The SmarK Rant for Clash of the Champions XXIV (August 1993)
Old rant sucked. Too hot to sleep while I wait for the sweet sweet A/C to kick in. Clown will eat me. Let’s rant. Hopefully there’s nothing legendarily terrible on this show.
Live from Daytona Beach, FL
Your hosts are Tony Schiavone & Jesse Ventura
Brian Pillman announces that he has a broken ankle and thus will be unable to defend the belts against the Horsemen. So WCW brass put Lord Steven Regal in his place to defend the belts, since the title change was already announced at the Disney tapings months earlier (and in fact the Nasty Boys were already taped with the belts after winning them at the next PPV…you know what I mean) and they didn’t have any more wiggle room to deal with cases like this.
WCW World tag titles: Steve Austin & Steven Regal v. Paul Roma & Arn Anderson
And so this is how the glorious reign of the Hollywood Blonds comes to an end. Whoops, spoiler. In kayfabe terms, what kind of bullshit is this? If some NBA basketball dude broke his ankle slipping on his diamond-soled Nikes, would they just substitute a random guy in his place for the big championship basketball match? I don’t know, I don’t watch basketball because I’m super-white and Canadian and thus it’s fucking terrible to me, but I’ll assume the answer is a definitive PROBABLY NOT. So Austin attacks AA to start and drops elbows on him, but Arn catapults Austin out of the ring. And then a backdrop behind the ref’s back. That’s CHEATING. As if the Blonds would ever stoop to low tactics like that. So it’s over to Regal to hopefully raise the level of intellectual discourse here, but some WWF job guy slugs away with illegal closed fists in the corner. Regal with the FULL ARMDRAG AND TWIST and Roma is such a clumsy idiot that he trips on his own shoelaces, allowing the Stevens to take over. Pillman accidentally touches Roma’s disgusting greasy hair and is unable to extract his fingers, thus inadvertently choking him out on the ropes. Roma comes back with more illegal closed fists because apparently he’s too stupid to read the rulebook, but Austin uses his superior wrestling to take him down again for two. Regal goes to work on him in the corner and Austin goes to explain things to Arn, but gets punched in the face. I’m disgusted with the tactics on display by the babyfaces here. Roma has the balls to use Austin’s own stungun against him because he can’t invent his own finisher due to his crushing awfulness in general, but the ref is distracted at the absurdity of Paul Roma being a Horsemen and doesn’t see the cover. Finally it’s the hot tag to Arn, but Regal clobbers him from behind because he has it coming. Sir William jumps up on the apron to point out the Horsemen cheating to the referee, but Arn shoves Austin into him and rolls him up for the tainted pin, with the tights no less, and the title at 9:45. What a disgrace. Match was fine and as a bonus most of it was Paul Roma getting the shit kicked out of him. ***
The Horsemen do a post-match interview, and apparently some people thought Paul Roma didn’t have what it takes to be a Horseman. That’s ludicrous! It was WAY more than “some” people!
Bobby Eaton v. 2 Cold Scorpio
Bobby catches him with his head down, but Scorpio rolls him up for two, so Bobby clotheslines him down again. Scorp pops up with a flying bodypress for two and goes to the arm, but another bodypress misses and Bobby takes over. So he works a hammerlock on the mat as this seems to be kind of a weird style clash, but they fight to the top and Scorp dropkicks him to the floor and follows with a dive. Back in, Bobby catches him with a botched neckbreaker and then repeats the move to hit it correctly, which sets up the flying elbow for two. Scorp kicks him down to win a slugfest, and the 450 finishes at 5:25 and nearly smashes Bobby’s face in. So this was a bit of disaster. *1/2
Maxx Payne v. Johnny B. Badd
Hey, speaking of disasters, it’s guitar v. mask in the blowoff for this feud that was triggered by Badd getting a confetti gun sprayed in his face. Payne quickly gets the advantage and pulls off the mask, but Badd is wearing a second mask underneath the first one. Who is he, Rey Mysterio? Badd with a flying headscissors, but Payne puts him down with a clothesline and drops an elbow for two. I feel like Maxx Payne should be doing all his moves in bullet-time while reminiscing about his dead family. Payne goes up, misses a splash, and Badd pins him at 2:50. Well that was certainly an ending. Badd gets custody of Payne’s prize guitar as a result. ½*
A Flair For The Gold with Sting, British Bulldog and a MYSTERY GUEST. So, yeah, this is pretty famous. Sting & Bulldog are ready for the Wargames, but Sid and Harlem Heat interrupt and Sid is ANGRY. So Sting excitedly reveals their partner: THE SHOCKMASTER. And thankfully they leave the announcers “Oh man…” intact on the soundtrack as he bursts through the wall and falls on his ass. Truly this was WCW in a nutshell. It was a memorable debut at least.
World TV title: Paul Orndorff v. Ricky Steamboat
Jesse is still laughing about the Shockmaster during the entrances here. The arena is really dark for some reason, which is weird because it was super-bright for the first few matches. Astonishingly, Michael Buffer is left alone by the Network censors. Steamboat works a headlock to start and they do a really cool wristlock battle with Steamboat bridging like a mofo, but he misses a dive and lands on the ramp. Orndorff tosses him back in again and goes up with an elbow for two. We hit the chinlock, and Jesse notes that this is a hold where Orndorff can rest. A rest…hold? Paul tosses him to the floor and pounds the back, but Steamboat runs him into the turnbuckle and follows with a flying chop for two. Suplex gets two. Steamboat comes back with chops that send Orndorff flying out of the ring, and he follows with a top con hilo! I’ve never even seen him do that before! Well, I mean, I saw him do it when I originally did this show, but that was 20 years ago and I totally forgot. Back in, Orndorff takes him down and works a cover by using the ropes, but Steamboat rolls him up for two. Piledriver is reversed by Steamboat and they do a pinfall reversal sequence and Steamboat gets two off the backslide. Orndorff clotheslines him down again, but charges and hits boot and Steamer gets the bodypress, reversed by Orndorff for two. Paul slams him and Steamboat cradles him to win the TV title at 8:50. This turned into a HELL of a match. ***1/2 Orndorff piledrives him on the belt afterwards in a show of sportsmanship.
Sting & Ric Flair v. Awesome Kong & King Kong
Not to be confused with the Kharma version of Awesome Kong. And how the hell did they get away with naming someone “King Kong” without getting their ass sued off by Universal? This reminds me of the hilarious legal battle that Universal had with Nintendo, because they tried to claim the copyright on King Kong when Nintendo first published Donkey Kong and they felt it was too close to their concept. So in court, after sinking millions into the legal battle, Nintendo questions how it’s possible that Universal even owns the whole “giant ape” concept in the first place. So Universal defends their claim by establishing that King Kong was in the public domain when they released their movies and thus they had the right to use him, which inadvertently destroys their own case and gives Nintendo the comeback win! That was some tricky Eddie Guerrero legal awesomeness right there. Of note here: Future US champion David Flair sitting in the front row. Sting slams both Kongs and hits one with the Stinger splash while Flair beats on Harley Race outside, and the flying splash finishes at 2:10. So yeah, two 500 pound dudes just got SQUASHED.
Rick Rude & The Equalizer v. Dustin Rhodes & Road Warrior Hawk
Animal initially came out as the partner but then Hawk was revealed as the double-secret partner. Hawk tosses Rude into the corner and wins a test of strength, so Rude brings Equalizer (the future Dave Sullivan) in. Equalizer immediately fucks up bumping on a neckbreaker and then goes on offense with a clothesline out of the corner. Rude goes to a chinlock on Hawk, but he escapes when Dustin comes in with a Doomsday Device. Dustin runs wild briefly and then gets caught in the corner and plays face-in-peril. Hot tag Hawk and the break just totally breaks down into a huge mess, but Hawk shoulderblocks Dustin onto Equalizer for the pin at 7:41. This all went nowhere except for a boring match between Hawk and Rude at Starrcade. *
WCW World title: Vader v. British Bulldog
Vader and Bulldog slug it out on the ramp right away and Vader rips off the mask, so you know shit is ON. Bulldog suplexes him on the ramp, but Vader just beats the cornrows off him in the corner to take over. Bulldog gets tossed and Vader tries a flying splash on the railing, but that misses and Bulldog suplexes him onto the railing. Back in, Bulldog with a samoan drop for two. Vader bulldozes him again and goes to work on the leg. To the top, and a flying Vader splash gets two. Bulldog tries a sunset flip, which Vader counters by sitting down, but Bulldog moves and gets two. This only annoys Vader further, so he tosses Bulldog into the corner and splashes him again. WHY WOULD YOU ANGER THIS MAN?! 1993 Vader was an awesomely terrifying monster. Bulldog gets a crucifix for two, so Vader CLOBBERS him to put him down again. He pounds away in the corner, but Bulldog fires back until Vader headbutts him to cut off the comeback. Vader goes up again and this time Bulldog dropkicks him down and pounds away in the corner. Vader boots him down again and goes up with the Vaderbomb to silence the crowd, and that gets two. So he goes up again, and this time Bulldog slams him off the top and knocks out the ref in the process. Smith tries a delayed suplex, but Race clips him and Vader falls on top to retain at 10:49. HELL of a match! ***1/2 So not only did Vader beat the hell out of Bulldog and look dominant, but they made sure to show that he couldn’t actually beat him without help, thus making Bulldog look strong in defeat. And then Cactus Jack charges out to attack Vader as we’re out of time.
1998 Scott HATED this show, but I loved it! The good matches were given time and were exactly the kind of matches I love, and the terrible stuff was kept short and briskly paced. Without commercials it was only 90 minutes and an easy watch. Yeah, it was maddening at the time for WCW fans, but over 20 years removed from the stupidity surrounding the show, it’s a hell of a good wrestling show. Recommended!