It’s well known that Jim Crockett lost his battle with Vince McMahon as Vince was just smarter using pay-per-view and other moves to undercut Crockett and force him to sell to Ted Turner to forge WCW. But Crockett did pull off one major move when, to compete with Wrestlemania IV, he had a live wrestling show on TBS called “Clash of the Champion.” It was a huge hit and would inspire an entire series of events. Long before monthly PPVs were a thing, the Clash shows were big events that were home to WCW’s biggest stars.
The shows would finally end in 1997 when the Monday Night War and more PPVs made them unnecessary. However, in their time, the CLashes were huge events and part of WCW”s entire legacy. It’s easy to remember the great Clashes that still are worth watching on the WWE Network. Of course, with thirty-five installments, there were also a lot of very bad Clashes that should be avoided. Here are the 5 best and 5 worst WCW Clash events as a reminder how important these were to WCW.
10 WORST: Clash XXIV
To be fair, Ricky Steamboat beating Paul Orndorff for the TV title was good but the rest was horrible. The Hollywood Blondes lost the tag titles to the Horsemen when Steven Regal had to fill in for an injured Brian Pillman. Johnny B Badd faced Maxx Payne in a “Mask vs Guitar” match; Sting and Ric Flair beat the “Awesome Kongs” in two minutes; and the main event had Vader beating Davey Boy Smith with Cactus Jack returning.
Of course, what everyone remembers is that this show boasted the infamous debut of the Shockmaster, one of the most laughable moments in WCW history. That alone secures a place on this list.
9 WORST: Clash XXXI
Hulk Hogan's only part in this show was a laughable skit of him meeting the Dungeon of Doom. The Renegade continued his terrible push as TV champion by beating Paul Orndorff while Sting and Road Warrior Hawk had a very bad match with Meng and Kurasawa. Harlem Heat and Sheri Martel against Col Parker, Bunkhouse Bunk and Dick Slater was as bad as it sounds. The main event was Arn Anderson leaving Ric Flair behind for Vader to beat him down. This is truly a case of a bad show in the middle of a very rough time for WCW.
8 WORST: Clash IV: Season’s Beatings
This show was really a placeholder for WCW before Starrcade ‘88 and didn’t do much on its own. The Fantastics winning the U.S. tag title over Eddie Gilbert and Ron Simmons went on too long while Road Warrior Animal beating Dusty Rhodes was too short. Ivan Koloff vs Paul Jones was a slog and the main event of Ric Flair and Barry Windham vs the Midnight Express just didn’t capture much of the passions folks had expected. The lack of Sting and Lex Luger, easily two of the company’s biggest stars, hurt to make this a forgettable Clash.
7 WORST: Clash XXXII
There’s only one notable moment in this show and it wasn’t planned. This was a rough period for WCW before the New World Order took off and Hogan’s ego dominating. A major bit was showing Col. Parker and Sherri Martel’s “wedding” in Las Vegas. Sting and Lex Luger had a bad tag title defense against the Blue Bloods while the Brian Pillman/Eddie Guerrero match became infamous for Pillman grabbing Bobby Heenan with the latter cursing on air. The main event was a terrible tag match of Ric Flair and the Giant against Hulk Hogan and Randy Savage with the crowd visibly leaving during it. A very bad Vegas outing.
6 WORST: Clash XXIX
This was when Hulk Hogan’s ego in WCW was really taking hold after Ric Flair had been “retired” at Halloween Havoc. Stars and Stripes won the tag titles but the show was rough with Johnny B. Badd and Honky Tonk Man having a horrible TV title match. Vader and Dustin Rhodes was good but Steve Austin lost to Jim Duggan by DQ in just seconds while the horrific main event had Hulk Hogan, Sting and Dave Sullivan beating the Three Faces of Fear with Mr. T as special ref. It was a sign of how rough WCW was going to become in 1995.
5 BEST: Clash 17
The early bouts on this show are rough. But it picks up when Lex Luger attacked Sting and thus set up Rick Rude beating Sting for the U.S. title later in the night. The true highlight is when the Enforcers are to defend the WCW Tag titles against Dustin Rhodes and an injured Barry Windham.
Windham brings out a guy in a dragon costume who turned out to be a returning Ricky Steamboat. That leads to one of the best Clash matches ever with Steamboat and Rhodes winning the titles. The main event of Luger over Rick Steiner isn’t bad but the Sting and Steamboat moments made it memorable.
4 BEST: Clash VI Ragin Cajun
Yes, it’s a show dominated by one match. But when that match is the middle part of one of the greatest wrestling trilogies ever, that makes it a must-see. This was actually a financial disappointment for WCW as the Superdome barely sold 2000 tickets and had to be “papered” for another 4000 fans. There was the controversial victory of the Varsity Club over the Road Warriors for the NWA Tag titles.
But the main event is what’s remembered as Ricky Steamboat and Ric Flair put on a 60 minute 2-out-of-3-falls war the NWA title that was a masterpiece. That alone makes this a terrific show by itself.
3 BEST: Clash 18
This may not look too impressive a Clash but it’s actually excellent in ring rate. The reason was that this when Kip Frye was in charge of WCW and offering a cash bonus to whoever had the best match for a show like this. So everyone was ramping up their game. Cactus Jack made a name for himself against Van Hammer while the Steiner Brothers had a great battle with Vader and Mr. Hughes.
There’s also how this show was the foundation of the Dangerous Alliance as between a six-man tag and the main event, this collection of heels would soon dominate WCW. It’s not a major show but still a great one.
2 BEST: Clash IX New York Knockout
This was the capper to a fantastic 1989 by WCW and it did it in style. While the Freebirds vs Road Warriors was a let-down, there was a great turn by Jim Cornette against the Dynamic Dudes to let the Midnight Express win and the crowd loving it. Brian Pillman had a star-making match against Lex Luger for the US title to impress. The big one was the main event as Ric Flair and Terry Funk engaged in a brutal “I Quit” match. While Flair won, Luger attacked him to set up a new feud and wrap up a great year for WCW.
1 BEST: Clash I
The first is the best. This was the one time Jim Crockett got one over on Vince McMahon as the inaugural Clash stole the show from Wrestlemania IV. The Midnight Express vs Fantastics was a fast-paced battle with Lex Luger and Barry Windham winning the tag titles off of Tully Blanchard and Arn Anderson was a terrific match. Even rough stuff like the Road Warriors and Dusty Rhodes vs Powers of pain and Ivan Koloff entertained.
The main event was the best part as Ric Flair and Sting fought to a fantastic 45-minute draw that instantly made Sting a main event-level star. It elevated JCP majorly and set the bar for every Clash to follow.