The Chrononaut Chronicles: WCW Clash of the Champions XXXII
Posted by Joel Thomas on 06.23.2012
The second night of WCW's two-night stand in Las Vegas brings a big tag team main event pitting Ric Flair & The Giant against Hulk Hogan & Randy Savage! And what would a trip to Vegas be without a wedding? Colonel Rob Parker will marry the love of his life, Sister Sherri, LIVE at Clash of the Champions XXXII!
Thanks to the infinitely talented Kyle Morton for the logo. Check out his Etsy account, where he does custom artwork and commissions... you'll be glad you did!
The Chrononaut Chronicles
WCW Clash of the Champions XXXII - January 23, 1996
- After a recap of last night's Nitro, the lineup for the thirty-second Clash of the Champions is announced thusly: Hulk Hogan joins forces with new WCW World Heavyweight Champion Randy Savage to battle Ric Flair & The Giant; Public Enemy scrapping with the Nasty Boys; Konnan defending his Mexican Heavyweight Title against Psicosis; new WCW World Tag Team Champions Sting & Lex Luger facing the Blue Bloods; and Sister Sherri and Col. Rob Parker will get married. It is the second half of WCW's Vegas double-header and IT IS NEXT!
- LIVE from Caesars Palace in Las Vegas, Nevada! Tony Schiavone and Bobby "The Brain" Heenan are on commentary and they hype the hell out of the return of Miss Elizabeth to professional wrestling, the appearance of NFL star Kevin Greene, and the reunion of the Road Warriors.
- Mean Gene Okerlund is live on location outside A Little White Chapel in Vegas as he awaits the arrival of the wedding party later. He describes it as a "funeral parlor in reverse" and references Michael Jackson and Lisa Marie Presley to sound current.
Although their marriage was a brief one, Michael Jordan always held a special place in his heart for Joan Collins.
- Public Enemy ("Flyboy" Rocco Rock & Johnny Grunge) vs. The Nasty Boys (Knobbs & Saggs)
In 1995, Public Enemy became arguably the hottest tag team in the United States as their unique gimmick and hardcore brawling style made them breakout stars in Extreme Championship Wrestling and attracted the attention of the WWF and WCW. Following a try-out in a dark match against the Smoking Gunns at the 1995 Survivor Series, the former four-time ECW Tag Team Champions signed with WCW and debuted as heels on Monday Nitro one week prior to this match. As anticipated, the action turns chaotic from the opening bell, as Knobbs slugs away on Johnny Grunge in the ring while Saggs and Rocco Rock brawl at ringside. A thick wooden table is introduced into the ring by Saggs and he tries to throw Rock into it, but the Flyboy counters with a bulldog and hits a moonsault bodyblock off the top turnbuckle for a two-count on Knobbs. After Knobbs knocks Rock out to the floor, Saggs plants Grunge with a piledriver and as the Nasty Boys are setting the table up, referee Nick Patrick calls for the bell and rules the bout a no-contest at 4:02. Undeterred by the bell ringing, Saggs begins his ascent to the top turnbuckle, but Rock knocks him down to the floor and goes up top himself while Grunge lays Knobbs out on the table. The Flyboy lands a moonsault on Knobbs, but the table doesn't break and they both collapse on the mat. Ouch. A piece of the table did break off and Grunge prepares to use it as a weapon on Knobbs, but Saggs snatches the wood out of his hands and cracks him across the back with it. Grunge bails out and finds there is no escape from Nastyville, as Saggs hurls the whole table out on his head and it finally breaks. The bell continues to ring occasionally as Saggs batters Grunge with one half of the broken table at ringside and drives him up the aisle. *¾ Sloppy and chaotic brawling, not much of a match, but it was energetic and fresh at the time.
- Eric Bischoff brings out Ric Flair & The Giant, with Jimmy Hart, for an interview and the Nature Boy claims that amidst the bright lights and pretty ladies of Vegas, his World Title loss to the Macho Man last night on Nitro doesn't bother him.
- Dean Malenko vs. "Das Wunderkind" Alex Wright
Footage from last weekend's WCW Saturday Night shows Dean Malenko locking Alex Wright in the Texas Cloverleaf and refusing to release the hold, and Das Wunderkind sells the injury when he walks out with a slight limp and doesn't even dance. After engaging in some fluid chain-wrestling, Wright takes to the air with a dropkick and spinning headscissors, but Malenko ducks an enzuigiri and elbowdrops the back of Alex's leg to enact his gameplan of targeting the previously damaged limb. Meanwhile, Schiavone takes me down Memory Lane by mentioning that Eric Bischoff is chatting live with fans on CompuServe. Ahh yes, I remember those chats when I was on CompuServe and he was actually pretty open about everything, and so were the few wrestlers who posted online. I recall an exchange of messages with DDP and Kimberly suggesting that they go to the WWF in 1995 and they actually responded to me and said they were happy in WCW, but thanks for the thought. At the time, it was unique that a wrestler and/or his wife could operate a computer. The Man of 1,000 Holds shows his cold and calculating side as he tortures Wright's knee in a variety of ways, but when Dean decides to go to the top turnbuckle, Alex brings him down with a superplex. Alex earns a two-count using a German suplex with a bridge and holds onto the waistlock as he comes THISCLOSE to being the inventor of the Rolling Germans, but Dean blocks the second suplex and avoids a dropkick before clotheslining the Wonderkid. After Wright reverses a whip into the corner and does a silly flip away from him, Malenko dropkicks him in the knee and pins him with a jackknife rollup at 5:31, although Wright got his shoulder up before the three-count. The commentators ignore that and there is no replay, so it looks like somebody screwed up. **¾ Relying on good old-fashioned ring psychology, this was a pretty solid outing until the end. Not sure what happened there, but it made for a flat finish that killed the crowd.
Is there a sadder sight in the world than a Wunderkind that can no longer dance?
- The Taskmaster (w/Jimmy Hart) vs. Disco Inferno
Apparently, the Disco Inferno said some unkind words about Kevin Sullivan which resulted in this match being scheduled, but when Disco is introduced, he is nowhere to be found. Instead, a really bad Elvis impersonator comes out eating a peanut-butter-and-banana sandwich and delivers a horrible singing telegram on behalf of Disco, apologizing for his absence because he is at the Sherri/Parker wedding and suggesting that Sullivan will give the messenger a big tip. The Taskmaster responds by ravaging the faux Elvis with the double-foot stomp to the belly-welly and tosses him out to the floor. Jimmy Hart takes the microphone and notes that the Taskmaster hates Elvis impersonators. What an odd segment. Was the Honky Tonk Man already talking shit about Kevin on the internet or what?
- Meanwhile at the Little White Chapel, Mean Gene greets Bunkhouse Buck and Dick Slater as they arrive for the wedding. They are unsure of the Colonel's whereabouts after the bachelor party at the casino last night, although sadly the three of them don't go on a hilariously whacky adventure searching for him.
Now that's a Hangover movie I'd pay to see.
- Eric Bischoff interviews the new World Tag Team Champions Lex Luger & Sting and mentions the controversy surrounding the finish of their match against Harlem Heat on Nitro, but the Total Package dismisses the accusations and says he came back to WCW to play with the big boys. God, I hate that slogan. The Road Warriors make their long-awaited return as a tag team and Sting is so happy to see them together again, he agrees to defend the belts against them anytime. However, Lex is apprehensive about giving them a title shot because the Legion of Doom have been inactive for years and there are more deserving teams such as the Heat, Nasty Boys, American Males, and State Patrol. Lex also points out that Animal is coming back from a serious back injury and says he doesn't want to be responsible for re-injuring him with the Torture Rack. That's very thoughtful of him. Hawk informs Luger that Animal's back is too big for his Rack and says they are behind on their annual beatings quota. Character-wise, this tweener persona was more natural than Luger had been in years.
LOD lost their aura once they stopped looking like Road Warriors and started looking like action figures.
- In order to explain the surgery Paul Orndorff had long needed on his neck, he was attacked by the Four Horsemen on Nitro last month and laid out with a spike piledriver on the floor by Arn Anderson and Ric Flair after coming out to confront Brian Pillman. Tony introduces a prerecorded sitdown interview with Mr. Wonderful, wearing a neckbrace, as he explains his injury and talks about Pillman's lack of respect for the business. Orndorff references the backstage brawl that led to Vader leaving WCW as he recounts how he got up after being suckerpunched by "a 450-pound gorilla" and kicked the gorilla's ass to earn respect. Orndorff also claims that he was once recruited to be a Horseman and turned them down, and discusses his career renaissance in the latter half of 1995 as he sought guidance from psychic Gary Spivey and won the World TV Title. Not one to take things sitting down, Mr. Wonderful stands up and vows that the Horsemen haven't seen the last of him. Despite his emotional promise, Paul was forced to retire, as the right side of his body had been atrophying due to nerve damage for years and when he did attempt a comeback in 2000, he hurt himself delivering a piledriver.
Would you take advice from a guy with...hair(?)...like that?
- Worried he's late for his own wedding, Colonel Robert Parker arrives at the Little White Chapel in a cab and tries to bum $50 off of Mean Gene to pay the fare because he lost all his money at the casino. His "little fried pie" calls him on a cell phone and they have a heated discussion before the Colonel hurries off. The cabbie's continued honking pisses Okerlund off to the point that he hollers at him to lay off the horn.
Also, get off his lawn!
- Flyin' Brian Pillman vs. Eddie Guerrero
Playing up his psychotic Loose Cannon persona, Brian Pillman shakes the guardrails and yells at fans to start the match instead of locking up with Eddie Guerrero. When they do lock up, Eddie gets the better of him and knocks Flyin' Brian out of the ring with a dropkick. While he is floundering around on the floor, Brian approaches the announcers' table and starts tugging at Bobby Heenan, who clearly utters, "What the FUCK are you doin'?!" as he throws down his headset in a classic TV moment. Heenan looks annoyed and walks off the job, wandering around ringside before returning to his position and explaining that he was worried about his neck. In the ring, Pillman chops Guerrero down and chokes him on the mat, then slaps him across the face, but Guerrero comes back with dropkicks and a tornado DDT for a near-fall. After avoiding Eddie's charge in the corner, Pillman rolls him up with his feet on the ropes, but Eddie kicks out and rolls Brian up for another two. They run the ropes and collide when they both go for a crossbody, as Pillman lands on top and grabs a handful of tights to pin Guerrero in 5:50. * solely because Heenan's F-bomb was one of the most memorable moments in Clash history. The match itself was a disappointing mess. Ironically, although his ringwork was at an all-time low, interest in Pillman was growing exponentially and he signed the first guaranteed contract ever offered by the WWF a few months later.
The F-Bomb's moment of impact.
- Eric Bischoff interviews Hulk Hogan, Randy Savage, and Kevin Greene regarding the big tag team main event tonight. The Hulkster talks about their other "secret weapon" even though she's not secret anymore, Miss Elizabeth, and brings up the odd question of who would be taking her out on the town after the show, as if she were a possession up for grabs. Well, Hulk, you're married and Savage is probably not interested considering they've been divorced for three-and-a-half years. This guy is such a fantastic role model. The Macho Man advises Greene that the Pittsburgh Steelers will have an easier time against the Dallas Cowboys in the Super Bowl than Kevin would have with Elizabeth (Greene's Steelers ended up losing 27-17), and Hogan adds an unusually harsh remark about how we already know she was too much for Savage to handle. Uh, whoa, lay off a bit. Then they all take turns saying "OHHH YEAHH!" like idiots. Once again, Hulk Hogan comes across as a total dickhead despite booking himself as the top babyface.
- WCW World Tag Team Championship: The Blue Bloods (Lord Steven Regal & Earl Robert Eaton) vs. "Total Package" Lex Luger & Sting ę
Shedding his long-time moniker of Beautiful Bobby, Robert Eaton had been groomed and refined by Lord Steven Regal in a series of amusing vignettes that ended with Bobby being knighted the Earl of Eaton by the Queen. Pure gold. Early on, Regal finds himself pinballing between Sting and Lex Luger and he tags out, but Eaton doesn't fare much better as he follows Luger out of the ring and gets back-bodydropped on the floor. Regal tags back in and hilariously overreacts when Luger backs him into a corner, screaming and crying for the referee to pull him off, but it's a smokescreen for Lord Steven to sneak in a cheapshot on the Total Package. The Blue Bloods take control and execute a classic tag team strategy as they exchange frequent tags and work Lex over in their half of the ring. Following a flying kneedrop from the Earl, His Lordship traps Luger in the Regal Stretch until Sting makes the save, and Regal tags out. Eaton dives in off the top turnbuckle and Luger tries to catch him, but he's too winded to hold him up and they collapse on the mat. When the hot tag is made, Sting unloads on both Blue Bloods and an attempted double-team backfires as Earl Robert accidentally nails Lord Steven with a shot off the top. Sting applies the Scorpion Deathlock on Eaton for the submission victory to retain the WCW World Tag Team Title in 7:46. **½ A good competitive title defense for the new World Tag Team Champions, while also furthering an undercard angle in the form of the Blue Bloods breakup. They were an underrated tag team.
- Meanwhile outside the Little White Chapel, Harlem Heat are disappointed at the lack of neckbone available on the menu and Sherri finally shows up in a limo, looking completely bombed. She is shocked to find out that Parker has gambled all of his money away and then starts crying when she can't get into a trailer to change into her wedding dress. Claiming that the key is locked inside, Bunkhouse Buck and Dick Slater are nonplussed about the whole ordeal.
- Eric Bischoff brings out Brian Pillman and he threatens to rifle off the seven dirty words you're not allowed to say on television, but instead chooses to talk about respect and the blood pumping through the black hearts of the Horsemen. The Loose Cannon flashes the Four Horsemen symbol of excellence and warns that they demand respect, even if he has to "hack your thumbs off" to get it. Having heard enough, Uncle Eric pulls the mic and Pillman wanders back to the locker room.
- Mexican Heavyweight Championship: Psicosis vs. Konnan ę
During the challenger's entrance, the graphic shows an odd spelling that looks like a Spanglish hybrid: Psichosis. Contrary to what I previously believed, the Mexican Heavyweight Title belt that Konnan is defending is a real title--it's actually the AAA Americas Heavyweight Championship, which he won in a tournament in Mexico and then took with him when he left for WCW. Also making his first Clash appearance, Mike Tenay joins Schiavone and Heenan on commentary and does a stellar job of dispensing background information on both combatants, even recalling that Konnan participated in the Pat O'Connor Memorial Tag Team Tournament at Starrcade '90. Konnan looks strong early in the match as he ties Psicosis up in an octopus hold on the mat and busts out two Rolling German suplexes, so I am now giving him credit as the inventor of the Rolling Germans even though it was probably somebody in Japan who did them first. After they trade submission holds on the mat, Konnan also displays his speed and agility by running along the top rope and armdragging Psicosis across the ring. The Mexican Champion spikes his challenger with a vicious DDT, but Psicosis fires back with a flying dropkick off the top turnbuckle that knocks Konnan out to the floor. Psicosis follows him out with a tope dive over the top rope, but the Horned One took the worst of it and Konnan plants him with a German release superplex back inside. With Psicosis laid out, Konnan applies a lazy-looking submission hold that Tenay identifies as the Ziplock to retain the Mexican Heavyweight Title in 5:26. **½ Some good spots and innovative action, but like most lucha, the match felt disjointed without any real transitions.
The crippling Ziplock.
- Back at the Little White Chapel, Sherri is getting changed in the back of a limo and Mean Gene offers to give her away at the wedding. Delighted by his kind gesture, Sherri gladly accepts and Okerlund walks her down the driveway, since they are using the drive-up window due to the Colonel's financial woes. When questioned by Okerlund, Sherri says she hasn't talked to her fiance since yesterday and she isn't the one who called him earlier. As promised, Disco Inferno shows up to dance like a fool for no discernible reason. The nuptials commence and we learn that the Colonel's middle name is "Andy", but before Parker can say his vows, Madusa interrupts the proceedings and brawls with Sherri while Dick Slater, Bunkhouse Buck, and Harlem Heat try to separate them. Schiavone notes that Madusa came out of Parker's trailer and suggests that she was the one who called Parker on the cell phone. The way he bags these women, the rumors about Robert Fuller having a massive shlong must be true. Amidst the chaos, Booker T can't keep a straight face and Disco Inferno is seen absconding with several bottles of champagne. While your mileage may vary, this whole angle was wrestling comedy gold as it was firmly tongue-in-cheek without insulting the audience's intelligence and everybody was committed to their roles.
If this isn't true love, I don't know what is.
- The Giant & "Nature Boy" Ric Flair (w/Jimmy Hart) vs. Hulk Hogan & "Macho Man" Randy Savage (w/Kevin Greene & Miss Elizabeth)
In his ring introductions, Michael Buffer actually states with a straight face that the Giant "defied death" at Halloween Havoc '95. Escorted by the entourage of beautiful ladies that includes Woman, Randy Savage & Hulk Hogan are joined by NFL star Kevin Greene and finally, Miss Elizabeth, as she walks out looking healthier and hotter than ever. It's amazing what eating food can do for a woman. Suddenly, I remember she is dead and likely wouldn't be if she hadn't returned to the wrestling business, and it's a little sad. Kevin Greene steps into the ring and threatens to charge at Ric Flair, but the Nature Boy bails out and claims he doesn't want to be blamed for ruining the Super Bowl, so maybe another time. That time would be a few months later at the Great American Bash, which shows that WCW was doing some long-term planning. Doing their usual thing to start the match proper, Flair throws chops and Savage unloads on him before whipping him into the corner, and Hogan adds a big boot on the apron after Flair flips over the turnbuckles. Back inside, Savage and Flair trade the advantage and they both tag out, as the crowd oohs and ahhs for the Hogan/Giant showdown. Resorting once again to chickenshit heel tactics, Hogan rakes the Giant's face and tries to scoop him up, but Hulk can't lift his 7'3" frame and the Giant responds with an effortless bodyslam of his own to take control. The Giant dishes out some punishment until he misses an elbowdrop, and this allows the Hulkster to rake the eyes and bodyslam his titanic foe. In an ironic twist of fate, this act hurts Hogan more than his opponent, as Hogan falls to the mat clutching his back while the Giant gets up and tags out. Predictably, Hogan no-sells Flair's first offensive move--a delayed vertical suplex--and mows him down with punches and clotheslines, but he gets caught in the heel corner and the Giant drags him out to the floor, where the big guy rams Hogan's ribs into the railing. Of course, once he is back in the ring, the Hulkster no-sells Flair's chops and tosses him off the top turnbuckle to remind us all that Ric Flair is his bitch. The tag is finally made and the Macho Man steamrolls the Nature Boy as well, culminating in the flying double-axhandle and the flying elbowdrop. While Hogan has his way with the Giant at ringside, Jimmy Hart hops up on the apron to distract referee Randy Anderson and throws the taped knucks in to Flair, who nails Savage with a knucks-enhanced right hand and pins him to win the match at 9:51. Although he proved to be completely useless during the match since he couldn't even stop JIMMY HART from interfering, Kevin Greene reports the usage of the knucks to Hogan and the ref, but the point is moot as Zodiac and Brian Pillman run in and they each find themselves ejected over the top rope by Hogan and Greene. That is the extent of the Four Horsemen/Dungeon of Doom presence, as Hogan and Greene help Savage up to end the show. **¼ and that is mostly for the hot crowd and lack of restholds, but the match itself was nothing special. Just the same old Hulk Hogan superhero show where he only sells for his friends and always gets to look strong and stand tall, and fuck everybody else. Despite being the new WCW World Heavyweight Champion, Savage was left laying and imagine that, he did the job instead of Hogan. The monotony of Hogan never losing was then lampooned in the WWF's infamous Billionaire Ted sketches, and that led to the Hulkster laying down for Ric Flair and Arn Anderson in separate singles matches on Nitro, although he controlled the majority of each match until being hit with a high-heeled shoe in both cases.
Nope, nothing awkward about this reunion.
The 411: While it was an improvement over the last installment, Clash of the Champions XXXII was yet another in a long string of subpar Clashes, especially compared to the previous evening's Monday Nitro. The effect that Nitro was having on the Clash of the Champions concept was already becoming apparent, as Nitro was a fresh and exciting show that featured major title changes, intriguing plot developments, and an unpredictable atmosphere. On the other hand, this Clash was a placeholder event with random, meaningless matchups and a paint-by-numbers main event that felt like the same old thing WCW had been doing since Hulk Hogan arrived. However, there was something coming on the horizon that was the exact opposite of "same old, same old" as Kevin Nash and Scott Hall were in the process of leaving the WWF for WCW.