Wednesday, January 12, 2011
Scott Watches Clash of the Champions XIV: Dixie Dynamite
January 30, 1991 from the Georgia Mountains Center in Gainesville, GA, which is, shall we say, an intimate venue. First major WCW show since leaving the NWA officially, not that they'd been calling themselves the NWA much for a good while. Kind of a holding pattern show while things are worked out with all the change. Ole Anderson is out, and Dusty Rhodes is a-comin' in. Bulladawoods!
GMC asks that in support of the troops we join in the singing of our national anthem. Problem is nobody sings. Like, there's not a person here to sing. Just some dudes playing horns. But since this is Georgia, a few do sing, at least quietly. The horn guys fuck it up. THERE'S DUSTY THE SON OF A GUN IS HERE. It's crazy seeing him back, as last I saw of him, it was 1988 and this is 1991, a new year. A new WCW. The same old Jim Herd. Another tired ass booker ready to make a damn mess. And JIM ROSS! So 11 days after he won at the Royal Rumble, Big Dust is back in action in WCW, ringside, getting funky like a monkey. Dusty wastes no time in being all Dusty Rhodes all over the place. TONIGHT! Ric Flair faces Scott Steiner for the world heavyweight championship -- oh, yeah, Flair won the belt back earlier in January after the Black Scorpion disaster.
WCW World Tag Team Title: Doom (c) v. Sting & Lex Luger
This, it strikes me now, is the first Luger/Sting tag match I've had so far. Huh. How about that? Crowd's real hot to start this one, and Sting and Butch Reed have basically already had a better match than the one they had at whatever show that was in '88, I'm not looking it up. Lex and Ron collide twice, so Ron kicks him in the gut and floors him on two shoulder tackles after. A third meets the best Lex Luger clothesline I've ever seen. Dusty is quite adamant that Sting and Luger need to "be offensively." Simmons hotshots Luger. Hey what the fuck! This is the first-ever Clash match, I think, with a commercial break coming in the middle. Dusty hypothesizes that every great football player wants to be a wrestler, so that they can take themselves a little higher in life. Luger and Simmons make a mess out of something at mid-ring with Lex reeling, but instead of getting the tag to Sting, he eats a flying shoulderblock from Reed, which is quite dumb as it knocks Luger into his corner. Good job, BUTCH. Danny Spivey hits ringside to go after Luger (they'll meet at WrestleWar). Meanwhile, Sting hits Doom with a double clothesline, and Doom screws up, and the referee gets bumped, and this is going nuts. Sting gets "tossed" over the top, and Randy Anderson is awake, so it's a DQ. Replays show (without acknowledgment) that Sting basically propelled himself out of the ring, so the finish is a DQ AND it sucks.
When we come back! The...Sexy Wrestler Contest Results. And we're back. Missy announces in the studio that it's the Z-Man. He's still single, ladies. Still.
WCW World Television Title: Z-Man (c) v. Beautiful Bobby
This came about, apparently, between Ole and Dusty, and Z-Man got the belt from Arn, but then Arn won it back (which happened before this), but that title change wasn't televised yet, so here's Z-Man not really as TV champ defending the TV title against Beautiful Bobby. This is one of those matches where I think everyone around knows that the guy they're supposed to be happy about is the inferior. Not a ton of heat for this one, despite the hilarious piped-in chant of BOBBY! BOBBY! during Eaton's entrance. Z-Man barely manages to escape by pinning Eaton with a backslide, even though it appeared for all the world that Eaton got out before three. And they play it up on the replay, I guess to save face for Bobby.
Ms. Alexandra York will reveal the latest member of the York Foundation. Michael Wallstreet has headed for the greener pastures of the WWF.
The Fabulous Freebirds v. Tommy Rich & Allen Iron Eagle
Allen Iron Eagle would be later known as Joe Gomez and he would team with The Renegade and he would make everyone want to go blind. Shockingly, he's even worse here as Allen Iron Eagle. Dusty says he's got what it takes, though. Iron Eagle screws up a blind tag spot from the Freebirds, falling on his ass. Hayes gets a little offense, then blatantly instructs Iron Eagle during a chinlock. Hayes pops him with his signature knockout left hand, but Iron Eagle doesn't sell it, so Hayes shouts, "Fuck!" slaps him on the back, throws him to the floor, and nails him with a couple of chops. Hayes tags out, but gets another shot in on the floor. At this point, they're having to focus on Iron Eagle being a rookie so much that it's just terrible. You'd think that Tommy Rich might have called the kid over and tried to save this total travesty of a match, but Rich couldn't give a fuck. Jesus, Iron Eagle doesn't even sell a kick when Hayes breaks up a sunset flip. Iron Eagle basically does nothing right this entire match. Hot tag to Tommy Rich is missed by the referee, and Iron Eagle gets DDT'd for the finish. The sweet, merciful finish.
Tony and Paul E. are off somewhere else in the building doing stuff. JR and Dusty are on most of the screen, and Dusty is going to address Paul's claim to being intergender arm wrestling -- wait, no, he's just going to call him a fag. Well this was some segment.
Sid Vicious v. Jumpin' Joey Maggs
When I was a kid I had a friend who either really liked Joey Maggs or was well ahead of that hip irony train. I really never could tell. But I do know that by the 96-98 hot streak where we all admitted to liking wrestling again, he and I often would name-drop Jumpin' Joey Maggs and most people didn't know who the fuck we were talking about. Sid lifts him up in a choke, then clotheslines him. Then he pulls his hair, and then he forearms him in the back. Another one of those, then a clothesline to the back of the head. Big ol' power bomb, and Sid's EMTs get to work tonight.
Tony has Sid after they get back from the break. TONYIMASKYASOMETHIN. CAN YOU SMELL IT? CAN YOU SMELL THE FEAR? THE FEAR THAT'S IN EVERYBODY'S MIND WHEN THEY WOKE AND THEY GETTINTHA RING? In 1991, Sid has a goal.
Ricky Morton v. Terry Taylor
GMC announces Taylor as "The Computerized Man of the 1990s," which wasn't in effect until after this match, though Ms. York earlier did say she already had her choice, so maybe the York Foundation's press secretary relayed that to Gary. Taylor holds what looks like the least attentive side headlock ever. He's, like, looking around and stuff. These two have the sort of sound, solid match you'd expect, with Taylor trying to pepper in a little bit of heelish attitude here and there. Ms. York is now ringside, and there are pre-recorded comments in the box. In the box, she announces it's Terry Taylor. That's different. It should be said that Terri was really good in this role, though frankly I always thought she was pretty good. She was sort of like a Missy Hyatt who had actual ability to manage and be involved in things instead of just stand there and poke her tits at everyone, not that Terri failed to poke (literally) her tits around, too. But who am I to argue with tit-poking? Will I lie and say I don't want to see some babes here and there? Of course not. That's stupid. I don't want to see the Fabulous fucking Moolah. She sucked anyway. What did she ever do? GTFO. BFD. Although I will say she seems like a funny old broad and I would listen to her tell stories all day. Morton basically beats himself by missing on a dropkick and hitting the ropes. I'm not certain how that was supposed to get anyone over, but OK.
Clips of the Japanese ladies coming to PPV.
Bill Apter gives Sting the 1990 Wrestler of the Year award. What a load of shit. Sting was active for half the year. JR says Dusty won the award many times, which I thought was a fib, but he in fact did win it in both 1977 and 1978. Back from that, and Dusty Rhodes goes back to loving the troops, cutting a watered-down version of one of his old promos. Oh, they handed out flags.
Ranger Ross v. El Cubano
Hey just in time! Ranger Ross is back to capitalize on patriotism. OH LOOK IT'S A MASKED CUBAN. Wikipedia says it's Fidel Sierra, but who the fuck knows? I don't remember Sierra ever seeming this dumpy. Ranger Ross is in the box to wish all the best to the soldiers in the middle of the east. This is your usual Ranger Ross crapfest, as he attempts to sell for a couple minutes to zero crowd reaction, including a few people whistling super loud. Since this sucks, here's the Cuban Assassin's web page. Make sure you have your speakers turned UP. Ross wins, of course, and it's a truly terrible match. Ranger Ross was about as uncoordinated a wrestler as ever got to win on TV for the big two.
Arn Anderson & Barry Windham v. The Renegade Warriors
Oh, Jesus. More of these fuckin' guys? Dusty makes it clear early in this match's commentary that he can still kick Arn Anderson's ass. The Youngbloods get some offense in and Arn makes one of his hilarious faces. This is remarkably too competitive given that it's the fucking Renegade Warriors. One of them sort of reminds me of a fat Los Lonely Boys. The thing that makes this tolerable is that Arn and Barry are so good at bumping around for inferiors, but you still can't help but notice HOW inferior. "The Horsemen know how Custer feels -- or felt," says Jim Ross. Custer was a cunt! The end. Windham gets a superplex on one of them and Arn pins him. Didn't exactly make the Horsemen look strong, but oh well. Best Renegade Warriors match so far, at least!
Tony hypes Stan Hansen-Big Van Vader for WrestleWar, with footage from Japan. Now Stan is here to yell about it. I guess that's something to look forward to, as the rest of '91 is a fucking buzzkill and a half. Tony, as always, is quite disgusted by Stan. Hansen takes a shit on American wrestling and their perty boys and perty guys who paint their face up. Not in Japan, says Stan. In Japan, they want real men. Real men like Razor Ramon Hard Gay.
Flyin' Brian v. Sgt. Buddy Lee Parker
Hey it's another TV mismatch. I think Pillman being used properly might be the single greatest upside of Dusty replacing Ole. Here he faces the man behind the great legacy of the WCW Power Plant, and all the studs it produced. Dusty really puts Pillman over on commentary, because JR needs help rubbing Pillman off verbally. Dusty wonders what this other guy's name is. It's fun to be a booker. Brian throws a Stan Lane-esque kick, getting hip-high with authority. Dusty just said "my daughter Cody" -- wuh-oh! Brian springboards out to the ramp, then finishes Parker with a flying crossbody.
"And fans, when we come back, we're going to arm-wrestle."
Yes we are.
Arm Wrestling: Paul E. Dangerously v. Missy Hyatt
Country D.J. of the Year Rhubarb Jones is handling the ring announcements. He's pretty good. Missy's tits spellbind Paul E., so she wins.
Here's a strange clip of Lawrence Taylor, Ric Flair, Barry Windham, Ms. York, the departed Michael Wallstreet, and Kevin Sullivan and Woman who haven't been on TV forever drinking wine spritzers together.
WCW World Heavyweight Title: Ric Flair (c) v. Scott Steiner
Flair is back on top, but with a new spiffy haircut. That really is just the fucking worst goddamned haircut. Hiro Matsuda is here, but this isn't '89 so he won't be backing Flair. The winner of this one takes on Tatsumi Fujinami in Tokyo on March 21. El Gigante is also here, as if anyone gives a fuck.
The legend is that Flair and Dusty both wanted Scott to win, but Scott declined because he didn't want to break up the tag team, fearing Rick would get lost in the shuffle. Or so the story goes. Beats the shit outta me. My backlog of Observers doesn't have any of those issues.
This is a hell of a match, but probably in some ways disappointing, though that shouldn't be the case, and I can't say it's disappointing to me, so I probably shouldn't have even bothered calling it that. It's just that Scott is clearly not used to working a long singles match, and as good as he is, he's obviously out of his element. Plus, Flair being old (in 1991) and having that old bad back means that Scotty can't break out much of his high-impact, suplex-based offense, because Flair can't roll with that. This is a meeting of generations. Flair came up the traditional way, and Steiner had a little of that, but really just very little before he was set loose and encouraged to be the nasty son of a bitch he really is. So it feels like this great cagey veteran neutralizing the explosive younger man, because the only other explanation for Scott not doing his usual stuff is "Flair can't take that shit, are you kidding?" So Flair tries to drag a Steamboat-type match out of Scott, and Scott just isn't Steamboat. Scott clotheslines Flair over the top to the floor and Nick Patrick doesn't call the DQ, so JR and Dusty try to explain that away given that that would be a DQ if that was the finish of the match, but since it isn't, it ain't. Judgment call indeed. They go to a time-limit draw, with the idea that Scott definitely showcases himself as an emerging contender, and he does. But Scott wouldn't get back into the singles main events until he was a bloated, grotesque shell of his former self, thanks to a bad injury later in the year, which led to more and more injuries over what should have been his incredible years. Flair, to his credit, does take the double-underhook power bomb late in the match, made all the more impressive because it took as long as it did for that to come into play. The finish sort of sucks as Scott is clearly lackadaisical while GMC is shouting about 10 seconds remaining, then the final second lasts an eternity so that Scott can get a two-count on a belly-to-belly.