines the leg, and Sullivan tags in and double stomps the chest of Animal. Sullivan continues to work the arm of Animal, this time with a wristlock. Sullivan takes Animal down by the leg, and Williams comes back in and slaps on a hammerlock, then slams Animal with the hold intact. Williams with an arm drag for a two count. Whip to the corner and Williams misses a charge, but Sullivan cuts the tag off and pounds away. Williams heads to the top rope, and comes off with an axehandle. It's always funny, hearing Jim Ross talk about Pro Wrestling Illustrated as a reliable source for anything. Double clothesline spot and both men go down. Hawk gets the hot tag and takes Sullivan over with a powerslam, then drops a fist. Hawk with a clothesline on Williams, followed by a diving shoulder tackle on Sullivan for a two count. Williams and Hawk go at it outside while Animal and Sullivan do it in the ring. Animal sets up Sullivan for the Doomsday, but Williams cuts it off. Hawk hits a clothesline on Sullivan anyway, and that gets the three count at 7:40. For whatever reason, Williams had Animal pinned, but this isn't a Texas Tornado match. *1/2 Fine match, but nothing to write home about. Keeping any match featuring the Road Warriors short is always a smart move, though.
- NWA World Heavyweight Championship Match:
Ric Flair © (w/ Hiro Matsuda) vs. Ricky "The Dragon" Steamboat:
Steamboat comes to the ring with his wife and (almost) 2 year old son, while Flair not only has his manager, but an entourage of women, because he's a party animal, and Steamboat is a family man. Lockup to start, and Dragon grabs a headlock, then slaps it on again coming off the ropes. Flair tries a counter, but Dragon flips through and rolls Flair up for a two count. Hey, it's Brad Muster of the Chicago Bears. We clip to Steamboat having a front facelock applied. Flair and Steamboat exchange some nasty chops in the corner. Whip to the corner is reversed, and a double chop from Steamboat gets some flesh and a two count. Flair rolls out of the ring, and we clip again to Flair re-entering, so at least these clip jobs are of the good variety. Flair with some trash talking, and they lockup into the corner. Mild Steamboat Sucks chant. Flair with a knee to the midsection. Whip to the corner, but Flair misses a charge. Dragon with a hip toss and head scissors, followed by a dropkick and a side headlock for a two count. Flair with more chops and a series of elbows. Steamboat slaps another headlock on, then puts Flair down with a shoulder. Flair catches Steamboat coming off the ropes with an elbow, but Steamboat is back up, and chops Flair over the top rope, to the floor. Flair pulls Steamboat out of the ring, and rams him into the security rail. Flair puts him down with chops, then rams him into the rail, again. Flair drags Steamboat back to the apron, and drives an elbow into the chin. Flair with a snapmare, then comes off the ropes with a knee drop for a one count. Flair keeps trying for pin attempts, but none get a three count. Flair with a double underhook suplex for another two count. Flair with more stinging chops, and Steamboat retaliates. Whip to the corner, and Flair flips to the apron, climbs to the top, and comes off with a cross body, but Steamboat rolls through for a two count. Steamboat tries for some mounted punches, but Flair hits an inverted atomic drop and quickly slaps on the Figure-Four. Yes, he uses the ropes for leverage. The crowd is clearly behind Steamboat right now, but Flair's still got his fans.
The referee finally catches the cheating and forces a break. Flair stomps away at the left knee of Steamboat. They trade blows again, with Steamboat gaining the upper-hand. Irish whip, and Flair with a cross body, forcing both men over the top rope.. They continue to rip the flesh off each others chest. Dragon slaps a headlock on, but Flair pushes him off into the ring post. Flair brings him back into the ring with a delayed suplex, and covers for a two count. Flair covers again for a two count. Then again. Flair with a back suplex for another two count. Flair has words for the referee and gets in a shoving match as a result. Flair with a back breaker, and he uses the ropes for leverage, but it only gets a series of two counts. Steamboat pops up and rolls Flair up for a two count of his own. Irish whip to the corner, and Dragon comes off the turnbuckle, missing a cross body. Flair with a headlock takeover, and Steamboat counters with a head scissors. Flair rolls over into a pin, but Steamboat bridges up and takes Flair over with an Irish whip, and Steamboat surprises Flair with a back slide for another two count. Dragon hammers away on Flair in the corner. Irish whip to the corner, and Steamboat comes charging out with a clothesline. Steamboat drops a chop across the forehead. Irish whip, and Steamboat with a diving forearm. Steamboat heads to the top rope, and he nails a big chop to the top of the head. Steamboat heads up one more time, but the cross body takes down both Flair and the referee. Flair rolls up Steamboat and hooks the tights, but there's no referee. Flair with a rake of the eyes, then dumps Steamboat over the top. Steamboat hangs on, heads to the top, and misses another body press from the top rope. Flair goes for the Figure-Four, but Steamboat counters with a cradle, and Teddy Long is there to make the three count at 17:35, giving Steamboat the World Heavyweight Title. Apparently 5-minutes of the match was clipped. Steamboat celebrates in the ring with his son, afterwards. **** The great matches are always ones you hope don't end, and this one seemed to come to an end a little too soon. Not the best of their matches (yes, they will be having some better ones in the coming shows), but still, a 4-star match is nothing to sneeze at when you know I don't hand the snowflakes out like candy. I'm not sure how the clippings effected the match, but I enjoyed it, especially the second half. With another 10-minutes, it would've been a real treat.
Final Thoughts: With a few minor exceptions, a truly enjoyable show. You've got a near-classic for a main event, Windham working some magic to carry Luger to one his most entertaining matches of all time, and some enjoyable midcard stuff featuring the Midnights blowoff and the Rick Steiner saga. If you exclude the opening two matches, one of the best PPV's of the 80's, probably, but with those left intact, eating up almost 40-minutes, it's just a Mildly Recommended show, but still well worth checking out for the main event. Remember, we've got two more big Flair/Steamboat clashes to come.
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