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From the Grudge Match: Ted Blanchard Reviews Clash of the Champions XVIII

First, the website:

Now, the Twitter: @grudgematchrcps

Jim Ross and Tony Schiavone will call most of the action tonight (foreshadowing!).

Eric Bischoff and Missy Hyatt yack about whatever.

Big Van Vader/Mr. Hughes vs. The Steiners- I believe this is Vader's first Clash. Check out the nerd goggles on Gary Capetsky, lol.

It's sad to think that the Steiners will be gone by the end of this year. They had just lost the tag titles to Arn Anderson and Bobby Eaton, JR said. Scott gets a single-leg takedown on Hughes to start. Fireman's Carry also takes Hughes down. A right hand drops Scotty, though. Hughes shoulders Scott down, and Scott belly-to-belly's him after a leapfrog spot. Rick comes in but gets thrown out, and Vader tosses Scott into him. The Steiners go up on the same buckle for a stereo Steinerline, however. Vader suplexes Rick in the ring, and presses him over his head. Vader splashes him in the corner, but gets Steinerlined coming back out. Belly-to-belly by Rick, and then he clotheslines Vader over the top. Vader then rams his back into the ringpost outside. Vader clotheslines Rick, nearly taking him out of his boots. Vader goes up, and suplexes him off of the top rope. Scott clotheslines Vader for two. Rick punches Vader as he holds the top rope, and Scott German suplexes him. Vader catches Scott coming off of the top for a powerslam. Vader drops on Scott on a sunset flip attempt. Hughes is tagged, and gets his own powerslam for 2.5. Hughes clothesline, but he misses a charge. Rick gets tagged and hiptossses Hughes, then gets a backdrop (!). Vader comes in and tosses Rick, and he accidentally clotheslines Hughes. Rick knocks Race off the apron, Vader and Scott flip out, and Rick bulldogs Hughes to win. *** This was a perfect pairing; four stiff workers, two of whom are thick enough to take the Steiners' brutal offense.

Tracy Smothers/The Taylor-Made Man vs. Brian Pillman/Marcus Bagwell- Taylor looks uncomfortable in his faux tux. Taylor and Pillman shove each other to start. Taylor has left the York Foundation, apparently. Taylor chops away but Pillman headscissors him, then gets an atomic drop. Taylor gets pinballed between the faces' punches. Tracy also took a shot. Pillman gets back-breakered for two, then neck-breakered. Pillman flying bodypress, then Buff comes in a-hiptossin'. The faces dropkick the heels out, then hit crossbody presses on them. Buff punches Taylor but gets kicked by Smothers. Flying elbow on Buff and Taylor hits a corner clothesline on Bagwell. Smothers dropkicks Buff coming in, and bodyslams him. A splash hits knees, however, and Pillman gets tagged. Backdrop and he dropkicks Taylor off the apron. Spinning karate kick and the pins is broken up by Taylor, who suplexes Pillman all the way to the floor! Smothers covers him for two, and Taylor comes and gut-wrench powerbombs Pillman. Punches to Pillman, and Smothers knocks Pillman from the apron to the railing. Pillman comes in with a dropkick and tags Bagwell. He punches both and gets doubleteamed by the heels. He sunset flips Smothers (with Pillman's help) for the win. **1/4, solely for Pillman's bumps.

A look at the still-active Jushin "Thunder" Liger, WCW's second cruiserweight champion.

Richard Morton vs. Johnny B. Badd- the announcers play up this match having implications on Liger's challenger at Superbrawl, but it actually didn't. Morton drops Badd off a headlock twice to begin, and they do chain wrestling. Morton goes through the ropes to avoid Badd's punches.Badd rams Morton to the buckles, and hits an axehandle off of the top. Morton tosses Badd out, but Mero quickly rolls him up for 2.5. Atomic drop of Badd, and Morton tosses him again. Morton rams Mero to the post outside. Badd susnet flips in but Morton kicks out. Suplex by Morton gets two. Powerslam by Badd and Morton ueses his fists. Badd responds in kind, but gets shoulderblocked. Morton hits a flying bodypress, but Badd kind of reverses it and gets the pin. Something wasn't right there. **

Bischoff is with Badd and Pillman. He cuts a xenophobic promo about the Japanese buying up all American industry and Americans losing jobs. Badd puts a lips sticker on Pillman's cheek, and gets decked. I didn't realize they were starting a turn with him already, unless it didn't go anywhere.

P.N. New vs. Diamond Dallas Page- DDP had just become a wrestler at this point. And let's all sing together: "It's the first Clash of '92, and boy do I have, a surprise for you. C'mon Page let's see what you got. I know you'll fight fair...Not!" Page attacked after that, but gets dropkicked out of the ring. Big splash, and a rolling splash. Kind of like Kevin Steen's cannonball thing. Page evades another corner splash, and gets two. Elbows, and a Russian legsweep. I swear he just yelled "He's sawft!" Page rakes News' eyes on the top, and snaps his neck on the top rope. Crossbody over the top gets two. News gets a belly-to-belly suplex, then News hits the Rapmaster Splash off the top to win. *1/2. Page basically did all the work, despite being a rookie here.

Tony Schiavone is in the ring with new executive VP K. Allen Frey. I think he was the good one who gave out bonuses for best matches. Frey announces Sting gets a title shot vs. Luger at Superbrawl II. Frey also announces the new commentator Jesse "The Body" Ventura. That was a pretty big signing at the time. Tony also brings out Sting, who high-fives Ventura. We see a video from Luger, who was in seclusion preparing for the match. I think he had used up all of his dates, and was sitting out until Superbrawl so he could leave afterwards. Sting also signed. He wants to do it right now.

Falls count anywhere, Van Hammer vs. Cactus Jack- Hammer shot a pic at Jack out of his guitar, and hit a crossbody into the ring. Flying clothesline and a bulldog off the middle buckle by Hammer. An elbow gets two, but Jack clotheslines Hammer coming off the top. Jack does his flipping-outside clothesline, then chokes Hammer. Jack sends him to the railing, and pulls up the mat. Jack rams him face-first to the concrete, and sunset flips onto the exposed floor. Hammer whips him to the railing, and they go up on the ramp. Sleeper by Jack, but Hammer rams out of it. Hammer powerslams Jack off the ropes, but Jack hits a clothesline. Hammer gets an inside cradle on the ramp, but gets clotheslined by Jack. Hiptoss off the ramp for Jack, which must have sucked. They head outside and Jack hits him with a 2x4 and a traffic cone. Missy Hyatt is outside covering this. They head into a conveniently-placed rodeo area, and Jack chokes him on a bale of hay. Hammer then chokes him with a rope. Abdullah the Butcher (disguised as a cowboy) interferes, and Jack attacks him. Abby hit Hammer with a shovel, so Jack pins him. Missy Hyatt also gets tossed into a tub of water, just because.

Freebirds vs. Big Josh/Brad Armstrong - I remember this recently being on "worst of" list shows from WWE, but I had completely forgotten it for about 23 years, so it's not that epically bad. I think they just wanted to rib Hayes, or he just wanted attention. It's the debut of a new song and look, and Garvin clearly didn't know the words as the sang on their way out. I was certain the Birds were faces at this point.  Hayes and Armstrong do crissy-cross, and Hayes rolls up Buzzkill for two. Garvin in, and he hits the star of "Thirty-Something" with a forearm, then hits one off the top. Armstrong dropkicks Garvin into a Oklahoma Stampede from Josh, then a log roll. Hayes tags and gets the same, and gets armdragged. Garvin whipped Josh to the corner and the sort of collided. They both thankfully tag, and Armstrong dropkicks both. The Birds toss their former partner, who comes back in off the top. Double DDT on Armstrong gets the duke. *, 3:03, felt much longer.

We take a special look at the Steiners. We also see them defeating the Road Warriors at the greatest event of all time, Starrcade '89. We also get a promo. They want the tag team titles.

Vinnie Vegas vs. Thomas Rich- I'm so confused on face/heel dynamics here. Nash walks Rich over the corner by a heckler, and then just attacks him. Even as a dumb kid I knew the Master Blaster, Oz and Vegas were all the same guy. Short clothesline puts Rich down, and Snack Eyes gets the win. * If we only knew, if we only knew.

Bischoff with Heyman. He promises one of the top 5 heroes in the two matches will be out for good.

Windham/Rhodes/Simmons vs. The Dangerous Alliance- the faces chase out Anderson, Eaton and Zbyszko to start. Eaton and Windham start, with Bobby getting a swinging neckbreaker. Eaton plants him on the top, and gets a superplex. Barry no-sells it, though, and hits a lariat. Then another. Windham plants Eaton on the top and gets a superplex of his own, with the count broken up by a brawl. Three figure fours by the faces (Figure 12?), and then Zbyszko overpowers Simmons in a test of strength, and then Simmons flips over Larry and Arn and tosses them. Shoulderblock on them, then a bearhug on Bobby. Simmons clotheslines Eaton, press slams Arn, then nails Zbyszko. Dustin boots his arm, and spits at Eaton, who rakes his eyes. Dustin gets a punch and throws Eaton to the ramp, and hits a flying clothesline. Zbyszko tags and has to face Windham, who is looking for revenge. Windham goes for the lariat but the pool is empty. Baaaaack bodydrop on Larry, Eaton gets dropkicked off the top, and Windham bulldogs Anderson.Dustin gets tagged and works over Larry, but misses a charge over the top onto the ramp. Dangerously nailed him in the gut with the phone. Zbyszko and Arn work over Dustin in the corner, and Arn hits a spinebuster. Arn snapmare, but the Vader splash hits knees. Arn gets a DDT, but both men are down. Dustin kicks out of a pin at 2.9. Eaton slams Dustin and hits a flying elbow. Eaton misses a charge and hits the buckles. Arn tagged  but hits a faceful of boots. Windham tagged and hits a lariat on Windham, twice. He backdrops Eaton then a brawl breaks out. Windham punched Eaton coming off the top for the pin. ***1/2. This was all action.

Schiavone talks to the faces. Windham's back, against doctor's orders. I don't know that he ever got a definitive blowoff vs. Zbyszko, unless it would be War Games.

J.R. talks to Ventura, who will call the main event with him.

Sting/Ricky Steamboat vs. Rick Rude/Steve Austin- The heels hold the top secondary belts in the league, which Heyman has draped over his shoulders. I think the pairings of the tag team champions (Dustin and Steamboat) going into this show probably gave away that they were going to lose the belts. Dragon shoulderblocks Austin, who complains of a hairpull. Ricky chops away on Austin, who now asks for a timeout. Steamboat gets a backslide for two, then two more quick rollups. Savate kicks for the heels, as they regroup with Dangerously. Austin grabs a headlock, but Steamer moves away from the corner as Rude gets tagged. Rude slaps Sting, who gets the tag. Rude opens up on Stinger, but he leapfrogs and atomic drops Rude. Clotheslines on both heels, and a backrake on Rude. Sting whips him to the corner, and gutwrench suplexes him. Sting gets a camel clutch, then gyrates over Rude. Steamboat switches without a tag, but the fans back up their ruse. Steamboat's gyration isn't so good. Sting then switches back, so they are all legal again. Sting jumps but hits knees. Austin in but the crowd fires Sting up. Back elbow by Austin for two, and Rude comes in off of a legal tag. Austin gets a back suplex. Sting tags the Dragon, who is a house afire. He shoulders and cover Austin, then gets a victory roll, broken up by Rude. Rude slams Steamer, and Steamboat rolls up Austin as Rude and Sting come in. Sting tossed outside, but he pulls Austin out. Sting gets thrown off the ramp, but goes up to knock Steamboat onto Austin, and somehow the two pinning Austin gets the pin. Rude gets the Rude Awakening on Steamboat twice, then whips him. Security officers get beaten as well. Sting lays over Steamboat to protect him from more whippings.

I don't know why I didn't beg my parents to go to Superbrawl in Milwaukee. I loved Sting and Luger, and it turned out to be a fantastic show. I even remember the local sports reporter dropping news of the title change at the end of his sportscast. This was also an excellent show, and kicks off my favorite run of any promotion ever.


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