Clash of the Champions 22: Thundercage!

  • Ric Flair is under WWF contract until September, but he and Vince McMahon are negotiating terms for an early release that will see Flair able to return to WCW by mid-February.
  • Ron Simmons no showed the house show the night after Starrcade where he was scheduled to lose his World title to Vader. He was fined stiffly and the title change took place the following night. Simmons is in the dog house and is expected to leave soon when his contract expires.
  • The Great Muta beat Masa Chono at the January 4th Tokyo Dome show to capture the NWA World title.
  •   Terry Funk was offered Ron Simmons’ spot in the Clash 22 main event but realized his role in the company would be to lose a lot and he didn’t want to devalue his career for $1000 dollars a show. He was also upset that WCW edited a replay of one of his matches with Ric Flair in such a way that he looked worse than how the actual match played out.  Cactus Jack was turned face directly because of this.
  • Davey Boy Smith is expected to debut very soon. Sid Vicious is also expected to return soon. Eddie Gilbert is also having talks about making a return.
  • Paul Heyman was fired in mid-January for falsifying expense reports. Heyman denied the charges and plans to sue WCW. Heyman had a long time left on his contract and was making over $200,000  a year. He also had the distinction of being the only WCW worker who was listed as a TBS employee and not an independent contractor.
  • ·Erik Watts and Arn Anderson continued their feud at a 7-11:
  •  Bill Watts is taking a lot of heat as revenue is down, attendance is down, ratings  on TV are bottoming out and the talent is still sore over the constant badgering for paycuts.
  • Paul Orndorff is still doing shots for SMW until he finishes up his promised number of dates with the company.
  • Madusa quit over wanting to be marketed more as well as wrestle more often.
  • Cactus Jack wrestled fellow heel Paul Orndorff to decide who would replace Rick Rude in tonight’s main event. Race and Vader sided with Orndorff, so Jack greeted them all with shots with a shovel.
  • In a final amusing non-WCW note, Verne Gagne is recruiting football linemen to compete in a 17 city SUMO wrestling tour.  He’s even calling it “AWA American Sumo”.

 Clash 22
JR (in what might be his last ever WCW mega show) and Jesse the Body call the action.

Bill Watts talks about teaming with Da Crusher here in Milwaukee against Larry Hennig and Harley Race.  Van Hammer is out injured so he’ll miss his arm wrestling contest tonight as well as his role in the main event. Erik Watts is suspended due to his attack on Arn Anderson. (See above)

Erik Watts cuts a promo to smattering boos. Watts stumbles all over his words here.

 Johnny B. Badd vs. Cactus Jack
Ventura gives us a hint of whats to come by mentioning the fans have brought signs of support towards Jack. Jack out strikes Badd, so Johnny turns to technical wrestling to gain control. Crowd pops huge as Badd misses a flying move and Jack snags the win. Solid while it lasted.

A hilarious 2 Cold Scorpio vignette airs where he goes to the ghetto to dance with kids skipping school.

 2 Cold Scorpio vs. Scotty Flamingo
Scorp and Flamingo race through some fast paced spots and things look somewhat sloppy. 2 Cold kicks Flamingo and Scotty takes an exaggerated bump to the floor and rolls. Scorpio bounces out of the ring for Flamingo’s offence, but launches into him on the floor. A twisting flying cross body gets a surprising two count. A twisting legdrop sets up the 450 splash to end the spotfest. Fun match but all high spots.

We see clips of Harley Race booking Paul Orndorff vs. Cactus Jack to see who will make it to the Clash to replace Rick Rude in the main event. Race sides with Orndorff and then Vader comes in to attack Jack when he goes after Race. A beat down ensues. Jack avenges himself later by attacking the heels with a shovel. The shots to Race look nasty.

 Brad Armstrong vs. Chris Benoit
They open with a fast paced tit for tat wrestling sequence before Armstrong holds him down with an armbar. They blow an armdrag and Armstrong goes back to the armbar. Benoit dumps Armstrong to the floor and crashes into him with a clothesline that makes the crowd and Ventura pop. Crisp suplex helps set up for a diving headbutt, but Armstrong catches him on the top rope. Benoit knocks him off but misses the diving headbutt. Armstrong isn’t able to take advantage of the situation and soon finds himself trapped in a full nelson suplex into a bridge for the win.  Good exhibiton of what Beniot had to offer.

Smoky Mountain Wrestling highlights are shown of the Rock and Roll Express and Tony Schvonne explains how they are former NWA greats now feuding with Jim Cornette and the Heavenly Bodies in SMW and the two teams will be facing off at SuperBrawl.

Arm Wrestling: Tony Atlas vs. Vinnie Vegas
They don’t do any theatrics that traditionally would occur in a pro wrestling arm wrestling event. Atlas and Vegas scream and grunt until Vegas wins. Vegas calls out Hammer after. Meh.

 Tom Brandi and Tom Zenk vs. The Wrecking Crew
This isn’t Ole and Gene Anderson unfourently but Al Greene and Marc Laurinaitis as the Wrecking Crew. Zenk and Brandi uses dive in and out of the ring to keep the beefy heels at bay. The Crew run into each other and Brandi gets a role up I thought may have been the finish. Z-man tries a back drop, but Fury doesn’t run at him, so Zenk stands up and eats a kick instead to set himself up as the male model in peril. The baddies only control Zenk for maybe a minute before Brandi comes in and successfully works over both men. The numbers game catches up with Brandi and the Crew connect with a flying elbow/dominator combo to score a mild upset win. Match was just paint by numbers basic stuff.

The Hollywood Blonds promise their dynasty will start tonight.

Harley Race fires The Barbarian because he’s associated with Cactus Jack. Barbarian chokes Race and that allows Vader to lay him out and Paul Orndorff delivers a piledriver on the cement.

 World tag Champions Ricky Steamboat and Shane Douglas vs. Steve Austin and Brian Pillman
We must be short on time as neither team gets a walk out intro. Austin and Steamboat start things off fast as they go blow for blow before all four men end up in the ring and the heels are out gunned and flee. The babyfaces use quick tags to keep Pillman in their corner and in harms way. Pillman feigns a knee injury but when he tries a sneak attack on Douglas he is caught with the belly-to-belly.

Austin fairs just as bad as Steamboat and Douglas control him as well, even tossing his own partner on top of him during a skirmish. The heels finally cheat with gusto and chuck Steamboat over the top rope and onto the floor, where he finds himself slammed on to the concrete. The heels take turns wearing out The Dragon with suplexes, forearms, cheap shots, chops and other such moves.  Austin places Steamboat in an over the shoulder back breaker as Pillman attempts to launch onto him and Steamer gets off just in time and the heels collide.

Douglas makes the hot tag and blitzes both heels. Pillman is downed and pinned, but Austin sneaks in and hits Douglas, then places Pillman’s body on top of Douglas for the near fall. With that failing, Austin grabs one of the title belts and cracks Douglas with it, unfourently the ref catches him in the act and the heels are DQ’d. The exhausted and worn out Steamboat tries to fend the Blonds off but they take the title belts and lash into the champions time and time again until Brad Armstrong and others can clear the heels out of the ring.

Harley Race and Vader come out to gloat about Vader’s recent World title win. Ron Simmons, wearing a silly looking exercise outfit, comes out to warn Vader that he’ll lose whenever they meet again. Simmons attacks Race when Harley gets too close and downs Vader with a spinebuster.  Simmons then corners Race and lays in a number of blows before Vader pounces on him and focuses on injuring Simmons’ bum shoulder even further. “Injuring” Simmons was to be further punishment for Simmons recent no-show and contract issues.

 Thundercage: Sting and Dustin Rhodes vs. Paul Orndorff, Barry Windham and Vader
Ron Simmons and The Barbarian are both out making this a handi-cap match. Windham and Rhodes start things off after an initial skirmish that sees everyone throwing punches. Rhodes hits a killer clothesline before letting Sting come in to press slam Windham. Vader and Sting square off – Sting rocks Vader with a series of punches and a Stinger Splash. Sting beats on Vader until Vader slows oozes down the ropes in pain. Windham saves his partner and Vader is able to pounce. Vader misses a follow up splash and is knocked to the floor.

Paul Orndorff cuts off Sting from making a tag and lays the boots to him. Windham comes in to lay a licking onto the helpless Sting. Rhodes rushes in to try and save Sting but is repelled by the ref. Vader smashes Sting with a corner splash and a press slam. Windham tries a superplex but Sting somehow manages to fight him off and tag in Rhodes. Rhodes lays out all the heels before Windham can stop his offensive burst.

Cactus Jack comes down with bolt cutters and lets himself in the cage. Jack whacks all the heels with his boot. Orndorff tries to piledrive Rhodes but Jack cracks him with the boot and…scores the pin? That was some fast and loose ECW style tag team rules. A solid bout that would have been better with a bit of blood, but what can you do?

Cactus Jack gets to cut a promo on the heels before we go off the air. Jack scales the cage and soaks in the cheers as we go to a close.

Final thoughts: Another solid show for WCW, a tease that maybe things are turning around. Bill Watts will be gone soon and the Bischoff era will begin. Superbrawl 3 is next up and looks great on paper with 2 Cold vs. Benoit, Rock and Roll Express vs. The Heavenly Bodies, Sting vs. Vader and other excellent sounding matches!


Written by Andrew Lutzke

The grumpy old man of, lover of wrasslin' and true crimes.

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