The SmarK Rant for NWA Power Hour – 03.23.90
Taped from Columbus, OH
Your hosts are Jim Ross & Gordon Solie
The Rock N Roll Express v. The Cuban Assassin & Nasty Ned
The RNR is back to a generic Chuck Berry riff after using “Your Mama Don’t Dance” in the last couple of shows. The Assassin beats on Robert in the corner to start, and I’ve actually been gaining an appreciation of him from watching him as David Patterson in Mid-Atlantic ’82. Gibson with a crossbody for two and it’s over to Ricky for a dropkick. Cuban sends him to the apron and he comes back in with a sunset flip for two. Over to NASTY NED, but he puts his head down and takes a kneelift from Robert and some double-teaming from the Express. Double elbow, but Ned fights back on Robert and the Assassin puts him down with a knee to the gut. Backbreaker gets two. The Assassin goes to a bearhug and Nasty Ned beats on Robert with elbows, but he misses a blind charge and it’s hot tag Ricky. It’s BREAKING LOOSE IN TULSA and the double dropkick finishes Nasty Ned at 6:00. Quality job guys to start out the show.
The WRESTLING NEWS NETWORK! WITH GORDON SOLIE!
Sting is still improving, but no timeline on his return yet. Arn Anderson is also rehabbing his back injury while Ole Anderson demands various gimmick matches against the Steiners in order to seek revenge against them. Also the Samoans have fired another manager and now they’re going it alone. Also coming soon is the return of the Top Ten. Oh man they’re gonna kill me if I have to do that gag every week.
Cactus Jack Manson v. Eddie Gilbert
Holy cow, a couple of years later and this match would form the basis of ECW and become a staple of tape traders everywhere. Jack predictably attacks to start and puts the boots to Eddie before choking him out with “that rag he calls a ring jacket”. Don’t poverty shame him, JR! Eddie fights back and sends Jack into the corner for a Flair Flip and he goes flying into the railing with a crazy bump. So Eddie follows with a flying axehandle, and they brawl back into the ring again. Jack slugs away in the corner, but Eddie dropkicks him to the floor and Jack takes another wacky bump off that and pulls up the mats in frustration. Back in the ring, Eddie gets some cheapshots behind the ref’s back, while Solie actually makes a coherent point for once and notes that Eddie knows how to mess with referees because his dad was one. Well even a drunk squirrel finds a nut twice a day or whatever the saying is. Eddie works the headlock, but Jack takes him down with a drop toehold and Eddie reverses into a headlock again. Jack escapes with a handful of hair, but Gilbert counters back to the headlock and gets a crossbody out of the corner for two. Back to the headlock as Solie notes that Jack is like a tornado because he’s so unpredictable. Um, if a little movie called Twister taught us anything, it’s that tornados are in fact very predictable thanks to science and science-adjacent Pepsi-related experiments. I’ve seen it enough times to know. Jack gets a cheapshot to take over and stomps him down for two, then goes to a chinlock. That goes on for a while as the result here is incredibly telegraphed. And yeah, the ring announcer starts doing the “five minutes remaining” call in case we haven’t already figured out the draw. Eddie fights out and Jack tosses him and then follows with a missile dropkick off the apron. Back in, he beats Eddie down in the corner and follows with a back elbow for two, and a Russian legsweep gets two. Jack goes back to the chinlock again and then goes up for a double axehandle, but Eddie boots him on the way down and makes the comeback. Eddie misses a blind charge and hits the post, and then Jack sends him flying into the railing before trying a Cactus Clothesline and missing, hurling himself into the front row and terrifying the kids there in the process. Eddie suplexes him back into ringside, and back into the ring for a sunset flip for two and a small package for two. Jack with a neckbreaker for two. They fight for a backslide and Eddie gets two, but they clothesline each other for a double down and time expires at 15:00. This was a hell of a TV match for 1990 with some crazy bumps from both guys. ***1/4
Jim Cornette interviews Norman and his new friend Captain Mike Rotunda, and Norman gets a funny line when he tells Jim “I wouldn’t put a garden hose in your mouth if your teeth were on fire”. Mike Rotunda wants all the kids to stay off the drugs and stay in school so they don’t get used by Kevin Sullivan like he was. Also they have a box with them, but we don’t learn what’s in it yet. I have no idea where they’re going with that one or if it even paid off, but Norman was bringing the snarky lines here and it was pretty funny.
US title: Lex Luger v. Samu
Ric Flair joins us on commentary for this one, probably drunker than Gordon Solie but at least able to sound like he knows what he’s talking about. They do the test of strength to start and Luger wins that pretty easily, but Samu makes the ropes. Samu goes for a full nelson but Lex powers out of that, but Flair is unimpressed because it’s called wrestling and not weightlifting. Maybe someone should start up another promotion that IS about weightlifting and bodybuilding! Luger works the arm and backdrops him out of the corner, but he misses a charge and lands on the floor, allowing Samu to take over. Back in the ring, Samu beats on him with headbutts, but Luger makes the comeback and puts him down with an elbow. Samu hits him with another headbutt and goes up for the flying splash, but that misses and Luger puts him away with the HUMAN TORTURE RACK at 6:48 to retain. A perfectly cromulent TV match. **
And we wrap things up with comments from Flair, as he puts over Luger’s credentials and allocades but doesn’t think Lex has what it takes to unseat him.
Obviously the Cactus Jack-Eddie Gilbert match is the hidden gem here, making this one an easy recommendation.