After Starrcade, it’s time to check out what WCW had taped, as well as a thing or two from their joint event with NJPW over in Tokyo. I don’t know what the Clash 18 lineup was, so I’m interested in finding that out over the course of watching these matches. Of the most importance was that Lex Luger wound up giving notice to WCW that he’d show up for his last match at SuperBrawl 2. He also was not advertised, nor did he show up for any matches until then. The WON I found this in said that Luger quit so that he could join the WBF, seeing as he didn’t have a bodybuilding contract of any sort. After the year was over, and his WCW contract expired, he’d join the WWF. That’s just about how things went down. Time to get to the action!
– Taped to air January 4th, 1992, on World Championship Wrestling, from Center Stage Theatre in Atlanta, Georgia
Arn Anderson (w/Paul E. Dangerously) vs. Dustin Rhodes (WCW Tag Team Champion)
Pre-Match Thoughts: I have the feeling that I’m going to be watching a lot of great stuff, and this appears to be something that could fit into that mold. WCW really went to a TV programming format where they’d have very long matches on TV in 1992. They did seem to be even more common before Bill Watts took over.
Match Review: These two lock up, and here we go. Arn runs Dustin over with a shoulderblock, causing a reset of sorts. Arn then takes Dustin down with a headlock, and Dustin reverses to a head-scissors. Arn gets out of that, and they reset again. They trade wristlocks, and do a hammerlock sequence that ends with Dustin applying the hold. Arn elbows Dustin to break it, but Dustin arm drags him and Arn winds up having to reverse a wristlock into a head-scissors. Dustin reverses that into the hammerlock again, but Arn headbutts him. Dustin then blocks a charge to the corner, and decides to head up top, but Arn crotches him. Arn goes for the SUPERPLEX, but Dustin blocks it and knocks him to the canvas. Dustin hits Arn with a flying clothesline from the top, and Arn regroups. When Arn gets back in there, he knocks Dustin to the outside. Dustin drags him down and wraps his leg around the post, and goes back in for a leg lock. DUstin slaps a spinning toe-hold on Arn, so Arn has to go to the eyes. Dustin trips him anyway, and puts Arn in a FIGURE-FOUR! The crowd wants Dustin to break Arn’s leg, but Arn makes it to the ropes. Dustin pulls him away from them, and keeps working on the leg even still. Arn comes back with a knee, but his legs hurt too much to keep standing. After more work by Dustin, Arn gets up again and has a hard time doing much of anything. He misses a charge to the corner, so Dustin pops him and beats him up. Arn comes back with the SPINEBUSTER, but it only gets 2. Arn then throws Dustin hard into the corner, hurting his side. Arn throws Dustin to the outside next, and Paul clocks Dustin with his cell phone! Arn throws the kid shoulder-first into the post, and brings him back in for a series of stomps. As Jim Ross says, Arn is trying to put Dustin out of action and force him to vacate the tag championships. Makes a lot of sense, you know. Arn continues to work that left arm, until getting booted in the face. Dustin tries to fight back with one arm, but gets pushed off a monkey flip attempt. Arn then hits him with a double axehandle, but Dustin kicks out at 2. Arn goes to a short-arm scissors, and Paul helps him again with another telephone shot that gets 2. The fans are ANGRY. Arn throws Dustin out of the ring again, and wants to end his career. Instead, Dustin backdrops his way out of a piledriver attempt. Now they go back in, and Dustin lands a series of punches for 2. The crowd is HYPED. Dustin heads up top, and Arn goes to slam him down, but Dustin puts a sleeper on him. Arn drives Dustin back into the corner, but Dustin BULLDOGS him. He goes to cover, and out comes Bobby Eaton for ALABAMA JAM. Arn rolls over onto Dustin, and Ricky Steamboat runs out to tell the referee Eaton attacked Dustin. Now Eaton and Steamboat fight and wind up on the floor, as Dustin puts Arn in an abdominal stretch. Arn reverses that, then Eaton trips Dustin for 2. Steve Austin is at ringside now to deal with Steamboat, and HERE COMES BARRY WINDHAM. He deals with Eaton and Austin, and the referee throws the match out at 19:56. Larry Zbyszko comes out from the back, and we have a big four on three going now. Eventually, a four on one. HERE COMES RON SIMMONS! HE CLEARS THE RING OF THE DANGEROUS ALLIANCE, WHAT A PROGRAM WE HAVE NOW!
My Thoughts: This was a spectacular TV match, and quite a sign of things to come. These guys worked their holds for a really long time, but what mattered most is that they sold those holds. There was also a really hot finish to the match. I can’t think of a better singles match for Dustin that I’ve seen, and it was absolutely his best to this point given all the tape I’ve watched. ****, the ending was PERFECT. I thought it was dumb that they made fans wait until another show to watch the finish, especially when the show was taped and able to be edited. Recommended in any case.
TERRENCE TAYLOR QUITS THE YORK FOUNDATION
Before Taylor’s squash match, he and Alexandra York had some comments on the previous episode, in which she said she had time and money invested in Taylor. They finally played up her sex appeal too. After his squash, he said that he was quitting the York Foundation. He said the computer was stupid, and broke it. He wasn’t turning babyface, though. The fans didn’t quite understand that.
– Taped to air January 4th, 1992, on Worldwide, from Georgia Mountains Center in Gainesville, Georgia
Ron Simmons vs. Steve Austin (w/Paul E. Dangerously) for the WCW Television Championship
Pre-Match Thoughts: This sounds potentially very fun. Simmons was done with his injury, and ready to give it another go at getting a singles run. I like seeing Paul accompany the Dangerous Alliance members to every match as I know he’s certain to get involved during them.
Match Review: These two lock up, and Austin takes Simmons down with a headlock that he reverses to a head-scissors. Austin makes the ropes, then Simmons runs him over. Austin responds with a knee to the gut, but Simmons shoulderblocks him again for 2. Simmons takes Austin down with a headlock this time, and Paul’s on his phone. I WONDER WHY? They fight over a wristlock after that, and Simmons picks Austin up to drop him on the top rope. Austin dumps Simmons to the outside, and is able to go to work on the arm when Simmons gets back in there. Paul cracks Simmons on the wrist with it, which is where Simmons had some problems and why he was out. Austin keeps trying to break it, and when Simmons tries to fight back, his hand hurts too much to keep punching. Simmons uses forearms instead, and goes for a charge to the corner that misses. Austin goes to the second rope, and Simmons drops him with a sick catch powerslam on the way down for 2. Simmons hits Austin with a knee lift, but Austin goes to the eye. Simmons plants Austin with the SPINEBUSTER, but Paul E. distracts and there comes Eaton for an ALABAMA JAM that gets a DQ at 7:12.
Ricky Steamboat runs down to deal with Eaton, but in comes Arn Anderson this time. Now Dustin Rhodes hits the ring, and so does Larry Zbyszko. Barry Windham shows up again, and we have a similar ending to the match on the main show.
My Thoughts: This was a nice match, even though it was very short. Seems like something they could have done at the Clash, although there were bigger plans for Austin. I believe the point of this ending was to get to those people who didn’t watch the other show. This way, both shows ended with similar brawls, and nobody felt like they missed anything. **1/4.
– Taped to air January 4th, 1992, on WCW Pro
Marcus Alexander Bagwell gets ATTACKED
After Bagwell’s squash match, he was brought to the interview platform with Jim Ross. Of course, Paul E. walks out there and starts talking up his Dangerous Alliance. He said that on behalf of Steve Austin, he was there to allow Bagwell to challenge for Austin’s TV title. Bagwell rejected the opportunity and said he wasn’t ready. What a goof. Paul E. had a big cast, saying that this is what happened to the last person who got on his bad side. After talking down to Bagwell, Bagwell decides to bring up Sting and said he’s been taking advice from him. That made Paul very angry. Bagwell slugged him, so here comes the Dangerous Alliance! They were all wearing tuxedos, and it was time to beat Bagwell down. Paul wants his guys to put handcuffs on Bagwell, so they do. Here comes Sting! He clears everyone off the stage, but Rick Rude runs out from the back and deals with Sting, giving him a RUDE AWAKENING on that platform. Now it’s time for Sting to go to school. Rude throws him into the guardrail, and beats him up with the cast until going after Bagwell. Sting was also handcuffed to the rail, and his friends had to show up to get Rude out of there.
– January 4th, 1992, from Tokyo Dome in Tokyo, Japan
The Steiner Brothers vs. The Great Muta & Sting
Pre-Match Thoughts: Sting and Muta seems like a mismatched team. This is supposed to be a fantastic match, so it got my attention. I decided not to watch anything else from this show as there wasn’t a lot here that appealed to me. Don’t care how bad that sounds. My version of this has Japanese commentary, but maybe they all do. I always like seeing novelty matches where guys like Sting face the Steiner Brothers or Road Warriors.
Match Review: Muta spits blue mist into the air, and I guess he’s going to face off with Scott. Scott takes him down with a trip, but Muta gets right back up and hits Scott with an enzuigiri. He follows with a spinning kick, and there’s a dropkick too. Muta misses a dropkick, so out he goes. Rick tags in too, and he hip tosses Sting. After a big STEINERLINE, Rick heads up top and flies down with the BULLDOG for 2. Sting comes back with his own stiff clothesline, and follows with a facebuster. Sting then picks Rick up over his shoulders and runs him hard into the corner, and misses the STINGER SPLASH. Scott tags in, and he decides to give Sting the TIGER BOMB. Scott follows that with a tilt-a-whirl slam that gets 2, and goes for a TOMBSTONE PILEDRIVER only for Sting to reverse it into his own. Sting drops the elbow for 2, then Muta tags in and elbows Scott from the top. Muta drops his own elbow, and locks on an armbar. Scott gets out and picks Muta up for a back suplex, then Rick tags in. Rick puts Muta on the top rope for something, and it’s a BELLY TO BELLY THROW. Rick follows that with a RELEASE GERMAN, and it gets 2. Scott tags back in there, and gives Muta a pumphandle slam. Next up, is a TOP ROPE SAMOAN DROP! Scott locks in a dragon sleeper, then picks Muta up in powerbomb position, as Rick leaps off the top with an elbow drop at the same time for 2. That’s a great double team move. Rick picks Muta up again, runs him hard into the corner, and covers for 2. Rick goes to a chinlock, then brings in his brother for another belly to belly suplex. An elbow drop follows that, and Scott throws Muta to the outside. Rick gives Muta a belly to belly on the floor, but Muta comes back with a back suplex on Scott when he gets back in the ring. Sting and Rick tag in there, and there’s the STINGER SPLASH. Muta runs in for his HANDSPRING ELBOW, but Rick catches him and drops him with a German suplex that gets 2. Great spot there. Scott tags in, and all four guys are in there now. Sting and Muta drop Rick with a DOUBLE FACEBUSTER, then Sting picks Muta up in press slam position, throwing Muta on top of Rick and sending them both over the top. Sting then dives off the top to the outside onto Rick, and Muta gets in the ring to do the same to Scott. This is very nice! Now Muta and Sting celebrate, so the Steiners leap off the same turnbuckle with a shoulderblock onto them both. Scott and Sting do a spot where Sting victory rolls Scott up, and simultaneously Rick drops Muta with a belly to belly suplex. The covers are at the same time, but the referee only counted Sting’s, so he and Muta win this one at 11:03.
My Thoughts: This was very good, with lots of great spots. There wasn’t a lot of structure or psychology to it, just guys throwing each other around. It was fun and I liked it. It wasn’t really long enough, but I don’t mind that either. I needed to see something like this after the September WWE matches I’d been watching. ***3/4, just a notch below Dustin/Arn. I didn’t really understand why Rick did his bulldog finisher so soon into the match, but that’s the kind of thing the Steiners usually did.
– Taped to air January 11th, 1992, on World championship Wrestling, from Center Stage Theatre in Atlanta, Georgia
Rick Rude (WCW US Champion), Arn Anderson, and Larry Zbyzsko (w/Paul E. Dangerously and Medusa) vs. Ron Simmons, Ricky Steamboat and Dustin Rhodes (WCW Tag Team Champions)
Pre-Match Thoughts: There were two six-mans from this weekend and I thought this was the more relevant of the two, given that it was on their main show. The other one has Bobby Eaton in place of Zbyzsko, but I don’t mind the difference in the two. The Dangerous Alliance had a great new theme. Simmons was a good fit with Dustin and Steamboat too. He brings THE POWER.
Match Review: Arn and Steamboat will start, and how great that sounds to me right now. They lock up, and Steamboat goes to work with chops. Arn eats elbows from the other guys, and has to take a break. When he’s ready again, Steamboat hits him with a superkick. Arn comes back with a snap mare and knee drop, then heads up top so Steamboat can crotch him and dropkick him to the outside. Rude and Zbyzsko run in, and they get cleared from the ring. Simmons then picks Arn up and throws him into the ring, and Arn wants a timeout. Rude tags in, and Steamboat arm drags him. Dustin tags in and comes off the second turnbuckle with an elbow, but Rude takes over with knees and forearms. Rude eats a knee on a charge to the corner, so Dustin goes up to the second rope and comes down with a flying clothesline for 2. Dustin arm drags Rude next, and here comes Simmons. Simmons hurts Rude with a wristlock, and follows with a shoulderblock for 2. Zbyzsko finally tags in, as this match is actually well past the halfway point. Simmons picks him up for a bear hug, but Rude runs in to break it up. Then, Simmons clotheslines Zbyzsko, and gives Rude an atomic drop to stop his gyrating. Simmons is working these guys over big time. Steamboat tags in and chops Zbyzsko from the top, then heads up again and Arn pushes him to the canvas. Rude tags in and works on Steamboat’s back, giving him a bodyslam and a clothesline that gets 2. Arn tags in, launches Steamboat into the corner, and backdrops him for 2. Arn and Zbyzsko double team for a bit, but wind up running into each other. Dustin tags in and has big rights for all of them, then some ELBOWS. Dustin clotheslines Zbyzsko, and everyone’s in the ring now. Zbyzsko winds up getting triple teamed, and Steamboat gets pulled to the outside. Dustin bulldogs Zbyzsko, and gets the 3 count at 9:27, but Eaton comes off the top with ALABAMA JAM onto him after the cover. Zbyzsko follows that with a BRAINBUSTER on Dustin, and he looks…out of it.
My Thoughts: This was very fun, and once again was very well booked. I liked how the finish wasn’t exactly the same as the others. Dustin going over was very smart too. Obviously, there’s far more to this program and it will all be fleshed out in time. As for the match, this was a good choice of six. ***, easily. The way these guys could work, it was a perfect match.
– Taped to air January 18th, 1992, on Worldwide, from State Fair Arena in Birmingham, Alabama
Cactus Jack & Abdullah the Butcher vs. The Steiner Brothers
Pre-Match Thoughts: This sounds like it could be very fun. I mean, Cactus and the Steiners could wind up with Foley taking some of the sickest bumps I’ve seen. Will Abdullah take those kinds of bumps too? I really wonder. Let’s see what happens, but I dig this. Maybe just the idea of this. Also, as you can see, Cactus and Abdullah didn’t stop teaming with each other just because they fought.
Match Review: Rick and Cactus will start, which scares me a little. Rick pounds on him, but Cactus hits him with a hard elbow. After that, Rick takes him down with a belly to belly suplex. Scott tags in, and so does Abdullah. Scott knocks Cactus and Abdullah around, giving Abdullah a bodyslam. Scott suplexes Abdullah for 2, but Abdullah starts beating him up and applying a nerve hold. Cactus makes a tag in, and Scott gives the poor guy a hip toss. After a belly to belly throw, Rick tags in and Abdullah does too. Abdullah doesn’t get in the ring, so Cactus resorts to a leapfrog body guillotine. Now Abdullah hits Rick with a kendo stick, but does the same to Cactus on accident. Rick hits Cactus with a STEINERLINE, and that gets the victory for the Steiners at 4:58. After the match, we get another brawl between Cactus and Abdullah!
My Thoughts: This was just about what I expected, and it was definitely fun. The brawl after the match was too. WCW programming at this time was extremely entertaining, and this was a great addition to their regular shows. You’d usually get good comedy and a good brawl out of matches with Cactus and Abdullah in there. **.
Ricky Steamboat vs. Steve Austin (w/Medusa) for the WCW Television Championship
Pre-Match Thoughts: These guys had a ton of matches, and I absolutely cannot resist watching them. This one has the added impact of Medusa being at ringside. In addition to that, there’s a story issue here that builds and builds into something great.
Match Review: These two lock up, and wind up breaking. Now they stare each other down, and Austin has a punch blocked. Steamboat gets in some, but Austin sunset flips him. Steamboat counters for 2, and gives Austin an atomic drop. A victory roll by Steamboat gets 2, then Steamboat trips and tries a jackknife pin for 2. A small package gets 2, and so does a rolling cradle. Steamboat shoulderblocks Austin for 2, and does so again for 2. A superkick sends Austin to the outside, what a start we’ve had. Steamboat follows with a dive through the ropes, and when they get back in the ring, he cross bodies Austin for 2. Steamboat then dodges a cross body, and Austin goes to the outside again. Steamboat tries to slam Austin back into the ring, but Austin flips out and tries a back suplex, then Steamboat flips out of that and puts a sleeper on Austin. A Steamboat cradle gets 2 again, but Austin kicks him into the buckles and backdrops him. Austin bodyslams Steamboat, then heads up top, only for Steamboat to slam him down. Steamboat heads up top, and comes off with his flying chop. He punches Austin in the corner, getting in 10 of them. Medusa tries to kick Steamboat, but Steamboat blocks it, only for Austin to clothesline him. Austin picks Steamboat up and drops him on the top rope, then they trade chops. Austin gets the better of it by resorting to punches and elbows, but Steamboat throws him across the ring. Austin throws Steamboat to the outside in response, and hits him with a double axehandle from the apron. After a rail shot, Steamboat has to slowly make his way up to the apron. Austin suplexes him in for 2, but Steamboat comes back with a sunset flip that gets 2. Austin fires up to his feet for a clothesline, and follows that with a gutwrench suplex for 2. Steamboat goes to a back suplex, and there’s one minute left. Steamboat and Austin collide with each other, then Austin blocks a bodyslam and gets 2. Austin slams Steamboat himself, misses an elbow drop, and Steamboat gives him a swinging neckbreaker right as the bell rings at 10:00. Austin keeps his title!
Austin goes on the attack even though the match is over, and calls in Medusa. She kicks Austin on accident, and winds up in there with Steamboat. Steamboat gives the idea that he might hit her, but she rolls out of the ring.
My Thoughts: Steamboat giving the impression of hitting Medusa is something that happened more than just this one time. It actually became a regular story element for a while. This was a match that was much different than the previous match between the two that I reviewed, but they messed up the timing and didn’t have a climactic finish. Maybe they weren’t supposed to. **3/4, another good match. The opening sequence with all the pins was excellent.
– Taped to air January 18th, 1992, on World Championship Wrestling, from Center Stage Theatre in Atlanta, Georgia
Steve Austin (WCW TV Champion) & Bobby Eaton (w/Paul E. Dangerously) vs. Sting & Marcus Alexander Bagwell
Pre-Match Thoughts: I have to get this straight. So, Bagwell wasn’t ready for a title shot at Austin. Yet, he faced Rick Rude in a non-title match, and is facing Austin and Eaton in this match. He also faced Austin in the first place. I guess that makes some sense. Sting didn’t wrestle on TV that often, or at least in anything that I would have watched.
Match Review: Bagwell and Eaton start things off, and Eaton smacks the kid around. Bagwell retaliates, and Eaton looks a bit surprised. Bagwell puts a headlock on Eaton, and shoulders him all the way across the ring. He hip tosses Eaton next, so Austin makes a tag in. Sting tags in too, and he gives Austin a hip toss. Eaton gets one too, then both guys are given a facebuster by Sting. Austin and Eaton take a break, and when they’re ready to fight again, Austin drives his shoulder into Sting. Sting goes for a STINGER SPLASH after dishing out some punishment, but he misses and has to elbow Austin and Eaton instead. Sting arm drags Eaton and puts an armbar on him, before tagging in Bagwell. Bagwell does the same, then takes Eaton down with a nice arm drag. Bagwell gives one to Austin too, and applies a hammerlock. Paul has a problem with the crowd wanting Bagwell to break Austin’s arm. Austin hip tosses Bagwell, but Bagwell goes back to the arm. Sting tags in there, and does a sick bump when he misses a cross body and flies over the top. Eaton keeps Sting out there for a bit, and sends him into the post. He throws Sting back inside, and Austin decides to choke Sting with the ropes. An elbow from Austin gets 2, then Eaton tags in. He drops an elbow, and brings Austin back in. Sting tries to fight his way out of the corner, and brings in Bagwell. Bagwell backdrops Austin next, and hits him with a hard elbow. Bagwell clotheslines Austin next, but Paul trips him. Austin then drops an elbow on the back of his head, and Sting puts a sleeper on Paul. So, Eaton and Sting start brawling, then the rest of the Dangerous Alliance comes out and deals with Sting for his transgressions. As that goes on, Austin gives Bagwell the STUN GUN, and pins him for the win at 10:58.
The Dangerous Alliance continues to beat these two up, and Paul decides to whip Bagwell with his belt! Dustin Rhodes, Ron Simmons, and Ricky Steamboat then run out, and chase the Dangerous Alliance away.
My Thoughts: This wasn’t really a prime case of somebody being carried, but I feel like Bagwell did very little in this match in comparison to what the other guys did. The match was fine besides that, although it felt a lot shorter than 10 minutes. Good appetizer for the Clash show, which was the entire point of the match. **1/2, lots of solid wrestling in these couple weeks.
– Taped to air January 18th, 1992, on WCW Pro, from State Fair Arena in Birmingham, Alabama
Cactus Jack vs. El Gigante
Pre-Match Thoughts: The freakshow aspect of this makes this a must-see for me. I don’t even know what’s in this match. It might be terrible. Probably will! El Gigante was hardly being used at this particular time.
Match Review: These two comically look up, and Cactus starts laughing after being shoved. Cactus tries a back suplex, but Gigante squashes him in the corner instead. He bodyslams Cactus, and hits him with a clothesline. Cactus rakes Gigante’s eyes, one of which was damaged (not really) from a match with Vader. Cactus keeps working on the eye, but Gigante comes back with punches and a big boot. Cactus winds up on the apron, and Gigante slaps THE CLAW on him. The referee counts to disqualify El Gigante at 2:23, then some jobbers try to help Cactus Jack. Eventually Abdullah comes down to the ring, and he whacks Gigante with his kendo stick. Gigante takes it and hits Abdullah and Cactus with it, until referees come down to stop it. After that, once again, Cactus and Abdullah get into one of their very random brawls.
My Thoughts: The Cactus and Abdullah storyline is hilarious on every level. This match was a DUD, but I love this. It’s so funny. Jim Ross saying it was like the Hatfields and McCoys was perfect.
To finish this article off, the news had broken that Jim Herd handed in his resignation. He was first asked to take another job in the Turner setup, and when he refused, he resigned. He was replaced by Kip Allen Frey, who didn’t meddle in wrestling affairs. WCW had lost millions with Dusty in charge. It was also said that Jim Crockett’s increased role in the company helped to turn things around from an entertainment perspective. Makes sense to me seeing as Dusty wasn’t able to do it. One thing that I should mention, seeing as I watched a lot of his matches, was that Steve Austin really did look like the future of the business in a lot of ways. I can’t really explain it, but his improvement as a wrestler was enormous. Next up, it’s Clash 18!
Best: Arn Anderson vs. Dustin Rhodes. Definitely.
Worst: Demise of the York Foundation.