April 21, 2012
Scott Criscuolo & Justin Rozzero
The Place to Be

Clash of the Champions II: Miami Mayhem
June 8, 1988
Knight Center
Miami, FL
Announcers: Tony Schiavone & Bob Caudle

1) Barry Windham vs. Brad Armstrong (Brad James) for the NWA United States Title

Fun Fact: On 4/20, Lex Luger & Barry Windham were defending their NWA World Tag Team Titles in a rematch against Arn Anderson & Tully Blanchard. During the match, Windham turned on Luger, allowing Anderson & Blanchard to regain their gold. Windham then revealed that he was joining the Four Horsemen, solidifying his heel turn. He began wearing a black glove and adopted his fatherís iron claw as his new finishing hold. On 5/13, Windham won the United States title in a tournament, defeating Nikita Koloff in the finals. The title became vacant when Dusty Rhodes was stripped of the belt after attacking promoter Jim Crockett.

Fun Fact II: Brad Armstrong is a member of the infamous Armstrong wrestling family. He went into the family business and made his debut in SECW in 1981. After winning the NWA Junior Heavyweight title there, he would eventually migrate to Georgia in 1984. While in Georgia, Armstrong sided with his father and feuded with Ted DiBiase and the Freebirds. It was also during this time that he began teaming with Tim Horner as the Lightning Express. Armstrong and Horner would end up with JCP by 1986 after a run as NWA National Tag Team Champions. In 1987, the team switched over to the UWF for a successful run, winning more gold and having a good feud with the Sheepherders. After UWF folded, Horner and Armstrong found themselves back with JCP. Horner would hang around until late 1988 before jumping to the WWF while Armstrong stayed put.

Scott: One year ago, Barry Windham was feuding big time with World Champion Ric Flair. One year later and he now stands by his side as a member of the Four Horsemen. Right now, this is the most athletic, high-workrate version of the Horsemen theyíll ever have. Windham turned on babyface Lex Luger to allow Tully Blanchard & Arn Anderson to regain the Tag Team Titles they lost at Clash I. I marked out big time for Windham as a Horseman. He deserved some main event/title reigns and carried the US Title very well. After a very successful debut Clash to battle Wrestlemania IV, TBS tries to keep the momentum going with a title match-filled second show down in Miami. JCP was smart to put these shows in smaller venues as the crowd is always hot and audible and this opener is no different. One thing Tony and the NWA announce guys did very well was to promote. They pumped up the Great American Bash PPV like crazy, as it would be the first. Windham did a great job settling into the ďHorsemenĒ way of doing things, from cheating to stalling to using JJ Dillon as interference. Armstrong was always a serviceable guy and put on a good show here. Horsemen are always good at working body parts over, and Windham did just that as he did a number on Armstrongís knee. Iím also a mark for the Claw, which is exactly what Windham used to retain his title. A pretty solid opener and a great win for the fresh heel Windham. Grade: 3

Justin: Watching these shows really makes me appreciate just how talented Barry Windham really was. He was a great babyface the last few years but now he transforms into a natural heel, exuding arrogance, swagger and hatred at every turn. He was a perfect fit for the Horsemen and it was a smart move to turn him heel. He kicks off our second Clash against the talented Brad Armstrong. Armstrong got off to a good start, keeping Windham off balance. The commentary focused heavily on Barryís heel turn and they did a good job of pimping him as a major star. Windham eventually slowed the pace down and showed good heel psychology with his stalling, facials and offense. And speaking of offense, Armstrong got quite a bit of it in, actually. Windham eventually hooked in a figure four, leading to a lengthy battle with the hold locked in. The match was full of crisp strikes and good selling by both men. Equally as impressive as Windhamís swagger was Armstrongís speed. He was crazy fast out there. I like how Windham won clean with the claw, as it put both Barry and the hold over strong. This was a good opener that really served its purpose as Barry needed a good TV win to really help establish his new role. Armstrong was game, but Barry was just too strong in the end. Grade: 2.5

Result: Windham d. Armstrong to retain US Title by submission with the Iron Claw at 13:56

*** At ringside, Tony & Bob interview former NFL star Lyle Alzado about his new wrestling themed sitcom, Learning the Ropes. JCP had a working relationship with the show and provided talent to be used in the wrestling scenes. We even get a tremendous clip package of the program. Unfortunately, the show didnít take off and we were robbed of some campy TV greatness. After that, the Rock Ďní Roll Express make their JCP return via an interview with Tony & Bob. We then get highlights of the huge contract signing for the Lex Luger/Ric Flair Great American Bash title match that occurred earlier in the day. The signing took place on a yacht and had the Horsemen in all of their 80ís greatness. This was a unique and cool idea that really made the match seem like a big deal. And oh yeah, the Horsemen were awesome with their heel swagger. ***

2) The Fantastics vs. The Sheepherders for the NWA United States Tag Team Titles

Fun Fact: The Fantastics defeated the Midnight Express to win the NWA US Tag Team Titles on 4/26.

Fun Fact II: The Sheepherders make their JCP PPV debut here, but this team had been around for quite a while. Butch Miller and Luke Williams formed the Kiwi Sheepherders for NWA New Zealand in 1964. After a successful year, the Kiwis moved to North America in 1965, mainly working across Canada, spending a lot of time in Stampede Wrestling. They would also have a solid run in Puerto Rico. After leaving that promotion in 1981, Butch wanted to return home and decided to wrestle in Australia, and he and Luke ended their team. However, Luke did not want the Sheepherders name to fade, so he revived the team with Jonathan Boyd and the team gained a reputation as one of the hardest-hitting and violent teams in the world. The team had a great run in SECW throughout 1981 before leaving for Memphis in 1982. They would have another memorable and violent run there, terrorizing the Mid South Coliseum through the end of 1983. Shortly after returning to SWCW in 1983, Boyd broke his leg in a car accident. Luke temporarily teamed with Bobby Jaggers, but after they lost their tag team titles, Luke decided it was time to reunite the original Sheepherders. The team would work SWCW and Puerto Rico through 1985. During this time, Boyd had healed and began teaming with Rip Morgan, the original Sheepherdersí former flag bearer, as the Kiwi Sheepherders in Memphis, having another successful and violent run. In 1986, Luke and Butch hooked up with the UWF, winning tag team gold once again. The team continued to work UWF, Memphis, Puerto Rico, Florida and even Japan, adding line after line to their impressive resume. Finally, in 1987 they joined JCP upon the merger with UWF. On 4/24, Rip Morgan was brought in to reprise his role as the flag bearer for the Sheepherders, replacing Johnny Ace who had left the role and turned face.

*** During this match, we cut backstage where the Horsemen jump Lex Luger in the parking lot. ***

Scott: Now for all of our readers and fans who think Iím a little tough on the Bushwhackers, watch this match and you know why. Before Vince McMahon turned Luke and Butch into two face-licking buffoons, they were a nasty awesome heel team who used barbed wire on their New Zealand flag to torture opponents all over the country. Of course before the match even begins we go live to the parking lot to see the delicious beatdown of Lex Luger in the Knight Center parking lot by the Four Horsemen. Minutes before we saw the footage of the contract signing by Luger and Ric Flair for the World Title match July 10 at the GAB, and now Luger is now in the Horsemenís sights. Right here we see the first salvo shot, and as usual a smile is across my face. I almost forgot there was a match as TBS went to commercial before they went back inside the arena. The match is exciting as both teams really go all out to counter the action going on outside the arena. The Fantastics were one of those unheralded teams who didnít get much play due to the Rock Ďní Roll Express being at the top of the girl-crazy team food chain. So it was nice to see a different team in that role. I so enjoyed the Sheepherders here, as they were much better in the ring and more serious. If they had debuted right as the Bushwhackers and I had never seen them before, I probably wouldnít be so upset at the gimmick. I know that Vince had to make some of his teams fan-friendly and he couldnít have two ugly crazed lunatics with a barbed-wire flag running around. It still upsets me how neutered they became. I didnít expect this match to be almost twenty minutes long, but you were dealing with two solid teams who really worked all over the ring and outside and kept the energy level up. The Sheepherders had moments where you thought they would take the straps as they did dominate most of the in-ring action. Watching this match makes me appreciate the pre-Bischoff years of Tony Schiavone. I know he was annoying in the late 90ís with the tight polo shirts and bad mullet, but in these salad days of the late 80ís he was pretty solid and put the matches over in a great way. The Fantastics get the win with a roll-up out of nowhere and retain their titles. Grade: 3

Justin: Ah, the debut of one of the greatest heel teams of this era: the Sheepherders. I loved me so some crazes, New Zealand style violence and these guys delivered in spades. It really is amazing how successful their run was since they formed the team in the sixties. They were pretty fluid here and worked a style that centered on controlled mayhem and anger. The Fantastics were, well fantastic, so you knew the dichotomy in styles between the teams should mesh well. Rip Morganís early interference backfired, allowing the Fantastics to gain control during a wild brawl on the floor. The Sheepherders would eventually regain control and we got a good heat segment with some well-timed comeback attempts mixed in. Luke and Butch were in pretty damn good shape at this point, lean and ripped. I loved their classic heel teamwork and chicanery mixed in, just basic and effective. They were relentless in their rough offense, just non-stop attack and it really built some good heat. The Fantastics would finally gain traction and steal the win to retain their gold and end this long, well-structured match. The Sheepherders got some heat back after, beating down the champs. This was very good as it was just a fun, classic tag team style match with two hard working teams. Grade: 3

Result: Fantastics d. Sheepherders to retain US Tag Team Titles when Tommy Fulton pinned Butch Williams with a roll up 19:29

3) Jimmy Garvin (James Williams) & Ronnie Garvin (Roger Barnes) vs. Mike Rotunda & Rick Steiner (Rob Rechsteiner)

Fun Fact: On 4/22 at the Crockett Cup, Kevin Sullivan squared off with Jimmy Garvin in a blindfold match. After Garvin won, Rick Steiner came in the ring and he and Sullivan assaulted Garvin. Ronnie Garvin came to make the save, but Mike Rotunda also got involved and Sullivan eventually stabbed Ronnie in the chest with a golden spike, knocking him out of the tournament. In the following weeks, Sullivan began to make secretive claims about a relationship with Jimmyís valet, Precious, claiming he had been speaking to her behind Jimmyís back. On 5/14, Sullivan kidnapped Precious while she was at ringside. The Garvins eventually found her alone in a room screaming hysterically. The sides would continue to get involved in the otherís matches before being set to collide here.

Scott: We have another match with a lot of backstory. Anything with Kevin Sullivan is entertaining, but unfortunately we donít have a complete cache of workrate geniuses here. Jimmy Garvin showed his chops at the first Bash against Rotunda, but Ronnie is a punching goof and Steiner is a meathead. With Precious at ringside and Sullivan in his own little cage, the action is choppy and slow. I liked Rotunda in this stretch; maybe it was the Syracuse singlet and the orange boots. Dr. Death Steve Williams replaced Caudle in the booth for this match, and I donít remember why. In terms of the Garvins, I think this may be the only match I can remember where these two actually teamed together. They obviously arenít related, neither has the last name ďGarvinĒ, but they donít even look alike. Itís rare to see Precious as a face, but it is refreshing as she was one of the more attractive divas of the 80s. The whole hook is that Sullivan is waving some piece of paper around to Precious and we donít know what it is. In reality itís probably a JCP pay stub. Overall the match is pretty choppy and my usual disdain for Ronnie Garvin makes me grade this pretty average. Another out of nowhere roll-up and the Garvins win. Grade: 2.5

Justin: This bizarre and heated feuds continues to rage on as Kevin Sullivan now claims to have some sort of secret involving Precious. This match was simply setting the stage for the huge Tower of Doom war that was already set between these two sides to go down at the Bash next month. Steve Williams is on commentary here but doesnít really add too much. Sullivan is locked in a cage here to keep him out of the action and away from Precious. I thought he did a good job while locked up too, constantly screaming orders and trying to get involved and harassing Precious when he could. Things get off to a wild start, but the Garvins eventually take control of things. The pace slowed down a bit once the heels took over and I liked their double team offense that they showed off. Rotunda and Steiner continued to work Ronnie over as Sullivan and Precious continuously distracted Jimmy. Sullivan was actually able to steal the key from Precious and bust himself out. During the commotion, Jimmy rolled up Steiner and stole the match in what was kind of an odd finish. Sullivan would maul Precious after the bell, but Williams made the save, charging out of the announce booth. After things calmed down, Precious was pretty angry with her man and stormed off, ignoring Garvinís pleas. The match was OK and a decent brawl, but as I stated earlier it really mainly existed to set up the Tower next month. Grade: 1.5

Result: Garvins d. Rotunda & Steiner when Jimmy pinned Steiner with a roll up at 13:14

4) Nikita Koloff (Nelson Simpson) vs. Al Perez

Fun Fact: Al Perez was a high school amateur wrestler that began his pro career in 1982. He worked in ICW and WCCW until heading to JCP in 1988 as a heel aligned with Gary Hart and often teaming with Larry Zbyszko.

Fun Fact II: On 4/24, Koloff and Perez squared off, with Koloff winning cleanly. After the bout, Perez attacked Koloff with a foreign object and then hooked him in his spinning toehold until Sting made the save. The two men would work the house show circuit leading into this match.

Scott: Iím a big fan of babyface Nikita, but Al Perez did absolutely nothing for me. He was a faceless, personality-less bum from World Class. I remember him having a cup of coffee with the WWF but other than that heís just some guy with a beard. I still wasnít used to Nikita with the big flat top but he always brought the goods in the ring and he does here as well. Gary Hart interferes and throws Nikita into a table. Hart was one of my favorite managers in World Class, and heíll have an even better 1989 in WCW than he is here. Al Perez is a mere warm-up for Nikita and bigger things. The match isnít terrible, probably because my expectations were pretty low to begin with. The match ends in a schmozz when Larry Zbyszko comes in to interfere and Nikita crushes him with the Sickle. I donít know why Al Perez was being protected here, but whatever. Nikita wins but the feud continues. Grade: 2

Justin: I was always an Al Perez fan and thought a guy with his look and skill should have done more in the business, but he just never seemed to last long in a promotion and never really connected with fans outside of his WCCW run. Nikita overpowered him easily to start and made sure to keep a slow pace. Hart would help Perez take control and Perez would use the outside of the ring for most of his offense, utilizing the ring post, table and concrete floor. The match overall was pretty basic and it ends in a DQ when Larry gets involved and we get a good heel assault on Nikita. While basic, the match was solid and enjoyable to watch on a whole. Grade: 2

Result: Koloff d. Perez by disqualification at 11:51

5) Arn Anderson (Marty Lunde) & Tully Blanchard vs. Sting (Steve Borden) & Dusty Rhodes (Virgil Runnels) for the NWA World Tag Team Titles

Fun Fact: Earlier in the year, Dusty Rhodes was suspended for assaulting Jim Crockett on TV. After that suspension, a mysterious masked man known as the Midnight Rider showed up on the scene. Week after week, JJ Dillon, the Horsemen and numerous other heels claimed that the Rider was clearly Rhodes. On 4/17, Dusty Rhodes was interviewed and claimed he was not the Rider and that he would be home training until his suspension expired. JJ Dillon later claimed that if any wrestler or manager revealed the Rider as Rhodes, Dustyís suspension would be extended for a year. The Rider angle ended on May 13 when Rhodes was reinstated and he immediately reignited his feud with the Horsemen and aligned with Sting and Lex Luger in his quest.

Scott: In a show sprinkled with classic Horsemen moments, our main event involves the tag champs against the biggest Horsemen adversaries. Sting is a superstar after his awesome performance at Clash I, and now teaming with Big Dust, they take on the greatest tag team in the world. The match is the usual fare involving Dusty, as he gets his early shots on Tully & Arn and the crowd is going crazy. With the match length only eleven minutes the pace was breakneck as Dusty took his licks and Sting was making the big comebacks to the delight of the south Florida fans. The Horsemen do their best to dictate tempo, and then the crowd is hushed with Arn DDTís Sting on the cement floor. Eventually the match turns into chaos, referee Teddy Long is tossed to the floor and then Barry Windham comes in, followed by Ric Flair. The Horsemen start to batter Dusty and Sting, like they do so well, and we end with the tremendous vision of Windham with the Claw on the bloodied face of Dusty Rhodes. Luger sold his beatdown injuries so he couldnít save them. Frankly if youíre a fan of the Four Horsemen, *pointing to myself*, this is your show. Theyíre everywhere and always getting the upper hand. Grade: 3

Justin: On paper this was definitely a great big time main event. Dusty Rhodes was back in the fold and he and Sting, along with Lex Luger, were hell bent on wiping out the Horsemen. Rhodes and Sting get monster pops as both men were over big time here. Sting controlled early as Tully bumped all over the ring for him as only Tully could. Arn and Tully were so smooth and crisp in their teamwork and chemistry; it was really awe-inspiring to watch. They would work an effective double heat segment, first on Rhodes and then on Sting, although, with the Horsemen in control and Sting and Rhodes eating the offense, it wasnít very hard to gain fan heat. The nastiest spot in the match came when Anderson spiked Sting on the concrete with a stiff DDT. The only problem was that Sting didnít really sell the move much at all. That should have been a move that put Sting out cold. Sting makes his comeback and the crowd is off the hook as a big brawl breaks out, eventually leading to a weak double DQ finish. Barry Windham and Ric Flair would come out and the Horsemen left the faces wiped out. We would also get one more shot of Windhamís devastating claw, as he hooked in Dusty, even drawing blood with it. The aftermath was good, but the match itself was pretty disappointing. Grade: 1.5

Result: Anderson & Blanchard and Sting & Rhodes wrestle to a double disqualification at 10:58; Anderson & Blanchard retain Tag Team Titles

Final Grade:
Scott: B+
Justin: D+

MVP: Barry Windham
Runner Up: Fantastics
Non MVP: Jimmy Garvin
Runner Up: Sting & Dusty Rhodes

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