(Not a new post, as I did this one while going through the entire run of Clash shows last year after they got added to the Network. But since we’re at that point, might as well post it again.)
The SmarK Rant for Clash of the Champions XXXIII (August 1996)
Dedicated to the memory of Mark “OfficerFarva” Haas. (I will also just add that I was going through my inbox tonight to continue my quest of cleaning out stuff that no longer applies or is too dated to answer, and I was saddened to have to archive a bunch of stuff from Mark, because he always had really good discussion material to add but I just couldn’t get to all of it.)
Live from Denver, CO
Your hosts are Tony Schiavone & Bobby Heenan
Into the nWo era now, shortly after Hogan won the title at Hog Wild, and it’s an entirely different promotion from the last Clash we saw. Hall and Nash are here, Hogan is a heel, Luger is 100% babyface and so are the Four Horsemen.
Cruiserweight title: Rey Mysterio v. Dean Malenko
Ever notice that Rey and Dean’s music are basically the same thing? Malenko attacks before the bell with a suplex and dumps Rey, but he slides back in and hits Dean with the rana off the apron. Back in, they trade acrobatics and Rey gets a moonsault for two and kicks Dean to the floor. Back in, Dean drops him on the top rope via a powerbomb to take over, and goes to a chinlock. We take a break to shill the official Hog Wild denim jacket (only $89.95!) and return with Dean flinging Rey around the ring until Rey flips into a rollup for two. Rey used to be so fun before all the steroids. Dean goes to the legbar and then launches him into a faceplant for two. Rey tosses Dean and follows with a somersault dive, then moonsaults off the railing in a spot that could have went horribly for him. Back in, springboard dropkick gets two. Rey reverses a tilt-a-whirl for two. West Coast Pop gets two. They fight on top and Dean gets the SUPER EXPLODING GUTBUSTER for the pin, but Rey’s foot is on the ropes. The ref rings the bell, but then takes it back and Rey rolls him up for the pin at 14:20 to retain. This is the time when the cruiserweight division launched into the stratosphere. ***3/4
GLACIER is coming, muthafucka! Keeping in mind this is August 1996 and he didn’t even show up on TV until, what, mid-97?
VK Wallstreet v. Hacksaw Jim Duggan
The VK Wallstreet gimmick was of course another oh-so-subtle dig at Vince McMahon and his mainstream aspirations. We all know who got the last laugh on that one. Wallstreet immediately makes the mistake of pointing to his head to indicate intelligence, resulting in Duggan beating on him in the corner. Wallstreet bails and gets a cheapshot to take over, and goes to the chinlock. Duggan fights out with a slam and tapes up the fist, but VKM rolls him up and grabs the tights at 3:46. ½*
Meanwhile, the Nasty Boys are upset at getting passed over for title shots and people talking shit about them. Well, they can rest easy knowing Sags would soon get forced into early retirement anyway.
Konnan v. Ultimo Dragon
This could be ugly. Konnan slugs him down and wraps him up in a cloverleaf, but Dragon dropkicks him to the floor and Sonny Onoo gets some kicks in. Back in, Dragon with a moonsault into a cradle for two. German suplex gets two, but Konnan rolls him over and pulls the tights at 3:00 to finish. What agent let them do the same finish two matches in a row? *
Meanwhile, Scott Norton attacks Ice Train to break up a Compuserve chat. He’s the ultimate internet troll!
Meng v. Randy Savage
Macho appears to be a no-show due to nWo beatdown, so Meng wins by forfeit. They show replays to emphasize the point, and Hogan’s chairshots didn’t improve any after WWF mercilessly mocked him on the Billionaire Ted skits. So with that out of the way, Mean Gene interviews the new improved Dungeon of Doom (Sullivan, the Faces of Fear, Hugh Morrus) and Kevin points out that he was trying to destroy Hogan all long and thus should be thanked by everyone. Oh, and then the Leprechaun runs around ringside (not to be confused with Hornswoggle) because WCW.
Madusa v. Bull Nakano
At least Bull had little worry about getting fired for doing coke in WCW. They practically gave it out at the door. Madusa misses a dropkick and gets tossed around the ring by the hair, but then gets greedy and beats on her with nunchuks. Somehow the ref misses this and the match continues. Madusa comes back with a bad bodypress, but Nakano sits on her for two. Bull goes up and Madusa dropkicks her to the floor and follows with a dive on Onoo. Onoo tries a kick to retaliate, but hits Nakano and Madusa rolls her up for the pin at 2:30. Really, three rollup finishes in a row? *1/2
Meanwhile, Ric Flair and his harem are ready for Hogan’s nonsense. Flair gets a great play off Hogan’s previous promo about how Hogan beat up his best friend by noting that he can’t beat up his own best friend, and neither can Hogan.
Diamond Dallas Page v. Eddie Guerrero
Last run for heel DDP before the nWo started courting him to lead to his face turn. Eddie gets a headscissors into a dropkick, but charges and hits the post to allow DDP to take over. Gutbuster and tilt-a-whirl slam gets two. Eddie fights back and hits the springboard senton for two, but Page powerbombs him for two. They fight to the top and Eddie shoves him off and finishes with a frog splash at 4:20 to win DDP’s Battlebowl ring. DDP offers a handshake, but then turns on him with a pair of Diamond Cutters to spoil Eddie’s glorious moment. **
Meanwhile, Hogan notes that Flair will be known in the ratings as the stupid little man who couldn’t get the job done. That would be some pretty specific quarter hour information.
GLACIER is still kicking stuff! ROADHOUSE!
Chris Benoit v. The Giant
Very morbid on the Horsemen side, as Benoit and both his valets are gone. Giant was rapidly improving at this point, but this was a quick dropkick and chokeslam at 0:25. It is insinuated that Woman accidentally cost him the match, but I don’t think that went anywhere. This whole period is a blur for me, so I forget if she ended up turning on the Horsemen.
WCW Tag titles: Harlem Heat v. The Steiner Brothers v. Sting & Lex Luger
Luger gets beat up in the Heat corner but returns fire on Stevie Ray, then Rick Steiner lays both guys out with clotheslines and bulldogs Stevie for two. The Heat takes over on Rick and we take a break. Back with Rick powerslamming booker, but Sting tags himself in and hits a flying chop on Booker for two. Sting with a press slam for two. We get a shockingly boring heat segment with Luger pounding on Rick and nothing of note going on, until Scott comes in with a belly to belly on Lex and it’s a six-way donnybrook. In this commotion, Hall and Nash join us while Scott hits the frankensteiner on Booker, and Nick Patrick calls for the DQ in the middle of his count to screw the Steiners over at 13:00. So I guess it’s a no-contest? Who do you disqualify in a three-way match? *1/2 Nick Patrick gives an interview with Mean Gene afterwards, explaining his actions and sounding like Kenny Powers.
WCW World title: Hulk Hogan v. Ric Flair
So in the bizarre after-effect of Hogan’s heel turn, people are now cheering him again since the act was so incredibly hot and thus fresh again. Flair works a headlock and they trade taunts, but Hulk goes to work on the arm and Flair fights back with chops. More stalling from Hulk and they do a test of strength before Flair gets tossed out now. Geez, they’ve wrestled each other a zillion times, you’d think they could get something going here. Hogan slugs away in the ring, but Flair suplexes him and Hogan hulks up. The crowd goes nuts for this, so thankfully Hogan phased it out pretty quickly. Legdrop misses and Flair gets the figure-four, so Hogan throws the ref down and the Outsiders run in for the DQ at 8:04. Pretty brutal. *
Bunch of short, bad matches and TERRIBLE finishes here. Strong recommendation to avoid.