WCW Clash of the Champions 20: 20 years on TBS Anniversary Special

Bill Watts is trying to get as many wrestlers as possible to agree to $300 a night guarantees. The locker room is ripe with discontent.

Rumors were going around that Bret Hart would jump to WCW after losing the IC title to the British Bulldog at Summerslam. Ted Dibiase is also rumored to be making the jump to WCW. The Steiner Brothers are looking to leave WCW and are already sending feelers out to the WWF.

Greg Valentine starting putting the bad mouth on the Rhodes Family, leading to Dustin attacking him.

WCW aired footage of JYD injuring Mr. Hughes accidentally by headbutting a piece of his sunglasses into his eye. JYD and Hughes became friends after the fact.

Nikita Koloff and Rick Rude tried to settle their differences during a match on TV, but it just turned into a brawl that wound up in the locker room with many wrestlers trying to break it up.

Steve Austin did his best to avoid defending his TV title against Ricky Steamboat, and when they finally did meet on TV, Steamboat used a foreign object to KO Austin and briefly win the title before the decision was overturned.

On August 2nd, Jake “The Snake” Roberts debuted and DDT’d Sting onto a chair, costing him a chance to face Vader later that evening. Bill Watts declared seven names would be put into a hat and the one drawn would be given the title shot instead. Rick Rude interrupted and reminded Watts that as US champ he should be default number one contender and demanded his name be added as well. Watts complied and then drew Ron Simmons’ name from the pile. Simmons went on to upset Vader for the belt.

When I was ten I marked out hard for this angle, I remember exactly where I was while watching it. WCW’s Worldwide aired in Green Bay at midnight on Saturdays at this point so the only reason I got to see it was that I happened to be staying by my brother’s house and he let me stay up late.

According to insider notes from the time, Vader’s three-week reign ended due to him suffering a legit knee injury. Reports indicate that Simmons was going to win the title anyway, but it was planned for the Clash 20 anniversary special. I’m not sure if that’s true or not as Vader worked rematches with Simmons in the days following the loss.

The NWA World title tournament took place in Japan with such luminaries like Jim Neidhart, The Taylor Made Man and the Barbarian being given spots in the tourney. Masahiro Chono ended up the winner after defeating US Champion Rick Rude in the finals.

Erik Watts made his first appearance in late August, being shown in the crowd at a TV taping. Watts debuted a few nights later.

The long national nightmare finally came to an end as Michael Hayes turned heel and aligned himself with Arn Anderson and Bobby Eaton. Jimmy Garvin quietly retired. THANK HEAVENS!!!

September 2nd 1992 Clash of the Champions 20 – 20 year anniversary celebration of being on TBS
We open with a clip from the 1970’s of Andre the Giant and Gordon Solie.

An opening historical package includes Bill Watts, Dusty Rhodes, King Kong Bundy, Ric Flair, and The Spoiler. What a weird selection of talent for various reasons.

Andre the Giant and Gordon Solie join Tony Schiavone and Missy Hyatt on the red carpet. This would be Andre’s last US appearance.

Hank Aaron and Bill Watts climb out of the next limo in an ironic moment considering how Aaron would ultimately cause Watts to quit/be fired shortly after this.

Jim Barnett makes an appearance, as does Bruno Sammartino. Bruno buries the WWF circus. Sting shows up on a Harley in a nice touch.

An Atlanta city councilman declares today “WCW day” in Atlanta. Dusty Rhodes, Thunderbolt Patterson, The Assassin and Magnum TA are with Teddy Long. Rhodes cuts a brief interview about TBS and then Long sends it to JR and Jesse Ventura in a comically awkward moment as Patterson looked like he wanted to talk too.

TV Champion Steve Austin vs. Ricky “The Dragon” Steamboat – No Disqualification
They are holding this card in the Center Stage Arena, which only holds 500 fans and is usually only used for a WCW Saturday Night TV taping. The crowd has a section full of TBS executives in suits. Paul E. Dangerously is placed in an elevated cage for the duration of this match.

Steamboat has bad ribs, so Austin tosses shots at them as Steamboat chops back during their explosive opening salvo. Steamboat works a headlock heavy offense to try and avoid taking more damage to his ribcage. Austin pancakes him to batter the ribs and adds a pair of knees to further the assault. An abdominal stretch further tortures the virtuous baby face. Steamboat tries several comebacks but his ribs won’t allow him to do much successfully. They reverse one another back and forth on a Tombstone attempt before Austin is finally dumped on his head. More rib shots ensure that Steamboat can’t make a follow up offensive. Austin tries to dump him over the top rope and Steamboat skins the cat back in. With bad ribs???? Austin dumps him to the floor anyway. The Dragon sneaks under the ring and scales the top rope surprising Austin with a crossbody for the win. Solid match but the rib psychology was iffy during the ending sequence.

They show clips of Mr. Wrestling 2, The Brisco Brothers, the infamous Ole Anderson and Dusty Rhodes vs. The Assassins cage match, The Freebird trio, The Road Warriors (in their leather and no face paint early look), and The Rock and Roll Express.

A clip of the “Spin the Wheel, Make a Deal” mini-movie is shown to plug Halloween Havoc.

Michael Hayes cuts a promo explaining that he, Eaton and Arn are the best parts of the three best teams ever.

Arn Anderson and Bobby Eaton vs. Greg “The Hammer” Valentine and “Dirty” Dick Slater
Not sure why we are getting heel vs. heel here. Eaton and Anderson recently beat the Steiners to establish themselves as number one contenders to Gordy and Williams NWA and WCW tag titles. Larry Zybysko is with Valentine and Slater due to Anderson and Eaton breaking his arm.

Eaton and Anderson cheat early, forcing a four-way brawl. Things clear up but the four men start at it almost right away again anyway. Slater and Eaton go through some basics before Anderson comes in to work over Slater’s arm. The Hammer comes in but gets swarmed by Eaton and Anderson. Valentine survives and tags Slater back in as another four way scuffle breaks out. Valentine tries a figure-four on Anderson but Eaton cheap shots him. The Enforcer hits a spinebuster I totally buy as the finish but no dice. Zybysko tries to hit Anderson with his cast but cracks Valentine instead, leading to an Alabama Jam by Eaton, which allows Anderson to make the pin. Fun five minute skirmish with four dickish heels doing their thing.

Bruno Sammartino joins JR to bury the WWF some more. Bob Armstrong joins Teddy Long in the VIP area and talks up his kids. Thunderbolt Patterson preaches. Mr. Wrestling 2 is shown in Hawaii. Ted Turner is shown in another pre-taped statement bragging up WCW’s athletes.

WCW Light Heavyweight Champion Brad Armstrong suffered a knee injury and has to forfeit his title. A tournament is announced, but it never takes place as the title is dissolved. Armstrong talks about his injury but Brian Pillman comes out and cuts a heel promo on him before slapping him.

A clip of Roddy Piper and Tommy Rich having a stand off airs. More clips include Dusty Rhodes, Stan Hansen, Ron Garvin, Tony Atlas, Magnum TA, Buzz Sawyer, Mr. Wrestling II, Kabuki, Ted Dibiase, Bill Watts, Wahoo McDaniel, The Masked Superstar, Jimmy Valient, King Kong Bundy, The Spoiler, The Iron Sheik, Tully Blanchard, Ric Flair, Terry Funk, Tommy Rich, and Roddy Piper.

WCW World Champion Ron Simmons vs. Cactus Jack
Simmons downs Jack with raw power right away. Jack manages to toss him to the floor but Simmons stares him down and prevents Jack from launching himself down onto the champion. Jack rips at Simmons’ face back in the middle of the ring. They trade punches before Jack flips them both over the top rope. Jack downs him with a trio of short clotheslines. They trade headbutts and neither sells as Wrestling 101 teaches us minorities and the mentally deranged aren’t affected by head blows. Simmons nails a series of charging forearms, which Jack stops by sending Simmons to the floor, where he nails his diving elbow. Simmons comes right back from that with a spinebuster and powerslam for the win. These two didn’t have much chemistry and the bout was under whelming because of it.

Clips of Masa Chono’s NWA title tournament win are shown. Rick Rude cuts a strange promo on Chono where he promises “the second verse will be the same as the first” in their rematch, uh except for he’s totally going to win this time.

Cactus Jack and The Barbarian bring out a returning Butch Reed. He’s replacing Dan Spivey in this bout. Jack joins JR and Ventura on commentary.

Barry Windham and Dustin Rhodes vs. The Barbarian and Butch Reed
Barbarian no sells Rhodes offense, which brings in Windham for a flying lariat to take him off his feet. Rhodes misses a charge and splats on the floor. The heels then corner him and deliver a battering to the youngster. Barbarian drives Rhodes into the corner upside down, which is followed by a diving headbutt and an elbow. Rhodes is abused for several minutes by both men before Windham finally makes the tag. Windham manages to knock both men off their feet. Barbarian absorbs a superplex but Reed breaks things up. Windham is caught with Barbarian’s big boot while distracted and is pinned. This was very formulaic and the heels didn’t do anything particularly interesting. Jack’s commentary as the crazed life coach for the dastardly duo was highly entertaining though.
Jake the Snake pops his head through the curtain to imply he’s the leader of Jack, Barbarian, Reed and whatever other sicko they find to join them.

Sting, Rick Steiner, Scott Steiner and Nikita Koloff vs. Jake Roberts, Super Invader, Big Van Vader and Rick Rude
Hercules has gotten a nice tan since his last appearance and it improves his look a whole bunch. Invader has a big tear in his outfit. Rick and Vader start things off. They trade bombs before Vader squashes him in the corner. Rick retaliates with a belly-to-belly suplex. Invader and Koloff tag in and have a hoss stand off. Neither man budges from their offensive. Rude tags in but Koloff handles him quickly with fisticuffs and tags in Scott, who grinds Rude down with an armlock. Invader tags back in and tries clobbering Scott, but Steiner chucks him around with a pair of suplexes. Rude sneaks in a tag and drops Scott. A neckbreaker fails to get the fall. Vader and Roberts both come in to get their licks in on Scott. Scott manages to tag off to Nikita just as Roberts tags back in. Koloff tears through Roberts before Rude cheap shots him and Roberts rolls him up for the pin.

Sting and the Invader come in and Sting blitzes through him for a quick pin. Vader and Sting trade shots before Rick tags in and flips Vader overhead in an INCREDIBLE belly-to-back suplex that sent Vader flying! Vader bulls through that and drops Rick with a suplex of his own, before nailing a second rope splash that shockingly doesn’t finish the Dog Faced Gremlin off. Rude tags in to pick the bones of the battered Steiner. Vader returns to the ring but Steiner powerslams him. He tries to pick Vader up for a Doomsday Device, but crumples under the massive weight of Vader. Scott hits the flying clothesline anyway. Scott was DQ’d for coming off the top. Rick and Vader spill to the floor. Sting and Roberts trade shots in the ring as Rude sneak attacks Steiner on the floor. Rick is counted out. Sting attacks Vader, then grinds Roberts face into the mat and nails a Stinger splash. A Scorpion Death Lock is broken up by a Rude clothesline. Sting delivers a suplex on Rude but Vader climbs to the top and splashes down on both men’s upper halves. Roberts pulls the motionless Rude to his corner and tags himself in. Roberts delivers a DDT and pins Sting for the win. Really good match, well booked, crazy high spots from the Steiners and the proper finish.

JR announces that the WCW hotline poll revealed that 88 percent of fans want the top rope moves are banned rule to be rescinded.

Then after hyping all night that WCW was all about traditional wrestling and pure sports, we close with the full “Spin the wheel, Make a deal” mini-movie. Cheetum the evil midget, lightning bolts and WRESTLECRAP!

Final thoughts: After overdosing on long wrestling matches during the last PPV effort, WCW took the opposite approach here and had large swaths of TV time dedicated to interviews, video packages and legends. The line up was good from top to bottom but only the main event lived up to the hype surrounding this special event.

Old school fans of southern wrestling would certainly appreciate all the old school portions of this evening though.


Written by Andrew Lutzke

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

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