Written By: Matt Peddycord
WCW Clash of the Champions XVII
November 19, 1991
The current WCW Champs were as follows:
World Champion: Lex Luger (7/14/1991)
U.S. Champion: Sting (8/25/1991)
World Television Champion: Steve Austin (6/3/1991)
World Light Heavyweight Champion: Brian Pillman (10/27/1991)
World Tag Team Champions: The Enforcers (9/5/1991)
U.S. Tag Team Champions: The Young Pistols (11/5/1991)
World Six-Man Tag Team Champions: The York Foundation (10/8/1991)
Your hosts are Jim Ross & Tony Schiavone!
Thomas Rich (w/Alexandra York) vs. Big Josh – Lumberjack Match
Oh, I get it. Big Josh is a lumberjack and somehow WCW must’ve thought this match would favor him. This is the final blowoff to this lower-mid card feud. The setup is simple: Rich brought Josh into WCW and then joined the York Foundation and became a jerk. The lumberjacks are basically everyone who isn’t on the card tonight that gets regular pay. Rich attacks early on, but when Josh starts to no-sell, he wants to escape out to the York Foundation. Josh isn’t going to have any of that and brings Rich back in with a chop. Belly-to-belly suplex sets up the Log Roll (multiple double stomps). Josh mounts Rich for some punches before Rich finally rolls out to his heel buddies. The Young Pistols have recently turned heel, by the way. The Freebirds put a stop to the heels helping out and the “birds end up tossing Rich back in the ring. Josh gets dumped out to the heels and beat up on a couple times. Rich chokes on Josh with some wrist tape. Even Steve Armstrong joins in on that kind of fun. Josh comes back and slams Rich off the top. He follows up with a suplex for two. They begin to criss-cross the ropes, but Terrence Taylor trips up Rich on purpose to set up the NORTHERN EXPOSURE (running seated splash) for the 1-2-3. (6:03) This felt like a real lame Worldwide main event. This would lead to the eventual breakup of the York Foundation by ’92. *
Bobby Eaton vs. Firebreaker Chip
Well, Chip was the more talented of the Patriots team. Chip works a headlock and Bobby rolls him over for a couple near-falls. Chip leaps out of the corner a few times and finally connects with a crossbody for two. Eaton escapes another headlock, but gets caught with a flying clothesline. They trade hammerlocks, and then Eaton catches Chip off a charge. Bobby Eaton backbreaker gets two. Chip rolls through a crossbody for two. Backslide gets two. Chip manages to slip out of a backdrop and rolls up Eaton for two, but then gets sent face-first into the corner. Eaton bridges a back suplex and gets 1-2-3. (4:52) Not too bad. *½
Tony Schiavone brings out Sting to get to the bottom of who is sending these presents. The last gift is brought out by a bunch of greased-up jobbers and is set to India-style music. It’s one of those fancy-looking carriages that has to be lifted and taken everywhere by a bunch of people. You know, the ones you always see buff dudes carrying in music videos and stuff. Madusa comes out of the carriage! She tries to seduce Sting and take his attention away from the carriage so that Lex Luger can run out and try to re-injure Sting’s bad knee until a few of Sting’s buddies come to help him. It’s apparently pretty bad though because Sting is on his way to the hospital via ambulance. But what about his US title defense tonight?!
The Diamond Studd vs. Tom Zenk
This one is JIP as Studd hits a bulldog off the second rope. Not an edit or anything, but they started it during the commercial break. Zenk avoids a charge and trips up Studd to grind his crotch on the ringpost. That’s the reality of it, folks. Crucifix from Zenk gets the 1-2-3 out of nowhere. (1:24) Afterwards, Studd delivers the DIAMOND DEATH DROP (Razor’s Edge). CRAP
WCW World Television Champion Steve Austin (w/Lady Blossom) vs. PN News
These two had wrestled before on World Championship Wrestling, but Austin cheated with some brass knuckles and this is the return match. Austin punches away early, but News comes back with a corner splash. They go to the floor where Austin gets whipped into the guardrail. Back in, News falls on top of Austin when he tries for a slam. What the heck? Austin yanks News out onto the rampway, but takes a backdrop back in the ring. News gets the Belly-to-Belly Suplex, but Blossom puts Austin’s foot on the bottom rope. News makes a HUGE mistake and goes out after Blossom. Even TONY thinks it’s a mistake. Austin takes advantage and PESCADOS out on top of News! Back in, Austin avoids another corner splash and tries the Ric Flair pin out of the corner for the win. (4:21) I do believe PN News tried his hardest in there. Match is somewhat memorable as being Lady Blossom’s last appearance in wrestling. **
Missy Hyatt gets an interview with rookie “sensation” Marcus Alexander Bagwell. He actually seems fairly intelligent here.
It’s time for the WCW Top Ten for the week of November 19!
(the change in rankings will be according to the November 2 Top Ten because I don’t have last week’s list)
10. Big Van Vader [-]
9. Bobby Eaton [-]
8. Bill Kazmaier [v2]
7. Cactus Jack [v1]
6. Barry Windham [^2]
5. Dustin Rhodes [same]
4. Ron Simmons [^1]
3. WCW World TV Champ Steve Austin [^1]
2. Rick Steiner [v4]
1. WCW U.S. Champ Sting [same]
WCW World Heavyweight Champion Lex Luger
Cactus Jack vs. Van Hammer
Man, that Van Hammer music video is some kind of WrestleCrap. What’s with the chick in the audience who is like, touching herself all provocative-like during Hammer’s entrance? Like an IDIOT, Hammer turns his back on Cactus and pays for it to start. Doesn’t he know that he’s crazy? Hammer comes back with a back suplex and dumps Cactus out for a flying axe handle from the apron. Back in, Hammer hits a big boot, slam, and a legdrop for two. This crowd isn’t dumb either and they rightfully boo that. Cactus comes back with the Cactus clothesline and delivers the flying elbow on the floor. Back in again and they trade blows while some pocket-protecting nerds cheer on Hammer. He hits a lariat on the back of Jack’s head and follows up with a flying knee drop for 1-2-NO! Next up, they collide and Cactus ends up on the floor, so he grabs Hammer’s guitar or shall we say his axe, and jabs Hammer in the throat with it. The ref is COMPLETELY unaware of all of this somehow and Cactus gets the 1-2-3. (4:03) Weak finish, but one of the better Hammer matches. They continue to fight up the rampway to let you know that this ain’t over! **¼
Luckily, JR has a telephone at ringside so we can check in with Eric Bischoff as to what the update is on Sting. He says that Sting’s knee has swollen up three, maybe four, possibly five, or even SIX times it’s normal size! A thumbs up from a doctor evidently means he’s going to be okay. Gotta love the graphic, by the way. Eric Bischoff really was a Ken doll look-alike back then.
WCW World Tag Team Champions The Enforcers vs. Dustin Rhodes & ???
It was supposed to be Dustin Rhodes and Barry Windham challenging for the tag belts, but since Barry got his hand smashed in a car door by a couple Enforcers and had to have reconstructive surgery, we’ve got a mystery partner instead. The mystery partner comes out in some detailed dragon mask and black cloak. It’s 1991, so the crowd seems pretty reluctant as it’s not impossible for it to be some crappy masked wrestler that nobody knows or maybe another rookie “sensation”. But when Dustin goes over and pulls off the mask and cloak, the mystery partner turns out to be RICKY STEAMBOAT! HOLY CRAP! The crowd goes INSANE! Arn and Larry do an awesome job of going insane as well. Steamboat starts off chopping Larry and Arn until it turns into a big brawl with all four men. Back in, Steamboat nails Zbyszko with a back elbow and then dropkicks Anderson to the floor. The heels NEED some regrouping time. Back in again, Steamboat grabs a headlock as Ross brings up Zbyszko wanting to be called “the Cruncher” after the Halloween Havoc incident. Dustin tags in for an armbar for only a short amount of time before tagging in Steamboat. He hits a judo chop on Larry Z’s arm and he sells it like a near-death experience. Steamboat doesn’t stop there and posts the arm REAL good. Rhodes tags in to apply the armbar once more, but makes a mistake by being backed up into the heel corner and allows Larry to tag in Arn. He pounds away and then heads up top. Dustin wants to slam him down, but Arn goes to the eyes and delivers a double-sledge. Arn stops to mouth off at Steamboat and then charges into a boot in the corner. Rhodes follows up with bionic elbows for the champs to send them rolling to the floor. Once things settle, Zbyszko wants Steamboat, so Dustin obliges. Larry SLAPS Steamboat and that sets up the perfect Enforcers plan to bait Steamboat around the ring and bring him in so that Arn can attack from behind. Does it work? Yes, and flawlessly. Arn got a blind tag and the Enforcers double-team before Larry executes a suplex for two. Zbyszko puts Steamboat in his own corner and tags in Arn. Steamboat chops back and tries a sunset flip, but Arn is too close to his corner and gets a desperate tag into Zbyszko to make the possible pin situation irrelevant. Zbyszko grabs an abdominal stretch and cheats like a mother trucker with some leverage help from Arn. The heels switch as Dustin tries to come in to help, which only causes more punishment for Steamboat. Anderson telegraphs a backdrop and takes a face smash instead. Steamboat starts to crawl over to his corner, but Anderson grabs his ankle and tags in Larry Z to put a stop to it all. Steamboat tries to come back with a slam, but his back gives out and Larry falls on top for two. Anderson tags in for a bearhug and gets a few near-falls out of that. He knuckle-locks up on the mat, but Steamboat counters with a body scissors. Arn counters THAT into a Boston crab and gains some leverage help from Larry by pushing on Arn’s forehead from the apron! My GOSH that’s great. They switch and Larry reapplies the crab in his own corner. Steamboat starts to crawl towards his corner from across the ring and power out of this hold so he can make…the…tag! YES! NO! The ref didn’t see it! Steamboat and Anderson knock heads together, but then Steamboat gets his foot up in Anderson’s face as he comes down on him off the top. Zbyszko tries to cut off the tag, but he can’t make it in time and we’ve got a HOT TAG TO RHODES! He goes SLAM CRAZY and then makes a blind tag to Steamboat. Dustin connects with a BULLDOG on Anderson before heading back to his corner. Meanwhile, Larry thinks he’s tossed Steamboat to the floor, but actually he just lands on the apron and climbs to the top rope to deliver the FLYING BODY PRESS to a dazed Arn Anderson for 1-2-3! (14:48) At a time when you didn’t think there could be a tag team in WCW good enough that could compete or much less dethrone the Enforcers, Ricky Steamboat returns to WCW after a near 30-month long absence and along with Dustin Rhodes, wins the WCW World Tag Team Titles! The Enforcers used every trick in their playbook and STILL couldn’t overcome their misfortune of being unprepared for Steamboat. Besides all that, it’s probably the first match on a major show that WCW fans REALLY seemed to get into from start to finish since Ric Flair left. This told a fantastic story and some brilliant old-school textbook-style tag-team wrestling. Steamboat was one of the final pieces of the puzzle that made WCW great again. If I’m not mistaken, there’s only one piece that remains and it comes from Japan. ****¾
Well what do you know? Ross introduces a hype video for Jushin Liger. He’s that final piece that I was just telling you about! They show various clips of Liger beating the crap out of Wild Pegasus/Pegasus Kid and Naoki Sano! He’ll be joining us around Christmastime.
Paul E. Dangerously is standing by with Jim Ross. He whips out the contract for the Sting/Rude match later on tonight and comments that the fine print says if Sting no-shows due to an “act of God or injury”, Rude wins the title by forfeit. Paul E says he had nothing to do with Sting getting hurt though. He’s totally innocent, folks!
Luckily after the break, Ross gets a chance to call up Bischoff to let Sting know what happens if he doesn’t show up tonight. Sting’s all like, “Oh crap! I got to get to the arena!” and steals an ambulance to get his rear-end back to the Savannah civic center.
WCW Light Heavyweight Champion Brian Pillman vs. Johnny B. Badd (w/Teddy Long)
Wow, Badd is wearing his “Love Boat” attire tonight. “Can I get anybody a drink?” *wink* The last time we saw these two mix it up was at the Great American Bash four months ago back in Pillman’s Yellow Dog days and he called Badd “gay” on camera. He doesn’t do it here though, which is a shame. Badd tries some body blows in the corner, so Pillman fights back with chops and a backdrop. Dropkick puts Badd out on the rampway and Pillman follows him out with AIR PILLMAN! Nice! Pillman wants a piledriver, but Badd backdrops out and sends Pillman into the guardrail for his patented chest-first bump. Pillman manages to hit a crossbody back in from the apron for 1-2-NO! He hits a powerslam and heads up top for a big splash, but Badd gets the knees up. Badd tries something off the top, but Pillman catches him on the way down with a dropkick. Pillman follows up with a jumping clothesline and a spinning heel kick for two. He tries for another running clothesline, but Badd ducks and connects with one of his own. Badd hits the Flying Sunset Flip, but Long has the ref distracted. Heel miscommunication ensues and Pillman gets a rollup for 1-2-3! (4:19) Good little match. Badd really wasn’t that bad of a rookie as you might think. Long tries to calm Badd down, but he takes the TOOTY FROOTY PUNCH instead. Thus ends the Badd/Long relationship and an eventual face turn for Johnny B. Badd is put in the works. **¾
WCW U.S. Heavyweight Champion Sting vs. Rick Rude (w/Paul E. Dangerously)
Paul E grabs the mic to kill some time as Sting’s ambulance that he stole is shown driving up to the arena. Sting wobbles out of the ambulance and heads for the ring as Paul E begs the ref to start the ten-count. If Sting doesn’t make it in the ring in time, he’ll forfeit the title. He of course makes it in time and Rude meets him on the rampway for a press slam, but that just kills Sting’s hurt knee. They brawl into the ring until Sting makes a huge mistake by giving Rude a clothesline out to the floor. With Rude on the floor, he trips up Sting and posts his knee causing the crowd to shriek in horror of what just happened to their hero. I love it. Back in, Rude gyrates to TREMENDOUS boos and goes for the RUDE AWAKENING, but Sting powers out. He fires back on Rude and knocks him into the ropes, but then Rude falls forward into the back of Sting’s hurt knee when he turned away to shout out to the little Stingers. With the ref’s back turned, Paul E hops up on the apron and blasts Sting with his phone in the back of the head. Cover, 1-2-NO! Sting comes back with a desperation DDT and Dangerously is going ballistic down on the floor. Paul E gets up on the apron again and Sting goes after him, but Rude clips Sting from behind and cradles Sting up using the tights and pins Sting to win the title. (4:50) A rare match where the big huge babyface doesn’t overcome all the odds. Everything was booked to perfection to give Rude that extra something as a monster heel that the WWF never seemed to be able to provide for him and to make the crowds hate Paul E even more than they already did. Awesome stuff. ***
In the back, Schiavone meets up with Paul E. Dangerously, Madusa and the new WCW U.S. Champ. Paul E says the whole gift box angle was all a set-up between them and Luger to get rid of Sting. The Dangerous Alliance calls the shots around here now, you bunch of losers.
Ross interviews Ron Simmons who was supposed to be getting a rematch against Luger here tonight, but he broke his wrist and Rick Steiner was put in his place. He says he will be the first black man to win the World title.
A Luger/Steiner recap video is shown.
WCW World Heavyweight Champion Lex Luger (w/Harley Race) vs. Rick Steiner (w/Scott Steiner)
Scott received a title match on the first Clash of ’91, now Rick receives one at the last Clash of ’91. Hughes is sent to the back, as that seems to be the norm for Luger’s title matches these days. Really stiff tie-up to start. Steiner takes Luger to the mat several times, but Luger gets in the ropes every time. Lots of stalling from Lex here, but then he gets caught with a powerslam. Steinerline puts Luger on the floor right in front of Harley Race for some needed encouragement. Back in, Luger goes low and tries a turnbuckle smash, but that has no effect. Rick hits a release German for 1-2-NO! Luger gets in a couple cheapshots to take over. Steiner comes back and wins a slugfest and hits another powerslam, but hesitates the covers and only gets two. Steiner heads up and hits the STEINER BULLDOG, but Luger rolls near the ropes and gets his foot on the bottom rope for a two-count. He places Luger in the corner for a BELLY-TO-BELLY SUPERPLEX and delivers. Meanwhile, Mr. Hughes runs down the rampway, but he’s met by Scott Steiner. He backdrops Hughes in the ring and gives him a FRANKENSTEINER. Oh my GOSH. Race takes a suplex into the ring from Rick. While the ref tries to get Race out of the ring, Luger grabs the belt and nails Rick in the face with it. Cover, 1-2-3. (11:30) Luger didn’t really do much as usual during his title reign, but Steiner looked pretty good in there. **
Final Thoughts: This was a big turn-around show for WCW. After months of crap, the quality of the product is starting to get better and better with the additions of Steve Austin, Cactus Jack, Rick Rude, Ricky Steamboat and now Jushin Liger on the way. 1992 is one of my favorite years in wrestling because of the Dangerous Alliance and all the great matches that they were able to have with all the strong babyfaces, so I’m really looking forward to recapping those shows. We’ve still got Starrcade left to do with the whole “Lethal Lottery” deal. I always liked that concept, so we’ll see how the very first one turns out. By the way, thumbs up for Clash 17. That tag match is truly amazing and everything that involved Sting was great stuff too. I don’t think the Luger/Sting/Rude stuff could’ve been booked any better.