wrestling / Video Reviews

Clash of the Champions V: St. Valentine’s Day Massacre (2.15.1989) Review

February 25, 2019 | Posted by Adam Nedeff
Ric Flair Ricky Steamboat
3.7
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Clash of the Champions V: St. Valentine’s Day Massacre (2.15.1989) Review  

-Network bonus: they include a the promo for the show aired on TBS right before showtime.

-It’s February 15, 1989, which means the title of the show is wrong, but “Susan B. Anthony Day Massacre” didn’t have as much zing to it, so St. Valentine’s Day theming it is.

-We’re live from Cleveland!

-Your hosts are Jim Ross and Magnum TA.

-They never acknowledge this, but the ring announcer is Jack Reynolds, the original host of WWF Prime Time Wrestling.

MIDNIGHT EXPRESS (with Jim Cornette) vs. RUSSIAN ASSASSINS (with Paul Jones)

-Jones is just wearing an ordinary suit and looks like a guy running out the clock at this point.

-Rapid fire kicks by Stan Lane. Eaton tags in and works the arm of #1 CROWD SHOT but #1 slams him and tags #2. #2 immediately misses an elbow. Clothesline by Stan Lane CROWD SHOT and we suddenly get a Superstars of Wrestling-style head-in-a-box promo from Paul E. Dangerously, saying that we’re watching Jim Cornette’s last appearance on free TV.

-Russian Assassins back Eaton into the corner as JR and TA welcome Paul E to commentary. Wait, if he’s doing guest commentary, why did we need a pre-taped promo? CROWD SHOT Stan Lane kicks Paul Jones’ ass on the floor. Back in, the Assassins are whipped into each other and #1 gets dumped on the floor, with Cornette giving a hard tennis racquet shot and doing a hilarious strut to celebrate.

-Kicks and punches by Stan Lane send #2 back out to the floor. Lane gets distracted by absolutely nothing while the Assassins switch without tagging and turn the tide. Tommy Young forces them to switch back and #1 applies a bearhug and they just stay with this bearhug forever, which JR calls “dictating the pace.” Lane get free and tries a corner charge but he crashes CROWD SHOT and the Assassins switch off on him. Assassin #2 is so blown up that he collapses while applying a Boston crab. Russian missile is set up, but Eaton pulls Lane out of the way and the Assassins crash. Eaton takes them both on while Paul E leaves in a huff and declares he’s seen enough. Assassins knock each other out on an attempted double headbutt, and the rocket launcher finishes. Bearhug dragged it down a bit but other than that, it was bearable. 1 for 1.

-Bob Caudle welcomes Ricky Steamboat and The Little Dragon. Steamboat reiterates that he wants the NWA Title to secure his son’s future, and he’s out to prove that the family way is right way to live. This comes off condescending as fuck and they were insane for thinking that “having sex without commitment is WRONG” would get Steamboat over.

STEVE CASEY vs. HACKSAW BUTCH REED

-Casey looks like a roided-up Buck Zumhofe and we got a look at him a few weeks ago “scouting” at ringside on the TBS show. Casey dropkicks Reed and armdrags him into an armbar. CROWD SHOT Reed bodyslams Casey but somehow winds up back into the armbar, finally making the ropes to break the hold CROWD SHOT. Reed stalls in the corner CROWD SHOT and stalls more CROWD SHOT. Reed applies a wristlock CROWD SHOT to take control. Casey takes his turn at working the arm, an Reed goes to the floor to stall. JR breaks out “We wrestle” as a tag line for the company for the first time CROWD SHOT as Reed continues to CROWD SHOT stall on the floor CROWD SHOT.

-Reed demands a test of strength and gets Casey on his knees CROWD SHOT. Worth noting that TBS figured out how to monotize the ring itself and there are thick pads with the Coors logo wedged between the turnbuckles and the posts. That’s such easy money I don’t get why it didn’t become SOP. Reed dumps Casey on the floor and poses to celebrate CROWD SHOT. Casey starts fighting back CROWD SHOT but gets elbowed down, and Reed applies a rear chinlock. Probably a good idea for Reed to take a breather after this frenetic pace. Casey gets free but Reed gets a handful of tights and throws him out to the floor CROWD SHOT AND THE GUY IS WEARING AN ULTIMATE WARRIOR T-SHIRT SO THE DIRECTOR PROBABLY GOT YELLED AT.

-Casey throws punches but misses a dropkick CROWD SHOT, which allows Reed to re-apply the chinlock. Reed puts a foot on the rope occasionally to help himself stay awake CROWD SHOT. Casey fights out, biel throwing Reed and monkeyflipping him. Attempted bodypress by Casey, but Reed catches him and press slams him, and The Bomb finally, finally, finally FINALLY finishes. 1 for 2. Seventeen minutes!

-Ric Flair heads to ringside, joined by a poontang cavalcade and Hiro Matsuda. And of course, the crowd sees Flair in his fur overcoat, tailor-made suit, jewelry, and designer sunglasses, surrounded by a bevvy of fabulous babes, and he’s instantly the biggest babyface in Cleveland tonight as they continue to remind us that the greatest series of wrestling matches in American history was built on the lamest goddamn storyline imaginable. Ric Flair brags that selling his contract to the Japanese corporation was the best business decision he ever made and money means nothing to him now (famous last words) and he demands that Ricky Steamboat come to the ring.

-Steamboat shows up as Flair laughs at him for going to bed with the same woman every night. Flair makes him an offer: Forfeit the match on Monday night and take the women. Steamboat tsk-tsks Flair for representing the NWA in such reprehensibly sexy fashion. Steamboat says that Flair is materialistic and doesn’t represent family values, and the crowd boos Steamboat for it. Flair tells him to go home and do the dishes, which gets a pop. Steamboat gets fired up and a fight breaks out as a result, with Steamboat ripping off Flair’s suit completely in the fracas. It’s back and forth until Steamboat hits a bodypress and stays on top of Flair for a visual three-count. Hiro Matsuda steps in to make it a 2-on-1 battle, but Steamboat fights them both off. Brawl spills into the crowd. Flair has had enough and takes off for the night, while Steamboat puts on the shredded remains of Flair’s suit and parades around in a funny visual. 2 for 3. The actual issue was stupid but the brawl was pretty great.

LEX LUGER vs. THE BLACKMAILER (with Hiro Matsuda)

-Blackmailer is one of the Russian Assassins slapping on some different gear and working double duty. Just want to point out this is our third match of the evening on Clash of the Champions and none of the eight men we’ve seen in the three clashes so far tonight have been champions.

-Luger shoves Blackmailer down. God, what a weird name for a masked jobber. Actually, he would have helped the Steamboat/Flair feud nicely. Flair’s masked henchman reveals he has incriminating photos of Steamboat canoodling with a woman not his spouse, and Steamboat is forced to tearfully admit “All right! I enjoy sex with multiple partners!” and then the crowd is on Steamboat’s side again.

-Shoulderblock sends Blackmailer out to the floor, and JR mentions that Lex Luger was once scouted by Joe Paterno. Hey, there’s another storyline they could have given the Blackmailer! Side headlock by Luger. Press slam by Luger. He charges at Blackmailer, but Blackmailer ducks and Luger throws himself over the top and onto the floor. Luger slingshots himself back in for a sunset flip but only gets two. Fist fight erupts, but Blackmailer slows down the pace with a chinlock, but Luger gets free with a suplex. Luger shakes off all of Blackmailer’s attempted offense, then takes him up to the top turnbuckle and hits a superplex, sending a message to Barry Windham. 2 for 4. There was absolutely no reason for this match to go 13 minutes. Luger needed a win to showcase him before he heads off to Chi-Town. Your masked man is a musclehead who’s already wrestled once tonight. What benefit was it to anybody to have this match go this damn long?

-Bob Caudle talks to Rick Steiner, who’s ready for Monday night even though his doctor has warned him he has problems. And his friend Alex has helped him prepare for Mike Rotunda on Monday.

VARSITY CLUB (US Tag Team Champions) vs. FANTASTICS

-Plot twist! Varsity Club has apparently invoked the Freebird Rule for their US Tag Team Title reign, and it’s Rotunda and Williams defending the title while Sullivan serves as manager. On the other side of the ring, it’s the end of the road for the Fantastics.

-Some stalling to start. Tommy Rogers applies a side headlock on Rotunda. Clothesline by Rogers gets two. Everyone tags and Williams has an award exchange with Bobby Fulton, then holds onto him very snugly has the camera goes in for a close-up and gets a hilarious shot of what is clearly Williams listening carefully to Fulton laying out a spot. We get another pre-recorded promo from Rick Steiner, who, you may recall, cut a promo before this match. I feel like the new ownership doesn’t really have a grasp on how to use a mid-match promo.

-Tommy dropkicks Williams. Williams bounces up and stares at him. He backs Rogers into the corner and Rogers just cracks up at something right before Williams starts attacking with forearms and a dropkick. Fulton fights back in the corner but gets knocked out to the floor, and Williams drops him throat-first on the barricade. Back in, Fulton is covered with his own slobber as Rotunda connects with a dropkick. JR goes on this unexpected dissertation on how tag team wrestling works, for the benefit of anybody watching wrestling for the first time ever. That’s really the kind of thing wrestling needs more of–treat every show like it’s someone’s first time ever.

-Press slam by Dr. Death, followed by a football tackle. An actual football tackle, not the half-assed shoulderblock that JR usually called a football tackle. He goes for the Stampede, but Bobby Fulton hooks a rope as Dr. Death is lifting him, and Dr. Death falls over as a result. Hot tag to Tommy Rogers, and he cleans house. Pier sixer and Tommy Rogers just lands full-weight on Williams from the top rope, and Williams is bent at the waist at the time. He goes for the pin, but Rotunda comes off the second rope with an axehandle, and Williams rolls over to get the pin, retain the titles, and send the Fantastics on their merry way out of the company. 2 for 5. Williams was off his game tonight, and I mean, distractingly “What the hell is his problem”-levels of off his game.

RICKY “The Dragon” STEAMBOAT (with Bonnie and the Little Dragon) vs. BOB BRADLEY

-Atomic drop and chops by Steamboat. Bradley slams him as a building-wide “We want Flair” chant goes up, showcasing the tidal wave of momentum that being a family man has built for Ricky Steamboat.

-Armdrags by Steamboat. Bradley connects with an elbow as Magnum TA suspects that Bradley’s been offered a few dollars by you-know-wooooo if he can injure Steamboat. Corner charge by Bradley misses and Steamboat armdrags him into an armbar. Bradley sends him into the ropes, but Steamboat ducks every attempted clothesline before armdragging Bradley again and going back to the armbar. “We want Flair” chant is getting even louder at this point as Bradley chops Steamboat’s throat. JR even acknowledges the chant. Bodypress by Steamboat finishes and some trash gets chucked into the ring. 2 for 6. Even for a squash, Steamboat kinda mailed that one in.

TV TITLE: RICK STEINER (Champion) vs. RIP MORGAN

-Rip Morgan is reinventing himself into a Bruiser Brody clone, I guess because in early 1989, the gimmick was pretty much up for grabs. Pre-taped promo from Mike Rotunda, who promises that winning the TV Title back will be like taking candy from a baby.

-Steiner sends Morgan out to the floor. Back in, Morgan hammer Steiner and shoulderblocks him down, but he hits the ropes and runs into a powerslam. Steiner tries to follow that with a corner charge but hits a big boot. Morgan slams him and goes to the second rope, but Steiner rolls, Morgan crashes, and the belly-to-belly finishes. 2 for 7. Nothing to it.

-Bob Caudle talks to JYD, Sting, and Michael Hayes. They’re ready to win that Six-Man Tag Team Title! Hayes declares himself the inventor of 6-Man Tag Team matches, and he knows exactly how to beat the Road Warriors. They head back to their dressing room to discuss last-minute strategy, and then Kevin Sullivan sneaks over with a chain and a padlock, locking them into their dressing room.

6-MAN TAG TEAM TITLE: ROAD WARRIORS & TENRYU (Champions, with Paul Ellering) vs. STING, MICHAEL P.S. HAYES, AND JUNKYARD DOG

-Varsity Club charges the ring, catching the champs off guard and clearing the ring. Tommy Young goes ahead and rings the bell, on the grounds of “fuck it,” while we watch Doug Dellinger in the back trying to break the lock.

-Animal murders everyone with clotheslines. Tenryu lays out Rotunda with chops and a dropkick. Williams tags in and takes an enziguiri. Hawk adds a clothesline while Dellinger finally gets a bolt cutter and frees the proper challengers. Back in the ring, Animal gets thrown over the top rope behind the referee’s back, and Williams targets the arm. Back in the ring, they try to finish with a spike piledriver when Team P.S. Sti-D runs to the ring and just starts fighting EVERYBODY on both teams, and a nine-man brawl closes the show. Amazingly, it would still take about four years for anyone to figure out what you could do with three teams feuding with each other and this would actually have a payoff. Hot finish to the show, though. 3 for 8.

3.7
The final score: review Bad
The 411
Well, that was trash. Turn the page, wash your hands.
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