Through the Years: WCW from Slamboree 1993 to Clash 23

Heading into Clash of the Champions, there were only a few weeks between Slamboree and that show. As such, the amount of matches and angles they ran leading up to it can be described as minimal. However, I fill gaps. That’s what I’m supposed to do. I’ll review all that I can, even though it isn’t much. There is one thing in particular that may be awesome, and that’s up first…

– Taped to air May 29th, 1993, on Worldwide, from the Civic Center in Montgomery, Alabama

Ricky Steamboat vs. Big Van Vader (w/Harley Race) for the WCW Championship

Pre-Match Thoughts: OBVIOUSLY this may be awesome, right? I had to choose whether or not this would be the only match I watched from this day. There was another where Sting and the British Bulldog faced Big Sky and Vinnie Vegas. Ha, I’m not messing with that. Steamboat and Vader seem to have styles that go together perfectly. I believe a feud came about as a result of this match, but I’m not entirely sure.

Match Review: Vader and Steamboat lock up, and Vader shoves Steamboat down. WHO’S THE MAN. Vader does that again, and crushes Steamboat with a shoulderblock. Vader hits Steamboat with a short clothesline, and follows that up with a press slam onto the top rope. Steamboat tries to get a chop in there, but Vader keeps things going. He splashes Steamboat in the corner, and Race gets in some choking with the ropes. Haha. Vader clobbers Steamboat in the corner, then Steamboat dodges a standing splash and goes for a sunset flip, which Vader blocks. Steamboat dodges Vader’s butt splash, then picks Vader up and drops him on his butt. Steamboat then leaves the ring and quickly gets in, but Vader gave chase, which leads to a Steamboat baseball slide and flying plancha. Race gets in the ring for some reason, and Steamboat atomic drops him over the top. Now Steamboat goes for another plancha, but Vader catches him and drops him on the rail.

After a commercial, we have Race beating up Steamboat on the floor. Steamboat gets back into the ring and chops away at Vader, but misses a dropkick and Vader drops an elbow on his nuts. Vader goes up to the second rope, and down he comes with a clothesline. Vader puts an abdominal stretch on Steamboat, but Steamboat won’t quit. Steamboat’s selling in this match is awesome. He fights back on Vader, but Vader forearms him to stop that. Vader picks Steamboat up and back suplexes him, but Steamboat kicks out at 2. Steamboat goes up to the second rope for a double axehandle, but Vader quickly cuts him off with another forearm. Now Vader goes up top, and down he comes with the VADER BOMB. Vader goes for another one, but this time Steamboat rolls out of the way. Now Steamboat goes up top, and comes down with a flying chop. Steamboat does that again, then a cross body puts Vader down for 2. Steamboat puts a FIGURE-FOUR on Vader, who screams at the ref about feeling NO PAIN. Race rakes Steamboat’s eyes, but Steamboat takes Vader over the top with a cross body. With both guys out there, they brawl for a while, until Steamboat flies into the rail. Vader splashes him on the floor, runs back into the ring and wins via count-out at 11:54.

My Thoughts: This match was going good places at the time it finished. Really liked what they were doing. Steamboat’s selling was perfect for getting Vader over as a monster. I don’t know why they were so persistent on the British Bulldog thing when they had a much better opponent for Vader in Steamboat. I guess it’s name power, but Steamboat was a big part of the WWF for years. So, I don’t really understand. Fun match, ***1/4.

Taped to air June 5th, 1993, on Worldwide

2 Cold Scorpio and Marcus Alexander Bagwell vs. The Hollywood Blonds for the WCW/NWA Tag Team Championships

Pre-Match Thoughts: I have no idea where this was taped nor do I really care. This is a rematch of their great bout from just a month before. There is no way I wouldn’t watch it, I mean…if this isn’t any good, I don’t know how that would even be possible. Scorpio and Bagwell were a strange team, but to me they paired up well.

Match Review: Austin and Bagwell start the match off, and Bagwell goes right to a hammerlock. He takes Austin down with it and knee drops that arm, but Austin elbows him. Pillman tags in and gets arm dragged, then Scorpio gets in there. Pillman tries to backdrop him out of the ring, but Scorpio gets on the apron. He comes in with a flying chop from the top, and it gets 2. Bagwell tags back in there, and has a backdrop blocked by Pillman. Austin tags in, and hits Bagwell with a back elbow. An elbow smash follows that, then Austin covers for 2. Pillman tags back in there, and draws Scorpio into the ring so they’re able to choke Bagwell. Pillman tags out, and we have a commercial. COME ON.

Austin and Scorpio are in there, and it looks like Bagwell has been injured as a result of a STUN GUN onto the rail. Now that we have a handicap match, Austin accidentally clotheslines his buddy. Scorpio cradles Austin up for 2, then Austin bails to the outside. Austin gets back in there and pops Scorpio with some punches, but Scorpio takes him down with a flying head-scissors. Pillman tags in and Scorpio hip tosses him, but Austin tags him with a clothesline from the apron. The Blonds make some quick tags here and there, and Pillman chokes Scorpio with the towel too. Scorpio comes back with a facebuster on Pillman, but Pillman maintains control by tagging in Austin. Austin backdrops Scorpio for 2, then drops him with a gourdbuster. Austin goes for another backdrop, but Scorpio leaps over and hits Pillman. He drops Austin with a back suplex, then goes up top for a TWISTING SPLASH that gets 2. Pillman comes in for some double teaming, which gets a disqualification I suppose. WHY? Anyway, Arn Anderson runs out there and beats down the Blonds. YES. Eventually Arn gets tripped by Austin and Pillman, but HERE COMES RIC FLAIR TO SAVE HIS BUDDY.

My Thoughts: What was here was good, but the ending angle was great. They built this Blonds vs. Horsemen feud up pretty well, it’s just about the only thing that even mattered in WCW. I don’t understand why they took Bagwell out of the match as it didn’t give Arn any more reason to run out there than he already would have had. In any case, this won’t be the only Blonds/Horsemen thing I’m checking out. **1/2.

– Taped to air June 5th, 1993, on WCW Saturday Night, from Center Stage theatre in Atlanta, Georgia

FLAIR FOR THE GOLD WITH JOHNNY B. BADD

Wow, Flair looks TERRIBLE. He has a tucked in t-shirt and slicked back hair. WHAT IS THIS? Badd looks so out of place here. Overall this was an abortion of a segment and I wish I hadn’t seen it. Couldn’t even make it through the whole thing.

Rick Rude vs. Kensuke Sasaki

Pre-Match Thoughts: This appears to be a non-title match. Rude has the US Championship stored in a briefcase so nobody can take it away from him. His win over Dustin Rhodes before Slamboree did not quite count. Rude looked very aged here. He also had bodyguards protecting that briefcase to keep anyone from taking it. Never seen this guy before.

Match Review: These two lock up, and Rude picks Sasaki up and slams him. Rude whips Sasaki hard into the corner, then starts calling him “BOY.” Now that’s mean. Rude beats Sasaki up in the corner, but Sasaki pushes him down and clotheslines him. Sasaki follows that with a backdrop, and wrenches Rude’s arm on the top rope. Nearly had a bad typo there. Sasaki goes to a wristlock, which turns into an armbar where he sits on Rude’s back while giving it out. Sasaki hip tosses Rude after that, and after Sasaki puts a wristlock on Rude, it’s time for a commercial.

Back from that break, Sasaki appears to have dodged a charge to the corner and is still working on Rude’s arm. He does a hip swivel while doing so, which cracked the crowd up. Sasaki shoulders Rude down a few times, then gets thrown to the outside. Rude goes up top when Sasaki gets back in there, and hits him with a big right hand. Rude follows that up with a suplex, but doesn’t fall on his back while giving it. There’s obviously something wrong with him at this point with his lack of flat back bumps. Rude goes to a chinlock, and when Sasaki gets out Rude cuts him off with a knee to the gut. Rick goes back to the chinlock, and lets go for a clothesline. Rude goes up top again, and lands a big right for 2. Sasaki shakes the ropes when Rude goes up there again, so he crotches him. Now Sasaki gives the poor guy a superplex, and Rude’s selling looks too realistic to me. Sasaki goes up top himself for a double axehandle, then flapjacks Rude. A knee lift follows that, then Sasaki powerslams Rude for 2. Sasaki then clotheslines Rude over the top, and they fight at ringside until Rude cracks the briefcase over Sasaki’s head, getting disqualified. Dustin Rhodes runs out there and gets the briefcase, but Rude opens it, takes the belt, and runs away.

My Thoughts: This wasn’t bad, but I can’t stop thinking about Rude’s back during his matches. He looked to be in a lot of pain and had completely changed his style of work. I find it interesting. The match was okay but no better than that. Sasaki was nothing great in the States, and Rude was a hurt opponent. It was a strange dynamic. **1/4.

FLAIR FOR THE OLD

It’s funny how this was supposed to be a Blonds match, but it was turned into something totally different. Pillman’s impersonation of Flair was great. Austin’s promo didn’t quite match up to that, but it wasn’t supposed to. Eventually Arn got tired of it. Austin’s big line was great. Arn smacked Austin, then threw him into the ring for some punishment. Pillman eventually whacked Arn with a cane, and Flair ran out there to chase Pillman away again. Not quite as good as I’d remembered.

– Taped to air June 12th, 1993, on WCW Saturday Night

LOST IN CLEVELAND

This is the full set of skits. Enjoy!

That last bit shows exactly how terrible WCW was. This is all I have, but WCW was going down the shitter real quickly. Paul Roma joining the Horsemen and being part of the program is a good example of that. There’s just so much. The Flair for the Gold stuff was so pointless, and only served to devalue Flair. I almost can’t take it. Whenever I get on my list and see a WCW article coming up, my stomach churns. Next, it’s King of the Ring 1993. Thankfully.

Best: Ricky Steamboat vs. Vader. Was a fun match, and there were more to come!

Worst: Lost in Cleveland. I found those skits quite offensive. They took something good Cactus did and turned it into that.

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.