NWA SummerSlam

by Mickey Alderson

"Nature Boy" Ric Flair
Photo provided by Mark A. Long

Welcome back to the fictional world of the National Wrestling Alliance! This is the 6th NWA PPV spectacular, Summerslam, and the events while lead up to the huge main event- "The Nature Boy" Ric Flair v. "The Heartbreak Kid" Shawn Michaels for the NWA World Heavyweight Title, held by Michaels!

The background:

Ever since NWA Wrestlemania 1: A New Beginning, Sting had been chasing Shawn Michaels and the World Heavyweight Title.  So, Sting sent members of the Wolfpack after Michaels- Hall, Nash, Big Van Vader, in an attempt to either capture the belt, or to wear him down enough for Sting to move in and capture it.  The culmination of the plan was to occur at Summerslam, where Sting would face, and hopefully, defeat Michaels for the NWA Title.  Sting won a non-title match at Clash Of The Champions IV: Music City Massacre, and it looked like the plan was coming together.  But Sting still had one other looming problem- Ric Flair.

Flair, leader of the Horsemen, attacked Sting on an episode of NWA Monday Nitro, and was subsequently challenged to a match for the World Title shot at Beach Blast '98.  But Shawn Michaels had other ideas: he forced Paul Heyman, Chairman of the NWA Executive Committee, to enforce a stipulation for the match, that if Flair defeated Sting to claim the World Title match, then the match at Summerslam, Flair v. Michaels, would require Ric Flair to retire from professional wrestling should he lose to Michaels.  Flair agreed, and in a long, grueling match at Beach Blast, Flair did in fact defeat Sting to claim the NWA World Title match at Summerslam.  Our story begins on NWA Monday Nitro, the night following Beach Blast '98:

NWA Monday Nitro 7/27

During the second hour of the show, the World Champion, Shawn Michaels, along with HHH & Chyna, makes his way to the ring.  He's limping along, and has a back brace on, from the injuries sustained last night at Beach Blast, at the hands of Big Van Vader.  Shawn rants on Sting's plan, and how it backfired, because he lost his match to Flair.  He says that he will be ready for Summerslam, and reminds Flair of the retirement stipulation attached to the title shot.  Then he addresses other Dx business, namely how HHH couldn't get the job done against Bret Hart at Beach Blast 98.  HHH gets upset with Shawn, and the two almost come to blows, but Chyna separates them, as we head to a commercial.

During the third hour, we come back from commercial, and as JR & Schiavone are still in shock over Chris Jericho's upset win over the previously unbeaten Bill Goldberg, Sting makes his way to the ring."Last night, as you all saw, I got beat.  I lost my title shot.  But, in the process, I learned something.  I learned, the hard way, that no matter what anybody says, Ric Flair is STILL THE MAN!  So, right now, I'd like for "The Nature Boy" to join me in the ring!"  The crowd goes ballistic, as the theme from "2001: A Space Odyssey" blasts throughout the SuperDome, and Ric Flair walks that aisle!

FLAIR: "WHOOOO!!!  To be the man, you have to beat the man!  Stinger, you gave me one of my toughest matches last night, just like you always have.  I have nothing but respect for you- you are truly one of the greatest wrestlers I've ever faced!"

STING: "Ric, I know you're facing a possible retirement at Summerslam when you take on Shawn Michaels- and I know that the Wolfpack and the Horsemen are having their problems right now, but I just want you to know, if you need someone to watch your back, if you need any help with Shawn Michaels and Dx- because we both know they're gonna come after you- you can count on the Stinger to back you up."

FLAIR: "Brother, you got a deal!  WHOOOO!!!"

NWA Monday Nitro 8/10

During the third hour of another action-packed show, the World Heavyweight Champion, Shawn Michaels, along with HHH & Chyna, heads out to the ring.  Shawn says that he is feeling better, and will definitely be ready for his title match at Summerslam, where he will go down in history as the man who put Ric Flair out of wrestling for good!  HHH then gets the mic, and says that Flair is so old, and can't go any more, that he himself could take Flair, so Shawn will have no trouble at Summerslam.

Later, Ric Flair faces and defeats Owen Hart in the main event of Nitro.  Following the match, Sting gets up from the announcer's table, and goes into the ring to congratulate Flair.  While this is happening, Shawn Michaels and HHH come out to the rampway, and begin to taunt Flair & Sting.  Shawn is talking trash about how this will be Flair's last win, because at Summerslam, his career will be over.  He also rants on Sting, saying that he will never get a World Title shot, because he lost to Flair at Beach Blast.  HHH then challenges Flair to a match in 2 weeks on Nitro, because he wants to give Flair time to prepare, to be at the top of his game when Helmsley embarrasses him in front of the world.

FLAIR: "You want a match, Helmsley?  You got it, pal!  But you'd better be ready to walk that aisle, because The Nature Boy will style & profile all over you!  WHOOOO!!!  And then, Shawn Michaels, you will have the match of your career- the match of your life- at Summerslam. I've faced retirement before, and I've come out on top!  But you, if you can't get the job done, no matter how many championships you've won, no matter what you have or will accomplish in your career, if you lose this match, you will go down in history as a choker!  You will be known as the guy who, when the chips were down, couldn't get the job done!  The man who tried, but failed.  And the man who lost the most prestigious championship in the world to an over-the-hill, tired, past-his-prime, 50-year old man in the biggest moment of his career!  I've been the World Champion 15 times, pal!  I've been at the top of the mountain more times than you've forfeited belts, and that's a lot!  So, Helmsley, bring it on!  And when I get done with you, then I'm coming for that gold belt- MY gold belt- and you won't be able to stop me from taking it!  Remember Shawn Michaels, to BE the man, you've got to BEAT the man- and brother, I've always been The Man!  WHOOOO!!!"

NWA Monday Nitro 8/17

At the top of the show, after the announcers run through what we'll see on Nitro, Michael Cole is standing in the ring, and introduces The Nature Boy, as 2001: A Space Odyssey starts up over the PA system! Flair comes down, and after a couple of minutes of talking about the big match at Summerslam, Flair asks Sting to join him in the ring!  Sting comes down, and takes the microphone: "Ric, we talked about this before the show came on the air, and I'm just going to go ahead and get it out there- we all know that the Clash Of The Champions is coming up next Thursday!  And I know that I'll be there, and Ric will be there!  But we want 2 other people to be there as well- and that's you, Shawn Michaels, and you, Hunter Hearst Helmsley!  Ric Flair & I are here and now challenging both of you to a tag team match at the Clash Of The Champions!  We are going to settle this thing once and for all at the Clash, and then Ric is going to walk out of Summerslam as the new NWA World Heavyweight Champion!  So, bring it on, boys- we'll be waiting!"

During the third hour, we come back from commercial, and the World Heavyweight Champion, Shawn Michaels comes out to the ring.  He starts by saying that he would be happy to accept the challenge of Sting & Flair for a tag match at the Clash Of The Champions.  Then he starts in on Flair again, about how next week will be the worst week in Flair's career- first, on Nitro, Flair will lose to HHH, then at the Clash, he'll lose the tag match, and then at Summerslam, Shawn will end Flair's career, and thus cement his place in wrestling history as the Legend-Slayer.  Just to show his confidence, Shawn then announces that at Wrestle War in September, he will put his World Title on the line against the #1 contender, the NWA International Champion, Curt Hennig.

NWA Monday Nitro 8/24

Hour #3 begins with the Chairman of the NWA Executive Committee, Paul Heyman, making his way to the ring for the important announcement. Michael Cole is in the ring waiting, and Paul makes the announcement:

"As you well know, the NWA has a 30-day rule for champions to defend their titles.  The World Champion, Shawn Michaels, made his last title defense on July 26, at Beach Blast '98, against Big Van Vader.  He has not wrestled since that event, which means no title defense.  Since Shawn Michaels has signed a contract for the Clash Of The Champions event in St. Louis on Thursday for a tag team match, that just leaves tonight.  So, the NWA Executive Committee has ordered Shawn Michaels to defend the NWA World Heavyweight Title tonight!  And his opponent will be..."

Paul is interrupted by the sound of "2001: A Space Odyssey"- "The Nature Boy" is on his way to the ring!  Flair grabs the microphone away from Paul:

"Whoa!  Hold it right there, Mr. Heyman!  It would seem that I have some say in the matter.  Unless you're prepared to give me the title shot tonight, there won't be a title match!  Because I'm not going to let you, or any committee, or anybody, ruin my chances of not only becoming the NWA World Champion one more time, but also beating that punk Michaels for my belt!  WHOOOO!!!  So, I'm telling you right now, Shawn Michaels will not be defending that belt tonight, and Shawn Michaels will not be stripped of the title tonight!  Because I want him to be at his best, at the absolute top of his game, so that when I beat him this Sunday, he won't have any excuses!  So he will know, once and for all, that The Nature Boy is the one by which all others are compared!  That, to be the man, you have to beat the man!  WHOOOO!!!"

Paul takes the mic back:

"I understand how you feel, Ric, but we have a job to do, and rules to uphold..."

Flair: "You don't understand- I don't give a damn about your rules!  I'm telling you, that there will be no title match tonight, unless you're prepared to name me as the opponent.  You aren't, are you?  Who is it?...  You're kidding, right?...  You're going to tell me, that your #1 contender tonight is Curt Hennig?!?  Well, forget it, pal!  Hennig isn't going to be here for this match!  And that's a promise!!"

Match #11: Curt Hennig w/Madusa v. "The Heartbreak Kid" Shawn Michaels (NWA World Heavyweight Title Match)

The World Champion heads down to the ring, but no challenger is waiting. Michaels enters the ring, and waits, as Gary Michael Cappetta introduces Curt Hennig again- still nothing, no sign of Hennig. The referee, with the bell having rung, has no choice but to begin the count.  He hesitates before 10, but finally makes the 10-count, awarding the match to Michaels.

WINNER: Shawn Michaels by count-out, retaining the NWA World Heavyweight Title.

Scott Hudson is talking about how peculiar this is, when he says that he is being told something in his ear.  We go to a camera shot backstage, where we see someone running out of the locker room- it's Big Van Vader!- then we see Curt Hennig laid out on the locker room floor! Flair was right- there would be no match, because Sting had Vader punk out Hennig before he could make it out of the locker room!

Match #12: Hunter Hearst Helmsley w/Chyna v. "The Nature Boy" Ric Flair

The match opens up slowly, as both men try to feel each other out, not wanting to make any early mistakes.  Finally, HHH grabs a side headlock, which Flair escapes from by running HHH into the ropes, but HHH hits a shoulder-block that takes Flair down.

More of the same, with HHH maintaining control, until Flair gets a finger to HHH's eyes!  Now it's all Flair, as he opens up with knife-edge chops, and right hands to the face of HHH! Flair and HH trade the advantage back and forth a couple of times, when Flair clips HHH from behind!  He picks him up and hits the shinbreaker! "NOW!!!"  Flair locks on the Figure-4 in the middle of the ring! Chyna climbs in and breaks the hold, as the ref calls for the bell.

WINNER: Ric Flair by DQ.

Chyna has Flair down, but Flair nails a low blow on Chyna!  He picks her up, and hits a suplex!  Now HHH is back up, and Flair goes after him. Suddenly, Shawn Michaels runs out, and Dx double-teams Flair!  This brings Sting running from the back, and the war is on!  Sting is battling with Michaels, and Flair with HHH, and as they continue brawling, Nitro comes to a close!!!

Clash Of The Champions V: "St. Louis Slaughter" 8/27

Match #6: "The Nature Boy" Ric Flair & Sting w/Elizabeth v. Hunter Hearst Helmsley & Shawn Michaels w/Chyna

Slick Ric and the Stinger come down to the ring, led by Elizabeth. They are also accompanied by Kevin Nash! Next, Dx stroll to the ring, doing their crotch chops to the crowd, with Shawn yelling at Flair and Sting to "SUCK IT!" Flair and HHH start out, with HHH taking a quick advantage.  He gets Flair in a headlock- Flair shoves him to the ropes, and HHH comes off with a shoulderblock.  HHH runs the ropes again, and reverses a Flair hiptoss into one of his own!  He gives Flair the crotch chop, and starts talking smack in the corner with the World Champion.

Flair invites HHH into a test of strength, and when HHH does so, Flair gives a poke to the eyes!  Classic Flair!  Now Flair backs him into the corner, and hits his backhand chops, to which the crowd roars "WHOOOO!!!" with every one. HHH reverses a whip, and fires Flair into the corner.  He follows quickly, but Flair dodges, and hits another big chop!  HHH crawls to the corner, and tags in Shawn Michaels!  The face-off is on!

Flair and HBK lock up, and Shawn grabs a headlock.  Flair fires him to the ropes, and Shawn knocks Flair down.  Flair rolls to his knees in his corner, as Shawn is begging him to come out.  Flair stands, and looks to the crowd while pointing to Sting.  The crowd goes nuts, as Flair tags in the Stinger!

Sting and HBK lock up, with yet another headlock by Shawn.  Sting fires him to the ropes, leapfrogs Shawn, and applies a huge gorilla press slam! HBK gets up, and Sting bounces off the ropes, and plants Shawn's face into the mat! He picks HBK up, and hits a fantastic standing drop-kick!  Again, another pick-up, and whip to the corner. Sting hits a Stinger Splash! Whip to the other corner, and another Stinger Splash!  He goes for the Scorpion Death-Lock, but Shawn grabs the ropes.  Sting drags him to the corner, and tags in Flair! Flair immediately goes to work, driving his knee into Shawn's head, as only Flair can do.

Ric puts Shawn's leg on the bottom rope, and crashes down on it! Another tag to Sting, who continues to work on HBK's leg.  Sting applies a spinning toe-hold, but Shawn reaches up and rolls up Sting! But only a 2-count, as Sting gets up and mudholes Shawn.  More quick tags from Sting and Flair, as they continue to wear down the champion. Shawn reverses a whip to the ropes, and hits a back-body drop on Flair!  He starts to crawl to his corner, but at that moment, Nash goes over and shoves HHH!  Helmsley jumps down from the apron, and chases after Nash, leaving nobody home for HBK to tag!  By the time he makes it back, Flair has tagged in Sting, who drags Shawn back to the middle of the ring.

Another whip to the ropes, and both Sting and Shawn knock each other down.  Again, Nash distracts HHH, so Shawn can't make the tag. Meanwhile, Flair is back in, and pulls Shawn back. Finally, HBK hits a desparation bodyslam on Flair!  He crawls back toward his corner, and Nash again comes over.  This time Chyna is there to intercede, as Shawn gets up and makes the tag to HHH!!! Sting, who has tagged in, is waiting for HHH.  HHH is about to lock up with Sting, when suddenly he turns, and almost takes Shawn's head off with a clothesline!!!  HHH HAS TURNED ON SHAWN MICHAELS!!!!!

Meanwhile, Bill Goldberg has run down from the back, as he and Nash are battling each other on the floor! In the midst of this wild scene, Helmsley drags Shawn to the middle of the ring, and applies the Pedigree!  As Shawn is laid out, both Sting and HHH point- Wolfpack-style- at the fallen champion, and Sting tags in Flair! Nash & Goldberg have battled each other all the way backstage by this point, so all focus is back on the ring. Flair stands looking in disbelief at what has taken place, but quickly regains his composure, and locks on the Figure-4 on the beaten champion!  The referee raises & drops HBK's arm 3 times, and then calls for the bell!

WINNER: Ric Flair & Sting by submission!

Sting climbs in and raises Flair's arms, calling him the next NWA World Heavyweight Champion, and then as a formality, introduces the newest members of the Wolfpack- Hunter Hearst Helmsley and Chyna!  HHH gets the mic, and reveals that this was the plan all along- to destroy Shawn Michaels.  While this is going on, the rest of the Wolfpack- Vader, Hall, & Syxx- come out, and the Wolfpack gives a big crotch-chop in unison to the unconscious NWA Champion.  And with that, the Clash Of The Champions comes to a close...


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Sable (wearing the RAW bikini)
Photo appears at The Official Women Of Wrestling Web Page