Classic Wrestling Review: The Great American Bash ’90

(All screen captures are the property of World Wrestling Entertainment)

The Great American Bash

July 7, 1990

Baltimore Arena

Baltimore, Maryland

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An unfortunate injury has delayed the inevitable, but it’s finally time for Sting to get his shot at Ric Flair. Luger had a nice run filling in for Sting, but this is the real feud that WCW wanted. WCW wanted to have Sting win his first title before The Ultimate Warrior won his in the WWF, but the aforementioned injury prevented that from happening. Now, Sting will get his chance. Sting enlisted some help for his feud with Flair. Thankfully, it’s not Robocop. He formed a short-lived group of wrestlers known as The Dudes with Attitude. It’s not Shawn Michaels and Diesel. It’s El Gigante, Paul Orndorff, The Junkyard Dog, and The Steiner Brothers. That is a motley crew of wrestlers.

WCW also underwent some aesthetic changes to their production. They have slowly been transitioning into making the WCW name and logo more prominent than the NWA name. They started using ring aprons that say WCW and even changed the colors of the ropes. They are now blue, black, and yellow, instead of the blue, white, and yellow. For the longest time, I thought it was purple, but I’m color blind. I have a lot of issues with blue and purple, so you’ll have to forgive my mistake. The other major change is the addition of a raised ramp that connects from the entrance to the side of the ring. I always liked this look because it is different from the WWF and provides for unique spots in matches. WCW would keep this ramp and the rope colors for the next 4 years, with some exceptions for special occasions.

The show opens with a shot of the Declaration of Independence and some comically photoshopped images of the Four Horsemen as Revolutionary War figures. Then, images of WCW stars fly by an American flag before Jim Ross welcomes everyone to the Baltimore Arena for The Great American Bash. Ross and Caudle talk about Sting and whether or not he’s ready after coming back from injury. Bob says that all the questions will be answered tonight. They also talk about the rest of the card and the debut of Big Van Vader! Caudle says he doesn’t know much about him, other than he’s big. Way to do your homework, Bob! J.R. then introduces the world’s most dangerous ring announcer, Gary Michael Cappetta.

Flyin’ Brian vs. Nature Boy Buddy Landel

I have to admit. I’m kind of glad to see Landel is back. I’ve always thought he was an underrated talent. He might be a knock-off of Flair, but he played that part perfectly. He even had a couple of feuds with Flair over the name. The problem is, Buddy is one of those wrestlers who is their own worst enemy. He constantly gets in the way of his own career with his decisions.

Buddy is already in the ring and he gets booed pretty loudly when he’s introduced. Pillman comes out next, but his music doesn’t begin until he’s halfway down the ramp. J.R. accidentally calls the event Starrcade ‘90, but he doesn’t correct himself. I don’t think he even noticed.

Landel gets in Brian’s face, so Pillman slaps him. Brian then gets the better of him early with a springboard cross body and some dropkicks that send Landel outside. Buddy tells the camera that he’s just getting warmed up and then does some Hulk Hogan poses. He re-enters the ring, but Pillman retakes control. Buddy complains of hair pulling and then does some of his own when the ref is distracted. Landel slaps Pillman to get him off his game and it works. He soon has control when he catches him on a cross body and slams him. He poses like Hogan again and Caudle jokes that it must be a Mr. Atlas pose. Buddy keeps cutting off Pillman’s comeback attempts and chokes him with his shin, but Brian fights back and hits 10 punches in the corner. However, Buddy reverses a whip and keeps going back to a chinlock to keep him controlled. Pillman fires back and tries punches in the corner again, but Buddy ends up reversing a cross body for a 2 count. Then, Pillman flies out of the ring on a missed clothesline, but he catches himself on the ramp. Landel isn’t paying attention, so Brian flies off the top with a cross body for the win.

The match was kind of slow and never found a good rhythm. It wasn’t bad and it had shades of being good, but it never fully shifted into gear. It was made slightly better by Buddy’s personality, but it wasn’t enough.

Winner: Flyin’ Brian (9:29)

Gordon Solie, whom Ross calls the dean of wrestling, is on the arena floor. He talks about the main event and Vader’s debut before sending it back to the ring for the next match.

Captain Mike Rotunda vs. The Iron Sheik

The Iron Sheik is back for another short run. He’s one of the many older names that were brought back around this time. We will see a few of them on this show. There is a funny story about Sheik. WCW had only intended for him to have a short stint, but an oversight in the office allowed his contract to automatically roll over, so they needed to use him in some way. Oh WCW, you really are a comedy of errors.

The Sheik made his way to the ring while Solie was still talking. He doesn’t have any music. Rotunda soon joins him and he doesn’t have a theme either. I swore he had music at the last PPV. Mike starts to take off his hat, but The Sheik attacks him with his flag before the bell rings.

Sheik continues the attack before Mike can remove his jacket. He chokes Rotunda with his robe and rams him into the corner. Chops, chokes, and clotheslines are all Sheik does for a while, other than posing. Mike manages to hit a sunset flip for a 2 count and then slams him, so Sheik rolls outside. J.R. takes the opportunity to call Sheik’s earlier actions a terrorist attack. Stay classy, Ross. Sheik re-enters the ring and fights Rotunda into the corner before going back to chops, chokes, and clotheslines. However, he mixes it up a little by ramming him into his hooked boot and hitting a gut-wrench suplex. He even throws in a very poor abdominal stretch. He tries to use the ropes for leverage, but he immediately gets caught, so Mike hip tosses him. Mike sadly misses an elbow, so it’s back to the usual for Sheik. Mike fires back, so Sheik bows to him, but it’s a ploy. He suckers him in and starts raking the eyes to get an advantage. He tosses Rotunda to the floor and suplexes him back inside, but when he tries a butterfly suplex, Rotunda turns it into a backslide for the win.

This was not a good match. I’m not sure who thought it was a good idea to give Sheik 90% of the offense. Although, if Rotunda controlled the match, it would be mostly chinlocks. It was a mismatch of styles, but it was thankfully short.

Winner: Mike Rotunda (6:46)

Speaking of older wrestlers who have made a comeback, Solie is with Harley Race. Gordon talks about how Race’s match with Tommy Rich will be a match between former world champions. Race brings up the fact that Rich beat him for the title. Wait, was this match booked so that Harley could get his win back after all these years? I thought Hogan was bad about wanting to erase old losses, but he has nothing on how long Harley waited. Race says he’s going to take care of Rich in his own way and then he’s going to watch the world’s title match. He says that if Flair isn’t on his toes tonight, he’s going to get beat. He finishes by saying that Flair might be a beaten man, but he knows Tommy Rich will be a beaten man. Before I move on, I have to point out that Harley is starting to look like John C. Reilly.

Doug Furnas vs. Dirty Dutch Mantel

The parade of older returning wrestlers continues. Dutch Mantel (aka Zeb Colter) was brought back to be a commentator and part-time wrestler. Here, he is being used as fodder for the newcomer, Doug Furnas.

Both men are already in the ring and Cappetta introduces them. Mantel is billed as being from Oil Trough, TX, which amuses Caudle. He asks Ross where it’s located, but J.R. says he’s more familiar with Oklahoma than Texas. I looked it up and couldn’t find it. I did find an Oil Trough, Arkansas. I wonder if WCW got confused. Furnas is introduced next and gets a decent reaction. He is another World’s Strongest Man gimmick. He has some legit power-lifting records, so it’s not completely untrue.

Furnas gets the early advantage with some hard shoulder blocks. Dutch has to bail outside and check his teeth. They do a drop down/leapfrog spot and Doug press slams him, so Dutch calls for a timeout and surprisingly gets it! Mantel then tries to throw him off his game by backing him into the corner and slapping him. He does this a few times until Furnas returns the slap and dropkicks him out of the ring. Furnas keeps going for Dutch’s arm, so Mantel thumbs him in the eye and they get into a slug-fest. Dutch manages to take control after a missed splash, but Furnas keeps powering out of his pin attempts. Dutch then slows it down with an armbar and uses the tights for leverage, but I’m not sure how that is effective. The ref catches him and Mantel complains, so Furnas rolls him up for 2. He also hits a flying shoulder tackle and a powerslam. Dutch tries to go for his eyes again, but Doug fakes him out on a whip and hits him with a surprise belly-to-belly suplex for the win.

It was a slow match. Some of Furnas’ offense looked pretty good, but Dutch slowed this match down when he was in control. It was a decent showcase for Furnas, but if they were going for that, he should have controlled more of the match.

Winner: Doug Furnas (11:18)

Next, Gordon is with Jim Cornette. He asks him about the Midnight Express defending their titles against the Southern Boys, but Cornette wants to talk about the night, as a whole. He talks about the main event and the Dudes with Attitude before finally addressing the Southern Boys. Jim claims that Steve Armstrong wanted to become a country singer, but he had to stop because of his throat. Someone threatened to cut it. He then tells the Southern Boys to ask themselves if they’re big enough, bad enough, or tough enough to get in the ring and take the titles from the Midnight Express. He says that few have done that and the ones that did knew they were in for the fight of their life. Then, he says the Midnight Express is the best in the world at what they do. A young Chris Jericho takes notes. He finishes by saying that the Southern Boys may be champions someday, but not this day.

Harley Race vs. Wildfire Tommy Rich

Both men are already in the ring and Cappetta calls them two great former world champions. He introduces Rich, who is still getting some boos from the crowd. Then, he introduces Race. Harley gets an equally mixed reaction. Race is wearing a singlet, which I’m sure is to cover his aging body, but he’s also wearing his royal tights from the WWF. Caudle tries to cover this fact later by claiming Race is a fan of the Sacramento Kings.

The two men trade shoulder blocks, but Rich hits a headlock takeover. He grinds in the hold and Race is already grunting loudly. Harley tries to reverse it, but Rich sends him into the post and grabs an arm wringer. Ross says that Race has been wrestling all of his life, but he also says that he started at 15 years old. I guess that means Race was born already 15 years old. That had to be horrible for his mother. Harley then hits a knee lift and a piledriver, which Rich sells by popping up and stumbling through the ropes to the ramp. Race chases him and suplexes him on the ramp before dropping a knee. Race headbutts him into the ring and tosses him to the floor, but Tommy comes back and clotheslines Race over the ropes. Harley takes a nasty bump where he whacks his head on the apron. Why is Race still taking bumps like that this late in his career? It’s no wonder he’s in rough shape nowadays. Rich slams him and suplexes him back into the ring before hitting a fist drop. However, Race answers back with a knee-lift and a belly-to-belly suplex. He also hits a swinging neckbreaker, but Rich responds with his own knee-lift. Rich tries to slam him and both men tumble over the ropes. Harley rolls back into the ring, so Rich attempts a flying cross body off the top, but Race rolls through and pins him for the win.

Harley got his win back, but it was not a good match. Race is moving better than the last time we saw him in the WWF, but he shouldn’t be wrestling still. Sadly, he reportedly needed the money. It makes me sad to see him like that.

Winner: Harley Race (6:32)

Gordon is with Mean Mark Callous and his new manager, the returning Paul E. Dangerously! It’s crazy to think that Heyman once managed The Undertaker. Paul E. was also reportedly the one who sent out feelers to the WWF to get Mark a job. That means that Heyman is also the 1 behind the 21 in 21 and 1. Solie says that Mark will be competing for the U.S. Title against Luger and asks Paul E. for his thoughts. Paul first addresses Ric Flair and says that he will prove he’s the greatest heavyweight champion of all time. He calls Mean Mark the heir apparent to the throne and then talks about Luger. Paul E. has a Luger t-shirt in his hand and calls it toilet paper. The shirt shows Lex about to flex, but Paul E. says the first time Lex tries to flex, Mark will rip off his head and spit down his throat. He then hands the t-shirt to Mark, who tries to rip it apart and mumbles some threatening words. Paul E. starts ranting and raving about how Luger will never be the champion that Mark will be and says Mark is coming for Luger’s family. Solie has enough and ends the interview.

NWA U.S. Tag Team Title Match: The Midnight Express (c) (w/ Jim Cornette) vs. The Southern Boys

The Southern Boys are the team of Steve Armstrong & Tracy Smothers. They were a successful tag team in other territories and now they have come to WCW. Steve is part of the famous Armstrong family that also produced Scott & Brad Armstrong and Road Dogg.

The Southern Boys come out first. It’s probably better if I don’t say much about their entrance gear. Let’s just say, they live up to their tag team name. Cappetta introduces them as The Wild-Eyed Southern Boys. The Midnight Express enter next and jog down the ramp. Cornette tries to keep up, but he has to stop jogging halfway to the ring.

Eaton quickly knocks Armstrong out of the ring and the Midnights double team Smothers. It turns into a four-way brawl and the Midnights soon have to regroup. Cornette yells at a fan, “Why don’t you sit down and wipe that ugly off your face!?” Eaton soon finds himself in trouble again to a monkey flip, dropkick, and a flying clothesline, so he bails again. Cornette tells the cameraman to stop following him. Smothers enters the match and keeps getting the advantage with karate kicks, so Bobby tags Stan. Lane enters the match and demands a karate face-off with Smothers. He nails a couple of back fists, but Smothers catches the next one and takes down both Midnights. Smothers gets the better of the Midnights for a while. He hits a slingshot kick and flips over the ropes before dropkicking Eaton through them. All four men end up brawling and the Southern Boys try a double pin before ramming Bobby and Stan together. The Midnights finally take control when Cornette distracts the ref and they toss Smothers over the ropes. They keep ramming him into the guardrail and even knock him off the apron into it. They continue the double team assault and Eaton even hits the Alabama Jam, but Bobby is hurt by it and tags Lane. They continue wearing Smothers down and sending him outside, but Tracy reverses a slingshot on Eaton. Smothers finally rolls out of a double back drop attempt and tags Armstrong. He comes in on fire and hits a double noggin’ knocker and a shoulder tackle. All four men brawl and the Southern Boys hit a missile dropkick version of the Hart Attack, but the ref is distracted for too long. The Midnights then manage to hit the Rocket Launcher, but the ref is out of position again. The Southern Boys even try swapping places, but Lane hits an enziguri from the apron and Eaton rolls up Smothers for the win.

This was such a good match. I can see why Cornette calls it one of the Midnight Express’ best matches. The crowd was insane for the action from start to finish and rightfully so. Even the heels winning wasn’t enough to deflate the crowd.

Winners: The Midnight Express (18:14)

Next, Gordon is with the Fabulous Freebirds and boy do they look FABULOUS! I’m sorry. I need a moment because I can’t stop laughing. How much coke did the Freebirds do before dressing themselves? They’re wearing their t-shirts like bibs!! I can’t breathe!!! What is even happening here!? Okay, I’ve recovered. Let’s continue. Gordon talks about them facing the Steiners and Jimmy Garvin replies, “Yeah yeah yeah, Baltimore!” He calls Gordon Mr. S and says the Steiners won’t be the same and neither will Baltimore after they leave. Hayes then says that there’s nothing with four wheels they can’t drive and nothing with four legs they can’t ride and they’re going to ride all night long. He says they came to rock the house and there are two things the Steiners can do about it. They can do nothing and like it.

Big Van Vader vs. Z-Man

This is the WCW debut of one of my all-time favorites, Vader. He had made a name for himself in the AWA and Japan already, but this is his first WCW appearance. They would use him sparingly over the next year or so before he becomes a regular.

Tom Zenk jogs to the ring and invites the cameraman to follow him. This poor sap doesn’t even know what’s coming. Vader enters next to an awesome theme. I wish he had stuck with this one instead of his later music. He is billed as being from Parts Unknown and he’s wearing that crazy mastodon helmet. Fire erupts as he walks down the ramp. He then fires up the crowd before taking off the helmet to reveal a different mask than most people will remember. This version covers most of his face. He wouldn’t switch to the traditional mask until later. He then places the helmet on the ramp and does a ceremony before the helmet sprays out steam. Vader poses and the fans cheer the spectacle. This entrance is so gloriously over the top and I love it!

Vader enters the ring and immediately starts clubbing Z-Man. He hits stiff forearms and punches in the corner and then whips him to the opposite side. Vader then hits an avalanche splash followed by a short-arm clothesline. Zenk rolls to the ramp, but Vader grabs him by the ears and lifts him over the ropes! However, Vader misses a clothesline and Z-Man hits a dropkick that does nothing. He tries a cross body next, but Vader catches him and hits a press slam and an elbow drop. He then suplexes Zenk with a loud roar and hits another clothesline. Then, he hits a running splash that nearly turns Z-Man into a stain on the mat before covering him for the merciful 3 count.

This was a squash match, but it was fun to watch. The crowd loved it, but I’m not sure Zenk cared too much for it. It did a great job of showing off what Vader can do.

Winner: Vader (2:16)

Solie is with Horsemen members, Ole, Arn, Windham, & Sid. Gordon says they will be facing the awesome combination of Junkyard Dog, El Gigante, & Paul Orndorff. I’m not so sure how awesome that combination is, but I’ll take Gordon’s word for it. Windham replies that they think they’ll give the Horsemen a taste of their own medicine, but their boss, Ole, has put together a plan to get rid of the big guy. Ole then says that Jim Herd might have everything figured out, but he’s got a few surprises. He then guarantees that Flair will walk out as champion.

The Steiner Brothers vs. The Fabulous Freebirds

The Freebirds dance their way onto the stage and they still haven’t figured out how t-shirts work. They dance and point at each other down the ramp and Ross asks Caudle if he can dance like that. Bob mumbles something in response. The Steiners are out next and Rick seems awfully twitchy. Maybe he got into the stash of whatever the Freebirds have been taking.

The Freebirds jump the Steiners and try to double team Scott, but he fights back and blocks a DDT by Hayes. Rick re-enters the ring and hits some Steinerlines, so the Freebirds bail outside and right into a clothesline by Scott. The Freebirds then begin the stalling, so fans chant something unrepeatable at them. Rick gets the advantage again and starts presenting his butt at them. Bold move, Rick. Hayes starts backing off in fear, so Rick bites him on the butt. Garvin comes in and gets in trouble too, so they bail for some more stalling. Hayes takes over and manages to hit some hard chops and forearms, but Scott answers with a Tiger Driver before nearly dropping Garvin with a tilt-a-whirl slam. After some more stalling, Rick catches both Freebirds with powerslams until Garvin kicks Rick in the back and Hayes sends him over the ropes. The Freebirds attack him on the floor and Hayes hits a bulldog for 2. They also use ref distractions, but Garvin uses the opening for—a rear chinlock?? Did he forget how to cheat? Garvin turns it into a sleeper and Ross and Caudle make fun of the Freebirds’ makeup. Rick finally fights back and hits what I think is a diving bulldog before making the hot tag. Scott hits a powerslam on Hayes and a press slam on Garvin before both Steiners hit stereo Steinerlines. Scott then hits the Frankensteiner on Hayes, but Garvin runs in and hits a DDT while the ref is distracted. For the first time ever, a ref realizes that isn’t the legal man and orders Garvin out of the ring. In the ensuing chaos, Rick hits a belly-to-belly suplex on Hayes and Scott pins him for the win.

Once they got past the stalling, this turned into a pretty decent match. I liked the ending sequence. It picked up enough for me to call it a pretty solid bout, but the first half keeps it from being great.

Winners: The Steiner Brothers (13:45)

Ross and Caudle then recap the night and plug Halloween Havoc. Ross says there are three more title matches and the in-ring debut of El Gigante. They talk about Gigante’s size and then talk about Sting’s comeback from injury. Ross asks if he’s 100% and Caudle replies that Sting will die to get the championship. That seems a bit extreme.

El Gigante, Junkyard Dog, & Paul Orndorff vs. Arn Anderson, Barry Windham, & Sid Vicious

If any of you are familiar with Giant Gonzalez, you know what to expect, but thankfully he does little in this match. I don’t know whether to groan that he’s arrived or find it amusing. I’m just glad that WCW didn’t put him in a fur suit, as the WWF does. However, they did dress him in what appears to be one of Chris Jericho’s sparkly shirts from 2007.

The Horsemen enter first to a surprisingly good reaction. Sid is wearing a singlet, which is a different look for him. I’m guessing he’s covering the scar on his side from the surgery on his lung. The Dudes with Attitude enter next and El Gigante towers over his partners. He claps and waves a lot as they walk down the ramp. Cappetta introduces them, but he flubs his line by saying, “El Gigante is the largest man to never—ever step into the ring.” The other note I have about this match is that poor Orndorff is already showing the signs of atrophy in his arm. Nerve damage would cause one of his arms to become noticeably smaller than the other and it only gets worse as the years progress.

Orndorff and Arn Anderson start the match, but Arn decides to tag Sid instead. Orndorff attempts a sunset flip on him, but Sid choke-lifts and slams him. However, Sid misses a leg drop and gets knocked outside. Neither he nor Arn can gain the advantage and Orndorff hits a backslide with an assist from JYD. Arn enters the match and tries to take control, while Sid waves a t-shirt around, for some reason. He almost succeeds until Gigante threatens the Horsemen and they bail outside. Ross comments that Andre the Giant would have to look up to Gigante. NO! Come on, Ross! Don’t drag Andre down with this guy. JYD comes in and hits some crawling headbutts to Anderson, who stumbles into a punch from Orndorff and then recoils in horror at Gigante. Arn tags Windham, who gets more of the same from JYD and also recoils from Gigante. The Horsemen fight back and Windham hits JYD with a DDT that he no-sells. JYD also blocks a slam and reverses a suplex before tagging Orndorff. Paul fights off all three men and goes for a piledriver, but Windham breaks it up with an axehandle. The fans then chant, “We want Sid,” and they get him—for all of a minute. The Horsemen use frequent tags to keep control of Orndorff until he finally tags JYD. The dog cleans house, so Sid enters the ring and starts chucking JYD and Orndorff over the top rope. Gigante then comes in and runs off the Horsemen, as Ross informs everyone that the ref has disqualified them.

Gigante did almost nothing in this match. Even WCW knew he was extremely limited. They did enough to get over the idea he was intimidating, but I wonder if WCW was getting buyers remorse. This match served its purpose, but it wasn’t good.

Winners: The Dudes with Attitude (by DQ) (8:53)

Gordon is with U.S. Champion, Lex Luger. He asks him about his match with Mean Mark. Luger says that the talking is over. No, it’s clearly not. You’re still talking, Lex! He then says it’s easier to tear a t-shirt than it is to tear him. He warns Paul E. that if he sticks his nose in it, he’ll get his clock cleaned. That’s nice of Lex. I wasn’t aware that he ran a clock cleaning service. Gordon then asks Luger about Sting. Lex says there’s a look in his eyes that he’s never seen before and this is Sting’s night. He predicts that Sting will win. Luger spent most of this promo looking everywhere but the camera. You would think he’d know how to do this by now.

NWA U.S. Title Match: Lex Luger (c) vs. Mean Mark (w/ Paul E. Dangerously)

Mean Mark and Paul E. make their way to the ring. Mark is using what has to be his third different theme song since he debuted. Paul E. blows his nose on a Luger t-shirt and tosses it into the crowd while Mark points at the camera and motions for a belt. Luger is out next and his U.S. Title falls off as he enters the ring, much like at the last PPV. You’d think by now he’d know how to fasten it properly. Ross then jokes about Paul E. going bald and claims he has a comb-over. Caudle seems offended by the comb-over talk and quickly changes the subject.

The two men fight into a corner and then cycle through some holds before heading back to the ropes. The ref has to force them apart, so Luger surprises Mark with an arm drag. Mark complains of hair pulling before fighting Luger to the ropes again. He punches Lex around the ring, but he misses a corner charge and Luger goes after his arm. Mark misses a couple of clotheslines and Luger hits a cross body before going back to an armbar. This causes Paul E. to get on his phone and call some guy named Murray to complain about hair pulling. Mark tries an arm drag, but Luger holds on, so he goes to the ropes instead. Mark then does a surprising leapfrog. I didn’t know Taker had that in him. He finally takes advantage with punches and a big boot before doing his own arm work. He follows that up with Old School. Wait, I can’t call it that yet. He’s not the Undertaker, so it’s not technically New School. How about Pre-School? Luger ends up flying out of the ring on a missed clothesline and Paul E. distracts the ref. Mark rams Luger into the guardrail and the commentator table before taking him back inside. He makes the mistake of ducking for a back drop and Luger hits a sunset flip before they get into a slug-fest. Luger then no-sells a suplex and hits some rapid-fire clotheslines before signaling for the Torture Rack. He gets Mark up, but he accidentally hits the ref with Mark’s leg. Paul E. uses the opening to nail Luger with his phone and tries to revive the ref. Luger kicks out, so Mark hits a short-arm clothesline and goes for the Heart Punch. However, Luger kicks him and hits a running clothesline for the win.

It was a decent but unremarkable match. It was brought down slightly by the ref’s fast count at the end. It’s the second time he’s done that tonight. He’s the polar opposite of Earl Hebner when it comes to dramatic final counts. However, Paul E. did manage to make the match slightly better with his antics.

Winner: Lex Luger (12:10)

Next, they show a pre-taped interview with Sting. Gordon asks him for his thoughts. Sting says his heart is pounding out of his chest, but his knee is 100%. He says that he has all the stipulations he wants and people around the ring. If he loses, he has no excuses, but if Flair loses, he also won’t have excuses. He finishes by saying he’s more than willing to walk that aisle. It was a surprisingly calm promo for Sting, but I thought it was pretty good.

NWA World Tag Team Title Match: Doom (c) (w/ Teddy Long) vs. The Rock n Roll Express

The Rock n Roll Express come out first and they get some fireworks that seem to work half-heartedly. They get a decent reaction, but nothing like I expected. Are fans starting to cool on them? Doom is out next and Ross claims they are the first black world tag team champions. I don’t think that’s correct, especially if they’re counting all promotions. There’s a weird edit during their entrance. I wonder what was cut. Ross calls Ron Simmons Burt Reynolds favorite wrestler, which is an odd statement. Teddy Long then tells the camera that Doom will remain champions. Ross jokes that Teddy’s mouth is so big he could whisper in his own ear. Ross also brings up the fact that Robert Gibson has hearing impaired family, which answers my question from the last PPV.

Simmons and Gibson start the match and Simmons gets an early advantage until he misses a corner charge. Reed and Morton then enter the match and Butch shoulder blocks Ricky around until he makes a blind tag to Robert. They double team Reed, but he answers back with a clothesline and some springboard stomps. Doom double team Robert and then lure Ricky in for a ref distraction. They use the opening to throw Gibson over the ropes, but he hits a sunset flip from the apron for 2. Reed responds with a swinging neckbreaker for his own 2. Robert manages to tag out, but he soon falls to a clothesline from behind and a sloppy clothesline to the face from the front. Doom cut off his comeback attempts and Reed hits an elbow off the second turnbuckle. Reed then wears him down for a bit, but Ricky gets a backslide with an assist from Robert. It’s short-lived, as Simmons comes in and snaps Ricky against the bottom rope. Ricky tries another comeback, but he gets a powerslam for his troubles. Doom wear him down some more and toss him outside for some cheating. Morton finally fights back when he gets his knees up on a splash and tags Robert. Gibson hits a facebuster and a dropkick, but he falls victim to double teaming. All four men end up in the ring and Teddy gets on the apron, so Robert sends Reed crashing into him. Long falls into the ring and Gibson attacks him, but Reed hits a flying shoulder block off the top for the win.

This was a pretty good match and I liked the finish. I’m glad to see Doom get the win because they deserve a decent run with the titles. Beating a team like the Rock n Roll Express is a good way to make them look strong and the finish was just dirty enough not to make the Express look weak.

Winners: Doom (15:40)

They show another pre-taped interview. This time it’s with Flair in an empty arena. Ric brags about his $2000 custom suit that he bought for his victory celebration. He talks about Sting coming back from a career-ending injury with hatred in his heart. He says that Sting wants to be the man, but to be the man, you have to beat the man. Flair says he will be the man one more time in Baltimore. He then leaves and Gordon says it will be a great match—no question about it!

Ross and Caudle then talk about the main event. Ross says that the Dudes with Attitude are there to make sure the match remains one-on-one and Caudle says that Sting has been waiting since February for this moment. Then, Ross talks about the Horsemen wanting to put Sting out of wrestling and he recaps Sting’s words from earlier. They also talk about how Ole Anderson will be handcuffed to El Gigante to keep him from interfering.

NWA World Title Match: Sting (w/ The Dudes with Attitude) vs. Ric Flair (c) (w/ Ole Anderson)

Sting makes his entrance to a loud pop from the crowd. It appears that his raining pyro goes off too early because he looks amused that he cannot pass it. He then high fives his way down the ramp, but his music stops before he reaches the ring. The Dudes with Attitude are already at ringside, so Flair makes his entrance next. Ross talks about the other NWA title changes that started a decade. He tries again to link the current NWA to the one that started in 1905. WCW always tried to do that. Cappetta then announces that there are no disqualifications in the match while Ole is handcuffed to El Gigante. Ole looks worried when he sees him. Ross claims that it will be one-on-one come heck or high water. Are they not allowed to say Hell?

The two of them get in each other’s faces and Sting shoves Flair. They woo at each other before Sting hits a shoulder block and dares Ric to get to his feet. Flair attempts some ineffective chops and Sting knocks him out to the ramp. Flair attempts chops again, but Sting clotheslines him back into the ring. Flair begs off and pokes the eyes before hitting a snap mare, knee drop, and suplex that Sting absorbs. Sting answers with a pair of clotheslines and a flying cross body for 2. They fight back and forth and Flair goes for a Figure Four, but Sting shoves him away and they woo at each other again. Flair then fights him onto the ramp and back and keeps going after Sting’s knee, but Ric misses a knee-drop. Sting then locks Ric in his own Figure Four, but Ric reaches the ropes and drags Sting outside. He chops Sting and whips him into the guardrail, but Sting shakes off the blow and chases him into the ring. Flair tries to fight back and goes to the top where he’s predictably slammed. However, Flair takes control again by going after the knee. He attempts the Figure Four and is shoved. He attempts some chops and a slap, but it only wakes Sting. He dares Flair to do more and then press slams Ric. He follows it with a running clothesline and punches in the corner before whipping Flair in for his signature bump. He clotheslines Ric and suplexes him inside for a 2. Sting then beats his chest and Flair begs off, but Sting hits the Stinger Splash. He then locks in the Scorpion Deathlock, but this draws out the Horsemen. The Dudes with Attitude fight them on the ramp, as Ric reaches the ropes to break the hold. Flair and Sting fight at the at the apron and Flair tries to pin him with leverage, but Scott Steiner pushes Flair’s legs off the ropes. The two men then reverse through a backslide and Ric hits more ineffective chops. Sting charges Ric in the corner, but Flair moves and Sting hits his knee on the turnbuckles. The cameraman turns away for some reason, but thankfully he turns back for the finish. Flair attempts a Figure Four, but Sting rolls him up for the surprise 3 count and the fans go crazy.

This was a great main event. It told a good story and had some amazing crowd heat. Plus, it is a historical match. It’s a shame that WCW had to wait so long to pull the trigger on Sting. Sadly, that wait might have had a negative effect on his reign, but we will cover that in due time.

Winner: Sting (New Champion) (16:06)

The Dudes with Attitude celebrate with Sting while fireworks explode. Sting then poses on the ramp while Ross says that history has been made. A rather amusing image of Sting is lowered from the ceiling and it’s covered in fireworks. Even Sting has a chuckle at it.

Gordon then joins him on the ramp to get an interview. The camera remains behind them the whole time, which is odd. Sting calls Flair the greatest champion of all time, but he calls himself a champion for that night only. Huh?? I don’t think that’s how it works. He then says he has some big shoes to fill and although he has his differences with Flair, he will do his best. Gordon asks if it’s the happiest moment of his life, but Sting doesn’t answer that question. He says that people might not want to hear it but Flair was a great champ. He then calls it a big accomplishment for his short career and thanks everyone.

Ross and Caudle recap the night. They say that Sting won it for all the little Stingers. Ross then plugs Halloween Havoc again before saying goodnight.

Final thoughts:

I would call this a pretty solid show. There were a couple of disappointing matches, but most of the action was good and a couple of matches were great. It’s a historic event, so it’s worth a watch. Unfortunately, it kind of goes downhill from here for WCW. I don’t know if they had grand plans for what to do after Sting’s big win and that becomes apparent.

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My next review will see us return to the WWF for SummerSlam ‘90.


Written by Paul Matthews

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