We continue our series looking at the history of The Clash of Champions, taking in part with Clash of the Champions XIV: Dixie Dynamite. Held on January 31, 1991 at the Georgia Mountains Center in Gainsville, Georgia in front of 2,200 fans. The show drew a 3.9 on TBS.
The show was set to take place at the CNN Center in Atlanta but because of the Persian Gulf War, it was relocated for security purposes.
It’s 1991 and like clockwork, WCW had made some changes. Dusty Rhodes is back after his polka dot run in WWF as not only the color commentator but also as head booker, taking over for Ole Anderson. Ric Flair is back as the WCW World Champion after the whole Black Scorpion/Sting fiasco. The big build for this Clash is to WrestleWar ‘91 and a War Games match between The Four Horsemen (Larry Zbyszko subbed for an injured Arn Anderson) vs. Sting, Brian Pillman and The Steiner Brothers.
This show jumped off hot with the first match of Sting & Lex Luger vs. WCW World Tag Team Champions Doom (Ron Simmons & Butch Reed). Doom’s manager, Teddy Long is not here tonight as Dusty explained because he was out buying cars and condos for his team. Luger is first up, taking all the offense from the bruising Doom duo, massive shoulder blocks and powerslams. One shoulder block from Reed bounces Luger right to his corner where he makes the hot tag to the Stinger. Just as Sting gains the advantage, “Dangerous” Dan Spivey jumped the guardrail on the outside and attacked Luger on the floor. Spivey and Luger were set for a US Title Bout at Wrestlewar ‘91 so this was the story going forward with them. Meanwhile, Sting is thrown over the top rope by Reed while attempting a flying bodypress resulting in Doom being DQ’d. Solid opening match and a definite better start from the previous Clashes using top guys to peak some interest in the rest of the show.
Quick segment as Missy Hyatt announces that the Z-Man Tom Zenk has been voted as “WCW Sexiest Wrestler.” Sure…
Oh boy, the second match of the night had some hiccups on the entrance as Bobby Eaton made his entrance, you can hear a production worker doing a countdown on the loudspeaker and then a “Bobby, Bobby, Bobby” piped in chant. Eaton looked none too pleased with this misstep. Eaton is scheduled to take on the WCW World TV Champion, “Z-Man” Tom Zenk. Some early lock up and hold moves between these two gave way to Zenk hitting a flying dropkick to Eaton right off the top rope and onto the floor. Eaton regained the advantage and hit Zenk with a high knee off the top and later a swinging neckbreaker for a two-count. Eaton attempts a hiptoss, but Zenk caught him a backlisde to gain the pinfall victory. Eaton looked like he was able to get his shoulder up but referee Nick Patrick counted the fall anyhow.
Ms. Alexandra York is up next to announce that later tonight she will reveal the newest member of The York Foundation.
The third match was The Fabulous Freebirds (Jimmy “Jam” Garvin & Michael “PS” Hayes) vs. “Wildfire” Tommy Rich & Allen Iron Eagle in a tag-team tilt. Iron Eagle might be remembered by his real name, Joe Gomez when he returned to WCW in the late 90’s. In 1991 however, he is a 20-years old rookie and in the ring with three veterans of the game. Iron Eagle takes the brunt of the offense from The Birds.
Iron Eagle made the desperate tag to Rich but the referee who according to Ross was also a rookie did not see the tag so he escorts Rich back to the apron. The Dirty Birds took advantage of the rookies and nailed Iron Eagle with a double DDT and the win. The Birds were being built up to contend for tag-titles at this point and were still putting on good matches that always got the crowd riled up.
Dusty and Jim Ross are talking with Tony Schiavone and Paul E. Dangerously in some picture-in-picture action about Paul E’s intergender arm wrestling match with Missy Hyatt later tonight. Some great stuff here as Heyman goes off in an MLK type “Free at Last” spiel. Classic.
Sid Vicious is out next to take on “Jumping” Joey Maggs. Real cool entrance by Sid as he’s on a turning platform with a spotlight on his huge frame. This match lasted about a minute, as it well should have. Sid destroys Maggs with a massive powerbomb for the win. After the match, Sid has his own team of paramedics to carry out the prone Maggs to which Sid tips over the stretcher because he’s a badass. Know sometimes people give Sid crap about his later promo work, but at this point in his career, he was great.
This is 1991:
The fifth match of the night is Ricky Morton vs. “The Computerized Man of the 90’s,” Terry Taylor, wait what? If you were following things, Taylor was likely just spoiled as being the newest member of The York Foundation. Some good early technical wrestling between two of the finest workers in the business. Morton gains the advantage just as Alexandra York comes down to the ring and as they both look at her. They play an inset promo for the fans at home hear that Taylor IS the newest member of The York Foundation. Taylor begins to work more “heelish” hitting Morton from behind. Morton attempts a dropkick near the ropes but Taylor moves out of the way and Morton just sort of falls on top of Taylor who rolls up Morton for the win. The ring announcer should’ve really known not to call Taylor but his new name but nonetheless a decent match and a good move to get Taylor involved in a story.
Pro Wrestling Illustrated Editor, Bill Apter awarded Sting with The Wrestler of the Year award as well The Most Inspirational Wrestler of the Year for his comeback after blowing out his knee at Clash XX in February ‘90.
Then Dusty cuts a promo on The Gulf War and not to criticize President Bush, No big deal.
Ranger Ross is set to take on El Cubano. Cubano was known as The Cuban Assassin and wrestled all over the world, mostly Puerto Rico. Ross was given a mini-push because of his time in the U.S. military and was always going to win during this time of war and he did here as well with a sunset flip.
Killer promo for Wrestlewar ‘91:
Match seven was The Renegade Warriors (Chris & Mark Youngblood) vs. Barry Windham & Arn Anderson. The Youngbloods are tagging in and out and hold the early advantage over the more seasoned Horsemen. That advantage ends when Arn unleashed the spinebuster on Chris Youngblood. Dusty then tells viewers at home to put their wives in a front-facelock just like Arn Anderson had applied on Chris Youngblood… it was a different time in 1991 you had to be there.
Mark enters the match and attempts to clean house but is thrown out to the floor by Windham. Arn and Windham double team Chris and set him for a superplex from the top rope, Windham gets the superplex and the pin. Not too much going on here, just a primer match for The Horsemen’s upcoming War Games battle.
Schiavone is back to interview Stan Hansen about his rematch from the Tokyo Dome with Big Van Vader. They don’t show this part, but it was THAT match:
“Flyin” Brian Pillman is out next to take on Sgt. Buddy Lee Parker. Pillman was really coming into his own and was set for his biggest marquee match yet in The War Games match. Pillman hit Parker with a flying bodypress from the top to the rampway in a cool spot. Pillman then picked up the win with another bodypress inside the ring. Parker would go on to become the main trainer at the WCW Power Plant training center.
Next up is the intergender arm wrestling match between Missy Hyatt and Paul E. Dangerously. Missy took her jacket off and Paul E. gets distracted by “Twin Peaks” as Jim Ross explained and she slammed his hand down and it’s over before it ever really began.
Ric Flair, Windham, Kevin Sullivan, Mike Rotunda and Ms. York are at the NFL legend Lawrence Taylor’s Sports Bar in New Jersey. Four years later he would be in the main event at Wrestlemania XI.
It’s main event time as WCW World Champion, Ric Flair with his new smart haircut and different music put his title on the line vs. Scott Steiner w/Rick Steiner. Hiro Matsuda from New Japan Wrestling is in attendance as well as El Gigante to take in this main event. Steiner gained the early upper hand with a couple crisps suplexes. The two competitors go back and forth trading some hold moves on their arms. Steiner hits a Steinerline clothesline and then brought Flair back into the ring with a suplex. Flair then caught Scott with a kick to the face and attempted a pin with his feet on the ropes, but Rick knocks them off from the outside. Coming back from break, Flair attempted a bodypress to Steiner and they were supposed to both go over the top but Steiner didn’t go out and instead jumped over, yikes that didn’t look good. Flair started to work over Steiner’s leg and set up Steiner into the figure-four leglock. Rick Steiner kept knocking Flair’s hands off the ropes as he tried to gain the advantage. Steiner is able to reverse it and get back into the match with about five minutes left in the match Steiner nearly wins the title with a surprise inside cradle pin attempt. Steiner then bridges out of a pin attempt by Flair and hits a sit out powerbomb in a really nice looking spot. Flair dives out to the floor but Steiner doesn’t go after him as Dusty and Ross are urging him to do. Eventually, as the 10-second countdown begins in the arena, Steiner looks around and then hits a belly-to-belly suplex but it’s too late as time expires and Flair retains. This ending seemed a bit convoluted. Scott Steiner was great with Rick but at this point in his career he probably wasn’t ready to be in a match with someone like Flair and it showed.
Much better Clash than the previous couple with some good action and matchups in the ring. The York Foundation was forming into a solid faction as well as The Horsemen were built to look as a dominant group. Solid show and a good setup for Wrestlewar and the rest of 1991.
You can read all previous ‘Styles Clash: Clash of the Champions Revisited’ pieces here.