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WCW Clash Of The Champions 16 (XVI): Fall Brawl 1991 Review (The More Things Change, The More They Stay The Same)

September 5, 1991
Live from Augusta, GA
Announced attendance: 2.800 (capacity: ca 9.167)
TV rating: 3.7

Hi everyone and welcome to my review of the 16th edition of WCW’s Clash of the Champions, featuring Sting vs. Johnny B Badd for the United States Championship, Steve Austin vs. ‘Z-Man’ Tom Zenk for the World TV Championship, a tournament final match for the vacant World Tag Team Championship, and more.

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

  • WCW World Heavyweight Champion: Lex Luger [champion since July 14th 1991 – previously vacant – previous champion: Ric Flair]
  • WCW United States Heavyweight Champion: Sting [champion since Aug. 25th 1991 – previously vacant – previous champion: Lex Luger]
  • WCW World TV Champion: Steve Austin [champion since June 3rd 1991 – previous champion: Bobby Eaton]
  • WCW World Tag Team Champions: vacant [since July 20th 1991 – previous champions: The Steiners]
  • WCW United States Tag Team Champions: The Fabulous Freebirds (Michael Hayes & Jimmy Garvin)* [champions since May 19th 1991 – previously vacant – previous champions: The Steiners]
  • WCW World Six Man Tag Team Champions: ‘Z-Man’ Tom Zenk, Dustin Rhodes & Big Josh [champions since Aug. 5th 1991 – previous champions: The Fabulous Freebirds]

*The Patriots (Todd Champion & Firebreaker Chip) were technically the champions, but the title change only aired two days after this show

Enjoy the review!

WCW Clash of the Champions XVI: Fall Brawl (September 5, 1991) – Atomic Drop
IMG credit: WWE & atomicdrop.wordpress.com

The hosts are Jim Ross & Tony Schiavone

Battle Royal

Who the fuck opens with a battle royal? The participants are ‘Z-Man’ Tom Zenk, Thomas Rich, Bobby Eaton, Ranger Ross, Tracy Smothers, The Incredible OZZZZZZZZZZ, PN News, Sgt. Buddy Lee Parker, Stunning Steve Austin, Dustin Rhodes, Terrance Taylor, Big Josh, Barry Windham, One Man Gang and El Gigante. It’s your usual battle royal mess to start that you can barely follow. Gigante chokes Buddy Lee on the top rope, but slams him back inside instead of eliminating him because he’s dumb. Almost two minutes after I typed this last sentence, I’m still here waiting for something to happen. Meanwhile, Big Josh eliminates both Taylor and himself, while Ranger Ross also goes out at the hands of Windham. Tommy Rich gets eliminated off camera by god knows who, and Windham dumps another one, this time Buddy Lee Parker. Good job Windham, keep cleaning this house. Tom Zenk is also gonzo off camera. Austin backdrops Tracy Smothers out. One Man Gang dumps both Eaton and PN News, as Windham & Austin eliminate each other and continue to brawl outside.

Final Four: One Man Gang, El Gigante, Dustin Rhodes & OZZZZZZZ

Yes, really. OMG & Oz work together and toss Dustin out like nothing, and then both turn around and get double clotheslined out by your winner, El Gigante… Yes, really.

  • Rating: Again, who the fuck opens with a battle royal? Especially a useless one like this. There’s nothing to see here, absolutely awful. DUD

Inaugural WCW Light Heavyweight Champion Tournament Semi Final Match #1: Flyin’ Brian vs. Badstreet

This is the first semi final match of the night to crown the inaugural WCW Light Heavyweight Champion, with the final set to take place at Halloween Havoc the following month. The belt wouldn’t even last one full calendar year, and we would have to wait until the Nitro days for some real cruiserweight greatness in WCW. The Fabulous Freebirds come out with Badstreet, but referee Randy Anderson sends them to the back before we’re underway. Pillman strikes with a shoulderblock to start, prompting Badstreet to fake a handshake and cheapshot him, but Pillman headscissors him out the corner and follows up with a reverse hurricanrana for two. Brian catches a charging Badstreet right into an armdrag, but Badstreet makes the ropes and gets in another cheapshot on the clean break. Badstreet shoves Brian onto the apron, who comes in with a springboard sunset flip for two. Brian doesn’t even give Badstreet a chance to breath, connecting with a dropkick as soon as Badstreet gets up from the kickout. Badstreet then suplexes Brian off the apron right into the outside in a crazy spot. You already know what this means. Top rope DQ rule conveniently ignored = take a drink! Brian slowly tries to make his way back up to the ring, but Badstreet meets him with a big boot that sends Pillman flying all the way off the apron into the railing. Pillman eats some post next as the beating continues, but Pillman nearly surprises him with a high crossbody back inside for two.

Badstreet turns things around with a slam and he goes up, but Pillman meets him there and dropkicks him off the top all the way to the floor before meeting him with a SCARY DIVE WITH EXTRA MUSTARD that nearly sent the railing into the fans in the front row! Pillman goes for a missile dropkick back inside, but Badstreet meets him with his own dropkick for the double KO spot. Brian blocks a backdrop with a faceplant and a spinning wheel kick gets two. Badstreet catches him with the DDT, though, which gets two. Pillman responds with a backslide for two. This match is one of those that would have Vince McMahon going crazy on commentary calling it a SEE SAW MATCH UP BACK AND FORTH! Brian goes for a crucifix pin, but Badstreet smartly blocks it and turns it into a Samoan drop. Or is it a Badstreet Atlanta GA drop?! Badstreet tries a superplex next, but Pillman headbutts him off the top and gets a flying high crossbody for the win and the title shot at Halloween Havoc at 6:52.

  • Rating: Now this is what should’ve been the opener of this show. These two just went out there and made the most of their seven short minutes, putting on a great action-pack little match full of hot nearfalls and sequences. Brian Pillman just kept on delivering regardless of the style of the opponent at this point in his career, slowly and quietly becoming one of (if not the) more solid young wrestlers in both WCW and WWF at the time. Very enjoyable fast paced sprint here. ***1/4

And now, the best part of the show!

THE WCW TOP TEN RANKING

  • WCW World Championship top ten contenders list: 10) Beautiful Bobby Eaton (rest in peace legend); 9) Z-Man Tom Zenk; 8) The Diamond Studd (LOL); 7) One Man Gang; 6) Dustin Rhodes; 5) Stunning Steve Austin; 4) El Gigante (are we really still doing this?); 3) Barry Windham; 2) Ron Simmons; 1) Sting – the champion is Lex Luger

Well, it certainly could’ve been worse!

WCW United States Heavyweight Championship – Sting(c) vs. Johnny B Badd(w/ Theodore Long)

Badd was still undefeated on television at this point in his young WCW career. We recap a wild Abdullah the Butcher appearing to attack Sting a few weeks earlier before the match, which would culminate with an opening eight men tag match at Halloween Havoc. Badd works a wristlock to start but misses a charge in the corner, and now it’s Sting who goes after Badd’s left arm, to prevent Badd’s TKO finishing move. We get a stalemate as Sting then pounds away on Badd. Mucho kicky punchy action follows, until Long helps Badd escape the Stinger Splash. Badd’s TKO is blocked, though, and Badd cheapshots him. However, a white box appears on the ramp and the match literally stops while both Sting and Badd look at it, before they look at each other and… Sting cradles him for the win at 6:11. What a stupid finish. And then the returning Cactus Jack pops up from the white box and destroys Sting with a flying elbowdrop on the floor, continuing to set up the aforementioned eight men tag match at Halloween Havoc.

  • Rating: Post-match angle aside, the actual match was slow, boring and plain uninteresting. Badd’s first televised loss was nothing but a total afterthought. *

Inaugural WCW Light Heavyweight Champion Tournament Semi Final Match #2: Richard Morton(w/ Alexandra York) vs. Mike Graham

Here we go with another chapter of Ricky Morton’s dumb heel run. Graham gets a shoulderblock to start, and a mat-wrestling reversal sequence results in a stalemate. Morton catches a charging Graham and rolls over on the mat into a Boston Crab, as then a pinfall reversal sequences gives both guys a number of two counts, before Morton stalls. They get into another nice pinfall reversal sequence, and Morton stalls some more. Graham slugs away but eats knee on a blind charge in the corner and Morton gets two. Morton goes up, but Graham follows him and brings him down with a German suplex off the top rope for two. Morton turns things around and takes over with a couple of cheapshots. Morton pulls Mike by the hair into a hold, which goes as far as a hold usually goes – nowhere – and Mike escapes and turns it into an Indian deathlock. Morton escapes and gets visually pinned by Graham with an O’Connor Roll, but Alexandra has the referee distracted. Morton eventually sends Graham face-first into the buckle on the kickout to steal the win and the spot on the PPV with Pillman at 7:40.

  • Rating: Good technical match that lacked the crowd participation that Pillman’s semi-final match had earlier, but it was still pretty technically sound regardless. **3/4

Bill Kazmaier tries to break his own Guinness World record by bending a steel bar around his neck. Yep. However, the Enforcers attack him and hurt his ribs to add some heat to the upcoming main-event.

The Fabulous Freebirds (Michael Hayes & Jimmy Garvin) vs. The Patriots (Todd Champion & Firebreaker Chip)

This is a non-title match to promote the US Tag Team Title match coming up the following Saturday between these very same tag teams. Now that’s logic. Usual stalling from the Freebirds to start as literally nothing happens for the first minute or two. Chip makes the comeback with, wait for it, a sleeper on both Freebirds. From there he works a wristlock on Garvin, and an O’Connor Roll gets two, with Hayes adding a cheapshot on the kickout. Hot tag Todd who runs wild on both Hayes and Garvin, with the latter breaking up a pin on Hayes after a flying back elbow. Double clothesline takes down both ‘Birds, and Chip adds a flying double clothesline off the top. The Patriots add a double-team clothesline for the pin, but the ref gets distracted with Todd being inside the ring, allowing Hayes to come in behind his back with an elbowdrop to the back of Chip’s head, giving Garvin the cheap win at 5:42.

  • Rating: Just a match here, really. How this lame finish (another one) was supposed to make people want to watch the rematch for the titles on television is beyond me. The Freebirds’ matches are getting pretty repetitive and incredibly boring at this point, unfortunately. 1/2*

Paul E Dangerously interviews Cactus Jack

Foley says he wants to end Sting’s career, and that he’s an ally of Abdullah the Butcher. The giant white box appears on the ramp again and Cactus leaves to give Abdullah a “Cactus Jack hug”… but Sting is the one inside it and he destroys Cactus. Water is wet and Mick Foley obviously takes one of his crazy dangerous bumps, a hiptoss from the apron all the way onto the concrete floor.

Meanwhile, we take a look at Ron Simmons‘ Florida state jersey (#50) getting retired and his coach speaks on Ron’s upcoming World Title shot against Lex Luger at Halloween Havoc.

Ron Simmons vs. The Diamond Studd

So this is where the big boys job, huh? Hall cheapshots Simmons to start and he slugs away, actually hitting a chokeslam for two. This is already more offense from Scott Hall than I expected. He adds a bulldog and the ARROGANT COVER OF MACHISMO gets two. Simmons finally turns things around and posts Hall’s little chicos on the outside, following it up with a number of atomic drops. Scott gets in another cheapshot, but runs right into Simmons’ spinebuster. The ALL-AMERICAN FOOTBALL SHOULDERBLOCK OF DOOM (pun possibly intended) ends the future Bad Guy’s night at 2:25. Ron calls out Lex Luger after the match.

  • Rating: Just a squash to give Ron Simmons a win heading into the PPV. 1/2*

Terrance Taylor(w/ Alexandra York) vs. Van Hammer

Van Hammer couldn’t look more like Ultimate Warrior and Brian Pillman’s secret child. Taylor jumps Hammer with the computer before the bell, but that takes him nowhere rather quickly as Warri… hmm, I mean Van Hammer, makes the comeback with a series of clotheslines and some rope-shaking, before finishing with a horrible-looking flying kneedrop for the win at 1:07.

  • Rating: Remember when WCW tried to pretend they had Jim Hellwig signed with the ‘Renegade’ gimmick in the mid 90s? Well, this was WCW pretending they had Jim Hellwig signed in the early 90s. DUD

Meanwhile, Ron Simmons finds Lex Luger in the locker room but a fight is broken up by a number of wrestlers and officials.

WCW World Television Championship – Stunning Steve Austin(c)(w/ Lady Blossom) vs. ‘Z-Man’ Tom Zenk

A number of lockups go nowhere to start, and Austin works a headlock before transitioning it into a hammerlock, blocked and reversed by Zenk into his own, which Austin then turns into a headlock, and eventually by Zenk into a hammerlock with a few extra knees to the arm to boot. Very nice technical action to kick this one off. Zenk works a headlock and hits a shoulderblock, as Austin bails. Zenk goes back to the headlock and gets another shoulderblock, but gets taken down by Austin into a headlock, which Zenk immediately prevents by catching Austin with a headscissors, but Austin makes it to the ropes to break. Zenk armdrags Austin and now goes to work on the arm, which Austin eventually blocks with a shoulderblock, but an attempt at a second one finds a superkick. Backdrop follows for two and Austin stalls, only for Zenk to meet him outside with a big dive. Back in, Zenk misses a high crossbody and gets caught in Austin’s headlock yet again. Zenk escapes and goes for the comeback, but walks into the stungun. Austin picks him back up for some reason and nearly gets pinned with an inside cradle, as now Zenk finally makes the comeback with… a sleeper. However, Austin makes it to the ropes, where Lady Blossom quietly puts some brass knuckles on Austin’s right hand. Zenk blocks a shot and tries a backdrop suplex, but Austin gets him this time around and steals the win to retain the TV title at 9:07.

  • Rating: Decent little match that started pretty good, but got quite repetitive as the match went longer, with them going back to the same holds over and over again. It looked like it was going to be better, but it was still pretty alright as it was. **1/2

Now we take a look at Ron Simmons visiting a school and giving some advice to the kids to always try in life.

Lex Luger & Ron Simmons contract signing

Eric Bischoff is hosting this. Simmons signs first and so does Luger, but not before kindly reminding him he is giving him the chance to be the first ever black World Heavyweight Champion. Luger adds Ron would be more than qualified to be his new driver, which is enough to provoke the inevitable brawl, but Luger manages to get in his limo and escape.

Main Event – Tournament Final Match – vacant WCW World Tag Team Championship – The Enforcers (Arn Anderson & Larry Zbyszko) vs. Rick Steiner & Bill Kazmaier

Scott Steiner was injured at this point, in case you’re wondering. The Enforcers have the advantage here, having badly injured Bill’s ribs earlier in the broadcast. Steiner is a house of fire as he cleans house to start, nearly killing Anderson with the mother of all powerslams for two, with Zbyszko breaking up the pin. Zbyszko goes to work on the arm as the Enforcers cut the ring in half, beating up Steiner while using frequent quick tags. Zbyszko vertical suplex gets two. Arn comes in and goes for a suplex, which is the last thing you want to try on a Steiner, and indeed Rick reverses it and hits his own. Rick catches Anderson with a Steinerline and takes him up for a crazy overhead superplex, but Zbyszko comes in and jumps him, allowing Arn to follow up with a flying clothesline. Kazmaier makes the hot tag and runs wild on both Enforcers with a number of shoulderblocks, but Arn cheapshots him right in the broken ribs while he’s trying a gorilla press slam on Zbyszko, who falls on top for the win and the vacant tag titles at 3:33. The new champs cut a quick promo to close the show.

  • Rating: They were clearly running out of time here, this was a very basic quick match that saw the heels (smartly) take advantage of the big man’s injured ribs to steal the belts. Nothing to write home about here at all. 3/4*

END OF THE SHOW

Final thoughts: Nope, not good. Nothing here was particularly memorable, with Pillman/Badstreet being the best match by far, while the rest of the card was filled with nothing but typical TV squashes, or that stupid battle royal. If I had to recommend something from this show, it would obviously be the aforementioned Pillman/Badstreet light heavyweight tournament semi final match, but otherwise you can give this Class a good ol’ pass and you’ll miss nothing, trust me. 3/10

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POINT SYSTEM

To know more about my point system click here

(The battle royal participants won’t be included, outside of winner El Gigante, because the whole thing was a mess and they missed many eliminations anyway)

WrestlerStar ratingResultMain-eventingExtrasTotal
Larry Zbyszko0.7511+2 for winning a title
+0.5 for winning the fall
5.25
Arn Anderson0.7511+2 for winning a title4.75
Steve Austin2.51+1 for retaining a title4.5
Brian Pillman3.2514.25
Richard Morton2.7513.75
Sting11+1 for retaining a title3
Jimmy Garvin0.51+0.5 for winning the fall2
Mike Graham2.75-11.75
Ron Simmons
Michael Hayes
0.511.5
Tom Zenk2.5-11.5
El Gigante
Van Hammer
011
Rick Steiner0.75-110.75
Bill Kazmaier0.75-1-1-0.5 for losing the fall0.25
Johnny B Badd1-10
The Diamond Studd
Todd Champion
0.5-1-0.5
Terrance Taylor0-1-1
Firebreaker Chip0.5-1-0.5 for losing the fall-1

And that’s all for today. Make sure you keep tuning in and that you don’t miss any of the upcoming reviews, as we enter the fall of 1991 and we get closer to WWF’s Survivor Series as well as WCW’s Halloween Havoc, which is coming up next here on the blog. Until then stay safe, and thank you very much for your time!