Clash of the Champions Count-Up – #19: Screw The NWA. Seriously, Screw Them.

Clash of the Champions 19
Date: June 16, 1992
Location: McAlister Field House, Charleston, South Carolina
Attendance: 4,600
Commentators: Jim Ross, Jesse Ventura

Ok so in 1992, at least the first half of it, WCW had some serious momentum going. Their shows were interesting and the PPVs were really quite good. Then there was this show and it went downhill for a few months. Now for the shock of the year: IT WASN’T THEIR FAULT. The NWA stepped in and decided to use WCW to run their stupid world tag team title tournament which NO ONE BUT THEM wanted to see and they ran it badly, taking over two shows (this one and Great American Bash 92 which was literally Sting vs. Vader and tournament matches). This is going to be weak due to a lack of caring so let’s get to it.

The opening video is about how a lot of countries have teams being represented here. Tonight is just the first round of the tournament.

Tony (with blonde hair), Missy and Magnum open the show. Missy says that New Japan Pro Wrestling has been given the NWA World Title Tournament. No one cares other than the NWA, but when has that ever stopped them before? Bill Watts comes in and says that the tournament is awesome. Keep in mind that the Steiners are the WCW World Tag Team Champions and are the #1 seeds. The seeds will become almost a running joke throughout the night as no one else really makes sense with their seed.

Tag Team Title Tournament First Round: Joe Malenko/Dean Malenko vs. Ricky Steamboat/Nikolai Volkoff

The Malenkos are the 7 seed and the other team is unseeded. Why the Malenkos are seeded over a moderate dream team is unknown. The Malenkos are Hungarian allegedly. Joe and Dean really are brothers. Joe vs. Ricky to start us off and they go to the mat. Expect to hear that A LOT tonight. Joe looks like Dean a bit. Test of strength goes to Joe but he gets to bridge out which is one of his specialties.

They exchange some pinfall attempts but Ricky grabs an arm drag and hooks the armbar to take over. This was right around the time when Cactus Jack was about to feud with Steamboat but then WCW decided that we didn’t want a natural face vs. a natural heel in a big program that a lot of people would have wanted to see so they bailed on it rather quickly.

Off to Dean and Nikita and it’s power vs. speed. Dean gets sent to the floor with ease and Koloff no sells a suplex. Koloff has been offered employment in the Dangerous Alliance which would be dissolved very soon. Back off to Steamboat who keeps up the work on Dean’s arm which was started by Koloff. Off to Joe who takes an armbar and likes it. Dean and Nikita get in an argument on the apron which allows Joe to take Steamboat into the Malenko corner.

Double teaming begins on Steamboat and a double clothesline kind of move gets two. The Malenkos are representing Europe apparently. Dean hits what we would call Wasteland and hooks on an arm/leg submission. Off to Joe who gets a clothesline for two. Hot tag to Nikita who cleans house. He kills them both and hits the Sickle (big old clothesline) on Dean for the pin.

Rating: C-. Not horrible here I guess but we instantly see the problem with this whole show: there are no stories for the most part to any of these matches so the matches have almost no heat. This is a sign of Ross/Watts booking: they have this old school mentality of all athleticism and little story, which makes for really dull shows because there’s no drama for the most part. But hey, that’s REAL wrestling right?

Tag Team Title Tournament First Round: Steve Austin/Rick Rude vs. Z-Man/Marcus Bagwell

Hmm…two killers who are a regular team vs. some pretty boys. I wonder what’s going to happen. Rude is US Champion and Austin is TV Champion. Rude and Austin (in tights that look like they have confetti on them) are only seeded number 6. Rude pounds on Bagwell and Austin does the same. Bagwell gets some shots in and it’s off to Zenk. Zenk/Bagwell have a US Tag Title shot on Saturday. So yes, there are three tag titles being competed for at this point.

Zenk is apprehensive to try a test of strength so it’s off to Rude for some Minnesota on Minnesota violence. Rude takes him down and swivels his hips. Off to Bagwell who gets pounded down by Austin. Bagwell went to Sprayberry High School and Jesse has a lot of fun with that name. Rude beats on the future Buff one whose right hands do nothing at all. Zenk gets in a kick and that’s about it for his offense as Rude hits a piledriver for two.

Total dominance so far. Austin drops Z-Man on the top rope in a clothesline for two. Off to a front facelock to waste some time. The Dangerous Alliance team double teams Z-Man and make an unseen tag. Back to Austin to continue this massacre. Z-Man gets a superkick to Austin and brings in Bagwell. Everything breaks down and Bagwell gets a few shots in before Rude glares at him and casually hits the Rude Awakening to end it.

Rating: D. This was an 8 minute squash. Bagwell and Zenk were totally outmatched here as they were against a regular team of two singles champions. What were you expecting to have happen here? See, this is what I mean by this is boring: there’s no reason to see these people fighting, meaning there’s no interest. But again, Ross and Watts were obsessed with technical stuff which isn’t interesting at all.

The Miracle Violence Connection (Terry Gordy and Steve Williams and more or less the only team besides the Steiners that ever had a prayer of winning this) say they want to fight the Steiners now and not have to beat a team from Australia first. Ok then.

Tag Team Title Tournament First Round: Larry O’Day/Jeff O’Day vs. Miracle Violence Connection

Remember that Jim Ross is booking and Steve Williams is more or less Brock Lesnar from Oklahoma. What do you think is going to happen here against a father and son team? Gordy and Larry (the father) start us off and since I have no better words for it, here comes the pain. Williams comes in and rattles off every stat he can think of for Williams. Jeff comes in against Gordy and that goes badly for Jeff. Off to Williams as the worship service at the church of the MVC continues. Oklahoma Stampede ends this massacre. Total squash.

Jesse brings out Sting for a little chat. Sting is world champion here (but not the REAL world champion according to the NWA because only the NWA World Champion is a REAL world champion) and has been attacked by Vader recently. The revenge/title match is at the Bash which is in about a month. Sting in a tux and facepaint is kind of a weird combination. Sting says he doesn’t feel like David here but rather like Goliath or Godzilla or King Kong. Well he did lose like Goliath did. This took like a minute.

Tag Team Title Tournament First Round: Dustin Rhodes/Barry Windham vs. Arn Anderson/Bobby Eaton

Anderson and Eaton are in the Dangerous Alliance. This should be solid. I always wondered why Anderson was billed from Minnesota and not a specific city. Anderson and Windham start us off and the Dangerous Alliance team is the #3 seed. Windham/Rhodes, regular tag partners and somewhat successful, are unseeded. Jesse and Jim get on the seedings again and they’re right to here.

Anderson tries to go up top because he never learns so Windham dropkicks him to the floor. Another of Bill Watts’ brilliant ideas: get rid of those mats at ringside. Let these guys crash onto the concrete! See why he wasn’t all that popular? I can almost understand his banning anything from the top but dude, why do you need to get rid of something there for safety? BECAUSE REAL WRESTLING DOESN’T HAVE IT!!!

Eaton vs. Rhodes now and Dustin breaks his momentum with some elbows to the head. Big boot sends Eaton to the floor and Dangerously is losing it. Arn comes in and the Texans beat on him like a pinball. Paulie says go to plan #2. The referee almost gets flattened allowing Eaton to kick Barry in the back of the head and give the heels the advantage.

The fans think Paulie sucks. Hot tag to Dustin and he cleans house. Lariat puts Anderson down but Eaton makes the distraction, allowing Anderson to hit the DDT on Dustin to change everything around again. Dustin tries a cross body and misses completely, crashing out of the ring and out to the floor. Eaton hits the top rope (it’s NWA rules, not WCW so it’s legal) knee drop for two.

Back to AA who stomps away like only he can. Off to the chinlock as Windham comes in and makes things worse for Dustin. Jawbreaker gets Dustin out of trouble but there’s Eaton again to break up the hot tag. Hot tag finally brings in Windham but the referee misses it. Spinebuster kills Dustin but there’s no referee because Eaton and Windham are fighting on the floor, meaning it only gets two. Eaton tries the top rope legdrop but misses, allowing Rhodes to bulldog him for the pin.

Rating: C+. Not bad here and at least there was a story to this one (kind of). Barry and Dustin were an ok team and would go on to make it all the way to the finals of the tournament and beat the eventual winners at a later date. Probably the best match of the night so far, which isn’t saying much at all.

Missy Hyatt explains the NWA Title tournament in NJPW which will have all of the Dangerous Alliance in it. Not that we’ll get to see it, but THIS IS THE NWA BABY! The MVC comes up and says there has been a Puerto Rican wreck. Perfectly enough, that means the Steiners have to face the MVC which is the big money match. Well I guess having it as a second round match at the PPV is better than nothing, even though that being the final would be better.

Tag Team Title Tournament First Round: Silver Kings vs. Freebirds

Garvin and Hayes are the US Tag Team Champions. Silver Kings are Silver King and a guy that isn’t that well known named El Texano. Here they’re known as #1 and #2 though with Silver King being #1. The Freebirds, the US Tag Team Champions, aren’t seeded here because the NWA is stupid. #1 outmaneuvers Garvin and it’s off to #2. The Silver Kings are the UWA Tag Champions. Good to know.

Senton misses off the top and Garvin gets two off it. Hayes and #1 come in and a slingshot hilo gets two for the more famous Silver King. Double chop sets up a double spin kick to take Hayes down. He doesn’t seem to mind but stops to moon walk. The fans seem behind the Birds but it’s not exactly clear. Test of strength isn’t really done as #1 suckers Hayes in with a dropkick.

Garvin comes in and does a bit better and then tags out at the same time. This is kind of an awkward match. Ross says it’s because of the diverse styles but the match breaking down even more isn’t helping things. #1 trips over Hayes as he runs the ropes and everything breaks down. The fans want the DDT but both Birds get dropkicked to the floor where Hayes accidentally hits Garvin. The Kings ram together and then Garvin rolls up #2 for the pin.

Rating: D-. The high spots by the Kings were nice but the ending was one of the worst messes I’ve ever seen. The styles were clashing but this was just messy all over the place. Not a good match at all and easily the worst of the night so far. Not sure who thought this was a good idea but I’d blame Watts, which is the case for most things in this era.

The Puerto Ricans are out so it’s officially Steiners vs. MVC at the Bash.

Magnum TA calls shenanigans in the Puerto Rican issue. Ole Anderson comes up to say what we were already told.

Tag Team Title Tournament First Round: Jushin Thunder Liger/Brian Pillman vs. Chris Benoit/Beef Wellington

Wellington is built like a taller Benoit Most of these guys were in Stampede at the same time so there’s a lot of familiarity. Wellington is fine so this should be at least good. Benoit vs.. Liger to start us off. The Crippler is 25 years old here so he’s all quick and hungry. Liger throws him around with some armdrags but a dropkick misses.

Double tag and Pillman gets a big pop. Pillman sends him over with a monkey flip and a dropkick sends him to the floor. Brian charges but gets caught by a slingshot shoulder block and Pillman is in trouble. Wellington tries to suplex Pillman back in but gets suplexed to the floor which isn’t a DQ as they validate stuff again. Liger comes in and is taken down rather easily by Beef.

There’s that Benoit clothesline to Liger as they speed things up. The Canadian gets a spinning kick to take Liger down and it’s back to Wellington. Beef throws Liger out but totally misses a dive. Liger monkey flips him out of the corner as we hear about this guy named Scotty Flamingo who is Light Heavyweight Champion. You know him better as Raven.

Benoit back in and he misses a shot, sending him to the floor again. Pillman back in and a belly to back superplex sets up a missile dropkick. Benoit is reeling and goes to the floor again. Pillman fakes him out and hits a cross body off the apron. The chop it out on the floor for a bit and it’s back to Wellington vs. Liger. Now Wellington misses a charge and goes over the top, allowing Liger to hit a huge dive to take Beef out.

Remember that this is 1992 and the idea of lucha libre or a fast paced style was totally unheard of in America. Benoit beats on Liger a bit and tries a belly to back superplex of his own but Liger reverses into a cross body and Wellington has to make the save. Picture perfect Asai Moonsault takes out Benoit as the fans are WAY into this. Pillman tries an O’Connor Roll but Wellington gets a boot up to drop Brian.

Wellington, the biggest man in the match (still not huge though) tries a missile dropkick which misses Pillman. Liger is tagged in and suplexes Wellington for two. Everything breaks down as Benoit and Pillman fight to the floor. Benoit and Wellington get rammed together and Liger hits the moonsault for the quick pin. Great match!

Rating: B+. Now THIS IS HOW IT’S DONE! Naturally though since this wasn’t “traditional and REAL wrestling”, these guys were dropped down to nothing (Wellington and Benoit weren’t brought back in as they were a one night thing) while Liger and Pillman did nothing of note. The Light Heavyweight Title was dropped soon after this. Pillman was thrown into the incredibly crowded tag title picture while the NWA guys bored the tears out of everyone else. Still though, solid match and worth checking out actually.

Tag Team Title Tournament First Round: Head Hunters vs. Hiroshi Hase/Akira Nogami

The Head Hunters are guys in masks from the Dominican Republic. However they’re really either Arn Anderson or a guy named Joe Cruz (not important) and a guy named Bob Cook who isn’t important. The Japanese team is the #2 seed for no apparent reason. Nogami starts with #2 because JR says that #2 is starting. Jesse wants to know why he picked #2 as the starter but JR ignores him. Apparently they’re still trying to figure out the Puerto Rican team situation.

Nogami beats on the Head Hunter because he can and it’s off to #1 who I think is Arn. He wrestles a bit like him if nothing else. Off to Hase who I’ve seen a few times before. A double knee drop off the top misses and whatever Headhunter that is takes over. Double suplex gets two on Hase. Hase comes back and kicks his head off as the dominance begins. It doesn’t last long as both Japanese guys hit suplexes (belly to belly/German) for stereo pins.

Rating: D+. Just a quick squash here as the Headhunters could have been anyone here and it wouldn’t have mattered. The Japanese team went to the semi-finals I think and that’s about it. Nothing of note here but Hase was certainly fun to watch so I can’t complain all that much here.

Jesse brings out Ron Simmons to talk a bit. Simmons wants to be the first black world champion and talks about how hard his life has been. Harley Race comes out with the Super Invader (Hercules in a mask. Yes THAT Hercules) and tells Ron to be an errand boy for him. Ron says if you want to send a message to Sting, do it yourself. Race says something that is censored and Simmons drills him. Race and Invader beat him down for a bit until Simmons realizes he’s fighting an old man and Hercules and leaves them laying. Apparently Race called him a negro (Race’s word, not mine).

Ad for the WCW Magazine Poster Book. I had that.

Here’s Bill Watts to talk about the Puerto Ricans again. Watts wants the fans to get their money’s worth, so it’s Steiners vs. MVC RIGHT NOW. Oh sweet nibblets where do I even start?

Tag Team Title Tournament Quarter-Finals: Steiner Brothers vs. Miracle Violence Connection

Yes, the ONLY MATCH ANYONE COULD POSSIBLY CARE ABOUT IN THIS IDIOTIC TOURNAMENT IS BEING GIVEN AWAY ON FREE TV IN THE SECOND FREAKING ROUND. Bill Watts is an idiot and that’s all there is to it. I mean seriously, WHY WOULD YOU GIVE AWAY THE ONLY IMPORTANT MATCH HERE??? Steiners are WCW Tag Champions here but don’t have their belts for some reason.

Gordy vs. Rick (a rarity) starts us off. They hit the mat immediately and keep in mind: Gordy is no slouch and Williams is probably better on the mat than the Steiners. Rick takes him down to the mat a few times so Gordy drills him with a forearm to take over. Rick escapes a half crab and it’s off to Scott. They go to the mat and Scott blocks a backslide attempt.

Dr. Death comes in to go at it with Scott and, say it with me, they go to the mat. Scott gets on Doc’s back which goes nowhere. Rick comes back in and suplexes Williams out to the floor in the first big move of the match. We even get a Varsity Club reference. They go to the mat again and this is kind of boring all of a sudden. They finally get going and Rick vs. Williams turns into a fist fight. My money is on Doc.

Hey I’m right as Williams KILLS him with a clothesline. Off to Gordy who hits one of his own for two. Rick counters a suplex into one of his own and there’s the tag to Scott. He cleans house but misses the Frankensteiner. Gordy gets the STF (not called that) but Scott grabs a rope. Williams comes in and hits a gutbuster and stomps away. Gordy comes back in and puts on a leg lock because they’ve been working on the ribs/back for the last few minutes.

Scott manages to get a boot to the face of Williams and there’s the tag to Rick after Scott was in there forever. The referee doesn’t see it of course because this is WCW. Rick cleans house anyway but the numbers finally catch up with him. Everything breaks down because we’re not sure who’s legal at the moment. Williams hits a chop block on Scott to take him down. Williams hits a gorilla press into a powerslam which is a move I don’t think I’ve ever seen before. Scott sets for a belly to belly but Gordy clips him and Williams falls on top for the pin and the upset.

Rating: B-. Match was good, but again what in the world were they thinking here? This was the ONLY reason to see the rest of the tournament and they put it on here. I have no clue that the plan here was but it wasn’t a good idea. The match itself was fine, although the first half with all the technical/mat stuff bored the fans to death.

Jesse and Jim wrap us up.

Overall Rating: D+. There are a few good matches here and one very good one, but this tournament is going to get old and fast. The NWA was totally clueless as to what the fans wanted to see and this was all the proof you needed. The MVC won the tournament of course. Now that makes sense because it sets up the big rematch of Steiners vs. MVC, title for title right? Well of course not, because the rematch was two weeks later with the Steiners dropping the titles. More or less this turned into a big MVC love fest put on by the Oklahoma Bookers and the crowd wasn’t thrilled. Some decent stuff here but mostly boring.


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1 comment

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