THE SPECIALISTS Nostalgia Review: Clash of the Champions 24: Vader vs. Smith; Flair/Sting vs. Kongs, Steamboat vs. Orndorff
Aug 25, 2008 - 3:47:16 PM
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By: Brian Hoops, Nostalgia Specialist
This week’s look back at wrestling nostalgia takes us back to the WCW Clash of the Champions #24 card held on August 18, 1993. The Clash of the Champions card was a free show shown on TBS in primetime, similar to the old WWF Saturday Night’s Main Event; however those programs were shown on network television on NBC. This show was held in Daytona Beach, Florida with an attendance figure of 8,900. At the time, WCW business was at a low point, however this show would be a turning point for WCW as business was beginning to improve. The main event was WCW World Heavyweight Champion Big Van Vader defending against Davey Boy Smith with the disqualification rule waived for the match.
Tony Schiavone and Jesse Ventura handled the announcing duties.
1. The Four Horsemen; Paul Roma and Arn Anderson defeated the Hollywood Blonds; Steve Austin and Steven Regal, subbing for an injured Brian Pillman in 9:51 to win the WCW World Tag Team Titles. Pillman was legitimately injured and would require minor angle surgery. With Pillman injured, WCW decided to take the straps off the hottest act in the company and eventually break up the Hollywood Blonds; a very unpopular decision by many fans at the time. I thought taking the straps off the Blonds sucked, they were the best thing WCW had going and they broke them up. Roma was not getting over as a member of the Four Horsemen, but the company continued with his push anyway. Fans saw Roma as the job guy from the WWF, not a Horseman. Roma worked most of the match, building to a hot tag to Arn Anderson. Anderson cleared the ring of Regal and reversed Austin into Sir William who accidentally hit Austin with Pillman’s crutch and Anderson rolled up Austin for the pinfall. A decent opening match. Eric Bischoff interviewed Anderson and Roma after a commercial break to make the title change feel more significant.
2. Too Cold Scorpio defeated Bobby Eaton in 6:32. Scorpio was mainly teaming with Marcus Bagwell during the summer of 1993 while Eaton’s career was going no where after the Dangerous Alliance disbanded in 1992. These two worked well together as Bobby was able to mix in some offense but excelled at making Scorpio look good. They mixed in some mat wrestling and some high flying to put together a solid match. Scorpio pinned Eaton after a 450 Scorpio Splash off the top rope.
3. Johnny B. Badd defeated Maxx Payne in 2:47. The match was kept short, likely due to Payne’s limitations. Payne attacked Badd before the bell and was on offense most of the way as Badd’s only offense was a flying headscissors. Payne’s selling was terrible and his offense was only slightly better. Finish came when Payne missed a splash off the top rope and Badd rolled him over and pinned him.
Next segment was Ric Flair’s “Flair for the Gold.” This segment became one of the most famous in history for the unintentionally hilarious entrance of The Shockmaster. Flair brought out as his guests, Davey Boy Smith and Sting. Sid Vicious, Col. Rob Parker and Harlem Heat crashed the set, demanding to know who their mystery partner was for the War Games main event at the next PPV; Fall Brawl. Sting introduced the Shockmaster, (Fred Ottman, Tugboat, Typhoon) who walked through a gimmicked wall and fell down and lost his helmet in the process. Ah, the pitfalls of live TV. Shockmaster picked up his mask and put it back on. Ole Anderson, the genius who came up with this gimmick, then talked in his Black Scorpion voice. Vicious and Harlem Heat were forced to act scared of the Shockmaster who lost his mask and tripped through the wall. It was so horrible. Back from a commercial, Ventura mentioned the entrance of the Shockmaster and laughed which was actually pretty funny.
4. Ricky Steamboat defeated Paul Orndorff in 8:40 in a match for the WCW World TV Title to become the new champion. Michael Buffer did the ring introductions for this match, which was a nice touch. This was the best match of the night as Steamboat and Orndorff were both excellent wrestlers and their experience really showed in this match. They traded several near falls including a spot where Orndorff grabbed the belt, thinking he had won the match and Steamboat rolled him up for a near fall; a reversed piledriver into a nearfall and a cross body off the top rope that Orndorff rolled through for a good near fall. Steamboat reversed a cradle for the pin. Orndorff gave Steamboat a piledriver on the belt after the match. This was excellent stuff.
5. Sting and Ric Flair defeated the Awesome Kongs in 2:16. This was basically a squash match as the Kongs got zero offense. Kongs were brought in from Global Wrestling along with Harlem Heat after Global folded and were two fat guys with zero talent. Flair booked this match as well as his program with Sting and was given much of the credit for the rating of the Clash as well as the next WCW Saturday Night TV show’s rating, which was strong thanks to the Sting vs. Ric Flair NWA World Title match. Buffer did the introductions for this match as well. Flair never tagged in. Sting slammed both Kongs and splashed one off the top for the pin.
6. Dustin Rhodes and Road Warrior Hawk defeated in Rick Rude and the Equalizer in 7:00. Animal drove a Chevy Camaro to ringside and everyone assumed the mystery partner was Animal, however Hawk came up behind Rude and the Equalizer to a huge crowd pop. Crowd was chanting LOD while Schiavone announced the Road Warriors were back. This match was basically the blowoff to the Rude-Rhodes feud and would lead to a feud with Rude against Road Warrior Hawk over the NWA World Heavyweight Title. A nothing match that ended when Rhodes came off the top rope with a flying cross body onto the Equalizer.
7. Big Van Vader defeated Davey Boy Smith in 11:15 to retain the WCW World Heavyweight Title. The dq rule was waived in this match, meaning if Vader was disqualified, he would lose the title. The match started outside the ring with Smith dominating the action. Vader took control back in the ring until Vader missed a splash on the steel guardrail and then Smith was back in control until Vader hit another splash. Vader then dominated the match with a great series of power moves. Vader was such an awesome heel in 1993. Vader splashed Smith off the top rope but Smith kicked out of the pin. Smith went for a pin after a sunset flip but Vader kicked out at two. Vader then whipped Smith into the turnbuckles and the camera clearly picked up ref Nick Patrick telling Smith to stay down and Vader splashed Smith. Smith had pinned Vader after a crucifix at the Beach Blast PPV in July and they went to that spot for a nearfall. Vader went for another splash off the top, but Smith kicked out and accidently hit Nick Patrick. Smith slammed Vader for the visual three count, but with Patrick out; no one counted the pin. Smith picked up Vader, but Harley Race clipped Smith’s leg and Vader pinned Smith to retain the title. Very good match. After the match, Cactus Jack attacked Vader and the show went off the air.
Summary: This was a decent show with two good matches that had a special feel that the Clash of Champions shows should, and two other matches that were solid. They ended two feuds, the Smith – Vader feud and the Rhodes-Rude feud; and laid the groundwork for the Vader and Cactus Jack feud as well as Rude and Road Warrior Hawk. They did not do a great job of building to the September PPV, which should have been one of their main goals. I would recommend to watch this show if it is available to you.
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