Hidden Gems: WCW Clash of the Champions XIX

TOKYO, JAPAN - AUGUST 30: Jushin Thunder Liger enters the ring during the Pro-Wrestling Masters at Korakuen Hall on August 30, 2019 in Tokyo, Japan.(Photo by Etsuo Hara/Getty Images)
TOKYO, JAPAN - AUGUST 30: Jushin Thunder Liger enters the ring during the Pro-Wrestling Masters at Korakuen Hall on August 30, 2019 in Tokyo, Japan.(Photo by Etsuo Hara/Getty Images) /

WCW Clash of Champions was a major moment in professional wrestling with several Hall of Fame performers involved.

Summer is usually the time of year for tournaments. The NWA recently held its annual Crockett Cup tag team tournament and New Japan Pro Wrestling will begin the G1 Climax on July 15. But there’s one tournament that has held a special place in my heart from when I was a child and is on one of my favorite shows of all time, Clash of the Champions XIX.

In 1992, WCW was going through another transition phase with Bill Watts overseeing the company.  The NWA had lost almost all its momentum as one of the big wrestling organizations in the world and an event needed to take place to boost both promotions. WCW would host a tournament to crown brand new NWA World Tag Team Champions that began at Clash of the Champions XIX and concluded the next month at the Great American Bash.

Before I get into why this show is so great, here are a few things worth mentioning. This is the only pre-taped Clash of the Champions special, all the other shows were live. Also, this is the only Clash where every match is a tag team match Additionally, it included the WCW debut of future stars in the company, Dean Malenko and Chris Benoit.

Here are the three reasons why I suggest everybody go and check out WCW Clash of the Champions XIX.

1. “Dr. Death” Steve Williams & Terry “Bam Bam” Gordy

When I watched this tag team as a kid, I was instantly hooked. With their brute power and vicious style of wrestling, they ended up being the first heels that I rooted for. After winning a very easy first-round match against the Australian tag team of Larry & Jeff O’Day, they wanted to face one team: the Steiner Brothers.

This led us to a story that took place during the show where the original opponents for the Steiners were attacked in the locker room, thus giving the Steiners a bye into the second round.

Then, in a rare in-ring segment, Bill Watts announced that the second round of the tournament would begin at Clash, and the first match would be the Steiners against Williams & Gordy. This was the main event of the show and it was an epic battle between two of the best tag teams in WCW. Williams & Gordy ended up beating the Steiners in a shocking victory, as they would advance to the tournament’s semi-finals.

2. Brian Pillman & Jushin Liger vs. Beef Wellington & Chris Benoit

This is my favorite match of the entire show and for good reason. It was the first time that Pillman & Liger teamed up after feuding over the WCW Light Heavyweight Title for several months. It would also be Chris Benoit’s debut in WCW, as he would be on and off TV for the rest of 1992 and into the first half of 1993.

In a time when big, muscular men dominated the ring, four light heavyweights stole the show in a match that had everybody on their feet. If you hadn’t watched New Japan in 1992 then this was probably your first time seeing this style of wrestling on television. The four men would not let the crowd catch their breath, as we saw awe-inspiring moves that left everybody speechless.

In the end, Pillman & Liger won and advanced into the tournament, but amazing performances from all four men let everybody know that you don’t have to be big or muscular to wrestle, you can be any size and any look to prove your worth as a wrestler.

3. Sting & Ron Simmons promos

Again, I go back to in-ring promos but when they mean something, they really mean something.  Sting does a promo, in a tuxedo, to hype his upcoming WCW World Heavyweight Title match against Big Van Vader and you can tell in the promo he wasn’t afraid of Vader. He will do whatever it takes to win and do it for all the little Stingers out there around the world.

The promo with Ron Simmons continued a story that began about a year prior where his goal was to become the first African American wrestler to win the World Heavyweight Championship.  During the promo, Harley Race, who was the manager of Vader, comes to the ring along with the Super Invader and makes comments that wouldn’t be very PC in 2023. Simmons attacked both men and was left standing in the ring.

Little did we realize that these two promos would connect with one another in the coming weeks.  Sting would lose the WCW World Heavyweight Title to Big Van Vader at the Great American Bash but only to lose the title to Ron Simmons less than a month later. Those two promos set up what would be a very interesting and brave time in WCW.

Clash of the Champions XIX might not be remembered as one of the greatest wrestling shows ever held and won’t be on anybody’s top ten list. But this hidden gem of a show has many exciting moments and matches that should be given a second look. Dustin Rhodes & Barry Windham vs. Arn Anderson & Bobby Eaton and Ricky Steamboat & Nikita Koloff vs. Joe & Dean Malenko are tag team matches that should be watched.

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This is a show that I still have fond memories of from when I was a kid and is a favorite of mine.  It’s always exciting to discover hidden gems in professional wrestling and all it takes is for people to discover the gems, one view at a time.