We continue our series looking at the history of the Clash of the Champions, taking in part with Clash of Champions XII: Mountain Madness/Fall Brawl. Held on September 5, 1990, at the Asheville Civic Center in Asheville, North Carolina in front of 4,000 fans. The show drew a 5.0 rating on TBS.
This Clash was built around Sting finally becoming World Champion at Great American Bash 1990 by defeating Ric Flair in an amazing match and into his first feud with the mysterious Black Scorpion. The Scorpion claimed to be from Sting’s past, dropping clues with creepy voiceovers during matches and weird gifts. This mystery went on for months, fans would speculate who this guy could be. The clues like “Venice Beach Gym” and “Tulsa” made you think that maybe it was Sting’s former partner; The Ultimate Warrior. Some of the execution was a bit cheesy, but for the most part, it was done very well and had fans intrigued.
We kick things off with a rematch from the last Clash with The Fabulous Freebirds (Michael “PS” Hayes & Jimmy “Jam” Garvin) w/Buddy “E. Lee” Roberts vs. The Southern Boys (Steve Armstrong & Tracy Smothers) w/”Bullet” Bob Armstrong.
This was scheduled to be a six-man tag match but Roberts had injured his arm so it would stay as a traditional tag tilt. This has been a pretty heated rivalry between these two as they had gone back and forth for a couple months now including a best of three series played out on weekly TV. The Southern Boys start out on the offense and drove The Birds to the floor where they regroup with the help of Roberts. The Birds then gained the upper hand as Hayes nailed Smothers with a real nice bulldog, he executed the move as good as anyone. Momentum shifts as Smothers made the diving tag to Armstrong who backdrops and dropkicks both Birds. Roberts attempts to get involved as does Bullet Bob who nails Hayes with a big swing right punch. Roberts tries to throw an “International Object” to his Bird Boys but misses allowing the Southern Boys to simultaneously deliver sunset flips for the winning pinfall! Another big win for The Southern Boys, in a hot opener.
Tony Schiavone is in the back interviewing the new U.S. tag-team Champions, The Steiner Brothers. They talk about their unknown opponents; Maximum Overdrive.
The second match of the night is “Nature Boy” Buddy Landel vs. Captain Mike Rotunda. Landel gives a shout out to Sebastian Bach of the big 90’s rock group, Skid Row so there was that.
Landel was one of those guys you always heard about or saw his name in the wrestling magazines and thought “Wasn’t Flair the Nature Boy?” He had a real good run the early-80’s but by 1990 the ship had sailed on him.
Not a whole lot to this match, Rotunda wasn’t doing much after leaving The Varsity Club and he won with a backslide and that was that. Rotunda deserved something better to do at this point in his career.
Next up is a tag match between “White Lightning” Tim Horner & Brad Armstrong vs. The Master Blasters (Iron & Steel). Of course, Steel is Kevin Nash and this is WCW debut and he was really jacked at this time.
While he wouldn’t find his footing for a while as Diesel in WWF after some pretty horrible gimmicks in WCW, it’s always cool to see guys before they were stars.
Haven’t found much on Iron, only that his name was Cory Pendarvis as this would be his only appearance and would later be replaced by Blade (Al Green) in the Master Blasters. The match itself was basically a showcase for the newcomers against veterans such as Horner and Armstrong. Short match as The Master Blasters give a double shoulderblock before Steel gets the pin. They had a cool look to them but it wouldn’t last.
Schiavone talks with “Flyin” Brian Pillman about The Gauntlet series in which Pillman was the first contestant. Nice concept and made people watch their weekly programming.
Missy Hyatt then talks with Ric Flair about his upcoming match with Lex Luger. Jim Ross with the line of the night, “I couldn’t tell if Missy was trying to get into that dress or out of it.”
The fourth match was another tag match as Terry Taylor & Jackie Fulton took The Nasty Boys (Jerry Saggs & Brian Knobbs). Fulton as a member of The Fantastics (usually Tommy Rogers) with his brother Bobby but tonight he was paired with Taylor, who had just left WWF after that odd run as The Red Rooster. The Nasties would only stay in WCW for the year before returning for a much more successful run a few years later. The Nasties were both in really good shape here and while they still used some of their same rule-breaking methods they were much different than fans might remember them. Some back and forth action as Fulton enters the fray and hits a German suplex on Knobbs and a near-fall but it’s broken up by Saggs. Fulton then tries a flying bodypress but he’s caught and slammed in one motion by Knobbs who tags in Saggs who delivers a flying elbow off the top for the convincing victory for The Nasties.
Schiavone is back with Sid Vicious who calls out World Champion Sting and that he doesn’t care about the Black Scorpion, Stan Hansen, Lex Luger or anyone else but himself, because “Sid Vicious Rules.”
The fifth match of the card is a battle of the “Wilds” as “Wild” Bill Irwin vs. “Wildfire” Tommy Rich. Not too much going on here as Rich wins with a Lou Thez press. This was a match between guys that were being passed up by this newer crop of guys like The Great Muta, Pillman, etc.
Schiavone interviews Stan “The Lariat” Hansen with chewing tobacco running all over the place and why he is ranked as number six in the new Top Ten Ranking. Real Funny segment, Hansen’s a classic character.
Next up is a Women’s World Championship match between Champion, Susan Sexton vs. Bambi. This definitely wasn’t during a “women’s revolution” as women’s wrestling was rarely seen on TV during these times as Ross explained. WCW never seemed very interested in pushing women’s wrestling, they tried a few times including later in 1996 with Madusa and others from Japan but it never really connected. Pretty solid match here as Sexton retained the title by reversing an inside cradle for the pin.
The final tag match of the night pitted The Steiner Brothers (Scott & Rick Steiner) vs. Maximum Overdrive (Hunter & Silencer). Hunter was a wrestler from Stampede Wrestling in Canada, and wouldn’t do too much after this. Silencer however, would be repackaged as J.W. Storm and have some success. The Steiners are hitting on every level at this point in their careers and they get to pull out all their moves against these newcomers. Rick puts Hunter on his shoulders while Scotty goes up to the top and delivers a ridiculous DDT for the win. The Steiners were so innovative and unique, seriously worth a refresher just to see them in action in 1990.
Stan Hansen is set for his match vs. “Z-Man” Tom Zenk. Hansen attacks Zenk on the apron and onto the floor where he blasts The Z man with a chair to the back. Schiavone has a picture-in-picture interview with Luger talking about Hansen. Zenk tries to go on the offensive but eventually gets nearly beheaded with the lariat clothesline finisher for Hansen and the win. This was basically a showcase for Hansen into the main event picture.
They run a recap of the Lex Luger-Ric Flair match at Wrestlewar in February of ‘90 and then Schiavone interviews Luger and how he’s the U.S. Champion and Flair is the one chasing this time around.
Luger vs. Flair for the U.S. Championship is the next to last match of the night. Flair always brought out the best in Luger from their match at the Great American Bash in 1988 until now, these two always put on a good show. As the match starts up and Luger starts to work on Flair’s back setting him up for his Torture Rack backbreaker. Luger drops Flair with a clothesline and Flair pretends that his shoulder was dislocated and have the referee stop the match, instead Flair unloads on Luger and drops him to the floor and flung into the guardrail. Flair continues his onslaught on Luger. Ross and Bob Caudle are selling the story that Flair is obsessed with becoming U.S. Champion because that would make him #1 Contender to Sting’s World Championship. Flair attempts to go to the top rope but his met by Luger and tosses him clear across the ring. Luger then executes a superplex from the top and gets a two-count but Flair gets his foot onto the rope. Flair regains the advantage by poking Luger in the eye and they end up outside the ring. Luger gets back into the ring but suddenly Stan Hansen interferes in the match and attacks the champ! Hansen attempts to choke out Luger with his bull rope and spits his tobacco onto Luger. Best match of the night by far. Luger and Flair always delivered and Hansen was thrust right into a top of the card feud.
It’s Main Event time as Sting is set to take on the Mysterious Black Scorpion for the NWA World Championship.
This would be the first time the Scorpion was in a match and he slowly walks to the ring as Ross and Caudle are attempting to guess who he was by his physique. The Scorpion attacks Sting as soon as the match begins and starts the match strongly. Sting tries to remove the mask but to no avail. They fight onto the ramp as The Scorpion bodyslams Sting on the hard entrance way. Sting rebounds and press slams The Scorpion and then gives him a flying bodypress for a two-count. Sting nails The Scorpion with a Stinger Splash and covers him for a convincing victory and now it’s time for the unmasking! Sting peels the mask off only to reveal another mask, this time a red one. Sting becomes frustrated and throws the mask away and all of a sudden there’s another masked man on the rampway! Ross and Caudle wonder who the heck that is and who the heck did he just wrestle?!? (Spoiler Alert: It was Al Perez under the red hood).
Ross interviews a despondent Sting in the ring and then Sid Vicious enters the ring and demands a shot at the title and attacks the champ with his own championship belt as the show goes off the air…
Solid ending with the Flair & Luger match and the whole Black Scorpion spectacle. The rest of the card was indifferent as there were some newcomers that didn’t stick around long (Maximum Overdrive, etc) but the addition of Hansen, the debut of Kevin Nash and seeing the Nasty Boys in their prime definitely helped out the lack of bigger stars at this point in 1990.
You can read all previous ‘Styles Clash: Clash of the Champions Revisited’ here.