Written by: Matt Peddycord
WCW Clash of the Champions 35
August 21, 1997
The current WCW champs were as follows:
WCW World Champion: Hollywood Hogan (8/9/1997)
WCW U.S. Champion: Jeff Jarrett (6/9/1997)
WCW World Tag Team Champions: The Outsiders (10/27/1996)
WCW World Television Champion: Ultimo Dragon (7/22/1997)
WCW Cruiserweight Champion: Chris Jericho (8/16/1997)
Your hosts are Tony Schiavone, Bobby Heenan, and Dusty Rhodes.
They replay the JJ Dillon/Sting confrontation from Monday Nitro. Sting points to the Hogan signs and JJ still doesn’t get it. Well, JJ Dillon has to “get it” tonight.
WCW U.S. Champion Jeff Jarrett (w/Debra) vs. Steve McMichael
This is the showdown we’ve all been waiting to see for a couple months now. You can rag on Mongo all you want for sucking in the ring, but regardless they have successfully built a match around him that people want to see. Being the more experienced of the two, Jarrett uses his brains to overcome McMichael. He even picks him in a slam to screw with Mongo’s head. Of all things, he takes Mongo down with a three-point stance. Well, that fires up McMichael, and sends Jarrett retreating to the floor. That continues until we take a break. AND WE’RE BACK! Jarrett has Mongo getting his head bashed in on the steps down on the floor. Back inside, Jarrett chokes McMichael in the ropes. When the ref pushes Jarrett back, Debra even holds Mongo in place for the Bossman straddle! Jarrett keeps the action slow and grabs a sleeper. McMichael’s arm drops once, twice, BUT NOT THREE TIMES. He counters with a sleeper of his own, which brings Debra up onto the apron. Hey, look! It’s Eddie Guerrero! He comes off the top with the US title belt hoping to smash Mongo, but Jarrett eats the gold instead. Mongo throws out Eddie and jumps on top of Jarrett for the win and the U.S. title. (5:48 shown) I GET IT. Mongo is very limited and has to be protected, but he was getting some serious reactions during this time period. He maybe even pulling in some TV ratings that I don’t know about, so I don’t think it’s that crazy to give him a short U.S. title reign. After the bell, Debra smiles and bats her eyes at Mongo to try and get him back because she wants to be where the gold is at, but Mongo says it won’t be that easy. That’s right, Mongo is no chump. *
Gene Okerlund brings out Alex Wright to mention he’ll be wrestling Ultimo Dragon over the TV title tonight. Wright threatens to “drag the Dragon all around Nashville” and then calls everybody in attendance “losers”. Par for the course.
After the break, Gene is over with the “Dinner and a Movie” crew. The chick isn’t there. If you watched WCW when it originally aired during the Monday Night Wars, you are at the very least aware of these advertisements. The concept for the show was very simple and hardly needs explaining, but essentially TBS would put on movies and then have a couple personalities prepare meals in between the breaks that would go along with the name of the film. Here they are wanting you to watch “The Jerk” with Steve Martin; ergo, they’re making a jerk chicken recipe. I know it seems odd to advertise such a thing like cooking during wrestling, but just give it some time. This is going somewhere.
No-DQ Match: Raven vs. Stevie Richards
This was just supposed to be a regular match at first, but Raven then decided “no rules or no match”. Stevie is fine with that. This works like a squash match for Raven to start. He dumps Stevie on the floor and gives him a pair of elbow drops off the apron. A chair comes into play and Stevie takes the drop toehold onto the chair. Don’t think that’s ever been seen before in WCW. Raven then follows up with a bulldog on the chair. With the chair leaned up in the corner, Stevie begins his comeback by reversing the whip into the corner. STEVIEKICK fails, but he gets a roll up on Raven for two. That’s all you get, pal. Raven finishes with the EVENFLOW DDT. (5:04) I can see why Richards went back to ECW. They had a chance to make these two look more like equals in what could have been an interesting feud and they completely failed. *
Mike Tenay narrates a video package showcasing the career of Ultimo Dragon. Maybe this was put together at the last minute, but they didn’t bother to play anything non-WCW related. It would have been cool to see some clips of the places they were talking about him wrestling like in Mexico or Japan.
WCW World Television Champion Ultimo Dragon vs. Alex Wright
This is a “Tenay” match. Wright gets the better of the feeling out process to start and lets the crowd know it. Dragon stands tall during a shoulderblock battle. As they run the ropes, Dragon avoids a monkey flip and stomps Wright on the face. Over to the corner, Dragon does his headstand on the top buckle and then unloads with the Dragon Kick Combo. Wright blocks a headscissors with a powerbomb and then executes a couple of backbreakers. Let’s go to commercial. When we return, Wright is coming off the top with the flying stomp. Heenan points out how much time Wright is wasting not capitalizing on what he does or covering Dragon. They trade sleeperholds much like in the LAST match. After Wright takes a dropkick to ringside, he sees Dragon coming with a pescado and slam dunks him to the floor! With some guardrail action, Dragon manages to come back and land the Asai Moonsault. Back inside, Dragon shoves off a superplex and locks in La Magistral cradle for 1-2-NO! Handspring back elbow by Dragon gets blocked with an elbow from Wright. Ric Flair corner pin gets a nearfall. They then trade finishers, but it’s Wright who gets the GERMAN SUPLEX for the win and the TV title. (10:23 shown) Afterwards, Wright channels Rick Rude and can’t bust a move because he’s in too much pain in a nice touch. I’m not going to even pretend to think that WCW knew what they were doing with the TV title at this point. I loved Ultimo Dragon and never cared for Alex Wright, so I wasn’t very happy about this decision. Not that they were doing a whole lot with Dragon in the first place. **½
WCW Cruiserweight Champion Chris Jericho vs. Eddie Guerrero
Eddie schools Jericho to start, but Jericho battles back with armdrags, so Eddie claims hair pulling was involved. Here’s one of the few times you’ll see a press slam in a cruiserweight title match. Eddie bails and Pearl Harbors Jericho to take control. He hits the Hilo and follows up with a headscissors out of the corner for two. Eddie walks the ropes for his signature headscissors, but Jericho counters with a powerbomb. Jericho grabs Eddie for the big swing. They head to the floor where Jericho tries a double-jump plancha, but trips himself up on the top rope. Jericho reverses a suplex from the apron and takes Eddie to the floor. Back inside, Eddie stops Jericho up top for a nice superplex for two. A series of reversals leads to a release German suplex by Jericho for two. Next up, a nearfall sequence leads to Jericho picking up the upset win. (6:41) Short but a strong effort from both guys. Afterwards, Guerrero nails Jericho with the Brainbuster and FROG SPLASHES the Cruiserweight belt on his sternum to set up their great Fall Brawl match. **½
Los Villanos, Silver King & Psychosis (w/Sonny Oono) vs. Juventud Guerrera, Super Calo, Hector Garza & Lizmark Jr.
No story, just a massive spot fest. Pointless to transcribe. Everybody flies out to the floor culminating in the TORNILLO from Garza. Inside the ring, Sonny Oono helps Psychosis prevent the Satellite Headscissors up in the corner. After Calo crashes and burns, Psychosis delivers the GUILLOTINE LEGDROP for the win. (4:53) Decent showcase from these guys, but they have certainly done better. I think they work best in six-man matches. With eight men, it’s just way overcrowded. **
Back over to Gene Okerlund and the “Dinner and a Movie” set. They have now made some snacks for the show that have been named Macho Nachos, Macho Mayo, Savage Garden Salad, Macho Gazpacho, nWokra and WCW Cream Puffs. Obviously all digs towards WCW, because these guys have now JOINED THE NEW WORLD ORDER! Oh my gosh, they’re all evil. Randy Savage appears and joins the two guys to show his support. They show a clip of Savage appearing on “Dinner and a Movie” a few weeks back. Now Savage is gone and we have an nWo birthday cake on the table with sparkler candles. The two newest nWo members start badmouthing DDP because that’s the cool thing to do. DDP has enough of the cutdowns, comes out and destroys the set, and then gives the one with the glasses the DIAMOND CUTTER ON THE FLOOR! Because that’s what people do when they’re in a fight. BANG! This was harmless if you don’t think about the ramifications of a TBS product turning over to the nWo. WCW’s motto sometimes should be: “Don’t think about it, just watch it.”
Ric Flair & Curt Hennig vs. Syxx & Konnan
Flair is still trying to court the free agent Curt Hennig for his Four Horsemen. Hennig tries to bring one of these nWo boys over to Flair. Syxx gets away just before Flair gets the tag. WOO! Syxx takes him down and delivers a backdrop, but Flair is back up with chops and the Rolling Knee Drop. Tag to Hennig, he gets caught over on the wrong side of town. When he’s double-teamed, the match breaks down. Flair calls for the FIGURE-FOUR on Konnan, but Syxx clips him before the hold is applied. Not sure what happens to Syxx, but he rolls out. Meanwhile, Hennig jumps on Konnan and delivers the HENNIGPLEX for the 1-2-3. (5:12) Not a lot of meat on this bone, for sure. Gene Okerlund meet the winners in the ring to ask about Hennig’s place with the Four Horsemen. Hennig is very unclear about his decision. I mean, he couldn’t be MORE unclear if you ask me. ¾*
WCW World Tag Team Champions Scott Hall & Randy Savage (w/Elizabeth) vs. Lex Luger & Diamond Dallas Page
Black and white balloons are falling everywhere! In the ring, Kevin Nash announces that this will be a tag title match. Why? Because it’s the nWo’s birthday party, of course. What that has to do with defending a title, I don’t know. Luger and Hall start the match. Lex wins a test of strength, so Hall dumps him out to Nash where Lex gets waffled. Ref Nick Patrick will have none of that and sends Nash to the back. Back in, DDP gets a hot tag and knocks Hall to the outside where he trips up DDP to become *your* face in peril. Fallaway Slam gets two. They keep DDP in their corner a while. Eventually, he ducks a clothesline and fires off one of his own before making the real HOT TAG TO LUGER! He goes clothesline crazy. He even gets Hall in the TORTURE RACK, but Savage kicks Luger in the gut before Hall can give up. After that, Savage goes over and thumbs DDP in the eye. With DDP standing with his back to Luger, Hall knocks Lex into DDP, who staggers back into Luger, and gives him a completely blind DIAMOND CUTTER. Whoops! Hall crawls over and covers Lex for the 1-2-3. (9:56) Well, the finish was actually well done. I mean, it could happen I suppose. Before the match there was black and white balloons falling from the ceiling, now there’s nWo flyers coming down. I pity whoever has to clean this mess up. Everybody in the new World order celebrates their one-year anniversary – whatever that means. Next thing we know, the lights start to flicker and Sting appears in the rafters with a vulture and a monologue given to us through an awesome tune (debuting what would soon become his entrance music) and the voice of a child. *½
Final Thoughts: Clash 35 had a really good pace to it. You had a handful of good matches, the satisfying (as it could be) Mongo payoff that they had been milking for a few weeks, and the memorable Sting crow incident. Thumbs up for the final Clash of the Champions.
31-year old currently living in Syracuse, New York. Longtime fan of the New York Mets, Chicago Bulls and Minnesota Vikings. Avid fan of professional wrestling and write reviews/articles on the product. Usually focusing on the old school wrestling.