Friday, June 24, 2016

From the Grudge Match: Ted Blanchard Reviews WCW Clash of the Champions XXVIII









Live from the Five Seasons Center in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.

Tony Schiavone, "Mean" Gene Okerlund and Bobby "the Brain" Heenan run down the crowd. We all see Mike Tenay and Chris Cruise interviewing Ricky Steamboat on the hotline, and Steve Austin comes jawing at him. Then some dude named Ricky Lynn Gregg sings "The Star-Spangled Banner."

Nasty Boys vs. Pretty Wonderful- PW are the champions, after defeating Cactus Jack and Kevin Sullivan at Bash at the Beach. We return from a break with PW on the floor and the Nasties cheerleading in the ring. Knobbs starts with Paul Orndorff, and both Nasties doubleshoulderblcok him. They also give Paul Roma a double elbowsmash. Knobbs rams Orndorff to the buckles, and gives him a back elbow. Sags rams Roma to the buckles, but eats boot on a charge. Roma tries a flying bodypress, but gets caught and slammed. The Nasties clubber on Orndorff (four fistes on one guy). Roma clotheslines Sags on the floor, and Mr. Wonderful chokes him with a cable. Orndorff then knocks him into the crowd, and later into the steps. Back in, Roma slams Sags, leaps to the buckles and drops an elbow. Knobbs runs in, and Orndorff gets the tag. He drops a boogie-woogie elbow, then grabs a chinlock. Roma pounds on Sags, and drops a knee. Chinlock on Sags, and when he gets up Orndorff cheapshots him. Sags shoulderblocks Orndorff down, but eats a Roma dropkick as Knobbs keeps trying to intervene. Orndorff signals the piledriver, but Sags backdrops out of it. Hot tag to Knobbs, and he clotheslines any heel that moves. All four men in, and Orndorff suplexes Knobbs and Roma splashes him, but Sags elbowdrops Orndorff for the win. **

Hulk Hogan Hotline ad, though sadly they cover up the number. Hulky is introduced by Gene but gets Nancy Kerrigan'd when he walks out (or should I say Tonya Harding'd?). This was pretty lame. We get a Greg Gagne siting as a backstage official, at least.

United States championship, Ricky Steamboat vs. Steve Austin (c)- The disqualification rule has been waved. They show Hogan being wheeled into the ambulance as Austin makes his entrance. I'm sure that would've bothered him later on. Bischoff hopped in with Hogan. Austin's tights say "Dragon Slayer." Nice. Steamboat takes him down, and Austin complains of a hair pull. Austin gets a headlock takedown, which Steamboat reverses. Austin complains again and Steamboat shoves him down. Another Steamboat headlock takedown, as the announcers keep talking about Hulky. We even see the Brain talking to a trainer who saw what happened. Austin rolls up Steamer, ducks a chop but then gets hit. He kicks Steamboat on a backdrop attempt, but the Dragon hits him with dropkicks and chops. Steamer powerslams him coming off of the ropes. Now we're split-screen, watching the ambulance. That is kind of distracting. Steamboat gets a rollup off the ropes, and they trade reversals. Armdrag by the Dragon. Barry "Blacktop Bully" Darsow is in the crowd jawing with Steamboat. More mat wrestling. Austin tosses Steamboat out of the ring on a criss-cross, but Dragon drags him out and throws chops. Austin tried to run, but Steamboat was waiting on the other side to chop him down. Sleeper by Austin, Steamboat reverses, and AUSTIN STONE-COLD STUNS HIM! Oh hell yeah. Austin chops away and a cameraman gets kjnocked off. Austin hits the post and Steamboat smacks his arm on the post. Steamer rope walks with Austin arm, and jumps to the floor. He instantly jumps off the top with a chop. Austin changes momentum with an eyepoke, and drops a knee for a two-count. Necksnap and Austin gets two. Steamboat gets a shoulderblock, Austin flips out, and Steamboat splashes onto his knees. Austin drops a kneedrop off the middle buckle for two. Austin suplexes the Dragon but doesn't hook the leg on the cover. Steamer blocks another suplex, and puts Austin on the top and chops him. We also see video of the entrance for no good reason. Austin gets crotched on the top and Steamboat does an "injured groin" dance. Austin drops Steamboat on a superplex attempt, but Steamer hits him coming down. Dragon rams Austin's face to the mat, but Austin stuffs a bodypress attempt. More Blacktop Bully. Austin slaps Steamboat around, and even films him. Force of habit while beating up Steamboat, I'm sure. Steamer does a double-leg takedown and slaps and chops him. Double chops off the ropes, and an Arn Anderson spinebuster for two. Electric chair for two, then a rollup for two. More reversals to nearfalls, and Austin clotheslines him to break momentum. Austin backdrops Steamer out, but he skins the cat coming back. Rollup for a nearfall, then a small package for the pin and title. ***3/4. I wish I was watching in the arena, without all of the camera distractions and fuck ups. Much like with his Intercontiental championship win, the reign wouldn't be long and would end because of outside things. I'm sad this is Steamboat's last Clash appearance; he was injured on the superplex reversal spot, and didn't even compete in the rematch at Fall Brawl.

Tony, Bobby and Gene discuss the Hogan thing, and we see Hogan being unloaded from the ambulance at the hospital.

We take a look at the Honky Donkey Man's newest, non-WWF theme music video. It features a lot of a goof with a mullet dancing at his house. Then Gene talks to commissioner Nick Bockwinkel about the Hogan situation.

We see a video package about the Dusty/Dustin vs. the Stud Stable match, including Dusty's classic "the view never changes" promo. R.I.P., Dream.

Dustin/Dusty Rhodes vs. Bunkhouse Buck/Terry Funk- it's a brawl to start, and the faces vanquish the heels. Funk wildly swings a chair outside. Buck leapfrogs Dustin but gets a boot to the jaw. The heel clubber Dustin, but Buck accidentally clotheslines his partner. Funk gets atomic dropped, then Buck is atomic dropped into him. With Funk on the floor Dusty gets tagged. He drops Buck with the elbow. Dusty gets whipped to the corner but Dustin covers it, then Dusty atomic elbows both heels. He whips the two heels to the corner, and Dustin comes in and powerslams Buck. Buck hits Dustin with a cowboy boot to the head. Funk attempts a DDT but Dustin awkwardly doesnt' go down. Dusty gets tagged but the ref misses it. Buck comes off with his boot but hits Funk. Now Dusty gets tagged, and gives the heels a double noggin-knocker. Arn comes out and posts Dustin, and trips Dusty from outside. Funk stands on Dusty's hand and stomps on his arm. Dustin gets tagged, and he lariats Funk, then Buck. Dusty elbows Funk and then Buck, and Dustin knocks Col. Parker off the apron. Dustin bulldogs Buck, but Arn interferes for the DQ, and Meng comes in. Atomic elbow for Arn, and Dustin contemplates elbowing Meng in the head. Instead, he gets a very cheap wooden chair, which he breaks over Meng's head. Meng chokes out Dusty with the chair around his neck.  Frankie Lancaster  comes in to help, and gets beat up, of course. That was random. ** for the match, though the whole segment was better.

More Tony/Brain/Bischoff stuff about Hogan. Hearing Beefcake's comments, I'm not sure whether or not they knew he was going to be the masked man. Curt Hennig had been rumored, though he wasn't signed by WCW. Gene then interviews Flair and Sherri. Flair wants Hogan to walk there and hand him the belt.

After the break Gene says Hogan is on his way back.

Lord Steven Regal vs. Antonio Inoki- This stems from an altercation they had at Bash at the Beach. The match is non-title. Regal stomps on Inoki before he can enter. Inoki bails. Regal hits European uppercuts and grapples with him on the mat. Regal gets a headbutt and chokes him on the mat. Inoki goes for an enzuiguri but kind of misses. Regal gets a toehold. We see Hogan arriving at the building, and then Nick Bockwinkel walks down to ringside. Bock says Hogan will be coming out for the match. Inoki backdrops Regal and puts him in a sleeper hold on the mat. Regal kicks out of it and gets a butterfly suplex for two. Regal kicks his arm and hits a European uppercut. Inoki locks in a choke sleeper (more rear naked choke than Brutus Beefcake sleeper) for the win.*1/2. Would you believe me if I told you Regal's style clashed with an opponent's?
Why does Hogan always say the word "got" as "gut"? Not that there aren't far more sinister things about him to criticize.

WCW World championship, Ric Flair vs. Hulk Hogan- They do the deal like at Clash 17, where the heel yacks on the mic slong enough for the face to get there from the hospital. Hogan throws the belt at Flair, then he tackles him and pounds away. When Flair chops him Hogan Hulks Up, and shoves his shirt in Flair's mouth. Flair Flip and flop to the floor. Flair pulls him outside, but Hogan no-sells his offense. Hogan then wraps a towel around Flair's head, and sends him to the ringpost. Hogan clotheslines Flair with the towel inside, as Randy Anderson warns him. Flair snapmares him over, but Hogan throws Flair off of the top. Hogan clotheslines Flair, and they go outside. Hogan proceeds to job him (redacted) Style, meaning slamming his head on the railing all around. Hogan grabs a chair but misses, and Flair takes control back in the ring. Flair suplexes Hogan, who no sells of course. Clothesline to Flair, and another sends him to the floor. Flair finally takes over on the knee, and Sherri legdrops Hogan's junk while the ref isn't looking. Figure four, and Hogan powers out of it. Flair kicks his leg, and Hogan Hulks Up again. Big boot, but Hogan falls down. Legdrop, and Flair puts the figure four on again. Hogan reverses it, and Sherri hits him with her shoe's heel in the knee. Hogan falls out and gets counted out, which, despite what Michael Buffer says, is not a title change. **. That was a lot of gaga to go through so that Hogan wouldn't have to do a real job. The masked man (who is probably Arn here) holds Hogan's leg so Flair and dive on it. Sherri also kicks the leg, as STING arrives from Chicago to save Hogan. Glad he made an appearance, since my thesis of my upcoming Clash book is about him.

Steamboat-Austin was a classic (if you could focus on it between the Hogan stuff), but the whole show revolved around the Hogan angle. It'll be awhile before that's not the case here, unfortunately. You see what a bit player Sting has now been reduced to, as well.

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