Clash of the Champions XXVIII
January 11, 2015
Clash XXVIII was the first official Hulk Hogan era WCW Clash. He was introduced and did a promo on the last Clash Event but he was Main Eventing on this show as World Champion. This Clash took place August 24, 1994 from Cedar Rapids, Iowa. Live the Event only drew 4200 people with only 3400 of those paid. The building could have held I think 10,000, and was set up for about 6000. While the attendance was not good TV ratings were excellent, pulling a 4.5 rating on TBS (Best since 1990) and the Main Event peaked at a 6.7 rating.
While the ratings were good, feedback for the event in the Wrestling Observer News Letter was more negative than positive. The problem lies in the fact that this was the Hulk Hogan show. The entire show was about him and everything else was not only made out to be secondary but often completely tertiary.
Pretty Wonderful vs. The Nasty Boys: Pretty Wonderful was the team of Pretty Paul Roma & Mr. Wonderful Paul Orndorff, so they may be the originators of the bad amalgamated team names designed to make make-shift tag teams appear to be more than just two single guys thrown together. This wasn't particularly good and the Nasty Boys looked extremely blown up. I think the finish was supposed to be a double pin situation but despite Roma's best effort Knobs just laid on his stomach and would not roll over. Saggs pinned Orndorff, Saggs was not legal but this win over the tag champs would garner them a Tag Title shot down the road.
Next up we got a Hogan promo, or at least we were supposed to. Hogan came out for the interview and was immediately attacked from behind. A mask man ran out with a steel baton and whacked Hogan in the knee. This angle was a direct rip off of the Nancy Kerrigan story from the previous Winter Olympics (Google it if you have to). I hate angles like this in wrestling because I think they make everything look fake and everyone look stupid. It's one thing when a TV show (which is supposed to be made up and fake) pull stories from the news but when wrestling does it I just grown. To make it worse when no one on the show notices or mentions the similarity to a real world Major event, everyone looks clueless and stupid. Hogan was down screaming in pain with everything and everyone in chaos. He is eventually put into an ambulance and taken to a hospital. For those of you following my Clash reviews, you might remember something very similar happening to Sting 2.5 years earlier at Clash XVII. As it plays out, it will be the exact same angle just laid out with less attention to detail, and not to spoil the Main Event, Hogan retaining his title anyway.
Steve Austin vs. Ricky Steamboat (US Title): This was a really great match, which should surprise no one, but through most of it the announcers were taking more about Hulk Hogan and his injury than this US Title match. At one point we even got a split screen so we could see the ambulance that Hogan was in, driving down the street. Yes that's right no actual updated information or anything of significance happening but we cut away from this US Title match to see an ambulance turn a corner and drive down the street. Steamboat picked up the win to capture the title and was never mentioned again.
We then got a very cheesy Honky Tonk Man music video, which made this show feel even more like the new WWF rather than an improved WCW.
Dusty & Dustin Rhodes vs. Terry Funk & Bunk House Buck: Before this match started they showed some of the angle building up to it, including the Dusty Rhodes promo where he announced he would team with his son on this show. This promo was the greatest thing on this show. In case you've been living under a rock for the past 35 years, Dusty Rhodes can talk; the man is awesome. I got goose bumps listening to this promo and almost got a little teary eyed at the end, as well. Long 20 minute promo segments pale in comparison to a man that can give you his heart and soul in 2. Sadly I'm not even sure there is a place in the industry today, with the way it is written, for a promo like this but by God it was awesome. This was not a technical master piece but it was great and the crowd loved it. The heels got DQ'd and we got a post match angle with Meng, to build him up as an indestructible monster. No doubt for Hogan, down the road.
We get lots of Hogan updates including the announcement by WCW Commissioner Nick Bockwinkle that since Hogan was scheduled to defend the title tonight, if he was unable to do so, he would have to forfeit the title to Ric Flair. I have no idea when that rule was put into practise in WCW but it seemed really dumb here. If you remember when WCW did this angle with Sting, it was revealed that Paul E. Dangerously had slipped the forfeit clause into the contract and no one had noticed it, thus putting more heat on the heels and explaining why there had never been a forfeit clause in any other undelivered title match. They didn't even try to offer an explanation of this here. We even had one cut away from the show where Eric Bischoff announced he had no new information or updates. Wow that was worth cutting away for. We were also informed that Air Traffic Control had contacted WCW to inform them that Sting (who was not at this event but watching on TV) had chartered a private jet to fly to the event to either wrestle in Hogan's place or offer whatever help he could. Seriously Air Traffic Control called to provide this update.
Antonio Inoki vs. William Regal: I have no explanation as to why this match even took place. Inoki is a legend in Japan and was presented here more as just a guy. This match felt like it was placed here so something was going on, on the show, while Hogan made his way back to the building. Regal was generally awesome at this point in time, but Inoki was in his 50s and didn't give him much to work with. Inoki won with rear naked choke, to not much fan fare.
Hulk Hogan vs. Ric Flair (WCW Title): Flair was out first teasing that Hogan would have to hand over the title to him, but Hogan accompanied by Brutus Beefcake, who was also at the hospital with him, made his way to the ring. Hogan then proceeded to beat the holy hell out of the Nature Boy for nearly 1/2 the match despite this supposed debilitating injury. Flair eventually got the advantage going after the knee, but the Hulkster continued to fight through and over come, including powering out of the Figure 4 a couple times. Thanks to Sensational Sherri's help from ringside (Beefcake seemed to have left once the match started), and a "career threatening" injury, Ric Flair managed to eke out a Count Out victory over the Hulkster, who retained his title. Michael Buffer of course announced Ric Flair as the winner and New WCW World Champion, because he always made mistakes like that. I guess they never smartened him up to finishes and he just got excited and announced what he thought made sense. Post match Flair and the masked attacker (who looked and moved a lot like Arn Anderson) beat down Hulk until Sting, who I guess just got clearance from Air Traffic Control, ran down for the save. I'm not sure what the hell Beefcake was doing. Brutus went to the Hospital with him, walked him to the ring (while wearing both his own and Hulk Hogan's Fanny Packs) but didn't bother to come out and help his dear friend at the end. You could not stack the deck more in favour of the Nature Boy in this match yet he still failed to win the title. I'm not sure how anyone could possibly care about a rematch. This angle was done so much better when it was done with Sting and Rude at Clash XVII.
If you were a Hulk-a-Maniac you probably really liked this show, if you were a long time WCW fan, probably not so much. It is clear WCW had decided to put all of their eggs in the Hulk Hogan basket, which didn't thrill WCW fans, or the younger talent in WCW, but would lead to something pretty big in a couple of years.
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