Last week we debuted a new series looking at the history of Clash of Champions, starting with the inaugural event from March 1988. Today we follow that up by looking at Clash of Champions II: Miami Mayhem which took place on June 8, 1988, at the James L. Knight Center in Miami, Florida. There were 2400 people in attendance and the show drew a 4.8 rating on TBS.
It’s June 8, 1988, and the Clash of Champions is emanating out of Miami opening montage is of course right of out of Miami Vice; horse racing, alligators and body slams!
The show kicks off with Jim Ross in the parking structure as two black limousines pull up to the James L. Knight Center. In the first limo is former NFL Star, Lyle Alzado who is about to star in an upcoming sitcom entitled “Learning the Ropes” and well yeah…
The second limo were other NWA dignitaries that made the show feel important and that something major was going to take place on the show. This Clash was the build to the Great American Bash summer tour and the Pay-Per-View coming up in July.
The first match was Brad “Curtain Jerker” Armstrong vs. U.S. Champion Barry Windham and newest member of the Four Horsemen along with his manager J.J. Dillion.
This bout is still brought to you by Hanes Underwear: “Because even tough guys like a little comfort underneath…”
Armstrong, who was always a great talent but was never really given much of a major push anywhere he went but always put on great matches with some his high-flying moves and would get a crowd fired up like these dudes:
And this guy:
Solid opening back and forth matchup, eventually Windham would slap the claw on for the win, just as Armstrong was going for a flying body press off the top rope.
The Rock N Roll Express make their way back to NWA after a brief run in AWA. Robert Gibson tripped on his way to the ring, so there was that. They said they were back in the NWA for any belt and that “Rock N’ Roll is here to stay whoooo! “
Next, we have the ‘biggest contract signing in the history of NWA’ aboard a yacht owned by the Chicago Blackhawks. Great stuff here, as the Horsemen are all decked out and Lex is doing Lex things. The Horsemen warn Luger that the Bash tour starts June 26th and they hope he can make it to the match on July 10th dun dun dun…
The second match of the night is between The Sheepherders w/Rip Morgan vs. U.S. tag-team champions, The Fantastics.
Right as the match is about to begin, Tony Schiavone announced that Luger had arrived at the building so let’s go to Jim Ross!
They cut to Ross in what must be one of the best segments NWA did at that time and foreshadowing to the NWO type beatdowns years later. It still seems brutal and told an engrossing story to this day setting up the big match at the Bash. The blood on Luger’s white shirt is just brilliant:
Back to the match, it’s such a shame what the WWF did to the Sheepherders making them a carnival act as the Bushwhackers. Sure, they were popular with the maniac kids but they were pretty much a joke and a far cry from what they were in NWA and nearly promotion during the 1970-80’s.
The Fantastics are criminally underrated and seemed to have been overlooked for teams like The Rock N’ Roll Express as time goes by. Sadly, Tommy Rodgers passed away in 2015 but at least the internet and places like the WWE Network will keep them alive for fans who may have missed or forgotten about them.
As the action spilt out the ring Rodgers was slightly kicked by a fan through the steel barricades, probably why they don’t have those openings anymore. The Sheepherders used a belt, chair and the New Zealand flag to beat the crap out of Fulton. Rodgers eventually makes the hot tag and hits the roll up for the win. Almost feel like it wasn’t supposed to end there but still good.
Next up, is Dr. Death Steve Williams, why they are letting him talk again is beyond me but he’s wearing white gloves, don’t ask…
The Varsity Club (Rick Steiner and Mike Rotunda) w/Kevin Sullivan vs. “Gorgeous” Jimmy Garvin w/Precious and his brother Ronnie Garvin is the next bout. Sullivan will be locked in a shark cage as his feud with Precious continues.
Jim Ross updates Luger’s condition and reports that Horsemen were laughing about it. They replay the attack again.
Dr. Death is on commentary for this match… no really.
Throughout the match, Sullivan is holding up some type of paper and threatens Precious from across the ring. Somewhat of a slower match, until the last couple minutes as all four men are the ring and Precious is batting Sullivan for the key to the cage door on the outside. Jimmy Garvin gains the pinfall on Rotunda for the win just as Sullivan is now unlocked himself and straddling Precious on the ring apron! Dr. Death said “I can’t handle this anymore” and comes to the aid of Precious and attacks Sullivan. Precious pushes Jimmy Garvin and walks off on her own, hmm?
They come back from commercial and set up the Bash PPV showcasing The Road Warriors vs. Powers of Pain feud who will now have a Skywalker Scaffold Match.
Also, they talk about The Tower of Doom match (no explanation).
The fourth match of the night was Al Perez w/Gary Hart vs. Nikita Koloff. Nothing too special until the end when Larry Zybysko jumped into the ring tried to nail Koloff. Hart threw his suit jacket over the head of Koloff as Perez joined in as the bell rang for the DQ win for The Russian Nightmare. It’s time for the main event of Sting & Dusty Rhodes vs. NWA tag-team champions Arn Anderson & Tully Blanchard.
Good lord, Dusty is so damn popular. Nothing was much better as the “Ooo, Ooo, OOo” from the crowd every time he would hit an atomic elbow, etc.
Fast paced match, Sting is hitting on all cylinders at this point and you can tell by now that he’s going to be a major player. Just at Sting and Dusty are getting the upper hand, Windham run-ins in a pretty cool black suit as well as Flair and it’s a Horsemen beatdown Part 2 and a Double DQ finish.
While not as monumental as the first Clash, this was another very enjoyable show to kick off the summer and Great American Bash tour.
You can read all ‘Styles Clash: Clash of the Champions Revisited’ pieces here.