Mike Reviews – WCW Clash of the Champions XI – “Coastal Crush”

Happy Coastal Saturday Everyone!

I decided to review this one as I’ve always heard how bad the Ric Flair Vs JYD match is and I wanted to see if it could live up to the hype. According to WWE Network I have watched this show before at some point, but I have no memory of doing so, which bodes well for the show itself I guess!

The event is emanating from Charleston, South Carolina on the 13th of June 1990

Calling the action are Jim Ross and Bob Caudle

I do love the theme song for the show. It’s very early 90’s Sky Sports Super Sunday styled

Tony Schiavone welcomes us to the show and hypes up the Main Event before sending us to the guys at ringside.

Opening Match
The Battle of the South
The Fabulous Freebirds (Michael P.S Hayes and Jimmy “Jam” Garvin) Vs The Wild-Eyed Southern Boys (Steve Armstrong and Tracy Smothers)

This is a hot opener, with The Southern Boys being excellent fiery babyfaces and The Freebirds being entertaining stooging Heels, so the crowd has a good time with it and the action is fun to watch. After a babyface shine from The Southern Boys, Armstrong ends up getting cut off thanks to Garvin pulling him off the top rope illegally, leading to our Heel heat segment. Armstrong does a good job selling for that and the crowd gets behind him in the hope he’ll make the tag.

Eventually it’s hot tag Smothers and he does a nice comeback, bumping around the Heels and popping the crowd in the process. This is a great crowd actually, and they’ve really added to the match. All four men end up going at it in the ring, with The Freebirds cheating again only for The Southern Boys to give them a taste of their own medicine when Armstrong comes off the top with a head-butt on Garvin before draping Smothers over for the three count.

WINNERS: THE WILD-EYED SOUTHERN BOYS
RATING: **1/2

Fun opener with a hot crowd

Later on you can talk to Lex “Lugar” on the Wrestling Hotline. Is he a new wrestler they’re bringing in? Oh WCW…

Match Two
Bam Bam Bigelow w/ Sir Oliver Humperdink Vs Tommy Rich

Bammer would appear to be a Heel here, and he’s looking bigger than ever. Rich sticks and moves in the early going, using punches and arm wringers to keep Bigelow on his toes, and it’s decent smaller babyface Vs bigger Heel stuff. The crowd continues to be responsive and it continues to make the matches feel better due to how invested they are. Rich has done a decent job getting them into it to be fair, as the crowd probably didn’t buy him as a threat to Bammer early on but his shine made them think he has a chance. Rich even wins in the end, as Bigelow gets disqualified for KICKING TOO MUCH ASS.

WINNER BY DQ: TOMMY RICH
RATING: *1/2

That was going fine until the lame ending

Bigelow continues to beat Rich up following the bout, but Rich does get his hand raised in the end, making Bob Caudle look good on commentary as he had predicted Rich would pick up the upset win.

We get a hype video for Big Van Vader, who will be debuting at The Great American Bash in July. It mostly shows him walking to the ring in Japan whilst ominous music plays in the background.

Gary Michael Cappetta is in the ring and introduces El Gigante, who enters in wacky ill-fitting ring gear to cut a quick promo, which GMC translates for him. Gigante cuts a generic babyface promo and the crowd appreciates it. If only he could have actually wrestled eh?

Match Three
The Samoan Swat Team (Fatu and Savage) Vs Captain Mike and The Z-Man

Captain Mike would go on to be IRS in the WWF. The crowd absolutely hates The Samoans and boo them when they try and do their pre-match ritual, so The Samoans of course decide to milk it more than usual in order to get as big a reaction as possible. I’m loving this crowd thus far. The Samoans take the lion’s share of the offence here, as they were often want to do, but the crowd sticks with the babyfaces and it’s a solid tag match for the most part.

Z-Man eventually gets the hot tag after some heat on Captain Mike, and he does a nice flurry on The Samoans before stupidly ramming their heads together, which famously doesn’t work. The Samoans stop to taunt though, which allows Captain Mike to switch out with Z-Man and get an inside cradle for another surprise babyface victory in a series of them tonight.

WINNERS: Z-MAN & CAPTAIN MIKE
RATING: **

Decent tag outing there

Music video to hype up Mean Mark and his dreaded Heart Punch

Match Four
Mean Mark w/ Paul E. Dangerously Vs Flyin’ Brian

It’s the battle of Adjective+Forename wrestlers! Mark would eventually go on to become The Undertaker later on in 1990. Mark takes the majority of the match here, as they were building him up for Lex Luger at the time and Brian is an excellent smaller bumping babyface that can make him look good. Both men are good at their respective roles and the match does an effective job at making Mark look like a threat to Luger whilst also making Brian look like a gutsy babyface who will give everything he has regardless of the odds.

The crowd is into Brian and gets behind him whenever it looks like he might make a comeback. I think WCW has actually been smart with the early booking here, as having those babyface wins has kept the crowd hot, so they can afford to have a match where the Heel takes more of it like this and the crowd remains invested because they buy that the babyfaces have a chance. Things get a little but sloppy towards the end, but the finish is good as Mark catches Brian with a Stun Gun for the clean win OUTTA NOWHERE.

WINNER: MEAN MARK
RATING: **

Another solid match in a series of them thus far tonight. What I liked about the match was that they got the balance right between making Mark look dominant and imposing whilst still making Brian look like a game competitor who could hold his own, so the end result was that Mark’s resourceful clean win made him look all the better because he didn’t beat a chump but someone who was actually good, whilst Brian got enough offence in that he didn’t look weak

Mark and Paul E are out of there straight away following the pin so as not to bury Brian by making him lie around the mat for ages on camera.

Tony Schiavone has an interview with Sting. Sting says he’s here to keep an eye on Ric Flair. This was a short exciting promo.

The Rock ‘N’ Roll Express wants the US Tag belts.

Match Five
NWA United States Tag Team Titles
Champs: The Midnight Express (Bobby Eaton and Stan Lane) w/ Jim Cornette Vs The Rock ‘N’ Roll Express (Ricky Morton and Robert Gibson)

These two teams had many a match together and they were usually all good to great depending on how much time they had to work with and how into the respective acts crowds were. I’m hoping that with the excellent crowd reactions we’ve had thus far that this bout is another great one in the pantheon of MX/RnR matches.

The crowd is indeed great in this one, as they pop for basically everything the RnR do, giving the match a really good atmosphere. These two teams probably had better matches together over the years, but this is a good slice of tag team action, with the RnR getting their babyface shine in the early going and The Midnights bumping all over for them.

I just love the little things these two teams do, such as Lane getting a cheap shot on Morton and tagging out to Eaton, only for Eaton to run right into a Morton arm drag. It just constantly keeps you guessing when the momentum ebbs and flows like that, especially if you’re a long time viewer who is expecting the tag formula to go a certain way only for the two teams to take you down another avenue when you’re not expecting them to.

Eventually The Midnights manage to contrive a way to cut Morton off by illegally doubling on him in the corner whilst Cornette distracts the ref and that leads to our Heel heat segment following an extended babyface shine. Interestingly the heat doesn’t go on for that long, with Gibson soon getting the hot tag and running wild. Things break down following that, with Eaton coming off the top with an axe handle onto Gibson so that Lane can get a near fall. That was executed very well. The finish is pretty lame sadly, as Lane breaks up a pin attempt by grabbing the referees hand and that’s the DQ. He could have easily just broken up the pin instead.

WINNERS BY DQ: THE ROCK ‘N’ ROLL EXPRESS (MIDNIGHT EXPRESS RETAIN)
RATING: ***1/4

Good match with a disappointing ending. I think the RnR were getting a World Tag Title shot at The Great American Bash so they couldn’t lose here, but the way they did the DQ didn’t really work for me just because it would have been so much easier for Lane to just break up the pin because he was in the ring right next to it. Maybe if he’d been outside the ring where he couldn’t have broken it so easily and then dragged out the referee it might have worked better?

The Midnights and Cornette scurry away with their belts after being dominated for most of the match.

Match Six
Barry Windham Vs “The World’s Strongest Man” Doug Furnas

Windham was in The Horsemen at the time, whilst Furnas had only recently come in to WCW. Windham takes a number of bumps for Furnas in the early going to get Furnas’ strongman gimmick over, and the crowd is into it. Windham does eventually manage to turn Furnas inside-out with a clothesline though and works some heat. Windham is actually pretty over here, even though he’s a member of the main Heel faction.

They do an excellent job making Furnas look like a player here, with the commentary team putting him over big and Windham selling big for his offence, including giving him a bunch of near falls when Furnas makes the comeback. Furnas’ execution is a little bit sloppy at points, but aside from that he does well here and Windham is the consummate professional, even protecting Furnas in the finish by getting a rope assisted win.

WINNER: BARRY WINDHAM
RATING: **3/4

Decent stuff there, as Windham did everything he could to make Furnas look good before protecting him in the finish. Furnas may have lost the match but he gained something in defeat by being so competitive against one of the top Heels before losing to illegal tactics

Sid cuts a rubbish promo whilst wearing a tuxedo, which just makes him look ridiculous.

Match Seven
NWA United States Title
Champ: Lex Luger Vs Sid Vicious w/ Ole Anderson

Luger’s music from this era is so awesome. For some reason Luger doesn’t have the belt with him here despite him being the Champion. They do possibly the best kind of Sid match ever here, in that it’s super short as Sid gets distracted by Ole getting clobbered in the early going and turns around into a Luger clothesline for the flash pin.

WINNER AND STILL CHAMPION: LEX LUGER
RATING: N/A

Any match that gets Sid off my television screen as quickly as that is a thumbs up from me!

Match Eight
NWA World Tag Team Titles
Champs: DOOM (Ron Simmons and Butch Reed) w/ Theodore R. Long Vs The Steiner Brothers (Rick and Scott)

DOOM had cheated to win the belts at the Capitol Combat pay per view event so The Steiner’s now have a chance at revenge. Scott busts out two Moonsault Powerslams to start us out, which is pretty darn amazing and gets a big pop from the crowd as a result. This match is full of stuff like that where these four huge men are just flinging one another around with unbridled ease and it’d be terrifying if it wasn’t so gosh darn entertaining. Seriously, all four of these men are just scary in how big and strong they are.

I really enjoyed the Capital Combat match and this one is just more of the same, with the crowd loving it whenever the challengers are in control. Eventually Reed bails in order to avoid a Steiner-Line and that leads to Simmons cutting Rick off with a cheap shot outside the ring to give us our Heel heat segment. Reed just stopping himself on an Irish Whip raised the question as to why more wrestlers don’t just do that I guess, but you can overthink these things sometimes.

Rick ends up taking a Marty Jannetty flip sell off a clothesline at one stage, as this one continues to be a brutal slugfest that would fit in just in fine in places like All Japan. Scott eventually gets the hot tag and looks like a superstar when he runs wild on DOOM, delivering the sort of dropkicks guys his size shouldn’t be capable of doing, leading to the match breaking down and all four guys going at it. The ref gets distracted by Rick and that leads to Reed hitting Scott with a weapon of some kind so that DOOM retain. Rick could have broken that pin up but decided to pin Reed instead, even though he wasn’t legal. Oh well, Rick Steiner was never really known for ring smarts.

WINNERS AND STILL CHAMPIONS: DOOM
RATING: ***1/2

Tony Schiavone is with The Junkyard Dog, who cuts a good promo to hype up the Main Event later. He’s going to have some people watching his back later on to offset The Horsemen.

Semi-Main
Arn Anderson Vs Paul Orndorff

Anderson is a Horseman whilst Orndorff is part of the babyface Dudes With Attitudes faction that is opposing them. Anderson was also the World Television Champion at this time but the belt isn’t on the line here. Orndorff gets an extended babyface shine to start, with him continuously getting the better of Anderson and thwarting Anderson’s attempts at cutting him off, but eventually Anderson manages to cut Orndorff via the power of cheating and works him over with things like a rope assisted abdominal stretch.

This is one of those matches that are very solid from a meat and potatoes perspective, and having the responsive crowd keeps things interesting when Anderson is slowing things down in the heat so that Orndorff can sell. It would have actually made a great opener in some ways, but it works this high up the card as well due to how mechanically sound both men are. Orndorff eventually makes the comeback, leading us into the closing stages, where Orndorff reverses an inside cradle into one of his own for the clean win to pop the crowd.

WINNER: PAUL ORNDORFF
RATING: **1/2

Nice wrestling there, with the crowd adding to the match

Tony Schiavone interviews The Horsemen, who are adamant that Ric Flair is leaving as the World Champ tonight. Flair cuts his usual hyper promo and it’s good as usual.

Main Event
NWA Worlds Heavyweight Title
Champ: Ric Flair w/ Ole Anderson Vs The Junkyard Dog

JYD’s offence is Giant Baba level when it comes to strikes and whatnot, but the crowd is into him and Flair bumps all over the place in an effort to make it look good, so it doesn’t really bother me. Crowd reactions can do a lot to enhance an enjoyment of a match for me, and the fact they liked JYD here makes what would be a somewhat poorly executed wrestling match seem much better. And to be honest, it’s not like this match is horrible either, certain when compared to some of the genuinely awful wrestling that WCW would churn out in the second half of the 90’s.

JYD gets the big shine to start, with Flair bumping around and begging off as you would expect him to. Flair’s main source of offence early on comes from things like eye gouges, with JYD even no selling a chair shot at one stage to continue dishing out punishment. At points JYD just stands there and lets Flair wrestle around him, and it works so I’m not really going to knock it. I’m yet to see this be the disaster so many build it up as to be honest. The only thing that I think really sucks is the finish, as JYD pounds on Flair and Ole runs in for the DQ.

WINNER BY DQ: THE JUNKYARD DOG (RIC FLAIR RETAINS)
RATING: *3/4

I’ll chip a little bit off the rating as the finish sucked and Flair didn’t really get much of a chance to work some heat, but aside from that I thought this was watchable. It certainly wasn’t the calibre of match you’d want to close a big show with, but isolated as just a match it was mostly okay, as Flair knew exactly what to do in order to work around JYD’s limitations and JYD was over with the crowd, so his stuff got good reactions even if it didn’t always look good. Give Flair a proper heat segment and the match an actual finish, and I could have seen it landing somewhere in the ** to *** range when all was said and done. Definitely not the “worst match of all-time” bracket that some seem to think it belongs in

The Horsemen come down for the beat-down on poor JYD, which leads to the babyfaces running down for the save in order to pop the crowd and put some heat on the Flair Vs Sting issue.

Rocky King and Sting have some promo time to close us out. Sting wants Ric Flair for the belt.

In Conclusion

I think this is a good show. The Main Event has its problems, but there’s lots of decent wrestling throughout the show and the crowd is one of the best crowds either WCW or the WWF had all year, as they are pretty much in to everything and it really adds to the show.

Recommended show