Heading into Clash 20, it would appear that WCW was going the route of less being more. Less as in less money, less as in less matches on their big show, and also, less quality. However, this show actually brings the quality from what I understand. To say the lineup looks good would be an understatement. I’m most looking forward to the elimination tag team match, which features some great talent, along with the Super Invader. There was also a bit of controversy about what would be ahead for WCW after this show, but I’ll save that for next time. To the show!
– September 2nd, 1992, from Center Stage Theatre in Atlanta, Georgia
The opening video shows Gordon Solie with Andre the Giant, and aims to get over the 20 years of wrestling on TBS. They show clips of many old stars, before finally getting down to airing the show. Missy Hyatt is with Tony Schiavone, and there’s Gordon Solie and Andre the Giant too! Interesting to see Andre there. Ron Simmons shows up on the red carpet, and is made to look like a really big star. After that, we have Bill Watts and Hank Aaron there. Oh boy, knowing what that turned into. They got Bruno Sammartino there as well. This is hardly even a wrestling show at this point. Sting is there too, pulling up on a Harley Davidson. Finally we go into the arena, and Teddy Long is with Bill Watts and Dusty Rhodes. An Atlanta City Councilman was there to give him a proclamation. This is so weird. It’s what it looks like when a company jacks itself off.
Jim Ross and Jesse Ventura are the commentators for the matches, you know, the part that matters. Apparently there was a problem with the light heavyweight match, and it may not take place on the show at all. During the show, they said they’d have a poll about the top rope rule and decide whether or not to get rid of it.
Ricky Steamboat vs. Steve Austin (w/Paul E. Dangerously) in a NO DISQUALIFICATION MATCH for the WCW Television Championship
Pre-Match Thoughts: I’ve seen a bunch of these already, but this feels like the first one where a switch is about to happen. I don’t know if it will or not, and I’m being honest with that. Steamboat did need to get put over, I think. Austin had been the TV champion for too long, even with the short switch to Barry Windham. It’s so weird to see this show airing from the TV studio. Actually feels low rent. Before this starts, for some reason WCW wanted a kid to sing the national anthem. Johnny B. Badd was with the kid. Someone should have attacked Badd right here. Paul E. was put in a cage which was hanging over the ring. Wasn’t expecting that! It was funny seeing him have to be manhandled and thrown into the cage.
Match Review: Steamboat is still wearing rib tape, and Austin goes right to work on those. Steamboat comes back with chops, then hip tosses Austin out of the corner. He takes Austin down with a headlock, and when Austin gets up, Steamboat goes to a drop toe-hold. After more headlocking, Austin comes back with a hip toss. He lands an elbow drop, and tells Paul that he’s just fine. Steamboat kicks him in the face, and goes back to the headlock. Steamboat flips out of some back suplex attempts, but Austin pulls his hair instead to knock him down. Steamboat tries to go to the second rope, but Austin follows him for a strange looking flapjack. Austin follows up with a backbreaker, and the tape has been removed. Austin dishes out another one, and covers Steamboat for 2. Steamboat gets in some punches and tries to slam Austin, but he can’t pick him up and gets clotheslined. Austin goes to an abdominal stretch to work those ribs, but Steamboat won’t give up. He makes the ropes, then hip tosses Austin when the champion tries to go back to the hold. Steamboat rams the back of Austin’s head into the mat, then points at Paul E. before going to work with some chops. Steamboat comes off the second rope with a cross body, but Austin reverses for 2. Austin misses a dropkick, so Steamboat catapults him into the corner and covers for 2. Austin comes back with a trip and cheap cover for 2, then goes for a slam that Steamboat counters with a TOMBSTONE PILEDRIVER…or rather Austin counters that for a TOMBSTONE…or rather STEAMBOAT COUNTERS AGAIN FOR THE TOMBSTONE PILEDRIVER, getting 2! Austin rams Steamboat into the buckle and grabs the tights for a count of 2, then puts Steamboat on the top for a SUPERPLEX. Instead, Steamboat blocks it, throws Austin down, and flies off the second rope with a flying chop that Austin hits him in the gut during. Steamboat and Austin fight over a small package, getting 2 on that as well. A flying shoulderblocks gets 2 for Steamboat, then another gets 2. Austin throws Steamboat over the top, but Steamboat SKINS THE CAT back in, only for Austin to elbow and knock him over the top anyway. Steamboat then crawls under the ring, and Austin thinks he’s on the side of the ring that he’s no longer on. Steamboat takes advantage of the no DQ, heads up top, and comes down with a CROSS BODY for the TV TITLE VICTORY at 10:46!
My Thoughts: I thought this was a great moment, although I don’t like there not being a big crowd to witness the moment. This match was a lot of fun, started slow and picked up very quickly. The tombstone reversal was so commonplace at this time, but what wasn’t was the DOUBLE tombstone reversal. It was great to see Steamboat win the title, and that was a welcome change from what they had been doing with it. For all I know, they put it back on Austin. I hope not. ***. Good opener, but I have to wonder what it would have been like with a different crowd.
Before the next match, WCW intended to show us a few of the tag teams that had wrestled on TBS. They showed Dusty Rhodes and Ole Anderson facing the Assassins, with Ole turning on Dusty in great fashion. Jack and Gerald Brisco were on there too, a big surprise given the events of Black Saturday. They also showed the Fabulous Freebirds, this being the Hayes, Gordy, and Roberts variety. The real Freebirds. The Road Warriors were next, and it’s a bit odd for them to be promoting an active team like this. They weren’t wearing paint on their faces! The Rock & Roll Express were part of the package too, as the last team.
Lastly, we get a commercial for Halloween Havoc 1992. SPIN THE WHEEL, MAKE THE DEAL!
Greg Valentine and Dick Slater (w/Larry Zbyszko) vs. Arn Anderson and Bobby Eaton (w/Michael Hayes)
Pre-Match Thoughts: I was very confused as to the babyface/heel alignment of this match, so I didn’t know which team to put down first. After the entrances, I thought I caught on, but I didn’t. Michael Hayes was with Anderson and Eaton, presumably managing them. Now, I don’t think Michael Hayes was a heel. Valentine and Slater were almost always heels. The thing they have going is that Hayes knows all that needs to be known about Terry Gordy, so he’ll be able to pilot Anderson and Eaton to the tag titles. Hayes cut a great promo to that extent. Now, Valentine and Slater with Zbyszko blurs the line a lot. I’m extremely confused right now.
Match Review: Valentine starts with Arn, who goes to a hammerlock only for Valentine to elbow him. Eaton hits Valentine as he runs the ropes, then runs in for a double team. Slater clears the ring out with punches and elbows, rendering them the babyfaces. Well, okay. Slater hits Arn as he runs the ropes, then they double team! Haha. Eaton runs in to stop that, and I’m quite pleased at this moment. Eaton and Valentine restart the match properly, with Valentine gaining control and tagging out. Slater works Eaton over for a bit, giving him a swinging neckbreaker as well. A Russian leg sweep follows that, and Slater then covers Eaton with his feet on the ropes, getting 2. Arn tags in there, and they double team Slater for a bit. He puts a wristlock on Slater, who tags out for some double teaming of his own. Valentine grabs Arn and suplexes him for 2, then gets trapped in the wrong corner. Arn and Eaton trade some tags, and Valentine hits Arn with a bunch of elbows. Slater tags in, pulls Arn towards the outside, and hits the leg on the ring apron. Eaton walks over and smacks Slater around, right as Valentine puts Arn in the FIGURE-FOUR. Eaton drops an elbow on Valentine to break that up, and Arn hits Valentine with the SPINEBUSTER for 2. All four wind up in the ring, and the referee tries to stop Slater from double teaming Arn. Zbyszko winds up on the apron, swings his cast at Arn, and hits Valentine instead. Eaton flies off the top with ALABAMA JAM on Valentine, Arn covers Valentine, and picks up the victory for his team at 5:44.
My Thoughts: This wasn’t spectacular, but it got the job done. Lots of old school wrestling in this match, and not a whole lof of big spots or bumps taken by either team. They wanted to establish Anderson and Eaton again, not that they needed to. It worked. Slater and Valentine accepting Zbyszko’s help makes some sense to me, seeing as Arn and Eaton broke his arm. Otherwise, not a lot to see here despite the weird heel v. heel match. *1/2.
Jim Ross is with Bruno Sammartino, and he’s here to talk about REAL WRESTLING. Bruno looks older there than he does now in some ways. He called the WWF an embarrassment without saying their name, too.
Teddy Long was with Andre the Giant and Gordon Solie, then Bob Armstrong walks in to talk about the show. Thunderbolt Patterson does too, and it feels like Andre is really an afterthought in this segment. He didn’t even get to talk! Mr. Wrestling II made some comments as well. Lastly, Ted Turner did. I don’t care.
After a commercial, they’re going to talk about the WCW Light Heavyweight Championship. Brad Armstrong had suffered a knee injury, and could not compete. This is not what really happened. He was able to wrestle just a week later, so it’s a little confusing. They stripped him of the title, and apparently there would be a tournament held at a later date. Brad Armstrong was with Jesse Ventura for an interview, and was forced to say that he felt like he let his family down. Then, Brian Pillman shows up. I have no idea why. He said he was disappointed himself, and said this situation was a disgrace. He said his fans were supposed to rejoice in his victory, this was a great promo. He said Brad Armstrong was a piece of garbage, then called him a coward. Pillman was a natural heel, and I doubt anyone knew he was capable of something like this. He said that Armstrong made him sick, and he’s SCUM. Lastly, Pillman slapped his face. They never brought this title back, probably in part because of budget cuts diminishing the roster.
Now it’s time for a video package showcasing singles wrestlers from the TBS era. We have Dusty Rhodes, Stan Hansen, Ron Garvin, Tony Atlas, Magnum TA, Buzz Sawyer, Mr. Wrestling II, the Great Kabuki, Ted DiBiase, Bill Watts, Wahoo McDaniel, the Masked Superstar, Jimmy Valiant, King Kong Bundy, the Spoiler, the Iron Sheik, Tully Blanchard, Ric Flair, Terry Funk, Tommy Rich, and Roddy Piper were featured. Makes their roster look so bad for none of their people to be part of the video package.
This Halloween Havoc mini-movie is TERRIBLE. It’s the same one as earlier.
Cactus Jack vs. Ron Simmons for the WCW Championship
Pre-Match Thoughts: I find it interesting that Cactus was chosen as the first sacrifice. He certainly did fit the mold of being a legitimate challenger, and had just been in a big match at Beach Blast. Really, this is far better than some of the other ones he’d get. Before the match, there was a video package showcasing Ron Simmons. Not a bad idea. I believe I’ve seen this before. Cactus was actually very hurt heading into this match. Ole Anderson is officiating, which sucks.
Match Review: Cactus and Simmons lock up, and Simmons puts on the headlock. Simmons drops him with a shoulder, then goes back to the headlock. Cactus hits Simmons with a flying headbutt, then tosses him out to the floor. Cactus tries to follow, but Simmons is ready for it. Cactus decides not to attempt a dive, then scratches and bites Simmons when he gets in the ring. Ole eventually pulls Cactus away, but Simmons drives him into the corner. Cactus blocks a charge with his boot, then Simmons starts biting him. Simmons has another charge blocked, so it’s time for the CACTUS CLOTHESLINE! He follows that with a swinging neckbreaker on the floor, then brings Simmons back inside. Cactus goes for the DOUBLE-ARM DDT, but Simmons breaks free, only to get booted again. Next time Cactus tries that, he nails Simmons with a clothesline. Another clothesline follows that, then a third gets 2. Cactus goes to a chinlock, which Simmons evenutally breaks. Cactus headbutts Simmons, but you can’t headbutt the brothers, as they used to say. Simmons goes up to the second rope, and comes down with a facebuster for 2. Simmons follows up with a few flying shoulderblocks for 2, and they do a spot where Simmons backdrops Cactus for 2. That was weird. Simmons clotheslines him after that, but Cactus pulls him out to the floor. Cactus goes out there, and he slams Simmons on the floor. Now it’s time for the BIG ELBOW! Cactus delivers that, but Simmons is able to get up and roll in the ring. Simmons drops Cactus with a SPINEBUSTER, then shoots him into the ropes for his POWERSLAM, which gets 3 at 8:51.
My Thoughts: Unlike many Mick Foley matches, this served to make the champion look much worse. He did have a torn groin, and it was difficult for him to do his best, as hard as he tried. Simmons didn’t have a championship winning finisher, and I don’t think they could have made this work at all. He didn’t have the wrestling ability, and connection with the fans wasn’t going to be enough. His push should have been sustained building up to the title winning moment. **.
Now it’s time to talk about the new NWA Champion. They showed that Masa Chono had beaten Rick Rude in Tokyo. They didn’t exactly put Chono over strong. Or, at least, that’s what I thought. After showing his celebration, they showed some highlights from the match. This match looks like it may have been a great one, someday I’ll check it out. Rick Rude had a promo about the match, and it sounded like he’d get a rematch with Chono.
Butch Reed and the Barbarian vs. Dustin Rhodes and Barry Windham
Pre-Match Thoughts: This heel team is just about the strangest thing I’ve ever seen. I really like the Barbarian, but he could only be seen as a WWF reject at this time. Reed hadn’t been in the promotion for a year plus. Watts was brought in to cut costs, but this was going way too far when there were many other talents who could be used on the show. Cactus Jack was apparently going to manage the Barbarian! At least that’s how this promo makes it sound. Eventually, he introduced Butch Reed as the surprise partner. Well, that explains that.
Match Review: Awesome, Cactus is on commentary! Barbarian tries to shove Dustin into the corner, but Dustin comes back with punches and the like. Windham makes a blind tag, and clotheslines Barbarian. After that, he and Dustin hit both those guys with a double dropkick. Barbarian tries to come back with a press slam, but Windham cradles him up for 2. Reed tags in, and so does Dustin. Reed works him for a little bit, but eats a boot on a charge to the corner. Dustin misses a charge to the other side, and he flies out to the concrete. Reed throws him back in the ring, and the heels hit him with a double clothesline. Reed drops a fist, tags back out, and Barbarian drops Dustin with a backbreaker. Reed tags in, gives Dustin a swinging neckbreaker, and covers for 2. Reed follows up with a clothesline, then gets out of there. Barbarian picks Dustin up and runs him upside down into the corner, then drops him on the mat. Barbarian bodyslams Dustin, drops an elbow, and gets 2 on the cover. Reed tags in and hits Dustin with a double axehandle from the second rope, then goes to a chinlock. Dustin blocks a backdrop with an elbow, then backdrops Reed when Reed tries a piledriver. Reed and Dustin then clothesline each other, and both guys make tags out. Windham comes in with a backdrop of Barbarian, then nails him with a dropkick. Windham clotheslines Reed, then Barbarian gets one too. Windham goes for the SUPERPLEX, but Reed stops a cover. Windham then slams him off the top rope, and they hit Reed with a double dropkick. As the referee ushers Dustin out of the ring, Barbarian hits Windham with a BIG BOOT, covers, and picks up the victory at 8:15! BIG UPSET!
My Thoughts: This match was advertised as Dan Spivey and Barbarian, but Spivey couldn’t make the show. The match was fine, but I’m in awe of the booking. I couldn’t believe that they had the Barbarian win this match. He had just been let go by the WWF, wasn’t a big part of their programming…and they put him over Barry Windham? Some things I just won’t get. Perhaps it was contract related. **1/4.
After the match, Cactus Jack cuts a promo for both these guys, saying they’re coming for Ron Simmons.
Rick Rude (WCW US Champion), Jake Roberts, Big Van Vader, and the Super Invader (w/Harley Race and Madusa) vs. Sting, Nikita Koloff, and the Steiner Brothers in an ELIMINATION MATCH
Pre-Match Thoughts: This sounds awesome other than the one obvious flaw. There is another flaw, not quite as obvious, which is that many people in this match will be having to do a job when they shouldn’t be doing one. Maybe that’s the problem with the way wrestling was, and that guys should have been doing jobs the way they do now. I don’t think so, though. Before the match, we had a video package that showed Vader crushing Sting with a splash from the second rope and beating him for the WCW Championship. Jake Roberts attacking Sting was shown as well, as was Nikita Koloff and Rick Rude’s feud with each other. Finally it was time for the match!
Match Review: Rick Steiner will start with Vader, who mugs for the cameras for a bit. Eventually Vader starts stiffing him, and Rick returns the favor, leading to Vader blocking a charge to the corner. Vader comes out of there with a clothesline, then splashes Rick in the corner. A heavy clothesline follows that, but Rick comes back with a belly to belly throw! The Super Invader tags in, as does Nikita Koloff. Nikita pushes him towards the corner, then they do some collision spots, leading to Nikita shoulderblocking the Super Invader down. A cross body by Nikita gets 2, then Rude makes a tag in. Nikita grabs onto Rude’s arm, then tags in Scott Steiner for an armbar. Super Invader tags back in, and Scott drops him with a TIGER BOMB. Scott follows that up with a belly to belly throw, then signals for the FRANKENSTEINER, but Rude made a blind tag in. He clips Scott’s leg out, and gives him a swinging neckbreaker for 2. Roberts tags in for the first time and knocks Scott down with some punches, then gets back out of there. Vader comes in with clubbing blows to the chest, and nails Scott with a clothesline. Rude tags in and swivels his hips, but Scott drops him with a tilt-a-whirl slam. Roberts and Koloff make tags in, and Nikita runs him from corner to corner, eventually hitting him with a back elbow. Nikita slams Roberts, and hits him with a flying shoulderblock. Nikita runs the ropes, gets kneed from behind, and Roberts rolls him up for the fall at 7:26.
Sting runs in to attack Roberts, but Roberts is able to tag out and bring in the Super Invader. Sting backdrops and slams the masked man, then drops an elbow on him. Sting follows up with a face buster, and it picks up a 3 count after 8:03.
Vader runs in there, and Rick Steiner tags back in for a big STEINERLINE. Rick follows that up with the most massive GERMAN SUPLEX I’ve ever seen, and he leaps off the second rope only for Vader to catch him for a powerslam. Vader follows that up with a CHOKESLAM, then goes up to the second rope himself for a BIG SPLASH that gets 2. Rude tags in, so we have a situation of double Ricks in there. Rude puts Steiner in a front face-lock, and Steiner’s tag out was unseen. Vader illegally switches in, and he didn’t tag either. Vader slams Rick Steiner, then goes up to the second rope only for Steiner to slam him down! Vader comes back with a suplex try, but Rick counters and puts Vader on his SHOULDERS. NO WAY. Well, he couldn’t get him all the way up. Scott leaps off the top with a STEINERLINE, and the referee sees it, disqualifying him at 11:18.
Vader gets up first after that, and Rick clotheslines him over the top, following him in the process. Sting and Rude brawl in the ring, right as Rick backdrops Vader on the concrete floor. Rude walks over to Steiner and drops him with a RUDE AWAKENING, which leads to Steiner being counted out at 12:28.
Sting is all alone now, facing three guys. Vader tries to sit on him to block a sunset flip, but he misses. Roberts tags in and Sting smashes his face into the mat, then hits him with the STINGER SPLASH! Sting goes for the SCORPION DEATHLOCK, but Rude clotheslines him from the apron. Rude tags in, but Sting clotheslines him. He follows up with a face buster, which gets 2. Roberts has the SNAKE HANDLER’S GLOVE on, right as Sting gives Rude an inverted atomic drop. Sting follows with a slingshot suplex, then Vader flies off the top with an accidental splash of Rude. The referee saw it, so he disqualifies Vader at 14:20.
Jake then pulls Rude into the corner so he can tag in, and Roberts follows that up with the DDT on Sting. He covers, and wins the match at 15:17!
My Thoughts: This bout was shockingly carried by Rick Steiner and Vader, which isn’t exactly something I was expecting. They had some great power spots planned, and I thought it was awesome. They were also very creative in booking around the restrictions pertaining to which guys should be doing jobs. I guess that’s the only positive of the top rope rule. If they had been able to get Vader all the way on Rick Steiner’s shoulders, that would have been the spot of a lifetime. Perhaps it was lazy to book three non-finishes in a match with eight guys, but I don’t really mind. I actually didn’t know that Roberts went over Sting at any point, but that was a great way to make Halloween Havoc feel more important. ***1/2.
That match was by no means the end of the show. It was time to announce the results of their poll. 88% of people wanted the top rope rule gotten rid of. Did they get rid of it immediately? Well, no, not for a few weeks. Time for another Halloween Havoc hype video…THIS IS THE LONG ONE. I’ll leave the link in closing. SPIN THE WHEEL, MAKE THE DEAL. I simply cannot see Bill Watts having been in favor of this, nor do I know how to describe it. This completely destroys the credibility of the show. I’m not saying it’s not good, it’s great. I’m just saying.
This was unlike any of the other Clash events in that so much time was devoted to non-wrestling segments and video packages. It was actually quite strange. In some ways I don’t know what to make of it, but in others it was a welcome change from what was going on. The main flaw I see with this is that once again a big show was booked with the heels going over in the end, which doesn’t exactly leave people feeling good about a company afterward. WCW was going to start booking a lot of new guys, which I’ll talk about in my next WCW article. However, the taint of bringing in all these older men and putting them over guys like Barry Windham seems very bothersome to me. Next up, I’m going to hop over to the WWF for their post-SummerSlam events.
Wrestling Time: 48:53. It’s fair to say that there was not a lot of wrestling on this show.
Best: The elimination match. It was a lot of fun, with some great spots.
Worst: The red carpet segment. I thought it was incredibly masturbatory.
Card Rating: 7/10. Two solid matches, a great Halloween Havoc hype video, and some interesting things going on like Cactus Jack and Michael Hayes being used as managers.