Clash of the Champions #28 – People Say Cena Is Superman?

Clash of the Champions #28
Date: August 28, 1994
Location: Five Seasons Center, Cedar Rapids, Iowa
Attendance: 4,200
Commentators: Tony Schiavone, Bobby Heenan

We continue our march through the final Clashes with the final one I have to go chronologically. The main event here is what else: Hogan vs. Flair for the title. Hogan had come in back during the summer and everything they had going had been thrown out for the sake of pushing Hogan (and his friends soon after) to the freaking moon. Also for no apparent reason, Antonio Inoki is on the card here. Let’s get to it.

We open with a video from Bash at the Beach where Hogan won the title in his first match. Heenan: “Tell me it’s a nightmare!”

The opening video is all Hogan vs. Flair and it’s one of those weird remixes where they say a word like five times in a row before continuing the sentence. Flair has a surprise tonight.

Austin and Steamboat are arguing in the back. Call the Hotline to see why! I’m not kidding: that’s what they say.

Here’s the National Anthem. The guy gets the words wrong. He’s a country singer because that’s all WCW knows about.

Nasty Boys vs. Pretty Wonderful

Pretty Wonderful are tag champions and Orndorff/Roma. This is non-title though. This is a grudge match as a result of a big brawl where Pretty Wonderful hit Knobbs with a crutch. Pretty Wonderful stalls and the fans like the Nasties a lot better. Tony says a lot of big stars aren’t here tonight for some reason. Gee that makes me want to watch more of this show. Brian and Paul start but it’s off to Sags quickly.

Roma tries a top rope cross body but is easily caught in a slam. They be clubberin Tony! Out to the floor and Orndorff chokes away a bit on Jerry to take over. Tony goes into a big thing about how WCW listens to the fans and Heenan says wrestling is cool again because WCW is number one. Yeah when I see Paul Orndorff and Paul Roma as tag team champions in 1994 and hear about the debuting Honky Tonk Man, I think it’s cool.

Sags is knocked to the floor and holds his eye for awhile. I guess this show is so cool it burns his retinas. Orndorff hooks a chinlock and this match sucks. Knobbs tries to come in without a tag and the champs double team. Orndorff calls for a piledriver but Sags is too fat. Off to Knobbs and everything breaks down. Roma hits a top rope splash on Knobbs and Sags hits a top rope elbow on Orndorff and the Nasties (with the illegal man getting the pin) win.

Rating: D-. Pretty Wonderful was just AWFUL so they kept the titles for about half of the year. The Nasties were just kind of there until we got to a better team really late in the year in the form of Harlem Heat thank goodness. The match was junk, but did you really expect anything else?

Hulk says to call Hulk’s Hotline.

Here’s Hogan but a guy pops up behind him with a pipe and hits him in the knee before anything is said. Hogan uses the Mr. Nanny acting skills to say his knee is really hurt. It takes awhile to get him out. Eric is there too and we hear that he’s Executive VP. I didn’t know they had revealed that this early.

US Title: Ricky Steamboat vs. Steve Austin

Austin is champion and he already beat Steamboat via some circumstances (Austin got DQ’d, Steamboat insisted they keep going, Austin pinned him) at Bash at the Beach so this is the second match. We go split screen to see Hogan leave in the ambulance. Ricky takes him to the mat quickly and Austin complains of a hair pull. That brings a smile to my face due to the future.

Austin has Dragon Slayer on his tights. If Austin gets disqualified, he loses the title. We stop commentary on the match while a stage manager gives Heenan a live report of what happened to Hogan. We’ll ignore the fact that everyone could see it and point out that WE CAN’T HEAR HIM! He’s whispering in Bobby’s ear (and I know because the camera went off the match to look at him doing so), making this totally pointless.

They chop it out and Steamboat takes over. He grabs the arm as Heenan rants about how he wouldn’t care if Hogan can ever wrestle again. We get a SWEET pinfall reversal sequence and Ricky grabs the arm once again. We finally see this loudmouthed fan that the announcers have been complaining about all night. It’s Barry “Smash” Darsow as the new character the Blacktop Bully. He was a truck driver and a bully. And people wonder why this company was always struggling.

Tony says Austin has held the title since December of 1983, or about 11 years at this point. It’s more like 9 months and December of 93 but you can’t expect him to be able to tell time or complicated things like that. After a quick chase on the floor, Steamboat hooks a sleeper but Austin kind of drops down and drives Steamboat’s chin into his shoulder. I’d jot that down if I was him.

We hear that Sting who was in Chicago, has chartered a plane and is on his way here and will wrestle in Hogan’s place if need be. Ricky stays on the arm and hits a top rope chop. Back to the Bully shouting as Austin apparently counters with something. We didn’t get to see it but why would we need to do that? They fight from their knees and Austin grabs a chinlock.

They chop it out again and Steamboat hits a double to take over. They chop it out for the third or fourth time and Austin hits a suplex. A second is blocked and Steamboat puts him on the ropes. The cameras glitch so we get a random shot of the entrance. Austin knocks him back to the mat but gets crotched. Ricky loads up a superplex but Austin hits a release forward suplex.

He comes off the top but gets caught and Steamboat makes his comeback. I’m not sure how much of a comeback it can be after such a short time on defense but whatever. Top rope crossbody gets canvas and here’s more Blacktop Bully. Steamboat Hulks Up and hammers away. A spinebuster gets two. Austin goes up but gets caught in an electric chair drop for another two.

This is getting really good. A few pinning combinations get two for Steamboat. Austin dumps him over but Steamboat holds the rope. If he had hit the floor it would have been a title change. Austin goes to slam him BUT YOU CAN’T SLAM RICKY STEAMBOAT!!! Ricky gets his small package and the US Title.

Rating: B. Very good match here which is even more impressive when you consider Steamboat destroyed his back in this match and had to retire before he defended the title. Austin was supposed to get a rematch at Fall Brawl but since Steamboat was hurt, Austin was awarded the title and Jim freaking Duggan of all people took the title from him in about 45 seconds. But Hogan never did anything bad for WCW and it was just a coincidence that a washed up guy like Duggan got the US Title over someone young and talented like Austin and that Duggan just happened to be a friend of Duggan right?

Eric doesn’t know anything at the hospital but Hogan said it felt like something tore. Heenan couldn’t be happier.

Here’s a music video for a guy arriving soon: the Honky Tonk Man. It would be guys like him and Duggan and Orndorff that were pushed instead of guys like Austin and Foley and Pillman and others like that. This song couldn’t be more of a ripoff of his old song if they tried. WWF song lyrics: “I pick a mean guitar, I wear the blue suede shoes, you ought to hear me sing the snakeskin blues.” WCW song lyrics: “I play a mean guitar, I play the rhythm and blues, you better not step on Honky’s blue suede shoes.” The music sounds almost EXACTLY the same too. Jimmy Hart wrote both too.

Nick Bockwinkle says Hogan will have to forfeit the title if he’s not here later.

We recap the Rhodes Family vs. the Stud Stable. The idea here is that Dustin has feuded with Colonel Parker’s stable forever and needs a partner. For some reason that no one has ever come up with a reason for other than Dustin is an idiot, he asked Arn Anderson. You know, the guy who is most famous for BREAKING DUSTIN’S DADDY’S LEG. As anybody with enough common sense to say that putting your face in a fire is a bad idea, Anderson turned on him and joined Parker after about 5 minutes.

So one night Dustin was talking about needing a partner and Dusty came out. They had a strained relationship because Dusty was never around because he was off being a famous wrestling cowboy. Dusty uses the same line of Dustin offering up his innocence and being paid back in scorn that he used when Sapphire turned on him. I don’t really know what it means but I don’t know what Dusty means most of the time. Dusty offered to be Dustin’s partner and Dustin hugged him to say yes. I’ll give Dusty this: the man could talk like few others ever could.

Dusty Rhodes/Dustin Rhodes vs. Bunkhouse Buck/Terry Funk

It’s a brawl to start of course and Funk brings in a chair. The younger guys, Dustin and Buck, start us off which is probably a good thing. Off to Funk who is quickly knocked to the floor. Off to Dusty who gets a big reaction. An elbow puts Buck down and Funk wants in. Back to Dustin and everything breaks down. Some heel miscommuncation puts the heels down but Dustin is knocked the to the floor. Here’s Anderson and Dusty is in trouble. That doesn’t last long as Dustin comes back in and hits clotheslines for everyone. Bulldog takes Buck down and Arn runs in for the DQ.

Rating: D+. Pretty boring match here but this was more about setting up WarGames. Yes, THIS was what they used for WarGames. Not Flair and company vs. Hogan and company. Hogan didn’t even wrestle at the show. Dusty was there for nostalgia purposes and that’s about it. Nothing to see here and it was a really boring feud all around.

Post match Dusty cleans house but Parker’s bodyguard Meng comes in. Dusty thinks about hitting him then thinks about an elbow but then says wait a minute. He goes outside and gets a wooden chair which he breaks over Meng’s head. Meng doesn’t move and hooks a nerve hold as the Stud Stable leaves the Rhodes boys laying.

We go back to the hospital and Hogan’s lawyer has advised him to relinquish the title. He’ll get the first title shot in exchange. Hogan won’t listen of course so apparently he’ll try to wrestle. Hart and Brutus come up and say Hogan is going to do what he wants.

Flair does one of his usual ranting and screaming promos about how he wants the title handed to him by Hogan. Flair had been doing really well as the face champion but Hogan was here so they turned him into a psycho heel which made him look like an idiot, because Hogan can’t lose right?

Hogan is on his way back here. Oh joy. Heenan PANICS.

Steven Regal vs. Antonio Inoki

This is based on the idea that Inoki is having his Final Countdown retirement tour and got a plaque in WCW. Regal protested so here’s a match. I don’t think anyone really got the point of this. Inoki fires off kicks as Tony butchers the name of Rikidozan. They go to the corner and I don’t think anyone knows who Inoki is. This is a very technical/foreign style match which means it means nothing to most American fans.

Regal hits a headbutt and they go to the mat with Regal dominating. Inoki heads to the floor and Regal won’t let him back in. This is really not working at all. The fans are quiet so Tony plugs Fall Brawl a bit. Inoki grabs the arm and Hogan is back at the arena. They go to the mat for a leg lock and I really can’t tell who is in control. Bockwinkle comes out and Inoki uses a blatant choke to take over. Regal kicks away and the announcers are talking about Hogan. This has been about 90% strikes. Butterfly suplex gets two for Regal. Inoki throws on another choke and Regal is out as Heenan freaks again.

Rating: F. This isn’t wrestling. I don’t know why it happened or why Regal, the TV Champion, was choked out this fast. This didn’t work at all and no one knew who Inoki was. “But KB he’s a legend and you have to respect him.” Or I could watch people have entertaining matches and have a point to being here. Just a thought.

WCW World Title: Hulk Hogan vs. Ric Flair

Flair says give me my title. Hogan takes awhile to get there and then charges right at Flair. Now before I get into this, remember that Hogan allegedly has a severe knee injury and is fighting RIC FLAIR. Hogan takes him down and shrugs off a chop. The shirt is shoved down Flair’s throat and Hogan bites the forehead. Heenan advises Flair to go for the knee so they go to the floor where Flair chops him.

Hogan is limping a bit but other than that looks fine. Back in the ring and Hogan keeps beating on him with what appears to be the robe. Flair pokes him in the eye, snapmares him down….and goes up. Like I said, Flair was made to look like an idiot at this point. Flair is knocked to the floor again as this is a total squash so far. Up the aisle now and Flair gets beaten down some more.

The champ misses a chair shot and Flair hits some knees to the back (instead of the knee) and suplexes Hogan. Hulk is up first and drops elbows to keep momentum going. Flair Flip in the corner and he gets clotheslined to the floor. A fan tries to hit Flair with a cane. This match runs about 15 minutes. Seventeen and a half minutes in, FLAIR HITS HIM IN THE KNEE!!!

An early Figure Four attempt is countered and Flair hits a chop block. To the floor for the fifth time in about 8 minutes and there go the bandages. There’s the Figure Four (wrong leg, even Tony points this out) and after about 55 seconds, Hogan grabs Flair’s leg and shoves it off of his own. He Hulks Up and hits the big boot and legdrop but his knee gives out. Another Figure Four goes on and Hogan Hulks Up again and makes the ropes. He rolls into the ropes and Sherri, Flair’s manager, hits him with a shoe. Hulk falls to the floor and loses via countout.

Rating: F. No. No. No. NO. Flair looked like an IDIOT here and for what? To show that Hogan can’t feel pain in his knee? This was ridiculous and was nothing more than a sign of things to come. Hogan wouldn’t lose the title for over a year and Flair would look stupider and stupider every time they fought. Just pathetic.

The Masked Man comes out and they double team the knee. Another Figure Four goes on but Sting runs out for the save. Flair leaves with the belt.

Hogan is taken back to the hospital to end the show.

Overall Rating: D-. You could see the problems that would kill this company staring you right in the face here. I’ll go with this: the rumored main event for Starrcade was going to be Austin vs. Flair. Instead, we got Hogan vs. Brutus Beefcake. Foley was run off and Austin was fired for being too unpushable. Strange how that decision was arrived after Hogan got there no? 95 was just awful as it was basically the late 80s all over again and until they caught a miracle in Hall and Nash, this was a horrible long term idea. At the end of the day, WCW isn’t around anymore, so what does that tell you?

 

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8 comments

  1. dude_d_dude says:

    Has Flair ever beat Hogan?
    Actually better question, have they ever had a good match?

    [Reply]

    klunderbunker Reply:

    Yes to both. Bash at the Beach and Uncensored 99.

    [Reply]

  2. IC25 says:

    Nice work KB. I remember watching this show and being enthralled by it at the time. I was 12.

    The Austin / Steamboat feud was pretty solid and actually booked quite well. The Austin / Pillman break up was also well booked, but since you had the Rockers breakup in WWF nobody could hold a candle to it. Incidentally, when Steamboat was forced to relinquish the title to Austin the next month, you started to see a little glimpse into the “Stone Cold” character, as I vividly recall him telling Ricky he’d just “saved himself one hell of an ass kicking.” The Duggan storyline was cool for the time – Duggan was, regardless of overall skill or being Hogan’s pal – a big draw for a long time, but had never won a major title. The US title made sense for Duggan, and the idea that Austin prepared for Steamboat’s speed and agility rather than Duggans straight ahead brawling style was plausible.

    Hogan / Flair was maddening, and was only made appreciable by how solid Heenan was on commentary. His hatred for Hogan had history in WWF, so it felt comfortable. But you’re right on Flair looking stupid – I feel like they were punishing him for taking the belt to WWF in ’92, and since they now had Hogan, they did’t need to rely on Flair.

    Another strange thought – 2 years prior, Wrestlemania 8 occured and people now chastise WWF for not making the main event Flair vs Hogan. WCW did exactly that – and now, we chastise them for it, which Flair / Savage at Wrestlemania 8 is an all time classic. Once again – WWF saw something that WCW missed.

    -IC25

    [Reply]

    klunderbunker Reply:

    As for Duggan and the strategies being messed up, that would work if the match had gone on longer. The problem was the match lasted 30 seconds. It made Austin look like a few punches and a clothesline could beat him, which if nothing else made everyone that had a long match with Austin look weak. You’re right about the Stone Cold persona coming through. I make fun of Bischoff constantly for that. He was wearing black, had less hair and was swearing. But that couldn’t be marketed of course. We want Jim Duggan!

    [Reply]

  3. newc868 says:

    Considering we’re all wondering how Daniel Bryan is going to beat Big Show/Mark Henry when they eventually have a match for the title at the Royal Rumble, do you think they could have Bryan do the same finish as Steamboat – Henry/Big Show goes for the slam and being the pure wrestler he is, he counters it into the roll-up/small package/cradle?

    [Reply]

    klunderbunker Reply:

    I don’t think it would work. He’s too small for that to make sense from a leverage/strength standpoint, I would think at least.

    [Reply]

    newc868 Reply:

    Hmm. Maybe he would have to do the Chris Benoit thing and just counter into the Lebell Lock like – http://www.esnips.com/displayimage.php?pid=916242

    [Reply]

    klunderbunker Reply:

    I’ve thought of that and it’s about the only thing that’s plausible. The problem is Benoit was ripped and very muscular while Bryan is very plain looking. At some point, believability is a major issue and I think it is here.

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