The SmarK Rant for NWA Power Hour – 03.02.90
It’s the show after WrestleWar 90! With a new look and everything!
Taped from what appears to be Center Stage in Atlanta, GA?
Your hosts are Jim Ross & Gordon Solie, with a new “WCW” backdrop instead of just being in front of a green-screened crowd. What the hell is “WCW”? This is the NWA! We Wrestle here! They said so!
Cactus Jack v. Keith Hart
Keith Hart is not the slightly more famous brother of Bret, he’s just a guy. Jack works the arm and slugs away on Hart to start, but Keith fights back and misses a dropkick. Jack lays him out while Kevin Sullivan looks on at ringside, apparently managing Jack in some form. Hart goes to the top and Jack clotheslines him on the way down in a badass counter, and then drops a leg on him for two. Jack puts Keith on the top rope and then yanks him down onto the back of his head, but Sullivan instructs him to deliver more punishment. So Jack chokes out the guy on the ropes and Kevin adds a stiff slap. Jack with a back suplex and then he just LEVELS the poor bastard with a lariat and then tosses him into the railing outside. He takes the guy over the railing with a Cactus Clothesline in a crazy bump onto the concrete for both guys, and then slams him on the floor and drops an elbow from the apron, and THANK GOD he puts the guy out of his misery at 5:35 in one of the most awesome squashes you ever see in your ever-loving life. Where was THIS Cactus for the rest of 1990?
WRESTLING NEWS NETWORK! WITH GORDON SOLIE!
Gordon runs down the results of WrestleWar, talking about people “taking the measure” of other people in some old-timey lingo that you don’t hear the kids using anymore. Also he’s got a spiffy new backdrop as well, so I guess the new regime was opening up the purse strings on this show a little bit.
The Wild Samoans v. Paul Drake & Bob Cook
Bob is looking pretty lean here, actually. Hopefully that doesn’t affect his deadly punch. So I’m not sure why they shifted the naming convention from Samoan Swat Team to Wild Samoans around this time, especially since the “Wild Samoans” name was far more associated with Afa and Sika. Cook gets destroyed by the Samoans while Gordon talks about how “Samoans the world over” have been bred to be strong. Yeah, OK. They toss Cook in and out and bring in Drake, who has a good look to him like Tommy Rogers, but he walks into a superkick from Fatu and a powerslam. They hit Drake with a Hart Attack clothesline while JR goes back to hyping the Omni show instead of PPV or Clashes, and Samu hits a spinkick on Drake for two and picks him up. Back to Cook and they beat the crap out of him and put the boots to him as they talk about how Terry Funk will be the special referee for a show in Amarillo that’s coming up. What, they couldn’t have called Dennis Stamp and booked him? Flying splash finishes at 6:38. Usual Samoan squash.
Jim Cornette interviews Kevin Sullivan’s new crew, with Buzz Sawyer and Cactus Jack. As I’ve mentioned once before in these, the WrestleWar PPV was actually the last wrestling appearance of Buzz Sawyer before his death, aside from a couple of minor house show appearances. Jack takes a shot at doing a promo and Cornette is like “Um, I’m just gonna talk to Kevin Sullivan now” after failing to guide him to the question successfully. Kevin: “In this country, you’re supposed to be innocent until you’re proven guilty.” Buzz: “Um, I was guilty.” Sullivan: “Shut up!” This group, as “The Slaughterhouse” had a lot of potential but obviously never went anywhere.
US Tag team title: Brian Pillman & Tom Zenk v. The Freebirds
This is actually their third match in about a week on TV, as the finals of the US tag title tournament were on Worldwide between the two teams, and then they had a rematch at WrestleWar, and now here. Thankfully this totally reputable rip I’m watching retains Pillman’s use of “Rocket” as entrance music because you can never have enough Def Leppard in your life. Here’s a shock, Hayes stalls to start. Pillman takes him down with armdrags to start, but Garvin beats on Zenk in the corner to take over. Zenk backdrops him out of the corner and we get more stalling from the Freebirds before Zenk dropkicks Garvin. Over to Hayes again and he stalls again while Pillman leads a “Freebirds Suck” chant. He’s not wrong. The champs pinball Hayes in the corner and send him running back to Garvin while JR and Solie discuss what a good word “surcease” is. As I’ve mentioned before, the funniest word is actually “shrubbery”. Ha, shrubbery. Pillman works on a headlock on Garvin while JR talks about referees and how Tommy Young is still convalescing and will be back soon. But in fact, he wouldn’t. Shockingly, the Freebirds do more stalling on the floor and work the count while, and I swear to god I’m not making this up, an entire section of the audience is made up of executives from the Roos shoe company. Man, they were in DEEP with those damn shoes. The company was literally about to die and only reappeared recently, so that’s standing operating procedure for WCW. And hey, here’s another shock, the Freebirds get a cheapshot on Zenk and start doing chinlocks. Zenk tries a rollup and Hayes hits him with a clothesline from the apron while we learn that apparently Pillman was in the Suicide Squad! Man, too bad he wasn’t around long enough to be on Peacemaker with John Cena. That would have been something. Hayes goes to another chinlock on Zenk after cutting off a tag attempt, but Pillman gets the hot tag while Jim Cornette joins us at ringside. He hits Pillman with the racket behind the ref’s back and the Midnights attack Zenk on the floor, as we throw out the match at 15:13 and the Rock N Roll Express make the save for a chaotic brawl to end the show. This set up a pair of pretty good feuds but the match was OK, but wasn’t particularly good or anything, and was mostly stalling from the Birds. **1/4
However, Pillman and Zenk earn the distinction of WRESTLERS OF THE WEEK for their efforts.
NEXT WEEK: Arn Anderson defends the TV title against Tommy Rich!
I quite like the refreshed look of the show in Center Stage, but really the Cactus squash was the reason to watch this week’s show, and the tag title match was OK as well.