Saturday, February 28, 2015

Random Network Reviews: Clash of the Champions XX

Clash of the Champions XX
September 2nd, 1992 – Center Stage Theater in Atlanta, Georgia

For the big 20th Clash of the Champions, WCW would celebrate twenty years of being on TBS and they would do so with a pretty big card. I haven’t seen much of it, but I have heard great things about WCW in 1992. They had some serious talent in Cactus Jack, The Steiner Brothers, Steve Austin, Vader, Ricky Steamboat and more. This will also only be the second ever Clash of the Champions that I watch on the WWE Network.

The show opens with old footage of Andre the Giant before we go to a scrapbook of WCW’s history on TBS. For 1992, it’s not half bad. Tony Schiavone and Missy Hyatt are outside of the arena with Gordon Solie and Andre the Giant. Andre is in bad shape as we’re near the end of his life. Ron Simmons, the WCW World Champion arrives and they’re making this out to be like an award show. Sting and WCW executives also show up but things get AWESOME when Teddy Long is shown in a suit and SPARKLY PURPLE DU-RAG. If you’re wondering, I’m not making this up.

Commentary for the evening consists of Jim Ross and Jesse Ventura, so I’m sure this will be a highlight of the broadcast. An eleven year old girl, accompanied by Johnny B. Badd sings the National Anthem and is pretty terrible. I feel bad since she’s so young, but it’s bad. 

WCW World Television Championship No Disqualification Match
Steve Austin (c) w/ Paul E. Dangerously vs. Ricky Steamboat

Well I am excited for this opener considering it features two Hall of Famers and a manager who is sure to make it in. Dangerously has to be put into a cage and raised above the ring, so this will be one on one. Steamboat is nursing some previously broken ribs and Austin goes right for them. Steamboat wisely goes to the mat to avoid a slugfest on his ribs. Austin nails a hip toss and elbow but ends up back in a headlock. Austin goes to back suplex out of it but Steamboat lands on his feet and applies it again. He gets tired of that and just pulls the Dragon’s hair to break it. Steamboat is set up top and Austin launches him, rib first to the mat. You can tell it’s the early 90’s as Austin uses a good old fashioned abdominal stretch and it makes perfect sense here actually. Hip toss gets Steamboat out and the rally is on. He hits a cross body but Austin rolls over and gets two. Slingshot on Austin also earns a near fall before Austin uses the ropes and can’t win. Nick Patrick always reminds me of Danny McBride. The competitors swap Tombstone positions until Steamboat hits one that looks better than most Kane ones for two. Austin wants a superplex but Steamboat reverses and leaps off into a right hand. Inside cradle gets two for one of them, I couldn’t tell. Austin sends Steamboat over the top but he skins the cat before Shawn Michaels made it cool in 1995. He ends up getting knocked out anyway, which doesn’t end this because it’s no DQ. Steamboat crawls under the ring to the other side, climbs the top and nails the flying cross body to win the strap.

Winner and New WCW World Television Champion: Ricky Steamboat in 14:44
I appreciated the psychology of the rib work here. Also, I was going to mention that the No DQ stipulation was useless until the end when Ricky flying from the top rope to win put it into play. Good stuff but could’ve been better. ***

Clips showcasing the history of tag teams on TBS are shown. We get some of the Briscoe Brothers, the Fabulous Freebirds, the Road Warriors and others. It’s a cool idea but each clip lasts far too long. Next, a promo airs for Halloween Havoc. SPIN THE WHEEL, MAKE THE DEAL! Jesse Ventura interviews Michael Hayes, who is going to manage Arn Anderson and Bobby Eaton, saying they are a mix of the three best tag teams of the 80’s.

Arn Anderson and Bobby Eaton w/ Michael Hayes vs. Dick Slater and Greg Valentine w/ Larry Zbyszko
Both of these teams are heels so the crowd isn’t sure what to do here. Eaton and Anderson double team Valentine to Slater runs in and all four heels are just TOTALLY ignoring the official. This happens once again and the poor referee looks lost. Both teams are doing the most basic of offense and don’t seem too motivated tonight. Valentine locks in the Figure Four so Eaton breaks it up. DOUBLE A SPINEBUSTER but Slater breaks it up. Zbyszko goes to cheat but hits Valentine by mistake and Eaton nails the Alabama Jam, which allows Anderson to make the pin.

Winners: Arn Anderson and Bobby Eaton in 5:42
The fact that both teams are heels made this strange. The crowd didn’t know who to cheer for and this was just there. *1/2

We get an interview with Bruno Sammartino, who praises WCW and says negative things about the “other league”. We also hear from Teddy Long, Bob Armstrong, Ted Turner and Tony Schiavone. Brad Armstrong, the Light Heavyweight Champion, was injured in Japan so he had to be stripped of the title.

Brad Armstrong is interviewed but interrupted by Brian Pillman. Armstrong talks about his heart while Pillman calls him a coward. It’s been about 10 minutes since we’ve had a match as another 20 Years on TBS scrapbook is shown. Oh my goodness, more video packages as the SPTIN THE WHEEL MAKE THE DEAL promo comes back. A Ron Simmons vignette airs before another scrapbook comes on.

WCW World Heavyweight Championship
Ron Simmons (c) vs. Cactus Jack

Finally some wrestling is back on. Ron Simmons uses his upper body strength to his advantage in the early stages, as Cactus Jack is more of a brawler. Cactus hits a running headbutt, which I don’t think I’ve seen before. They go outside and Simmons is ready for a fight there, which makes Cactus give this second thoughts and he stays in. The Champion gives up on the idea of a wrestling match and just pummels Cactus in the corner. They continue to trade shots and I completely thought Cactus would do an enziguri, but instead he spins and nails a clothesline. He slows things with a rest hold but Simmons fights out, only to eat more headbutts. Maybe it’s just me, but I find it hard to consider Simmons a serious World Champion. I just don’t think he is flag-bearer material. Three point stances from Simmons leads to two forearms for near falls. Because he’s Cactus Jack, he hits a body slam on the floor and drops the apron elbow. They go back inside and Simmons hits a powerslam from out of nowhere to win. 

Winner and Still WCW World Heavyweight Champion: Ron Simmons in 8:49
That was an abrupt ending. Simmons was in trouble and hits a powerslam from nowhere. This was below average. **

A recap airs of Masahiro Chono winning the NWA World Heavyweight Title from Rick Rude in Japan is shown. The match looks like it was probably pretty good. Next up…yet another SPIN THE DEAL MAKE THE WHEEL promo. Yes, I wrote that backwards on purpose. Cactus Jack, standing with Barbarian, cuts a promo introducing Butch Reed as The Barbarian’s upcoming tag team partner and a threat to Ron Simmons since they used to be partners.

The Barbarian and Butch Reed vs. Barry Windham and Dustin Rhodes
He was good, but man Dustin Rhodes was bland as heel before Goldust. He starts with Barbarian and Cactus Jack joins commentary. Dustin sunset flips over Barbarian and Windham nails him with a shoulder block. Back to back double dropkicks from the Texans get a pop. Rhodes and Reed do battle and Dustin misses a shoulder block in the corner and flies to the outside. I’ve never seen that as he COMPLETELY missed the post. Because of this, Dustin will be playing the face in peril. In the WWF, Reed was the “Natural” and in WCW, that’s Dustin’s nickname. Commentary puts over Dustin’s resilience, even Cactus. A backdrop from Dustin nearly gets him the hot tag, but he’s stopped and does the double clothesline spot with Reed. Windham gets the hot tag and comes in on fire, hitting a superplex on Barbarian. After another double dropkick, Barbarian kicks Windham in the face and scores the pin.

Winners: The Barbarian and Butch Reed in 8:12
Basic tag formula and I emphasize the word basic. Nothing special here, move it right along. **

Eight Man Elimination Tag Team Match
Nikita Koloff, The Steiner Brothers and Sting vs. Big Van Vader, Jake Roberts, Rick Rude and Super Invader w/ Harley Race & Madusa

My randomizer must have known that it’s Survivor Series time of the year as it selected a Clash of the Champions with an elimination match. Two things of note; one is that it’s so strange to see Rude and Roberts teaming and two; Super Invader is Hercules but with a mask. Rick and Vader start by exchanging shots. Vader nails the Vader Bomb in the corner and clotheslines Rick down. Rick impresses the hell out of me with a belly to belly suplex and poses with his brother while Vader regroups. Both guys tag out and in comes Invader and Koloff. They go back and forth and I see that Invader’s mask is just like, a stocking. Scott and Rude are in now but that changes quickly as Invader is tagged in. Scott hits him with a double underhook suplex and goes for the Frankensteiner but Rude blind tags in and undercuts him. Rude Awakening is nailed but doesn’t even get a one. WHAT? Vader gets the tag and beats the hell out of Scott. Tag goes to Koloff but he gets rolled up by Roberts and is gone at 7:27. Sting comes in and kills because he’s Sting. He pins Invader with a facebuster at the 8:04 mark. 

Rick takes out Vader with the STEINERLINE before hitting a PHENOMENAL German suplex on Vader. It’s one of the most impressive things I’ve ever seen, right up there with Cesaro walking with Big Show at WrestleMania XXX. Vader splashes Rick from the second rope but only gets two. Rick ends up slamming Vader from the second rope but Rude breaks up the count. He tries to get Vader on his shoulders and does it somewhat, allowing Scott to hit a big clothesline. Because Scott came off the top, and this is early 90’s WCW, he is disqualified at 11:33. Rick gets counted out after falling there at 12:25. Sting is all alone but he comes in on fire, hitting a Stinger Splash. He goes for the Scorpion Deathlock but Rude breaks it up. Vade also gets disqualified for jumping off the top at 14:23, even though he landed on his partner by mistake. Jake signals for the DDT and actually connects to win.

Winners: Big Van Vader, Jake Roberts, Rick Rude and Super Invader in 15:23
This was fun but needed something more. I think Sting should have made the big rally, even if he lost in the end. Instead, he just went and lost. Rick Steiner, I can’t believe I’m saying this, is the MVP. **3/4

An extended Halloween Havoc commercial is shown. SPIN THE DEAL, MAKE THE WHEEL! It features Sting, Madusa and Jake Roberts mainly.

Overall: 5/10; Mediocre. Well, it was better than the last Clash of the Champions that I watched. Nothing about this show sucked, it just was there. The opener was good and the main event was decent. Everything in between was average or below average. What also hurt was the fact that there were a million video packages and not enough in ring stuff. Side note, this was the last ever television appearance by Andre the Giant. Up next on “Random Network Reviews” will be In Your House: Canadian Stampede!