wrestling / Video Reviews

The Name on the Marquee: NWA World Championship Wrestling (1.14.1989)

January 26, 2019 | Posted by Adam Nedeff
Sting NWA
7.2
The 411 Rating
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The Name on the Marquee: NWA World Championship Wrestling (1.14.1989)  

-Originally aired January 14, 1989.

NON-TITLE: BARRY WINDHAM (US Champion, with JJ Dillon) vs. “Hot Stuff” EDDIE GILBERT

-Quite a start for this show. They actually have Tony in the ring to do an introduction for the match, to give it some gravitas.

-Gilbert blocks a right and knocks Barry right on his ass. Barry tries to intimidate Gilbert, but Gilbert just slaps him in the face. Suplex by Windham, but Gilbert comes right back with a flying clothesline and the TBS audience is rabid for Gilbert. It’s the first time Barry’s actually looked like a heel in this studio. “Let’s go Eddie!” chant goes up and Gilbert goes down with a snapmare into a side headlock. Eddie turns it into headscissors, but Windham just gives him a solid shot to the jaw. Gloved rights by Windham. Gilbert comes back with his own series of rights. Windham manages to back him into the corner and overwhelms him, then gutwrenches him into the middle of the ring.

-Ric Flair shows up to lend moral support and Windham just headbutts the Tennessee accent right out of Gilbert. Commentators express their disgust at Ric Flair’s proclamation that he’s never going to wrestle Lex Luger again, and they promise to revisit that later in the show. Windham throws Gilbert out to the concrete like some kind of Mulkey, then arrogantly goes over to the commentary table to cut a promo, which gives Gilbert JUST enough of a rest that he comes back to life and fires away at Windham. Back in the ring, Eddie misses an elbow and Windham just destroys him. Eddie is timing this beautifully, as Windham is squashing him like a grape, but Eddie is getting exactly enough offense to make you believe he’s still in this.

-Gilbert keeps kicking out at two and Barry Windham is getting pissed off with Teddy Long about it. He teases a claw, but then he just bites Eddie’s face. Barry sets him up for a superplex, but then changes his mind and knocks Gilbert off the apron instead. Barry decides “Okay, enough fun” and goes for the superplex for real. Gilbert resists and resists…but then Barry hits it. Commentators start to wrap this one up, but then Barry just keeps beating up on Eddie instead of going for the pin, and Tony & JR are appalled by the lack of sportsmanship. Knee by Windham misses and Gilbert takes advantage immediately with the figure four. Flair is dismayed.

-Barry’s so tall and the ring is so small in the TBS studio that he’s able to roll over and break the hold. Eddie throws rights, and Flair is so annoyed with Gilbert for finisher theft and failure to die that he just goes in the ring to kick Eddie’s ass himself.

-JJ Dillon says that Eddie Gilbert can add his name to a long list that includes Dusty Rhodes and Bam-Bam Bigelow: guys who couldn’t beat Ric Flair and Barry Windham.

MICHAEL P.S. HAYES vs. PAUL LEE

-Hayes, last seen at Super Clash III teaming up with Steve “Do It To It” Cox, but has returned to the NWA, stemming from Cox’s failure to do it to completion, and doing so to nothing in particular. Paul Lee went onto some greatness in Smoky Mountain Wrestling as a delusional Ric Flair knockoff jobber.

-Hayes snapmares Lee down while we see young Steve Casey, a newcomer from the Metroplex area, watching the match. Spinebuster by Hayes, and he declares “Now we go to school” before applying a chinlock. Lee tries some weak offense, but Hayes just DDTs him to end it.

-JYD welcomes his good friend Michael Hayes to the NWA and says he wants to team up with Hayes to go for the US Tag Team Title. Right as I start to type a snarky comment about JYD and Hayes being friends, god love him, Hayes actually acknowledges their Mid-South feud and says straight up that it doesn’t make any sense for them to be a tag team. But, ya know, what the hell.

VARSITY CLUB (US Tag Team Champions, with Mike Rotunda) vs. MIKE COLLINS & RANDY HOGAN

-Kevin Sullivan attacks right away and Collins is nearly killed on a powerbomb, but Steve Williams pulls it off. Randy Hogan tags in and gets clotheslined. Gorilla press into a stungun by Williams. Collins gets hung up in the tree of woe and Sullivan charges at him repeatedly. Oklahoma Stampede finishes. I love Collins, immediately after taking the finisher, looking around the ring like he’s waiting for some kind of direction from somebody.

-Fans chant “Steiner took your belt!” while Kevin Sullivan calls out the Road Warriors, as they’re already declaring “Uh, nevermind” on that heel turn.

ROAD WARRIORS (World Tag Team Champions, with Paul Ellering) vs. DALE LAPEROUSE & MIKE JACKSON

-Road Warriors already stormed in and cleared the ring before the match started, and we fade in pretty much right as they hit the Doomsday Device to finish. Laperouse leaves on a stretcher.

-Road Warriors threaten to eat Kevin Sullivan and Steve Williams, and doubt they even have the stinkin’ guts to sign a contract. They announce that they finally picked their new 6-Man Tag Team Championship partner, Tenryu, the baddest man in Japan. We don’t see Tenryu, but he’s totes for sure their new partner.

-Flair and Windham promise that 1989 will be the best year ever for the FOUR Horsemen, emphasis on Four. Eddie Gilbert interrupts and says if he has to take on two guys, he’s gonna make a phone call. He challenges Flair and Windham to a tag team match next week with the friend that he just called on the phone. Logically, it would be Lex Luger, the guy that Ric Flair declared he’ll never wrestle again. Unless Gilbert has someone else in mind, of course. JJ and the Horsemen talk this over…as far as they know they’re on good terms with the Road Warriors, and they just kicked Bam-Bam’s butt right out of the NWA, so they decide there’s low risk here and agree to the match.

-ORIGINAL MIDNIGHT EXPRESS (with Paul E. Dangerously) vs. BOB EMORY & TRENT KNIGHT

-Knight reverses a corner charge while the commentators mention Clash of the Champions V coming up in February. Bob Emory tags in to a nice pop, but Dennis Condrey clotheslines him down. Knight comes back in and takes a pretty bland beatdown. Cornette said part of the reason this feud fell apart was because Jim Crockett wasn’t enthralled with Randy Rose, and I kind of get it, he doesn’t really stand out. Dennis atomic drops Randy on top of Bob Emory for three, and Paul E. tries to match Cornette by naming his team’s move, dubbing their finisher The Human Cough Drop. I’m going to give the edge to Cornette there.

-Paul E. promises that one way or another he’s going to get Cornette out of the NWA.

LARRY ZBYSZKO & AL PEREZ (with Gary Hart & Abdullah the Butcher) vs. CURTIS THOMPSON & GEORGE SOUTH

-Zbyszko still has the Western States Heritage Title belt, when honestly at this point he probably could have pawned it for a Christmas bonus and I seriously don’t think anybody in the NWA would have noticed. Perez sends South out to the floor for an ass-kicking from Abdullah, and Gary Hart has to choke him with a coat hanger to subdue him. Larry slams George South down for a close two-count. Al Perez heads in while the commentators tease a Larry/Ric Flair feud. Al Perez’s airplane spin finally gets a name, the Alicopter, just in time for him to walk out of the company, and it finishes for him.

-Tony tells a little story here, saying that Larry and Al recently called Gary Hart out for his alliance with JJ Dillon, calling it a conflict of interest. Gary concedes that they have a point and demands title shots for both of his men. Al Perez ended up having one hell of an inflated opinion of how this angle should have been paid off and pretty much got laughed out of the company for expecting it to happen. Larry Z promises to be the world heavyweight champion in 1989, so hey, that worked out for him.

DICK MURDOCH vs. EDDIE SWEAT

-Murdoch sends Sweat to the floor and beats the crap out of him while JR briefs us on Murdoch’s son’s high school football career. Back in the ring, Murdoch just beats up on Sweat for a spell before finishing with the brainbuster.

-Missy Hyatt interviews Ric Flair, and it’s probably a good thing that they’re only being shot from the waist up. Ric Flair talks about Starrcade and says that things got heated, but he wouldn’t exactly call it cheating. Putting your feet on the ropes is just a good way to maintain balance. Flair reiterates that Lex Luger is never getting another rematch again.

MIDNIGHT EXPRESS (with Jim Cornette) vs. GARY ROYAL & KEITH STEINBORN

-Someone at WWE Network seemed to opt for editing out entrances entirely instead of just dubbing the entrance music. Bobby Eaton backdrops Royal and Stan Lane drops a big elbow. Keith Steinborn tags in and Eaton goes airborne for the flying elbow. Jim Cornette lets us know that Paul E’s face is responsible for more tube-tying surgeries being scheduled than anything else on TV, and the Veg-O-Matic finishes.

-Cornette hears word that Paul E wants him out of the NWA. Jim Cornette doesn’t think Paul has it in him.

TV TITLE: RICK STEINER (Champion) vs. MIKE ROTUNDA (with Kevin Sullivan)

-It’s a Starrcade rematch, and again Tony does an in-ring intro to sex it up a little.

-Rotunda charges, but Steiner ducks and Rotunda flings himself over the top as a result. Back in, a backdrop gets two, and Rotunda gets out of Dodge for a minute. Back in, Rotunda tries to get something going, but Steiner keeps fighting him off. Rotunda finally takes over with a dropkick and throws Steiner to the floor. Kevin Sullivan finds a wood crate somewhere in the building and just lobs it at Steiner. Back in, Rotunda applies a sleeper but Steiner hangs on. Rotunda heads to the top rope, but Steiner recovers in time to slam him off. Steiner hits the ropes, but Sullivan yanks the top rope down, which causes Steiner to yell out in pain, fall down, and roll out of the ring. Okay.

-Rotunda gets extra-dastardly now, biting ALEX, and Steiner freaks out and tends to his left hand to make sure he’s okay. Dr. Death runs in , and all three Varsity Club members give him a spike pildriver. The club attempts to steal Steiner’s dog, but Junkyard Dog, in a show of solidarity, arrives with Michael PS Hayes to rescue the dog and take care of Steiner. Good match but the finish was weird. Steiner wasn’t really even in control of the match when Dr. Death showed up.

STING & LEX LUGER vs. AGENT STEEL & BOB HOLLIDAY

-Sting & Lex murder the jobbers Road Warrior-style and just focus on Holliday while Steel is left for dead. Luger suplexes Steel just to make sure he’s not left out too much. Holliday comes back in and gets caught in a bearhug. I feel like somebody got their time cues mixed up because the finish to the last match came out of nowhere and this match is taking an eternity. Sting finally ends it with the scorpion deathlock.

-Luger says that no matter what Ric Flair says, it’s not over until the total package says it’s over. There’s some measurable backlash from the studio audience while Luger tries to save face here.

-Worth noting as we close the show that we were told at the opening that Magnum TA would interview Dusty Rhodes, and that didn’t happen for some reason.

7.2
The final score: review Good
The 411
What surprised me was how fast this show felt. This was a full episode, but damn was I surprised when the credits started rolling. This was really my favorite kind of show, as literally every segment had a purpose. Even if it was just a jobber getting squashed, they were getting squashed by someone with an m.o. that we needed to hear about in the post-match promo. Jobber matches CAN matter, dammit.
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