World Championship Wrestling – Jul. 16, 1988
By Dave Newman on 9th August 2021
As 1988 WCW is a relatively untapped source for reviews, I figured I’d watch and review daily the run of episodes encapsulating the feud between world tag team champions Tully Blanchard and Arn Anderson and US tag team champions the Midnight Express. Rest in peace Bobby Eaton.
For context, this episode is the first one after the Great American Bash PPV.
Hosts are Tony Schiavone, Jim Ross and David Crockett. Jim mentions that the Road Warriors and Dusty Rhodes are the new six man tag team champions, as Dusty obviously couldn’t do a job on PPV without a little bit of salve for his wounds.
Sting and Steve Williams vs. The Green Hornet and Dale Laparouse
Sting is just screaming and moving at full energy, far more fun than his Crow years. Despite the stolen name, the Green Hornet is a dumpy jobber in a green singlet and mask. Sting and Doc alternate on slams and elbows in a “Top this!” competition, which Doc probably wins based on getting in a dangerous-looking piledriver. Laparouse comes in and Williams runs him over before finishing with the Stampede. 1/1.
Recap of the Ric Flair/Lex Luger match from the Bash. Having not watched the full match in ages, I’m surprised the corrupt commission didn’t end it based on Flair’s grazes on his back and arms before Luger’s forehead cut. I’d also be surprised if the old man made it back to his car with it having any wheels or windows still a part of it. The crowd reaction says they absolutely should’ve pulled the trigger on Lex. Jim Crockett covers a bit of it with sugar, but they were circling the drain.
Ric Flair and JJ Dillon join the show for an interview. Naitch rubs it in by boasting about laying his head down on a different woman’s pillow every night because he’s the champ!
Brad Armstrong vs. Larry Stephens
Brad works and works and works an armbar as Tony and Jim try every trick other than “He’s a really nice guy!” to get him over. Side Russian legsweep finishes. Technically fine but totally unexciting. 1/2.
And more excitement as David asks Brad what the deal is with Ron Garvin and that commissioner. Everyone knows that Road Dogg is the best talker of the family, so this is a lot of nothing.
Jim talks to Barry Windham and JJ. It wasn’t Ron Garvin that was responsible for Dusty losing to Barry, it was the claw. Jim throws to the closing moments of the Dusty/Barry match from the Bash, with Dusty mounting the ropes to try and elbow his way out of the claw. He should’ve just fallen on him, that would’ve done the trick. His facial expressions when he can be bothered to do them in the claw are fun, though. Superplex attempt takes Tommy Young down, although the camera angle shows he barely touches him. Ron Garvin saunters down to say hello or something, then turns on Dusty to a big pop to give Barry the win.
Back in the studio, JJ is joined by Gary Hart and Garvin. $50,000 apparently did the trick to buy the Hands of Stone. Gary requests that the next time Garvin hits Dusty that he’s heading to the neon room. Ron sarcastically tells his many fans that he’ll do anything for money.
Tony and Jim show backstage footage of Dillon and Hart paying Ronnie, which he rubs all over his chest and hams it up. Ron already has a new plane planned to be bought.
Dick Murdoch vs. Curtis Thompson
Quite the difference in training regimes between these two. Captain Redneck jaws with referee Teddy Long early on… Surprising, would’ve thought they would’ve gotten on really well! Kevin Sullivan offers a cheap shot on the outside as Murdoch puts the boots to Windbreaker Chip. The Murdoch/Sullivan alliance is to promote a tag team match against Dusty and the Sheik at Cobo Hall, which Sheik showed up for the first match in the series and then got upset about the payoff and didn’t return for the rematch. Dick finishes with the brainbuster. All fine. 2/3.
Sullivan and Murdoch join David for an interview. Sullivan talks about how the Sheik is the son of the jackal and a madwoman and the heat of the desert fried his brain from the moment he was born. Also, dead men don’t make money. OK… Murdoch chips in against too much praise of the Democratic Convention. Who would’ve thought Murdoch was a Republican, hey? He recalls his history with Dusty, fighting all the fights while Rhodes took all the credit.
Tully Blanchard and Arn Anderson vs. Tommy Angel and Trent Knight
Arn has on odd kneepads for some irritating reason. Tully offers a handshake and of course suckers Angel in for a kick to the stomach. Angel actually gets a few pinfall attempts on Tully and Arn, but gets felled with Arn’s left hand and topples back into his corner and tags in Knight. Knight walks right into a STIFF DDT and Tully pins him with a boot on the chest. That was merciful of Blanchard, I expected Knight to have a bruised or bleeding forehead from that one. 3/4, except for how potentially nasty that finish could’ve been.
JJ, Tully and Arn. Tully must be under the weather because he has a nasty cough. The Horsemen gloat over how each member has a belt around their waist and nobody’s been able to take them down, then riffs off a heckler’s catcall that talk is cheap. Arn puts over Sting and Nikita for trying, but just not getting the job done.
Al Perez vs. Agent Steel
Steel is a masked man in blue Brutus Beefcake tights. It’s actually Brad (son of Gene) Anderson, last seen beating up a guy who roughed up his son. Al gets two Allycopters, a kneedrop, flying forearm and spinning toehold to finish. What an odd collection of moves. 3/5.
David talks to Lex Luger, who rebuts JJ’s earlier comment of wanting to buy 100,000 copies of the GAB videotape. Just to show the marketing geniuses they had (not really), the subtitle The Price of Freedom is in massive letters on the cover while the Great American Bash logo is in small, black letters and barely distinguishable, so imagine trying to easily find that in the video store. Lex gets his tanktop off and it’s not too tight, Billy! No sour grapes, although he’s doing a lot of yelling and screaming about it.
The Road Warriors vs. Rick Allen and Gary Phelps
Animal and Hawk storm the ring and hit the Doomsday Device on the smaller jobber in less than thirty seconds. “He killed him!”, revels David. 4/6.
David is with the LOD and Paul Ellering, still on about them killing the poor guy. Hawk demonstrates how the Bash matches are going for their opponents by laying down and snoring on the ground to David’s amusement. He then just takes over and grabs the mic to cut his own promo on Ron Garvin. Would you argue with him about? The life you save, Ronnie Garvin, may be your own.
The Midnight Express vs. Dave Spearman and JC Wylde
Wylde has a decent look despite some incongruous brown cowboy boots. Corny annoys JR from the start by greeting him with “Hello buckethead!”. All smiles for the heels with having the US tag team titles again. JC promotes every town they’re going to over the next week while giving a secret shout-out to Denis Coralluzzo and Frank Chile. Bobby brings out Spearman for a mic’d punch by the desk (JR: “Is this necessary?!”, Bobby: “Yes, it is!”). Stan snapmares Spearman into his corner so that he can tag in Wylde. On the outside he garrotes him with the tag rope. Bobby has Wylde beat with his neckbreaker, but hauls him up for the flapjack for the win. Corny: “I’ve been waiting to slap JC around for a long time!”. 5/7.
At the desk, Corny is still talking, going on a stream of consciousness rant about prophecies that didn’t come true, like the Fantastics holding onto the belts. He goes for about two minutes before slowing down to talk about how there’s only one team they haven’t beaten… But how can you beat them when they won’t sign for a match with you? Foreshadowing!
Nikita Koloff vs. Tommy Royal
Nikita never looks right with hair. Tony is all over that last Corny comment. Next to no time left, so Nikita finishes quickly with the Sickle and no-selling everything. Koloff was a Goldberg-like phenomenon, but he seemingly always had one foot out the door so isn’t remembered as well. 5/8.
David talks to Nikita, who throws out vague championship challenges to nobody in particular. David then calls time on it as they finish.
The meltdown: Fine, cool-down episode after a PPV, with the big thing being the late setup of the MX/Horsemen feud.