Hey everyone. Welcome to my review of the very first edition of NWA/WCW’s Clash of the Champions of the 1990s. This show features a masks-for-titles contest over the Tag Team titles, a six-men steel cage tag match in the main-event and much more.
Here is the list of champions in the NWA/WCW at the time:
- NWA World Heavyweight Champion: Ric Flair
- NWA United States Heavyweight Champion: Lex Luger
- NWA World TV Champion: Arn Anderson
- NWA World Tag Team Champions: The Steiners (Rick & Scott Steiner)
Enjoy the review!
The hosts are Jim Ross & Jim Cornette
Live from Corpus Christi, TX
‘Dr. Death’ Steve Williams vs. The Samoan Savage(w/ ‘Big Kahuna’ Oliver Humperdink)
Williams was getting over huge at this point, having recently been named #1 contender to Lex Luger’s US title. For some reason Jim Herd decided it was a good idea to have him be a real doctor, as we see a pre-match video package of Williams throwing someone into an ambulance and saving him. Good lord. Unfortunately he would leave the company shortly afterwards and that Luger feud never came to be. Dr. Death runs wild at the bell with numerous clotheslines and shoulder tackles before Savage catches him with a clothesline of his own. That opens the door for some Humperdink to get in some shots and Woman joins us at ringside. Standard heel spot follows and eats up a couple of minutes, with Dr. Death unable to escape a few times. Savage dumps Williams so that Humperdink can add some more cheapshots, before throwing him back in. Savage goes up but his splash finds nobody, and instead Dr. Death follows that up with a VERY impressive walking press slam. Williams was just on fire at this point in his career! He surprises the Samoan by wrestling him down to the mat with a backslide and that’s all she wrote at 7:55.
- Rating: This was perfectly acceptable for a Clash opener and considering how relatively short it was. I would have liked Dr. Death’s comeback spot to have been longer (easily one of the best comeback/hot tag guys in the business still to this day), and I will miss watching him on these shows. **
Promo: Terry Funk interviews the Four Horsemen – Ric Flair, Sting, Arn & Ole Anderson
Quick recap – Sting won the ‘iron man’ tournament at StarrCade 89, and the Horsemen embraced him in the group out of mutual respect. However, Sting decided to challenge Flair for a World title shot due to his win at StarrCade.
Ole Anderson wastes no time in getting to the point. He kicks Sting out of the group, but lets him live if he cancels the World title shot against Flair scheduled for that month’s WrestleWar PPV. Sting doesn’t want to give it up, but they give him until the end of the night to announce his decision. Flair grabs the microphone for one last warning. Sting refuses anyway, so the Horsemen beat him up to officially kick Sting off the group and turn heel. About time to bring back heel Ric Flair, his feud with Terry Funk was great but he was going nowhere as a good guy once that was over. Plus Flair is much better as a heel and a natural villain. Nice angle here.
Flyin’ Brian & The Z-Man vs. The MOD Squad (Spike & Basher)
The babyfaces are Brian Pillman and Tom Zenk, so I will call them by their more famous names. Pillman drops a knee to start and in comes Zenk to work on the arm. Off to Basher who eats a Zenk enziguiri for two. The heels catch Zenk and cut the ring in half working him over, until Pillman comes in for the save with the Air Pillman to clear the ring. The babyfaces continue with their kicks until heel choking cuts that off. Mucho heel choking on Pillman follows, as well as restholds. Spike goes up only to miss a flying elbow, which allows the hot tag to Zenk. He comes in running wild before putting Spike away with a high crossbody at 9:53.
- Rating: Another decent little match here. It was a basic extended TV tag match between the two established wrestlers and two enhancement guys. It did what it had to do. *1/2
Mil Mascaras vs. Cactus Jack Manson
Hey, look who it is. This is the official debut of one Mrs. Foley’s Baby Boy here on my reviews! Mascaras works in a fast bow and arrow to start, but… gives up and breaks the hold. Mascaras dropkicks Cactus instead, who takes a breather. Cactus is pissed and goes after Gary Capetta, grabs his chair and intimidates him. When he walks back still pointing at Gary, Cactus trips over the chair and lands on his ass in a really hilarious bit. That makes Cactus even more angry, and he gets back in only to get worked over yet again. Foley dumps Mascaras and sets up for the Cactus Elbow. He stops to taunt the fans though, but Cactus stops to taunt the fans while Mascaras rolls inside the ring. Once Cactus goes to do it he sees nobody there, turns around and Mascaras dropkicks him off the apron with Cactus TAKING A MOTHERFUCKING BACK BUMP ON CONCRETE. My god. Foley breaks the count-out back in because he’s nuts, but from there it’s only a matter of time. Mascaras puts him away with a flying crossbody at 5:00, with a nice headlock-like cover to really prevent Cactus from kicking out.
- Rating: They were definitely trying hard out there and I appreciate that. They went for technique, Foley did everything he could to stand out (including nearly killing himself). The comedy spot with Foley tripping over the chair was really funny, and I love how he used that humiliation to get even more aggressive. Also, I would like to point out the very nice detail on that pinfall, it made it look more legitimate. Brief but solid match. **1/2
Meanwhile, a band is giving a concert during the break and Foley beats them up before getting into a fight with the lead singer. I know he was actually going to work in the company, possibly to feud with Cactus (one would assume after this), but that never happened.
Falls Count Anywhere Match: Kevin Sullivan vs. Norman the Lunatic
They fight to the floor immediately with Norman sending Sullivan into the post. Back in for an assdrop and he goes up for a splash, but Sullivan moves out of the way. Sullivan dumps Norman back out with a dropkick and slams him on the floor for two. Sullivan destroys Norman’s bear and gives him a back suplex for two. Sullivan rakes the eyes, so Norman responds by headbutting him and choking him with his shirt. They proceed to fight all the way to the back, which the crowd boos. Oh joy. Gordon Solie is waiting for them in the back, and fight near the female restroom. A poor lady opens the door and runs away, so they take the fight there with Gordon and the cameras (and us) not following the action. Suddenly we hear a three count, and the ref comes out raising Norman’s hand, who was a toilet seat with him. Sullivan follows and takes a comedy face bump near Gordon. So yeah, Norman wins… off camera… at 7:26.
- Rating: I better get used to this now that we’re getting into 90s WCW. This was a horrible idea and made no sense whatsoever. 1/2*
Terry Funk interviews Lex Luger
Funk suddenly turns heel for this promo. Long story short, Luger wants to be a World champion and promises to get there soon. The segment wasn’t awesome as Luger was never a great promo guy, but it got the point across.
Road Warriors (Hawk & Animal)(w/ Paul Ellering) vs. The Skyscrapers (Mean Mark Callous & Danny Spivey)(w/ Theodore Long)
The LOD destroy a car in a pre-match video package. Speaking of debuts on my reviews, look who it is! Sid got injured a few months before this, and this new Skyscrapers member by the name of Mean Mark Callous would be in the WWF by that year’s November as ‘The Undertaker’. I’m sure you’ve heard of that gimmick once or twice, but we’ll get there. Spivey dumps Hawk to start and you just know that isn’t a smart move. And just as I type this, Hawk comes in and takes his head off with the mother of all shoulderblocks. Callous comes in to work some basic fundamentals with Animal. His work looks so smooth already, though you can clearly see Mark going easy on the veteran Animal with his rights. Mark misses a crossbody and both tag off to their respective partners. Hawk goes for a charge on Spivey in the corner but misses and eats buckle. Spivey goes after the arm and in comes Callous for Old School. Mark goes after the arm some more and goes for it again, but this time Hawk slams him off the top rope. Tag off to Spivey and hot tag Animal, who comes in running wild with a powerslam followed by an elbowdrop for two. He takes down both Skyscrapers with a double clothesline, at which point Callous comes in with a chairshot for the DQ at 7:26.
- Rating: A solid match while it lasted. Mark’s work looked solid despite him being so new to the business at this point. Not bad, but not as memorable as what comes next… **1/4
The new Skyscrapers absolutely destroy both Road Warriors with the chairs, including rare shots to the head. They then go for a spike piledriver to Hawk on the chair, but Spivey is just so bad that he completely misses the chair and ruins the whole beatdown angle, with even JR having to acknowledge it. I almost feel sorry for Spivey, he was in Sid’s shadow and then went from that to being on Mark’s shadow! Instead they beat the LOD with the chair some more before walking out.
NWA World Tag Team Championship – Titles vs. Masks: The Steiners (Rick & Scott Steiner)(c) vs. Doom (Ron Simmons & Butch Reed)
Simmons takes over on Scott to start only to get hit with a german. Off to Reed who also pounds away on Scott, who responds with a nice dropkick to send the masked heels bailing. Reed comes back in to slug away on Rick in the corner, but Rick backdrops him and goes after the mask. Simmons comes in only to miss a charge, as Rick suplexes him and brings in Scott. He makes the mistake of getting too close to the heel corner though, which allows Reed to clothesline him from the apron and give Doom control. They proceed to get some heat on the Steiners, even throwing Scott over the top rope behind the referee’s back. Simmons hits a good spinebuster followed by a double backdrop by Doom. Reed hits a piledriver for two. Scott gets dumped for some more heel shenanigans, followed by a Reed neckbreaker for two back inside. Scott hits the Frankesteiner from out of nowhere to make the crowd go bananas and the hot tag to Rick follows. Reed hits the Steinerline followed by a powerslam. Rick takes off Reed’s mask on a criss cross to reveal his face for a big pop. Rick knocks Reed into Simmons who falls off the apron, and rolls up Reed for the win to retain and unmask the challengers at 13:04. Simmons hesitates before unmasking as well.
- Rating: Good job here. I liked the finish and how they delivered on the bout’s stipulation. The set up for the Frankensteiner and the eventual Steiners hot tag was really well done too. Solid match and a great effort by all involved. And finally Simmons and Reed no longer have these stupid masks. ***
Main-Event – Six Man Steel Cage Tag Team Match: The
Four Three Horsemen (Ric Flair, Arn & Ole Anderson) vs. The Great Muta, Buzz Sawyer & The Dragonmaster(w/ Gary Hart)
This is a weird main-event, as the match was already announced but since the Horsemen turned earlier that night, this became a all-heels match. Sawyer eats cage in the first stages of the match, but blocks a charge and boots AA for an actual pop. Cornette immediately points out he never thought he’d see the day where Buzz Sawyer got cheered. Off to Flair for some chops on Dragonmaster. Muta comes in for the handspring elbow on Arn. All of a sudden the crowd gets up and starts going wild, and a few seconds later the camera shows Sting trying to get inside the cage with various babyfaces and staff preventing him from getting in. Flair completely turns his back into the action and gets up on the top rope to confront Sting. All of a sudden the crowd starts a LOUD ‘we want Sting’ chant that goes on forever, as the match becomes more and more of an afterthought. Arn DDTs Dragonmaster to end this at 6:10.
- Rating: More of an angle than a match, which gets even better after the match is done with. **
Immediately after the match, Flair leaves the cage and jumps on top of everybody to get into an epic brawl with Sting. The show goes off the air about a minute later with this chaotic and awesome angle still going, with the crowd on their feet cheering for Sting. Unfortunately he got legitimately injured during this very same segment, and had to be replaced at WrestleWar… Still a great angle nonetheless.
END OF THE SHOW
Final thoughts: As I said, it’s a shame that Sting got hurt and had to miss the PPV, but he ended up coming back shortly after the show. Lex Luger would end up replacing Sting as Flair’s challenger. As for this edition of Clash, it was nice and it featured some solid matches. More importantly, it built up the Flair/Sting main-event really well and it also allowed some future big stars to have their first experience on a major televised event. Nothing spectacular here, but a nice and effective TV show regardless. 6/10
Here are the points for all the wrestlers that worked this show. You can check out my point system here.
|Rick Steiner||3||1||0.5 for winning the fall|
1 for successfully defending a title
|Scott Steiner||3||1||1 for successfully defending a title||5|
|Arn Anderson||2||1||1||0.5 for winning the fall||4.5|
|The Z-Man||1.5||1||0.5 for winning the fall||3|
|The Great Muta||2||-1||1||2|
|Mean Mark Callous||2.25||-0.5||1.75|
|The Dragonmaster||2||-1||1||-0.5 for losing the fall||1.5|
|Cactus Jack Manson||2.5||-1||1.5|
|Butch Reed||3||-1||-0.5 for losing the fall||1.5|
|Norman the Lunatic||0.5||1||1.5|
|The Samoan Savage||2||-1||1|
|Spike||1.5||-1||-0.5 for losing the fall||0|
And that’s all, folks. As always, thank you so much for your time reading. Coming up next here on the blog is my review of WWF’s ‘The Main Event III’, featuring a Hogan/Savage rematch from WrestleMania V. After that, we come back to the NWA for the WrestleWar PPV. Stay safe!