Categories
Clash of the Champions Reviews

WCW Clash Of The Champions #22 Review (The Mr. Bang Bang Show!)

January 13th, 1993
Live from Milwaukee, WI (MECCA Arena)
Announced attendance: 4 000 (capacity: ca 11 000)
TV rating: 2.9 (TBS) (down 0.3 from Clash 21’s 3.2)

Hey everyone. Welcome to my review of the first WCW Clash of the Champions of 1993, featuring Ricky Steamboat & Shane Douglas defending the tag titles against the Hollywood Blondes, and a ThunderCage tag team match in the main event.

Here are the list of champions in WCW heading into Clash 22:

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  • WCW World Heavyweight Champion: Big Van Vader [14th day of his reign] – previous champion: Ron Simmons
  • NWA World Heavyweight Champion: The Great Muta [9th day of his reign] – previous champion: Masahiro Chono
  • WCW United States Heavyweight Champion: vacated* [for 43 days] – previous champion: Rick Rude
  • WCW World Television Champion: vacated [for 1 day] – previous champion: Scott Steiner
  • WCW/NWA Unified World Tag Team Champions: Ricky Steamboat & Shane Douglas [56th day of their reign] – previous champions: Miracle Violence Connection (Dr. Death Steve Williams & Terry Gordy)

* Dustin Rhodes won the vacant title on WCW Saturday Night taped January 11th, but it only aired after this show (on January 16th)

Note: in title matches, the defending champions are underlined

Enjoy the review!

IMG credit: WWE & thesmackdownhotel.com

Your hosts are Jim Ross & Jesse Ventura

– We kick off the show with Tony Schiavone interviewing Bill Watts. He announces Van Hammer is out of tonight’s main event due to injury, and there will be a replacement for ThunderCage. Furthermore, his son Erik is suspended due to charges for attacking Arn Anderson at a gas station. Well good riddance.

Erik Watts cuts a promo in an interview with Larry Zbyszko to address this situation. The crowd sh-ts all over Erik and boo the crap out of this segment. Bill finishes by announcing that Johnny B. Badd will replace his son in the upcoming opening match.

Cactus Jack vs. Johnny B. Badd

We see a clip of Johnny KO’ing Cactus and costing them their lethal lottery tag team match at Starrcade like a dumbass. Big reaction for Foley here, despite still being a heel at this point in time. Johnny with a hammerlock off the early lockup, but Cactus gives him a back elbow and hammers him. Johnny fights back with his boxing and Cactus holds back before catching him with a knee to the gut. Cactus misses a blind charge in the corner and Badd rolls him up for two. Dropkick into an armdrag by Badd, but Cactus knocks him out with three straight forearms to the head. Badd rams him into the buckle a number of times, however, and he takes over. Inside cradle gets two. Back elbow by Johnny and he goes up, only to find no water in the pool on a flying sunset flip attempt, taking himself out. Cactus drops an elbow and gets the win at 2:50.

  • Rating: Real quick match but a really solid one for the short time it lasted. Although it’s scary how badly the office had quit on Johnny B. Badd at this point, just a little over a year after being undefeated for months and only losing to STING. *1/2

2 Cold Scorpio video package with his new theme song from the recent Slam Jam album.

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2 Cold Scorpio vs. Scotty Flamingo

Flamingo goes after the arm to start but Scorpio rolls out of that and hiptosses him for one. A criss-cross sequence is won by Scorpio with a cartwheel into a back elbow. A high kick dumps Flamingo all the way to the outside, and Scorpio meets him there with a jump off the apron. He takes Flamingo back inside the ring, but Scotty dropkicks him back to the floor and follows up with a dive. Flamingo takes over back inside the ring, although Scorpio cradles him for two. Flamingo puts the boots to Scorpio and suplexes him for two. Flamingo goes to a chinlock, but Scorpio fights out of it and makes the comeback with a hiptoss followed by a dropkick. Flamingo asks for mercy, and 2 Cold Scorpio responds with a slam right into a flying splash for a nearfall. The crowd really bought that one, and honestly I thought that’d be it as well. Scorpio eats the buckle on a missed blind charge, allowing Flamingo to roll him up for two. However, Scorpio superkicks him, hits a twisting legdrop and goes up for the 450 to finish Flamingo at 4:13.

  • Rating: A quality short sprint. 2 Cold Scorpio was very exciting to watch upon his arrival to WCW, and the fans were very much into his innovative and charismatic style. They managed to get in a couple of believable nearfalls near the end as the action went back-and-forth, before Scorpio put Flamingo away with his unique offense. Scotty left WCW about a month later, joining the WWF as manager Johnny Polo before eventually gaining success as Raven. **3/4

– Recap of Harley Race choosing a replacement for the injured Rick Rude at ThunderCage 3 days ago on WCW Main Event. He books his two favorites, Paul Orndorff and Cactus Jack, in a match to determine who gets the final spot in his team. Ultimately things go south and Foley gets tired of Race getting involved, attacking him. That causes Vader to come down and destroy Cactus. Later in the same broadcast, Cactus attacks Vader with a shot with a shovel to the back. Cactus Jack closes the show by saying they’ve made the biggest mistake of their lives: they let Cactus Jack live!

Brad Armstrong vs. Chris Benoit

This is Chris Benoit’s WCW debut, outside of the one-off appearance in the NWA tag team title tournament alongside Beef Wellington in 1992. Criss-cross sequence and Benoit blocks a dropkick. Brad counters a powerbomb with an armdrag and this time the dropkick connects. Brad goes to work on the arm. Benoit kips up out of the hold, but Brad does the same and quickly follows it up with another dropkick, before going back to work on the arm. Brad wrestles him down to work the count, but Benoit overpowers him with an impressive bridge and powers Armstrong down to the mat. However, Brad escapes with a belly-to-belly. The fight into a hammerlock, with the veteran Brad once again outsmarting Benoit and dumping him to the outside off the hammerlock. Back in, Benoit tries to do the same tactic, but Armstrong doesn’t fall for it and dropkicks him. Nice little story being told here so far. Brad reverses a catapult attempt by Benoit, and Benoit finally catches Brad by faking a suplex attempt and instead dropping him on the top rope with a front suplex. With Brad still on the apron, Benoit slingshots with a flying clothesline that takes both men to the floor. Both guys get a huge pop and even Jesse gives them an applause on commentary. Benoit rocks Armstrong with a clothesline back in the ring. Snap suplex gets two, as Benoit is very much in the driver’s seat by now. Chris Benoit unloads on him, but Armstrong tries to fight back with a kneelift. However, Benoit takes him down for good with a nasty backbreaker. Suplex follows and Benoit goes up, only for Brad to meet him there. Benoit shoves him off and goes for the flying headbutt, but finds no water in the pool and Brad hits a swinging neckbreaker for two. And then Benoit catches him with a dragon suplex (full-nelson into a German suplex) into the bridge pin for the win at 9:13.

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  • Rating: Great action here. The story was simple but very easy to understand. Benoit was outsmarted by the more-experienced Armstrong until the front suplex spot, which hurt Brad. Then, right as Brad was coming back, Benoit used his deep arsenal of international moves to catch Armstrong and get the win. Impressive debut for Benoit, this was very good stuff. Another great showing by Brad as well, who was mad underrated in the early 90s. ***1/2

The Rock ‘n’ Roll Express are back to WCW, so we take a look at a clip of them in action in Smoky Mountain Wrestling against Jim Cornette’s Heavenly Bodies. That match is scheduled for SuperBrawl III in February.

– Tony Atlas and Vinnie Vegas arm wrestle. Crazy how just five months later, Nash would be in WWF working with Shawn already as his bodyguard. Vinnie Vegas wins because he’s the strongest left-handed or whatever. We move on.

‘Z-Man’ Tom Zenk & Johnny Gunn vs. The Wrecking Crew (Rage & Fury)

Zenk controls things early on with a headlock on Rage. Zenk avoids a gorilla press slam and gets a high crossbody off the top, but Rage kicks out WITH AUTHORITY BY GAWD. The big guys take a powder, so Gunn takes both of them down with a dive. Back in, the Wrecking Crew collide and Gunn gets a roll-up for two. Fury takes over with a clothesline followed by a backbreaker. Zenk tries to make a comeback, but Fury quickly cuts it off with a gutwrench slam. The big men take turns slamming Tom Zenk, who scores with a dropkick before making the hot tag to Gunn. He runs wild with his own slams and a running clothesline, but Rage nails him with a cheapshot from the apron. Fury picks up Gunn with an overhead gutwrench backbreaker, as Rage flies off the top with an elbow (which they call the “Wrecking Ball”… no, seriously) for the win at 6:06.

  • Rating: Extended squash to put the new guys over. They weren’t very impressive, but this was definitely far from being terrible. *1/2

– We hear from The Hollywood Blondes.

Sting’s team speaks ahead of tonight’s main event.

Big Van Vader’s team does the same. Harley Race doesn’t want anyone associated with Cactus Jack in there, so they beat up The Barbarian and get rid of him.

– We take a look at highlights from the first two editions of WCW SuperBrawl. This year’s SuperBrawl III is coming on Sunday, February 21.

WCW/NWA Unified World Tag Team Championship – Ricky Steamboat & Shane Douglas vs. The Hollywood Blondes (Flyin’ Brian Pillman & Steve Austin)

Austin slugs away on Steamboat to start, who fights back with a series of different pinning combinations for a few nearfalls. Steamboat with a crossbody for two, but Pillman breaks up the pin. Douglas comes in as well to get rid of him. The Blondes double-team Ricky in their corner back inside, but the veteran Steamboat fights back with an armdrag on Brian and goes to work on his arm. And now it’s the champs’ turn to exchange quick tags as they control Pillman over in their corner. Unfortunately, Pillman then twists his ankle on a leapfrog during a criss-cross sequence. This causes the ref to pull Douglas back and stop the match for a while… but SIKE! Pillman cheapshots Douglas from the apron and goes for Air Pillman, but Douglas turns it into a powerslam in mid-air for a nearfall! Austin comes in and gets into a sweet wrestling sequence with Douglas on the mat. Douglas gets the better of that sequence with a wristlock, while adding some knees to Austin’s arm to boot. Hammerlock slam by Steamboat as the faces continue to work on the arm.

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A sunset flip by Douglas gets two, and they get into a pinfall reversal sequence from there. Douglas flips his way out of a backslide by Austin, and springboards into a flying shoulderblock of sorts for two. The champs continue to show great teamwork as Steamboat slams Douglas on top of Austin, and then slams the interfering Pillman onto a standing Austin as well. However, Austin rams Ricky into a cheapshot from Brian on the apron, and Austin follows it up with a backdrop suplex to put the Blondes in control. Pillman gets a slam of his own for a two count. Austin slams Steamboat on the concrete outside. Brian suplexes Ricky off the apron into the ring and gets two. The Hollywood Blondes cut the ring in half, while the groggy Steamboat tries to fight back unsuccessfully. Nobody could do that better than Steamboat! Austin hits a gutwrench slam and throws a cheapshot at Douglas just for fun. Steamboat finally gets something in as he shoots Brian off the apron into the railing, but the legal Austin is right there to backdrop suplex him for two. Steamboat uses the ropes for leverage to block a body vice, but he’s too hurt to backdrop Austin, who puts him back in the body vice. Pillman makes the blind tag and goes for Air Pillman, only to hit his own partner instead! Steamboat takes down Brian with a suplex and… crawls… for… the… HOT TAG! Shane Douglas cleans house in short order and finishes Brian with the belly-to-belly, but Austin comes in off the top rope onto Douglas behind the ref’s back. Austin puts Pillman on top for a very close two count. Shane gets an O’Connor Roll on Pillman, but Austin whams Douglas with the belt for the DQ at 13:39. Shane gets busted open from the shot, and all four guys get into a huge brawl afterwards. Multiple babyfaces run-in to make the save as the Blondes walk away with the belts in their possession.

  • Rating: Stuff like this is why Ricky Steamboat won the wrestler of the year award in 1992. This was a no-nonsense balls-to-the-wall tag team title matchup that was extremely exciting from start to finish. There were countless believable nearfalls in here despite the relatively brief length of the bout. Add a proper finish and this could’ve potentially been a classic. ****

Commercial break

– We take a look at Vader beating Ron Simmons on December 30, 1992 to win his second WCW World Title.

Jesse Ventura interviews Vader & Harley Race to discuss the recent title change. Ron Simmons interrupts it and slugs away on the new champ, taking him down with a huge spinebuster. He stops to go after Harley Race on the ramp, which causes Vader to splash Ron out there. Vader destroys him with a couple of shoulderblocks, until Sting and Rhodes run-in to finally stop the beatdown.

Ron Simmons is now out of tonight’s main event due to this attack. It started as 4 v. 4, but Van Hammer was out and made it 4 v. 3 for the heels. Then they beat up Barbarian due to his association with Cactus Jack and got him out of the team to make it 3 v. 3. Now Ron is out to make it 3 v. 2 for the heels, but it’s still announced as a six man tag team match.

Main Event

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Six Man Tag Team ThunderCage – Big Van Vader, Barry Windham & Paul Orndorff (w/ Harley Race) vs. Sting, Dustin Rhodes & ???

Sting and Dustin come out by themselves. Dustin goes after his former partner Windham right off the bat. Sting comes in with a faceplant off the blind tag. We get a showdown between Sting and Vader. A couple of clotheslines stagger Vader, and a DDT takes the World Champion down. Sting gets the Stinger Splash and hammers on Vader in the corner like there’s no tomorrow. Vader finally catches a charging Sting in the corner, and comes down on him with a flying clothesline off the top rope. The monster goes up again for a flying splash but finds no water in the pool this time around. Orndorff stomps away on Sting in the corner and connects with a clothesline. Windham comes in with a suplex for two, but Dustin instantly jumps the ring to go after Barry. The other heels prevent him from attacking him, though, and Vader destroys Sting with an Avalanche in the corner. Gorilla press slam by Vader, who brings in Windham. He goes for the Superplex immediately, but Sting fights back and rams him off the top. Dustin gets the tag and takes everyone out with lariats and Cactus Jack enters the match with the help of bolt-cutters! Cactus uses his boot to destroy all the heels, effectively cementing his face turn. Orndorff goes for a piledriver on Rhodes, but Cactus comes off the top to hit Paul with a boot shot to the back of Paul’s head and covers him for the win at 11:22.

  • Rating: Energetic match that was more about the angle than the match itself per-se. Sting squaring off with Vader is always exciting to watch, even if it’s just a small preview like this. Dustin Rhodes went after Barry Windham numerous times and made a valiant 3-on-1 comeback near the end, until Cactus Jack came in to save the day. The finish was far from the greatest, but it did get the point across of Cactus now being a good guy. Once again, it was more of an angle than a match so it’s harder to give it a proper rating, but it was good. ***

Cactus Jack promises he’ll get revenge on all three of the heels, starting with Paul Orndorff on the next episode of WCW Saturday Night.

Then we get the awesome visual of Jesse & JR (in one of his final WCW appearances) closing the show while Cactus Jack is on top of the ThunderCage in the background like a complete maniac. But a loveable one now!

END OF THE SHOW

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Final thoughts: Honestly a great edition of Clash here. We had great wrestling in the form of Steamboat & Douglas v. Pillman & Austin and Benoit v. Armstrong, and a great main event angle with Cactus Jack’s face turn being the highlight. He also went over Johnny B. Badd earlier in the show, effectively making this the Cactus Jack Show! Recommended watch. 7/10

POINT SYSTEM

Find out more about our point system here

That’s all for today’s post. Make sure you don’t miss the upcoming review of WCW SuperBrawl III featuring Sting vs. Vader III, as well as as all the upcoming WWF Raw reviews. Until next time, everyone!

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Categories
Year-End Award

1992 Year End Awards (Best Matches And Wrestlers)

Hello everyone and welcome to my final article on 1992. In this special piece, we will take a look back at the best wrestlers in both the WWF and WCW. Then we will mention the top five matches for each company, followed by a top five list for both companies overall. After that, we will see who were the wrestlers in both companies (followed by overall, much like with the matches) that got more points. This will be according to the point system I use on every show, which you can see here. We’ll finish by looking at the PPV buyrates and TV ratings.

Before starting, one last announcement regarding the point system: the wrestlers involved in the 5th best match of their particulary company get 1 point, those in the 4th best get 2 points, those in the 3rd best get 3 points, those in the 2nd best get 4 points, and those in the best match of the year will get 5 points. As for the overall list (both companies put together), the points will double – meaning the participants in the 5th best match will get 2 points, and so on.

Check out the 1991 piece.

TOP 5 WWF MATCHES

Note: The Royal Rumble match is not eligible for this list. I will always give the edge to regular wrestling matches, since it’s pretty hard (not impossible, but pretty hard) to see a Rumble match that isn’t fun. Thus, I don’t include it in order to open the door for other matches, and also to prevent you from seeing “Royal Rumble match” mentioned as most of the wrestlers’ best match of the entire year in the top wrestlers segment of this article.

5) Randy Savage vs. The Ultimate Warrior – WWF Championship (SummerSlam)
IMG credit: WWE & IMDb

We start off the 1992 list with Randy Savage vs. The Ultimate Warrior from SummerSlam. This was their rematch from the retirement match at WrestleMania VII the previous year, winner of the 1991 match of the year award here on the blog. It was hard to top the ‘Mania 7 retirement bout, and while it did not, the two put on yet another exciting matchup at the Wembley Stadium extravaganza. Macho Man always managed to bring out the best in Ultimate Warrior, sharing great chemistry with each other. With Savage’s WWF Heavyweight Championship on the line, the two colorful megastars had a dramatic back-and-forth contest that had the fans in attendance, as well as those watching on TV all over the world, on the edge of their seats. The bout featured constant interference from Ric Flair and Mr. Perfect, who promised to be in cahoots with one of the participants, only for it to end via count-out, resulting in the eventual formation of the brief Ultimate Maniacs tag team. (Check out the full match review here)

  • Rating: ****
4) Bret Hart vs. Shawn Michaels – WWF Championship (Survivor Series 1992)
IMG credit: WWE & 411mania.com

The WWF Championship was defended on all four PPVs of 1992 (not counting UK Rampage). All those four matches were some of the very best of the year, including the annual 30-man Royal Rumble match won by Ric Flair. The final WWF pay-per-view of the year saw the two most technically-gifted up-and-comers in professional wrestling battle over the World Championship in a brilliant technical masterpiece. The match told an awesome story, with Shawn wearing Bret down due to Bret’s recent grueling schedule as the defending champion as the match went longer, whilst Bret had been able to outwrestle the arrogant challenger at first. The final few minutes in particular were very exciting, climaxing with Bret Hart forcing Michaels to submit to the Sharpshooter in his first World title defense on PPV. (Check out the full match review here)

  • Rating: ****1/4
3) Roddy Piper vs. Bret Hart – WWF Intercontinental Championship (WrestleMania VIII)
IMG credit: WWE & prowrestlingpost.com

WrestleMania VIII featured two all-time ‘Mania classics – one of those being this dramatic tussle between cousins for the prestigious Intercontinental Championship. Roddy Piper entered what would be his farewell match in the Hoosier Dome as the defending champion, whilst Bret was looking to snatch the biggest win of his career to that point in order to reclaim the gold at ‘Mania. Both professionals gave it their all during the time they got, keeping the crowd in the palm of their hands whilst delivering a highly-emotional encounter, filled with superb storytelling. The shot of Piper teasing to use the bell while the crowd beg him not to do it in the background is priceless, and proof of how great workers both these pros were. This stands as one of the greatest Intercontinental Title matches of all time in my opinion, and my personal favorite WWF Roddy Piper bout ever. Bret did indeed reclaim the title with a rare clean win over the Hot Rod, continuing his meteoric journey to the top of the Federation. As for Piper, he would not work a wrestling match in more than two years. (Check out the full match review here)

  • Rating: ****1/2
2) Ric Flair vs. Randy Savage – WWF Championship (WrestleMania VIII)
IMG credit: WWE & wrestlingheadlines.com

Well, here’s the other classic from the eighth WrestleMania mentioned in the previous entry! Ric Flair arrived onto the WWF scene in late 1991, claiming to be the real World’s Champ. He followed that up by winning the vacant WWF Title in the annual Royal Rumble matchup, last eliminating Sid Justice. While the NWA/WCW alumnus was arriving, the Macho Man was just returning from his short-lived retirement. After winning a heated feud with Jake Roberts, Savage was challenged by the cocky champion, who claimed to have been with Miss Elizabeth in the past. This infuriated Randy, who walked into Indianapolis on a mission to dismantle the Nature Boy. His emotions allowed Flair to dominate most of the match, combined with timely interference from Mr. Perfect, as well as Savage’s injured leg. However, the cockiness of Ric Flair is what ultimately cost him, as he became more focused on showing off to Liz rather than putting Macho Man away. Not too long afterwards, the returning hero surprised Flair with a roll-up that gave him his second WWF Heavyweight Championship. Despite the loss, the arrogant Naitch still had the last laugh, planting a kiss on Elizabeth that pushed Savage past his breaking point. This was a great matchup with some terrific selling by Savage, that also left the door open for future business between the pair. (Check out the full match review here)

Rating: ****1/2

1) Bret Hart vs. The British Bulldog – WWF Intercontinental Championship (SummerSlam)
IMG credit: WWE

It’s incredible how relevant this match still is today, nearly 30 years later. It is also still a brilliant match to rewatch nowadays. The work is very smart throughout the entire bout, with Bret subtlety working a more heelish style (whilst still following all the legal rules) as the match progressed. It was technically awesome as well, an intense struggle between two proud men who knew each other very well. It was Hart’s wrestling ability versus the British Bulldog’s insane feats of strength. In the end, Bret tried to wrestle Davey Boy down into a sunset flip, only to get caught and pinned to the mat by the powerful Englishman. He picked up the victory much to the delight of the 80.000 patrons packing the England national football team’s stadium that evening. This will remain a classic no matter how many decades or generation pass, and a perfect showcase of professional wrestling. (Check out the full match review here)

  • Rating: *****

TOP 5 WCW MATCHES

5) Jushin Thunder Liger vs. Flyin’ Brian Pillman – WCW Light Heavyweight Championship (SuperBrawl II)
IMG credit: WWE & TheSportster

On Christmas night in 1991, the exciting Light Heavyweight Champion ‘Flyin Brian lost the belt to the international sensation at a house show. Their rematch was booked for WCW SuperBrawl in February. Pillman’s strategy was to keep Jushin grounded, preventing him from getting an edge through the use of his classic aerial moves. That is exactly what happened in the first couple of minutes, until the pace got quicker near the end. Both men gave it all they had in the opener of the very first WCW PPV of the year, going back-and-forth in an exchange of athletic moves. Eventually, it was through mat-wrestling that Pillman recaptured the short-lived strap. Liger climbed up to the top rope, only to miss a huge splash. Pillman caught the Japanese superstar in a pinning predicament, making good on his promise and reclaiming the Light Heavyweight Title after an amazing matchup. (Check out the full match review here)

  • Rating: ****1/4
4) Sting vs. Big Van Vader – WCW World Heavyweight Championship (The Great American Bash)
IMG credit: WWE & TheSportster

After some one-off appearances throughout the last couple of years, Big Van Vader was finally a full-time WCW wrestler by early 1992. He made an impact in short order by targeting the top dog around, WCW World Heavyweight Champion Sting. A couple of months later, the two went at it for Sting’s title at The Great American Bash. This was a brilliant “David vs. Goliath” type of wrestling match, with Sting somehow being able to withstand the beating of his life at the hands of the unforgiving monster. Sting’s last adrenaline-driven comeback was amazing, picking up the big man on spaghetti legs for a huge Samoan drop. Ultimately, this is what took him out of the equation, though. Sting knocked himself out cold on the turnbuckle on a missed Stinger Splash, allowing Vader to put him out with a massive Powerbomb to claim the WCW title. (Check out the full match review here)

  • Rating: ****1/4
3) Sting vs. Big Van Vader – King of Cable Tournament Final (Starrcade)
IMG credit: WWE & theovertimer.com

Their rematch happened in December’s Starrcade, as part of the final of the King of Cable tournament, held to celebrate 20 years of pro wrestling on TBS. And while the final of a rather forgettable one-off tournament doesn’t sound half as exciting on paper as a World Championship match, I personally enjoyed the Starrcade bout slightly more. They followed up on the title bout at The Bash very well, delivering an intense physical battle with Sting getting another epic beating courtesy of the giant from the Rocky Mountains. This time around, though, Sting outsmarted the big man by asking for more punishment. Vader obliged and got even more vicious in his shots, only to eventually run out of gas in a brilliant touch. Not long afterwards, the exhausted monster climbed up to the top rope but got caught with a powerslam in mid-air, allowing Sting to quickly pin him after 17 minutes of brutality. (Check out the full match review here)

  • Rating: ****1/2
2) Rick Rude vs. Ricky Steamboat – 30 Minute Iron Man Match (Beach Blast)
IMG credit: WWE & thisisawesomepod.com

Ricky ‘The Dragon’ Steamboat had chased the United States title throughout the first half of 1992. Although Steamboat’s title shot at SuperBrawl did not result in victory, thanks to Paul E. Dangerously dressing up as a ninja and attacking the Dragon, the feud continued after the Dangerous Alliance’s leader broke Steamboat’s nose with his telephone. The two met in the blow-off in this Iron Man match. Rude might have survived with his US title intact, but the feud was now more personal than ever. This matchup is a masterclass in psychology for aspiring wrestlers, with Rude constantly attacking Steamboat’s previously broken nose whilst the Dragon targeted the ribs and midsection of the United States Champion. The selling by both workers was just as perfect. Steamboat got his revenge in the end with a 4-3 win, which was the cherry on top. It’s a shame that Bill Watts’ short-lived dumb rules (like jumping off the top rope being a DQ) resulted in a couple of lame spots and falls, but apart from that this was nothing short of brilliant. (Check out the full match review here)

  • Rating: ****3/4
1) WarGames (WrestleWar)
IMG credit: WWE & Cultaholic

Regarded by many as the best WarGames match of all time, this brutal bout saw multiple rivalries come into play, creating over 20 minutes of quality drama and storytelling. Sting’s Squadron consisted of the returning newly-turned babyface Nikita Koloff, Ricky Steamboat with a broken nose, Dustin Rhodes, TV Champion Barry Windham and, of course, the WCW World Champion and team captain, Sting. The Dangerous Alliance was composed by Arn Anderson, Bobby Eaton, Larry Zbyszko, ‘Stunning’ Steve Austin and the team leader, Rick Rude. Steamboat was in a heated feud with Rude, as previously addressed, and was looking for payback. Nikita had been last seen in a feud with Sting in mid-1991, and his recent change of attitude was questionable. Furthermore, Sting was coming into this bout with broken ribs courtesy of an attack by the number one contender to his World Title, Big Van Vader. To make matters even worse for the faces, the Alliance had both Paul E and Madusa at ringside. However, the Alliance was recently facing issues too: Larry Zbyszko was in the midst of a losing streak, and they lost the TV title (Austin to Windham) and the tag titles (Arn & Eaton to the Steiners) within the last few weeks on television. Long story short, there was enough action and drama going on to carry this to the next level. The biggest pop of the match came when Nikita sacrificed himself to save Sting from a double-team attack by Anderson and Austin, taking the beating himself. Sting finally understood Nikita was being honest and the two embraced in the ring, proceeding to clean house together to a thunderous ovation! Zbyszko’s bad luck cost his side the victory, as he grabbed the steel hook from a broken turnbuckle and took a swing at Sting, but errantly hit Eaton in the shoulder instead. Sting followed that up by smartly locking in an armbar on the injured ‘Beautiful’ Bobby, who gave it up to end this awesome fight. The Alliance blamed Zbyszko for this loss, kicking him out of the group shortly afterwards. (Check out the full match review here)

  • Rating: *****

TOP 5 MATCHES OVERALL

5) Ric Flair vs. Randy Savage – WWF Championship (WWF WrestleMania VIII)
IMG credit: WWE & wrestlingheadlines.com
4) Sting vs. Big Van Vader – King of Cable Tournament Final (WCW Starrcade)
IMG credit: WWE & theovertimer.com
3) Rick Rude vs. Ricky Steamboat – 30 Minute Iron Man Match (WCW Beach Blast)
IMG credit: WWE & thisisawesomepod.com
2) WarGames (WCW WrestleWar)
IMG credit: WWE & Cultaholic
1) Bret Hart vs. The British Bulldog – WWF Intercontinental Championship (WWF SummerSlam)
IMG credit: WWE

TOP 10 WWF WRESTLERS OF THE YEAR

Note: the following part is based on my point system used throughout each and every show of the year

10) Sid Justice
IMG credit: WWE
  • 12.75 points
  • Position in 1991: none (new entry)

Sid’s first stint in McMahonland as Sid Justice was rather short, however it was still á quite impactful one. First debuting as a babyface to referee the “match made in hell” at SummerSlam 1991, Sid turned heel and joined forces with Harvey Wippleman in the beginning of the year. Sid Justice was the final man eliminated by Ric Flair in the Royal Rumble match for the vacant WWF Championship, eliminating the odds-on favorite Hulk Hogan in the process. A short partnership between the two was used to set up Sid’s inevitable heel turn, and the pair went on to main event WrestleMania VIII. The master and ruler of the world followed that up with a short program with the returning Ultimate Warrior, but allegedly left when he found out Warrior wanted to constantly kickout of Sid’s Powerbomb around the house show loop. Right before his departure, Sid had an interesting encounter with The Undertaker at UK Rampage, which would turn out to be the main event of WrestleMania 13 a few years later when Sid returned.

  • Sid’s best WWF match in 1992: W/ Hulk Hogan vs. Ric Flair & The Undertaker (Saturday Night’s Main Event #30 February 8th)
9) Rick Martel
IMG credit: WWE & steamcommunity.com
  • 12.95 points
  • Position in 1991: none (new entry)

‘The Model’ finished up with the WWF after the previous year’s WrestleMania due to the death of his sister. He made his return to the WWF in time for the Royal Rumble. While Rick Martel was not involved in any major program throughout the year, he was apart of some good one-off matches in 1992. While he did feud with newcomer Tatanka for most of the calendar year, with them wrestling at both WrestleMania and Survivor Series, the feud did not provide any notable bouts or moments. The most memorable part of Martel’s 1992 was arguably the unique “no hitting in the face” encounter with fellow bad guy Shawn Michaels at SummerSlam, which was highly entertaining.

  • Martel’s best WWF match in 1992: Vs. Bret Hart (UK Rampage)
8) The Undertaker
IMG credit: WWE & The Sun
  • 13.05 points
  • Position in 1991: none (new entry)

1992 was yet another important year that helped establish The Undertaker in the WWF. It was the first time that the persona was presented as a babyface, coming off a main event program with Hulk Hogan that saw ‘The Deadman’ briefly hold the WWF Championship. When ‘Taker first turned face, it set up a rivalry with veteran Jake ‘The Snake’ Roberts. Jake became the second victim of the Streak at ‘Mania 8 in what would turn out to be his final match in the company. A long feud with Kamala followed, culminating in a coffin’ match at Survivor Series. While the feud wasn’t exactly out of this world, it at least kept the freshly-turned Undertaker gimmick involved in a featured program.

  • Undertaker’s best WWF match in 1992: W/ Ric Flair vs. Hulk Hogan & Sid Justice (Saturday Night’s Main Event #30 February 8th)
7) Irwin R. Schyster
IMG credit: WWE
  • 15.95 points
  • Position in 1991: none (new entry)

This is the fourth wrestler we have addressed so far, and it’s also the fourth new entry into the WWF list. This shows how much of a transitional year 1992 was for the World Wrestling Federation. After years of multiple gimmick changes, and wondering if his name ended with an O or an A, Mike Rotunda finally nailed it as Irwin R. Schyster – IRS. The gimmick was so simple, which is what made it effective. Mike played it well, and he shared huge chemistry with Ted DiBiase and Jimmy Hart as part of Money Inc. Alongside the ‘Million Dollar Man’, IRS dominated the WWF’s tag team division in 92, winning the company’s Tag Team Championship twice that year.

  • IRS’ best match in 1992: Vs. The British Bulldog (UK Rampage)
6) Roddy Piper
IMG credit: WWE & WhatCulture
  • 16.9 points
  • Position in 1991: none (new entry)

Much like Sid Justice, the Rowdy one was only apart of WWF programming until the spring, finishing up after WrestleMania. However, while his run that year was short, there’s no questioning the impact that Roddy Piper had on WWF in 1992. His Intercontinental Title win over The Mountie at the Royal Rumble was brilliant, ranking amongst one of the all-time greatest title changes in WWF/E history. Later on that very same night, Piper entered the Rumble for the vacant WWF World title at #15 and lasted over half an hour, nearly winning yet another belt. Eventually, Piper entered a program with the former Intercontinental Champion, Bret Hart. Of course, this culminated with their terrific matchup at WrestleMania VIII, which saw The Hitman reclaim his championship in Piper’s final appearance of that year, outside of a very brief cameo at SummerSlam.

  • Piper’s best WWF match in 1992: Vs. Bret Hart (WrestleMania VIII)
5) Shawn Michaels
IMG credit: WWE & Bleacher Report
  • 29 points
  • Position in 1991: 9th (+4)

Kicking off WWF’s top five list is a man who truly elevated his game throughout 1992, Shawn Michaels. He started the year still as a member of The Rockers, throwing Marty Jannetty into the barber shop window in January to kickstart his singles run as The Heartbreak Kid. Shortly after gaining Sensational Sherri as his new manager, Michaels got his first huge win as a singles wrestler at WrestleMania, over the legendary Tito Santana. After a rare dream match with ‘Macho Man’ Randy Savage for the WWF Championship at UK Rampage, and an equally rare and quite entertaining heel-versus-heel “no hitting in the face” match with Rick Martel at SummerSlam, Michaels secured his first title by beating The British Bulldog on the last episode of WWF Saturday Night’s Main Event. Arguably, the final two months of the year were Michaels’ best – starting a hot feud with the returning Jannetty, and working a tremendous World Championship bout with Bret Hart in the main event of Survivor Series.

  • Michaels’ best WWF match in 1992: Vs. Bret Hart (Survivor Series)
4) Ric Flair
IMG credit: WWE & Sky Sports
  • 31 points
  • Position in 1991: none (new entry)

The Nature Boy is synonymous with NWA/WCW, being arguably its most legendary champions of all time. Throughout the 1980s, Naitch was to Jim Crockett Promotions what Hulk Hogan was to the WWF. When Flair joined McMahonland in 1991, it was shocking to say the least. Whilst Flair’s run was extremely brief, lasting around a year and a half, Flair did all he could to make it good and memorable. There is no doubt he accomplished it. First debuting as the real World’s Champion carrying the Big Gold Belt, Flair entered WWF history in short order by winning the vacant WWF World Title in the Royal Rumble match, quite possibly the best ever. From there, Flair feuded mostly with Randy Savage, culminating with their incredible WrestleMania match. He was heavily involved in the Warrior/Savage title bout at SummerSlam, which set up the main event of Survivor Series, with Flair’s assistant Mr. Perfect replacing the departing Warrior. Furthermore, Flair briefly won the World title for a second time, dropping it to Bret Hart in Canada in an amazing match. So yes, it might’ve been short, but Ric Flair’s WWF run was pretty darn awesome.

  • Flair’s best WWF match in 1992: Vs. Randy Savage (WrestleMania VIII)
3) The British Bulldog
IMG credit: WWE & WhatCulture
  • 37.55 points
  • Position in 1991: 6th (+3)

When one thinks of The British Bulldog’s 1992, one instantly thinks of the historic Intercontinental Title match with Bret Hart at SummerSlam. However, there was more into Dave Boy Smith’s year that helped him secure the third place on our list. Bulldog had a spectacular run in the Royal Rumble match, entering at number one and lasting over 23 minutes, being one of its highlights. The match in which he dropped the Intercontinental Championship, to Shawn Michaels at Saturday Night’s Main Event, was also a really good one. He also main evented UK Rampage, winning a fun house show-esque bout over IRS. The fact that he participated in the best match of the year helped boost his rating as well.

  • Bulldog’s best WWF match in 1992: Vs. Bret Hart (SummerSlam)
2) Randy Savage
IMG credit: WWE & Pinterest
  • 44.2 points
  • Position in 1991: 5th (+3)

The Macho Man had a career resurrection in 1992 after his in-ring return in December 1991, having his last great year in his historic run with the World Wrestling Federation. At the beginning of the year, Savage was still involved in his storyline with Jake Roberts, which is a really underrated program. Savage put ‘The Snake’ away for good at Saturday Night’s Main Event #30 in February, before moving on to another deeply personal rivalry, this time with WWF Champion Ric Flair. Macho won the World title for the second time in a true WrestleMania classic, continuing the feud with Flair all the way until Survivor Series. Savage’s second reign featured some amazing title defenses, in particular the rematch with Ultimate Warrior at SummerSlam, but also the UK Rampage bout with Shawn Michaels, and the rematch with Flair on Prime Time Wrestling where Naitch won it back. Randy Savage was one of the highlights of the year.

  • Savage’s best WWF match in 1992: Vs. Ric Flair (WrestleMania VIII)
1) Bret Hart
IMG credit: WWE & Wrestling Headlines
  • 48.5 points
  • Position in 1991: 1st (same)

For the second year in a row, Bret Hart secures the top spot in the WWF list. ‘The Hitman’ kicked off the year as the reigning Intercontinental Champion and ended it as the reigning WWF Champion, a clear sign of progress throughout the year. The Canadian had great moments in both divisions in 1992. While working in the IC division, Hart was involved in amazing storylines with Roddy Piper and The British Bulldog, which resulted in a pair of all-timers at WrestleMania and SummerSlam, respectively. Once he moved on to the World title scene, he killed it in some fantastic matches with Ric Flair and Shawn Michaels, and him wanting to set a record schedule as defending champion made the reign stand out from all the previous ones. I will finish with the exact same line from the 1991 piece: Let’s see if he can keep this spot in 1993!

  • Bret’s best WWF match in 1992: Vs. The British Bulldog (SummerSlam)

TOP 10 WCW WRESTLERS OF THE YEAR

10) Steve Austin
IMG credit: WWE & Reddit
  • 34 points
  • Position in 1991: none (new entry)

This is the first appearance on the list for someone who would be wrestling’s biggest star across the next decade. In Steve Austin’s first full-year in WCW, putting on consistenly good matches as a part of the Dangerous Alliance. Austin held the Television Championship for a really long time, showcasing the belt in some fun matches with the likes of Barry Windham, before dropping it to Ricky Steamboat at September’s Clash of the Champions in another good one. By the end of 92, with the Dangerous Alliance splitting, Austin moved on to the tag team division, where he’d shine in 1993 alongside Brian Pillman.

  • Austin’s best WCW match in 1992: WarGames (WrestleWar)
9) Arn Anderson
IMG credit: WWE & Wrestling News
  • 34.5 points
  • Position in 1991: 3rd (-6)

Arn Anderson was coming off a great 1991, in which he held the Television Championship and the Tag Team Championship alongside Larry Zbyszko. He also participated in some awesome matches, especially at SuperBrawl against Bobby Eaton, or the tag title match with Larry against Ricky Steamboat and Dustin Rhodes at a Clash. In 92, the 34-year-old Anderson did hold the tag straps with Eaton as a member of the Dangerous Alliance, and later joined the ‘tag team of the 90s’ alongside Eaton and Michael Hayes, but he wasn’t prominently featured as much. His work was good as always since he was a tremendous worker, but seeing Arn Anderson being used to submit to Erik Watts (on weekly television, no less) is total bullsh-t. Anyways, it’s great to still see him on the list.

  • Anderson’s best WCW match in 1992: WarGames (WrestleWar)
8) Brian Pillman
IMG credit: WWE & theofficialwrestlingmuseum.com
  • 35.75 points
  • Position in 1991: 9th (+1)

For the last couple of years, Brian Pillman had already established himself as a great wrestler who could have a good match with just about anyone. However, 1992 was Pillman’s breakthrough year. The exciting young man held the short-lived Light Heavyweight title in the first half of the year, having constantly good matches with the likes of ‘Z-Man’ Tom Zenk, Scotty Flamingo, Brad Armstrong and Jushin Liger in particular. The second half of the year saw Pillman destroy the injured Brad Armstrong, which cost Pillman his rematch at the Light Heavyweight title. From there, Brian adopted a new ‘give zero f-cks’ heel attitude that helped carry him to the next level. His match with Ricky Steamboat at Halloween Havoc was really good, and the tag title match alongside Barry Windham and Steamboat and Shane Douglas at Starrcade was even better.

  • Brian’s best WCW match in 1992: Vs. Jushin Thunder Liger (SuperBrawl II)
7) Big Van Vader
IMG credit: WWE & TheSportster
  • 36.25 points
  • Position in 1991: none (new entry)

Vader had made numerous one-off appearances in WCW ever since Great American Bash 1990. But in the spring of 1992, he finally joined the promotion on a full-time basis, managed by one of the greatest World Champions of all time in Harley Race. Vader absolutely killed it in his feud with Sting, having awesome matches with the Stinger at both Great American Bash and Starrcade, even winning his first World Championship. Another notable moment from Vader’s year was at Halloween Havoc, where the monster replaced Rick Rude in his United States title defense against Nikita Koloff. Vader not only successfully retained Rude’s title, but retired the Lithuanian in the process. Just before the end of the year, Big Van Vader recaptured the WCW Championship from Ron Simmons and closed 1992 as the reigning champ. I have no doubt Vader would’ve been even higher on the list had he been a regular presence in the first half of the year as well.

  • Vader’s best WCW match in 1992: Vs. Sting (Starrcade)
6) Nikita Koloff
IMG credit: WWE & spaceflyingtigerblog.wordpress.com
  • 38 points
  • Position in 1991: none (new entry)

Nikita Koloff made his return to WCW for the first time in over a year, suspiciously saving his arch nemesis Sting from a beatdown by the Dangerous Alliance. Heading into WarGames in May, many fans awaited the predictable outcome of Nikita dropping the Stinger on his ass to resume their program. Nikita was the final man to enter WarGames in a smart booking decision, milking the story until the end. However, Nikita did side with Sting & co., embarking on a face run against the Dangerous Alliance throughout the summer, namely against the Alliance’s top dog in Rick Rude over the US title. Nikita’s hatred towards Rude created a short alliance with Ricky Steamboat, who disliked the Ravishing one just as much. They entered the tournament to crown the NWA Tag Team Champions in June, pulling double-duty at The Great American Bash as they reached the semi-finals. Nikita’s feud with Rude led to a series of matches with Vader, including at Halloween Havoc. Before the end of the year, Nikita Koloff would leave WCW and professional wrestling altogether after a good final run.

  • Nikita’s best WCW match in 1992: WarGames (WrestleWar)
5) Rick Rude
IMG credit: WWE & WhatCulture
  • 55.5 points
  • Position in 1991: none (new entry)

‘Ravishing’ Rick Rude held the United States Championship for the entirety of 1992. First winning it over Sting at Clash of the Champions way back in November 1991, Rude had the gold for over a year. In mid-December 92, Rude was forced to vacate the title due to an injury, also missing a scheduled WCW World title match against Ron Simmons at Starrcade as a result of the diagnosis. Rick Rude had a spectacular 1992, filled with countless memorable moments and great matches. His best were arguably the battles with Ricky Steamboat, but he also had other great ones, such as his King of Cable semi-final against Sting, and several tag matches alongside different members of the Dangerous Alliance. Rick Rude established himself as one of the all-time greatest United States Champions in history during this year.

  • Rude’s best WCW match in 1992: WarGames (WrestleWar)
4) Dustin Rhodes
IMG credit: WWE & giantbomb.com
  • 61.25 points
  • Position in 1991: 4th (+1)

The young son of ‘The American Dream’ improved massively compared to his work the previous year, especially in the first half of 1991. His runs tagging with Ricky Steamboat and later Barry Windham played a huge part in developing Dustin Rhodes’ skills early on. Dustin spent nearly the entire year working in the tag team division, opposing the Dangerous Alliance in the first half of the year, and chasing gold in the latter part of 1992. Alongside the veteran Windham, Rhodes reached the final of the NWA tag title tournament, pulling triple-duty at The Great American Bash and main eventing the show. They ultimately succumbed to the Miracle Violence Connection, but they did beat Williams and Gordy in a rematch for the now-unified WCW & NWA tag straps. Dustin was betrayed by his partner in a great match and angle at November’s Clash, resulting in them losing the titles to Shane Douglas and Ricky Steamboat, Rhodes’ former partner. As a singles wrestler, Rhodes reached the semi-finals of the King of Cable tournament in the fall, only losing to the monstrous Big Van Vader. The future seemed bright for young Dustin at the end of 1992, and he surely would enjoy a very successful wrestling career that is still going on today!

  • Rhodes’ best WCW match in 1992: WarGames (WrestleWar)
3) Barry Windham
IMG credit: WWE & wrestlinginc.com
  • 63.75 points
  • Position in 1991: none (new entry)

Much like any other babyface in WCW’s upper-midcard/main event echelon in early 1992, Barry Windham found himself at odds with the Dangerous Alliance. Windham was looking for revenge from Halloween Havoc 1991, in which the Enforcers (Arn Anderson & Larry Zbyszko) broke Windham’s hand in the parking lot before the show. Windham was involved in Sting’s winning team at WarGames in May, and also briefly held the WCW TV Championship after ending ‘Stunning’ Steve Austin’s 329-day reign. That run was short as Windham would drop the gold back to Austin a month later, but he soon enjoyed tag team success alongside Dustin Rhodes. However, as mentioned in the previous entry, Windham embarked on a great heel run in November setting his sights on his first World title.

  • Windham’s best WCW match in 1992: WarGames (WrestleWar)
2) Sting
IMG credit: WWE & WhatCulture
  • 70.25 points
  • Position in 1991: 2nd (same)

After a 1990 marked by a horribly-timed injury and a disappointing first World title run, and a so-so 1991 that had its moments, Sting finally had his first amazing year as an established main-eventer in 1992. Sting won battlebowl at Starrcade 1991 by last eliminating then-champion Lex Luger, securing a World title shot against him at SuperBrawl II. Sting won that match and the title that night, before moving on to feuds with the Dangerous Alliance and Big Van Vader. That turned out to be a huge positive, as it resulted in some of Sting’s best matches of his career. Throw in the falls count anywhere encounter with Cactus Jack at Beach Blast, and you’ve got yourself one heck of a year.

  • Sting’s best WCW match in 1992: WarGames (WrestleWar)
1) Ricky Steamboat
IMG credit: WWE & shitloadsofwrestling.tumblr.com
  • 74.75 points
  • Position in 1991: none (new entry)

Let me start by admitting that even I was surprised at Steamboat getting the most points out of everyone in both companies, and becoming the wrestler of the year. However, looking back at Ricky Steamboat’s 1992, it’s nothing short of amazing. He was involved in one of the feuds of the year with Rick Rude, which gave us three terrific PPV matches (including WarGames). Outside of that, Steamboat reached the semi-finals of the NWA tag team tournament at The Great American Bash alongside Nikita Koloff, featuring an underrated quarter-final tournament matchup against Brian Pillman & Jushin Liger. In the latter part of 1992, Steamboat ended Steve Austin’s lengthy run as Television Champion in another great matchup. Finally, he won the Unified World Tag Team Championship with Shane Douglas, closing the year with bangers against Windham & Rhodes at Clash and later Windham & Pillman at Starrcade for the titles. For Ricky Steamboat, the wrestler of the year according to our point system, consistency was the key in 1992.

  • Steamboat’s best WCW match in 1992: WarGames (WrestleWar)

TOP 10 WRESTLERS OF THE YEAR OVERALL

10) Big Van Vader (WCW)
IMG credit: WWE & TheSportster
  • 36.25 points
  • Best match in 1992: Vs. Sting (WCW Starrcade)
  • Position in 1991 overall: none (new entry)
9) The British Bulldog (WWF)
IMG credit: WWE & WhatCulture
  • 37.55 points
  • Best match in 1992: Vs. Bret Hart (WWF SummerSlam)
  • Position in 1991 overall: none (new entry)
8) Nikita Koloff (WCW)
IMG credit: WWE & spaceflyingtigerblog.wordpress.com
  • 38 points
  • Best match in 1992: WarGames (WCW WrestleWar)
  • Position in 1991 overall: none (new entry)
7) Randy Savage (WWF)
IMG credit: WWE & Pinterest
  • 44.2 points
  • Best match in 1992: Vs. Ric Flair (WWF WrestleMania VIII)
  • Position in 1991 overall: none (new entry)
6) Bret Hart (WWF)
IMG credit: WWE & Wrestling Headlines
  • 48.5 points
  • Best match in 1992: Vs. The British Bulldog (WWF SummerSlam)
  • Position in 1991 overall: 7th (+1)
5) Rick Rude (WCW)
IMG credit: WWE & WhatCulture
  • 55.5 points
  • Best match in 1992: WarGames (WCW WrestleWar)
  • Position in 1991 overall: none (new entry)
4) Dustin Rhodes (WCW)
IMG credit: WWE & giantbomb.com
  • 61.25 points
  • Best match in 1992: WarGames (WCW WrestleWar)
  • Position in 1991 overall: none (new entry)
3) Barry Windham (WCW)
IMG credit: WWE & wrestlinginc.com
  • 63.75 points
  • Best match in 1992: WarGames (WCW WrestleWar)
  • Position in 1991 overall: none (new entry)
2) Sting (WCW)
IMG credit: WWE & WhatCulture
  • 70.25 points
  • Best match in 1992: WarGames (WCW WrestleWar)
  • Position in 1991 overall: 2nd (same)
1) Ricky Steamboat (WCW)
IMG credit: WWE & shitloadsofwrestling.tumblr.com
  • 74.75 points
  • Best match in 1992: WarGames (WCW WrestleWar)
  • Position in 1991 overall: none (new entry)

PPV BUYS & TV RATINGS

WWF

Pay Per Views

Royal Rumble – Jan. 19th: 260.000 PPV buys (main attraction: Royal Rumble match for the vacant WWF Championship)

WrestleMania VIII – April 5th: 390.000 PPV buys (main attractions: Hulk Hogan vs. Sid Justice; Hulk Hogan’s last match?; Ric Flair vs. Randy Savage for the WWF Championship; Roddy Piper vs. Bret Hart for the WWF Intercontinental Championship)

SummerSlam – Aug. 29th: 280.000 PPV buys (main attractions: Randy Savage vs. The Ultimate Warrior for the WWF Championship; Whose side are Flair and Perfect on?; Bret Hart vs. The British Bulldog for the Intercontinental Championship)

Survivor Series – Nov. 25th: 250.000 PPV buys (main attractions: Randy Savage & Mr. Perfect vs. Ric Flair & Razor Ramon; Bret Hart vs. Shawn Michaels for the WWF Championship)

TV specials

Saturday Night’s Main Event – Feb. 8th: 8.2 TV rating (main attractions: Hulk Hogan & Sid Justice vs. Ric Flair & The Undertaker; Randy Savage vs. Jake Roberts)

Saturday Night’s Main Event – Nov. 14th: 6.1 TV rating (main attractions: Money Inc vs. The Ultimate Maniacs for the WWF World Tag Team Championship; Bret Hart vs. Papa Shango for the WWF Championship)

WCW

Pay Per Views

SuperBrawl II – Feb. 29th: 160.000 PPV buys (main attractions: Lex Luger vs. Sting for the WCW Championship; Rick Rude vs. Ricky Steamboat for the United States Championship)

WrestleWar – May 17th: 105.000 PPV buys (main attraction: The Dangerous Alliance vs. Sting’s Squadron – WarGames)

Beach Blast – June 20th: 70.000 PPV buys (main attractions: Rick Rude vs. Ricky Steamboat in an Iron Man Match; Sting vs. Cactus Jack in a Falls Count Anywhere Match)

The Great American Bash – July 12th: 70.000 PPV buys (main attractions: Big Van Vader vs. Sting for the WCW Championship; NWA World Tag Team Championship tournament)

Halloween Havoc – Oct. 25th: 165.000 PPV buys (main attractions: Sting vs. Jake Roberts; ‘spin the wheel make the deal’ stipulation reveal for Sting vs. Roberts; Ron Simmons vs. The Barbarian for the WCW Championship)

Starrcade – Dec. 28th: 95.000 PPV buys (main attractions: Battlebowl; Sting vs. Big Van Vader in the King of Cable tournament final; Ron Simmons vs. Rick Rude for the WCW Championship)

TV specials

Clash of the Champions XVIII – Jan. 21st: 3.7 TV rating (main attractions: Sting & Ricky Steamboat vs. Dangerous Alliance’s Rick Rude & Steve Austin; The Steiners vs. Big Van Vader & Mr. Hughes; Big Van Vader returns to WCW)

Clash of the Champions XIX – June 22nd: 2.8 TV rating (main attractions: first round matches of the NWA World Tag Team Championship tournament)

Clash of the Champions XX – Sept. 2nd: 3.7 TV rating (main attractions: Sting, The Steiners & Nikita vs. Roberts, Vader, Rude & Super Invader; Ron Simmons vs. Cactus Jack for the WCW Championship; Steve Austin vs. Ricky Steamboat for the Television Championship; special celebration of 20 years of wrestling on TBS)

Clash of the Champions XXI – Nov. 18th: 3.2 TV rating (main attractions: Sting vs. Rick Rude in a King of Cable tournament semi-final match; Madusa vs. Paul E Dangerously; Barry Windham & Dustin Rhodes vs. Ricky Steamboat & Shane Douglas for the WCW/NWA Unified World Tag Team Championship)

Here are the files with the point system for both companies.

That’s it. We’re officially closing the book on 1992 here on the site and moving on to 1993. It will be another year with a lot of changes, beginning in January immediately with the debut of RAW. Make sure you keep following the blog as we take a closer look at yet another year. Until next time!

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Categories
PPV Reviews

WCW Starrcade 1992 Review (Vader Vs. Sting II)

December 28th, 1992
Live from Atlanta, GA (The Omni)
Announced attendance: 8 000 (capacity: ca. 16 378)
PPV buys: 95 000 (down 60 000 from Starrcade 1991; down 70 000 from Halloween Havoc 1992)

Hey there everyone. Welcome to my review of the final show of 1992, WCW Starrcade, featuring the return of the lethal lottery/battlebowl concept (won by Sting the previous year), Masahiro Chono vs. The Great Muta for the NWA World Title, Dr. Death Steve Williams replacing the injured Rick Rude to challenge Ron Simmons for the WCW World Title, Big Van Vader vs. Sting in the final of the King of Cable tournament, and more!

Here is the list of champions in WCW heading into Starrcade 92:

  • WCW World Heavyweight Champion: Ron Simmons [148th day of his reign] – previous champion: Big Van Vader
  • NWA World Heavyweight Champion: Masahiro Chono [138th day of his reign] – previous champion: Ric Flair, before it was vacated/deactivated
  • WCW United States Heavyweight Champion: vacated [for 27 days] – previous champion: Rick Rude
  • WCW World Television Champion: Scott Steiner [90th day of his reign] – previous champion: Ricky Steamboat
  • WCW/NWA Unified World Tag Team Champions: Ricky Steamboat & Shane Douglas [40th day of their reign] – previous champions: Barry Windham & Dustin Rhodes

Note: in title matches, the defending champions are underlined

Enjoy the review!

IMG credit: WWE & sportsobsessive.com

Your hosts are Jim Ross & Jesse Ventura

They air a cool pre-show video package on the history of Starrcade, with this being the 10th edition. The video still promotes Ron Simmons vs. Rick Rude, even though that won’t be happening, which JR addresses.

Special Report w/ Eric Bischoff: It’s officially announced that Rick Rude suffered a neck injury and will be out for a couple of months. Dr. Death is his replacement to challenge Ron tonight.

Sting receives the ring for winning the inaugural battlebowl the previous year, and he promises to win it again this year.

We cut to Larry Zbyszko & Missy Hyatt for our first lethal lottery draw. They talk for a bit and… introduce the match that had already been announced at Clash. Hm, okay then.

Lethal Lottery Tag Team Match #1 – Van Hammer & Danny Spivey vs. Cactus Jack & Johnny B. Badd
IMG credit: WWE & myjourneythroughwrestling.wordpress.com

Van Hammer overpowers Cactus to start. Cactus gets in Van Hammer’s face, who slaps him twice and explodes with a corner clothesline. Powerslam sets up a legdrop for one. Cactus brings in Johnny, who eats an elbowdrop to give Hammer two. Badd finally gets something in for his team with a pair of armdrags, before pulling a hurricanra from out of nowhere for two. It’s off to Cactus v. Spivey, with both men dodging corner clotheslines from each other, until Spivey catches Cactus with a clothesline out of the corner. Spivey cheapshots Badd from the apron on a criss cross, tagging himself in and hitting a slam. Van Hammer follows up with a slam of his own and gets two. Backdrop suplex for two. Badd finally catches a break by raising his boot to a charging Spivey, and Cactus comes in with a bulldog off the tag. Clothesline and Cactus looks for the tag, but Badd is still knocked out on the floor. This allows Spivey to ram Cactus into the buckle, and a russian legsweep gets two. Van Hammer comes in with a Warrior-esque running shoulderblock, and Badd errantly elbowdrops on Cactus while trying to break up the pin. Cactus shoves him for it, and Badd responds with the KO punch. Van Hammer simply cradles him to advance at 6:51.

  • Rating: Alright match, althought I can’t for the life of me understand why Van Hammer and Dan Spivey advanced to the main event over Cactus Jack and Johnny B Badd. But who gives a f-ck. *3/4

Onto Larry and Missy for the first (actual) draw of the night…

Lethal Lottery Tag Team Match #2 – Dustin Rhodes & Big Van Vader (w/ Harley Race) vs. Kensuke Sasaki & The Barbarian
IMG credit: WWE & classicwrestlingreview.com

We start off with a showdown between Vader and Barbarian, with both men shaking hands before the match. Should be a fun hoss fight. Vader no-sells a clothesline from Barb, and then Barb no-sells one either. Barbarian explodes with a gigantic powerslam, but Vader pops right back up. Oh, sh-t. Vader pounds away for a while and hits a powerslam of his own, which Barbarian no-sells either. Barb tries a couple of running shoulderblocks but that goes nowhere either, until Vader catches a charging Barbarian and finally drops him down. Vader manhandles Barb in the corner, but he fights back and finally manages to take Vader down with a series of clotheslines. However, Vader fights back with a brutal short-clothesline. Vader tags in Dustin, and a Hart Attack of sorts gets two. Barbarian catches him with a backdrop suplex for two, but Dustin hits a backdrop suplex of his own. Now it’s off to Sasaki v. Dustin. Rhodes chops away in the corner, but gets caught with a clothesline out of the corner by Sasaki. The latter goes up, but Dustin catches him with a dropkick in mid-air. He brings in Vader, who goes up and just SQUASHES poor Sasaki. Vader follows it up with a running clothesline and busts Sasaki’s nose. Ventura: Sasaki is gonna feel like he’s in Okinawa! Sasaki actually has the balls to kickout of a powerslam by Vader, and then suplexes him. I don’t think that’s a good idea, personally. Dustin comes in with a running clothesline on Barb, but Sasaki breaks up the pin. Dustin goes at it with Sasaki in the corner, and Barbarian hits Sasaki by mistake, allowing Dustin to cradle Barb at 6:56. And then, with the stupid “strange bedfellows” crap out of the way, Vader murders Rhodes as well. Smart man.

  • Rating: Good little match here, for what it was. The Vader/Barbarian showdown at the start was great stuff. **3/4

Meanwhile, JR & Jesse hype SuperBrawl III. It’s funny seeing Jim Ross hype up a 1993 WCW PPV, given he’d start with WWF at WrestleMania in just a few short months.

Back to the draw we go…

Lethal Lottery Tag Team Match #3 – Barry Windham & The Great Muta vs. 2 Cold Scorpio & Flyin’ Brian Pillman
IMG credit: WWE & keijimutohcentral.com

This one doesn’t look too shabby on paper either. Apparently we’re halfway through the lethal lottery tag matches already, which should make this show a lot better than 91, which had countless of them. Windham suplexes Scorpio right off the bell. Scorpio fights back with an armdrag followed by a dropkick, and yet another armdrag. Scorpio holds on to the arm while Barry tries to escape, but he can’t so he brings in Muta. Pillman eventually gets tagged in as well, hitting a dropkick for two. They get into a quick series of reversals and Muta returns the dropkick for two of his own. It’s now off to Windham v. Pillman, who will challenge Steamboat & Douglas for the tag titles as partners later that night. They get into a chopfest in the corner, but the veteran Windham stops and reminds him to save it for later. Pillman shoulderblocks Muta but then runs into a spinning wheel kick from Muta. Scorpio hits a running clothesline on Muta for two. A powerslam sets up a splash, but Muta raises his knees. Windham tags himself in and quickly follows it up with a lariat. Suplex on Scorpio gets two. Muta gets an elbowdrop and he goes to work on Scorpio’s leg. Scorpio fights back with a running shoulderblock in the corner, and a springboard legdrop gets two. However, Muta spinkicks Scorpio to the outside, but Scorpio comes back with a springboard somersault splash. Windham breaks up the pin, though, and it quickly turns into a big melee. Barry smartly picks his spot and knocks out Scorpio with the Implant DDT, leaving him easy pickings for the Mutasault at 6:59.

  • Rating: Another fun little match from the lethal lottery phase. Windham was the pro holding all the pieces together, smartly thinking of his tag title match later to stop the fight with Pillman, and also playing a huge part in the finish. Muta looked good ahead of his NWA World Title match later, and Scorpio got a good showing in his first PPV appearance. I wish we’d seen more of Pillman, as he wasn’t featured that much in this match and he was on a roll at the time. **3/4

Back to the drawing we go for the final time, with the guaranteed participation of the defending “champion”, Sting…

Lethal Lottery Tag Team Match #4: Sting & ‘Dr. Death’ Steve Williams vs. Erik Watts & Justin Thunder Liger
IMG credit: WWE & classicwrestlingreview.com

Haha, of course it had to be Erik Watts. WCW, you silly f-ckers! Sting and Liger kick us off. They exchange reversals back and forth and reach a stalemate. Dr. Death comes in and puts the boots to Liger, until the latter sidesteps a blind charge and… sigh… tags in Watts. He comes in with a pair of armdrags on Williams, who finally has enough and just shoves Erik down on a third attempt. Doc pounds away on Watts, but misses a clothesline and Watts gets a bodypress for two. Williams chops away, but Liger makes the blind tag and takes over. Doc shrugs off a monkey flip attempt though, and clotheslines Liger inside out. It gets two. Sting comes in and rams Liger into the turnbuckle for two. We get some double-teaming by Sting and Doc, and Doc hits a powerslam for two. The Stinger Splash only finds turnbuckle, but Williams immediately gets tagged in to continue the beating on Liger. I can’t believe I’m seeing an Erik Watts hot tag being cooked. The roof is gonna come off, folks. Sting works a half crab on Liger, and it’s back to Williams for more punishment. Liger tries to fight back with a sleeper, but gets thwarted rather quickly with a backdrop suplex from Doc. Vertical suplex by Sting gets two. Liger finally gets something in with a bulldog and it’s HOT TAG ERIK WATTS BY GAWD… and the crowd goes mild. Watts “slugs away” as poor Williams actually has to sell for this schlub. No wonder he left after this show. Erik hits the most laughable “dropkick” I have ever seen, before going for an STF. Doc thankfully makes it to the ropes, otherwise he would’ve had no option but to give up to this master technician. Doc, having finally had enough of this bullsh-t, ends the idiotic superman comeback and stunguns the idiot for the win at 9:08.

  • Rating: This had moments where it was good. It also had moments where Erik Watts was in the ring. The double-teaming by Sting and Doc was surprising, and the heat spot on Liger was decent. Sadly, it was a set-up for the hot tag to Watts, which no one bought and made the whole thing kinda pointless. Still, quite the solid effort. **

Meanwhile, we see clips of NWA Champion Masahiro Chono in action over in Japan.

NWA World Heavyweight Championship – Masahiro Chono vs. The Great Muta
IMG credit: WWE & classicwrestlingreview.com

Chono snapmares Muta to start and kicks him in the mouth. They take it to the mat for some mat-work, but the crowd isn’t invested one bit. Muta goes to work on the leg and Chono escapes with an enziguiri. Chono wins a battle over a wristlock and follows it up with a shoulderblock, and Muta bails. Jesse mentions that Muta already had one match tonight. He’ll also be in the battlebowl in the main event, having won his lethal lottery match earlier. Back in, they get into a test of strength that is won by Muta, who locks in a full nelson. He switches into an abdominal stretch, which Chono blocks and turns into his own. Muta reverses that into an armbar, with Chono reversing into his own armbar. Muta manages to get on his feet though, and stomps away on Chono to escape the hold. And Muta goes to work with a headscissors. Masa Chono reverses and goes after the leg to try the STF, but Muta’s in the ropes. Chono dumps Great Muta a couple of times, with the crowd sadly not reacting to anything. Back in, Chono wrestles Great Muta down into a hammerlock. Muta tries to counter with an armdrag, but Chono holds onto the arm and maintains the hold. Chono goes up top, only to get caught and brought down by Muta with a superplex. Indian deathlock by Muta, with Chono eventually making the ropes. Chono tries to fight back with a clothesline, but Muta sidesteps it and spinkicks Chono all the way to the floor. Back in, Muta gets the handspring elbow in the corner, which FINALLY wakes up the crowd. Just call an audible and have Muta go over with the Mutasault. He goes up for it indeed, but Chono moves out of the way and Muta hurts his knee. And the crowd goes back to being dead. Chono puts the boots to Muta, who catches Chono with a small package and nearly steals it. They each try a dropkick at the same time, but Chono gets a backdrop suplex. He goes for a second one, but Muta bodypresses him in mid-air and gets two. Dropkick by Muta, but Chono holds onto the ropes and applies the STF on the mat to retain at 12:49. How to kill a crowd 101.

  • Rating: I feel bad for these guys. Their work was really solid and their reversals were alright, but the fact that the crowd didn’t care at all hurt it a lot. Muta losing via submission was an eff-you to the crowd. Overall, a fine yet largely soulless match. *3/4

Meanwhile, a furious Rick Rude comes down to ringside and addresses how a stupid doctor took away his chance to become World Heavyweight Champion. Furthermore, they’re taking away his US title due to the injury, whilst Sting got to keep his WCW World title when Vader broke his ribs earlier in the year. Very fair point.

WCW World Heavyweight Championship – Ron Simmons vs. Dr. Death Steve Williams
IMG credit: WWE & classicwrestlingreview.com

They shake hands beforehand. Ron manages to overpower Doc with a headlock to start. Williams breaks free and they no-sell a pair of shoulderblocks. Ron outsmarts Doc by ducking a shoulderblock with a leapfrog and hitting a clothesline for two. Doc starts cheating with some hair-pulling, prompting a good ol’ slugfest. Williams eats Ron’s elbow on a blind charge in the corner though, and Simmons bulldogs him out of the corner for two. Ron goes to work on the arm and he climbs up for a flying shoulderblock, but finds no water in the pool. Doc rams Simmons’ leg into the apron, going after the leg back inside the ring. Another match that might look alright on paper, but is quite dull in execution. Ron tries to fight back only to get kicked in the knee. Williams hits a backbreaker for two. Clothesline gets two. Doc twists the ankle some more and powerslams him. Doc hits a pair of three point stances, but eats a Simmons clothesline on a third attempt. Spinebuster by Ron and now he runs wild with the three point stances. This is basically Jim Ross’ dream match with all the American football analogies. They take the fight to the floor, where Doc ducks a clothesline and Simmons hitting the post. The ref calls for a double count-out at 15:12. However, Williams continues the beating on Simmons afterward, prompting the ref to reverse the decision into a DQ win for Ron. Thrilling stuff. Simmons’ reign would end two nights later, losing to Vader at a house show.

  • Rating: The first and last few minutes were alright with the power battles, but the middle portion was really dull and didn’t exactly take us anywhere. Ron Simmons winning the title was a great moment, but boy did the reign suck. Between this and the Halloween Havoc defense against The Barbarian, I don’t know which one was more eh. *1/2

SuperBrawl ’93 ad.

WCW/NWA Unified World Tag Team Championship – Ricky Steamboat & Shane Douglas vs. Barry Windham & Flyin’ Brian Pillman
IMG credit: WWE & prowrestlingpost.com

The story here is that the faces want to murder Barry for brutally assaulting them and Dusin Rhodes ever since his heel turn at the previous Clash. Pillman and Douglas lockup to start. Brian drives him into the corner for some chops and an armdrag. Douglas dodges a chop and blocks a sunset flip, and we reach a stalemate. Pillman chokes him for a bit as the two get into a criss-cross sequence, won by Shane with a dropkick onto the outside. Windham takes a double dropkick from the champs followed by a double backdrop, and the heels bail. And now Windham wants some, and begs for Steamboat to come in as well. Ricky obliges and unloads with the karate chops. Vertical suplex and Windham wants out already, but Steamboat puts his body in the way with a front facelock. Douglas follows with a headlock, which Windham powers out of with a backdrop suplex. However, Steamboat comes in and continues the beating, even taking him outside for a slam to the floor. Windham has had enough and considers taking a walk, but Shane prevents him from leaving and slams him on the floor. And Ricky sends him FLYING back into the ring! Barry is taking a good ol’ beating out there. Swinging neckbreaker from Dragon gets two. Douglas wears him down some more, but Windham finally gets a break and brings in Brian, who goes to work with a jawbreaker. Douglas responds by dropkick Brian off the apron and onto the railing, knocking Pillman’s lights out.

Douglas puts him back inside and goes up, but a small distraction from Barry allows Pillman to dropkick Shane off the top rope to the floor. There, Windham follows it up with a clothesline on the concrete. Barry takes over with a headbutt back inside, and hammers Douglas while getting in Steamboat’s face. This is great! Obviously, this allows Pillman to sneak attack Douglas over on the other side. Douglas tries to fight back briefly, but that goes nowhere and Windham sh-tcans Douglas onto the railing. The beeting continues over there, prompting Steamboat to come in with a chairshot to the back while the ref’s distracted with Pillman. Douglas reaches for the tag, but Pillman’s there to stop him with a backdrop suplex as the heels remain in control. Flying fistdrop followed by a backdrop suplex gets two. Pillman comes in with a snap suplex into a splash for two. The heels cheat some more while the ref’s tied up with Steamboat, but Douglas blocks a Windham suplex into one of his own. Windham tries to stop him but it’s HOT TAG STEAMBOAT! He’s a house of fire with dropkicks and karate chops abound for both heels. He sends Pillman packing with a slam, but ends up charging into a scoop powerslam from Barry. Backdrop suplex follows, and a whip into the post while Pillman distracts the ref. Ricky comes back with a springboard karate chop, but Windham stops the count. Headscissors by Brian gets two. Barry keeps hammering Steamboat, who keeps holding onto the ropes to stay in it and fight back with the chops. Windham goes up but misses, and Steamboat faceplants him and makes the hot tag to Douglas. He runs wild for a bit and it quickly turns into a big melee. Steamboat sacrifices himself to get rid of Windham, leaving Shane alone in the ring with Pillman. Steamboat and Windham keep fighting out on the ramp, while in the ring Douglas finishes Pillman with the belly-to-belly at 20:02 to retain.

  • Rating: Absolutely tremendous stuff all around here. Ricky Steamboat’s selling truly is a work of art. The story was simple, the faces (Steamboat particularly) wanted to destroy Barry Windham. They got that across up until the very end, including in the finish itself, while the heels kept cheating and rubbing it in the faces’ face. A nearly dead Ricky Steamboat pointing at Barry Windham as if to say “you just wait, motherf-cker” while taking a beating is priceless. I loved the finish, with Ricky just wanting to take it to Barry regardless, while Douglas put Pillman away in the ring. This is a WCW MOTY contender. ****
King of Cable Tournament Final – Sting vs. Big Van Vader (w/ Harley Race)
IMG credit: WWE & theovertimer.com

The King of Cable tournament was held to celebrate 20 years of wrestling on TBS. This is a rematch from the World title match at Great American Bash 92, which saw Vader win the belt. Vader no-sells everything that Sting throws at him and slams him. Vader slams him twice just because he can and stops to pose in the corner. Sting tries to surprise him with a quick Stinger Splash, but Vader’s like “nope” and Sting goes down like a ton of bricks. Vader proceeds to gorilla press slam Sting onto the top rope a few times for fun, forcing Sting to bail. Back in, Sting explodes with a rolling koppo kick and takes him down with a dropkick. German suplex by Sting. Clothesline. A second clothesline dumps Vader and rips Vader’s mask off! Vader’s “oh no you didn’t” facial expression is brilliant! However, Sting dives and takes both Vader and Harley Race down. Vader overpowers Sting back inside but misses a blind charge in the corner, and Sting armdrags him out of the corner. Sting is thinking Stinger Splash again, but just eats boot. However, Sting fights back with a kick to the jaw and hits a DDT. Sting actually powers Vader onto the top rope and superplexes him for two! He locks in the Scorpion Deathlock, but Vader’s on the ropes and leaves the ring. Sting attempts a third Stinger Splash, this one on the outside, but Vader dodges and Sting knocks himself out on the railing.

Sting breaks the count back to the ring, where he’s met with a brutal short-clothesline. Vader hits his version of the Stinger Splash/avalanche just to rub it in Sting’s face, and follows it up with another nasty clothesline for two. Vader whacks Sting a couple of times before hitting a backdrop suplex. He adds a splash for two and puts him in a chinlock. Vader literally tries to rip Sting’s head off his shoulders during the chinlock, and then has enough of this chinlock thing and WHAMS him for two. Holy sh-t! Sting fights back with a backslide for a great nearfall. Sunset flip attempt by Sting is blocked by Vader, who tries an assdrop but it misses. Sting manages to hit a backdrop suplex, but Vader is actually the first to get up and HE gets a nearfall. What a monster! Vader clubbers Sting like there’s no tomorrow and takes him up for what would be a superplex, but Sting pokes him in the eyes to survive that predicament. And then both guys fall off the top rope!! AND VADER GETS UP FIRST. Give it up Sting, it’s alright. Vader continues to destroy Sting in the corner, who takes all the shots and even asks for more! Vader eventually gets fatigued and stops throwing punches, which allows Sting to make his big comeback. AWESOME! Sting somehow hits a Samoan drop, but the rope break saves Vader. Sting goes up and immediately follows it up with a flying splash for a nearfall. Race gets up on the apron to cause the distraction, knowing his man is being taken to the limit, allowing Vader to take control. Chokeslam by Vader sets up his own flying splash. Vader goes up again but this time Sting manages to slam him in mid-air and catches the big man to make it 1-1 at 16:50!

  • Rating: Just amazing. What an intense physical battle between two badasses, with Sting just barely surviving the beating before outsmarting Vader and running him out of gas. This felt like a real struggle and I loved it. The finish was brilliantly structured and executed as well, with the exhausted monster going up top and ultimately causing his own defeat. Two awesome matches in a row! ****1/2

Jesse then presents the King of Cable trophy to Sting. He says he still wants to win the battlebowl for the second year in a row up next.

Before the main event, Tony Schiavone discusses with Paul Hornung the importance of rings to athletes. It just turns into NFL talk, which this Portuguese fella can totally relate to!

Main Event

Battlebowl Battle Royal
IMG credit: WWE & wrestlingclique.com

Once again, your participants are (in order of entrance): Danny Spivey, Dustin Rhodes, The Great Muta, Barry Windham, Dr. Death Steve Williams, Van Hammer, Big Van Vader and Sting (the defending “champion”). Vader and Sting of course go at it before they make it to the ring, to continue their battle from the pior match. Typical kicky punchy battle royal action to start. I can’t believe I’m seeing Van Hammer in the main event of Starrcade while the likes of Arn Anderson, Bobby Eaton or Stunning Steve Austin can’t even get booked on the card. Some puzzles just aren’t meant to be solved. Vader and Sting just keep going at it against each other regardless of everything else, in an wesome touch. Van Hammer stops that battle to attack Vader, just to get dropped on his ass rather quickly. Vader tries to put Muta out but Van Hammer stops him and picks a fight with him again. WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU?? Sting nearly gets thrown by Windham but he hangs in there and goes right after Vader. Can’t we just have that rematch right now instead of this? Williams thankfully gets rid of Van Hammer first. Meanwhile, Dustin and Windham take their fight to the ramp, where Rhodes drops him with a bulldog. Sting backdrops Spivey over the top for the second elimination. A huge running clothesline by Vader puts both Sting and himself out. We get a shot of Windham bleeding, possibly from the bulldog on the floor. Or maybe a shot with Dustin’s cast. Windham drops Rhodes with a DDT, as they continue having a mini-match while Muta and Williams keep doing whatever on the other side. Windham goes up for some crazy reason, but Dustin slams him off into the middle of the ring for some even dumber reason. Jesse: “Why did he bring him in? Why did he bring him in?” Good point, Jesse. Dustin fights back with a DDT, but Williams ruins the fun by clotheslining Rhodes out. The clothesline takes Doc out as well though, ending his WCW run. And it’s down to Windham and Muta. Superplex by Windham. Standing dropkick follows and he dumps Muta, but he skins the cat back in and dropkicks Windham out to win battlebowl at 14:01.

  • Rating: I really, really could live without this battlebowl concept. With that said, there were enough heated feuds here to keep this moderately entertaining. The choice of the winner was fine, I do like The Great Muta. However, given all the other feuds going on and especially the fact that Vader would win the World title two nights later, or even Barry Windham who was just beginning his amazing heel run, I personally would prefer another winner. It just feels strange as this was literally Muta’s first appearance in WCW in more than half a year. Overall, a fine battle royal that has no business being in the main event of Starrcade. **1/2

END OF THE SHOW

Final thoughts: Both World title matches are dull and disappointing. A battle royal main evented Starrcade again. The lethal lottery tag matches were the lethal lottery tag matches, multiple random thrown-together “strange bedfellows” tag matches to advance to the dumb battle royal. Well, at least there weren’t dozens of them like in 1991 here. This sounds like a horrible PPV on paper. And then you have Sting vs Vader and Steamboat & Douglas vs Windham & Pillman, two of the very best matches of the whole year! Long story short, watch the two show-savers and skip the rest. 5/10 for those two fabulous matches.

POINT SYSTEM

Find out more about our point system here. Small tweak given this show features a unique match (battlebowl): the winner gets 3 points, while all the other participants lose 1 point.

Point system: Starrcade 1992

That’s all for today’s article. That’s also all for 1992, a pretty underrated year for wrestling, in both WCW and the WWF. Make sure you don’t miss the year-end article, covering the year’s best matches and wrestlers. Here’s the 1991 piece for a preview. See you soon and have the best summer ever!

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Categories
Clash of the Champions Reviews

WCW Clash Of The Champions #21 Review (Watts Happening Here?)

November 18th 1992
Live from Macon, GA (Macon Coliseum)
Announced attendance: ca 7 500 (capacity: ca 9 000)
TV rating: 3.2 (TBS) (down 0.5 from Clash 20’s 3.7)

Hey there good people. Welcome all to my review of the 21st edition of WCW Clash, featuring Sting vs Rick Rude in a semi final of the ‘King of Cable’ tournament and Barry Windham & Dustin Rhodes vs Ricky Steamboat & Shane Douglas for the World Tag Team titles.

Here is the list of champions in WCW heading into this edition:

  • WCW World Heavyweight Champion: Ron Simmons [108th day of his reign] – previous champion: Big Van Vader
  • NWA World Heavyweight Champion: Masahiro Chono [98th day of his reign] – previous champion: Ric Flair, before it was vacated/deactivated
  • WCW United States Heavyweight Champion: Rick Rude [365th day of his reign] – previous champion: Sting
  • WCW World Television Champion: Scott Steiner [50th day of his reign] – previous champion: Ricky Steamboat
  • WCW/NWA Unified World Tag Team Champions: Barry Windham & Dustin Rhodes [58th day of their reign] – previous champions: Miracle Violence Connection

Enjoy the review!

IMG credit: WWE & rockstarcalgary.com

Your hosts are Jim Ross & Jesse Ventura

A weigh-in between Madusa and Paul E Dangerously for their boxing match later on quickly ends in a scuffle to kickoff the Clash. I personally couldn’t think of any better way to start a show.

Bill Watts and Michael Hayes offer their all-important thoughts on tonight’s proceedings.

Brian Pillman vs Brad Armstrong is scheduled as the first match of the night, but Pillman shows up on crutches and in street clothes and announces he’s badly injured and can’t compete. Much like what happened to Brad at the previous Clash, which took Pillman’s chance to regain the since-defunct Light Heavyweight Championship away. Brad shows up to confront Pillman, and… SIKE! Brian destroys Brad’s leg with the crutches around ringside, before issuing the challenge. Brad accepts anyway, giving us…

Flyin’ Brian Pillman vs. Brad Armstrong

Brian, in street clothes mind you, immediately goes to work on the bad leg. Armstrong manages to turn things around on one good leg somehow, and returns the bitchslap from Clash XX. However, Pillman clips the knee and steals it at 00:25.

  • Rating: Haha, that silly Brian Pillman! Entertaining crap, but more of an angle than a match. N/R

Recap of Paul E firing and abusing Madusa at Halloween Havoc, and getting his ass kicked for it.

Paul E claims in an interview with Michael Hayes that he’s a man and therefore superior. “The only sacrifice women ever make is when they’re 16 years old in their boyfriends’ car.” Oof. This promo would work really well in this day and age, wouldn’t it?

Arn Anderson & Bobby Eaton (w/ Michael Hayes) vs. Kensuke Sasaki & Erik Watts

This series has finally been graced with the debut of the incredible Erik Watts. We’ve made it folks, it just doesn’t get any better than this! Paul E put up a 10,000$ bounty on anyone that beats up Watts. Bobby Eaton has the honor of getting into a wrestling sequence with the great Erik Watts to start, and they exchange a few slaps from there. Bobby applies an abdominal stretch but Watts, ever the master technician, quickly outwrestles Eaton and escapes. He gets dumped, but jumps right back in and totally botches the worst-looking “high crossbody” (or was it a sunset flip?) you will ever see. He takes Eaton down immediately anyway (awkwardly might I add) and pounds away on poor Bobby, who has to stand there and put up with this crap. AA gets tagged in for a face off with Watts, quite possibly the highest point of Arn Anderson’s career. The two lock up briefly but go nowhere, and it’s down to Eaton vs Sasaki. They get into a criss cross sequence that is won by Sasaki with a dropkick, who fires away with some chops in the corner. Anderson pulls Eaton out of the corner away from the charging Sasaki, making him taste some turnbuckle, as then Hayes adds some cheapshots from ringside. Oh look, finally some wrestling. The heels keep cutting the ring in half until Erik comes in to save the day, allowing Sasaki to catch Eaton with a scoop powerslam. Hot tag Watts. He takes Eaton down with a MONKEY FLIP out of the corner before dealing with Anderson all by himself as well. This is truly something. Eaton cuts him off with a cheapshot and goes up, only to get caught by Watts in mid-air. And then… please read this carefully… ERIK WATTS TAPS BOBBY EATON OUT WITH AN STF AT 6:06!!! I hope Bobby’s paycheck was worth it. My time and yours certainly is not, though.

  • Rating: I have never seen anyone whose “moves” looked so awkward. This was the total sh-ts apart from those 30 seconds or so of actual wrestling where Sasaki was worked over in the heel corner. Poor Bobby Eaton literally spent the entire match rolling over for Erik fucking Watts and ended up tapping out to him, because of course he did. It’s almost as if Erik was the son of the booker or something. 1/4*

Johnny B. Badd and Scotty Flamingo comment on their upcoming boxing match. Kevin “Vinnie Vegas” Nash cutting a promo with a fake accent in a pink shirt is something to behold indeed.

Boxing Match – Johnny B. Badd (w/ Theodore Long) vs. Scotty Flamingo (w/ The Vegas Connection)

The story here is that Flamingo used brass knuckles to knock out Johnny in a segment with Jim Ross on a recent episode of WCW Saturday Night. Mero used to be a boxer before wrestling, so he’s the clear favorite here. Johnny unloads with a flurry of jabs to kickoff round 1. Flamingo runs away from him, and sneaks in with a clothesline and a few stomps while Vegas has the referee distracted. Flamingo scores with some jabs himself, until Badd avoids one and knocks Scotty out cold. However, the time for round 1 expires and that ends up saving Flamingo. The seconds get in the ring during the break, and DDP fills Scotty’s glove with water in their corner. Round 2 begins with Johnny still in control, until DDP gets up on the apron and allows Flamingo to hit Badd with the loaded glove for the KO win at 3:01.

  • Rating: This was really dumb on multiple levels, but I get what they were going for and it did draw a bit of heat. Relatively short and inoffensive little undercard “match”. 1/2*

Clips of the battlebowl/lethal lottery concept from the previous year won by Sting to promote the upcoming Starrcade ’92.

Jesse Ventura and Missy Hyatt draw the first match for the “lethal lottery” battlebowl-qualifying tag match at Starrcade: Cactus Jack & Johnny B. Badd vs Danny Spivey & Van Hammer.

WCW Slam Jam Vol. 1 album ad.

Handicap Match – Ron Simmons & 2 Cold Scorpio vs. Cactus Jack, The Barbarian & Tony Atlas

This was supposed to be Ron and Robbie Walker, but the latter got injured by the heels and replaced by the debuting (and still unnamed) 2 Cold Scorpio. This is being called a “Ghetto Odds” match because the heels had been picking on black guys like Walker, and Ron wants to teach them a lesson despite the odds. Yeah. Gary Cappetta announces Scorpio as “The Yet To Be Identified Tag Team Partner”!! Him and Ron run down to the ring and clean house rather quickly, before Scorpio meets the heels with a dive onto the outside as Cactus’ brood bails for a second. They eventually walk back in, but Simmons runs wild with a hiptoss on Barbarian, followed by a dropkick on Atlas and finally a spinebuster on Cactus. The heels bail once more, as Ron brings in “Ron Simmons’ Partner”! Hey, it’s still better than Shorty G. Scorpio pulls off a springboard moonsault but nearly botches it badly after slipping on the top rope, but Cactus goes down anyway and Scorpio gets two. It’s back to Simmons, who raises his elbow to block a blind charge from Foley, before exploding out of the corner with a bulldog. A follow-up dropkick misses though, after Tony pulls Cactus out of the way, and Barb drops an elbow for two. Cactus’ trio proceed to work over Ron in their corner. Barb backdrops him but Cactus goes for the Top Rope Vertical Jump That Always Misses and only finds boot, allowing him to make the hot tag to Ron Simmons’ Partner. Scorpio cleans house on all the heels with high-flying moves, until all three get in and Atlas dumps Scorpio while IT’S BREAKING LOOSE IN TULSA. Eventually Ron joins the melee, only to get triple-teamed as well. Atlas holds Ron in a full nelson to set him up for Barb’s big boot, but Ron ducks and Atlas ends up eating the boot himself. Ron takes care of both Barbarian and Cactus, while Ron Simmons’ Partner busts out a freaking 450 shooting star press that takes every single butt off the seats in the crowd, finishing Tony Atlas with it at 5:52.

  • Rating: Decent enough match that did a good job of introducing 2 Cold Scorpio to the program. It was far from being perfect, and it’s kinda unnecessary to have the World Champion involved in this stuff, but it was alright. **1/2

Jesse Ventura interviews the winners immediately after the match, where Ron Simmons’ Partner finally announces his name to the world.

‘The Hottest New Tag Team’ Z-Man & Johnny Gunn walk around a clothing store. They’re coming to an arena near you soon. What the hell was this vignette?

Ravishing Rick Rude is standing by with Tony Schiavone. He’s motivated to give Sting and his fans a trip to hell & back on his way to the King of Cable final. No mention of beating Sting for the US title EXACTLY 365 days earlier? I’m disappointed!

Rundown of the ‘Jesse Ventura Invitational Arm Wrestling’ tournament. Geez, how many tournaments does this company plan on running at the same time, huh?

‘Battle of the Sexes’ 5 Minute Match – Madusa vs. Paul E Dangerously (w/ Michael Hayes)

Paul E apparently knocked Madusa out with the telephone during her entrance, but we totally missed it because Madusa’s tale of the tape was on the screen. We come back to find her laying on the floor while Paul and Hayes trashtalk her, but Paul ends up with a wig in his hand and finds out it’s jobber Mike Thor in there instead. Oooh foreshadowing, Vince Russo was probably taking notes at this time. Madusa finally appears behind Paul’s back, and kicks the f-ck out of him. Powerslam by Madusa and she slugs away, as even Hayes gets kicked for his troubles while Paul E gets outta town as soon as possible. Madusa drags him back to the ring with 2 minutes left on the clock, but Hayes trips Madusa and Paul taunts like Hulk Hogan. LUCHA HEYMAN goes up for a flying double axehandle(!), but Madusa no-sells it and clotheslines him. She drops some knees and follows it up with a missile dropkick, but stops to humiliate Paul by taking his clothes off. Paul E takes a walk to the back as the 5:00 time expires, and Madusa stands tall with Paul E’s trousers in her possession.

  • Rating: Utter sports-entertainment ‘match’ which is everyone was expecting. I would’ve preferred to see Heyman eat a kick in the teeth and get pinned within seconds after verbally humiliating Madusa for the past month or so, especially given he was on his way out of WCW and about to introduce ECW to the wrestling world, but it is what it is. 1/2*

Recap of the first round matches of the King of Cable: Rick Rude over Barry Windham; Sting eliminated Flyin’ Brian Pillman; Vader defeated Tony Atlas; Dustin Rhodes eliminated Barbarian. The first semi-final (Sting-Rude) takes place later tonight, while the other (Vader-Rhodes) is scheduled for the upcoming episode of WCW Saturday Night. The final goes down at Starrcade.

Big Van Vader has no doubt he’ll win the King of Cable tournament, the only question is who will he have to put in the hospital on his way there? This man rules.

King of Cable Semi Final – Rick Rude vs. Sting

Ole Anderson, Hiro Matsuda and Larry Zbyszko are at ringside to decide the winner in case this ends in a draw. Which totally doesn’t give away the finish of this match. Rude wastes no time in raking the eyes as he goes to work early on. However, he swivels already, allowing Sting to fight back with a couple of gutbusters as he goes after the RAVISHING ABS. And Sting has the audacity of doing the swivel himself, before going back to work on the midsection. Inverted suplex drops Rude on his abdomen. And another one. Where is Gorilla Monsoon for BREAD BASKET references when you need him!? Sting works a camel clutch to further punish the midsection, and switches to an abdominal stretch from there. Rude escapes the hold with a hiptoss, before finally turning things around with an eye rake. Rude pounds away on the back to set Sting up for the Rude Awakening, but Sting blocks a suplex and drops Rude’s ribs on the top rope. Sting suspends Rude on the ropes and punts Rude’s abs as if he’s Ronaldo and Rude’s abs are the ball, but the Stinger Splash misses on the outside and Sting knocks himself onto the railing. Back in, Rude drops a flying clubbing blow from the top and gets two. Powerslam by Rude, as now it’s Rude applying a camel clutch. Rude stops to swivel, but he’s too hurt and can’t complete it. I always liked that small touch. And Rude goes back to the camel clutch and pounding on the back. Vertical suplex gets two. Rude hits the chinlock but he misses a buttdrop to Sting’s back, and Sting goes for the comeback. Sting goes for a powerslam but his back gives out, and Rude lands on top of him for two.

This allows Rude to get back in the driver seat, working the count a few times to force Sting to put force on his back on the kickouts. Very smart wrestling. Rude works a bearhug with 5 minutes left to go on the time limit. Sting tries to escape that predicament, only for Rude to wham Sting’s back into the turnbuckle a couple of times and going back to the bearhug. Sting finally escapes with 3 minutes on the clock, and catches a charging Rude with a sleeper. We’re clearly in that time-killing stage to reach the time limit. Rude escapes the sleeper nicely with a jawbreaker, planting Sting’s face on the mat and even blowing a snot right on Sting’s face. Urgh! Rude goes up top but Sting slams him off and finally makes the comeback with 1:30 left. Atomic drop (featuring the unique Rude selljob) is followed by a bulldog, as now it’s Sting climbing to the top rope. High crossbody gets a nearfall. Sting goes up yet again, but Rude punches him in the gut in midair. Rude sets up for the Rude Awakening, but Sting powers out of it with 10 seconds to go. Stinger Splash connects and he tries to go for the Scorpion Deathlock, but the 20:00 time limit expires. Each judge gives Gary Cappetta their final decision, which goes as follows: Matsuda for Sting, Zbyszko for Rude, and Ole Anderson for Sting to put him in the final at Starrcade.

  • Rating: Finally a great wrestling match on this rather subpar Clash. The psychology was great from both men, with both targeting a body part to set up for their respective finishing moves in a lovely touch. Rick Rude’s selling was impeccable as usual. It dragged a bit towards the end as they were clearly extending it to reach the time limit, but it was otherwise a really strong match. ***1/2

Main Event

WCW/NWA Unified World Tag Team Championship – Barry Windham & Dustin Rhodes vs. Ricky Steamboat & Shane Douglas

Douglas and Rhodes to start. Lockup and Douglas counters a Rhodes backdrop into a cradle for two. Dustin responds with a backslide for two and they reach a stalemate. Douglas takes him down to the mat for a side headlock, reversed by Dustin into a hammerlock and Douglas makes the ropes. Dustin gives him a clean break, prompting Jesse to predict some cheating later on. They exchange some clean armdrags and trade a few nearfalls before colliding on a double dropkick for a double down. Steamboat and Windham both get tagged in at the same time, and their fight spills to the floor for a small moment of tension amongst both teams. Back in, Ricky atomic drops Barry and scores with an armdrag to take over. Double back elbow alongside Douglas gets two. Exchange of quick tags back-and-forth by the challengers. Shane blocks a suplex attempt by Windham, hitting one of his own for two. Barry misses a blind charge and eats the buckle, as Steamboat comes in with a savate kick to the gut for two. Double backdrop by Steamboat & Douglas gives the latter two. Shane Douglas goes to work with an armbar, but he ends up missing a crossbody and necksnapping himself on the top rope. Dustin Rhodes gets back in and gets two. Now it’s the champions pulling off the double-team moves, with a double dropkick giving Windham two. Barry’s suplex into a Dustin elbowdrop combo gets two. Shane Douglas with a sunset flip for two.

Rhodes wrestles Douglas down into a hammerlock, even getting a few nearfalls from it. Windham with a chop for two. Double clothesline gives Dustin two more. Dustin goes to work on Shane with a chinlock, while Steamboat begs for the hot tag over in his corner. Douglas manages to escape the chinlock and hit a quick crossbody for two, only to get caught over in the wrong corner and double-teamed yet again. Windham hits a massive delayed backdrop suplex for two. He follows it up with a lariat for another nearfall. Rhodes goes back to working over Douglas’ arm, who escapes and hits a springboard crossbody for two. Shane blocks a dropkick and brings in Steamboat for the battle of the former tag team champions. Steamboat runs wild with a couple of shoulderblocks and crossbodies for a number of two-counts, until Dustin eventually hiptosses him and dropkicks him for two. Inside cradle gets two. Running shoulderblock gets two. An awesome criss cross sequence follows, with Steamboat dropping down more times than usual to try to take his former partner off his game, and then Dustin accidentally headbutts Steamboat in the groin on a leapfrog attempt. Rhodes seems worried and refuses to go for the cover, which gets Windham FURIOUS on the apron. They get into a heated discussion in their corner, and Windham literally tags himself in and elbowdrops Steamboat for two. Barry follows it up with an atomic drop like an absolute dick (no pun intended), which Rhodes does not agree with. Steamboat is selling the f-ck out of this angle. Windham hits him with a second atomic drop followed by another lariat, but Dustin himself breaks up the pin. Windham bitchslaps his own partner and Dustin unloads on him, leaving Windham open to take Shane Douglas’ belly-to-belly for the pin and the titles at 15:52.

Dustin Rhodes checks on the Dragon after the bell, before abandoning Windham alone in the ring. Barry begs him to return to the ring for a talk, and Windham beats the crap out of him with a DDT. Even the referee takes a shot from the crazed Windham. He finally adds the superplex on Rhodes as an exclamation point.

  • Rating: This was some great pro wrestling. The action was good, but the multiple stories being told throughout this match was done beyond perfectly. Ricky and Dustin knowing each other’s arsenal well, Windham going ballistic and just being a dickhead after Dustin’s accidental low blow and show of fair play. This match was constructed very well, and the execution was great. Steamboat’s amazing selling took it to another level, making Windham look even more like a heel and justifying Dustin’s worries about his condition. A real sleeper right here, watch it if you’ve never seen it. ****

Steamboat & Douglas get interviewed in the dressing room, but Barry Windham runs in with a chair and destroys them as well to cement his heel turn.

END OF THE SHOW

Final thoughts: After such a horrible undercard, I never thought this show could ever be saved. But guess what, it was. The final two matches are really good and could have easily been on any PPV. Watch just these two matches, honestly, and maybe 2 Cold Scorpio’s debut if you’re having a good day. There’s no need to talk about this godawful undercard. Erik Watts, pffft. 5/10

POINT SYSTEM

Find out more about our point system here

Thank you very much for your time. Don’t miss the upcoming review of WWF Survivor Series and WCW Starrcade as we get close to the end of 1992. Have a great summer people, see you soon!

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Categories
PPV Reviews WCW

WCW Halloween Havoc 1992 Review (Spin The Wheel, Make A Meal)

October 25th, 1992
Live from Philadelphia, PA (Philadelphia Civic Center)
Announced attendance: 7 000 (capacity: ca 12 000)
PPV buyrate: 165 000 (+45 000 from Halloween Havoc 1991’s 120 000)

Hey guys, welcome to my review of WCW Halloween Havoc 1992. Featuring a special “spin the wheel make the deal” Sting v. Jake Roberts main event, Ron Simmons defending the World Championship against The Barbarian, and Rick Rude competing for two championships in the same night.

Here is the list of champions in WCW (and NWA) heading into the PPV:

  • WCW World Heavyweight Champion: Ron Simmons [84th day of his reign] – previous champion: Big Van Vader
  • NWA World Heavyweight Champion: Masahiro Chono [74th day of his reign] – previous champion: Ric Flair, before it was vacated/deactivated
  • WCW United States Heavyweight Champion: Rick Rude [341st day of his reign] – previous champion: Sting
  • WCW World Television Champion: Scott Steiner [26th day of his reign] – previous champion: Ricky Steamboat
  • WCW/NWA Unified World Tag Team Champions: Barry Windham & Dustin Rhodes [34th day of their reign] – previous champions: Miracle Violence Connection

Enjoy the review!

IMG credit: WWE & culturecrossfire.com

Your hosts are Jim Ross & Jesse Ventura

Arn Anderson, Bobby Eaton & Michael Hayes vs. Shane Douglas, ‘Z-Man’ Tom Zenk & Johnny Gunn
IMG credit: WWE & @allan_cheapshot (Twitter)

Philadelphia gives the young babyfaces a warm reception like only Philly can! Arn & Gunn to start. Arn cheapshots Gunn and gets a pop for it as he fires away, but Gunn shoots him into the buckle with a dropkick. The rest of the babyfaces clean house with stereo dropkicks, and the crowd boos them. Zenk comes in to work on the arm, but Anderson drop toeholds him into his corner and tags in Eaton. Great ring awareness there by AA. Bobby SMACKS Zenk a couple of times, getting a tremendous pop for it, before they get into a criss cross sequence. Zenk wins that one with a backdrop followed by a series of dropkicks, which the crowd doesn’t find that amusing. They love Michael Hayes getting tagged in and doing his usual shtick, though! Shane Douglas takes over with an armdrag, but a knee to the gut cuts him off. It’s off to Eaton again, who ends up running into Shane’s armdrag as well. Flying headscissors by Shane followed by a single leg takedown, and Zenk stays on the leg with a figure four.

A tag to Arn Anderson breaks up the hold, however, and Arn escapes a sleeper attempt with a backdrop suplex. Hayes drops an elbow, and he works a chinlock. Maybe someone oughta go for a pin in this match, huh? The fans want the DDT. Hayes teases the DDT but instead hits a swinging neckbreaker just to be a dick, yet he still gets cheered for it. And hey… HE TRIES A PIN! It gets two. Cute spot with AA making a blind tag and sneaking in with a clothesline on Zenk, which the crowd loves. Jesse is flabbergasted by such a reaction. Welcome to Bizarro world, Maggle! Eaton drops a flying kneedrop from the top on Douglas’ leg, as now the crowd is literally jumping up and down at seeing the happy-go-lucky babyfaces getting their asses handed to ’em! Eaton gets the figure four, but Douglas still regroups and atomic drops Anderson into the buckle before making the ice cold tag to poor Johnny Gunn. It’s BREAKING LOOSE IN BIZARROLAND! In the midst of the confusion, Johnny manages a quick Thesz press and pins Hayes at 11:02. I don’t think I need to describe the crowd’s reaction to such ending, right?!

  • Rating: Well, it was certainly entertaining. In-ring wise, the match was whatever and all kinds of whacky, but the crazy crowd reactions made this a fun opener. **1/4

Meanwhile, Harley Race walks up to Ravishing Rick Rude’s locker room. More on this story later on.

Ricky Steamboat vs. Flyin’ Brian Pillman
IMG credit: WWE & culturecrossfire.com

Steamboat’s entrance theme is slightly remixed here. I don’t remember him ever using this version, but it still fits him. Chopfest to start as Steamboat gets some nearfalls with a pair of running shoulderblocks. Pillman dumps him but the Dragon skins the cat. Back in, Steamboat gets an O’Connor Roll for two and Pillman sends him face first into the buckle on the kickout. Brian follows it up with a powerslam, but he stops to point at his head. Rule #1 in wrestling: NEVER point to your head, it always backfires on you. And before I even finish typing the previous sentence, Steamboat plays possum and jams Brian’s face into the mat. Such a good spot. Ricky goes to work on the arm. Pillman escapes that predicament with a drop toehold into a headlock, but is immediately outwrestled back to a hammerlock from Steamboat. So with the wrestling not working, Pillman turns to cheating, which earns him a few chops with extra mustard. Huge backdrop from Steamboat. Brian headbutts him in the gut, though, and a rake to the eyes finally cuts Ricky off. Brian pounds away and cheats some more, until Steamboat leapfrogs over him and returns the favour with blatant choking.

Steamboat goes back to the arm, but Pillman seems to be fading and Ricky backs away. SIKE! Brian pops right back up and takes over with a cheapshot. He rams Steamboat’s face on the mat and pounds away, but Dragon uses the chops to stay alive. Tilt-a-whirl slam attempt by Steamboat, which Brian turns into a flying headscissors for two. Backslide by Steamboat gets two. Pillman with a faceplant and he goes after the hair. Brian takes Ricky upstairs for a superplex, only to get shoved back down. The Dragon goes aerial, only to be met by a dropkick from Pillman in midair for two. Steamboat hits a backdrop suplex out of instinct for a double KO spot. Brian gets back up first and grabs a sleeper, with Steamboat ramming his head into the buckle to escape. Pillman catches him from the apron with a necksnap, however. Brian goes up but gets slammed off. Steamboat is feeling it now, and Pillman is like “fuck it I’m outta here”. Ricky follows him and takes him back to the ring, only to be met with a kneelift. Steamboat makes the comeback with the chops, but Pillman bails again. The Dragon follows him yet again and Pillman tries the kneelift trick once more, but this time Steamboat ducks and Brian lands on his ass. High crossbody gets two for Flyin’ Brian, but Steamboat responds with a backbreaker. He goes up for a flying sunset flip that gets two. They take it to a pinfall reversal sequence from there, and after trading a bunch of nearfalls back and forth, Steamboat catches Pillman at 10:25.

  • Rating: There wasn’t much of a storyline involved here. The two had a really good wrestling match for ten minutes, with Brian getting to showcase his new heel tendencies some more. It could’ve been better with some kind of buildup, but it was still quite enjoyable as expected. ***1/2

Teddy Long is in the back with NWA Champion Masahiro Chono, who’s standing by alongside Hiro Matsuda, Kensuke Sasaki and then-NWA President Seiji Sakaguchi. Chono handpicks Sasaki as his special guest referee for tonight.

Tony Schiavone interviews Bill Watts on the platform. Cowboy has a number of announcements regarding tonight’s matches: Rick Rude handpicked Harley Race as the second referee for the NWA Title match with Chono; Terry Gordy is gone from WCW for breaching his contract, and Dr. Death picked Stunning Steve Austin as Gordy’s replacement to challenge Windham & Dustin for the tag titles; Rick Rude went to his lawyers to avoid facing Nikita Koloff for the US Title and found someone to defend the belt for him – Big Van Vader. OH SHIT!!

No DQ Match – WCW United States Heavyweight Championship: Big Van Vader (representing Rick Rude) vs. Nikita Koloff
IMG credit: WWE & culturecrossfire.com

Madusa was originally banned for Rude v. Nikita. Furthermore, Ole Anderson sends Rude and Harley Race to the back as well. Slugfest gets things going as they trade stiff shots back and forth. Vader ends up winning that battle before squashing Nikita with an avalanche in the corner. Clothesline follows and Nikita gets turned inside out. Vader dumps him and stops to celebrate, allowing Nikita to fight back and hit a reverse crossbody for two. Koloff works a chinlock on Vader but he quickly escapes and roughs him up. He misses a second avalanche, though, and Nikita cradles him for one. A great crossbody gets two and Vader bails. Koloff makes the fatal mistake of going after him, as he ends up tasting the railing. Vader hits him with a chair on the outside and gets a beer thrown at him by a fan. Nikita attempts a springboard sunset flip back in, but Vader just sits down on him and KILLS the poor guy. Goodness gracious. Vader hits another huge clothesline just for fun, and then adds a chokeslam. He goes up for the flying splash of death… and Nikita kicks out?? Something tells me that’s not a wise idea, Nikita! Vader with a chinlock and Nikita can’t get him up for a backdrop suplex. He manages to block a suplex attempt by Vader though, before hitting one of his own. Nikita gets all fired up and makes the comeback, slugging away in the corner but Vader no-sells a pair of shoulderblocks. A third flying one does take him down and Nikita gets two. Powerslam by Nikita(!) gets two. Elbowdrop gets two. He shitcans Vader over the top with the Sickle, but since this is no DQ you just saved yourself a drink! Nikita tries another Sickle on the floor, but only hits the post. Thanks for coming, Nikita. Vader adds a few more shots back in just because he can, and once he’s satisfied he casually finishes Nikita with the Powerbomb to retain Rude’s US Title at 11:35.

  • Rating: I really enjoy watching Big Van Vader, and I thought this was a really good match. Vader decimated Nikita Koloff so bad that he literally ended his WCW (and wrestling) career. Good physical tussle, and I really enjoyed Nikita’s comeback spot. I like how he went for pins after every big move, wanting to get out of the match with this animal as soon as possible. It added a great sense of urgency to it. Ultimately, Nikita missing the second Sickle was what cost him, and I appreciate that touch. It wasn’t a total squash, but rather a very impressive dominant win for Vader as he looks to get a rematch soon with Ron Simmons. ***
WCW/NWA Unified World Tag Team Championship – Barry Windham & Dustin Rhodes vs. Dr. Death Steve Williams & Steve Austin
IMG credit: WWE

Dustin & Barry are starting to develop some signs of dissension lately. Rhodes can’t shoulderblock Doc to start. Dustin is challenged to try another one by Williams, who leapfrogs over him and clotheslines him. “Sucker in that rookie”, says Jesse! Doc takes over with a pair of chopblocks, before he ends up walking into a clothesline from Dustin. It’s off to Windham as now the veterans go at it. They get into a criss cross sequence won by Windham with a dropkick, as he then armdrags Doc and goes to work on the arm. Dustin comes in to snap Williams’ arm à la Macho Man’s necksnap, and Austin finally gets tagged in. Stunning Steve takes over with a thumb to Barry’s eye and rams his face into the buckle. Barry catches Austin with a dropkick off a criss cross, as Austin gets caught between a rock and a hard place and bails. Back in, Dustin works a headlock on Austin, who tries to reverse and gets a handful of nearfalls in the process. Austin finally escapes and he pounds away, as he now goes after Dustin’s legs. Austin eats an elbow off a blind charge, though, and Rhodes gets two. Rhodes misses a blind charge of his own over in the other corner, but Austin misses a monkey flip as well and Dustin hits a running clothesline for two. Windham comes in with a running clothesline of his own for two more. Vertical suplex gets two.

Doc destroys Barry with a bunch of shoulders in the corner. Windham charges for a crossbody out of desperation, but Doc moves out of the way and Barry shitcans himself. Back in, the Steve Williams Connection double-team Windham and Austin hits a Bret-like middle rope elbow for two. Doc gets caught in a sleeper by Barry, however Doc breaks by ramming Windham’s head into the post. Hammerlock by Austin. The future megastar follows it up with a pair of hammerlock slams, and Barry accidentally tags in Williams while selling in a nice spot. Doc cuts the ring in half and cheapshots Dustin to draw him in, powerslamming Windham for two. Austin goes for a superplex on Barry, which is never a good idea. And indeed Barry knocks him off the top and gives him a flying clothesline for two. They collide for a double KO spot and Windham finally makes the hot tag to Dustin. He runs wild and even hits the bulldog on Austin, but Doc breaks up the count. That leads to a pier six brawl, allowing Doc to cut off Dustin on a criss cross behind the ref’s back. Dustin just SMASHES poor Rhodes with shoulders in the corner before putting him in the Boston Crab. Austin even pulls off Jesse’s inverted bearhug to continue the work on the back. Dustin manages to escape with a huge assist from Barry, and they trade nearfalls in a pinfall reversal sequence before Austin hits a clothesline for two.

Austin tags William back in, who is like a shark smelling blood. He roughs up Dustin’s injured back and midsection, as the challengers continue to cut the ring in half. Dustin tries to make a small comeback using Dusty’s gimmick, but he can’t complete the big bionic elbow and Austin sends him flip flopping & flying to the mat! Doc gets two with a floatover snap suplex. Rhodes rams Williams’ head into the buckle but not even that can stop this bull, and Austin works a chinlock while driving his knee on Dustin’s vertebrae. That’s how you add psychology into it rather than just using it as a boring “resthold”. Austin misses an elbowdrop off a powerslam, but Doc immediately covers for it by coming in and hitting an overhead suplex for two. Belly to belly gets two. Doc works a sleeper now, as we get Cappetta’s announcement that we have five minutes left on the clock. Austin puts him in a half crab until Dustin kicks him off and makes the hot tag to Windham… but the ref misses it! Windham powerslams Austin but takes the referee down as well in the process. A second ref comes down, and Doc clotheslines Windham while Austin gets the pin and the titles. The original ref calls it off as he had missed the hot tag, however, and the match continues with 1:30 left. Dustin clotheslines Austin for two. Elbowdrop gets two more. There’s only one minute left now. Austin picks Dustin up for a powerslam, but Dustin rolls through into a tombstone piledriver. He takes his time going for the pin, though, and while it only gets two, time expires allowing him and Barry retain at 30:00. Shenanigan city!

  • Rating: It took me some time to really get into it, but boy did this turn into a fantastic old-school tag match! Dustin was great at playing Ricky Morton throughout the second half of this match, and the heels’ work over his midsection was very good. The pseudo finish close to the time limit was nice, as Windham did indeed get tagged in and the loss should have counted had the ref seen it, and it served to add more fuel to the fire in the champs’ relationship. This was really good pro wrestling. ***3/4

Paul E Dangerously takes all the credit for Rick Rude’s success and the deal with Vader earlier tonight. He goes on a crazy sexist rant against Madusa, calling her ‘just a stupid woman’ and firing her, effectively ending the Dangerous Alliance. Madusa finally snaps and kicks Paul E’s ass, drawing a huge pop from the crowd!

Sting comes out to spin the wheel & make the deal for tonight’s main event with Jake. The wheel is full of interesting options such as Texas Death, I Quit, Barbed Wire, Texas Bullrope and even a mysterious “Spinner Choice” that means the wrestler gets to control the rules on the fly. With all these nice choices, OF COURSE it lands on…

IMG credit: WWE & wrestling.pt

Cole Miner’s Glove. Yep. Or coal with an A. Whatever.

NWA World Heavyweight Championship – special referees: Harley Race & Kensuke Sasaki – Masahiro Chono(w/ Hiro Matsuda) vs. Rick Rude(w/ Madusa)
IMG credit: WWE & classicwrestlingreview.com

Harley Race is Rude’s handpicked referee, while Kensuke Sasaki is Chono’s. A coin toss by Ole Anderson is won by Harley Race, making Sasaki the outside assistant referee. ‘We want Flair’ chants as soon as Harley holds up the big gold belt. These two tore the house down in Japan that summer, but this match doesn’t exactly have the best reputation. Early lockup goes to a stalemate. Rude pounds away but walks into an armdrag and stops for some advice from Madusa. That advice? ‘You should jump ship and throw this useless belt in the trash after you win it tonight’. If only someone ever had the balls to do it, I think it would’ve gotten people talking. Chono explodes out of a chinlock with a backdrop suplex, and he drop toeholds Rude right into a facelock. Rude slugs his way out of the hold, though, and powerslams Chono for two. Rick goes back to the chinlock, which Chono turns into a hammerlock. He tries to overpower Rude into a pinning predicament, but Rude is too powerful for him so Chono lets go and kicks him in the back instead. Rude bails and asks Madusa for a massage on the outside. However, Chono continues to torture him (and me) back inside.

Boston Crab by Chono but Rude makes the ropes. Chono switches to sitting on the back and stays there for what feels like a minute, until Rude finally escapes with a jawbreaker. The crowd finally wakes up for Rude showing off his biceps, and Rude hits a swinging neckbreaker for two. Now Rude goes to work on the neck setting him up for the Rude Awakening, putting him in a chinlock that eats up another minute. The thing is the psychology is actually solid in this match, but the whole thing just seems endless. Chono catches Rude off a criss cross and goes for the STF, but he can’t lock it in. Rude turns things around with by raking the eyes. A piledriver seemingly finishes Chono, but he manages to put his foot on the ropes at two. And, say it with me… we hit the chinlock. The crowd seemingly gets loud at something going on in the arena off-camera. I couldn’t see what it was, but it definitely wasn’t the match. Rude misses a missile dropkick off the top and Chono tries to capitalize with a big boot, but he ends up hitting Harley Race instead. Chono throws Rude over the top rope (take a drink), but Rude gets back in and hits the Rude Awakening. Race is still bumped, though, allowing Chono to put him in the STF as the refs FINALLY end this at 22:23. Sasaki declares Chono the winner via submission, but Race DQs him for throwing Rude over the top and that stands as the official decision. Sasaki beats up Rude & Harley afterwards because we… shall… not… move… on.

  • Rating: Good lord, this is boring as hell. The psychology wasn’t bad on paper like I said earlier, but this just didn’t work whatsoever in execution. You’re better off just watching their match in Japan and pretending this never happened altogether. 3/4*
WCW World Heavyweight Championship – Ron Simmons vs. The Barbarian(w/ Cactus Jack)
IMG credit: WWE & thechairshot.com

Apparently this is tonight’s “sanctioned main event” according to JR, as WCW isn’t sanctioning a main event as violent as a Cole Miner’s Glove match. I wouldn’t wanna sanction it either, but perhaps for different reasons. An early lockup goes nowhere and they shove each other back and forth. The crowd is scary dead for a World Title match on PPV. Barbarian shoulderblocks Simmons, but Ron no-sells a few more before finally exploding with a running shoulderblock of his own. Dropkick, running forearm and Barb bails. Back in, Barbarian uses the CLUBBING BLOWS to take over, until Ron fights back in the same manner and Barb bails again. Barbarian turns things around by snapping Ron’s neck on the top rope before sending him shoulder-first into the post. Barb adds a clothesline on Ron onto the post and rams him into the railing. Simmons fights back with a sunset flip for two back inside, but Barb takes back control with a cobra clutch of sorts. Simmons rams him into the buckle repeatedly to escape, getting literally no reaction from the crowd, and Barb slams him down. He goes up but misses a flying elbowdrop and Ron’s spinebuster gets two. Simmons runs wild but stops to go after Cactus, allowing Barbarian to big boot him in the back of the head. Flying headbutt follows but it only gets a nearfall. Clothesline gets two. Barb is thinking big boot but ends up charging right into Ron’s powerslam at 12:41.

  • Rating: This was whatever. Watchable match but it didn’t feel like a PPV World Title match whatsoever and the crowd was dead. *1/4

Bruno Sammartino congratulates Ron Simmons and tries to get over Erik Watts as well. Yeah.

Main Event – Unsactioned ‘Spin The Wheel Make The Deal’ Coal Miner’s Glove Match – Sting vs. Jake Roberts
IMG credit: WWE & tapemachinesarerolling.wordpress.com

The coal miner’s glove is up on a pole and whoever gets it can use it. Roberts immediately climbs up and goes for it, but Sting pulls him off and slams him. Now it’s Sting going up only for Jake to pull him down by the tights. Roberts slugs away and Sting misses a dropkick, so Jake goes to work on the back by driving some knees. He dumps Sting but gets his arm rammed into the post a couple of times. Sting still can’t get the glove, though, and Roberts backdrop suplexes him. He can’t follow up because of the injured arm, however, which allows Sting to stay alive by going back to working the arm. Another unsuccessful climb attempt by Jake as he gets crotched on the top rope, and Sting goes back to the arm. Feel the CRUEL UNSACTIONED VIOLENCE of someone working over an opponent’s body part. Totally something that separates this from any other ordinary match. Jake picks things up a little bit by hitting Sting with a chair and choking him with the wrist tape. The kneelift misses, but so does the Stinger Splash and Jake gets the short-arm clothesline. DDT but Jake hurts his arm in the process as well. It STILL doesn’t keep Sting down long enough for Jake to get the stupid glove (ah come on), as Sting comes back with a weird rolling elbow. Sting climbs but Cactus Jack runs in with a second glove with the snake inside, which he gives to Roberts. But the cobra bites Jake instead… and Sting pins him at 10:34????? Fucking really??

  • Rating: What a stupid, pointless, disappointing waste of time. They teased many dangerous matches such as Texas Death or I Quit, delivered a stupid glove on a pole match and then had Sting win after the snake bit Jake. In a vacuum this might look alright so some, but given the MONTHS of build up, the endless ‘spin the wheel make the deal’ teasers and all the hype around it, this was a massive letdown. And this was pretty much it for Jake Roberts in WCW. *1/2

END OF THE SHOW

Final thoughts: I would say the wise the wise thing is to watch this show up to the tag title match, shut it down from there and pretend the rest never happened. The first half of the show was really good and featured some great wrestling, but none of the three matches that actually sold the PPV delivered. That will drag any show down. There’s good stuff to see from this show, though. Mildly recommended. 5/10

POINT SYSTEM

Read more about the point system here.

Thank you for reading. Don’t miss the next reviews as I get closer and closer to the end of 1992. See you soon!

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Categories
Clash of the Champions Reviews

WCW Clash Of The Champions XX: 20th Anniversary Review (Simmons Vs. Foley)

September 2nd 1992
Live from Atlanta, GA (Atlanta Stage Theater)
Announced attendance: ca 500 (capacity: ca 1 050)
TV rating: 3.7 (TBS)

Welcome everyone to my review of the 20th edition of WCW Clash of the Champions. In the midst of all the cameos from legends of the past 20 years of wrestling on TBS, including André the Giant’s last televised appearance, Cactus Jack challenges newly-crowned WCW World Heavyweight Champion Ron Simmons.

Here is the list of champions in WCW/NWA heading into this Clash:

  • WCW World Heavyweight Champion: Ron Simmons [31st day of his reign] – previous champion: Big Van Vader
  • NWA World Heavyweight Champion: Masahiro Chono [21st day of his reign] – previous champion: Ric Flair, before it was vacated/deactivated
  • WCW United States Heavyweight Champion: Rick Rude [288th day of his reign] – previous champion: Sting
  • WCW World Television Champion: Steve Austin [102nd day of his reign] – previous champion: Barry Windham
  • WCW Light Heavyweight Champion: Brad Armstrong [59th day of his reign] – previous champion: Scotty Flamingo
  • WCW World Tag Team Champions: Miracle Violence Connection (Dr. Death Steve Williams & Barry Gordy) [59th day of their reign] – previous champions: The Steiners
  • NWA World Tag Team Champions: Miracle Violence Connection (Dr. Death Steve Williams & Terry Gordy) [52nd day of their reign] – inaugural champions
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Enjoy the review!

IMG credit: WWE & rockstargary.com

Your hosts are Jim Ross & Jesse “The Body” Ventura

We start off the show with an animation taking a look back at the past 20 years of wrestling on TBS.
In order: Cowboy Bill Watts, Georgia Championship Wrestling, Dusty Rhodes, World Championship Wrestling w/ Gordon Solie, King Kong Bundy, The Spoiler and then-WWF Champion Ric Flair (I’m sure Vince appreciated the free publicity).

Tony Schiavone & Missy Hyatt are outside the arena for our first cameos of the night.
Gordon Solie and André the Giant are the first to speak.
Ron Simmons arrives with his wife and addresses tonight’s title defense against Cactus Jack.
Next up, a limo arrives. It’s Bill Watts and his wife, baseball player Hammerin’ Hank Aaron, TBS & WCW Executive Bill Shaw and his wife.
Another one arrives immediately afterwards – this one with promoter Jim Barnett, WCW’s Executive VP Bob Dhue, and the legendary former champion Bruno Sammartino. Bruno says he’s excited to be back in an organization that actually promotes wrestling!
Finally, someone pops up in a Harley Davidson as the crowd gets louder. It’s Sting!

Tony and Missy throw it to Teddy Long, who’s inside the building with Atlanta City Councilman Robb Pitts. He declares September 2nd 1992 as World Championship Wrestling Day in Atlanta. Sure, why not.
Dusty Rhodes is ready to get funky like a monkey live and in color from downtown in Atlanta because he’s too sweet to be sour!

It’s finally down to JR & Jesse, who rundown tonight’s events – apparently fans get to vote for the top rope rule to continue or not – before throwing it to the ring for our first match.

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WCW World Television Championship – No DQ Match with Paul E Dangerously locked in a cage suspended above the ring – Steve Austin(c) vs. Ricky Steamboat

But not before an 11-year-old from Tulsa, accompanied to the ring by Johnny B Badd, gets to sing the American national anthem while Austin and Steamboat stand there watching. That’s … something. Nice way to earn a paycheck, Mero!

Now we can FINALLY start.

Steamboat’s ribs are taped from the injury suffered in the NWA Tag Team title tournament. We start off with basics as Austin immediately goes to work on the taped ribs, while Steamboat tries to fight back using chops. Austin fights out of a headlock, into a criss cross, with Steamboat sliding between Austin’s legs and going right back to the headlock. Austin blocks a backdrop attempt, however, turning it into a hiptoss. Elbowdrop follows, but Austin stops to point to his head and allows Steamboat to go back to the headlock. Rule #1 of wrestling: never point to your head, it always works against you. Austin makes it up by going after the hair to escape the hold. Steamboat goes up but Austin meets him there with a shot to the ribs, before shooting him off the top with a belly-to-belly of sorts. Austin takes off the tape and hits a sequence of backbreakers for a few two counts. Ricky goes for a powerslam but his ribs give out and Austin clotheslines him. Austin works an abdominal stretch with extra sauce, in the form of a little elbow-squeezing action on Ricky’s ribs. Dragon makes the comeback and hits a high crossbody, but Austin rolls through for two and nearly steals it.

Steamboat ducks a dropkick from Austin, catapulting him into into the buckle for two off a roll-up. Austin takes him down and gets two with his feet on the ropes. Steamboat sets him up for a tombstone piledriver that kickstarts a tombstone reversal sequence, won by Steamboat for a close nearfall. They go up for yet another slugfest up top, this one won by Ricky, only for Austin to catch Steamboat with a shot to the ribs in mid-air. Austin misses a chop and Ricky gets a flying shoulderblock for two. Steamboat gets dumped and skins the cat back in, only to eat a running back elbow that sends him flying to the floor for good. Steamboat hides under the ring, however, and when Austin goes looking after him on the outside, Steamboat pops up on the other side, catching Austin by surprise with a high crossbody to win the title at 10:43.

  • Rating: Very good opener with good psychology, good selling and a fantastic finish. Though Heyman not playing a bigger part was surprising, and kind of a waste of the stipulation. We all know he could’ve sold it brilliantly. These two would have much better matches down the road, particularly over the US Title in their 1994 feud, but this was still pretty good. ***1/4
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Commercial break

We come back to JR & Jesse reliving some of the best tag teams of the past 20 years – Dusty & Ole, The Assassins, The Briscoes, The Freebirds, Road Warriors, Rock ‘n’ Roll Express

“Spin the wheel, make the deal” ad for Halloween Havoc ’92

Michael Hayes presents his new team. He picked a member of the three teams that ruled the ’80s – himself (Freebirds), Arn Anderson (Horsemen) and Bobby Eaton (Midnight Express) – and together they’ll rule the ’90s.

Arn Anderson & Bobby Eaton(w/ Michael Hayes) vs. Greg Valentine & Dick Slater

A rare all-heels match. It quickly starts with a pier six brawl, with Arn & Eaton using cheapshots and bailing early on. Dick Slater takes control with a neckbreaker followed by a russian legsweep for two, using the ropes for leverage right in front of the ref. Arn comes in and works the arm to take over, but Hammer gets the blind tag and rams AA into the buckle. Eaton comes in and returns the favor by ramming Greg’s head into the buckle as well, but then Slater returns the illegal double-teaming from earlier to cause another pier six on the floor. And Eaton literally chops the skin out of Slater’s chest on the outside. Holy moses! Bobby proceeds to break up Greg’s figure four on Arn back inside, opening the door for AA to finish with the spinebuster, but now Slater runs in to break up the pin. And once again IT’S BREAKING LOOSE IN TULSA! The ref loses all control and Larry Zbyszko runs in to attack his former Dangerous Alliance teammates with the cast, but Arn ducks and he knocks out Valentine instead. Eaton adds the exclamation point with a quick (and illegal) Alabama Jam on Valentine while the ref’s still busy with Slater, and Anderson gets the win at 5:42.

  • Rating: I came into this one expecting nothing more than an easy win to establish the new trio, no different than a WCW Saturday Night / Power Hour squash. It turned out to be a really entertaining little match. The four heels trying to out-heel each other at every cost made for a weird yet extremely fun dynamic! **1/2

Commercial break

Next throwback clip: Jim Cornette cutting a promo on the Rock ‘n’ Roll.

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JR interviews Bruno Sammartino. He puts over Austin/Steamboat from earlier and hypes up the upcoming Simmons/Cactus World Title match. He’s proud to be involved with a wrestling company again because “what the other league has been doing for the past ten years is a total embarrassment”. Yikes. Also, he’ll be at Halloween Havoc.

We cut to Teddy Long again, who’s still in the back with André and Solie. Teddy interviews a bunch of hosts, including Bob Armstrong.

Mr. Wrestling II leaves a short message to the fans via satellite, unable to be physically present.

Ted Turner is proud to feature wrestling on TBS. Sure, captain.

Commercial break

Throwback clip: The Road Warriors promoting the channel back in the day.

Meanwhile, Bill Watts announces Brad Armstrong is still injured and thus, vacates the Light Heavyweight Title. He announces a tournament to crown the new champion, which never happened as the title was quietly retired.

Brad Armstrong comes out to address his injury. He’s interrupted by his scheduled challenger for the evening, Brian Pillman. Brian snaps and ultimately bitchslaps Brad, turning heel.

Commercial break

Throwback clip: Flair-Piper in GCW.

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Now some of the best single stars of the past 20 years on TBS – Dusty Rhodes, Stan Hansen, Ron Garvin, Tony Atlas, Magnum TA, Buzz Sawyer, Mr. Wrestling II, The Great Kabuki, Ted DiBiase, Cowboy Bill Watts, Wahoo McDaniel, The Masked Superstar, Jimmy Valiant, King Kong Bundy, The Spoiler, Tully Blanchard, Ric Flair, Terry Funk, Tommy Rich, Roddy Piper

Another “spin the wheel, make the deal” video ad for Halloween Havoc

Commercial break

Throwback clip: special referee Earnie Shavers gets in Flair’s face.

We take an extended look at Ron Simmons’ career, of course culminating with his World Championship win over Vader the prior month.

WCW World Heavyweight Championship – Ron Simmons(c) vs. Cactus Jack

Simmons wastes no time early on and fires away with a shoulderblock for two. Ron overpowers Foley and takes control with a headlock, but Cactus escapes with a running headbutt. Cactus dumps Simmons to set him up for the Cactus Elbow, only for Ron to get up on his feet and dare Foley to jump, who thinks better about it. Back in, Cactus chokes and bites away to provoke a slugfest. Ron gets the better of it, until Foley cheapshots him and dumps him with the Cactus Clothesline. He follows it up with the Cactus Elbow but misses the double-arm DDT back inside, hitting a trio of short clotheslines instead for two. Jack works a chinlock until Ron escapes and runs wild with a series of headbutts. Ron goes up for a flying faceplant that gets two. Cactus avoids the powerslam, only to eat a flying shoulderblock. And Ron gives him another one for fun. It gets two. Simmons hits a delayed backdrop of sorts followed by a clothesline, but he’s again tossed to the floor by Cactus, who slams him out on the floor. He drops a second Cactus Elbow outside, but Ron does a half-assed selljob and immediately pops up with a spinebuster back in the ring. Uh, really? And then he just finishes with the powerslam at 8:51.

  • Rating: While not necessarily bad, it definitely could’ve been a lot better given who’s involved. Foley’s crazy elbow had always been sold as this highly dangerous move against all kinds of top guys (Sting, for example), and seeing it get no-sold here – the second of the night, no less – made for a really awkward and abrupt ending. **
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JR & Jesse recap Masahiro Chono beating Rick Rude in Japan to reinstate the NWA World Heavyweight Title.

Rick Rude challenges Chono for a second round, this time in the United States.

Once again, the “spin the wheel make the deal” video.

Commercial break

Cactus Jack says he’s never been more hurt but he’s never been happier. While he was unsuccessful, he found Ron’s weaknesses. He introduces The Barbarian and Ron’s former “Doom” partner Butch Reed to continue the chase. Which takes us to…

The Barbarian & Butch Reed vs. Barry Windham & Dustin Rhodes

Cactus Jack joins us on commentary for this one. Barb no-sells a couple of Dustin’s shoulderblocks to start, until eventually Windham joins for some double-teaming. Barry with an O’Connor roll on Barb for two. Dustin takes over on Reed, but misses a blind charge and eats post. Barb & Reed take control with a double clothesline on Rhodes. The Barbarian chokes away on the ropes before cutting the ring in half to prevent the tag. Swinging neckbreaker by Butch gets two. Dustin finally manages to get a few shots in, but Reed rakes the eyes while Barbarian has the ref distracted. Barbarian with a powerslam into an elbowdrop for two. Dustin manages to backdrop his way out of a Butch Reed piledriver, and they clothesline each other for a double KO spot. Windham finally gets the hot tag and he runs wild. Dropkcik to Barbarian, clothesline to Reed, lariat to Barbarian. He’s a house of fire BY GAWD! Windham finishes Barb with the superplex but stops to go after Reed. Dustin joins him as they take Reed out with a double dropkick, but this gives Barbarian enough time to catch Windham with the big boot at 8:13.

  • Rating: A fine tag match to establish Cactus’ new stable. It goint the point across well enough. **

Recap of the multiple stories intertwined in tonight’s main event: Vader injuring Sting in the spring; Vader winning the WCW Title from Sting at GAB; the debuting Jake Roberts attacking Sting and costing his title rematch to start their feud; Nikita Koloff and Rick Rude’s feud over the US Title

Main Event

Eight Men Elimination Tag Team Match – Big Van Vader, Jake Roberts, Rick Rude & The Super Invader(w/ Harley Race & Madusa) vs. Sting, Nikita Koloff & The Steiners (Rick & Scott)

Vader and Rick exchange some bombs to start. Rick actually gets the better of that at first, only to eat a massive clothesline. Vader squashes Rick with an avalanche in the corner, following it up with another clothesline. Rick comes back with a belly to belly, and Vader bails. But then Super Invader gets tagged in, before this gets fun or something. Invader works a HERCULEAN chinlock on Koloff, but they can’t shoulderblock each other and we reach a stalemate. Koloff finally manages to hit a couple of shoulderblocks and hits a crossbody for two. Rude comes in against his challenger, but Koloff quickly turns things around and brings in Scott. Steiner continues the work on Rude’s arm that Koloff began, but Rude manages to overpower Scott and tags Invader back in. He slugs away on Scott for a while, but ends up eating a Tiger Driver and a belly to belly. Steiner sets him up for the Frankensteiner, but Rude makes the blind tag and the heels take over using quick tags. Vader smashes Scott with a few rugged elbows in the corner. Rude follows it up with a clothesline. However, he stops for some hip-swiveling action, earning him a tilt-a-whirl slam from Scott. Hot tag Nikita who runs wild on Roberts, before cleaning house on all the heels. Rude catches him with a knee to the gut from the apron, though, and Roberts rolls him up at 7:26.

  • Nikita Koloff eliminated (by Jake Roberts)

Sting wastes no time after the elimination with a backdrop on Invader. Powerslam sets up an elbowdrop, and a bulldog evens things up at 7:52.

  • The Super Invader eliminated (by Sting)
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Rick Steiner takes Vader down with a Steinerline, before taking him down with a german suplex. Rick gets too excited and goes up to the top, though, getting caught by Vader with a powerslam. Chokeslam sets up the flying splash, but Rick kicks out at two. Rude comes in to work a headlock, and Roberts distracts the ref making him miss ahot tag to Sting. This allows Vader to powerslam Rick as now he goes up, with Rick powerslamming the big man down! Rick SOMEHOW gets Vader on his shoulders for a Steiner Device alongside Scott… who gets DQ’d because of the top rope rule at 11:24. F***ing really??

  • Scott Steiner eliminated

Rick dumps Vader with a Steinerline. However, Rick Rude jumps in with a Rude Awakening to Steiner on the concrete, who gets counted-out at 12:19.

  • Rick Steiner eliminated

It’s down to Sting alone against Vader, Roberts and Rude. Vader misses a buttdrop splash on Sting, who then faceplants Roberts. Sting manages to hit a quick Stinger Splash and he quickly goes for the Scorpion Deathlock, but Rude breaks it up with a clothesline from the apron. Sting makes his big comeback, though, and a bulldog on Rude gets two. Slingshot suplex while Vader is going up, who ends up splashing both Sting and Rude for another dumb DQ at 15:13.

  • Big Van Vader eliminated
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Roberts pulls Rude to their corner while the ref’s still busy with Vader. Jake gets the easy tag and the DDT is academic at 15:57.

  • Sting eliminated (by Jake Roberts)

Winning team: Vader, Roberts, Rude & Invader
Survivors: Roberts & Rude

  • Rating: While it felt rushed at times and many of the eliminations were nonsensical (especially that stupid top rope rule), this was good at times. I particularly liked the interactions between Vader and Rick Steiner, who was unquestionably the MVP of this match. The finish perfectly fit Jake’s gimmick, while also continuing to put Vader’s stuff over as deadly. Nothing memorable but still a good little main event here. ***

JR reveals the voting results: 88% of the fans want the top rope rule gone. How shocking.

Next Saturday on WCW Saturday Night: Steiners vs. Eaton & Arn.

The promo package for Sting vs. Roberts at Halloween Havoc airs one final time.

END OF THE SHOW

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Final thoughts: While there’s nothing outstanding here, it’s definitely not a bad show either. The cameos and the throwback videos give this show a special vibe, and things were developed here. Particularly the debut of two new stables. Steamboat vs. Austin is the best match of the bunch, but there’s more to see here. Overall, I’d say it’s a slightly recommended show that has its moments. 6/10

POINT SYSTEM

Find out more about the point system

WrestlerResultStar ratingMain eventingExtrasTotal
Ricky Steamboat13.25+2 for winning a title6.25
Jake Roberts131+1 for two eliminations6
Rick Rude1315
Arn Anderson12.5+0.5 for earning the fall4
Ron Simmons12+1 for retaining a title4
Sting31+0.5 for an elimination
-0.5 for being eliminated
4
Big Van Vader
The Super Invader
0.531-0.5 for being eliminated4
The Steiners
Nikita Koloff
31-0.5 for being eliminated3.5
The Barbarian12+0.5 for earning the fall3.5
Bobby Eaton12.53.5
Butch Reed123
Dick Slater-12.51.5
Greg Valentine-12.5-0.5 for losing the fall1
Cactus Jack
Dustin Rhodes
-121
Barry Windham-12-0.5 for losing the fall0.5
Steve Austin3.25-1-2 for losing a title0.25

Thank you for reading. Make sure you don’t miss the upcoming reviews, including WCW’s Halloween Havoc and WWF’s Survivor Series. See you next time!

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Categories
Reviews WCW

Ron Simmons Wins WCW World Heavyweight Title – 16.08.1992 (Big Van Vader vs. Ron Simmons)

August 16, 1992 (taped August 2, 1992)
WCW Main Event

Your host is Jim Ross

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WCW World Heavyweight Championship – Big Van Vader(c)(w/ Harley Race) vs. Ron Simmons

Big lockup and Vader overpowers Simmons to start, but Ron fights back by slugging away in the corner. Simmons runs wild with a clothesline, a backdrop suplex and a running shoulderblock, and Vader bails. Back in, Vader walks right into a massive spinebuster for an awesome nearfall. The atmosphere in the arena is electric. Vader finally takes control with a giant avalanche in the corner, into a clothesline and then a splash for two. Huge pop for Ron’s kickout. However, Vader remains in control with a suplex. Big Van Vader plants Simmons with a chokeslam, followed by a flying splash for … A FALSE FINISH!? Vader arrogantly puts the boots to Simmons some more as he preps for a suplex, which Simmons turns over into a suplex of his own, but Ron’s too beat up and Vader clotheslines him back down. He tries a second one, blocked by Ron who gets a backslide for two. Vader stays in control once again, but he eats buckle on a missed avalanche and Ron cradles him for two. Sunset flip attempt, but Vader drops down on the poor guy. Holy smoke. Vader picks him up to finish with the powerbomb, which Simmons somehow avoids before exploding with a scoop powerslam for the historic win and the WCW World belt at 9:42. The entire babyface dressing room comes out to celebrate with Simmons!

  • Rating: This is obviously a moment and a title change for the ages, and because of it most people will remember only its finish, but it’s actually a heck of a match as well. A fantastic super-heavyweight tussle between two bulls determined to hit each other as hard as possible. Nothing out of this world, but still pretty damned good and the crowd was fantastic all the way through. ***1/2
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Categories
Lists WCW WWE

Goldberg Top 15 Best Matches – Who’s Next?!

There is no doubt Bill Goldberg will forever go down as a controversial name amongst wrestling fans whenever he gets brought up in a conversation. However, it’s impossible to deny the impact he has had on the business since the first time he stepped foot inside the squared circle.

This article will take a deep look at some of the best matches of his entire career and will include epic clashes against the likes of Brock Lesnar, Scott Steiner and DDP, only to name a few. So, without further ado, sit back, relax, and let us guide you through the top 15 best matches of Goldberg’s career!

15) Vs. Hulk Hogan (WCW World Heavyweight Title) – WCW Monday Nitro, Jul. 6th 1998

IMG credit: WWE & Bleacher Report

Doing a list of Goldberg’s best matches without including this one would be a crime. Broadcasting live from the jam-packed Georgia Dome, it was evident this was going to be Bill’s crowning moment. And a crowning moment it was. Hogan was your pompous defending heel champion, while Goldberg was the beloved hometown babyface challenger. They worked this in the most clichéd way possible, with an early face shine, to the heel taking control in the middle, all leading up to the big babyface comeback for the win. It’s not the most perfectly-wrestled match in the world, but does it have to be when you hear that *pop* Goldberg received? This was and still is one of wrestling’s greatest moments in history. Goosebumps personified.

14) Vs. The Rock – WWE Backlash, Apr. 27th 2003

IMG credit: WWE & WWE Network News

Bill’s brief success in Japan allowed him to get signed by the WWE to a one-year contract. He debuted on the RAW after WrestleMania XIX during The Rock’s Concert, and quickly made an impact by Spearing ‘The Great One’ into oblivion. The two faced off in a decent outing at Backlash, but the big problem was already written on the wall. As entertaining as Rock is when working on top, having Goldberg sell for over half the match significantly lowers his value and presence. Not to mention the fact that ‘Berg actually got booed by the crowd due to him once being a WCW wrestler (and to think Rock was playing heel!!). It was good as a standalone bout. But as a debut match for Goldberg, this flopped on a lot of levels. Goldie won this one-and-done encounter after three consecutive Spears and a Jackhammer.

13) Vs. Saturn – WCW Spring Stampede, Apr. 16th 1998

IMG credit: WWE & Classic Wrestling Review

This was the period where Goldberg was getting REALLY over with the crowd. He came out to a huge ovation (which would be eclipsed the following night on Nitro, amazingly), fought through Saturn’s arm target and some outside interferences, and reversed a Ring of Saturn by deadlifting Perry into a Jackhammer for an impressive finish. Bill looked a little rough in there at times, but Saturn did a heck of a job carrying and improvising the flow of the match to make it watchable. Could this be the first good Goldberg match? I think so!

12) Vs. Dolph Ziggler – WWE SummerSlam, Aug. 11th 2019

IMG credit: WWE

I might sound crazy (and maybe I am), but I thought this was awesome. Ziggler was the perfect guy for stuff like this, and he took all those Spears like no one else. Goldberg looked like a million dollars out there. And had he been about a decade or two younger, you could literally strap a rocket to his back and push him to the moon right away. I know I probably shouldn’t place a match this short this high, but damnit, this was a blast for the little time it got.

11) Vs. Sting (WCW World Heavyweight Title) – WCW Monday Nitro, Sep. 14th 1998

IMG credit: WWE

This first-ever dream showdown between these two WCW titans happened on a random episode of Nitro, with no build-up nor story behind it whatsoever. But the crowd was still going batshit crazy for it, proving the enormous star power these two possessed during the time. Both men wrestled an exciting TV matchup full of thrilling reversals and a big-time atmosphere. It all comes down to Goldberg being put in a Scorpion Deathlock by Sting, but Hollywood Hogan came out for your typical WCW screwjob finish that negated more than half the crowd’s heat. I think these two could have had an even better match with some more time and a clean finish, but I’ll happily take what I can get here.

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10) Vs. Scott Norton – WCW Monday Nitro, Jan. 25th 1999

IMG credit: WWE

Sometimes in wrestling, not everything needs to be crisp and polished. Just put two hosses out there, and let them bulldoze the absolute piss out of each other non-stop, all will be good. That’s exactly what we got here. Seeing Norton laying on Goldberg with several stiff shots while the latter absorbed it and mowed through him was pure adrenaline fun. To quote Big E, this was BIG MEATY MEN SLAPPIN’ MEAT!

9) Vs. Scott Hall (Stun Gun Ladder) – WCW Souled Out, Jan. 17th 1999

IMG credit: WWE & TheSportster

Goldberg was out for revenge on the entire nWo after he was screwed out of his streak last month, and faced Scott Hall in a Stun Gun Ladder match, a reference to what happened at Starrcade. Surprisingly, this turned out to be a lot better than you likely expected. It obviously wasn’t a blow-away classic by any means. But considering the talents (Hall in ’99, mind you), the ludicrous stipulation, and the state of WCW around this time, this actually turned out to be quite solid. I have to praise Goldberg’s selling of his leg here, which was VERY consistent. Hall didn’t look too good, but at least he didn’t completely shit the bed. In fact, this might be the best he ever looked in his alcoholic condition, as he took a couple of hard bumps and tried to structure the match in the best way possible. The dramatic finale saw Goldberg throw the taser in the air before Spearing Scott, before finally shocking him to end this one-off rivalry.

8) Vs. Raven (WCW United States Title, Raven’s Rule) – WCW Monday Nitro, Apr. 20th 1998

IMG credit: WWE & u/Teh_Skully (Reddit)

This was set up from the prior night’s Spring Stampede, and it’s Goldberg’s first ever title win in his career. Yes, this was super short, but it over-accomplished what it was set out to do. You have Goldberg obliterating the entire Flock like a Superman, the crowd preventing Raven from escaping through the stand(!), and THAT terrifyingly massive pop at the end. The crowd was going apeshit for Billberg every split second and I loved it. One of my favorite sub-five minutes bouts ever.

7) Vs. Bobby Lashley (No Holds Barred Falls Count Anywhere) – WWE Crown Jewel, Oct. 21st 2021

IMG credit: WWE

“Holy cow, how the hell was this good?” I asked myself over and over again when seeing this the first time. I never expected a Goldberg match from 2021 to be *good*, but welp, I guess here we are. They told the right story, put in a few awesome spots, and Goldberg, to his credit, actually sold his knee all the way to the end. Lashley was great, as expected, but there’s some rare effort from this version of Goldberg in there. Safe to say, this completely exceeded my expectations by a wide margin. The badass Spear off the stage to the table was the cherry on top.

6) Vs. Chris Jericho – WWE Bad Blood, Jun. 15th 2003

IMG credit: WWE & Super Luchas

Jericho might be the ideal opponent for Goldberg, as he isn’t only the perfect smarmy jerk heel, but he can also play the savvy technical expert just as well. Goldberg started the match by immediately going after Jericho, looking to make quick work of the Canadian. That is until Y2J baited him into Spearing the barricade at ringside! A clever spot! Then, it was all Jericho from there. He put the boots to Goldie, effectively building up his comeback in an engaging way before Goldberg inevitably made the comeback for the win. A pretty good match that featured some solid psychology and selling, although I would’ve liked it better had Goldberg actually sold the correct shoulder instead.

5) Vs. Triple H Vs. Shawn Michaels Vs. Chris Jericho Vs. Randy Orton Vs. Kevin Nash (World Heavyweight Title, Elimination Chamber) – WWE SummerSlam, Aug. 24th 2003

IMG credit: WWE

This was such an excellently-booked match all the way throughout… and then there’s the ending, which makes it all so frustrating. Shawn and Jericho started the Chamber, and they greeted us with some nice action to begin, showing flashes of their past and future classics. Eventually, Randy Orton and Kevin Nash entered, and all four participants battled it out until Big Kev got eliminated via a Sweet Chin Music. Goldberg was up next, and in the best portion of the bout, he absolutely demolished everyone and everything in his path until one man was left: Triple H. And here’s the annoying part – in the end, Hunter won the match by blocking a Spear with a weak-ass sledgehammer shot, absolutely killing the crowd and making everyone in the match look like a chump in the process. Just like that, it was all over. It’s clear as day a title change was needed here, but apparently ‘The Reign of Terror’ just needed an extra month.

4) Vs. Diamond Dallas Page (WCW World Heavyweight Title) – WCW Monday Nitro, Apr. 19th 1999

IMG credit: WWE

Unlike their last encounter (which we’ll get into), DDP was now the defending champion, whereas Goldberg looked to regain the title he unfairly lost. Page had recently turned heel, giving us a clear-cut face/heel dynamic in this one. This obviously wasn’t on the level of Havoc ’98, but it was still a perfectly great little TV-level main event matchup. They smartly built their way up to a very good match, backed with a smart build. That ending is your usual frustrating WCW finish, though I suppose you have to protect both men somehow. Nash saving Goldberg in the post-match by cradling him like an infant was an uncomfortably weird visual, though.

3) Vs. Brock Lesnar (WWE Universal Title) – WWE WrestleMania 33, Apr. 2nd 2017

IMG credit: WWE

The epitome of a high-energy mega heavyweight sprint. Both men worked hard, delivering impactful maneuvers on each other for tremendous pops from the crowd. Intense moments like the surprise Spear out of nowhere, the Spear through the barricade, and Brock doing a freakin’ LEAPFROG are the reasons why this was great. To me, this could’ve easily been the main event, with or without the title on the line. Easily one of, if not the best match to ever be contested under 5 minutes, and proof that 20 or 30 minutes aren’t necessary to create a classic. All killer, no filler, this.

2) Vs. Diamond Dallas Page (WCW World Heavyweight Title) – WCW Halloween Havoc, Oct. 25th 1998

IMG credit: WWE

Even though not his best match ever – at least in my opinion – this is by far Goldberg’s finest hour in the ring. His selling was excellent, as were his offensive moves and facials. DDP guided him all the way to the end like a true pro, providing all the more evidence of how underrated he is. I simply cannot praise that Diamond Cutter spot enough, tremendously well-executed, and the crowd also bought it as a legit false finish. At last, Goldberg executed a hard-fought Jackhammer to score the win, but not without DDP giving him a run for his money. Again, far from being the best match theoretically, but it was an incredibly fun bout that’s worth checking out for multiple reasons. Highly recommended.

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1) Vs. Scott Steiner (No DQ) – WCW Fall Brawl, Sep. 17th 2000

IMG credit: WWE

There’s something special about watching these two monsters tossing the living hell out of each other like it was nothing. Goldberg overpowering the Steiner Recliner by dropping Big Poppa Pump on the top rope, and Steiner doing an avalanche overhead suplex(!!) on Bill were a sight to behold. Russo feeling the need to stick his nose in what might potentially be a classic was extremely unnecessary, but at least it gave us the story of Goldberg trying to overcome the odds, only to fall short in the end. Overbooking aside, this was a great, stiff, energetic brawl full of powerful and intense exchanges between two big beefy fellas. By far, one of the only few bright spots of WCW 2000. And, my personal pick for Bill Goldberg’s greatest match of all time.

And that’s all for today, folks. Be sure to look out for my next piece here on the blog. Until then, have a great week, and thank you for reading!

Categories
PPV WCW

WCW The Great American Bash 1992 Review (The Man They Call… World Champion!)

July 12, 1992
Live from Albany, GA (Albany Civic Center)
Announced attendance: 8 000 (capacity: ca 10 240)
PPV buyrate: 70 000 (-75 000 compared to GAB 1991’s 145 000)

Hey there everybody. Welcome to my review of WCW’s Great American Bash 1992 event, featuring the last rounds of the tournament to crown brand new NWA World Tag Team Champions, as well as Sting vs Big Van Vader for the WCW World Heavyweight Championship.

Here is the list of WCW champions heading into this PPV:

  • WCW World Heavyweight Champion: Sting [134th day of his reign] – previous champion: Lex Luger
  • WCW United States Heavyweight Champion: Rick Rude [236th day of his reign] – previous champion: Sting
  • WCW World Television Champion: Steve Austin [50th day of his reign] – previous champion: Barry Windham
  • WCW Light Heavyweight Champion: Brad Armstrong [7th day of his reign] – previous champion: Scotty Flamingo
  • WCW World Tag Team Champions: Miracle Violence Connection (Dr. Death Steve Williams & Terry Gordy) [7th day of their reign] – previous champions: The Steiners
  • WCW United States Tag Team Champions: Dick Slater & The Barbarian [17th day of their reign] – previous champions: The Fabulous Freebirds

Enjoy the review!

Classic Wrestling Review: The Great American Bash '92 | CXF | Culture  Crossfire | culturecrossfire.com
IMG credit: WWE & culturecrossfire.com

Your hosts are Jim Ross & Jesse Ventura

NWA World Tag Team Title Tournament Quarter Final Match #2 – Ricky Steamboat & Nikita Koloff vs. Brian Pillman & Jushin Thunder Liger
IMG credit: WWE & tapemachinesarerolling.wordpress.com

The winning team meets the already qualified MVC in the semi finals. We get a handshake before the match. Brian & Nikita start with the latter easily overpowering Pillman in the first moments of the bout. Pillman responds by using his quickness to get a nearfall on Nikita with a roll up, as then Brian & Liger take turns working over Nikita’s arm. Liger actually manages to knock Nikita down with a series of quick dropkicks and shoulderblocks, but Nikita catches Pillman with a back elbow and tags in Steamboat for the first time. Steamboat goes after both men and knocks Liger into Pillman on the outside, which is probably the most heelish thing you will ever see an unprovoked Ricky Steamboat pull out! Back in, Steamboat goes to work on Pillman’s arm before they get into a nice little sequence that ends with Steamboat catching Brian with an armdrag. Tag to Liger for a double dropkick but Steamboat quickly turns things around and brings Nikita back in. Back to Ricky for a headlock on Brian, which he escapes and drops an elbow for two. Dropkick gets two more. Liger’s backbreaker sets up the moonsault for a fantastic nearfall. Tombstone piledriver gets another. Liger hits a somersault senton for another one, but Steamboat fights back with a backdrop suplex and makes the tag to Nikita so he can control the pace.

Steamboat takes over with a series of backbreakers into a running powerslam in a rare showcase of strength by Ricky Steamboat, but the pin is broken up by Brian. Nikita works a headlock on Liger and a double team flying double axe gives Steamboat two. However, Pillman gets the hot tag and cleans house off that, and Liger comes in with a great looking missile dropkick. A cartwheel into a crossbody gives Liger two, but Nikita gets back in with a running shoulderblock to Liger. He preps the Sickle, but Pillman cheapshots him with a dropkick from behind. Air Pillman connects followed by a missile dropkick, but Brian stops to take out Steamboat as well and the delayed pin only gets two. Brian hits the sleeper and Nikita escapes with a jawbreaker, which Brian takes like a champ. It’s off to both Liger & Steamboat, as Liger hits an enziguiri for two. Missed dropkick gives Steamboat two. Backslide gets two for Liger. Springboard crossbody off a blind tag by Pillman gets two, as they then get into a pinfall reversal sequence. Brian goes up but Steamboat falls back on the ropes and accidentally crotches him, which is enough to cause a pier six brawl as IT’S BREAKING LOOSE AT THE BASH. Pillman finally shrugs off the low blow and comes flying with a high crossbody on Steamboat, which gets turned over into a pin to send Steamboat & Nikita into the semis at 19:26.

  • Rating: Good opener. This saw Steamboat working all the fast and exciting trade-offs with Pillman and Liger, while Nikita would occasionally come in and quickly make his presence felt by using his power. Highly enjoyable tag match to kick off the PPV. ***3/4

Eric Bischoff interviews The Steiners backstage. Scott says the title loss to MVC is not gonna make them crumble, as even Muhammad Ali tasted defeat in his career. Rick adds that they’re coming after MVC.

NWA World Tag Team Title Tournament Quarter Final Match #3 – The Fabulous Freebirds (Michael Hayes & Jimmy Garvin) vs. Hiroshi Hase & Shinya Hashimoto
IMG credit: WWE & retroprowrestling.com

Hashimoto is subbing for an injured Akira Nogami here. Typical moonwalking and stalling from Hayes to start. Headlock by Hase is turned into a legscissors by Hayes, but Hase escapes and we reach a stalemate. Hayes tries a sloppy cradle for two and it’s off to Hayes/Hashimoto. The latter works a headlock for a while and the Japanese take over using frequent tags. Powerslam from Hashimoto gets two, but Hayes gets the tag back in and goes to work on Hashimoto’s arm. Hashimoto fights back with a number of chops, though, followed by a back elbow. Hase hits a delayed gutbuster, but doesn’t seem interested in trying the pin. Right in sync with the crowd, who apparently don’t seem interested in reacting to anything. Spinning wheel kick from Hashimoto, but Garvin breaks up the pin at two. A nice fallaway slam into a bridge pin gets two. Hayes cuts them off with the good ol’ double noggin knocker, but Hase refuses to sell it and goes back to pounding on Hayes. What a mess! Hayes finally knocks both guys down successfully, opening the door for the hot tag to Garvin who runs wild. He wants the DDT but IT’S BREAKING LOOSE IN TULSA, and Nick Patrick forcing Hayes out allows Hashimoto to superkick Garvin into a Hase northern lights suplex for the pin at 9:16.

  • Rating: Though the match was a bit of an awkward looking mess and it looked like the wrestlers weren’t on the same page at times, it had its moments and was certainly better than most Freebird matches around this time. With that in mind, though, it was skippable as the winner of this was clearly succumbing to the winners of Rude & Austin vs Windham & Rhodes in the semi finals. Thankfully it was relatively short at least, so it didn’t overstay its welcome that much. *1/2

THE RETURN OF THE BIG GOLD BELT! Bill Watts & Hiro Matsuda announce an upcoming tournament featuring wrestlers from both WCW and NJPW, taking place in the G1 Climax that August to crown the new NWA World Heavyweight Champion. Watts makes sure to mention Ric Flair (the previous title holder) and publicly strip him off the belt on air, also adding that he was once defeated by current WCW Champ Sting for that belt. Geez, cowboy! Furthermore, the winner of the tournament will face the WCW Champion down the road to crown one undisputed World Champion. In other words, the whole thing is declared useless less than a minute after its announcement…

NWA World Tag Team Title Tournament Quarter Final Match #4 – The Dangerous Alliance (Rick Rude & Steve Austin)(w/ Madusa) vs. Barry Windham & Dustin Rhodes
IMG credit: WWE & retroprowrestling.com

Windham and Austin start with a lockup into an armdrag by Barry, as Jesse is already bitching about the cast on commentary. A battle over a backslide is won by Austin for two, and a roll up full of tights gets two more. Austin criss crosses but ends up walking into the taped fist, and you don’t need to ask Jesse twice to complain about it for about a minute! Austin takes it to the mat but Barry teases another shot with the taped fist, only to bitchslap him instead. Dustin adds in his own cheapshots as well before Austin finally bails. I mean… can you blame him?! Rude gets tagged in and so does Rhodes, and Rude slugs away in the corner. He eats boot on a blind charge, though, and Dustin fights back with a clothesline into a backdrop suplex as he takes over. Rick fights back and tries a Tombstone, but Rhodes turns it into his own Tombstone for two, with Austin saving. Rhodes eats knees on a missed splash, however, allowing Austin to come back in with a clothesline for two. Rhodes fights back with a knee to the gut and he follows it up with the abdominal stretch. Austin tries to hiptoss his way out of it, but Dustin goes right back to the hold and tags Barry in for a flying clothesline that gets a nearfall. The Alliance take back control near their corner and Austin sets up a superplex, but Barry headbutts him off the top and hits a crossbody for two. Madusa distracts the ref and allows Rude to come in with a missile dropkick for two. Piledriver gets two, with Rhodes saving.

Austin hits a delayed vertical suplex on Barry for two, and we hit the chinlock. It’s back to Rude for a fight in the corner and a slam, followed by some ravishing hip swiveling action. Austin comes in with a cheap pin using the ropes for two, as the Alliance keep Windham in their half of the ring. Austin works a chinlock with some extra leverage from Rude getting Rhodes’ attention, allowing the heels to cheat some more behind his back. Austin slugs away on Windham but eventually walks into a cradle for two, before they collide for a double down. It’s off to Rude to continue the assault, only for him to butt heads with Barry as well, who finally makes the hot tag. Rhodes cleans house like a bionic maid, running wild with mucho elbows until it starts BREAKING LOOSE IN TULSA. Austin sets up for a piledriver on the illegal Windham, allowing Rhodes to come off the top with a flying clothesline for the win at 19:15.

  • Rating: Good action with even better cheating from the heels, though it did drag a bit near the end. ***1/4

Big Van Vader & Harley Race know tonight is Vader’s night.

NWA World Tag Team Title Tournament Semi Final Match #1 – Miracle Violence Connection (Dr. Death Steve Williams & Terry Gordy) vs. Ricky Steamboat & Nikita Koloff
IMG credit: WWE & retroprowrestling.com

Gordy works a long headlock on Steamboat to start, but Steamboat fights back with armdrags on both Gordy & Williams. Now Ricky goes after the arm and stays there for a while, before bringing in Nikita to work on the arm too. This is strangely not going anywhere and the crowd is pretty tired of the tournament. Nikita injects some much-needed life with a dropkick after a bunch of no-sold shoulderblocks, but then nearly lands on his neck in an awkward single leg takedown by Doc, who works a bodyscissors. This seemed way better on first view. Gordy comes in and so does Steamboat on the other side, hopefully to take this up a few notches. He fires away with some chops but gets quickly caught in the MVC’s corner, and Williams takes him down with a clothesline for two. Steamboat tries to comeback with a crucifix pin, but Doc overpowers him and sends him into the buckle. Gordy cuts off another brief comeback attempt from Ricky with a slam, as the MVC proceed to cut the ring in half. Steamboat’s crossbody gets caught with a Doc backbreaker for two. Steamboat finally gets something in with a DDT of sorts and makes the hot tag to Nikita, who briefly runs wild before getting caught in the heel corner and taken back down to the mat. Seriously, what is wrong with this match?? Gordy works the Oriental Twist (STF without the neck hold), Doc comes in for some knees and a Boston Crab, and Gordy comes back with the Oriental Twist. Nikita FINALLY escapes and makes the ice cold tag to Steamboat, who takes down both Williams & Gordy to absolutely no reaction. Ricky hits a flying karate chop on Doc and goes over to the other corner for another one, but Gordy gets involved and Williams hits the Oklahoma Stampede to FINALLY end this at a whooping 21:39.

  • Rating: I have no words for this. On paper, this could, should and probably would be a terrific tag team encounter any other day. Here, though, they were met with a painfully dead crowd who were more than tired of this tournament already, and the whole match seemed like an interminable heat spot. *
NWA World Tag Team Title Tournament Semi Final Match #2 – Barry Windham & Dustin Rhodes vs. Hiroshi Hase & Shinya Hashimoto
IMG credit: WWE & retroprowrestling.com

Crowd seems even more dead here than they did in the previous match, hoping to see this tournament finally end as there’s no question to who’s advancing here. Hase & Dustin get into a test of strength to start, and Hase bridges out of it and catches him with a superkick. Now it’s off to Barry and Hashimoto for a test of strength of their own, which is won by Barry with a belly to belly. In comes Dustin for a couple of shoulderblocks that Hashimoto no-sells, and the big man easily overpowers Dustin as he brings in Hase. He goes after Dustin’s arm and wrestles him down to the mat, but Rhodes turns things around and tags in Windham for a hammerlock slam, as now the Americans go after the arm. Hashimoto cuts him off with a back elbow shot to the face, though, and follows with a cross ambreaker. Slam to Dustin and a spinning wheel kick, and Hashi takes him to the corner for a spike piledriver alongside Hase. The Japanese cut the ring in half using quick tags and occasional double team moves, leaving Barry impatient on the apron. They hit a double suplex into a Boston Crab by Hase, which Barry runs in to break. Hase hits a belly to belly and he goes up for a flying double kneedrop, but Rhodes moves out of the way and makes the hot tag. Windham runs wild and a powerslam to Hase gets two. Barry works an abdominal stretch and USES THE TAPED FIST BY GAWD to draw the ire of Ventura as usual, and soon enough it’s BREAKING LOOSE IN TULSA. Barry dumps Hashimoto and finishes Hase with a lariat at 14:55.

  • Rating: It was certainly not a classic as it suffered from being apart of this heatless tournament, but the work was good enough and it was an overall much better match than the other semi final. **3/4

Ron Simmons talks to Tony Schiavone and Magnum TA in the ring – he’s paying close attention to the upcoming match.

WCW World Heavyweight Championship – Sting(c) vs. Big Van Vader(w/ Harley Race)
IMG credit: WWE & unwrest.blogspot.com

The crowd finally comes alive here for what is the unquestionable REAL main event of the evening, despite Bill Watts clearly thinking otherwise. Vader pounds away on Sting to start, and a powerful clothesline forces Sting to bail. Sting comes back in to hit his own clothesline, but Vader totally no sells it and it’s Sting going down from the impact instead! Vader misses a blind charge in the corner, though, and Sting runs wild with a backdrop suplex and a clothesline that dumps Vader. The big man challenges Sting to a test of strength, but he thumbs Vader in the eyes and pounds away from there. Vader crawls into the apron where he’s met with an enziguiri from Sting, who then suplexes Vader into the ring for two. Sting then makes the mistake of running into Vader, though, knocking himself out as if he ran into a solid wall. Sting immediately comes back with a series of stiff kicks and cradles him for two, actually forcing Vader to bail! Back in, Sting tries a sunset flip, but Vader just sits down and squashes him like a bug. Vader even does a double bicep pose just to add insult to injury. JR: “I’ve heard bodybuilding isn’t doing so well”. BURN! Vader follows it up with a big splash as Sting barely rolls his shoulder on the kickout. Then, just to be a dick and just because he can, Vader actually puts Sting in the Scorpion Deathlock. It’s about as good visually as The Rock’s “Squatshooter”, but it’s the thought that counts!

Sting nearly powers out of it, but Vader drops down on his back and Sting goes right back down to the mat. Sting eventually powers out of the hold, but he’s pretty much done and Vader takes his sweet time enjoying the beatdown. Clothesline knocks Sting down, but Vader isn’t interested in pinning him yet. Powerslam gets a nearfall. Sting makes the comeback and takes Vader down with a crazy rolling koppo kick. He follows it up with a DDT and a running shoulderblock, but Sting’s too hurt to follow up and Vader actually gets up first. Vader goes up to the top rope but Sting crotches him and gets him up in a fireman’s carry position, hitting a delayed samoan drop for two. Sting sold that wonderfully, picking up Vader on “spaghetti legs”. The ref gets briefly knocked out on a battle over a suplex, which Sting wins with a bridged german suplex for two. The crowd is really into this one! Sting dropkicks Vader into the corner and meets him with the Stinger Splash, but Vader shrugs it off and Sting tries a second one, only to accidentally bust his head open on the steel buckle. Vader gets two off that, but it’s academic now as a single bitchslap knocks Sting down. Vader plants him with the powerbomb for the win and the WCW Title at 17:17.

  • Rating: The excitement for this match was off the charts due to the long build, and it delivered in every way. This was the perfect example of how to protect “David” in defeat in a David vs. Goliath situation in wrestling, as Sting was able to fight through all of Vader’s stiff and powerful shots only to eventually get knocked out due to his own mistake, leaving the door open for future business and making both guys look like million dollars. Great match! ****1/4

Vader & Harley Race celebrate in the dressing room. Eric Bischoff asks them about a potential rematch with Sting, which they don’t feel like answering. Rightfully so.

One would think this is the perfect way to end the PPV since nothing can follow it up, but no…

(Alleged) Main Event – Tournament Final – NWA World Tag Team Championship – Miracle Violence Connection (Dr. Death Steve Williams & Terry Gordy) vs. Barry Windham & Dustin Rhodes
IMG credit: WWE & retroprowrestling.com

They start off with basic stuff while the crowd goes right back to a vegetative state and, to make it even better, we have nearly 30 minutes left on the stream. Oh joy. Gordy hits a german suplex on Rhodes, who fires back with a series of quick bionic elbows and starts working the leg. Windham comes in and gets the figure four, but Gordy makes it to the ropes and brings in Doc. Williams scores with a belly to belly and they go to the mat for a while. Gordy hits a corner clothesline for two. Dustin goes back after the leg and drops some elbows on it, but Doc gets tagged in. Williams pulls the hair to win a test of strength and brings in Gordy to put Rhodes in the Oriental Twist (STF). Dustin fights out of the hold only to take a cheapshot from Gordy in MVC’s corner. You see, this match is not necessarily bad but the crowd is literally dead silent for everything, and there was no way this could ever follow Sting/Vader. Doc hits a powerslam for two, and he stops to complain with Ole Anderson over the count. Barry briefly runs wild off the “hot” tag and hits a suplex for a nearfall. Gutwrench suplex gets two more. Windham eats a shoulder in the buckle, though, and Gordy hits a suplex for two. We hit the chinlock as Gary Cappetta announces we’ve passed the 15 minute mark. Doc switches to a front facelock and into an abdominal stretch. Yeah.. Rhodes gets the “hot” tag and gets to run wild for all of ten seconds, until the MVC cut him off and Williams goes back to a front facelock. Yeah, call an audible and end it already. Dustin tries to make another comeback but gets cut off again, and Doc preps the Oklahoma Stampede only for Windham to dropkick him mid-move and Rhodes falls on top for two. Doc eats buckle on a blind charge and Dustin goes for the bulldog, but Doc sends him into Gordy and a clothesline gives them the titles and mercifully ends this stupid tournament at 21:10.

  • Rating: Another snoozer to put an end to a tournament full of them. *1/4

JR & Jesse promote Halloween Havoc ’92 to close the broadcast.

END OF THE SHOW

Final thoughts: As much as it hurts me to say this, it looks like the streak has finally ended. After seven whole months, this is the worst PPV (add SNME and the Clash to the list for that matter) in 1992 up to the point. The pointless tournament really killed the room and the flow of the event, making it very hard for me to recommend this. A couple of quarter final matches were good and are worth checking out, but the only thing you really need to go out of your way to see from this event is Sting vs Vader. So what I say is look up for that match somewhere, but make sure you skip the rest of this show. 4/10

POINT SYSTEM

Read more about the point system.

WrestlerStar ratingsResultMain eventingExtraTotal
Barry Windham3.25
2.75
1.25
1
1
-1
1+0.5 for winning a fall9.75
Dustin Rhodes3.25
2.75
1.25
1
1
-1
1+0.5 for winning a fall
-0.5 for losing a fall
9.25
Dr. Death 1
1.25
1
1
1+1 for winning both falls
+2 for winning a title
8.25
Terry Gordy1
1.25
1
1
1+2 for winning a title7.25
Big Van Vader4.251+2 for winning a title7.25
Ricky Steamboat3.75
1
1
-1
+0.5 for winning a fall
-0.5 for losing a fall
4.75
Nikita Koloff3.75
1
1
-1
4.75
Hiroshi Hase1.5
2.75
1
-1
+0.5 for winning a fall
-0.5 for losing a fall
4.25
Shinya Hashimoto1.5
2.75
1
-1
4.25
Jushin Thunder Liger3.75-12.75
Brian Pillman3.75-1-0.5 for losing a fall2.25
Rick Rude3.25-12.25
Steve Austin3.25-1-0.5 for losing a fall1.75
Sting4.25-1-2 for losing a title1.25
Michael Hayes1.5-10.5
Jimmy Garvin1.5-1-0.5 for losing a fall0

FEEDBACK

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That’s all for this article, thank you so much for your time and attention. Make sure you don’t miss the upcoming review of WWF’s SummerSlam, and others. Until then stay safe!

Categories
Clash of the Champions WCW

WCW Clash Of The Champions #19 Review – 06.22.1992 (NWA Tournament With Some Radical Debuts)

June 22, 1992
Taped from Charleston, SC (taped on June 16)
Announced attendance: 4,600
TV rating (TBS): 2.8 (-0.9 compared to Clash 18’s 3.7)

Hey there everybody. Welcome to my review of the 19th edition of WCW Clash of the Champions, featuring exclusively first round matches of a tournament to crown the inaugural holders of NWA’s World Tag Team Championship. Among the many participating teams are many young international talents making their WCW debut, including future Radicalz teammates Dean Malenko and Chris Benoit.

List of WCW champions heading into this show (considering the date of the tapings):

  • WCW World Heavyweight Champion: Sting [108th day of his reign] – previous champion: Lex Luger
  • WCW United States Heavyweight Champion: Rick Rude [210th day of his reign] – previous champion: Sting
  • WCW World Television Champion: Steve Austin [24th day of his reign] – previous champion: Barry Windham
  • WCW Light Heavyweight Champion: Brian Pillman* [108th day of his reign] – previous champion: Jushin Thunder Liger
  • WCW World Tag Team Champions: The Steiners (Rick & Scott) [44th day of their reign] – previous champions: Arn Anderson & Bobby Eaton
  • WCW United States Tag Team Champions: The Fabulous Freebirds (Michael Hayes & Jimmy Garvin) [30th day of their reign] – previous champions: Greg Valentine & Taylor Made Man

*Scotty Flamingo was the Light Heavyweight Champion at the time this show aired, having defeated Pillman for the title at Beach Blast

Enjoy the review!

IMG credit: WWE & placetobenation.com

Your hosts are Jim Ross & Jesse Ventura

NWA Tag Team Title Tournament First Round Match #1 – Ricky Steamboat & Nikita Koloff vs. The Malenkos (Joe & Dean)

Steamboat represents USA, Nikita represents Lithuania (hi, Vilnius!) and the Malenkos represent Europe. Hm, really? By that logic, doesn’t it mean Europe automatically advances regardless of the result!? Nice mat work by Steamboat and Joe to start and we get a stalemate. They get into a test of strength and Joe monkey flips him into a pin, which Steamboat blocks with a headscissors that Joe also blocks with a cartwheel, but then walks into an armdrag from Ricky. Joe manages to block a second attempt, so Steamboat scores with a hiptoss instead. Dean comes in and gets his arm worked over by Steamboat until he brings in Nikita. He works a bearhug and Dean uses the top rope to flip out of it, with Jim Ross making sure to mention on commentary that it is still legal under NWA’s rules. Dean goes up but his high crossbody gets caught by Nikita, only for Joe to come up with a dropkick from behind that gives Dean two. Snap suplex is no-sold by Nikita who responds with a giant faceplant, and Steamboat comes in to immediately go back to working the arm. Steamboat goes for a flying headscissors but gets double-teammed by the Malenkos behind the ref’s back, who hit a nice backdrop suplex into a flying clothesline combo for two. Dean puts Steamboat in a wicked submission that punishes both the leg and back, which Steamboat obviously knows how to sell perfectly. He eventually escapes and hits a desperate faceplant before making the hot tag to Nikita, who runs wild and finishes Dean with the Sickle to advance at 9:50.

  • Rating: Good match to get the tournament underway, with some great technical exchanges between Steamboat and the Malenkos and power display from Nikita. Though the result was never really in question, the Malenkos did somewhat look like credible threats due to Steamboat’s willingness to sell like a champ for anyone. ***
NWA Tag Team Title Tournament First Round Match #2 – The Dangerous Alliance (Rick Rude & Steve Austin)(w/ Madusa) vs. ‘Z-Man’ Tom Zenk & Marcus Alexander Bagwell

Everyone involved in this match represents the United States. Rude clotheslines Bagwell right off the gate, and Austin & Zenk take it to the mat and reach a stalemate. Rude gets back in with a dropkick followed by some hip swiveling action, and a vertical suplex gets two. Tag to Austin who walks into a cradle for two. However, Bagwell eats boot on a blind charge and the Alliance takes back control. A bunch of shots to Rude’s ravishing abs are no-sold (NEVER go after his abs!), and Rude responds with a piledriver to Zenk for two. Rude & Austin hit a double clothesline behind the ref’s back and they go to cut the ring in half, but Austin eats a superkick that opens the door for the hot tag. Bagwell crossbodies Austin for a nearfall, but then knocks himself out like a geek on a missed dropkick to Rude, who casually puts him away with the Rude Awakening at 7:54.

  • Rating: Average paint-by-numbers match to put the Alliance ahead. Bagwell in particular came off looking incredibly stupid, blowing away pretty much everything he went for here. On the other hand, Rude was clearly put over as the big star of the bunch. Not necessarily bad, but one would expect a lot more given who’s in it. *1/2

Meanwhile, Steve Williams & Terry Gordy are so desperate to get a rematch with the Steiners that they’re almost pissed to have to go through the first-round!

NWA Tag Team Title Tournament First Round Match #3 – The Miracle Violence Connection (Dr. Death Steve Williams & Terry Gordy) vs. The O’Days (Larry & Jeff O’Day)

MVC are representing Japan in the tournament, and their opponents are a father/son duo from Australia. Gordy takes Larry (the father) down to the mat to start with some wrestling, but then Doc comes in and he pounds away. The kid eats a backdrop suplex from Doc and a corner clothesline from Gordy, but he actually gets a nearfall on Gordy with a sunset flip. It’s back to Larry for some shots, until Gordy gets tired of it and just PLANTS the poor man with a backdrop suplex. A stiff double shoulderblock from the MVC sets up Doc’s Oklahoma Stampede for the easy win at 2:35.

  • Rating: Just a squash, but the Miracle Violence Connection looked like world beaters. N/R

Jesse Ventura interviews Sting. Jesse compares Sting’s upcoming title match with Vader at the Bash to David vs. Goliath, and Sting actually has the balls to say he’s Goliath in this situation due to the fan support. Dang champ, there’s a difference between being confidence and asking for the beating of a lifetime!

NWA Tag Team Title Tournament First Round Match #4 – The Dangerous Alliance (Arn Anderson & Bobby Eaton)(w/ Paul E Dangerously) vs. Barry Windham & Dustin Rhodes

Another all American match. Barry & Arn lockup to start, with Arn complaining about the taped fist already. A wrestling exchange goes nowhere, so Windham simply whacks him down in a fun spot that gets Jesse complaining about the cast on commentary as well. Barry eats knee on a blind charge in the corner and Arn goes up, but Windham dumps him to the floor with a dropkick. Eaton punches Rhodes in the gut in midair on a leapfrog attempt, but Dustin responds by dumping Bobby with a big boot and Paul E asks for the DQ. The Alliance bail but the babyfaces remain in control, until Eaton cuts Windham off with a cheap knee on a criss cross. Backdrop from Bobby gets two. Arn eats boot and Dustin cleans house off the hot tag. Rhodes holds the ropes to block Arn’s DDT, but Eaton pops up with a clothesline from the apron. Dustin misses a crossbody on Eaton and dumps himself to the floor, where Paul E adds his shot with the telephone. Back in, Bobby goes up and the flying kneedrop gets two. Eaton adds insult to injury by hitting Dustin with his own bulldog for a nearfall. He gets too cocky and tries it again only to be sent into the buckle this time around, but Arn immediately covers up for Bobby by distracting the referee so that he misses the hot tag to Windham. Arn then illegally jumps in with the spinebuster to Rhodes, giving Eaton a delayed nearfall. Bobby tries to follow up with the Alabama Jam straight away, but Rhodes dodges and the bulldog puts Bobby away at 10:23.

  • Rating: Good first round match with some quality cheating from Bobby & Arn. ***1/4
NWA Tag Team Title Tournament First Round Match #5 – The Steiners (Rick & Scott) vs. Miguel Pérez Jr & Ricky Santana

Actually never mind as the Miracle Violence Connection report to Eric Bischoff that they witnessed someone running over the Puerto Ricans, unabling them to wrestle tonight and thus automatically sending the Steiners into the quarter finals for a rematch with the MVC!

NWA Tag Team Title Tournament First Round Match #6 – The Fabulous Freebirds (Michael Hayes & Jimmy Garvin) vs. The Silver Kings (#1 & #2)

The Kings are representing Mexico and the Freebirds are representing Badstreet USA, of course. One of the geeks dropkicks the other to start, but Garvin misses a dropkick. #2 goes up for a flying legdrop, but Garvin ducks and gets two. Suplex gets two. Hayes gets in and moonwalks for a bit, but #1 comes back with a senton for one. Flying elbowdrop from #2 gets two. The Silver Kings hit horrible looking spinning wheel kicks in stereo, but Hayes comes back with a backdrop. And he follows it up with absolutely nothing, instead stands there and claps. Okay then. #2 makes the comeback with a series of quick kicks and dropkicks, with Hayes bumping awkwardly for them as he looks totally lost and out of place out there. Missile dropkick from #1 gets two, with Jimmy breaking up the pin. The Freebirds get a couple of cheapshots in but the Mexicans ram them against each other and dump them. Hayes hits Garvin by mistake on the floor, and then the Silver Kings hit each other as well. Ugh. Hayes takes #1 back inside, where he simply cradles him for the merciful end at 6:28. I smell an audible there.

  • Rating: I like the Freebirds’ work in previous years, but at this point their matches keep getting scarier every time. This was really bad. 1/4*
NWA Tag Team Title Tournament First Round Match #7 – Flyin’ Brian Pillman & Jushin Thunder Liger vs. Chris Benoit & Beef Wellington

Yep, it’s that Chris Benoit making his WCW debut. Him and Beef are representing Canada, Liger is representing Japan and Brian the United States. Benoit and Liger get into a nice wrestling sequence to start, won by Benoit with a fireman’s carry takedown. Benoit wins a test of strength too, but Liger bridges his way back up and sends Benoit flying. Benoit comes back with a shoulderblock, but ends up running into a series of armdrags before they each dodge a dropkick from the other and reach a stalemate. It’s off to Pillman and Beef, who runs over Brian with a powerful shoulderblock but gets dumped after a series of dropkicks. Beef comes back with a snap suplex and Brian responds with a suplex from the apron onto the floor. Liges fires away the quick kicks until Beef grounds him, and Benoit gets in with a clothesline followed by an enziguiri. Wellington brings back the ULTIMATE DICK MOVE by slamming Liger all the way to the floor, but his follow-up dive finds no water in the pool.

Brian dumps Benoit on a criss cross sequence, and brings him back inside with a backdrop suplex off the top rope. Missile dropkick follows and Benoit bails, so Brian fakes a dive and takes him down with a high crossbody instead. They get into a nasty chopfest filled with all kinds of extra mustard all over it. Now it’s Liger taking down Beef with a dive on the outside, but Beef counters a crucifix with a samoan drop for two back inside. Benoit takes Liger up top for a backdrop suplex, which Liger counters in midair and falls on top for two. Spinning wheel kick sends Benoit flying all the way to the floor, where Liger meets him with an Asai Moonsault. Brian goes for an O’Connor Roll on Benoit but instead walks into Beef’s knee in the corner, who then puts the miss in missile dropkick. Double noggin knocker gets rid of Benoit while also leaving Wellington in position for Liger to finish him with a moonsault at 11:30.

  • Rating: This was all action from start to finish, and it completely blew away everything else on the card, which is not surprising given who’s involved. Wellington would have a stint in ECW in the mid 90s, until his career came to an abrupt end in 1996 due to a serious eye injury. Benoit spent the next decade and a half having kickass matches and winning all kinds of titles in pretty much every promotion across the planet. ***3/4
NWA Tag Team Title Tournament First Round Match #8 – Hiroshi Hase & Akira Nogami vs. The Headhunters (#1 & #2)

Japan versus the Dominican Republic. The Headhunters are Bob Cooke and Joe Cruze under masks. The masked guys take over with a bunch of basic stuff until Nogami blocks a suplex and hits a dropkick. #1 hits a stungun into a backbreaker for two, but the Japanese come back with a variation of kicks. They run wild until Hase misses a flying kneedrop, and #1 hits a sideslam for two. Double suplex gets #2 two. It eventually turns into a pier six that ends with both Japanese hitting bridged suplexes in stereo for the double pin at 5:19.

  • Rating: Not horrible, but there’s nothing to see here. 1/2*

Jesse Ventura interviews Ron Simmons. He plans to go where no other black man has gone in this sport and become World Heavyweight Champion. Harley Race interrupts alongside the Super Invader, and he wants Ron to go tell Sting something in the back, but Ron replies “go do it yourself”. Harley reminds him who he is and what he’s accomplished, but then goes too far by saying he had guys like him carrying his bags. Simmons snaps and cleans house alone, with Harley even taking the chop block to feed Ron’s push. Effective little segment to get Ron over.

Tony Schiavone interviews Bill Watts. He’s all about giving the fans what they came to see, and since there were eight matches booked on the card, that’s what they will get. The quarter finals were originally scheduled for GAB, but since the Miracle Violence Connection want the Steiners so bad, their quarter final match is TONIGHT.

NWA Tag Team Title Tournament Quarter Final Match #1 – The Steiners (Rick & Scott) vs. The Miracle Violence Connection (Dr. Death Steve Williams & Terry Gordy)

Wrestling sequence to start as Gordy goes after Rick’s leg. Scott tries to explode with a belly to belly, but Gordon uses his power to avoid it. Scott can’t bridge up on a pinfall reversal sequence that looked pretty awkward, so Scott sticks to an explosive backdrop suplex instead. Doc comes in for a nice exchange with Scott on the mat and we get a stalemate. Rick sends Doc flying with a belly to belly, and Doc bails. Doc gets back in and has the brilliant idea of bitchslapping Rick, who just SANDBAGS HIM in response and proceeds to pound away on freaking Dr. Death like he’s yesterday’s trash. We’re done playing now! Doc takes him down and stiffs the hell outta him with a forearm, before taking him inside out with the mother of all lariats. Gordy in for a belly to belly, which also sounds like an excellent idea, and indeed Rick turns it into his own. Hot tag Scott who runs wild with a backdrop, clothesline and the tiger driver in preparation for the Frankensteiner. However, Gordy holds on to the ropes and Scott knocks himself out on the mat. Doc in to work on Scott’s back with a backbreaker for two. Gordy follows up with a running powerslam and locks in a kneebar. A double shoulderblock by MVC gives Williams two. He goes after the leg as well, but Scott comes back with a standing dropkick. Rick gets the false hot tag and immediately dumps him with a clothesline. He hits a powerslam and goes for the pin, but the ref lets him know about it. Gordy runs over Scott with a chop block on the floor, and Doc follows up with a badass delayed gorilla powerslam for a great nearfall. IT’S BREAKING LOOSE IN TULSA and the ref loses control, allowing Gordy to clip Scott’s bad leg from behind when he’s going for a belly to belly on Doc, who lands on top for the pin to eliminate the Steiners at 15:01.

  • Rating: One of those rare matches where you can tell they’re stiffing the hell out of each other and not cooperating in the slightest, yet the match is better because of it. An absolute car wreck in human form is exactly what this is, a human demolition derby and it’s pretty darned awesome on that level. The tournament was all leading up to this rematch from their broadway at Beach Blast, and while it’s surprising that they did it in the quarter finals, at least it adds some unpredictability to the rest of the tournament. ***3/4

Tony Schiavone & Magnum TA close the show with a rundown of the tournament brackets, which will continue (and end) at Great American Bash. Since I’m a cool dude, I’ll leave them here for you as well:

END OF THE SHOW

Final thoughts: It’s a show that definitely feels incomplete in case you don’t follow up by watching the PPV as well, as it literally just had the first round matches of the tournament. With that in mind, though, it was definitely an interesting show that gave some international talents a first chance to impress in a major wrestling company. Chris Benoit was by far the most impressive of the bunch, and he’d be brought back for a few more dates with WCW the next year before being eventually signed for a proper run in 1995. It’s a different edition of WCW Clash and it’s pretty good, all things considered. 6/10

FEEDBACK

POINT SYSTEM

Learn more about the point system here.

WrestlerStar ratingsResultMain eventingExtrasTotal
Dr. DeathN/R
3.75
1
1
1+1 for winning two falls7.75
Terry GordyN/R
3.75
1
1
16.75
Jushin Liger3.751+0.5 for winning the fall5.25
Brian Pillman3.7514.75
Dustin Rhodes3.251+0.5 for winning the fall4.75
Nikita Koloff31+0.5 for winning the fall4.5
Barry Windham3.2514.25
Rick SteinerN/R
3.75
0.5
-1
14.25
Scott SteinerN/R
3.75
0.5
-1
1-0.5 for losing the fall3.75
Rick Rude1.51+0.5 for winning the fall3
Chris Benoit3.75-12.75
Steve Austin1.512.5
Arn Anderson3.25-12.25
Beef Wellington3.75-1-0.5 for losing the fall2.25
Hiroshi Hase0.51+0.5 for winning the fall2
Joe Malenko3-12
Michael Hayes0.251+0.5 for winning the fall1.75
Bobby Eaton3.25-1-0.5 for losing the fall1.75
Dean Malenko3-1-0.5 for losing the fall1.5
Akira Nogami0.511.5
Jimmy Garvin0.2511.25
Tom Zenk1.5-10.5
Marcus Bagwell1.5-1-0.5 for losing the fall0

That’s all, thank you very much for reading. Make sure you don’t miss the review of The Great American Bash to follow the rest of the tournament, as well as Sting vs. Big Van Vader for the World Championship. See you there, take care!

Tomás Cunha