The Write Off: Clash of the Champions XXI

Sorry for my absence recently from insidepulse.com. I’ve been teaching at a debate summer camp for a week now and haven’t gotten around to posting my latest review. Therefore, I’ve returned this week with Clash of the Champions XXI which was held in November 1992. Next week I will review the Ultimate Warrior Shoot Interview DVD I’ve generously obtained from Ringside Collectibles. Enjoy!

Event Details:
Location: Macon Coliseum in Macon, Georgia
Hosts: Jim Ross and Jesse “the Body” Ventura
Reported Attendance: 7,500

-Tony Schiavone interviews “Cowboy” Bill Watts who thanks the audience for watching the show. Hmm…I guess that’s generous

-Teddy Long interviews Michael Hayes who says that he hates Eric Watts and wants to collect the bounty that has been leveled against him. Long also announces that Brian Pillman has suffered a knee injury.

-Ventura interviews an “injured” Pillman who is on crutches at ringside. This brings out Brad Armstrong who confronts Pillman and gets his leg demolished with Pillman’s crutch. Funny moment as referee Randy Anderson tries to tell Pillman that he’s disqualified and Pillman just tells him that he can’t because the match hasn’t started yet.

-Opening Contest: Brian Pillman vs. Brad Armstrong:

Armstrong beats Pillman into the corner, but gets his injured knee clipped by Pillman and that finishes the match in 28 seconds. That’s some clever booking for such a quick match so I’m going to raise it above DUD. ½*

-Paul E Dangerously-Madusa Video Package

-Dangerously tells Hayes that with one hand tied behind his back he will beat Madusa and sacrifice her on the altar of manhood

-Bounty Tag Team Match: “The Enforcer” Arn Anderson & “Beautiful” Bobby Eaton (w/Michael Hayes) vs. Erik Watts & Kensuki Sasaki:

The story is here is that Paul E. Dangerously had put a bounty on Watts head in an attempt to get Anderson, Eaton, and Hayes to injure Watts in this match. Not that bad of an idea and I’m sure a lot of fans that had to sit through Watts matches would have liked to collect that bounty too. Eaton and Watts start and Eaton paintbrushes Watts only to get slapped in the face. Eaton gets an elbow against the ropes but he gets hiptossed when he attempts an abdominal stretch. Watts somehow goes flying over the top rope but lands on his feet on the floor and comes back in to deliver a shoulderblock. That whole sequence looked at a train wreck. Anderson gets tagged in and Watts & Sasaki ring the arm. Sasaki gets out of the heel corer when Eaton gets tagged in and Sasaki gives him a shoulderblock and a dropkick. Eaton jaws with the referee and then gets chopped by Sasaki in the corner. Blind charge eats buckle when Anderson pulls Eaton out of the way and Hayes hits Sasaki in the back on the arena floor. Back in, Anderson comes in and distracts the referee which allows Hayes to get in another cheap shot. Heels work over Sasaki as Watts confronts Hayes but gets sent back to his corner where he belongs. Sasaki powerslams Eaton off the ropes and gets the momentum swinging tag (?) to Watts. Man that was as flat. Watts gets a monkeyflip out of the corner he whips Eaton into and punches at Eaton from a mounted position. Four-man brawl develops out of nowhere and Watts gets a two-count off of a fireman’s carry from a standing position. Eaton pokes Watt’s eyes twice because he no sells the first one, but Watts nails Eaton when he comes off the top rope with a fist and the STF gets the submission at 6:07. I don’t like the booking of this match at all as Anderson and Eaton were treated like jobbers for a team that wasn’t as nearly as talented as they were and no-sold almost everything. ½*

-Long and Johnny B. Badd say that Johnny Flamingo made a big mistake signing a three round boxing match with him

-Schiavone interviews Vinnie Vegas (a.k.a. Kevin Nash) who is with Diamond Dallas Page and Scotty Flamingo with a Don King impersonator kneeling in front of Flamingo. He says that Flamingo is one of the greatest boxers ever in a horrible promo

-Boxing Match: Johnny B. Badd (w/Teddy Long) vs. Scotty Flamingo (w/Vinnie Vegas & Diamond Dallas Page):

Three round boxing match scheduled here…need I say more? The rounds are also two minutes long. The first round sees Badd avoid Flamingo’s shots and hit him with tons of pulled shots and then Flamingo returns the favor after nailing Badd with an eye poke and clothesline behind the referee’s back. Flamingo gets knocked silly at the end of the first round but gets saved by the bell. Page then dips Flamingo’s right glove in water and when the second round starts Flamingo manages to catch Badd with it to get the knockout with about a minute left. Not exactly sure how to rate this but it was short and sweet. *

-Starrcade 1992 promo video that seems to last forever

-Ventura and Missy Hyatt select the first matchup for the Lethal Lottery that will be contested at Starrcade 1992: Cactus Jack & Johnny B. Badd vs. “Dangerous” Dan Spivey & “Heavy Metal” Van Hammer

-Handicap Match: Ron Simmons & 2 Cold Scorpio vs. The Barbarian, Tony Atlas, and Cactus Jack:

This is Scorpio’s debut in WCW as he’s named during introductions as “Ron Simmons unidentified partner.” I believe Scorpio was replacing Robby Walker here, who was supposed to be Simmons partner, but disappeared for some reason. Heels get cleared out and then Scorpio planchas onto the heels on the floor to pop the crowd. Simmons and the Barbarian start us off and Simmons gets a hiptoss before dropkicking Atlas and slamming Jack. Scorpio and Jack then go at it and Scorpio floats over a suplex, but then totally screws up a moonsault spot (which Jack sells anyway). Damn, he didn’t even get NEAR Jack on that attempt. Simmons comes in but misses a dropkick after Atlas holds back Jack when he runs the ropes. Barbarian gets two after two elbowdrops and the heels triple-team Simmons behind the referee’s back many times. Barbarian gets two off of a backdrop. However, Jack’s second rope elbow attempt eats boot and momentum swinging tag to Scorpio who uses dropkicks to knock down his opponents. Five man brawl sees Scorpio thrown over the top rope by Atlas, but the Barbarian misses Simmons with a big boot and strikes Atlas instead, which allows Simmons to clean house and Scorpio hits a 450 splash off the top rope on Atlas for the pin at 5:56. Crowd reaction to that finish was unbelievable. The match kept moving and aside from the moonsault screw up there isn’t much to gripe about here. **

-Simmons tells the audience sitting at home that his partner for the previous match is named 2 Cold Scorpio

-Promo video for the new tag team of Johnny Gunn & Tom Zenk

-United States Champion “Ravishing” Rick Rude tells Schiavone that Sting had better be prepared to sweat in their King of Cable semi-final match coming up later in the evening

-Recap of the Jesse Ventura arm wrestling tournament. Could someone tell me who won this thing?

-Dangerously tells Hayes that Madusa will lose tonight’s match because she’s a woman

-Clash of the Sexes: Paul E. Dangerously (w/Michael Hayes) vs. Madusa

This encounter has a five minute time limit and Dangerously is wrestling with one hand behind his back. Dangerously cracks his cell phone over Madusa’s head (who is wearing a mask mind you) when she rolls into the ring and undoes the tieing of his back behind his back, but it is quickly revealed that it isn’t Madusa he hit with the phone when the mask comes off. Madusa comes out and basically beats Dangerously from pillar to post and then brings Dangerously back to the ring when he tries to flee to the locker room. Dangerously gets a top rope axehandle after Hayes’s interference turns the tide but Madusa comes back with a clothesline and some knees to the back of the head. Madusa hits a dropkick from the second rope and takes Dangerously’s shorts off and that’s it. DUD

-King of Cable tournament recap

-Vader and Harley Race say that Vader will win the King of Cable tournament

-King of Cable Tournament Semi-Final: “Ravishing” Rick Rude vs. Sting:

The three judges to evaluate tonight’s match in case of a 20-minute time limit draw are “the Living Legend” Larry Zbyszko, Hiro Matsuda, and Ole Anderson. The winner of this match faces the winner of the Vader-Dustin Rhodes match that will take place on WCW Saturday Night at Starrcade 1992. Rude starts the match by taking Sting to the buckle and pounds on the neck area. Sting reverses an Irish whip but messes up a stomachbreaker off the ropes and then repeats the spot that is successful this time around. Well, when you repeat spots you just make yourself look worse because it exposes how bad you screwed up the first time. Sting stomps Rude, gets some shoulder thrusts in the corner, and dances like Rude. Hey there, that’s gimmick infringement! Sting gets a cover for one after a beatdown and hits a face-first suplex. Sting hooks in a reverse chinlock after doing practically nothing of note for about a minute and a half and crashes down on Rude’s back before reapplying the hold. Sting crashes down again on Rude’s back and covers for two. Sting applies an abdominal stretch but at least he pounds on Rude’s abdomen to do something in the move. Rude hiptosses out of the abdominal stretch and gets an eye rake. Rude takes Sting to the buckle and works over the lower back with forearms. Sting blocks a suplex and drops Rude chest-first across the top rope. Looks like he was going for a slingshot suplex and ran out of gas there. Sting suplexes Rude down again across the top rope. What the hell? I don’t see how that move is supposed to be painful at all. They battle on the floor and Sting tries to give a Stinger splash to Rude as he’s slouched against the railing, but Rude moves and Sting eats steel. Back in, Rude with a forearm off the top rope for one after Sting puts his foot on the ropes to break. Rude slams Sting and drops an elbow for one. Rude goes to a reverse chinlock and crashes down onto Sting. Funny spot as Rude’s abdomen is too hurt to successfully taunt the crowd. Rude hits a slam and a fistdrop for two. Rude reapplies the chinlock (hmm, I wonder how long this match is going to go) and crashes down on Sting’s back again. Rude with a suplex and we have a brief double KO spot. Rude slams Sting and reapplies the chinlock once more as a few “boring” chants are heard in the crowd. Rude tries to crash down on Sting’s back again but Sting moves and Rude his canvas. Sting attempts a bodyslam but his back gives out and Rude crashes down for two. I’m impressed that both men are remembering the specific psychology of the match. Rude drops an elbow for two. Rude tries to wrestle Sting’s shoulders down on the canvas and that gets him two two-counts. Rude pinballs Sting between the corners as five minutes remain in the match. Rude hooks in a bearhug and then shoves Sting into the corner several times. Rude reapplies the bearhug and then gets an eye rake when Sting breaks it. Sting hooks in a sleeper but Rude hits a jawbreaker to escape. Rude slams Sting’s face into the canvas three times and goes to the top rope, but Sting gets a sudden burst of energy and throws Rude off. Inverted atomic drop and atomic drop are delivered by Sting. Sting slams Rude’s face into the canvas off the ropes for two. Flying bodypress off the top rope gets two for Sting. However, Rude hits Sting in the gut when he comes off the top rope and gets some kneelifts. Rude goes for the Rude Awakening but Sting fights out and gets the Stinger Splash. Nevertheless, the time expires when he puts Rude in the Scorpion Deathlock. Thus, the judges ballots come into play with Hiro Matsuda voting for Sting, Larry Zbyszko voting for Rude, and Ole Anderson voting for Sting to give Sting a 2-1 victory. Almost too much resting for my taste but both men stuck to the psychology of the match and their restholds actually made sense to set up some key spots in the match. Plus, the great commentary job by Ross & Ventura and a hot crowd only made it better. ***½

-Unified Tag Team Championship Match: Barry Windham & Dustin Rhodes (Champions) vs. Ricky “the Dragon” Steamboat & Shane Douglas:

Everyone in this match was a face at the time and another interesting point to remember is that Rhodes & Steamboat were tag team champions the previous year. Rhodes and Douglas start it off with Douglas getting two off of a small package when Rhodes puts his head down on a whip. Rhodes gets a backslide for two. They go through a wrestling sequence that no one gets the better of and they return armdrags. Rhodes gets a shoulderblock and a schoolboy for two. Modified facebuster off the ropes by Douglas and both men try to dropkick each other simulatenously. Windham and Steamboat are tagged in and they roll out of the floor, where Windham wants to brawl with Steamboat but they are separated by their partners. Back in, Steamboat unloads with some chops and an atomic drop. Steamboat with an armdrag into an armbar, but Windham returns the favor only to have Steamboat tag Douglas and they hit Windham with a double-elbow off the ropes for two. Douglas reverses a Windham suplex attempt for two. Blind charge by Windham into the corner eats buckle and Steamboat gets a martial arts kick out of an arm ringer for two. Steamboat hooks in an armbar and tags in Douglas and they get a double-backdrop for two. Just gotta love the near-falls. Douglas goes back to the arm until Windham fights up and Douglas misses a bodypress attempt off the ropes causing him to hot shot himself. Rhodes gets tagged in and covers for two. Tag Windham and a double-dropkick gets two. Tag Rhodes and a Windham suplex and Rhodes elbowdrop gets two before Steamboat makes the save. Fluke sunset flip by Douglas gets two. Windham & Rhodes work over the arm and Rhodes turns a hammerlock on the canvas for a two-count. Windham is tagged in and gets two off of a knife-edge chop. Tag Rhodes and a double-clothesline gets two. Chinlock time but Douglas fights out and gets a crossbody off the ropes for two. However, Windham & Rhodes maintain control and Windham is tagged in and delivers a side suplex for two. Clothesline by Windham gets two. Tag Rhodes and he gets a headlock into a pinning combination for two two-counts. Sorry for the lack of commentary right now but I’m very into this match. Rhodes applies a wristlock so Douglas rams him into the turnbuckles and gets a reverse bodypress off the second rope for two. Rhodes manages to come up with a pin out of nowhere for two. Tag Steamboat and he gets a shouderblock on Rhodes for two. Bodypress off the ropes by Steamboat gets two. However, Rhodes gets a hiptoss and a dropkick for two. Small package by Rhodes gets two. Flying shoulderblock by Rhodes gets two. Bad collision off the ropes sees Steamboat get an inadvertent low blow when he tries to leapfrog over Dustin and Dustin refuses to cover although Windham begs him to from the apron (because ironically the same thing happened to Windham at Starrcade 1987 against Steve Williams). Therefore, Windham tags himself in and drops an elbow for two. Inverted atomic drop by Windham gets two. The champions begin to argue over Steamboat’s condition and Windham gives Steamboat another inverted atomic drop and a clothesline, but Rhodes throws Windham off when he covers Steamboat. The champions suddenly slug it out and Steamboat tags in Douglas who catches a distracted Windham with the belly-to-belly suplex to win the titles at 15:57. Wow, this match was MUCH better when I watched it the second time around. Afterwards, Windham yells for Rhodes to come back to the ring and when he does Windham hits him with a DDT and his trademark superplex. Great tag team match that effectively turned Windham heel and gave a nice push to the new tag team champions. ****

-Ventura interviews the new Unified tag team champions and Steamboat thanks Rhodes for showing good sportsmanship when suddenly Windham comes into the locker room and lays out the champions by himself with a chair

OVERALL TAPE RATING (BUST-****): **½. This card was seriously dragging until the last two matches on the card that saw a great deal of psychology and great wrestling. Those two matches alone basically save this entire show and warrant a look from wrestling fans. Additionally, the rating is boosted by the debut of 2 Cold Scorpio and the Brian Pillman antics from the first match. Plus, everything that is bad about the card is relatively brief so you don’t have to worry about getting stuck with a ten minute suckfest that can be the death of any wrestling show. It makes you wonder how they could put together a decent show like this one and then put on such a terrible Starrcade the next month.