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Kevin’s Random Reviews: NWA Bunkhouse Stampede 1988

February 10, 2019 | Posted by Kevin Pantoja
NWA Bunkhouse Stampede 1988
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Kevin’s Random Reviews: NWA Bunkhouse Stampede 1988  

NWA Bunkhouse Stampede 1988
January 24th, 1988 | Nassau Coliseum in Uniondale, New York | Attendance: 6,000

I haven’t reviewed much from the NWA in the 80s, but it looks like I get the chance here. The show is named after a match, long before WWE made it a trend in 2009. It was basically a Street Fight version of your traditional battle royal. This was a PPV attempt by the company after Starrcade 1987 got beat by WWF’s Survivor Series running on the same day. Vince didn’t run another PPV against this, instead opting to air the Royal Rumble on the same night. For free. Yikes. This proved to be the only Bunkhouse Stampede PPV in history.

Jim Ross and Bob Caudle were in the booth.

NWA Television Championship: Nikita Koloff [c] vs. NWA United States Tag Team Champion Bobby Eaton w/ Jim Cornette
Tony Schiavone played the role of ring announcer. Two very different wrestlers in there. Koloff was the powerhouse who just ran through Eaton in the early goings. Seriously, it was much easier than you’d expect from a title match. How did Eaton respond? By working an endless headlock. He picked up steam with a hip toss outside, only to follow up with a hammerlock that went even longer than the headlock. This is the kind of match I feel people can point to when they call wrestling from this era boring. Sometimes it was brilliant, but sometimes, it was flat out dull. Cornette tried saving this with his smack talk but it wasn’t enough. As the timekeeper gave us updates, it was clear this was going the distance. Koloff made a short comeback but got put back in the hammerlock. Koloff hit the Russian Sickle as time expired at 20:00. These are my least favorite kinds of matches. You know you’re going to a draw, so you just sit there and kill time. Awful. [DUD]

Post-match, a brawl broke out and the Midnight Express left Koloff out cold.

Western States Heritage Championship: Barry Windham [c] vs. Larry Zbyszko w/ Baby Doll
Commentary hyped this as Larry being desperate to win a title. Unfortunately, he doesn’t mark a change in style after that boring opener. His wrestling style felt outdated even in the 70s. LOTS of stalling from the challenger. Barry would do something and Larry would kill some time outside. Windham’s knee became the focus as it was apparently attacked by the Four Horsemen in recent weeks. When Windham came back with a riveting chin lock, they hilariously cut to a woman who seemed to be on the verge of falling asleep. Me too, sister. It eventually all led to Larry using Baby Doll’s shoe as a weapon to steal the win at 19:16. I honestly think that 19:16 felt longer than the 20 in the opener. However, it had a better closing stretch by a little bit, keeping it from a bottom rung score. [¼*]

NWA Worlds Heavyweight Championship: Ric Flair [c] w/ JJ Dillon vs. Hawk w/ Paul Ellering
According to the WWE Network, this is shown in the most complete format available. That could be what causes the audio issues throughout this match. I’ve harped on this era’s issues, but you can’t help but appreciate the crowd. These bastards believed in a title change, even though Hawk was a tag guy. That doesn’t work in the current era. Think about when EVIL and SANADA challenged Kazuchika Okada for his title. They were good matches, but nobody believed a change was coming. The hot crowd helped this one along. This was kept to a similar format to what Flair established with Sting earlier in the year. Except Hawk isn’t nearly as good or charismatic as Sting. Flair did his best to make Hawk look credible, especially with his, “JESUS CHRIST” and “OH GOD” selling. I dug commentary harping on how much the title means to Flair because it supports his lavish lifestyle. When he realizes the title is in jeopardy, Flair whacked Hawk with a chair for a DQ at 21:39. Better than expected. Flair’s back hurt more from carrying Hawk here than it probably ever did from his plane crash. [***¼]

Bunkhouse Stampede
And you thought TNA’s Reverse Battle Royal was the first wacky battle royal concept. This was a Steel Cage match with a bunch of dudes and to be eliminated, you had to be thrown over the top of the cage. Strange. This included Arn Anderson, Dusty Rhodes, Ivan Koloff, Lex Luger, Road Warrior Animal, Barbarian, Warlord, and Tully Blanchard. Winner gets $500,000. I’m not going to note every detail of this match. Just know that Dusty won these match types in the past, Animal came in as the hottest, and the feud between the Horsemen and Luger got showcased. Other than those threads, this featured a lot of what makes battle royals come across as failures. It was just guys falsely struggling to eliminate someone. Though Animal was a favorite, he went out with Warlord. Arn made a mistake by trying to pull Luger out and it caused Luger and the Brainbusters to get sent packing. That left it up to Dusty and Barbarian and you know the outcome. Dusty won at 26:21. Far too long for what it was. Just guys doing a lot of nothing until their elimination spots came up. [½*]

The final score: review Extremely Horrendous
The 411
When I saw this show was less than two hours long, I had high hopes. I figured even if it sucked, it wouldn’t be a drag. I was wrong. This show featured four matches and three of them felt like they went for an hour each. The only thing keeping this from getting the rare 0/10 was that Flair/Hawk was a good match. It’s no wonder WWF was kicking their ass in PPV.

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Kevin Pantoja