Date: May 7th 1989
Promotion: NWA World Championship Wrestling, National Wrestling Alliance
Location: Nashville, Tennessee, USA
Arena: Municipal Auditorium
Attendance: ca. 5.200
Commentary by: Jim Ross & Bob Caudle
WrestleWar 1989: Music City Showdown was a professional wrestling that had been put on by the National Wrestling Alliance and World Championship Wrestling. It aired on May 7th 1989 from the Nashville Municipal Auditorium in Nashville, Tennessee. This Pay-Per-View event featured Jim Ross & Bob Caudle on commentary. And boasted five championship matches. There was even a mini-concert courtesy of The Oak Ridge Boys.
There isn’t much of an introduction before the matches begin.
The Great Muta vs. Doug Gilbert - Singles (58%)
Things started off quickly with Muta spraying Gilbert in the face with the Green Mist. These two go back and forth for a good portion of the match, but Muta stays strong and delivers most of the punishment. Doug gets a bit of a comeback. However, it doesn’t prove to be enough to put Muta down. Things turn and go back in The Great Muta’s favor and he hits a moonsault for the quick win.
Ranger Ross vs. Butch Reed - Singles (37%)
Ranger Ross looked impressive as the newcomer. Butch Reed was the crafty veteran. This match played out with both men trading blows back and forth. Ross put up some great offense. But Butch Reed wasn’t going to have it. He hit a single Big Shoulder Tackle from the top rope and won another quick bout.
Bob Orton vs. Dick Murdoch - Bullrope Match (25%)
This sounded interesting. Bob Orton is a bit of a vicious son-of-a-bitch and I didn’t know much about Dick Murdoch. But he sounded mean. We are treated to the sinister Gary Hart on the outside as the manager of Bob Orton. I was interested in the match but then it just sort of ended. Murdoch hogtied Bob Orton and pinned him. It had to last less than a minute.
The Dynamic Dudes vs. The Samoan SWAT Team (Fatu & Samu) - Tag Team Match (66%)
A young Paul Heyman manages The Samoan SWAT Team in NWA/WCW, a long time before they debut as the Headshrinkers in WWF. They look great in this match against The Dynamic Dudes (Johnny Ace and Shane Douglas). Both teams are given a good amount of time to showcase their stuff and Heyman is even able to get on the mic furthering the story in the match. The Tag Team dynamic is on point in this match too. All four men are strategizing and working hard delivering a great match. Fatu’s big Splash from the top rope was a thing of beauty. But the idea to have the Dude’s steal the win was great! This was the best match so far.
Lex Luger vs. Michael Hayes - NWA United States Heavyweight Title (77%)
I am not the biggest fan of derpy Lex Luger. He always looked like a tool to me. Michael Hayes on the other-hand is awesome. He is bombastic, outrageous, and a really good wrestler. These guys go for it. To Lex Luger’s credit, he appears to really be giving it his all. I was mildly impressed. These two go back-and-forth trading momentum. Finally after a good fight, Michael Hayes takes home the belt!
Sting vs. The Iron Sheik - NWA Television Title (38%)
I was really surprised to see the Iron Sheik pop up here in 1989 WCW. It was neat since I hadn’t seen him since his old WWF days in the early eighties. Sting came out to a huge pop and he looked like a million bucks. The mach was a schmohz for most of the time. Iron Sheik cheap shotted Sting early and attacked him with the Iranian Flag. He then proceeded to choke Sting with his keffiyeh and robe. Before Sting turned the tables and won with a quick Stinger Splash.
Ric Flair vs. Ricky Steamboat - NWA World Heavyweight Title (93%)
Ric Flair is coming into this match as the challenger for the NWA World Heavyweight Title. Currently held by the champion, Ricky “The Dragon” Steamboat. At ringside we have former champions Lou Thesz, Terry Funk and Pat O’Connor acting as judges. This is a monumental match. One of the most important matches in wrestling history. Steamboat and Flair are competing at peak levels here. Both turning truly intense performances. Flair laid in some really solid offence that even included throwing forearms and elbows. His chops resonated throughout the Nashville Municipal Auditorium. Steamboat seemed to have an answer for everything that Flair threw at him. Both guys best-ing each other and telling an entertaining story while doing it. If you haven’t seen it, please check this out. Dave Meltzer gives it five stars.
The Road Warriors vs. The Varsity Club - NWA World Tag Team Titles (67%)
Four big men are tearing up the ring in this bout. The Road Warriors are young and hungry. They look absolutely terrifying during their entrance. The Varsity Club is represented by young Mike Rotundo and “Dr. Death” Steve Williams. Things pop off early and these two teams beat the hell out of each other. It was great! The Road Warriors were relentless. They didn’t hold back, looking to put a beating down on the Varsity Club. This is exactly what Tag Team wrestling should be. It was going so well, then the whole thing was thrown out by DQ finish. Disappointing.
The Varsity Club vs. Rick Steiner & “Hot Stuff” Eddie Gilbert - NWA United States Tag Team Titles (58%)
This match featured Dan Spivey and Kevin Sullivan representing The Varsity Club against Eddie Gilbert and a really young Rick Steiner. The match played off of the ending of the last. Sullivan and Spivey had dominated against Gilbert, taking out Steiner early and leaving Gilbert by himself. The majority of the action saw Steiner selling on the outside with Gilbert taking a beating.
The Great Muta vs. Doug Gilbert (58%)
Ranger Ross vs. Butch Reed (37%)
Bob Orton vs. Dick Murdoch (25%)
The Dynamic Dudes vs. The Samoan SWAT Team (Fatu & Samu) (66%)
NWA United States Heavyweight Title
Lex Luger vs. Michael Hayes (77%)
NWA Television Title
Sting vs. The Iron Sheik (38%)
NWA World Heavyweight Title
Ric Flair vs. Ricky Steamboat (93%)
NWA World Tag Team Titles
The Road Warriors vs. The Varsity Club (67%)
NWA United States Tag Team Titles
The Varsity Club vs. Rick Steiner & “Hot Stuff” Eddie Gilbert (58%)
WrestleWar 1989 was a decent show with a few good matches. NWA clearly had storylines for bigger names like the members of The Varsity Club, Flair and Steamboat, Sting, Luger and Michael Hayes. But the other workers are just there for padding. Barely passable matches that are less than television quality, but with decent talent. It’s kind of sad. The three opening matches featured The Great Muta, Butch Reed, and Bob Orton, but all in forgettable three to four minute squash bouts. Not to mention that horrible TV Title match. Yikes.
The best match on the card was the NWA World Heavyweight Title match between Flair and Steamboat. It’s a classic bout that should be viewed by everyone. I also loved the NWA US Title match. Michael Hayes is always a treat for the fans. This viewing was my first serious look at The Varsity Club storyline and I dug it. Kevin Sullivan is a genius. Steve Williams & Mike Rotondo looked great against the ferocity that the Road Warriors brought.
This is a great show for wrestling fans that want to start getting into the classic stuff. This was WCW under the NWA banner, and although it has some snoozers, it features great names and entertaining pacing. It’s really well booked in the way that the worst matches are quick but the best matches go the distance. There is an edited version available on YouTube, but it is missing a few matches. However, the full version is available on the WWE Network.