Clash of the Champions V
September 6, 2014
Clash V was dubbed "St. Valentine's Massacre" and was by far the least impressive Clash thus far. This show was not very good, in fact I'd go so far to say it was pretty damn bad. The Event took place in Cleveland, OH on February 15th 1989. This was the TV show to hype the Chi-Town Rumble PPV which would take place 5 days later on Monday February 20th. Why a Monday I have no idea, perhaps WWE had a big PPV on the Sunday so they tried the day after.
Jim Ross and Magnum TA did commentary. JR as always was great and I thought Magnum more than held up his end, provided the ex-wrestler's insight. The show drew 5000 fans live and a 4.6 rating on TBS, which was a significant drop from the 8000 they drew for Clash IV but a slight increase from the previous 4.5 rating.
The Midnight Express vs. The Russian Assassins: What a difference 2 months makes. On the previous Clash The Midnight Express were in the Main Event having a killer match with Flair & Windham and here they were having a not particularly good opener with the Russian Assassins. I think that speaks a lot towards the overall skill level of the Assassins; I don't think I will surprise or offend anyone when I say, as matter of factly as possible, the Russian Assassins were no Windham & Flair. To make matters worse there must have been a glitch in the master tape because on The Network we don't even get to see the finish. Bobby got the hot tag, cleaned house briefly, and we abruptly cut to a commercial break (commercials are omitted on the Network but you can tell there was a break) and when we returned they were doing an interview and we weren't even told who won the match. The Express tried but this was not the best lemonade I'd ever tasted. I looked it up the Express won with the Rocket Launcher.
Butch Reed vs. Steven Casey: This match really ground this show to a hault. It was for the most part a one sided get over match for Reed, that inexplicably lasted over 17 minutes. Steven Casey I assume was very green because he was not good. His arm wringer was without a doubt the worst I've ever seen. At no point did it ever feel like Reed was not going to win this match so 17 minutes was a long time to sit through. This show also featured an endless string of pointless crowd shots, and not just crowd shots, but close ups of people in the crowd. I'm wondering if they were feeling the pinch from WWF and thought by putting fan's faces on camera would encourage fans to attend events. These really distracted from the matches with the highlighting being a close up of a couple in the crowd making out, followed by a very awkward comment by Jim Ross.
Lex Luger vs. The Blackmailer: The Blackmailer was a masked body suited nobody who I half suspect was one of the Russian Assassins pulling doubt duty. This was a "Warm Up" match for Luger who would be facing Barry Windham at the PPV. Hiro Matsuda was managing the Horsemen at this time so to add a bit of heat to the match Matsuda was out here with the Blackmailer teasing that this guy was a hit man sent out to injury Luger before the PPV. This match seemed better than the Reed match, probably because the guy dominating was the face, but again it went way too long (13 min) before Luger won with Windhams Superplex finisher. This and the previous match would have been fine had they gone 5 mins or less.
Ric Flair promo, Steamboat angle: This was the highlight of the show and was your classic Ric Flair segment. Flair came to the ring decked out in the $1500 suit with a parade of girls to bad mouth Steamboat (his challenger at the PPV) for his home body, family values. Steamboat would come out, a brawl ensued, leading to Steamer stripping the Nature Boy down to his sock and underwear. The promo really didn't work. I think times were changing and fans started to preferred the partying guy with the hot girls over the far to Ward Clever esque guy, talking about the family unit and being wholesome, especially since Steamboat couldn't match Flair's charisma on the mic. The physical part of the angle was a home run however. Once Steamboat attacked Flair the crowd was solidly in his corner and this was so much fun to watch and the crowd heat was fantastic.
The Varsity Club vs. The Fantastics (US Tag Titles): This match was fine but nothing special. I'm not sure how green Doc was at this point but he wasn't the commanding ring presence he would later become in All Japan. A little clunky here and there, but possibly the best match on the show. Dr. Death and Mike Rotunda picked up the win.
Ricky Steamboat vs. Bob Bradly: This match was outright called a warm up match and while these guys probably could have held our interest a little longer, they went an appropriate 6 min. Ricky came out with his wife and infant son, which I thought hurt his popularity. I did enjoy the symbolism here in that the 5 women Flair had with him earlier were all dress in black, while the wife of baby face Steamboat was in all white. While this match only went 6 min. I think Steamboat was trying to push his cardio to prepare for the longer Flair match ahead. Ricky did several spots in the match where he would be ducking several times per spot, running at least 4 ropes before hitting his offensive move. Nothing wrong with the match but it was a short get over match and Ricky won with his cross body off the top rope.
Rick Steiner vs. Rip Morgan: This was another get over match (boy there were a lot of these on this show) so it was just a quick 4 min match that Rick won with a belly to belly out of nowhere. The only thing of note in this match was that Rip Morgan runs ropes with the opposite side of his body hitting the ropes, which looked incredible weird. When he got whipped into the ropes he would do a complete 180 degree spin to hit the ropes with the left side of his body. Very whacky.
The Road Warriors & Tenryu vs. The Varsity Club: This was just a brawl and an angle. The match was originally the Road Warriors & Tenryu vs. Sting, JYD, and Michael Hayes but before the match Kevin Sullivan locked the baby face team in the locker room area and hit the ring attacking the Roadies and Tenryu. They ran this like a match for a few minutes before the faces managed to escape the locked area backstage and hit the ring. From here it was just a free for all brawl until they pitched to JR and Magnum who wrapped up the show. I have no idea what the hell happened but it was advertised as a 6 Man Tag Title match, where The Road Warriors and Tenryu were the heels. I can only assume that the last minute decision was made to turn them face and to accomplish this they had the heel Varsity Club attack them here. Fans always thought the Road Warriors were cool so as soon as the heel Varsity club hit, the crowd switched and were behind the Road Warriors, so I guess it worked.
Completely screwing fans out of their Main Event (unless they did it for the live house after cameras were off) like this, took a poor event and completely threw it off a cliff for me. We had 2 okay tag matches and a bunch of long boring get over matches and then a nothing Main Event. Perhaps live at the time the melee would be an exciting conclusion but for me watching it here, the Flair - Steamboat brawl was the only really good thing on the show. If the Clashes don't improve I might switching over to some of the corresponding PPV events.
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