Mega Powers Running Wild!

The legendary 'Macho man' Randy Savage teams up with 'The Immortal' Hulk Hogan to take on Ted Dibiase and Andre The Giant in the first ever WWF Summerslam!

Shawn Micahels vs. Mankind

The Heartbreak Kid defends the WWF Championship against Mankind in a thrilling main event at WWF In Your House: Mind Games.

The Birth of the nWo

From Hulk Hogan's shocking turn at WCW Bash at the Beach 1996 to the addition of Ted Dibiase, THe Giant Syxx and more, relive the very beginning of the New World Order.

Austin 3:16 Says I Just Kicked Your Ass

It's one of the most famous promos of all time; Stone Cold Steve Austin wins the 1996 King of The Ring and serves notice on all the WWF superstars. Check it out in our complete review

Wrestlemania 12 Review

The boyhood dream comes true as Shawn Michaels battles champion Bret 'The Hitman' Hart in a classic 1-hour iron man match. Plus, Diesel vs. Undertaker and more.

WCW Fall Brawl 1996 Review

Was Sting in cahoots with the New World Order? Would Lex Luger be able to get along with the Four Horsemen as they faced the nWo in War Games? Find out in this review

Showing posts with label El Gigante. Show all posts
Showing posts with label El Gigante. Show all posts

Monday, 13 June 2022

EVENT REVIEW: WCW Clash of the Champions XVI - Fall Brawl '91

WCW Clash of the Champions XV - Event Logo

September 5, 1991 
Augusta-Richmond County Civic Center, Augusta, Georgia

WCW Clash of the Champions XVI - Fall Brawl '91 was not only the last of the four Clash events with the Fall Brawl subtitle (I haven't reviewed the other three yet), but it was also the last Clash event to have any subtitle at all.

After this, all Clash shows outside of the 20th-anniversary event would be given a number only, while the Fall Brawl name would eventually return in 1993 for the company's fall PPV. 

Tonight's event would see the finals of a tag team title tournament to find new champions after the previous titleholders, The Steiner Brothers, were forced to vacate the titles due to an injury to Scott Steiner. 


Scott's brother, Rick, had managed to make it to the finals with a temporary partner in 'World's Strongest Man' Bill Kazmaier, but would the new duo be able to replicate The Dog Faced Gremlin's success with his brother, or would the relatively new team of The Enforcers (Arn Anderson & Barry Windham) prevail?

Let's head down to Augusta, Georgia, to find out. 








Welcome to Fall Brawl

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

WCW Clash of the Champions XV - Tony Schiavone and Jim Ross called all the action



The video highlighted some of the main matches including a battle royal, the finals of the tag team tournament and an appearance from world champion Lex Luger.

If you somehow missed that, don’t worry because as Jim Ross and Tony Schiavone opened the show, they ran down the card once again.

The now-current AEW announcers then sent it to their colleagues Eric Bischoff, Paul E. Dangerously, and Missy Hyatt, who aimed to get us excited by telling us that Missy would be interviewing the world champion while Dangerously would be speaking to his upcoming challenger Ron Simmons later on in the show.

WCW Clash of the Champions XV - Eric Bischoff with Paul E. Dangerously & Missy Hyatt



I might have missed something, but they really made it sound like that match was happening tonight. I was a good solid hour into this show before I realised Simmons vs. Luger wasn’t until Halloween Havoc and had to come back to rewrite this part of the review.

With all that done, it was on to our opening contest.

Georgia Brawl Battle Royal

Featuring: The Z-Man, Thomas Rich, Beautiful Bobby Eaton, Ranger Ross, Tracy Smothers, The Incredible Oz, Rapmaster PN News, Sgt. Buddy Lee Parker, Stunning Steve Austin (w/ Lady Blossom), The Natural Dustin Rhodes, Terrance Taylor, Big Josh, Barry Windham, One Man Gang, El Gigante

WCW Clash of the Champions XV - Battle Royal



As early 90s mid-card battle royals go, this one wasn’t bad.

The match went the better part of five minutes before a single-elimination, at which point Big Josh impressed everybody by skinning the cat and bringing Terrance Taylor out with a head scissors.

Unfortunately, Josh couldn’t hang on and also crashed to the floor. Somehow, Ranger Ross got caught up in it all and was eliminated too.

The eliminations started coming thick and fast then until it was down to Oz, One Man Gang, El Gigante, and Dustin Rhodes.

Just when you got worried that Dusty’s son was going to win in the same the way he’d won every Clash and PPV match since January, Oz dumped him on the outside.

El Gigante then clotheslined both Oz and One Man Gang but was so ineffective that Nash visibly had to jump over the top rope and eliminate himself.
Your Winner: El Gigante

Honestly, I have no problem with that outcome. George Gonzales may not have been a very good wrestler, but it’s totally believable to have the biggest man in a battle royal win the whole thing.

After a quick plug for the WCW Hotline, it was back to the action.

Light Heavyweight Championship Tournament Semi-Final
Badstreet vs. Flyin’ Brian Pillman


Badstreet came down with The Fabulous Freebirds but they got sent to the back before the match began.

Meanwhile, Flyin’ Brian had been reinstated after the whole Yellow Dog thing went nowhere.

WCW Clash of the Champions XV - Brian Pillman vs. Badstreet



The two men were given a decent amount of time to show what they could do and absolutely made the most of it, giving us a fast-paced match with a few exciting big spots and a couple of ugly ones too.

At one point, Badstreet suplexed Pillman to the outside, but Brian either tried to reverse into a neck breaker or just didn’t take the bump properly because it looked like he almost snapped his opponent’s neck off on the way down.

Later, Flyin’ Brian dove at Badstreet on the outside but overshot me crashed face first into the guard rail.

Not long after, Pillman won this enjoyable match with a sweet crossbody from the top.
Your Winner: Brian Pillman (advances to the finals)

Before the break, the announcers ran down the WCW Top 10 rankings which put Beautiful Bobby at number ten, but placed tonight’s world title contender Ron Simmons at number two behind US champion Sting.

Speaking of the Stinger, the champ would be in action next.

United States Champion Sting vs. Johnny B. Badd (w/ Theodore Long)

WCW Clash of the Champions XV - Sting vs. Johnny B. Badd



Sting had been receiving some mystery gifts as of late, including one that was Abdullah The Butcher and his massive man boobs who came to attack the US champ.

Looking to forget about all that for now, Sting locked up with Johnny B. Badd in a match that was far more entertaining than some other reviewers have given it credit for.

What I liked about this was that, despite being the heel, Badd didn’t resort to shady tactics here.

He simply held his own against Sting and gave a fine account of himself, at least until a mystery package appeared at the entranceway.

At that point, both men just stopped and looked at it before agreeing to continue, at which point Sting immediately scored the win with a roll-up.
Your Winner: Sting

I don’t understand why the US title couldn’t have been on the line if Badd was going to be made to look so strong and Sting was going to win anyway.

It didn’t matter because as soon as the bell rang, Cactus Jack burst out of the package and attacked Sting before throwing him to the outside and hitting him with a wicked top rope elbow.

WCW being WCW, the cameraman missed the shot of Jack bursting from the package.

Light Heavyweight Title Tournament Semi-Final 2
Mike Graham vs. Richard Morton (w/ Alexandra York)

Wow, Mike Graham. WCW had really gone out of their way to bring in some major names for this tournament.


I actually have no problem with Graham, but Richard Morton was overwhelmingly boring as a heel.

His match at Great American Bash ‘91 with his former partner Robert Gibson was one of the most tedious things I’ve ever witnessed, and this sadly wasn’t much better.

This wasn’t awful of anything, it was just completely void of heat or even anything marginally exciting.

Much as I did with the aforementioned Gibson match, I completely zoned out here and almost missed Morton getting the roll-up for the three count.
Your Winner: Richard Morton

After a commercial break, Jim Ross shilled WCW magazine before showing us Bill Kazmaier in the Guinness Book of Records:

WCW Clash of the Champions XV - Big Bad Bill Kazmaier


Kazmaier was set to attempt a new world record here tonight and came down to the ring with a bunch of ring crew workers carrying a huge inflatable globe to make sure that everybody knew he was ‘The Strongest Man in the World.’

Big Bill then bent a steel bar around his head but was immediately attacked by his upcoming opponents Arn Anderson and Larry Zybysko.

That was, well...it happened I suppose.

Non-Title Match
WCW United States Tag Team Champions The Fabulous Freebirds (Michael ‘P.S’ Hayes & Jimmy Jam Garvin vs. The Patriots (Todd Champion & Firebreaker Chip)

Ah yes, here we have Todd Champion and Firebreaker Chip representing ‘ WCW Special Forces’ and hailing from the super-specific location of “USA.”

I love the idea of WCW Special Forces, that all these star wrestlers had side gigs saving and protecting the United States, though I do wonder who else they had working for them.

El Gigante rescuing cats who got stuck in trees?

Sting working double duty as a policeman?

Maybe that time Dr: Death Steve Williams rode around in an ambulance back at Clash of the Champions X wasn’t a dumb skit after all but an honest-to-goodness look at his work as a member of WCW Special Forces?

Anyway, here Champion and Chip locked up with The Fabulous Freebirds in a match that wasn’t very good but which nonetheless popped the live audience.

Hayes & Garvin won, which would have been fine except this was a non-title match and the two teams were already being advertised as facing each other again for the titles in a few days time.

This left me with some questions:

1: Again, if you’re going to have the champions win, why not make it a title match?

2: If you’re going to have The Patriots lose, why should anybody believe they were worthy of a title shot literally days after this?

3: If you were going to have the babyfaces win the titles so soon after, why not just do it here to make both the win and this event seem like a bigger deal?

I don’t know the answer to any of those questions, I just know I’m happy to see The Fabulous Freebirds fighting anybody other than The Young Pistols.
Your Winners: The Fabulous Freebirds

After the break, Paul E. interviewed Cactus Jack in the middle of the ring.

WCW Clash of the Champions XV - Paul E. interviews Cactus Jack



Just as Cactus was telling us that Sting’s career was over, a large box identical to the one he’d bust out of earlier was wheeled out towards the ring.

Assuming it was his “business partner” Abdullah The Butcher coming to greet him, The mad man from Truth or Consequences went over to give him a hug, only for Sting to burst out of the box and attack.

This led to a wild and hugely enjoyable brawl.

I’d assumed this set the stage for their now-famous street fight, but apparently, we still had nearly a full year to go before we’d see that one.

Ron Simmons Used to Play Football

Did you know that Ron Simmons’ jersey was retired at Florida State?

What a silly question, of course you did. How could you not?

Jim Ross mentioned it literally every single time Simmons wrestled for the rest of his career.

Anyway, before Simmons came out to compete, we saw a video clip of the actual retirement ceremony followed by a word from his former coach in which he said it didn’t surprise him to see Big Ron competing for the world championship in wrestling.

Ron Simmons vs. The Diamond Studd

Of course, Simmons wasn’t competing for the world championship, at least not yet anyway.

Instead, he was facing The Diamond Studd who was apparently no longer with DDP and who came out yelling “I’m the Bad Guy!” to the camera.

You know, I’d always heard how The Studd Character was the blueprint for Razor Ramon, but it wasn’t until I started watching these early 90s WCW shows that I realise how much of the Razor character Scott Hall already had down before he went to the land of Titan Sports.

His match here with the man whose jersey was retired at Florida State Was decent enough, but it didn’t last long and saw Simmons treat Studd like a jobber, steamrolling over his opponent in about two minutes.

I get that Simmons needed to look strong heading into his clash with Luger, but it’s disappointing that this match wasn’t more competitive.
Your Winner: Ron Simmons

As advertised at the start of the show, the post-match gave us Paul E.‘s promised interview with our man Ron.

WCW Clash of the Champions XV - Ron Simmons cuts a promo on Lex Luger



Simmons cut a decent babyface promo talking about making dreams come true and how any one of us could make our dreams a reality just like he had.

He then turned his attention to Luger’s entourage of mentor Harley Race and Mr. Hughes.

Ron called the two men out and said he was happy to give them what for, but when Race and Hughes did come out, he changed his mind, claiming that he was tired of looking at them and was going to go and find The Total Package.

Way to backtrack, Big Ron.

Terrance Taylor (w/ Alexandra York) vs. Heavy Metal

WCW Clash of the Champions XV - Van Hammer



This was Van Hammer’s WCW debut. 

He demolished Terrance Taylor and squashed him in under forty seconds. It wasn’t much to write home about which, as you can imagine, makes my job difficult as a guy who literally writes about wrestling.

Instead, I’ll mention that I only just learned today that some people thought Van Hammer was a repackaged Ultimate Warrior due to the fact that the two looked vaguely -and I mean really vaguely- similar.

WCW had apparently done nothing to discourage that and even had Hammer acting all wild and shaking the ring ropes ala the late Mr. Hellwig.

Of course, Hammer wasn’t Warrior, he was a big, tall muscular guy who, as he made his way out, pointed a Flying V guitar at some clearly visible pyro rigs which exploded when pointed at.

I assume we were supposed to believe Hammer was shooting fire out of his guitar or something, but when you could see the pyro all laid out and ready to go, it kind of ruined the illusion.

Anyway, Hammer seemed to have the look and a tremendous presence about him, but sadly not much else.
Your Winner: Van Hammer

Out in the locker room, Missy Hyatt looked forward to getting an interview with Lex Luger, but before she could, Ron Simmons ever-so-politely knocked on Luger’s dressing room door and then walked in wanting to confront the champion.

Luger was in no mood to talk and shoved Simmons out, closing the door behind him.

Making sure that none of us could possibly forget that he used to play football, Ron got down in a three-point stance and then barged into the room.

He was immediately followed by a gaggle of babyfaces who were to break it up.

There was no need for him to barge in when he could just as easily have walked through the door again, but I guess that doesn’t make for very exciting TV.

World Championship Wrestling World Television Champion
WCW TV Champion Stunning Steve Austin (w/ Lady Blossom) vs. The Z-Man.

WCW Clash of the Champions XV - Stunning Steve Austin w/ Lady Blossom



After a few lacklustre contests, things finally picked up with a decent effort between reigning champion Stunning Steve Austin and his challenger, The Z-Man.

Though not the best match in the world, the emphasis on actual solid mat wrestling and well-put-together spots made this one of the better matches on the card.

After a good showing from both men, Lady Blossom slipped her man some brass knuckles which he used to retain the title.
Your Winner and Still TV Champion: Stunning Steve Austin

Up next, we were supposed to get the contract signing between Lex Luger and Ron Simmons but apparently, Luger wasn’t quite ready.

WCW Clash of the Champions XV - Lex Luger and Harley Race



That was convenient really, as it gave WCW an opportunity to roll some footage of Simmons being a super babyface by giving a motivational speech to The Boys Club of Atlanta then taking two school busses full of kids to see him wrestle at the Omni.

When Luger was finally ready, he offered Simmons a job as his limo driver after beating him at the PPV.

I’m not saying that was racist, but I do wonder if that same line would’ve been used if Simmons weren’t a black man, especially since the only other time the “limo driver” angle had been used in recent years was when Ron’s former manager Teddy Long had to be Ric Flair’s limo driver if Doom lost to The Four Horsemen.

Anyway, Ron didn’t take too kindly to that so attacked Luger who then ran away and sped off in a limo.

World Championship Wrestling World Tag Team Championship Tournament Final
Rick Steiner & Bill Kazmier vs. The Enforcers (Arn Anderson & Larry Zybysko)

WCW Clash of the Champions XV - WCW World Tag Team Championship



This was a decent match which, like a lot of Clash contests, didn’t really last very long.

With Kazmier still hurting from the earlier attack, Rick Steiner tried to pick up the slack for his team only to find himself double-teamed and beaten down by The Enforcers.

Predictably, Kazmier finally made the hot tag. Well, I say ‘hot,’ nobody seemed to care so it was more like a slightly lukewarm tag.

He tribes to overpower the dastardly heels but his ribs gave out Zybysko and Anderson quickly overcame him to become our new tag champs.
Your Winners and New WCW World Tag Team Champions: The Enforcers

Post match; the show closed with a compelling promo as The Enforcers boasted that “two plain old wrestlers” had overcome The World’s Strongest Man and a college graduate.

WCW Clash of the Champions XV - Jim Ross and Tony Schiavone interview Arn Anderson and Larry Zybysko



This was a strong way to end a rather mixed bag of a show.








Clash of the Champions shows were rarely known for being excellent, but this one did at least try.

After kicking off with an inoffensive battle royal, the Pillman/Badstreet and Sting/Badd matches were both high quality, but the show pretty much fell off a cliff somewhere around the hour mark and didn’t really get it together again until the end promo from Anderson & Zybysko.

Not that it mattered, this one was clearly designed to get Ron Simmons over. Indeed, if this was a modern day show, fans would accuse WCW of “shoving him down our throats” (a phrase which always seems to overlook the fact that nobody forces us to watch pro wrestling and we can always just turn it off if we’re not enjoying it) as Simmons himself and his upcoming title match were the real focal point.

We’d see Ron -along with the contractually-obliged mention of his jersey being retired at Florida State- at Halloween Havoc ‘91.




Other 1991 pro wrestling reviews: 

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Monday, 4 April 2022

PPV REVIEW: WCW/NJPW Supershow 1 (1991)

March 21, 1991
Tokyo Dome in Tokyo, Japan

WCW/NJPW Supershow 1 (1991) Review - Event graphic


The first WCW/New Japan Supershow is one of the few more noticeable omissions from the WWE Network’s huge archive of Pay Per Views.

As such, I’m reviewing this event as it’s presented in a video I found on DailyMotion.






You can watch the video for yourself below, or read on to read my thoughts on the first of three annual Supershows promoted by WCW and NJPW.


The Rumble in the Rising Sun

After a standard TV opening featuring clips of all your favourite WCW Superstars, announcers Jim Ross and Tony Schiavone welcomed us to the Tokyo Eggdome before putting over the magnitude of tonight’s major event.

WCW/NJPW Supershow 1 (1991) Review - Jim Ross and Tony Schiavone get set to call all the action


The duo then showed us clips from a recent press conference and ‘Launch party event’ (a giant buffet, basically) while explaining that our matches tonight would adopt Japanese rules in the form of a 20 count for count outs (rather than 10) and the rule that titles would change hands on a disqualification.

With all that out of the way, it was onto our first match.

Flyin’ Brian Pillman, The Z-Man, and Tim Horner vs. Takayuki Iizuka, Kuniaki Kobayashi, and Shiro Koshinaka

WCW/NJPW Supershow 1 (1991) Review - Tom Zenk gets stretched


You know, I’m watching this about 10 minutes after wrapping up my last WCW review, and I’m honestly just relieved to see that Brian Pillman was OK after getting dropped on his head by Sid in that nasty spot at the end of WCW Wrestle War ‘91.

Here, he looked in fine form as he, Z-Man, and Tim Horner dominated the bulk of this enjoyable match.

As they did so, Ross further explained that not only was throwing someone over the top not a grounds for disqualification, it was an actual artform here in Japan.

He and Schiavone also explained that the lack of reaction from the crowd wasn’t a sign of boredom but rather respect.

That was until Horner unleashed a poor version of a moonsault and the audience just laughed their collective ass off at him.

Anyway, After a good effort, things broke down between the six men, resulting in a win for the Japanese team when Takayuki Iizuka planted Horner with a truly beautiful dragon suplex.
Your Winners: Takayuki Iizuka, Kuniaki Kobayashi, and Shiro Koshinaka

Moving swiftly on...

IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship
IWGP Junior Heavyweight Champion Jushin “Thunder” Liger v Akira Nogami

WCW/NJPW Supershow 1 (1991) Review - Akira Nogami gets set to battle Jushin 'Thunder' Liger


As this one got underway, our announcers told us that Akira Nogami has forced himself to take a year out to train after losing to Jushin ‘Thunder’ Liger the last time they met for for the title.

Unfortunately for Nogami, it didn’t seem to do him much good as he succumbed to Liger’s top-rope DDT after just four minutes.

The good news is that everything leading up to those four minutes was golden.

Though short, this was a fine, fine match indeed.
Your Winner and Still IWGP World Heavyweight Champion Jushin Liger.

After another word with our announcers, it was back to the action.

Arn Anderson & Barry Windham vs. Masahiro Chono & Masa Saito

WCW/NJPW Supershow 1 (1991) Review - Arn Anderson puts a hurting on Masahiro Chono


This was another solid match with non-stop action and a lot to like about it.

Arn Anderson & Barry Windham heeled it up big time here, using every trick in the book that they knew to get the advantage over Masahiro Chono and Mr Saito, but the NJPW boys just wouldn’t be kept down.

Eventually, the latter of the two drilled both of his opponents with some wicked Saito suplexes, but Windham popped back to his feet and Anderson got the fall.
Your Winners: Arn Anderson & Barry Windham

Post match, the Japanese men proved that they couldn’t be kept down and sent the Horsemen packing.

Before the next match, Schiavone and Ross thought we might want to look at how different the Japanese concession stands were to their US counterparts.

The Big Cat vs. El Gigante

WCW/NJPW Supershow 1 (1991) Review - El Gigante

I honestly thought this was going to be awful, but it really wasn’t.

The Japanese crowd were clearly in love with the enormous El Gigante, and the Argentinian clearly loved the attention.

Playing up to the crowd, the big man pulverised The Big Cat in no time at all, finishing him off with a huge vertical suplex and The Claw.

OK, so Gigante was never a great wrestler in terms of his technical ability, but he was very obviously having the time of his life here, and this fan for one found it rather endearing.
Your Winner: El Gigante

Moving on quickly…

WCW World Tag Team Championship vs. IWGP World Tag Team Championship
WCW World Tag Team Champions The Steiner Brothers (Rick & Scott Steiner) vs. Hiroshi Hase & Kensuke Sasaki

As The Steiner Brothers made their way to ring, JR told us that Rick & Scott were not only the WCW world tag team champions but also technically the US champs as well, so if they won tonight they’d have three sets of tag belts simultaneously.

Cool.

The first of two winner-takes-all title-versus-title matches then got underway, and quickly turned into one of the best matches this fan has ever seen.

Stiff, brutal, with hard hitting slams and suplexes galore, this match is an absolute must-watch for any serious pro wrestling fan.

Yes, I may be prone to getting overly excited sometimes and rating matches higher than they deserve, but i swear to you that this was a masterpiece.

Of course, it helped tremendously that the crowd were well on the side of Kensuke Sasaki and Hiroshi Hase, a fact that seemed to piss off Scott Steiner to the extend that he flashed us shades of the angry heel character he’d portray at the tail end of the decade.

Speaking of the future Big Poppa Pump, it was he who ended this incredible match by landing the Frankensteiner for the cover, the count, and the fall.
Your Winners and New IWGP Tag Team Chanpions (and still WCW tag team champions): The Steiner Brothers

Afterwards, Rick and Scott were handed their titles and a seemingly never-ending assortment of winner’s trophies, all of which they undoubtedly earned.

They also shook hands with their opponents, much to the delight of the live audience.


The Great Muta vs. Sting

A return match, of sorts, from the 1989 Great American Bash, this one saw The Great Muta go after Sting right from the opening bell before the two waged war on each other in a solid but not spectacular battle.

WCW/NJPW Supershow 1 (1991) Review - The Great Muta wears down Sting


Both men worked hard here, giving us a number of genuinely exciting sequences that flowed well from one to the other to create an exciting match that ended when Muta blinded Sting with the Green Mist and nailed him with a crossbody for the fall.
Your Winner: Sting

Post-match, Stint got a modicum of revenge by nailing his rival with a Stinger Splash in the corner and slapping on the Scorpion Deathlock, giving us the great visual of both men’s teams of seconds trying to break it up.

National Wrestling Alliance World Heavyweight Championship vs. IWGP World Heavyweight Championship
IWGP World Heavyweight Champion Tatsumi ‘Dragon’ Fujinami vs. NWA World Heavyweight Champion ‘Nature Boy’ Ric Flair

WCW/NJPW Supershow 1 (1991) Review - Bill Alfonso lays down the law to Ric Flair and Tatsumi Fujinami


To demonstrate the importance of this match, the usual in-ring introductions were preceded by the national anthems of each man’s country.

All the while, Ross and Schiavone went over the rules of this match, noting that while title changes on DQs and 20-count count-outs were still in force, WCW’s over-the-top-rope-DQ rule was also in effect here for the first time tonight.

The announcers all made sure to stress the significance of Bill Alfonso as the only official on record for this match, explaining how it was important to have a single official who knew what he was doing in order to avoid the kind of controversy that went down at the Mike Tyson vs. Buster Douglas boxing match which has also taken place in the Tokyo Dome.

Both of these points would prove to make a big difference to the ending of this contest.

Before we got there, Ric Flair and Tatsumi Fujinami gave us a battle for the ages.

A lengthy match which went longer than half the other bouts on this card combined, both champions traded the advantage several times in a compelling contest that kept this reviewer hooked from start to finish.

Towards the end, Flair ran right into Alfonso, knocking the official goofy and sending him right out of the ring.

From there, Nature Boy ran at his opponent, only to be backdropped over the top rope, a move which, if you recall, meant an automatic DQ.

Still, with Fonzie laying prone on the outside, there was no one around to make that call, nor was there anyone around when Fujinami rolled up his rival for multiple pinfalls.

Eventually, Fujinami made another cover and, this time, a Japanese official hit the ring to give the NJPW star the win.
Your Winner and New NWA World Heavyweight Champion: Tatsumi Fujinami

Out in the back, Jim Ross killed time before a scheduled press conference by sending us to pre-recorded comments from Sting.

Battered, bruised and covered in green mist, WCW’s franchise player was irate that Muta’s shenanigans were not what he expected when he came to Japan in search of good, old-fashioned competition.

Clearly, this was far from over.

Finally, Fujinami was in the middle of a press conference when an angry Nature Boy stormed in and stole the title, claiming he had won the match all along.

The two would meet in a rematch at Superbrawl.






WCW/NJPW Supershow 1991 was an excellent card from start to finish.

The last two matches in particular were fantastic, with the tag team title bout being one of the greatest tag matches of all time.

Elsewhere, Sting/Muta, the Junior Heavyweight Championship, the opening six man, and the Horsemen/Chono & Saito matches were all enjoyable in their own right, and even the Gigante/Cat exhibition proved not to be as terrible as it had the potential to be.

All in all, one of WCW’s better PPV efforts and one of the best PPVs of the early 90s.

Thursday, 13 January 2022

EVENT REVIEW: WCW Clash of the Champions XIII - Thanksgiving Thunder

WCW Clash of the Champions 13 Review - Thanksgiving Thunder
November 20th, 1990 
Jacksonville Memorial Coliseum, Jacksonville, Florida. 

Clash of the Champions 13 - Thanksgiving Thunder saw World Championship Wrestling at weird time.

After rising to the height of popularity, Sting had finally captured the World Heavyweight Championship, only to find himself lacking any serious, credible challengers outside of the man he beat for the title, Nature Boy Ric Flair.

Instead of actually creating any serious, credible challengers, the WCW braintrust created The Black Scorpion, supposedly a dark and mysterious figure from Sting's past (with it being hinted that it might be his former partner, The Ultimate Warrior), but who was really just a goof in a mask who did stage magic and made ominous threats over the PA system.

The gimmick -and, indeed, the whole story line- clearly didn't work, but, as we'll see tonight, WCW were not ones to give up on a bad idea.






Here's what went down when Clash of the Champions XIII - Thanksgiving Thunder came to us live from Jacksonville, Florida.

Thanksgiving Thunder

WCW Clash of the Champions 13 Review - Jim Ross and Paul Heyman called the event

We began tonight’s show with a basic intro featuring clips of WCW’s stars beating the hell out of each other, all framed in log tuning bolts...get it, because thunder?

Anyway, we then went live to the arena where Jim Ross and Paul E. Dangerously put over the stipulations for tonight’s main event.

Not only was a tag team title shot on the line, but if Butch Reed won, then Teddy Long would get Ric Flair’s limo and yacht whereas if Nature Boy won, Long would have to be his chauffeur for the day.

Hmm.

Moving on, Dangerously ranted and raved about how we could talk to Lex Luger on the WCW Hotline before JR sent it to Garry Michael Capetta for our opening contest.

The Fabulous Freebirds (Michael ‘P.S’ Hayes & Jimmy ‘Jam’ Garvin w/ Little Richard Marley) vs. The Wild Eyed Southern Boys (Tracy Smothers & Steve Armstrong)

WCW Clash of the Champions 13 Review - Bobby Eaton and The Fabulous Freebirds
I often write these reviews months in advance, and right now it feels both fitting and incredibly sad that, less than 24 hours after learning of “Beautiful” Bobby Eaton’s passing, the first wrestling match I sat down to review looked to set to feature the Midnight Express legend.

This was all set to be a six-man, featuring Bobby teaming with Michael Hayes and Jimmy Garvin to face Tracy Smothers, Steve Armstrong, and El Gigante.

Alas, the Freebirds shot themselves in the foot before the match could start by grabbing the microphone and taking credit for El Gigante’s alleged disappearance.

The referee then declared that since Hayes had owned up to some shady doings, this would now be a regular tag match and Eaton had to go to the back. 

These two teams had a great match back at Clash of the Champions XI, and this looked like it was going to be on par with that.

Unfortunately, it was a much shorter bout than their last effort, and after about 6 short minutes of exciting tag team action, Little Richard Marley tripped up Tracy Smothers, allowing Hayes to hit the match-winning DDT.
Your Winners: The Fabulous Freebirds

WCW Clash of the Champions 13 Review - Sting and Tony Schiavone
Out in the arena, Tony Schiavone interviewed Sting

The World Heavyweight champion didn’t have much to say. He simply bounced up and down a lot and confirmed that he was fighting Black Scorpion again tonight.

He didn’t get to elaborate as he was interrupted by Ole Anderson’s Black Scorpion voice echoing through the PA.

Scorpion likewise said nothing that actually meant anything, it was simply a case of “listen to how spooky snd scary I am.”

To his credit, he did promise to show off some of his black magic. I’m telling you now, if that magic ends up being half as hilariously bad as his stunt at Halloween Havoc 90, I can’t wait for it.

Nature Boy Buddy Landel vs. Flyin’ Brian Pillman

This rematch from Great American Bash 1990 was a pretty good effort which saw Buddy Landell using all the devious heel tactics he could to counter Brian Pillman’s high-flying offence.

Of course, Pillman was the real star here.

He looked incredibly impressive and so it came as no surprise when he came off the top rope with a flying crossbody and won the match.
Your Winner: Brian Pillman

WCW Clash of the Champions 13 Review - Starrcade 1990 commercial
After another reminder that we could speak to Lex Luger on the WCW hotline, we next got a promo for Starrcade ‘90: Colission Course.

The video told us that Sting would face The Black Scorpion, which was news to me as I thought the earlier promo meant that said match was happening tonight.

It also promised us a universal tag team attraction featuring the best tag teams “from across the cosmos.” 

I won’t lie, that tag team thing actually looked pretty cool.

The Big Cat vs. ‘The Candy Man’ Brad Armstrong

WCW Clash of the Champions 13 Review - The Big Cat
No, this wasn’t Ernie Ladd. It was a young Curtis ‘Mr.’ Hughes in an early gimmick.

As he made his way to the ring for his I first appearance at a big WCW event, we got some pre-recorded comments from Cat in which he promised he was here to beat everyone up and that he had his sights firmly set on Lex Luger.

Before he could get to The Total Package, however, Cat first had to dispose of ‘The Candy Man’ Brad Armstrong who’s gimmick was...

...I don’t know, that he really liked candy or something?

Whatever he was supposed to be, Armstrong was really just there to serve as a warm body for Big Cat to throw around, which he did so in impressive fashion.

Indeed, watching this charismatic, well-built dude look like a star in the making here, it’s almost impossible to believe that he’s the same guy I just wrote about a few weeks ago as having an awful match with Sal Bellomo at ECW The Night the Line Was Crossed.

Anyway, Cat, trying to get Luger’s attention, lifted Armstrong up in the torture rack, and even though The Candy Man didn’t give up, the referee took mercy on him and stopped the match.
Your Winner: Big Cat 

Before the commercial, we got a word from Dick The Bruiser.

Sounding like he smoked 60 cigarettes a day, The Bruiser told us that he was known throughout the land as the toughest wrestler and the toughest referee in the world. As such, he was able to guarantee us a winner when he officiated the main event of Starrcade.

‘Prime Time’ Brian Lee vs. The Z-Man

WCW Clash of the Champions 13 Review - Prime Time Brian Lee
As The Z-Man made his way to the ring, Jim Ross told us that he was one of the more popular wrestlers in WCW and the crowd response seemed to back that claim up.

That was surprising as on previous shows that I’ve reviewed he was mainly used as cannon fodder for other wrestlers.

His opponent tonight was future Summerslam ‘94 headliner ‘Prime Time’ Brian Lee, making his WCW debut.

The match was decent for what it was, and even though all of these Clash matches were usually short to fit around commercials, Z-Man and Lee made the best out of the time allotted to them.

Of course, I’m not saying that this was a classic or anything, but it was perfectly acceptable for an undercard bout on a TV

Z-Man won, which was a rarity.
Your Winner: The Z-Man

WCW Clash of the Champions 13 Review - Tony Schiavone interviews Alexandra York and Michael Wallstreet
After the break, we went live to Tony Schiavone who was standing by with Michael Wallstreet and Alexandra York.

Wallstreet scalded Schiavone for calling him Mike Rotunda and revealed that he had legally changed his name to Michael Wallstreet after inheriting a large sum of money.

He then introduced us to his administrative assistant, Alexandra York, making this Terri Runnel’s first appearance on a big event.

York showed us a computer print out of a strategy she had compiled for Wallstreet using data on his upcoming opponent, The Starblazer.

According to Ms. York, as long as her man followed it to the letter, he would have no problem winning his match.

The Starblazer vs. Michael Wallstreet (w/ Alexandra York)

WCW Clash of the Champions 13 Review - The Starblazer
If you’re anything like me and had no idea who the heck The Starblazer was, it was apparently ‘White Lightning’ Tim Horner in a generic luchadore costume.

York’s strategy for Wallstreet seemed to work as he basically mauled his opponent, but the crowds were silent except for a small but noticeable ‘boring’ chant.

To be honest, you can’t blame them for that. While this wasn’t terrible either, it was lifeless and as formulaic as Starblazer’s attire.

The end came when Starblazer botched whatever move he was going for and ended up just deliberately laying down so that his opponent could put him in a Boston crab.

The former Captain Mike followed that up with a Samoan Drop he called the Wallstreet Crash and put his opponent, the crowd, and this writer out of our collective misery.
Your Winner: Michael Wallstreet 

Up next, Gordon Sollie shilled WCW’s magazine, The Wrestling Wrap-Up which led us into our top ten rankings for both the tag team division and singles competition.

The tag division seemed like a stretch as the bottom three were all make-shift teams featuring guys who had maybe only tagged together on a handful of occasions, while the singles rankings featured US champion Stan Hansen in the top spot, making him one step away from world champion Sting.

We then had Jim Ross tell us that the upcoming tag team tournament was in honour of the late, great Pat O’ Conner, would feature teams from all over the world and would be held at Starrcade.

That led us to our next match, where two teams would duke it out for the right to represent Africa in the tournament.

Pat O’ Conner International Tag Team Tournament African Qualifier
Sgt. Krueger & Col. Deklerk vs. Kalua & The Botswana Beast

Yet more names that I had to Google here.

Col. Deklerk was Ted ‘Flyboy Rocco Rock’ Petty while opinion seems to be divided as to whether Matt Borne or Ray Apollo played Sgt. Krueger.

One things for sure though, none of them were African.

Meanwhile, all signs point to Kalua being Larry ‘Thunderbolt’ Hamilton and the Botswana Beast being played by Bill Tabb, which doesn’t really help here as I’m not familiar with either of them but I’m pretty sure neither of them were African either.

Anyway, this was interesting because it started well enough with some nice wrestling between Kalua and Deklerk, but then The Botswana Beast tagged in and proved that outside of throwing a huge -and admittedly impressive- flying clothesline, he was a pretty terrible and awkward wrestler.

The rest of the match just completely fell apart, with all four men looking lost and having no idea what to do.

Deklerk and Krueger won when referee Randy Anderson shuffled awkwardly into position so that he couldn’t see them doing a double team move and then counted the fall.

I don’t say this often, but that was really, really bad.
Your Winners: Sgt. Krueger & Col. Deklerk

After the match, we went to a pre-recorded bit where legendary promoter Sam Muchnik invited all the wrestling fans to join him at Starrcade for the tag team tournament.

Muchnik was clearly reading from a script and didn’t care about this at all. I doubt anybody bought a ticket or PPV stream on the back of this.

Hansen and Luger Hate Each Other

WCW Clash of the Champions 13 Review - The Big Cat Confronts Lex Luger
Up next, we looked back at Clash of the Champions 12 when Stan Hansen attacked Lex Luger before going on to beat him for the US title at Halloween Havoc.

Weirdly, this didn’t set up a rematch between the two tonight but instead the announcers went on to tell us that Paul E. Dangerously had found some dude called The Motor City Mad Man who was going to fight Luger instead.

Before that match, Luger was about to talk about his various feuds when Big Cat approached him, only to get punched in the face and left seething.

The Motor City Mad Man vs. Lex Luger 

Yet another guy I’d never heard of, The Motor City Mad Man was Mike Moore who apparently was in a tag team called The Motor City Mad Men managed by Dangerously in the 80s.

Before his predictable loss to Luger, The Mad Man had to wait while Big Cat attacked the Total Package.

The referees eventually broke that up, and what we got was a pretty poor match that was saved only by Luger’s popularity.

After a few minutes of sloppy action, the former US champion put his opponent away with a clothesline.
Your Winner: Lex Luger 

After another Starrcade promo, Tony Schiavone interviewed Nick Patrick. Patrick informed us that The Steiner Brothers had been told off for trying to end the careers of The Nasty Boys.

So that was happening.

The Renegade Warriors (Chris & Mark Youngblood) vs. The Nasty Boys (Brian Knobbs & Jerry Sags)

WCW Clash of the Champions 13 Review - The Renegade Warriors
For what it was, this was a good match. The Nasty Boys had looked very impressive in their short 1990 run in WCW and although they’d be in the WWF for a run as cartoon characters very soon, they looked just as impressive here.

Meanwhile, The Renegade Warriors also brought their A-game and were starting to get over -to a degree- with the live crowd.

Those factors led to a fun match which ended when The Steiners ran in to attack Brian Knobbs and Jerry Sags.
Your Winners via Disqualification: The Nasty Boys 

Afterwards, The Nasties simply ran off. 

Vader is Back...Kinda 

Big Van Vader had debuted back at The Great American Bash and then hadn’t been seen -at least not on Clash shows or PPV- since.

A graphic told us that he was back, but that was literally it. There was no promo or hype video and he wasn’t shown again on this show unless it was in a bit that got cut out of the Network version.

The Nightstalker vs. Sid Vicious 

WCW Clash of the Champions 13 Review - Sid Vicious
The Night Stalker
was Bryan “Adam Bomb” Clarke carrying a ridiculous, oversized toy ax.

Sid Vicious was, well he was The Master of the World and a man who could never truly be a heel because the fans always loved him.

As the Four Horsemen representative made his way to the ring, we got some pre-recorded comments in which he promised to come after Sting as soon as he got done with The Night Stalker.

The match wasn’t terrible, but it wasn’t great either.

The two behemoths tried a test of strength, then Night Stalker put Sid in a bear hug, then he did this really weird thing where he put him in the ropes and just lay his hands on Sid’s side like he was some kind of faith healer.

That was about the whole match. Big Cat came down for seemingly no reason and Night Stalker just had to stand around awkwardly waiting while Sid took care of him.

The Horseman then used Stalker’s own ridiculous axe toy against him to win the match.

Why didn’t he get DQ’d for using an international object? Because for the second time tonight, Randy Anderson had to awkwardly position himself so that he couldn’t see it, this time by taking a short nap in the corner despite not being touched.
Your Winner: Sid 

Post match, Stalker and Cat got their asses handed to them by The Ruler of The World.

That was a very clumsy and poorly executed finish.

El Gigante is Here After All

WCW Clash of the Champions 13 Review - El Gigante and The Southern Boys
Up next, The Fabulous Free Birds bragged about sending El Gigante packing back to Argentina, but then The Southern Boys turned up with street clothes wearing giant in tow.

I read somewhere that the reason Gigante hadn’t been in the match was that he missed his flight, but he’d clearly caught a later one and managed to make it for this nothing segment.

I wouldn’t have bothered.

With that over, Missy Hyatt reminded us to watch her and Jim Ross call a match between Arn Anderson and Terry Taylor on Main Event.

A recap of the Steiners attacking The Nasty Bots followed, after which we got to see Rick & Scott in action.

Magnum Force vs. NWA United States Tag Team Champions The Steiner Brothers (Rick & Scott Steiner)

You know, I’ve been watching pro wrestling since 1992 and I’ve been writing these reviews for almost ten years now and yet never before have I ever had to Google “who the f**k are these guys?” more than I have with Clash of the Champions 13.

Truth is, even after Google I still don’t know who Magnum Force are as the consensus seems to be that the original Force had been replaced by two other wrestlers and nobody can quite agree what their names are

Not that it really mattered.

Magnum Force were clearly jobbers and were easily disposed of in a quick match that was barely worth watching.
Your Winners: The Steiner Brothers 

Post match, The Nasties ran in but quickly got sent packing out of the arena, out of WCW, and into the waiting arms of Titan Sports.

A Word With The Horsemen

Up next, Ric Flair reminded Doom that they would have to walk that aisle as he, Tony Schiavone and Arn Anderson went over the stipulations for our main event.

As they did so, stagehands could be seen setting up some contraption for more of The Black Scorpion’s cheap stage magic.

Flair was as good as he ever was in this promo, but to be honest, this Clash show has been such a clusterf**k to write about that it’s hard to maintain interest at this point.

The Black Scorpion is a Magician 

Up next, Sting came out to tell Paul E. Dangerously that he was ready to come face to face with The Black Scorpion, but instead The Scorpion dragged a plant out of the crowd, made his head rotate 360 using a magic box, then turned him into a tiger.

For his final act, Scorpion made himself disappear.

This was all supposed to be  evidence of the Black Scorpion’s super powers, but it was nothing you couldn’t see watching any stage magician in the land.

It was also made worse by the fact that Paul Heyman and Sting both started shouting over what was very clearly some pre-recorded audio of Ole Anderson doing his Scorpion voice.

Silly.

WCW Tag Team Champion Butch Reed (w/ Teddy Long and Ron Simmons) vs. Nature Boy Ric Flair (w/ TV Champion Arn Anderson)

WCW Clash of the Champions 13 Review - Teddy Long picks Butch Reed to face Ric Flair
The deal here was that we didn’t know which two men would represent their teams and it was to be decided by a coin toss.

Except it wasn’t. At least not entirely. 

Doom called Heads, but then Nick Patrick simply asked Teddy Long who was going to represent them and he picked Butch Reed. 

Surely he could have done that without a coin toss?

Flair and Anderson’s coin toss was a little more like how it’s supposed to be done. Flair also called heads, heads it was, and thus he got to wrestle.

With that done, Jim Ross reminded us of what was at stake.

If The Horsemen won, they would get a tag team title shot at Starrcade and Teddy Long would have to be their chauffeur for the day.

If Doom won, there was to be no Starrcade match and Long would get both Ric Flair’s 65ft yacht and his limo. 

Unsurprisingly, this was the best match on the card by a country mile and was the first time all night that the crowd really came to life.

OK, so it wasn’t Flair’s greatest match ever, but given the caliber of his work, that’s hardly a criticism.

This was still very, very good and made sitting through all the crap that went before it very much worth it.

At one point, Reed looked to have the match won thanks to an awesome top rope shoulder tackle, but Long was arguing with Patrick on the outside so there was nobody to make the count.

Then Ron Simmons took out Flair and again, Reed could have won, but this time Arn Anderson hit him with a chair.

Flair got the cover, Anderson threw Patrick in the ring and that was that.
Your Winner: Ric Flair

The Horsemen and Doom now had a date with destiny at Starrcade.







You know, I’ve been enjoying watching all of these old WCW shows simply because I never got to see them as a kid due to the company’s non-existent TV exposure here in the UK.
Even when the matches have been poor, nostalgia has kept me invested, but not with this one.

Clash of the Champions XIII was a chore to watch.

Sure, a couple of the undercard matches were decent, but they weren’t enough to make up for the number of squash matches featuring no mark jobbers and that abysmal “none of us are actually African” African qualifying match.

Still, the main event was fantastic. If you’re even mildly curious, enjoy the opening Freebirds/Southern Boys match then skip out all of the other crap until you get to the awesome Flair/Reed match.

Retro Pro Wrestling

New reviews of classic WWF/WWE events recalling every moment from Wrestlemania 1 - 30. You'll also find reviews of WCW, ECW, TNA and the occasional indie event, along with a look at old school magazines, merchandise and more.