Finally picking up where I left off with WCW 1993.
Clash Of The Champions 23
June 16th 1993
Coming off a bit of a weird Slamboree, we’re back on TBS with another COTC. This looks like fun at only 5 matches. I’ve seen the main event but don’t recall the rest. Ric Flair finally returns to a WCW ring for the first time since 1991. And Jesse The Body is back after missing Slamboree.
Ron Simmons vs Dick Slater
This was meant to be Simmons challenging Paul Orndorff for the TV Title but Mr Wonderful is out injured. That’s shit. He accompanies Slater to the ring anyway, limping all the way as the crowd mock him and hold up ‘Paula’ signs. What a set of bastards in Norfolk. Or “Nor-fork” as Jesse calls it. Anyway, standard stuff here. Typical Worldwide style competitive squash match. And Ron gets the win with the powerslam in less than 5 minutes.
Michael Buffer is here!
Lord Steven Regal vs Marcus Alexander Bagwell
Finally some Regal! Been waiting for this. He actually came into WCW in January as just plain old Steve Regal. A no nonsense technical babyface. Somewhere along the line though, between January and June, he became ‘Lord’ Steven. A pompous, snobby heel. It suited him much better and it’s where things started to really take off for him as he actually had some character now and showed he could do more than just wrestle. He comes out with his manager, Bill Dundee as Sir William, and is wearing a big blue robe. Capetta also informs us that “the Tower of Blackpool” is Regal’s home.
It’s a match that’s here pretty much just for the purposes of spotlighting Regal, as you’d expect. And it does its job. Bagwell mightn’t have been the ideal choice of opponent to showcase Regal’s style. Some of this looks a bit off but it’s decent enough for what it is. Regal’s a sadistic fucker in there as well. On top of all the pretty, technical stuff he’s also got a nasty streak. He gives Bagwell’s knee a bit of a doing over and uses the ropes to his advantage a few times...
I love little things like that. Regal was different to anyone else about in the US at the time. While this is going on, Jesse talks about UK vs US in sports and basically says American Football is for big poofs because of all the padding. He says Rugby is a “real man’s game”. Bagwell makes a bit of a comeback but it’s short-lived and Regal pins him after a roll-up holding the tights which they made a right arse of. Up there with the Owen vs Austin schoolboy at SummerSlam 97 for how crap it looked. Oh well, Regal wins.
Apparently we were meant to get a Johnny B Badd vs Maxx Payne match now. Centred around Payne stealing Johnny’s ‘Badd Blaster’ confetti gun thingybob. Seriously. Anyway, this happens...
And thankfully we’re spared. The match is off because Badd got shot in the face. With confetti. Yes, WCW. We then get Z-Man out confronting Maxx and saying “You almost blew his head off!” Christ 😂 They brawl a bit and a load of refs break it up. Stop the Payne. Please.
Barry Windham (c) vs 2 Cold Scorpio - NWA World Heavyweight Title
OK forget all that, this should get things back on track. I think I did see this years ago as well actually. I remember enjoying it. We get the Michael Buffer intros with both men in the ring. I like it. Makes it feel like a big deal. Windham gets more cheers than 2 Cold during the intros, despite being the dastardly heel. Don’t know if that’s because the Norfolk crowd are a bit racist or just because Windham is the fucking don.
After a bunch of lacklustre NWA Title matches on WCW shows in late 92 and early 93, Windham broke the curse with his quality defence against Arn Anderson at Slamboree. Hopefully he continues that trend here.
They get off to a nice start with Scorpio’s speed appearing to give Big Baz some grief. Windham seems flustered early on. He turns the tide with some heelish tactics and the crowd cheer him more. He properly takes control with a beautiful float-over vertical suplex and a big DDT. Love watching Windham, everything he does looks so smooth. Scorpio actually lands a springboard Lou Thesz press! Don’t recall ever seeing that before. Maybe I haven’t seen this match. Scorpio finally makes a big comeback after reversing Windham’s superplex and hitting a big splash. He’s got Windham reeling big time now.
This gets a close near fall, as does a big missile dropkick. But then on 2 Cold’s next move, Windham catches him mid-dive with a punch and follows up with the leaping DDT for the win.
That was a hell of a match. If you haven’t watched it, watch it. At this point, Windham has well shaken off the NWA title match curse. He’s killed it 2 shows on the trot now.
Sting, British Bulldog & Dustin Rhodes vs Big Van Vader, Sid Vicious & Ravishing Rick Rude - 6 Man Tag
Definitely never seen this before. Didn’t even know it happened but what a star studded match. And look at this for a squad;
Bulldog once again with the pearls of wisdom.
”Well you know, Eric Bischoff. Big Van Vader...is a big man. Sid Vicious is a big man. Rick Rude’s a big man. But right now, you’re looking at the triple threat. The British Bulldog, the Stinger and Dustin Rhodes. We mean business tonight. Come on, step in the squared circle, let’s settle it once and for all.”
The Vader, Sid and Rude dream team might be the most badass of all time. And the sight of Sid holding his hands up for Rude to box them has made my morning.
This is as fun as you’d expect. 15 minutes that just flies by. It’s actually a cool preview of the upcoming Beach Blast show where we’ll see Sting/Bulldog vs Vader/Sid plus Rude vs Rhodes in singles. But yeah, it’s action packed this. Right from the off. It’s cool seeing Dustin kind of get pushed into the mix with the main eventers here and he really goes for it.
Shit like this makes me want to see a Dustin vs Vader singles match. Not sure if that happens on a PPV or Clash in this period but if it does then I’m all over it. He batters Vader and the crowd are buying it. They could’ve easily elevated Dustin into that world title picture at this time. You’d at least think he should’ve got a crack at Barry Windham’s NWA belt given their history.
Anyway, the heels take over and put a beatdown on him as Rude clearly shouts ”YOU AIN’T SHIT, RHODES!” The ref loses control and all hell breaks loose with the 6 men all brawling around the ring. In the chaos, Vader waffles Rhodes with a briefcase and the ref turns around just in time to see Rude making the cover. 123. Chalk another one up for the bad guys.
Hollywood Blondes (c) vs Ric Flair & Arn Anderson - WCW & NWA World Tag Team Titles 2/3 Falls match
Main event time. Haven’t seen this in a good decade at least. The seeds for this were planted on Slick Ric’s ‘A Flair For The Gold’ segment in May, when Austin and Pillman were guests.
Things escalated quickly from there with the Blondes needling and poking fun at the Horsemen constantly over the next few weeks. Most notably their fantastic ‘A Flair For The Old’ bit on Saturday Night.
Their favourite putdowns centred around Flair being old and Anderson being a bit of a fatty.
”The last time I saw a body like that, it had an apple stuffed in its mouth and it was roasting over an open flame.” - Austin to Arn Anderson
This is ace. I love the story of the old school Horsemen facing off with the new cocky young team. And when it’s four of the best ever in the ring even better. Flair is in his element here, back in his role as the big dog down South, and the crowd is loving every second of it. Arn is great as he always was. And the Blondes stepped up to the plate and looked right at home main eventing against two legends. After a strong start from the Horsemen, the Blondes isolate and work over Arn for a stretch. But Austin gets too cocky and it backfires.
This allows him to make the hot tag to Flair, but not before Pillman clips his knee out from under him. Flair comes in and cleans house. He pins Pillman with a flying forearm to take the first fall and the Horsemen are now 1-0 up.
Fall #2 kicks off with Flair and Pillman chopping the absolute fucking shite out of each other. The Blondes eventually wear down Flair though and Austin hits him with a lovely superplex for a 2 count. Arn’s been on the apron nursing the knee but gets the tag. SPINEBUSTER on Austin but Pillman makes the save and takes Arn’s leg out again. Double A is fucked. The Horsemen mount another comeback as Flair tags back in. He slaps the figure four on Austin but Barry Windham runs out and puts a stop to that. The Blondes get disqualified. So the Horsemen win 2-0 but the Blondes still retain the gold because it was a DQ. Screwy finish to an otherwise brilliant match. Windham continues to beat up Flair post-match until Paul Roma makes the save.
Tremendous. Every bit as good as you’d think it would be given who’s involved. It’s just a shame they never continued with a series of matches after this. This was a one time thing. After this, Flair got plugged into the natural rivalry with Windham over the NWA strap and Paul Roma teamed with Arn to continue the thing with the Blondes.
Windham cuts an intense promo on Flair at the end of the show, playing off their past and how Flair left WCW in 1991.
”Ric Flair’s never wanted any of me. He doesn’t want any of me now and he never will. Ric Flair, I’m the world’s heavyweight champion. You walked away from it and I took it. Something you don’t deserve and it belongs to me. You’ve got no guts and you certainly will never be world champion again. I’m the one that took it away and you...”
With that Flair jumped on him and they brawl as the show goes off the air.