Through the Years: Clash of the Champions 25

I’m going to skip a week or so worth of matches after Halloween Havoc to get right to this. I haven’t yet decided which topics of discussion to avoid or not, so this should be an interesting review. I also don’t know what’s on the card off hand. I’m stunned that I’ve seen 25 of these, and worst of all not a whole lot of them were very good. Given the state of WCW at the time, this is also not likely to be very good. Anyway, I should just get to it.

– November 10th, 1993, from the Bayfront Center in St. Petersburg, Florida

 

Apparently every single title is on the line. Oh dear. Rick Rude is facing Hawk! Steven Regal faces Johnny B. Badd! Sting and the British Bulldog challenge the Nasty Boys! Dustin Rhodes faces Paul Orndorff. Ric Flair challenges Vader! I thought Gene Okerlund wasn’t going to be on television. Anyway, he sure was, and he hosted this show. He plugged the hotline because that was his thing. There are a LOT of matches packed into this 90 minute show.

Road Warrior Hawk vs. Rick Rude for the WCW International Heavyweight Championship

Pre-Match Thoughts: I presume these guys knew each other for a very long time, but this was the first time they had a chance to face off in either WCW or the WWF. I don’t think this is likely to be any good. It’s extremely odd for a world title match to open up, but that’s where we were at this time.

Match Review: Rude and Hawk do a staredown, and Hawk pushes Rude back into the corner. I’ve just noticed that Rude has gained some weight. Hawk shoves Rude back into the corner a second time, and this match is literally nothing but stalling. So far anyway. Rude attacks Hawk after a while, knocking him down. Hawk no-sells a turnbuckle shot, then drives Rude into the buckle ten times. Hawk backdrops Rude, then slams him. Hawk suplexes Rude for 2, then throws him hard into the corner. Rude comes back with a backbreaker, then heads up top only for Hawk to get his feet up. Hawk clotheslines Rude over the top, then follows him out to the floor. They fight for a while, and hilariously the match ends with a double countout at 5:38.

My Thoughts: This match was terrible, and apparently it was because Hawk was hurt. Well, with that being the case, they could and should have changed the match. Hawk could obviously barely move and wasn’t in the business of taking bumps or running here. Super boring match, I’ll give it a DUD.

The Equalizer vs. The Shockmaster

Pre-Match Thoughts: What did I do to deserve this? I can’t think of a match I’ve seen over the last year that I’ve wanted to watch less than this one. I would have thought that the Shockmaster would disappear entirely after either tripping and falling or after War Games.

Match Review: Equalizer attacks and drives Shockmaster into the corner, so we’re underway. Equalizer chokes him with the ropes, then jumps on his back. I am embarrassed to be seeing this. Equalizer picks him up for a back suplex that gets 2, and I bet nothing is as close to as good as that. They do some terrible collision spots, then Shockmaster big boots him. Shockmaster follows up with a bear hug, then drops down to the canvas and gets the cover after just 2:29.

My Thoughts: I feel like pouring bleach into my eyes, that’s how bad that was. I don’t know why this show was booked like this, the opening matches aren’t supposed to be this bad. Anyway, rare negative for me. -*, will never watch that again.

Col. Robert Parker was there for a promo and said nothing’s gonna rain on his parade. Now that Steve Austin is under his employ, he’s sure the kid will go to the top. Austin and Parker became a thing because Sid was gone.

Johnny B. Badd vs. Lord Steven Regal (w/Sir William) for the WCW Television Championship

Pre-Match Thoughts: I haven’t seen Badd in a long time so I have no idea what to make of this. I don’t think Badd will be capable of wrestling Regal’s style of match. This might really suck. Now we’re in the era where Badd has to be taken as a serious wrestler, so I’m not really happy.

Match Review: When these two lock up, Regal smacks Badd across the face. Badd tries a wristlock, but Regal reverses to his own. Badd shoulders Regal down for 2, then hip tosses him for 2. Badd’s sunset flip gets 2 as well and it feels like the crowd thinks he may win. Badd takes Regal down with a headlock, then we get more chain wrestling that ends up with Badd taking Regal down with the headlock again. Regal goes to an armbar, but Badd flips out of it and arm drags Regal. Badd has the headlock on again, and takes Regal down for 2. Badd clotheslines the ropes with his neck after missing a cross body, then Regal pops Badd in the face with a left hand. Badd tries to fight back, but Regal hits Badd with some European uppercuts. Regal takes him over with a butterfly suplex for 2, then Badd lands his own left hand. Regal appears to be knocked out, so Sir William gets on the apron. William puts Regal’s foot on the ropes to save his title, then Regal rolls Badd up while grabbing the tights for the victory at 6:35.

My Thoughts: I really enjoy Regal’s chain wrestling, and it appeared Badd was up to the task of sticking with it. The finish was really weak, though. I don’t know why this show is what it is, but it just is and I’m going to have to deal with it. *1/2.

Steve Austin (w/Col. Robert Parker) vs. Brian Pillman

Pre-Match Thoughts: The Hollywood Blonds were very unceremoniously broken up when Parker decided he didn’t want Pillman to be his client. He only wanted Austin. That’s nowhere near the kind of program that two talents like that deserve. Anyway, Pillman attacked Parker and Austin subsequently attacked Pillman. They gave Pillman a jobber entrance here.

Match Review: Pillman attacks Austin immediately, then goes after Parker. Austin catches Pillman with a clothesline when Pillman turns the corner, but Pillman throws Austin into the railing. Back inside, Pillman takes him down with a backdrop and levels him with chops. Pillman also takes Austin down with a flying head-scissors, so Austin bails out to the ramp. Pillman follows, then Austin goes for a piledriver and gets backdropped. Pillman goes up top and flies down, but Austin boots him in the face. Austin then throws Pillman off the ramp into the rail, then they trade chops for a while. Austin drops a knee on Pillman as they’re on the floor, then things go back to the ring. Pillman flies in with a cross body for 2, but Austin picks him up and drops him throat-first on the top rope for 2. Austin chokes Pillman with the ropes, then goes to a half crab and grabs the rope. Pillman gets out of it, then they trade shots until the two guys collide with each other. Austin goes up top and Pillman crotches him, then Pillman goes up top for a superplex that Austin blocks. Austin gets dropkicked after jumping off the top, and Pillman’s cover gets 2. Austin goes for a powerbomb, but instead Pillman gives him a hurricanrana for 2. Pillman then tries to slingshot into the ring from the apron, but Austin powerslams him for 2. Austin misses a charge and hits the ropes, so Pillman DDT’s him for 2. Pillman goes for a crucifix, but Austin replies with a Samoan drop. Austin goes up top again, and this time misses a knee drop. Pillman’s Oklahoma roll gets 2, then Austin misses the STUN GUN and Pillman winds up on the apron. Pillman goes for Air Pillman, but Parker grabs his feet and causes him to trip and fall. So, Austin covers for the victory after 9:11. Afterwards, Parker and Pillman wound up in there at the same time, but Parker ran away. Don’t like that.

My Thoughts: Finally we get something of value on this show even though it’s nothing near what these two deserve for a blowoff match. That was a lot of fun even though the finish was screwy. I think Austin had to win this one. If he hadn’t, he would have lost all his momentum. Pillman didn’t look great in terms of presentation, but the match was all action. The crowd didn’t care much because they were already bored to death by the start of the show, but I sure cared. ***1/4.

Paul Orndorff (w/the Assassin) vs. Dustin Rhodes (w/Dusty Rhodes) for the WCW United States Championship

Pre-Match Thoughts: I’m glad they finally allowed Dusty to make an appearance on one of these shows. This would appear to be the perfect time for it as well. Dusty’s fingerprints were all over this show as it was, so I’m sure he’ll be the one to get over the most from this match. Not looking forward to this too much otherwise. Not enthused by Orndorff’s matches at this point.

Match Review: Dusty and Assassin act like they’re going to fight, which is the perfect way to start this. Dusty did take all the thunder judging by the crowd reaction. The two wrestlers lock up now, and Orndorff doesn’t break clean. Dustin slaps a headlock on him, then picks Orndorff up and slams him twice. Dustin takes him down with the headlock, and the Assassin is sneaking over towards Dusty like he’s about to do something. Orndorff reverses the headlock to an armbar, then a hammerlock. Dustin takes a while to reverse that to a wristlock, then drops a leg on Orndorff’s arm. Dustin throws Orndorff into the corner, then keeps the wristlock on him. Orndorff gets out with an arm drag, but Dustin trips him and starts working on his left leg. Orndorff gets up and rams Dustin into the buckle, then misses a charge to the other side. Dustin goes to a chinlock, which gets reversed to a hammerlock. Very slow match so far. Dustin eats a knee to the gut, then Orndorff back suplexes him. Orndorff follows with an elbow smash, then goes to a chinlock of his own. Dustin gets out and backslides Orndorff for 2, then clotheslines him for 2 again. Orndorff pulls Dustin into the buckle, then nails him with a clothesline of his own. He goes back to the chinlock, then Dustin clotheslines him for 2 once more. Dustin signals for the bulldog, and they do a terrible one that Orndorff appears to have countered. Dustin sunset flips Orndorff for 2, then Orndorff clotheslines him again. Orndorff wants the piledriver, but Dustin backdrops him. Orndorff gets up first and heads up top, but misses a knee drop. Dustin cradles Orndorff up, and that gets 3 at 12:15.

Now comes the good stuff I guess. Orndorff clotheslines Dustin over the top, and the Assassin posts Dustin. Dusty walks over and nails Assassin with some BIONIC ELBOWS, then throws him into the ring for a few more as the crowd goes crazy. Dusty tries to take the Assassin’s mask off, and Orndorff walks in with a roll of tape to hit Dusty with. The Assassin hits Dusty with the title belt, then Orndorff takes a few turns. Orndorff goes for a PILEDRIVER, but Dustin runs in and clotheslines Orndorff to save his dad.

My Thoughts: The post-match was fun and it was cool to see Dusty do those things in an environment where he was super over, but the match was extremely boring. I understand why it was boring, because they’d assumed everyone would be paying attention to the two guys who were on the outside. I don’t think that was a bad assumption. Anyway, there’s been three bad matches on this show and I feel like I may have been better off never watching this card. *1/4.

The British Bulldog and Sting vs. The Nasty Boys (w/Missy Hyatt) for the WCW Tag Team Championships

Pre-Match Thoughts: This is a match that may not suck. That makes me happy even if it really shouldn’t. People should never expect to see bad matches when they tune in to see a show, but with WCW that was becoming far more normal. The crowd has minimal remaining buzz after Dusty’s appearance. Missy’s look at this point was interesting.

Match Review: The challengers attack to start, and Bulldog throws Sags to the outside. While he’s beating Sags up and Sting is beating up Knobbs, Rick Rude sneaks onto the ramp and attacks Davey from behind. After giving Davey a RUDE AWAKENING on the ramp, Hawk runs out there to chase Rude away. Now Sting is basically fending off the Nasties by himself. Sting rushes out there to look at his partner, who appears to be injured. Sting carries Bulldog back to the ring, and now the match officially starts after five minutes or so. Okay. The Nasties stomp a mudhole in Sting, who comes back with a double clothesline. Sting dropkicks them both, then takes Knobbs and rams him into the buckle a few times. Sting heads up top, and comes down with a right hand to Knobbs’ head for 2. Sags accidentally elbow drops his partner when breaking up the cover, then Sting throws him out of the ring. Sting hits Knobbs with a back elbow, so Knobbs gets out of there. Sags gets hip tossed, and Sting drops an elbow on him for 2. Sting clotheslines Sags in the corner, as Bulldog is still injured. Sting drops Sags with a facebuster, then picks him up and slams him. Sting goes up top, but Knobbs runs over and knocks him off the top. Sags drops some knees on Sting, then tags in Knobbs for some elbow drops. Knobbs gutwrench suplexes Sting, then Sags throws Sting over the top. That’s cheating! Knobbs suplexes Sting back into the ring, but the cover only gets 2. Bulldog finally stands up on the apron, as Sting is caught in a bear hug. Bulldog wants to tag in now, so Sting reverses the bear hug into a belly to belly. Sags cuts Sting off from the tag, then throws him out to the floor. Knobbs chokes Sting with his jacket, while Missy distracts the referee. Knobbs puts a chinlock on Sting, who picks Knobbs up on his back and drops him down to the mat. Bulldog finally makes the tag in, and he powerslams Knobbs and Sags both. He dropkicks them both too, then gives them a double facebuster. A double clothesline follows that, then Bulldog DDT’s them both. Sting gets in the ring so Bulldog can press slam him onto the Nasties, then he picks Knobbs up and powerslams him. During the cover, Sags goes up top for the usual, and elbow drops Bulldog on the head. Knobbs covers Davey, and the champions retain after 8:41.

My Thoughts: I know they were going for the idea of Rude’s attack harming Davey Boy, but that’s totally not how it came off. Instead when Bulldog went crazy on offense, it completely diminished Rude’s attack on him and the Nasties were then able to pin him with a flying elbow to the head. That’s how it came off. Worst of all is that’s how Bulldog was presented the whole time he was in WCW. I can’t think of a single big win he received, and he was in a downward spiral from where he started up to this point. ** for the match.

Ric Flair (w/Fifi the Maid) vs. Vader (w/Harley Race) for the WCW Championship

Pre-Match Thoughts: Their plans both for this match and for Starrcade got completely botched by Sid going crazy. Anyway, the plan was for Flair to lose this, for Sid to cement a babyface turn, and for Sid to get revenge over Vader at Starrcade and win the title. But that’s not what happened. Ultimately due to the way TV was done in those days with everything being taped, they gave away the Starrcade main event on cable TV. Robert Parker was in the back saying that Steve Austin was going to challenge the winner of this match. So Flair decked him.

Match Review: Vader’s posturing before the match was awesome. Anyway, once it starts, Flair’s in the middle of bodyslamming Harley Race and putting a FIGURE-FOUR on him. Vader rushes back into the ring and splashes Flair, so now I wonder what happened during the commercial. Vader beats Flair up in the corner, and hits him with a clothesline too. Vader press slams Flair easily, then sets him up for the VADER BOMB. Vader said he’s going to torture Flair, so this isn’t over. Flair tries to come back with some chops, and eventually puts Vader on his butt with them. Flair runs head-on into Vader and crumples to the mat, then Vader follows up with a huge elbow drop. Vader clobbers Flair a little more, then throws him upside down into the corner. Race rams Flair into the rail, getting some payback for earlier. Vader goes up to the apron and misses a dive to the outside, which gets him crushed against the rail. Now Flair goes up top, and flies down to the floor with a clothesline. I like this new addition to his offense. Flair chops Vader down when they get in the ring, but runs into a big boot. Vader goes to the second rope, and misses an elbow drop. Thought for sure that was going to be something else. Anyway, Flair locks on the FIGURE-FOUR, but Vader makes the ropes and Race rakes Flair’s eyes. Vader picks Flair up and suplexes him, then crushes Flair with a big splash for 2. Vader goes to the second rope, but Flair slams him down for 2. Flair goes up top himself, and hits Vader with a right hand. Now Flair goes up top again, and there’s another. Flair ducks and causes Vader to clothesline the referee, then goes up top and gets caught on the way down. Vader puts him on the top rope for a SUPERPLEX, and it’s one of the biggest that I’ve ever seen. Vader sets Flair up for the MOONSAULT, but Flair moves out of the way. Flair covers and the referee crawls over to him in a way that makes it seem like he’s counted three, then he raises Flair’s hand too. However, he meant to disqualify Vader, so after nearly 10 minutes, that’s how it is. Race and Flair get into it, and out come Parker and Austin as well. Austin and Flair brawl with each other, then Flair gets double teamed until Dustin Rhodes and the Shockmaster run out there to make the save.

Mean Gene interviews Flair about next week’s WCW Saturday Night, where Flair says that he and Sid are going to face Austin and Vader. Man, that’s some bad false advertisement.

My Thoughts: I liked the match a lot, but that finish was so screwy and so bad. I’m shocked that after Sid’s incident, they put him over. That’s incredible to me. Flair did a great job in this match and so did Vader. They packed a lot of stuff into the time window they had. Still, the finish was absolutely outlandish. I don’t recall seeing one that bad in a long time. They explicitly had the referee crawl over to Flair while smacking the canvas three times. It was amazing. ***1/2, and as we now know, they could do even more given more time.

Other than two matches, I really could have done with skipping this whole show. It’s incredible that the show was booked in this manner, I really thought WCW was past this point. Worst of all is that they ran a PPV just a few weeks later that I have to watch next. Not looking forward to Battlebowl at all. Anyway, I’m going to eventually come back to the matches between those shows, but it isn’t time yet. I was disappointed by this card and not really looking forward to anything else ahead as a result of it.

Best: Flair vs. Vader with the caveat of the terrible finish.

Worst: The Flair vs. Vader finish. I don’t even know.

Card Rating: 4/10. The two good matches saved it some, but it was impossible to redeem this one.

Written by Sage Cortez

Sage is a boisterous Los Angeles sports fan. Unsurprisingly, like many other loudmouth LA fans, he also likes the Raiders and a range of combat sports.