Written By: Matt Peddycord
WCW Clash of the Champions XXII
January 13, 1993
The current WCW & NWA Champs were as follows:
WCW World Champion: Big Van Vader (12/30/1992)
NWA World Champion: The Great Muta (1/4/1993)
WCW U.S. Champion: Dustin Rhodes (1/11/1993) (unaired)
WCW/NWA World Tag Team Champions: Ricky Steamboat & Shane Douglas (11/18/1992)
WCW World Television Champion: vacant (11/1/1992)
We first go to Bill Watts and Tony Schiavone. Watts announces that Van Hammer’s arm hurts and now he can’t compete with Vinnie Vegas in the arm wrestling match. Tony Atlas is his replacement. Yeah, if Hammer was going to lose anyway, might as well have Vinnie beat a black guy. Right, Bill? Also, there’s been a situation between Bill’s son Erik Watts and Arn Anderson. Sounds like Erik’s been arrested! Tonight, Erik Watts has been suspended for PR reasons.
Larry Zbyszko is standing by with Erik Watts right now: Watts stumbles through the interview, denying the accusations and saying that he understands what his daddy had to do.
Your hosts are Jim Ross and Jesse Ventura. This would be JR’s last major show in WCW before heading to the WWF to wear a toga.
Cactus Jack vs. Johnny B. Badd
Cactus was supposed to face Erik Watts, but we just explained why he’s suspended. It’s okay, because Badd and Cactus had some problems at Starrcade during their “Lethal Lottery” match. Jesse mentions how there’s a ton of Cactus Jack signs in the crowd. There’s no real mention of Cactus breaking away from Race’s little stable either. Badd punches out of the corner and whips Cactus in, but he grabs hold of the ropes and does the *BANG BANG!* pose for a huge pop. Cactus goes low to take over, but then charges into the turnbuckle. School boy gets two. Badd grabs an armbar, but Cactus punches out. He runs into a boot in the corner though and Badd punches back. He goes for the FLYING SUNSET FLIP, but Cactus moves out of the way, sending Badd crashing to the mat. Elbow drop, 1-2-3. (2:50) Nice back-and-forth match. Cactus is definitely on his way now. *½
Tony Schiavone announces that we have a NEW NWA World Champion in the Great Muta. They’ll have footage of the match next Sunday, but you can YouTube it now! Since Watts isn’t booking over there, surely it’s better than their Starrcade match.
The “2 Cold Scorpio” mini-movie airs where he meets a bunch of kids playing b-ball when they should be in school. These kids aren’t going to get to school by normal means like riding in Scorpio’s limo or walking – these kids are going to STEP to school. It’ll take them forever to get to school walking like that!
2 Cold Scorpio vs. Scotty Flamingo
Scotty Flamingo, better known as Raven, would job out to everything that moves (including a young Rob Van Dam) for the rest of his WCW tenure before he left for the WWF to take the role as Adam Bomb’s manager in May. They screw up a handspring move in the early goings. Scorpio teases a pescado, but Flamingo walks away and then turns around into a flying clothesline off the apron. They head back in, but Flamingo mule kicks and dropkicks Scorpio out for a running pescado of his own. Back in again, Flamingo hits a suplex and then goes to a chinlock. Scorpio escapes, and hits a dropkick. He follows up with that flying splash he does where he changes positions in mid-air! Crazy! That gets two. Flamingo makes a short comeback, but Scorpio cuts him off with a superkick. 2 Cold hits the corkscrew leg drop out of the corner and then puts Flamingo away with the 450 SPLASH! (4:13) There’s no reason they couldn’t have brought back the Light Heavyweight title with guys this strong. I can think of a dozen guys under contract that they could’ve built the division around just off the top of my head. **¼
We go back to the previous Sunday’s Main Event show where Race announces that two of his boys, Paul Orndorff and Cactus Jack, will square off to find a substitute for injured Rick Rude in the Thunderdome cage match that will go down tonight. During the match, Harley Race kept bugging Cactus, so he turns on Race and gives him a clothesline off the apron! The match continues until Vader comes to avenge his boss Harley Race for a three-on-one attack. Since Jack has no friends, no one comes out to help him. Later on in the program, Vader, Orndorff and Race had a little interview time. That was just the moment Cactus needed to run in and beat them all down with a SHOVEL! Where did he get a shovel at a coliseum? Anyways, the point is, Cactus is a tweener! They probably should’ve shown this before the Cactus Jack match earlier.
Buy the WCW Slam Jam album! It’s got hot tracks like, “Don’t Step To Ron”, “The Man Called Sting” ,”Simply Ravishing”, and “STEINERIZED!” You know you want those tracks when you’re riding around picking up the girlies.
Chris Benoit vs. Brad Armstrong
Speaking of theme music, Benoit used the SAME song here that he did until the end of his Horsemen days. Tony seems to think this is Benoit’s debut, but that’s not the case. He wrestled on a Clash last June in the NWA world tag team titles tournament to represent Canada along with Beef Wellington in an AWESOME match with Liger and Pillman. Anyways, some real nice mat exchanges in the early going. Armstrong escapes a hammerlock by running around and sending Benoit out with his own momentum. Benoit tries to do the same thing to counter, but Armstrong KNOWS what he’s doing and doesn’t fall for it. Benoit gives Armstrong a front suplex on the top rope and then follows up with a springboard clothesline. Holy crap. The crowd loves this guy! FIRE HIM! Jesse loves this guy too, by the way. Benoit goes to work on the back with a snap suplex and a backbreaker to set up a possible SWANDIVE HEADBUTT, but we’ll never know now because Armstrong is up and there to stop him. Oh wait, no he’s not. Benoit headbutts him down and goes for the SWANDIVE HEADBUTT, but Armstrong rolls out of the way. Armstrong hits a swinging neckbreaker, but that’s about it once Benoit delivers the Dragon Suplex. That gets three. (9:13) Outstanding match for the time. It’s SO sad they didn’t do much else with Benoit until after he went through ECW, which is weird. But that’s WCW! ***
They build the return of the Rock n Roll Express and how successful they’ve been in SMW. They will be at Superbrawl to defend the SMW tag belts against the Heavenly Bodies.
Vinnie Vegas vs. Tony Atlas – Arm Wrestling Contest
Vinnie wants to do this left-handed. Atlas – “I don’t care if you’re left-handed, right-handed, or center-handed!” Huh. Vinnie goes OVER THE TOP on Atlas and wins the contest. Looks like Vinnie runs on diesel, while Atlas runs on gas.
Vader invites Sting to come to his “White Castle of Fear”. Sounds cozy!
More videos. Dustin Rhodes and Ricky Steamboat will meet in the finals of the #1 contenders tournament to the US title this Saturday. Will Rude show up to defend his belt and face the winner of the tournament? Haha, no. He’s injured, you bunch of crazies.
The Wrecking Crew vs. Tom Zenk & Johnny Gunn
The Wrecking Crew is Rage and Fury. Rage is Al Green, who has been involved in many failed tag teams over the years. Fury is Road Warrior Animal and Johnny Ace’s brother Mark. He’s probably best known for when he wrestled as The Terminator in Florida. Sidenote: The Terminator and Tom Zenk competed together as a team in All Japan’s RWTL in ‘87. Very unsuccessful though. They won only one match. Zenk and Gunn send the Wrecking Crew out to regroup, so Gunn leaps out on top of them in a pretty awesome spot. Some heel miscommunication occurs, but then Zenk becomes our face-in-peril. Zenk catches Fury coming off the middle rope with a superkick and hot tags Gunn. Rage nails Gunn from the apron to set up the WRECKING BALL for the win. (6:06) The Wrecking Ball is Fury holding Gunn up in an Argentine backbreaker position, and Rage coming off the top with an elbow drop. It’s like the Demolition Decapitation, but way more cool-looking. Call me crazy, but I liked this match. **½
Tony Schiavone is standing by with Sting, Ron Simmons and Dustin Rhodes. With Van Hammer injured and out of the Thundercage match, Sting says they don’t feel too short-handed. Can’t say I disagree.
Now we go back to Larry Zbyszko, who is with Vader, Barbarian, Harley Race, Barry Windham & Paul Orndorff. Race is feeling pretty good. Cactus Jack’s in trouble though. Since Barbarian has been chummy with Cactus Jack in the past, Race fires him from the group and has the rest of his boys beat him down real good. So now it’s back to 3-on-3. Real smart there, Harley.
Next up, they show a video package of the history of the last two Superbrawl shows.
WCW/NWA World Tag Team Champions Ricky Steamboat & Shane Douglas vs. Steve Austin & Brian Pillman
No Hollywood Blondes stuff happening here. Just too cocky guys who can rassle. Steamboat tries to get the win early on Austin. Pillman runs in to stop all that, so Douglas comes in and helps clean house on the heels. Back in, Austin wants a handshake. Steamboat’s not falling for that cheapshot tactic though. Austin kicks him in the gut anyway and tags Pillman. He chops away, but Steamboat catches him in an armbar. Some frequent tags made as they work on the arm. Pillman feigns a knee injury to screw with Douglas and rolls to the apron, but his plan backfires and Douglas catches him coming off the apron with a powerslam. Cover, 1-2-NO! Austin tags and runs into a drop toehold and hammerlock. Douglas and Austin get into a pretty cool rollup sequence. Douglas hits a springboard back body bump out of the corner. I know that sounds weird, but that’s what he did. He leaped out of the corner and fell back on Austin with his body. Steamboat tags and press slams Douglas onto Austin, then press slams Pillman onto him as well. Austin whips Steamboat into his corner, where he’s met with a forearm from Pillman. Tag to Pillman, he draws Douglas in so he can throw Steamboat over the top rope. Pillman punishes Steamboat on the apron, and a suplex back in gets two. Make that three two-counts. Steamboat gets a sunset flip out of nowhere, but the ref was talking to Austin for some reason and that only gets two. Austin tags and tries to yank Steamboat into his own corner again. This time, Steamboat meets Pillman with a forearm that puts him on the guardrail. Back suplex stuns Steamboat for two. Austin applies an Canadian Backbreaker and tags Pillman. Steamboat manages to slip away jus t in time as Pillman delivers AIR PILLMAN and hits Austin by mistake. Steamboat hits a double Judo Chop on the heels. Pillman cuts off the tag with a back suplex, but Steamboat flips out and gives Pillman one instead. Both men are down and the crowd is going crazy. HOT TAG TO DOUGLAS! He hits the BELLY-TO-BELLY SUPLEX on Pillman, but Austin breaks up the pin with a flying double-ax handle and places Pillman on top. Funny because that’s how most of the Dangerous Alliance tag matches were won. Cover, 1-2-NO! Steamboat and Austin brawl on the floor. While the ref tries to get Steamboat back over to his corner, Austin grabs one of the belts and decks Douglas with it for the DQ. (13:39) Douglas is busted open. They continue to whip the champs with their own belts and then when some babyfaces come down to help, they take the belts with them. Great formula match as you would expect from these two teams. ***½
They show a clip of Vader beating Ron Simmons for the WCW world title belt on December 30 in Baltimore to hype an upcoming return match. Simmons had a shoulder injury, so naturally Vader pinned him after a shoulderbreaker. Vader comes out for an interview, which of course brings out Ron Simmons for a confrontation. That turns into a brawl, but Vader stops everything with a pair of shoulderbreakers. Looks like Simmons won’t be wrestling tonight in the Thundercage. If this wasn’t proof that they were trying to fade Simmons out of the picture here, then I don’t know what is.
Sting & Dustin Rhodes vs. Vader, Barry Windham & Paul Orndorff (w/Harley Race) – Thundercage
They’re using that big cage that was used for Chamber of Horrors and the Thunderdome cage match at Halloween Havoc ‘89. Like I’ve said before, it’s like a hell in a cell without a ceiling. Windham and Rhodes start the match. They’re still pissed at one another from when Windham turned on him back in the fall. Sting gets a blind tag and slams Windham’s face into the mat. A press slam is all he can handle, so Vader gets a tag. Vader starts off stiffing Sting, but he comes back with a clothesline that staggers Vader. He follows up with a DDT and hits a Stinger Splash. He punches and kicks Vader down in the corner and cleans house on Orndorff and Windham. Sting cross-corner whips Vader in, but he flips out of the corner and lands on the apron. Sting charges and Vader catches him coming in. Vader comes off the top with a clothesline. Now he wants a flying splash, but Sting moves out of the way. Sting clotheslines Vader out , but then Orndorff sneaks in and gives Sting a German suplex out of nowhere. Orndorff and Windham trade tags while they continue to break down Sting. Rhodes gets drawn in, but Vader stops him. Vader tags and hits a Avalanche on Sting. Windham tags and wants a SUPERPLEX, but Sting punches him down and makes the HOT TAG TO RHODES! Wow, he actually dominates all three guys! Meanwhile, Cactus Jack is at ringside and he’s got bolt cutters. He gets inside the door, but Windham is there to greet him with a forearm. He gets past Windham and starts beating the heels with his boot! Orndorff clears the ring so that’s it just him and Rhodes. He attempts a PILEDRIVER, but Cactus breaks it up with the boot. He covers Orndorff for 1-2-3. (11:22) Now I KNOW Cactus wasn’t legal, or even any part of the match for that matter. Brainless finish aside, Cactus Jack has turned full-blown babyface here as a result, which makes the match important for ‘93 WCW whether you enjoy this particular year or not. **¾
Final Thoughts: I would check this show out for two reasons – the Cactus Jack storyline and the Hollywood Blondes match. It kick-starts one of the top feuds of the year between Cactus and Vader, while Pillman and Austin start their tag team destiny to become the champs. Also, it’s JR’s last big show in WCW. If you’re into WCW in 1993 for these two reasons, and I know a lot of people that are, then pick up this show. I’m going with thumbs up, because I really did enjoy it.