Clash of the Champions XIV
October 28, 2014
Clash XIV: Dixie Dynamite took place in Gainesville, GA on January 30, 1991. This was the first Clash after WCW left the NWA and was also the start of a new Booking regime headed by Dusty Rhodes (returning from his Polka Dot run in the WWF), replacing I believe Ole Anderson. If you've been following along with my Clash reviews you should remember that the last two Clashes were very bad. This event drew only 2200 fans and an near record low 3.9 rating on TBS, no doubt as a result of the two previous shows being so bad. That's one things fans often misinterpret a TV rating says more about the overall mood of the product based on previous shows, than it does the quality of the show pulling rating.
This show was an improvement over the previous shows but that really wasn't hard to do and there were really a lot of glorified squash matches on this show. The event was riddled with classic WCW production errors and lack of attention to detail. On commentary we had Jim Ross, and the returning Dusty Rhodes. I'll be curious if Dusty remains on commentary because there were many times on this show where it appeared he said inappropriate things that he had to back track on after likely being told through his headset to do so.
Doom vs. Lex Luger & Sting: I'm pretty sure Doom were the tag team champions but I don't think the titles were on the line. This match was okay but not great, largely due to Lex Luger seeming to be on a different page than his opponents throughout the match. We also got our first classic WCW moment in this bought. Just as this match is getting going it's announced that Lex Luger is getting a US Title match vs. Dan Spivey at the upcoming Wrestle War PPV. Sting and Luger are already a make shift team facing the champs, and now that we now they aren't sticking together and Luger has a singles feud on the go we pretty much know our baby faces aren't winning this one. As it turns out the faces did win this one, but it was for a crappy over the top rope DQ. As soon as Sting got the hot tag Dan Spivey came out and attacked Lex Luger who was still selling on the apron. Sting who was busy kicking ass didn't notice and Spivey laid wasn't to the Total Package. As Sting is running wild he charges towards the ropes, get low bridged and dumped to the floor and the referee calls for the bell and Doom is disqualified and loses the match. We are then told by Dusty that that damn Dan Spivey has just cost Sting and Lex the match with his interference...WHAT? Spivey's interference didn't change anything in the match, Luger was never legal again and furthermore, technically Sting and Luger won!
Z-Man vs Bobby Eaton (TV Title): The WCW stupidity continued in this match. For ring entrances guys would be shown standing on the ramp waiting for their music. Once the music played they would make their way to the ring. For Bobby's entrance we see him standing on the stage, then in a loud booming voice over the sound system we hear a loud "3...2..." count down and then instead of music we hear a loud, obviously fake piped in "Bobby...Bobby" chant playing over the sound system. I have no idea why WCW wanted Bobby Eaton to get a loud Goldberg esque crowd reaction, or why they did such a lousy job of making this come off real. It was also announced before the match that the Z-Man had also just won a contest and was voted WCW's Sexiest Wrestle. Missy Hyatt seems quite pleased with Zenk's level of sexiness, I guess you can't blame her; Zenk was a good looking dude. Match was fun, and Z-Man picked up a win with a backslide that Bobby kicked out of right at two leading to a bit of controversy, which I think led to a rematch on the Saturday Night show.
The Freebirds vs. Tommy Rich & Allen Iron Eagle: AIE was very green and was not ready for this spot, I have no idea why they put this dude on TV, especially with the Renegade Warriors on the show later. Eagle blew several spots including one where he completely no sold Michael Hayes' trade mark left hand punch. The kid just stood there motionless. The announcers tried to save it saying it was a flash KO and the kid was dazed, but not a single fan bought it. Hayes understandable was hot and proceeded to toss the kid outside and whoop the hell out of him. Birds picked up the win, but this was not pretty.
Sid Vicious vs. Joey Maggs: This was a gigantic step up from Sid's fiasco of a match at Clash XIII. They had a rotating platform for Sid's entrance and lit it in such a way that Sid looked like a Greek God. Yeah I know it wasn't just the lighting, but it helped believe me. Maggs was a competent worker, so Sid got a big squash win here and actually looked good. Sid was doing the stretcher gimmick back then so EMTs put Joey on the stretcher, which Sid would dump over at ring side. Fans may not know that Jumping Joey Maggs is no longer with us, so I wanted to mention it here. RIP Joey Maggs.
Terry Taylor vs. Ricky Morton: This was another classic WCW screw up. Earlier in the show they had a promo by Alexandra York (remember she had the laptop and was managing Michael Wallstreet) who said the York Foundation would add a new member tonight. For his ring introduction they announced Terry as "The Computerized Man of the 1990s" the gimmick he would use after he turned heel and joined the York Foundation later in this match. So this was a baby face match and good because both of these guys are great workers. Part way through the match Alexandra York comes out with her computer and we are to wonder who in this match she might be siding with. Gee I wonder. Terry turns heel and picks up the win, and becomes Terrance Taylor "The computerized man of the 1990s" Poor Ricky Morton was the only one in the building who didn't see that one coming.
Ranger Ross vs. El Cubano: I guess since this was during the 1st Gulf War, WCW decided to pull Ranger Ross out again for the Rah Rah USA pro military guy. El Cubano was under a mask and neither of these guys came off very well. Short win for the American. Somewhere in here Dusty did a fiery pro American go Military promo which was great but he must have said something that the higher ups didn't like because after a commercial break he apologized and said he got carried away.
Arn Anderson & Barry Windham vs. Renegade Warriors: This match was okay but not great, which should tell you a lot about the experience level of the Renegade Warriors. This was kept very simple and was as I said fine. The Horesmen picked up the win in a below average tag match, but there wasn't really anything on this show I'd call above average. Highlight in this match was another Dusty moment. Arn had one of the Warriors in a front face lock for a long period of time. I suspect the Renegades were in the minority of people in the building who couldn't tell Arn was trying to set up a false tag. To I guess fill time, Dusty pipes in that (Not an exact quote) "If you at home don't think that front face lock is a real hold get your wife up off the couch and put it on her, she'll break like an old guitar". There is then a long pregnant pause before JR chimes in with a "He said it, not me" yeah... Shortly thereafter Dusty clarifies that he is not suggesting putting a hurting on your women, that you should be protecting her and taking care of her.
Brian Pillman vs. Buddy Lee Parker: This match was just a get over match for Pillman, as were most of the matches on this show. This Clash was building Wrestle War 91 which featured The Horsemen vs. Sting, The Steiners, & Pillman in War Games. Throughout the match Dusty kept referring to Pillman as Tiny, and pointing out that he is the tiniest guy in the War Games match. He would eventually, no doubt after hearing about it over the headset, stopped using the word Tiny, and tried somewhat unsuccessfully get over the "Not the size of the dog in the fight analogy". Just a short match to give Pillman the win.
Missy Hyatt vs. Paul E Dangerously (Arm Wrestling Contest): They referred to Paul as the "Psycho Yuppie" here and he was representing all mankind in this inter-gender battle of the sexes. Missy was the baby face so Paul needed to win and they found the perfect way. Paul is out in a sweat shirt and Missy has spandex on with a nylon warm up jacket on over top. After a little bit of stalling (thankfully not too much) Paul demands Missy quits delaying the battle and slams his elbow down on the table while staring intently down at the table. While he is doing this Missy takes off her jacket revealing a classic late 80s spandex aerobics outfit (Picture Jamie Lee Curtis in the movie Perfect) Missy grabs Paul's hand, the Psycho Yuppie looks up, sees a whole bunch of pretty impressive cleavage and his jaw drops. While Paul E. is mesmerized, Missy slams his hand down for the big win. They didn't over stay their welcome, the Yuppie was humiliated, and Missy looked great, a win of a segment.
Ric Flair vs. Scott Steiner (World Title Match): This is one of the more interesting matches to discuss looking back. This was a time where WCW was looking for their new guy. Jim Herd had decided that Ric Flair was too old, and Scott Steiner was one of the candidates for the next guy. From what I've been told this was a bit of a "let's see if Scotty can hang on his own in a Main Event match". What makes it interesting is a side of the business fans seldom understand. A lot of people think because this sport is "predetermined" it isn't a competitive sport. This is of course completely incorrect. Think about this match, Ric has been told the office doesn't think he can hang at the top anymore and he is working a guy the office thinks might be his replacement. Both of these guys are competing for that top spot, which means they both have motives in this match beyond the agreed upon finish. They need to both work together, make each other look good, while also making sure they look good themselves because Steiner most likely wants that top spot, and Flair very adamantly doesn't want to give his spot up. Think about this for a second. If Flair does is job and makes his opponent look amazing (like he had guys far worse than Scotty for years) he may lose his spot and potentially his job. If Scotty just openly follows Ric's lead and Ric doesn't have Scott's best interests at heart, he could end up looking bad and be deemed not ready for the spot he's being considered for.
This is where the fun and speculation begins. Steiner has done interviews since, out right burying Ric for this match, claiming that Flair cut his legs out from under him. Ric has also commented on the match claiming he did no such thing, which leaves us to speculate. From my vantage point as a guy who has wrestled both of these guys, and seen a ton of their work, I think it's a little bit of both. I think the biggest problem was that they had very contradictory styles. Scotty had been getting over with a more physical style of match that involved some Steiner specific moves, like the Tilt-a-whirl Slam, The Tiger Driver, The Frankensteiner, etc. These moves were a big part of what fans liked about Scott Steiner, and Ric has the bumps he likes to take and is used to running a match his way. Whenever the match felt like it was starting to pick up for Scotty, Ric would cut him off. There were several instances where you could tell Steiner was trying to set up his trademark offense and Ric would block it or shut it down. Ric also dominated a much larger portion of this match than I think any match I've seen him in before. This may have been subconscious, because he was feeling the pressure of the office wanting his run on top to come to an end and wanting to prove them wrong. In any event, Scotty got his legs cut out from under him. It was a decent match but not great,and went to a TV time limit draw. There were very few near falls, and Steiner only managed to get one of his big moves in, which didn't even get us a 2 count as Flair rolled out to the floor immediately after taking it. End result Flair stayed on top and Scotty went back to tag team wrestling with his brother Rick. Make of that what you will.
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