Clash of the Champions XVIII
November 16, 2014
Clash XVIII took place January 21, 1992, and continues the string of un-named Clash events. The show was from Topeka Kansas and drew 5500 people live and a 3.7 rating on TBS. Both numbers were a decent drop from the previous Clash. The event was focused around the Dangerous Alliance (WCW's new heel faction) and was building towards the SuperBrawl II PPV event, which would be headlined by Lex Luger defending the WCW World Title against Sting. I believe Luger would then be heading to the WBF (Vince McMahon's ill-fated Body Building League).
Jim Ross and Tony Schiavone, were calling the action with Eric Bischoff and Missy Hyatt covering interviews etc. Jesse Ventura would be introduced later in the show by K. Allen Fry who was the new guy in charge in WCW. Jesse would call the main event with his full time addition to the broadcast starting at SuperBrawl.
The Steiners vs. Big Van Vader & Mr. Hughes: This wasn't a great match but it was fun to watch. Vader and Hughes were huge guys and the Steiners suplexed them all over the place. Vader took an Overhead Belly to Belly SuperPlex from Rick Steiner and Hughes took an insanely high back body drop as well. Hughes wrestled the entire match wearing sunglass, a tie, and suspenders. Steiners won the match clean and were being pushed towards challenging Anderson and Eaton for the World Tag Titles in the future.
Terry Taylor & Tracy Smothers vs. Brian Pillman & Marcus Alexander Bagwell: Such a Hodge Podge tag match. Tracey was in full Young Pistols gear and full heel, while Terry was in a tuxedo (wrestled in trunks) and now billed as The Taylor Made Man or perhaps that should be Tailor Made Man, I really don't know. Terry no longer with the York Foundation which I assume has already been disbanded. Bagwell was pushed as The Rookie , which he lived up to by being extremely green and not particularly good. At one point Bagwell and Pillman did stereo Planchas where Bagwell dove practically headfirst straight into the floor. According to Wikipedia this was originally scheduled as a 6-man match that didn't include Taylor or Bagwell, which may explain why this match wasn't much. Pillman picked up the win.
Johnny B Badd vs. Richard Morton: Morton no longer with the York Foundation but still a heel, which is unfortunate because he's so great as a baby face. Badd is still pretty green and this match isn't much. A clumsy finish out of nowhere when Badd rolled through a cross body, got tangled up in the ropes. Finish got no reaction. There were a lot of out of nowhere flat clumsy finishes on this show.
PN News vs. DDP: News was introduced at only 302 lbs so I guess he dropped that 1/2 lb from the previous class. Page was super green here having recently made the transition from manager to wrestler. PN did a brief rap before the match, which was relatively over but I'm not sure the same can be said about the match. The match was short and pretty uneventful, News picked up the win with his Rap Master Splash off the top. I think my favourite part of this whole thing was hearing Page do his old trademarked, GOD GAWD!
Cactus Jack vs. Van Hammer (Falls Count Anywhere): Hammer still quite green, but certainly gung ho. They brawled all over the place including outside the building into a rodeo are. Crazy bumps by Cactus include doing a sunset flip off the second rope to the floor on concrete (absolutely nuts), and getting hip tossed off the ramp onto the cement floor. After brawling out to the live stock area, Abdullah the Butcher showed up and whacked Hammer in the back with a shovel allowing Cactus to pick up the win. The Announcers put over that Abby was aiming for Jack but it didn't really look that way. Abby and Jack brawled after the match and at one point Abby grabbed Missy Hyatt (who was helping broadcast from outside) and dumped her in a huge water trough. I believe this was a rib and not a planned spot, but either way Missy sold it for the cameras for a while like a trooper.
The Freebirds vs. Big Josh & Brad Armstrong: Freebirds were baby faces and debuting new ring music, which they both sang. The entrance with the song may have been longer than the match and the song was not getting over. I'm not sure the song was all that bad, but it wasn't Bad Street, which is one of the greatest songs ever. The Freebirds were not particularly good as baby faces and facing another face team did not make for a very good match. Freebirds picked up the win after a double DDT behind the ref's back, so hopefully this was the start of a heel turn. Another clunky match.
Vinnie Vegas vs. Thomas Rich: Vinnie Vegas was Kevin Nash saddled with yet another dumb gimmick. If you count both tag partners in the Master Blasters tag team attempts, this was WCW's 5th attempt to get this guy over. Why WCW thought this 6' 10" guy with a lot of natural charisma and personality needed a silly gimmick is beyond me. He was green, he just needed a mentor and experience working house show, rather than exposing him on TV as a green guy who didn't know what he was doing yet.
Dustin Rhodes, Barry Windham, Ron Simmons vs. Larry Zbyszko, Arn Anderson, Bobby Eaton: This match just never really came together in my opinion. There were some good moments but it never felt like it found its full direction. Finish felt like it came out of nowhere too, which didn't help. So much talent in this match too, perhaps it was a case of too many cooks, so the recipe didn't quiet mesh properly. I think Barry pinned Bobby Eaton.
Steve Austin & Rick Rude vs. Ricky Steamboat & Sting: Jesse Ventura was out on commentary with Jim Ross for this main event. This was an odd match; we had the top 4 singles contenders in a tag match. Rude and Sting had heat from their singles feud but the match itself didn't really have a purpose. It was so weird listening to Jim Ross call a Steve Austin match without referring to him as Stone Cold, although I suppose no weirder than seeing Austin with long blonde hair. Like many of the matches on this show it just didn't feel like there was a direction or purpose to this match. There were some good moments but in the end this match was a let down and the finish was terrible. They looked like they were trying to set up Sting doing the run down the ramp, dive over the ropes into a cross body spot, but Sting just walked back to the ring and did a standard cross body off the top rope. I suppose it wasn't actually standard because Austin had Steamboat picked up for a slam at the time and Sting cross bodied them both and the ref counted the pin despite both baby faces covering poor Austin. Heels did a post match beat down, focused mostly on Rude beating Steamer so perhaps that was the next US Title defense for Rude.
I suspect this was a transition show, getting out of the previous regime and into the Kip Fry era, because this show seemed to really lack direction. There were a bunch of matches that just felt thrown together especially when it came to finishes. They pushed the pending Luger - Sting match, The Steiners as top tag contenders, and the Dangerous Alliance as a group and not much else. This was one of the few Clashes that didn't at least have 1 really great match. A big step down in enjoyment for me from Clash XVII.
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