October 28, 2008
Matt Peddycord

WCW Clash of the Champions #23
June 16, 1993
Norfolk, VA
The Scope

The current WCW & NWA Champs were as follows:
WCW World Champion: Big Van Vader (3/17/1993)
NWA World Champion: Barry Windham (2/21/1993)
WCW U.S. Champion: vacant (5/15/1993)
WCW/NWA World Tag Team Champions: The Hollywood Blondes (3/2/1993)
WCW World Television Champion: Paul Orndorff (3/2/1993)

Your hosts are Tony Schiavone & Jesse Ventura.

- Dick Slater (w/Paul Orndorff) vs. Ron Simmons

Orndorff was supposed to wrestle Simmons here for the TV belt, but he’s suffered a groin injury. In 1989, Slater took Funk’s bookings against Sting and Flair when he was hurt – including a Clash of the Champions tag match with Muta. Now in 1993, he takes Orndorff’s place while he’s injured. They just don’t need poor Slater, until they need him. The crowd doesn’t really care about the match so much as just getting the chance to piss off Orndorff at ringside by calling him “Paula”. Slater tries to keep it on the mat, but Simmons escapes and a shoulderblock puts him on the floor. Back in, Simmons tries a sunset flip out of a test of strength, but Slater paintbrushes him. Simmons hiptosses Slater out of the corner and goes for the Three-Point Stance. Orndorff grabs Simmons’ foot, allowing Slater to nail him and deliver the Swinging Neckbreaker for two. The heels think they’ve won for some reason, so they celebrate on the apron. Slater turns around into a Standing Powerslam for the three-count. (3:58) So long, Slater. We’ll call you the next time someone gets hurt. ½*

Michael Buffer is here! He gives us his opinion on who will win the tag team titles match. But he’s not paid to think?

- Lord Steven Regal (w/Sir William) vs. Marcus Bagwell

Regal started turning his nose up at the crowd a few weeks back, which signifies a heel turn. “Superstar” Bill Dundee is Sir William. Anybody who enjoys Memphis wrestling knows who he is. They trade arm locks to start, but its Regal who backs Bagwell up against the ropes for some forearm shots. Now he goes after the leg and snapmares Bagwell into the ropes a few times to stretch out the legs. Regal grabs an ankle lock, but Bagwell manages to enziguri out. Just as Bagwell gets to his feet, Regal clips him back down to the mat for more of the ankle lock. Bagwell spins out and makes his big comeback. Regal goes back to the leg, but Bagwell stops him and delivers a backslide for 1-2-NO! He slips away from a slam and rolls up Regal for 1-2-NO! Regal rolls through and hooks the tights for 1-2-3. Ahh, they screwed the finish up. (6:19) BOOYAKA! BOOYAKA! Sorry. Not bad for such a contrast in sucktitude. *

Bischoff interviews Maxx Payne, who has stolen Johnny B. Badd’s “Badd Blaster” confetti gun. He says he wants to give it back because that’s the right thing to do, so Johnny B. Badd comes out and gets SHOT IN THE FACE with the Badd Blaster! That was the BEST! Of course with that outfit Johnny’s wearing, it would give me the impression he gets shot in the face a lot. By that, I mean, he likes the semen in the face. Hopefully at least not with that amount of pressure behind it though. Gross! Anyways, there was supposed to be a Badd/Payne match (which I think is the proper description for what we would all feel if we had to sit through that match), but obviously Badd will not be able to wrestle. Payne prides himself that he beat Johnny B. Badd by forfeit. ??? Tom Zenk comes out to kick his butt. He gets in some Z-Man kicks, but then he takes his shirt off to take the PAYNE KILLER (Fujiwara armbar). Is Z-Man working for WCW security here? That polo shirt seems to say so. This really made me miss the guy.

The Search for Cactus Jack series continues on WCW Saturday Night! This week, he’s “Lost in Cleveland!”

- NWA World Heavyweight Champion Barry Windham vs. 2 Cold Scorpio

On a side note: Scorpio had just returned from the month-long Super Junior round-robin tournament over in Japan. He finished the tournament in a five-way tie for second place alongside such talent as Eddie Guerrero, Dean Malenko, El Samurai and Jushin Liger. Pegasus Kid a.k.a. Chris Benoit ended up winning the whole thing. But back to America. I’m not really sure why they gave Scorpio this title shot here. I don’t really mind that they did because he’s one of my faves of 1993, but it just seems odd. Plus, it’s a huge contrast in styles. You’ve got Barry Windham, the rugged and cocky brawler. And then there’s 2 Cold Scorpio, who’s all over the map busting out his innovative moves. I think everyone knew Flair was getting the belt back though, so I don’t think anyone really thought Scorpio would get the belt here. Michael Buffer tells us to “man our battle stations” during the ring introductions – whatever that means. Real tentative start here. Scorpio tries a Booker T rollup out of the corner, but Windham doesn’t go for it. Scorpio ducks a right hand, so Windham kicks him in the teeth, which causes a face reaction. Guess Norfolk’s not too keen on the strange colored people. Flying Lariat connects, as does a knee drop out of the corner. Windham demands ref Nick Patrick to ask Scorpio if he wants to give it up yet. Hourglass Suplex follows for 1-2-NO! When Scorpio tries to come back, Windham grabs the top rope off a whip and avoids the dropkick. That sets up a DDT for 1-2-NO! Scorpio surprises Windham with an inside cradle for 1-2-NO! Gutwrench suplex gets Windham another two count. Windham then gives Scorpio a hotshot and tosses him out on the floor. Scorpio fires back on the apron and delivers what appeared to be a slingshot Thesz press for 1-2-NO! Windham maintains the control with a standing dropkick and connects with a fireman’s carry slam for 1-2-NO! He begins to cold cock Scorpio now to try and just knock him out since he keeps kicking out. Back suplex gets 1-2-NO! Windham starts to disrespect Scorpio by paintbrushing him, but that just wakes up Scorpio. He counters a fireman’s carry slam into a rollup for 1-2-NO! But Windham explodes to his feet and drills Scorpio with a clothesline. Windham wants another back suplex, but Scorpio flips out and gives Windham one of his own. Windham’s back up and thumbing Scorpio in the eyes. He’s ready to put this guy away, so he sets Scorpio in the corner for the SUPERPLEX. But Scorpio counters and hits the sideways flying bodypress for 1-2-NO! Scorpio delivers a headscissors, but like a dummy, doesn’t capitalize. Once Windham’s on his feet, Scorpio gives him a torso rollup for 1-2-NO! He delivers the Scorpio Twister for 1-2-NO! Now he hits a front missile dropkick! Cover, 1-2-NO! Windham throws Scorpio to the floor, but he lands on his feet and hops back on the apron. He wants a slingshot crossbody, but Windham sees its coming and pops him in the face on the way in the ring. Hahaha. Freakin’ awesome. IMPLANT DDT! It’s over. (14:52) Now THAT’s how you make your audience believe the challenger has a snowball’s chance in hell of winning. Barry Windham, you are fantastic. You are too, Scorpio. ***½

- Sting, Dustin Rhodes & Davey Boy Smith vs. Big Van Vader, Rick Rude & Sid Vicious (w/ Harley Race & Col. Robert Parker)

This was pretty much your “let’s put all our major feuds together in one match” six-man tag. After the controversial ending to the Rhodes/Rude match a month ago, Rude now has the US belt safe in his Halliburton briefcase, making the Halliburton briefcase a gimmick in both major companies in 1993. Sting and Rude start the match and the crowd is going insane. The crowd deflates pretty quickly though thanks to a Sting headlock. This is EXPLOSIVE! Rude backs Sting in the corner and hammers away on his neck, but Sting kicks back and press slams Rude onto an incoming Sid and Vader. They catch Rude and try to throw him back at Sting, but he just avoids that and takes on all three men. Rhodes gets a tag and puts Rude down with a bionic elbow. Vader runs in to splash him, but Dustin moves and Rude takes the blow. DBS and Sid tag in. Davey Boy Smith punches Sid into the face side of town so he can receive the pinball treatment. Sting crotches Sid when he tries to leave through the ring ropes, which is kind of funny. Vader and Rhodes go for a bit. Rhodes pounds Vader in the corner all the way down to the mat. Vader always does that to everyone else, so it gets an easy positive reaction when you see it done to Vader. He then brings Vader out for a suplex! He takes too much time on the top rope though and crashes and burns off an elbow drop. Now Vader delivers a VADER BOMB for 1-2-NO! Rude tags back in and goes after the back with forearms, followed by a suplex for two. Rhodes counters a second suplex with a front suplex, but Sid cuts off the tag. Sid does the kip-up out of the headscissors on the mat and levels Rhodes with a clothesline for two. Vader tags in and gives Rhodes his receipt by boxing him down in the corner. He comes off the middle-rope, but Dustin catches him for a powerslam! This time Rude cuts off the tag and tries for a tombstone piledriver, but Dustin reverses and gives him one of his own. Sid and Vader come in to distract the ref and set up the false tag spot to Sting. This leads to a pier-six brawl. Sting tries that Stinger Splash to Vader on the guardrail, which NEVER works and doesn’t here either. While Sid is with Davey Boy and Sting is down, Vader runs over to a staggered Dustin Rhodes and waffles him with the Halliburton case. Since Rude’s the legal man, he covers for 1-2-3. (11:01) While it was kind of a mess there at the end, the formula stuff was pretty good. Rhodes was always a good face-in-peril, and he carried it off real well. **¾

- WCW/NWA World Tag Team Champions The Hollywood Blondes vs. Ric Flair & Arn Anderson – 2/3 Falls

This is the match the entire Norfolk Scope came to see – Ric Flair making his return to the ring. The crowd erupts immediately as Flair and Anderson walk through the curtain. They get the most out of Buffer tonight, as he does ring introductions for both teams. Arn and Pillman start the match. Pillman goes into full blown cocky heel mode by mocking Flair and then slapping Arn around, only for Arn to fire back. Pillman tries to flip out of the corner off a whip, but AA catches him and drops him throat-first across on the top rope. Arn kicks Pillman over to Austin because he wants Austin. He makes fun of AA’s belly, which is ironic if you look at Austin now. He’s the guy always wearing a t-shirt. Crowd chants “we want Flair”. Well, tonight, they get Flair. In awesome Flair fashion, he immediately pokes Austin in the eyes and backs him into the corner for some good old fashioned chopping. Pillman gets pulled in and chopped down as well. Then he goes back to Austin and destroys him in the Horsemen corner. Meanwhile, Arn trips up Austin while Flair messes around with Pillman and posts the knee a couple times. Of course, the camera is focusing solely on Flair, so we miss some of it. Arn tags and does what Andersons do best – work the arm. Hammerlock slam ensues, followed by a tag to Flair for the Rolling Knee Drop. Back to Arn for more arm work. Flair has too much fun messing with Pillman and distracts the ref long enough for Pillman to choke on Anderson with their towel. Arn manages to break free with a jawbreaker, but Austin comes over and stomps a mudhole in him to keep him down. Arn becomes face-in-peril, which sounds really weird. That carries on for a few minutes. As Anderson starts to crawl to his corner using the ropes, Austin tries to stop him with a running straddle, but AA moves out of the way and hits a DDT! Just as Arn makes the hot tag to Flair, Pillman runs by and clips him from behind on the bad knee. Flair comes off the top rope (it happens when he works face) on Pillman and takes care of the Blondes. Austin gets dumped but comes back in to save Pillman during a ten-count corner punch. With Anderson on the floor, he interrupts a double-team as Flair nails Pillman with a running forearm for 1-2-3! (9:41 Horsemen – 1 Blondes – 0) And the crowd blows the roof off the Scope. Evidently they forgot it was 2/3 falls. Apparently so did Buffer, who just as we cut to commercials, announces Flair and Anderson as the new tag champs.

Second Fall: Flair and Pillman trade chops, but then Flair Flips out to the apron and chops both Pillman and Austin down. Flair takes a second to WOO and that’s all the time Pillman needed to forearm Flair off the apron to the floor. Since he’s there, Austin might as well suplex him on the concrete. I mean, why not. The Blondes continue to do a number on Flair until Arn comes over and scares them away with a chair. Back in, Pillman chokes Flair with the towel again while the ref is with AA. Austin one-ups his game and gives Flair a superplex for 1-2-NO! Austin whips Flair from corner to corner until Flair grabs him by the throat just to get him away from him. Austin cuts off a tag and brings Pillman back in for more chops. Flair chops back, but then it’s a double knockout. HOT TAG TO ANDERSON! Spinebuster to Austin! Pillman breaks up the cover and then clips AA from behind again. Austin covers for 1-2-NO! Pillman tags and goes to work on Anderson’s knee just like Flair would to set up the figure-four. Anderson’s knee is shot, which gets two for Pillman. Austin tags and does more of the same. Anderson kicks Austin away right into a tag to Pillman. He hooks a half crab and in an awesome case of irony from when Anderson and Zbyszko used the same tactic in 1991, Austin pushes Pillman’s head back to gain more leverage on the crab. Pillman lets off the crab and keeps hold of the leg, so Anderson fights up with an enziguri. Austin gets another tag and brings Anderson back to his side of the ring for more punishment on the leg. Pillman comes off the top and catches a boot in the face by Anderson to set up the HOT TAG TO FLAIR! He flies over to the Hollywood Blondes corner with chops. Austin takes a Wahoo chop and then Pillman gets dumped over the top rope, which should be a DQ if the ref had been watching. Flair hits the back suplex on Austin to set up the FIGURE-FOUR! Wait, here comes Barry Windham. He lands right on top of Flair and starts wailing on him to give the Horsemen the win by DQ. (20:41 Horsemen – 2 Blondes – 0) So they don’t get the belts, but they go over the champs twice. This was a sign of the times for the Blondes that their five-month dominance on the tag team scene in WCW would be winding down soon. The match itself was very similar to the Enforcers-Rhodes/Steamboat match at the Clash in the fall of 1991. You basically just have the roles reversed. This was just tons of fun. The crowd was so intense that you knew the wrestlers involved would be able to deliver just on the sheer high from the crowd atmosphere. As the show comes to a close, Flair and Windham get into a sweet pull-apart brawl. ****

Final Thoughts: They went with the original Clash of the Champions format of fewer, longer matches instead of the “let’s fill in as much as possible in two hours and hope they like it” format that had been real hit-and-miss over the past couple years. The first couple matches may come off weak and uninteresting – well, they are weak and uninteresting, yet they’re short enough to not make you want to buy a confetti gun and shoot yourself in the face with it. The last three matches however range from good to awesome by the main event. Maybe 1993 (at least the first half) wasn’t as bad as everyone on the internets said it was. Thumbs up for Clash of the Champions 23.

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