Monday, May 5, 2014

Chronicling the Clash - Clash of the Champions 18 - 1-21-92

Since all of the COTC shows are on the Network, I'll be looking at all of them, starting with 18 since it's got a Freebird performance I've never seen before. I doubt it'll be good, but it'll be amusing. The show begins with a Dangerous Alliance video, and I can't wait to see them run amok on all of these Clash shows. These are a great way to bridge the gap between PPVs and get a better look at where things were then. The production on this show is fantastic, with them in Topeka in a brightly-lit arena. Vader and Mr. Hughes start the show against the Steiners! Scott is in a downright subdued pink and black singlet that looks fairly easy to recreate in FPR with the camo design. Nasty bump from Hughes off an overhead belly to belly. Vader and Rick come in, I EXPECT CLUBBERING! Vader's busting out suplexes, which Ross says is him using the Steiners' offense against them. GLORIOUS bump from Vader off a corner countering Steinerline. He then takes a nice bump over the top from a Steinerline against the ropes. Vader climbs up top, but Scott SHAKES DEM ROPES and he crotches himself leading to Rick hitting a super belly to belly for 2. Scott comes in and goes for a German, but he can't do it - Rick bonks Vader a few times to allow it. Scott flies and gets caught in a powerslam. This match rules! Hughes is in. Well, it did rule. Vader accidentally hits Hughes when Scott ducks. Super bulldog leads to the win.

Next up, it's YOUNG PISTOL TRACY teaming with the Taylor Made Man. What a random team. Taylor at least looks like a star in this role - shame he could never be taken seriously after the Rooster deal, because this isn't the worst gimmick. Flyin Bryan and Marcus Bagwell are their opponents. Bagwell is in black, white, and gold stripper tights. Taylor has just left the York Foundation here, and Ross is pimping JUSHIN LIGER. Nice corner-countering headscissors from Bryan to Taylor. Bagwell tags in and hops over with a dropkick. Double dropkicks send the heels out for a double plancha. Tracy as a heel is basically just him with a very faint beard and saying I'M THE BEST. Anyone named YOUNG PISTOL TRACY cannot say that. Bagwell tags out and it leads to Bryan just chopping the hell out of Tracy. Suplex from the apron to the floor is snuck in by Taylor and teased as a possible match-ender. Wow have times changed. Heels cheat a bunch. Air Pillman clothesline hits Tracy. Bagwell comes in and gets the win with a hilarious finish. Tracy's in a sunset flip setup, but Taylor holds him until Pillman dropkicks him into it and sends Taylor to the floor. Both guys were perfect for Bagwell to learn from.

They showed clips of Liger winning the title at a very dim house show and then wearing it in Japan, coming out with his theme and his boss purple getup. To hype him, we get Morton and Johnny B. Badd. This generic version of Johnny's theme is just dreadful. It's not a replacement theme - just his first one, and it has no life to it. They showed a little girl wanting to put a dollar in his garter...that's a tad odd. The Badd Blaster gimmick rules - more guys need that kind of thing. The props really worked for this act. They're doing basic stuff, but Johnny's quite good at it. For being so young in the business, he's quite good, and like with Bagwell, having him face a veteran is a great move. It creates a natural old vs. new story, and it's a shame this is happening right after the Bagwell one doing the same basic thing. The sunset flip only getting 2 here means a bit more thanks to that being a finish before though. Nice punches from Morton. It's so weird seeing him as not only a heel, but taking the lead for offense. Johnny rolls through a crossbody for a win...and they show a close-up of his thong over his tights. That probably wasn't too comfortable. A graphic showed that PN News will be rappin and YOU'LL BE CLAPPIN. Or laughin.

Bryan and Johnny are with Eric, and Johnny's putting a little sticker kiss on Eric. Bryan says WITH ALL DUE RESPECT TO JAPAN, all he can think of is Japan taking over America. And then Bryan punches Johnny for putting the sticker kiss on him. So he hates Japan and is a homophobe. DDP's out with a great theme and a very '90s black and pink getup with bubble gum. Speaking of HOLY '90S, PN News is out in neon green, pink, and black. Oh and a rat tail. DDP's gear looks tacky now, but he looks like spends money on it. PN News's stuff looks so cheap. Gold mic's a nice touch though. Good God almighty is News ever terrible. The...falling elbow drop he did was terrible. This match is why you don't have rookie vs. rookie matches. All of their offense looks terrible, although DDP's is far better. Fantastic Russian Legsweep from DDP. He tries to slam him, but News is too fat and gets 2 for it. SAVAGE NECKSNAP FROM DDP! SLINGSHOT CROSSBODY!!! from DDP gets 2. Dude's moving. News hits a side belly to belly. Rapmaster splash hits for the win. Good GAWD did the wrong guy win. News's theme has no real beat to it. It's just random rap-ish noises. Time for the WCW TOP 10 RANKINGS! I like the clear pecking order for the titles here - that's something WCW always did really well. You could mentally map out a plan for a guy who won the TV Title and then maybe imagine him as U.S. Champ, and if he won that, maybe he could get the World title.

Tony's out with Kip Frey, who's cutting a perfectly fine promo for an exec. Jesse Ventura's brought out because he's the man who tells it like it is! Jesse's got Superstar Graham getup on top, and biker stuff on the bottom. Sting's out in white and gold, slapping hands with Jesse and getting an awful lot of pyro. Luger cuts a promo talking about his "seclusion" being so he could focus on SuperBrawl II. He should've focused on the promo, because it's rather bad. Sting signs the contract is this white, gold, and black getup great. It's really eye-pleasing. Cactus Jack faces Van Hammer next!

I saw this in clip form on WCW Pro in about '94 or so, but haven't seen the full match unless it was on a Foley DVD - and it will have been many years since I saw it there. Cactus has spooky operatic music, which like with Mankind, works for him. Van Hammer and his pyro guitar are out. He's dressed like a damned cow, with a pink shirt. HE SHOOTS THE PYRO GUITAR AT CACTUS! Nice over the top dive from Hammer gets 2. Good height on the legdrop for 2. Hammer misses a dive and eats a 2 for it. Cactus clothesline! Sweet christ almighty, he went for a SUNSET FLIP OFF THE SECOND ROPE TO THE FLOOR and just went splat. And Hammer was out of position so he just kindly walked backwards for a 2. Hammer's punches look dreadful. I love Hammer using the ramp and ropes on the ring to do an Irish whip - it's something that is great in VPW 2 and FPR. SMALL PACKAGE ON THE RAMP gets 2 for Hammer. Jesus, Hammer hiptossed Foley off the ramp to the cement. Diving something or other from Hammer takes Foley down. Kneebreaker on the floor from Foley. Commercial break gives them a logical reason to take time to get cameras backstage. Jack's using parking signs against him. Great sorta-suplex with one onto Hammer. Missy is so annoying backstage. They're fighting in hay. Cactus attacks with a bull skull. Abby's back there as a big fat black cowboy and both guys hate him. Abby hits Hammer with a shovel and Jack wins. Abby and Jack brawl. ABBY THROWS MISSY INTO THE TROUGH! They brawled and brawled to set up an Omni match. Freebirds are up next. YES! THE SONG!

Hayes and Garvin are out looking like a gay heavy metal version of the Fabulous Ones with canes and vests while badly lip-syncing to "I'm a Freebird, What's Your Excuse". The gut on Hayes is so distracting. Garvin's beard was double chin-hiding, so the basic mustache look is an instant downgrade. God, this whole bit was just silly. The "recording" was hilarious, and now they're facing Big Josh the lumberjack, who looks less goofy than them, and Brad Armstrong. Within a year, the Freebirds have been U.S., World, and 6-Man tag champs. Ross puts over Bullet Bob. Flimsy crossbody off the top from Garvin. Ross says the Birds were form in '78, which makes Hayes just seem old. Ross gave them credit for rock music in wrestling. Garvin takes a terrible turnbuckle shot, doing a little spin around before hitting, then no-selling. Double DDT to Brad gets the win. Thank God this is over. Garvin really killed this match. Steiners promo is up next.

They had Eric hype up a music video showing them beating LOD, the Headshrinkers, the Nasty Boys, Hase and Sasaki, and Sasaki and Chono. The wacky gear against the LOD was terrible. They talked about Scott tearing a bicep which they blamed on Arn and Eaton attacking them after the Sasaki/Chono match and showed Rick pinning Luger, but not able to get a win in an actual title match. Rick cut a God-awful promo about wanting the tag titles. Scott was a billion times better than him here. Words can honestly not describe how bad Rick's promo was.

THOMAS RICH is out looking absolutely ridiculous with a jet black beard, pasty white skin, shitty dark grey gear, and black leather chaps. Absolutely no part of this look works. Vinnie Vegas and his terribly-fake accent are out. Nash starts off with a Scotty 2 Hotty-esque bulldog. Nash's legs look incredibly long in these pants. DDP had the same thing going too. Snake Eyes gets the win in a minute or so. This wasn't given enough time to be bad, but Rich wasn't good enough here to make Nash look very good. This was his debut, and they wisely didn't even bring up Rich being a former world champion. Paul E talks with Eric, and they finally run down the main event 6-man. Heyman promises to end a career tonight and uses Magnum TA as an example.

Eaton, Arn, and Larry are out for the Alliance. These are the first WCW World Tag titles, and they look fantastic - the colors really pop. The Cruncher nickname made sense for the hand-breaking, but really doesn't work as a nickname for Larry at all. Dusty, Ron, and Barry are out. Eaton's got great chemistry with Dustin, shockingly. It's amazing to think that Eaton was a main event-level guy in the early '90s, and then once Hogan comes in, he's just enhancement talent. Dropkick from Barry sends Eaton off the top to the floor. Dustin comes in and hits the same great punches he's got now. Phone to the ribs leads to Dustin LEAPING IN THE AIR to sell it on the ramp. Eaton lands a swank flying elbow for 2. Ross points out that the last 3 TV champs were in the Dangerous Alliance AND TREATS IT LIKE A HUGE THREAT. Why? Because every title means something, and it's backed up with fear. Arn went for a double sledge to a fallen Dustin, but he eats a boot. Barry and Eaton are in, and Barry takes him down with a flying lariat off the top. Barry hits Eaton with a punch coming off the top for the win! By golly, the tape might've given him the win! Tony's backstage with the faces for an interview. Barry cut a passionate promo about not giving a damn what WCW or his doctors say - he's got his brace ready, and he's back to kick...tail and take names! This was by a wide margin, the best promo on the show. He's coming to kick Larry's ass, and Larry should probably book a trip to LarryLand to prevent that.

The main event is up with Austin and Rude looking pretty awesome. Austin definitely looks like the understudy main eventer here. Heyman is so happy to hold both the U.S. and TV belts, while Rude hates the cable-watching COUCH POTATOES! Rude's got custom gear with the U.S. Title on them and Clash on them. God bless him for doing that for a simple Clash show. Steamboat and Sting came out. Boy does the rat tail not work for Sting. Ross hypes up WCW's top 4 ranked guys being in this match. Austin's gear is by far the worst of the bunch. Steamboat uses THE MARTIAL ARTS on Austin. Sting's in kicking ass. Love him and Rude together. Sting mocks Rude with the hip swivel and pose. Sting and Steamboat cheat! Jesse points this out and Ross admits that they didn't tag. Steamboat mocks Rude too. The ref looks amazed at how Steamboat has transformed into Sting! Glorious. Low blow from Rude to Sting. Nice. Crowd is crazy-hot for Sting. Austin and Sting are moving around really quickly together. Shame we never really got a proper '94 Austin-Sting feud. Faces get the win when Sting dives onto Steamboat for a win. Jesse points out that being incredibly unfair. Steamboat gets hit with the Rude Awakening. ANOTHER ONE TO STEAMBOAT! He lashes him with a belt and security gets hit too. This was a fantastic and chaotic ending to the show, and it was a fantastic card overall. Everything on it served a greater purpose, with only one bad match in DDP-News - and that was short.

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