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[1992-06-16-WCW-Clash of the Champions XIX] Jushin Liger & Brian Pillman vs Chris Benoit & Beef Wellington

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This is an exciting match. It's easy to see why it was so liked at the time. It doesn't really hold up well. The flash and offense does, but there's no real build, and I think at a time when they were trying to get over a more physical style with less high-flying, they did too much top rope stuff (They were able to do this since the match was under NWA rules), almost rubbing salt in the wounds of fans who enjoyed the style. Also, this is really kind of an empty match. Spot, spot, spot, spot, but no real momentum shifts that mean anything or the illusion of strategy from either side. Not a great match. A fun one, but when you look at it in the context of a global yearbook, everything that's good here is done better elsewhere.

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This was fun. Wellington was much better here than I remember. In the past I just remember him and Liger not being on the same page a couple of times. Here I see him bump big and make his opponents look good.

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I remember Wellington killing jobbers in MPro in the late 90's.

Very much a spot-a-thon, but a fun one. Odd to think Benoit & Pillman would be Horsemen 3 years later.

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Fun match. Wellington was better than expected. Pillman and Benoit were really slapping the hell out of each other. Lots of dives to the outside with no mat. Only a carpet out there for the entrance but it seemed to be where all the dives went. Liger struggled on a couple suplex moves at the end.

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Beef? Biff? Whatever his name is he really struggled against Liger with some downright ugly moments. The other 3 provided Junior highspots with plenty of aerial warfare. For some reason they kept going out to the floor constantly. It's kind of like they were instructed in the back to do this so the commentators could go on about no mats. Strange.

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Ross does a good job introducing Benoit and Wellington, referencing the feud with Liger and providing a framework for viewers. Both pairings work really well together early, maintaining a great pace quick matwork and flying that you didn't find in WCW tags yet. Wellington even seemed pretty over as a heel for someone debuting. Liger & Pillman felt like a LHW dream team after their series. Exciting, different match for WCW.

 

***3/4

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Can someone tell me whether or not WCW has padding outside the ring? I don't think I picked up on a definitive answer to that question during the match.

 

There are some great spots here, but yeah, this isn't much of a psychological masterpiece. A match with 3 outsiders on American TV probably SHOULD be a spotfest, but there are some eye-rolling moments towards the end like Liger wowing everybody with an Asai moonsault--an absolutely mindblowing move in the context of American wrestling in 1992--and Benoit up and raring to go three seconds later. Right after that, Pillman takes like two moves and then does a slow crawl to his corner like he's Ricky Morton having taken a 15-minute beating. And if Wellington looked "better than expected"...sheesh, I can't fathom what he was normally like, because I thought he sucked. I liked him kicking Pillman from the apron and his missed missile dropkick, but he was also either clumsy as hell or just sandbagging the shit out of Liger throughout the match.

 

This was fun, but even for go-go spot-a-thons there are better ones throughout the year.

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I'm a bit surprised that this made the cut, while the Low Cowboys/Freebirds match and the Rhodes/Windham vs. Anderson/Eaton match didn't. No doubt that this is good, but it's not much more than just good. Wellington couldn't really keep up with the other three and dragged things down.

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Beef? Biff? Whatever his name is he really struggled against Liger with some downright ugly moments. The other 3 provided Junior highspots with plenty of aerial warfare. For some reason they kept going out to the floor constantly. It's kind of like they were instructed in the back to do this so the commentators could go on about no mats. Strange.

I am not sure if it was the language barrier between Liger and Wellington or if Wellington tried to sandbag Liger here. Anyway he looked good in spots and horrible in others.

 

According to Wikipedia "Wellington worked on 28 consecutive tours with New Japan Pro Westling" sp Wellington should have been familiar with Liger so the sandbagging seems to be the only explanation.

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This was worked like a New Japan match for the most part, and if Pillman hadn't been Liger's partner I'm not sure the fans would have known what to do with themselves, since Liger was a heel the last time he was in WCW and they hadn't seen Benoit or Wellington before.

 

The problem I had with the constant dives to the concrete was that they made WCW look like a bunch of liars. How so? Every time someone went to the floor, JR or Jesse would go on and on about how the floor wasn't padded, all the moves were being taken on hard concrete, etc. But what was on the floor? A blue mat! Not a padded one, maybe, but how did they expect the audience to know that? JR should have explained that it was a carpet for the entrances if that's what they used it for.

 

At least they explained how the top rope moves weren't banned due to the match being contested under NWA rules. Having three guys who were so good off the top didn't help Watts' case to ban the moves, though. Liger, Pillman, and Benoit looked way too good coming off to get across the possible danger. And anyway, if WCW is supposed to feature the toughest wrestlers in the world, shouldn't they be able to take back suplexes off the top like the one Benoit used on Pillman without flinching? Either Watts needed another stated reason for the ban or he needed to just forget about it. I hate to keep picking on Doc in relation to Watts, but it seems to me that the main reason top rope moves were banned, regardless of whatever explanation the Cowboy pulled out of his ass, is that his boys Williams and Gordy weren't aerial wrestlers and would have looked bad if they'd had to compete against guys who were.

 

I didn't see any sandbagging Wellington might have been doing to Liger. I'm not saying it didn't happen, just that I didn't see it.

 

I liked JR's references to the Japanese feud between Liger and Benoit, and also the history between Pillman and Wellington in Calgary. One question, though: Why was Wellington called the Western Canadian champion? Was that title fictitious, or was it a veiled reference to a promotion which JR couldn't mention by name on the air?

 

I got a kick out of Jesse realizing that he and JR were beating the "no mat" thing into the ground. JR's too earnest to admit that he does things like that, so it was a good thing that Jesse brought it up.

 

No mention of Pillman's careers with Miami of Ohio or the Bengals? You're slipping, JR! (He did reference Brian's career with the CFL's Calgary Stampeders, though.)

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Jushin Liger & Brian Pillman vs Chris Benoit & Beef Wellington - WCW Clash of the Champion XIX

 

If you look really closely, you can see US 90s workrate being born right before your eyes. Surprisingly, I have never seen this match before. One of the last marquee WCW matches I have never seen. I thought this was a really damn good Stampede-style tag. Aerial highspots sprinkled in with big strikes. Pillman's super back suplex, missile dropkick, crossbody to the floor was awesome. Liger's spinwheel kick and Asai Moonsault also killer. They definitely went balls to the wall, but there was some semblance of struggle and risk as moves were missed. I wish we got more Benoit/Pillman. Well I wish we got more Benoit in general as Wellington was just alright. Definitely the fourth wheel. Benoit did beat the piss outta Liger. It felt like Benoit was taking more than he was giving, but that makes sense as Liger & Pillman were the bigger stars and he was there to put them over really. The finish is pretty fucked up because Wellington sandbags Liger twice and the old shove the heel tag wrestlers into each other looked silly here. Liger's moonsault to win was pretty. Good 90s workrate match. ***1/2

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I had seen this before, but had also totally forgotten about it.  It was really nice surprise today as I make my run through 1992.  Lot's of excitement and Liger looked great, as he continues his tear through 1992 as one of the BITW.  I wasn't expecting much, so this really kicked me in the face with my morning coffee.  Super fun, and definitely worth checking out.

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