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Leighty’s Retro Review: WCW Clash of The Champions XXXIII

August 16, 2023 | Posted by Robert Leighty Jr.
Hulk Hogan Ric Flair WCW Clash of the Champions XXXIII Image Credit: WWE
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Leighty’s Retro Review: WCW Clash of The Champions XXXIII  

-Quick turn around for this show as it happened just five days after Hog Wild (review here). The Clash gimmick was running on borrowed time as WCW was about to go to monthly PPV (Hog Wild was the first August PPV) and Nitro had been giving us matches you would see at The Clash. There would be only two more after this one, so let’s get to it!

-Announce Team: Tony Schiavone and Bobby “The Brain” Heenan
-Date: August 15, 1996
-Denver Coliseum, Denver, CO
-Attendance: 8304
-Rating: 3.5

-Opening talking segment from Tony and Bobby as they set the stage for tonight. We flashback to Nitro where The Horsemen hit the ring to help Sting and Lex Luger against The Outsiders. This was all setting up War Games next month! 

WCW Cruiserweight Championship: Rey Mysterio Jr (c) vs. Dean Malenko

-As mentioned previously, Rey won the Title from Malenko on Nitro in July and this is the rematch. As per usual Mike Tenay joins the commentary team. Malenko attacks before the bell and gets a suplex before dropping an elbow. Rey suckers Dean to the floor and then back into the ring. Rey with a springboard dropkick and then a baseball slide into a head scissors. Tony mentions this is the 4th meeting as they had just wrestled on WCW Pro. Cool, so they have done a PPV, Clash, Nitro, and WCW Pro. Rey with a springboard dive for two. He gets the fake that would become the 6-1-9 as Dean starts walking up the aisle. Back in Malenko charges and Rey catches him with a drop toehold. Dean catches Rey and takes him from a powerbomb position and drops him throat first on the top rope. That looked nasty! Jumping brain buster gets two as Dean is a little annoyed tonight. Rey throws a kick and avoids a punch which lets him get a small package for two. Dean hooks a side headlock and takes it to the mat. Rey gets to his feet, but eats a back elbow as we take a commercial break. 

-60 seconds of Peacock commercials. No clue how long the original commercials were. I will just use the match times found online instead of keeping my own since there is no chance of the commercials matching up in time.

-WCW Hog Wild merchandise. Obviously, that was left in from the original broadcast.

-Another 60 seconds of Peacock commercials for some reason. 

-Back with Rey escaping an inverted DDT and getting a roll-up for two. Dean goes to the eyes and gets a grapevine of the leg. Rey to his feet and Dean shoots him off and tosses him in the air to land on his face. Effective! Brain makes sure to note that Rey went so high because of the altitude. Rey slides away from a waist lock and that sends Dean to the floor. Rey flies as he gets a somersault into a Senton Splash. Rey with a moonsault off the guardrail because he is awesome and this stuff blew our minds 27 years ago. Still cool now! Rey gets a pin back in the ring for two. Springboard into a rana for two. They trade blows in the corner and Rey ends up on the apron. Rey heads up, but Dean goes up with him and hits a sick Gutbuster that popped the crowd huge. That seems to get three as the bell rings, but Anderson realizes Rey’s foot was on the ropes. Anderson tells Dean the bad news and that lets Rey get a victory roll for the actual pin at 12:07.

Winner and Still WCW Cruiserweight Champion: Rey Mysterio Jr via pin at 12:07
-I mean, it’s Dean vs. Rey so you know it is going to be good. The commercial breaks hurt the flow, but still a darn fine TV match. Dean got kind of hosed here though. ***1/2

-Glacier is still coming! Man, we need a Veer vs. Glacier match!

V.K. Wallstreet vs. “Hacksaw” Jim Duggan

-I have mentioned this before but when I watched this live, V.K. being a joke at Vince McMahon’s expense went right over my head. Anyway, Duggan pounds Wallstreet’s head off the top buckle and then gets a clothesline. He gets ready for the running tackle, but Wallstreet bails to the floor. Wallstreet catches Duggan coming in and drops him throat first on the top rope. VK drops an elbow, but doesn’t even get a one count. Duggan elbows out of a side headlock, but runs into an elbow which gets one. VK goes to a chinlock which Duggan breaks with a jawbreaker. They start trading blows and Duggan wins that one rather easily. Slam from Duggan and he reaches into his tights for his tape. The ref stops him which lets Wallstreet get a roll-up for the pin at 3:48.

Winner: V.K. Wallstreet via pin at 3:48
-Too short to mean anything, though it being short is probably a good thing. They crowd enjoyed it as everyone likes Duggan. 1/2*

-Mean Gene is backstage with The Nasty Boys. Gene questions their allegiance as he knows they are friends with Hulk Hogan. They assure Gene they stand with WCW and tonight they will make a nasty statement against whoever wins tonight’s Tag Title Match.

-Gene plugs his Hotline!

Ultimate Dragon (how he is being billed here, don’t blame me) (w/ Sonny Onoo) vs. Konnan

-Tenay keeps slipping in Ultimo Dragon, but everyone just ignores him and goes with Ultimate. Mat sequence to start so Dragon can flip his way out and the crowd boos him. Konnan ties Dragon into a modified Cloverleaf and then lets him up so he can run him down with a shoulder. Dragon runs at Konnan and bounces off to the mat. He rolls to the floor to regroup with Sonny. Back in to the ring Dragon gets a dropkick to the back of the head. Konnan goes after Sonny on the floor as he landed a few kicks. Dragon saves Sonny and back in the ring comes off the top with a moonsault to the back. German Suplex from Dragon that gets reversed by Konnan into a roll-up with the tights for the pin at 2:57.

Winner: Konnan via pin at 2:57
-They got less than three minutes! *

-Back at the CompuServe area, Ice Train is minding his business chatting online on his dial up desktop when he gets blasted by former partner, Scott Norton.

Meng (w/ Jimmy Hart) vs. “Macho Man” Randy Savage

-Not really, as Savage’s music plays but he is a no show. Gene is down and lets Patrick know that Savage is not here due to doctor’s orders. Savage was blasted in the head with a chair by Hogan three nights earlier on Nitro. Meng is given the win by forfeit.

Winner: Meng via forfeit

-They replay the chair shot from Nitro and I believe it did legit split Savage open on the back of his head. You can see the edge of the chair clip him. That had to suck!

-Gene has an in ring interview with The Dungeon of Doom. Sullivan rants about Hogan being what he always said he was, while Gene was leading the bandwagon. Gene just thinks something snapped and thinks The Outsiders changed Hogan. The Leprechaun (don’t ask) runs around the ring while Sullivan notes The Dungeon is the last stand for WCW. No wonder they went out of business!

Bull Nakano (w/ Sonny Onoo) vs. Madusa

-This is a rematch from Hog Wild as they were trying to build a woman’s division after getting Madusa to jump ship and throw the WWF Women’s Title in a trash can. Nakano throws Madusa around the ring by the hair and again. That always gets a good reaction from the crowd. Nakano uses some nunchucks as the ref has to pretend to be looking at Sonny. Medusa tries to fight back, but eats a hard clothesline. Falling splash gets two for Nakano. Madusa into the corner but comes off the middle rope with a sort of splash as they weren’t on the same page there. Some lady in the crowd yells, “come on Madusa, kick her in her fat ass.” Classy! To the floor where Medusa comes off the top, but Bull moves and Sonny ends up getting hit. Sonny tries to get involved and accidentally kicks Bull which lets Madusa get a roll-up for the win at 2:42.

Winner: Madusa via pin at 2:42
-A token women’s match on a Turner station getting no time. The more things change, they more they stay the same. 1/2*

-Gene is backstage with Ric Flair, Miss Elizabeth, and Woman. The running gag of Woman always flirting with Gene is great. Oh, and Liz looks fantastic! Flair says The Horsemen have the rest of the nWo covered. Great line from Flair: “you know why I don’t beat up my best friend? Because I can’t and neither can you.” That’s fantastic! For those not aware, Hogan beat up Beefcake at Hog Wild and told Flair if he would do that to his best friend, what would be he willing to do to him.

Battle Bowl Ring: Diamond Dallas Page (c) vs. Eddie Guerrero

-Page had been feuding with The Guerrero Family and it would last the rest of the year until his eventual face turn. Page spits on Eddie to start and then shoves Eddie down off a lock-up. Eddie back up and he gets a head scissors takedown. Eddie charges and hits the post with impressive speed. Page lays in the boots and uses his boot to choke. Page with a gutbuster followed by a spinning side slam. Page hooks a chinlock and makes sure to use the bottom rope to his advantage. The ref questions why the ropes are shaking if Page isn’t using them. Hey man, that’s not a fair assumption. Can’t call what you don’t see! Eddie is able to force a break and gets a leg sweep. They start trading blows in the middle of the ring and Eddie wins that exchange. Slingshot Senton gets two! Jawbreaker from Page to counter and he gets a sweet sit-out powerbomb for two. Page sets Eddie on the top rope, but Eddie shoves him off and gets a Frog Splash for the win at 4:20.

Winner of Battle Bowl Ring: Eddie Guerrero via pin at 4:20
-Fun little match that was able to get at least four minutes. Page was rapidly improving and Eddie is Eddie. This was a good feud for both men. **1/4

-DDP offers a handshake and drops Eddie with The Diamond Cutter. He hits a second one and then another one off the top rope as Chavo Guerrero comes down for the save. Diamond Cutter was getting over and Page was on his way.

-Hulk Hogan drags Gene out from the back to cut a promo as he compares himself to Babe Ruth and Michael Jordan.

-Glacier is coming! We promise!

Chris Benoit (w/ Woman and Miss Elizabeth) vs. The Giant (w/ Jimmy Hart)

-Giant had lost the WCW Title to Hogan three days ago and is a little ticked off. Benoit gets stuck in his vest as Woman tries to help him with it. Giant hits a dropkick and choke slam finishes at 0:23.

Winner: The Giant via pin at 0:23
-I guess they have an out with jacket-gate, but watching live even I thought it was weird seeing a Horseman get smoked so easily. SQUASH

-WCW Power Plant commercial! Call now! Especially if you are a former Atlanta Falcons football player.

-Hog Wild merchandise!

WCW World Tag Team Titles: Harlem Heat (c) (w/Sister Sherri) vs. The Steiner Brothers vs. Sting and Lex Luger

-Everyone in this match including Sherri is in the WWE Hall of Fame except Lex Luger. It’s way past time to put him in there! Colonel Parker heads down as well as the saga with him and Sherri is still going. Nick Patrick is the ref which is a questionable decision in storyline by the people in charge of WCW since he was just in the middle of a controversy at Hog Wild involving Sting and Luger. Well, I guess Bischoff was in charge of WCW in storyline, though we didn’t know at home, and while he was still WCW here, we would learn he was secretly working with the nWo at this point, so I guess it does make sense. NWO ANGLE HAD LAYERS! To the match where Booker T gets dropped balls first on the top rope by Scott Steiner and Luger runs him down with a clothesline. That sends Booker to the floor where he regroups with his bother, Sherri and Parker. Scott tags Lex which makes no sense and Tony is there to question it as the only you can win is by having someone from your team in the ring. Luger runs wild on Stevie Ray and Rick makes a blind tag from behind. He drops Rick with a clothesline and rips Luger’s head off with one as well. He gets two on Stevie, but Luger breaks up the count. Luger and Rick argue which lets Stevie recover and hit a sidekick. We go to break, but this time nothing from Peacock, so we just resume the match. Sting is in the ring and sends Booker over the top with a hip-toss, but Patrick says it was incidental so no DQ. Lex back in with a double ax off the middle rope. No cover though as Stevie Ray makes the save and then gets the tag. Sting back in as well as Stevie goes at his eyes. Stevie drops a knee and talks trash to Scott Steiner on the apron. Scott responds by slapping Stevie on the back to tag himself into the match. MAIN EVENT MAFIA EXPLODE! Scott gets a hammerlock, but Sting shoves off and hits a sweet stun-gun. Sting off the top with a shoulder, but Rick makes the save. Sting/Luger and The Steiners all start brawling and Patrick separates them to get things back to Scott and Sting. Scott with a double underhook suplex and Luger makes the save. Rick back in as Bobby is confused by the rules. Tony explains to him that Harlem Heat don’t have to be in the ring to lose their titles. Kids today don’t know the confusion we all had when triangle matches and four-way matches started happening around this time. Everyone starts brawling and in the ring, Booker gets a super kick on Scott Steiner. The other four men brawl in the aisle and here come The Outsiders to a massive pop. Back in the ring Scott gets a Frankensteiner, but Patrick stops his count and calls for the bell as he sees The Outsiders interfering at 13:22 (shorter than that here since the commercials were skipped).

No Contest Due to DQ at 13:22
-This was a fun match with a hot crowd until the weird ending. I understand Patrick needed to screw over The Steiners, but there could have been a better way. **

-Patrick explains to Gene that it was a DQ due to outside interference. The crowd is pissed. Patrick puts over his ability to see two things happening at once.

WCW World Heavyweight Championship: Hollywood Hogan (c) vs. Ric Flair (w/ Woman and Miss Elizabeth)

-Tony gives a rundown of the history between the two and mentions Flair is the one being cheered tonight. Not here in Denver tonight as the crowd is behind Hogan as the heel turn freshened up his character. Tony and Bobby wonder if the 4th or 5th member of the nWo is here. As mentioned, Hogan won the World Title just five days earlier and spray painted nWo on the belt. I have been watching all the early Saturday Night’s Main Events and it’s jarring how much Hogan slimmed down (stopped roiding) in his WCW run. Nothing happening two minutes in as they are stalling and playing to the crowd. Flair slaps Hogan in the face and Heenan says he wishes he could have done that. Hogan breaks out his chain wrestling skills, but misses a clothesline and Flair fires back with clotheslines. Hogan bails to the floor and threatens to punch an lady in the crowd. MEMPHIS! Flair comes off the apron with a double axe and throws more chops. Back in the ring Hogan wants a test of strength which seems dumb for Flair, but here we are. Flair loses the battle, so he bites Hogan’s hand. They screw something up out of the corner, so they go again and Flair takes his bump in the corner and ends up on the floor. Hogan sends Flair into the railing and rakes the eyes. He sends Flair into the post and then chases Woman and Liz back. Back rake from Hogan before firing Flair back into the ring. Another Flair bump in the corner, but he ducks a clothesline and gets Hogan up with a suplex. Hogan hulks up and the crowd roars. Hogan ditched the routine after this because he was cheered. Tony sounds dumb saying the fans aren’t behind the comeback. Hogan misses the leg drop and Flair gets The Figure Four. Woman gives Flair some extra leverage. Hogan turns it over, but Flair rolls with him to turn it back. Hogan takes out the ref and now The Outsiders hit the ring. Flair gets stomped out until The Horsemen, Sting and Luger run down for the save. The match is called at 8:23 for Flair via DQ.

Winner: Ric Flair via DQ at 8:23
-I am sucker for Hogan vs. Flair and while not a good match, it was a fascinating dynamic with early Hollywood Hogan working out the kinks. *1/2

-Tony and Bobby wrap things up and plug Nitro on Monday!

-Thanks for reading!

The final score: review Not So Good
The 411
As we have discussed the concept of The Clash of Champions was dying due to Nitro and the Monday Night War making it seem less special. The opener is fun and there are a couple okay matches, but we had some real bad finishes. It's an easy show to watch though and anything from the early nWo days is cool to see.