For some insane reason, WCW decided to tape Clash of the Champions 19, and I’ll never be able to figure out why. Even though it was a Clash event, it was a very singular show, with all the matches being part of an NWA tag team tournament. As part of the tournament, there were talents brought in from around the world to participate. There will be names in this review that are familiar to us, but weren’t familiar to wrestling fans at the time. Given that the show is completely one note, I’ll get to work.
– Taped to air June 22nd, 1992, from McAlister Fieldhouse in Charleston, South Carolina
The opening video claims we have tag teams from Hungary and Lithuania, as well as some other countries. Mexico, Japan, and Puerto Rico, I buy that. But Hungary and Lithuania? So, Tony Schiavone, Magnum TA, and a very good looking Missy Hyatt are the hosts. Missy said that there will be a NEW NWA WORLD CHAMPION crowned in a tournament ran by New Japan. Interesting. Bill Watts comes in to talk about the tournament, and as I’ve said before, I find this really pointless. Imagine having Jack Tunney talk about every WWF show before it happened. Jim Ross and Jesse Ventura will commentate, as we head into the first match!
NWA Tag Team Championships Tournament First Round: Joe & Dean Malenko vs. Ricky Steamboat and Nikita Koloff
Pre-Match Thoughts: DEAN MALENKO! These two were both portrayed as being Hungarians. I kind of understand that, yet I don’t. They were representing Europe or something like that. I hope Dean shows his talent, but if he did, I wouldn’t be able to understand why he wasn’t hired. So, hopes won’t get up too much. Steamboat and Koloff is an interesting team.
Match Review: Steamboat starts with Joe Malenko, and Malenko trips him. Steamboat returns the favor, tries a Boston crab, and Joe makes the ropes. Now we have a test of strength, until Joe takes him down with a monkey flip. Steamboat comes back with an arm drag, then hip tosses Joe, which causes a reset in the bout. Steamboat goes to a wristlock, but Dean makes a blind tag in only to be arm dragged a few times. Dean kips up, but Steamboat hits him with a karate kick and uses another arm drag. Nikita tags in, and it’s time for him to throw around this little Dean. He puts him in a bear hug, then goes to hip toss Dean from the top only for Dean to flip out of it. That was sick. Dean dodges a charge to the corner, then jumps off the top only for Nikita to catch him. Joe runs in with a dropkick that gets 2 for Malenko, and Nikita throws Dean out of the ring when he kicks out. THE POWER. Dean dropkicks Nikita in the face when he gets back in there, then uses a snap suplex that Nikita no-sells. Nikita goes for a cradle that gets blocked, but Nikita flapjacks Dean and tags out of there. Steamboat tags in and tosses Dean to the canvas with an armbar, but Dean finally gets out there. Joe comes in and gets armbarred too, but gets out of it with some hard forearms. Steamboat comes back with a shoulderblock, as Dean and Nikita argue on the apron. Unfortunately, the Malenkos try a blocked head-scissors spot, only for Steamboat to wipe himself out on the ropes. The Malenkos then give Steamboat a back suplex and clothesline combo for 2, and Dean makes a legal tag in. Dean puts Steamboat in a surfboard like hold, then tags out of there for a double headbutt. Joe hits Steamboat with a short clothesline for 2, then bodyslams him for another 2 count. They botch a Steamboat facebuster, but Steamboat’s able to make the tag out of there. Nikita hits the Malenkos with back elbows, then nails Dean with a flying shoulderblock. Joe runs in and is given an inverted atomic drop, then Nikita nails Dean with the SICKLE for the win at 9:53.
My Thoughts: Missed spots galore in this match, plus the Malenkos didn’t get in all that much offense. Nikita was still extremely over, even though he didn’t look the same or wrestle in the same hard-hitting style he previously had. I find that interesting. Once somebody’s established in a territory, does that mean they’re over to some degree forever? Possibly. *1/2. I can see why the Malenkos weren’t picked up.
NWA Tag Team Championships Tournament First Round: Rick Rude (WCW US Champion) and Steve Austin (WCW TV Champion, w/Madusa) vs. Marcus Alexander Bagwell and Tom Zenk
Pre-Match Thoughts: Well, that latter team sounds like a perfect match in a lot of ways. I’m not going to hype them or anything, but look, demeanor, and ability wise it sounds just about right. Rude and Austin had teamed before earlier in the year and looked okay. Madusa appears to be wearing less and less clothes every week. I don’t know anyone who would have a problem with this.
Match Review: Rude goes to work on Bagwell with some knees, then clotheslines the poor kid. Austin tags in quickly, and works Bagwell over until being hit by a double axehandle. Zenk tags in, takes Austin down with a headlock, and that gets reversed. Back to their feet, and Austin wants a test of strength. Eventually he tags out, and Rude lands some hard forearms and a dropkick. Rude suplexes Zenk, and that gets 2. Austin tags in, and Zenk cradles him up for 2. Bagwell tags in, chops away at Austin, and Austin comes back with a boot to the jaw. Rude tags in, and he’s not selling a single thing Bagwell does. He gives the guy a back suplex, but Bagwell blocks a backdrop and gets out of there. Rude hits Zenk with a facebuster and some elbow smashes, then PILEDRIVES him for 2. Austin tags in, drops Zenk throat-first on the top rope, and covers for 2. Austin applies a front face-lock, then they nail Zenk with a double clothesline. This is a beatdown. Austin goes for a slam, but Zenk hits him with a superkick and makes the tag out. Bagwell backdrops Austin, then follows with a cross body for 2. Austin goes to the eyes, gives Bagwell a backbreaker, and that gets 2. Rude tags in, but Bagwell tries a sunset flip on him. The referee’s distracted, so Bagwell hits Rude with a dropkick. Bagwell misses the next one, RUDE AWAKENING, and that’s it at 7:55.
My Thoughts: Rude and Austin gave Bagwell and Zenk absolutely NOTHING. Good action, but no heat for the match. People didn’t give a damn about Bagwell or Zenk and it would have been difficult for anyone to get heat on them. **, clean finish, can’t complain. Hopefully some of these matches have more meat on the bone, because I can’t even drop any thoughts on them at this rate.
NWA Tag Team Championships Tournament First Round: Steve Williams and Terry Gordy vs. Jeff & Larry O’Day
Pre-Match Thoughts: Gordy and Doc get a chance to talk before the match, and they don’t give a damn about Australia nor their opponents being from there. They then talk about the Steiners, who they’d much rather face than these jabronis. Doc then called the Steiners QUEERS. CAN’T SAY THAT ON TV. Bischoff’s reaction to that was really good. I hope Williams and Gordy completely wreck these guys and give them absolutely nothing. They look like an inbred father and son. Sorry. Can’t say that either.
Match Review: Gordy gets in there with the older guy, Larry. He looks OLD AS FUCK. Larry puts a headlock on Gordy, who gives him a drop toe-hold and applies a half crab. Doc tags in, misses a charge to the corner, and in comes Jeff. Doc works this little jabroni over, folding him up with a back suplex. Gordy tags in, clotheslines the kid in the corner, but gets sunset flipped for 2. Larry makes a tag in, and gets wrecked by another back suplex. Haha. Doc tags in and destroys him with a double shoulderblock, then it’s time for the OKLAHOMA STAMPEDE. Doc picks up the fall at 2:35.
My Thoughts: I read this match was given to the O’Day’s as some sort of favor because the elder one was in a position of power. DUD. Don’t give a damn.
Before the next match, Jesse Ventura is going to interview Sting. Excellently, they show a video clip in which Big Van Vader took Sting OUT. I couldn’t find that one for my reviews. VADER FEARS NO MAN. FEELS NO PAIN. Anyway, Sting cuts a promo in which he says this upcoming match isn’t that big of a deal and that there’s nothing for him to be scared of. That’s the whole interview.
NWA Tag Team Championships Tournament First Round: Bobby Eaton and Arn Anderson (w/Paul E. Dangerously) vs. Dustin Rhodes and Barry Windham
Pre-Match Thoughts: It’s about damn time that we get a match of real quality. It’s nearly 40 minutes into the show and we haven’t had one, which is a bad reflection of the booking and placement. If you want to hook people into the show, you have to do better. Sting’s interview didn’t even do it. I’ve just noticed that there were separate heel and babyface entrances in the arena. Perhaps that could have been made more clear. Barry Windham looks extremely sunburned.
Match Review: Windham and Arn start this one, and Arn drives the shoulder into the gut. Arn takes him down with a headlock, but it’s back to square one shortly afterward, with Arn getting slapped in the face. Windham eats a knee on a charge to the corner, then Arn heads up top only for Windham to dropkick him out to the floor. I guess top rope moves are allowed because this is an NWA match. Okay. Eaton makes a tag in, and so does Dustin Rhodes. Dustin applies the wristlock, but Eaton hits him in the gut. Dustin hits him with three BIONIC ELBOWS, then a BIG BOOT sends Eaton over the top. The crowd does not like Paul at all. Arn tags in there, and Dustin catches his foot for an atomic drop. Arn needs a break, during which Windham tags in. Eaton kicks Windham as he runs the ropes, then tags in for a backdrop that gets 2. Arn tags in, but eats a foot when trying a backdrop and Dustin gets in there too. Dustin clears the ring, using a clothesline on Arn to do so. After that, Arn goes for a DDT, only for Dustin to block it with the ropes. Eaton nails him with a big right during that block attempt, then makes a tag in, dodging a cross body from Dustin shortly afterward. Paul gets a cell phone shot to the back in there, then Eaton heads up top for his FLYING KNEE DROP. Dustin kicks out at 2, then Arn tags in and stomps on his head. Arn puts him in a neck vice, which Dustin breaks with a jawbreaker. Eaton tags in for a BULLDOG, which gets 2. Eaton goes for another one, but Dustin throws him into the buckles. The referee doesn’t see the tag, but Windham pairs off with Eaton anyway. Arn drops Dustin with a SPINEBUSTER, then Eaton rolls in from the outside for a 2 count. I really thought that was it. Eaton heads up top, and comes down with a missed ALABAMA JAM. Dustin BULLDOGS him, and his team advances to the next round with a pin at 11:23!
My Thoughts: About time we got a good match, I really needed to see one because I was on the verge of shelving this review for a few days. They chose to put the right team over, however Arn Anderson got none of the stain from losing. Eaton basically took the whole loss. ***, Dustin was once again made to look great on television. That was quite the long-running trend. I think Bobby Eaton was clearly on the slide downward at this point too. The variety in his moves and quickness was gone.
Eric Bischoff and Missy Hyatt are here for some updates, and Missy tells us that the Dangerous Alliance will be participating in the NWA Championship tournament.
Doc and Gordy are back for another interview too. They said that the Puerto Rican team is outside and has been destroyed somehow. Sounds like Doc and Gordy decided to beat them up. Now, because of the bracket, it is made to appear that the Steiners win by forfeit and their second round match is against Gordy and Doc. Can we please have this match now?
NWA Tag Team Championships Tournament First Round: Silver King and El Texano vs. The Fabulous Freebirds (WCW US Tag Team Champions)
Pre-Match Thoughts: WCW still hadn’t gotten rid of those belts, which were about to become the third-tier titles. Silver King wound up in WCW later, I do believe. Not sure about the other guy. WCW was calling them THE SILVER KINGS. I actually don’t know how I’m going to review this match, because they look REALLY alike. The styles here don’t match, and it’s quite obvious to see.
Match Review: The Birds attack, and this one’s underway. Silver King hits Hayes with a dropkick, then the Mexicans set up a double team that winds up with Texano dropkicking Silver King in the face. Garvin tags in for a wristlock, but Silver King gets out of it and tags out. Now I can tell these guys apart. Texano dodges a dropkick, then shows some acrobatic ability leading up to a sunset flip block. Texano slams Garvin, then heads up top for a senton that misses. That was sick. Garvin gives Texano a suplex for 2, then Hayes tags in. Hayes struts around a bit, then Silver King tags in for a bodyslam and hilo combo. Great elbow drops after that. Texano tags in for a flying elbow from the top, then brings in his partner for a double chop and double wheel kick. Hayes backdrops Silver King, who takes him down with a drop toe-hold. Hayes counters and tags in Garvin, who takes Silver King down for a chinlock. Texano comes in to break it, then Hayes tags in. Texano hits him with a dropkick, but Hayes gets up. This is confusing. Silver King hits Hayes with a top rope dropkick for 2, then he knocks Garvin down with a wheel kick. Hayes trips Silver King, pops him with a left hand, and everyone’s in the ring. The Birds get thrown into each other, then dropkicked out of the ring. Now the opponents tease dives, and Hayes accidentally hits Garvin with a left hand. The camera work and everything here is just not good. Hayes cradles Silver King up, and that’s going to be it after 6:27.
My Thoughts: This wasn’t bad, but it wasn’t right either. They weren’t capable of working with each other, and all in all this was a mess. Few missed moves, bad commentary, and an obvious winner the whole time. *1/4. This show is really not good.
Before the next match, Ole Anderson is here to announce that the Steiners were given a bye. Great use of Ole Anderson, as little as possible is fine with me.
NWA Tag Team Championships Tournament First Round: Chris Benoit and Biff Wellington vs. Jushin Liger and Brian Pillman
Pre-Match Thoughts: Funny that Pillman and Liger would team together after their series of matches earlier in the year. Of course, this is the first appearance of Chris Benoit on these shows. I’m going to say a few things about that. I haven’t seen a single match of his since I killed his family. However, I will review things of his as they come along, just like anything else. Unless I’m unable to watch them without feeling sick, which I can’t really predict. The hard thing when it comes to Benoit is that his style of wrestling was a direct cause of what happened. Nothing can change my mind as to that being the case. I will never preface any other Benoit match by saying something like this. They could have called these guys the Albertan Connection or SOMETHING.
Match Review: Benoit and Liger start things off, and they fight over a wristlock. Benoit uses a fireman’s carry, then they have a test of strength that Liger uses a bridge during to get in an overhead throw. Liger takes Benoit down with some arm drags, then flips out of a backdrop. They trade missed dropkicks, and we’re back to square one as both guys make tags out. Wellington has a funny look. He wrecks Pillman with a shoulderblock, but Pillman comes back with a monkey flip and a dropkick to knock him to the outside. Pillman dropkicks him off the apron, then signals for a dive, only for Wellington to fly up to the apron and come in with a slingshot shoulderblock. Wellington follows that with a snap suplex, then tosses Pillman to the outside. Wellington tries to suplex Pillman back in, but instead Pillman SUPLEXES HIM OUT! They fight on the floor for a bit, then go back in for Pillman to make a tag. Wellington trips Liger and locks up the leg, then Benoit tags in there for a double wishbone. Benoit follows up with some hard chops, then wrecks Liger with a clothesline. Benoit hits Liger with an enzuigiri, then gets back out of there. Wellington picks Luger up and throws him over the top, but the referee wasn’t looking. Wellington tries a plancha, but he wipes out when Liger moves out of the way. Liger goes into the ring and waits, then monkey flips Wellington over. Pillman tags in, as does Benoit, who takes a big bump to the outside. Pillman waits for him to get back in there, but Benoit tries to go up top instead, only for Pillman to follow and destroy him with a BACK SUPLEX. Pillman goes up for a MISSILE DROPKICK, which knocks Benoit out of the ring. Pillman follows with a cross body from the apron, so Benoit has been taken out. Or not. He and Pillman trade chops for a while, then it’s time to get back in the ring. Wellington tags in, misses an elbow drop, and Liger then tags in. Wellington misses a charge and flies over the top, and Liger decides to fly off the top with a cross body! These guys were nuts. Back inside, Liger goes for a crucifix, but Wellington uses a Samoan drop for 2. Benoit tags in again, rams Liger into the buckles, and decides to pick him up for a TOP ROPE BACK SUPLEX that Liger reverses into a cross body. Liger hits Benoit with a spinning wheel kick to knock him out of the ring, and follows with an ASAI MOONSAULT! Pillman makes a legal tag in, but Benoit’s ready for him. Pillman goes for a cradle, but Wellington kicks him in the face and tags in. Wellington bodyslams Pillman, then heads up top for a massive dropkick that misses. THESE BUMPS. Liger tags in, gives Wellington a sloppy back suplex, and Benoit breaks up the pin. All four guys are in, or rather Pillman and Benoit are now chopping each other on the outside. Wellington continues to choke Liger, then they’re all back in the ring. Wellington and Pillman get thrown into each other, Liger slams Wellington, and flies off the top with a MOONSAULT for the victory at 11:31.
My Thoughts: There’s not exactly a lot of psychology when it comes to this match, but the moves in it were spectacular. It also makes the fans wonder why the hell top rope moves were being banned by WCW. Making the show deliberately more dull? It’s a good match, with tons of fun spots and huge bumps. I do think Wellington tried to make Liger look bad at points, specifically with the back suplex and bodyslam attempts. Oh well. ***1/2, best match so far. I won’t be forgetting this match anytime soon, given that the style hadn’t changed yet.
NWA Tag Team Championships Tournament First Round: “The Head Hunters” vs. Akira Nogami and Hiroshi Hase
Pre-Match Thoughts: These guys were absolutely not the Head Hunters. What happened was, the Head Hunters didn’t want to do a job to a New Japan team and decided not to show up. So, we get two guys in masks. That really sucks. Politics and wrestling seem to go together quite well, all things considered. I genuinely detest matches where I can’t tell people apart, like this one. Nogami had some great face paint on. Spectacular, even.
Match Review: One of the Head Hunters is more rotund. So, we’ll call them Fat and Lowfat. Fat is in there with Nogami, and Fat runs him over with a shoulderblock. The Hunters come in for double splashes in the corner, but Nogami flips out of a suplex and kicks Fat in the head. Lowfat tags in, catches Nogami, and drops him with a HOT SHOT. That’s followed up by a backbreaker, which gets 2. Nogami hits him with a spinning wheel kick, then tags in Hase for the first time. Hase kicks Lowfat in the head, then bodyslams him. Nogami flies off the top with a BIG SPLASH, then Hase goes up top for a double knee drop that misses. Lowfat clotheslines Hase a few times, and follows with a side slam for 2. Fat tags back in, and gives Hase a double suplex for 2. A Fat elbow drop gets 2, but Hase kicks him in the face. Nogami tags in for a dropkick, then they hit Fat with a double clothesline. All four guys are in, Nogami gives one a GERMAN SUPLEX and Hase gives the other a NORTHERN LIGHTS SUPLEX, which gets a double pinfall at 5:12.
My Thoughts: This wasn’t terrible, but this masked mystery tag team shit was so unbelievably dated. I can’t stand it now, and I remember hating it worse a few years ago. I just don’t care. It was difficult for the commentators to discuss these matches, as well as it being difficult for the wrestlers to do them and have a good match. *. I don’t know why they’d bracket this for Hase and Nogami to face the Freeebirds. What were they thinking?
Jesse Ventura’s in the ring for another interview, this time with Ron Simmons. He was there to talk about his goal of becoming the first black world champion. Perhaps fittingly, Harley Race walks out there with the Super Invader. Race said that Simmons needed to be a good errand boy and tell him a message for Sting. HE WON’T DO IT. Race says he’s the 7 time world champion, and A BOY LIKE HIM CARRIES THE BAGS. So, Simmons attacks him, only for the Super Invader to go to work. They double team Simmons for a bit, but Simmons fights out and clips Race’s knee. Invader eats a clothesline, then Race does too to a BIG pop. Hey, they just did more to get Simmons over than had been done in quite a long time.
Bill Watts is with Tony Schiavone in the ring, and Watts says Gordy and Williams had something to do with the Puerto Ricans being taken out. So, WE’RE GOING TO GET A SECOND ROUND MATCH RIGHT NOW.
NWA Tag Team Championships Tournament Quarterfinals: Terry Gordy and Steve Williams vs. The Steiner Brothers (WCW Tag Team Champions)
Pre-Match Thoughts: If I was watching this at the time, I would have expected WCW to screw me (the fan) out of watching a Steiner Brothers match. Instead, they obliged with something better than what they advertised. That’s out of character for WCW. This actually made WCW look good in a way, which wasn’t something people were accustomed to. Now, this match absolutely has to be better than the PPV match. They taped the show knowing the booking for the PPV, which made it seem like the Steiners couldn’t be beat.
Match Review: Rick Steiner and Terry Gordy start this one, and tumble into the ropes when Gordy tries a trip. That happens twice more, then a Rick trip brings them to the ropes. Gordy tries another trip, but resorts to a forearm to knock Rick down. Rick gets to the ropes, tags in Scott for the first time, and Scott tries a suplex only for Gordy to block it. Gordy takes him over with one, and Scott tries to bridge to a backslide, but can’t. Too much weight. Scott takes him down with a back suplex, and it’s time for Dr. Death to tag in. Doc takes Scott down, but Scott reverses and they get to the ropes. I really like this amateur wrestling. Rick tags in for a belly to belly suplex, which takes Doc out of the action for a bit. When he gets back in there, they struggle for a while until Doc pushes Rick in the face. Rick takes Doc down, then puts a crossface on him. Back to their feet, Doc slaps Rick, and gets taken down with a double leg. TIME FOR PUNCHES. Doc takes Rick’s back and pounds him with a forearm to the back of the head, then ruins him with a clothesline. Wow. Gordy tags in, and clotheslines him again for 2. Gordy clotheslines Rick in the corner, but Rick gives him a belly to belly suplex. Scott makes a tag in, and takes Gordy over with a backdrop. He hits him with a STEINERLINE, then dishes out a TIGER BOMB. Doc gets hit with a STEINERLINE on the way in, but Scott misses a dropkick. Gordy goes to an STF! Scott makes the ropes, then Doc tags in for a double team gutbuster. Doc drops an elbow on the back, and picks Scott up for a double backbreaker that gets 2. Scott tries to fight back, but Doc trips him and tags in Gordy for a huge POWERSLAM. Gordy locks up the left leg for a bit, then tags out. Doc and Gordy hit Scott with a DOUBLE SHOULDERBLOCK, which gets 2. Scott gets up and boots Doc in the face, so both guys are able to make the tag. Rick comes in, takes Doc out with a STEINERLINE to send him over the top, and TRADES BOMBS WITH GORDY. Doc runs in for an attack from behind, and it’s double team time for a second. Rick takes Doc down with a big powerslam, but the referee didn’t see Gordy tag out. That’s SMART. Rick and Doc tumble to the outside, and Rick decides to trade bombs with Gordy again. Doc and Scott are paired off, and Doc lines Scott up for a CLIP TO THE KNEE. Rick and Gordy are back in the ring, TRADING BOMBS AGAIN. Doc pulls Scott back into the ring, and picks him up for an amazing PRESS SLAM TO POWERSLAM that gets 2. Now, why did the referee count that? Scott has Doc in position for a BELLY TO BELLY, but Gordy clips him again and DOC COVERS FOR THE WIN AT 15:01! THE STEINERS CAN BE BEATEN.
My Thoughts: The crowd was totally not expecting that finish at all. Here’s my wrestling philosophy. The best booking is to shock and awe, but it’s rare to actually pull that off without it being terrible. However, when there’s a spot to do it, with an unbeatable team, and great opponents…THAT’S where shock and awe comes in. There are people who think this match is merely good, and I must respectfully disagree. This match is great, and much better than the Beach Blast match. First, they started off with the great amateur wrestling sequence that built up to the first big suplex. The suplex caused more amateur wrestling, which led to the punches. The punches led to violence. The violence leads to huge moves. Scott’s knee was targeted the whole time as well, so it made perfect sense for the Steiners to lose that way. I think the best thing about the match was that they had less time to fill than at Beach Blast. Therefore, they could go a lot harder with their effort and all that. Great stuff, and I think I’d go with a **** rating. Edging to higher.
This show was awfully strange, and I’m not that sure what to make of it. I don’t know why WCW wanted to bring the NWA back into the fold, it was the last thing they needed. Was it because of the international talent they could bring in? I don’t know why. In any event, there were three matches here that rocked, a good angle with Ron Simmons, and quite a bit of crap. Worst of all, some of the best talent in WCW was marginalized, or in the case of guys like Cactus Jack, not used or mentioned. They also had great talent from other companies that wasn’t used correctly. Basically, this was a show building towards the Great American Bash. Solely that, too. There were going to be a lot of tag matches there, and although I have seen that show before, I don’t remember it. I am not reviewing anything between this show and that show. I really disliked WCW’s idea to do a PPV every month, because they didn’t have the roster for it. Of course, that wouldn’t stop them from trying it in future years with worse rosters. Next up, I’ll jump back to the WWF and review some matches leading to SummerSlam.
Wrestling Time: 1:09:57. I thought there would be more, but there was one pointless interview segment and lots of updates about the status of the tournament.
Best: Doc and Gordy vs. Steiners. Some people may disagree, but this was the best worked match.
Worst: The Head Hunters thing really bothered me. More than it should have.
Card Rating: 6/10. Three good matches, but there was garbage here.