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

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Now, the Twitter: @grudgematchrcps

Live from The Scope (!) in Norfolk, VA. That is just the coolest-looking building because of the ceiling.

I vividly remember watching this show live on TV. I had just gotten out of school for the summer, it was pretty warm out, and I had fun stuff planned. By the time the six-man tag started I was jacked up for everything sitting in my parents' living. Good times. I think I remember discussing the show a day or two later with my friend and his brother at Krautfest (an event which I don't have time to fully explain right now).

So what was in the news? Let's see- Ric Flair is back from the WWF, and his no-match stipulation was finally up. The Hollywood Blondes (Brian Pillman and Steve Austin) were now the tag team champions and had mocked Flair's talk show with "A Flair for the Old." It was about to be on like neckbones.

Right off the bat, Jesse Ventura tells Tony Schiavone and the rest of us that Paul Orndorff is injured. Dick Slater will take his place, but the world television title won't be on the line.
World TV championship, Ron Simmons vs. Dick Slater- Simmons takes a cheap shot and atomic-drops Slater. Slater grabs a leg and works the ankle, but gets monkey flipped, then slammed. Shoulderblock gets two, and Slater goes out to confer with the dapper Paul Orndorff, who is besieged by Paula chants. Test of strength, then Slater punches his way out of a sunset flip. Orndorff grabs Simmons' leg on a three-point stance, and Slater wallops him. Neckbreaker gets two, but the heels celebrate like it's over. Simmons then pins him with a powerslam. *3/4. Simmons was still quite over.

Eric Bischoff and Larry Zbyszko yak, and Larry tells Polish proverbs. Michael Buffer then is interviewed. I forgot he was with them for that long. Nowadays I prefer his brother.

Marcus Bagwell vs. Lord Steven Regal- I'm not thrilled by the prospects of this one, or the arrival of Regal. I think he's boring as hell and his style doesn't mesh with 95% of the guys he works with. He has good expressions, though. Collar-and-elbow, and they trade wristlocks and floatover and such. Regal gets European uppercuts, but Buff forearms the back of his neck, then flips Regal by the wrist. Bagwell misses a rolling whatever and gets necksnapped into the ropes. Ouch. Regal works on his knee for awhile. Buff gets an enziguiri while Regal holds his leg. More knee work. Forearms and a backdrop by Bagwell, and a hiptoss into a pinning position for two. Bagwell backslide and a clothesline. Bagwell rolls him up, and Regal gets a sloppy pin with the tights.

** Either Bagwell had his best performance ever, or Regal really made him look good because Regal's offense was the pits.

Bischoff with Maxx Payne, who has position of Johnny B's Badd Blaster. He tried to give it to Badd, but it blew off in his face. Um, moving on...

Maxx Payne vs. Tom Zenk- this is an impromptu sort-of match, since Badd is now injured. Zenk fires away and superkicks Payne, then gets a dropkick. Another sends Payne to the corner. Payne whips Zenk to the corner, then locks on his painkiller armbar as Zenk taps (!). The first UFC wasn't even until later that year!

NWA world championship, 2 Cold Scorpio vs. Barry Windham- Buffer handles the introductions. Windham gets dropkicked and they do a stalemate. Wristlock by Windham but Scorpio slams him. Windham hits a corner clothesline, and Scorpio trips him and attempts a half crab. Windham grabs the rope and bails out. He punches Scorpio in the jaw, fakes a punch and then kicks Scorp in the chest. Windham hits a lariat off the top, which gets a pop. Bodyslam, and Barry drops a knee. Big suplex gets two. Windham holds on to the ropes to avoid a clothesline, then DDTs Scorpio for 2.8. Gutwrench suplex for another two. Glad to see the big dude who was in the front row at Starrcade '91 is back. Scorpio gets a dropkick, but Windham clotheslines him. Windham drops him on the top, and throws Scorp outside. Forearms on Scorpio, but he launches himself in for two. Standing dropkick (!) by Windham, then Papoose-to-Go for 2.9. Windham punches him like he's Michael Bisping (that was mean), and gets a back suplex. Windham slaps Scorp around, and Scorpio gets a sunset slip for a nearfall. Clothesline by Windham, and Scorpio flips out of a back suplex and takes Windham down. Windham puts him on the top, but gets dropped. Scorp hits a turning bodypress for a 2.9, and hits a hurricanrana! Superkick to Windham's jaw, and a rollup for another near fall. Bodyslam and he hits the tumbleweed for another one. Scorp goes to the top for a missile dropkick for another close one. Windham pushes him out, Scorp jumps off the top but Windham punches him in the jaw. A leaping DDT puts the challenger away. ****1/4. Beli'e Dat. Windham looked like a real world champion here.

Bischoff with Sting, Dustin Rhodes and the British Bulldog. Dustin says Rick Rude's number is up. Sting's wearing the coat from Bash '90. I hope to one day purchase the figure WWE has put out of him in that gear at a discounted price.

Vader/Sid/Rude vs. Sting/Bulldog/Dustin Rhodes- Rude says he never lost the U.S. championship, according to Capetsky. He actually has the belt in a briefcase at ringside. Sting and Rude start, and the crowd (and me) are pumped. Sting with a side headlock. Rude with a hammerlock, and a backelbow. Sing backdrops him and presses him onto Vader and Sid. Rude tries to slam him but Sting gets an inside cradle. Rhodes in with the bionic elbow. Vader tries a splash but lands on Rude. Then Bulldog gets tagged and Sid enters. Bulldog leapsfrogs and the faces take turns on Sid. Sting pulls up the middle rope on his crotch and clotheslines him, and Dustin clotheslines him too. Sid kicks Bulldog in the gut but gets shoulderblocked. Vader tagged but Dustin fires on him and the ref has to pull him off in the corner. Dustin suplexes Vader and drops an elbow, then one to Vader's crotch. Dustin then clotheslines him and goes to the top, but Rude shakes the rope so he falls off. Vader clotheslines him and hits the Vader bomb splash for two. Rude forearms Dustin in the back and gets a front suplex for two. Dustin then gets a front suplex. Sid tagged, and he rakes Dustin's eyes and throws him back into the corner. Sid kicks Dustin low and does a side headlock takeover, and kips up! What were these guys all on? Clothesline gets two. Vader tagged and he pounds away. Dustin catches Vader coming off the middle rope for a powerslam. Vader always let Dustin get stuff in. Rude goes for a tombstone but it gets reversed. Sting tags but the ref missed it and ushers him out. Now it's a pier six brawl, with Sting and Vader outside, Bulldog and Sid inside and Dustin and Rude on the apron. Vader conked Dustin in the head with the briefcase, and Rude pinned him. I refuse to call it a Halliburton. Rude goes to hit him again, but Sting takes the briefcase away. ***1/2. This was non-stop action, and everyone was pumped up (naturally or artificially).

World tag team championship, best 2 out of 3 falls, Ric Flair/Arn Anderson vs. The Hollywood Blondes (c)- Pillman backs Arn into the corner, and does his old-time filming thing. Arn pulls Pillman's hair to take him down, and Flair struts. Pillman chops Arn but gets chopped and punched for his trouble. Anderson catches Pillman trying to flip over him in the corner, and Stun Guns Pillman. Austin then gets the tag. Austin makes fun of Arn's belly, four years before Nash did. Austin shoulderblocks Arn and cheapshots Flair, which brings a tag to Naitch. He chops away at Austin and backdrops him, and flips Pillman in, then grabs Austin by the jaw. Double teams in the face corner, and he brings Pillman in for chops. Austin pokes Flair's eye and bails. Flair chops Austin and rams him into Arn's knee. Tag, and Arn stomps a mudhole on Austin. Arns slams Austin down on his arm, and Flair comes in with a kneedrop. Doubleteams on Austin. They hang Anderson with a towel, and Pillman chokes him while Austin distracts the ref. Pillman in, and he bites Arn's nose. Kneedrop on Arn, who is clearly the Ricky Morton tonight. It's weird actually seeing Arn worked over for such an extended period. The Blondes choke Arn on the top, and Austin suplexes him. Austin misses a whatever into the ropes, and gets DDT'd. Finally Flair is tagged, and he heads up for an axehandle on Pillman. Atomic drop of Brian, and he backelbows Austin over the top. Corner punches on Pillman, and a flying forearm to Brian for the first fall.

Flair does the camera thing at Pillman to begin, and they trade chops. Flair Flip, and he chops both Blondes from the apron. Pillman knocks Flair off of the apron to the floor, where Austin suplexes him. Pillman chops him outside, and rams his head into the railing. Austin drops him throat-first to the railing, and chops away. Austin puts him on the top and superplexes Flair. Flair whipped to the buckles and crumples, but then chokes Austin. Flair chops Austin, and when Pillman comes in the two collide. Arn now gets the hot tag, and backdrops Austin. He kneelifts Austin and hits Pillman. Spinebuster on Austin but Pillman makes the save. Pillman clips Arn and Austin covers him for 2.9. Pillman lands on Arn's leg over the ropes as Tony makes a timely Jurassic Park reference. Or maybe it was Billy and the Cloneasaurus. The champs work over Arn, including a half-crab from Pillman. Arn finally gets free but Austin cuts off a tag to Flair. They slam Arn's leg over the apron and make quick tags. Pillman makes the Horsemen sign to Flair as he jumps off the top, but eats Arn's boot. Flair tagged, and he punches and chops away on the Blondes. Pillman was thrown over the top and the ref missed it. Back suplex on Austin, and Flair goes for the figure four (isn't Pillman legal?) But Barry Windham runs in and interferes, and the match is thrown out. ***1/2; may have gone higher with a real finish, but this was done to set up Flair vs. Windham and the Blondes vs. Anderson and Paul Roma at Beach Blast.

People often shit on this period of WCW, but '93 WWF is no great shakes. Windham vs. Scorpio is a legit forgotten classic, and the tag title match is quite entertaining. It may be nostalgia, but give me this show over any Raw from 2016 or that year anyday.


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