Clash of the Champions XXVI
December 21, 2014
Clash XXVI was held January 27, 1994 from Baton Rouge, Louisiana. The show drew 3200 fans (approx. half of those were paid) and a solid 3.5 rating on TBS. This event marked the debut of Bobby Heenan on the announce team as well as the end of the Dusty Rhodes booking era. Tony Schiavone and Bobby Heenan called the show with the exception of 2 matches in the middle where Gordon Solie sat in for Tony. According to the Wrestling Observer Tony was very ill and suffering a severe back injury at the time and should be credited for managing to call the matches that he did.
On the whole this was not a good show and apart from building up the upcoming Saturday Night TBS TV show did little to promote the pending SuperBrawl IV PPV.
2 Cold Scorpio & Marcus Bagwell vs. Paul Orndorff & Paul Roma: The 2 Cold pairing would be the first of many Bagwell tag teams where he was partnered with someone who was starting to get over in an attempt to get Bagwell over too. Bagwell pinned Roma and I had pegged Roma as the guy to lose during the ring entrances because Roma was sporting the classic what we call in the business the "BooBoo Face" as he walked to the ring. These guys did not work well together so this wasn't very good; it lacked focus and direction. This felt like a match between guys who didn't like each other and had not communicated at all backstage before the match.
Ron Simmons vs. Ice Train: Incredible to think Simmons was World Champ just a few Clashes ago. Here he's in a 3 minute match with a very green rookie. This was pretty terrible. They did stuff for 3 minutes with very little direction and most of what Train did looked bad. Ron picked up a school boy win with a handful of tights.
Steven Regal vs. Dustin Rhodes (TV Title): This was the first match that had a direction and story that built and went somewhere so I quite enjoyed it. That said I suspect many fans today would hate this match and think it no good. There was some good wrestling early, but the story of the match was that the TV Title is defended with a 15 minute time limit and Regal was aware of this and would constantly stall when he got into trouble, in order to retain his title. Everything was done well. I liked Dustin and thought he the better man by the end and hated his Lordship for stalling to retain his title, which he did in a time limit draw, so the story they told worked exactly as planned. In 2014 however this was not a story that would elicit a "This is Awesome" chants from the crowd. If they rematched in a Lumberjack or no time limit match I'd want to see it, which is what wrestling used to be about.
The Nasty Boys vs. Cactus Jack & Max Payne (Non-Title, Nastys were tag champs): This match only went 6:46 but unlike most short matches I was glad this didn't go longer. As it appears to be the theme of this show, this match lacked direction and just felt like 4 guys doing stuff. Max Payne was not a good baby face here and the crowd was not into him much at all, which made things worse. Payne was huge but to me, in the outfit he was wearing, looked like a big fat guy wearing pajama pants and a black t-shirt. I could see him as a heel, and perhaps with a hot angle he could be a babyface, but without any context or story watching this show, there was nothing to make him a baby face here. The finish was the classic: heels cheat behind the ref's back and while the heel that just cheated is being put out, the Baby face does the exact same cheat back, leading to the face victory. Unfortunately the execution was not particularly classic.
Brian Pillman vs. Col. Robert Parker (Chicken suit match): Steve Austin was in Parker's corner (Parker was Steve's manager). Because Parker was a manager so this wasn't technically a great match but Austin worked his ass off on the outside and this was quiet fun. It went just over 5 minutes and Pillman picked up the win. Austin was the star of the match in my opinion. I think this was 3 or 4 straight Clash events where Austin was clearly a stand out performer; the fact that WCW would be firing him soon is just mind blowing.
Ric Flair & Sting vs. Rick Rude & Vader (Elimination match): This match stole the show, but as my friend Jim Cornette would say "it was petty theft". Flair was the WCW Champ and Rude the International World Champ at this point. Sting worked the vast majority of this match having to sell his way through 3 separate heat segments. There were a few rough spots in the match but pretty solid over all. Vader did a sunset flip off the second rope as well as a top rope superplex. The first elimination was a double count out of Flair and Vader. Flair was selling the top rope superplex like an injury on the floor and Vader was on the floor arguing with new WCW commissioner Nick Bockwinkle. This was a very flat finish. We then got a brief single match between Rude and Sting which is never bad. Sting picked up the win over the International Champ, which I assume leads to a title match because Sting is the Champ at the next Clash event.
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