Hello everyone and welcome to my review of the eleventh NWA/WCW Clash of the Champions. This show is main-evented by Ric Flair vs. Junkyard Dog for the NWA World title, Mean Mark taking on Flyin’ Brian Pillman, Rock ‘n’ Roll Express vs. Midnight Express for the US tag straps, Doom vs. Steiners for the World belts and much more.
Here is the list of champions in the NWA/WCW heading into this show:
- NWA World Heavyweight Champion: Ric Flair
- NWA United States Heavyweight Champion: Lex Luger
- NWA World TV Champion: Arn Anderson
- NWA World Tag Team Champions: Doom (Ron Simmons & Butch Reed)
- NWA United States Tag Team Champions: The Midnight Express (Bobby Eaton & Stan Lane)
Enjoy the piece!
The hosts are Jim Ross & Bob Caudle
Live from Charleston, SC
The Fabulous Freebirds (Michael Hayes & Jimmy Garvin) vs. The Southern Boys (Steve Armstrong & Tracy Smothers)
The crowd is super hot for everything before they even get going. The Freebirds jump the Southern Boys before the bell, but they turn things around and connect with stereo forearms followed by backdrops and shoulderblocks to clean house. The Freebirds stall and that allows Garvin to take control back in. Smothers charges but eats knee and Garvin gets one. Bodyslam gets one more. Hayes comes in for the double-teaming but Armstrong comes in with a high crossbody to both heels at the same time. And the Freebirds bail yet again. Hayes comes back in but stalls and stops to mock the crowd before asking for Smothers to tag in Armstrong. The latter gets the better of Hayes, but goes up and Garvin comes in to knock him down as Hayes follows it up with a clothesline. Garvin with a backbreaker for two. Hayes comes in and grabs a hold on Armstrong’s arm. Steve eventually blocks that, but Hayes quickly puts him back down and drops an elbow for two. Back to working the arm goes Hayes as the crowd wants the hot tag. Hayes goes up only to get slammed off à la Flair. Tag to Garvin and there’s the hot tag for the babyfaces as well. Smothers comes in with a backdrop and even Hayes gets some as Smothers is running wild. Flying back elbow to both followed by the good ol’ double noggin knocker. Armstrong gets in to help but only succeeds in distracting the ref and him missing his partner rolling up Garvin, while Hayes comes in and breaks up the pin with a clothesline. Garvin connects with a knee to Smothers and covers while the ref is distracted with Hayes, so Armstrong connects with a flying headbutt to Garvin’s back before putting Smothers on top for the win at 7:29.
- Rating: Decent enough opening match with a really hot crowd. **1/2
Bam Bam Bigelow(w/ ‘Big Kahuna’ Oliver Humperdink) vs. Tommy Rich
Bigelow bullies Rich who keeps slugging away. Rich goes to work in the corner before Bigelow turns things around with an atomic drop out of the corner. Military press slam and Bam Bam chokes away, completely ignoring the ref’s count for the DQ at 3:46. Bigelow throws Rich around some more before saying at the camera “I kill everybody”.
- Rating: Not much to say here. Just Bam Bam showing his superiority before the abrupt DQ ending. DUD
Big Van Vader is coming soon. Oh shit!
Meanwhile, the debuting El Gigante cuts a lovely babyface promo in Spanish. Oh joy, moving on.
Samoan SWAT Team (Fatu & The Samoan Savage) vs. Mike Rotunda & ‘Z-Man’ Tom Zenk
The Samoans jump the babyfaces before the bell much like the Freebirds in the opening match. Rotunda manages to block and hiptoss Fatu on the ramp, though. Savage comes in but ends up going nowhere as well, walking into a Zenk slam followed by a dropkick to send the Samoans bailing. Rotunda connects with a high crossbody to Savage, but he turns it around and gets two. Fatu works the usual Samoan nerve hold, before bringing him back up and hitting a clothesline. The Samoans double-team Rotunda before he escapes and manages to reach Zenk for the hot tag. Zenk goes for the double noggin knocker which obviously goes nowhere (why would you do that to a couple of huge Samoans). Savage then goes after the illegal Rotunda in the ring, who counters with a cradle that the ref counts anyway for the win at 5:25.
- Rating: This was a major upgrade compared to the Samoans’ snoozefest at Capital Combat, with the crowd reacting to everything they did. The match was fine, the finish was stupid. **
Mean Mark Callous(w/ Paul E. Dangerously) vs. Flyin’ Brian Pillman
Mark throws Pillman into the barricade to start. Back in for more abuse, with Mark sending Pillman into the buckle and dropping an elbow for two. Pillman chops away only to get caught in a sideslam. Mark misses a charge and opens the door for a Pillman comeback, which ends up going nowhere as Mark powerslams him to stay in control. Legdrop follows but Pillman moves out of the way and connects with a dropkick. Mark tries to dump him over the top rope but Pillman skins the cat back in à la Steamboat and catches Mark with a missile dropkick. Mark puts Pillman away with a stungun at 5:40.
- Rating: Another short match that did exactly what it had to do. Decent work while it lasted. **1/2
NWA United States Tag Team Championship: The Midnight Express (Bobby Eaton & Stan Lane)(c)(w/ Jim Cornette) vs. Rock ‘n’ Roll Express (Ricky Morton & Robert Gibson)
Gibson and Eaton lockup to start. They get to the ropes and Gibson gives the clean break, but Eaton complains about some non-existant hair pulling. Another lockup goes Gibson’s way who gets in a quick armdrag. Eaton manages to hit a shoulderblock. Criss cross but Gibson leapfrogs over him, hiptosses him and follows it up with a flying headscissors. Gibson keeps him grounded with the headscissors for a while but Eaton manages to tag Lane in. The fresh Lane hits a savate kick and a superkick to the side of the head. Gibson tries a kick, Lane blocks and catches his foot, only for Gibson to surprise him with an enziguiri. And in comes Ricky Morton. Headlock by Morton, shoulder takedown, off the ropes and a hiptoss by Morton. Lane pounds away in the corner only to miss a charge and walk into a backdrop. Lane rakes the eyes and brings Eaton back in, but Morton armdrags him and keeps him on the mat with a hold on the arm. Eaton pushes Morton by the hair all the way to the ropes, and then whacks him on the clean break to take control.
Morton slides between Eaton’s legs and catches him with a surprise dropkick immediately followed by a hurricanrana. Eaton bails and goes over to Cornette to talk some strategy. Tag to Lane who walks into an armdrag. Off to Gibson, who also goes to work on the arm. Lane tries to escape by going after the hair, but that earns him an atomic drop that sends him all the way to his partner as they crack heads. Lane with a drop toehold takedown that Gibson turns into a headlock before tagging Morton in for a roll-up that gets two. Morton armdrag that Lane escapes by raking the eyes. Eaton easily pounds the vulnerable Morton down once he’s in. Eaton sits Morton up on the top rope for a superplex, but Morton lands on his feet and turns it into a backslide, which is broken up by Lane who comes in from behind to send Morton into the buckle. That draws Gibson in as well. The Midnight Express double-team the illegal Gibson with a double backdrop. They go for another one, but Morton sneaks in to backslide Lane while Gibson turns Eaton over into a sunset flip for a double pin that only gets two. IT’S BREAKING LOOSE IN TULSA! Cornette gets up on the apron and brings the heels into the corner to slow down the babyfaces’ momentum, which actually works. Lane gets tagged in but gets armdragged by Morton. Cornette distracts the ref while Eaton climbs to the top rope for a double-team move on Morton, with Eaton jumping off the top and just taking Morton down with him by the hair! Eaton with a reverse vertical suplex as the Midnight Express cut the ring in half. Perfect necksnap by Lane immediately followed by an Eaton elbowdrop gets two. Eaton misses a charge though, allowing Morton to finally bring in Gibson for the hot tag. Lane gets the tag for his team as well but Gibson is in house-cleaning comeback mode. Nice kneelift takes Lane down and even Eaton gets a shot on the apron. Flying clothesline but Eaton comes in to break up the cover. Morton sacrifices himself to clean the ring, leaving it down to the legal men. Gibson works the leg while Morton slams Eaton throat-first into the railing. Lane sends Gibson crashing into Morton though, who goes flying off the apron to the floor. Meanwhile Eaton slowly gets back up to break up a Gibson sleeper with a shot to the back of the head, allowing Lane to fall on top while Corny has the ref distracted. It only gets a nearfall. The babyfaces connect with a double dropkick on Eaton, but Lane grabs the ref’s arm before he can count three, drawing a DQ instead so they can keep the belts at 12:08. The babyfaces give their comeuppance and stand tall afterwards to close the segment.
- Rating: Unsurprisingly good match between perhaps the two teams with the strongest chemistry in the entire history of tag-team wrestling. The finish, despite being a little bit lame, makes sense psychology-wise as Lane kept the titles by doing what he did when he was never going to break up the pin in time to begin with. Though there are much better matches between these two teams – including earlier in this year – this was still a good showing. ***1/4
Barry Windham vs. Doug Furnas
Here he is. Barry Windham, returning from the WWF after that brief and weird run as ‘The Widowmaker’ that went nowhere. Good lord. A test of strength obviously goes Furnas’ way and a shoulderblock puts Windham down. Furnas sunset flip gets two and Windham is out of there for a breather. Windham rakes the eyes but gets backdropped, followed by a press slam and a lariat for two. Windham bails and Furnas brings him back in, only for Windham to respond with his own (even harder) lariat. Suplex gets two. Furnas plants Windham’s face and gets a couple of nearfalls with a number of power moves. Furnas completely misses a dropkick though, and Windham catches him with a backdrop suplex to steal it at 5:40.
- Rating: Not bad power of the bulls here. Furnas was super green though, and it’s quite clear if you look at this match, but it’s fine otherwise. **3/4
Lex Luger vs. Sid Vicious(w/ Ole Anderson)
Stone Cold Lex Luger gets an insane pop on his way to the ring. Holy! Sid tries to attack Luger from behind, but Luger takes his head off with a clothesline for the win already at 0:26.
- Rating: For your information, in case you don’t know, Sid was injured here. So that should explain it. I can’t rate a match that features a clothesline and a clothesline alone! N/R (no rating)
NWA World Tag Team Championship: Doom (Ron Simmons & Butch Reed)(c)(w/ Theodore Long) vs. The Steiners (Rick & Scott Steiner)
Scott and Simmons start. Scott runs wild and hits an INSANE fallaway moonsault slam, followed by one to Reed as well. How is that possible? HOLY SHIT! Simmons takes advantage of the run-in and pounds away, but Scott responds with a Steinerline to the back of the head. Reed comes in and tries to leapfrog over Scott, but Scott immediately turns around and backslides Reed for two. Scott Steiner, calm down man! Apparently he doesn’t feel like doing so, slamming Reed over and over like he’s nothing. Reed wants NO part of Scott and tags Simmons back in, and so does Scott to Rick. Simmons cheats to take over but eats an overhead belly-to-belly. Rick roll-up gets two but he finds himself in the heel corner close to Reed, allowing Simmons to cheapshot him from behind and turn things around. Off to Reed who hits a spinning neckbreaker for two. A massive lariat nearly takes Rick’s head off. Rick goes for the hot tag but Doom throws him over the top rope behind the ref’s back for the ultimate heel dick move! He eats post on the outside as well. He tries to go for the comeback back inside, but Reed catches him with a suplex followed by an elbowdrop for two. Reed tries to work a chinlock for a while that goes nowhere and then misses a charge, allowing Rick to hit a middle-rope flying double axehandle. Here’s the hot tag to Scott who runs wild with some incredible looking dropkicks followed by the powerslam. Meanwhile Long gives Reed an illegal weapon while the ref is distracted with Rick. Reed punches Scott with the weapon, knocking him out and allowing Simmons to get the winning pinfall for the win to retain the belts at 11:19.
- Rating: The sky is blue, the water is wet, the Steiners & Doom killed it again. This match was a bit different compared to the PPV match at Capital Combat, which was more physical and hard-hitting, but it was equally great in my personal opinion. Scott Steiner was just on another level at this time in his career, less than a year into his NWA/WCW run yet already one of the most unique wrestlers in the whole industry. He was the highlight and the most exciting part of any match he was apart of, and this was no exception. But make no mistake about it, all wrestlers played an important part and helped make this match be as good as it was. Incredible yet again. ***3/4
Arn Anderson vs. Paul Orndorff
Orndorff holds Arn’s TV title before the bell, trying to throw Anderson off his game. An early headlock is won by Orndorff who works over into a backslide for two. Orndorff holds Anderson in a sleeper, which Arn reverses only to get taken down into figure-four position for two. Orndorff goes to work on Arn’s leg but walks into the deadly AA spinebuster. Arn pounds the back and works an abdominal stretch. He grabs the ropes for some illegal assistance, stopping when the ref goes to check if he’s grabbing them before finally getting caught. I always enjoy things like these. They collide for a double KO spot, with Arn being the first to come back up as he hits an atomic drop. Orndorff comes back with a couple of kneelights and elbowdrops for two. Orndorff flying splash only meets Arn’s knees, who rolls him up to steal it only for Orndorff to reverse it and roll over to get the win for himself at 11:39.
- Rating: Solid non-title bout between two experienced workers. Nothing out of this world, just competent enough work with a number of nice spots, such as Arn’s heel work holding the ropes during the abdominal stretch. Good enough. **3/4
Main-Event – NWA World Heavyweight Championship: Ric Flair(c)(w/ Ole Anderson) vs. The Junkyard Dog
Yes, JYD. In 1990. Yawn. Flair chops away but JYD sells none of them and keeps overpowering Flair down. JYD shoulderblock, Flair drops down… but JYD goes down as well and meets him with a headbutt on the floor. That was nice. A super weak “uppercut” dumps Flair who then Flair flops on the outside. Ric, your effort is appreciated, but that shot (if I can even call it one) looked horrible and is so not worthy of a Flair flop. Flair gets back in and begs for mercy on his knees, and a number of chops are no-sold. JYD “pounds away”, and then very… slowly… gets up on the ropes to pound some more. JYD follows that up with a horrible looking clothesline – basically Flair walking into it – while JR says “JYD is not being very scientific, he doesn’t know a wristlock from a wristwatch”. No need to apologize, Jim! Flair rakes the eyes to turn things around, and follows that up with a Flair kneedrop… which is no-sold. Oh gimme a break. Flair chops are completely ignored again as JYD pounds away for a second Flair flop. Backdrop and Flair has had enough. I don’t think you’re the only one, champ! Flair snaps the neck and grabs a chair for a shot to the head while Ole distracts the ref… and JYD no-sells it. End this, please. Flair asks for mercy yet again and JYD pounds away in the corner some more. Off to the corner for a Flair flip but he flies right into a JYD right hand. And another backdrop. Ole gets up on the apron and that earns him a shot, allowing Flair to cheapshot JYD from behind. Flair goes up but obviously gets slammed off. JYD headbutt but Ole runs in for the DQ at 6:37. Jesus christ.
- Rating: Nope. 1/2*
Sting and Luger run in to save JYD from a Horsemen post-match beatdown, and Sting issues the challenge for The Great American Bash. Now we’re talking! Sting beats up Flair for a while to close the show.
END OF THE SHOW
Final thoughts: There is good stuff from this show that is more than worth your time. The highlight is another great Steiners/Doom encounter, but there’s also another good Midnight/RNR bout and nothing is actually bad… until the main-event. I challenge you to find a Ric Flair match from the mid 80s all the way up to the mid 90s that is even half as bad as this was. JYD looked horrible, out of shape, slow, and was way out of Flair’s league to be in the main-event with him at this point. This is one of those shows that is not bad, but does suffer a little bit from its negative ‘how you leave em’ effect. Low 6/10
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Click here to read all about my point system.
|Ron Simmons||3.75||1||1 for retaining a title|
0.5 for winning the fall
|Butch Reed||3.75||1||1 for retaining a title||5.75|
|Tracy Smothers||2.5||1||0.5 for winning the fall||4|
|3.25||-0.5||1 for retaining a title||3.75|
|Mike Rotunda||2||1||0.5 for winning the fall||3.5|
|Scott Steiner||3.75||-1||-0.5 for losing the fall||2.25|
|Ric Flair||0.5||-0.5||1||1 for retaining a title||2|
|The Junkyard Dog||0.5||0.5||1||2|
|Jimmy Garvin||2.5||-1||-0.5 for losing the fall||1|
|The Samoan Savage||2||-1||-0.5 for losing the fall||1|
|Bam Bam Bigelow||-0.5||-0.5|
Thank you all for reading. Make sure you don’t miss the next review, of The Great American Bash. Stay safe!