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The Name on the Marquee: World Championship Wrestling (1.28.1989)

February 15, 2019 | Posted by Adam Nedeff
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The Name on the Marquee: World Championship Wrestling (1.28.1989)  

-Cold open: From last week’s episode, of course, we watch once more as The Dragon kicks Ric Flair’s ass and pins him right in the middle of the ring.

-Originally aired January 28, 1989.

-Your hosts are Tony Schiavone & Jim Ross. Making its final appearance ever on television: Tony Schiavone’s mustache. This is Tony’s last TBS show before he heads up north for a year.

-Ricky Steamboat says he’s spent the past few years training in other federations so he’d be better prepared for an NWA Title match. Steamboat brings in his wife and son and says he wants the title for the financial security that comes with it and make sure his son has a drug-free future.


-Aces and Eight-Balls work the arm of Emery. Emerythrows knees at Hayes but gets clotheslined down. McGiver gets side suplexed and slapped around. McGiver’s tights are pretty funny, as he clearly had the name “McGiver” spelled out on the left leg at some point and the letters seem to have come off one by one. Russian legsweep by JYD gets two, as Hayes DEMANDS that JYD keep the match going, which might make Hayes literally the first person ever to demand that from JYD (Bill Watts has a pretty funny story about firing Ernie Ladd as his booker because Ladd had JYD go 20 minutes at a house show).

-McGiver gets knocked out to the floor and dragged back in. DDT by Hayes finally puts McGiver out of his misery.

-JJ Dillon and so is Butch Reed. Butch Reed has a reason that he’s here, but it’s nobody’s business, he says.


-My own theory, after doing a lot of research and checking the dirtsheets at the time, is that Reed is here because he was scheduled to have a match this week. And it’s a historic moment because Reed gets the pin with a side headlock! Honest to god. Years and years of watching matches called by Gorilla Monsoon where he says “No one ever got a pin with a side headlock” and by god, Butch Reed just did it. What’s funny is that I think the jobber just plain forgot to kick out, because Reed makes it a point to go to the top rope and hit his finisher afterward, and JJ Dillon counts a second pin. But there you go, folks, Butch Reed just got a win with a side headlock.


-The Texas Broncos are done since Dusty took his son with him, and that leaves Kendall as a single. Or does it? Kendall has his hair tied back in a ponytail just like his brother. He backs South into the corner and punches him instead of breaking cleanly. Big brother Barry strolls in and says that his brother hasn’t changed…he just wants to win matches. Barry sticks around to support his brother while you take a moment to ponder that, for the span of about two hours in 1989, the Four Horsemen were Ric Flair, Barry Windham, Kendall Windham, and Butch Reed.

-Lariat by Kendall, but he’s just so damn evil now that he wants to keep hurting people, working the arm over with lots of vigor and sinister wet hair. Slow torture tactics by Kendall continue as this armbar takes so much time that I’m honestly surprised when I check History of WWE and find that this match only clocks in at 7:40. It feels like we’re at least ten minutes deep. JR begins fumphering about for something to say about “sound strategy” as we enter day 274 of the Kendall Windham Armbar Hostage Crisis, and the bulldog finally finally finally finally finishes this. Tony marvels during the replay about what a “great match” this was, and his soul apparently feels so dirty for saying it that he needed to take a year off.


-Gilbert applies a side headlock as JR mentions Chi-Town Rumble coming up on February 20. I was looking forward to that show until I found out that they’re not bothering with the Bunkhouse Stampede Finals. Now Chi-Town Rumble will probably be a terrible show.

-Gilbert chops Steel down while the commentators give credit to Gilbert for hanging on through all the punishment in last week’s match and wearing Flair and Windham down as a result, so he deserves as much credit for the victory as Ricky Steamboat. That’s a pretty awesome way of putting Eddie over instead of just treating him like a jobber. Cute finish, as Eddie just stares at Steel and doesn’t budge, and Steel gets so frustrated waiting for something to happen that he charges at Eddie, who promptly grabs onto him and hot shots him for three. GREAT spot!

VARSITY CLUB (US Tag Team Champions, with Kevin Sullivan) vs. MIKE JACKSON & TRENT KNIGHT

-Mike Rotunda slams Jackson down. Jackson gets armdragged around and booted. Williams biels Jackson into his own corner to demand a tag, and Knight takes hiptosses while Lex Luger shows up to hang out at ringside. Boy, the new management sure likes guys scouting each other.

-Rotunda demands an amateur exhibition and the moment Knight gets a grip on him, Rotunda turns it into a belly-to-belly for two. He demands another amateur lock-up, but when Knight gets down on the mat, Rotunda just kicks him in the ribs. Ha! Again, when Kevin Sullivan isn’t doing his cult leader bullshit, the Varsity Club is fun to watch.

-Jackson tags in and gets caught in a bow and arrow by Williams. Jackson reaches out for a tag and Knight actually recoils from him, so Rotunda applies a chinlock on Jackson and launches him out to the concrete. Williams presses him back in and Jackson makes Knight tag in. Williams press slams Knight, and the Oklahoma Stampede finishes. Fun squash.

RICKY “The Dragon” STEAMBOAT vs. RUSSIAN ASSASSIN #2 (with Paul Jones & #1)

-Nothing spotlights the difference in philosophy between two companies quite like hearing Tony mention on commentary that Steamboat & Jones are former tag team champions. And they use that to tell a story, as Jones is chatting with #1 at ringside, nodding their heads and gesturing as they watch Steamboat, with Jones clearly knowing and anticipating everything his ex-partner will do in this match.

-Arm wringers are traded, with Steamboat getting the upper hand and following with dropkicks, letting out a big “Woo-hoo!” as he winds up for it. Deep armdrag into a wristlock. #2 goes into the ropes and runs into a hard chop. Armbar by Steamboat, who yells “Paula” at his ex-partner to taunt him. Ric Flair shows up in mid-match to rage about what bullshit it is to talk about what a great wrestler Steamboat is when he couldn’t even beat Ric Flair. JR is confused as Flair gaslights the commentary team, insisting that Steamboat didn’t actually get that win.

-#2 takes control as Flair says the commentary makes it sound like he’s a challenger and Steamboat is the champ, and he threatens to go over their heads to Ted Turner to make a formal complaint. #2 hammers and chokes Steamboat while Flair complains about how stupid it is to bring a family into a hard sport like pro wrestling. Families don’t belong here!

-Uppercut and a snapmare by #2, but he misses a corner charge. He tries throwing Steamboat over the top, but Steamboat skins the cat and lets out another “Woo-hoo!” You can tell Steamboat is genuinely stoked about being here. Flying bodypress by Steamboat finishes #2, and he kicks #1’s ass and Jones’ ass after the bell for bonus points. I don’t get this about the Assassins, they had a match at Starrcade where they had to leave if they lost. They won the match and they’re getting jobbed out now. Why did they go over?

-Flair takes the jacket off and demands a match RIGHT NOW! He demands that Steamboat meet him on the floor, so Steamboat surprises him with a plancha, which misses by about two feet but they work around that and brawl until Barry Windham comes out. And that brings Eddie Gilbert out, and the Horsemen take over. Steamboat gets laid out, and the Horsemen press Gilbert’s face into the concrete, with Flair dropping a knee on him to injure his face, and Gilbert needs to be taken out on a stretcher.


-Side headlock by Murdoch. Justice sends him into the ropes but gets shoulderblocked down. Murdoch goes back to the side headlock, and he makes himself comfy, apparently inspired by the success of Butch Reed earlier tonight. Unfortunately, Justice is apparently more resilient than that, so we’re just gonna sit here and watch the headlock. Justice eventually turns it into a top wristlock and takes over with an armbar, but Murdoch reverses it into his own armbar before going to a chinlock. Big elbow finishes. Thank you for sharing those moves with us, Dick.


-Luger works the arm for a spell, and a bodypress gets two. Powerslam, and then the torture rack finishes. You’d be shocked at how long this squash actually went.

-CHI-TOWN RUMBLE ’89! LIVE FEBRUARY 20TH! Ric Flair vs. Ricky Steamboat! Road Warriors vs. Varsity Club! Barry Windham vs. Lex Luger! Rick Steiner vs. Mike Rotunda! Midnight Express vs. Original Midnight Express! Sting vs. An Opponent to be Named!


-Drop toehold/elbow combo as Cornette admits that putting his career on the line is the biggest risk he’s ever taken, but it’s worth it because if he can’t beat Paul E, he don’t deserve a career. Paul E drifts to ringside to scout his competition, and the Original Midnights eventually join him. Jobbers take advantage of the distraction and takes over as Cornette tries to keep his guys calm and Cornette lays a little added storyline on us, as the original incident between the two teams was so wild and violent that the NWA and TBS are threatening to suspend EVERYBODY if there’s ever another altercation between them in the studio. So Paul E is opting for the nuclear option and intentionally trying to prompt the brawl.

The Original Midnights are ushered away by security and the Midnights take control of the squash back, and the veg-o-matic finishes.


-Powerslam by Steiner as I think we’re approaching the point where we’re losing the entire point of the TV Title. JR is putting over Steiner for willingly signing to put his title on the line for this match, even though that’s pretty much what the TV Title is. Eddie Sweat is so thoroughly battered that Steiner puts Teddy Long on top of him and counts three, then hits a belly-to-belly for his own three-count.

-Steiner, his dog Spike, and his friend Alex have words for Mike Retardo, Big Fat Blob Commando Ray, and Toad Kevin Sullivan.

ROAD WARRIORS (World Tag Team Champions, with Paul Ellering) vs. BILL HOLLIDAY & RANDY HOGAN

-Holliday gets dumped on the floor, Hogan is trapped in the ring, but Hawk actually allows him to tag out and lays a beating on Holliday instead. Doomsday device finishes.


-Koloff snaps Miller’s neck over the top rope. Sickle and a Boston crab finish.

-We close with words from Ricky Steamboat, who promises that Eddie Gilbert will be back next week!

The final score: review Good
The 411
Steamboat/Flair continues to be a fun build, and we had a few pretty entertaining squashes this week.