Clash of the Champions XVII
November 12, 2014
Clash of the Champions XVII took place Nov. 19, 1991 from the Savannah Civic Auditorium, and appears to be the first Clash event that didn't have an additional name attached to it. Business seems to be turning around after a string of bad Clashes as well as the live attendance was up to 7000 from 2800 and the rating jumped from a 3.7 to a 4.3.
We had Jim Ross and Tony Schiavone doing play by play at ring side and this event was the show building toward Starrcade Battle Bowl: the Lethal Lottery. I guess Starrcade having two nick names explains this Clash having none. Battle Bowl was a ridiculous concept where the whole show would be randomly drawn tag team matches where the winners all advance to a big Battle Royal. Since none of the matches were "booked" ahead of time there was no way to build to the event so apart from keeping the right people strong and continuing existing feuds there was no direct build to the PPV, no doubt leading to a bad buy rate.
Big Josh vs. Thomas Rich (Lumber Jack Match): No idea why this was a lumber jack match but it was. Thomas Rich was the former Wild Fire Tommy Rich's name after turning heel and joining the York Foundation. Despite the groups suit and tie look and gimmick Thomas Rich was wearing pants the looked like black leather chaps over black and white tiger print Zubaz. Big Josh was Matt Bourne (Doink the Clown from WWE) doing a Lumber Jack gimmick (perhaps that was the reason for the gimmick although this was never mentioned on commentary). I suspect Konnan would be a big fan of this gimmick because one of Bog Josh's trade mark moves was the Log Rolling spot where he would stand on the guy who was laying on the mat and move his feet real fast like he was doing the log rolling gimmick in the water. Terrance Taylor (also of the York Foundation) tripped Rich from the outside leading to Big Josh picking up the win. They set this trip spot up by doing a random Criss Cross spot out of nowhere near the end of this match. WOW this was pretty bad.
Bobby Eaton vs. Fire Breaker Chip: Chip was doing a Fireman gimmick and usually part of a tag team. While I don't think Chip was particularly green at this point in his career, he sure worked like it. Eaton did not look overly excited about having to work with him either. Chip at one point tried this absurdly laid out highspot that he stumbled and looked really clumsy doing. There was a lot of guys at this time in WCW that were trying to get over doing moves rather than being good workers and it was the start of a detrimental trend in the business. Eaton won clean, but this was nothing special.
Next we got another absurd Sting angle. Poor Sting, after that ridiculous Black Scorpion angle they really should have been more careful with what they did with him. Sting had been receiving boxes, which ended up having people in them that jumped out and attacked him. On this show he was to receive his final box, which would reveal who sent them to him. Turned out this last box was an ancient carriage carried by a dozen oiled up dudes in black trunks. Some belly dancing music played and Madusa dressed as an Egyptian girl dances out and caresses Sting and spins him so his back is to the carriage. At this time Lex Luger jumps out of the box and chop blocks Stings knee and destroys his one leg. Sting is then rushed to a medical facility.
When they went to commercial break they plugged the next match as the Diamond Studd vs. The Z-Man but when we get back from the break the skipped this match. I checked my DVD copy of this event and sure enough I have the Studd match but the WWE Network version doesn't.
Steve Austin vs. PN News (TV Title): PN News was announced at 403 1/2 lbs. Not sure why they needed to be that accurate, but they were. Not a whole lot to this match but Austin busted his ass and managed to pull off the win with a little help from his feet on the ropes.
Van Hammer vs. Cactus Jack: We got a Van Hammer video before the match which included clips of him doing his finishing move (Sling Shot suplex) in an empty building, no doubt the power plant. This was a very bad finisher choice for a guy this tall and he never looked good hitting it. Hammer was green and clumsy so this wasn't great. I couldn't believe Cactus laid face down on the mat and allowed Hammer to drop a knee of the tope rope to the back of his head. Jack cheated hitting Hammer with his own guitar but sadly the ref was just standing there watching it and didn't call for a DQ. Jack got the win but Hammer blew his own comeback post match so it all felt pointless. To make it worse Hammer was undefeated up to this point, so they ended his win streak with no fan fair and then didn't bother to protect the guy they had end his streak.
Arn Anderson & Larry Zybyzco vs. Dustin Rhodes & Ricky Steamboat (Tag Titles): The match was originally booked as Dustin and Barry Windham but Barry was hurt and Steamboat was a surprise replacement. The place went crazy for the Steamboat reveal and this match was all kinds of awesome. Wrestling can be so great when it kept simple and executed by people who know what they are doing. Larry and Arn were great veteran heels and they made Ricky look like a million bucks continually being thwarted in their attempts to cut off Steamer. Place was going nuts the whole time. They eventually cut off Steamboat who is one of the greatest selling baby faces this business has ever seen so the match continued to be awesome. Dustin got the hot tag and had tremendous baby face fire so the crowd went nuts again. They didn't do 1000 near falls they just kept the momentum going and Steamboat got tagged in to hit the Cross Body off the top rope to win the Tag Team Titles. The place became unglued. They could have kicked out of a bunch of near falls but there is no way they would have ended on the high they did here. Sometimes you just give the fans their cake and let them eat it too. This was so so so great.
We then got a Paul E. Dangerously promo where he reveals that the contract for the upcoming US Title defense for Sting vs. Rick Rude has a loop whole that states if Sting for any reason fails to show up to the match the Title will be awarded to Rude. Revealing that the Luger attack earlier was in fact a devious Dangerous Alliance plot.
Flyin' Brian vs. Johnny B. Badd(Light Heavyweight Title): The weight limit for Light Heavy is 235 lbs and the announcers put over that Badd had to cut weight to get to the allowed 1 pound over 236 lbs. Crazy when you think about it at least 1/2 of WWE Heavy weights are under this "Cruiserweight" limit. Badd was living up to his last name in this match so it wasn't particularly good. Teddy Long was Badd's manager but distracted the ref after a top rope Sunset flip by Badd, "costing" him the win. Badd then confronts Long leading to a Pillman school boy for the flat finish win. Badd then punches and KO's poor Teddy Long to I guess turn baby face. Johnny B another prime example of a guy trying to get over with a few flashy moves rather than actual skill. This may have been more the fault of the people in charge wanting to push cheap green talent, than the fault of the guys themselves.
Jim Ross did a few hospital updates on the phone with Eric Bischoff, who eventually relayed the contract loop hole news to Sting who commandeered an Ambulance in an attempt to get back to the building in time for his match despite having a very bad knee.
Sting vs. Rick Rude (US Title): This was so great, it was a great story more than a great match but it was awesome just the same. Rude and Dangerously went to the ring expecting to get the default Title victory as Sting arrives at the building in the Ambulance with the leg of his tights cut off and his knee taped. He is franticly trying to get to the ring in time for the match and eventually does and Rude and Dangerously freak out. Both guys were awesome here. Rude was such a great heel and Sting was such a determined fighting baby face. As great as they were Jim Ross deserves so much credit for making this great match AWESOME. His passion and emotion putting over how hard Sting was fighting to overcome his injury was a thing of beauty. It was angles and execution like this with passionate commentary putting it over that made me a wrestling fan. I got goose bumps watching it again. After fighting harder than any fan could ever expect him to, Sting finally succumbed to another chop block to the knee by Rude and lost the match and the Title to Rick Rude. Such an awesome angle, Rude got nuclear heat and Sting looked so heroic. Comparing what Jim Ross did for this match to what commentary contributes to matches today, would be like comparing The Atlantic Ocean to a glass of water.
Lex Luger vs. Rick Steiner (World Title): With no real direction going into the PPV, this match really had no purpose. Harley Race was managing Luger and took a Suplex in this match and was still an awesome bumping machine. The match was fine but never really felt like a top notch World Title match. Match got chaotic at the end leading to Luger picking up the win with a belt shot. This match just couldn't follow the emotion of the previous match.
They went off the air promoting the Arn and Larry were protesting the Title change in their match because the match contract listed Barry Windham not Ricky Steamboat. They said the championship committee was reviewing the complaint and would render a decision and encouraged fans to call the 900 Hotline to find out the fate of the Tag Team Titles.
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