Welcome to KB’s Old School (and New School) Reviews. I’ve been reviewing wrestling shows for over ten years now and have reviewed over 5,000 shows. Every Monday, Wednesday and Friday, I’ll be posting a new review here on Wrestlingrumors.net. It could be anything from modern WWE to old school to indies to anything in between. Note that I rate using letters instead of stars and I don’t rate matches under three minutes as really, how good or bad can something that short be?
Clash of the Champions XXXV
Date: August 21, 1997
Location: Nashville Municipal Auditorium, Nashville, Tennessee
Commentators: Tony Schiavone, Bobby Heenan, Dusty Rhodes
We’re closing out the Clash of the Champions’ run with four title matches with the Tag Team Titles being on the line in the main event. There are also a lot of new characters on the show who have a lot to do with what’s keeping WCW in control. Things were kept fresh but it was all still in the NWO storyline, which would eventually become a problem. Let’s get to it.
The opening video talks about the matches as has become the custom for the these shows.
We look at a video of James J. Dillon (back in the company as the on screen Commissioner) giving Sting until the Clash to pick a time and date to face Hogan. Dillon has offered Sting matches against Curt Hennig and Syxx, but Sting grabbed Dillon by the tie and pointed to the crowd as they held up Hogan vs. Sting signs and chanting Hogan’s name. Tony says it should be obvious but Dillon isn’t quite getting it.
Clash of the Champions is written on the mat for the first time.
US Title: Steve McMichael vs. Jeff Jarrett
Jarrett is a talented wrestler from Tennessee who wanted to be in the Horsemen but never fit. He won a match to become a Horseman which gave the team five members instead of the usual four. Jarrett and McMichael (nicknamed Mongo) argued almost every day and Mongo’s wife Debra got in the middle of things because she liked Jarrett and eventually helped him win the US Title in June. Mongo wants Debra to be in his corner because she’s his wife, but Debra just kept causing trouble which eventually (among other things) led to the downfall of the Horsemen.
Jeff speeds things up to start and keeps moving around Mongo while pointing to his head. Mongo misses again and Jeff ducks down into a three point stance to take out the challenger’s knee. Jeff lays across the ropes and struts as he was known to do but gets clotheslined down to the floor for getting on Mongo’s nerves.
We take a break and come back with Mongo being whipped into the steps. Debra chokes Mongo across the ropes to really rub in how evil she is. The fans don’t seem to care though. Back inside and Jarrett hooks a sleeper but Mongo reverses into one of his own. Debra gets the referee’s attention so Eddie Guerrero, another of Debra’s clients, comes out and accidentally blasts Jarrett in the back with the title belt, giving Mongo the pin and the title.
Rating: D. The wrestling wasn’t very good, the story wasn’t very good and the fans didn’t care. What else can you expect from something with all those things going wrong? Jarrett just didn’t work in WCW at all and the whole thing was bordering on being a disaster. Debra screwed up a lot of things in the Horsemen as well as they went from an elite group to petty arguments like you would see in high school.
Alex Wright comes out for an interview with Gene and is forced to speak in English. He promises to drag the Dragon around Nashville tonight and calls the fans losers before dancing away.
The hosts of a TBS series called Dinner and a Movie are here to cook something and look miserable.
Stevie Richards vs. Raven
Raven can best be described as a loner who would eventually lead a cult called the Flock. Richards is his goofy lackey who doesn’t know what to do here. Raven isn’t under contract to WCW so he demands that it’s a No DQ match. That’s fine with Richards so Raven runs him over and sends Stevie into the corner and outside.
Raven follows him out with a plancha but gets caught in a backslide for two. They head outside again with Raven dropping an elbow from the apron. We get our first weapon with a chair brought in. Raven hooks a drop toehold to send Richards face first into the chair but Stevie whips him into the chair in the corner. A running headbutt and side slam get two on Raven but he counters a superkick into a cover for two. Raven’s Even Flow DDT is enough for the pin.
Rating: C-. Not much of a match but it was a good way for Raven to debut. The No DQ rule would be the norm for Raven for his entire WCW run and he would have success as a result. Things wouldn’t take off for him until the Flock though. Richards would be gone from WCW by the end of the year.
Video on Ultimo Dragon where Mike Tenay talks about him being Bruce Lee’s student and emulating him in the ring.
TV Title: Alex Wright vs. Ultimo Dragon
Dragon is defending after having taken the title from Lord Steven Regal back in July. He’s also a good guy now after getting rid of Sonny Onoo a few months back. Wright is fresh off losing the Cruiserweight Title to Chris Jericho a week earlier. Since Alex is now a heel, he tries poking Dragon in the eye but gets caught with a shoulder block for cheating. Dragon does his trademark headstand in the corner and kicks Wright away before firing off his kicks to the chest and thigh.
The champion stays on him with a hurricanrana but Wright powerbombs him down. There’s no cover though as he would rather dance, sending Heenan into a rant about Alex’s lack of focus. Alex hits a pair of backbreakers for two and we go to a break. Back with Wright getting another two off a top rope knee before they trade sleepers. A suplex from Dragon puts both guys down and they slug it out with the challenger getting the better of it. He heads up top where Dragon scores with a dropkick to knock Wright to the floor.
Dragon misses a plancha and crashes to the floor, only to pop back up and whip Wright into the barricade, setting up an Asai Moonsault. Back in and Wright counters a top rope hurricanrana into a superplex attempt but Dragon slams him into the mat to counter. A rollup gets two for the champion but Wright blocks a handspring elbow with an elbow of his own for two. They trade suplex attempts until Wright grabs his German suplex for the pin and the title.
Rating: B-. Good match here as it had a significant amount of time to get things going. Wright kept letting Dragon get back into it through not following up before finally winning it in the end off a wrestling counter. Dragon was on fire at this point and while Wright was doing ok, this was a questionable decision.
Cruiserweight Title: Eddie Guerrero vs. Chris Jericho
Jericho is defending and Eddie is freshly heel. Feeling out process to start with Eddie sending Chris down to the mat. Jericho comes back with two straight armdrags and a dropkick, sending Eddie over to the referee to complain of a hair pull. We get a rare power display from Jericho with a gorilla press followed by another dropkick, sending Eddie running to the corner on his knees.
Guerrero heads outside but somehow sneaks in on Jericho to take over. A slingshot hilo has Jericho in even more trouble and a top rope hurricanrana gets two for Guerrero. Jericho drops him throat first across the top rope and puts on a giant swing of all things. Eddie rolls to the floor so Jericho tries a dive, only to get caught on the ropes to miss everything.
Jericho has something left though as he suplexes Eddie over the top and out to the floor in another big crash. Back in and Eddie superplexes Jericho down for two but he has to escape a powerbomb. Jericho grabs a release German suplex for two and they trade some fast rollups for two each until Jericho reverses a sunset flip into a cradle to retain the title.
Rating: B-. These two almost always had good matches together and this was no exception. Guerrero was the better one in the ring at the moment as Jericho was still getting the hang of this level though he certainly didn’t look lost out there. Both guys looked very good out there though.
Post match Eddie lays Jericho out with a brainbuster and Frog Splash.
Villano IV/Villano V/Silver King/Psychosis vs. Juventud Guerrera/Lizmark Jr./Super Calo/Hector Garza
This is another of the lucha rules tag matches. The Villanos are brothers who can only be told apart by the number on their tights. Silver King is a short guy without much of note to him. Juventud is a young guy and one of the best fliers in the company. Lizmark is a generic masked man who didn’t accomplish much in WCW. Hector Garza is the focal point of the match for a corkscrew plancha he’s been using lately. Sonny Onoo manages Psychosis’ team.
Psychosis and Calo start with some fast armdrags and clotheslines without doing much of note. The near silence from the crowd implies they know what’s coming so they’re not wasting their energy on the basic stuff to start. Off to Lizmark vs. Villano IV who hit the mat for some near falls until Hector and Lizmark send Silver King and Villano IV to the floor as the crowd suddenly wakes up.
Calo dives first with a nice flip dive followed by Lizmark taking them all out with a suicide dive. Guerrera goes next by landing Air Juvy (a sideways dive over the top with his leg taking out everyone already on the floor). Villano V dives through the ropes to takes everyone out again and it’s Garza finishing everything off with the corkscrew plancha. Back inside Calo loads up a hurricanrana on Psychosis but Sonny saves his client. Psychosis drops his guillotine legdrop on Calo for the pin.
Rating: C. The fans had gotten the idea of the spot fest by now and the match suffered as a result. The big mess at the end was entertaining as you would expect it to be but there wasn’t anything else to the match. It was encouraging to see how the depth of the division as most of these guys were on a lower level but still entertaining and talented.
The Dinner and a Movie people reveal that they’re NWO. NWO member Randy Savage comes up to celebrate but leaves too early. Diamond Dallas Page comes out and hits a Diamond Cutter on one of the Dinner and a Movie hosts and destroys their set.
Lee Marshall does another of his road reports.
Konnan/Syxx vs. Ric Flair/Curt Hennig
Like many other heels on the roster, Konnan joined the NWO for a lack of anything more interesting to do. Hennig had jumped from the WWF a few weeks ago and Flair has been trying to make him a Horseman ever since. Konnan and Curt get things going and Hennig swats his gum into Konnan’s face. They hit the mat for some nice technical stuff with Hennig grabbing a headlock but getting rolled up a few times.
Off to Syxx vs. Flair with Syxx taking over via some speed and a nice kick to the face. He takes Flair down for two by tripping the leg but Flair just unloads on him with chops. Back to Hennig who takes out both NWO with knee lifts and right hands. Curt and Konnan collide and it’s off to Syxx as the NWO takes over. Everything breaks down and Flair loads up the Figure Four on Konnan, only to have Hennig accidentally throw Syxx into Flair’s leg. The Hennigplex (fisherman’s suplex) is enough to pin Syxx a few seconds later.
Rating: D+. The match was nothing to see and was really just there to have Flair and Hennig on TV. Hennig breaking up the Figure Four didn’t seem like a big deal and the NWO lost anyway, which was becoming a more common thing around this time. It wasn’t a good match though and was more of a mess than anything else.
Hennig denies being a Horseman post match.
Lex Luger/Diamond Dallas Page vs. Randy Savage/Scott Hall
About eight extra NWO members come out with Savage and Hall but only Nash and Elizabeth stay. Balloons fall because tonight is the NWO’s birthday celebration, despite them debuting about thirteen and a half months ago. Kevin Nash lets Savage defend his half of the Tag Team Titles tonight, so this is officially a title match.
Tag Team Titles: Lex Luger/Diamond Dallas Page vs. Randy Savage/Scott Hall
The fans pop the balloons before the match, making it sound like fireworks are going off. Hall and Page get things going as Tony describes the NWO as a Wolfpack for the first time. Luger comes in before any contact and fights with Hall into the corner. Nick Patrick is referee and is back to being WCW. Lex goes to the floor and yells at Elizabeth but gets decked from behind by Nash. Nash gets ejected but the NWO is in control.
Lex quickly gets over and makes the tag off to Page who cleans house. A discus lariat puts Savage down but Hall trips Page from the floor to take over again. Hall gets two off a fall away slam and Savage throws Page outside as the fans chant DDP. Page gets kicked into the balloons and Savage drops an ax handle from the apron. Back in and it’s more NWO dominance with Hall clotheslining Page in the corner and putting on a reverse chinlock. Page finally hits a clothesline of his own and both guys are down.
The hot tag brings in Luger to clean house with right hands and lariats to both members of the NWO. Scott gets put in the Rack but Randy makes a save and sends Luger into Page’s back. Page doesn’t know who hit him and lays Luger out with a Diamond Cutter, giving Hall the pin to retain the titles.
Rating: C-. This was just a normal main event tag match that didn’t mean much. I don’t know why Savage was swapped in for Nash as it’s not like Savage did anything special in the match. Luger and Page were just a makeshift tag team that were standing up for WCW in a match that did little more than fill time.
NWO fliers fall from the ceiling, celebrating their first year. Back from a break and the rest of the NWO save for Hogan comes out for a birthday party. Bischoff orders the fans to wish the NWO a happy birthday before praising Hall. Hall: “Aww shucks I love you too.” Liz holds up a fan made Happy Birthday NWO sign as Eric says the NWO wants their own show, better limos and newer jets.
Ominous music begins playing and the lights flicker. Sting is shown in the rafters with a vulture on his arm. A voice is heard in the arena: “When a man’s heart is full of deceit, it burns up, dies and a dark shadow falls over his soul. From the ashes of a once great man has risen a curse. A wrong that must be righted. We look to the skies for our vindicator, someone to strike fear into the black hearts of the same man who created it. The battle between good an evil has begun. Against an army of shadows comes a dark warrior. The purveyor of good, with a voice of silence and a mission of justice. This is Sting.”
Sting looks down at the NWO and the lights go out. When they come back on, the vulture is sitting on the top rope and the NWO backs away. Nash threatens to hit it with a title belt in an amusing visual. The NWO stares at the bird for over a minute and a half with Bischoff getting close to it before stepping back again as the final Clash of the Champions goes off the air.
Overall Rating: C-. There’s enough stuff on here to make it worth a watch, but the show didn’t feel like a big deal at all. The wrestling was hit or miss at best with the main event being unnecessary viewing but the Cruiserweight and TV Title matches being very solid matches. Two titles changing hands on a single show makes it important as well. The ending helped a lot as this was the moment where JJ Dillon understood what Sting wanted. Sting would get his title shot at Starrcade and win the title, though not exactly cleanly.
Thomas Hall has been a wrestling fan for over thirty years and has seen over 50,000 wrestling matches. He has also been a wrestling reviewer since 2009 with over 5,000 full shows covered. You can find his work at kbwrestlingreviews.com, or check out his- Amazon author page with 30 wrestling books. Get the latest and greatest in professional wrestling news by signing up for our daily email newsletter. Just look below for “GET EXCLUSIVE UPDATES” to sign up. Thank you for reading!