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

January 14, 2022 | Posted by Robert Leighty Jr.
WCW Clash of the Champions, Peacock WWE
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Leighty’s Retro Review: WCW Clash of The Champions XXXIV  

-I’ve decided to continue on with my look at WCW and WWF shows from twenty-five years ago. This started when I did Bash at The Beach 96 and I’ve just rolled through each PPV since Sept. For January there are three shows to look at as WCW was still doing Clash of the Champions twice a year. The concept would end with a final Clash in August, but we will get to that in seven months. This show took place the day after a Nitro and four days before nWo Souled Out PPV, so you can see why it was becoming a dying concept. We are coming off Starrcade where Roddy Piper beat Hulk Hogan and The Giant is now turfed from the group. Let’s get to it!

-Jan 21, 1997
-Wisconsin Center, Milwauke, WI
-Announce Team: Tony Schiavone, Dusty Rhodes, Bobby “The Brain” Heenan
-Attendance: 6,800
-Rating: 3.5

-The announcers set the stage for us tonight and I wince as Dusty hypes Benoit/Sullivan as being a domestic dispute.  

WCW Cruiserweight Championship: Ultimo Dragon (c) vs. Dean Malenko

-This is a rematch from Starrcade as Dragon took the CW Title from Malenko.  Dragon also lost his J Crown Championship at The Tokyo Dome on Jan 4th to Liger.  That was supposed to be for the WCW CW Title as well, but WCW pulled the title out of that one.  The USA chants start even before the bell.  Lockup to start and Dragon gets a go behind which Dean turns into a wristlock.  Dragon flips out and we get some mat wrestling as they trade holds.  We take a commercial break.

-Commercials! 

-Sweet, they left in the nWo commercials as they have one for the nWo hotline, though the number is blurred out obviously.  

-Back with Dean hobbling around as they mention that Dragon recently lost his J Crown Title.  Malenko fires away in the corner and hits a delayed vertical suplex to a big pop.  He then brings things back down with a head scissors.  Dragon slips out and fires off rapid kicks and then a stiff kick to the back.  That sends Dean to the floor as he looks banged up from that one.  Dragon just lets him regroup and waits for Dean to get back into the ring.  Dean is pissed now as he grabs hold of Dragon and sticks him with a brainbuster.  Again, it pops the crowd, but again Dean slows things down as he goes to a knee-bar.  Dean kicks away at the knee and then goes to a Half Crab.  Dragon rolls which lets Dean transition to a knee-bar.  Dragon uses his heel to kick his way out, but Dean goes to a stump puller.  They mention on commentary that Mysterio is injured and his TV Title match with Regal is off.  Dean dumps Dragon to the floor and smashes the leg against the safety rail with a running boot.  Back in the ring he pops the crowd again by hooking a figure-four, but Dean eventually releases.  He hits a running clothesline in the corner and tries for another whip, but Dragon lands a spin kick.  They battle on top and Dean connects with a superplex which gets a standing ovation from the fans in the first few rows.  Heenan annoys Dusty by busting on the Cowboys losing to Green Bay in the NFC Championship.  Dean gets a schoolboy for two. Dragon gets Malenko on the apron and hits a springboard dropkick.  They fight on the floor as Malenko gets sent back first into the railing.  Asai moonsault follows and then back in the ring Dragon gets a suplex.  He follows with a moonsault for two.  Dragon puts Malenko on top and gets a Frankensteiner.  He calls for The Tiger Suplex, but Dean blocks so Dragon gets a roll-up for two.  Dean catches him with a lariat and hits a powerbomb.  Sonny tries to get involved, but Dean isn’t having any of it this time as he blasts him off the apron.  He catches Dragon’s foot and turns it into a Texas Cloverleaf for the submission at 13:40.

Winner and New WCW Cruiserweight Champion: Dean Malenko via submission at 13:40
-This made Dean the CW Champion for a 3rd time.  Very good match here as they hit the higher gear you expected them to.  It was the right time for the change as the crowd at Starrcade had to sit through the New Japan onslaught and you had to reward the fans at some point.  The run time is likely a little off as I assume the Peacock commercials aren’t as long as what TBS aired.  ***3/4

-Commercials!

Mike Enos vs. Scotty Riggs

-Riggs is fresh of having Bagwell turn on him to join the nWo and they have a match coming up at nWo Souled Out.  Enos is most famous for being in the Nitro match where Hall made his debut through the crowd.  They talk trash and Enos catches Riggs from behind with a right hand.  Riggs fights back and sends Enos into the corner.  Next he tosses him to the floor as Enos flops all over the place to sell it.  Riggs comes out after him and pays for it by getting sent back first into the apron (hardest part of the ring).  Enos comes off the apron with a clothesline and then takes off the vest.  Commentary has spent the entire match talking about the nWo, but I can’t blame them.  Back inside the ring Enos hits a sweet overhead suplex.  Riggs should be blitzing him since he has the match with Buff, but instead he gets a fluke flying forearm for the pin out of nowhere at 2:30.  

Winner: Scotty Riggs via pin at 2:30
-Well, Enos suplex was nice.  Riggs should have looked more impressive in this one.  *

-nWo commercial featuring The Outsiders pimping the Souled Out t-shirt.  

-Mean Gene Okerlund sucks up to the crowd by mentioning The Packers are in the Super Bowl this week.  He then brings out The 4 Horsemen (minus Ric Flair) and the crowd starts a “we want Flair” chant.  Benoit tells Sullivan he can take away anything of his he wants at any time.  The crowd gets on Mongo with a “Bears suck” chant.  Arn wants Benoit to finish off the rest of the carcass.  Mongo is in his glory heeling on the crowd and again, he was great at getting heat, but never developed enough in the ring.  Debra waits for Woman to leave to get in a dig at her.  

Konnan, La Parka, and Mr. JL vs. Chris Jericho, Super Calo, and Chavo Guerrero, Jr.

-Juventud Guerrera was supposed to be in this match, but Jericho is taking his spot.  La Parka is also taking Psychosis’ spot as he injured him in a match in Mexico.  Tenay teaches us that this is a staple in Mexican wrestling and will be a treat to see a trios match.  JL starts with Chavo and they trade forearms.  Chavo gets a shoulder, but then gets caught with a kick.  Calo and Konnan in and Konnan gets to run wild on him for a bit.  Calo flies around the ring and walks the ropes for a head scissors take down.  Parka and Jericho next as Parka screams and then hits a sweet powerslam.  Jericho comes back with a lariat, but misses a second and gets caught with a superkick to the side of the head.  Jericho back with a missile dropkick.  Chavo in and he delivers a bunch of dropkicks including an ugly basement one that Parka doesn’t sell.  Chavo eats a double clothesline and double dropkick from Konnan and La Parka.  Konnan sets Chavo on his shoulders and Parka gets a moonsault onto him.  We keep on rolling as Jericho decks JL, but Konann comes in to cut that off.  Jericho with a slingshot plancha to Konnan on the floor and that sets off everyone jumping out of the ring onto the pile: JL with a crossbody, Chavo with a slingshot plancha, La Parka with a dive that clears the top rope, and finally Calo with a slingshot senton.  Heenan jokes that he is going to come down and throw himself over the top to the floor and Dusty tells him he couldn’t jump over the bottom rope.  JL and Jericho get back in the ring and Jericho gets a top rope super Frankensteiner for the win at 5:27.  

Winners: Chris Jericho, Super Clao, and Chavo Guerrero, Jr via pin at 5:27
-Just non stop action as they gave us a taste of what to expect with a trios match.  The commentary was great as everyone other than Tenay was in awe at what was happening.  It was sloppy at times, but it was entertaining.  ***1/4

Harlem Heat (w/ Sister Sherri) vs. The Renegade and Joe Gomez

-Both teams are already in the ring and Harlem Heat jump the bell. Gomez gets pounded down in the corner by Booker and them by Stevie Ray. Slam from Stevie Ray and he follows with a kick to the gut. Tag to Booker as the crowd is very much behind him as this was the point you knew Booker was going to break away sooner than later and get a chance to become a solo star. Gomez gets a small package for two, but nothing else as Dusty makes fun of Sherri. Speaking of which she gets to land a right hand on Gomez on the floor. Back in the ring Stevie drops a leg before taking back to Booker. He lands an axe kick as he is the biggest babyface in this match in the eyes of the crowd. Booker misses a move from the top and the hot (?) tag is made to Renegade. He only gets to hit a few moves and The Heat Seeker finishes at 3:44.

Winner: Harlem Heat via pin at 3:44
-This was basically a SQUASH which is what it should have been. The crowd loved Booker and he got to show off a little bit. SQUASH

-1-800-Collect road report with Lee Marshall as Nitro will be in Des Moines, IA on Monday.

Masahiro Chono vs. Alex Wright

-Nick Patrick is the ref for this one which has Dusty raging already. I mean sure, Nick is wearing nWo shirt and hat, but I think you can still trust him. Tony mentions that Souled Out is this Saturday and he is hopeful since WCW Tag and World Titles are being defended that the WCW committee will force the nWo to use WCW sanctioned referees. Yeah, no! Chono pounds Wright before the bell and the crowd loves it Patrick also gets a pop for turning his hat around backwards. Wrights shows some fire as he comes back with right hands in the corner. The crowd boos him out of the building and roars when Chono slams him to the mat. Wright back with a dropkick an again, the crowd is not happy. Chono back with a shoulder tackle. Wright gets a leapfrog and hits a leg lariat, but Patrick only offers a two count. Chono with a reverse atomic drop, but gets caught in a small package for two, which was like 5, but who cares as the crowd is enjoying this. Wright gets dumped to the floor which is a DQ, but Patrick must agree with me that the rule is dumb and just ignores it. Wright heads up top and gets a sunset flip, but Patrick tricks shoulder acts up and we get another two count. Wright has had enough of this and decks Patrick. Nick is about to DQ Wright, but uses his better judgment and lets the match play out as Chono hits a running boot for the win at 4:30.

Winner: Masahiro Chono via pin at 4:30
-Nothing match but the crowd loved the antics of Patrick and loved seeing Wright get kicked in the face. *

-Public Enemy pimp some WCW merchandise in a commercial that I have engrained in my head for whatever reason.

Eddie Guerrero vs. Scott Norton

-More WCW vs nWo here and Patrick is once again the referee. I mean it’s only fair as we spent months having only WCW referee matches featuring the nWo. Nick checks Eddie before the match which is smart because I’ve heard he cheats to win and also lies, cheats and steals. Eddie is the US Champion, but Syxx has his title and they settle that on Saturday in a ladder match. Norton throws Eddie around the ring to start and gets a gorilla press slam. A second attempt is escaped and Eddie follows with a dropkick to the knee. He stomps away on the knee and drops an elbow. He hooks a knee-bar, but releases in short order. He fires off chops, which Norton no sells and then drops Eddie with a stiff chop. Next he no sells a dropkick and at least Norton is getting booed. He benches Eddie above his head again and just drops him on his face. Powerslam as Eddie is getting mauled. Powerbomb as the crowd is now getting behind Norton. Eddie fires up and gets a rana to break Norton off the top. Eddie up and he misses a move and pays for it by eating a clothesline. Patrick gets bumped which lets DDP show up and he drills Norton with a Diamond Cutter to a monster reaction. Eddie up top with The Frog Splash and Patrick has no choice, but to make the count at 5:35.

Winner: Eddie Guerrero via pin at 5:35
-This was solid as Eddie was great at bouncing around the ring and making Norton’s offense look good. Eddie needed the win and while it took DDP helping it made sense as they needed something to put Patrick in a spot where he had no choice but to count. **

-Giant cuts a promo on Hogan as they meet for the WCW Title at Souled Out!

-Commercials that contributed to this show (Slim Jim, Chef Boyardee)!

-Peacock Commercials!

-Tony reads off the 10 winners that are heading to San Francisco to play in a Play Station World Championship.

Falls Count Anywhere: Chris Benoit (w/ Woman) vs. Kevin Sullivan (w/ Jimmy Hart)

-This feud has been going on for nearly a year at this point and we are still 6 months away from the blow-off that ended it. For whatever reason they fought last night on Nitro and now we have another go. Again, Woman walking out with Benoit is just so off putting. I will never be able to get past seeing them together. Sullivan doesn’t even want to start in the ring, so Benoit goes out after him and the brawl is on. They immediately head into the crowd and the crowd is loving every second of this. Just heavy right hands from both men as they head to the concourse. Right to the bathroom as they touch on their famous match from The Great American Bash the previous year. Dusty is is all his glory on commentary with this as you would imagine. Jimmy Hart gets decked with a trash can in the chaos. The ref gets his foot stuck in a urinal which has Dusty losing it. We actually get a cover from Sullivan, but Benoit is out at two. Benoit get sent head first into a heating unit, but he rebounds with a garbage can shot. They head out of the bathroom and brawl back down the steps towards the ring. Benoit takes an insane bump as he goes tumbling down about a dozen steps. Ouch! They head back to the ring where Sullivan hangs Benoit in the Tree of Woe. Sullivan hits a running knee and gets the double stomp, but Benoit kicks out at two. Sullivan wants the megaphone, but the ref stops that which lets Woman bring in a wooden chair and she decks Sullivan to a pop from the crowd. Benoit crawls over for the pin at 5:08.

Winner: Chris Benoit via pin at 5:08
-The crowd loved this, but it was too short and really just a call back to what they did 7 months earlier without building the match up to the bathroom brawl. Though I guess they knew the fans wanted the brawl and they gave it to them. The ending was screwy as well, but it had intensity and again, the crowd loved it. **1/2

-I was going to mention that Woman didn’t even get the chair to break, but Benoit grabs another one and makes sure it shatters over Sullivan. In a morbid take Heenan mentions this is going to continue as long as each man has breath in them.

-Commercials!

The Amazing French Canadians (w/ Colonel Parker) vs. The Steiner Brothers

-The Outsiders pop up on the video boar to taunt The Steiners are they have a tag title match against each other at Souled Out. The Steiners clear the ring as the men brawl to start. The AFC gain an advantage, but The Steiners come off the same corner with stereo Steiner-lines to get a two count. We take a break, but that’s not included here so we are right back with Jacques hitting a slam. Carl misses the assisted Senton off the top. Rick hits a Steiner-line on both men and hot tag to Scott. He runs wild and hits a backdrop on Carl and then press slams Jacques onto his partner. Carl gets caught off the top and tossed with a belly to belly. Jacques misses a shot with the flag and gets sent to the floor. The assisted DDT off the top rope finishes at 4:12 (shown).

Winners: The Steiner Brothers via pin at 4:12
-With the commercial being cut out this was basically a Steiner squash. I guess with the commercial the match ran 6:55. Probably for the best it worked out better as a SQUASH SQUASH

Scott Hall (w/ Kevin Nash and Syxx) vs. “The Total Package” Lex Luger

-Dusty’s reaction to Luger’s pyro being so close to the announce table makes me laugh. That is one thing I am noticing doing these shows 25 years later: I forgot how much fun the commentary was and how they interacted and had their own voice and character. Could be why I enjoy McAfee so much today. Tony gives a birthday shout-out to long time WCW fan, Brian Hildebrand. Nice way of sliding that in there for those who don’t know he is actual the ref in the ring: Mark Curtis. Hall with a belly to back suplex, but Luger beats him to his feet and poses. Hall punches him in the face to regain the advantage and connects off the top with a bulldog. He works the arm a bit, but Luger is too strong and hits a lariat. Luger blocks a hiptoss, but Hall just sticks him with a chokeslam which pops the crowd. Luger gets dumped to the floor Syxx tries to get in a shot, but gets dropped with a clothesline, but Nash is there to mow him down. Luger beats the count so Hall just lands his right hands in the corner. Hall always knew how to through a devastating looking punch. Running clothesline in the corner and Nash distracts the ref so Syxx can hit a running clothesline from the apron. That gets a two count even as Hall uses the ropes for leverage. Fall-away slam gets a two count and Nash is not happy with Mark Curtis’ count. Hall goes to an abdominal stretch and uses the middle rope for leverage. Curtis catches Hall in the act which lets Luger get a hiptoss, but an elbow drop misses. Spinning right hand from Hall as he then starts slapping Luger around. He throws some chops in the corner, but gets caught in the other corner and Luger is able to crotch him against the ring post. Well, kind of as Hall basically had to trip himself. Luger takes advantage of Hall’s balls with multiple atomic drops followed by a clothesline. The groin abuse seemed a tad excessive there. Hall pays him back with a poke to the eye, but Luger shakes that off and connects with a powerslam. Nash gets decked and Syxx gets pressed slammed to the floor. Luger gets Hall in The Rack and that draws Nash into the ring. Luger just steamrolls him as we still don’t have a DQ since Nash hasn’t done anything to Luger yet. Finally, Syxx comes off the top onto Luger and that draws a DQ at 10:30.

Winner: Lex Luger via DQ at 10:30
-Solid match between two veterans until the cheap ending, but you figured it was coming as they didn’t want Luger taking a loss and the nWo isn’t losing clean here. This was a fine choice to Main Event one of the final Clash of The Champions as Nitro and monthly PPVs were killing the concept anyway. *1/2

-The Steiners hit the ring and we have a 6 man brawl as the bell rings like crazy. I always like that little touch. The crowd is eating all of this up as the nWo bails. The nWo makes another run and The Steiners and Luger maul them again. Another go as we go off the air with all six men brawling. That would be the hard sell for Souled Out!

-Thanks for reading!

6.0
The final score: review Average
The 411
Clearly the Clash concept was on borrowed time as monthly PPVs and big matches on Nitro were taking away the prestige of what was once a big time event. The CW stole the show again and the crowd was hot throughout which makes this a watchable show. Things kind of take a dive after the 6 man as matches seemed rushed and barely there due to commercial breaks. Overall this was ok.
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