We continue our series looking at the history of Clash of Champions, taking in part 5 today with Clash of the Champions V: St. Valentine’s Massacre, held on 15 February 1989 at the Cleveland Convention Center in Cleveland, Ohio.
It’s a New Day (yes, it is) as the calendar has flipped to 1989 for Clash of Champions V: St. Valentine’s Massacre live from the Cleveland Convention Center in Cleveland Ohio! The backdrop to this event is we are only five days away from the Chi-Town Rumble PPV and this also is the return of Ricky “The Dragon” Steamboat to NWA/WCW after his successful WWF run came to an abrupt end in 1988.
Steamboat was immediately thrust into a main-event program with his long-time rival and NWA World Heavyweight Champion, Ric Flair. The two are scheduled to face-off at the PPV, in what would become the first of a trilogy of classic matches during 1989.
We kick off the show with the Midnight Express (Bobby Eaton & Stan Lane) w/Jim Cornette vs. The Russian Assassins (Angel of Death & Jack Victory) w/Paul Jones. The Midnights are in the midst of their feud with the “Original” Midnight Express (Randy Rose & Dennis Condrey) w/Paul E. Dangerously. Paul E. joins Jim Ross and Magnum T.A. at the commentary table and sells the PPV match between the Midnight teams just as well as he does now.
Not real sure what happened on the WWE Network but as all four men are battling in the ring they cut to commercial, only to come back to Ricky Steamboat along with his little boy, Richie Steamboat and Bob Caudle to hype up his upcoming bout.
It’s really unfortunate that Richie Steamboat wrestling career has likely been permanently sidetracked with a back injury as it would’ve been a great story to see how that little kid become a WWE superstar like his father.
The second match of the night was former WWF standout “Hacksaw” Butch Reed making his return to NWA to take on Steve Casey. An interesting note, is referee Teddy Long would later become Reed’s manager of the tag-team, Doom along with Ron Simmons.
This match went on for 17:36 so these two fans decided to make out because why not?
Ric Flair is in the building and he brought along a bevvy of beauties along with Hiro Matsuda who replaced JJ Dillon who had left to go to WWF. This is an amazing segment. Nobody will ever be as this cool at this moment, so stop trying. Flair is calling out Steamboat and offering up women to the “Family Man.”
Once Flair drops the “Why don’t you go home and help the Missus with the Dishes,” Steamboat erupts and attacks Flair. Wild brawl takes place, Flair’s $1,500 suit is ripped off all the way down to his underwear and socks but of course, he keeps brawling all the way into the crowd with his “man business” half out. Amazing must-see segment. Two of the all-time greatest at their height of their careers.
Lex Luger took on The Blackmailer (Jack Victory pulling double duty) in match three. Luger is prepping for his US NWA Heavyweight Championship tilt with Barry Windham at Chi Town Rumble. On numerous occasions throughout this match, Ross said “This is the NWA and we wrestle here,” assuming this was a dig at the WWF who were pushing “sports-entertainment” more and more. Luger delivers Windham’s Superplex to notch the win and send a message to his former friend.
The U.S. Tag Team Titles are on the line next as The Fantastics (Bobby Fulton & Tommy Rodgers) try to regain their titles from The Varsity Club (Mike Rotunda & Dr. Death Steve Williams) w/Kevin Sullivan.
This wasn’t one of the better tag matches that had been taking place over the past year involving The Fantastics, but it was more to show Williams was a beast. All four men are in the ring as Rogers hits a crossbody block to the back of Williams but the referee wasn’t looking as Rotunda nails his opponent with a kick to the back of the head for the Varsity Club win.
Ricky Steamboat is out next for a tune-up match vs. Bob Bradley. Steamboat went through his plethora of deep arm drags, chops and flying crossbody for the easy win.
Next match was Rick Steiner vs. Rip Morgan. At this point, Morgan had nothing to do now that former proteges The Sheepherders were licking kids as The Bushwhackers in the WWF. Morgan attempts a belly-to-belly suplex but Steiner outmuscles the New Zealander for a belly to belly winning move.
It’s Main Event Time and Sting, Michael PS Hayes and JYD are out of their gourds talking about their Six Man Tag Team, Championship tilt against The Road Warriors and Tenryu. Kevin Sullivan locks Sting and crew in a basement cage so they can’t make it to the ring. Instead, The Varsity Club hits the ring and, apparently, it’s a match now. Pretty interesting seeing these six men go at it considering all the time The Road Warriors, Williams and Tenryu spent in Japan. Eventually, Sting, JYD and Hayes break loose from the caged door and bumrush the ring setting off a nine-person brawl inside and out of the ring, pure chaos! Ross gives the vintage, “We gotta get out of here” to end the show.
A sweet ending to an uneven show. 1989 would become a classic year for wrestling with the Flair vs. Steamboat trilogy but this Clash was more of a setup for the Chi Town Rumble and the rest of the year.
You can read all ‘Styles Clash: Clash of the Champions Revisited’ pieces here.