Date: January 30, 1991
Venue: Georgia Mountains Center (Gainesville, GA)
Commentators: Jim Ross & ‘The American Dream’ Dusty Rhodes
Note: This was originally posted over at Legacy of WCW but I’m importing it here because I need content, dangit.
It’s the first Clash of the Champions for 1991 and WCW is bringing the goods as Ric Flair defends the WCW World Championship against Scott Steiner in the main event and, after a lengthy polka dot-filled absence, Dusty Rhodes makes his return to the company as a color commentator (and also booker).
- WCW WORLD HEAVYWEIGHT CHAMPION: ‘The Nature Boy’ Ric Flair
- WCW UNITED STATES HEAVYWEIGHT CHAMPION: ‘The Total Package’ Lex Luger
- WCW WORLD TELEVISION CHAMPION: ‘The Z-Man’ Tom Zenk
- WCW WORLD TAG TEAM CHAMPIONS: Doom (Ron Simmons & ‘Hacksaw’ Butch Reed)
- WCW UNITED STATES TAG TEAM CHAMPIONS: The Steiner Brothers (Rick & Scott Steiner)
- Sting & Lex Luger vs. Doom (**)
- Tom Zenk (c) vs. Bobby Eaton for the WCW TELEVISION CHAMPIONSHIP (**)
- Tommy Rich & Allen Iron Eagle vs. The Fabulous Freebirds (DUD)
- Sid Vicious vs. Joey Maggs (SQUASH)
- Ricky Morton vs. Terry Taylor (**)
- Ranger Ross vs. El Cubano (DUD)
- The Renegade Warriors vs. Arn Anderson & Barry Windham (**1/4)
- Brian Pillman vs. Sgt. Buddy Lee Parker (SQUASH)
- Arm Wrestling Contest: Missy Hyatt vs. Paul E. Dangerously (NR)
- Ric Flair (c) vs. Scott Steiner for the WCW WORLD HEAVYWEIGHT CHAMPIONSHIP (***1/4)
-It’s wartime right now so it’s only fitting that the show begins with the National Anthem, played by what looks like a high school band. No singer so there’s no words but there are plenty of American flags to be waved. One of the trumpet players is playing way off-key but the crowd is polite about it. After the conclusion we cut to Jim Ross and Dusty Rhodes at ringside. Rhodes competed just a few weeks earlier for the WWF at their Royal Rumble PPV. Interesting that WCW didn’t do some big entrance for his return; he’s just sorta here acting like he’s been here the whole time.
Sting & ‘The Total Package’ Lex Luger vs. Doom (Ron Simmons & ‘Hacksaw’ Butch Reed)
This is a non-title affair so Doom doesn’t need to worry about dropping their WCW Tag Team Championship. Sting went from World Champion to opening a Clash of the Champions event in a non-title tag team match in a matter of weeks. The world of pro wrestling slows down for no one. Weirdly enough Doom’s manager Theodore R. Long doesn’t lead them to the ring, which is explained away as him being too busy buying condos and other lavish things. Sting manhandles Butch Reed to start, trapping the big man in an armbar. Luger, the United States Champion, tags in and keeps the armwork going. Luger counters a backdrop attempt with a spinning neckbreaker and in tags Ron Simmons. Ross announces Luger will defend the U.S. Title against Dan Spivey at WrestleWar next month. That’s an interesting choice for a challenger given that he hasn’t even shown his face on TV yet this year. What makes him worthy of a shot? Luger and Simmons are both football dudes so they do some football tackle stuff. Simmons get sent into the face corner and eats a right from Sting then staggers into a vertical suplex but Luger can’t get the pinfall. Simmons turns the tide with a stun gun, dropping Luger throat-first on the top rope. After a commercial break Simmons connects with a powerslam but only gets two. Luger kicks Simmons but Reed gets the tag before Luger can get to Sting. Luger fights out of the corner but that’s stopped via dropkick from the other ‘Hacksaw’. Simmons, for the third time in the match, tries a backdrop and for the third time it’s countered. Reed quickly tags in and hits the Flying Shoulderblock but that sends Luger closer to his partner and Sting gets the hot tag. Dan Spivey shows up and attacks Luger on the floor as Sting takes it to both members of Doom. Reed accidentally hits Simmons with a shoulderblock and he careens into the referee, sending him to the floor. Reed backdrops Sting to the floor and the ref is awake enough to call for the bell.
Sting & Lex Luger defeated Doom via DQ when Butch Reed backdropped Sting over the top rope (7:44 shown)
- Ugh, WCW once again paying attention to a dumb rule only to have an easy out. Crowd was super into this one so it did its job pumping the people up for the rest of the show but the match itself wasn’t particularly memorable. (**)
-Missy Hyatt reveals the results of the big WCW Sexiest Wrestler contest: ‘The Z-Man’ Tom Zenk. Con…grats?
‘The Z-Man’ Tom Zenk (c) vs. ‘Beautiful’ Bobby Eaton for the WCW WORLD TELEVISION CHAMPIONSHIP
I’m using the WWE Network version for this review and in lieu of music they piped in loud ‘Bobby’ chants. Gary Michael Cappetta announces Zenk as the ‘sexiest wrestler in WCW’. Oh man I hope that doesn’t stick. Rhodes puts Eaton over big time on commentary and given that he’s now WCW’s booker that probably bodes well for him. Zenk and Eaton trade some holds for the first couple of minutes as Ross hypes that the newest member of The York Foundation will be announced tonight since Michael Wallstreet is gone from the company (they don’t say the last part but it’s worth noting). Eaton grabs a wristlock, twisting the arm for extra torque. Zenk escapes via Irish whip but gets sent to the mat with a shoulderblock. Eaton stupidly heads to the top and Zenk dropkicks him right off to the floor. Nice. Cesaro must be a big Z-Man fan (but hey, who isn’t?). Eaton and Zenk engage in a test of strength, Eaton forces a rope break and decks Zenk right in his sexiest wrestler face. Eaton heads back to the top and Zenk slams him off, following up with a superkick. Eaton catches a charging Zenk with an elbow and heads back to the top, hitting a flying kneedrop. It feels like forever since I’ve actually seen that move, I didn’t realize how much I’ve missed it. Zenk escapes a suplex and rolls Eaton up but Eaton kicks out just in time. Zenk blocks Eaton’s hip toss attempt and rolls him up with a backslide, surprisingly getting the pinfall of it to retain the TV Title.
Tom Zenk [c] defeated Bobby Eaton via pinfall with a backslide to retain the WCW WORLD TELEVISION CHAMPIONSHIP (7:06)
- That was anticlimactic. Actually this whole match felt anticlimactic to be honest; Zenk didn’t exactly seem ready to trounce Eaton in retaliation for the latter’s attack on last week’s episode of WCW and the whole contest felt stuck in first gear. Also seriously, a backslide? That’s crazy. Neither man hit their finisher either. (**)
We see the replay of the finish and Eaton clearly kicks out before three, which Rhodes rightfully points out. That gives Eaton good motivation to claim another shot at the gold. Unfortunately for him though he lost the #1 Contendership to Arn Anderson on Worldwide over the weekend so he may not actually get said shot.
-Alexandra York hypes her upcoming York Foundation announcement and appears to be pleased with her choice.
“Wildfire” Tommy Rich & Allen Iron Eagle vs. The Fabulous Freebirds (Michael “P.S.” Hayes & Jimmy “Jam” Garvin)
Let’s get this over with, shall we? Hayes tries to draw some heat from the crowd despite being a local boy. It works well enough though, Freebirds are easy to hate. Rich easily handles both Hayes and Garvin before tagging out to Iron Eagle. He’s only 20 and he’s wrestling for WCW. When I was 20 I was…definitely not doing that because WCW was dead by then but also I’m fat and lazy and could never do what these guys do. Hayes gets the blind tag and hits a bulldog on Iron Eagle, deciding to dance a little bit instead of go for the pinfall. Iron Eagle escapes a chinlock but no-sells Hayes’ left hook so Hayes absolutely wrecks him with chops as retaliation. You don’t no-sell Hayes’ one big move, man. Even I know that. Iron Eagle dodges a corner splash and Garvin ends up in a tree of woe. Iron Eagle stomps on him instead of making the tag and brings Hayes into the ring. Rich gets in to do some damage but his interference distracts the ref and Iron Eagle’s sunset flip pinfall attempt isn’t seen. Rich gets the tag but the ref doesn’t see it and tries to get him out of the ring, allowing the Freebirds to spike Iron Eagle with a double DDT and win the contest.
The Fabulous Freebirds defeated Tommy Rich & Allen Iron Eagle when the Freebirds pinned Eagle following a Double DDT (5:53)
- Sloppy and terrible. Yeesh. (DUD)
-Tony Schiavone is also around to conduct interviews and whatnot. He’s standing by with Paul E. Dangerously, who Rhodes accuses of being gay (because in 1991 that was the worst thing you could be). Dangerously has a dream that he’ll put Missy Hyatt out of pro wrestling tonight.
Sid Vicious vs. ‘Jumpin’ Joey Maggs
Notable enhancement talent Joey Maggs is here and he has a televised entrance to boot. Good for him. Too bad he’s about be trucked into the next dimension by Sid. Sid is over wearing singlets finally; dude always looked weird in one given that part of his appeal is how jacked he is. Anyway Sid wins with a Power Bomb. Shocking, right?
Sid Vicious defeated Joey Maggs via pinfall with the Power Bomb (1:11)
- Sid was doing his squash thing at the time and this was more of it. Not much to say. (SQUASH)
Sid’s EMT crew put Maggs on a stretcher and Sid knocks him right off because he rules the world. Also because he’s a jerk but mostly the first thing.
-Tony Schiavone interviews Sid Vicious after a commercial break. Sid asks if you can smell the fear in everybody’s mind. Um, that’s not how that works at all. Sid has a goal for 1991 and when he reaches it there won’t be any doubt that he rules the world. If that goal is to leave WCW, well…let’s just say he eventually reaches it.
Ricky Morton vs. Terry Taylor
Taylor is announced as ‘The Computerized Man of the 1990s’ during his entrance. Gee I wonder who the newest member of the York Foundation is? Ross hypes the Six Man Tag Team Championship that apparently exists now, with Morton teaming up with Tommy Rich and The Junkyard Dog in pursuit of said championship. That’s an odd team. Basic rasslin’ to start, with Morton forcing Taylor to reset on the floor after a crossbody. Following a commercial break Taylor has Morton in a standing hammerlock. Morton escapes a slam attempt and connects with an armdrag takeover. Alexandra York shows up at ringside and Taylor accuses Morton of having her in his corner, despite having a new COM-PEW-TOR nickname. Taylor attacks a distracted Morton from behind and York announces via insert promo that Taylor has joined the York Foundation. NOOOOOO, YOU’RE KIDDING MEEEE. A mid-match heel turn is a cool idea but it’s poorly executed here. Morton catches Taylor with an inside cradle but Taylor kicks out and rakes the eyes to regain control. Morton counters a splash with a pair of knees and they trade right hands. Morton mounts a comeback, connecting with a vertical suplex but can’t put Taylor away. Morton charges at Taylor for a dropkick but Taylor ducks and he hits nothing but ropes, giving Taylor the opening to cover for the victory. In all actuality he only barely hit the ropes and actually landed on Taylor but that’s besides the point I guess.
Terry Taylor defeated Ricky Morton via pinfall (8:30 shown)
- This match was basic wrestling 101 but it was done well. Taylor’s heel turn not so much though. (**)
-Cut to Bill Apter of Pro Wrestling Illustrated who presents Sting with the PWI Wrestler of the Year Award for 1990. Sting thanks the fans for voting for him then we cut back to Ross and Rhodes. Rhodes calls Sting one of the hottest commodities in professional wrestling then goes into full-hype mode about the troops kicking ass in the Persian Gulf. Rhodes also doesn’t wanna hear any anti-war sentiment like the nice obedient Republican he is.
Ranger Ross vs. El Cubano
Rhodes’ pro-war rant actually had a point as it segues into a match featuring decorated vet Ranger Ross. El Cubano is just a generic masked dude in an all-black spandex outfit with lightning bolts. WCW didn’t even try, man. Ross wins with a sunset flip roll-up after about three minutes of nothing.
Ranger Ross defeated El Cubano via pinfall with a sunset flip roll-up (3:04)
- This was WCW’s attempt to pander but it just came off really lame. I know Shiek Ali Shikar isn’t that good but he’s billed from Iraq and he would’ve at least been a more logical opponent. (DUD)
The Renegade Warriors (Chris & Mark Youngblood) vs. “The Enforcer” Arn Anderson & Barry Windham
Anderson & Windham get a hero’s welcome during their entrance; they’ve even got portraits hanging in the arena. Renegade Warriors attack right at the bell and clear the ring. Things settle with Windham squaring off with Mark Youngblood. Mark connects with a series of rights and chops, so Anderson tags in to see if he can fare better. Mark ducks a right and hits more right hands, forcing a stunned Anderson to beg off into his corner. Chris Youngblood tags in and kicks out of a toehold attempt, rolling Anderson up for a two-count. Windham tags back in and Chris catches him with a dropkick. Mark tags back in and Windham drops him with a right hand. Mark fights out of the Horsemen corner and takes it to a tagged in Anderson. Chris tags in and Anderson catches him with a spinebuster to turn the tide of the match. Anderson clears Mark off the apron and applies a front facelock on Chris. Mark catches Anderson with a chop and the back of his head cracks Chris in the face. Chris dives to make a tag but gets caught with an inverted atomic drop. Anderson goes for a splash and Chris kind-of gets a knee up so Double A sells it like the professional he is. Mark gets the hot tag and it’s tomahawk chops for everybody. Windham sends Mark to the floor and hits Chris with a lariat. One superplex later and it’s over.
Arn Anderson & Barry Windham defeated The Renegade Warriors when Windham pinned Chris Youngblood with a Superplex (7:29)
- I thought Mark Youngblood was the legal man? Eh whatever. This wasn’t as bad as I thought it was going to be. Fast-paced and the Horsemen carried the Warriors to a watchable match for once. (**1/4)
-Tony Schiavone announces that Big Van Vader will meet Stan Hansen at WrestleWar in a rematch from a contest they had last year in Japan (the one where Hansen broke Vader’s orbital bone and Vader toughed it out with his eyeball coming out of his socket). After we see some very basic footage of said match we go back to Schiavone who’s joined by Hansen in all of his tobacco-spitting glory. Hansen says American fans have never seen a match this intense before and says they both can use whatever they want against each other next month. Stan Hansen is the truth.
‘Flyin’ Brian Pillman vs. Sgt. Buddy Lee Parker
Whether WCW meant it or not this match actually has some story behind it, as Pillman defeated Parker’s tag team partner Lt. James Earl Wright on the 1.19.91 edition of Pro and successfully thwarted a post-match attack from Parker. This isn’t brought up by the commentators obviously but it’s worth noting. Pillman sends Parker to the floor with a float-over headscissors then slingshots him back in for more punishment. Parker sends Pillman to the apron and tries to slingshot him in but Pillman lands on his feet. Ross and Rhodes put over Pillman’s courage and how he’s the smallest man in the War Games match next month at WrestleWar. Parker bails to the entrance ramp and Pillman hits him with a crossbody. Pillman brings Parker back into the ring and hits another flying crossbody, this time for the victory.
Brian Pillman defeated Sgt. Buddy Lee Parker via pinfall with a flying crossbody (3:18)
The usual Pillman squash you’d see on any of WCW’s TV shows. (SQUASH)
ARM WRESTLING CONTEST
Missy Hyatt vs. Paul E. Dangerously
Country radio DJ Rhubarb Jones is guest announcer (not much of a guest as he does the introductions during some of WCW’s TV shows every week but shhh) and professional arm wrestler Johnny Walker is the guest referee. Dangerously comes out wearing pink and purple for that delicious homophobic heel heat that’s so easy to get in the south. Dangerously is super ready to do this, taped fists and everything. Hyatt stalls to annoy Dangerously, and takes her jacket off, wearing a tight outfit that shows off her cleavage. Dangerously gets an eyeful and is distracted enough to be easily defeated. Well that’s that, I guess. Hyatt used her own sexuality and men’s weakness to it to get the win, and that’s kinda brilliant. This can’t be the end of the feud though, we’re not that lucky. Not worth rating, not an actual match or anything.
-Scott Steiner‘s entrance involves being led out by a gaggle of cheerleaders. His brother, and co-holder of the United States Tag Team Championship, Rick Steiner is also by his side. The champ himself Ric Flair is led to the ring by a gaggle of sexy ladies because he’s the Nature Boy, WOOOOOO! Some dude spelled Flair’s name ‘Rick Flair’ on his sign. DO YOU EVEN LIKE WRESTLING, BRO? Before the match begins Cappetta announces New Japan representative Hiro Matsuda as well as El Gigante, who both enter the ring. Winner of this match defends the title against Tatsumi Fujinami at the Tokyo Dome which explains why Matsuda is here. Not so sure why Gigante is here though, except to be rebuffed by Flair when he tries to shake his hand. Oh god, there’s a Flair/Gigante match in my future, isn’t there? Yikes.
‘The Nature Boy’ Ric Flair (c) vs. Scott Steiner [w/ Rick Steiner] for the WCW WORLD HEAVYWEIGHT CHAMPIONSHIP
Flair is all confidence but Steiner refuses to be intimidated. Steiner brings Flair to the mat with a fireman’s carry and the champ begs off to the corner to break the momentum. Crowd is all in on this one, clapping and stomping. Steiner takes Flair to the mat with an overhead wristlock and Flair bails to the ropes to force a break. Flair chops Steiner in the corner, Steiner connects with an armdrag into an armbar. Steiner continues to outwrestle Flair, forcing the champ to bail to the floor to break the flow. It feels like this match is gonna go an hour given the pace they’re working, but there isn’t that much TV time remaining. Flair whips Steiner into the corner, Steiner responds with a Steinerline and Flair crawls to the ramp to regroup. Steiner suplexes Flair back in and hits a series of corner rights until Flair counters with an inverted atomic drop. His poor twig and berries. Steiner attempts a sunset flip, Flair counters with a straight right hand. Flair tries to use the ropes to get the pin but Rick Steiner pushes his feet off the ropes and tattles to the ref about it. What a snitch.
After a commercial break Steiner puts Flair in the Figure Four Leglock, using The Nature Boy’s own move against him. Flair escapes and hits a crossbody meant to send both of them over the top rope but only Flair goes, forcing Steiner to awkwardly send himself out to the floor in a super obvious way. That’s unfortunate. Cappetta announces that there are only ten minutes remaining of TV time and Flair works over Steiner’s left leg leading to the Figure Four. Flair uses the ropes for leverage behind the ref’s back, Rick Steiner once again being the tattle tale baby man snitch he is. Ref finally catches Flair using the ropes and forces a break, Flair staring daggers at Rick Steiner for being a dick about things. Flair brings Steiner to the center of the ring and once again applies the Figure Four. Steiner reverses it, thereby reversing the pressure, and Flair gets to the ropes. Both men sell their hurt leg, Steiner catches Flair with a hangman’s neckbreaker to weaken the champ’s neck for his own finisher. Flair gets sent into the corner and he flips over the buckles and onto the floor. Steiner belts Flair with a Steinerline and Flair flops on the floor. Rick Steiner rolls Flair back into the ring like a jerk as five minutes remain in the match. The ref stops Steiner from hitting Flair and Flair gets a cheapshot in. Steiner catches Flair with an inside cradle but only gets two. A very tired looking Steiner traps Flair in a standing rear chinlock. Steiner sends Flair to the floor with a running Steinerline, but the ref doesn’t call for the DQ because WCW doesn’t want to use that dumb rule to end the match this time around. Flair catches Steiner with a kneedrop and goes for the pin with his foot on the rope and Rick Steiner again snitches on the Nature Boy. He probably had no friends in high school. Steiner bridges out of a pinfall attempt and connects with a butterfly bomb. Flair manages to roll out to the floor to prevent a follow-up pin. There’s one minute remaining yet Steiner waits for Flair to roll back in. No sense of urgency. Steiner stalls too long and hits a belly-to-belly suplex but doesn’t get the pin as the time limit runs out.
Ric Flair [c] and Scott Steiner fought to a time-limit draw; Ric Flair retains the WCW WORLD HEAVYWEIGHT CHAMPIONSHIP (21:40 shown)
- Cheap way to end what was a damn good matchup but they had to protect everybody involved so I guess it worked. Wish this could’ve gone on for longer though, I think they could’ve had a banger thirty minute or more contest we’d still be talking about today. (***1/4)
Ross and Rhodes quickly sign off and that does it for the Clash of the Champions this time around.
FINAL THOUGHTS: Flair and Steiner was a solid main event but the rest of the show was filled with matches that were at best forgettable and at worst a total mess. Plus Terry Taylor’s heel turn was completely botched and poorly executed. Disappointing show.