Thursday, July 31, 2014

Chronicling the Clash - WCW Clash of the Champions XI - Coastal Crush

I was going through Youtube last night and came across a Flair-JYD promo, so I decided to watch this show to see the culmination of it since I remember the match being praised as an all-time example of Flair carrying a guy who couldn't do a thing. The show starts off with Les Thatcher doing a VO putting over Charleston, SC - I love the localized feel there. The Coastal Crush name doesn't do much for me though. Tony establishing three top matches in the NWA World Title Match between Flair and JYD and both the World and U.S. Tag Team Title matches gives you three pillars to pay attention to. The opener is the Southern Boys-Freebirds, starting with the Southern Boys saying that the Civil War wasn't nothing! Boy are these rebel flags interesting to see AGAINST the Freebirds. The clip of the Badstreet USA video playing out Hayes and Garvin just shows off how much Hayes aged in six years. Garvin's perm is out of control here. It looks like he's got a damned Chia pet on his head. The ring looks downright dark. In the late '80s, things were almost at ROH levels with that, but this is just a shade above that, and several shades beneath the bright lights you'd get in '92 and '93. Tracy eats a slew of offense from both Birds, but...just runs underneath them and Steve Armstrong dives on them. How very odd to do that without a real comeback from Tracy. Jim Ross puts over Mike Mooneyham for his articles and how resilient the community is. This kind of little thing really helps you feel like you're not just a town on a schedule. MICHAEL HAYES IS IN HIS LATE '20S here according to Ross. Holy shit. He looks at least 35. According to Wikipedia, he was in his early '30s here, which makes more sense. Hayes threw one of the fakest elbow drops you'll ever see for 2. Hayes goes up top for God knows what reason, but Steve attacks the gut and does a Flair slam off the top to him. Tracy's outside-in flying kick is awesome! Nice flying back elbow too! Tracy's got a style that doesn't quite work out in a video game since he's a great worker, but it's not all moves - it's the music between the notes. Hayes is illegal BUT HITS A CLOTHESLINE and good God the heat for this. The crowd went crazy for that. The heels cheated, so the faces cheat with a flying headbutt from Steve onto Jimmy, resulting in Tracy getting a cover and the win. Bigelow-Rich is next - having never seen Bigelow at this point in WCW, I'm intrigued by this, and also amazed that about half a decade later, they'd both be in ECW.

Tommy Rich has a SHINY BRONZE JACKET! Bigelow has his indy-riffic generic fireball gear on. Rich's gear looks like something he bought from a Greg Gagne garage sale with a weird tie-dye look to it. Bob Caudle picks Rich, while Ross picks Bigelow. Rich is so tan here. Wow. He could qualify as the first black NWA World Champion with this look. Rich gets a 2 off a corner charge misses and he moves from that into a corner mount punch that Bigelow turns into an inverted atomic drop. Bigelow gets a press slam and a Frankenstein monster choke that results in a DQ. Well, that's very shitty. The match itself wasn't all that good, and the finish didn't help anyone. Bigelow is moving around a bit like Cactus Jack here - it's very different from his usual stuff. Bigelow said I'LL KILL EVERYBODY. Nah dude, you lost to Tommy Rich. Captain Mike, hopefully as a boat captain and the Z-Man face the Samoan Swat Team next!

But first, a BIG VAN VADER HYPE VIDEO! Lots of New Japan stuff here to hype up his Great American Bash debut. Gary Capetta's introducing El Gigante, who will also make his in-ring debut at the Bash. He'll be in a 6-man with JYD, which sure seems to indicate that JYD won't walk out as champion. His shiny silver ninja getup sucks. Capetta does this interview in Spanish, which is a nice touch. It's a very generic happy babyface deal, and Capetta tripping over things didn't help. NEXT, Flyin Bryan vs. Mean Mark - well, which is it? It's the tag match!

The SSTs are Fatu and the Savage, while Captain Mike IS A BOAT CAPTAIN, and the Z-Man is just the Z-Man. The SSTs have Beefacke-esque gear with a mesh cutout on the side that just looks odd. Jim Ross puts over a nerve pinch as being painful, and something everyone's had done to them. A Samoan drop sets up a a flying headbutt, but Rotunda replaces Z-Man and they do a, the fuck!? Rotunda looks NOTHING LIKE HIM. NOTHING. The heels and the ref look like morons here, and the cradle used to win was terrible-looking. Brian-Mark is next.

We get clips of Mean Mark's heart punch, gut punch, flying elbow, flying lariat, and spinning toe-hold with slaps. Taker in just trunks doesn't flatter him in the slightest - the bodysuit-ish gear was a huge upgrade. Pillman is in blue trunks, blue kneepads, and white boots - I never remember him in anything but orange trunks. Pillman hits a dropkick, but it barely budges Mark, who boots him off the apron into the barricade. Pillman goes for a crucifix, but Mark backs him into the buckles - now there's a good counter that needs to be brought back. Mark hits a flying elbow that looks worlds better than the one Hayes did earlier. Jim Ross puts over how Paul E's hair is designed to cover up his bald spots - amazing! Seeing Paul E out there as his manager makes his epic streak-ending promo earlier this year seem that much more important. Sideslam from Mark, who's got a U.S. Title match with Luger at the Bash. Big legdrop from Mark misses. Pillman skins the cat on an over the top toss to prevent a DQ and hits a missile dropkick. Mark catches him off a crossbody and hot shots him for the win. RNR Express-Midnights are up next.

BUT FIRST, a Tony-Sting promo. He says DUDES WITH ATTITUDES ARE HERE and that's about it. The RNR Express cut a green screen promo in front of a moving train, which looks stupid, and then their graphic airs and it looks hilarious! The Midnights also get a train, and a far better looking graphic - I'd buy a shirt with it. Cornette's got a dark turquoise jacket, pink shoes, a pink tie, black slacks, and a pink and green racket cover. Wow. According to Caudle, he signs before matches because HIS PARENTS ARE DEAF AND DUMB! Well, that's definitely not politically-correct. You can't go wrong with an RNR-Midnights match. You can go wrong with a Doug Furnas-Barry Windham match though, and that's after this. Caudle puts over the U.S. Tag Titles being on the line between four-time World champions and the only team to hold both the World and U.S. Titles at once in the Midnights. I always loved the idea of having U.S. Tag Titles when you've got a talent-rich division - you get two on-paper draws instead of one. Ross puts over Flair training Stan Lane and Vanna White being a friend of Stan. This is a great back and forth match. They've done some striking with Stan, while the RNRs are keeping it mat-based. Ross buries Cornette's getup as being from a Miami Vice garage sale - nope, not even remotely accurate. The RNRs yellow and black gear is nice. MORTON FLIES OVER EATON ON A SUPERPLEX into an O Connor roll for 2. Holy Jesus that was terrifying. Nice stereo sunset/O' Connor rolls get 2 from the RNRs. Ross mentions that when the RNRs left the NWA that they'd been done, but that they came back and fans weren't impressed - but now they are. That's a great way to bury a face team for leaving, but still put them over. Spinning suplex from Eaton - basically a slingshot suplex minus the ropes, so it's right out of FPR and I really need to add it to my Eaton creation there. Eaton misses a corner charge and takes an amazing bump off the post before Morton tags Gibson! Punches and a kneelift from Robert! Cactus clothesline from Morton to Eaton. Morton tosses Eaton off the apron to the barricade. Stan shoves the Express together. Eaton nails a double axehandle off the top to Robert when he had a sleeper, BUT IT ONLY GETS 2! DOUBLE DROPKICK but Stan grabs the ref at 2.9! It's a DQ, but they keep fighting and the ref ducks a double clothesline in a nice touch. RNRs do the leaping high five bit. Really good match - not big on the finish though.

Windham and Furnas get jobber intros. Furnas has an amazing permed mid-length hairdo here. Furnas is jacked, oily, and darker than Tommy Rich. Windham was a great opponent for Furnas because he's so good as a base for him, but his physique just makes Furnas's look even better. Furnas botches a backflip counter in the corner, but still pulls it off and nails a military press. Jim Ross is amazed at the size of Doug's thighs, which are on display prominently during a corner mount punch. Furnas chops the daylights out of Windham in the corner. Windham hits a clothesline and does the intense Dreamer pose mid-ring. Small package gets 2 for Doug. Barry gets him up for what I guess is an atomic drop, but the camera doesn't show the landing. Doug gets a belly to belly, a wedgie, and a 2 off a 69 pin. Dropkick sends Barry over the top. Barry gets a German suplex with his feet on the ropes for the win. Not a fan of the cheating finish - a floatover superplex using the ropes would've done the same heelish thing, but put over his finisher and looked better. Luger-Sid is next.

Sid in a tux, and with a horse video says he's FUEL-INJECTED. He's definitely injected with something. Ole's out with Sid, and LUGER'S GOT HIS KICK-ASS THEME! This is easily the best theme he ever used - it gets you pumped instantly. Luger's the U.S. Champ, but doesn't have the belt. His hot pink gear isn't his best look. Luger jumps Sid while Ole's in, and Ole calls Sid over resulting in a clothesline for an instant win. Wow! This was brilliantly-booked in the sense that it was a surprise, but the right kind of surprise. Steiners face Doom next, and WCW's got SNME-style graphics for them.

Rick's got black, pink, and yellow cosmic-looking gear, while Scott's dressed like a bee. Simmons and Reed are unmasked, and their graphic says DOOM DOOM DOOM DOOM DOOM. Their theme is awesomely-bad. It's like bad background music from Miami Vice. Rick's gear looks so much better than Scott's here. They talked about Ole costing Sid the match, and that sets up kicking Ole out smartly. A fan holds up a TBS - Tough Body Scotty sign. Teddy is basically 1991 in a nutshell with his silly getup. Nice slam from Scott to each Doom member. Nice toss into the buckle leading to a rabbit lariat to Ron from Scott. Simmons by this point already had his jersey retired - wow! Reed and Scott do a shoulder charge pissing contest, but Reed pusses out by doing a leapfrog, leading to a backslide. I loved that, and the struggle from Scott to do the move. Rick Steiner with a perm looks weird. Reed's punches, clubs, and kicks look awful - and they're all he's doing. Reed begs off in the corner, so Rick does the rug pull bit on him. O'Connor roll gets 2 on Butch from Rick. More clubbing and axehandles. Ross puts over how important an education is, and how smart the Steiners were to get their degrees early on. A fan holds up a light blue-text on whiteboard "Doom is Doomed" sign that is nearly impossible to read. Reed misses a corner knee leading to a Rick double sledge. Each guys gets a tag. PERFECT dropkick from Scott. Wow. Butch has a chain and hits Scott with the INTERNATIONAL OBJECT after a superplex for the win. Tony's with JYD, who looks at least 325 pounds here. JYD looks like his own father here compared to even his WWF run. He'll have THE DUDES WITH THE ATTITUDES with him to look after him. Arn faces Orndorff next. I only remember Orndorff from '92 and on, so this will be fun.

Orndorff's promo was rather bad, and here is where it's clear that WCW's production values are beneath even the early Abrams UWF days where they at least had good lighting. The 4 Horsemen graphic looks terrible, and has the hand in the wrong direction. Arn's ring jacket has the far superior Horsemen logo that was used through the '97 run of the team. Onrdorff grabs the TV Title, which he would go on to hold, but not this particular belt, so I enjoyed seeing him wear it briefly here. Arn telegraphs a monkey flip leading to Paul raking the face with his boots. They exchange really basic wrestling holds here. Paul's backslide gets a 2.5, and he outpunches Arn! Paul locks on "THE SLEEP HOLD!" Was Ross watching some World Class before this? Headbutt to the gut from Arn doesn't do much, as Paul drops a knee on Arn's knee before doing a figure four. I remember him having an epic counter war with this move in MSW in a match with Ted DiBiase. Paul does a sunset flip with the tights, resulting in a big pop and a variety of moon jokes from Ross and Caudle. Arn does an abdominal stretch with the rope. Ross puts over Mr. Wrestling II being a ref at the Omni in possibly his last match at the Omni. Arn denies using the ropes, resulting in Ross saying he's done a lot of reffing himself, and he's never heard anyone actually admit to cheating! Ross puts over Flair versus the "over 300 pound JYD!". Well, at least he's honest. Paul hits a crappy atomic drop knocking Arn into the buckle, and knocking Arn's head into his face for a double-down. They trade punches in the corner, with Paul winning that with some shuffling blows before going to mounted punches in the corner. Paul hits a jumping forearm after a leapfrog and gets 2. Big running kneelift from Paul leads tot he wacky elbow for another 2 due to the lack of holding the leg. Arn gets the knees up for a pump splash before locking in a small package for 2 that Paul turns into a better-looking one for 3! Good match here, but nothing too exciting. Visually, this made perfect sense since Paul's cradle looked so much better. Horsemen interview is next.

Ole talks about the losses, but hypes up Flair tonight. Flair says that Barry destroyed Furnas, and Double A did the same to Orndorff. JYD gets a big band intro, which sure would look cool if the area was actually lit well. A really nice Big Gold graphic airs setting up a goofy-lookinig Flair airbrush next to it. Flair is a six-time world champion at this point, which is just amazing given how he'd be a ten-time champion by '93 and now, seemingly everyone is at least a five-time champ. Flair gets a lot of cheers during his intro and some woos, cited as being due to him being a legend in his own time. They exchange slaps and JYD wins that battle. Flair's yellow and black gear looks surprisingly good. Ross talks about how thick JYD is. Flair drops down, but eats a JYD headbutt! JYD punches Flair to the ramp! Flair's giving JYD time to catch his breath mid-ring. Flair begs off before an eye rake and chest chop. JYD no-sells and Flair moves all around him before some corner mount punches. Flair eats a clothesline coming out of the corner. JYD eats corner chops and punches that result in some wincing before a snapmare and knee drop are no-sold because Flair hit his head. Huge JYD chant broke out. Ross puts over how much JYD eats. More punch exchanges lead to JYD throwing some fiery right hands. That's as close to a flash of the old JYD as we've gotten here. He just didn't have much in him physically. Flair snaps the neck on the rope and JYD doesn't even go down for it. Flair hits him with a chair to the head, which isn't a DQ, or even a verbal warning, and it's no-sold. More corner punches from JYD. He does the flip, goes off the to, but eats a punch. Flair begs off, but gets thrown into the buckle and goes back for a backdrop. Flair hits a knee to the back resulting in ONE BUMP. Flair goes up and it's slam time. JYD'S WALKING TALL! Big headbutt and mounted punches. Ole's in for a DQ, and now the Horsemen are out. They bully refs, and the Dudes take their sweet time coming out to save. PAUL ORNDORFF IS A DUDE WITH ATTITUDE. I'm sure this made some sense at the time, but wow does he just not fit in with this group. Sting brawling in bike shorts is just odd. Rocky King cuts a fired-up promo on the Horsemen. Sting calls Ross "Rossy!'. Yikes. Sting wants a GAB title match and with the Dudes, it'll be an even match. I'M FIRED UP NOW, ROSSY! The Horsemen run down the ramp and Gigante...just stands there and lets them. The show ends with Sting running wild on Flair and IF YOU CALL THE HOTLINE, YOU CAN FIND OUT WHAT HAPPENS AFTER THIS!

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