The SmarK Retro Rant – NWA Clash Of The Champions XII: Mountain Madness

The SmarK Retro Rant for Clash of the Champions XII: Mountain Madness

– Live from Asheville, NC

– Your hosts are Jim Ross & Bob Caudle.

– Opening match: The Freebirds v. The Southern Boys. Man, these guys fought each other a lot in 1990. This was supposed to be Freebirds & Buddy Roberts v. Southern Boys & Bob Armstrong, but Buddy hurt his drinking elbow and has to sit it out. Tracy hammers on Hayes in the corner to start, so Michael lets Garvin give it a try. He quickly gets superkicked and bails. The Birds go for the double-team, but Armstrong hits them with a bodypress for two. Freebirds bail again and confer with Buddy. Tracy escapes another double-team, and the Birds take a powder again. Back in, Tracy wins a slugfest, but gets popped in the mouth and sent flying out. Garvin adds a cheapshot on the floor for good measure. Tracy dropkicks his way back in, but Garvin keeps him in the heel corner, where Hayes gets a bulldog for two. He blocks a sunset flip and stomps away, and we hit the chinlock. Tracy escapes but another right from Hayes puts him down again. Garvin goes up, never a good idea for a Freebird, and gets slammed off to allow the hot tag. Backdrops and dropkicks everywhere! It’s breaking loose in Tulsa! Roberts clobbers Armstrong, but Bullet Bob returns the favor on Hayes and Armstrong gets two. The match turns into a mess and they start blowing stuff, but a double sunset flip finishes at 8:32 before it can get too badly out of control. The Freebirds of course exact their revenge on Bob Armstrong afterwards. Nothing outside of the usual here. *1/2

– Buddy Landell v. Mike Rotunda. Landell works a headlock, as does Rotunda. Then we get an exciting switch to an armbar. Buddy was, at this point, working a bizarre angle involving his friendship with Skid Row. Buddy clotheslines out of the armbar to take over and drops an elbow for two. To the top, but Rotunda catches him coming down and comes back with a reverse elbow for two. Landell grabs a facelock to slow it down again, but Mike backslides him for the pin at 5:38. Wow, a backslide, what an electric finisher. *

– Tim Horner & Brad Armstrong v. The Master Blasters. This is the historic debut match for one of the great talents of our time. Steel hammers on Horner to start and the Blasters double-team him, as Iron works over the arm. Iron & Steel blow simple moves left and right, until Horner gets Brad into the ring. Iron immediately overpowers him, and Steel drops an elbow for two. Steel gets a powerslam for two. A horrible attempt at a simple elbowdrop misses and Steel keeps clubbing away. Iron gets a shoulderblock, but Armstrong makes the hot (?) tag to Horner, who tries a sleeper. Steel cuts it off, and it’s sort of halfway bonzo gonzo, although I’m loath to apply the term to this match. Horner is left in the ring for a double shoulderblock, which gets the pin for Steel at 4:49. DUD Caudle is sure that we’ll hear a lot from them in the future. We will – Iron would, years later, come back into WCW as the mysterious Dog. Oh yeah, that Steel guy is still around, too. Yes, this match was the first ever appearance of hero to drinkers and couch potatoes everywhere, Kevin Nash. Love the Mohawk, Big Kev.

– Brian Pillman hypes a really cool idea for the weekly B-Shows: Running the gauntlet. You draw three names at random on the Power Hour on Friday, and you have to win matches with them on that show, WCW Saturday Night and The Main Event on Sunday. If you win all three by any means, you get $15,000. If you lose any of them, the three opponents get $5000 each. That’s a great idea and the WWE should do that for their own B-shows.

– The Nasty Boys v. Jackie Fulton & Terry Taylor. Another tag team debut in WCW, although not quite with the same historic ramifications as Big Poochie brought to the table. Fulton (Bobby’s brother) fights off a double-team to start and brings Taylor in for a spinning neckbreaker that gets two on Knobbs. Taylor fights them off with hiptosses, and brings Fulton back in, and he stays on Sags’ arm. Taylor comes back in and brawls out with Sags, and sends him into the ringpost. Back in, he goes back to the arm. Crossbody gets two. Taylor was of course coming off the most disastrous run any one person could possibly have had in the WWF, as it completely destroyed his marketability forever thanks to the Red Rooster gimmick. Taylor & Fulton keep Knobbs in their corner and trade off hitting him with backdrop suplexes, but Knobbs takes Taylor down by the hair and Sags drops a knee. Taylor tries a sunset flip and gets two. “People were out of their seats on that one!” notes JR. Yeah, they’re off getting nachos. Hot tag Fulton and he bodyslams everything in sight. German suplex gets two. A bodypress is reversed by Knobbs into a powerslam, and the SHITTY ELBOW finishes at 7:09. Taylor then cleans house. The Nasties would jump to the WWF a couple of months later and become the hottest team in wrestling. This match went nowhere, slowly, and the faces controlled too long with their vanilla offense, although Fulton looked good and probably could have been something if he bulked up a bit. *1/4

– Wild Bill Irwin v. Tommy Rich. Rich attacks to start, but Irwin hits him with a high knee. Rich dumps him, and slingshots him back in. Backdrop suplex gets two. He goes to a headlock and they work off that for a bit, as Rich holds on tenaciously. That’ll wake up the formerly-hot crowd. Caudle comments on how wild the match should be, as Rich holds onto a headlock. Irwin escapes with a sideslam and kicks Rich in the face to put him down again, before tossing him. Back in, they slug it out and Rich reverses a sideslam into a sleeper, which was a nice counter. Irwin charges and hits nothing, and the THESZ PRESS, THESZ PRESS, STONE COLD STONE COLD STONE COLD finishes at 3:57. Yup. *

– And now, for your eyes only, it’s the much-requested and always controversial WCW TOP TEN. Like all wrestling lists, THE WCW TOP TEN can cause some side effects. These effects are usually mild to moderate and usually don’t last longer than a few hours. Some of these side effects are more likely to occur with higher doses. The most common side effects of THE WCW TOP TEN are headache, flushing of the face, and upset stomach. Less common side effects that may occur are temporary changes in color vision (such as trouble telling the difference between blue and green objects or having a blue color tinge to them), eyes being more sensitive to light, or blurred vision. In rare instances, men have reported an erection that lasts many hours. You should call a doctor immediately if you ever have an erection that lasts more than 4 hours. If not treated right away, permanent damage to your penis could occur Heart attack, stroke, irregular heart beats, and death have been reported rarely in men reading THE WCW TOP TEN. Most, but not all, of these men had heart problems before taking this medicine. It is not possible to determine whether these events were directly related to THE WCW TOP TEN. THE WCW TOP TEN may cause other side effects besides those listed. If you want more information or develop any side effects or symptoms you are concerned about, call your booker.

WCW World champion: Sting

1. Lex Luger

2. Ric Flair

3. Arn Anderson

4. Barry Windham

5. Sid Vicious

6. Stan Hansen

7. Brian Pillman

8. Junkyard Dog

9. Tommy Rich

10. Buddy Landell

You just know there’s a showdown between Rich & Landell for that #9 spot coming!

BUT WAIT, THERE’S MORE!

It’s the WCW TOP TEN TAG TEAMS!

Champions: Doom

1. The Steiner Brothers

2. Rock N Roll Express

3. The Horsemen

4. The Midnight Express

5. Southern Boys

6. Freebirds

7. SST

8. Brian Pillman & Tom Zenk

9. Junkyard Dog & El Gigante

10. Mike Rotunda & Tim Horner.

Man, the depth chart kinda goes south after #5, doesn’t it? And how do Horner & Rotundo make the top 10, but not Horner & Lightning, who had been teaming since 1987?

– Stan Hansen is somewhat upset about his ranking in the top 10, and he’s going to take it out on the people above him.

– Women’s World title: Susan Sexton v. Bambi. These girls were on loan from the short-lived LPWA. Bambi overpowers Sexton, but gets taken down with a drop toehold and they trade wristlocks. Sexton works on the arm, but Bambi reverses to a headscissors. Sexton overpowers her and gets a slam for one. Bambi goes to a headlock and gets a rollup for two. Bambi whips her into the corner, but gets caught with a forearm for two. Sexton backdrops her and gets an elbow for two. Bambi gets an inside cradle for two, but Sexton reverses for three at 4:09. For the guy in the feedbag last night, the ref stopped the count and re-started for Sexton. ½*

– US tag titles: The Steiner Brothers v. Maximum Overdrive. MO are Hunter (Tom Hunt) and Silencer, who I don’t know. Unless it’s Hunt’s usual partner, Jeff Warner, who changed his name from “Warrior” because of trademark problems with Jim Hellwig. Not that I or anyone else should really care because these bozos were just another couple of roid freaks anyway. They also get my vote for worst team name of the era, as they named themselves after the worst Stephen King movie ever. Scott controls Hunter on the mat, and he bails. Back in, he holds a wristlock and Hunter stalls. Scott hiptosses him, resulting in more stalling. Scott backdrops him and holds off both guys with armdrags, and Rick hits them with a double Steinerline for good measure. More stalling results. Silencer (who, ironically, talks with the crowd the whole time) comes in and immediately gets suplexed by Scott, badly. I think we know who to blame there. Rick comes in and gets blindsided by him, and he gets an elbow for two. Silencer misses his cue on a criss-cross and they extend the move, until Rick can powerslam him. Hunter comes back in and eats a REALLY stiff lariat. Uh oh, they’ve pissed off Rick. The top rope double-team DDT kills him dead at 6:21. That move is just EVIL. The match was also evil, but not in a good way. -*

– Stan Hansen v. Tom Zenk. Well, nice knowing you, Tom. Hansen attacks him to start and Zenk is game for a fight, but gets dragged out and beaten to a pulp as a result. Note to aspiring wrestlers: Don’t wear pink tights when fighting Stan Hansen. Back in, Stan gets a suplex and drops an elbow for two. He pounds on the throat with elbows, and shrugs off Zenk’s comeback attempt. He keeps walloping on Zenk, who tries another comeback, but puts his head down and gets mugged. Backdrop suplex, but Zenk fights back with dropkicks and gets two. Smart move. Zenk charges, and Hansen just walks right over him and finishes with the lariat at 3:18. Total massacre. ½*

– US title match: Lex Luger v. Ric Flair. This is the only time I can think of where Flair was CHALLENGING Luger for a title. Luger overpowers Flair to start, and then gets suckered into a test of strength. Flair of course cheapshots him, but Luger no-sells the chops and press slams Flair. Ric takes a breather outside, and returns to lay in a hellacious chop, which Luger no-sells. Another press-slam and Luger dumps Flair, after Flair practically flashed a neon sign saying “clothesline me over the top rope”. They brawl out and back in again and Luger no-sells everything Flair throws at him, and gets a third press-slam. The HORIZONTAL ELBOW OF DEATH misses, of course, and Flair takes over. Luger blasts out of the corner with a lariat, but Flair tricks the ref into checking on an “injury”, thus buying time. Luger walks right into a sucker punch, and Flair tosses him to take over, for real this time. Luger eats railing a few times, and they head back in, where Flair stomps away. He stands up Luger and chops him so hard that he goes flying backwards into the corner. They head out and Flair starts chopping him for the benefit of the front row, drawing the ire of the teenage girls in the audience. Back in, he goes to the knee, as usual, and keeps making frenzied asides to the camera. Must have had some REALLY good shit before the match. In the corner, he goes into an insane sequence where he chops and stomps the knee in succession. Luger fights back with a burst of energy, but Flair pokes him in the eyes on the way down. That is so cool. Luger blocks a hiptoss with a backslide for two, but Flair chops away. And CHOPS. Luger shrugs it off and hammers away in the corner, but Flair brings him out with atomic drop. Luger no-sells and clotheslines him for two. Flair comes back with a snapmare for two. Flair goes up and gets slammed, and Luger Flips him for good measure and clotheslines him coming along the apron. Back in, another press-slam (the fourth for the match) and a powerslam, and it’s rack time. Flair tries to bail, and then grabs a headlock, only to get caught in a bearhug. They head to the top and Luger superplexes him (a beauty one, too) for two. Luger pounds away in the corner and Flair goes low to stop it, and they tumble out to the floor and keep fighting. Stan Hansen hits the ring and decimates Luger for the DQ at 14:27. Really good match, but nothing we haven’t seen a million times before. ***1/2

– WCW World title: Sting v. The Black Scorpion. This is the Sgt. Pepper era for Sting. The Black Scorpion we’ve been over before, and in this case the character was being played by Al Perez. The storyline worked well in the short-term, as this match drove the show to a strong 5.0 cable rating, up from the 4’s that Clashes had been doing that year. The Scorpion attacks to start and pounds away in the corner, but Sting fights back, only to get choked down. Lots of choking. Sting tries to run away, but gets run down by the Scorpion and pounded outside. Sting rams him into the railing, but gets hit with a knee and they head back in. Scorpion keeps pounding, but Sting fights back. He goes for the mask, but Scorpion rams him into the corner and chokes away. They had to keep it VERY generic with his moveset, so that people couldn’t guess his identity. They head out to the ramp and Sting gets slammed out there, but he goes for the mask again. Scorpion runs back into the ring, and Sting follows him in and gets a dropkick. Now Sting returns the choking favor, but no one is better than the BLACK SCORPION, and he demonstrates that. This match is like a Sunday afternoon with nothing on TV and only the Financial section of the paper left to read. Sting comes back with a slam and goes up for a bodypress that gets two. The evil Scorpion gets a evil kneedrop for an evil near-fall. A mysterious foot to the throat! JR’s line du jour: “There’s only one World champion, and he’s the guy with the pink boots on!” Indeed. Stinger splash finishes clean at 8:11. ¼* Total kick and punch fest. Sting goes for the mask, but there’s a second one on underneath. The REAL Black Scorpion comes down the ramp and glares at Sting, thus rendering the previous match totally pointless. Sadly, the story would continue

The Bottom Line:

The lineup didn’t look bad on paper, but unfortunately it didn’t translate to the actual matches, most of which were quite forgettable and/or dreadfully dull. The Luger-Flair match is good, but it’s Luger-Flair so it’s not like you’re getting anything new there.

Recommendation to avoid, unless you’re a Nash completeist (and who isn’t really?) and want his ELECTRIFYING debut on tape for posterity.

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