Clash of the Champions XXXV
February 15, 2015
Clash XXXV ended up being the final Clash of Champions event, primarily because, as I speculated a couple events ago, they would add Thursday Thunder to the regular rotation making these Clash specials pretty pointless. This event was held Thursday August 21, 1997 from Nashville, TN. It drew a disappointing at the time 4,122 people and a 3.64 rating on TBS. This rating was slightly up from the previous Clash but lower than they were regularly pulling for Monday Nitro at the time.
If you've been following along with my Clash reviews, you are aware that these events have been pretty bad for quite a while, and I was really looking forward to being finished with them. Well as a treat they at least went out with a bang delivering a pretty decent show.
Jeff Jarrett vs. Steve McMichael (US Title): This was very basic and pretty much one sided for JJ, but considering how bad/green Mongo was that's a good thing. Jeff did a good job carrying this match and the crowd was super hot (all night really). Mongo eventually got Jeff in a sleeper and Debra (out with Jeff) took the ref and Eddie Guerrero ran down and attempted to hit Mongo from behind. Mongo saw him and turned so Eddie hit Jeff with the US Title belt and Mongo threw Eddie out of the ring and covered JJ to win the US Title. Crowd popped huge.
We got a hilarious promo by Alex Wright who had apparently turned heel since the last Clash. He came out and started telling the crowd to shut up, when Mean Gene had to interrupt him and tell him he's in the USA and needed to speak English (which he was doing). This prompted Alex to continue his promo in German, so I guess he forgot his own German gimmick and Gene had to remind him, ooops.
Raven vs. Stevie Richards (No DQ): This was Raven's first WCW match and it was mentioned he did not work for the company and he came out from the crowd. Raven impromptu insisted the match be No DQ (I assume the set up for Raven's Rules gimmick). They only had 5 minutes but that was enough because this was really just a means to get Raven over. Stevie only got a comeback, which the crowd got into and then Raven won with a DDT; not a great match but fine for what it was.
Ultimo Dragon vs. Alex Wright (TV Title): After 3 Clashes WCW finally figured this out. Alex was not getting over as the dancing Wonderkind and Dragon as a Japanese heel was stupid. They turned Alex into a heel German (still dancing) and turned Dragon into the high flying baby face he needed to be. We got a video package establishing Dragon as a good guy and they even explained his name and finally got it right. Match was so much better as a result. Crowd was into Dragon and he did a lot more of the stuff that makes for good matches. The match went 14 minutes (TV Title matches have always had a 10 min. time limit. WTH?) Alex won clean to capture the TV Title, which I thought was odd, but at least he won with a German suplex, the irony of which the announcers completely failed to notice or get over.
Chris Jericho vs. Eddie Guererro (Cruiser Title): This was a really good match, with lots of action in it. Guerrero was so great here. At one point Jericho slipped on a dive to the floor and Eddie didn't skip a beat, took control and got everything back where it needed to be in the blink of an eye. At the end they were countering pins and Jericho managed to trap Eddie in the final one for the 1...2...3. Post match Eddie gave Chris a brain buster and a frog splash, so I assume there was a rematch coming, which sounds like a great idea based off how good this match was. Best match on the card IMO.
Psicosis, Vilvano IV & V, Silver King vs. Juventude Guerrera, Hector Garza, Lizmark jr., Super Calo: This was 5 minutes of Lucha. Just non-stop moves and high spots. It was so fast and so non-stop that the crowd never had time to react to any of it. It ended with consecutive dives to the floor, and then Psicosis pinned Super Calo with a leg drop off the top. I cannot believe someone in WCW didn't book a match where Super Calo teamed with fellow Luchadores: Fragilistic, Expialla, & Docious.
There was a really bad cross promotion segment with TBS's Dinner and a Movie show, which was really bad and the less said about it the better.
Ric Flair & Curt Hennig vs. Syxx & Konnan: This was only 5 minutes and the finish came so out of nowhere that it didn't really feel like a match. That said the energy level for the 5 minutes was great so it was at least 5 minutes of fun, with Flair chopping the shit out of everyone. There was a running angle here about whether Hennig was joining the Horsemen or not so on the finish he accidentally pulled Syxx into Ric Flair who was attempting the Figure 4 on Konnan. Right after though, he saved Flair and hit the Perfect Plex on Konnan for the win. After the match Mean Gene asked Curt if he would tell the World if he was a Horseman or not, and Curt responded No. Announcers speculated if that meant, No he wasn't going to tell them or No he wasn't a Horseman.
Randy Savage & Scott Hall vs. Lex Luger & DDP (Tag Titles): This was weird. Nash and Hall were the tag champs, Nash was in the corner of Savage and Hall, and cut a promo stating that he was going to let Savage defend the titles for him. I have no idea what the point of this was. This went 10 minutes and was fine but nothing great. Crowd was pretty hot because the WCW vs. NWO thing was really hot at this point. Luger got a hot tag, the crowd went nuts. Out of a 4 way, Page got thumbed in the eye and Luger got shoved into him resulting in Page accidentally giving Luger the Diamond Cutter. Hall covered the KO'd Luger to retain the titles.
We then got a long weird segment. The NWO came out to celebrate because it was the NWO's anniversary/1st Birthday. This was a running theme all night so they had all the NWO guys come out (except Hogan, they said he was shooting a movie) and have what amounted to just a big "We're so Awesome" circle jerk, until Sting interrupted from the rafters. It got confusing from here but after checking with the Wrestling Observer Newsletter all became clear. The angle building to this show was the running question of what Sting wants, what will it take to bring him back. From the rafters at the end of this show Sting was shown with a vulture. Everyone was asking Sting "What do you want" the lights went out and when they came back on, the Vulture was on the top rope and everyone in the ring was standing there awkwardly looking at the bird all confused for way too long. Apparently the bird originally had a message in its talons or attached to its leg. Eric was going to grab the message to read it and Sting's answer of what he wanted "Hogan's Soul" would be written on it. Unfortunately somewhere between the rafters and the ring the Vulture dropped the message so Eric had no message to retrieve, and there was no pay off for this angle, and we never got an answer. I can't believe no one thought ahead of time to put a spare Note in Eric's jacket pocket just in case. He could have palmed it and pretended to pull it off the birds leg if anything went wrong. I booked for the Local PWA Indy group up here for a year or two and I booked a blood angle with a guy doing a vampire gimmick on our Halloween show. He was using blood capsules for the gimmick and I had him hide 2 back up capsules at ring side just in case something happened to his original ones. This was live TV and setting up the Hogan vs. Sting match that had been building for a year and no one thought of having a plan B in case the bird dropped the f'n note. Wow.
On the whole a fun show and miles ahead of many of the recent Clashes. Apart from the Dinner and a Movie segments there wasn't anything on the show that was a real negative and we got a few real solid matches, and the crowd was super hot. I'd give this final Clash of Champions Event a Thumbs Up.
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