WCW Clash Of The Champions XIII: Thanksgiving Thunder
by Scrooge McSuck
- Courtesy of the WWE Network, the 13th Clash of the Champions was originally presented to a television audience on November 20th, 1990 from the Memorial Coliseum in Jacksonville, FL. I guess I fell behind, as this would’ve been a perfect choice for Thanksgivin’ Thumpin’ month, but my memory slipped and I assumed I’ve already covered this (Side Note: I did… so long ago I no longer know where the file is, and it’s probably so out of date and poorly written I wouldn’t consider recycling any of it, either). Jim Ross and Paul E. Dangerously are at ringside to call all the action (11 matches and more!), unless otherwise noted.
- If you’re unfamiliar with WCW programming, I’ll try and paint a picture of what was going on at the time. Sting is the reigning WCW World Heavyweight Champion, but had very little options lined up for him, so WCW, and more specifically Ole Anderson, came up with the idea of a mysterious figure from Sting’s past as his big challenger to carry them through the rest of 1990. UNFORTUNATELY, as we’ll see later in the show, their ideas were juvenile at best, and intelligence insulting at worst, never had a clear plan who the masked man was supposed to be, and the few logical options were either no names or locked up under contract with the competition. Other than that, does it really matter? And people say the Ultimate Warrior’s reign, which ran opposite of Sting’s, was poorly handled and considered a flop.
Opening Match: The Southern Boys vs. The Fabulous Freebirds (w/ Little Richard Marley):
This was originally advertised as a Six-Man Tag Match with “Beautiful” Bobby Eaton (fresh off going solo with the departure of Stan Lane and Jim Cornette) teaming with the Freebirds and El Gigante with the Southern Boys. Little Richard Marley is a goofy name for former jobber Rocky King as a Freebirds lackey. This is the THIRD Clash in a row with this as the opening match. Find a new option, WCW! Smothers and Garvin start. Lockup, Garvin with a side headlock. Criss-cross, Smothers with a hip toss, followed by double dropkicks to both Freebirds. Marley hops on the apron and takes a dropkick as well. Smothers escapes a double team and Armstrong comes off the top with a body press. Smothers with an arm drag and slam to Hayes, followed by a double clothesline. Hayes misses a charge, but recovers to knock Smothers off the apron. Garvin with a pair of slams. Smothers from out of nowhere with a sunset flip, but Garvin remains in control. He heads to the top, only to get slammed off. The Freebirds with a double suplex on Smothers, then Armstrong comes in from the top with a double clothesline. Chaos erupts, Armstrong dives over the top rope with a plancha on Garvin. Meanwhile, Marley trips up Smothers, allowing Hayes to plant him with the DDT for the three count at 4:47. *1/2 Same exact match that these two teams have done every other night, practically spot for spot.
- Tony Schiavone brings out the WCW World Heavyweight Champion, Sting. Almost instantly, eerie music starts playing, and the Black Scorpion cuts a promo over the public address system. Tony Schiavone practically no-selling it is some great, unintentional WCW Comedy. We’ll see more of the Black Scorpion… later tonight.
Flyin’ Brian vs. “Nature Boy” Buddy Landell:
You’d think someone of Pillman’s ability would have a program worth mentioning, but I don’t think he even appeared on a bloated Starrcade card the following month. Ole Anderson really sucked as booker. Landell attacks at the bell and lays him out with a short-arm clothesline. Landell with a cocky pose, allowing Pillman to counter with a sunset flip for two. Pillman with an inside cradle for another two count. Whip, Pillman blocks a hip toss and counters with a back slide. He sends Landell to the ramp with a clothesline, then follows with another from the top rope. He sets up for a Piledriver, but it’s countered with a back drop and he sends Pillman back in the ring with a clothesline. Landell with a knee, knocking Pillman off the apron and into the rail. He accidentally punches the post, but recovers to ram Pillman into it, as well. Back inside, Landell unloads with chops. Pillman reverses a whip to the corner, takes him over with a hip toss, and sends him to the floor with a dropkick. Pillman follows, teasing a plancha, then turning it into a twisting Asai Moonsault! Back inside, Landell regains control and slaps on the abdominal stretch. Yes, he uses the ropes, much to Mr. Rotundo’s delight. Whip to the corner, Pillman goes for a twisting body press, but Landell catches it and counters with a back breaker for a series of near falls. Whip is countered and Pillman with a back drop. Landell tries to go for the Super-Plex, but Pillman fights him down and comes off with the Flying Body Press for the three count at 5:51. *** Too short, but it was non-stop action with great counters and a few decent high spots peppered in. You could tell these two probably worked together a lot around this time.
“The Candyman” Brad Armstrong vs. Big Cat:
Fans might be more familiar with the Big Cat under the name “Mr. Hughes”. Fans from the early-mid 90’s, at least. He’s been out of the wrestling spotlight for a good 15-years. No candy-cane striped tights or throwing candy to the audience tonight… must be WCW’s typical budget cuts. “$3 for CANDY? Screw it, no one will notice.” Lockup into the corner, Armstrong uses his speed advantage to avoid a cheap shot. Lockup #2 and Big Cat shoves him on his ass. Armstrong grabs a headlock and quickly switches to an armbar. Whip to the ropes, Armstrong ducks under a clothesline and connects with a dropkick. Criss-cross and Big Cat catches him with a series of back breakers. He plants Armstrong with a slam, but it only gets two. He continues working the back, doing little of note. There’s our first bearhug of the night. Armstrong avoids a charge and unloads with rights. Fist to the midsection and a dropkick. Big Cat avoids a second dropkick and slaps on the Torture Rack for the submission at 4:31. * Armstrong’s offense always looks good and he’s a great seller, but Big Cat… it’s Mr. Hughes, he’s just not a good wrestler. He looked surprisingly motivated here, but that doesn’t translate into talent.
The Z-Man vs. “Primetime” Brian Lee:
Welcome to squash match hell. Older fans may recognize Brian Lee for his runs in the WWF as the Fake Undertaker and Chainz from the DOA, but here, he’s just a green rookie trying to make Z-Man (Tom Zenk) look good. Excluding his run in the early days of NWA-TNA, has Lee done anything wrestling related since? He seems to disappear for years at a time. Lockup, Lee grabs a headlock and comes off the ropes with a shoulder tackle. Z-Man grabs a headlock, but a shoulder tackle doesn’t work on Lee. Zenk surprises him with an enziguri, barely sold. Whip to the corner, Lee misses a charge and takes a comical bump on a hip toss. Zenk goes up for a blind body press, but Lee is completely out of position, and Zenk just looks stupid. Criss-cross ends with Zenk connecting on a dropkick. Lee with a cheap shot, snapmare, and chinlock. Lee misses another charge, and there’s another awkward spot. Zenk with a slam and missile dropkick for three at 3:12. DUD It was short, but ridiculously bush league with blowing almost every key spot and some of the most obvious spot calling you’ll ever see.
- Speaking of Mr. Rotundo, he’s recently come into money, changed his name LEGALLY to Michael Wallstreet, and hired Ms. Alexandra York to be his personal assistant, who has a computer system that helps identify weaknesses of his opponents and come up with match-winning strategies. And people thought Billy Beane was revolutionizing sports? In a “Because it’s WCW” moment, Rotundo/Wallstreet tells us to watch WCW Saturday Night later in the week to find out why he’s made the transformation… SERIOUSLY. They put him on a Primetime special under a new gimmick and it’s not even clear WHY HE CHANGED GIMMICKS. Anything is better than “Captain” Mike Rotundo, Yacht Enthusiast and Best Friend of Norman (The Lunatic).
Star Blazer vs. Michael Wallstreet (w/ Alexandra York):
I forgot to mention in the previous little rant, Alexandra York is probably better known as Terri Runnels, a.k.a Marlena. Star Blazer is a masked Tim Horner, former tag partner of Brad Armstrong and perennial jobber (Editor's Note: he's also NOT off to Iscandar to save our Mother Earth. Hey-oh!). Lockup and Wallstreet with a waistlock takedown. Lockup #2, and this time he takes Blazer over with a fireman’s carry. He grabs a side headlock and comes off the topes with a shoulder tackle. Criss-cross, Blazer with a hip toss, followed by a pair of dropkicks. Wallstreet stalls while Jim Ross pimps a new WCW Fan Club. Back inside, Star Blazer grabs a headlock, but is quickly thrown to the floor. Back inside, Wallstreet with the abdominal stretch, and you know he’s going to use the ropes for leverage. Blazer counters a suplex with a roll up for a two count Whip to the corner is reversed, Wallstreet meets a boot. Star Blazer with an elbow and scoop slam. Whip to the ropes and he connects with another dropkick. Wallstreet avoids a second dropkick and turns it into a Boston Crab. They trade near falls, blow a spot, and Wallstreet casually finishes with the Wallstreet Crash (Samoan Drop) at 4:15. *1/2 Decent at times, but heatless and the finish just came out of nowhere.
- Gordon Solie is standing by with the WCW Top Ten! First, Tag Teams!
World Tag Team Champions: Doom
(That’s some seriously lacking quality teams. Norman and the Juicer? Horner (who just shows up as Star Blazer) and Candyman? The Master Blasters, who were broken up almost immediately after their turd of a debut? Big Cat and Motor City Madman? Did they even team more than twice?)
- The Steiner Brothers (U.S. Champions)
- Ric Flair & Arn Anderson
- The Nasty Boys
- The Fabulous Freebirds
- Ricky Morton & Tommy Rich
- The Southern Boys
- The Master Blasters
- Tim Horner & The Candyman
- Big Cat & Motor City Madman
- Norman & The Juicer
And now… the Singles Top Ten!
WCW Wold Heavyweight Champion: Sting
(So the Black Scorpion, who’s scheduled for a Title Match at Starrcade, isn’t even a ranked contender? That’s some Boxing Promotion levels of B.S. And really, TERRY TAYLOR, fresh off two years as the fucking Red Rooster is your kayfabe #6 contender? Even fake ranking systems is impossible for WCW to get right.)
- Stan Hansen (U.S. Champion)
- Sid Vicious
- Lex Luger
- Ric Flair
- Arn Anderson (TV Champion)
- Terry Taylor
- Flyin’ Brian
- Michael Wallstreet
- The Z-Man
- “Beautiful” Bobby Eaton
Kalua & The Botswana Beast vs. Col. DeKlerk & Sgt. Krueger:
Pat O’Conner International Tournament Qualifying Match to determine who represents “Africa.” Who thought putting four nobodies in a match on a Clash Special was a good idea? I’ve done some minor digging and no other teams had to “Qualify” for their countries, so somebody, somewhere, thought we had to have one for a couple of fake teams representing Africa. The white guys are heels from Johannesburg, South Africa, and the black guys are the faces from simply “Africa”. Thankfully they aren’t dressed up as uncivilized cannibals slapping their bellies and bellowing at the top of their lungs. Kamala has that trademarked. Krueger and Kalua start, exchanging cheap shots in the ropes. Kalua works the arm of DeKlerk, but gets rolled up into the ropes. They repeat the spot, because someone thought it was cool. When mark crowds from Jacksonville are chanting “Boring”, you’re in trouble. DeKlerk busts out an Asai Moonsault, but it’s sloppy and the crowd doesn’t care about anyone involved. The Beast tags in, looking as if he wants to be anywhere but there. Whip and Beast with a diving clothesline on Krueger. DeKlerk tries his luck. Whip to the corner, and we get another awful blown spot involving a blind flip from the top rope. DeKlerk with double axehandles. He goes up one too many times and gets planted with a Powerslam. Chaos erupts, ending with DeKlerk landing on top of the Beast during a slam attempt, at 4:50. ½* Not good, but it wasn’t bad enough to fall into the negatives.
- Lex Luger Interview. Big Cat tries punking him out, or maybe he’s asking for a job as his personal bodyguard in about 8-months. Good thing he wasn’t wearing sunglasses when Luger gave him that sucker punch!
“The Total Package” Lex Luger vs. The Motor City Madman:
I don’t know anything about the Motor City Madman, other than he’s really big, and he’s not exactly in the best physical condition. Jim Ross tells us this won’t be a pretty wrestling match. Finally, some truth in the broadcast! Luger is looking to regain the United States Championship from Stan Hansen at Starrcade, and the MCM… who cares. Big Cat tries attacking Luger during his entrance, but gets punked out for a second time. The Madman attacks before the bell with clobbering blows. Whip to the ropes, Luger ducks under an elbow and comes back with a body press. Luger with a clothesline and elbow, sending Madman to the ramp. Madman tries to suplex Luger over the top rope, but it’s blocked and countered, almost dropping the Madman on his head. Luger with a slam, but the jumping elbow misses. Whip and Madman with a clothesline, followed by a side slam. Luger counters out of a piledriver position and casually clotheslines him for the three count at 2:35. What was with Luger winning matches on the Clash against larger opponents so quickly and with a simple clothesline (he also did it with Sid at the previous Clash)? DUD Nothing match.
The Renegade Warriors vs. The Nasty Boys:
(Mark & Chris Youngblood vs. Brian Knobbs & Jerry Saggs)
Going by WCW’s Top Ten, the Renegade Warriors are an even worse team than Norman and the Juicer. See the flaws in the ranking system when you use REAL teams that suck instead of make shift teams that have already been phased out? Saggs and Mark Youngblood start. Lockup into the corner and a clean break. Saggs with a cheap shot and forearms. The Nasty’s with a double suplex. Chris with a blind tag and cross body on Knobbs for two. The Youngbloods take turns working the left arm. Saggs tags in, gets taken over with arm drags, and it’s his turn getting the arm worked over. Saggs turns the tide, tossing Mark Youngblood over the top rope. Knobbs follows up, throwing him into the rail. Knobbs with a single-arm DDT. Mark makes the tag, but the referee didn’t see it. Saggs with a shoulder breaker, and suddenly the Steiner Brothers run in, drawing the Disqualification at 4:56, and send the Nasty Boys running. DUD Another match with zero redeeming qualities. Unfortunately the feud was dropped thanks to the Nasty Boys giving notice and going to WWF (I’m assuming they were only under a part-time or verbal agreement to explain the lack of no-compete).
Sid Vicious vs. The Night Stalker:
This should be something. The graphic on-screen reads that Night Stalker is with Ox Baker, but he’s nowhere to be seen. Maybe he borrowed Dennis Stamp’s phone and it didn’t ring so he wasn’t booked. Night Stalker is better known for his runs in WWF as Adam Bomb, and in later day WCW as Wrath and under his real name, Bryan Clarke. This is heel vs. heel, because WCW. They go face-to-face and Night Stalker instantly wants a test-of-strength. Sid obliges. Sid with boots, Night Stalker hits the ropes weakly, and they collide. Night Stalker grabs a bearhug and appears to be having a conversation with Sid, who quickly (but not quickly enough) escapes with an ear smack. Night Stalker quickly reapplies the hold, but Sid escapes with his GOD AWFUL punching. Night Stalker throws knees, allegedly hitting the ribs, but at least one of them whiffed and Sid still sold it like death. Night Stalker is working so light, he might as well be wrestling an egg. Big Cat shows up as Sid comes back with the lone high spot, a back suplex. Night Stalker grabs his GIANT AXE, but misses a charge. Sid grabs it and KO’s Night Stalker with it IN CLEAR VIEW OF THE REFEREE and covers for three to mercifully end this at 3:31. Big Cat tries helping Night Stalker do a post-match beating, but Sid rolls away, selling the ribs. -** This was just terrible. No logic behind the action, sloppy spots, loose work, nonsensical finish… seriously, who thought these two in the same ring was a good idea?
- Tony Schiavone brings out the Fabulous Freebirds, who are still gloating about sending El Gigante back to Argentina. Suddenly the Southern Boys come out, probably to set up another match at the next Clash of the Champions, but instead, El Gigante has found his way out of the crate at the Airport and chases the Freebirds away.
The Steiner Brothers vs. Magnum Force:
Great, another squash match. No idea who Magnum Force is. Sounds like an average, cookie cutter Sci-Fi movie. In case you missed it eight minutes ago, the Steiner Brothers chased off the Nasty Boys. Scott Steiner starts, working the arm of one of the members of Magnum Force. He picks the leg and catches him off the ropes with a tilt-o-whirl slam. MF #2 runs in and gets taken over with a flip powerslam. How did Scott not break his neck doing that spot? Rick comes in and nails him with a signature “Steinerline.” Scott signals for the end and plants him with the Frankensteiner for the easy three count at 1:58. ½* Just a squash match. The Nasty Boys try to attack after the match, but get ran off for a second time. Seriously, what the fuck is with the constant post-match attacks and failures from the heels?
- If this edition of Clash of the Champions didn’t hit a new low yet… it will now. Sting comes out for a “confrontation” with the Black Scorpion, who shows up for what would best be described as a Magic Act intended for grade school children. Seriously, his mind games include the magic curtain trick, spinning someone’s head in a box, and turning the same man into a Tiger. All while Ole Anderson cuts another nonsensical promo about how evil he is and all the bad things he could do. As bad as all this sounds, the best part, the real reason to watch this horrible segment is to look at the expressions on the faces of the fans in attendance. Without much effort, you can see everyone with one of the following looks on their face: 1.) This is hilarious, 2.) this is stupid, and 3.) who gives a shit. The dastardly heel that’s supposed to sell tickets to one of the biggest PPV’s of the year is getting less a reaction than Brian Lee and Night Stalker. Think about that for a second and remember this stuff with the Black Scorpion went on for almost 5 MONTHS.
Butch Reed (w/ Theodore Long & Ron Simmons) vs. Ric Flair (w/ Arn Anderson):
Stipulations du jour: If Butch Reed wins, then Doom and Long get Flair’s limousine and 65-foot yacht. If Flair wins, Teddy Long has to be Flair’s personal chauffer for a day and the team of Flair and Anderson receive a shot at Doom’s World Tag Team Titles (probably at Starrcade). Hmm… those seem to be mighty unbalanced wagers. The participants of this match were determined by a coin toss. Knowing WCW, it was probably a shoot. Lockup to the corner and a clean break. Reed grabs a headlock and comes off the ropes with a shoulder tackle. Flair with a knee to the midsection, followed by chops. They exchange blows, with Reed getting the best of it. Reed with a press slam, followed by a pair of clotheslines, including one sending him over the top rope. Simmons gets some cheap shots in, as I continue to have a hard time determining if Doom are heels or tweeners. Flair tries taking a breather on the ramp, but Reed follows and lays him out with another clothesline. Back in the ring, Flair grabs a headlock. Reed counters with a head scissors, Flair floats over, bridges up, and Reed takes him back down with a back slide for a two count. Reed with mounted punches, followed by a hip toss and dropkick. Flair thumbs the eyes and unloads with rights and kicks to the midsection. Flair with a flurry of rights and chops in the corner. He tosses Reed over the top rope while the referee is distracted, allowing Anderson to get his own cheap shots in. The crowd appeared to be 50/50, but popped hard for that sequence.
Back in the ring, Flair hangs Reed across the top rope. They trade blows in the corner, with Reed again getting the better of the exchange. Whip to the corner, Flair flips to the apron, falls to the floor, and gets nailed by Simmons. Flair regains control, takes Reed over with a snapmare, and drops a knee across the forehead. Flair measures up for a second time, but misses, and REED slaps the Figure-Four on in the center of the ring! Arn helps pull Flair to the ropes, forcing a break. Reed brings Flair back in from the apron with a suplex for a near fall. Reed with a slam, but a second rope elbow misses. Whip to the corner and Reed comes exploding out with a clothesline for another two count. Reed with a press slam. The referee prevents Reed from punching him, allowing Flair to get a cheap shot in, but Long gets Reed’s foot on the ropes to break a pin attempt. Whip and Reed with a back drop. He takes Flair over with another press slam for a two count. Reed to the top rope for a flying shoulder tackle, but the referee is distracted at ringside by Long and Anderson. Reed charges and gets back dropped onto the referee and Long. Simmons lays out Flair, but the camera misses it (I guess it was a clothesline). Anderson in with a chair shot to Reed (to mostly face pops), and Flair covers for three at 14:15. ***1/4 Another example of Flair, who on paper was a no brainer, allowing a tag team worker to get plenty of offense and come across as serious competition. Reed obviously had some cred as a singles worker, but had spent the better part of 18-months as a tag team wrestler.
Final Thoughts: Sandwiched between a pretty good preliminary match between Flyin’ Brian and Buddy Landell and a satisfying Main Event between Ric Flair and Butch Reed is probably the worst hour plus I’ve ever seen (so far) on an episode of Clash of the Champions. 11 matches crammed into such a short time slot means a lot of rushed stuff, but that could be forgiven with a deep roster. This didn’t feature such a thing. With names like Magnum Force, Brian Lee, The Motor City Madman, Night Stalker, and four unknowns fighting to represent Africa in the Pat O’Connor Memorial Tournament, there was too much padding featuring talent that wasn’t ready for the spotlight or were more likely to be seen on a syndicated program doing a 30-second squash job. WCW really had no direction outside of Sting and the Black Scorpion, and that was failing on such colossal levels. While everything is quick, it’s still a poor example of putting together a quality wrestling program. Just skip it.
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