Ring Crew Reviews: The Best of WCW Clash of the Champions - Disc Three
Posted by Jack Bramma on 06.18.2012
Ric Flair and Sting unify the two WCW world championships, Rick Steamboat tries to take the US championship from Stunning Steve Austin, and The Steiners and Sting and Luger go after Harlem Heat in one of the first ever triple threat tag matches.
• Scheduled Card:
1. Title Unification Match: Ric Flair (c) vs. Sting (c).
2. WCW United States Championship: Ricky Steamboat vs. Stunning Steve Austin (c).
3. Hulk Hogan & Macho Man Randy Savage vs. Ric Flair & The Giant.
4. Bull Nakano vs. Madusa.
5. BattleBowl Championship: Diamond Dallas Page vs. Eddie Guerrero.
6. Triple Threat Match for the WCW World Tag Team Championship: The Steiner Bros. vs. Sting & Lex Luger vs. Harlem Heat (c).
7. WCW Cruiserweight Championship: Dean Malenko vs. Ultimo Dragon (c).
8. WCW Cruiserweight Championship: Eddie Guerrero vs. Chris Jericho (c).
9. Scott Hall & Macho Man Randy Savage vs. Diamond Dallas Page & Lex Luger.
• Title Unification Match: Ric Flair (c) vs. Sting (c). Clash XXVII. Flair is WCW champ and Sting is International champ, IE the belt Luger got stuck wearing for a bit after Flair bolted for WWF and is just now getting folded into the real belt a couple years later (although the official lineage says it's the other way around). Bock is at ringside displaying the belts but here comes Sherri out and she's got Stinger facepaint to show her allegiance. I wonder if she'll turn on Sting to cost him the belts?
• Sting overpowers a few times to start and Flair bumps into a handstand to show that even in 1994, Flair was still more mobile and agile than half of the current “superstars.” Flair tries a few wristlocks and pulls Sting down by the hair. Sting kips up and threatens him back into the corner for a break. Tony spends a good 45 minutes scouring LexisNexis and running down the dates and match results of every time they've ever faced each other. They trade hammerlocks. Flair tries a shove but flops on one from Sting and Sting poses. Flair takes a breather to regroup. Crowd is behind Sting as he gets a rally clap going. Flair with a shoulderblock but runs into a press slam like it's 1989. Sting sends him off for another and Flair bails and THEN Flops on the floor. The cameraman crowds him for a close-up so Flair shoves him back: “GET THAT DAMN THING OUTTA MY FACE! YOU GOT A PROBLEM?! HUH?!” Brain says that Hogan's influence has gotten to Flair because Flair “never has words with the humanoids.” Well, that's just a blatant lie. Flair always ALWAYS jaws with the fans. Back in, Sting goes to the test of strength so Flair pokes him in the eye and chops. Sting no sells and goes to the shoulderblock. They botch a clothesline in ugly fashion so Sting clubs him down anyway a few times and Flair Flops out to the floor again. Flair stalls some more before getting back in and trying to reason with Sting. Flair's all “Hogan's the real enemy here, not me. I have no stroke anymore. I was almost turned in to Spartacus. We should team up and prevent the rise of Thunder in Paradise.” Sting won't give in so Flair tries rights and chops. Sting Stings up with another dropkick. He tries another but Flair avoids and Sting eats canvas. Flair goes for the Figure Four! WOOOOOOOO! NO! INSIDE PACKAGE! ONE, TWO—OHNOHEALMOSTGOT'IM! Place is eating this retread up. Crowd chants for Flair to my ears – I even see numerous Four Horsemen hand signs to support this – but Brain says they are chanting for Sting. They slug it out and Sting wins that one. Sting wants the Stinger Splash but Flair moves. Sting busts his ribs on the ringpost. NO! Flair shitcans him behind the ref's back to buy more time. Flair works him over with a few shots and stretches the count out. Back in, Flair drops a knee and another. Flair covers for a few 2 counts whilst using the ropes. If this were the 80s, the place would be for the most part losing it booing the hell out of Flair (unless he were wrestling Garvin to regain the belt), but because this is 94, Flair has transitioned into perpetual face no matter what he does, so again the crowd either cheers him or just doesn't boo him (even though they are still cheering Sting as well). Flair with a back suplex and wants the Figure Four but Sting boots him away. Flair sends him off and Sting ducks a shot but then stumbles around and collapses into the ropes. Er, psychology? I guess? Even though Flair's only hit a few kneedrops and just general punches. Flair goes to the Sleeper. Sting drops down and sends him into the turnbuckle and Flair Flops for the third time in about 10 minutes. They hook up for a wretched catapult into the turnbuckle and Flair flops AGAIN. Sting suplexes Flair from the apron and covers for 2. Sting sends him across for the flip and the clothesline on the apron. Flair goes for the atomic drop but Sting no sells and clubs him down for 2. Sting puts him up top for the top rope superplex. Rather than cover, Sting heads up top for a splash but Flair rolls under and Sting eats it to the mat. Flair with a hanging vertical suplex but Sting no sells and Stings up again. Sting with a hiptoss, dropkick, and press slam. Sting clotheslines him over the top and to the floor. Sting goes for a plancha but Flair PULLS SHERRI IN THE WAY AND SHE TAKES THE CROSSBODY! OOOOOOOOOOO! Now THAT might make the place boo Flair because that's some truly devious bastardry. Plus, Sherri took it like a champ. Flair now Batista kicks Sting from behind. Sting no sells and gets a backslide for 2. Sherri recovers and Sting checks on her as Flair gets a school boy with a handful of tights for 1, 2, 3 to a pop (still) at 17:16.
• Flair's shtick at this point is close to self-parody even if it and he are still over with a large portion of the WCW 1994 audience. When Flair drops back to back Flair Flops, you know he's stretching it a bit thin. Anyway though, this is little different from most Flair-Luger or Flair-Sting matches, though how do you have a match between these 2 with no deathlocks, Figure Fours, death drops and that quasi-stinker of a finish? ***1/4
• Post-match Sherri reveals that it was all a ruse to gain gullible Stinger's trust. Flair clips the knee and then tosses the ref as Sherri splashes Sting a few times. Sherri low blows him BUT WAIT! HERE COMES THE HULKSTER! Hogan rips the shirt off and goes for the BOOT OF FEAR but Flair bails out. Sherri goes for the purse waffle but Hogan sniffs it out. Hogan power walks her to the other side of the ring, so Sherri just smacks him and Flair pulls her out to avoid Hogan's wrath thus setting up the first major Flair-Hogan encounter ever.
• WCW United States Championship: Ricky Steamboat vs. Stunning Steve Austin (c). Clash XXVIII. Steamboat is the Dragon. Tony says the DQ rule has been waived for this. But we interrupt Austin's entrance to show Hogan getting carted out to an ambulance. Then whoever is in the truck decides it's vitally important to cut the split screen and just go to a single camera staring at the closed door of Hogan's ambulance. MISE EN SCENE AND SYMBOLISM FTW! Well look at the bright side: it lead to some of the greatest promos and one of the greatest characters in wrestling history.
• Steamboat and Austin go through a sequence and Austin claims that Ricky pulled his hair. WHOA! The crowd jumps all over Austin for that white lie. They go through the headlock/headscissors spot again and Austin gets the ropes. He pulls the hair card again and the crowd unmerciful hates him. Austin gets into a shoving match with Steamboat which Steamboat wins and now Austin begs off. AWESOME! Austin tries using the ref as a shield to sneak Steamboat from behind but he sees it coming. What's hard about doing this heel shtick is that it's very easy to look like a buffoon and be a joke, but it takes the delicate touch of an artist to act like a buffoon but still be taken seriously as a threat. Austin's an artist, Eddie Guerrero is an artist, Ric Flair is an artist, Mr. Perfect's an artist. You get the picture. Steamboat now takes down Austin with the headlock. Steamboat works the Bret Hart Dickensian headlock as Tony and Brain yammer on and on about Hogan before finally conferring with someone in the know about his condition. Austin sends him off as the GODDAMN ASSHOLES IN THE TRUCK CUT AWAY FROM THE MATCH FOR A CLOSE-UP ON THIS MEDICAL CONSULTATION! We come back to Austin getting a roll up for 2. Austin now has HAD IT and tries a roll up with a handful of tights for 1, 2, 2.999! Steamboat goes to the chops and the Mongolian chop. He telegraphs a backdrop and Austin smacks the shit out of him. Steamboat ducks a shot and comes back with a couple clotheslines and chops. Austin gets the boot up in the corner but runs out into a powerslam for 1, 2, --CUTAWAY TO HOGAN'S AMBULANCE! I'm assuming Steamboat didn't get the 3 count because he's working a wristlock. After ducking a chop, Steamboat with an O'Connor roll for 1, 2, only 2. Austin tries a monkey flip but Steamboat goes with him and counters to a beautiful roll up! BUT AUSTIN WINDS UP ON TOP! 1, 2, – Steamboat counters for 1, 2, 2.9! Back to the arm for Steamboat. Just gorgeous all through there. Austin elbows his way free of a chinlock and tries a snapmare but Steamboat hooks under and tosses him down and wins up on top and goes BACK TO THE ARM! There aren't 10 guys in the world right now who can do what they just did for the past couple of minutes. Austin sends him off and shitcans him to the floor as Tony says Austin has really cheated to hold on to the US title, “a title he has held on to since December of '83.” That's right, Austin held the US belt for over a decade. Steamboat has had it with this shortcut crap and pulls Austin to the floor for some chops. Austin tries to run away in fear but gets double-crossed and runs into the DOUBLE CHOP! Austin begs off and slides back in. He tries running circles around Steamboat and goes to the sleeper. Steamboat shakes him off and counters to his own Sleeper. Steamboat has been a step ahead on everything and it's WONDERFUL. Austin counters to a jawbreaker to get back to a stalemate. Austin and Steamboat continue putting on a clinic as Tony mentions that Air Traffic Control in Chicago has informed them that Sting has boarded a plane and will wrestle tonight if Hogan can't compete. That's an awesome little detail. I just wish it wasn't at the expense of one of the mat classics of the last 20 years. Austin tries a charge in the corner but Steamboat hiptosses him out. Austin tries again but Steamboat moves and Austin eats ringpost. Steamboat powders out and wraps Austin's arm around the ringpost and then across the top rope. Steamboat immediatley heads up top for the DRAGON HAMMER and covers for 1, 2, 2 ½. This is just breathless through this as if Steamboat has an endless oxygen tank.
• Steamboat goes back to the arm as Barry Darsow dressed as a fan mouths off from the front row. Austin escapes and pokes Steamboat in the eye and gives him a Batista kick. Austin drops a knee for 2. Austin smacks around Steamboat and then pokes him in the eye again. Austin checks Steamboat's vision to make sure he can still see and then chops the hell out of him again. YEAHHHHHHHH! Austin drops a knee for 2 and goes to the chinlock. We get a close-up of Austin's homemade tights that have the moniker “Dragon Slayer” on there. The ref is demanding Austin let go of the hold so Austin does and then pounds Steamboat again. Steamboat comes back with chops and a shoulderblock. He floats over Austin and tries a back suplex but Austin lands on his feet! Steamboat takes him down with a LEFTY LARIATO! He goes for a splash but Austin gets the knees up! SMOOOOTH! Austin clubs him down and hits a second rope elbow for 1, 2, only 2. Austin with a vertical suplex for 2. Steamboat blocks a suplex and puts Austin up top. Austin smacks the shit out of him and Steamboat comes back with more chops. Austin tries a headbutt and that puts the Dragon down. Austin preps a splash but Steamboat crotches him to a BIG POP! Steamboat preps the top rope superplex but Austin blocks and gordbusts him down! Austin goes for a STEVE-A-MANIA HAMMER off the top but Steamboat counters with a shot to the breadbasket. That is the best series of counters just for a simple spot off the top rope that I've ever seen. Steamboat with the face smash and the place is chanting his name. STEAMBOATSTEAMBOATSTEAMBOAT! He heads up top for the big splash but Austin sidesteps and smashes him down into the mat. Austin gloats and smacks around Steamboat and mocks him with the Hollywood Blondes taunt. Steamboat Dragons up and no sells. TWO LEG TAKEDOWN! GNP FROM THE DRAGON! HE HITS THE DOUBLE CHOP! AND ANOTHER! THE PLACE IS FEELING IT! He covers for 1, 2, 2.9999! SPINEBUSTER! 1, 2, ONLY 2! Austin tries escaping to the top rope but Steamboat pulls him down from behind with the ELECTRIC CHAIR! BADASS! 1, 2, 2.9999999999! SMALL PACKAGE! 2! JACKKNIFE ROLL UP! 2! BACKSLIDE! 2! SUNSET FLIP! 2! Austin finally comes back with a clothesline. Austin tries to clothesline him over the top but Dragon skins the cat back in. That would have been a DQ and won him the match if he just hit the floor. Back in, Dragon with a school boy for 1, 2, only 2. Austin tries a slam but Steamboat cradles him for 1, 2, 3 to win the belt at 16:04 TO A MASSIVE POP!
• One of the greatest wrestling exhibitions you'll ever see. It has beautiful, seamless counters and transitions. It has the masterful chickenshit heel that won't get any cool pops. It has an unexpected ending with Steamboat finally pulling it out with a roll up like on Flair at the Chi-Town Rumble in 1989 to win his first world title. And it's just completely believable in a way that you rarely see anymore. So much now is just patented formula matches, even psychology while great when done correctly is still a bit predictable. But here, just when you think Austin is going to escape or peel off a move to cut off Steamboat, Steamboat counters to get back on the offense. And just when you think Steamboat is going to pull off a few high impact moves in a row to put him away, Austin gets the knees up out of desperation. It's a classic. *****
• Hulk Hogan & Macho Man Randy Savage vs. Ric Flair & The Giant. Clash XXXII. Tony says that pre-match Flair was trashing Kevin Greene who is accompanying The MegaPowers. Flair struts and calls him out again so Greene gets in the ring in the 3-point stance. Not being the football-type, Flair gets the mic and says he's no fool and won't injure Greene which would prevent him from playing this Sunday. That's the best legal strategy and advice Flair has had in years. Back in, Flair locks up with Macho and goes to the chops in the corner. Macho with a backdrop and a few clotheslines. Macho sends him across for the Flip which takes out a camera man. Hogan big boots him off the apron and Flair Flops to the floor. If the self-parody was just starting in 94 or so, by 96 it's in full gear. Back in, Macho smacks Flair more to chastise him than anything else. Flair with a chop and Giant gives Macho a shot behind the ref's back. Macho blocks a hiptoss and gets a back slide for 2. Macho goes to the jabs and allows Hogan a cheap shot. Flair begs off and tags in Giant. Macho calls for People Power and then tags in Hogan. Giant shoves him into the corner and Hogan looks around in disbelief for his 100,000 screaming Hulkamaniacs pulling for him against Andre but that was about a decade earlier and a different Giant so the fans give him crickets. Plus, Hogan had already neutered Giant back at HH 95 so the suspense is gone. Giant sends him off and Hogan folds like a house of cards for a VERY ginger shoulderblock. Hogan with an eye gouge and wants the bodyslam but Giant won't go up and instead slams Hogan. Giant with a back elbow and a boot and Hogan just lays there. Giant decides to low blow headbutt him and go to the backbreaker submission. Giant goes for the People's Elbow but Hogan rolls out of the way and raises the roof before bodyslamming Giant and then tearing every muscle in his back. OH THE HUMANITY! Flair tags in with the hanging vertical suplex. Hogan no sells and Hulks up. Tony: “Fans, if you are tuning in to see Child's Play, the movie will start immediately following this program.” Hogan with some clotheslines on Flair and saunters over to tae a shot at Giant for no reason. Hogan AGAIN tries to jump Giant for no reason so Giant pulls him to the floor and they engage in some of the worst brawling ever to grace human history. After a botched bearhug, Giant slides him back in so Hogan can Hulk up again. Flair with a back elbow and Hogan sells THAT of all things. Flair heads up top but Hogan slams him off and tags in Macho. Macho heads up for the BONESAW HAMMER! Macho with a slam and hits the Macho Elbow. Hogan and Giant continue their epic miniseries of brawling as Macho wants to give Jimmy Hart some punishment. Flair pulls out the loaded knucks and waffles Macho and covers for 3 to win it at 9:53. Not even Flair and Macho could drag this into watchable despite getting a decent chunk of the ringtime. Giant was useless for practically the first two years of his career and this match is no different and Hogan's Hogan. *1/4
• Bull Nakano vs. Madusa. Clash XXXIII. Well I'm certainly glad they made time and disc space for this because nothing says WCW like Flair, Sting, Madusa, and Bull Nakano. Madusa with some chops but whiffs on a dropkick. Bull with the hairtoss as Tony calls it one of his favorite maneuvers. Bull with another and pulls out the nunchucks and just points to the referee and is all “HEY, I'VE GOT A WEAPON SPOT SO LOOK AWAY!” Bull waffles her to the gut and the ref TURNS AROUND in the middle of the onslaught and realizes he's apart of a trainwreck but he's just an innocent bystander and goes back to staring at ringside. Madusa no sells so Bull clubs her down and goes for a splash for 1 as Tony talks about Flair and Hogan. Madusa goes for a crossbody and Bull, in a crafty piece of puro strategy but in poor sportsmanship, decides to drop her and Madusa wipes out. That or Bull blew the spot. Madusa with a few hair burritos for 2. Madusa goes for a sunset flip but Bull sits down to counter but decides to break up her own cover at 2. WHY IS THIS MATCH HERE?! Bull heads up top but Madusa boots her to the floor and follows out with a plancha. Bull moves and Sonny Onoo takes the brunt instead. Sonny tries to stand up for the honor of fake martial artists everywhere and goes a weak kick to the ribs but Madusa moves and he accidentally hits Bull. Madusa with a roll up to take it at 2:42. Just go away. -*
• BattleBowl Championship: Diamond Dallas Page vs. Eddie Guerrero. Clash XXXIII. DDP throws Eddie down but Eddie kips up and comes back with a shoulderblock and headscissors. DDP is in shock so Eddie blitzkriegs him with dropkick to stay on the offense. Eddie goes for a charge in the corner but eats ringpost and DDP takes over with boots. Brain smartly points out that DDP should be working over the shoulder but Page has yet to feud with Benoit and Raven so he's still a bit slow when it comes to things like psychology so he hits a gutbuster and a tilt-a-whirl slam for 2. DDP goes to the chinlock at 90 seconds in but in fairness they have been moving at a pretty good clip. Page uses the ropes on the chinlock behind the ref's back. DDP stays on the chinlock for a couple minutes or longer than the rest of the match so far put together. Eddie hiptosses his way out and trips up DDP and hits a headbutt to the breadbasket. They slug it out and Eddie wins that one. Eddie with a leg lariat and the slingshot senton for 2. Page comes back with a jawbreaker and a Ligerbomb for 1, 2, only 2. DDP puts Eddie up top but Eddie headbutts him off and hits the Frog Splash out of nowhere to win it clean at 4:20. This is another headscratcher for me. Eddie's the man and I'm a bigger fan of DDP than most but this is just a few minutes of moves with hardly any selling and a finisher with no build. *1/2 Post-match, DDP feigns friendship but turns and then just wipes the floor with Eddie by giving him THREE DiamondCutters before Chavo comes out to plead for Uncle Eddie.
• Triple Threat Match for the WCW World Tag Team Championship: The Steiner Bros. vs. Sting & Lex Luger vs. Harlem Heat (c). Clash XXXIII. Interestingly, this is after Hogan has turned heel to go Hollywood but Sting is not Crow and is still the same true blue babyface, though with dark hair. Booker T cuts a promo with no mic on the way out: “WE GOIN' IN THE CHAMP, WE COMIN' OUT THE CHAMP, AND AINT NOBODY CAN DO ANYTHING BOUT IT, SUCKAAAAA!” Stevie Ray tries to do the same but Tony talks over him. You figure the tag champs could at least get some mic time if they were that adamant about cutting promos but I guess not. Sherri and Col. Parker are both at ringside. Tony wants to talk turkey and says strategy-wise, it'd be smart for Rick to keep tagging Scott, otherwise one of the other teams might in the ring. That's one of those Tim McCarver, obvious-for-the-sake-of-obvious comments, but in fairness to Tony, on the lead-in, Dusty was basically acting like this was the first triple threat match EVER so there's that.
• Scotty and Book to start. Scott sends him into the turnbuckle and mounts for a few punches. Book boots him to come back and hits a hook kick. Tony starts reminiscing about the great NINE hours of WCW programming this week because he's worried the n.W.o will continue invading their production trucks and might wreck the company. Book heads up top but Scott slams him into a crotch spot on the ropes and then Luger clotheslines him off like he's Nigel McGuinness or something. That was cool as hell all around. Book sells and tags in Stevie. Stevie's pissed and wants revenge for his brother so he demands Scotty tag in Luger (even though they aren't partners) and Scotty actually does it. That's simple as can be but works beautifully for me: Book gets crotched, he's hurt, he tags in Stevie, Stevie wants the man who hurt him, Stevie gets him. ANYWAY, Stevie with a few kicks and a barrage of CLUBBINGBLOWS on Luger. Luger no sells and comes back with boots of his own in the corner and right hands. Luger poses and blows through Stevie with a clothesline. Luger gets a head of steam but Rick with a blind tag and then comes in with clotheslines for BOTH. NICE! Rick hits the bulldog off the top on Stevie and goes for the cover but Luger breaks up the cover. Luger and Rick get into a shoving match and then Stevie blindsides Rick with the SUPERKICK! MOVESET! Harlem Heat isolate Rick for some punishment as we take a break. We're back to Rick hitting his comeback with a powerslam. Sting tags in and hits a STINGER HAMMER off the top on Book. He covers for 2. Book with an eyepoke. He and Sting trade three hiptoss counters before Sting shitcans him over the top. This is slick stuff. Back in, Sting with a leap frog and press slams Book like he's nothing. Sting covers but Stevie Ray breaks it up. Tony then runs down three matches for the upcoming Nitro which just highlights the absurd lack of foresight or communication of actual foresight by the current WWE.
• Luger tags in and hits a vertical suplex but Stevie breaks that up and then tags in himself. Sting tries to tag in so Stevie just cuts him off as he steps through the ropes and just chokes the shit out of him and pokes him in the eyes. That's some heel stuff I can get behind. Stevie drops a knee but then Scotty tags in from behind. Scott goes for a top wristlock and then works the neck bridge spot with Sting. Scott with a shoulderblock but runs into a flapjack into the ropes by Sting. Pop for that. Sting with a clothesline off the top and covers but Rick breaks it up. Luger and Rick threaten to break down the match but the ref maintains control. Book sneaks in and waffles Sting but Sting no sells and Book sheepishly powders out indicating that he's a bit early with his cutoff interference. Scott slides out of a suplex and hits an UGLY reverse DDT. Scott hits a butterfly suplex but Luger breaks up the cover again. Rick tags in and goes to a sleeper. Luger gets within reach of Sting and tags in. Rick with right hands on Luger but Luger no sells and comes back with a few Steelplate Bionic Elbows. He goes for another but Rick moves and Luger eats turnbuckle. Rick folds him up with a nice German suplex and then tags in Scott. Scott with a belly to belly suplex and heads up top. He leaps off but Luger CATCHES HIM IN THE RACK! Or at least a pseudo-Rack. Scotty won't give it up and Rick ends the drama with a boot to Luger. IT'S A DONNYBROOK! Sting knocks Rick to the floor and follows out. The Harlem Heat are in. Stevie shitcans Luger. Book and Scotty are now presumably the legal men. Book with the Harlem Sidekick and a back elbow as the brawl continues. BUT WAIT! WE'VE GOT SOME COMPANY! THE OUTSIDERS HAVE ARRIVED! Meanwhile, Scotty with a horrific Frankensteiner and covers for 1, 2, – Nick stops the count and calls for a DQ via Outsiders interference at 10:35.
• Fun while it lasted. Wrestling is sort of odd in that the more people you have involved, the less workrate you need from an individual. Think about it, how much “good wrestling” do you actually see in a Royal Rumble? Almost none. The match works because of the personalities involved, storylines at play, and the booking. The same applies to other matches with more than 2 guys. You don't need 6 Flairs or Bret Harts of Shawn Michaels to have a good triple threat tag match. You need entertaining exchanges with different combinations of guys even if it only lasts a minute or so each. And this match, like the Nasties/Faces of Fear/Outsiders match at Havoc 96, delivers in that regard. ***
• WCW Cruiserweight Championship: Dean Malenko vs. Ultimo Dragon (c). Clash XXXIV. He's Ultimo Dragon the match listing, but he's Ultimate Dragon according to Tony and the screen graphic. Dragon appears to be wearing lipstick or he's got a mouthbleed going before the match. Dean goes to the wristlock but Dragon kips up and goes to his own. They trade front facelock counters before Dean gets a hammerlock. Ultimo slides out and trips Dean and goes to the leg grapevine as we take a break. We're back to Dean selling the leg though we're back to a stalemate. Rather than clean break, Dean boots Dragon and sends him into the turnbuckle to a pop. Ya gotta love, good old-fashioned American xenophobia. Dean with a hanging vertical suplex for 2. Dean goes to the headlock with the legs. Dragon uses leverage to escape and hits a series of kicks on Dean. Dragon with a lethal chop and Dean takes a breather to regroup. Back in, Dean fights off some kicks and hits a Backdrop Driver and Dragon is toast. Malenko now goes to the leg grapevine but Dragon gets the ropes. Malenko drops a few knees on the bad leg and NOW WE GO TO SCHOOL, GREAT MALENKO STYLE! Dean with a half crab. Dragon tries countering so Malenko switches back to the leg grapevine. Dragon tries booting his way free so Dean torques the hold. Nice. Dean with a kneebreaker to a pop. Dean now with the Stump Puller. After a 2 count, they slug it out, and Dean just says the hells with it and shitcans Dragon to a monstrous pop considering how pedestrian of a tactic that is. Dean hangs him up in the guardrail and then boots the leg IN BRUTAL FASHION! If this were Japan, Dragon would be carted out on a stretcher and do an injury angle for weeks to put over the attack. Actually, if this were Japan, Dean would assault him for 20 minutes consecutive all on the leg, only for Dragon to comeback out of desperation with a lariat and hit four more to win the match. ANYWAY, back in, Dean goes to the Figure Four. WOOOOOOO! KATIE, BAR THE DOOR SAYETH DUSTY!
• Dean releases the hold just to hit a running clothesline. Dragon ignores all of it to hit a spinwheel kick and heads up top. Malenko cuts him off with the top rope superplex. Brain cracks the “dragonfly” joke that Dusty just loves and then continues to make fun of the Dallas Cowboys as Dean gets the wheelbarrow roll up for 1, 2, 2.7. Dragon with a DR FG! NO! Dean CATCHES THE FOOT and spins him around for a LigerBomb. He goes for it but Dragon ranas through for 1, 2, 2.9. Dean heads up top but Dragon springboard dropkicks him to the floor. Dragon tries a plancha but Dean moves. Dragon lands on his feet and then whips Dean into the guardrail. Dragon follows up with the Asai Moonsault. Tenay decides to leap in to show off his research: “THAT'S THE ASAI MOONSAULT THAT HE INVENTED!” Dusty: “WHAT?!?” Tony: “The Asai moonsault.” Dusty: “That's right, that's right. Testify, Mike.” Back in, Dragon with a brainbuster and now a regular moonsault. He covers for 1, 2, 2.9! Dragon can't believe it. Dragon puts Malenko up top and hits the TOP ROPE HURACANRANA! Dragon goes for the Tiger Suplex. Dean drops down and wants the Cloverleaf but Dragon with a roll up for 1, 2, 2.999! Dean avoids a backdrop and wants a powerbomb but Dragon flips out. Dean is all FUCK THAT and gives him a butterfly bomb. Onoo tries to interfere but Dean waffles him. Dean locks in the Texas Cloverleaf! Dragon fights but is forced to give up at 12:01. Vintage WCW cruiserweights! Good stuff if you can get past the ham 'n eggers on commentary (not Brain). The match drags just a tad in the early going where Dean works over the leg and Dragon basically ignores all of that for the rapid fire homestretch. ***1/2
• WCW Cruiserweight Championship: Eddie Guerrero vs. Chris Jericho (c). Clash XXXV. Jericho is champ here but still face and basically still Lionheart Jericho from ECW. Jericho had only been in WCW a year at this point. Eddie talks trash and then wrestlers himself through a chain sequence and tosses aside Jericho like a sack of shit. Jericho postures for crowd attention but gets little. Eddie throws him down and then pulls him up and Jericho finally gets something with a couple armdrags and a dropkick. Eddie claims that Jericho pulled his hair and then demonstrates on Mark Curtis. You see, vato, like THIS! Curtis checks with Jericho and then the front row to see if Eddie's story cuts the mustard. Awesome old school stuff by Eddie here. Jericho with a shoulderblock and catches Eddie trying a leapfrog and press slams him down. Jericho with a flapjack and Eddie begs off and hides behind the ref. Eddie powders out now to talk trash with some front row fans. EL NINO GORDO! Flairisms don't have the same punch in Spanish. Eddie sneaks Jericho behind with a LATINO HEAT HAMMER and chops away. Jericho with a head of steam but runs into a back elbow. Eddie with the BEAUTIFUL slingshot senton to big boos. Eddie with the rana off the top. He covers for 1, 2, 2 ½. Eddie with the knucklelock and wants the step up rana but Jericho counters to a Low Down powerbomb. Jericho showing his Bushwacker roots, goes to the Big Swing. Unfortunately, Eddie's old school heel > Jericho's old school face. Jericho with a spinwheel kick and Eddie bails out. Jericho goes for a springboard crossbody but botches it without Eddie even in the picture and Jericho eats it to the floor much to Eddie's amusement. Back in, Eddie tries a suplex but Jericho counters and suplexes Eddie TO THE FLOOR! Eddie is pulling out all the stops spectacularly. Back in, Eddie hits the TOP ROPE SUPERPLEX! Eddie to the front row marks: “HOW YOU LIKE THEM TACOS, BABY?!” Man, heel Eddie is a godsend. Eddie covers with a choke for 2. After a good half dozen counters, Jericho folds up Eddie with a nice German suplex and covers for 2. Jericho goes for an O'Connor Roll but Eddie blocks. Eddie wants a sunset flip but Jericho rolls through. They both get a series of 1 and 2 counts on progressive rolls up before Jericho locks in a deep cradle for 1, 2, 3 to retain at 6:40. Post-match, Eddie lays him out with a Frog Splash. Tony: “WHERE IS EDDIE GUERRERO COMING FROM?!” Brain: “From the top rope, to the looks of me.” Eddie: “He got lucky! And you see what happens when you get lucky!” A criminally short exhibition for Eddie to school the world on how to be a heel. ***
• Scott Hall & Macho Man Randy Savage vs. Diamond Dallas Page & Lex Luger. Clash XXXV. The n.W.o birthday is tonight and the full entourage, minus Hogan, comes out for a parade of black and white balloons. Nash gets the stick and says that in celebration tonight, even though he and Hall as The Outsiders are the tag champs, Macho is defending the belt for him. Riiiiiiiiiiiiight. Just for a rundown, Buff, Vincent, Nash, Miss Elizabeth, Scott Norton, Syxx, Konnan are all in the ring with Macho and Razor. I *think* Buffer did the ring intros but because he makes a zillion dollars for a few sentences, WWE dubbed him over with an imitation Buffer and it sounds pretty weird. Lex and DDP wait for the rest of the n.W.o (“that pack of wild dogs,” tm Michael Cole, all rights reserved) to apparently take it to the back.
• Hall waves off DDP and says he wants Luger first. Tony tries to explain away the oddity of Macho defending the tag belts by citing the Freebird Rule except for the n.W.o by saying they are the champs and they can have anyone they want defend them in their stead. Lockup between Hall and Luger goes nowhere as neither will budge. After a good 30 seconds, Luger finally shoves Hall down and poses. Hall suckers him in and then shitcans him. Nash who is still ringside waffles him from behind with a clothesline. Nick Patrick rolls to the floor and tells Nash he's barred from ringside, but given their lax tag title rules, I doubt that'll have any enforcement either. Nash puts up a fight as Macho tags in and works over Lex. Nash finally relents and walks up the aisle. Macho with a SLIM JAM HAMMER off the top and tries to drop an elbow. He whiffs and Luger tags in DDP. Page goes wild on Macho and Hall with rights. Page with an atomic drop and spins Macho around for the clothesline. Macho sends DDP off and Hall trips him up and Macho takes over with the BLATANTCHOKE. Hall tags in for the snap ab suplex for 2. They go to work on the “injured ribs” of DDP which I think were taped up for the last 6 years of his career straight. Hall works over DDP with CLUBBINGBLOWS behind the ref's back and Macho chokes some more. DDP fights back with rights to both to BOOS but Hall trips him up and tags in Macho. Well, now the crowd is chanting for Page with DDPDDPDDP! Although admittedly, the crowd does not look to be chanting anything. Would WWE seriously sweeten up a Clash from 15 years ago just to put in some DDP chants? I don't see the point, so I'll give them the benefit of the doubt and say they are legit chants. Macho shitcans DDP into the balloons. Back in, Hall pounds down Page in the corner and hits a clothesline. Hall paintbrushes DDP with his boot and goes to the STF as the crowd gets a clap going for DDP. The heels work a couple of quick tags for nothing before DDP finally comes back with a LARIATO on Hall. DDP makes the hot tag to Luger. He steamrolls Macho and Hall with clotheslines. He shitcans Macho and calls for the Rack on Hall. Luger gets him up but Macho slides back in to break it up. Macho then hits the most BLATANTEYEPOKE of all time and DDP sells it like a stick of dynamite blew up in his face. That was terrific. DDP goes temporarily blind but Hall waffles Luger from behind and sends him into Page. Page stumbles back and grabs the first head he can reach and DiamondCuts it. Unfortunately, it was Luger. Hall drapes the arm for the 1, 2, 3 to retain at 9:55. Solid match if forgettable. This was sort of around the time when DDP transitioned from comedy heel into singles breakout star and from average worker to (very) good worker so it's a nice fragment of that moment in time. Also, the megaface implosion was done more subtly than most of the time so it works. **3/4
• Post-match, we get the obscenely long, director's cut of the n.W.o birthday party. The whole crew comes out now and Macho says it's the greatest night of his life. Bischoff starts playing MC and turns to Nash who says he's enjoyed the hell out of “shagging WCW rotten.” Somehow, I suspect that's either a shoot joke about money or ringrats but I'll let you figure that one out. Bischoff says it's not been the night they wanted though, because they didn't get their own TV show they deserved. BUT WAIT! THIS IS CROW STING IS IN THE RAFTERS! AND HE'S GOT A VULTURE! A pretaped recording of a child warning of an apocalyptic future for the n.W.o plays and WE'RE OUTTA TIME, TUNE IN TO NITRO!
The 411: An all-time classic between Austin and Steamboat make this disc an automatic thumbs up. You've also got a perversely enjoyable early incarnation of the triple threat match with nothing but hosses. And Eddie Guerrero brings the goods in a few matches.