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Leighty’s Retro Review: NWA Clash of The Champions VI: Ragin’ Cajun

January 19, 2024 | Posted by Robert Leighty Jr.
Clash of the Champions VI RIcky Steamboat Ric Flair Image Credit: NWA
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Leighty’s Retro Review: NWA Clash of The Champions VI: Ragin’ Cajun  

-So the NWA decided to have this show the same day as WrestleMania V as the two companies continued to play games against each other. This is the WWE Network/Peacock version of the show which takes out 3 matches and we are lift with a show that runs just a tad over 2 hours. Not sure why they didn’t put the entire show up, but here we are. Let’s get to it!

-Announce Team: Jim Ross and Michael Hayes
-Date: April 2, 1989
-SuperDome, New Orleans, LA
-Attendance: 5,300

-Jim Ross and Michael Hayes welcome us to a very dark SuperDome. They really had insane aspirations trying to book a Dome, let alone a Dome on the same night as Hogan/Savage at WrestleMania.

-We get a video package about a Legends Dinner that was held the previous night. 

-We get another video package set to generic rock music hyping the matches we will see tonight.

-We get a recording of The National Anthem playing as they couldn’t eve spring for someone to sing. That’s what high schools do before basketball games when they don’t have a pep band.

The Samoan Swat Team (w/ Paul Dangerously) vs. The Midnight Express (w/ Jim Cornette)

-This is a continuation of the Dangerously/Cornette feud as Paul had to find a new team. See, Heyman told the truth when he mentioned he goes way back with The Bloodline. It’s weird seeing Rikishi like a typical Samoan Savage stereotype here vs. what got him over in the Attitude Era. The crowd really doesn’t like Dangerously based on their chants. Samu starts with Lane and we get a lock up. Samu throws some chops and then they collide in the middle of the ring with neither man budging. Another go and Lane ducks a crossbody and then gets one of his own for a two count. Lockup and Lane ducks a punch that ends up hitting Fatu. Another go and Samu lands a chop. Tag to Fatu and he gets caught with a kick to the gut followed by an arm-drag. Tag to Eaton and we get some Midnight Double Team Action! Eaton heads up and gets a missile dropkick. Back to Lane who throws a kick and hooks a reverse chinlock. He transitions to a side headlock as on the floor Cornette hits Samu with the tennis racket. It didn’t really cause any damage, but it popped the crowd. Double back elbow and now Eaton goes to work on the arm. Tag back to Lane and he works on the arm as well. Fatu throws some rights and gets a chop to the throat. Tag to Samu and he ducks too early on a backdrop. That lets Lane get a sunset flip for two. To the corner and Samu accidentally hits Fatu once again. Heyman hands his phone to Fatu to calm him down in a funny visual. Who would have been The Head of the Table in 89? Hayes mentions on commentary this is a Main Event in any arena, and I thought that line was exclusive to Gorilla Monsoon. The crowd gets back on Dangerously as nothing of note has really happened in this one. The fans are enjoying themselves! Fatu catches Lane with a belly to back suplex and then drops a leg. Fatu gets the tag and gets a two count off a slam. Lane back with a dropkick and he makes the tag to Eaton. He gets a backdrop and then a small package for two. Eaton goes to the side headlock as JR plugs the upcoming show in The Omni. Lane and Eaton switch places behind the ref’s back and the fans are more than happy to lie for The Express. Lane works a headlock for a bit and makes the tag to Eaton, who also gets a side headlock. Fatu escapes, but gets caught with a right hand. Lane gets a two count while Samu and Eaton fight in the ring. Fatu back with a head butt and Samu gets a blind tag. He catches Eaton with a clothesline as Hayes goes on a rant about this being pro-wrestling and not show business. I mean, I understand his point, but dude, you are going head to head with HOGAN VS. SAVAGE. You’re not winning that war! Also, funny that Hayes has been a lifer with the WWE since the 90s at this point. There is so little happening at the moment that Hayes runs down all the legends at dinner last night. The Samoans double team as Tommy Young gets distracted by Lane. Fatu with a two count, but Lane makes the save. Eaton gets beat on for a bit before making the hot tag to Lane. He goes crazy with right hands and now all four men start brawling. The ME run The Samoans into each other, but that doesn’t bother them and they start punching each other. Dangerously trips a member of The Express, so Cornette gets in another racket shot to even things. Though, Cornette used the racket first, so Dangerously still gets one more shot I guess. Double headbutt from The Samoans which should be a death move in wrestling, but only gets two here. Fatu decks Eaton for good measure which draws him into the ring and lets The Samoans get another double team. Lane tries a sunset flip, but no dice as Fatu punches him in the face. Slam, but Fatu misses the middle rope head-butt. Both men are down and the race is on. Both men make a tag and Eaton runs wild. He makes the mistake of sending the Samoans into each other head first. That doesn’t work! He does get a neckbreaker, but the save is made. Lane gets an enziguiri (cool) to send Fatu to the floor. The ME hit The Rocket Launcher as Cornette and Dangerously fight on the apron. While that is happening, Fatu grans the phone and blasts Eaton in the back of the head. Samu gets rolled on top and that gets the pin at 20:33.

Winners: The Samoan Swat Team via pin at 20:33
-This was long, but okay. The crowd was more into Cornette and Heyman on the floor which has kind of been the story of the feud. **1/4

The Great Muta (w/ Gary Hart) vs. Steve Casey

-Muta is being billed as the son of The Great Kabuki here. Muta goes into meditation mode to start and that burns up 45 seconds and then MIST. Casey rushes in and gets MIST in the face as well. Cool! Hayes mentions he still holds the record in the building for attendance and it may be in jeopardy today. HAHAHAHAHAHAHA! No! Muta with a handspring elbow in the corner, but Casey breaks a side headlock and gets an arm-drag. Shouldn’t he be blind? I guess it was only GREEN MIST! Muta with a mule kick in the corner and he tosses Casey to the floor. Muta heads up top, but Hart pushes Casey back in the ring before Muta can leap. Weird! Muta then gets a missile dropkick back in the ring. Muta goes to the eyes as JR wonders why he keeps putting his fingers in his mouth. Hayes tells JR to mind his business. Muta stretches Casey’s leg to work on the hamstring. Spinning toe-hold from Muta transitioned into a version of The Indian Deathlock. Muta goes to the eyes and hooks a nerve hold. Hayes mentions he shares the attendance record with JYD, who is up next. Spinning kick from Muta and he hooks another nerve hold. That goes on for a bit as the crowd has checked out of this one. Casey gets a clothesline to wake up some in the crowd. Casey lands a back elbow and gets a one count. Dropkick sends Muta to the corner and Casey follows with a knee. A second dropkick is missed and Muta lands another spinning kick. Slingshot Plancha from Muta to the floor. Muta hits the handspring elbow on the floor into Case who was up against the railing. Awesome! Back in the ring Muta gets a backbreaker and heads up top. Moonsault (not called that yet) finishes at 8:11.

Winner: The Great Muta via pin at 8:11
-Too long as Muta should have just SQUASHED him in short order. Muta’s offense is fantastic though when he isn’t just doing nerve holds to kill time against a lesser opponent. *1/2

Junkyard Dog vs. “Hacksaw” Butch Reed (w/ Hiro Matsuda)

-JYD is played to the ring by a Jazz Band. Hayes accuses them of having one too many to drink and takes credit for the revival of JYD’s career. Dog with a heavy right hand to start, or a soup bone as JR calls them. I must have blocked out him using that when I watched these shows as a kid because I only recall him using them for The Undertaker during the Attitude Era. Dog catches Reed with a head-butt and then gets on all fours and head-butts Reed over and over until he bails to the floor. Reed stalls on the floor so we cut to shots of fans in the crowd. Man, it’s dark in that Dome! Reed backs Dog into the corner and throws his own soup bones. Dog reverses a hop-toss and then gets a scoop slam. He yanks Reed out of the corner and gets another head-butt. Dog goes to a choke, so Reed goes to the eyes and that seems fair. Thumb to the throat from Reed and another right hand. Piston right hands to the side of the jaw as Hayes continues to cheer on Reed. JR gives me nightmares as he talks about who this match benefits if it goes 20 minutes. They are struggling to fill ten minutes here, let alone twenty. Reed holds a chinlock for a while to get the crowd behind Dog and that gives JR a chance to talk about Terry Funk. Dog rallies back with right hands and gets a backdrop for two. Double clothesline leaves both men down. Reed comes off the middle rope, but gets caught with a right hand. Falling head-butt from Dog misses. Reed back up top again and connects with the flying tackle. Dog gets his foot on the bottom rope to break, but Reed thinks he has won. Matsuda is with the ref and Dog reverses a whip that sends Reed into Matsuda. Dog gets the pin off of that at 9:00.

Winner: The Junkyard Dog via pin at 9:00
-This was two big dudes punching each other and then getting the crowd behind JYD. Nothing more and nothing less. The fans in New Orleans still love JYD so they were invested which helped. *

-As noted, the original broadcast included three others matches that were cut from this Peacock version: Bob Orton over Dick Murdoch in 33 seconds, Rotunda/Williams winning The NWA Tag Titles from The Road Warriors in 11:40, and Ranger Ross with a DQ win over The Sheik in 1:56. I can understood cutting the two short matches, but weird to remove a title change.

NWA United States Tag Team Titles: The First Family (Rick Steiner and Eddie Gilbert) (w/ Missy Hyatt) vs. The Varsity Club (Kevin Sullivan and Dan Spivey)

-I don’t remember these pairings at all when I was watching this as a kid. Spivey and Sullivan attack before the bell. Spivey gets a choke slam on Gilbert for two as he gets off the cover. Okay then! Till-a-whirl slam follows and he then sends Gilbert into Sullivan’s boot. Sullivan gets the tag and decks Steiner to distract the ref and then tosses Gilbert over the top to the floor. Back in the ring Sullivan gets a chop followed by the double stomp. Spivey back in and he rakes the eyes. Leaping clothesline gets a two count as again he lets up on the cover. Gilbert gets tied upside down in the Tree of Woe which lets Sullivan hit a running knee. Gilbert gets out early, but Sullivan still runs into the corner and misses. Hot tag to Steiner and he runs wild. Powerslam to Spivey gets a two count. To the corner for the mounted punches and then Steiner gets a sweet belly to belly suplex. All four men in the ring for a bit, but Steiner and Spivey spill to the floor. Hyatte hands Gilbert her Gucci bag and he blasts Sullivan to get the pin at 4:00.

Winners and Still NWA US Tag Team Champions: The First Family at 4:00
-It was a 4 minute match but energetic. That’s really all. *1/2

-Sullivan and Spivey attack Gilbert after the match and spilt him open above his eye before Rick makes the save with a chair.

NWA World Heavyweight Championship: 2 Out of 3 Falls: Ricky “The Dragon” Steamboat (c) vs. “Nature Boy” Ric Flair

-1st Fall: Flair comes down with a bunch of women and Steamboat comes down with his wife and baby boy, who is dressed like a dragon. Terry Funk joins JR at the commentary desk. Lockup to start and Flair shoves Steamboat and woos in his face. Steamboat slaps the piss out of his mouth as payback. Some mat wrestling as they exchange amateur moves and Flair gets to the ropes to break. Steamboat slaps the piss out of Flair’s mouth again. Steamboat gets a side headlock and Flair is able to reverse to an overhand wrist lock. Flair uses his foot to drop Steamboat to his knees and we get another wooo. No slap this time! Steamboat powers his way to his feet and takes Flair down, so Flair gets to the ropes and then bails to the floor. He pulls Tommy Young to the floor to let him know that Steamboat pulled the hair. TERRY FUNK REFERENCES THE SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS! Go Niners! Back in the ring Steamboat hooks a side headlock on the mat, and Flair keeps rolling him over for a pin, but Dragon is out at two each time. Flair gets to his feet and lands a forearm to break. Flair drops down to avoid a charge, but Dragon puts on the breaks and drops down to regain the side headlock. Flair is able to back Steamboat in the corner and gets a shoulder to the gut. Heavy chops from Flair that Steamboat sells like death. Steamboat then starts to return fire and sends Flair across the ring with a hip-toss. Flying head scissors and then right back to the side headlock on the mat and it nearly gets a three count. Dragon transitions to a front facelock and then drops a knee to the back of the head. And again! Snapmare and back into a front headlock, but Flair drives him back into the corner. Flair pretends to offer a clean break but drives an elbow to the ribs. They starts trading chops again and Steamboat wins the exchange. He catches Flair out of the corner with a backdrop and gets a dropkick for two. Flair begs off and the crowd is losing it as they know Flair is just suckering Steamboat into the corner. Flair continues to beg off and then hits a kick to the gut. Flair misses a right and Steamboat gets a roll-up for two. Clothesline from Dragon and then back to the side headlock for another two count. Back to a front facelock and and the another knee to the base of the beck. The fans start a dueling chant but the majority are for Steamboat. To the corner for more chops from Steamboat and Flair does the Flair Flop. Dragon dives on him for a two count. Flair finally catches Steamboat and gets an inverted atomic drop. Dragon responds with a series of shoulder tackles for two and then a double chop for another two. Flair rolls to the floor and it’s another Flair Flop. The story has been great so far as Dragon is playing his game and going for a pin anytime he can. Flair on the other hand is trying to survive here as he tries to figure out The Dragon. Flair crawls back into the ring and lands a chop that drops Steamboat. They start trading chops again and it’s glorious! It even has Funk yelling! Flair rolls to the apron as he just can get on track here. Dragon brings him back in with a suplex. He tries a splash, but Flair gets the knees up. To the corner and how about some more chops? Double stomp from Flair as he works the ribs. Double under hook suplex gets a two count. Flair keeps fighting for the pin, but Steamboat is out at two each time. Flair goes to an amateur pin and that can’t keep Dragon down either. I appreciate the struggle here as now Flair is trying whatever her can to just keep Dragon’s shoulders down for a three count. They both know the importance of winning the first fall. They start trading chops again and Steamboat wins the battle again. He tries a dropkick, but Flair avoids. Steamboat tries a small package, but Flair rolls and gets the first fall via pin at 19:33. Flair goes up 1-0!

-Second Fall: They take a mandatory break first and now The Dragon has to be the desperate one. Flair is more confident and struts around the ring as Dragon challenges him to face him in the middle of the ring. Lockup and a shove off to the ropes and Steamboat gets a press slam. He heads up top and comes off with a chop for a two count. Dragon knows he needs to open things up now. He hooks a front face lock again, and Flair is ready this time as he breaks with a belly to back suplex. Flair drops a knee across the face and gives another Wooo! A second try misses and now Steamboat goes after the knee. He drops elbow after elbow on the knee in a great spot! That is tremendous! Flair is selling it like death and Steamboat goes right to the figure four. A dozen elbows to the knee is a pretty good way to set up the figure four. Flair fights off his back to avoid being pinned, but is screaming in pain as he gets close enough to the ropes to force a break. Steamboat tries to go back at it, but Flair kicks off. Steamboat rebounds off the ropes and grabs both legs and hooks a Boston Crab. Flair is screaming out for God! Flair is close enough to get his head under the bottom ropes and the ref makes Dragon release the hold. Dragon drops a series of chops in the corner, but Flair lands a shot to the gut. Chops from Flair and Dragon responds. Flair gets a side headlock and takes it to the mat, but Dragon counters with a head scissors. Flair floats out and gets a cover, but Steamboat gets a bridge up and they fight over a backslide. Dragon wins the battle and gets a two count. Flair bails to the floor and pulls Steamboat out with him. He fires Dragon into the railing and gets a slam on the floor. Dragon gets sent into the railing again as Flair gets back in the ring. Funk and Ross debate what happens if Dragon gets counted out and Funk says new Champion. Dragon gets back to the apron, so Flair drops him throat first on the top rope. Suplex back in the ring from Flair and that gets a two count. Flair maintains wrist control and briefly gets an abdominal stretch. He turns into an Oklahoma Crossbody pin (Funk called it that, so works for me) and gets multiple two counts as he makes Dragon fight off his back. Flair puts his feet on the ropes to annoy the crowd and then yells at the fans when they try to tell the ref. JR notes that in Louisiana that in their athletic book, whoever wins one fall in a two out of three falls match that goes the distance is the winner. Flair is full of himself as he has finally controlled a good portion of this match for the first time. He heads up top, which isn’t smart and Steamboat is there to meet him. He brings Flair down with a superplex and again, Flair sells it like someone who was in a plane crash. Oh, wait! Now Steamboat targets the back and then gets a double chicken wing and Flair gives it up at 34:16. Steamboat ties it at 1.

-Third Fall: Back from the commercial and Flair gets a chop block as we are told they have hit the 35 minute mark. That seems about right as I am going by there timer since Peacock commercials aren’t as long as the commercials they had on TBS in 1989. Steamboat back with chops, but Flair gets a shin-breaker and I think it’s time to go to school now. Flair gets the Figure-Four, but Steamboat is right by the rope and breaks easily. Flair shoves Tommy Young, who just shoves Flair back. Flair stalks a limping Steamboat to the corner and it’s time for more chops. Just heavy chops with sweat flying! Flair takes the corner flip and tries to run the apron, but Steamboat meets him with a chop and Flair is out on the apron. Young backs Steamboat away as Flair rolls into the ring and then begs off in the corner. He catches Steamboat coming in with a pin and puts his feet on the ropes as the crowd freaks out as this blatant display of cheating. Steamboat kicks out each time though. Back up, Dragon runs into a boot in the corner as we have 20 minutes left. Dragon misses a knee in the corner and gets his knee trapped. Uh oh! Flair immediately smells blood and goes after the knee. He yanks Steamboat out of the corner and drops a knee on Dragon’s knee. Drop 11 more to make things even! Figure-Four and this time Dragon is in the middle of the ring. The crowd is rocking with them now which is impressive after 40 minutes. Flair slaps Dragon around and tries to throw some chops as well while Dragon fights for a way to get out of the hold. Dragon won’t give and then nearly gets counted down, but is out at two each time. Steamboat fights off long enough to roll and they end up on the floor. Flair rams the bad knee off the apron, but walks into a chop when he gets back in the ring. Flair flip in the corner and this time he comes off the top with a crossbody for a great two count. They had the crowd there! Dragon tries a slam, but the knee is gone and Flair falls back for a two count. 15 minutes remain! The pace is picking up as they know it’s go time! Dragon heads up and goes off with a crossbody for two. Dragon misses an elbow as he got desperate there after the crossbody didn’t get the win. Flair with more elbows and chops. He sets too early on a backdrop and Dragon gets a reverse neckbreaker for two. Flair just dumps Steamboat to the floor to get a chance to regroup. Dragon tries to walk off the knee issue and gets a slingshot into a sunset flip for two. Flair avoids a tackle and hooks a sleeper as Tommy Young is doing all he can to get out the way. That man is working as well! Steamboat is nearly out, but Dragon gets the arm up to stay in this one. Dragon runs into the corner and Flair goes face first to break the hold. Flair flops out of the ring to the floor as Dragon tries to fire himself up. Steamboat doesn’t know where Flair is though, so gets caught from behind with a kick to the knee. He grabs the leg, but Dragon gets an enziguiri for a two count. 10 minutes! Dragon up top again, but he misses a splash as JR rages against men going out there and posing. Flair drives the knee into the mat as JR notes that a draw means Steamboat would keep the Title. Funk would’t blame him if he tries to stall this one out at this point. Flair with chops as Steamboat staggers around the ring. Steamboat fires back with a sick chop and they just go to war with chops after chop. THIS IS AWESOME! Double chop from Steamboat and Flair is begging off in the corner again. Dragon goes after him when he could just take the draw. He gets the mounted punches in the corner and then blocks an atomic drop. Clothesline gets two as Flair gets his foot in the ropes. Flair counters a backdrop attempt and gets a belly to back suplex. Flair isn’t sure what to do as we have six minutes left. He heads up top, but woos and Steamboat is there to catch him. He sends Flair flying off with a slam and then goes for the double chicken wing again. They fall back though as Dragon can’t hold him. Steamboat maintains the hold and keeps Flair’s shoulders down for the pin at 54:55. The ref missed Flair’s foot being under the bottom rope.

Winner and Still NWA World Heavyweight Champion: Ricky “The Dragon” Steamboat via pin (2 falls to 1) at 54:55
-I enjoyed this more than the previous match which is saying something. Just fantastic, top level stuff from both men. People say this is a match that doesn’t feel like an hour passed and they aren’t lying. As I said with the previous match, there are matches I enjoy more, but that doesn’t mean this isn’t a perfect match. I would never argue with someone who thinks this is the greatest match of all time. *****

-After a break, Jim Ross is backstage with Ricky Steamboat. He tells Flair it is time to move on as there are other contenders out there. JR shows footage of Flair’s foot being under the bottom rope and Dragon says things like that happen. JR is told that Flair is pissed and Dragon says he would be angry as well. In the end though he got the 3 count and is the better person. He walks off kind of annoyed and I smell a third match coming.

-Thanks for reading!

The final score: review Good
The 411
This is the definition of aone match show and the match happens to be what many will say is the greatest match of all time. It also eats up nearly half of the show (Peacock version), so it makes this a good show by itself. The rest is rough and the optics look bad as well with the show being so dark so the stadium full of empty seats aren't shown.