The SmarK Retro Re-Rant for WCW Clash of the Champions XV: Knocksville USA! (June 14, 1991)
– Your hosts are Tony & JR.
– Live from Knoxville, TN, see, because it’s KNOCKSville, USA. Oh, that Dusty.
– This show is smack dab in the middle of 1991, in a period for WCW so bad that it makes the current product on Smackdown look like Ring of Honor by comparison.
– Opening match: The Fabulous Freebirds & Bradstreet v. Tom Zenk & The Southern Boys.
The Birds had recently lost the World tag titles to the Steiners after a grueling negative title reign where they lost the belts before they won them, which kind of tells you the direction of the company at that point right there. Even the laws of time and space were abandoning ship on them. The Freebird entourage at ringside was getting completely out of proportion to their place on the card at this point as well, featuring both Diamond Dallas Page and Oliver Humperdink as managers for a team that cut better promos than either one of them did. Ah, WCW.
The Pistols control early with a pair of flying bodypresses, but the Birds regroup outside. Back in, Tracy Smothers uses his redneck kung fu on Hayes, and they bail again. Tony notes that the Freebirds should probably think about going after Tom Zenk’s recently-detached bicep. Wait, wait, let me put this sage wisdom into my PDA in case I’m ever in the ring with him, filed under “Blindingly Obvious” along with DDP’s eternal rib tape. Hayes comes back with his dreaded right hand and Bradstreet dumps Smothers, you’d think making him your hick-in-peril. But instead the faces defy expectations of the way the match should go and they all sunset flip in for the triple pin to end it really quickly.
(Southern Boys & Zenk d. Freebirds & Badstreet, triple pin, 4:46, *1/2) Was there an emergency Armstrong family meeting backstage that necessitated them going home RIGHT NOW or something? 4 out of the 6 guys never even tagged in!
The Great and Mighty Oz v. Johnny Rich
Well, on the bright side, at least now they had more time for Big Kev. Fear his rubber Gandalf mask and generic rock entrance music! Yes, this company seriously did think that devoting a 12-minute entrance and licensing the rights to the “Oz” name would make Nash into the next superstar. Turns out all they needed to do was bring in Shawn Michaels and let Nash ride his coattails to the top instead. It must have pained Kevin, however, to be forced to dye his hair grey for the character, when the rest of his life became devoted to doing the opposite. Sure, there’s a match going on, but why get bogged down with petty details like that? Life’s too short.
(Oz d. Johnny Rich, helicopter slam — pin, 1:27, DUD) This gets nothing and likes it, and Nash was repackaged yet again into Vinnie Vegas soon after. So no one is happy.
Dangerous Dan Spivey v. Big Josh
Josh’s introduction begs the question: Where exactly IS the “North Woods” supposed to be? The forest just outside of Parts Unknown? Is it like Narnia? Slugfest to start and Spivey gets a corner clothesline, but Josh takes him down. The juxtaposition on commenatary is hilarious here, as Ross talks in a serious tone about Spivey’s football career while Tony has to act like a moron and pretend that grizzled veteran Matt Bourne has only been in the sport for “five months”. I never got that about WCW — you had marketable name wrestlers like Matt Bourne and Billy Jack Haynes, who have drawn money for years under those names, and you bring them in and immediately give them silly gimmicks like Big Josh and Black Blood and essentially just give them roles that any idiot jobber could play, thus wasting any value their name has. Josh comes back with a suplex, but gets clotheslined. Josh comes back again with a backdrop suplex, but Kevin Sullivan (in the name of Black Blood, who couldn’t even be bothered to do the run-in himself, apparently) hits Josh with a crutch and allows Spivey to finish.
(Spivey d. Josh, german suplex — pin, 2:46, *) You know, this one kind of irks me, because they were having a very watchable and fun little brawl here before the goofy finish after only 3 minutes. The Josh-Blood feud, with it not being Portland in 1984 and all, went nowhere.
And now, the WCW Top 10!
9.One Man Gang
10.Stunning Steve Austin
Please note: THE WCW TOP TEN is a prescription medication approved for use in combination with flutamide (an antiandrogen) plus radiotherapy for locally advanced prostate cancer. Treatment with the combination should start 8 weeks prior to starting and continue during radiation therapy.
THE WCW TOP TEN is also approved to use alone for patients with advanced prostate cancer. THE WCW TOP TEN may help reduce the size of your cancer and reduce your symptoms (palliative treatment).
THE WCW TOP TEN, like other LHRH-As, may cause an initial rise in testosterone. When used alone, there may be a temporary worsening of prostate cancer symptoms at the start of therapy.
Common side effects that occurred during treatment with THE WCW TOP TEN plus flutamide and radiation therapy or THE WCW TOP TEN alone included hot flashes, decrease in sexual desire and/or ability to have erections, diarrhea, pain (general, pelvic, and bone), lower urinary tract symptoms, fatigue, nausea, breast growth, swelling, rash, upper respiratory infection, and sweating. These may also be associated with being Dusty Rhodes.
Please see full Prescribing Information for THE WCW TOP TEN.
– And now, Paul E Dangerously interviews Jason Hervey in a one-sided fashion, about his relationship with Missy Hyatt. Hervey was a huge wrestling fan and was constantly on TV at this time, milking his Wonder Years quasi-fame before going on to head the failed WCW Home Video division. Sadly, it collapsed in 1999, as they never could really break away from Turner Home Video. In hindsight, I’m glad I didn’t get a job with them after all. Anyway, Paul badgers the kid until he stands up for himself, at which point Dangerously clobbers him with the phone in a nice bump for Jason. Good segment, actually.
Dustin Rhodes v. Terrance Taylor
Despite the breakneck pacing of the show thus far, Dustin’s father being the booker makes me fear him getting like 15:00 tonight. Rhodes with a corner clothesline for two to start, as they just chuck the entire opening sequence out the window. Taylor bails, but gets hit with a pair of atomic drops back in the ring. Dustin misses a charge and lands on the floor, and Taylor suplexes him back in for two. Jawjacker and powerbomb get two. Dustin gets a sunset flip for two. Backslide gets two. Slugfest is won by Dustin as he comes back with the atomic drop and bulldog, but Mr. Hughes is distracting the ref by telling him about the great new S&M club he found the night before. This allows Ricky Morton to run in and turn on Dustin, thus joining the York Foundation.
(Dustin Rhodes d. Terrance Taylor, DQ, 4:23, *1/2) Never really got going, much like everything else thus far.
Sting v. Nikita Koloff.
I could be wrong, but I like to imagine this one started backstage when Sting was all “I love Jesus the most for his message of love and compassion!” and Koloff was all “No, I love Jesus the most for his message of understanding and brotherhood!” and then it turned into a big brawl. At any rate, this was a great potential feud that just came at completely the wrong time for a great feud.
Sting charges in and gets beaten down for his troubles. Koloff hits him with a shoulderblock and tosses him, and abuses him on the floor. Back in, Sting piledrives him, which Koloff no-sells. Where did THAT come from? Koloff stomps him down and tombstones him for two. Sting comes back with a sunset flip for two. Nikita keeps pounding in the corner and a backbreaker gets two. Slight tangent: Am I the only one now incapable of hearing that Elton John song “Nikita” without thinking of Koloff? Koloff stays on the ribs and chokes away, but Sting fires back. Nikita tosses him to end that, but Sting reverses him into the railing as a payback for an earlier spot. Back in, more irony as Sting reverses the tombstone piledriver and comes back. Stinger splash misses, but so does the Russian Sickle, allowing Sting to roll him up for the pin.
(Sting d. Koloff, rollup — pin, 9:33, ***) Hey, this almost got enough time to tell a real story and everything!
– PN News joins us, joined by Salt N Pepa a few years before their comeback and subsequent fade into obscurity again. Johnny B Badd interrupts to kick off the gayest feud of 1991. John Cena owes his CAREER to PN News, and we all know it but don’t want to admit it. Anyway, Badd calls News UGLY. OH, SNAP! PN wants to know why Badd is dissing him. No, really. Let’s just move on.
Barry Windham & Arn Anderson v. Brian Pillman & El Gigante (Loser Leaves WCW)
I don’t even know where that stipulation came from. The Horsemen pound on Pillman to start and Windham DDTs him for two. Arn comes in and knees Brian in the corner, but gets dropkicked to the floor. Pillman follows with a pescado and Gigante chokes Arn out. Back in, Brian gets a high cross on Windham for two. Powerslam for Arn and he goes up, but Windham trips him up and then boots him in the head for the pin. Hell of a way to end a career.
(Windham & Anderson d. Pillman & Gigante, Windham kick — pin Pillman, 3:06, *) This was almost a squash by the Horsemen, as Pillman would resurface as “The Yellow Dog” in a part tribute to Barry Windham’s old gimmick and a part tribute to Dusty Rhodes’ old gimmick. I think the funnier visual gag would have been Gigante losing the fall and coming back as El Perro Amarillo, with the announcers struggling to place the mysterious masked man, but I take my amusement where I can get it.
– Paul E. hypes the Great American Bash 91, which should be a wicked card as long as the champion doesn’t walk out with the belt a week before the show over a money dispute. But then, when does that ever happen?
IWGP tag titles: The Steiner Brothers v. Masa Chono & Hiroshi Hase
The Steiners care so much about the IWGP titles that they don’t even bother bringing them to the ring, just using the WCW tag belts instead. Hase starts with Scott and takes him down, then blocks Scott’s return attempt with an enzuigiri. Scott hotshots him for two, however. Hase comes back with a vicious side kick, but Scott takes him down again and brings Rick in. He pounds on Chono, but gets STIFFED with a Yakuza kick that’s so hard it knocks his headgear off. OH, SNAP! Much love to Chono for that one. He continues throwing the kicks as Rick seems uninteresting in selling anything after that, until Rick fires back with a brutal Steinerline. Oh, I can feel the love tonight. Scott comes in for the double-team, and Rick suplexes Hase when Chono tags out. Hase comes back with a fallaway slam and Chono shoulderblocks Rick off the top. Fallaway slam from Chono into a flying kneedrop from Hase follows, and Chono slaps on the STF, thus introducing the move to the US. Scott suplexes the shit out of Hase on the floor and breaks up the STF, however. Double KO and tags on both sides, and Scott just about knocks the moustache off Hase’s face with a lariat. Butterfly bomb and belly to belly superplex get two. Hase gets a dragon suplex for two and sets up the double-team, but Scott has had enough and finishes Hase with the Frankensteiner.
(The Steiners d. Hase & Chono, Scott rana — pin Hase, 8:09, ***) Another one that ended just as it got going, with both teams looking grumpy and throwing stiff shots at each other. The Hardliners (Murdoch & Slater) attack everyone afterwards, resulting in Scott tearing a bicep and having to forfeit the titles soon after. He never really recovered fully and turned into the wrestler he is today instead of the one he was back then.
The Diamond Studd v. Tommy Rich
Someone tell these guys it’s only a 2 hour show. Quick squash for the Studd, as I think a drinking contest would have been more interesting.
(Studd d. Rich, Razor’s Edge — pin, 1:56, DUD)
– Jim Ross interviews the winner of the Sting lookalike contest, who happens to be a kid from Knoxville. Sadly, the story would turn tragic when the winner of the Ric Flair lookalike contest would ask the kid to join the Four Horsemen lookalikes, before viciously turning on him. Anyway, I can’t pass this by without noting that the real Sting joins the kid and gets attacked by Nikita Koloff, but not before hugging his little friend and talking about how excited it makes him. TMI! TMI!
Lex Luger v. The Great Muta
Why yes, there are more matches before the main event, why do you ask? This is the #1 contender battle, which is odd because they hadn’t even used Muta since like 1989. Luger no-sells all of Muta’s stuff and suplexes him. Muta gets a backdrop, but Luger no-sells that and presses him instead. Blind charge misses, but Muta misses the handspring elbow and takes a SPECTACULAR bump to the floor, perhaps trying to at least show up Luger before doing the job. Back in, Luger no-sells the mist and powerslams him to finish. Well, screw you too, Lex.
(Luger d. Muta, powerslam — pin, 3:46, 1/2*) Nothing match, as Luger gave him nothing and sold nothing.
Stunning Steve Austin v. Joey Maggs
Sadly, I did this show on October 15 2006, and while I was typing it up the next day I learned that in fact Maggs passed away in the morning. Sorry, it wasn’t my intention to do a show featuring him the night before he died.
(Austin d. Maggs, stungun — pin, 0:20, DUD)
WCW World title: Ric Flair v. Bobby Eaton
Finally the main event, with about 15 minute of airtime left. This is 2/3 falls, just like in the old days. Flair gets a cheapshot to start, so Eaton smacks him down and clotheslines him out. Back in, Flair throws the chops, but Bobby is all BRING IT ON, and fires back with punches before backdropping him for two. Eaton takes him down into a short-arm scissors, and Flair unsuccessfully tries to roll out of it. Flair takes him down, but gets tagged with another right and bails. Eaton chases, walking right into Flair’s trap like an idiot. And now, Flair starts chopping and tosses Eaton into the ringpost. Kneedrop gets two. Butterfly suplex gets two. Back to the chops, and they slug it out, but Flair goes up and gets slammed off. Flair Flip and a backbreaker for Eaton get two. See, here that sequence with Flair getting slammed off and doing the silly flip was meaningful, because it’s leading to something. Just wanted to jump in and note that. Neckbreaker and Alabama Jam finish cleanly to give Eaton the first fall at 9:45. And that was the pinnacle of Eaton’s career. Mark your calendar, because Eaton’s career was all downhill after that.
Second fall sees Bobby fighting off another Flair flurry, and a backslide gets two. Neckbreaker and Eaton gets cocky, going up again to finish, but Flair is smarter and dumps him to the floor, blowing out his knee in the process. Double whammy! Eaton is counted out at 12:29.
Third fall and Eaton is limping, and you just know what’s going to happen now. That’s a really well-booked match. Eaton is still fighting and he gets a superplex, but his knee is gone. He still gets two, but Flair recovers first and goes for the kill. Figure-four, but Eaton reverses for two. You’d think after 20 years Flair would learn not to yell “NOW WE GO TO SCHOOL!” because it telegraphs the move a bit, but he’s the pro. Figure-four again, and this time there’s no reversing it, as Eaton is done at 15:51. Can’t fault him for effort, but Flair just out-thought him.
(Flair d. Eaton 2 falls to 1, figure-four — pin, 15:51, ***1/2) This one hurt, because it could have been SOOOOOO much more but got hacked down due to time constraints from their own retarded management skills. Still, not too shabby as is and well worth checking out. All hell broke loose with Flair a couple of weeks after this.
The main event is worth a look, but the rest is like Russo booking while coked up and should be avoided at all costs. 1991 WCW was not so much with the good, and this is a fine example of why everyone involved should have been rounded up and shot long ago. Recommendation to avoid.