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From the Grudge Match: Ted Blanchard Reviews Clash of the Champions VIII: Fall Brawl '89

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Live from Columbia, South Carolina. Hosted by Jim Ross and Jim Cornette

Western Heritage belt status: still in the intro. They also show Terry Funk and the Great Muta beating on Flair at the end of the Great American Bash pay-per-view, and Sting making the save.

This was another Clash that I had my aunt tape for me, since I didn't get TBS. I'm sure they were inconvenienced the evening of the shows, but hey, I'm still watching what they taped!

Gordon Solie with Gary Hart. He says there are no problems in his camp.

Samoan Swat Team vs. The Road Warriors- This is one fall to a finish. Animal pounds on Fatu to start, but the Samoan hits a boot. Animal powerslams Fatu and slams Samu, and Paul E. Dangerously tries to calm his team down. Hawk tries a clothesline, Samu bails but Animal nails him. Hawk then slams and fistdrops Samu. Just like with the Steiners-Headshrinkers match at Mania 9, these are very compatable teams, since they like legitimately pounding on each other. Animal shoulders Fatu down, and Hawk comes in with chops and a clothesline. Hawk then hits the post on a charge and falls to the floor. Samu then beats on him and crotches him on the railing. Fatu gets a powerslam for two inside, then locks on a bearhug. Animal gets a tag, but the ref missed it. Hawk and Samu chop each other, and they kind of hit a Demolition Decapitator for two. Still better than when the McMahons did it. Fatu tries whatever off the top but eats boot. Animal gets the tag, and back-elbows Samu and shoulderblocks him. Fatu breaks up a pin, Hawk knocks him outside, Samu gets the phone but Hawk knocks it away. He clotheslines Samu, then they hit the Doomsday Device on Fatu for the pin, though Samu was legal. **3/4. Paul Ellering also knocked out Dangerously somewhere in there. The phone was also destroyed, and the Samoans left without Paul E. Bad night for Mr. Heyman.

This version has a Halloween Havoc ad, which is very similar to the 1990 version, which is a cheesy classic (at least in my book).When trying to look for it, I found this.

Cuban Assassin vs. "Z-Man" Tom Zenk- this is Zenk's debut. He's another guy who burned his WWF bridge over a payout, and hurt his career in the process. Hiptosses and dropkicks put the Assassin outside to begin. Another dropkick and armdrag back in. Football tackle by Mr. Sierra, and Zenk works his arm. Zenk gets a sunset flip for two, then back to the arm. The Cuban slams Zenk, but misses a diving headbutt. He elbows a running Zenk, who leadfrogs him off the top, then locks on the sleeper and puts the Assassin out. ** Nice quick debut for the Z-Man.

Back with The World According to Theodore R. Long. Teddy is in a radio booth for this, and runs down upcoming cards. Although the Road Warriors are wrestling the Skyscrapers in Chicago, Long doesn't get to create any tag team matches, playa. Although...maybe it was the version of the Skyscrapers featuring The Undertaker!

The governor of South Carolina makes it Ric Flair Day.

Ranger Ross vs. Sid Vicious -Yes- I was really hoping for Sid here! Dan Spivey is with him. Guess it's still the original flavor Scrapers. This is also our first Clash appearance of The Man, who nails the Ranger from behind, and throws him on the guardrail outside. Ross kicks Sid as he reenters the ring, but Sid DDTs him when he ducks for an atomic drop. Whirley bird, then a powerbomb for the Ranger gets the duke. That was impressive. ** Ross predicts Sid will be world champion someday. I also predict that, Jim.

We go to Missy Hyatt and Robin Greene's shopping spree. Robin was a gold digger leeching off poor sap Rick Steiner. They used "Material Girl" by Madonna in this version. Robin, of course, bought everything with Rick's credit card. It's pretty obvious why she was in Flair's entourage years later.
Solie interviews the Freebirds. Michael Hayes is tired of "getting no respect."

World tag team championship, The Freebirds vs. The Steiners- Hayes starts with Scott Steiner, and claims a hair pull.  Hayes then decks Steiner, and hits a flying bodypress (!), which Steiner reverses into a pin attempt. Steiner then hits a stiff clothesline, and Hayes bails. Garvin gets a belly-to-belly, but gets hiptossed and armdragged. Jimmy knees him in the corner, but Scott German suplexes the hell out of him, then grabs a half-crab. Rick in, and nails a Steiner Line. Hayes gyrates at the women and Rick threatens him, then does the same at Hayes. Rick catches a leaping Hayes for a powerslam, then Garvin off the top. Steiner punches Hayes in a corner, then hits a clothesline. Rick gets a big belly-to-belly, but misses a charges in the corner. Hayes whips Garvin into Rick, and that gets two. As Garvin punches Rick Hayes appeared to trip in the ring, as his boots were on the mat in the corner of the screen. Rick sent outside, and Hayes then gets a cheapshot. Hayes clotheslines Rick back in and gets two. Garvin gets a running karate kick for two, then grabs a headlock. Rick flips him out of that, and gets a suplex. Scott and Hayes tag in, and Scott gets Frankensteiners on both. Running powerslam on Hayes gets two. Rick knocks Garvin to the floor, Scott seems to trip coming off the ropes, Hayes DDT's him and gets the pin. Rick blames Missy and Scott blames the gold digger. This will lead to a bunch of stuff happening. ***

Flyin' Brian vs. Norman the Lunatic- Pillman came out with cheerleaders. Norman immediately jumped him, but Brian dropkicked him and got a suplex. Then Pillman went to the top (middle) on the rope for a clothesline, and got a crossbody to the outside. Pillman then grabbed the key from Teddy Long but got avalanched. Norman drops him to the mat and goes for a splash for two. Norman then splashes Pillman against the post oustide, but the pool is empty a second time. Pillman hit a missile dropkick coming back in, then gets a bodyslam and backdrop. Pillman gets slammed on a crossbody attempt for 2 3/4, but gets Norman in a crucifix for the win. ** it was energetic.

Gordon talks to Hart again. Hart says if you don't believe Funk's in the building, come with me. Solie says he will do just that.

Mike Rotunda vs. Steve Williams- Dr. Death Clash match status: seven (eight, arguably). Doc charges and Rotunda goes out. Rotunda gets clotheslined off the ropes, and Williams press slams him. Doc tackles him once, but Rotunda clotheslines him on the second attempt. Capt. Mike tosses him outside, then pounds on him on the floor. He snaps Doc's throat on the top, and grabs an abdominal stretch when he reenters. Doc (eventually) gets Rotunda over in a sunset flip for two. Rotunda gets a couple of elbow drops, then grabs a headlock. Doc kind of Stunners Rotunda to get free, then misses an elbow drop. Doc seems gassed here. He holds Rotunda in the corner, but Capt. Mike thumbs him in the eye. Rotunda slams him twice, then goes up top. Doc press slams him off, running across the ring in the process. Doc pounds away in the corner, but misses a charge to the corner. Rotunda gets tossed out, Williams tries to slam him but Rotunda holds the top, Tommy Young kicks his arm off and Doc pins him. I'll go **1/2, but it's all because of Rotunda. I don't care to see 30-somethings battle for college football pride, and Doc is basically the NWA's Hacksaw Jim Duggan in this era to me. That will soon change, at least.

Solie with Lex Luger. He says this is a showcase event, and he's the show piece.

United States championship, Lex Luger (c) vs. Tommy Rich- Luger's the heel, but gets a great pop when he's intro'd. Luger's orange gear is boss, like when Randy Orton wore it at Summerslam 2004. LUger takes him down with a headlock but Rich gets out. Rich backs him up for a clean break. Luger does the same spot, but they slug away. Backdrop and bodyslam on Luger. Rich grabs a headlock and breaks clean. Luger shoulderblocks him across the win, and his taunt gets a pop. Rich headlocks the Package, Luger leapfrogs him, but Rich drops him with a right hand. Rich grabs his arm, but Luger pounds out of it. Rich hits a bodypress off the ropes, and back to the arm. Luger misses a charge and gets rolled up for two, twice. More arm play. Rich gets a clothesline but misses a dropkick. Luger hits a powerslam off of the ropes for two. Luger works on his lower back and tosses Rich out. Rich stops though and gets a sunset flip for a near fall. Luger then misses a clothesline and falls outside. Rich suplexes him back in, Luger reverses for two, falling on his head in the process. Luger slams him for 2.9, which makes Luger mad(er). Powerslam, and it's rack time. First Rich tries to roll Luger up off the ropes. Luger hits a superplex for two. Luger goes up and misses a splash. Rich hits a back elbow off of the ropes twice. He hits a second-rope fistdrop for two, then hits the Thesz Press but Luger gets his foot on the ropes. Rich punches the ringpost outside, and locks on the sleeper between the ropes. Luger dropped him throat-first, then got the pin. ***1/2. This was the template for an even better Luger match the next month.

Solie with Gary Hurt again. The truth is out: Funk is injured. A video is played of Funk in a hospital bed, with his arm wrapped up. He said it's from Flair hitting it with a branding iron.

Solie talks to Flair and Sting. They will find out who's the trapper, and who's the trapped. Then Solie throws it to Gary Caputo. Ha!

Great Muta/Dick Slater vs. Sting/Ric Flair- Slater will take Funk's place in the main event. Since this isn't a title match, and Muta has the TV title now, this is the first Clash Sting was not competing in some way for a title. His assension, though, is still a big storyline in the Clash series. I'm not even sure Slater had been in WCW before this night. Sting and Muta lock up to start. Sting lost the TV title to Muta at the Omni in Atlanta, apparently. Muta shoulders him down, Sting leaps over a rolling Muta and clotheslines him, then pops Slater. Sting gets a "power armdrag," as Slater almost flips over the top rope trying to tag. Sting gets a big baaaack bodydrop, and works Muta's arm. Sting tags Flair, who chops away on the Pearl of the Orient. More wringing of Muta's arm, and Slater gets tagged. Flair chops Slater so hard he ends up on the top rope, and Flair kicks a field goal. Slater whips Flair to the corner, Flair flips and chops Muta, and lands a chop from the top! Must be a face thing. Muta sends Flair out, then hits a pescade. Sting then does the same onto Muta. The match then breaks down into a total brawl outside. The faces regain the ring, as Hart tries to regroup. Flair chops on Slater and Sting drops a chop onto his arm. Sting kicks Slater's midsection, and gets a suplex. Muta comes in and Sting fires away on both guys. Sting gets a press slam on Muta, and Flair drops an elbow on him on the apron. Flair gets a back suplex and kneedrop, but Muta catches Flair in the face. Muta whips Flair to the corner, and hits the handspring elbow. Slater kicks away, and punches.  Slater hits a swinging neckbreaker, to work on the injured neck. Flair rammed into Muta's boots Flair chops Muta but he gets a spin kick, then throws out Flair. Slater rams Flair into the railing, and throws him back in. Muta snap mare and he drops an elbow. He puts his fingers in his mouth, then puts Flair in a nerve hold. Flair gets an inverted atmoic drop, and tags Sting. Sting slams Slater, chops Muta, then military slams Muta. Flair and Slater pair off outside, and Sting hits a Stinger Splash inside. Scorpion Deathlock, but Hart hit Sting with a roll of coins. Sting kicks out a 2.9. Muta hits a powerbomb (which JR correctly calls)but it only gets two.  Slater slams Sting outside, but Flair comes to his rescue. Slater puts Sting in a sleeper, but he stunners out of it. He and Slater bonk heads, and Sting backdrops out of a piledriver attempt. Flair tagged, and he chops and punches the heels. Sting dropkicks Muta to the outside, and Muta sprays him in the face. Flair works on Muta, and Slater hits Flair with his cast. Sting is apparently blind and can't get back in. Funk then appears, and ties a plastic bag over Flair's head. Sting then got hit across the shinbone with the branding iron. I'm not sure what the decision was, but ***1/2 for an entertaining match.

The bag things was a little too far, perhaps. But this show had two excellent matches and took place during a hot period for the promotion. Thumbs stars, or whatever the reviewers say.


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