Arn Anderson and Larry Zbyszko formed a team dubbed “The Enforcers”. Arn had to find a new partner as his bromance with Barry Windham ended after Windham saved Ron Simmons from an attack by Harley Race, Lex Luger and Mr. Hughes. Simmons was wary of Windham but Barry explained they have common enemies.
Tommy Rich joined the York Foundation. This greatly upset Big Josh, who considered Rich a friend and one of his favorite wrestlers.
“World’s Strongest Man” winner Bill Kazmaier did strong man feats on WCW TV and ended up befriending Rick Steiner – more on that in a moment.
Both the World tag titles and the US title are now vacant thanks to Scott Steiner’s (legit) injury and Lex Luger winning the World title.
The tag champs will be decided in a multi-week TV tournament. The US title was decided during a one-night tournament at the Omni. On top of that, WCW brought back the Light Heavyweight title and started a tournament on TV for that title too.
Sting ultimately won the US title in late August by defeating Arn Anderson, The Diamond Studd and TV champ Steve Austin as part of the tourney.
Rick Steiner took on several partners as he battled Dick Slater and Dick Murdoch. They included Tom Zenk, Sting, Ron Simmons, El Gigante, PN Newz and finally Bill Kazmaier. The Hardliners left WCW at the end of August. From what I can tell, there was no TV blow off to the Steiners/Hardliners feud and Rick just moved on to the Enforcers.
Sting couldn’t enjoy his US title win for long as a mystery man paid Abdullah the Butcher to sneak attack him.
Sting was attacked again from a man in a present a few weeks later, this proved to be Cactus Jack, making his return. A third present was given to Sting a few weeks later but this time Sting figured out it was a trap – but the present contained a beautiful women, sent by Cactus Jack to give Sting his last moments of pleasure before he is destroyed.
About the same time that Abdullah’s attack was taped, Sting finished his summer series of matches with Nikita Koloff as apparently Nikita quit WCW to go back to running his gym. He was one of many angered by WCW’s new 300 dollar a night/no big contracts deal.
Supposedly Cactus Jack wasn’t yet signed to a long-term deal and was seriously considering joining the Global Wrestling Federation.
Van Hammer (ugh) was signed by WCW and actually given a high five-figure guarantee, immediately making him a locker room pariah.
Dustin Rhodes, Tom Zenk, & Big Josh defeated WCW Six-Man Tag Team Champions Michael Hayes, Jimmy Garvin, & Badstreet to win the titles. This was to build to the York Foundation going after the titles as the babyfaces already had beefs with them.
Johnny B. Badd was buying Lady Blossom gifts. Her man Steve Austin wasn’t amused with his fellow heels antics. Badd claimed he just wanted to go shopping with her. This was just a little angle to fill some TV time for a few weeks.
WCW commentator Jack Brickhouse suggested Ric Flair may be the one to unmask The Yellow Dog. This was put on TV two weeks after Flair’s firing was announced and almost a full month after it occurred. Because WCW…
Since Barry Windham was now a babyface, they dragged the Yellow Dog gimmick out for a few more TV tapings, then reinstated Pillman.
Evil Jim Herd ordered the months long Paul E/Missy Hyatt feud to be over. One has to believe it was due to the misogynistic overtones coming from Paul E.
TBS was planning an “American Patriots” or “American Heroes” cartoon. That set up a planned WCW stable of jobber Todd Champion (as an Army private), jobber Curtis Thompson (as a fireman), veteran jobber Pez Whatley (as a garbage man) and Bill Kazmaier (as a policeman) who were suppose to be part of this “American Patriots” group to correlate with the cartoon. A garbage man is an American Hero? (No offense to all custodians out there. I’d probably kill for your union perks, quite frankly.)
Thankfully the idea was modified and instead we just got Champion and Thompson coming in as the “WCW Patriots”. They were quickly put over the Freebirds for the US Tag belts in mid-August. For the record that made for the third different tag titles that the ‘Birds would lose in a matter of months. The title change would not air until after the Clash however.
Tommy Rich was picked up for pot possession.
A famous story occurred around this time as Jim Cornette sent Evil Jim Herd a black wreath and a note congratulating him on killing WCW.
Verne and Greg Gagne were in discussion to come in as agents and help with promotional needs. Greg would eventually sign on but Verne remained semi-retired. The elder Gagne actually tried to start up a United States Sumo League the following year and supposedly signed several Minnesota Viking linemen to participate. The event never came off.
DDP is no longer a manager, WCW has him just commentating but he will soon begin his in-ring career. (Hopefully I’m not subjected to too many of his early matches as he was the shits until 1995.)
An early draft of this Clash had Tom Zenk vs. Luger for the World title and a 10-man tag team “Georgia clay Brawl” aka mud match. Now THAT would have been a debacle!
Bill Watts was being courted to come in and “save” WCW but he wanted basically an ownership stake where he would get a % of the profit turnaround he might create.
The BET network had Teddy Long, Johnny B. Badd and PN Newz on one of their shows. The host asked why it was so hard for a black man to make it to the top in wrestling…this is funny because Newz is a white guy from the Mid-west, and Badd is a Jew with a good tan.
Eddie Gilbert was rumored to be coming back in but it would not come to pass.
Kevin Sullivan’s contract is up and he’s gone. Sullivan claims WCW wanted him to be part of a Hunchbacks gimmick in the weeks prior to him leaving. That idea has been a Jim Herd favorite for the past two years.
Future WCW, ECW and WWF “star” Big Vito has made some appearances as a jobber.
Axl Rotten has debuted – he is slated for a music-based feud with PN Newz.
Billy Jack Haynes was fired/quit after requesting a 200 dollar a night raise. Robert Gibson has also left. JYD was released again. (He’ll be back) and Oliver Humperdink was released, leaving the Freebirds without their roadie.
Stan Hansen is also gone, as Dusty wanted him to partner up with Black Bart, Moondog Rex and Dutch Mantel. Hansen was in Japan the night before this show having a war with Kenta Kobashi:
Clash of the Champions 16: FALL BRAWL!
September 5th, 1991
Georgia Brawl Battle Royal: Tom Zenk, Thomas Rich, Bobby Eaton, Ranger Ross, Steve Armstrong, Tracy Smothers, OZ, PN Newz, Buddy Lee Parker, Steve Austin, Dustin Rhodes, Terrence Taylor, Big Josh, Barry Windham, The One Man Gang, and El Gigante
“Over 5,000 pounds in one ring!” What rock did they drag Ranger Ross out from under? He hasn’t made any appearances in forever.
Big Josh is an interesting case as Matt Borne was suppose to pretend he didn’t really know how to wrestle for the gimmick, then a year later Borne portrayed Doink, who was a masterful wrestler who didn’t want his identity known apparently. Whoa- wait…what if Tommy Rich’s heel turn caused Josh to snap and his decent into madness lead to him being a clown. It all makes sense now. Or not.
As usual, everybody splits off and hangs on the ropes. OMG and Gigante continue their issue- ditto Eaton and Austin. Josh, Taylor and Ross all flop over the top together. Rich and Parker follow soon after. OZ and OMG are squashed in the corner by a slew of babyfaces. Zenk goes out off camera. Austin dumps Smothers. OMG dumps Eaton on the ramp. PN News misses a charge and falls over the top. We see his ass sweat stain upon impact. Yum.
Windham and Austin go out together and brawl. The crowd is hot for the final four consisting of Rhodes/Gigante vs. OZ/OMG. The heels dominate and dump Dustin. Then the evil giants stand awkwardly by the ropes and stare lovingly at each other until Gigante can rise up and clothesline them both to the floor. JR takes us right to commercial seconds later. This was every battle royal you have ever seen.
Semi-Final match for the WCW Light heavyweight title: Brian Pillman vs. Badstreet
To show the depth of this division, Badstreet beat jobber Joey Maggs in Round 1 and Pillman got a bye because he was forced to retire by Windham at the last Clash and a letter writing campaign brought him back.
P.S. Hayes and Jim Garvin are kicked out of ringside before the match. Pillman dominates the early going until Badstreet suplexes Pillman over the top rope and they both crash to the floor. Pillman is then sent flying off the apron and into the railing when he tries to get back in. Brian is sent into the railing but he fights on.
Pillman takes over by drop kicking Badstreet off the top rope and then flying into him on the floor. Flyin’ Brian’s landing looked nasty there. I learned after the fact that he was indeed injured and missed a week of house shows while recovering.
Brian and Brad go for simultaneous dropkicks and both men are down. JR dramatically speculating Pillman may have a Charley horse in his leg amuses me. Brian hits a spinning kick and the camera pans to the fans for no reason. Badstreet nearly finishes it with a DDT but he wastes too much time after a Samoan drop and Pillman manages to knock him off the top rope and hit a flying clothesline for the pin. Energetic fun.
WCW TOP TEN
10. Bobby Eaton
8. The Diamond Studd
7. The One Man Gang
6. Dustin Rhodes
5. Steve Austin
4. El Gigante
3. Barry Windham
2. Ron Simmons
Champ: Lex Luger
US Champion Sting vs. Johnny B. Badd
We get clips of Abby the Butcher attacking Sting after hiding in a giant box. His breasts jiggle more than Lady Blossom’s did earlier. Badd is dominated early but he manages to hit a flying sunset flip from the top rope for a near fall. He does that spot all the time and it’s really not a spot a heel should be doing given the flashy nature of it.
Both men stop dead in their tracks and stare awkwardly at each other as nobody called the next spot. Sting then tries for a roll up to move things along. Then we stop again and both guys play to the crowd. They trade armbars and both really ham it up with the facials. More armbars as the guys seem to have forgotten to put a game plan for the match together. Badd no sells a suplex and both guys stall again and stare at each other.
Sting tries an Irish whip and Badd just falls down…WTF????….Sting misses a Stinger splash as another box comes down to ringside. Badd is distracted because he thinks the gift is for him. Sting then gets up and stares at the box as well. Sting then walks over to Badd and tries a small package, but they mess that up too, however Sting gets the three count anyway. THIS WAS AMAZING. Watch this debacle now. What a mess of match!
Cactus Jack attacks Sting after the match. Jack hits a second rope elbow onto Sting who is laid out on the floor because Jack hates his hips. A plethora of babyfaces run in to scare Jack off.
Semi-Final match for the WCW Light heavyweight title: Mike Graham vs. Richard Morton
To add to my earlier point about the depth of this division, round 1 saw Morton beat Johnny Rich, who is basically a mildly pushed jobber and Graham is Dusty Rhodes’ friend who was last over in 1984. Graham defeated Terrence Taylor in round 1.
I feel bad making fun of Graham since his dad killed himself in 1985 and his son killed himself in 2010 before Mike followed suit in 2012. Thankfully Mike was classy enough to turn his father’s death into a wrestling angle:
Poor Graham gets zero reaction from the fans. Morton and Graham go thru a reversal sequence and it’s pretty obvious Ricky’s guiding the way. Graham gets more cradles to no avail. Morton works an armlock to drag things along as a light “boring” chant breaks out. Graham attempts a figure-four and a Texas cloverleaf. A low blow slows Mike down. York distracts the ref and makes him miss a Graham pin. Morton kicks Mike into the turnbuckle and snags a roll up for the win. Pretty meh match.
They show Bill Kazmaier’s name in the Guinness Book of World records for his weight lifting. The records were set a full decade earlier but Bill still looks like a beast here.
Kazmaier bends a bar around his neck. Arn Anderson and Larry Zbyszko sneak in and slam a 45-pound bar bell into his ribs and run away.
US Tag champs Michael Hayes and Jimmy Garvin vs. Todd Champion and Firebreaker Chip
Oddly this is a non-title match and the same teams will meet 3 days later on WCW TV in a rematch for the titles. JR doesn’t try and explain the logic of this at all. Hayes stalls and dances. Chip controls both Hayes and Garvin. Champion gets in after a brief heel heat segment and cleans both Freebirds clocks as well. All four men are going at it as the ref begs for somebody to listen to him. Hayes bops Chip from behind and the heels get the win. The camera misses the finish because the director is incompetent.
Retarded booking and shitty match. The faces would win the titles that weekend. So why not give them a strong win on National TV to boost their profile – especially considering they are newcomers?
Cactus Jack declares Sting’s career over as another present comes down to the ring. This time Sting bursts out of the box and explodes all over Jack. Jack is hip-tossed off the ramp and splats on the concrete. Jack hits Sting with a plastic garbage can and Sting returns the favor as we cut to commercial. The mystery box was a solid angle but this is now the 5th time in recent weeks that the idea was used.
We are shown clips of Ron Simmons having his Florida State jersey retired. Then Bobby Bowden is given a chance to put Simmons over for his wrasslin’.
Ron Simmons vs. The Diamond Studd
Studd has his hair greased back, a toothpick and is screaming, “I’m the Bad guy!!” Vince McMahon – creative genius. Studd attacks before the bell. A chokeslam and bulldog wounds Simmons. Ron evades a boot and drives Studd’s nuts into the ring post. Simmons hits a shoulderblock and that’s enough for the pin. Quick, solid win over a pushed guy to set up Simmons’ World title match at Halloween Havoc.
Paul E. has a chat with Ron afterwards. Simmons delivers an inspirational message as Harley Race and Mr. Hughes come down. Simmons is sick of seeing them, so he leaves. Ok then.
Van Hammer vs. Terrence Taylor
Capetta calls Hammer “heavy hitting” instead of “Heavy Metal” in the intros. This is Hammer’s debut. Taylor hits Van with the computer and that is no sold. Hammer hits a series of clotheslines and then shakes the ropes while banging his head. Was that a direct rip-off of The Ultimate Warrior? Taylor then takes a front face suplex and lays face first praying that Hammer doesn’t accidentally cripple him as Van leaps from the top rope with a flying knee to his spine. Hammer then does a Warrior-like pin pose as the ref counts 3. Ummm…that might be the best match from Hammer I’ve ever seen. That’s not to say it was good or anything. Poor Taylor – loses in two different title tournaments on TV in one month and then gets squashed by a rookie on national TV.
BTW, I read others reviews of this card after I finished and according to those articles, WCW was indeed hoping that fans would think Hammer was the Ultimate Warrior with a new gimmick, hence the Warrior spots in this match.
Missy Hyatt interviews Lex Luger in the back. Ron Simmons busts in. Simmons is shoved out awkwardly. He then goes in a 3 point stance and waits a number of seconds before busting in the door to assail Luger. An octet of babyfaces pull Simmons away.
TV Champion Steve Austin vs. Tom Zenk
The grapplers exchange chain wrestling in our opening minutes. Austin bumps hard and often to make this very watchable. Schiavone buries Z-man for not chasing after Austin on the floor. Zenk jumps him on the ramp but misses a follow up flying crossbody to allow Austin to take over. Lady Blossom jumps about at ringside to steal the show.
Austin hits the stun gun but doesn’t go for the pin. Zenk gets a bit of control so Blossom hands him brass knux to KO Zenk with for the pin. She then shoves them down her ample frontage and that allows JR and Tony to make suggestive comments about finding them. Match was fine.
Ron Simmons is shown giving a motivational speech to kids. They are giving him the full court press John Cena goody-goody push.
Then we see Ron riding with inner city kids to the YMCA and giving them tickets to the Omni show that night. Making kids watch WCW might be a form of child abuse actually.
Contract signing with Lex Luger and Ron Simmons
Simmons has his wife and Dusty Rhodes with him. Dusty is there to find out how to treat a black lady since it’s been a year since poor Dusty lost his sweet Sapphire. Harley Race joins Luger along with a gaggle of security. Luger puts Simmons’charity work over-then Luger offers him the job as his limo driver after Lex embarrasses him at the PPV. Simmons charges at Lex and Luger is whisked off to a limo for safety.
World tag team title tournament Finals: Rick Steiner and Bill Kazmaier vs. Arn Anderson and Larry Zbyszko
The tag tournament results heading into tonight were: The Freebirds drew with The Hardliners, OMG and Black Blood beat El Gigante and Big Josh, Rick Steiner and Bill Kazmaier mangled The Ringlords, The US Patriots upended The York Foundation, The Enforcers beat The Young Pistols.
Then in round two Black Blood was replaced by “The Executioner” and he and OMG lost to Steiner and Kazmaier, then the Patriots lost to The Enforcers. All that leads us to these two teams as our dramatis personae.
Bill’s all taped up after his earlier attack, so Rick charges in and attacks both men alone. Rick hits a big powerslam but that allows the number game to fall into play and the heels take control. Rick tries to rally but the bastards keep double teaming him and cutting off any momentum.
Kazmaier finally has seen enough and tags himself in to a shockingly tepid response. He bulldozes both heels over but foolishly tries a press slam and his busted ribs slow him down enough that a cheap shot fells him and the dastardly duo secure the belts. More of an extended angle than a match.
Arn cuts an excellent promo after explaining that two average grapplers just defeated a college All-American wrestler and the strongest man on the planet. Good ending to the show as Larry and Arn quickly established they are sneaky assholes and I can’t wait to see Scott Steiner come back so he and Rick can kick their ass. This being WCW…that doesn’t happen.
An overall completely average offering from WCW, but I personally enjoyed it as I’m really digging this historical look back into a time when I still was obsessive with this crazy psuedo-sport.
That being said, WCW is a strange beast to watch, even while reading the results to try and figure out what is going on. Since our last mega-show, we have new champions (Sting, Patriots, 6 man tag), new titles (TOO MANY TITLES), wrestlers vanishing without explanation (Black Blood, Sullivan, Hardliners, Koloff just to name a few) and new guys pushed to the top of the card out of nowhere (Kazmaier and Zbyszko). This almost makes me feel that I’m watching this stuff out of order as the dots don’t quite connect.
Nonetheless, onto Halloween Havoc ’91!!!!!!!!!!!