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Clash Countdown: #27

The Netcop Retro Rant for WCW Clash of the Champions XXVII (June 1994)

- Live from Charleston, South Carolina

- Hosted by Tony Schiavone, Bobby Heenan and Jesse Ventura.
(Apologies for any formatting weirdness, but this is from close to 20 years ago, back when we used to chip blog posts into stone slabs.  It's also one of my first true Retro Rants.)  

- Opening match:  WCW World tag team title:  Cactus Jack & Kevin
Sullivan v. The Nasty Boys.  This, like most of the card, is a rematch
from Slamboree.  That match was one of my favorite matches, ever.  This
is not as good because it's a straight tag team match and 3/4 of the
participants are shitty at straight tag team matches.  Two referees here
for no reason in particular.  (No reason needed!  Referees for everyone!)  Not too painful to watch, because WCW
allows them one last flirtation with hardcore wrestling before the
arrival of Hulk Hogan puts Cactus Jack on a permanent leash.  (And then WWF put him in a restraining mask.)  Sags and
the Sullivan brothers brawl outside the ring and Jack DDTs Knobs for the
pin to retain the titles.  Not bad, and an enjoyable opener.  **1/2

- Guardian Angel promo.

- Guardian Angel v. Tex Slazenger.  The Angel is of course Ray Traylor,
and this is the debut match for the gimmick.  Speaking of bad gimmicks,
ol' Tex is currently stinking up the WWF as everyone's favorite hog
farmer, Phineas I. Godwinn.  

(Geez, this was written before he even started switching gimmicks around.  So basically I was doing a retrospective on a show that wasn't even four years old at that point?)  

And this match is a squash.  Angel gives
Tex three "strikes" (ie. shots) before he flips out and ends it with the
Bossman slam.  One of the better gimmicks for Traylor, to be sure, but
doomed to failure for legal reasons.

- Extended footage of Hulk Hogan's limousine pulling into the building
is shown, as Bobby fires off a couple of OJ jokes.  Back when they were
still funny.  (Of course now that he's in prison, they're back in vogue.)  

-  WCW World TV title match:  Larry Zbyszko v. Steven Regal.  Here's the
short version of this feud:  Regal was acting like a pompous ass and
generally pissing on Zbyszko's leg (much like Scott Hall today) so one
day while interviewing him, Zbyszko decided to deck him and come out of
retirement.  They fought at Slamboree in a non-title match to prove
Larry's worth, and that earned him a title shot, which he also won,
which was aired on Worldwide (I think).  This is the rematch.  Steven
Regal is my god at this point, and I wish he'd remember how good he was
in 1994 and go back there again.  (But keep the hair.)  By this time, these two have wrestled
each other twice and have a really awesome groove going together.  Both
guys are total professionals and know how to keep a match from getting
boring, and their styles mesh perfectly here.  The crowd is very
appreciative throughout, as Regal draws monster heel heat.  When was the
last time that happened?  (This was of course written before he ever went to the WWF and got awesome.)  End comes as Zbyszko tries a Boston Crab, but
Sir William pulls him over with the umbrella, putting Regal on top, and
Regal then grabs onto the top rope for leverage and gets the pin and
his second TV title.  Terrific match.  ***1/2  (I'm dubious but don't have time to go back and redo it.)  

- Mean Gene interviews Dustin Rhodes.  Rhodes has been feuding with Col.
Parker's stable for a few months, and now he's asking Arn Anderson to be
his partner against Terry Funk and Bunkhouse Buck, in retaliation for a
beating at Slamboree.  Arn accepts on the condition that Dustin realizes
it'll be the old, sneaky, dirty trick playing Arn that shows up.
Dustin, like an IDIOT, agrees and of course when they wrestle at Bash at
the Beach, Arn turns on him and beats the hell out of him.  They just
don't write great storylines like that one anymore.  (But they're TELLING STORIES!  Like about how Damien Sandow dresses like other people for some reason!)  

- US title match:  Stunning Steve Austin v. Johnny B. Badd.  Another
rematch from Slamboree.  Austin had fired Parker the week before and was
better for it.  It was supposed to be Austin going over Flair for the
World title in the next few months, but Hulk showed up and screwed it
up, and screwed up Austin's career with it.  (Wait, what?  Like Austin was ever in line for the title.  That's why he left!)  Ironically, it was the
bitterness caused by this that created Stone Cold Steve Austin.  A damn
fine match that isn't as good as Slamboree, but it's a lot different and
different is good sometimes.  I just watched some Johnny B. Badd stuff
from 1991-ish this afternoon, and the difference between then and
1994-ish is ASTOUNDING.  The guy improved 200% in that time span.  Goofy
ending to the match:  Austin pulls out a gimmick (foreign object,
whatever you want to call it) from his tights and nails Johnny in the
gut, then small packages him for the pin.  Austin does a lousy job of
hiding it, however, and a second referee runs down and sees Austin drop
it, then restarts the match.  Badd cradles Austin and gets a quick pin
from the second referee, and is declared the new US champion!  We go to
break and a decision is promised when he come back.

- We're back, with no mention of the decision.  I grumble to myself and
check the PWI Almanac, which says that it was Badd by DQ.  Good enough
for me.  (Jesus, back when I had to use PWI to check results stuff instead of the multiple sites dedicated to exactly that.)  

- Hulk Hogan comes out to a decent pop.  Boos can be heard, however.  He
challenges the winner of the Flair-Sting match later in the show.  Flair
pops up on the video wall, to a pop at least 3x louder than Hogan got.
Keep in mind that WCW turned Flair heel not two weeks prior to this in
order to prevent exactly that sort of thing from happening.  This is why
I hate Hogan so much.  (Among other reasons.)  

- Main event:  "Unification" match:  WCW World champion Ric Flair v.
Bogus World champion Sting.  Flair gets an amazing pop, half face/half
heel.  Sting gets an even louder face pop.  Hulk didn't get half of what
either guy got.  The subplot here is that Sherri Martell has been
showing up in the front row of WCW shows for weeks now, and no one knows
who she's managing.  Once again, before we start, I feel the need to
reiterate that this match unified NOTHING and Sting's "title" was
WORTHLESS.  Sherri comes down with her face painted like Sting and sits
in his corner.  This is about the closest these two got to having that
big epic showdown that everyone was waiting for but never happened.
The first Clash of Champions was too soon for Sting to win.  He was too
injured at Bash 90 and the match was too bogged down with storyline.
This had a great reason for existing (The World title controversy), a
good storyline (They hate each other...what more do you need?) and GREAT
heat.  It's not a great match, but it's really, really good.  Lots of
stalling from Flair to start, which drags it down but gives Flair
mega-heat.  Flair is the king, I swear.  It amazes me that WCW could
manage to put Flair over as the biggest babyface champion they'd had in
years, then ask him to turn heel again on two weeks' notice and watch as
he puts every other heel in the federation to shame.  The man could do
it all.  And WCW pissed it away for Hulk.  It gets *really* good 15
minutes in as Flair takes over.  Sting makes the comeback and starts
rockin' and rollin' on Flair, showing more moves than in all of his 1998
matches combined.  Flair rolls out and Sting tries a plancha, but Flair
pulls Sherri in the way and Sting wipes her out.  Sting is in shock over
it, and is distracted enough trying to help her up that Flair can simply
roll him up and pin him to unify the titles.  Holding the tights, of
course.  ****

(Here's the later version from the Flair DVD and a couple of others:)

And don’t even get me started on the reasons behind this match.  Sting was the International World champion and Flair was the actual WCW World champion, and just leave it at that.  Flair goes for the arm to start, but Sting keeps kipping up.  They trade hammerlocks and Sting shoves him down, so Flair bails to the ramp and regroups.  Back in, Flair grabs a headlock, but Sting escapes and gets a press-slam.  And hey, why not another one?  Flair bails again and stops for a Flair Flop outside, and stalls.  Back in, Flair goes to the eyes and tries a chop, but Sting is having none of that.  He hiptosses Flair and follows with a trio of clotheslines, and Flair bails again.  Way too much stalling thus far.  Back in, Flair finally takes over with a cheapshot, but Sting no-sells and comes back with a hiptoss, only to whiff on a dropkick.  Flair goes for the leg, but Sting comes back and Flair bails again.  Flair decides to start chopping, but Sting fires back…and misses the Stinger Splash.  And NOW Flair takes over, dumping Sting behind the ref’s back and laying in the chops.  Back in, Flair necksnaps him on the top rope and drops a knee.  Another one gets two.  Back to the chops, and a backdrop suplex, but Sting escapes the figure-four.  Flair gets a back elbow and grabs a sleeper, but Sting fights out of it and sends Flair into the corner.  Sting knocks him down and gets a sloppy slingshot into the corner, but Flair bails.  Sting suplexes him back in for two.  Flair Flip and Sting clotheslines him off the apron, then brings him in for another clothesline, which gets two.  They go up and Sting brings him down with a superplex, but goes for a flying splash and misses.  Flair gets a suplex, but Sting no-sells and hiptosses him out of the corner, into a dropkick and a press-slam.  A clothesline puts Flair on the floor, so Flair slickly hides behind Sherri Martell, who was supposedly on Sting’s side that night.  Sting follows with a pescado and wipes out Sherri as a result.  No one ever said she was afraid to take a bump.  Back in, Sting gets a backslide for two.  Clothesline and he checks on Sherri, but Flair rolls him up for the pin at 17:11 to unify the belts.  I gave this a really good rating back in like 1998, but they didn’t click at all here and Flair seemed really off his game.  ***  Flair & Sherri reveal their alliance and team up on Sting afterwards, but Hulk Hogan makes the save, which doesn’t get half the pop they were probably banking on.  

After the match, Flair and Sherri hug, since it was all a ruse, of
course, then clobber Sting.  Hogan makes the save.  Oh, the irony.

- Everyone promptly forgets what a good match we just saw as Hogan poses
and challenges Flair to a match at Bash at the Beach.  Sting?  Who's

The Bottom Line:

He ruined it all.

From 1989 - 1993, WCW was led by a parade of idiots, blunderers,
accountants, lawyers, old men and faded ex-wrestlers, none of whom could
both satisfy the bottom-line craving suits and put on a watchable
product.  Bill Watts tried but was fired for daring to have an opinion.
Things were terrible in 1990 under Ole Anderson, but Dusty Rhodes tried
everything new and original he could think of in 1991 to rebuild.  It
didn't work, but many of the stars built in that era (Austin & Badd to
name two) would stick around to help later on.  In 1992, Bill Watts gave
the federation a complete makeover before Eric Bischoff forced him out
in a power play typical of WCW.  In 1993, Ted Turner threw every cent he
could at WCW in a desperate attempt to boost the federation to the WWF's
level and the decision was made to put Sid Vicious on top for the bulk
of 1994.

Then, a few weeks prior to Starrcade 93, Vicious nearly stabbed Arn
Anderson to death with a pair of scissors and was promptly fired.  WCW
was left without their biggest draw and, more importantly, a credible
challenger for the monster Vader at Starrcade.  So they did what they
always did in their most desperate times of need:  They went back to Ric
Flair, hoping for a stopgap until they could start from square one, just
like they always did.  But the unthinkable happened:  WCW finally got it

We're still not sure how or why it happened, but they put on a hot
Starrcade, followed it up with a good Clash of Champions, then blew
everyone away with Superbrawl IV, Spring Stampede and Slamboree.  The
quality was through the roof.  Flair was drawing like nuts as a babyface
and Sting was more over than ever before in his feud with Rick Rude.
WCW could do no wrong, and with Steve Austin and Johnny B. Badd in the
wings, being prepped for major star turns, they looked to be ready to
mount a major offensive against the WWF within weeks.  They even flirted
with a more mature, "hardcore" style by signing Terry Funk and allowing
Cactus Jack to book his own matches.

Then they signed Hulk Hogan.  And it all fell apart.  Flair was turned
heel to set up a hastily signed match between the two at Bash at the
Beach.  Sting was put on the backburner for more than a year.  Cactus
Jack was put on a virtual choke-chain and forced out of the federation
by the fall.  All of Hogan's friends came in and took away the spots
earned by WCW's rising talent.  Austin was jobbed out and humiliated.
Badd was stuck fighting the Honky Tonk Man in the opening matches.
Vader was relegated to ineffective heel while Brutus Beefcake fought
Hogan in the main event of Starrcade 1994.

For me, it was like watching a relative deteriorate due to disease.

After seeing WCW fuck it up for so long, then get it totally right, I
couldn't help but have a soft spot for them.

But Hulk Hogan ruined it all.  I never forgave him for that, and in fact
I stopped watching WCW entirely for 18 months following Bash at the
Beach, as my own personal protest.

This Clash represents the last truly great show WCW put on in 1994, and
is the turning point for them, as they went from penthouse to outhouse
in one month flat.  Had they continued with this level of quality, they
wouldn't have needed to wait until 1996 to overtake the WWF because
their product could have stood on it's own, with the talent they already

But Hulk Hogan ruined it all.

(Yeah, well, he also drew a shitload of money in his first PPV and justified most of his ridiculous contract, so it's hard to blame him specifically.  However, the booking stuff revolving around him is another story.)  

As usual.

I highly recommend watching this show, and thinking hard about whether
or not it was worth ever signing him.



  1. Was Flair really drawing like nuts as a babyface?

  2. I had long stopped following WCW after the Spring of 1991, and when I turned on WCW TV in the fall of 1994, I couldn't believe what I was seeing: a lot of ex-WWF guys. Hogan, Bossman, Beefcake, Haku, Honkytonk Man, Earthquake, a guy who I knew used to be Repo Man/Smash under a new ridiculous name (the tattoo on the arm gave him away) and the list would be longer if my memory wasn't getting weak. I still loved Sting, and grew to like Harlem Heat, but I couldn't stand the vibe it was WWF's retirement community. Made me notice WCW, but only for a few months.

  3. Bill Watts tried but was fired for daring to have an opinion. You mean this?

    I can't tell a fag to get the f--- out. I should have the right to not associate with a fax if I want to. I should have the right to not hire a fag if I don't want to.. I mean, why should I have to fire a f---ing fag if I don't like fags? Fags discriminate against us, don't they? Sure they do. Do Blacks discriminate against Whites? Who's killed more Blacks than anyone? The f---in' Blacks. But they want to blame that bullsh-- 'Roots' that came on the air. That 'Roots' was suck bullsh--. All you have to do if you want slaves is hand beads to the chiefs and they gave you the slaves.

    What is the best thing that has ever, ever happened to the Black race? That they were brought to this country. No matter how they got here, they were brought here. You know why? Because they intermarried and got educated. They're the ones running the Black race. You go down to the Black countries and they're all broke. Idi Amin killed more Blacks than we ever killed. You see what I mean? That's how stupid we are. But we get caught up in all this bullsh-- rhetoric. And so it's ridiculous what's happening to our country. Lester Maddox was right. I fI don't want to sell fried chicken to Blacks, I shouldn't have to. It's my restaurant. Hell, at least I respect him for his stand. That doesn't make me anti-Black."

  4. I don't think anything was drawing for WCW until Hogan came in, and even then, house show numbers weren't blowing the roof since Hogan worked so few dates when they weren't PPV or Clashes. They started doing good numbers for house shows in 1996.

  5. Weren't the two referees there because of a double pin at Spring Stampede?

  6. Flair was obviously moving business and TV in a positive direction and I think if Superbrawl to BATB of 94 had been the direction going long term they could have been number one without Hogan.

  7. Jeez Scott what did you want WCW to do have Hulk Hogan come in and tap out to the Figure Four?

    They lost a fortune in '93 despite some high quality talent, if things didn't turn around quick Eric Bischoff would have been out on his ass. I can't blame him for hitching his wagon to the Hulkster.

    Throw in several high profile injuries to Top 10 WCW guys like Austin,Rude & Steamboat and it's no wonder the company was so different by the end of the year.

  8. I doubt it. I was like fresh out of university when I wrote this.

  9. This is one of my favorite rants because of the bit at the end.

  10. Flair as champ was cool though

  11. Am I the only one that thinks Cactus and Hulk could have had a crazy 4 star brawl in 94?

  12. The Regal/Larry story and matches were phenomenal. ***1/2 may be stingy.

    Look how much more varied, realistic and action packed this show sounds compared to the recently reviewed squash Raws of the time.

  13. Turfing Cactus when Hulk needed heels was a mistake. Same with Austin. We know how this turned out.

  14. Scott really seems high on Johnny B Badd! Don't get me wrong he was a solid worker and getting better by the year but it's not like people were clamouring for a Badd World title run at this point.

  15. Why do people climb the Himalayas? Why do people swim with sharks? Why do people skydive?

    Because it's there.

  16. Virgil's Gimmick TableMay 28, 2014 at 8:50 PM

    The more I hear these stories, the less I doubt the Pat Patterson story. In fact, I have a hard time not believing it now.

  17. He's in a movie

  18. Virgil's Gimmick TableMay 28, 2014 at 8:53 PM

    Probably the cattle prod at StarrCade. People almost forget how much of a hair brained decision that was because this one was even worse somehow.

  19. Virgil's Gimmick TableMay 28, 2014 at 8:55 PM

    I first got into wrestling with WCW 2000. Imagine my confusion when I started watching WWF in 2001 and it actually made sense.

  20. Stranger in the AlpsMay 28, 2014 at 9:02 PM

    Thanks for the suggestion. I will ignore that last remark.

  21. "Next up for Flair is referee Randy Anderson. Randy, stricken with cancer, was fired by Bischoff about two years ago. Flair calls him to the ring and offers him his job back at double the salary."
    Here's a great example of "because WCW":
    January 1997: Bischoff fires Anderson
    March 1997: Bischoff is suspended by Dr. Harvey Schiller. The next week, with Bischoff out of power, Anderson returns to his job.
    January 1999: Even though he had already been re-hired almost two full years earlier, Anderson is re-hired by Flair.

  22. A crucial point here is the involvement of Miss Elizabeth. The story that they tell with her- she makes up a lie about being stalked by Goldberg- is just disgusting. It's insulting to women, to people with brains, and to wrestling fans who don't want a good "Law and Order" story mixed in with their wrestling, let alone this sort of terrible story. And the idea of showing the whole thing in the police room is mind-blowingly awful, even for an audience that was just getting used to Crash TV. It's a horrible story to tell on any show, but it's even worse than a pro-wrestling show.

    And it was completely unnecessary. Let's say you really want to do everything WCW did in the last segment- fingerpoke of doom, Goldberg handcuffed, NWO reunion, etc. You could do the exact same story without making the audience sit through two hours of a horrible story. Hell, the story was sitting at the announcer's table. Bischoff, in his last act before losing control of WCW, signed a contract for Hogan-Nash to reward his good friend. Sure, Hogan doesn't want it- he's retiring!- but the contract is in play, and he'll lose his signing bonus or whatever if he breaks the contract. Even Ric Flair, who had no idea about this, looks it over and realizes it's ironclad. So they agree- one last Bischoff-booked match, with the winner facing Goldberg. And you can do the exact same thing without the stupid stalking story.

    And you can do the whole thing in front of the 38K who came to the Dome, and not make them watch the monitors for half the show to see acting that's worse than the high school freshman improv.

  23. Virgil's Gimmick TableMay 28, 2014 at 10:09 PM

    The legend goes that Virgil got his job by whipping it out on Pat Patterson's desk.

  24. So Virgil put his gimmick on a table....

  25. I've said it all before, but might as well put it here again:

    1. The main problem with this show is the bait and switch. Viewers were told they were getting a Goldberg-Nash match, and instead got an offensive fake rape angle leading in to the FoD. With the WWF continuing to be on fire, I think this is the, well, poke that pushed a lot of people into giving up on Nitro altogether.

    2. I continue to think the angle makes some basic sense, actually. Nash and Hogan reunited the NWO factions for the purpose of toppling Goldberg, with Hogan getting the belt and Nash getting to be the guy to officially end the streak. But of course there was no explanation to this effect, and it was just a thing that happened.

    3. The most obvious: WCW didn't follow through on the angle. Hogan feuded with Flair, again, and Goldberg never got to run through the NWO, face Hogan, OR get the belt back. Hell, come August Goldberg is standing next to Hogan in the ring while Hogan's got the belt, again, and Hogan is talking about how he's great friends with Goldberg and Sting. Because red, yellow, and WCW.

  26. CruelConnectionNumber2May 28, 2014 at 10:27 PM

    I would've loved Schiavone to goad Bischoff with a "What? No back leg round kick?"

  27. CruelConnectionNumber2May 28, 2014 at 10:30 PM

    One could say Anderson was collecting workman's comp/insurance during cancer treatment after being put back on the roster 22 months earlier and that Flair, who doubled (or tripled?) his salary to return to the job he loved, was giving him the dream job he deserved and the fat stacks.

  28. They make a huge deal out of Goldberg having to get back to the arena in time...and earlier, the cameras had clearly shown the police station was across the street from the arena so apparently Goldberg was held up by a mayoral funeral procession, a circus parade and a long red light.
    Only WCW.

  29. Cooking Superstar: Virgil

  30. ARRRRGH THE BARBARIANMay 28, 2014 at 10:36 PM

    Really the biggest problem with the fingerpoke is that once again, they didn't get to the Hogan/Goldberg payoff, and more importantly, didn't get paid for it. By the time Goldberg had gotten to the point of facing Hogan, he was off to do a movie, and by the time he came back, Hogan had turned face and the company was going off the cliff.

    It's just amazing that on one occasion they booked a 15 month angle and paid it off, (which is ridiculously fucking difficult) but they couldn't do one other thing that was remotely coherent.

  31. kbwrestlingreviewsMay 28, 2014 at 10:43 PM

    There's a problem with #2 though: Nash and Hall beat the Streak on their own. Hall had no affiliation with Hogan, so why did Hogan need to be involved in the plan at all?

  32. Just wait until you get to the Nitro in March that features no wrestling in the first hour/hour and a half

  33. CruelConnectionNumber2May 28, 2014 at 10:44 PM

    The lone Benoit vs Hogan match-up ever (they were legal at one point and wrestled), that night.

  34. kbwrestlingreviewsMay 28, 2014 at 10:45 PM

    March 8 I believe. I did a review of it last year on a dare.

  35. If it was WCW 2000 followed by the first six months of 2001 WWE, man, what a night-and-day difference in quality.

    Kudos for sticking around as a viewer with WCW 2000 as your introduction!

  36. Virgil's Gimmick TableMay 28, 2014 at 11:07 PM

    Oh yeah, my first Raw was the Austin/HHH vs Benoit/Jericho episode. Needless to say I was hooked for life.

  37. LOL at thinking fans wouldn't want to see a World title change. You could have told me Barry Horiwitz was winning the title from a taped show 3 years ago and I would have watched it.

  38. CRZ's recap is a little bit misleading regarding Hogan/Foley -- RAW actually won every quarter hour on that show, but came up basically even for the Foley/Rock vs Hogan/Nash matches -- 5.5 vs 5.6 respectively.

  39. I remember that shit, but vaguely. It was about Eddie being accused of stealing a ring right?

  40. Crikey Mate Down Under AussieMay 29, 2014 at 12:29 AM

    I would like to see McMahon busted down to commentary in a power coup authority angle sometime, indignant and blundering and forced to ensure Cole's sucking up, I think it would have mileage.

  41. Ha, suddenly his name makes sense.

  42. Crikey Mate Down Under AussieMay 29, 2014 at 2:08 AM

    I choked on my breakfast, thanks

  43. This one basically stuck to WCW for years later. Though it definitely didn't single-handedly lead to their downfall, it was so memorable that people COULD NOT forget about it. It was the perfect storm of shit:

    1) It was a MASSIVE bait-and-switch, feeling like a "fuck you" to the fans. Not only did they not get Goldberg wrestling, but the actual match wasn't even a match and featured a guy deliberately laying down.
    2) It featured the WORLD CHAMPION giving up his Title.
    3) It was a re-hash of the old nWo angle, right down to the spraypainting & triumphant bragging.
    4) The whole "stalking" subplot was just dumb.
    5) Goldberg never gave the bad guys their comeuppance.
    6) They made fun of Mick Foley, someone the fans KNEW had busted his ass for years to get to this point in one of wrestling's great "Feel Good" moments, thus coming across as simultaneously cruel, arrogant and entirely petty. "Butts in the seats" stuck to Schiavone for YEARS, and is easily his most-memorable call.
    7) It ran at the same time as an all-time great RAW moment. I can't think of a single simultaneous broadcast where the dial swung so far in one show's favor- one of the greatest RAW moments ever alongside something so legendarily bad that smarks would call it the last nail in the coffin of WCW.


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