Context around Clash 26:
- WCW signed Zane Bresloff, who had been the WWF’s main independent house show promoter for the past 9 years. This is believed to be the beginning of a new, hardened push for WCW to get into better arenas.
- WCW released ads in New York newspapers and cable guides citing World Champion Ric Flair defending against Vader at SuperBrawl. This is all well and good, except for the fact that this was released four days before Flair won the title at Starrcade.
- Some cable guides still had ads with Sid vs. Vader listed as the Starrcade main event.
- WCW ran a disastrous house show which featured a 45 second Sting vs. Vader match, which led right into Flair, Vader, Sting and Rick Rude brawling. The main event was scheduled to be a battle royal, but WCW ruled Vader, Sting and Flair out of the match before it even started because they went over the top rope during the brawl. All this, plus a co-main event of Flair vs. Rude that went under 10 minutes and the World tag champs The Nasty Boyz no showing the event all made for upset fans.
- Nick Bockwinkel is coming in to play the on screen WCW commissioner.
- The SUPER Shockmaster (Still Tugboat) was scheduled to be the guest ref for the Vader vs. Flair steel cage rematch at SuperBrawl before Flair and Vader nixed the idea.
- Jesse Ventura has promised to wear a suit and tie to events from now on, as he is planning on running for the U.S. Senate.
- Vader suffered a swollen eye and injured toe in his title loss with Flair, which caused him to miss several house shows.
- “Jungle” Jim Steele has debuted and is getting a little push. He’s pretty bad from all accounts.
- The Patriot, Del Wilkes is on the verge of signing a 2 year contract with WCW.
- Missy Hyatt was offered a playboy spread, but WCW made her turn it down.
- Ric Flair has been playing a family man for several months now, but the Worldwide TV tapings from months ago are still rotating, so fans are seeing him philandering around with Fifi yet.
- Dusty Rhodes resigned as head booker shortly before the Clash. He had been overruled on several headlining angles and began to become frustrated by his power being usurped.
- DDP is back after a long injury related sabbatical.
- Barry Darsow is getting a contract and will be getting a new gimmick.
Clash of the Champions 26
Mean Gene introduces us to Bobby Heenan, who is making his WCW debut. Heenan joins Tony Schiavone for the call of the action. Jesse Ventura missed the event due to prior commitments.
Marcus Alexander Bagwell and 2 Cold Scorpio vs. Paul Roma and Paul Orndorff
Scorpio and Orndorff feel each other out to start. Orndorff takes over with rough house tactics and Paul Roma keeps the control on the side of the heels before Bagwell can make a tag in. Scorpio comes in and works the arm before the heels cheat and ground 2 Cold. The Assassin gets some cheap shots as Roma tries to choke the life out of Scorpio. The heels grind away at 2 Cold but Mr. Wonderful makes the critical mistake of attempting a top rope move and he ends up eating Scorpio’s boot. Bagwell makes the hot tag and wipes out both heels. Roma is pinned several times while the ref is distracted. All four men end up going at it before Scorpio misses a flying press and lands on the cement. Bagwell overcomes the 2 on 1 disadvantage and makes a fluke pin on Roma after the heel’s attempt to use a foreign object backfires.
This match was a fairly vanilla affair that followed the traditional tag team formula. You could have plugged in any number of teams into this match and had the exact same bout.
Ice Train vs. Ron Simmons
The men are slugging it out as we come back from commercial. Train derails Simmons to the floor and slams his former mentor into the cement. Train charges his caboose at Simmons but runs into the ringpost. Simmons suplexes Train and stomps a mudhole in him. Simmons tried to deliver a flying shoulderblock but Train blocks him. Train delivers a powerslam but misses another charge and is rolled up for the win. The Ice man was pumped up to video game superhuman proportions, but that didn’t translate to having a good match. Perhaps Train could have played the Incredible Hulk, since he was so green.
Steve Austin and Col. Parker join Mean Gene. Austin does a funny impersonation of Col. Parker, complete with outfit. Parker is in wrestling gear and sends some veiled threats toward Brian Pillman.
Nick Bockwinkel is named the WCW Commissioner. He promises no sudden rule changes, but he’ll be watching things unfold with great interest.
TV Champion Lord Steven Regal vs. Dustin Rhodes
Gordon Solie joins Heenan for commentary. Regal eats a series of punches that sends him fleeing to the floor. Rhodes controls with armlocks and a flustered Regal bails out again. Rhodes works a headlock as Regal tries to escape by wrapping his feet around Rhodes’ face. More headlockery as things slow down to a near stop. Regal escapes and blasts Rhodes with some European uppercuts, then ties Rhodes arm and wrist. Regal now locks on another resthold to drag things past the ten minute mark.
Rhodes explodes out of his bad predicament and unloads on Regal. His Lordship retreats and Sir William informs Regal to hold on for three more minutes. Rhodes catches up with Regal and delivers more fists and a lariat. Regal tries a desperation roll up but the ref catches him using the tights and breaks the pin. Regal runs to the floor again. Dustin catches up with him in the final seconds but they semi-botch a Rhodes top rope attack and then time runs out as Rhodes’ hits a bulldog. The end result was as predictable as they come and the journey to get there was an absolute snoozer, and that’s coming from someone who likes both men.
World tag team champions The Nasty Boyz vs. Maxx Payne and Cactus Jack
The faces no show their entrance. After a long delay, they appear in the crowd and charge into battle. Jack launches on each baddie from the ring apron to the floor while Payne unloads on whoever comes near him. The heels take control by simply clawing away at Payne’s face. Payne starts to no sell and just stares at Knobbs’ offensive move attempts. Saggs trips Payne to regain control. Payne is dumped to the floor and Saggs hits a dangerous as hell looking chair shot to Payne’s skull! Payne is double teamed but he steam rolls through the champs and tags in Jack. All four men start to brawl and Jack dumps both heels and himself over the top rope. Jack DDT’s Knobbs and gets the pin after some shenanigans. The faces kiss Missy Hyatt after the match and that finally wakes up the crowd that was surprisingly dead for most of this sloppy yet entertaining brawl.
Loser Wears a Chicken Suit: Brian Pillman vs. Col. Robert Parker
Parker of course was a long time wrestler, so he looks pretty good physically. Parker runs away but Pillman catches him with a dropkick. Austin gets in the way, so Pillman kicks his ass. Parker jumps Pillman from behind, but he can’t keep control of the match for long with a young stud like Pillman in there. Parker tries to take a walk but Pillman stops him. Austin gets in the way and is laid out on the ramp. Parker’s escape is cut off by The Boss, who appears on the rampway. Parker tries to run and The Boss catches him and sends him in the ring. Austin stun guns Pillman behind the ref’s back but Parker can’t take advantage and is unloaded on with punches. Pillman tries a top rope move but is shoved off by Austin. The Boss chases Austin to the back as Pillman rolls up Parker for the win. This was wacky fun with Austin hamming it up and Parker portraying the perfect foil for the babyfaces. We have to tune in this Saturday in order to see Parker put on the suit.
Elimination: Sting and Ric Flair vs. Rick Rude and Vader
They put Flair vs. Vader on free TV before their PPV rematch because WCW needed to pop a good rating or face possible cancellation of future Clash specials. Rude wiggles his hips at Sting. Sting wiggles his hips back at Rude. Sting tosses Rude around by his arm and slams some knees down onto the same arm. Vader tags in and wallops Sting. A presslam ends with Sting being dumped throat first onto the top rope. Heenan jokes that Solie was drunk earlier…which was one of things Solie was rumored to have secretly done while broadcasting in the past. (Heenan of course would do so in the future)
Vader drives Sting to the mat but misses his follow up attack. Rude comes in to cheap shot Sting and keep control of the match. Vader pounds on Sting’s face with his fists before Sting gets a desperation back suplex out of nowhere, then tags in Flair. Flair assaults Vader with a series of fists and chops.
We return from commercial to see Rude entrapping Sting in his bearhug. Flair tags in and unloads on Rude before they botch something in the corner and Flair sells great pain out of nowhere. Vader tags in and squashes Flair, then splashes him. Vader superplexes Flair, then delivers a second one! You don’t see that very often. Vader climbs to the top for a splash but Sting breaks things up. Vader gets a chair but Nick Bockwinkel stops him from using it. Flair and Vader are both counted out during this conflict. Flair is carried to the dressing room.
Sting explodes all over Rude and tosses him around the ring. Rude blocks a reverse atomic drop, which allows him to thump Sting to the mat. Rude locks on a chinlock three different times as Rude is determined to suck in 1994 as much as he did in 93. Sting fights his way out and both men clothesline each other. Rude tries a Rude Awakening but Sting blocks it, then reverses it. Sting delivers a Tombstone followed by a flying splash for the win. I was legitimately surprised by the result here, as both Pillman and Sting won their matches, which makes their “revenge match” against Austin and Rude lose some of its luster at Superbrawl. The match was not nearly as good as you’d think considering the participants. It was well above average, but far short of a classic.
Final thoughts: Following the recent trend, the card itself again looked decent on paper, but came up short in delivering on entertainment. Heenan screwed up names, stipulations and focused on making cracks instead of playing things up. He also screamed several times about how loud the crowd was, which only served to make the dead crowd stand up that much more.