The Best And Worst Of WCW Clash Of The Champions XXXIV

Previously on the vintage Best and Worst of WCW: Macho Man Randy Savage returned from unsuccessful contract negotiations and was lured away by Sting’s elaborate bat pantomimes. Hollywood Hogan continued to dick around The Giant about his title shot, Bob Probert cut a promo for some reason, and more.

Click here to watch the Clash of the Champions 34 on WWE Network. You can catch up with all the previous episodes of Nitro on the Best and Worst of Nitro tag page.

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And now, the vintage Best and Worst of Clash of the Champions XXXIV from Jan. 21, 1997.

Best: Dean Malenko Solves The Riddle Of Sonny Onoo

You know that thing that always happens in WCW matches (that they still put into the WWE video games) where a guy is losing, so his manager gets up on the apron and gestures wildly at the referee to distract him and the dumb face just slooowly wanders over and maybe grabs him by the lapel or something before being attacked from behind? Jimmy Hart is the paterfamilias of that move, and Sonny Onoo does it as much as anyone.

In the opener to the 34th (annual® – credit: WWE) Clash of the Champions, Dean Malenko finally figures out how to counter it. Instead of looking frustrated, meandering over and getting attacked, Malenko sees Onoo get on the apron, SPRINTS AT HIM and forearms in the face. Then, he immediately turns around and continues what he’s doing. That, my friends, is why Dean Malenko is your new Cruiserweight Champion.

If you’ve never seen this match, go to the Network and watch it. If you’re lazy, click this link. Not only is it great, it’s the perfect WCW thing: a hastily thrown-together show opening with 15 minutes of incredible cruiserweight wrestling, featuring about an hour-45 of main eventers farting around in circles not making any sense.

This match is also probably the first time you ever see Malenko’s weird tendency to be SUPER SUPER OVER, as the crowd reacts to his victory like they’re watching a Super Bowl-winning touchdown. Mark Curtis flipping out about it too is a nice touch. Malenko would lose the Cruiserweight Championship a little over a month after this, and wouldn’t get it back until the middle of 1998. And that win is the best moment of his entire career, and the biggest and best pop in WCW history.

Worst: The Pep Boys Have Never Watched Wrestling

“What should be our POWER PIN OF THE WEEK?”
“How about this submission hold”

“That’s not a pin.”
“Can you think of one better?”
“literally any pin”

Worst: Mike Enos As The World’s Meanest Jim Halpert

Up next, Scotty Riggs realizes his one true destiny by facing a man whose name sounds like “anus.”

I’m not sure how Scotty Riggs vs. Mean Mike Enos made it onto a Clash of the Champions, but I’m guessing the conversation was someone dropping their coffee cup and shouting, “WE’VE GOT A SCOTTY RIGGS PAY-PER-VIEW SINGLES MATCH COMING UP WHEN??” Riggs takes out Enos in about two minutes with one of the worst jumping forearms you’ll ever see. Seriously, ask your dad to hit you with a running, jumping forearm and don’t give him any context or instructions. What he tries to do will look roughly like what Scotty Riggs wins with here.


I love it when commercials make it onto WWE Network. Go! Go now! Run out and buy your clamshell copy of D3: The Mighty Ducks!

I’ve gotta call bullsh*t on the commercial, though, because it calls this, “the best Ducks movie ever.” This must’ve been narrated by that terrible friend you have who insists that Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles III is the best Turtles movie. Those trilogies are the same. The first one is actually pretty good, the second one introduces a bunch of unnecessary characters and situations but it’s a lot of stupid fun, and then in the third one everybody (including the audience) is a little too old.

I’m sure someone has already dropped down into the comments to Guy Germaine-splain D3 to me.

Worst: Eesh

… back away from the Horseman promo slowly.

You know who decides to suddenly be great here? Mongo. The Wisconsin crowd hates him for being a Chicago Bear, so he just says f*ck it and goes all-in on them, calling them “limburger losers.” He also hilariously calls Kevin Sullivan a “little toad,” and says that later tonight, Benoit is going to squeeze the life out of him, which-

Forget I said anything.

Best: The Cruiserweights Just Decide To Go Bonkers

Okay, so in the opening video package for this show, this is advertised as a six-man tag featuring Konnan, Juventud Guerrera and Psicosis vs. La Parka, Chavo Guerrero Jr. and Super Calo. 30 minutes later when the match actually happens, it’s Konnan, La Parka and Mr. JL vs. Chavo Guerrero Jr., Super Calo and Chris Jericho. Uh, sure!

Jericho takes this as an opportunity to look like the best wrestler in the world, and man, if you want to see him bust his ass and go above and beyond to make a match good, watch this. He ends the match with a super Frankensteiner on JL that legitimately pops the announce team and makes half of Wisconsin stand up with their hands in the air.

Also in this match:

– La Parka brings his weird, girlish shriek of frustration to WCW and does a Spinaroonie, because La Parka is the greatest

– Super Calo breaks out the most stressful-to-watch move in wrestling, his slingshot senton from the ring to the floor. Here’s a great idea: put SUNGLASSES on a guy’s mask, then ask him to propel himself head-first into a concrete floor from like 8 feet up and trust him to tuck and roll at the last second.

Look at this:

Keep in mind that you can’t trust Calo to take a clothesline without almost paralyzing himself. But sure, this is fine!

Worst: Joe Gomez Is The Worst Partner

The opposite of 1997 Chris Jericho in every single way is Desperado Joe Gomez, who takes a break from riding fences to team with his Ultimate Warrior non-union Mexican equivalent partner The Renegade against Harlem Heat.

The best part is when Harlem Heat hit Renegade with the Heat Seeker, and Gomez’s response (pictured) is to put his face in his hands. Renegade gets pinned and Joe ends up sorta half-getting in the ring to stop it, half-standing on the apron with his existential dick in his hand.

Best: “Rackmaster Lex”

The bumper graphics for this show are amazing because they’re just slightly off-brand, so you get sh*t like calling Lex Luger “Rackmaster Lex.” RACKMASTER LEX IS THE HOTTEST MC IN THE GAME.

Worst: RIP Alex Wright’s Beautiful Face

Not to jump the gun too much on my analysis of one of the worst shows ever, but part of the problem with the upcoming nWo Souled Out is that Nick Patrick referees every match. Nick Patrick is great, but by this point they’d just started putting him in an nWo shirt and making it very obvious that he was actively working to cheat the WCW guys out of victories. Not only did it kill the drama by making WCW victories impossible without interference and nonsense, it sorta neutered the nWo guys by making them look like they couldn’t win without a crooked ref. What should’ve been a rare occurrence of cheating turned into a nonstop LOOK AT NICK PATRICK schmozz-fest, and it just dulled the colors of everything.

A good example of that is Alex Wright vs. Masa MY HERO Chono. It’s not a bad little match, but every nearfall from Wright is accompanied by Patrick readjusting his hat, slowly getting to the ground and mugging through a slow count. Like, Alex Wright transitional moves on Chono don’t need cheating assistance, do they?

Anyway, after about four minutes Chono gets sick of wrestling and knocks Wright’s dick off with a kick to the face. Wright’s dick falls off, crushes the wood paneling holding the ring together and cracks the concrete floor of the Wisconsin Center.

Best: Everything That Happened At Souled Out, Done Better Days In Advance

Remember on Nitro when WCW ran a bunch of Clash matches a day before the Clash for some reason? The second hour of this Clash hits all the relevant Nick Patrick plot points of Souled Out only a few days before that.

After the slow counts on Alex Wright, we get Eddie Guerrero vs. Scott Norton. There isn’t a match on Earth that needs a crooked referee plot less than Eddie Guerrero vs. Scott Norton, but we get all the same beats as Wright/Chono. Eventually Patrick gets bumped, allowing Diamond Dallas Page to hit the ring and lay out Norton with a Diamond Cutter. Guerrero goes up top and hits a Frog Splash, and a nervous and out-of-options Nick Patrick is forced to count the pin anyway.

Please note that Souled Out features Patrick doing slow counts, Diamond Dallas Page f*cking over the nWo, and Eddie Guerrero forcing Nick Patrick to announce a match result he doesn’t want to. Because ¯_(ツ)_/¯

Best: The Giant About To Drop The Hottest Mixtape Of 1984

Check out BIG SHOW: BLOOD DRAGON over here in his Member’s Only jacket, getting ready for his middle school pictures. The promo’s even better if you play this in the background.

Best: Randy Anderson Toilet Game Strong

Benoit and Kevin Sullivan have another one of their “fight anywhere in the building, which technically means fighting in the ring, walking to the bathroom, hurting each other there and then walking back” matches, which are always great and retroactively kinda terrifying.

What I want to talk about here is Dusty Rhodes and Tony Schiavone, who might be the most underrated announcing duo in wrestling history. People make fun of Tony for a million good reasons and laugh about Dusty screaming about BICYCLES or whatever, but what made them so good together is how Dusty would get legitimately exciting and exasperated about sh*t and try to explain it, and Tony totally knew how to read him. Tony understood Dusty’s stream of consciousness better than anyone and could instantly, frankly translate it to the audience.

One of their best moments ever (to me, at least) happens during this match, when Benoit and Sullivan fight into the bathroom. Dusty points out the urinals for any women who might be watching who have never seen one. Randy Anderson ends up with his foot in one of them, which is delightful to everyone. Sullivan goes for the pin, and this happens:

Tony: “The first kick-out we’ve ever seen from a bathroom!”
Dusty: “Yeah he tried to cover him right in front of them 10 urinals, I ain’t seen cleaner urinals since … Sergeant York, what was that guy, with Andy Griffith, when he made all them urinals-”

Dusty’s excited “YEAH!” when Tony gets his reference is maybe the most adorable color commentary moment ever. How great is it that Tony just automatically knows he’s referencing a 1950s Andy Griffith movie? It sounds like Dusty’s talking about “Eddie Griffin.” Also, the phrase, “them 10 urinals.”

This is what he’s referencing:

If they ever put WCW Saturday Night on the Network, I promise you I’ll write up reviews for all 60,000 episodes.

Worst: We’re All Just Waiting For Big Poppa Pump To Happen At This Point

Here’s a terrible idea — letting Scott Steiner grab you by the head and fall backwards off the top rope. How’d you lose that eye in the first place, Pierre?

The Amazing French-Canadians get their long-awaited (?) match against the Steiner Brothers for their role in helping substantiate the cheating-ass, trifling-assedness of Hacksaw Jim Duggan on Nitro. It wasn’t a great match in 1993 WWF, and it’s certainly no better here with everyone sleepwalking through their sh*t and waiting for something better to do. Scott Steiner keeps getting slightly more muscular every time we see him, and I for one can’t wait until he finally becomes the Shoney’s-destroying math wizard we know and love.

Worst: It’s Okay, Sting’s Busy Witnessing To Macho Man Or Whatever

Quick, guess what happens in the main event.

Lex Luger wrestles Scott Hall and is f*cking indestructible, fighting off both Hall and Nash until making the mistake of turning his back on the Wolfpac and getting stomped by Syxx for the disqualification. The nWo beats him up while the crowd chants WE WANT STING. They get the Steiner Brothers instead, who they just saw.

If this was building to a six-man tag at Souled Out, that’d be pretty cool. Instead, we’re building to the Steiners vs. the Outsiders and Lex Luger isn’t even on the card. Luger doesn’t show up, WCW leader Jim Duggan isn’t around and Sting and the Macho Man are busy comparing dusters or whatever on a United Center catwalk.

And that was the Clash of the Champions! Please do not notice that the WCW and WCW Women’s Champions weren’t even on the show, and that only one-half of the tag champs competed. CHAMPIONS CLASHED, OKAY.