Clash of the Champions 25: Flair vs Vader

Context around Clash 25

  • On October 27th, just days after Halloween Havoc, Sid Vicious and Arn Anderson engaged in a drunken brawl at an overseas hotel. Sid Vicious instigated the argument by bragging to Anderson that he had just held WCW up for a 100K raise, meanwhile Anderson took a 100K pay cut the previous year. He also told Anderson that Arn and Flair needed to retire so the new blood could save the company.
  • Witnesses told two different versions of the fight, one with each man being the aggressor in the situation. Anderson ended up stabbed 20 times with a pair of scissors, including in his throat and face.
  • Both men have been suspended pending the investigation from WCW executives.  Sid is planned to win the World title in a few weeks, so he had tons of pre-taped segments and matches that WCW had to edit off TV.
  • Ice Train is now being mentored by Ron Simmons in storyline. This is to set up Simmons’ heel turn.
  • Tom Zenk and Todd Champion have been brought back for a few shows with Champion even having a mini-program with Lord Steven Regal.
  • Dusty Rhodes is backing his son Dustin in his feud with Paul Orndorff, who is backed by The Assassin. It only took them seven months to follow up on the geezers Slamboree promos that started this build.
  • Terry Taylor is back in the ring and is working an angle with Lord Steven Regal.
  • Craig Pittman getting a look. Tommy Rich worked a one off at the weekly Tuesday night show WCW holds in a bar.
  • Cactus Jack didn’t go on the Europe tour despite headlining the PPV held two weeks before this card.
  • WCW had sold less than 400 tickets to this show two days before the broadcast.

Clash of the Champions
MEAN WOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO BAH GAWD GENE welcomes us. He quickly plus his hotline and sends it to Tony Schiavone and Jesse Ventura.

International Board of Directors NWA World Big Gold titleholder Rick Rude vs. Road Warrior Hawk
They trade shoves and flex. Rude then stalls and stalls. Rude starts to pound away on Hawk, but the Road Warrior starts to no sell everything and tosses Rude around. The ravishing one gets a brief advantage with more punching but then tries a top rope move with Hawk out of place, and sure enough he lands on Hawk’s feet. Both men spill to the floor and trade punches until they are both counted out. Not a good match. Hawk can’t/won’t sell and Rude still works like his back is ailing him.

The Shockmaster vs. The Equalizer
This catch as catch can classic begins with the Equalizer jumping Typhoon from behind. Forearms and chokes drop Tugboat. Shockmaster no sells a clothesline, locks on a bearhug and sits on him for the pin. This is a lost classic between two fine technical greats. I hope to see an Iron Man rematch between these two soon!

Oddly Mean Gene and Col. Parker discuss whether Sid Vicious is still hounding Parker, So they edited him off all the taped TV but talk about him on the live show? (I later learned he was not yet fired and they aired Vicious clips until a few days after the Clash.)

TV champion Lord Steven Regal vs. Johnny B. Badd
Regal corners Badd and slaps the taste out of his mouth. This riles Badd up and he wraps Regal up in several cradles. Badd locks on a lengthy headlock before Regal escapes and locks Badd in an armbar which he turns into a surfboard. Badd fights out and goes back to the headlock. Badd misses a crossbody which sets him up to absorb some European uppercuts. Regal drives a short forearm shot into Badd’s jaw and downs him with a double underhook suplex. Badd knocks Regal unconscious with a punch but celebrates instead of going for the pin. When he finally climbs on him, Sir William puts Regal’s foot on the ropes. While Badd yells at him, Regal pops up and scores a roll up for the win. Badd got exposed here as he tried to work a mat based match to keep up with Regal and it consisted of multiple headlocks. Regal at least was able to carry things above the DUD level that the first two matches graded out as.

“Flyin” Brian Pillman vs. “Stunning” Steve Austin
Pillman jumps Austin right away and tosses punches and kicks into his former partner. Parker tempts Pillman to chase him until Pillman runs into Austin’s clothesline. Pillman and Austin brawl in and out of the ring. Austin tries a piledriver on the ramp but ends up backdropped onto the wood. Pillman tries a flying attack but lands on Austin’s boot. Pillman is sent into the railing and then caught with a modified stun gun once they get back in the ring. Austin tries to torture Pillman by locking a knee bar onto Pillman’s recently injured leg.

Pillman fires up and delivers some hard chops and flying elbow. Pillman tries a superplex but Austin knocks him off. Austin tries to leap at Pillman and eats a big dropkick. Pillman tries a crossbody but Austin reverses it into a powerslam. Pillman gets a flash DDT for a near fall. Pillman is downed again with a Samoan drop. Austin misses a flying knee and takes a rough looking landing. Pillman is tossed over the top rope but hangs onto the ropes. Pillman tries to launch into Austin but Parker grabs his leg and Pillman crashes into the mat. Austin snags the tainted pin off of that. Good match here that set up some hopefully increasingly violent rematches in the months to come.

Mean Gene is at the Battle Bowl Control Center. Gene hard sells us on this shitty PPV despite having no matches to actually talk about. Paul Orndorff gets a little promo where he craftily comes across as smug and makes sure to subtlety let the fans know he hates their “Paula” chants. Then Sting cuts a bad promo where he doesn’t even know how many men are in the Battle Bowl finals and doesn’t put himself over as being the eventual winner of this thing. When we cut back to Gene, we get a vintage WCW botch as he promises more details on the PPV will be revealed “This Wednesday night on the Clash of Champions”. I’m watching the Clash now Gene! Give me info!

United States champion Dustin Rhodes vs. Paul “Mr. Wonderful” Orndorff
Orndorff has been a mega show MVP for me this year, as he’s delivered almost every time out. Dusty Rhodes and The Assassin (Jody Hamilton) are at ringside. Dusty whips the crowd into a frenzy by tearing off his own jacket and strutting in mocking fashion towards the Assassin. Ventura makes fun of the Assassin being a giant fat ass. Why didn’t the Assassin buy a mask that fit? Seems odd to spend months on TV with your blubbery chins hanging out.

Rhodes works a headlock right away so Dusty and the Assassin can trade icy glares at ringside. Orndorff works the arm as the Assassin begs him to snap it. They spend minutes doing nothing as they trade wristlocks, and now the legends at ringside aren’t even playing off each other. Rhodes uses a kneelock and then a headlock. Orndorff takes over and locks on a chinlock to continue this cure for insomnia. Rhodes fights out and tries a bulldog but Mr. Wonderful blocks it. Rhodes escapes out of a piledriver attempt. Orndorff misses a knee drop and is small packaged for the win.

Orndorff dumps Dustin into the Assassin’s lair and Hamilton sends him into the ring post. That brings Dusty over who knocks the Assassin down. They roll into the ring where Dusty delivers several bionic elbows and tries to peel the mask off the corpulent head of the Assassin. Mr. Wonderful attacks Dusty and both heels crack Rhodes with the title belt until Dustin can clear the ring. That was a fun conclusion but I’m not sure what happened during the match as both of these guys are above average workers and have faced off numerous times and yet they just stunk out the joint here. The match only went around ten minutes, so it’s not like they had to drag out the bout. I’m really disappointed here.

World tag champs The Nasty Boyz vs. Sting and Davey Boy Smith
They have been telegraphing to us all night that this match won’t be a title change because the Bulldog challenged Rick Rude for the International title as soon as the opener was over. Missy Hyatt’s slutty apparel is the highlight of the show so far. Things start with a pier six brawl. Rick Rude sneaks out and delivers a neck breaker on Bulldog out on the ramp. Hawk runs out to scare him off. The Nasties double team Sting as the Bulldog sells his injury. Sting fends off both heels and sends them to the floor.

Sting mostly controls the bout until Knobbs knocks him off the top rope from behind. Knobbs then hits a sloppy gut wrench suplex where he dumps Sting right onto his own hip instead of letting Sting take a flat back bump. Knobbs locks on a bear hug but Sting reverses it into a belly to belly suplex. Hyatt keeps the ref busy so the Nasties can double up on Sting. Sting finally makes the hot tag and he slams both heels and downs them with dropkicks and clotheslines. He then presses Sting above his head and tosses him onto both champions. Smith nails a powerslam on Knobbs but Saggs launches a flying elbow to his skull. Sting watches this all unfold and stands on the apron as Smith is pinned. Good job Sting!! You are either a moron or a goody two shoes. Match was a fun sprint at least.

World Champion Vader vs. “Nature Boy” Ric Flair
Ric Flair is confronted by Col. Parker who informs him that Steve Austin has challenged the winner of this match. Vader gives his son a shout out as he comes to the ring. Given the way they had booked Flair leading up to this match, this feels like a situation where Flair was being used as a filler opponent who had enough name value to give Vader a good match and a clean win before Vader could move on to his “real” challengers like Cactus Jack (who I just realized they didn’t even mention tonight) and Sid Vicious. Of course given the Sid situation, this turned out to be the beginning of a new chapter on the top of the card.

We come back from commercial to find Harley Race being attacked by Flair and locked in a figure-four. Vader splashes Flair to free his manager. Vader nails a number of big punches and press slams Flair. A Vader bomb squashes Flair, but Vader doesn’t go for the pin. Flair tries some chops but Vader pounds him to the mat and drops his massive elbow into Flair’s knee. Vader thrashes him with more punches and sends him over the top and to the floor. Race attacks Flair down there but Vader misses a splash and crashes into the railing. Flair climbs to the top rope and hits a flying clothesline. Vader is reeling and Flair follows him back into the ring and delivers some hard chops. Vader misses an elbow and is trapped in a figure-four. Race aids Vader by raking Flair’s eyes to break the hold.

Vader suplexes Flair and splashes him for a near fall. Vader misses another flying attack leading to Flair climbing the ropes and delivering a flying chop. He scales the ropes and hits another. Flair dodges a clothesline but the ref eats the full force of Vader’s arm. Vader superplexes Flair but misses a follow up moonsault. Flair climbs on top and apparently gets the three count. The ref then waves off the pin and announces Vader is DQ’d. Austin runs in and he and Vader pound on Flair before Dustin Rhodes and The Shockmaster can run in and make the save. Flair announces Sid Vicious will be here Saturday night and he and Flair will face off with Austin and Vader. That will be Sid’s last appearance in WCW for six years. At least they had an angle in the can that could explain Sid’s sudden departure.

This wasn’t a bad match, but it was rushed as they worked twenty minutes worth of moves into a ten minute match, which led to Flair not selling the mauling he was receiving to a believable extent. The ending was crap though as the ref made 3 mat slapping motions to signal a pin, when he was actually climbing over to the men to call for the DQ.  The fake out worked well enough that I was temporarily confused and thought I missed an announcement that this was non-title.

Final thoughts: I was excited at the beginning of the night, as this looked like a good show on paper. The end result however was a night full of matches that were being used to build to other things and nothing really delivered on its potential. Why was Cactus Jack not used at all? He and Vader have the headline feud heading into Battle Bowl and I don’t believe he was ever mentioned all night.

Speaking of Battle Bowl, what a disaster that PPV is going to be. I have seen it once before and know its full of crappy matches, boring wrestling and the whole thing is ultimately pointless. I hope I can write an entertaining skewering of it for next week’s review.


Written by Andrew Lutzke

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

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