Rock Star Gary reflects on WCCW 10-15-1983

Taped from Dallas, TX

Airdate: October 15, 1983 (taped 10/07)

Attendance: unknown

Hosted by Bill Mercer

It’s a battle of champions! Who will triumph, David or Garvin? Can the Freebirds topple Adams and Mantell? What’s Garvin’s take on Sunshine’s new valet? And who will join me to bring this episode to you?

Read moreRock Star Gary reflects on WCCW 10-15-1983

WCW Clash of the Champions 22: January 13, 1993

On Sunday Night, Cactus Jack left about 800 wrestlers for dead. Everyone, from jobbers all the way up to the World Champion were no match for Jack and his shovel. Are there going to be repercussions for the madman from New Mexico? Will Dustin Rhodes win the big one? Just what DID Erik Watts do to get arrested? And what the hell is a Thunder Cage? We hope to address this tonight, but being WCW, I’ll be happy if just one of these points is touched on.
Since this is 1993, Vader’s team is dubbed “THE EVIL TEAM” by the Unknown Voice Over. Shades of grey weren’t wrestling’s strongest suit in those days.
LIVE from Milwaukee, WI, TONY SCHIAVONE is joined by … BILL WATTS? This can’t possibly be our announce team. Watts gloats about teaming with The Crusher against Larry Hennig and Larry Zbyszko in Milwaukee shortly after founding father Soloman Juneau settled in the region in the early parts of the 19th century. Watts takes us through the state of the union; Van Hammer tore a guitar string and won’t be able to arm wrestle tonight. He’s being replaced by Vinnie Vegas for reasons. Meanwhile, his son Erik, who he says is “like a son” to him, told him he was arrested for no good reason at all. And because of this relationship, Bill believes him; but it needs to be investigated. As a result, he won’t be wrestling Cactus Jack. Wouldn’t an appropriate punishment be to have him wrestle Cactus Jack?

In the back, LARRY ZBYSZKO is with the aforementioned ERIK WATTS, and it becomes increasingly obvious that he’s been charged with stealing the wardrobe from the host of Nick Arcade.
 
Bill Watts is frustrated that his son can’t compete, but has a fair replacement: Johnny B Badd. Man, that’s a shockingly low opinion he has of the man who’s “like a son” to him.
JIM ROSS and JESSE VENTURA are the real announcers, though I don’t know if this is an improvement.
CACTUS JACK vs. JOHNNY B BADD
These guys actually have a little history, partnering together in the Lethal Lottery at Starrcade – but like all other Cactus Jack partners, Badd ate it like a champ. Ventura correctly points out that the audience has a shocking number of Cactus Jack signs, fallout from Sunday’s anti-hero face turn. Cactus misses an avalanche, and gets rolled up for 2. Badd works an armbar, but that doesn’t go very far, and Johnny gets punched in the head. Badd slams Jack’s face into the buckle, and cradles Cactus for 2. Up top, Badd misses a sunset flip, and Jack drops an elbow for the quick pin at 2:53. This should have been a completely one-sided squash; that was WAYYYYY too much offense for (at this point) useless Johnny. 1/2*
During the break, the greatest music video in the history of wrestling debuts. I’ve posted it before; but let’s go through it one more time. A group of naughty (black) kids refuse to go to school, despite the pleas of the (good) white kid, because they just want to play basketball. They continue to play, when a limo pulls up, and a large woman begin shrieking “EVERYBODY HERE COMES TOO COLD SCORPIO!” The basketball is whiffed with one of the worst looking air-balls I’ve ever seen, which is both necessary to take us to the next part of the video – but also subliminally highlight that these kids should probably focus on their studies since an NBA career is not in the cards. The ball takes a perfect bounce into the limo, and Scorpio bursts through the doors bouncing the ball – basically playing the Wesley Snipes version of the Kool Aid Man. He dunks, drawing high praise from the drop-outs. Scorpio asks why they’re not in school, and one of the delinquents tells him they’re off to the Arcade. Scorpio tells them Mortal Kombat is going to have to wait, they need an education, and he’s going to take them there. The kids perk up, thinking they’re about to hop in the limo, bathe in Dom, and toss around Benjamin’s like Floyd Mayweather. However, Scorpio immediately blue balls them and informs the group “we gonna step”. Then he dances with a bunch of sluts for some reason. This entire segment is Faces of Fear levels of amazing, and completely defines a generation. What that is, is really hard to say – but we’re going to assume it involves stepping.
2 COLD SCORPIO vs. SCOTTY FLAMINGO
It breaks my heart in knowing Flamingo has no shot in hell following that video, because any man willing to strap on those tiny pink bicycle shorts and thrust violently at whatever’s he hallucinating about deserves a rocket strapped to his back. Flamingo actually has the crowd support which pleases me greatly. Scorpio hits Flamingo with a springboard back elbow before whiffing on a kick that Flamingo sells by literally jumping backwards and out of the ring. Champ. Scorpio decks him with a big right hand off the apron, but Flamingo’s back in first and hits a dropkick to send Scorpio back to the outside. A plancha (!) connects, and Flamingo throws Scorpio back in for 1. Scorpio sneaks in a small package for 2, and that enrages Flamingo and his protruding penis. Scorpio keeps on, hitting a pair of dropkicks and Flamingo begs for a time out. Instead, he’s given a rotating splash off the top, but Flamingo kicks out at 2. A Stinger splash misses, and Scorpio eats buckle, allowing Flamingo to roll him up for 2. A dropkick from Scorpio sets up a legdrop, and the Diss That Don’t Miss finishes us off at 4:12. **
CHRIS BENOIT vs. BRAD ARMSTRONG
This is Benoit’s WCW debut, and he’s introduced as a 7-year veteran by Ross to give him some credibility. Man did he age fast, he looks like a kid here, even though he’s in his mid 20’s. Benoit goes for an early powerbomb, but Armstrong rolls off the back and hiptossees Chris. A dropkick leads to an armbar to slow Benoit, who is an absolute ball of energy here. Benoit bridges loose and takes Armstrong down, winning a test of strength. Armstrong backdrops out, and goes back to the armbar. Chris finally has enough and counters into a hammerlock, but Armstrong dumps him through the middle rope, leading to another debut … the feathered mullet.
Back in, Armstrong plants Chris with a dropkick, and goes back to the armbar. I’m not sure keeping Benoit moving at a snail’s pace is the best way to show him off. Benoit shakes loose and goes for a Liontamer, but Armstrong won’t turn, so Benoit gives him a hot shot instead. Armstrong staggers on the apron, so Chris gives him a violent headbutt, and then nails him with a double jump clothesline drawing a massive pop! Armstrong crawls back in, and takes a clothesline so hard I’m surprised his head’s still attached. A backbreaker is followed with a scoop slam so hard that Armstrong bounces off the canvas like a basketball. Chris heads up, but Armstrong goes to cut him off. Benoit ain’t having that, headbutting Armstrong like a boss, and as soon as Brad falls, Benoit’s right behind him with the swandive. Still, Armstrong rolls away, and Brad hits a swinging neckbreaker for 2. Benoit immediately stands up and hits the Dragon Suplex for the win at 9:15! This was the tale of two matches, but as soon as Benoit got going, this was outstanding. It’s incredible they didn’t offer this guy a huge contract and immediately insert him into the US title picture, because he was ready, even at this point. ***
Meanwhile, TONY SCHIAVONE introduces a video package to highlight the reunion of the Rock n Roll Express. They’ve been tearing up Smokey Mountain Wrestling, but WCW’s arranged a one-time appearance for the new SMW tag-team champions to appear at Superbrawl. That’s a fantastic working partnership. I actually have the bulk of the SMW library on one of my hard drives … do I dare extend myself even thinner?
JESSE VENTURA excitedly hosts the latest in the Strongest Arm competition. The reigning champion is hurt, and the runner up, Ron Simmons, is in the main event – but we’re given Tony Atlas challenging … Vinnie Vegas. Apparently Vegas is being given this opportunity because he was eliminated unfairly from the tournament, since he is left handed. This is actually happening, isn’t it? Vegas, for the record, is sporting an incredible pair of pink hospital scrubs tonight. Jesse provides some scintillating play-by-play that I could not possibly top (“HERE COMES VINNIE VEGAS BACK! HE’S ROLLING THE DICE!”), and after roughly two and a half decades, Vegas wins. You know, even with the hindsight that Over the Top drew absolutely no money, WCW continues to run with this. Though, really, I’m secretly ok with that.
And speaking of things I’m totally ok with, VADER is screaming about Sting from inside a blizzard. He has a special challenge to present him with, but he wants to do it from inside his White Castle of Fear! Sting is promised a good time if he’s willing to live on the edge. I think this was Chapter 14 in 50 Shades of Vader.
LARRY ZBYSZKO covers the #1 contender tournament for the US title that’s been going on. Rhodes and Steamboat face off on Saturday Night, and will face Rick Rude on the 23rd … unless he’s too hurt to fight. If that’s the case, this weekend’s bout is for the strap. Fun!
THE WRECKING CREW vs. THE Z-MAN and JOHNNY GUNN
Rage and Fury make up the Wrecking Crew, but while Fury is probably not known to you, he has a couple of very famous brothers in Animal, and John Laurenitis. Rage is just the latest incarnation of The Reverend Al Green, who has not begun his beastial transition from 70’s Soul Singer to Dog. Ventura sums up his predictions: “I’ll take the two ugly guys!” That’s not very kind to Tom Zenk. Rage tries a press slam, but Zenk escapes and hits a cross body for 2. Team Powder Blue clear the ring, and while the Crew reground, Z-Man hits a tope on both! Gunn comes in and is held hostage by Rage, but he sidesteps the attack and Fury nails his own partner. Fury regroups and blasts Gunn with a forearm, but Gunn hits a quick faceplant and tags out. Zenk takes a gutwrench powerbomb to set up a spinning sidewalk slam, and Z-Man is reeling. Rage comes in and ties up a bit with the referee giving Z-Man a chance to hit a crossbody, but Rage hangs on and just drops him down into a slam. A second rope axehandle is blocked with the superkick, and Zenk makes the hot tag. Gunn cleans house, but Rage hits a cheap shot to set up the Wrecking Ball and the pin at 6:08. I always like a couple of lumbering, clumsy heels, and these guys will be exactly what the doctor ordered on the J-shows. *
LARRY ZBYSZKO has tracked down BRIAN PILLMAN and STEVE AUSTIN. Pillman promises that the champs are about to pay a hefty fine for carrying the gold, and guarantees a dynasty is about to kick off. I’m all in on the Hollywood Blondes era.
STING is welcomed to the arena by TONY SCHIAVONE to respond to Vader. He’s never walked away from an invitation in his life, and he certainly won’t walk away from the White Castle of Fear. DUSTIN RHODES and RON SIMMONS join Sting, and even though Van Hammer is too useless injured to join them tonight, they don’t feel any more short-handed than they did before he was hurt. Only Van Hammer could be double booked and STILL not let anyone down when he fails to appear.
Back in the locker room, LARRY ZBYSZKO is joined by VADERPAUL ORNDORFFBARRY WINDHAMHARLEY RACE, and the man who doesn’t need any partners to single-handedly win this match, THE BARBARIAN. Race doesn’t want to talk about the Thunder Cage because he’s so angry at Cactus Jack. Someday, he’s going to pay for “coming at me with a SCOOP … SHOVEL!” In fact, he doesn’t like anyone associated with Cactus Jack, and fires the Barbarian. The Barbarian lifts Race in a double armed chokehold because he’s the coolest man on the planet, but Vader cheap shots him from behind and Orndorff piledrives him. Race: “ONE MORE TIME!!!!” No one dares do it one more time, because there’s no reason to make the Barbarian any angrier than they already have. Just this stunt is going to cost everyone living in a small village their lives.
WCW airs a package on the history of Superbrawl because whatever The Barbarian is doing is definitely too graphic for your average viewer, and once they’ve managed to clean up the locker room, Larry’s retaken his post with RICKY STEAMBOAT and SHANE DOUGLAS. Steamboat promises that the dynasty is going to end before it begins. Douglas just wants to get to the ring and get it on. So does Chyna, quite frankly.
SHANE DOUGLAS and RICKY STEAMBOAT vs. STEVE AUSTIN and BRIAN PILLMAN (for the WCW world tag-team titles)
We’re on a 30-minute time limit given the TV limitations, but that seems asinine since there’s like 30 minutes left in the show and we have a Thunder Cage to see, assuming anyone survived the wrath of The Barbarian. I’m kinda amped to see this incredible collection of talent, and Shane Douglas, in one ring at the same time. Steamboat tries to end things early with a crossbody, but that just draws everyone in for a massive brawl. The faces clear the ring, and Austin’s not impressed at all. Back in, Steve offers the hand of friendship, but Steamboat slaps it away. Disrespect Austin and pay, and he beats the shit out of Steamboat. Pillman comes in, but Steamboat has his way with him, hiptossing and dropkicking him at will. Douglas and Steamboat tag in and out quickly, hitting one move at a time to Pillman’s arm, wearing him down. Pillman twists his knee and it looks like we may be throwing in the towel on this one early. Douglas cautiously checks it out … and takes a headbutt to the gut while Pillman laughs like a hyena. Pillman goes for a rana, but Douglas turns it into a slam for 2. Austin comes in but Douglas wrestles him right down to the mat. Steamboat helps keep Austin in the corner with a hammerlock slam, and a sunset flip from Douglas gets 2. Austin comes back with a handful of tights for 2, and gets into a test of strength. Neither wins, but Douglas rushes to the corner and bounces back with a second rope rear elbow for 2. Steamboat slams Douglas on Austin for 2, and when Pillman rushes to save his buddy, Steamboat slams Brian on Austin as well! Things calm down a little, and Austin inches his way back to his corner. Pillman decks Steamboat allowing Austin to hit a backdrop suplex, and Pillman tags himself in. A cheap shot draws in Douglas, and while the referee restrains him, Steamboat is thrown over the top rope where Austin happily slams him on the concrete floor! Dirty and delicious. Steamboat fights his way back to the apron and nearly suplexes Pillman to the floor, but Austin kicks Steamboat in the small of the back, and Pillman reverses to bring Steamboat back in for 2. The boys beat Steamboat like a pinada, and the longer he takes to spew forth candy, the harder they hit. A faceplant from Pillman is held on, and Steamer’s face is ground into the mat. Steamboat gets a surprise sunset flip, but Austin was busy chatting to the referee to get a count. Austin tags in as Steamboat desperately tries to karate chop his way loose, and JUST as it looks like he’s going to get out, Austin hits the backdrop suplex for 2! The crowd collectively gasped when Ricky was denied the tag, great spot. Austin works a reverse backbreaker, and Pillman makes the blind tag to attack … but Steamboat ducks and Pillman nails Austin! A springboard double karate chop knocks down both challengers, and Steamboat makes it oh so close before Pillman stops him. Steamboat hits him with a spinning suplex, and both guys are down. Pillman desperately tries to stop the tag, but Ricky makes it this time as the arena explodes, and Douglas destroys both guys. Pillman takes a belly to belly, but the referee is trying to keep the desperate Steamboat in his corner … and Austin drops a knee off the top rope! Pillman is rolled on top, but Douglas kicks out and the place is rocking now! Austin and Steamboat trade punches on the outside while the referee desperately tries to maintain order, but JUST as the referee starts dragging Steamboat back to his corner, Austin grabs a belt and sneaks in to blast Douglas upside the head with the sharp side of the gold! The referee was still paying attention though, and immediately disqualifies both guys at 13:43! The fans are positively rabid now, THRILLED the miserable bastards got caught. They don’t care though, as Pillman hits a DDT on Steamboat, while Douglas spurts blood from his forehead. Next, the belts are used to whip Steamboat, but BRAD ARMSTRONG leads a BRIGADE OF LOSERS to the ring to save the day. Austin and Pillman take the gold and parade around the ring, holding the belts as high in the air as they can. This is everything I could ever hope for from my favorite scumbags. ****
VADER and HARLEY RACE head to the ring to talk with JESSE VENTURA. Race gloats that Vader’s the greatest champion in history, but that draws out an irate RON SIMMONS. Simmons says the first time Vader lets his guard down, he’ll put him on his back. Race tries a sucker punch, so Simmons kicks his ass and then goes for Vader. A spinebuster takes out the champion, and Simmons turns back to the ramp to slaughter Race. Vader rushes in to save his manager, and jumps on the back of Simmons which HAS to smart! He splashes Simmons on the concrete, and attacks the injured shoulder with a pair of shoulderbreakers. STING and DUSTIN RHODES rush in to save their friend, but they’re way late. Simmons is out of the main event.
BARRY WINDHAM, PAUL ORNDORFF, and VADER (with Harley Race) vs. STING and DUSTIN RHODES (in a Come Dressed as You Are, handicap Thunder Cage match)
As it turns out, street clothes for Vader are exactly the same thing he wears all the time. I admire his dedication to the look. So, to answer what exactly a Thunder Cage is, it’s essentially a Hell in a Cell, but constructed like an upside-down deep fryer basket. Rhodes goes after Windham as you’d expect, but a blind tag surprises Windham, and he eats a face plant from Sting. Vader wants a piece of Sting, and tags in to go right after him. Sting is immediately overpowered, and Vader flexes to remind him he’s the man. Sting throws some desperate punches, but Vader starts throwing his giant clubs. Sting battles back and Vader starts rocking, so he quickly hits an atomic drop, followed by a DDT. The Stinger Splash has Vader wobbly, and Sting doesn’t relent, hammering with everything he’s got! The fans are loving Sting’s fight, but you know it this isn’t it, because here comes the heels. Sting fights them off, but Vader is able to recover and he hits the bear clap. Off the top, a clothesline drops Sting. Ross: “That defies logic! A 400 pound man should not be able to come off the top rope like that!” So, he opts to defy logic again, but his splash misses and Sting clotheslines him to the floor! The fans are rockin’, and Sting howls to them … completely missing that Orndorff has rushes him from behind, and Sting’s dropped with a German suplex! Vader officially tags Orndorff in, and he stomps Sting into a puddle. An elbow to the little Stinger (which Jesse reminds us is a legal blow in this match) brings in Windham, and he’s ready to dish a little violence. A vertical suplex is followed by a cheap shot to Rhodes. Dustin rushes in, and gets avalanched by Vader in the corner. Good job Dustin! Vader tags in, and crushes Sting with the avalanche as well before hocking a loogie at Rhodes. My man! A press slam, complete with Vader tossing Sting in the air as he benches him, keeps Sting down, and Windham comes in to hit his Superplex. Sting fights off the Superplex, which would have undoubtedly ended this, and gets the hot tag to Rhodes. Dustin fights with all 3 guys who have come into the ring now, and manages to beat them down briefly. Windham eats a corner clothesline, as CACTUS JACK rushes in with a pair of bolt cutters! He hacks his way through the lock, and welcomes himself to the fray – officially declaring himself on the side of the faces! Windham tries to stop him as Orndorff works over Rhodes, but he rips off his boot and starts clobbering all 3 guys! Vader avalanches Rhodes again, while Orndorff tosses Jack through the ropes, where he flies into the side of the cage and splats on the floor full force, as always. Sting is dumped, leaving Rhodes one on one with Orndorff. However, Cactus wills himself back in, and he comes off the top with the boot to the back of Orndorff’s head and scores the pin at 11:25! Sadly, this was rushed because TV time was at a premium and WCW didn’t think to cut out some of the unnecessary fat. **1/2
JIM ROSS wants a word with Jack, and the audience is fully behind this. Jack says for the last 9 years he’s been called a psycho, and a warped loser. He’s got a neck that hurts him every morning when he wakes up thanks to Orndorff, and he’s probably in over his head. His ribs hurt because Vader splashed him, and he knows he’s in over his head. However … you can beat him, you can hurt him, but you can’t stop him. “SO PAUL ORNDORFF, BRING IT ON! BRING EVERY OUNCE OF ENERGY CUZ YOU’RE GONNA NEED IT!” The face turn is complete, and it looks like we have the first break-out main eventer of 1993.

I wasn’t expecting a ton out of this show given the clog of names like Van Hammer and Erik Watts being heavily advertised – but not only was the dead weight shoved aside for the most part, all of the young guys were given plenty of opportunity to shine, and shine they did. Austin is looking like a polished vet, Chris Benoit is a phenomenal new intense entry to the federation, and Mick Foley’s the second hottest commodity they’re riding (behind Sting). We’re off to an incredibly promising start to 1993, and it’s all up to WCW to take advantage.

Repost: The SmarK Rant for WCW Clash of the Champions XXXIII (08.15.96)

(Not a new post, as I did this one while going through the entire run of Clash shows last year after they got added to the Network.  But since we’re at that point, might as well post it again.)  The SmarK Rant for Clash of the Champions XXXIII (August 1996) Dedicated to the memory of Mark “OfficerFarva” Haas.  (I will also just add that I was going through my inbox tonight to continue my quest of cleaning out stuff that no longer applies or is too dated to answer, and I was saddened to have to archive a bunch of stuff from Mark, because he always had really good discussion material to add but I just couldn’t get to all of it.)  Live from Denver, CO Your hosts are Tony Schiavone & Bobby Heenan Into the nWo era now, shortly after Hogan won the title at Hog Wild, and it’s an entirely different promotion from the last Clash we saw. Hall and Nash are here, Hogan is a heel, Luger is 100% babyface and so are the Four Horsemen. Cruiserweight title: Rey Mysterio v. Dean Malenko Ever notice that Rey and Dean’s music are basically the same thing? Malenko attacks before the bell with a suplex and dumps Rey, but he slides back in and hits Dean with the rana off the apron. Back in, they trade acrobatics and Rey gets a moonsault for two and kicks Dean to the floor. Back in, Dean drops him on the top rope via a powerbomb to take over, and goes to a chinlock. We take a break to shill the official Hog Wild denim jacket (only $89.95!) and return with Dean flinging Rey around the ring until Rey flips into a rollup for two. Rey used to be so fun before all the steroids. Dean goes to the legbar and then launches him into a faceplant for two. Rey tosses Dean and follows with a somersault dive, then moonsaults off the railing in a spot that could have went horribly for him. Back in, springboard dropkick gets two. Rey reverses a tilt-a-whirl for two. West Coast Pop gets two. They fight on top and Dean gets the SUPER EXPLODING GUTBUSTER for the pin, but Rey’s foot is on the ropes. The ref rings the bell, but then takes it back and Rey rolls him up for the pin at 14:20 to retain. This is the time when the cruiserweight division launched into the stratosphere. ***3/4 GLACIER is coming, muthafucka! Keeping in mind this is August 1996 and he didn’t even show up on TV until, what, mid-97? VK Wallstreet v. Hacksaw Jim Duggan The VK Wallstreet gimmick was of course another oh-so-subtle dig at Vince McMahon and his mainstream aspirations. We all know who got the last laugh on that one. Wallstreet immediately makes the mistake of pointing to his head to indicate intelligence, resulting in Duggan beating on him in the corner. Wallstreet bails and gets a cheapshot to take over, and goes to the chinlock. Duggan fights out with a slam and tapes up the fist, but VKM rolls him up and grabs the tights at 3:46. ½* Meanwhile, the Nasty Boys are upset at getting passed over for title shots and people talking shit about them. Well, they can rest easy knowing Sags would soon get forced into early retirement anyway. Konnan v. Ultimo Dragon This could be ugly. Konnan slugs him down and wraps him up in a cloverleaf, but Dragon dropkicks him to the floor and Sonny Onoo gets some kicks in. Back in, Dragon with a moonsault into a cradle for two. German suplex gets two, but Konnan rolls him over and pulls the tights at 3:00 to finish. What agent let them do the same finish two matches in a row? * Meanwhile, Scott Norton attacks Ice Train to break up a Compuserve chat. He’s the ultimate internet troll! Meng v. Randy Savage Macho appears to be a no-show due to nWo beatdown, so Meng wins by forfeit. They show replays to emphasize the point, and Hogan’s chairshots didn’t improve any after WWF mercilessly mocked him on the Billionaire Ted skits. So with that out of the way, Mean Gene interviews the new improved Dungeon of Doom (Sullivan, the Faces of Fear, Hugh Morrus) and Kevin points out that he was trying to destroy Hogan all long and thus should be thanked by everyone. Oh, and then the Leprechaun runs around ringside (not to be confused with Hornswoggle) because WCW. Madusa v. Bull Nakano At least Bull had little worry about getting fired for doing coke in WCW. They practically gave it out at the door. Madusa misses a dropkick and gets tossed around the ring by the hair, but then gets greedy and beats on her with nunchuks. Somehow the ref misses this and the match continues. Madusa comes back with a bad bodypress, but Nakano sits on her for two. Bull goes up and Madusa dropkicks her to the floor and follows with a dive on Onoo. Onoo tries a kick to retaliate, but hits Nakano and Madusa rolls her up for the pin at 2:30. Really, three rollup finishes in a row? *1/2 Meanwhile, Ric Flair and his harem are ready for Hogan’s nonsense. Flair gets a great play off Hogan’s previous promo about how Hogan beat up his best friend by noting that he can’t beat up his own best friend, and neither can Hogan. Diamond Dallas Page v. Eddie Guerrero Last run for heel DDP before the nWo started courting him to lead to his face turn. Eddie gets a headscissors into a dropkick, but charges and hits the post to allow DDP to take over. Gutbuster and tilt-a-whirl slam gets two. Eddie fights back and hits the springboard senton for two, but Page powerbombs him for two. They fight to the top and Eddie shoves him off and finishes with a frog splash at 4:20 to win DDP’s Battlebowl ring. DDP offers a handshake, but then turns on him with a pair of Diamond Cutters to spoil Eddie’s glorious moment. ** Meanwhile, Hogan notes that Flair will be known in the ratings as the stupid little man who couldn’t get the job done. That would be some pretty specific quarter hour information. GLACIER is still kicking stuff! ROADHOUSE! Chris Benoit v. The Giant Very morbid on the Horsemen side, as Benoit and both his valets are gone. Giant was rapidly improving at this point, but this was a quick dropkick and chokeslam at 0:25. It is insinuated that Woman accidentally cost him the match, but I don’t think that went anywhere. This whole period is a blur for me, so I forget if she ended up turning on the Horsemen. WCW Tag titles: Harlem Heat v. The Steiner Brothers v. Sting & Lex Luger Luger gets beat up in the Heat corner but returns fire on Stevie Ray, then Rick Steiner lays both guys out with clotheslines and bulldogs Stevie for two. The Heat takes over on Rick and we take a break. Back with Rick powerslamming booker, but Sting tags himself in and hits a flying chop on Booker for two. Sting with a press slam for two. We get a shockingly boring heat segment with Luger pounding on Rick and nothing of note going on, until Scott comes in with a belly to belly on Lex and it’s a six-way donnybrook. In this commotion, Hall and Nash join us while Scott hits the frankensteiner on Booker, and Nick Patrick calls for the DQ in the middle of his count to screw the Steiners over at 13:00. So I guess it’s a no-contest? Who do you disqualify in a three-way match? *1/2 Nick Patrick gives an interview with Mean Gene afterwards, explaining his actions and sounding like Kenny Powers. WCW World title: Hulk Hogan v. Ric Flair So in the bizarre after-effect of Hogan’s heel turn, people are now cheering him again since the act was so incredibly hot and thus fresh again. Flair works a headlock and they trade taunts, but Hulk goes to work on the arm and Flair fights back with chops. More stalling from Hulk and they do a test of strength before Flair gets tossed out now. Geez, they’ve wrestled each other a zillion times, you’d think they could get something going here. Hogan slugs away in the ring, but Flair suplexes him and Hogan hulks up. The crowd goes nuts for this, so thankfully Hogan phased it out pretty quickly. Legdrop misses and Flair gets the figure-four, so Hogan throws the ref down and the Outsiders run in for the DQ at 8:04. Pretty brutal. * The Pulse Bunch of short, bad matches and TERRIBLE finishes here. Strong recommendation to avoid.

WCW Clash of the Champions 34: January 21, 1997

There was a time when the Clash of Champions was an event. The pinnacle of non-PPV happenings, it was a bridge between extended PPV lulls, and a means to kick off hot new feuds.

Of course, that was then, and this is now. The Clash of Champions is more of a hindrance than a necessity, with WCW simply filling out their obligations to the TBS timeslot. This one, in particular, was amongst the least promoted affairs I can ever remember, with Scott Hall vs Lex Luger vaguely mentioned on last night’s Nitro, and apparently Benoit and Sullivan will brawl as well, though it’s unlikely to top what we saw last night. Oh, speaking of, AWArulz was able to locate a solid copy of the wonderfully violent and uncomfortable match that I believed had no Internet presence at all. Enjoy!

We are LIVE from Milwaukee, Wisconsin – home of the CRUSHER! He is not mentioned by TONY SCHIAVONEDUSTY RHODES, or “SOBER” BOBBY HEENAN. They ARE talking in depth about the “Domestic Dispute” that is Benoit and Sullivan. Oh boy.

DEAN MALENKO vs. THE ULTIMATE DRAGON (with Sonny Onoo) (for the WCW world cruiserweight title)

This is a return from last night, but if you don’t remember it, I don’t blame you since they were given about 6 seconds and no ring entrances. MIKE TENAY’s Cruiserweight Sniffing Dogs begin barking uncontrollably, causing Iron Mike to come tripping over himself and face planting into the announce table to call this one. Mike, I love the passion, but Dusty’s fine on his own, I promise. Sure, he might call the occasional plancha a “jumparoo”, and a spinning heel kick might be confused with a “didja see that Toneh?” But the man’s a veteran, he is not to be trifled with by these young (old) Internet lucha-nerds. In fact, he immediately shows why I offer my undying support, by talking about Dragon’s manager “Sonny Bono”. Dusty, I got you babe. Dragon works a leg-lock as we take our first commercial break.

Malenko’s showing a little fire when we get back, accentuated with a standing brainbuster for 2. Dragon responds by kicking him around like a European football. After a quick powder, Malenko leaps back into this with a backdrop suplex, and grapevines the leg. Dusty speculates this might be a setup to the Cloverleaf. He might be on to something, because Malenko moves to a half crab. Dragon kicks Malenko in the face repeatedly, but that doesn’t work so he uses the road more travelled by simply grabbing the rope. Malenko thinks that’s cool, and drops him with a single leg atomic drop. Dragon throws a couple of shots, so Deano dumps him to the floor and stomps the leg which is draped over the top of the guardrail. Back in, he goes for a Figure Four, but he can’t fully hook it. Upon release, Dragon hits a spinning heel kick and heads upstairs, but Malenko’s barely rattled and cuts him off. A superplex draws a HUGE pop, and a victory roll gets 2! Dragon tries one of his powerful kicks, but Malenko blocks and goes for a powerbomb – except Dragon rolls through and gets 2!! A dropkick sends Malenko to the floor, and he’s right behind with a … well, Malenko sidesteps but Dragon lands on his feet and whips Dean to the guardrail. Asai moonsault is right behind, and Sonny, sensing victory, portrays a desperate stereotype. Back in, a suplex sets up a moonsault, but Malenko kicks out at 2. I think everyone thought that was it. Dean is placed on the top, and a super Frankensteiner is on point. Dragon Suplex is attempted, but Malenko escapes and goes for the Cloverleaf. Dragon escapes quickly, but he takes a tigerbomb! Sonny gets involved, so Malenko decks him, turns back, and applies the Cloverleaf in the centre of the ring! With nowhere to go, Dragon taps and we have a NEW Cruiserweight champion at 13:06! He’s your first ever 3-time champion, which makes sense since he’s also the only 2-time champion. Good match, but Dragon’s lack of selling the body-parts is starting to get to me. When he missed the dive and landed on his feet on the floor, his legs should have buckled and put Malenko back in charge, but like Starrcade, he simply ignored all the work involved with getting them to that point. ***

MIKE ENOS vs. SCOTTY RIGGS

I’m sorry, say what? I didn’t agree to this on my Clash of Champions. The Clash should be used for only the biggest stars. Take for example my personal favorite event, Clash 7, where we were treated to the likes of Ranger Ross, Norman the Lunatic, AND the Ding Dongs. Riggs wins with a forearm smash at 2:27. Riggs promises to bring Marcus Bagwell his “heart and soul” at this weekend’s PPV. Scotty, as a man who endured many a heart break in my late teens and early 20’s, listen to me: the biggest favor you can do yourself is to let it go. Bringing Bagwell your heart is only going to lead to further pain. It’s time you went out and mingled, tried out some new friends, see what works. You might be surprised. This is why Tinder was created. And tequila. DUD

“MEAN” GENE OKERLUND takes us to a break in the action, introducing ARN ANDERSONCHRIS BENOITWOMANMONGO MCMICHAEL, and DEBRA MCMICHAEL. Gene says he spied them in a high end Chicago restaurant conducting business, and wants the scoop. The fans, on the other hand, make it clear that they want Flair. Benoit calls himself a wolverine, who takes what he wants when he wants. He’s already taken Kevin Sullivan’s wife, and now he wants his career. Mongo, to no surprise, draws the most heat since they’re in Wisconsin. He calls them a bunch of Limburger Losers. Ease up, Steven. Debra takes over, which gets Benoit, Woman, and Arn to take off in irritation. As soon as they leave, she starts talking smack about Woman.

KONAN, MR. JL, and LA PARKA vs. CHRIS JERICHO, SUPER CALO, and CHAVO GUERRERO JR.

What kind of acid trip did the bookers take before putting THIS combo together? Mike Tenay starts screaming about Lucha-Libre, but only 3 of these guys are from Mexico; assuming we are still on the story that Konan is to Mexico what Hulk Hogan is to America, and NOT that he lives in a cave with Kevin Sullivan, Jimmy Hart, Maxx, Hugh Morrus, and the Faces of Fear. Have JL and Parka taken the abandoned rooms of Bubba and Giant? I’m going to assume that Konan moved in to the Giant’s room, because there’s little doubt in my mind he had the penthouse. Leprechaun slept on a rock, so unless they’re prepared to offer a spot to Mascarita Sagrada (who was last seen crooning with Todd Pettengill on Another Channel), he’s very unlikely to be replaced. And, let’s face it, a wrestling skeleton WOULD make a fine addition to the Dungeon. On the other team, somehow Chris Jericho has been paired with a couple of guys I don’t remember ever having him maintain any kind of previous relationship with. I would at LEAST appreciate some sort of backstage segment where they cross paths, and Jericho compliments Calo on his immovable hat. Unless, of course Calo isn’t in fact a Mexican, but a Canadian Store Mannequin named Jeff who reverts to his plastic state of matter when the hat is removed from his head. Let’s not be quick to rule it out; I’ve never seen Calo without some sort of headgear. And THAT would make sense, because Jericho is also Canadian, and possibly met him during a shopping trip. Calo IS wearing a toque tonight, lending further credence to my Canadian theory. Anyway, everyone here dove on each other before Jericho eventually pinned JL with a Super Frankensteiner at 5:29. **

HARLEM HEAT (with Sista Sherri) vs. JOE GOMEZ and THE RENEGADE

WCW cuts the entrances out of this one, which is both the first match to lack entrances tonight, but ALSO the first with black wrestlers (DNA tests on Scotty Riggs pending). Sonny, take notes. I’d be hard pressed to find another Clash with so many pointless jobber matches. Honestly, I could paste this lineup as a Worldwide card, and you’d have no reason to doubt me. Booker hits an axekick, howls at the moon, but misses a guillotine on Gomez. Renegade gets the hot tag, and is immediately dropped with a clothesline. Heat Seeker finishes for the former champs at 3:44. I’m thinking the only way Renegade has a shot of ever winning again is if he decides to start shooting, but he’d probably only wind up hurting himself. 1/2*

MASAHIRO CHONO vs. ALEX WRIGHT

They booked this show 48 minutes ago, didn’t they? Did only 30 wrestlers show up tonight, leaving them with virtually no options? Can we expect to see Gambler make his Clash debut? Please? NICK PATRICK takes his spot as the designated referee, complete with the nWo shirt because any hopes at subtlety are long out the window at this point. A spinning heel kick gets about a 14 count in real time, but only 1 and a half from Patrick. A small package yields the same. The fans are ready to revolt, not because they give a damn about Wright or anything, but because it’s been 6 months of this now with absolutely no comeuppance from WCW. They have no recourse, and the results are never in doubt, which is getting aggravating from a viewer standpoint. Wright finally has enough and kicks Patrick in the knee, but he refuses to call a DQ since Chono hits a superkick and scores the pin at 4:29. ENOUGH. -***

EDDIE GUERRERO vs. SCOTT NORTON

Nick Patrick stays in the ring, just in case you had any hope of watching anything entertaining tonight. This is Bischoff’s problem on the whole; once he sees something that he thinks is BRILLIANT, he’ll beat it into the ground. And, despite the fact that this Patrick nonsense is already getting under my skin, it’s only going to get worse. Expect large mood fluctuations. Eddie doesn’t manage to make a whole lot happen, because Norton no-sells virtually everything. Tony applauds the nWo’s acquisition of Norton, because he might have been one of the WCW guys to stand tall against them. A standing vertical suplex sees Eddie just get dropped with no effort, and a powerslam has Norton screaming about “NWO STYLE!” No, nWo style would have featured 40 run ins, and 3 minutes of Bischoff vigorously masturbating. Eddie plays possum while Norton decides to go up top for like the first time ever, and Eddie cuts him off with uppercuts. A super rana takes the man down, but Norton dodges a senton bomb. Norton throws a shoulerblock spear that accidentally takes out both Guerrero and Patrick, and DIAMOND DALLAS PAGE sneaks in from the crowd to drop Norton with a Diamond Cutter and a HUGE pop! Frog Splash forces Patrick’s hand, because Norton is simply NOT kicking out, and Eddie scores the pin at 6:39. All my previous complaints still stand; one anomaly does not make up for the other 100 matches we need to endure to get there. *

THE GIANT calls Hogan a “four legged feline”. … oh.

10 Exciting Winners have been Randomly Selected to attend Superbrawl! And, because you’re not paying for this show (not that this would stop them), Tony takes the time to slowly read them off one at a time as opposed to have an intern call them at home. I don’t want to suggest that this is in fact rigged, but I find it unlikely that 10 different states had winning entrants. Arkansas has like a quarter of an electoral vote, but somehow they’ve got enough firepower to have someone on their way to Superbrawl? This is the most suspicious I’ve felt about a lottery since the Pittsburgh Penguins, on the verge of bankruptcy, miraculously landed Sidney Crosby.

KEVIN SULLIVAN (with Jimmy Hart) vs. CHRIS BENOIT (with Woman) (in a Falls Count Anywhere match)

The intensity is turned down a little tonight, as both guys are able to get through complete entrances without a single punch being thrown. Sullivan calls for Benoit to start on the floor, and Chris obliges. Right through the crowd they go immediately, throwing stiff potato shots at each other as they wade through the ocean of bodies. Through the concession area and into the bathroom, and Benoit is thrown face first through the paper towel dispenser. He lies in front of the row of urinals, and Sullivan smashes Benoit’s head with the dispenser. Jesus!!! Benoit feeds it right back with a trashcan that flies errantly into Jimmy Hart! The referee makes his counts with one foot in the urinal; there simply isn’t enough Purell for this! Chris is thrown head first into the vent, and these guys are taking all shots full tilt. Back into the arena, both guys drenched in urinal from the filthy ass gents who can’t control their stream, Benoit is thrown down about 30 rows of stairs!! He usually does them about 5 at a time, but tonight … good LORD. In the ring, Sullivan’s in control and looks to win his second in a row. Chris is tied to the tree of woe, and the running knee connects with Benoit’s kidneys. The double stomp is on point, but Benoit kicks out! I think he might be the first guy to escape that move. Hart loses his shit, and starts screaming bloody murder at the referee, allowing Woman to enter and wallop Sullivan in the head with a wooden chair! Benoit, breathless, rolls over and gets the pin at 5:12! As if enough damage hasn’t been done to the old man, Benoit grabs the chair again and SHATTERS it over Sullivan’s head! These guys are stupid ridiculous; and while the template remains the same every single time, you can’t deny their drive to kill each other, be it with violence, or a bad case of CMV. ****


THE AMAZING FRENCH CANADIANS (with Colonel Robert Parker) vs. THE STEINER BROTHERS

Parker’s donned his Colonel Klink gear tonight, and vows to show the world what Canadians are made of. Please, a real French Canadian would have already chain-smoked their way through a half-pack of MacDonalds. The boys try to sing the anthem, but Steinerized cuts them off because there’s no respect for la Belle Province in ‘Murica. Won’t WCW be sorry when they try and seek sponsorship from Jean Coutu. The voices of THE OUTSIDERS take over the arena and taunt the Steiners; vowing to finish them if the “Molson Canadians” in the ring don’t do it tonight. This is Scott’s return to the ring after an extended injury, and he’s developed a leather fetish during his off-time. Tony applauds the new look … hmmmmmmm. Tony has about 3 months to decide if he wants to become the face of celebrity homosexuality; or Ellen’s gonna beat him to it. Choices abound. While Tony mulls it over, we take a commercial break.

In our time away, the Canadians took over the offense while Tony took a vow of personal silence. The Quebec Crash looks to finish, but Rick rolls away and Ouellette sells hard. Rougeau punches Scotty in the face to prevent a tag, but that gives Rick the time he needs to get to his feet and hit a running clothesline. Scott gets the tag, and he’s got the beats for anything French. Noggin knocker sends Rougeau out, and Ouellette gets launched with an overhead belly to belly. Rougeau grabs the hybrid flag but misses his swing and Scott punches him in the face. A cradle DDT delivered from off the shoulders of Rick is enough to get the pin (and probably kill the big man!), and the Steiners win at 4:12. **

SCOTT HALL (with Kevin Nash and Syxx) vs. LEX LUGER

Dusty hilariously freaks out during Luger’s fireworks, because he thinks he’s caught on fire from errant sparks. Dusty is of course mistaken, as Tony’s the only flaming in the announce booth. Luger takes a toothpick to the eyes, but before Hall can even chuckle, Luger’s locked up with him and has him shoved to his ass. HEAR HIM ROAR! Hall hits a backdrop suplex to turn it around, and he happily wipes his hands of this mess, missing the fact that Luger’s already back on his feet and screaming again. Hall hits a top rope bulldog for 2, but it’s enough to stop Lex’s adrenaline rush. Hall throws a series of shoulderblocks, but Luger stops that with a short-armed clothesline. Hall comes right back with a chokeslam, but misses the follow up elbowdrop. Luger pounds away, so Hall pulls him by the tights to launch Lex to the outside. Nash is there, and runs Luger over like a Diesel tanker. Back in, Hall maintains control, and Nash gives an assist by distracting the referee, which allows Syxx to clothesline Luger. Hall tries a pin with his feet on the ropes, but only gets 2. Hall chokes Lex in the ropes, so when the referee reads him the riot act, Nash rushes in and punches Luger in the face. A fallaway slam gets 2, so Nash tries to intimidate the referee to make him count faster. Hall locks on the abdominal stretch, and uses the ropes to increase the leverage. He’s eventually caught, and Luger hiptosses him off. Lex tries to follow up with an elbowdrop, but Hall rolls away and drops Luger with a discus punch. Luger slides outside the ring, and that catches Hall off guard – giving Lex the chance to sweep out his legs and crotch him against the ring post! Luger re-enters with a slingshot dropkick (!), and hits a quartet of atomic drops! Running clothesline has the fans amped, but a poke to the eyes from Hall stops their momentum. Luger wins them right back with a powerslam, and he decides it’s time for the Rack! He disposes of Nash and Syxx who try to interfere, puts it on … but Nash comes back in! Luger drops the hold, and hits a running clothesline on Kevin. Nash takes a pounding, but now Hall’s back on top. Syxx jumps off the top with an early version of the Curb Stomp, and the referee finally calls for the DQ at 10:34. **

Nash nails a big boot, but THE STEINERS rush the ring and go right after the tag-team champs. All 6 guys brawl back and forth, and it leads to Team WCW standing tall as the nWo retreat. Luger REALLY should be fighting for the World title, I have no idea why he’s continued to be ignored in the war against Hogan. Will the nWo finally lose a battle at their own PPV this Saturday? Don’t bank on it – but join me for it anyway.

WCW Clash Questions

Howdy,
​Hi!​

Having missed a lot of early 90s WCW programming, I am going back and watching on the network (I wish they would include WCW Saturday Night to help provide some background for the PPVs and Clash but I digress.) 


Some quick questions:

1- I know pushes would start and stop in WCW due to management changes but Steve Austin in 1992 got to work a lot with established stars like Sting, Rude, Steamboat etc…. Were they actively trying to get him over as "the next guy" or was he just lucky to be in all those tag matches on top? 

​He was absolutely the next guy.  They were pushing the shit out of him but I guess Eric Bischoff just wasn't a fan.  To say the least.  Flair and Dusty have both stated many times that they saw Austin as a huge star, however.  ​Dusty breaking up the Hollywood Blonds in 1993 was his own bass-ackwards way of trying to get Austin over to the next level, in fact.  

2-The Steiners were really stiff. Did anyone ever complain about getting nearly decapitated by those clotheslines or having to work with them in general? Is it fair to say they toned down their style once they went to WWF? 

​Yeah, that's an understatement.  And yes, people definitely complained, although not much could really be done about it.  ​

3- With Flair gone, was there ever any talk of giving Arn Anderson a legit singles push? Was his talent wasted in all those random tag team pairings until the Horsemen reunited? 

​During the 91 era?  No, Anderson was a TV title guy and both he and the company were fine with that.  ​

4- If you could only watch every SNME or every CLASH for the rest of your life…Which show do you choose? 
​​
Gee, do I watch endless Hulk Hogan 3 minute matches for the rest of my life, or Flair-Sting and Flair-Steamboat?  Gonna have to go with the Clash.  ​

Early Clash Questions

Hi Scott Hi Gareth! I’ve recently got the Network, and started watching some old NWA stuff starting with Clash 1 (I’m up to the end of the Flair-Steamboat stuff). A few questions / topics I thought you might enjoy shedding some light on, as I understand you’re somewhat a fan of this period… they’re a bit rambling so apologies for that. 1. Was the NWA still an overarching umbrella for multiple territories? It seems that Crockett / Turner basically IS the NWA at this point. Was Flair still the visiting champ to World Class etc as he had been in previous years? Nope.  By the time the Clashes had begun, Jim Crockett had bought up all the competition and gone solo as a promoter under the Turner family umbrella.  By the end of the year, Turner had bought Crockett out completely.  For as much shit as everyone gives Vince for predatory practices (which is valid), Crockett squashed all the people he was supposed to be working with just as viciously.  The NWA might have existed in name, but you had to book the champion through Crockett exclusively.  2. Luger’s push didn’t go very well. If not for the Turner takeover was the plan for him to become a permanent Hogan-like face on top, replacing the territory-touring heel model of Flair? By the end of WrestleWar 89 the announcers are treating Flair like a face, and without the need to make the top guys in each territory look a million bucks not quite winning the belt from Flair, that model seems odd when Hogan is doing such big business for the competition. The plan was definitely for either Sting or Luger to succeed Flair as the top drawing card, and they of course tried many times to make that happen with little success.  3. Speaking of the Turner situation, I know they had problems with Flair soon after this for him to jump to WWE. But here they aborted Luger’s title win for Flair to retain. Was this a pro-Flair attitude or more just a negative Luger one? Do you mean at Starrcade 88?  It was pro-Flair in the sense that they wanted to build to the Steamboat match.  There was no issue with Luger aside from them feeling it wasn’t the right time.  4. Was Steamboat always coming back at this point or was this a Turner related decision and/or a panic reaction to Luger’s collapsed push? They’re some of the all-time greatest matches, but it does seem like a bit  of a stop-gap feud – have a few months of awesome bouts with a proven partner for Flair while they figure out what to do, then get the belt back on him. He was always coming back.  Once he was fired from the WWF they wanted to bring him in and make him champion as soon as humanly possible.  Original plans called for him to get it at Starrcade 88, in fact, but they couldn’t work out the timing.  Sorry if this is all common knowledge – this era of NWA / WCW is more or less all new to me. Praise be to the WWE Network (and to the PS3 for being so easily convinced it’s in America and not the UK). Glad to help.  It’s one of my favorite times to talk about. 

Rock Star Gary reflects on…WCW Clash of the Champions XXVI!

Live from Baton Rouge, LA

Airdate: January 27, 1994
Attendance: 3,200 (1,600 paid)

“Mean” Gene Okerlund welcomes us to “Cajun country.” After
receiving word through his earpiece

Okerlund introduces…Bobby “The Brain”
Heenan! Holy legendary hirings, Batman! Heenan was last seen getting thrown out
of an arena on WWF Monday Night RAW on 12/6/93. What a great grab by WCW!
Anyways, Okerlund compares Heenan to Tonya Harding with a “thin ice” joke. Heenan
joins Tony Schiavone at ringside to call the action.

Match 1: Pretty
Wonderful (w/ the Assassin) versus Marcus Alexander Bagwell and Too Cold
Scorpio (w/ Teddy Long)

Highlights:

·        
Tony mentioned that this is a #1 contender’s
match as the victors will face the Nasty Boys on the next episode of WCW Saturday
Night.
·        
Stun gun by Roma on Bagwell. I wonder how “Stunning”
Steve Austin felt about that.
·        
During the commercial break Roma received a
double shoulder block.
·        
Scorpio attempted a superplex on Roma, but
Orndorff interfered.
·        
A pair of top-rope forearms to the back by Roma.
·        
Tony mentioned that Heenan used to manage Orndorff.
·        
The new commissioner of WCW will be named later in the show.
·        
Second-rope elbow drop by Roma.
·        
Orndorff leaped from the top rope only to eat
boot.
·        
Hot tag to Bagwell.
·        
Missile dropkick by Bagwell.
·        
After the Assassin loaded Orndorff’s knee pad Roma
attempted to ram Bagwell’s head into it only to get rammed instead.
·        
Bagwell made the cover and pinned Roma.

 

Rating: **

Summary: Not a
bad opener. Bagwell and Scorpio will face the Nasty Boys for the tag titles on Saturday.

Match 2: Ice Train
versus Ron Simmons

Highlights:

·        
This match was billed as the teacher (Simmons)
versus the student (Ice Train). Check out Simmons’ match (taped 12/13/93, aired
1/15/94)
against Scotty Riggs and the post-match interview.
·        
Excellent powerslam by Ice Train.
·        
After a second powerslam by Ice Train he missed
a shoulder block in the corner.
·        
Simmons rolled him up, hooked the tights, and
stole the victory.

 

Rating: ½*

Summary: While it
was a nice display of power wrestling by Ice Train his inexperience exposed him
here.

Call the hotline after the show to speak directly to “The
Brain!”

In a funny bit US champion “Stunning” Steve Austin is
dressed like Colonel Robert Parker while Parker wears a Hollywood Blonds
t-shirt and trunks. Additionally, in an effort to mock the no longer employed by
WCW Sid, the back of Parker’s t-shirt reads “Col. Parker rules the world.” Austin
uses a thick Southern accent to reveal that he has a manager’s license for
tonight.

Okerlund then introduces the new commissioner of WCW—Nick Bockwinkel.
WCW has now added a touch of class to its leadership.

Match 3 for the WCW
World TV title: Lord Steven Regal (champion w/ Sir William) versus “The
Natural” Dustin Rhodes

Highlights:

·        
Speaking of class, Gordon Solie was the
play-by-play announcer for this match. It reminds me of my days of watching
Championship Wrestling from Florida back in the ‘80s.
·        
Superb European uppercut by Regal.
·        
Gut-wrench suplex by Regal.
·        
Lariat by Rhodes.
·        
As Regal stalls outside the ring three minutes
remain in the time limit according to ring announcer Gary Michael Cappetta.
·        
Some brawling by Rhodes woke up the crowd.
·        
Flying lariat by Rhodes.
·        
Flying dropkick by Rhodes got a 2 count.
·        
Plancha from the ramp into the ring by Rhodes
got another 2 count.
·        
As Rhodes hit the bulldog time ran out on him.
·        
Time-limit draw. Regal remained the champion.

 

Rating: *1/2

Summary: Lots of
mat wrestling here, so your mileage may vary. Regal’s stalling made the draw
all the more obvious. Dustin Rhodes continues to underwhelm me since his feud
with Rick Rude ended.

Okerlund interviews Aaron Neville. His interview is as
exciting as watching paint dry.

Don’t miss SuperBrawl IV on February 20. Its subtitle is “Double
Thundercage Live.”

Match 4 (non-title): The
Nasty Boys (w/ Missy Hyatt) versus Cactus jack and Maxx Payne

Highlights:

·        
Making sure she doesn’t have another wardrobe
malfunction Missy wore a halter top and jeans.
·        
Cappetta introduced Cactus Jack and Maxx Payne,
but they didn’t come through the curtain.
·        
After the commercial break Jack and Payne ran
through the crowd and ambushed the Nasty Boys from behind.
·        
The bell rung and Cactus Jack gave Knobbs a
Cactus clothesline.
·        
After slamming Saggs on the concrete floor
Cactus Jack delivered a Cactus elbow to him.
·        
Awkward cross-body block from Sags to Payne from
the top rope.
·        
Payne applied the Payne-killer to Knobbs, but
Saggs saved.
·        
Outside the ring Saggs demolished Payne with a
plastic chair shot.
·        
With all four men in the ring Cactus Jack gave
both Nasty Boys a Cactus clothesline.
·        
Double-arm DDT on Knobbs by Cactus Jack.
·        
Referee Randy Anderson was distracted by Payne
so Saggs delivered an elbow and placed Knobbs atop Jack.
·        
However, Saggs was unable to leave the ring in a
timely fashion so Payne delivered his own elbow to Knobbs, draped Jack atop
him, and secured the pin!

 

Rating: **1/2

Summary: A
tremendous upset by a unique team. This was a bar room brawl type of match
minus weapons. More matches between these teams should they up the ante could
be quite intriguing.

After the match Missy entered the ring but got kissed by
both Payne and Jack.

Okerlund plugs the hotline. 
Next highlights of the match from WCW Saturday Night (taped 12/13/93,
aired 1/15/94) where
Pillman beat Austin in a non-title match are shown. Before Parker can place the
chicken head on Pillman with Austin’s assistance Dustin Rhodes rescues Pillman.

Match 5 (Loser wears
a chicken suit on WCW Saturday Night): “Flyin’” Brian Pillman versus Colonel
Robert Parker

Highlights:

·        
Pillman came to the ring with chicken from KFC. Schiavone
informed us that Parker’s picture was on the box.
·        
Fantastic dropkick from Pillman.
·        
Pillman nailed Austin on the floor.
·        
After Parker and Austin tried to take a walk
Pillman came after them. Austin charged but received a back drop on the ramp.
·        
The Boss emerged from backstage to even the
odds.
·        
As the Boss attempted to corral Parker from exiting
over the steel railing Austin attacked Pillman in the ring.
·        
Austin gave Pillman the Stun Gun. Take that,
Roma!
·        
Parker attempted a double axe-handle from the
second rope but ate a right hand to the mid-section instead.
·        
After Pillman climbed to the top rope Austin
knocked him down since referee Nick Patrick was detained by the Boss.
·        
The Boss chased Austin back through the curtain.
As Parker begged Austin to return Pillman rolled him up and pinned him.
·        
Parker will wear the chicken suit on WCW Saturday
Night. How clucky for
him!

 

Rating: *

Summary:  This wasn’t a bad comedy match, but it
wasn’t the blow-off match that the Hollywood Blonds deserved either.

Tony shills SuperBrawl IV on PPV. Two cage matches are
scheduled: WCW World Champion Ric Flair will defend his title against former
champion Vader as well as a six-man match.

Match 6 (Elimination
tag team match): WCW World Champion “Nature Boy” Ric Flair and Sting versus WCW
International World Champion “Ravishing” Rick Rude and Vader (w/ Harley Race)

Highlights:

·        
Bockwinkel joined Tony and Bobby on commentary.
The former AWA World champion reunited with his former manager! I’m certain the
commentary will be much more classy and distinguished from this point forward.
·        
Buffer rumbled.
·        
Vader military-pressed Sting then dropped him
throat-first on the top rope.
·        
Vader attempted a second-rope sunset flip but
Sting dropped on top of him instead of going down.
·        
Sting gave Vader a release German suplex. Amazing!
·        
After a commercial break Rude applied the bear
hug to Sting.
·        
After Flair tagged in he hit a double axe-handle
from the top rope to Rude followed by an inverted atomic drop.
·        
Vader tagged in and gave Flair an avalanche.
·        
Vader bomb.
·        
Superplex by Vader.
·        
In an effort to injure the World Champion Vader gave
Flair a top-rope superplex causing Flair to scream in agony.
·        
Vader mounted the top rope again, but Sting
pulled Flair out of harm’s way.
·        
DDT by Rude to Sting.
·        
Outside the ring Vader attempted to use a chair,
but Bockwinkel exercised his power by putting a stop to it.
·        
As Cappetta announced that Flair and Vader have
been eliminated Vader yelled “SHIT!” right in front of the camera. So much for
family-friendly. Oops.
·        
Flair received assistance returning to the dressing
room.
·        
Top rope clothesline by Sting.
·        
After perching on the top rope Rude landed a
forearm to the back.
·        
Rude then bored the crowd with an extended
reverse chinlock.
·        
After copious amounts of time putting the crowd
(and me) to sleep Sting gave Rude the electric chair.
·        
Sting hit knees attempting a splash off the
ropes.
·        
Sting blocked a Rude Awakening then gave one to
Rude.
·        
He then reversed a tombstone and hit one of his
own.
·        
After hitting an incredible top rope splash
Sting pinned Rude.

 

Rating: ***

Summary:  While quite entertaining the match lacked
a certain something. The elimination rule appeared to be
botched/rushed/whatever in an effort to reduce the participant count to two. I
realize this match was set up as a prelude to the cage matches at SuperBrawl,
but it left something to be desired. Another factor in the match was the
absence of Rude’s workrate. It appears that he was just satisfied becoming a
World Champion because he didn’t put forth a ton of effort while being
champion. On the other hand, at least WCW sent the fans home happy.

Conclusion:  Bobby Heenan’s introduction to WCW was the
only historically significant portion of the show. While Clash XXVI attempted
to promote SuperBrawl it only accomplished so much. Conversely the promotion of
the January 29th edition of WCW Saturday Night was tremendously
strong with the offerings of seeing Colonel Parker in a chicken suit,
Bagwell/Scorpio getting another title shot, and a bout between Johnny B. Badd
and Shanghai Pierce where Pierce lost his mask. Unless you’re a die-hard
WCW fan like me take a pass on this show and fast-forward to SuperBrawl IV. See
you soon with its review!

TV Rating: 3.50

For more information on me please visit http://rockstargary.com.

Rock Star Gary reflects on…WCW Clash of the Champions XXV

Live from St. Petersburg, FL

Airdate: November 10, 1993

Attendance: 6,000 (1,700 paid)

WCW newcomer “Mean” Gene Okerlund welcomes us to the show.
Call the hotline to vote for the manager of year:

1.       Sir
William (Lord Steven Regal)
2.       Missy
Hyatt (Nasty Boys)
3.       Harley
Race (Vader)
4.       Teddy
Long (Marcus Alexander Bagwell & Too Cold Scorpio)

Gene throws it over to our hosts Tony Schiavone and Jesse
“The Body” Ventura.

Match 1 for the WCW
International World title: “Ravishing” Rick Rude (champion) versus Road Warrior
Hawk

Highlights:

·        
Early in the match Hawk no-sold a head shot to
the turnbuckle then gave Rude some of his own medicine. Deca, perhaps?
·        
Vertical suplex from Hawk got a 2 count.
·        
Backbreaker from Rude allowed him to head to the
top rope, but when he leaped he ate a pair of boots to the face.
·        
Clothesline from Hawk sent Rude over the top
rope to the floor.
·        
They kept fighting on the outside until referee
Randy Anderson counted them both out.

 

Rating: *

Summary: Obviously
Rude retains his title. What was the point of that match? Since Hawk had no
credibility as a singles wrestler it was obvious he wasn’t going to take this
one, but the DCOR finish is just obnoxiously terrible. Let’s hope the next
match has a better outcome.

Match 2: The
Equalizer versus the Shockmaster

Highlights:

·        
Oh no! Can I watch the last match again instead
of this dreck?
·        
Heel shenanigans from the Equalizer dominated
the early portion of the match.
·        
Belly-to-back suplex from Equalizer got a 2
count.
·        
Shockmaster no-sold a clothesline.
·        
Bearhug slam from Shockmaster secured the pin.
·        
Thank God it was short.

 

Rating: DUD

Summary: Friends
of Dusty, or in the case family, get a slot on the big shows. In spite of
Jesse’s making fun of him on commentary the Shockmaster continues to win. Thus
far this show isn’t looking good.

Okerlund interviews Colonel Rob Parker. Parker states that
he dropped Sid Vicious as a client and obtained the services of…”Stunning”
Steve Austin. Meanwhile he claims that he also has a restraining order against
Sid so he won’t be here tonight. Considering Sid may have still been recovering
from the stab wounds and under suspension from WCW he wouldn’t be able to make
even a token appearance. More later on this situation.

Match 3 for the World
Television title: Lord Steven Regal (champion w/ Sir William) versus Johnny B.
Badd

Highlights:

·        
Back on July 9 during the infamous Disney
tapings (broadcast 11/6/93) Regal defeated Badd by nefarious means. Therefore,
Tony referred to this match as a “return bout.”
·        
Badd brought the workrate and matched Regal hold
for hold early in the match.
·        
Jesse took Badd’s attire to task. Make-up and
garter belts, seriously Marc?
·        
Badd missed a flying body press and clotheslined
himself on the top rope.
·        
Ya gotta love those European uppercuts from
Regal!
·        
According to Tony “The British Bulldog” Davey
Boy Smith issued a challenge to “Ravishing” Rick Rude for the WCW International
World title.
·        
Badd knocked Regal cold with a left hand
prompting Sir William to get on the apron to complain.
·        
As Badd attempted the pin Sir William placed
Regal’s boot on the bottom rope.
·        
As Badd was distracted Regal snapped out of it,
rolled Badd up, and got the pin with a handful of tights.

 

Rating: ***

Summary: Since
this match went at Badd’s pace rather than Regal’s I enjoyed this match much
more than I expected. I can only hope that this match is the only one with a
distraction finish.

Match 4: “Flyin’”
Brian Pillman versus “Stunning” Steve Austin (w/ Colonel Rob Parker)

Highlights:

·        
Ahem. May I have your attention please? Let us
all please observe a moment of silence and mourn the loss of one of the best
tag teams ever in WCW—the Hollywood Blonds.
·        
·        
Thank you.
·        
On the October 30 episode of WCW Saturday Night
Colonel Parker informed Pillman that Austin was his new client. After Parker
insulted Pillman for being injured Brian attacked Parker. Subsequently Austin
ambushed Pillman. (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J6yBuyOYbnM)
·        
Pillman, already in the ring and wearing his
Blond jacket, attacked Austin as he entered the ring.
·        
After Parker jumped on the apron Pillman chased
him around the ring. Austin, lying in wait, clotheslined Pillman as he made his
way toward the near side of the ring.
·        
Upon the reversal of an Irish whip Pillman made
Austin taste the steel. Needs horseradish.
·        
Flying headscissors from Pillman.
·        
Austin attempted a piledriver on the ramp, but
Pillman countered with a back drop.
·        
After climbing to the top rope Pillman leaped
but ate boot on the way down.
·        
Austin then tossed Pillman into the steel
railing. More horseradish please!
·        
Slingshot body press from Pillman from the apron
onto Austin got a 2 count.
·        
Austin then pressed Pillman into a modified
stungun.
·        
Ventura badmouthed Sid on commentary.
·        
Single leg crab by Austin with some assistance
from the ropes.
·        
Flying back elbow to the head from the second
rope by Pillman.
·        
Slowly Austin made his way to the top rope, but
Pillman caught him thus crotching Austin.
·        
Superplex by Pillman countered by Austin into a
gourdbuster.
·        
As Austin leaped from the top rope Pillman
dropkicked him.
·        
Austin tried another piledriver, but Pillman
countered into a huracanrana.
·        
Slingshot by Pillman countered into a powerslam
by Austin.
·        
DDT by Pillman.
·        
Crucifix by Pillman countered into a Samoan drop
by Austin.
·        
Austin missed a splash from the top rope.
·        
Oklahoma roll by Pillman got a 2 count.
·        
Austin missed the stungun leaving Pillman on the
apron.
·        
Pillman tried another slingshot maneuver, but
Parker caught his ankle.
·        
Austin rolled him up for the pin.

 

Rating: ****1/2

Summary: Wow! I
could watch these guys wrestle each other all night. Had the match been longer (7:44)
it could have reached five stars. These two should have had a rematch at
Starrcade.

After the match Pillman knocks Austin to the floor and
corners Parker. Much to his chagrin Parker escaped without a scratch.

Okerlund is in the WCW Battlebowl Control Center. Forty
names of the top WCW competitors are thrown into a “hopper.” Thirty-two names
are selected at random for eight tag team matches. Afterwards each winning team
competes singularly in an over-the-top-rope battle royal to determine the
winner. To entice our desire to buy the PPV Paul Orndorff cuts a promo followed
by 1991 Battlebowl winner Sting.

Match 5 for the US
title: “The Natural” Dustin Rhodes (champion w/ “The American Dream” Dusty
Rhodes) versus “Mr. Wonderful” Paul Orndorff (w/ the Assassin)

Highlights:

·        
Dusty’s not even wrestling and he’s already
“funky like a monkey.”
·        
The crowd chanted “Dusty!”
·        
Each competitor initially worked on his
opponent’s arm.
·        
Belly-to-back suplex from Orndorff set up the
shaky elbow drop.
·        
Backslide from Rhodes got a 2 count.
·        
Cross-corner whip from Orndorff followed by a
clothesline.
·        
Cross-corner whip from Rhodes set up the
bulldog, but Orndorff ducked.
·        
Rhodes countered an Orndorff piledriver attempt.
·        
Orndorff missed the knee drop from the top rope.
·        
Rhodes then hooked the inside cradle for the
pin.

 

Rating: **

Summary:  Very pedestrian match between these two
wrestlers. The “seconds” didn’t even get involved in the match.

After the match Orndorff clotheslines Rhodes to the floor.
Then the Assassin rams Dustin into the ring post. To retaliate, Dusty gives the
Assassin a bionic elbow much to the crowd’s delight. He then tosses the
Assassin into the ring, hits two more bionic elbows, and threatens to unmask
him. Unfortunately for Dusty, Orndorff nails him preventing said unmasking. As
Orndorff held Dusty the Assassin wallops Rhodes with the US title belt. Orndorff
attempts to piledrive Dusty, but Dustin comes off the ropes with a clothesline
scattering the ruthless duo to the floor. The post-match stuff was 10x better
than the match!

Okerlund promises us an update on the “British Bulldog’s”
challenge for Rude’s title. Call the hotline! Starrcade is scheduled for
Monday, December 27.

Match 6 for the World
tag team titles: The Nasty Boys (champions w/ Missy Hyatt) versus Sting and
“The British Bulldog” Davey Boy Smith

Highlights:

·        
Ring announcer Gary Michael Cappetta referred to
Missy Hyatt as the “nastiest lady in WCW.” Did he know this firsthand?
·        
Just like Missy liked it the action was hot and
heavy at the outset with Sting dominating Knobbs in the ring and DBS
manhandling Sags on the ramp.
·        
In the meantime Rick Rude crawled on the floor adjacent
to the ramp in order to sneak attack DBS. He then gave DBS a Rude Awakening . Immediately
Road Warrior Hawk chased him back to the dressing room.
·        
Sting checked on DBS and carried him back to the
ring?
·        
The bell rung and Sting took on the Nasty Boys
by himself.
·        
Tony mentioned Rude’s use of a “foreign” object.
Jesse questioned how Rude imported it. Funny stuff.
·        
While Knobbs occupied Patrick’s attention Sags
tossed Sting over the top rope. Since Patrick didn’t see it a disqualification
could not be rendered.
·        
As Knobbs held Sting in a bear hug DBS sprung to
life and egged him on in the corner.
·        
Sting countered the bear hug into an overhead
belly-to-belly suplex.
·        
He then countered a rear chinlock into an
electric chair.
·        
Hot tag to DBS.
·        
A pair of powerslams on the Nasty Boys followed
by a pair of dropkicks.
·        
600lbs of clotheslines and DDTs from DBS.
·        
DBS pressed Sting overhead then tossed him onto
both Nasty Boys.
·        
Powerslam from DBS received no count due to
referee Nick Patrick’s directing traffic.
·        
Sags mounted the top turnbuckle and clobbered DBS.
Knobbs made the cover and the Nasty Boys retained their titles.

 

Rating: **1/2

Summary:  Typical Nasty Boys match with a pair of quality
opponents. Almost all of the excitement in the match happened after the hot
tag. Although a match between DBS and Rude was filmed on 11/30 for WCW Saturday
Night for the 12/18/93 airing the match would not be shown. In turn DBS was also
scheduled to face Rude at Starrcade but he was fired beforehand.

Match 7 for the WCW
World title: Vader (champion w/ Harley Race) versus “Nature Boy” Ric Flair (w/
Fifi)

Highlights:

·        
Back in the dressing room Colonel Parker spoke
with Flair. Parker stated that Austin will challenge the winner of this match.
He’s quite confident that Austin could defeat Flair. Flair’s rebuttal was a
right cross to the jaw.
·        
Buffer rumbled.
·        
Joined in progress after commercial Flair had
Race set up for the figure four leg lock in the center of the ring.
·        
As Flair applied the hold to Race Vader splashed
Flair.
·        
Short-arm clothesline from Vader.
·        
Gorilla press slam from Vader.
·        
Vader bomb hit but no cover.
·        
Flair chopped Vader down like a cherry tree.
·        
Flair Flip to the floor.
·        
Race made Flair taste the steel. Dammit! Where’s
that horseradish?
·        
Vader jumped from the apron towards Flair but
ate the steel railing.
·        
Flair drops the forearm from the top turnbuckle
to the floor.
·        
Second rope elbow drop from Vader missed.
·        
Flair slapped on the figure four.
·        
As Vader reached the ropes Race raked Flair’s
eyes.
·        
Vertical suplex and a splash earned Vader a 2
count.
·        
Vader mounted the second turnbuckle again but
got powerslammed for 2.
·        
Flair sprinted to the top rope and nailed Vader
with another forearm.
·        
Flair flip over the buckle landed him on his
feet. Thereafter he mounted the turnbuckle and hit another forearm shot.
·        
Ref bump.
·        
Flair jumped from the top turnbuckle again but
got caught by Vader.
·        
He then gave Flair a superplex.
·        
Vader positioned Flair for the moonsault but missed
it.
·        
Referee Randy Anderson counted three! We have a
new champion!
·        
Cappetta announced that Anderson disqualified
Vader. WTF?
·        
Jesse explained that Anderson DQ’d him because
he ran into him. LAME!

 

Rating: ****

Summary: Incredible
match with a horrible ending. Flair got robbed! Thanks Dusty for that god-awful
finish. Hopefully a rematch will be signed. The good news is the crowd was
eager or better yet thirsty for a title change.

After the match Colonel Parker and “Stunning” Steve Austin
hit the ring to ambush Flair. Vader and Austin try to double-team Flair, but
Dustin Rhodes and the Shockmaster come to Flair’s rescue. As the crowd chants
“Whoomp, there it is” Okerlund enters the ring. Flair interrupts and challenges
Vader and Austin to a tag match with him and Sid on WCW Saturday Night (taped
10/11/93
). This match marked the last Sid appearance in WCW until the Great
American Bash in 1999.

Conclusion: The
Blonds’ match and the main event make this show a must-see. WCW may have been
drawing flies at this point in wrestling history, but their product wasn’t the
reason behind it. If there was only one thing I would have changed I’d have
gotten rid of these finishes. See you at Battlebowl!

For more information on me please visit http://rockstargary.com.

Clash Countdown: Now On Kindle!

As requested by a few people during the course of the Clash of the Champions countdown in May, I have collected all the Clash rants from 1-35 into a Kindle book, complete with 2014 Scott Sez versions!  
Also, tomorrow I'll start doing a "random thoughts" column weekly on sportingnews.com, giving my thoughts on the week that was and anything else that comes to mind, so keep an eye out for that.  I probably won't be moving any reviews over there because I want to retain the publishing rights to them, but I can always do some exclusive stuff like reviewing the Countdown shows or whatever else pops up.  It's a pretty cool opportunity.  

Clash Countdown: #35

The SmarK 24/7 Rant for Clash of the Champions XXXV – This is one where I thought I had a perfectly good rant done already, but the original is pretty crappy in a lot of ways (no match times combined with being in a bad WCW place at the time) so here’s a proper version given that it’s on 24/7 right now. This is notable for being the last Clash, as really it’s not like the match quality or star power was any better than what we were getting on a weekly basis anyway. What I don’t get is why they show this now, when there’s not a huge tie-in to the Latino Legends theme, when they could just hold off until Nitro catches up with it in a couple of months. Then you could have the Nitros hyping it, and actually watch the show! What an idea! – Originally broadcast August 21 1997. – Live from Nashville, TN. – Your hosts are Tony, Bobby and Dusty.   US title: Jeff Jarrett v. Steve McMichael Jarrett evades Mongo and slams him to start, and then outsmarts him into a takedown and clips the knee to follow. JJ stops to do some strutting and runs away, once again outsmarting Mongo by jumping him from behind. OK, not exactly a career defining achievement or anything, admittedly. Mongo slugs him down and Jarrett bails yet again, so we take a break in hopes of a commercial making the match not suck. We return with Jarrett sending him into the stairs, and back in for the choking. Debra adds some of her own, and Jarrett gets the sleeper. And Mongo reverses, as Eddie Guerrero runs in and accidentally hits Jarrett with the US title. And Mongo promptly pins him to win the belt at 5:55. This was a major travesty at the time, but really the storyline was building to it and he was just a transitional champion to Curt Hennig anyway, so it’s not such a big fat deal in retrospect. Horrible match, though, as Mongo was his usual embarrassment to the sport. 1/2* Alex Wright joins us to speak German, the language of EVIL. Not exactly a great heel promo. Cross promotion alert! The Dinner and a Movie guys make jerk chicken. Raven v. Stevie Richards This was a weird deal, as it was the debut for both guys in WCW and Richards had gotten out of his ECW deal by faking a career-ending neck injury…only to get fired almost immediately afterwards and go crawling back to Paul Heyman again. (He actually stuck around for a while.  I had condensed the time into “almost immediately” in my mind years after the fact.)  Another weird deal is that Raven’s eventual music is dubbed in over the lack of entrance music that originally was here. (Haven’t watched the WWE Network version so I can’t say if that’s still true.  I mean, I could, but I don’t care.)  Their music division is so strange. Raven tosses him immediately and follows with a pescado. Back in, he gets a series of snapmares, but Stevie backslides for two. Raven stomps him down again and tosses him, then follows with a Cactus elbow off the apron. He throws a chair into the ring and delivers the DROP TOEHOLD OF AGONY as the crowd has no clue what to make of either guy. He follows with a bulldog on the chair, but Stevie whips him into the chair in the other corner. Raven basically no-sells it, so Stevie gets a flying forearm and sideslam for two. Steviekick is blocked, but he gets a rollup for two. Raven clotheslines for two. Raven goes low and finishes with the Evenflow DDT at 4:55. The announcers put Raven over huge, and Richards was dead in the water after one match and was gone a few weeks later. (Months.)  Not enough time to mean anything for the first serious meeting between them, especially for a crowd that didn’t know who they were and what it meant. Plus it was a total squash for Raven, to boot. *1/2 World TV title: Ultimo Dragon v. Alex Wright Hey, it’s the most boring title feud of 1997, started up here for our pleasure. Wright gets a pair of snapmares to start and they do a stalemate sequence, which leads to Dragon holding a wristlock. Wright stomps him down , but gets put down with a shoulder tackle. Dragon throws chops in the corner and leads into the kick combo to put Wright down. He hits the chinlock and Wright quickly escapes, then reverses a rana into a powerbomb. Backbreaker gets two. He whips Dragon into the corner, into another backbreaker for two. Gut wrench suplex gets two and we take a break. We return with Wright holding a chinlock and referee Mark Curtis pretty clearly passing the time signal to him, as things suddenly pick up again with Wright getting a slam and going up for a flying stomp. And we get the requisite dancing before another chinlock, but Dragon reverses to a sleeper. He switches to a backdrop suplex and dumps Wright, but misses the dive and splats on the floor. Wright stomps him down out there, but Dragon whips him into the railing and follows with the quebrada. Back in, they battle on the top rope and Dragon brings him down with a front suplex into the rollup for two. Handspring is blocked by an elbow from Wright, for two, as things finally pick up. They fight for the suplex and Wright cradles for two, reversed for two, and the german suplex gives Wright the TV title at 10:54. Alex Wright was always one of those guys they wanted to develop into something, but just couldn’t figure out how to do it before injuries and a brain tumor and their own incompetence made it impossible. **3/4 World Cruiserweight title: Chris Jericho v. Eddie Guerrero Guerrero takes him down and trashtalks right away, but Jericho comes back with an armdrag and dropkick, sending Eddie running to hide behind the ref. Jericho presses him off a criss-cross and starts chopping, into a faceplant that has Eddie hiding again. Eddie sneaks in from behind and clubs him down, then follows with a back elbow and slingshot splash. Eddie puts him on top and brings him down with a rana for two, but Jericho reverses the ropewalk into a powerbomb. Jericho follows with a Giant Swing and he’s visibly sucking wind. Leg lariat puts Eddie on the apron and Jericho follows with an embarrassing trip on the top rope during his springboard cross body. Then he botches a suplex off the apron, so Eddie takes over again with a superplex for two. Not a good match for Jericho. Jericho tries a powerbomb, but Eddie slips out, so Jericho goes with a german suplex instead for two. They criss-cross into an Eddie sunset flip, and it turns into a pinfall reversal sequence where Eddie is obviously wrestling himself and taking Jericho along with him, ending with Jericho on top for the pin to retain at 6:40. This was pretty awful by Jericho’s usual standards. ** Super Calo, Juventud Guerrera, Lizmark Jr. & Hector Garza v. Silver King, Psicosis, Villano IV & Villano V Calo starts with IV and they trade wristlocks before going into an acrobatics sequence. Calo takes him down with a headscissors, but IV overpowers him. Calo comes back with a backbreaker for two, and it’s over to Garza, who misses a blind charge. But then so does Silver King, so they’re even. They do another one of those overly choreographed sequences and Garza clotheslines King to the floor, and over to Juvy and Psi. Psicosis kicks him down and elbows him to the floor, and we get King and IV monkey-flipping Lizmark and Garza, but they end up on the floor and the faces start diving at them. And then the heels add their dives for the big trainwreck spot, leaving Calo and Psicosis alone in the ring. Calo tries a top rope rana, but Sonny Onoo holds the leg and Psicosis finishes with a flying legdrop at 4:52. The usual good, meaningless lucha action. *** Meanwhile, the Dinner and a Movie dorks go nWo. Paul Gilmartin looks like Egon from the Real Ghostbusters cartoon here, I should note. We take a break after Macho Man cuts a promo, and return with the new nWo members left alone to face DDP. This results in Gilmartin taking a Diamond Cutter. Silly but this kind of stuff was a necessary evil. Ric Flair & Curt Hennig v. Syxx & Konnan Hennig was crazy over and a perfect fit for the Horsemen, so of course they fucked it up. This was actually the start of the whole thing that led to the Horsemen parody and Hennig’s turn and pretty much killed the Horsemen dead once and for all, which I say because the 99 version was barely even a team. Hennig trades wristlocks with Konnan and brings Syxx in, which has Flair all fired up. Syxx slugs him down and chops on him in the corner, but that’s not a good idea. He backdrops Flair out of the corner, but gets chopped down and kneedropped for two. Over to the Horsemen corner, where Hennig throws a kneelift and it’s back to Konnan again, as Hennig works the arm and they collide. Hennig gets caught in the heel corner, but everyone slugs it out until Hennig “accidentally” tosses Syxx into Flair’s knee, giving Konnan two. Perfectplex finishes Konnan at 5:04. Whole lot of nothing here. *1/2 Scott Hall & Randy Savage v. DDP & Lex Luger Oh god, we have to listen to the Michael Buffer imitation announcer so they can save a couple of bucks. The editing now also carefully avoids showing Buffer so we don’t think that he might be announcing, either. (I presume he’s back for the Network version.)  Big Kev announces that Savage will be defending the tag titles tonight as his surrogate, giving Tony another chance to use his new catchphrase: “Verbally binding contract”. I haven’t seen this match in 11 years and I’m already betting on a DQ finish. Luger and Hall fight over a lockup to start, as Hall gropes him like he’s a senior citizen. Ha, there’s a reference I haven’t done in a while. Luger gets tossed and Nash clotheslines him from behind, and back in the nWo beats on Luger and Savage gets the double axehandle. Over to DDP and he slugs Hall to the floor, but gets tripped up as a result, allowing Savage to put him down from behind. Back to Hall for the blockbuster slam for two. Savage slugs away in the corner, as does Hall, and Savage elbows DDP down for two. Page gets tossed and Savage brings him back in, allowing Hall to get the corner clothesline. Back to Savage and then Hall as they do some good quick tagging, but Page comes back with the discus clothesline on Hall and it’s hot tag Luger. Luger whips them into each other and then clotheslines them, leading to the torture rack on Hall before Savage saves. DDP and Luger collide, however, and Luger eats a Diamond Cutter by accident, as Hall falls on top for the pin at 9:53. Well at least it had a clean finish. Pretty solid tag match as well. **1/2 The nWo returns after the commercial to celebrate their 1st birthday party, but they get interrupted by the lights going out and the sound going out. And there’s Sting in the rafters with a vulture as we get a voiceover from a kid explaining that it’s a battle of good and evil upcoming. And then the lights go back up and the bird is on the top rope while the nWo has to act all freaked out. Frankly I’m surprised they didn’t have the bird turn heel and reveal it was an avian swerve all along. And that’s the show! This was, shall we say, ridiculously pretentious and overwrought, and we’ll leave it there. Look it up on YouTube if you care, I guess. (Or watch it on the Network!)  Kind of funny in terms of symbolism, as the show ends with the Clash logo over the image of the vulture, which proved fitting since the show was cancelled after that. Well, the final angle was stupid, but sometimes when you push the envelope you get a paper cut, so points for effort at least. The rest was pretty mediocre outside of a bad night for Jericho and the usual night for Mongo McMichael, so I wouldn’t break any important plans like washing your hair or organizing your receipts in order to catch it. Watch it, don’t, whatever, it’s all good.

Clash Countdown: #34

The SmarK Rant for Clash of the Champions XXXIV (January 1997) Live from Milwaukee, WI Your hosts are Tony Schiavone, Dusty Rhodes & Bobby Heenan. This is the second-to-last Clash, and clearly by this point these shows were just extra editions of Nitro and little effort was put into promoting or booking them. Plus this was leading into nWo Souled Out, so…you know…not the best PPV to be leading towards. Cruiserweight title: Ultimo Dragon v. Dean Malenko They trade hammerlocks on the mat and take a break. Back with Malenko’s suplex attempt getting foiled, but he fires away in the corner instead and hits the delayed suplex for two. Dragon fires back with kicks to chase Dean out of the ring. Dean recovers and comes back in with a backdrop suplex and into an anklelock on the mat. Half-crab and STUMP PULLER as Dean works on the leg in mechanical fashion. They head to the floor and Dean runs the leg into the post, and back in for a figure-four. Dean releases and hits a corner clothesline, but a second try runs into a spinkick. Dragon goes up and Malenko follows with a superplex and a rollup for two. Heenan: “What do you call 40 millionaires watching the Super Bowl? The Dallas Cowboys.” And as if inspired by that joke, Dean and Dragon start firing off highspots and trade near-falls, fighting to the floor for Dragon’s Asai moonsault. Back in, Dragon goes up and snaps off a moonsault for two. They head back up and Dragon gets a rana to bring him down, and a small package gets two. Malenko tries a powerbomb, but Dragon flips out and escapes, so Malenko does it again and gets the Cloverleaf for the submission and the title at 11:58. **** Dean was crazy over here, and Mark Curtis calling for the bell like a maniac is a thing of beauty. Mike Enos v. Scotty Riggs This is the very definition of “main event anywhere in the country”. Riggs tosses Enos and follows with a dive, but Enos runs him into the apron and follows with a clothesline to the floor. Back in, Enos with an overhead suplex, but Riggs comes back with a flying forearm for the pin at 2:20. * Meanwhile, The Four Horsemen join us, and Benoit has some comments that hit a bit too close to home now. (“When I don’t get want I want, I cripple you. I’ve got a very fragile mind.” YIKES.) Mongo going off on the Green Bay fanbase is pretty hilarious, as they start booing him and he makes no effort to win them over. It’s too bad he had nothing to back it up with in the ring. Konnan, Mr. JL & La Parka v. Chris Jericho, Chavo Guerrero & Super Calo Quite the interesting mix. JL gets a back elbow on Chavo, and Konnan slugs away on Calo and works the arm. Konnan has now fully transitioned into the K-Dogg look, by the way. Parka goes a little nuts on Jericho, but Jericho sends him out with a dropkick. Back in, the rudo side double-teams Chavo and Parka does a crazy moonsault onto Chavo while Konnan has Chavo up on his shoulders. Jericho comes in and we get the series of trainwreck spots and dives, and JL gets a rana on Jericho for two. They head up and Jericho finishes him with a rana off the top rope at 5:30. Just a crazy collection of spots, hinting at what the division would become later. *** Harlem Heat v. Joe Gomez & The Renegade Gomez gets pounded unmercifully in the Heat corner, but Booker misses a flying legdrop and Renegade gets the “hot tag”, at which point the Heat beat the shit out of him as well and finish him with missile dropkick at 3:30. Total squash. ½* Masahiro Chono v. Alex Wright Nick Patrick is reffing while wearing an nWo shirt, just to eschew all subtlety. Wright pounds away in the corner and takes him down with a headscissors and dropkick, and a side kick gets two. Thankfully, Patrick actually knows how to make a slow count in this case. Chono comes back with an atomic drop, but Wright gets a sunset flip and Patrick won’t even count now. Wright kicks him in frustration, but misses a flying bodypress as a result of his anger and gets Yakuza’d at 4:30. * Scott Norton v. Eddie Guerrero More Nick Patrick here, goody. Eddie was US champion but Syxx had possession of the belt. Norton whips him around and puts him down with a press slam, but Eddie dropkicks the knee and goes to work on the leg. Norton overpowers him again and adds a powerslam, then just destroys him with a powerbomb. No one took a powerbomb like Eddie. Norton actually tries to go up and Eddie comes back and brings him down, but misses the senton. This brings DDP out, and the ref gets bumped, giving us a Diamond Cutter on Norton and a frog splash from Eddie at 5:25. Patrick’s slow count wasn’t enough to allow Norton to kick out, sadly. *1/2 Meanwhile, The Giant (who has joined and left the nWo in the time since the last Clash) has words for Hulk Hogan leading into Souled Out. Falls Count Anywhere: Kevin Sullivan v. Chris Benoit They immediately brawl into the crowd and into the traditional bathroom. Poor Randy Anderson gets dumped into a urinal while they tear up the bathroom and Dusty is just in his glory. They fight back down the stairs again, with Bobby Eaton acting as security for some reason, and into the ring for the Tree of Woe and some abuse therein. Double stomp gets two for Sullivan. Jimmy Hart distracts the ref, but Woman sneaks in and breaks a balsa wood chair on Sullivan to give Benoit the pin at 5:01. Too short to be worth much, and all this stuff was done better in the years following. ** This feud was just too long and ended up destroying the personal lives of everyone involved. The Steiner Brothers v. The Amazing French Canadians Truly one of the laziest repackagings done by WCW, and that’s saying something. The Canadians manage to clear the ring, but the Steiners come off the top rope as we have to take a very ill-timed commercial break. Back with the Canadians in control, but they miss the finisher Scott gets the hot tag. So yeah, they edited out the entire heat segment via commercial. Top rope DDT finishes Pierre at 8:06. Everyone looked bored out there, but at least the Steiners finally got that job from 1993 back. *1/2 Alleged Main Event: Scott Hall v. Lex Luger Weird bit as Tony throws out birthday wishes to “long time fan and WCW supporter Brian Hildebrand”, aka the guy who’s refereeing the match! Couldn’t he just say happy birthday to referee Mark Curtis? Hall gets a chokeslam and misses an elbow, but manages to dump Luger anyway. Nash lays him out with a clothesline on the floor. Back in, Hall pounds away in the corner and gets a clothesline for two off a Syxx cheapshot. Fallaway slam gets two. Abdominal stretch as the cure for insomnia continues, but I will say that at least Hall was mobile and cogent at this point. Luger, having won and lost his World title already, had clearly given all the fucks he was going to. He makes the comeback with the usual and fights off the Wolfpac, but turns his back and gets clobbered for the DQ at 10:28. Steiners come out for a brawl, but they take it home too soon and get a cue from the director to stretch it out, so they have to start brawling again to fill the rest of the time in the show. Because WCW. * The Pulse Really, all pretense of the Clash shows being unique and special was gone by this time, and it was just an episode of Nitro here. This is only for completionist idiots like me.

Clash Countdown: #33

The SmarK Rant for Clash of the Champions XXXIII (August 1996) Dedicated to the memory of Mark “OfficerFarva” Haas. Live from Denver, CO Your hosts are Tony Schiavone & Bobby Heenan Into the nWo era now, shortly after Hogan won the title at Hog Wild, and it’s an entirely different promotion from the last Clash we saw. Hall and Nash are here, Hogan is a heel, Luger is 100% babyface and so are the Four Horsemen. Cruiserweight title: Rey Mysterio v. Dean Malenko Ever notice that Rey and Dean’s music are basically the same thing? Malenko attacks before the bell with a suplex and dumps Rey, but he slides back in and hits Dean with the rana off the apron. Back in, they trade acrobatics and Rey gets a moonsault for two and kicks Dean to the floor. Back in, Dean drops him on the top rope via a powerbomb to take over, and goes to a chinlock. We take a break to shill the official Hog Wild denim jacket (only $89.95!) and return with Dean flinging Rey around the ring until Rey flips into a rollup for two. Rey used to be so fun before all the steroids. Dean goes to the legbar and then launches him into a faceplant for two. Rey tosses Dean and follows with a somersault dive, then moonsaults off the railing in a spot that could have went horribly for him. Back in, springboard dropkick gets two. Rey reverses a tilt-a-whirl for two. West Coast Pop gets two. They fight on top and Dean gets the SUPER EXPLODING GUTBUSTER for the pin, but Rey’s foot is on the ropes. The ref rings the bell, but then takes it back and Rey rolls him up for the pin at 14:20 to retain. This is the time when the cruiserweight division launched into the stratosphere. ***3/4 GLACIER is coming, muthafucka! Keeping in mind this is August 1996 and he didn’t even show up on TV until, what, mid-97? VK Wallstreet v. Hacksaw Jim Duggan The VK Wallstreet gimmick was of course another oh-so-subtle dig at Vince McMahon and his mainstream aspirations. We all know who got the last laugh on that one. Wallstreet immediately makes the mistake of pointing to his head to indicate intelligence, resulting in Duggan beating on him in the corner. Wallstreet bails and gets a cheapshot to take over, and goes to the chinlock. Duggan fights out with a slam and tapes up the fist, but VKM rolls him up and grabs the tights at 3:46. ½* Meanwhile, the Nasty Boys are upset at getting passed over for title shots and people talking shit about them. Well, they can rest easy knowing Sags would soon get forced into early retirement anyway. Konnan v. Ultimo Dragon This could be ugly. Konnan slugs him down and wraps him up in a cloverleaf, but Dragon dropkicks him to the floor and Sonny Onoo gets some kicks in. Back in, Dragon with a moonsault into a cradle for two. German suplex gets two, but Konnan rolls him over and pulls the tights at 3:00 to finish. What agent let them do the same finish two matches in a row? * Meanwhile, Scott Norton attacks Ice Train to break up a Compuserve chat. He’s the ultimate internet troll! Meng v. Randy Savage Macho appears to be a no-show due to nWo beatdown, so Meng wins by forfeit. They show replays to emphasize the point, and Hogan’s chairshots didn’t improve any after WWF mercilessly mocked him on the Billionaire Ted skits. So with that out of the way, Mean Gene interviews the new improved Dungeon of Doom (Sullivan, the Faces of Fear, Hugh Morrus) and Kevin points out that he was trying to destroy Hogan all long and thus should be thanked by everyone. Oh, and then the Leprechaun runs around ringside (not to be confused with Hornswoggle) because WCW. Madusa v. Bull Nakano At least Bull had little worry about getting fired for doing coke in WCW. They practically gave it out at the door. Madusa misses a dropkick and gets tossed around the ring by the hair, but then gets greedy and beats on her with nunchuks. Somehow the ref misses this and the match continues. Madusa comes back with a bad bodypress, but Nakano sits on her for two. Bull goes up and Madusa dropkicks her to the floor and follows with a dive on Onoo. Onoo tries a kick to retaliate, but hits Nakano and Madusa rolls her up for the pin at 2:30. Really, three rollup finishes in a row? *1/2 Meanwhile, Ric Flair and his harem are ready for Hogan’s nonsense. Flair gets a great play off Hogan’s previous promo about how Hogan beat up his best friend by noting that he can’t beat up his own best friend, and neither can Hogan. Diamond Dallas Page v. Eddie Guerrero Last run for heel DDP before the nWo started courting him to lead to his face turn. Eddie gets a headscissors into a dropkick, but charges and hits the post to allow DDP to take over. Gutbuster and tilt-a-whirl slam gets two. Eddie fights back and hits the springboard senton for two, but Page powerbombs him for two. They fight to the top and Eddie shoves him off and finishes with a frog splash at 4:20 to win DDP’s Battlebowl ring. DDP offers a handshake, but then turns on him with a pair of Diamond Cutters to spoil Eddie’s glorious moment. ** Meanwhile, Hogan notes that Flair will be known in the ratings as the stupid little man who couldn’t get the job done. That would be some pretty specific quarter hour information. GLACIER is still kicking stuff! ROADHOUSE! Chris Benoit v. The Giant Very morbid on the Horsemen side, as Benoit and both his valets are gone. Giant was rapidly improving at this point, but this was a quick dropkick and chokeslam at 0:25. It is insinuated that Woman accidentally cost him the match, but I don’t think that went anywhere. This whole period is a blur for me, so I forget if she ended up turning on the Horsemen. WCW Tag titles: Harlem Heat v. The Steiner Brothers v. Sting & Lex Luger Luger gets beat up in the Heat corner but returns fire on Stevie Ray, then Rick Steiner lays both guys out with clotheslines and bulldogs Stevie for two. The Heat takes over on Rick and we take a break. Back with Rick powerslamming booker, but Sting tags himself in and hits a flying chop on Booker for two. Sting with a press slam for two. We get a shockingly boring heat segment with Luger pounding on Rick and nothing of note going on, until Scott comes in with a belly to belly on Lex and it’s a six-way donnybrook. In this commotion, Hall and Nash join us while Scott hits the frankensteiner on Booker, and Nick Patrick calls for the DQ in the middle of his count to screw the Steiners over at 13:00. So I guess it’s a no-contest? Who do you disqualify in a three-way match? *1/2 Nick Patrick gives an interview with Mean Gene afterwards, explaining his actions and sounding like Kenny Powers. WCW World title: Hulk Hogan v. Ric Flair So in the bizarre after-effect of Hogan’s heel turn, people are now cheering him again since the act was so incredibly hot and thus fresh again. Flair works a headlock and they trade taunts, but Hulk goes to work on the arm and Flair fights back with chops. More stalling from Hulk and they do a test of strength before Flair gets tossed out now. Geez, they’ve wrestled each other a zillion times, you’d think they could get something going here. Hogan slugs away in the ring, but Flair suplexes him and Hogan hulks up. The crowd goes nuts for this, so thankfully Hogan phased it out pretty quickly. Legdrop misses and Flair gets the figure-four, so Hogan throws the ref down and the Outsiders run in for the DQ at 8:04. Pretty brutal. * The Pulse Bunch of short, bad matches and TERRIBLE finishes here. Strong recommendation to avoid.

Clash Countdown: #32

The SmarK Rant for Clash of the Champions XXXII (January 1996) So big news for me on the professional front, as I will shortly begin writing for The Sporting News’s website, basically about whatever I want. Thankfully there’s an entire network dedicated to showing wrestling stuff 24 hours a day so I’ll always have lots of stuff to talk about. Thanks to Seth Mates for hooking me up and being awesome in general. So into the Nitro era now, leading into Superbrawl VI, which is one of my favorite shows of the 90s and one that doesn’t get enough love, actually. Go watch it on the Network! The night before on Nitro, Randy Savage won the World title and Luger & Sting won the tag titles, setting up some cool stuff. This another Clash where I’ve never seen it, as I was living on my own for the first time in my shitty one-bedroom apartment in Edmonton in 1996 and couldn’t afford to subscribe to TBS. Those were the hot dog and ramen noodle days. Of course, they still are, but now I get the really GOOD hot dogs! OK, that’s a lie, I’m cheap, I just buy the same ones I did then. But I could buy the good ones. Honest. Live from Las Vegas, NV Your hosts are Tony Schiavone & Bobby Heenan. The Nasty Boys v. The Public Enemy As usual, a big brawl between them right away and Sags goes to grab a table as Tony gets a “Oh man, here we go again” tone to his voice. Sags is unable to run Rocco into the table, and Rock goes up with a moonsault for two before getting dumped by Knobbs again. He takes a really scary bump off the apron and hits the back of his neck somehow. They’re so shitty that they can’t even obey the laws of physics properly. Sags gives Grunge an ugly piledriver and the ref finally calls for the bell at 4:00 for no reason in particular. To say these matches didn’t age well is being generous. DUD Meanwhile, Ric Flair and The Giant have words for the Megapowers, although to be accurate it’s Flair with the words and Giant with the ridiculous facials in the background. Note to Giant: You have Ric Flair with you, don’t talk. Dean Malenko v. Alex Wright Interesting that Wright got severely demoted following Dusty’s firing as booker in 95, but he’s still hanging around in a feature position. I guess people still saw something in him. Malenko takes him down to control him, but Wright evades him with flips and Dean bails. Back in, Malenko goes to work on the leg as we learn that Compuserve “e-chatting” is live RIGHT NOW. It’s like the WWE’s second screen app done by the stone-chipping pterodactyls in the Flintstones. Malenko pounds the knee in the corner, but Wright gets a flying bodypress for two. They fight over a backslide and Wright gets a dropkick, but Malenko gets a backdrop suplex and goes up. Wright dropkicks him down and follows with a superplex, and the german suplex gets two. Malenko puts him down with a forearm, dropkicks the knee again, and pins him at 5:31. Even in victory Dean looks pissed off all the time. A little short, but Wright was hanging in there OK. **1/2 Kevin Sullivan v. Disco Inferno So we get a singing telegram from an Elvis impersonator for some reason, who I’m guessing was some job guy, and Sullivan doesn’t take it very well and beats him up. Apparently Disco is at the wedding and unable to attend his match. WTF? Meanwhile, at the chapel, Buck and Slater arrive dressed about as nicely as they ever dress. They’re unsure about Parker’s chances of actually showing up for his own wedding. Meanwhile, Lex Luger and Sting give their victory interview after winning the tag titles. This was actually a fascinating dynamic, with Luger clearly a heel and Sting clearly a babyface, but since they were longtime friends Sting was willing to team with him and overlook his issues. That’s pretty cool and never got explored to the logical finish because of the nWo changing all the plans. The Road Warriors interrupt, looking for a title shot, and Sting is all for it, but Luger feels like the American Males and State Patrol might be more worthy first. Meanwhile, Paul Orndorff talks about his career-ending neck surgery, right when motivational speaker Gary Spivey was going to turn things around for him. Paul claims that he was offered a spot in the Four Horsemen and turned them down, which is why they attacked him and broke his neck. This was obviously supposed to lead to him making a big comeback against them later, but it never happened. Too bad, he would have been a natural for the nWo as an ex-WWF guy. Meanwhile, as I start to wonder if we’re ever going to get another match, Robert Parker shows up at the wedding chapel, trying to borrow $50 from Mean Gene for cab fare. Yeah, like that’ll work. Sherri is still running late, but apparently calls Robert on his cell phone to smooth things over. Brian Pillman v. Eddie Guerrero So this is the true start of the Loose Cannon character and a pretty famous match to boot. Bobby relates how everyone in the airports is talking to him about Eddie Guerrero. Somehow I doubt that. Pillman, convincingly playing batshit crazy at this point, runs away from Eddie’s lockup attempt and wanders at ringside until Eddie hauls him in for a headlock. Dropkick puts Pillman on the floor again an Eddie tries a dive, but Pillman hides behind Heenan (“What the fuck are you doing?!”, uncensored on the Network!) and Bobby is REALLY pissed and actually walks away from ringside for a bit to cool down. So as noted before, Heenan is very protective of his neck and didn’t know Pillman was going to touch him, and that was the result. It’s a shoot, brutha. Back in, they trade chops and Eddie is just UNLOADING on him, but Pillman chokes him down and goes to a chinlock as even Eddie seems unsure of what to do here. He fights back with a dropkick and Pillman runs away again, but Eddie gets a tornado DDT for two. Blind charge misses and Pillman gets two in the corner, but Eddie rolls him up for two. They collide on a crossbody and Pillman grabs the tights for the pin at 5:55, then makes sure to get in Bobby’s space again before leaving. This was one of the more bizarre matches you’ll see, only topped by the Pillman-Sullivan match at Superbrawl. Match was no good, but that’s not what Pillman was about at this point. *1/2 Meanwhile, the Megapowers and Kevin Greene are ready for that NASTY, STINKY, WART-INFESTED GIANT tonight. Obviously Greene was having a ball doing this. Sting & Lex Luger v. The Blue Bloods Regal exchanges formal bows with Sting, and Regal’s expression of disgust is tremendous. I’m wondering if Sting made some non-PC gesture there, though, because the camera zoomed in tight on Regal’s face. Sting traps Regal in their corner and dishes out some abuse. Over to Earl Robert Eaton (who, rather than sounding regal, now sounds like a serial killer or presidential assassin) and he also gets beat on. Lex flexes his pecs at Regal and this is literally the worst thing to happen to Regal all day, which he expresses merely by the look of abject horror on his face. Regal fires back with some forearms in the corner, and Eaton gets a neckbreaker to take over. Regal drops an elbow for two, and anytime Regal has something he can sink his teeth into it’s automatically 100% more fun. Eaton with the flying kneedrop to set up the Regal Stretch, but Sting breaks it up. Luger and Eaton bump heads, and it’s hot tag Sting. It’s BREAKING LOOSE IN TULSA, but Eaton collides with Regal and Sting finishes the Earl with the Scorpion at 7:48. Fun Nitro match. **1/2 Meanwhile, Robert Parker tries to make sure Harlem Heat doesn’t eat too much at the catering table, as Sherri finally arrives. Unfortunately, Parker neglected to mention his crippling gambling habit, which has left him flat broke. Kind of makes the Vegas wedding seem like a particularly bad decision on his part. So they’re going to have to do a drive-through wedding instead. Meanwhile, Brian F’n Pillman might just say all 7 of the forbidden words on live TV, and there’s NOTHING WE CAN DO ABOUT IT. Also, he might hack someone’s thumb off. So…OK then. Mexican Heavyweight title: Konnan v. Psychosis The graphics note that this is “Konan” v. “Psichosis”, in case you’re striving for accuracy. They trade armdrags to start and Konnan rolls him up into a submission hold, but gets nothing from it. More dull holds on the mat and Konnan gets a DDT, but Psy dumps him and follows with a dive. Back in, Konnan suddenly hits a superplex, and he finishes with a figure-four at 5:26. Apparently they were running long and got cut short on the fly. ** Meanwhile, Mean Gene finally talks Sherri into going through with the wedding, but then accidentally reveals that Parker was getting a phone call from another woman earlier. So they go through with the vows, but when it’s time for the objections, Madusa charges in and breaks it up because she’s actually been banging the Colonel on the sly. CATFIGHT! Disco steals all the champagne in the chaos. Meltzer HATED this whole thing in the WON at the time, but years of Vince Russo goofiness and wrestling weddings as a TV trope leave this one looking pretty good in retrospect, actually. It’s not like they were selling this as a main event angle or anything, it was just something for the midcarders to do that was very aware of its own stupidity. Ric Flair & The Giant v. Hulk Hogan & Randy Savage Speaking of ridiculous, Michael Buffer’s introduction of the Giant ranks up there. He puts the FEAR OF DEATH into his opponents! Elizabeth makes her return to the sport here, looking like someone’s mom at this point. Thankfully she would get much hotter as her relationship with Savage deteriorated again. Savage starts with Flair and quickly gets caught in the heel corner, but backslides Flair for two. Over to Hogan and the Giant, as the NASTY, STINKY, WART-INFESTED Giant pounds on Hogan and for whatever reason Hulk decides he’s finally going to start selling for someone in the promotion and it’s THIS guy. Giant with a backbreaker, but he misses an elbow and Hogan slams him. Flair comes in with a suplex, but of course Hogan no-sells that and makes the comeback. Big rookie stiff, sell your ass off. Greatest wrestler in history, fuck that, brother. Hogan brawls to the floor with Giant, and heads back in to continue not selling for Flair, like AT ALL. He slams Flair off the top and makes the hot tag to Savage, who quickly hits the double axehandle and drops the big elbow on Flair, but Jimmy Hart distracts him and Flair finishes with an international object at 9:50. The awesome tandem of Zodiac and Brian Pillman try to storm the ring, but Kevin Greene cleans house, grinning like a total mark the whole time. Giant was way out of his depth here, and Hogan was pretty infuriating. As usual. *1/2 The Pulse This was basically an episode of Nitro from the time. Viewed as such, it was a pretty good episode of Nitro. But the difference between what this was (short, decent matches padded out with bad comedy and endless talking) and what the shows were even the year before is kind of jarring. It also shows how redundant and needless that the Clash had become as a concept, much like what RAW is doing to PPV now, and thankfully there was only 3 of them left. Recommendation to do whatever you want with this one, because I can go either way with it.

Clash Countdown: #31

The SmarK Rant for Clash of the Champions XXXI (August 1995) You’re killing me, 1995 WCW. There was a reason I was actively avoiding the product at this point. Live from Daytona Beach, FL Your hosts are Tony Schiavone & Bobby Heenan Meng & Kurosawa v. Hawk & Sting And what an opener! Kurosawa is a young Manabu Nakanishi with a stupid name. Kurosawa slugs it out with the babyfaces and Sting gets a suplex for two. Over to Hawk, and at this point the fucks given by him are ZERO and he’s not selling shit. Meng, beginning his repackage into deadly martial arts fighter at this point, comes in and throws chops at Hawk. Here’s another weird thing: The guys are positioned on the wrong corners for TV, as the heels take a corner closest to the hard camera on the left and it’s surprisingly disorienting as a viewer. Just looks wrong, ya know? So Hawk kind of gets the heat on him but even the announcers are like “Man, it’s hard to keep Hawk down” because he won’t sell anything, and he gets a sloppy powerbomb on Kurosawa for two. It’s BONZO GONZO and Hawk looks like he should be another cable channel or something because he clearly has no clue what’s going on with this match. Poor Sting tries to salvage something on his own while Hawk randomly stumbles around the ring, and sets up for a Doomsday Device with Hawk, who can barely get to the top before falling off with a half-assed clothesline onto Kurosawa for the pin at 7:30. What a fucking disaster this was. -* Kurosawa puts Hawk into the Fujiwara armbar to injure him, but I’m pretty sure Hawk was medicated enough to take care of any pain resulting. Meanwhile, on WCW Saturday Night, the Dungeon of Doom attacks Hogan. I should note it’s only been six months since the last Clash, and they’ve already repackaged both Butcher and Avalanche into Zodiac Man and Shark, respectively. Meanwhile, Robert Parker and the Stud Stable of Buck and Slater (who were apparently tag champions at this point, which I vaguely recall as one of those wacky “non-title match on a TV taping repurposed into a title change” deals. Basically there was no actual title change booked.) are ready for their six-man against Harlem Heat later. Diamond Dallas Page v. Alex Wright DDP going from manager to wrestler in his 30s was one of the most unlikely success stories in wrestling. Of course he was still beyond terrible at this point, but he was trying and getting much better with the weight loss and new finisher. Wright gets a pair of rollups and dumps Page, then follows with a dive. Back in, Page with the dreaded full armdrag and twist, but Wright reverses and works the arm for a bit until Page puts him down to take over. Backbreaker and neckbreaker gets two. Wright with a backslide as everyone in the crowd fights off the instinct to doze into their popcorn. High knee gets two and Wright goes up with the missile dropkick for two. Page drops him on the top turnbuckle and gets two, but Wright gets the german suplex for two. Wright tries another dive and misses by a mile, and Page pins him at 8:17. Weak finish, OK, match. ** Meanwhile, Flair and Anderson have words for Vader, although Flair has more words than Arn does. World TV title: The Renegade v. Paul Orndorff Renegade sends Orndorff out, but Paul lays him out and pounds away as the muscle atrophy on the right arm is getting SCARY at this point. Orndorff with a clothesline to put Renegade on the floor and he takes some ridiculously bad bumps before randomly making the Warrior-inspired comeback with a slingshot bodyblock for the pin at 4:00 to retain. The crack WCW crew managed to somehow miss the finish and had to show it on replay. I would rather not relive any parts of Renegade matches unless absolutely necessary. DUD Meanwhile, Vader has no fear of any man. Except Paul Orndorff in shower shoes. Robert Parker, Bunkhouse Buck & Dick Slater v. Harlem Heat & Sister Sherri This was the start of the stupid “Robert Parker getting wooed by brain-damaged Sherri” angle that paid off with a wedding gone horribly wrong and Madusa involved somehow. Buck gets worked over by the Heat, and Slater comes in and tries a headbutt on Booker. So that’s a bad idea, because he’s black and all. Slater’s selling is such a Dean Ambrose ripoff. We take a break and learn how to win a motorcycle. Apparently the winner will be announced on some new show they’re debuting in September. Monday something. So with that established, we return with Booker T getting the heat, which finally draws Robert Parker in. And then he quickly gets destroyed by Sherri until she misses a flying splash and appears to be out cold. Parker, as a southern gentleman, is unable to capitalize, so Sherri tackles him with a kiss and pins him at 8:45. Absolutely nothing to the match. 1/2* Meanwhile, Hulk Hogan isn’t worried about the Dungeon of Doom. The McMahons of the world are worried about Hulkamania running wild! That would actually prove prophetic. And now, Hulk Hogan enters the Dungeon! So yeah, Kevin Sullivan and King Curtis are hanging out and shooting the shit in the Dungeon, and Hogan just barges and cuts a promo on them like he’s a badly-dubbed anime character, until ANDRE THE GIANT’S SON attacks him and rips off the necklace. SYMBOLISM! FLASHBACKS! The Dungeon does a beatdown and Vader makes the save, because he was apparently hanging out near the Dungeon of Doom for unrelated reasons. Like he was grabbing breakfast at the Dungeon of Donuts next door and happened to see some shit going down or something. Vader v. Ric Flair & Arn Anderson Oh man were people mad about this one back in the day. This whole feud was weird because Arn was off doing his Stud Stable thing for most of the year and then suddenly he was just hanging out with un-retired Flair again and they’re bickering. Thankfully, unlike 90% of WCW’s bullshit, this WAS going somewhere. Arn gets to try with Vader to start as Flair cheerleads for him, and that doesn’t go well for AA. Finally he gets a spinebuster and Flair decides to tag himself in, at which point Vader destroys Flair with a press slam in a funny bit. So Arn keeps carrying things, taking out Vader’s knee so Flair can gain control, and Arn adds a DDT. Flair comes in for the figure-four, but Vader easily escapes and splashes Flair for two, as Arn has to keep bailing Flair out. Vader puts them both down with clotheslines and powerbombs AA for the pin at 8:05. More angle than match. ** Flair blames Arn for this development and we get the feud that no one wanted to see but still ended up pretty awesome. Arn was tremendous here. And then Hulk Hogan comes out to point out that RIPPING OFF HIS CRUCIFIX WAS A THING THAT ALSO HAPPENED TO HIM BEFORE, BROTHER. Thanks for the reminder, Hulk. The Pulse Consider that THIS was the product they were putting out and Nitro still turned out awesome and changed the business forever. STRONG recommendation to avoid.