Styles Clash: Clash of the Champions VII: Guts and Glory

Benjamin Trecroci

We continue our series looking at the history of Clash of Champions, taking in part with Part 7 Clash of the Champions VII: Guts and Glory, held on June 4, 1989 at the Ritz-Epps Fitness Center in Fort Bragg, North Carolina. The show drew a 3.8 rating on TBS.

As 1989 moved into the summer months, the tremendous feud between Ric Flair and Ricky Steamboat had transitioned into Terry Funk vs Flair. At Wrestlewar ‘89 in May, Funk heinously attacked Flair forcing him out of action for this event so Steamboat was slotted in to take on Funk in the main event. This Clash is taking place on a U.S. military base in 1989, so the crowd is 98.3% dudes going crazy and it looks hot as hell inside, so it should provide for a rowdy atmosphere on TV.

The first match of the night was one of the semifinals of NWA World Tag-Team Championship Tournament pitting The Freebirds (Michael P.S. Hayes & Jimmy Garvin) w/Terry Gordy vs. The Dynamic Dudes (Shane Douglas & Johnny Ace). This was the debut of Garvin as an official member of The Freebirds, although he was loosely acknowledged as being a member.

This match was pretty hectic from the jump as The Dudes double teamed The Birds and attempted a pin, but to no avail. The match spills to the outside where Gordy gets involved dropping Johnny Ace to the floor. Eventually, Ace gets into the ring and makes the hot tag to Douglas who clears the ring. The Dudes then get together to double dropkick Hayes to the floor just as Douglas rolls up Garvin but the referee Tommy Young isn’t looking! Hayes sneaks back into the ring and pushes Garvin on top of Douglas for the 1,2,3 count and onto the tournament finals. The crowd was red hot for this one. How good was Jimmy Garvin? It was really great that he was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame along with The Freebirds in 2016 because it was well deserved from his days in WCCW and beyond.

This match was pretty hectic from the jump as The Dudes double teamed The Birds and attempted a pin, but to no avail. The match spills to the outside where Gordy gets involved dropping Johnny Ace to the floor. Eventually, Ace gets into the ring and makes the hot tag to Douglas who clears the ring. The Dudes then get together to double dropkick Hayes to the floor just as Douglas rolls up Garvin but the referee Tommy Young isn’t looking! Hayes sneaks back into the ring and pushes Garvin on top of Douglas for the 1,2,3 count and onto the tournament finals. Crowd was red hot for this one. How good was Jimmy Garvin? It was really great that he was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame along with The Freebirds in 2016, because it was well deserved from his days in WCCW and beyond.

This how people received “insider” information in 1989:

Next up is The Terrorist (Jack Victory) vs. Ranger Ross. This was your usual good guy from the USA taking on the evil opponent. Take one guess who won this match in a military base? After 1:25, Ross hits the Combat Kick for the W.

Pretty cool video for the Road Warriors showing their usual mayhem and destruction on the tag-team division with their knockoff “Iron Man” theme playing in the background.

The Great Muta w/Gary Hart is out next for a martial arts exhibition against Trent Knight and Mike Justice. Hart is calling out guys like Sting, Steamboat and most notably Eddie Gilbert because these guys tonight are a couple of “Gaijins” which is Japanese for foreigners. Muta had recently spit his green mist in the face of Gilbert’s valet, Missy Hyatt so that was the story here. Gibert comes out to confront Muta, but instead inadvertently unleashes a fireball at Knight! Pretty cool visual.

Now for something entirely different…wait for it….The Ding Dongs vs. Cougar Jay and George South. The Ding Dongs had bells in their corner on their wrists and ankles and they were from Belleville, get it? They actually weren’t bad wrestlers but what was anyone thinking to actually let this go live. Needs to be seen to be believed. They won, but really lost in the long run.

Back to normal, The Midnight Express (Stan Lane & Bobby Eaton) w/Jim Cornette vs. The Samoan Swat Team (Samu & Fatu)w/Paul E. Dangerously in the second semifinal of the tag-team title tournament. Before the match, a fan jumps into the ring but is quickly cut off by Army Rangers.

These two teams had been going at it for awhile now, mostly with the managers as the catalysts for this feud from duelling Midnight Express teams to now. This match was intense, both teams get in their double-team action, non-stop action from the bell.

As the match continues, referee Nick Patrick is pushed to the outside as all four competitors are brawling in the ring. Samu is on the top about to his patented headbutt when The Road Warriors come flying directly into the ring and demolish The SST! Lane slides on top of Samu for the winning fall and advancement to the finals of the tournament. The Road Warriors could do no wrong at this point and the Midnights were extremely popular as well. Three great teams with three amazing managers, something that is sorely missed in 2017.
The Ric Flair/Terry Funk angle from Wrestlewar ‘89 is shown next. As many times as this has been shown, it will never get old.

The Ric Flair/Terry Funk angle from Wrestlewar ‘89 is shown next. As many times as this has been shown, it will never get old.

As this show continues, The Battle of the Bulls between Terry Gordy and Dr. Death Steve Williams is up. This was a furtherment of a feud that as Jim Ross commented started in the UWF, moved to Japan and now continued back in the states. This was a heavy hitting tilt but they ended up brawling to the floor and back down the entrance way for a double-countout. Seemed to be more setting up a feud between the two of them.

Norman “The Lunatic” w/Theodore Long vs. Mike Justice. This is Norman’s debut in NWA and it’s over in 47 seconds with a splash from Norman. Some orderlies from the mental hospital are out with a gurney to strap him down and escort him to the back.

This gem of a promo for Brian Pillman aired

The Varsity Club (Kevin Sullivan & Mike Rotunda) took on The Steiner Brothers w/Missy Hyatt. This was one the first appearances for the Steiners as a team as Rick disbanded from The Varsity Club to join forces with his brother. Also, Missy was looking exceptionally well this night in front of all these military men. She was actually escorted to the back as match started which was probably for the better.

You almost forget how good of a wrestler Scott was before he “enhanced” his physique later in his career. Scott was thrown right on to the commentary table by Rotunda and then has a flight of stairs thrown at him by Sullivan. The teams go back and forth until Sullivan throws a chair into the ring so Rotunda can hit a suplex on Scott’s already injured back for the pinfall victory. Lively match and a cool look at the beginning of the Steiner Brothers run.

Sting puts his NWA World TV Title on the line vs. Bill Irwin next. Wow, the roof nearly comes off the building as Sting enters the arena! Irwin attempts to grab his bullwhip in the corner but Sting nails him the Stinger Splash and the roll-up to retain the TV strap.

Another great promo airs, this one is for Scott “Gator” Hall

Jim Ross interviews Ric Flair about his injuries he sustained at WrestleWar. A real toned down version of Flair as he pondered his future in professional wrestling. Good stuff here

Midnight Express vs. The Freebirds (Garvin & Hayes) in the finals of the tag-team tournament. Paul E. Dangerously attacks Cornette just as the match begins. Match got off to a slowish start as The Freebirds are on control. Lane gets the hot tag and the Midnights go to work hitting the flapjack on Garvin, for a two count. Gordy interferes and hits a piledriver on Eaton as Garvin gets the pin and your new NWA World Tag Team Champions!

Not sure if the heat inside the building was too much or they had to return to their barracks, but there are ton of empty bleachers on the camera side, the building isn’t as lively as it was for most of the show.

It’s main event time as Ricky The Dragon Steamboat took on Terry Funk. Steamboat comes out like a house of fire exploding with chops on the chest of Funk. Ross is making a point to talk about the #1 contender rankings. Flair always gets the notoriety for his “Whooooo” chops but Steamboat’s chops were purely lethal. Steamboat delivers a karate chop from the top rope to the floor, then carries Funk all the way around the ring before slamming him to the floor. Funk battles back and hits his deadly piledriver, but Steamboat kicks out! Steamboat accidentally swings Funk into referee Nick Patrick. Funk then hits a running piledriver on the floor and brings Ricky back into the ring for a suplex but is unable to get the pin. Steamboat then rallies to go for his karate chop and a kick to the back forcing Funk out. Funk then grabs the microphone out of desperation and hits Steamboat with it, causing a DQ.

Lex Luger then comes out in street clothes with a chair in his hand to help Steamboat. Luger grabs the mic and says there’s been a lot of talk about his ego and that he should be the #1 Contender. Just as Luger helps up Steamboat, he nails him a real stiff clothesline and puts him in the torture rack and yells, “Here lies your number one contender.” Sting eventually comes out to chase off Luger.

Even without Flair, this show was stacked and set up The Great American Bash PPV and tour for the Summer of 1989. Really fun show from top to the bottom, maybe my favorite Clash so far. Highly recommended.

You can read all ‘Styles Clash: Clash of the Champions Revisited’ pieces here.

Advertisements

One thought on “Styles Clash: Clash of the Champions VII: Guts and Glory

  1. Pingback: This Week in Wrestling 2017 week 19 | Ring the Damn Bell

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s