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 Lex Luger. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Lex Luger. Show all posts

Friday, 13 January 2023

PPV REVIEW: WCW Superbrawl II (1992)

WCW Superbrawl II (1992) Review _ Event poster

February 29, 1992
Miller High Life Theatre, Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Suprbrawl II came at a time when the company's unfortunately short-term president, Kip Allen Fry was doing his damnedest to get WCW out of the creative and financial pit it had fallen into over the past several years of horrible management.

As the story goes, one of Fry's initiatives to turn WCW around was awarding a $5,000 bonus to the wrestlers who put on the night's best match. 

Suddenly incentivized and sufficiently motivated, many of the company's stars began upping their game between the ropes, leading a sharp uptake in match quality.

Personally, that gets me pretty excited. 

I've always loved the Superbrawl Pay Per View, and I may have mentioned in the past that it often felt more prestigious and important than WCW's marquee PPV, Starrcade.

I've never actually seen Superbrawl '92 before today, so combine that with the fact that this was my favorite WCW PPV and the promise of some good quality matches, I honestly can't wait to dive into it.

Welcome to Superbrawl II

Our show tonight began with one of WCW’s better opening videos which did a fantastic job of selling marquee matches, including Brian Pillman vs. Jushin 'Thunder' Liger, Rick Rude vs. Ricky 'The Dragon' Steamboat, and Sting vs. Lex Luger.

WCW Superbrawl II- Tony Schaivone and Eric Bischoff


Already I’m pumped for this show. Surely there’s no way a card featuring such an awesome line-up could possibly fail, right?

The video segued into a live shot of the crowd as pyro exploded and Tony Schiavone welcomed us to tonight’s event.

Remember what I said about Superbrawl feeling like a bigger deal than Starrcade?

This exciting opening certainly made it feel that way.

Anyway, Schiavone and broadcast colleague Eric Bischoff were both equally as geared up for tonight’s event though the duo couldn’t agree on who would win tonight’s tag team title match.

Eric’s money was on The Steiners, while Schiavone backed the duo of Bobby Eaton & Arn Anderson.

WCW Superbrawl 1992 - Missy Hyatt conducted backstage interviews all night


In the back, Missy Hyatt was so giddy about her role as a backstage interviewer that she promised her interviews would be better than the matches themselves.

I’m only a few minutes into this, but somehow I doubt it.

Jesse ‘The Body’ Ventura Debuts in WCW

Out in the ring, Jim Ross welcomed his broadcast partner for the evening, none other than the one and only Jesse ‘The Body’ Ventura.

WCW Superbrawl 1992 - Jim Ross and Jesse 'The Body' Ventura


Last seen calling the action (I think) at Wrestlemania 6, Ventura made his WCW debut by riding a motorcycle to the ring and then eliciting a huge pop for name-checking Harley Davidson.

He and Ross then ran through tonight’s card before the promo finished with The Body saying, “you know, if you wore a cowboy hat, you’d look just like JR Ewing.”

Ventura then turned to the camera and smirked, “which is funny because his initials are JR.”

So there you have it, Jesse Ventura came up with Jim Ross’s cowboy hat gimmick.

Finally, we got a little bit more rambling from Bischoff and Schiavone, and then it was down to our opening contest of the evening.

World Championship Wrestling World Lightheavyweight Champion Jushin ‘Thunder’ Liger vs. Flyin’ Brian Pillman lol

A precursor to many of WCW’s fondly remembered Cruiserweight classics, Brian Pillman and Jushin Liger tore it up here in a tremendous opening contest.

WCW Superbrawl 1992 Review - Jushin Liger vs. Brian Pillman


The two spent the early part of the match trading the advantage on the mat, occasionally picking up the pace to pop the crowd with some aerial attacks before returning to submission holds again.

As things progressed, champ and challenger upped the ante, battling back and forth towards a crescendo of dramatic near falls and victory for Pillman.
Your Winner and New Lightheavyweigh Champion: Brian Pillman

Out in the back, Missy Hyatt was super excited to be interviewing Tailor-Made Man, Terry Taylor.

WCW Superbrawl 1992 Review - Terry Taylor does his best Ted Dibiase impression


Cosplaying as Ted Dibiase in a shiny black and gold suit, Taylor cut a confident promo deriding his upcoming opponent, Marcus Alexander Bagwell, for not taking him up on his offer to become Taylor’s protege and promised to make an example out of the future Buff Daddy.

Marcus Alexander Bagwell vs. The Tailor-Made Man Terry Taylor

I mean, seriously, the only difference between Taylor’s pre-match attire and Dibiase’s famous suit is that the latter always had dollar signs on it.

Speaking of attire, our guest ring announcer was a young man from Syracuse University named Barry Abrams, who had won a contest to do the introductions for this match.

WCW Superbrawl II (1992) - lol


Curiously, Abrams looked to be wearing a tuxedo until the camera pulled out to reveal that he was wearing a tuxedo on the top half and basketball shorts on the bottom.

I can’t say for certain, but I wonder if his outfit choice was why a large portion of the audience booed the crap out of him.

Whatever you’re doing these days Barry, I hope you’re doing well!

On another note, JR mentioned that Taylor and Greg Valentine were the new US tag team champions, but those belts were apparently so insignificant that Terry didn’t even bother to bring his with him.

WCW Superbrawl II (1992) - Marcus Alexander Bagwell


As for the actual match, I’ll be honest that I wasn’t really expecting much from it, but it soon turned into a decent veteran vs. rookie bout.

Other than Taylor capsizing off the top rope with a poor-looking splash, the action was solid enough, but you got the feeling that the fans didn’t yet care enough about Bagwell to really root for him as the underdog.

As such, when -after he’d spent most of the match getting his ass whooped- he pulled a flash pinfall out of nowhere, few people seemed to give a damn.
Your Winner: Marcus Alexander Bagwell

Post-match, Taylor beat up on Marcus, though Ventura reminded us that even though he was dead in the middle of the ring, M.A.B would still be headin’ to the proverbial pay windah.

Lex Luger Is Going to Be The Champion Because He is The Champion

Yes, I know that subheading sounds dumb, but that’s exactly what Harley Race told us in our next backstage interview with Missy Hyatt.

WCW Superbrawl II (1992) - Missy Hyatt interviews Harley Race


Race told Wyatt (and all of us) that his man, Lex Luger, was in the best shape of his life before finishing his short promo with the sentence, “Lex Luger is going to walk out the champion tonight and he’s going to be the champion tomorrow because he is the world heavyweight champion, Lex Luger.”

So there you have it.

Cactus Jack vs. Ron Simmons

Though it was slow in parts, the clash of styles between Ron Simmons and Cactus Jack made for an enjoyable match.

WCW Superbrawl II (1992) - Cactus Jack gets the better of Ron Simmons


During one lull, the camera panned to the crowd where Junkyard Dog was seen chilling out in a white tuxedo with a face that bore all the emotion of a catatonic brick.

Back in the ring, Simmons got the early advantage by attacking Cactus after getting his head stuck between the ropes, prompting Jesse Ventura to rightly call out the supposed crowd favorite for using such underhand tactics.

Jack eventually made his comeback and pulled out the rest of his usual repertoire, including a big-time elbow from the corner to the outside and a bunch of DDTs, but that wasn’t enough to put away the man who WCW had been pushing pretty heavily since he split from Butch Reed.

Somewhat predictably (at least if you follow this period of WCW history), Simmons picked up the win with a power slam.
Your Winner: Ron Simmons 

Afterward, Abdullah The Butcher came down to start the next phase of his on-again-off-again alliance with Cactus Jack as the two beat up on Simmons.

Eventually, JYD took his sweet time sauntering through the crowd, casually head-butted two security guards, and then sent Cactus and Abby packing with some fake-looking tights and lefts.

You have to wonder if this angle would have been more effective had Junkyard seemed in a hurry about saving Big Ron, especially when Jim Ross told us that the two were friends.

After some quick post-match analysis from Bischoff and Schiavone, it was onto our next contest.

There’s No Money in Bodybuilding

As Van Hammer and Z-Man made their way to the ring for our next match, Jim Ross pointed out that Zenk and Ventura were both Minnesotans.

“That’s right,” said Jesse. “In fact, Z-Man was a former Mr. Minnesota who came over from body building to pro wrestling because we all know there’s no money in body building.”

After a beat, he continued:

“In fact, the big guy Vinnie probably knows there’s no money in bodybuilding.”

If you don’t know why that jab was hilarious, you need to leave this review immediately and go Google something called The World Bodybuilding Federation.

Vinnie Vegas & Richard Morton vs. Van Hammer & The Z-Man

This match kinda sucked.

Given the crowd reaction and the comments in another Superbrawl 2 review that I read, I may be in the minority as far as my assessment goes, but I certainly didn’t have a good time watching this one.

WCW Superbrawl II (1992) - Check these guys out right here


Sure, the brief exchanges between Zenk and Richard Morton were terrific, but despite those two being the better workers, Vinnie Vegas and Van Hammer spent 90% of the match working exclusively with each other.

Vegas certainly oozed charisma and was over with the audience, but it took him and Hammer a good while to gel, and their early exchanges looked horrible.

Though I’m genuinely a fan of Kevin Nash, I can’t deny that in the early moments, at least, he looked like he’d never taken a bump in his life.

Things got better towards the end, but by that point, watching Vinnie Vegas wrestle Van Hammer for the better part of 10 minutes had completely killed any interest your writer had, and it was a relief when Z-Man came in for the hot tag followed by a match-winning roll-up.
Your Winners: Van Hammer & The Z-Man

Up next, Schiavone and Bischoff took us back to Halloween Havoc 1991, when Arn Anderson and Larry Zybysko destroyed Barry Windham’s hand as he arrived for the show with Dustin Rhodes.

Tonight, we were told Windham was out for revenge in our next contest.

The Dangerous Alliance (WCW TV Champion Stunning Steve Austin & Larry Zybysko w/ Madusa) vs. Dustin Rhodes & Barry Windham

Though I personally preferred Rhodes & Steamboat vs. Zybysko & Anderson from the previous month’s Clash of the Champions, this was still a solid match.

WCW Superbrawl II (1992) - Larry beats up Barry


The longest bout on the card so far, things started fast and furious as Windham dove straight for Zybysko in front of a hot crowd.

Things slowed down somewhat in the middle, but even then, all four men gelled beautifully to deliver a smooth, compelling performance.

After a very good outing, Windham destroyed Zybysko with a big-time flying lariat and got the win.
Your Winners: Dustin Rhodes & Barry Windham

As the victors made their exit, Ross and Ventura sent us over to Schiavone and Bischoff.

WCW Superbrawl II (1992) - Eric Bischoff explains why he loves The Steiners so much


Wearing a Michigan State jacket, Eric marked out hard for The Steiner Brothers and couldn’t wait to see them win their next match.

Before we got to that, however, there was this.

Ricky Steamboat’s Ninja Bodyguard

Backstage, Missy Hyatt attempted to get an interview with Ricky Steamboat.

On arrival at his dressing room, she was greeted by a grunting ninja who I guess was Steamboat’s…I don’t know…bodyguard or something. 

WCW Superbrawl II (1992) - Madusa confronts a ninja


The ninja bodyguard opened the dressing room door, but when it revealed Steamboat meditating with some candles, he quickly shut it again and shooed Missy away with yet more grunting.

Hyatt wasn’t away for long, as she bumped into Madusa who also wanted a word with The Dragon.

The ninja flat-out refused, so Madusa slapped him but then ran off when he chased after her.

I honestly have no idea what I’ve just watched.

World Championship Wrestling World Tag Team Championship
WCW World Tag Team Champions The Dangerous Alliance (Arn Anderson & Beautiful Bobby w/ Paul E. Dangerously) vs. The Steiner Brothers

Prior to the bell, Garry Michael Capetta informed us that WCW boss Kip Allen Fry had banned Paul E. Dangerously from the ringside.

WCW Superbrawl II (1992) - Arn Anderson gets the better of Scott Steiner


The Dangerous Alliance boss had already been banned from the upcoming US title fight, so naturally, he was pretty pissed about this, but he reluctantly went anyway after being ushered out by a gaggle of referees.

Maybe they should have gotten Steamboat’s ninja to help them.

Once the bell rang, the match was almost as good as you’d imagine it would be.

After an excellent wrestling display by Scott Steiner and Bobby Eaton in the opening moments, both teams traded the advantage before Scotty succumbed to his opponents and did a great job as the face-in-peril.

I say this was only almost as good as you’d imagine because of the convoluted finish.

Arn Anderson threw powder in Rick Steiner’s eyes. The referee apparently didn’t see that but did see a now-blinded Dog Faces Gremlin coming towards him, mistaking him for Anderson and blasting him with a suplex.

With the official referee down, a second one ran to the ring to count a pinfall after Scott hit Bobby with the Frankensteiner, even though Eaton wasn’t the legal man.

The bell rang. The Steiners grabbed the title belts, only for Nick Patrick to officially declare the result as a disqualification victory for The Dangerous Alliance due to Steiner hitting the referee.

That was kind of messy, but everything before it was great.
Your Winners via DQ and Still Tag Team Champions: The Dangerous Alliance

After a quick commercial for the upcoming WrestleWar PPV, Ross and Ventura recapped the controversial finish to the tag team title match.

Backstage, Missy Hyatt watched as a stoic Ricky Steamboat left the dressing room and headed towards the ring for what Hyatt promised would be “the best US title match ever.”

World Championship Wrestling United States Championship
WCW United States Champion ‘Ravishing’ Rick Rude vs. Ricky ‘The Dragon’ Steamboat (w/ The Ninja)

Paul E. Dangerously is banned from ringside

Meeting for the first time on PPV since the 1988 Royal Rumble, Rude and Steamboat gave us a strong match that started slow but got better and better as it went on.

WCW Superbrawl II (1992) - Rick Rude vs. Ricky Steamboat


Rude was so despised by the fans that it took him a good while to get through his usual pre-match shtick, with every fan interruption riling up the champion more and more.

Steamboat then came out with his ninja in tow as Ventura questioned why that was allowed, but Paul E. Dangerously had to stay backstage.

If you know anything about pro wrestling, you’ve probably already learned that the masked ninja was a member of The Dangerous Alliance and would inevitably turn on Steamboat.

That was obvious from the opening bell, but despite a predictable finish, it was still a damn fine match that built up from a lot of mat-based offense into a dramatic closing sequence.

In the end, Steamboat looked to have the match in had. He scaled the ropes, but the ninja whacked him one with a suspiciously-familiar cell phone.

The interference allowed Rude to get the cover, the count, and the fall.
Your Winner and Still US Champion: Rick Rude

After some post-match analysis, we went backstage to Missy Hyatt who burst into Rick Rude’s lockerroom to find -quell surprise- Paul E. Dangerously wearing the ninja outfit.

World Championship Wrestling World Heavyweight Championship
WCW World Heavyweight Champion Lex Luger (w/ Harley Race)

Lex Luger was on his way out of the door here and didn’t seem too concerned about leaving on a high note.

WCW Superbrawl II (1992) - Sting contemplates his next move against Lex Luger


As such, his lackluster did dampen things and drag the match down at certain points, but it was still an enjoyable contest for what it was.

The match started hot, dragged in the middle as the unmotivated champion worked over his opponent’s knee, then picked up the pace again towards the finish.

After being dumped on the outside, Sting reversed a Harley Race piledriver attempt, and back-body dropped the former NWA champion on the mat. He then scaled the ropes and flattened The Total Package with an awesome flying crossbody off the top to regain the world title.

Yes, I know, in an age where we see wrestlers doing multiple flips and all kinds of ariel wizardry, a simple crossbody may not sound all that impressive, but trust me, this one was a thing of beauty.
Your Winner and New World Heavyweight Champion: Sting

As Luger disappeared from view and went off to focus on bodybuilding, Sting grabbed his newly-won title and celebrated with the audience while Jim Ross and Jesse ‘The Body’ Ventura called time on what had been a mostly great show.

I mean sure, the Vegas/Morton vs. Zenk/Hammer match wasn’t good, but it was the only match on the card that I didn’t enjoy.

Even the likes of Taylor/Bagwell and Simmons/Cactus delivered in their own way, while the opening Liger/Pillman match, the two tag bouts and the US title matches all helped to make Superbrawl 2 one of the best WCW PPVs you’re likely to see from this time period.

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Sunday, 13 November 2022

PPV REVIEW: WCW Starrcade 1991 - Battlebowl - The Lethal Lottery

WCW Starrcade 1991 - Event poster

December 29, 1991,
Norfolk Scope in Norfolk, Virginia

Growing up as a kid in the UK,  my access to early 90s WCW was limited to the brief number of Disney tapings that aired on ITV on Saturday afternoons.

To be honest, I don’t remember anything about those shows apart from the fact that they inexplicably made me the biggest fan of Ice Train.

So it’s been fun to go back and watch WCW from its earliest days. Even when the shows suck (as many of them did), I’ve enjoyed seeing so many of the things the company did back then which I’d previously only ever read about.

Battlebowl/Lethal Lottery is one of the things I’ve been looking forward to the most.

Well, kind of.

On paper, the idea of wrestlers “randomly” being thrown together in teams to compete for a space in a main event battle royal sounds like an idea that really appeals to me, though something tells me that this is one of those times when the idea is way better than the execution.

Still, there’s only one way to find out for sure, so let’s head down to Starrcade ‘91 and figure out whether this thing was any good or not.

Welcome to Battlebowl

There was nothing fancy about tonight’s opening. 

A basic video package ran down some of the bigger names in tonight’s event as a voiceover reminded us that we’d see 20 tag teams drawn at random.
WCW Starrcade 1991 - Tony Schiavone & Jim Ross called all the action


Cameras then cut to the Norfolk Scope Arena which looked genuinely cool, especially as it seemed to be packed.

As the camera panned down, Jim Ross welcomed us to the show before he and Tony Schiavone explained the Battlebowl rules:

The ten teams who won their matches would compete in a two-ring battle royal.

Wrestlers would be dumped from one ring into the next then out on the floor until there was one man left in the school ring.

They would then go at it to determine a winner.

Honestly, that sounds way more complicated than it needed to be, but since this was the brainchild of the same Dusty Rhodes who gave us the Bunkhouse Stampede nonsense a few years earlier, it was hardly surprising.

WCW Starrcade 1991 - Eric Bischoff, Missy Hyatt, and Magnum TA draw the Lethal Lottery pairings

The announcers then sent it to Eric Bischoff who was standing by with the ever-lovely Missy Hyatt and former US Champion Magnum T.A. Who was our commissioner for the evening.

A huge black curtain then lifted to reveal the entire WCW roster standing on the stage as pyro exploded in front of them. 

Bischoff, Hyatt, and Magnum then drew the first two tag teams, putting Michael 'P.S' Hayes together with Tracy Smothers against Jimmy 'Jam' Garvin and newcomer Marcus Alexander Bagwell

Hayes looked annoyed about having to team with Smothers, though whether that was because he had to team with long-standing 'Young Pistols revival Tracy Smothers or because he had to fight his own partner I couldn't say. 

What I could say is that while Hayes looked upset, Garvin himself looked super excited. 

Lethal Lottery Match #1
Michael 'P.S' Hayes & Tracy Smothers vs. Jimmy 'Jam' Garvin & MArarcus Alexander Bagwell 

WCW Starrcade 1991 - Tracy Smothers squares off against Buff Bagwell

Making his PPV debut, Marcus Bagwell spent the first few minutes stalling around with Tracy Smothers.

The two would lock up, hit a basic sequence, stall, and repeat, making for quite a boring start to the match.

Eventually, things picked up with Bagwell and Garvin making frequent tags while Smothers did all the work for his team.

Inevitably, Hayes finally tagged in and we got a Freebirds showdown which consisted of him and Garvin locking up a few times and hitting an arm drag each before Hayes got a two-count from a roll-up on his opponent. 

More lackluster action continued until all four men ended up in the ring. 

At that point, Hayes accidentally struck Garvin and the two argued while Bagwell caught smothers coming off the top rope with a couple of knees and put him away with a fisherman's suplex.

That put an end to a pretty underwhelming opening match that could have easily been five minutes shorter.
Your Winners: Marcus Bagwell & Jimmy Garvin 

Up next, Missy, Magnum, and Eric drew Dangerous Alliance teammates Stunning Steve Austin and Ravishing Rick Rude as partners against Van Hammer and Big Josh
WCW Starrcade 1991 - Eric Bischoff, Magnum TA, and Missy Hyatt


The camera then stayed on the trio for far too long as they stood around awkwardly doing nothing. While they did that, it gave me a moment to reflect on how WCW wasn't even trying to convince anyone that these drawings were "random."

Seriously, two partners "randomly" facing off in one match and then two more partners being matched up in the second one?

Yeah, sorry WCW, you're going to have to try harder. 

Stunning Steve Austin & Ravishing Rick Rude (w/ Paul E. Dangerously) vs. Van Hammer & Big Josh

This was technically better than the last match from an actual wrestling standpoint, but it still wasn't very interesting or entertaining. 
WCW Starrcade 1991 - Rick Rude prevents Van Hammer from making a tag to Big Josh


Seriously, the sole highlight here was when Big Josh stomped on Rude's belly but Rude showed that he was impervious to it because his abs were rock hard. Josh struck Rude twice more in the abs but to the same effect. It was basically a "headbutting The Samoans never works" thing, except with Rick Rude and his abs. 

It was fun, but when that's the best thing in the match, it doesn't say very much.

To the surprise of no one, the Dangerous Alliance members won when Rude hit Van Hammer with the Rude Awakening.
Your Winners: Steve Austin & Rick Rude 

More names were drawn next. I won't say much about these drawings unless anything legitimately interesting or unusual happens, which so far hasn't happened.

The Natural Dustin Rhodes & Richard Morton vs. El Gigante & Larry Zybysko (w/ Madusa) 

Again, things got marginally better here, but mostly because it was funny to hear Larry Zybysko barking orders at El Gigante and the giant Argintian completely ignoring him.
WCW Starrcade 1991 - Larry Zybysko & El Gigante vs. Richard Morton & Dustin Rhodes


This wasn't a great match by any stretch, but Zybyso, Dustin Rhodes, and Richard Morton could all go, and helped guide Gigante through a service contest. 

It all ended when Gigante got fed up with Zybysko and shot him into a double dropkick from Dustin Rhodes and Richard Morton, sacrificing his own place in the Battlebowl for the sake of taking out Big Bad Larry.
Your Winners: Dustin Rhodes and Richard Morton

As the stars for the next match were introduced, Larry and Richard Morton made their way to the back and got into a minor shoving contest. 

Bill Kazmaier & Jushin 'Thunder' Liger vs. Diamond Dallas Page & Mike Graham

For those paying attention, this was Diamond Dallas Page's debut PPV match. He was still super green here, so trainer Mike Graham was paired with him to help him out. 
WCW Starrcade 1991 - Bill Kazmaier watches on as his partner Jushin Liger squares off against Mike Graham


Graham was a solid wrestler but he had all the personality of a neglected toilet brush which was a shame because he wrestled most of the match for his team.

Fortunately, Jushin 'Thunder' Liger was here with his awesome mask and helped make this one marginally more entertaining than it might have been.

I'll be honest with you, I'm finding this show kind of dull so far, but at least we're already an hour in.

Liger and Kazmier won when the latter hurled the former on top of Page for the three count.
Your Winners: Bill Kazmaier & Jushin Liger 

Before the next match, we got a commercial for the upcoming Superbrawl PPV which had me excited because, as I think I've mentioned before, it's one of my favorite WCW events.

WCW Champion Lex Luger (w/ Harley Race) & Arn Anderson vs. Terrence Taylor & The Z-Man

Tony Schiavone called this the best tag team match of the night so far and I have to say I agree with him.
WCW Starrcade 1991 - The Tailormade Man wrenches the arm of The Total Package

One of the few matches to hold my attention from start to finish, this one featured Arn Anderson and Terrence Taylor as the standout performers while Lex Luger played his part well and Z-Man (other than falling flat on his fooking arse at one point) was OK too.

After a genuinely good effort, the world champion took out Taylor with the Attitude Adjustment Piledriver for the win.
Your Winners: Lex Luger & Arn Anderson

With five matches down and five to go, JR looked at those men who had made it to Battlebowl before Tony Schiavone expressed how eager he was to see The Steiners face each other.

Up next, Sgt. Buddy Lee Parker was drawn as Cactus Jack’s partner for a match against Ricky Steamboat and Todd Champion, but Abdullah The Butcher took exception to that and destroyed Parker in the dressing room.

I can’t explain why, but I found that completely random attack to be hilarious.

Abby and his boobs then made their way out to tag with his buddy Cactus but the WCW referees stopped him and sent him to the back.
WCW Starrcade 1991 - Abdullah The Butcher destroys Sgt. Buddy Lee Parker


As he got to the entranceway, Abby met Buddy Lee who was trying to make his way to the ring so he attacked him for a second time while screaming like crazy.

Ricky ‘The Dragon’ Steamboat & Todd Champion vs. Cactus Jack

All that left Cactus to go it alone against his opponents.

He started off with Ricky Steamboat and the two had a genuinely enjoyable back-and-forth together that made you wonder how good a straight-up singles match could be between them.
WCW Starrcade 1991 - Todd Champion gets the better of Cactus Jack


Even when Todd Champion got involved, Cactus was good enough to keep this match entertaining

As the out-numbered Cactus continued to hold his own, Sarge crawled painfully to the ring to the point that the fans were genuinely starting to get behind him.

He propped himself up on the corner, only for Cactus to tag him in and then literally hurl Sarge's lifeless body into the ring where he mounted a valiant babyface-style powerup, only to be immediately taken out by a Ricky Steamboat crossbody.
Your Winners: Ricky Steamboat & Todd Champion

Honestly, I enjoyed the heck out of that. Cactus wrestling Ricky Steamboat was great and the whole stuff with Sgt. Buddy Lee Parker honestly had me laughing my ass off.

Sting & Abdullah The Butcher vs. Flyin' Brian Pillman & Bobby Eaton

This was a chaotic mess of a match in the best possible sense.
WCW Starrcade 1991 - Bobby Eaton works over Sting


Abdullah The Butcher came down grinning like a lunatic and even extended his hand to Sting, only to immediately turn on him and beat him down with that stick he always carried. 

Fortunately for Sting, his opponent, Brian Pillman, actually came to his rescue and attacked The Butcher, only for Bobby to even the score.

Once in the ring, this became a unique match where Sting basically wrestled a one-on-one match with Bobby Eaton while Abby kept attacking him and Pillman kept coming to Sting's aid and beating up Abby even though it was to the detriment of his own team. 

It wasn't great from a technical wrestling standpoint, but it was a good little story that ended when Cactus Jack came down and accidentally whacked Butcher with The Big Weird Stick of Doom.

Sting then got the cover, the count, and the fall.
Your Winners: Sting and Abdullah The Butcher

Post-match, Abby and Cactus brawled to the back.

Rick Steiner & The Nightstalker (w/ Diamond Studd) vs. Big Van Vader & Mr. Hughes

The Diamond Studd had originally been drawn as Rick Steiner's partner, but he had a sling on, so he was replaced by The Nightstalker (Bryan "Adam Bomb" Clarke), which makes you wonder why the injured Studd was included in the drawing in the first place.

WCW Starrcade 1991 - Vader prepares to smash Rick Steiner's face in

Not caring who his partner was, Steiner entered into a strong performance with Vader that was a lot of fun to watc until Mr. Hughes got in the ring and dragged everything down to a snail's pace.

Things got even worse when The Nightstalker tagged himself in. Steiner either didn't realize or didn't care that a tag had been made and headed to the top rope. '

Stalker encouraged him, but he was so busy looking at The Dog Faced Gremlin that he didn't even notice Vader running towards him with a Belly Bump of Death. 

Steiner then hit Hughes with a bulldog and made a cover, but the official refused to count because Steiner wasn't the legal man. 

Vader then splashed right onto 'Stalker's head and pinned him, but Steier kept his cover on Hughes and thought he'd won the match too.

It was a cluttered finish that spoiled what was otherwise a decent little match.
Your Winners: Vader & Mr. Hughes

Another Superbrawl commercial followed, after which it was back to the action. 

Scott Steiner & Firebreaker Chip vs. Johnny B. Badd & Arachnaman 

Arachnaman = Brad Armstrong in a purple and yellow Spiderman costume. Somebody came up with that and thought it was a good idea to put it on TV. 

I'm honestly shocked that I can't find an entry on Wrestlecrap about it anywhere.

WCW Starrcade 1991 - Firebreaker Chip works over Archnaman's arm

Anyway, this was the only match that featured four babyfaces, but the crowd didn't really care about that and only came alive whenever Scott Steiner got involved.

That was a shame, really, because you could tell that all four men worked as hard as they could but the match fell completely flat, probably because the audience had no time for matches involving such low-rent indie gimmicks as a fake Spiderman.

To be honest, I don't blame them, especially given how dumb the spider looked. 

At one point, he and Firebreaker Chip crisscrossed the ropes, Chip made a tag to Steiner then slid outside and Steiner just watched Armstrong as he ran back and forth between the ropes like an idiot.

Honestly, it looked like that goofy spot some wrestlers used to do on Saturday Morning Slam

Thankfully, Steiner eventually put everybody out of our collective misery by pinning ArachnaGoof following a big power slam.
Your Winners: Scott Steiner & Firebreaker Chip

At last, we got our final tag match of the evening.

Ron Simmons & Thomas Rich vs. Steve Armstrong & PN News

This started decently enough, dragged down in the middle, and then picked up towards the end as Ron Simmons predictably got the win for his team.
WCW Starrcade '91 review - Ron Simmons & Thomas Rich vs. Steve Armstrong & PN News


To be honest, most of these tag team matches were way too long for what they were and the show felt so repetitive that by the time this match happened, Starrcade 1991 had pretty much drained the life out of me. 

Thank goodness there's only the Battlebowl match left to go:

Battlebowl Battle Royal
Featuring: Jimmy Garvin, Marcus Alexander Bagwell, Steve Austin, Rick Rude, Bill Kazmaier, Jushin 'Thunder' Liger, Dustin Rhodes, Richard Morton, Arn Anderson, Lex Luger, Ricky Steamboat, Todd Champion, Mr. Hughes, Vader, Sting, Abdullah The Butcher, Thomas Rich, Ron Simmons, Scott Steiner, Firebreaker Chip

I'm not one of those fans that write off all battle royals before they even get started. Just because it's a lot of brawling doesn't mean it can't be entertaining.

Fortunately, this one was pretty decent but was hampered somewhat by the fact that the wrestlers kept forgetting they were supposed to throw people into the second ring rather than to the arena floor.

That part of the match was good enough, but it was when Sting and Lex Luger ended up as the final two men that things really hotted up. 

At that pointk we got an exciting brawl that ended when Sting dumped Luger to the outside,
Your Winner: Sting

Post-match, pyro exploded as Sting celebrated before Jim Ross and Tony Schiavone signed off for the night.


Man, am I glad that one was over. 

Truth be told, Starrcade 1991 wasn't entirely terrible. 

The Anderson/Luger vs. Zenk/Taylor match was solid and that whole thing with Cactus Jack, Abdullah The Butcher, and poor old Sgt. Buddy Lee Parker was entertaining, but the rest of it was too mediocre to make it a truly good show. 

Honestly, this all felt like it was done more to set up various storylines than to actually be what was supposedly WCW's flagship show of the year.

About half way through, the amount of uninteresting stuff made me completely zone out and it was a chore to get through the rest of the event. 

Hopefully things pick up soon as, despite having never seen early 1990s WCW before I began this blog, I hear the company really had a great year in 1992.

Tuesday, 18 October 2022

EVENT REVIEW: Clash of the Champions XVII

WCW Clash of the Champions 17 Review

November 19, 1991
Savannah Civic Center, Savannah, Georgia

WCW's Clash of the Champions 17 was notable for being the first Clash show since the first event in 1988 not to have its own subtitle. 

The event is also highly regarded for being one of the better shows World Championship Wrestling put out that year, helping the company find its footing after the departure of franchise player Ric Flair and the steaming pile of garbage that was the company's first Flair-less PPV, The Great American Bash 1991.

Was it really all that good?

Let's go down to Savannah, Georgia to find out, shall we?

All the Titles are On the Line

Tonight's show began with a garishly 90s video that ran down tonight's big matches, mainly focussing on the fact that all titles except for the US tag team titles would be defended here tonight.

WCW Clash of the Champions 17 Review - Jim Ross & Tony Schiavone called the action

From there, we went to our announcers, Jim Ross and Tony Schiavone, who also put over tonight's action before sending it to Eric Bischoff and Missy Hyatt.

WCW Clash of the Champions 17 Review - Eric Bischoff and Missy Hyatt

The two said little of note, though Missy and her enormous hair were excited about interviewing "WCW's newest rookie," Marcus Alexander Bagwell.

So that was nice.

Lumberjack Match
Thomas Rich (w/ Alexandra York) vs. Big Josh

Big Josh was a lumberjack, you see, or at least some type of vague "outdoorsman" so the lumberjack match was apparently his thing. 

WCW Clash of the Champions 17 Review - Thomas Rich and Alexandra York

Not that he had many people to be lumberjacks for him.

On Thomas Rich's side were his York Foundation stable mates Terrence Taylor and Richard Morton along with The Young Pistols and, randomly, Sgt. Buddy Lee Parker

Sure, just five lumberjacks for the heels was a pretty sad affair, but apparently, Josh could only convince The Fabulous Freebirds and Todd Champion to back him up. 

The match was decent enough, but the lumberjack gimmick seemed silly and unnecessary with only eight people surrounding the ring. 

After a solid opener, Rich's teammate Terrence Taylor deliberately tripped him up. That allowed Big Josh to hit his rival with "The Northern Exposure," which I still say is a horrible name for a move that involves sitting on your opponent's chest so that your junk is in his face. 
Your Winner: Big Josh

Folks, call the WCW hotline right now and you could talk to The Steiner Brothers! 

Beautiful Bobby Eaton vs. Firebreaker Chip 

This wasn't a terrible match, but it was bland and just kind of there to fill a little bit of TV time. 

WCW Clash of the Champions 17 Review - Clash of the Champions 17 - Firebreaker Chip gets the better of Bobby Eaton

Nothing exciting happened and then Bobby won with a back suplex, and that's all I've got to tell you about this one.
Your Winner: Beautiful Bobby Eaton 

Before the commercial break, a promo aired for the upcoming Starrcade 1991 event featuring the inaugural Battlebowl. To be honest, I'm looking forward to reviewing that one soon.

Sting Receives His Final Gift

Over the last several weeks and months, Sting had been receiving mysterious packages (some of which included surprises like Cactus Jack and Abdullah The Butcher) and had been promised that he would receive his final gift tonight.

The US champion made his way out at the request of Tony Schiavone and excitedly claimed that getting his gift was just like being at a party.

WCW Clash of the Champions 17 - Madusa seduces Sting

At that point, a bunch of oily dudes in black undies (one of whom I swear down was Mike Awesome) brought out a royal lifter-type thing from out of which stepped Madusa

Looking all kinds of foxy, she crawled up to Sting and began rubbing herself all over him until Sting did his patented "Wooo!" 

That was clearly Lex Luger's cue to burst out of the box thing and attack Sting as JR told us that it had been The Total Package all along.

That was pretty underwhelming.

The Diamond Studd vs. The Z-Man

It's almost impossible to say much about this match as viewers hardly got to see any of it.

WCW Clash of the Champions 17 - The Diamond Studd attacks The Z-Man after losing to him

Clash of the Champions 17 returned from the commercial break with the match already in progress. Almost immediately, cameras cut to the back where Sting was being loaded into an ambulance to go have his knee checked out. The match continued in a small box in the corner of the screen, but it was hard to pay attention to it as Eric Bischoff jumped in the ambulance too and the thing rode off.

As soon as the show cut back to focusing only on the match, Z-Man caught The Diamond Studd with a roll-up and that was that.
Your Winner: The Z-Man

Post-match, Studd attacked Z-Man with a clothesline then hit him with The Diamond Death Drop before yelling "I'm the bad guy!" at the camera.

World Championship Wrestling World Television Championship
WCW TV Champion Stunning Steve Austin (w/ Lady Blossom) vs. PN News

This wasn't a bad match, but it easily could have been had PN News' opponent been anyone other than Steve Austin. Indeed, it was the US champion who carried his opponent to a watchable match before pinning him in under five minutes with his feet on the ropes.

WCW Clash of the Champions 17 - Lady Blossom leads TV Champion Stunning Steve Austin into battle

It wasn't an amazing match or anything, but it was certainly better than most PN News matches had any right to be.
Your Winner and Still TV Champion: Steve Austin

At this point, I believe the Missy Hyatt interview with Marcus Bagwell was shown, but for some reason, it's omitted from the WWE Network.

Cactus Jack vs. Van Hammer

After Cactus Jack made his way to the ring, a "music video" of sorts played in which Van Hammer and his band stood in a wrestling ring in an empty arena Milli Vanilli'ing their way through Hammer's theme song. Their performance was intercut with clips of Hammer hitting Sgt. Buddy Lee Parker with a slingshot suplex and pinning him inside the same ring where he'd just been jamming out.

WCW Clash of the Champions 17 - Heavy Metal Van Hammer prepares for his match with Cactus Jack

Once in the ring, WCW's resident rocker had a decent TV outing with Cactus, making up for what he lacked in-ring skill with charisma and enthusiasm while Jack did most of the heavy lifting.

After a few minutes of action, Cactus rammed Van Hammer in the throat with his own guitar and pinning him in the middle of the ring, ending the rocker's undefeated streak.
Your Winner: Cactus Jack

Post-match, Jack and Hammer continued to brawl.

Sting is Going to Be OK...Probably

Up next, Jim Ross got on the phone with Eric Bischoff, who was supposedly at the hospital with Sting. Bischoff told us that Sting had three doctors looking at his knee, but an orderly had just given him -Bischoff- a thumbs up. 

Quite what that gesture meant for The Stinger remained to be seen.

Who is Dustin's Mystery Partner?

Before the next contest, we were reminded that The Enforcers had taken out Barry Windham back at Halloween Havoc '91 by crushing his arm in a car door. Windham had returned to action but reinjured the already damaged arm, meaning there was speculation over whether or not he would compete here tonight alongside his tag team partner, Dustin Rhodes.

Putting paid to that speculation, Windham came out wearing a cast as he accompanied Rhodes to the ring. He then took to the microphone to confirm that no, he wouldn't be competing tonight but that he did have a suitable replacement.

That's the point when a random figure wearing a crazy dragon costume came out. 
WCW Clash of the Champions 17 - Dustin Rhodes' mystery partner


The fact that it was a dragon should've immediately told you who was underneath the mask, but this being pro wrestling, the announcers were both clueless.

Of course, when the crazy-looking character finally revealed himself, he was none other than the returning Ricky 'The Dragon' Steamboat.

World Championship Wrestling World Tag Team Championship
WCW World Tag Team Champions The Enforcers (Arn Anderson & Barry Windham) vs. The Natural Dustin Rhodes & Ricky 'The Dragon' Steamboat 

Last seen on WCW PPV back at The Great American Bash 1989 (and last seen on PPV overall at Summerslam 1990), Steamboat's return was a huge deal. The crowd popped big time, and you have to give credit to Arn Anderson who sold it beautifully.

Even with the cameras nowhere near him, Arn could be heard yelling "Oh no! Not Ricky Steamboat!"

It was a great moment that kicked off a great match.

WCW Clash of the Champions 17 - The Enforcers double-team Ricky Steamboat

Ok, scrap that, this wasn't just a great match, it was an awesome match, and perhaps one of the best Clash of the Champions matches ever. 

The babyfaces started strong, with Steamboat in particular getting the better of the champions at every turn. At one point, Arn Anderson and Larry Zybysko regrouped on the outside, with Anderson reminding his partner that "he (Steamboat) is only a man."

That seemed to be all the pep talk The Enforcers needed, as they soon cut The Dragon off from his corner and began to wear him down. 

Anderson & Zybysko were a fantastic tag team, and when you combined that with Steamboat's top-notch job of playing the face-in-peril, it created a truly golden match.

Eventually, Ricky made the hot tag to Dustin, who cleaned house before letting The Dragon fly high, taking out Anderson with a wicked flying body press for the cover, the count, and the fall.
Your Winners and New WCW Tag Team Champions: Ricky Steamboat and Dustin Rhodes

Seriously - track down that match, it was phenomenal.

Will Sting Forfeit?

After the commercial break, Ross & Schiavone told us that The Enforcers had been protesting the outcome of the last match, noting that they had signed a contract to face Rhodes & Windham, not Rhodes & Steamboat, thus the title change shouldn't count.
WCW Clash of the Champions 17 - Paul Heyman reveals the US title match contract


This was followed by a quick video package looking at Jushin 'Thunder' Liger as he kicked some ass in Japan ahead of his WCW debut in December.

When we returned from that video, JR was standing by with Paul E. Dangerously, who claimed that the earlier actions of Madusa and Lex Luger were heinous before showing Ross a written contract that stated that if Sting didn't make it to the ring by bell time, he would forfeit the title and Ravishing Rick Rude would be the new US champ. 
WCW Clash of the Champions 17 - Jim Ross on the phone with Eric Bischoff


Another commercial break followed, after which we saw Jim Ross phoning Eric Bischoff at the hospital to tell him about Dangerously's loophole. Bischoff then relayed this message to an angry Sting, who apparently "commandeered an ambulance" so that he could make it back to the arena.

I don't use this term often on Retro Pro Wrestling, but "lol."

World Championship Wrestling World Light Heavyweight Championship
WCW World Light Heavyweight Champion Flyin' Brian Pillman vs. Johnny B. Badd (w/ Teddy Long)

As Johnny B. Badd made his way to the ring, the announcers told us that he and manager Teddy Long had been having their issues, essentially giving us a heads-up as to what would happen at the finish of the match.

WCW Clash of the Champions 17 - Flyin' Brian Pillman celebrates his big win over Johnny B. Badd

Before that, he and champion Brian Pillman engaged in a decent but unspectacular match which made the challenger look strong.

Towards the finish, Badd looked to have Pillman beat with his trademark sunset flip, but Long was busy distracting the referee on the outside.

When Johnny confronted his manager, the champion pushed his opponent into Long, knocking the manager off the ropes and then rolling up Badd for the win.
Your Winner and Still World Light Heavyweight Champion: Flyin' Brian Pillman 

Post-match, Badd punched out Long, ending the duo's relationship and turning face in the process. 

As the show went to break, Ross and Schiavone reminded us that the US title match was next. If Sting wasn't back in time, he was done for.

World Championship Wrestling United States Championship
WCW United States Champion Sting vs. Ravishing Rick Rude w/ Paul E. Dangerously

Fortunately for him, Sting did make it back as he was driven to the arena in an ambulance at full speed with its sirens blazing. While the idea that an ambulance crew would consider getting a wrestler to a match on time to be a siren-worthy emergency was a little goofy, it was kind of fun at the same time.
WCW Clash of the Champions 17 - Rick Rude prepares to challenge Sting for the US title


As he got to the arena, a gaggle of babyfaces hurried the champion inside as referee Nick Patrick began to count him out. 

Ravishing Rick Rude then met his rival on the entranceway and thus began an explosive and wildly entertaining match in which Sting seemed to overcome all the odds. 

Alas, those odds were simply too heavily stacked against him on this night. 

After doing everything he could to topple Rude, Sting was hit over the head by Dangerously's cell phone. Sting kicked out of the near fall, but when he confronted Dangerously, he got himself rolled up and pinned by Rude.

Seriously, that was awesome. Just an intense, electric storm of a match that only lasted five minutes but was so compelling you couldn't help but love it.
Your Winner and New United States Champion: Ravishing Rick Rude

Out in the back, Tony Schiavone interviewed Rude and Dangerously. 
WCW Clash of the Champions 17 - The Dangerous Alliance celebrate Rick Rude's US title victory

With Madusa fawning over Rude, the two men revealed that it had been a conspiracy all along to take out Sting and destroy WCW. The promo was every bit as compelling as the match itself. 

Big Bad Ron is Back

Before our main event, Jim Ross interviewed Ron Simmons.
WCW Clash of the Champions 17 - Jim Ross interviews Ron Simmons


Simmons thanked the fans for their well wishes after he had been sidelined with a broken wrist that he'd suffered in his Halloween Havoc match with Luger. 

Undeterred by his injury, Simmons insisted that he was there to scout the winner of the upcoming world title fight as he would then beat them and keep his promise to become the first black man to hold the world title.

World Championship Wrestling World Heavyweight Championship
WCW World Heavyweight Champion Lex Luger (w/ Harley Race and Mr. Hughes) vs. Rick Steiner (w/ Scott Steiner)

This was a solid main event that saw both champion and challenger utilize brawn and brute power against one another. The crowd was hot for it, the announcers made it sound like the most important event in the world, and while it lacked the intensity of Sting/Rude and the all-out drama of the earlier tag team title match, it was still a very good effort in its own right.
WCW Clash of the Champions 17 - Lex Luger defends the world title against Rick Steiner


Towards the end, everything broke down with Luger, The Steiner Brothers, Harley Race, and Mr. Hughes all getting involved. 

In the middle of the chaos, Lex blasted Steiner with the title belt and that was all she wrote.
Your Winner and Still World Heavyweight Champion: Lex Luger

Once a sweat-drenched Luger had made his way to the back, Jim Ross and Tony Schiavone signed off one of the best Clash shows in ages by telling us that if we wanted to know what was going on with the tag team titles, we'd have to call the WCW Hotline.

It's no exaggeration to say that Clash of the Champions 17 was one of the best Clash shows to have taken place in a long, long time. 

The main event delivered, the US title match and surrounding storyline were utterly compelling, and the tag team title match was a thing of pure beauty. 

Elsewhere, while some of the under-card matches weren't exactly amazing, nothing really sucked.

If you're looking for a good example of how excellent Clash of the Champions events could be, check this one out, if only for the magnificent Enforcers vs. Rhodes & Steamboat 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.