Mega Powers Running Wild!

The legendary 'Macho man' Randy Savage teams up with 'The Immortal' Hulk Hogan to take on Ted Dibiase and Andre The Giant in the first ever WWF Summerslam!

Shawn Micahels vs. Mankind

The Heartbreak Kid defends the WWF Championship against Mankind in a thrilling main event at WWF In Your House: Mind Games.

The Birth of the nWo

From Hulk Hogan's shocking turn at WCW Bash at the Beach 1996 to the addition of Ted Dibiase, THe Giant Syxx and more, relive the very beginning of the New World Order.

Austin 3:16 Says I Just Kicked Your Ass

It's one of the most famous promos of all time; Stone Cold Steve Austin wins the 1996 King of The Ring and serves notice on all the WWF superstars. Check it out in our complete review

Wrestlemania 12 Review

The boyhood dream comes true as Shawn Michaels battles champion Bret 'The Hitman' Hart in a classic 1-hour iron man match. Plus, Diesel vs. Undertaker and more.

WCW Fall Brawl 1996 Review

Was Sting in cahoots with the New World Order? Would Lex Luger be able to get along with the Four Horsemen as they faced the nWo in War Games? Find out in this review

Friday, 31 March 2017

PPV REVIEW: WCW HALLOWEEN HAVOC 1996

WCW HALLOWEEN HAVOC 96 REVIEW: Event Poster
October 27, 1996,
MGM Grand Garden Arena, Paradise, Nevada. 

By the time Halloween rolled around, the New World Order's reign of terror over World Championship Wrestling was well and truly in full flow. 

Since coming together earlier that summer, the renegade outfit had been seemingly unstoppable.

Not only did nWo leader Hollywood Hulk Hogan have the WCW world title on his shoulder, but the man he'd defeated for that belt, The Giant, was now his right-hand man, joining forces with nWo founders Scott Hall and Kevin Nash, along with recent WCW arrivals Ted Dibiase, Syxx (formerly 123 Kid) and Vince (formerly Virgil).

Together, the heel contingent had taken apart Team WCW the previous month at Fall Brawl 1996, in the process not only laying waste to arch-rival Macho Man Randy Savage, but also causing a huge falling out between WCW and its biggest franchise player, Sting. 

Tonight, Savage would have his chance for revenge as he took on Hogan for the title. Would the rest of WCW also start to fight back against the dominant New World Order? Would Sting forgive and forget, rejoining his brothers in arms in battle? Or would the men in black continue to reign supreme over WCW?

Let's head down to the MGM Grand Garden Arena to find out, shall we?

Recapping Savage vs. Hogan 

Our show tonight starts with a video documenting the story of the nWo's hostile take over from Hollywood Hulk Hogan's betrayal of WCW at Bash at the Beach 1996, past his world title victory over The Giant at Hog Wild, and on to tonight, when he would put that title on the line against former best buddy and Mega Maniac, Macho Man Randy Savage.

WCW HALLOWEEN HAVOC 96 REVIEW: Tony Schiavone, Dusty Rhodes, and Bobby Heenan hosted the event
Set to the exact same music that Marc Mero would use as his second WWF theme, the video reminded us of Hogan humiliating Savage at the previous month's Fall Brawl 1996, and how Eric Bischoff stated on a recent episode of Nitro that bringing Hogan to WCW was the biggest mistake he ever made.

The Biggest Night in the History of Our Sport 

OK, so lead announcer Tony Schiavone didn't actually use that line tonight, but we did get his standard hyperbole as he and fellow commentators The American Dream Dusty Rhodes and Bobby 'The Brain' Heenan talked about the importance of tonight's big world championship match and how Macho Man may have taken things 'to a level that he shouldn't have,' in preparing his vengeance against Hogan.

World Championship Wrestling Cruiserweight Championship
WCW Cruiserweight Champion Rey Mysterio Jr. vs. Dean Malenko 

WCW HALLOWEEN HAVOC 96 REVIEW: Rey Mysterio Jr. lost the WCW Cruiserweight title to Dean Malenko
Defending his title against Dean Malenko in a bout which far outclassed their previous outing at Clash of the Champions, Rey Mysterio went after his bitter rival with a flurry of fast paced offence right from the get go, even managing to regain the mask that Malenko had stolen from him  and replacing it with the one he was currently wearing.

It didn't take long however, before the challenger took control and slowed the pace as he looked to systematically take the champion apart.

From there, both men traded the advantage several times, making for a thrilling opening contest which ended when Malenko powerbombed Mysterio off the top, made the cover, and won the title.
Your Winner and NEW WCW Cruiserweight Champion: Dean Malenko 

Backstage, Lee Marshall interviewed recent WCW signee, Jeff Jarrett.

WCW HALLOWEEN HAVOC 96 REVIEW: Jeff Jarrett faced The Giant
Jarrett claimed not to be impressed by anything the nWo had done so far and vowed that his upcoming opponent for tonight, The Giant, would not hit his chokslam in their upcoming match.

Nature Boy Ric Flair, who had originally been scheduled to face The Giant before suffering an nWo beat down, then came out and -I think- offered to be Jeff Jarrett's pimp or something when all the ladies wanted to celebrate Double J's victory with him.

Flair also gave his props to Macho Man, saying that despite hating him, he really believed Savage could beat Hogan.

This was a fun, straight forward piece of mic work from both men, doing its job well in adding interest to some of the bigger bouts on the show

Battle for the Lord of the Ring
Eddie Guerrero vs. Diamond Dallas Page 

WCW HALLOWEEN HAVOC 96 REVIEW: WWE Hall of Famers DDP and Eddie Guerrero
In our second Clash of the Champions rematch, Eddie Guerrero clashed with Diamond Dallas Page over a WCW Battle Bowl ring, a prize nobody -not even the commentators- seemed to know much about, or even care.

Yet whilst the premise of this bout, and indeed the whole Guerrero/DDP rivalry may have been based on something few people gave a damn about, that didn't stop tonight's crowd from getting fully invested in what turned out to be a fun, if often quite sloppy, contest.

Indeed, while there were times that the bout came across as clumsy and a little off-kilter, both men did the best they could to show just how much they really hated each other.

In the end, it was that intensity and passion which won out, turning this into a very enjoyable bout, the highlights of which included DDP getting a full on telling off from referee Nick Patrick, and Guerrero hitting a beautiful top rope crossbody block to the outside that was a thing of sheer beauty.

Not that it seemed to help Eddie much. After a hard fought battle, it was Page who picked up the victory, and put back on his finger the battle bowl ring which the announcers told us at the start of the match had gone missing.
Your Winner: Diamond Dallas Page 

WCW HALLOWEEN HAVOC 96 REVIEW: Macho Man Randy Savage announced the Slim Jim Monster Truck Winner
Backstage, Macho Man Randy Savage prepared for the fight of his life against Hulk Hogan by helping Mike Tenay pick a winner of a monster truck  in the Slim Jim Sweepstake.


I mentioned in my Fall Brawl review how Savage's sponsorship duties seemed to take some of the intensity away from Macho Man's persona, and that was especially true here tonight. There was a certain sense of passion and seriousness lacking from Randy's tone as he first hyped his upcoming title bout against Hulk Hogan before goofing around in anticipation the big prize draw.

In the end, somebody called Joan from Michigan won the monster truck, and this rather dumb segment was brought to an end.

Mike Tenay Interviews Dean Malenko 

WCW HALLOWEEN HAVOC 96 REVIEW: Dean Malenko agreed to Give Mysterio a rematch if he wanted one
After a brief clip of Chris Jericho being interviewed by some Compuserve geek about his upcoming clash with Syxx, we were next sent back to Mike Tenay, who was standing by with WCW Cruiserweight Champion, Dean Malenko. 

In keeping with his character, Malenko didn't have all that much to say, but did vow that he would defend his newly won title against all comers.

After a little coaxing from Tenay, the champ agreed that "all comers" would indeed include a rematch against the man he just beat for the title, Rey Mysterio Jr.

Wrapping up the interview, Tenay said that Dean Malenko himself was the "new WCW Cruiserweight Championship" before sending us to a special "nWo interview" with Ted Dibiase and The Giant. 


Ted Dibiase and The Giant Have Words for Jeff Jarrett 

WCW HALLOWEEN HAVOC 96 REVIEW: The Giant stole Ric Flair's US title for his match against Jeff Jarrett
Standing out in the crowd, the former Million Dollar Man announced that he'd given Jeff Jarrett too much credit for being smarter than he really was, insinuating that Double J couldn't be all that bright since he'd turned down a special invitation to join the New World Order. 

Continuing his verbal assault on Jarrett's intelligence, Dibiase called the former WWF Intercontinental Champion a fool for believing that substituting for an injured Ric Flair in tonight's match against The Giant was some kind of privilege or honour. Rather, he claimed, the only reason Jarrett had the match was because Flair himself was too afraid to step into the ring. 

Echo'ing his stable-mate's words, The Giant vowed to chokeslam Jeff to oblivion when the two met in our next match. 


The Giant  vs. Jeff Jarrett (w/ The Nature Boy Ric Flair)

As The Giant made his way to the ring with the WCW United States title over his shoulder, our announce team went to great efforts to remind us that this was not a championship match, mainly because The Giant wasn't actually the champion.

WCW HALLOWEEN HAVOC 96 REVIEW: The Giant vs. Jeff Jarrett was a great match
Rather, he'd injured reigning champion Ric Flair and simply stolen the title belt from him. Despite this, Nick Patrick held up the title and displayed it as though this were a top level main event championship match.

Whilst he was doing that, Ric Flair himself made his way to ringside to stand in Jarrett's corner, as he and The Giant finally went at it in what turned out to be a very entertaining match.

The story here was simple: Jarrett pitting his speed and cunning against The Giant's size and brute strength, the former getting the better of the latter for the bulk of the contest before the sheer mass of the former world champion proved too much for the would-be Horseman.

Speaking of WCW's other legendary faction, the presence of its leader, Ric Flair, at ring side, was just about the only bad thing about this match. Not content to let Jarrett and The Giant have their moment, Flair constantly had to draw attention to himself, strutting around the ring, yelling to the crowd, and at one point even taking the microphone and encouraging a prone Double J to "kick his nWo ass!"

It was as annoying as it was distracting, and only served to take away from what was a solid effort by the two in-ring combatants.

Flair even stupidly cost his protege the match, attacking The Giant on the outside and giving the win to the nWo member as a result of a disqualification.
Your Winner by Disqualification: The Giant 

Post match, the remaining members of the Four Horsemen rushed to the ring and celebrated with Jarrett as though he'd just won the match. Meanwhile, The Giant stormed off backstage, promising that Jeff's day would come soon enough.

Dibiase and Syxx Reunite 

WCW HALLOWEEN HAVOC 96 REVIEW: Syxx defeated Chris Jericho due to Dodgy Referee
Back out in the crowd, Ted Dibiase was flanked by both his one-time man servant Vince, and the last man to join his Million Dollar Corporation, Syxx.

Dibiase claimed that the New World Order would take their victories anyway they could get them, meaning a The Giant's DQ was good enough for them. After insisting that the Four Horsemen's interference was the only way Jarrett could escape the ring alive, Dibiase next turned his attentions to Chris Jericho, putting over the relative newcomer as a fine athlete with plenty of talent.

Not that said talent was going to do him much good, as Dibiase claimed that Jericho would go down at the hands of the man he called 'the best cruiserweight in the world,' Syxx.

For his part, the former 1-2-3 Kid also put over his opponent, but then insisted that Jericho would be crucified for the sins of World Championship Wrestling.

Indeed.

Syxx vs. Chris Jericho 

WCW HALLOWEEN HAVOC 96 REVIEW: WCW Babyface Chris Jericho ready to face Syxx
To be perfectly honest with you, I was expecting something truly great here; a straight up, classic cruiserweight contest from two of the best in-ring talents working on an American stage in the 1990s. 

Sadly however, there was something rather disappointing about this see-saw battle between Chris Jericho and Syxx, almost though they were merely going through the motions and ticking off a bunch of spots one by one in a half-hearted attempt to get to the finish line. 

Don't get me wrong, the spots themselves looked perfectly acceptable, and the opening exchange between both men was fairly exciting, but the rest of time, this one lacked the energy or emotion that you'd expect from a match of this calibre. 

Towards the finish, corrupt official Nick Patrick continued to thwart Jericho's attempts at gaining victory by counting slowly, only to speed up when Syxx finally made a cover, and awarding the nWo representive a quick, cheap victory.
Your Winner: Syxx 

WCW HALLOWEEN HAVOC 96 REVIEW: Nick Patrick helps Syxx to the back
Post-match, an irate Chris Jericho went after Patrick with gusto, only for the official to high-tail it out of the ring and help Syxx to the back. 

Heading to the locker room, Iron Mike Tenay was standing by with WCW main event star Lex Luger, looking to get some exclusive words from Luger about his upcoming bout with Arn Anderson. 

What he got was an awkward, rambling promo from a tired and disheveled looking Lex Luger, who accepted the blame for Team WCW's loss the previous month at Fall Brawl 96, then made a strange analogy to cactus, before promising to come unglued (whatever that was supposed to mean), when he got in the ring with Double A.

Lex Luger vs. Arn Anderson

It was a rivalry that had been building up ever since War Games, when Luger submitting to a dual assault at the hands of Hulk Hogan and Fake Sting cost Team WCW the match. After that, Anderson had gone on the warpath, attacking the Total Package with a steel chair on an episode of Nitro and leaving him for dead.

WCW HALLOWEEN HAVOC 96 REVIEW: Lex Luger was ready to face Arn Anderson
Tonight, with the Dungeon of Doom cheering him on from the audience for unexplained reasons, Luger was out for revenge, and boy did he get it. 

In a mediocre outing that boasted little to get truly excited about, the two men battled in and out of the ring with neither man getting the clear, dominant advantage. That was until referee Mark Curtis took a tumble in the corner and the inaction spilled to the outside. 

There, Anderson attempted to K.O Luger with a chairshot, but Luger moved, and hit a weak looking catapult on Double A into the ring post. From there, three stiff chair shots and a torture rack inside the ring were all it took for this one to be mercifully over.
Your Winner: Lex Luger

Afterwards, Lex held on to the torture rack for  a long while, making sure Anderson received as much punishment as he had dished out to Luger on Nitro.

Credit where credit is due, Anderson did sell the extended torture rack for all it was worth, writhing in agony on the mat as though seriously injured. This brought out Flair and Jarrett to check on their fallen comrade, after which EMTs brought down a stretcher and wheeled an injured Anderson off to the back.

Lee Marshall Interviews Harlem Heat 

WCW HALLOWEEN HAVOC 96 REVIEW: Harlem Heat lost the WCW tag titles to The Outsiders
Out in the locker room, Lee Marshall caught up with Booker T, Stevie Ray, Col. Parker and Sister Sherri to discuss Harlem Heat's upcoming WCW World Tag Team Championship defence against The Outsiders. 

Though hardly the most enthralling promo in the world, this was at least effective in establishing the fact that Harlem Heat were not intimidated by the New World Order, and that they were indeed going all out to retain their titles against Hall and Nash, now can you dig that, sucka? 

The Faces of Fear (Meng & Barbarian w/ Jimmy Hart) vs. The Four Horsemen (Chris Benoit & Steve 'Mongo' McMichael w/ Deborah and Woman) 

Though I'm not sure that this could be classed as any of the four combatants' finest hour (and that includes Mongo), I do believe that at the very least, each one turned up ready and motivated to deliver inside the ring, and for my money, that's exactly what they did. 

WCW HALLOWEEN HAVOC 96 REVIEW: Chris Benoit & Mongo McMichael vs. The Faces of Fear
As you might expect given who was involved, this was a hard-hitting, no-nonsense battle which basically saw Chris Benoit, Steve McMichael, Meng, and The Barbarian go all out to literally just beat the living shit out of each other. 

All in all, such approach proved effective, and ultimately turned this match into a surprise highlight of the evening. 

After the better part of ten minutes, Chris Benoit hit his patented flying headbut to give the win to the Horsemen. 
Your Winners: Chris Benoit and Mongo McMichael 

Post match, Kevin Sullivan, Konan and Big Bubba leapt over the guard rail and assisted the Faces of Fear in laying the proverbial smackdown on Benoit and Mongo, taking advantage of the fact that the remaining Horsemen were at the hospital with Arn Anderson, and leaving both men laying for dead. 

Cutting to the crowd, Ted Dibiase put over the nWo's success in tonight's show before promising us a victory in our upcoming tag team title match. 


World Championship Wrestling World Tag Team Championship
WCW Tag Team Champions Harlem Heat (Booker T & Stevie Ray w/ Col. Parker & Sister Sherri) vs. The Outsiders (Scott Hall & Kevin Nash) 

WCW HALLOWEEN HAVOC 96 REVIEW: Scott Hall teamed with Kevin Nash to beat Harlem Heat
Technically perfect this match wasn't, but outstanding fun from first to last it definitely was. Say what you will about the work ethic of Scott Hall and Kevin Nash during their late-90s WCW run, both men proved that sometimes, less really is more, as both men played to their strengths in going toe-to-toe with Harlem Heart. 

The result was a very entertaining match with nary a dull moment in sight. 

Was it the fastest, most action-packed, hold-for-hold wrestling spectacular you ever saw? No, but then this was never going to be that. 

What it was, was a highly enjoyable outing which ended when Nash took Col. Parker's cane, and used it to beat up Stevie Ray. That gave hall the chance to make the cover, get the count, and win the WCW tag team titles for his team.
Your Winners and NEW WCW Tag Team Champions: The Outsiders

WCW HALLOWEEN HAVOC 96 REVIEW: Scott Hall and Kevin Nash won the WCW tag team titles
Post match, Hall and Nash gloated about their victory, celebrating in and around the ring whilst Sister Sheri yelled at the referee about what a huge injustice the whole thing had been, despite the fact that she and Col. Parker had basically cheated all the way through the match. 

From there, we were taken to a brief commercial for our next pay per view, November's WCW World War 3, before we went back to the crowd one last time for Hollywood Hogan, Ted Dibiase, and Vince. 

This time, it was Hogan who did the talking. Still wearing the ridiculous wig he wore for his latest movie, 3 Ninjas: High Noon at Mega Mountain Hollywood bragged about both that film and the upcoming release of Santa With Muscles

To be honest, I haven't seen either of those films, but from what I gather, neither were exactly worth bragging about. Still, brag he did, before insisting that he was no bored "bodyslamming Hollywood" for the week and was now going to bodyslam Randy Savage instead. 

That match was next. 

World Championship Wrestling World Heavyweight Championship
WCW World Heavyweight Champion 'Hollywood' Hulk Hogan (w/ Ted Dibiase) vs. 'Macho Man' Randy Savage 

WCW HALLOWEEN HAVOC 96 REVIEW: Randy Savage challenged Hulk Hogan for the WCW title
Truth be told, whilst I wasn't expecting this main event match to deliver the same kind of intensity and emotion Hogan and Savage displayed when they met in their classic encounter back at WWF Wrestlemania IV, I certainly didn't expect it to be this damn fun either. 

OK, so there were a couple of sloppy spots here and there (Savage lifting Hogan for a straight forward bodyslam at one point looked like Macho Man was literally trying to lift up a sloppy sack of shit), and OK, so Hogan played the "heel stalls so fans can't wait to see him get his ass kicked thing" for just a little longer than was probably necessary, but on the whole, this delivered everything you'd expect from a main event bout from two of the industry's biggest ever stars. 

Things were entertaining right from the get go, with Hollywood coming to the ring through the crowd and keeping his sunglasses and spiked blonde wig on for as long as possible ("That's the same haircut Sting used to have" declared Shiavone). Savage countered this in true over-the-top style by bringing out his monster truck for no apparent reason. 

From there, the match was on, and after all the aforementioned stalling, Macho Man finally got his hands on the cowardly champion, first ripping off his sunglasses and then yanking off his wig before putting them on himself. 

"He looks like the world's most vicious skunk!," cried Heenan, causing your writer to laugh out louder than such a gag really warranted, all whilst Savage paraded around the ring wearing the wig and glasses. 

WCW HALLOWEEN HAVOC 96 REVIEW: Hulk Hogan, his wig, and The Giant
Unfortunately for Randy, such merriment was short lived. 

Following a back-and-forth battle with Hogan, Miss. Elizabeth, a foreign object, and a whole bunch of shenanigans came into play, causing one referee to get take a bump and Nick Patrick to take his place. 

In the most dramatic moment of the match, Savage hit his famous elbow drop and looked to have the title won, only for Patrick to "hurt his neck" on the count of two and end up unable to finish the count.

From there, it only took the interference of The Giant to turn the tide back in the New World Order's favour, pummeling Savage on the outside before rolling him in the ring, and draping the arm of an unconcious Hulk Hogan over the top of him. A quick Nick Patrick three count later, and this one was over.
Your Winner and Still WCW World Heavyweight Champion: Hollywood Hulk Hogan 

Post-match, The Giant returned to the back, grabbed a huge silver bowl full of ice water, accidentally spilled most of it when he got to the ring, the poured the rest all over Hogan to wake him up. 

WCW HALLOWEEN HAVOC 96 REVIEW: Rowdy Roddy Piper made his WCW debut
Fully revived, Hogan bragged about his victory before declaring himself bored of Ted Turner, whatever that was supposed to mean. 

Then, just when the show looked to be over, it happened. The bagpipes sounded, the crowds turned their attention to the entrance, and out walked Hogan's Wrestlemania 1 rival, Rowdy Roddy Piper. 

Trying way to hard to make what was obviously a work seem like a legit shoot (even going so far as to tell us "I'm shooting here," Piper reminded Hogan of their glory days working for Vince, and boasted of being just as big a wrestling icon and -ahem- Hollywood movie star as Hogan himself. 

Hogan agreed, not once but twice, presumably in an effort to get Piper to wrap up the segment before they went off air. 

Piper didn't exactly take the hint, and this argument raged on, even as WCW Halloween Havoc 1996 went off the air.


For the most part, this show felt like it mattered more its place in the history of the nWo and the Monday Night Wars than it did for anything majorly significant that happened in the ring, but that's not necessarily a bad thing.

Besides, when it came down to the actual action, this was a mostly enjoyable affair. There was nothing here that was actually terrible, and whilst bouts like Syxx/Jericho may have undelivered in this writer's eyes, there was much to appreciate about basically the entire card. 

Until we meet again, thanks for reading, and be sure to join me on Twitter for more Retro Pro Wrestling - @Retropwrestling

Wednesday, 22 March 2017

WCW FALL BRAWL 1996 REVIEW

WCW FALL BRAWL 1996 REVIEW: Event poster
September 15, 1996
Lawrence Joel Veterans Memorial Coliseum, Winston-Salem, North Carolina

It had been only two short months since Hollywood Hulk Hogan shocked the wrestling world by turning his back on WCW at Bash of the Beach 1996 to form the New World Order. That the move should serve as the catalyst for the company's most successful and profitable period in its entire history was at least somewhat ironic, given that the nWo's storyline M.O was simple:

Bring World Championship Wrestling to its knees.

To that end, Hollywood Hogan and his fellow nWo founders Scott Hall and Kevin Nash had been entirely successful.

After dropping his WCW Heavyweight Championship to Hogan the previous month at Hog Wild 1996, The Giant had sided with his once sworn rival to become the latest addition to the New World Order.

That however, wasn't the biggest surprise defection to the renegade outfit. That honour would go to WCW franchise player, Sting.

At least it was if you were to believe the Stinger's best friend Lex Luger and the WCW broadcasters. As Sting and Luger looked forward to teaming up with long-time rivals Ric Flair and Arn Anderson against the nWo at War Games, Luger was attacked on an episode of Nitro by a man who wearing Sting's facepaint and attire.


Luger, who had a long, storied history with Sting, apparently couldn't tell this stranger apart from his supposed best friend, and genuinly believed Sting had turned his back on World Championship Wrestling.

Would Luger realise what an idiot he was? Would the Stinger prove his worth to WCW by helping his team defeat the nWo? We were about to find out as WCW Fall Brawl 1996 came to us live from Flair country.

You Want a War? You Got One

Tonight's show began with a video package detailing the rivalry between the New World Order and WCW mainstays Sting, Lex, Luger, Arn Anderson, and Nature Boy Ric Flair.

WCW FALL BRAWL 1996 REVIEW: Bobby Heenan, Tony Shiavone, and Dusty Rhodes commentated the event,
The video, set to that Seal rip-off used as both the Bash at the Beach 1996 music and The Outsiders theme music at said event, recapped everything we just talked about in the introduction to today's review.

So too did our commentary team for this evening, the ever-present trio of Tony Schiavone, Bobby 'The Brain' Heenan, and 'The American Dream' Dusty Rhodes, who still hadn't wrapped their heads around the idea that fake nWo sting and Steve Borden sting were not one and the same person.

Not willing to waste any more time on the matter for now however, Schiavone and co. took us down to ringside for our first match.

Diamond Dallas Page vs. Chavo Guerrero Jr. 

WCW FALL BRAWL 1996 REVIEW: DDP beat Chavo Guerrero
If you recall, the rivalry between Diamond Dallas Page and Chavo Guerrero Jr. began exactly one month earlier at WCW Clash of the Champions 33, when Page attacked Guerrero's uncle, Eddie Guerrero, after the latter beat him for the Battle Bowl ring. 

Back then, Guerrero had run to the rescue, and tonight was out to avenge his uncle in our opening contest. 

As for the match itself, this one started strong, with a red-hot Guerrero wasting no time in attacking his rival. 

In an exciting start to proceedings, Chavo battered Page both inside and outside of the ring, before the dastardly DDP managed to regain the upper-hand for a large portion of the bout. 

For this writer, it was those moments when Dallas was in charge that the bout suffered the most, with only the occasional kick out or hope spot from Chavo doing anything to elicit a reaction from the live audience. 

One of the biggest pops of the entire match came when DDP threw Chavo from ring one into ring two, after which his tilt-a-whirl sitout powerbomb for a near fall served as a true match highlight. 

At this point, I legitimately thought Chavo was going to mount a comeback and pick up the win (I've never seen this event before I sat down to review it), but alas, it wasn't to be. One Diamond Cutter later, and this one was over.
Your Winner: Diamond Dallas Page 

Back in the locker room, Booker T and Stevie Ray were bullying some guy to respond to fans on their behalf via Compuserve. Meanwhile, Col. Parker and Sister Sherri got involved too, generally flapping and jabbering and making the whole thing seem much more stressful and complicated than using the internet ever needed to be, even in 1996. 

Mean Gene's Special Report on The Attack 

WCW FALL BRAWL 1996 REVIEW: Mean Gene presents a special report on the nWo invasion
Up next, we were taken to a pre-taped special report from Mean Gene Okerlund. The subject of our report today was the ongoing invasion of World Championship Wrestling by the New World Order, an event that both Okerlund and Tony Shiavone (in introducing the segment) insisted that everybody was referring to as The Attack. This despite the fact that at no point on WCW Nitro nor Hog Wild, nor Clash of the Champions, had anybody ever used the words The Attack to talk about this angle. 

But hey, if 'everybody' was calling it this, then who am I to argue, right? 

Mean Gene's recap doesn't tell us anything we don't already know, so let's move straight on to our next match. 

Submission Match
Scott 'Flash' Norton vs. Ice Train (w/ Teddy Long) 

If you're just catching up, Scott Norton and Ice Train (who at one point was your writer's favourite WCW wrestler) were a short-lived tag team named Fire & Ice, who broke up when they couldn't agree on whether to play by the rules or cheat to win. 

WCW FALL BRAWL 1996 REVIEW: Ice Train beat Scott Norton in a submission match
That kicked off a lukewarm rivalry between the two, with Norton emerging triumphant from their first encounter back at Hog Wild in August. Not content to leave it at that, Flash would continue to attack his former partner and injure his arm, leading to tonight's return match. 

This wasn't just any old match however. This was a special 'submission match' which, given that both men were effectively powerhouses or -at the very least- brawlers, seemed to make absolutely no sense whatsoever. 

The end result was a slow, dull-as-dishwater encounter in which nothing exciting happened for the first few minutes, and then barely anything happened at all for the remaining minutes. 

Honestly, there's only so long you can watch Scott Norton hold somebody in an armbar before you want to fall asleep. 

Thankfully, Teddy Long finally put us out of our misery by hopping up on the apron, threatening to throw the towel in for his charge. That caused Norton to break the hold, allowing 'Train to drill him from behind, slap on a full nelson (of all things) and win this truly terrible, lifeless match. 
Your Winner: Ice Train

By the way, you know what I always loved about WCW? The way they would have Bobby Heenan do those post-match analyses after every bout. To me, it just seemed to add a sense of legitimacy to the occasion which, in my mind, was always welcomed. 

'Mexican' Heavyweight Championship
AAA Americas Heavyweight Champion Konan (w/ Jimmy Hart) vs. Juventud Guerrera 

At this point, Konan was now a fully-fledged heel and card-carrying member of the Dungeon of Doom, complete with Jimmy Hart as his manager and street clothes attire he would wear for basically the remainder of his WCW run.

Here, he defended what WCW always referred to simply as the "Mexican Heavyweight Championship" though what was actually the AAA Americas Heavyweight Championship, a title so short-lived that Konan was the first and only guy to hold it.

His challenger for tonight was relative newcomer Juventud Guerrera, who looked like a tiny child during the early part of his WCW run.

Looks aside, I will admit to thoroughly enjoying this match. Though I never quite got any of Konan's gimmicks, and found him terribly annoying on the microphone, I always felt he was rather an underappreciated wrestler when it came to the actual bell-to-bell stuff.

Working with Juvi, the champ was able to deliver a performance which -though not exactly breathtaking- was at least entertaining, and ended with a top-rope powerbomb to give a win to the champion.
Your Winner and Still AAA Americas Champion: Konan

From there, the show (or at least the version I'm watching on the WWE Network) wasted no time in getting right on to the next match.

Chris Jericho vs. Chris Benoit (w/ Woman & Miss Elizabeth) 

WCW FALL BRAWL 1996 REVIEW: Chris Jericho made his WCW PPV debut against Chris Benoit
There are some matches (take Shawn Michaels vs. Mr. Perfect for example)which, whilst they may look like a dream match on paper, only serve to disappoint once the bell rings 

Chris Jericho vs. Chris Benoit was -thankfully- not one of those matches. 

Making his WCW PPV debut (and for some reason being billed as coming from Calgary), Jericho clashed with Benoit in a match that was every bit as good as it could have been given the time allowed and both men's status in the WCW hierarchy. 

The only drawback here, at least for Jericho, is that all his attempts to be the babyface were lost on a crowd who were largely -and loudly- in favour of the Four Horsemen. Despite this, both men worked hard at making the most of what they had, putting together a truly solid bout which served as the match of the night up to this point. 

The end, in case you were wondering, came when Benoit suplexed Jericho off the top rope for a three count.
Your Winner: Chris Benoit 

Again, we're not wasting any time here. No between-match segments or interviews, just one match after the other. Nice. 

World Championship Wrestling Cruiserweight Championship
WCW Cruiserweight Champion Rey Mysterio Jr. vs. Super Calo 

WCW FALL BRAWL 1996 REVIEW: Super Calo challenged Rey Mysterio for the WCW Cruiserweight title
By this point there lifeless, uninterested North Carolina crowd are really starting to have a toxic effect on the entire event.

Having previously woken up for the earlier Jericho/Benoit encounter, they once again went back into a coma for this cruiserweight title match and reacted to almost nothing that Rey Mysterio Jr. and Super Calo did. 

The lack of reaction really took something away from the match -especially since the whole point of pro wrestling in the first place is to entertain the live crowd- but for what both men did manage to pull together, this was a very good effort indeed. 

Super Calo and his awesome mask dominated much of the bout before Mysterio made the inevitable comeback, picking up the win and heading on to intensify his ongoing rivalry with Dean Malenko. 
Your Winner and Still WCW Cruiserweight Champion: Rey Mysterio Jr. 

At this point, it occurs to me that most of the pictures I've used so far in this thing have been of guys working some kind of arm-bar. Let's try and change it up for our next match, shall we?


World Championship Wrestling World Tag Team Championship
WCW Tag Team Champions Harlem Heat (Booker T & Stevie Ray) w/ Sister Sherri and Col. Parker)

WCW FALL BRAWL 1996 REVIEW: Harlem Heat successfully defended the WCW Tag Team Championship against the Nasty Boys
The North Carolinans may not have had much interest in seeing Rey Jr. and Super Calo trade planchas and reversals by the truckload, but give them a straight-up, hard-hitting tag match between Harlem Heat and The Nasty Boys, and they were all for it.

Proof, if ever it were needed, that it's really the crowd reaction that makes or breaks a pro wrestling match, this WCW tag team title match was a sheer joy to watch, primarily because both teams excelled in ensuring that the crowds were totally into every single move.

OK, so this match may not have been a technical wrestling masterclass, but then it was never intended to be.  Instead, it was a classic, by-the-numbers tag bout which delivered on all fronts and came second only to the Benoit/Jericho match in terms of pure enjoyment factor.

As they had done at the last two events, Booker T & Stevie Ray retained their titles thanks to outside shennanigans from Col. Parker and Sister Sherri, bringing to an end a surprise highlight of the show.
Your Winners and Still WCW Tag Team Champions: Harlem Heat 

Prior to an upcoming interview with Macho Man Randy Savage, we get Nature Boy styling and profiling in the official Fall Brawl merchandise. Shilling for all he's worth, Nature Boy was more excited about these t-shirts than I've ever seen anybody get excited over an item of clothing in my life.

Still though, I have to admit that I preferred the ads Flair did for Southpaw Regional Wrestling back in the day.

Mike Tenay Interviews The Macho Man 

WCW FALL BRAWL 1996 REVIEW: Macho Man Randy Savage faced The Giant
Noting how ironic it was that 'the man who has been fined and suspended more than any other wrestler in World Championship Wrestling is now the saviour this evening at Fall Brawl,' Iron Mike Tenay did a great job in playing up the wild, unpredictable nature of the Macho Man before the man himself walked on screen, ready to verbally tear into his opponent for this evening, recent nWo convert, The Giant.

Wearing a hat that I'm not sure isn't the same one he wore at WWF Wrestlemania 9, Savage called himself WCW's 'evil necessity,' a force that was just what the company needed to finally put an end to the New World Order's reign of terror.

Tonight, Savage promised that he would start ending said reign of terror by toppling The Giant before going on to next month's Halloween Havoc to defeat Hollywood Hulk Hogan for the WCW World Heavyweight Championship.

This was Savage at his most insane and brilliant, making for a promo that was just a joy to watch. Ohhh YEAH! 


Macho Man Randy Savage vs. The Giant 

Having done such a stellar job of building up the intensity of his rivalry with the New World Order, Savage almost immediately killed it by handing out Slim Jims on his way to the ring, as if to say Sure, I've got a war on my hands, but first let me please my sponsors. 

The Giant was out next, first to his old Dungeon of Doom  Theme Music before somebody realised he was now in the nWo and switched to the outlaw faction's Porno Production Track #12 tune.

From there, we subject to a slow, sluggish outing which saw The Giant dominate, battering his adversary into the corner before working over the spine with a backbreaker and boston crab which almost sent this writer to sleep. 

Things only really picked up when Savage mounted the inevitable comeback, only to be lured outside the ring by Hollywood Hogan. Naturally, this was all a set-up. As The Giant kept corrupt official Nick Patrick busy in the ring, Hogan was joined by The Outsiders in putting a wicked beatdown on the Macho Man.

Their work done, the trio rolled Savage in the ring, giving The Giant an easy cover, count, and victory.
Your Winner: The Giant 

After a quick promotional video for Slim Jim's Halloween Havoc staring Mr. Slim Jim himself, the Macho Man, the lights dimmed and we were treated to pyro galore as the two cages lowered for what Tony Shiavone called "The Moment the Wrestling World Had Been Waiting For."

Yes folks, it was almost time for War Games.

First through, we got a backstage promo in which Mike Tenay interviewed Ric Flair, Arn Anderson, and Lex Luger. Flair insisted that after what he believed to be Sting's betrayal of WCW, he,

WCW FALL BRAWL 1996 REVIEW: Sting confronts Luger, Flair, and Arn Anderson
Luger, and Anderson would enter the war against the nWo without a fourth man involved. Anderson then added his own choice words, basically reiterating Flair's statement that it would be three vs. two tonight then, just as they were about to head to ring side, Sting -the actual Sting- arrived to tell his team mates that it wasn't him who attacked Luger.

In response, Luger told Sting that he had looked him "right in the eye" and knew it was him. Again, I remind you that this is a man who had known Sting very well for many years, and yet couldn't tell him apart from some other guy wearing Sting makeup.

Unhappy, Sting stormed off, leaving Flair to call Luger a "lean, mean, wrestling machine" and then strut off-camera, on his way to the match.

WAR GAMES
WCW (Ric Flair, Arn Anderson, Lex Luger, and Sting) vs. NWO (Scott Hall, Kevin Nash, Fake Sting, and WCW World Heayweight Champion Hollywood Hulk Hogan w/ Ted Dibiase)

In a break from tradition, both teams were kept backstage and made separate entrances, rather than all surrounding the ring at the same time and entering at their allotted time.


Ostensibly, this was because the rivalry was so intense that both teams had to be contained backstage, though in reality, I suspect that this had much to do with heightening the sense of surprise when Real Sting and Fake Sting proved to be the fourth men for their respective teams.

WCW FALL BRAWL 1996 REVIEW: Sting confronts Luger, Flair, and Arn Anderson
As far as the actual action went, this was a perfectly fine match. Don't get me wrong, it wasn't a technical masterpiece by any stretch of the imagination, but then again, it was never supposed to be. This wasn't about the bell-to-bell stuff at all but rather about the story, about the shift of power in the New World Order's favour, and about how Team WCW had felt let down by Sting, even though it was they who had let him down by not believing him in the first place.

Speaking of The Stinger, the man of the hour made an appearance as the fourth man for Team WCW, going straight after his evil doppleganger before laying waste to the entire nWo squad.

Just when you thought it was time for a kiss-and-make-up session with his team mates however, a visibly pissed off Sting yelled at Luger, asking him whether Sting's actions in the War Games cage was enough to prove that he hadn't sold his soul to the dark side. Before Luger could respond however, Sting told him to stick it, then left the cage, signalling the beginning of the end for Team WCW.

As the others brawled around the ring, Hall and Hogan wrapped The Total Package in a submission move until he passed out, giving the win to the bad guys.
Your Winners: The New World Order


WCW FALL BRAWL 1996 REVIEW: Miss Elizabeth tries to stop Hulk Hogan from attacking Randy Savage
Not content to merely win the match, Hall, Hogan, Nash, and Fake Sting continued to beat down on their adversaries, prompting a run in from non-other than the number one contender to the WCW World Heavyweight Championship, Macho Man Randy Savage.


Savage attempted to rescue his fallen colleagues, only for The Giant to reappear, joining forces with the rest of the nWo in giving Savage the latest of the 5,000 beat-downs he would receive from the nWo before eventually joining forces with them.

Miss. Elizabeth, ran down, throwing herself over her ex in attempt to shield him from any further attacks at the hands of the nWo, though all this achieved was getting herself spraypainted by Hogan, who once again vowed to destroy Savage when the two met at Halloween Havoc.

That event, ladies and gentlemen, is another review for another day.

For now though, all I have to say is that WCW Fall Brawl 1996 was a mostly enjoyable show. Take away the illogical and ill-recieved submission match between Ice Train and Scott Norton, and what you're left with, is an event which ranged from good to great, depending on who was in the ring at the time. 

It's just a shame that this one was so let down by a lifeless crowd. Still, I suppose you can't have everything. 

I'll return to covering the New World Order's reign of terror at a later date. For now, thanks for reading, and be sure to join me on Twitter @retropwrestling.

Friday, 17 March 2017

WCW CLASh OF THE CHAMPIONS XXXIII 1996

WCW Clash of the Champions 33 1996 REVIEW
August 15, 1996,
Denver Colliseum, Denver, Colorado

There once was a time when the unique combination of free-to-air TV and pay per view caliber performance made the NWA/WCW spectacle that was Clash of the Champions a truly unmissable event. 

From the very first Clash back in 1988, the show had delivered some memorable moments, and, even today, remains in the eyes of many a nostalgic fan as one of the company's best ideas, ranking up there with War Games, the introduction of the cruiserweights, and the original New World Order, more of which later.

By the time of tonight's show however, it's fair to say that WCW Clash of the Champions had lost much of its appeal as a genuine special attraction.

One of the true causalities of the Monday Night Wars, Clash shows became lost in a world of monthly pay per views, Nitro broadcasts. and multiple 'B' shows, ultimately becoming just another wrestling show.


Thankfully, nobody told the talent, many of whom went out on this particular event to deliver where it really mattered the most; between the ropes.

Here, we go back to the summer of 1996, to chart Hollywood Hogan's first title defence since winning the world title a week earlier at Hog Wild, a stormer of a woman's match, and more, all at WCW Clash of the Champions XXXIII.

Stupid Little Man

Our show tonight opened with a brief video package documenting Hollywood Hogan's vicious verbal and physical attacks on both 'The Nature Boy' Ric Flair and 'Macho Man' Randy savage.

When I say verbal attack, boy do I mean it. On the one episode of Nitro between winning the title at Hog Wild and defending it tonight against Flair, Hogan really let Nature Boy have it with both barrels by declaring that from now on, the multi-time world champion would be known as 'Stupid Little Man.'

Talk about brutal right? It's amazing Hogan didn't go on to claim Flair smelled like poop or something.

WCW Clash of the Champions 33 1996 REVIEW - Tony Shiavone and Bobby 'The Brain' Heenan were our commentators for the show
Anyway, with that over and done with, we were welcomed to the show by our announce team for the evening, that classic, mid-90s WCW duo of Tony Shiavone and the legendary Bobby 'The Brain' Heenan.

Before we got down to any in-ring action, Heenan and Schiavone took the time to shill tonight's main event, reminding us how the emergence of the New World Order had somehow united World Championship Wrestling, bringing together Sting and Lex Luger with The Horsemen, two sides who had long been bitter rivals.

We'd hear more about that later, but for now, it was time to head ringside for the first of nine matches on the show.

World Championship Wrestling Cruiserweight Championship
WCW Cruiserweight Champion Rey Mysterio Jr. vs. Dean Malenko

Eager to reclaim the Cruiserweight championship he lost to Rey Mysterio Jr. on Nitro only a month earlier, 'The Man of 1,000 Holds' Dean Malenko wasted no time in attacking Mysterio, looking to keep his rival grounded and preventing the defending champion from using his high-flying offence. 

WCW Clash of the Champions 33 1996 REVIEW - Rey Mysterio defended his WCW Cruiserweight Championship against Dean Malenko
Whilst this was no doubt a solid premise on which to build a match, it didn't exactly translate into the kind of adrenaline-charged opening contest you might expect from two undoubtedly talented performers. 

Sure, we were treated to the occasional fast-paced, high-flying spots that were the hallmark of WCW's cruiserweight division, and sure, Malenko's move towards the finish, in which he climbed the top rope, hurled Mysterio off his shoulders and made him land across Malenko's knee was a definite highlight, but in between such moments of brilliance, we were treated to long periods of, well, not very much. 

In his efforts to keep his smaller rival grounded, Malenko spent a lot of time moving from one chin lock to the next, creating some serious lag in an otherwise enjoyable outing.

The end came following the aforementioned top-rope move from Malenko. The challenger made the cover and got the three count, only for referee Randy Anderson to realise that Mysterio's foot had been on the ropes the whole time. Whilst Dean grabbed the cruiserweight title in the mistaken belief that he was the new champion, Anderson restarted the match. This gave Mysterio the opportunity to leap onto Malenko's shoulders from behind, roll him up, and score a quick three count. 
Your winner and Still WCW Cruiserweight Champion: Rey Mysterio Jr.

Following a quick Macho Man Slim Jim Commercial and one of about five thousand promo clips for the still-to-debut Glacier which aired during the summer of 1996, it was back to the ring for a match nobody could have possibly wanted to see. 

V.K Wallstreet vs. 'Hacksaw' Jim Duggan

WCW Clash of the Champions 33 1996 REVIEW - Hacksaw Jim Duggan battled V.K Wallstreet
Long time Retro Pro Wrestling readers may recall that I've always had something of a soft-spot for Mike Rotunda. Even when he was saddled with the I.R.S gimmick in the early-to-mid 1990s, his performances at WWF pay per views were always an enjoyable part of the show for me

Though he may have been past his prime in 1996, Rotunda was still capable of being entertaining, albeit in a decidedly old-school way that was rapidly falling out of favour with crowds during the Monday Night Wars.

So, when I say that this short match with Hacksaw Jim Duggan was achingly dull, please don't take it that I'm knocking the talents of the erstwhile Captain Mike. 

Nor is it necessarily easy to lay all the blame on Duggan, who was still doing the same gimmick he always did, albeit with added pyro. 

WCW Clash of the Champions 33 1996 REVIEW - V.K Wallstreet defeated Hacksaw Jim Duggan
No, the fault for this coming across as such a miserable outing was simply the fact that it was so out of place. In a world of cruiserweights, the renegade nWo faction and hard-hitting action, an old-school heel/face like this, came across as dull, uninspired, and lifeless. It didn't help that the crowd were mostly silent too, even when Hacksaw got his 'USA! USA!' schtick going.

The ending was dumb too. This was a period in which Duggan -who was the babyface here- was winning his matches by pulling a role of tape out of his tights and knocking his opponents out with it. This time however, Hacksaw somehow got himself, and the referee, caught up in the tape, allowing our man Wallstreet to get a quick roll-up for the three count. 

For those keeping score at home, that's two matches in a row ending with a roll-up.
Your Winner: V.K Wallstreet 

Backstage, Mean Gene Okerlund was standing by hoping to get a word with The Nasty Boys. Okerlund asked Jerry Saggs if the altitude and Colorado air had been getting to him as of late, prompting to Saggs to respond that yes, a lot of things had been getting to him lately. 

WCW Clash of the Champions 33 1996 REVIEW - Nasty Boys issued a challenge for the WCW tag titles
He continued by once again refuting any claims that the Nasty Boys were affiliated with the New World Order (something they had been doing for weeks on Nitro), and insisting that he and Brian Knobs were looking forward to beating up whichever team came out on top in tonight's triangle tag match.

For his part, Knobs ranted and raved about how much The Nasty Boys wanted to become tag team champions again, and backed up his partner's clams that the duo were going to "smash some heads" whenever they got the opportunity.

After a commercial break, we once again returned to Mean Gene, who claimed that he and Mike Tenay had been trying to conduct a backstage interview (he never said who with) when those dastardly Outsiders turned up and ruined it. 

Fortunately, anyone feeling devastated at missing out on comments from the unnamed WCW star needn't have worried. Okerlund and Tenay had managed to record the interview after all, and all you had to do was pay money to access the WCW Hotline to hear it. 

Clever.

Ultimo Dragon (w/ Sonny Onoo) vs. Konan

WCW Clash of the Champions 33 1996 REVIEW - Konan beat Ultimo Dragon
After dropping the United States Championship to Ric Flair back at Bash at the Beach 1996, Konan was here in a transitional phase between the Mexican Superstar babyface gimmick he portrayed in his early WCW face-run, and a fully-fledged heel run, complete with baggy pant, sweat-tops and new catchphrases.

To show-off his new-found aggressive side, the AAA star made light work of Ultimo Dragon in a fun, albeit incredibly brief, match. 

Honestly, I would have liked to have seen this go on longer, and really feel both men could have turned out a good match given the chance.

Still, it was what it was, and resulted in a quick win for the future LAX leader.
Your Winner: Konan 

If you'd just tuned into this show on the WWE Network and had no idea what time period it was from, our next segment would surely reveal all. 

WCW Clash of the Champions 33 1996 REVIEW - Ice Train got beat up by Scott Norton
Backstage, my boy Ice Train was chatting to fans online not via Facebook, not via Myspace, MSN Messenger, or even AOL, but by Compuserve. Sadly for 'Train (and probably the handful of his die-hard fans), his online chat was disrupted by former partner and now bitter rival, Scott 'Flash' Norton. 

Norton -who had already beaten up Ice Train so badly a few nights ago that the man had have his chest bandaged up to use a computer- stormed into the Compuserve area, clotheslined 'Train from his chair, stomped on him, and walked away. 

Clearly, this was one feud that was only set to get hotter.

Meng (w/ Jimmy Hart) vs. Macho Man Randy Savage

Anyone who had paid money to see Randy Savage wrestle (even against Meng) would have been sorely dissapointed. 

After the former King Haku made his way to the ring, Savage's famous theme music played, and played...and played, all with no sign of the Macho Man. 

The crowds cheered, applauded, looked on eagerly at the entrance way. Still, there was no Savage to be seen. 

WCW Clash of the Champions 33 1996 REVIEW - Meng bt. Macho Man by forfeit when Savage no-showed
Eventually, somebody did appear, but it wasn't Savage. Instead, it was our old friend Mean Gene, who arrived to tell referee Nick Patrick that Savage wouldn't be there because he hadn't been cleared to compete after getting attacked a few days earlier at Nitro.

Look, I know rumours ran rampant during the 1990s about WCW's poor backstage management in real life, but surely nobody at the company seriously thought it was a good idea to reflect that on telivision? 

Were we really supposed to believe that those running the show had gone all the way to Randy Savage's scheduled opponent was out in the ring before they realised that Savage was unable to compete?

Credit where it's due though, the site of Jimmy Hart dancing around the ring, celebrating the victory as though Meng had really defeated Savage in a hard-fought battle was pretty funny, and actually worth sitting through the dumb explanation for.
Your Winner Via Forfeit: Meng 

Returning from the break, Meng and Hart had been joined in the ring by Dungeon of Doom team mates Kevin Sullivan, Hugh Morrus and The Barbarian for an interview with Mean Gene. 

WCW Clash of the Champions 33 1996 REVIEW - Dungeon of Doom promo
Dungeon leader Sullivan began by saying that he didn't like Randy Savage in the first place, and boasting that at least when The Taskmaster hit people with a chair, he didn't sneak up from behind, unlike that no good Hogan. 

This played well into Sullivan's lengthy rival with Hulk, as he was able to boast that he had known all along what a villain Hollywood really was. Next, he turned his attentions back to Okerlund, questioning how the man with the mic felt now after 'leading the parade' when Hogan had first joined WCW two years earlier. 

"Well, Hulk Hogan was a great man, but lately something seems to have snapped in that man, and I think it's because of The Outsiders," offered Okerlund in response. 

Jimmy Hart chipped in then, claiming that Dungeon of Doom were the strongest force in WCW, a force even more powerful than the New World Order. 

Finally, Sullivan issued stern words to Chris Benoit to further that rivalry, and that was the end of that interview.

Bull Nakano (w/ Sonny Onoo) vs. Madusa

Squaring off in a return match from their Battle of the Bikes encounter at Hog Wild, both Madusa and Bull Nakano made the best of what limited time they had to put on a short but enjoyable match. 

WCW Clash of the Champions 33 1996 REVIEW - Madusa bt. Bull NakanoPlaying the dastardly foreign heel to perfection, Nakano used her brute strength to counter Madusa's quickness. When that didn't pay off, it was time for manager Sonny Onoo to get involved, distracted the referee so that Nakano could grab her trusty nun-chucks and ram them straight into Madusa's gut.

Sadly for Bull, such cheating was to be her downfall as Onoo attempted to drill Madusa with a swift karate kick, only to miss and get Nakano instead. 

One three count later, and this one was over. 
Your Winner: Madusa

Backstage, Mean Gene interviewed number one contender to the WCW World Heavyweight Championship: The Nature Boy Ric Flair. 

Flair, flanked as always by Four Horsemen beauties Woman and Miss Elizabeth, dismissed Okerlund's claims that they were "all in this together" against the New World Order, instead insisting that it was just him, his girls, and his fellow Horsemen.

WCW Clash of the Champions 33 1996 REVIEW - Ric Flair had choice words for Hulk Hogan
Turning his attentions to tonight, Flair also dismissed Hogan's recent change of gimmick, claiming that whilst the champion could change his look and his name all he wanted, at the end of the day, this was still Flair/Hogan for the title, and when that happened, it was only a matter of time before The Nature Boy came out on top. 

And what if Scott Hall or Kevin Nash opted to get involved in tonight's title match? According to Flair, that wasn't going to be a problem either, since both Steve 'Mongo' McMichael and 'The Enforcer' Arn Anderson were on hand to watch The Nature Boy's back.

World Championship Wrestling Battle Bowl Championship
WCW Battle Bowl Champion Diamond Dallas Page vs. Eddie Guerrero 

WCW Clash of the Champions 33 1996 REVIEW - DDP lost his Battle Bowl championship to Eddie Guerrero

The concept was simple, a 'Lethal Lottery' was held, in which tag teams were drawn 'at random,' usually resulting in sworn rivals teaming together, and regular tag team partners finding themselves squaring off. 

These ad-hoc teams would compete in straigh tag matches, the winners of which would all go into an every-man-for-himself battle royal at the end of the show. 

After the '93 event, the concept wasn't seen again until WCW Slamboree 1996, when Diamond Dallas Page won the 'Battle Bowl Championship,' earning himself a shot at the WCW World Championship. 
Admittedly, I haven't seen any WCW shows from around that period, though according to reports, DDP was then stripped of his title shot on the following Nitro after it was found shenanigan came into play when he eliminated The Barbarian.

Despite losing the title shot, Page was apparently allowed to keep the championship (a ring akin to the traditional Superbowl ring), which he put on the line tonight against Eddie Guerrero.
Despite the lack of any real crowd reaction (a problem which pretty much plagued this entire show), Page vs. Guerrero was enjoyable, and came to an end when the latter hit his patented frog splash for the pin fall. 
Your Winner and NEW WCW Battle Bowl Champion: Eddie Guerrero 

Not that things between these two was likely to end there. Kicking off a feud with both Eddie and his nephew Chavo, Page feigned shaking hands with the new Battle Bowl champion, only to drag him into a Diamond Cutter and choke him out before hitting a second 'Cutter.
It was at this point that Chavo ran out to make the save, only to be given a dismissive shove from Dallas, who then nailed Eddie with a third Diamond Cutter from the top rope before leaving the ring. 

For those wondering, I'm not sure that Eddie -nor anyone else for that matter- would ever defend the Battle Bowl Championship ever again. 

Hogan Roughs Up Mean Gene 

WCW Clash of the Champions 33 1996 REVIEW - Hulk Hogan was angry at Mean Gene and Ric Flair
As Chavo was busy tending to Uncle Eddie in the ring, Hulk Hogan came out, dragging Mean Gene along with him. Irate about Okerlund's earlier comments in the aforementioned Dungeon of Doom interview, Hogan demanded that Mean Gene explain himself. 

Okerlund did so, though only by declaring his right to freedom of speech and insisting that, after Hogan's treacherous betrayal of his friends, his fans, and WCW as a whole, he (Okerlund) was well within his rights to call the champion a no-good you-know-what.

Hogan warned his former buddy to watch his mouth before turning his attentions to his opponent for tonight, The Nature Boy Ric Flair.

Dismissing Flair's 13 world title reigns, Hogan boasted that he -and only he- would be remembered as the Babe Ruth, Michael Jordan, and erm, Hulk Hogan of pro wrestling, and that Flair was simply a 'Stupid Little Man who couldn't get the job done.'



After another commercial break, we got our second lengthy 'Glacier is Coming soon' vignette of the show, before Tony and Bobby took time to shill WCW Pro. With that out of the way, it was finally on to our next match.


WCW Clash of the Champions 33 1996 REVIEW - The Giant squashed Chris Benoit in 25 seconds

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

Clearly in a foul mood after dropping the WCW title to Hogan just a few nights ago, The Giant wasted absolutely no time in taking out his frustrations on Benoit. 

A dropkick in the corner followed by his famous Chokeslam was all it took to put away the Horseman in less than 25 seconds.
Your Winner: The Giant 

More commercials followed next, first for the WCW PowerPlant, then for Hog Wild merchandise, and finally for Slim Jims, after which it was back to the ring for our big three-way tag team bout.

World Championship Wrestling Tag Team Championship Triangle Match
WCW Tag Team Champions Harlem Heat (Booker T & Stevie Ray w/ Col. Parker and Sister Sherri) vs. The Steiner Brothers (Rick & Scott Steiner) vs. Sting & Lex Luger

WCW Clash of the Champions 33 1996 REVIEW - Sting & Lex Luger challenged Harlem Heat and The Steiners for the tag titles
The rules here were that any wrestler could tag in any other, regardless as to whether or not they were on the same official team. 

If one man gained a pinfall or submission however, he and his actual, designated partner would be the WCW tag team champions. 

Rules aside, what was perhaps the most notable aspect of this particular bout was that it was the first one on the show for which the crowd truly came alive, loudly rooting for firm favourites Sting, Lex Luger, Rick and Scott Steiner with every move they made. 

The reception from the Colorado faithful actually played a big part in turning what was a fairly average match into something that was actually rather fun to watch. 

The controversial ending came as Rick Steiner, Stevie Ray, Lex Luger and Sting all brawled outside the ring, prompting Scott Hall & Kevin Nash to run out and attack them. As this was happening, Scotty Steiner planted Booker T with a Frankensteiner inside the ring, and would have scored a victory were it not for dastardly referee Nick Patrick.

Clearly in the New World Order's back pocket, Patrick refused to make the three count, instead turning to the outside and calling for the bell due to interference. 
NO CONTEST

WCW Clash of the Champions 33 1996 REVIEW - Scott Steiner was angry at Nick Patrick after his match
Showing shades of his future insanity, a livid Scott Steiner yelled at Patrick literally, clearly, and loudly calling bullshit several times. 

Just when Patrick thought he could escape however, Mean Gene was waiting for him in the ilse. 

The two had been developing something of a rivalry as of late, with Okerlund constantly calling out Patrick for his dodgy decisions.

This time however, Patrick did at least have a somewhat valid point; The Outsiders had interfered in the match, and in normal tag match, that would be grounds for disqualification. 

Clearly however, this was just another case of Patrick working for the nWo, and Okerlund was going to make sure the referee knew that he, and the WCW fans, were onto him. 

World Championship Wrestling World Heavyweight Championship
WCW World Heavyweight Champion Hollywood Hulk Hogan vs.  WCW United States Champion The Nature Boy Ric Flair (w/ Woman & Miss Elizabeth)

WCW Clash of the Champions 33 1996 REVIEW - Ric Flair challenged Hulk Hogan for the WCW Championship
Remember earlier when I said that there was little room for the kind of old-school approach adopted by V.K Wallstreet and Jim Duggan?

Perhaps those two could have paid attention to veterans Hogan and Flair who managed to make their old-school style work in front of a modern audience.





Sure, there were no reversals of reversals, no false finishes and dramatic near-falls involved, but what there was, was a hot crowd who were eager to see two legends of the game go at it for the title belt.

For this writer, that all made for an entertaining bout, right the way up to the point where Hogan confusingly began to 'Hulk Up' as though he were still a babyface.

Not that it did him much good.

Flair regained the upper-hand, and even slapped on the Figure Four, yet just when it looked as though he might have another title reign in sight, Hogan grabbed the referee and hurled him across the ring, causing the disqualification which would allow him to hang onto his belt.
Your Winner by disqualification: Ric Flair (Hulk Hogan retains the title)

Post match, The Outsiders ran in for a beatdown, only to be chased off by the remaining Four Horsemen, alongside Lex Luger and Sting, laying the foundations for September's War Games main event at Fall Brawl.

Whilst Clash of the Champions may have lost its spark as a special attraction, it still nonetheless held its own as a decent pro wrestling show. Wallstreet/Duggan and the brief Giant/Benoit squash aside, the matches were at least fairly entertaining, if hardly memorable. 

This may not be a must-see show by anyone's standards, but in terms of setting up Fall Brawl and continuing to build on the nWo's dominant reign over WCW, it did it's job well. 

I'll get onto that Fall Brawl review, and some other stuff, in the next couple of weeks, but until then, thanks for reading, and be sure to come join me on Twitter @Retropwrestling.

Retro Pro Wrestling

New reviews of classic WWF/WWE events recalling every moment from Wrestlemania 1 - 30. You'll also find reviews of WCW, ECW, TNA and the occasional indie event, along with a look at old school magazines, merchandise and more.