Written By: Matt Peddycord
WCW Clash of the Champions XXXIV
January 21, 1997
Wisconsin Center Arena
The current WCW champs were as follows:
WCW World Champion: Hollywood Hogan (8/10/1996)
WCW U.S. Champion: Eddie Guerrero (12/29/1996)
WCW World Tag Team Champions: The Outsiders (10/27/1996)
WCW World Television Champion: Lord Steven Regal (8/20/1996)
WCW Cruiserweight Champion: Ultimo Dragon (12/29/1996)
WCW Women’s Champion: Akira Hokuto (12/29/1996)
Your hosts are Tony Schiavone, Bobby Heenan, and Dusty Rhodes.
WCW Cruiserweight Champion Ultimo Dragon (w/Sonny Oono) vs. Dean Malenko
Mike Tenay helps out with the commentary here. Dragon just lost the J-Crown to Jushin Liger back at the January 4 Tokyo Dome show, which leaves him looking rather naked with only one belt. The feeling-out process apparently bores everybody and we go to commercial. When we return, Malenko gets rough with some turnbuckle smashes and drops Dragon with a nice suplex for two. Dragon fires back with his kick combo, but Malenko shrugs it off and blasts him with a nasty back suplex. Turnabouts fair play as Malenko goes after Dragon’s leg for a bit. He even takes Dragon to the floor and kicks his knee up against the guardrail. Back inside, Malenko grabs the figure-four. When he doesn’t get the submission he wants, he starts roughing up Dragon again in the corner with clotheslines. Dragon stops him with a spinning heel kick, but gets caught up top for a superplex. The crowd is EXTREMELY behind Malenko here. Dragon’s kicks are caught, but then he counters a powerbomb into a hurracanrana for 1-2-NO! Great exchange there. Dragon dropkicks Malenko off the apron and lands on his feet when Malenko steps away from the pescado. It appears Dragon learned his lesson from last night. Dragon reverses a whip into the guardrail and then wipes out Malenko with an ASAI MOONSAULT! Back in the ring, Dragon hits a brainbuster and delivers one more Moonsault for 1-2-NO! SPINNING HURRACANRANA by Dragon! He tries the Tiger Suplex (which won him the belt at Starrcade), but Malenko slips away and tries the TEXAS CLOVERLEAF. Dragon counters into a small package for two. Malenko attempts another powerbomb, but Dragon flips out. However, he cannot avoid the Butterfly Powerbomb. Sonny Oono hops up on the apron, but Malenko takes a moment to knock him back to Japan. Back over to Dragon, he catches another kick and takes Dragon to the mat for the TEXAS CLOVERLEAF! Dragon taps! (13:06 shown) In just under seven months, Malenko has won the cruiserweight title for the third time. Another great outing from these two. I loved the continuity carried over from Starrcade into the final moments. ****
Scotty Riggs vs. Mike Enos
Just another warm-up match for Riggs leading into Souled Out. Enos attacks early, but Riggs tosses him out and levels Enos with a pescado. Enos whips Riggs into the apron to gain a breather. Clothesline off the apron by Enos! Back inside, Enos delivers a belly to belly suplex and gets cocky as Riggs blasts him with the FIVE-ARM for the 1-2-3. (2:29) If that’s a big win for Scotty Riggs, then why is he going to the PPV? ½*
Gene Okerlund brings out the Four Horsemen and their lady friends. WOO! Oh wait, there’s no Ric Flair, who the crowd is begging to see. They all talk about ending Kevin Sullivan. Debra makes an old lady joke on Woman. Again.
Chris Jericho, Super Calo & Chavo Guerrero Jr. vs. Konnan, La Parka & JL
Chris Jericho is subbing for a missing Juventud Guerrera here. Probably out getting drunk off Juvi Juice somewhere. JL and Chavo Jr start us off. They knock each other around a bit. In comes Konnan and Super Calo. They armdrag each other all around. Now Jericho and La Parka. Parka goes nuts and powerslams Jericho out of nowhere. Jericho drills him with a clothesline, but La Parka comes up with a SPINAROONIE and decks Jericho with a spinning back kick. Missile dropkick takes La Parka to the floor. Since this is lucha libre rules, in comes Konnan with a quick clothesline. Chavo tries to save with dropkicks, but Konnan and La Parka double-team with dropkicks of their own from both sides. Up goes Chavo on Konnan’s shoulders while La Parka flies with a corkscrew moonsault! Looks like La Parka almost broke his neck. Immediately, Chavo fights back with a crossbody on both JL and La Parka to make a HOT TAG TO JERICHO! He gets rid of JL, but in comes Konnan. Chavo trips up JL while Jericho nails Konnan as he comes off the ropes. That sets up a series of planchas as everybody takes a turn. Back inside, JL delivers a hurracanrana on Jericho for 1-2-NO! Before you know it, Jericho stops JL up top for his SUPER FRANKENSTEINER! Incredibly dangerous stuff. That kills JL dead to give the tecnicos the win. (5:27) This would be the first time WCW ever let the luchadores go crazy and show off their type of match to the US audience. I’m sure the decision to have this match had some (if not all) to do with Bischoff wanting his guys to outperform the trios match put together at the Royal Rumble. It’s not the best match they could put on, but you could certainly tell that the effort was there to try and get something going. ***¼
Harlem Heat (w/Sister Sherri) vs. Renegade & Joe Gomez
Looks like the Heat are PISSED after losing in both their singles matches last night on Nitro and they are taking it out on Renegade and Joe Gomez. Well, particularly Joe Gomez. Booker lights him up with a Harlem Sidekick. Double suplex gets two. To the floor, Sherri gets her slap in on poor Gomez. Scissors Kick connects, but Gomez rolls away from a legdrop off the second rope. Tag to Renegade, he tries to heat things up. Stevie Ray clubs him with a clothesline. HEAT SEEKER gets the win. (3:50) These boys need a tag titles shot, I tell ya. ½*
It’s time to check in with Lee Marshall for the 1-800-COLLECT Road Report. He’s in Des Moines. Bobby thinks he should stay in Des Moines.
Masahiro Chono vs. Alex Wright
Since an nWo guy is involved, Nick Patrick is the ref. Wright gets all aggressive on Chono until he makes the mistake of threatening Nick Patrick after a slow count. Chono goes to the eyes and delivers an inverted atomic drop. Wright gets tossed over the top rope, which would normally be a DQ if Nick Patrick wasn’t playing dirty. Wright flies back in with a FLYING SUNSET FLIP, but Patrick takes FOREVER getting down to count. Wright finally goes over and kicks Patrick in the knee. Up top, Wright goes for a Flying Bodypress, but Chono gets out of the way just in time. MAFIA KICK to Wright! Good night. (4:30) That dastardly Nick Patrick. *½
WCW U.S. Heavyweight Champion Eddie Guerrero vs. Scott Norton
You can probably figure out how this one will go. Norton is all over Eddie until he accidently knocks him into Nick Patrick. In comes DDP, he BANGS Norton. With Norton knocked out, Guerrero hits the FROG SPLASH and turns Norton over for the 1-2-3. (5:36) Quite the reluctant count there, but he had no choice I guess. Of course this was more angle driven and gives a reason for DDP-Norton at Souled Out. ¾*
The Giant cuts a promo on Hollywood Hogan in some odd undisclosed area.
Chris Benoit (w/Woman) vs. Kevin Sullivan (w/Jimmy Hart) – Falls Count Anywhere
This one goes right from the ring to the bathroom. Bobby says if you see Benoit-Sullivan on the card, you best wear some Depends. Benoit smashes Sullivan’s head off a paper towel dispenser, but Sullivan gets a near-fall off a short-arm clothesline. HEAD FIRST TO THE HEATER! They head to the ring as Benoit takes a spill down the steps. Why is Bobby Eaton working security here? In the ring, Sullivan delivers the Tree of Woe and the DOUBLE STOMP. Cover, 1-2-NO! Jimmy Hart gets up on the apron and tries to give Sullivan the megaphone, but for some reason the ref won’t allow it? During the tug of war, Woman BLASTS Sullivan with the wooden chair for payback from what happened at Starrcade. As Sullivan drops to the mat, Benoit jumps on top for the 1-2-3. (5:11) Just another lazy rehash of the Great American Bash match. Afterwards, Benoit this time EXPLODES a wooden chair over Sullivan’s head. **½
Rick & Scott Steiner vs. The Amazing French Canadians (w/Col. Robert Parker)
This is the big return of Scott Steiner after another sabbatical from an injury. Scott Hall and Kevin Nash agitate the Steiners from the video wall during their entrance. Big brawl to start, but STEREO FLYING STEINERLINES takes us to a commercial. When we return, Rick Steiner is your face in peril. Rick avoids the QUEBECER CRASH and fights back with Steinerlines. HOT TAG TO SCOTT! During all the craziness, Rougeau attacks with the flagpole and misses. Scott punches him away as the Steiners put Oulette down with the always nasty STEINER DDT for the win. (4:09 shown) Glorified squash if you ask me, but quite fun. *½
Lex Luger vs. Scott Hall (w/Kevin Nash & Syxx)
We actually get a WCW ref for this one. Hall tosses the toothpick in Luger’s face and WE’RE OFF! Luger throws him around and NO-SELLS a back suplex, but runs into a boot in the corner and takes the bulldog from the second rope for two. Luger clotheslines Hall away when he starts up the shoulderblocks on the arm. Hall fights back with a chokeslam (which Tony thinks is making fun of the Giant) and yanks Luger out to the floor. Syxx’s attack fails, but Nash knocks Luger down pretty good. Luger barely makes it back in before the ten-count. Back in, Hall pounds Lex in the corner. Meanwhile, Nash distracts the ref while Syxx levels Luger with a clothesline down the apron. Hall covers with his feet on the ropes for two. Fallaway Slam gets two. Hall grabs an ab stretch and gains a little leverage help from Syxx. After that’s over, Lex slides underneath Hall in the corner and pulls his boys back into the ringpost. Next up, Luger starts delivering a TON of atomic drops on Hall. He hits the powerslam and that’s when Nash and Syxx attack. Luger manages to fight them both off, but once he gets Hall in the TORTURE RACK, he has to drop Hall as Nash makes it into the ring. BIONIC FOREARM to Nash! While he’s rolling around with Hall on the mat punching away, Syxx comes off the top with a stomp on Luger’s head to finally signal the DQ. (10:29) The Steiners head out to even the score and clean house on the new World order. The brawl continues until we go off the air. **
Only one more Clash to go.
Final Thoughts: You got one PPV quality match on this show, but everything else worked towards building the weak Souled Out card. With all the build towards the Benoit-Sullivan match, it’s really quite unsatisfying especially if you have already seen their much superior original match at the Great American Bash. Since they didn’t do anything different with it, it couldn’t possibly live up to the hype. Check out Malenko-Dragon somewhere else. Thumbs down for Clash 34.