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

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Now, the Twitter: @grudgematchrcps

Live from the MECCA in Milwaukee, Wisconsin...and I was there! This was my first WCW event and only Clash of the Champions that I attended. Somehow my dad and I scored second-row seats. My dad didn't/still doesn't like wrestling, so props to him for making a yearly pilgrimage to a Milwaukee venue with me for a show. I also have photos from my collection I'll share.

Tony Schiavone and Bill Watts welcome us to the show. Watts reminisces about the Crusher, Larry Hennig, Harley Race, Ric Flair and the Outlaws working in the Milwaukee area. Van Hammer apparently had a muscle tear, and won't be in the arm wrestling match tonight. Erik Watts is suspended for the night while his brawl with Arn Anderson at a gas station is investigated.

Larry Zbyszko with Erik Watts in the back. Watts was to face Cactus Jack. He is just stumbling over his words. They probably should have pretaped this...or maybe they did. Ouch. Johnny B. Badd will step in for Watts.

Jim Ross and Jesse Ventura will call the action.

Johnny B. Badd vs. Cactus Jack- right off the bat, I CAN BE SEEN ON CAMERA.

The large maroon/black striped sweatshirt was surely a bold choice. Jack is actually sort of over with the crowd. Hmmm. These two were partners at Starrcade, and Badd cost his team the match against Hammer and Dan Spivey. Badd gets a hammerlock but Jack elbows out. Badd starts punching, and Jack grabs the rope to prevent a big punch. Forearm and headbutt, and Jack chokes him in the corner. Jack misses a charge, and gets rolled up for two. Badd dropkicks Jack and armdrags him. Badd twists the arm but gets forearmed in the face. Badd rams his head to the buckle, and Jack runs into Badd's boot in the corner. Badd misses a sunset flip attempt off the top, and Jack drops an elbow to win. *3/4. Fun fact- Badd also opened King of the Ring '96 in the same building, and Jack, Vader and Steve Austin were also on both shows.

Tony tells us the Great Muta won the NWA title from Masa Chono on the annual January 4 Tokyo Dome show. That match featured the longest clothesline run I've ever seen, by Muta.

And now it's the 2 Cold Scorpio video. We gonna step! I think I didn't get to see the video in the building, unfortunately.

2 Cold Scorpio vs. Scotty Flamingo- It's like 1995 ECW, or something. I think this is the only time I saw either guy in person. Scorpio with an armbar but Scorpio flips out of it. It was apparently a cold and snowy night, JR sez. Scorpio shoulderblock, and he cartwheels and hits Flamingo back-first, then karate kicks him out. Then Scorpio jumps off the apron onto Scotty. Raven then dropkicks him out, and leaps over the top on 2 Cold. Scorpio with a near-fall inside, but gets suplexed. Flamingo chokes him on the mat and grabs a chinlock. Forearms to Scorpio's back, but Scorp gets a hiptoss and dropkick. Bodyslam and Scorpio heads up for a twisting crossbody for 2.9. Scorpio misses a splash in the corner and Scotty clotheslines him. Scorpio leaps over a rushing Scotty, hits a twisting legdrop, then hits the Diss That Don't Miss for the win. **3/4.

Tony throws it to video from WCW Main Event. Harley Race replaced Rick Rude in Thundercage by having Paul Orndorff and Cactus wrestle. Cactus attacked Harley after being pushed back in the ring, and Vader attacked Jack. I didn't even realize that this probably sewed the seeds for the Jack-Vader feud. Orndorff of course made the team.

Brad Armstrong vs. Chris Benoit- I was really excited to see Benoit in person that night. Now, not so much to see him here. At least he doesn't look dazed like he does in those '06-07 ppvs. Armstrong grabs a headlock to start, avoids a monkey flip but misses a dropkick. Armstrong armdrags out of a Hangman attempt, gets an armdrag, leapfrogs, spins out and dropkicks and armdrags Benoit. Had to rewind the video to get all of that. They fight over a wristlock, and Brad gets a dropkick and armdrag. Benoit bridges with Armstrong on top of him, and they get back up to a test of strength position. Brad ends up suplexing out and keeps an armbar on. They fight over a hammerlock as the crowd yells boring. Brad negotiates Benoit outside, according to JR. Benoit tried the same thing, but got dropkicked and armdragged again. Benoit grabs Brad's legs but gets flipped over, but Benoit stun guns him on the top. He then jumps to the top and clotheslines Brad off of the apron. The crowd doesn't think that's boring, and cheer Benoit when he does his taunt. Short-arm clothesline back in, and a snap suplex gets two. Benoit chops and headbutts Brad, who kneelifts him. Backbreaker on Brad, and he stretches him in that position. Benoit bodyslam, and he goes up. Armstrong goes up but gets pushed down, then Benoit misses a flying headbutt. Oy. Spinning neckbreaker by Armstrong gets two. Benoit hits a full nelson-German suplex for the win. ***. I wonder what hurt more- hitting the headbutt or missing it?

Schiavone talks about the Rock n' Roll Express. They are reunited in Smoky Mountain, which WCW coincidentally has a relationship with. We even see video of the RnRs vs. the Heavenly Bodies. It's nice that Bob Caudle got work there, and in fact Jim Ross ended up there the first time the WWF fired him. Ricky and Robert will appear at Superbrawl III.

Jesse Ventura introduces the arm wrestling contest. He previously hosted the Strongest Arm Competition, which Hammer won. Tony Atlas was too late to be in the tournament, and Vinnie Vegas is left handed and used the wrong arm. So the two arm wrestle left handed, and Vegas wins. Since Vinnie did a promo afterward, I assume this was a work. He calls out Van "Buggy-Whip Arms" Hammer, and threatens to send his people after him. I think Vinnie was gone by the time Hammer returned from that injury.

Schiavone sends us to a short teaser of the White Castle of Fear video for Superbrawl. Vader kind of sounds like the doll in Saw as he asks Sting to play a game.

Zbyszko tells us about the U.S. title tournament No. 1 contender tournament. The finals were Ricky Steamboat vs. Dustin Rhodes, and that ended up being for the belt. I just watched that match on the WWE U.S. Championship home video.

The Wrecking Crew vs. Z-Man/Johnny Gunn- I think one of the Crew is Al "The Dog" Greene. This team of Rage and Fury actually seems similar to the Greene/Nash team of the Master Blasters. Rage starts with Z-Man, who grabs a headlock, and hangs on to it. Rage military  presses him, but Zenk gets out, leaps over the top in a failed offensive move, and hits a high cross body for one. Zenk then dropkicks both and they regroup outside. Gunn then jumps out on them. Was he Sal Sincere? Gunn tagged in, and Rage hits Fury in a failed doubleteam attempt. Now Fury in, but Gunn grabs his arm. Fury clotheslines him and bodyslams Gunn. Gunn smashes his face on a backdrop attempt, and tags Zenk. Hiptoss, but Fury gutwrenches Zenk. Side suplex as Fury trash-talks Gunn. Rage tagged while the ref is distracted, and Zenk gets slammed off of a bodypress attempt. Fury back in, but Zenk superkicks him coming off the top. Gunn back in and backdrops Fury, slams Rage, then Fury, then Rage. He hits a flying clothesline on Fury, and rams their heads together. Rage hits a charging Gunn from the apron, and Rage hits an axehandle on Gunn as Fury holds him up. I think the Texas Hangmen did that in the AWA.

Zybszko with Brian Pillman and Steve Austin. They were not the Hollywood Blondes yet.

Tony brings out Sting to respond to Vader's challenge. I saw myself marking out when my favorite WCW wrestler walked out just then. Rhodes and Simmons join him on the interview platform.

Larry Z is with Vader's team. Harley fires the Barbarian because of his allegiance to Cactus Jack. Sionne chokes him but gets attacked and piledriven by Orndorff.

JR and Jesse introduce highlights from the first two Superbrawl events. SB II was held in the MECCA Arena a year earlier. I still wish I had gone.

Larry Z talks to Ricky Steamboat and Shane Douglas. Steamboat seemingly has trouble saying "Shane."

Unified world tag team championship, Ricky Steamboat/Shane Douglas vs. Brian Pillman/Steve Austin- Pillman had teamed with Windham at Starrcade, but now was trying with a new partner. Austin pounds on Steamboat to start, but gets inside cradle'd for two. Steamboat hit a cross body after several criss-crosses, and Pillman and Douglas came in to brawl. The heels go out to regroup. Austin offers a handshake, and Steamboat slaps it away. The blondes then doubleteam him, and Pillman chops him in the corner. Steamboat jumps over him in the corner, hiptosses him, Douglas hits Pillman and Steamer armdrags him. Douglas tags and jumps in on Pillman's arm, and continues working it. Quick tags for more armwork. Pillman feigns a knee injury off of a leapfrog, but gets powerslammed jumping back in. Austin tags but Douglas grabs him arm right away. Hammerlock on the mat, as Jesse mentions Douglas liking Rush Limbaugh and JR says Limbaugh liking WCW, which makes Jesse want to vomit. Quick tags on Austin, and Douglas gets two on a sunset flip. Austin bridges out of a pin attempt, and Douglas hits Douglas in the face with his butt off the middle rope. Double hiptoss by the faces, and Steamer military presses Douglas onto Austin, then he does the same using Pillman. I'm not sure who is supposed to get hurt there. Pillman takes a cheapshot on Steamer and gets tagged. Bodyslam on Dragon gets two, and Pillman throws him over the top while the ref is distracted by Douglas. Austin slams Steamboat right in front my seat. I thought they were supposed to have mats again? Steamboat tries to suplex Pillman out, but gets suplexed in himself. Now the Blondes doubleteam Steamer, and Pillman rubs his face on the mat. Steamboat gets a pinning predicament, but the ref is distracted by Austin. Austin gutwrenches Steamer while the ref tends to Douglas. Steamboat was whipped into Pillman, but knocks him to the floor. I have a not-so-good picture of Pillman on the floor. Austin with a bodyvice on Steamboat, but he flips out of it. That is what the Wrecking Crew had Gunn in, actually. Steamboat avoids a diving Pillman, and he lands on Austin. Steamer karate chops both off the top, but Pillman cuts off the tag. Steamboat back suplexes Pillman, and gets the tag. Douglas is a house afire on the Blondes. the ref tends to Steamboat while Austin dives off the top on Douglas and puts Pillman on him, but they only get two. Steamboat and Austin brawl outside, then Austin nails Douglas with a belt for the disqualification. ***1/4. Steamboat also tastes the built for good measure, and then when Steamer lays on Douglas to protect him he gets whipped. Armstrong, Scorpio and Marcus Bagwell (who was in the dark match) come and chase the Blondes away.

Jesse takes us back to Baltimore Dec. 30, as Vader regains the belt from Simmons, which he won in a much-better lit Baltimore Arena Aug. 2, 1992. Vader is interviewed in the ring for some reason.

Simmons apparently had an injured shoulder going into the rematch, which Vader exploited. Simmons comes out and Jesse tells them to wait while he untangles his microphone cord. Simmons fends off Race and Simmons to the crowd's delight, but as he beats up Race in the aisle, Vader tackles him and gets splashed and shoulderbroken. I guess they wanted to let Simmons see a little action before writing him out of the Thundercage match.

Thundercage- Vader/Orndorff/Windham vs. Sting/Rhodes- The faces are obviously at a disadvantage. This is done tag team rules, and Rhodes and Windham start out. Windham misses an elbow, and Rhodes punches away in the corner and clotheslines him. Sting gets tagged and he bulldogs Windham. Military press and Vader gets tagged. Sting pounds away and atomic drops the big man. DDT puts Vader down, and Sting hits the splash. Windham and Orndorff come in and get pounded, and Vader flair flips in the corner and then sacks Sting. Vader clotheslines Sting off the top, then misses a splash. Sting boots him in the face, then clotheslines him over the top. Orndorff comes in and clotheslines Sting, but the ref escorts him out. Then he tags in and works over Sting.

Windham in now and suplexes Sting. Dustin tries to intervene but as he is escorted out the heels Vader hits a corner splash on Sting and military presses him. Windham attempts to superplex Sting, but gets knoncked off the top. Dustin gets the tag and he works over everyone. Big lariats for all and a backdrop for Windham. More punches to the corner, as Cactus Jack comes out with boltcutters. He cuts off the chain on the door, and hits Windham with the tool. He wacks Vader and Orndorff with his boot, and Orndorff thorws him outside. Orndorff ties to piledrive Rhodes but Jack comes off the middle rope with his boot, and Rhodes gets the pin. **3/4. The match was pretty chaotic, but it gave the participants enough time and got the Jack heel turn in. 

JR and Jesse talk to Jack at ringside. He climbs up the cage and shakes it, as I wait for him to get thrown into a nonexistant announce table. 

You KNOW I enjoyed the show (both live and rewatching it), but I think it's one of the better Clashes. The Thundercage match was kind of short, but that was either a result of all of the segments eliminating guys, or they did that because they'd be short on time. The tag title match is great, and the Scorpio and Benoit matches were good showcases of new talent. Watch it ASAP!


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