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[1993-01-13-WCW-Clash of the Champions XXII] Ricky Steamboat & Shane Douglas vs Hollywood Blonds

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Well this deserves a revisit. This was a fantastic match. The announcers push hard that the match has a 30-minute time limit instead of a 60-minute time limit due to TV constraints, so as a result we should expect a faster-paced match. And I suspect the direction Watts gave to these guys was to wrestle a fast pace, because they most certainly did.

 

Jesse Ventura loves to make fun of Shane Douglas's right-wing leanings and calls him the Rush Limbaugh of WCW.

 

Jim Ross: "I hear Rush Limbaugh is a big WCW fan."

Jesse Ventura: "Don't make me puke right here on the air."

 

I start to wonder if we can credit Steamboat for helping Austin become a great worker. They were essentially programmed together for the better part of three years (1991-1994), and during that time, Austin improved considerably.

 

There are some tremendous spots here, especially Pillman doing his trademark throat-first guardrail bump, and Pillman doing an accidental Air Pillman on Austin. For the finish, Pillman nails Douglas with the title belt, and Douglas blades, which is a nice touch. Weapons shots should be treated as a big deal and not sold like wrestling offense, so I really liked that.

 

Douglas does a great fired up babyface promo promising revenge with his head bandaged after the match.

 

Shane Douglas never looked as good as he did during this little run. This makes me wonder where his career would have gone had Watts had more time to book him.

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I really enjoyed this bout. They worked a fast pace with a great Southern feel. Their is no doubt that Steamboat was probably one of the biggest influences in Austin becoming a great worker. You saw it time and time again with the young guys he worked with. Pillman, Douglas, Luger, HHH had one of his best early bouts with Steamboat. Dustin Rhodes developed into a really good worker after teaming with Steamboat. My Steamboat mark side of me is coming out.

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I think I may have seen this years ago, but I clearly forgot how awesome it was because this match was fantastic!

 

Everyone is great, but Shane Douglas is especially king-sized in this match, with some great offense such as his back senton and powerslam out of the sunset flip, as well as selling like a champ for the Blondes. This is an early Austin/Pillman tag, and you can really see that their in-ring chemistry was there from the start. I currently have this just below the Ironman match for MOTY so far.

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Really good match. Austin, Pillman and Douglas really look like the future of wrestling here. Dumb WCW, they had it all.

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This was a great match. Steamboat/Douglas were one of my favourite acts at the time, so I was anxious to see how they'd hold up years later. I'm happy that, so far, they hold up very well. I probably prefer the Starrcade 92 title defence to this one, but this is still all kinds of great, and I echo the love for Douglas here. What a prospect he seemed at the time.

 

So, was Douglas renowned as a pretty hardcore or vocal right winger then? Because this is not the first time I've heard Jesse go off on him for that during my WCW ppv watching (another reason Jesse is the man).

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Jesse always likes to compare Shane Douglas to Rush Limbaugh. Austin with a real timely shot when Steamboat tries to suplex Pillman to outside. Steamboat cleverly takes a shot at Pillman and looks to escape Austin to make the hot tag out. But Austin catches him with a big suplex. They do another similar spot later with Steamboat finally making the tag. Great finish with the a big tease of Pillman almost getting the pinfall. Really good match overall.

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Just Austin & Pillman at this point, no Blonds name and more importantly, no kickass Blonds theme. Old-school ring intros with everyone already in the ring.

 

This is spectacular. All four guys look great but Douglas is the shocker of the bunch because he fits in perfectly. I'm skeptical that I'll ever see a better Douglas performance in a match, even in ECW. He busts out the Kyoko Inoue backwards bodyblock thing at one point, and works some great, fast sequences with both guys. The ending is a treat, too--we get a little All-Japan moment with both partners making saves and preventing saves, and a great false finish after a usual heel tag victory staple (Austin diving off the top on the covering Douglas). Austin creams Douglas with a title belt for the DQ, which is the right finish to set this up as a feud proper. Douglas blades (!!!) and we get another awesome heel beatdown as both guys are beaten and whipped with the tag title belts.

 

Good fiery promo from the babyfaces afterward vowing revenge. Douglas' promo is good but his picture-perfect teacher's enunciation in this context is kind of funny.

 

Have I mentioned that WCW is on fire this month?

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Blonds are not yet doing the Blonds routine or introduced that way. Hot start with Steamboat wrestling with passion and purpose instead of starting slow and waiting for a hot tag. Pillman was such a great heel -- really dialing up the whiny and smarmy here. I found this had an unusual structure with Austin the heel in peril much of the way on Austin until Pillman interferes and tags in to flip things on Steamboat. You can really see the Blonds developing their act and routine here. Pillman takes his trademark bump off the apron to the railing but Austin stays in control. Steamboat does his standard flip out of a back suplex and hot tags Douglas who comes in and looks *great*, with a a powerslam off an attempted sunset flip and a senton off the top. Finishing stretch gets really hot after what had been a methodical build, before Austin hits Douglas with a belt shot for the DQ. Champs with a strong promo afterwards looking for revenge.

 

Can't argue that this is one of the finer Douglas performances out there.

 

***3/4

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Just saw this match for the first time and I enjoyed the hell out of it. I must admit to thinking that Steamboat and Douglas was an odd pairing at first, just because Steamboat was so experienced and so beloved and, when they started teaming, Douglas was kind of the opposite - not a bad worker, not unpopular, but obviously not a star like Steamboat. As I've seen more of their work, I've been super impressed by Douglas and now know why Austin (on his podcast) called Douglas one of his favorite babyfaces to work with.

 

I'd cite the finish of this match as the perfect example of the "good kind of disappointment." Sure, a match this good would benefit from a clean ending (which would make it a MOTYC in my admittedly limited view), but instead, you get a DQ that leaves the audience clamoring for more. You just know that everyone leaving that arena, Thundercage or not, was talking about this match and what was going to happen to the tag belts. When's the last time that happened in today's WWE? Sometime in the 90s *maybe*?

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Agree that this match really took me by surprise as it is great and really should be talked up more with the great Clash matches. It felt like a slightly lesser version of the Enforcers vs. Steamboat/Dustin tag match. Douglas has shown a lot of great fire in this run and this was no exception. As the moments pass by, you can almost see Austin and Pillman gelling as a team. The finish was super as PIllman was being vicious just killing both guys with the belt shots with reckless abandon. Super stuff. (****)

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Sorry, but the finish takes this down for me. I know what they were trying for, but it's still dumb. Heels who are supposedly going all out to win championships do not willingly sacrifice said championships just to land a cheap shot with one of the title belts. and that's an exclamation point in my book. Have Steamer and Shane go over by pin, then let the Blonds lay them out with the belts because they're sore that they lost cleanly. It's not all that different from what actually happened, except that Austin and Pillman don't look like idiots for willingly forgetting about becoming champions just to beat the hell out of someone. (Just to be clear, I'd have been totally fine with the finish had the Blondes been champs and done what they did to save the titles for themselves. That would be smart, if morally questionable; doing it as challengers is totally stupid.)

 

The match itself cut a hell of a pace, and both of these teams really have their act and timing down. Austin takes the beating for the Blonds (you can spell it either way, and this is the way I choose), and Steamer does the same for the faces. Both were compelling, to say the least. I agree with Jesse; if thirty-minute time limits for championship matches inspire guys to go like this, we need them more often.

 

From the Because I Have Stuff to Do Dept.: The guard rail to the throat is Pillman's version of the Flair Flop or the Hammer (Valentine) Header, only it seems much more dangerous. How he didn't legitimately reinjure his throat, break his jaw, or slice his chin right down the middle I'll never know.

 

JR once again comes up with a good counter to Jesse's cracks about Shane and Rush Limbaugh. He knows how to go along with Jesse up to a point without taking it personally, and that's exactly what he needs and what Tony won't provide him.

 

For those who want to know exactly what Jesse's crack about Bruno and the Steelers meant, the Steelers had just lost 24-3 to the eventual AFC Champion Buffalo Bills in their first playoff game of the season a few days before.

 

I liked Jesse protecting JR while Steamboat and Austin were fighting on the floor near the broadcast table. True, it was only a simple verbal warning, but that's the type of thing I only could see him doing for someone he legitimately respects.

 

I liked the postmatch promo from the champs a lot more than the prematch one, which seemed like they were reading it from cue cards. Strangely enough (or maybe not, considering that this is WCW), we see Shane bandaged, we see the belt shot from Austin that split him open, but we never see him actually bleed.

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WCW World Tag Team Champions Ricky Steamboat & Shane Douglas vs Hollywood Blonds - WCW Clash of the Champions XXII

 

Fast-paced, action pack tag team match. It is amazing how quickly Austin & Pillman gelled. Pillman had just been working with Windham about two weeks prior, but with Barry's push needed a new partner and Austin fit like a glove. Douglas is a really good white meat babyface and if he was not such an angry young man at heart (see ECW) he could have probably got another 2-3 years as a plucky, young babyface. The babyface shine was really fun with the babyfaces working over the arm of each of the Blonds, but also featuring some fun spots like Steamboat/Austin's really fun criss cross sequence, Pillman feigning a knee injury, but eating a powerslamming and then Steamboat press slamming everyone onto Austin including Pillman. Douglas and Austin did a really good chain wrestling. Eventually Austin was able to use the tights to pull him into a Pillman forearm and then suplex Steamboat. Pillman threw him over the top and then Austin slammed him on the floor. Douglas try as he could couldn't save Steamboat. The heels worked over Steamboat well with some nice hope spots. The Pillman bump was kinda throwaway which seems silly given how high impact it is. The heat segment is solid, but nothing too noteworthy. Air Pillman hits Austin so you can feel the hot tag is imminent, but Steamer has to work for it a little more. Steamboat flips out of back suplex and hits one of his own. Douglas is a house of fire, very effective. Belly to Belly! Double axe-handle from Austin and puts Pillman on top, but Steamboat attacks Austin distracting the ref. Douglas kicks out. Austin blasts Douglas with one of the belts and busts him open. Ref immediately calls for the bell. Austin and Pillman beat babyfaces up with the belt including some pretty nasty lashes from Pillman to Steamboat. Great first match in the series that makes you want to see more. ***3/4

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This match starts off at an incredible pace. I like the chemistry between Steamboat and Austin. I liked Pillman trying to fake the knee injury. If I remember correctly, this is a callback from a recent match where he pulled out a victory that way. Love the teamwork, that had already developed at this point, established here with Austin and Pillman. Such as - Steamboat goes for a suplex to the outside, but Austin saves Pillman with a little sidekick to keep it from happening. There are other nicely timed spots between the two of them throughout the match. Douglas does get pretty fired up after the hot tag, but I saw it as really good, or standard. His performance didn't really blow me away. ***1/2

 

#452 - placetobenation.com/countdown-top-500-matches-of-the-90s-500-451/2/

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#452. I've never liked the Blonds and I don't remember any of their matches against Steamboat and Douglas being classics. A revisit of this hasn't changed my opinion. This is exactly what you expect it to be. Nothing more and nothing less. The trouble is that when you start out with middling expectations the end result turns out being pretty average. Austin was so awkward at this point. I actually thought he looked better working against Douglas than he did Steamboat. And as far as I'm concerned, this whole Blonds run was a massive step down from every single thing that Pillman did in 1992. Probably my biggest problem with the entire thing was that Steamboat/Douglas vs. Pillman\Windham had been perfect. Austin just downgraded things. The best part of the match was the post match where he Blonds acted like proper heels. The rest was pretty standard.

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All four guys looked great and these two teams have great chemistry, both with and against each other.

Austin is already magnetic with every little thing he does feeling authentic. Douglas is at his in-ring peak here and it struck me how weird it is that this era remains his only interaction with Steamboat, Pillman & Austin.

If these matches only get better, that's exciting. Felt like the perfect sampler of what would be a multi-month program.

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