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

Thursday, 19 August 2021

PPV REVIEW: WWE King of the Ring 2002

WWE King of the Ring 2002 - Event poster
June 23, 2002,
Nationwide Arena, Columbus, Ohio

Though it’s not an event that gets talked about much these days, WWE King of the Ring 2002 was a historically significant event, namely because it was the last time King of the Ring would feature as one of the company’s Big Five PPVs.

Indeed, although the concept would be revived for TV multiple times over the next two decades, this was ultimately the last King of the Ring PPV to ever take place.

To a lesser degree, it was also important for being the first PPV since Stone Cold Steve Austin had “taken his ball and gone home” - having exited the company a few weeks earlier following after being unhappy with a proposed TV match between himself and Brock Lesnar.

The company hadn’t exactly kept this quiet, either.

On the episode of Raw that Austin vs. Brock was supposed to take place on, Vince McMahon instead came out and publicly thanked Stone Cold for his service.

From there, Austin’s departure was played into an angle where McMahon thought he was coming back, only to find out that it was The Rock who was returning.

The Great One hit the ring and cut a semi-shoot promo in which he spoke of  how much wrestlers were passionate about what they do and urged any wrestler who didn’t want to be there to “get the F out.

And as for Brock? Well, it turned out he didn’t need a win over Austin to continue his meteoric rise.

He had smashed his way into the King of the Ring finals and was now well on the way to cementing his legacy as World Wrestling Entertainment presented King of the Ring 2002.






Who Will Win King of the Ring?

WWE King of the Ring 2002 - Jim Ross and Jerry 'The King' Lawler
Tonight’s show opened up with a look back at all of the people who had won the King of the Ring tournament since the PPV’s inception.

Well, I say all of them, it missed out the 1995 King of the Ring PPV and jumped right from ‘94 to ‘96, probably because the company was too embarrassed to admit that the Main Event Mabel experiment had been a disaster. 

It then skipped over Ken Shamrock and Billy Gunn too, probably for similar reasons. 

From there, the video asked the all-important question:

Who would win this year’s event.

Would it be The Next Big Thing Brock Lesnar?

The Intercontinental Champion Rob Van Dam?

The first ever undisputed champion Chris Jericho?

Or erm...Test?

There was, of course, only one way to find out, so went down to the arena with crowd shots aplenty and our usual greeting from announcers Jim Ross and Jerry ‘The King’ Lawler.

Ross and Lawler quickly put over the non-tournament matches and with that it was on with the show. 

King of the Ring Semi Final 1
Chris Jericho vs. WWE Intercontinental Champion Rob Van Dam 

WWE King of the Ring 2002 - Rob Van Dam vs. Chris Jericho
There are those occasions when two wrestlers are so talented that expectations for a match between them are set incredibly high, meaning no matter what they do, they can’t help but disappoint.

This was not one of those occasions.

The combined talents of Rob Van Dam and Chris Jericho resulted in an opening match that was crazy good.

Definitely a contender for one of the best King of the Ring tournament matches ever, this was every bit as good as you’d hope it would be.

The match built up and built up towards a crescendo of near falls before RVD finally got the better of Jericho and earned his place in the final.
Your Winner (advances to the final): Rob Van Dam

After, Lawler conducted an in-ring post-match interview with the victor who, in a typical laid back fashion, claimed that he didn’t care if he had to face Lesnar, Test, or even Godzilla in the final.

Why?

Well, because he was R...V...D of course. 

Just as this was wrapping up, a frustrated Jericho attacked and locked Van Dam in the Walls, essentially giving the ever-popular Intercontinental Champion a good excuse for losing to Lesnar late on. 00.21.10 - RVD

Speaking of The Next Big Thing...

WWE King of the Ring 2002 - Paul Heyman psyches up Brock Lesnar
Godzilla is Fake

Backstage, Lesnar and Paul Heyman had been watching this unfold on a television monitor.

Referencing RVD’s promo, Heyman buried Godzilla for being fake while reminding Lesnar that he was real.

It was a compelling pep talk from Heyman, even if Brock probably didn’t need it.

King of the Ring Semi Final Match 2
Test vs. Brock Lesnar (w/ Paul Heyman)

I originally started writing about this match by saying that I doubted anyone really thought Test stood a legitimate chance of beating Brock.

That’s not to say Test wasn’t a decent performer. I always enjoyed his character and while he wasn’t the best wrestler in the world, he was far from the worst.

Still, I assumed this was going to be Brock inevitably squashing the Canadian en route to the final.

Instead, Test delivered a star-making performance in which he almost...almost walked away with the victory and more than held his own against his rapidly rising opponent.

Though he was technically a heel, his somewhat underdog status and the fact that Brock was an uber-heel meant that Test had the crowd firmly behind him as he took the right to Lesnar and only lost because Heyman got involved.
Your Winner: Brock Lesnar (advances to the final) 

WWE King of the Ring 2002 - Marc Lloyd interviews Lance Storm and Christian
Out in the back, Jonathan Coachman made his way into the Raw Locker room to get some thoughts on the all-Raw final.

Bubba Ray Dudley told coach that having been in the ring with both RVD and Lesnar, he really didn’t fancy RVD’s chances.

Dudley also added that while he would have loved to be competing in the tournament tonight (he lost to Brock in the first round), he would simply find another way to make an impact.

Across the way, Marc Loyd looked to get a similar response from the Smackdown crew.

Instead, he bumped into Lance Storm and Christian.

The duo had recently started a whole “this company is prejudiced against Canadians” angle on Smackdown and told Loyd that the fact an all-Canadian final between Jericho and Test wasn’t happening was only further proof of WWE’s bias.

Storming off (no pun intended) Lance declared that he and Christian would have to stand up for what was right, and thus, a new tag team was born.

Standback, There’s a a Noble Coming Through 

Back in the arena, Smackdown’s Michael Cole and Tazz looked like they were standing in front of a green screen as they hyped up the upcoming Cruiserweight match between The Hurricane and Jamie Noble.

This was followed by a video package recapping the story between the two.

To sum up:

Shane Helms and Tough Enough 1 co-winner Nidia had dated at some point but then he dumped her to focus on superhero things, so Nidia had started dating former WCW Cruiserweight star Jamie Noble and recruited her new boyfriend to antagonize Hurricane.

Adding to all this was the fact that Nidia was portrayed as some kind of sexual deviant/nymphomaniac who got horny any time someone was aggressive.

WWE Cruiserweight Championship 
WWE Cruiserweight Champion The Hurricane vs. Jamie Noble (w/ Nidia)

WWE King of the Ring 2002 - Jamie Noble vs. The Hurricane
This was a tremendously fun Cruiserweight match.

Maybe not an all-time classic, sure, and maybe not even on a par of some the jaw-dropping spotfests these two were involved in as members of 3 Count and The Jung Dragons back in WCW, but a good, solid, flip-flop-and-fly match in its own right.

After plenty of back and forth action and some genuinely exciting moments, Noble powerbombed the living hell out of Hurricane and made the cover.

Nidia prevented her ex-lover from using the ropes to break the fall, and one three count later we had a new Cruiserweight champion.
Your Winner and New Cruiserweight Champion: Jamie Noble 

Post-match, Nidia snogged the new champion’s face off.

A Word With Latino Heat

WWE King of the Ring 2002 - Terri interviews Eddie Guerrero
Earlier, on Sunday Night Heat, The Rock had arrived at the arena.

We’d hear more from him later, but for now it was time for heat of a Latino kind.

Backstage, Terri reminded Eddie Guerrero of the time he and Krispin Wah had beaten up Ric Flair and asked if he was worried about unleashing ‘The Dirtiest Player in the Game.’

As if to show just how unconcerned he was, Latino Heat spent the first part of his promo giving shout outs to his family before finally declaring that he was going to put Ric Flair in a retirement home once and for all.

This was good stuff from Guerrero, who never failed to entertain.

Ric Flair vs. Eddie Guerrero 

WWE King of the Ring 2002 - Eddie Guerrero vs. Ric Flair
For those keeping score, this was the first time Flair and Guerrero had wrestled -at least on PPV- since WCW Hog Wild 1996.

Meanwhile, Naitch had already turned twice in the six months he’d been in the company.

He’d joined as a babyface co-owner for a storyline with Vince, turned heel for a feud with Austin, then turned face again to take Austin’s place in a storyline with Eddie Guerrero.

Anyway, regardless of all that, this started off as a fine match with the wily Guerrera trying his best to out-maneuver his skillful opponent before finally getting the better of him and beating him down.

From there, however, the match slowly but surely ran out of steam and struggled to maintain this fan’s attention.

After an otherwise decent outing, an interfering Chris Benoit put Flair in the Crippler Crossface on the outside.

While the referee was busy sending The Rabid Wolverine to the back, Bubba Ray Dudley put in the night’s most random cameo and planted Eddie with a Bubba Bomb.

Flair got back in the ring, made the cover, and this one was done.
Your Winner: Ric Flair

Meanwhile, over at The World (formerly WWF New York), William Regal and newcomer Chris Nowinski complained about the slow service.

When Nowinski laughed at the waitress for only going to community college, she played with his food behind his back to gross it up a bit before he ate.

Up next, women’s action.

WWE Women’s Championship 
WWE Women’s Champion Trish Stratus vs. Molly Holly 

This was a good women’s championship between two talented performers who showed up to work, so it was a shame that Ross and Lawler spent most of the match referencing the awful “Molly’s got a big butt” angle.

That aside, this was a good match that came to an end when the challenger reversed a roll-up, grabbed a handful of tights, and captured the title.
Your Winner and New Women’s Champion: Molly Holly

Out in the back, Kurt Angle spoke to Marc Loyd about his rivalry with Hulk Hogan.

Back at Judgement Day, Hogan had lost the title to Undertaker while Angle had lost his hair to Edge.

Hogan had then tried to retire, only for Vince McMahon to declare that he had The Hulkster under an iron-clad contract and would insist he keep wrestling.

Hogan had challenged Vince to a fight but got attacked by loyal McMahon suck-up Angle instead.

All the while, Angle had been wearing a wig and wrestling headgear to hide his newfound baldness.

This led to one of the most hilarious promos of all time in which Hogan actually poked fun at his own baldness and declared that he has “lost a hair match to Mother Nature, brother.

Honestly, it’s been days since I watched that episode of Smackdown and I still haven’t stopped laughing at that line.

Anyway, that match was next.

Hollywood Hulk Hogan vs. Kurt Angle 

WWE King of the Ring 2002 - Kurt Angle vs. Hulk Hogan
This was another good match, with Hogan’s old-school style somehow blending in well with Angle’s Wrestling Machine approach.

After a good back and forth battle, Hogan ripped Angle’s wig off, prompting The Olympic Gold Medalist to storm off.

He later returned brandishing a chair but when he swung, Hogan moved, the chair hit the ropes and Angle wound up KO’ing himself.

It wasn’t over there though, our Olympic Hero reversed a pin attempt into an Ankle Lock, and despite a valiant effort to break the hold, Hulk Hogan had no choice but to submit in what was probably the first time in his career.
Your Winner: Kurt Angle 

Out in the back, the greatest backstage skit of all time took place.

Goldust had dressed up as The Rock and was busy hyping The Great One’s return to Booker T when Rock himself turned up and put an end to it.

What followed was a hilarious back and forth between all three men.

Here, see for yourself:


King of the Ring Final
Brock Lesnar (w/ Paul Heyman) vs. Rob Van Dam 

WWE King of the Ring 2002 - Brock Lesnar won the King of the Ring
This was one of -if not the- shortest matches on the show up to this point, but it was still entertaining in its own right.

RVD took the fight right to Lesnar and almost looked to have him beat with a five-star frog splash, but alas it wasn’t to be.

Lesnar caught Van Dam coming off the ropes, hit him with an F5 and won the tournament.
Your Winner and 2002 King of the Ring: Brock Lesnar

There was no fanfare or ceremony for your new King of the Ring, Big Brock simply walked backstage with Paul Heyman reminding him that the winner of the tournament earned a title shot at  Summerslam.

A Clique Reunion

WWE King of the Ring 2002 - The Clique had a backstage reunion
Backstage, Triple H was walking, ready for his match with The Undertaker when he bumped into the New World Order.

Teasing tensions, The Game eventually hugged it out with Kevin Nash and the recently returned Shawn Michaels before embracing X-Pac.

With Big Show looking on ominously, Nash told Hunter that if he needed help, all he had to do was throw up the too sweet gesture.

Hunter walked off, leading to another green screen appearance from Tazz and Cole, followed by a video package highlighting our upcoming main event.

WWE Undisputed Championship 
WWE Undisputed Champion The Undertaker vs. Triple H

WWE King of the Ring 2002 - Undertaker defended the Undisputed title against Triple H
This was a match that was really a victim of circumstance. In any other situation and with anything else going on around it, Undertaker vs. Triple H could deliver, but tonight, it all went wrong. 

Perhaps the main problem was the inevitable appearance of The Rock casting a shadow over everything both combatants did. 

The Great One hadn't been scheduled to return for a few weeks but had been rushed back to the company to help fill the gaping void left by the absence of Stone Cold Steve Austin. 

In the aforementioned segment with Booker T and Goldust, he had claimed that his reason for being here was to watch the main event. That meant everybody knew there was going to be a run-in from The People's Champion at some point.

As such, the fans in attendance seemed to barely care about anything either competitor did. 

In fact, at various points, you could clearly see that fans in the first few rows were either visibly bored or simply trying to entertain themselves while waiting for The Rock, all to the detriment of the actual match taking place. 

Midway through a lacklustre performance, Earl Hebner got utterly mangled in the corner before both champ and challenger took each other out with clotheslines. The moment their bodies hit the mat, all eyes turned away from the ring and immediately started looking towards the entrance, as if to say "finally, something we actually care about." 

Sure enough, The Rock dashed to ringside and ran off Paul Heyman. Heyman had been doing a very annoying job on commentary, completely overshadowing anything going in the ring by incessantly focussing on Brock Lesnar. 

Yes, I get it, but Heyman's persistent chatter certainly didn't help a match that was already struggling, so it was a relief when Rock saw him off. 

Things picked up slightly from there.

Undertaker attacked The Rock, The Rock swung at 'Taker with a chair, missed, and took out The Game. Back in the ring -with Earl Hebner comatose- Rock finally laid out the champ with a Rock Bottom, but it wasn't enough to give HHH the win. 

With the match getting a second wind, I was almost ready to change my opinion on it entirely and say that it developed into a very good, dramatic match, but then the finish happened.

The challenger laid out his opponent with a Pedigree, but Hebner was so destroyed that he could make the pin. Hunter tried dragging the zebra over to the middle of the ring so that he could better count, but 'Taker struck his nemesis with a low-blow and this undisputed championship PPV main event ended with -of all things- a roll-up. 
Your Winner and Still Undisputed Champion: The Undertaker

Post match shenanigans ensued with The Rock returning to take out 'Taker, The Game getting revenge for that earlier chair shot by pummelling The People's Champion, and Big Evil taking out Triple H to stand tall as the show went off the air.







I've read a lot of criticism of this show, with many people saying that it underperformed and that the quality was bad.

I'll give you that the main event was severely disappointing. I won't lie, it took me three attempts to watch it. At first, I thought it was just because I wasn't in the mood, but now I realise it's because it sucked. 

That said, I stand by my verdict that the rest of the card was pretty good. RVD/Jericho was a fine opening contest, the cruiserweight battle and the Hogan/Angle matches were enjoyable, and Lesnar and his opponents played to their strengths as The Next Big Thing took another step closer to superstardom.

Not the greatest show of all time perhaps, but certainly better than some cynical fans would have you believe.

Thursday, 12 August 2021

EVENT REVIEW: WCW Clash of the Champions XI - Costal Crush

WCW Clash of the Champions XI - Costal Crush
June 13, 1990 Charleston, South Carolina

By the time WCW Clash of the Champions XI - Costal Crush came around, Sting was still out of action, recovering from the knee injury he'd suffered back at the tenth Clash event.

Still, as the company's top babyface, WCW eager to keep him around on screen, having him pop-up for promos in which he verbally sparred with The Four Horsemen.

Meanwhile, the man he would inevitably go on to dethrone for the World Heavyweight Championship, Nature Boy Ric Flair prepared to put his title on the line against Junkyard Dog.

While there was no doubting JYD's popularity, his inclusion in this match certainly felt like something of a stop-gap, a way to kill time until Sting could finally get his date with destiny.

Here's what went down when Costal Crush came to South Carolina.






They’re Back (and better than ever)

WCW Clash of the Champions XI - Tony Schiavone
Our show tonight began with a tour of Charleston, with a voice-over informing us that the last time WCW had scheduled a show here, Hurricane Hugo had prevented it.

Tonight, WCW was back, and sow too were the people of Charleston.

Heading live into the arena, a fresh-faced Tony Schiavone had questions for us:

Could Junkyard Dog dethrone Ric Flair to become the first black NWA champion?

Could The Steiners reclaim the world tag team titles from Doom? And would the Rock ‘n’ Roll Express be able to make history by capturing the US tag team champions?

We’d find out the answers to all of these questions tonight at Costal Crush, but first, we went to our announcers Jim Ross and Bob Caudle.

The duo hyped up tonight’s three big title matches along with other exciting moments such as an appearance by El Gigante and Lex Luger answering questions on the WCW hotline.

With that, it was down to ringside for our opening contest.

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

WCW Clash of the Champions XI - The Wild-Eyed Southern Boys
Prior to the bell, Tracy Smothers & Steve Armstrong gave a pre-recorded promo in which they stood in front of a rebel flag and talked about how southern they were.

We then saw a clip of Michael ‘P.S’ Hayes strutting his stuff in front of a live band as he sang ‘Bad Street USA.

The match finally got underway and proved to be a textbook opening contest - not so much a classic wrestling match, but the Freebirds heeling it up and the Wild-Eyed Southern Boys doing their plucky underdog routine to perfection.

It was a good combination that produced a fun match with lots of enjoyable back-and-forth action culminating in the Southern Boys picking up the upset victory thanks to Armstrong’s well-placed flying head butt to Jimmy Garvin’s kidneys. Your Winners: The Wild-Eyed Southern Boys

Before going to a commercial, we got a reminder that LEX LUGAR was going to be on the wrestling hotline.

Trust WCW to spell the name of one of their biggest stars wrong.

After the commercial, it was right on to our next match.

Bam Bam Bigelow (w/ Sir Oliver Humperdink) vs. ‘Wildfire’ Tommy Rich

WCW Clash of the Champions XI - Bam Bam Bigelow w/ Sir Oliver Humperdink
This wasn’t much of a match at all.

Tommy Rich control in the early going and worked Bam Bam Bigelow’s arm for a bit then got him in the corner to drop ten punches on his noggin.

Bammer responded by choking Rich out until he got himself disqualified and that was that. Your Winner by DQ: Tommy Rich

Post-match, Bam Bam went nuts, beating Rich some more then storming about the ring yelling ‘ARGH! I’LL KILL EVERYBODY!’

To be fair, that was better than almost the entire match.

Another commercial break followed, after which we were told about the company’s next PPV, The Great American Bash.

Jim Ross informed us that none other than Big Van Vader would be debuting at that show, and this led us to a clip of the late, great Leon White making his entrance at a show in Japan wearing that absolute bad ass head gear that he used to wear.

Speaking of bad ass, we next went to Gary Michael Capetta.

Standing in the ring, GNC confirmed that Vader would be debuting at the Bash along with another man, the largest athlete in the world, El Gigante.

El Gigante Speaks (in Spanish)

The big man made his way to the ring as GMC read off some impressive stats about how big his feet were before informing us that Gigante would be teaming with Junkyard Dog and Paul Orndorff to take on The Four Horsemen at The Great American Bash.

Capetta then interviewed the newcomer in Spanish, informing us that the future Giant Gonzales was looking forward to making his debut and knew that WCW was the place to be.

Honestly, it says something when your hot, new star is outshined by your ring announcer.

The Samoan Swat Team (Fatu & The Savage) vs. Captain Mike & Z-Man

WCW Clash of the Champions XI - The Samoans faced Captain Mike & Z-Man
This was decent for what it was, but it was too short to be anything meaningful.

The Samoans dominated the match with some fast-but-hard offence, taking out Z-Man and leaving him prime for pinning.

Before they got the fall, however, Fatu and The Savage took to the ropes to pose.

With their backs turned, Zenk swapped places with Captain Mike who lay prone on the mat but then revealed he was playing possum and rolled up his opponent for the 1,2,3. Your Winners: Captain Mike & Z-Man

Yes, apparently, The Samoans were too stupid to realise that Rotunda and Zenk were not the same person even though they looked nothing alike.

Up next, we got a highlight package of Mean Mark, showing us that the big man was far more capable and athletic than his early portrayal of The Undertaker would have you believe.

Mean Mark (w/ Paul Heyman) vs. Flyin’ Brian Pillman

This was another fun-but-short match pitting Mark’s brute strength and aggressiveness against Brian Pillman’s fast-paced, high-flying offence.

It was good stuff for the most part, but everything felt really rushed in order to make it to the commercial break on time.

After getting his butt handed to him for a while, Pillman made a valiant, crowd-popping comeback only to have Mean Mark lift him up and drop him, throat-first on the top rope.

That was enough to end the whole match. Your Winner: Mean Mark

After the commercial break, Sting gave a backstage interview to Tony Schiavone.

The future Hall of Famer didn’t really say anything particularly noteworthy other than reminding us that he hated Ric Flair, but he spoke with an intensity and charisma that made it obvious why he would be a headline act for the rest of his career.

National Wrestling Alliance United States Tag Team Championship
NWA US Tag Team Champions The Midnight Express (Sweet Stan Lane & Beautiful Bobby Eaton w/ Jim Cornette) vs. The Rock & Roll Express (Ricky Morton & Robert Gibson)

The one thing you have to love about the Midnight Express and the Rock & Roll Express was that they must have wrestled each other a million times over and yet no two of their matches ever felt exactly the same.

Prior to the bell, both teams gave us pre-record promos in front of a green screen.

The green screen enabled WCW’s production team to present each promo as if they were stood in front of an old, slowly-chugging locomotive.

It was the least ‘express’-looking train in the world.

The match got underway and was great fun until Sweet Stan Lane got his team disqualified for roughing up Retro Pro Wrestling favourite Nick Patrick.Your Winners via Disqualification: The Rock & Roll Express (The Midnight Express retain the titles)

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

‘The World’s Strongest Man’ Doug Furnas vs. Barry Windham

WCW Clash of the Champions XI - Barry Windham
Like most Clash bouts, this one didn’t last very long but it was at least entertaining.

Jim Ross spent most of the bout gushing over Doug Furnas’ athletic credentials and how well he did in high school football, but if he’d been paying attention to what was going on in the ring he would have called a fun, explosive big man match which ended when Barry Windham hit Furnas with a back suplex then used the ropes for leverage to score the three count. Your Winner: Barry Windham

The match was followed by multiple replays of Windham’s nefarious cheating ways.

Then, following another commercial break, a tuxedo-clad Sid Vicious gave us a green-screen promo in which he ranted about how much he was going to destroy Lex Luger.

Sid Vicious (w/ Ole Anderson) vs. Lex Luger

Not that Sid would actually get a chance to.

Luger, who was now a babyface again, stormed the ring and immediately clobbered Four Horsemen reps Sid and Ole Anderson.

He then clotheslined Sid and pinned him in about 30 seconds.

Seriously, what was the point of that? Your Winner: Lex Luger

Post-match, Jim Ross and Bob Caudle hyped the upcoming Great American Bash.

WCW World Heavyweight Tag Team Championship
WCW Tag Team Champions Doom (Ron Simmons & Butch Reed w/ Teddy Long) vs. The Steiner Brothers (Rick & Scott Steiner)

You know, I can’t believe I’ve never mentioned this before, but it’s funny how un-Doom-like Doom’s jazzy theme music was.

Anyway, this rematch from Capital Combat was a damn fine effort. It went twice as long as most Clash matches and saw Scott Steiner shine as an absolute superstar in the making.

Not that the rest of the competitors didn’t play their part.

All four delivered a decent match which may not seem like a classic today but was very entertaining in its own right.

The end came when Scott Steiner looked to have the match won with a top rope clothesline to Butch Reed, only for Ron Simmons to nail him with what Jim Ross later called -and I quote- “one of those world-famous international objects.

That allowed Doom to retain their titles for our second cheap win in as many matches. Your Winners and Still Tag Team Champions: Doom

Out in the crowd, Junkyard Dog gave a lively interview to Tony Schiavone in which he promised that tonight was definitely going to be his night.

This was followed by a green screen promo in which Mr. Wonderful Paul Orndorff promised Arn Anderson that it was payback time.

Mr. Wonderful Paul Orndorff vs. WCW Television Champion Arn Anderson

WCW Clash of the Champions XI - Paul Orndorff
Double A’s title wasn’t on the line here for this one, but Orndorff took it and strutted around the ring with it anyway.

Title or not, this was a solid effort.

Both men were talented performers and certainly didn’t disappoint on this occasion, giving us a decent old-school match with the crowds firmly on the side of Mr. Wonderful.

After a fun contest, Orndorff scored the three count with an inside cradle. Your Winner: Paul Orndorff

Before the main event, Tony Schiavone interviewed The Four Horsemen.

Ole Anderson ranted about how nobody would ever take the title away from Flair, while Flair himself cut his typical charismatic promo.

As well as hyping his match with JYD, Flair put over Arn Anderson almost beating Mr. Wonderful and Barry Windham “destroying” Doug Furnas, but curiously said nothing about Sid getting his ass handed to him in about 20 seconds by Lex Luger.

Finally, it was time for our feature attraction.

National Wrestling Alliance World Heavyweight Championship
NWA World Heavyweight Champion Nature Boy Ric Flair (w/ Ole Anderson) vs. Junkyard Dog

WCW Clash of the Champions XI - Ric Flair graphic for the main event
This was a short but fun main event that was played more for its entertainment value than as a straight-up technical masterpiece.

I doubt anyone ever really took Junkyard Dog seriously as a credible contender and he was never going to go toe-to-toe and hold-for-hold with the Nature Boy, but the crowds loved him anyway as he battered Flair from pillar to post.

Getting frustrated at not being able to get the better of his opponent, the champion grabbed a chair and waffled JYD with it while Ole Anderson distracted the official.

Dog no-sold the move, and when the cowardly heels realised they were running out of options, Ole ran in for the DQ. Your Winner via Disqualification: Junkyard Dog (Ric Flair retains)

Post-match, The Four Horsemen ran in to attack JYD but this brought out Sting, Luger, and Paul Orndorff to even the score.

El Gigante came out too, but he mainly stood around on the apron looking completely lost.

Sting Issues a Challenge

WCW Clash of the Champions XI - Sting issues a challenge to Ric Flair
After a commercial break and an ad encouraging you to call or write in for information about “WCW Gift Items,” Jim Ross interviewed Rocky King who said something about people having no necks before making room for Sting.

Wearing a garish Lex Luger t-shirt, the company’s biggest babyface challenged Flair to put the title on the line at The Great American Bash 1990.

Flair didn’t say one way or the other whether he accepted the challenge, but he did return to the ring for a brawl with Sting.

The two continued to fight as the credits rolled, with Jim Ross urging us to call the WCW Hotline to hear how that fight turned out.

In other words, folks, we’re outta time!






On the whole, Clash of the Champions 11 was a good show.

The main event was entertaining in its own way. JYD may have been limited from an in-ring standpoint (at least compared to Flair), but he and the champion made the most out of what they had to work with and the results were a lot of fun.

Elsewhere, most matches were reasonably good if you remember that this was really only a glorified TV show and thus don’t go into it expecting Pay Per View quality.

Doom vs. Steiners was this writer’s favourite, but overall this was a decent, watchable show.




Thursday, 5 August 2021

EVENT REVIEW: ECW Ultra Clash 1993

ECW Ultra Clash 1993 - Event review
September 18, 1993
ECW Arena Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

ECW Ultra Clash 1993 may not be the most widely-remembered wrestling event in history, but that doesn't mean it isn't significant in its own right.

This was the first event for which Paul Heyman had taken control of Eastern Championship Wrestling's booking and creative vision. 

It was the event in which he first began to turn this little indie outfit into an extreme institution and one of the Big Three US wrestling companies. 

It was also the event at which we would first meet future ECW mainstays like Joey Styles and The Public Enemy...

But was it any good?

Let's head down to the ECW arena to find out.




Welcome to Ultra Clash


ECW was still Eastern Championship Wrestling at this point in time but our opening video (set to what sounded like a cut from a low-budget PlayStation skateboarding game) featured shots of a woman getting her top ripped off and JT Smith being knocked from a balcony, so it was already fairly extreme...at least more so than the fairly tame product we’d seen back at ECW Super Summer Sizzler Spectacular earlier in the year.

After said video, we went straight into our opening match.

The Public Enemy (Flyboy Rocco Rock & Johnny Grunge) vs. Jason Knight & Ian Rotten

ECW Ultra Clash 1993 - The Public Enemy
If your only exposure to The Public Enemy was as the party-loving jobbers from WCW, you’ll likely be surprised to find them here as two ass-kicking heels who just destroyed their opponents.

I mean they demolished them. So much so Ian Rotten and Jason Knight didn’t manage to get in a single offensive move between them for the duration of this five-plus minute slaughter.

In fact, Jason Knight didn’t even get tagged in. He just got his ass kicked on the outside while Rotten got destroyed between the ropes.

Unsurprisingly, Johnny Grunge and Flyboy Rocco Rock prevailed when the latter cannonballed onto Rotten for the win.
Your Winners: The Public Enemy

Post-match, The Public Enemy further drew the ire of the crowd by continuing their beat down of Ian Rotten.

When they’d had enough, Joey Styles started to tell us all about the group’s next big event, NWA Blood Feast ‘93.

Sadly that isn’t on the WWE Network, though I did find a https://youtu.be/WRltkUbMV0Qone-hour version on YouTube so we’ll get to that soon.

ECW Pennsylvania State Championship 
ECW Pennsylvania State Champion Tony “Hitman” Stetson (w/ Hunter Q. Robins III) vs. “Ironman” Tommy Cairo

ECW Ultra Clash 1993 - Tony Stetson vs. Tommy Cairo
Imagine still using the nickname “Hitman” in the 1990s and not considering changing it.

Here, the not-so-excellence of execution put his title on the line against Tommy Cairo in a decent if somewhat unremarkable match that failed to maintain this fan’s attention.

After roughly ten minutes, Stetson’s manager, Hunter Q. Robins III distracted referee Jim Molyneux while the champ blasted his opponent with the title belt.

One three count later and this one was done.
Your Winner: Tony Stetson 

Mask vs. Mask Match
Super Destroyer I vs. Super Destroyer 2 (w/ Hunter Q. Robins III)

ECW Ultra Clash 1993 - Super Destroyer 1 vs. Super Destroyer 2
Prior to the match, Robins took to the microphone to berate Super Destroyer I, but the quality of this recording is so bad that I could only make out the words “building” and “ugly face.”

This was a weird match that was very slow and basic. 

Though that doesn’t necessarily make it bad, it was like watching two wrestlers early in their training being told to demonstrate a basic sequence of moves for a match.

Plus there was the fact that both men wore identical attire and masks. Sure, Joey Styles told us that one of them was technically bigger than the other, but it was still impossible to tell them apart.

In the end, the babyface Super D. 1 picked up the win.
Your Winner: Super Destroyer 1

Super Destroyer 2 was then forced to unmask, and while Styles pretended like he recognized him but couldn’t remember his name, The Dark Patriot came down and helped Super D. 2 carry out a beat down of S.D 1.

Eventually, J.T Smith came down to make the save and this led us right into our next match.

Scaffold Match
The Dark Patriot vs. JR Smith

ECW Ultra Clash 1993 - JT Smith vs. The Dark Patriot in a scaffold match
No joke, this was probably the best scaffold match this fan has ever seen.

All of the scaffold matches the NWA had in the 1980s (including at Starrcade '86 and Starrcade '87) saw big, tough men hanging around the edges of the platform where it was safe, and then basically hanging onto the edge of the platform and dropping down into the ring as gently as possible.

JT Smith and The Dark Patriot showed no such restraint.

They brawled fearlessly in the middle of the platform and took bumps. Smith even threw a neat dropkick.

Speaking of threw, Patriot won the match by hurling his opponent off the scaffold. Smith took an unbelievably nasty bump but then popped back up so that Patriot could come down and attack him some more.
Your Winner: The Dark Patriot

And attack him he did.

Smith got thrown into the crow, hit with a chair, thrown into another part of the crowd, hit with another chair and so on until he was destroyed.

Tag Team Bunkhouse Match
Kevin Sullivan & Abdullah The Butcher vs. Terry Funk & Stan Hansen

ECW Ultra Clash 1993 - Abdullah The Butcher & Kevin Sullivan vs. Terry Funk & Stan Hansen
I don't know why anybody would think this was good.

Sure, I can see how it might have been entertaining if you were there live, but watching it back now, it just looks like four sloppy-arsed drunks falling over each other after closing time.

At various points, Kevin Sullivan tried a brand new, never-before-tried approach to winning a pro wrestling match:

He would just walk up to his opponents and look at them.

 Seriously, there was a moment when he wandered towards Stan Hansen and just stood there staring at him for a while until Hansen thought 'screw it' and slapped the Taskmaster silly.

In the end, Eddie Gilbert ran out with a steel chair, causing a disqualification, which was dumb because this was a weapons-filled, anything goes brawl.
Your Winners via Disqualification: Terry Funk and Stan Hansen

Post-match, Kevin Sullivan and Abdullah The Butcher started fighting each other for no explainable reason until some dudes ran in to break it up. 

Funk and Hansen then returned to beat up those dudes and we got another wild brawl into the crowd that was exactly the same as the Dark Patriot/J.T. Smith brawl except with more people.

I'll say it again, this was not good.

$5,000 Intergender Battle Royal
Sensational Sherri vs. Tigra  vs. Angel  vs. Don E. Allen  vs. Jay Sulli vs. Hunter Q. Robbins III

ECW Ultra Clash 1993 - Tigra
Nor was this. 

While Tigra spent the whole match sat on the turnbuckle, watching, each of the men took turns in walking over to Sensational Sherri and Angel and being routinely eliminated by them.

Sherri then did a Mil Mascaras and eliminated herself, though rather than hitting a top rope splash, she chased off some dude in a shell suit who Joey Styles told us was Freddie Gilbert, Eddie's brother and ECW referee.

At that point, Angel deliberately popped herself up on the ropes making her an easy target. Tigra came over, poked Angel in the bum with the tip of her finger, and won the match.
Your Winner: Tigra

I'm a big fan of Sensational Sherri, but this was dumb and pointless.

Loser Receives 10 Lashes
Wildman Sal Bellomo (w/ Sensational Sherri) vs. Sir Richard Michaels (w/ Hunter Q. Robins III)

Did Hunter Q. manage every single heel in ECW?

ECW Ultra Clash 1993 - Wildman Sal Bellomo
I’m sure he did, because here he was again, backing Sir Richard Michaels.

Not to be outdone, Wildman Sal Bellomo got on the microphone before the match started and said ”whmph, mmph, bumpy bum bmmph, Sherri would you come to the ring, please?”

OK, so it may not have been that exactly, but like I said earlier, the recording quality is so bad that I’ve really no idea what he said beyond asking Sherri to join him in the ring.

The Sensational One did so, making her presence felt in Big Sal’s corner for what was a fairly average, if inoffensive, match.

After a few minutes of uninspired action, Sal fell like a sack of potatoes onto Richard Michaels and got the one, two, three.
Your Winner: Wildman Sal Bellomo

If you were worried that this show didn’t have enough post-match brawls,  you’ll be delighted to know that yet another one came right up.

Wildman Sal started to lash Michaels with a training belt while Sherri rolled around on top of Hunter Q and made him the luckiest dude in the whole building.

At that point, Rockin’ Rebel ran down to blast Sal with a chair and throw Sherri around the ring.

Eastern Championship Wrestling Heavyweight Championship 
Fabulous ECW Heavyweight Champion Shane Douglas (w/ Paul E. Dangerously) vs. The Sandman

ECW Ultra Clash 1993 - Shane Douglas vs. Sandman
Yes, Shane Douglas was “Fabulous” here, apparently. 

Though, to be fair, he almost wasn’t much of anything as he first walked off and threatened not to defend his title until the referee promised that he would give said title to Sandman if Douglas didn’t return to the ring immediately.

The champion did so, and consequently entered into what I have to say was the best match on the card up until this point.

No, I can’t quite believe that I just wrote that either, but it’s true. It was a competently wrestled heel vs. face match with some stuff which, while fairly textbook, was still pretty fun.

In the end, the ref took a tumble and Paul E.‘s phone came into play as an international object to give us a very near fall.

The challenger then dove off the top with what looked to be the match-winning flying cross body only for Douglas to roll through, grab a handful of tights and retain the gold.
Your Winner and Still ECW Heavyweight Champion: Shane Douglas 

Afterwards, Sandman berated the referee while Fabulous Shane made his escape.

Baseball Bat Match
W*ING Tag Team Champions Headhunters (Mofat & Mahim) vs. Miguel Perez & W*ING Heavyweight Champion Crash the Terminator

ECW Ultra Clash 1993 - The Headhunters
Ok, scrap what I said about Douglas vs. Sandman, this was the best match on the card.

As a baseball bat match, things started with all four men outside the ring and a baseball bat inside.

After the count of ten, they charged to the ring to grab the bat and beat the living hell out of each other with it.

And beat the living hell out of each other they did.

The match immediately spilled back out into the crowd for a wild brawl which was hampered only by ECW's lack of budget. 

The show was filmed entirely on a single camera, and when you have two teams pairing off and brawling all over the building, that one camera is going to miss stuff.

At one point, one of the Headhunters got thrown through a fricken wall by Crash the Terminator and the camera was focussed purely on the other Headhunter hanging around in the ring doing nothing much of anything. 

That gave us the odd moment where Joey Styles called something that we didn't actually see.

When we could see stuff, it was all good stuff, culminating in one of the big fat Headhunters hitting a sweet moonsault for the three.
Your Winners: The Headhunters

At this juncture, Joey Styles told us that The Headhunters had successfully defended their W*ING tag team titles, though there was no mention on the show -or in anything I've read since- that says the titles were actually on the line.

Afterward, both teams continued fighting to end the show with yet another brawl through the crowd because why choose to end your show with something different when you could just repeat the same damn thing you'd been doing from the beginning?

To be fair, it was a pretty entertaining brawl, but I can't help but feel that it would have meant so much more had we not already seen the exact same thing multiple times.







So no, Paul Heyman's start as ECW booker was not a spectacular one by any stretch of the imagination.

When one of the best matches on the show is Shane Douglas vs. The Sandman, you know things are pretty bad.

Sure, it's historically important, and if you do watch it you'll get to see not only Heyman's first attempt at booker but also the ECW debut of The Public Enemy and Joey Styles on commentary, but don't expect to be entertained very much.

If you can get the moment JT Smith plummets to his doom and the main event on YouTube, those are the only moments you need to see from what was otherwise a poor show.


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.