WCW Clash of the Champions 34: January 21, 1997

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There was a time when the Clash of Champions was an event. The pinnacle of non-PPV happenings, it was a bridge between extended PPV lulls, and a means to kick off hot new feuds.

Of course, that was then, and this is now. The Clash of Champions is more of a hindrance than a necessity, with WCW simply filling out their obligations to the TBS timeslot. This one, in particular, was amongst the least promoted affairs I can ever remember, with Scott Hall vs Lex Luger vaguely mentioned on last night’s Nitro, and apparently Benoit and Sullivan will brawl as well, though it’s unlikely to top what we saw last night. Oh, speaking of, AWArulz was able to locate a solid copy of the wonderfully violent and uncomfortable match that I believed had no Internet presence at all. Enjoy!

We are LIVE from Milwaukee, Wisconsin – home of the CRUSHER! He is not mentioned by TONY SCHIAVONEDUSTY RHODES, or “SOBER” BOBBY HEENAN. They ARE talking in depth about the “Domestic Dispute” that is Benoit and Sullivan. Oh boy.

DEAN MALENKO vs. THE ULTIMATE DRAGON (with Sonny Onoo) (for the WCW world cruiserweight title)

This is a return from last night, but if you don’t remember it, I don’t blame you since they were given about 6 seconds and no ring entrances. MIKE TENAY’s Cruiserweight Sniffing Dogs begin barking uncontrollably, causing Iron Mike to come tripping over himself and face planting into the announce table to call this one. Mike, I love the passion, but Dusty’s fine on his own, I promise. Sure, he might call the occasional plancha a “jumparoo”, and a spinning heel kick might be confused with a “didja see that Toneh?” But the man’s a veteran, he is not to be trifled with by these young (old) Internet lucha-nerds. In fact, he immediately shows why I offer my undying support, by talking about Dragon’s manager “Sonny Bono”. Dusty, I got you babe. Dragon works a leg-lock as we take our first commercial break.

Malenko’s showing a little fire when we get back, accentuated with a standing brainbuster for 2. Dragon responds by kicking him around like a European football. After a quick powder, Malenko leaps back into this with a backdrop suplex, and grapevines the leg. Dusty speculates this might be a setup to the Cloverleaf. He might be on to something, because Malenko moves to a half crab. Dragon kicks Malenko in the face repeatedly, but that doesn’t work so he uses the road more travelled by simply grabbing the rope. Malenko thinks that’s cool, and drops him with a single leg atomic drop. Dragon throws a couple of shots, so Deano dumps him to the floor and stomps the leg which is draped over the top of the guardrail. Back in, he goes for a Figure Four, but he can’t fully hook it. Upon release, Dragon hits a spinning heel kick and heads upstairs, but Malenko’s barely rattled and cuts him off. A superplex draws a HUGE pop, and a victory roll gets 2! Dragon tries one of his powerful kicks, but Malenko blocks and goes for a powerbomb – except Dragon rolls through and gets 2!! A dropkick sends Malenko to the floor, and he’s right behind with a … well, Malenko sidesteps but Dragon lands on his feet and whips Dean to the guardrail. Asai moonsault is right behind, and Sonny, sensing victory, portrays a desperate stereotype. Back in, a suplex sets up a moonsault, but Malenko kicks out at 2. I think everyone thought that was it. Dean is placed on the top, and a super Frankensteiner is on point. Dragon Suplex is attempted, but Malenko escapes and goes for the Cloverleaf. Dragon escapes quickly, but he takes a tigerbomb! Sonny gets involved, so Malenko decks him, turns back, and applies the Cloverleaf in the centre of the ring! With nowhere to go, Dragon taps and we have a NEW Cruiserweight champion at 13:06! He’s your first ever 3-time champion, which makes sense since he’s also the only 2-time champion. Good match, but Dragon’s lack of selling the body-parts is starting to get to me. When he missed the dive and landed on his feet on the floor, his legs should have buckled and put Malenko back in charge, but like Starrcade, he simply ignored all the work involved with getting them to that point. ***

MIKE ENOS vs. SCOTTY RIGGS

I’m sorry, say what? I didn’t agree to this on my Clash of Champions. The Clash should be used for only the biggest stars. Take for example my personal favorite event, Clash 7, where we were treated to the likes of Ranger Ross, Norman the Lunatic, AND the Ding Dongs. Riggs wins with a forearm smash at 2:27. Riggs promises to bring Marcus Bagwell his “heart and soul” at this weekend’s PPV. Scotty, as a man who endured many a heart break in my late teens and early 20’s, listen to me: the biggest favor you can do yourself is to let it go. Bringing Bagwell your heart is only going to lead to further pain. It’s time you went out and mingled, tried out some new friends, see what works. You might be surprised. This is why Tinder was created. And tequila. DUD

“MEAN” GENE OKERLUND takes us to a break in the action, introducing ARN ANDERSONCHRIS BENOITWOMANMONGO MCMICHAEL, and DEBRA MCMICHAEL. Gene says he spied them in a high end Chicago restaurant conducting business, and wants the scoop. The fans, on the other hand, make it clear that they want Flair. Benoit calls himself a wolverine, who takes what he wants when he wants. He’s already taken Kevin Sullivan’s wife, and now he wants his career. Mongo, to no surprise, draws the most heat since they’re in Wisconsin. He calls them a bunch of Limburger Losers. Ease up, Steven. Debra takes over, which gets Benoit, Woman, and Arn to take off in irritation. As soon as they leave, she starts talking smack about Woman.

KONAN, MR. JL, and LA PARKA vs. CHRIS JERICHO, SUPER CALO, and CHAVO GUERRERO JR.

What kind of acid trip did the bookers take before putting THIS combo together? Mike Tenay starts screaming about Lucha-Libre, but only 3 of these guys are from Mexico; assuming we are still on the story that Konan is to Mexico what Hulk Hogan is to America, and NOT that he lives in a cave with Kevin Sullivan, Jimmy Hart, Maxx, Hugh Morrus, and the Faces of Fear. Have JL and Parka taken the abandoned rooms of Bubba and Giant? I’m going to assume that Konan moved in to the Giant’s room, because there’s little doubt in my mind he had the penthouse. Leprechaun slept on a rock, so unless they’re prepared to offer a spot to Mascarita Sagrada (who was last seen crooning with Todd Pettengill on Another Channel), he’s very unlikely to be replaced. And, let’s face it, a wrestling skeleton WOULD make a fine addition to the Dungeon. On the other team, somehow Chris Jericho has been paired with a couple of guys I don’t remember ever having him maintain any kind of previous relationship with. I would at LEAST appreciate some sort of backstage segment where they cross paths, and Jericho compliments Calo on his immovable hat. Unless, of course Calo isn’t in fact a Mexican, but a Canadian Store Mannequin named Jeff who reverts to his plastic state of matter when the hat is removed from his head. Let’s not be quick to rule it out; I’ve never seen Calo without some sort of headgear. And THAT would make sense, because Jericho is also Canadian, and possibly met him during a shopping trip. Calo IS wearing a toque tonight, lending further credence to my Canadian theory. Anyway, everyone here dove on each other before Jericho eventually pinned JL with a Super Frankensteiner at 5:29. **

HARLEM HEAT (with Sista Sherri) vs. JOE GOMEZ and THE RENEGADE

WCW cuts the entrances out of this one, which is both the first match to lack entrances tonight, but ALSO the first with black wrestlers (DNA tests on Scotty Riggs pending). Sonny, take notes. I’d be hard pressed to find another Clash with so many pointless jobber matches. Honestly, I could paste this lineup as a Worldwide card, and you’d have no reason to doubt me. Booker hits an axekick, howls at the moon, but misses a guillotine on Gomez. Renegade gets the hot tag, and is immediately dropped with a clothesline. Heat Seeker finishes for the former champs at 3:44. I’m thinking the only way Renegade has a shot of ever winning again is if he decides to start shooting, but he’d probably only wind up hurting himself. 1/2*

MASAHIRO CHONO vs. ALEX WRIGHT

They booked this show 48 minutes ago, didn’t they? Did only 30 wrestlers show up tonight, leaving them with virtually no options? Can we expect to see Gambler make his Clash debut? Please? NICK PATRICK takes his spot as the designated referee, complete with the nWo shirt because any hopes at subtlety are long out the window at this point. A spinning heel kick gets about a 14 count in real time, but only 1 and a half from Patrick. A small package yields the same. The fans are ready to revolt, not because they give a damn about Wright or anything, but because it’s been 6 months of this now with absolutely no comeuppance from WCW. They have no recourse, and the results are never in doubt, which is getting aggravating from a viewer standpoint. Wright finally has enough and kicks Patrick in the knee, but he refuses to call a DQ since Chono hits a superkick and scores the pin at 4:29. ENOUGH. -***

EDDIE GUERRERO vs. SCOTT NORTON

Nick Patrick stays in the ring, just in case you had any hope of watching anything entertaining tonight. This is Bischoff’s problem on the whole; once he sees something that he thinks is BRILLIANT, he’ll beat it into the ground. And, despite the fact that this Patrick nonsense is already getting under my skin, it’s only going to get worse. Expect large mood fluctuations. Eddie doesn’t manage to make a whole lot happen, because Norton no-sells virtually everything. Tony applauds the nWo’s acquisition of Norton, because he might have been one of the WCW guys to stand tall against them. A standing vertical suplex sees Eddie just get dropped with no effort, and a powerslam has Norton screaming about “NWO STYLE!” No, nWo style would have featured 40 run ins, and 3 minutes of Bischoff vigorously masturbating. Eddie plays possum while Norton decides to go up top for like the first time ever, and Eddie cuts him off with uppercuts. A super rana takes the man down, but Norton dodges a senton bomb. Norton throws a shoulerblock spear that accidentally takes out both Guerrero and Patrick, and DIAMOND DALLAS PAGE sneaks in from the crowd to drop Norton with a Diamond Cutter and a HUGE pop! Frog Splash forces Patrick’s hand, because Norton is simply NOT kicking out, and Eddie scores the pin at 6:39. All my previous complaints still stand; one anomaly does not make up for the other 100 matches we need to endure to get there. *

THE GIANT calls Hogan a “four legged feline”. … oh.

10 Exciting Winners have been Randomly Selected to attend Superbrawl! And, because you’re not paying for this show (not that this would stop them), Tony takes the time to slowly read them off one at a time as opposed to have an intern call them at home. I don’t want to suggest that this is in fact rigged, but I find it unlikely that 10 different states had winning entrants. Arkansas has like a quarter of an electoral vote, but somehow they’ve got enough firepower to have someone on their way to Superbrawl? This is the most suspicious I’ve felt about a lottery since the Pittsburgh Penguins, on the verge of bankruptcy, miraculously landed Sidney Crosby.

KEVIN SULLIVAN (with Jimmy Hart) vs. CHRIS BENOIT (with Woman) (in a Falls Count Anywhere match)

The intensity is turned down a little tonight, as both guys are able to get through complete entrances without a single punch being thrown. Sullivan calls for Benoit to start on the floor, and Chris obliges. Right through the crowd they go immediately, throwing stiff potato shots at each other as they wade through the ocean of bodies. Through the concession area and into the bathroom, and Benoit is thrown face first through the paper towel dispenser. He lies in front of the row of urinals, and Sullivan smashes Benoit’s head with the dispenser. Jesus!!! Benoit feeds it right back with a trashcan that flies errantly into Jimmy Hart! The referee makes his counts with one foot in the urinal; there simply isn’t enough Purell for this! Chris is thrown head first into the vent, and these guys are taking all shots full tilt. Back into the arena, both guys drenched in urinal from the filthy ass gents who can’t control their stream, Benoit is thrown down about 30 rows of stairs!! He usually does them about 5 at a time, but tonight … good LORD. In the ring, Sullivan’s in control and looks to win his second in a row. Chris is tied to the tree of woe, and the running knee connects with Benoit’s kidneys. The double stomp is on point, but Benoit kicks out! I think he might be the first guy to escape that move. Hart loses his shit, and starts screaming bloody murder at the referee, allowing Woman to enter and wallop Sullivan in the head with a wooden chair! Benoit, breathless, rolls over and gets the pin at 5:12! As if enough damage hasn’t been done to the old man, Benoit grabs the chair again and SHATTERS it over Sullivan’s head! These guys are stupid ridiculous; and while the template remains the same every single time, you can’t deny their drive to kill each other, be it with violence, or a bad case of CMV. ****


THE AMAZING FRENCH CANADIANS (with Colonel Robert Parker) vs. THE STEINER BROTHERS

Parker’s donned his Colonel Klink gear tonight, and vows to show the world what Canadians are made of. Please, a real French Canadian would have already chain-smoked their way through a half-pack of MacDonalds. The boys try to sing the anthem, but Steinerized cuts them off because there’s no respect for la Belle Province in ‘Murica. Won’t WCW be sorry when they try and seek sponsorship from Jean Coutu. The voices of THE OUTSIDERS take over the arena and taunt the Steiners; vowing to finish them if the “Molson Canadians” in the ring don’t do it tonight. This is Scott’s return to the ring after an extended injury, and he’s developed a leather fetish during his off-time. Tony applauds the new look … hmmmmmmm. Tony has about 3 months to decide if he wants to become the face of celebrity homosexuality; or Ellen’s gonna beat him to it. Choices abound. While Tony mulls it over, we take a commercial break.

In our time away, the Canadians took over the offense while Tony took a vow of personal silence. The Quebec Crash looks to finish, but Rick rolls away and Ouellette sells hard. Rougeau punches Scotty in the face to prevent a tag, but that gives Rick the time he needs to get to his feet and hit a running clothesline. Scott gets the tag, and he’s got the beats for anything French. Noggin knocker sends Rougeau out, and Ouellette gets launched with an overhead belly to belly. Rougeau grabs the hybrid flag but misses his swing and Scott punches him in the face. A cradle DDT delivered from off the shoulders of Rick is enough to get the pin (and probably kill the big man!), and the Steiners win at 4:12. **

SCOTT HALL (with Kevin Nash and Syxx) vs. LEX LUGER

Dusty hilariously freaks out during Luger’s fireworks, because he thinks he’s caught on fire from errant sparks. Dusty is of course mistaken, as Tony’s the only flaming in the announce booth. Luger takes a toothpick to the eyes, but before Hall can even chuckle, Luger’s locked up with him and has him shoved to his ass. HEAR HIM ROAR! Hall hits a backdrop suplex to turn it around, and he happily wipes his hands of this mess, missing the fact that Luger’s already back on his feet and screaming again. Hall hits a top rope bulldog for 2, but it’s enough to stop Lex’s adrenaline rush. Hall throws a series of shoulderblocks, but Luger stops that with a short-armed clothesline. Hall comes right back with a chokeslam, but misses the follow up elbowdrop. Luger pounds away, so Hall pulls him by the tights to launch Lex to the outside. Nash is there, and runs Luger over like a Diesel tanker. Back in, Hall maintains control, and Nash gives an assist by distracting the referee, which allows Syxx to clothesline Luger. Hall tries a pin with his feet on the ropes, but only gets 2. Hall chokes Lex in the ropes, so when the referee reads him the riot act, Nash rushes in and punches Luger in the face. A fallaway slam gets 2, so Nash tries to intimidate the referee to make him count faster. Hall locks on the abdominal stretch, and uses the ropes to increase the leverage. He’s eventually caught, and Luger hiptosses him off. Lex tries to follow up with an elbowdrop, but Hall rolls away and drops Luger with a discus punch. Luger slides outside the ring, and that catches Hall off guard – giving Lex the chance to sweep out his legs and crotch him against the ring post! Luger re-enters with a slingshot dropkick (!), and hits a quartet of atomic drops! Running clothesline has the fans amped, but a poke to the eyes from Hall stops their momentum. Luger wins them right back with a powerslam, and he decides it’s time for the Rack! He disposes of Nash and Syxx who try to interfere, puts it on … but Nash comes back in! Luger drops the hold, and hits a running clothesline on Kevin. Nash takes a pounding, but now Hall’s back on top. Syxx jumps off the top with an early version of the Curb Stomp, and the referee finally calls for the DQ at 10:34. **

Nash nails a big boot, but THE STEINERS rush the ring and go right after the tag-team champs. All 6 guys brawl back and forth, and it leads to Team WCW standing tall as the nWo retreat. Luger REALLY should be fighting for the World title, I have no idea why he’s continued to be ignored in the war against Hogan. Will the nWo finally lose a battle at their own PPV this Saturday? Don’t bank on it – but join me for it anyway.