Through the Years: Clash of the Champions 14

 

This is a hallmark show for WCW, not only because of their name change and this being the first Clash of the Champions to take place after that, but because Dusty Rhodes was back. He took the booking job, and he also became a color commentator, which ushered in an amazing era of Dusty making hilarious comments on WCW TV. Not only that, there was a much hyped match between Scott Steiner and Ric Flair. Nobody really knew what to expect with the matches that were planned for the show. Some of these sound crazy. I’m going to get to it, let’s see how it goes!

 

– January 30th, 1991, from Georgia Mountains Center in Gainesville, Georgia

 

The opening video hypes up Scott Steiner’s title challenge, and Sting and Lex Luger teaming up to take on Doom. They then put a big Confederate battle flag in my face, immediately making me angry. That’s not the best way to start this off. This is one of their regular taping locations, it’s a very small building. Originally it was intended to hold this show in the atrium of the CNN building. That would have been terrible.

The national anthem was played, then it was time to meet the new color commentator, Dusty Rhodes. His promo was reminiscent of those at the Royal rumble. Let’s please not have a bunch of these.

 

Lex Luger (WCW US Champion) & Sting vs. Doom for the WCW Tag Team Championships

Pre-Match Thoughts: Well, they’ve certainly phased the NWA mentions out of their programming. This is also completely opposite of how Ole Anderson would structure his cards. You have to get people hooked in and Dusty understood that much better. The intimate atmosphere gives these entrances a weird feel as the ramp fits better in the bigger buildings. Teddy Long was not there for some reason. I wonder why.

Match Review: Sting and Reed begin the match by locking up, and Reed hits Sting with a knee. Sting comes back with a hip toss, and takes Reed down again with a backdrop and arm drag. Luger tags in and continues the arm work, and gives Reed a swinging neckbreaker as well. Simmons tags in, and they do some collision spots with neither man getting the better of it. Simmons finally knocks him down the fourth and fifth time, but on the sixth, Luger hits Simmons with a clothesline. Luger gives Simmons an atomic drop, and follows that up with a suplex for 2. Simmons catches Luger with a hotshot, and makes his way out of there. Time for a commercial, the first I can remember happening at a Clash.

After the commercial, we have Luger and Simmons in there, and Luger drops Simmons with an elbow. Simmons comes back with a powerslam that gets 2, but gets kicked in the chest. Reed cuts Luger off from the tag, but Luger hits him with some punches. Reed fires off a dropkick, and puts a chinlock on Luger. It’s so weird hearing Dusty on this show when I just watched him on a WWF show. Simmons makes a tag in and puts his head down, so Luger smashes it into the mat. Reed tags in and flies off the top with a flying shoulderblock, but that knocks Luger back into his corner, so he makes the tag. Sting comes in like a house of fire, but Dan Spivey jumps the guardrail and attacks Luger! He works Luger over a for a long time, as Sting gives Doom a double DDT or something. Doom gets hit with a double clothesline as well, as Spivey continues to beat Luger up. This is incompetent officiating. Spivey leaves the building, but Reed accidentally hits Simmons with a shoulderblock that also sends the referee to the outside. Sting then charges at Reed, who backdrops him over the top rope and gets disqualified for doing so at 10:33.

Simmons and Reed then try to deal with Sting and Luger, but Sting hits Simmons with a cross body, and Luger knocks Reed over the top to end the whole deal.

My Thoughts: Very standard TV match that was booked in full blown Dusty fashion, with so many different things going on. The attack by Spivey was probably the best of those things, but the referee bump was completely unnecessary because he immediately stood up after falling down. The DQ worked well enough, as did the early spots between Simmons and Luger. **1/4, but I can’t understand why Sting has been put in a tag team like this so soon after a title run. They should have given him a singles feud to win.

 

Oh great, Missy Hyatt is reading off a poll for “WCW’S SEXIEST WRESTLER.” IT’S TOM ZENK. She said that, not me.

 

Bobby Eaton vs. Tom Zenk for the WCW Television Championship

Pre-Match Thoughts: This is a rematch of Starrcade, but this time Zenk has a title to bring into the match. Hopefully with this being on TV and all, they try to tear the house down. That’s what we need to see, after all. Awful piped in Bobby chants during his entrance, I don’t know what that shit’s about.

Match Review: Eaton and Zenk shove each other, and Eaton starts the match off with a drop toe-hold to counter Zenk’s arm drag. Square one, and Eaton takes Zenk down with a headlock that is reversed into a head-scissors. They reach the ropes, and when they get up, Zenk goes to a wristlock. Eaton blocks a hip toss, but gets taken down anyway by an arm drag. Jim Ross sounds so embarrassed to be talking about “sexy wrestlers”. Eaton puts his own wristlock on Zenk, and takes him down with the shoulder. He heads up top, but Zenk dropkicks him all the way out to the floor. Eaton gets back in there and Zenk goes back to the arm, but Eaton doesn’t break cleanly when it’s time to do so. Zenk engages Eaton in a knuckle-lock, and there’s the TEST OF STRENGTH. Eaton makes the ropes, slaps Zenk on the break, and takes Zenk to the corner. Eaton hits him with a back elbow, and heads up top for the second time. This time Zenk slams him down, and follows with a superkick. Zenk takes Eaton down with a backdrop for 2, but misses a charge to the corner and runs into an elbow. Eaton heads up top again, and this time he comes down with a KNEE DROP. Eaton goes for a suplex, but Zenk cradles him up for 2. Eaton comes back with a neckbreaker, and it gets a 2 count of his own. Eaton goes for a suplex again, but Zenk flips through and cradles Eaton again for 2. Zenk reverses a hip toss to a backslide, and gets the 3 count at 7:07.

My Thoughts: There were complaints that Zenk wearing his TV belt down to the ring and having a match for it completely exposed the business, and I can’t disagree. Arn Anderson won the thing back on a TV taping that took place quite a while before this, but the match hadn’t been aired yet. Regardless, how can a company have any legitimacy when they do something like that. It’s not like they taped the matches across the country from each other, they were both in Georgia. Also, it was a live special and not a house show, so you know, this was pretty dumb. This was the first few minutes of what could have been a very good 15 minute match, but at half the time it was no better than average. With the slow build, probably a bit below average. **.

 

Alexandra York claims that there will be a new member of the York Foundation revealed later in the show, and I’m looking forward to seeing who it is.

 

Tommy Rich & Allen Iron Eagle vs. The Fabulous Freebirds

Pre-Match Thoughts: I do not see the point of this at all. Maybe it will make more sense in 5-10 minutes, or it will be explained. Here’s my assumption. With Morton facing Taylor, Rich had to get a different partner to face these guys, after Morton had to get a different partner to face these guys when he found Rich. Unless there is no explanation, that’s the only explanation.

Match Review: Hayes and Rich start the match off, and Rich tries to cradle Hayes only for him to make a blind tag. He gives Hayes a powerslam anyway, and stops Garvin from a top rope attack, subsequently bodyslamming him. Iron Eagle tags in, sends Garvin into the corner, and works him over with punches. Garvin rakes the eyes, tags out, and knocks Iron Eagle down. Hayes gives the guy a bulldog, and follows that with a clothesline. Hayes goes to a chinlock, as Jim Ross talks about another Omni card. These constant mentions reek of this being a regional promotion that was upjumped onto a channel they didn’t belong on. Save those for commercial bumpers. Iron Eagle gets out of the chinlock, doesn’t sell a punch at all, so Hayes throws him out to the floor and teaches that kid the way of the business. Don’t sell while wrestling an old guard, you’re going to get fucked up. Garvin brings him in and charges into the corner with a high knee, but misses the second charge and ties himself up on the top rope. Iron Eagle brings Hayes in the hard way, so Rich runs in too. Garvin kicks Iron Eagle in the gut, and Iron Eagle takes Garvin down with a sunset flip. Referee wasn’t paying attention, so Hayes breaks the cover. Iron Eagle takes Garvin down with a suplex and makes the legal tag, but the referee didn’t see it. The Birds drop Iron Eagle with the DOUBLE DDT, and that’s it at 5:53.

My Thoughts: The match wouldn’t have been bad if not for Iron Eagle missing countless cues to sell and not knowing what to do. Too bad, it’s a DUD as a result. I cringed a few times when watching it, specifically when Hayes roughed him up after he no-sold Hayes’ big left hand.

 

The WrestleWar commercial can possibly be seen as offensive due to Brian Pillman shouting “WE DECLARE WAR” but I don’t think it’s a big deal.

For some reason Paul E. Dangerously and Tony Schiavone have their own hosting station, and Dusty takes it upon himself to trash Paul and call him gay. Ross sure thought that was funny. Paul was trying so hard to get himself over and all those guys dumped on him.

 

Sid Vicious vs. Joey Maggs

Pre-Match Thoughts: This poor guy is about get destroyed. I hope it’s funny. Originally this was supposed to be Junkyard Dog facing Sid, but that didn’t go down. I don’t know why, but I can assume JYD didn’t want to do a job in this fashion. Sid’s entrance was very cool, he stood on a revolving podium with the lights dimmed and a spotlight on him. That’s how you make somebody look like a star.

Match Review: Sid tosses Maggs right across the ring, and drops him with a clothesline. Sid follows that with some shots to the back, and it’s time for the awesome Sid stories. HE’S HIRED HIS OWN EMT’S!!! Sid clotheslines Maggs in the back of the head, folds him up with a POWERBOMB, and that’s it at 1:13.

Sid signals for the EMT’s to get out there, what a great gimmick that is. He pushes his EMT’s out of the way for no reason, knocks Maggs of the stretcher, and cuts a promo to nobody. Hell yeah, that’s the Sid I love.

My Thoughts: DUD match, great gimmick. Very entertaining segment, it was good for getting the casual viewer caught up on what Sid had been doing since Starrcade. I approve!

 

Awesome, before the next match we get a Sid interview! CAN YOU SMELL IT? CAN YOU SMELL THE FEAR? This is one of Sid’s first great interviews, at least what I’ve seen. SID RULES THE WORLD.

 

Terry Taylor vs. Ricky Morton

Pre-Match Thoughts: Neither of these guys are heel, so this is a strange match. Very rare to see a babyface match in the midcard of a PPV or live special. I’m confused by Cappetta saying that Taylor was the computerized man of the 1990’s. Isn’t that something that should be said after this match? That’s a massive fuck up, anyone paying attention would be able to figure out what’s going on here.

Match Review: These men lock up, and Morton takes Taylor down with an arm drag. Taylor replies with a headlock, Morton gets out, back to normal again. They exchange hammerlocks, and Morton eventually stops it with another arm drag. Taylor takes Morton down with a hip toss, and Morton comes back with three arm drags. Morton takes Taylor down with a headlock, and follows that with a cross body that gets 2.

After a commercial, we come back with Taylor having Morton in a hammerlock. Morton takes Taylor down with a jawbreaker to break it, and Taylor hits him in the head right afterward. He goes for a slam, but Morton reverses and Taylor blocks a cradle. Morton takes him down with another arm drag, and holds it for a bit. Alexandra York is now at ringside, and nobody knows what for! Taylor says something about her being there, and when Morton turns his back, he clotheslines Morton and knocks him into the top rope. After another jawbreaker, Taylor points at York, and gives Morton a backbreaker. Now there’s an insert screen, and York announces that Taylor is the newest member of the York Foundation! He takes Morton down with a double-underhook suplex, and drops a knee on him for 2. The crowd hasn’t caught on yet. Morton takes Taylor down with a small package that gets 2, and Taylor goes to the eyes and starts choking Morton. Taylor bulldogs Morton for 2, and follows with a bodyslam. He heads up to the second rope and comes down with a pump splash, but Morton gets his knees up. They exchange punches for a bit, and Morton follows with a backdrop. That’s followed by punches in the corner, and a suplex for 2. Morton dropkicks Taylor, and goes for a charge only to hit the ropes and fall on his head. Taylor covers, and picks up the victory at 11:53.

My Thoughts: It’s cool that Taylor won a match of decent stature, exspecially after having seen him embarrass himself for so long. Nice match, and it was a complete match that didn’t feel cut off. I liked the way things picked up, **1/2. They really needed to do a lot better at getting over the turn, as the announcement wasn’t done in the arena, so who would have been able to figure it out? Bit of a mistake.

 

After some hype for Japanese female wrestlers at WrestleWar, we’re on to the next match. Everything is moving quickly here.

Bill Apter is going to present the Wrestler of the Year award, and it’s given to Sting. Yet, he was in the opening match here. What am I to think of that?

Dusty Rhodes then cuts a promo on the Gulf War. His promo was better than Hulk Hogan’s on the same subject, I guess. Obviously, the situation in the world couldn’t be completely ignored.

 

El Cubano vs. Ranger Ross

Pre-Match Thoughts: Sadly, it was time for the pandering part of the show. Why am I surprised? I really shouldn’t be, but I still am. Ranger Ross is a real American though, not one of these jabronis that became a pro-American character when it was convenient for him. I SALUTE YOU, RANGER ROSS. Cubano is wearing a black sweater and black mask, so nobody would be able to tell who he was. Great character for Clash of the Champions.

Match Review: Cubano starts the match by attacking Ross, and coming off the second rope with a cross body that gets 2. Ross comes back with bodyslams, and a dropkick knocks Cubano to the outside. Ross chases him back in, but Cubano stops him and drops a knee on him. Ross gets up and puts a wristlock on this MASKED MAN, and turns that into a hammerlock. Ross takes him down with an arm drag as well, but Cubano gets out and headbutts him. Cubano follows with a suplex, and heads up top for a big splash that misses. Ross works Cubano over with kicks, then tosses him to the outside. Ross follows him out by jumping over the top rope, and hitting the guy with a superkick. Cubano gets in the ring, as does Ross with a sunset flip, and that gets the win at 3:06.

My Thoughts: Standard match, nothing important about it nor entirely offensive. 1/4*, can’t rate it any higher. They worked hard but did not do anything impressive warranting a higher rating.

 

Arn Anderson & Barry Windham vs. The Renegade Warriors

Pre-Match Thoughts: Barry Windham doesn’t look right with short hair. Now or ever. This is a good match to put the Horsemen in, I expect they’ll be made to look very good. I’m frustrated that I have to learn the names of the Warriors again. Horsemen got quite a big face reaction, which had to be expected.

Match Review: The Warriors attack, so here we go. The Warriors clear them from the ring, which appears to make the Horsemen a little angry. They bring Windham in the hard way, and hit him with a double flying forearm. Nice! The match settles down, and we have Windham in there with Mark Youngblood. Mark chops him a lot, then Arn gets in there and driven back into the corner. Chris Youngblood tags in, and chops Arn a lot as well. He looks quite upset. Arn takes Chris down with a drop toe-hold, and starts going to work on the leg, only for Chris to kick him into the corner and roll him up for 2. Arn wanted a timeout, but wasn’t given one, so he tags out. Windham eats a dropkick, but pokes Mark in the eyes when he tags in. Nice way to gain control. Windham tags back out, and Arn gets knocked around a little bit. Chris tags in, and they hit Arn with a double chop. Chris runs over to knock Windham off the apron, but Arn headbutts him and drops him with the SPINEBUSTER. Windham tags in, gives Chris a suplex, and covers for 2. Windham follows with a DDT for another 2 count, and brings Double A back in. Arn puts a front face-lock on his foe, as Dusty tells people at home to put one of them on their wife to see how much it hurts. Well, that sounds like a plan! Mark helps his brother break the hold, but Arn cuts Chris off with an inverted atomic drop. Arn eats knees on a pump splash, so Chris can make the tag out. Mark hits both Horsemen with double axehandles, and we have all four in there. Chris hits Arn with a big kick, but Arn ducks down when he runs the ropes again and Windham wrecks him with a clothesline. Mark has been sent to the outside, so Windham SUPERPLEXES Chris. Arn covers, and picks up the victory at 7:31.

My Thoughts: This was the best match so far, despite not having any staying power or importance. The two Horsemen were so good together, and Arn does so many thing that make people feel like they’re watching something that matters. The Renegade Warriors were also nowhere near as bad as they looked against the Freebirds, but they can’t possibly be as good as they looked here, so the answer is somewhat in-between. **1/2.

 

Before the next match, they showed a clip from Stan Hansen vs. Big Van Vader that was supposed to hype up a match between them in WCW. LOOK AT THE STIFFNESS. After the clip, Stan Hansen comes out and cuts a promo about it taking place at WrestleWar. Tobacco juice gets spit everywhere, and he puts over the REAL MEN. YES, NONE OF THOSE SISSY BOYS. REAL MEN FIGHT, BROTHER.

 

Sgt. Buddy Lee Parker vs. Brian Pillman

Pre-Match Thoughts: I’ve noticed that the heels here have had a really hard time getting heat, but Parker got some. Maybe people in Georgia really hated the police. Glad to see Pillman getting a showcase match here after having been marginalized so much.

Match Review: These two go to work, and Parker knees Pillman in the gut. Pillman shows his athleticism in powering back to his feet, and takes Parker down with a hip toss. Pillman then arm drags Parker, but gets his eyes raked for a second time. Pillman takes Parker down with a crucifix that gets 2, and follows that with a flying head-scissors that sends Parker out of the ring. Pillman decides to bring Parker in the hard way, and gets slapped for his troubles and sent to the apron. Pillman gets brought in the hard way, but lands on his feet and trades punches with Parker for a little bit. Parker slams Pillman, then out to the aisle. I don’t really know why. Pillman then springs up to the top rope, and cross bodies Parker on the ramp. That was nice. They get back in there, and Pillman heads up top. He comes down with a cross body again, and it gets 3 at 3:18.

My Thoughts: Pillman did some nice stuff, but this match was completely unnecessary and felt like it was such. This was similar to the WWF’s card structuring in the sense of the match below the main event not meaning a single thing. I guess Dusty learned something in his time spent there. *1/4.

 

Paul E. Dangerously vs. Missy Hyatt in an ARM WRESTLING MATCH

No full treatment here because I don’t care that much and it isn’t real wrestling. Dusty immediately starts talking about Missy’s looks, even though she refuses to participate in this. She finally does, shows her cleavage, and Paul gets distracted. So, she pretty much immediately beats him. At arm wrestling, guys. Not any gross thoughts you may have. That was funny. Dusty’s commentary of the moment was excellent too. I love it.

 

Scott Steiner (WCW US Tag Team Champion, w/Rick Steiner) vs. Ric Flair for the WCW Championship

Pre-Match Thoughts: The rebranding here is quite strong. I’ve heard good things about this match and I’ve heard similarly bad things. I expect a spot filled match, that’s all I can expect I guess. I also wonder if Rick will get involved. Despite the reputation this match has, I’ve never seen it. Before this starts, we have a skit where Ric Flair, Barry Windham, Kevin Sullivan, Woman, Mike Rotunda, and Alexandra York were all with Lawrence Taylor at a party. This was a good idea in terms of making the product look like something legitimate celebrities cared about. The Steiners had some cheerleaders on the ramp during their entrance, Scott didn’t need that kind of help. Flair had women with him during his, but the music was completely different and he looked like an old woman with his hair cut this way. Before the match, El Gigante was introduced. I wonder why. He made Flair look tiny.

Match Review: Flair does some posing before the match, but Steiner does the same and the smile leaves Flair’s face. These two finally lock up, and Steiner knocks Flair down with the shoulder. Steiner takes Flair down again with a fireman’s carry, and puts Flair in a headlock. Flair gets out, but Steiner fights off a wristlock and puts Flair on the mat. After reaching the ropes, they’re back to normal, and Steiner backdrops Flair after sending him into the corner. Steiner gives Flair a side slam for 2, but Flair fights him off with some chops. Steiner takes Flair down with a hip toss anyway, and follows with an arm drag. Flair gets up, and they break cleanly again. Flair tries a hammerlock, but it gets reversed and into the ropes they go once more. Steiner hits Flair with a STEINERLINE, not a very stiff one either. Flair crawls out to the ramp, but Steiner brings him in with a suplex for 2. Steiner then takes Flair to the corner for some punches, but Flair gets out of the corner with an inverted atomic drop. Flair gives out another one of those, and tosses Steiner to the outside. Steiner lands on his feet and comes back in with a sunset flip that gets blocked, and he follows that by having a charge to the corner blocked as well. Flair tries to cover Steiner with his feet on the ropes, but it only gets 2. Time for a commercial!

After that commercial, we have Steiner taking Flair down with a drop toe-hold and putting him in a FIGURE-FOUR! Flair makes the ropes, and after that, they mess up a cross body spot where both guys were supposed to go over the top, but instead Steiner threw Flair over the top and had to jump to follow him out there. Very noticeable mistake. Flair gives Steiner a leg-breaker out on the floor, then gets back in the ring and waits for Steiner to get back in there. It’s announced that only 10 minutes remain in the time limit, and Steiner does get back in the ring. Flair works over the left leg, kicking and sitting on it, that kind of stuff. Flair gives Steiner another leg-breaker, and slaps the FIGURE-FOUR on him. Flair cheats by holding the ropes, and finally gets caught doing it. Flair gives Steiner a back suplex, and goes for the hold again. It’s hooked again, this time in the middle of the ring. Steiner reverses it, and Flair has to grab for the ropes. Steiner gets up and Flair kicks at his leg some more, but Steiner gives him a neckbreaker. Steiner then sends Flair upside down into the corner, and out to the floor. He follows Flair to the outside, and hits him with a big STEINERLINE. On the inside, Steiner hits Flair with some knees, but Flair kicks him to get the better of him. Flair goes for the FIGURE-FOUR again, but Steiner rolls him up for 2. Four minutes left in the time limit, as Steiner puts Flair in a crappy sleeper. Flair makes the ropes, and Steiner clotheslines Flair over the top rope. How is that not a disqualification when backdropping somebody over the top is? Flair gets in and takes Steiner down for a knee drop, which only gets 2. Flair takes Steiner down with a headlock, which leads to Steiner bridging up to a TIGER BOMB. Flair leaves the ring as quickly as he can, so Rick Steiner puts Flair back in the ring. There’s only one minute left, and Flair gets hit with another STEINERLINE. Steiner takes Flair to the corner for more punches, and throws Flair upside down again, hitting him on Flair’s way down from the top. During the countdown, Steiner hits Flair with a belly to belly, but the bell rings at 25:00 for a time limit draw. To get over the “TV time remaining” aspect, the show was over immediately afterward.

My Thoughts: This match just wasn’t good, and there are a lot of reasons why. First, lots of dead space between moves like these two were talking to each other. That blown spot when Steiner jumped out of the ring also took me out of the match. I’m just confused by how the match went. Steiner didn’t showcase any of his big spots, or seem to have any interest in making himself look good. Flair also seemed off. This whole thing was in slow motion, very little intensity, and absolutely no build to the finish. There were good things, but this wasn’t good enough at all, and it’s no surprise Steiner wasn’t given another chance to main event for years. He looked terrible, Flair didn’t look good, all in all this is a *1/2 match. I’m not kidding.

 

That main event nearly ruined the whole show for me, but I won’t let it. This was a solid, but unspectacular TV show which had a lot of entertaining stuff on it. There was a nice mix of non-wrestling segments, interviews, solid wrestling, and an interesting turn with Terry Taylor switching sides. There were some negatives, like the aforementioned main event, and the opener not feeling as important as it should have. There were also matches here that felt far too unimportant. It was simply a stable way to do a show rather than have Dusty take the job and do all kinds of crazy shit. Next up, the WWF ran another Main Event special, but this one was not live. So why even call it that?

Wrestling Time: 1:15:34. Quite the acceptable amount of wrestling for a show that was 2 hours without commercials.

Best: Arn Anderson & Barry Windham vs. Renegade Warriors. This wasn’t an amazing match, but it was the best thing here.

Worst: Allen Iron Eagle. He was bad, man.

Card Rating: 6/10. This show did have an overwhelmingly negative response in the WON at the time, but I liked it despite the lack of top wrestling. It felt right to me.

Written by Sage Cortez

Sage is a boisterous Los Angeles sports fan. Unsurprisingly, like many other loudmouth LA fans, he also likes the Raiders and a range of combat sports.

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