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Saturday Night Flashbacks
Clash of the Champions XX
September 2, 1992
Available on WWE Network
Welcome to Saturday Night Flashbacks! With the classic content of WCW Saturday Night about to drop on the WWE Network this coming week, this seemed to be a great time to revisit some of this classic content.
Some background info on my upbringing as a fan. I had seen some matches previously and heard about wrestling through friends of mine who were fans, and I recall my dad showing us a newspaper ad for Hulk Hogan vs. Ultimate Warrior at Wrestlemania VI. It was around the fall of 1991 when I started watching more regularly and got hooked and started renting Coliseum Videos at the video store to catch up on what I had missed previously.
I was primarily a WWF guy but saw some WCW here and there and eventually was watching both. I remember seeing the SummerSlam Spectacular ’91 and Fall Brawl ’91 the Clash with the battle royal won by El Gigante. I saw the big angle with Jake the Snake attacking Sting and Ron Simmons winning the WCW title.
Then, when I was 12 years old, we moved a couple towns over into a new house and… our new cable company did NOT carry TBS! So, I was suddenly unable to watch WCW Saturday Night and the other weekend shows. I remember the first day we were moved into our new house my uncle brought over a tape of Clash XX for my brother and I to watch. I was away from it for awhile after that, somewhat keeping up by watching Worldwide when I remembered to record it. I remember we got Slamboree ’93 on pay-per-view and I really enjoyed that show especially seeing British Bulldog and the tag team cage match.
A couple of months later I asked my uncle to start taping the weekend TBS shows for me and he did and sent the tapes to me biweekly. This was my earliest exposure of sorts to tape trading and looked forward to checking the mailbox and excited about getting the tapes and putting them in the VCR to see what I missed. Some of my favorite wrestling moments as a kid were from this time period late 1993-early 94 WCW. I eventually got TBS on my cable system, just in time for the September 3, 1994 episode of WCW Saturday Night. I remember Ricky Steamboat wrestled on that show and did an interview building up a match with Steve Austin two weeks later when he would sadly have to retire.
I was without TBS and WCW Saturday Night for two years and thus the premise for this series. I have since seen most of the shows and angles from this time period, but I am going to revisit and review the shows from Labor Day 1992 through Labor Day 1994, with the hope of dropping a new article each Saturday. As a preview and to set the stage for what is to come, I went back and revisited Clash of the Champions XX from September 2, 1992.
Clash XX was held live from the Center Stage Theatre in Atlanta, Georgia, home of WCW Saturday Night from the beginning of the name change in April of ’92 until spring of 1996. This show was set up as a celebration of 20 years of wrestling on TBS. The announcers were dressed up and they had many dignitaries and interviews with legends and highlights/clips throughout the night from the past twenty years.
The show started with Tony Schiavone and Missy Hyatt doing a red-carpet type segment and interviewing different folks as they arrived to the building. It was strange to see Andre the Giant and Bruno Sammartino at this show at the time since I had known them more as WWF legends. Ron
Simmons arrived and looked the world champion and was dressed in a suit. The last guest to arrive was Sting on his motorcycle. He came off like a star and a guy who did his own thing, not dressed in a suit or tuxedo like the rest the folks that were there.
Jim Ross and Jesse Ventura were our announcers for the show.
(1) Ricky Steamboat vs. Steve Austin (w/Paul E. Dangerously). This match was no DQ for the TV Title. This match was great and one I have probably watched more than any of the others on this show. Before the match, Johnny B. Badd came out with the guest singer of the national anthem to kick off the festivities. There were several story elements to the match. Steamboat had injured ribs which Ross said he injured during the NWA tag team tournament over the summer. So, he was still selling his injury a couple months later and during the match as well. Paul E. was in a shark cage during the match so he could not interfere in the match. Paul E. had been involved in Steamboat’s business for a while, including way back at Superbrawl II when he cost Ricky the U.S. Title match and had been known for interfering in matches with his telephone so this stipulation made sense plus it was no DQ so the wrestlers would be able to come off the top rope during the match (more on that later). These two had a couple of matches on tv and several at the house shows leading up to this one, and would be crossing each other’s path over the next couple of years as we shall see. Paul E. tried to beg off but was muscled into the cage by security and up he went. If they had today’s technology Austin could have worn an earpiece and Paul could have given him direction over the phone from up in the cage. Oh well. Good back and forth action from these two. Ricky was thrown to the outside and then crawled under the ring to the other side and went up for his cross-body splash off the top rope, which was legal in this match, and got the 1-2-3 in 10:46! New Tv Champion Ricky the Dragon Steamboat.
Jesse interviewed Arn Anderson and Bobby Eaton after video clips of tag teams in TBS history. Apparently Dangerously was supposed to be in the cage above the ring here too, so they had a new manager, Michael P.S. Hayes. The Dangerous Alliance was pretty much split by this point, with Paul managing Austin and the other guys are kind of doing their own thing. That was a great heel faction with some excellent wrestlers involved too bad it had a short shelf life.
(2) Arn Anderson & Bobby Eaton (w/Michael Hayes vs. Greg Valentine & Dick Slater (w/Larry Zybysko). Larry was kicked out of the alliance shortly after he lost the fall in the War Games and they later attacked him and broke his arm. I guess that makes his team the faces here but not sure. Tag Team wrestling match with Jesse Ventura on color commentary – something magical about that and this was fun to watch. The announcers discussed the tag team division and the top four teams vying to challenge for the titles including these two. Quick tags and fast action in this one, it broke down into chaos near the end with the finish coming when Zybysko accidentally hit Valentine with the cast and Bobby came off the top rope with the Alabama Jam behind the referee’s back (illegal in this match) and Arn got the 1-2-3 in 5:44! Anderson and Eaton move up the rankings.
(3) Ron Simmons vs. Cactus Jack for the WCW World Championship. Ole Anderson was the senior referee in this match. Simmons got the pinfall with the powerslam to retain the title in 8:51.
Light Heavyweight Title. We had a match scheduled between Brian Pillman and Brad Armstrong for the title tonight but Brad injured his knee in a match in Japan and the doctors will not clear him to wrestle. Interview with Bill Watts where he states the above and since Brad has been unable to defend the title since the injury he would be stripped of the title and they would announce info about a tournament for the vacant title at a later date (I believe we finally got a Cruiserweight Champion in 1996). Then we cut to an interview with Armstrong who was disappointed and Pillman interrupted. He was upset and insulted Brad and then slapped him across the face! Even Jesse was appalled by his actions in this scenario.
Jim Ross interviewed Cactus Jack where he introduced Butch Reed into his stable as a partner for Barbarian and foe of Ron Simmons. They played this up like it was a big deal Cactus bringing in someone from Ron’s past (The two were tag team partners as Doom and had broken up and feuded the year before) and apparently, he was a replacement for Dan Spivey in the upcoming tag match. I have no memory of Spivey being a part of this stable.
(4) Butch Reed & Barbarian vs. Barry Windham & Dustin Rhodes. Cactus was on commentary during the match. Rhodes and Windham knocked Reed out to the floor with a double dropkick but Barbarian booted Windham in the fact and got the 1-2-3 for the win in 8:15! Surprising win since they seem to be building up Windham and Rhodes in the tag division but they are building up Barbarian and Reed for the champ. Post-match interview Cactus explains that he told Spivey to stay home and was prepping Butch Reed to take the title from Ron Simmons.
The announcers recapped the NWA Title Tournament from Japan and the finals between Rick Rude and Masahiro Chono and their rematch coming up at Halloween Havoc. Apparently, we will be seeing some footage from the tournament on tv over the next few weeks.
(5) Jake Roberts & Rick Rude & Vader & Super Invader vs. Sting & Nikita Koloff & The Steiner Brothers – 8-man elimination tag, “Survivor Series style.” The big stars were in the main event match here and Jesse Ventura was very familiar with the rules having called Survivor Series shows in the past. I didn’t know who Super Invader was at the time but later found out it was Hercules, whom I last saw getting destroyed by Sid Justice in MSG earlier that year. Rick Rude and Jake Roberts on the same team – what?! Good action with Rick Steiner and Vader harking back to their feud at the beginning of 1992 with Steiners vs. Vader and Mr. Hughes where it was impressive Steiners could toss around the big men. Jake pinned Koloff after interference from Rude as he was running the ropes which continues their feud. Sting defeated the Invader via pinfall. The eliminations then got wacky as Scott came off the top rope with a clothesline on Vader, Rick was counted out after getting a rude awakening on the floor and Vader came off the top with a splash on Sting and was DQ’ed. I liked the finish of the match as Sting and Rude were wearing each other out then behind the referee’s back, the sly heel Jake dragged Rude to the corner so he could tag in, picked up Sting and DDT’d him and got the 1-2-3 to win the match for his team at 15:17. Rude and Jake your sole survivors (I mean winners of the match)
Off the Top Rope Rule: Bill Watts was in charge and when he first took over made a bunch of rule changes to make the wrestling look more realistic and old school like when he ran Mid-South several years earlier. One of the rule changes was jumping off the top rope was a DQ, which was a terrible rule! It may have worked with the style of wrestling in the early-’80s, but not here in 1992 when fans wanted to watch guys like Brian Pillman, Ricky Steamboat, and Jushin Liger do high flying moves off the ropes. Thankfully the company realized this was a mistake and did a poll on the hotline throughout this show in which an overwhelming 88 percent of the votes were to rescind the rule. I guess they just needed to get through this show with some finishes before making the much-needed change.
The show ended with hype for Halloween Havoc ’92 coming to pay-per-view on Sunday, October 25th. They played a video hyping the Spin the Wheel, Make the Deal match between Sting and Jake the Snake in which they would spin the wheel and one of several dangerous matches would be selected. I liked the Spin the Wheel concept and it was perfect for a Halloween show. The video was a bit hokey, but showed the tension between the two guys leading up to their big match. Best part was when Sting arrived Jake said “Sting, I knew you’d come”! Perhaps a young Matt Hardy was a fan of this video as well. The announcers also hyped tag team action for This Saturday Night between Anderson & Eaton vs. Steiner Brothers. Looking forward to that one!
That wraps it up for this first episode folks! Thank you for reading I hope you enjoyed it and look forward to any feedback on how to make this column better going forward. I hope to include some timely information from the Wrestling Observer and PW Torch as I go through the shows, but this first one was getting long so I’ll wait until the TV starts next week.
Some of the fact checking including times of matches from the awesome resource The History of WWE by Graham Cawthon http://www.thehistoryofwwe.com/wcw92.htm
Thanks again and until next Saturday Night…