As many of the Arabian Facebuster contributors know, I love the National Wrestling Alliance (circa 1986-1989) for its realism, quality wrestling matches, rabidly loyal and passionate fans, distinctively southern feel, and compelling alternative vision to the professional wrestling experience from the WWF. And in 1989, despite Ted Turner's acquisition of the promotion from Jim Crockett and subsequent purge of long-time stars like Tully Blanchard, Arn Anderson, Barry Windham, and Dusty Rhodes, the NWA continued to churn out a great product, in large thanks to Ric Flair's feuds with Ricky Steamboat and Terry Funk, along with a motivated "Total Package" Lex Luger, spunky Sting, and competitive tag team division with the Road Warriors, Steiner Brothers, Midnight Express, and Fabulous Freebirds. After Flair defeated Funk at the Great American Bash in July, he was brutally attacked by Terry Funk and the Great Muta. Sting came in to save the champion, setting up the red-hot main event tag match of Flair/Sting vs. Funk (actually, it turned out to be Dick Slater)/Muta for Clash VIII.
Seeing as how I had yesterday evening free (prior to the Impact Zone on Spike TV, of course), I thought I would pop my tape of Clash VIII in the VCR to relive some fond NWA memories while trying to lobotomize the last 24 months of WWE programming . . . while watching, I couldn't help but smile at some of the comments and commentary from Jim Ross, a then-face James E. Cornette, and Gordon Solie, who was conducting interviews in the back, notwithstanding the wrestlers themselves. So instead of offering the dear readers of Arabian Facebuster a tedious blow-by-blow recap of the action and longwinded explanation as to the context of each match/feud, I thought I would offer a summary of Clash VIII via quotes.
--"Paul E. Dangerously, he has had more trouble keeping these Samoans in line ever since he's had 'em. They're wild beasts . . . the Samoan people naturally are fierce warriors; they are a war-like people and are uncontrollable." Jim Cornette: (a) explaining the Paul E. Dangerously's futility at retrying to regroup the Samoan Swat Team after an offensive flurry by Road Warrior Animal and (b) providing additional evidence to support Apollo Spas' argument that Umaga is racist throwback. The Road Warriors would go onto to defeat the SST.
-- "Ranger Ross is no stranger to adversity . . . he was in the mission on
--"The white man came and took his land, but one brave warrior wouldn't give up without the fight of his life. Burt Lancaster -- Apache! 8:05 ET on TBS Thursday night." Commercial for the TBS Thursday night movie. Native American Hero Tatanka would be proud. Native American Turncoat Tatanka would not.
--"It would be poetic justice if Michael Hayes got his head shaved, because the way he treats that hair is a crime." Jim Cornette during the Freebirds match against the Steiner Brothers. Ironically, Michael Hayes/Dox Hendrix's hair loss would become painfully obvious by 1991, even to denialists like tag team partner Jimmy "Jam" Garvin, roadie Little Richard Marley, and tour manager Big Daddy Dink.
--"Lex Luger transcends just being the US Heavyweight Champion, he transcends the sport itself. Lex Luger is bigger than wrestling itself. Lex Luger is the greatest athlete to grace the ring that has ever come along." Lex Luger shows aspiring young wrestlers how to effectively and resolutely communicate in the third-person in a pre-match interview with Gordon Solie.
--"I have a million dollar body. I have a multi-million dollar intellect. And you combine those with the desire and capacity to win at any cost, then the Total Package Lex Luger is unbeatable." More Luger with Solie. Luger's self-assured prediction would be proven correct against Tommy Rich.
--"The Great Muta has got to be figurin' what in the world is going on . . . I'm sitting smack dab in the middle of South Carolina, a long way from Tokyo, it's Ric Flair Day, the people have their faces painted like Sting, their howlin' and wooo-in' -- and he's got to be wonderin' why he ever left Japan." Jim Cornette pondering on the thoughts of the Great Muta as Sting dominates him in the early going of the tag-team main event.
--"Terry Funk is here . . . He's put a plastic bag over Ric Flair! Flair will not be able to breathe! He's tying it off! Funk is deranged; he's tying it off!" Jim Ross showing righteous indignation at the interference and actions of Terry Funk. Flair and Sting would defeat Slater and Muta by disqualification.
--"This is the most horrible thing I have ever seen happen. Flair was down on the ground from that platic bag attack from Terry Funk. Brian Pillman was the first one to his side, I believe he gave him mouth-to-mouth resuscitation." Jim Cornette in the aftermath of the carnage. It is not clear whether Cornette's comments were a reference to Funk trying to murder Ric Flair on prime time cable television or the sight of Flyin' Brian's prolonged kisses of life to the mouth of the unconscious six time world champion.