The SmarK Rant for Clash of the Champions XXV (November 1993) I’ve never seen this show before, actually. Although I have seen Austin v. Pillman a few times, so I suspect it was on the All-Nighter because I used to watch the shit out of that. Live from Leningrad, FL Your hosts are Tony Schiavone & Jesse Ventura. This is also the debut for Mean Gene, which is weird because he became so entrenched as a part of the WCW product from here on, so it’s hard to remember it without him. WCW International Board of Directors’ World Heavyweight Big Gold Belt: Rick Rude v. Hawk Michael Buffer introduces Hawk as having a “lifetime partner” in Animal. Probably not what he was going for. Hawk wants a test of strength after a bunch of stalling, and that turns into more stalling while Jesse and Tony have a discussion about going to Walmart and buying “posing oil”. I guess bodybuilders have to get it from somewhere. Rude attacks, but Hawk runs him into the turnbuckles and slams him. Hawk in a singles match without Flair is just asking for trouble. Suplex gets two. Hawk slowly throws Rude around, but gets caught with a backbreaker. Rude goes up and gets nothing, and they fight to the floor for a double countout at 5:38. Barely even a match. DUD The Equalizer v. The Shockmaster Yes, this is a thing that happened. Equalizer chokes him out to start, and chokes some more, and some more. Suplex gets two. Shockmaster no-sells and then finishes with a bearhug slam at 2:28. I have shit out more appealing matches while suffering from stomach flu. -*** World TV title: Lord Steven Regal v. Johnny B. Badd Badd gets some quick pinfall attempts and controls with a headscissors on the mat before evading Regal’s matwork and getting a headlock. Badd gets cocky and clotheslines himself on the top rope while trying a dive, however, allowing Regal to take over on the mat. He pounds Badd with forearms, but Badd puts him down with the KO punch. That gets two, as Sir William puts the foot on the ropes, and Regal rolls him up with the tights to retain at 6:25. Short but fine. ** Steve Austin v. Brian Pillman Breaks my heart every time. Jesse’s too. Pillman attacks and they brawl outside, where Austin catches him with a clothesline, but Pillman wallops him in the ring and throws chops in the corner. Austin wants a truce and Pillman chases him to the ramp for more brawling. Pillman comes off the top and lands on Austin’s foot, setting up his trademark bump on the railing. Back in, Pillman catches him with a crossbody for two, but Austin drops him on the top rope for two. Pillman keeps fighting with chops, but Austin takes him down and holds a half-crab. Funny bit as Austin cheats while getting nagged by the referee. Pillman fights back again with a back elbow out of the corner and blocks the stungun for two. Austin tries a piledriver, which Pillman turns into a rana for two. Pillman slingshots in but gets caught in a powerslam for two. Austin misses a charge and Pillman gets a DDT for two. Crucifix attempt is blocked with a samoan drop and Austin goes up and misses a splash. Pillman rolls him up for two off that. Stungun misses again and Air Pillman looks to finish, but Col. Parker trips him up and Austin gets the pin at 9:11. Mad energy in this one, but who really wanted to see it? ***1/2 US title: Dustin Rhodes v. Paul Orndorff Dustin gets a series of slams on Orndorff, but Paul takes over with a lengthy armbar. Like, minutes long. Then Dustin gets his own. And then he goes to the chinlock. Orndorff takes over with a backdrop suplex and then goes to his own chinlock. Weird that Dustin would be having such a boring match because he was on a really good roll for most of 93/94. Dustin with a backslide for two, but Orndorff sends him into the corner and goes back to the chinlock. Dustin comes back and tries the bulldog, but Orndorff blocks it, so Dustin gets a sunset flip for two. Orndorff clotheslines him, but Dustin escapes the piledriver. Paul to the top and he misses that, and Dustin finishes with a small package at 12:08. Dusty and the Assassin brawl afterwards and that has better energy and heat than anything in the match! *1/2 WCW World tag title: The Nasty Boys v. Sting & The British Bulldog Since our last Clash, the Nasties won the tag titles from the Horsemen and then lost and regained them around Halloween Havoc via Marcus Bagwell & 2 Cold Scorpio. Missy is just spilling out all over the place. The teams brawl on the ramp right away, and Rick Rude sneaks out and puts Bulldog down with a Rude Awakening, leaving Sting to fight alone. So the match just kind of stops as Sting tends to Bulldog. Back to the ring as the match starts for real and Sting fights off the Nasties and tosses Sags. He’s still tending to Bulldog, who is selling a damn neckbreaker like he was shot in the gut and is bleeding out. This allows the Nasties to take over and double-team him. Knobbs with a suplex for two and he goes to the bearhug and that goes on forever before Sting fights out and makes the hot tag to Bulldog. Double clothesline and double DDT for the Nasties and it’s BONZO GONZO. Powerslam for Knobbs, no ref, and Sags drops the Shitty Elbow on him for the pin at 8:23. Sting was fighting an uphill battle with this one. *1/2 WCW World title: Vader v. Ric Flair We take a break after the introductions and return with Flair beating on poor old Harley Race, but that allows Vader the chance to splash him. Vader beats on him in the corner and adds a press slam, and the Vaderbomb in the corner. Flair fires back with chops in the corner, but runs into Vader’s forearms. Vader continues boxing him and tosses him, but he misses a dive and lands on the railing. LUCHA VADER! Flair hits own dive and now he’s ready for FISTICUFFS. Back in, he throws chops on Vader, but runs into a boot. Flair goes after the knee and gets the figure-four, but Race breaks it up and Vader gets a suplex and big splash for two. Vader goes up, but Flair manages to powerslam him for two. Flair goes up with a flying axehandle , does a Flair Flip, and then hits a second one. Ref is bumped in DRAMATIC fashion and they fight to the top, where Vader gets a superplex, but he blows the Vadersault, and Flair GETS THE PIN at 9:00? No, in fact Vader was DQ’d for bumping the ref and Randy Anderson was merely crawling over and hitting the mat as he went. Oh, Dusty Rhodes. This was supposed to be Flair’s last hurrah before Sid took over as the big main event star, but we all know how that worked out. ***1/4 The Pulse Austin-Pillman is well worth seeking out, but Flair-Vader was totally eclipsed by their Starrcade match and this one is a pale version of it. The rest is total garbage on a stick. Recommendation to avoid.