Ring Crew Reviews: The Best of WCW Clash of the Champions - Disc One
Posted by Jack Bramma on 06.16.2012
Ric Flair and Terry Funk in an I Quit Match, Lex Luger and Barry Windham look to get revenge on the Horsemen, and Sting takes NWA World Champion Ric Flair to the limit on disc one of the Clash compilation.
• Scheduled Card:
1. NWA World Heavyweight Championship: Sting vs. Ric Flair (c).
2. NWA World Tag Team Championship: Barry Windham & Lex Luger vs. Arn Anderson & Tully Blanchard (c).
3. NWA World Tag Team Championship: Sting & Dusty Rhodes vs. Arn Anderson & Tully Blanchard (c).
4. Russian Chain Match: Ricky Morton vs. Ivan Koloff.
5. I Quit Match for the NWA World Heavyweight Championship: Terry Funk vs. Ric Flair (c).
6. Cactus Jack Manson vs. Mil Mascaras.
7. NWA US Tag Team Championship: Rock 'n' Roll Express vs. Midnight Express (c).
• We start with a video package and Dusty giving the voiceover. He says he wants to give it to us straight – the story not in the history books. Dusty: “What about all this mess on free television? And let's run head up on the same night as Wrestlemania. It happened and Clash of Champions was born.”
• Dusty introduces everything and says that “shots were fired in the entertainment industry” before the Monday Night Wars. Robert Blake? Phil Spector? No, he's talking about how Vince told cable companies that they couldn't run Starrcade and WM both and they had to choose. Dusty says he and Jim Crockett got together and decided to one up WWF by running on free TV.
• NWA World Heavyweight Championship: Sting vs. Ric Flair (c). Clash I from 88. Sting's dubbed over music is trash. JJ's in a cage above the ring so he can't interfere and the referee making sure he can't get involved is Teddy Long sporting half of Lionel Ritchie's Commodores-era jheri curl. JR says TV time constraints have reduced the time limit from 60 to 45 minutes and if necessary, the decision will go to the ringside judges including Patty Mullen, a centerfold who also starred in the cult classic Frankenhooker, Wayne Arnold from The Wonder Years and Monster Squad (Jason Harvey who's been a business partner of Eric Bischoff's for the last decade), and others.
• JR throws a potshot out at JJ saying that “some people would say he belongs behind bars.” Flair tries a wristlock but Sting kips up and Flair begs up. Tony says that Sting is tougher than most of Flair's opponents because “he won't back down from Flair and his screams.” They trade top wristlocks. Flair's on his game early: “C'MON BIG MAN! WOOOO!” Sting overpowers and Flair begs off to the ropes and claims that Sting pulled his hair. Flair stupidly goes for the test of strength and Sting overpowers with one hand. Flair goes to the chop and Sting no sells and dropkicks him down. Flair takes a breather. JR talks strategy by bringing up the OU-Villanova basketball game from earlier that week and Tony ignores him as Flair and Sting trade hammerlocks. Flair tries a stiff arm to get some room and then gets the ropes. Sting sends off Flair and after a couple leapfrogs, press slams Flair. Sting with a headscissors and a few more takedowns and settles on a headlocks. Flair gets to his feet and sends off Sting but eats another shoulderblock. Sting with more hiptosses and back to the lying headlock. Sting got busted hard way on his pec from one of Flair's chops as the blood is just now starting to run. Flair tries a few roll ups for nothing. Flair sends him off again and tries to trip him up but Sting stops short and drops back on the headlock. That spot is always good for a pop from me. Flair gets Sting into the corner and tries a chop but Sting no sells. Sting mounts in the corner but shows some sympathy for the poor champ and decides to follow the rules. Flair's all “I'M THE DIRTIEST PLAYER IN THE GAME” and tries a cheapshot to the gut but Sting blocks anyway and waffles him back with haymakers. Sting tries the hiptoss/dropkick combo again but Flair had already backed into the corner so he whiffs. Flair Flops anyway. That's a bit odd. Sting no sells a shitcan and now mounts in the corner and pounds down Flair anyway. Back to the headlock from Sting. We get a cutaway to the former Penthouse model judge as JR decides to amuse himself taking from the Jerry Lawler school of heat: “I'm sure she's used to seeing some action....COUGHIFYOUKNOWWHATIMEANCOUGH... but this is REAL ACTION for the heavyweight championship of the world.” Flair rolls up Sting a few more times for 2 counts. It's that little touch that keeps the resthold from being but so much of a resthold. Flair gets to the ropes and goes back to the chops in the corner. Sting comes back with another press slam and talks smack to JJ. TOTHEBEARHUG! This goes on a while for the benefit of Sting so he can catch his breath... again. Flair almost gets the ropes so Sting takes him down and bridges into a cover for a bit. Flair: “OOOOOOOOOOOOOOHHHHHHHHHHH GOD! MY BACK! OHHHHHHHHHHHH! MY BACK! NOOOOOOOOO!” Sting says fuck it and goes to the GnP. He Hulks up and tries an elbow drop but whiffs. Sting no sells and tries a running elbow in the corner but again comes up dry and NOW he sells the arm. Flair goes for a STYLIN' AND PROFILIN' HAMMER but Sting blocks to a shot to the gut. Sting goes back to no selling so Flair gives him an inverted atomic drop. Flair brings him to the floor and sends him into the ghetto guardrail. Back in, more chops and a hard crosscorner whip from Flair. Sting goes down in a heap. WOOOOOOOO! Flair now working Sting's back which Tony calls “a touche type of move.” Flair drops the knee and another and follows up with a BLATANTBACKRAKE! Tony: “STING'S IN MAJOR TROUBLE HERE!”
• Flair rakes the eye down the top rope. Flair shitcans him again and back into the guardrail. The building is RUMBLING trying to get Sting back into it. Back in, Flair with more chops and Sting Hulks up and waffles Flair with a haymaker. Sting goes for a flying clothesline on the floor but Flair ducks and Sting eats ringpost with the same bad arm from earlier. JR: “Sting is in BIG, BIG TROUBLE!” Tony: “You gotta take chances to win in this sport many times, but you shouldn't take them against Ric Flair!” Good stuff from Tony and JR. Back in, Flair goes back to the arm. Sting has no interest in selling for longer than 15 seconds at a time as he no sells and goes for a right hand WITH THE BAD ARM but Tommy Young tells him no closed fist. Flair pulls him down by the hair so Sting kips up and gives him a right hand anyway. Another spot that is quasi-lost on me. Why block one punch but not the second? It's well-timed at least. Sting mounts in the corner with more rights. Sting with another hiptoss and a clothesline for 2. Sting with a vertical suplex and wants the Scorpion Deathlock. He hooks it in but Flair gets the ropes. Sting with another haymaker and Flair Flops again. Cover gets nothing as Flair is in the ropes. Another hiptoss and Sting again goes for a flying clothesline but Flair ducks and Sting, for the third time in the match, wipes out from overenthusiasm. Rather than, ya know, play up that story by selling, Sting no sells that and a Flair Stun Gun and instead heads up top. Sting with a crossbody for 1, 2, 2.9. Flair with a kneebreaker and THAT puts down Sting. Flair with another kneebreaker and clips the knee and Sting is finally grounded. WOOOOOOOOOOOOOO! Flair with a back suplex and the Figure Four is locked in. Flair torques it using the ropes for leverage behind Young's back. Sting Blade Runners up and rolls it over. Surprisingly, they actually keep the hold on for a while before Flair can't take it and it's released (without a rope break). Flair teases a suplex to the floor and Sting counters and brings him in with one of his own. Sting goes for a splash but Flair gets the knees up. JR: “Flair's always thinking. Whether he's on his back or he's standing, he's always thinking.” Flair sends him off but Sting counters to an ab stretch. Flair hiptosses out and goes for an elbow but whiffs. Flair heads up top but Sting press slams him off. Cover gets 1, 2, 2.9. Sting drags him over to the ringpost and wraps the leg a couple times. Sting now goes to the F4. Flair gets the ropes so Sting serenades the crowd about the afterparty: “YOU GUYS KNOW HOW TO PARTY OR WHAT?!” Sting with another hiptoss and Flair begs off. Sting boots the knee down in the corner. Sting sends him across and Flair Flips and eats it to the floor. Sting sends him into the guardrail as JR is losing his mind. Sting sends him into the ringpost and Flair flops into the first row. Back in, Flair tries a sunset flip with 5 minutes to go and Sting Crows up and pounds him own. More heel stuff from Sting as he gives the backraking and eyeraking back to Flair. Sting no sells an atomic drop and clotheslines Flair down for 2. Sting goes for a Stinger Splash but Flair moves and Sting FOR THE FOURTH TIME eats it on the bad arm to the floor. Perfect timing for that. Awesome. Will he sell though? Back in, Flair goes to the Sleeper but Sting drops low and sends Flair into the turnbuckle. Sting now with a sunset flip. Flair fights it and grabs the ropes(!). Covers gets 1, 2, --TOMMY YOUNG SEES IT! He kicks Flair's arms away! Sting cradle gets 1, 2, 2.99! Flair Flips on another whip but makes it to the opposite corner this time. He tries a crossbody off the top but Sting rolls through for 1, 2, 2.999! Sting Jokers up and no sells some more stuff and pounds down Flair in the corner. Sting with the Stinger Splash and HITS IT with 30 seconds to go. Sting rolls him over for the Deathlock. Flair hangs on as time expires at 45:00. Post-match, the judges split so the match is a draw.
• I know this match's sacrosanct place as a classic that made Sting is secure and anything I say will do little to change that. However, I'll add a few addendum. I know it's practically Newton's 4th law of motion that major babyfaces have to no sell, but if Sting had sold the shoulder more, each successive time he “hurt” it would have meant more and enhanced the match's drama. Also, you've got Young's selective enforcement of certain rules as he openly ignores some of Sting's cheating just because he's the face and to payback Flair (Newton's fifth law, I presume). The opening stretch is pretty slow with Sting having to ground to a halt with headlocks and hearhugs so he doesn't blow up. Also, I preferred a few of Flair's battles with Luger over this that I mentioned in my rivalry review. Though, this is still Flair's show for 45 minutes so you know what you're getting. ****
• NWA World Tag Team Championship: Barry Windham & Lex Luger vs. Arn Anderson & Tully Blanchard (c). Clash I. This is a few months after the LOD looked to win the belts at Starrcade but a Dusty finish screwed them over so the fans are particularly antsy for the Horsemen to go down. Luger and Tully to start. Luger overpowers to start and flexes. Arn says fuck that noise and just jumps Luger from behind. I love that kind of blatant disregard for any semblance of the rules by heel Arn. They send him across but Luger plows over Tully with a clothesline. Arn taunts to the crowd that he outwitted Luger and of course eats one when he turns around. Electric start. Luger high fives Windham and then powerslams Tully. LUGER RACKS HIM! HE'S GOT HIM UP! JJ distracts and Arn clips the SURGICALLYREPAIRED knee from behind. Arn drops several knees on it and then tags in Tully for more of the same. Luger tries fighting back but Arn back in and goes for the Figure Four. Luger boots him away to a thunderous pop. Windham tags in and the place loses it and we're only 2 minutes in. Barry with a double noggingknocker and drops Tully with a running clothesline. Windham drops a knee and hits a powerslam for 1, 2, 2 ½. JR: “TULLY BLANCHARD HAS BARELY ESCAPED THAT LETHAL THREE COUNT!” Windham goes to the Sleeper. Tully gets the ropes but Windham keeps the damn hold on. Tully collapses to the floor and Windham follows him out and keeps the sleeper on(!!). Arn helps Tully recover with a massage. Back in, Tully heads up top but gets press slammed off by Windham. Windham knocks Arn off the apron the stop the tag. Windham applies the ab stretch. JJ on the apron to distract and Arn comes rushing in to waffle Windham. DDT! Cover gets 1, 2, 2.7! Arn sends him off. SPINEBUSTER! Cover gets 1, 2, 2.9! NO! Arn works several covers still for 2. He goes for another but Barry gets the knees up for the low blow. Tony: “That will take the momentum away from anybody.” Tully tags in and hits a few rights for 2. Windham ducks a clothesline and hits a crossbody for 1, 2, 2.9! Windham avoids a trip WITH GUSTO and then collides with Tully for a double KO. Tully recovers first and goes to the lying headlock. Barry with a headscissors and they do the backslide spot but Barry cuts it off with a KARELIN LIFT GUTWRENCH SUPLEX! Arn tags in with rights on Barry. Arn with a wristlock takedown by Windham boots him away. Arn tries a knee drop but comes up dry. They both go for right hands and connect. Another double KO spot. Arn falls into Tully for the tag. Tully with the slingshot suplex for 1, 2, 2.9! Windham with a haymaker and tags in Luger. Luger with back elbows on the Horsemen. Luger with a LEFTY LARIATO! Luger with a double nogginknocker and a shoulderblock on Arn. Luger with a head of steam but Tully gives him a knee to the ribs from the apron. Luger no sells and hits a powerslam on Arn. Luger calls for the Rack. Windham is in to hold off Tully. JJ's in with a chair but Arn gets sent into it instead! Luger covers for 1, 2, 3 to win it and crown new champs at 9:34. JR christens the reign declaring that a “new era of tag team wrestling has begun.” One of the best sub-10 minute matches ever. Molten crowd with four guys who can just go and everything fell into place damn near perfectly. ****1/2
• Why Wait A Whole Year?: Dusty says after that “evil empire up North” fired those shots and the first Clash was so successful that he thought they shouldn't wait a full year. Instead, they did another Clash just three months later in Miami. That's one way to put it. Or it could just be that they wanted another Clash to go opposite another big WWF PPV in the summer like say Summerslam. This is the last of the Dusty-isms I recapped because the others are repetitive and well... just kinda shitty.
• NWA World Tag Team Championship: Sting & Dusty Rhodes vs. Arn Anderson & Tully Blanchard (c). Clash II. That new era that JR proclaimed for the twin towers of Windham and Luger lasted a month before dropping the belts back to the Horsemen. Once again, Teddy Calrissian is our ref. Arn and Sting to start. Sting kips up a few times and scares Arn away with, “What did the five fingers say to the face?” Being no chump like Charlie Murphy, Arn bails out to regroup. They get tied up and in Teddy trying to force a break, Arn gets a cheap shot in and shitcans Sting. He goes for more punishment but Sting ducks and Arn eats ringpost. Sting wraps the arm around the post a few times. Back in, Sting torques the arm with a few arm wringers. Arn escapes out and goes for an elbow drop but whiffs. Sting goes back to the arm. Arn tags in Tully. Tully tries a hiptoss but Sting blocks and hiptosses him instead and hits the flying headscissors. Sting tags in Dusty for a few Bionic elbows for the Horsemen. Dusty goes for a charge but runs into a knee from Tully. Tully heads up top and tries a splash but Dusty catches him and pounds him down in the corner. Crowd eating all this up. Dusty and Sting corral Tully back and forth before Dusty plays “I've got your nose” with him. Dusty trips him up and goes to the Figure Four. JJ distracts and that allows Arn to waffle Dusty and get tagged in. Arn stomps a mudhole and then JJ with the BLATANTCHOKE behind the ref's back. Tully shitcans him to the floor and Arn sends him into the guardrail before Sting can cut off the doubleteaming. Back in, Dusty blocks a suplex and hits a HUGE shoulderblock on Tully. Dusty with a DROPKICK! Sting tags in with rights and a press slam on Tully. Sting with a Stinger Splash and he's feeling it. He goes for the Deathlock. Arn breaks it up and that allows Tully to boot him to the floor. Arn flapjacks Sting ON THE GUARDRAIL! BRUTAL! Back in, Arn drops an elbow on the ribs for 2. Arn goes for a Vader Splash but Sting gets the knees up. Sting goes for the tag but Tully is in to cut him off. Sting blocks a suplex but Tully comes flying off the top with a sunset flip and Arn clotheslines him into it. Sweet. Cover gets 1, 2, 2 ½. Tully shitcans Sting again so Arn can work him over. DDT ON THE FLOOR! Luckily, not of the Steamboat variety. Back in, a delayed count gets ONE! OK, you can't do a DDT on the floor for 1 even if HelloMyNameisTeddy was busy holding off Dusty. ANYWAY, Sting and Arn slug it out. Sting with a backslide for 2 but Tully tags in before the 3. Sting comes back with a flapjack into the ropes on Tully. Sting makes the tag to Dusty. Dusty has Bionic elbows for all including JJ who sells it GLORIOUSLY like he's Rock taking a Stunner off the top of a Hell in a Cell. Dusty with a DDT on Arn and a back elbow. Dusty drops an elbow and covers but Tully breaks it up. Sting knocks Tully to the floor and then throws Teddy around for trying to break it up. Dusty too weakly throws Teddy into the ropes BUT WAIT! BARRY WINDHAM (now a Horseman) HAS COME OUT! He waffles Dusty with the Iron Fist and Teddy calls for a DQ at 11:01. Match was going along great until that ending though it did continue highlighting Windham's heel turn. The 80s was a great time to be a tag wrestling fan as even makeshift teams were capable of MOTYC. This is not quite to the level of the previous match on the collection, though I will say that Dusty and Sting's megaface pairing works much better here against the Horsemen than when they are throwing around the Road Warriors at Starrcade 88. ***1/2
• Russian Chain Match: Ricky Morton vs. Ivan Koloff. Clash III. Old school strap match rules wherein you have to touch all 4 corners in a row. Ivan with a few SOVIET HAMMERS and a clothesline using the chain to start. Ivan goes to the choke using the chain and touches one corner. Ivan says the hell with the corners and goes for more damage but Ricky baseball slides through and low blows him with the chain. Ivan no sells and boots him down. Ivan touches a couple corners but Ricky trips him up to end that rally. Ivan shitcans him and then pulls him into the apron using the chain. Ricky comes back with some whatever so Koloff gives him a LIVER KICK and chokes more with the chain. Ricky again cuts off Ivan after touching 2 corners. Ricky tries a chop block and Ivan goes down in a heap. Ricky now whips the leg with the chain but Ivan no sells and bridges up to boot him away. Ivan with another SPUTNIK HAMMER and heads up for more but Ricky pulls him off with the chain. Ivan no sells and throat chops him down as JR thanks in particular the “rural fans” because of their familiarity with chains of various kinds. Little known fact: JR did his senior ethnography thesis on the symbolism of the chain in Southern culture. Ivan tries a backpack choke but Morton escapes out. They have some more vanilla back and forth so Ivan goes to whipping him. Ivan touches 3 corners but Ricky hogties him and goes to some GnP. Ricky with a few ribshots but Ivan no sells and drops a knee. Ivan heads up top for his patented, nonexistent moonsault but he jumps off and collides with an attacking Morton. Wondrous. Ricky gets to the second corner and drags Ivan to one more. Ivan tries hooking the rope but Ricky has almost got it. Paul Jones assists Ivan in the tug of war but Ricky overcomes for the honor of vintage Nascar mullets at 9:50. This was OK, but Ivan was on his last legs and Ricky's gimmick has always been to sell so this was a rather slow affair. Post-match, Jones mouths off so Ivan scores one for the power of glasnost and perestroika until The Assassins come out and put the boots to him. **
• I Quit Match for the NWA World Heavyweight Championship: Terry Funk vs. Ric Flair (c). Clash IX. Flair comes out with four women in tow and the classic Carolina blue robe. WOOOOOOOO! Funk is not impressed and gets the stick. He's giving Flair a sporting chance by giving up before the match. Awesome. Flair is face and Funk is heel.
• Lockup goes nowhere so they break. Flair ducks a shot and chops Funk over the top rope and the crowd loves it. Flair with some chops and sends Funk from pillar to post and then chops him down. Funk tries to take a breather so Flair follows him out and chops him around again. JR puts over their respective submission movies – the Figure Four and the Spinning Toe Hold. Back in, Funk with a shoulderblock and Flair is all THE HELL WITH THIS and just tackles him and goes to the BLATANTCHOKE. See, that's how an I Quit match should work at times. No wristlocks or leapfrogs – just I hate you and I want to choke the life out of you. Funk pokes him in the eye to get the psycho off him and then punches the forehead a few times. Funk with a headbutt and a CLUBBINGBLOW. Flair tries no selling and coming back with chops but Funk punches him down and tosses him. Funk sends him into the guardrail and then punches him with the microphone. Flair tells him to go to hell and then chops the FUCK out of Funk. Seriously, loudest, stiffest chops I've ever heard from Flair. Back in, though, Funk goes to the left hands and demands the mic so that Flair can quit. Funk: “SAY IT! YOU PIG! YOU EGGSUCKING DOG!” Flair won't give in and gives Funk an inverted atomic drop. Flair telegraphs a backdrop and Funk gives him a neckbreaker. Funk paintbrushes him so Flair chokes him and then chops him outta the ring to a BIG pop. WOOOOOOOOOOO! Flair sends him into the guardrail and the place loves it. Flair continues kicking his ass across ringside and gets the stick. Flair: “NOW! YOU SAY IT!” Gary Hart distracts and that allows Funk to waffle him from behind. Funk with another neckbreaker and then tells Flair to quit before he breaks his neck for real. Funk preps a piledriver and then levels Flair with it. Flair still won't give him so Funk throws him to the floor for more punishment. Funk follows up with a PILEDRIVER ON THE FLOOR! Gordon Solie: “We may be seeing the end of a dynasty right here.” Funk with more elbows and Flair is too out of it to even muster the ability to stand up. Funk bodyslams him into the ringside table. Flair gets his second wind with chops and right hands. Flair now smashes Funk into the table. Funk stumbles away and Flair just mauls him from behind and throws him into the guardrail and then across the table into a chair! WOOOO! Flair with an atomic drop on the guardrail and chops the skin off his chest. Flair drops a knee and Funk is crawling all over the place just trying to get away from Flair. Flair gets a hold of him and gives him an inverted atomic drop. Flair now drops down on the knee and boots away at the connective tissue. Flair with a series of rights and chops and clips the knee again. Funk sells the knee like he's a wounded animal and limps to the floor and tries to hobble away like a true heel but Flair runs him and tackles him down. Flair walks him down the aisle and then gives him a kneebreaker. Flair suplexes him back in and goes for the F4. Funk fights him off and gouges the eye. Flair comes back and suplexes Funk ON THE APRON! Flair wraps the knee on the apron, chops Funk back to the middle of the ring and then locks on the FIGURE FOUR! Funk: “NOOO! OH GOD! NEVER! NEVER! MY LEG IS BREAKING!.... YES, I QUIT!” Flair is victorious at 18:40. Just a good old fashioned asskicking. Also, it's nice to see Funk add some verisimilitude and cowardly heel to the proceedings by actively trying to run away due to pain in his leg. ****1/2
• Post-match, Flair punks out Funk and demands he shake his hand. Gary Hart turns on Funk for quitting. Flair tries to come to his rescue but THE GREAT MUTA HAS COME OUT! JR sells it like Pearl Harbor: “THE JAPANESE HAVE ATTACKED RIC FLAIR!” Now if only we can get Michael Bay to make a 3 hour movie about the Flair-Funk series, I'd watch it. MY GOODNESS, IT'S THE STINGER! He helps Flair fight off Muta but Luger comes out to break that up. This may sound like the typical n.W.o run-in fest but this is classic professional wrestling.
• Cactus Jack Manson vs. Mil Mascaras. Clash X. It's “Captain Jack” (as the ring announcer calls him) vs. the Man of a 1000 Masks. Foley has a legendary ass-reaming of Mascaras in his first book. Mil hiptosses Foley over. Cornette joins JR on commentary and says that Mil “holds the indoor world record for most hiptosses in a match.” Mil with a drop toe hold and hooks in the Mexican Surfboard. Mil then tries to roll it over but doesn't want the cover so just segues into a stalemate. Mil wins the test of strength and then the anti-Newtonian rana. Foley rolls it back over so Mil does it again to crickets. Foley is still mostly unknown and as usual, lucha gets nothing stateside. Mil with a crisscross and a burrito and dropkicks Foley to the floor. JR: “Cactus a man of rare intelligence. He rarely shows any.” Foley takes a breather and threatens ring announcer Gary Capetta with a chair, most likely for saddling him with the name “Manson.” Foley then backs into the chair and trips over it. Wow, Foley pulling some Flair, comedy heel. Back in, Mil goes to the Masterlock as Cornette transitions to making fun of the Steiners to say that they “stayed up all night studying for a urine test.” They trade right hands as Foley goes punch-drunk. Back to the test of strength (just what this match needed) as Cornette puts over Foley's prop, a copy of I Am In Desperate Need of Advice. Mil with a Liontamer but Foley gets the ropes which draws a small “boring” chant. JR tries to put over Foley's pain threshold but we're a good 5 years before most people would care. Foley with a shitcan and a ribbreaker on the floor. Mil no sells so he can dropkick Foley off the apron and Foley EATS A BACKBUMP TO THE FLOOR! NESTEA PLUNGE! HOOOOOOOOLLLLLLYYY SHIT! JR: “OH GOD! RIGHT ON THE CONCRETE! RIGHT ON THE BACK OF HIS HEAD!” Cornette: “OH NO! CACTUS JACK IS DEAD!” Foley looks to cough up a couple teeth. Jesus. Foley gets to his feet miraculously. Mil suplexes him back in and hits a crossbody to win it at 4:58. That's one of the most brutal bumps you'll ever see. ** all for the bump.
• NWA US Tag Team Championship: Rock 'n' Roll Express vs. Midnight Express (c). Clash XI. The match listing says this is for the “World” rather than the US tag straps but the match listing can suck it since DOOM were the tag champs. JR says he's been watching this rivalry for years back to the Mid-South days. We need a Mid-South DVD (and a CWF and a SMW and a GCW and...). Robert and Eaton to start. Eaton complains about some hair pulling to ref Nick Patrick but no go. Gibson with an armdrag as a ROCK 'N' ROLL chant gets going. Gibson with another armdrag and Eaton is still complaining about the hair. Bob Caudle: “He's hot under the collar even though he doesn't have a shirt on.” Eaton with a shoulderblock but runs into a Gibson hiptoss and a flying headscissors. Lane tags in. Gibson with a shoulderblock but now he runs into some Lane karate kicks. Gibson comes back with a enzuigiri to win the All Valley Karate Tournament. ROBERT GIBSON, YOU'RE THE BEST AROUND, NOTHING'S GOING TO EVER KEEP YOU DOWN! Unfortunately for the RNR, Morton tags in and a lot of things over the years have kept him down. Morton with a shoulderblock and rather than fall for the hiptoss, he hits one of his own. Lane whiffs on an elbow and runs into a backdrop. JR tries to put over the MNX as debutantes by mentioning that Stan Lane “used to be friends with Vanna White.” Eaton tags in and fights off an armbar with some elbows. Morton baseball slides through and gets a dropkick and rana to shake things up. Lane and Gibson tag in. Robert avoids a press slam by atomic dropping Lane into the heel corner. Nice. Lane with a drop toe hold but Gibson avoids the floatover and tags in Morton. Morton with a quick schoolboy for 2 and goes back to the armbar but Lane escapes and tags in Eaton. Eaton pokes him in the eye and puts him up top. Eaton smacks him around to show him who's boss. Morton slides out of a superplex attempt and gets an O'Connor Roll for 1, 2,--Lane breaks it up and rams him into the turnbuckle. YES! Gibson in and he eats a throat kick. Morton tries a whip but Lane just elbows the hell out of him. The MNX with a doubleteam backdrop. The RNR break it up and get a double roll up both for 2. This is beautiful stuff even if it's complete non-formula. Morton gets a head of steam but Lane alley oops him back into a makeshift blockbuster from Eaton. Eatin with a twisting vertical suplex for 2. The MNX with a snapmare/elbow drop combo for 2. Eaton goes for a Stinger Splash but Morton ducks and Eaton eats ringpost. Tag to Morton and he cleans house. Gibson with a knee lift on Lane and a burrito but Eaton breaks up the pin. Morton Cactus clotheslines him to the floor. Gibson goes for the F4 on Lane but Lane counters out. Morton now flapjacks Eaton into the rail. Hardcore bump for real. Eaton boots away Gibson and he accidentally dumps Morton off the apron. Gibson locks in a sleeper but Jim Cornette and his polyester pink tie distract the ref. Eaton waffles Gibson with a BEAUTIFUL HAMMER off the top. Lane drapes the arm for the 1, 2, 2.99! The match breaks down again as the RNR hit the double dropkick. Nick counts for 1, 2,--Lane breaks it up and Patrick calls for the DQ at 11:47. Post-match, the RNR dump them out with double clotheslines galore. Ya know, so much of professional wrestling, especially tag wrestling, is formula-based. And the formula is the formula because it works – at the same time, it is always nice to see something that is not formula and still succeed. The match avoids the usual Southern style of Morton getting his ass kicked for 99.9% of the encounter only for Gibson to get the hot tag and win one for the good guys. Instead, it's solid back and forth stuff with both teams getting the upper-hand at unexpected moments and seeming to genuinely try and win the match rather than go through the formula's checklist. Obviously would have liked an ending but you take what you get. ****
The 411: Sting-Flair and Funk-Flair are required viewing, The Horsemen vs. Luger/Windham match is a classic, and the RNR/MNX match is a nice inclusion because it's not one of their more well-known matches. The only complaint I'll lodge is something that's becoming a bit of a pattern on WWE releases. You used to get 3 full hours on each disc, but on the latest Rock and Edge comps and on this one, they are barely using up 2 hours and calling it a day. Here's hoping that's a temporary phenomenon and they'll start tossing a couple more matches on each disc.