(I finally figured out the problem that was preventing me from adding WWE Network to my Roku box, and now the heavens have opened and I can get that and Hulu and everything else that’s coming to me as a fake US citizen again. In fact the WWE website claims that they don’t support the Roku HD or streaming stick, but it now works fine on both. Thank you, Unblock-US!) (Also, before we start, I would like to declare VINDICATION for the people who were giving me s--- about saying that Shawn wanted Jose Lothario in his corner in 96 and that Shawn hated it and stuff, because Meltzer got that very question on the radio show last night and specifically said that Shawn asked for him to be there. Ha!) The SmarK Retro Rant for WCW Clash of the Champions XXVI – Live from Baton Rouge, LA, January 27 1994. – Your hosts are Tony Schiavone and the debuting Bobby Heenan, fresh from quitting the WWF. Mean Gene’s sell of his appearance as the worst news since the Titanic sinking is pretty funny stuff. – Pretty Wonderful v. Marcus Bagwell & 2 Cold Scorpio. Orndorff starts with Scorpio and grabs a headlock, but it gets reversed to a wristlock. Orndorff slugs away in the corner to break free and blocks a charge with a boot to the head, but Scorp gets him into a criss-cross, and we take a break. We return with Roma catching Bagwell with a hotshot, but Bagwell gets a sunset flip for two. Roma puts him down with a clothesline, but misses an elbow. That allows Scorpio in, as he goes to work on the arm, but an ill-fated superplex attempt backfires, and Roma gets an axehandle off the top. Orndorff comes in with a chinlock to keep up the torrid pace. They work Scorpio over in their corner, and Roma drops an elbow. Orndorff gets a facelock and pounds him down, and they get a double-backdrop. Roma drops an elbow for two. Orndorff comes off the top with the devastating “leap directly onto the boot” move and it’s hot tag Bagwell. Hiptosses and slams for everyone! High knee puts Orndorff on the floor, and a crossbody gets two on Roma. He goes up and a dropkick gets two. Cheapshot puts Bagwell down and it’s BONZO GONZO, but Scorpio misses a crossbody and ends up on the floor. Bagwell sends Roma into Orndorff’s outstretched knee and gets the pin at 12:07. What a weird finish. Replay reveals that it was loaded by the Assassin prior to that, so it was in fact a BIONIC KNEE OF DEATH. This was about as exciting as a match featuring Paul Roma and Marcus Bagwell was gonna be. That is to say, not very. *1/2 – Ron Simmons v. (Ju)ice Train. No intros for this one. Ice Train should not, of course, be confused with A-Train. Although we’re all waiting for that showdown, make no mistake. (Man, there’s a dated reference.) Train gets a powerslam to start and shoulderblocks Simmons out of the ring, then slams him on the floor. He hits the post by mistake, however, and Simmons pounds on the shoulder as a result. Suplex back in as Tony informs us that Gordon Solie will be calling the next match. I think his talents would have been better served with a technical classic such as this one. Simmons drops a fist and snapmares Train around, and gets a clothesline. Train comes back with a rollup for two and deflects a Simmons flying shoulderblock, and he powerslams him. Blind charge misses badly and Simmons thankfully ends it at 3:35 with a rollup. DUD Simmons suffered an injury around this time that escapes my mind at the moment, and ended up getting cut by WCW before kicking around ECW and winding up in the WWF as Faarooq in 1996. (Quick question: Why have they not yet booked a wacky comedy skit where he does his catchphrase and RVD thinks that Ron is talking to him?) – World TV title: Lord Stephen Regal v. Dustin Rhodes. Dustin takes him to the corner to start, but gives a clean break. Another lockup and Regal takes him to the corner this time, but no clean break. They slug it out and Dustin gets a dropkick that sends Regal to the floor, where he regroups. Rhodes works on the arm and tosses Regal across the ring off a wristlock. They try the test of strength and Regal takes him down with a standing armbar and goes to a headlock, then overpowers Regal, prompting him to bail. Back in, Rhodes grabs a headlock and they work off that, as he releases and slams Regal for two, and then goes back to the headlock. Regal escapes from that, but Dustin takes him down again and goes back to the headlock on the mat. Regal finally brings him to the corner and escapes with forearms, then drops a knee and applies a wristlock on the mat. Dustin fights up, so Regal hits him with a gutwrench suplex for two. Dustin fights out of another headlock and slugs Regal down, but he gets taken down and pounded by Regal again. They fight over a wristlock, but Regal wraps him up with a straightjacket hold until Dustin flips Regal to escape, and a clothesline gets two. Regal bails again and does some stalling while making a big show of checking Sir William’s watch, and he finally comes back in with a sunset flip. Dustin blocks it and pounds him on the mat. Lariat gets two. They do the chase and Dustin wins with a dropkick for two. Regal rolls him up again but it’s in the ropes. Regal bails again and leads Rhodes on a chase up to the ramp, but he charges and gets backdropped in, and Dustin gets two. Regal bails again and Dustin follows to lay in punishment. Back in, an elbow from the top sets up the bulldog, but time expires at 15:00. Nothing wrong with it so much as it didn’t go anywhere. ** – The Nasty Boys v. Cactus Jack & Maxx Payne. Jack and Payne attack out of the crowd and send the Nasties running. Jack brawls out with Knobbs, and then drags Sags out for an elbow off the apron. Payne feeds him another one, and then brawls out with Sags as Jack pounds on Knobbs in the corner. Knobbs finally goes to the eyes to ease up the pressure and Sags comes in, but gets caught coming off the top and powerslammed for two. Knobbs slugs away in the corner, but Maxx likes it. Payne-killer (Fujiwara Armbar) but Sags breaks it up, and then trips him up. Knobbs drops a leg for two. Payne bails, so Sags blasts him with a chair on the floor. Back in, the Nasties get a double-clothelsine and Sags drops a knee. They double-team him but Payne comes back with a double-clothesline and makes the tag to Jack. He fights them off alone and it’s a brawl, and Jack hits both of them with a Cactus clothesline. Double-arm DDT on Knobbs, but Sags drops the elbow to break up the count, and then Payne drops his own elbow to put Jack on top for the pin at 6:53. Well you don’t see THAT finish every day. Amazingly, this would eventually lead to two Match of the Year Candidates and the total reinvention of the tag team style by Cactus Jack in the process. This didn’t really hint at the great matches to come, as it was a dull mess. * – Brian Pillman v. Colonel Rob Parker. The loser of this has to wear a chicken suit. Now there’s a stipulation they need to bring back. Okay, maybe not. Steve Austin is playing the role of Robert Parker at ringside, complete with cigar and handkerchief. Parker runs away to start, and runs right into a slam, which gets two for Pillman. Standing dropkick gets two. Parker bails for some managerial advice from Col. Austin, which prompts Pillman to go out and attack him. Back in the ring, Parker gets the advantage and slugs away in the corner, but Pillman comes back with a shot to the gut and an atomic drop. Clothesline gets two. Parker bails again, and Austin brings him up to the ramp for a constitutional walk. Pillman charges out and gets rid of Austin, however, and now the Boss (Man, he’s Big) joins them and lays out Parker and Austin. Back in, Pillman goes after him again, but now Parker runs away, only to run into the Boss (Man, he’s Big). In the ring, Austin sneaks in with a stungun on Pillman, and Parker gets tossed in, where he takes over and hammers away. Austin adds a cheapshot, but Pillman catches him coming off the middle rope and makes the comeback. Lariat and he slugs away, and a standing dropkick sets up the shots to the turnbuckles. Pillman gets rid of Austin, who is bumping for 18 guys tonight, but goes up and gets shoved off by Austin, and Parker gets two. Boss chases Austin away, which leaves Parker dead in the water, and a rollup finishes for Pillman at 5:43. Tremendous fun, thanks to Austin being game for humiliation. ** (That’s one thing about Steve, he’ll do whatever goofy s--- he thinks he can get over.) – Ric Flair & Sting v. Vader & Rick Rude. This is elimination rules. Just about any combination of these four is a **** match, more or less. Sting starts with Rude, and hip-swivels result. Rude’s were better. Sting powers Rude down with a wristlock and works on the arm, but Rude takes him to the corner and pounds away with knees. Vader comes in and clobbers Sting, then presses him onto the top rope. Slam and he goes up and tries a sunset flip (!) from the middle rope, which Sting blocks with a buttdrop. That’s kind of backwards, isn’t it? Vader starts a war of punches and wins that pretty handily, but Sting comes back with an insane german suplex and brings Flair in. Flair chops Vader down and seems to be on a sugar buzz tonight, as he thumbs the eye and slugs Vader down, then brings Sting back in as we take a break. We return with Sting getting bearhugged by Rude. Flair comes in and gets the atomic drop, however, and they botch a blind charge spot. Vader comes in and splashes Flair in the corner, then slams him and goes up with a pump splash. Race wants MORE pain, though. I can’t advocate sadism. Oh, okay, maybe just this once. Vader brings him to the top and superplexes him, and just casually works him over. Back to the top again as Vader boxes his ears and Race wants another superplex, this one from the top rope, and he delivers it. However, Vader brings Flair to the floor for more punishment, and they both get eliminated via DQ or countout or something, they weren’t really clear on that. So it’s Rude v. Sting, as Sting tosses Rude into the ring and goes up with a flying lariat. Backdrop and a botched atomic drop, as Sting hurts his neck on the way down. Rude goes up and gets a forearm from the top. Rude clotheslines him and drops a fist for two. Rear chinlock is countered with an electric chair drop by Sting, but a splash hits knees. They clothesline each other and Rude recovers first and tries the Rude Awakening, but Sting holds onto the ropes to block, and gets his own. That gets two. Rude comes back with an atomic drop, but misses a blind charge. They do the tombstone reversal, won by Sting, and he goes up with a flying splash to finish at 20:46. Good, but not up to their usual standards, as Flair and Vader’s elimination kind of sucked the fun out of the match. *** The Bottom Line: An entirely forgettable show, which is probably why I forgot about it. Nothing really to recommend here, unless you’re a completist and need the Flair/Sting v. Rude/Vader match for your collection or something. Recommendation to avoid.