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The Chrononaut Chronicles: Clash of the Champions XXVI

March 24, 2012 | Posted by Joel Thomas
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The Chrononaut Chronicles: Clash of the Champions XXVI  

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 XXVI – January 27, 1994

– The full lineup for the twenty-sixth edition of Clash of the Champions is hyped in the opening video: new WCW World Champion Ric Flair joins forces with Sting against Vader & WCW International Champion Rick Rude in an elimination tag team match! Flyin’ Brian faces Col. Rob Parker and the loser must wear a chicken suit on national television! Dustin Rhodes challenges Lord Steven Regal for the WCW TV Title! Teacher meets student as freshly-turned heel Ron Simmons squares off against former protege Ice Train! 2 Cold Scorpio & Marcus Bagwell try to mess up Pretty Paul & Mr. Wonderful! Cactus Jack & Maxx Payne battle the Nasty Boys!


– LIVE from the Riverside Metroplex in Baton Rouge, Louisiana! Mean Gene Okerlund opens the show and introduces Bobby “The Brain” Heenan, making his WCW debut after leaving the WWF in late 1993. Okerlund accuses Heenan of following him everywhere and the Brain warns Mean Gene to watch himself because he could be in charge with a snap of his fingers. Prior to his debut, there were rumors that Heenan would be cast as the new Commissioner of WCW. Greeted by a loud round of boos and “Weasel” chants, Heenan heads down to ringside to join Tony Schiavone on commentary.

It’s like 1985 all over again!

– “Mr. Wonderful” Paul Orndorff & “Pretty” Paul Roma (w/The Assassin) vs. 2 Cold Scorpio & Marcus Alexander Bagwell (w/Teddy Long)

In the absence of Arn Anderson, Paul Roma turned heel on Erik Watts and formed a tag team with Paul Orndorff, although they were not yet known as Pretty Wonderful. Somehow, Teddy Long was voted Manager of the Year, and Schiavone mentions that 2 Cold Scorpio & Marcus Bagwell had a one-day reign as WCW World Tag Team Champions in ’93. The winners here will go on to challenge the Nasty Boys on WCW Saturday Night, so I’m going to go out on a limb and predict a babyface victory. Heenan makes his first reference to TBS as “The Brain Station” and Schiavone recaps the feud between these teams, noting that the Pauls have won two matches out of three so far thanks to a loaded headbutt from the masked Assassin. A commercial break occurs early on and when we come back, Roma hotshots Bagwell as a replay airs of Bagwell & Scorpio hitting Roma with a double flying shoulderblock during the break. After surprising Roma with a sunset flip for a two-count, Bagwell manages to tag out and Scorpio sets up Roma for a superplex, but Orndorff grabs his leg and 2 Cold crashes to the canvas. Using underhanded heel tactics and double-teams, the Pauls work over Scorpio until Orndorff dives off the top turnbuckle and lands on Scorpio’s foot. Tags are made on both sides and Bagwell unloads on Pretty Paul & Mr. Wonderful before scoring near-falls on Roma. All four men end up in the ring and Scorpio ends up on the floor after Orndorff ducks a crossbody, but the Pauls’ chicanery backfires as Bagwell rams Roma into Orndorff’s loaded kneepad and covers him at 12:39. Orndorff & Roma attack Bagwell after the match, but Scorpio chases them off. ** Pretty Wonderful hadn’t yet developed much in the way of tag team chemistry and this match was fairly uneventful.

– Ron Simmons vs. Ice Train

Since losing the WCW World Title in late 1992, Ron Simmons had floundered in the midcard and the trigger was finally pulled on a heel turn during a storyline in which the All American was mentoring a rookie by the name of Ice Train. Fed up with the youngster’s lack of killer instinct costing them tag team matches, Simmons turned on him and a feud was born. The match is already underway when we return from a commercial break as Ice Train powerslams the former WCW World Champion and shoulderblocks him out through the ropes. Train bodyslams Simmons on the floor and charges at him, but Simmons sidesteps him and the big man slams into the ringpost shoulder-first. Simmons posts his shoulder again and suplexes Train back into the ring as he badmouths his former student and headbutts the shoulder. Ice Train comes back with a clumsy sunset flip (impressive for his size, albeit not very well-executed) and avoids Big Ron’s flying shoulderblock off the top turnbuckle, but he shows his inexperience when he powerslams Simmons and neglects to pin him for the second time in the match. Simmons dodges a charge in the corner and rolls Train up with a handful of tights for the 1-2-3 in 3:32. *½ A big ol’ hoss-up, kept short and sweet, with a solid story to hold it together. Better than it had any right to be, considering how green Ice Train was.

– Mean Gene interviews WCW United States Champion Steve Austin and Col. Rob Parker in one of my favorite comedy promos ever. Wearing a cowboy hat and suit jacket, smoking a fine cigar, and even dabbing at his forehead with a hanky, Stunning Steve does an exaggerated parody of his own manager and promises that the Colonel will make Flyin’ Brian wear the chicken suit. Parker, dressed to wrestle and wearing an old Hollywood Blonds t-shirt with the “s” blacked out and “Col. Parker Rules The World!” printed on the back as a jab at Sid Vicious, reveals that he trained for tonight’s match by whuppin’ the hell out of his ol’ hound dog at home and had to take a seat to catch his breath. When the dog crawled over and laid his head in his lap, Parker says that the look in the dog’s eyes told him he rules the world. PETA would not approve.

Mockery is the sincerest form of flattery.

– After name-dropping Lou Thesz, Verne Gagne, and Bruno Sammartino as potential candidates for the job, Mean Gene introduces Nick Bockwinkel as the new Commissioner and he makes a solemn vow to keep a close eye on events and personalities in WCW and take appropriate action when necessary. Isn’t that basically the job description? Congratulations, you’re going to DO YOUR JOB.

– WCW World Television Championship: Lord Steven Regal (w/Sir William) © vs. “The Natural” Dustin Rhodes

Gordon Solie replaces Tony Schiavone on commentary for this match and the next, and instantly has better chemistry working with Bobby Heenan for the first time. Early on, Dustin Rhodes drives Lord Steven out of the ring after being slapped in the face, and Sir William produces a pocketwatch as Regal checks in to see how much time is left in the match. Instead of aggressively going after the TV Champion due to the abbreviated 15-minute time limit, Dustin paces himself by cranking on a long, boring side-headlock and telegraphs the obvious finish. On commentary, Heenan gets a chuckle out of Solie by making fun of his thick glasses, the type of remark that Schiavone usually ignores and stews about for the rest of the match. Regal fights back with European uppercuts and hooks Dustin’s arm in a top-wristlock, then gutwrench-suplexes him for a two-count. There are five minutes left in the time limit as the British aristocrat grinds Rhodes down and grips him in a straitjacket submission, but Rhodes escapes the hold and flattens Regal with a flying lariat off the ropes. When Dustin covers the champ, Lord Steven gets his foot over the rope to break the pin and bails out to have a peek at Sir William’s pocketwatch again. Since there are three minutes remaining, His Lordship stalls on the floor and avoids being counted out because Dustin keeps distracting referee Nick Patrick by trying to go out of the ring. When a wrestler is being counted out, why does the ref always have to start his 10-count all over again after being distracted? He KNOWS the guy has been out there longer than ten seconds, so why doesn’t he just pick up where he left off? Second question: why does Dustin keep trying to exit the ring directly in front of the ref, rather than heading out one of the other THREE sides? I know it’s just wrestling, but it makes Dustin look like such a goober. The Natural slugs away when Lord Steven climbs back in, and hits another flying lariat for a near-fall as we hit the two-minute mark. Killing time, Regal goads Rhodes into chasing him out to the floor and tries to suplex him back inside, but Rhodes flips out and dropkicks Regal for two. Lord Steven rolls Dustin up for a pin, but they are in the ropes and His Lordship ducks out of the ring. They end up slugging it out on the runway and Dustin back-bodydrops Regal back in before following him in with a running splash over the top rope for a near-fall. Once again, Lord Steven retreats to ringside to confer with Sir William, and this time Dustin knocks their heads together and punches both of them. Back in the ring, time quickly evaporates as Rhodes bulldogs Regal and covers him, but the 15:00 has elapsed and Regal retains the WCW World Television Championship via time-limit draw. **½ The TV Title was the perfect showcase for Regal, because his slow, deliberate pace and heat-drawing stalling tactics fit his gimmick and his strategy. Instead of expending his energy and taking risks trying to defeat these commoners, he merely had to keep them in check for fifteen minutes in order to hold on to his belt. Dustin, on the other hand, had no reason to be grabbing restholds and generally looking lackadaisical. If he had shown some fire in his belly and acted like he wanted to win the title, this could have been pretty damn good.

“I have to carry him for HOW much longer?!”

– Mean Gene leads Aaron Neville through a brief interview putting over WCW and Cajun Country. That’s pretty much all there is to say about it.

– The Nasty Boys (Saggs & Knobbs w/Missy Hyatt) vs. Cactus Jack & Maxx Payne

The Nasty Boys are still the WCW World Tag Team Champions, but this is a non-title Special Challenge Match. Maxx Payne recently turned face after rescuing former nemesis Johnny B. Badd from a beatdown and formed a tag team with Cactus Jack. While the Nasty Boys are watching the runway, Cactus & Maxx enter from the crowd and jump them from behind. The Cactus Clothesline sends Knobbs crashing over the top rope to the floor and Cactus follows up with the flying elbowdrop off the apron, while Payne splashes Saggs in the ring. The mentally-unstable babyfaces switch opponents and Cactus bodyslams Saggs on the floor before dropping the big elbow off the apron. They switch off again and trade locations, as Cactus hammers Knobbs in the ring while Maxx rams Saggs into the ringpost. Once order is restored, the Nastys tag in-and-out and pound on Maxx until he catches Knobbs in the Payne Killer armbar, but Saggs breaks it up. Cactus comes in to help his partner and ends up distracting referee Randy Anderson while Saggs trips Maxx, and Knobbs legdrops him twice for a near-fall. After Knobbs tosses him out to the floor, Payne is the recipient of a plastic chair across the back of his head from Saggs and continues to take a beating from the Nastys back in the ring. In a funny exchange on commentary, Solie informs Heenan that Schiavone will be returning to his position for the rest of the night and Bobby playfully tries to instigate trouble between Gordon and Tony. Payne decks both Nastys with a double-clothesline and makes the hot tag as the momentum shifts toward the faces. Cactus unloads on the Nastys and clotheslines them both over the top rope, along with himself, before shoving Knobbs back into the ring and drilling him with the double-arm DDT. Saggs breaks the pin with an elbowdrop and Knobbs covers Payne, but while the ref is busy with Saggs, Cactus delivers an elbowdrop of his own and Payne pins Knobbs in 6:46 to earn a shot at the WCW Tag Team Title at SuperBrawl. Post-match shenanigans include both Maxx & Jack indecently assaulting Missy’s mouth with forced kisses. Sadly, this sordid scene garners the biggest pop of the night. **¼ The early brawling was great, but the match deteriorated from that point. The finish was clever since the Nastys had stolen several wins in the same manner and this time they got a taste of their own medicine to build up their challengers for a title shot at SuperBrawl IV.

Nothing gets a crowd fired up like two 300-pound men forcing themselves on a woman.

– Colonel Robert Parker (w/”Stunning” Steve Austin) vs. Flyin’ Brian Pillman

Announced at an obviously worked 210 pounds, Col. Rob Parker is actually in decent shape as he rips off his t-shirt, Hogan-style, and gets tangled in it. Throwing fried chicken out to the crowd on his way out, Flyin’ Brian goes after the Colonel immediately and bodyslams him for a two-count. It’s all Pillman, except for a few brief moments after Brian loses focus and targets Steve Austin at ringside. Still doing his over-the-top Col. Parker imitation, Stunning Steve attends to his manager/promoter when he gets knocked to the floor again and they decide to flee the scene. However, Pillman back-bodydrops Austin on the runway and The Boss makes an appearance to prevent the Colonel from chickening out. HA HA, GET IT? Instead of trying to go through the Boss, Parker charges back toward Pillman and collides with Austin when Pillman ducks. Flyin’ Brian dumps Parker back into the ring and Parker tries to exit through the crowd, but the Boss stops him again and referee Nick Patrick doesn’t appreciate the help. While the ref is busy with the Boss at ringside, Austin attacks Pillman and lays him out with the Stun Gun to give an edge to the World’s Greatest Promoter. That doesn’t last long either, as Pillman pounds Parker again until Austin shoves him off the top turnbuckle. The Colonel covers for a near-fall and the Boss chases Stunning Steve up the runway, distracting Parker and allowing Pillman to roll him up for the three-count at 5:41. Col. Parker was forced to wear the chicken suit the following weekend on WCW Saturday Night, which had actually been taped weeks prior to the Clash. ** The match followed the right formula and was worked very well, but the finish was disappointing, since Pillman had the opportunity to destroy Parker for splitting up the Hollywood Blonds and he just rolled him up for the pin right away. As the big-mouth manager getting his ass kicked and trying to run away, the Colonel was superb in the role with his cartoonish selling and hollering. This character would have been right at home in the WWF of the late ’80s and early ’90s, and it would have sated Vince’s passion for insulting Southerners.

– Elimination Match: “Ravishing” Rick Rude & Vader (w/Harley Race) vs. Sting & “Nature Boy” Ric Flair

Michael Buffer earns his paycheck doing the ring introductions for our main event, and new WCW Commissioner Nick Bockwinkel joins Schiavone and Heenan on commentary. Tony suggests that Vader might use this match to injure WCW World Champion Ric Flair because they have a Thundercage clash coming up at SuperBrawl IV. In a nice nod to history, Heenan’s past connections to Bockwinkel, Flair, and Harley Race are acknowledged on commentary and he points out all the current and former World Champions involved. After taking the early lead, Rick Rude tags out and Vader mercilessly manhandles Sting, aside from a brief hope spot when the Stinger counters a flying sunset flip off the middle turnbuckle from Vader. Sting finally manages to make the tag after ducking a punch and tossing Vader with an impressive release German suplex. The crowd cheers as Ric Flair peppers Vader with chops and punches and claws away at his eyes, then tags out again already as we go to commercial. While tagging Sting back in so soon makes no sense on the surface, it’s a logical decision for the Flair character to tag out and avoid risking injury before a big title defense, knowing that Sting’s martyr complex won’t allow him to refuse a tag regardless of his physical condition. The selfishness of this act also foreshadows Flair’s eventual return to heeldom later in the year. When we come back from the break, Sting breaks free from a bearhug by Rude and makes the hot tag as Flair lands a flying double-axhandle off the top turnbuckle, followed by an inverted atomic drop and a chop. There’s a screw-up as Flair charges into the corner and it looks like Rude was supposed to get his knees up, but he doesn’t and Flair just collapses to the mat for no discernible reason. Vader tags in and proceeds to demolish Flair with an avalanche, a Vader Bomb, and two massive superplexes as the Nature Boy sells his back like it’s been broken. The infamous plane crash from 1974 is referenced as Vader climbs to the top, but Sting comes in and pulls Flair out of harm’s way. The match breaks down as Rude blindsides Sting and plants him with a DDT while Flair rolls out to the floor. Vader follows him out and grabs a chair, but Nick Bockwinkel stands in front of the Rocky Mountain Mastodon to prevent him from using it. While Harley Race talks Vader out of crossing the Commissioner, the referee counts both Vader and Flair out to eliminate them from the match at 12:00. Flair is helped back to the locker room by WCW officials while Sting unloads on Rude and cuts him down with a flying clothesline off the top turnbuckle and a back-bodydrop, but the Ravishing One counters an inverted atomic drop to take control. Rude pounds on Sting and locks him in a camel clutch, but the Stinger escapes by standing up and dropping backwards. A splash from Sting is countered when Rude gets his knees up, but Sting pulls off a counter of his own by grabbing the top rope when Ravishing Rick goes for the Rude Awakening. Sting snaps on his own version of the Rude Awakening and covers the WCW International Heavyweight Champion, but Rude gets his foot over the bottom rope at the last moment. Rude comes back with an inverted atomic drop and scoops up Sting for a Tombstone piledriver, but Sting reverses it and follows up with a flying splash off the top to score the deciding pinfall in 22:27. ***¾ This was a heated main event featuring WCW’s top four superstars at the time who had all had issues with each other. The psychology was logical, as Vader was out to injure Flair prior to their showdown at SuperBrawl and didn’t care about winning this match. Sting and Rude had resumed their rivalry, this time feuding over the Big Gold Belt signifying the WCW International Title, and they were scheduled on opposite sides of a six-man Thundercage war at SuperBrawl.

Not to be outdone by Rick Rude’s Simply Ravishing robe, Vader busted out his swank white cape for the occasion.

The 411: Remembered primarily for Bobby Heenan's WCW debut, Clash of the Champions XXVI was another middle-of-the-road effort as WCW struggled to find a direction. While the elimination tag team match provided a strong main event, the rest of the card was serviceable but nothing to write home about, especially when compared with previous Clashes. The next few months would see a vast improvement in terms of the in-ring product, as Spring Stampede and Slamboree were excellent PPVs, but rather than finding their niche as a profitable #2 promotion, Eric Bischoff wanted WCW to overtake the WWF at all costs. To that end, he began negotiations with the biggest, most recognizable superstar in the history of the business and the company sold its soul to bring in Hulk Hogan.
Final Score:  6.0   [ Average ]  legend

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