EVENT REVIEW: Clash of the Champions XV - Knocksville, USA!

June 12, 1991
Civic Auditorium, Knoxville, Tennessee

WCW Clash of the Champions 15 Review - Event Ad

If you went on PPVs alone, World Championship Wrestling had enjoyed a successful run in the months leading to Clash of the Champions XV: Knocksville, USA!

The previous month’s WrestleWar ‘91 had been a very entertaining show, culminating as it did with an exceptional War Games match that saw Sid Vicious nearly end Brian Pillman’s life.

A few weeks later, the stars of WCW had journeyed to the Orient for WCW/NJPW Supershow 1991 - an event that has to be considered one of the best PPVs of the early 90s.

Yet for all of their success, the company was heading into The Golden Age of Wrestlecrap.

Kevin Nash as a giant wizard, Dusty Rhodes created his own interview segment in which he spit bars with PN News and later had his tv time cut back due to the creative embarrassment of his segments, and a host of generally poor creative decisions were doing the company no favors whatsoever.

Still, as abysmal as things looked, the likes of Sting, The Steiner Brothers, Flyin’ Brian, and Ric Flair were still delivering the goods inside the ring while the Clash debuts of future megastars Steve Austin and The Diamond Studd helped to make this a notable event in the company’s history.

Would tonight’s show continue to show that WCW wasn’t really all that bad back in the early 90s? Or would it serve to further turn the company into a laughing stock?

Let’s get down to the show to find out, shall we?

Welcome to Knocksville!

Our show tonight began with WCW’s typical opening, basically random shots of our biggest stars of the evening that whizzed on and off the screen.

WCW Clash of the Champions 15 Review: Tony Schiavone & Jim Ross

From there, we went live to the arena where we were greeted by Missy Hyatt. As she welcomed us to the show, Hyatt was interrupted by Paul E. Dangerously, who was apparently flabbergasted and frustrated that the show had dared to go live.

In one of many “wtf was that about?” moments that WCW would deliver over the years, Missy simply shoved the microphone at Paul E., who then told us that we had to go straight to our announce team, Jim Ross and Tony Schiavone.

Anyway, Ross and Schiavone hyped up our main event (Ric Flair vs. Bobby Eaton) before sending it to the ring for our opening contest.

Six-Man Tag
The Fabulous Freebirds (WCW United States Tag Team Champions The Fabulous Freebirds &
Bastreet w/ Diamond Dallas Page, The Diamond Doll, and Big Daddy Dink) vs. Tom Zenk and The Young Pistols (Steve Armstrong & Tracy Smothers)

I know that The Fabulous Freebirds were supposed to be a rock ‘n’ roll band, and I know rock ‘n’ roll was all about excess back then, but I really feel having three people come down to ringside with Michael Hayes and Jimmy Garvin was gratuitous.

WCW Clash of the Champions 15 Review - Tom Zenk & The Young Pistols

It took the spotlight off the actual wrestlers and did more harm than good to their presentation.

Tonight, they were joined by ‘Badstreet,’ who was Brad Amstrong wearing a mask and full-body outfit which appeared to have been made from a pair of Michael Hayes’ old tights.

Not only that, but The Freebirds dominated their opponents and pretty much made Z-Man and The Young Pistols their personal bitches with ease.

This was odd, not only because The ‘Birds and The Pistols (then known as The Wild-Eyed Southern Boys) had a couple of really competitive matches back at Clash of the Champions XII and Superbrawl I but also because Hayes, Garvin and Badstreet were supposed to be the heels yet performed with all the flash and panache of babyfaces.

After a few short minutes of getting continually punked out by their opponents, Z-Man, Tracy Smothers, and Steve Armstrong hit simultaneously sunset flips from the outside onto their opponents and pinned each man at the same time.

It was a cool spot, and most of the match had technically been good, but it was also very weird.
Your Winners: Z-Man and The Young Pistols

Before the next match, we got a weird British voiceover telling us about the “Flash and Bash Sweepstakes” competition to promote the Great American Bash ‘91.

Apparently, you could win some major prizes in this thing, including Ric Flair’s own personal Rolex, and all you had to Do was complete the phrase “to be the man…

This was followed by a quick advert tor the WCW hotline where fans could call and talk live to Flair’s upcoming opponent, Bobby Eaton.

With all that done, it was back to action.

Oz (w/ The Great Wizzard) vs. Johnny Rich

Having debuted back at Superbrawl 1, Oz was apparently making only his second appearance here, making light work of jobber Johnny Rich in about 2-3 minutes.

Say what you will about the Oz character, this match saw Nash bust out a flying shoulder tackle and his spinning Razor’s Edge* finisher, which was probably the most athletic the future champion had been in his entire career.

After Oz dumped Rich with the big finisher, Jim Ross told us that he’d dropped him “like a sack of….yesterday’s news.

Good save, Jim.
Your Winner: Oz

*Yes, I know there’s a proper name for this move, but I’m writing this review straight after waking up from less than 4 hours sleep, and can't think of it.

Prior to the next match, a quick commercial told us that PN News was coming to an arena near us.

Yo baby, yo baby, yo baby, yo!

Dangerous Dan Spivey vs. Big Josh

Was Dangerous Dan really all that spicy?

Big Josh didn’t have the bears with him that he’d had at Superbrawl, nor did he seem to have that much smarts:

After just a few short minutes of decent action in which Dangerous Dan Spivey looked to be the more impressive of the two, a frazzle-haired Kevin Sullivan came down carrying a crutch.

Big Josh saw this and charged at the ropes anyway, looking directly at Sullivan the whole time and yet still being surprised when Kevin whacked him with the crutch.

The blow didn’t hurt Josh, but it did distract him long enough for Spivey to hit an impressive German Suplex and score the victory.
Your Winner: Dan Spivey

In a pre-recorded bit, Tony Schiavone next ran down the WCW top 10 rankings.

Sting was number six but somehow El Gigante was at number three, which probably tells you everything you need to know about that.

Jason Hervey on The Dangerzone

WCW Clash of the Champions XV: Jason Hervey from The Wonder Years confronts Paul E. Dangerously

Paul E. Dangerously welcomed “The Wonder Years” star Jason Hervey to The Dangerzone and proceeded to ask him a bunch of questions, only to cut off the future WCW executive every time he tried to answer.

Eventually, Dangerously allowed Hervey to talk when quizzed about his relationship with Missy Hyatt.

The TV star admitted he and Hyatt were in a relationship but refused to answer whether the two were in love, instead insisting that he was only out there to talk about Sting, Lex Luger, and other high-profile stars.

All of this led to Heyman asking Hervey why, if his stardom afforded him a new house and a new car, he chose a girlfriend who was “used merchandise.

Jason stormed off at that, so Paul E. knocked him out (or “bopped” him, to use Schiavone’s words) with a cell phone to the back or the head.

Hervey was fine in his role here but Dangerously was next-level brilliant.

The Natural Dustin Rhodes vs. The Computerized Man Terrance Taylor (w/ Alexandra York and Mr. Hughes)

WCW Clash of the Champions XV Review: Dustin Rhodes vs. Terrence Taylor

Before the match got underway, a graphic for told us that the son of WCW’s head Booker had been undefeated since debuting in January.

No doubt he accomplished that on merit alone, right?

The match got underway and was fine but nowhere near as good as their match back at Superbrawl.

After a few short minutes of bog-standard action, Terrance Taylor’s head of security, Mr. Hughes hopped up on the apron and distracted Dustin Rhodes until the referee had enough and called for the bell.
Your Winner via DQ: Dustin Rhodes

As Rhodes turned around, Ricky Morton was standing behind him. The Rock ‘n’ Roll Express legend then attacked Dustin, revealing himself to be the newest member of The York Foundation.

He, Taylor and Hughes proceeded to attack until Big Josh rushed in for the save.

This was followed by a commercial telling us that Johnny B. Badd was coming to arena near us.

Well, alrighty then!

Prior to the next match, we got a flashback to Superbrawl when Nikita Koloff nailed Stint with a chain.

The Stinger would have his chance at revenge next.

Nikita Koloff vs. Sting

This was a tremendous match that proved it’s possible to get over even if you lose a match.

WCW Clash of the Champions XV Review: Nikita Koloff vs. Sting

From the opening bell, the recently-returned Koloff had the Stinger’s number, taking him apart both inside and outside the ring and destroying him with a tombstone pile driver.

The former world champion popped the crowd with a few exciting comebacks, but his rival seemed one step ahead all the way until the finish.

At that point, Koloff had Sting in the corner and charged at him, but the man from Venice Beach moved out of harms way and stole the victory with a quick roll-up.

That was great, and about as good as you were going to get given the short amount of match time that the Clash format allowed for.
Your Winner: Sting

After a quick commercial break, PN News made his way to the ring with Pepa and Spinderella of Salt-N-Pepa.

WCW Clash of the Champions 15 - Johnny B. Badd and Teddy Long confront PN News and Salt n Pepa

Apparently Salt wanted nothing to do with this and I can’t say I blame her. At least we’d get to see the group as a whole a few years later at Wrestlemania 11.

Hitting the ring, the two ladies danced while PN News busted out a rap so terrible it made Hulk Hogan’s awful freestyling on the Hulk Rules album sound like Eminem at his finest.

Before PN could begin his interview with Tony Schiavone, they were interrupted by the arrival of Theodore Long and Johnny B. Badd.

Taking to the mic, Long insulted Salt-N-Pepa and said that he and Badd were out there to let him know “whatup.”

According to Badd, whatup was that he was pretty and News was ugly. 

Naturally, PN (who was visibly sweating buckets despite doing nothing but standing there) didn’t take too kindly to being dissed like that and challenged Johnny to come get him some, but homie didn’t want none yo, and instead hightailed it.

That was kind of silly, and PN News was not good here, but Long and Badd were entertaining.

With that over, the latest “coming soon to an arena near you,” commercially focused on a star I still can’t believe is no longer with us, The Diamond Studd.

Loser Leaves WCW
Arn Anderson & Barry Windham vs. El Gigante & Brian Pillman

Despite being a tag match, the rule was that only the person who ate the fall would have to leave World Championship Wrestling.

WCW Clash of the Champions 15: Big Bad Barry Windham

Given that he wasn’t much good at anything in the ring, El Gigante stayed on the outside and did nothing more than put a head squeeze on Arn Anderson outside the ring and let Brian Pillman jump off his shoulders onto Barry Windham at one point.

That left Pillman himself to do all the work against Anderson and Barry Windham, and the result was a very enjoyable few minutes of action that could have easily gone a few extra minutes longer.

Honestly, this was looking so good that I would have happily watched a much longer version of this match, even if it would mean more involvement from the future Giant Gonzales.

After way too short of a match, Barry Windham kicked Pillman square in the mush and pinned him.

Man, Windham totally dominated his feud with Pillman.
Your Winners: Barry Windham & Arn Anderson (Brian Pillman must leave WCW)

Poor Brian wasn’t even given a send off or any even a moment to see his reaction to effectively losing his job.

Instead, we cut right from the pinfall to a match replay and then onto Paul E. Dangerously.

Paul E. was there to hype this year’s Great American Bash tour which would culminate in that year’s GAB PPV.

To sell the event, Dangerously promised us highlights from the 1990 Great American Bash but these highlights amounted to nothing more than Sting and Ric Flair making their entrances.

Following that, Schiavone and Ross took us back to that amazing IWGP tag team title match at the WCW/NJPW Supershow ‘91 which led us into the first defense of those titles on American television, courtesy of reigning champions The Steiner Brothers.

IWGP Tag Team Championship
IWGP Tag Team Champions The Steiner Brothers (Rick & Scott Steiner) vs. Hiroshi Hase and Masa Chono

Though it wasn’t on par with the aforementioned Supershow classic, this was nonetheless a fantastic tag team match.

WCW Clash of the Champions 15: Hiroshi Hase and Masa Chono

Stiff, brutal, and brilliant, all four men spend the better part of eight solid minutes beating the living hell out of each other in fine fashion before Scott Steiner picked up the win for his team thanks to the trusty Frankensteiner.

Honestly, I’m starting to think that this might be one of the best Clash of Champions shows ever.
Your Winners and Still IWGP Tag Team Champions: The Steiner Brothers

Post match, Dick Murdoch and Dick Slater (known collectively as The Hardliners) made their way to the ring and destroyed everybody in sight.

It was an awesome beat down.

After a quick commercial break, it was back to the action.

The Diamond Studd (w/ Diamond Dallas Page) vs. Wildfire Tommy Rich

This wasn’t much of a match but it was still fun to see Hall doing his thing.

After DDP picked a plant from the crowd to strip Studd of his entrance gear, the big man decimated poor Tommy Rich in about two minutes and put him away with the Diamond Death Drop (Razor’s Edge)
Your Winner: The Diamond Studd

Up next, JR interviewed young Ben from Knoxville who had won a Sting lookalike contest.

WCW Clash of the Champions 15: Ben from Knoxville, Tennessee won the Sting lookalike competition

Much to the young lad’s surprise, Stinger himself came out wearing the exact same face paint design as his number one fan.

Lifting Ben up, Sting claimed that the kid made him excited and feel good, but he didn’t feel too good moments later when Koloff returned and destroyed the former champion.

Nasty Nikita then turned his attention to the kid, but Ben’s momma hopped the guard rail to defend her baby boy.


A quick commercial for the upcoming Bruise Cruise (think the Jericho cruise but in the early 90s) aired after which it was back to more action as Clash of the Champions 15 continued.

World Heavyweight Championship Number One Contendership Match
WCW US Champion Lex Luger vs. The Great Muta

WCW Clash of the Champions 15: The Greatest Muta of All Time

This wasn’t the best match on the card but it was inoffensive and The Great Muta looked as impressive as he always did.

After a few short minutes of decent action, Lex Luger no-sold the green mist and power slammed his way into a title shot.

Unfortunately for him, he wouldn’t get it against Flair as Nature Boy would soon be New York bound.

That’s a shame, because I always enjoyed Flair/Luger matches.
Your Winner: Lex Luger

Coming soon to an arena near you…Stunning Steve Austin.

Stunning Steve Austin (w/ Lady Blossom) vs. Joey Maggs

This is the earliest appearance of Steve Austin that I’ve covered so far.

It was over in about 30 seconds as he clobbered Joey Maggs into the corner, hit him with a Stun Gun and got the fall.
Your Winner: Stunning Steve Austin

Coming soon to an arena near you: Black Blood (Billy Jack Haynes doing a generic executioner gimmick)

Richard Morton Joins The York Foundation

Richard Morton joins The York Foundation at Clash of the Champions XV

Out in the ring, a suited Ricky Morton, now known as Richard, revealed that he had joined The York Foundatiin partly because he was sick of signing autographs but mostly for the money.

When Robert Gibson arrived to confront his partner, Morton cemented his heel turn by attacking him with a piledriver.

2-out-of-3 Falls for the World Championship Wrestling World Heavyweight Championship
WCW World Heavyweight Champion Nature Boy Ric Flair vs. Beautiful Bobby Eaton

Bobby Eaton vs. Ric Flair at Clash of the Champions XV

This was a good main event that could have been a great one had it been given PPV time rather than TV time.

After a strong showing in the early part of the match, Beautiful Bobby Eaton scored the first fall courtesy of the Alabama Jam.

Not longer after, Eaton continued his offensive, only to get knocked off the top rope by Flair and sent crashing to the outsider where he hurt his knee.

That allowed Flair to even the score by Countout.

A little while later, Flair slapped on the figure four and held the ropes for leverage.

Unable to withstand the pain, Eaton laid back and got pinned.

That was good, but you really got the feeling that it could have been a classic had the circumstances been different.
Your Winner and Still World Heavyweight Champion: Nature Boy Ric Flair

As Flair celebrated, Jim Ross and Tony signed off, the credits rolled, and this one was over.

I stand by what I said earlier:

Clash of the Champions 15: Knocksville, USA! was one of the best Clash shows I’ve seen so far.

The IWGP tag match was tremendous and both Sting/Koloff and the world title match delivered the best they could in the time alloted to them.

Clashes have always felt unique but never truly special to me, though this one did have a certain quality about it that elevated it beyond a standard TV show into something that’s well worth watching.

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