January 30, 1991
Live from Gainesville, GA
Television rating: 3.9 (TBS)
Announced attendance: 2,200
Welcome everyone to my review of the 14th edition of Clash of the Champions, the first one exclusively under the WCW banner and after the partnership with the NWA ended earlier that year. Featuring the brand new and first ever WCW World Heavyweight Champion (it was officially established once the partnership with the NWA ended earlier that month) Ric Flair defending against the young and exciting Scott Steiner, Doom putting the tag titles on the line against Sting & Lex Luger and much more.
Here is the list of champions heading into this show:
- WCW & NWA World Heavyweight Champion: Ric Flair [champion since Jan. 11 1991 – previous NWA champion: Sting)
- WCW United States Heavyweight Champion: Lex Luger (champion since Dec. 16 1990 – previous champion: Stan Hansen)
- WCW World Television Champion: ‘Z-Man’ Tom Zenk* [champion since Dec. 4 1990 – previous champion: Arn Anderson)
- WCW World Tag Team Champions: Doom (Ron Simmons & Butch Reed) [champions since May 19 1990 – previous champions: The Steiners)
- WCW United States Tag Team Champions: The Steiners (Rick & Scott) [champions since Aug. 24 1990 – previous champions: The Midnight Express)
*Arn Anderson had already regained the TV title, but it only aired on February 2nd due to tape delay
Enjoy the review!
The hosts are Jim Ross & Dusty Rhodes
WCW World Tag Team Championship – Doom (Ron Simmons & Butch Reed)(c) vs. Sting & Lex Luger
We kick off 1991 in WCW with a promising World tag title bout. By the way, there is Dusty Rhodes back after a year and a half in the WWF, just eleven days after his last date at the Royal Rumble, now retired and serving as WCW’s commentator and booker. Sting works Reed’s arm to start and then it’s down to Luger and Simmons for the battle of the bulls. Luger takes over with a suplex but a cheapshot puts Doom in control as we take a break.
We’re back and a Simmons slam gets two. Luger goes for the comeback but another cheapshot cuts it off and Reed comes in with a dropkick. We hit the chinlock which goes about as far as any other chinlock goes aka nowhere, and Luger fights out with a faceplant. However Reed catches him with his flying shoulderblock off the top… which sends him all the way into Sting for the hot tag. LOL. Sting starts running wild on both members of Doom until out comes Danny Spivey to take out Luger and set up their US title match for WrestleWar. Sting continues the fight alone but eventually gets sent over the top rope for the ULTIMATE HEEL DICK MOVE OF DOOM… and the DQ at 10:33. Okay then.
- Rating: Shame on me for getting my hopes up, I guess. We’re talking about one of the hottest tag teams in the business at the time against arguably the two most popular young babyfaces, and nine minutes in Sting finally gets the hot tag… only to be sent over the top for the DQ. I understand the non-finish as you’re not going to put the belts on Sting & Luger but you shouldn’t be beating them either, but at least don’t kill the match right after the hot tag. Looking at the names on paper, this was a bit of a disappointment. *3/4
WCW World Television Championship – ‘The Z-Man’ Tom Zenk(c) vs. ‘Beautiful’ Bobby Eaton
As I’ve already mentioned, Zenk is only champion-in-peril here, having already technically lost the belt back to Arn Anderson. Zenk is announced by Gary Cappetta as the sexiest wrestler in WCW, apparently having won a contest determined by Missy Hyatt. WHAT. THE. FUCK. Wrestling sequence goes into a stalemate. Zenk goes to work on the arm but Eaton bails. And then he too goes after the arm back inside. Eaton goes up only to get dropkicked off. Eaton stalls some more. Back in they get into a slugfest and Eaton finally takes over via a cheapshot. He goes up again only to get slammed off followed by a Zenk backdrop for two. Eaton catches him with an elbow though and goes up AGAIN, this time finally being successful with a flying kneedrop. Neckbreaker gets two. Zenk comes back with a cradle for two and then a backslide retains the belt at 7:08. However, the replay shows us Eaton got his shoulder up at two and three quarter. SHENANIGANS!
- Rating: Solid match with some good wrestling sequences and reversals. They did their best under strange circumstances and with a bullshit finish. The second in a row, by the way. **1/2
The Fabulous Freebirds (Michael Hayes & Jimmy Garvin) vs. Tommy Rich & Allen Iron Eagle
What kind of weird match is this? Rich starts off with a couple of slams on both Freebirds and then it’s off to Eagle to get his ass kicked. Hayes works a long chinlock and then Eagle completely fucks up a number of moves, getting noticeably STIFFED by the Freebirds for being the shits. Eagle moves out of the way of a Garvin blind charge (after screwing up that as well, good lord…) and makes the hot tag to Rich. The ref gets distracted and misses it though, so the Freebirds quickly take advantage and double DDT Eagle for the win at 5:53.
- Rating: This was horrible, apart from watching the Freebirds punish this poor idiot after he single-handledly fucked up the whole match. ‘Allen Iron Eagle’ was Joe Gomez, by the way. I feel bad for everyone else. 1/4*
Sid Vicious vs. Joey Maggs
Sid completely runs him over with a couple of clotheslines and the Powerbomb puts him away at 1:11. The EMTs check on Maggs afterwards – BY GAWD DUST HE TOOK TWO CLOTHESLINES AND A POWERBOMB – until Sid tips over the stretcher just for fun.
- Rating: They kept it short and inoffensive. 1/2*
Ricky Morton vs. Terry Taylor
Rare babyface vs. babyface match here. They start with a handshake and Morton outwrestles Taylor. We take a break.
We’re back with Taylor in control. However it doesn’t last long, with Morton quickly going to work on the arm. Meanwhile, the former manager of Mike Rotunda aka Michael Wallstreet (who left for the WWF to be IRS), Alexandra York joins us at ringside. Both wrestlers get distracted… and Taylor jumps Morton from behind. We then get a split video promo from York, who reveals Taylor is her new client, turning him heel. What an evil rooster you are, Terry! Taylor drops a knee on Morton and chokes away, starting immediately to wrestle a heelish style. Taylor misses a splash off the top though and gets dropkicked. Morton goes for another but misses and lands on his head, as Taylor simply pins him to steal the win at 11:53.
- Rating: This was an okay little undercard storyline which at least gave Taylor something to do. Nothing wrong here. **1/4
Bill Apter presents Sting with the PWI wrestler of the year award for 1990.
Dusty Rhodes wakes up the crowd with a passionate promo in support of the troops in the Gulf War.
Ranger Ross vs. El Cubano
A patriotic match to follow that up. Cubano takes over with a crossbody until he misses a splash. Ross superkicks him and finishes with a slingshot sunset flip at 3:05.
- Rating: A nothing match, but one that was there to give the fans a feel-good win during hard times like these. Nothing wrong with that. 1/4*
The Horsemen (Arn Anderson & Barry Windham) vs. The Renegade Warriors (Chris & Mark Youngblood)
I wonder who goes over here! The Horsemen stall to start with the Renegade Warriors actually running wild for a minute or two. They double-team the Horsemen for a while until Barry cheapshots Mark and AA kills Chris with the spinebuster. Barry suplex gets two and a DDT gets two more. Mark gets the “hot tag” but it quickly starts BREAKING LOOSE IN GEORGIA, as AA distracts the ref and allows Windham to run Chris over with a lariat and superplex him. Arn gets the academic win at 7:30.
- Rating: Nothing more than an extended squash, really. It was watchable. *1/2
Meanwhile, Stan Hansen challenges Big Van Vader at WrestleWar.
Flyin’ Brian Pillman vs. Buddy Lee Parker
Pillman goes right to work on the count to start and dumps Parker with a headscissors. Parker tries to slingshot Pillman into the ring, but the latter lands on his feet and rings Parker’s bell with a spinkick. A small Parker comeback goes nowhere rather quickly as one would expect and he bails, only for Pillman to follow him out there with a dive. Back in the high crossbody ends Parker at 3:17.
- Rating: Another squash, yet a bit more exciting because it’s Pillman. *
ARM WRESTLING MATCH OF DOOM – Paul E. Dangerously vs. Missy Hyatt
Paul E. looks very much confident and ready for this… until Missy Hyatt takes off her jacket to reveal a low cut spandex and easily beats the distracted Paul.
Meanwhile, Ric Flair hangs out with Lawrence Taylor. One of them would turn out to be a WrestleMania main-eventer. The other is Ric Flair. Let that one sink in for a second!
Main Event – WCW World Heavyweight Championship – Ric Flair(c) vs. Scott Steiner(w/ Rick Steiner)
This looks like quite the match on paper. New booker Dusty Rhodes actually planned on putting the belt on Steiner here, with WCW higher ups wanting to get rid of Flair and turn him into the gladiator Spartacus for some mental reason, but Steiner rejected out of respect for his brother, so he wouldn’t leave him hanging. We have Hiro Matsuda at ringside to promote the upcoming title match between Tatsumi Fujinami and the WCW champ. And also El Gigante is at ringside. Good for him.
Flair shows off his biceps to start but gets all worked up when Steiner does the same and gets a bigger reaction! Steiner shoulderblocks Flair and goes to work on the arm, but Flair keeps going to the ropes to get some much needed distance. Flair goes for a wristlock takedown only for Steiner to obviously overpower him and turn it around easily. Steiner backdrops Flair and sideslams him for two. Flair begs for mercy as usual and bails. Back in Flair chops away but runs into an armdrag. Flair works a wristlock which Steiner reverses, but Flair reverses as well with a legtrip and he bails.
Steiner wins a test of strength and avoids Flair’s cheapshots with a Steinerline. Flair is out of again but Steiner goes after him and brings him back in with a vertical suplex for two. Flair asks for another test of strength which he obviously loses yet again but he atomic drops Steiner out of the corner. Flair tosses Steiner who comes back in with a springboard sunset flip, but Flair cheapshots him. Steiner eats a boot on a blind charge and Flair gets two with his feet on the ropes. And we take a break.
We come back with a Flair shoulderblock. Steiner drop toeholds him off a criss cross, though, and puts him in his own figure four! Flair grabs the ropes to escape and they proceed to take each other over the top rope and out to the floor. Flair drops Steiner with a kneebreaker on the outside while Gary Cappetta announces we have ten minutes of TV time remaining. Flair takes Steiner to school back inside going to work on the leg. Figure four is locked in with some illegal rope assistance. Rick gets involved which distracts the ref Nick Patrick temporarily and allows Flair to get away with it, until Patrick eventually catches him doing it and forces the break. Flair brings Steiner down with a backdrop suplex and goes for the figure four yet again, this time in the middle of the ring. Steiner uses his power to reverse the hold and put the pressure on Flair, who makes the ropes immediately.
Flair goes back to the leg to stay in control but Steiner catches him with a Rude Awakening-like neckbreaker. Steiner whips Flair hard into the corner, who goes flying to the floor off a Flair flip. Steiner chases him and takes him out on the railing while Cappetta says there are five minutes left. Steiner pounds away on Flair in the corner, who cheapshots him on the clean break. Figure four is blocked into a Steiner cradle for a great nearfall. Four minutes remaining! Steiner catches Flair in a sleeper and dumps Flair over the top with a Steinerline, which for some reason isn’t a DQ this time. JR & Dusty call it a “judgment call”, which is code for “it’s not the finish we booked so please ignore it”. Three minutes left! Flair smartly keeps the match at his pace to kill some time and the Flair kneedrop gets two. Flair works the count with his feet on the ropes to kill some more time, with Rick again getting involved and drawing the ref’s attention. We have two minutes left while Flair works the count a few more times in a side headlock position. Steiner escapes with a legscissors but Flair rolls over on top of Steiner, who bridges up and hits a massive tiger driver. Steiner goes for the pin… but Flair bails. What a prick!! Flair flop on the floor to kill even more time as we enter the final minute! Rick puts Flair back inside who eats a Steinerline. Thirty seconds! Steiner whips Flair for the Flair flip but catches him with another Steinerline in mid air. Steiner takes him down with a belly to belly for the win… but time expires at the count of two to save Flair’s title at 24:25.
- Rating: Good match between Flair and the exciting youngster, who was clearly still not quite there yet. Flair was great as usual, doing his best to put Steiner over big-time by constantly killing time so time would expire and he’d keep the belt. As far as Steiner goes, honestly I’m afraid I didn’t feel a huge sense of urgency on his part especially during the last few minutes. It was a smart decision on his part to stay as the exciting hot tag guy from the Steiners for a few more years, as he still needed a few more time to learn. Still a really good match, though. ***1/2
END OF THE SHOW
Final thoughts: I can sum this up real quick – watch the main event and skip the rest of the show. Just a bunch of TV squash matches and decent matches at best (not ignoring Terry Taylor’s turn) apart from Flair/Steiner. A good show from WCW would be more than welcome! 4/10
For comments and feedback, e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org
To know more about my point system click here
|Ric Flair||3.5||–||1||+1 for retaining a title||5.5|
|Tom Zenk||2.5||1||–||+1 for retaining a title||4.5|
|Arn Anderson||1.5||1||–||+0.5 for winning the fall||3|
|1.75||-0.5||–||+1 for retaining a title||2.25|
|Jimmy Garvin||0.25||1||–||+0.5 for winning the fall||1.75|
|Chris Youngblood||1.5||-1||–||-0.5 for losing the fall||0|
|Buddy Lee Parker||1||-1||–||0|
|Allen Iron Eagle||0.25||-1||–||-0.5 for losing the fall||-1.25|
As always, thank you so much for your time. Make sure you don’t miss the next reviews, as we’ve got WARGAMES coming up on the WCW side while the WWF is getting closer and closer to the seventh WrestleMania. Until next time, stay safe!