Categories
Clash of the Champions

WCW Clash of the Champions #17 1991 Review

November 19, 1991
Live from Savannah, GA
Announced attendance: 6.922 (capacity: ca 7.832)
TV rating: 4.3

Hello everyone, and welcome to my review of the 17th WCW Clash of the Champions, with five featured title matches scheduled for the card – including Sting putting the US Title on the line against WCW newcomer Ravishing Rick Rude and Rick Steiner challenging Lex Luger for the WCW World Heavyweight Title in the main-event. Also, a returning fiery dragon shocks the world by joining young Dustin Rhodes to challenge the Enforcers for the World Tag Team belts.

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

  • WCW World Heavyweight Champion: Lex Luger [128th day of his reign] – previous champion: Ric Flair, before it was vacated
  • WCW United States Heavyweight Champion: Sting [86th day of his reign] – previous champion: Lex Luger, before it was vacated
  • WCW World Television Champion: ‘Stunning’ Steve Austin [169th day of his reign] – previous champion: Beautiful Bobby Eaton
  • WCW Light Heavyweight Champion: Flyin’ Brian Pillman [23rd day of his reign] – inaugural champion
  • WCW World Tag Team Champions: The Enforcers (Arn Anderson & Larry Zbyszko) [75th day of their reign] – previous champions: The Steiners, before it was vacated
  • WCW United States Tag Team Champions: The Young Pistols (Steve Armstrong & Tracy Smothers)* [14th day of their reign] – previous champions: The Patriots
  • WCW World Six-Man Tag Team Champions: The York Foundation (Richard Morton, Terrance Taylor & Thomas Rich) [42nd day of their reign] – previous champions: Dustin Rhodes, Tom Zenk & Big Josh

*Technically The Patriots (Todd Champion & Firebreaker Chip) were still champions at the time of this show, as their title loss wouldn’t air on television until Dec. 15th 1991

Enjoy the review!

IMG credit: WWE & thesmackdownhotel.com

The hosts are Jim Ross & Tony Schiavone

Lumberjack Match – Thomas Rich(w/ Alexandra York) vs. Big Josh

Rich jumps Big Josh before the bell and we’re underway. Josh no-sells some shots and Rich tries to run away, but the lumberjacks prevent him and Josh takes over. Big Josh runs wild with some chops, an atomic drop and a belly-to-belly suplex, followed by his silly stomps across the stomach. However, Rich dumps Big Josh over onto the heel side of the lumberjacks so they can put the boots to him for a while, allowing Rich to get back in control. Rich chokes away with some tape in the corner, as does Steve Armstrong with the ref’s back turned. Rich follows it up with a suplex, but Josh shows some life and chops away. He misses a blind charge, though, and Rich goes up only to get slammed off. Suplex gets two. Criss cross sequence sees Rich get tripped by his own York Foundation partner, Terrance Taylor, and Big Josh ends it with the assdrop splash at 6:03.

  • Rating: It was smart to break up the York Foundation, a group that was doomed from the start anyway once Mike Rotunda left in the early stages of the run to become ‘IRS’ in the WWF. Match wasn’t bad up until the finish, but it certainly wasn’t interesting or memorable either. It was ok. *
‘Beautiful’ Bobby Eaton vs. Firebreaker Chip

Lockup to start into a side headlock from Chip. Bobby rolls him over for the count a couple of times, but he can’t escape the hold. Chip awkwardly botches a flying crossbody or whatever he was going for off the top, but then connects the second time around and gets two. Back to the side headlock goes Chip, but Bobby rams him into the buckle to break. Chip eats more buckle on a blind charge, but he no-sells it and goes up for a flying clothesline regardless, but the rope break saves Bobby. Damn, Eaton is just getting nothing in tonight. Did he piss anyone off in the back or something? Bobby works a hammerlock, which Chip reverses into his own. Eaton catches a charging Chip with a clothesline out of the corner, and a high backbreaker gets two. Crossbody by Bobby, but Chip rolls through and almost steals it. Backslide gets two. O’Connor roll gets two more and Chip is sent into the buckle on the kickout, right into a backdrop suplex from Bobby for the win at 4:52.

  • Rating: Outside of the small botch from Firebreaker Chip early on, this was a perfectly acceptable solid little match. *3/4

Meanwhile, WCW Champion Lex Luger attacks Sting’s injured leg and is revealed as the man who’s been trying to end Sting’s career during the past number of months. As long as there’s no more Chamber of Horrors, I’m fine with anything!

‘Z-Man’ Tom Zenk vs. The Diamond Studd

The match is already underway when we come back from a break, but we immediately go to a split screen with Sting being taken out of the arena in an ambulance. Back to the match we go and… Zenk beats Studd with a crucifix pin at 1:24. Okay then. Studd jumps Zenk after the bell.

  • Rating: I mean, what can I say here? Nice crucifix pin, I guess! N/R (no rating)
WCW World Television Championship – ‘Stunning’ Steve Austin(c)(w/ Lady Blossom) vs. PN News

Austin attacks before the bell but gets caught in an elevated chokehold by PN News, who runs wild with an avalanche followed by a clothesline out of the corner. Powerslam and an elbowdrop, and Austin bails only to eat some railing. Austin goes for a powerslam of his own, but he can’t lift him up and News lands on top for two. PN News follows it up with a “dropkick” (nice try, big dude) and a suplex for two. Austin manages to dump PN News and pounds away on the outside, but eats a backdrop right back into the ring. PN News hits the belly to belly suplex for the pin, but Lady Blossom puts Austin’s foot on the ropes. News chases her on the floor, which gives Austin enough time to dive onto him. Back in, News’ avalanche only finds the turbuckle and Austin uses the ropes to steal the win and retain at 4:21.

  • Rating: Very basic power match, with PN News overpowering Austin for literally 99% of the match before Austin pulled off a heel win. Austin sold well and tried to carry this thing on his back, but there was only so much he could do. *1/2
Cactus Jack vs. Van Hammer

Van Hammer turns his back like an idiot and gets rightfully jumped by Cactus to start, but hits him with a backdrop suplex and dumps him with a dropkick. Hammer rams Cactus into the railing, because of course Foley will kill himself to get even Van Hammer over, and back in a big boot, powerslam and a legdrop get two. Cactus turns things around with a bulldog, and the Cactus clothesline dumps both guys over the top rope. Obviously a convenient no-DQ in this case, so you already know what that means. TAKE A DRINK! Cactus follows it up with a flying elbowdrop on the floor. Meanwhile, Jim Ross on commentary: “if championships could be won on the outside, Cactus Jack would be the undefeated champion of the World”. Kenny Omega might have a thing or two to say about that these days. A slugfest ensues and it’s won by Van Hammer, who gets a clothesline to the back followed by a flying knee off the top to the back of the head for two. Cactus bails and uses Van Hammer’s guitar behind the ref’s back to give Van Hammer his first loss in WCW at 4:03. Van Hammer gets his revenge afterwards, with Foley taking a couple of crazy bumps on the ramp because he’s Mick Foley.

  • Rating: This was actually way better than I expected, the match was quite decent thanks to Mick Foley’s willingness to do anything to get over. Major props. **1/2
WCW World Tag Team Championship – The Enforcers (Arn Anderson & Larry Zbyszko)(c) vs. Barry Windham & Dustin Rhodes

Dustin’s partner Barry Windham got a broken hand by the Enforcers at the start of Halloween Havoc. Instead, Windham comes out and reveals Dustin Rhodes’ new partner…

IMG credit: WWE & sportskeeda.com

The returning Ricky Steamboat, fresh off a weird brief WWF run where he was known simply as ‘The Dragon’ because reasons.

WCW World Tag Team Championship – The Enforcers (Arn Anderson & Larry Zbyszko)(c) vs. Ricky Steamboat & Dustin Rhodes(w/ Barry Windham)

The crowd go absolutely bananas for Steamboat. Dragon chose to leave the WWF after he was asked to get jobbed out in 2 minutes on television to the likes of The Undertaker and even fucking Skinner heading into Survivor Series. Can’t say I blame him. Steamboat runs wild with the KARATE CHOPS OF DEATH and this crowd just can’t get enough of Ricky!! Flying back elbow for Zbyszko, atomic drop and a dropkick for Anderson as the Enforcers bail. Great energy in this match! Ricky works a headlock on Zbyszko, who tries to escape but ends up walking into a shoulderblock. Back to the headlock goes Ricky, and the tag to young Dustin. Rhodes works the arm, not letting go of Zbyszko’s arm as he gets slammed. That was pretty good on Dustin’s part. Back to Steamboat for a flying karate chop to the arm, as then Steamboat rams it into the post repeatedly. Tag to Dustin who goes after Zbyszko’s arm some more. Great comeuppance story, as the heels originally hurt Barry Windham’s arm to write him out of this match. Arn comes in and takes over thanks to a cheapshot, and Dustin’s blind charge finds his knee. AA goes up and Dustin tries to slam him off, but AA rakes the eyes and hits a flying double axehandle.

Dustin blocks a blind charge in the corner and makes the comeback with his dad’s bionic elbows on both Enforcers, who take a powder. This is pretty freaking amazing! Tag to Zbyszko who begs for Steamboat to tag in, and the babyfaces oblige. Lockup and Steamboat hits a low superkick, but Zbyszko bitchslaps him and runs away. Blind tag to Arn during the chase right before Steamboat catches Zbyszko by the hair, but AA comes in with a cheapshot from behind and the champs take over. Dustin comes in to argue with the referee, which opens the door for some more Enforcers cheating. Suplex by Zbyszko gets two. Ricky shows some life with the chops, but he’s caught in the heel corner and Arn comes in off the tag with a hard irish whip into the buckle. Steamboat struggles to hit a sunset flip, but Arn makes the tag right before going down and Zbyszko keeps the heels in control. Great example of old-school ‘cut the ring in half’ tag team wrestling. Zbyszko works an abdominal stretch assisted by AA, and again Dustin coming in to argue allows the heels to cheat some more. Backdrop suplex by Anderson gets two. Steamboat faceplants AA and he goes for the hot tag to Dustin, but AA is close to his corner and Zbyszko prevents Ricky from reaching his partner.

Steamboat tries to fight back himself and goes for a powerslam, blocked by Larry who falls on top and gets two. AA adds a shot to Dustin just to piss him off some more, before working a bearhug on Steamboat. He blocks that and tries to turn it into a bodyscissors, but Arn rolls him through into a Boston crab. Brilliant! And obviously Zbyszko pushes Arn’s body for some extra leverage just to be a dick and provoke Dustin even more. Zbyszko goes to the Boston crab as well, and Steamboat manages to crawl and finally reach Dustin for the hot tag… but AA distracts the ref, who misses it and forces Dustin back to his corner. Steamboat blocks a blind charge and hits an atomic drop, but AA ricochets off the turnbuckle and their noggins are knocked for a double KO spot. Arn gets up first and he goes up, but Dragon gets his feet up and Anderson eats some boot. Steamboat crawls again and this time it’s HOT TAG DUSTIN! Bionic elbow to Larry, a shot to Arn, running clothesline to Zbyszko, powerslam to Arn. HE’S A HOUSE OF FIRE BY GAWD! Dustin hits the bulldog on Arn but Steamboat makes the blind tag, surprising Anderson with the flying high crossbody for the win and the titles at 14:48.

  • Rating: YES! YES! MORE OF THIS, PLEASE! Ricky Steamboat’s surprise reveal alone nearly took the roof off the house already, but these four proceeded to deliver a classic tag team title match. Brilliant structure to this match, with the babyfaces taking it to the heels early on, even going after their arms much like they did to injure Windham in a fantastic touch, then the classic heel tag team psychology that never fails to work, milking the hell out of the babyfaces’ hot tag before they can finally get there. One of the best matches of the year, loved it! ****1/2

We take a look at some Japanese clips from Jushin ‘Thunder’ Liger, who’s coming to WCW around Christmas time.

Meanwhile, Jim Ross interviews Paul E. Dangerously, who claims he had nothing to do with Lex Luger’s attack on Sting earlier. However, should Sting not appear in time for the US title match against Rick Rude later on, then Rude would capture the belt via forfeit. Having known this, Sting checks himself out of the hospital and makes his way back to the building.

WCW Light Heavyweight Championship – Flyin’ Brian(c) vs. Johnny B Badd(w/ Theodore Long)

Johnny slugs away to start but turns his back to Pillman, who fights back with some chops WITH EXTRA MUSTARD and a backdrop. Dropkick sends Badd all the way to the ramp, and Brian meets him there with Air Pillman. He goes for a powerbomb next, but Johnny blocks and sends him throat-first into the railing. Back in, Pillman hits a springboard high crossbody for two. Powerslam sets up a flying splash, but Badd gets his knees up to block it. Back elbow by Johnny gets two. Powerslam by Johnny as now it’s his time to go up, but Brian meets a flying Badd with a fucking awesome standing dropkick for two. Another vicious chop by Pillman as he hits a running clothesline and a spinning wheel kick for two more. Another clothesline is blocked by Johnny, who criss crosses and hits his own. He goes up yet again, this time hitting a flying sunset flip, but Teddy Long has the referee distracted. Johnny’s KO left is blocked by Pillman, who then rams Badd into Long before rolling him up for the win to retain at 4:19. Teddy eats a left KO punch from Johnny after the match to end their partnership.

  • Rating: Short and to the point, yet filled with exciting fast wrestling while it lasted, fitting of the title and the division. **3/4
WCW United States Heavyweight Championship – Sting(c) vs. Rick Rude(w/ Paul E Dangerously)

Paul wants the forfeit before the match, but Sting arrives in the ambulance and limps his way to the ramp, where he meets Rude with a gorilla press slam. Loud pop for Sting here. Despite being visually hurt, Sting still limps his way back to the ring to avoid the forfeit. Rude goes up for a flying double axehandle, but Sting catches him with a shot to the midsection and then a backdrop. Sting dumps Rude with a clothesline over the top rope, so you better TAKE A DRINK! However, Heyman distracts the referee outside the ring, which allows Rude to ram Sting’s injured knee into the post. Back in, Rude goes up with a flying clothesline to the back, and Rude’s hip swivel gets massive heat! Rude’s thinking Rude Awakening, which Sting blocks but he misses a clothesline, and Rude pokes him in the eye to stay in control. Sting shows some life and slugs away, though Rude inadvertently lands with all his dead weight on Sting’s injured leg. The ref stops to check on Rude, as Heyman knocks out Sting with the telephone on the other side of the ring for a great nearfall. Sting DDTs Rude but stops to go after Paul on the apron, as Rude clips the knee and steals the belt with a handful of tights at 4:50.

  • Rating: Awesome match for the short time they were given. Very good story that everyone could understand, with the valiant injured babyface leaving it all out there before ultimately coming up short. Good selling by Sting as well, and a great heel performance by Rick Rude. ***

Paul E. Dangerously reveals it was all a plan between the Dangerous Alliance and the World Champion Lex Luger. And there goes Sting back to the main event scene. Rick Rude once again showcases his greatness with his perfect delivery of the following line: “Sting, nice guys finish last (blows a kiss)”.

Meanwhile, Ron Simmons addresses his injury during the WCW title match with Lex Luger at Halloween Havoc, but still promises to his home state to be the first ever black World Champion one day!

Main Event – WCW World Heavyweight Championship – Lex Luger(c)(w/ Harley Race & Mr. Hughes) vs. Rick Steiner(w/ Scott Steiner)

Luger is noticeably bigger than in the past couple of years, getting ready for his upcoming bodybuilding career in the WBF. Sigh… Steiner keeps getting the better of Luger early on, who eats up as much time as he possibly can. A shoulderblock sends Luger into the corner and a powerslam gets two. The Steinerline dumps Luger, who takes his time getting back inside the ring. Luger rams Steiner’s head into the buckle, but Steiner fights back with a backdrop out of the corner and he slugs away. Luger rakes the eyes and goes for a clothesline, but Steiner blocks and explodes with a German suplex for two. They get into a slugfest that nearly knocks out the referee too, allowing Luger to crotch Steiner behind the ref’s back before following it up with a clothesline to the back, and a regular one. Luger pounds away and uses the ropes to rake the eyes, but Steiner blocks Luger’s suplex and hits his own. Luger comes back with a powerslam, however, and adds an elbowdrop for two. Luger dumps Steiner to the floor like a sack of potatoes, where Harley Race adds some cheapshots of his own. Luger slugs away but Steiner fights back and makes the comeback with a powerslam for two. Flying bulldog does it, but Luger gets his foot on the ropes to save the title. So Steiner is like ‘okay then’ and proceeds to belly to belly Luger off the top rope. Mr. Hughes comes down but Scott takes care of him with a Frankensteiner, while Rick hits another belly to belly on Luger, but Harley Race has the referee distracted. IT’S BREAKING LOOSE IN GEORGIA! Steiner stops to vertical suplex Race off the apron, but Luger uses the distraction to hit Steiner with the belt to the face for the win at 11:30.

  • Rating: Solid main-event here, but a bit too slow for way too long if you ask me. It got better near the end, though, and the finish sequence was pretty hot. **3/4

END OF THE SHOW

Final thoughts: Definitely a good one overall, I would say. Sure, the inevitable typical Clash squash matches were there, and PN News dominated Steve Austin for an entire match, but nothing was REALLY bad and there were a few memorable things here. The Sting/Rude US Title match was pretty good, but Ricky Steamboat’s return and the eventual match of the year contender for the tag titles were the clear highlights from this show. Usually this show is nothing special, but apparently this proves to be the exception. 6/10

FEEDBACK

Your feedback is very important to us. Please share your thoughts, with the option to leave an extra written comment, in the following feedback form. Thank you!

POINT SYSTEM

Find out more about my point system here

WrestlerStar ratingResultMain-eventingExtrasTotal
Ricky Steamboat4.51+2 for winning a title
+0.5 for winning the fall
8
Dustin Rhodes4.51+2 for winning a title7.5
Rick Rude31+2 for winning a title6
Lex Luger2.7511+1 for retaining a title5.75
Brian Pillman2.751+1 for retaining a title4.75
Steve Austin1.51+1 for retaining a title3.5
Cactus Jack2.513.5
Bobby Eaton1.7512.75
Rick Steiner2.75-112.75
Big Josh112
Johnny B. Badd2.75-11.75
Van Hammer2.5-11.5
Larry Zbyszko4.5-1-2 for losing a title1.5
Arn Anderson4.5-1-2 for losing a title
-0.5 for losing the fall
1
Tom Zenk11
Firebreaker Chip1.75-10.75
PN News1.5-10.5
Sting3-1-2 for losing a title0
Terrance Taylor1-10
Diamond Studd-1-1

Thank you so much for your time. Make sure you don’t miss the upcoming reviews of WWF’s Survivor Series and WCW’s StarrCade PPVs, as we then move on to 1992. Stay safe!