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The Furious Flashbacks – WCW Clash of the Champions 32

December 6, 2006 | Posted by Arnold Furious
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The Furious Flashbacks – WCW Clash of the Champions 32  

The Furious Flashbacks – WCW Clash of the Champions 32

Sherri nearly gets married, Bobby Heenan swears on the air, Brian Pillman shoots and Konnan stinks up the joint

Last time I pointed out how many shows I’d reviewed between Halloween Havoc ’95 and Halloween Havoc ’96. Well here’s some linkage; Starrcade ‘95 (Benoit-Liger is never **** but it’s still an awesome opener, I also go way easy on Lex Luger because I didn’t know what I was looking for in terms of slack working at the time), Superbrawl 6 (featuring amongst other things both of my least favourite teams in the same match and Hogan v Giant II), Uncensored ’96 (arguably the worst PPV main event ever with Hogan & Savage taking down the Alliance to End Hulkamania), Great American Bash ‘96 (The Bischoff powerbomb), Hogwild (where Hogan reclaims gold as a heel) and Fall Brawl ‘96 (where Sting makes his final in ring appearance in over a year). The quality of these reviews varies and generally they seem somewhat lacking analysis other than my general hatred of Konnan. Maybe one day I’ll get around to re-doing those but I still have a mountain of tapes to get through.

January 23rd 1996. We’re in Las Vegas, Nevada. The Clash concept was starting to die by this point because of Nitro being live every Monday night. No one really cared about an equally long show that happened every once in a while and had less important matches on it. We kick things off with footage of Randy Savage overturning Ric Flair and taking his title. Post match Savage has a few words for Hulk Hogan pointing out he won the belt not the Hulkster. Later on Sting & Luger take the tag straps off Harlem Heat. The whole thing of stuff happening on Nitro also detracts from having Clash of the Champions shows. They eventually died off the following year with Clash 35 being the last Clash.

Hosts are Fat Tony & Bobby Heenan. The latter talks about Kevin Greene & Miss Elizabeth being on the side of the Megapowers. Also the Roadwarriors are back together because Animal’s back is now ok. They also plug the wedding of Sherri & Robert Parker, which is tonight. Gene Okerlund is at the Chapel O’ Love to check it out. Oh, TWO Back to the Future references in successive WCW recaps! Oh yeah!

OUTSIDE Public Enemy hang out and suck.

Public Enemy v Nasty Boys

The Public Enemy would be the continuation of Bischoff’s ECW “talent raids”. Not sure what Johnny Grunge’s talent was outside of eating. Public Enemy would be my least favourite tag team of all time if it weren’t for their opponents who are my least favourite tag team of all time. Oh wait, make that two and three. I hate the Bushwackers more. Grunge and Knobbs start out. Oh, sweet Jesus. The Nasties can only brawl so generally that’s what happens here. Grunge hits a back suplex and stays down. Is he asleep? Rocco walks the rail but Saggs kicks it out from underneath him causing the groining on the rail. Groining? Is that a word? Saggs bails for a table rekindling memories of the feud where they got carried by Cactus Jack & Maxx Payne. That and it’s a Public Enemy gimmick to use tables. Why not just let Sabu do that? Seems like no one cares anyway. Rocco prevents Saggs putting him face first through the table by countering to a bulldog and adding a moonsault for 2. Saggs spikes Grunge with the piledriver. Unconcerned with winning they set up a table instead. Impartial referee Nick Patrick gets sick of the goofing around even though no table spot is performed and we have a random finish of some undeterminable reasoning at 3.59. It’s a double…something. *1/4. At least there was effort even if the booking made no sense.

POST MATCH Rocco tries to put Knobbs through a table with a moonsault but it doesn’t break. Part of the table comes loose, which Saggs uses on Grunge and it looks like he knocked him stupid. Er, stupider.

FRONTSTAGE Eric Bischoff brings out the former WCW champion Ric Flair for an interview. He has the Giant & Jimmy Hart out here. He says losing the title means nothing because he’s going to take out his irritations on Savage. Giant adds in that Hogan & Savage are getting wiped off the face of the planet, forever. Seems pretty extreme.

Alex Wright v Dean Malenko

This has come about by Malenko slapping the Texas Cloverleaf on Alex Wright and refusing to let go. You can tell Wright is serious because he doesn’t dance. Nicht tanzen. Well that one was from memory this is one is from Babelfish – Wright ist ernst, weil er nicht tanzt. They work the mat to start and Malenko is a good match for Wright because he’s fast enough to do all Wright’s best stuff and counter it. They do some switches and nip up’s and near misses into Wright hitting a dropkick. Headscissors takeover and Malenko rolls outside to take a breather. Malenko already took the legs apart at the last show so he grabs that limb and just dismantles it in typical Malenko fashion. Dragon screw leg whip sends Wright bumping the wrong way and it looks fantastic! Malenko drops into a leglock but Wright gets the ropes and this time Malenko lets go because he wants the win. Wright comes off top with a crossbody, which reeks of not selling properly but hey. Dropkick scores but Malenko gets in close and hits a back suplex. Malenko goes up top but eats a dropkick. Again, I’d question Wright’s selling but I guess he feels the need to do these moves. Superplex gets 2. German suplex gets 2. He goes for another but Malenko gets the ropes. Wright flips around so Malenko decides to remind him who’s boss by dropkicking the knee out. Malenko does the Jack knife pin at 5.27 for the win although Wright blatantly kicked out. **1/2. Well they sure fucked that finish up.

Kevin Sullivan v Disco Inferno

Man, I hate Disco Inferno. He’s not here though because Elvis is out instead. As in Elvis Presley. He’s eating a cheeseburger. Looks like Rockabilly. He’s a singing telegram on behalf of Disco Inferno who can’t make here because he’s dancing at the wedding. Crowd boo’s the hell out of Elvis because he’s frankly the worst Elvis impersonator I’ve ever seen including Phil Margera. Taskmaster puts the boots to him and double stomps him until he’s out of the ring. Jimmy Hart, who’s managing Kevin, grabs the mic to say he hates Elvis impersonators. Duh.

CHAPEL O’ LOVE Bunkhouse Buck & Dick Slater are there but the Colonel isn’t. Last time they saw him he’d got a lot of money and was at a craps table.

FRONTSTAGE Eric Bischoff brings out Luger & Sting to discuss how they won those belts last night (on Nitro). Luger denies any controversy claiming they’re the tag team of the 90’s. As Luger continues to ramble out comes the Roadwarriors. Sting says it’s good to see them. The Roadwarriors point out they’re the best and they want the belts. Sting is up for the match but Luger tries to weasel out of it. He says they have rematches with Harlem Heat and name drop some lesser teams (funny he’d name drop the American Males who’d then go on to hold the titles) but point out the Roadwarriors have been on the shelf for a while. Luger doesn’t want to be the guy to put Animal out of wrestling forever. Heh, nice psychology there. Luger was very insincere shall we say but Sting isn’t hearing that tone. Hawk rambles about their “beatings quota” and wants that title match. Well, I guess that’s on soon then.

ON TAPE – We get words with Paul Orndorff who blames his weakened arm on getting a beating off the Four Horsemen. He says his career is over. You can see how badly his arm had atrophied beforehand though. He talks about how he confronted Brian Pillman because he hadn’t earned respect. He says the Horsemen don’t have any respect and Pillman’s role in the Horsemen was to provoke. Orndorff talks about how he was once requested to join the Horsemen and because he turned them down they’ve held it against him since. We get footage of Arn and Flair doing the spike piledriver on Orndorff. He says the Horsemen meant to end his career. He may have lost his body but he still has his heart. He tells the Horsemen they haven’t seen the last of Mr Wonderful. Great interview from Orndorff. Shame his career really was over, or it would have been a great angle.

CHAPEL O’ LOVE has Robert Parker showing up finally. He tries to bum $50 off Mean Gene. He says he lost all his money in Vegas. He seems distressed. Parker’s phone goes off and it’s Sherri wanting to know if Parker is going to go through with it. Or is it?

Brian Pillman v Eddy Guerrero

Pillman is completely nuts living the “Loose Cannon” gimmick. Weird hearing Eddie referred to as a “youngster” and he really doesn’t have much of a gimmick. Pillman gets driven slightly more nuts by the crowd chanting “Eddie”. Pillman does the FOUR pose in Eddie’s face and gets shoved over for it. Pillman bails to shove Fat Tony in the back of the head. They have a slight communication problem that leads to Eddie dropkicking Pillman to the floor. Pillman grabs at Heenan on his way past dragging half his jacket off. “What the fuck are you doing?” says Heenan live on the air. HAHAHA. Brilliant. Obviously he was somewhat freaked by Pillman coming near his neck, which has been bad for some time. Heenan takes a walk, clearly pissed off with this. Pillman meanwhile offers a handshake to Eddie with the whole situation getting somewhat out of control. Heenan returns to commentary to apologise but he was concerned for his own wellbeing. Eddie decides to reign Pillman’s insanity in with some chops and a whirl backbreaker. Pillman chokes away at him and slaps Eddie in the face. Pillman misses a clothesline and Eddie hits a dropkick. Pillman walks into another one. TORNADO DDT! Should be over but Pillman is under the ropes and he kicks out. Pillman with the double leg and he uses the ropes for 2. Pillman shoves the ref allowing Eddie to roll him up for 2. Pillman with a crossbody and he grabs the tights for the pin at 5.57. **. Pillman’s theatrics dominated the match and never really allowed it to get going. When they only had six minutes to play with that was sad but then Eddie would go on to be a successful world champion so buttons to WCW.

FRONTSTAGE Bischoff brings out Randy Savage, Hulk Hogan and Kevin Greene. Odd how Hogan’s music plays and he comes out first despite Savage being the champion. It’s like 1988 all over again. Kevin Greene normally draws a total blank with me so I looked the guy up. Apparently he went to the Superbowl with the Steelers this year. He went on to join the Carolina Panthers and in 1996 he was named NFC Linebacker of the year so he was decent. Just not a big name in International terms like say Deion Sanders. Hogan asks Greene what he’d do if faced with Flair or Giant and he talks about running right through them like the Steelers will to the Cowboys. They so lost that game. I love it when people make these huge boasts and end up losing. Although nothing compares to Peter McNeeley’s “When I wrap Mike Tyson in a cocoon of pain…” I love that. Then he got knocked out in 89 seconds. Hogan and Savage start verbally sparring about Miss Elizabeth. Hogan’s suggestion that she was more than Savage could handle probably related to their divorce in 1992.

WCW tag titles – Sting/Lex Luger (c) v Blue Bloods

The announcers debate whether Sting even knows that Luger cheated to beat Harlem Heat on Nitro. Regal breaks out the great facial reactions to sell Sting’s somewhat unusual behaviour. Regal has a knee taped up, which Heenan speculates may be a decoy. Regal makes himself look foolish losing Sting before a dropkick and then selling like crazy. Sting gets to mock him and get the pop because of it. Being a really great heel means showing a little ass to get the babyface cheered. Outside with Eaton and Luger backdrops him out there. Regal’s dander is up but he gets freaked out by Luger making his pectoral muscles dance. God, I hate that. Luger backs Regal into the corner. “Unhand me, unhand me”. I’m sure Booker has been watching tapes of Regal to get his royal mannerisms down. Regal throws some European uppercuts and a knee to take over. Eaton loses control only to win it back with a swinging neckbreaker. The Blue Bloods work over Luger in the heel corner and up goes Eaton for the knee drop off the top. Regal back in with the Regal Stretch! Sting has to come in and break it. Eaton goes up again but this time Luger “catches him”. Or not as the case may be. That was supposed to be a powerslam but Luger totally fucks it up. Everyone looks confused and doesn’t know what to do. Sting gets the tag and cleans house. Interesting to note he’d dumped the blonde spiky hair by this point. The heels collide and the Eaton gets slapped in the SCORPION DEATHLOCK for the tap out at 7.43. *3/4. Decent formula stuff apart from Luger’s costly mistakes.

CHAPEL O’ LOVE (it’s the Little White Chapel actually but hey). Harlem Heat are here complaining about the lack of neckbones. Sherri arrives and Parker has a bit of bad news for her. He’s run out of money. He’s down to his last dollar. Sherri seems somewhat upset and even worse so when the Colonel’s tag team fails to open their trailer because they locked the keys in there. The Colonel suggests the drive through wedding because it’s cheaper.

FRONTSTAGE Eric Bischoff gets a word with Brian Pillman. He tells Bischoff he should be nervous about Pillman being allowed on live TV. He threatens to rifle off the seven words you’re not allowed to say on TV (incidentally the seven words you’re not supposed to say on TV are shit, piss, fuck, cunt, cocksucker, motherfucker and tits – credit to George Carlin. Maybe it’s nine now, you can add Meekrob and Cleamon). But he has another subject he’d like to talk about – respect, after Mr Wonderful brought it up earlier. He talks about Kevin Sullivan being mad with greed so he’s out here to teach everyone the meaning of the word respect. Bischoff is totally lost as technically Pillman just outed Sullivan as the booker to lead into their feud, which was just Sullivan working the locker room anyway. Only Pillman was working him to try and get out of his contract. When people talk WCW and politics this is the sort of thing they mean. Only it’d get worse.

Mike Tenay joins the commentary team because no one knows about Konnan & Psicosis.

Mexican title – Konnan (c) v Psicosis

I don’t know what title Konnan’s supposed to have but he didn’t win the AAA title until the following month. As it’s only referred to as the “Mexican title” that’ll have to do. Given these guys general abilities this will be sloppy as hell. Konnan starts off taking way too long up top while Psicosis stands there looking stupid. That leads to a sloppy armdrag. Psicosis flips around for no reason and nearly falls on his head twice. Konnan with a German suplex, no bridge. Psicosis gets up while Konnan loosely hangs on and hits another one. Konnan slowly gets a double leg into a submission and Regal is probably sat in the back saying “hey, that cocksucker is doing my move”. Psicosis hits a sloppy spinning heel kick and goes to one of those wacky submission holds. Konnan gets out and looks winded already. Konnan with a headscissors and a few armdrags. Dropkick to the knee and a DDT. Psicosis isn’t selling it and Konnan isn’t pinning. God forbid they do something the crowd actually buy. They run some more painful stuff in the corner with Konnan just fucking standing around waiting to get hit with a missile dropkick. Konnan then bails out and stands there waiting to get hit with a tope. Fucking hell. This is embarrassing. Konnan does the hanging German superplex. No pin. Then Konnan hooks some form of standing figure four and does the muscleman pose while Psicosis gives up at 5.26. -*1/2. That was embarrassing. It’s amazing they actually got lucha-libre over in the USA after Konnan’s initial run of horror. It amazes me Konnan is still welcome in wrestling rings around the world. He’s an embarrassment to the profession and one of the worst workers I’ve ever had the misfortune to review matches from. Can he not go more than five seconds without exposing the business? 90% of his shit looks fake and his matches look fake. His psychology looks fake. Everything he does looks sloppy. I just hate him.

CHAPEL O’ LOVE. This has gone on too long. Parker tries to hit Okerlund up for some money then Sherri when he gets rejected. Okerlund offers to give Sherri away. After a commercial break Okerlund is back to tell us this is the biggest wedding in TV history. SUUUUURE it is. Sherri is wearing red. Gene reveals that Rob talked to Sherri on the phone earlier. Sherri says it wasn’t her. OH! The wedding march is sung by Harlem Heat and the Bunkhouse Buck/Dick Slater team. Disco turns up to dance around. Sherri says she’s so nervous her shoes are about to come off. The woman behind the counter talks through the ceremony. As we start a blonde comes out of the truck and it’s MADUSA! She beats Sherri down at her wedding. Parker tries to split them up. Sherri takes a cardboard heart right in the face. Yikes. That made me wince. Looks like the wedding is a no go.

Randy Savage/Hulk Hogan w/Kevin Greene/Woman/some chicks/Miss Elizabeth v Ric Flair/The Giant w/Jimmy Hart

This would be WCW’s main event scene in a nutshell. The babyface entourage is pretty oestrogen heavy. Liz gets the focus because she’s making her return here. Flair and Greene have a few words pre-match. Greene steps in the ring and offers Flair a brawl but Naitch bails. Flair says he doesn’t want to fight Greene because he doesn’t want to get the blame for him getting hurt and missing the Superbowl. What kind of team would let Greene goof around less than a week before the Superbowl anyway? No wonder the Steelers lost. Flair takes his corner bump and nearly nails the cameraman. Shame because he misses the big boot off the apron. Flair gets thrown back in where Savage slaps him. Flair with the CHOPS~! Giant clocks Savage once and he crawls away from the heel corner. Savage sets up Flair for Hogan to bash him in the face. Flair decides to get out of there and tags out to the Giant. Savage asks the crowd if they want Hogan, because Giant does. Hogan makes the tag. Giant shoves Hogan off a few times. Hogan does a ridiculous back bump off nothing. That’s the Giant’s fault mind you. Hogan goes for the slam but can’t get him and Giant slams Hogan. Giant with a backbreaker and he holds on for a while but then misses with a follow up elbow. Hogan threatens the slam him and does so. He does the back sell, like when he slammed the “700lbs” Andre in 1987 and maybe the Giant didn’t want to go over so Hogan had to lift him. Or maybe Hogan is just full of shit. Flair comes in but gets backdropped a few times. Hogan unsportingly goes after Giant on the apron. Jimmy Hart jumps on the apron allowing the heels to trap Hogan in their corner. Giant gets Hogan on the floor but really can’t decide what to do so he just rolls him back in. Flair chops away but Hogan decides to no sell those only to sell a back elbow instead. Flair goes up but predictably gets thrown off. Savage gets the tag and hits the double axe handle. Everyone in for a brawl and Hogan sends Giant outside. Savage has the big elbow but Jimmy Hart is up again. Savage punches him but Flair has an International Object, which he smacks Savage with and pins him at 9.41. Hey, Flair didn’t job! ** for another decent formula outing. Plus the Megapowers lost, which is always fun. Kevin Greene points out that Flair used something but a bunch of heels run in to prevent an inquiry. Greene helps to clear the ring out. Liz is sure showing a lot more cleavage than she ever did in the WWF.

The 411: This really felt like a WWE show in that there’s a lot going on but it doesn’t seem to mean a lot. The main event was very cookie cutter while the rest of the show was dominated by a wacky love story that didn’t even take place at the arena. To be fair some of the wrestling wasn’t bad at all. Especially for a Clash of the Champions. Of course the lucha match was dreadful but that was only five minutes of an otherwise entertaining two hour show. It was more like an episode of Nitro than previous Clashes though, which would suggest that Bischoff’s whole approach to booking had changed as soon as he started to take on the WWF so directly. There was an element of Crash TV to the show. The only guys who got more than 5 minutes were the main event guys and Sting/Luger’s tag title defence. It shows how important they thought the Clash was compared to the previous night’s Nitro when Nitro had two belt changes including the WCW title and at the Clash they had nothing. They could have done one change on each show, surely? Instead they stuck to pushing Nitro and the Clash had become a second class citizen as a result. So thumbs down for this effort but the wrestling isn’t too bad albeit short matches and the booking kind of makes sense, for WCW.
 
Final Score:  4.5   [ Poor ]  legend

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