This Clash of the Champions was so poorly built towards that I have a perverse interest in the show. Perverse is truly the only way to describe it, as this is a show where the champion does not appear as a wrestler. Why would WCW do something like this? Such a dumb company. WCW’s tag tournament was also coming to an end on this show, and that’s quite interesting. We’ll see about the rest!
– September 5th, 1991, from the Civic Center in Augusta, Georgia
The show opens with quite the video package. Oh boy, there’s a BATTLE ROYAL here. STUNNING STEVE DEFENDS AGAINST NOBODY WORTH MENTIONING. STING VS. JOHNNY B. BADD! Jim Ross and Tony Schiavone are the hosts for this event, but we go up to the stage where Eric Bischoff is with Paul E. Dangerously and Missy Hyatt. Missy is going to the locker room again, this time to interview Lex Luger.
Pre-Match Thoughts: Our participants are Tom Zenk, Thomas Rich, Richard Morton, Bobby Eaton, Ranger Ross, Tracy Smothers, OZ, PN News, Sgt. Buddy Lee Parker, Steve Austin, Dustin Rhodes, Terrence Taylor, Big Josh, the One Man Gang, El Gigante, and Barry Windham. I suppose this is a substitute for the Georgia quicksand match. Big fall for Windham if he wasn’t in any other matches, which I think he wasn’t. Battle royals are generally difficult to review, and I assume this will be no exception because WCW has poor camera work and production.
Match Review: Everyone pairs off and starts brawling, and there are some really big guys in there that I expect to be there at the end. After boring brawling, Windham tries to dump Austin to the outside and can’t. About time someone tries for an elimination. Austin and Eaton wind up on the apron, and both of them go back inside. Austin is trying! Eventually Big Josh goes over the top, skins the cat, and takes Terrence Taylor out with him. Ranger Ross went out at the same time, courtesy of Barry Windham. Windham goes to work on Parker, and knocks him out, and Thomas Rich goes out too. Gigante squashes the heels left in the corner, as it is then announced that Tom Zenk is out. See what I mean? I can’t even see these eliminations. I don’t see Richard Morton anymore either. Austin dumps Smothers over the top with a backdrop, that’s at 5:50. Austin and PN News brawl for a bit, with News squashing him in the corner. Oz gives Dustin Rhodes an inverted atomic drop, and Gang backdrops Eaton extremely dangerously over the top and onto the ramp. The damn cameraman got in the way. News squashes Gang in the corner, but Gang throws him over the top right after. Windham and Austin tumble over the top at the same time and start brawling on the outside, as we’re down to our final four. It’s El Gigante, One Man Gang, Oz, and Dustin Rhodes. The heels take turns doubling up on the remaining babyfaces, then Gang hits Dustin with a big splash in the corner. Gigante starts fighting back on these big dudes, gives them a noggin-knocker, and slaps the CLAW on Oz. Gang attacks Gigante from behind, and the heels dump Dustin over the top at 9:17. Gigante then charges at the two heels with a DOUBLE CLOTHESLINE, and that picks up the BATTLE ROYAL VICTORY for him at 9:32!
My Thoughts: Oz had to send himself over the top rope after the clothesline as he was too terrible to do it correctly. It was a poor battle royal, with not too many interesting spots. In lieu of coming up with something good, I guess that’s a fine way of starting a show. Obviously the right guy won as well. I thought Dustin would win the match, given the push he had received. Not long after this, the One Man Gang was fired by WCW because they told him to lose clean to PN News and he wouldn’t. That makes two guys who refused to do that. *.
WCW Light Heavyweight Championship Tournament Semifinal: Badstreet (w/the Fabulous Freebirds) vs. Brian Pillman
Pre-Match Thoughts: Finally, that’s a match made by WCW on a big show that sounds good! This tournament was not good, as they actually had matches featuring jobbers at the start of it. Way to make a title feel unimportant. Garvin looks so old with his handlebar mustache. At least they gave Pillman his regular role back, I mean, I really didn’t want to see that Yellow Dog crap anymore. Before the match started, the Birds were sent to the back. It’s a fair contest!
Match Review: They lock up, and Pillman runs Badstreet over with a shoulderblock. He follows that with a flying head-scissors, and a victory roll that gets 2. Pillman arm drags Badstreet, who drives him back to the corner and tries to backdrop Pillman over the top. Pillman comes back in from the apron with a sunset flip that gets 2, and dropkicks Badstreet to the apron. Badstreet then nearly screws Pillman (and himself) up by suplexing Pillman to the outside, what a sick spot. Badstreet then chokes Pillman with the top rope, and kicks him down from the apron into the rail. Badstreet sends Pillman into the post as well, but Pillman comes back in with a slingshot cross body for 2. Badstreet fires off a neckbreaker for 2, and follows with a bodyslam. Now he heads up top, but Pillman dropkicks him down to the floor! Pillman follows that with a DIVE THROUGH THE ROPES, nearly smashing his face into the rail. Pillman tosses Badstreet back in the ring and heads up top, both guys hitting each other with dropkicks as Pillman leaps off the top. Pillman smashes Badstreet’s face into the mat, hits him with a spinning wheel kick, and gets 2 on the cover. Badstreet comes back with a DDT, and that gets 2 as well. Badstreet goes for the neckbreaker again, but Pillman reverses to a backslide for 2. Pillman tries a crucifix, but Badstreet uses the SAMOAN DROP. Badstreet decides to put Pillman on the top rope, and Pillman headbutts him to the canvas. Pillman leaps off the top with a cross body, and that picks up the victory for him at 6:52.
My Thoughts: This was really nice, and quite different in that WCW was trying to establish a division and needed to have a different style of match. This wasn’t perfect, and it was also too short, but these guys worked super hard and nothing should be taken away from them. I really enjoyed the attemps to use new spots, including the dive through the ropes and suplex to the outside, neither of which had been featured in a WCW match I can remember. There was no downtime as well. ***, better than anything I expected to be on this show. Sadly, this was the end of Badstreet, and Brad Armstrong was given a far more terrible gimmick to work with.
It’s time for the WCW TOP TEN!
10. Bobby Eaton
9. Tom Zenk
8. The Diamond Studd
7. One Man Gang
6. Dustin Rhodes
5. Steve Austin
4. El Gigante
3. Barry Windham
2. Ron Simmons
Interesting list. Lots of guys on there who hadn’t done much in WCW.
Johnny B. Badd (w/Teddy Long) vs. Sting (WCW US Champion)
Pre-Match Thoughts: I have no idea why this would be a non-title match. Way to give a newly freed up champion some prestige. Or, you know, way to not do it. Badd did his entrance very…flamboyantly. If you catch my drift. He’s wearing lipstick now! He even had a small projectile weapon to shoot confetti into the crowd. I don’t mean the Badd Blaster either.
Match Review: These two shake hands with each other, showing respect. Surprising! Sting throws Badd into the ropes, and backdrops him. After a bodyslam by Sting, he heads up to the second rope and comes down with a pump splash that misses. Sting slams Badd again anyway, goes up to the second rope, and misses an elbow drop. Now Badd goes up top, and down he comes with a sick sunset flip that gets 2. A Sting small package gets 2, and so does a sunset flip. Sting goes for the left arm of Badd, and Badd reverses to a wristlock. Badd then throws Sting to the corner and misses a charge, so Sting grabs onto the arm again. Sting then suplexes Badd, who pops up quick and doesn’t sell it. Oh shit, there’s a box at ringside again! WHAT COULD HAPPEN THIS TIME? Sting then throws Badd to the corner and tries the STINGER SPLASH, but it misses and Badd lands a big left hand. Badd notices the box, and thinks it’s for him, but it isn’t. The distraction allows Sting some time to recover, and Sting sees the box too. Sting then cradles Badd up and pins him for the 3 count at 6:12.
As soon as the match finishes, CACTUS JACK busts out of the box, and starts working Sting over, sending him out to the floor for his ELBOW FROM THE SECOND TURNBUCKLE. He brings Sting in the ring for the DOUBLE-ARM DDT, and some of the babyface brigade runs out to clear the ring. YES, WE HAVE HIT THE MICK FOLEY ERA WITH A FURY. They put him over super strong.
My Thoughts: The finish was exactly as flat as I made it sound, and it’s too bad because they worked hard. I don’t know what happened, but the match fell apart once the box showed up at ringside. The match became unimportant and nothing mattered after that point. I actually don’t really know how to rate it, but I guess *1/4 will do. Strange bout. Great bit after the match though, with Cactus doing something special!
WCW Light Heavyweight Championship Tournament Semifinal: Richard Morton (w/Alexandra York) vs. Mike Graham
Pre-Match Thoughts: This is a very weak tournament semifinal, but it does set up what could be an excellent sounding final. Of course Morton is going to win this, it would be shocking if that wasn’t the case. Graham looked like such a jobber and to the fans this must have seemed like a good time to take a break.
Match Review: To start this off, we go into a shoulderblock spot with Graham knocking Morton down. Now Graham goes to a headlock, and Morton takes him down with a ROLLING BOSTON CRAB. Graham is able to flip out, only for Morton to sunset flip him for 2. Graham then pushes Morton out to the floor, for some stalling. Morton gets back in and slaps a headlock on Graham, who counters with a head-scissors. Graham bridges out to a backslide for 2, and Morton goes back to the corner for more stalling. Morton blocks a charge to the corner and gets 2, then heads up to the second rope only for Graham to German suplex him down for 2. Morton goes to work on the eyes as a result, and follows with turnbuckle shots. Graham goes to a figure-four, but Morton reaches the ropes. Graham uses a fireman’s carry to take Morton down, and goes to work on the left arm, but Morton reverses the wristlock. Graham takes Morton down with a drop toe-hold, and threatens to snap his leg. He does his best, but I don’t think that leg was snapped. Morton gives Graham an inverted atomic drop, and follows that with a bodyslam. An elbow drop misses, so Graham rolls him up for 2. Graham slams Morton too, and York is on the ring apron, Graham slams Morton once again, and he cradles him up, but the referee is distracted. So, Morton kicks Graham into the buckles, rolls him up, and picks up the win at 7:40.
My Thoughts: This was really slow, and quite the opposite of the previous match in this tournament. It wasn’t awful, I just didn’t buy Graham in this role. He tried hard, but there is something to a wrestler looking like a wrestler, and this wasn’t the 70’s anymore. *1/2, and it appears the final of this tournament will be at Halloween Havoc. So, that’s a month and a half wait between tournament matches. Alrighty.
Sounds like this is going to be a segment that shows the strength of BILL KAZMAIER. Eric Bischoff introduces him, and he’s trying to set a record for bending steel bars over his head. Or something like that. The crowd really does not care. He’s in the main event, so the Enforcers come out of the crowd and attack him with a 45 pound weight. That was as obvious as it gets.
The Fabulous Freebirds (WCW United States Tag Team Champions) vs. The Patriots
Pre-Match Thoughts: I could geniunely not give less of a shit about this match. Seriously, how terrible it sounds. Why is it non-title? At least the Freebirds had a long entrance and I got to hear Badstreet USA. I can’t get over this guy wearing a damn fire fighters outfit to the ring. That’s such shit. Chip still has the trunks that are too small as well.
Match Review: Firebreaker Chip and Michael Hayes will get this thing on the move, but there’s a lot of stalling before they lock up. Hayes throws Chip to the outside, but Chip comes back in with right hands and powerslams Hayes. He then throws Garvin off the top rope, and knocks both Birds out of the ring with dropkicks. Garvin makes a legal tag in, but Chip hip tosses him and puts a sleeper on him. Hayes runs in and Chip applies the sleeper on him, then Hayes gets out and leaves the ring. Now Chip works on Garvin’s arm, and sunset flips him for 2. Chip then arm drags Garvin, and cradles him up for 2. Hayes sneaks in a left hand to knock Chip down, and both guys make tags out. Todd Champion comes in with a backdrop on Hayes and a slam of Garvin, then gives them a noggin-knocker. Champion lands a flying back elbow on Hayes for 2, and Garvin gets in there to break that cover up. Champion hits them with a double clothesline, and Chip flies off the top with a double clothesline of his own. The Patriots hit Hayes with a double elbow, then give Garvin a double backdrop. Chip goes for a cover, but Hayes draws Champion into the ring and distracts the referee so that he can drop an elbow on Chip. Garvin covers Chip, and that gets the victory after 5:44.
My Thoughts: This was straight out boring, and there was no way I could have cared about this match. WCW was hell bent on pushing the Patriots, and with the weak finish, it’s obvious they were going to beat the Freebirds in their rematch on TV the next week. I don’t really care, there were far more important things. Like the next match, which features Ron Simmons! 1/2*.
Paul E. Dangerously is in the ring with Cactus Jack! He wants to interview him, of course. Cactus gets to talk! He asks the people in the building to clap for Sting’s career, and says it’s ALL OVER NOW. Now a box has been wheeled down to the ring, as Cactus continues to rant like a crazy person. He says Abdullah the Butcher is his business partner and goes out to the box, but it’s STING! He backdrops Cactus on the ramp, and hip tosses him all the way to the floor! Cactus gets back up to the ramp, but Sting dropkicks him. Cactus hits Sting with a trash can in response, and the referees have to separate the two as Sting hits Cactus with the can a few times.
The Diamond Studd vs. Ron Simmons
Pre-Match Thoughts: With Simmons being the #1 contender for Halloween Havoc, I would have thought they’d give him a more prominent match. Yet, I also realize there’s really not anything more prominent for a singles babyface. That’s quite sad. Before the match, Ron Simmons jersey retirement at Florida State was shown. Now that’s quite a touch. They even got Bobby Bowden to do a video! During Scott Hall’s entrance, he talked without his awesome fake accent. He doesn’t even talk like that now. For some reason Diamond Dallas Page wasn’t with him anymore.
Match Review: Studd attacks and brings him into the ring, starting the match. After clubbing shots, Simmons fires off punches of his own and winds up getting chokeslammed by the Studd for 2. Simmons has a charge to the corner blocked afterward, and Studd leaps off the second rope with a bulldog for 2. Simmons nearly misses a second charge to the corner, but he leaves the ring and trips Studd, then pulling him nut-first into the post. Simmons uses an inverted atomic drop and a regular one, then takes Studd down with a clothesline. Studd pokes his eyes, but Simmons gives him a SPINEBUSTER. Simmons hits Studd with his flying shoulderblock, and that gets the clean victory at 2:23.
My Thoughts: It’s ridiculous how nothing on this show is getting time, hence nearly everything is getting the same rating from me. I bet these two could have had a solid five minute match, but they got half that. WCW was a total mess at this time. *1/2.
After the match, Paul E. was in the ring for another interview, this time with Ron Simmons. He pointed out that Lex Luger had an entourage, which would make things really difficult for him when he gets his title shot. Here comes Mr. Hughes and Harley Race! Simmons tells them he wants Lex Luger, not them. He’s going to go find Luger. We’ll see about that.
Terrence Taylor (w/Alexandra York) vs. Van Hammer
Pre-Match Thoughts: This is the debut of Mr. Hammer. What a career he turned out to have. Obviously, Taylor’s going to lose this match given that it’s somebody’s debut. Here’s the thing that doesn’t make sense to me. Why kill the York Foundation thing before really giving them a shot? It’s nonsensical. Hammer has a stupid guitar, looks like a roid freak, and headbanged his way down to the ring. I face palmed for real.
Match Review: Taylor hits Hammer with the computer, but he doesn’t sell it at all. Oh dear. Hammer slams Taylor a few times, hits him with some clotheslines, and shakes the ropes like the Ultimate Warrior. Now Hammer gives Taylor a front suplex, and wants the crowd to start clapping. Up to the top rope, and down he comes with a knee drop that doesn’t even hit Taylor. Over for the cover, and Van Hammer beats Taylor at the 1:09 point.
My Thoughts: This was as terrible as it gets in terms of debuts. Hammer showed up doing all of the Ultimate Warrior’s shit, and poorly at that. On top of that they put him over somebody who had a good gimmick and was a good wrestler. That’s such bullshit. All in all, a disgrace. WCW also clearly had plants in the crowd who would scream for their babyfaces all night and act like idiots. DUD.
Now Missy Hyatt is in the locker room with Lex Luger. This gimmick is getting a little tired, but it’s still funny. Ron Simmons conveniently knocks on the door and says it’s time for he and Luger to talk. Luger pushes him out of the room and locks the door, so Simmons gets in a three point stance and BUSTS THROUGH THE DOOR. The babyfaces show up in time to save Simmons from a beatdown as well.
Tom Zenk vs. Steve Austin (w/Lady Blossom) for the WCW Television Championship
Pre-Match Thoughts: I’m looking forward to this match, and really it’s the only thing getting me through the card at this point. This show just seems so unimportant and trivial in comparison to the show the WWF had just put on. Austin looks so funny to me with the long hair, and I’ll never get used to seeing him have that look.
Match Review: Austin and Zenk lock up, and tumble into the corner for a clean break. It’s funny to hear Zenk being hyped up as a former TV champ. He only had the belt for a little bit. Austin goes to a hammerlock, which gets reversed. Austin makes the ropes, and takes Zenk down with a big shoulderblock after being sent into the ropes. The two lock up again, and Zenk goes to a headlock. He takes Austin down with a shoulderblock this time, and the plants pipe in with their screams. Maybe they’re not plants. Either way, it’s annoying. Austin takes Zenk down with a headlock, but it’s countered and both guys go back up to their feet. Austin takes Zenk down with another headlock, but Zenk counters with the head-scissors. Zenk takes Austin down with an arm drag and bars the arm, but Austin rakes the eyes. Zenk superkicks him in the face, and backdrops him for 2. Now Austin bails to the outside, and Zenk takes him down with a cross body onto the ramp. Back in Austin goes, and Zenk flies off the top with a cross body that misses. Austin goes to a chinlock, but gets caught using the ropes for help. Now Austin picks Zenk up for the STUN GUN, but he doesn’t go for a cover. Zenk cradles Austin up for 2, and follows by putting him in a sleeper. Austin makes the ropes and Blossom puts something in his hand, which he hits Zenk with during a back suplex. Austin covers, and there’s the win at 9:11.
My Thoughts: That wasn’t a great match or anything, yet it was one of the best things on this show despite not being particularly entertaining. The pace was super slow, and as I’ve said previously about Zenk, he was just too old school for the era in terms of the lack of spots he had. Someone being pushed as a young star needed to do more in the ring. Instead, missing dives from the top rope or landing them were his primary spots. Austin also needed to do more and he did develop as a wrestler as the years went on. *3/4.
Time for a contract signing! First, they show Ron Simmons doing motivational speeches at the Atlanta Boys & Girls Club. You know what? This is a great attempt to get him over and in booking terms, one of the best things WCW had done since Dusty took over. They also showed him taking kids to the Omni to see him wrestle. This is great stuff.
Up at the stage, they have a big press conference type set, and Lex Luger was stalling before entering the arena. Unlike Simmons, he did so to his music. Haha. Dusty involved himself in this as well, sitting on Simmons side of the deal. Simmons signs the contract without issue, but Luger has things to say before signing. He said he was giving Simmons the opportunity to become the first black world champion, and signed the contract. He then said that after this is all over, when he beats Simmons, he can be his personal driver. So, of course, Simmons leaps across the stage and goes on the attack. Luger then ran into a white stretch limo and left before Simmons could get after him. I don’t like WCW’s incessant need to bring race into the equation, but I thought this was a good segment.
WCW Tag Team Championship Tournament Final: The Enforcers vs. Bill Kazmaier & Rick Steiner
Pre-Match Thoughts: Who in their right mind would think Steiner and Kazmaier would win this match? It wasn’t like Scott Steiner was supposed to be out forever, and Kazmaier was just attacked. On the other side they had a team they had just given a name of their own. Kazmaier had his mid-section taped up, which does make some sense. Feels like an important match! At least, until Jim Ross started selling the WCW hotline.
Match Review: Steiner starts the match on the attack, forcing the Enforcers to the outside. He and Zbyzsko are the legal men, and Steiner hip tosses him. Arn runs in and Steiner powerslams him for 2, broken up by Zbyzsko. Kazmaier isn’t even helping his partner. Zbyzsko goes to work on Steiner’s left arm, and puts a front face-lock on him as well. Zbyzsko suplexes Steiner for 2, then brings in Arn. Steiner suplexes Arn quickly, and Arn makes a tag out. Zbyzsko throws Steiner hard into the corner, and the Enforcers put their heads down for a double backdrop, leading to a STEINERLINE. Steiner puts Arn on the top rope for something, and Zbyzsko attacks Steiner from behind. Arn hits Steiner with a flying clothesline from the second rope, and Kazmaier makes a tag in. He goes for a press slam on Zbyzsko, but Arn hits him there and Zbyzsko falls on top for the victory at 3:34. NEW CHAMPIONS or something.
To close the show, we had an interview with the Enforcers that showed how empty one side of the building was. Meaning completely empty.
My Thoughts: How do you have a tournament final that goes less than four minutes? That makes absolutely no fucking sense, just like the rest of this show. This match was just bad too. I’m not pissed about it, just really confused as to why that was the main event. The crowd felt the same way, I suppose. There were lots of empty seats near ringside during this match, people had decided to leave rather than watch it. DUD, a fitting way to cap a terrible show.
Unlike the Great American Bash, nothing here was bad enough as to be entertaining. In terms of the wrestling, all but one match was depressing. There were good segments on the show, but they didn’t prop the card up enough. I really enjoyed the spots featuring Ron Simmons, and Cactus Jack had two great brawls with Sting. Other than that, it was really pushing the realms of what I’m willing to tolerate. In terms of the fans, they felt the same way. This was the least watched Clash of the Champions to date, and the live gate was only $28,000. It’s safe to say WCW was losing tons of money. They needed an infusion of talent, especially on the heel side. They sure did get that! Next up for this guy, it’s time for 2 months of WWF action!
Wrestling Time: 52:17. Given that the non-wrestling time was far better than the wrestling time, the low amount of wrestling on this show was not bad.
Best: The second Cactus Jack vs. Sting brawl. Big bumps, great action, new guy being showcased. Who could complain about that?
Worst: Van Hammer vs. Terrence Taylor. This really bothered me.
Card Rating: 3/10. Another night of horrendous WCW programming.