WCW Clash of the Champions XXXIII
August 15th, 1996

Five days after Hollywood Hogan spray-painted the WCW World Title, claiming it for the new World order, we've got Clash of the Champions XXXIII. This is just as the nWo is taking power, with even the heels of WCW starting to take notice. Tonight's it's Ric Flair, the leader of the Horsemen, suddenly becoming a fighter for WCW now that the nWo has threatened his side of things. Oh, sure, there are plenty more matches on this show, but that's the one that 'truly' matters. Let's get to it.

WCW Clash of the Champions XXXIII
Posted by the Accelerator, June 9th, 2012

- We get an opening montage video, showing the rise of the new World order. We also see Hogan beating up on his 'best friend', The Booty Man, at Hog Wild '96, followed by Hogan hitting "Macho Man" Randy Savage with a couple of chair shots during a Savage match with Ric Flair. Hogan then is shown being interviewed by Mean Gene Okerlund, saying that Flair will be known as the "stupid little man", because if he'd do that to Booty Man and Savage, what do you think he's going to do to Flair? We then switch to Flair with the Horsemen, with Flair saying that they're going to style and profile. Wooo!

- Our announcers tonight are Tony Schiavone and Bobby "The Brain" Heenan. I guess Dusty Rhodes doesn't do these shows? Not sure, and too lazy to go check.

- We see footage from last week's Nitro. Luger & Sting are going at it with Hall & Nash, with Sting missing a Stinger Splash to injure himself. But the Horsemen then rushed in, chasing off the nWo and saving Sting & Luger, which was a huge shock. The announcers also mention that referee Nick Patrick (who had seemingly helped The Outsiders win at Hog Wild '96, although he denied it) also left when the Horsemen showed up.

- "The Professor" Mike Tenay, as he's been apt to do lately, is joining the commentators for the cruiserweight match. Works for me, I love having him involved.

Rey Mysterio Jr(c) vs. Dean Malenko, WCW World Cruiserweight Title Match:

Backstory: Mysterio Jr made his big debut at Great American Bash '96, losing a close match to the Cruiserweight Champion, Malenko. A month later, though, the two faced off again on Nitro, with Mysterio winning out and taking away Malenko's long-held championship. Malenko looked for any way to get his gold back, including doing a deal with Jimmy Hart (agreeing to take out Chris Benoit in order to get a title shot). Now, they face off again, after several thrilling matches.

The Match: As referee Randy Anderson shows the belt to the camera, Malenko attacks Mysterio from behind, getting this one started even before the bell rings. He's intense! The moves in this one are fast and furious, with both guys getting some good shots. I'm just glad I'm no longer trying to list each and every move, or else this one would take forever. But they're all worth seeing. One move that stands out is Malenko hitting a JUMPING brainbuster on Mysterio. With Malenko in control... we go to commercial break. Clash is brought to you by NAPA Auto Parts. I'm so used to PPV's recently that this actually threw me off for a few seconds.

We come back to Mysterio getting thrown by Malenko towards the ropes, only to land on the second rope, and after a series of moves, Mysterio nearly pins Malenko on an amazing bridge maneuver. As submission holds get broken out, the announcers take time to talk about the guilt or innocence of referee Nick Patrick, who's apparently assigned to work tonight. Malenko just keeps things simple, catching a running Mysterio and tossing him high in the air. It was a long way down after that, which gets Malenko a 2 count. Heenan says Mysterio went so high because of the Colorado altitude. Ha! Mysterio flies higher with a somersault senton splash over the ropes to the outside on Malenko. Moonsault off the steel guardrail barely works (as it moved under Mysterio). Thank goodness there were no injuries. Malenko comes back and gets his gutbuster-off-the-top-rope maneuver, and makes the pin, with Mysterio getting his foot on the bottom rope. Anderson doesn't see it and makes the count, and the bell rings. But wait, Anderson sees it right afterwards and changes his ruling, taking the belt away from a stunned Malenko. Mysterio takes full advantage, leaping onto Malenko's shoulders and rolling him up, retaining the championship!!

Ace Thoughts: Nice twist ending to two competitors who have already wrestled several times. Malenko doesn't lose any heat, losing via a confusing set of circumstances, while Mysterio looks even stronger. The feud between these two wasn't over by a long shot, as they would have another amazing match at Halloween Havoc '96. I can't wait to see it, but I've got a few more shows to get through first, including this one *lol*.

- The announcers talk about how "Macho Man" Randy Savage needed several stitches to his head after Hogan's assault with a chair on the previous Monday Nitro.

"Hacksaw" Jim Duggan vs. VK Wallstreet:

Backstory: Duggan and Wallstreet had been feuding for a while, including going back to WWF days (when Wallstreet of I.R.S.). They got paired together in the "Lethal Lottery" matches at Slamboree '96, although neither trusted the other. They made it through one match, beating the Blue Bloods, but only because of Duggan, since Wallstreet wouldn't tag in. The problems continued in the next match, and proved their downfall, as Wallstreet got rolled up during an argument by Bobby Eaton and lost. I know at one point (according to the announcers) Duggan's 2x4 was stolen by Wallstreet, who held onto it for a while before Hacksaw could get it back. Still looking for more information on that.

The Match: Hacksaw, of course, gets a "USA" chant going at the beginning. Good gimmick if you can get it, as it kept Hacksaw's career alive for quite a while. Hacksaw dominates the first few minutes, with Wallstreet having to run to the outside (to avoid the three-point-stance football 'tackle'. Hacksaw makes a mistake to reach for Wallstreet outside, allowing Wallstreet to take Duggan down and beat on him. Wallstreet mainly uses chinlocks to try and keep Hacksaw down, but it doesn't work, with Hacksaw coming back with a scoop slam. He then decides to tape up his fist with the athletic tape, but he does it right in front of the referee, who tries to stop him. They both get tangled in the tape, with Wallstreet taking advantage by rolling Hacksaw up. The ref, right there anyways, makes the count, and Wallstreet comes out the winner.

Ace Thoughts: Ugly match, that really didn't do anything for either guy. Wallstreet took a beating, but gets a 'lucky' win. Hacksaw takes a rough loss, and one of his main gimmicks at the time (wrapping himself up with tape) is shown to be a liability. No real winners here, moving on...

- The Nasty Boys get interviewed by Mean Gene. Okerlund asks if the altitude is making Jerry Sags winded. Sags says the Nasty Boys are there to fight. Mean Gene brings up that the Nasty Boys seem to be 'patronizing' the nWo & Hollywood Hogan, but Brian Knobs says that their loyalty stands with The Nasty Boys and always did. Knobs wants to know why they're not in the triangle match tonight, since they want the gold. They're going to have to make a "nasty, nasty statement". Mean Gene sends us to commercial break.

- Back from commercial, with Mean Gene talking again. He talks about getting interrupted during the commercial break by The Outsiders! You can find out what they said by calling the WCW Hotline. *shakes head*

- Mike Tenay is back out there with the other announcers, possibly because of the next match.

Konnan vs. Ultimo Ultimate Dragon w/ Sonny Onoo:

Backstory: According to Tenay, the two teamed together down in Mexico for a while, so they know each other well. They don't have a WCW feud, though, since Ultimate Dragon just made his first appearance at Hog Wild '96 the week before. Konnan's frustration right now stems from losing the WCW United States Title to Ric Flair at that same event, leaving him in a foul mood for tonight's contest.

The Match: Nick Patrick is the referee, but since neither wrestler is affiliated with the nWo, it should not be an issue. Interestingly, Tenay talks at the beginning about "Ultimo" Dragon and his history, even though the entrance clearly labeled him "Ultimate". We aren't too far from that getting 'corrected' and Ultimo Dragon wrestling the rest of the way in WCW. Tenay talks about Dragon being 'unable to make the grade' in Mexico City, so he went overseas and became a hot property in Japan.

Dragon tries to start things with kicks, but none of them connect. The two exchange a few moves, but it's clear we're not going to see a Malenko/Mysterio contest here. Konnan uses a weird submission hold, then gets a shoulderblock that sends Dragon out of the ring. Dragon comes back, though, and manages a flip to his feet over Konnan, dropkicking him from behind and sending Konnan out. Onoo tries to take advantage, immediately kicking at Konnan, but Konnan no-sells and grabs Onoo, for the biggest cheer thus far in the match. Dragon saves his manager, and Onoo kicks Konnan once more (and Patrick HAD to be watching at that point). Back in the ring, Dragon hits his moonsault and a cradle, but Konnan kicks out. A slightly screwed up pinning combination follows, with Konnan rolling through and holding the tights of Dragon to get the dirty victory. Post-match, Konnan does a running kick to Dragon before finishing celebrating, showing heel tendencies after his loss to Flair.

Ace Thoughts: Really weak match that barely got any time. Ultimo Dragon is so much better than this match shows, but clearly they weren't given anything to work with. I like how they got over Konnan's anger, but that's about the only plus in this short match.

- Schiavone talks about the WCW online service with CompuServe, allowing fans to chat with wrestling stars during the night. The star right now is Ice Train, who is heavily bandaged up due to his injury. He doesn't last, as Scott Norton is suddenly there beating him down. It's just a few shots, though, and then Norton leaves. Ice Train even gets up after the assault, gives a yell, and then leaves, presumably to chase Norton down. So what was that, tag? Is Ice Train "it"?

- The next match is supposed to be "Macho Man" Randy Savage vs. Meng w/ Jimmy Hart. But due to Savage having been taken out by Hollywood Hogan on the previous Nitro, Savage is unable to compete, making this a forfeit win for Meng.

- The Dungeon of Doom give an interview in the ring to fill up some time, with Sullivan basically saying "I told you so!" about Hogan. Hart says that the Dungeon of Doom is the most powerful group in WCW. Yeah, about that, Jimmy... anyhow, to another commercial break.

Bull Nakano w/ Sonny Onoo vs. Madusa:

Backstory: Madusa and Nakano have a good amount of history between them going back to the WWF (Summerslam '94). They fought at Hog Wild '96 with their motorcycles on the line. Madusa won in a weak ending (she got her shoulder up in a bridge) and then took a sledgehammer to Nakano's bike (although she really only did cosmetic damage). This, apparently, is the rematch.

The Match: The first few moves look extremely familiar, as I saw Hog Wild just last week in my reviews. Nakano can definitely throw her opponents by the hair. She also uses the nunchucks. Nakano dominates a lot of the first minute or so, but gets kicked off the turnbuckle, taking her outside. Madusa goes up top and leaps, with Nakano getting out of the way. Unfortunately, her manager, Onoo, was still there, and he gets squashed by Madusa (to the cheers of the fans). They go back to the ring, and Nakano holds Madusa so that Onoo can get some revenge, ignoring the fact that the referee is right there. Onoo mistakenly kicks Nakano instead, and Madusa gets the roll up for the 3 count. Wow, did we even reach three minutes there? TV matches...

Ace Thoughts: I'm guessing part of this was because of how tired they looked after a few minutes at Hog Wild '96 (which was only a few days ago). That, plus it being on TV, led to definitely the shortest match in the Madusa/Nakano series. Nothing to see here, other than Madusa squashing Onoo. Moving on.

- So far tonight, we've had four matches end in a variety of roll-ups. Nobody's knocking their opponents out.

- Mean Gene interviews Ric Flair, Miss Elizabeth, & Woman in the back. Woman's still all over Okerlund. But this interview's about Flair, and he wants to become a 1-time nWo champ (to go with his 13 WCW championships). It's Flair vs. Hogan, as names don't change, just the dates. Flair's got Mongo, The Enforcer, and the Crippler to back him up when Nash and Hall get involved. Whether you like it or you don't, learn to love it, because it's the best thing going today. Wooo! And it's time for another commercial break.

Diamond Dallas Page(c) vs. Eddie Guerrero, Lord of the Ring Match:

Backstory: DDP has been on a roll as of late, having won the Battle Bowl at Slamboree '96 to become the Lord of the Ring/BattleBowl champion. He's defended it several times, including beating Hacksaw Jim Duggan at Bash At The Beach '96. Guerrero, meanwhile, had an incredible match with WCW US Champion Ric Flair at Hog Wild '96, with Guerrero actually dominating before cheating tactics and interference proved to be too much. Tonight, though, Guerrero gets another shot at winning something, as DDP's ring is on the line.

The Match: Page shoves down Guerrero at the beginning, but then gloats about it, so Guerrero kips up and beats him down for a while. Guerrero misses a dive into the post, though, so DDP takes over. We have a series of submission holds, with the fans doing an Eddie chant (*sniff*). Guerrero escapes and gets some moves, but Page gets a sweet sit-down powerbomb that almost puts Guerrero away. On the turnbuckle, Page sets Guerrero up, but gets hammered by Guerrero and sent to the mat. Guerrero's almost immediately on him with the frog splash and wins away the ring!

Post-match, Page says he wants to shake Guerrero's hand, but it's just a ruse for DDP to get his Diamond Cutter. The ref goes flying out, and then DDP continues the abuse with another Diamond Cutter. Chavo Guerrero Jr comes down to try and make the save, but DDP just shoves him away, and then gives Guerrero a super Diamond Cutter from the turnbuckle!! Chavo lies on Eddie, protecting him, and DDP leaves (stepping on the downed referee on his way out).

Ace Thoughts: Somewhat short, but compared to other matches, it actually felt like they got something going. Eddie's quick frog-splash was very impressive. This set up a months-long feud between DDP and the Guerrero's, and it definitely leads to some fun matches.

- Hollywood Hogan appears in the entryway, dragging out Mean Gene for an 'interview'. He's angry at what Mean Gene had to say about him earlier (Okerlund referenced his 'film career' during the Dungeon of Doom interview). Hogan still thinks that Flair is a "stupid little man".

Chris Benoit w/ Miss Elizabeth & Woman vs. The Giant w/ Jimmy Hart:

Backstory: The Dungeon of Doom and the Horsemen have been feuding for several months, usually focusing around Chris Benoit and Kevin Sullivan. Benoit had a long match at Hog Wild '96 with Dean Malenko, who agreed to try and take Benoit out for the manager of the Dungeon, Jimmy Hart. The Giant, meanwhile, lost his World Title to Hollywood Hogan, getting knocked out, so he's not in the best of moods for this contest.

The Match: Ok, I'll break my rule and do a full recap of this one. Benoit gets held back from going after Jimmy Hart by Woman, getting him stuck in the corner (possibly also involving Woman grabbing his vest, which is what the announcers say). The Giant runs in and dropkicks him! And then The Giant picks Benoit up in the air and HOLDS HIM THERE for maybe 7-8 seconds before finally jumping in the air and chokeslamming him!! Benoit's done, and The Giant gets a huge victory. Post-match, The Giant flashes the "Four Horsemen" sign, and then lowers a finger, showing three. The announcers wonder if Woman held Benoit on purpose as we head out.

Ace Thoughts: I can't rate it as a top match or anything, but that chokeslam was absolutely incredible. It might have been the best chokeslam I've ever seen, as The Giant had no problems keeping Benoit high in the air before jumping and driving him down. At the time, the loyalty of Woman was in question, since she was the wife of Kevin Sullivan (the leader of the Dungeon of Doom). The Giant was only a short time away from turning on the Dungeon and joining the new World order.

Harlem Heat (Booker T & Stevie Ray)(c) w/ Sister Sherri & Colonel Robert Parker vs. The Steiner Brothers (Rick Steiner & Scott Steiner) vs. Lex Luger & Sting, WCW World Tag-Team Titles Triangle Match:

Backstory: Harlem Heat and The Steiner Brothers had wrestled previously at Hog Wild '96, with Col Parker's cane a heavy factor in how things ended. Luger & Sting have been on the forefront of the nWo battle, but lost controversially at Hog Wild to The Outsiders due to Nick Patrick's 'accidental' chopblock of Luger during his attempted Torture Rack of Scott Hall. Of course, Patrick is the referee of this contest.

The Match: About what you would expect in a "Triangle" Match, as one team would get the advantage over the second one, only to have the third get involved. Switch partners, do si do, et cetera. As the match goes on, the fighting went to the floor, showing the hard feelings between The Steiners and Harlem Heat (with Luger & Sting having their own pent-up anger to get rid of). This, though, is when the nWo shows up, as The Outsiders attack all three teams on the outside! Strangely, the fight continues, with Patrick staying in the ring and watching the match. After Scott Steiner gets the Frankensteiner on Booker T and makes the cover, Patrick does a 2 count, but then, before he hits 3, Patrick jumps up and throws the match out, due to the attacks from The Outsiders. Scott is beside himself, and so is Mean Gene, who interviews Patrick afterwards.

Ace Thoughts: Technically, Patrick is right. I mean, The Outsiders DID attack a team, which means that the match should have been thrown out right there. But, of course, doing it this way makes Patrick look even more like a son of a bitch to the fans. The match wasn't the greatest, and to be honest, I've seen it before a few times. The teams didn't have the greatest chemistry at this point. But the nWo portion of it surely made it interesting.

- It's time for the bout "that the entire world has been waiting to see". Thanks, Schiavone.

Hollywood Hogan(c) vs. Ric Flair w/ Miss Elizabeth & Woman, WCW nWo World Heavyweight Title Match:

Backstory: Hogan and Flair have a long history as two of the greatest wrestlers in the history of the sport. When Hogan came to WCW in '94, Flair was the main one he fought against for months and months. Now, though, things are different. Hogan is now "Hollywood" as the leader of the new World order, and became the World Champion by beating The Giant (thanks to a belt shot) at Hog Wild '96. He immediately spray-painted the belt with the nWo symbol, claiming it for his group. Now Flair gets his title shot, while also suddenly being the 'fan favorite'.

The Match: This starts out as a typical Hogan/Flair match, just with the crowd reactions reversed. Flair manages to send Hogan from the ring, and then catches him with a double axehandle, nice. The two get back in the ring and fight it out, with a botched running spot at one point (both come nose-to-nose, each apparently anticipating a different move). So they improvise, with Flair taking the Flair flip over the post and to the outside, with Hogan in full control now. Back in the ring, Flair stops him and gets a suplex, but Hogan... "hulks up"?!? Punches from Flair do nothing, and we even have fans cheering Hogan on as he gets up and does the point. He gets the big boot, and then the leg drop... misses!! Flair immediately applies the Figure Four in the center of the ring!! Hogan's struggling, with referee Randy Anderson checking on him. Hogan tries to reverse, but Flair hangs on. But Hogan then tosses the referee aside, allowing The Outsiders to come in and attack! The match is out, while the nWo members beat on Flair. The announcers think that Hogan gave up (he didn't). The other Horsemen, along with Lex Luger & Sting, charge the ring and chase the nWo away, saving Flair. The ref holds up Flair's arm, giving him the win, but only via disqualification. Flair and Sting jaw after the match, shoving each other. Hogan gets the belt and leaves with it, and we watch everyone else leave the ring as we come to the end of the event.

Final Thoughts: Actually not that bad of a contest, although the cheap ending always takes something away from it in my opinion. It was surprising to see Hogan "hulk up" again, which is more of a face maneuver. I don't think they expected the cheers from the crowd when he did it, which might be why it would be phased out soon enough. Flair got a huge response with the Figure Four, and people believed that he could actually be winning at that point.

Overall, a decent television show, but not much on here to go out of your way for it. The Malenko/Mysterio match was great, as was The Giant's Chokeslam of Benoit, but the rest was story filler. The events of this one put us on the road to Fall Brawl '96, where the infamous War Games match would take place (featuring two Stings). That review, I suppose, is next, assuming I can find the tape.

The Accelerator