The SmarK Rant for Clash of the Champions XXX (January 1995) Oh god, THIS show. Live from Las Vegas, NV. Your hosts are Tony Schiavone & Bobby Heenan World TV title: Arn Anderson v. Johnny B. Badd So as noted, Honky Tonk Man got fired before Starrcade and Arn got the title shot there instead, and then went on to win the belt a couple of weeks later. This is the rematch DEMANDED by those dumb enough to pay $1.49/minute to the WCW hotline to vote for it. So you would think they would have to change the title to justify the gimmick. Badd puts Arn down with a kneelift, but Arn takes out the knee and goes up. Badd dropkicks him to the floor and follows with a dive, and back in controls with armdrags. Enzuigiri gets two. Arn tries his own in a cute spot, and of course misses badly and allows Badd to get a rollup for two. Finally Badd charges and gets clotheslined on the top rope, and Arn chokes him out and allows Parker to get a cheapshot. Arn stomps him down for two and goes to the chinlock. Badd slugs back, but Arn goes up and they set up for the “babyface gets his foot up” spot, but Arn actually evades it and drops an elbow instead. Sadly, he makes the mistake of pointing to his head to indicate his intelligence, and Badd makes the comeback. Well, baby steps. Badd with a rana and he puts Arn on the floor with the knockout punch, but Parker revives Arn with cold water. I’m dubious on the medical science behind that. Maybe he should have dropped a big elbow on him instead? Badd chases Parker and walks into a DDT at 7:37 as Arn retains. Note from WCW to fans voting on the hotline: Fuck you. Solid opener. **1/2 Given I couldn’t remember who beat Arn for the belt, I made the mistake of looking it up, and got all depressed about this year again. Meanwhile, the Faces of Fear have some words for Hogan & Savage. I will say that it really makes me respect Mean Gene’s ability as an interviewer to control things, rather than today’s morons who just start with “How are you feeling after that loss?” or something equally vapid. Alex Wright has a music video and it’s pretty terrible. Maybe if he had more than the one dance move? Beautiful Bobby v. Alex Wright Eaton would soon be repackaged into Earl Robert Eaton as Regal’s tag partner, and unlike guys like Ricky Morton, Eaton COMMITTED to the role. He changed his name, haircut, and manner of dress. Just wanted to bring that up because Eaton is great and underappreciated. Wright controls with an armbar while the announcers talk up his big Starrcade win over some jobber named Jean-Paul Levesque. As if that goof will ever amount to anything. So Wright is just all over that arm, but Eaton slugs him down and goes to the chinlock until Wright escapes with a suplex. He makes the comeback with a back elbow and goes up with a missile dropkick for two. Crossbody gets two. Eaton puts him down with a neckbreaker and goes up to finish with the Alabama Jam, but it only gets two. I would have bet money on that move missing. Eaton gives him an annoyed look and pounds away in the corner, but Wright comes back with one last crossbody to finish at 7:33. Weird finishing sequence, as I think Wright really was supposed to move there and missed his cue. Match was fine. **1/2 Vader joins us at ringside because he bought seats. And they announce his as being there, just in case we didn’t see the run-in coming from far enough away. WCW World tag titles: Harlem Heat v. Stars & Stripes So now Ric Flair also joins us at ringside, also WCW comps him seats four or five rows back so that’s something of a misnomer. To show how far in advance they were taping at this point, this was advertised as the Heat’s first title defense after winning them from Stars & Stripes 10 days before, but in reality that title change was taped at the beginning of DECEMBER, a month before. Saved them money, I guess. The babyfaces clean house and get a double hiptoss on Booker for two and double-team him for a bit, but Bagwell gets caught in the heel corner and you could say it’s a Harlem Heat Segment. Booker with a chinlock as they do a super-basic match for a dead crowd. Booker and Bagwell collide on a bodyblock attempt as we get a funny bit with Heenan (“I’m gonna report on my hotline what I did with Flair after the Clash and it’s gonna be X-rated!” “Brain, you couldn’t even stay awake for the All Nighter last week!”) Pier-six brawl and Sherri gets bumped, allowing Bagwell to roll up Booker, but Stevie sidekicks them over and Booker grabs the tights for the pin at 9:30 to retain. This was fine and totally unremarkable. ** And now the show goes off the metaphorical cliff, as Mean Gene interviews the Megapowers (whoops, sorry, I mean “Monster Maniacs”) about tonight’s main event. Sting v. Avalanche Ray “Big Bubba Bossman the Guardian Angel” Traylor is the special referee for some reason. Avalanche is introduced from “Mt. Everest, Washington.” What the FUCK? Did they mean Mt. Rainier or Mt. Saint Helens even? Sting quickly dropkicks Avalanche to the floor, but Mr. Angel prevents him from chasing. Back in, Sting tries a slam and Avalanche falls on top for two. He pounds away in the corner as we get another great out of context quote from Tony: “Speaking of flopping, Avalanche…” Powerslam gets two. Sting comes back with his “accidental headbutt to the groin” spot, and the Stinger splash times four to set up the bodyslam. Scorpion Deathlock finishes at 5:20 as Nick Patrick randomly runs in and declares that Avalanche had given up. At which point Angel turns heel and beats on Sting for no adequately explored reason. * So with that gimmick another giant flop for Traylor, he gives an interview with Mean Gene afterwards where he declares that he’s going back to being Big Bubba Rogers again. Kevin Sullivan & The Butcher v. Hulk Hogan & Randy Savage This could probably be safely classified as the low point for Hogan’s rampant egomania, as he brings in Savage for a big money run and immediately marginalizes him as his wacky sidekick. Just to name one thing. Like really, how difficult would it have been for them to bring in Savage, keep him strong, and then redo the Megapowers angle? The Egomaniacs double-team Butcher in the corner as Savage is more fringe than man at this point. Tony trying to recap the Dave Sullivan “magic slippers” angle while not sounding retarded is actually kind of amusing. Butcher quickly caches Hogan with the sleeper, which would be more devastating had he ever been allowed to beat anyone with it in WCW, but he chooses to release the hold instead of having the ref check the arm. So, in a historic WCW moment, Savage goes to the top and drops the fucking elbow on Hogan to wake him up. WHAT THE FUCKING FUCK? Yes, the REVIVING ELBOW. So he hulks up (because OF COURSE HE DOES) and they just continue with the match as though everything is totally cool and normal again. HE DROPPED THE ELBOW ON HIS OWN PARTNER! And we didn’t even get to the thing that made everyone irate yet! Savage gets caught outside and sent into the post, and sadly there’s no one around to drop an elbow on him to wake him up. So Sullivan beats on him in the corner and Butcher gets another sleeper, but Savage escapes without the need for his own tag partner to perform a finisher on him, and makes the hot tag to Hogan. Big elbow and legdrop finish Butcher at 12:00. What, the elbow didn’t instantly revive him? And speaking of instant revivals, Vader attacks to set up their Superbrawl title match and powerbombs Hogan, who instantly pops up and chases Vader off by himself. And then they had to try to sell that PPV with Hogan already having killed Vader’s finish! After he already wrestled a long match! So this was kind of stupid. AND IT WOULD GET WORSE! The Pulse An OK show that absolutely went into the crapper after the halfway point and pretty much sums up everything people hated about the Hogan character at this point. Strong recommendation to avoid.