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World Championship Wrestling (4.1.1989) Review

May 23, 2019 | Posted by Adam Nedeff
Sting NWA Image Credit: WCW
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World Championship Wrestling (4.1.1989) Review  

-Cold open: Steamboat wins the NWA World Title at Chi-Town Rumble.

-The opening title sequence one last time. To give you a sense of how badly this show needed a facelift, here’s a list of wrestlers visible in the opening:
Dusty Rhodes
Tully Blanchard
Nikita and Ivan Koloff
Gorgeous Jimmy Garvin
Baby Doll
Brad Armstrong
The Rock & Roll Express
Big Bubba Rogers
Arn Anderson
Dennis Condrey
Tim Horner
Bobby Jaggers
Ravishing Rick Rude
JJ Dillon
Ole Anderson
Baron Von Raschke

-Your hosts are Jim Ross and Michael PS Hayes, and JR announces that this is the last episode ever from the WTBS studio. Michael Hayes is none too happy about JR goading Mike Rotunda last week because now he’s stuck with a title defense against Sting. And AT LAST JR puts 2+2 together for us and explains that the big Superdome event he’s been mentioning the last two weeks is actually the Clash of the Champions airing live tomorrow on TBS. So they basically have this episode and only this episode to build the card.


-Shane’s return kind of brings to mind when Jack Paar quit “The Tonight Show” by saying “There must be a better way of making a living than this,” and then a month later he returns to the show and opens by saying “Well, I looked and there isn’t.”

-Shane works the arm as JR announces that it’s Steamboat vs. Flair, best 2 out of 3 tomorrow afternoon. And hey, did we mention that the Clash is airing for free?

-Raider tries to work the arm but gets dropkicked down. Raider comes back with rights and an elbow for two. Chinlock by the Raider. Douglas fights out and throws shots to the breadbasket. Shane hits the ropes and Raider winds up for a big punch, but Shane baseball slides under him and sunset flips him for three.


-Orton returns to the NWA just in time for JR to mention that he’s scheduled tomorrow for the Clash of the Champions, and then the commentary is drowned out by the trampling of 20,000 fans rushing to the Superdome box office. I mean Orton’s an awesome worker, but to just drop him into the company out of nowhere and then not even mention an opponent for him isn’t doing anything for anybody.

-Orton, who actually looks like he’s packed on about 20 pounds of muscle since the WWF run, does a nice delayed suplex while JR rattles off damn near every living ex-NWA Champ and says they’ll be in the Superdome tomorrow, along with legendary promoter Sam Muchnick. So Sam’s relationship with the NWA turns its knob to “on again” for this week. Front facelock by Orton. Funny timing by Hayes, talking about how Orton doesn’t waste time as he goes from a facelock to a chinlock. Superplex gives Orton the win. Gary Hart shows up unannounced to congratulate him on the victory.

-Gary Hart and Bob Orton have words for Dick Murdoch, who is Orton’s opponent for the Cl;ash. And Orton is bleeding hardway just a bit.


-Steiner and Spivey lock up. Spivey misses a clothesline, but Steiner doesn’t. Powerslam by Steiner gets a one-count. Sullivan tags in but Steiner manages to outsmart him with a tag behind the back, and Eddie lays into Sullivan. He blocks a corner charge and some referee distraction allows him to throw Eddie over the top and onto the floor. But he’s not in peril too long as Steiner manages to tag back in. Spivey manages to overpower ghim and a backbreaker gets two. Bearhug by Spivey. Steiner hangs on, but Sullivan comes in and clotheslines him from every direction.

-But Steiner survives and makes the tag. Eddie gets the hot shot on Sullivan immediately, but na pier sixer breaks out. Sullivan goes to his favorite trick in the book, attacking the woman at ringside, and when Eddie goes to tend to Missy, Sullivan sneaks up and rolls him for three. Sullivan leaves without cutting a ridiculous fucking promo about Missy being a member of his cult years ago and waving an incriminating piece of paper that never gets paid off, so I’m okay with that finish, and with the match in general.

-Odd post-match interview that clearly wasn’t taped on the same day. In fact, it looks like they’re taping it with the TBS set in Center Stage Arena. Steiner and Gilbert are ready for Clash of the Champions.


-Paul E. Dangerously welcomes The Great Muta, Gary Hart, and Hiro Matsuda. Gary Hart very correctly calls Muta the new sensation of the NWA. Also, we’ve changed the backstory a little bit as Muta is no longer merely trained by Great Kabuki, he is the son of Great Kabuki.


-Now THAT is a jobber name. Ron goes for a backdrop, but Bucky elbows him down and follows it with a devastating Buckykick. Ron spinebusters the shit out of him after realizing he’s on the verge of losing to a guy named Bucky. Powerslam by Ron, and he just stretches the hell out of the dear boy with a half-crab.

-Bucky gets free and works the arm with a wristlock, but Ron isn’t having that either and hits a piledriver. He works the legs over and Hayes is like “Why wouldn’t he just finish after that?” Bearhug by Ron. Siegler breaks free and goes off the ropes, but Ron catches him and completely shuts off his pulse with a second spinebuster to end it. Man, Ron Simmons went six minutes. I don’t envy JR for trying to drag a promo out of him now.

-But instead JR welcomes Ricky Steamboat in a suit. JR says that tomorrow will be the first time since Dory Funk Jr. vs. Jack Brisco that the NWA Title has been defended in a three-fall match. Wait, really? Steamboat says he needs the stipulation as a confidence booster, which is a weird thing for the reigning champion to say.

ROAD WARRIORS (World Tag Team Champions, with Paul Ellering) vs. JOHN BREWER & SNAKE BROWN

-First time we’ve seen the Warriors in a while, as they’ve been touring Japan. Snake ends up on the floor, and Animal powerslams Brewer off the second rope for the win.

-Warriors announce they’re defending the belts at the Clash tomorrow, and the Varsity Club should know that the champs don’t plan on losing.

-Samu slams the hell out of Aldridge and Fatu rips at his face and chokes him out. Bryant tags in and gets beaten down in the corner. Dropkick by Samu. Aldridge tags back in and gets DDTed from the second rope to finish.


-Muta meditates for a minute and then debuts the green mist. Muta throws, let’s say, #1 out to the floor and meets him out there with a plancha.. Back in, a full nelson/German suplex combo finishes off #2 right away. Bonus points to JR for sharting on Michael Hayes when he tried to make a point about how Muta is younger than his father Kabuki.

-Junkyard Dog will be at the Superdome tomorrow for the Clash. From the funny/sad department, JYD had actually been fired a week earlier for no-showing six straight house shows, but the advance for the Superdome was so shitty that they were forced to rehire him immediately to try to boost the attendance.


-Hiptosses by the Ranger as JR announces that yep, it’s going to be Ranger vs. Sheik tomorrow. Ross works the arm over, and the combat kick ends it.

-Paul E. Dangerously promises that Lex Luger won’t survive his match against Jack Victory tomorrow at the Clash.

“Secret Service” JACK VICTORY (with Paul E. Dangerously) vs. DON SANDERS
-Victory has odd ring gear, as he’s dressed in a black suit for the Danger Zone segment but now he’s wearing olive-colored coveralls. Hayes tries to explain this by noting that the Secret Service is a branch of the military. In 1989, it would actually be a branch of the Treasury Department originally formed to track counterfeiting. I’m, uh, surprised Michael didn’t know that. (Glasses pushed up)

-Victory works the arm. Sanders throws punches and follows an Irish whip with a dropkick. Victory just lays him completely out with a clothesline, and the “service revolver” (the not-quite-a-piledriver, not-quite-a-pedigree) finishes things. Thing that’s due for someone to steal: Victory puts on sunglasses just for his finisher.

TV TITLE & $10,000: CAPTAIN MIKE ROTUNDA (Champion, with Varsity Club) vs. STING

-So the Center Stage era for World Championship Wrestling kicks off a week early, and by complete accident. Sting & Mike Rotunda actually wrestled the final match ever at Techwood Studio and it was so unexpectedly shitty that they just did it again at the first Center Stage taping, with an announcement for the live crowd about how the title was held up due to controversy.

-Hiptosses and a clothesline by Sting for an early two-count. I like how the commentary team isn’t even mentioning that they’re in a different building. The TBS Studio apparently just quintupled in size during the commercial.

-Knee to the gut by Rotunda. He charges, Sting ducks, and Rotunda just soars over the top rope like he’s trying to win a bet and he crashes on the floor. Back in, Sting slams Rotunda and goes for an elbow, but Rotunda gets out of the way. Rotunda keeps trying to get something going, but he can;t keep it up and Sting is frustrating him. Side headlock by Sting, but Rotunda breaks it with a back suplex. Dropkick misses as again Rotunda is just having the worst time ever trying to get anything in succession on Sting. Rotunda goes to the floor and Sting slingshots himself over the top and onto him. Back in, Sting comes off the top with a bodypress and the crowd is wrecked when they realize it’s only a two-count.

-Side headlock into a snapmare by Sting as Lex Luger and Ricky Steamboat drift down to ringside, suspecting that Varsity Club shenanigans might be afoot. Great commentary as JR is calling out Michael Hayes for being a total hypocrite for complaining about the turn of events, moments after he was explaining why it was fine for the Varsity Club to be there.

-Punches in the corner by Sting, but Rotunda turns it into an inverted atomic drop and stunguns Sting to follow it up. He throws Sting to the floor and the Varsity Club teases an attack, but Steamboat and Luger are threatening to rumble and the Varsity Club backs off.

-Back in the ring, Rotunda starts targeting the arm with kicks, and a legdrop gets two. Crowd is coming unglued and the change of scenery suddenly looks like a brilliant move. Sleeper by Rotunda with a foot on the ropes, but the referee catches him and forces him to break. Atomic drop by Rotunda. Rotunda gets cocky and starts slapping the Stinger around…and that just pisses Sting off. Stinger splash, scorpion deathlock clamped on, and this crowd is going to riot if Sting loses at this point. Brawl breaks out on the floor and Sullivan is able to slip in and clobber Sting from behind…but Sting gets a foot on the rope.

-Double underhook by Rotunda gets two. Snap suplex gets two. Rotunda just looks totally confused about what to do next. He hits the ropes, but ting leapfrogs him and rolls him up for a three-count to FINALLY win a title belt in the NWA. Well hot DAMN this turned out to be a forgotten classic.

-Back to the TBS Studio, with Ric Flair getting the last word. Wanna watch the two best wrestlers in the world competing for the most important title in wrestling? Watch TBS tomorrow.

The final score: review Average
The 411
Well hells bells, they finished strong, I'll give 'em that.