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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