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:
- 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!
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.
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.
- 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.
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. ****
– 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.
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
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
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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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