CLASH OF THE CHAMPIONS II
June 8, 1988
There seems to be this popular belief that in the 1980's all you’d find in the WWF was a bunch of silly gimmicks and little to no good wrestling. The NWA was the place to watch, because it was this magical world full of great wrestling. Well get ready, folks, because I’m about to shatter that illusion.
Barry Windham . . . will (rightly) go down in history as one of the best of all time, but even he can have an off-night.
Al Perez . . . looks very good, but isn’t able to have a watchable match with Nikita Koloff.
Dusty Rhodes . . . does a fraction of the work that the rest of the roster does, but still gets the biggest pop of the night.
BARRY WINDHAM © vs. BRAD ARMSTRONG (NWA United States Heavyweight Title)
You’d think a match between these two would be at least good, but not on this night. It seemed like neither Windham nor Armstrong had any idea of where they wanted to take this, so they both decided to just wing it. And while calling things in the ring is generally the hallmark of a good worker, this shows the potential downfall of that practice. They’re not very consistent with anything they do. Barry seems to have the advantage with punching and power, but then Brad will mount a comeback with his fists and impressively picks up Barry for a bodyslam. The long rest hold periods don’t help either, it’d make sense if the only way that Armstrong could keep Windham at bay and neutralize his strength was to keep him grounded, or if the only way that Barry could keep Armstrong at bay and neutralize his speed was to keep him grounded, but it was already established that neither of them have problems in those areas. So there’s nothing engaging at all about watching them sit in headlocks for long periods of time.
Barry’s use of the figure four (with Dillon’s assistance) was good for getting the crowd worked up, but it didn’t take the match anywhere. I don’t know why he chose the figure four considering that it’s Flair’s finisher and it didn’t do much to slow down Armstrong. He’d have been better served to use an abdominal stretch with Dillon’s help, it’d get the same heat and he’s not diminishing an established finisher. The finish, with Barry rolling through Brad’s body press and putting on the claw, comes off very nice, as long as one doesn’t stop to ponder why Brad would try for something when it didn’t work five seconds before.
After a whole one wrestling match, we’re taking a break from this wrestling TV show to showcase a bunch of interviews and pre taped segments. The only one that’s worth mentioning is Lex Luger arriving in a limo and being attacked and left laying by the Four Horsemen.
TOMMY ROGERS/BOBBY FULTON © vs. BUTCH MILLER/LUKE WILLIAMS (NWA United States Tag Team Titles)
Wow. This might be the worst match that I’ve seen from the Fantastics, this just drags on and on, and almost nothing happens. All the Sheepherders are much good for is brawling, but it’s pretty mediocre, not in the same galaxy as the Midnights/Fantastics brawl from the first Clash. Tommy and Bobby don’t appear to seemingly have the Flair ability to wrestle broomsticks, because that’s what they have to do and it doesn’t do any good. There are a few moments to the match that are good for crowd heat, like Butch’s cheap shot on Rogers with the chair and the Fantastics switching on and off with their attempts to pin both Sheepherders at once. Fulton’s O’Connor roll that pins Luke would seem anticlimactic, if it wasn’t finally ending this horrible match.
RONNIE GARVIN/JIMMY GARVIN vs. MIKE ROTUNDO/RICK STEINER
And now it’s three for three in the disappointing match department. The match is just a convenient backdrop for the Kevin Sullivan/Previous angle (neither of which is involved in this match). The camera constantly cuts to show them staring at each other and Sullivan taunting her, and Sullivan begging her for the key to the cage that he’s locked inside. The match itself isn’t horrible, because nobody is as bad the Sheepherders, but it’s not very engaging either. There’s a good stretch early on with Ronnie trying to tag, and the Varsity Club keeps causing the ref to miss it, but Jimmy’s tag isn’t a hot tag, and they just keep plodding along. The Garvins win when Jimmy pins Steiner, but the camera misses it due to being on Sullivan and Precious, it appears to be from some kind of cradle. Thankfully there’s another crazy angle afterwards, this time with Sullivan grabbing Precious and trying to choke the life out of her, and with Jimmy and Ronnie unable to help, Doc makes the save.
AL PEREZ vs. NIKITA KOLOFF
This is mostly just eleven minutes of filler until Larry Zybyzsko runs in and attacks Nikita for the disqualification. Perez looked pretty good at times, especially his method of blocking and eventually countering the sunset flip. Koloff also takes a few nice bumps on the floor which leads to Perez working the back over for a little bit. Nikita almost tanks it and blocks Perez’s suplex into the ring, before common sense prevails and he takes the suplex and allows Perez to work the back. Nikita makes the comeback before the match can get too interesting though, and then Larry hits the ring for the DQ and the heels leave Nikita laying. What the point of this was is beyond me, it didn’t lead to anything at the upcoming Great American Bash PPV, it didn’t lead to a feud between Nikita and Larry over the Western States Heritage Title, and there doesn’t appear to be any sort of notable blowoff on a major show, so it seems like a bit of a waste.
ARN ANDERSON/TULLY BLANCHARD © vs. DUSTY RHODES/STING (NWA World Tag Team Titles)
Even with the stupid DQ finish, this is still the best match of the night. It’s still not much of a match, but Tully and Arn are almost Flair-like in their ability to drag Sting and Dusty to something watchable. The big highlight is Arn’s cheating, such as his eye rake to Dusty that breaks his figure four while Dillon has the ref tied up and his DDT to Sting on the floor. The champs also work in their blind tag spot where Tully tags and comes in for a sunset flip to Sting, and Arn hits him with a lariat to knock him down. Sting isn’t good for much aside from getting pounded on by the Horsemen and he’s not much good at looking like he’s in genuine peril, although he does work a decent stretch early on when Arn lariats the post and he works over Arn’s arm. It’d be easy to rag on Dusty for doing little more than just his elbows, but Dusty gets the biggest pop of the night by far, and when you see how he applies the figure four and his ugly DDT, it’s just as well that he sticks with the elbows. Dusty gets the hot tag and fires away on the elbows and Windham and Flair run ins to draw the DQ.
Conclusion: This isn’t just a step down from the first Clash of Champions, this is like going from the penthouse to the outhouse. You can safely skip this show. There’s nothing worth going out of your way for.