The Chrononaut Chronicles: Clash of the Champions XVIII
Thanks to the infinitely talented Kyle Morton for the logo. Check out his Etsy account, where he does custom artwork and commissions… you’ll be glad you did!
WCW Clash of the Champions XVIII – January 21, 1992
– The opening video recaps the story behind the formation of the Dangerous Alliance, starting with Paul E. Dangerously’s vow to bankrupt WCW by killing off its heroes. To achieve his goal, Paul E. has assembled a nefarious cabal of pro wrestling’s elite heels that includes Rick Rude, Steve Austin, Arn Anderson, Bobby Eaton, and Larry Zbyszko. The Dangerous Alliance will meet its match tonight when Sting leads his own team into battle at the eighteenth Clash of the Champions!
– LIVE from the Kansas Expocentre in Topeka, Kansas! Jim Ross and Tony Schiavone are once again our commentary team and they promise big surprises tonight.
– Big Van Vader & Mr. Hughes (w/Harley Race) vs. The Steiner Brothers (Rick & Scott Steiner)
The Steiner Brothers are back in the hunt for the WCW World Tag Team Championship that Bobby Eaton & Arn Anderson just won from Ricky Steamboat & Dustin Rhodes at a house show last Thursday, and the colossal combination of Mr. Hughes & Big Van Vader is the biggest team the Steiners have ever faced. To counteract his opponent’s mass, Scott Steiner uses his amateur wrestling technique to take down Mr. Hughes. Not afraid to match power either, Scotty tosses Hughes with an overhead belly-to-belly and the roughneck bodyguard bails out to consult with Harley Race. Hughes & Vader end up dumping both Steiners out to the floor, but they make the classic heel error of celebrating prematurely and the Steiners come back in off the same top turnbuckle with a pair of flying Steinerlines. Ross is in his element on commentary, crowing about these athletes representing top-level collegiate football and wrestling programs at Michigan, Colorado, and Kansas State. The crowd is buzzing as Vader tags in and ragdolls Rick Steiner with suplexes, a press slam, and a big avalanche in the corner. The Dogface Gremlin replies with a Steinerline and an overhead belly-to-belly before clotheslining Vader over the top rope. Rick jumps out off the apron, but Big Van catches him and rams his back against the ringpost. After a clothesline, Vader climbs to the top turnbuckle and Rick meets him up there, bringing him down with an overhead belly-to-belly superplex before making the tag. Steinerline earns a two-count for Scott and he plants Vader with a belly-to-back suplex, but he attempts a flying bodypress off the top and Vader catches him in a powerslam. Scotty tries a sunset flip when Vader ducks his head, but the Rocky Mountain Monster just crashes his 445 pounds straight down onto Scott’s chest and tags out. Mr. Hughes hits a sweet powerslam and a clothesline, but Scott dodges an avalanche and tags his brother. Rick manhandles Hughes and slugs away until Vader attacks him from behind and dumps Rick to the floor as Scott steps in. The heels double-up on Scott as Hughes holds him for Vader, but Scotty ducks and Vader flattens his own partner. Vader and Scott go over the top rope ‘together’ (I think that was the intent, but it looked like Vader just pushed himself over after dumping Scott) and Rick lands the flying bulldog off the top to pin Hughes at 9:01. ****¼ While the match didn’t follow a traditional tag team formula, this was a hard-hitting, high-impact hoss-off with Hughes & Vader taking some massive bumps from the Steiners’ big suplexes. This was a good introduction to the audience for Vader in his Clash debut as his performance showed that he would be a devastating force in WCW.
You’re the man now, dog!
– Young Pistol Tracy & The Taylor Made Man vs. Flyin’ Brian Pillman & Marcus Alexander Bagwell
The Taylor Made Man is the new ring name for Terry “Terrence” Taylor after the York Foundation dissolved and Alexandra York disappeared, never to be heard from again in WCW. This was originally scheduled to be a six-man featuring both Young Pistols, but Steve Armstrong suffered an injury so it became two-on-two. Flyin’ Brian looks good against Taylor early on as they trade chops and he quickens the pace. Taylor grounds Brian momentarily, but he snaps off a spinning headscissors and a crossbody for two. The tag is made and Marcus Alexander Bagwell unloads on both Taylor & Tracy Smothers before slingshotting Pillman in with a double clothesline. They dropkick the heels out to the floor and follow them out with stereo slingshot planchas to pop the crowd. Back in the ring, Bagwell’s inexperience costs him as he gets caught on the heel side and worked over until he lifts his knees to block a splash from Tracy. Flyin’ Brian receives the hot tag and hits a spinning heel kick on the Young Pistol for two, but Taylor snatches Pillman from the apron and suplexes him over the top rope down to the floor. Tracy follows up with a diving axhandle off the apron and sends Brian back inside for a near-fall as Pillman plays Ricky Morton and the crowd chants “Go Brian Go!” Pillman takes his requisite throat-first bump on the guardrail when Smothers knocks him off the apron with a spinning back elbow, but he comes back in with a springboard clothesline and makes the hot tag to Bagwell. All four men are in the ring until Taylor dumps Pillman out through the ropes and blindsides Marcus as he’s pounding on Tracy. The heels set up for a double back-bodydrop and Marcus counters with a sunset flip on Tracy, but Taylor grabs Tracy’s arm to prevent him from going down. Pillman slips back in and dropkicks Taylor from behind to break that up so that Bagwell can complete the sunset flip and pin Smothers at 7:48. **** Another top-notch tag team match, done in a completely different style than the opener, but just as effective and entertaining with some hot moves and a fun finish. Although this was supposed to be the first time teaming up for both teams, Flyin’ Brian & Marcus Bagwell made a dynamic duo and meshed very well together.
– Richard Morton vs. Johnny B. Badd
Before the match, footage is shown of Jushin Liger winning the WCW World Light Heavyweight Championship from Brian Pillman at a house show in Atlanta on Christmas Day. Since he is now a full-fledged babyface, Johnny B. Badd allows fans to stuff dollar bills in his garters during his entrance. I assume these fans are plants, or this was part of WCW’s plan to offset their millions of dollars in losses. Johnny lands an early flying double-axhandle off the middle turnbuckle, but the wily Richard Morton dumps him out to the floor and holds the advantage as he keeps cutting off Johnny’s momentum. Badd comes back with a powerslam for two and Morton pokes him in the eyes, but he decides he wants to beat Badd at his own game and starts throwing fists. The former Golden Gloves champion fires back with big body shots, so Morton kicks him in the gut and runs off the ropes with a crossbody. However, Badd rolls through it and pins Morton in 3:20. * The streak of good matches is over with this stinker. Johnny still had a long way to go as a worker and Morton was a non-entity at this point. The finish looked awful, but Ross covered for it by attributing the victory to Badd’s 25-pound weight advantage.
– After a commercial break, Eric Bischoff is on the old interview platform with Flyin’ Brian and Johnny B. Badd. While Badd smiles and grins like an idiot, Pillman cuts a promo equating his rivalry with Jushin Liger to the struggle of Japanese companies taking over American businesses and he promises to bring the WCW Light Heavyweight Title back to the United States. When Brian is finished, Johnny puts a sticker that looks like a pair of lips on his cheek. Looking appropriately enraged, Pillman peels the sticker off and tells Badd to “Kiss this!” as he suckerpunches him and walks away. You can see the heel persona within that would make Pillman the hottest free agent in wrestling a few years later.
Johnny B. Really Fucking Annoying.
– Diamond Dallas Page vs. “The Rapmaster” PN News
Seeing the writing on the wall for the future of managers in pro wrestling, Diamond Dallas Page acted on advice given to him by Magnum TA and began training to be an active full-time wrestler at the age of 35. His final exam must have been to drag a watchable match out of PN News because DDP bumps his A’s and B’s off for the big guy. After taking a spill out to the floor, DDP gets back in and PN squashes him with an avalanche and a pair of rolling sentons. The Rapmaster misses an elbowdrop and then an avalanche as Page takes control and scores a two-count after a Russian legsweep. Page scoops News up for a bodyslam, but the weight is too much and PN falls on top for two. The former manager shows off his hard work in training as he hits the Randy Savage running necksnap over the top rope and slingshots back in with a crossbody for a near-fall. News catches Page in a belly-to-belly suplex and lands the Rapmaster Splash off the top to win the match in 3:26. ** A passing grade for Page’s final exam, and PN News held up his end. DDP was very impressive considering the short amount of time he had been seriously training. To his credit, Page continued to train and work out at the Power Plant for years.
– This week’s WCW Top Ten, underneath the reigning WCW World Heavyweight Champion Lex Luger, consists of US Champion Ravishing Rick Rude, Sting, TV Champion Stunning Steve, Ricky Steamboat, Rick Steiner, Cactus Jack, Dustin Rhodes, Big Van Vader, El Gigante, and Larry Zbyszko. Aside from a couple of names, that’s an impressive collection of talent.
– Tony Schiavone interviews the new Executive Vice President of WCW, K. Allen Frey, a TBS attorney who had represented WCW in many of its legal battles. Frey has a contract for a World Title bout at SuperBrawl II in his hands, but first he introduces the man who will tell it like it is at the PPV, Jesse “The Body” Ventura! Making his debut for the company, Jesse puts over WCW as “the wrestling of the future” and says he’ll be calling SuperBrawl from start to finish. Schiavone then announces that Lex Luger’s challenger will be none other than Sting, who comes out to a big pop and high-fives Jesse. Precorded comments from Luger air next, as the Total Package explains that he has been in seclusion because he is focused purely on training for SuperBrawl. In reality, Lex was waiting out the end of his contract so he could head to Vince McMahon’s World Bodybuilding Federation and segue into the WWF. Back in Kansas, Sting signs the contract and says he wishes he could drag Lex out into the streets and do it now.
– Falls Count Anywhere: Cactus Jack vs. “Heavy Metal” Van Hammer
The stipulations state that falls count anywhere in the entire State of Kansas, as these two have been feuding since the last Clash when Cactus Jack pinned Van Hammer after jamming his own guitar into his throat, followed by a wild post-match brawl. This time, Heavy Metal comes prepared with a gimmicked guitar that shoots guitar picks into Jack’s eyes. Holy crap, that is easily the coolest thing Van Hammer ever did in his life. Hammer quickly follows up by slingshotting into the ring with a crossbody for a two-count and gets another two after a clothesline from behind and a legdrop across the back of the head. The tide shifts when Cactus clotheslines Hammer as he’s leaping off the turnbuckles, and the Madman from New Mexico decides to take the fight to more familiar territory by clotheslining Hammer and himself over the top rope. Cactus covers Hammer on the floor for two and peels back the protective mats before climbing onto the middle turnbuckle. Van stands up, so WHAT THE H, Jack dives off with a flying sunset flip and takes a sick bump on the concrete floor in the process. They fight onto the runway and Hammer powerslams Jack for a near-fall and wraps him up in an inside cradle for another two-count. Cactus attempts to hiptoss Hammer off the ramp, but Van reverses it and Foley takes the bump down onto the solid concrete floor. Hammer follows him down with a flying clothesline for a near-fall and they brawl back through the entrance area as we go to commercial. The crowd boos loudly, because they can’t see the wrestlers or they think the match is over. When we come back, Cactus Jack is attacking Van Hammer with a huge piece of lumber outside the building. Missy Hyatt is on the scene, ostensibly to provide a report, but all she does is scream occasionally while the fight heads toward an adjacent rodeo arena. Cactus digs into Hammer’s face with the horn of a bull’s skull that just happened to be laying around, and Hammer responds by grabbing a rope and hanging Jack over the fence as they brawl into the holding pens. Dressed like a big fat cowboy, Abdullah the Butcher pops up and assaults Hammer, but Cactus doesn’t appreciate the help and he slugs away at Abdullah. Van hammers Abdullah and Jack attacks Hammer as all three end up in the empty rodeo arena. The Butcher whacks Heavy Metal across the back with a shovel and Cactus disposes of Abdullah before pinning Hammer in the dirt at 10:08. The brawl continues, minus Van Hammer, after the bell as Abdullah dunks Jack’s head in a watering trough and then drops Missy Hyatt into the water when she gets too close. Ah, so that’s why she was out there. **** Just a crazy out-of-control brawl that was pretty revolutionary for the mainstream wrestling companies at the time. The love/hate relationship between Abdullah and Cactus, whether intentional or just a result of inconsistent booking, was intriguing and Abby’s appearance under a cowboy hat cracks me up. I just imagine him waiting there for Cactus and Hammer all day, baling hay and shoveling horse shit as he’s whistling away to himself and chewing on a piece of straw.
Nobody noticed the maniacal 400-pound cowboy waiting to bludgeon someone with a shovel?
– The Fabulous Freebirds (Michael “PS” Hayes & Jimmy “Jam” Garvin) vs. Big Josh & Brad Armstrong
Billed as “The New Freebirds” by Ross because they have new gear and a new song, the Fabulous Freebirds ‘perform’ their latest hit, “I’m A Freebird (And What Was Your Excuse)”, during their entrance as they alternate between lip-synching and singing horribly off-key. Both teams enter as babyfaces since the Freebirds wanted to prove they could be successful without cheating, and that mindset works to their advantage in the early going. When Armstrong & Josh start to clean house, the Freebirds resort to double-teaming behind the referee’s back and Hayes pins Armstrong in 3:47 after they plant him with a double DDT. *½ The Freebirds were played out by this point and all the wardrobe changes in the world couldn’t hide it.
– An excellent video piece recaps the Steiner Brothers’ major victories, including their wins over the Road Warriors and the Nasty Boys before both teams left for the WWF and Rick Steiner’s bid to unseat WCW World Champion Lex Luger. Eric Bischoff brings Rick & Scott out to the interview platform. The Steiners announce their intent to challenge Arn Anderson & Bobby Eaton for the World Tag Team Championship, and Scotty quotes Alice Cooper as he says that “No More Mr. Nice Guy” is their new motto.
– Thomas Rich vs. Vinnie Vegas
After the failures of Master Blaster Steel and the Great & Powerful Oz, Kevin Nash is back for a third attempt with his latest gimmick, a Mafia-connected wiseguy from Sin City that he patterned after Steve Martin’s character in My Blue Heaven. Unlike the previous gimmicks, Vinnie Vegas was Nash’s own creation and it shows in his performance as he seems comfortable and natural. He exchanges words with an off-camera fan and calls over a reluctant Thomas Rich (“Tommy! Tommy, come here! Tommy!”) to respond to the fan, but it’s a trick allowing Vinnie to cheapshot Tommy, the dumbest NWA World Champion ever. Vegas completely dominates Rich and finishes him off with the Snake Eyes in 55 seconds. * File it under guilty pleasures if you must, but Vinnie Vegas was a fun character and Nash was fantastic in the role. At the very least, he was entertaining enough to catch the eye of Shawn Michaels.
I guess billing him from Las Vegas would have been a bit too on-the-nose.
– Eric Bischoff interviews Paul E. Dangerously to discuss the Dangerous Alliance’s two big matches tonight: a six-man against Ron Simmons, Barry Windham, & Dustin Rhodes and a tag bout with Sting & Ricky Steamboat. Paul claims that all of his other predictions have come true and issues another prognostication as he forecasts the demise of at least one of their five opponents via crippling injury.
– The Dangerous Alliance (“The Enforcer” Arn Anderson & “Beautiful” Bobby Eaton & Larry “The Cruncher” Zbyszko w/Paul E. Dangerously) vs. “The Natural” Dustin Rhodes & “The All American” Ron Simmons & Barry Windham
Described by JR as WCW’s version of the All Star Game, this six-man showdown had a lot of heat behind it since Barry Windham was looking to avenge the wrist injury inflicted by Larry Zbyszko & Arn Anderson. Paul E.’s futile screaming at referee Mike Atkins to remove the black glove covering Barry’s bandaged hand is perfectly obnoxious. Beautiful Bobby snatches the early lead with a spinning neckbreaker, but Windham no-sells a superplex and plants Eaton with a superplex of his own. Windham covers and Anderson runs in to break up the count as all six men end up in the ring with the babyfaces applying figure-fours on the heels. A bastion of badassery, Ron Simmons handles himself quite well against all three members of the Dangerous Alliance with clotheslines and a press slam. Dustin Rhodes also looks impressive, tossing Eaton out onto the runway and then diving over the top rope with a flying lariat. We finally get the faceoff between Windham and Zbyszko, the alleged mastermind behind the assault that broke Barry’s wrist at Halloween Havoc, as Barry pounds away on the Cruncher until Arn pulls Larry out of the way of Barry’s lariat. Zbyszko bails out while his fellow Alliance members try to provide a distraction, but Windham knocks Eaton off the top turnbuckle with a dropkick and faceplants Anderson before chasing Zbyszko back in and tagging Rhodes. The Natural flips, flops, and flies, but Zbyszko ducks a high crossbody and Dustin soars over the top rope out to the runway. While Anderson has the ref distracted, Eaton holds Rhodes so that Dangerously can club him in the lower midsection with his phone. The Enforcer goes to work on Dustin as Arn executes the spinebuster for a near-fall and then drills him with a DDT for another close call. Beautiful Bobby lands a flying elbowdrop for a near-fall and Dustin avoids a charge in the corner, but Bobby makes the tag first and Arn cuts him off. When Arn tries an aerial attack, Dustin gets his foot up and scrambles between Bobby’s legs to make the hot tag. Barry comes in off the top with a flying lariat and unloads on Bobby as the match suddenly breaks down with Simmons fighting Zbyszko on the runway and Rhodes slugging it out with Anderson on the floor. While the ref is distracted by the mayhem, Eaton dives off the top turnbuckle and Windham blasts him with his gloved hand for the pin at 9:29. **** A very good six-man with plenty of crowd heat to sustain it, although the match was a bit disjointed and it was pretty obvious when they got the go-home signal. In his first match back, Windham’s injury was never exploited and when he finally got Zbyszko in the ring, he tagged out. So much for revenge. In a post-match interview, Windham says he is back in action despite what the doctor told him and predicts that Paul E. Dangerously and everyone associated with him will go down.
– The Dangerous Alliance (“Stunning” Steve Austin & “Ravishing” Rick Rude w/Paul E. Dangerously) vs. Ricky “The Dragon” Steamboat & Sting
Jesse Ventura joins Jim Ross on commentary, and much is made of the fact that this is the first time that the top four contenders to the World Heavyweight Title have ever competed in one match. Let’s hope the ring doesn’t blow up! Rick Rude’s choice of insult toward the audience is “cable-watching couch potatoes,” while Paul E. Dangerously looks overjoyed as he clutches both the WCW United States Championship belt and the WCW Television Championship over his shoulders. Jesse notes that if he were 20 years older, Ravishing Rick & Stunning Steve could be his sons because they remind him of himself. Rude & Austin are also my all-time pro wrestling dream team, with Vader as an alternate. Back to reality, Ricky Steamboat pops the crowd by utilizing some martial arts strikes and then scoring a series of near-falls on Austin with a backslide, a double-leg cradle, and an inside cradle. The first interaction between Sting and Rude comes when Rude tags in and bypasses Steamboat so that he can slap Sting on the apron. The Stinger takes control using a traditional atomic drop, followed by the reverse variation as Rude does his classic selling act. After torturing the Ravishing One in a camel clutch, Sting swivels his hips to mock Rude and Dangerously hops up on the apron. While referee Nick Patrick is distracted, the babyfaces make an illegal switch as Steamboat resumes the camel clutch on Rude, and the crowd cheers when the ref asks if they tagged. They switch again behind the ref’s back after Steamboat draws Austin in by bumping and grinding on Rude. Awesome. The fun comes to an end when Rude gets his knees up as Sting is jumping groin-first, and Jesse already gets in a reference to Sting the rock star as he says Sting will be a soprano the next time he sings “Roxanne”. The Dangerous Alliance duo function like an experienced tag team unit as they exchange frequent tags (legal tags, as Jesse points out) and isolate Sting from his corner. Sting manages to block a sunset flip from Austin and makes the hot tag as Steamboat unloads on both Alliance members. The Dragon wraps up Stunning Steve in a victory roll, but the ref is busy with Sting for some reason and Rude nails Steamboat with a clothesline. Now it’s Steamboat’s turn to ‘play Ricky Morton’ as Austin & Rude tag in-and-out and punish the former NWA World Champion in their half of the ring until he fights back with chops. Steamboat surprises Austin with an inside cradle, but Rude makes the save and that brings Sting in as well. Ravishing Rick dumps Sting out to the runway and Austin follows him out and throws him down to the floor, but the Stinger lands on his feet and pops back up. Meanwhile, Austin executes a backbreaker on Steamboat and scoops him up for another one, but Sting dives in off the top turnbuckle and knocks Steamboat on top of Austin, with Sting on top of the pile. Apparently, two-on-one is a legal pin as Nick Patrick administers the three-count at 11:21. The sole voice of reason in a world gone mad, Jesse is disgusted by the finish while Ross admits that the “assist” would go to Sting. In post-match shenanigans, Austin avoids a Stinger Splash and dumps Sting out while Rude drops Steamboat with a pair of Rude Awakenings that Ricky expertly sells like he’s been paralyzed. Rude begins to whip Steamboat with Paul E.’s belt and Sting crawls in to cover his partner and absorb the lashing himself. A horde of scrubs in “Security” t-shirts attempt to intervene, but Rude & Austin beat the hell out of them too. Eventually, they get bored and leave the ring, and Ross and Ventura close the show with a plug for SuperBrawl II. ****½ A hot tag team main event and an even better post-match beatdown. The babyfaces doing the illegal switches while the heels basically played fair provided a unique dynamic, and honestly I could watch the Dangerous Alliance kick the crap out of WCW’s face roster all day.
Sting always did have a martyr complex.
The 411: Much like the New World Order would do a few years later, the Dangerous Alliance brought an air of unpredictability and chaos to WCW as they ran roughshod over the company's top babyfaces to achieve Paul E. Dangerously's goal of bringing Ted Turner's organization to its knees. This storyline would dominate the upper card for the first half of 1992 and produce some excellent match-ups, such as the two major bouts at Clash of the Champions XVIII. In addition to the Dangerous Alliance, the introduction of Jesse "The Body" Ventura was well-done and he added a lot to the broadcast. This Clash also saw Cactus Jack inflict his own brand of mayhem in a chaotic Falls Count Anywhere match that was completely unlike anything in the WWF. The Steiner Brothers were back and firing on all cylinders, and Big Van Vader was beginning his climb up the ladder of contention in WCW. Behind the scenes, Jim Herd was forced to resign after Turner executives investigated the major financial losses the company was suffering and he was blamed for the lion's share of the failures, dating back to the contract dispute that led to Ric Flair jumping to the WWF. With new management and a competent booking committee, WCW was at its strongest point since the glory days of the Four Horsemen.
|Final Score: 9.5 [ Amazing ] legend|