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The Chrononaut Chronicles: Clash of the Champions XI

November 9, 2011 | Posted by Joel Thomas
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The Chrononaut Chronicles: Clash of the Champions XI  

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!

The Chrononaut Chronicles
WCW Clash of the Champions XI: Coastal Crush – June 13, 1990

– While tropical storm images appear on the screen, the opening voiceover notes that World Championship Wrestling was blown out of town by Hurricane Hugo the last time they were scheduled to be in South Carolina. Now, WCW is back for the eleventh Clash of the Champions: Coastal Crush!


– LIVE from the McAllister Fieldhouse in Charleston, South Carolina! Tony Schiavone has returned from his 18-month sabbatical in the WWF and he runs down the lineup for tonight’s broadcast before handing it over to our commentary team of Jim Ross and Bob Caudle.

– The Southern Boys (Tracey Smothers & Steve Armstrong) vs. The Fabulous Freebirds (Michael “PS” Hayes & Jimmy “Jam” Garvin)

A quick pre-match promo from the Wild Eyed Southern Boys establishes that this Battle for the South will eclipse the Civil War. That’s some serious hyperbole. The Fabulous Freebirds are the heels by virtue of their flashy, flamboyant appearance complete with eyeliner. The Freebirds attempt an early ambush, but the Southern Boys quickly turn it around and send Garvin & Hayes fleeing from the ring. The ‘Birds double-up on Tracey Smothers, but Steve Armstrong dives in off the top turnbuckle with a flying bodypress on both Hayes & Garvin to put an end to that. The ‘Birds fly the coop to regroup after a pair of dropkicks from the Boys, and Hayes wants to face Armstrong when he climbs back in. Armstrong quickens the pace and goes to the top, but Garvin interjects from the apron and shoves Steve to the canvas. The veterans from Bad Street USA take control of Armstrong using their superior experience, but Armstrong slams Hayes off the top and makes the hot tag. Smothers fires off spinning back-elbows on both ‘Birds and catches Garvin in a rolling cradle, but Hayes cuts him down with a clothesline. Jimmy Jam knees Tracey in the head and covers him, but Armstrong dives off the top with a headbutt and rolls Smothers on top of Garvin for the upset at 7:29. **½ Not a bad little opener, as the Southern Boys were a good young team in the midst of a decent push and a feud with the Freebirds was a natural one. JR noted that Steve & Tracey had recently upset the Midnight Express, so they were on a roll.

Just to be clear, the guys wearing the Confederate jackets are the babyfaces.

– “Wildfire” Tommy Rich vs. “The Beast from the East” Bam Bam Bigelow (w/”The Big Kahuna” Sir Oliver Humperdink)

Got a new heel you want to put over on national TV? Just call Tommy Rich! Bam Bam Bigelow had previously surfaced in the NWA/WCW in late 1988 before heading to Japan. Ross brings up Bam Bam’s past as a bounty hunter and his effectiveness in that profession. It’s a battle of speed against power as Wildfire outmaneuvers the Beast from the East when he tries to corner the former NWA World Champion. Bam Bam shrugs off Wildfire’s punches, so Tommy headbutts him and works the arm. Bigelow comes back with a massive headbutt of his own, but Rich avoids an avalanche and rolls him up for a two-count. Rich slugs away on the big guy, but Bam Bam turns the tide with a reverse atomic drop and a military press slam. Bigelow starts choking Rich and refuses to stop, so referee Mike Atkins calls for the bell at 3:46 and disqualifies Bigelow. The choking continues after the bell and Bam Bam expresses his desire to “kill everybody” as Ross and Caudle point out that Sir Oliver Humperdink can’t even control the Beast from the East. *

– A video hypes the WCW debut of Big Van Vader at the 1990 Great American Bash by showing his ring entrance in Japan.

– Ring announcer Gary Michael Cappetta brings out El Gigante for an interview and reads off his statistics as he hypes the 7’7″ Argentinian’s wrestling debut at the Great American Bash in a six-man tag team match against the Horsemen. Dressed like a big shiny Aztec warrior in bicycle shorts, Gigante is interviewed in Spanish and he gets a pretty good reaction. I don’t speak much Spanish, and even I could tell that his promo skills matched his wrestling abilities.

The least threatening 8-foot-tall giant in the world.

– The Samoan Swat Team (Fatu & The Samoan Savage) vs. “Captain” Mike Rotunda & The Z-Man

Remember how the last time we saw Mike Rotunda on a Clash, he was the Captain of the Varsity Club because of his impressive collegiate wrestling credentials? Well, he’s still called Captain Mike, except now he wears a sailor’s cap and a nautical jacket. And his trunks have a little picture of an anchor on them. Yes, for some reason, they thought that having Rotunda be the Captain of his own boat would get him over better than being the Captain of an elite wrestling team. It’s always easy to spot the ideas that come from members of the booking committee who have no prior experience in the wrestling business. Unless somebody was just ribbing poor ol’ Captain Mike because he was still sore over the breakup of the Varsity Club. As for the Samoans, Samu had apparently left WCW, so the Samoan Savage (formerly Tonga Kid and Islander Tama in the WWF) took his place as Fatu’s partner in the SST. The Z-Man & Captain Mike utilize their quickness to combat the Swat Team’s size and power, but the Samoans slow the pace and isolate Rotunda from his partner. The Savage bodyslams Rotunda on the floor and the SST punish him in the ring, but Rotunda rallies back with a double-clothesline and makes the hot tag. Z-Man unloads on both Samoans with savate kicks and cracks their skulls together, but they no-sell it and blast Zenk with a double-headbutt. Samoan Drop by Fatu sets up Z-Man for a crushing pump splash from Savage, but instead of going for the pin the Samoans climb the turnbuckles and celebrate. While they are distracted, Rotunda pulls Zenk out of the ring and takes his place, feigning injury. Since the Samoans aren’t smart enough to tell the difference between the Z-Man & Rotunda, Captain Mike suckers Fatu in and wraps him up in an inside cradle for the victory in 5:25. ** Average match with a bad finish. The ref must have been a graduate of the Tommy Young Professional Wrestling Referee Academy for the Blind, Senile, & Stupid if he couldn’t see the difference between Rotunda and Zenk.

– Mean Mark (w/Paul E. Dangerously) vs. Flyin’ Brian

Seriously, what is with the wacky WCW policy of taking away guys’ last names? It might not be a huge deal, but without surnames, monikers like Flyin’ Brian and Mean Mark sound like they belong on some cheesy Saturday morning kiddie show. After the New Skyscrapers split up when Dan Spivey took off back to Japan, Mark Callous was pushed as a singles monster under the management of Paul E. Dangerously and was being built up for a United States Title shot against Lex Luger at the Great American Bash. Before the bell, Paul E. gets right in Pillman’s face and argues with him long enough for Mean Mark to strike from behind and hammer away on his much smaller opponent. Brian comes back with a dropkick and slams Mark’s head against the turnbuckle, but the Mean One elbows him away and knocks him off the apron with a big running boot to the head. Back inside, Pillman flips his way out of a side slam and attempts a crucifix, but Callous charges backward and squashes him in the corner. Mark keeps cutting off Brian’s comebacks and physically dominating him while Pillman gets over as the plucky babyface who refuses to give up. The momentum finally shifts when Callous throws Pillman over the top rope and turns around, so he doesn’t realize that Brian held on to the rope and skinned-the-cat. Dangerously goes crazy at ringside trying to get Mark’s attention as Brian ascends to the top turnbuckle and nails Mark with a missile dropkick. Paul E. hops up on the apron with his phone, but Brian dropkicks him to the floor. Flyin’ Brian dives with a high crossbody out of the corner, but Mean Mark catches him in a hotshot and covers him in 5:40. **¾ Brian Pillman is one of the unsung MVPs of the Clashes, as he always had good-to-great matches on these shows. Seeing the future Undertaker in action, it’s no wonder the WWF snatched him up as soon as his contract expired a couple of months later. Mean Mark was the total package in terms of having incredible athletic ability, being a great big-man worker, and possessing a unique killer look.

– Tony Schiavone interviews Sting, who warns Ric Flair and the Horsemen that the “Dudes With Attitudes” will be around tonight. The Dudes With Attitudes was a ragtag babyface coalition formed to counteract the constant outside interference of the Four Horsemen. This alliance was a mixture of top homegrown NWA/WCW talent like Sting, Lex Luger, and the Steiners, and WWF midcard castoffs Junkyard Dog and Paul Orndorff. Even as a 10-year-old reading about this angle in the magazines, I thought Dudes With Attitudes was such a lame name and I was equally offended when the WWF brought it back for Diesel & Shawn Michaels during their babyface run.

– NWA United States Tag Team Championship: The Rock ‘n’ Roll Express (Ricky Morton & Robert Gibson) vs. The Midnight Express (Beautiful Bobby & Sweet Stan w/Jim Cornette) ©

The Midnight Express had captured the US Tag Team Championship from Brian Pillman & Tom Zenk at Capital Combat ’90 and renewed their epic rivalry with the Rock ‘n’ Roll Express when Ricky & Robert returned to the NWA/WCW yet again. Bob Caudle notes that Robert Gibson uses sign language because his mother is “deaf and dumb,” a term that would probably get ol’ Bob fired nowadays. It’s even early on as each side takes advantage briefly before breaking off, but the Rock ‘n’ Rolls seem a step ahead and get the crowd solidly behind them. Ricky Morton pops the crowd with a Frankensteiner-like headscissor on Bobby Eaton and they both tag out, but Sweet Stan doesn’t fare much better against the Rock ‘n’ Rolls. Lane tags out after thumbing Morton’s eye and Eaton sets him up for a superplex, but Ricky flips out and rolls Bobby up. Stan makes the save and all four men are in the ring as the Midnights pull off a couple of basic double-teams, but the Rock ‘n’ Rolls answer back with a double near-fall spot with Ricky rolling up Stan and Robert sunset-flipping Bobby. As he is wont to do, Morton gets caught up in the Midnights’ corner and worked over briefly, but tags are made and Gibson is a house-of-fire. He covers Lane after a flying clothesline off the ropes, but Eaton makes the save and Morton takes him over the top rope and they both tumble to the floor. While Gibson softens up Lane’s leg for the spinning toehold in the ring, Morton hurls Eaton off the apron onto the railing at ringside. Morton hops up on the apron, but he gets bumped off inadvertently by Gibson and crashes to the floor. Robert applies a sleeperhold on Stan, but Cornette distracts the referee and Bobby lands a double-axhandle off the top to rescue his partner. Lane covers Gibson and it looks to be over, but Robert gets his shoulder up and the Rock ‘n’ Rolls hit the double dropkick on Bobby. Gibson covers Eaton, but Lane stops referee Nick Patrick from counting by physically accosting him, so Patrick disqualifies the Midnight Express in 12:08. The Rock ‘n’ Rolls drive the Midnights out of the ring with a double back-bodydrop and double clotheslines as the bell finally rings. Cornette collects the US tag belts and leaves with Stan & Bobby while Ricky & Robert celebrate their meaningless victory. ***½ This wasn’t bad, but it also wasn’t one of the better matches between the two teams, and revisiting their worn-out feud was a sure sign that the bookers had run out of ideas.

– Doug Furnas vs. Barry Windham

In the illustrious pantheon of pro wrestlers billed as “The World’s Strongest Man”, Doug Furnas is head-and-shoulders above Dino Bravo, Mark Henry, Ted Arcidi, and Bill Kazmaier, but he doesn’t get a great reaction from the fans. After leaving the WWF in late 1989 due to personal reasons related to counterfeiting charges against his father and brother, Barry Windham returned to the NWA/WCW in May as a member of the revamped Four Horsemen with Ric Flair, Arn Anderson, and Sid Vicious. The fireplug-like Furnas displays his impressive vertical leap with a series of leapfrogs and counters a reverse atomic drop with a sunset flip for two. A shoulderblock knocks Windham out through the ropes, but the Horseman still can’t get anything going when he climbs back in as Furnas presses him high overhead and slams him to the canvas. Furnas clotheslines Windham for a near-fall and pounds away, but when he charges into the corner, Barry gets his knees up and takes control. Doug surprises Barry with an inside cradle for two, but Windham goes back to work on him until Furnas mounts a comeback and lands a crisp belly-to-belly snap suplex for a near-fall. Powerslam off the ropes gets another two and Furnas dropkicks Windham over the top rope, but Windham comes back in with a bridging back suplex and uses the ropes for leverage to pin Furnas in 5:40. ** Furnas showed some good potential and was already becoming a star in Japan, while Windham was noticeably soft around the midsection and seemed like a lazy slow-motion version of his former self.

– Sid Vicious (w/Ole Anderson) vs. “Total Package” Lex Luger

A person could get dizzy trying to keep track of Lex Luger’s face/heel turns in his relatively short career, as he turned babyface for the second time shortly after Sting went down with the knee injury inflicted upon him at Clash X. This is the first match back for Sid Vicious after suffering a punctured lung at Clash IX, but it’s not a triumphant return. The Total Package slugs away on Ole Anderson right away and Sid saves him, but Luger decks Vicious with a clothesline and receives a fast count to win the match in a surprising 26 seconds. Lex runs off victoriously while Ross and Caudle move the show right along. Uh, what?

Sid in a tuxedo. Enough said.

– NWA World Tag Team Championship: The Steiner Brothers (Rick Steiner & Scott Steiner) vs. Doom (Ron Simmons & Butch Reed w/Theodore R. Long) ©

Losing their masks at the last Clash was the best thing that could have happened to Doom, since it allowed them to be themselves and to be taken seriously. Coming under the management of Teddy Long was a perfect fit, too. They had hit their stride as a unit and beat the Steiner Brothers for the World Tag Team Championship at Capital Combat, so we get this rematch for the belts. Scott Steiner wastes no time in impressing the hell out of everyone, effortlessly scooping up Ron Simmons and planting him with the fallaway/moonsault powerslam before doing the same to Butch Reed. Scotty’s defense is just as effective, as he reverses a whip into the corner and clotheslines Simmons in the back of the head. Reed tags in and Scott remains impenetrable as he backslides Butch for two and bodyslams him near his corner, allowing him to tag out. Rick Steiner also gets the tag and Simmons starts to get the upper hand, but the Dogface Gremlin counters a belly-to-belly suplex with a big belly-to-belly of his own and Simmons tags back out again. Doom still can’t get anything going, as Rick blocks a hiptoss and decks Reed with a Steinerline. Rick rolls up Reed for two and he prepares another Steinerline, but Reed is smart enough to bail out of the ring. The older, dumber Steiner follows him out to ringside and ducks a right hand from Reed, but Simmons was laying in wait behind his partner and he surprises Rick with a clothesline. Reed bodyslams Rick on the floor to put the exclamation mark on it, and he hits a neckbreaker for two as Doom dominate the Dogface Gremlin in and out of the ring. This continues until Rick avoids a charge in the corner and lands a double-axhandle off the middle turnbuckle on Reed. Rick makes the hot tag to his younger brother and Scott dropkicks both members of Doom and manhandles Simmons as chaos erupts. While referee Nick Patrick is busy escorting Rick out to the apron, Scott plants Simmons with a superplex, but Reed nails Scotty with brass knuckles. Simmons crawls over and covers Scott while Rick comes in with a Steinerline on Reed and covers him at the same time. The ref appears to count both pins, but he actually remembers that Simmons and Scott were the legal men in the ring, so Doom retains the NWA World Tag Team Championship in 11:19. **** Another good power match between these two teams as they worked well together and would continue to feud.

– Tony Schiavone interviews Junkyard Dog about his shot at Ric Flair’s World Heavyweight Championship in the main event of the evening. The big Dog promises a new JYD tonight and plans to beat the Nature Boy like he owns him.

– “Mr. Wonderful” Paul Orndorff vs. “The Enforcer” Arn Anderson

The prerecorded promo from Paul Orndorff challenges Arn Anderson to “shut up or put up”, but the Enforcer’s NWA World Television Championship is not on the line. Mr. Wonderful has things going his way early and they trade sleepers before Orndorff applies a figure-four on the Horseman. Arn grabs the ropes to break the hold, but Orndorff continues to work over the leg by wrapping it around the ringpost and stomping away. Anderson comes back with a spinebuster and a backbreaker, still selling the damaged knee as he focuses his attack on Orndorff’s back. An abdominal stretch is applied, but Anderson has to release the hold when the referee catches him using the ropes. Orndorff manages to atomic-drop Anderson, but they’re near the corner and Arn bounces back off the turnbuckles, so they crack heads and both go down. They struggle to their feet and Mr. Wonderful slugs away on the Enforcer with punches, clotheslines, and kneelifts. Orndorff goes for a pump splash, but Anderson gets the knees up and wraps him up in an inside cradle. However, Orndorff reverses the small package and pins Anderson in 11:39. ** This was a pretty dull, heatless match and I never understood why the NWA/WCW had any interest in Orndorff at this point.

– Tony Schiavone interviews the Four Horsemen and brazenly notes that they haven’t had the best night, but Ole Anderson warns Tony about the smart look on his face and states that the main goal of the Horsemen is to protect the World Heavyweight Championship. The Nature Boy puts over Barry Windham and Arn Anderson for their performances tonight and brushes off the challenge of the Junkyard Dog.

– NWA World Heavyweight Championship: The Junkyard Dog vs. “Nature Boy” Ric Flair (w/Ole Anderson) ©

Apparently, the Junkyard Dog’s dismal NWA/WCW stint in late ’88 and early ’89 earned him another job, a position in the top babyface alliance, and a World Title shot. This main event is a one-man show as Ric Flair bumps and works his ass off to make the match as entertaining as possible while the Dog basically just stands there. JYD overpowers the Nature Boy and slugs away, but Flair comes back with chops and a kneedrop. After no-selling the kneedrop, JYD throws punches and elevates Flair with a big back-bodydrop as Caudle notes that we don’t often see Ric manhandled in this manner. Really? I’m pretty sure that was 95% of his ringwork as a heel. Ole Anderson distracts referee Nick Patrick long enough for Flair to retrieve a chair and smash JYD over the head, but the Dog no-sells the chairshot and punches away on the NWA Champion. The Dog continues to stand tall as Ole climbs up on the apron and gets knocked down with a big right hand, but Flair capitalizes on the distraction with a knee to the back. The Nature Boy makes the classic mistake of going to the top turnbuckle and the Dog slams him down to the mat. JYD cracks Flair with a headbutt and slugs away on the mat until Ole runs in for the disqualification at 6:37. Barry Windham, Arn Anderson, and Sid Vicious join the assault on JYD until Sting, Lex Luger, and Paul Orndorff rush out and brawl with the Horsemen. Sting stalks Flair as the Nature Boy retreats up the ramp. **

I was begging for the match to end, too.

– Following a commercial break, Jim Ross is in the ring to interview…TV jobber Rocky King. I have no idea why we’re supposed to care what he thinks. Sting is also there and he issues a challenge to Ric Flair for the World Title at the Great American Bash. With some prompting from JR, the Stinger claims he will have the Dudes With Attitudes at ringside to prevent any outside interference from the Four Horsemen and wonders why the Nature Boy doesn’t come out now. El Gigante has appeared on the ramp, but he proves to be completely ineffective as the Horsemen race right past him into the ring. The other Dudes With Attitudes run in and brawl with the Horsemen to close the show.

The 411: Taking place only a few weeks into the booking regime of Ole Anderson, Coastal Crush was a solid show with questionable decision-making, a big step down in terms of quality after the last few Clash of the Champions specials. Previous associates of Ole had been hired and pushed beyond their ability and popularity, and Ric Flair was made to look like the weakest champion in all of sports as the Horsemen always had to bail him out. Having the World Heavyweight Champion dominated by the Junkyard Dog was a low point, but Ole would prove that things could get worse with the introduction of The Black Scorpion storyline later in the summer.
Final Score:  7.5   [ Good ]  legend

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Joel Thomas

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