It’s time, WCW fans, for Clash of the Champions! After this one, there are only two more Clashes ever. That’s sad, honestly, because getting a big event on TV for free twice a year was always a great thing as a wrestling fan. Of course, after Clash ends, Nitro goes to 3 hours, which is still to this day way too long for a weekly wrestling show, so it kind of balances out. As we’ll see in a year or so, 1998 overexposes WCW like crazy.
But, we’re not in 1998 yet. We’re at August 15th, 1996, and ready to kick off the Clash!
The show starts with a replay of Hogan and the Outsiders beating down the Booty Man at Hog Wild as well as Hogan attacking Savage and cutting his promo on Flair. Tony Schiavone kicks us off with an aerial shot of Denver, Colorado, where we’re coming from. Tony is joined on commentary by Bobby “The Brain” Heenan, and they talk about the match that will be our main event…”Hollywood” Hulk Hogan VS “Nature Boy” Ric Flair. We get another replay of Monday Night, when the Horsemen cleaned house of the Outsiders during the Sting/Luger VS Outsiders match.
Match #1: WCW Cruiserweight Championship Match: “The Man of 1,000 Holds” Dean Malenko VS Rey Mysterio, Jr. (WCW Cruiserweight Champion)
Malenko attacks Mysterio before the bell and immediately goes after him, dropping knee drops on him and then chasing him outside. Rey is a bit too quick, though, and gets in the ring before Dean, dropkicking him off of the apron and then taking Dean down with a baseball slide head scissors. Rey runs to the ropes and looks to attempt a suicide dive, but spins in the ropes and flips back into the ring. I love this way more as a “putting on the breaks” type of thing instead of when he turned it into the 619. The 619 has too much of a silly, predictable setup for me.
Dean takes momentum back by slingshotting Rey into the top rope off of a powerbomb pickup and follows it up with a brainbuster. Rey walks up the corner and attempts to tie up Malenko with a sunset flip, but he overshoots it. Thankfully, Malenko didn’t fall back into the move, but attempted to punch Mysterio. Mysterio moved, though, so Dean hit the mat. Dean is able to lock on a chinlock with a leg hooked, wearing down Rey in the center of the WCW crosshairs logo.
We go to commercial break, including one for Hog Wild merch. It’s interesting that they’re selling PPV specific merch almost two weeks after the event.
After some back and forth, we get some highlight reel stuff from Rey when he hots Dean with a moonsault off of the steel guardrail in the walkway. Rey follows in the ring with a Frankensteiner for two. Rey backs dean into the corner, but Dean comes off the top with a HUGE gutbuster from the top. Dean covers, 1-2-3…Randy Anderson rings the bell!
But, Rey’s foot was on the ropes!
Anderson realizes it, takes the Cruiserweight Championship away from Malenko, just as Rey hits him with a victory roll and a cover for three.
Winner: Rey Mysterio, Jr. (still WCW Cruiserweight Champion)
Commercial break, including the ever present Glacier promo, and we’re back for…
Match #2: V.K. Wallstreet VS Hacksaw Jim Duggan
Standard fare for these two. I’m just not a huge fan of either of these two guys, so honestly there’s not too much to report.
Duggan tried to wrap up the fist in tape, but the referee gets caught in the tape because Duggan can’t apply tape like a normal person, he’s got to swing it around his hand and let momentum wrap it for him. Wallstreet capitalizes, roll up, three count.
Winner: V.K. Wallstreet
Hacksaw stares into the camera and yells “it stinks!” three times. Um, you’re the one who tried to cheat, buddy.
Backstage with Mean Gene and the Nasty Boys, again yelling about how much they dislike WCW and are tired of people asking them about the nWo. Knobbs yells about not being in the triangle match for the WCW Tag Team Championship like they’ve done something in the last six months to deserve a title shot.
Commercial break and we’re back to Mean Gene. He says that during the break he was trying to do an interview, but he and Mike Tenay were interrupted by the Outsiders. Of course, we can call the WCW Hotline to find out about that as this is just a pitch for the hotline.
Match #3: Ultimate Dragon (w/ Sonny Onoo) VS Konnan
Yes, ladies and gentlemen, I know that it’s Ultimo Dragon, but WCW keeps saying it’s Ultimate Dragon right now, so that’s what I’m using.
Konnan is again in his black tights and wearing an ugly green vest. The commentators mention how Konnan’s attitude has changed since he lost the WCW United States Championship.
Dragon starts off with a beautiful set of kicks that completely miss Konnan, and which Konnan promptly mocks, as Mike Tenay gives us some history background on Dragon.
Konnan locks on a ridiculously convoluted leg lock that gets absolutely no reaction. It’s basically almost a sharpshooter but with the arm trapped in there, and Konnan doesn’t have his leg grapevined either. I feel that if you have a move that takes a lot of setup, you have to have a quick and smooth way of locking that on or it just loses steam. That’s exactly what happened here.
Konnan tries a backdrop but Dragon slips out and dropkicks Konnan out of the ring into the waiting kicks of Sonny Onoo. Back in the ring, Dragon gets a moonsault and follows with a la majistral cradle for two, but Konnan rolls Dragon up and holds the tights for three.
Backstage, Ice Train is chatting with fans on CompuServe, but is then attacked by Scott Norton as we head on to commercial.
Match #4: Meng w/ Jimmy Hart VS “Macho Man” Randy Savage
Savage’s music plays for a long time but no Savage. Mean Gene comes to the ring, making this the fourth time we’ve seen him tonight, I think.
After some whispering, we get the announcement from ring announcer David Penzer that due to the injuries suffered on Monday, Randy Savage will not be able to compete tonight.
Winner: Meng (via forfeit)
We get a replay of the attack on Savage and then cut to Mean Gene in the ring with the Dungeon of Doom (Sullivan, Morrus, Meng, Barbarian, Jimmy Hart). Sullivan says he hates Randy Savage and he has hit tons of people with chairs, but he never praised and built up Hogan. He told everyone Hogan was two-faced and asked Gene about his buddy Hogan now. Gene talks up Hogan a bit, saying he was a great man but something snapped. He does get in a good shot, though, talking about Thunder in Paradise and saying “he was never a great threat to Sir Laurence Olivier there.” We get the Leprechaun running around being stupid for a little bit as Sullivan calls out Benoit and says that the Dungeon are WCW’s line of defense, not the Horsemen.
Match #5: Bull Nakano (w/ Sonny Onoo) VS Madusa
Nakano starts off by doing here crazy move where she tosses Madusa across the ring by the air. She does it twice, then Nakano picks up a pair of nunchucks and hits Madusa in the gut a few times. The announcers say that referee Randy Eller doesn’t see it, but he looks STRAIGHT AT HER at one point and does nothing.
Madusa gets a bad cross body off of the second rope, but follows with a trifecta of slams to the mat by the hair. She tries a sunset flip but Nakano just sits on Madusa, getting a two count and then just standing up. Nakano goes to the top but Madusa dropkicks her off of the tope rope, sending her to the floor. Madusa dives off of the top rope and takes out Sonny Onoo. Back in the ring, Nakano holds Madusa while Onoo gets ready to break out his kicks again, but Madusa moves and he kicks Nakano in the gut. Madusa capitalizes with a roll up for the win.
Mean Gene is backstage with Ric Flair, Woman, and Ms. Elizabeth. Flair says tonight he’ll be 13 time WCW Champion, 1 time nWo Champion. Flair says he knows that tonight he’ll be the best. Woman is basically in a bikini top and a jacket, which it pretty nice. She’s trying to make the moves on Mean Gene, it seems. Flair says that if the Outsiders get involved, there are Horsemen waiting for them.
Match #6: Battle Bowl Championship: Diamond Dallas Page (Lord of the Ring) VS Eddie Guerrero
“Every airport I’m in, people come up to me and ask about Eddie Guerrero. Is he really that fast? Is he really that good? I just tell them to leave me alone. I don’t have time to talk about Eddie Guerrero.” – Bobby Heenan
Quick start to the offense with a head scissors by Eddie. Eddie charges DDP in the corner, but DDP moves and Eddie hits his shoulder hard on the turnbuckle. DDP comes out with some stomps, then a gutwrench gutbuster, followed by an Irish whip side slam for two. DDP locks on a side headlock and keeps using the second rope to add leverage to the hold. Eddie fights out and tries to sweep DDP’s legs, but DDP does a weir back bump out of it and looks to smack his head hard on the mat. Eddie gets him down and does that nice flipping senton he does over the top rope. DDP hits a jawbreaker as Eddie tries to lift him up, then hits a hell of a sitout powerbomb. DDP’s powerbomb is a thing of beauty. I’ve always liked it. Especially his spinning one.
DDP gutwrenches Eddie and takes him to the top rope. Eddie headbutts DDP and knocks him to the mat. Frogsplash and the 1-2-3!
Winner: Eddie Guerrero (new Battle Bowl Champion)
The referee hands Eddie the Battle Bowl Ring. DDP gets up, unhappy, but shakes Eddie’s hand. He holds on, though, and pulls Eddie into the Diamond Cutter. He throws the referee out of the ring, picks Eddie back up and takes him down with another Diamond Cutter. Chavo Guerrero runs out to stop this, but he gets tossed out of the ring as DDP sets Eddie up on the top rope and Diamond Cuts him for a third time.
While Eddie is being helped in the ring, “Hollywood” Hogan is dragging Mean Gene from out of the back, demanding Gene to apologize for what he’s said about Hogan. Hogan says that in all of his glory, Ric Flair couldn’t even lace Hogan’s boots up. He says that 13 times is an unlucky number and that Flair will never be nWo Champion. Only one man will be the Babe Ruth of baseball, the Michael Jordan of basketball, and the Hulk Hogan of wrestling. He says that Flair brags about limos and jets, but in the nWo, that’s just standard procedure. He again says that once he beats Flair, Flair will be known as “the stupid little man.”
Match #7: “The Canadian Crippler” Chris Benoit w/ Woman & Ms. Elizabeth VS The Giant w/ Jimmy Hart
Woman is trying to help Benoit out of his vest but Giant charges him while his arms are trapped in the vest. Giant lifts Benoit up for the highest chokeslam I’ve ever damn seen.
Winner: The Giant
Damn…Benoit got the shit squashed out of him here. One move! I love Benoit and have been loving his run, so I’m interested in how this came to be. Hopefully Sullivan will get to it on his podcast soon.
Commercial time. This time for the WCW Power Plant! I remember wanting to go to that place so damn bad. I wanted to wrestle in WCW more than anything in the world when I was in high school, and I knew the Power Plant was how to make that happen.
Match #8: WCW Tag Team Championship Match: The Steiner Brothers VS Sting & Lex Luger VS Harlem Heat (WCW Tag Team Champions) w/ Sister Sherri
No Col. Parker tonight. Guessing that since the last time we saw them together, Parker was getting the business from Harlem Heat, that he’s not welcome anymore.
Well, speak of the Devil, Parker arrives after the entrances are over. He walks out with a purpose, though, and immediately takes his place beside Sherri.
After a quick opening with Booker T and Scott Steiner, Lex Luger and Stevie Ray start kicking the living crap out of each other. Rick Steiner quickly tags himself in when Lex gets Irish whipped and comes in with two massive Steinerlines to both men currently in the ring. Rick and Lex get into a shoving match until referee Nick Patrick finally forces Lex out of the ring.
We come back from commercial to Rick Steiner catching Booker Tin a powerslam before getting tagged out of the match by Sting. Sting sends Booker T out of the ring. Sister Sherri is helping Booker up, but Sting runs out of the ring and grabs her by the hair, moving her away from Booker and sending the big man into the ring. In the ring, Sting hits a gorilla press on Booker and covers, but Stevie Ray breaks it up. Sting tags out to Lex, Booker out to Stevie Ray. Quick exchanges, then Sting and Scott Steiner end up the legal men.
I wonder who had the better mullet in 1996…Scott Steiner or Jaromir Jagr.
A big tiger bomb to Sting and Scott tags out to Rick. Sting is able to quickly tag out to Lex, though. Lex takes a weird whip to the corner where it doesn’t really look like Rick whipped him, but Lex comes out of the corner with a nice clothesline, following it with another in the corner. He tries a second time to the corner, but Rick moves and German suplexes Lex for two. Scott tags in and gets Lex with a belly-to-belly. Scotty tries to dive off the top but Lex catches him and moves him to a torture rack. Rick breaks that up and all six men enter the ring. Most everyone leaves except for Booker T and Scott Steiner. Steiner eats an axe kick and the Booker eats a Frankensteiner and covers. Just before the three count, Nick Patrick sees the Outsiders coming down the entry way and calls for a disqualification.
Winners: Harlem Heat (via DQ)
Scott Steiner jumps up and throws a fit, grabbing Nick Patrick and saying that this is bullshit. Mean Gene catches up with Patrick in the entry way and asks what the hell. Patrick says any rule book in existence says that outside interference is a cause for disqualification. Gene says that the Outsiders didn’t even get in the ring. Patrick says they didn’t, and that’s a good point, but what makes a “great” referee is the ability to see multiple things at once. Gene says that Patrick has been looking nice in his new Armani suits and Patrick bounces.
And in case you were wondering, Derick and I decided to actually discuss the mullet challenge…
Special Match: Greatest Mullet of 1996: Scott Steiner VS Jaromir Jagr
Winner: Draw, with both Jagr and Steiner rocking mullets so epic that they can’t compete with each other!
Despite what the next match is, we all know that this is the true main event of the night.
Anyway, on to the main event…
Match #9: WCW World Heavyweight Championship: “Nature Boy” Ric Flair w/ Woman & Ms. Elizabeth VS “Hollywood” Hulk Hogan (WCW World Heavyweight Champion)
Both men start off posturing to each other and to the crowd. Flair wins with a strut and his “slicking back his hair” move. They lock up and Flair goes to a side headlock. Hogan rolls it to a pin and the referee hits a quick two count. This is Randy Anderson, but until they showed him again I had to wonder if Patrick was doing this match as well. That two count was FAST!
They go back and forth a bit more and then Flair gets the better of Hogan, causing Hogan to retreat to the floor and get frustrated, kicking the guard rail, getting into it with a fan and drawing back to punch the fan before Flair comes out to get him. In the ring, Hogan and Flair lock up in a test of strength, which Hogan wins until Flair bites his hands. Hogan sends Flair into the corner where Flair does the flip over the turnbuckle and goes to the floor.
On the outside, Hogan sends Flair into the ringpost face first. Back in the ring, Hogan takes it to Flair until Flair gets a thumb to Hogan’s eyes. Flair hits a vertical suplex and starts putting the boots to Hogan…and Hogan starts…Hulking…Up…
Heel Hulk Hogan, unironically, starts Hulking Up like a freaking babyface. Complete with the finger point, big boot, leg drop…just like he was in red and yellow. Really, Hogan?!
Hogan misses the leg drop, though, and Flair immediately goes for the Figure 4. Hogan reverses it, Flair reverses it back, and out come the Outsiders. This brings out the Horsemen (minus Benoit, who was destroyed by the Giant earlier), Sting and Luger. The announcers speculate whether Hogan gave up before the match ended, but we then get an official announcement from David Penzer:
Winner, by DQ, Ric Flair. Hulk Hogan is still WCW World Champion.
Flair and Sting get a bit into it, with Sting shoving Flair and them squaring off. Hogan leaves with his championship belt and then everyone in the ring eventually leaves as well, kicking us back to our announcers.
Bobby is getting hot about the situation. He says that if the nWo wants a fight, stay out here and fight! With that, Tony kicks us off the air and we end the Clash.
I enjoyed the show, but the matches were all too short. 9 booked matches in 2 hours is a bit much, seeing as we usually only get 8 or 9 on a full 3 hour PPV. Of course, the Savage match didn’t happen, and the Benoit/Giant match was all of one move. We definitely could have done without Hacksaw VS Wallstreet on this card. That would have freed a bit of time up.
Tony points out that in the last week or so, WCW has put on 9 hours of live wrestling. That’s crazy. Think about it…even with three hour Raws, NXT, Superstars, Smackdown, and Main Event, WWE only puts on 3 hours of live wrestling at any given week. 6 if you count a PPV. To do a live Saturday night (2), Hog Wild (3), Nitro (2) and now the Clash (2) in less than a week…that’s crazy. Kudos to the WCW production team and talent on that one.
Until next time, ladies and gentlemen!