WCW Wednesday: Part XXXI – the Flare for the Old Edition!

On June 16, 1993, WCW invaded the Scope in Norfolk, VA for the twenty-third edition of the Clash of Champions. The focus of this show was to create storylines for the upcoming Beach Blast PPV. To the fans in attendance, the highlight of the show was the in-ring return of “Nature Boy” Ric Flair.

Two wrestlers didn’t take too kindly to Flair’s return. In fact, “Stunning” Steve Austin and “Flyin’” Brian Pillman (a.k.a. the Hollywood Blonds) were so adamant about exposing Flair for being over the hill that they created this skit for WCW Saturday Night.

Hence, between the skit and getting disgraced on Flair’s “A Flair for the Gold” segment on WCW Worldwide, the Horsemen were out for revenge.

At Clash XXIII, Arn Anderson and Flair wrestled against the Hollywood Blonds in the main event. From my reflection:

Match 6 for the WCW World tag team titles (2 out of 3 falls): The Hollywood Blonds (champions) versus the “Enforcer” Arn Anderson & “Nature Boy” Ric Flair

First fall:

  • To say the Horsemen were over in Norfolk would be a HUGE understatement.
  • Buffer rumbled.
  • Pillman tried to psyche out Arn with his phantom rolling camera, but I don’t think it worked.
  • Arn then guillotined Pillman using the top rope.
  • After Austin tagged in, he teased Arn about his Miller Lite days.
  • As soon as the Norfolk faithful chanted “We Want Flair,” Arn tagged him in to a HUGE ovation.
  • Upon giving Pillman a cross-corner whip, he made Pillman eat a back elbow.
  • Shortly after, Austin received an Anderson slam, and then Flair tagged in and gave Austin a knee drop.
  • While Flair distracted referee Nick Patrick, Pillman choked Arn with the towel.
  • After Austin received a jawbreaker, Pillman used the towel again on Arn.
  • Shortly after, Austin delivered a vertical suplex to Arn.
  • In a funny moment, when Austin taunted Arn with the rolling camera trick, Arn responded by giving him a DDT. HA!
  • Flair came in and gave Pillman a cross-corner whip followed by an inverted atomic drop.
  • He then gave Pillman the ten-punch count-along, but Austin broke it up.
  • The Blonds tried to double-team Flair, but Arn tripped Austin.
  • Flair then pinned Pillman to give the Horseman a one fall to zero advantage.

Second fall:

  • Buffer incorrectly announced the Horsemen as the victors prior to a commercial break.
  • After a cross-corner whip by Pillman, a Flair flip occurred.
  • Landing on his feet, Flair then chopped both Blonds consecutively.
  • While Pillman had Patrick’s attention, Austin suplexed Flair on the floor. How dastardly!
  • Pillman took over and made Flair taste the steel railing. It must have tasted like the funky chicken sandwich at No Frill Bar & Grill. That resulted in a Flair flop.
  • After more chicanery by Pillman, Austin hoisted Flair onto the top turnbuckle and delivered a superplex.
  • A subsequent cross-corner whip by Austin was followed by a shoulder block in the corner.
  • After a mid-ring collision between Flair and Pillman, Flair made the tag!
  • Upon giving Austin a back drop, Arn delivered the SPINEBUSTER.
  • Again, Flair distracted Patrick. Meanwhile, Pillman illegally clipped Arn’s knee.
  • Pillman attempted to give Arn a cross-corner whip, but Arn’s knee gave out.
  • Shortly afterward, Pillman applied a single leg crab to Arn with some assistance from Austin. SNEAKY!
  • Pillman then mounted the second turnbuckle but ate boot on his descent.
  • Hot tag Flair.
  • Behind Patrick’s back, Flair tossed Pillman over the top rope.
  • He then gave Austin a belly-to-back suplex.
  • Before Flair could apply the figure-four leg lock, NWA World champion Barry Windham ran in and nailed Flair.
  • The Horsemen won the second fall by DQ and the match, yet they did not win the titles.

Rating: ****

Summary: This match proved that the Blonds were within the same echelon as the Horsemen since they gave them a great match here. I wish I could say it led to bigger things for the Blonds, but I cannot.

After the match, “Pretty” Paul Roma, the newest Horseman, comes to his stable’s aid. As Tony tries to interview Windham, Flair attacks his former Horseman buddy.

So where did it lead:  As you could see, Flair went to Beach Blast to challenge Windham for the NWA title. While he would succeed and win a tenth World title, Arn and Roma failed as Austin pinned Roma. The following month at Clash XXIV, Arn and Roma defeated the Blonds for the title, but with Pillman being injured, Lord Steven Regal took his place. Subsequently, the Blonds broke up and had a brief feud as Austin aligned with Colonel Robert Parker.

What do you think of this match from Clash XXIII?

Please be sure to check out all of my reflections at rockstargary.com.