Clash of the Champions Count-Up – #20: Hercules Main Events. Yeah, THAT Hercules

Clash of the Champions #20
Date: September 2, 1992
Location: Center Stage Theater, Atlanta, Georgia
Attendance: 500
Commentators: Jim Ross, Jesse Ventura

This is the next to last one that I have to go and it’s a theme show. This is a show dedicated to WCW being on the Superstation for 20 years. Yeah you know that whole “longest running weekly episodic show?” It’s not even close. WCW/all it’s other names was on the air on Saturday Nights at 6:05 for roughly 28 years straight. Raw hasn’t even hit 19 years yet. Even when Vince took over for a few months in the mid 80s, it was still called World Championship Wrestling. Anyway let’s get to it.

The show opens with an old clip of Andre the Giant from probably the 70s. He has an interview tonight, which was his final American appearance.

The opening video is in the form of a scrapbook with various people that used to be big stars. This is always cool to see.

Tony and Missy are outside like they’re at a red carpet. Gordon Solie is here too and hello Andre in Princess Bride attire. Ron Simmons, the world champion, arrives. Now Bill Watts gets here. He’s followed by….HANK AARON??? I know he’s around every now and then but it’s still cool to see him. Bill Shaw, the legit president of WCW (who had no idea how wrestling worked) is here too. Jim Barnett, a promoter, is here, as is Bob Dhue (another legit boss) and BRUNO SAMMARTINO!!! He kind of bashes WWF by saying that he’s glad to be in a real wrestling company. Sting arrives on a motorcycle.

We go inside now and Robb Pitts, an Atlanta City Councilman, gives Bill Watts a proclamation. The Assassin in his mask in the background is an amusing sight. Dusty pops up and says some catchphrases. Assassin, Thunderbolt Patterson and Magnum TA are here too.

TV Title: Ricky Steamboat vs. Steve Austin

Austin is champion. This is the leftovers of the Dangerous Alliance angle which should have gone on at least another year but hey, it’s WCW so why let things go well? Austin is mentioned as a member of it here but I’d have thought it was long gone by then. The national anthem is sung after their entrances. It’s done by an 11 year old and Johnny B. Badd. That’s an odd combination. Oh ok he’s just walking her there.

This is no DQ, which means moves off the top are allowed. Also, Dangerously will be in a cage outside the ring. Steamboat also has bad ribs. Austin goes right for them but it’s mainly striking to get us going. Ricky grabs a headlock to take over and they go to the mat. The cage is now up in the air. Also you can vote on whether or not the top rope moves should be banned or not.

Still in the headlock and Austin taps but it doesn’t mean anything yet. Austin escapes and goes right for the ribs with a hiptoss and elbow drop. See how easy it is? Back to the headlock by Ricky as they’re kind of filling time here. They go to the corner and Austin steps onto the bottom rope with Steamboat on the middle rope, kind of like for a really low level belly to belly superplex. However, instead of that he throws Steamboat forward over his head so that Steamboat lands face first and ribs first on the mat. Cool move.

Steamboat can’t do much now due to the ribs so Austin locks on an abdominal stretch. Ricky starts his comeback and a middle rope cross body gets two. Austin takes a slingshot into the buckle for two. A tombstone gets two and the crowd is getting way into this. Austin gets two on a rollup with tights. Ricky blocks a superplex but jumps into a punch to the ribs. Shoulder block gets two for Ricky. He skins the cat but a BIG elbow sends him to the floor. In a sweet move, Steamboat slips under the ring and comes out the other side for the top rope cross body for the pin and the title.

Rating: B-. I liked this one a lot and they got the crowd into this. When a crowd of 500 people can be heard that clearly you can tell you’ve got something good going. It helps when you have this kind of talent out there. This would be a bigger feud in the next few years and over a bigger title as well, which is the idea. Then Steamboat got injured and someone decided that Austin wasn’t marketable. Idiots.

Here are some clips from the old days, in this case from Mr. Wrestling #2.

We get a video on some of the great tag teams that have competed here on TBS. We see stuff from the Assassins, the Briscoes, the Freebirds (probably from the 70s), the Road Warriors and the Rock N Roll Express. These are just like 20 second clips so there isn’t anything to say here. Roddy Piper is on commentary in the Warriors clips and sounds BOMBED.

Video on Halloween Havoc 1992.

Michael Hayes tells Terry Gordy (not seen) that his men Arn Anderson/Bobby Eaton (seen) will kill him.

Arn Anderson/Bobby Eaton vs. Dick Slater/Greg Valentine

Arn and Valentine start us off. Slater and Valentine clear the ring and it breaks down very quickly. We get to Slater and Eaton with Slater in control. A Russian legsweep and feet on the ropes get two. This is heel vs. heel. Off to Anderson who gets caught in the corner and double teamed. This isn’t really working and I have no idea why they’re going heel vs. heel here. Slater works on Arn’s leg and Valentine hooks a Figure Four which Eaton breaks up. Spinebuster gets two on Greg and it breaks down again. Larry Zbyszko comes out and hits Greg with a cast by mistake and a middle rope Alabama Jam ends this.

Rating: D+. What an odd match. Having four heels (and good ones at that) out there made this into an “I can out heel you” contest which isn’t something I recall seeing. The problem is you’re not going to get anyone cheered out there and I really don’t get the point of it. Just an odd choice.

Bruno Sammartino has an interview and flat out says that he’s glad to be back in a real wrestling organization, unlike that other place he’s been with for the last ten years.

Teddy Long is in the VIP Room and instead of talking to Gordon Solie or Andre, he picks Bob Armstrong. They just didn’t get it at times. Now let’s talk to Thunderbolt Patterson. Dude, ANDRE THE GIANT IS SITTING NEXT TO YOU. Patterson actually says he’s glad to be alive to be here.

We get a quick statement from Mr. Wrestling #2 from Hawaii.

Ted Turner thanks us for 20 years. You have to give him this: he stuck with them as long as he could.

Bill Watts vacates the Light Heavyweight Title due to champion Brad Armstrong being injured. A tournament is promised but it never came. We go to Brad on a crutch who says he’s disappointed because he has to step down. He thinks he’s a failure and Brian Pillman, the opponent for later, comes out. He says it’s a disgrace because he’s supposed to get the title back but Armstrong is claiming an injury. Armstrong’s dad should be ashamed of him and Brad doesn’t know what to say. Pillman slaps him, officially turning heel.

Here’s a singles version of the same kind of montage we saw earlier for the tag teams. Way too many to name here but if they’re a big name they’re here. There are a lot of smaller named guys too. It sounds like it’s set to the Sting music when he came out at Starrcade 97.

Video on Ron Simmons, the WCW World Champion.

WCW World Title: Cactus Jack vs. Ron Simmons

Dig that old Doom music! Ole Anderson is referee here for no apparent reason. This is power vs. brawling of course so Ron tries to wear Jack down. Jack actually speeds things up and hits a flying headbutt to take over. Out to the floor and Ron is like yeah go ahead and jump. Back in and Cactus takes over using his evil ways. Simmons pounds him down in the corner but he charges into a punch.

Cactus Clothesline and they go to the floor. Swinging neckbreaker out there puts Simmons down and they go back in. Three clotheslines get a two count for Jack and it’s off to the chinlock. They trade headbutts and down goes Jack. Two three point shoulder blocks take Jack down again. Back to the floor and Cactus manages to drop his apron elbow to the floor which is one of his major moves. And Simmons is up again in like 4 seconds. Back in the ring, Simmons hits the spinebuster and powerslam to retain. Literally after the elbow, Jack had zero offense and the match was over 20 seconds later.

Rating: D+. I don’t get that ending at all. This was a pretty major feud for awhile, including Jack managing I believe Barbarian for the world title match at Starrcade. The rest of that match wasn’t anything of note either as Ron was pretty much like “yeah keep hitting me.” Really strange match, which is kind of a theme for the last two of them.

Masahiro Chono won a tournament in Japan to win the NWA World Title over Rick Rude. This would result in Chono and Muta getting time on WCW TV, because the NWA thought people cared. We get some clips of the match which looks pretty good.

Rude issues a challenge to Chono for a rematch.

Cactus Jack says he’s in pain but he has someone to help Barbarian and this someone knows Simmons very well. It’s Butch Reed.

Butch Reed/Barbarian vs. Dustin Rhodes/Barry Windham

Jack is on commentary here. Barbarian starts with Rhodes. The Texans cheat and fire off a bunch of double dropkicks to clear the ring. Barbarian is an interesting guy as he always had jobs. Think about it: he was around in the mid 80s, then got a pretty long run in WWF then this quick WCW run then he went back to WWF for a few months then was in WCW for the Faces of Fear. That’s pretty impressive for someone that was never anything more than a lower midcard guy.

Reed gets pounded on in the corner but Dustin misses a charge and falls to the corner. Cactus’ evil laugh is downright CREEPY. The monsters lure Windham in and double team Dustin some more. Cactus: “You can fool some of the people some of the time but you can fool Barry Windham all of the time.” It’s funnier when he says it. A clothesline puts Rhodes down and Reed pounds away on him.

Off to Barbarian who beats on Dustin even more. Standard tag team formula here and that’s perfectly fine. It still works so why mess with it? Reed comes in for a reverse chinlock as Jack says he’s playing a part in a plan but won’t elaborate on it. I don’t think that ever went anywhere. Dustin manages to get a clothesline but takes one of his own. There’s the double tag Windham comes in and speeds things up. He hits the superplex on Barbarian but goes to stop Reed instead. Everything breaks down and Barbarian kicks Barry’s head off for the pin.

Rating: C. This was fine. Barry and Dustin would go on to win the tag titles (the WCW versions, not the NWA titles, meaning that the team they beat still had tag titles because the NWA is stupid) in about a month. Barbarian and Reed would help Jack against Simmons then just kind of fade away.

Jack tells Simmons to be ready.

Here’s a video on the main event. It’s a Survivor Series style match with Sting captaining the Steiners/Nikita Koloff vs. Vader/Jake Roberts/Rude/Super Invader. Sting and Vader are obvious, Jake came in to feud with Sting as a HUGE signing that went nowhere. Koloff is feuding with Rude over the US Title, and the Steiners are Sting’s friends. Super Invader is Hercules of all people under a mask. He’s Harley Race’s goon so there are your eight men.

Sting/Nikita Koloff/Steiner Brothers vs. Rick Rude/Super Invader/Jake Roberts/Big Van Vader

Remember, elimination rules. Hercules is HUGE here as he must be on the good steroids. Rick vs. Vader gets us going. Vader pounds him down as only he can but walks into a SWEET belly to belly. Off to Koloff vs. Invader now. Invadercules takes him down and it’s off to Rude for our first rivalry pairing. Scott comes in as does Invader. No one has really stayed in long enough to get anything going other than the opening pairing.

Scott calls for the Frankensteiner but Rude makes a blind tag and takes Scott down before the Frankensteiner can hit. Roberts comes in to do nothing so it’s off to Vader who pounds Scott down in the corner. He whips Scott in and Jake isn’t paying attention so he gets knocked to the floor. Scott grabs a tilt-a-whirl on Rude, setting up double tags to Roberts and Koloff.

Nikita beats up everyone but Rude knees him in the back, allowing Jake to roll him up for a 4-3 advantage. Off to Sting vs. Invader and that kind of bulldog move that Sting does ties it up. Vader comes in to fight Sting but Sting tags out to Rick. There’s a BIG suplex to Vader. I could watch the Steiners throw people around all day. Rick goes up but jumps into a powerslam. That’s scary power. Vader just held him for awhile because he could. A middle rope splash only gets two. The crowd is way into this.

Off to Rude who puts on a front facelock. Rick powers to the corner but Jake came in for a distraction so the tag doesn’t count. Back to Vader who jumps off the rope but also gets caught in a powerslam by Rick. The Steiners try a Doomsday Device but Rick can’t hold him so it’s more like a regular top rope clothesline. But wait, since Bill Watts is REALLY FREAKING STUPID, that means Scott is disqualified.

Rick and Vader go to the floor and Rick backdrops him out there. Rick Rude comes over and hits the Rude Awakening on Steiner and only Vader beats the count back in. That makes it Sting vs. Roberts/Rude/Vader. He gets Roberts first and there’s the Splash but Rude breaks up the Deathlock attempt. Sting does what he can but he’s still against three guys. The bulldog gets two on Rude. He hits a slingshot suplex but Vader comes off the top with a splash on both guys for no apparent reason, drawing his own DQ. Jake pulls Rude over for a tag and Jake easily DDTs Sting for the winning pin.

Rating: D+. Bill Watts is really stupid. The problem with the top rope thing is it completely takes away the excitement that you can get from things like that. Watts wanted an old school, mat based style which is why he pushed the Miracle Violence Connection so hard. The problem with that is NO ONE ELSE LIKES IT. But who cares about something like that right? I mean, it’s TRADITION AND THE NWA BABY!!! The match was nothing special and was pretty dull due to the people being eliminated through such stupid means.

We hear the results of the poll about the top rope being reinstated: 88% want moves off the top to be legal again. Think that happened? Of course not.

JR says we’ll take a special look at Halloween Havoc, but it’s the same commercial we’ve seen three times already. Oh wait this has some extra stuff in it. Well at least it’s different. This announces that it’ll be Jake vs. Sting in Spin the Wheel, Make the Deal, which is WCW’s version of Raw Roulette. Naturally they didn’t rig the wheel so they got a Coal Miner’s Glove match, which was AWFUL. The announcement is in the form of a REALLY badly acted skit in I think a bar or something where Jake challenges him.

Overall Rating: D+. This was a weird show. The set looking exactly the same as WCW Saturday Night (it was on the same set) gave this a really weird dynamic. It’s not bad or anything but it felt more like a special edition of Saturday Night rather than a big time show. It did some setting up of Havoc but not much really. Oh and before I forget: Scott Steiner would win the TV Title shortly after this and would tease turning heel, but the Steiners would be in the WWF before Christmas.

 

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