EVENT REVIEW: WCW Clash of the Champions XXI

EVENT REVIEW: WCW Clash of the Champions XXI - Opening graphic   

November 18, 1992 
Macon Coliseum in Macon, Georgia.

By the time WCW Clash of the Champions XXI rolled around, Bill Watts' tenure in charge of the company was rapidly going south. 

After producing an excellent string of shows in the early part of 1992, The Cowboy since made a string of questionable decisions, not least of which included thrusting his son, Erik, into the limelight before he was ready and insisting on making Ron Simmons the world champion.

The worst part wasn't even putting the strap on the former football star. You could certainly make a case for it even if he was nowhere near the most popular star in the company. The worst part was that, after making Simmons the champion, he saddled him in a largely forgettable feud with Cactus Jack and his gang of rogues. 

Still, it would all be over soon as Watts would be out of the company the following year due to controversial remarks he'd made in an interview back in 1991. 

Until then, there was this: Clash 21, a Bill Watts show that was far, far removed from the great stuff he'd produced at the start of the year. 

Ready? Let's get into it.

Welcome to Clash of the Champions XXI

After a brief opening video promoting tonight’s featured matches, we went live to ringside where announcers Jim Ross and Jesse ‘The Body’ Ventura were pumped for tonight’s show.

WCW Clash of the Champions XXI Review - Jesse 'The Body' Ventura & Jim Ross

The duo quickly sent us to footage recorded earlier in the day from a boxing-style weigh-in between Madusa and Paul E. Dangerously

The two had fallen out back at Halloween Havoc 1992, leading to tonight’s ‘clash of the sexes.’

WCW Clash of the Champions XXI Review - Paul Heyman in his underpants

If you ever wanted to see Paul Heyman in his skimpy undies, this was the show for you. 

At the weigh-in, the Dangerous Alliance leader boasted about being in peak physical condition even though the official weigh-in declared him several pounds heavier than the 180 lbs he thought he was.

Madusa followed suit, taking moments to get her weight recorded before diving straight after her former colleague and attacking him.

We’d see more of those two later.

WCW Clash of the Champions 21 Review - Bill Watts & Tony Schiavone

First, we killed time by cutting to Tony Schiavone and WCW boss, Bill Watts.

Watts said nothing of note. Unlike most of his appearances, he had no big announcements to make or rules to lay down. 

He simply welcomed us to the show and urged us to have a good time. All the while, Cowboy Bill held up two clenched fists, as if threatening to beat us all up if we didn’t do as he damn well told us and enjoyed ourselves.

More nothingness followed from Teddy Long and Michael ‘P.S’ Hayes, the latter of whom claimed that his hatred for Erik Watts had nothing to do with WCW’s much-maligned rookie being the boss’s son.

“Erik, I’d hate you if your last name was Hayes,” the Freebird insisted.

Before he could say much more, Teddy Long noted that an injured Brian Pillman had made his way to ringside, which is exactly where we went next.

Brian Pillman Turns on Brad Armstrong (Again)

Pillman had been slowly feeling his way into a heel role for some time, even going so far as to slap Brad Armstrong back at Clash of the Champions 20 when Armstrong revealed that he was injured and thus could no longer face Pillman in a scheduled match.

WCW Clash of the Champions 21 - Brad Armstrong confronts Brian Pillman

Now, the tables appeared to have turned as Jesse Ventura interviewed a Pillman at ringside

Supporting himself on a crutch, it appeared as though it was Pillman’s turn to be injured, and, thus, the scheduled Armstrong/Pillman match was once again off the card.

Naturally, Flyin’ Brian was full of remorse for having attacked Armstrong. Now that he had hurt himself too, he knew what it felt like and even called out Brad to apologize.

Of course, it was all a rouse.

Pillman apologized but then went on the attack, whacking Armstrong in his recently injured knee with a crutch.

“Brian Pillman is disqualified!” yelled referee Randy Anderson.

“You can’t disqualify me, the match hasn’t even started yet!” Replied Pillman, making a very good point.

Moments later, Brad Armstrong insisted on competing and this match was finally on.

Brian Pillman vs. Brad Armstrong 

Not that it was much of a match.

Pillman immediately attacked. Hobbling on one leg, a fired-up Armstrong fought back, but when he turned around, his opponent tackled him from behind, right square in that recently injured knee.

One three count later, this was done.
Your Winner: Brian Pillman 

We may not have had a good match between the two, but Pillman completing his metamorphosis into full-blown baddie was a joy to watch.

Paul E.’s Mouth Gets Him in Trouble 

Up next, we took a look back at Halloween Havoc, specifically at the moment Paul E. Dangerously fired Madusa from the Dangerous Alliance and was promptly attacked by the First Lady of WCW.

WCW Clash of the Champions XX1 - Paul E. Dangerously, Jim Ross, and Madusa

This led to clips of the two training to fight each other and, finally, a face-to-face confrontation on WCW Saturday Night in which Dangerously laid on the misogyny so thick that it was too much even for the rest of The Dangerous Alliance.

The likes of Michael Hayes, Bobby Eaton, and Arn Anderson all tried to get their boss to cool his jets. When he ignored them, the group decided Dangerously’s tirade was something they could no longer support and all walked off, leaving him alone with Madusa.

It took him a while, but once Paul realized he was alone, he promptly scampered and was chased through the arena by Madusa.

I’m not normally a fan of stuff like this, but Madusa and Heyman were both so good in their roles that I couldn’t help but enjoy it. 

Not that it was over yet.

That lengthy recap simply provided some background context for a Paul E. Dangerously promo.

WCW Clash of the Champions 21 - Michael 'P.S' Hayes interviews Paul E. Dangerously

With Michael Hayes back by his side, Dangerously cut a scathing and compelling promo in which he declared himself “The Lord and Master of Manhood,” and promised to beat Madusa with one hand tied behind his back.

As good as that was, we were almost 15 minutes into the show and had seen no more than 30 seconds of wrestling.

Thankfully, that was about to change.

Erik Watts & Kensuke Sasaki vs. Arn Anderson & Beautiful Bobby Eaton (w/ Michael P.S Hayes) 

As this one got started, Jim Ross informed us that Paul E. had placed a bounty on Erik Watts, offering his men a cash incentive to injure the rookie grappler.

WCW Clash of the Champions 21 - Erik Watts & Kensuke Sasaki

Alas, there was to be no bonus for the Dangerous Alliance boys on this particular night.

Anderson & Eaton both took a turn with Watts in the early going, though neither man could gain the advantage.

They faired even worse against Kensuke Sasaki, who outwrestled both men at every turn and had a particularly enjoyable exchange with Eaton.

Before long, the whole thing broke down into a brawl and, in the midst of the madness, Erik Watts took down Bobby Eaton and made him submit with an STF.

Gotta admit I did not see that coming.
Your Winners: Erik Watts & Kensuke Sasaki

Up next, more non-wrestling:

Johnny B. Badd and Scotty Flamingo Are Ready to Box

For a show that was so far starved of actual wrestling, it seemed perfectly fitting that our next bout would involve three rounds of boxing between Johnny B. Badd and Scotty Flamingo.

WCW Clash of the Champions XXI - Tony Schiavone interviews Johnny B. Badd & Teddy Long

First though, we got pre-match comments from our competitors.

Standing in the locker room, Tony Schiavone first interviewed Badd and his manager/second, Teddy Long.

Long warned Flamingo that, as good of a wrestler as he might have been, he had made a grave mistake stepping up to box against a man the caliber of Badd.

For his part, Johnny promised revenge for Scotty whacking him in the face with a roll of coins.

After the commercial break, we went back to Schiavone, who this time was in Flamingo’s locker room.

There, the man we now know best as Raven got psyched up with the help of an entourage which included Diamond Dallas Page, Vinnie Vegas, and some random Don King impersonator.

Playing to his biggest strength, Vegas did all the talking for his camp, doing a reasonably impressive job at making the fight sound like a big deal by talking about all the attention the match was getting and how the odds were well in Flamingo’s favor.

Alright then, let’s get onto it:

Three-Round Boxing Match 
Johnny B. Badd (w/ Teddy Long) vs. Scotty Flamingo (w/ The Vegas Connection - Diamond Dallas Page & Vinnie Vegas)

Before this one even started, I couldn’t help but laugh at the official t-shirts sported by Scotty’s camp which declared him to be “One Punch Bingo, Scotty Flamingo.”

The match kicked off and quickly turned into the typical worked boxing match, the babyface clobbering his opponent around the ring only for the heel to cheat whenever the referee’s back was turned.

And, of course, with Vegas and DDP running interference on the outside, the referee’s back was turned a lot.

Still, it wasn’t enough to give Flamingo the upperhand.

Badd displayed his boxing prowess throughout the first round, leaving Flamingo dead on his feet by the time the bell rang.

Both men went to their corners, where Page upped the cheating by filling one of Scotty’s gloves with water to give it extra weight.

I don’t know much about boxing, but it never occurred to me that might be a thing.

Not only was it a thing, it was a match winning thing.

Flamingo came out for the second round still goofy and barely with it, but when The Vegas Connection distracted the official again, he found the strength to KO Johnny B. with his loaded -and presumedly very wet- glove.

Badd struggled, almost getting to his feet, collapsing again, almost getting up again, and collapsing once more.

Unable to get to his feet before the 10 count, Johnny B. Badd was out and done.
Your Winner Via Technical Knockout: Scotty Flamingo

Worked boxing matches in wrestling are rarely great, but this one was at least kept mercifully short and was at least somewhat entertaining.

Battle Bowl is Back

After the commercial break, we took a look back to Starrcade ‘91 and the inaugural Battle Bowl tournament.

WCW Clash of the Champions 21 - Jesse Ventura & Missy Hyatt draw Battle Bowl teams

The concept was coming back for Startcade ‘92, which meant that we next went to the ring where Jesse Ventura and Missy Hyatt were ready to pick names and determine the first two teams to compete in this year’s competition.

After very little fanfare, Missy revealed that Cactus Jack and Johnny B. Badd would be teaming up, as would Heavy Metal Van Hammer and Dangerous Dan Spivey, the latter of whom I didn’t even know was still around in WCW at this point.

This was followed by a quick clip for WCW Slam Jam, which for some reason is the subject of the most popular review I’ve ever published here on Retro Pro Wrestling.

Handicap Match 
Cactus Jack, The Barbarian, and Tony Atlas vs. WCW World Heavyweight Champion Ron Simmons & 2 Cold Scorpio 

2 Cold Scorpio was new. So new, in fact, that neither Jim Ross nor Jesse Ventura knew who he was and continually referred to him as “Ron Simmon’s partner.”

WCW Clash of the Champions 21 - The Barbarian, Cactus Jack, and Tony Atlas

Despite nobody knowing his name, Scorpio made an impressive debut, bouncing around the ring with flips, drop kicks, and the kind of wrestling that just wasn’t really seen in WCW back in 1992.

The match itself was a bit of a mess, with the Cactus Jack-led trio barely able to make the most of their numbers advantage for very long.

Still, if you’re a Scorpio mark like yours truly, it was just fun to see him make his first appearance and even win the match thanks to. 450 splash.
Your Winners: Ron Simmons & 2 Cold Scorpio 

Afterwards, Jesse Ventura interviewed the world heavyweight champion and his mystery partner at ringside.

WCW Clash of the Champions 21 - Jesse Ventura interviews 2 Cold Scorpio & Ron Simmons

After boasting about working his way to the top of WCW, Simmons introduced his partner as one of the hottest young upstarts in the world. Scorpio, for his part, challenged anyone in WCW who wanted to fight him to step up.

That was fun. This next segment was just weird.

Z-Man & Johnny Gunn Go Shopping

So, Z-Man and Johnny Gunn (Ton Brandi) were now officially a tag team.

To get them over with the WCW audience, WCW put together a special video package that you can see in the video above (until WWE makes me take it down).

Did it show highlights of their matches to put over what great wrestlers they were?


Did it show them training to show how fit, strong, and ready for action they were?


It showed them going to a tailor’s to be fitted for a suit by a gaggle of women who fawned all over them.

The duo were stripped down, felt up, and suited in what must have been very expensive suits given the way the girls and some old dude with a calculator celebrated when they were brought to the register.

Still, at least the girls sweetened the deal for Johnny and Tommy, as they pulled the boys into separate changing rooms, insinuating that naughty bad fun was about to go down behind the curtain.

I don’t know where this clothes store is or if it still exists, but if it does, you can bet I’m buying my next suit there.

I also don’t know what this was meant to accomplish.

Z-Man in particular had always been positioned as a face, but this video made them look like a pair of cocky assholes who flashed their money around and were so irresistible to women that shop assistants would bang them in the middle of the store.

Weird. Almost as weird as seeing Rick Rude without his signature mustache.

Rick Rude is Ready for Sting

‘Tache or no ‘tache, the US Champion was as awesome as ever here.

WCW Clash of the Champions 21 Review - Tony Schiavone interviews Ravishing Rick Rude

Speaking to Tony Schiavone,  he promised to take out arch-rival Sting once and for all when the two met later tonight.

Strongest Arm Competition

Up next, we got a recap of the Jesse Ventura Invitational Strongest Arm contest, which, as you’ve probably deduced for yourself, was an arm-wrestling contest.

WCW Clash of the Champions XXI Review - Jesse Ventura and Jim Ross present the Strongest Arm award

Ron Simmons had beaten Steve Austin in the initial first-round match, after which Barbarian overcame Arn Anderson.

That coming weekend, fans tuning into WCW Worldwide would get to witness the electricity and excitement of a Vinnie Vegas/Van Hammer arm-wrestling match. 

I’m sure folks were flocking to their TV sets for that one.

Another Word With Paul E.

From there, we went back for a second interview with Paul E. Dangerously.

This time, the big-mouthed manager donned protective headgear as his Clash of the Sexes with Madusa got ever closer.

He added nothing new, simply reiterating that he was obviously going to beat Madusa because he was a man and she wasn’t.

As unnecessary as this was, it’s almost impossible to watch a Paul Heyman promo and not be entertained.

Clash of the Sexes
Paul E. Dangerously (w/ Michael ‘P.S’ Hayes) vs. Madusa 

As entertaining as Paul E. may have been, even he couldn’t save this one.

WCW Clash of the Champions 21 - Paul E. Dangerously

Things started off with a bulky guy in a blonde wig, gi, and face mask bustling to the ring. He was supposed to be Madusa, but even from a thousand miles away, it would be obvious that it wasn’t.

Once this mystery figure hit the ring, Paul E. apparently knocked them out, but we missed this because the screen was filled with Madusa’s Tale of the Tape stats at the time.

WCW Clash of the Champions 21 - Madusa's Tale of the Tape

Dangerously soon ripped off the imposter’s wig and mask to reveal that it was actually Mike Thor, a prelim worker who had previously been hired as Paul’s sparring partner for a recent “public workout.”

Not long after, the real Madusa arrived and began whipping Paul E.’s butt. 

The manager escaped and fled to the back.
Madusa brought him back, whooped him some more, and then he escaped again.

Before anyone knew it, the five-minute time limit expired and that was that.

None of this, not a single moment of it, was good.

King of Cable Tournament Update

Up next, we got a recap of the special King of Cable tournament designed to celebrate 20 years of pro wrestling on TBS.

In the opening rounds, Sting had beaten Brian Pillman and US Champion Rick Rude had overcome Barry Windham to advance to the next round.

Those two would meet tonight.

Elsewhere, Dustin Rhodes had advanced after beating The Barbarian, and was now set to face Big Van Vader, who had earned his spot in the semis with a win over Tony Atlas.

WCW Clash of the Champions 21 - Harley Race and Big Van Vader interviewed by Tony Schiavone

Rhodes and Vader would be meeting on WCW Saturday night, which led us to a promo with Big Van and his manager, Harley Race.

The duo both bragged about Vader’s superiority over the rest of the roster, with the man from the Rocky Mountains promising to become our first King of Cable champion.

If he was going to do that, he’d  have to get past the winner of this match:

King of Cable Tournament Semi-Final 
WCW US Champion Ravishing Rick Rude vs. Sting

Prior to our match, we were introduced to three judges, Larry Zybysko, Hiro Matsuda, and Ole Anderson.

The trio would be responsible for deciding the winner should neither Sting nor Rude gain a victory within the allotted 20-minute time limit. 

WCW Clash of the Champions XXI - Sting vs. Rick Rude

Which, of course, is exactly what happened.

Rude came out strong in the early going but was soon overpowered by Sting, who went on the offense and worked over his opponent with kicks, fists, and more than a few submission holds.

After being battered down, The Ravishing One managed to turn the tables with a simple rake to the eyes that completely shifted the tide of the match.

From then on in, it was all Rude for a good portion of the match, and as good as both men usually were, the need to drag this one out for 20 minutes meant there was a long stretch of the match which just wasn’t that interesting.

As the 18-minute mark struck, Sting finally made a comeback, flying off the corner and slamming his rival around with gusto, yet it just wasn’t enough.

WCW Clash of the Champions XXI - Sting and Rick Rude battle in the King of Cable tournament

After an underwhelming 20-minute contest, Sting locked in the Scorpion Death Lock but the bell rang before Rude could submit.

The judge’s decision was not unanimous.

Matsuda gave the nod to Sting. Zybysko, unsurprisingly, voted for his former Dangerous Alliance teammate, Rick Rude.

Ole Anderson thus had the deciding vote and gave it to Sting, which was surprising given that Rude clearly dominated most of the bout.
Your Winner Via Judge’s Decision: Sting 

Rick tried to attack after the bell, but Sting drilled him with an atomic drop and sent him on his way.

Finally, it was time for our main event.

World Championship Wrestling Unified World Tag Team Championship
WCW Unified World Tag Team Champions Barry Windham & Dustin Rhodes vs. Shane Douglas & Ricky ‘The Dragon’ Steamboat

Coming at the end of a show mostly devoid of quality wrestling, this was by far the most exciting match of the night.

WCW Clash of the Champions XXI - Dustin Rhodes works over Shane Douglas

Despite lingering tensions between the two, Barry Windham and Dustin Rhodes appeared to be firmly on the same page as they took the fight to their opponents in a long but mostly enjoyable tag team contest.

Ricky Steamboat and Shane Douglas had likewise formed a cohesive unit, and it was nice to see Douglas getting something of a push after being the stand-out performer in an otherwise throw-away six-man tag back at Halloween Havoc ‘92.

I know I’ve ragged on Douglas a lot on this blog, especially for making “I Hate Ric Flair” his entire gimmick for most of his career. 

Yet after watching his early 90s performances in both WCW and ECW, I’m starting to appreciate The Franchise a lot more and can totally see why Paul Heyman would eventually put the ECW title on him.

Before his run in the land of extreme, however, Douglas made his mark with a tag team title victory that came about when the champions could no longer co-exist.

Towards the finish, Dustin Rhodes charged at Ricky Steamboat. The Dragon went for a leapfrog, but couldn’t get enough elevation to clear his much taller opponent and ended up getting inadvertently headbutted in the bollocks by The Natural.

Concerned for his opponent’s well-being, Rhodes checked on Steamboat instead of pinning him, which obviously drew the ire of Barry Windham.

The disagreement between the two escalated into blows which Douglas happily took advantage of, catching Windham coming off a right hand from Rhodes and planting him with a simple belly-to-belly suplex for the win.
Your Winners and New Unified Tag Team Champions: Shane Douglas & Ricky Steamboat.

After the bell, Rhodes stormed off in a cloud of frustration and disappointment, only to be called back by his estranged partner.

Acquiescing, Dustin returned, at which point Big Bad Barry cemented the heel turn he’d been teasing for some time by attacking The Natural.

Windham Strikes Again 

Backstage, Jesse Ventura interviewed the new tag team champions.

WCW Clash of the Champions 21 - Shane Douglas and Ricky Steamboat interviewed by Jesse Ventura

Despite wishing they could have won in different circumstances, Ricky Steamboat insisted he and Douglas were just happy to get the job done.

He also turned his attention to Dustin Rhodes, making it clear that he and the man he last claimed the tag team titles with (back at Clash 17) were firm friends and that he had tremendous respect for him.

Before anybody could say anything else, however, Barry Windham stormed into the dressing room and went positively ape-shit with a steel chair, attacking both champions and throwing Shane Douglas into a locker.

Back at ringside, Jim Ross promised we’d have more on this developing situation on the next TV show, but for now, Clash of the Champions XXI was over and I, for one, am happy about that.

Buy The Complete History of WCW Starrcade by Retro Pro Wrestling's CJ Scholes

I’m happy it’s over because, although the main event was good, the rest of the show wasn’t. Don’t get me wrong, Sting/Rude was better than most of what went before it, but it was still somewhat underwhelming and the rest of the card really lacked any serious wrestling.

The opening light heavyweight match was more of an angle. The boxing match, though decent for what it was, still wasn’t an actual wrestling match, and the whole show seemed to revolve around a Madusa/Dangerously feud that was honestly kind of embarrassing to watch.
Still, we’ve got Starrcade coming up, so let’s see how that goes.

Until next time, thanks for reading.

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