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 wcw. Show all posts
Showing posts with label wcw. Show all posts

Thursday, 13 January 2022

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

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

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

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

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

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






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

Thanksgiving Thunder

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

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

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

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

Hmm.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Nature Boy Buddy Landel vs. Flyin’ Brian Pillman

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

Of course, Pillman was the real star here.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

‘Prime Time’ Brian Lee vs. The Z-Man

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Yet more names that I had to Google here.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Hansen and Luger Hate Each Other

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

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

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

The Motor City Mad Man vs. Lex Luger 

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

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

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

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

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

So that was happening.

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

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

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

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

Afterwards, The Nasties simply ran off. 

Vader is Back...Kinda 

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

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

The Nightstalker vs. Sid Vicious 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

That was a very clumsy and poorly executed finish.

El Gigante is Here After All

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

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

I wouldn’t have bothered.

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

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

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

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

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

Not that it really mattered.

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

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

A Word With The Horsemen

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

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

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

The Black Scorpion is a Magician 

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

For his final act, Scorpion made himself disappear.

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

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

Silly.

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

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

Except it wasn’t. At least not entirely. 

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

Surely he could have done that without a coin toss?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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







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

Clash of the Champions XIII was a chore to watch.

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

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

Sunday, 19 December 2021

PPV REVIEW: WCW Halloween Havoc 1990

WCW Halloween Havoc 1990 - Event poster
October 27, 1990 
UIC Pavilion, Chicago, Illinois

According to legend, the original master tape of WCW Halloween Havoc 1990 was destroyed long ago, meaning all we're left with is the Turner Home Entertainment VHS version with omits a bunch of singles matches and gives us four tag matches, a US title bout, and the world title bout. 

While personally I typically prefer to watch a full event when I'm reviewing something for Retro Pro Wrestling, I'm not going to be too distraught about never seeing the following matches:

* Terry Taylor vs. Bill Irwin
* Master Blasters vs. The Southern Boys
* Brad Armstrong vs. J.W Storm
* The Junkyard Dog vs. Moondog Rex.

Instead, I'll focus this review on the matches we can watch as we head down to Chicago one fall evening in late 1990 for Halloween Havoc: Terror Rules the Ring.






Spooky Time

WCW Halloween Havoc 1990 Review - Jim Ross & Paul E. Dangerously
We began tonight's event with a short, animated introduction that zoomed in on a haunted house as spectral images of Sting and Sid Vicious drifted on and off the screen. It wasn't all that spectacular, but at least it was there.

With that over, we went live to Chicago where Jim Ross and Paul E. Dangerously welcomed us to tonight's show. 

Dangerously was dressed as a vampire, while Jim Ross went with that classic Halloween costume, "Man Wearing a Hat."

The Greatest Night of Professional Wrestling

From there, Ross sent us over to Tony "Phantom of The Opera" Schiavone who was standing by for an interview with Ricky Morton and 'Wildfire' Tommy Rich. Morton gave a shoutout to his injured partner, Robert Gibson, and promised that they'd one day get revenge on the Fabulous Freebirds for taking Gibson out of action.

For his part, Gibson ranted loudly about what a great night of professional wrestling this was going to be and, with that, it was down to ringside for our opening contest. 

Ricky Morton & 'Wildfire' Tommy Rich vs. The Midnight Expres (Sweet Stan Lane & Beautiful Bobby Eaton w/ Jim Cornette)

WCW Halloween Havoc 1990 Review - The Midnight Express
This was as good of an opener as you were ever going to get on a WCW show. Sweet Stan and Beautiful Bobby were always a great team and their endless series of matches with the Rock 'n' Roll Express never failed to deliver. 

Even swapping Gibson for Tommy Rich didn't change that. This was fun, exciting, with lots of big spots (a Rocket Launcher to the outside, for example) that you just didn't usually see on American TV at the turn of the 90s. 

After an exciting match, The Southern Boys came down dressed up as Jim Cornette and got stuck into an all-out mele. In the resulting fracas, Jim Cornette's tennis racket was used against his team, giving the win to the good guys.
Your Winners: Ricky Morton & Tommy Rich 

Black Magic

WCW Halloween Havoc 1990 Review - Tony Schiavone Interviews Sting
Our next segment started innocently enough.

Tony Schiavone interviewed Sting about his ongoing rivalry with the Black Scorpion and his upcoming title defence against Sid Justice.

The champion had been dealing with both men since Sid issued a challenge at the end of Sting’s win over the Scorpion at Clash of the Champions 12.

The Stinger was all fired up about tonight, but before he could get very far he was interrupted by the Black Scorpion.

“Sting, Sting, let me show you an example of my black magic!” Said the Scorpion.

Except, by black magic, what he really meant was stage magic because all he did was pick a plant from the crowd and run behind a curtain.

Sting struggled to get to the frame holding the curtain on account of some random security dudes, and when he got there, there was a puff of smoke and Scorpion the girl were -shock of all shocks!- completely gone.

Except they weren’t, because they simply reappeared on the other side of the stage moments later, a move that was so obvious I’m sure even the little kids in the audience knew that they simply exited stage left, ran around, and re-entered stage right.

This was so bad it was hilarious.

Afterwards, Ross and Dangerously sold the whole thing like a much more impressive feat test than it was.

The Renegade Warriors (Chris & Mark Youngblood) vs. The Fabulous Freebirds (Jimmy ‘Jam’ Garvin & Michael ‘P.S’ Hayes w/ Little Richard Marley)

WCW Halloween Havoc 1990 Review - The Fabulous Freebirds
Interestingly, this was Mark Youngblood’s first appearance on a major NWA/WCW event since Starrcade ‘83.

Here, it was his younger brother Chris Youngblood (who sadly passed away earlier this year) that spent the bulk of this match playing the face-in-peril for the Fabulous Freebirds.

It wasn’t a sound booking strategy for the match. Usually the tag team formula builds sympathy for the battered face and ensures a big pop when he eventually makes the hot tag, but there was none of that.

The crowd didn’t really care for The Renegade Warriors and constantly chanted for either Jimmy Garvin or Michael Hayes to end it with their DDT.

Eventually, the fans got their wish.

After Mark Youngblood tagged in to absolute silence, a big fracas ensued which also saw the Freebirds’ “Roadie,” Little Richard Marley, getting dragged into the completion.

At one point, Chris Youngblood looked to have Jimmy Jam beat with a roll-up but the ref was too busy trying to break up a fight between Mark and Little Richard.

That meant that Hayes could hit the DDT and his team could win the match.

The finish was decent, but everything else about this match was a total snore.
Your Winners: The Fabulous Freebirds

WCW Halloween Havoc 1990 Review - The Four Horsemen
Out on the arena floor, Tony Schiavone interviewed Nature Boy Ric Flair, The Enforcer Arn Anderson and Sid Vicious about their upcoming matches.

Flair and Anderson promised to take the tag team titles away from Doom tonight. No offense to Butch Reed and Ron Simmons, nor to Anderson for that matter, but that match sounds like a waste for a talent of Flair’s caliber.

Anyway, when they were done, Sid shouted really angrily about being the ruler of the world and how he was going to destroy Sting once and for all.

Right on.

National Wrestling Alliance United States Tag Team Championship
NWA US Tag Team Champions The Steiner Brothers (Rick and Scott Steiner) vs. The Nasty Boys (Brian Knobbs & Jerry Sags)

WCW Halloween Havoc 1990 Review - The Nasty Boys vs. The Steiner Brothers
You know, given the kind of reputation The Nasty Boys would develop in later years, it still comes as a bit of a surprise to be reminded that they were once a formidable tag team capable of delivering some truly entertaining brawls.

Take this match, for example.

Here, Brian Knobbs and Jerry Sags stormed out of the gate and into a wild, out-of-control fight with Rick and Scott Steiner that was a lot of fun to watch.

Eventually, things settled down with The Nasties dominating Scott Steiner before the equally as chaotic ending in which the champs retained thanks to the Frankensteiner.

Though it may have been a touch too long for some people, for this writer, any time you get two teams of people who aren’t afraid to just beat the crap out of each other, you’re in for a good time.
Your Winners and Still US Tag Team Champions: The Steiner Brothers

Post-match, Knobbs, and Sags attacked Rick Steiner until Scotty saw them off.

This led us to Tony Schiavone interviewing Scott, only to get attacked by Jerry Sags dressed as a concession stand worker. Knobbs eventually joined in the attack before stealing the mic to yell at The Steiners.

I won’t say whether this was good or bad, but I will say that when Scott Steiner is the most coherent promo in a segment, there’s probably something up.

National Wrestling Alliance World Tag Team Championship
NWA World Tag Team Champions Doom (Ron Simmons & Butch Reed w/ Terry Long)

WCW Halloween Havoc 1990 Review - The Four Horsemen vs. Doom
Oh look, another tag team match.

I know there were singles matches on this card that wasn’t up to much, but is it too much to ask to stick at least one on this presentation just to break up the monotony of reviewing four tag bouts in a row?

Despite this being yet another tag match, it was very good one and the best of the four so far, a lengthy, nigh-on 20 minute battle which culminated in a double count out.

That was a smart finish given the need to keep the titles on Doom while still protecting what aura Flair still had about him during this very obvious demotion.
Double Countout

Backstage, Stan Hansen spat on a pumpkin and promised to take the US title from Lex Luger.

It was a unique promo to say the least.

National Wrestling Alliance United States Championship
NWA United States Champion Lex Luger vs. Stan Hansen

This was a decent big man match but not something that would ever warrant repeat reviewing.

The two men battered each other in a slow and brutal fashion until the ref took a nap in the corner.

At that point, Hansen’s protege Dan Spivey ran in to hand his mentor a cowbell.

That didn’t make much of a difference, but one big larriat did, proving enough to end a Lex Luger US title reign that seemed to have been going on forever.
Your Winner and New US Champion: Stan Hansen

Before the main event, Teddy Long gave an interview to Tony Schiavone in which he insisted that Doom would never again have to defend the tag team titles against The Four Horsemen.

This was followed by Missy Hyatt joining JR and Dangerously at ringside just so that Missy could boast about predicting a win for Sid before Paul did.

National Wrestling Alliance World Heavyweight Championship
NWA World Heavyweight Champion Sting vs. Sid Vicious

WCW Halloween Havoc 1990 Review - Sting vs. Sid Vicious
Sadly, this match was very underwhelming. Sting was finally getting a run at the top after being one of the consistently most over performers on the roster while Sid, despite not being an amazing worker, had always been the most popular wrestler in any match he was in throughout the duration of his WCW run.

Alas, that didn’t translate to a good match.

While there was some exciting moments, there were also long periods of chin locks, arm bars, and nerve holds all of which were entirely forgettable.

What wasn’t forgettable was the finish.

The Horsemen ran in and Sting ended up going to the back to fight them. Then a fake Sting (Barry Windham) came in and got pinned by Sid.

Fireworks errupted, balloons dropped from the ceiling and the fans half cheered, half wondered what the heck had just happened.

It was at that point that the real Sting returned, with the cameras missing a vital shot of him coming face to face with Windham-Sting in the isle.

That would have explained everything. Instead, we just got this confusing moment where referee Nick Patrick, despite counting the fall for Sid, simply shrugged his shoulders and counted another fall for Sting, giving him the win.

The crowds were bewildered but cheered anyway, probably because the mess was over.
Your Winner and Still World Heavyweight Champion: Sting

Post-match, a visibly annoyed Sting promised Jim Ross that he would defend his title anywhere at any time against anyone, and that was all she wrote for WCW Halloween Havoc 1990.






The ending of the main event was disappointing because it was actually a clever idea, but it was so poorly executed that it came across as a baffling mess of calamity.

The match itself wasn’t great either, but Midnights/Morton & Rich, Horsemen/Doom, and especially Steiners/Nasties were all worth a watch.

Just skip right past the Fabulous Freebirds match. It’s utterly insane that despite cutting so many matches from their VHS presentation, Turner Home Network left in a match that was just painfully, painfully boring.

Wednesday, 8 September 2021

EVENT REVIEW: WCW Clash of the Champions XII - Fall Brawl '90: Mountain Madness

WCW Clash of the Champions XII - Fall Brawl '90: March Madness
September 5, 1990 
Asheville Civic Center, Asheville, North Carolina.

Clash of the Champions X11: Fall Brawl '90 - Mountain Madness sounds like the kind of name you get when a committee can't agree on what to call their event and compromise by simply adding all of their favorite suggestions together.

It's a little excessive, and, of course, confusing, but hey, we're not here to talk about event names, we're here to talk about the event itself, so let's get on with that, shall we?





Welcome to Fall Brawl 2: Mountain Madness

WCW Clash of the Champions XII - Jim Ross & Bob Caudle
Just to confuse things further, Jim Ross called the event Fall Brawl 2, which is technically accurate but still confusing if your opening intro is going to call it '90. 

Speaking of the intro, it was very non-descript - basically seeing clips of tonight's stars in small boxes which flew across some animated mountains.

From there, Ross and co-announcer Bob Caudle hyped the ten upcoming matches on our show, including Lex Luger defending the US title against Ric Flair and Sting defending his newly won World Heavyweight Championship for the first time on national TV against The Black Scorpion.

Speaking of Sting, our announce team informed us that the Stinger was live on the WCW Hotline, but of course, you wouldn't want to call right now, because then you'd miss this:

Badstreet USA

Prior to our opening contest, we got a look at a music video in which Michael 'P.S' Hayes strutted around singing Badstreet USA. 

Personally, this writer has never really seen the appeal of the Freebirds, but even I have to admit it was a pretty decent video, albeit one that looks very dated today.

The Fabulous Freebirds (w/ Michael 'P.S' Hayes & Jimmy 'Jam' Garvin w/ Buddy Roberts) vs. The Southern Boys (Tracy Smothers & Steve Armstrong w/ 'Bullet' Bob Armstrong.

WCW Clash of the Champions XII - Michael 'P.S' Hayes
Speaking of things being dated...there was so much confederate flag symbolism in this match that there's no way this match would air on TV today.

Hayes and Jimmy Garvin both switched their traditional tights for confederate ones and had their faces painted with the flag, as did their cornerman, Buddy Roberts. Meanwhile, the Southern Boys whole gimmick was to wave that confederate flag and they did so here with pride.

Dated gimmicks aside, this was another good meeting between these two teams. 

Their match back at The Great American Bash 1990 was very good indeed, and while this may have been a step down from that match, it was still a great way to start the show.

Tracy Smothers and Steve Armstrong won the match thanks to a couple of sunset flips.
Your Winners: The Southern Boys

Post-match, The Freebirds beat up their rivals and hurled them out of the ring. 

The Steiners Have Nothing on Their Minds

WCW Clash of the Champions XII - Tony Schiavone interviews The Steiner Brothers
Following the commercial break, Tony Schiavone spoke backstage with The Steiner Brothers, who had recently defeated The Midnight Express to become US tag team champions.

Scott Steiner fumbled his way through his half of the promo, reminding us that being US tag team champions meant they were number one contenders to the world tag team champions and calling out Doom for a match.

For his part, Rick Steiner admitted that he and his brother had never even heard of their upcoming opponents, Maximum Overdrive and had no plan and "nothing on their minds" when they went to the ring.

This was entertaining, but only in the way that watching a Steiner Brothers promo can be.

Buddy Landell vs. Mike Rotunda (w/ Cindy Anderson) 

WCW Clash of the Champions XII - Buddy Landell shows off his Skid Row "tattoo"
Prior to the bell, Buddy Landell proudly showed off a terrible Skid Row tattoo because apparently, he was now friends with the band's guitarist, Dave "The Snake" Sabo

Well, I suppose if you've gotta have a gimmick, "I know a musician" is certainly..erm..something.

Meanwhile, if you're wondering who Cindy Anderson is, she apparently won a Burger King poetry contest and her prize was to accompany Mike Rotunda to the ring. 

I swear I'm not making that up. 

All credit to Cindy, I'm sure she's a lovely person and wrote a great poem, but just trying to get my head around the idea that Burger King sponsored a wrestling-themed poetry contest and the prize was to walk Captain Mike to the ring just blows my mind. 

Honestly, these Clash shows were bonkers. 

I say all that because it's far more interesting than anything that actually happened in this match.

It's not that it was bad. Both Landell and Rotunda were competent performers, but this was only ever going ot be a filler match and it was. 

After five and a half minutes of decent but entirely forgettable action, Rotunda secured the win thanks to a jaw-dropping backslide.
Your Winner: Mike Rotunda

WCW Clash of the Champions XII - Tony Schiavone interviews The Fabulous Freebirds
Up next, Tony Schiavone interviewed The Fabulous Freebirds who were very angry about losing to The Southern Boys and shouted A LOT.

 It was OK though, because "The Greatest Rock & Roll Band in the World" were able to console themselves by showing us footage of their recent trip to Hollywood.

Hayes and Garvin pulled up in a limo and were swarmed with fans. They then just seemed to have a day out, standing in front of the Hollywood sign and dancing and later eating a hot dog before getting swarmed by yet more fans.

It wasn't entirely clear why the boys were in Hollywood, but for all intents and purposes, it just looked as though we were watching clips from their vacation. 

'White Lightning' Tim Horner & The Candy Man Brad Armstrong vs. The Master Blazers (Iron & Steel)

WCW Clash of the Champions XII - Kevin Nash made his debut as part of The Master Blasters
Let's gloss over the fact that Brad Armstrong was now creepily called "The Candy Man" for some reason and talk about what's really important here: 

The debut of Kevin Nash as Master Blaster Steel. 

Honestly, this writer has been a big fan of Big Daddy Cool in the past but even I can't deny that he and Master Blaster Iron looked like the absolute dirt worst tag team you've ever seen in your life.

None of Nash's offence looked like it actually hurt. It was weak and made the whole match look fake. 

Iron's offense was even worse. 

In fact, at one point, he went to hit a diving headbutt on Tim Horner and missed by at least a foot. Horner sold it anyway and the crowds booed both men for daring to give such a shoddy performance.

I can't believe I'm going to say this, but I actually recommend watchng this match just to appreciate how good pro wrestlers are at making what they do look believable and how utterly ridiculous wrestling can look when they don't.

Unsurprisingly, The Master Blasters won their debut over a team comprised of a man named after a brand of cheap cider in the UK and a  man whose gimmick was literally that he handed sweets to kids.
Your Winners: The Master Blasters 

WCW Clash of the Champions XII - Tony Schiavone interviews Brian Pillman
Backstage, Tony Schiavone interviewed Flyin' Brian Pillman.

Pillman first put over the main event discussed the mystery surrounding the ominous Black Scorpion before discussing his upcoming "Run the Gauntlet" challenge.

The idea was that one man would be selected to take on the challenge. On WCW Power Hour, that man would draw three names out of a hat and those three men would be his opponents over the course of three consecutive nights.

He -in this case, Pillman- would wrestle the first match on WCW Power Hour.

He would then wrestle the second match the following night on World Championship Wrestling.

Finally, he would wrestle the third match the night after that on Sunday Main Event.

If Pillman (or whoever else was taking on the challenge) won all three matches, he would win $15,000. If he lost, the prize money would be divided equally between his opponents.

Though it takes a little while to explain, that's actually not a bad concept, even if it did end up only lasting for three weeks.

WCW Clash of the Champions XII - Missy Hyatt interviews Ric Flair
The Greatest World Champion of Ever

Out in the arena, Missy Hyatt introduced us to the man she called "The Greatest World Champion of Ever," the one and only Nature Boy Ric Flair.

As charismatic as ever, Naitch styled and profiled his way through a riveting promo in which he promised to dethrone Lex Luger for the US title on tonight's show. 


The Nasty Boys (Brian Knobbs & Jerry Sags) vs. Terry Taylor & Jackie Fulton

So, it turns out Kevin Nash wasn't the only one to make a big first appearance at this show. 

WCW Clash of the Champions XII - The Nasty Boys made their debut
The Nasty Boys
were also putting in their first appearance at a major event in a solid effort against the former Red Rooster Terry Taylor and Jackie Fulton.

It's surprising how relatively light, agile, and motivated to work Knobbs and Sags actually were here. Pair that with two capable opponents, and what you had here was a decent tag match which gave this writer no reason to complain.

The Nasties would be gone and in the World Wrestling Federation by December of that year, but for now they were on the rise in WCW after a predictable victory.
Your Winners: The Nasty Boys 

After another commercial break, Tony Schiavone caught up with Four Horsemen member Sid Vicious. Big Sid was very angry about Sting being the world champion and insisted that he -Sid- deserved a title shot. It wasn't so much a direct challenge, more an intense rant about Sid being title-worthy.

Wild Bill Irwin vs. Wildfire Tommy Rich

WCW Clash of the Champions XII - Wild Bill Irwin
Going into this one, your writer expected it to be the kind of filler match that has no redeeming qualities. Indeed, half the crowd seemed to have the same idea and could be visibly seen leaving for the bathroom or concession stands as it got underway. 

Surprisingly, however, it wasn't a bad little match. Apart from one little spot where it looked like the match was going to devolve into one long chinlock, this was competently wrestled. Sure, it wasn't going to be an amazing match, and sure, it technically was filler, but it at least it was enjoyable filler.

After a few minutes of decent wrestling, Tommy Rich got the win thanks to a Lou Thesz Press.
Your Winner: Tommy Rich

Up next, Jim Ross and Bob Caudle introduced us to the new Top 10 rankings, with Lex Luger and The Steiners topping the singles and tag ranks respectively. I'm not sure how long this lasted, but I don't think it was very long at all. 

With tobacco spit staining his chest, Stan Hansen then ranted and raved to Tony Schiavone about only being number six on the list and insisted he was going to beat up everyone ahead of him until he got to Sting. 

Not because he wanted the glory of being champion or anything, Big Stan simply needed the money.

"SIX? SIX? SIX? That's bulls**t!" yelled The Larriat as he walked off, clevery making sure he was away from the microphone before dropping the expletive. 

Ladies Professional Wrestling Association World Championship
LPWA Women's Champion Susan Sexton vs. Bambi 

WCW Clash of the Champions XII - Susan Sexton
Nobody cared about this "Women's Championship" match, a short-lived cross-over with the equally-as-short-lived LPWA. In fact, even JR didn't seem to know what was going on, telling us:

"Bambi is, I believe, the number one contender to the women's championship." 

Well, yes, Jim, she's standing in the ring about to challenge for the title, so that's pretty much a given. 

The match itself was reasonable. The crowd may not have cared, but Bambi and champion Susan Sexton worked hard regardless to give us a short, predominantly match-based match.

After a few minutes of hold-counterhold-repeat, Sexton reversed a roll-up attempt from Bambi to score the 1,2,3.
Your Winner and Still LPWA Champion: Susan Sexton

After a quick commercial break, it was onto our next match.

National Wrestling Allianace United States Tag Team Championship
NWA United States Tag Team Champions The Steiner Brothers (Rick & Scott Steiner) vs. Maximum Overdrive (The Hunter and The Silencer)

Yes, this new team of Maximum Overdrive that nobody had ever heard of were called The Hunter and The Silencer. I don't know about you, but for me those names don't exactly fit with a tag team name like "Maximum Overdrive."

It didn't matter anyway, Hunter and Silencer were really only there to serve as warm bodies for Rick and Scott Steiner to hurl around the ring in an extended squash. It was good, but only because The Steiners were such an awesome tag team and super over with the crowd.

To the surprise of absolutely no one, the brothers retained their title.
Your Winners and Still NWA US Tag Team Champions: The Steiner Brothers 

Before the next commercial, Missy Hyatt reminded us to watch Sunday Main Event with her and Jim Ross and a whole bunch of Main Event Action.

Stan 'The Larriat' Hansen vs. The Z-Man Tom Zenk 

Hansen was a relatively new arrival to WCW, so it didn't come as much of a surprise when he simply dominated The Z-Man throughout this match. It was decent stuff, but it mattered so little that at one point the screen was divided so that we could hear from Lex Luger at the same time. 

Honestly, it was too difficult to both watch a match and listen to The Total Package, but I think he basically said that he was fully focussed on Ric Flair but if Hansen wanted a match, he'd give him  one.

Back in the ring, the actual was solid but unremarkable and ended with a predictable win for Hansen courtesy of The Larriat. 
Your Winner: Stan Hansen

WCW Clash of the Champions XII - Tony Schiavone interviews Lex Luger
Afterward, we got a look back at the Ric Flair vs. Lex Luger match from Wrestle War 90 before Tony Schiavone interviewed the US Champion for the second time on this show. 

Calm, cool, and collected, The Total Package reflected on the fact that all his previous encounters with Flair (including their great match at Great American Bash '88) had seen him chasing Flair. This time, Flair was chasing him, but Luger remained adamant that no matter how much Flair wanted his US title, he -Luger- was going to emerge victorious.

National Wrestling Alliance United States Championship
NWA US Champion Lex Luger vs. Nature Boy Ric Flair

Luger and Flair always had great matches together and this was no exception. Though it may not have been the absolute best they ever had, that's only because they'd already set the bar very high, and this was still damn good in its own right.

This writer also really appreciated the power rankings and the emphasis on Flair needing to beat Luger to become the number one contender to Sting's title again. It gave the occasion as much of a sense of legitimacy as its possible to give a scripted pro wrestling contest and only added to the intensity and excitement of the match.

However, just as Luger and Flair always had good matches, they also always had matches that ended without a clean finish. This one was no exception. 

Stan Hansen ran into attack Luger, causing the disqualification.
Your Winner via DQ and Still US Champion: Lex Luger

Prior to the main event, we got pre-recorded comments from the mysterious Black Scorpion who promised to reveal his identity if Sting beat him tonight.

Speaking to Tony Schiavone, a clearly worried Sting insisted that he was taking the Scorpion very seriously and was heading to the ring to get this done.

National Wrestling Alliance World Heavyweight Championship
NWA World Heavyweight Champion Sting vs. The Black Scorpion 

WCW Clash of the Champions XII - The Black Scorpion
As you might have predicted, this was not the greatest match in the world. 

Sure, there was a lot of intrigue surrounding the identity of The Black Scorpion, but the actual action was just not that interesting.

Sure, both champ and challenger put some effort into it, but the result of that effort was nowhere near as compelling as the mystery of the Scorpion himself. 

Predictably, Sting retained the gold in his first televised championship defense thanks to a simple crossbody.

By the way, in case you were wondering, the man behind the mask for this match was Al Perez.
Your Winner and Still NWA World Heavyweight Champion: Sting 

Post-match, Sting de-masked the Scorpion only to discover that his adversary was wearing a second mask underneath. At that point, another Black Scorpion character arrived on the scene, with the announcers deducing that this was the real Scorpion after all.

Following a quick commercial break, Sting spoke to Jim Ross about his frustrations in not finding out who his rival was and swore that this wasn't over. At that point, however, the champion was interrupted by Sid Vicious, who demanded a match against the champion.

Sting was in no mood for a challenge, telling The Ruler of the World that all he had to do was talk to the championship committee to be granted a match. UNhappy with the response, Sid attacked Sting and declared himself the next champion before Jim Ross signed off, wrapping up the 12th edition of Clash of the Champions. 






With the exception of the whole Black Scorpion angle, Clash of the Champions 12 featured less of the goofiness and wacky entertainment that we'd seen in recent clashes (Clash 10, I'm looking at you), and placed more of an emphasis on presenting pro wrestling as a true sporting competition, with the announcement of the "Run the Gauntlet Challenge," the power rankings, and Flair's need to dethrone Luger to get back into the title picture all making this seem like serious business.

Unfortunately, despite the emphasis on competition, most of the actual in-ring action wasn't that great. The best match on the card by a good mile was Flair/Luger, and while the opening tag team match was also good and the Nasty Boys debut was decent for what it was, nothing else really stood out as being a must-watch.

Load up this event to see the WCW debut of the aforementioned Nasties and Kevin Nash, skip to Luger/Flair, and that's all you need to see here. 

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.