Clash of the Champions #35 – August 21, 1997

Standard warming about how old this is applies.
Clash
of the
Champions 35
Date: August 21,
1997
Location: Nashville Municipal Auditorium, Nashville,
Tennessee
Commentators: Tony Schiavone, Bobby Heenan, Dusty
Rhodes
Reviewed by Tommy Hall

Clash of the Champions more or less was WCW’s
Saturday Night’s Main Event. They started it up to go head to head
with Wrestlemania 4 and actually put a solid dent in it. The show
went on for 9 years but by the end no one cared at all. The show was
just worthless as there was already two hours of television a week so
in essence we were just getting an extra Nitro two weeks a year,
which is why this is the final one.

As for current
storylines, this is at the height of the NWO’s power but Sting is
looming. I think you know the story there. The main event is Luger
and DDP vs. Savage and Hall. See what I mean about how this just
isn’t that interesting of a show? Let’s get to it.

The
opening video just runs down the card. Other than the stupid tag team
main event this sounds pretty decent.

We get a clip of Dillon
saying that Sting has until Thursday to make his demands as Sting had
ripped up two contracts with match offers in them. Sting came through
the crowd and got in the ring and the fans chanted Hogan. Sting
pointed to the fans who were chanting it. This angle was freaking
sweet as hell. And then Hogan and his ego just had to kill it
dead.

US Title: Jeff
Jarrett vs. Steve
McMichael

Jarrett used to be a Horsemen and stole
McMichael’s wife Debra so Mongo wants to get the title to get some
revenge or something. This was the epitome of a feud that no one
wanted to see but would never die. Mongo is a Horsemen here meaning
we get to hear the sweetest theme music of all time. Jarrett was
neither interesting nor good at this time whereas Mongo never was
either of those things so we’ll give it to…damn who do we give
this one to?

Actually let’s just hope this ends fast. We
take a break and come back with Jarrett throwing Mongo into the steps
(His name was Steve Mongo McMichael in case you were wondering).
Debra chokes him and I still couldn’t care less. The WCW midcard
just completely sucked and while we were having Owen vs. Austin
followed by Rock vs. Austin in WWF at this point for the IC belt,
this just doesn’t hold up. Jarrett puts on a sleeper as a great
visual representation for this match.

Mongo gets his own and
Debra gets up on the apron. For no apparent reason Eddie Guerrero
runs out with a belt and goes up top but hits Jarrett by mistake.
Mongo covers for the title with ease. Debra tries to get him back and
fails at it.

Rating: D+. At least it was short. These
two feuded forever and no one cared ever. It just wasn’t
interesting at all but they thought they could just slap the Horsemen
name on it and get a good reaction from it through the south. There
wasn’t much here though so the time was good if nothing else. Mongo
held it for less than a month before Hennig turned heel and took
it.

Alex Wright comes out and speaks in English and Gene warns
him to speak in English which was stupid as hell. It’s as simple of
a promo as you could ask for. He has Ultimo Dragon tonight.

Gene
is with the guys from a show called Dinner and a Movie. In essence
they showed a movie and made food with a play on words of the movie
title. It was an ok idea but why are these guys on a wrestling show?
There’s your problem with WCW right there: too much corporate
interference.

Stevie Richards vs.
Raven

Raven “didn’t have a contract” at this
point and insisted on wrestling only in No DQ matches. This is a
grudge match or something as Richards was tired of Raven pushing him
around. Richards had allegedly had a career ending neck injury but
miraculously healed and showed up in WCW a few weeks later. They
point out Raven’s ankle issue as he has a thing on his shoe to
balance out the fact that his right leg is shorter than his left.

The Raven drop toehold hits to the chair as this is just a
squash match so far. He throws in a bulldog onto the chair for good
measure. Richards comes back with some decent stuff but at the end of
the day he remembers he’s Steven Richards and the other guy is
Raven and the best DDT other than Jake Roberts (who trained Raven)
ends it.

Rating: C+. It was a squash and a quick one at
that so we’ll just call it a bit above average for the DDT, which
is the coolest move in history. Richards would be gone in like two
weeks or so.

We get a cool video about Ultimo Dragon,
explaining a bit of his history and his name. WCW hit the ball so far
out of the park with this division that it’s insane. The name was
called Ultimate Dragon but that was incorrect, as it was supposed to
be Ultimo Dragon: Final Dragon, as in the final student of Bruce Lee,
who he emulated in the ring. That’s the kind of thing that you just
never get in WWE and it’s why the cruiserweights worked so well.

That and they never took them seriously. The shot of the
J-Crown (8 titles from around the world which were defended on WCW
television and included a WWF light heavyweight title that was active
for 20 years but only in Japan, meaning that a WWF Title was defended
on WCW television multiple times in 1996 and 1997) titles being piled
up is just awesome.

TV Title: Ultimo
Dragon vs. Alex
Wright

When Dragon won the title a few weeks prior,
it was the match where no one talked about the match whatsoever other
than the final three count as the whole match was nothing but talking
about the NWO. At the end they more or less said hey we have a new
champion! Now back to what we were talking about. It was just
ridiculous how that was all they talked about.

Wright was a
guy that they tried so hard to push but it just never played out like
they wanted it to. He was this young hotshot that was somewhat over
as a face so of course they turned him heel and no one cared after
that. Dragon really was underrated in the ring. In WWE they just
threw him into the cruiserweight division and let him die off because
that division sucked so hard it was pathetic. These two feuded for
the better part of a year and I don’t think anyone ever cared.

There was no focus at all on the title or anything as it was
always about the NWO. Dragon gets the Asai moonsault that he invented
and does better than anyone else. The commentary is all about them as
well which is NICE. We hit a very nice ending sequence as they fight
over pins but Wright hits a SWEET German suplex for the pin and the
title.

Rating: B-. This was a good match but just
boring as hell. The problem was that while these two had good
matches, it’s Ultimo Dragon vs. Alex Wright. There’s just no heat
at all and it’s not a great matchup while being a good match if
that makes sense.

Cruiserweight Title:
Eddie Guerrero vs. Chris
Jericho

Eddie is challenging here and is freshly
full heel. Eddie’s cowardly heel stuff of running on his knees
always made me chuckle. How much commentary do you really need on a
Guerrero vs. Jericho cruiserweight match? The Canadian goes for that
running springboard dropkick to the guy on the apron that he uses a
lot but slips and botches it badly.

I guess once a year is
understandable. In a quick ending, they hit another fast series of
pinfalls but Jericho actually keeps Eddie down and gets the pin.
Eddie jumps him after the match.

Rating: C-. WAY too
short here but we just had to have Mongo and Jarrett earlier instead
of on Nitro right? The ending sequence was fun as always and these
two just flowed together pretty well. They needed more time though
and that’s why the grade is low.

Silver
King/Villano 4/Villano
5/
Psicosis vs. Super
Calo/Juventud Guerrera/Hector
Garza/Lismark Jr.

More
or less the idea here is go out there and do a bunch of flips like
you do every night without ever getting pushed more than a tiny bit
against each other. This is Lucha rules, meaning if someone goes to
the floor then they don’t have to make a tag for someone else to
come in. I used to hate Mike Tenay but he’s worth his weight in
gold here.

There’s no real point to saying who is in as
they move in and out so fast that it’s hard to keep up with them.
We hit the big pile on with everyone hitting their big over the top
rope until Psicosis hits the guillotine legdrop off the top onto
Super Calo for the pin.

Rating: B-. It was just over
the top and ridiculous which is what these guys did best. This was
very fun and it worked well as it always did. These guys were well
paid to go out there and just get the crowd going and that’s what
they always did.

The cooking guys join the NWO. Tonight is
their one year anniversary but Hogan isn’t here tonight because
he’s in Canada doing a Hollywood movie. That’s WCW for you. We go
to a commercial and come back to DDP Diamond Cutting one of the movie
guys.

Konnan/Syxx vs.
Ric Flair/Curt
Hennig

Hennig was kind of an associate Horseman at
the time but soon he would join the NWO and injure Flair. If there
was ever a guy tailor made to be in the Horsemen, it’s Hennig. Syxx
(X-Pac) more or less beats up Flair but we’ll ignore the pop he’s
getting for doing it. That doesn’t exist. Flair gets his knee
knocked out as Hennig hits the Fisherman’s Suplex on Konnan to get
the win. This was a five minute train wreck.

Rating:
C-. This was just insane and it felt like it was about two minutes
long instead of the five that it actually was. Hennig denies being a
Horsemen but also denies not being a Horsemen while only saying one
thing. He actually does this which is impressive.

He would go
heel soon enough in another dumb move because he was perfect for the
Horsemen. He had the look, he could talk, he was over, he had the
attitude and he was great in the ring. Naturally he was thrown into
the NWO and forgotten about.

WCW Tag
Titles: Lex Luger/DDP
vs. Randy Savage/Scott
Hall

About ten guys come out for the NWO and they
have their party for it being their birthday. Apparently Nash is
letting Savage defend his half of the tag titles for no apparent
reason. Yeah of course we just throw two guys together that have
never teamed together before (according to the ring announcer) and
give them a tag title shot.

In WWF they would have won the
titles. People keep popping the balloons that the NWO dropped so it
sounds like people keep shooting guns or something and it’s really
annoying. And for no apparent reason everyone other than Nash leaves.
It’s exactly what you would expect from a match where the titles
simply weren’t going to change hands.

The faces dominate
early on but then the heels take over to set up the hot tag. Luger
gets Hall in the rack but takes an accidental Diamond Cutter and gets
pinned. What else is there to say here?

Rating: C+.
It’s ok and that’s about it. What more do you want here? They had
an ok match that no one cared about on a show that not a lot of
people actually watched. Are you looking for something huge here?

We
come back and Bischoff talks forever and then the lights begin to
flicker. They go off and we see Sting in the rafters with a vulture.
The famous speech in a child’s voice follows and the lights go out
again and the bird is on the top rope. The NWO is terrified and Nash
pulls the belt back to swing it at him as we go off the air. Think
about how stupid this was for the live audience for a
minute.

Overall Rating: C-. You could see
that this was about the name of the show and nothing more. Yeah there
were four title matches but that happened at almost every Nitro. Yes
two titles changed hands but who cares? It’s just not an
interesting show as Nitro was lighting the world on fire on Mondays
on a weekly basis. Ten years earlier this was an awesome idea but
here it just didn’t hold up at all. Not bad, but only watch if you
like this time in WCW. Otherwise it’s nothing of note at all.

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