Clash of The Champions - History


Through 1987 and 1988, a bitter event scheduling war broke out between rival wrestling promoters Vince McMahon and Jim Crockett, Jr. On Thanksgiving night 1987, McMahon's World Wrestling Federation (WWF) aired Survivor Series against Starrcade from Crockett's National Wrestling Alliance (NWA): two pay-per-view (PPV) events on the same day. At that time, many cable companies could only offer one live PPV event at a time, and furthermore were presented with an edict from the WWF saying that any cable company that chose to carry Starrcade would be barred from carrying any future WWF events. Hence, the proven WWF PPV was cleared 10-1 over Starrcade.

Following this incident, McMahon was warned by the PPV industry not to schedule PPV events simultaneously with the NWA again. However, he was still not willing to fully cooperate with Crockett, and on January 24, 1988, another scheduling conflict took place between the WWF and NWA. The NWA presented the Bunkhouse Stampede on PPV, while on the same night, the WWF aired the first ever Royal Rumble for free on the USA Network.

In 1988, with the WWF's WrestleMania IV around the corner, Crockett decided to give McMahon a taste of his own medicine. He would develop his own PPV-caliber event and air it for free on TBS. The result was the Clash of the Champions.

On March 27, 1988 – the same night as WrestleMania - the first Clash of the Champions aired. The first show was of PPV caliber and it made Sting a star after he wrestled NWA World Champion Ric Flair to a 45-minute draw. WCW would repeat the practice again the following year with a Clash coinciding with the WWF's WrestleMania V. Although the main event of NWA Champion Ricky Steamboat defeating Flair in a best of three falls match was widely considered the best wrestling match that took place among the two promotions on that day, ratings and attendance for the event fell well below expectations and the practice of conflicting major events would cease until the Monday Night Wars began in 1995.

Clash events continued on a sporadic basis over the next nine years, quickly changing focus to become a free marketing vehicle for NWA/WCW PPV events, similar to the WWF's Saturday Night's Main Event. WCW aired the 35th and last Clash of the Champions on August 21, 1997.

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