EVENT REVIEW: WCW Clash of the Champions XVIII

WCW Clash of the Champions 18 Review

 
 
January 21, 1992
Topeka, Kansas

As World Championship Wrestling headed into 1992 with Clash of the Champions 18, the company must have surely been hoping for a turn in fortunes after a horrendous 1991.

During that year, the oft-reviled Jim Herd had taken the helm and ultimately ostracised many old-school NWA stalwarts.

Among the many stars who had departed WCW after getting tired of Herd's ignorance of pro wrestling, the most damaging was none other than Nature Boy Ric Flair.

Flair was long gone, taking the Big Gold belt with him and leaving the company in a state of turmoil.


Yet by the time this first Clash show of 1992 came about, so too had Jim Herd himself.

In his place was a new boss, Kip Frey, a man whose tenure at the top was far too short lived given the promise he showed.

Here's a look at what went down at Frey's first big show in charge.








Paul E. Dangerously Hates WCW

Our show tonight began with an opening video which was surprisingly good by WCW standards.

It focussed on Paul E. Dangerously -at the time the hottest commodity in the company- ranting and raving about how much he hated World Championship Wrestling and wanted to ensure the company's demise. 
 
WCW Clash of the Champions 18 Review - Jim Ross & Tony Schiavone

 

To do that, he'd assembled "the baddest of the bad" to form The Dangerous Alliance who we would see in action tonight.

Dangerously looked great here and the video did a stellar job of creating hype for tonight's show.

One thing I personally find cool is that, as regular RPW readers may know, I'm also slowly working my way through early ECW and Paul E. has pretty much the same "Anti-WCW" gimmick which I think is pretty good commitment.

With that video out of the way, we went live to the arena where Jim Ross and Tony Schiavone welcomed us to the show. 

One thing I will say here is that WCW shows were looking great as of late. The company had upped the production values and the way the arenas looked was starting to look good with every show.
 
WCW Clash of the Champions 18 Review - Eric Bischoff & Missy Hyatt

 
Anyway, Ross and Schiavone talked us through tonight's big matches before sending us down to Eric Bischoff and the ever-lovely Missy Hyatt.

The two promised to bring us lots of great interviews tonight before handing over to Garry Michael Capetta for the introductions to our opening contest. 

Big Van Vader & Mr. Hughes (w/ Harley Race) vs. The Steiner Brothers (Rick & Scott Steiner)

Rick Steiner had faced Vader and Mr. Hughes as part of the Lethal Lottery at Starrcade 1991, and his exchanges with Vader were the best part of that match. So it was nice to see that WCW booked them together again, this time bringing Rick's regular partner Scott Steiner into the equation. 
 
WCW Clash of the Champions 18 Review - Harley Race leads Big Van Vader and Mr. Hughes into battle

 

The match was even better than the Starrcade encounter.

Given plenty of time to do their thing, all four men threw each other around and roughed each other up with aplomb.

It was hugely enjoyable to watch and only came to a head when Vader accidentally drilled his own partner, leaving Hughes open to Rick Steiner's match-winning bulldog.
Your Winner: Rick Steiner 

Folks, call the WCW hotline and talk to Ricky Steamboat

Young Pistol Tracy & Taylor Made Man vs. Flyin' Brian Pillman & Marcus Alexander Bagwell

I don't know where Young Pistol Tracy Smothers' regular partner Steve Armstrong was for this match, but I do know he left the company a few months later, so this was the beginning of the end for that team.
 
WCW Clash of the Champions 18 Review - Tracy Smothers and Terry Taylor beat up Brian Pillman


Speaking of leaving companies, The York Foundation was pretty much done and Terrence Taylor had struck out on his own using the Taylor Made Man gimmick.

Anyway, this was another good match. Not great, not the best thing you'll ever see, but a solid effort from four undercard wrestlers who worked hard to deliver. 

The action was solid, the crowds were into it, and the whole thing was as entertaining as you could hope for from these four.

After a very good effort, Marcus Bagwell picked up the win for his team by catching Smothers with a sunset flip.
Your Winners: Marcus Bagwell & Flyin' Brian Pillman

Before the next match, we got a look at Jushin 'Thunder' Liger who had defeated Brian Pillman for the Light Heavyweight Championship. 

JR promised us that we'd see Liger defending the title at the upcoming Superbrawl show. 

Richard Morton vs. Johnny B. Badd

Johnny B. Badd had this gimmick as part of his entrance where women would stuff dollar bills into his garter. There's nothing wrong with that, but it was pretty disturbing to see a young girl who couldn't have been older than 8 or 9 waving a dollar around ready to shove it in Badd's garter belt.
 
WCW Clash of the Champions 18 Review - Richard Morton


I won't lie though, I laughed pretty hard when the girl accidentally dropped the dollar on the floor and looked crestfallen.

I'm probably going to hell for that.

Anyway, this match was OK.

Richard Morton had been incredibly boring as a heel during his singles run as he usually spent most of his time on the mat sucking the life out of the whole show, but he came to work here. 

Not that he got to do much. 

This was a short match that was just kind of "there" and ended when Morton hit Badd with a flying crossbody but Johnny B. rolled over and caught him with a three count.
Your Winner: Johnny B. Badd

After the break, Eric Bischoff stood by with Pillman and Badd with the idea being that he would interview both men about their success here tonight and the state of the Light Heavyweight Division. 
 
WCW Clash of the Champions 18 Review - Eric Bischoff interviews Brian Pillman and Johnny B. Badd

 
Instead, a fired-up Pillman went on a rant about Japanese companies building skyrise towers in local communities and buying up American companies which cost his friends their jobs. This uncharacteristic rant was all about setting up his match with Jushin Liger and making it more personal than being simply about "armdrags and hiptosses."

As Pillman got fired up about how much he hated Japanese people, Johnny B. Badd grinned and gurned and blew kisses to the camera, even planting a glittery pair of lips on Bischoff's face.

When he did the same to Pillman, the angry young man took exception to it and socked Johnny right in the mouth.

Pillman wouldn't fully turn heel until later in the year, but this promo was the most personality he'd shown since joining WCW. 

As he stormed off, Badd sat on his bum clutching his jaw and looking utterly confused at what had just happened.

Diamond Dallas Page vs. PN News

Yo baby, yo baby, yo! 

Its funny that they gave PN News a "rap master" gimmick when he was so bad at rapping. To be fair, he wasn't much better at wrestling either.
 
WCW Clash of the Champions 18 Review - Diamond Dallas Page

Here, the big man went up against Diamond Dallas Page, who had only just begun to compete in the ring over the last couple of months and still wasn't all that great at it.

The result was that this match didn't have much to offer. I won't say that I hated it or that it was terrible or anything, but there wasn't a lot going on worth writing about.

After about three minutes, News won the match with his "Rapmaster Splash" which wasn't a splash in the typical sense but basically involved him climbing to the top rope and falling off it onto his opponent.
Your Winner: PN News 

The coveted WCW Top 10 followed, putting Sting as the second-ranked competitor behind US champion Rick Rude.

That made Sting the number one contender, and we'd see him right after the break.

Big Kip Has Some Surprises


Following the commercial break, we went live to Tony Schiavone who was standing by with a group of nerds.
 
WCW Clash of the Champions 18 Review - Jesse 'The Body' Ventura makes his WCW debut


One of the nerds looked angry to be there. Another looked haplessly confused about where he was and weirdly reminded me of a 90s version of Steve Carrell's character from Anchorman

The third nerd was none other than Kip Frey, who Tony told us was the new Executive Vice President of WCW.

Taking to the microphone, Frey's first order of business was to put over the Sting/Lex Luger world title fight at Superbrawl II, and, to his credit, he made it sound like a huge deal.

Frey also told us that there was only one man capable of calling such an event, and promptly introduced us to a debuting Jesse 'The Body' Ventura.

Big Kip's run as WCW boss may not have been very long, but if he gave us more Jesse Ventura, he's alright in my book. He would also be responsible for the wrestlers getting bonuses depending on who had the best match on the card, but we'll talk more about that when we cover Superbrawl.

Anyway, Jesse was as charismatic as ever as he revealed that he would be calling Superbrawl from start to finish and looked forward to "telling it like it is." 

He was, as usual, awesome.

Sting Signs the Contract

Once Ventura had said all he had to say, Schiavone brought out Sting.

The man from Venice Beach hi-fived The Body and posed for the fans before standing by with the others as Tony played us a prerecorded interview from Lex Luger.
 
WCW Clash of the Champions 18 Review - Jesse 'The Body' Ventura, Kip Frey and Tony Schiavone look on as Sting signs a contract to face Lex Luger

Sounding half-asleep, Luger told us that his recent absence was all down to his "champion's prerogative," that he was taking a step back to prepare for Sting but would definitely crush him at the PPV and prove himself to be the most dominant athlete in the world. 

Sting then signed the contract and posed for the fans as this long and enjoyable segment came to an end. 

That was all good fun and got this writer pumped for Superbrawl. 

Falls Count Anywhere
Cactus Jack vs. Heavy Metal Van Hammer

This was a pretty good Falls Count Anywhere match and the credit for that was all due to Cactus Jack and his willingness to take some sick bumps onto the concrete.
 
WCW Clash of the Champions 18 Review - Cactus Jack rips Van Hammer's face off


Of course, this could have been much better had Foley been working with a more capable opponent than Van Hammer, but Cactus managed to get him through a reasonably entertaining bout anyway.

The first half of the match saw the two brawling in and around the ring before making their way up to the curtain, with Foley's bumps being the sole highlight.

From there, the two disappeared behind the curtain and the crowds booed loudly because, obviously, they couldn't see anything.

Conveniently, that led us to a commercial break. When we returned, the two were in a parking lot with Cactus throwing random traffic cones at Van Hammer while Missy Hyatt yelled at Nick Patrick to do something.

I read somewhere that this part of the match was pre-taped, and though I don't know how true that is, I do know that our two fighters made their way to a random horse stable thing at the back of the arena where Hammer choked Cactus with some rope before The Man from Truth or Consequences got his own back by grinding his opponent's face with a longhorn skull.

At that point, Abdullah The Butcher turned up in cowboy gear and blasted Hammer over the back with a shovel, but Cactus kicked his former partner away before scoring the pin.
Your Winner: Cactus Jack

Post-match, Abby and Cactus continued to brawl. The Butcher tried to drown Jack in a trough of water before picking up poor Missy Hyatt and dumping her in. 

The brawling continued, but WCW clearly felt it was best just to leave them to it, so the show returned to the arena with Cactus and Abby still going at it.

That wasn't the greatest thing ever seen, but it was still pretty fun. 

The Fabulous Freebirds (Michael 'P.S' Hayes & Jimmy 'Jam' Garvin) vs. Brad Armstrong & Big Josh

We joined this match just as it was commencing. I presume (though can't confirm) that this was because Michael Hayes & Jimmy Garvin were using a new theme song called I'm a Freebird, What's Your Excuse that the WWE don't have the rights to use on the Network.

To be honest, that's probably a good thing because the song is pretty terrible.


Tonight, Hayes and Garvin were locking up with Big Josh and Brad Armstrong, the latter of whom had just been working under a mask as their ally, Badstreet, a few months earlier.

That was never mentioned, nor did anyone bring up the fact that Armstrong had also recently played Arachnaman, though to be fair, if you've seen the Arachnaman character, you'll agree that it's just best not to talk about it.

As for this match, it was OK. 

Not great. Not terrible, just a fairly generic tag match in which Jim Ross made a bigger deal out of the Freebirds' new ring attire than anything they did in the ring. 

In the end, the referee got distracted, allowing the babyface team of Hayes and Garvin to hit a sneaky double DDT for the win.
Your Winner: The Steiner Brothers

After the break, we got a video package highlighting how awesome The Steiner Brothers were. 

The video made sure to mention that Rick & Scott had beaten The Road Warriors and The Nasty Boys, both of whom had been doing their thing in the WWF as of late.
 
WCW Clash of the Champions 18 Review - Eric Bischoff interviews The Steiner Brothers

 

This led us to Eric Bischoff interviewing The Steiners as they gave us a decent promo in which they reminded everyone that they'd never officially lost the WCW tag team titles and were coming to reclaim them.

The whole thing ended with Scott Steiner quoting Alice Cooper and promising that from now on, it was no more Mr. Nice Guy.

Thomas Rich vs. Vinnie Vegas

This was the WCW debut of Vinnie Vegas and the announcers tried their best to convince us that this was the first time we'd ever seen the man on WCW TV.
 
 
WCW Clash of the Champions 18 Review - Vinnie Vegas celebrates a win over Tommy Rich


This was pretty dumb and insulting as anyone who had been watching even just a month earlier would clearly recognize him as Oz with dyed hair and a new suit.

The match was nothing. Vegas hit Tommy Rich with a couple of knees then dropped him on the turnbuckle with the Snake Eyes.

I kid you not, I've been a wrestling fan for 30 years and it was only today, while watching this show, that the move was called Snake Eyes because it fit with the gambler gimmick of Vinnie Vegas.
Your Winner: Vinnie Vegas

After the break, Eric Bischoff interviewed Paul E. Dangerously who cut another amazing promo in which he promised beyond a shadow of a doubt that one of the men facing his Dangerous Alliance in our final two matches would be put out of action forever.
 
WCW Clash of the Champions 18 Review - Eric Bischoff interviews Paul E. Dangerously

 

He didn't say who it was, but did promise that one of them would end up in the "Magnum T.A Memorial Retirement Home." 

Ouch. 

Six Man Tag Team Match
The Dangerous Alliance (Larry Zybysko WCW World Tag Team Champions Arn Anderson & Bobby Eaton w/ Paul Heyman) vs. The Natural Dustin Rhodes, Barry Windham, and Ron Simmons

There's not a lot to say about this match other than that it was entirely solid and hugely enjoyable. 
 
WCW Clash of the Champions 18 Review - The Dangerous Alliance

 

The babyface trio started off strong, even doing the fun spot where they got all three heels in simultaneous figure fours before Paul E.'s men assumed control and cut Dustin Rhodes off from his corner.

All the while, the big story was Barry Windham trying to get revenge on Larry Zybysko for slamming his hand in a car door back at Halloween Havoc
 
Windham never quite managed to get his hands on Zybysko properly, but did win the match for his team when Eaton jumped off the ropes and Big Bad Barry simply punched him upside the head for the three.

That was awesome.
Your Winners: Dustin Rhodes, Barry Windham, and Ron Simmons

Outin the back, Tony Schaivone interviewed Windham. With Simmons and Rhodes watching on, the former Horseman cut a strong and convincing promo in which he swore to get revenge on Zybsyko one way or another.

WCW Clash of the Champions 18 Review - Tony Schiavone interviews Barry Windham, Ron Simmons, and Dustin Rhodes

With Tony still in the back, Jesse Ventura joined Jim Ross for some pre-main event banter before sticking around to call the match with him, giving us a taste of what to expect at Superbrawl.

The Dangerous Alliance (WCW TV Champion Stunning Steve Austin & WCW US Champion Rick Rude w/ Paul E. Dangerously) vs. Sting & Ricky 'The Dragon' Steamboat


Jesse gave us the line of the night here when Sting took a shot to the crotch and the announcer said "I bet the next time he sings Roxanne, it'll be in soprano."
 
WCW Clash of the Champions 18 Review - Rick Rude backs off from Sting

 

I don't care, that was funny.

All jokes aside, this was a tremendous main event with a lot of stellar action.

A highlight saw Sting and Ricky Steamboat cutting Rude off from his corner and blatantly cheating behind the referee's back just to give The Dangerous Alliance a taste of their own medicine, flipping the standard heel/face formula for tag team matches.

With that over, the match continued to be fantastic until Steve Austin had a hold of Steamboat. At that point, Sting leaped off the top rope onto both men and stayed on top of them for the cover, the count, and the fall.
Your Winners: Sting & Ricky Steamboat

Post-match, the heels got their revenge and destroyed the babyfaces until security broke it up.

Jesse and JR then signed off, and that was Clash of the Champions 18 in the history books.








The Clash of the Champions series was an upwards trend as 1991 turned into 1992, the previous event had a lot to enjoy about it, but Clash 18 was even better.

Sure, matches like Vegas/Rich, the Freebirds match, and Page/News were never going to be anything special, but the opening big man bruiser was a lot of fun, the Falls Count Anywhere match was excellent and helped establish Cactus Jack as a valuable commodity for WCW, and the two final matches were as goood as you could possibly ask for.

Kip Frey didn't stick around as the head of WCW for very long, but his run was off to a wonderful start. 
 



Other 1992 pro wrestling event reviews
  1. WWF Royal Rumble 1992
  2. WWF UK Rampage 1992
  3. WWF Wrestlemania 8
  4. WWF Summerslam 1992
  5. WCW Great American Bash 1992
  6. WWF Survivor Series '92
  7. WWF 1992 - The Year in Review 
Other Clash of the Champions Reviews:
 


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