Rock Star Gary reflects on WCW Clash of the Champions XVII

Live from Savannah, GA

Airdate:  November 19, 1991

Attendance: 6.922

Hosted by Jim Ross & Tony Schiavone

Can Sting retain the US title against Rude? Will Rhodes and Windham achieve tag team gold? Does Rick Steiner stand a chance against Luger? Read on!

Backstage, Eric Bischoff and Missy Hyatt preview the upcoming promos during the show. In fact, Hyatt will interview Bagwell.

Not THAT Bagwell. Interestingly, Jeff Bagwell debuted for the Houston Astros in 1991 and won Rookie of the Year. Regardless, Hyatt’s more interested in newcomer Marcus Alexander Bagwell allegedly because she had no clue that Jeff Bagwell would become a Hall of Fame baseball player with millions of dollars in the bank. C’est la vie.

Match 1 (lumberjack): Thomas Rich (w/ Alexandra York) versus Big Josh

Highlights:

  • Leave it to WCW to begin yet another show with a gimmick match. Let’s hope the lumberjacks do something to affect the outcome.
  • Josh gave Rich an atomic drop, and Rich couldn’t seek refuge outside the ring due to the lumberjacks.
  • Next, Josh hit a belly-to-belly suplex followed by the log roll.
  • When Rich rolled out to the floor, his York Foundation teammates Richard Morton and Terrance Taylor assisted him.
  • Not to delay the match further, the Freebirds and Todd Champion came over to toss Rich back into the ring.
  • Josh then gave Rich a back drop followed by an elbow drop for a 1-count.
  • As Josh got tossed to the floor, the York Foundation clobbered him.
  • Again, Rich tossed Josh to the floor so that the York Foundation could maul him. In the process, Sgt. Buddy Lee Parker’s citations flew everywhere.
  • Rich then gave Josh a clothesline and a back elbow.
  • After an elbow smash, Rich got 2.
  • While Rich distracted referee Randy Anderson, Steve Armstrong gave Josh the business in the corner.
  • Rich then delivered a vertical suplex for another 2.
  • When Josh gave Rich a cross corner whip, he ate boot on his follow-through.
  • Rich then mounted the top turnbuckle, but Josh caught and slammed him down to the mat.
  • As Josh delivered a snap suplex, he got 2.
  • They then executed a criss-cross with Anderson circling them. In the process, Taylor inadvertently tripped Rich instead of Josh. Or was it deliberate? You make the call!
  • After hitting the Northern Exposure, Josh pinned Rich.

Rating: *1/2

Summary:  Indeed, the lumberjack stipulation actually caused the outcome. To make matters worse, the York Foundation was on borrowed time, and this would be the final supershow appearance of Terri Runnels in WCW.

Match 2: “Beautiful” Bobby Eaton versus US tag team champion Firebreaker Chip

Highlights:

  • After Eaton missed a chop, Chip mounted the top turnbuckle, leaped over Eaton, mounted the opposite second turnbuckle, and hit a cross body block for 2. Unfortunately, it wasn’t as crisp as it sounded.
  • Chip then reversed a cross corner whip but came up empty on his follow-through.
  • Having caught his balance on the apron, Chip mounted the top turnbuckle and hit a flying clothesline for 2.
  • Shortly after, he gave Eaton a cross corner whip but ate a clothesline.
  • Eaton then delivered a backbreaker for 2.
  • When Chip reversed an Irish whip, Eaton hit a cross body block, but Chip used momentum to land on top for 2.
  • He then hooked a backslide for another 2.
  • As Eaton reversed another cross corner whip, Chip rolled him up but couldn’t get 3.
  • Eaton’s kick-out then sent Chip face-first into the top turnbuckle so Eaton delivered a belly-to-back suplex to his dazed opponent.
  • 1-2-3.
  • Eaton won.

Rating: *

Summary: Showcase match for Eaton.

Promo airs for Starrcade ’91 LIVE on PPV on 12/29. Order now!

On the ramp, Schiavone interviews Sting who’s anxiously ready for another box with a surprise. I’m shocked no one offered him any Cracker Jacks. Suddenly, a group of well-sculpted bodybuilders pull a mysterious, majestic-looking carriage. Madusa then emerges from it and seduces Sting. As she diverts Sting’s attention, Luger crawls out of the carriage and clips Sting’s knee. How dastardly! He then rams Sting’s knee into the edge of the ramp repeatedly until the babyfaces rescue Sting. More on this later.

Match 3: The Diamond Studd versus the Z-Man

Highlights:

  • This match was joined in progress as Z-Man reversed a cross corner whip but ate boot on his follow-through.
  • As Studd mounted the second turnbuckle, he delivered a bulldog for 2.
  • With the match in split-screen, Sting received medical attention backstage.
  • After Z-Man reversed another cross corner whip, he ducked the boot and crotched Hall with the ring post. OUCH!
  • He then mounted the top turnbuckle while Sting was being loaded into an ambulance.
  • When Z-Man hooked a sunset flip from the top rope, he got 2.
  • The ambulance then pulled away from the Savannah Civic Center as Z-Man hooked a crucifix.
  • 1-2-3.
  • Z-Man won.

Rating: ½*

Summary:  Mere fodder as the Sting storyline continues.

After the match, Studd gives Z-Man a chokeslam followed by the Diamond death drop.

Match 4 for the WCW World TV title: “Stunning” Steve Austin (champion w/ Lady Blossom) versus P. N. News

Highlights:

  • After News reversed an Irish whip, he grabbed a standing choke.
  • He then gave Austin a cross corner whip followed by an avalanche.
  • When he slammed Austin, News hit an elbow drop.
  • Austin then sought refuge outside the ring, but News followed and whipped him into the steel railing.
  • Back in the ring, Austin attempted a slam, but News fell on top for 2.
  • News then delivered an embarrassing dropkick before hitting a suplex that could have hurt Austin. Where’s Sgt. Parker? This kid needs more time in the WCW Power Plant. Oh, that didn’t open until ’95. My bad.
  • After Austin tossed him to the ramp, he joined News only to be backdropped back into the ring.
  • News then gave Austin a running body block followed by a bear hug.
  • As he converted it to a belly-to-belly suplex, News only got 2 thanks to Lady Blossom’s chicanery.
  • He then sauntered after Blossom until Austin leaped over the top rope to nail News.
  • Next, Austin made News taste the steel railing. It must have tasted like the Trailer Park burger at the Green Truck Pub.
  • Back in the ring, News reversed a cross corner whip but came up empty on his follow-through.
  • Austin then pinned News with his feet on the ropes. SNEAKY!
  • Austin retained.

Rating: *

Summary:  The most notable part of the match is that Lady Blossom retired after this match to become a full-time mother.

The Bagwell interview that was hyped earlier in the show was edited from the WWE Network version. I had ZERO to do with removing a Missy Hyatt segment from this show. I swear.

Match 5: Cactus Jack versus Van Hammer

Highlights:

  • Part of Hammer’s entrance included a music video.
  • When Cactus attacked him at the onset, Hammer came back with a belly-to-back suplex.
  • He then dropkicked Cactus sending him to the floor.
  • As Hammer leaped over the top rope, he gave Cactus a double axe handle.
  • He then made Cactus taste the steel railing. It must have tasted like the Ham Dunk at the Driftaway Café.
  • Back in the ring, he gave Cactus the big boot, slammed him, and hit a leg drop. Where have I seen this before?
  • Anyway, he only got 2.
  • Cactus then reversed a cross corner whip and face-planted Hammer.
  • Following that, he hit the Cactus clothesline and a Cactus elbow from the second turnbuckle.
  • While the Savannah faithful chanted “Ham-mer,” their favorite gave Cactus a cross corner whip followed by a clothesline.
  • He then mounted the top turnbuckle and hit a flying knee drop for 2.
  • After a mid-ring collision sent him outside the ring, Cactus took Hammer’s guitar and nailed him with it.
  • 1-2-3.
  • Cactus won.

Rating: **

Summary:  Tremendous win for the up-and-coming Cactus Jack over the rookie sensation.

After the match, Hammer ducks a clothesline and delivers one of his own. He then tosses Cactus to the ramp and hits a slingshot suplex. Afterward, he uses the ropes for momentum to give Cactus a flying shoulder block while on the ramp. They then brawl to the backstage area.

Ross is on the phone trying to contact Bischoff at the hospital. When Bischoff answers, he provides an update on Sting’s condition. Will Sting be available for his title defense later in the show?

We then revisit Halloween Havoc ’91 when the Enforcers CRUNCHED Barry Windham’s right hand followed by a Rhodes/Windham squash match from Columbus, GA taped on 10/22.

Match 6 for the WCW World tag team titles: The Enforcers (champions) versus the “Natural” Dustin Rhodes & ????

Highlights:

  • Windham came to the ring with his right wrist heavily taped.
  • As he informed the Savannah faithful that he couldn’t wrestle due to reconstructive surgery on his right hand, he introduced a wrestler wearing a costume.
  • Rhodes then revealed the masked wrestler as…Ricky “The Dragon” Steamboat. Holy shit! He had just wrestled for the WWF in Saginaw, MI on 10/20 losing to Skinner.
  • To say the Enforcers were livid about Steamboat’s involvement would be putting it mildly. In fact, Arn exclaimed “not Ricky Steamboat!”
  • When the Enforcers attempted to double-team him, Steamboat valiantly fought out of the heel corner.
  • All four wrestlers were in the ring.
  • With all four wrestlers outside the ring, Rhodes made Arn HIT THE POLE.
  • Steamboat then hit a flying back elbow.
  • After Arn came in, Rhodes nailed him, and Steamboat delivered an inverted atomic drop.
  • Following a dropkick by Steamboat, Arn sought refuge outside the ring.
  • While the Enforcers regrouped, Arn told Zbyszko: “He’s just a man.” I beg to differ.
  • Shortly after, Rhodes tagged out so Steamboat mounted the top turnbuckle and lowered the boom on Zbyszko.
  • Steamboat then rammed Zbyszko’s arm against the ring post.
  • As tags were exchanged on both sides, Rhodes reversed a cross corner whip but ate knee on his follow-through.
  • Arn then mounted the top turnbuckle, raked Rhodes’ eye, and hit a double axe handle.
  • When Arn gave Rhodes a cross corner whip, he ate knee on his follow-through.
  • Rhodes then delivered the Flip, Flop, and Fly to each Enforcer.
  • After Zbyszko tagged in, he requested Steamboat.
  • He then got his wish along with a back kick to the midsection.
  • As Zbyszko slapped him, an enraged Steamboat chased after him, but Arn tagged in and put a knee into his back.
  • Rhodes then distracted referee Nick Patrick, and the heels double-teamed Steamboat.
  • Upon giving Steamboat a vertical suplex, Zbyszko got 2.
  • Arn tagged in and whipped Steamboat HARD back-first into the corner.
  • When Steamboat attempted a sunset flip, Arn tagged out before getting pinned.
  • Zbyszko then slammed Steamboat and hooked an Arn-assisted abdominal stretch.
  • While the Savannah faithful chanted “Steam-boat,” Arn tagged in and gave Steamboat a belly-to-back suplex for 2.
  • Steamboat came back by face-planting Arn.
  • After Zbyszko tagged in, he gave Steamboat a backbreaker for 2.
  • Steamboat then attempted a slam, but Zbyszko landed on top for another 2.
  • As Rhodes distracted Patrick again, Arn applied a bear hug.
  • Arn then countered a body scissors with a Boston crab.
  • When the Enforcers executed an illegal tag, Patrick placed Rhodes back in the babyface corner.
  • Zbyszko then hooked a Boston crab, but Steamboat crawled over to tag in Rhodes.
  • Regrettably for Steamboat, Patrick didn’t see it.
  • Arn then gave Steamboat a cross corner whip but missed a left.
  • After Steamboat delivered an atomic drop, his and Arn’s heads collided.
  • Arn then mounted the top turnbuckle, leaped, but ate boot.
  • Hot tag Rhodes.
  • As Rhodes cleaned house, Arn reversed an Irish whip but ate a bulldog.
  • Steamboat tagged in, but Zbyszko tossed him over the top rope to the floor.
  • Since Rhodes distracted Patrick, there was no DQ.
  • Meanwhile, Steamboat mounted the top turnbuckle and hit a cross body block.
  • Do we have new champions?
  • 1-2-3.
  • WE HAVE NEW CHAMPIONS!

Rating: *****

Summary:  Best match for WCW in 1991. These four told a great story with excellent psychology, workrate, and excitement galore. GET ALL THIS!

After a commercial break, a video featuring Jushin “Thunder” Liger airs. For those who enjoy Benoit getting his ass kicked, this segment is for you.

Ross then interviews Uncle Paul at ringside. While reading the contract for the title match, Uncle Paul declares that if Sting cannot return from the hospital for his match tonight, both the match and the title will be forfeited. Oh, the horror!

With Bischoff on the phone, he explains to Sting about the forfeit. He then states that Sting “has commandeered an ambulance.”

Match 7 for the WCW Light Heavyweight title: “Flyin’” Brian Pillman (champion) versus Johnny B. Badd (w/ Teddy Long)

Highlights:

  • After delivering a pair of chops, Pillman gave Badd a back drop.
  • He then dropkicked Badd to the ramp and followed with a springboard clothesline.
  • When he attempted a piledriver, Badd countered with a back drop.
  • Pillman then hooked a sunset flip but ate a knuckle sandwich.
  • As Badd held Pillman, he leaped causing Pillman to taste the steel railing. It must have tasted like the Islander at the Warehouse Bar and Grille.
  • From the apron, Pillman hit a springboard shoulder block for 2.
  • He then gave Badd a powerslam, mounted the top turnbuckle, but ate knees on a splash.
  • After Badd delivered a back elbow, he got 2.
  • He then slammed Pillman, mounted the top turnbuckle, leaped, but ate a dropkick.
  • Upon hitting a lariat, Pillman delivered a spinning heel kick for 2.
  • Badd came back with a clothesline, mounted the top turnbuckle, and hooked a sunset flip.
  • Although Badd had Pillman pinned, Long distracted referee Mike Adkins.
  • Badd then missed his left hook, so Pillman shoved him into Long.
  • As Pillman hooked a rollup, he pinned Badd.
  • Pillman retained.

Rating: ***

Summary:  Decent match with a predictable finish due to the in-fighting between Badd and Long.

After the match, Badd decked Long to a thunderous ovation. WE HAVE A FACE TURN!

Match 8 for the WCW US title: Sting (champion) versus “Ravishing” Rick Rude (w/ Uncle Paul)

Highlights:

  • After Rude made his entrance, Uncle Paul demanded the microphone and ran down Sting.
  • Meanwhile, an ambulance arrived at the arena, and Sting emerged from the passenger seat.
  • The bell rang as Sting limped into the arena. Will he make it in time?
  • While Rude met him on the ramp, Sting delivered a gorilla press slam.
  • Rude then mounted the top turnbuckle, leaped, but ate a shot to the midsection.
  • After a back drop, Sting clotheslined Rude over the top rope to the ramp.
  • Rude then grabbed Sting by the leg and rammed the injured knee into the ring post. Nefarious!
  • As Rude mounted the top turnbuckle, he delivered an axe handle.
  • He then attempted the Rude Awakening, but Sting escaped.
  • When Sting nailed him repeatedly, Rude fell against the ropes.
  • He then fell forward into Sting’s injured knee.
  • While referee Nick Patrick checked on Rude, Uncle Paul WALLOPED Sting with the cell phone.
  • Do we have a new champion?
  • 1-2-NO!
  • Sting then came back with a DDT but got distracted by Uncle Paul on the apron.
  • Due to the distraction, Rude clipped Sting’s injured knee.
  • He then executed a rollup while grabbing the tights.
  • 1-2-3.
  • WE HAVE A NEW CHAMPION!

Rating: **1/2

Summary:  If a wrestling promotion wants to promote its newest heel, having him cheat to win over the promotion’s top babyface is an excellent way to establish him. In this case, mission accomplished.

After a commercial break, Schiavone interviews the new US champion with Uncle Paul and Madusa. According to Uncle Paul, the “Dangerous Alliance calls the shots.” Rude then informs Sting that “nice guys finish last.” Methinks Uncle Paul was channeling Leo Durocher here.

Promo #2 for Starrcade ’91 airs.

Ross then interviews Ron Simmons who, like Windham, broke his wrist and cannot compete on tonight’s show.

We then revisit WCW Pro on WGN when Rick gave Luger a belly-to-belly suplex and had referee Randy Anderson count an impromptu pin (aired 11/2, taped 10/15). Following that, we revisit World Championship Wrestling when Rick defeated Mr. Hughes and slammed an incoming Race. Luger then decked Rick with a clothesline, attempted a piledriver, but Scott chased him off (aired 11/9, taped 10/21).

Match 9 for the WCW World title: The “Total Package” Lex Luger (champion w/ Harley Race) versus Rick Steiner (w/ Scott Steiner)

Highlights:

  • Similar to Halloween Havoc ’91, Mr. Hughes was ejected before the match began. Methinks he and Atlanta Braves manager Bobby Cox need counseling regarding this tendency.
  • When Luger attempted a leap frog, Rick caught and powerslammed him for 2.
  • He then gave Luger a Steinerline sending him to the floor.
  • Upon Luger’s return, Rick gave him a cross corner whip followed by a back drop.
  • As Luger missed a clothesline, Rick delivered a release German suplex for 2.
  • Luger then reversed a cross corner whip, elbowed referee Randy Anderson away, and crotched Rick on the top rope.
  • After a pair of clotheslines, Luger attempted a vertical suplex, but Rick blocked it and hooked one of his own.
  • Luger then slammed him and hit an elbow smash for 2.
  • When Luger tossed Rick outside the ring, Race put the loafers to the challenger.
  • Luger then made Rick taste the steel railing. It must have tasted like the City Slicker at Barnes.
  • Back in the ring, Luger got 2.
  • As Rick hit another powerslam, he got 2.
  • He then mounted the top turnbuckle and delivered a bulldog for another 2.
  • Upon placing Luger atop the top turnbuckle, Rick gave Luger an overhead belly-to-belly superplex. Wow!
  • Scott then brawled with Mr. Hughes on the ramp and backdropped him into the ring.
  • After an Irish whip, Scott gave Mr. Hughes a Frankensteiner. That was truly a feat considering Hughes’ size.
  • Rick then hit another belly-to-belly suplex, but Race got up on the apron.
  • When Rick suplexed Race into the ring, Anderson pushed Race out of the ring.
  • In the meantime, Luger grabbed the World title belt and WAFFLED Rick with it.
  • 1-2-3.
  • Luger retained.

Rating: ***

Summary:  The outside interference marred the match, but Rick held his own against Luger.

Conclusion:  Normally, the Clashes have been used to promote the upcoming PPV matches. Since Starrcade ’91 is a concept show, WCW put everything they had into making this show stand on its own. They succeeded with the great tag title match and the elevation of Rude with his US title victory and exceeded my expectations for the show.

Also, with the WWF holding two upcoming PPVs, WCW held this show to oversaturate the market and deter PPV customers. We’ll see how much it affected the WWF going forward.

Stay tuned for WWF Survivor Series ‘91!

Rating: 4.30

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