Prior to my vacation/wedding/honeymoon, I promised a reflection of NWA Great American Bash ’88; however, this show serves as a precursor to it. Therefore, allow me to provide you with said precursor as a turning point for a promotion.
While the initial Clash stands on its own as a spectacular, this Clash serves as a promotional vehicle for the upcoming Great American Bash tour. Get out your beach umbrella, fruity cocktail, and sunscreen as we head to Miami, Florida for some NWA wrestling action!
Due to WCW’s Disney tapings in 1993, a fallout occurred between WCW and the NWA because of WCW’s portrayal of someone other than the NWA champion wearing the NWA belt. Rather than eliminate the title altogether, WCW renamed it the WCW International World title.
By July 1994, the usefulness of the WCW International title had run its course so to speak; hence, WCW booked a unification match at Clash XXVII on July 23. At the time, Sting was the WCW International champion while Flair was the WCW World champion. Since these guys knew each other really well, let’s see how the match went according to my reflection…
Match 5 for the WCW World title unification: “Nature Boy” Ric Flair (WCW World champion) versus Sting (WCW International World champion)
As Heenan replaced Ventura on commentary, Flair came out first.
After the introductions, Sensuous Sherri came down the ramp. Upon hiding behind a mask, she revealed herself wearing the exact style of face paint as Sting.
At the onset, Sting gave Flair a pair of gorilla press slams.
That resulted in a Flair flop on the floor.
Interestingly, Flair, who had been a babyface since his return to WCW, made heel gestures toward the crowd.
After a series of clotheslines by Sting, he delivered a hip toss and a dropkick.
Flair then attempted the figure-four leg lock, but Sting got a sloppy cradle for 2.
While a huge “Sting” chant emanated from the crowd, Sting missed a Stinger splash.
Subsequently, Flair asked referee Randy Anderson for the time then tossed Sting over the top rope when he wasn’t looking. As you know, he’s the “dirtiest player in the game.”
Regardless, Flair tried to pin Sting with his feet on the ropes.
He then made a second attempt at a figure-four but was thwarted.
After a sleeper by Flair, a Flair flip put Flair on the apron but Sting clotheslined him down.
Sting then put Flair on the top turnbuckle and delivered a top rope superplex.
However, he then missed a top rope splash.
Next, a delayed vertical suplex by Flair was no-sold by Sting.
He then clotheslined Flair over the top rope to the floor.
When Sting attempted a plancha, Flair put Sherri directly in his path. Nice bump, Sherri.
As Sting was distracted with Sherri, Flair rolled him up with a handful of tights for the victory!
Summary: These guys have had better matches in the past. Unfortunately, in this match, the psychology was all over the place. Due to their almost unparalleled chemistry, this match-up never became boring. Yet this match’s only historical significance was the unification itself.
After the match, the crowd cheers for Flair’s victory as a dazed Sherri enters the ring. Shockingly, she and Flair embrace. WE HAVE A HEEL TURN! She and Flair double-team Sting including two Sherri splashes. Being the hero to millions, Hulk Hogan emerges from the dressing room to confront Flair, but the ”Nature Boy” avoids the leg drop and bails. Sherri appears to be caught in the middle of the ring, but she slaps Hogan. To save her skin, Flair drags Sherri from the ring. Your Bash at the Beach main event stands before you and boosts the match rating up ½*.
So where did it lead: While the title unification resided on the forefront, the signing of Hulk Hogan stood in the background like a ticking time bomb. In order to placate Hogan, Flair had to turn heel to elicit the “appropriate” reaction for the Hulkster. Since BatB ’94 generated a 1.02 buyrate, I would surmise that Hogan’s politics worked. In fact, he even became WCW World champion in his first WCW match!
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.
After the incredibly successful and exciting Clash, how does Jim Crockett Promotions follow up? They scheduled a twenty-four team tournament, but, as you will find out, there are only twenty-two teams. This ought to be interesting…
In a previous column, I mentioned the “intrusion” by Scott Hall on Nitro. While I won’t touch on everyone’s favorite “adjective” segment, I will mention Hall and Nash’s appearance on 6/16/1996 at Great American Bash ’96 for an interview with Executive Vice-President Eric Bischoff.
Hosted by Tony Schiavone, Jim Ross, and Bob Caudle
In previous reflections, we learned that Vince McMahon and the WWF initially opposed Starrcade ’87 with Survivor Series then subsequently Bunkhouse Stampede with Royal Rumble on USA. With the help of TBS, Jim Crockett Promotions counter-attacked by opposing WrestleMania IV with this show. Back in 1988, despite my admiration for Savage, I tuned in to watch this show instead. Let’s see what transpired.
On May 7, 1989, in the third of three spectacular matches, NWA World Champion Ricky “The Dragon” Steamboat defended his title against arguably his greatest challenger— “Nature Boy” Ric Flair. Having defeated Flair at Chi-Town Rumble in February for the title, Steamboat once again beat Flair on April 2 in a 55-minute best two out of three falls classic at the Clash VI.