Tuesday, January 26, 2016

From the Grudge Match: Ted Blanchard Reviews Clash VI: Ragin' Cajun

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LIVE FROM THE SILVER, I MEAN SUPERDOME

Hosted by Jim Ross and Michael Hayes. Terry Funk will join JR for the main event.

They start by showing Jim Herd leading a reception of former NWA world champions in preparation of the world title match here.

Cool; now we finally have the recognizable World Championship Wrestling TV theme. On that show the night before this, Sting finally won his first NWA/WCW title, as he defeated Mike Rotunda for the TV championship.

The National Anthem plays in the almost-completely dark Superdome. I think they only sold like 5,000 tickets because they didn't promote it well.

Wrestling hotline ad! They really are becoming the early-'90s WCW I love right before my eyes.

Midnight Express vs. Samoan Swat Team- Heyman must have brought in the SST after his MIdnights were vanquished by the MEX at Chi-Town Rumble. Samu pounds on Stan Lane to begin. Tackle by Lane, and Samu misses a crossbody before Lane hits his own. Samu decks Fatu by mistake and Lane dances. Samu chops Lane down, and he gets bodyslammed. The future Rikishi tags, but gets armdragged. Eaton in with a quick legdrop. Eaton with a missile dropkick and quick tag to Lane. Cornette nailed Samu with his racket outside. More doubleteaming on Fatu. The World Class talent raid must have continued since the last show, since Hayes, the SST and I believe the Great Muta all came from there. Lane ducked to make Fatu hit Samu. Quicks tags from the MEX, but finally Samu backsuplexes Lane to take control. Fatu slams Lane but gets dropkicked. Eaton backdrops Fatu and gets a two count. Lane switches with Eaton with no tag while the ref isn't looking. Eaton in, and decks Fatu. Doubleteam splash by the Express gets two. Samu tags and clotheslines Eaton. Thrust kick drop Bobby for two. The Samoan heat segment here is much less exciting. Eaton fights back and tags martial artist Lane. He pulls Fatu in, and the MEX rams the Samoans' heads, and they slug each other. Dangerously tripped Lane, but Cornette hit a Samoan with his racket. I thought the finish was coming :(. Samoans keep pounding on Lane as Wrestlemania V is probably already on the Twin Towers-Rockers match by now (assuming they started at the same time). Eaton finally got the tag, and avoided a Samu whatever off the top. Eaton goes for the rocket launcher but the ref is distracted. Fatu hits Eaton with Dangerously's phone and the SST finally win. 20:32, **3/4.  This felt like that WWECW Hardys-MNM pay-per-view match, where it was good but waaaaay too long.

The Great Muta vs. Steve Casey- Two former WCCW guys. Feels like WCW did a bit of a talent raid of that organization around this time. Gary Hart is with Muta, who is in a prayer stance to begin, then sprayed Casey in the eyes. Big handspring elbow in the corner, and then a headlock. Muta gets armdragged after a tackle, armbarred. Muta gets a rolling dropkick in the corner, Casey goes out and Hart throws him back. Missile dropkick by Muta, and he sticks his hand in his mouth before raking Casey's eyes. Muta reminds JR of the Stinger. Wonder if they'll ever compete? Muta works Casey's left leg, and gets a spinning toehold. Muta then locks on a nervehold, then grabs it on the armpit. Casey clotheslines Muta down, then gets a back elbow for two. Muta dropkicked to the corner, then hiptossed. Muta then swats off another dropkick, and knocks Casey outside. Muta then hits a pescado on Casey, and whips him into the guardrail. Muta gets a backbreaker, then hits the moonsault for the win. That was exactly what it needed to be, and didn't overstay its welcome. 8:11, **1/2.

Junkyard Dog vs. Butch Reed- they actually acknowledged the past New Orleans rivalry between the two. A band plays JYD to the ring, as I wonder if the trombone being played is a  relative of Francesca. Reed has Hiro Matsuda with him now. I wonder if he and Flair were both under his tutelage at the same time.  They brawl to start, and Reed goes outside. Dog sideheadlock, and Reed leapfrogs (!) him, before Dog goes on all fours and headbutts Reed to the outside. JYD twists the arm, but Reed pounds away in the corner. JYD hipstosses Reed and bodyslams him. Dog pulls Reed out of the cornerby his feet, and if I'm making this sound interesting I apologize. Reed punches Dog in the face for awhile, and chokes him with the middle rope. Now Matsuda gets some choking in. Reed works a a headlock, as I'm sure Dog needs to rest after this blistering pace. Dog gets a baaaack bodydrop, then they do a double clothesline spot. Reed gets a flying tackle off the top, but Dog puts his foot on the ropes. Reed gets whipped into Matsuda, and JYD pins him.  9:56, *

Dick Murdoch vs. Bob Orton- I hope some of these matches were only being booked for local interest, because it certainly wasn't for my benefit. Orton is wearing a shirt that says "Bodacious" on it, and is managed by Gary Hart. "Captain Redneck" Murdoch is the face, of course. They work each others' arms and grapple for a bit. I was trying to count how many guys who were in the Mania IV tournament who are on this show, but Orton was gone from the WWF by then. Maybe I should count how many were at Mania III. Murdoch hulked up from Orton punching him, and dropkicked him! I think he did that in the '95 Rumble, too. Murdoch elbows him on the apron, then back in an Orton superplex attempt is blocked. Murdoch tries a suplex, but Hart trips him and Orton gets the duke. 9:45, *3/4. Credit to these guys not only for Murdoch's dropkick, but I think they beat Warrior-Rude to the punch with that finish.

NWA World tag team championship, Road Warriors (c) vs. Steve Williams and Mike Rotunda- You can't have a Clash without Doctor Death! He was of course also a Mid South/UWF guy. The Varsity Club and L.O.D. have been feuding since the time of the last Clash, when these four actually competed in a six-man. Rotunda shoulder-tackle, but he missed an elbow. Hawk dropkicks Rotunda out, but Teddy Long keeps him from attacking Rotunda. Hmmmm. Animal comes in and gets a shot on Doc on the apron. He press slams Doc and Rotunda, as they go for a conference with Sullivan. Hawk atomic drops and clotheslines Doc, who gets a lariat of his own. Rotunda gets two off of an elbow, but Animal comes in. He gets a double-dropkick and double clothesline, but misses a charge and ends up outside. Long doesn't stop Doc from slamming Animal on the floor. The Club works over Animal's back. Animal gets the tag, but Long doesn't allow it. Doc gets a spinebuster for two. Animal clotheslines a charging Doc at the 10-minute mark, and finally gets the tag. Hawk gets a powerslam on Rotunda, who I think is not the legal man. Shoulderblock, but Doc breaks up the pin. Long got hit by Animal inadvertantly, and the Doomsday Device on Rotunda gets no pin, as Long just stands there. He then does a super-quick count as Doc covers Hawk. If only Hogan hadn't bribed Nick Patrick; that's how that pin should've been done. **1/2, 11:40. JR interviews a pissed-off L.O.D. afterwards.

Ranger Ross vs. the Iron Sheik- Ross repelled down into the crowd like he was Sting. I wonder if he was supposed to land in the ring? The Iron Sheik sings the Iranian national anthem, then attacks Ross and chokes him with his gear. I think my Mania III count is the right way to go. Sheik gets an abdominal stretch, as I again wonder why this made the cut and not Luger and Sting. Ross leapfrog and then a crescent kick, but flagbearer Rip Morgan attacks Ross for the DQ. The JYD then makes the save. I'm confused about what's happening here (and why Sheik's flagbearer is from New Zealand), but let's just move on. 1:56, DUD.

Bob Caudle interviews Flair.

U.S. tag team championship, Rick Steiner and Eddie Gilbert (c) vs. Dan Spivey and Kevin Sullivan- I'm not sure when Hot Stuff, Inc. (as they were known in the UWF) won those titles. Missy Hyatt is with her man Gilbert. Spivey pulled Gilbert up before a three-count, for some reason. The Club works Gilbert's back. Sullivan draws Steiner in, and throws Gilbert over the top. Spivey then rams Gilbert back-first to the post. Sullivan Stomp but he jaws with Steiner instead of pinning Gilbert. A Spivey clothesline gets two when Gilbert puts his foot on the rope. Gilbert gets put in the Tree of Woe, but Sullivan misses a charge. Steiner and Spivey get tagged, and Rick hits a Steinerline. Powerslam on Spivey gets two. Steiner gets a belly-to-belly, the partners come in, Steiner clotheslines Spivey out, and Gilbert hits Spivey with the Gucci BAG (as JR famously calls) for the pin. The Club continues beating up Gilbert afterwards. 3:51, **

NWA World Championship, Best 2-of-3 falls- Ricky Steamboat vs. Ric(K) Flair- Wow, they can't even spell the former champ's name right on the video wall.

As mentioned, Funk is on commentary. At the time I thought nothing of that, since his WWF run was right before I started watching. Wrestlemania III count=five, by the way. Flair gets a side headlock and takedown, but Steambot gets the go behind. Steamboat then slaps Flair in the corner! What would Lou Thesz thinK?! Steamboat grabs a headlock, but Flair gets an overhand wristlock. Flair complains of a hair pull after he rolls outside. I just noticed Hiro Matsuda's no longer with Flair here. Steamboat gets a hiptoss and a two-count off a side headlock. Flair then tries to pin Mr. Blood. Steamer gets a tackle off the ropes, and back to the headlock. In the corner Flair chops Steamboat, who then responds in kind. Big hiptoss, then a flying headscissors and dropkick by Steamboat. Back to the headlock. I don't mind the "restholds" so far, since they have been trying pinfalls while doing it. I'll see how I feel in about 45 minutes, though. Flair elbows him in the ribs, but Steamboat chops and backdrops him. Dropkick by Steamer gets two. Steamboat rolls him up for two and hits a clothesline. Headlock. I find it interesting they had the Luger (U.S. title) and Sting (T.V. title) matches on standby, since they can control how long things are. A bait and switch, perhaps?Otherwise, maybe don't give the Samoans and Midnights 20 minutes next time.  I guess it helps the drama in this match, since it's not obvious then how long it will go. Chops, and Flair does the walk and collapse spot for a two-count. Inverted atomic drop on Steamboat, but he chops for two. Steamboat tackels for two, x 2. After a double chop for two, Flair bails. Back in, Flair chops away, but Steamboat retailiates. "Dad gum it, Jim!" Funk says. Young goes outside two count a pin, as he's wont to do. Steamboat suplexes him back, but a big splash hits knees. Flair hits a butterfly suplex for two, then he keeps trying to pin Steamer. More chops exchanged, Steamboat hiptosses him but misses a dropkick. Flair goes for the figure four, gets small packaged, but Flair reverses to win the first fall in 19:34.

After checking on my neglected pork chops in the kitchen, it's time for Fall No. 2.  Tieup to a headlock, and Steamboat press slams Flair, and hits a chop off the top for two. A ringside photographer looks like Sami Zahn, who may not have been born yet. Flair drops a knee and struts, but misses a second one. Steamboat works the knee with elbows, then gets his own figure four. Steamer keeps punching Flair, who lays down until Young starts counting. Flair gets the ropes to break, but after Steamboat yanks him off he gets a Boston Crab. Twenty-five minutes have elapsed. More choppery. Headscissors and Steamboat bridges out of a pinning predictament. A backslide gets two, Flair goes out and then launches Steamboat into the railing and slams him. This could turn into a WCW/nWo Revenge situation at any moment. Flair breaks the count, then whips Steamer into the rail. At least he hasn't walked all the way around the railing, ramming Steamboat's head into it as my friend Jim used to do to me in that game. We'll say he called it "Jobbing him Blanchard-style." Flair keeps Steamboat from coming back in as we hit 30 minutes. Flair suplexes Steamboat in for two. Abdominal stretch into an "Oklahoma Crossbody Ride," according to Funk, as Flair keeps trying for a pinfall. After using the ropes, Flair tells a fatboy to keep his mouth shut. Steamboat gets a rollup and almost gets fired out of the ring. Flair punts Steamer on a backdrop attempt, and keeps attempting to pin him. Flair goes up, with predictable results. Steamboat superplexes Flair onto his surgically-repaired back, which Steamboat chops. Chickenwing, and Flair submits to tie it up. 34:14 total time.

P-chops look good, as we return with Flair in an abdominal stretch. He pokes Steamboat's eye to get out, but then collapses. Chopblock as it's 35 minutes. Flair drops from chops, and begs off. Steamboat gets a backdrop, then chops the back. Flair drops Steamer on his knee, and kicks him from the mat. Flair locks the figure four but Steamer gets the ropes. Flair and Young exchange shoves, as Flair returns to working the Dragon's knee. Chops, then corner Flair Flip into a clothesline. Young starts counting Flair out, even though he's only laying outside the ropes on the apron. Flair with a rope-assisted pinfall attempt. Forty minutes have elapsed. Steamboat misses a charge, and gets his leg caught on the top. I think Jason Hervey and Adam Driver are ringside, but that can't be right. Figure Four, but Ricky won't submit. Outside, Flair hits Steamboat's leg on the mat corner. They slug it out in the corner, and Flair successfully hits a high cross body! So mark it down- he hit it here, and against Carlito that one time. Forty-five minutes gone, but it hasn't dragged. A bodypress almost pins Flair, but Steamer misses an elbow. Steamboat gets a reverse neckreaker for two, but gets tossed out. Steamboat sunset flips in for two. Flair gets a sleeper on Flair's back. Drop him like Eddie Wineland did to Ken Stone at WEC 53! Steamboat does the third arm raise recovery spot, and Hulks up. He rams Flairs head to the top turnbuckle to break, and Flair falls out. Flair kicks him in the knee, but gets enziguiried. Both men are fatigued as Gary Michael Kapetsky (TM Jesse Ventura) announces 50 minutes. Steamboat misses a flying bodypress. Flair works on the knee. More chops, and Flair back off. Ten punches in the corner, Flair atomic drops Steamer but gets clotheslined. Flair elbow to the back of his head and a back suplex. There is a very noticeable woman without a bra in the crowd. I wonder if she threw it at Flair? Flair gets slammed off the top, and Steamer locks the chickenwing but falls back. Young counts a pin, and it's on Flair. 55:32, ****1/2, and you could probably go ***** really.  I wouldn't watch it every day, but it never felt like they were stalling and felt much shorter.

I'm guessing Sting and Luger getting bumped was a bait and switch to get viewers to watch the next weekend's shows, because showing Orton vs. Murdoch instead would be pure madness. The undercard wasn't as good as the previous Wrestlemania counter-programming, but Steamboat-Flair is the bee's knees.

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