Clash of Champions X

August 28, 2014

It's been a while since I've reviewed an old event but thanks now to the WWE Network, I've got a ton of them at my disposal so I will likely do them a bit more frequently. As most of you should know I'm good friends with Bryan Alvarez from the Wrestling Observer/Figure 4 Weekly website. Bryan does 3 weekly Bryan and Vinny audio shows on the site that I quite enjoy. Every Tuesday they add Bryan's friend Craig to the show and in addition to their regular show reviews review something from the Network. Since I now have the Network I'll be making a point of watching which ever show they pick from the Network each week so that I can follow along. If Craig picks an event, rather than just a TV episode or documentary I'll try to type up an event review like I am this week for WCW's Clash of the Champions X "Texas Shoot out".

Clash X took place February 6/90, a time where I was preparing to start my pro-wrestling training and a completely obsessed fan of the WCW product. I remember this show quite vividly, because it was probably at the peak of my fandom and WCW was my preferred company at the time. Jim Cornette and Jim Ross did commentary for the show, so it was both great insightful commentary (Thanks to Ross) and extremely entertaining (Thanks to Cornette). I looked the event up on Wikipedia and found it interesting the event drew 3000 fans, not great by today's standards, and a 4.5 rating on TBS. When was the last time WWE pulled a 4.5 on television and this was years before the Monday night War.

To fairly judge this show you have to understand what its purpose was. The Clash events, at least at this point in time, where designed to draw a big TV audience for the event, for the purpose of selling the upcoming PPV Event. Wrestle War 90 was coming up February 25th, so this show was the hard sell (Go home show if you will) for that event.

Dr. Death Steve Williams vs. The Samoan Savage (Sam Fatu): Before most of the matches they would have a short vignette which was played right before the guys ring entrance. Dr. Deaths involved him trying to save a guy's life from an apparent heart attack in the back of an ambulance. The dude of course was wearing Zubaz and Williams performing obviously worked chest compressions was hilariously bad. I'm still not sure why a guy named Dr. Death would be trying to save someone's life. Wasn't Dr. Kevorkian also called Dr. Death because he helped people die? The match itself was a simple opener which Dr. Death won with a backslide. By today's standard I've no doubt fans would bury this match for its lack of action, but for 1990 it was a perfectly acceptable opener.

Brian Pillman & The Z Man vs. The Mod Squad: I was a big fan of Pillman and Zenc back in the day. Pillman was that athletic guy my size, who gave me hope I'd be able to make it in wrestling. Both looked good and were good athletes, I loved both of these guys. I did however always hate the Z Man name for Tom Zenk. It was the 1990 equivalent of Mr. JL for Jerry Lynn in my opinion. This was another basic match designed just to give these guys a fun exciting win to build them as contenders in an upcoming US Tag Title tournament, so a success.

Mil Mascaras vs. Cactus Jack Manson (Mick Foley): Boy did this suck and I doubt Mick Foley would argue that point. I assume Mil was brought in, in hopes of selling tickets in the Texas market, which he may have, but boy was this bad. Mil was and I guess still is a legend, but he was a glory hound in this match, wouldn't work with Mick at all, and thus made this match a complete waste of time. This was the match that Mick took the full back bump off the apron to the cement floor in, which I guess was his way of being memorable in this completely forgettable match.

Norman The Lunatic (Mike Shaw) vs. Kevin Sullivan (Falls Count Anywhere): This match was pretty bad too, although I was never into Norman as a character which obviously didn't help. I doubt Sullivan was enamored with this program either, because he pretty much just beat the hell out of poor Norman, until fleeing into the ladies washroom with Norman in pursuit (where the cameras wouldn't go) and stumbling out after a ruckus of noise, to have the referee declare Norman the winner, without us ever seeing the finish. Wow that was bad.

The Road Warriors vs. The Sky Scrapers (Dan Spivey & Mark Callous, yes The Undertaker): I was a huge mark for the Road Warriors so this would have been one of the matches I tuned in for. There wasn't a lot to this match because it was more an angle to sell the PPV than it was a match for this show. Match ended fairly quickly with a DQ and the Sky Scrapers managed to lay the Road Warriors out with repeated chair shots. This was great heat and I remember being so jacked to see the Road Warriors get their revenge at Wrestle War.

Horseman Promo segment: I'm writing this review from memory and Wikipedia doesn't list where on the show this segment was so it may have been earlier on the card but placement doesn't really matter much. The Horsemen were babyfaces at this point (Flair coming off his program with Terry Funk) and consisted of Flair, Sting, Ole & Arn Anderson. Ole did most of the talking here and he did an excellent job explaining the back story. Well enough so that I could follow it 24 yrs later. When Flair turned baby face, Sting had come to his aide, leading to him joining the new baby face version of the Horsemen. At Starrcade a few months previous in a non-title tournament setting Sting had pinned Flair and was recently awarded and accepted a World Title Shot with Flair at Wrestle War. Consistent with Horsemen history this was an unacceptable sin, and Ole was out to explain that Sting needed to give up this Title shot. He said that he and Arn had returned to take Sting out months ago, but Flair had spared him because he had helped Flair out. Because Flair was reasonable he was going to spare Sting the Horsemen beat down as long as he gave up the match. Everyone, especially Ole was phenomenal here. It made perfect sense, it was consistent with everything these guys had ever done in their careers, and it looked and felt real, even to the point where they stood in a huddle with backs to the hard camera through most of it, because it was between them, not part of a fake TV show. Finally after protests and refusals by Sting, Flair threw the first punch to sucker Sting (an important point) and the Horsemen beat down ensured. They gave Sting till the end of the show to cancel the title match or they would end his career for good. This angle was so perfect; it was the kind of thing that made me love wrestling. This was so awesome.

Steiner Brothers vs Doom (Tag Titles vs Masks): This was the real main event of this show. This was the culmination of their angle and the longest match on the card. This was a solid match with 4 big powerful men in their fighting. Scotty was a lot smaller (still big) and so amazingly agile and fast in this match, what an athlete. Finish saw Rick pull Butch Reeds mask of during the match which lead into Reed being distracted and pinned. After the match Ron Simmons unmasked as the other member of Doom. I don't recall if they continued as a team from here or broke off.

Flair, Ole, & Arn vs. Buzz Sawyer, The Dragon Master & The Great Muta (Cage match): Because of the heel turn earlier in the show this ended up being a heel vs. heel match, but that didn't matter as this was really just a back drop for the Sting - Flair angle. They really just fought back and forth until Sting came running from the back and climbed the cage trying to get at Flair. The place went nuts, as referees and baby faces alike try to hold Sting back and keep him out of the match. This was all perfect, and was setting up the big Title switch at Wrestle War except on his second attempt to get into the cage Sting legit blows his knee (I think a torn patella tendon) and has to be pulled from the program. At the time I didn't notice the injury but watching it here it was clear he was hurt bad and those who were out there to "hold him back" were actually holding him up. It looked to me like Sting was supposed to get into the cage perhaps for a DQ finish but after he blew his knee there was just no way. I think someone got word to the ref, and Arn completely out of the blue just DDT'd the Dragon Master and pinned him to end the match. Once the match was over Flair (who likely didn't know Sting was hurt) sprinted from the cage and dove on Sting on the floor. They were separated quickly and Sting was no doubt rushed to the hospital. As I said Sting had to be pulled from the program with Flair and his Title win was delayed, and the magic was never really there again. This was such a shame.

Lance


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