Wrestler of the Day – March 22: Bryan Clark

Today is one of those guys that had potential but was wasted more often than not: Bryan Clark, more commonly known as Wrath or Adam Bomb.

Clark got his start in late 1989 and we’ll pick things up in Herb Abrams’ UWF. It’s one of the worst promotions of all time but Clark was a…..something known as the Nightstalker.

Deathrow 3260 vs. Nightstalker

Nightstalker is more commonly known as Brian Clark or Adam Bomb or Wrath depending on which company you prefer to hate him in. I liked him so I can’t say anything. The other guy who we’ll call Numbers is a big black guy in prison uniform. Ok then. Clark has a HUGE ax with him so there we are. They look like they’re in a high school gym and an empty one at that. They touch each other twice and it’s commercial time.

Thank goodness this is the last one more than likely. Wow that place is empty and this place would last two more years somehow. They’re going for a power vs. power match here and it’s just epically failing. Tolos sucks on commentary too. Yeah I hate this company. Apparently this was in the middle of the show. Still no clue where in the world we’re broadcasting from. There MIGHT be 100 people there. Clark beings in the ax and there’s your DQ.

Rating: F-. Do I even need to explain this one? At least when Berzerker tried to maim people it was funny.

Still as the Nightstalker, Clark would be in the Lethal Lottery at Starrcade 1991 as a replacement for an injured Diamond Stud.

Big Van Vader/Mr. Hughes vs. Rick Steiner/Nightstalker

 

Nightstalker is a big man who did nothing of note for years until he became Adam Bomb in the WWF. He’s also subbing for the injured Diamond Stud here. Hughes is Big Cat from last year and now a big security guard in a suit. Vader is a monster, weighing 400lbs and running through everyone he ever faces. Rick and Vader start which is probably the best solution for everyone. Vader pounds him upside the head and clotheslines Steiner down before running him over with ease.

 

Rick gets back up and pounds away with right hands and a Steiner Line to send Vader to the floor. Back in and Steiner somehow manages to suplex Vader down but hurts himself. Hughes, the smaller man on the team at 6’8 and 375lbs, gets the tag. Steiner easily backdrops him down but is hesitant to tag in Nightstalker. A belly to back suplex puts Hughes down but Nightstalker reaches over and tags himself in. He doesn’t pay attention to Vader and is run over by a clothesline. Rick doesn’t realize he was tagged and Vader splashes Nightstalker for the pin.

 

Rating: D+. I’m a sucker for the Steiners throwing big people around and that’s what we got here. The match was nothing of note, but it was more along the lines of setting up a match between the Steiners and Hughes/Vader, which I don’t remember ever actually happening. Nightstalker was clearly in over his head here, but to be fair he was a replacement.

Like many marginal wrestlers around this time, Nightstalker headed to Smoky Mountain Wrestling to hone his skills. This is from some point in late 1992.

Brian Lee vs. Nightstalker

Lee is more famous as Chainz in the WWF and jumps Nightstalker to start. A running clothesline puts Nightstalker on the floor and Lee rams him into the post over and over. Back in and a dropkick drops Nightstalker for two, followed by some choking on the ropes. It’s one sided so far but the match is more interested for how awesome their hair is out there.

Nightstalker comes back with a slam but misses an elbow drop. A man in a black robe comes out and throws something in Lee’s eyes to give Nightstalker an opening. Nightstalker hits a nice dropkick for two of his own and we head outside for some posting. Back in a hard shoulder sets up a top rope clothesline from Nightstalker but the ref gets bumped. Nightstalker goes up again but gets superplexed down, setting up a rollup to give Lee the pin.

Rating: D. The match was nothing special but Nightstalker is starting to get better in the ring. That top rope clothesline and dropkick looked great and the match was much easier to sit through than some of his earlier efforts. The guy in black didn’t help anything though as it made things more about the story than the match. To be fair though, that’s very normal in SMW.

It was soon off to the WWF under an entirely new gimmick: Adam Bomb, a guy who was related to the Three Mile Island disaster in some undefined way. He was managed by Johnny Polo and fought El Matador Tito Santana on the June 7, 1993 episode of Raw.

El Matador vs. Adam Bomb

Tito grabs an arm wringer to start but Adam comes back with a powerslam. An elbow drop misses though and it’s right back to the wristlock. Bomb gets caught in an armbar as this is already dragging. A sunset flip gets two for Santana as the announcers talk about Razor Ramon and the 1-2-3 Kid. Bomb hammers away as we get what sounds like a BREAK HIS BACK chant. A big side slam puts Tito down again but he comes back with the flying forearm for two. Bomb shoves out of an O’Connor Roll and hits a slingshot clothesline to the back of Tito’s head for the pin.

Rating: D-. This was horribly slow paced and only the last 40 seconds or so had any interest at all. Bomb kicking out of the flying forearm was a nice touch as that move won Santana a ton of matches. The slingshot clothesline was good looking but it would have been better if Tito had turned around for it. Slow squash but it did what it was supposed to do, as boring as it was.

Bomb would find his niche as a midcard killing machine, earning him a spot in a Survivor Series match at Survivor Series 1993.

Team IRS vs. Team Razor Ramon

IRS, Adam Bomb, Diesel, Rick Martel

Razor Ramon, 1-2-3 Kid, Marty Jannetty, Mr. Perfect

IRS and Ramon are feuding over Razor’s IC Title, Martel was the guy Ramon beat for the title, Diesel and Adam Bomb are just there to fill in spots, Jannetty and Kid are a semi-regular tag team and Perfect….isn’t here. Ramon talks about Perfect leaving (his back messed up again and he just kind of left for five months) but he’s got a treat for us. He’s got a surprise partner and it’s……RANDY SAVAGE! Heenan LOSES IT and the crowd does too. This is when Savage wanted to murder Crush, who is in the main event tonight.

Heenan apparently called Perfect no showing this and Vince says Heenan was right for once. Bobby: “FOR ONCE???” Oh yes Bobby is feeling it tonight. Ramon and Martel start things off with Rick working on the arm. They fight for the arm and hit the mat for a bit before popping back up. Razor slaps him in the face and rolls through a cross body for two. Martel gets caught in the fallaway slam (BIG pop for that) for two.

Razor hits a pair of atomic drops and a clothesline for two. Off to Adam Bomb who shoves Ramon into the corner with ease. They collide and Razor is knocked down in something which shouldn’t surprise anyone. They have a test of strength with Bomb controlling again before Ramon fights up and suplexes Bomb down.

Martel tries to save but elbows Bomb by mistake. Harvey Whippleman (Bomb’s manager) gets up on the apron and is knocked down, causing a big fight between IRS’ team. Ramon’s team, somehow thinking coherently given how many drugs must be in them, actually uses common sense and lets them fight. We get things settled down and it’s the Kid vs. Bomb. Kid tries a sunset flip and Bomb (about 6’8 and 300lbs) is like boy please.

Off to Diesel who throws Kid around even harder. Who thought it was a good idea to put the Kid in there against the biggest and strongest opponents? A gutwrench powerbomb from Diesel leaves Kid laying and a big boot does the same. Kid finally hits a spin kick and it’s off to Savage who destroys the entire team, including sending Bomb into Diesel. A slam puts Diesel down and the flying elbow makes it 4-3. Write that down as you may never see Nash do another clean job.

Martel charges in and rams Savage face first into the buckle. Since it’s 1993, Martel’s offense has almost no effect and Savage takes over. Off to IRS who has a bit better luck as he takes Savage into the corner but gets cross bodied for two. Back to Ramon who works on the arm but as he hits the ropes, Martel hits Razor in the back to slow the Bad Guy (Razor’s nickname) down.

Bomb comes back in to power Razor around a bit but it’s quickly back to Martel. Make that IRS who works on Razor’s back. We hit the chinlock and the heels switch a few times without tagging. Off to Macho Man again who knees IRS into the corner. A slam looks to set up the Elbow but here comes Crush. Savage sees him and immediately goes after him but is sent back into the ring and rolled up by IRS for the pin and elimination.

Savage chases Crush into the back and looks for him in the locker rooms as the match is still going on. Savage doesn’t find him so we’ll continue this game later. We come back to the ring to see Adam Bomb choking away on Jannetty and stomping him in the corner. Martel hooks an abdominal stretch for a few seconds but a corner charge hits the post and it’s back to Ramon.

Razor pounds away on IRS and hits a chokeslam followed by the Razor’s Edge for the pin and the 3-2 advantage. Everything breaks down and as Razor loads up the Edge on Martel, IRS hits him in the ribs with his briefcase. Ramon rolls to the floor and gets counted out to tie things up again. So it’s Jannetty/1-2-3 Kid vs. Martel/Bomb. The Kid gets sent to the floor and slammed down by Bomb who hits a slingshot clothesline to take the Kid down back inside.

Off to Martel as the Kid is in a lot of trouble. Martel drops some knees on the back for two as Vince says the Kid has a lot of heart. Heenan: “THEN KICK HIM IN THE HEART!” Martel jumps into a right hand to the ribs and there’s the tag to Jannetty who cleans house. Back to the Kid way too soon for a double back elbow and a sunset flip to eliminate Martel. Kid immediately tags in Jannetty who sunset flips Bomb for the pin ten seconds after Martel was eliminated. REALLY hot ending here.

Rating: B. I really liked this match as it was fast paced and a ton of fun. If you cut about five minutes from this, it’s a classic. Having Jannetty and the Kid be the survivors was a very nice surprise and it gave the fans something to cheer for. Really liked this one and it puts the show off on the right foot.

Bomb would try to move up the ladder by facing Bret Hart in February of 1994 on Superstars.

Bret Hart vs. Adam Bomb

Former manager Johnny Polo is now on commentary. Bomb quickly slams Bret down but misses an elbow. Three straight clotheslines put Adam on the floor but he pulls Bret out with him. A right hand hits the post though and Bret takes over back inside. Back in and a big boot to the face drops Bret as Owen Hart watches from the entrance. Bomb hammers on Bret before taking his head off with a hard clothesline. Bret makes a quick comeback but misses the middle rope elbow. Bomb’s powerbomb is countered though and the Sharpshooter is good for the submission.

Rating: C. Same idea as the Tito match, albeit with a different ending, and a much better match. Bret was able to drag a good match out of anyone and that’s what he did here. Bomb looked fine as the powerful dragon for Sir Bret to conquer and the match worked fine as a result.

You can’t have a Bret match without a Shawn match. From about a year later, after Bomb has turned face.

Shawn Michaels vs. Adam Bomb

Bomb jumps Shawn during the entrance and kicks him off the top all the way out to the floor. Back in and Shawn pokes Bomb in the eye before hitting a top rope ax handle to take over. Adam blocks a hiptoss though and takes Shawn’s head off with a clothesline for two. Shawn hammers away in the corner to little effect as he misses a splash, allowing Adam to work on the arm.

Back up and Adam slams Shawn down, only to be pulled out to the floor. Shawn dives over the top and hammers away before throwing him back inside for the top rope elbow. This time it’s Shawn being thrown to the floor but missing the slingshot clothesline. Sweet Chin Music is good for the pin.

Rating: C. Another good match here with Bomb showing far better energy as a face than a heel. It’s a good but short match with both guys looking good and Shawn throwing out just enough high spots to keep things interesting. It’s also a nice touch to have Bomb miss a move to allow Shawn to get the pin instead of just beating him.

Later in the year Bomb would face Mabel at the first In Your House in a King of the Ring qualifying match.

King of the Ring Qualifying Match: Mabel vs. Adam Bomb

 

Bomb is about 6’4 and over 300lb but Mabel towers over him at 6’10 and 508lb. Mabel has recently turned heel so he jumps Bomb before the bell rings. A splash in the corner has Bomb in trouble but he comes back with right hands to send Mabel to the floor. Adam dives out onto Mabel and pounds away before sending him back inside for a pair of top rope clotheslines, getting two each. Not that it matters much though as Mabel catches Adam’s cross body and falls down on him (think Mark Henry’s World’s Strongest Slam) for the pin in less than two minutes. Mabel was his usual fat and worthless self here.

Bomb would leave the promotion in August 1995 and hit the indies for a year before heading to WCW in 1997 as Wrath, a huge monster who would join Mortis in his war aganist Glacier. His debut match would be on May 12, 1997 on Nitro.

Scotty Riggs vs. Wrath

Even Scotty Riggs gets pyro. Man how much money did they have to burn at this point? Before the match, James Vandenberg names his monster as Wrath. As for the match, picture any squash between a small pretty boy and a monster that lasts about 40 seconds. That’s the match you get here. Wrath wins it with his double arm Rock Bottom.

As I mentioned he hooked up with Mortis and had a shockingly good match on the July 22, 1997 Nitro.

La Parka/Psychosis vs. Mortis/Wrath

Tonight it’s Hall/Nash vs. Benoit/Flair, presumably for the titles. Before the bell, we cut to the back to see Hennig and Flair talking. Apparently it was supposed to be Hennig coming out earlier when Syxx appeared. Wrath and La Parka start things off with the skeleton man (La Parka) taking over with some kicks. He goes up but jumps into an elbow so it’s off to Psychosis vs. Mortis. Mortis stomps away in the corner but Psychosis breaks free and goes up…..and falls without being touched at all. Ah the perils of live TV.

Psychosis comes back with a dropkick and everyone falls to the floor, where La Parka hits a big corkscrew plancha to the floor. Psychosis slides in to try to dive on Wrath, only to get caught and slammed onto the floor. Mortis suplexes Psychosis back in for two but misses a top rope backsplash. Onoo and Vandenberg get in a fight, as do Wrath and La Parka. Psychosis rolls up Mortis for two but there’s no referee to count. Wrath picks up Psychosis for a powerbomb and Mortis makes it a powerbomb/neckbreaker combo for the pin.

Rating: C+. This was WAY better than you would have expected and got pretty entertaining by the end. The botch was bad but it happens every now and then and there’s almost nothing you can do about it. La Parka and Psychosis didn’t look like jobbers here, but rather a tag team that got beat by a better one. This was a surprisingly fun match and I liked it way more than I was expecting to.

Wrath would be injured in early 1998 before coming back as a new character. He was still called Wrath but would have new attire and go on a big winning streak. One of his biggests tests would be against Meng at Halloween Havoc 1998.

Meng vs. Wrath

The fight starts on the floor with Wrath sending Meng into the steps and taking him down with the flip dive off the apron. They head inside with Wrath getting two off a middle rope clothesline. Meng rolls forward to escape the Meltdown and the Kick of Fear gets two. A gutbuster gets the same but Wrath comes back with knees to the ribs in the corner. Meng gets two more off a belly to back suplex but misses the Death Grip. A Rock Bottom is good for two on Meng before the Meltdown gets the pin for Wrath.

Rating: D+. The match was a decent power brawl and it gets Wrath a his biggest win to date. They’re actually building him up strong and it’s very nice to see for a change. You would think putting the TV Title on him would make sense as Jericho doesn’t need it and the US Title simply wasn’t happening for Wrath at this point.

Unfortunately the injury bug would hit again as Wrath would go down with a knee injury in early 1999 that kept him out of action for a year. He would return in early 2000 under his real name of Bryan Clark as one half of Kronik with Bryan Adams. The team made a bunch of marijuana references such as a finisher called High Times and promos talking about missing flight 420. They dominated the tag team division for awhile, eventually earning a title shot on Nitro on May 15, 2000.

Tag Team Titles: Kronik vs. Shane Douglas/The Wall

Clark was attacked earlier in the night and isn’t 100%. Also Wall is a replacement for Douglas’ regular partner Buff Bagwell. The brawl is on at the bell with Kronik in control. Clark chases Shane to the back but Wall nails Adams with a chokeslam. Wall suplexes Clark through a conveniently placed table at ringside and a backdrop puts Adams onto another table. That’s not good enough for Wall as he splashes Adams through the table. This is one sided despite being a handicap match so far. Kronik gets back in and takes over before chokeslamming Wall through the announce table, giving Adams the pin and the titles.

Rating: D. They somehow managed three table spots in a handicap match for the Tag Team Titles where a guy who wasn’t even champion was pinned for the titles. Did I mention this is deep into Russo time? The match was barely even wrestling and the whole thing was just a mess. I always liked Kronik though.

Kronik would lose the titles soon but get a rematch at Bash at the Beach 2000.

Tag Titles: Perfect Event vs. Kronik

That would be Chuck Palumbo/Shawn Stasiak vs. Adam Bomb/Crush by the way. Stasiak is using Mr. Perfect’s music and is called Perfectshawn. They even feuded. The same happened with Palumbo and Lex Luger. Kronik were made up of weed jokes. This of course is the top tag feud in the company. Kronik had the belts and the Perfect Event “accidently” won them and we’re constantly told that Kronik should destroy the champions here and get the belts back. Great way to build up the champions there guys. Palumbo has a flex bar called the Lex Flexor. You know, so we can be reminded of the guy that he’s imitating and that did the gimmick better.

So the champions are being destroyed here and this is perfectly fine apparently. They try to have Crush (why bother with the real names?) is supposed to be dumped over the top due to heel cheating. It doesn’t work but it’s sold by the announcers anyway. Hey, the champions are actually winning! Tony: “we’re not used to seeing the champions in control like this!” See what I mean here? No title in WCW meant a thing so there was no point to watch feuds to get to a title which meant there was no point to building big matches so there was no point in watching. Another line from Tony: “Amazingly they’re (the champions) in charge!” Could you please stop burying your champions?

The match is barely watchable at best as they’re going through a standard formula but the dynamic is all wrong as the big strong guys are the faces in peril which is completely backwards from what it’s supposed to be. Oh and Kronik could be hired to protect people, which is nothing at all like the Acolyte PROTECTION Agency which was also two big guys that beat people up for money. See with the APA, one guy wasn’t white. Totally different characters entirely. What a silly mistake to make!

Crush uses what we would call an F5 and I say uses in the weakest sense of the word. This is of course a total mess and has no real resemblance of a tag match. Double chokeslam to Stasiak but Palumbo saves. He gets a double shot as well and a Doomsday Device with a powerbomb instead of an electric chair ends it. Oh and the crowd is 16,000 people now instead of about 6,500 like it really is.

Rating: D-. Like I said the dynamic here was completely off. This just did nothing at all and the booking of the champions gave me no reason at all to watch this match. It was FAR too long also at almost fifteen minutes. Yes these guys got 13 minutes or so on PPV, which is longer than Chavo and Juvy, two talented guys, got. See the problem here?

A little over a year later WCW was out of business and Kronik was brought into the WWF as Steven Richards’ hired guns. They would face Undertaker/Kane in a rather infamous match at Unforgiven 2001.

WCW Tag Titles: Kronik vs. Undertaker/Kane

Richards is with Kronik here. The brawl starts on the floor and it’s Adams vs. Taker to officially get us going. Off to Kane who still has a bad arm. Off to Clark with Kronik in control now. Big boot gets two. There are a lot of kicks and punches in this. Kane kind of falls down on a neckbreaker….and then a shoulderbreaker. Taker comes in and works on the arm, hitting Old School.

An armbar goes on but Adams breaks it up. Clark sells the arm so he’s up a few steps already. More punches and kicks from Kronik and they’re not clicking at all. Kronik takes over with double teaming and upgrades their offense with a double shoulder block for two. Off to the chinlock with Adams keeping Taker down. Back to Clark but Taker hits a running DDT and there’s the tag to Kane.

He cleans house and a big boot puts both guys down. A side slam to Clark does the same and Kane loads up a chokeslam. Adams makes the save and we get the rare triple clothesline to put everyone down. Taker comes back in and it all breaks down. He sets for a chokeslam on Clark but Richards comes in for the save. Double chokeslam to Taker is broken up and Kane hits his clothesline and a chokeslam ends Clark to keep the titles on the Brothers.

Rating: D-. This match was voted worst match of the year….and I’m really not sure why. Sure it’s bad but I’ve seen FAR worse matches than this before. Kronik looked as limited as you can be and they would be fired soon after this for the match. They needed more seasoning and the offer was to send them to the minors but they refused and were fired because of it. I don’t get why this was blasted so much because it’s not the worst match I’ve ever seen or really even close to it. I’m sure I could find some worse WCW matches.

Bryan Clark is a guy who had potential if he was used properly. He didn’t work all that well when he was a heel Adam Bomb but was far more effective after the character was turned face. His time as Wrath was the same way. He never quick clicked as the Mortis lackey but thrived as the monster that ran everyone over…..until Kevin Nash just HAD to beat him to set up the Goldberg match and derail everything Wrath had done. I know he’s not the greatest in the world but he’s someone I always liked.

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