Clash of the Champions XXVII

December 28, 2014

Clash XXVII took place June 23, 1994 in Charleston, SC. The show drew 6,700 fans, 4,000 of which were paid, and a 3.0 rating on TBS. The gate and the rating were huge disappointments. According to the Wrestling Observer the building was set up for 11,000 so they had to paper the crowd to even half fill the place. The 3.0 rating was also the 4th lowest Clash rating in history. These numbers were particularly disappointing because this Clash was to start the Hogan era of WCW with his Clash debut (appearance only, not a match) and the show was headlined by a huge Title Unification match.

These disappointing numbers may have been due to a colossal WCW screw up more than due to lack of interest in the show however. Again according to the Wrestling Observer, the week before this event WCW screwed up big time by airing the wrong Event Centre segment on Television. Instead of airing the pre-Clash hype segment they aired to post-Clash recap segment and gave away the finish of 3 of the 4 title matches including the result of the Title Unification Main Event, and post match angle with Hogan. There is a good chance people no longer cared to see a show that they knew the results to, or perhaps also too loyal WCW fans didn't want to see their beloved WCW become the Hulk Hogan show.

Cactus Jack & Kevin Sullivan vs. The Nasty Boys (Tag Titles): This match was real bad. It was pretty much just a brawl but it was one of the sloppiest I've ever seen. At several points when brawling the guy taking the bump would do so and land on the guy who hit him's legs knocking that guy over too. Seriously guys were falling down a lot in this match. Finish was a complete cluster with Sullivan, Saggs, and Evad (I'm dyslexic) Sullivan brawling on the floor while Cactus hits Knobs with his Double Arm DDT for the finish to retain the titles, that was almost completely missed on camera. As much of a cluster as this match was, the weirdest thing about it was seeing Kevin Sullivan getting a fiery baby face hot tag.

Guardian Angel vs. Tex Slazenger: Guardian was the repackaged Bossman, and Tex would later become a Pig Farmer and eventually Naked Mideon. This was just a 2 minute squash match to get over the new Baby face Guardian gimmick. Highlight was Guardian hitting the Bossman slam for the finish and Schiavone calling the move a Spike Pile Driver at the top of his lungs. WTF?

Next up we got the Hogan motorcade arriving at the building from the airport. I understand the idea of these arrivals building anticipation but I find them stupid. If this event was a big deal you'd think WCW would book Hogan's private jet to arrive during the day to ensure he'd be at the building before the event started. Movie Stars arrive early for talk show appearances that are taped, but Hogan can't bother being here early for a Live Clash of Champions event.

Steven Regal vs. Larry Zbyszko (TV Title): Perhaps if I'd watched the TV to build up this event I'd have enjoyed it more but so far I've had baby face Kevin Sullivan, baby face Big Bossman, and now baby face Larry Zbyszko. All talented workers in their own right, but terribly miscast here in my opinion. At the last Clash Regal's whole game plan was trying to stale out the shorter 15 min TV Title time limit, but in this match no reference to the time limit was ever made. This was pretty much just a fight, that was at least far less clumsy that the tag but had a pretty weak finish. Larry had his Lordship in a Boston Crab, which Regal pushed out of and then grabbed the ropes for the pin. Larry also had his foot in the ropes during the pin. It seemed extra weak because Steven Regal had kicked out of a Pile Driver less than a minute earlier. The finish just felt like a completely indecisive meaningless ending.

Steve Austin vs. Johnny B. Badd (US Title): Austin worked hard but this wasn't very good and the finish was worse than in the previous match. Austin pulled a gimmick out of his trunks and punched Badd in the stomach and then pinned him. Austin then hid the gimmick under his arm, and when a second ref raised his arm in victory the object fell out. There was a lot of confusion and we were told we'd get an official ruling on the match, which we never did. According to the Wrestling Observer it was announced on a later TV show that Austin retained the title via DQ. Very forgettable, which is rare for an Austin match.

We then got a Hogan interview Live in the arena, which the crowd predominantly booed. This shouldn't have been a surprise since WCW was built on fans that didn't care for the WWF Hulk Hogan style of wrestling. Hogan did a brief promo building to a match with Flair, further stooging off the finish to the main event. If I was Sting I'd have been furious.

Ric Flair vs. Sting (WCW World Title vs. International World Title): Amazing how history repeats itself. WCW had split World Titles, which for the most part just confused fans and led to each title meaning a little bit less. They then unified them in a match that should have been built up so much more, but was just thrown out there and then they just moved on. Sound familiar at all? They had Sensual Sherri out there teasing who she would be with. She came out wearing Sting face paint so the announcers assumed she was with Sting, and probably everyone else assumed she was with Flair (It's not like Russo invented the swerve). Match was real good, freak'n fantastic compared to everything else on the show. These two guys were made for each other. In the end Sting went for his big dive over the top rope to the floor (he did this a fair bit before the Crow Sting gimmick) Flair moved and pulled Sherri into Sting's way. Sting completely wiped out poor Sherri (This was easily 10 times the bump Elizabeth took from Savage in the Main Event match where the Mega Powers imploded, which I just watched on the Network). Sting was concerned for Sherri, and his concern led to him turning his back in the ring and Flair rolled him up with a hand full of tights. A very weak finish. Post match Sherri and Flair hugged and then beat the hell out of Sting leading to a Hulk Hogan run in for the save. Hogan cleared the ring, we never saw Sting again, Hogan's music played and the show went off the air with Hogan standing tall in the middle of the ring. I didn't notice any carpet at ringside, but Sting was quickly swept underneath it just the same.

As a long time fan of WCW as an alternative wrestling product to the Hulk Hogan WWF style Sports Entertainment product, this was very sad to watch. I suspect many in the crowd felt the same way. On the whole this was not a good show. 3 poorly booked matches with weak finishes underneath, a squash match, and then a great main event, which was quickly swept aside to make room for the Hulk Hogan show. This would obviously lead to big things eventually but for the next couple years, it would be sad times for traditional WCW fans.

Lance Storm

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