Clash of the Champions VII
September 26, 2014
Clash VII was "Guts and Glory" from Fort Bragg on June 14, 1989. I'd never seen this show before and I was amazed at the level of military hype on this show; it was non-stop. It was on Flag Day, and the Armies 214th birthday so the show was just jammed packed with clips of military footage and troops from the base wishing family best wishes etc. There were clips literally before and after every commercial break. For the show open we got to see some of the wrestlers doing some military training, including the Steiners repelling down a wall, and Missy Hyatt riding a zip line down into the water. Thankfully we got a clip of Missy once she got out of the water so she could assure us that she did not break a nail, during the exercise. We also got some terribly produced promotional videos for talent throughout the show. We got videos for Fly'n Brian and Gator Scott Hall, and a Road Warrior video that I thought was terrible and I'm a huge Road Warrior mark. I've seen fan videos on YouTube that blow everything here out of the water.
I couldn't find attendance figures for this show but the event pulled a 3.8 rating on TBS, down considerably from the previous Clash and the lowest rated Clash to date. I assume with event being on the base the doors were just open for all service men so there likely wasn't a gate and no official attendance numbers. This was in the early Jim Herd days so there was a lot on this show that wasn't any good, and the "Top Contenders Match" pitting the #1 Contender with the #10 Contender as the Main Event may not have been the best way to go. Jim Ross and Bob Caudle were on commentary and the temperature in the building was over 100 degrees so both guys were complete soggy messes by the end of the show.
The Freebirds vs. The Dynamic Dudes: This was a semi final match in the tournament to crown new World Tag Team Champions. The Freebirds were Michael Hayes and Jimmy Garvin and was billed as Garvin's first official match as a Freebird. The Dudes were Shane Douglas and Johnny Ace (John Laurenitis) Before he had People Power, big Johnny road a skate board and threw Frisbees. Match was short (7:14) and pretty clunky with guys not on the same page several times. The illegal Hayes got in a surprise DDT behind the ref's back to steal the win. Not particularly good, but watching Big Johnny in glowing neon colours, playing with Frisbees never gets old for me.
Ranger Ross vs. The Terrorist: This was quite the match. In 1989 Terrorists weren't the military's primary foe so this probably didn't seem as bad at the time, but seeing a guy in fatigues and a black mask billed as the Terrorist on a Rah Rah go Army show, was just amazing. Ranger Ross was a legit ex-Ranger who they said actually trained at Fort Bragg when he was in the service. This match went just over a minute and Ross defeated the Terrorist clean in the middle. The whole time I watched this I couldn't help but think that if Vince Russo was booking, he'd have pitched putting the Terrorist over, thinking no one would expect it so it would be a great swerve. "Let's get some heat brother"
The Ding Dongs vs. George South & Cougar Jay: I had never seen a Ding Dongs match before and if I never do again that will be fine by me. I've heard the stories many times, and The Ding Dongs were one of many "great" Jim Herd ideas. Holy Christ these guys sucked. The gimmick was bad, and the 2 guys under the body suits didn't seem much better. This was a 4 minute "get over" match where the guys who were supposed to get over in no way shape or form got over. Only highlight in this match besides the absurdity of their costumes was when JR speculated that we could call one member of the Ding Dongs Team Ding and the other Dong.
The Midnight Express vs. The Samoan Swat Team: This was the second semi-final match in the tag tournament and although I watched it just yesterday I have very little memory of it. That says a lot considering how much I love the Express. Match just didn't seem to gel, they didn't have much time (6 min), the Express had another match a few minutes later on the show, and they had an interference finish, with the Road Warrior's running in to double clothesline Samu leading to the Midnight Express victory. I'm speculating here but I think these guys saw all the stupid shit on this show, knew they had no time, and with the Road Warrior run in, the pop for the Warriors was all the crowd would remember anyway so they for the most part went through the motions on this one. Can't say as I blame them, especially the Express who had to work again in less than an hour.
Terry Gordy vs. Dr. Death Steve Williams: This was a 6 minute slobber knocker into a flat double count out finish. This was a fun little brawl that just ended flat when Gordy walked away and Dr. Death went after him. A noticeable difference with Doc here over previous Clashes; I thought he looked like he was finding his groove and really coming into his own. This match was what my buddy Vince Verhei would call a "mean guy match"; two big dudes that no sane person would ever mess with beating the holy hell out of each other. Never a bad thing on a wrestling card.
Norman the Lunatic vs. Mike Justice: This had to have been more Jim Herd absurdity. Norman was Mike Shaw (Bastion Booger from WWF infamy) and supposed to be from a State Mental Hospital and Teddy Long managed/controlled him by waving the keys to his padded room in front of him, I guess as a threat to take him back. Listening to Jim Ross attempt to put this gimmick over and explain that Norman has undergone electroshock treatment was painful. No one can ever accuse JR of not being a team player. Match was a 1 minute squash and after the match they put Norman on a stretcher, strapped him down and took him away.
Not sure where on the show this was (it's not listed on Wikipedia) but there was a Great Muta segment where he was supposed to demonstrate what a Dragon Shy match was. He had an upcoming match with Eddie Gilbert and it was potentially a Dragon Shy match. There were 2 opponents out there for Muta, but Gary Hart, Muta's manager, explained that they weren't worth challengers to Muta so Muta refused to face them. This led to Eddie Gilbert (The baby face) sneaking into the ring to attempt to set Muta on fire. Gilbert throws a fireball, which accidently hits one of the generic guys, who goes up in flames. Muta and Hart leave while everyone attends to the poor guy who got burned, while no one seems too concerned that Eddie Gilbert just set an innocent man on fire.
The Varsity Club vs. The Steiner Brothers: This was very early Steiner brothers because Scotty was still wearing trunks. Varsity Club was Rotunda & Sullivan and they beat the Holy Hell out of Scotty. At one point the heels had Scotty up over their heads and just threw him out of the ring, dumping him very carelessly on the announce desk at ring side. Steiner had a huge welt/scrape on his back that did not look good, and neither guy seemed to care at all. I would not be surprised if this was the match where big brother Rick explained to his little brother the concept of a receipt, because I don't recall ever seeing Scotty get man handles like this again. If this beating wasn't bad enough Rotunda pinned Scotty after suplexing him on a chair.
Sting vs. Bill Irwin: (TV Title) A short 3 min. win for the Stinger, but I'm guessing Irwin wasn't under contract or his deal was up and he didn't want to do the job, because this was a far less dominant win than it should have been. Sting sold too much and won with a sloppy roll up, and after the 1...2...3 Sting rolled out to the floor like he was lucky to get the win. Baffled
The Freebirds vs. The Midnight Express: (World Tag Titles) This was only 10 minutes and didn't really grab me. I think after the Express vs. Flair & Windham match at Clash IV every tag match seems like a letdown. I'm so ready for Stan and Bobby to turn heel again, because as heels they are the greatest ever. Freebirds won with outside help from Gordy to become the new Champs.
Not sure if this was before the Main Event or the Tag final but we had a pre-recorded interview with Ric Flair from his house. Flair was selling a neck injury from the previous PPV where Terry Funk Pile Drove him on a table and they were teasing this could be the end of Ric Flair's career. Apart from Flair's amazing LA Lakers jacket the main highlight was Flair stating the he would have to make a decision in 2 weeks to either defend the title at the next PPV or be stripped of the Title.
Ricky Steamboat vs. Terry Funk: Terry was in the best shape of his life here and this match was a lot of fun. They did a DQ finish, which was a letdown but what bothered me most about this match was that Flair was out with a broken neck selling a career ending injury after a pile driver on a table, and in this match Funk pile drove Steamboat in the ring and on the floor, and not only was no one concerned his career could be over, Ricky kicked out both times and kept fighting. After the DQ Lex Luger came out and attacked Steamboat essentially turning heel because he was the #2 Contender and Steamboat (The ex Champ) was #1 and he wasn't happy about it. It would seem my friend Todd Martin was right, Rankings do matter.
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