CLASH OF THE CHAMPIONS XV: KNOCKSVILLE, USA
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June 12, 1991 from Knoxville, Tennessee. Jim Ross and Tony Schiavone are the hosts.
This was the first Clash I got to see live after we finally got a TV that could go higher than Channel 13. We had had basic cable up until then, but couldn't get anything higher on the dial (our company also had "A and B" switches, which I don't know if the rest of the country did that). I remember going to mow my grandfather's lawn before the show (which took all of five minutes for the actual work), and being antsy to get home and watch this show. I think I didn't get there till the Josh-Spivey match.
Fabulous Freebirds/Badstreet vs. Young Guns/Z-Man- The 'Birds were U.S. tag team champions, after beating the Guns (formerly the Southern Boys) at Superbrawl. Zenk starts with Garvin and gets a shoulderblock and hiptosses both birds. He dropkicks Hayes, then the Guns bodypress them. Steve Armstrong also dropkicks HIS BROTHER off the apron. Hayes whips Smothers, who hits a dropkick while Garvin gets slammed off the top. Z-Man gets sling-shot in on the 'Birds, who go chat with Oliver Humperdink to regroup. All three Birds do dropdowns as Smothers leapfrogs them, ending with Hayes decking him. Badstreet clotheslines him out, then whips Badstreets into the corner to knock the rest of the faces to the floor. Hayes whips Smothers into Street and Garvin, who backdrop him over the apron. Armstrong pounds on Smothers outside, and he goes to the railing. Triple-team back in, bit the faces regain the ring. The faces slide back in, and it's a donnybrook. The heels throw them out again, but the faces to a heretofore unseen triple sunset flip for the win. I have no idea if the correct pinning combination even happened. **3/4 Spirited opener, which was aided by Z-Man and Badstreet being added to a match we'd seen a million times already.
Oz vs. Johnny Rich- Oz (Kevin Nash) debuted at SuperBrawl, though he was also one of the Master Blasters. I like that the castle he's coming out of is clearly just a curtain that's blowing in the wind. And Kevin Sullivan is also with him as the Great Wizard. Nash knees away and hiplcoks him. Oz misses a clothesline but hits a shoulderblock and clothesline. He pulls Rich up from the pin, then hits a big boot. Clubbing forearm, then a side slam. A spinning Razor's Edge thing gets the duke for Big Daddy Oz. 1:28, *.
Now let's take a special look at the Rapmaster, P.N. News. Yo baby, yo baby, yo!
Dan Spivey vs. Big Josh- Spivey with clubbing forearms, but Josh also fires away. Josh whipped to the corner and Spivey follows him right in with one. Waistlock takedown by Josh, and he stomps Spivey. Japanese armdrag by Spivey, and a big boot. He kicks Josh in the head, but a suplex is reversed. Spivey clothesline, but he gets German suplexed. Kevin Sullivan wanders out with a crutch, which he breaks on Josh's back. Josh no-sells, but gets German suplexed for the pin. *1/2. Sullivan was managing Black Blood (Billy Jerk Haynes).
We see the WCW Top 10, and Barry Windham is only rated No. 8. That's some UFC-level booking to give him a title shot at the next pay-per-view.
FULL DISCLOSURE- I read online that Paul E. Dangerously interviewed Jason Hervey in this spot, but I didn't have a copy of that. He made fun of Hervey dating Heyman's mortal enemy Missy Hyatt, and then clocks him with his hilariously oversized phone. Missy then ran out to help her man.
Dustin Rhodes vs. Terrence Taylor- Mr. Hughes is now also with Taylor, though that is going to be short-lived. Dustin was undefeated at this point. Taylor shoved Dustin, and then got lariated in the corner. Taylor went out to check York's glorified calculator. Dustin gets an atomic drop, but misses a charge and nearly lands on JR. Taylor rams him into the railing. Taylor suplexes him in, and drops a knee for two. Taylor gets a modified neckbreaker, then a gutwrench powerbomb for 2.5. Dustin gets a sunset flip for two, then a backslide for 2.9. Taylor runs into boot, and Dusty flip, flops and flies. Dustin punches away in the corner, then gets an inverted atomic drop and bulldog while Hughes distracts the ref. Dustin punches Hughes and elbows him, and Ricky Morton comes out, Hughes distracts Dustin, then Morton kicks him in the face. DQ, **1/4. Big Josh comes out to even the odds. I had assumed Morton had turned on Robert Gibson around this time. I'm sure they will have an angle to set up their Bash match.
We get a look at Dusty's greatest invention, as he turned Caucasian Marc Mero into Johnny B. Badd.
Sting vs. Nikita Koloff- At Superbrawl Koloff hit Sting with his chain during Sting and Luger's match challenging the Steiners, after Sting pushed Luger away. Stinger charges the ring but Koloff gets a back elbow and slam. Koloff hits a flying shoulderblock, and tosses Sting out. He whips Sting into the guardrail. Sting kicks him in the gut and piledrives him, but Koloff no-sells it. Koloff chokes Sting with his foot in the corner, then gets a tombstone for two. He kicks Sting in the ribcage. Koloff posed above him, and Sting got a sunset flip for two. Koloff with a backbreaker for two. He hits Sting in the ribs several times. Another backbreaker gets two. I already dozed off once from this match. Koloff chokes him on the middle rope, as I see an old lady in the front row waving a flag. Sting punches back but gets kneed in the gut. Snapmare and elbow by Koloff, and he tosses Sting out. Sting reverses and whips Koloff into the railing. Sting reverses the tombstone into one of his own, but doesn't go for a pin. Stinger misses the splash and hits his head on the buckle, but then Koloff misses the sickle and Sting rolls him up to win. *3/4. Koloff's heat segment was just death here.
Loser of the fall leaves WCW, Barry Windham/Arn Anderson vs. Brian Pillman/El Gigante- Anderson and Pillman to start, with Brian chopping him. Backslide gets two on Anderson. Pillman falls back on a bodyslam for two. Windham in, and takes a spinning karate kick. Windham punches Pillman and hits a modified DDT. I like that they keep going for pins. Anderson whips Pillman and gives him a knee in the corner. Pillman dropkicks him off of the top, and dives off the top to the floor. Gigante chokes Arn from the apron, and Pillman powerslams Windham. Pillman leaps from Gigante's shoulders, but Arn breaks up the pin. Powerslam on Anderson. Pillman goes up, but Windham trips him. Windham boots him, and gets the pin. We will never see Brian Pillman in WCW again. Ever! 3:08, **.
Commercial for the Bruise Cruise. I'm going to have to investigate further what that consisted of. Edit- I found this from wwe.com http://www.wwe.com/classics/bring-it-back/bring-it-back-wrestling-cruises
We got back to the Japan Supershow, and see the Steiners win the International Wrestling Grand Prix tag team championship from Kensuke Sasaki and Hiroshi Hase. The Great Muta also beat Sting on that show, and Ric Flair and Tatsumi Fujinami ended with the NWA world championship held up.
IWGP tag team championship, Steiners (c) vs. Hiro Hase/Masa Chono- Scott gets a waistlock go behind to start. Then a single leg pickup takes Hase down. He tries again, but Hase kicks him in the face, launching him outside. Steiner hotshots Hase on the top rope. They grapple over a pin, and Hase bridges out, then savate kicks Scott. This is a good pairing, since Hase and Chono will give it right back to the Steiners. Fireman carry takedown takes Hase down, and Rick gets tagged. Rick pounds on Chono, but takes a Mafia Kick (somewhere Dusty Rhodes was saying "Mafia Kick? He kicked him in the head, Tony!). He leads with his chin, and Steinerlines Chono. Scott tags in and lifts Chono on his shoulders, and Rick elbows him off the top. Backfist from Chono, and he tags Hase. Rick gets a belly-to-back, but Hase fireman's carry slams him. Chono goes up after a tag, and hits a shoulderblock on Rick and Hase holds him. Chono hits the papoose-to-go (TM Bobby Heenan), as Chono locks Rick in the STF. Outside Scott suplexes Hase, then misses Chono jumping in, and then breaks up the pin. Doubleclothesline, as I'm wondering if Scott's arm is already hurt. Scott tagged, and he Steinerlines Hase. Tilt-a-whirl, and then a butterly suplex into a powerbomb. He sets Hase on the top, then belly-to-belly's him. Chono breaks up the count, and Hase gets a full nelson suplex. Rick breaks up the count, and the NJPW guys double clothesline Scott. Scott then Frankensteiners Hase coming off the ropes and Rick trips Chono from outside. The Hardliners (Dick Murdoch and Dick Slater) then come and attack the Steiners, and even Chono. They work on Rick's arm, but Scott actually tore his bicep somewhere during this segment. He will be out for a few months.
Diamond Studd vs. Tommy Rich- Wow, Scott Hall and Kevin Nash making Clash debuts. THEY'RE TAKING OVER! I don't know if the Riches are cousins or what, but they might as well have made this a tag team match, playa! Some hoochie pulled Studd's gear off as DDP yacked. Studd attacks Rich to start, and chops him in the corner. Studd chokeslams him, and rams his head to the buckle. Side slam on Rich, then a Vader Bomb hits knees. Tommy rams his head to the corner, but misses a bodypress. Diamond Death Drop (Razor's Edge) finishes Wildfire. * He was basically already Razor Ramon here.
JR introduces us to the Sting Lookalike Contest winner. Mr. Borden comes out with the same paint design. Nikita Koloff clothesline him with a chain wrapped around his arm. This feud must continue! Barf.
WCW Interim Championship match, Great Muta vs. Lex Luger- It's not really, but that's how things worked out. The real stip is a title match at the Bash. Luger is also U.S. champion, so he already should have been the No. 1 contender. Bill Kazmaier is conveniently shown in the crowd. We'll deal with him at the next Clash. Clean break from Luger. Headlock takeover by Luger. Shoulderblock by Luger, then he no sells a chop. Back suplex for two, then Luger slams him. He misses an elbow, then gets backdropped. Press slam by Luger. He misses a charge and gets karate kicked. Muta misses the handspring and flies outside in a crazy bump. Luger suplexes him in, and then blocks the green mist. Luger pins him with a powerslam. ** Too short, but I think they could've had a really good match.
"Stunning" Steve Austin vs. Joey Maggs- Our first look at the ol' Ringmaster. Steve still has Lady Blossom in his corner. He knees Maggs in the gut, then Stun Guns him for the win. I'd imagine they were running incredibly short on time. 22 seconds, *. Austin may have already beaten Eaton for the TV title, but it hadn't aired yet.
WCW World Championship,2 out of 3 falls, Ric Flair (c) vs. Bobby Eaton- Eaton was apparently ranked No. 4 at the time. This is Flair's swan song on a major show during this run. I still think things worked out pretty well for him in that whole deal. Flair backs Bobby to the corner, but breaks clean. Flair then shoves him and gets slapped. Flair grabs a headlock but gets chopped. They then slug it out in the corner, and Eaton gets a shoulderblock and elbowdrop. Flair then gets clotheslined out and takes a breather. Flair forearms Bobby's jaw, then chops him in the corner. Eaton fires back, and Flair does the Flop. Eaton backdrops Flair off an Irish whip for two. Eaton gets a hiptoss into a short-arm scissor on the mat. Bobby gets a punch and then works on the arm. Flair drop toeholds out of a hammerlock, but gets punched and bails. He knees Bobby coming back in, and more chops. Flair then tosses Bobby into the corner, and Bobby hits the post. Flair chops Bobby, then misses a knee. Butterfly suplex with an assist from the ropes gets two. Slugfest, and Bobby slams Flair off of the top. Flair Flip in the corner, and Bobby punches him to the floor. Eaton gets a backbreaker on a charging Flair, then a swinging neckbreaker. A bodyslam sets up the Alabama Jam, and Eaton wins the first fall.
Bobby pounds on Flair and biels him, Bobby gets a backslide for two. Eaton gets two close nearfalls, then heads up. Flair shakes the ropes, and Bobby hits the floor knee-first. Eaton gets counted out to even things up.
Flair tosses Eaton in, and Bobby sets Flair on the top. He hits a superplex, though he aggravates his knee and crawls slowly. Flair gets a back suplex then locks on the figure four. Nick Patrick catches him holding the ropes. Eaton rolls him up for two, but Flair shoulderblocks his knee. Flair locks the figure four back on. Flair holds the top rope, and gets the pin on the weakened Eaton. ***1/4. Not as good as Flair/Steamboat, but worth a look.
There were probably two too many matches on this Clash, though it was a breeze to get through all of them. I wasn't feeling Sting-Koloff at all; this was a boring chapter in Sting's story. Before I rewatched that I had fantasy-booked Luger vs. Koloff at the Bash for the held-up title, but now I'm glad they went with Windham. As you all know, Flair and WCW (vice?) president Jim Herd had a pissing contest that led to Flair leaving before the Bash. The crowd that night chanted "We want Flair," which seems strangely smarky for a 1991 crowd. As a kid I was fine with the Luger-Windham match, because I thought Luger had Windham's number as opposed to Flair's. It's like Ronda Rousey suddenly getting to challenge my girl Miesha Tate for the title instead of Holly Holm, though I still don't know if Ronda's ever coming back. But I'd give this show something like a thumb leaning up.