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 Ron Simmons. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Ron Simmons. Show all posts

Monday, 12 December 2022

EVENT REVIEW: WCW Clash of the Champions XVIII

WCW Clash of the Champions 18 Review

January 21, 1992
Topeka, Kansas

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Paul E. Dangerously Hates WCW

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


The match was even better than the Starrcade encounter.

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

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

Folks, call the WCW hotline and talk to Ricky Steamboat

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Richard Morton vs. Johnny B. Badd

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

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

I'm probably going to hell for that.

Anyway, this match was OK.

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

Not that he got to do much. 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Diamond Dallas Page vs. PN News

Yo baby, yo baby, yo! 

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

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

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

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

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

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

Big Kip Has Some Surprises

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

He was, as usual, awesome.

Sting Signs the Contract

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

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

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

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

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

Falls Count Anywhere
Cactus Jack vs. Heavy Metal Van Hammer

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

As for this match, it was OK. 

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

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

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

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


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

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

Thomas Rich vs. Vinnie Vegas

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

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

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

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

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


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


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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


I don't care, that was funny.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Wednesday, 28 September 2022

PPV REVIEW: WCW - Halloween Havoc 1991

WCW Halloween Havoc 1991 - Event poster
October 27th 1991,
Chattanooga, Tennessee

I first reviewed WCW Halloween Havoc 1991 over 12 years ago.

Long before the launch of the WWE Network, the version I reviewed was the Turner Home Video VHS cassette tape which I proudly still own somewhere. 

Since that version only really omitted undercard matches of no importance, I wasn't going to bother revisiting this event even though it's exactly the point I've just reached as I work my way through WCW's early history.

However, I decided to do so for three reasons:

1. I'm a glutton for punishment and feel like this review won't be truly finished until I've discussed matches I previously didn't see like Oz vs. Bill Kazmier. 

2. I used to format my reviews completely differently, so I want to go through and reformat this one for the sake of consistency.

3. I figured the show might make more sense to me now that I've finally seen the rest of WCW's big shows of 1991 and it might also help me to put future events in a better context too.

So here's what I'm going to do:

I'm going to keep my original thoughts and commentary from my first review as they are. I'll add new comments from today's watch-through in bold red font like this. 

I'll review any matches I haven't already seen in my usual style.

I'll also add new screenshots because, to be honest, the ones originally included in this review are terrible. 

Without further ado then, let's get on with it.

Original WCW Halloween Havoc 1991 Review Introduction

World Championship Wrestling's third annual Halloween Havoc stands out as a memorable pay-per-view event, though probably for all the wrong reasons.  

Despite a memorable debut from none other than the late Ravishing Rick Rude, a great bout between The Artist Yet to be Known as Goldust, and the man who would go on to raise hell as Stone Cold Steve Austin (and Eric Bischoff dressed as a vampire) it was the opening Chamber of Horrors match which leaves the memory of Halloween Havoc '91 to be uttered in the same embarrassing tones as Lost in Cleveland or the legendary Shockmaster Incident7

.The Turner Home Entertainment VHS version, which remains the only lasting record of the show (other than the one sitting in WWE's video library*) omits several matches from the undercard.

*2022 update - that's the version I'll be watching today.

This is probably a good thing. After all, does anybody really need to see matches like Bill Kazmaier vs. Kevin 'Oz' Nash or Van hammer vs. Doug Sommers (who?) more than once in a lifetime? (no, but I'm going to do it anyway).

That said, there is one match not included on the tape that is certainly worth a look;  Brian Pillman defeating Richard Morton to be named WCW's first Light Heavyweight Champion.

What there is on the tape ranges from good to awful, though not necessarily in that order. Let's take a look.

Barry Windham is Attacked! 

The show opened with one of WCW's typically naff video packages in which "spooky" greyed-out pictures of tonight's star wrestlers hovered up over a graphic of a haunted house that was about as good as something you might find on a NES.

As the camera panned live into the arena, fireworks exploded and Jim Ross welcomed us to the show, telling us that no less than 11 matches had been signed.

WCW Halloween Havoc 1991 - Jim Ross & Tony Schiavone get set to call all the action

He and Tony Schiavone put over our big title matches and wondered who the mysterious WCW Phantom could be (spoiler alert: I already gave it away in the intro).

From there, Ross and Schiavone sent us to Eric Bischoff who was standing outside the arena waiting to talk to the stars of WCW as they arrived. 

After the pairings of Cactus Jack & Abdullah The Butcher and Diamond Dallas Page & The Diamond Studd arrived, we saw a shot of Dustin Rhodes and Barry Windham pulling up at the arena. 

As Bischoff tried to get an interview, Arn Anderson and Larry Zybysko show up and slam his arm in the car door. 

Bet that was painful.

Chamber of Horrors match
El Gigante, Sting and The Steiner Brothers (Rick & Scott Steiner) vs. Big Van Vader, Cactus Jack, The Diamond Studd and Abdullah the Butcher  

Ah, the infamous Chamber of Horrors match.

WCW Halloween Havoc 1991 Review - Big Van Vader makes his way out for the Chamber of Horrors match

This one reads like a who's-who of big names from the 1990s. You had Sting and The Steiner Brothers, stars synonymous with the WCW brand.

You had Vader, a phenomenal performer who sat comfortably at the top of the card until Hulk Hogan showed up (at least he would do eventually, now that I've seen every early WCW event in chronological order, I know that Big Van Vader hadn't really done much of note in the company at this stage).

You had The Diamond Stud, later known as Razor Ramon and then by his real name, Scott 'I started the nWo' Hall and, of course, Cactus Jack, the man who would go on to be known as 'The Hardcore Legend, Mick Foley. 

Throw in wrestling institution Abdullah The Butcher (and forget about the useless El Gigante, who's only claim to fame is a poorly-received Wrestlemania 9 match against The Undertaker), and it all made for one star-studded bout.

Unfortunately, that's about all this had going for it.

The basic premise for the contest was that two teams would enter into a no-holds-barred cage match which could only end when a wrestler strapped a member of the opposing team into an electric chair, pull a lever and, you know, electrocute him.

And if the concept wasn't ridiculous enough, the execution was equally as stupid.

All eight men immediately began beating the hell out of each other with an array of weapons including chains, skulls and coffins. 

Not that you could see much. 

Half of the match was shot a long way from the ring, with the cumbersome cage obscuring pretty much all of the action. 

The other half was shot using the ill-conceived 'Refer-eye' camera; yes, a camera attached to the referee's head which led to such awe-inspiring visuals as a close-up of Scott Steiner's backside, followed by a minute of staring at his thigh.

WCW Halloween Havoc 1991 Review - Abdullah The Butcher gets electrocuted in the Chamber of Horrors match

At one point, some random guy in black tights and a mask appeared. He probably came out of the coffin, though since your writer couldn't see anything and the announcers made absolutely no mention of this, it's impossible to be sure.

The whole debacle came crashing to a close when Cactus Jack (who, to be fair, worked hard in this one) pulled the lever, 'accidentally' electrocuting his own teammate, Abdullah. 

Fireworks exploded from the chair as Abbi did his best 'oh no, I'm a bit dead' impression, and absolutely nobody in the arena appeared to care.
Your Winners: Sting, El Gigante, and The Steiner Brothers

Afterward, Abdullah woke up, knocked over Mick Foley, then charged out of the ring and attacked a small army of 'ghouls' who had been charged with taking the victim away. 

Hilariously, a bloody Cactus joined in with the beatdown.

2022 Thoughts: Honestly, I think history has been a little unkind to the Chamber of Horrors match. Watching it back today, it's obvious that it wasn't just Cactus Jack that was working hard. Everyone here was doing their best to make this an entertaining brawl, but the gratuitously over-the-top gimmick kind of ruined it, and -as I said in my original write-up- the cage itself made it hard to see what was going on.

In case you're wondering, this was the same cage they used for the Thunderdome Cage Match back at Halloween Havoc 1989.

The Young Pistols are Ready for The Patriots 

Up next, we got a segment that wasn't included on the VHS tape, so I'm seeing it and reviewing it here for the first time.

The announcers sent us to Eric Bischoff who was dressed as a vampire and Missy Hyatt, who was dressed as a sexy showgirl. 

WCW Halloween Havoc 1991 Review - Eric Bischoff and Missy Hyatt interview The Young Pistols

Bischoff was eager to learn who the mysterious WCW Phantom was, but Missy claimed she already knew though wouldn't tell Eric because she didn't like him. 

The two then welcomed The Young Pistols (Tracy Smothers and Steve Armstrong) who had apparently turned heel since we last saw them at Clash 16.

One can only assume they got sick of wrestling The Fabulous Freebirds eight million times and finally snapped.

Whatever the reason for their turn, tonight they had their sites set on reclaiming the US tag team titles from The Patriots. 

Honestly, this was a decent promo from Tracy and Steve, but I was way too distracted staring at Missy's legs. 

The Creatures (Creature 1 & Creature 2?) vs. PN News & Big Josh

This match wasn't included on the VHS tape for pretty obvious reasons. 

WCW Halloween Havoc 1991 Review - The Creatures faced PN News and Big Josh

The Creatures were apparently Joey Maggs and Johnny Rich who wore neon-green snakeskin masks and came out to theme later used by Retro Pro Wrestling favorite, Psychosis.

The random pairing of PN News and Big Josh then came out and some enthusiastic kid in the front row danced his heart out to News' terrible rapping.

I'm not knocking the kid either -the whole point of going to a wrestling show is to enjoy yourself, so fair play to that lad- but yeah, for saying his whole gimmick was that of a rapper, News was pretty terrible at spittin' bars.

Just as I wrote that, they showed some lady in the front row called Christine Valver who had won a "PN News rap contest" in WCW magazine. I hope the rap she wrote wasn't the one News just did at the start of this match because that would make me look like an asshole. 

Anyway, all that aside, this turned out to be a somewhat decent squash match which ended when Big Josh jumped up and sat on one of the Creature's chests. 

It was basically an Earthquake Splash, but Jim Ross told us that it was called "The Northern Exposure" which seemed somewhat gross given that it involved Josh basically putting his junk in his opponent's face.

News then hit a move that wasn't really a splash. It was basically him falling off the top rope onto his opponent for the uno, dos, tres.
Your Winners: PN News and Big Josh

Before the next match, JR and Schiavone talked about where Beautiful Bobby and Terrence Taylor were on the WCW top 10.

Beautiful Bobby Eaton vs. Terrence Taylor (w/ Alexandra York) 

Another match that is not included on the VHS which I'm reviewing for the first time.

WCW Halloween Havoc 1991 Review - Alexandra York leads Terrance Taylor to the ring to face Bobby Eaton

Given that this was the longest match on the show so far, I totally get why this was cut from the VHS tape, but it's a shame that it was because this was a fantastic match.

No, neither Terrence Taylor nor Bobby Eaton were the biggest stars in the company, but they were two solid wrestlers who knew how to work. 

WCW Halloween Havoc 1991 Review - Terrance Taylor puts a hurting on Bobby Eaton

Combine their talent with a clear heel vs. face storyline and what you had here was tremendous. 

It wasn't fancy, but it was hugely enjoyable.

After a lengthy battle that entertained from start to finish, Bobby picked up the win with the Alabama Jam.
Your Winner: Bobby Eaton

Johnny B. Badd (w/ Theodore Long) vs. Jimmy 'Jam' Garvin (w/ Michael 'PS' Hayes) 

WCW Halloween Havoc 1991 Review - Teddy Long leads Johnny B. Badd into action

After Jimmy 'Jam' Garvin and Michael 'P.S' Hayes got the crowd nicely fired up, future Smackdown General Manager Teddy Long led the flamboyant Johnny B. Badd to the ring for a match that seemed to serve no other purpose than to rouse the crowd from the confusion-induced silence resulting from the previous Chamber farce.

In that respect, this nifty little contest did its job well, with the Freebirds inspiring loud, repeated chants from the audience and the action itself being fun to watch.

In the end, Badd punched out Garvin to win the bout.
Your Winner: Johnny B. Badd

So, clearly when I reviewed this the first time, I assumed that Badd/Garvin went right after the Chamber of Horrors match, hence my comment about it being used to rouse the crowd. 

The most interesting thing here was that The Freebirds were now full-blown babyfaces when they had still been heels back at the last WCW show. 

Otherwise, this was a fun little match that I enjoyed.

The Search for the Halloween Phanton 

In a respite from the action, the announcers sent cameras to Missy Hyatt, who was desperate to find the mysterious Halloween Phanton. 

When Bobby Eaton walked past, Hyatt asked if he'd seen the Phantom. Frustrated, Eaton replied that he didn't care about the Phantom, he'd just won a match. 

WCW Halloween Havoc 1991 Review - Missy Hyatt interviews Bobby Eaton about how much he loves his pumpkin

Now, when you're watching this as a young child and don't realize matches are missing from the card, you suddenly think 'what? No you didn't! that was Johnny B. Badd who just won a match! Bobby Eaton didn't even wrestle' 

Much like many other things WCW would do during their time on earth, it was all very confusing.

I've nothing to add to this one except to reiterate what a beauty Missy Hyatt was. Oh, and also, Bobby Eaton had a pumpkin which was surely a missed opportunity for a promo line:

'You know what Missy? If I do see the Halloween Phantom, I'm gonna carve him up like I'm about to carve up this here pumpkin!'

World Championship Wrestling World Television Championship
World Television Champion Steve Austin (w/ Lady Blossom) vs. Dustin Rhodes 

WCW Halloween Havoc 1991 Review - Lady Blossom leads Stunning Steve Austin into battle against Dustin Rhodes

Rhodes and Austin had a notable string of excellent matches during their time together, and though this one wasn't the peak of such brilliance, it was still a very good match.

The man who would go on to shave his head and call himself 'Stone Cold' held off the challenge of the man who would go on to paint his face gold in an entertaining affair, despite Rhodes numerous, dramatic attempts to capture the television title.

Ultimately, the whole thing ran to a time limit draw.
Time-Limit Draw.

Again, I've nothing much to add to that match as I agree with my much younger self that Austin/Rhodes was a great match. On a personal note though, it's nice to see how much my review writing has improved over the years as that whole match review was a disaster. I've fixed it a little, but wow, what a mess.

Oz vs. Bill Kazmaier

First time reviewing this match.

WCW Halloween Havoc 1991 Review - Oz and Bill Kazmaier go in for a test of strength

By this stage, Kevin Nash had dropped almost everything about the Oz gimmick apart from the name and the green cloak. He no longer wore that goofy rubber mask to ringside, no longer had Kevin Sullivan dress up like a goblin wizzard and accompany him to the ring, and no longer had any of the elaborate set-dressing as he made his way out.

He'd even cut off the grey ponytail he'd previously been rocking and now came out sporting a shaved crop of bleach-blonde hair.

Meanwhile, Bill Kazmaier came to the ring carrying a huge inflatable globe to show how strong he was. 

This match was...

Well, let's just say it's not hard to see why they cut it from the VHS tape. Kazmaier won the rather unexciting contest with a torture rack. I can't remember if Luger was already using that move regularly at this stage or not.
Your Winner: Bill Kazmaier

"That wasn't pretty, but it was effective," said JR afterward. 

He was half right at least.

Heavy Metal Van Hammer vs. Pretty Boy Doug Somers

You know the drill by now...a new match review that wasn't on the VHS.

Oh boy. 

As Van Hammer came to the ring, Jim Ross pointed out that construction workers were drilling the set with jackhammers just for him. You know, because when I think of heavy metal, the first thing I always think of is people drilling into fake grave sites with pneumatic drills.

Van Hammer also randomly yelled out "Rock of Ages!" which must have been the only song he knew that could have been vaguely considered metal. 

He got in the ring and locked up with Pretty Boy Doug Somers who must have been using that name ironically because he was anything but pretty.

The resulting match was a sloppy, horrible monstrosity with nary a single properly executed move in sight.

It ended when Van Hammer hit his opponent with a slingshot suplex that was so badly done it could have easily broken Somers' neck.

No wonder that got cut from the VHS tape too.
Your Winner: Van Hammer

Before the next match, we got promos from both Flyin' Brian Pillman and the duo of Richard Morton and his manager Alexandra York. 

WCW Halloween Havoc 1991 Review -  Alexandra York and Richard Morton cut a promo about Morton's match with Brian Pillman

Pillman put over what an important occasion it was to compete for the Light Heavyweight Championship and dedicated the match to both his family and the WCW fans.

Meanwhile, Morton and York simply talked about how great Morton was and how he was championship material.

Both promos were decent enough to generate a little interest in the upcoming match.

Match to Determine the first World Championship Wrestling Light Heavyweight Champion
Flyin' Brian vs. Richard Morton (w/ Alexandra York)

It's crazy that they left this one off the VHS tape given that it was kind of important.

Then again, it was such a dull match that it's not really surprising. 

It's a shame really because this could have really been something good had Richard Morton not adopted the weird heel gimmick of "Word's Most Boring Wrestler." 

Seriously, if you expected Flyin' Brian versus The Guy from Rock 'n' Roll Express,  you'd be disappointed. Since joining up with Alexandra York, Morton had decided that rather than changing anything about his appearance as most heels do, he was just going to work a style that made all of his matches utter snoozefests.

Need proof? Well, there's this match, and there's also the lifeless encounter he had with Robert Gibson back at The Great American Bash '91.

There was nothing bad about this one. It wasn't that the wrestling was sloppy or didn't work, it was just incredibly boring. 

As such, it came as a relief when Pillman finally flew onto Morton with a top-rope crossbody to win the match.
Your Winner and NEW Light Heavyweight Champion: Flyin' Brian Pillman

Before the next contest, JR and Schiavone speculated on the identity of the mysterious WCW Phantom. 

WCW Halloween Phantom vs. Tom Zenk 

WCW Halloween Havoc 1991 Review -  Rick Rude as the WCW Halloween Phantom

The whole point of the Halloween Phantom was that he was supposed to be a big mystery. Nobody knew who he was, where he came from, or what he wanted. 

All they knew was that he was big, he was dangerous, and that when he finally was revealed, it was going to be a huge surprise.

Everybody knew that it was supposed to be a surprise except for WCW announcer Tony Schiavone, who, after the 'Phantom made short work of Zenk with a Reverse Neckbreaker, ruined the whole thing by declaring "that's a move that a lot of people know as a Rude Awakening"

Yeah, thanks, Tony.
Your Winner: The WCW Halloween Phantom

To be fair to Schiavone, it was pretty obvious who was under the mask if you actually cared to look. Just check out that screenshot above. 

The Phantom's identity was only marginally better hidden than the time Ric Flair was The Black Scorpion back at Starrcade 1990.

Before the next match, we got a commercial for Starrcade 1991 with pictures of WCW stars on trading cards that fell into a bowl because, geddit? It was time for Battlebowl! 

World Championship Wrestling World Tag Team Championship
WCW World Tag Team Champions The Enforcers (Arn Anderson & Larry Zybysko)vs. WCW United States Tag Team Champions The Patriots (Firebreaker Chip & Todd Champion) 

The US titles were not on the line here, not that it would have made this any more interesting if they were; Anderson and Zybysko basically wrestled circles around their rookie opponents in a boring contest so memorable this writer can't remember a single thing that happened in it, even though he only watched the tape an hour before writing this piece.
Your Winners and Still Tag Team Champions: The Enforcers

To be fair, I was probably a little harsh on this match as The Enforcers did at least do their best to make it as entertaining as possible, but there was only so much they could do with Champion and Chip, and it still wasn't all that amazing.

Paul Heyman introduced Rick Rude as his new charge. 

WCW Halloween Havoc 1991 Review -  Rick Rude makes his WCW debut with Paul E. Dangerously and Madusa

Paul E. Dangerously, who had previously been fired 'for being too controversial for television' returned to WCW and cut a fantastic promo in which he ranted and raved with a passion about the state of WCW whilst Madusa stood around looking good. 

Dangerously went on to announce that he had found the man who would defeat Sting. 

That man was the Halloween Phantom and, yes, just as Schiavone had hinted at, the Halloween Phantom turned out to be none other than former WWF star, 'Ravishing' Rick Rude.

My original review didn't do justice to how awesome this segment really was. Dangerously was positively pissed about being booted off WCW TV and was now using his manager's license to assemble a team who would systemically destroy the company, starting with its top star, Sting. 

Paul E.'s promo was amazing, Rude was as good as could be, and Madusa played the role of eye candy well. This was one of the best things on the whole show.

2-out-of-3 Falls for the World Championship Wrestling World Heavyweight Championship 
WCW World Heavyweight Champion Lex Luger (w/ Harley Race) vs. Ron Simmons (w/ Dusty Rhodes)

WCW Halloween Havoc 1991 - Ron Simmons vs. Lex Luger

Until The Great Khali headlined Smackdown for a while, this main event held some sort of record for the most tedious main event on a wrestling show ever in the history of wrestling shows. Ron Simmons was an average worker at best, whilst Luger made his way to the main event based purely on his chiseled physique and a knack for over-selling everything.

Putting the two together in a 20+ minute two-out-of-three falls match, WCW presented a main event so mind-numbingly dull it's unreal. Nothing interesting happened for a while, Luger won, and then would go on to do nothing interesting for the rest of his career besides bodyslamming Yokozuna and showing up unexpectedly on Nitro that time.
Your Winner and Still World Heavyweight Champion: Lex Luger

I honestly don't know why I hated this match so much all those year ago as it was actually pretty decent.

It's also kind of funny how angry I was about Luger, as I've grown to really appreciate his early WCW run, especially when he played the heel. 

OK, so it wasn't the greatest main event of all time, but I certainly enjoyed it a lot more the second time around.

And thus World Championship Wrestling's Halloween Havoc 1991 show came to a dismal finale. The Chamber of Horrors concept would never be used again (for good reason), the two men who had the best match on the card, or at least the tape, went to the World Wrestling Federation and became huge stars, and Tony Schiavone and other WCW announcers would continue to spoil things until the company's dying day. 

Judging by this show, it's a small miracle that day didn't come a whole lot sooner.

2022 closing comments: Remembering Halloween Havoc 1991 for little more than the Chamber of Horrors match, I came into this one expecting to hate it and came away pleasantly surprised. That's mostly because one of the best matches on the card - Taylor/Eaton was left off, and I'd completely forgotten how good Austin/Dustin was. 

Although there was still some stuff that wasn't very good, Havoc '91 was a decent show that I'm glad I watched again.

Download RPW's first book, The Complete History of NWA/WCW Starrcade - Vol 1: 1983 - 1989. Available now from Amazon.

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, 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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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.