We continue our series looking at the history of The Clash of the Champions, taking in part with Clash of Champions XI: Coastal Crush. Held on June 13, 1990, at the McCallister Field House in Charleston, South Carolina in front of 4,100 fans. The show drew a 4.1 rating on TBS.
This is the build to Great American Bash 1990 and to finally get Sting and Ric Flair in the ring after Sting’s injury at the previous Clash in February. There’s some different talent on the roster, some old and some new and it made for an interesting card.
The first match is the Southern Boys (Steve Armstrong & Tracy Smothers) vs. The Fabulous Freebirds (Michael Hayes & Jimmy Garvin). While The Southern Boys were great competitors having a Confederate Flag on your trunks in 2017 would probably not be a good look as they had here. The Freebirds come out the gate quickly by jumping the Southern Boys just as the bell rang. The Birds hold the advantage most of the match until Smothers get the hot tag and cleans house. Smothers rolls up Garvin, but Hayes destroys him with a great clothesline. Armstrong then drops Hayes to the floor and goes to the top and gives Garvin a diving headbutt and drags Smothers on top of Garvin for the big pin, the crowd explodes for the upset win for The Southern Boys!
“Wildfire” Tommy Rich us up next to take on Bam Bam Bigelow w/”The Big Kahuna” Oliver Humperdink. Bigelow is reunited with Humperdink from his WWF days during this brief run in WCW. Sort of a weird match as Rich was the defense for most of the match as Bigelow showed his superior size over Rich. Bigelow then puts Rich in a chokehold but does not let go so referee Nick Patrick has no choice but DQ Bigelow. Bam Bam continues to beat the crap out of Rich after the bell until Humperdink is able to control his monster.
Real cool vignette for the soon to be debuting Big Van Vader is played next:
Then The World’s Largest Athlete El Gigante is brought out by Ring Announcer Gary Michael Capetta, who speaks very nice Spanish.
The third match of the night is the Samoan Swat Team (Fatu & Samoan Savage) vs.Captain Mike Rotunda & “Z Man” Tom Zenk. Apparently, Rotunda is some sort of boater now as he’s wearing a hat and Polo jacket and has an anchor on his trunks. The SST holds the early momentum as they throw Rotunda outside the ring and then Fatu bodyslams him on the floor. Rotunda rebounds once inside the ring and hits a flying clothesline taking out both Samoans. Rotunda makes a quick tag to Zenk but he gets clobbered and hit with a flying splash. Rotunda pulls his ailing partner of the ring to pull a fast one on the referee and it works as he rolls up Fatu for the surprising win. Zenk was one of those guys that they never were too sure what to do with. He had a run with Brian Pillman but now Pillman was becoming a singles star so they put him with Rotunda, for now.
Speaking of Pillman he’s up next as Mean Mark Callous w/Paul E. Dangerously takes on “Flyin” Brian Pillman. Funny how Pillman was more the star here as Mean Mark was still trying to find his role after the ill-fated Skyscrapers fell apart with injuries and contract issues. Pillman hits a flying dropkick off the top and tries to avoid the bigger man. Mean Mark goes for his huge leg drop but misses it. Mean Mark tries to throw Pillman over the top rope but Pillman skins the cat and comes back in nails a flying dropkick off the top as well as a dropkick to Dangerously on the apron. Pillman goes for a bodypress off the middle rope but is caught by Mean Mark and he hits him on a hotshot on the top for the fall. Something seemed a bit off with the finish but a big win for Mean Mark on his way to his first big solo feud with Lex Luger at the upcoming Great American Bash.
An old feud is brought into the 90’s here as U.S. Tag-Team Champions The Midnight Express (Stan Lane & Bobby Eaton) take on The Rock N’ Roll Express (Robert Gibson & Ricky Morton). What more can be said about these two teams? They could battle in 2017 and probably put on a good show. Here in 1990, the Rock n’ Roll Express are still way over with the crowd but maybe have been passed up by such teams as The Steiners, Doom, anetc. As the match continues, Morton throws Eaton into the railing on the outside. Gibson accidentally runs into Morton but The RnR’s rebounds to come back and hit their patented double dropkick and attempt the pin. Lane, however, keeps the referee’s arm from reaching the mat for the three count. The RnR’s think they won the titles, but instead, they only won the match by DQ. Not one of the better matches between these two as it became real sloppy at times, but still cool to see them go at it after a couple year break.
What an amazing theme song for this show:
Match #6 is Barry Windham is set to take on Doug Furnas. Jim Ross is calling Furnas as “The World’s Strongest Man,” yeah not sure about that. Windham recently rejoined the Four Horsemen in May of 1990 along with Sid Vicious. Furnas was not too good at this point in his career. He completely misses a dropkick, but Windham flies out of the ring like he did. Furnas attempts to suplex Windham back into the ring, but it’s reversed into a pinning combination as Windham puts own legs on the ropes for the advantage and the win. Furnas would show up in WWF with Doug LaFon and look much better than he did here years later as part of their tag team combo.
U.S. Heavyweight Champion Lex Luger vs. Sid Vicious. Luger attacks Ole and then Sid jumps Luger. Sid checks on Ole and then Luger drops Sids with a clothesline and that’s it in about 30 seconds. Uh? Okay. That was real odd.
Speaking of odd, Robocop was part of a storyline with Sting in 1990:
Match #8 was for the WCW World Tag-Team Championship as Doom (Ron Simmons & Butch Reed) put their titles on the line against The Steiner Brothers (Rick & Scott). This was a rematch from the Capital Combat PPV in May when Doom won the titles. How good were The Steiners here? Unreal. Cannot stress enough how innovate and energized they were, especially Scott. He executes two fallaway reverse slams but he doesn’t release them like they do today, it was really something to see, amazing. After making the tag to Rick, Doom controls the advantage by throwing Rick over the top rope and onto the ground and into the ring post for good measure. Scotty eventually gets the hot tag and pounces on Doom. Scott delivers a superplex to Simmons but Reed blasts Scott with an “international object” and Simmons grabs the fall to keep the titles on Doom.
“Mr. Wonderful” Paul Orndorff took on Arn Anderson in a non-title TV Championship match. Orndorff had just returned to NWA/WCW in May after his successful run in WWF. Here Orndorff was a face and would be paired up with Luger, Junkyard Dog and The Steiners as “The Dudes with Attitudes” to aid Sting in his feud with The Four Horsemen. Orndorff puts on the figure-four early in the matchup. Anderson gains the upper-hand later in the match with his patented spinebuster. Orndorff tries a springboard off the middle rope but Anderson puts his knees up into the Orndorff’s sternum. Anderson tries a small package, but Orndorff reverses it and nabs the upset win. Orndorff would have a brief run here but would leave WCW, only return in ‘93 and have a much more memorable time until his retirement.
It’s main event time as WCW World Champion Ric Flair w/ Ole Anderson puts his title on the line against The Junkyard Dog. A number of years ago, this would’ve been a great matchup when JYD was in Midsouth Wrestling and was seen as a major player. Sadly in ‘90, the time had passed by JYD, while still very popular, he probably had no purpose being in the match he wasn’t in very good shape and didn’t do much in the ring either. Flair delivers his big chops but JYD is not buying it. Punches to the fast, nothing. Knee to the head, nope. Remember watching this as a kid and actual thought JYD was going to win because JYD was dominating the match. Flair grabs a chair and nailed JYD in the head and still didn’t do anything to the Dog. Anderson and the rest The Four Horsemen had enough of this and bumrush JYD until The Dudes with Attitudes come out and a huge brawl breaks out!
We come back from commercial and um, Rocky King is in the ring with Jim Ross talking trash about The Horsemen.
Sting is back in the ring calling out Flair to come back to the ring and the next thing you know it’s another brawl. Sting finally is paired off with Flair and they start to go at it just as the credits roll and we’re outta time!
This was a far weaker Clash from the previous few, but still an enjoyable show especially the ending sequence with Flair and Sting renewing their soon-to-be legendary rivalry.
You can read all previous ‘Styles Clash: Clash of the Champions Revisited’ here.