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Dark Pegasus Video Review: Clash of the Champions I

February 1, 2008 | Posted by J.D. Dunn
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Dark Pegasus Video Review: Clash of the Champions I  

Clash of the Champions I
by J.D. Dunn

  • I had intended to post this one after I got through with all the WWE PPVs and started with the NWA, but with WWE 24/7 airing this in February, I figured it would be much more timely now.
  • You already know the deal here. Vince tried to screw (successfully) with the Starrcade buyrate by putting on the Survivor Series in late 1987. So, to screw with Vince’s big WrestleMania IV show, Jim Crockett decided to put together a supercard of his own. Well, it didn’t have quite the same effect, but damned if they didn’t put on some great wrestling.
  • March 27, 1988
  • Live from Greensboro, N.C..
  • Your hosts are Tony Schiavone, Jim Ross and Bob Caudle.

  • NWA World TV Title, Olympic Rules: Mike Rotundo vs. Jimmy Garvin (w/Precious).
    This version of “Olympic Rules” is three five-minute rounds and it only takes a one count. Rotundo stalls to open. In reality, there’s not much of a match, and it’s just an excuse to get Precious out to ringside. Garvin keeps taking Rotundo down, but Mike keeps rolling to the floor or getting away from Garvin to avoid getting pinned. The first round ends so we can take a break. The second round sees Garvin trying a brainbuster, but Kevin Sullivan goes after Precious at ringside, distracting Garvin long enough for Rotundo to roll Garvin up. ONE! Rotundo gets the cheap win about eight minutes in. The Garvin/Sullivan feud would be memorably settled at the Great American Bash. Review coming soon. *

  • U.S. Tag Team Titles: The Midnight Express (w/Jim Cornette) vs. The Fantastics.
    The Midnights threw out an open challenge one night, and the Fantastics wound up doing the unthinkable by debuting in the territory and beating the US Tag Champs. Big brawl to start, and the Fantastics beat the Midnights all the way around the ring. Crazy action all over the place. Cornette gives an assist with a chair. It starts to break down completely, and Corny is just THROWING chairs now. The Fantastics blitz the Midnights with doubleteams once the match finally settles down. The Midnights cut Rogers down with their high/low Double Goozle move. Cornette props up the table, and Lane tosses Rogers headfirst into it. Eaton gets a powerslam and diving elbow for two. The Midnights team up for a Decapitation move. Interestingly, the Midnights worked in a Randy Savage elbow and a Demolition Decapitation, both of whom would win titles that very night at WrestleMania IV. I wonder if they knew something. Rogers gets a sunset flip, but the ref is distracted by Eaton. Lane tosses Rogers, and Eaton adds a bulldog on the outside table. INSANE! More Midnight doubleteams. Rogers hits a roundhouse and flies into a tag to Fulton. Oh, but the ref didn’t see him because he was putting Eaton out. Meanwhile, Corny sneaks in and SMASHES Rogers with the racket. Fulton says, “screw this” and tosses the ref. The Fantastics hit the Rocket Launcher on Eaton. Tommy Young comes in to count the pin at 10:19. NEW CHAMPS! Oh, but the first ref recovers and disqualifies the Fantastics for Fulton tossing him over earlier. D’oh! NO NEW CHAMPS! Still, a fantastic (pun intended) match that represents the epitome of what old-school, NWA tag wrestling was all about in the late 1980s. Definitely try to see this at least once. ****1/2

  • Six-Man Tag, Barbed-Wire Street Fight: Dusty Rhodes & the Road Warriors vs. Ivan Koloff & the Powers of Pain (w/Paul Jones).
    The Powers of Pain attacked the Road Warriors and dropped a barbell on Animal’s face, necessitating a Jason-style mask for him. The barbed-wire is just kind of loosely-wrapped on the ropes and never really comes into play as this is just an over-hyped squash. It’s a big brawl until Barbarian accidentally hits the Warlord with a headbutt, giving the babyfaces the quick win at 3:42. 3/4*

  • NWA World Tag Titles: Arn Anderson & Tully Blanchard (w/JJ Dillon) vs. Barry Windham & Lex Luger.
    Much like his good buddy Sting a year later, Luger got sick of being Flair’s buttmonkey and throwing matches for the retired JJ Dillon and decided to challenge Ric Flair for the title. Of course, the Horsemen didn’t cotton to that idea either time, so Lex was tossed from the group. More on his replacement at the end of the match. Luger blitzes the Horsemen with clotheslines early. He powerslams Tully and Racks him, but JJ Dillon distracts the ref long enough for Arn to come in and chopblock the exposed Luger. Windham tags in and hits Tully with the flying clothesline for two. Tully drags Windham to the floor off a sleeper, which makes Windham break so they don’t get counted out. Back in, Tully goes up but get slammed. Dillon distracts the ref again, allowing Arn sneak in and DDT Barry. Barry plays face-in-peril. He and Blanchard collide for a double KO spot. Barry gets a gutwrench, but he can’t find his own corner. He and Arn slug it out for another double KO spot. Arn falls into the tag, though, allowing Tully to come in and hit the slingshot suplex. Finally, Barry just slugs Tully with a right and falls into the tag on Luger. Luger DESTROYS the Horsemen. Looks like he’s been holding that in for a few months. Double noggin-knocker. Tully cuts off his momentum with a sneaky knee from the outside, but Luger powerslams Arn anyway. Windham and Tully come in and slug it out. JJ holds up a chair, but Lex reverses Arn’s whip and sends Arn into the chair! ONE, TWO, THREE! New World Tag champs at 9:33. Another tremendous tag team match. This show is like a textbook on tag wrestling. Windham and Luger would hold the titles for less than a month before losing them back to the Horsemen when Barry did the truly unthinkable and double-crossed Lex to take his spot in the Horsemen. ****1/4

  • NWA World Heavyweight Title: Ric Flair vs. Sting.
    This was a big one at the time. 45-minute time limit due to the TV limitations. Gary Juster, Patty Mullen and Sandy Scott are your judges in case it goes to a draw. JJ Dillon is suspended in a cage over the ring to ensure he doesn’t interfere. This is Sting’s first big match after turning face in late 1987 just before the dissolution of the UWF. Flair tries mind games early, but Sting just dropkicks him to the floor. Sting controls early with a lot of headlocks and bearhugs. Sting wasn’t really ready from a wrestling standpoint, but when you’re in there with Flair in 1988, all you have to do is bring the over because he’ll handle the rest. Flair pulls the tights and the hair a few times to put some heat on the side headlock. Sting misses a dropkick and lands on his head, but Flair isn’t able to capitalize. Sting press slams him and switches up to a bearhug. Flair: “Oh God! Oh God! My back!” Finally, Sting misses an elbow in the corner, allowing Flair to take over about 15 minutes in.

    Flair starts laying in chops and punches. Sting misses a lunge and posts himself. Sting makes a comeback and locks in the Scorpion Deathlock, but Flair scurries to the ropes. Sting falls to the floor off a missed clothesline, but he comes back with a crossbody off the top. Flair kicks out and hits a kneebreaker to take over once again. The Nature Boy dismantles the knee in between chops and cheating. We come back from commercial to Flair locking in the figure-four. Flair and referee Tommy Young play cat-and-mouse as Flair uses the ropes for leverage. Sting powers over and reverses it, though.

    Flair takes Sting to the apron and tries to suplex him all the way to the floor, but Tommy Young blocks it long enough for Sting to reverse it. Sting slaps on an abdominal stretch. Flair gets out of it and goes up but, guess what, he gets caught and slammed off. Now, Sting goes to work on Flair’s leg. Flair flips over the top to the floor, and he’s out on his feet. Back in, Flair begs off. Sting misses a Stinger Splash, though, and spills all the way to the floor with about four minutes left in the time limit, thus screwing over his chances as it takes him another minute to recover and get in the ring. Sting sunset flips Flair, but Flair grabs the ropes and squats down for two. Tommy Young catches him and breaks it up. The Flair Flip actually works, and Flair hits a crossbody, but Sting reverses it for two. STINGER SPLASH! Sting locks in the Scorpion Deathlock with 30 seconds left to go. Flair…just…holds out. (43:51 of 45:00 shown). Patty Mullen votes for Flair (because she wants to ride Space Mountain), Gary Juster votes for Sting, and Sandy Scott calls it a draw, ruling the entire match a draw. Wow. Glad they had those judges there. Sting’s best singles match to that point but not nearly on the level of the later Flair-Steamboat classics. Sting was still learning here and didn’t have quite the moveset or the ring generalship to work a match of this length. It would come with time, though. ***3/4

  • The 411: Can you believe they used to show stuff like this on free TV? Two outstanding tag matches and an epic star-making performance by Sting make this an easy recommendation. One of the best NWA shows before the changeover.

    Enthusiastic thumbs up!

    411 Elite Award
    Final Score:  9.5   [  Amazing ]  legend

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    J.D. Dunn

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