June 16, 1993
Location: Norfolk, Virginia, USA (Norfolk Scope)
Announced attendance: ca 6 000
TV rating: 2.6 (TBS) [10.9% down from Clash #22’s 2.9 TV rating]
Hey everyone. Welcome to my review of WCW Clash of the Champions #23. The show features Ric Flair returning to the ring for the first time since coming back from the WWF, as the Horsemen (Flair & Arn Anderson) challenge The Hollywood Blonds in a 2 out of 3 falls match for the tag titles. Plus, Barry Windham defends the NWA World Championship against 2 Cold Scorpio. That and much more!
Here is the list of champions heading into WCW Clash #22:
- WCW World Heavyweight Champion: Big Van Vader [91st day of his 3rd reign] – previous champion: Sting
- NWA World Heavyweight Champion: Barry Windham [115th day of his 1st reign] – previous champion: The Great Muta
- WCW United States Heavyweight Champion: Vacated [for 18 days] – previous champion: Dustin Rhodes
- WCW World Television Champion: Paul Orndorff [106th day of his 1st reign] – previous champion: Scott Steiner, before it was vacated
- WCW/NWA Unified World Tag Team Champions: The Hollywood Bloonds (Stunning Steve Austin & Flyin’ Brian) [106th day of their 1st reign] – previous champions: Ricky Steamboat & Shane Douglas
Note: in title matches, the defending champions appear underlined
Enjoy the review!
Your hosts are Jesse Ventura & Tony Schiavone
The announcers start the show with a brief introduction and we quickly go to Gary Cappetta for the first match.
Ron Simmons vs. Dick Slater (w/ Paul Orndorff)
The crowd are quite into Ron’s new song from the WCW Slam Jam album. Orndorff is here with Slater since Ron is the number one contender for his TV Title. Slater corners Ron but referee Randy Anderson blocks the illegal cheapshot, allowing Simmons to explode out of the corner with an atomic drop. Stalemate and things restart with Slater outwrestling Ron, but Simmons overpowers him and hits a shoulderblock. Slater bails leading into the ‘Paula’ chants. Back in, Slater avoids a Simmons sunset flip attempt with a bitchslap, causing Ron to unload on him. He preps the Three Point Stance Clothesline, but Orndorff grabs Ron’s leg and Slater cheapshots him to take over, hitting a swinging neckbreaker for two. However, both heels stop to argue with Randy Anderson, giving Simmons enough time to get back up and hit the Running Powerslam for the win at 3:56.
- Rating: Quick match to get Ron Simmons over ahead of the clash with Paul Orndorff for the TV Title at Beach Blast. It was extremely short but fun and explosive while it lasted. *
Eric Bischoff promotes Beach Blast coming up July 18 and proceeds to interview Larry Zbyszko, who somehow doesn’t mention Bruno. Also, Michael Buffer predicts the Horsemen will win the tag titles tonight in what was Buffer’s first WCW appearance.
Marcus Alexander Bagwell vs. Lord Steven Regal (w/ Sir William)
This is Regal’s first major appearance, having recently turned heel after a brief run as babyface rookie. Regal with a takedown off the opening lockup and he goes after the arm. Headlock by Regal is reversed into a hammerlock by Bagwell, which Regal escapes with a drop toehold but Bagwell reverses a headlock into a hammerlock yet again. Bagwell flips Regal by the arm and goes back to the hold, but Regal makes the ropes and cheapshots him. Regal clips the knee and starts punishing the leg. Regal already has the heel mannerisms down to perfection, putting one arm behind his back between each move! Bagwell escapes a Regal toehold with a spinkick, only for Regal to smartly cut him off with a single-leg takedown on the injured leg. Regal goes back to the toehold which Bagwell escapes yet again and this time he’s able to run wild a little bit. Armdrag gets two. Backslide gets two. Bagwell maintains control with a running clothesline as the Lord starts begging for mercy. Bagwell with an O’Connor Roll out of the corner, but Regal rolls through and grabs the tights and steals it at 6:18. The finish was slightly botched.
- Rating: As mentioned in the end of the review, they botched the ending but the match was fine. Regal showed what he was capable of in this match, which was the goal. **
Meanwhile, Maxx Payne says he wants to give Johnny B. Badd the stolen Badd Blaster back. When Johnny comes back, Maxx Payne shoots off the Blaster in Johnny’s eyes.
The upcoming Maxx/Badd match is canceled because of the injury. The Z-Man comes out to confront Payne and unloads on him, but ends up getting caught in the Paynekiller submission.
NWA World Heavyweight Championship – Barry Windham vs. 2 Cold Scorpio
Michael Buffer does the ring introductions for the first time in WCW. Windham starts deliberately and Scorpio surprises him with a dropkick. Windham goes after the arm until Scorpio turns it into a powerslam. We get a stalemate, and Windham takes over with a running clothesline in the corner. Scorpio avoids a second one and goes for the Boston Crab, but Windham makes it to the ropes and bails. Scorpio ducks a clothesline, Windham ducks a clothesline and fakes another one just to kick him in the face, followed by a flying clothesline. Windham with a slam, a kneedrop and a floatover vertical suplex for two. Windham slugs away, Scorpio fights back but Windham avoids a dropkick by holding onto the ropes. Windham DDTs Scorpio for a nearfall. Scorpio turns a powerslam attempt into a cradle for two. Gutwrench powerbomb by Windham gets two.
Scorpio fights back with a dropkick, but Windham explodes with a running lariat to take him back down. Windham hotshots Scorpio and puts him on the apron, with Scorpio hitting a slingshot crossbody of sorts for two. Windham turns things arond with a dropkick of his own, however, and a Samoan Drop gets two. Backdrop suplex gets two. Windham bitchslaps Scorpio a bunch of times leading into a slugfest. A second Samoan drop is turned into a sunset flip by Scorpio for two, and Windham immediately clotheslines him. He sets Scorpio up for the superplex, but Scorpio shoves him down and a flying splash gets two. Hurricanrana by Scorpio. Superkick and a slam set up a springboard splash for two. Missile dropkick gets two more. Windham dumps Scorpio, who tries to get back in with a springboard move only to eat an uppercut in midair. That opens the door for Windham’s leaping DDT to retain at 12:53.
- Rating: Started off a bit slowly, but it turned into quite the awesome match in the end with Scorpio getting some hot nearfalls. ***1/2
Beach Blast will take place July 18.
Eric Bischoff interviews Sting, Bulldog & Dustin backstage. Great fired up promo from Stinger.
Sting, Davey Boy Smith & Dustin Rhodes vs. The Masters of the Powerbomb (Big Van Vader & Sid Vicious) & Rick Rude (w/ Harley Race & Col. Robert Parker)
The crowd is HOT for this one, literally standing up before Sting and Rude even touch. They start off with a test of strength, until Rude cheapshots Sting with an elbow in the corner. Sting backdrops Rude and gorilla press slams him onto Sid & Vader, who catch Rude in midair and try to toss him back onto Sting, but Sting ducks and slugs away on both Vader & Sid. Rude jumps Sting from behind and goes for a slam, which Sting blocks with a cradle for two. Dustin gets the tag and he unloads on Rick Rude with the Flip Flop & Fly. Vader tries to break up the pin with a big splash, but Dustin moves out of the way and Vader ends up squashing poor Rude. Sid comes in against Bulldog, but gets caught in the babyface corner and takes a beating. Sid tries to walk away, but Sting pushes the middle rope to low blow him intentionally and follows up with a clothesline. What a dick! Dustin slugs away on Vader in the corner and gets a GIGANTIC pop for it! That looked great. Dustin suplexes Vader(!) and drops a number of elbows on the champ. The crowd is going absolutely bananas for this match! Dustin goes up but misses a flying elbowdrop. Rude pushed the top rope in a fantastic little detail!
Vader takes over with a clothesline, and takes him over to the corner for the Vader Bomb for two. Now Rude is more than happy to come in and beat up Rhodes. Inverted suplex gets two, with Rude yelling ‘YOU AIN’T S*** RHODES’ before making the pin! Rude makes the tag to Sid, who rams Dustin into the corner a few times. It looks sloppy as hell. Sid takes Dustin down with a headlock takeover(!!!), Dustin reverses with a headscissors, but Sid kips up and clotheslines Rhodes for two. Vader comes in to pick up the pieces, boxing Dustin in the corner. Vader goes up for a flying clothesline, which Dustin turns into a powerslam in midair!! However, Dustin is still too hurt, allowing Vader to tag out to Rude first. Rude’s thinking tombstone piledriver, but Rhodes turns it into his own. Dustin makes the tag to Sting but the ref misses it as Vader & Sid were distracting him, and everyone goes at it in a big DONYBROOK! Stinger Splash on Vader outside misses and Sting ends up eating the railing. Then, Vader hits Dustin with Rude’s briefcase (with the US title in it) and Rude lands on top for the cheap win at 10:59.
The heels try to destroy Bulldog 3-on-1 afterwards, but Sting comes out and clears the ring.
- Rating: Such a wild fun match. The crowd were up even before the guys locked in, and they only got louder as the match progressed. Everyone brought their A-game for this one, even Sid who had some sloppy moments but also had that awesome kip-up sequence with Rhodes. Rhodes was the highlight of the match, not only playing the face-in-peril effectively but also showing great fire against Vader and getting a huge pop for it, which surprised me. The finish was cheap, but I didn’t expect a clean finish in this melee. This exceeded my expectations! ***3/4
WCW/NWA Unified World Tag Team Championship – The Hollywood Blonds (Stunning Steve Austin & Flyin’ Brian Pillman) vs. The Four Horsemen (Ric Flair & Arn Anderson)
Michael Buffer does the big intro here as well. Pillman mocks Flair as he starts the match with Anderson. Brian gets in AA’s face in the corner and slaps him, but AA spits him in return and slugs away. Arn pounds away on Brian and asks Austin to tag in, which he does. Austin shows off his personality by mocking the faces as well. The crowd asks for Flair and Anderson obliges, nearly causing a collective orgasm in the crowd! Flair unloads with chops on both Austin and Pillman, until Austin thumbs him in the eyes and bails. Back in, Anderson makes the tag and goes to work on Austin’s arm, stomping him before hitting a hammerlock powerslam. The Horsemen double team Austin, but Pillman distracts both Flair and ref Nick Patrick on the apron, allowing the Blonds to bring in their towel for some choking. The Blonds cut the ring in half and put the boots to Anderson. Austin suplexes Arn but misses the running guillotine on the ropes and knocks himself silly, walking into an Anderson DDT. That was a terrific bump by Austin. Flair comes in to clean house until the numbers advantage get the better of him, but Arn eventually trips Austin and Flair nails Brian with a flying forearm to win the first fall at 9:40. Buffer screws up by announcing the Horsemen are the new champs right as we take a commercial break.
Blonds 0-1 Horsemen
We come back with Flair and Brian going at it, until Austin gets involved and suplexes Flair outside the ring. Pillman chops Flair outside and rams him into the railing. Back in, the Blonds cut the ring in half and use the towel to choke Flair some more. Superplex by Austin gets two. More cheating by Austin on the ropes, Flair fights back with chops but his legs eventually give out and Flair falls down. In comes Pillman who gets met with chops, before they collide for the double KO spot. They end up tagging in their respective partners, with Anderson hitting the Spinebuster for… a save by Brian! Brian clips Arn from behind and Austin tries to steal it but only gets two. Pillman goes after the leg like a shark smelling blood, and so does Austin. The Blonds take turns applying submission holds on Anderson’s injured leg, with Austin even pushing Pillman’s hair for extra leverage in a hilarious bit. Anderson manages to hit an enziguiri, but Austin comes in to avoid the tag. They continue to punish Arn’s leg over in their corner, until Pillman eats boot on a missed move off the top rope and Anderson makes the hot tag to Flair! Naitch runs wild on both heels, throws Pillman over the top rope intentionally (which isn’t a DQ for reasons) and sets up the Figure Four. He locks it in on Austin, but Barry Windham runs in to cause the suuuuuper lame DQ at 20:45. The Blonds retain because of the DQ finish, which is such a stupid outcome. Paul Roma comes out for the save and gets no reaction whatsoever to the surprise of absolutely no one.
Blonds 0-2 Horsemen (DQ)
- Rating: Tremendous tag team match that was unfortunately rendered pointless with its stupid ending. There’s nothing wrong with using a show like this to sell a big PPV match, but if you’re going to do a whole 20 minute 2/3 falls match with a finish like that to sell it, I say do something else. It really is a shame that a fantastic match like this ended with the challengers technically winning the match 2-0… and not walking out as champions!! Anyway, this was a fantastic match from bell to bell, with some great double-teaming and limb work by the heels, leading into Flair’s hot tag. This would probably be considered a classic if it had a decent finish. ***3/4
Barry Windham cuts a quick promo on Flair afterwards. Flair jumps him leading into a huge brawl as the show fades away, building up Windham vs. Flair for the NWA World Title at Beach Blast.
END OF THE SHOW
Final thoughts: For a 1h30 show this was a tremendous edition of Clash. The three final matches were all great stuff while the first two were inoffensive, as one was a showcase for Regal and the other was done to further the TV title feud heading into the PPV. While there’s nothing out of the ordinary on this broadcast, the show is filled with great wrestling all over it. 8/10
Thank you for reading! Make sure you don’t miss the next reviews here on the blog. Stay safe and have a great summer everyone!