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

August 7, 2022 | Posted by Robert Leighty Jr.
WCW Clash of the Champions, Peacock WWE Image Credit: WWE
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Leighty’s Retro Review: WCW Clash of The Champions XXXV  

-Busy month for Retro reviews as 25 years ago in August we were gifted a PPV from ECW, WWF, and WCW. We were also given this show, which ended up being the final Clash of Champions as Nitro diluted the concept of the show. Let’s get to it!

-Note: I was nearly finished with this review when it dawned on me this show happened after Road Wild. No clue what I was thinking there, but I guess I will just post this one and go back for Road Wild another day.

-Announce Team: Tony Schiavone, Dusty Rhodes, and Bobby “The Brain” Heenan
-Date: Aug 21, 1997
-Location: Nashville Municipal Auditorium, Nashville, TN
-Rating: 3.64
-Attendance: 6500 (4122 paid)

-Tony, Bobby, and Dusty welcome us to the show and play the video of JJ Dillon giving Sting an ultimatum to tell him what he wants. Sting shows up the same night to a crazy reaction and points out signs that read “Sting Wants Hogan.” I mean, even JJ Dillon should be able to figure that one out.

WCW United States Championship: Jeff Jarrett (w/ Debra) vs. Steve “Mongo” McMichael

-Twenty-five years later, Jarrett wrestles Ric Flair in his final match in this same building. 2022 Man! Debra had turned on Mongo at Bash at The Beach, so this one has more heat than that match did. Lockup to start and Mongo misses a clothesline. JJ gets a slam and then struts and lets the fans know that he is smart by pointing to his head. Mongo reverses a whip, but Jarrett gets a standing switch into a takedown. He hits a running shoulder from a 3-point stance to mock Mongo and then struts some more. The crowd is into Jarrett’s act here since this is his hometown. Mongo reverses another whip and catches JJ with a clothesline. Jarrett bails to the floor and the broadcast throws to a commercial.

-Peacock goes to a commercial as well and I am not sure if the times match, so I will just pull the match times from online instead of keeping my own.

-Back with Mongo being tossed into the stairs not once, but twice. Back in the ring, Jarrett chokes on the middle rope and Debra gets involved as well. Jarrett hits a suplex as he tells us that this is too easy. Sleeper from Jarrett which gets a Mongo chant from the crowd. Heenan with some great strategy as he says the best thing to do is pull your opponent’s hand down over your throat which will force the ref to break. That is genius! Mongo reverses to one of his own. Debra distracts the ref and Eddie Guerrero is out. He comes off the top with the title, but accidentally hits Jarrett and Mongo gets the pin for his first Championship at 8:07.

Winner and New WCW United States Champion: Steve McMichael via pin at 8:07
-Short match which is fine and Jarrett knows how to work a crowd. I enjoyed this one more than the match at Bash at The Beach. Better finish as well, but still not what I would call a good match. Mongo winning is the right call as it gives him some revenge after Debra’s turn. *

-Debra tries to get back in the good graces of Mongo after the match, but he blows her off.

-Gene Okerlund brings out Alex Wright for an interview as they turned him heel to make something out of him. He insults the crowd and tries to make a joke about Ultimo Dragon. Awful stuff here!

-Promotional Consideration paid for by the following: Motel 6, Arm and Hammer Smooth Spearmint, Tootsie Candy. I actually appreciate they left those ads in this show.

-Promo video for WCW Saturday Night at 6:05 which will feature Eddie Guerrero vs. Dean Malenko.

-Mean Gene is now in a kitchen that was built for the show. It’s The Dinner and a Movie gang as Time Warner crosses over two of their shows. We will go back to them later.

Stevie Richards vs. Raven

-If you blink you probably missed Richards’s WCW run as he sat at ringside with Raven for a few weeks, then got beat up by him and was back to ECW. Raven enters through the crowd and as has been mentioned, I am a massive fan of Raven. I knew a bit about his ECW run, but I was thrilled when he showed up in WCW. I had two different Raven WCW shirts in high school and still had them up until a few years ago when I sold about a dozen wrestling shirts for a couple hundred dollars. My wife was floored that someone would pay money for old, worn wrestling shirts. The Austin 3:16 shirt got me the most money for obvious reasons. Raven sits in the corner and demands that the match be on his terms: no DQ. Stevie agrees and Raven blitzes him to start. He tosses Richards to the floor and dives over the top with a plancha. Nasty bump as Richards hit his head off the concrete. Tony tells the story of Raven having six surgeries on his ankle making his one leg shorter than the other which is why he wears a special boot. Raven hits an elbow off the apron to the floor and grabs a chair. He throws it into the ring as the crowd pops. Raven hits a drop toehold onto the chair which got over quickly with the crowd. Bulldog across the chair and again, the crowd is buying into all of this. Steve reverses a whip which sends Raven ass over head into the chair propped in the corner. Richards lands a flying forearm and then a sidewalk slam for two. Stevie Kick is blocked, but he gets a roll-up for two. Raven back with a clothesline for two. He lands a shot to the gut and DDT finishes at 5:05. Those who know my love of wrestling also know that the DDT is my favorite wrestling move of all time.

Winner: Raven via pin at 5:05
-Exactly what it needed to be and it got Raven over with the crowd. SQUASH

-WCW Power Plant commercial!

-Mike Tenay throws to a video package on Ultimo Dragon to cement his babyface run. It also finally clears up that his name is Ultimo Dragon, so I can stop using Ultimate Dragon as WCW had been calling him (other than Tenay).

WCW World Television Title: Ultimo Dragon © vs. Alex Wright

-Tenay joins commentary for this match. Lockup to start and Wright gets a hiptoss. Another go and Wright gets a snapmare. A third go and Drago gets a wristlock, but Wright flips out and gets a hammerlock. No Dragon gets to flip his way out and takes Wright to the mat with a wristlock. He works the arm and elbow but Wright gets to the ropes to break. Wright gets in a thumb to the eye which Dusty notes isn’t a lucha move. Dragon gets a running shoulder tackle and then stomps Wright on the face. Chops from Dragon in the corner and off a whip, Dragon hits the headstand to fluster Wright. Crowd pops as Dragon fires off his rapid kicks. Hard kick to the back and then again. Crowd loves Dragon! Wright hits a jawbreaker to counter a headlock and sticks Dragon with a powerbomb. He is always away from the pin though which sets Heenan off. Backbreaker from Wright and Heenan is all over him again for not going right to the cover. Wright repeats the same sequence but this time goes to the cover for two. That was weird! Tilt-a-whirl slam gets two as we head to a commercial.

-The following announcement has been paid for by the New World Order. Syxx shirt for $20! “I dare you to buy the shirt.”

-Back with Wright controlling with a side headlock. Dragon escapes, but Wright hits a dropkick followed by a slam. He heads up and comes off with a knee. Good elevation. He dances which fires Heenan up again. I always enjoyed when Heenan would dig in on someone. Sleeper variation, but Dragon escapes and lands on his feet off a backdrop. Dragon gets a sleeper, but Wright tries to suplex out. Dragon lands on his feet again and gets a backdrop suplex to leave both men down. They exchange blows and Wright wins the exchange which lets him gets a belly-to-back suplex. He takes too long heading up though, so Dragon gets a springboard dropkick. Dragon tries a slingshot crossbody to the floor, but Wright avoids it. They fight on the floor as Wright gets sent into the railing. Asai Moonsault connects to leave both men down as Curtis tells them is going to start his count again. They head back in the ring and fight up top. Wright hits some elbows and looks for a superplex, but Dragon counters and ends up just being a kind of faceplant. La Majistral gets two. Wright blocks a handspring elbow and gets a roll-up with his feet on the ropes for two. Pinfall reversal sequence and then Wright hits a sweet German Suplex into a bridge for the win and title at 13:55.

Winner and New WCW World Television Champion: Alex Wright via pin at 13:55
-I quite enjoyed this as Dragon controlled this one and Wright had to keep up with him. He stepped his game up to match Dragon and it ended up being the match of the night. Weird to hype Dragon up with the video package and then immediately have him lose, but they were trying to do something with Wright and his new heel character. ***1/2

-Public Enemy wants you to buy a WCW backpack.

WCW Cruiserweight Championship: Chris Jericho © vs. Eddie Guerrero

-Lockup to start and Eddie clowns Jericho and talks trash to him. Hammerlock from Eddie, but Jericho escapes and gets an armdrag and dropkick. Eddie tells the ref his hair was pulled to tick off the crowd. Eddie gets tackled and tries a leapfrog which Jericho catches him and turns into a press slam. Eddie hides behind the ref and bails to the floor. Jericho gets into a conversation with the ref, which lets Eddie attack him from behind. He lays in some shots to the back and hits a back elbow. Slingshot Senton followed by some European Uppercuts. He puts Jericho up top and brings him down with a Rana for two. Eddie walks the ropes and tries a head scissors, but Jericho just powerbombs the snot out of him. Jericho goes to a Giant Swing which pops the crowd and leaves both men down. Spinwheel kick is off a little as it hits Eddie in the chest, but it kind of makes sense as he was still selling the Swing. Ugly blown spot though as Jericho tried to spring off the middle rope to the outside from the corner and his foot doesn’t clear the top rope. They cover by having Jericho suplex Eddie off the apron to the floor. Jericho heads up top, but Eddie meets him up there and brings him down with a superplex for two. Jericho tries another powerbomb, but Eddie counters which Jericho then counters into a release German Suplex for two as Eddie got his foot on the rope and kicked out when the ref didn’t see it. Pinfall reversal sequence turns into a jackknife cover for Jericho which gets the win at 6:41.

Winner and Still WCW Cruiserweight Champion: Chris Jericho via pin at 6:41
-Kind of sloppy at times and shorter than you would expect, but okay overall. **3/4

-Eddie attacks Jericho after the match and hits a brainbuster followed by the Frog Splash.

-Fall Brawl commercial! WAR GAMES!

Psychosis, Villano IV, Villano V, Silver King (w/ Sonny Onoo) vs. Hector Garza, Super Calo, Lizmark Jr, and Juventud Guerrera

-Calo and Villano IV start (I am always thankful they put the Roman Numeral on the tights to help) and they immediately start flying and running around the ring. Tenay is on commentary as well because DUH! Villano hits a running clothesline but misses an elbow which lets Calo dropkick Silver King off the ring apron. Tag to Garza and Silver King comes in as well. Tilt a whirl backbreaker from Garza and a clothesline sends both men to the floor. Juvie gets the tag and that brings Psychosis in as well. Superkick from Psychosis and then an elbow sends Juvie to the floor. Four men in as we get double monkey flips. Calo with a somersault plancha to the floor. Juvie uses Garza as a springboard to fly to the floor. Villano V with a suicide dive. Garza with a corkscrew dive off the top. Calo and Psychosis are left in the ring as Calo looks for a Rana off the top. Sonny grabs the leg which sends Calo crashing to the mat. Juvie hits the top rope legdrop for the pin at 4:53.

Winners: Team Psychosis via pin at 4:53
-Cliff notes version of what they did at Bash at The Beach. A fun sprint that delivered what was expected. ***

-Back to the Dinner and The Movie guys as we find out they have been cooking nWo-inspired food. Yep, they turned the Dinner and Movie crew nWo and it gets a decent pop. Randy Savage is out as this is a big-time nWo birthday party. I mean, technically the birthday was July 7, but they needed a hook for this show. Savage tells us Hogan isn’t here because he is filming a movie in Montreal. They throw to footage of Savage as a guest on Dinner and A Movie. Savage leaves while a nWo cake is brought out. Gene leaves and out comes DDP. He destroys the set and drops Paul with The Diamond Cutter. This was silly but in a fun way. If you are going to do a crossover this is a good way to do it!

-Promotional Consideration: Slim Jim, Eagle One, Lava Liquid

-Lee Marshall is On The Road with 1-800-Collect. He hypes Nitro this week from Columbia, SC.

Konnan and Syxx vs. Ric Flair and Curt Hennig

-Curt spits his gum at Konnan before they lock up. Konnan controls with a side headlock and shoulder Hennig to the mat. They battle over arm control and it’s a stalemate. Another go and Curt gets trapped in the nWo corner and a tag is made to Syxx. Flair gets the tag and these two are fresh off a match against each other at Road Wild. Syxx unloads with right hands but gets caught in the corner where Flair hits a chop. Syxx gets a backdrop out of the corner, but Flair is back with more chops. He drops a knee to the head which gets two. Syxx goes to the eyes, but gets went to the corner and caught with a backdrop on the way out. Tag made to Hennig for more chops. Running knee-lift sends Syxx to his corner where makes the tag. Konnan gets taken down and Hennig works the arm. Side headlock from Konnan and both men collide in the middle of the ring. They trap Hennig in their corner and double team, but Flair is in and everyone hits everyone. They pair off and Konnan misses a dropkick. Flair goes for the figure four but Syxx gets kicked across the ring where he collapses into Flair. The owners play it off as an accident, but no matter as Curt finishes Konnan with a Fisherman’s Suplex at 5:09.

Winner: Curt Hennig and Ric Flair via pin at 5:09
-Not much to this one as there wasn’t even a heat sequence leading to a hot tag. *1/4

-Gene is in the ring and asks Curt if he is a Horseman and he says no. Gene doesn’t know if that means no he isn’t or no he isn’t giving an answer. Flair asks and again Curt responds with no. I mean does the guy have to spell it out for you?

WCW World Tag Team Titles: Scott Hall © and “Macho Man” Randy Savage (w/ Kevin Nash, Miss Elizabeth, Scott Norton, Buff Bagwell, Vincent, and Syxx) vs. Diamond Dallas Page and Lex Luger

-Black and white balloons fall from the sky as the nWo makes their entrance. Nash announces that since this is a birthday party, Savage will defend the Tag Titles as Hall’s partner on his behalf. Luger is fresh off winning the WCW World Title on Nitro a few weeks and then losing it 5 days later at Road Wild (I promise that show is next). The balloons get popped at ringside while others get batted around in the crowd. Hall and Luger start as they battle in the corner. Luger shoves Hall in the corner and then on his ass before flexing. Hall pulls the tights to dump Luger to the floor and Liz distracts him to let Nash hammer him from behind. Savage wants to get in a shot as well, but DDP runs over to chase him away. Back in the ring, Savage works over Lex and then makes the tag to Hall. Nick Patrick tosses Nash away from ringside so we just have Liz down there now. Tag to DDP and he runs wild for a bit. Hall gets an inverted atomic drop and gets dumped to the floor. Savage eats a clothesline, but Hall trips DDP which lets Savage blast him from behind. Hall gets the tag and hits the SOS Slam for two. Savage back in and he goes right to the ribs. Hall lands some shots from the apron with the ref dealing with Savage. Hall punches away in the corner. DDP returns fire, but the hit tag gets cut off by Savage. He dumps DDP to the floor and more balloons get popped. Savage drops a double axe from the apron and then sends Page into the railing. Hall gets the tag and hits a running clothesline in the corner. Hall locks the legs and works a chinlock while slapping Page around a bit for fun. Tag back to Savage and then back to Hall. Page ducks a clothesline and hits one of his own to start the race to the corners. Hot tag to Luger and the crowd pops as he destroys anything that moves. Hall and Savage get tossed into each other and then Luger hits both men with a clothesline. Savage gets dumped to the floor and Luger puts Hall in The Rack, but Savage makes the save. Savage thumbs Page in the eye and Hall sends Luger into Page. The blinded Page backs into Luger and drops him with a Diamond Cutter. Everyone is down, but Hall crawls and covers Page for the win at 9:55.

Winners and Still WCW World Tag Team Champions: Scott Hall and Randy Savage via pin at 9:55
-Standard tag match, but that’s a good thing. They used the formula that always works and then went home as the match reached its peak. Relatively clean win as well without the usual nWo interference. DDP continues to struggle with partners against the nWo. **1/2

-nWo birthday pamphlets fall from the sky as the celebration continues. The rest of the nWo head down and this time Konnan and Eric Bischoff are part of the group as well. Hall gives a humble victory speech and Bischoff thanks Nash for what he has learned from him. Bischoff tells us that they are still waiting for their own show and Hogan wants bigger limos.

-The lights flicker and a humming noise that drowns out the crowd is heard as the camera pans to Sting with a vulture in the rafters. His music plays while a little kid’s voice monologues about a wrong that needs righted. “The battle between good and evil has begun.” This is deep! The lights go out and when they turn back on the vulture is in the ring sitting on the top rope. Nash threatens to hit the bird with his belt as Bischoff tries to take a note off the bird’s foot (in reality, I think the note fell on the ground and Hall noticed and picked it up.) Thirty-five shows in the books and the last image of a Clash run by NWA/WCW is a vulture holding off nearly a dozen wrestlers. Not to say that I didn’t find all this cool back in high school. At least the bird looked threatening, and we didn’t get a Kennel from Hell fiasco.

-Thanks for reading!

The final score: review Good
The 411
Nothing blow away, but it was a solid show that is an easy watch at just under 2 hours. A couple good matches and anything not so good was short and had a hot crowd. Again, this was basically what we were getting from Nitro each week, so it made sense to so away with the show. I'd give it a recommendation as much like most every other WCW from this period there was a little bit of something for everyone and the crowd was hot throughout.