Hello everyone. Welcome to my review of the sixth NWA Clash of the Champions, featuring the second match of the epic Flair/Steamboat saga, this time under best two out of three falls. The points system will be in affect in this show as always. If you don’t know already, you can see how it works here.
Before starting, here is the list of champions in the NWA at the time:
- NWA World Heavyweight Champion: Ricky Steamboat
- United States Champion: Lex Luger
- World TV Champion: Sting
- NWA World Tag Team Champions: Road Warriors (Hawk & Animal)
- NWA US Tag Team Champions: Rick Steiner & Eddie Gilbert
Enjoy the review!
The hosts are Jim Ross & Michael Hayes
The Samoan Swat Team (Samu & Fatu)(w/ Paul E. Dangerously) vs. The Midnight Express (Bobby Eaton & Stan Lane)(w/ Jim Cornette)
The saga between Cornette and Heyman continues, as Heyman has now replaced his “Original Midnight Express” with the Samoans. Samu and Lane battle over a bodypress to start, with Lane hitting it for two. The SST try to cut the ring in half and bring Lane to their corner, but it’s Fatu (the future Rikishi) who ends up in the Express’ corner. Eaton comes in with a sweet missile dropkick while Cornette hits Samu with the racket behind the ref’s back. Not what I would call a babyface move, but you do what you gotta do to beat a pair of Samoans. Samu comes in only to walk into a sunset flip for two, at which point Paul E. gives him the phone to think some strategy. The point that it’s stupid is what makes it work. Back in with Fatu and Eaton, who backdrops Fatu and follows it up with a small package for two. The Express works in a headlock but Eaton eventually gets caught in the DEADLY SAMOAN VULCAN NERVE PINCH MASSAGE OF DOOM. He escapes but walks into a Fatu back elbow that gets two. Back to the vulcan nerve pinch and a clothesline gets two more. Eaton finally brings in Lane for the hot tag and it’s BREAKING LOOSE IN TULSA. The Express run the Samoans into each other but… well, they’re Samoans. Heyman trips up Lane, so Cornette responds by hitting Fatu with the tennis racket, which is no-sold. Fatu hits a powerslam on Lane for two. Back to the nerve pinch he goes. Hmm why? The Samoans hit a DOUBLE SAMOAN HEADBUTT on Lane for two. No way!! Lane tries another sunset flip but Fatu this time sits on him for another nearfall. Fatu misses a flying headbutt and here comes Eaton for the hot tag. He runs wild and looks like he’s ready to go home, only for Fatu to hit Eaton with the phone behind the ref’s back and Samu to steal it at 20:32.
- Analysis: Despite not being bad, the expectations for this feud between Heyman and Corny’s teams are way too high. This simply didn’t even come close to that level. It was solid, but they missed the peak by a while as this needlessly just went on forever. **3/4
The Great Muta(w/ Gary Hart) vs. Steven Casey
After the last match, this needs to be a sprint. Muta immediately spits the green mist to start and follows it up with a quick handspring elbow, but Casey gets an armdrag. I will never understand the psychology or the physics of someone being blinded but somehow managing to perfectly hit an armdrag a few seconds later. But maybe I am the only one who still pays attention to these details. Muta hits a mule kick followed by a missile dropkick. Some more green mist before going to work on the leg. He spinkicks Casey and goes to a sleeperhold. OH NO! Casey tries to make a small comeback, but that ends up going nowhere. Muta dumps him, hits a pescado followed by a handspring elbow before finishing with the backbreaker into the Mutasault at 8:11.
- Analysis: Another match that ended up being way longer than it should’ve been. The finish was cool, the rest was just sort of there to fill some time. They totally could (and probably should) have done this hot finish immediately after the first green mist spew, but it is what it is. *1/4
The Junkyard Dog vs. Butch Reed(w/ Hiro Matsuda)
Kinda weird how these two were apart of WrestleMania IV the prior year, and are now here wrestling for the rival promotion at the very same time as WrestleMania V takes place. Just in case you’re wondering, JYD was in the final three of the opening battle royal won by Bad News Brown while Reed was eliminated from the WWF title tournament in the first round by Macho Man, the eventual winner, on that show. Mucho headbutting by JYD to start while Reed bails. JYD works the arm and slams Reed to cut off his comeback. Reed pounds him down and drops an elbow for two. He follows it up with a chinlock, only for JYD to escape with a backdrop and for them to collide for the double KO spot. Reed goes up and hits a flying shoulderblock on the second try for two. Matsuda tries to distract the ref only for JYD to send Reed into Matsuda for the win at 9:56.
- Analysis: Another really long bout. Only this one felt somehow even longer since it was slow and nothing was really going on. DUD
NWA US Tag Team Championship – Rick Steiner & Eddie Gilbert(c)(w/ Missy Hyatt) vs. The Varsity Club (Kevin Sullivan & Dan Spivey)
At this point I just want a Warrior-like squash so we can move on to the main-event already! Spivey goes after Gilbert to start with a gutwrench into a tilt-a-whirl slam as Sullivan proceeds to beat him up on the floor. Spivey hits a clothesline for two. He puts Gilbert in the tree of woe position but misses a charge and Steiner gets in for the hot tag. He runs wild for a bit before it quickly BREAKS LOOSE IN TULSA. Eddie hits Sullivan with Hyatt’s purse for the win at 3:51.
- Analysis: This was really short and nothing. But hey, a million stars for being really short!! No, in reality it gets 1/2*
Best 2/3 Falls – NWA World Heavyweight Championship: Ricky Steamboat(c) vs. Ric Flair
Terry Funk joins us on commentary. For those of you who don’t know where this is going, get ready! This is obviously Flair’s rematch at the title he lost two months earlier at Chi-Town Rumble. 60 minute time limit here. They immediately start pounding each other because these guys are the best. Into the amateur wrestling sequences they go before Steamboat SMACKS Flair with a little bit of extra mustard on that SMACK. Off the ropes, Flair drops down but gets caught with a headlock. Flair reverses out of that and turns it into his own wristlock as they feel each other out in the first minutes. Flair plays mind games with Steamboat and the ref by claiming hair pulling on the headlock. Flair bails and walks into another headlock back in which he turns over into a pin for two. More pounding follows as Steamboat suddenly gets the flying headscissors followed by a dropkick before going back to the headlock. Flair goes to the corner to break but gets a cheapshot on the clean break to start another chopfest. Steamboat backdrop followed by a dropkick gets two as Flair goes back to the corner. He asks for mercy only to try another classic Flair cheapshot, but this time Steamboat is ready for him and rolls him up for two. A clothesline puts Flair back down, setting up another headlock. Steamboat fires away with the chops and gets two off a Flair flop. Atomic drop followed by more quick chops force Flair to get out of there in a hurry. Steamboat is all over him anyway, though, and brings him back in with a vertical suplex off the apron to the ring for two. Steamboat tries to follow it up with a splash but hits the knees instead as Flair finally takes over. Butterfly suplex gets two as Flair starts working the count. I always love this touch. Flair has Steamboat in a pinning position off a test of strength, only for Steamboat to kip up out of there in an AWESOME spot but Steamboat misses a dropkick. Flair goes for the Figure Four which Steamboat turns over into a cradle, but Flair turns that cradle into his own cradle for the first fall at 19:33. Small detail: Steamboat used this very same reversal to win the title at Chi-Town Rumble, showing you that Flair studied the tape and knows his opponent better now than he did in their first encounter. Small details rule and I miss them.
Ricky Steamboat 0-1 Ric Flair
We start the second fall with a much more confident Flair and a much more aggressive Steamboat, working the match according to the current result. These matches are awesome on so many levels. Steamboat is wasting no time now, hitting a press slam followed by the flying chop for two. He goes to the headlock, but Flair now is waiting for it and gets out of there with a back suplex. Flair kneedrop gets two. He goes for a second one but there’s no water in the pool, as Steamboat just proceeds to drop numerous (and I mean NUMEROUS) elbows on Flair’s legs. Steamboat puts Flair in his own Figure Four, even adding some chops to keep Flair from sitting up while in the hold and forcing him to keep his shoulders off the mat so he doesn’t get pinned. I love this match more and more with each thing they do. Flair ends up getting to the ropes so Steamboat turns him over into a Boston Crab instead to go to work on Flair’s injured back. If you can’t already hear Jim Ross on commentary going “Ric Flair broke his back in the plane crash yadda yadda yadda”, I don’t think you’ve ever seen a Ric Flair match! Flair again makes the ropes to escape and actually catches Steamboat in a headlock near the corner to stop his momentum. Steamboat gets in a backslide for two anyway, forcing Flair to dump him to the floor. He whips Steamboat into the railing and slams him on the floor. Back in, Flair uses the ropes to snap Steamboat’s neck before bringing him back inside with a suplex for two. Abdominal stretch into another series of pinfall attempts by Flair, which now not only gets Steamboat more tired, but also kills some time. Genius. Steamboat ends up fighting back with his own sequence of quick pinfalls for two before Flair catches him with a chop for two. Flair goes up but (shockingly, I know) gets slammed off before taking a superplex as well. NOT ON THE BROKEN BACK! Steamboat applies a double chickenwing submission hold and Flair gives up the second fall at 34:54.
Ricky Steamboat 1-1 Ric Flair
Steamboat goes for an abdominal stretch to start the deciding fall, but Flair catches him right where he wants him as he clips the knee. You better believe it’s time go to school. WOOOO. Flair keeps going after that knee while Steamboat tries to fight back with chops, and an irish whip sets up the classic Flair flip but Steamboat was waiting for it and catches him with a giant lariat that sends Flair flying all the way to the floor! I love how they keep putting over the fact that they know each other so well. Back in, Flair catches Steamboat with a takedown before starting to work the count with his feet on the ropes. Flair goes back to the knee and it’s Figure Four time. Steamboat fights and fights and fights before eventually making the ropes, earning a pop from the crowd. Steamboat whips Flair into the corner again, but this time he can’t follow up with Flair after the Flair flip and takes the bodypress for two. LOVELY! Steamboat goes for a slam but again the leg gives up as Flair falls on top for two. Steamboat goes up with the flying bodypress for two as he continues to sell the leg despite being in control. Flair tries to get rid of Steamboat but he comes in with a sunset flip for another nearfall. Flair gets a sleeper and Steamboat finally shows some life before the arm drops for the third time. Steamboat whips Flair into the turnbuckle and dumps him. Flair takes his usual bump on the floor because of course he does. He’s Ric Flair! Flair goes back to working on the leg but gets hit with a sudden enziguiri for two. Steamboat tries to follow it up with a flying splash but nobody’s there and Steamboat’s knee hits the mat. Flair kicks the leg and laughs at Steamboat, who tries to fight back with chops. Flair goes for the atomic drop but Steamboat avoids Flair’s knee and drops him with a massive lariat for two. Flair catches him with a back suplex and goes up, but gets slammed off like always. Steamboat goes for the double chickenwing submission that won him the second fall, but this time his leg is all fucked up and he drops on the mat. Flair goes down with him and they both get pinned, but Steamboat gets a shoulder up before the ref counts three to win the third fall and retain the World’s championship at 55:32.
Ricky Steamboat 2-1 Ric Flair
- Analysis: Well, much like the water is wet this is a perfect match. I loved the way they brought back spots from their previous match and added to them by putting over how the wrestlers were ready for them this time. Small details such as Steamboat showing more aggression after losing the first fall, while Flair showed more confidence and tried to kill time with any chance he got were also great. Steamboat getting the submission win in the second fall but not being able to apply that very same hold in the third and final fall due to Flair beating up his legs badly in between… I could be here all day. It’s simply magic. Is there even any question as to what this gets? *****
– Backstage, Jim Ross interviews Ricky Steamboat. Dragon talks about how he has to move on to new challengers as a show of respect to them. However, once he watches the replay and sees that the referee and the cameras missed Flair’s foot on the ropes while he was pinned, he gives him one final rematch for the title at May’s WrestleWar. Bring it on!
END OF THE SHOW
- Final thoughts: Steamboat and Flair make this show memorable, the rest is completely forgettable. Still, this show has one of the best matches in wrestling history (again), so I can’t give this show anything lower than 7/10.
The points for this show:
- Ricky Steamboat: 8.5 points (5 for star rating + 1 for two pin/sub falls + 1 for winning + 1 for successfully defending a title + 1 for main-eventing – 0.5 for losing a fall by pin)
- Ric Flair: 4.5 points (5 for star rating + 1 for main-eventing + 0.5 for winning one fall by pin – 1 for losing – 1 for losing two falls by pin/sub)
- Samu: 4.25 points (2.75 for star rating + 1 for pinfall win + 0.5 for winning the fall)
- Fatu: 3.75 points (2.75 for star rating + 1 for pinfall win)
- Rick Steiner: 3 points (0.5 for star rating + 1 for pinfall win + 1 for successfully defending a title + 0.5 for winning the fall)
- Eddie Gilbert: 2.5 points (0.5 for star rating + 1 for pinfall win + 1 for successfully defending a title)
- The Great Muta: 2.25 points (1.25 for star rating + 1 for pinfall win)
- Stan Lane: 1.75 points (2.75 for star rating – 1 for pinfall loss)
- Bobby Eaton: 1.25 points (2.75 for star rating – 1 for pinfall loss – 1 for losing the fall)
- The Junkyard Dog: 1 point (for pinfall win)
- Steven Casey: 0.25 points (1.25 for star rating – 1 for pinfall loss)
- Dan Spivey: -0.5 points (0.5 for star rating – 1 for pinfall loss)
- Kevin Sullivan: -1 point (0.5 for star rating – 1 for pinfall loss – 1 for losing the fall)
- Butch Reed: -1 point (for pinfall loss)
Thank you so much for your time as usual. Next time here on the site: WRESTLEMANIA V!