- The Clash 21 that preceded this event was the second lowest rated Clash in history, beating out only the July Clash that featured the NWA tag title tournament earlier this year. Let’s all act surprised when Bill Watts is fired soon, ok?
- The WWF is being sued by WCW for copyright infringement over their planned “Slam and Jam” show that is to debut in a few weeks. This would be renamed “WWF Mania”.
- A tag team composed of Al Greene (the former Master Blaster and future Dog) and Marc Laurinatitis (brother of Johnny Ace and Road Warrior Animal) are scheduled to come in as a team known as The Terminators.
- Paul E. Dangerously is off the booking sheets since he burned so many bridges backstage. He has a long time left on his contract and his future is uncertain.
- Rick Rude injured his shoulder and will be out of action for at least two months. A fan messed with Rude in a parking lot and ended up being knocked out by Rude. The man came back later, so Rude smashed his face into several car hoods.
- Arn Anderson has worked out a deal to stay with WCW. Even the lowball offer WCW put out was a better deal than what the WWF promised, when everything was figured in.
- Arn blew out his knee trying to catch Erik Watts who leapt at Anderson at an awkward angle forcing Anderson to adjust his body to save Watts.
- The booking committee now includes Bill Watts, Dusty Rhodes (who was making 300K a year and had to take a major cut to keep his job), Jim Ross, Greg Gagne, Mike Graham and Larry Zbyszko. Magnum TA and Ole Anderson are also believed to be rejoining the squad soon.
- Steve Austin was told to do a job for Eric Watts on TV and he refused. This led to he, Bill Watts and other officials having a private meeting to smooth things over.
Jesse Ventura and Jim Ross start the PPV by announcing Rick Rude has a herniated disc and will be out as long as two months. Dr. Death will be replacing him in the WCW World title bout tonight.
Tony Schiavone, Bill Watts and Hank Aaron are in the ring to announce that a ring will be given to the winner of the Battle Bowl competition.
Missy Hyatt and Larry Zybyszko are ready to pick the names from the Battle Bowl tumbler. Missy’s outfit is…ugly, with suspender like straps wrapping around her assets.
Battle Bowl Qualifier: Van Hammer and Dan Spivey vs. Johnny B. Badd and Cactus Jack
Jack and Hammer renew their rivalry as they start things off by trading blows. Jack gains control and offers Badd a cheap shot, but Badd declines to break the rules. Badd uses speed to keep Hammer off base before KILLING him with a hurricanrana in which Hammer bumps hard onto his own head and neck. Spivey tags in and that draws in Jack for a heel vs. heel segment before Hammer tags back in. Jack again tries to set Hammer up for a cheap shot but Badd won’t go for it. Spivey hits a cheap shot of his own and pisses Hammer off. Jack and Spivey go at it again, with the crowd popping for Foley nailing a bulldog. Badd accidently hits Jack while trying to break up a pin and while the partners jaw jack, Badd slugs him and allows Hammer to roll Jack up for the upset win. Energetic pacing and some good moves put on display. A pleasant surprise of a match. Oddly this match was voted as the worst match on the card by the Wrestling Observer readers – far far worse is yet to come.
Battle Bowl Qualifier: Kensuke Sasaki and The Barbarian vs. Dustin Rhodes and Big Van Vader
Vader and Rhodes are smack talking each other before things can even begin. Ventura slips and calls Sasaki’s partner “The Bavarian”. Vader and Barbarian shake hands before shoving one another. The bulls take turns not selling the other’s offense before Barbarian slams Vader. Being willing to bump around was a big reason Vader worked so well as a monster, as he managed to thread the line between workrate and playing up his status as a beastly heel.
Vader slams Barbarian and they go back to no selling each other before Vader clubs him down with sheer force. Vader survives a big boot and he and Dustin shockingly play nice long enough to hit a “Hart Attack” clothesline on the Barbarian. Rhodes and Barbie trade back suplexes as the battle for alpha male status continues. Barbarian finally tags in Sasaki and the baby faces toss stiff shots at each other. Vader tags in and just blasts Sasaki with clubbing forearms. A powerslam fails to finish the young lion from New Japan in a pin attempt I bought as the finish for a moment.
Sasaki blocks a Vader-plex and delivers one of his own, leading to both men tagging out. Barbarian and Rhodes trade blows and Sasaki takes some as well. Barbarian tries to jump Rhodes as he’s busy with his partner but he runs into Sasaki instead and ”The Natural” rolls him up for the win! Vader and Rhodes share some mutual respect for a moment before Vader crushes Rhodes with a clothesline. Sasaki makes the save. Brilliant move by Vader to soften Rhodes up for the battle royal later on. Match was another fast paced and hard hitting affair. Everybody seems to be motivated tonight to put on a good show.
Battle Bowl Qualifier: Barry Windham and The Great Muta vs. 2 Cold Scorpio and Brian Pillman
Windham and Scorpio kick things off with a battle of speed vs. size. 2 Cold does well enough that Muta is tagged in. Pillman comes in before we can get a good flavor of that combo. Muta and Flyin’ Brian exchange aerial theatrics before Windham tags in and goes right after Pillman. These two are partners in a World tag title match later on tonight but Windham willing attacks him anyway. They trade hard chops and look to be loving experiencing how tough their partner is. Muta tags back in and spin kicks Pillman right in the jaw.
2 Cold tags in and he and Muta have a mini-botch on a flying clothesline that doesn’t quite land as crisply as desired. Windham comes in and bullies around the smaller man before letting Muta back in to deliver an array of spin kicks and flying elbows down onto Scorpio. 2 Cold manages to ground Muta long enough to hit a flipping leg drop off the ropes, but botches the follow up moonsault splash attempt. Things break down as all four men go at it. Windham hits a nasty DDT on Scorpio before Muta tries a moonsault from the top and essentially misses, but that gets the 3 count anyway. Windham and Pillman walk off together to regroup for their match later.
Nice solid match here, even with the botches. In a different setting, these four probably could have torn the house down. I have to question putting Scorpio in a spot where he eats a pin only weeks after his spectacular debut. Perhaps the writing was on the wall, or should I say glass ceiling for his lot in WCW life either way.
Battle Bowl Qualifier: Sting and “Dr. Death” Steve Williams vs. Erik Watts and Jushin Liger
Watts gets booed. JR calls him a “rookie sensation”. Watts’ chest is bruised from chops from previous house shows. Liger tries to use his speed to offset Sting’s power, but Sting is fairly nimble himself and Liger can’t get much going. Dr. Death tags in and tosses Liger down. Liger says “fuck this” and lets Watts in. Willams shoves Watts down and keeps him there with forearms. Watts eats some big chops and tags out. Liger uses karate kicks to try and slow Williams down but splats when he tries to flip Dr. Death, who doesn’t move.
Sting and Williams tag several times as poor Liger plays ping pong ball for the enhanced physiques of his opponents. Even a missed Stinger Splash doesn’t buy Liger enough time to tag out and Death cuts off the ring and begins to torture Liger with arm locks. Liger tries a desperation sleeper and Williams just dumps him on his neck with a back suplex. Sting and Willams continue to make quick tags but the crowd is restless seeing this high spot generating superstar being made into the face in peril, as that dynamic doesn’t work as the crowd doesn’t want to root against Sting either.
Watts finally makes the ice cold tag which leads to Watts’ greatest moment of infamy as he tosses Dr. Death off the ropes and tries a drop kick but he’s too close and doesn’t have time to elevate himself so he lands the move to Williams’ hip. Scott Keith, Wrestlecrap and many others have used that moment to scour Watts forever more. Watts connects on his second dropkick and locks on an STF that Williams gets out of right away with a rope break. Williams catches him on a follow up cross body and drops his throat over the top rope, which earns Doc the pin and a big pop from the crowd. The match was technically fine, but Liger was wasted here.
NWA World title: Masa Chono vs. The Great Muta
This match is a bit infamous as Bill Watts apparently told the men not to show up the WCW workers, and the result was a long, dull match. We’ll see.
They trade shots and feel one another out with arm locks, a test of strength and a knuckle lock. They hit the mat for an arm lock and head scissors before Chono switches to bending Muta’s leg in unnatural directions. A hammerlock keeps things…methodically paced. Technically speaking, using a barrage of wear down holds makes sense given that Muta has already worked a match tonight, however it does make for tedious viewing. Muta locks on a knee bar and an Indian death lock to keep things moving at a leisurely pace. Muta connects with a spring board elbow to set up a moonsault but Chono moves. Muta hurts his leg on his rough landing. Chono drills him with a back suplex, but a second one is blocked and Muta lands on top of him for a very believable near fall. Chono realizes he best finish off his pesky opponent and locks on the STF for the submission win. This match earned it’s reputation as a snoozer.
It’s announced that Rick Rude will have to forfeit his US title if he can’t wrestle by January 23rd. Rude comes down to complain about the conspiracy that cost him his World title match tonight and possibly his US title soon.
WCW World title: Ron Simmons vs. “Dr. Death” Steve Willams
The 10-year anniversary of Starrcade and the World title is defended in a mid-card match. I don’t like that Dr. Death didn’t bow out of the Lethal Lottery after being given a World title match.
They shake hands to start. A headlock gets Simmons’ nowhere, so they go old school and do a few 3-point stance collisions to play off their shared past as football linemen. Williams pulls Simmons hair and the champ is appalled that such tactics would find their way into this championship contest. They start throwing big shots and talking smack. Simmons attempts a high risk move and misses, giving Willams the chance to wear at Simmons knee. A half-crab and knee bar grind the match to a halt. I paint a wall to watch it dry as five minutes of my life passes by.
Doc clips Simmons leg twice but a third attempt is met with a clothesline. Simmons follows up with a spinebuster and a pair of chop blocks before the match spills to the floor. They blow a spot where Simmons’ runs into the ringpost, so they repeat the spot. Then inexplicably the match ends with a double count out. WHAT THE HELL?!!?!?The biggest show of the year and the champ can’t even get a win? Doc kicks his butt some more after the match and the ref DQ’s him for those actions. Ugh. Simmons was given zero chance to get over since his title win in August. Each of these megashows saw him booked to be ineffective and at best lucky to garner wins. Not to mention his opponents have mostly been hosses, and Simmons wasn’t able to carry these guys to long matches. The Ron Simmons experiment will be over before my next review.
Unified World Tag Championship: Shane Douglas and Ricky Steamboat vs. Barry Windham and Brian Pillman
Steamboat’s awesome theme has been replaced with his inferior “Slam Jam” theme. Ventura brings up Douglas being a political conservative again in a negative fashion. He wonders how anyone could listen to Rush Limbaugh, and Ross admits he’s a fan.
Pillman and Douglas have a nice offensive sprint to open the match. Douglas doesn’t have as much success once Windham tags in. Steamboat tags in to mount a comeback for his team. Steamboat knocks Windham to the floor and slams him on the hardwood. Douglas makes his way back in and grinds a crossface headlock on Windham. I appreciate the effort made to make a rest hold into torturous looking move instead. Windham escapes and Pillman comes in only to be knocked into the railing. Douglas tries a top rope move but Windham distracts him and Pillman dropkicks him off the top, leading to Douglas taking a SICK bump as he flips head over heels and splats onto the wood floor!
This sets Douglas up to be abused by both of the heel challengers for the next several minutes. Windham attacks Douglas on the floor while Pillman keeps the ref busy. Steamboat sneaks around and delivers a love tap of a chair shot that Windham sells like a champ for anyway. Can’t claim any recklessness from Steamboat there. The heels maintain control despite this as Douglas sells his increasing despair as if he was Gumby, flaying about and bending in unnatural ways.
Douglas manages a suplex on Windham and finally tags in Steamboat. Steamer tries to take on both heels and ends up caught with a powerslam and back suplex to quickly end his rally. Pillman chucks The Dragon over the top behind the ref’s back and Windham drives him into the ringpost. Quality heel work!
Steamboat wobbles but his inner fire won’t let him quit and he fires back with chops and a facebuster. Douglas is able to make the tag and things turn into a four-way brawl. Steamboat and Windham dump each other to the ramp as Douglas hits the belly-to-belly suplex on Pillman for the win! They followed the classic formula and worked it to a tee. Fabulous match between two teams that let their natural talents over come their makeshift team status.
King of Cable Finals: Sting vs. Vader
Vader is rocking a doo-rag – a look I don’t think I’ve ever seen from him. Vader shoves Sting down as he’s proven in the past that Sting is his bitch and he’s here to prove it again. Vader no sells Sting’s punches and chucks him to the mat twice. Sting tries to blitz him and Sting just gets drilled down. A pair of press slams end with Sting having his throat dropped across the top rope. A surprise drop kick finally downs Vader and Sting back suplexes him while he’s staggered. A big clothesline sees both men tumble over the top rope and down to the wood floor. Harley Race comes over to help Vader and Sting planchas onto both of them!
Vader misses a charge back in the ring but a Stinger Splash ends with a boot in Sting’s face. Sting rallies back quickly with a DDT, and then Sting places Vader on the top rope and hits a DDT!!! Sting locks on the Scorpion Death Lock while the monster is loopy but Vader makes it to the ropes. Vader bails to the floor, where Sting runs into the steel while leaping toward Vader.
Vader lays into Sting’s corpse with several stiff clotheslines and a splash in the corner. A back suplex and a big splash aren’t enough to finish Sting, so Vader tries to sap the last of his energy with more short range forearms. Vader tries to sit on him, but misses. Sting gets a back suplex out of desperation but can’t follow up on it. Vader just unloads with a plethora of punches while Sting is meekly trapped in the corner.
Vader tries a superplex but Sting knocks him off before it can be executed. Vader continues to throw shots at Sting but Sting is begging for more. Sting starts to deliver punches of his own, and knocks Vader down. A fallaway slam by Sting sets up a big splash for a near fall. Race distracts Sting to set him up for Vader to pounce. Vader splashes Sting from the second rope and tries to leap off the top but Sting catches him with a powerslam for the win!!! Gosh Damn these guys had great chemistry! Fantastic match and certainly one worth going out of your way to check out.
Packer great Paul Hornung is interviewed about how important rings are for athletes in order to have a lasting memory of championship glory.
Battle Bowl Battle Royal: Barry Windham, Sting, Vader, The Great Muta, Dustin Rhodes, Steve Williams, Van Hammer, and Dan Spivey
Vader attacks Sting on the ramp before the match can even begin. Vader chucks Sting in the ring and leaps over the top rope to pounce on him. Everyone pairs off in traditional battle royal fashion. Just a lot of punchy kicky stuff goes on for five minutes or so before Van Hammer is tossed. Dustin Rhodes bulldogs Barry Windham onto the ramp in order to get some revenge from their recent tag team split. Sting tosses Spivey. Sting and Vader both spill over the top. Rhodes and Windham continue to go at it as Muta and Dr. Death trade moves.
Windham is slammed off the top rope by Rhodes but Rhodes and Doc both go out soon after Williams charges Rhodes. Crowd cheers for Muta as it’s down to he and Windham. Windham puts a hurting on Muta, but takes his eye off the ball after he throws Muta over the top rope. Muta skins the cat back in and dropkicks Windham out to the floor. Crowd popped pretty well for that finish. An average battle royal.
Final thoughts: I was dreading this PPV, as I was expecting a crap card given what I knew of it going in but the guys by and large busted there butts. This card finally utilized their workrate heavy roster without bogging everyone down in LONG LONG LONG matches that went on forever for the sake of it.
Not many PPVs can claim their worst two matches were World title bouts.