Clash of the Champions #27 – Hogan Is Here

Clash of the Champions #27
Date: June 23, 1994
Location: North Charleston Coliseum, North Charleston, South Carolina
Attendance: 6,700
Commentators: Tony Schiavone, Bobby Heenan

We finally wrap up this series here. This is the beginning of a new era in WCW as Hogan makes his major debut here tonight. The main event is the unification of the WCW world titles as Sting faces Flair. Other than that there isn’t much else here, but I thought ending with the main event that set up the first Clash was a good idea. Let’s get to it.

The announcers talk about the main event. Sherri is going to be in the corner of one of the two world champions but we’re not sure which.

Tag Titles: Cactus Jack/Kevin Sullivan vs. Nasty Boys

There are two referees for this due to how insane they are. Cactus and Sullivan are champions. This is a Slamboree rematch. Sullivan’s brother Dave is here and has a Hulk Selur shirt on. His gimmick was that he was dyslexic you see. Sags vs. Cactus gets us going and Jerry beats him down. Cactus fights back and the crowd is WAY into this. Everything breaks down about 30 seconds in and the brawl is on. Knobbs gets beaten down and the champs clear the ring.

Knobbs and Sullivan brawl some more. I wouldn’t expect a lot of wrestling in this match whatsoever. It breaks down again and we hear about some kind of conspiracy so Heenan makes Watergate jokes. Sullivan fights them off and slams Cactus off the top into both Nasties. We hear that Hogan is on the way so Heenan goes off on him, saying he better go get Hogan’s bags and all that so Hogan doesn’t have to.

Cactus gets a boot up in the corner and a discus lariat for two. The Nasties double team and get their first advantage over Cactus. Quickly off to Kevin who cleans some house but Sags breaks up the cover. He sends Kevin to the floor and into the barricade and Tony calls Sullivan odd. Heenan: “ODD???” Back to Cactus and a Cactus Clothesline puts him and Knobs on the outside.

Jack gets up on the apron and tries a backwards jump from the bottom rope but the Nasties move and he just crashes. How that man is alive I’ll never know. Back inside there’s some double teaming but Knobs misses a splash and Cactus makes the tag. Brian goes after Dave but Sullivan makes the save. Knobs goes back in and walks into the Double Arm DDT to keep the titles on Sullivan/Jack.

Rating: C+. This wasn’t meant to be anything more than a brawl and that’s all it needed to be. The fans were into it and everything clicked. Then some idiot decided that Jack wasn’t a good choice to be in WCW and that it was Paul Orndorff and Paul Roma that should get two title reigns before the end of the year. And people wonder why they went out of business.

Sting, the WCW International Champion, says he’ll win tonight.

Here’s a video on Big Bossman, now known as the Guardian Angel because WWF didn’t like him being called The Boss. So instead he took the gimmick of a Guardian Angel, which is something like a citizen’s police force in real life New York.

Guardian Angel vs. Tex Slazenger

Tex is Phineas Godwinn. He hits the Angel three times and Bossman counts for the hog farmer’s benefit. That’s enough I guess so Angel hits his usual stuff and the Bossman Slam (called a spike piledriver by that lunkhead Schiavone) ends this in less than two minutes.

Hogan’s motorcade gets here. Heenan makes OJ Simpson jokes because that was the hottest story in the world at that point. It was only six days before this show so the jokes are relevant here. Heenan keeps ranting as only he can do about Hulk. Hogan gets out to a pretty mixed reaction.

TV Title: Steven Regal vs. Larry Zbyszko

Regal said he couldn’t be beaten and laughed at Larry a lot, Larry decked him and won the title on TV. Jesse is on commentary now. Regal comes out in stereotypical British clothes including the powdered wig. Regal pounds him down to start and Larry is in trouble very early. Apparently Sherri is going to pick someone tonight, just not necessarily one of the world champions. Yeah, sure.

Regal, ever the pompous jerk, slaps Larry as he lectures him. Larry, ever the scrapper, gets all fired up and pounds him down as well. They go to the ramp for a bit but back in Regal takes him down. Larry counters a butterfly suplex into a form of a suplex for two. A regular suplex gets two. Piledriver gets two as does a swinging neckbreaker. Regal wants to throw hands and Larry is like uh, cool.

Larry blindsides him and it’s more of a brawl now. Off to a Regal chinlock but Larry reverses into a body scissors. They’re adding in enough brawling and cheating to their mat work to keep things from getting boring. Larry grabs a bearhug of all things before going off to a Boston Crab. Regal’s butler or whatever he is shoves Larry forward and Regal rolls on top, grabs the rope and gets the pin for the title.

Rating: C+. Fun match here and like I said the main thing was that they kept it interesting with the brawling instead of just the mat wrestling, which can get boring after awhile. Good stuff here and it would be Larry’s goodbye match as he didn’t have another major one until Starrcade in 1997. He was 41 when he retired, making him one of the few to get out early and on his own terms, which is always cool.

Gene hypes Bash at the Beach.

After a break, Gene is with Dustin Rhodes who has Arn Anderson with him. Dustin has been having issues with Colonel Parker’s Stud Stable and needs a partner. He picked ARN ANDERSON of all people, and amazingly enough, Anderson would turn on him before their first major match ended. Anderson says he’ll do it but it’ll be the old Anderson. That would be the old Anderson that broke Dustin’s daddy’s leg, but why not trust him right?

US Title: Johnny B. Badd vs. Steve Austin

Austin is champion and has been since December. Badd starts off very fast and chops away in the corner. Off to the arm work by Badd and a dropkick puts Austin on the floor. A top rope clothesline gets two. Off to a front facelock and then the arm again. Austin taps but ECW wasn’t popular yet. He gets a boot up in the corner and takes over. The crowd HATES Austin.

Badd gets fired up and a rollup gets two. And scratch that as the champ takes over again. A running dropkick puts Austin down but Johnny can’t follow up. DDT gets no cover but a SICK sound. He takes too long going up though and Austin crotches him. Badd throws Austin off but misses the top rope sunset flip which gets two for Austin. Another charge, this one by the champ, misses and Badd gets two this time. Things are getting good here. Austin gets an object from somewhere, hits Badd in the ribs and small packages him for the pin. We’ll ignore Badd’s shoulder being up.

Rating: C+. This started badly but got a lot better later on. The first part didn’t work for the most part but after that once they got going with the counters and near falls it got a lot better. The ending didn’t really work but that would get changed post match anyway, not that it really mattered. Fun match though.

Another referee comes out and they find the object. Badd rolls Austin up for a fast three (very fast) from the other referee. We’re told that we’ll hear the decision post commercial but since it’s HOGAN TIME (and yes, Hogan is the bigger deal by far) we’re not told what happened. Badd officially won by DQ.

Hogan gets a decent pop (which would be more impressive if we hadn’t seen Capetta, the ring announcer, firing up the crowd). He IMMEDIATELY brings up bodyslamming Andre and the fans aren’t all that thrilled it wouldn’t seem. When asked about the unification match, he wants a shot at the winner.

Flair pops up on the screen (drawing a pop as strong as Hogan’s if not bigger) and says he’ll win. This would be the beginning of Looney Flair.

Shaq in Hogan gear and with Hogan says Hogan is awesome. Ok then.

WCW World Title/WCW International World Title: Ric Flair vs. Sting

Flair: bigger pop than Hogan. Sting: WAY bigger pop than Hogan. Ok quick history lesson on the title issue here: as you know the NWA World Title is the famous one. Well eventually WCW had it’s own title. The NWA was incapable of being told that no one cared about them anymore, so they insisted there were two titles. Then the whole Flair walks thing happened so there were two titles for awhile.

WCW realized what everyone knew for years, which is that they didn’t need the NWA, so they dropped out. Flair officially owned the belt though, so there were two belts. The International Committee was a parody of the NWA Board. This match is a unification match and the way to finally get rid of whatever is left of the NWA in WCW. The big gold belt is the International Title here and would be the official title. Sting holds that one right now.

Sherri comes out before the match starts. She has the same face paint on that Sting has. Flair charges at Sting but the power stops him every time. Sting keeps nipping up and Flair backs off. Sting poses and Flair runs to the ramp. Back in and Flair still can’t get anything going and we get a Flair Flop on the floor. He yells at the fans as Heenan is freaking out. They keep pushing that this is a unification, which it really isn’t. The belt had been unified for years earlier but, say it with me, THE NWA IS STUPID, so they made something out of nothing here.

Flair pokes him in the eyes but tries chopping because that always works on Sting, resulting in Flair taking a bunch of clotheslines. The chops still don’t work so Flair goes for the knee, only to get rolled up for two. Flair takes another walk and Heenan’s freaking is getting hilarious. The idea is Hogan is driving Flair crazy and he’s off his game tonight.

Sting finally misses a splash in the corner and Flair is able to take over. Flair takes it to the floor quickly due to his old standard of asking the referee about the time. Flair covers with his feet on the ropes because that’s what heels do. No seriously, heels are supposed to cheat. Why don’t they do that more often? Sleeper goes on and Sting is in trouble. Sting manages to ram him into the buckle and there’s the Flair Flop.

Sting busts out the Slingshot and we get a second Flair Flop. Oh wait third. I forgot the one on the floor. Sherri cheers Sting on and he gets a suplex for a delayed two. Flair does the Flip and run the apron into a clothesline deal in the corner. Top rope superplex for Sting and he pops up and heads to the top. The big splash misses though and both guys are in trouble.

Sting no sells a regular suplex and Flair panics. He sends Flair to the floor and sets for a dive but Flair pulls Sherri in front and Sting crushes her. Back in and Sting puts Flair down again, but as he goes to check on Sherri, Slick Ric rolls him up and grabs the tights (again, that’s what heels do) and unifies the titles.

Rating: B+. Again, Sting and Flair are one of those pairings that automatically start higher than most. These two are seemingly incapable of having a bad match and they had another great one here. And then that didn’t mean anything for Sting as he went from world champion one month to being Hogan’s lackey for the next year. Flair turned into a raving lunatic and was “retired” for about six months starting in October. But hey, we got that Brutus Beefcake main event push. Who would want to see the planned Steve Austin world title reign anyway right?

Sherri gets in the ring and hugs Flair, because it was a swerve. See, THIS IS HOW A SWERVE WORKS. Sherri sacrificed herself, but the distraction from that sacrifice let Flair win the title. THAT IS HOW YOU DO A SWERVE!!! She and Flair beat down Sting post match until Hogan comes in for the save.

Hogan basically says he’s getting a title shot to close the show.

Overall Rating: B-. And with that, it ends. Not just the Clashes, but WCW’s chance to beat the WWF on their own. I’d have loved to see what they could have done without Hogan coming in. They had Austin ready to go as the top heel in the company, they had Foley mastering what would become the Attitude Era main event style, they had Steamboat around still, they had Sting to be the top face, they had an incredibly popular Flair (turned heel to avoid outpopping Hogan), they had guys like Regal, Badd and Pillman who could do whatever…and then Hogan came in.

He cleaned out the young talent or stuck them in endless midcard feuds, he ran Austin off, he made Foley into nothing (so Foley wisely bailed) and the whole place fell apart over the course of 1995 as it was ALL about Hogan. Savage came in at Starrcade 94 and was Hogan’s lackey. Nothing meant anything other than Hogan and had it not been for the Outsiders, I’m very curious as to where it would have gone. Anyway, good show and i’ve have loved to see where they could have taken things.

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