Clash of the Champions III Fall Brawl | WWE Sunday Night RetroView

On September 7th, 1988, the NWA presented the Clash of the Champions III Fall Brawl. It featured a US title match between Barry Windham and Sting, Ricky Morton and Ivan Koloff in a Russian Chain Match, and Dusty Rhodes faced Kevin Sullivan. Also, Nikita Koloff and ‘Dr. Death’ Steve Williams faced The Sheepherders.

The show began with a recap of what took place months earlier. We are shown how Sting and The American Dream Dusty Rhodes had teamed up to challenge for the NWA World Tag Team Championship, only to see the remaining members of the Four Horsemen aid in their destruction. It is then when we see that it is Sting that will challenge Barry Windham for the United States Championship at Fall Brawl.

Tony Schiavone is on commentary with the Nature Boy Ric Flair. Schiavone goes through the card for the night and shares who have held the NWA World Title. Flair then shares the prestige and value of those tied to the event on this evening. We then see Bob Caudle and Jim Ross on commentary.

Clash of the Champions III Fall Brawl
NWA Television Title
Brad Armstrong vs. Mike Rotunda © with Kevin Sullivan

After a commercial break, we go back into action between Armstrong and Rotunda battling for the title. Rotunda takes Armstrong down early on, showcasing his amateur wrestling background. Rotunda and Armstrong lock up in the corner and the champion gains the early advantage.

Armstrong rotates regaining control and manages to get a pinning predicament on the champion. Rotunda makes his way back into the ring and he and Armstrong both jockey for position. The champion ties Armstrong back up in the corner and hits a series of European uppercuts. Armstrong goes for a pin once again after a dropkick.

Rotunda gets back in the ring, and Armstrong locks in a side headlock in the middle of the ring. The champion takes down the challenger, but Armstrong doesn’t release the headlock. This allows Rotunda to rotate Armstrong overlaying in a pinfall attempt. Both men make their way to their feet, with Armstrong holding onto the side headlock. He hits a cross body of the ropes and once again makes a pinning attempt but only for a count of two.

Once again, Rotunda is back on the floor consulting with Kevin Sullivan. The two lock up one once again in the middle of the ring. Then Armstrong once again ties in a side headlock tight on Rotunda. Rotunda and Armstrong battle once again, and the challenger counters the champion’s attack. He locks in an armbar in the middle of the ring.

Armstrong counters Rotunda’s attack once again, locking in an armbar. Each time Rotunda tries to gain an advantage is Armstrong recovers and locks it up on his own. But the champion finally gets a knee-high up on Armstrong and regains the advantage. He then drops him across the top rope and then throws him to the floor. Kevin Sullivan attacks Armstrong, who is on the floor while the referee is distracted.

But as Armstrong tries to get into the ring, Rotunda prevents him from getting in and Sullivan is stopping him on the ringside area. Rotunda then suplex’s Armstrong into the ring. He goes for a pinfall attempt but only for a count of two.

Now the champion has a rear chinlock locked in on Armstrong on the mat. The referee is checking on him to make sure it isn’t a choke. But he’s forced out, and Rotunda hits a series of chops and European uppercuts on Armstrong. Rotunda goes for another cover, and Armstrong kicks out at two once again. The champion then locks in a rear chinlock as the referee is checking in on him.

Fans are eagerly cheering the challenger on, but then Rotunda takes Armstrong down with a massive clothesline. He goes for a pinfall attempt, but the challenger kicks out once again. Kevin Sullivan screams to Armstrong to give up from the ringside area. He fights again back to his feet, but Rotunda goes for another pinfall attempt but once again for a count of two.

Sullivan works over Armstrong on the floor. Armstrong goes for a sunset flip for a pinfall attempt, but Rotunda kicks out at two. The challenger kicks out at two. This brings out Dr. Death Steve Williams, who was backing Armstrong tired of the attacks by Sullivan on the floor.

Armstrong has a small package on Rotunda, but the champion kicks out at two. The clock is running down, leading to a time-limit draw in this match. Armstrong gets back up and fights off the champion. But Rotunda hits the airplane spin on Armstrong. He goes for the pin, but the slight delay was enough to help Armstrong to kick out. Rotunda goes for another pin, and Armstrong kicks out again!

The fans are right behind the challenger. One minute remains in the match that has gone back and forth. Rotunda tries a series of pinning predicaments but with his feet on the ropes. The champion tries another pinning attempt, but the challenger refuses to give up.

Winner: No contest, time limit draw but STILL NWA Television Champion Mike Rotunda

After the match ends, Dr. Death goes into the ring to help Armstrong up and then out of the ring as he could barely stand. We then hear Tony Schiavone and Ric Flair discuss what just took place in the ring. Flair gives Armstrong his due but did say that Mike Rotunda may be the greatest television champion. The focus is on the conditioning of both of those men in the ring earlier.

Schiavone spoke with Flair about his previous challenge with Lex Luger and spoke about his heart and conditioning but has to beat the best out there, and that is the champion, Ric Flair. After a commercial break, we hear from Bob Caudle and Jim Ross speaking about what took place with Gorgeous Jimmy Garvin and The Games Master Kevin Sullivan. Garvin had suffered a broken leg and will be out ‘undisclosed amount of time’.

We then see the battle that happened in the backstage area as Garvin screams out with Sullivan throwing cinder blocks on the leg of Garvin, screaming that his leg is broken. A group of talent then help carry Garvin out.

Clash of the Champions III Fall Brawl
Special Challenge Tag Team Match
The Sheepherders with Rip Morgan vs. Nikita Koloff and Dr. Death Steve Williams

Jim Ross shares that there is a 20-minute draw in this match. Williams and funny enough, Williams begin the match. Luke brings Dr. Death into their corner, and even though they attempted to get the advantage, Steve Williams fights them off, and Nikita gets into the ring to come to his defense. Once again, Williams and Williams resume their battle in the ring.

Luke Williams is whipped off the ropes and he takes down Dr. Death, who recovers and takes Williams down. Then Butch Miller comes into the ring, and he is taken down by Dr. Death. Butch Miller is tagged in, as is Nikita Koloff on the opposite side of the ring. Miller rakes the eyes of Koloff and works him over in the corner turnbuckle. But as Miller moves, he believes that Koloff took himself out and finally recovers.

Koloff clears the house leading to both Miller and Williams to recover on the floor. Miller makes his way back in the ring, and he hits Koloff low, leading into a punch in the midsection. Dr. Death is tagged in, and he works over Luke Williams on the ring apron. An arm bar leads to a clothesline by Dr. Death.

Dr. Death then suplexes Williams back into the ring. Dr. Death hits a cross body off the top rope. He makes a pinfall attempt but only for a count of two. Koloff then takes the arm of Luke Williams and continues to work it over.

Koloff tags in Dr. Death, who continues to work over the arm of Luke Williams. Dr. Death tags in Nikita Koloff, who works over the arm and shoulder of Luke Williams. He ties in an armbar and then hits a knee to the midsection of ‘Crazy Luke’ of the Sheepherders.

Again, Koloff hits a dropkick on Williams and makes a tag to Dr. Death. But as Dr. Death attempts a hard shoulder tackle but missed Luke. This led to a tag to Butch Miller. Miller and Williams work over Dr. Death making pinfall attempts.

Luke is tagged in and continues to hit headbutts, but Dr. Death shakes it off. But Miller hits Dr Death from behind, leading to Luke Williams to regain control. He turns that into a rear chinlock. Another tag is made to Butch Miller. Miller goes for another pinfall attempt but only for a count of two.

Butch attempts to drop a knee on Dr. Death, but he moves and makes a tag to Nikita Koloff. Koloff drives fist after fist to the head of Miller. Rip Morgan struck Nikita Koloff when the referee wasn’t expecting it.

Koloff is on the floor, and Butch Miller drives him into the steel barricade. The referee is preoccupied with what is happening in the ring but not what is happening outside of it. This leads to Dr. Death to try and console Nikita in the process. Luke Williams hits a headbutt on Dr. Death, who is rolled into the ring. After going for a pinfall attempt, Dr. Death kicks out at two. Koloff is trying to make a tag, but Luke Miller cuts it off, stopping him in the process.

Butch Miller is tagged in the ring, and he works over Nikita Koloff. The referee is distracted by Dr. Death, who is doing his best to get into this match. Luke comes into the match and drives his foot across the throat of Nikita Koloff in the corner. Luke then locks in a sleeper hold on Nikita Koloff.

Nikita drives Williams to the corner, breaking the hold, but as Luke regained control, it was all for not. This led to Koloff driving a fist to the head of Luke Williams, knocking him to the floor. It was at this point when the flag bearer poked Dr. Death in the corner with the flagbearer leading to him to come off the apron and focusing on him instead of Nikita. By the time Dr. Death realized it, Luke and Butch had gotten to Nikita once again.

Williams slams Nikita once again and climbs to the top once again. This time he missed a diving headbutt. But this time, Dr. Death is tagged in, and he goes after both Sheepherders and Rip Morgan. Williams makes a tag back to Nikita, who hits the Russian sickle on Miller. He went for the pinfall and picked up the three count and the win!

Winners: Dr. Death, Steve Williams, and Nikita Koloff.

Koloff and Williams celebrate on the floor as they go to a commercial break. After a break, we are made aware of the upcoming grudge match.

Grudge Match
‘The American Dream’ Dusty Rhodes vs ‘The Games Master’ Kevin Sullivan and Gary Hart

Their match begins almost immediately. Sullivan has Rhodes backed into the corner and attempts to work him over. But big Dusty recovers and works Sullivan over on the floor. Dusty slides back into the ring as Sullivan is tossed into Gary Hart. Once Sullivan slides into the ring, he has a metal bar, and Dusty slides to the floor.

The referee is trying to hold off Sullivan, and eventually, Rhodes gets back into the ring. Dusty then tosses Kevin Sullivan over through the ropes to the floor. Now backed into the corner, Rhodes drives elbows, but as the referee gets between them, Sullivan chops Dusty in the throat. Gary Hart comes and uses his shoe across the head of the American Dream.

Sullivan then locks in a rear chinlock on a kneeling Dusty Rhodes. But Sullivan is given a spike by Gary Hart, who drives it into the throat of Dusty Rhodes. Rhodes is tied into a rear chinlock by Sullivan while being berated by Gary Hart at ringside. But the American Dream recovers and throws a series of rights and then an elbow. But Rhodes gets the spike and drives it into the head of Sullivan.

But Gary Hart pulls Rhodes out of the ring as he’s making a pinfall attempt. This enrages Dusty, who pursues Hart only for Al Perez to attack him from behind with a steel chain. Sullivan and Al Perez work over the American Dream in the ring with the steel chain.

Rhodes manages to knock both Perez and Sullivan into each other. But Gary Hart is a legal competitor in this match. He manages to get into the ring, and Rhodes rolls him up for a three count and the. Win!

Winner: ‘The American Dream’ Dusty Rhodes

After the bell, Rhodes climbs over the barricade and into the crowd at ringside to celebrate. The chain match between Ricky Morton and Ivan Koloff is coming up next. After the next commercial break, we see Ric Flair, Tony Schivone, and the special referee for the upcoming match between Flair and Lex Luger, former NFL player John Ayers for the NWA World Heavyweight title.

Ayers spoke of the prestige tied to this world title match. Flair asked what qualifies Ayers to be the referee for this match. As Ayers attempted to plead his case, Flair interrupted him telling him he believe Jim Crockett is sparing no expense to bring someone in help railroad Ric Flair in this match. Once again, Ayers said he will call it like he sees it and won’t allow himself to be intimidated.

Russian Chain Match
‘The Russian Bear’ Ivan Koloff with Paul Jones and The Russian Assassin vs Ricky Morton

The match gets underway after a brief break. Back to the action as it is set to begin. The rules are shared earlier that the turnbuckle needs to be touched first before a winner can be determined. As soon as Morton has the chain tied to his wrist, Koloff gets the advantage. Paul Jones has shared that Ivan Koloff is out to prove himself. Ricky Morton uses the chain on Koloff low! But the Russian Bear recovers, and he drives a fist to the head of Morton. He then begins to hit two turnbuckles but is stopped from getting to the third one.

Koloff then pulls Morton, who is on the floor, into the ring apron. Morton then starts to make his way into the ring. Koloff then begins to hit the turnbuckles, the first one and then the second. As he attempts to get to the third one, Ricky Morton stops him. This leads to Ricky Morton to recover, and he hits the first turnbuckle and is stopped getting to the second one.

Koloff stops Morton’s momentum. But he is pulled off the top rope by Morton, who then begins to try and hit the turnbuckle. But Koloff recovers and uses the chain across the throat of Ricky Morton. He then tries to hang Morton with the chain over his back as well.

Clash of the Champions III: Fall Brawl (9.7.1988) Review | 411MANIA
[Photo: 411Mania]
Morton fights back but Ivan Koloff is relentless. He whips him time and time again with the chain. Koloff then slaps the first turnbuckle, then the second, then the third but as he tries to go for the fourth, Morton clutches his legs breaking the sequence.

Morton then begins to choke Koloff with the chain on the prone Russian Bear. Both men stagger but Koloff attempts to deck Morton from behind, but to no avail. Koloff then stalks Morton and proceeds to climb the top turnbuckle once again. This time Morton caught him with a right hand as Koloff came down.

Now Morton strikes the first corner, then the second corner, and now drags Koloff to the third corner and tries to make his way to the fourth corner, but Koloff tries to stop him. But Koloff stops the final attempt but Paul Jones is holding onto the whip until he can’t anymore and Ricky Morton tagged the final turnbuckle.

Winner: Ricky Morton

After the match, the Russian Assassin attacks Ricky Morton as Paul Jones is beside himself and berates the Russian Bear for not holding onto the whip. Koloff then decks him tired of the berating he’s received. The Russian Assassin sees this and then attacks Koloff along with another Russian Assassin and Paul Jones.

We witness Ivan Koloff being beaten down with on one coming to his aid. They drop across the back of the Russian Bear. Koloff then gets decked with the chain and is being told to do it time and time again. They then wrap the chain around the neck and throat of Koloff who continues to be beaten and then hung from the top rope as they go to a commercial break.

Once returning from the commercial break we see Jim Ross and John Ayers at ringside discussing the upcoming Ric Flair and Lex Luger NWA World Championship match. Ayers said let Flair do what he does best and that’s talk but reminds him that he won’t be intimidated by anyone else in that match. We then hear the introductions of the main event.

United States Heavyweight Championship
Barry Windham © with James J. Dillon vs. Sting

We hear the introductions and then proceed to go to a commercial before the match begins. Ross and Caudle remain on commentary as we see all the proceedings at ringside with the fans. The bell rings and Sting lets out a massive howl. He then takes down Windham with a pair of arm drags.

They then lock up but their lockup is broken up in the corner. Windham comes firing with a right hand. He then hits a shoulder tackle and a pair of dropkicks that force Windham to the floor.

Windham makes his way back in the ring once again and he and Sting once again lock up. He then hits a belly to back suplex that Sting doesn’t sell and gets right back up. This led to another exit from the ring by Windham. The referee continues to Windham outside of the ring.

Sting tries to encourage Windham to come forward once again. They are both face to face with one another jawing at each other. Windham attempts a test of strength but hits Sting low leading to him getting the advantage. Sting then comes out of the turnbuckle with an atomic drop followed by a back body drop. A series of right hands by Sting drops Windham in the middle of the ring.

Another howl by Sting leads to a slam by the Stinger. He then fails to land a massive elbow. Windham recovers and drops knee after knee into the midsection of Sting. This leads to Sting getting thrown to the floor. Windham follows him out and continues to work him over on the floor.

Windham goes back to the ring and stops Sting’s attempts to get into the ring. Sting is then slammed to the floor. Again Sting tries to get into the ring but Windham stops him getting in. Windham then suplex’s Sting into the ring and he struggles to the ropes.

Sting begins to fight back but he goes over for a sunset flip but only for a count of two. Windham picks up Sting and then hits a power slam on Sting coming off the ropes. The US champion hits a knee drop coming out of the corner. As he goes for a pin, Sting kicks out at two. Sting then slips in a small package but Windham kicks out at two.

Once again the champion, picks up the challenger and works him over in the corner. Windham attempts to hit Sting but misses the challenger and hits the turnbuckle. Windham’s head is then driven into the steel post. The champion is busted open and is then worked over. He then falls over the barricade to the floor.

Windham makes his way back in, and Sting pulls the champion in and bites at the open wound of the champion. Sting rakes the back of the champion. The challenger then rakes the eyes of the champion across the top rope.

But Windham is bloody and staggering on his feet. He picks up the champion and locks in a sleeper on Windham in the middle of the ring. Windham drops to one knee as the referee attempts to check and see if he doesn’t pass out. But the champion recovers and makes his way to his feet.

Windham then tries to pull the challenger off of him. But Sting recovers and regains control of the sleeper. Windham then breaks the hold with a knee drop and then a kick to the knee. He hits a second knee and then works over the challenger in the cover as he attempts to regain control. Windham then locks in a figure four leglock on Sting.

Sting is fighting off the hold but Windham uses extra leverage to apply the hold. Each time the referee is preoccupied with Sting he doesn’t see the leverage advantage by Windham and Dillon. When he does he breaks out the hold. Windham picks up Sting and hits a back suplex on the challenger.

The champion and challenger exchange blows. But Sting recovers and follows up with a suplex. Windham applies a claw on Sting’s pec being buried just under the left arm pit. Both men are on their knees and eventually make their way back to their feet. Sting fights back and directs Windham outside to the floor.

Sting then slingshots Windham back into the ring. The challenger then hits another big body drop followed by elbow after elbow. He then hip tosses Windham out of the corner. Windham ducked an attack only for him to take out the referee. Sting then hits the Stinger splash in the corner. He then locks in the Scorpion Death Lock.

But as soon as JJ Dillon brings in a chair Sting stops him. But Windham then decks Sting with a chair in the ring. The referee comes to make the pin but John Ayers stops the pin and says that Windham uses the chair. Dillon is flipping out and John Ayers directs him into the corner. Just as Windham was about to deck Ayers from behind Sting dropkicks him

Winner: via disqualification, Sting AND STILL United States Champion, Barry Windham

After the match, we hear from Jim Ross and Bob Caudle on the floor discussing John Ayers and how he will be calling it down the middle. We then hear from Ric Flair and Tony Schiavone at the commentary table and the champion is irate. He shares that he’s the world champion and Lex Luger’s past means nothing. Once again he shares that to be the man Luger has to beat the man and he’s the man.