Tuesday, January 23, 1996
Las Vegas, Nevada
Commentators: Tony Schiavone and Bobby “The Brain” Heenan
Monday Nitro from just last night is recapped where “Macho Man” Randy Savage regained the World Heavyweight Title by defeating “Nature Boy” Ric Flair, of course followed by a somewhat heated exchange between Savage and Hulk Hogan. Plus, the tag-team of Sting and “The Total Package” Lex Luger captured the World Tag-Team Titles from Harlem Heat. Oh, and Flyin’ Brian went off script yet again.
Schiavone and Heenan are live to hype tonight’s Clash and point out, as announced on Nitro, that Miss Elizabeth will appear, as will Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker Kevin Greene and The Road Warriors are scheduled.
“Mean Gene” Okerlund is standing by at a local wedding chapel in Las Vegas as the wedding of Col. Robert Parker and Sister Sherri is minutes away. Okerlund promises to man the red carpet as the guests arrive for the nuptials. This wedding ought to be a hoot!
Match #1: Tag-Team Attraction
Public Enemy [Johnny Grunge/“Flyboy” Rocco Rock vs. The Nasty Boys [Brian Knobbs/Jerry Sags]
Result/Analysis: Double Disqualification (3:58) as referee Nick Patrick throws out the match. It was a pier six brawl/street fight right from the bell but since WCW wasn’t ECW so there was no concrete plan for this mishmash. Both of these teams were colossal train wrecks and truly belonged wrestling in local high school gymnasiums on the independent circuit. The crowd gets warmed up anyway.
Eric Bischoff has “Nature Boy” Ric Flair (w/ Jimmy Hart) and The Giant come out for an interview. Flair downplays his World Title loss to “Macho Man” Randy Savage last night because, well, he’s in Las Vegas surrounded by ALL the pretty women and the bright lights … and, he gets Savage in the ring again tonight with The Giant along side. The Giant, who shouldn’t have talked, pledges to rid wrestling of Hogan and Savage forever. Ha! Flair adds that with The Giant present, Macho can’t hide behind “Slim Jim” nor Hogan “Baywatch.” LOL.
Match #2: Dean Malenko vs. “Das Wunderkind” Alex Wright
Result/Analysis: Malenko via pinfall (5:31) with a rolling cradle. These two were wrestling a “return match” from WCW Saturday Night with Malenko winning that encounter with his Texas Clover Leaf submission hold (a standing reverse figure-four). Malenko pound-for-pound was as good as there was. Wright holds his own here with flips and dropkicks as there’s plenty of counter moves by each man. The finish is seemingly botched as Malenko is counted for the pin by referee Randy Anderson even though Wright has his shoulder off the mat. Yeah, Fuck-Ups aren’t looked at kindly.
Match #3: “The Taskmaster” Kevin Sullivan w/ Jimmy Hart vs. The Disco Inferno
Result/Analysis: No Contest. Disco was at the Colonel Parker/Sister Sherri wedding so he has an Elvis Impersonator show up in his place to deliver a singing telegram to The Taskmaster. Sullivan doesn’t take kindly to being stood up so he beats up “Elvis” to end a pitiful segment.
Okerlund updates the goings on at the Little White Chapel. Parker’s tag-team of Bunkhouse Buck and Dick Slater arrive. They’re dressed in usual redneck attire. Not mincing words, Buck and Slater have doubts this wedding goes off. Okerlund says Sister Sherri is a no-show so far.
Bischoff has the new World Tag-Team Champions Lex Luger and Sting come out for their interview segment. Luger brags ad naseum about winning the belts as Sting is in the background putting up with his tale. Out come The Road Warriors, however, who Sting greets with high fives and pleasantries as a perturbed Luger looks on. Animal doesn’t waste time asking for a title shot and Sting is receptive to the challenge. Luger steps in for his two cents to remind Sting there are other tag teams that deserve a title shot, too, as he names Harlem Heat, The Nasty Boys, The American Males and State Patrol as would-be contenders. Luger says The Road Warriors have been on the shelf for two years, meaning no disrespect, of course. Hawk chimes in to call Luger’s bluff but he walks off with Sting trailing after betwixted. This segment had underlying heat.
Interview segment with Paul Orndorff. “Mr. Wonderful” was forced into retirement in storyline form by the 4 Horsemen one month earlier after he turned down a spot in the famed stable. In actuality, Orndorff’s career was cut short due to the mounting injuries he sustained throughout his wrestling career, with back and neck atrophy along with weakness to the right side of his body at the heart of his ailments. It seemed that Orndorff was planned to make a comeback but that never materialized.
Colonel Parker finally shows up to his own wedding but he hasn’t a dime to his name after blowing it all at the casinos. He asks Okerlund for $50 to pay his limousine driver but no dice. Sherri calls Parker as Okerlund is speaking to him and The Colonel walks off a sweaty mess. Cold feet perhaps?
Match #4: Flyin’ Brian Pillman vs. Eddie Guerrero
Result/Analysis: Pillman via pinfall (5:59) following a crossbody collision. What’s notable about this match is Pillman, full on loose cannon mode here, grabbing Heenan’s neck outside the ring, not expected, and Heenan going off on live television “What the fuck are you doing”? before getting up from the broadcast table, almost walking out of the show, before returning to call the rest of the match after cooling off. Pillman wasn’t invested in the actual wrestling part of the show as he was full on at all times creating controversy. Poor Guerrero, in his youthful career, was thrown off but managed to be professional and wrestle a quality match for both of them before losing.
Rating: *1/2 (WCW had a MAJOR problem on their hands with Pillman and it only grew worse.)
Bischoff has The Mega-Powers and Kevin Greene out to shoot the shit. Hogan won’t the shut the hell up. Greene is on something. Savage allows Hogan to run his mouth. Everyone is on the same page pre-Main Event and the only decision looming, according to Hogan, is which one of them gets to hit the town with Liz after the show. Hogan mentions how Savage couldn’t handle her in the past. LOL. My thought is she turns heel and runs to Flair. Remember those pin-up photos? Woooo!!!
Match #5: WCW World Tag-Team Championship
Blue Bloods [“Lord” Steven Regal & “Earl” Robert Eaton vs. Sting & “The Total Package” Lex Luger (c)
Result/Analysis: Sting & Luger via submission (7:45) when Eaton succumbs to the scorpion death lock. The Blue Bloods individually do their schtick but the champs earn the clean victory to supplant their unity. It’s an old-school tussle with obvious booking. Regal is noticeably portly here, though.
Back at the Little White Chapel, Parker discusses the catering with Okerlund as Sherri arrives. Parker breaks the bad news to Sherri that he’s flat broke after his day spent gambling. Sherri is obviously upset. She bemoans to him his promise to her of a big wedding day. Buck and Slater look on. A drive-by ceremony is perhaps all The Colonel can afford now!
Pillman comes out and threatens to unleash the seven deadly words on live TV. Instead, he goes off on his definition of respect, mentioning what the 4 Horsemen did to Orndorff, how Arn Anderson smacked him across the face and his personal issues with Kevin Sullivan. Pillman was must-see TV.
Match #6: Mexican Heavyweight Championship
Psicosis vs. Konnan (c)
Result/Analysis: Konnan via submission (5:25) with the ziplock (a standing figure-four). The match is particularly dull and the crowd had little to no reaction with zero knowledge of each guy. This match was introductory to the Mexican influx of wrestlers to come into WCW throughout 1996 and beyond but the fan base wasn’t ready to embrace the “Lucha Libre” style of wrestling. Mike Tenay was on commentary to put over the talent (in a back-handed way himself) but no one gave a F.
At the Little White Chapel, Sherri is getting dressed in the back of her limousine as Okerlund remarks it’s probably not her first time in the back of a car. Ha! Parker wants $30 from Sherri’s purse as she’s getting changed. What happened to the $50? Anyway, Okerlund convinces Sherri that he’ll give her away at the altar. LOL. Following a commercial, the ceremony takes place – at the drive-up window. Harlem Heat, Disco Inferno, Buck and Slater are your attendees. Slater and Buck tear up. Comical. Okerlund can barely hold himself together, also. Before the vows are exchanged, Madusa exits Colonel Parker’s motor home and attacks Sherri from behind, leading to a catfight. Parker was double-dipping behind Sherri’s back with his “fried pie.” OMG. Disco just holds the champagne.
It’s Michael Buffer time. “Let’s get ready to RUMBLE!!!”
Match #7: Tag-Team Main Event
The Giant & “The Nature Boy” Ric Flair w/ Jimmy Hart vs. Hulk Hogan & “Macho Man” Randy Savage [WCW World Heavyweight Champion] w/ Miss Elizabeth, Kevin Greene & Female Entourage
Result/Analysis: The Giant & Flair via pinfall (9:53) with Flair pinning Savage after using brass knuckles after Macho had hit the flying elbow drop. Ugh. The match is OK but the finish is dumb. Hogan and The Giant are in the ring for the meat and potatoes portion as Hogan takes a beating before growing tired of doing so and he makes The Giant then look like Lord Littlebrook at WrestleMania III. Hell, Schiavone and Heenan even talked up the Hogan/Andre match, referencing it as being in 1987, for historical context. Savage and Flair start and finish. Elizabeth was a non-factor. Greene helps Hogan empty the ring after the bell as both Zodiac and Pillman do run-ins. At least The Mega-Powers lost. Where everything is headed, however, is anyone’s guess.
The Verdict: The Clash was a Monday Nitro+ TV special occassionally pulled out by the year 1996. The 32nd edition is mediocre at best with no long-term ramifications to WCW’s creative direction. The Main Event was a total eh as it hardly felt like a big-time match. The wedding theatrics, while entirely amusing, consume too much of the event. Heenan, with his unscripted shoot comment to Pillman’s brash action, is the takeaway. Nitro the night before in a one-hour time slot was the much-better show. WCW was winning the ratings war with the WWF but in the first month of the year both products were just OK. In actuality, the creative direction in Stamford, CT was more fluid.