Clash of the Champions XXXIII

February 08, 2015

Clash XXXIII took place in Denver, CO on August 15, 1996, which was a much bigger break between Clashes than usual (7 months). In that time the NWO had debuted and Hogan had joined the fold, so we are in the Hollywood Hulk Hogan NWO era of WCW. The Event took place on a Thursday, following a Live Nitro on Monday and the Hog Wild PPV Sunday. You could argue this was more an early episode of Thunder than a Clash of Champions Event, because it certainly didn't live up to the quality level of the earlier Clash Events.

The show drew a sell out 8,304 fans (5,931 paid) and a 3.5 rating on TBS, which is a bit of a mixed bag I suppose. They doubled the live attendance but the rating dropped from the 4.5 of the previous Clash. Fan feedback on the Wrestling Observer site dropped even more than the rating. Only 5% of the fans who responded gave this Event a Thumbs up, with 76% giving it a Thumbs down, which is pretty horrible, but I can't argue with them, from a match quality stand point this show was Terrible.

Rey Mysterio vs. Dean Malenko (Cruiserweight Title): By the standards of these two guys this match was a bit off, but by the standards of this show this match was absolutely off the charts fantastic. This was only 1 of 2 matches that had enough time (over 10 min) to really be any good, and these guys succeeded in having the best match on the show by far. Malenko at one point hit a gut buster on Mysterio where he boosted him up from his shoulders, while standing on the second rope and Rey was legit 12-15 feet in the air before crashing down across Dean's knee. I posted a pic on my Twitter. I didn't like the finish to the match. Malenko pinned Rey for the 3 count but the ref noticed Rey's leg was on the rope after the fact and restarted the match. Before Dean realized the match was being restarted Rey hit him with a head scissor roll up to pin him and retain the title. It was a bit of a bullshit finish and by the end of this show I'd have gotten my fill of crappy finishes.

Jim Duggan vs. VK Wallstreet: This was less than 4 minutes and for the first 3 minutes it was just very basic and not particularly interesting, then the finish got unfathomably bad. Duggan was doing a deal where he'd tape his fist at the end of matches but for some reason, don't ask it's WCW, he would just grab a roll of tape and start wrapping it around his hand and arm not even closing his hand into a fist. So after hitting a Body slam, Baby Face Jim Duggan goes into his trunks and pulls out a roll of tape, and starts wrapping it around his hand and arm. This is done in such an absurd manner that he's swinging the roll of tape like he's doing Around the World with a Yo-Yo, and he sort of (he's supposed to entangle the ref in his tape job, but fails. Again don't ask why perhaps he was channelling the Eugene gimmick years ahead of time) tapes the Ref to his "taped fist". Wallstreet then school boys him and because the ref is "tangled up in the tape" he gets pulled down on top of Jim yet still manages to do a 3 count, allowing VK to pick up the most absurd meaningless win you could imagine.

Konnan vs. Ultimo Dragon: This match got 3 minutes and with how they booked it I suppose it didn't matter. Dragon is one of the greatest highfliers of all time so they put him with Sunny Ono in order to make him a heel, a complete waste. Konnan sort of worked as a face, but cheated on the finish. Konnan won but no one got over. Tony Schiavone repeatedly called Ultimo Dragon, Ultimate Dragon, which is of course completely wrong. Ultimo means last, he was the Last Dragon not The Ultimate Dragon.

Randy Savage vs. Meng: This match didn't even happen. Meng made his full entrance but after Savage didn't come out to his music, Mean Gene came out to tell the ring announcer that Savage was unable to compete because he was still injured after getting hit in the back of the head by Hogan on Nitro (Monday), so Meng won via forfeit. I'm not sure why medical staff didn't tell WCW this ahead of time to avoid pointless ring entrances. They showed replays of the chair shot and I suspect this was completely legit. When Hogan hit Randy in the back with the chair he totally clipped Savage in the back of the head with the edge of the chair. Instead of the match we then got an in ring Dungeon of Doom promo that served no purpose what so ever, so this was a colossal waste of time on a show where none of the matches had enough time.

Madusa vs. Bull Nakano: I had my hopes up for this match, because I know they've had some great matches. Sadly this wasn't one of them. They got 2:42 so another complete waste. Madusa won via School Boy roll up after attempted interference by Sunny Ono. Yes Sunny was with all of the Japanese talent because everyone who was Japanese in WCW was sneaky and evil (remember Pearl Harbor?) You'd almost think stereotyping like this could be grounds for a law suit. Well at least they didn't shoot vignettes with them all running around Disney World with cameras around their necks taking picture. Or maybe they did.

Eddie Guerrero vs. DDP (For the Battle Bowl Ring?): This was barely a match but decent enough while it lasted. Eddie won with a Frog Splash out of nowhere in 4:20. The only people happy about the length of this match were RVD and the Diaz brothers. Post match DDP laid out Eddie with 3 Diamond Cutters, so I guess this feud continued, because the win felt pretty meaningless. Noticing a trend? Oh yes the Battle Bowl ring. They didn't even mention how, why, or what this thing was, they just mentioned Eddie won it at the finish and then we saw it on the canvas while DDP was laying out Eddie. It was not made clear if DDP took it at the end or if it was left lying in the ring.

The Giant vs. Chris Benoit: Chris had Nancy and Elizabeth with him, and that was more than I could take so I was going to skip this match. I hit the skip 30 sec. ahead button, expecting to have to do it several times but it turns out the match was only 23 sec. long. According to the Observer Nancy pulled Benoit's vest over his head allowing The Giant to Choke Slam him for the pin. Another nothing match.

Harlem Heat vs. Steiners vs. Sting & Luger (Tag Titles): This was okay but a little bit clustered because of the 3 way tag format. Eventually guys brawled to the floor and Booker and Scott Steiner were in the ring. Steiner hit Book with the FrankenSteiner and made the cover. Nick Patrick started the count but stopped at 2 because he saw The Outsiders attacking the guys on the floor. He threw the match out due to outside interference, to start his NWO feel turn. This was completely idiotic and did nothing but piss off the crowd and me in the wrong way. Why would the Outsiders care if Harlem Heat or The Steiners won the match? This made no sense and ruined one of the only other decent matches on the show. If we had clean finishes up until this point, you could excuse the non finish but come on guys. We finally get a long match and of course it ends up meaning nothing.

Hulk Hogan vs. Ric Flair (WCW/NWO Title): I believe this was the first Flair vs. Hollywood Hogan match, so it was fun to see them tell this different Heel/Face dynamic. That said this was a short, very basic, pretty uneventful match. The match went just over 8 minutes and had a lot of slow, outright staling early. Despite Hogan's new heel persona he still did the trade mark "Hulk Up" comeback and the crowd popped for it better than they had when he was Red & Yellow Hogan on recent Clashes. Hogan missed the leg drop, Flair put in the Figure 4. Hogan grabbed the ref and pulled him down and Hall and Nash hit the ring for the DQ. WCW followed to run them off. Yup back to back DQs for NWO interference; there will be more of this to come for sure.

So out of 9 matches: 1 didn't happen, another went 23 sec, 2 ended in a DQ, 3 more had what I would consider BS indecisive finishes (interference, ref screw up), Only 3 matches went more than 5 minutes, and only 2 lasted over 10. Also 2 of the 3 matches over 5 minutes were the ones that ended in a DQ. Only 2 more Clashes to go.

Lance Storm

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